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Who is this sassy lost child
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All things considered, it was kind of comforting that Jae still had the capacity to roll his eyes at ridiculous questions. It wasn't visible, given that he was still face-down on the floor and all, and even if it was visible it probably wouldn't have helped anything, but there was something achingly familiar and normal at reacting dismissively to a question whose answer should have been glaringly obvious.

That wasn't to say that Jae disliked Vanessa, or even thought of her as generally not worth his time. He didn't know her well, but they'd attended the same parties from time to time and he'd seen her perform with her band. He always appreciated good music, even if Peyote Coyote's usual fare wasn't quite his style. He'd actually been meaning to ask where she'd gotten her kickass new tattoo done the next time they talked at some get-together; he didn't have any concrete plans to get a tattoo himself in the near future, but it was good to know where to go if he ever did have a design in mind.

She also seemed genuinely concerned, dumb question or not, so he rolled over onto his back with a groan to look at her properly rather than just flinging the baton at her and hoping she'd go away. He was a fucking mess right now, black-streaked tear trails mingling with blood from the gash on his face; he hated the thought of anyone seeing him like this, but he didn't think she'd judge too much, considering what he'd just been through. Besides, throwing the baton would essentially just be giving it to her, and Vanessa played softball. She definitely had a meaner throwing arm than he did.

Trumping all of that, though, was the simple fact that Jae didn't have the energy for another confrontation. Both his blind rage at being attacked for no reason and his "fight or flight" instincts had burned themselves out, and now all he felt was exhausted. Better to take his chances with someone who looked concerned and unarmed than to provoke another fight.

"No, Vans," he said. (Did he have permission to call her Vans? He probably didn't. Oh well.) "I'm kind of fucked up at the moment, actually."
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."

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