home from jail
<NYC> The Roost - Harbor Commons - Lower East Side
This upper wing of the house is airy and expansive. The catwalk that leads into it from the central staircase and elevator shaft never becomes an enclosed hallway, but remains open enough that one could exit any of the four rooms, vault the railing between them, and drop (or glide) down to the common spaces.
Two large rooms at the rear of the house share a long outdoor balcony connected to the conservatory, and are joined inside by french doors. Accessible from either room is a large bathroom tiled in sparkly deep blue with a truly prodigious soaking tub. Both rooms are furnished with low-slung king beds, long dressers, built-in bookshelves, and backless (or convertible) chairs, all beautifully handcrafted and polished.
One of this pair of rooms is virtually undecorated save for the desk, which, with its see-through glass body and softly glowing lights inside, serves as a computer case. On closer inspection, a pair of small aquariums sitting to either side of the three desktop monitors are /also/ computers, their inner workings submerged in a pale blue liquid on a bed of aquarium pebbles alongside plastic plants, little ceramic castles, and fake coral. The other room is tastefully adorned with framed art and astrophotography prints, though its array of computer cases is nowhere near so interesting to look at, tucked beneath the wraparound desk in a neat, unassuming row.
Across the walkway, a similarly capacious guest room does not contain quite so much computing power, its furniture sturdy and pleasant and neutral. It adjoins another large bathroom that connects to the hallway and bedroom alike. The last room in the wing is cylindrical, nowhere near so large in footprint as the others but quite a bit taller, capped by a dome that houses a beautiful crescent-shaped mount for three optical telescopes of differing power and design.
It's midmorning -- largely quiet around Workhaus until a heavy flap of wings rustles down around the upstairs balcony. The THUD--bump--thump--thud -- of landing sounds heavy, clumsy, kind of fumbled. Outside, Dusk is dressed plainly -- jeans, a black tee with a red stripe across its chest; too-skinny, kind of pale, sunglasses shading his eyes against the daylight. He slumps against his balcony rail after he's landed, shucking his messenger bag to the floor with another thump and folding his wings in against his back. Not /actually/ going inside, yet. Instead digging a pack of tobacco out of his pocket to roll himself a cigarette.
For a time, Dusk is left alone on the balcony with his cigarette. When Flicker arrives it's quieter. A small flutter of motion. Dropping near-silently to land on the balcony beside Dusk. First holding out a thermos. Fresh hot coffee, almond milk, lightly sweetened. /Then/ pulling Dusk in for a hug, tight, fierce.
It's not very long after this that Scramble makes her way up through the house, coming out onto the balcony from Dusk's room. She's smartly dressed in an extremely androgynous dark purple pantsuit and a gleaming white dress shirt, tie-less, top button undone. Her gold jewelery is a /little/ subtler than usual, but not much. There's a weird, jangling energy to movements, her pupils just a little too wide. She curls a long arm around Dusk and holds him tight, buries her face against his shoulder, heedless of flattening her perfectly teased hair.
Cigarette half-lit, dangling from his lips, Dusk's eyes widen -- a soft rumble stirs in his chest at Flicker's appearance. His breath catches. He snags the thermos kind of automatically -- even as he takes it his wing is reaching out, curling snug and warm around the other man. Pulling Flicker in, close, tight. He hasn't let go when Scramble turns up. He plucks the cigarette from his lips. His other wing curls around her, his stubbly cheek tipping sideways to press lightly down against her hair as her wraps her up close. The rumbling in his chest deepens.
Flicker relaxes. Leans in harder, forehead bumping up against Dusk's chest. By the time he steps back, there's a faint flush to his cheeks, a faster beat to his heart. He lifts his hand, rubbing at the back of his neck. His mechanical hand holds a black case (it has a cheerfully smiling cartoon heart with bat wings embroidered onto it) that he sets down on a table. Drops to sit in a chair. Starts to reach for the phlebotomy kit. Hesitates. Just watches Dusk a moment, hand rubbing slowly against his cheek.
Scramble doesn't let go of Dusk altogether even when her grip on him eases. She hooks one foot around the leg of the chair beside Flicker's, turning it around and steering Dusk down into it -- backwards, so he can lean forward on its removable back support. Though she cannot match his strength, her touch is confident and firm. She catches Flicker's eye and indicates the phlebotomy kit with a upward tip of her chin while her hands go to work kneading on Dusk's shoulders. Less tangibly, her mind stretches out and, contrary to her usual mode of operating, /restores/ the chemical balance of Dusk's brain. The effect is gradual, perhaps gradual enough to escape conscious notice, especially since Scramble is all the while working her knuckles into the tight muscles at the base of his wings.
Dusk easily lets himself be steered, collapsing into the chair with a low grunt. His wings sag heavily, shoulders relaxing soon after as Scramble begins to knead at his back. Arms folding against the back of the chair, his head sinks down against one forearm, scruffy cheek tipping sideways as his eyes flutter -- only half-closed. Half watching Flicker, quiet and steady with a slight constriction of pupils even as his breathing slows.
Flicker grabs the kit. Drags it closer, opens it. He's just getting out an alcohol swab when his eyes catch Dusk's. The brief stutter of hesitation is a quick thing. Fleeting and gone again, breath briefly hitched and his fingers stalling on the paper before his expression relaxes back into a half-smile. He tears the packet open. Neat and practiced in the process of finding a vein, cleaning the site, sticking the winged needle in. Even on his own arm he hits the vein first try, clipping the long tube shut with a small plastic clamp and offering the other end out to Dusk.
Scramble kneads steadily, alternating between deep pressure and gentler touches. Where the muscles on Dusk's back are tightest, she works slow and meticulous, hands circling out and back again. What she does with his brain is similarly methodical, not giving him /calm/ so much as easing the sharp chemical edge of recent trauma -- or not-so-recent trauma recently triggered afresh. She lifts her eyes from her work to watch Flicker's expertly performed venipuncture. Quirks a sidelong smile at him. Her hands slow briefly, skin warm against skin where she brushes against the base on his wings. Leans down and presses a firm kiss to the top of Dusk's head. Then kneading harder again, leaning more and more of her weight into her massage as the muscles warm beneath her hands.
Dusk's cheeks colour darker at the brief hitch of pause from Flicker. His eyes slip the rest of the way closed, soft rumbling purr deepening under Scramble's continued ministrations. By the time his eyes open again there's a brighter glimmer to them. He opens his mouth -- closes it again with a slightly choked swallow. The smile on his face is soft as he reaches to take the tube from Flicker and nestle appreciatively back into the others' warmth.