Despite his overall improving mental state, Claud knows his birthday will be difficult for him to deal with, so rather than risk being an emotional wreck at work, he chooses to seal himself off from the city—and Jack—and spend the day drinking in his apartment, alone. Eventually Frankie pays him a visit and they both get wasted.
Preceded by ---
Followed by ---
- A few hours into his birthday drinking spree, Claud starts texting. Frankie receives a number of such texts.
- [heeeyyyy esxy sexy face you gowod lonkoig sexy man]
- They're not very coherent. Or dignified.
I can't type "drunk" so I'm cheating and using a translator http://www.zantherus.com/fun/drunkpost.php
- Frankie's phone melody mixes with the Vendy as it re-attaches his jaw. It's a welcome little distraction from the pain of healing, and the minute he's whole, he peers at the message that had given him that small bit of relief. Frankie barks out a laugh. [looks like ya got the wrong number kiddo]
- [Issis Fankie Valntine? Supersexy swinger extrotrdranaire fk that word]
- Frankie's charmed grin wavers into a grimace of embarrassment. He brushes a bit of remaining gore off his shoulder more violently than necessary. [i do believe yer supposed ta drunk text yer boyfriend if memory serves]- he pauses as it sends. Ah! Of course, some fan had stolen Claud's phone to text the great Frankie Valentine. Ha! His gold stirs with flattered pleasure, because in a perverse way that kind of dedicated stalking really did it for him... [so who is this Im talkin to anyhow? It aint nice to steal you know]
- [I texted im tpo]
- The second text comes through and Claud flops onto his side in confusion.
- [Its me, ismy pohne i bought it remmbrt?/]
- Frankie sucks in his lips, eyes going wide. He looks entirely uncomfortable and he ducks into a shop, hoping to hide the flush that matches his soaked silks. The UG owner snarls at the ravaged mafioso, but flees immediately after receiving a shock. [Claud?]
- Oh! Claud knows the answer to this one :3 :3 [Yes] He kicks his feet up on the headboard. Hee hee, feet.
lol omg Frankie, stop texting Claud and go get some clothes on XD
Hmmm, Frankie likes stalking, you say? Claud can do that... >w>
He's not nekkid exactly... Just a bit war torn.. 6w6
- And he doesn't like stalking /exactly/... Hmmm.. Kinda like... People going to ridiculous lengths, practically spy shit for him... Idek /attention/
- Frankie's eyes swirl across the room in fear of the judgmental eyes that exist only in his mind. [kiddo I think ur a bit confused y don't u get some sleep and we can chat tomorrow?]
- [but i nslept in an i got the day off and nomw i am draaank] He flops over again, this time in comfort. Sleeping did sound nice... =w=
- Frankie has regained his composure and heads back out into the street after leaving a paltry amount of cred for the clerk, just enough to be insulting. "Thank ya fer the excellent customer service," he calls, dripping with condescending goodwill.
- [well thats jus the tops. You been Havin a good day so far then?] Frankie strolls through the UG streets as if t'ey were his own living room. Now that the conversation has shifted, his body language no longer screams to the world that he is trying not to think about the mistakes- accidents, really, that he and Claud had shared.
Lol tired = weird long posts sorry
- Was it a good day. No. It wasn't. It was a day about as bad as V-day or the dance war anniversary, or the day his first relationship broke up with him... But he was too drunk, and texts had too small of a character limit to be able to properly express all these complicated feelings, so he just replied with [s okay]. He looked at the scattering of empties and wondered how quickly he'd gone through them.
- After the excitement Claud displayed when Frankie guessed correctly that he was speaking to Claud, he senses some dishonesty in this message. [well it aint to late, what say you invite yer fella over. better yet, I'll send the two a ya up at'a first rate restaurant, maybe a hotel er what not] "just don't give me none'a the details," he mutters as his blush returns. Luckily he can see the Grooveline. Not much farther to safety.
- Claud squints at the message, then blushes when the words finally click. [ttah's awful nigce a ya but Jack's tstilll got afew hours lfet a work n i aint fit fer ploite socity] He wondered why Frankie offered to do such a thing. Was he just trying to get rid of him? He dangles his arms off the end of the bed and looks balefully at his phone. [r u mad atme?/]
- A gaggle of freshly-vendied threatening UG catch his attention. He smiles, waves- one steps out, a clear rhythm to their steps. "You really wanna go down this road gain, Mr. Sharp?" His phone chimes and the mafia boss stops to look at it, to the gangster's rage. "What- Why would he-ah, if you'd excuse me, I gotta get this." The entire group watches as Frankie attends his phone, their shock the only barrier to their collective outrage.
- [course nt kiddo. Was offerin ya a birthday present. Not the only one-] good thing too, if the boy thought of a fancy meal and night with Orphen at a high end hotel a punishment. Things not goin well? [now tell me whats the matter?]
- He smiles up at the gangsters, who- yes, calling another throwdown, the idiots.
- Oh, so Frankie did know. He couldn't remember when he'd told the man, maybe Frankie'd only asked him in passing, maybe he'd had his men do some snooping. Maybe Jack had told him. More presents, god, and when it came to Frankie's gifts he knew they were going to be embarrassingly grand. He didn't want presents, he didn't want attention called to himself, he didn't want the day to be any different from any other day. He should be at the bakery with Jack, helping, not making the boy do everything on his own. Instead he was squirreled away in his room, drinking to forget and failing at that one task. [its jsutnot a hapy day feor me isall. don want jack seen me lke ths]
hhaha omg Frankie <333 You punk.
- Frankie swipes his card and the club comes to life. Music swells and lights flare as the tired building blooms awake with welcome. The dancers inside cheer as Valentine's presence transforms the dingy club into /The/ Grooveline. Frankie effortlessly shows off for his audience, repeating the moves that had won him the ten v. one showdown, his deadly voltage feeding the massive building rather than their bodies.
- He disappears into the circuitry as they're screaming for more. The explosion of feeling and light calms into his dim office. Frankie sits down in his seldom used leather chair with an exhausted sigh and a half empty bottle of... Champagne? Ah- Party he doesn't remember. [Not happy? Why the hell not? You survived all the nonsense of your life to make it to today! That's incredible! You should be livin it up, tearin the town ta bits with your celebratin see?] Frankie rubs his face and downs the light bubbles in a rush. Cheap, effervescent, sparkly... tasted like his vibe. [kiddo why not come to the club, we can have a little get together for ya?] he had wanted that all along, but Claud didn't seem like the faction-wide party type. He'd assumed the square would spend his day quietly with Jack... But Claud chose the drink instead of the man.
- The thought of a party, of people doing nice things for him, today, filled him with inexpressible horror. He didn't want to think about this. God, this was the complete opposite of running away. And of all people, Frankie Valentine was telling him to move on, thought Claud was pathetic. He was pathetic. And now Frankie knew it too. Maybe that's why he'd been dumped, he could finally see through to how pathetic and desperate and lonely Claud really was. How long til Jack saw this? How long til the sweet boy wised up and moved on too? Claud hugged a pillow and his bleary eyes slid around the room, sparsely furnished but it was his. He didn't deserve this place either. He didn't deserve anything.
- [maybe smee othe r time.. s awfl nive of you i just dont feel liek living it ip rihgt now]
- Not that he could walk even if he wanted to go.
- Frankie fills with the bottle's pleasant churning as he empties the bottle. [no worries kiddo, I feel ya] after all, Frankie hadn't told anyone he'd met since the war when his birthday even /was/, lest the nosy bastards tried to force him into merriment... But... Frankie studies the club's video feed. Everyone's set. The UG are finally staying on their side of the fuckin street...
- [you want company? No strings] Hmm if he knows the kid... [wont even bring the presents, cept maybe some champagne, got some really good stuff here think yad like]
- Claud almost wants to say 'no' when the second text comes through. No presents forced on him /and/ additional alcohol? If he was sober he'd be embarrassed by how quickly he agrees. [Yeahk] He looks down at himself and sighs; undershirt and boxers, probably should try to pull /something/ more on. He fumbles through his drawers and finds a t-shirt and a pair of sweat pants. Nothing amazing but it was better than greeting guests in one's underwear. Didn't want Frankie thinking he was trying to pull any funny business.
- Frankie lurches to his feet. Visiting his drunk emotional student in this tattered state would not illicit the same worshipful cheering he'd received from his underlings, he's fairly certain. Frankie grabs for the desk phone- "say Lola, you wanna bring me two more'a them swell bottles'a bubbly that was left in my office- ah no, not ta share between us, much's it pains me ta decline-" he holds the phone away as irate chatter spews from the earpiece. "Common dolly, you know how it is- look, what say I make ya an appointment-" more angry bellowing, the club's light dim into a threatening pink- "does it win me any points that the hooch's for a student- a /male/ student even?" The boss smiles at her placated response, until a little knowing final jab from her fuels his lightning.
- "Lola it's talk like that that'll get ya a smacked mouth- just try me-!" her response actually makes him blush. "Yer one in'a million, sweetheart," he laughs as he hangs up.
- He turn his attention to his private set of Vendys which hum to life as he nears. The Doctor cleans him up while the Mister supplies him with new threads. A polite knock on the door interrupts his changing, just before an the impolite woman barges in.
- "Your getting dressed up for him too, Valentine?" She asks with a suggestive look. "Shut that evil mouth'a yers goddamnit. It's his birthday. Just'a friendly social visit." The woman shamelessly offers a wicked smile. "Fair enough, but on my birthday you gotta promise you'll gimme the same social visit, bossman~" "Bitch it ain't fuckin' like that!" His sparking protests are met with her retreating back that shakes with dry unconvinced laughter. At least she brought the champagne.
- Drinks in tow, the mafioso chooses to hoof it, slipping out far more subtly than he'd arrived.
That lady is totally in on everything UuU
- After dressing with some difficulty, Claud looks for other things to do, suddenly self conscious of his generally slovenly state. He empties the ashtray and picks up the randomly scattered empties, packing them back into their crate. Instinctively he reaches for another, hesitates, opens a bottle of electrolytes instead. Flopping back on the bed he stares up at the sky through the skylight. The warmth of the season combined with the gentle clouds floating past soon lull him into a half awake state, and he does not sense Frankie's approach.
Ughhhh, and I'm sorry Claud's such a loser, he's being especially whiny and self-pitying in this RP /m\
- The air is hot, but sadly not humid. No thunderstorms tonight, then. Frankie sweats in the late evening heat, welcoming the distraction rather than dwelling on his bar woman's inferences. An innocent social visit. They were past all that vibe confused nonsense, and whatever texts Claud had sent earlier tonight were a fluke, not a prelude.
- Grey district looks particularly wilted by the season, and the boss strolls through with a contrast of a healthy green plant to a field of parched twigs. The sight of the two glistening champagne bottles stand out especially, though the squares he passes avoid looking too long at Frankie.
- At last he reaches the dilapidated building. Least it has walls now, Christ. He removes his headphones and knocks on Claud's door.
- Claud inhales deeply as the sound of far off knocking distracts from his daydream. "Wassiss... aw fuck." <Hang on, I fergot they ain't installed the buzzer lock yet, I'm comin'...> He struggles out of bed and with legs like a newborn giraffe, makes his way down the stairs to his door, then down the several flights to the street level entrance. He falls down the last few steps, and though he swears loudly, is otherwise unharmed. He weaves his way over to the main doors and leans on the push-bar with a little too much force. The door opens and he loses his balance, barely catching himself on the door frame before he fell face-first into Frankie. "H-hey." Frankie, of course, looked clean cut and dapper as always. Claud had no idea how he looked, as he was avoiding mirrors, but it was probably disgraceful. "Th-thanks fer comin'," he tried to manage an easy going smile, but he was looking at the ground now, ashamed.
- Frankie startles at Claud's telepathic voice- had it really been such a long time since he'd seen the kid? And each meeting had been so... well, no pussyfootin around it, they had been horrendous. He grimaces and pulls himself together as the building emits thuds and curses, just in time for Claud to smush against his chest. "Hey," Frankie responds mildly. "No problem. Happy birthday."
- He can feel the square smiling into him, and he carefully props Claud up so that he at least isn't breathing into Frankie anymore. He's not fool enough to hand Claud the bottles, judging by the solid wall of alcohol scent wafting from him, the obvious attempts to straighten up when his hands weren't cooperating and his mind couldn't focus. Frankie sets an arm around his swaying pupil.
- "Lets get ya back inside." See if we can't pull this all around. "Maybe theres'a movie on'r sometin. Bet we could find'a classic. You seen Top Hat? Er maybe Holiday Inn, we can skip the weird racist part, yea?"
- He blusters into Claud's home like a storm, trying to pull Claud along into a better mental state with sheer momentum.
- Claud tries to pull away, but his body won't work and gravity is far too insistent. Finally Frankie helps him stand, but when he utters those dreaded words Claud looks away, swallowing a few times to fight down an emotional reaction that still took him by surprise. He just nods and utters a litany of soft "sorry"s as he stumbles alongside the mafioso. The elevators are still out of order, so they take the stairs up to his apartment. Frankie's steady stream of words helps a bit, and soon he stops apologizing, content to just to listen. By the time they reach his floor Claud's really dragging his feet. He couldn't remember when the last time he'd eaten. Probably dinner, yesterday. "I dunno, anythin's fine," he says at last.
- Frankie's muscles tense as the cringe drags through him via Claud's vibe. Ok, there's a sore point to avoid. He stiffly drags the birthday boy to a seat, brushing aside empty bottles. The room smells like his club, stale smoke and sour alcohol. He sets the champagne down and opens a window. The warm salt air hits him with melancholy nostalgia, but he turns back to Claud before it can catch hold.
- "Alright, lease what we got here..." No tv. His phone's connecting to something in here, so yes to net. "Wellll now... I can pull sometin' up ta see on my cell, if you ain't picky about the tiny picture. Else wise I can jus pit on some music, r' we can chat'a bit." He doesn't offer to dance, for innumerable reasons, the least of which is that Claud can't walk.
- Claud realizes with some difficulty that his input is still required. Frankie is asking him what he prefers, and hell if he knows. He doesn't know what he wants, he hasn't known for years, aside from the most immediate of desires. "Music's good, I guess..." Did Frankie really even want to talk to him? To even be here? There were probably a million ways the man could be spending his time and with just as many people of his choosing, so why him? Why now? "Why'dja come? Ya didn' hafta..." he pushes a few crumbs around the tabletop with his finger, looking entirely uncomfortable and self-aware, maybe even bashful.
- "Yessir~" Frankie gives up on his phone and turns to Claud's music player. He knows a few of Claud's favorites, but finds it far more effective to start the evening on Claud's 'most played'. Pink Floyd fills the room with a heavy soft rhythm. He returns to Claud's side after setting the champagne on ice- hopefully the mixing bowl wouldn't ruin the classiness of the drink- regardless, he doubts Claud will care. Frankie sits down next to Claud, not nearly drunk enough to act on his desire to lean against him.
- "Ain't it obvious by now? Yer important, kiddo. Quit worryin. Everyt'ins fine. God ya worry too much. And drink too much- hah! What ya swallowing tonight anyhow?" He asks quietly, voice weaving softly into the music in a comfortable, soothing way that lacks judgement.
- Claud closes his mouth in shame at the evidence on his breath. "Jus beer." Nothing fancy, not even by other people's standards. "If I knew how ta stop worryin' I'd do it," he quietly admits. Even alcohol wasn't helping, though the presence of another person was. A little bit. The music takes him back to that night, where all his bad decisions had finally caught up to him. He doesn't move to turn it off, just lets it play. He's masochistic that way.
- He'd guessed beer when he'd tossed the cans from the chairs, but it didn't hurt checking. After all, if the kid had whiskey around, no point in settling for champagne. The briefest concern about his own alcoholism is so derailed by worry for Claud. "Ahh, yeah, it's a funny phrase ain't it? Stop worrying. If only it were somethin so easy!" Frankie sighs impatiently. Rather than waiting to cool the champagne- does it even need chilling?- he gets up to pour, cant sit still, really, not in the atmosphere surrounding Claud, and returns offering a mug of champagne. Insistently celebratory, despite the look of the boy, as if he's on the verge of tears. "If ya like," he offers.
- Frankie stands and Claud can sense the discomfort he's causing the man. He tries to reign in his vibe, but it slips, the alcohol in his system making it hard to control. He tries several more times, each without success, until he realizes he's been holding his breath in his efforts. He exhales, takes the cup with a tight-lipped smile, "Thanks." His eyelids flutter at the fine taste of the champagne, and he muses over his cup for a moment, effectively distracted. "Ya keep spoilin' me like this, I won't be able ta go back ta beer."
- "Nahaha- you'll jus' have ta start drinkin' good beer- there is such'a thing, ya know? There's the flavored water piss, 'n then there's beer," Frankie sighs appreciatively. The music certainly n didn't so much for him or his vibe, but he thought of good beer was always an effective tranquilizer. He sips more of that fantastic champagne- the brutal truth, is he can't tell the different between a five buck bottle and a two hundred dollar bottle, it all tasted great. But it's got a celebratory flavor to it- maybe it's just the idea that its so fucking expensive, but hopefully Claud's feeling more celebrated?
- Claud snorts out a laugh, "Flavored piss..." because it was true. "I'll hafta try somma that some time." Some time he was in the mood to shell out three or five times the cost of the regular stuff. Which would be never. The music's already on "Us and Them," having omitted most of the lyric'd songs on "Dark Side of the Moon" in favor of the calm instrumentals. He'd have to put together a playlist that wasn't so melancholy. He looked at the remainder of the bubbly drink in his cheap mug, "How do you keep regret from taking over your life? Because for me it's downright paralyzing." The perceived warmth of the drink was spreading to his limbs; and if that's what feeling celebrated is like, then yes, he was.
- Frankie startles at such a direct question. He hasn't drunk ebough. For such blunt conversation, but clearly Claud has. Frankie is silent for a moment that feels like an hour, to him am Least. "Ya know, fer'a long time it was." He feels that a drunk Claud is easy to confess to. Perhaps he will regret this. "But ya gotta focus on what ya want wit' yer life," he mutters in his best attempt at his teacher voice. "Do you wanna rot uselessly? Would them that lay their life fer ya to live have wanted that?" He finished his glass too quickly, and as he pours more, the rather unbecoming hiccups set in.
- Claud's skin flashes cold, "They din' die fer me," his heart hammers, his voice hoarse, "They died in spite of me." Some warmth returns, his momentary anger too taxing to maintain, "I couldn't save them or they chose to leave, it's all the same pain in the end." He moves one of his hands and can see where small patterns of frost had formed on the mug, and he wonders at this. " 'm sorry, that was... out of line."
- Frankie's blood freezes along with Clauds. He'd assumed far too much, far too early I the evening. He wishes there was something to distract his attention. A movie, he thanks bitterly to himself. It was rude to project his own problems onto others, the disgusted thought interjects. "The fact remains. They died, you lived. Drink yer champagne, continue livin. Celebrate that you ain't them." Even if death might be simpler than this. It's a birth day. Not the time to be philosophizing. "We got champagne, we goodie lives, we got one not'er. Lets try ta he happy, yea?" Her words. What did it matter? They were useful then, useful now. Frankie watches Claud for any signs of happiness.
- Why try? Claud wasn't even sure he wanted to be happy anymore. But Frankie wanted him to be, and maybe he'd put forth an effort, for him. He smiles a little, more out of the irony of the situation than anything else. "Why do you keep saving me?" he asks it with fondness and wonder, a question he'd wanted to ask many times, but never had the courage.
- Frankie is thrown by the question. Why? Why did he want that for everyone he cared for? Well... Obviously. He wanted it for himself, and that, without a question, is impossible. "... Because yer closer ta heaven than me? Infinitely farther from hell, at th very least. Closer ta it than me: that ain't a terrible, is it? Maybe like'a Buddha, cept one who get'a nirvana himself. "Cause yer innocent? An I'm fonnd'a ta you, an hopefully our relationship reflects that?"
- "You have a strange notion of innocence." Claud closes his eyes and grins a little, biting his lip, "But I'm glad you're fond of me, even after all my screwups and difficulty. You're..." he opens his eyes, still can't look the man in the eye, instead tracing a finger through a puddle of condensation on the table, "You're really the only friend I've got."
- "I dunno bout 'strange'... I met a lot'a people in my life, kid. Hah- way I sees it, I'm a better judge'n most." He hides his strained smile in his drink. "Look, most'yer screw ups, that weren't yer fault." The boy had been doing just fine until Frankie lost his head in that horrible pattern he inflicted on all of them he cared for. So why is he here again? Promised not to intrude, yet here they are. Frankie becomes less talkative as he's slowly dragged into Claud's mood- until the square makes the absurd confession. Frankie chokes on the expensive alcohol as he tries not to laugh. "Khhh-! H- kid! Hah! Almost fer got how much ya drank 'fore I got here." He pats Claud's back with dismissive affection.
- "I'm bein' serious..." he protests, blushing. Maybe Frankie didn't feel the same way? "Jack's gettin' there, but, I haven't really screwed up in front of th' guy. I mean really screwed up. You saw how quickly the last one replaced me, so I don' know if Jack..." he downs the last of the champagne in his mug. "Maybe you don't feel th' same 'bout me, but th' fact that you keep, just, talking ta me means a lot."
- "Hah, well, alright, alright.." Still, the notion that all Claud has is the volatile, caustic mess that is Frankie is too horrible to be taken seriously. "Who says yer gonna screw up? Who says ya did screw up?? This fella before had ya believin' the worst bout yerself- er- hah, I wouldn't know about the asshole replacin' ya, but good riddance to him, kid." Frankie had never pried into the identity of Claud's beau, and Claud had never said. He'd accepted that this simply wasn't his business, and feels uncomfortable guilt as the drinks clear a path for the boy's closely held secrets.
- He finishes his own mug in a rush of warm distraction that fills his belly. He refills both with the glittering liquid without ceremony. "An I told ya quite a few times din't I? Yer important ta me. It's mutual, alright? Don't let that jackass make ya think yer a burden." He raises his cup in emphasis.
- The way Frankie spoke, with boldness and without hesitation, it made Claud's ears burn. But he also admired his honesty. His quirks his mouth into some semblance of a smile, and looks at him, raising his mug in reply. "Thank you," he said after a moment of drinking in thoughtful silence. "How've... how've you been?" He couldn't remember if he'd already asked that question, and it felt a little awkward to have to ask, after so many weeks of always knowing, of always being there.
- "Been fine," he answers in his usual non-communicative way. The entire exchange feels as if a wedge is driven between them. Had they been dancing, they would have been completely out of sync. Frankie pushes through the growing discomfort before his static can rise up.
- "So how's th' hooch treatin ya kiddo? Fillin ya up wit' cheer an good feelins?"
- Claud nods, leans back in his chair, "Hm," Frankie definitely felt more distant, if that was even possible, and his electricity crawled just under the surface. He smiles at the question, "Yeah, somethin like that." More silence, more drinking. "You ever getta talk ta Mizz Bombaerts?"
- Bombaerts... God, he hasn't seen the damned woman in months, yet just her name knocks him down from the floating sensation he was reaching as they went deeper into the first champagne bottle. "Yeah, we'll. saw to it that yer lessons were going well, not much left ta do after that, see?" He had been busy running half the town, he tells himself, unconvincingly. "Yer lessons'r still goin well ain't they? Tonight ain't a vibe thing, right?" The air around the gains a slight charge as Frankie's intensity rises.
- "What? No, no, had class yesterday, everything's fine. I mean. I guess it is. It's hard ta tell wif dat woman, an, you know, I been too scared ta ask!" he laughs, finally admitting his fear and awe of the choreographer. "I dunno if I'm goin too slow, or if I'm doin' alright or what, so's I can only assume..." Claud chuckles a little to himself. Unremarkable was what he was.
- "Way I sees it, long's yer not gettin'a dose of everyone an their brother, or me, well that's the whole point, right? Wasn' that what ya wanted?" Frankie leans back in his chair as a thought strikes him that he should have asked months ago. "What do ya want these days, kiddo?"
- "Yeah, I guess it is. It's jus' weird, like growin' a second skin, or or like armor of some kind..." Claud chews his thumbnail in thought as Frankie asks him a question he's asked himself many many times. Family, friends, comfort, happiness, safety; really basic things that seemed to elude him the more he chased after them. He wasn't an ambitious person... except for that one thing. That he hadn't told anyone yet, not even Jack. But that was sober Claud, and drunk Claud wanted to finally talk to someone about this, "I want. I want to be in a rock band." Dead serious.
- "Heh, armors good. 'Bout time really- 's no wonder city life's been so rough on ya." Frankie regrets not bringing something stronger to drink. "Course, some fellas'r lucky 'noughta have'a vibe that starts'm out with that shit," he mutters dryly. Sitting here with the dull buzz and moody music, he considers sending for more alcohol, drinking into oblivion with Claud...
- "What-?" Frankie laughs out of sheer surprise when Claud finally confesses. "A rock band?" The offensive power of grouped musicians was always formidable, but that doesn't seem like a thing that would motivate the kid. "We'll that's jus' fantastic, ain' it? You got anyone in mind fer members? Does yer empathy vibe work wit' yers singin? Er guitar, r what?" The man leaps at the hint of a new 'project'.
- "Nooooooo idea." Claud answers to all of the questions, carefully reaching for the bottle. He refills his mug, then offers to refill Frankie's. "I've played for Jack, but we's already connected, see? But there's something, definitely something there when I play n' sing. 'S why I'm hesitant, don' wanna go 'round jus' hookin up wif erry one." He chuckles at the double entendre. "I ain't said this ta' nobody yet, I ain't really had time between dancin an' work an' renovatin' an' an' Jack..." He smiles fondly at his cup, "But, y'know? It's kinda th' point'a live performance, ta touch n' relate to th' audience, n-not physically, bu' wif vibrations..." he wondered if any of this was making sense. "I don't got nobody in mind. I wanna get better first, 'm stll learnin, don' wanna have auditions n' come ta find I'm th' worst of em all!" he laughs again.
- Grinning softly, Frankie stops Claud just before his cup runeth over. "Definitely ssometi'n when ya sing," he sighs at the memory. Claud's theoretical band already had a fan, at the very least. He snorts at the wordplay, though his smile disappears when Claud describes performing.
- "That'sexactly it, ain' it? Show'ma parta ya that jus'... That ya jus canna show ot'erwise, an it's jus... God damn! FUCK!" Frankie's drink slams against the table as the mafioso stands, to overwhelmed to sit still. "Fuck!- god I'm sorry I juss-" he rubs his face and begins pacing Clauds lovely wooden floors.
- After a moment of quiet, he continues as if the outburst hadn't occurred . "Heh. Don't ya fret just put some time inta it same's dancin, you'll be great. Strong vibe makes fer strongsskills after all." His tone is even and calm, but Claud's vibe can undoubtedly see the chaotic storm underneath.
- "Hey, hey man, wassup?" Claud tries to keep smiling easily, but he's a little worried by this sudden erratic behavior. He wondered if it had something to do with the fact that Frankie never sang, never played... it was hard to miss that beautiful piano that took up so much room in Frankie's apartment, but was never used to make a sound. "You... think maybe issa bad idea?"
- "I dunno man, I'm jus-" Claud's easy smile is so tempting. Hed missed that look from the square over the last months, though he hadn't realize it until now. Now more than ever in their relationship, he's overwhelmed with the desire to let it all go, all the pain and frustration. after all that's happened, the boy wouldn't judge him for breaking down, resorting to pathetic whining...
- What the hell is he thinking?
- It's the man's birthday, for Christ's sake.
- Frankie flickers with buzzing heat, but reciprocates Claud's friendly expression. "No kiddo. I think that's the best idea I ever heard. You get'a band tagether, I'll host ya at my club. You'll have all the audience a fella could ever hope fer."
- "A-at the Grooveline?!" His surprise and delight doesn't just register on his face, it spreads through his whole body, and for once he doesn't notice the sound like an angry lightbulb coming from Frankie. "Holy shit! Holy shit!" He'd hug the man if he were standing too, but in his unsteady state he stays seated. Then a thought occurs to him, "Holy shit. How will we, I, ever get good enough? You think those mafia cats even wanna hear rock music? You can't even dance to it..." He rakes a hand through his already unruly hair in worry. Already he had visions of being boo'd off stage, and his eyes go a bit wide.
- Frankie should tell Claaauuuudddd ;<; He wants to help, at least by listening. umu<3
- Haha He totally should... But he is tooooooo sober for that kind of blunt honesty UmU
- "Ahah... Truth issit's like dancin. Never be good enough, but ya keep gettin' better, hope no one noticess," he grins crookedly. "And a'course you can dance ta it.." If you'd call it dancing, some of the styles were really just an awkward hopping gyrating mess, but since that same sham of a dance would get a family member's vibe rolling, Frankie had learned to keep his mouth shut and bear with the style.
- "Got family what likess that kind'a thing, an who'm I ta deny'm the music in t'eir soul?" He downs the champagne in one, because of course he'd done that very thing, he's a goddamned mobster. "Mine'ssa club fer the family. My style ain' all that common, an ta be perfffectly hones' I'd probly kill m'self if I had ta listen ta disco all week." He laughs and finishes off the first bottle without using his mug, then cracks open the next bottle, drowning the aches away as best as he can manage.
- "Saay... I don' t'ink this's gonna be enough," he murmurs as he tops Claud off. He pulls his phone- all these messages he should answer, ugh- and sends out a delivery order. More hooch to Claud's door, ASAP.
- Claud listens to Frankie, and his fears fade. He had no idea there was a rock-appreciating sub-group within the mafia. Warmth spreads through his body and he leans comfortably, head in his hand, "Well tha's good, tha's good, you'll hafta lemme know what th' folkss like, put somethin' nice tagether for em. I dunno 'bout original compositions 'r anythin', jus' plannin on covers n' such fer now." He drinks, then laughs, "But 'm gettin' ahead'a myself, gotta akshully get a band together!" He chuckles a little more, warm and content and smiling at Frankie.
- "Ahh well... If'ya play the big bits'a a genre,the familyss us'lly happy, see? Longs'its got a rhythm, yer gonna have a flock'a dancers followin ya. If yer good.. An' ya are." The violent crackle emanating from Frankie's chest subsides as Claud laughs and smiles for him, the least miserable the boy had looked all night. "Coursse, iffya go'n ssing requests now'n then, not'alla time, mindya, you'll find yerself wit catss whoo'r jus /wild/ feryas," he confides. "Sswear ta yas, I's had folkss send me goddamned /gifts/ fer playin their tune. Happened mor'n once!" Mcing didn't hold a candle to singing, but it was as close as he could get.
- He's leaning slightly towards the boy, considering that perhaps with their history he shouldn't drink with quite this amount of reckless abandon, when a knock on the door to the rhythm of 'Staying Alive' interrupts his thoughts.
- "That'll be th' boys..."
- Frankie wobbles over to the door- the underlings are nowhere in sight, but the mafioso returns to the table with a large, fine bottle of scotch and gin that he sets before the square. "Now we c'n /really/ sstart the celebrations."
- Claud emits a low whistle, appraising the expensive liquor set before him. "Man, you get the /good/ stuff. It'd be kinda s-scary takin' audience requests, not gettin' ta practice 'em aforehand. ... A'though, if th' person askin' knows it well enough, I s'pose we coul' connect an' I'd know it that way..." Claud smooshes his face into his hand as he thinks, his body-language comically exaggerated in his drunk state. "I been thinkin' about that, I bet I could play anythin' if someone who knew it connected wif me." His eyes slide up to meet Frankie's as if to confirm this idea, or deny it as being crazy talk.
- "Coul'ya??" he asks, entirely forgetting the need to stay away for this dangerous road, because /vibe evolution/! /music/! And possibly... He shouldn't hope, but...
- "Coulya... sssay, sign'a song ya'ain never heard before?" Frankie pales with a new thought."...Coul'ya.... /play/?" The mans's fingers twitch at the memory of ivory keys, golden brass, polished black wood... It would literally be a case of living vicariously through Claud. The idea pushes out a wave of glitter out into the room- the lights flicker brighter with the surge of power, and Claud's music player vastly improves in quality as the spray hits it.
- "Can'ya try now??" His head fills with too many songs- instrumentals, duets, song far out of his range, all those he had missed playing or hearing as much as a living person. Tuxedo junction, Stardust, Sweet Madness, Only Forever, God Bless the Child, A Night in Tunisia, Fables of Faubus, Paper Moon, Cheek to Cheek... The swirl of memories he'd always forced down whirl in his brain like excited puppies, jumping to be picked up, played with after such a long silence.
- Frankie watches Claud with the hunger that had been gnawing his guts for years.
- This is so interesting to me 9w9... Would Clauds vibe channel any of the vibe of the person hes connected to? would he be able to mstch different voice ranges?? would his voice change??? would he be able to play instruments he's never touched??
- "I g-guess, I mean, I been thinkin' 'bout it a long time. I d-dunno, the theory's good 's far as I can see, but I ain't never tried it..." It was a scary thought, to have something he'd only ever considered in his mind brought forth into reality. But he was so curious, and caution had left with his sobriety.
- "Can'ya try now??"
- Claud paused, took a deep breath, "I don' see why not?" he shrugged and smiled wide. Being drunk off his ass might be a reason 'why not;' his vibe became a slippery, unruly thing when he was drunk. 'Why not' might also be that he didn't have a piano /here/. But he oh so desperately wanted to try this, and to please Frankie. To connect with him again.
He'd still be limited by the physical abilities of his body, so his singing range would be the same, and things he hasn't trained for, for example stretching his hands for playing piano, would give him difficulty just like any new activity would. But so much of the experience would be in his head, in the heads of anyone he was connected to, that he could supplement with imagination any shortcomings of his physical ability, and it would be just as good as, or nearly as good as, the real thing, and it'd be hard to tell the difference.
That's the theory anyway uwu
- Frankie isn't drunk enough to excuse this recklessness... But desire has blinded him, there's suddenly so many things he /wants/... He downs his nearly full cup of champagne, hides a burp, then opens the beckoning scotch. It tastes amazing- he wouldn't have hardly noticed, but suddenly the world seems kinder, full of possibilities, and the scotch tastes as expensive as it is. "Do'ya wanna, then?"
- Claud's heart is pounding, he'd been afraid to suggest it before—he didn't know if it would even work, he didn't know if there was even a need—but that Claud and Frankie both had come to the same conclusion separately must have been a sign. And now that he was full of liquid recklessness: "Yes, I do." He looked to Frankie to lead, as always.
- To settle on /one/ song seems an impossible task. Something he and Poppy sang seems the most obvious, but... He would not ruin the boy's life twice in a row, the alcohol is not strong enough to allow him to forget. Nothing romantic, nothing intimate... Even if it's the last song he ever sings.
- The glitter stops as he considers.. Nothing comes to him but touching songs that confessed love and dreams and longing... Frankie ends up laughing bashfully into his hand. "Have't make due wit'whatswe got," he mumbles, then nods his head to silently give Claud the tempo.
- The words fill him, his jaw aches to open and let it out. I'd work for you, I'd slave for you...
- Claud settles in his chair, waiting patiently, if a little nervously. Frankie nods to him and their connection springs to life, the music and words flooding from Frankie into his mind, and he sings in his clear tenor, "I'd work for you, I'd slave for you, I'd be a beggar or a knave for you. If that isn't love, it will have to do... Until the real thing comes along..." It's strange, and a little disjointed at first, but they grow more in synch as the song progresses.
- It's unpleasant, trying to pour his emotions into a song he's not actively singing. And what is he thinking?? How can he be cruel enough to inflict those on the square? The toxic, murderous, cursed filth deep within him- The fear that Claud can see all this, the deepest fragments within his soul, laid bare, undisguised by someone elses' beautiful music, someone elses' beautiful words, is far too much for the silent man or his defensive vibe.
- The uneven music is interrupted by loud popping, and Claud's music player shuts up instantly. A blinding flash fills the room, and Frankie blinks up from the floor, the toppled chair beside him. His smooth face shows the slight trace of an electrical burn.
- Claud didn't have a lot of time to know what the words were before he sang them, so he was discovering the song as if flowed through him. Which means he had no idea what was coming until it happened. "I'd gladly move the earth for you, To prove my love, dear, and it's worth for you, If that isn't love...!" And then Frankie was gone, a bright light separating them. Claud looked around in dazed confusion until he caught sight of Frankie lying on the floor. "Are you alright!? Oh no you're hurt, what...?" He stumbled over to the prone man and attempted to help him up.
- "M'ffine, m'fine," he dismisses blearily as his mind rolls with thunderous aftermath. "I don'... I don' think'm vibe liked tha' little exercise tha' much... Hah. But yerss's fine, ain'it?" Claud doesn't appear to currently be filled with Frankie's raw self revulsion- a testament to Bombaert's skill. "We'll givit'another sshot, awrigt? Sssometin less... Juss... Less."
- He still can't think of any songs within his style that he doesn't feel a deep connection to- ah. "Heree, waaiiita minute, we juss gotta go wit sssometi'na bit lighter. Haha." He attempts to sit up, but a residual shock thwarts his efforts. Lying on Claud's pretty wood floor, Frankie offers up another mental song.
Who knows what will happennnnn
(Bing Crosby - "Mississippi Mud")
- Claud nods and stumbles over to the music player, to make sure it was alright, and to unplug it, no need for competing background noise. He sits back down on the floor next to Frankie, hoping the man wasn't hurt. A fun and bouncy tune filled him and he cracked a smile as he began to sing, "When the sun goes down the tide goes out, The people gather round and they all begin to shout, Hey hey Uncle Dud it's a treat to beat your feet on the Mississippi mud, It's a treat to beat your feet on the Mississippi mud."
- It's much easier with this song- the quick pace and complexity that would roll effortlessly off his tongue requires more attention, and the threat of electrocution keeps a large part of himself withheld....
- What a dance do they do, Lordy how I'm telling you. They don't need no band, they keep time by clapping their hands. Just as happy as a cow chewing on a cud, when the people beat their feet on the Mississippi mud...
- What Claud receives is dead paper sheet music to the pure injection of Frankie's passion and vibe from before.
- It wasn't as emotional as the first song, that's true, but for a first run-through that was something Claud needed. He was focusing more on the words, and the lack of distracting emotion was a bit of a relief. Maybe if they practiced more, maybe if he got better at it... But for now, he's concentrating on matching notes with syllables, adding emphasis and diction, and it's pushing him to the limits of concentration. "Lordy how they play it, Goodness how they sway it, Uncle Joe, Uncle Jim, How they pound the mire with vigor and vim, Joy the music thrills me, Boy it nearly kills me, What a show when they go, Say they beat up either fast or slow..."
- It takes very little time for A very deep hatred to well up in Frankie. This exercise held nine of the liberation an freedom he'd anticipated. Just another time where someone is singing while he can't, but the concentration an repression he must use for Claud to sing the unknown song destroys his ability blissfuly enjoy the live music. He continues providing for Claud, but sits up, gritting his teeth as he snatches the scotch off the table and chugs it.
- "When the sun goes down the tide goes out, The people gather round and they all begin to shout..." Claud can feel that something's missing, Frankie's growing detached, no, angry? "It's not working, is it." It's not a question, and Claud looks up, apologetic. "I'm sorry Frankie, I thought it'd work man, I was so sure of it..." He rubs the back of his neck, trying to think of what he could do different, but his brain only turns up static.
- Frankie leans back against the solid wood, a tight sigh escaping. Say hey, "Uncle Dud.." He mutters the words in time, without inflection. The words meet the sudden silence in the room, and he stops the mental exercise in surprise.
- "What'rya even tallkin'abou, din't work?? It worked juss' fine kid, juss fine. Yer vibe'sa miracle. On yer end, everytin's rosey, an if these las' mont's have taught ya not'in, I hope at least ya got that you'n me'r separate things. People" He soundlessly taps a foot idly to the rhythm of the melody still trying to flow through him. "I don' goda be ok fer you ta be ok, got it? Now, ssay it wit' me."
- Claud bb it was a success don't be sad /m\
- Claud vacillates between complying and resisting, "If it's jus' makin' ya hurt inside then I don' wanna..." he protests, still caught between making a real decision. Only if Frankie was totally okay with continuing would Claud agree to it.
- Frankie is not remotely totally ok with it, but he's unaware of Claud's ultimatum, and the scotch has made the floor, and thus Frankie, exceedingly comfortable. "Hurtinside? That'sswahtall the drinks'r for, ya lug. It's fine!" His tone is affectionate when he raises a hand high over his head and flaps at Claud.
- "Speaakin of, feel free ta pour yerself either of those. Now... Ssay hey, Uncle Dud," he supplies in a dead monotone.
- Claud sighs and smiles sadly, admitting defeat, "Arright, arright, ya bully," he chuckles affectionately and settles with an arm leaning on a chair. "Say hey Uncle Dud it's a treat to beat your feet on the Mississippi mud, It's a treat to beat your feet on the Mississippi mud..." It's a bit of a stiff re-start, but the alcohol goes a long way towards loosening him up. "What a dance do they do, Lordy how I'm telling you, They don't need no band, They keep time by clapping their hands, Just as happy as a cow chewing on a cud, When the people beat their feet on the Mississippi mud..."
- It hurts, but Frankie gets over it, because this was just life, and giving up because something so trivial was a pathetic absurdity. "Awrigh, here's a bed part, get ready-" Lordy how they play it! Goodness how they sway it, Uncle Joe, Uncle Jim, how they pound the mire with vigor and vim. Joy the music thrills me, boy it nearly kills me! What a show when they go, Say they beat up either fast or slow!
- He covers his face as they repeat the chorus flawlessly a few more times. He's drunk enough to cry but not quite the amount required not to care that he's doing so.
- "When the people beat their feet, When the people beat their feet, When the people beat their feet, On the Mississippi mud!" Claud winces, has to look away as they finally finish out the song, the discomfort and frustration building nearly to a breaking point. Frankie's mind goes quiet, the song was over, and Claud pours himself some of the scotch, taking a seat on the floor next to the man.
- "Sssssso you lied to me." He takes a drink of the burning liquid and shudders at the sensation.
- Frankie applauds slowly as they finish. When Claud sits, Frankie slides up again for more drink- he pulls two of the bottles with him, drinking from one as he returns to land on his back. He slides slightly until his head bumps against the square's knee. "Whaaat?? I never did," he protests drawls..
- "Yeeeeesssss you did. You said you was fine an' you wasn' fine." He wants to put his fingers through the man's hair, touch his brow gently. He takes another drink instead. Just looking. For now. "You said you was okay and you wasn' okay," he re-phrases for clarity and his own short attention span. "So wha's that about?"
- "Hah! /that'/? Tha' wass 'arely not'in at'all," he insists between mouthfuls of.. Gin, tastes like. What's that about? "Hh... This'ss juss'ow we do t'ings. Thingss. How /I/ do em." He pounds his chest with sloppy bravado. "I meaan, wouljya lookit me? Do'i look hurrt r'sssimetin to you no dint think so! You jussend sshit m'way, il takeit, sssee? Hah! Lordy 'ow'm tellin you! Hah!" Again the words lack melody, even in the half attentive hazy brain.
- Claud's head flops back and he drawls out his protest, 100% in disbelief. "Frankieeeeee! Come oooooooonnn, you don' gotta put up th' brava- brvada- the brave face fer me? Th' only reason we's doin this 's cuz you can't 'er won't sing it yerself. Man, I know jealously, -see, when I sees it. Feels it. Whatever. So youse gonna tell me 'r not?"
- Static wraps the mafioso, who wiggles just far enough from Claud so that the square doesn't touch the vibe. there doesn't appear to be any conscious thought behind the move, and his words contrast the cautiously protective gesture greatly. "Ughhh what'th ffuckr ya talkin about?? I'm low causse I canna ssingwit ya. Canna ssing wit anyone, not fer yearss'n it'sssginna be a lot more, an what th' fuck doessit matter ta you?! Or anyone!! Sshit'sssnot gonna kill me sssoo why'the hell!r we talkin abou'it??"
- Claud pouts at his cup of high-end alcohol, "Cuz I wanna help ya..." Can't sing? The thought fills Claud with a vicarious dread. Frankie said it wouldn't kill him, but Claud wasn't quite so sure that was entirely true. At least the man still had dance, but that was like saying, 'well you won't miss your arms because you've still got your legs.' It was terrible. "Cuz yer important ta me..." Years? /Years/ of not singing? Why?
- "Well there aintnotin ta help so quityer goddamned mot'erin Jesus ffuckin Christ!!" He covers his face again, drinks from the bottle, ends up making a mess when he busts out laughing, gin and glitter bursting into the air. It was funny. It was pathetic and funny. Claud was the one that needed help. Frankie was... Whatever the fuck he was, but somehow people near to him always decided he needed help, even when he wasn't bleeding, even when he wasn't maimed, even when he was fucking cursing them out for being motherfucking idiots. Why the fuck did they bother?
- He's about to say something unforgivable, in his special way that utilized his rage and empathy that bit viciously into the core and drove the fools away from his toxic presence in the most satisfying, efficient way possible, when Claud uses his own gift for words first. The sweet little idiot and his sweet little words. Frankie stops his humorless laughter.
- "Well.. ffine. Fine fine finedfffine ffine. Itdon'tfffuckin makiny differencee thoughhh soo fergetaboutit alrready it ain likem jamdeaf'r not'in ok jusss don get tha' idea." His face flushes further from shame as well as drink as he remembers belatedly that not being able to produce music really did out him as a pathetic cripple. The dark bottle in his hand sloshes lightly as he downs it in what would be record time if he wast quite such an alcoholic.
- Claud just sips the smoky drink and waits for the laughing to subside. The spill should probably be cleaned up sooner than later, but he couldn't muster enough care to actually do something about it.
- He remembered back to the flairs, when Frankie had been able to sing, and he had, and it was beautiful. It also made Claud feel crazy inside, and he hadn't liked that, but it /was/ beautiful. The memory also made him ache because of who Frankie had gotten to perform with, and Claud never had had that chance. Well, he /had/ but he never took it, and he supposed that was his own fault too. "I guess nonathat matters anyhow..." he mutters, as if Frankie could read his mind and follow his thoughts. Claud still dares not make physical contact, but instead reaches out and makes himself known as a warm presence in the man's mind; warm and open and welcoming. <So what happens if ya do sing 'er play anyways?>
mind hugs I guess?? idk =w=
- "ThatsswhatI been tellin ya th' whole ffukn time rright??" He mutters agreeably, not at all following with Claud's thought process. And then Claud closes the space Frankie had put between them with his vibe, and it is... It is what love feels like. It is love. Frankie wraps his arms around himself, overwhelmed. An ocean of gold fills the room, gentle waves ebbing and flowing as Frankie mirrors the flood of affection.
- "Ssjus... God..." He has a difficult moment of indecisiveness... But the emotional cocktail Claud has made for Frankie is just right... < ss'not good. Can't turn off my vibe and then everyone can see me even without the smiles'n glitter 'n then they see me fer real, Kiddo, cause wit'out the smiles'n glitter everyone wants me dead, kiddo, n thats'th God's hones truth, kiddo, no lie, not ta you, sweetheart yer jus' too wonderful ta lie ta n tha's th' truth...>
- Claud sighs and lets his eyes flutter closed when that warm gold envelops him, and he slumps comfortably against the kitchen island. It all made sense. If you poured out your soul and heart in your music, but you were burdened with grief and pain, then of course it might have a bad effect on the listener. But that didn't explain people wanting to actually kill Frankie when he sang--Claud remembers back to Christmas... Was that what that was? But it didn't make any sense! <But, when I sing 'er play, I'm tryin' ta get rid 'a the bad feelings too, but youse never wanted ta kill me...??> Not that he could ever compare their personal anguish, but...
- <Bad feelins? Haha no that ain't it'tall.. It don't matter if'm up'r down, s jus' what m vibe does. 'Ts apples n' oranges aintit. You do that beautiful empathy emotional fuckery n' fllowin... followin, n' I do lightnin' n' glitter. You do that pretty soulful t'ings wit yer voice... Does it do nythin?> he blinks slowly, distracted by Claud's vibe and the silence. With a groan he makes a few attempts to get up and turn the music player back on. He gives up eventually and just fumbles with his phone, which eventually begins to play a tinny stream of depression-era melodies.
- Claud grumbles and shifts, discontent to just leave it be. He knew there was very little he could do to change it, and Frankie was complimenting him and he felt very warm and comfortable, so he let it drop. It's just how it was, just how their vibes behaved, nothing to be done about it. <Does my singing do anything? Gosh I donno, I sang fer Jack and I sang fer you, an' nothin' major happened, but gettin' up in fronta a audince, is very different, I think. It's like--I'm okay with connectin ta one 'r two people, but connection to a group 'a people, it's scary, hard ta control... Izzat, izzat what ya meant?>
- Frankie hadn't meant to be evasive, he just couldn't hold his thoughts still long enough without help. "Wass'hardda controll'en?" He asks, having lost track of the conversation. Is that what he meant.. <Yea..sactly what I meant... What're ya gotta control then? With lotsa people? Audience I meant.>
- <Well, like, a few months ago--when m'vibe was goin' funny, an' it was just connectin' ta anyone--it was like... like tryin' ta talk to a whole buncha people all at once, an' they all wanted ta talk about different things! Though I suppose if they was all payin attention ta th' music that wouldn't be as much of a problem...> But that would mean he'd have to command their attention, he'd have to be good, and that was a daunting thought. <But aside from that, the worser thing 's feeling all their different emotions all at once. Fer most people it's an unconscious ting. They just feel somethin, right? And they just... feel it. An' when yer connected to a whole buncha people, it gets overwhelmin.> But, again, a good musician could evoke certain emotion, and while he could force his own feelings upon people with his vibe, if he so choose, he didn't want to do that. He wanted to invite people to feel what he felt, rather than transplant feelings artificially.
- <nonono- see that's not how it is at all, no... It's like... It's nice... Cause everyone's already got this idea about who you are, don't they, judgin books by covers n shit, yknow? But it's hard ta change their mind, even withth' dancin theyall still hateyas... > he rolls onto his side, closer to Claud as he finishes off the gin. <'S likeya said... They gotta focus on the music. N then, oops!> "oops!! Ssssurprise!!" <foun out you ain'evena monster after all. 'Ts fucking...> "-fucking GREAT!!!"
- He looks up at Claud from his comfortable position lying on his belly. <cause... Cause you gotta feel the song, n then, then, they feel it'n... Wasn't not'in like th' copyin bullishhit we tried, huh...>
- "Yeah, s' diffrnt..." he admits. <But copyin's not bad! Gotta learn somehow, right? An' it's nice, ta have th' music put into my mind, cuz readin's hard an' readin' music's harder.> He smiles, and the warmth comes off him like a glow, < It's nice ta get ta make music with other people, even if it's in my mind.>
- <Learned that shit 'fore I could barely even talk, ysee?? It ain't fuckin fair> he snaps with a flash of vibe that leaves the room darker as the glitter disappears. "Jusssfuck'n... Ssshutup 'boutit already," he growls miserably from the cradle of his arms.
- Claud does not shut up about it. "I jus' wanna understand 's all..." Well, that wasn't the whole truth; he wanted to understand so he could help, so he could 'make it better,' whatever that meant. He felt badly for Frankie--the man was right, it wasn't fair. He looked down at what was left in his cup, not expecting an answer from the un-sparkling man.
- "Unersssun...Ssstan'.." <understand what? Copyin? Copyins got no souln no.... Thing. Nothing. Empty... passion! Tha's the one.> Frankie sighs and clumsily slides so that he's once again pressed against the square. Flickers of lights and sparks pass between them.
- He's not trying to be evasive he's just drunk =m=;
- The sparks tickle, and distract Claud from the rebuttal he was forming. He giggles, drains his cup, then remembers what he was going to say. <Well y'ain't supposed 'ta copy forever, it's just where we all gotta start. We can't all be fffuckin, whatshisname, Motzart, writin' his own shit at, what, five? But ya learn the stuff ya like, an' even if yer doin covers, ya gotta bring what you wanna say to th' experience, otherwise ya may as wel just put on a record! But it always starts with 'do as I do,' right?> Of course he was right. uwu
- "Wha... No.. Yea waaitsminute.. I donna.. Um." <That's not what I meant I mean I mean, of course ya gotta lookit the masters I didn't mean... Shit. Is there anymore gin...> He tips the bottle upside down against his lips but comes up empty. <goddamnit... I meant... You were good. Beautiful. Maybe? I don't fuckin know. Too goddamned busy fuckin handin ya over all my motherfuckin memories 'na nice neat goddamned package ta pay'ny attention!> he slams the empty gin against the floor in frustration. Fortunately it simply rolls away anticlimactically rather than shatter.
- Claud jumps when the bottle hits the floor, the last thing he wanted to deal with was a shrapnel field of broken glass. Thankfully it's made of tougher stuff and Claud breathes out in relief. He pets Frankie's head and sends him an apology, <Aw gee, I'm sorry, I'm talkin too much again ain't I, 'm sorry...>
- Frankie instantly calms at the petting, and Claud's hand teases the gold back out of the man. <No yer fine. You don't say nothin bad. Just sweet little things that bring my head on back down, make my craziness inside jus fuckin stop.. I mean jus lookit ya. Apologizing when I'm the terrible one, ya idiot how coul I help but love the fuck outa ya?? I couldn't. That's the fuckin God's honestest fuckin thing... Uh.> "Tr'thh. Yup."
- He catches Claud's hand with his own, hazily inspecting it through the amplifying haze. < Yknow.. Y know snot yer fault I canna sing nymore. S' mine, an'i know better ta complain about it cept we bin drinkin so... Ya know. Kinda being a fuckin idiot.> Frankie presses Claud's captured hand against his cheek and sighs contentedly. <Sorry.>
- "S okay," he smiles and pets his head with the other hand. <Ya gotta have someone ta talk to, yeah? Can't keep it all bottled up inside all'a time.> He tries to keep his sentences short, worried he'll say too much again.
- <Na... Bottles'r great ok.. Donneed ta talk ta nobody, causeim some kinda big shot ain' I? Bigshots can't go aroun.. talkin..> He looks at the hand he's holding possessively. "Jusslike thisss... I doneed thisss." He sets Claud's hand down gently. His vibe disappears.
- Claud regards the man for a moment, his other hand still petting through his hair. <... You c'n talk ta me though, cuz, cuz I am nobody. 'M just a square. Ain't no one gonna care what a square's gotta say.> He didn't buy it for one second that Frankie didn't need to talk to someone.
- Not those kinds of bottles, Frankie ;<;
- <nooo you ain' nobody 'owmany times do I gotta say??> The man sits up very slowly. <canna talk ta you either, don you worry.> He pats Claud consolingly.
- He is a man of many bottles of course UuU
- Claud takes his hand gently, <Just... if you ever change your mind, I'm here, okay?> He looks at him earnestly, face flushed and eyes bleary from a long day of drinking, wanting very much to be of use to this person he cares so very much about.
- "Ahaha-! Yeass! Juss.. Jusssa moment the ol' lady firresss'me.. Haha.. Soon's I don'tgotta do thissanymore... Jusstellya m' wholedsmn.. Wholedamned.. Fuck.. <whole damned life story. Why would you even wanthat. No one needs that. I don' need that..> "hah.. An' itssalike... Like... Ssso what?? Youssfindiut.... <You find out about my crappy life. Then what? I Telly's what, then we drink more'n forget it.>
- He leans forward, pulling the the remaining champagne down to them.
- Claud turned his head to the side and looked down, unsure of Frankie's intent of leaning forward so suddenly. Oh, he was just going for the bottle... of course he was. He blushes in embarrassment. <Sometimes it jus' helps ta have someone ta talk to.>
- <Doesit... Man... Man it's been a fuckova long time since that was'a thing. I dunno if that.. That dint.. Boyo, that dint.. That dint go very well. What wit' the war'n all.> Frankie sucks in air, inexplicably out of breath. "N'body needssthat. Nobodywan'sta hear that." He takes a swig of champagne before offering it to Claud.
- Claud takes the proffered bottle and drinks from it, so far past the caring point. "Arright, arright, I geddit, I'll leave it alone. I jus' donno what elsta do ta help ya sing again." He hands the bottle back.
Hey look, it's Frankie's relationship with alcohol
Lol yes XD
- < It's not... No I mean.. How's that gonna help? Tellinya about my shit wouldn change not'in... Woulit? Seriously??> Frankie's eyes glitter with eagerness now that he vaguely understands where Claud's going with this. <but... But wait its not gonna change'm lightnin cause... Cause I kin'a.. I ain't sure I want that gone even... And whatabout my glitz, I don wanthat gone atall, definitely not >
- Claud shrugs, < I don't know that it will help. But humans want empathy from others, we want people to listen to us, and understand, and accept us. It helps us work through the pain. It's part of healing.> He tries to smile reassuringly, but he really wasn't sure about this at all. <Did ya have yer ligtnin' before... before ya stopped singin?>
- Healin..? <M not.. Hurt.. Bleedin'r... Goddamnit.> Yea all those things sounded so good... <Mos' certainly... Since th' beginin.. Since vday. God that wasa clusterfuck, Goddamnit.. Ya know they were gonna kill me. M'own damn family!! Ya know what, kid, I'll tell ya what. Fuckth' Mob. Irishone I mean. Soulless bastards, th' lot'a them.> he blinks owlishly at Claud, feeling curious hope rather than a lifetime's worth of bitterness. "Ssss... sss thiss.. Thisss workin?"
- Claud shrugs again, "You tell me?" He didn't know the Irish mob was here before the factions were formed. He wondered how many were still in the mafia now. <Why'd they wanna kill ya? You, you were family! Not ta mention the mos' powerful stepper this sida the island!> Yes, Claud didn't like the sound of these people very much.
- <what?? What??> "hahaano... What?" <no I mean... I wasn'even... S'before steppers'n... Well it was vday so no ones was like... Fuck.> He's completely lost, but Claud's second set of question gently place him back on the right track. <was right after my ma died, see. N the island got cut off an... Jeezes, never told nobody but Poppy bout this- n.. Well I wasn.. I wasn doin so... good? R' hot, yknow how.. How it is. But uh.. I dunno. Jus. Had'a problem wit'a mission... N... There was'a lady.. N.. Her kids... N my ma'd jus died, yaassee, I was always'a great employee, normally...um.. I donno this is.. This is dumb isn it,> he laughs bashfully, embarrassed even through the river he'd drunk tonight.
- Claud sits close and listens, not interrupting. He shakes his head, <Keep goin, it ain't dumb. What happened?> A lot of what Frankie had said hadn't yet fully sunk in yet, but he didn't want to ask questions and risk the man clamming up on him.
- <um... Ok. Ok yea. Uh. Ok.. See but the dame, she was two timin us wit... Cops? The SCP..D. Back before'they were all... Y'know.. dead.> he closes his eyes. This would have been much harder to remember, if not for the two weeks he'd spent reliving it over and over and over again. Thanks, flashbacks. he continues, his thoughts sounding emotionless, like the events are simply a report he's relaying to Claud. <course they weren't happy. Bosses I mean. Well no one was. I dunno. There was'a guy there, he kin'a.. He was nice.> Frankie goes live the moment he mentions the man. The mafioso waves an arm gracelessly, and the floor is saved from the scorching vibe. <Fer'a gangster, yknow... He showed me Crosby an Astaire an... He liked m'singin.. N'... I think he dint hate me. Fed me now'n then an'... An' then'e led me ta a hit that was, hah! Oh surprise, turns out it was fer me, an then the fuckin' city blew the fuckup an Ikilled'm all th-> his thoughts disappear. Frankie hadn't been prepared, hadn't even had time to move away from Claud before the energy overtakes him.
- All of a sudden Claud's problems and complaints seem cosmically small next to what was starting to piece together in his mind. Frankie'd been ordered to kill a woman. Who had children. To his credit he refused, but it only ended in more people dying. How many had he been ordered to kill before he disobeyed? What, exactly, had Claud thought Frankie did for the mafia anyhow? Danced and acted charming and looked dapper in a suit? And that was it? Up until now, Claud had been trying to pretend that the man hadn't killed anyone, but he couldn't deny the truth anymore. His heart was already pounding before the electricity made his skin prickle and hair stand, a split second warning to move away or get fried. He crawls away backwards gracelessly and tries to get through to the man, <Frankie! What happened? Frankie!>
- Yeah it's good this didn't happen on a shrink's couch umu
- The memory circuits through, threatening overload. It hadn't been fair. He'd trusted the man and it didn't matter, orders were orders, you had to be professional. This wasn't professional. The soft sweetness of Claud's voice trickles through, Frankie grabs hold as it leads him back.
- <M'fine... M'fine... How'r you doin.. Why don' we.. Do ya need anyt'in. I should get'ya sometin...>
- Yea his compatibility with therapy completely relies on fireproofing =<=
- Claud's breathing fast, trying to calm himself enough to talk, but it wasn't happening. <Jus' gimme, gimme a minute.> With a wheeze he lays down on the floor, taking large breaths through his nose and trying very much to not hyperventilate. No wonder Frankie was paranoid, you led a life like that, get betrayed, of course you wouldn't want to make that mistake again.
- Frankie continues trying to offer Claud something, anything, because he has to keep moving, if he sits still long enough the memories will get him again. Standing up is... Yes, it's out of the question. But stillness will kill him. He rolls slightly on his shoulder. Pathetically. "Ishhouljuss... Dansrsometin... God'elpme... Iddnowhat'ado."
- The uncomfortable feelings coming off of Frankie aren't helping Claud's overall state, but they do give him something else to focus on at least. Gotta get it together, gotta help his friend. He sits up and moves over to Frankie, who was curled nearly fetal. "Yer gonna be a'right, y'hear? Gonna be okay. You, you wanna dansh? Issat it? We c'n dance, c'mon..." He tries to help Frankie into sitting upright.
- He feels helpless as he had on that day, as he had his whole life, and he's going to be sick and his vibe is going to destroy the entire block, he doesn't want this, if he can just move! Sparks pour off Frankie as Claud props him up, threatening to return to mindless energy until the offer of dancing punches through.
- "Coursse-" he closes his mouth at the stab of nausea. <course we'll dance. S'importan. N you're improt.. Portant. An I wanna do anythin I can for ya cause you're good an thats like... Speculat. Special. I love you an.. An.. That's.. That's where we are. Not vday... Right?>
- Standing is not happening. Sitting up is hardly even successful with his body behaving more like soup. But they have to dance. It's the boy's birthday and if they keep sitting here he will explode. Frankie lurches st the nearest chair and attempts to crawls up it.
- <Not V-day.> Claud confirms, Frankie's electricity making his muscles twitch as he tries to help the man to standing. Shaking, he manages to push himself up with the aide of the chair, hauling Frankie up after him. He can't hold both of them up and dance; he can barely stand himself, and he clutches the back of the chair for support. <C'mmon, find yer feet, there ya go...> he encourages, talking to keep Frankie's anxiety down as well as his own.
- Claud's voice is the only thing not trying to knock him over with it's insane whirling, and he clings to the sound like a rope. Find his feet, it's not V-day, Claud wants to dance, so what is he doing acting like a jamdeaf fool?
- "Ss'ok, sssook IgotthissI pr'miss," he grins as his hands flow around Claud into a waltz lead position. As his spineless body pours into the proper form, the mafioso begins to stabilizes. From the floor, his phone continues its persistent stream of dance music, and Frankie can feel his terrified pulse slow to match the steady tempo. "Sssok... S'fine," he insists softly against Claud's ear.
- Claud is impressed by his and Frankie's ability to stand in this state, and he starts slowly moving to the music. His heart was still beating quick, but for a different reason now. They hadn't danced in forever it felt like, if you could call this dancing. But Frankie was holding him close and whispering at his ear, and it helped him feel a little bit less terrible.
And... Here have some Duke Ellington.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOJT6HoAwn4
(Duke Ellington - “Solitude”)
- The music is soft, nearly inaudible as it trickles darkly through Claud's home. Frankie's form is, impossibly, immaculate, would be perfect, if only he could settle on what he wanted to dance to the mercilessly lyric-free number. His movements flow from the obvious, a slow, floating waltz to a passionate, fleeting rumba, peppered with an eclectic jumble of the styles that come naturally to the inebriated man, many of which he and Claud had simply never practiced- the man just expects Claud to follow along with his erratically fluid steps.
- Despite the confusion, or because of it, not a single move separates the two for any length of time. It is not long before this combination pushes the memories out to make room for the copious swarms of effervescent metallic vibe.
- Claud's vibe clings closely to Frankie, following his every lead, if a bit loosely, his limbs feeling like jelly. Surprise after surprise comes from his dance partner and he and his vibe scramble to keep up. But in the flurry of activity, Frankie seems to calm, and Claud clings to him for comfort as much as for support--spinning with a belly full of drink and little else weren't a good combination.
I always think of that Fred Astaire holiday inn dance but your absolutely right I've discovered drunken kungfu dance style =<=; Also I'm really glad you like it!! I never heard it before but isn't it nice?? <3
- Back spot turn, Frankie pop, twinkle, promenade close, three alemanas... The steps flow through him like a river, smoothing the jags, wearing away the sharpness revealed in the silt of gin and nostalgia.
- It was times like this, after going from such a bad place to something that filled him with amazement that the world could be so goddamned good, he wondered if God was giving him a break.. A reward, for his suffering..
- Frankie watches his partner with heavy lidded, bleary eyes. His unpredictable style melts into a calmer sort of rumba-waltz, only flaring up occasionally. No.. The boy isn't a reward. This wasn't for Frankie, he philosophizes drunkenly. This was simply a random little miracle in which the lives of the two steppers intersected. It wouldn't last, and it didn't mean anything more than the face value of the moment. Not to the universe, at least. But what did?
He leans his head against Claud's shoulder, his chaotic movement at last tying cleanly together into a very simple slow dance- mostly just hugging and swaying.
- Claud is thankful for the calmer, slower dance, but he's a bit surprised by the gesture. He hugs Frankie back, gently rests his cheek against his neck in understanding. In moments like this he always felt he should say something, express himself in some way, but he knew through hard experience that interrupting the silence and soft music was probably not a good idea. Closing his eyes he concentrates on silently surrounding Frankie with his feelings of love, admiration, and understanding. Even if it had been a chaotic evening, and he'd probably hate everything tomorrow, he was glad for Frankie's company, he was glad to have someone who refused to give up on him despite all his flaws and shortcomings. Jack might be one such person, but he couldn't bear finding out the hard way that he wasn't, and on his birthday of all days.
- The intoxicating concoction of vibe Claud feeds him gives him the incomprehensible urge to open up again. Strange, because speaking about V-day had been nightmarish and painful, yet he wanted to confess again so soon after? "Al'waysswas'a mashicisst," he laughs softly at himself while drinking in deep breaths that smell of Claud, scotch and champagne.
- "Y'knoww..... Imeant.." < I mean... I want ya ta be happy, ya know... But'i donno how ta do that.. I know alot'a things, don I. Got all the steps-> he pulls Claud into a loose tango dip- < seems th' most important and jeezes it just.. It's not. Not thing. Working. Juss.. Tellme ok. Tellme if yer at home an' drinkin and sad causeim doinn anough'a that fer the both'a us ok you jus call me'n, an ill jus... I'll bring ya a cake. Hah.> he kisses Claud's cheek as the resume the slow effortless rocking that only manages to stir his gold into lazily drifting wisps.
- Claud looks at Frankie with curious, sleepy eyes through this whole ordeal, just barely catching that throw-away line about drinking alone; it was just too sad. Frankie kisses him and he squeezes his eyes shut and smiles a little. As innocent of a gesture as it was, it meant a lot to him. < I will. An' th' same goes for you, okay?> he settles his head comfortably on his shoulder, resuming their hug-shuffle, watching the gold lazily waft about the room. Troubling thoughts of Frankie's past try to insert themselves into his happily floating thoughts, but the drink makes them easy to bat away. Not now.
- <ahaha... Soundslika plan, kiddo. We'll get roarin drunk so's we can stand th' sighta onenanother n' not getsall nervous'as m' little kiddies when they gotta learns partner dancin wit th' opposite.. Thing.. Y'know... Girls'nboys?> he laughs deeply at the poorly described memory. <you should comebyn see it, goddamn, the little ones'r fuckin- fuckin the best, god!! All excited'n fulla more'nergy even then me, I swear ta you!> Frankie twirls Claud as his thoughts derail onto a happier track.
- "Whoaaa, hahaha!" Claud wobbles and falls back into Frankie's arms, more than amused by the story and it's delivery. < I'd like that yeah, if it's okay. I didn' know you taught th' youngins too!> It warmed his heart to think of young people discovering the joys of partner dancing, the next generation of mafioso learning to... to... The disturbing thought persists no matter how hard he tries to push it out of his mind. He hugs Frankie a little tighter in his distress, <Whys people gotta use their vibes fer hurtin' folks? Whys they gotta take somethin so beautiful and use it fer the worst things?> It had taken him months to finally realize that that was Ardette Bombaert's expertise--helping people weaponize their vibes--and the realization had crushed him a little. No recitals, no performances to look forward towards eventually being a part of, no productions. He wondered if he was the only person in that studio working to render themselves harmless towards others. He also realized that Frankie was probably the last person he should be bemoaning this to, but the thought of small, impressionable children being taught to use dance for barbarism hurt him deeply.
- <Donya knowit! F they're purple, n they wanna learn technic... Technical... moves I mean, and like, like, like... physical... Body movin... trainin.. yea and'I can get'm stronger- y'know I can test fer jamdeafs? Like, say, say I meet'a little prima ballerina, man they gave her a tutu and the little thing could barely even walk yet, more'va kinda... waddling- I swear ta God it breaks yer heart's the most perfect thin' on earth-> as he speaks unfocusedly of his students, never quite getting to the point, the traces of vibe solidify and flare to levels only ever seen when the man used fonk. Claud's apartment fills with pairs of glittering slow dancing angels. Frankie blinks at the light but doesn't appear to notice the sudden crowd. Another pair appears when Claud hugs him, but all begin to fade as Frankie slowly comprehends the square's next question.
- <t's cause...> he closes his eyes to think, an just rocks with Claud in relative silence for a while.
- <Caus'r nature, ain'it? Evenif we don wanna, and then look, you burn'a hole in yer entire goddamned bed... R's that jus me..? Maybe's.. Cause people'r fuckn' morons. Donno what they need, r when they do, some ot'er confused asshole gets'in their way'n kills everything the firs fella needed an then bam, boom, ya got two confused assholesouta one. Maybe's.... Maybe's contagious...> his vibe is dark by the end of his speech.
<tha.. I dunno... Why do you t'ink people 'r... Whatever you askked?> The song probably changed by now idek so here's a pretty version of Stardust =<= http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUwkOGgAMEg (Duke Ellington - “Star Dust”)
- The cute imagery of dancers too small to walk, combined with the ugly phrase 'test for jamdeafs' creates a pain so sharp he has to fight down a sob. 'Nature' was the explanation Ardette had used too, but it wasn't sufficient for him. Frankie's second explanation hits closer to home for him; confused people hurting each other unintentionally, then intentionally, and on and on. He shakes his head, < I wish I knew. I wish I could make people stop.> All he could do was change himself, and that's what he was trying to do, but it never felt like enough. It always felt like where there was creation, there was perversion also. He realizes that the room had grown dark, and he hides his face again in embarrassment.
- Make people stop? Hah. That's what Poppy wanted, even when Frankie'd told her there was no use, the war wasn't going to change nature... Poppy... <d'ya know, they thought she was jamdeaf'it firs'? Fora long ol time was'eadover heels for'a lady who couldn' dance'r sing,> he rambles. Detachedly he wonders why he's said this outloud... Thought it? Well he always thought about it, especially when that waddling little angel drained his vibe and her parents watched him with desperate hope, awaiting his verdict. He didn't ever... share like this, though. The night's earlier trauma has cracked something in him, like a dam, his private thoughts are leaking out. He needs to stop doing that, of course, he thinks with an inward smile. He should get back to what Claud had said, keep to the boy's thoughts, not his... But Frankie can't recall anything except Poppy confidently telling Francis, soon as they won this war, everthing would be a ok honey. The factions'll stop fighting once the idiot leaders are ousted, and... "Life'jusssdon work'tha'way, kiddo..."
- 'She'? Oh, the woman. The one who existed, wraith-like, inside Frankie's mind. Claud had caught glimpses of her here and there, gathered information through things alluded to or hinted at. The brief look into Frankie's past was somehow calming, like being handed another piece of a puzzle you'd been piecing together for ages, it gave him a small feeling of closure towards a mystery he had no right to know about. But it did comfort him somewhat that Frankie had loved her despite her apparent inability to dance, sing, or work vibe. Claud wondered if he was like Frankie, if his connection to his sister had left a similar impression in his mind, or had caused any other such change in him. He's sure it had. At length he sighed, then mumbled, "I know it don't," and left it at that.
- He wants to talk about her. Needs to. It burns through him like a fire, fueled by the alcohol. But he'd had his fill- let out too much. Claud. Tonight was about the man he's got held in his arms, almost dancing to Ellington with. He'd danced with her like this. "Wha'wass'ig... it..." <What'was it like.. I mean... Were ya always'a square? Durin th' war, durrin V.. Hell.. No that was before they had... Uh... Was.. Wasyer family here wit'ya?> he rests his head once again against Claud's shoulder, sighing comfortably. He'd never known much about the boy, without the proper vibe, or else Claud's ability to keep his breakdowns better contained than Frankie. Of course, he didn't like to pry.. "Youdon'got'a sssayit'acourrsseyoushdon..." he mumbles softly.
- Frankie asks about his family, rests his head on his shoulder, and looks oh-so-kissable. Claud has such a weakness for good looking men, this one in particular for some reason, and he still can't put a finger on it. Distractions aside, "I's never tolja? Thatsh funny... thouht I woulda tolja somethin by now..." he muses out loud, only then remembering that he was, supposedly, a very private person. But it was only fair, Frankie had already told him so much. <Well it was seventy... seventy somethin when we got here. Gladys n' me, we was just kids, so we didn't think nothin of it. Even when th' island got cut off it didn't really bother us, cuz we was with our mum n' dad an' the resta th' family wasn' very nice t' us but I don' really remember... Sos we didn' missem very much. Dad was startin' ta get his shit together, n' Gladys n' I got ta take ballet, but V-day hadta go an' fuck everythin' up.> He inhales deeply and keeps going. <We was livin in th' research district, so like, I guess you could say I was always a square! Hah! Gladys an' I were ata movie r' somethin, but when V-day hit we wasn' at home, an' by th' time we did get home...> An image of a collapsed apartment building flashes through their minds, < I don' even know if their bodies were ever pulled from the rubble. I don't know if anyone had time or cared.> Claud felt so numb, so detached from the whole situation. Here he was seeping for mafia children he didn't even know, and he couldn't even muster up the same sorrow for his parents.
- <You jusdo whatya godda, right. Not’ins ‘spected’a ya, you jus-> He stops reassuring Claud once he realizes the boy has already decided to talk.
- It’s fun, imagining Claud all small and unhurt by the world. In his mind, Claud’s sister strongly resembles the little baby girl in the tutu that he was going to teach despite a very strong indication of being jamdeaf, because Frankie hadn’t told anyone about his ability other than Claud, and fuck the rules. He made the rules.
- Seventy was of course around the time Frankie’d gotten there, and hell, maybe they’d lived in the same neighborhood. But that was a different story, and this one sounded so… nice… parents and sisters and dance lessons…
Frankie actually gasps out a sob when Claud’s story inevitably becomes a tragedy. Frankie feels sorrow, for Mama Claud, and… yes, even Papa Claud, and Claud sister, but most intensely, Claud. He was just a kid back then himself, so how could he have helped? Why does he feel guilt? The swaying slows to almost a stop as Frankie’s loose embrace tightens. “M’ssorry kiddo… m’sso’ss’rry…” he whispers as tears spill.
- He's only upset because Frankie's upset--this is what he tells himself as tears threaten to overflow and he presses his mouth into a hard, thin line. He wasn't going to feel sorry for himself on this account. But Frankie was so moved, he didn't have the heart to tell him that his mother had been emotionally distant and their father was an asshole, that he still felt more anger than sorrow about the whole situation--that he blamed them for dying, for leaving them alone when their family was actually starting to behave like a family... He makes a small, pained sound and hugs Frankie back, shaking with the effort of not crying. It's not even like they were shoved into one of those mass orphanages that a lot of the kids were sent to, like what Jack grew up in, they actually had some neighbors who were kind enough to look after them. He and Gladys were 12 when their parents died, 'old enough for it to hurt' the adults had said. He wanted to cry, scream, protest against the unfairness of it all, but he knew it wouldn't make an iota of difference. It wouldn't bring any of them back. So he wept, pathetically and quietly, on the other man's shoulder.
- The man cries through the entirety of 'Everything Happens to Me' before the lack of movement removes the tentative balance his dance style allowed him. The two teeter until Frankie's weight pulls them both down, falling like one of the many buildings on V-day. They land on the couch, slightly tangled, Frankie mostly beneath Claud, serving as a rather large pillow that has the benefit of being warm and the con of smelling terribly of gin. It takes a while for Frankie doesn't quite notice the angle change in the room , but resumes the slight sway, his arms still encircling Claud.
- "W'shoulll...ssh..." <Thing..> "Th'thin'wed'd..." <Tryit'again... singin...> He begins to pet Claud absentmindedly.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woMpVEXDHC8 (Thelonious Monk - “Everything Happens To Me”)
- Claud tries to stop their decent but in the end is pulled onto the couch with Frankie. He takes a few breaths to try and calm down, not noting the smell of alcohol anymore, it was so pervasive. He tries to shift, to position himself in a less compromising way, but gives up quickly, too tired, too warm, to drunk. Yeah, singing, he liked singing... Hadn't they tried this already, didn't it not really work out? But Claud's muddled exhausted brain couldn't even remember three minutes ago, <Yeah sure, you wanna, you wanna try again?> he suggests, yawning.
- Frankie makes a small whimpery noise... just really comfortable, not quite able to agree, though he sends the vague unformed feeling of yea sure to Claud.
- It's not a song he'd ever have sang himself- not alone, at least. Poppy'd sand it with the most perfect sweetness, but Frankie'd always had to go down an octave...
- But wrapped up in Claud, drunk as a lord, he offers the questionably choice, and entirely sappy, sentimental song up without any hesitation.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVnvEU-owDY&t=1m16s (Henry Hall - "The Clouds Will Soon Roll By")
- Claud hums a little to get the key, then starts to sing in a quiet voice, "Somewhere the sun is shining, So, honey, don't you cry~ We'll find a silver lining; The clouds will soon roll by.
- "I hear a robin singing, Upon a tree-top high, To you and me he's singing, The clouds will soon roll by..." If you didn't think too much about it, it was a sweet and harmless song.
- The tears start fresh and thick, but this was a song out of his range. He'd always listened too more than sang, and Frankie supplies the music effortlessly, thoughtlessly, like he's anticipating Claud's next note rather than feeling put upon, left out and jealous. Some of the words get slightly muddled, verses switched, but Frankie doesn't notice Claud's mistake. Obviously.
- "Each little tear and sorrow, only brings you closer to me. Just wait until tomorrow, what a happy day that will be!
- "Down lover's lane together, We'll wander, you and I, Goodbye to stormy weather, The clouds will soon roll by." Claud doesn't notice Frankie's crying til he's finished. He'll have to remember to learn that one by heart, he really liked it, too bad it was so short. <Did it work? Did I do good?> The heavy nostalgia and pang of longing it inspired were something of a relief compared with the bad memories and feelings from before.
- Frankie simply continues weeping. It's not entirely just the alcohol, which serves as fuel for deeply withheld emotions.
- The stormy weather had never passed. He covers his face with his arm to muffle an involuntary wail that breaks from his chest.
- <Perffect, I ain'ever even'heeard anyt'in so beautiful'n years i swearta yous'it was lika. .. like'a angel singin,> he finishes with more baying. Despite the waterworks, the man is indeed sparkling, which meant things couldn't be too bad, right?
- It takes Claud a moment to realize that Frankie's been seriously moved, either by a memory, or by his singing, he's not certain. He stays quiet, hugging the man and waiting for him to cry it out. Watching the gold float around the room he knows that Frankie isn't upset with him, and that he's not entirely in pain. Foolishly he looks to their connection, tries to suss what was moving Frankie to tears. He felt there the pain of denial of closure, the loss of a loved one, the feeling that trials and hardships would go on into perpetuity; all things he could identify with all too well. Quietly, almost reverently, he backs away a little from the connection, allowing the man his privacy, but staying physically close, reassuring him with his continued presence.
- Quite suddenly, Frankie isn't alone in his pain. The loss of the barrier he'd felt since Claud had begun his very necessary lessons to keep the world at arms distance feels like a physical phenomena. He closes his eyes and the volatile sadness recedes. The room feels quiet and still, and he would like to be here forever- but the sensation that had subdued him recedes until all that remains is Frankie, alone and drunk, being held by his student in such an inappropriate manner.
- <youreally do gotta gift>. His thoughts are a whisper, almost lost to the sound of his breathing as he presses his lips against Claud's cheek in an warm, unmoving kiss.
- Claud grunts softly in reply, < I hope it's a good gift.> Because sometimes, a lot of times actually, his vibe really didn't feel that way, and he knew he'd caused Frankie more than his fair share of grief with it. So he would not be causing him any more grief if he could help it. ... But he wasn't going to move yet either, too comfy.
- <wish...wisheveryone'n the'worl'was like you, kid,> he confesses, his mind's volume fading and swelling like the soft sound of the sea outside, because the man Is very openly falling asleep as he speaks.
- Claud laughs suddenly in surprise, he knew what Frankie meant, but the thought of more people like him—not just with his better attributes, but just like him, good and bad—was a bit of a scary thought. He tries to muffle himself against Frankie's shoulder, and sighs when the giggle fit passes. < I think the world is happy with just one Claud.>
- <nanana...Na.. We'ddoit..... Like> Frankie wiggles slightly, meaning to gesture to explain, but his sleep leaden limbs can't begin to respond. "..m..liketh's... Th'.. <what.. Flares.. Millions'a Clauds, juh.. Jus.. Dancin..>
- The mental image of an army of shyly smiling perfect partner dancers is more vivid to Frankie than the room that he views through stuttering eyelids.
- The mental imagery goes from slightly scary to more on the silly side, and Claud laughs again, quieter. "Man, what on earth..." He doesn't want to sleep, this was the most talking they'd done in weeks, and he doesn't want it to end. Not yet, five more minutes...
- One of Frankie's eyes opens at the laughter. <Nonana... no see it'd be... bes faction... joinitina heartbeat, God>
- "Hmm..." Claud's brain was going back and forth from the scary scenarios to the fluffy happy ones, so he ended up not making any comment at all, other than a non-committal, "Tha'd be sumpthinelse..." But right now there was only one of him, and he had monopoly over the time of the only Frankie Valentine, and that was enough.
- <Wouldn'it....t'dbe... gold....n.. Claud's...> Frankie has apparently fallen asleep, but continues answering Claud with unconscious attentiveness.
- Claud has strange dreams, of warmth and gold dust, of duplicates of himself, all dancing to depression era tunes playing softly on the smallest sound system.
- Francis dreams of dancing with thousands of partners, all of them eager and smiling and completely adoring and he loves each of them so intensely that he can barely finish a single dance before he dissolves into a fine gold powder that flows through the air, swirling gently until it reaches the next stepper, after which he immediately takes them up in a cacophony of light and start again, and again, and again...
- Claud has strange dreams, of warmth and gold dust, of duplicates of himself, all dancing like a kaleidoscope to depression era tunes playing softly on the smallest sound system.