Frankie's Apartment, Guest Room
Preceded by Stuck In Reverse
During the Flashbacks
Followed by []
- A growing clamor of voices kept him from hearing her words. “What?” he asked, then shouted. “WHAT!?” Her lips moved, smiled, but he could hear nothing she said. The noise grew to a roar, then a scream--
- Claud fell out of bed, tangled in the bed sheets, shaking with panic. Limbs sprawled and trapped, he managed to crawl over to a wastebasket before vomiting bile. As his body convulsed in pain an idle part of his brain observed his situation--not Sigurd’s house--Frankie’s--alone. After what felt like an hour, jaw aching, stomach quieter, he found a corner and crammed himself into it, facing the door. He begins to calm, pressed against the unmoving architecture. Memory foggy, deep breaths, swallows bile, mouth and throat burning, remembers--bottle of electrolyte fluid in his backpack--he crawls weakly over to it, fumbles the cap off, and swallows a few mouthfuls.
Frankie omg what is he drinking D:
Claud it's like pedialyte, or gatorade
Claud something with electrolytes in it, but not really a sports drink, more like that stuff you get when you're really sick
Frankie omg Frankie's never had that but theoretically he will love it more than anything, Pth pointed it out to me
Frankie awww baby ;m;
Claud hahah X) Yeah I thought of Frankie when I wrote this
- Frankie enjoys the dreamless sleep of what is essentially a coma. Claud's panic manages to just brush his unconscious mind, but it's not until the square throws up that Frankie's eyes struggle open. He moans as the room spins. He's still very drunk. And alone, he realizes with a devastated jolt when his questing hand fails to find anyone lying next to him. He grabs for the bottle on his nightstand, which is... empty. Frankie lies in bed, unwilling to get up, but Claud's vibe is affecting him. He tries to ignore the misery, but when the vomit rises in his throat he forces himself up, racing clumsily to his toilet.
Claud awwhhh -m- Sorry bby
Frankie its good, idk how else he would have woken up
Frankie passed out the entire rp
Claud uh =c= hahaha oh
- Claud registers that Frankie is awake and not feeling well either. Last night's events come swimming back and he worries vaguely about... everything. Too shy to mentally apologize, too weak to move. After a while he starts to doze, sitting up against the bed, sleep blissfully muting out the pain again.
- Frankie makes it to the restroom. Everything else proceeds smoothly as he goes through the routine- clean up, dry off, back to the liquor cabinet where he grabs indiscriminately, then back to his room. But the door comes too early. He opens it. Claud's room. Frankie stares hazily, completely at a loss. Is he in some else's house?? He looks back to the hall. Back to the room.
- Claud starts out of his light doze, winces with the effort of seeing, "--mnh, sorry t' wake you, bad dreams..." he offers as a means of explanation but it was deeper than that, more complicated. He couldn't be arsed to explain. Just holding himself together was taking every bit of will and apathy he had. There were so many people here.
Claud fine by me uwu
- Frankie startles at the noise at his feet. Voice. Claud? When did he get here?? A hazy memory or two makes it through, but everything inside is mostly just a jumble of alcohol, exhaustion, and vague unpleasant emotions. "Ddiya... yass'add'd'a room?? ...whhhat?" He can't understand. "N... whhhhyr youshonna floor??" Frankie leans to pull Claud up.
- Claud his own bottle in hand, Claud stands with Frankie's uneasy help and sits on the end of the bed. "It's... a long story." he smiles, wincing. He really hoped Frankie was okay, that over exposure to his vibe wasn't hurting him in some way...
Frankie nope, just over exposure to liquid poisons UuU
- Frankie sits next to the Square. "rr... ryya'aarrigh lov'???" Taking care of a guest was just as much a habit as the cleanup after being ill. Whatever else he was useless for, he remembers this. He looks into the dark... He at last studies the bottle he's acquired. Strawberry liqour. He clumsily offers it to the square. "M lisssnin't."
- Claud being called pet names--it hurt. By now Sigurd would be waking up, he'd pull him playfully back into bed--Claud shoves those memories away. And as much as he wanted to escape into the bottle to forget them... He only smiles weakly and holds up his pedialyte, "I'm good thanks. ... Hey um, can I ask you somethin? About yer vibe?"
- Frankie shakes his head like a dog stung by a bee at the lashback of emotions. At this rate, he'd learn how to behave around Claud, even if he's got no clue what he'd done conciously. "S'ok.." He lowers the bottle. "Uh..? Sshuure. Anyt'in ya neeed, Missshter~"
- Claud "Sometimes you make like a," he gestures around his head, "a-a sound? Like radio static in your mind, an it helps ta block out mental interference. Would you be able to teach me how to do that?" He takes another sip of electrolytes.
- Frankie cracks his bottle open and the room fills with a sweet smell. He takes a gulp, far less picky about what he imbibes at this stage. And it has the desired effect, or at lease he believes it does, as Claud's intense unpleasant feelings fade. "Saaht... sssat's.. s'a thin... mssuresya couldd'o it. Sssstoppss m' girl. Gos'shee's nosey," he laughs affectionately, taking another sip. Maybe it was Claud's lovely pulse, too. A sparkle escapes. "'Hh... Bu'ya donngottshmy vibbes, dooya??"
- Claud felt... weird, and a little guilty, hearing about things he probably shouldn't know. But on the other hand if it had worked to keep someone out in the past--"Oh, yeah, I don't." he was afraid it was electricity related. And he couldn't ask Frankie to make static all the time for him to piggyback on for relief, no matter his own personal discomfort. He sighs.
Frankie ? <:(c Can't claud copy vibees?
Claud not like Remi can
Frankie aw /m\
Claud he just takes raw vibe energy and then uses it for his own purposes
- Frankie "ssreaal goood. All'emssat reeeadyer hesash... headsh. Donna madder how goddyer'at lyyin. Th'll... readdn' yer fffuckn... privvacshy," he scoffs and drinks again. "But... S'nnot hard, y'nkoww?? Wassh'ard'sh tunrrr... turnin'i off," he rambles, still missing the point of all this. Still, he knows his words aren't making sense, and Frankie lets it all go to demonstrate. His whole body goes live, light and noise filling him from the inside out. The lamps flicker as lightning crawls all across the drunk mafiaso.
Claud is it the static, or is it just his electricity vibe in general?
Frankie its kinda all of it
Claud cool =w=
Frankie like, he can controll the noise, though this is the only way i've used it. atm he's just letting his vibe go, so yea, everything
- Claud could agree with Frankie on that, he wanted his mind to be a little less public. But when Frankie releases his vibe all at once, he's hit suddenly with the double sensation of relief and over-stimulation. The static drowns out everyone else and he nearly sobs in gratitude when the pressure is lifted from his mind. But all this vibe pouring onto him--it was too much, like putting your cold feet into hot water. He takes a minute, elbows posted on his knees, trying to catch his composure--"How do you stop it? How do you keep it from jus pouring out alla time?"
- Frankie blinks heavily when Claud speaks, and he reigns it all back in. "Wasa... wassa loda thignks, ya knowsit?? Yearsh... no on'ld touch me. I'd hhurtem..." More liqour pours down his throat. Everyone together, dancing, singing, loving, after V day. Comforting one another. He'd be there, clinging to the wall, watching with jealousy that ached. "Sshe'sa one'at notished. Turneshoff'wn I ssshleep. N ssshinging. No mor'athat, 'nym're." He looks at Claud. "S'when'm peachessh- a'peashhe. Conf'dn't. Kin'a. 'Nd. N, n'twwoyearsha hardesst pract'cen'a my life. "
- Hard work and being at peace. Well he knew how to work hard, but confidence? Being at peace? Not so much. He shakes, the burst of vibe had augmented his own, causing his range to become better. The roar of minds against his own was worse now, and barely held at bay by the sympathy he was now feeling for Frankie. He stays doubled over, one hand supporting his head, the other reaches out and touches Frankie's knee, "Please turn the static back on, please." he asks weakly. His mind was spinning and with more than just the effects of his vibe. Two years? Practicing what? What did he do to develop control, and would it work for him? And what was that about singing? He needed answers but unfortunately he was overwhelmed and Frankie was drunk.
- Frankie looks at the square with complete bewilderment. His static was... bad. This was his bad vibe, that hurt people, made them burn and flail and bleed... Claud wants it...? Frankie holds his head, trying to understand. The vague recollection fights through flashes and liquor. His vibe doesn’t hurt this man... A sob hits his chest, and rather than the drowning static, the room glows softly with Frankie’s pleasure. “s... my vibe...” he studies the square for any hint of approval, “S’ it... s’not bad?”
- Claud can't hold back the cringe, he tries so hard to focus on Frankie, to feel as he felt, if only to escape the pain of being in a thousand bodies at once. He keeps his hand on Frankie's knee, hoping the contact would ground him to just this one person. "Not t-ta' me, s' sweet relief from the sounds of the world--" he shudders and gasps a pained breath, "Cuz my vibe's tr-tryin ta tear me apart--!"
- He's filled with utter joy. Opaque gold vibe pours from his body, covering the square in it's metallic sheen. Even Poppy had never called it that... A sweet relief. Frankie takes the words holds them in his heart. He gasps as waves of his vibe flood the room. It's too much- it's painful- Why does it hurt?? It never tore at him like this- "Ss'yershh?" That's right. Claud's vibe connected them, he thinks sluggishly. "sss...ssyer pain??" This.. this is very upsetting. His good vibe is supposed to fix things. Make people happy and beautiful and- Sweet Relief. He has to turn it on, but he's not in the right place- Oh. "Feeer you, Missster Claud' I'd ddo anyt'in'" he mutters. And remembers- All the betrayals, all the pain of trusting. The gold turns off as if by a switch, and Frankie's covered in thunderous static.
- Claud weakly laughs out a sob, "G-guess you can have too much of a good thing, y-yeah?" And without warning, it stops. He falls against Frankie, whimpering in the sudden absence of pain. He couldn't move, couldn't speak. So tired, so very tired, but he couldn't seem to stop shaking, stop crying. He didn't want to resort to desperate, risky solutions, but he couldn't take it anymore, and Frankie couldn't stay with him and generate static for him forever. As soon as he got his strength up. Just five more minutes...
- Frankie numbly senses Claud falling against him. It was the strangest thing, feeling another body while his vibe was on. It's the first time in his life the sustained contact doesn't lead to death. He can feel as it crawls through Claud's every nerve. It's incredible, exploring the other's body like this. He smiles vaguely until he reaches the heart. Frankie is lost. The beat fills his head, and his static thuds along with it. The bottle drops from his hand, and Frankie stares vacantly at the wall as the fragrant liquor trickles out.
- Claud's vaguely aware of being 'explored' through vibe and electricity, his muscles twitching involuntarily, but in comparison to what he's been feeling lately, it's nothing. The thud as the bottle hits the floor startles him a little, but not enough to goad him into reaching into his backpack and pulling out his emergency stash of jive. Frankie didn't seem distressed, although dropping his liquor was suspect. Just five more minutes... His crying quiets and he finally speaks, voice soft, albeit affected by the static moving through him, "Th-thankk you-u." He contemplated the wisdom of drinking more electrolytes in a state like this.
- Frankie's defenses are broken. For decades, his vibe protected him, keeping everything outside of the shield. But Claud's on the wrong side... It's as if he's in the grid- but instead of the whole city of wiring, it's the square. The usual, distracted trance is complicted with the connection to a body. Frankie couldn't find his way out of it if he'd tried. Which he doesn't. Someone speaks. Is it Frankie? Is it just static? Before the thought can process, he's drawn back to Claud's heart- his? There are two. It would be confusing if he was trying to understand. Which he is not. Frankie fails to respond.
- When a few more moments of silence go by, Claud starts to worry, Frankie was usually more chatty than this, drunk or sober. He sits up straighter, keeps a hand on Frankie and starts to move away, then removes his hand one finger at a time, until finally breaking contact completely. Well, maybe not completely, there was still his vibe at work, but hopefully the static would interfere like it had before. He shivered and tried to rub the goosebumps out of his skin; every hair was standing on end because of the accumulated charge.
- For a moment, he's in two bodies, soul split apart. He peers out from two sets of eyes, staring at the gap, crying out electronically. The electricity leaps indecisively from Claud to Frankie, back and forth, too quick to be seen. As Frankie's body falls backwards, the vibe at last stays put. He blinks a few time at the ceiling, still very dazed and drunk. He laughs weakly with confusion.
- Claud nearly jumps out of his skin at the sound--I mean, it made sense but--haha, what the fuck!? He nervously takes a swig of electrolyte fluid, eyes still on Frankie, only to realize it's not alcohol. Sigh. Setting his bottle down, and righting the spilled one, he approaches the bed--when had he stood up? "You, uh, you okay?" Heart hammering in his ears.
- Frankie's electricity turns off out of habit. "Wass... whoaaa..." That was stranger than the grid. Like.... the grid and Sweet's vibe combined, without the horrible sense of being alone in a sea of people. Everything feels so sharp, and... intertwined. The whole city pulses with life, but Frankie's attention is grabbed by Claud's bottle. It's beckoning... he can feel it flowing into Claud, spreading through the body he'd just been coursing through himself. "Ss... mffffine..." But his vibe wants out, after that little excursion. Frankie flickers. Maybe a bath... or he could go find a fight? Anything to let out this charge. Oh wait. Claud had asked. "Wasat... whad'yyyer w'r hhopin'fffer?"
- Claud once again becomes hyper-aware of everyone on the block, and he half sits half falls down to the bed again, head swimming. Focus on Frankie, focus in on him, block the others out--the overwhelming need to let off some energy meets him there, no relief. Just get to the bag, you can't risk another slip up, you can't risk losing yourself n' hurting somebody again. Clumsy hands fumble around until he finds the vial of jive, drops a dose on his tongue and chases it with more electrolytes. The roaring fades away, everyone fades away, and he enters the blissful lonely space of muted heightened sensation, and only then does he remember Frankie had asked him a question. "I guess. I just needed a chance ta clear my head." he offered as explanation, then sighed and lay back on the bed next to Frankie. "I know it's risky, but I can't take it no more. I gotta use the drugs." For some reason he felt the need to explain himself to the man who regularly pickled his liver as a means of self medication. Claud only feels momentarily sad, but then it's washed away by a feeling of peace and calm after the rage of his vibe. For once the lonliness within himself was a relief. To not feel anyone else, to just be himself again, if only for a little while.
- He's still not clear on what had just happened... It was... it was good, whatever it was. He'd like more of it. So satisfying, so... He closes his eyes as Claud's vibe squashes his dazed thoughts. His own vibe flourishes back on with helpless agitation. Frankie's glowing watches Claud, uncomprehending as he swallows the drugs. "C-clear izzn't... szz'not-t alwayshaa anszzwer..." Even without understanding, he wants to connect to Claud again... so much better than emotion vibe, better than anything. But it's simply a vague desire, he doesn't know how to act on it. Frankie sighs, releasing static mists into the dark room.
- Claud twitches whenever the static reaches him, losing his ability to absorb it with each passing minute. "Whaddya m-mean? It can't b-be worse th-than h-havin' so many other people in yer mind that you can't th-think at-at all?" Oh he'd forgotten how cold he was when he forced his vibe away, and he tries to wrap a blanket around himself.
- His vibe jumps eagerly to the blankets, making them sticky with static cling. Not what he wanted, though the closer proximity is pretty lovely. "Huhh... 'aszz...tha'zz t-true... but-t ya knoww.. prefrrerred tha' t-ta b-b-ein Fran-k-kie.. Woul'a szt-tayeed e'ryone elshee, iff'I c-coulda. Bu... no. Sssweet. Woulna lemme," he slurs and sparks, forcing the words as he covers his face with an arm.
- Claud figures Frankie must have had an experience with an emotion vibe during the flares, and his heart goes out to the other man. He grabs a pillow, hugging it to his chest and rolls over onto his side--facing Frankie. "I'm s-sorry. For what it's worth, I'm glad you're you." Wait. If Frankie'd been through something similar, he might have some first hand insight, might know something Claud could do to control his vibe. But he might have to wait until he was sober to ask and get a coherent answer.
- Frankie slowly rolls over to meet Claud, hand reaches out slowly, hungrily- but stops an inch away when the square speaks. Frankie blinks. What was he thinking... he's not thinking. His hand shrinks back, eyes close as he focuses on Claud's voice. Sympathy... why was Claud giving him that?? His head clears as the jagged noise shifts to the quiet gold light of his love. "Whyy're yaas sso'damn... goddammne'kind, kiddo?? Youss'ad all'isssh... badd thin's... n'yer alwassh jus.... lov'ly... I donnun'ersshtan'it. S goddamn... god."
- Claud exhales a breath he didn't know he was holding when Frankie stops reaching out to him. Too close. Couldn't let it happen again, as much as his own desires speak different. But then the static stops and Frankie compliments him? He smiles, relieved and touched by his words, not sure how to respond. "I don't... I don't really know." He didn't give it much thought, honestly. "I guess I jus' fig'r, when people 'r mean, they just' speakin out a broken heart."
- Frankie rests his no longer deadly hand against Claud's chest, still desiring that link... His vibe simply twines ineffectively over the square's body, down his throat, searching. It can't find that feeling from before, and it's hunt is cut short. "Whaa...?" His eyes well up. "Tha'... " He hides his face in his free hand. Claud just continued to say these beautiful, sharp things that bit at him in a painful, perfect way.
- He suddenly feels warm all over, but isn't sure if it's the jive kicking in, or Frankie's vibe, or both. His heart pounds against the hand resting over it with only a buffer of a small pillow between them, scared that he'd said something wrong, scared that he wouldn't have the will to say "no" if he had to. He waits, saying nothing.
- "...Youssalwaysh... you keep'n sssssayin' amosssssst lofely t'ingsh... Why'asalwaaysh ddoin'at.. affer all I don' ta ya. Yosshoul'save m. Ssavve'm up fer you.... you desserve'm more," he murmurs, stroking Claud's chest, just above his heart, still hiding his face.
- Claud smiles, "Doesn't work if I save 'em fer myself. I jus--hm. I gotta be nice to other people, I gotta try an' take some'a the hurt outta the world. Cuz sooner or later, I'm gonna feel it anyways." His eyelids droop and he yawns, simple human touch magnified by drugs and vibe--felt nice. He was also tired and weak, but he felt so at peace like this. His eyes lost and gained focus, tried to follow the multicolored butterflies that were lazily floating around the room now.
- "Hhh... ss. senshhible.. but.. but'I wannya ta loovvya..." The gold intensifies once more. "sswat. wat'i sssee. Lovveya, ya sssilly'o'l sssquare," he giggles softly. "Ssway. What. My vibessssh for, y'know?? I c'n sssee ya all prettyy'n'shhpark'ly n... beaaaud'ful. N thissh.. Thishh showsh eferyoneelsh. Doesshit... oessttit make sesnhse?? Thaa'yer pertfec'??"
- Claud smiles, he knew Frankie was drunk, he knew he was just rambling, but... he can't help but feel complimented. Some part of Frankie's true feelings must have been contributing to this string of compliments, right? He smiles and hugs the pillow tighter. "I understand." Then, "Thank you."
- Frankie means every word. Drinking had a tendency to bring out his undisguised, unguarded feelings, raw and vulnerable, easily damaged. If Claud's vibe wasn't quashed under jive, he may have felt the desperate honesty. For now, all the mafioso can do is radiate sincerity from his tear stained face, Which slowly grows puzzled. "Sssamellsss... sstrawberrr's??" He licks his lips. Tastes like it too. "Whhat."
- Claud knows how drunks could be, so he doesn't make any sudden moves, doesn't try to bring up complicated or emotionally charged topics. He'd be here for Frankie as long as he needed him. "Hm? Oh, you were drinking something strawberry before." Claud had never even heard of strawberry liquor before, the things people could come up with. Probably cost a lot more than he'd ever be willing to spend on alcohol. He smiles, starts to drift.
- Drunks could be tired. He'd been exhausted from the stress of the day before waking and becoming violently ill. "Issat... ah. Donneve'n like'saat. Fuck'nnn... sswweet. Like'a... ffuk'n ven'y bar..." His look of disgust relaxes slowly as his eyes stutter closed. The hand rubbing the square's chest slows to a stop, though even still, it remains pressed against Claud.
- Claud rouses out of his drifting when the hand stops and he looks at Frankie for a few minutes before realizing they didn't share this bed. "Hey," he calls softly, "Hey, wan' me ta take ya back ta yer room?" He takes the hand on his chest in his.
- "Mm. fffine.." He pats Claud's chest dismissively/reassuringly, without opening his eyes. The gold in the air just barely begins to settle.
- Claud sighs and starts to sit up. He holds Frankie's hand a moment longer, wanting to stay, wanting all sorts of things. He pulls the covers up over the sleeping man, takes his sports drink, a pillow, and another blanket with him, pausing at the door. "Goodnight Frankie Valentine."
- Frankie shifts softly when Claud moves, but he's downed enough bottles that this is the extent of his protests. But although he does not wake, the masses of soft sparkling vibe follows the square, leaving the mafioso in blackness.
- Wading out into the darkness of the living room, Claud is followed by the glow of Frankie's vibe and a few hallucinatory butterflies. He finally collapses onto the nearest couch and falls quickly back into sleep.