A day after a traumatic flare that caused Sweet to feel EVERYTHING, his vibe is now at half power and his emotions are shot. He runs into a water vibe wielding Frankie, who is out trying to rescue and recover flare victims...
Timeline: During the Solar Flares.
Preceded by Weather Change
- Sweet slowly opens his eyes, feeling as if he's slept a thousand years. His head is pounding, and he thanks his lucky stars that he's not on the roof any- Wait. He. He shoots upright -and immediately regrets it because the headache makes him dizzy- and looks around. Nothing. No one else in his head. Did he... win? Or did it just stop? He feels around with vibe, and is relieved to find it hasn't stopped working- ooh, his downstairs neighbor is pissed- best avoid him, later- but it feels... weaker, somehow. He has to use more effort. He must have exhausted himself yesterday. Suddenly, the piercing relief hits him. He's free. He lets out a small sob, immobilized for a few minutes. He's relieved nobody's here to see him cry. He feels through his bedside cabinet for a small bottle of pills, of which he pops a few in his mouth. The pleasant buzz comes almost immediately, numbing the headache. Good. What's the rest of the city like? He wonders. He jumps out of bed and gets dressed- Shandrel must have taken his clothes off for sleep, the dirty old sod oh, he could kiss him right now- and flies out the door. His street is still deserted, and he gets a queasy feeling in his stomach when he realizes that's his fault. He isn't supposed to be able to do that. He isn't supposed to be that powerful. He jumps on his bike anyway and starts to roam the streets.
- Frankie has been feeling this incredible calm since yesterday. The surge of energy and movement and charge that he always felt at his core.... it was gone. Since the mess at the Aqualux, Frankie had felt more peaceful than he ever had since the war... maybe even more than that... god. It was wonderful, too. He could see how every fucking thing was connected through water. It was so simple and beautiful, and made the exhausting work of tracking down and calming terrified steppers much easier. Certainly, keeping the water vibe from sucking at every drop of moisture he felt was a bit taxing, but after the constant stress from the lightning... honestly, if it weren't for the ability to sense the alcohol he'd been trying so hard to avoid, and the small fact that he was terrified those he loved were dying from some absurd vibe accident, this whole chaotic apocalypse thing would almost be a vacation... Frankie wanders through Orange District. Officially, he’s looking for lost mafioso, but was also keeping an eye out for some of his Orange loved ones...
- Sweet is absolutely shocked by the pure chaos reigning the streets. He's suddenly not so grateful anymore that his vibe went weak- he can't gauge if anyone needs help anymore, everything seems out of range unless he bikes by the person. What the hell is going on? He picks up the pace, trying to get to the HQ as fast as possible. He rounds a corner when- SKREEEE- Sweet has to squeeze the brakes suddenly when he almost crashes into Frankie. It's too sudden, though, because the wheels stop spinning completely and he skids, the bike losing control underneath him and he slams to the ground. Ugh. Just what he needed. More bruises, and some skidmarks on his hands and face to go with the bruises from slamming his head into the wall yesterday. "Frankie?" he croaks. "What the hell are you doing here?
- Frankie can feel the kid flying at him- fulla blood and inhaling, exhaling moisture from the air, entering back into the lungs, back into the blood..- god the pattern was beautiful. How did Nina not simply constantly stare at people in amazed fascination?? It was so lovely-OH - He's nearly hit by a bike. Whoops. "Hey there kiddo! You lookin... well, ya look like shit, Sweet, ain't gonna lie! How you holdin up?" He reaches out to lift up the UG, and helps Simon reorient himself, leaving a small candy as he does so. Tradition was important, even during the crazy times. "Me, I've been searchin the city since this mess started. Tryin ta shepherd our purple flock ta safety, see?" He grins, looking quite at ease in the decimated streets. "Speakin of such... you seen Vivi Yitzhak around at'all???"
- Sweet winces when he's pulled up, his arm probably turning purple as they speak. He leaves a candy as well, though- can't lose sight of the important things. "Uhm, I'm still kind of confused? Was a bit, hah, stuck in my head for all of yesterday, still don't really know what's going on. Better now." He gingerly touches his face and hisses in pain. Man, his cheek's scraped up pretty bad. "Uh, Vivi? No. Saw on the twitters that he was also in trouble, though-- maybe he's just at his home?"
- Frankie "Well, yea, confusin times. Decades of one person, one vibe, and suddenly..." He looks around, some of his vague good feelings fading at the destruction. But before he gets too worked up, another wave of calm cools his temper. No, Vivi was not here, but Sweet is alright. No need for fussing. "Stuck in yer head? Fraid I don't follow. Hopefully better than bein stuck outside with all these terrified steppers, yea?" he laughs, trying to dispel the mood of destruction. Nope... "So... no sign of him.. He ain't at home, least not when I tried... But look, you got enough on yer plate, I can see," He pats Sweet's back gently. "So yea. Anyhow, What's the story round here?" He assumes that it's the same vibe craziness that hit the rest of the city, but any scrap of unusual info might help him track family, not just Vivi.
- Sweet looks around him nervously. He has absolutely no idea what's going on, or where anyone was. "Uhm, I don't know," he says voice breaking a little. "Yesterday, my vibe went out of control and it was like there was a hundred people in my head, burying me and-" His face pulls into a grimace. He really doesn't want to even think about it. "They wouldn't let me move, so I don't know what's going on and Steve is-" Wait. Frankie's a club leader for the Mafia. Even though he's starting to panic a little, he knows he can't just go around spouting information about his boss to him. "-Nevermind that. I know as little as you do about our side, Frankie."
<Frankie> club leader lol
- Frankie gets a tree house. >8I wats password
<Sweet> NO GIRLZ ALOWD
- Frankie no, why on earth would i make that rule 8Ic
<TOOTS> to make out with your underlings of course
- Frankie <8Ic
<TOOTS> `otp FRANKIE X UNDERLINGS
<&Hoss> FRANKIE and UNDERLINGS are in an "On-again-off-again" relationship. <@Steve> hahaha
- Frankie <<8Ic
- Frankie gets slightly distracted- Sweet's racing heart was just giving off the most amazing sloshing sensation- Oh- "-A hundred- I can't even... it had ta do with yer vibe? I thought you were just emotion manip, Sweet-" Frankie goes pale and actually focuses fully on the man in front of him for the first time. "-d-did you get tangled in telepath vibe, Simon? Are you a’right??" He immediately clears his mind of stray, secret thoughts in a very practiced manner. "Do you still got it? I might be able ta help with that one..." But not here in the middle of the street. "Look, lets get outa the open." Finally Sweet's words register- "Yer boss?? Is he a’right??" Oh god, the last thing the city needed during this was the UG to go to war with itself as all the idiots made a bid for power.
- Sweet follows Frankie into an abandoned alley way, too distracted by everything to think that maybe this is not a good idea I mean he's the enemy and in times like these and what if I'm seen with him- No. Frankie's always been good to him, no reason to start distrusting him now. He also didn't feel any bad emotions coming from him- he was at least still strong enough for that. "Not telepathy, just... I can take emotions, Frankie, and make them mine, and I was taking'em off of everyone what happened to pass by and they turned into personalities and we all thought we were me and-" Again with the plural, no, Simon, stop it- and stop sounding so fragile, don't cry- "I'm sorry, I just... It was scary, and it hurt, and I don't want to think about it. And I'm sorry, but... I'm not gonna give you information about Steven. I'm sure you understand."
- Frankie surveys the alley suspiciously... it was too quiet. Everything should be buzzing... He can think so clearly inside his own head, it's almost distressing. He stares. No electrical heartbeats, of course. But no living, sloshing bodies either, except- He turns to Sweet. And listens to him speak with astonishment. "Never heard about no vibe like that... that's just since the last few days with this vibe crap, right??" That was... that was almost worse than a vibe leech. Takin what makes you you.... But... even if it made him queasy... it was Simon... ."Kiddo, I'm so sorry ya went through that-" He'd seen Simon’s confused messages over the net... Frankie feels like a complete bastard. The kid had needed help. Frankie had not helped. "I can't- it's hard enough wit two people in- dammit kid I'm so sorry- Yer incredible for makin it back, ya know? Tough as nails, buddy boy- against'a sea, ya made it through- " He pats Sweet again as he grasps for anything that might comfort the UG, who looks close to breaking down right here. "Ah.. an.. you don't gotta apologize, I can appreciate’a need fer secrecy... but canya at least tell me there's some hope fer stability in orange if we get through this??"
- Sweet shakes his head. "It'd happened before, once... but only with one person and that was scary enough." He smiles tiredly at Frankie. The man just wants to help as many people as possible in this time, and the fact that he felt sorry for not helping him instead of just going 'not my division' meant the world. "Don't be sorry, Frankie. You have your own district to worry about, and I got help from some of our guys. But... thanks for worrying anyway." At this point, he just stops caring about what all this might look like, and hugs Frankie, resting his forehead on his shoulder. "You're a good man, Valentine. And the UG will be fine, I promise you."
- Frankie Sweet had that power..."Before all this??" Dear god that was unsettling. Emotion vibe, that was fine, cause at least, if the stepper was just sendin good feelings, it was like drinkin or somethin. Perfectly natural- But if yer whiskey gota taste of you?? That's just- UGHH- Frankie holds down a shudder and tries to focus. "My district- Well- yea, sure, /I'm/ only here fer Mafia," he says in a completely manufactured, dismissive tone while trying not to look guilty. "It really isn't any thin-" Suddenly Sweet's on him?! In a heartbeat, Frankie reflexively tries to cover himself in sparking. He never would have guessed the kid would go after him in this kinda cruel manner- pipes burst all around the alley, spraying into the ash and rubble- Sweet is still on him . He looks down. A hug..... but he remembers the vibe transfer before he can contemplate Sweet's actions. "Kid- you need ta get- off- real slow, right??" His voice steady but his eyes are panicked.
- Sweet 's heart jumps in surprise when all the pipes burst- is someone else here? Frankie doesn't have water vibe, someone must have seen them. He pulls himself away from the man, but alas. Their cheeks touch just the slightest, and suddenly his heart feels like it's shoved in a cage and all of the water from the pipes flies towards him, leaving him sopping wet and gasping. What- he's drowning, he must be- only he's not. He pushes himself away from Frankie rapidly, and blurts out with wide eyes: "W-What?!"
- Frankie No- nonono- Frankie moans."Sweet- no-" He can't feel the water. After only ever having vibes that kept him connected to massive, encompassing forces of nature, the loss feels as if he's nothing.. his body is too small- he was dying?! But even as his connection to the water is severed, Frankie can't feel his own terror- no- he can feel every emotion on the island- Frankie screams and reels back from Sweet. He's unaware of the growing puddle as he drops to the ground with a wet thud. In fact, he's unaware of anything, besides the thousands of people worth of feelings flooding into him. But Sweet- Sweet was closest- Without conscious thought, Frankie's new vibe focuses on Sweet desperately, mind trying to cling to something amid the horrible storm.
- Sweet hears Frankie scream, and realizes- oh no. No matter how uncomfortable he's feeling, Frankie can't have gotten his- He suddenly feels terrifying panic, desperation, confusion, and somebody leeching at him, taking everything he was feeling himself-"Frankie!" he yells, taking the man's face in his hands-maybe it'll switch us back again; idle hope- and feverishly tries to give any advice he can think of; "Frankie, focus! Focus on your own memories, your own feelings, try to observe me without taking, come on, shut off you can do it, imagine, uh, imagine it being like ropes, stop pulling them and for God's sake remember who you are!"
- Frankie The flood of emotions is faint compared to Sweet, easily ignorable in contrast to the terrifying panic and desperation- he's so confused- but suddenly, no- The confusion fades, and he can feel his resolve strengthen. He would help Frankie with this- But all he can see is himself looking down at him... But Sweet isn't feeling confusion, so Frankie simply cannot feel it either.
- Sweet runs a hand over his face, looking around in panic. He's flippin' freezing with the water gathering in puddles around him and where the hell was it all coming from? He noticed everything, the blood in the man below him, his heartbeat- "Fuck." He sees Frankie mirroring his expression and his heart sinks. "Oh fuck. Oi," he says, kneeling down in front of Frankie, "You're not me. Look-" he grabs one of Frankie's wrists and holds it up in front of his face. "-That's not my hand. If you think you're Sweet, you of all people should know this. Step aside, let Frankie take over. Stop mooching off me- my emotions aren't important right now. Come on, you can do it..."
- Frankie watches Sweet speaking in a slight daze. All he really knows is the situation is wrong, and there's something incredibly important that he needs to convey to Frankie- But where was he?? Sweet needed to reassure him, but all there was here was this other Sweet saying it for him... Hm. Did Frankie's vibe flare into a shape shifting thing? He replies comfortingly to the shape shifted Frankie, "It's alright. I'm not mooching, just relax and focus. Your emotions are incredibly important, so don't say something like that." It was Sweet's emotions that didn't matter. They never had, really. He gets up off the floor, dripping and dirty, and smiles encouragingly at Sweet.
- Sweet groans, trying to think of something- Oh god you stupid little shit you have a water vibe. He tries to concentrate, and manages to raise a blob of water in front of Frankie, making it into a semi-straight sheet. It'd do for lack of a mirror. "Frankie, listen. I am the real Sweet, not you. Don't lose yourself, eh? Come on..." He starts to feel incredibly anxious to keep the other man close to him. He couldn't have him wandering around the city having contact with other people and experiencing the same thing he did yesterday. That was the last thing he wanted. He concentrates very hard on sending the need to stay put to Frankie, but everything is so... restricted. He knows Frankie must be getting his emotions, but he can't feel him getting them. He feels... strangely alone. "Come on, love, focus. You're Frankie, remember?"
- Frankie sighs as a wave of self-assurance wash over him, banishing some of the daze. The mirror image of Frankie is nothing compared to the feeling. He knew it. He was Sweet, and the man in front of him was Frankie, who's vibe was just confusing him. "Right back at you, Frankie. You're mixed up, but you can get through this!" He stands closer to Sweet, unwilling to let him out of his sight. He imagines all the things that could happen to Frankie, confused and alone... but the theoretical stuff jostles his focus from Sweet. The flood of the entire city starts up again, and for a moment Frankie looks lost. He whimpers and shakes, but - oh thank god- He latches back onto Sweet, just in time to feel so lonely it hurt- Where was Steven?? Oh god. Where was Steven?? Sweet needs him right now. "Frankie- do you know where Steven is??" he chokes out.
- Sweet lets out a little sob of frustration- he needs to get Frankie out of here, somewhere he can leave him alone, but he can't do that without risking him wandering off and latching onto someone else. He needed to convince Frankie that he wasn't him- idea. "Hey Sweet," he starts and wow it's weird to call somebody else your own name. "Listen, just... random question, don't think anything of it, and then we can go find Steven: What's your mother's name?" He really hopes Frankie isn't so powerful that he would know the answer; he remembered the flashes of images he got when he almost became Steven- if he'd developed that more, maybe... He can't afford to think like that.
- Frankie feels frustration, resolve... then inquisitive, but the man’s question distracts him from his own- Suddenly Frankie remembers a comforting touch- He's flooded with memories of a loving mother for the first time in his life, though his vibe tells him these experiences had always been with him. Frankie's oblivious to the tears that course down his cheeks as he very casually responds, "Sophie, but why are you asking? Look, this isn't important. We should get you out of here before your vibe does anything else to you buddy." And then he could find Steven and everything would be fine.
- Sweet steps back in horror. No- he couldn't do this- he- Oh Christ. Steven can't know about this, Steven can't know that he could do this if he tried- He has to keep Frankie away from Steven at all costs. He immediately wants to hit himself for thinking that- Frankie thinks he's Frankie. Okay, this is getting confusing. He needs to call Shandrel to come knock Frankie out- no stop thinking stuff like that- Christ, Frankie's even taking over his accent- Idea. "Say, Simon. You really wanna go see Steven in this state? You're a mess. You fell down earlier, remember? He'll start fussing over you and ignore things that are really important. Let's just have a drink first, calm you down, okay?" He knows how to play himself. He's slowly getting the hang of this water vibe, and a bottle of vodka flies into his outstretched hand. Sorry, whoever he stole this from.
- Frankie feels Sweet’s horror- Steven was going to be angry with him? He was, wasn’t he. Probably because he was spending time with Frankie- Definitely didn't want Steven to see him wandering around with the Mafioso who he knew Steven hated. He'd get jealous and- ...Though Steven wouldn't recognize Frankie as he is now... The story doesn't exactly add up in his mind, but self doubt is not an option as long as Sweet isn't feeling it. Whatever. He just needs to hide the man away- And now Frankie's talking about Steven fussing over him, and it's weird because he didn't know Frankie knew them that well.. Huh. "Dude, it's like you're reading my mind or something ha ha" he pats Sweet's shoulder. "We can't have him worrying though. A drink would be awesome, and I'll cleanup right after."
- Sweet throws an arm around Frankie, breathing a sigh of relief and handing him the bottle. "Then drink up, friend. A few gulps of this, and you'll feel better~" While Frankie's distracted, he digs out his phone, hoping it would still work. Yes! A flippin' godsend. He checks the twitterfeeds as stoically as possible and sends a quick reply to Shandrel's latest. <@DoctorTrot shit uh thx again 4 yesterday but hope ur not 2 tired 2 make quick stop, got bit of a situation here need knockout>
- Shandrel <@SweetSimonS Text me your location and I'll be right there> Shandrel pops a fonk pill and makes his way out of the clinic.
- Frankie drinks from the bottle- not with any kind of urgency, though something in his body is demanding him to consume the whole thing right then and there, but his body's instructions are no match for the vibe... but with the conversation over, the focus gone, it again reaches out past Sweet. "-Wasn't going to yesterday but I'll be damned if I'm going to let some UG scum do this to us, I swear I won't stand for it!" Frankie drops the bottle, eye rolling back into his head. "They were bastards, all of them that called me jamdeaf! And now see?! See what I can do?!" He has stopped walking with Sweet, but continues babbling, faster and faster, trying impossibly to keep up- eventually he's just singing a constant stream of changing styles, accents, emotions, lives.
- Shandrel hops onto an absurdly pink vespa and cruises down to the place Sweet texted to him. The fonk starts to kick in and he swerves a little bit on the way, but otherwise makes it without causing a wreck. He still has enough sense to park a distance away so he can charge up his vibe first, in case he needed to make a quick knock-out.
- Sweet is very, very alarmed. He preferred Frankie being just him, so he sends a quick text of their location to Shandrel and grabs the other man by the hand. "Oi!" he says, pushing Frankie against the wall and leaning in close. "Focus on me. You're Simon. Go on, say it. You're Simon." He wants Frankie to come back down to only one person, but he's also very curious as to how far his vibe could go, if he were more powerful. If he trained it. If he wanted it to be. "Tell me about your life, Simon."
- Frankie wants to fuck and kill and scream and cry and laugh- He makes a noise somewhere between shriek, laugh, and wail when Sweet grabs him, and tries to hug him, knee him, and hump him all at once- He thrashes uselessly, but there is an abrupt change and he is Sweet again, and had always been Sweet. But the other voices are still nagging - Underneath Sweet's resolve and curiosity, a city's worth of emotions are bubbling. He gives Sweet a unstable, scared look. "I don't- I need Steven?? He's always been able to save me before- Please find him for me I know you won't hurt him even if you talk big all the time- Maybe he's at the bakery?? I don't know, I'd love to be there- it's so warm and calm especially in the morning before we've opened-" His happy grin flashes for just a moment before turning to dark anger. "Just because my vibe isn't big doesn't mean I have to work there you know?! I want to be there! And besides!" He looks at Sweet accusingly, "My vibe is getting stronger! Did you hear about The Eclipse?!" He's screaming and laughing wildly in Sweet's face. "I FUCKING HAD THEM ALL! ALL THOSE FANCY VIBES WERE NOTHING AGAINST ME!!" His eyes go wide and he smacks Sweet off of him. "I-I'm sorry Frankie- It's not- I'M NOT JAMDEAF, DAMMIT!" Frankie sways, preparing to prove himself, preparing to dance.
- Sweet yelps as he's slapped across the face- goddamnit, another bruise- and is thrown to the ground. Oh Christ. He looks up at Frankie, terrified; all of those things he's felt during the worst trips, dark nights and dark edges of his mind, they're coming out now and Frankie's a lot stronger than him, he can't start dancing- "No, no, no, Simon DON'T-" he shrieks, jumping back up, but it's too late.
- Frankie begins moving in Sweet's style, as naturally as if he had been doing it his whole life. He growls angrily when Frankie tells him to stop. Just cause he was a fucking mob boss wouldn't mean shit soon. The man would be putty. The whole city would be- Frankie sobs when a wave of intense sadness from the research district hits him suddenly, and he's reliving that day after class when Steven wasn't there and and they'd cornered him and- oh god, he can feel the Vendy popping his arm back into place, the blood trickle slowing as the machine played it's tune... As Frankie dances, all these intense, flickering emotions and more are forced onto anyone nearby- and far away, for that matter. The range on this thing is absurd.
- Shandrel breaks into a run when he hears all of the yelling. He's stopped trying to make sense of anything that comes out of a Flared stepper's mouth by now, after hearing the ravings of dozens of them in the past few days. Besides, the fonk high has set in now. This is all actually kind of amusing. His run turns into nimble leaping and spinning as he positions himself between Frankie and Sweet. The fonk made his vibe feel like it's about to overflow from his body. His eyes burned a bright red and he chuckles to himself. He should have been terrified - and enraged, for some reason? The drug made all of his emotions melt together into a mush and he could only think of doing what he was summoned here for. He steppes up to Frankie as if to pull him into a waltz, but instead quickly leans in to press their lips together, and begin to sip the life from him.
- Sweet suddenly feels as if someone has reached in and ripped out his heart. He doubles over onto his knees and starts sobbing uncontrollably and he knows these emotions, they're his and how dare Frankie use them against him, he remembers everything, how Steven wasn't there and he wasn't there yesterday and he isn't here now and he just wishes he could hurry up and die already because nothing would ever be alright again. He reaches out a hand, trying desperately to grab onto Frankie, beg him to stop- but it's not Frankie, it's Shandrel. He clings to his friends leg as he cries harder than he's ever cried before.
- Frankie is suddenly being kissed oh god- the contact after being alone, trapped in his head with a thousand people who didn't even know he existed brings him to tears. Frankie returns the kiss passionately, taking up Shandrel into a slow, desperate embrace. The voices are gone. The feelings... the onslaught is over, though everything feels so intense still. But now it is just him and Shandrel. The rest of the world might as well not exist. Frankie glows red with the man's vibe and his mind goes blank. He goes out like a light.
- Shandrel brings his hands to Frankie's neck, nails digging in for a moment as if to strangle the fucker. He was supposed to kill him now, right? Wasn't that what the boss wanted? But he suddenly didn't want to do that... Why had he thought he had? His clawing hands turn to a gentle grip and dig into the doctor's hair. No wait, I'm the doctor. He didn't want to let go, though. He didn't want their lips to part. He could still feel the flow of life draining from him, but it had diminished to a trickle. It didn't make sense.There was something clinging to his leg now and he wanted to shake it off, because damn it he was having a moment here. When he lifts his leg to kick the thing off, the weight of the other man, now unconscious, is too much for him and he falls back. His head hits the floor with a sickening thud.
- Sweet's body convulses a bit as the feelings disappear. He heaves, but nothing comes out. That was too intense. He sniffles a bit, tears running freely, and looks up. Oh goddamnit they're both knocked out. He gets up, shakily, and for the first time takes an inventory of himself and the time to calm the hell down. He breathes. Okay, he feels like he's locked up in himself, without any means of expression. That's okay. This is how normal people live, he tells himself. He focuses on his new vibe. He's still sopping wet and freezing- okay. Now, how does he deal with this situation? He slowly raises his hands and summons a blob of water. Looking at both men, he hesitates for a moment, but then throws it on Frankie's face. One of the two has to wake up to help carry the other somewhere safe, and he'd rather not repeat that fiasco.
- Frankie is busy running a box of pastries over to Orange district when the water hits him- Frankie sputters and regains consciousness. He can't feel any emotions but his own?! Where did his vibe go?! "Steven-?!" His voice is too deep- and- worse still, Simon was in front of him. No... He isn't Simon. Then who am I?? He knew Simon, better than he knew practically anyone. But as for himself...? Well, it didn't matter. Sweet had saved him, and he'd do anything that he could for the man. "Simon, are you alright??"
- Sweet feels a stone in his stomach when Frankie wakes up. He wishes it wasn't necessary, he wishes he'd never have to talk or look at Frankie ever again. He points a finger at him. "Don't touch me," he orders with a shaky voice, "Keep your gloves on. We need to carry him," he points at Shandrel, "To the roof," he points at the fire escape stairwell in the alley,"Where people will be out of reach of his-my vibe. He'll sleep off his Fonk high there. Come on." He wipes his eyes, which were still a bit wet, moves towards Shandrel and lifts his upper body by the arms, looking at Frankie expectantly.
- Frankie recoils at Sweet's anger. "I-I won't- I'm sorry, I didn't mean to..." Frankie buries his head in his hands. There's all these different people inside him and he isn't sure how to react, or who he's supposed to be, especially since the most obvious position has been filled. "I-' He looks at his gloves, why the hell was he wearing gloves - half of the hundreds of people inside mock him for his pretense. But Simon told him to keep them on. And to help with... Shandrel. Yes. The doctor who loved Greg Dorian, Frankie thinks without any real emotion as he lifts him up. "I- I have him...you don't need to help.." He wants so badly for Simon to not look so miserable, but his mind is too chaotic and he can't even begin to guess how to do it.
- Sweet reels back a bit when he realizes how confused and scared Frankie looks. Oh god. He must still feel like he did yesterday- he should have felt that, he should have his own vibe so he could feel that. He feels sick for snapping at him- nobody deserved this. He hesitantly puts a hand on Frankie's shoulder, squeezing it a little and looking him in the eye. "I'm sorry," he says. "The people in your head right now... they'll go away. Just focus on some memories, Frankie. Some that are yours. Happy ones. Again, I'm sorry, this... wasn't meant to happen." Sweet 's hand lingers a bit longer, and smiles wryly at Frankie before it gets too uncomfortable, and he starts leading the way up the stairs.
- Frankie lifts Shandrel in silence, listening to Sweet. How did he know about the voices?? But... of course Simon knew, after his vibe went mad yesterday... But.. he isn't Simon, he shouldn’t have heard them, shouldn’t even know about them... It doesn’t matter. He'll just try to follow Sweet's directions... "I - I want Steven..." Frankie lets out a small sob of confusion, but tries to remember. Graduating high school, buying his first new, not hand-me-down dress, looking after his grandchildren, watching the clouds roll by with his father- All pleasant, but he can't piece them together into one person. But he's grateful that Sweet doesn't seem to hate him, and the hand is hugely comforting. But that's over now. Frankie follows Sweet.
- Sweet's frown deepens when Frankie mentions Steve. "No you don't," he says without turning around. "You want Vivi. And Bella, and I don't know who else. Remember those guys? Think about them." Frankie wasn't him. But he had been, for a while. He's not comfortable with someone knowing that much about himself that isn't Steven. And not even he knew that much. Sweet is getting sick and tired of this identity crap. Could everyone just be themselves in their own head, please?
- Frankie can recall the people Sweet mentions. He can recall loving them so intensely that it hurts... but right now, he can recall loving thousands of people that fiercely. And he can also recall hating them too. Long held grudges, slight annoyances, fits of rage... "It- it isn't working.. Maybe- you said 'Frankie'... that's me? But it can't be..." He continues hauling the doctor up the steps. Frankie looks down at him when Shandrel begins to stir. "Listen, man, I think this dude's waking up?"
- Shandrel stirres. His consciousness returns quickly when he becomes aware he isn't on the ground. Shandrel's eyes shoot open as a wave of panic surges up for only a moment before it's quashed under dozens of other emotions. He writhes in his captors arms, whoever it is, struggling weakly to free himself. But this reminded him of the time Bo caught him drunk and had to carry him home. He laughs at that. He laughs until he's breathless, and stops struggling. He lets his head fall forward again, resting on Whoever's shoulder and weeps like a child. "Msorry, I didn't mean ta- DON'T EVEN SPEAK TA ME"
- Sweet wheels himself around quickly. "Oh, shit!" he yells. "Frankie- it can wait, we need to get him to the roof and get the hell away from him!" He beckons for Frankie to follow him as he runs up the stairs. Christ, he does not want this happening again, least of all to a friend. He should never have touched Frankie before finding out what was wrong with his vibe. Stupid, stupid, stupid. He keeps running up the stairs, even though he starts coughing heavily. Gotta stop smoking, he tells himself. Yeah right, Sweet.
- Frankie "Shandrel- " He tightens his grip on the man when he squirms, despite the fact that his emotions towards Shandrel now that he's awake are in chaos- Frankie remembers a hundred little instances of the doctor healing him, teasing him, enraging him, fucking him... He doesn't know whether to drop the man, kiss him, or kill him- But Frankie is spared the decision making when Sweet's urgency cuts through his thoughts. Frankie has no idea why they must run, but he sprints up the stairs with Shandrel regardless. When Sweet falters, he shifts Shandrel over his shoulder and pulls Simon along too. At the top, he pants and looks to Simon expectantly.
- Sweet doubles over in a hacking cough after arriving upstairs. He grabs Frankie's elbow and pulls him back towards the stairs. "Run-hhhhhhh- run back down, I'll be right behind- wait for me." He releases Frankie, and goes to grab Shandrel by the shoulders. "Shandrel. Listen. I'm really, really sorry but you have to stay here, okay? Focus on yourself. Remember who you are. Call me when you're okay again, and I will come back for you." He hesitates, but kisses the good doctor on the forehead anyway. "You've saved me twice in two days. Thank you. And I'm sorry." He releases Shandrel, turns, and runs back down after Frankie.
- Shandrel grasps at the man who was holding his shoulders. He didn't know who this was. He didn't know who any of these people were, for that matter. "Don't leave me again don't - They're gonna kill me, soon as I step out’a here they'll- oh god no- Ah-?" The kiss stops him. He turns giddy in an instant and sighs wistfully. "Hhhhhhm~ Ahhhh no problem~" He had no idea what this guy was talking about. He stares at him with a dreamy smile as he turnes to leave. Then realized he was leaving. Then, more confusion. "No wait- Please- Who... Shannnnndwhat? Please don't leave me..."
- Frankie "We're just going to ditch him??" he calls up as he obediently charges back down the steps. But Shandrel’s pleading stops him in his tracks. He looks back at the two men, paralyzed with indecision.
- Sweet swallows past the lump in his throat. Nope. He's the least confused, here, so he needs to be strong. Take the lead. "Unless you have some Jive, Frankie, we have no choice. He'll end up like you if we don't, and I can't let that happen again. I promise you he'll be fine, he just needs to be alone. I'm sorry." He looks back at Shandrel standing there and -oh god fucking damnit. There's red seeping out from under the blue. "Shit. Frankie, he's bleeding, you gotta kiss him. Uhm, that is- His healing vibe needs lip contact to work. Quickly, we still gotta get out of here." He pinches the bridge of his nose. Crap, he wants a cigarette. He just hopes that Frankie is still so out of it that he won't be Frankie about kissing a dude.
- Shandrel sits on the ground and pulls his legs up to his chest, resting his forehead on his knees. Shandrel. Shandrel. Shandrel. He said it in his head so many times that it lost meaning. He started thinking of other names- that seemed to help him keep away all those foreign emotions. Frankie. Sweet. Steven. Yuki. Greg. Greg. Sean. Which one was he supposed to be?
- Frankie "I don't have a healing vibe- that's Shandrel, not-" Did he?? Simon said Frankie, but in the sea of personalities, he couldn't find that one. So maybe Sweet was wrong, if he really did have the Doctor's vibe.. "Yes, I know how it works Simon," he pouts in a flirtatious voice. I am Dr. Sean Trot. 'Shandrel'... hm.. This was a very nice fit... But his self assurance is shattered again as he approaches the man who was obviously also Sean. A wave of vertigo hits him as he bends down to Shandrel, though really, he didn't want to go near the selfish prick who currently filled the identity he'd wanted. "I-if I can heal myself- ... him. Shandrel. Not me- I don't think it has to be through kissing??" Kissing, really?? Thousands of voices shout yes, while another thousand recoil at the perversion... but he can ignore them, because he’s not them, he's Shandrel... Frankie raises a hand and a red mist envelops it. This is my vibe. This is Shandrel’s vibe. He peers incredulously at the doctor’s huddled body. How...?
- Sweet just stands there awkwardly. "Oh. Well, just... do that, then." He just wants this to be over. When Frankie mistakes himself for Shandrel, he just wants to tear his hair out. "You're Frankie Valentine. Right now you swap vibes whenever you touch someone, normally you've got electricity vibe. Ring a bell?"
- Shandrel sniffles as he looks up to see who was here now. Fuck, he felt hungover as hell, just wanted ta be alone now, who the fuck was this barging into his space?! He'll throw the little shit from the roof. He unfolds himself so he can grab the bastard and teach him a lesson about respect and stepping onto his turf. But Frankie’s confusion was infectious, and it made him pause... He picks a name, any of them floating in his head.. "Greg." He lets out a relieved sigh and rests his head on the man's shoulder, breathing in deeply. He smelled nice. But he heard the other guy calling out another name. "Frankie?" He murmured. "Frankie."
- Frankie The name 'Frankie' does nothing for him - Valentine, however, tugs at something hidden beneath the masses of personalities. "We swapped...?" ‘Electricity’. Lightning. His eyes go wide, glowing red with traded vibe. Francis Mackenzie Valentine. Loved Poppy. Killed too many. Loyal above anything else to the Don. Frankie pulls Shandrel to him, at that moment desperately needing to hold someone. "I don't wanna be- goddamit- I- I woulda rather stayed mad," he cries and rocks the doctor slowly, petting him gently, healing his wounds. When Shandrel murmurs his name, he chokes. He stands. He brushes himself off, straightens his bowtie. A million voices are still telling him to feel things. He ignores them all. "Mr. Sullivan. Let's depart immediately." His eyes are still red, but his face is expressionless.
- Sweet lets out a tiny, high-pitched sob of relief. He's suddenly very glad that he doesn't have his vibe- what Frankie was just going through did not seem very pleasant to experience. But it was necessary. "Oh thank fuckin' God. What are we waiting for? Let's flippin' run!" He turns around and books it back down the stairs, making sure Frankie's following him first. Sweet stumbles down the last few steps, catches his breath for a second, then slumps down the brick wall behind him to the ground, sighing in relief.
- Shandrel sighs and smiles as he feels the warmth of the vibe seep into his head. He didn't even notice there was an ache there at all until the healing began. He tries to hold onto that warm, content feeling, but Frankie's emotions take it over and he weeps with him for a moment. He's still numb when Frankie draws away, and when he next looks up, he is alone. He flops onto the ground and curls up again, trying to force himself to sleep so he doesn't have to deal with the ebb and flow of feelings anymore. Eventually he gets the bright idea to take some jive to make the feelings stop.
- Frankie reaches the ground level, and sits down quietly by Sweet. He looks tired, but his face is impassive. He stares off at nothing. His breathing slows, and the red light disappears back into him. "I would have warned you. I am sorry, Mr. Sullivan."
- Sweet shakes his head slowly. "No... this was my fault. I shouldn't have hugged you." His face pulls into a grimace, and he presses the palms of his hands into his eyes to stop himself from crying. "Me and my stuh- stupid v-vibe..." He releases his face and looks up, trying to blink away the tears forming. Is every day going to be as heavy as this while the flare is on? If that's so, he may as well just lock himself up in his apartment again. The worst part is that he can't even broadcast the feeling of 'too much' to his environment; he never knew he did that automatically, but now that he can't, it just makes it that much worse. "I'm sorry, Frankie."
- Frankie "Don't be. It ain't yer fault. Vibe's just go funny. Even good ones. Always have. But 'specially now." His voice is leaden, heavy and dead. If he hadn't repeated the words a thousand times to himself before now, he wouldn't even have been able to scrounge his mantra up for Sweet. As it is, he trails off into silence. He's trying not to think. He's trying so goddamned hard.
- Sweet wipes his eyes. He lights a cigarette and offers one to Frankie. Suddenly, he remembers the bottle of vodka that the other man had thrown aside; he raises a hand and it flies into it. He takes a long, deep swig, offering this to Frankie as well. He doesn't know if Frankie smokes. He doesn't even know if Frankie drinks, but figures he probably does. Sweet doesn't actually know Frankie at all. The injustice of that hits him, and he takes another deep swig. He chuckles, softly, grimly. "You know me better than anyone on the planet, now. Better than I know myself. Sorry I'm not that interesting."
- Frankie politely takes the cigarette. "Thank you, Mr. Sullivan." Gotta be courteous. Gotta stick ta manners, gotta cover up the raw anger, sadness, hurt- the everything. Like always. He simply nods at Sweet’s statement and takes the bottle, draining nearly half before he passes it back. "I suppose I do." Frankie's mind go to a thousand different ways he could reassure Sweet, help him with the insecurity and feelings of worthlessness... But Frankie is too tired to keep helping. He breaths the smoke. He tries not to think about anything.
- Sweet sits silently for a while, smoking and drinking. He throws the bottle against the opposite wall when it's finished, taking quite a bit of satisfaction in the crash. He raises his hand again, and another bottle of whatever liquor comes flying in. This water vibe wasn't half bad. He looks sideways at Frankie. "You can probably guess the parts that I'd like to stay secret. I trust that you'll keep them that way." He opens the next bottle to numb his mind. He figures they can both use it right now. Their shoulders touch, but he doesn't move. As long as it isn't skin touching, they're probably okay.
- Frankie would like to sag, but he could hardly be any lower than he already is, so the effect noticeable. He just wanted Simon to shut up, so that he could get it through his own goddamned head once and for all that it wasn't the sound of his own voice. He reaches for the bottle, not violently, but very firmly. "Mr. Ssullivan, you are really goin’ to have to talk to me later about thish." As in: not now. His words are civil, but his tone is ominous. Frankie downs another large quantity of the fresh bottle.
- Sweet opens his mouth to say something, but opts to just shut it and nod instead. He's feeling the alcohol rush into him; that's what you get for drinking so much so fast. He just sits silently by Frankie's side, willing to listen if the man wanted to talk but not pushing anything on him. He just keeps the drinks and smokes coming. That's helping, right?
- Frankie begins to feel it. God, had it really been two weeks since he'd allowed himself more than that ridiculous flask?? He pours it down his throat... but as he does, Frankie's mind remembers a thousand lives worth of parties, binges, hangovers... He hands the bottle to Sweet, but the damage has been done, and Frankie's feelin good. Well, no. Not good. Something. He takes another drag. "Ssso yous gotta whater vhibe now. Is'a good one. Have fun" His tone is still unclear, but the drink is already evident.
- Sweet 's head lolls back to look at Frankie, and he grins, but not really. "'Shhhcomin' in 'andy, innit..." he slurs. He looks a mess. "Y'shh. Y'shhud probly find yer teammates, luv. Make shure evr'thin's alrigh', an' that." He doesn't even realise he's sitting in a small puddle of water, soaked again, until he tries to light another cigarette.
- Frankie's head flops against Sweet's shoulder. "Good vibe. Yesh. Prob'ly. Fuuck I'unno, 'nlesssit turnshta ssssometin nasssty sud'nly, like yershh- Hah." He sobs. He just wanted to lie in this alley, and the factions could go to hell, and everyone could go to hell because he knew them all and it hurt too much to keep doing this. "Ssss... c anna- canna leaveeshya here, even if'n yera dumbfffuck whhat canna see wasin fronna yer... thin'...nossse. Eyessh? Facssse. Thasha the one." Frankie grabs for the bottle again.
- Sweet takes Frankie's gloved hand in his. He wants to rest his head against the one on his shoulder, too, but doesn't have the energy to switch vibes again. "Yeh, well, can yer blame me? Woz in kinnov a hurry, eh. Trynna find- trynna- Egh, you know wot I woz doin. S'okay, luv, I'll be fine."
- Frankie allows Sweet to take his hand without resistance."Sssno, I tolya I din't blammeya goddaamnit!" Frankie empties the second bottle. "Noo I ‘unno what youssh were doin’- NO WAIT!" He flares with red light. "Ssshteven...whereeshhat guyshhat?? I... no waiidaminut Igot thish- Youshhneed 'im. Whhat'da fucckish wrong wit him if he'ssh gone up'n leffya?!" He pats Sweet's shoulder for emphasis, making the red flare slightly. "Ok-lookit no, no he'sh goood, ne'rer mind. 'M shhoryy. Jusht.. beenalong ting... day... year...thhhat."
- Sweet 's mouth feels dry. Still no sign of Steven, that's right. He'd hoped he'd get at least more than a vague text from him- no. That's the vibe from before talking. Steven had better things to do, he's the leader of the UG now, goddamnit. "'Sh'okay. Juss... gotter keep lookin, yeh? Bound to be'ere somewhere. 'm gettin' worried..." He squeezes Frankie's hand.
- NegaSteve <<@Sweet Do you have something to tell me about yo vibe? BI>>
- Frankie is still feeling too much, but that was nothing new. The alcohol has helped kill some of it, like it always did. Enough that he can bare thinking about what just happened, at least... a little. "Itssin't caaussh he ain't care, righ' Sssimon~ We'sh knowthat. An donnya feeelshbad fer waan’in him ta talksh’ta ya, alrigh??" Frankie looks at Sweet's phone. He feels a strange little prick of happiness when he sees Steven's messaged him. "Haaaw- Dammitall." Frankie takes his hand back from Sweet. He looks at the empty bottle of hooch with disappointment, and chucks it against the wall where Sweet's had landed.
- Sweet <<@Steven dghsldsgjjj gon>>
- NegaSteve >> Are you sitting on your phone again?
- Sweet >>n im ddrynq pls wer
- NegaSteve >> For fucksake. You left me 100 messages, most I cant listen to right now and now I get this. Fuck you. I'll talk to you later B(
- Sweet 's heart sinks with the last message. He lets out a tiny, wet, hiccup as he drops the phone into his soaking lap and curls in on himself, crying quietly. "'e's not comin'," he sniffs. "'e's angry, 'e 'ates it when 'm drunk'r high bu' it all gess too much s'mtimes, 'e don unnerstand..." He gasps for air. "I can't quit..."
- Frankie returns his arm to Sweet's shoulder."Sssok, ssSsimon, Ih reaally isss. He loveeshya ya know?? Ya knowshhhit, HAH, I knowsshya knowshyit." He laughs and the alley is filled with eerie red light. "An'... fffukit... Somme'a them ne'er knowsshow bad vibesh'll get-" His drunken mind pulls together the memories from so many steppers with easy vibes. Goddamn'em all. Even Steve? No....of course Steven was wonderful.. NOT SIMON. FRANCIS MACKENZIE VALENTINE- Frankie shakes and the red grows stronger. "AH- AH FUCK- OK- Ok I gotsh it uner control. Ish good." He smiles weakly at Sweet. "Ifffn he saaaw'what I ssssaw, he' woul'nt be judgn so bad, khhiddo. Yera beautfffil pershon.. remembershat alright?? Yesh! Do it!" The red vibe is nearly blinding.
- Sweet wipes his eyes with the back of his hand. He squints at Frankie- what the hell is going on? He feels the pain from his bruises and wounds disappearing, but the red light scares him a bit. "F...Frankie? Y'alrigh', luv?"
- Frankie "Mfffinee-" He leans away from Sweet suddenly and empties out much of the alcohol he'd just inhaled. The red light goes out. "MMmhhhhmmm, Jussh fine, " he croaks as he pulls out a neat little handkerchief to clean himself up with. "Kina wannadie, buut hey! Isaall good. Hah."
- Sweet makes a face, but doesn't comment. He's been exactly there often enough, and he has an inkling that the fact that he's still sitting down is the only reason he hasn't emptied his stomach as well. "'S okay." He summons up a small wave to wash all that nasty away, so that neither of them accidentally sits on it later. "Likin' dis wa'er vibe. 's handy. Easy.
- Frankie watches appreciatively as the mess is washed away without him accidentally rolling in it. "Hahhah.. . yeaaahsha good one. Gottit fffrum Nina...ssa classshyburd righ' there... ah, s’at righ’? You'd fansshy... totalliesh fanshyher, I bet, I BET. HAH! Efen you'd like MisshMadamam Niina, kiddo-"
<&Hoss> Your powers will now perform the opposite of the intended effect. Frankie now has earth vibe, vibe drain, & ???. All swaps return to original owners.
- Sweet grins. "Y'r tryinna get me inta th' mafia, eh? Well t'ain't gonna-HHHHH" His entire body convulses in one big spasm as everything, everything comes rushing back in, and out, and oh wonder of wonders, he's free again. He floods the street, the block with a quick feeling of pure relief. He stretches his arms, rolling them in a simple dance move, letting everything that was in out, and everything that was out in. He feels huge, like he knows the entire city, and it feels so good that- that he jumps up, runs up to some garbage cans and retches behind them. Classy.
- Frankie feels suddenly heavy, solid... and connected. He's part of something again- something that didn't try to make him believe he was somone else- oh God thank you. The relief Frankie feels at being reunited with an elemental power is not solely from Sweet's power, though the vibe hits him intensely never the less. Frankie weeps. "Sssweet! Sssweet everyt’ins gonnabe aright,!! Issok!!" He laughs through his tears when Sweet dances, roaring with it when the kid is sick. "AHHaahAH- Ohdaaamnit-" the earth shakes with his laughter. "Ohhhlordy" Frankie falls onto his side, helpless with laughter as the ground beneath him churns.