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Dramatis Personae

Flicker, Hive, Steve


"We still like it."


<NYC> {Workhaus} - Harbor Commons - Lower East Side

The wide entryway leads into a semicircular sitting area with plush modular chairs, sofas, and huge beanbags arranged around two low tables. The bright, open expanse of the house fans back and out from here, executed in stunning industrial style with extremely conservative usage of rough stone walls.

Through a door on the right is a library boasting an eclectic but extensive collection of books, a cozy reading nook, as well as a state-of-the-art computer work station. Opposite this is a media room with a projector mounted overhead and a formidable sound system on all sides, the windows still admitting plenty of light when the blackout curtains are pulled back.

Beyond the sitting area, toward the back of the house and separated from adjacent areas only by plentiful black granite counters, are a pair of kitchens, each stocked with their own appliances, cookware, servingware, and utensils. Adjoining the (vegan and kosher) kitchen on the right is a simple dining room with a long oval table and chairs designed to accommodate a range of body shapes. On the other side, tucked between the general-purpose kitchen and the media center, is a guest room and a full bath.

At the center of the entire house is a cylindrical elevator shaft of steel and glass with two floating stairways coiled around it like an immense double helix. Both elevator and stairs lead down out of sight and up to a circular landing joined to the second storey wings by walkways that leave the space above the sitting area open. Above the kitchens is a sun-drenched split-level recess, the lower half a conservatory enclosed by glass and the upper half a rooftop garden. The whole is walled with glass and lets in copious quantities of natural light softened by lush greenery.

It's toasty-warm in Workhaus, today. The beeping of the oven timer is only just signalling Food being ready -- creamy vegan mac and cheese coming out of the oven, a very basily tomato soup on the stove. Casually dressed in denim button-up over plain white undershirt, jeans, thick soft socks, Hive has been tending these things, half his attention on his food and half his attention on Farscape playing over on the large projected screen.

Flicker is curled up in the ballpit in the media room. For once not working! Though his nearby pile of books and laptop suggests this is a -- recent development. He's got a lap full of Cat instead of schoolwork. A whole lot of purring. A mind full of mingled warmth and wistfulness at the smells filling the house. << It beeped? >> Hopeful.

<< Patience. >> Hive isn't /only/ saying that because he's very busy watching -- with kind of bated breath, felt twined tight as /Flicker's/ attention rivets more intently on the screen -- the brilliant glow as Talyn prepares to starburst. << Where is your damn heart. >> Even as they are watching this, over in the kitchen he is grabbing bowls. Ladling out soup. Sloooowly.

Flicker's breath catches. Eyes fixing back on the show. The pang within him is sharp (no matter he's seen this episode a dozen times before. /Still/ sharp) -- though soon followed by amusement: << In the kitchen. With that soup. >>

Steve lets himself into Workhaus without fanfare, bringing a quick breath of wintery air with him. He's not really dressed for the cold, his khaki canvas jacket unbuttoned over a red-and-black plaid flannel shirt and worn, comfortable jeans, but then, his trip was rather short. His shield isn't really properly harnessed, just slung casually over one shoulder, and he carries a large silver thermos in the other hand. He waves to Hive, the gesture paired with a shift in his mental presence that feels like a solid /lean/. Pauses to shuck his boots, then ducks into the media room. The scene playing on the screen distracts him, but he picks his way across to the ball pit after a moment, settling the thermos down beside Flicker, though he does not yet sit himself. << Do you want another hand with cooking? >>

<< Cooking's done. Go, sit. Watch. >> Hive appears soon in the doorway, a bowl of soup in each hand. << Trade. >> Soup for cat may not be the most fair dinner trade, and yet. Hive extends the bowls toward the ballpit even as Flicker's leg jostles at Cat.

Which does exactly nothing to dislodge the enormous lump of fur. Cat just purrs more. Sighing, Hive leans in to scoop the heavy calico up, a fuzzy dead weight in his arms.

Flicker's hand lifts for the soup just as Hive holds it out. Eyes still focused on the screen but his movement easily completing the other man's. His chin lifts to Steve, a quick warm smile lighting his face. His brows lift -- he looks toward the thermos in hopeful query.

Steve hesitates a moment, as he always does, before joining Flicker in the ball pit. He answers Flicker with a smile of his own. Picks up the thermos and unscrews its cap, inverting it for use as as cup and filling it with fragrant hot cocoa, strongly spiced. Holds it out for Flicker, his eyes skidding back toward the screen. << Good show? >>

Hive settles down on a beanbag. The cat contents himself to drape over Hive's bonier lap, now, sprawling half on the man and half on the large cushion. << You like it. >> Not so much a promise of the show's quality, here, as an reflection of a current shared mindset; a reflected warm nostalgia creeping over Steve's mind to tinge his feelings as he watches. << We like it. >>

"I've seen it all a million times." Half apologetic. Maybe not /very/. Flicker is not /un/aware of his own mind's influence on the current viewing. He reaches for the cocoa with an inward silent thanks, savoring his first spicy sip. For him the nostalgia comes with half-surfacing memories. Unwrapping the box set one Christmas -- cocoa (less spiced) while snow piled up outside -- many sleepless nights that break tucked in an armchair with his sister trying to finish the /entire/ series before school started again. "It's good."

Steve nods, sinks deeper into the ball pit. One of his hands rests on the shield that he had left leaning against the side of the couch, his fingers playing along the edge. The warmth and sweetness of cocoa, past and present, washes through him. << We like it, >> he agrees, curling closer to Flicker unconsciously. Colorful plastic balls shift, a few overflowing. Distantly, in him, there's the ache of a sibling's absence. << Still. >>

<< Million and one, now. >> Hive's presence flushes soft and gentle around the others. Taking in the memories -- the ache -- the sweetness all, and wrapping them in a quiet warmth. Unapologetic: "I didn't make you cake."

"Cocoa's just as good." Steve's unconscious curl is met with an answering settling from Flicker. Posture easing closer, comfortably against Steve's side. Mentally it's much the same, a habitual lean up against the familiar feel of Hive's presence in him. There's no apology in him for the ache -- he leans into that, as well. Sips the cocoa again, hands it off to Steve. "Yeah." Quiet. "We still like it."