ArchivedLogs:Toy Soldiers

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Toy Soldiers
Dramatis Personae

Dusk, Hive, Jackson, Ryan


(Part of Prometheus TP.)


<NYC> 303 {Lighthaus} - Village Lofts - East Village

This apartment is cheerful, in its way -- bright and airy, its floor plan open and a plethora of windows providing it with an abundance of light. The tiny entrance hall opens into a living room, small, though its sparse furniture and lack of clutter give it a more open feel. The decor is subdued and minimalist; black and white is the dominant theme, with occasional splashes of deep crimson to offset the monochrome, though of late myriad bright-coloured dragonflies swarm across the living room wall. The couch and armchair are upholstered in black corduroy, the low wide coffee table central is black wood and glass-topped, and a few large pillowy beanbags provide additional seating by the large windows that dominate the back wall. Towards the back, a couple of doors lead off into bedrooms and bathroom, and to the right, the kitchen's tile is separated from the living room's dark hardwood floors by black countertops. Above the bedroom to one side, there is higher space; a ladder climbs up to a lofted area looking down on the living room. Standing in front of the partition between living and cooking area is a large fish tank: one lone Betta, blood-red, swims regally among several species of black and silver fish. A hallway beyond the kitchen leads further into the apartment. Another bathroom stands just into the hall and the farthest door leads to the apartment's final bedroom, the door usually kept shut to hold in the acrid fumes of turpentine and paints from within.

It's a rare /day off/ for Jax, and with Spencer off at summer camp and the twins -- well, who /knows/ what the twins are doing, they have an apartment right next door and jobs of their /own/; Micah's at work and Tag is -- who knows that, either. So he's got the apartment to himself, for once, or -- sort of. Around here it's never really 'to himself'. It generally means FRIEND INVASION.

He /does/ have food, a large pot of corn chowder, a basil-peach pie fresh out of the oven. At the moment he's sitting at his easel, though, not eating. Working on a painting; he's been pretty /intensely/ absorbed in art in what free time he can scrape together between jobs, lately, and the loft-space above his living room has a /host/ of new pieces to show for it. Today, his paintbrush is conjuring to life a hunter, armed with a bow though the quiver on his back is empty; the creature he hunts seems to be composed of little but shadow and as he draws his bowstring it is nocked with only a shimmer of light.

He's dressed brightly, as is his wont. Glittery blue makeup, a mottled purple-and-black pair of shorts, a red t-shirt reading 'All my heroes have FBI files' around a screenprint of a monkey wrench'. Black eyepatch with a glittery blue star in it. There's music playing. S.J. Tucker, 'Taglio'.

Dusk is shamelessly invading Jax's FREE TIME. In search of company? In search of food? He's mooching both. He's meandered down dressed, as his his habit at home, in shorts but no short, wings folded in against his back. And let himself IN because that's what he does. Grabbed a bowl of soup, leaned up against the counter -- at the moment, he's just watching Jackson paint, a faint furrow in his brow as he studies the picture in silence. He is looking much better, lately, than he had in months gone by -- lithe lean muscle sheathing his once skeletal form, though the pallor gripping his complexion implies that he might return to it soon enough if he isn't careful.

Ryan squats in the apartment with food, contributing a fair share of booze - six pack of beer, and various bottles of spirits - spread across the counter, and music, later. In-town and sans gig, he stands tall in the kitchen, stripped down to a glossy pair of gym shorts and Nike flip-flops, a guitar strapped to his back but no signs of any shirt. Hair mussed, he might be freshly wakened, truth be told (hey, it's still /technically/ morning), as he drags his feet, bowl in hand, waiting to ladle himself a hearty helping of the corn chowder. Attempts to communicate with him thus far have likely only been returned with grunts.

<< You know it's like. Noon, asshole. And you're still zombieing around. >> Hive's criticism comes, admittedly hypocritically, from someone who launches vehement protests at anyone who tries rousing /him/ while the clock still says a.m. and complained bitterly for the first several months -- okay, honestly, /still/ complains -- when he got a job that required him to get /up/ every morning.

His mental voice tends to be a painful weapon-grade slam of intrusion; the past couple weeks it's whispered in in echoing sussuration of multi-layered voices. Today, as well, but they're more of a background noise, a soft chorus somewhere beneath the /cranky/ of Hive's actual voice. Hive isn't here, really. But then, he doesn't /need/ to be to make himself heard. Or to eavesdrop. << -- Fuck hippie bullshit is he listening to? >>

"Dude, I can barely get you out of bed at two on a Saturday." Jax seems to be murmuring this to his easel more than anyone else. Maybe he's just talking to the /voices in his head/. "Hive, honey-honey, y'can't keep all those people forever. I like it better when you're /whipping/ my brain." His cheeks flush after he says this, and he sets his palette down with a slight furrow of brows. "-- Uh, I don't mean like --" His head shakes abruptly. "Ryan-honey, you're starin' at the soup. It's pretty but s'for eatin'. An' I don't know s'some thing Bastian gave me, s'good! I guess an album someone wrote to go with this fantasy book? I'd think you'd like it it's chock-full'a /nerd/."

Dusk turns his head to look at Ryan, a small smirk twitching onto his lips. He rolls lazily away from the counter, slipping back into the kitchen and unfurling a wing to brush it against Ryan's back as he reaches out to press his full bowl of soup into one of Ryan's hands. Take Ryan's empty one for himself so he can fill it. "Noon? Ryan doesn't turn on till like. Five. That's really good," he adds, with a nod towards the painting. "Have you even been sleeping, though, you've been working like a beast."

His eyes turn up towards the ceiling, where /his/ apartment resides above Jax's. "Be nice to get rid of those campers. But I mean. That hit on the trucks was only one for three on prisoners. And wherever those trucks were headed --" He shrugs. "Presumably chock-full of people. Kinda need to know what he knows, for a while." There's a heaviness to him as he says this, not so much in his manner as in the emotion behind his words. "... /I/ like this music," he adds, last.

"Dude, shut that shit off. S'much as I love a crowd, 'm fuckin' /hungover/ from last night." Tequila Tuesday: typical weeknight in the life of a rock star, as Ryan complains against the patchwork of voice leaking out from their Hive conduit. Slower on the physical uptake, he blinks several times, staring down at his briefly empty hands and then the bowlful of soup (magically!) replaced in them. "Spoon. I need a spoon." Feet shuffle again ashe he trudges to the appropriate cabinetry, pulling out a drawer to retrieve a utensil to mosey towards the counter with a heavy lean. "What's goin' on now?"

<< When are you not gorramn hungover. While you were out being a fucking rockstar and Jax was recovering from almost blowing himself up, some goddamn worthless amateurs staged a rescue. >> You don't need to be an empath to feel the unbridled /rage/ in Hive's voice, here, but in the next moment he's opening the door and letting himself in, and when he speaks his voice carries the anger clearly enough to Ryan's senses: "Should've been an easy job and the dumbass assholes almost got Flicker fucking killed." For all the simmering heat carried to empathic senses beneath the habitually just gruff-sour /drab/ of his voice, his expression is as it always is. Bland. Half-asleep. Heavy-lidded. There's a typical slouch to his posture, a typical tatty shabbiness to his fraying jeans, brown t-shirt (a few hedgehogs on it staring at another hedgehog who's tipped a tin of blue paint over himself), socks with holes in one toe and the opposite heel.

"Weren't even hitting up a /lab/, man. Had to knock over a couple goddamn /trucks/." Hive's hand scrubs against his face. He kicks the door closed behind him with a heel, shuffles over to slump against the back of the couch. "Anyway. Supposed to be three people we got out of there. Turned out they switched it around. Only got one we were expecting, one stranger who's probably hella thankful to be not in a torture lab right now and, uh, your bloodmonster friend. Means the other two are /in/ the lab now, still."

He delivers this last bit of information absently, casual, and then his eyes flick towards Jax's painting. He exhales a low breath through his teeth. "Jesus Christ. Don't think I'll ever /stop/ being impressed by you guys. He made that, dudes. Like. With his fucking hands. Why the sudden /art-binge/, though, you worried the world's running out of paint?"

"Oh -- no, I just. I'm going to this thing in a couple weeks. Ahhhh -- no like oh gosh a week and a half I don't even know. Well, I'm going to visit my folks first but then a thing. Show. Hoping to sell some pieces, actually -- pay my rent. But that requires having pieces to /sell/." Jackson shrugs a shoulder, rubbing knuckles briefly against his shadowed eye. He sets his brush down, slipping back towards the kitchen to tap-tap-tap a finger across the tops of Ryan's beer bottles, but then claim himself a plate. For /pie/, before Real Food.

"Flicker's okay now," he says softly, and though his tone is gentle-calm as it usually is, there's a not-insignificant quantity of angry lurking beneath his long-practiced composure, too. "And it's not like we can even start planning another run. We don't have the address of the lab." This is /pointed/. With a look at Hive. His eyebrows raise. "-- But you do. Don't you?"

"Thing, that's really descriptive. What kind of thing?" Dusk sounds amused, though the amusement he /feels/ is a quieter thing, sluggish-slow. Most of his emotions right now feel sluggish-slow, a muted sort of warmth that drags itself heavily up, lethargic about rousing as it so often is when he is too long sans food. Soup claimed, he snags /himself/ a beer and a spoon, skirting back around to drag a stool away from the counter and perch on it beside where Ryan leans, his wings draping behind himself. "Sounds pretty cool, though. It'll be nice to get away from /this/ for a bit. See your family. Have a frakking /vacation/." Despite having taken a spoon, he just lifts up his bowl to slurp his soup straight from it. "S'gotta know. There's labguards in his head."

<< Sober Sunday, >> Ryan snarks back to Hive, adopting the undercurrent of emotions as his own, allowing himself to be caught in the sway of empathic feedback as if he were tapping along to a familiar song - which he is, foot bare foot light against the floor, but synced to the beat just the same. Spoon produced, he shovels up a scoop into his mouth, a bead of thick broth dripping down his chin. Swiping it with a thumb he pushes into his mouth to lick, he turns to greet Hive with an abrupt paling of his face. "Shut the fuck up, I thought it was /dead/. That thing pretty much almost /killed/ me and /ate/ all those kids."

Counter-leans suffice no longer when confronted with this latest news reel, forcing Ryan /around/ to slump down into a chair, bowl in his lap. "So, find out the address then. It's settled. I'll cancel my next few gigs and delay my next trip out of town until we rescue them. We'll show those fuckers who's boss." It's all so simple to the anarchist!

"Flicker's stuck at home with a broken leg and broken ribs and -- you know, he's /still/ covered with scars from the /last/ fucking time we did this. /You're/ still covered with scars from the last fucking time we did this." Hive's fingers dig hard into the corduroy of the couch, his eyes narrowing towards those eating in the kitchen. "I think the thing's fucking dead this time. I don't know. If it isn't they probably took it /back/ to the lab which means!" His teeth /bare/ in what would be a smile if it weren't just characterized with a hard grim /anger/. "If we go back in there it'll probably be waiting to get a taste of your blood again.

His palms thump against the back of the couch as he pushes himself away, shoves off to wander towards the kitchen instead and lean in the doorway to watch the others. "Fuck. Yes. I have it. But why the fuck do I want to send all of you into this bullshit over and over? Do I need to remind you that this crazy ass cunt we're supposed to risk our lives to save is the cunt who /got Ian killed/? Why the /fuck/ should I send more of my friends to die for that motherfucker? Go on your next tour. Be a rockstar. Go --" His hands flick to Jax. "Home. Sell your art. Have a goddamn fucking /life/ for once, guys. This is bullshit."

"Thing? I don't know it's like a convention thing. Fantasy. Sci-fi. Geek-thing. They have a bit art show section though. It's in Atlanta, it's pretty big." Jax shrugs, glancing back at his easel. "I could stand to see my folks again and I could really stand the cash." He slices off a piece of pie, the sweet peach flavour accompanied by a brief infusion of happy-content into all the simmering anger in the room. It doesn't last overly long, with the topic at hand. He exhales slowly, his eye dropping to fix on his pie as Hive speaks. The light ripples around him, and then quiets down into stillness. His expression stays calm, but there is a sudden /sharp/-sick wave -- anger, /guilt/, a dark knot coiling up inside him that he /shoves/ back down.

His too-bright mindscape lends itself as always to imagery more often than words; memories of past raids, of Ian, of Nox. Of Flicker half-melted by acid. Of the twins and Spencer and Micah. Of the kids back in foster homes if he died. Of Carnage leaping towards Ryan. Of blood.

His fingers squeeze his spoon tight. He takes another bite of pie. "You been in those places. We /all/ been in those places. /Nox/ didn't shoot Ian. Ain't nobody who deserves --" His voice is soft and gentle, but his quiet pause is not so much for thought as it is to push back the spike of anger that is surfacing again, to push back the strong swell of /agreement/ with Hive, the strong desire to just let her /rot/. "-- ain't nobody who deserves that. And don't nobody have to /come/ who don't -- it's a lot we ask'a our folks."

"I'm in." Dusk says this quietly, and he says it without hesitation. He /also/ says: "I'd kill her, I think. If I could. She fucked us all over. This whole city, because /she/ was too stupid and broken to keep it together. I get it. She was hurting. S'there -- a single one of us here who doesn't /know/ what /hurting/ is like?" It's certainly rolling off the vampire at the moment in spades; it's been two months but the raw grief at losing Ian has not /lessened/ for him at all; if anything, it has only /sharpened/, from depression into a hard throb of anger that even muted by his current dulling hunger is a keenly felt thing. "-- But that's dumb. I know that's dumb, right. She's just stupid and crazy and broken like the rest of us. I think I'd do it and I think I'd hate myself for it afterwards. Like she probably does now." His fingers scrape through his hair, his shoulders slumping inward.

But then through this storm of emotion his /geek/ senses tingle. There is a spark of bewildered excitement to cut a path through the unpleasant. "--- Wait. Convention. Next week. In Atlanta. Jax are /you/ going to freaking /Dragon Con/?"

Ryan lifts the bowl close to his face, spoon scraping against the side to unload a few chunky clumps into his mouth. Forward bent, he sits on the lip of his chair, guitar bumping against his back, which he unloads, slinging down to his side with a gentle putdown. Physical load lighter, his emotional cargo is still a heavy burden, as attuned to the cascade of emotions washes over him, sinking in with a tightening of muscles and dragging down of his frame. Taut face moves only to accept more soup; otherwise, he seems lost amid the empathy and his own sudden reverie: vivid memories of his subway battle against the horrendous creature, its crimson arsenal of blooded weaponry, the pain spiking through his leg, the /weeks/ of couch confinement.

The music blares louder from its speaker, manipulated - amplified - from afar by the audiokinetic, who also commands a pulsating reverberation of clarity and calm to ride up against the peripheral edges of each person's mood, soothing, uplifting, /pushing/ with a gentle nudge towards a more level atmosphere.

"You should send us the coordinates because it's /our/ choice on whether or not to go Hive. And whoever has /wronged/ or /hurt/ us, they still do not deserve imprisonment. Two rights don't make a wrong and all that shit. Do I need to break out a bible quote for you?"

"...Seriously, Jax. Dude. That's like epic geekdom right there. Like. Ok, can you leave meals stocked in the fridge for me? Or I might burn down the apartment." Because he just self-selected to housesit.

"Jesus fucking Christ you are going to /Dragon Con/ and you didn't tell anyone, you /asshole/ this is the first year in /ever/ I could've actually afforded it, too." Hive /glares/ at Jax. "The fuck are you going there for man that's not even fair you are the least geeky person I know, did Bastian trick you into it?" Yes, yes, there is a Very Important Conversation happening but /priorities/.

He lifts his eyebrows at Ryan. "Totally. Yes. Bible me up. I'm not giving you shit, man, without the word of /God/ to compel me." His fingers curl through his hair, something more serious in his tone when he says: "You guys can make whatever suicidal fucking choices you want, man. But sending you /into/ death is -- that's one /I/ have to fucking live with. And for that stupid gorram --" His breath hisses out through his teeth.

"How many of these things have I followed you two on." He slumps back, tired, against the doorframe between kitchen and living room. "And every time it's just. Wondering who we're going to lose next. Peace. Eli. Amila. Lisa. And I can't --" He looks at Ryan. Looks at Jax. Then just closes his eyes, his weight sinking in a defeated droop. "Fuck." His voice is soft. "I can't. Give you this shit. Not as your friend. You want to fucking -- /order/ it out of me as my. Commanding -- whatever the fuck we want to call this bullshit army then sure. I've followed your orders before. I'll follow them them again. But as --" His head shakes, and he lapses into silence.

Jackson slips over to the table, setting down his soup and resting a hand on Ryan's shoulder. It's too-warm to the touch, as he often is, fingers squeezing down against tensed muscles. "Yes, I'm going. The kids ain't even coming. -- I didn't know it was a /thing/, it's just -- they have an art -- I wanted to sell -- look that's really kind of not the point right now?" He sounds slightly bemused by this whole line of discussion.

His fingers knead slowly at Ryan's shoulder in a steady motion, his brows slowly pulling together. He shakes his head at Dusk. "-- You're not -- wrong. But. Forget Nox. Just -- entirely. Might be better to just not even think of it -- it's just any other facility. Any other place. That's got a lot of people in there getting tortured and killed and we can do something to get them out."

But then quiet. Heavy, pensive, the weight that settles into his thoughts has a certain necessary /remove/ to it, an uncomfortably forced separation that /wants/ to give Hive some reassurance (as friend) and can't really afford to (as person who will very likely some day be ordering him to possibly die.) << ... shit. >> But out loud, only silence.

"... Yeah." Dusk exhales raggedly, accepting this with a small nod. "Yeah no. Right there's. A lot of other -- right." His dark eyes fix on Jax and Ryan. Kind of /expectant/, as he sips at his soup.

Ryan waves off the sidebar discussion, spoon flashed in the air with crusted bits of chowder already dried onto the metal. Signs of /use/. When Jackson approaches him from behind he allows his head to drop, rolling from side to side as he works some of the tight knots built up across the top of his back, muscles bunched and hard. "I got nothing man, except a feeling in my gut that I /need/ to go help these people. Ain't no book written some fuckin' thousands of years ago gonna communicate that instead." The southern accent surfaces with his distress, remembered by muscle memory as the lines in his face adopt a worried crease, one disguised under any influence of empathic control or recreational substance abuse at normal times. "Either way it sucks but - action is better than inaction. Otherwise a lot of /us/ would still be stuck in there."

"Hngh." Hive slides down against the wall to sit on the floor, head tipped forward and his knees crooked upwards. "This," he says, "is really fucking shitty." His voice is still ragged, a little hoarse around its edges. His fingers curl into a fist, elbow propped against his thighs and his knuckles pressing hard against his lips. His eyes turn away from Jax and Ryan, fixing ahead of him on the molding at the other side of the doorway.

That prompts a shaky laugh from Jax, kind of ragged itself. His other hand joins the first, kneading against the muscles at the back of Ryan's neck and shoulders. "Yeeeah. I think s'pretty much where we're all at." He's quiet for a stretch. /He/ doesn't really look at the others, either, fixing his gaze out the window.

"... You still need to give us that address, Hive." He says this finally, quiet. But -- firm.

Dusk curves one tip of his wing inward, rubbing it against his cheek. "It's going to take kind of a while even after we know it to look into everything we need to do this. Plan it out right. We've got some time. This isn't happening tomorrow or even next week." He glances towards the beer on the counter. Towards Ryan's slumped posture. Towards Hive pressing his knuckles to his lips and Jax's fingers working at Ryan's shoulders. "I think we should take the food upstairs. Get drunk. And watch something with a lot of explosions."

Ryan lets his eyesight flood with darkness, 'lids lowered in minute relaxation, face hidden by the fringe of bangs hanging loose over it. He is quiet under Jackson's ministrations, bowl held in his hands close to the floor, soup gone but for a few kernels of corn. "Yeah. Hive. Address, so we can go - dick around." Another wave of calm crashes against them.

Hive's teeth grind. It's only faintly audible, beneath the music, a slow creak of enamel. For a long while he sits, knuckles still pressed hard to his lips. The: "Yes, sir," he finally gives is /clipped/, as he pushes to his feet; he moves into the kitchen, finally, plucking a dry-erase marker from where it's magneted to the fridge to -- erase the bottom half of Jax's grocery list. SORRY, JAX. And write an address in its place. He thunks the marker back into place, posture falling back into its default slouch.

For a moment, the look he casts to Jax and Ryan is black. Hateful.

It contrasts pretty sharply with the /emotions/ rolling off of him; the love there is so strong it kind of aches.

"Going out," he says instead. "You guys enjoy your movieing." He turns to slouch towards the front door, leaving the others to their beer.

At least for now. He'll likely slink back in. Somewhere around the fortieth explosion. He can't leave them /all/ the booze, after all.