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Frankie visits Sweet for the first time since the flares. He's quite surprised by what he finds.


Initial Setting:

The Grooveline

Timeline:

During the flashbacks.

Preceded by Shark's a Shark (Not required for context)


Edit

  • Sweet sits in his apartment as that's ALL HE BLOODY DOES THESE DAYS, doing drugs
  • Frankie carries a box of chocolate and wine out of the Grooveline. To all appearances, he's calling on a lady friend, and he's just fine with that. Rather not let the family know he's visiting his very male, very UG friend. Frankie knocks on the door, getting a combo of déjà vu from flares and flashbacks. "Sweet?"
  • Sweet takes a long, long time to open the door. Briefly, he contemplates pretending he's not in. But no... Before he fully realizes it, he's turning the doorknob. Huh... when did he get up? Suddenly, Frankie in front of him. Wine and chocolate. What, is he wooing him? A wet laugh bubbles up from his throat but disappears quickly as he leans against the doorframe. "Fff...rankie," he drawls slowly. His red-rimmed eyes look down at the man's polished shoes. Shiny. "I'm sorry, but I'm not really in the mood for visitors at the moment..." He's out of his mind.
  • Frankie is completely shocked when Sweet appears. He hadn't seen him since he'd shouted drunk slurs that had lead the UG to curse him out, but clearly that wasn't what had sent him here... had it?? Frankie throws off wisps of confused light as he helps Sweet back in his apartment. "What in God's name- what did ya take, Sweetie??" Maybe he hadn't been familiar with withdrawal in the past, but Frankie knew a thing or two about overdoses
  • Sweet wriggles out of Frankie's hold. "Don't--’‘touch’‘ me," he hisses, crossing his arms over his chest, bony fingers hooked over his shoulders. He's too thin. He's been too thin for a while, but it's very noticeable now, as if he hadn't eaten anything for days. Suddenly, they're in the living room. He can't remember how they got there. It's filthy. There are dents in the wall and broken objects underneath them. Sweet shrugs, not really wanting to answer the question. "I don't remember. Prozac. Something else." ‘‘Not enough’‘, he thinks, but he might have well have said it, the way he's broadcasting.
  • Frankie drops Sweet as the vibe command hits him. He shrinks back, sparking before he can help himself. "Y-yer starvin, lookit yerself-" he stumbles over an empty bottle of something as he tries to get farther away from Sweet and his vibe. "I-I'm sorry- szztop - please jus ‘‘zzstop’‘-!!" he cries as the broadcasts mercilessly pound into him. Without even realizing it, he's opening the wine he'd brought to share with Simon, suddenly desperately thirsty even as he leans against the wall to get away from the UG.
  • Sweet looks at Frankie with pity, knowing it's him that's doing this. Him, that can't control this, not anymore, not without the drugs. He takes a half-empty pill bottle out of his pocket and shakes two capsules out of them. Despite Frankie's cowering, he walks over to him and takes the wine, downing the pills with a large gulp of it. His vibe stutters, and deflates to a small simmer. His vision seems to wobble a bit, everything's moving. So he sits down on the couch- wasn't that further away, when did he- Another gulp of wine. "Told you. Not in the mood for visitors."
  • Frankie looks at the wine as it's taken from him- the desperation to drown out everything in the red liquid is fighting with the need to stay back- it hurts to disobey either- and then the conflict just... fades. Frankie furiously snatches the bottle from Simon and proceeds to down the thing in one long go. "What'n God'szz name happened ta ya- prozac?? That's that thing fer housewives 'n- God, you look like'a motherfuckin fonkhead Simon," he wipes his mouth and tries to calm the hell down. Round two. "Ok. Ok it's yer vibe. Course it is." He needs more hooch... maybe if he left for just a spell.... "What's goin on with you, Sweety?"
  • Sweet glares at Frankie. "That's none of your business," he snaps. With hands trembling so hard he hardly manages, he takes out a cigarette and lights it. He has to try a few times with the lighter, though. He feels guilty, he shouldn't take this out on Frankie. He doesn't know. Nobody knows. And now he's thinking about it again, and tears prickle behind his eyes. He looks away. Half the truth, or Frankie's never gonna leave. "I can't control it anymore. After the flares ended..." He sighs. "I'd gotten used to doing it this way. And now I can't do it naturally." He exhales a stream of smoke. "I just don't want to feel anything anymore."
  • Frankie glares at Sweet when he's snapped at- Everything feels sharp and on edge, he needs to smooth it over, the wine wasn't enough and he's ready to slap the secretive bastard- Ah. Good he's talking. "Oh. Yeah. Ok, that makes ssense." ...but. "Look, yer gonna die like this- have you eaten this week? Can ya even? Why don' ya jus go find a leech??"
  • Sweet glares at Frankie. He could very easily make him leave, but he doesn't. He couldn't say why. Pointedly, he saunters over to the FM, takes the box of chocolates, and pops one in his mouth. He can almost feel the 'thunk' when it hits the bottom of his stomach, and he feels ravenously hungry and sickly nauseated at the same time. He doesn't want to answer the leech question. Even if he was vibeless, now, he still wouldn’t want to live in his head sober. He simply couldn’t take it. Now, everything was a comfortable, dull ache. He hasn’t been clear of mind since ‘‘it’‘ happened, and he’s scared of what will happen when he is.
  • Frankie is angry and filled with insatiable craving from Simon, but the natural worry he'd had since he'd arrived makes him wish he'd brought something more substantial than candy. He focuses- The kid's heart is barely going, everything he can sense from him is screaming 'dying'. "Ok- ok well-" Fuck, did Steven know about this?? Of course he didn't. Why isn't Steven here?? He's supposed to take care of them- "Ok. Ok, I'm not askin ya ta stop. I know how it can be. Let's get ya to a vendy. Seen junkies linger fer years, when they heal up the damage now and then."
  • Sweet shrugs, and nods. "Fine." He doesn't even mind being labeled a junkie. He's not in any kind of denial about it, or anything. Suddenly, they're downstairs and walking towards the Vendy. When did- huh? He stumbles, looks around, confused, but then just accepts it. A thought crosses his mind- he grabs Frankie's wrist urgently. "Don't sober me up," he says in a scared whisper. "I can't explain, I'm sorry, just... I can't be. Don't." The sidewalk is moving under his feet and he finds it hard to follow, and he forgets why he can't be sober but he can't. "I'll eat," he mutters.
  • Frankie pulls Sweet along after the second time he tries to return to his couch. He's startled when Simon comes to and grabs him- Simon’s terrified- as much as he'd ever seen him. It reminds him of himself, after the war, after the worst day of his life. "Kid. I won't. Just calm down-" For a moment, he considers threatening Simon- tell him, or face sobriety... But Frankie had never told another living soul about his horror, so why should Simon have to? He sets the upsettingly light UG in the machine- liver shot, dangerous levels of malnutrition- the Vendy screen lights up with warnings. Fix it all- except the Fluoxetine- the Vendy takes out some, as the levels were too close to overdose for the machine's liking.
  • Sweet feels... better, in a way. There's some colour back in his cheeks that isn't sickly yellow, and the nausea fades to actual hunger. The high is... less, but now it's less uncomfortable, it's not going too fast for him to ride it. Okay, good. Good. He steps out of the Dr. Vendy, feeling great, fantastic, and even orders a triangle sandwich from the Vendy's next to it. He grabs Frankie by the wrist weakly again, and smiles at him. "Thank you..." He starts eating with small bites, and closes his eyes in pleasure.
  • Frankie nearly sobs relief when Simon comes out, no longer a walking corpse. He keeps the pathetic emotion down, but does take Sweet into a light, one armed hug as he eats... Frankie's eyes wander to the Mr. Vendy... ah. He leans over and orders a large bottle of whiskey. "There now, much better. I uh. I know how it can be. You don't gotta tell me, don't gotta tell nobody. But ya won't survive like this.." He opens the bottle. Thank god. "Someone ta look after ya, that'ss what ya need, else only luck and God'll keep ya breathin." He hesitates... "Where'ssSteve, Sweety?"
  • Sweet feels his stomach sink at the question, and he feels the urge to throw up the few bites of sandwiches he just ate. He was just on a good high, if he goes to a bad one immediately, Frankie will notice, but it's too late... he hadn't thought of anyone asking this question, hadn't thought of having to make up an excuse. His stomach sinks even further at the thought of what he's about to say. "Not here. Not for me, anyway." It's not a complete lie. He hates himself. Partly to be convincing, partly to hide his face, he turns Frankie's half-hug into a full one, doing his best to make it as intimate as possible and he wants to throw up when he thinks about what Steven's reaction to this would be. "But ‘‘you’‘ are, Frankie." Part of him hopes that Frankie will be grossed out by the gayness of this hug and just leave him, but part of him just wants to hold him a bit longer, the comfort of another human body being something he's missed intensely, more than food.
  • Frankie is only half surprised- If Steven had been here, this never would have happened, he feels with steel certainty... "B-but... where iss’he??" he almost pleads. The Simon in him is devastated by this revelation. He needs Pan. Why would he leave him alone like that-- Frankie blinks back into reality as he's hugged. It never crosses his mind that it's gay, though he wishes it weren't quite so very public. But his friend is half dead and something had driven him do this to himself. Frankie embraces his skeletal frame. No. He did ‘‘not’‘ want this man to die.
  • Sweet hugs Frankie to himself and takes a deep breath. He's intensely grateful that there's no one in the street- he wants to move back inside, but that would mean letting go and he seems to be unable to do this. "In his office, probably. Taking care of important things." The tears that come to his eyes are genuine, at least. "Please... just drop it." he lets out a sharp sob, and this isn't good, he's feeling’‘ too much- he lets go of Frankie and nervously takes the pills out of his pocket and takes one again, stealing the whiskey bottle and washing it down with a burning swig. "Promise me," he says, before it kicks in, "Promise me you won't go to him to make a problem about this. It'll only make it worse, so... you have to promise me."
  • Frankie “But yer important- he needssya, Ssweetie. What’d he do withhout ya???” He’d be miserable. Alone. Like Sweet is now. Frankie hugs him tighter, suddenly struck with how very sad this is. Drop it?? Sweet’s lonely and dying and hurting, and he wants Frankie to ignore it?? He watches silently as Simon extracts himself and pops another pill. The need has mostly faded, but his brows furrow slightly when Sweet takes his bottle away. When it’s returned, he possessively drinks far too much far too quickly. “Why’s’the hell’sshould I?” He demands furiously at Sweet’s request for him not to interfere. “Yer’aasskin’ me’ta jusss- jus. ‘‘ssit by’‘ whilst yer dyyin???? How’sa fuck could ya ask me that!?”
  • Sweet kind of wants to stop Frankie from drinking this much- but no, that would be hypocritical. He takes Frankie's hand, the one not holding the bottle, and squeezes it, looking at him as urgently as he can manage right now. "I'm not dying, Frankie," he says. His mind starts swimming again, and he's endlessly grateful for it. He stops crying. "I'm just... working through some stuff. It's gonna work itself out, just don't..." he rakes his free hand through his hair, willing Frankie to believe him, "Don't go to Steven. ‘‘Promise me’‘."
  • Frankie stares into Simon's dull, tear-rimmed eyes. "Godffuckin... yer'likea... goddamned mirror'a two yearss'ago." He looks at himself. Well, ‘‘he’s’‘ not dead. "But I got's'my workss, don'I??. Had ssomething that keptss m'from drinking eight bottless'a day." He looks at Simon. No promises. Just drunk, angry worry. "What'dyo got, Ssweetie?" he asks sadly.
  • Sweet smiles sadly back, not letting go of Frankie's hand. He shrugs. "There's work, yeah..." He hasn't shown up for work since even before the flares stopped. He thinks he vaguely recalls his boss calling him, but... Whatever. No, he doesn't have a job anymore, he guesses. "My parents." The familiar stab of guilt at the thought of his parents. Worried sick, but not able to do anything. "And maybe... He smiles a twisted smile, and for a second it looks as if he's going to break down sobbing. "Maybe a little bit of hope?"
  • Frankie looks at Sweet miserably. This did nothing to reassure him. "Yer ma... 'n pa.." he hesitates. They loved him, and Frankie had many ways of reminding Sweet of that... but this isn't an intervention. But he nearly burst into tears himself when Simon talks about hope. "God. Juss. Jusshuttup. Less'ged'ya inssshide. Cleannup abit." Hide them away and clean up. Coping method of his childhood. Frankie swallows hard, and makes no mention of Steven, or promises not to speak’‘scream at him.
  • Sweet nods slowly, and goes upstairs with Frankie. He ‘‘does’‘ want to be inside, walled in, alone again. He finishes his sandwich, feeling almost uncomfortably full, and starts the trek upstairs. There is another thing, he thinks, that he has. Something being done, that needs to be done right. He's the only one who knows it might not be. That the one doing it can't be trusted. That's on him. But he doesn't tell Frankie. Up the stairs- they seem to go on forever, and he stares at them, their movement as he walks up them, and is confused when he reaches the end. Oh, right. Apartment.
  • Frankie steadies the kid once in a while, drinking with his free hand. He feels as if he's leaving his heart outside. He doesn't feel anything. Just coldly observes the destroyed rooms. He remembered when this place was new... when he'd just wanted to be back here, safe from everyone in his own comfortable haven... the filth is like a mockery of the false memory. "Alright. Here we go. Get ya down..." his cold tone grows gentle as he settles Sweet on his couch, though he first shoves the pile of bottles off. "Ya need anythin, jus tell me. Gonna be here a spell," he murmurs and finds a broom.
  • Sweet nods as if he's not here, letting Frankie manhandle him onto the couch. Comfortable enough. There's a shelf under the coffee table and he opens it, digging through- jackpot. He couldn't be arsed to roll himself a joint right now, so he's very happy he seems to have one pre-rolled. The smell of marijuana fills the air as he fills his lungs gratefully, and sits back in the fabricated calm. Good. Sweet watches Frankie busy himself with cleaning and thinks briefly that he shouldn't be doing that, or that he himself should at least ‘‘help’‘ a little- Jesus, the man's cleaning his ‘‘apartment’‘. But he doesn't. Instead he picks up the remote to the sound system and puts on some music. Chaotic, but FM-friendly.
  • Frankie sweeps up the garbage, occasionally glancing at Sweet. Just sitting there, unmoving. Frankie resumes silently cleaning, imagining each piece of trash is Sweet's troubles... He looks at the room as it grows suddenly massive- and familiar? But... what- Oh. Of course. How could he forget his own house? Francis puts the bottles into bags, making sure not to spill any left over gin on the carpets. The bag’s as tall as him by the time he drags the mountain to the door. Grabs another bag. After hours, the house is clean. He looks at his ma, a tiny feeling of pride welling up. She stares vacantly. "Ma, 'm all done." Nothing. "I'll make dinner now, ok? Ok." Nothing. Except? the sudden smell of pot??? And suddenly music. The world warps. There's a scary looking adult staring at him from across the room. Frankie backs up timidly into a corner.
  • Sweet stares through Frankie when the voice on the speakers sings of thunderstorm women and black treacle, and he takes some kind of... comfort in his presence, he guesses, until it changes completely. Frankie seems more pure, but sad- so much younger, and it reminds him of himself, the days after the flare- was he not the only one with flashbacks? This must be Frankie when he was young. Before the island. Sweet sees him as a small child, afraid, and stands up slowly. He takes a long drag of his joint and puts it out for the moment. "Frankie," he says, curious to see if he's stuck like this or will snap out of it.
  • Frankie shrinks back further, holding the broom up as a kind of shield.. Usually he was braver than this, but this man smelled and he looked like a skeleton, and where was his ma?? Where is he?? "My name's not Frankie-" He swallows hard when the man gets up. "D-don't! M-my dad'll get you!! He works f-for the mob, so you better not mess with me!!" He lies desperately. Frank had died last month, but the skeleton didn't know that.
  • Sweet laughs, briefly, at the ridiculous sight of a grown-ass man acting like a child, but then his vision swims and his vibe surges, trying to make sense of the other's dysphoria, and at the same time as his Frankie he sees a small child with wild blonde curls and dirty clothes and fear in his heart. It's a very sad sight. "That's a lie, isn't it?" he asks, as he goes back to digging in the shelf. Eventually, he finds a small paper bag with sour cola candies next to a plastic one with a mysterious substance. He puts it on the table, the side closest to the child, and sits back down. "Take some. It's okay, no one needs to know."
  • Frankie sobs with relief when the skeleton stops advancing, but trembles when it calls him out on his lie. "No it's true! Frank is gonna find you and beat you bloody and you'll be sorry!!" he insists. But the bag is offered, and curiosity sets in once the man sits back down. Francis hesitantly approaches Sweet with a kind of trust that is nowhere to be found in Frankie. "Are those- oh.." He wants those very much. He reaches down and pops one in his mouth. Francis smiles softly. "Frank's not really gonna get you. Someone killed him so it's going to get better," he says matter of factly as he chews. He picks seven more candies out for ma and his siblings, and pockets them careful, then quietly stares back at Simon.
  • Sweet smiles at the tiny Frankie who is actually still big Frankie but he's seeing both of them, at the same time, both the innocence of the child and the weight of the child's future life, a life that had already seen so much suffering. He supposes that the man had been right. Simon didn't know shit. Nothing's ever fixing this damage. "That's good," he says anyway. "Say, I'm sorry for getting your name wrong. Can I ask you what it is?" He takes one of the candies for himself.
  • Frankie smiles softly at Simon. "It's really, really good, no matter what Ma and the priests say-" He bites his lip. That was bad. He was being bad. "I'm sorry. I'm gonna pray for him... Uh. It's ok. I'm Francis. Not Frank, that was my... dad." Frankie backs up suddenly, stumbling into the pile of cans he'd made. He looks wildly around and tries not to scream as everything comes crashing back. After a minute of violent tremors, Frankie stands up and resumes cleaning without another word.
  • Sweet stands up again when Frankie stumbles, both physically and mentally. Oh, he's back. Good? He should say something. He doesn't have words. How many people knew this of Frankie? None that were on the island, anyway. He doesn't feel right for having seen it. Suddenly he's standing up again, close to Frankie. He doesn't know what else to do, so he wraps his arms around him.
  • Frankie brushes the bottles into a nice, neat pile. He turns to go find something to put them in, but is completely startled by Sweet. He looks at the skeleton- one of his only friends in the entire world. Frankie gulps... he can still taste the candy. And alcohol, now that he's back in his right mind. "Whad'r ya- Whoa th're- hah" He tries to laugh the hug off stoically, but ends up crying silently in Sweet's rail thin arms.
  • Sweet holds Frankie tight, as if he's holding him up, carrying him. He stares at the wall over his shoulder as he strokes golden hair, comforting and sad that such a thing could have happened, and even more that Frankie was forced to relive it, as he was forced to relive... He hates this island. More than anything, he hates this island. But he can't very well blow it up, so he just holds Frankie.
  • Frankie wails and shakes in the embrace. He wanted his ma, but all Frankie had was his miserable friend who he can't even help. Through his uninhibited sobbing, the realization strikes him. This wasn't helping. This was quite the opposite of that. He deserves a smack for this shameful behavior. Frankie stops crying. "M' 'pologieshh Ssweetie. Too much drrink, y'know?" He rubs his face, but fails to remove himself from the hug. "I'll juss get back t' cl'nin, 'nd yous cn get back ta try'na ferget, awrigh'?"
  • Sweet shakes his head. "No..." He kisses Frankie, a firm press of dry lips against his cheek. He can't, in good conscience, let Frankie put him first right now. Furthermore, focusing on the other man right now was... not easier, as his misery mixing with his own makes him want to cut out his own heart, but it wasn't alone, and so he can't let go.
  • Frankie The tears start flowing silently again when he's kissed. He's ruining everything, like he always did, but Simon doesn't hate him for it. He hugs back fiercely, wracked with silent sobs. Why was he letting Frankie go on like this, this is so obnoxious. And Sweet was the one hurting, not him. Frankie at last extricates himself. "Tha' wassawful kind'a'yass, love," he says quietly as the emotion sends soft sparkles into the air.
  • Sweet lets his hands frame Frankie's face and nods quietly, looking up at him with wet eyes that look bigger in his sunken face. "Only temporary comfort..." he almost whispers, and he kisses Frankie on the forehead, "But it helps, for now. Thank you." He presses their lips together, just to have done it, for both Frankie's comfort and his. It means nothing, but he remembers other kisses that didn't and the tears roll down his cheeks anyway.
  • Frankie isn't quite sure what Sweet's words mean, but he's not here to press anything, and is going to let it go when Simon surprises him with a kiss on the head. Frankie looks down, entirely startled by it. His eyes well up again, but he's done with that. He refuses to cry again. Frankie needs to get back to quiet sweeping. He won't even protest the thanks, as it's certainly the drugs that are forcing the UG to think well of his selfish outburst. He shifts to grab the broom when he's kissed again. Frankie stops, shocked. His vibe spins circles of confusion, and Frankie looks at Sweet with a bewildered, almost hurt expression, though the glitter thickens.
  • Sweet is aware of the glowing, glittering lights around him, but does not look at them. He looks at Frankie. He wonders if he's going to kiss him again, or if he's going to strike him. He wonders which he would prefer. He lets go of Frankie's face, dropping his hands at his sides, but he does not stop staring, expression impassive.
  • Frankie the lights turn to crackling, back to gentle mist as Frankie looks silently at Sweet. His eyes follow the change, from red rimmed blues to inhuman gold orbs. Why did Simon do that- he's already so overwhelmed by the rush of his entire life full of memories coming back all at once, and he had to go and do a thing like ‘‘that’‘- Frankie raises his had to strike him. The gold buzzes and sparks, highlighting each hollow of Simon's malnourished body. The lightning turns gentle. "Mo'derffuck... whad'mmI 'spossed ta do with ya, Ssimon??? Lovess'ya ta death but- ffuck. Why'sa fuccki did'yashdo that??"
  • Sweet looks Frankie dead in the eye for a few seconds more. He shrugs, slowly. "Comfort." He turns, then, picks up his joint from where he left it and lights it again, goes into his bedroom, and closes the door. He crawls into his bed, wraps the blanket around him, and lets the dull ache spread.
  • Frankie 's vibe whirls with his puzzlement at the answer. Who's comfort? Did it even matter?? He watches Sweet pack up and leave him alone, his vibe indecisive about what form to take. When Sweet's bedroom door closes on him, the lights flicker, and he chars the floor. But as it becomes clear he's not going to return, the sadness takes the edge off, and he realizes that his anger is simply exhaustion and loneliness and worry for the friend he loved. The room drifts with sparkles once more, and the strange, chaotic music resumes uninterrupted. Frankie gets back to cleaning. Over time, his vibe fades. By the time the apartment is clean, he simply feels empty


  • Frankie, in a silent daze, is walking home when he discovers the seven candies for no one that Sweet had given him. A strangled sob escapes.

End

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