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Topics - Beejoux

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1
Roleplaying / Good nights [Charlie/Val]
« on: September 12, 2020, 08:15:42 PM »
It'd be closer to four hours before Charlie would hear the sound of the key in the lock and the knob rattling before the door opened and Val walked in with his arms loaded with bags. More than he probably should have been able to carry on his own, but the how might have become evident as he straightened his arms out and the bags drifted off to settle themselves on the counter and kitchen floor. "Honey, I'm home," he announced as he tossed his keys on the counter, and toed off his shoes.

He had, at some point, settled sprawled face down on the couch -- chin pillowed on his chin and attention turned intently onto the television. When Val came in he tensed, and then relaxed again, slowly. "Oh. Already?"

Val blinked at him, lips drawing back in a crooked smile. "Yeah, it's been almost four hours. You like the show?" He looked comfortable laying there. He set immediately into unloading the grocery bags, setting food and drinks on the counter. More than what Charlie had asked for.

"I don't know." He refocused on the TV, then finally -- with a breath of a sigh -- shifted to hunt for the remote and fumbled to stop it.

"Oh?" He glanced back over his shoulder at him before moving to stick the coke and a few bottles of sweet tea in the fridge.

"It's...weird." He licked his lips -- looked relaxed, right now, in a way he hadn't when Val left.

Val laughed. "Yeah, it is. Even by horror standards it's weird," he agreed easily, tucking some boxes of popcorn away before tossing a bag of cheese popcorn and another bag of chips on top of the fridge.

"I don't really understand what's going on, exactly." But he didn't sound as bothered by that as he could have been. "Pretty people, though."

"Gorgeous cast, I love Jessica Lang. The woman that plays the neighbor, Constance," he clarified, stashing the empty bags and grabbing the ones still on the floor so he could set them on the fold out. This close his pupils looked a little blown out. "Half of them are dead, in the show. Ghosts that are trapped in that house."

"Oh." He cocked his head, mulling that over, but maybe it still didn't quite click. "Okay."

"You're on the 3rd episode...or the 4th? So that'd be the gay couple, and the maid, and there probably more but it's been a bit since I've watch it." He was pulling out shirts, long and short sleeves. Plain, but soft to the touch.

"Maybe what I need is for you to just sit and explain it all." He shook his head; it was casually self-deprecating, in a familiar way.

A couple of pairs of jeans and a comfortable pair of sweats followed, along with a pack of socks and a few pairs of boy short cut underwear. He laid it all out on the bed before tucking the bags together and tossing them at the kitchen counter. "I could, if you wanted."

"It probably wouldn't be very exciting for you." But he watched Val lay things out, head cocked to the side. "Everything's okay?"

"It wouldn't not be enjoyable." He smoothed a hand down the front of a shirt and finally looked up to smile at Charlie. "Yeah, I think so. Hopefully these fit, and if they don't we can fix it."

"Oh." He paused again, pondering that over. After a moment, he also reached out to touch the shirts. "I'll have to cut them, though."

"They're yours, so that's fine. I'm pretty sure they'll fit, it's the pants I'm a little less sure about." With everything laid out Val finally shifted over to flop down into a comfortable slouch beside the other man.

He thought about it a little, his head cocked to the side. He hadn't actually bothered to change back into scrubs -- had been too distracted -- but now he eyed the pants thoughtfully. Especially the sweatpants. "I should change I guess?"

Val tipped his head back against the couch, lazy smile stretched across his face as he slipped a hand up under the edge of his shirt to rest on his stomach. "Sure, get comfy."

He thought it over for a moment, then shifted to tug at the mess of his back: slashed bits tied carefully around his wings. Only experience let him find the bits to loosen the shirt.

"Do you need help?" He said it thoughtfully, watching him tug at the fabric.

He shrugged a little bit, wings spread so that he could catch the end -- and finally pulled it free, with a slow sigh out. "Someone must have a better design than this, somewhere."

"Probably there is." But it was distracted, dark eyes on the spread of wings, lingering admiringly. "Or a tailor in the market that could do some modifications."

"It took us a while to figure this out, even." He shook his head, shrugging the rest of the way out of the shirt.

"You aren't the only one in the city with wings." He mulled it over before he held his hand out. "Let me have that and I'll take it to someone in the market, see if they can design something."

He hesitated, the thing turned in his hands, then leaned back to offer it to Val. His back was largely unscarred, but his chest -- it looked like he'd been just about vivisected, at some point. Taken apart and put back together, with a ragged line down his chest, scars over important organs.

It was hard to drag his attention away from Charlie's wings, but once he saw the scars he really couldn't look away from them, and dark eyes widened before his brows drew down into a worried, puzzled crease. He took the shirt, but it was an afterthought now.

Charlie blinked at him, then down, and grimaced as he put a hand over the seam down the middle of his chest -- rolling up to stand and grabbing a fresh shirt. And the sweatpants.

He made a move like maybe he would have caught Charlie's hand, but he was quicker than that, and Val had to push himself up as well. Though once he was standing he didn't know what to do. "Charlie, what were they doing to you?"

He shrugged just a tiny bit, flustered and flushed again as he went searching for the scissors. "Trying to figure it all out, I guess."

He blinked, head cocking to the side as he made a small, baffled noise. "Like-what? Like they were just digging around? That's barbaric. Jesus."

He shrugged again, sharper this time, scraping hair back out of his face. He'd gone a little shaky. "They paid for it."

Val swallowed, hands lifting to drag fingers through his hair as he pulled in a deep breath and let it out all in a rush. "Good." It was soft, but his tone was heated and firm. Not understanding properly.

"Not me, of course." It was hollower, touched with something unhappy that didn't suit him.

He walked quietly across the room until he was next to him but didn't quite reach out, he didn't want to spook him. "Is there anyone left that hasn't gotten what's coming to them?"

He shrugged, sharply, uncomfortably. "No ones...that's not how the world works."

"It can be." If he didn't sound so sure about it might have been laughable. His arms folded, weight shifting to his left hip as he looked up at Charlie.

A breath out; he looked down at Val. "Talking about it is uncomfortable."

And that seemed to be all it took for Val to let it go, at least for now. He rolled his shoulders back as he sighed, licking his lips before he stepped back. "Alright." Not even twenty-four hours yet, he reminded himself. Charlie had just barely been away from whatever Hell he'd been living in. "I'm sorry you had to endure that. I'm glad you're out."

He shrugged, shirt still crumpled between his hands and feathers -- puffed. Uncomfortable for sure. "Where did the scissors go?"

"I don't..." He frowned looking back towards the couch before walking over to see if they were still in that general area. When he didn't find them in the cushions he crouched down beside it to see if they'd fallen under the bed.

It at least gave Charlie a moment to catch his breath. They were probably tucked between cushions on the couch; he sagged against the wall and closed his eyes while Val looked.

When he found them he held them up, turned to let Charlie know, but closed his mouth when he saw how he was standing. Instead he rose up to reclaim the spot on the couch he'd sat in before, and let Charlie take a moment to himself.

It was a bit before he realized -- cracked his eyes and focused on Val and almost immediately went self-conscious again, straightening to come fetch them. "Sorry."

Val shook his head as he handed them over. "You don't have anything to apologize for."

Charlie didn't argue, but he did shrug, taking the scissors to sit -- perched on the edge of a chair -- to slice up the shirt. Carefully, and like he'd done it a hundred times

He watched him for a minute or two, maybe just to see the process, but the quiet was strained and he couldn't seem to simply sit in it. "Do you want some popcorn?" A peace offering, for reacting like he had.

"Okay." He kept his head down; it was a matter of cutting two long slashes, making bits he could tie up again. It wasn't tidy, but it worked.

"Classic butter, or do you want to be adventurous and try one of the other flavors?" Maybe if he just pretended it hadn't happened things would settle again.

He hesitated just a breath, like he was thinking, but..."Butter?"

He just nodded and stood again to go grab down a box from the cabinet so he could toss a bag into the microwave. Then he was walking down the hall, sock covered feet quiet on the hardwood and rugs.

It left Charlie to breath again -- to finish his shirt and then pull it on over his head, leaving the straps loose around his wings in the back, for now. While he struggled, thoughtlessly, out of the too small pants and into fresh sweats.

The microwave finished before Val came back, but not by much. He'd changed too, the pants he'd slept in the night before replacing the dark jeans, and the rust colored shirt swapped for something basic and black. He had the vape pen again, but he stuffed it in his pocket as he moved to pull a large bowl down from over the sink.

He'd catch Charlie still hauling the sweatpants on, with the shirt in loose tatters around him. He fumbled with the laces to pull them tight, eyes flicking up onto Val.

No lingering stares this time, despite the temptation. He'd glanced, then busied himself with getting popcorn out and open to pour it into the bowl.

A breath, and then Charlie cleared his throat. "....could you tie it? It's kind of a pain in the ass...." which was, maybe, a peace offering.

That had him glancing back, and whatever thoughtful expression he'd been wearing melted away into something softer. "Yeah, of course. Just a sec." The bag was crammed into the garbage as he passed it, palms rubbed along his thighs to make sure there was no butter on his hands.

Charlie only half-turned, all the same, and kept his head cocked so he could watch Val out of the corner of his eye -- still tense.

He met those strange colored eyes as he stepped up behind him, then dropped his gaze to the strips of shirt, fingers light as he lifted them off Charlie's back.

Charlie was very still, arms folded over his chest, still watching Val -- "Can you tell what you...you just tie it around."

"I think so." He shifted the fabric, head tilted. "At the bass, right?" He used the tips of his fingers to gently slide feathers aside so he could bring the strips of fabric up beneath them, flush to the base.

Charlie shivered again at the touch, feathers lifting up out of the way. He dragged a hand through his hair. "....yeah. Just around it."

The feathers were warm -- Charlie's whole back was warm, and Val let out a little sound that he managed to turn into an affirming hum. Eyes very pointedly on the strips of fabric in his hands as he tired them together. Then he moved into the next set.

His wing fluttered and resettled carefully into place, Charlie's eyes closed for a moment -- maybe not exactly immune to the touch either. "That's not bad. Not too tight."

His hands stilled when the wing fluttered, captivated for a moment, the tips of his fingers resting on Charlie's back. "Good, I wasn't sure..." Then again, the soft brush of his fingers between feathers and skin as he got the ties in place.

He bowed his head just a little, swallowing. "It's not complicated, really."

Dark eyes flicked over Charlie's shoulder, watching his face. "No, it's pretty simple. I just didn't want to tie it too tight."

It was an odd sort of tension, self-contained, focused even with his eyes closed. He'd probably notice if Val lingered even a moment longer than required. "Okay."

The second bow matched the first. He settled the ties and then touched the center of Charlie's back lightly. "All done." Dark eyes took in the sweep of his shoulders, the narrowing of his hips, and how well the sweats fit. He blinked as he realized and took a step back.

Charlie breathed out, not exactly relaxing as he reached back to adjust, awkwardly. "Thank you."

"You're welcome." He went back to get the popcorn, as well as a couple of cokes from the fridge.

He fussed with the ties at his waist again, breathing out shakily. "Someone should come up with something better."

"I'll take the one you gave me to the tailor at the market, I'm sure one of the ladies there can come up with an easier design." Or point him to an already existing one. He folded himself down onto the couch, legs tucking up, and set the bowl on the center cushion.

Charlie shrugged, flicking a look up to Val again, lingering where he stood. He'd forgotten the underwear -- it still sat draped over the corner of the couch. "...do you know other people with wings?"

Val was itching to dig the pen out of his pocket again, and instead curled his fingers tighter around the can of Coke in his hands. "I've got an acquaintance that's a pixie, she's got pretty iridescent things. And you see them around, especially in hidden places."

He stayed another moment before crossing, carefully, to sit on the couch again. Feathers twitched as he did, resettling around the shirt.

He offered over the other can, head tipping to look over at him as he settled back on the couch.

Charlie took it with just a brief flash of a smile. Whatever else Val did, food seemed to be what won him over.

The answering smile was small and quick before Val was sinking down into a comfortable slouch and grabbing a couple of pieces of popcorn.

Charlie cracked the can, slowly easing into the corner of the couch, trying to find a comfortable position. "That's all you had to do?"

"Mmhmm," he hummed around a mouthful of popcorn, one of his nails tap-tapping softly against the edge of his soda can. "I have a bar shift tomorrow night though."

Charlie thought about that -- after a moment leaning in to steal some popcorn as well. "Can you show me your gym?"

"Yeah." He popped his soda open to take a drink. "Right now, or like tomorrow?"

"I don't know." He picked through the popcorn, sighing a bit as he took a bite. "...good."

"Let's do it tomorrow." Now that they were settled in with snacks Val was reluctant to get up again, but he smiled at the comment. "You want to keep watching the show?"

He hesitated over that -- because yes, but also -- "I feel like I need to...do something. Move around."

That got a blink, and Val shifted to set his can on the side table. "Oh. Okay, sure." Being careful of the popcorn he pushed up to stand again.

He hesitated over that, chewing on the popcorn for a moment. "Did you say you could do something about the wings, too?"

"Yeah. I can make you a charm that'll throw up glamor to hide them from view." He scratched at the side of his neck, looking at the bookshelf. "I'll need to see if I have everything I'd need for that, though."

"If not, I can just....you don't have any weights?" He could just mess around here. So long as there was something physical.

"I think, somewhere, but..." He looked at Charlie's arms. "They're not that heavy." Assuming he still had them. Val turned, frowning thoughtfully as he looked along the walls, the various odds and ends, looking for something that could stand in.

"That's okay. You can make up for weight with repetition, much of the time." He stole more popcorn, watching Val move around.

"You can?" Clearly he didn't make a habit of working out. "Then let me see if I can find them. I think they're in my closet." He'd started walking before he'd finished talking, disappearing down the hall.

Charlie stayed where he was to drink the coke and eat the popcorn -- and, basically, to counter whatever physical activity he was about to do.

Much to Val's surprise they were indeed at the back of his closet, and after a few moments of digging he managed to drag them both out. They were on the nicer side, probably something else left behind by someone in the past. He floated them out in front of himself as he walked back out into the living room. "They're only ten pound weights, is that good enough?"

It brightened Charlie's expression; he swallowed and stood, stepping forward to take them, carefully, out of the air. "Yeah, those are great."

That brightening expression made it worth the effort to dig them out and Val smiled crookedly as Charlie took them, making sure to hold them very still as he did. "Good. You want them? I'm never going to use them."

"I'll use them, at least." He tipped his head just a little, testing the weight. "Is there a good open space?"

He shrugged, and then looked around the room again with a thoughtful hum. "If I move the chair and the coffee table will that be enough room?"

2
Roleplaying / Crasher [Charlie/Val]
« on: September 05, 2020, 02:00:33 PM »
At two in the afternoon, the place was a ghost town, most likely: the cleaning lights on and the late night popular rush of the place quieted down to just the hum of electronics, the rattle of the ice machine -- And, somewhere in the distance, the sound of a door slamming shut and the breathless stillness that followed that kind of surprise.



No one else was supposed to be there, not until later. Hell, if it weren't for the fact that Val had been scheduled to take inventory that week he wouldn't have been there either. As it was, he was about a quarter of the way through, music blaring over a pair of earbuds loud enough that he didn't hear the door slam. Instead, in that stillness, the sound of glass clinking gently from the bar area itself, followed by the sound of a pen on paper and soft humming.



He'd be in trouble if people knew; the back door unlocked(now), and it meant that someone careful could sneak through a hall quietly, unheard under the sound of music, could be more careful with the bathroom door as they crept around, steering clear of the sound of music.


It was easy to avoid Val for a while, at least until he started moving around a few moments later, the muffled sound of music proceeding him from the bar and into the back as he started moving inventory around. Stocking up what needed stocking, and then storing the rest in the back. Louder now, as he walked back and forth outside the bathroom door.



The water was running -- and flicked off immediately at the sounds of passing footsteps, with that lingering, breathless silence following in its wake again.



He'd pass by a couple of more times before the sound of music and feet faded back towards the front. Gone, long enough to make it seem like he was finished moving shit around.

And then back all at once, the bathroom door was opening and Val walking in.



If he was quick, he'd catch a glimpse of movement in the mirror, but only if he was quick. Then he'd be in the bathroom apparently alone, with the sink wet with water and a couple drops of very red blood along one side.



A flicker of something pulled his attention up to the sink, but what held it was the blood and the water. Val hit a button on his headphones to pause the music before pulling them off to drape the cord over his shoulder. He hadn't been in here yet today, there was no reason for the sink to be wet, let alone bloodstained.

Alert now, he tipped his head to glance along the row of stalls, dark eyes landing on a door that hadn't quite stopped moving yet. "We're not open yet, you know," he drawled out, cocking his head to look under the wall. No feet, but that didn't really mean anything.



No feet, no response for a moment -- and then there was a little shifting, breathless, which might have been dismissable as something settling. Maybe. In either case, he wasn't about to come out.



He waited, relatively patient, before letting out an annoyed little huff. "You better not be bleeding all over everything in there." If there was nothing, then he was talking to himself, but since he was otherwise alone that was fine. He moved towards the stall in question, but stayed close to the wall. With a thoughtful hum he flicked his hand, the door opening on itself.



That got a real human sound of dismay -- a hand shooting out to stop the door before it opened. And a splash as he lost his balance and dropped a foot into the toilet.



Dark brows arched. "Is there really any point to hiding still? I know you're there." He did it again, the door pushing back against the hand stopping it. "Do I have to remove you myself?"



Another little moment of hesitation, then he fumbled his foot out of the toilet, finally cracking the door open to look out. He was young, but rough enough to look older, with dark hair loose and wild around his face. He'd be pretty, if he didn't have a black eye, swollen cheekbone, split lip, if he didn't look tired and a little bit lost, dressed in mint green hospital scrubs and a heavy leather jacket. And he was big. It'd probably be work to remove him. A lot of it. "I was just...using the sink."



Val knew someone was there, so he wasn't surprised to see a man standing on the toilet. What was surprising was everything about him. Tall, but young, cute, save for the sorry state of the side of his face. He blinked up at him, gaze dragging up over scrubs and jacket to land, finally, on the other man's face.

"Okay." He frowned, thinking it over. "Why don't you come down from there, and we can talk about why you're using the sink in a business that's closed for the day."



It got a guarded look, though, his eyes darting past Val toward the door, all of him still tense -- one foot still up on the toilet, looking about ready to run. "The door was open."



"My mistake." His head half turned to glance at the door, then back.  He knew he’d locked it.  "But that's still pretty brazen. Unless you're trying to hide from something. Like whatever did that to your face." He tipped his chin up, nodding towards the bruises.



His eyes flicked onto Val and then away again, and if he was dismayed or afraid -- it didn't show, right now. Instead, he just seemed ready. Waiting. And he didn't answer.



He clicked his tongue impatiently, huffing out a breath as he crossed his arms. "Look, if you wanna keep hiding in here fine, but you need to give me something." His shoulders hit the wall as he leaned back against it. Short, slender, not the least bit intimidating. "Otherwise you can go, cause I've got work to do."




"Give you something?" It was guarded, still, refocusing on Val with a single-minded kind of focus. His fingers shifted uncomfortable around the door, resettling the jacket on his shoulders. It didn't quite seem to fit right, sat crooked and pulled.



“Information?" His head tilted to one side, weight shifting from hip to hip. "Like what are you doing here? What happened?" He frowned, gaze lingering on the swollen eye. "Do you need help?"



He licked the swollen lip, cocking his head as his eyes flitted away to the door again, weighing it over. "...car accident."



The look Val gave him was dubious. "Uh huh." He didn't sound convinced, tongue pressing on the inside of his lip before he pushed away from the wall to walk towards the door. He didn't say anything else until he was reaching for the handle. "We should get some ice on that lip."



He reached up to touch it, quick and brief, and there were scrapes along his hand and arm, too. Again, his eyes flicked onto Val, wary. "Should we?"



"It'll take the swelling down." He glanced back, waiting. Expression somewhere between thoughtful and annoyed. "Either way, you're not just gonna stand there dripping water and blood all over."



He cocked his head, thumb still lingering against his mouth. Then he took one careful step toward Val. "You're not just going to call the cops?"



"Do I need to?" It sounded like he was honestly asking. "Are you planning to rob the place?"



"No." Another step, tentative; he didn't limp, but there was a stiff care to the way he walked.



"Are you going to hurt me?" He tapped fingertips on the handle, not opening it yet, just watching him and the way he was moving.



"Only if you call the cops." It was blunt and direct. He kept some space between them, very series.



"Sounds like it's best to avoid it, then." He opened the door then, held it open for the mystery stranger.



He still hesitated, skin crawling, standing inside. After a breath, he cleared his throat. "After you."



Val clicked his tongue again, lips pursing as he let out a sigh and turned to head out first. "Don't try anything." He'd lead the way out into the main bar, heading for the counter. He pointed to a stool as he passed. "Sit."



He looked around the place, quick and sharp, taking everything in with an intense kind of focus. His fingertips settled on the bar, carefully, and he paused just another breath before he sat down. Rolling his shoulders under the coat.



"Do you have a name?" He asked as he ducked back behind the counter, grabbing a little plastic bag from near the register so he could scoop ice into it.



"Charlie." He didn't waffle over that, as cagey as he was about everything else -- eyes lingering on the booths in the corner, flicking up to the lights.



Val watched him as he grabbed a clean rag to wrap around the ice. "There's no one else here this early." As he came to stand across the bar from him he offered over the towel and the ice, arm folding in the bar top. "I'm Val."



There was another moment's hesitation before he took the towel, and when he did, it came with a heavy kind of frown at Val. "When do people come?"



"Five." That's when the other bartenders were scheduled to arrive. He rested his chin in his now freed hand, gaze flicking to the clipboard he'd been writing on, then up again. "Doesn't it hurt the injuries, frowning like that?"



It made him blink, then lick his lip again, briefly, like he was testing it. "...I barely notice." But then he'd put the ice against it, as if reminded.



"Really?" It might have been impressed. "So, a car accident." He still didn't quite believe that, but he let it go. For now. "On your way to or from a shift at the hospital?"



"No." He blinked at Val, frowned again around the ice pack, and leaned in a bit to look in over the bar. Curious, for sure.



"So you just wear scrubs for the hell of it?" He pointed at the minty green he could see under the heavy jacket.



A hesitation, a breath, and then he turned that look on Val again, challenging now. "They're comfortable."



Val stared back at him, chewing on the inside of his lip. "Right." Fingertips drummed, then he straightened up. "Well, you're welcome to stick around for a bit, I guess." He went for his clipboard, picking it up to look over the last page he'd been working on.



His attention wandered down again, staring across the bar. Almost absently, his stomach rumbled, ice shifting against his face.



Dark eyes flicked up, head tipping to look back at the man sitting at the bar. "I have a granola bar, if you're hungry." He turned, hip cocked to rest against the back counter. "There's also fruit."



He mulled that over, shifting the ice in against his face. "Whatever you've got?"



"Stay there." He pointed the clipboard at him, giving a flash of a white tattoo at his inner wrist under the edge of his shirt. "Don't touch anything. I don't want to lose my place." dark eyes lingered on him as he walked out from behind the bar again to disappear into the back.



He didn't budge -- but he didn't sit, either. He stood, carefully, to lean against the bar instead, his fingers scraping through the back of his hair uneasily. Ready to run, if he needed to.



Val came back with the granola bar, an orange, and some pineapple rings in a glass. "We don't have much food around here that isn't used in a drink in some way." It was vaguely apologetic, chin tipping to look up at him curiously. "I also locked the door." Fixed the door.



He made just a tiny sound at that, still standing against the bar. "...why?"



"So no one else can just walk in off the street." he shrugged, setting the food on the bar close enough to grab, then ducking back behind it to get his clipboard again.



"But we can still get out." It was careful; Charlie probably didn't care all that much about Val, but the idea of being locked in made him go very tense.



"Of course." He snorted softly, drawing a pen from the clip and crouching down behind the bar to count bottles of sour mix.



He hesitated, just watching Val for another moment -- and then he gave up and went for the granola bar, tearing into it with the ice forgotten on the counter.



He didn't look up again until he heard the wrapper tearing open, and only a brief flick. "I hope that's a good enough snack to tide you over for a bit."



He shoved half of it into his mouth to start, a generous bite -- chewing absently as he shrugged at Val. He'd barely swallowed before he shoved the other half into his mouth.



He huffed out a breath as he watched him eat, then went back to counting. If he kept getting distracted he was never going to finish it on time.



He chewed slowly, swallowed, reaching for the pineapple -- still watching Val, now. "Do you have Coke back there?"



"Yeah." He set the clipboard on the ground and straightened up, reaching for a large glass to spill ice into. Then he paused, a sudden smile twisting up the corners of his lips. "Do you want rum in it?"



"No." It was sudden and decisive, came with a twitch like the start of a shudder.



A curious reaction. Val blinked up at him with coal lined eyes before he shrugged, bringing up the soda gun to press a button so he could fill the glass. "Suit yourself."



He chewed it over a little, carefully sitting again. "Drugs mess you up."



He grinned again, sudden and bright. "That's sort of the point, sweetheart." Then a crooked shrug, hands on the counter as he sank back down to get back to work. "But Liquor isn't drugs."



"Of course it is." His eyebrows twitched down -- Charlie turned the pineapple over, taking a careful bite. After a beat, he raised his eyebrows again, like it surprised him, and he took another. "How can you say it's not?"



"If you want to get super technical, sure. It's classified as a depressant." He rolled his eyes back up to watch Charlie eat, a hand resting on a bottle of bitters. "But it's definitely not viewed the same."



"It still fucks you up." talking about it made his shoulder hike up again, tight around his neck, uncomfortable.



He blinked up at him, smile still playing at the corners of his lips. "You sure did pick an ironic place to sneak into then."



"It was open." He shifted a little, slowly, shoving the rest of the pineapple into his mouth. "...and off the alley."



"Uh huh,” he hummed.  “Doesn't make it any less ironic," he pointed out, jotting down a number before moving onto the next thing on his list.



He licked pineapple from his fingers, thoughtfully, and it was thoughtlessly suggestive. His mouth was just too full to be anything else, especially swollen up. "It looked closed."



It got a double take, dark eyes narrowing back down on his list. "It is closed." Another number written down, and Val straightened back up.



He hooked feet around the stool, flicking another look to Val. "Not closed enough, I think."



"I guess not." He flipped through the pages, looking through what was done, what was left to do. "But if you snuck in here to get away from something, then maybe closed just enough." Pen between his teeth, he kicked a little step stool against the back wall and stepped up so he could go through the bottles in use.

3
Roleplaying / Letting it sink in [Avery/Tucker]
« on: September 03, 2020, 07:15:52 PM »
It'd be hours later when Tucker stirred, pale eyes opening slowly to a room that wasn't his.  He had a moment to wonder where he was before he realized he was naked, laying on another naked person, and every muscle in his small body tensed all at once.  For just a moment there was panic, and then he caught a glimpse of colorful hair haloed across a pillow as he lifted his head and it came back to him.

Avery.  This was Avery's room, his bed.  They'd met earlier that day, grabbed a meal together, and then walked to the dorms.  A massage had turned into a kiss, had turned into sex.  He listed the events off in his head as he willed his pulse to slow the fuck down.

He was safe.


Bright blue eyes blinked open as something shifted, his breath almost freezing as he ran his hands along the bare skin that was on top of him reminding him vaguely what was going on. Tuck. He let loose his breath as he leaned up to look at him.

"You ok? Cold?" He was sure Tuck had moved, or at least tensed up in some way but he could have been wrong.


He blinked down at Avery, heart still beating a little too fast, and slid his fingertips along the other man's scalp.  "I'm okay.  I just didn't know where I was for a second."  No explanation of why that would be an issue given.  "I'm sorry I woke you up."

"It's ok, really." He ran his fingers along his back  to help soothe him a bit, he had done something similar in the past, likely for different reasons.


Tuck licked his lips, thinking, before he pushed himself up enough to shift a little higher along Avery's body so he could dip his head and claim the other man's lips.


He rose a brow when he pushed himself up, but let the concern fade when Tuck pressed his lips against his. He returned it, letting a hand slide up and run along his jaw.


Lips parted as the warm fingers running along the side of his jaw made him sigh out.  He still felt touch-starved.  Like he couldn't get enough of the feeling of Avery's skin against his own.  There was no urgency to the kiss this time -- it was slow and thorough and exploring.


As his lips parted Avery gently let his tongue explore, lazily as if only there to enjoy it, along with his hands that continued to memorize his skin.


Tucker hummed softly into the kiss, his hands coming up to rest lightly against the sides of Avery's face.  He really was out of his league, but here they were.  It was hard not to pick and prod and tear it apart looking for a lie that might not have even been there, but he really did want to give this a shot.  Whatever this was.  His thumbs traced the contours of the bigger man's face as they kissed.


He was used to not defining relationships, not staying in places long meant that Avery was used to not having things last as long as he wanted them to be. If anything he would enjoy the now, he would enjoy Tuck's company as long as he wanted him there, no feelings harmed when he moved on.  The tips of his fingers kept lingering along his back, tracing things as he continued their kiss.


He let himself sink into it for another long moment or two before slowly drawing back enough to look down at him again with a soft smile.  "Do you want to try to go back to sleep, or do something else?"


"Hmmmm depends." He looked up at him with bright blue eyes, a hand tracing his jaw and neck. "You feel up for something else?"


He leaned into it.  "I could probably go back to sleep, but I feel awake right now."  He glanced around for a clock.  "What time is it?"


"I don't know, my phone is still in my bag." He turned, trying to figure where he had dropped his bag.


Tucker looked instead toward the window, trying to gauge the time of day by the color of the sky.  Dark, but not fully.  "I think it's like eight-thirty, maybe nine?"


"Mmm explains why my stomach wants to grumble." He replied amused as he looked towards the window too.


"Hm?"  Tucker pushed up until he was sitting low on Avery's waist and lay his palms against his stomach.  "Do you wanna figure out food?"


"We could, or it can wait." He ran his hands along Tucker's thighs.


He went a little pink in the cheeks, fingertips curling against Avery's stomach as he looked down at him.  He'd mostly forgotten, up to that point, that they were both still naked.  "What did you have in mind?"


[ Redacted ]



He was completely passive in Avery's hands, floating in a haze of warmth and pleasure, and the way the bigger man was looking at him...it made something in his stomach flip pleasantly.  "See something you like?"  He had to poke at it, make a joke, even if his voice was soft and sedate.


Another grin as his other hand started to skim along his side, lazily again as they traced imaginary patterns. "I do."


Hard to tell if it was the soft skim of his fingers along Tucker's side that brought on the rush of goosebumps, or those two little words.  He made a helpless little sound in response, the joke fading away as he tipped his head into that touch.


He continued, his hands still enjoying every touch as his breath was finally returning to some semblance of normal. A brow raised though at the sound but he didn't ask questions, just enjoyed it.


He had to close his eyes, head tipping just enough to brush his lips across the pad of Avery's thumb mid stroke.


He let loose a soft sigh at the small surprise, letting his finger run along his lip.


Moving was a lot of effort, but he brought a hand around to cup the back of tanned knuckles to hold Avery's hand close so he could rub his cheek against that warmth.


A warmer smile spread on his lips as he felt Tuck's hand on his, it too was a surprise but not at all an unwarranted one.


His eyes opened again, flicking up, and his lips twitched in a small, answering smile.  He wasn't great at showing emotions, or...hell, trusting them in other people.  But he was trying.


The smile made a knot on his chest, it was a reminder to enjoy the moments and others as much as he could. "You know you are even hotter with a smile?"



Not used to compliments, his head tipped like he had every intention of hiding his expression against the inside of Avery's palm, but he stopped himself, licked his lips almost nervously, and made himself meet those lovely, bright eyes.  "Yeah?"  He didn't smile much, not usually, but he thought maybe he'd have more reasons to smile now.  Hopefully.

4
Profiles / Vitali Lupybat'ko
« on: June 11, 2020, 09:21:43 PM »
ESSENTIALS
Name: Vitali Lupybat'ko
Nickname: N/A
Apparent Age: 36
Occupation: Bounty hunter for hire.


APPEARANCE
FACECLAIM: Sam Underwood
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 197lps
Eye Color: Grey/blue
Hair Color: Medium brown
Hair Style: buzzed short
Skin Color: Caucasian
Physique: Medium build with some muscle definition that speaks to a good diet or healthy life style.  Toned, but not cut.


PERSONALITY

IMPRESSIONS
It's hard to put a finger on just what it is about him that make the most sensitive among the community uncomfortable, but there is certainly something.  He looks remarkably harmless, until he doesn't.  Eyes going from sincere and warm to cold and dead in an instant.  Those that are more sensitive than others would get a sense of buzzing, restless energy, and an almost overwhelming sense of wrongness.

5
Profiles / Leif Eriksdottir
« on: May 15, 2020, 02:04:03 PM »
ESSENTIALS
Name: Leif Eriksdottir
Nickname: N/A
Apparent Age: 26
Occupation: Painter, almost transient


APPEARANCE
FACECLAIM: George Blagden
Height: 5'8"
Weight: 176lbs
Eye Color: Pale blue
Hair Color: Dark brown, almost black.
Hair Style: Curly and long enough to fall into his face.  Not a style, so much as he hasn't had a haircut in a while.
Skin Color: Nordically pale.
Physique: Thin, but not scrawny.  He has gauges in his ears, a barbell through one nipple, and a a sprawling, intricate tattoo of a tree climbing up his right side from thigh to shoulder.


PERSONALITY

IMPRESSIONS
Seems remarkably human, but his paintings seem to have a life to them.  Sometimes even moving, if you know how to see.

6
Profiles / Keiran Greene
« on: February 06, 2020, 07:59:40 PM »
ESSENTIALS
Name: Keiran Greenly
Nickname: N/A
Apparent Age: Looks to be mid twenties
Occupation: Thief


APPEARANCE
FACECLAIM: Eddie Redmayne
Height: 5'5"
Weight: 137lbs
Eye Color: Green
Hair Color: Auburn
Hair Style: Shaggy a-line style; long in the front, short in the back, and perpetually messy.
Skin Color: Caucasian, mid tone, with a splotchy freckles.  Has snake bit lip piercings.
Physique: Trim and lanky.


PERSONALITY
Bristly and guarded, Keiran is quite the introvert and tends to avoid social settings or spending much time with anyone.  He seems a little on the skittish side, and those nerves manifest in snark and even aggression.  He has a hard time trusting people, and has a tendency to through up high, thick walls.  He's also very vague with any information about himself, and tends to direct conversations in different directions when they start to get too personal for him.  Or he'll give different answers for the same questions, even to the same person.  It's genuinely difficult to tell if he's lying or telling the truth.


IMPRESSIONS  Prickly personality and tends to disappear into the background and vanish altogether if it suits him. 

7
Roleplaying / All stars [Avery/Tucker]
« on: January 26, 2020, 10:42:10 AM »
Getting back on the field regularly after everything that'd been happening in the previous few weeks felt good.  Helped him through the anxiety and restless energy that would otherwise have been creeping in to overwhelm him.  Part of that might have been just being able to get out and move around freely again, but there was something extremely cathartic about getting back into the game he loved playing.

At the moment they were running suicides, sprinting back and forth from one end of the field to gradually further points along the length of it.  They were killer, Tucker was good at them.  The boys with the longer legs started faster, but he had the stamina, and as they slowed he kept going.

He only just caught the bright glimpse of color from the stands as he dipped to smack the line in the grass.  A brief glance, pale features puzzled, and then he was off again.  He was pretty sure maybe he'd seen him before, but couldn't recall when or where.


Bright blue eyes followed as the players ran up and down the field, as Avery slowly let himself get lost in thought. The last few weeks, between his roommate's new girlfriend and the letters he had received, he didn't want to just be sitting around on his bed staring at the ceiling like a rat caught in a corner.

As the whistle blew it drew him back, staring at the figures as they continued to practice, a few of them he had seen around campus, a few he wouldn't mind getting to know.


Tuck slowed into a jog as the whistle blew, head back, and legs feeling just a touch like Jell-O, but he knew better than to stop moving. Jogging slowed to walking, and he pulled the hem of his shirt up to wipe at his face before catching sight of the colorful hair a second time.  He dropped his shirt back into place as he gave the taller boy a longer look, brows drawn thoughtfully before his coach was calling them together so he could wrap up the practice.

Five minutes later and they were being dismissed to the locker room, and baby blues flicked up once again to meet that bright gaze as he headed in to clean up.


Avery was still in the same spot, he had some realization that the practice had ended but he hadn't really considered moving from where he was. Instead he drew his eyes to the figure he had been watching earlier, shorter than the others but he was doing well despite missing a few weeks.


It'd take about ten minutes for Tucker to grab a quicky shower to wash the sweat away, then he'd reemerged from the locker room in a graphic tee and a pair of soccer pants with his bag slung over one shoulder.  Dark hair was a little unruly -- he continuously forgot to bring a comb or brush of any kind -- but he certainly didn't smell like sweat or dirt, which was the point.  He paused as he walked out into the sun, head tipping to the side to flick his gaze across the stands again, looking for the figure that had been there before, unsure whether he hoped he was or wasn't.

He'd seen him watching, it made him a touch uneasy.


He stared, more like a space cadet,  before blinking and realizing he had been staring too much at the dark haired figure down below. Shit... He muttered to himself as he realized there was a gaze directed back at him,  Now not only did he draw a bit of attention but he looked like a freaking creeper.

Raising a hand he tried to brush it off, casually. "Sorry, I was daydreaming.. off into space..."


Half turning, Tucker sank his hands into his pockets.  "Day dreaming earlier too?" It was about as round-about as he could think to ask why he'd been watching earlier.  A few weeks ago Tucker wouldn't have noticed if there'd been people watching in the stands, no one was ever there for him anyways.  Now?  He was just a touch paranoid.


"That and avoiding walking in on my roommate and his girlfriend when they forget what time my practice ends." He folded his arms on his knees as he attempted to put some sort of vague smile on.


"You're a student?"  There was another reason Tucker had a single dorm all to himself.  No awkward walk ins.

He was trying to recall where he might have seen him.  If he had practice, if he was a student, then he was probably on a sports team.  Football maybe?  He had the figure for it.


"Yea." His fingers twitching a bit before glancing towards the fields and back to him. "I'm on the rugby team, or what scramble bit of a rugby team we have."


Rugby made sense.

And with that confirmed Tucker's somewhat chilly disposition thawed.  His brows relaxing, frown fading into a small smile.  Wariness melting away to plain old curiosity.  "Do you watch our practice a lot?"


"Lately yea, takes my mind off of school and junk. Not to mention I try to see if there is any sort of tricks I could use in a rugby match." The tension eased, finally, as he noticed the smile. "If I had any sense I'd try to recruit a few more members to our side."


He cracked a genuine smile.  "How's that going, trying to pick up tricks?"  He had a vague idea of how rugby worked.  It seemed like a mash up between football and soccer, to him, but there was probably more to it.


"Not bad, helps to think outside the box on plays." He shrugged with a loop-sided grin.


It was a nice grin, kind of infectious, easy to return.  And not just a pretty face.  "True enough.  Glad we could help, then."


"You're not bad." Really he wanted to say good but that grin was too good. "How long have you been playing soccer?"


He blinked, like he wasn't used to anyone other than his coaches or his team noticing him.  "Thanks," he said a little hesitantly.  "Uh, since I was seven, or eight maybe."


"Not a chance I could get you to play rugby?" He joked as he got up, slinging his bag over his shoulder before holding out a hand. "Avery."


"I don't think so, I'd rather not get dogpiled on by a bunch of guys roughly the same size as you.  Sounds like it'd hurt." He grinned again, stepping closer to the stands so he could reach up to take the offered hand.  "I'm Tucker.”


"Nice to have a name to the face." He gave a firm shake, calloused fingertips that felt strange to the touch. "That’s the fun of the sport."


A dark brow arched at that, lips twitching up in the corners, again, like he wasn't quite used to the attention.  It distracted from Tucker noticing anything about the handshake other than the strength in his hand.  "Getting hurt is the fun part?"  He said it skeptically, amused, gaze on the band-aid across his nose.


"For me yea, but then again it could just be a cheap way to burn out anger when I need to." He gave a wide grin as he finally stepped down to the ground.


He was taller than he'd seemed while standing up on the bleachers.  Tucker had to tip his head up to meet that bright gaze.  "Sports are good for that," he agreed easily.  "What year are you in?"


"Start of Junior year. You?" He pulled the strap higher up on his shoulder as he slowly started to head towards the dining hall.


It was easy to follow, to fall into step beside the taller boy.  He had to head that way anyways.  "Me too."


"What major?" He rose a brow, maybe he had seen him around on the campus but knowing him he was trying to keep his head down doing so.


"Economics," he answered with a shrug, fully aware it wasn't the most glamorous of majors.  "You?"


"International studies and German." It was a lot but so far he had found they sort of went hand in hand, sort of.


He turned wide eyes up to the tall boy beside him.  It was a more impressive field of study than Tucker was pursuing, for sure.  But Tuck hadn't known what he'd wanted to do.  "Third year German,  I'm assuming?"


"Yea, I mean I knew German before starting, and a few other languages." He shrugged as he gave a somewhat shy smile at the compliment.


"Really?"  More impressed, head tipping as he gave the big guy a considering look.  "From high school, or something?  And what other languages?"


"Sort of, home schooling mostly." He sort of shrugged it off a bit. "My mom knew a lot of languages."


His chin dipped in a small nod.  "Fluent in anything else?"


"French, Spanish, and my Italian isn’t too bad. I learned a little Manadarin and Japanese but its not really worth the attempt to speak to someone else." He scratched at his cheek at the bandaid there.


"Shit."  He could barely stumble through basic Spanish.  "That's...ha, really impressive."  An almost nervous chuckle followed, Tuck dragging his hands from his pockets to sweep them back through messy hair before kneading his fingers at the back of his neck.  "I feel a bit outclassed."


He chuckled and gave a shrug. "My mom drilled the languages into my brain, so really it's just a lot of practice. Nothing special."


There was still that sense of inadequacy, and maybe a little envy, not that he let the latter show.  "Useful to have, though."


"It was, so I figured I would just keep learning it and maybe make some semblance of a job." He glanced at him.


He pressed his thumbs into the muscles between shoulders and spine to loosen them up a little.  He'd been all knotted up for well over a week now.  It didn't bother him during practice or games, but after, or in class, he felt stiff.  "That's the sort of thing that seems pretty high-demand."


"Yea, at least I don't have to struggle for a job later, though economics is good.  Math really isn't something I have a handle on." He eyed him, watching him trying to loosen his back up. "Tense?"


"I like math."  It was idle, absent almost, wincing just a bit as he pushed awkwardly against a tight knot.  "Yeah, a bit.  I think I might have slept funny."


"I could help with that." He said idly as he scanned the campus ahead.


He flicked his eyes up to him again, trying to read past that idle offer.  "What do you mean?"


"Something I used to do to help ease back pain." He shrugged not wanting to make it sound weirder, it was more of a sports thing really.


His hands lowered slowly, brows twitching.  "What sort of a thing?"  He definitely didn't sound put off.


"Massage, rub down a bit." He held up his hands, just in case. "We sometimes do it in rugby after a couple of rough hits or being at the bottom of a dog pile."


He opened his mouth, closed it, baby blues sliding down along broad shoulders and muscled arms before he had to look away altogether as he felt warmth starting to raise up in his cheeks.  "D-do you go around offering to massage all the soccer players you chat with?"


"No, just to teammates really." He shoved the heat down his throat at what he said.


He wasn't sure if that cleared things up or just made it more confusing.  Pale features were thoughtful, and there was a longish moment of consideration before he glanced back up again, just long enough to see Avery's face before he answered.  "Sure, alright."


Avery nodded, a hint of a smirk on his lips at at least not getting punched in the gut for his words. "I would suggest the locker room but that means turning back, but my roommate is not someone you want to run into."


"We could go back, unless you were heading this way to get something to eat."  A hand came up to adjust the strap on his bag so it wasn't digging quite as sharply.  "You're roommate a dick?"


"A little hungry yea, but I can wait." He grinned as he nodded. "Very, my fault for trying to be cheapish."


"I could eat."  Practices usually left him pretty hungry.  "Could grab something portable, eat on the way back."


"Sounds like a plan to me." At least he wouldn't have to ignore his stomach longer.


Tucker smiled as a plan was agreed upon, but didn't say anything for a moment.  Instead, he kept his eyes on the path they were walking.  "Your roommate bigger than you or something?  Couldn't you just pin him to floor if he was being shitty?"  He grabbed for the handle of the mess hall door as they reached it, hauling it open.


"Nah, a bit smaller but if I pined him to the floor he is likely to spit in my face and say something about it." He shrugged a bit. "Plus I'd have to deal with his passive bullshitness the rest of the year."


He wrinkled his nose, holding the door for Avery before following him inside.  "That sucks.  Are you in a dorm, or an apartment?"


"Dorm, I am hoping to get out of it at the end of the term." He slipped past him into the bustle of the cafeteria hall.

8
Roleplaying / Charmed [Rabi/Tucker/Lukas]
« on: January 24, 2020, 08:25:07 PM »
It would be radio silence from Tucker in the following days.  The younger man holding onto that irritation and stewing in it to the point that even when he did start going back to classes a couple of days after he wouldn't contact Rabi to ask for his school books back.  He'd borrow from classmates, only long enough to get his homework done, and when asked why he'd been so scarce lately he'd told them he'd caught a bad virus that'd knocked him on his ass for a week and change.

The story was the same for his coach and his teammates.  A stomach bug, something that would have made practicing a nightmare, and they hadn’t pushed it.

Having a routine again helped with the ever present low buzz of anxiety he'd been existing in since he'd gotten wrapped up in everything.  It was easier to ignore it when he was busy, and for small pockets of time he even forgot his world was a chaotic mess, if only for a few minutes.

Certainly not in art class, though.  It'd be the only place he'd run into Rabi, if he was even there teaching.


The first class it was a sub: a reprieve, for Tucker, not only because it wasn't Rabi, but also because the woman seemed into his work, gave him easy high marks for his classwork. But the second, Rabi showed up: with his hair wildly red and dressed halfway to rockstar, with flame colored boots and pants that fit and probably most of the class was going to be distracted, today.


Tucker would stare at him for a handful of moments at the top of the class, brows drawn, before shaking his head and concentrating on whatever work they had for the day.  And maybe he had learned something from Rabi's constant picking, or maybe he was just making adjustments so he didn't draw attention, but he'd put more creativity into it than normal.  More mediums, less structured.


If he'd thought that Rabi nitpicking was bad, this would probably be worse: completely ignored in favor of any other student in the class, his focus gone elsewhere. He got no critiques, no comments or suggestions for improvement. He'd have to figure it out himself.


Would have been worse, if Tucker hadn't still been obviously unhappy with the man.  He didn't try to get his attention, didn't even try to catch his eye.  He worked quietly, and as the time started rounding out at the end he'd clean up his supplies and put everything away without so much as a word.  Then he waited, patiently, for the clock to tick over so he could leave.


Still not a moment's hesitation; no call after for him to stay after class, just Rabi focused on one of the simple blondes who'd decided to make her assignment with makeup. Maybe more focused on her than it really deserved.


He wasn’t the first out the door when it was time, but it was close.  He slung his bag up on his shoulder and walked out, his free hand slipping into his pocket.  Heading to his next class like there was absolutely nothing going on.


Maybe there wasn't; maybe it was just on his end. But Rabi didn't show up to help him out or hand him more money. He had his own projects on his plate.


A break from the constant chaos, then.  Rabi could go about whatever tasks he had without Tucker calling and bothering him, and Tuck could pretend his life hadn’t been turned upside down, at least that week.  Eventually Lukas would call about the charm.


Eight or nine days; it wasn't exactly a week, that was for sure. And he called around eleven at night, when Tucker was probably not at his best.


He'd already been asleep for about an hour, and it'd show in the grogginess of his voice when he answered.  "Hello?"  It'd taken a tired moment to remember who the number belonged to.


"Drinking yourself under the table again?" In contrast, Lukas sounded chipper, fully awake.


He rolled into his back, rubbing a hand over his face before answering.  "Not this time.  I started going to class again earlier in the week."


He made a quiet, amused sound, rustling through some papers. "A likely story."


"Likely cause it's true," he tossed back easily.  There was a pause as he tipped his head to look at the clock.  "What's up?"


"I have something for you." It wasn't suggestive. It shouldn't have been. But the laugh behind it made it that way, maybe. "When can you get out?"


Quiet as he thought it over.  There was certainly a part of him that wanted to say he could meet him now, but not only was that reckless, he didn't have the rest of the cash on him.  But maybe Lukas would hear that little bit of regret in his voice.  "Tomorrow evening?"


He hummed a tiny bit, amused again, and it came through in his voice. "Afternoon? I have to run out tomorrow night."


"What time?  I have practice at three, so I could do it early afternoon."  He might have to skip a class, but what was another absence?


"Before or after?" He tapped fingers against the phone, fidgety. "I have sunset plans."


"After would be great, anytime after five.  We should be done by then."  No missed classes, either.  "Where?"


"Coffee shop, called Neutral Grounds." It was immediate, unhesitating. "I can text you the address."


"That works.  I'll meet you there at five thirty then?"  Which gave him plenty of time to get the rest of the money.


"Five thirty, but be quick because I'll have to run." He let Tucker go, to get his own things together.


He said goodbye, and then lay there for a long moment debating before scrolling through his contacts to find Rabi's office number.  It was late, but he could leave a message.  But better to reach out now, so it wasn't hanging over his head while he tried to get back to sleep.


It rang through; he wouldn't have to deal with Rabi tonight, at least. He could leave a message for later.


There was something a little unsettling about Rabi not answering.  "It's me.  The charms finished.  I need the rest of the money so I can pick it up tomorrow after practice."  Short and to the point.  There was a slight pause before he hung up, but he didn't add anything else.  Just rolled over to go back to sleep.


Rabi's call back was at four in the morning. Which had to be intentional.


He sounded half dead when he answered with a groan.  "It's four in the morning, dude."  It also sounded like he'd dragged the phone under the blankets with him.


"You need money?" Rabi sounded smooth, just a little mean. "How are you planning on getting it?"


There was a silent pause, but when Tucker spoke again he sounded more alert, less groggy.  "By reminding you that this was your idea."  He sounded restrained, like there was more he could have added but had biten it back.


"I don't think the charm was my idea." It was still casual. Expectant. Mocking, but subtly so.


"You suggested enhancing physical strength.  I'd call that your idea."  It was level and sure.


Rabi laughed at him, though, so maybe it wasn't that good an argument.


Tucker didn't say anything at first, but there was the subtle shift of blankets.  "Is this how it's going to be now?


"I don't know." He let his tone go easy, pointedly relaxed. "You told me I couldn't be a dick, but then you expertly took over that position yourself."


"How am I being a dick?"  He pushed his hand through his hair, settling against his pillow in s resigned sort of way.


"You called me this afternoon to demand that I deliver you a large amount of money." Something crept in; something that sapped the casual edge from his voice and made it sharper, more dangerous. "Does this mean you can demand money whenever you want? You don't need to speak to me, you can just make demands?"


His brows dipped at the tone.  "I wasn't demanding, I said I needed it.  I assumed at least some of that money was meant for this reason."  A slight pause.  "Are you pissed I wasn't talking to you?"


"I'm pissed that you think you can call me and demand things without..." He drew in a careful breath. "I'm pissed you think I'm at your beck and call."


"I've never thought that."  The frown carried through his voice, puzzled.  "I don't think I've demanded anything from you.  I've asked for help, but that's not the same thing."


"If you don't think that message was a demand, then I don't know what is." It didn't soften him a bit. "Think on it." And he hung up.


He'd opened his mouth to respond but Rabi had hung up on him.  And at that point he was too irritated by the entire interaction to go back to sleep so he'd gotten up and showered, gotten ready for the day.

And it was still too early for class at that point, so he made his way towards the art building, because maybe things would go better if they talked face to face instead.


The office door was closed, but the lights were on -- so if he knocked, Rabi might let him in. Or not; it wasn't exactly office hours.


He lingered outside for a few moments wondering how he'd gone from feeling justifiably pissed to vaguely guilty, and finally knocked.


There was a movement -- a beat of silence -- and then Rabi came to open the door, still dressed up. There was even more red in his hair, now, and one rough streak of yellow. He looked Tucker over without inviting him in.


He flicked his gaze up to the yellow streak and then back down.  "I should have phrased it better."  He was tired, unhappy, his hands disappearing into his pockets.  "I was mad before and that made it awkward, so it came out very curt."


"Uh huh." He cocked his head just a little bit, eyebrows raised. "And now you're here to ask nicer?"


"That too."  His frowned smoothed from cranky into something more confused.


"Naturally." He slid hands into his pockets, rolling his shoulders back carefully. And waited.


Tucker sighed, looking down at his feet for a moment before bringing pale eyes up again.  "Can you pay for the rest of the charm, please?"


He mulled it over, resting his hip against the doorframe and thinking it over. "I'm not just a bank."


Tucker blinked, a little startled maybe, and he stood up straighter.  "This is to keep you safe as much as it is me, isn't it?"  Something had changed, and he wasn't sure what it was.  "I thought-" It sounded stupid in his head, and he bit back the rest of that statement, exhaling sharply.  "Can we talk about this in your office, please?"  Standing in the hall, he felt very exposed.


"Fine." He stepped back, finally, to go take a place behind his desk -- where he was going through sketches.


A little tension seeped from his shoulders as he followed him in, but he reached up to rub at the back of his neck like it was sore.  Maybe it was.  "This isn't just about me."  He glanced around maybe looking for his school books before looking back at Rabi.  "You're not a bank, but the charms not just to keep me safe."


"If you don't talk to someone aside from when you want money from them, that makes them a bank." He didn't look up at Tucker as he said it.


He made a rude sound.  "I didn't talk to you because I was mad at you.  It's got nothing to do with you having all the money we need right now."


Rabi snorted at him, finally flicking up a look. "Nursing imaginary wounds."


"You implied I was too stupid or too horny to keep from putting us both in danger, and that's after getting pissy for whatever fucking reason.  You were being an ass."  He folded his arms, dark brows drawn down.  "And it doesn't even matter, because you were avoiding me as much as I was avoiding you."


"You were being stupid. You were flirting with a magician who straight up hinted you should give him hair and blood." He leaned back, then, voice sharpening. "You were very drunk."


"Drunk or not, I didn't give him either, and I didn't tell him anything about you, the pin, why John's after me, or any of it."   Pale eyes narrowed in response to Rabi's tone.  "And it doesn't matter if I was flirting, he's not interested in me aside from the money he's making off me."

He shrugged, indifferently, head tilted to the side. "How do you know?"


His shoulders hiked up a little, head turning to look at one of the paintings.  "Because, as you say, I'm transparent as hell.  If he'd wanted anything to do with me he would have made a move."


"If he wanted to fuck you he'd make a move." It was clearly deliberately blunt, his chin tipped up.


"He didn't, so he doesn't."  He still wasn't looking at him, and pale cheeks were a shade darker


"That doesn't mean there's nothing else he wants from you." Rabi snorted at him, unimpressed.


"There's nothing else I have that he's got any knowledge of."  He glanced back, finally, frowning.


Rabi shrugged, frowning at him still -- annoyed, definitely, though it was hard to tell why.


He watched him for a long moment like he was trying to puzzle something out, chewing at his cheek, and finally just shook his head.  "We don't have to deal with him anymore after today, cause I'm not hiring a bodyguard."


"That's fine." He stared at Tucker back, arms folding over his chest. Considering it. "I have cash."


Long breath in, slow exhale, and he nodded.  "We already paid half, so I have to give him the second half today, then that's it."  He wouldn't need Rabi's money after that.


"Mhm. How much?" He looked Tucker over, his head tilted just slightly to one side.


"Eleven hundred."  He shifted, tapping the toe of his boot against the floor as he looked down, arms still crossed."


He counted it out of the bag and then dropped it onto the desk in front of Tucker, roughly.


He looked down at it for a moment before unfolding his arms and stepping up to the desk so he could collect it.  "Thank you."


Rabi shrugged, folding arms over his chest again. "You're still fucking with my life when you do stupid things."


His head tilted as he looked down at him, and there was something conflicted there, for just a moment.  "That goes both ways."


"No, the only reason you're involved at all is because you're holding onto that fucking pin." It was sharper than he meant, definitely; it prickled at the edges of things. "You have the option to leave all this."

9
Roleplaying / Late night summons [Rowan and Fletcher]
« on: January 20, 2020, 08:22:35 AM »
His phone rang, so late in the night that it was almost morning: long after most people had gone to bed, after parties had even closed down. At first, maybe Fletcher would dismiss it as not important enough to get up. But eventually, hopefully, he'd figure out that it wasn't his ringtone; it was the other phone. Ringing for the first time in about five days.


He answered in the pause between the fifth and sixth ring, voice heavy and coming off an obvious yawn.  "Hello?"  There'd be the sound of blankets moving, a small grunt as Fletcher pushed himself up on his elbows so he wouldn't be muffled against the pillow.


"Can you get yourself here, or do I need to send a car?" His voice was low and rumbling, just a little dangerous.


Fletcher was very much not a morning person.  He peered blearily at the clock for a second or two before answering.  "I can get an Uber if you text me the address."  No reason to wake up Ferris, and besides that, it'd take longer for a car to pick him up just to drive all the way across town.


"How long will that take?" He huffed as he asked it - maybe the words a little blurry. a little blended together.


Since it seemed pretty obvious he wasn't going back to sleep he pushed himself up, a hand coming up to push his hair out of his face as he yawned again.  "Maybe thirty minutes?  Probably less with the roads empty.  Am I staying there the rest of the night or going home?"


"Bring a change of clothes." The imperious tone would tug at that hook in Fletcher's belly, the one that had settled with a promise and a kiss.


"Alright."  He was up and out of bed, at his dresser before he really realized it.  "I'll order the uber and be there as soon as I can.  Do you want me to text when I'm close?"  He had a shirt and a pair of jeans already in his arms, and was pulling out a second to wear over.  Looser, more comfortable.


"Bring a guitar, if you want." That was it the line cut off before Fletcher could reply.


"O-kay..."  He sighed softly, yawned again, and pulled up the uber app on his main phone to arrange a ride.  Then he headed into the bathroom to brush his teeth and get dressed before loading his guitar into his hard case along with the spare clothes folded neatly on top of it.  By the time he'd made his way down and out the front doors the car was waiting and he climbed into the back.

A little under twenty minutes later and the car was pulling up to the gate.  Fletcher rolled down his window to hit the button on the intercom to announce his arrival.


It was an uber: not that nice. It'd be a moment before Rowan's voice crackled over the intercom. "How do you not own a car? Or at least a motorcycle?"


"I didn't want to run the risk of falling asleep and wrecking.  This was safer."  It wasn't a lack of means.  It was a tired bassist that had once dozed on a drive home and ended up in a ditch.


He got a long moment to wait, while Rowan assessed -- a good minute, and it felt like a peeved silence, somehow -- before the car was buzzed in.


The moment made worse by the stunned murmuring of the driver asking who owned the place, how Fletcher knew them, to which the musician just shook his head.

When the gate opened he let out a little sigh, both relieved and not, and hopped out of the car as they rolled to a stop near the front door.  Fletch thanked him as he got out and pulled his guitar case from the back and watched as he drove away.  Then he went up to knock on the big front doors.


They opened not a moment later, so at least Rowan didn't make him wait here -- he looked tired and grumpy, with his hair loose, in a silk bathrobe over pajama pants. He also looked damned good like that, which wasn't entirely fair.


Whatever he was going to say in greeting got caught at the back of his throat as he saw Rowan and parted lips closed.  It definitely want fair.

No doubt, behind the wide and appreciative eyes Fletcher looked tired as well.  He'd tried to tame his hair, but he'd gone to sleep with it wet so there was only so much he could do with it.  The tee shirt was worn, dove grey, and the jeanes were pale and worn through along the thighs and knees.  Either age or factory distressed.

"Do you have to pay the car?" His eyes flicked past Fletcher and out onto the driveway. His tone was still sharp, edgy.


"Already paid."  Soft, gaze still lingering.  The tone alone should have been worrying, and it was, but Rowan dressed down and a little rumpled(if that was even the right word for it) looked just as good as Rowan in the expensive suits and intricate hair.  Maybe more so.


"Come on, then." He caught the front of Fletcher's shirt to pull him through, so he could close the door and start back toward the salon.


He managed not to stumble as Rowan yanked him through the door, guitar case swaying in his hand, and felt into step at Rowan's back to follow him through the house to the salon.


It was set up to entertain - a bottle of wine on ice, mostly drunk, a handful of cakes and fruits. it was hard to tell if it had been set up for Fletcher or if Rowan had had a small get together. His glass sat on the piano, he grabbed it and folded down to sit on a loveseat. "Sit."


The setting of the room was taken in with a sweeping glance before Rowan's command compelled him to take a seat on the edge of a slipper chair more or less across from the other man, guitar case on end between his knees.


Rowan sprawled - knees spread, sunk down in the chair, with hair falling loose over his shoulder and the robe open. "Play something. old."


With a quirk of his lips Fletcher nodded and leaned forward to lay the case at his feet so he could bend down and pop the clasps that held it closed.  He shifted the extra clothes he'd brought along to sit on the inside of the top of the case and pulled a six string from the padded interior that was by no means as old as anything Cooper Cole had had hanging on his walls, but still had a vintage look to it.  The body was polished black with gold and pearl inlays around the hole and up the length of the neck.

He settled it on his thigh, slid the pick from where it'd been woven through the strings up near the tuning pegs, and took a moment to consider what to play, plucking at the strings to make sure they were still in tune.  "Do you want me sing, too?"


"Yes." He didn't hesitate. instead he watched Fletcher in a stormy way - tired and annoyed and scraping hair roughly out of his face.


Another nod, And Fletcher pulled the capo from the end of the neck to clamp over the strings at the farthest fret.  Then he started playing.  It was soft and lulling, and very well could have been immediately recognizable.  Older, certainly well out outside Fletcher's generation.  "Well I hear there was a secret chord that David played and it pleased the lord, but you don't really care for music, do ya?"  It was low and the lyrics and the tempo fitting well with Fletcher's range.  "And it goes like this: the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall and the major lift.  The baffled king composing Hallelujah."

As he played he added to the chords, made them more without taking away from the singing.  Both lyrics and melody playing off one another seamlessly.


Rowan breathed out a slow sigh, watching Fletcher - thoughtfully. it was helping to take some of that harsh energy out of him, but - "You know anything older?"


He leaned forward, arm resting in the dip of the guitar as he thought about it.  "Not much that I know the lyrics for, but I can look some up and learn them."  He slid his pinky lightly over a string as he thought.  "But I do know some classical acoustic that doesn't have singing."


"Do you sight read?" Rowan shrugged - and then seemed to realize all at once he was holding his drink, and took a sip. Deep.


"Usually."  He certainly wasn't bad at it, but he also hadn't gotten much sleep and didn't want to guarantee a flawless playthrough.  Especially not if Rowan wasn't in the best mood.  "Do you have a piece in mind?"


"I can find something." and then he drained the glass so he could set it down empty and roll up to stand, heading for the piano.


Fletcher waited patiently, watching Rowan drain the last of the wine from his glass before rolling gracefully up to his feet.

It wasn't just a physical thing for Fletcher, at least not at first, but with the value Rowan placed in him and his talent...  And the magic, the way Rowan touched him and the way his body felt under Fletcher's hands.  He couldn't help but want him.  The open front of the robe an alluring slice of perfectly pale musculed flesh.


Just a fine dusting of very fair hair, downy, down his stomach -- he bent over the piano bench to root around, and somehow even in his PJs, he looked put together. "The trick is finding something arranged for modern guitar."


He brought his other arm up, crossing it over the curve of the guitar and rested his chin there as he watched Rowan root around in the bench.  An agreeable sound following the comment.


"Unless you play the lute." He straightened, head tipped down to pore over the pages, and maybe now that Fletcher knew what to look for, he'd see the little things that weren't human. the delicate point of those ears. The too fine features. The aura he had.


He'd take the chance provided to let his gaze pour over the other man in appreciation, letting the new knowledge of what he was settle in more fully.  Ferris had been easy to accept in the moment, Fletcher had seen what he could do.  Rowan was both more subtle and not subtle at all.

"Not presently, but I could probably pick it up pretty quickly if I got my hands on one for a week or two."  Strummed and picked string instruments were all very similar.  Well, to him.


"I'm sure."  He tilted his head a little, going through the pages -- and then held one out to Fletcher. Old enough to have yellowed; older than rock, definitely. It was complicated fingerpicking, but a simple tune and simple melody, with a celtic feeling.


He'd keep on watching until Rowan found something and held it out to him, then he straightened up to reach for it.  Nothing he'd ever seen before, which wasn't surprising.  He gave it a quick scan as he stood up and turned, nudging the case out of the way with his foot so he could prop the music against the back of the chair so he could read it.  Then he took a seat on the ground and adjusted the guitar again.


Rowan eased over to pour himself another tall glass of wine, shoulders rolling to work out some tension (it didn't work) before he sat again. "You don't have to get it right on the first try."


That was good, because he doubted he'd get it perfect on the first playthrough.  It was complicated picking, and not all the lyrics were English--or not English used today.

He'd have to start slow, and after a few notes he abandoned the pick to pluck the strings with his fingertips instead which worked better.  Made it more fluid and smooth, if sedate.  The singing was the trickier part.  Not just the bits he didn't recognize, but where to place the pitch.  He settled for something in the middle, singing softly along with the picking.  Decent, improving as he worked through the song.


That, finally, made Rowan breathe out a sigh: made him close his eyes and relax into the corner of the loveseat, with the glass dangling from his fingers. Almost, it made him look approachable. Almost. Except when Fletcher missed a note and his eyes opened.


He didn't have enough attention to spare to see how Rowan felt about his playing.  Had to keep his eyes on the page, which meant he couldn't watch his fingers at all so the occasional misstep happened.  He powered through, moving right into the next without skipping a beat, because he didn't want to lose the groove.


It was very much unlike what Tuck Fhis played; it was slow but pretty, though it would have been prettier with a second voice to sing the counterpoint. Rowan tipped his head down, eyes closing again, and seemed almost asleep.


It was closer to what Fletcher had been studying before Mal had found him and talked him into starting a band.  It wasn't unfamiliar pacing, and the more he played and sang the more confident he got.  By the end of it there'd been very few errors, and his voice had been stronger and sure of itself.  As the last note hung in the air he looked up at Rowan.


He looked -- maybe he was asleep, with his head propped in his hand and the glass of wine tipped just slightly to one side, threatening to spill.


Fletcher waited eyes flicking between Rowan's face and the glass of wine tipping precarious, and he wasn’t sure what to do.  If the point of his being there was oo help the man get to sleep than waking him seemed like a bad idea.  If he didn't... Maybe brownies could get wine out of silk and furniture, and maybe they couldn't.

At the very least he could prevent a spill.  Guitar set back in the case he crawled the short distance from it to where Rowan was sitting and reached up to press a finger against the edge of the glass to keep it upright, the other hovering near the base to catch it in case it slipped.  He tipped his gaze back up to Rowan's face, and had the keenest urge to tuck that golden hair behind the point of his ear.


The movement made him twitch -- eyes opening suddenly to settle on Fletcher. His hand tightened reflexively but he didn't move, otherwise, just sprawled there considering. Working his mouth to find words. "You stopped."


He pulled his hands away to set them in his lap, looking up from where he kneeled at Rowan's feet.  "I didn't want your wine to spill.  The glass looked like it was starting to tip."


He closed his eyes for a moment, considering that -- and then reached out to put it on the side table. "I haven't slept."


Fletcher's head tilted, lips tugging subtly to one side.  "For how long?"  Not that he could speak to the sleeping habits of fae, but he'd had plenty of his own sleepless nights, and they took a toll.


A little shrug, waving that off. He reached up finally to scrape fingers through his hair, to drag it out of his face. "Play it again."


He nodded, sliding back to where he'd left the guitar.  "What do you want me to do if you fall asleep?"


10
Roleplaying / New day [Ferris and Fletcher]
« on: January 20, 2020, 07:18:57 AM »
Maybe Rowan slept -- if he did, he got in bed quietly  and left quietly. When Fletcher woke up the next morning, it would be alone, sprawled out in the giant bed, with yesterday's clothes in a clean pile on a chair in one corner and any sign of the blankets from yesterday long gone.


He woke up with the sheet tangled around his legs and half curled around one of many pillows and didn't quite know where he was for a moment or two as he pushed himself up with a yawn.  It came back to him quickly, fingertips coming up to brush the place on his shoulder where the bruise showed.

He got up, brushed his teeth and his hair, changed back into the clothes he'd had on the night before, and grabbed his phone(very nearly dead at this point).  He also pulled the sheets and the blankets back up on the bed, straightening up before heading down stairs.


The place still had that strange emptiness to it -- no one there -- except that it also didn't quite. There was sound in the distance, like there was someone there, and movement at the edge of Fletcher's vision -- which vanished when he tried to look harder. He wouldn't see anyone until the smell of food drew him into the kitchen, where Ferris sat reading a newspaper.


It was a lot more noticeable with rowan gone, the big house seeming even bigger somehow.  He was glad he'd paid attention to the small portion of the layout he'd walked through, it made it easier to find the kitchen, the smell of food a good draw.

Ferris' presence really wasn't a surprise, and the redhead lifted a hand in a small wave of greeting as he murmured a good morning, looking around.


Today, Ferris looked much more -- masculine, somehow, stretching legs out under the table and frowning across at Fletcher. There was a scattering of freckles over his nose and cheeks. "There's food. It's safe."


His head tilted as Ferris looked up, eyes lingering a second too long before he turned his attention to breakfast.  Maybe it'd been the lack of actual lighting the last two times...?  "Am I going to owe more if I eat again?"  He flicked a look over to the fridge, debating looking for another bottle of water.


"No. That's what makes it safe." He twitched the newspaper to fold it over, head cocked to watch the way Fletcher moved. Maybe the freckles and the more masculine face did make him more approachable. Or at least easier to relate to.


"Oh."  A thoughtful look.  "Are the bottles of water in the fridge safe?"  He grabbed a plate, helping himself to what he assumed to be stuffed French toast--a taste off the tip of one finger confirmed--and he loaded the three slices with strawberries and whipped cream.  A few stipes of bacon, a sausage patty, and he set the plate on the counter where he'd eaten the night before.


"Yes. And the ones in the limo." Ferris watched him move around, his own plate empty in front of him next to a cup of coffee.


The bassist nodded, helping himself to one of those too.  "And the coffee?"  He looked over at Ferris' cup, then around the counter space for a coffee maker.

"I don't suppose you'd just tell me everything that is safe?"  He really doubted it, but he asked anyways.


Ferris blew out a breath, trying to decide how to answer that. "Gifts aren't safe, because gifts aren't really gifts; they come with strings attached. Accepting a gift means you owe one. So, as long as it's not a gift, you're fine." He gestured toward the coffee pot.


"Th-er.  Good to know."  He reached for a mug, other hand on the handle of the coffee pot before pausing, looking thoughtful.  "So the pajamas...?"


As if Ferris knew anything about the pajamas. But he paused, chewing it over, expression disapproving. "I wouldn't take them home with you."


He breathed out a little sigh and poured his coffee, adding cream and sugar until it was pale and sweet.  "I left them folded on the bed upstairs."  A pleased sound as he took a cautious sip and sat down to eat.


"That was probably wise." He tipped his head, though, eyes raking over Fletcher like he was trying to figure something out -- "I'm surprised pajamas were involved at all."


The feel of eyes raking over him had him looking up from a bite of French toast, and a faint flush crept over his cheeks at the comment.  At the very least Ferris had to have an idea of what had been going on the night before, even if he hadn't seen with the partition up, it didn't take a genius to make that leap.  "He asked me if I wore pajamas when we were in the car, and they were waiting for me in the bathroom when I got out of the shower."  His free hand reached up to feel where the collar of his shirt lay, if it covered the mark.  Probably not completely.


Better than the pajamas had, though; those had been chosen not to cover it up. Ferris just raised an eyebrow, picking up his cup of coffee. "I have a binder for you in the car."


Eyes steadfastly on his breakfast, Fletcher cleared his throat awkwardly and cut himself another bite of toast.  "He mentioned there would be."  And there again that thoughtful look crossed freckled features as he chewed.  With distance came the ability to think clearly.  "How much trouble am I in?"

"Your life is short; worst case, I'd say, eighty years of trouble." Ferris said it like that was nothing, of course, strumming his fingers against the cup. "...considering your lifestyle, probably less."


He almost dropped his fork, eyes wide.  "You're serious?"  It was a six month contract, or...agreement, rather.


"You don't strike me as very bright." He said it smoothly, sipping at the coffee. "Hand you a shovel and you'll dig your own grave."


It smacked very close to something Rowan had said the night before, and he lowered his eyes to his food again.  "It doesn't seem like he's that interested in me."  Interested enough, obviously, if he was here, but still.


"I don't know if you noticed, but he likes to collect things." Ferris gestured back out toward the hall, loosely, toward all the antiques and fine art. "But you're right. He might get bored. Then it'll be considerably shorter."


He had noticed.  Last night he'd wanted to tke time to look over some of the collection.  A flick of blue eyes back on Ferris.  "Why does that sound so ominous?"


"It's just how I talk." He spoke around the rim of the coffee cup.


Which wasn't comforting.  Fletcher could feel his shoulders tightening as he continued eating.


It made Ferris smile a little, leaning in against the table. "You want me to go through the binder with you?"


He only lifted his eyes, taking his time to chew and swallow a bite before answering.  Possibly to give himself a chance to think it through.  "Are you trying to help me?"  Or sabotage...  It didn't feel fair to wonder about that, Ferris hadn't done anything to make him suspect his motives.  But those disapproving looks, he hadn't missed those.


"What have I done that makes you think I'm not trying to help?" He raised both eyebrows, hands still wrapped around his cup. "It's my job to make sure you get home safe, today."


"N-nothing."  Now he felt bad, and it showed.  "Rowan implied that everyone was dangerous."  Including himself.  "You've been nothing but pleasant and accommodating, it’s just..."  He nudged a strawberry across his place with his fork.  "It doesn't seem like you approve of me being around, I guess."


"It's a terrible idea and it's going to end badly for someone." That was kind of like Ferris's version of agreeing. He shrugged. "I'm not going to take you out back and shoot you, though. Not unless you're really dumb."


He stared for a long moment like he was wondering how serious that last comment was, then went back to eating, thinking.  Finishing the last few bits of soggy French toast left on his plate so he could go and set it in the sink.  He didn't sit again when he came back, but stood with his elbows resting on the counter and his hands around his coffee mug.  It was warm.  "I'd rather not fuck things up for myself or anyone else, so if you're willing to take the time to go over the binder with me than I'd appreciate the help."  A beat.  "And I'm sorry."


Ferris's reply was a long, slow, suffering kind of sigh. He set the cup down and leaned in a little bit more. "You're the kind of guy who opens up an interaction with I'm Sorry, aren't you?"


"No."  But it was a little defensive.  He took a drink of his coffee, found it'd cooled to an easily drinkable temperature and took a longer drink, draining the rest of it so he could put it with his plate.


He smoothed a thumb up the bridge of his nose, trying to figure out where to go with that. "We'll start simply, which is that we never do anything for free. And if you accept the favor before you negotiate the price, you lose your negotiating power."


"If that's the case, does this assistance have a price on it as well?"  Now that his hands were free he crossed his arms over his chest, hip leaning on the counter.


"Of course it does." That was the point. Ferris puffed out a breath and looked upward, as if for help. "I'll do it for a fancy lunch."


He thought it over, then sighed softly.  "Do you like sushi?"  It wasn't a terribly high price.


"Sure. But it has to be fancy sushi." He smiled just a little, slowly.


"That's fine."  He knew a place.  "How long do you think it'll take to go over the binder?"


"An hour, at least." He sat back again, then, looking down at his coffee.


"What part of the city are we in?"  Depending on where, it might make more sense to go through the binder at his apartment.


"Tideland." It was the expensive area, where there was enough room to expand, as opposed to the clustered-tight downtown or where apartment buildings flourished. Probably it was a decent ride home for Fletcher.


"The place I have in mind is closer to my place.  We might as well go over the binder there, then we can get lunch when we're done."  It was close enough they could have walked, if they were so inclined.


Ferris shrugged a little, slowly -- obviously it didn't much matter to him. "Drinks with lunch, too."


"Fine."  He grabbed his bottle of water.  "Whenever you're ready, then."


Ferris stood to dump out his cup in the sink and then wash it off, surprisingly thoroughly. When his jacket hitched just so, there was a bit of a bulge beneath; maybe the thing about taking him out back to shoot him hadn't entirely been a joke.


Fletcher straightened and adjusted his jacket but paused.  "Should I wash my dishes?  I was told not to last night, but that was last night."


"It's your choice. The brownies are reliable; I trust them. I just don't trust him half so much." He said it easily, leaning in to wash his hands too.


Not knowing exactly what to make of that Fletcher figured it was safer to just do them.  So he waited for Ferris to get out of the way then washed his own dishes..  Brownies?  Not the desert, obviously..

Now they could leave.


Ferris dried off his hands and stood to watch Fletcher do it, somewhat bemused. "Do you read?"


Fletch shot him a look, lips pressed and brows drawn as he dried his hands off.  "Yes, I read fine."


"I don't mean can you read. I mean do you read." He rolled a hand, leaning against the counter.


"Like recreationally?"  His head tilted.  "Sometimes."


Another of those disapproving little sounds. Ferris straightened to head toward the door. "He didn't tell you anything?"


Fletcher sighed as a result, a little frustrated.   "Anything about what?  He was very vague on...pretty much everything."


"That sounds on par. He didn't want to deal with you being incredulous, I suspect." He shook his head -- not heading out through the main foyer but through a side door toward the garage.


Grabbing his bottle, Fletcher followed, making a mental note of the new route through the house; where it lead, what he saw along the way.


It was less carefully decorated, here; there were things in boxes in a room off to one side, a half-finished painting leaning against one wall, things that looked unready for company. This wasn't the way anyone who mattered came in. "Well, yes. You know, 'You're kidding me.' or 'That's not real.' "


"Are you going to be filling me in, then?"  Blue eyes lingered on the painting, the boxes, his expression curious as he kept up with Ferris.


"Are you going to spout cliches when I do?" He shot a look back at Fletcher, one eyebrow raised.


"I can try not to.  Consider my disbelief suspended."  He looked back, both brows raised and looking earnest.


"Humans always say that, but I have my doubts. Maybe if we got high first, you'd be more inclined to explore it." Maybe that was teasing, though, joking.


It sounded appealing, it'd certainly been a while, and yet...  "I don't think he'd like that."


It made Ferris smile: sharp and sudden and sardonic, like that was exactly what he'd expected Fletcher to say. "I won't tell."


"Maybe not, but I'm a terrible liar and have no poker face."  And it was probably worse with Rowan.  He shook his head, hands disappearing into the pockets of his jacket.


"You'll have to develop the poker face, but honestly, it's better not to lie here, anyway. I suspect that's in the binder." He got the car door for Fletcher.


He'd always worn his heart on his sleeve.  Every emotion flashing across his face as he felt it.  It wasn't going to be easy to change that...

He slid in, eyes landing on a binder that had to be the one they were talking about.   He grabbed it as he tucked himself into a corner.


It was nice. Of course. Leather bound with gold-toned metal, with a tree on the cover -- a Rowan, probably. Ferris closed the door roughly behind him and got into the front. "I never much care if people lie; if you can, then it's an advantage you should take. But some of his kin get angry about it."


He traced his fingers over the branches of the tree on the cover before looking up at Ferris though the partition.  "I can't."  And he'd leave it at that, looking back down at the binder, flipping open the cover to the first page.  "Do you need my address?"


"Yes." It was only about thirty pages long; it didn't seem like that much. The first page was an affirmation for Fletcher to sign, stating he wouldn't pass the book around or show it to anyone who didn't already know its contents.


He gave it, rattling off the address to one of the higher end apartment buildings on the more pricey side of that part of town.  Then settled in to read, knowing well enough from his experience in the music industry to know exactly what he was signing before he signed, but he'd save the actual signing for when he wasn't in a car.

As he reached the bottom he turned to the next page.


There was a lot of words, but the basics of the rules were outline clear enough:

1. Keep any promise you make.
2. Be polite. Do not insult, interrupt, or speak out of turn.
3. Never say "Thank you."
4. Never say "I'm sorry."
5. Never accept food without making sure it's safe.
6. Never accept gifts or favors before finding out what they might cost.
7. Never offer gifts or favors.
8. Never bring iron into the house.
9. Listen carefully when spoken to.
10. Do not go off alone with strangers.
11. Tell no one your real name. If they ask, tell them Thrush.


There were a few things he'd already been told but he still read everything over carefully with the occasional pause to take a drink from his water.  It seemed to him that most of the rules seemed to make a certain sort of sense, just applying what little Rowan had told him already, but there were a few that were met with confusion, and as he finished that page he looked up at Ferris.  "Thrush?"


"A thrush is a bird." maybe Ferris had read it. Or maybe he just was quick to answer. "Songbird."


Well, the name fit, at least.  He wondered if the bird on the shirt had been a thrush as well.  "But why can't I tell anyone my real name?  Wouldn't they already know it?"  Rowan hadn't, but he had recognized him.   It seemed odd.  "Also, iron?"


"There's a difference between someone knowing your name and you telling it to them." He cocked his head a little bit, chewing it over. "Giving your name to someone gives them power over you."

11
Roleplaying / Red carpet reunion [Rowan and Fletcher]
« on: January 19, 2020, 01:05:38 PM »
The red carpet had been standard fair : women in extravagant dresses with men as accessories, probably a half dozen people pinning Fletcher with questions about the band, what he was doing now as if it wasn't played out news by this point.

The movie had been beautiful but mediocre. Already critics were whispering that while performances were adequate and the costumes incredible, the story had been nonsensical. Fun but stupid. It would make money, and was Cooper Cole break into blockbusters.

The after party, though, was something else. The house was on the river, the bar on the roof overlooking an elaborate swimming pool on one side and the rest of the city on the other. Famous people in toned down outfits sipped at champagne and picked at fancy hors d'oeuvres on pristine white couches in one room, and snorted coke in the bathroom.

Cooper Cole himself had set up by the pool, his jacket off to leave him in rolled up shirtsleeves and a vintage vest, but he was trying to convince some wide eyed twenty somethings to hop in the water.


Walking the red carpet had been like running a gauntlet.  A series of uncomfortable and too personal questions he didn't want to answer, microphones being shoved in his face, and rather than finding a nice corner to hide in Fletcher had had to endure, make polite and witty small talk with the correspondents.  He'd had to smile, try not to let anything show beside pleasant excitement for the movie.

He'd hated it.

The after party was supposed to make it all worth it.  There was a full service bar, there was music, energy, laughter.  There was even blow in the bathroom, but the bassist had turned down the invitation to join in.  So far.

He stood at the bar instead, elbows resting on the curving countertop with a copper cup cradled in his hands, the toe of his boot tapping restlessly against the ground.


Largely, everyone was leaving him alone - for better or worse. It was a self absorbed crowd, and most of the people here were more interested in hearing themselves talk than prying into Fletcher's personal life. The result was relaxing, but probably boring.

And lonely.

He'd be about halfway through his drink when he'd feel a pickle down his spine. It was more than a sense someone was looking at him - it was a certainty.


It certainly made time drag, left him pining to duck into the bathroom just to feel the charged rush he'd get from the white powder.  The high would have been an escape.  His head turned in that direction as he chewed at the inside of his lip, nails ticking against the cool sides of his cup before he dipped his head to take a long drink.

Which was when he felt it, that prickling rush, like a chill racing down his spine but not, and carrying the weight of eyes watching him.  He straightened, toe tapping ending as both feet rested on the floor, and couldn't help but rake blue eyes through the surrounding crowd.


The feeling passed when he turned - but as his eyes raked through the crowd he'd catch a glimpse of blonde hair braided back, a gold oak leaf clip pinning it in place. The shimmer of a green suit. And a smell of summer breeze - but maybe that was in his head.


Even a month (or was it two at this point?) later and Fletcher recognized the soft scent.  It sent a tingling rush down his arms, as he stepped away from the bar, head moving left, then right, to try to see through the ever shifting crowd.  He'd have sworn, if just for a moment...

Moscow mule in one hand he wandered into the mass of party guests, weaving between stylishly dressed bodies, heading blindly in the direction he thought he'd caught a glimpse of golden hair.


It was like a game. A hunt. He'd catch a glimpse of gold catching the light, or a carefully manicured hand waving someone off in dismissal, and then it'd be gone into the next room. Fletcher would be lead around by the nose for at least twenty minutes before he'd catch up - only to find his Absinthe by the pool, casual as they could be, chatting up Cooper Cole with a dry familiarity and not even looking at him.


The game went on long enough for Fletch to finish his drink and discard the cup on a table in passing.  Long enough to wonder if he might just have been seeing things, but just as he'd be ready to give up the hunt he'd get another whiff of that summer sweet scent and that'd lead him on for a little while longer.  Of course even when he'd actually found him he wasn't entirely certain he wasn't just imagining the other man.  That he'd looked for him for so long at that point that his mind had just provided.  Damaged by all the partying after all.

But no, it was really him, standing near the edge of the pool in greens and florals with that long hair drawn back similar to how it'd been the first time.  Fletcher's approach was almost cautious, hands tucking into the back pockets of the dark jeans he was wearing and head already ducked as he shot a quick glance up at Cooper Cole.


Cooper Cole was - well, weirdly sober, in comparison to a lot of people. Quietly amused, he was saying something that he thought was funny but obviously Absinthe wasn't impressed by, judging by his flat expression. And it was Cooper Cole’s eyes that settled on Fletcher first, one eyebrow raised in question. Fletcher would just make out his murmured question - "Yours or mine?" - before Absinthe's eyes lifted to settle on him. His expression mild and impossible to read.


He forced himself to straighten up, meeting the actor's eyes with, well, not exactly confidence, but at least not outright fear.  "Congratulations on the premier.  You looked good up there."  Which was true.  The story hadn't quite flowed, but Cooper had down a good job with what he'd been given, and that certainly counted for something.

His gaze drifted to Absinthe, trying to read his expression and failing.  Trying to gauge how welcome his presence was in that moment.  Trying to parse out what that murmured comment from Cole could possibly have meant.


"I look better not in blue face paint." but it was amused more than it was honestly self deprecating - and a bit flirtatious, definitely. He raked a look over Fletcher. "I know you."


Ginger brows arched at the tone, arched a little more at the look, genuinely surprised.   "You do?"  People on the street recognizing him was a normal occurrence for him, but he still wasn't used to it from other...celebrities.  It didn't feel like the right label, but it'd serve.

Another quick little flick of his eyes back to Absinthe.  He hadn't said anything yet, and that was making the musician nervous.


"There was a party..." He fished for the memory, rubbing at the line of his jaw. And while Fletcher and Cooper Cole spoke, Absinthe just...watched. Sipped at his drink. And looked just faintly, amused. "I remember Fireball Whiskey going around and then something stronger and then I got out. The wrong kind of publicity for my image."


That got a nod, a press of his lips, and his fingers twitched where they remained buried in his back pockets.  "At a warehouse?"  It was the last big party Fletcher had been in attendance at, so that was more than likely the one.  "I don't think we met officially."  Not that he could remember, which didn't mean it didn't happen...  "Odd question, but when you saw me there was I wearing a shirt?"


"...ah. No. I didn't go to that one." Cooper Cole rolled his shoulder slowly, and maybe there was a disapproving edge behind his expression now. "I knew that one would be bad for my image from the get go."


If not from there, then which party?  Fletcher's head tilted subtly as he thought about it, but he'd been doing everything in his power to not be present up to that point that everything was mostly a jumble.  "Good move on your part.  I didn't stay the whole time, and heard after the fact that a lot of shady shit was going down and the host's landed himself in quite a lot of trouble."

He was very aware of Absinthe standing there, and he wondered if the warmth he felt radiating faintly on that side of his body was real or just in his head.


Cooper Cole caught the direction of his eyes, then, and half turned. "Oh. I've been rude. Have you met Rowan?" And the second the name was on him, green eyes cut to him with a brief wave of fury. Most men would melt at that look. Cooper Cole just grinned. "Oh. Well. Now you have."


Fletcher caught the fury but could see no reason for it other than now he had an actual name to place with that lovely face.  It got the briefest flicker of a questioning look, but he turned back to Cooper, smile disarmingly pleasant.  "We crossed paths at a party a few months ago, discussed music."  Back to Absinthe--Rowan.  "Good to see you again."


Rowan rumbled, smoothing his expression out into something almost painfully bland. And he said nothing yet. Instead Cooper Cole grinned wider, looking back to Fletcher. "Oh, you're that musician."


There was more going on that Fletcher could suss out, and it had him curling his fingers enough to catch his nails against the inside stitching of his pockets.  He didn't know if he could carry on pretending like he didn't notice anything amiss, or if he should address it, and for a moment he just watched Rowan's face until Cooper's question drew him back, smile twitching back into place.  "Depends on which musician you mean."


"A valid point." He patted Rowan on the shoulder,  which seemed like a move that could take his hand off. He didn't seem worried about it. "He put up a lot of capital for the movie."


That got an interested look, gaze sliding from one to the other.  "Did you know each other before that?"


"For a few years." Cooper Cole's eyes were bright, catching Fletcher's - and for a moment he was very attractive, the light catching him just so, his shirt unbuttoned just the right amount - and then Rowan cleared his throat and it shut off. "He helped me get set up in the industry."


There was a moment where Fletcher couldn't seem to look away, gaze lingering longer than he intended or even realized.  Rowan clearing his throat made him blink, brows twitching as he shook his head.  "That was fortunate."  The smile returned a beat later.  "Now we get to watch you having interstellar adventures on the big screen."


He shook his head a bit, waving it off. "I don't think there'll be a sequel." And then his eyes cut to Rowan and his smile quirked up again, like he couldn't help it. Like he enjoyed the prickly annoyance. "Do you want a drink, musician?"


"Maybe not, but more movies for you, nonetheless."  Poor writing or editing didn't take away from good acting.  There might be a lull, but Cooper would be back on screen soon enough.

The offer of a drink had him glancing back at Rowan.  "A Moscow mule, if it's not too much trouble."  One drink into the evening and he was damn near sober still.  Another wouldn't hurt, especially not with avoiding the bathroom and the blow.


"And you?" He looked to Rowan -- and smiled at the wash of annoyance, clear as day before Rowan managed to settle it down. He held up his champagne, barely half drunk, meaningfully.

Cooper Cole shook his head, patted Fletcher on the shoulder on his way past, and almost immediately caught someone else's attention, sliding across the room and into a different conversation. It was doubtful he'd be back with any drinks.


Cooper's departure was met with a friendly smile, Fletcher watching him walk off and immediately into another conversation. Which was fine.  The actor seemed nice enough, at least at the surface, but Fletch wasn't blind to the way he'd been poking and prodding, nor to Rowan's responses to it, subtle though they may be.

Fingers pressed harder against the thick seams lining the edges of his pockets, gaze dipping to his boots for a second or two before he was looking up at the shorter man.


For his part, Rowan tapped fingers light against the edge of his glass, the sound ringing quietly, and watched until Cooper Cole was gone. Then his eyes resettled onto Fletcher, nakedly assessing. "You seem almost sober."


It wasn't a chuckle but it was close, lips tugging back in a quick grin.  "Damn close to it."  And apparently staying that way for the moment, since Cooper probably wasn't coming back.  "I had a drink up stairs before something pulled me away from the bar."


One more little beat -- and he shifted the glass, carefully, to beckon Fletcher in closer with two fingers. The gesture was the same. But the smell, a bit different: dryer, hotter, less the start of summer and more the height of it. "Let's see."


Now he pulled his hands from his pockets, fingers flexing, and lowered them to his sides as he turned, stepping in closer.  Not touching, but barely resisting the temptation to.  Certainly within easy reach.


Rowan put those fingers under his jaw to tip his head, to take in his pupils, his own eyes narrowed. "I'm surprised you're here, and not hiding out."


Warm.

Just that small touch made him shiver and he looked back at Rowan with eyes half lidded.  After so long, and considering everything leading up to it, he'd begin to wonder if he'd just imagined the feel of the man's skin.

He licked his lips at the comment, considered something witty to toss back, discarded it.  "I've been looking for you."


"Unsuccessfully, so far." It was easy, his own expression faded back to something relaxed and mild, hard to read -- the tension gone. Fletcher obviously didn't get under his skin the way Cooper Cole did. "If you'd been smart, you could have gotten the license plate."


"Hindsight."  Though even if he hadn't been drunk the idea likely wouldn't have occurred to him.  Who owned their own limo?  Rowan, apparently.

"You're hard to find."


"I'm easy to find, if you know the right people." He took his hand back and downed the rest of the champagne in one go. "You follow a different crowd."


He swayed forward with the departure of warm fingers, like he was trying to savor the feel of them. "So I learned."  But here he was, just as Fletcher had given up hope of actually finding him.


He set the glass down with a clink, appraising look dragged over Fletcher again. "You're nearly last month's news, you know."


Since he didn't know what to say to that he said nothing, just watched instead, as the sweep of green eyes brought a splash of color to his face.


And Rowan smiled just a little, breathing out. It was obviously easier to settle into his role without Cooper Cole there ribbing him. "It's not a good thing?"


The prompting made him fidget, more nervous this time around, either from the almost sobriety or knowing what was at stake if he fucked it up again.  "It is.  I mean I'm glad I'm not..."


Rowan shrugged at that, adjusting his tie and dragging his eyes off of Fletcher to the crowd beyond. "Have you done anything useful?"


"Started writing again."  He'd been touting on about a solo album for months now, his manager hounding him to actually start it if for no other reason than to keep himself occupied.  "Working on my album."


"Are you?" The surprise in his tone was a bit unkind, eyebrows raised.


Fletcher blinked, drawing in a breath like he meant to protest the tone but let it out when he really couldn't argue with the surprise.  "Yes."

12
Roleplaying / Hide and seek [Beau and Fletcher]
« on: January 18, 2020, 08:18:20 PM »
The morning after the party Fletcher had woken up feeling twitchy, anxious, exhausted to the point of feeling ill, and his fucking jaw hurt.  But that had totally been worth it.  He'd put the tie on his dresser, carefully folded.  The shirt had ended up in Fletcher's bed, residing there until the earthy, woodsy scent had faded from the expensive fabric.  Then it'd been hung up.

Then he'd had every intention of going about his usual business.  Problem was, the fair featured, green-eyed man lingered.  Fletcher caught himself thinking about Absinthe at odd times, and when it happened enough he'd bowed to the inevitable and started making some calls.

A lot of calls.

Over a months worth of calls and phone tag and fishing for information until he’d managed to get the number of the young man that'd run the party.

Now it was just a matter of getting a hold of him.


He was remarkably hard to get pinned down. The number wasn't that hard to get, but no matter how often he called, it didn't seem that Abbot Eastoft would answer his calls.

And he didn't call back.

But some more calls would definitely pin down a friend of his who could be coerced into giving Fletcher a few of Beau's usual haunts. A couple bars. Three of the classes he was taking at the local college.



Taking the host down at the bar seemed the more appealing, but Fletcher really didn't feel like resisting temptation at the same time, so he'd opted to linger outside one of the lecture halls, waiting for one of Beau's classes to let out so he could finally pin him down.

It seemed straight forward enough, and the bassist knew his way around campus, but the last time he'd been there he'd been a student himself, not a recognizable figure in the media, and he had to keep dealing with people coming up to see if he was indeed Fletcher Lewis, formally of Tuck Fhis.

He kept interactions brief but friendly, checking his phone often for the time.  Any moment now...


At the party, Beau had been an icon of fashion: done up in a floor length coat and a silk scarf, dripping in necklaces and with artful curls. He'd been lazy confidence and careless indifference. He hadn't been cool the way Absinthe had: instead he'd been cool the way twenty-somethings are, too good for the world around them.

As he came out of his philosophy class, though, it was hard to recognize him. in two months, his hair definitely hadn't been cut, and it barely looked like it had been washed. The bags under his eyes were dark and heavy, his complexion sallow under what was half a beard's worth stubble.

The fashion gone, too. Instead he wore pajamas. And slippers. And a bath robe.


The contrast made him hard to spot and Fletcher damn near missed him, only realizing it was him when he turned his head just so. "Who's the disaster?"  It was mumbled under his breath as the bassist slipped into the departing crowd, weaving his way through with the grace of someone used to performing.

"I need to talk to you."  Not a question.  Remarkably direct for the redhead, but he'd been trying the polite methods for literal weeks now.


That got a slow blink up at him, the books under his arm adjusted -- so he could scratch, uncomfortably, at the inside of one wrist. "Who are you?"


Fletcher gestured off the path so they weren't blocking the foot traffic.  "Fletcher Lewis, I was at your party at the warehouse.  I'm trying to find another guest."


Beau let out a sharp sound of annoyance: not charming at all, not attractive in the slightest. But he also let Fletcher guide him off the path, shoulders rolling. "You and everyone else. What happened?"


Ginger brows shot up as he blinked.  "A hook up, I didn't get a name or a number,  he sort of challenged me to track him down."  It had sounded so much more reasonable in his head.  Out loud it just seemed a little pathetic.


Beau's response probably made it worse. He stared at Fletcher flatly, very still, fingers curled around his wrist. And when he spoke, the tone was even worse. "...you're pissed....because your hookup beat out on you."


Another blink.  "Pissed?  No, I'm not pissed."  How did he explain this without it sounding...well, desperate.  Because that's what it honestly was, Fletch knew that, he just couldn't seem to help it.

"Look, he had blonde hair, long, ridiculous green eyes.  On the shorter side, really attractive, had an air about him."  He huffed out a sigh, looking away as he reached up to scratch at his cheek awkwardly.  "He made finding him again like a game..."


"An air about him." It was huffy, his attention sliding off of Fletcher to the people moving around them. Beau still looked tired. And now he looked a bit annoyed. "Like what? Like he glowed? Like you couldn't say no? Hypnotic eyes?"


Things had taken a strange turn conversationally, but it was moving forward.  "Like..."  He frowned, thinking back, and after a moment there was color spreading over his cheeks.  "Warm, almost feverish warm.  His skin felt like it was alive, it made my hands tingle."  More than his hands.  The blush darkened.  "He had this really sweet wine with him, might have been home brewed?  Really strong."


Beau rubbed at his face, and as he did, the sleeve of his robe pushed up, revealing a flash of chain tattoo around one wrist. It looked angry, fresh. "Man, I invited everyone to that party. And everyone else invited everyone else. I was the catalyst, but fucked if I know who anyone was or what happened..."


"So you don't..."  He looked disappointed, shoulders sagging a bit, and the downward dip of his eyes caught and held the tattoo. "Ouch, that looks infected."


"There's no guest list." It was abrupt, and really frustrated now: angry, he seemed, whether it was fair or not. "But you're probably in over your head. Go home."


Taken aback by the tone, Fletcher actually stepped back.  "Er, sorry."  He wasn’t sure what else to do, where else to go.  He'd hit a dead end.  "Sorry for bothering you."  Fingers twisted in the worn cuffs of his hoody sleeves, nervous, fidgety.  Twitchy.


Beau drew in a slow breath at Fletcher's almost flinching tone, closed his eyes -- and when he opened them again, he just looked tired, really. "I'm just. Fucked. And if I help you out I'll be more fucked. But maybe come back in a couple months and I won't care anymore."


His head dipped, shoulders up a little.  He didn't look like the confident musician everyone knew from in stage or at parties.  "A couple of months," he repeated it with a sigh, fingers twisting even tighter.  A nervous habit expounded by what felt an awful lot like the first stirrings of withdrawal, but that couldn't possibly be the case.


"Who knows, maybe I'll be tired of all this -" He gestured, and maybe he meant the school, or the city, or the planet. "Sooner than that."

"Right."  He'd glanced around at the gesture but was focused back in Beau's tired face.  "Okay.  I'll let you get back to your classes."  A muscle jumped in his jaw as he said it, something tightening inside him as he turned to leave.  Like defeat, maybe.  He'd just exhausted his last resource.

13
Roleplaying / Unwilling muse [Rowan x Fletcher]
« on: January 18, 2020, 07:19:37 PM »
The party was exceptional. Even after two days, the crowd was wild and enthusiastic; the alcohol flowed, as did the food, and the sweets; music thrummed through every inch of the warehouse. It had been converted into spaces that could be used for whatever people wanted or needed. Downstairs, in the biggest open area, a dance floor, where the bass beat pounded off of the floor and echoed off of the ceiling and people thrashed to the sound. The bar in one corner was staffed -- by a couple of people who looked a bit bewildered but willing enough. Beau himself held court in one of the upper rooms, an open space filled with couches and tables, just quiet enough for conversation but still twined through with music.

In the back, games, enough room for whatever people wanted to do. At one point, there'd been an impromptu flag football. Tonight, it was cards, set up on the floor, and spirits were high.

And, of course, there was a quieter area, too. A place where people who'd imbibed too much -- or imbibed something strange -- could curl up on couches or cushions and relax, melt into the floorboards or fill their appetites.


It was exactly the sort of party a person going through an emotional upheaval would dive right into, and that's what Fletcher Lewis had done.  Two months after the separation of his band, five weeks after his last attempts to get Mal to change his mind and come back, and it was safe to say the bassist wasn't handling it all that well.

Being sober meant facing a crumbling reality, so the redhead had been doing everything in his power to avoid it.  Pills were his preferred, but when those weren't available he'd turn to drink, and when things got really bad he'd jump down the rabbit hole with something stronger.  Here it was easy enough to find all three.  It was the entire reason he'd bothered with showing up.

Problem was the entire scene reminded him painfully of parties he'd go to with Mal and Lacey, and for the last twenty-four...ish hours he'd be stuck in a vicious cycle of being blitzed out of his mind and a complete emotional wreck.

At some point he'd found his way, or been led, to the quiet room with the couches and the cushions.  He was curled up on the latter now, shirtless somehow, with his boots unlaced and his hair a complete rumpled mess, but he was sleeping, finally.

Or maybe passed out.


This wasn't a safe place to pass out. It was wild, it was fun, but the one thing it wasn't was safe. Beau Eastoft had invited everyone and everything he knew, and that included unsavories. Even just a few days into it, there had already been one girl who woke up with a strange hickey and a sense of disorientation.

He did nothing about it. He was just the guy who made the place happen, not the boss. He didn't have control over this thing, he'd just given it life.

So it was a miracle that Fletcher wasn't eaten up and spit out again -- that instead he got the opportunity to sleep for a while. Hours, if he wanted. All day, if he needed. And when he woke up, the quiet room would be mostly empty.

There were two girls off in one corner having an intense, quiet conversation, one of them half in tears. There were a handful of other people dozing draped over each other, in warm piles. There was, inexplicably, a giant dog that looked almost like a wolf with its head on a young man's knee.

And perched in a chair right beside Fletcher, dressed in dark green and gold paisley with a black tie and very expensive black loafers crossed near Fletcher's face, was a young man, nursing a drink the same bright green as his eyes.


It was one thing to wake up in a strange place you didn't recognize when the body beside you was warm and familiar and grounding.  It was quite another when it was a stranger, or in this case, the was no one else there.  Sort of.

Fletcher blinked blearily at the pair of pricey shoes a few inches from his face, tipped his head back to follow the legs attached to them up to the body they belonged to, and winced as a spike of pain shot through his temples.  "Fuck, ow."  An obvious hangover.


"You should drink more water,” said the man with what was probably absinthe -- settled lightly on his knee, now, the glass elegant and old fashioned. It suited him, in his suit and tie, with long hair bound into a complicated arrangement down his spine and silver rings on three of his fingers. But more so his face, too pretty -- and a bit hard to look away from.


He rolled, groaning as he pressed the heels of his palms against his eyes.  It stretched him thin, showered off all that lean, long body.  Pale and littered with freckles, with a splash of a water color tattoo on his collarbone.

Moving felt like a challenge.  "That'd be great, do you have some?"  He dropped his hands, the pain subsiding enough to finally look up at the owner of the voice and that too made him blink, startled maybe.


"Do I look like your butler?" He smiled as he said it, though, a little quirk of his lips; wry and mocking. After a breath, his eyes cut away, around the room. If they'd been somewhere busier, he might have summoned someone to come help. But as it was, the place was too quiet. There wasn't really anyone to boss around.


"Not a butler, no."  His nose wrinkled as he said it, almost a smile.  "Hallucination, maybe."  He didn't look quite real.  Too pretty, too coordinated.  Like high fashion and high fantasy had a bender one night and this mystery man was the result.

With a yawn Fletcher smoothed both hands through his hair to tame it back, then moved to fold them over his chest, only to blink and lift his head enough to look down at himself.  "What happened to my shirt..?"  He'd had one before, or at least he thought he had.  That questioning thought showed loud and clear across pinched features before the angle got the better of him and he had to lower his head again.


"You never had one, so long as I've been here." His eyes raked down as he said it, over the freckles on Fletcher's stomach, just a smidge lower, and then back up again. "It was part of the appeal."


Oh.

"How long have you been here?"  And how long had Fetcher been out?  He didn't have a clue.  Did he have his phone on him still?  With a thoughtful frown he patted at his sides until he felt the familiar shape of the thin phone in one of the back pockets.  He didn't bother digging it out, instead looking back up at the man with the bright green eyes.  "What day is it?"


"Monday." He sipped at his drink, rolling his shoulders a bit and adjusting his posture; legs just a little more spread, head tipped so hair spilled over his shoulder, rings tapping against the glass. "It's after dark. What are you on?"


"Shit."  He'd been there longer than he’d thought.  Longer than it felt like, honestly.

The second question required a bit of thought, a bit of focusing on his own body before he flicked baby blues up again.  "Nothing currently, I don't think."  He didn't feel high or drunk or impaired in any way, which was a bit problematic.  "But uh, molly, I think.  I don't remember."


"Water, then." He flicked his eyes toward the corner -- there was a table with cakes and cookies and donuts on it. Or what had once been; by now, most of them had been dug into, broken in half, or squashed. "There's a little fridge over there."


It might as well have been a mile away with the way Fletcher stared across the room at it after rolling into his stomach.  Water meant clarity, and he didn't want that.  However, he also wanted his head to stop hurting enough to go find something to drink, or snort, or swallow.

Rising up on hands and knees was a task and came with a mumbled "fuck me," as the world tilted a little.  But he did eventually get to his feet, stumbling only a little, and catching himself on the back of the chair the mystery man was sitting in.


It made him smile, just a tiny bit: a quirk of his mouth that was hard to read, his head tilted back to look up at Fletcher. "You should get me something sweet, too."


He'd do it unquestioningly, bright eyes scanning the table for anything left that might be appealing even as he got himself a bottle of water from the fridge.  The only thing left that hadn't been picked over completely or demolished were a few lingering bonbons, so the bassist grabbed one(white chocolate with red sprinkles), offering it down to the other man as he made his way back to the cushions with the intent to return to bonelessly sprawling.


There was a definite glitter in his eyes as he tipped his head back and opened his mouth.


That made him stop, brows arching as he looked down.  "Oh."  Not exactly normal, but there was very little about the party that was, and as far as Fletch could remember the people in attendance ran a bit on the unique side.

So it didn't seem that strange, holding the treat close enough to brush the bud of the other man's lower lip so he could take a bite.


He took the whole thing, instead, and a nip of Fletcher's fingers, absently crossing one ankle over the other man’s foot. And the point of contact was -- lulling, soothing. It made the edges of things go a little sparkly.


The nip was a little startling, made his hand twitch without jerking back, but he did give the man in green a questioning look.

And he did feel better.  Not great, but better than he'd woken up, but he'd attribute that to just getting up and moving around.


"I know you." He spoke around the mouthful, which was an odd contrast to his put together elegance. "Don't I?"



With his hands free again he cracked the bottle open and took a drink, considering how to answer that question.  "Possibly, depends on what kind of music you listen to, or if you pay attention to social media news..."


"Social media news." He said it with a flicker of disgust behind it, chewing and swallowing -- and reached up, idly, to undo his tie. It put a healthy dose of smooth neck on display.


Blue eyes dipped inexorably down, and Fletcher seemed to lose track of what they were talking about for a moment.  "Um."  He frowned, brows creasing and eyes closing before finally getting back on track.  "I'm a bassist, the band I was in was all over social media a few months back."  Which was as much as he was going to say about it willingly.


"Oh, yes." He swiped at the corner of his mouth, too -- there was nothing there, but he did it anyway -- and then washed down the last of the sweet with a good sip of his drink. "And now you're here, destroying brain cells to forget."


His attention twitched up to his mouth, but he turned away at the question with a small, inarticulate sort of noise.  Which was as good a confirmation as words, and had the benefit of being the truth.


"Do you have enough to spare?" He smiled again as he said it, maybe to take the sting out. It didn't entirely work.


That pulled him back around and he looked down at the man with a gauging, thoughtful look as the fingers of his left hand sank into his front pocket. "I think that'd depend on what you're after, high wise."


When his own eyes dragged down, it was slow and unabashed -- raking over Fletcher's belly button and down to where his hand disappeared into his pockets. "I wasn't expecting you to expound on Socrates and Plato."


Oblivious though Fletcher may be, he hadn't missed that, and color darkened pale cheeks and the long line of his neck.  It made him laugh, a little awkward, self conscious huff of something that wasn't quite amusement, but he pulled the little baggy of brightly colored pills from his pocket.  "I mean, if you like uppers I've got plenty to share."


"Oh, honey." His smile shifted all at once, surprised and amused. He set his glass down and leaned forward a little. "I was talking about the brain cells."


He hadn't caught the joke, not until the other man pointed it out, and the blush darkened, gaze skirting away. "Oh, heh.." It wasn't something he would have missed before, but he was very certainly not at his best lately.  Sleep deprived, strung out, broken.


Rowan hooked two fingers into one of the straps on Fletcher's pants to draw him in a step closer. "Those'll serve in a pinch, but I bet I could do better."


It was unexpected for a number of reasons and the bassist stumbled a little, pitching forward, before catching himself on the chair over the other man's shoulders.  Little baggy still held between long fingers.  "Really?  This shits pretty strong."  Not arguing, bantering.


"I already ate all that sugar, I'm not sure I want to put more junk into my body." As he said it, he trailed fingers lightly down Fletcher's abdomen. It prickled and softened the edges of things again, drew all focus onto him.


There wasn't a whole lot he could say about that, which was just fine with how completely distracting the soft downward trail of those fingers along freckled skin was.  It would have shut him up pretty effectively regardless.

The muscles in his stomach jumped, goosebumps rolling up along his sides and down his arms.  Fletcher said nothing, did nothing.  Stood still and quiet, eyes following the motion of the mystery man's hand.


He smiled again, his own eyes going up to Fletcher's face and eyebrows raised just a little. "I have an hour or two."


An hour or two of distraction.  A chance to hand over control and care and worries and just let go.  Fletcher licked his lips as he thought it over, not that there was much to think about.  "Where?"


His smile widened just a touch, fingers still grazing light -- hot -- at the top of Fletcher's waistband. "You've been in a limo before, I'm sure."


He pushed with his fingertips to shift himself back just a little, enough to make it easier to watch those warm fingers teasing low on his stomach.  "Mmhmm."


He hooked his hand into the front of Fletcher's pants, then, and used it to haul himself upright -- which meant he was pressed flushed against him, chin tipped just a little, not quite mouth to mouth. "I could call one around."


He shivered at the slip of warm fingers against bare skin, arms tensing to brace against the other man pulling himself up.  Chest to chest the blonde was shorter, but that didn't matter.  There was an energy about him that Fletcher found incredibly appealing.  Familiar in all the best ways.

"Whatever works best for you."  And he meant it, not unfamiliar with exhibition when the situation fell in that direction.


"It's dirty here." He caught Fletcher's jaw in surprisingly strong fingers to tip his head, to take in the lines of his cheeks -- the color of his eye. It wasn't quite the way someone might look at a horse, but it was close. "And I can fetch you a new shirt."


The strength and command in those almost delicate seeming hands struck a chord with the bassist, and he moved easily, pliant.  Breath catching and eyes lidded.  "Whatever you want."  It'd thrown an internal switch, established clear roles, and Fletcher had always been so very good at following directions and order.


His smile went shark like as he pushed Fletcher back one step from the chair, off-balance. But he was also strong enough to keep him upright. "Do you sing, as well?"


Fingers slipped from the back of the chair to light on paisley print shoulders as he was pushed, balance off, back arched.  "Yes."


"Maybe I want to hear you sing, then." One more breath of them near flush against each other, Fletcher's skin prickling everywhere they touched, before he pulled away -- sliding off his tie and tucking it into his pocket. Briefly, he pointed to where the vintage glass sat near one leg of the chair. "Pick up my glass."


He'd do it, holding the glass carefully in thin fingers.  A little breathless, a little dazed, and if his pants hadn't been so tight and restrictive more than a little excited.

With a little distance he could breath again though, and he tucked his water under his arm so he could stash the molly back in his pocket.


His new friend was already starting for the exit -- stepping over the wolf-like dog and undoing the top button of his shirt as well. But he'd pause at the doorway to beckon Fletcher after with two fingers.


Fletcher was watching him with his head tilted, brows arched as his focus dipped to the undone button, the tie in his pocket.  A man that didn't believe in wasting time, so it seemed.  That was fine.  The redhead fell into step behind him after the beckon, unscrewing the cap of his water so he could take another, longer drink.


"Tell me your name." It wasn't quite a question -- and it came with a sideways slant of his eyes back toward Fletcher that was sly.


"Fletcher," he chuckled lowly.  "But you already knew that."  Maybe he'd just wanted to hear Fletch say it, though.  A power play.  Didn't matter.


"Fletcher what?" It was smooth. Maybe he genuinely didn't know the details, or didn't remember. He dug out a phone as he headed toward the back door.


The music was louder as they moved through the warehouse, and Fletcher looked like he might have forgotten where exactly he was.  That it was a party, and there were more people around than just the man in the suit and himself.  It distracted him a bit, slowed his answer.  "Lewis."


"Fletcher Lewis." Even through the noise, his voice cut: and when he said Fletcher's name, it was like chimes. Like a promise, or like a bargain. He licked his lower lip as he got a side door into the alley.


There music faded, or seemed to, the volume less overwhelming as he followed in the shorter man's wake.  "What do I call you?"  Names weren't always necessary, but there was a symmetry to tit for tat.


That got a little rumble of a laugh, a look shown over his shoulder toward Fletcher. Outside it was -- quiet. Shockingly so. Quieter than it should have been, like there was a bubble, almost, around the place. "Do you need something?"


A frown appeared when it seemed his question would go unanswered, replaced instead by another.  "Need?"  The quietness that closed around them as they stepped outside was almost deafening, certainly startling.  Fletch glanced up at the building, head cocked at a thoughtful angle as he tried to puzzle out how that was possible.  It was an old building, it shouldn't have been that soundproof.


"What would you call me if you were writing a song?" He tucked the phone back into his pocket and half-turned to just watch Fletcher.


"Hmm."  It was an odd request, and almost anyone else probably would have pointed that out.  Instead, Fletcher seemed to consider it, gaze going unfocused as he leaned back against the wall, one hand hovering before him with the tips of thin fingers twitching out a beat.  Like he was hearing music that had nothing to do with the soft echoes of bass he could just barely pick up from the warehouse behind him.

His head cocked, lips parting, and after a moment of this baby blues sharpened back into focus, glancing down at the glass in his hand before looking up to the other man.  "Absinthe."  A fingernail tapped softly against glass.  "Not for the obvious reason."


"Not exclusively for the obvious reason." He slid his hands into his pockets, head tipped -- just waiting, quietly, like he was chewing it over. There was a rumble from the end of the alley, and that finally made him move, head turned to take in the limo on the street. White, of course. "You can use it for now."


14
Roleplaying / Cold Awakenings [Beau x Will]
« on: January 12, 2020, 10:43:32 AM »
Beau slept, but not for so very long; woke up a little after seven cold and slightly damp, wrapped up in the blanket. His coming inside might wake Will -- almost certainly would, in fact, since he went straight into the kitchen, still wrapped in the blanket, to poke around for food.


It made him jerk, head snapping up with the sound of the door opening.  He'd fallen asleep on his stomach with an arm dangling off the couch, but didn't seem to have slept soundly, or well.  There were dark circles under his eyes and his hair was a complete mess.  He blinked blearily at Beau in the kitchen before letting himself drop back against the cushion he'd used for a pillow with a loud groan.



And then Beau himself started -- hair wild and curly around his face, the damp making it tighten up, the blanket dropped around his feet. "...gods. Go to bed."



His arms curled up to thread gloved fingers through his hair, face pressing into the plush cushion as he grumbled out something along the lines of, "...what time is it?"



Beau exaggeratedly turned his arm to look at his bare wrist, and then looked back up at Will.



He wasn't paying attention, but the lack of an answer eventually had him lifting his head to squint at him, then the clock on the microwave.  Too. Damn. Early.  He visibly cringed before sinking down again.



"Uh huh." He hesitated, like he'd been caught in the act -- like he maybe should hide it -- but instead he just opened the fridge to at least drink a glass of milk. "So go to bed."



He should, and now that Beau was inside he didn't really have an excuse not to slink off down the hall and hole up in his room.  Well, no reason other than it would take a lot of effort, and he didn't have it in him just yet.  Instead he rolled onto his side and dragged the cushion over his head.



Beau made a sharp sound and poured a glass of milk, poked around for something sweet he could eat with it -- cookies, ideally. "Or don't."



If he opened enough drawers he'd find half a package of Oreos.  And given a few moments of relative peace deep, steady breathing would come from the man on the couch.



Beau huffed out a breath and slid past him to grab one of the books, taking his cookies and the milk off to his own room to sleep for another couple of hours. Until Will woke him, probably, now.



It'd be mid afternoon before Will woke up again, and another little bit before he actually climbed up and off the couch.  Still bleary-eyed, still looking exhausted.  He grabbed the bottle of scotch he'd left out the night before to put it away, then shuffled down the hall, stripping off clothing on his way to the bathroom.  A long shower made him feel a bit more human, but there were still circles under his eyes when he knocked on Beau's door.



Or maybe he was just hiding out. There was sound behind the door -- a hesitation -- and then he'd answer it, in just his pajama bottoms, squinting at Will. His expression was wary. "More crime scenes?"



Will had a pair of sweatpants and a tee shirt on, but he was barefoot, his gloves held in one hand.  Hair damp and swept back.  "Do you want some eggs?"



"Are eggs the only option?" He shrugged at Will, folding arms across his chest.



"No."  He scratched at his forehead with the edge of his thumbnail as he leaned against the wall.  "Not if something else sounds better."


"Something real?" He squinted up at Will. "Even a really good sandwich. We could postmates, if I had access to my stuff."



"We can Postmates from my phone."  He looked down at him flatly, folding his arms across his chest.



That finally made Beau smile - like things were right when Will was annoyed at him. "Sure."



Then it'd be a good day for Beau, because Will didn't really have the energy for much patience.  He stared down at him another moment before pushing away from the wall and walking back towards his room to grab his phone.



Beau grabbed a tee shirt to haul on, and came out to putter around the living room barefoot, frowning at the couch.



Will had his phone up, gloves on again as he thumbed across the screen to pull up an app, when he noticed Beau frowning he stopped, brows arching.



He looked up,dragging himself into focus. "Sandwiches?"



"Sure."  He started moving again, went to sit at the counter, head resting in an upturned hand.  "From where?"



"Let me." He held out a hand, wiggling fingers at Will. "I'll find a good one."



He shot a look at him as he offered it over, pale eyes slightly narrowed.



Beau took it and leaned in against the counter, paging through slowly. 'Burger or sandwich? Hot sandwich?”



Hand free, he pressed his fingers to closed eyes, rubbing as he yawned.  "I don't care, you can pick.  I'm just hungry."



"Burgers." Will said it was up to him, so he took over - made the order, placed the order, then handed the phone back to Will. "35 minutes. Make some coffee?"



He'd eat almost anything, so that made things easy.  "Great."  He pulled the phone closer, grimaced faintly down at it, and then got slowly back to his feet so he could start coffee.  Not pre-ground, but actual beans he had to put in a grinder.



Beau seemed oddly upbeat, like he fed on Will's bad mood. "No work?"



He got the coffeemaker started and returned to his seat, arms folding on the counter and head lowering to rest on them, eyes closing.  "Later."



"Take your troubled twenty something to work day, again?" He shrugged, pulling away to go hunt down a hairbrush.



"I don't know yet."  If he could work from home then he'd do it, but there was going to be certain things he could only do in the field or at the office.  He tipped his head to press his face in against the cooler skin of is arms.



"Touching more corpses?" He raised his voice to be heard from the other room.



He didn't answer.  He had his brow resting on the counter, hands knit along the back of his neck.



It shut Beau up, as he came out to just look at Will, eyes narrowed. "You need a good pill to sleep. Or better yet, a spell..."



Will sighed heavily, half nodding against the granite before he lifted his head.  He looked grim, the easy annoyance faded out completely.  "I'm not supposed to be on active rotation right now."



Beau started to say something, but swallowed it instead - grabbing his cup to quick rinse it in the sink.



"I don't have anything here," he continued, turning his head to watch the coffee trickle into the pot.



"Don't know what you mean by that." He shrugged a tiny bit, poking at the fridge. "How about a soda?"



"I don't have anything here to help with sleeping, I don't usually need it when I'm not on field duty."  The trickle had turned into drips, slowed, then stopped completely.  Licking his lips, Will got up to pull a mug down from the cabinet.  "There's some soda in the fridge," he answered thoughtlessly, assuming Beau was asking for himself.


"Uh huh." He'd dig around until he found something -- more interested in that than coffee, right now. He'd pour it into a cup, though. "I can't help you. Some cop would have been weird if I'd brought drugs with me."



He shook his head.  "I wasn't asking for help, just explaining."  Coffee in hand, he reclaimed his stool and brought it up to sip at it cautiously.



"It's not much of an explanation; I had a pharmacy available for no real reason." He shrugged just a little, leaning back against the counter. "....because I'm my mother's son I guess."



"I don't refill the prescription unless I actually need them."  He grimaced into his mug.  "But I might have to reconsider that."



"Or just tell them to fuck off when they ask you to touch dead bodies." He said it completely honestly -- straightening to poke in the freezer to add some ice to his drink.



He blinked, brows dipping as he lifted his head to look across the kitchen at the other man.  "It's my job, It's important."



"That's kind of self-centered."  Which, of course, was the pot calling the kettle black -- but. "As if no one else could handle it."



"Of the clairvoyants with the BP,  I see the most."  Not a brag, he actually sounded unhappy about it.



"I thought magic was a crutch." It sounded just a tiny bit smug. "They should be able to manage without it."



He opened his mouth, closed it again, and just stared stonily back at him before a muscle jumped in his jaw and he looked down at his coffee.



He dropped the ice into his drink, seeming in particularly good spirits; the fresh air, the sleep, and Will's bad mood mixing. And then the burgers would arrive. with shakes; one cookies and cream and one chocolate. They could fight over them.



Will was quiet after that, just drank his coffee and tried not to think too much while Beau answered the door to get the food.  It'd help, he had a headache throbbing in his temples that had only gotten stronger since he'd gotten out of the shower.



Beau sat down with one of the burgers -- cut it in half -- and then started to work on it, considering Will across the island. "Shouldn't've slept on the couch."



"Well, someone decided to fall asleep on the lawn."  He unwrapped his burger, peeling back the top bun to see what was on it.  "It seemed like a good idea to stay close."



That got a snort, around a mouthful of milkshake; he swallowed carefully. "What, in case a bear attacked me?"



"Incase anything set off the wards."  He shrugged, picking his burger up to take a bite.



"Like a bear." Except his mouth was full again, so it came out muffled.



He just rolled his eyes and kept eating.  The food was good, at least.  Pain in the ass that he was, Beau had good taste.



The milkshake was especially good - good enough that Beau drank pretty much all of it, even if he only ate half the burger before leaning back.



Will finished his burger, but that wasn't surprising.  He balled the wrapping up before rolling to his feet to toss it in the trash, gaze flicking over his gloves before he dragged them off with a sigh and tucked them into his pocket.



"What do you see if you touch the burger?" He nodded toward his own, curious. "The cow? the production? the cook?"



"The cook, usually."  He didn't handle his food bare handed much.  His lips twitched as he pulled open a different cabinet to pull out a little bottle of Ibruprofin, something distracted flickering through his eyes as he popped the lid to spill a couple of tablets into his opposite palm.



"Why not the cow?  It's immediate?" He tried for lazy, but - it was obvious Beau was actually curious.



He frowned as he popped the tablets into his mouth and reached for the shake to wash them down.  "It's usually the most recent things I see first, and I don't hold onto food very long."



"What about when it's in your stomach?" He set his chin in his hand, watching Will.



He shook his head, frowning thoughtfully.  "Nothing.  Might have to be skin to get anything."



"You need to do controlled tests." Beau really did love this stuff.  It crept through the usual attitude.



His lips pressed in a thin line at that, and he reached for the shake again before pausing, fingers curling back just shy of touching the cup.  A faint sound, annoyed almost, and he pushed away from the counter to walk towards the hall, dragging the gloves out of his pocket as he went.



Beau watched him go, head cocked, and then watched his shake. Will had about five minutes before he'd steal it.



He was only gone a little over two, pulling on a new pair of gloves as he walked back out, grey this time, fingers stretched and flexing.  The glasses he hadn't been wearing all morning finally perched on his nose.



Beau flicked a look down to the gloves and then back up, taking his hand back like he hadn't been plotting. "The others smelled too much like me?"



That made him frown, gaze flicking up and away as he grabbed the shake again.  "No.  They got something on them from the burger."


"All about the hands." He tapped fingers against the counter, musing. "Did you meditate some?"



He took a long drink, stalling, before finally answering.  "Some."



Beau shook his head, then, just watching Will frown and fidget. "Did you go to college?"



"For a bit, I was going for forensics."  He'd peeled the lid off his shake and was stirring it with his straw before taking another drink.



"And when they gave you assignments, did you actually do the assignments?" There was a faux innocence to the way he asked, mocking.



The tone alone made him suspicious, pale eyes narrowing a touch at Beau.  "Yes."


"Or did you do them some." He set his chin on his hand, watching Will.


Will snorted softly, looking down into his cup.  "If I'd still been on college I'd have called in today," he shot back smoothly, straw rolling between his teeth.  "But it did help me get to sleep," he admitted after a moment, shrugging.



"Blocked energy," Beau said, like agreement maybe. His own eyes skated away -- maybe they'd gotten uncomfortably real again.



Will kept his gaze down, looking uncomfortable.  "Yeah, could be that."  Easier to agree than to think too deeply into it.



"Negative self image doesn't help." He said it in a familiar way, head cocked to the side. "If you're not comfortable with your own skin or confident in your own abilities...it's a negative loop."



That made him look up, watching Beau in a thoughtful way out the corner of his eye.



He blinked up at Will. "How many people have called it a curse?"



Sandy brows arched, then he frowned thoughtfully.  "Pretty much everyone in my family.  Gift gets tossed around a lot, but not in an entirely sincere way."  Being in the border patrol was the first time his abilities had been useful, valued.



"And so you treat it as an antagonist. Maybe it's just biting back." He stood, finally, brushing his hair back with a sigh.



15
Roleplaying / On call [Beau x Will]
« on: January 11, 2020, 05:35:54 PM »
It had maybe been a two hours after Will had gone to bed before his phone started to ring loud from the night stand beside him.  It woke him immediately, the sound startling him up, and he snarled a heartfelt curse at the damn thing when he pulled it in close enough to read the screen to see who was calling this late.

He knew the number, but it wasn't one that should have been calling him right now.  Not for another few months.  The fact that they were wasn't a great sign, and he sighed as he answered it.

About ten minutes later he was walking out of his room in jeans and a tee shirt, dragging on a black jacket.  His hair was all over the place, glasses falling off his nose, and had an odd look on his face that was halfway between pissed and anxious.



Beau should have been asleep; at this hour of the day, he should have been dead to the world, with his door closed and his expression peaceful. He wasn't.

Instead, he was on the couch with some of Will's books, looking zonked out, and eating something he'd found in one of the cabinets -- the closest he could find to chips. And when Will came out he froze, and looked guilty. A little.



Considering it wasn't the first time he'd found Beau midnight snacking it really want surprising, and especially not after what the younger man had said earlier.  He just blinked down at him, distracted, and stood there for a moment because he was a total loss for what to do.

If Beau had been asleep he probably would have left him there, not strictly on purpose, but considering the call he'd just received he likely wouldn't even have thought about it.  Now?  Now he wasn't sure, and it showed.

A moment to waffle, the muscle jumping in his jaw, then he sighed.  "We have to go.  Now."



"Where?" His mouth was full; he had to put his hand over it to keep chips from falling out.



"Crime scene."  He very clearly didn't like any part of this situation.



Beau blinked up at him, slowly, his attention turned away from Will to the book for a moment. Maybe he wanted to argue, but that definitely sounded better than being left alone here. So he got up (in his pajamas) and put on shoes.



His jaw was tight as he watched him, before Beau finally got to his feet to get his shoes on.  That got Will moving again, tugging his jacket into place as he stepped into a pair of loafers by the door.  You should probably bring the book."  It was more than likely going to take a while.  He clipped his SWBP badge on his belt and grabbed his keys.


"Uh huh." He looked at the books in a distasteful sort of way; he'd obviously already poke through some of them. "Wish you had some magazines."



"Next time."  It'd be easy enough to pick some up, but certainly not now.  He opened the door to usher Beau out and locked the door behind him, then walked quickly towards the car to drop into the driver's seat.



Beau grabbed whatever he'd been reading already with a sigh, and followed maybe a bit less quickly. "How are you this awake without coffee?"



"Because I know what's waiting."  He sounded down right grim as he started the car and started backing out, a hand on the back of Beau's seat as he twisted in his own.



Beau sank down and stretched out his legs, frowning up at Will -- watching his face. "I sure don't."



"You're better off not knowing."  It was definitive, eyes very steadily on the road.  Putting way more focus into driving than he needed to.



"Well, why're you bringing me, then?" He shrugged just a little, toying with the book in his lap.



That finally got him to look at the younger man and he gave him a look like it really should have been obvious.  "Because I don't trust you on your own just yet."



He shrugged the tiniest bit, frowning right back at Will. "So what, I sit in the car?"




"Yes."  There was another agent there waiting to keep an eye on Beau so Will could walk the scene.



"Honestly?" It was aghast, the frown turning into a full on scowl, now.



Will sighed impatiently.  "In or near.  You can't wander."  Not at an active crime scene.  For oh so many different reasons.



"You going to crack the windows at least?" It was sharply annoyed.



He didn't respond to that, just put this fill focus back on driving.  And it wouldn't take long to get to where they were going.  There'd be flashing lights visible two blocks away.  This late the crowd of looky-loos was scant, and there were officers moving from person to person to send them away.  Will drove up to park behind the ambulance that was sitting there waiting.

As he pulled the keys out, looking side long at Beau.  "Please, just stay here."  It was sincerely imploring.  Something about all this hd him on edge, and for the first time he actually looked genuinely anxious.



Beau crossed his arms and frowned up at Will. "So you can't leave me alone at home, but you can leave me here alone?"



That muscle in his jaw jumped again.  "You aren't going to be alone."  He opened his door and stepped out to lean against the top of the car, gesturing at someone standing against one of the other cars.  They straightened up to walk over, dark eyes flicking down to Beau before looking across to Will.  Their muffled voices didn't quite carry back into the car beyond the occasional word.

Will ducked his head back to glance at Beau once more as he shrugged off his jacket and tossed it onto his seat.  Then he was closing the door and walking purposefully across the lawn towards the house, his fingers flexing at his sides.



Beau scowled anyway, staring up at the new guy -- and new guy was either going to have to stay silent or he'd probably have a bad time. Beau wasn't exactly nice.



The new guy was middle aged, shorter than Will, and looked fairly nonplussed to be there.  He leaned against the back passenger side door and smoked while Will was inside.



Beau thought it over and eventually softened enough to ask for a cigarette, at least, while they waited. He could go for a smoke.



The agent wasn’t much for chatter or small talk, but he did give Beau a cigarette.

It'd take a while before anyone came out of the house, and it wouldn't be Will that came out first, but a long, black bag being wheeled out on a gurney to be loaded up into the back of the ambulance they were parked behind.



That perked Beau's attention -- made him look up from the book with eyebrows raised, made him straighten like he was thinking about going over to properly investigate.



The babysitter was watching the techs load up the body with a thoughtful frown, but he didn't do or say anything else, just stood there with his arms folded, waiting.

But he did straighten up maybe fifteen minutes later as more people finally came out, Will included.  He looked from grime and a little pale, the muscles in his throat working as he swallowed, and he was running the palms of bare hands against his own thighs.



Beau, sensitive as he was, looked up at Will -- smelling strongly of smoke -- and asked, "Who died?"



He didn't seem to hear him at first, head turned to watch the ambulance doors shutting, expression completely unfocused.  Then he blinked, pale eyes flicking down to Beau like he only just remembered he was there.  "What?"



He gestured toward the ambulance, sharply, unimpressed. "Who's in the bag?"



Sandy brows narrowed and Will shook his head, drawing his gloves free from where he'd tucked them at his waist so he could drag them back on with what might have been a relieved sigh.  "Get in the car, Beau."



He huffed out a breath, looking to the other guy as if to say can you believe him? as he turned back to the car.



To other guy shrugged before glancing over Beau's shoulder to Will, who nodded him off.  He walked away and Will slid into the car, started it, and then just sat there for a moment with his eyes closed and his hands wrapped around the steering wheel.



Beau thudded down into the seat, frowning hard again as he scrubbed at the line of his jaw -- where one of those little cuts was still giving him problems. "Was he torn up or something?"



Will nodded, drawing in a deep breath and holding it for a count of five before letting it out and opening his eyes again.  He still looked on the pale side, but he'd apparently collected himself enough to put the car in gear so they could get moving.


"Oh, well." Beau still didn't look that put out by it, just distracted -- head cocked -- thinking it over. "Did he deserve it?"


"No."  Not that.  He maneuvered them careful away from the scene and out onto the open roads back the way they'd come.  "It's going to get a lot worse."



Beau tapped fingers tightly on the driver's seat. "What the shit does that mean?"



Be hadn't meant to say it outloud and it made him hesitate before answering, licking at dry lips.  "It means people are going to die because he was being an idiot."



"Your sore spot." Beau maybe said it a bit too sharply; genuine frustration slipping past his dry teasing.



His jaw clenched, fingers tightening on the steering wheel as he exhaled sharply.



"He's dead, though." He shook his head a tiny bit, put a foot up on the dashboard automatically. "So at least you don't have to worry about that."



"No, it's already happening."  It was cryptic as hell, but there was only so much Will could say about it. "Him getting killed isn't going to stop it, it's just a means to an end."  And that made him grimace, something almost pained flashing across tanned features.



Beau shrugged, attention turned out the window. "But you don't have to lug him around and constantly find ways to make him feel bad about it."



Beau didn't see the surprised look Will shot him, or the shake of his head.  But he'd hear the exasperated sigh.



He tapped at his elbow, though, uncomfortably mulling it over. "This mean you get to foist me off onto someone else?"



"No, and if you're not under my care, you're back with your parents." It'd been his idea, his plan, and if something went wrong it was his neck on the line.




That got a twitch and Beau shut up immediately, just frowning out the window.



The silence was a relief, not that Will relaxed at all as he drove them home.  He was still tense as he pulled up the driveway and turned the car off.  Shoulders tight and expression unfocused again as he got out of the car and walked up to unlock the front door for them.



Beau sighed heavily as he followed, hands shoved into his pockets -- and wishing he had another cigarette. Or something. "You're not going in or something?"



"Not right now, but I'll have to later."  He needed to sleep, if he could manage it after that.  He ran his fingers through his hair as he followed Beau in and closed the door behind them, locking it again.



Beau just stood there squinting at him. "A good point. You look like shit."



He felt like shit, so he wasn't about to huff about the observation.  He did rub a hand along the back of his neck as he threw the jacket he'd barely worn on the back of a stool.  Then turned to lean back against the counter, head rotating in an attempt to loosen his neck.



He lingered there, uncomfortably, attention wandering around the place in search of anything else to focus on. "Did they just call you in to look at it?"



"Yeah," he said with a sigh, head tipping to let his gaze linger on the cabinet above the fridge, debating, a finger tapping against the side of the counter.


"Figures," was Beau's response, but it seemed almost -- consolatory? Almost. "Fuck magic til they've got a use for it, pretty much."



He turned his head to look back at him, expression hard to read, but Beau's comment seemed to have helped him come to a decision, because he pushed away from the counter to grab a lowball glass from the cupboard and a bottle from above the fridge.  Not wine this time, liquor.  His movements almost twitchy.



"Hmmm." Beau watched him do it, arms folded over his chest while he watched Will puttering around. "So what, exactly, do you do?"



He flicked a hand up, fingers wiggling at Beau before he poured himself a healthy measure of wha looked to be expensive scotch.  "Clairvoyant."  It came out flat and tired, pale eyes flicking up as he brought the glass up for a long drink.



Beau's eyes tracked the scotch like he was very thirsty. "Does that mean past, present, or future."



He curled his fingers around the bottle to drag it off the counter as he walked past Beau to the living room to sink down heavily into the spot on the couch he'd been sitting in earlier in the night.  "Past and present mostly."



Beau thought about it for a moment, and then followed -- not to sit on the couch, or in a chair, but to settle perched on the edge of the coffee table in front of Will. "Living things, or inanimate, or both?"



He looked up at Beau's face as he settled on the table in front of him, brows twitching thoughtfully before the question put a small frown on his face.  "Both." The bottle was set on the side table, but he still had the glass, and he brought it up for another drink.



He held out his hands, then, wiggling his fingers meaningfully -- an ask for Will's. "Since you were born? Puberty?"



He hesitated, the fingers of his free hand curling where it rested against the arm of the couch before he lifted it slowly to offer it out to him.  His gloves were black, tight and thin.  "Started when I was a child and got stronger through adolescence."



Beau took his hands and started to peel off one of the gloves, neatly and carefully. "Must make sex a bitch."



He was watching him almost apprehensively, or maybe suspiciously, brows drawn in and features thoughtful, but he didn't jerk his hand away.  "It's strongest through my hands, but it's still complicating "



"Oh god, it didn't even occur to me it might work through other parts of your body." He said it absently as he pulled the glove the rest of the way off.



He let out a little breath as the glove was pulled free and couldn't quite help an involuntary flex of his fingers.  His arm was tense, gaze fixed on Beau and what he was doing.



"How far back do you read?" He looked back up at Will as he carefully pulled the glove onto his own hand and went for the second one.



"It depends on the thing I'm touching, but the longer there's contact the more I get."  He licked his lips, transferring the scotch from one hand to the other with just a slight flicker of something in his expressing, so he could offer the other hand to Beau, curious frown more pronounced.  "The broach, the woman at the forge, that seemed 1800s."



Beau had to pause, blinking at him, before things kicked back into sense. He pulled off the second glove, carefully. "Ah. That makes sense, maybe. The gloves don't affect you?""



Again that reflexive finger curl, hand drawing back.  "No, they're charmed to be null.  And there's wards on this house to tone things down."



"Ugh." The idea of null gloves -- and the fact that he was hauling one on voluntarily -- made Beau pause. But then he finished, because it wasn't like it could make his life any harder. "Okay, give here, and spread your fingers. Is there any history of this in your family?"



"My grandmother, but she didn't do anything to protect herself.  Killed herself when my dad was a kid."  He couldn't even imagine what it had to have been like for her, powers manifested and nothing to keep out the rest of the world.  He put his hand out again, fingers spreading hesitantly as he took another drink.  Chasing a solid buzz to take the edge off.  "What are you doing?”



"Looking at your life lines." He smoothed his thumb up it, slowly, head cocked and hair falling into his face as he frowned down at Will's hand. "She had absolutely no control, either? Like you? Just a loose cannon?"



"I don't think so.  No one really talks about her much, and if there were others before her they don't get talked about either."  It implied a history of family shame where the gift was concerned.  "Why are you doing that?"



"All things can be controlled with the right kind of training." He still sounded absent -- but confident, tracking out one of the lines through the heel of Will's hand. "Has anyone ever tried to teach you?"



He shook his head, dragging his thumb along the side of the glass.  "Manage only.  Keep it under wraps."



"It's a curse." His tone was dry, mocking. "You just have to manage it. God, normies are so fucking predictable."



Curse seemed entirely accurate. His fingers twitched faintly as the glass rose again, but instead of taking a drink he just held it against the side of his head, eyes closing as Beau looked at his hand.



"It's probably tied to chakras. These things often are." He finally caught Will's hand to pinch down on a spot under his pinky finger. "Energy flow is blocked, maybe?"



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