"We tried to be better, but we aren't. I don't think anyone could last more than a week here if they weren't willing to do bad things." - Alba Reyes

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Being a degenerate is okay these days
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Jae let out a long sigh of relief as he dropped onto the sofa in the middle of the lounge. It felt like years since he'd had the pleasure of a comfortable piece of furniture, rather than being strapped to a chair or sprawled out on the floor. Hell, the seats of the school bus would have been a welcome relief. "Thanks."

He stayed bonelessly slumped with his eyes closed for a minute or two, appreciating the simple comfort of the sofa. His hand and knee were still throbbing though and his face was still a mess, so after a while he reached for his bag with a sigh. He hesitated for a brief moment before setting the baton down on the sofa cushion so that he could unzip the bag and root around for the first-aid kit that he'd seen in there earlier.

"I know," he muttered in response to Vanessa's disbelief over Alvaro. "He looked normal up until he kicked the shit out of my knee, then... I don't know. He ran off once I started hitting back." There was a grim satisfaction there; Jae had technically won that fight, hadn't he? He'd gotten his weapon back, turned the tables on his attacker, and Alvaro had been the one to turn tail and flee. Maybe Alvaro would think twice before going crazy on someone else.

Or maybe he'd be craftier about getting the drop on them, and succeed where he'd failed with Jae.

Jae felt a chill and did his best to push that thought out of his head.

Practicality won out over vanity for once, and he decided to take care of his broken fingers before anything else. The good news, if it could be called that, was that only the little and ring finger of his left hand seemed to be actually broken. The middle knuckle, the back of his hand, and his wrist were bruised and slightly swollen, but more or less mobile. So he could still flip people off with both hands, there was that much.

Jae had actually broken that wrist before, after a disastrous skateboarding attempt in the seventh grade. Now, much like back then, there was an almost out-of-place sense of relief that he'd avoided breaking his drawing hand. He tried to remember what exactly the doctor had done for his wrist years ago, but couldn't think of much more besides them giving him a cast and sling and some painkillers. He didn't have a cast, but people usually taped up broken fingers, right?

As he set about fumbling one-handed with the roll of tape in the first-aid kit, Jae glanced back over at Vanessa. He wasn't sure he really wanted to ask her to help, and she hadn't offered, but sitting here in silence didn't suit him either. Silence rarely did.

"What about you, then? Any adventures so far?" His attempt to keep his tone light only came out strained and slightly sarcastic.
"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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