Claud tries clubbing. At least he didn't die or hurt anyone...
Somewhere on the streets of Purple District. Then moves to Frankie's apartment.
Preceded by Downtime
Followed by The Choreographer
- Claud's been out since... probably yesterday night, but he couldn't rightfully remember. He drunkenly wove his way down the street, still too early for anyone to really pay him any mind, but late enough that the sun was peeking up over the horizon. He still felt warm all over, or maybe that was his vibe keeping out the cold, and was happily dancing in a sort of weavy-spinny sort of way. He managed to gracefully avoid bumping into anyone through his vibe, which was weakly connecting to everyone within ten feet of him. Eventually he made his way into Frankie's building, up the elevator, and through the door. He was humming something as he entered the apartment and promptly fell over a chair, which he laughs at.
- Frankie sits at his table, the unopened bottle of vodka beckoning. He cracks it open, savoring the sound. It almost seems like a religious ceremony as Frankie pours himself a glass with great care- but his door opens without warning, interrupting the solemnity of the atmosphere. Frankie looks up. In surprise, but Claud’s been here long enough that his paranoia is prepared, and Frankie fails to electrocute his roommate. "Kiddo?? You ok?" He carefully move to the square.
- "Pfftt hahaha Ffrankieee 'eeeyy~" Claud waves a lanky arm from where he's made friends with the floor. His legs are all tangled up on each other and suddenly the carpeting feels really nice. He presses his face into it and scrunches his hands on it, forgetting about standing up. "'S beenawhile, howya doin?" he asks, face still buried in carpet.
- Frankie was surprised to see the square. He'd assumed when he'd got in a few hours ago that the square was gone for the night, and even blamed his ensuing insomnia to the squares absence (not true, of course). Frankie's face breaks into a smile. “Hello, kiddo. Looks like you could use'a bita help gettin up.” He can’t stop smiling, somehow. The kid is just too adorable, spifflicated out of his mind. Frankie feels a twinge of worry, but mostly affection as he leans down to help Claud up.
- Claud rolls over onto his back to better look up at Frankie. He gets momentarily distracted by his dance shoes (he loves his shoes) which he'd worn expressly for the purpose for breaking them in. They'd seen plenty of action these last few hours that's for sure. Then he notices the hand. He tries to grab it and misses several times, then makes a game out of avoiding the hand. He was so clever, and he erupted into another bout of giggles.
- Frankie finds his heart strings tugged by Claud's drunken puppy behavior. "Goddamnit kid, yer quite the charmin little drunk, ain't ya?" He gives up on trying to catch the squares erratically darting hand and simply lifts Claud up. His sparkles fill the air at Claud's giggles. "So, what you been up to?" He asks as he carries him to his room.
- "Dancin'." Ohh he liked this, yes, hugging! He clings to Frankie, yes good, this felt very nice. "I was scared a' firs ya know? 'M no really th' partyn' type but once ya ge' caugt up in tha' party spirit..." he couldn't really remember much of what'd happened, other than it had happened and had taken up the better part of the last 12 hours.
- Frankie feels immense pride at Claud's words. He manages to open the door amid a light shower of his vibe. He'd be shamed by his own affection, but the Square is so plastered, he's far less self conscious. Frankie sets Claud down, his face eager. "So ya danced then?? You gotta tell me all about it, yea?? You had a great time??" He’s hopeful. Claud seems so happy, he had to have had a great time, right??
- Claud clings to Frankie but gravity works and he slides onto the bed, wiggling against the blankets, everything was so soft... "Hm? Oh! Yeah, yeah... Is kinda..." he tries to remember back through the events of the night, but large chunks are gone from his memory. "Kinda hard ta' remember, but there's was all these people so /'ecsited/ ta go dansin an' ifya jus let yerself ge' swept up in that..." after he had a few drinks in him letting go was a lot easier, and had spent a large portion of the night as other people.
- Frankie can feel Claud's desire for physical contact.. It becomes his own, even as he's aware of the manipulation, and he sits by the square, hugging him lightly. "But that's what I wanted for ya, ya know??? That's EXACTLY it! Joy from dancin!! Nothin else matters, right??" He hugs Claud tight, feeling as happy as if he’d had three shots of his pre-dawn snack.
- Oh yes, hugging again, he'll have more of that thankyew~ "Nothin... else?" he tries to process this through the haze of alcohol. For a moment he believed it wholeheartedly, yes, of course! It was so simple, just dancing all the time. But something deep within him protests and he can't quite put his finger on it. There were other important things in life, there had to be. These thoughts are shoved aside for a moment when another pressing thought makes its way to the front of his brain, "People kep' kissin me..." he doesn't sound too distraught over the fact but he's also not sure if he should be. It was more of a surprised question than a statement.
- Frankie smiles as Claud takes him literally. He pets the square's head gently. "I just want y to be happy, right? If dancin makes ta happy, an it clearly does.." He trails off as Claud explains to him about the kissing. That sounded an awful lot like the effect that'd led to the poor sweet boy getting dumped.. Frankie's expression turns dark. "Did ya want them ta kiss ya, kiddo?"
- "I... guess?" he doesn't sound too sure. "I mean, I like kissin but it's... I don' like it so much if I donno the person, an I think they coul' tell cuz they kep' leavin'... Izzat, izzat... 'm I weird?" his vibe seems to be as confused as he is and it just kinda flops around, not really connecting with anyone.
- Frankie's withered heart aches for the boy, and he regrets not taking a few shots of vodka earlier. "Kiddo, I saw a lady turn inta a tree today, fer keeps. Yer vibe ain't weird, an neither are you. You jus have a bit'a overspill sometimes. We're working on it, ain't we?" Frankie fights the urge to lean down and kiss Claud's head, not nearly enough drinks in him to excuse the urge. "You had a nice time, dint you? Seemed happy when ya got in. Don't forget that, yea?"
- A mild look of horror passes over Claud's face and he vows to never be mean to plants ever again. He nods and smiles, "Yeah, i'was nice, all those people, dancin n' lovin together..." it was weird, now that he was here and not there and the vicarious high had worn off. A deep sense of loneliness washes over him, he missed being the crowd, being all those different people... now he was just him. He never thought he'd actually want to be connected to a bunch of people at once.
- Frankie nods. The club scene was one of the best things on earth. There was a reason the mafia had created so many discotheques. Luke a church and a fantastic party and a family reunion all rolled into one, even if they'd been a little too aggressive in converting other buildings into the sacred grounds. "Sounds ta me like your were a hit yerself," he murmurs, still trying to see the best in this situation. But a loneliness grips him, and he realizes that wishful thinking was foolish. Nothing would be alright, they were separate, pretending otherwise was idiocy. "If you'll excuse me a moment." When Frankie returns, it with a large glass with a scent like paint thinner that he gulps quickly. "So yr vibe under wraps /now/??"
- Claud sprawls across the bed, legs hanging off one side and his neck craned back off the other side. He takes a deep breath and sighs it out, assessing the situation, "I unno." he admits in the tone that one takes when admitting one hasn't had the level of success previously hoped for. "I wasn'... I'm not ezacktly in control. Guess ‘m jus' learnin how ta not mind bein’ outside'a my own head." he rolls over and looks at Frankie, smiles, "Baby come back to bed~" and bursts into another round of giggles, laughing at some joke that no one else would get.
- Frankie isn't sure he's pleased with that answer. He doesn't want Claud getting used to being other people, and more specifically, catering to their whims... He has a sudden idea for a willpower exercise, but... Now, with the sun just barely lighting the curtains, is not the time, obviously. "Remind me tomorrow, I wanna try some thin with.. Ya.." Frankie pauses as he's invitingly teased. A hot anger follows the inappropriate arousal, but Frankie finished his glass and sitting back down by Claud becomes possible.
- Claud isn't sure what he'd done wrong, he thought it was a funny joke, it was funny in his head. He rolls onto his back again and is quiet, staring up at the ceiling. He tries to work his shoe off with his other foot, squeak squeak squeak he finally gets enough leverage to work it off. "Touchdooowwwnnn..." he says quietly, stretching his arms out over his head. "So waddam I remindin ya about?"
- His discomfort fights hard against his affectio. In the end, it's his sparkles that manifest when he places the shoe on the floor, nice and neat, before proceeding to pull of Claud's remaining one. "Good job kiddo, ya did it," he says dryly, but his happy vibe persists. "And well, tomorrow I think we'll try a little exercise.. You fight of some'a my urges. I got some nasty control problems," he confides in the drunk square, "I think you might be able ta use som'a my willpower directly. Wouldn't that be lovely?" He resumes petting Claud's hair, trying to ignore the less platonic feelings.
- Claud had forgotten about the other shoe, that is until Frankie was working it off his foot. "Oh yeah thanks..." he mumbles, smiling like a doofus. He listens intently as Frankie explains the plan, trying really hard to understand it but... he just doesn't get it. But Frankie thought it was a good idea then Claud was inclined to agree. "Lovely, yeah, 's gonna be great," he continues to smile, humming out a happy sigh as Frankie pets him, eyes closing in contentment. "Thanks fer puttin up wif my," a yawn interrupts him, "Wiff my bullshit." He snuggles further against the blankets.
- Frankie relaxes as Claud does. The squares drunk optimism doesn’t hurt either. He almost covers Claud’s yawn up like one would a very small child, but he catches himself. “Oh, you know I don’t mind, kid. ‘S my pleasure ta … well, try ta help, at least. I tell ya over an over, don’t worry yer pretty little head. Jus’ think’about what’a nice time ya had dancin, aright?” Frankie finds himself tucking Claud in despite himself.
- “‘S my... job ta worry. Worry alla time...” he softly protests, unable to think of what else to say. He knew he had more questions, so many more questions, but he can’t remember them at the moment, can’t think of anything else to say that will keep Frankie here for just a little longer. But in realizing his predicament, he came upon an answer, or rather a question, “How doya talk ta people? Like ta, ta getta know’em an see ifya like’em an stuff?”
- “Yer job? Yer job is ta learn yer vibe an’ be happy,” he comments, though he’s glad the kid is so drunk so he wont remember how sappy Frankie’s being right now. Why is he acting this way?? He should leave the kid to get some much needed shuteye... But the question catches him off guard. “Me?? You don’ wanna ask me, I’m terrible at gettin on with people,” he laughs. “Less’a course it’sa dame... well, even then, sometimes.” He ponders the question seriously, though he feels a bit foolish, as Claud is probably going to fall asleep before he even finished... “Dancin helps a lot... Not as good now’adays. Some people don’ care how ya come at them, yer mafia, yer scum... Singin used ta be the way to go, fer me...” he looks at his empty glass. “I think ya get a lot from’a person, when they sing. Kinda like a peek int’a their soul, ya know?” Frankie laughs softly, dismissively. “But you know, I tend ta ramble. It’s pretty early an’ all.”
- Claud struggles to sit up while Frankie talks, he does not want to fall asleep, despite how very tired he felt. Just a little bit longer, just a little more time spent with someone else. Singin and dancin ta get people’s attention? And here he was going about it the old fashioned way, thinking that you had ta talk to them... but wasn’t singing and dancing just another way of communicating? He weaves and plays with his fingers, “I wish I coul sing wiff you.” he admits softly, looking down at his hands. He thinks back to that night during the flares, when Frankie and Sigurd had sung together, and a fresh jealousy spreads through him. It was weird, and still a little foreign to him, but he was jealous then and he was jealous now. He presses his hands to his face, pushes them back through his hair, “Mmm sorry, ‘m... confused...”
- Frankie finds himself yawning for the first time all night. About goddamn time. It really was the square’s presence that did the trick... “Hm-? Ah. That’d...” it’d be grand. There’s no point thinking about that though. Frankie hums softly with irritated vibe. Don’t think about it. “Well, we got dancin’, don’t we? And you can sing any time ya want, don’t got’a be a duet, an it certainly don’t gotta be with me...” Can’t be with him. Frankie swallows as the vibe pushes into his throat. Claud could sing. Right now. He could sing, and he’d be fine, so what’s he even whining about?? Frankie covers his face in unison with Claud. “It... it’s fine. It’s early, an yer tired and tipsy. Don’ fret about nothin.”
- He shouldn’ta said anything, now Frankie was upset, he was always makin Frankie upset. He burrows back under the covers. Shouldn’ta brought it up he knew better... “We got dancin.” he agrees, voice small. He takes hold of his pillow, hugs it to his chest. It was so cold when it was just one of him. His vibe lazily wanders over to Frankie, rubs up against him like a friendly cat.
- Frankie suddenly feels quite sick with himself at his sudden jealous outburst. Why did he suddenly go off on the kid?? Even internally?? There was a city full of people who could sing, and Frankie didn’t explode at them. He’d been over this years ago.... But the flares... God. The fucking flares. He never wanted to think of them again, but suddenly they make a more appealing target to blame rather than his own horrible self- “It’s not- jus’ relax. Truth be told... I’d be real glad ta get ta sing with you too...” Maybe it’s that he’s finally honest, or maybe there was something about letting out that little dead corpse of desire into the air rather than keeping it trapped inside... but he feels better, he realizes with surprise. Frankie sighs as Claud’s vibe affects him, static and temper cooling down at it’s touch.
- Claud relaxes, a little more glad, a little less worried. His vibe curls around Frankie, happy, lazy, wanting something but too proud to say what. Just like a cat. His eye lids fight to close, but he stubbornly clung to consciousness. “‘Mm glad...” he sighs.
- Frankie yawns again. Damn, he’d spent the whole night trying to sleep, and now that the kid finally came home, he’s hardly able to keep his eyes open?? But he finds he’s too occupied keeping awake to be annoyed with himself. He shifts, because he realizes suddenly that Claud needs something. “What can I do for you, sweetheart?” he murmurs sleepily. A tap of his foot and he pulls a thread of light from the wall. THERE. Awake.
- Claud’s drifting off and suddenly there’s a surge of energy and he’s not so sleepy anymore? Oh, Frankie’d asked a question... “Don’t go.” he admits, still hiding under the covers like a scared child. But he felt so small, he might as well be a child. So small, he had been at least fifty people throughout the night and now he was just himself.
- Frankie smiles at Claud’s request, knowing it’s just the hooch. The kid didn’t want him here, especially not when he woke up- But the man hides under the blankets and doesn’t come out, and he seems so very small and in need of protection and comfort. Frankie lays a hand over the blanket, over the bump that is Claud’s chest “Course not kiddo I’m right here for ya, you know that. Wouldn’ dream’a leavin.” Frankie shifts to lean against the wall, preparing himself for the long haul. It was moments like these, he wished he could use his voice the most. More than a duet, more than seeing all the faces focused on him, he missed being able to give that comfort. “I’m right here,” he repeats in a soft monotone.
- Claud smiles and his eyes water, he couldn’t believe Frankie was actually still here. He works a hand out from under the blanket and lays it over Frankie’s. He could sense that desire from Frankie and it was enough, he knew he would sing if he could. “Thank you.” he smiles, gratitude threatening to shake him apart.
- Claud’s hand pulls Frankie’s gold out, and it slithers affectionately into the blankets. Oddly enough, he feels as if he had sang... He feels understood. “It’s.. it’s my pleasure,” he mutters, trying to keep it together. This has got to be Claud’s vibe cause he isn’t gonna act like a giant idiot tonight, he refuses. Frankie bites his cheek and holds down tears. Like the willpower exercise in reverse. “Jus’ relax, Yer safe an nothin more’s gonna happen ta you tanight kiddo,” he chokes.
- He holds that hand, squeezes it, reassured, grateful. He pushes the blanket down a little so he can breathe freer. He steals a glance up at Frankie, smiles, and closes his eyes. And in that moment he had a single thought, which he voiced, “I need ta gedda job.” he laughed a little.
- Frankie blinks. Frankie laughs. Loudly, and for a long time, because he needed it, and because the timing- god. Claud’s room swims with enhancing vibe as Frankie’s laughter breaks the emotional quiet into bits. After a length of time, he catches his breath and grins at the square. “Absolutely kiddo. Soon as we get yer vibe all under control, we’ll get ya situated back at..” The Swan Song had closed, he suddenly remembers. The laughter in his chest dies. “...at a place suited for yer skills, alright? Jus’ don’ worry. Ya worry far too much, and I know fer’a fact that ain’t yer job,”
- Claud’s filled with Frankie’s mirth, but then it suddenly stops and he wonders at it. But he’s told not to worry, and he tries to listen, he really does. He nuzzles against the bed and takes a deep breath. “Wouln’ tha’ be swell, gettin paid fer somethin I do all th’ time anyway...” he was just rambling now, but he liked so much to talk with Frankie, he was a wonderful beautiful person.
- “Hah! You said it, kid! It’s a great town for gettin paid ta do what ya love, right? That’s the whole point’a my job, kid. Get my family situated an’ happy, find them places ta belong,” he smiles, ignoring the part of him that is howling with derisive laughter at the horribly inaccurate description. He just... wants to keep the kid entertained, and feels the need to keep talking, even if the words are a lie. Somehow, like admitting to the singing earlier, he feels... ok. Not as horrible as that little voice laughing at his silly words knows he is. “We’ll find ya your place.”
- Claud tries to imagine what that’d be like. He imagines a Claud-shaped hole somewhere for him to fit into, and he giggles a little at the mental image. “Tha’ be good. Jus’ feel like, like ‘m floatin, ya know? Don’ really got a perm’nant place where I belong, like really belong.” He scrunches his mouth a little, it might seem ungrateful or rude, but it was kinda true too.
- “Thaaat’d be the booze, I think,” he grins and affectionately musses Claud’s short hair, which floofs a bit with Frankie’s eager vibe. “Hah... yea... but you can stay here, ya know. I ain’t goin nowhere, an I certainly don’ need ya out’a here any time soon...” Of course, livin with Frankie was no sort of life. Kid needed a real family, and Frankie just didn’t cut the mustard. The mafia... well, it was an option.. but Claud wants a real family. Frankie’s got nothing. His hand slows and settles on Claud’s shoulder. His smile remains, though his eyes don’t join in the happy expression. “We’ll figure out somethin for ya.”
- Claud smiles and nuzzles against that hand, he liked it when people touched his hair. He feels a little bad though, Frankie’d been so good to him, he felt like an ingrate. But he’d had the same problem with Sigurd too; he hadn’t ever officially moved in, he just stayed the night one night and never went home, felt like more of a guest, felt like he always had to be careful, until finally he was kicked out. He didn’t want to overstay his welcome again, so it was important that he work hard so he can get out of Frankie’s hair as soon as possible... but then again leaving Frankie alone made him really uncomfortable too. “I’ll try my best.” he sleepily concludes to his inner monologue.
- “Of course ya will,” he says automatically. That much was obvious. That he even went out tonight, when his vibe was so dangerous... well, today. The blue lights pours in through the window, and the booming sounds of nightclubs soften momentarily as the dayshift switches in. Frankie pets Claud’s head once more before he shifts to his feet. “Jus’a sec, gonna grab some water for ya, ‘n probably close that curtain. Best if ya sleep all this off, stead’a bein awake fer the hangover ta crawl in, huh?”
- “Mm-hmmm.” he agrees, still snuggled happily in the sheets. Frankie leaves the room and Claud opens his bleary eyes, hoping he’ll come back. He hugs his pillow again and rolls onto his side. How he wanted very much to sleep in someone else’s bed. Well, even though he technically was, but not like this, not alone. He’s almost tempted to think that anyone would do, but that wasn’t really true. By the time Frankie returns he’s thinking very hard about how far his once-upon-a-time ‘standards’ had shifted.
- Frankie carries a glass of water and a glass of lime green electrolyte drink over to Claud’s bedside. He considers going back to snatch more sports drink for himself, cause damn is the glass in his hands calling to him... but it’s not the time, he realizes as he blinks heavily, limbs feeling like warm lead.... He should try to get a bit of shuteye himself, really... in the bed with Claud.... Frankie nods where he stands, but the rattle of glass sliding jolts him awake. “-! Why...why don’ ya try’n take in some’a this stuff, you’ll feel better for it later.” He sits down by Claud with another wave of relief from the square’s vibe. “Here now..” he offers the green glass first.
- Claud sits up, smiling wide as Frankie re-enters the room. He takes the glass and drinks eagerly, he was suddenly very thirsty and this stuff tasted amazing. He hands it back, empty, expectant of the next one.
- Something about the way Claud downs it reminds him again of a kid. The shrouded room glows with warm light again, and Frankie smiles to himself as he trades Claud for the water glass. His eyelids flutter as he feels himself being sucked inside the kid as the first drink pours into his body. ”Mh.. hh...m. Better??” he asks blearily.
- Claud drinks the water a little slower, a sudden and unexplainable warmth spreading through him. “Mmm, yeah, thanks.” he smiles, handing the second glass back. He sees how tired Frankie is, reaches a hand out to gently touch the side of his face in apology, “‘Mm sorry I’ve kept you awake.” he grins though, happy that he was still here, grateful for his company.
- Frankie’s vibe struggles to reach the familiar body next to him, and the gold streams through the room towards and into Claud. Frankie takes the glass with hardly a conscious thought. It nearly topples when Claud touches him. Between the shared tired daze from Claud’s vibe and his own vibe’s intense attraction to the sports drink filled man, he can’t think. He just nods and shuffles closer, as if for warmth, which allows his vibe to reach for Claud even more easily.
- Claud makes a small “Mmn,” sound and leans forward until his forehead is pressed against Frankie’s shoulder. “You c’n stay, if ya’ like?” he suggests, voice small but hopeful. Staying sitting up was getting really difficult though, and bedfellow or no, he was going to pass out and soon.
- Frankie feels the soft blanket against his cheek, eagerly taking his vibe into it. Same with Claud, soft and warm and full of all that attractive stuff for his vibe to course up and down, up and down, Frankie nods along with it, but it’s barely a twitch, except the slight feeling is amazing. Frankie wrap his arms around Claud with mindless exhaustion and a certainty that they are now floating softly into the blue light outside, still warm and comfortable and together... Despite relative sobriety, Frankie manages to fall asleep before Claud.
- Not sure if he’s already asleep and just having a mercifully good dream, Claud doesn’t question what’s just happened. He just holds the man in his arms and follows him into unconsciousness.