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The Christmas of X101 (2012), right after Claud and Sigurd broke up.


Initial Setting: Frankie's Apartment

Timeline:

Preceded by ---

Followed by Downtime


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<mael> Did Frankie have any plans/do anything for Christmas?

<qq> Uhh he got drunk in anticipation of blacking out for the holiday, but got invited to vivi's. he would have undoubtedly showered Claud in Christmas presents. A high quality guitar at the very least -u-

<mael> I was toying with the idea of having Claud go crazy and try to distract himself by cooking all Christmas day (cuz he figures Frankie can pretty much buy anything he wants, but at least he could give the guy a home-cooked meal) BUT I'm assuming Frankie'd stay the night at Vivi's, so I'm not sure how to make that work |3c Maybe he'll feed Frankie when he comes home the next day. When the stores are open XD Or maybe Frankie comes home and all these guys that work for him in the mafia are over and Claud's feeding them all idk XD <mael> Claud isn't sure what's appropriate and what's not and his feelings are all confused /.m.\

<qq> Welll technically he went for Christmas Eve, there's no reason he couldn't have gone back home far more sober?


  • Frankie cake walks home, the bounce in his step seamlessly turning into his most joyful style. He's left a trail if gold in the snow, from orange all the way to purple. Certainly not safe, but he's just so full of energy and optimism, he knows he can take on anything today. He twirls once at the door, his hand knit scarf looping around as he grins at the doorman, hands him a present, and enters the warmth of his building.
  • Some days ago Claud picked up a cheap cell phone, nothing fancy, just a phone. Cuz, you know, it was about fuckin time he had one. He'd spent most of Christmas Eve and well into the morning cooking and prepping—Christmas was a weird time to be an empath; he was filled with a strange bipolar sort of energy. And of all things he didn't want to be high on Christmas fer Chrissakes. But when it looked like Frankie might spend the day out, possibly a few days, he left a note in a conspicuous place and left to go find something to do to relieve the cabin fever. It said: "When you're getting hungry, call or text me, I'll come home. —Claud" and then his number. Even at a great distance, he was aware of Frankie's presence, and he was vicariously glad.
  • Frankie dances to his elevator, smiling all the way. It's not simply the contrast to last year, though certainly that is a contribution. When Frankie comes through the door, he is unabashedly joyful. The Christmas hat almost seems fmio re like a prop than. A Belittling cessorie. When cdrankie opens the diir, the aortment fills with lyiggt. But he's not drunk, just exceedingly content. "Hello!! Merry Christmas!!" He greets intro the large emptiness.
  • A surge of happiness nearly floors him where he stands, and Claud has to look around for the source. It happened a lot more than you'd think at Christmas time, there really were some people who are just that happy. Then he realizes Frankie must be in range again. He nods a polite goodbye to the other bums collected around a garbage pail fire and walks a few blocks before pulling out his cell. <You home?> He texts to Frankie. He hoped he wasn't interrupting a nice moment, aw shit why didn't he think of that before he sent the message... Oh well. He was actually feeling relatively good and wanted to do something nice for the man who'd been so kind to him when he had no reason to be.
  • Frankie's good mood dampens slightly when silence meets him. His initial fear, that the kid is somewhere, miserable and cold and alone, isn't necessarily true... maybe Claud was out seeing friends. Doing something good. Fun. Frankie sets the pile of presents down, looking at them for reassurance. Life is good. He knows it. The room darkens as Frankie's light fades. His phone rings, and he looks at it, almost grateful. If he can get out of the empty house for work? Perfect- "Claud..?" < Sure am. Merry Xmas kiddo. Got sm thngs 4 ya 2> His vibe regains it's intensity.
  • Claud smiles when his phone beeped, he was so worried that--he reads the message and panics a little. Wha--gifts? He flounders momentarily, forgetting that all his work did in fact mean something, but he feared that maybe it wouldn't mean anything to Frankie. Passing a darkened shop window he looked up and realized what a mess he was, hadn't even bothered to fix himself up in all his frenetic activity of the last... 24, 36 hours? <!! Be there as soon as I can, am a bit far atm, hope u are hungry.> OK, he'd bought himself some time--he grabs some water from a Vendy and does what he can to look a little less homeless.
  • Hungry? His stomach growls eagerly, but he stops himself from pouring himself a glass of whiskey... Probably not a good call, regardless if Claud's gonna be back. < I cld eat. no rush! tke ur time, have a grnd ol time ok?? Ill be here =) > . Instead he puts a record on, arranges Claud's gifts nicely... No drink? Well, sitting idle would only invite flashes.... high time for a bit of practice. He changes out of his fine suit, into more appropriate clothes, leaving his handmade scarf on. Frankie begins to stretch, humming softly with the music.
  • Alright, that gave him even more time, everything was uncooked and cold, so hopefully by the time everything was heated up Frankie'd be... he paused, hand stopped as it ran a comb through his wet hair. What was he doing. What was he trying to do. Who did he think he was, trying to cook for a mafia boss, someone who could, and did, have everything and anything he wanted. But he knew that behind that confident facade was a kind yet lonely man, and maybe the intent behind the gesture would mean something to him. He'd fed Claud who knows how many times, he could at least return the favor in his own way. He orders a black turtleneck from the vendy (his neck felt strange not having his long hair against it), shed the well-loved hoodie and climbed into the new shirt. As he hurried back, his wet hair froze in the cold, but he didn't mind.
  • Frankie’s apartment snaps with uncontrolled power. Frankie stretches languidly, his voice growing louder in the safety of his vibe’s noise. He pours himself into the tinny sound of his gramophone, every muscle movement, every breath following the rhythm in perfect obedience. The warmup turns to dancing, and the burning static becomes a myriad of gentle colors. As the vibe noise fades, Frankie’s voice can be heard more clearly, but he’s alone. It’s fine. It’s Christmas. He’s allowed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dhn5fV7zf6U
  • It felt strange to come back empty handed, but then again it might be odd if he picked up flowers or any other tokens that could be misconstrued. No, this was better, and the shops were closed anyway. He opted for the stairs, all the way up to the penthouse, hoping to work off some of the vicarious nervous energy of hundreds of children who were still buzzing with the excitement of the morning's opened presents. By the time he reached the top some fifteen minutes later he was winded, and paused before knocking to catch his breath. And very faintly through the substantial, booby-trapped door, he could hear... singing?
  • If he'd been less distracted- or maybe if he'd just kept it to the soft humming... But Christmas... and Bing Crosby just knew how ta make the holiday just... perfect. Frankie belts it out, tapping gracefully through his apartment- The intense happiness and nostalgia sent to Claud's vibe is crushed by the absolute certainty. Behind that door is something despicable. It is pure evil. Satan himself had sent the disgusting thing to earth, to do his will, to destroy everything it touches, everything Claud loves, and had ever loved. Claud himself. Everything wrong in Claud's life was this... thing's fault. The only solution is to wipe it out, to prevent it from defiling anything else. It's really the only merciful thing to do. Kill it. KILL IT.
  • White-hot rage pushed every rational thought out of his mind, and in his haste to do away with whatever or whoever had come into Frankie's home, he rushed the door and grabbed the handle—the live handle—and couldn't let go. It hurt him far less than it would have a normal person, but it still hurt. As the electricity coursed through him his muscles involuntarily twitched and jumped, curling his body fetal with such force that his head smashed into the door, knocking him unconscious, limp form falling to the floor.
  • Frankie stops dancing as he feels the electricity course into the intruder. "Are you fucking kidding me?!" he screams, good mood utterly dashed. To attack him in his own home, on Christmas- He considers leaving the body- no, there's certainly a pulse left- leaving the motherfucker there to rot, maybe kick him on his way out tomorrow, call up some lackeys to clean up... Ah, but Claud's coming home, that's not the first thing he should see. Frankie grumbles and opens the door. "Guessin' yer new, rest'a the fuckin idiots know better th-" His eyes shoot open. He'd killed him- oh god- GOD- the flashes threaten, everything spins slowly as Frankie rushes to Claud's side. "Yer gonna be ok, yer gonna be ok, you can't leave me again- no- yer gonna be ok-" Frankie softly chants incessantly as he numbly lifts the square up before stumbling towards the fire escape.
  • Claud moans in pain, a big red mark flaring up where he'd smacked the side of his face on the door. Then he hiccups. His face scrunches and he starts to moan again, which is interrupted with another hiccup.
  • Frankie holds Claud closer as he dashes down stair after stair, at moments in the dark stairwell holding Claud, interrupted with flashes of lightning street, the cold open sky and city skyline his only companion as everything good in his life burns away. He deserved this. It was all he was good for- Francis sets Claud in the Vendy with silent horror. He sinks to his knees as the tune plays, but the offensive jaunty tune doesn't make it through the numbing cold clouding his mind. Why is he surprised when he hurts people anymore? He had no right. He knew what he was... Frankie stares through the vendy glass, through Claud as the machine's light wraps around him.
  • Claud wakes with his face pressed against the glass of the Dr. Vendy, eyesight blurry and unfocused. He hiccups. Seemed even Vendies couldn't do anything about that. He stands, sees Frankie on his knees—he whips the door open as fast as he could, crouches down in front of him, "Are you alright!? Th-there's some-some thing in your apartment, oh god, are you hurt?" His hands hover around Frankie, not wanting to touch him, but desperately wanting to. He gives Frankie a once-over with his vibe, just in case. Seemed okay, definitely upset though. Claud's fault. He swallows.
  • Frankie's heart seems to finally beat again when he hears Claud's voice. The rest of the world's noise returns with it. Frankie takes a stuttering breath and stands, brushing ice from his knees. "Everythin's fine- Yer fine, right-?" he asks as panic slips through his composure. He takes immense comfort from Claud's touch, feeling the healthy, living pulse that much better. "I'm absolutely fine. Why the fuck- Why didn't you use yer keycard???" Anger creeps into his voice now that the terror has begun to subside.
  • "I--no?" he fishes around in his pocket for--it was there, along with his wallet, so why didn't...? His eyes dart back and forth, trying to remember, "I heard s-singing? An then--" he looks at Frankie with a strange light in his eyes; confusion mostly, but maybe even suspicion. Scrunching his eyes closed he rubbed at them with cold fingertips, tried to be rid of that feeling. "I don't remember. I guess I forgot and blacked out with the shock." He realized how lucky he was to be alive. "I'm sorry to have troubled you, I don't know what came over me."
  • Frankie's anger drains from him, along with the blood in his face. His eyes dart away from Claud, then back in time to catch that... expression. "..You din't-" his voice is nearly inaudible. He takes a step back, radiating fear, all directed at the square. "Y-you don' remember...?" Relief tries to edge in... it's fine. Right? He brings his eyes back to the other man. Imagining the possible outcomes that this could have taken. Frankie can't bring himself to speak anymore. He motions for Claud to follow him as he silently heads back the way he came.
  • Claud moves backwards 'til the Vendy's at his back, Frankie's fear feeding his own. He tries to push Frankie's mental presence away, and he somewhat succeeds, but not before catching glimpses at those possible outcomes that they so luckily avoided. So it was Frankie singing. Claud follows behind, opens his mouth to speak, then closes it again. The less he knew, and the less Frankie knew that he knew, the better. "I, ahmm, do you mind if I smoke?" he says at last, his heart is still hammering, exhaling shaky breaths that mist in the cold.
  • Frankie can feel the rebound of fear, and his stride quickens, trying to get away from the Square. He comes up short with the feeling of being shoved out of the passive connection he hadn't even realized was there. Frankie covers his mouth to stifle a sob. Claud's judging him now. Hates him, now that he knows the truth of Frankie's nature. He grips his scarf tightly, shuddering with dread and cold in his thin practice clothes. "By all means. Be my guest." His empty voice is nearly lost under the soft sounds of the city and the crunch of snow as he continues onward.
  • Directionless worry pours off of Frankie and Claud tries to help sooth it; efforts which probably help very little. Fumbling at his back pocket for the smashed carton of cigarettes he speaks, tries to smile, "I ain't mad at you, we just has a fright is all." It'll be okay. Finally extracting the small box he takes one and offers one to Frankie, hand shaking, "You wanna smoke?"
  • Frankie's vibe crackles protectively around him when Claud reaches into his pocket, spinning on the spot, ready to... take a cigarette. He stares again, sweating despite the frozen air. "Just'a fright," he agrees in a whisper. Claud can't remember. This conversation couldn't be happening otherwise. He reaches tentatively for the offered cigarette, concentrating so as not to burn it or Claud's hand. As he takes it, his vibe shrinks away completely. It didn't respond well to this kind of fear. Neither does Frankie. He appears to be trying to stay as silent as possible, even telepathically. Just resumes walking.
  • Claud's gotten pretty good at ignoring feelings that he's pretty sure aren't his, or ignoring the particularly confusing ones. He'd work this out later. He flicks his lighter a few times and finally gets a flame going. He looks up to offer it to Frankie but, ah the other man's already walking away. Worry and guilt bloom in his chest and he fights the feelings down, drawing deep breaths of smoke. Just tries to calm himself, try to salvage what was left of the day. "I, mm, I hope you don't mind," he should have asked, his doubts say, "I used your kitchen," but he left it spotless, "I made some stuff for a C-Christmas dinner, i-if you want..." As if he would.
  • Frankie realizes that this is going to be very difficult, not being able to drink after this... As he debates allowing himself just a small something from his cabinet, he gags on a sucker punch of guilt. He'd done this to Claud, nearly killed the innocent, decent man. On Christmas. For nothing. But of course. He knows he's an evil piece of filth, only good for - "W-what?" he winces at the volume of his own voice. "Din't notice... thank you," he mutters. He's about to move on when he feels... as if he wants to dismiss Claud and his effort. He's suddenly disoriented. Even if he is a monster, that particular emotion's not him at all. He hesitantly lifts his eyes back to Claud. "... 't sounds real nice ..."
  • "Y-yeah?" he'd forgotten to take into account that maybe Frankie already had plans for tonight too--"I mean, if you-you're not busy, I just, sometimes I gotta just, do something, y'know? Cooking's really hard work, distracting, so..." he trails off. Why did he care so much? He owed Frankie his life, yes, but he was so... emotionally invested. But why? He tried to lie to himself, but really, he knew why.
  • Plans? He'd had every intention of going clubbing, after seeing to Claud... But the idea of a large crowd, of speaking in a large crowd, talking to women and chatting with fellas- repulses him, after this mess. "Din't make plans," he says quietly over the crunch of ice underfoot. Maybe he could go to Vivi... but what if Vivi heard- hates him forever, can't bear the sight of him- Frankie sucks at his unlit cigarette in vain as the irrational thoughts overwhelm him. "'d preciate'a distraction," he continues in a low tone as they finally close in on his building.
  • Claud keeps flipping back and forth between wanting to help Frankie, and feeling guilty and sorry for himself. He smokes in silence and crushes the dogend out with his heel before they enter the building. By the time they get in the elevator he finally gets up the courage to take another stab at small talk, "That's, ah, a really nice scarf! It's n-new yeah?"
  • Frankie finally has the grand idea to light his cigarette. The smoke rises slowly into the hallway, but as he inhales gratefully, the thing incinerates. He spits ash on the marbled elevator floor, scowling. "H-?" His fingers brush against the rough blue knit, touching a little yellow lightning bolt. Some of the lines in his face seem to soften, though perhaps it's just the dim elevator lighting. "Christmas gift," he murmurs with the hint of a smile.
  • Claud goes on alert, ready to help if he's needed, ah--Frankie's got it under control. That small shadow of a smile though--he smiles in return, comforted. But once they reach their floor, Claud awkwardly picks up his hoodie from where it fell and lets Frankie open the door, embarrassment and confusion creeping back. He sees that there's a record still playing; maybe he'd just heard that, maybe he'd been imagining it all. "So, uh, it's gonna take a while ta' get somma dis ready. I don't know what you like so I made a little of everything--" he pulls some dough out of the oven where it'd been rising. "I won't be mad if you don't like it," and he wasn't just saying that.
  • Frankie focuses on the scarf, picturing each stitch being made with him in mind... He's much calmer when at last they reach his floor- but returning to the scene of a crime was never the best idea. He looks up to see Claud retrieve his abandoned garment. The music digs up that feeling of dread and guilt and shame, laying them out raw. Frankie steps over quickly to lift the needle from the record, and Bing's voice is replaced with the quiet hiss as the disc continues to spin uselessly. Uncharacteristically, he doesn't replace it with a new record. "M sure it'll be fine," he assures as his hand returns to the reassuring scarf. Why is Claud doing this. Frankie has ruined his life at every turn. Why is he bothering??? He looks around the room, desperate for a distraction. "... Do y' need 'ny help, kid?"
  • Rule number one of using someone else's kitchen, never tell them they can't help. "Sure!" He dusts the counter with flour and starts kneading. "There's a bunch of mostly made dishes in the fridge, take a look and pull out anything you want me to finish." He tries to calm down, but his heart's still hammering away. It wasn't just fear, although he was a little afraid--but of what he wasn't sure. Would have Frankie been happier if Claud wasn't there? He tries to push these thoughts out and concentrate on the bread, separating the mass into smaller balls for rolls.
  • Frankie gets a vague feeling he's being a nuisance... But Claud is directing him, and protesting now would be awkward. And require explanation. Spoken explanation. Frankie opens his refrigerator. His eyes widen at the array. The kitchen had been spotless, even to his standards. He'd never have guessed Claud had made all this... He hadn't had a Christmas meal like this since... well. A long time. "All this...?" he asks in a tight voice as he lifts a dish of... Huh... Something that smelled wonderful- with great care. His growling stomach intrudes on the quiet of the kitchen.
  • Claud worries at that small voice, a million what-ifs starting to form. Then a smile spreads across his features and the what-ifs melt away when he hears Frankie's stomach. "Yeah I... might have gone a little overboard." On account of Claud hardly ever seeing Frankie eat and not knowing what he likes. "Set it near the stove, I'll take care of it once I get these resting."
  • Frankie sets it down obediently and proceeds to unload the rest of the food. He's touched, but the gratitude is tempered with guilt and fearful caution. Did Claud already regret doing this for such a - "Are those peaches?" He murmurs in soft, surprised delight.
  • Claud looks over at the plate, "Yeah," he smiles, the pleasure of being complimented every time Frankie took another plate from the fridge was starting to chase his fears and insecurities away. "I was really glad I could find so much fresh produce, especially this time of year." He covers the pan of dough balls with a dishcloth and starts pointing to each dish in turn; this fish would need a separate sauce made, this marinated chicken would be cooked on skewers, this was a diced vegetable and rice pilaf dish, etc etc. "Basically whatever you're in the mood for, and then some." he beams.
  • "Kid... ya outdone yerself here..." Everything looks so perfect... He doesn't deserve any of this, but Claud, bless his endlessly compassionate heart, had put in the effort. He realizes that he's behaving like an ass. Will he never stop racking up crimes against the square? Frankie glances again at the spread. Time to bury his emotions. Frankie's face lights up in a smile. "Fish's lookin real good righ' there, N that meaty thing. Definitely." The peach dish goes without saying. "An pick yer favorite. We'll finish'm up together, see?" he says brightly. Yet despite his resolve, he can't seem to get his voice above a whisper.
  • Claud flourishes under the compliments, but as Frankie starts trying to smile and act happy for his sake, he can't help but want to make it right. "I'm sorry I scared ya Mr. Valentine, really I am. If there's anythin' that's eaten at ya, well, I'm here if you wanna talk." he washes his hands off, not facing Frankie, giving him space. He tried his best to give the proper... feeling to his words. That Frankie didn't have to talk about it if he didn't want to, that Claud wanted to help, didn't carry any ill will towards him.
  • "Scare me? Na. Don' you worry. Jus' need ta make sure it's safer fer ya ta get in." He dismisses pleasantly, but balks at the offer to listen. His instinctual suspicion sends sparks crawling along his tux- but there's something about Claud's words.. something in his voice, that Frankie feels he can trust.. He opens his mouth to speak, when a flash- Shandrel, standing over his body- merging into something worse, much farther back. V-day- Frankie gasps, just manages to catch the dish he'd just dropped, setting it down immediately before his electricity can ruin it. His fixed smile returns. "And ya know we t-talked about this kiddo. Szzo how'a bout insztead, you tell me what's on your mind?" he murmurs encouragingly.
  • Well it was worth a shot, he didn't really expect the man to open up to him. But he had hoped. He turns back to Frankie, ready to pick out a dish he hoped he could keep down--and the man was gone. Not literally, but he was in some far away place--Claud panics, last time this happened he'd spent the night trying to convince Frankie what year it was--and he was back. Relief floods through Claud, and he breathes. "Nah, you don' wanna hear what's on my mind," he says with a smile and wanders over to the counter, looks over the dishes he'd prepared, as if he didn't know exactly what was there, "I'm a sad, tired, broken man." He opens and closes his mouth as a thought occurs to him, "Hey, have you seen Mr. Reinhart lately?"
  • Frankie reminds himself it's Christmas, and of dancing with Vivi, and this amazing thing Claud has prepared for him. His vibe shuts off. "Course I wanna hear, what-" he's cut short by Claud's hopeless answer. His thoughts go to his cabinet full of bottles- absolutely not... but the pocket full of fonk he had would undoubtedly lift his mood. Maybe Claud's as well...? "You might feel sad, n tired's ok... but you ain't broken. You got troubles, but yer... trying..." he falters at the volume of his own voice. Talking is ok, he reminds himself. But a flicker of Claud's panic, and the room remains silent. Frankie takes a step towards Claud and sets a hand on his arm. < I haven't. But I can talk to him for you, if you'd like.> He sends comfort, and all his respect for what the square has fought against, as well as the feeling that, well... Christmas is the time to be happy, right? If not now, when??
  • Why was he acting like this in front of Frankie all of a sudden? He didn't need to feel sorry for himself in front of the man, Frankie didn't need Claud's troubles on top of his own. Maybe he just wanted the attention. Frankie touches his arm and he's immediately comforted by the gesture, < It's okay, I was jus' wonderin how they was gettin on without me. I left so suddenly--everyone at the Swan Song is probably mad at me fer leavin during the busy season...> It was easier to talk this way, he felt a little more detached from his words, a little less likely to break down. <Thanks though.> He tried to smile despite his heavy heart.
  • <Hey- no, common kiddo. Mr. Reinhart woulda explained to them by now that yer vibes actin up, I'm sure.> Frankie squeezes the square's arm affectionately. <He told me he'd look after ya, ya know.> He offers Claud a smile of his own, though he can feel the kid's desire to withhold and withdraw, as if it's his own secretiveness... Is it? If Frankie opens up and relaxes, will Claud follow suit? Really, a drink is the only option here... <Here, lemme start the oven and then I'll be right back, gotta grab somethin.>
  • < I know, I jus' hoped... I mean I thought I'd be somewhere else right now--not that I don't appreciate bein' here with you it's just. It's not what I planned. At all.> Frankie relaxes and it helps Claud calm down more. <There was only so much Mr. Reinhart could do for me, and I for him. Guess I gotta figure my mess out fer myself.> It was the slow, sad realization he'd been coming to these last few weeks. He smiles anyway. "S-sure, I'll get these ready." He goes about finishing the selected entrees, mixing sauces, and pulling some of the cold salads out of the fridge, selecting dressings that go well with the food. He scores and bastes the rolls with egg, and slips them into the oven.
  • <Kid, if it ain't clear yet, this island don't really allow'a fella ta make er follow plans.> Frankie grins sardonically in the kitchen doorway. < But like I always say; family'll be here ta make it easier... Aright. I'll be back in'a jiff> He steps away smoothly into the front room. First. He attends to the gramophone. No more singing though. The vocals are too tempting. Too painful. Frankie chooses a record of instrumentals from the pile he'd set aside just for this day. Easier to cope with, though as the piano recording fills the room, his fingers twitch. His eyes fall to the liquor cabinet. But he'd just told Claud about how much family helped one another. He can't risk a repeat of that shameful behavior. Not on Christmas. Frankie longingly brushes a hand against the smooth dark glass he'd picked... he sets it down and instead reaches into his pocket. Good, clean fonk. No bad track records with this stuff. Frankie swallows half a heart shaped pill, then returns to the kitchen.
  • Claud smiles to himself when Frankie leaves him for a moment. Not making or following plans, wasn't that the painful truth. That little bit about family again... for the hundredth time he seriously considers the wisdom of his so-called 'neutral' stance, and whether of not the pros would out weigh the cons if he just gave in and joined the mafia. But the thought of combat, or of bullying or hurting the way that he knew some mafia people were keen on doing to get their way... his stomach twists at the thought. He owed Frankie so much already though, it might be a gross breach of etiquette to not at least ask. His saving grace was the continued thought that they wouldn't want him, couldn't use him, sad and broken as he was. When Frankie returned, Claud was putting away the last of the extra dishes, and without turning around he knew there was something different about Frankie. Quiet curiosity lit his features and he turned around to see what had happened. Nothing obvious, anyway. Maybe it was nothing. "Shall I set the table?"
  • Frankie catches an aroma of something unbelievably tantalizing as he reenters. He twirls in place from eagerness, and sparkles of indeterminate color fly into the kitchen. <Ya know kiddo, if this dancin thing don' work out, ya could always become a chef,> he jokes lightly as his eyes dart around appreciatively, erratically, to Claud's work. Frankie swoops over to take a deep, appreciative breath of the dish Claud's working on, and to squeeze the Square's shoulder affectionately. "We'll do it tagether. Half the work, right?" He grins and heads over to the cutlery, tap dancing by the end of the short distance.
  • No it was definitely something, a lot of the bad feelings were going away and Frankie's good mood was returning. He thinks back to that first time Frankie tried to help him, how he left and returned bursting with energy, glowing slightly purple. He felt bad for saying so, but maybe this was for the best, he himself had been using jive to get his vibe to be less heinous to be around. But not today, he had hoped that maybe they could spend Christmas sober... oh well. He smiles at the compliment, < I'm glad you think so--> and then Frankie's there at his side, like a small hummingbird. "R-right... !" he smiles, a little embarrassed and flushed, but pleased. "It'll be a short wait til everything's done, so if you want anything else made, speak now." He can't stop grinning.
  • Frankie pulls out two sets of utensils, taking extra time to run his fingers along each of the shining, lovely pieces. The room hums softly as his electricity happily greets the metal... Frankie's quiet trance is disrupted by a particularly stunning cord coming from the record on the gramophone. He closes his eyes as he enjoys it, smiling softly. "Oh kiddo, you know as long as that peach thing's ready, I'm happy as'a clam," he sighs with pleasure. "Maybe some champagne too?" A pause. "No, I'll probably get carried away. The peach thing though... and whatever's in the oven right now. God. Do you smell that? It is gotta be the most exquisite thing I ever had the pleasure'a inhalin. And are ya gettin' a load'a these tunes??" He brushes past Claud as he goes to set the table, bumping him affectionately on his way.
  • Claud blushes and grins with the compliments, entertained by Frankie's sudden fascination with everything. The casual contact was... really nice to say the least. Comforting and without subversive intent. He carries the cold dishes to the table one by one, trying not to laugh as Frankie sets each utensil down with child-like care and precision. "Mm, it's a good record," he agrees, "Go ahead and get started with whatever you like then, the roll's be done soon." He sets butter, jams, and a spread he put together, "You ever have cayenne honey butter?" he asks, holding up a small bowl of the stuff.
  • Frankie is slowly being surrounded in an aura of purple light as each little task brings him joy. It doesn't hurt that the only mode of transport he appears capable of now is dancing. Frankie swings and swaggers into a chair, smiling over at Claud. "Never even heard'a it," he laughs, and the tables starts crawling with glitter. "Course, I can't go ahead without you, kid! What'd be the point of eatin alone??" he muses, standing back up when Claud comes near. "Hey- hey jus' listen-" he pauses so the square can hear the start of a jazzy version of Silver Bells start up. "You remember the Charleston, right??" He gently takes up Claud's hand, not even letting him finish setting all the condiments down. Frankie's eyes sparkle. Claud's hand is shrouded in swirling purple vibe. "Dance with me?"
  • "Of course," he breathes in answer to both questions, his heart jumping into his throat. He sets the food down and they take off, swinging and bouncing to the music--Frankie's vibe fueling Claud's own, both of them moving together in perfect unison. Claud laughs, it had been weeks since he last danced, and it was wonderful to finally come back to it. A hollow place in his soul felt like it might finally start to fill.
  • Frankie dances gleefully, realizing that it had been a huge mistake to stop partner dancing with Claud these last couple of weeks. Didn't have to get nasty. "You got a lovely vibe, I could have a good vibe, if I work real hard. Why shouldn't we dance??" he says delightedly, though quite out of nowhere. He revels in their partner dance connection, the unspoken conversation simply bliss. It's a present in itself, being more than one person, feeling as if he's expanding into the room, which wavers and twists along to the music. "Think this batch might'a been too strong," he giggles with happiness. "But I din't give you your gift yet!!" Frankie erratically breaks from their dancing and waltzes away from Claud, towards the neat pile from earlier. "Yer gonna love it, I know ya will," he hums.
  • Claud can't stop grinning, all the bad thoughts and feelings of the last month or so falling away. "But I love your vibe!" he protests against Frankie's flippant comment--and then Frankie was dancing away from him. He staggers to a stop, his body and vibe still trying to follow Frankie. Gently pushing his vibe down like one might an over-friendly dog he follows Frankie over to--presents! He'd totally forgotten in all the excitement. "Ohhh Mr. Valentine you shouldn't have!" he covers his mouth in surprise and embarrassed happiness. He mentally spun around in circles for a moment, and then finally decided no matter what it was, and it probably was obscenely expensive, he wouldn't act embarrassed about it. Or at least he'd try. "Should I open them now or wait ‘til after dinner?" It really wasn't necessary to ask by the excited look on Frankie's face, but he thought he'd play it safe. And maybe tease Frankie just a little as well.
  • Frankie looks up from the pile of shimmering packages with the widest smile at Claud's confession. "And I love you! This is just perfect!" he says shamelessly, fidgeting in place momentarily before uncontrollably tapping along to the music's rhythm. "And'a course I should'a. Yer family, and I take care'a my family no matter what!!" He leaps gracefully back to Claud, but within the context, the athletic movement seems more like a bounding puppy. "I'd do much more, ya know? This isn't nothin ta what I'd do for ya, but I think you'll like it, you really will cause I made sure if found the best stepper ta make-" he claps his free hand over his mouth before he spoils the surprise.Then giggles at the feel of his hand against his own face. "And - Ah, you gotta open it now," he insists urgently. "Won't be able to sit still the whole time, been lookin forward ta this all month!!" Of course, it's doubtful he'll be able to sit still anyhow, but he seems to believe it will help as he gleefully offers the Square the large, brightly wrapped box.
  • Claud smiles and blushes at the very sudden exclamation, and tells himself it's the drugs kicking in, nothing to read into. "Alright, alright!" he laughs and takes the box. Weighing it in his hands before unwrapping it--oh my god, no way--he tears into the wrapping paper--no way no way--it was. Hands trembling he popped opened the hard case--it was an electric-acoustic guitar, natural wood stained so dark red it was almost black. "Oh my god, Mr. Valentine--oh my god--" He was not even remotely prepared for this. A whole pile of emotions fight for dominance as he runs his hand over the strings, the beautiful wood of the body: embarrassment because he knew how expensive a custom guitar like this could be, sadness at being reminded of Sigurd's gift, excitement at getting to play such a high-quality instrument--when next he looks up he's openly crying, his face a weird mix of gratitude and sorrow. "I don't know what to say, thank you! Thank you so much, oh my god..."

<mael> Basically this: http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m0gx5blUCI1r8plka.gif

  • Frankie claps excitedly as the present is revealed. His vibe dances across the whole room as he is treated to the pleasure of seeing Claud reverently open and inspect his new instrument. "Red ta match yer fiery hair, a course. N that soul'a yers. I seen it once'r twice. Definitely in there," he says with a wink as he cheerily refers to that unspeakable accident between them. "Hah, but this'll let ya express it. We got ya dancin, but we need'a let yer fire sing out loud! Not ta mention, who cn' resist a sexy musician?? No one, that's who," Frankie laughs, still swinging his hips to the lively rhythm. Despite his frivolous mood, he is paying close attention to Claud, and doesn't fail to miss the whirl of emotions that passes over his face and through their connection. "An ya know, it ain' meant ta replace nothin. That's no what'm tryina do here, got it? Yer past's a parta you." He knew the kid had a guitar, and the fact that he didn't have it now had painted all the picture Frankie needed. "But it's the past. Who know's what the future fer the glorious Stepper Claud... jus' Claud, hold'sn store?? And what'about the present, huh?" Frankie cracks up at the horrible pun. Through laughter, he manages a strangled, "not too shabby!" before pulling the kid into a hug-dance, mindful of the guitar.
  • Claud is caught up in Frankie's overwhelming enthusiasm and joy, and soon he finds he's been literally swept off his feet. Frankie practically carries him around the room, his feet barely touching the ground, and soon he finds himself dancing and laughing and crying. He hugs Frankie close, <Thank you, I don't know what to say, thank you.> He realized that this wasn't just a gift, it was an obligation, an investment. He had no excuse now, he now had the means to continue his pursuit of learning the guitar, with only himself to stop him.
  • Frankie feels like singing. It's the only tricky part of fonk, remembering not to, cause he's just so damn happy, and his vibe's aching to come out and play. The room fills with dozens of incorporeal purple dancers, all identical, all doing the same overenthusiastic hugging dance that Frankie has dragged Claud into. Frankie's untainted joy darkens marginally as he and the square pass close enough by one 'couple' to see their faces. "None of that today. Christmas's for the livin, ain't it?" he sighs and dips Claud down onto the couch, freeing him. <You don't gotta say nothin. I jus' wan'ya ta love it, an have fun playin'. Don' matter abou' vibes'n souls'n things, aright?? I jus' want ya ta enjoy yerself.> His serious, noble countenance can't survive against the fonk though. <An maybe play fer me a wee bit, now'n then? God do ya know how much I love live music?? 's fuckin.... Do I dare say, possibly better'n sex,> he confides, before dancing with one of the transparent vibe women. "Kin'a makes up for not bein ab'e ta play no more, too!! Bit selfish, really~" he teases easily. He knows Claud loves the gift. "Khahaaha- Speakin of which, there's two more, less my count's off?"
  • "Of course! I-If you don't mind my clumsy fingers flubbing the notes," he smiles, fully aware of his beginner status. Thank goodness his face was already flushed when Frankie made his small confession, but he doubted the man would have noticed in the flurry of activity. Head still spinning from the whirlwind of excitement, Claud is just about to ask about Frankie's cryptic statement when the other two presents are brought to his attention. He mops at his eyes and cheeks, smiling, "A-alright! Jeez, you spoil me..." he rips into the next gift, "Oh man!" He'd never had an iPod like this before, it was a full-touch sleek beast with who knows how many terabytes of storage. There was a somewhat cryptic note scribbled on a slip of paper with it--"No waaaayyy..." he turns it on, unlocks it, and scrolls through the fully-loaded library of hundreds if not thousands of songs. "Pardon my French but holy shit Mr. Valentine!" he laughs. It wasn't just a toy for self amusement, this was his textbook, and indispensable learning tool. "Oh man I don't think you know just how useful this is to me." he intones almost reverently, grinning wide.
  • "Ahh, not ta worry! These ladies should help with yer skills, ya know??" he smiles a bit sadly at the room full of gleefully dancing Poppy illusions. The more this stuff took effect, the more he remembered why he hadn't managed to develop a regular fonk habit... When Frankie turns his attention to Claud and the next gift, his vibe follows suit, and the faces in the room all watch the square excitedly, some even dancing over to sit with him. When Claud expresses his joy, each figure becomes clearer and brighter, and all flock to the source of Frankie's happiness. The vibe women stroke and kiss Claud. Frankie himself is hardly visible in his personal storm of glitter. "Yes waaay, ya know ya need it! A stepper whithout music??? It'sa crime!!" He crows with laughter when Claud questions his knowledge of how great the present is. "God you are a darling thing!!" He bends down to kiss Claud's head. He shoos two of the manifestations, who pout and disappear so that the Mafioso can sit down by Claud. < Shoulda got it for ya a million years ago, but this's a pretty good day for it, I think,> he beams.
  • "W-woah, ladies, please," he laughs as he's doted on by the shimmering forms. Laughing he looks up at them, at Frankie, and realizes it's her. The woman that keeps crossing Frankie's mind, and therefore his. He feels a little strange--well, more so than he has been. He's not used to so much concentrated attention, and now it almost feels like he's walked into a room where two people thought they were alone. Except it's very obvious that all of this attention, all of it, is meant for him. Frankie kisses him and then sits by him--he was not prepared for that--his pulse jumps and he shivers a little. "Oh, uhh, gosh, last gift!" he stammers out, gently setting the iPod with the guitar and reaching for the last box. He shook it a little and really had no idea what could be inside--"Haha, holy cow," he opens what looks to be one of several boxes of dance shoes, "You do realize you're gonna have to help me break in all'a these." he teases. <And show me what they're all for...> he was still rather embarrassed about his narrow knowledge of dance and dance gear.
  • Frankie notices the square looking at his fonked up vibe- how could he not? But the incredible agitation this situation should bring him is nowhere to be seen. He's actually feeling rather giddy that Claud likes her. He closes his eyes to focus on the fluttering rhythm Claud's heart has started to sing to him. Colors move across his eyelids, and the sound fills his head. The women drape themselves over the square, all trying to touch his chest, wrists, neck- anywhere the soft electric pulse is most pronounced, moving as Frankie's vibe always did, but much stranger an effect in this manifestation. Frankie nods along to the beat, as if it's a particularly exquisite aria. "Latin, ballroom, jazz, practice, n ballet a course," he murmurs happily. "An' of course I do. I'd be heartbroken if I didn't get ta dance with you in all'a these- cept ballet. I'm jus awful at that," he laughs. "God your heart- you can feel that right?? 's fucking beautiful." Around him, many women break into spontaneous dance so that Frankie can continue to enjoy his seat next to the square without having to give in to his desperate need to swing.
  • Claud instinctively starts to move away from the women, even though they obviously weren't real people, and winds up much closer to Frankie--his heartbeat racing on. He promised himself no drugs, no getting high or stoned or drunk for Christmas, but hell if Frankie wasn't making that impossible. Through the connection he was starting to get vicariously high, but if he shifted his attention elsewhere he'd connect up with half the island what with how much vibe he'd passively absorbed in the last half hour. "It-it is?" he breathes. It was getting to be too much, he needed a moment to breathe, to recollect, any more stimulation and he was going to--"The rolls!" he exclaimed and bounces off the couch with all the speed of Joseph of Egypt. "Ahh--good, they're ok..." he sighs, setting them on a cooling rack. They'd have a bit more crust than he would have liked, but oh well. He lets out a nervous giggle, "Man, any more doting on me and I'm gonna be cooking for you forever."
  • Frankie listens to Claud's body, inhales the deliciously warm air full of perfect smells, and watches the room distort as his furniture tries to join the dance party his vibe has created. He's still for the first time since taking the pill, overcome with contentment. "Huh?" When he looks around, Claud has completely vanished from the room. But he can feel him in the other room, just as well as if he was still next to him. "Oh well that wouldn't be too bad, I think. You take care'a me, I take care'a you. Jus like'a family's spossed to, ya know?? I mean, I never really asked ya if'yous was'ok wit it, but yer like'a brother to me, kid. Is'at crazy?" he laughs openly. "Only known ya... god, not even a year? Maybe that's too much. Ah well. it's true, anyhow." Frankie smiles, feeling incredibly pleased as he rubs his hand against his shirt for the sensation- his hand meets the handmade scarf. His eyes widen at the memory, and the vibe ladies start producing purple sparkles of their own, increasing the amount in the apartment exponentially. It pours into every crevice of each room, out the windows, eagerly billowing into the city.
  • It was such a bittersweet notion, and Claud smiles as he checks on the other dishes, wanting to busy himself so he didn't dwell too much on any sad thoughts. "Naw it's not crazy. I'm glad..." he chokes up a little and can't find the words to list the reasons or the ways, < I'm glad.> The apartment fills with light and vibe so thick that he feels as if he were swimming through it. He sets a timer for the rest of the food this time and wades his way back to Frankie, sitting his skinny ass down a more respectable distance from Frankie on the other end of the couch. "Food'll be ready in about twenty," he speaks softly, lifting a hand up to touch the sparkles. All the excitement, the high emotions, were wearing him out quick, and not to mention he hadn't slept in the last 36 hours. Just being able to sleep peaceful, that would be the best gift. His eyelids droop and he sprawls comfortably into the couch.
  • Frankie leans back as he fills with happiness at Claud's response. A few women stop dancing to lay against him and pet him, their affection producing a steady stream of purple light into the already dense fog hanging in the room. "S'like... bein in'a sunset," he mutters as Claud makes his way back. He watches the other man from a distance, just enjoying the look of him. Oh, he'd said something. Frankie'd mistaken the soft, lovely voice for part of the music. He drifts in that for a moment before nodding to Claud. "Thank ya- oh. That's right! You made a them peaches'n delicious things!! God, ya know I'm starvin??" Well he was. Now it's just a dull vagueness, overwhelmed by a thousand other marvelous sensations. Frankie wakes up from another trance from Claud's slowing heartbeat. He grins boyishly at the square, as if Claud had just told a great joke. < It's not that I din't love mine, ya know. Not tryin'a replace anything. Not tryina take the place of anythin. It's just... It's nice ta have people ta love, right?>
  • <That it is,> he replies, too lazy and comfortable to even speak. At length he stretches and stands, "Well then, we'd better get somethin in ya!" There were the cold dishes; fruits, cheeses, salads, and the rolls, still warm. In sudden realization he snaps his fingers and exclaims, "Hold your horses I'm about to be brilliant. You need a hand up? Cuz I'm gonna go get something I think you'll like."
  • <Ahhh don' worry, I don'need anythin. Jus'a dance an'a vendy bar 'n I'll be good fer the rest'a the night,> he assures with slight disorientation as a flash fights with his high, neither really winning. He's silent for a few minutes, staring fascinated at the sparkles condensing around it. <Yer hand's like... lookit it, all intricate'n... each little perfect bone... god, yer gonna love guitar-> "Wait... Are you gonna surprise me??" he asks excitedly, dancing in his seat.
  • "Ohhh no, no vendy bars tonight, it's Christmas, so I went a little crazy and got some real food." he laughs. For a moment he's caught up in the subtle change, and it was like looking at a much younger person sitting on the couch. "Sure am, meet me in the kitchen? I gotta go get it." he scoots off to his bedroom and retrieves a few flavors of electrolyte drink. "I know this is gonna seem really ghetto, but something tells me you're gonna like this stuff. Or at leas your vibe will." he pulls out some fancy glasses and club soda if either of them were so inclined.
  • Frankie is shoved back a few years as Claud plays along. "Oh my god, this is gonna be the greatest- how'd you afford it though??" The incorporeal women slowly disperse into formless vibe as Frankie's vibe becomes less developed, and the room clears ever so slightly. "Kitchen?? God is this place ritzy!!" he giggles with confused joy, leaping to obey. He ends up taking an amazed tour of his own penthouse before he manages to find and cake walk into the proper room. "I dunno man, I think even shit'd look classy in here," he assured the... square? Claud! Of course!! "See, there ya go!" Frankie nods approvingly at the glasses... but stares with misgivings at the bottles. He'd never trusted those odd colored vendy drinks. But it's Christmas. "Is it? It is!!" he exclaims in elated epiphany as he hugs Claud yet again. "I'll try anything today!!"
  • Claud laughs as Frankie jostles him in a rough hug, "Well if you don't like it you don't have to drink it. But it's really good stuff for re-hydrating, especially if you've been drinking alcohol." he pours him a glass of what he hopes is the least offensive flavor, "Just a sip," and hands him the stemmed glass. He takes a drink from his own; it wasn't as good as when your body actually needed it, but it wasn't bad.
  • "Well I certainly ain't gonna do that," he giggles dismissively as he takes the glass. "Whoa... it's weird. I can like... feel it? Like you except not a heart..." He blinks. "Obviously." More laughter, and a couple of drops spill out. Frankie stares at them. "Crazy..." He lifts the glass to examine it. He nearly tips it over as he plays with the way the light hits it. "Jesus Christ that's pretty... And this music!!" he says for the thousandth time. "An.. Ok I gotta drink it?" Another minute of him just smelling the thing suspiciously, and Frankie at last takes the smallest of sips. All the vibe in the room mobs him, rushing in and filling him up along with the artificially colored liquid, leaving the room in what seems like near darkness by comparison. Frankie's eyes burn purple as he downs the rest greedily.
  • Claud continues grinning as Frankie figuratively dances around actually putting the stuff in his mouth. When he finally does, he was not prepared for the reaction it causes. He cautiously holds up the bottle, "More?" He was comforted by the thought that this stuff was virtually medicine, there probably wasn't any way to overdose on the stuff.
  • Frankie nods, unable to speak for the incredible tingling and crackling all over his body. As he raises his glass, he stumbles forward as his legs transform into magenta electricity for one brief instant. "Wha- haha- Jesus" Another twitch, and the Mafioso's body becomes a pillar of light. In the seconds afterwards, Frankie goggles at Claud, the smile on his lips growing more and more pleased at every twinge. His hand wavers, but remains holding the glass out.
  • Claud tries not to stumble back in fear, but the light display was really sudden and very unexpected. Frankie gestures for more and he wonders if he hasn't made a mistake. But the man seemed to be fine, enjoying it greatly. Not wanting to spill any, Claud gently steadies Frankie's hand and pours him another glass, and a good amount of vibe flows between them. Claud inhales delicately as his eyelids flutter--woah, so that's what it felt like. Groovy.
  • Frankie gasps at the intensity of the touch. The world contracts at every enveloping pulse of the kid's heart. With a sudden, silent flicker, the apartment fills again with enhancing echos of the woman. The tinny gramophone music swells to something rich, as if a full orchestra has very quietly stepped into the next room. Frankie guzzles down the blue liquid. He quivers delightedly as it trickles down. The room goes dark again as the light amasses to slither down after the drink. Steadily glowing and glittering, Frankie falls back against the counter, and slowly slides down to the floor with a pleasured, helpless whimper.
  • The sudden sound of his own heartbeat fills his head and Claud sinks down against the counter opposite Frankie, feeling almost exactly as he felt. His eyes were closed and his lips were parted, trying to regain control over himself and his vibe. He wanted so badly to touch, to kiss--no he couldn't he shouldn't, he, he had dinner to finish! Clinging to that absurd yet steadfast though, Claud did not move from where he'd sat down.
  • Frankie's blinded- everything is shrouded by the brilliant amethyst blaze, and the incredible impossibility of pleasure from touching metal, or wires or... but... he's the metal. Frankie writhes with the devastating gratification of each second of feeling. His breath comes in ragged gasps, catching each time he rubs against anything. Mindlessly, his hand reaches to himself to run slowly across his body, causing him to buck and moan. Sparks fly as Frankie whimpers- A sound of static, and he becomes entirely light. His own hand sinks into his heaving chest, brushing his racing heart. Frankie cries out, setting off a cacophony of thunderous vibe. The entire block is enveloped in purple.
  • When next Claud comes to the timer is beeping and the air is still thick with particles of light. Note to self, fonk and electrolytes and Frankie, probably not the best idea. He shivers in the afterglow as echoing pleasure makes it's way through the connection. Shutting off the timer he checks everything in the oven--it all seemed okay. Oven off and slightly open he looks down at Frankie sprawled across the floor; he crouches down but does not touch him, "Hey, you okay?"
  • Frankie stares up at the ceiling. He gingerly extricates his hand from his chest, sending him squirming and panting again, but as the waves of pleasure of sensation continue to roll in with each breath, they seem to be lessening back to the euphoric delight of the fonk rather than the mind numbing bliss of Claud's blue drink. Ever so gradually, he returns to solid, human form as the vibes flows back out of him and into the room. He blinks owlishly at Claud. "Well hello... fancy meetin you in'a place like this??" he crows with odd laughter, and tries to stand. His success is impeded by the residual shivers of sensitivity, and that he is also trying to dance at the same time. He hangs onto the counter for dear life."I am....? I... I am SO GOOD, sweetheart!! It should be motherfuckn illegal how good I am!!!"
  • Claud laughs out his pent-up concern, "Man, if I knew just the beverages woulda had this effect, I wouldn'ta worried so much over dinner!" A sympathetic shiver runs through him and he hugs his arms around his body, closing his eyes and trying to stay upright. "Mmmn, yer gonna have ta tell me what just happened sometime, that was downright mad it was." he keeps shivering and his knees keep going weak, he'll have to wait a minute before he trusts himself to handle any pans of hot food.
  • Frankie ends up sitting on the counter rather than trying to stand. His long legs swing wildly to the strain of melody from the other room. "It was... god... it was like... OH!" Frankie smiles with delight at sudden realization, and the illusionary dancers race to Claud's side. < It's like...> Frankie sends to Claud the joy of his vibe reaching what it's naturally drawn to- a flicker of touching metal, a flash of wires- even more vague, of a city full of beating hearts, of tall towers and deep underground caves... not even an emotion, simply his basic nature. All this he sends. <And then... if you can imagine... yer the metal...> Frankie's knees knock at the mere idea, regardless of whether he's made his point. "Is... there any more??" he asks with an indecent smile as he tries to spring up and perform the Charleston.
  • Claud startles a bit when the vibe girls run towards him, but then Frankie takes full advantage of the connection and gives Claud an almost out-of-body experience. When he next comes to he breathes in a deep breath and lets it out slowly. "And you can feel that? All the time? That's amazing..." he ponders on what he'd just seen/felt, leaning on the counter heavily for support. "Uhh... yes there is, but we'd better eat soon, else the food gets cold." he hopes he can gracefully guide Frankie into eating something and not just tripping out on sports drink all night.
  • Frankie flushes at Claud's reaction. So soon after the drink, the connection has very little work to do. Frankie pulls off his jacket and tie, far too warm for this. It takes him a moment though, as he becomes fascinated with the feeling of cloth sliding against him. "...what? Oh.. Are you sure? We could jus... " Not vendy bars, the smell reminds him. His neglected stomach stabs at him for attention. "Oh! There was... You made me dinner," he realizes with a sob. "Nonono- let's eat! Right now, god, I'm hungry an neither of us'r gonna have vendy bars and I got this scarf and fuck if taday ain't jus'a gift from god??" He pulls Claud into the briefest of Lindy Hops around the kitchen.
  • "Woahh--!!" they're off again, spinning around the kitchen--and just as suddenly as they started, they're right back where they began. Claud laughs and holds onto Frankie for a moment as he tries to steady himself. "Alright Casa Nova, lemme get these dishes outta the oven without you spookin' or dancin' with me!" he chides gently. He pulls out the various dishes and sets them on trivets on the table. He'd considered lighting candles, but decided against it as it might seem inappropriate. And with Frankie bouncing off the walls like he was, the last thing they needed was open flame. "Alright, that should do it. I don't suppose you say grace at all...?"
  • Frankie beams sheepishly at the nickname. "Wasn't spooked. M never spooked. Cept for ghosts. But they're spooky, so that's allowed, I think," he mumbles as he fidgets and fusses, but does manage not to pull Claud into another dance. He's about to draw Claud's attention yet again to the music when the question startles some sense into him. "Are ya.. Ya don't mind..?" He looks searchingly at Claud. And then wanders away. It seems all is lost, but he returns surprisingly quickly with a candle. The illusory women around them disperse as Frankie's mood turns sober. The mafioso lights the candle, sits and clasps his hands.
  • "God of love, we gather around this table on Christmas Day to thank you for the Holy Communion which nourished us today and for the words we heard at Mass-" Frankie's steady voice wavers. He looks intensely guilty, and the last of the purple light fades.
  • "....To show us how much You love us, Your Son was born as an infant in a poor manger. As the angels announced his birth to the shepherds, so the Church once again proclaims His birth to remind us again that You became one of us so that we could become more like You.

Look with love on us and on our world which this Christmas is so in need of peace. Let your peace, then, be with each of us, as we ask you to bless this food and our celebration. We ask this in the Name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen."

  • Claud honestly didn't know why he'd asked, he wasn't religious in the slightest, but it was Christmas after all. The appearance of a candle panicked him slightly, but it seemed Frankie knew what he was doing, and had sobered up a little to do it. He awkwardly imitates Frankie's posture during the prayer, surprised at how detailed and eloquent it was. He had no idea Frankie was religious. Just when he thought he knew the guy there was another layer to him. "Amen," he echos, then a smile and a quiet, "Thank you."
  • Frankie grins in contrast to his serious words. "Ya know, when I was little, I thought that last part, about the world'n everyone an the like needin peace 'this Christmas' would go away... like, eventually, ya wouldn' need ta say that part, cause it'd all get better." Frankie sighs and stares fixedly on the candle. Whether lost in thought or simply finding the light enthralling because of the fonk was anyone's guess. After a moment of stillness, he grows jittery. "Aright! Le'ss have soma' that food before the city bots have ta drag us away!" he jokes morbidly, and lifts the first dish of the meal, serving Claud a generous portion of chicken.
  • Claud listens, sobered by the thought of Frankie, small and hopeful, and already compassionate. And then they're fumbling plates of food, passing the dishes around to each other until Claud has to seriously question whether or not he's going to be able to finish everything on his plate. As he begins to eat, a sudden image springs into his mind--of Sigurd sitting at home, alone--and it's gone just as quickly as it came. He tries to ignore it, tell himself that he doesn't know if it's even true, but it left a feeling like a knife in his gut. And then thought after thought of random people, total strangers, without comfort of family or even food--he tries to shut it out, tries to pretend like nothing's wrong. God, couldn't he just have one nice dinner? Was he really expected to solve the whole island's problems? And if not, why did he have to live with the burden of being aware of them? Unaware of it, he's frowning down at his plate and pushing his food around with his fork, lost in thought.
  • Frankie braces himself for a flash with all this nostalgia, but as he passes plates to the square, mumbling praise at the smell and presentation all the while, it fails to appear. Glitter falls in his relief, but it's short lived. He bites his lip as emotional pain tears into him, fighting with the subsiding fonk. "Sweatheart, go on'n tell me what'sa matter, alright??"
  • He waves a hand dismissively, "It's nothin, just some collected bad feelings is all, happens a lot around this time of year, you know how it is..." he tries to smile through the pain. "I'm glad you like the food..." he tries to divert attention off of himself. "Sorry--" he whispers, throat tight, coughing into his napkin, trying every diverting tactic he knew how to keep himself from breaking down.
  • Frankie is high, not drunk, and the fast one Claud tries to pull is caught. He laughs inappropriately, but takes his plates and waltzes to the opposite side of the table, sitting down next to the square. "Oh boy don' I know it, kid. Las year? Ya know where I was? Why, I was right over there," he points at a corner. Unfurnished. "Drinkin' the pain away, ya know? An it worked! Missed Christmas, din't have ta think'a the nasty things! Till the next day, when I had'a district sized hangover, lemme tell ya," he chortles at his own expense. "But this year, well... I got my family. That's what'm always sayin. Focused on the present, this year. Havin a better time, I'd say. Fonks'a bit'a a crutch, but hey, I wont tell if you don’t!" He wraps his arm around Claud's shoulders. "Now, what I wanna ask right now, without nothin else goin on, no one else involved- Is Mister Claud havin a good Christmas?" he finishes with a sparkle.
  • Claud gives a fragile smile and tucks his head against Frankie's shoulder. "I am," he confesses, "It ain't what I'd expected or what I thought it'd be, but it's been wonderful all the same." He relaxes again, felt safe where he was. <And I'll work harder; I'll work harder to try and lift some of the sadness from this city in any way I can.> And god help him if he wasn't gonna die trying.
  • Frankie sighs with pleasure as Claud rests against him. It was no way to eat a meal, but it's better than food. <Do what you can do, love, but jus remember...> ... wow, was the comedown so very quick? He tries to cling to the good mood- His eyes regain their purple hue with his success, and Frankie smiles again, very warmly as Claud's nearness. <Remember ta look out for yerself, alrigh? Jus like the prayer. There's always gonna be problems. Can't fix em all. You'll lose everythin tryin, and ya know what ya get for it?> He asks the last question theatrically, as if he's performing a magic trick. "Nightmares an'a drinkin habit, kid," he says with a laugh. "No. You can do more good by takin care of yerself. It's like... like a sickness. Cept in reverse. If yer healthy, you can help spread it. If yer not, you'll spread that, won’t ya?" He slowly rubs Claud's cheek as he speaks, getting slightly distracted by the feeling.
  • Claud listens to all Frankie has to say, mulling over the night's events and conversations in his head. 'Family' Frankie'd said, 'you're like a brother to me.' Claud smiles, feeling warm again with the reassurance that he'd at least made the difference in this man's life. He couldn't change the past, and he couldn't help every person with their pain, but at least he was doing some good now for this one person. And he'd be content with that. The fonk-induced glow returns and Claud lets his eyes close as he tries to re-focus the connection on just Frankie.
  • Frankie drifts in the sensation of Claud's heart and the feeling of he soft skin, silky hair... "Never said nothin about yer new style, did I.... It's real classy... it's lovely.." The room again fills with his orbs of purple vibe, very slowly taking human shape. "Maybe it don't fit who ya were, but it's somethin ta change inta," he says vaguely. <Maybe' 's strange, but I put high stock in styles,> he explains as he rubs the squares' head... "Ah...ok wait I gotta try this now, it's too good- the smell I mean- and..." the music... Frankie pauses with his fork hovering above the plate, the wonderful sensory input creating one last obstacle to the food.
  • "Mmm," he agrees, "I'm glad you approve. I wasn't so happy about it at first, but I'm glad it's shorter now. Kinda a relief in some ways." His stomach growls loud and he comes up out of the trance. Frankie looks like he could last forever on just happy thoughts and music, but he was starving. He sits up and starts eating. For having looked at it all for so long, the food wasn't really half bad. The rolls were a bit crusty, but oh well.
  • Frankie is jostled out of his reverie when Claud slides off him. "N...? Oh! Of course!!" He taps his feet under the table as he at last digs in. The first mouthful.. "Oh my god.... Oh my god." He shuts up so that he can experience another mouthful. Purple fireworks actually go off in the room. Frankie closes his eyes to savor every second, the fonk enhancing the delicious food to absurd levels. He greedily tucks in. <This... this's godda be the best thing I ever put in my mouth, kid,> he says with joyful astonishment.
  • Claud laughs and almost chokes on his food, "Yeah, well, we'll see if it lives up to the same standards as leftovers cuz there's a lot more where that came from." he may be putting his cooking down, but he's grinning ear to ear. He's also really glad Frankie's eating real food, and not just something out of a bottle.
  • Frankie's stomach is already gurgling in gratitude/protest as he empties his plate. "You gotta cook... like.. forever.... I wanna eat this the rest of my life," he announces as he pulls a plate of vegetable over. He's nearly ko'd by the smell alone, "Ahhhhh~" he cries with delight. "Here- here, smell this," he insists, bringing the dish up so that Claud can experience the glory of his own food for himself. The purple figures crowd around the table, causing the candle to burn purple. Frankie's attention is caught, and he barks out a laugh. "Oh my god, isn't that fantastic??? My glitz doesn' normally do nothin ta regular things without vibe!!" he flushes with intense pride, still lifting the vegetables for Claud's inspection.
  • Claud laughs, "I'm glad you like it," well now he could earn his keep. Hopefully Frankie still enjoyed his cooking once the drug wore off. "Hmm?" He gently takes the plate from Frankie and looks up to see the candle reacting to the vibe in the air. "Uhhh, please tell me your vibe isn't flammable." Wouldn't that just figure.
  • "Nononono-" Frankie assures in a hushed voice, as if he's afraid of scaring the effect away. He's completely fixated on the purple flame until a tickling jolts him awake- "What...?" He turns to peer with puzzlement at his shoulder- "Oh my god- Claud look, look!!" he hisses with childlike excitement as his glossy, lacquered chair sprouts with a tiny, fresh green shoot. "I enhanced'a chair??" he gasps excitedly.
  • Claud carefully sets the plate down and subtly checks to see if he's still awake. Or maybe Frankie had taken something else a little more... hallucinogenic, and they were just sharing a trip. "Enhance? What...?" he asks as if coming out of a trance. He was getting a lot of excitement second hand from Frankie, but he was cautious and wary of the effect. "Please don't bring the chicken back to life," he half jokes, trying to lighten his own mood.
  • Frankie has rarely looked so happy as he watches the branch grow towards him. "M' vibe's... mm.." It's good. I really, really is- "What... the chicken??" He has a brief vision of the food on his plate. Breathing. Writhing. The room darkens noticeably. "M... course not." He swallows. "Jus... it weren't real, wasit. No of course." He jabs his fork into the offensive food, about to shovel more of the orgasmic vegetables- but the little brocoli stalk he's about to shovel in his mouth has begun to put out roots. "...hh.."
  • Claud makes a strained face, he saw that vision too. Or maybe he'd had it instead of Frankie. "Well it just seems to be plants, that's cool," he tries to salvage the moment. "It's like yer the sun." He waits a beat. "Unless we're both hallucinating..."
  • Frankie idly inspects the still budding plant. "Whats... maaybe.. 't's not spossed ta be so strong, this, ya know?? I dunno, maybe the boys wanned ta give me'a Christmas presen' or somethin. Hah." He doesn't want to think about it anymore. The candle regains it's yellow flame. "I dunno, maybe it's real, maybe it ain't. That's the whole world though, ain'it? Cannever tell if what ya did the ot'er day really happened. Who ya saw, maybe they weren' even people. Ghosts, vibes, Maybe jus... memories..." He sets the living thing onto his napkin. "Ya know what.. Fuck this. I don' wanna spend taday sulkin. Lifes good. Got a roof over us, this.. scarf." He laughs. "N.. whad'else- you. Shit. Got a faction fulla family, and a few ohers, n there ain'a war... N- goddamn! That peach thing!!" He slides the dish on over. His hand glows, but his vibe stays down.
  • Claud wonders about the somewhat vague things Frankie just said only briefly as Frankie re-gains his earlier happiness. He waits with a slight hitch in his breath as Frankie samples the peaches--awh what was he worried about of course he loved it. Once the praise dies down he asks, "Hey, do you have any favorite songs?"
  • Frankie wants to keep eating the perfection, but his stomach refuses more. He leans back in his chair, feet still moving to the slow waltz flowing from the gramophone. He continues mentaly listing the things making today lovely, vibe creeping more tamely back. "M... e'ry song... no.. Mine? Whad'about yers??" But the list is on his mind... "Fer dancin?? Ah.. It Don't Mean'a Thing's jus... 's the tops, ya know?? Cat's meow, even. Or Puttin' on the Ritz..." He looks at the plant at his side. Maybe it was real... " "Dya know... ah.. Stardust... but that's kind'a sad.. kinda beautiful though..." He catches the melody before it escapes his chest... "Mm... t's lovely, anyhow.."
  • Claud commits those songs to memory, adding them to the list of tunes he wanted to learn. Dancing music was gonna be harder to learn for the guitar though, not really meant for it. "Can I ask you a rather... personal question?" he pushes the last of his food around with his fork; he hardly ate but he was already full as well.
  • Frankie thoughtfully chews another mouthful of peach dessert, already hating and loving himself for eating more. His eyes slowly slide back to the square, his expression full of love and gratitude. "Huh? Absolutely kiddo, anythin ya like~"
  • Claud takes a smallish deep breath, curiosity battling with what little sense of social mores he had, "I only heard ya sing that one time at the Swan Song... yer voice was really lovely! So..." he can't get the words out, feeling as if he's encountered a wall, social propriety winning, "I'm sorry, 's not my business." he smiles self-effacingly and looks back at his plate.
  • Frankie fills with joy at Claud's praise. "That was.... fun. God. That was fun- With Siggy, 'n everyone, 'n... god." A strain of the song- he can hear it. Their duet. He didn't have a record of it, so how...? Claud's voice interrupts the song, and it fades. And the fonk destroys Frankie's walls. Everything continues to feel light and open. "So?? So what?"
  • Reassured he smiles and wets his lips, "So how come I never hear you sing? Before or since?"
  • Frankie tilts his head, unprepared for the obvious question. "Uhm. Hah. Why don' I sing? Jeeze ain't that a question.." He looks thoughtful, rather than defensive or suspicious. "That vibe.. that's always been a weird one... With the flares, it din't really matter, did it now? Don' matter what vibe ya had durin' the flares. Horrible things happened, a'course. But we were free from who we are fer'a time..." He smiles into his hands, suddenly sheepish. "When I was little, well... it had it's uses, but it was awful. Jus awful..." He looks to Claud. Just to make sure he's still listening... "N one day, with my lady, why... it just changed. Year'sa one vibe... but it weren't like the flares. The change stuck, ya know? People listened ta me. Dammnit. Was one'a the happiest day'sa my life." A vague outline of lips kiss his cheek, sending sparkles across the table. "But the war changed a lot'a things. It's dangerous ta sing now. It changed again, ya know? But... you heard me, din't ya. Earlier? T's why I had ta take the fonk, ain't it..." He leans back again comfortably. Somehow, the subject that ate at him daily is just... fine. Everything's ok right now.
  • Claud listens attentively, not hardly daring to breathe. Frankie was very calm about the question--but of course he was, the drug still had its effect--even if he was being vague with his answer. But two items of information disturbed him, that Frankie's singing was somehow directly related to him trying to enter the apartment and forgetting to use his card key, and the idea that a vibe could change. He rubs his brow a little, "I don't remember--I don't hardly remember anything from what happened..." bits and pieces, here and there come back to him, but his memory shimmers and warps, like a mirage in the desert heat. Difficult to define. "Mnnnh, it's an interesting and distressing thought, that vibes can change." He wonders if his has. Up until this point he'd only assumed it was the natural progression of his vibe as he developed it, but it was possible that it had been shifted in it's course because of any number of experiences. He gets so caught up in his pondering that he almost forgets, "Oh! Uh, thank you, for telling me this, it being so personal and all." Frankie's calm helps sooth his agitation and he settles into thoughtful repose once again.
  • "Ah, it's no big mystery... Jus look'it the res'a my vibe, right??" He raises his fork, inspecting it a bit longer than is theatrically necessary. After a moment, the soft light condenses around it into static. "T's all the same damn thing, ain't it? But na. Get a little mad, get a little scared, n it does somethin completely different... Lota people'r like it, ya know?... Maybe not's bad... I'm kinda messed up," he confesses openly. He eats another peach, unintentionally charring it. "Haha- think nothin' ofit, ah'course. Like I said ferever n' ever. Vibe's go funny. No rhyme'r reason."
  • "Yer not... messed up. Not any more 'n the rest of us." He rests his chin in his hands. "I don't know. I don't know if there is an underlying reason that we can't see yet, or if I just need there to be a reason for everything--life, this island--to make sense." <Like order and chaos in the universe, we can't see it, but it's there, and it's not random.> At least he hopped it wasn't. "Is there anything I can, I dunno, do to help?"
  • "Kid! Kid, come now. You don't gotta spare my feelins. I'm sure ya get enough'a me ta see a few missin screws now'n then," Frankie laughs melodically. "But I ain't here ta argue. You think there'sa reason?? That's kinda beautiful. And maybe there really is, too. Why not. Rhyme's pretty popular in this town, an hell, maybe I just can see the reason." That sounds an awful lot like religion to Frankie, and makes it pretty easy for him to accept. "Mysterious ways, yea?" He sways in his chair. "As fer helpin me... jeezus kid. Your like candy. Honest ta god, they could sell ya at the sweet shop on the corner of Chord and Minor!" A burst of light showers the table, but his unconscious reactions are at last becoming less flashy. Relatively. "But it ain't yer job ta help me with my vibe. The opposite, in fact," he grins.
  • "Something like that, yeah. I feel like, there ought'a be some kinda structure, an' once you find it, you can understand yerself, yer vibe, a lot better." Then Frakie's laughing, and the sparkles are back; Claud smiles sleepily at the praise. "We'll never agree, will we?" he yawns, "Lettin me try'ta help to you."
  • Frankie keeps smiling pleasantly at Claud, humoring him. He liked hearing the kid think about vibe like this. Made him hopeful. But Claud's next statement... it's pessimism shakes his thoughtless euphoria. "Wha- don't say it like that... Lookit, you got enough ta deal with, aright?? Mine ain't perfect, but I can cope with my vibe! And don't ya think I tried?? Everythin'?? What the hell do you think you'd do that I can't?!" The fork in his hand wilts, and the vibe in the air cracks sharply. Frankie jumps at the noise. "Shit. Shit I didn' mean any'a that. Jus. Ignore what I been sayin taday ok??" He sets the fork down next to the plant. It sizzles into the napkin.
  • The outburst catches him completely off guard, he didn't mean it like that at all. He sits up straight, previous sleepiness gone, and goes quiet, choosing his words carefully. His mouth opens and closes subtly a few times, and finally he gives up on words all together, <My parents died when we were young, V day, in fact. I never got to watch them grow old, never was able ta take the burden of providing from them, take care'a them like they took care'a me an my sis. They wasn't the best parents but they tried, and I owe them that much. I don't doubt your ability to take care'a yourself, just like I didn't doubt it in them, but I don't wanna just be a child all my life, I wanna help people too, not because they couldn't but because I should.> He swallows, "I hope that makes sense. If it don't, then I'll back off."
  • The regularly scheduled shame fails to greet him, and Frankie smiles as he starts to rethink his opinion of fonk. "Shhh, shh calm down it's all fine." Ah. Story time. Frankie listens intently, eating up Claud's words as he stares with violet eyes.... Frankie understands. God, does he understand. <Whole life tryn'a take car'a somebody... everybody... but fer you... yer vibe... it ain't healthy...> Unless... It makes him want to be Claud more. That'd undoubtedly help with all this... trying to be other people nonsense. Frankie smiles with delight. <Hold the phone. No! Makes absolute sense, don't it?? Kid, you won me over! Tell'me what I can do!>
  • Maybe Frankie was right, maybe he just couldn't, shouldn't do what he felt he so desperately needed. He wanted to help, wanted to be of use to people, but if he only ended up doing more harm than good... He was near despair when Frankie suddenly changed his mind. Claud blinks in surprise, "Well uh," he didn't expect Frankie to actually consent to the idea. "I du-dunno actually. But, well, I guess it's just that. If there's something I can help with... lemme know." He frowns a little to himself, it did sound dumb once he said it aloud.
  • "Awright well. Lessee.. Somethin delightful you can help me with?" He looks down at his plate and laughs. "Mission accomplished, yea? Hah! But that ain' enough.. gotta fix all'a me, huh? Well that ain't gonna happen but... ya know what'd be a great alleviation'a one'a my main worries?" He leans towards Claud, almost flirtatious, though there's only humor in his eyes “Tell me somet'n about yerself... say... ten things that ya like about yerself. Easy as pie. I worry ya don' like yerself, ya know? ' why I was grateful ta Sweet Simon Sullivan's vibe-" he savors the name- "Even though it tore me apart." Frankie just keeps smiling. <Jus start. One'at'a time. A great weight off'a my heart, if ya do~>
  • Claud blinks a few times, not sure if Frankie's making fun of him or just being silly. "Cheater," he grins, embarrassed. But he knew Frankie was right, any time he had to talk about himself he just squirmed at the thought. He had half a mind to refuse to answer unless Frankie participated as well, but that wouldn't really accomplish anything. "I, ah, mmm..." he stalls, really not coming up with anything. "I like my... eyes?" It's not so much that he actively hated a lot of things about himself, although there was that, but he didn't particularly have an opinion one way or another about a lot of things, himself included.
  • Frankie nods benevolently. "They're lovely. Definitely." He stares deeply into them for a moment. The light around Claud flares up, and a soft form materializes to strokes Claud's cheek with pure vibe. "Alright, well that's a wond'rful start," he says as he rests his head on his hands. "Nine more~"
  • "Uuuhhmm..." he replies shakily, his eyelids drooping a little, the vibe and light tingling on his skin almost like a real touch. OK just listing off aspects of his appearance felt like cheating so he had to mix it up with things from his personality. "I, mm, I like that I wanna help people, even if I'm not good at it."
  • Frankie smiles as his vibe crawls over the square, the electrical sensation he gets from the other man feeling as if Frankie himself had stroked his cheek. The mafioso grins like a self-satisfied cat at Claud's reply. "I should take a point off fer you belittlin yerself... But I suppose it is Christmas, he purrs magnanimously. "Eight more. This is quite th' present, by the way."
  • Claud smiles, he thought Frankie might penalize him for his self effacing comment, instead he'd fired a metaphorical warning shot at his feet. Alright he'll try to curb that selfish habit, this was for Frankie after all. The praise catches him somewhat of guard and he flourishes under it. "I like that I can dance so well with a good partner, lets me do stuff I've never done before. Makes me feel safe."
  • Finally, he was digging into something seriously amazing about himself- not that his eyes aren't gorgeous, but... Frankie tenses in surprise. He hadn't realized how strongly the square's show if confidence would affect him, but he should have know better. Faith in oneself, particularly when it was so rightly placed... And what was better than skillful, confident dancing?? "Hhhh hahha- jeezes- yes." He agrees as a sharp pang of arousal runs through him. More vibe manifests to fondle Claud, and Frankie rubs his face at the pleasurable sensation. "That's ah- hahh, that's a good one," he nods into his hand. When at last he composes himself, he manages to breath out encouragingly, "Number seven, theres'a lad."
  • Claud's eyes go a bit wide, was wasn't expecting--that. So this is what Frankie Valentine found attractive... he wasn't sure how he felt about it. His skin flushes warm, then cold, then warm again as he tries to think and process this new information at the same time. He takes a deep breath, "Ah, I um, I enjoy singing. Which is to say, I like my voice. I'm-I'm not trained or nuthin, I jus'..." he shrugs, "Fer fun."
  • Frankie's seated dance concludes as he's forced to cross his legs, the fonk magnifying the wonderful sensations rolling through him. "Singin!! Really!" Frankie is delighted. "Training ain't the end all, you know that- if it's fun and its in yer soul, ya gotta let it out, right? Jus like wit dancing!! Don' matter anythin' else, if its fun!!" Frankie stands, bursting into Lindy Hop. "Ya know kid, of all my favorite t'ings, would ya believe that live music- ah! Wouldya lookit that, got all excited! Six, but after this ya jus gotta sing me a little somethin'~"
  • Claud blushes and forces himself to keep his eyes up on Frankie's face, but he didn't need to see to know what was going on. He couldn't break or dampen the connection lest his vibe reach out to someone (or ones) else, so he'd just have to sit tight and try to hide the fact that he was getting vicariously aroused. Well, maybe not just vicariously. "I'll try," he smiles, more than a little nervous at the idea--he'd not sung in years, never felt happy enough to. "OK, umm, s-six... I'm good with animals," he smiles fondly at a distant memory, "An’ I like that because I really like animals."
  • "Hahh kiddo you know you don't really gotta if ya don't wann~ you given me enough gifts, ya know?" He grins empathetically, easily reading anxiety on the square. "God damn, I should get'a bigger place so I can dance better... Maybe move inta'a studio," he ponders seriously when he comes up short on room to leap. But it's no great matter when Claud's voice brings him back to the conversation. "Animals!! Ah, lovely! Y' know if it weren't fer my vibe m my job n m' sleepovers, I'd probably have loads'a pets, ya know? Specially cats... Ah! You helped me through that cat flare, come ta thinka'it. Dignified creatures," he smiles fondly at the memory as he spins back over to Claud in a trail of light, brushing the Square's cheek lovingly, just as his vibe had. “Five.”
  • Claud's heart is beating faster, his breathing a bit deeper--he resists the urge to take Frankie's hand in his and kiss it. Instead he just closes his eyes, comforted by the touch. "I really like how I look in jewelry and fancy dress," he admits, voice a little quieter. "It's a little vanity I don't let most people know about."
  • Frankie had not been prepared for that answer. He doesn't stumble, Frankie Valentine was not one to stumble middance, especially not while on fonk, but his leap goes much higher than anticipated, and a vague look of bewilderment crosses his face as he twirls magnificently. Whatever sense of arousal Claud received before is nothing to what pours off Frankie at that confession. The heavy vibe in the air noticeably diminished, floods in again, dense enough to feel viscous. Frankie feels his own vibe in shock- unprecedented- as the gramophone quality reaches heavenly orchestra levels, every living thing in the room itching with life and energy and wellness. Frankie's hand reaches low on his body, and in a deep tone that could be mistaken for a moan, he mutters "Four."
  • Claud slumps back in his chair, eyes still closed, arms folded over his chest. He breathed deep, the vibe in the air moving into his lungs, deep into his chest, shivering. "Although it causes me plenty of grief, I like that my vibe lets me feel a little less alone, and I can only hope it does the same for others." He hadn't realized it until he spoke the words aloud, but it was true. And maybe this truth would make it a little more bearable. He shifts his legs a bit.
  • The music pounds in Frankie's head, his vision blinded by purple aura as he continues dancing. His hand presses against his cloth covered tightness shamelessly, low animal noises lost under the heavy melody filling the apartment. "It's really a lovely thing.. Being ta--hhn toget'er through vibe..." His whirling dance takes him across the room from Claud, to lean against a chair as his knees’ ability to support him become compromised. "S th' only good thin in life, ya know? Bein tagether with others. What e--hhhh-else matters??" He philosophizes as his hand continues. "Three," he hisses through his teeth.
  • How long had it been? And since when had he started wanting it? Needing it? He moves his chair forward a bit and discreetly unbuttons his pants, breath shallow and quick. The thought crossed his mind once or twice to just ask Frankie, tell him how he felt towards him, tell him he didn't care if he loved him back. He shoves those thoughts away; selfish childishness. He speaks again, voice strained, body shaking, "I like that I'm a lot more durable than I may seem, or even know. I can do ha--difficult things despite my self doubts." Oh god, word choice, word choice.
  • "Abso-so.... -lutely," he mutters in agreement as his hand slides against his silks, down to the needy rigid heat between his legs. "Fer all the times you been t-touched--" Frankie's eyes flutter closed, the drugs making this simple experience nearly as good as Claud's blue drink. "-t-touched... ya..." Claud. He's right there. And it's Christmas, for God's sake. This is completely inappropriate. Frankie bursts into giggles and continues stroking himself as the room swirls with his purple vibe. "My vibe- my bad vibe- hnnn- kills people... but you- hahh- you, jus... jus take it," he gasps, legs squirming. "T-two," he whimpers with soft pleasure.
  • He couldn't think, his mind had blanked out with pleasure. He leans forward on the table, folds his arms up, rests his head on them. Two more, just two more. He was panting deep breaths of vibe-laden air, only making the connection stronger. "I like that my vibe lets me communicate thoughts and feelings that words cannot express, and similarly understand the thoughts and feelings of others." his legs shuffle a bit, trying to find a sitting position that was comfortable.
  • Frankie can only nod. There were many ways to talk- words, music, body language, dancing, sex... but Frankie shares Claud's sentiments entirely. After all, the one person who had understood him best had spoken to him that way. He's not aware that Claud is getting his agreement, and since he's breathless anyways, he sends his unspoken thoughts through their vibe, loosely, unfortunately sending most of his other feelings to Claud as well. The shapeless power in the room solidifies into the graceful women again, dancing over every surface, condensing over metal, water, but most especially Claud, who they stroke and kiss, and reach to hold his hand as he touches himself. "hhh-hah- One." Frankie cries out.
  • He couldn't, he shouldn't. But most of him wants to say to hell with social mores and let's just have a little drugged up casual sex right now. Claud shudders and a small sound escapes him, but he manages to stay mostly quiet, his eyes shut tight in concentration. < It's embarrassing to admit, but I'm glad I'm no longer a virgin.> It was honestly the only thing he could think of, propriety be damned.
  • Frankie slides down to the floor at Claud's confession, gasping and bucking into his hands, laughing interrupting his pleasured noises. As far as he's concerned, that's a perfectly acceptable answer, everything is perfectly acceptable, from the familiar feel of the carpet as he slides down against it, to the throb of Claud's body across the room, his augmented vibe feeling as if Frankie's pressed against it, as if he's directly touching the square rather than his vibe. He wants to send Claud his approval but all he can wrap his head around is the burning heat welling in his stomach. Whatever is sent is not at all coherent.
  • Frankie's vibe swirls around him and he drinks it in like sunlight. His pants are around his thighs and he's leaning back in the chair, a ghostly hand reaches down and... "Auuoohhhh--hmmnnnh--" He wants this so badly, wants to wrap his legs and arms around the man, kiss and bite him--but he can't move. <Please, make it quick,> he begs, fingers gripping either side of the seat.
  • Frankie can hear Claud vaguely through the pounding of Claud's heart- the whole city full of hearts. "W-whould ya jus listen ta that music," he stutters out again. In a silent typhoon of light, the vibe disappears into Frankie in the time it takes for Claud's heart to pump again. He cries out with the boom of thunder and buildings throughout the district shake with the rumbling. As silence and darkness returns to the room, the soft sound of rain begins outside. A flash of purple from the window, and after a moment, Frankie's ecstatic cry is echoed from a distance.
  • When Claud comes to he's laying on the floor, on his side, wondering who on earth is moaning like tha--oh it's him. He quiets himself and takes a deep breath, ears still ringing slightly. He doesn't want to get up, he's so tired, feels good all over, but the mess on his stomach needs to be taken care of, and he really should pull his pants up before Frankie sees him. He winces and gets himself back into his pants and pulls his shirt back down, but just continues to lay on the floor. Too tired, too comfortable.
  • With the next distant crash, and Frankie's mind drifts through the storm as the intense feelings fade and stop grounding him in one place. He pours over the city- his city, washing away all the filth and grime, illuminating the darkness with stabs of violet light. Inside the apartment, his body lies in a trance, a sparking, sticky mess, but otherwise looking quite content. Vibe continues to flow off of him in great waves, but inside, not much is going on.
  • After a moment Claud wakes, he'd been dozing? He opens his eyes and sees that the apartment is still dark, and quiet. He reaches out through the connection to see if Frankie's alright, and is confused by the feeling of vacancy he finds there. He follows the paths of vibe out, over the city, finds the feeling that is Frankie and is swept away by it.
  • He spends the rest of the day, late into the evening, pouring over the city. The thunder remains unnaturally long, circling around the Grooveline and Frankie's apartment rather than moving along as it should. When the sky at last clears up, early in the morning, the Mafioso exhaustedly grounds back in his too small body with one last spark. The worrying feeling of having only a drop of vibe remaining is not enough to keep him conscious. Quiet the opposite, in fact. As his eyes roll back, he catches a fleeting glimpse of Claud before he sinks back into the dark floor, fast asleep.

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