Break Out!! Part 1
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Anywhere Rooms - 1

Hope House is not a particularly impressive place. It's a two story, old-fashioned house, hemmed in uncomfortably by the surrounding businesses. It seems to have been saved from the brink of destruction when the surrounding neighborhood was leveled to put in office buildings. 'Saved' is a bit of a loose term. There is paint peeling, a slightly grown up lawn, and a general atmosphere of just slight neglect. The structure is sound, however, and the interior is much more well-maintained than the exterior. Clearly, someone is having to prioritize on a tight budget, and the facilities that the residents actually use are put at the top of the list.

There are no fun activities to distract Todd today, and probably one of the nurses has put the skates into safe-keeping to make sure he doesn't kill himself. That leaves him without a lot to do, since he isn't scheduled to work, so he just sort of wanders around the place. Eventually, he settles at a window seat that was probably once quite spectacular, when Hope House was actually a home and not a converted home for disabled people. He sits with his knees pulled up, looking out at passing traffic and pedestrians with a distant, slightly bored expression.

There's the faintest of taps at the very bottom corner of the window, just below Todd's eyeline and out of sight of anyone else in the room, should there be anyone else. If the older man looks down he'll see a tall young man with a bizarre looking grin ducking down really low, which looks even crazier because he's really quite tall. He makes quick hand gestures trying to beckon Todd out.

Todd is in an open, public area of the house, so likely there are others going in and out, but no one is really paying attention to Todd at the window. It must be a normal thing for him to sit there looking out. He glances down, looking a little startled at the sight of Joaquim hiding in the bushes. He tilts his head, and gives a little quizzical smile in return. It takes him a moment to catch on, but when he does, he gives a kind of 'aha' look, and then nods and hops off the ledge that he had been using as a seat. He wanders off through the house, headed for the front door, only to be stopped by an impatient nurse who has likely been charged with the responsibility of keeping Todd in the house. Apparently Todd forgot that he wasn't allowed to go out… There is a short conversation, and eventually Todd points toward the window, and the nurse looks over at it with a deep frown. Finally, the nurse heads toward the window to look out, followed by Todd who trails along behind. She's probably looking for the mysterious man that Todd just described.

Joao was peeking from a very low height and watching Todd's progress. When he sees a nurse coming into the room he dives deeper and disappears, scrambling to directly below the window and pressing himself against the wall to hopefully vanish into the shadows completely.

The nurse looks out, but doesn't spend a lot of time looking for this mystery person. When she sees nothing, there is a brief exchange with Todd, and then she returns to her job, which involves seeing to many other patients, as well. Looking a little confused, Todd returns to his seat at the window, looking out again, just as before.

Joaquim listens, craning to press an ear to the exterior wall to better his ability to hear the steps when they recede. There's quite a bit of rustling and before long the youth appears again, this time wearing a crazy looking orange and gold wizard hate and holding up a small notepad with the words 'I am your best friend' scribbled in a barely discernable hand. He is very careful to stay hunkered and out of range of anyone that isn't right up on the window.

Todd reads the note, considers the holder of the note, and then gives a slow grin. Apparently, he has decided that this is plausible, and gives a quick nod. Joaquim looks like a friendly sort, after all. He reaches into his own pocket to pull out a pen, and a folded-up set of loose notebook paper. Apparently this is what he's using until he gets a new notebook. He scribbles a note, then holds it up to the window. 'She said I can't go out today.' Then he points back in the direction the nurse had headed.

Joaquim considers this for a moment and then starts jotting down a suggestion: 'Meet me by the back door?' The luminosity of the grin is turned up a couple notches, animating his youthful features to cartoon expressiveness to make himself look as harmless as possible. That and hopefully grab Todd's fleeting attention in such a way to hook him into the idea. A thought registers and he goes to scribbling again: 'Go piss, wait 5, then sneak back!' The hand writing is truly atrocious and he might have to squint and work hard to actually decipher.

Todd takes awhile to read the note, his expression kind of blank. His own handwriting is always very neat, if small, so it takes some time for him to figure it out. Finally, he does and his face lights up with another of those 'aha' expressions. He glances up at Joaquim, glances over his shoulder, then looks back with a more mischievous little grin. He nods, quickly, then retreats from the window. Apparently he's heading to do as he was instructed. Hopefully he will not be sidetracked or prevented from reaching the back door.

Joaquim is a patient boy and after sneaking around back, he crouches down by the backdoor and waits. After about a minute he gives into an urge and whips out a cigarette, which once lit and sucked on instantly adds on a few more moments to his patience. Distractions are good. An ear is constantly bent to listen for sounds of feet, masculine or feminine, coming from the other side.

Todd is a quiet walker, but probably Joaquim would hear him coming. There's a pause, but then the door opens and Todd looks out, looking around with a slightly puzzled, but expectant expression. He is not even being that sneaky. He kind of sucks at this sneaking out business. These Hope House nurses must be either overworked or just really dumb.

Joao was mostly listening to heavy authoritative footfalls, because that's how nurses generally walk - fast and heavy. When the door opens he steels himself, only to rocket up to full height, beaming enthusiasm at Todd. A whisper is spent, coming out harsh and raspy with the velocity, "You did it! Score! Come on, quick! Before they notice you're gone!" Before taking off the cigarette is popped into his mouth and the hat is transplanted onto Todd's head should he allow, then he starts to trace a path away from the house, curving around away from any populated windows. He comes to a pause and looks back to see if he's being followed.

Todd is slightly startled when Joao is suddenly there, but this is followed up by a kind of vacant grin. Hey, he did something awesome! He's not sure what exactly it was, but it must be something good, since Joao is so happy. He closes the door behind him, adjusts the hat he's been given, and follows along behind Joao. He whispers, following Joao's lead on that, as well, "Before who does? Are we running away from someone?" He's following, all right. That, at least, comes naturally.

Joao blinks, readjusts his thought patterns to Toddish thinking and answers while returning to walking quickly. "Yes. The landlady wants us to pet her kitty and her kitty is mean and old and stinky! So move quick or she'll catch us!" Every so often he peers back over a shoulder to make sure the man is keeping pace. "Want to go to the park, the zoo, or a bar?" The choice of the day's itinerary is left to the one who won't remember it in five minutes.

"Oh!" Todd seems to take this at face value, and glances around to make sure that there is no mean, old, stinky kitty anywhere nearby. Soon, he is distracted from this by Joao's question. "Let's go to a park," he decides, cheerfully. "I like being outside. We could get some food and have a picnic!"

Joao grins, maybe a tad wickedly, a chuckle bubbling up from within, only to be not-completely successfully suppressed. "The park it is! We'll get fruit! I know you like fruit. Strawberries!" Once they are far enough away as to not be instantly spotted, especially with that hat, the pace slows somewhat. "Okay, a store… let me think," a glance is made three ways at a four way stop. He came the other way, so that clearly has no store. A drag is pulled from the cigarette, giving fuel to the thinking machine as the exhaust is blown out. "Right. We'll go right."

Todd beams, and begins to walk with a bit of a bounce in his step. "/Yes/! Strawberries are /good/. Lots of strawberries! Maybe with whipped cream?" As they reach the four-way stop, he waits patiently for Joao to decide where they're going, since clearly he has no idea. "Right it is! Right to strawberries!"

"And cream! Don't forget the cream! With chocolate too." Even that gets Joao going and he releases a little growl of hunger in verbal echo to his stomach's insistence. The light changes and the little green walking dude commands action, so the boy gently reaches for Todd to tug a sleeve and then starts on across the intersection.

Todd responds easily to the tug, following Joaquim along cheerfully. "Ooh, /chocolate/ strawberries. Even better!" he agrees, with a little pleased laugh. He hurries across the intersection in Joao's wake, and even glances both ways to be sure it's safe. Apparently he does know how to do /some/ things properly.

The second a foot lands on the curb on the other side Joao whirls around to assure Todd makes it too. "With nuts. You can never forgo the nuts. What's your favorite sort? Do you remember?" He's always testing to see how much of Todd's memory is still in tact, because he hasn't quite got a complete handle on what he remembers and what he doesn't. Another glance is shot down the street with a squint to push the boundaries of his sight, "I think I see a store."

Todd blinks a little. "Favorite nuts? I don't know." He considers this for a time, thoughtfully. "I'm not sure, maybe pecans. Pecans are good, right?" He glances in the direction Joao is looking, squinting himself, and then tilting his head, as though somehow that would change anything. "Well. Maybe. I can't tell. Shall we go see?"

"Yes!" is in answer to both: agreement with the nut choice and an accord with the suggestion of mobility's direction. "Makea makes the best pecan pie I've ever had! I bet when she throws the party she'll make it. You'll enjoy her house, it's all cozy and nice and welcoming. It smells like dogs and grandmas! Pies and soft things." His nose twitches a bit at the memory. Rather than elaborate on the directional cues, he simply heads in that direction, sucking on the dissolving cancer stick. "We'll have to plan an easy way for you to escape that night."

Todd follows Joaquim in the direction of the possible store, and his brows raise slightly. "Ooh! There's a party? I'm invited? How fun! I'd like to meet her, she sounds nice. Though I don't really know what grandmas smell like…" The last comment seems to puzzle him, and perhaps even amuse him, as he gives a baffled little grin. "Escape from what?"

Sweeping around in a spin the cigarette butt is flicked into the gutter in the same action as Joao turning to walk backwards and talk to Todd. "Work! You work at a really amazing company where they make… " a momentary struggle brings about a pause, "…make toilet plungers! Bathroom utensils. It's so awesome. I met you at work last week and you gave me a whole tour!" He nods avidly to cement the possibility. "You gave me a sink stopper as a take home gift! It was purple! Really clever." He's back walking forwards, arms swinging as he walks with a jaunty spring in his step. "Yea, Captain Sunshine is going to be at the party!"

"I do?" Todd considers the possibility, with a baffled little smile. "Huh. I didn't think I knew anything about bathroom utensils. I guess I must!" After a few minutes of Joaquim walking backwards, Todd looks at him, thoughtfully, then turns around and starts walking backward himself. It must be the thing to do, right? "Captain Sunshine? /Seriously/? That's so cool! I love that guy!"

With Todd walking backwards Joaquim becomes a moving blockade, and should anyone try and enter the older man's path, they'll find a bizarre looking young man glaring daggers at them and growling very faintly until they adjust course. Then something gets in the way that will not move no matter how hard he glares and so a warning is shouted, "Bike rack! Shift left!" Then he's bounding onto the former topic. "Yep, you said you liked him so Makea decided to invite him to your birthday party! I'm going to ask her to make you a pecan pie and strawberry-chocolate-pecan pie too. How many candles should I add?" He fishes.

Todd glances over his shoulder at the warning, spots the bike rack, and readjusts his walking, accordingly, so as not to run into it. He doesn't even question the fact that people are moving out of their way. "/Really/? How cool! This Makea person sounds fun. You should tell her I said thank you!" To the candles question, he simply adds, "As many as you like, I guess." Apparently he missed the point of the question.

Thwarted, Joao tries another angle, which we'll call an almost-direct-approach, "But you gotta put exactly the right amount of candles on the pie-cake. So how many candles would /your/ pie-cake hold on /your/ birthday?" A glace back to his duty of watch-walker spies a big burly looking suit that has spent 90% of his life in Gold's Gym. Joaquim does the glare thing, then the growl thing, but both fail as the man snubs him, so then he releases a very realistic snarling bark followed by a snap of the teeth. This gets the point across that the kid is totally nuts and willing to resort to anything, so the suit quickly shuffles aside and edges way around both of them. At the last second Joao flashes him a toothy grin and then carries on as if nothing had happened.

Todd accepts the snarly bark as easily as he's accepted anything else about Joao. He just sort of grins a little and keeps walking. He even gives a little friendly wave at the big burly dude. "Hmmm. I don't know. How old am I, do you think?" he wonders, curiously. He starts to reach for his notebook, but just encounters the loose paper. "Hm. I don't know. It's not written here. You're my friend, right? Shouldn't you know?"

"You're cagey when it comes to your age. You keep it close to the breast. I think it's because you're really 90 and have just found the fountain of youth and you're keeping it to yourself!" Joaquim falls into a babbling mode for a moment. People passing, be it by Joao design or their own volition, are staring at Todd and his awesome hat. One lady pauses with her camera phone and snaps a picture while squealing, "So cute!" The teen slants a crooked grin and quips, "Tourists! They've never seen hot men in hellaciously cool hats before." They've clean walked well past what he thought was a store, which apparently wasn't.

Todd laughs at that. "Well, maybe it's because I don't know my age," he comments, trying not to look to bothered by it. "How old do I look?" he wonders. "I hope I /haven't/ found the fountain of youth, because if so, I've probably already lost it!" He laughs, cheerfully, and waves to the lady with the camera phone. "It's like being famous," he comments. "Maybe we are. Are we?" he wonders, glancing over at Joao.

Well it's very obvious how Joao is going to answer that last question and it sweeps all the rest right into the gutter as his enthusiasm for the topic works on his gnat-sized attention span. "Yes! We're actors! That's how we know Captain Sunshine! The bathroom products gig is just a day job that you're going to toss when your ship comes in, which will likely be with this next epic film you've just been cast for!" A sincere shrug is added to, "I'm so jealous you won the part! It's okay though, I got the part of the flying squirrel! You like flying squirrels?" A curb is fast approaching so a hand comes up flat in Todd's path to pause him before a stumble comes to fruition.

( To Be Contiued )

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