From X-Men: rEvolution
Dramatis Personae

Hive, Isra, Melinda, Monsterling, Sprout


<< FLYING >>


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

The entry way to Mel and Tove's apartment dumps directly into the living room, a small set of hooks on the wall beside the door for immediate removal of winter gear in the season. The floor in the entry way is a beige tile, optimal for collecting wet clothing items, instead of letting it spread out over the polished hardwood floors. There is a small nook with a window seat, on the same wall as the entryway, peeking out into the courtyard on the other side of the building's entrance. Two large windows line the right wall, casting light inside. There's a small dining table in the corner formed by the kitchen jutting into the living space from the wall opposite the entry; a small half wall providing lower counterspace and a barrier between the two rooms. There is a small hallway beside the kitchen, running along the side of the stairway to the second floor. At the base of the stairs, there's door to the small guest bathroom residing between the stairs and the interior wall. Hidden away in the back of the apartment is more storage space, a stacked washer and dryer, and exits, one to the basement utilities and one to the back yard.

The second floor begins where the staircase ends, with a closet to the left, a bare wall, and a turn to the right. There are three doors, Tove's bedroom first, then Mel's master bedroom, which takes up most of the corner of the upstairs. The rest of the upstairs, over the living room and part of the downstairs bathroom, is a healthy sized bathroom with a large claw footed tub - one perfect for soaking one body or two.

Hive's presence in the apartment lately is not -- really so much of a /presence/; with all his things incinerated the signs that he has moved in here are minimal. A pair of shoes by the door, a backpack propped up aganst the living room couch. That's -- currently about it, really. Hive himself is curled up in a corner of the couch, legs tucked up beneath him, in jeans (too long for him), a soft brown corduroy shirt, laptop on his lap. Eyes kind of unfocused, staring more through his screen than at it; he hasn't made any adjustments to his work in Kind Of A While.

Melinda comes tromping down the stairs with a toddler in her arms. The mother is wearing an oversized sweaterdress with argyle leggings and fluffy socks, while the little sprout has been placed in a ridiculously yellow outfit, complete with color splotches that she may well have painted herself. Her leggings are black and white striped with soft little shoes on her feet. Wet droplets cling to her petals as an overall clean look pervades her appearance, despite the splotches. Mel exhales when she gets down to the first floor and turns to hand the wiggly toddler over to Hive. << Okay, I think... most of the food is off of her. I swear, I could completely submerge her and still find jam somewhere on her when I pull her out of the water. >>

Isra's psionic impression (unusually perky, not particularly verbal, mostly abstract mathematics accompanied by a light, airy violin solo) preceedes her knock at the door. She has exceptionally bright body art this week, multichromic and metallic and iridescent. The doral surfaces of her body tend toward jewel-beetle green, with a powerful blue-violet colorshift whenever the angle of the light hitting her skin changes, while the ventral surfaces default to purple and shift toward blue-green. The membranes of the massive wings mantled around her have become complex geometric mozaics like crystalline facets in dozens of vivid tones, and from a distance give the impression of prismatic scattering. The plain white himation she wears sets off the colors well, and she carries a much-battered Cornel University Astronomy canvas tote over one shoulder and a scratched-up leather baby harness across her chest.

Egg's fuzzy black wings and long-fingered hands protrude from the carrier, all twenty claws hanging onto the leather, though their head remains hidden under the rainbow knit blanket. They emit a steady stream of clicks and a somewhat less steady stream of sensory impressions about their surroundings, along with a general annoyance at the sunlight.

Hive's eyes do not refocus, though his arm shifts kind of reflexively to accept Toddler in against his side. PAT. One small firm pat against her head. The voice that whispers into Mel's head is an echoing chorus, soft and myriad in its chime of many-people mingling together: << Could try a power washer. Door. >> One thought bleeding into another, the announcement of the door coming a short time before Isra's knock. Hive's brows twitch very faintly, though he still does not actually look away from his somewhat vacant foward gaze.

Melinda inhales deeply and leans over to press a kiss against the top of Hive's head. << Powerwasher indeed. >> She's fairly convinced that the introduction of a powerwasher would only result in a waterlogged bathroom. She nods and turns to head toward the door, opening it up for Isra, greeting her with a smile. "Hola," she offers in her extremely rough Spanish, tilting her head to see if she can catch Egg's gaze for another greeting. She waves and steps back, welcoming the pair inside. "{Welcome. Can I get you anything?}"

Tola settles into Hives lap and snuggles into his embrace, her pudgy little hands picking at his fingers, playing with them while her dad is distracted. She looks up when mom opens the door and lets out a soft cry of joy and waves.

Isra inclines her head deeply in greeting. "{You can brew this for us all,}" she replies in rumbling Argentine Spanish as she produces a black bag of coffee labeled "Ethiopian Sidamo Guji" in elaborate gold letters. "{Ion brought it in last night.}" If the pride doesn't quite shine through in her voice or expression, it certainly colors her thoughts while she speaks, though quite overshadowed by concern for Ion's deteriorating health.

Egg burrows their way out from under the blanket as soon as they step inside, taloned hand waving excitedly. Their long, pointed ears /almost/ stand up (though the tips do still droop) at the sound of Tola's voice. As the clicking from their throat grows much louder, their echolocation gains better resolution, pinpointing the other child's location. Their attempts at /getting/ to Tola, however, consist mostly of comical flailing against the side of the harness.

Isra settles herself down on the couch--taking up most of the rest of it--and helps Egg out of the harness so that they can flop their way over to their playmate.

When Tola snuggles in against him, Hive actually looks up, slowly turning his head to focus on her. His eyes slide closed, then slowly open again. The look he gives Egg is a little puzzled, somewhat startled at the sudden presence of Gremlin on the couch. The look he gives Isra is much the same. << That, >> his echoing voice finally sounds in the others' minds, << is not how you Limb. >> He gives another pat to Tola's head before reluctantly unhooking his arm from around /her/ so that she can get to the monsterling.

Melinda receives the bounty from Isra with an expression that looks very much like hope has finally been renewed. Her thoughts are already swirling in the deep, dark brown of the aroma that lingers off the package. "{Thank you... Thank you so much. Of course I can brew this now.}" And with that she's off, heading to the kitchen to pull out her grinder and dusk off the coffee maker. There's some loud noise from the kitchen and soon the smell of coffee grounds fills the air.

Tola climbs across Hive's lap once released and finds herself a comfortable place to sit next to Egg once they are released. There are more waves before the child cut to the chase and asks, 'want toy? Dad-toy awake. Good. Not play-toy though.'

Isra stretches a vibrantly colored wing out to curl around Hive. << They have more limb than most, >> the thought comes mild and clear, aimed at Hive by long practice. "{The communal food stores are quite replenished, now,}" she pitches her voice to carry--not loud, but oddly resonant when both vocal chords engage. "{Assorted other daily necessities, as too, if you have run short.}"

'Yesyesyes,' Goblin signs back eagerly, bracing their wings against the couch to prop themselves up in a sitting position. 'Want toy. No play why? Dad fun.' Though they use the generic sign for a male parent, they're /thinking/ of Kay and Ion.

Hive's hand lifts, at the mention of replenished stores, daily necessities; it scuffs against his chin, a scruff of sad patchy-thin beard growing there. "Oh." His voice is scratchy, rough at first when he speaks. "{Coffee.}" Finally there is a slight, pleased widening to his eyes. Then an exaggerated /huff/ at Tola. 'I play great. If you like --' He considers this a moment. 'Math.' He leans into Isra's wing, eyes travelling across the apartment to find Mel. "{Did you magic coffee out of the...}" His Spanish does not cover /aether/. He thinks it at them instead.

'Brain-dad play good. Different from Dad-toy. Brain-dad sleep, become Dad-toy.' Tola is very careful to explain the difference of how she plays with Hive, depending on his state. 'Dad-toy also sometimes dad-bed. Very flexible dad.' She looks over at Hive when he huffs, big eyes. << Best building stories. >> They don't put her to sleep at all.

"{Only if you call Isra that. She is kind of painted up a bit like it.}" The grinding stops and Melinda replies, moving to add water to the coffee machine, then grounds, then starts the brewing process. "{Aaah, thank you. I'll go by later and look. Any laundry detergent? Oh, I don't have any sugar. Hope black coffee is fine.}"

Egg's bulging green eyes grow even bigger at Tola's explanation, their ears standing as close to attention as they'll go. 'Dad good toy yesyes,' they agree readily. 'My dads they /fly!/' Mentally, he has sort of muddled both Dusk and Isra into his concept of 'dad.'

"{Ion magicked coffee out of Jersey,}" Isra explains, "{I just walked it over from the common house. There was detergent, yes. I understand a lot got used up during the siege owing to...}" She doesn't finish the sentence, glancing at the children and giving a very slight shrug, wondering whether Tola understands Spanish. Then wondering whether either of the little ones have any understanding of the catastrophe that they live in. "{Plenty of sugar there, too, but I'm fine with black, thank you.}"

"{I'll call Isra anything she wants if there's coffee.}" Hive draws in a deep slow breath, a small pleased shiver running through his shoulders. He offers a slow crooked smile over towards the children. << Glad to know I fill so many useful roles. >> His eyes lose some focus again at the mention of the siege, though, posture growing a little more slack. Somewhere in the back of all their minds, the idea of laundry is churning; the chug of machines, the warm fresh dryer scent. His brows furrow again.

"{Very dirty children,}" Melinda finishes Isra's thought out loud in a practiced softening of bad news. She thinks the kids know -- but the less it is a constant focus, the better off they are. At least this is something they can collectively laugh about, right? Melinda is getting mugs out of her cupboard and warming them as if she were making tea. She mostly just wants to keep busy. "{We should make some cookies if there is sugar. That should cheer some people up.}"

Tola reaches back to pat Hive's hand, her gaze studying his face and his slack posture before she tries to get herself slowly off the couch. 'Not Dad-toy yet. Want doll? Noise toy?' The toddler toddles over to the open trunk where her stuff is and selects a xylophone. Best noise toys don't need batteries.

Following Tola does not prove a straightforward proposition for Egg. They throw themselves off the couch--wings flapping to absolutely no effect, though they think << FLYING >> quite clearly--and fall rather flat on their face, looking not the least discouraged for the fall. Instead, they settle into an oddly fast undulating crawl utilizing all six limbs (tiny talons scrabbling and skidding). They can't reply until coming to a stop by the toy trunk. 'Have bunny?' They're thinking of an /actual/ rabbit, not a stuffed one, but seem plenty happy with the xylophone, too, picking up one of the plastic mallets wisely tethered to the toy and...completely missing every single tone bar on the first several strikes. Someone does not have very good hand-eye coordination.

Isra's wing tightens around Hive, her expression remains unchanged, but her tail twitching with evident agitation. "{Very.}" /Her/ mental image is less oblique: a slender Japanese boy, long hair bound back, shy smile. The twist of hollow pain in her feels distant, as though it belongs to someone else. Even so, she replies softly, "{Yes, cookies.}" Her ears press back when Gremlin finally succeeds in striking the xylophone, which fortunately produces only /so much/ noise.

There's a small wince on Hive's face as the Gremlin falls off the couch but it's kind of muddled together with a smile, slightly wide-eyed, fingers lifting to touch to his lips. << Maybe soon, flying, >> murmurs into Egg's mind. Externally, though, he is -- still silent. His hand drops to his lap. The laundry-scent fades away, replaced instead by an oven warmth, a rich baking smell of chocolate. There's a small tremble through his shoulders, a slight nod to his head.

Tola watches Egg totter off the couch too, complete comfortable with their means of locomotion. Clumsy is just how they move, yes? Once the xylophone is properly acquired, she goes into the trunk to find a set of bongos, plopping down on her well cushioned rump to bang her hands against the skins.

In the kitchen, Mel starts pouring the coffee into cups, looping the handles of the mugs in her fingers in such a way that she can carry three without spilling. She hands one to Isra first, then pauses to look Hive over once more. She shuffles back to the kitchen for only a second before presenting Hive with his mug, this time with a bombilla. << Coffee?? >>

Gremlin has propped themselves up on their wings again to free their arms for xylophoning. They have both hands wrapped around the same mallet and hit the bars as hard as their spindy limbs will allow. Their ears bop up and down in time to the somewhat uncertain rhythm of the toddler jam session.

Isra's ears perk upright--all the way, unlike Egg's--when Melinda arrives with the coffee. "{Thank you very much.}" She curls both hands around the mug and holds it close. After the first, tentative sip, she rumbles softly, her lower vocal chords emitting a soft growl that, in her, passes for a purr.

The images that ripple through the others shift and change. No longer chocolatey, but now the rich scent of coffee -- filling the apartment, yes, but doubled and echoed back in mental space. Comforting, warm. Hive doesn't take the glass, though, even as the taste joins the scent in psionic impression, stolen from Isra, reflected back to them. Mmm, coffee. A faint drift of pleasure trickles through the others' minds.

Melinda sighs and gets down on her knees, placing her mug in a safe place before holding Hive's up close to him, gently resting the end of the metal straw against his lips. She sighs and studies him for a moment. << As pleasant as it is to enjoy Isra's coffee, don't you want some of your own? Just think. Hot, earthy coffee spilling across your tongue, coating your throat, and warming your belly. mmmm. Coffee. Rich and smooth, across your palate. mmmmm. >> She glances over at Isra before looking down at the mug. She definitely not going to let this coffee go to waste.

Tola adds some vocalizations, which are really just long drawn out sounds that are broken up with the force of her hands hitting the drums. She loves the vibrations in her throat and the echoing of the thrum of the drums in her being. She smiles at Egg as her voice goes up another pitch. NOISE!

Egg joins in on the singing, but most of the sounds their throat generates come at a pitch above the range of most human hearing. To Melinda and Tola, they just seem to click /intermittently/ now, if excitedly. To their own ears (and thus to Hive), they have woven a much more complex symphony of (admittedly, still somewhat random) whistles and chirrups. Ultrasonic noise!

Isra only offers Melinda a smile--a little helpless, rare for her, only the tips of her fangs exposed. "{I do not think he's drawing a distinction whether he enjoys it through us or.../us./}" She leans on the second instance of the same pronoun very slightly. "{If you don't want to drink it for him, I will.}"

Melinda's descriptions strengthen the imagery that echoes through the mental landscape. Hive's eyes have drifted back into vacancy, a glassy look to them, but the warm comforting feeling increases. The smooth hot spill of coffee, the rich flavor and smell. It is joined by the twinned feelings of excitement from the children nearby, thrumming along with the erratic drum-and-xylophone beats.

Melinda sighs and gives in, turning to press her back against the couch where the other two sit, settling down on the floor. She extends her arm to offer Hive's cup of coffee to Isra while she reaches out for her own. "{We can share it.}" She sips her coffee quietly, closing her eyes and dwelling in the warmth of the moment.