I don't know if I'm just that tired or if I've been living in New York too long, but I genuinely. Can't tell if you're serious.
<NYC> Village Lofts - East Village
Bright and sunny, the lobby of this apartment building is clean and unassuming. The sole elevator at the back is often slow, but fairly reliable. A small sitting area has bright yellow couches and small coffee tables, though the nearby vending machine is perpetually running out of something. Tall windows let in plenty of light during the daytime, and the building maintenance keeps the common areas spotlessly clean. A bank of mailboxes near the sitting area collects mail for the building, a recycling bin right at hand for the unwanted spam. Beside the mailboxes, a large corkboard serves as informal meeting space for the announcements, perpetually flyered with notes and notices from the various apartment residents.
'Locations:' Laundry Room (LAU), Roof (ROF)
It's getting on into the evening, though the sun hasn't quite set. The lobby is warm with the fading light, splashed across the couches and highlighting the bulletin board (where management has, futilely, not for the first time, pasted a notice over top of the ads for dog walkers and housekeepers and Roommate Wanted and Spanish Tutor. Strenuously urging residents to only! Buzz! In! Their own guests! And not let anyone follow them into the building!)
Flicker has his keyfob in his hand -- but doesn't actually use it to get in through the building's front door, so following him into the building is kind of a moot point. He is just -- outside the building one moment, and the next he's inside -- and after that over by the mailboxes. His path through the lobby is hard to fully track, a vague blur of motion that leaves ghostly afterimages briefly for anyone trying to follow his lightning-quick teleportation. When he finally does resolve into a form that is properly visible he looks much as he always does: impeccably neat if a bit too-pale and raccoon-eyed, in pale blue button-down and khakis, an arm that actually looks arm-shaped today (smooth and matte-black, it still makes no attempt to resemble flesh) a backpack on his back and ID from Tisch Hospital still clipped to his waist. (It does not, for the observant, say 'Flicker' on it beneath his photo, but 'Dawson Allred'.) His keys rattle as he goes to unlock the mailbox for 403, leafing through the stack of mail inside.
The elevator doors start to slide open with a ding. "--know what they're for, Angie, I just don't think we need them," Sarah says, her phone held to her ear. The exasperation in her voice would be well known to any parent. She walks out into the lobby and turns for the mailboxes, attention still on her conversation. "Well, for one thing, I'm almost positive that we aren't near-- 25 miles away seems far enough to me!"
She spots Flicker then and brightens some, giving him a wave. "Look, can we talk about this later?" she says into the phone. "Okay. Okay. I love you, too, don't do anything stupid." Her phone gets stuffed into the pocket of her jeans, which are covered in patches and rolled up at the ankle to show off a pair of violently purple combat boots. Whatever baking pun is on her shirt today is covered by a baby blue and pink flannel.
"Hi there, neighbor," she greets cheerfully, going for her own mailbox. "How's it going?"
Flicker looks up sharply at Sarah's final line of phone conversation. A little paler, a little wide-eyed. His sudden snap of tension eases when he notices she is speaking to the phone and not him. He continues flipping through the mail, sorting the junk out from the actual mail. "Hey." His smile is a little delayed. Still bright, though. "Twenty-five miles from -- what?" Almost as soon as he's asked, his cheeks are flushing red, the waxy scars in his cheeks standing out more sharply. He looks back down to the flyer in his hand, drops it into the recycling bin. "Sorry. I shouldn't have been eavesdropping."
"It's fine, I was talking in a public space." There are only two pieces of mail in the box for 203, but Sarah seems delighted to have them all the same. Both letters go into the back pocket of her jeans, where they stick out like some kind of white flag. "Sorry if I startled you. We made the mistake of letting Angie watch Chernobyl - Angie's my sister - and now he's going on about ordering iodine pills and I guess there is a nuclear power plant 25 miles north of here?" Sarah shrugs. "So probably you'll be able to stop at my apartment soon for baked goods and something for radiation, who knows."
"He's your sister," Flicker echoes this with a puzzled blink -- then a deeper blush, a shake of his head. "I guess it -- couldn't hurt. You never know when someone's going to just. Have a meltdown around you. And Chernobyl was really intense so I can understand the anxiety." Shed of his spam, he tucks the rest of the mail into a back flap pocket of his backpack. "Your cookies aren't radioactive, though?"
"You think /that/ sounds odd, wait until I break out the phrase 'my sister and his wife.'" Sarah grins up at him. "He's genderqueer, uses he/him pronouns, but him being my brother is just..." Her noise wrinkles. "I don't have anything against brothers, but Angie is /always/ my sister. And no, if only because I couldn't find truly /organic/ uranium. I want to make environmentally friendly radioactive cookies."
Flicker blinks again, and leans up against the bank of mailboxes. Closing the door to his mailbox with a push of his shoulder. He lifts a hand, rubbing at the back of his neck. "I -- I'm sorry," he drops his hand back to his side heavily, his smile a little sheepish. "I don't know if I'm just that tired or if I've been living in New York too long, but I genuinely. Can't tell if you're serious."
"Oh!" Now it's Sarah turn to blush, her face going pink. "No, it was a joke, sorry. No radioactive cookies, I promise." She makes an X over her heart with a forefinger. "Just normal delicious ones."
Flicker exhales a heavy -- relieved -- breath. Straightens, scrubbing his fingers through his hair. Then just as quickly smoothing it back into place. "I just. Wouldn't be surprised. If someone out there was genuinely -- trying to sell organic uranium cookies. Probably explaining how the radioactivity is really what you need instead of vaccines. Hot yoga in the morning, radioactive cookies before bed." He hitches his backpack back up onto his shoulder. Locks his mailbox again, jingling his keys restlessly in his hand.
"Yeah..." Sarah watches Flicker for a tiny moment, her brow furrowing. "Hey, I know we really just met, but... are you okay?" she asks, concerned. "You don't have to answer. But if you do ever want to talk, I have a full cookie jar and some coffee in the fridge."
Flicker's eyes widen, and for -- only the briefest instant, his breath catches, fingers curling against the keys. They return to jingling again right after. A quick smile flits across his face. "People keep asking me that," he answers with a quiet laugh. "I'm in med school, I'm not going to be okay for -- the next couple years, minimum. I do plan to sleep tonight, though. That should help." His lip catches briefly between his teeth. His voice is softer when he adds, "But thanks. For asking."
"Of course. We all have to look out for each other, right?" She offers him a small smile of her own, shoving her hands into her pockets. "It was nice seeing you again. Will you tell Dusk I said hi?"
Flicker laughs, quick and bright. "Sure I will. I'll -- see you around, Sarah." He's vanishing towards the stairwell door in a blur -- but returning in the same lightning-fast flutter. Stopping on the other side of Sarah, this time. "Hey, I know we really just met, but -- can I ask you a favor?" For a moment his teeth worry at the inside of his cheek.
She startles with an "EEP," before flushing again. Might as well just ignore that and carry on. "Sure, what is it?" she asks, trying to sound casual and like her feet didn't just leave the ground.
"Sorry," Flicker blushes again, taking a half-step back. "I didn't mean to --" He shakes his head quickly, offering an apologetic smile. "It's just -- Dusk's not home for a minute and I have to go out of town for a couple days and I've been feeding our cat and Dusk's ferret. Our other roommate is home but he's --" His brows pinch together. "-- a little spacey lately. I'm sure he'll be fine but if you could stop by maybe. Friday or Saturday and just make sure." His smile is a little crooked. "Honestly probably wouldn't hurt to make sure the both of them eat, if he's in the middle of a project he can forget all about time."
"Really?" Sarah asks brightly. She's never seen a ferret outside of a pet store before, and there's a cat? Even better. "I'd love to. I can make something to bring to your other roommate, if that isn't weird? Do they have any allergies?"
"I'm sure Hive will love getting fed. No allergies, not a very picky eater. He knows what to do with the pets, I just -- want to make sure he actually looks up from his computer once every couple days and, you know." Flicker shrugs a shoulder, breathing out a quiet laugh. "Does it. I really appreciate it."
"It's no problem. I actually appreciate that you asked me, so I guess we're even." Sarah offers him a small salute. "Have a good time on your trip. Feel free to stop by when you get back."
"Definitely." Flicker gives Sarah one last smile, quick and warm. Then blinks off towards the stairs, pulling the door open briefly and vanishing.