It wasn't Chloe's first time visiting somebody in jail, so she knew the drill. She had to book time well in advance. She had to leave almost everything of hers in a locker near the entrance. She had to wear a power nullifying bracelet so she couldn't use superpowers to break anyone out.
Chloe and Evan weren't that close, honestly. There was even a part of her that looked down on him for selling out against his people, understandable though it may have been. But he didn't seem to have anyone else. Technically, she was more closely related to him than his 'family' on the island, who weren't even from the same universe. And it felt kind of nice to know someone from home.
So here she was. Waiting for Evan in the meeting area.
There was something kind of riddiculous in that, of all people on the island, Evan actually kind of expected Chloe to come visit. They weren't that close. They had very little in common. But the one thing they did have in common was a hell of a whopper, wasn't it? That they were the only people they knew of from the same world. The last reminders of home.
That meant a lot more to Chloe than it did to him. He had no one back at home. He didn't miss it.
So Evan wasn't surprised when he stepped into the meeting room, grabbing a seat almost immediately. He looked fine. Maybe a bit more pale than he'd been, but part of that was just being indoors more.
"Chloe," he said, his face splitting into a grin. "Thanks for visiting. It's fucking boring in here."
"I can only imagine. That's kinda why I came." She grinned back and shrugged. It was probably even worse than what they had Dalia doing, when she was in Juvie. At least Juvie had school in it.
Chloe cleared her throat. It might be good to start this off with a bit of humor.
"So I'll give you the same advice I gave my niece. What you've gotta do, is you should find the biggest, meanest-looking son of a bitch in there, and you walk up to them and you tell them: 'look, I'm really sorry all the new people come in here and try to kick your ass. Some jerk out there is telling everyone that's the thing to do.'"
She'd crack a smile again.
"This is probably a dumb question, but how are you doing?"
The start of the story was not encouraging. In fact, for a long moment, Evan wondered if she was going to give him that advice. If she had? Honestly, he'd have been tempted to just pack it in and head out. Because that was some of the worst advice.
But it turned out better than he expected, and he cracked a grin in response.
"The biggest, toughest guy is like twelve fucking feet tall," Evan said. "Honestly? He's a bit... uh, slow. I'm not sure he's all there."
And he might have been a literal ogre with an IQ of 50. One or the other.
"I'm fine," Evan said. "Honestly. I know you probably think it's me acting tough, but really? This was basically what I was used to back at home. Between missions. Pretty much the same level of comfort, the same level of you-aren't-getting-out, but I've got a date I get to leave this place, and it wasn't true back there. It definitely gets to some people when they first get here, but I'm rolling with it."
She could only guess what that part of his life was like. But at least he was mentally prepared.
"Good way of looking at it. I think."
She tried to come up with some way to relate to him. There wasn't anyone else on this planet who had been through even part of that time. Even if she'd missed the worst of it.
But it just felt silly, to bring up the school here. And it didn't feel right to make this about her, even if she wanted to make this about her, because honestly half of her reasons for wanting to see him were about her.
"...Plus, this place is probably a big step up, from what prison would be like back home. Or this world's version of where we came from."
"First bit was just basically sitting in a single room. Real jail. But that didn't last very long. Or at least it didn't feel very long. Too out of it to count the time, really. And once you'd decided to turn traitor and work with them, they treated you pretty nice. Basketball court. Workout room. All that sort of stuff. Not too different from this."
Really? it was pretty similar. Like he'd fallen back into that old habit.
"I've got a month in here. Then I get out and get to sort out what I want to do. I figured it made the news, but did they say the whole fruit of the poisonous tree thing?"
"Counterpart got swapped," Evan said. "So he's in my place, just like I'm in his. Personal bet? He's probably dead."
Evan was pretty close to absolutely fucking sure he was dead, but short of actually going back there was no way to tell.
"The court knew," Evan said with the most exaggerated shrug. "There was some debate about whether or not self defense counted in a situation where I could probably have called the cops as a first resort and killed them as a second. Figured I'd make it easy and take a plea deal. A month isn't much time at all, gives everyone a chance to sort things out without me having to do anything."
Who was 'people'? Jugemu? Who even knew at that point.