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Latest revision as of 18:04, 9 September 2019

On the Fly
Dramatis Personae

Flicker, Jax, Matt

2019-09-07


"I didn't plan on the -- after."

Location

<PRV> VL 403 {Geekhaus} - East Village


There's kind of a college-dorm feel to this place, chronically untidy and without much thought given to Decor. Entering the apartment finds visitors greeted by the chaos of the living room, a mismatched assortment of couches and chairs (and milk crates) surrounding the wide table in the center. The wall holds a range of posters; some political, some sporty, some from video games, and a string of white lights strung over the kitchen doorway might be a holdover from Christmas. A widescreen television stands against the wall opposite the couch, shelving beside it holding a host of video games from different consoles. More shelving beside the windows on the far wall carries stacks of board games, as well as sourcebooks from various RPGs.

The kitchen adjacent is just as cluttered, its table unfit for eating due to its perpetual covering of books, papers, cereal boxes, projects; the fridge is usually sparsely populated. Ketchup. Beer. Not a lot of food. There are two bedrooms here and one bathroom situated between them, split between the three people who live here.

Outside it's gloriously sunny. Flicker is enjoying the afternoon by proxy, the windows of Geekhaus thrown opened wide to let some of the pleasant breeze in to the small apartment. He's curled up on the couch in his pajamas, Cat draped across his lap and a Kindle in his hand. It's anyone's guess how much he's actually reading it; he turns the pages veeeery infrequently.

The crisp rat-tat-tat on the door comes only a short moment before the lock turns and the door actually opens; Jax doesn't bother waiting for a reply before letting himself in. "Hey, honey-honey!" His chirruped greeting is as bright as his clothing; rainbow ombre cutoff shorts, a vivid strappy purple tank top underneath a silvery fishnet muscle shirt, makeup done up in metallic silver and purple and green. His arms are laden with containers; corn chowder and vegan mac and cheese and cornbread muffins that he piles onto the counter. "I was just over the warehouse, Kaia finished that table you'd been helpin' her with it looks gorgeous." He's flitting into the kitchen, grabbing a bowl from the cabinet to scoop in a moderate amount of chowder. "I mean, not that my opinion's real informed I couldn't tell you nothin' cept it's pretty as anything but I bet you'd be proud she's been at that how long now?" Does Flicker want chowder? He's getting chowder anyway; Jax brings the bowl and a glass of water over to the couch, setting the glass on the table and offering the bowl right to Flicker.

Matt follows Jax in, plainer in a moss green shirt mostly taken up by a complicatedly coiled snake and gray cargo shorts, slightly less burdened, too, though still carrying a big plate of assorted cookies balanced atop a blocky box of classical Eurogame dimensions. He heads straight for the couch and deposits the stack on the coffee table, removing the plate with a careful flourish to reveal the cover of the box, graced with a scissor-tailed flycatcher in mid-hover above the title: "Wingspan". Snagging a snickerdoodle from the plate before setting it within Flicker's reach, he drapes himself against the unoccupied arm of the couch. "Also, we should play this bird game." He lowers his voice just a touch to add, "It's critically acclaimed, but, more importantly, Jax-acclaimed."

Flicker looks up from his book, wide-eyed. He opens his mouth but says nothing as his friends descend upon him. His gaze darts from Matt to Jax and back, his fingers trailing very lightly against Cat's head. When Jax arrives at the couch he sets his Kindle aside, putting up no resistance to the chowder that's pressed upon him. "I..." For a fleeting instant, his brow starts to furrow; the expression relaxes as he takes a bite of the soup. "Oh -- oh. She's been at that since winter, that's -- amazing, I'm sure it's. That's." He swallows, his brows lifting as Matt produces the game. "Oh!" He leans forward, staring down at the box. "That's gorgeous, what -- Jax-acclaimed?" Here he just gives Jax a very puzzled look.

"Yeah! It's so gorgeous you got no idea how beautiful the art is. The entire game is just pretty birds. I was mad busy at GenCon I did not get a lot of time doing, um, nerd stuff but this is the only game I played really and it's the prettiest one I ever did see so I snatched that right up for you I thought you'd want it in your --" Jax waves a hand in the direction of the game shelves. His tone is still bright; there's a brief unsteady flutter of blue-green light around him as he perches on the edge of the table. "I know you ain't started up Game Night again yet but I think it'll be a hit when you do."

"I haven't had the privilege," Matt adds, "because it's sold out everywhere now. It just flew off the shelves after winning Kennerspiel des Jahres." His vivid green eyes glimmer with mischief. "But! From what I've read, it's got sweet engine-building mechanics, excellent integration of fluff...or feather, I suppose, and--" He tips his cookie at Jax. "--lovely art. Sort of Dominion meets 7 Wonders meets Audubon guide." His smile is bright and easy. "But it's your review I'm most interested in." Finally, he pops the the cookie into his mouth with a hum of satisfaction.

Flicker sits up straighter as the others talk, looking at the box with a keener interest. "That does sound fantastic. Did -- you want to play this now? I haven't..." He frowns, his cheeks darkening. "Really been... it does sound good, though." He rests his hand very gently on Cat, trying not to displace him too much as he leans forward. Sets the soup aside, gently wiggles the box open. His breath catches as he looks inside -- gently picks up the illustration that sits atop the box, a speckled Northern Flicker perched on a tree trunk. "Oh." Just a very soft breath as he looks at the picture.

"The artists who done all the work for the game was there, too," Jax explains brightly, plucking up a crackly chocolate cookie of his own. "I thought you'd like that one. You can fill up your whole forest with woodpeckers in this game, if you want to." He nibbles at his cookie, hitching a shoulder up in a shrug. "Now, after your soup, whatever. I ain't in no hurry. You probably ain't in no hurry," his nose crinkles as he looks down at Cat, "I don't think your giant pile of fluff's going nowhere."

Matt's hand rises to his lips when Flicker opens the box, the curve of his smile small behind his fingers. "Must have been an experience for the illustrators," his eyes flick to Jax, his smile widening as he drops his hand. "Given how hot the game's been, I'm sure people fairly flocked to them." Inclining his head, he leans back again. "I'm game if you are, but certainly there's no hurry. If you're worried you're out of practice, well..." He turns his hand palm up, the gesture graceful and magnanimous, "...I can go easy on you."

Flicker pulls his eyes up from the bird. One side of his mouth twitches up. "What, you're already priming the excuses for when you lose?" It takes a moment before he lowers the picture back to the box. Picks up his soup, stirs it slowly. His eyes drop back to the illustration. "I saw some the other day," tumbles out abruptly. A flush of red floods his cheeks. "Flickers. I mean."

"Pretty sure we all know I'm gonna be the one who loses here but I always kinda just wing these things." Jax munches his cookie, his other hand splaying out against the table top. His head tilts slightly, brows lifting. His eye skips to the window, then back to Flicker. "Oh! Um, we are talking saw 'em, um, outside, right?"

"You can't fault me for being prepared." Both of Matt's hands rise to his lips, but neither quite hides his delighted grin. "No harm, so long as you enjoy the eggsperience." His boyish glee softens quickly to sincere interest, though. "That's marvelous! Where did you go?"

"Your goals maybe -- don't always line up with actual win conditions, but so long as you're having fun." Flicker shrugs. His cheeks redden further, and he takes another mouthful of soup to delay answering. He glances up to Jax -- almost shyly. Then back down to the box. "I went out to the Jamaica Bay wildlife refuge last week. With -- with Steve. There were a lot of..." He swallows. "We saw a lot of birds."

"Collecting the prettiest hand of cards is a totally cromulent goal." A flush of color dusts Jax's cheeks, too, but his smile is bright. "-- Oh! You -- oh gosh but it was always lovely when we used to go out there!" He bounces slightly where he sits, a warm flutter of glow blossoming around him. "I'm glad you saw Steve, he'd been asking after you. I'm sure he was right glad to see you, he'd been worried."

Matt picks up a citrus cookie but does not immediately start in on it. His eyes remain fixed on Flicker, steady and keen. "The weather's been just glorious for that, too." His voice goes just a touch gentler, his brows wrinkling just a touch with concern. "Steve's a great guy, but I hope he's not been pressing you too much about what happened? I think he knows just enough about Prometheus to be righteously furious, but perhaps not enough to be sensitive..."

"Yeah." Flicker smiles, soft and small. "It was nice, we --" He looks up again swiftly. Wide-eyed, startled, his head shaking a firm and immediate objection. "What? No, no, he wasn't. He didn't -- he just. He was great, if anything I was the one who -- after what I dropped on him he --" His mouth snaps shut. He grips his spoon tighter. "He wasn't -- prying. About Prometheus. We'd -- we needed -- to talk."

"Dropped what on him? About Prometheus? I think he's gotten to know enough of us by now it was bound to come out eventually." Jax finishes his cookie, licking crumbs off his fingertips and looking at Flicker with a slightly puzzled expression.

Matt's eyebrows tick up slightly, but he only nibbles on his cookie quietly through Flicker's somewhat halting non-explanation. "He's sturdy, I'm sure he can handle a bit of dropping on." His words are flippant, but the smile behind them is fond and not the least unkind. "So are we."

"Not about Prometheus, I --" Flicker stares down at his soup. He takes several slow breaths. Sets the bowl aside and pets the cat slowly instead. "The night before Hofstadter I had -- had told him I --" His eyes dart up to the others in turn, but only very fleetingly. "That I had -- that I have. Feelings for him."

Jax's mouth opens briefly into a small o -- he closes it again tight, folding his hands in his lap. "Oh -- oh. Oh, sweetie." He launches himself off the table and onto the sofa beside Flicker, throwing his arms around the other man for a fierce squeeze. "Before Hofstadter? Were you -- was he --" He frowns, fumbles as he curls a leg up under himself, settling sideways on the couch to face Flicker. "Well, I'm glad you got the chance to talk to him now. I'm -- glad you're tellin' us, too, honey-honey."

Matt's reaction is more muted, though his hand still goes to his cheek. "Goodness!" He drapes himself on Jax, chin resting on a folded arm resting on the other man's shoulder, so he can still see Flicker. "That was likely more stressful for you than for him, but regardless--" His head tips in Jax's direction to indicate his agreement. "--what he said. How are you feeling, about that? The talk, and the reason for it?"

Flicker leans into Jax's hug, ignoring Cat's hiss of protest just before he thumps down off his lap and stalks off. He exhales shakily, pressing his face against Jax's shoulder before pulling back. He curls himself into the corner of the couch, gnawing on the inside of his lip and looking over at the other two men with a very small furrow of his brows. A very small dip of his head. "You're not..." It's soft, kind of wondering before he trails off, looking down at his hand.

"I don't know," he admits with another flush. "I wasn't looking to actually -- Steve isn't --" He shakes his head. "I'd never told anyone, you know? I only told him because I thought I was going to die. I did die. But then I -- now I'm here and I didn't plan on the -- after. I..." His finger traces the seam of his flannel pants. "I don't know what comes after. Everything just happened and I was back in the labs with that -- that --" His fingers twitch briefly, his eyes squeezing shut, "-- and Jamie's here now and I never. Had a plan for. This."

Jax bumps the side of his head lightly against Matt's, and pulls one leg up against his chest. "Back with --" His frown deepens. "Jamie? Are... y'all..." He bites down on his lip, cheeks puffing out before he lets out a slow breath. "That sounds like -- a lot. I don't think all that is really the kind of thing you can have a plan for. Figuring out who you are and who you love can be difficult enough in the best of times and you've been through a wringer, sugar. It's okay to take time and sort through what you need now. And we love you, and we're gonna be here for you while you do it, okay?"

"Oh, darling." Matt's tension is palpable where he leans on Jax, but it does not show on his face or in his voice. "We're not going to judge you." This is firm, confident. "Not for any of those things, or not having a plan, which as he said is pretty understandable under the circumstances. But..." He inclines his head. "We're not terrible at planning when we put our heads together, and maybe we could help you do that, if you'd like?" His eyes skip aside to Jax for confirmation.

Flicker's fingers scrunch at the soft fabric of his pants. "We shared a cell inside. He --" His voice is a bit listless. He plucks at the seam again. "Says he loves me, I." He just swallows, breathes deep again. "Thank you." There's a breathless relief in his voice, a loosening of tension in his posture when he looks up. "I think I'd like that."