A little pre-blackmail refreshment.
<NYC> Home - Greenwich Village
Nestled into the heart of the Village, Home is an unobtrusive place, with an unobtrusive name to match. A nondescript storefront opens up into an equally nondescript cafe, plain tiled floors, an assortment of veneered tables with plain wooden chairs or booths with cracking vinyl benches. What it /does/ have to recommend it is the food, hearty solid breakfast and brunch served twenty-four hours a day. Known to locals and little frequented by tourists, its friendly serving staff tend to remember their regulars, giving the place a warm feel that lives up to its name.
Hive has a plate of food. Eggs benedict, with a side of homefries. Large coffee. Large orange juice. It's a good thing this place isn't pricey. He's clearly here a /lot/; the waitress greeted him by name and his ordering process was a simple waving a way of the menu and asking for his Usual.
He hasn't touched any of it. He's kind of slumped against the table, elbow propped onto its surface, fingers splaying through his hair to push it up spiking in all directions. He's stirring a spoon absently through his coffee, though God only knows why. It's black. Sugarless. It requires no stirring. "-- You /sure/?" he is asking his companion. Prooobably for the dozenth time.
Sitting opposite Hive is Jim, a stack of pancakes swimming in syrup sits in front of him, mostly uneaten. He's carved about half of it into bite-sized wedges with quick-rough sawings of his butterknife before moving on to dragging the sausage around through the syrup like a painter. "You asked me that," he grouses, stuffing the sausage into his cheek, staring hard down at his plate. << Of course I'm not fucking sure. >> This thought is directly on top of << Of course I'm fucking sure. >> He pulls over his coffee for an impatient slurp. "I'm here, aren't I? Eat your fucking benedict." He reaches across to fork himself a bite of Hive's homefries.
"They do /really/ good hollandaise. I don't know what they put in this shit, crack maybe." Hive keeps stirring his coffee. At length he actually takes a swig. He sets his mug down with a clack, and finally slices off a piece of his eggs. Ham. Muffin. He spears a potato along with it, shoving the whole lot into his mouth. << Flicker's survived it plenty, at least. Hasn't seemed to hurt him much. >> His stabbing mindvoice sounds almost grudging. << Swear the motherfucker's even /more/ cheery now than when I first -- well. OK. I did meet him in a /cage/, that might have something to do with it. >>
<< I look worried? 'Cause I'm not worried. >> To his credit, Jim /doesn't/ look worried. Unshaven and grubby, yes, with a furrowed brow that's already accumulated a myriad of permanent frown lines, but he is /frowning/ mostly at Hive's hollandaise sauce. And swabbing a glob off the top with a pancake chunk to sample it. Hey, if he's selling, Jim'll buy. Homph. << It's gonna be worth it, we pull it off. If half of what you all've said is true, there's a lot more cages out there. The scales could use a tipping in mutant /favor/ for once. >> Another sentiment likely expressed about a dozen times. He checks his watch. "Our guy'll get his mail in about two more hours." << Run me through this process again. >>
"Good, isn't it?" This is about the stolen hollandaise. Hive slices himself another bite. /He/ does look worried, which is perhaps not confidence-inspiring. Tight lines at his mouth, a nervous edge to the flick of his gaze. << I hammer my way into your skull. And then you're me. >> He gulps at his orange juice, licking at his lips afterwards. << It'll hurt, at first. Hurt more if you fight it, so just relax. There's a period when it's kind of a jumble. My thoughts. Your thoughts. Don't even try to sort that shit out, it just, uh, leads to more pain. I'll handle it. Once everything's settled, though, you can get back to -- whatever. Being you. I usually try to cage things off, keep us as separate as possible, but once we're near the guy I'll /want/ to open the link up more. Let you hear what I'm hearing from him. Just. >> Hive's lips are tight, here, his eyes frowning down at his plate. << Then you'll be able to feel a lot. Of what I hear. But also of what I /think/. >> He fidgets, a little uncomfortably, through his next bite.
"Creamy." Like hollandaise should be. Jim's frown doesn't seem to ease or change shape for all the deliciousness; it may as well taste like sawdust. He continues to keep his game face on, though inwardly, there are some words that get echoed whether he's trying to keep his surface thoughts professional or not. 'Hammer' for one. 'Hurt', for another. Grimace. He is back to carving the larger half of pancake on his plate into bits, as though seeking to make the Perfect Pancake Bite. And rejecting each one so far as inadequate. He's already trying to practice relaxing against the hard stab of mental contact. Key word on 'try'. If he loses some color in his face, he hides it behind another rushed drink of coffee. Hearing Hive's thoughts. That'll be weird. Guess about as weird as him hearing mine. << It'll be like /skinny dipping/, then. You show me yours, I'll show you mine. >> It's grimly flippant.
<< It's pretty gay, >> Hive answers, his smile thin. << Like we're part of each other, /shit/, I should've got you fucking flowers on Valentine's Day instead of shitty coffee and donuts. Instead you're getting pain. >> His fingers are raking through his hair again, restless, tracing their habitual path against the side of his head. "I'm thinking of becoming gay," he announces here, aloud. "Can people do that? Like if you try /really hard/ do you think you just start wanting cock?"
<< ... >> This is Jim staring across the table.
"I've been up to my fucking ass in gay men hitting on me lately," Hive informs Jim. /Seriously/. Like this is a /dire/ problem -- not because of having a problem with the flirting but because, "-- Seriously, it's starting to majorly kill my dating prospects /not/ being gay. If I'm just giving off all these gay /vibes/ I might as well go the whole hog. Queer it up. Jax could probably give me lessons."
"That comes," Jim says, equally seriously, leaning across the table as if he has secret news to deliver, "From hanging out with gay /men/." Okay, he's /actually/ leaning across the table to steal more homefries. But Hive already knew that. Fucking mindreader. "I think that's probably killing your dating prospects worse." Om nom homefry bite. He jabs a fork into his last remaining sausage and waves it, adding, "At least if the /plan/ is dating women." Hang on. He has to chew this bite to add, "Shelby was after you."
"Shelby's like fucking twelve, dude. Also, batshit crazy." Hive scrubs a hand against his cheek, taking another bite but then pushing his food aside half-eaten. He gulps at his coffee like it is oxygen, though. "I mean, there's teenagers and then there's /teenagers/. And she is definitely a fucking teenager. What is /with/ them, anyway? Shane goes after dudes twice his age, too. Those kids are gonna get themselves in a world of trouble with some asshole." He scowls at his coffee.
<< Because you're that much older than she is. >> "Like you'd even have to be a mindreader." Jim growls, "Don't tell me you can't smell the stink of desperation in every fucking thing they do. I've got half a mind to sit them down and tell them it's not gonna be so adorably /cheeky/ when they're forty and still pulling this shit."
"I hope they'll have grown up by then," Hive says, frowning deeply at this thought. "-- Shit, what if they grow up and they're like us?" Maybe this isn't a joke. He looks actually sobered by this thought. He drinks his coffee /angrily/. "So. We doing this?"
"/Oh/, we're doin' it." Jim says, like it shall be the highlight of his day, anticipating every second. And inwardly focusing on thoughts of kids /like/ Shane and Shelby rather than the tight ball of nausea in his stomach. He stands up, pulling on his jacket. << It's just a phone call. S'all we gotta do. I'll be close enough to pick up when Wakefield gets the package. I give him a little ring. We have a little chat. You do your part, I'll do mine. Boom. Progress. >> ...and then they have to do it again with the woman, Gonzalez. No rest for the wicked. "Alright." He tops off his winter gear with a slap of Newest Hat (the other lost in the sands of teenager-theft). "Let's go get personal."
Hive tugs his wallet from his pocket, grimacing at it but pulling out enough to cover /all/ the foods. "I'm totally writing this shit off as a business expense," he grumbles to Jim, grabbing his own jacket and tugging it on. "Hey thanks, Em," is his call to the waitress, and then he is heading out. Shit To Do.
Jim falls in behind Hive. Mostly to make /Hive/ hold the door open so Jim doesn't have to take his hands out of his pockets. A blast of wintery wind from the outside, the door closes behind them.