From X-Men: rEvolution
Dramatis Personae

Dusk, Hive, Isra, Gremlin


"Alright, chatterbox, to the skies with you."


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

There's an open airy feel to the floorplan of this unit. The door opens up into a wide expanse of common space that is not so much divided up into rooms as it is simply multipurposed.

Ash-grey resin flooring underfoot runs up against the paler grey of the exposed stone in the walls; between the stone support there are wide floor-to-ceiling windows looking out at the river on one side of the home and the Commons' central yard on the other. Half of the space has a ceiling at one-floor height, though half of the space is left open with a balcony up on the second floor overlooking the living space below. A slatted stairway heads up to the second floor balcony; on the other side of the room, a fireman's pole running straight down to the basement provides a quicker way /down/.

The wide open space here is combination living and dining room; in a recessed pit near the windows there are a pair of couches and large armchair around a wide coffeetable; further off a steel-and-glass dining table is surrounded by eight tall black chairs. A full bathroom behind the stairway is done up in dark granite; the glass-doored bathtub/shower is rather expansively large.

The kitchen is tucked off in back, beneath the half-height ceiling; in here the appliances and cabinets and shelving recessed into the wall are in brushed steel, wide grey sweeps of tempered glass countertops running around the edge of the room and a large central island holding stoves and oven and deep double sink.

Adjacent to the kitchen, beneath the ceiling as well, is a sitting area structured largely around the enormous television against one wall, a wealth of video games for a number of consoles held on the shelves around the television. Crates and beanbags and one low futon folded against the floor are arranged in good viewing distance; opposite the television, a sturdy large pen built out of wood shrines a couch amid a sea of brightly colorful playpen balls. A door in one wall opens up to the apartment next door; a door opposite leads down to the basement.

Geekhaus smells like coffee, right now. There's a fresh pot recently brewed in the kitchen; Hive has claimed a very large mug of it for himself. The scowl on his face suggests it isn't particularly /helping/ just right now; he's rubbing knuckles hard against his temple, slumped heavily against the dining room table where the holographic bones of a home are hovering in front of him. Or around him. Kind of /through/ him; he's faceplanted somewhere amidst his creation, thunking into the center of the structure with a small groan. The stylus held between his scuffed and knobbly fingers clicks lightly against the glass of the dining table.

Up above and outside, an immense winged shadow passes over the balcony and alights, then enters. Isra does not linger long upstairs, but--drawn by the scent of coffee--comes down the stairs with her wings still folding in behind her. Her skin this week carries a silver gray sheen half-way between polished graphite and hematite. Her horns and talons gleam in metallic violet, and the same color adorns the membranes of her wings in an intricate labyrinth pattern. She wears a long seafoam green wrap dress with generous three-quarter length sleeves and carries a much-abused nylon messenger bag. The thick leather baby harness secured to her chest seems to contain only blankets at the moment, though Hive can the infant's mind stirring to wakefulness.

Isra pauses to study Hive's prostrate form briefly, tail swaying rapidly--considers and dismisses as unlikely the thought that he might need medical attention--then ducks into the kitchen to fill her chipped black NASA mug with coffee. When she emerges, she does go to Hive, nudging his shoulder gently with one long index phalanx. "Creative block?"

There is a rustle of plastic balls from the television room, a shifting in the ball pit. One purplish-grey wing, zigzagged with a tracery of mazelike patterning, hooks itself over the edge of the ballpit's wall. Dusk is half submerged in the colourful balls, still, Playstation control held in one hand and Disgaea paused on the screen. "It's just been nonstop groaning over there for, like, fucking, /hours/. I told him he needs video games instead."

Hive answers this with another groan. He tips to the side, leaning against Isra's claw. "Fuck you and your 'hours'," he mumbles into the crook of an arm. "It's been like twenty minutes, tops. And when my clients /pay/ me to play goddamn video games I'll come shoot fucking squidpeople with you. This --" His head tips very slightly to one side, his eye cracking open to peer up at Isra&babymonster. He waves the tip of the stylus at the structure around him, "is a bullshit. Fuck clients. Never have clients. I don't have /creative/ block I have fucking -- bullshit-ass -- motherfuckers -- can't decide on /goddamn anything/ -- keep changing things around every two seconds -- ask for impossible embleer nonsense -- don't understand how a frakking building /works/ -- and sure as hell won't answer an email on time though god forbid I take more then half a second to answer /mine/."

"I have not made a habit of having clients," Isra replies equably, "nor do I have any plans to start." She studies Hive's work-in-progress, rubbing at his back. "It seems to me that one generally hires an architect precisely /because/ one does not know how buildings work, but I suppose some forget that. Do you charge a fee for the headaches?"

Two small black fuzzy wings emerge from the bundle of blankets in the baby carrier and hook onto the edge of the harness--obviously a habitual motion, judging by the many scours in the leather there. Egg drags themselves up until their head peeks out, huge green eyes blinking blearily in the light and a series of low clicks emitting from their very, very toothy maw. Their thoughts are dominated by a curious tumble of spatial orientation--a too-bright visual survey of their surroundings supplemented with a startlingly detailed and cogent sonic map--and an unpleasant undercurrent of hunger.

Dusk tosses his controller aside (less cavalier than it might initially seem; it lands comfortably safe in a beanbag) and hauls himself up out of the ballpit with another rattle of plastic. There's a black and green sarong loosely tied around his hips though he's otherwise undressed. His eyes squint half-closed as he moves from the dim television room to the large-windowed and brighter lit living room; one wing curls up over his forehead. "He charges extra for bullshit. I should charge extra for bullshit. My clients are chock-full of bullshit but I'm not fancy and famous yet so I just have to suck it up."

"Obviously you need to get fancier." Hive's head lifts a little further. He props his chin up one one forearm, sharply narrowed eyes slowly shifting to track the Omelette's motion as their head emerges. "I charge extra for them changing crap on me all the damn time. That's a politer way of charging for the fucking headaches. And you'd /think/ they'd stop to remember once in a while /I'm/ the one who knows what I'm goddamn doing but -- that'd make things too fucking easy, right? Fff." His eyes close. Then open again. "Do they stay asleep while you're flying? Is that comfortable?"

Isra's other wing stretches out to wrap around Dusk. "Charging more and getting fancier go hand-in-hand regardless of bullshit fees." She takes a long pull of her coffee and tucks the blanket back in around Gremlin where it has fallen loose in their squirming. "Sometimes they sleep through the trip, sometimes not, but even as dead weight they really don't weigh all that much. I have not found carrying them uncomfortable."

The infant turns their head to follow the movement of Isra's hands, only half-heartedly mouthing at her fingers when they get near. They want to get their hands free very badly, and start wriggling again to that effect.

"I've thought about getting fancier but then I might have to wear actual clothes while I work." Dusk's grimace, brief though it is, makes it clear what he thinks of /that/ idea. He leans into Isra's wing, his own wing lowering behind him. "I'm pretty sure every client I've ever had has decided at some point that they know way more about programming than I do and need to tell me how it's done." His other wing reaches towards Hive's table, one claw poking absently at the holographic structure erected atop it. "The padding helps. Less comfortable when they're clawing your chest up."

"Nah. I work in my pajamas all the damn time. Fancy /enough/ and you're right back to having your own place and working however-the-damn-hell you want. -- I meant comfortable for /them/," Hive corrects, still squinting (glaring?) up at the Eggling through narrowed eyes. "They're really fucking -- squirm." His mind nudges heavily up against Isra and Dusk's, carrying with it a brief mental echo of the Gremlin's desire to free their hands.

<< Dusk working sans clothes is a selling point in itself, >> Isra thinks idly, eyeing Dusk with a faint and fangy smile. But, aloud, "We could clothe you in a such a way that you'd find tolerable, I'm sure--not that I mean to imply you ought to consider doing so for the sake of higher pay." She looks down at Egg, hairless brows wrinkling. "They haven't fussed about it all that much, so I can only assume it's not hugely uncomfortable. They definitely enjoy the nighttime flights better, though." Untucking the blanket again, she pulls it loose to make it easier for the baby to move.

Gremlin braces both wings down along the side of the leather harness and pushes themselves up yet again, this time far enough to get their long, spindly arms free. Their eyes track Dusk's wings as they fold in and their hands, lanky fingers on skinny little palms, flap vaguely in the air. The accompanying thoughts in their head amount to an exhilarating rush of wind and distance, dizzying to minds unused to how they conceptualize space.

"Not /all/ clothes are entirely awful." Dusk makes this concession a little bit grudgingly, his wings twitching slightly behind him. "But really, I'm just being greedy. I'm plenty comfortable already /and/ I get to work in whatever. I don't need to fuck with what's already excellent."

Hive squeezes his eyes shut again, his head turning back down to mash his face in against the crook of his arm. His other hand comes inward, pressing up against his temple. "I fear for the pigeons when they can manage it on their own." And after a small snort: "Or for Horus."

"I can't say I mind the view of you in your office clothes..." Isra admits, angling her crooked smile at Dusk. "The pigeons could use a bit of culling, anyhow." She scratches the tiny gargoyle's fuzzy head. "As for Horus--we'll need to teach this one that he is /not/ food." << It will surely be a difficult lesson, even /with/ language, and this one is getting rather old for remaining uncommunicative... >> The thought trails off into sudden realization. << Wait, was that a word? >> She looks at Dusk, then at Hive, then back at Egg. She signs 'FLY', her hands moving with more grace and economy than the child's. "You want to go flying?" This last both spoken and signed.

Dusk returns Isra's smile with one of his own. But then snorts, shaking his head. "I'm pretty sure Horus would be glad to just make 'Horus-is-not-food' lessons a mandatory part of all school curriculums. Job trainings. Freaking -- church catechisms..." He trails off, head tipping to the side as he watches Isra signing back to the Eggling. "Weren't you /just/ flying?" His sim-comming is kind of habitual.

"Felt like flying." Hive sounds a little grumbly. His head lifts again, though, this time with a greater spark of interest in his expression. A smile flashing briefly across his face. "Waitwait, was that the first they've talked?"

Isra huffs a quiet breath of laughter. "His namesake once had the mightiest cult in the kingdom of Egypt, after all. A /little/ spiritual respect does not seem too much to ask." She tilts her head at Gremlin, whose eyes squint at Dusk's hands, the soft clicking from their throat grown more intense for a moment to supplement their vision. 'Fly,' they sign again, more emphatic and more excited than before. Their thoughts spin with the delight of speed and movement beyond their own clumsy flailing limbs. "We /did/ just get in," Isra agrees softly, "and yes, I do think that might well be. Though I'd not put it completely past Kay and Ion to have either not noticed or neglected to mention to anyone else if they had noticed."

"Wait --" Only /now/ realization is clicking in Dusk's mind, a note of excitement lighting where before the signing had been largely taken for granted. "-- that was the first time, for serious?" For a moment now there's worry trickling in with the excitement. "... isn't that late, that's late, right? Aren't they like --" << shit how old are they. >> His head shakes quickly. "You just got your coffee. I can take 'em back out if they want to go up again." He holds his arms out for the gangly monsterling and their bundle of blankets-and-sling.

Hive scrunches his eyes closed, a little bit of a /pained/ wince, his knuckles scrubbing at his eyes. A thiiin smirk twitching up at his lips. "/Dude/." The mental /push/ against Dusk's mind, light and quick, is kind of like a bap. << January fucking second. >> "I think what age they start speaking is probably -- not going to be the biggest of concerns in the grand. Scheme of things."

"The first that I've noticed. Admittedly, given their less-than-stellar manual dexterity, I may have mistaken actual signing for hand-babble." Isra does not admit also that she /had/ watched for it, with growing concern. She does, however, set her coffee down for a moment so that she can undo the harness and transfer the child to Dusk. Egg watches this operation with keen interest, wings fluttering at the sides of the carrier in anticipation rather than a concrete understanding that they have anything at all to do with flying. "For a human infant, this would have come rather late, yes. However," this with a nod at Hive, "they have certainly had more dire developmental problems than delayed speech, and in any event I do not think it particularly informative to apply human developmental milestones to them. For reasons." As if to underline this, Egg bites down on the padded leather of the carrier and chews on it with great relish.

A faint dusting of colour darkens Dusk's cheeks, his expression skewing sheepish at Hive's reprimand. Somewhere in the back of his mind this reminder is met with the vague acknowledgment that there is a Very Good Reason Egg is being raised by !him. He scoops the infant into his arms, settling the carrier comfortably against his chest with its padding of blankets and tying it securely around himself. He unties his sarong next, re-tying it so it is bifurcated around his legs instead. "Alright, chatterbox," he says/signs to the eggling, one wing waving to the others as he heads for the front door. "To the skies with you."