It certainly hadn't sounded amicable but -- maybe it had been two people in a relationship having an argument. At least it left Rabi in a better mood, and maybe that'd linger until Saturday.The address was a house -- and a really big house, just far enough that Tucker would probably have to uber out. That or walk quite a ways from the train station. The community wasn't private, or gated, but the houses were far apart and all the same kind of expensive, with pools and curated gardens. Maybe not quite mansions, but it was close.
Getting to the house had been more of a pain in the ass than Tucker had thought it'd be. He'd had to take a train out, and an Uber from there, and as a college student with only a part time job he certainly didn't have unlimited funds. But he was there now, a little after twelve, with a bag slung over his shoulder with a few art supplies, just in case, and his project rolled loosely and held down at his side. Still feeling uneasy, he lifted the other hand to knock on the door.
There was no reply; in this neck of the woods, and considering the size of the place, he was probably going to have to ring the bell. In all honesty, he was probably lucky the driveway gate had been open.
He waited for a solid five minutes before he checked the time on his phone wnd reached up again to try the doorbell.
Past noon, now, which meant that he was late -- or Rabi was, but it was doubtful Rabi was going to see it that way. Still, another minute or two before he answered the doors, in paint splattered jeans and another near-see-through t-shirt.
"Uh, hi." He flicked a glance down to the jeans, the paint, then back up again, lips pressing into a thin, awkward line. "I tried to knock, but I don't think it was loud enough."
Somewhere in the distance there was music; a thrum of something heavy and shouting. Rabi cocked his head and then took a step back to let Tucker in. "I was on the other side of the house."
He hesitated before stepping inside, gaze jumping off Mahar ans past him at the sound of the shouting half muffled by music. "Is everything okay? I can come back a different time."
"I was just working." The guitar ratcheted up; maybe it was more screaming than shouting, now. Rabi shrugged a little; he was barefoot, and maybe it made him seem a bit more vulnerable.
Tucker glanced back again, not entirely convinced. "What's that sound?"
"Gwar." Rabi raised an eyebrow at him, maybe expectant.
"Gwar," he repeated, as if that's help him understand what that meant. It didn't. "And that is...?"
"Shock rock." He stepped back again, heading in that direction.
He blinked. "Oh." Just music. Stage music, but music. Tucker's lips twisted up on one side as he followed, head on a swivel as he looked around what he could see if the spacious house.
"I didn't expect you to recognize it; you seem more like a Jock Jams kind of guy to me." There was that bite again; but it was easier, now, thoughtless, without the sharp intention behind it. Rabi led him through a house that felt huge, and expensive, and strangely empty. Wherever he lived should have been crowded with art and color, it felt like, but instead this place was white. The furniture looked unlived in.
At this point Tuck was so used to the bite that he hardly noticed what little of it there was. Or maybe the music was just distracting. He followed along at Mahar's heels, gaze still flicking back and forth as they moved through or passed other rooms. "I listen to a lot of things," he defended almost absently. "But no, I don't recognize this."
It was getting louder -- overpowering -- as they moved through rooms toward an empty space filled with art supplies. This room felt out of place with the rest: the walls painted a bit darker grey, the floors covered with brown paper instead of pristine white rugs, and of course, Rabis work all over the place. All of it had that hot feeling: burning, reds and yellows. "Let's see your piece."
It was getting hard to think as they moved closer and closer to the source, the unfamiliar music jarring to the young man's senses. Bad enough that he barely seemed to register the request once they'd reached Mahar's studio. He turned blue eyes up to the older man, lingering there for a moment, before handing over the roll of heavy paper almost distractedly and looking back at one of the completed or in process pieces.
It was loud here, loud enough that Rabi had to raise his voice, and it certainyl would have been simpler if he'd just turned down the volume. But he didn't. Instead he clipped up Tucker's piece with a breath of a sigh out, folding arms over his chest as he surveyed it.
It wasn't just loud it was grating, and Tucker knew if he had to stand in the press of it much longer he'd be leaving there with a headache. But he didn't say anything yet, just waited uneasily as the other man clipped his project up and looked it over. Tucker looked at Mahar's work, keeping himself occupied that way. Taking in the details and the colors, the different textures. He didn't like the guy, he was an ass, but Tucker could see why he'd gotten the job.
"John's office is down the hall to the left, third door, with all the wood." It was absent, still looking over Tucker's work, his voice raised over the music.
The comment was random enough to be confusing initially. "What?" He turned back with a small frown.
"His office. With his desk in it." It was somewhere between amused and annoyed flicking a look over at Tucker.
Oh. Right. "What does the pin look like?" He couldn't say if he'd ever seen a hat pin before. "And it's just sitting on the desk?"
"It's probably in one of the drawers. And it's probably locked, but he leaves the keys around." He half-turned to grab a paintbrush and held it out toward Tucker. "It's about this big. With rubies."
That was a little more complicated than he thought Mahar had mentioned the first time, and that thought showed on his face as he glanced over his shoulder at the door then back again. "Where is he?" Why couldn't Mahar just do this himself?
"Laps, I think." He wiggled the paintbrush at Tucker. "Just put this in its place. He'll know what it means."
He took the paintbrush tentatively, glancing between it and Mahar. "And he's not coming back for a bit, right?" As much as the older man had said he could blame him if something happened, he'd rather nothing like that happen.
"He'll do an hour or two of laps." He leaned out to punch the pause button on his music -- an old ipod, beat, it stood out against the expense of the rest of the house.
So he had some time. That was good. Tucker sighed as he looked down at the paintbrush again and then walked out the door and into the hall, following the other man's directions down the hall to 'John's' office.
He'd recognize the office once he cracked a few doors: by the huge oak desk with a massive monitor on it, by the bookshelves covered in books that looked expensive and untouched, by the whiskey on a bar in the corner.
It felt safer to leave the door open behind him so he could listen for footsteps or voices or anything else that'd signal that he needed to get the fuck out of there. So with senses straining he began looking for keys, searching the top of the desk, surrounding bookshelves, pulling at the drawers in case any of them might be open and hiding the key.
It wasn't even that difficult: he'd find the key hung on a hook by the door, which maybe prompted the question as to why Rabi didn't just pull this prank himself.
The question had arisen before Tucker had even entered the office, but the young men hadn't voiced it. Hadn't wanted to risk things going back to how they had been, or worse. If pulling a prank would make it better, and no one got in trouble or got hurt, that seemed worth it.The key was plucked from the hook on the wall and Tucker started using it on the draws of the desk.
He'd open three or four -- one of them onto a pile of hundred dollar bills -- before he found one with the hairpin in it. And only the hairpin. It looked old, not medieval or western but something almost Asian. It came to a wicked point, with a design halfway between flowers and fire done in red rubies set into antiqued gold.It sat on black velvet. The point was strangely tarnished with dark red specks.
A couple of minutes of searching and he found it. It was old looking, maybe antique, and he reached for it carefully, the paintbrush in his other hand, poised to replace the pin as he picked it up gently.
He felt -- something -- when he picked it up. Something like attention being turned toward him, the metal warm under his fingertips. The desk didn't snap closed, and the room didn't shake, and no giant boulders rolled out of the woodwork, but there was that sense of focus. And on top of that, a strange urge that was probably unfamiliar to Tucker: a sense that it would be very satisfying, that it'd be right and proper, to prick his fingertip on that wickedly sharp point.
Tucker's head snapped up immediately, expecting fully to see someone standing at the door and was surprised to see it still empty. The window was empty as well. His shoulder blades itched with the feeling of being watched, but there was no one there. A wholly uncomfortable sensation that had Tucker closing the drawer and relocking it.But that's as far as he got. His attention drawn down to the pin in his hands. He'd stopped halfway to the door to replace the keys. He turned it in his hand, thumb running lightly over the stones and down the length of it to the tarnished tip, lingering they're for probably a solid minute before...He winced as a spot of blood welled up in the center of his thumb.
It had barely welled up before Rabi was next to him -- fast enough that it was as if he'd materialized there, and he watched Tucker in a cross kind of way, all the nicety gone out of his expression."You're not that sweet, then, I take it."
Tucker just about jumped out of his skin; jerking away from the voice and damn near stumbling. His fingers closing tightly around the head of the hat pin to keep from dropping it. It was Mahar's voice, but he wasn't who Tucker had expecting in his shock, and he was slow to push past the initial shock. Wide eyes staying wide for a moment longer before melting into confusion. "I..." that comment hadn't made sense. He frowned. "I put the brush in the drawer."
"I suggest we move, and quickly." He took Tucker by the upper arm and like that they were no longer in the office but were, instead, standing in Rabi's studio. He grabbed Tucker's work and shoved it into his hand before he could react.
He tried to step back, to avoid that reaching hand, but fingers closed around cool skin anyways and the next thing Tucker knew they were standing in the studio instead of the office and Mahat was shoving his project at him. "What? Shit, how'd-" Tuck fumbled to grab it while still holding onto the pin."What the fuck just happened?"
He hesitated just a moment, looking over his own work -- rolling his shoulders as he did, like some tension was finally worked out of him -- and tried to decide what was worth taking with them. "I don't suppose you drove."
"No." It was an automatic response that required no thought, but the question didn't derail Tuck's concerns. He pulled on his arm. "What's going on? How did we get from the office and back here in a fucking instant?"
"Mr. Williams, our time is limited, so..." He hesitated just a moment, focusing in on Tucker. "I would very much like to take three scuptures, but if don't have a car, I guess they'll burn with the house."
Tucker's eyes widened at the mention of burn and rest of the house. "What?!" He jerked again, trying to yank his arm out of shockingly strong fingers. How is he this strong?
Rabi smiled at him again, that sudden and sharp smile, and grabbed one painting off of an easel to take with him as he dragged Tucker toward the door. "Time is short."
It didn't matter how hard he tried to yank or twist or break the grip the older man had on his arm his hand didn't so much as budge, and Tucker found himself being dragged throw the studio door and back the way he'd been lead when he'd arrived. Questions up to that point had proved next to useless, but that didn't stop the young man from trying as he was pulled along. "Mr. Mahar, what's going on?"
"I think John's going to be pretty upset with us, frankly." He flicked a look toward the back as they went, still dragging Tucker through the massive house.
"If you burn the house down? Yeah!" It wasn't exactly shrill, bit it was in that realm of anxious.
"He's already upset, I'd wager." He dropped something behind them and fire licked in his footsteps -- which would maybe, finally, get Tucker moving on his own.
"He's not even—Shit!" It did indeed get him moving faster, as fast as Mahar's hand on his arm would allow. Whatever was happening, he'd absolutely gotten I'm way over his head. It wasn't suspension or expulsion he was going to have to worry about at this point. It was theft and arson. "What the fuck, why are you doing this?"
"Does it make you feel better if I say he deserves it?" He hauled Tucker out onto the front lawn, peering around the corner. "Can you call a car? I don't have a phone."
It was next to impossible for Tucker to dig out his phone and hold on to both his project and the pin, especially with his arm still being pulled on, but he managed it after a lot of fumbling. "Not if we get arrested!" He snapped back, pulling up Uber.
Rabi made a dismissive sound at the idea, and then kicked into motion again -- taking tucker's project back to tuck alongside his own. "We should keep walking."
Without the project he could actually use the phone, which made ordering an Uber possible, but. "How is the Uber going to find us of we're moving?" Not that he was against getting as far away from the house as he could, that seemed like a very good idea. Just, the logistics. "We have to give them a place to meet us."
"Pick a place then, but I don't really want to be here when John rounds the corner." He hesitated just a breath, turning in place -- calculating -- and then headed for one of the neighboring houses. "The Ferreras shouldn't be home."
The sound Tuck responded with was low, an odd mix of panic and frustration as he half turned to look down the street. Like he expected the tall man from Mahar's office to come sprinting after them. Or worse, driving.He followed the other man to the neighbor's house, mostly because he didn't have much of choice in the matter, and with the assumption they'd be hiding there he summoned an Uber. "Eight minutes," he read allowed. "They'll be in a blue Civic."The phone was shoved back into his pocket. "You said John would be gone a couple hours, why would be be coming back now?" Why did it still feel like he had eyes on him?
"He felt that." He gestured, vaguely, down to the hair pin -- and caught Tucker again to drag him around the neighbor's fence and into their yard. "And our pool is out back."
Oh, swimming... Not jogging. Not away from the house at some track, but in the backyard. Wait. "What do you mean he felt that?" It was that same not-quite-shrill- tone again, hand tightening almost painfully around the pin.
The clutch around the pin drew Rabi's eyes down to it like a magnet: and they were brighter, now, not the muted gold of hazel but something almost yellow. He shifted in place, working his mouth, and then held out his hand. "You can give that to me now, if you'd like." But maybe he seemed a little too eager, behind it.
Drawing his hand further away was almost automatic, thoughtless. He couldn't have said what made him not want to hand it over, but the feeling was there, twisting in the pit of his stomach. "I think you owe me an explanation before I just hand this thing over." It wasn't exactly firm, but he stood his ground as best he could with Mahar's hand still wrapped around his arm. "You tricked me into stealing this for you." That, at least, he felt sure of. Now. "And you set your house on fire. Not to mention all the strange shit. Blinking from one room to the next, talk of that guy feeling me take this." He took a breath, paused. Brows creasing as he looked up into weirdly bright eyes. "How did you start that fire?" At the time Tucker had thought he must have dropped something like a lighter, that while Tuck had been busy the older man had spread accelerate, but he hadn't smelled anything.
He licked his lips and looked up over Tucker's head, where a ploom of smoke spouted over the top of the fence. At least they were still out of sight; by now, maybe, someone had called the cops. "How does anyone start a fire? There's a spark. We were in my studio...."
"That's not an answer." Not a clear one. Sure itself as the means made...sense. Tuck wasn't connecting the dots on any concious level yet, but he wasn't question the why fire.
"Well, I mean, there was paint everywhere, wasn't there?" He reached out carefully to adjust where Tuck was standing, so he wouldn't be too obvious between the slats.
They're was the smallest flicker of something, doubt maybe, but he pushed on. "Fine, but what about the rest? If you wanted this, if he's such a bad person, why didn't you just take it and leave? Why did you need me?"
"Well, then I'd be on my own." He was still looking over Tucker's head, though, instead of down at his face. "How long until that car gets here?"
Not am answer. No matter what he asked, or how many times, he never got a straight answer. Not now, not before. It pulled a frustrated sound from the young man, empty hand closing into a fist before he reached into his pocket for his phone again. "Two minutes."
He dragged his focus back down onto Tucker, then, and schooled his expression into something very serious. "What was I going to do, go to a shelter?"
Tucker blinked, leaning back a little from that serious expression. "I don't know. Don't you have family, or friends?" Maybe not, with as big a dick ad he could be..."Where are you going now?" Brows creased more. Tucker had a bad feeling he knew the answer.
"I don't know yet." But his eyes darted down to the hairpin as he asked, with that same hungry edge.
Another exasperated, frustrated noise, but he lifted his head to look towards the front of the house. "They're going to be here in a minute, where are we going?"
"I don't know." He looked up again, and then caught Tucker's arm to pull him toward the front of the house, like they'd just come out.
"We have to tell themsomething." And now, as he was beginning pulled along, he looked up at the house they'd just left, the smoke coming from the inside, and Tucker actually paled. "They're going to see the fire. They can place of leaving the scene." He felt sick inside, his feet dragging.
Rabi thought about that, looking Tucker over. "I can handle that much. We can go to the school."
"You can ha-" he scoffed, but there was a faint edge of hysteria to it. The situation sinking in in full, the consequences. The idea that he'd basically just flushed his life down the drain over what? Extra credit he hadn't even needed. "What do you mean you can handle that much? It's a fucking fire that were very obviously running away from."
"No, we're the neighbors, and the fire is somewhat surprising. Alarming, even." He nodded as their car approached.
"That doesn't make any sense," he hissed back, snappish, as he watched their Uber pull up, the driver's attention on the smoke.
"Do you want to argue about it, or do you want to get out of here?" It was smooth, and even as he asked, he pushed Tucker toward the car.
He didn't know what he wanted to do, or even what he should do, but that indecision made it easy to push him towards the car and he slid into the back seat--right up against the opposite door--without another word.
"Can you believe what's happening next door?" The sensation would be strange, as Rabi climbed in: because while Tucker knew it was him, he'd also get the sense of a slim blonde with resting bitch face, her voice lyrical, climbing in. He leaned forward a little, and the uber driver watched him through the rear view mirror."Yeah...nuts. I almost cancelled."
It had the effect of tearing Tucker's attention away from the window he'd resolutely decided to stare at throughout the whole of the ride, and back onto the other man, a puzzled expression baked on his young face.
"I'm grateful you didn't, at least." Rabi flirted expertly with the driver, still leaning into the passenger's seat while he chatted him up. It was friendly, and comfortable -- well, maybe not comfortable for Tucker -- but it'd hopefully keep them from being remembered as anything but attractive and concerned.
Tucker continued to stare a moment longer beforehand it got entirely too weird. "We should probably move before the firetrucks get here, we'll be in the way."
It was worse when he spoke: because the driver eased into motion, but also his voice came out wrong, a little deeper, rumbly. It was his own voice, but also someone else's.
He clamed up quick after that, eyes a little wide, and shot a questioning look at Mahar.
The blonde, overlayed; and then himself again, leaning into the back of the seat, absently chatting up the uber driver as he got them there.
Tuck started quiet the rest of the drive, hands folded between his knees with the hat pin pressed between them. He alternated looking between the window, the driver, and Mahar.
Rabi didn't so much as cast him a glance until the car had stopped and they climbed out -- and that second image was shaken away easily. Then he gave Tucker a sideways look. "My office might not be wise."
The glamor, or overlay, or whatever it was fading came as a comfort and Tuck let out a little sigh as he let himself out of the Uber and back into the sun. No smoke, no fire, no sirens. Just the familiar view of his dorm building and the campus laid out around it.He half expected the other man to grab his arm again once they got out of the car, and he glanced back at him, waiting as the Uber drove off."If that's the case probably the class room, too?" Now that they were away from the house the adrenaline was fading, he felt drained. "My dorms probably safe, I guess. I don't have a roommate "
Rabi tipped his chin up to consider Tucker's expression -- and then nodded, agreeing. Still calculating. "Might be wiser."
He didn't like it. Mahar still wasn't telling him shit, and Tucker really didn't trust him, had not reason to, but it seemed like a better idea to stick together. Leveling another sigh Tucker started up the path to the front entrance, the hand with the hat pin sinking into his pocket.
Rabi still had a half finished piece under his arm, and Tucker's work in the other -- his eyes twitching sideways to the pin as he followed.
There's was a keypad beside the front doors. Tucker pinched in a code and opened the door for both of them and then headed for the stairs. How dorm was on the second floor, about mid way down the hall. He finished his keys out and unlocked it, holding it open for for the other man.The dorm itself was clean, if a bit chaotic. It was clear Tucker didn't spend much time there, but the time he did was spent at his desk. It was pulled with text books, of course, notbooks from his classes, but they're was also alot of sketchbooks, pencils, loose sketches and more polished drawings. By the door, soccor equipment; cleats, ball, shinguards, gymbag.
Rabi took quick looks around the place: flicks of his eyes to take things in -- and then set Tucker's project down on the edge of the desk, on top of everything else. He was still barefoot, but he didn't complain. Didn't seem bothered by it.
The door was closed behind them and Tucker leaned back against it, eyes half narrowed as he watched Mahar look over his room before setting his project on the desk. Which is when he realized the other man had sacrificed grabbing something else of is own to grab that. "Ok, we're here now. I think you owe me some kind of explanation." A hand came up to cut off whatever smooth answer the other man might have tossed back at him. "A real one this time. No more counter questions, no more skirting around the truth."
Rabu rumbles, still not meeting tuckers eyes while he considered. "If I gave you five honest answers, would you hand over the pin?"
Tucker's and crossed. "That depends on the answers. I don't like being used, and this goes a hell of a lot farther than just being used."
"It's over, isn't it?" He shrugged a little bit, with a twitch of attention down to Tucker's pocket. "I wad planning on leaving town. Everything you wanted."
"Eh..Everything I wanted?" He'd leaned forward,head tilting. Like of he got anew angle on the other man what he was saying might start making sense. "I didn't want this. I didn't want to steal anything or be complicate in arsine." Folded arms loosened, have coming up to comb fingers neck through his hair and away from his face. Frustrated."I just wanted you to lay off a little in class."
"if I leave, you get a new teacher." He sounded patient - kind of. In a condescending way. "Maybe one who cares about sports."
Pale eyes narrowed at that and Tucker pushed away from the door, past where the other man was standing near the desk, and over to the bed. It wasn't a large room, so it wasn't like he could really escape, but he could ignore him.Try to.Which he did, not bothering to acknowledge that observation, and instead turned his attention to kicking off his shoes.
Rabi rolled his shoulders out and turned his own work in his hand -- considering it, with his head cocked to the side and his expression just a bit flat.
Shoes off and set neatly to one side Tucker straightened up again and have the front of his shirt a small sniff. It smelled faintly of smoke, enough that he noticed it but not overwhelming, which he supposed was fine. When he looked to again Mahar was looking at his own art and for a long moment Tucker just watched him do it, trying to...read him, his face, anything that might help him understand what the fuck was going on.
It was impossible to read him, right now: his strange eyes, too gold now for sure, were distant and distracted. His hair seemed redder in this light, a low sheen under it. And his mouth didn't even pull down into its customary frown. After a moment, he looked up at Tucker, one eyebrow raised.
"Your eyes are different." He didn't sound entire sure, it'd been a hell of an afternoon and it wasn't as if Tucker had been in the habit of starting the man in the eyes before. But... They didn't look quite as natural now. Brighter, different. "And your hair."
Rabu blinked at him, and like that, they muted back down to something more natural. "Are they?"
It could do easily have been passed off as a truck off the light, and maybe if the hair hadn't changed, and the strangeness in the Uber hadn't happened, and they hadn't made the instant jump from one room to another back at the house Tucker would have just accepted that."They were." Pale eyes flicked up to his hair again. "Hairs still different."
Rabi flashed him a little smile, teeth white, and tipped his head. It made that seem more muted, too. "I think you maybe need to sit for a bit. Drink some water."
Tucker huffed, his head shaking as he swung his legs up to half recline against the mound of pillows at the head of his bed. Taking to the other man was like trying to talk at a wall. It didn't get him anywhere.So instead he slipped his fingers into his pocket to hook the hatpin, pulling it free so he could look it over now that the excitement was over.
Even if Rabi hadn't been looking at him, it seemed like that would have caught his attention: snapped his eyes back onto Tucker immediately, attentively, almost hungrily. He watched it turn in Tucker's hand.
The younger man didn't seem to notice at first, attention down on the pin as he smoothed his thumb over the warm colored gem stones, turning it slowly like he was studying the design.
He couldn't watch anymore, after a minute or two. Instead, Rabi took a few steps away to poke around Tucker's room in an almost annoyed way. Which was, perhaps, awkward: having your teacher in the same place as your dirty underwear.
The little prick on his thumb had closed up by now, forgotten almost completely in the chaos that'd followed. Tucker glanced at it now, rubbing his pinky over the spot as he wondered over how long ago he'd last gotten a tetanus boaster.He seemed to be ignoring his teacher still, at least until he spoke up. "What did you mean when you said he could feel that I'd taken this?
"What do you think I meant?" Now he ponteddly didn't look at Tucker, but focused on the art on the wall. The hairpin still felt warm in Tucker's hand, but no longer pulled at him for blood. Not right now anyway.
What he thought didn't seem possible. "Like a sixth sense sort of knowing, guess? But how?" He was turning the pin idly in his hands now, watching the way the light from his window was caught by the stones.
Rabi shrugged in reply, still not particularly helpful, but after a moment he licked his lips and continued. "What's it feel like to you?"
Tucker shrug as well, head tilting as he considered it. "Old. Warm, even for having been in my pocket." He frowned, remembering back to that moment when he'd first picked it up, before he'd pricked his finger. "And it's weird, but there's something else there, and it was different when I first grabbed it, before I nicked my thumb."
That made Rabi grimace, flicking him a look. Brief. Maybe it also made it hard to give the thing up, a bit, that tie. "you haven't even put it down."
He blinked, looking up finally and across the room. "You just tricked me into stealing it, and burned a goose down. I think I'll hold only it for now, thanks." But even still. Even if Mahar wasn't there, he probably wouldn't have.
"I doubt I caught John in the fire." It was both a condolence and expressed with disappointment.
"What did he do to you?" Because he had to have done something to deserve his house being burned down.
"Held onto that thing too long." He nodded to the hairpin and smiled, sudden and sharp. Slightly threatening.
It just had blue eyes narrowing defiantly. "And what is this to you? Why did you need me?"
"I don't need you. If I had that, I'd be gone already." He nodded to the hairpin, sliding his hands into his pockets.
"Then why didn't you just take it yourself?" Unless he was planning on implicating Tucker in the theft or the fire, but he didn't think that was it, and he wasn't going to provide the idea by voicing it.
"I couldn't go into his desk." rabi shrugged slowly, hands still in his pockets.
"The key was hanging on the wall by the door, you knew where it was. You told me where it was. So why couldn't you just do it yourself?" He'd closed his fingers around the pin, hiding it almost completely from view.
"Why can't you fly?" this time his shrug was more of a roll of his shoulders, tense. "Sky's there. Just lift off."
He stared at him for a moment, and the frustration was coming back. "Why can't you just answer my questions?" Evasive Fuck.
"Free will and choice are incredibly valuable things, Mr. Williams. I take advantage of what I get." He raised both eyebrows.
"Great." Tucker sounded tired and annoyed as he rolled back up. "That's awesome." He stood, by passed the task of pulling his shoes back on and instead just moved towards the door with the intention of letting himself out.
Rabi watched him with his head tilted, considering. "Just because you take it for granted doesn't mean I have to."
He didn't even pause as he reached for the door knob. "Mmhmm." And walked out into the hall.
He got about half the hall away before Rabi stepped out beside him again, without a sound, as if he just appeared there.
The sudden appearance made him jerk and he smacked hard into the wall beside him. "Jesus Christ, can you not!". It was just like what had happened in the house, and Tucker glowered back at him.
"This is why your work suffers." Rabi still had his hands in his pockets, still looked casual. Was still barefoot.
He pressed a have into the wall to straighten up so her could keep walking again, also barefoot at this point. "Not really my top concern at the moment, but thanks, I'll chew on that for a while."
"I doubt it." Rabi followed him, half turned to glance back down the hall. "You think about very little other than the now."
"The now is the safest place for me to dwell." He turned a corner into stairwell, practically bouncing as he moved swiftly down them.
Rabi let him get away, then; Tucker got peace and quiet in the stairwell. Until he hit the bottom, where Rabi was waiting. "How safe is it really?"
It was both surprising and it wasn't, which didn't remove any of the what the fuck about it. Tucker paused, looked like he was about to ask yet again how the hell the older man was doing that, but decided against it with a shake of his head as he tried to maneuver around him to make for the front doors. "Safer than the past, that's for sure."
"So long as you're holding onto that, it's extremely unsafe." He said it smoothly, pivoting to follow in Tucker's wake. "Do you know how many of its previous owners have died horribly?
He didn't hold the front door for the other man but he doubted it'd slow him down much. "Nope, why don't you enlighten me."
"At least sixteen, but it depends on how you define horribly." it didn't slow him down at all.
"How many from mysterious fires?" He glanced back at him but didnt stop. He wasn't sure if he believed that or not.
"Eight or ten." He said it smoothly, unapologetic.
"So do people want it if it's so dangerous to posses?" He didn't know where he was going, had just picked a sidewalk and was following it.
"Why do you want it?" He shrugged again, eyes sliding away. They seemed brighter again.
"Because you made me steal it for you, and I want to know why." That wasn't the only reason, but he didnt understand the reluctance he felt about handing it over.
"I didn't make you do anyhing. I didn't even push. In fact, I didn't even ask you, in the end." There was a flicker of real annoyance behind it, heat. "I just told you where it was."
That made Tucker stop, and he half turned, meeting the heat in Mahar's eyes with coldness in his own. "You manipulated me."
"This brings us back to the free will issue." It was smooth and still without any kind of repentance. "You have it. You can do as you like."
"That being the case, I think I'll take advantage of my free will to hang onto this thing for a little while." Defiant still, almost challenging. "And your eyes are all weird again."
He had to blink them back toward normal, assessing. "Where are we going?"
Tucker made a small sound, like something had just been confirmed for him. "I was trying to get away from you and your circular responses, but you're preventing that from happening."
"I'd rather not let you out of my sight while you're holding onto that." He smiled again, sharp. "As awkward as it might get...."
He just stared back, assessing. "I know something weirds going on. I'm not blind, and I'm not stupid."
"No?" It was casually mocking, his head cocked to one side.
It looked, for just a second, as if Tucker were battling with a strong urge to pop the man right in that smug face, but then he turned and started walking again. "If you want me to consider giving this thing back then gotta tell me what's going on." He sank his hand in to his pocket, thumb pressing into faceted stones. "It's your choice."
"I can be patient." He said it and then he was gone, instead of following in Tucker's footsteps again.
It wasn't an answer but it did mean he got a little quiet and time to himself to actually process what had happened. He ended up staying away from the dorms for couple of hours. It was close to four by the time he let himself back into his room, a half empty to-go cup in his hand from the Sonic located a few blocks away.
Rabi was sprawled out on his bed, legs stretched out, and his expression lit up at the sight of the food. Partly it was because he was so skinny; he probably needed food. But partly it had to be due to the smell that clung to the room: slightly sweet, but mostly marijuana.