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Claud finds a new apartment, Frankie has mixed feelings about the whole ordeal. Then the shit really hits the fan.


Initial Setting:

Frankie's penthouse

Timeline:

Sometime after Claud has begun vibe control lessons with Ardette, and after he started work at Doughy's Bakery

Refer to Claud's RP Timeline

Followed by ---


Edit


  • Claud hurried home, excited after many weeks of looking for just the right place, he'd found it. He runs up the stairs, too impatient to wait for the elevator, and after a quick sweep of the floor to make sure there weren't any guests over, he bursts through the door, "Frankie I found an apartment!"
  • Frankie stiffens mid-dance as a heart beat takes the odd route up his building, unmistakably headed for his apartment- The sudden excitement hits him, and Frankie relaxes into pleasure, recognizing Caud's vibe. The door opens and his face lights up at the square's appearance. "Attaboy! Knew ya could do it!" He grabs a towel and dries off quickly before hurrying over to clap Claud on the back.
  • Claus smiles, a little embarrassed that he interrupted Frankie's routine, but too excited to let it get him down, "It's gonna need a little work, so I won't be moving out immediately if that's alright, but when it's done it's gonna be great!" :D
  • The excitement is quite literally contagious, and the interruption is hardly noticed. "Work? Oh boy, lessee... I can call some fellas in ta help ya ritz up yer joint-" He can't help it, he' brimming enthusiasm, and spins Claud in an impromptu swing- "-We're gonna make yer place sparkle~"
  • He suspected Frankie was going to offer to help clean it up, and he'd been going over ways to... not refuse him, but to get him to tone it down at least. "It's got this great... rustic charm to it, I'd kinda like to preserve that yanno? Keep it a little rough around the edges. Ya just gotta see it. But I'll warn ya, it's very... not you." he grins. He rather looked forward to seeing Frankie's face when he saw it.
  • The percieved judgement smashes his enthusiasm to pieces. "You sayin' I don't got charm?" he  twirls Claud away in an abrupt end of their dance  "Eh. Yeah. Fine. Anyhow, I'll stop by if I have time."
  • "Oh." He lets his outstretched arm fall as he realizes they weren't dancing anymore, his smiles falling with it, "I didn't mean it like that. It's just not as high end as you might be, ah, accustomed to. An' it's not that I don' like yer style, it's just not... mine." he finishes quietly.
  • The sparkles heralding Claud's arrival dissipate. "What do you know about me, kid?" he hisses before stalking away. He's glad Claud's style isn't his. That's the whole point of him getting out and seeing Bombaerts. But rationalizing it doesn't placate him. "Swell! Like I said! Have'a grand ol' time in yer new place! Why'r we still gabbin' on about this?"
  • "Come on man, I didn't mean it in a bad way." he looks at the ground, nervously rubbing his arm. He was torn between wanting to do things his way and letting Frankie step in and... be Frankie. He was afraid of this, that maybe he'd overstayed his welcome. Or maybe Frankie was insulted he was leaving...? Frankie's anger augments his own negative emotions and his head swims. No, he couldn't let something like this get to him, he couldn't slip back into dependency. "I'm sorry, okay."
  • "Of course ya din't," he scowls, pouring sports drink as Claud's vibe focus his observing ego with irritating clarity. What kind of rat bastard was he, to shoot down the kid's big show of independence? Disgusting. Filthy. Frankie smiles forcedly at Claud. "Sorry not accepted. You din't do anythin wrong. Jus' exploded at ya for no reason." Why? "Common then. Take a load off, tell me all about yer place."
  • Claud's smile returned, shyly, "Well, um, it's kinda a studio apartment with a large-ish living room that I'll probably use fer dancin, and these really great tall windows. The bathroom's in one corner, and the bedrooms above it. The kitchen's most of the one end of the apartment, so it's a good size, and pretty open. And that's pretty much it. It's got this kinda... Japanese theme goin, all wood and exposed brick." his excitement picks up as he talks, but he's still a bit subdued. He feels silly now, and he stares at the floor.
  • Through their vibe connection, Frankie perks up at Claud's pleasure. A place to dance... Whatever happened, Claud had a place to dance. He'll be alright. Frankie glows, wishing in vain that he wouldn't. Frankie drinks down the lime-green liquid and it disappears with a overwhelming sensation. "Hhhhhhaha... God..." He sambas over to Claud and throws an affectionate arm back over his shoulder. "I really am pleased."
  • Claud smiles in earnest "I'm glad." then, smiling with embarrassment and affection, "Thank you, again." He resists the temptation to tap into that wonderful feeling of Frankie's electricity reacting with the electrolytes. Who'da thought such a simple thing could have such profound results?
  • "We all need ta help each other out, no need to thank me," he beams, stark contrast to minutes ago. Tap away, he'd never notice sharing. "So where is it, anyhow? I was jus kiddin about the bein too busy thin'. Course I was!" He laugh, fairly convincing to anyone without vibe to see through it.
  • Claud smiles knowingly, but says nothing, letting the man salvage his pride. "Uh, it's in square district, but just on the border, on the west side of the island, more towards the recycling plants. It's more of a... quiet area, but that's good." He almost said 'deserted,' which is what it was, but he didn't want to worry Frankie unnecessarily. He was having second thoughts again about showing the man the apartment.
  • "On the border ta what?" he asks sharply, willing to be placated where it didn't matter, but not when it came to Claud's safety. Trash bins were plentiful in grey. He will be sure of Claud's well being or else... What.... Well, he'll simply throw a fit and drag the boy back home, of course. Frankie /will/ see that apartment.

<Frankie> Frankie's especially cautious about square district ATM... Hipple & I just had a particularly horrific Morris dancer rp.... CLAUD YOU WILL NOT BE PERMITTED NEAR THEM

<Claud> AHHHHH?? D:  Oh jeeze, don't tell Claud, he'll faint 8c  And then never leave.

  • "Purple's border." he chews his lip, Frankie probably had every inch of the island memorized, or at least knew people who did. He'd probably recognize the area as being one of the semi-abandoned warzones that no one ever bothered to fix up properly. There were areas here and there where some enterprising person or a well intentioned robot had started to fix it up, but gave up before the job was done. But it was removed from the main population and that's what he needed.
  • Isolated and near purple district where Frankie can check up on him casually. Good. "Near the end of Lightning Street?" He asks carelessly, too inquisitive to pass it off as casual banter. It's too important to play subtle games. He stares fiercely at Claud despite the pleasant internal bubbling of their two vibes.
  • "U-uh, n-no?" he blinks, not sure where that stare was coming from. "No it's more towards the shore. Oh, uh, here," he pulls out a scrap of paper where he'd scribbled the address and drawn a crude map with an x.

<Claud> Looking at the map on the wiki it's on the left side of the island, on the mafia/square border =w=

  • Frankie gushes with glitter. With that worry gone, the drink and the vibes send him into the /greatest/ of moods. He hugs Claud fiercely without explaining himself. "Your gonna be alright. What more could I ask fer??"
  • Claud hugs back, just as firmly. He was so worried that Frankie wouldn't approve, and although that was still a distinct possibility, this was a great start. And it meant the world to him that Frankie had confidence in him. He virtually glowed under the reassurance.
  • "God damn. You're gonna be jus fine," he purrs. He's gotta buy Bombaerts a fucking mansion, for how far the man's come in what... A month?? The woman's a saint.
  • Claud hides in that embrace, indulging himself in the pleasure of basic human contact. Okay and a little passive energy leeching as well--the man was like a faucet, opened all the way. The comfort, the reassurance, it was wonderful and doing a fantastic job of making him really sleepy. His schedule'd been so totally jam-packed as of late--with work, lessons, and the occasional guitar practice--that he was at least falling asleep quickly most nights.
  • The last of Frankie's sudden harsh mood flitters away. Claud is safe, and Frankie will stop flipping out, goddamnit. Except... "...I ain't gonna show up wit' you not havin slept for'a month, or you waitin hand an foot on some lonely stranger ya met five minutes ago?" he asks with open worry.
  • Claud wanted to say 'no' but he wasn't totally certain himself. But he had Jack, and if anything went wrong people would know. "... I'll be okay." he smiled, trying to sound more reassuring than he felt. He wanted to reassure himself.
  • Frankie can feel Claud's hesitation. "You will. I'm gonna make sure, ya see." He grins and takes Claud back into a dance position. "While Madam's fixin up yer control, we're still gonna have ta work on yer swing. That's a lifetime commitment, ya know?" Hah. Can't shake Frankie Valentine that easily.
  • Claud beams back at him. Dancing with Frankie'd be a much needed change from the kind of drilling he was being put through with Ardette. It's not so much that the workouts were hard (they were) but that they were all about him. Dancing with Frankie wasn't so much about just Claud as it was about their dancing together. "Don't I know it!" he confirms.
  • Frankie can immediately feel tightness, a reserve that he had never noticed in the man before. Perhaps they should have both stretched- but he suspects this isn't simply going to be fixed by a warmup. It's... probably what needs to happen, though he intensely misses the loose wildness from his partner as they dance. "You're style's changin already, ain' it!" he attempts a compliment.
  • Claud smiles, coy. "Yeah, I can feel it too, it's gotten a lot easier to keep people out. I think Jack's been helping too, he's been a really good friend to me." Oh he'd missed this.
  • Frankie doesn't want to be kept out. He hasn't been close to anyone like Claud since... well. He met few with such an intimate vibe. Even Vivi didn't... But it was with good reason. Intimacy was deadly. He reminds himself again that this is what he wants, twirling Claud in a complicated lift. "Mr. Orphen? How so?"
  • "He's just been very welcoming. And understanding of my vibe problems, which has been a relief. I dunno, he's just been super nice to me. And I don't mind so much the... ah, affection anymore. He's just kinda like that." Or maybe he was harboring reciprocal feelings towards him and Claud just didn't want to go into the gushy details. But oh how nice it felt to dance and not have to /think/.
  • Jealousy. Jealousy? /Really/? Of all the idiotic, useless emotions- He realizes suddenly that he's not having the slightest trouble keeping his joyful vibe down, he's even starting to spark- "Hhha- So! This fella's keepin ya company, bein sweet ta ya?" He should buy the man a car, but somehow he simply wants to pummel him. More evidence that Frankie's a terrible person, he thinks through his smile.
  • Claud smiles kindly and sends Frankie feelings of reassurance. "Yeah... And, well, you know, he's teaching me a lot at work, and I've never done stuff like this before, so it's really interesting and keeps me distracted."
  • The vibe quiets, and Frankie feels it. A straight shot of affection. The long withheld vibe trickles out and the plainly lit room flares up. He feels infinitely better for not denying it, finally fills with the joy of dancing with Claud- reeling, Frankie taps back and away from Claud- "Whoahaha- jus- jus' real happy for ya, ya know," he apologizes.
  • Grins, "I'm glad." He waits unmoving for Frankie to come back to him. "And of course you know, you are always welcome in my home."
  • When the light tries to swarm Claud, Frankie puts his foot down. This was the whole reason he was paying Madam. The gold burns away as Frankie's sheepish grin fades. "Yer too kind, kiddo," he says as per the course as he takes the square up again. "But yer gonna regret that when I come callin' at all hours ta put ya through the paces," he snorts as he sets them off into an easy Charleston.
  • Claud laughs, "Would they be fun paces?" he teases. "Nah man. I mean it." he nods, and that's that.
  • Frankie leaps from his couch back down to wrap an arm around Claud. "Well, if ya think /this/ is fun..." he drawls, sounding bored. It's unclear if he's being ironic or not. However, his cold expression shifts... Claud just keeps /saying/ things in that way he did that kind of hurt and kind of felt amazing, and gold puffs into the air. This is really hard.
  • "I do think it's fun." he asserts gently. "I'll tell ya what, I may be many things, but I am never bored when I'm with you."
  • Claud and his /damn words/! The glow pushes against his skin, filling Frankie up like a lightbulb, but otherwise contained. "Well, I always said I aim ta please," he says, pulling one of his common phrases as his brain tries to juggle vibe, feelings, and Claud as the square soars up in the air.
  • Claud is definitely feeling a disruption in the flow of energy between them, "Hey man, where's the sparkles? They been kinda touch and go." Was Frankie actually trying to hold them down? That didn't seem healthy to him but he could always be wrong.
  • Frankie catches Claud cleanly, but his assesment is right. The usual euphoric ease of their dance is just not there. "I uh.. jus' havin'a rough day, ya know?" Lying isn't going to work here, because they will dance again, and his vibe will be a problem again... "Ehm. And... I don't wanna make anyt'in worse with my vibe, ya know?"
  • "Hm? How do ya mean?" They hadn't had any 'problems' for a while now, they should be okay, right? "I'll be okay, really." he smiles.
  • "We ain't danced that much since Madam started lookin after ya, right? And she's fixin all that I done, so why the hell am I gonna go fuck it up with my vibe?" he laughs lightly, but his voice carries the same heaviness he'd spoke of Claud's safety in square district with.
  • Claud cant really follow that line of logic, but Frankie seemed convinced it was true so... He stops that thought. No, he needed to think it through for himself. "Aw come on, your sparkles?" He twirls and returns, "They don't do anything bad." <:) He really liked Frankie's sparkles.
  • He can feel Claud agreeing. Nice, easy and suddenly that unpleasant yet comfortable lack of protest hits a wall. "Hah- well... Don't it make yer vibe go nuts?" he asks as the dance slows. "It has in the past, I know..." But he wants to be reassured. The glitz was his 'good vibe'... "I don' wanna undo any'a the repairs Miss Bombaerts's done ya.."
  • "It feels great, yeah." he replies before really thinking about how enthusiastic it must sound. But, well, it was true. "But it's not just that, but like, alla yer vibe is just so... compatible with mine, so it's really hard ta resist, but I promised ya no funny business so that's what I'm gonna do." umu He couldn't really promise that, but he'd be damned if he wasn't gonna try.
  • Frankie bites his cheek. Claud is winning him over and he isn't sure if thats a good thing, but he's so very convincing... And as he describes Frankie's vibe getting along so well with his own, it leaks out and the matter is over. "Ok. Ok, ya won me over wit' yer stupid sweet words," he groans with lackluster attempts at annoyance. Deep breath, a sigh... Oh, he'd never held it in so long... Frankie embraces the kid again as his golden vibe eagerly jumps to him.
  • Claud is filled with a sudden rush of positive emotion and he hums softly in pleasure. It was difficult, he'd forgotten how difficult, to resist the man, but he had to, for both their sakes. He hugged him back tighter and then moved back, but still stayed close. "See, no problem." He might be lying, a little. But they were still standing here and not tearing at each other on the floor, so that had to count for something.
  • Frankie nods against Claud. "No problem! Let's dance, alright?" It will be much more enjoyable now, he's absolutely sure. "Waltz ok? Or lindy, or foxtrot- Oh! Let's foxtrot," he says with excitement, the relief of his vibe's freedom making him giddy. Or perhaps it was dancing with Claud.
  • "Alright~" he agrees, and they're off, working their way around the room in a large square. He was skirting the edge of both their threshold of control, he knew, and would have to be ready to pull away at any moment. But for now, fox trot.
  • They dance beautifully. They'd win any throwdown, had they been fighting. But that's not what this is about. This is about the wonderful experience of putting everything you have into the dance, united with your partner in every breath and small movement. The building runs with glitter and gold, looking like a construct pulled straight out of heaven.
  • Oh he'd missed this, he'd missed it so terribly. He put everything he had into following as best he could, and it feels like coming out of a trance when the song ends and Frankie ends the dance. If he could sparkle, he'd probably be shining too. He has to catch his breath before he can speak properly, "O-oh, did you still wanna see th' place? We're losing daylight an' I don' wanna take up too much of yer night."
  • There was nothing quite like dancing with a telepath. Even without the nostalgia, it lifts him up to a place that feels the same as the divine aura of the building. He sparkles for Claud. He hangs on Claud even when the record moves onto the next song. Maybe one more... or a thousand... "Oh? Yes of course! Jus- ah, gotta get cleaned up, I'll take the sink, if you'd like ta use the bathroom?" he offers politely, wiping sweat from his face.
  • Claud nods, "Sure. Thanks." he smiles and makes his way to the bathroom. That was close. Maybe a little too close... he looks at himself in the mirror. No. He'd be fine. They'd both be fine, he's got this under control. He exits and grabs his bag, "You ready?"
  • A quick wash, and Frankie rubs the towel briskly over his hair, finishing up quickly, if not quite thoroughly as he would like... Perhaps if he... Frankie goes live, drying all the damp- his hair becomes a dandelion. NO. He runs his head under the tap as quickly as he can in the hopes that Claud missed his mistake. He leaves the towel on his dripping head and changes into street clothes. Runs a comb at last over his skull in one of the most hurried preparations he'd ever allowed himself. "Absolutely-" A spray of cologne. "Let's head on out!"
  • Claud smiles and follows after him until they get to the street, secretly admiring Frankie's somewhat disheveled appearance. "Did ya wanna walk or...?" he doesn't want to presume they'll be taking Frankie's car but it was a rather long way to the border.
  • Frankie's discomfort at his state of undress is greatly eased by the feelings coming from Claud. Everytime he's overwhelmed with the urge to ask 'do I really look alright', the sense of yes hits him before he can open his mouth. Telepaths. "I think.. A walk would be jus' grand," he murmurs happily, feeling amazing. "But I don't know where this place is, so yer preference takes precedent, yea?"
  • Claud couldn't imagine Frankie comfortably riding on a bus (it was a really funny mental image), but maybe a walk in the brisk afternoon air would help calm him down. "Walkin's fine with me if you don't mind it." and he starts working his way north.
  • "It's be my absolute pleasure. And hey, if we get there after dark, all the better. I wanna see this place in every light, alright?" Oh but a walk with a... friend? Student? Not employee. Not on a job. Not going somewhere dangerous. It feels a bit odd. He likes it. "So, you need transport or anythin?"
  • "Hm? Like, other times? Nah I'm good, I'll be closer to work and the conservatoire, so that works out nice. Thanks though." he smiles reassuringly.
  • Frankie nods, but accepts that Claud doesn't need a car. "You sure ya wanna be closer ta Madam?" he asks with mock fear... mostly mock. "Thats awful brave'a ya kiddo." Frankie is very solemn.
  • Claud snorts in laughter before he can stop himself. "I was hopin' her aura would scare away any unsavory characters." X) Besides, Claud doesn't know how to drive <w>
  • Frankie tugs at his collar in a futile attempt at straitening it. When Claud laughs, he feels like Rodney Dangerfield, and glows. "Yea, I'm sure she glares at any who put'a toe outa line," he agrees. He hadn't considered Claud not being able to drive.

Then Frankie buys him a bike XD


  • "Ohhhh she does. But she's so good. But so scary." He wondered what people would think, seeming them together like this, how confused they would be, Frankie Valentine with some square nobody. It was a bit of a funny thought to him.

A bike would be acceptable <w>


  • Frankie leaves off trying to adjust his clothes as the sun and positive feelings lull him into a comfortable easiness. His embarrassed, withdrawn mannerisms blossom back into his usual confidence. A curious stepper with emotion sensing vibe would find that most of the stares coming their way range from admiring to jealous (more the latter, as the distance from purple increases).
  • By the time they reach square, the few people who look up from their downtrodden fascination with the pavement seem only to harbor burning envy for the two well dressed, confident men.
  • Claud tries not to meet the eyes of anyone he passes, feeling all too clearly the strong emotions that Frankie seems to inspire. With a bit of surprise he realized that he was contributing to those feelings of admiration, jealousy, and envy. He certainly wasn't the person he was a few weeks ago, let alone a year ago.
  • They reach square and he takes the lead, heading towards the shore. A few blocks from the docks he stops in front of a building that is no less than half gone. "Okay. Don't panic." he says with a smile as he pulls out a set of keys.
  • Frankie’s grin begins to fade as they move deeper into the slums. When the very familiar smell of unwashed city and sour seawater pours over him, he begins to scowl outright. Frankie stops in front of the rubble. When Claud pulls out the keys, he bursts into laughter. “Oh my god did’ya have me goin there!! God!! AAHAAA!!” He pounds Claud’s back to congratulate him on the prank as he wipes tears from his eyes. Glitter rains over the grey concrete debris.
  • Claud tries not to grin, his smile twisting conspiratorially. He is both very amused and somewhat afraid, bracing himself for Frankie's scowling disapproval when he realizes this isn't a joke. He moves towards the door and unlocks the heavy outer building door. "OK, no, really, don't panic." He walks into the building's foyer (sans one wall) and towards a flight of stairs that will take them up to the apartment proper.
  • His laughter dies when Claud unlocks the door. "No. Absolutely not. There ain't no reason fer you ta live in this... this fuckin... NO!" He stands resolutely outside, unwilling to follow Claud. "I ain't panicking, goddamit, I'm tellin ya no."
  • Claud doubles back and leans on the door frame, still smiling, still hopeful, /Books and covers, love. It looks better inside, really. Give it a chance?/ He opens his mouth to make a joke about how he even gets to live in the half of the building that's still intact, but he thinks better of it. "Please?" he asks softly.
  • A chance? Frankie stares at the trash heap. What did it mean that Claud thought he belonged here?? Was all this recent optimism simply more blind idiocy? If Claud insisted on living in sickly, impoverishes destitution, then he'll simply have to force the man to come back with him. He believes the square will follow, if Frankie demands. Frankie's about to issue the order when that awful little voice speaks. Frankie looks livid, as if he could strike the man. But of course he doesn't, he simply turns and walks away, reeking of disappointment.
  • He'll come back in five minutes because Pleading Claud's are a great weakness of his, but I'd like to give Claud time to react /v\;;
  • Claud flinches at that angry stare, but otherwise doesn't move from his spot, even when Frankie turns and walks away. He can feel the disappointment, the unspoken command to follow him back to his apartment, but he still doesn't move, as much as he wants to. It was very tempting to go with Frankie, his vibe and his innate non-confrontational nature telling him to just take the path of least resistance, let the man take care of you. But Ardette's words spring to mind and his resolve gels. He wasn't going to be a freeloader forever, and there was a fine line between letting someone help you and taking advantage of them. He looks up from where he'd been staring at the ground in thought, looking for Frankie, still mute, not knowing what to say that will sway the other's mind.
  • This is the moment. He's finally going to get in entangled from the mans life, let him do as he pleases cause he clearly doesn't even want Frankie's help, if he's willing to throw it all in Frankie's face with this shack- his stupid little voice asking so timidly cuts through his frustrated meditation. A lamppost to his right is stricken quite out of the blue (or murky gray, with the depressing sea fog)by a lone bolt of power, and sleepily miserable squares flee the block.  Frankie makes an irritated u-turn, and by the time the district lights restabilize, his irritated buzz can be heard returning to Claud's new estate.
  • Claud remains at the door staring at the ground, until he's vaguely aware of Frankie's approaching. His heart pounds and he waffles in indecision, trying to decide how to not look pathetic. In the end he does not move from his spot in the door jamb. He hurriedly glances at the sky and notes that they only have a few moments left in their window of opportunity, if Frankie was to see the best feature of the apartment. He smiles as Frankie returns, relieved, and trying very much to ignore the annoyed static sparking off the man and his own feelings of guilt. "It's a few floors up. There's no elevator yet but the landlord just bought this place. He's looking for a contractor with an entropy vibe, or someone who could reassemble the, ah, missing parts of the building, but this section of it is sound. He wasn't even going to start renting spots out til next month, but I was able to get an early deal with him." he fills the awkward silence with his nervous chatter and fumbles with his keys once they arrive in a hallway with only two metal double-doors.
  • "An 'early deal'? So what yer tellin me is he's ripped ya off ," Frankie growls. He'd never thought to teach the syare about making deals, never paying for promises, only goods and concrete things- /intact/ concrete things- UGH. Frankie follows without anymore complaints, his dark thoughts turning to how best to hold this supposed landlord to his word, and what resources he can contribute without drawing attention. The electric hum doesn't fade, and Frankie's sour expression doesn't sweeten at the sight of the cold industrial doors.
  • Well. Maybe Frankie had a point. There was no way of making sure this guy would actually keep his promises, but out of all the places he looked, and out of all the people he talked to, there were just a handful that felt 'right.' And he sure hoped his vibe wasn't playing tricks on him when he'd signed the lease. He smiles softly at Frankie's scowl, "These will be replaced," he unlocks and hauls one of the doors open, "with these," he points to a pair of frosted glass-inlaid doors that were leaning up against the wall at the foot of the stairs, "once security is tightened and people start moving in. This is actually a re-appropriated space, I think it was a factory of some kind at one point." The first thing that one might be struck by is the open-ness of the space, the ceilings were 16 feet above the kitchen and large living room area, the south wall dominated by four huge windows, glass missing and cracked, but repairable. Despite the lack of appliances, the kitchen area was designed well. Bright grafitii splashed the walls, but it was obvious Claud had started cleaning, the wood floors in need of polishing and sealing, but otherwise free of debris. The sliding doors that covered the storage space had been taken off their tracks and stacked neatly in a pile in the kitchen, some of them more obviously busted than others, awaiting repairs.
  • A swinger to his core, the first thing he notices is the amazing area for dancing. He burries the thought with intense annoyances. Claud needs shelter and care, not a dance floor- he /has/ dance floors! Frankie could get him into nearly and club he liked, and he's still choosing this.... shithole. Frankie breaks away from Claud to give himself the tour. He doesn't miss a single crack or gang tag. He's speechless. This is as bad as when /he'd/ lived in square.  "Is it money? Are ya tryin'a save up for somethin?? You don't gotta live like this, don't ya know that? I got enough now. That's not- no one in my family's gotta live like this anymore," he murmurs, letting the vast room carry his voice.
  • Claud follows him and posts himself by one of the windows. He chews his lip a little, but he's not as nervous as he was when they first arrived, "Part of it's money, yes," he admits, "But I really do like the place. It needs a lot of work but, well..." the sun began to sink low on the horizon and golden-red light filled the room. Claud turns and braces his arms on the brick, smiling, staring west, "I couldn't resist these windows. And the view!" He continues, still facing away from Frankie. "I won't lie, I chose the location just as carefully as I chose the landlord, or the apartment itself. I wanted something remote, something that looks like it has nothing to offer, so people will leave me alone. It's quiet here. Ardette's lessons are helping wonderfully, but it's still nice to be able to go back to your own quiet place away from the world." His just has to actually be away from the world.
  • How can he like this?? This is almost exactly what Frankie had spent his life getting out of- He glances again at a wall full of painted curses and claims. And the view... Frankie's gaze follows Claud's... The ocean that barred him from his family, or the city that didn't give a fuck. Neither hold appeal for Frankie. Clauds words are sensible. It was his choice. His quiet place. A trash heap. "Can't ya wait till they rebuild the actual walls?" he asks with miserable resignation. "How'm I supposed  ta go about everyday knowin ya live here? Alone?"
  • Claud turns to him, still smiling, backlit with sunset light, "Sorry, I just got so excited about havin' my own space, ya know? I won't be moving in right away, if ya don't mind me stayin with ya a bit longer. There's..." he puffs out a sigh, looking around, "... a LOT of work to be done." Most obvious understatement of the year. "And no hot water yet." But still, it may be a trash heap, but it was his trash heap. "An' I won't be alone!" he beams, "Yer welcome here anytime, an' Mr. Orphen looks after me really good, so he'll be over here a lot I'm sure." he chews his lip, trying to think of any other friends he had, and was embarrassed that he couldn't think up more than two.
  • "Mind? God, you can stay fer as long as ya like, specially if ya..." find a new place. The boy is clearly smitten. Frankie can't find it in him to finish the sentence. "till they finish buildin the place up." He rubs his temple, crumbling under Claud's happy optimism. Regularly visit this area of square voluntarily? The flashbacks alone would be a nightmare. Well, at least Mr. Orphen wasn't such a bad fella, but... "You already got yer heart here, don't ya kid?" Frankie sighs tiredly, and glances around the cavernous space again with underwhelmed appraisal. Still, when his eyes fall back to Claud, his affection is poorly hidden. "Then we'll get it polished up, an you can start the charge ta reclaim this part'a town." Hm. He liked the sound of that, actually. Frankie at last presents Claud with a hard-won smile, faint though it may be.
  • Claud wasn't sure of the specifics, but he had an inkling of how that sentence might end. He just kept smiling, genuinely glad that if his worst-case scenario did play out, Frankie would take him back. He just didn't think that was a sustainable option, they were too hazardous to each other's mental health. "Maybe, just a little bit... yeah." he admits with a sheepish smile. But when Frankie at last nods his approval Claud's moves towards him, long legs efficiently covering the distance between them, and he hugs the man, "Ahh, thank you! Thank you so much!" After just a short embrace he holds the other at arm's length and admits with a small laugh, "I'm actually scared out of my mind about all this, does it show?" his smile wobbles a little but he's actually doing a good job of keeping up his optimism.
  • Hm! This has been going too well, time for Claud to have emotional problems!
  • Frankie tenses as he often does before relaxing into the sudden hug. He places a steadying arm around the square when he pulls away. "Well see, I'll jus' keep showin' how worried I am about this all, an ya wont have time ta do it yerself," he jokes. "I can go on, if you'd like. The place's a mess, there's graffitti on /everythin/- the amount'a paint their gonna need to cover this roomy space's gonna be ridiculous- not ta mention shinin up this floor before it's perfect fer dancin is gonna be quite a feat," he drawls, though he makes a concerted effort to mix compliments in his complaints.
  • Claud is put at ease. He shoves his hands into his pockets and turns slightly to regard the room, "Well, I think I can get Mr. Orphen ta help me power-wash the brick, I'll probably have to get a power sander to take care of the drywall. I could try wallpaper, but that seems like more of a pain. Yeah I don't know what to do about the floor. I figure there's gotta be someone with a helpful vibe I could hire. I mean, it's not bad, I'll go at it with the broom again, but it definitely needs to be sealed. It might even be easier to tear it out and re-do." He gives the floor an experimental stomp, "But it's such good hardwood." He liked talking shop, he felt useful, like he could do something and make a difference.
  • Frankie follows Claud in inspecting the space again for it's potential. Ignoring the picturesquely depressing view of the sea... It's still a broken shack in the square district, he concludes stubbornly. "If ya need any help... well, no, I don't think I can spend a day workin' construction, in square'a all places, wit'out raisin too many eyebrows. But I got people who know their shit, could send them along ta make sure this place's inhabitable, ya know..." Frankie inspects the floor. "It ain't ruined, just filthy, a little water damage, don't look unfixable..." he crouches down, eyes running over each crack and blemish. "Gonna need good insulation, this close'ta the cliffs, cause the last thing ya want's yer dance floor warpin'n weavin on ya..." And so, Frankie is thoroughly and enthusiastically distracted from his reservations about Claud's choice by ancient memories of flooring construction.
  • Claud's more than certain that Frankie's got family across the sea. Of course he does, most everyone did. Claud should consider himself lucky in that regard. He almost apologizes to him, but then thinks better of it, letting the man slip into happier memories. "I'd love it if you sent over people who know their stuff, that'd help me out tremendously." he smiles and crouches next to him, listening as Frankie explained what he needed to do to take good care of his floor. Soon he found himself only half listening, the combination of the long day, the fading light, and Frankie's melodious voice lulling him into a very comfortable sleepy place.
  • "Gonna need ta get some cover fer those windows too, when yer not around, it's some kinda miracle the sun ain't left these as good as they are..." He finds himself yawning, which is strange since he rarely felt fatigue without a damn good reason. He looks up from the potentially gorgeous floors and blinks owlishly at Claud. "Hey... kiddo, whatsay you'n me grab some coffee or somet'in?"
  • Claud brightens at the prospect, "Sounds good to me." He stands and stretches, trying to wake his brain back up. "Thanks again for coming to look at the place, I'm glad you don't think it's totally hopeless." he laughs.
  • Frankie shifts upwards, but he's nearly dead on his feet. Maybe he'd been more stressed about this than he'd realized? His head bobs involuntarily- "Uh..! Um. No. No I was jus' worried, kid. Hah. Still jus worried, you know." He slings an arm around Claud's shoulder while willing himself to snap out of whatever this sudden exhaustion is. "Probably- hhhh- excuse me- probably real good sign yer choosin' the opposite'a what I would," he murmurs with a sleepy grin.
  • Claud just laughs with no other comment. He holds Frankie with an arm casually around his middle, and fishes around for his keys. "Mmm, I'm sorry for worrying you. I'll do my best to keep myself and my apartment safe." He takes a deep breath, but all he can smell is Frankie's cologne, and his head starts to cloud with want. They needed to get to the cool, fresh air. "Did you have anyplace in mind?" he asks as they move towards the door. Dancing would probably be just as good at revitalizing them, but it was also risky business.
  • Frankie nods clumsily. "I know, I know you will, and are, and jus... don' worry, it's fine ok, jus fine..." He takes a deep breath of air to shake himself, but the dusty smell of neglect meets him- as well as Claud... he'd missed it, even though the man really hadn't even moved out yet... but he was gone so often, and he's moving farther and farther away with each day, even if it really must happen, but... Claud's question startles him back into attentiveness, where he discovers he'd been staring at and leaning towards the boy's soft mouth. Frankie straightens with a jolt. "Ah, a club or anything, hahaha- I ain't to sure what's open, you know how square is, businesses open one week an' close the next," he blurts thoughtlessly, slightly flustered and still only half-awake.
  • Claud blinks, unmoving as Frankie lists towards him, warm and inviting, full of energy. His resolve starts to crumble when Frankie suddenly pulls away, Claud exhales a small breath of both relief and regret. They start walking again, pausing to pull the doors shut, locking them. The hallways were lit by a few dismal temporary lights, bare bulbs hanging from wires. "Yeah..." he muses softly, wondering how Sigurd and the Swan Song were doing. "Should we just walk around for a bit then?"
  • Frankie brushes his hair back nervously before he can stop himself- gotta get rid of that stupid tell- and watches Claud lock up. Really, he can hardly see the point, though… it didn’t matter if you lived in a dump. A place to be safe and sound… he’d fought viciously for his own, and a wave of protectiveness for this broken grey-district apartment overcomes him. Frankie takes one last look at the building and fills with tentative hope- and finally realizes that he might be getting a bit of Claud’s emotions…. “Uh. Yea. Help us both wake up, and scoutin’ the territory’s never a bad call.” They walk together, though Frankie keeps a slight distance between them, and his eyes stay the hell away from the Square’s lips. It’s a much different picture than when they’d arrived at the district.
  • The cool evening air helps to wake him up and cool his emotions a little. His fondness for the other man doesn't diminish, but he does gain better control over himself. He keeps on his toes, the nightlife was starting to emerge and it could get ugly quick around here, so he doesn't notice Frankie's deliberate distance. The streets were dark, whole city blocks of buildings without electricity, the stars peeking out through the clouds and fog, shops here and there similarly winking in the darkness. It was beautiful and eerie at the same time. The city hummed with life and the energy crawled over Claud's skin, making him shiver.
  • The lights that aren’t broken or stolen flare on as Frankie passes by. Some streetlights flicker, and  long abandoned buildings light up. The shining broken windows and the dirty unevenness of lightning is not exactly an improvement… He gets a grip and the effect begins to only reach the streetlamps. But it’s stirred that shadowy denizens of square. A strange fluttering of music drifts by, and Frankie becomes more alert, though only Claud with his direct connection could possibly notice anything in his easy stride and relaxed expression. “Don’t look like much’s open, kid. S’posse we could go to purple… or hey, is that bakery’a yers open?”
  • Claud didn't particularly want to go to the bakery, which felt awful to admit to himself. He pulls out his cell to check the time anyway, "Ah, well, the bakery's open for a while yet, but we'd have no privacy there..." he trails off. They wouldn't have privacy no matter where they went, and why did he think they'd need it in the first place? "If you don't mind Jack doting on us the whole time, it's not far."
  • His skin itches with discomfort. The idea of.. Mr. Orphen, fluttering about, pestering him and prodding… The bakery felt like the last place in the city he wanted to be, and that’s saying something, as they’re just now passing by a particular street so familiar and laden with memory that it stabs at his gut with fire. Frankie hurries past. “Hey, look now, I don’t really wanna go ta work in my time off. Don’t see why you would either.” Bars, clubs, restaurants, karaoke, theatres… But there’s only a convenience store and a used electronics shop on this street. “Would’ja wanna dance, ‘r… Hm.”  He’s woken up since leaving Claud’s place, but he’d still like to treat the kid to something for this big accomplishment of his- Frankie turns suddenly and a shadow slithers away instantly. “You sure yer gonna be ok here, Claud?” he asks with soft concern.
  • Frankie's emotions filter through him and are then gone, their short lives brief, leaving Claud only a little bewildered. "Dancing might be fun..." he smiles at the prospect. "Well we gotta head back ta your place anyways, so we may as well start makin our way back ta purple, yeah?" He looks where Frankie's looking and sees the shadows move, the unsettling sight causes a pit to open up in his stomach. "I—I made it here before, din' I?" his voice shaky, his heart is hammering fast. Homeless people weren't as much of a target as those who had cred or valuables, and sometimes in the last year or so he'd shifted from one category into the other. Talking of targets, he'd rather be a moving one, as he could hear the body-vibrating sound of bass growing louder in the distance.
  • The mafioso feels lighter when Claud decides on dancing, and especially that he gets to take the kid out of grey for even a little while. “Sounds good, kid,” he agrees as they walk, feeling out the danger with his vibe. Claud might have a better sense with his vibe, or maybe not. It can’t hurt though. <<Looks like a small gang. I got six pulses goin on. Possibly a shadow vibe that we saw earlier, can’t say about the rest. They should leave us alone, if they have any sense at all…> Likely just simple thugs… but it had literaly been years since any ‘random’ attacks on the Mafioso weren’t some elaborately planned ambush. “They got this new snowcone place, a dame showed me. Dunno how fond ya are’a that kinda thing, but it ain’t half bad.” <Nope, don’t think they got any sense. When we reach the street corner I’m gonna start dancing, alright kiddo? Yer gonna run back to my place’n wait fer me there, see?>
  • Claud can't keep up the idle chatter, he's to nervous, becoming visibly agitated after Frankie points out their would-be assailants. He'd not going to argue, but he's not going to leave him either. He doesn't doubt that Frankie could easily take out all six of them, but he doesn't want to find out the hard way that even Frankie Valentine could meet his match on the streets tonight. He can hear footfalls moving closer, where were they? The sounds echoed off of the building walls, disorienting him—he reached out with his vibe instead. He broadcast his fear to anyone within fifty yards while also trying to shield Frankie from it's effects. He had no idea how effective it was, if at all.
  • “Don’t like snowcones then?” Frankie hopes Claud can use Frankie’s own meditative calm, but it’s not his vibe, and all he can do is hope and keep himself professional. Claud’s not leaving though. Crap, crap-! The six hearts all begin to race, and Frankie  shudders violently. <Goddamit kid they ain’t here for you, get the fuck outa here!> he fires off as the sudden intense fear for the square’s safety breaking his cold composure. But Claud’s managed to keep most of his vibe off Frankie, and the Mafioso isn’t mindless. One of the less affected targets begins a skipping charge towards their flank. They’re out of time. <Alright well I suppose it’s time ta dance then!> He pulls Claud towards him in a wild motion that becomes the foxtrot they had practiced a thousand times. Both men immediately surge with his power. It’s just in time, as a razor sharp burst of shadowy scalpels rain over them, only to incinerate when they meet Frankie’s light.
  • The attacker’s face is briefly illuminated. His expression shows clear traces of Claud’s anxiety, and he skitters back into an alley, jittery movements vaguely resembling hip-hop.
  • Claud goes mute, and puts everything he has into the dance. He's stuck between exhilaration and fear as they spin and glide around the street, narrowly avoiding their attackers. Unfortunately the dance draws too much of his vibe's "attention," and its reach fizzles, releasing their attackers from the shared feeling of fear. He tries to displace his feelings of fear with trust in Frankie's abilities as a stepper. One of the attackers ran, then lumbered towards them on all fours, his shape changing in the darkness. Claud gasped in disbelief as a bear emerged from the shadows to take a swipe at them. Distracted, he barely missed getting hit by a glowing green projectile. He couldn't see where the others were, but he knew real-life muggers didn't wait to attack one at a time like they did in carefully choreographed movie fights. He felt so useless, the least he could do was supply Frankie with as much vibe energy as he could.
  • “Alright, common now kiddo don’t give me some poor showin jus’ cause yer a bit nervous on stage!” Frankie calls loudly to Claud as he effortlessly leads their swing around the radioactively bright arrows tearing through the air. The bear is easily taken care of as well, as one jolt to the creatures heart sends the thing crashing to the ground in a twitching, groaning lump. <Probably jus’a distraction, less these guys really are jus’ idiot ametuers-> Right on cue, a wall of orange-tinged shadow crawls from the alley towards them, filling the street and circling around the two men. <My light’ll kill that, but let’s not risk it-> The shadow presses closer, and it does indeed burn away. But a poisonous smelling orange mist remains. <Clever bastards. Combined vibes, wouldn’ta let it trap us otherwise. We don’t wanna breath that stuff, whatever it is. Any contact may be dangerous, but I can try a shield, of sorts. We’re gonna have'ta make'a break for it-> Frankie stops. His grip on Claud tightens like a vice. There were still two vibes unaccounted for, and one of the attackers apparently is packing a fear vibe of their own. It had been slower to build than Claud’s, less noticeable, but now that it’s reaching them, Frankie’s stream of instructions dies as his mind is choked with terror. As his movements grow more erratic and unfocused, the arrows pass by closer.  
  • While Frankie's coping strategy was to talk his way through an ordeal, Claud's was to stay silent and to react with as little thought as possible, but thankfully the verbal and mental coaching was keeping him from completely devolving into a frightened, reactionary animal. Claud didn't move fast enough and sputtered and coughed as they moved away from the mist. Before they could get fully clear, a sound, or maybe a small explosion, knocked them from their feet and against a wall.
  • As he hit the brick he couldn't help but be reminded of the first time he fought his sister, not to mention every time after that. The ages didn't matter, they were always facing each other, and in the end she was always causing him pain as if it were effortless. <What had she been trying to teach me?> he finds himself musing through the disorientation, fear, and pain. She had called it "The deeper underlying principle," but he never understood what that meant. Or maybe he didn't want to know, he had spent so much of his life trying to not think about his vibe, trying to avoid the issue that he was never truly aware of what he could do. You could work hard by being stupid, or you could work smart and someone's energy against them, she had told him. You could try to cause them pain, or you could make them think they were in pain. Once or twice she had tried to show him directly, to lay bare her thought processes directly to his mind. He couldn't understand it, couldn't understand her. Sometimes he even wondered at her sanity.
  • The Flash lived up to it's name and barely a second had passed before it was over.
  • And in that second he realized what he had to do. He could feel the otherness of the fear vibe, knew it wasn't his own, and in a way there was a sense of relief that came when he finally recognized it's source. He reached out first to Frankie, sending feelings of love and comfort, being able to only echo the feelings of comfort Frankie had sent him moments before, then he severed their connection with all the grace of a field amputation. Connecting with as much fidelity as possible to the attackers he allowed himself to get hit by one of the projectiles, and bounced the pain and fear back and forth through the connection, amplifying it, until one or all of them were screaming.
  • Frankie hisses when a javeline of green pierces his arm. The limb begins to glow green and drops to his side, completely numb.  He’s going to lose the arm, the fear screams to him. His vibe fizzles out as the feeling of helplessness grows. He’s going to just have to run. There’s no time for caution. They are going to die if they don’t run, right now. His lead becomes much more of a desperate pulling on Claud, and they move dangerously close to the barrier of mist. Frankie is the first to come in contact with it. Immediately, his silks begins to melt away.  He gasps in terrified pain when the corrosive vibe reaches his skin, skipping back into Claud, who doesn’t seem to be altogether there. He whips the boy out of the path of another arrow- but they are trapped and he’s so fucking scared now but he has to keep the boy safe-!
  • He’s about to run blindly into the mist like a panicked animal into a wildfire, when the street stops spinning. The shadow figures shrink, transforming from walking, bleeding corpses into the insignificant, amateur steppers that had been fool enough to attack Frankie and his student. The dying electrical energy explodes over the street. His dance moves become large and elaborate and impressive as he’s freed from the weight of fear. And quite, anguished screaming greets him, and the familiar sounds are like music but where did it come from? There are still only the six heartbeats, and… Claud. His eyes land on the square’s distracted, focus. It’s terrible, he hadn’t wanted the boy to ever have to do this with his beautiful vibe… Beautiful. The display of viciousness is also disturbingly attractive. Not now- Fuck, no, not-  NOT EVER. Frankie pulls away into a solo tap, going live, completely transforming into vibe. The energy flashes through the mist, into each shrieking assailant before the sonic bursts can catch up.
  • Claud stood in the center of the steppers, feeling their collective pain, but not releasing the mental death-grip he had on their minds until he was literally shocked out of his resolve. Frankie's intangible presence moves through the six bodies and minds he's connected to, overwhelming him until he's stumbling back and retching in an alley way. He collapses in exhaustion, pressing his face against the mercifully cold brick. His ears are still ringing and he can hear his own ragged breath too loud. His vibe weakly reaches out again, searching for Frankie among the unconscious and quiet bodies, his vision spotty from Frankie's bright vibe rendering him effectively blind. He tries to think about what just happened, and he can't, he just can't, everything is spent. He is beyond feeling. He sniffles, spits, and wipes the tears from his face, looking around and willing his eyes to work. "Frankie?"
  • Frankie had effectively burnt a hole in the deadly chemical aerosol when he’d gone live. Passing through had been effortless. But  unfortunately, the last stepper he’d jumped to had been the source. He becomes whole again in a thick cloud of the stuff- It’s hard to strategize after being pure lightning- he knows better than to inhale, he /knows/- But as the slowly dissipating mist begins to eat away from him, Frankie takes a sharp breath, and his lungs fill with knives. The Mafioso limps out of the cloud, coughing like a man in the final stages of tuberculosis. His arm remains at his side, unusable, and his clothes…. He’s barely decent. The revealed skin is an angry red. But the Frankie is alive, and in his view, really not much the worse for wear. “They’re all dead or down fer the count,” he rasps in a voice like gravel scraping against asphalt. <You alright, kiddo?> he asks as he shambles near.
  • Frankie materializes and Claud's vibe rushes to him, re-establishing their connection once again. They were both in sorry shape, Frankie moreso than Claud. Dead? Distant, small alarms go off—he should care, but he's in so much pain, he can't bring himself to. He cares more about Frankie's well being. He stands, legs weak, head swimming. He uses his peripheral vision and his Vibe to make his way towards Frankie, trying his best to hide whatever was ailing him. He finds him, takes his hand and tries to support him without causing him more pain. He needed to get him to a Vendy fast.
  • Frankie's head spins when they reconnect. He hadn't even noticed the absence of the emotional connection, he'd been lost in his sociopathic murderous intent. The sudden shot of empathy makes him feel disgusting. He looks away from the twitching lumps, breath resembling a deathlike rattle. Claud is safe now, though it looks like he's been hit... <Alright then. Let's get ya to a vendy, kid...> He winces when the square touches him, but it's tolerable, and far easier than walking on his own. He leans into the man. Before he continues on, Frankie digs through his coat for his phone- the cloth tears like wet tissue, along with his shirt, and he tosses the scraps away with irritation. [6 ambush. 4 living. Sonata & 3rd. Question. Kill] Frankie sends the message and starts moving with Claud. Had the boy seen this much death before? Had he seen murder? In this city, probably... But Frankie had this image of Claud as some innocent, unsullied thing, despite knowing better. <How're ya doin... sides the visible stuff...>
  • <I'm okay.> he responds as if through a mental haze. He was still stunned, the gravity of the situation still failing to make an impression on him. People were dead and dying—Frankie goes quiet and clicks away at something, probably a phone—those steppers probably would never see the light of day again... and he almost, almost, didn't care. His number one priority was Frankie, who's state he wasn't entirely aware of, which worried him more, and number two himself. He trips on the curb but recovered gracefully, still hiding his temporary blindness. <I'll be okay.> He puts a hand out to open the Dr Vendy's door, finger numb and fumbling, until he realizes he was trying to open the side of a regular Vendy machine. "Oh fuck."
  • Frankie is grateful for support, but he finds he has to continue guiding the square, as if they were still dancing. It's a simple thing, but... The boy just feels off. It hadn't even been that bad a fight, all things considered. Or was that simply his jadedness? Frankie feels the square's pulse, listens to his breathing... but aside from shock and obvious wounds, he doesn't know what's going on with Claud, and it bothers him more than any of his injuries. "Ah-" his arm shoots out to catch Claud, but the boy manages himself, to Frankie's relief. A good sign- until the man tries to crawl into a Mr. Vendy. "Aaalllright there kiddo, less jus' ease ya over this'a way.." He slides the glass door open and gently leads Claud in. <Comfy? Well, maybe not but ya will be. Sorry about all this.> He types into the vendy the settings and steps back to watch Claud heal.
  • Claud realizes his mistake too late and blushes. Not that it really mattered, he'd be fine in a minute. He doesn't argue being first even though Frankie was in worse shape than he, and as his eyesight cleared he's glad he'd been healed first. "Jesus Christ!" he exclaims in shock before hurriedly looking away. He'd need to get that man some clothes. He looks down at himself. He'd need to get himself some clothes too. The Vendy finishes and he steps out, awkwardly averting his eyes while also making sure Frankie got inside okay. He types in the commands and hurries over to the Mr. Vendy to buy them some thing to replace their acid-eaten clothing. He's glad for the distraction—not thinking seemed to be working very well so far, and he planned on doing that for as long as possible.
  • In the calm uneventfulness of Claud healing, the horrible realization that once again, Frankie has hurt Claud. What was the big fuss of the boy living in a Square slum? It was far safer than spending even five minutes in the mafia boss's company. God he's glad that Bombaerts is getting somewhere, otherwise there would be absolutely nothing Claud had gained from this relationship, regardless of Claud's arguments otherwise...
  • Frankie jumps when Claud shouts. Jeeze, how had he not noticed the cruddy vendy tune ending? But he is suddenly very embarrassed, and though he knows the emotion is probably not his own, he hurries into the machine and leans against the cold metal with grateful exhaustion. The door is a bit of a struggle with his working arm still searing, but the vendy makes short work of his pain.  "All right. Now, I dunno about you, but I could really use'a drink," he laughs humorlessly, peering over Claud's shoulder to see his purchases.
  • Claud waits quietly as the clothing vends, unaware of Frankie's thoughts. Still a little jumpy, he starts when Frankie appears at his side. His body was healed but his vibe felt numb, over-used, as if their connection reached through a great expanse of deep water. He turns on his heel and wordlessly embraces Frankie, his heart still hammering away, relief pouring off of him at the sight of Frankie's healed body. Truthfully he just wanted to go home, but getting drunk was tempting as well. He wants to forget all the horrible things that happened here tonight.
  • Frankie readily returns the embrace, but the affection so soon after a battle fills him with uncomfortable nostalgia. A flash disrupts his mind- perhaps it would be alright. Perhaps the perfect creature in his arms could fight along side him, they could protect one another, they were better than any partner dancers in any faction, after all their practice, on their way to being the most talented, powerful steppers in this whole godforsaken town! And she kept saving him from the monstrous unfeeling cruelty, every damn time, no matter what horrors he'd committed... Frankie looks down... Eye level? at the dancer holding him, and he kisses his forehead with loving gratitude. <Let's go home, darlin,> he comments in a soft, weary tone. Claud...? The two identities coexist paradoxically, but Frankie doesn't seem disturbed by the flash.
  • Grateful for that small intimacy, Claud nods and takes a small, reluctant step back. Turning around, he picks up the folded clothes he'd just bought, holds them out to Frankie, still careful to avert his eyes. He wasn't sure how much information Frankie was getting or how much Claud was even broadcasting, but he was actively and consciously stifling any thoughts that would send Frankie into a free-fall guilt spiral, or a panic attack. It didn't feel good, but breaking down here and now would feel worse; he had to be strong.
  • Frankie takes the clothes without a fuss. <ah, you really shoulda let me cover the cost love> he laments. However, on looking at Claud's outfit, he frowns. That oughta be a dress. Why had she bought herself such a masculine thing? <I can get ya somethin else, if ya prefer...> he offers hesitantly. This is not a good time, he knows, but perhaps she would see his effort to be less tight fisted with his cred and not be upset... why had she suddenly changed her style anyhow? He looks at Claud with worry before unselfconsciously stripping away his rags and pulling on the fresh outfit. Is she upset?? She seems upset, but he's uncertain how he knows, cause damn she's bein' awful tight lipped... He almost asks Claud/Poppy for reassurance, but though she's the strong one, he sees her now as... Fragile. <C'mere angel> he offers another embrace, unsure of what else he can do.
  • Claud just smiles and shakes his head, <It's okay, I don't mind.> The smile fades a little as Frankie gives him a strange look, before suddenly stripping. Claud looks away, embarrassed, but tries to cover it up under the pretense of keeping watch. Good grief, they hadn't even ducked into an alley. Of course with a body like that, what did Frankie have to be ashamed of? Claud sneaks an indulgent, sidelong glance, then quickly looks away again, the dismal Square District street thankfully vacant. With his back still turned he peels off what remained of his shirt and pulled the fresh one on, sighing as he tossed the ruined one in the trash. He's searching his pockets for his cigarettes and lighter when Frankie calls him over again. He moves to him without hesitation, although he suspects that maybe Frankie's forgotten who he is again. No matter, he'd take what he could get, and meantime protect the man from his own confusion.

<Claud> Ahahahadhfsjdhfkfdf it would be appropriate even if he weren't flashing back. CLAUD YOU HEARD THE MAN, PUT A DRESS ON.

  • Frankie is aware he’s being watched, and indeed lacks shame- there’s even a bit of shameless flaunting going on. He’s rather surprised she...they... hadn’t gone any farther than looking. Disappointing. Claud must be very miffed. He embraces the man again, not holding back this time, not allowing worry and propriety to shield his raw emotions. Claud is bathed in light and held as one who is dearly loved ought to be. <I’m sorry I keep draggin’ ya through these awful things, kid. Ya know I’d make it all go away, if I could...> he sounds sad... but hopeful, as if the theoretical prospect isn’t so very impossible. There is a deep seated optimism running through the Mafioso, difficult to catch amid his usual passion. The hug ends with a lively spin, and Frankie breaks away in a swinging skip, Claud’s hand remaining in his. His expression becomes clownish, trying to amuse his partner to distract from their distress. <Alright dear heart. We’re clean, we’re pretty, we’re alive. Time ta go home, I think.> He smiles his prettiest smile and falls into the beginning of a jaunty cakewalk, determined to rectify his failure. The fact that the last hour is moderately hazy does not matter in the least.
  • Through Frankie's efforts Claud calms and relaxes. He takes a few deep breaths and could almost cry he's so relieved. He just smiles gratefully at Frankie and follows him, dances with him, although his moves are subtler, more allongé. He felt like one of those kids from West Side story. He's reminded of a snippet of a song and for once doesn't keep it to himself, "playing" it through the connection, <If Heaven and Hell decide that they both are satisfied, illuminate the nos on their vacancy signs, If there's no one beside you when your soul embarks, then I'll follow you into the dark.>
  • Frankie twines through Claud's smoother strides with absurd exaggerated movements. The stress of the fight melts away as the shadow over Claud passes. Frankie's glitter clings to the square with stubborn exclusivity. It's a strange combination of styles, but the general impact is that of fun. The few steppers they pass burst into dance and join the impromptue party. Yet Frankie and Claud keep moving, Frankie leading... toward square district, oddly enough. But then Claud sends his mind numbing, rich voice directly into Frankie's brain. His jerky movements smooth out instantly, his limbs become like liquid. Claud is lost in a solid shield of light. The mafioso is unable to speak, barely able to think after that short, beautiful phrase. He tries, though. What is sent isn't words so much as a glimpse of the euphoric, deliciously blissful buzzing that fills his entire skin.
  • The horrors of the evening melt away in that light, and Claud does indeed find himself weeping in gratitude. He hadn't noticed how vibe-drained he'd been until they started dancing again, his energy reserves filling once again. He finally notices that they've gone deeper back into Square by the time they were dancing down a long street of run-down tenements. He looks around in wonder, confused but still trusting Frankie. When it's obvious that this isn't some kind of a detour he gently asks, <Where are we going?>
  • <Home a'course,> Frankie laughs at Claud's gentle teasing. But he catches the squares expression and his dancing slows to a stop. <Hah. Think yer funny do ya,> he says in mock anger as he continues deeper into grey district, the area showing more neglect and poverty with every minute. The occasional homeless stepper beg the two men for cred, and they have to divert their paths around growing piles of rotting trash and broken concrete. Frankie doesn't seem to notice anything out of the ordinary, and playfully spins Claud in a sudden continuation of their dance. And then they turn a corner. Frankie stops midstep with a quiet gasp. Up ahead where the next block of housing should be is simply a heavily graffitied crater.
  • Claud plays along, thinking as he dances of how to most gently break the news to Frankie. Unfortunately unforgiving reality did it first. So this place once meant something to the rich and powerful Frankie Valentine. He hugs the man from behind, his tone soft and sad, <Let's go home, to your place in purple...> They were in a dangerous situation: not only were they nostrils deep into one of the worst parts of square, but if Frankie was stuck somewhere in the past then he was that many years inexperienced in stepping combat. They might not be so lucky if they were attacked a second time.
  • <N-no> he protests, and even telepathically it is a desperate sob. This was their place. They had fought so hard for it. He sends Claud his pained confusion and shock, though his expression is fixedly calm. Claud hugs him, and the man breaks down. He turns in the embrace to miserably return the favor. <I'm... I'm so sorry darlin> he buries head in the mans shoulder. He nods at the new plan, not entirely comprehending, but completely trusting. He sends Claud his trust as way if an answer, as well as the quiet determined rage underlying the grief. Whoever was responsible for this will die very soon.

Frankie destroyed it so...?

  • Claud weeps silently as he holds Frankie, not sure of the details but definitely feeling the man's raw emotions as if they were his own. But they had danced and replenished their stores of vibe, they were safer for it even if they were still far from home. Gently taking Frankie's hand he sends him him love and trust as well as he leads the way home, <Come on, we'll deal with this in the morning.> And hopefully by then Frankie would be living in the right year. Another realization hit him as they made their way back out of Square, if Frankie thought Claud was someone else, what might happen when they got back to the apartment? He didn't want to think about it, but he had to have some kind of plan.
  • Frankie's glitter emerges the instant Claud responds with his own comforting emotion. The red haze of pain and anger melts away under the intensity. Frankie kisses the man on the mouth and breaks away. <Alright, angel. The mornin,> he looks defeated, but Claud's support keeps him moving. Towards purple. Towards purple? He doesn't send his confusion, certain sh... Claud knows, and will comfort and explain to Frankie if he feels it's necessary. He follows Claud unquestioningly. At one point he makes a very definitely wrong turn, towards orange. He stares at Claud like a deer in headlights. <We're not goin ta the hideout? The family will help... > But he follows after Cluad without further protest.
  • Claud weaves a little, his body wanting more, more of that lovely attention; but there was no time for it, and this was no place for affection. He finds his footing and presses on, <We'll be safe where we're goin. It's got booby-trapped doors an' everything,> he reassures Frankie, his mind whirring, trying to figure out how to discourage the man from making any more amorous advances. He was pressed so close to the edge that he didn't know if he'd have the strength of will to say no. He relaxed a bit once they were out of square, but they were still at risk of attack or accident.
  • <You serious?? That sounds fuckin swanky> Frankie looks to Claud admiringly. How had he managed to find that? Abandoned building in purple were a scarcity, and a protected one at that?? Frankie sends his intense admiration and shifts to hug the man one last time before following obediently. As they move further away from the slum, Frankie begins to hunch nervously. As they reach purple, a look of admiring nervousness paints his face as he hugs the shadows, and tries to motion to Claud to stay stealthy as well.
  • Claud relaxes a little and smiles back at Frankie, slowing his pace to a more normal walking speed. <I'm inclined to think so.> They hug briefly and Claud fills with positive emotions, momentarily pushing his troubled thoughts aside. As Frankie grows increasingly skittish as they walk the streets in purple, Claud is all too happy to indulge him in trying to keep a low profile. He doubted Frankie ever went out in public in less than a tux, and attention was the last thing they wanted, what with Frankie in a befuddled state. They finally slip into the building and he can't help but smile a bit at the look on Frankie's face. Not exactly an abandoned building.
  • Frankie starts to panic. They can't just waltz into purple like this, what is she thinking?? But Claud's smile is peaceful, like he knows something that Francis doesn't. His heart is racing- but if Claud is going to walk out in the open, an easy target, he can't simply sit back and watch. The disoriented mafioso begins glowing brightly, though fairly dim in comparison to his regular attention grabbing vibe. He dances out of the shadows to circle around Claud, flourishing movements, clearly trying to distract any potential predators from his loved one- And then the man leads him into the safety of a building. But rather than relax, Frankie's stomach turns at the decadence of the massive structure. <They're gonna gut us both if they find us here!> But the doorman nods pleasantly at them- Frankie pulls Claud back, wall against his back, at the threateningly polite gesture. The man just stares. Frankie stares back, completely lost. The protective hold on the square becomes tighter. The man is frightened, and though he is outwardly stoic, he leaves himself completely, trustingly open to Claud.
  • Claud smiles at Frankie's antics, not sure what he's doing but... not minding the show either. When they were inside and Frankie grabs him suddenly, he smiles apologetically at the doorman and waves a hand at him in explanation. "It's fine baby, it's cool, he's cool. I'll explain more when we're upstairs, where it's safe." He puts an arm around Frankie's waist and guides him towards the elevator. He hits the button for their floor, and once the doors close he leans against the wall and sighs in relief. They were almost home. "You okay baby? I'm sorry I didn't tell you about this place sooner, it came up so quick."
  • “I-it’s… cool.” Frankie repeats softly and nods uncertainly, but his grip doesn’t loosen until the square moves and starts them both for the elevator. He stays very close, nearly tripping the man, and continues staring with wide, bewildered blue eyes as they simply walk through the hallway of the clearly occupied building. Upstairs it will be safe. He enters the elevator hesitantly, but not enough of a delay to separate him from Claud. Who is relaxed. Frankie tries desperately to mimic him, but each mechanical noise of the lift showers the small space with his sparks. <It-it’s ok, love. It’s ok. You said it’s ok.> So it is. That’s all there is to it…. Well, not entirely. As they reach the top floor, Frankie’s vibe, though remaining dark, has reached a steady drone, and he moves away from the safety of Claud’s side, because he can’t control it, and he most certainly will NOT hurt his boy, no matter how terrifying this is. <I’m ok. I’m ok. Everything is alright.> The doors open, and there is a massive, beautifully perfect door. It’s filled with electricity and he has the strongest desire to touch it. He remains by Claud’s side, still afraid, still amazed.
  • Claud senses Frankie's interest and curiosity about the door and moves closer to it, "I was given a keycard but you can open it, it's live." He sends him feelings of reassurance, of love, they were so close.
  • "A keycard??" This is a dream. Probably got smacked around too hard in the fight earlier. Hopefully Poppy could get him to the vendy, check for head trauma. And there it is, better than music, better than dancing, better than anything in this entire world, is Claud's love. The room quiets instantly, the walls shine as Claud's vibe flips the switch of Frankie's gentle gold. This was a glorious dream. Frankie sweeps up his partner and kisses him passionately, gazing tenderly into the man's eyes. From Frankie flows the man's own eternal affection and desperate, soul deep devotion.
  • Oh damn, he'd done too much. Frankie was fine, albeit somewhat agitated, he shoulda just left well enough alone. He clings to Frankie, holds onto him like a drowning man in a rough sea. The loving feelings pouring off of Frankie were intoxication enough, he shouldn't be greedy, but he wanted this, needed it! At length he found it within himself, some small hidden reservoir of self-control, and pulled away, gasping for air. "Baby, I, I'm sorry..." he blinks away a few tears and tries to smile. "Not tonight, I think." This was the right thing to do, right? Right?
  • "What- what?" He doesn't want him? But he'd just... What had Frankie done wrong? The light dies in an instant, and Frankie nods obediently, shutting down. "Not tonight," he parrots quietly. The buzzing grows to fill the room again, and Frankie looks at Claud with an expression that is on the verge of tears. He nods and turns woodenly towards the door. It opens with a loud crack, and Frankie gasps in ecstasy. He stumbles in, landing face first on the thick carpeting.
  • Well that was. Alright then. He carefully closes the door and kneels at Frankie's side, checking for injury. Finding none he remains at the man's side, rubbing his back in what he hoped was a comforting way. They were home. They were safe. "Baby, you know I love you, you know I do. But I got all these... bad images in my head..." his voice cracks, god damnit, "I don' want you seein none of it..." Why was he telling him this? Frankie wasn't currently prepared to deal with him having a breakdown, he should just go curl up in bed. Oh fuck him, Frankie'll think they share a bed. He couldn't deal with this anymore. He just kept on rubbing his back and tried to stay as quiet as possible.
  • Frankie stares blindly at the floor, his brain filled with fireworks, his heart filled with lead. Everything is intense and painful after the blissful jolt from the door. And Claud hadn't wanted him. And they are in a strange beautiful place that is going to get them killed at any moment. He sobs into the carpet when Claud pets him, hiding and knowing that it's useless with Claud's vibe. But... He loves him. Frankie whimpers. It is so bewildering. What had gone wrong? What had he done? But Claud doesn't lie. "I know," he chokes out, and turns over with a wince to look up at the square with his red eyes that are worried and scared and lost. "What do ya mean bad images?? Is yer vibe actin funny again?? Please, love... tell me what's goin on..."
  • Claud looks down, his face flushed from crying, not sure how much longer he could keep up this charade. He pets Frankie's hair, tries to put it as simply as possible, "When those steppers attacked us, an' I fought back, I had ta, had ta connect with em, ya know? Hurtin them hurt me too, but that wasn't the worst of it. The worst of it was havin ta sympathize with em first, before I could hurt em back. I knew I had ta do it, ta make em stop hurtin us, but I... saw things, I know things about em now." He doesn't go into detail, he doesn't want Frankie to feel the same disturbing guilt. "I'm sorry baby, I thought I could be stronger, I shoulda just listened to you, but oh god, if they had hurt you...!" he looks away. This was a nightmare.
  • Frankie drinks in Claud's words, his only desire to make him happy again. His own needs wash away in the flood. "No, but- I know ya always said ya gotta see 'em as people but- but you can't-" how could they keep fighting, if it hurts Claud? They can't. He'd hurt Claud. "Oh god, sweetheart no," he cries and struggles up to press the man close. "I hurt ya. God... God, why'r ya doin this..."  He can't keep doing this work without Claud. Not anymore. He will find a new way to make cred. He'd wanted to take the family into safer business for months. This was simply the last straw.  "Never again, alright. We'll find different work. Jus... try ta forget it love. Please," he begs, rocking the man very slowly, but it's been too much and what can he do-?
  • Ah.
  • Frankie repeats Poppy's words, her feelings, straight to Claud's mind, with the strength of a mind that had heard them only yesterday. You don't have to be strong. Empathy is a beautiful emotion, and you are wonderful for feeling it. You are wonderful, and you are important. Being scared, being angry, that was the city's fault. Not yours, my love. Mourn them, pray for them if it helps. But it is the system, Claud. It is not you.
  • He's not sure where those words came from, but they felt like an echo of an echo, reaching him from long ago, once spoken to someone else. They give him great comfort. He holds Frankie, is held by him, and sobs in relief. <Thank you, I love you, I'm sorry, thank you...> His crying eventually stops and his breathing evens out, oh he felt so tired.
  • Frankie monitors Claud's quieting devastated sadness with intensity. The words of love and gratitude bolster him, keeping his own fear and worry at bay. <You din't do anythin wrong, my darlin. Cept maybe save me. Big mistake, sweetheart.> He attempts to tease, bites playfully at the man's ear... but his heart is still heavy and the air is thick with unhappiness. He turns his head down and sighs into the crook of the squares neck. Slow, even breaths. Taking in his ... boy's?... boy's scent. <We're gonna be alright...>
  • The honest joking and open displays of affection are a stark contrast to the self-loathing and rejection he was used to from Frankie. Claud has to remind himself that this wasn't real, that it never was his reality. He wasn't the beloved of this wonderful beautiful man and he never would be. But if this was just a dream, just a terrible, wonderful dream, he just wanted five minutes more. <We're gonna be alright,> he confirms. He felt like scum.  
  • There was the very real possibility that without the self loathing, this could be a reality and not simply a chaotic mixture of past and present adoration stirred together by a great hole in his memory of a critical chapter in Frankie's own life. But the past could not be undone, even if it could be hazily relived. Perhaps it was simply his love of his soulmate, and perhaps the feelings of knowing the boy intimately and with deep, aching affection had no affect of the flash. After all, who really knew how the cruel things worked? Certainly not the oblivious Frankie, who is calm enough to feel exhausted... <We are. You'n me'r invincible, ya know. Satan himself'd turn tail'n run at the very sight'a us'n our dance.>  He gently lifts his lanky partner into his arms, and scouts out a couch. A beautiful upholstered thing, elegantly curved... He closes his gaping mouth. <And wouldya lookit what a good night's rest ya secured us? No visitin hell tonight, not since my little angel's found fer us a slice'a heaven.>
  • Claud smiles briefly, and tries not to crumple beneath the irony of it all. <We got ourselves a very kind sponsor. A generous man who's willing ta take in strays and look out for those who need it.> He sniffles and hugs Frankie tight, glad his breaking voice (full of emotion Frankie wouldn't remember to understand) wouldn't be playing a part in this mental conversation. He shakes all the same, <I love you so much.> He didn't know when he'd get to say it again with such honesty.
  • A sponsor?  <Oh? Should I be jealous?> his joking hints at true concern, but the underlying thought is questioning whether Claud would like to invite this fancy nob into their bed or not… “Ah-!“ Frankie double takes as realization dawns.  <You… I know this’s all lovely, but… we don’t gotta join purple, angel. We’re strong enough ta hold off the factions, even if they keep sendin nastier things after us…> She had insisted they stay out of it. He wont let today change any of that. They have to get out of the mercenary trade. Tomorrow. No more waiting. The factions can tear them apart, but he won’t have his loved ones be a part of it. <I... I love you too.> The words are awkward and nervous. Though Claud can hardly know, not another soul had heard them from Frankie in ages. <You know, you’re my life, don’t ya?> Of course he does. But he’s trembling… Frankie holds the man tightly and spreads out on the wonderfully long couch, his legs failing to dangle over. Frankie relishes this fact deeply, before shifting Claud to lie over him. His body begins to relax despite the gut tearing, awful day…
  • A deep worry rises in his mind—the possibility that he could be doing some very real damage by just carrying out this conversation. Not only was Frankie operating who knows how many years in the past, but the more Claud said, the more they diverged from the way things had happened, and the more confused Frankie was likely to be later. And somehow he didn't think a confused Frankie would be a happy Frankie. It had all the theoretical risks of time traveling, but in someone's mind, where the damage could be just as real and long-lasting, if only in their head. <I know we don't gotta join em, I know our sponsor would understand.> Frankie lays down and Claud is easily pulled to lay on top of him. He hugs him, <And you're mine.> That was something she'd say to Frankie he thinks. It seemed appropriate. It struck him as interesting that he was allowed to lay on top, but was too tired to really ponder on the significance of this motion. He felt like he should say more though, but couldn't think of what, finally settling on wordless communication, sending Frankie his feelings of love, contentment, security, and trust. The best solution would be if they just fell asleep, and thankfully he didn't have to feign exhaustion at all, and as they lay there he tried to push them both towards sleeping.
  • Their home is gone. He closes his eyes and focuses on the perfect heatbeat above him. What should be an electrical storm inside is a impossible quiet. Frankie still wasn't used to being able to think so very clearly when he's upset... But he is important. He matters. His boy is safe, and they got a roof over their head and a wonderfully long couch beneath them. The cost would be sorted later. Nothing could ruin this perfect moment. A thin mist of warmth materializes and glistens up around them as Claud sends the emotions. Frankie sighs with impossible joy, and begins humming softly for his beloved. A certain feeling comes to Claud, floating to him with the music. This is a good man. He is amazing. You should love him, because he is not bad, even if he has done bad things. Please. Love him.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HozSvWGRsbE

  • Claud already loves him despite what he knows or suspects he's done, but he starts to slip under the effects of Frankie's vibe all the same, too tired to resist, too much in love to disagree. He's reminded of a night, it felt so long ago, of the first time he heard Frankie sing, and a whole slew of uncomfortable feelings surface. He forcibly plunges them back down. NO they would not ruin this moment, as fabricated and false as it may be. He purposefully clears his mind and gives in to Frankie's vibe-carried psychic suggestion. He wanted to forget.
  • Frankie pulls back on the vibe as his volume increases to fill their small space. He'd never been able to reign it in until it started acting this way, and as much as he cherished it's new effects, he knows, with Claud, he doesn't need it. "Cover me with heaven's blue, an' let me dream a dream or two, oh, sing me to sleep..." He pauses to kiss Claud's mouth with warm, hungry intimacy. The tempo of the song plays in his soft breathing as he loses himself in the perfect... different? ...perfect taste and scent. The atmosphere grows quiet, heavy, the kiss lasting a delicious eternity. But in perfect time with the song, Frankie breaks away, brushing his swollen, wet lips against the square's cheek, up to the man's ear... "Lullaby of the leaves..."
  • So caught up in the moment was Claud that he didn't think twice about the kiss until it was over. Then Frankie's at his ear, teasing him, arousing him in the best of ways, and he closes his eyes to better listen to that wonderful voice. But Frankie's vibe was confusing him, muddling things up in his brain until he was questioning his own identity. A vague, far off portion of his brain recognized that needed to stay his own person; separate and distinct from the identity Frankie was projecting over him, the identity he could so easily slip into. It was so tempting to lose himself, become that more desirable person and be free to love the man he loved... His moral self recoiled from the idea; that wouldn't be sex, it would be rape. The man wouldn't consent if he were totally with it. But he still had a second option, <Sing for me, my love, please, sing this heaviness out of my heart.> He nuzzled into the crook of Frankie's neck.
  • Frankie is oblivious to the present day problems. The top of his concerns are Claud's happiness, followed closely by the destruction in square and it's implications, the continued pressure of the factions over their freedom... But like his vibe's roar, Claud's loving presence keeps his thoughts clear and steady. And the sweet request... Yes. He is important... wanted. The faint light in the air twinkles brightly. He can feel his boosting vibe bloom inside with that new, oddly pleasant quietness that worshipfully brushes over Claud's body. "I'm breezin' along, along with the breeze, hearin' a song, a song through the trees... Oooh oohooh, oohooh..."
  • He reaches for the beautiful silken ebony... red? Red locks, stroking Claud with hypnotized gentleness. "... A fine melody caressing the shore, familiar to me, I've heard it before... Mmmh, mmhmmh, mmhmmh..."
  • Oh yes, this was better, so much better than sex. Frankie's voice both relaxes and energizes him. He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath, the song made him feel like he was breathing cool, fresh air. It was a very bittersweet and nostalgic tune, although he couldn't say exactly why. Circumstance, maybe. And maybe Frankie feels it, or maybe he doesn't, but Claud sheds silent tears of gratitude as he lays there on his shoulder.
  • Even keeping his vibe from entering his voice, Frankie could never sing without infusing his emotions into every note. When he feels the dampness against his arm, he swells with melancholic pride. The heaviness will leave his angel's heart, and he will fill up the emptiness with music. His strong fingers trail down, to the square's neck, leaving a light gold leaf where he brushes against the delicate skin.
  • "Don't I feel it in my soul, and don't I know I've reached my goal... Oh, sing me to sleep, lullaby of the leaves..."
  • The man wonders if Claud will add his voice to the song, he knows he can hardly resist a duet, and this is one of their favorites... But it had been a very long day. Tomorrow, they would sing together, and dance together, and deal with the whatever life sent them. Tomorrow.
  • "So, hum me to sleep, sing me to sleep....  Lullaby of the leaves."
  • Claud could almost hear the unspoken request, and though he wanted to join in—and he could too, easily—he dared not risk this perfect moment; he still didn't know what effect his vibe would have on his singing. His breathing deepens and he gently slips off to sleep—a sensation like falling through deep water—filled with a bittersweet melancholy and a strange delicate happiness.

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