ArchivedLogs:Becoming Human

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Becoming Human
Dramatis Personae

Doug, Jackson




<NYC> Village Lofts - Laundry Room - East Village

This laundry room looks as many laundry rooms do. Fluorescent lights a little too-bright, linoleum floor is chipping, lint-dusty and occasionally stained sticky with spilled detergent. A broom and dustpan in one corner encourage its users to contribute to its cleanliness, which they do with intermittent conscientiousness. A bank of quarter-fed washing machines along the wall have clear windows on their doors to watch the laundry spin and turn within. On the wall opposite, a matching row of dryers near-perpetually has at least one out of commission. A rickety folding table and chairs at one side provide a place to sit and wait. There's a dispenser on the wall that will provide single-use sized packets of detergent or fabric softener, but it is hit or miss whether it is ever in stock.

It's quite late at night when Jackson makes his way down to the laundry room, but that is generally all the better. It means he finds a laundry room deserted and a bank of washers just /waiting/ for him to hog them all. He's dressed blandly for him, soft purple yoga pants and a white sleeveless shirt. Pink eyepatch. No shoes, no makeup. He's hauling a large pop-up hamper that he dumps on the floor, opening it to pull a large jug of detergent out of the top and pour some into the first two machines. Clothes are soon to follow, a bright colourful mix of them though -- the first few he pulls out to load into his machine seem to be rather bloodstained.

This late at night, there are things moving about the apartment building. Slow-moving things that approach the laundry room in a shambling step. It is the INVASION OF THE UNDEA -- oh, no. It's just Doug, disheveled and weary-looking as he enters the laundry room. Also barefoot, the blonde has on only a pair of sweatpants, ragged-looking and riding low on his hips. He carries his own basket, which is entirely too full, indicating that it's probably been a while since he's thought about attending this chore. He pauses, blinking, when he see Jax at the machines, and he furrows his brow as if trying to remember just exactly who this might be. Finally, something clicks. "Hey, Jax," is hoarse and limp as he moves to the unclaimed machines, dropping his basket heavily. "I didn't think anyone was down here, this late."

"Long day," Jackson answers lightly, continuing to transfer clothes from hamper to machine, "sometimes feels like the only time I got a minute to actually catch /up/ on chores is once everyone's asleep." He glances up, gaze flicking down over Doug and then turning back to his machine with a slight flush of cheeks. "You don't look to great. Been aright?"

"I hear you," Doug says, pulling a tablet from his basket and setting it on a chair before he begins pulling clothes from his basket and stuffing them into machines. "I've been so wrapped up, I haven't even been thinking about laundry." He yawns, scratching his belly lightly and shrugging at the question. "I'm just tired," he says. "I've been burning a lot of midnight oil, trying to get something done for a client." He waggles fingers fingers between himself and Jax for a moment, as if indicating some sort of connection. "That good-looking detective," he adds helpfully. "Murphy Law." More clothes go into the washers. "How've you been?"

"Good-looking --?" This descriptor just earns a look of complete blankness from Jackson; it's only when the name is given that the confusion leaves his face and he nods. "Oh. Him," it's too quiet-absent to really read a lot into that 'him'. "How's the project going?" He finishes emptying the hamper into the two washers, fishing out quarters from inside it as well to get his machines started. He pulls himself, a little slow, a little stiff, to sit atop one of them; when he looks back to Doug it's with a bright quick smile. "Good!" he answers cheerfully, "I mean, busy. But good. Kinda good you got work to occupy you, the city's kinda a mess right now anyway."

Doug's eyebrows twitch just a bit at the reaction Murphy's name gets from the older man, but he doesn't comment on it. He just bobs his head in agreement, and pushes the last of his own clothes into the machines, not exactly mimicking Jackson as much as performing the age-old ritual. Detergent, soap, quarters... When Jackson asks about his current project, Doug actually brightens, and his grin is wide. "/Excellent/," he says. "Is how it's going. I finally figured out how to build a super-processor that won't burn itself out after ten minutes." He says this like Jax has been privy to ALL THE SCIENCE so far. "Now all I have to do is finish building the motherboard and writing the master program, and it /should/ be ready." He starts his machines, and frowns as he watches Jax climb up on his. "You're moving a bit funny," he notes. "You sure you're okay?"

"You what?" Jackson tilts his head to one side, with the polite interest of someone who -- doesn't really know very much at all about anything Doug does. But is showing interest anyway! "I mean, cool! Sounds like you been workin' real hard, must be nice to have the end in sight." He shifts, pulling one leg up beneath him with a faint wince that shifts soon back into his warm smile. "Oh, yeah. Little sore. Tough --" His teeth drag against his lower lip. "Workout. Sparring. Think I'm gonna wear a few bruises a while."

Doug grins. "I essentially built a super-engine for a computer," he says, simplifying it for the other man. "It'll do the work of five machines, now. I'm pretty pleased with it. I'm going to build a couple, so I'll have them for my internship interviews, if I get any." He bobbles his head as he moves to the chair where his tablet rests and picks it up, dropping into the now-empty seat. "It's nice," he agrees. "But it's also kind of a bummer, because this project has been challenging in all the right ways, you know?" His eyebrows twitch at Jax's explanation, and he purses his lips. "Sparring?" he echoes in a confused tone. "Like, in a boxing ring?"

"Oh! Oh, I mean. That -- sounds really awesome. Both that you built it and -- work that actually challenges you is kind of great," Jackson says with a quick bob of his head, a brightening of his smile. "-- what's Murphy need with a -- super... engine?" he asks, suddenly puzzled. His cheeks flush at the question, head ducking with a bashful lowering of his eye. "Sort of -- sort of, yeah. Like -- sparring."

Doug grins. "Yeah, it's been kind of awesome. Some of the stuff I've learned I can use for my A.I. stuff, so that's a definite bonus." He wobbles his head in answer to the Murphy question, and rolls a shoulder. "He said something about setting up some kind of network," he says through another yawn. "He didn't give me a lot of details. Or maybe he did, and I was all distracted, because -- hot detective in my apartment." He turns a definite shade of pink when he says this, although he doesn't look that embarassed. "/Kind/ of like sparring?" he asks, his brow furrowing. "Is that like 'kind of pregnant'?"

"A.I. stuff?" Jax wriggles slightly where he sits on the washer. "That's -- like the same kinda stuff 'Bastian's doing, I think. He's real into --" His blush deepens. "That. Smart stuff. A network?" His teeth wiggle at his lip ring, and he watches the other man's blush curiously. His lips twitch. "I don't think I'm pregnant."

"He just told me that he was in R&D," Doug says with a small lift of one side of his mouth. "I'm kind of jealous of him, honestly. Especially if he's working in A.I. I've decided that's the field I'm going to focus on. It kind of spun out of my game-building." He leans back in his chair, and wrinkles his nose. "No, I didn't mean you were preg -- " he breaks off, and grimaces. "I meant that I don't get 'kind of like sparring.' I mean, I think I'd know if I was fighting with someone, even with gloves on."

"R&D, yeah," Jackson has a quiet pride with this, though it's not like /he/ did any of the work. "Robotics and A.I. -- an' no, the 'sort of' was like a boxing ring. It is definitely sparring. No gloves on." Jackson glances down at his hands, which, a moment later, sprout shiny red boxing gloves on them -- they look more cartoony than real. "The bruises say I was definitely fighting. -- How's your game been going, anyway?"

Doug frowns at the explanation. "So, like Fight Club?" he asks, then holds up a hand. "Never mind, You couldn't answer that, even if it's true. First rule, and all of that." He thinks a moment. "So, you're working twelve jobs /and/ getting into fights?" He rubs at his eyes wearily, as if the idea makes him even more exhausted. "When do you find time to actually sleep? When the clothes are in the dryer?" It's a weak tease, only evidenced as such by the crinkle of his eyes.

"I'm only working four jobs," Jackson protests with a small curl of smile, "if you don't count freelancing commissions." The smile fades briefly, his fingers curling down against the edge of the washer. "-- I don't sleep," he answers a little distantly. He quirks a crooked grin at Doug. "An' you look like you ain't barely been, either. Working's good but, uh. Sleepin' and eatin' and all are, too."

"Don't sleep?" Doug asks, wrinkling his nose. "Is that hyperbole, or are you being serious?" He can't quite manage to stifle his own yawn, barely getting a hand up over his mouth. Jax's admonishment get a sheepish, sleepy sort of smile. "Nah, it's all good," he says. "I've done worse than this, before, with less awesome results. Although, I'm /fairly/ certain my bloodstream is about forty percent Red Bull, now." He frowns. "I eat," he protests. "I just had a pizza the other day." Which TOTALLY COUNTS. "Although, someone in the neighborhood was barbecuing something last night that smelled delicious. I was tempted to stop working and find it."

"Maybe you should've," Jackson suggests with a slightly amused smile, "we had a party on the roof, there was enough food on the grills to feed ten armies. Uh, there was a notice posted about it on the bulletin board all week. -- Pizza the other day? What've you had /today/?"

"A party?" Doug echoes, his brow furrowing deeply. "Who was it for? I haven't been downstairs in at least a week," he says. "I've been telecommuting all my classes, so I could keep working. Damn." His bottom lip juts out, and he frowns. "I bet that was awesome. I wish I'd known about it. I could go for a hamburger." He has no immediate answer for Jax, the search of his memory playing out on his face. "Um. I thinK I had a bowl of Wacky Wakandanuts this morning," he offers. "But it could have been yesterday."

"Was for /America/," Jackson says with a quick snort, an amused curl of smile. "-- Was for an excuse to get drunk and make things explode and gorge on so much barbecue. It was pretty awesome --" He trails off, biting down on his lip and /frowning/ suddenly at Doug. He slides off the washer with a distinct wince. "You're gettin' food," he says, decisively.

Doug seems confused by the answer, and he shakes his head. "Was yesterday the /Fourth/?" he asks, real dismay seeping into his voice. "Holy shit. When did that happen?" He frowns, and grinds the heel of one palm into his eye. "/Fuck/," he groans. "I have /got/ to get some sleep. Maybe get out into the world or something." He misses Jackson getting off the washer, but he nods limply at the declaration. When he pushes to his feet, he seems a bit wobbly. "You guys got leftovers upstairs?" he asks, his tone as hopeful as the lift of his eyebrows. "Was there potato salad? I love potato salad."

Maybe he's babbling a tiny bit.

"Well -- no, by /now/ the fourth was the day /before/ yesterday," Jackson says with a crinkle of his nose. "But yeah. Um --" He shakes his head apologetically. "I don't know about -- no potato salad, all that stuff --" He shrugs. "All the meat an' eggy an' cheesey things went -- other places. /Someone's/ got potato salad for sure but it ain't me. Joshua maybe." His teeth wiggle at his lip. "But I got -- I got a lot of stuff, um," His brow furrows as he tries to consider. "You know what you can just have alla it uh -- I'll bring it up to your place?"

Doug groans, rubbing his eye again with a squicking sound. "Damn," he mutters. "I've really got to get caught up." He turns to bend and claim his tablet. The offer gets a smile, and a scrunch of his nose. "Oh, man, I'll have to ask Josh if he can hook me up," he says with a small smile. Then he swings the tablet at his washers. "Hey, can you do me a favor?" he asks, tucking the tablet under his arm. "Do you mind keeping an eye on my stuff for a little while? I think I'm going to try and catch a nap. Read some news. Become human again." He rubs the back of his head. "I'll be back down by the time they need to go in the dryer."

"Sounds like you might could really use one, honey-honey." Jackson winces faintly, leaning back against the washer again. "Sure thing. I'll bring y'up some food after you've got some sleep in." He tips his chin up in a nod, smile warm once more. "Seem pretty human to me already, though."

"Oh, man, /thanks/," Doug says earnestly, leaning in the doorway. "I owe you big time. Food and favors -- that's worth...something." The blonde waves a hand. "I'll think of something good," he promises, pushing off the frame again. At the statement confirming his humanity, there's a weak smile, and he lifts a shoulder. "Contrary to popular opinion, I am not an automaton," he says with a chuckle. "Although, I sort of feel like one, right now. I'll be back down in an hour," he promises. "I will not make you do my laundry on top of feeding me." The smile he offers has a little more strength to it, and he waggles his fingers. "One hour," he repeats. Maybe he's making sure he'll remember. It gets repeated a couple more times as he backs out of the laundry room, and he can even be heard muttering it at the elevator. "One hour." Then he's gone; off to get some sleep. Or, if he /is/ actually an automaton, power down. Whichever it is, he definitely needs it.