"And if it hurts to look at you sometimes--well, I have it on good authority you are worth it."
Rain is pattering down against the windows and much of Freaktown is indoors. In this particular mansion there is ample distraction to be found -- in the kitchen a pair of Mongrels are overseeing dinner prep; an earnest young woman is leading a yoga class in the living room, down in the basement theater a group of young mutants is watching Riverdale with an increasingly unhinged glee. In the basement, also, in a well-appointed games room just inside the door leading out to the swimming pool patio, DJ is just on the verge of losing a game of pool to an older black man with a tangle of vines growing out of his head in place of hair. DJ seems unbothered by his loss, answering the neatly-pocketed 8-ball with a warm smile and friendly congratulations. He's collecting all the balls to rack them back neatly as his companion meanders upstairs.
Matt is still just a bit damp around the edges when he comes down the stairs with a faintly steaming mug in one hand. He's dressed in a royal blue tee shirt with a cartoon figure reading under an arch of books bracketed by the words "Best Time Machine EVER!", black cargo shorts, and black athletic sandals with green-and-gray straps. After poking his head into the theater and coming out with a faint smile, he approaches and hesitates at the threshold of the pool room before finally drifting in. "Salut." He glances down at the balls, then up at DJ, the smile brighter in his eyes than on his lips. "Taking a break?"
The pool cue blips out of DJ's hand, tucking itself neatly into an empty slot in the wooden holder on the wall. His eyes lift to Matt, wistful for a moment before a warm smile breaks across his face. "From getting my butt kicked, yeah. It's --" There's only a momentary stutter here. "-- nice to see you around here. You visiting someone?"
"Nice to see you." Matt's head tilts minutely. "It's been a while, no? Perhaps ought to take over movie night--we've not had one since Luci's show started back up." He circles the pool table, trailing the fingers of his free hand along the lacquered rail. "I don't come here as often as I always mean to, either. Usually to see Dusk--tonight, also." He cocks his head farther, studying DJ. "You are living here now?"
Dusk is just trudging down the stairs, in jeans and Vans sneakers, no shirt. There's a bottle of Cherry Coke in one hand, and the other is just lifting in a casual salute to Matt. This freezes -- considerably less casual -- when his eyes land on DJ. He drops his hand, wings pulling tight against his shoulders. "Hey," he offers cautiously, sauntering over to Matt's side. "Sorry, I didn't know you --" One thumbclaw flicks toward DJ. "I mean, hey."
"Was just talking to Kitty the other day about how we should do movie night again. It would be nice to see you all more often." DJ's warm smile tightens noticeably at Dusk's name. "Oh, no, I don't really live anywhere, I just..." The tension in his shoulders, quick glance toward the door, suggest that perhaps it's only this brief heads-up that stops him blipping away when Dusk arrives. He gives Dusk a polite nod, taking a step or two back away from the pool table and toward the cues lined up on the wall. "It's fine, my game just finished."
"Still? I do hope you find some measure of comfort, wherever you happen to lay your head." Matt's smile warms before Dusk has quite come into view. "Your timing is perfect, darling, I've not been here long." He smooths a hand down over Dusk's tightly folded wing, as he darts a pensive glance between the two men. "But I am prepared for my ignominious defeat." He turns just far enough so that the next flick of his eyes toward DJ and the ensuing lift of his eyebrows--there is, perhaps surprisingly, no suggestion of prurience in this--is only visible to Dusk. "I've been playing chess all day, and it's like to go to my head."
"His goat's here way more often than he is. The kids love her." Dusk's wing presses lightly into Matt's touch before pulling back close to his shoulders. "Be glad to do my part to keep you humble." He eyes the pool cues behind DJ, but doesn't make any move to retrieve one of his own. "You -- don't -- avoid sleeping here because of me, do you?"
At still? DJ blushes, eyes dropping to the pool table. His arm wraps around his chest, fingers closing tight above his opposite elbow. "I mean, you are around more at night so it's seemed better to -- not be."
"I expect she's something of a kid at heart, herself." Matt's eyes sparkle with amusement as he retrieves a cue of his own--and then swaps it for another, as if a slightly different tool will somehow improve his skill at the game. "I cannot properly imagine how upsetting this may still be--for both of you, no?" This is very gentle. "But wherever you do end up hanging your hat, the community is small, and if you mean to stick around..." One of his hands turns elegantly palm up, as though the conclusion were self-evident.
A low growl rumbles in Dusk's throat, his head bowing. "Yeah. It is a real small community, and I don't mean to --" His thumbclaws give a restless twitch. "This should be your home, too. I don't want to make you uncomfortable with --" Here frustration pulls his words to a halt again. "Fuck," he says after this, "I really wanted to be your friend. Bare minimum I shouldn't be keeping you from what community you have found."
"I -- think I do mean to stick around." DJ's tone implies that this is a revelation even to himself. His eyes widen at Dusk's words, and the flush in his cheeks is burning still redder. "Since I got here, I've pretty much been making people uncomfortable by existing. It would be nice to --" His eyes skip to Matt, and then away. "Actually have more friends."
Matt rolls the cue slowly between his hands, his expression thoughtful but serene. "Mm. This is not to dismiss either of your concerns about discomfiting others by the mere fact of your appearance or existence, but it may be worthwhile to consider sometimes the desire to spare others discomfort can become circular." He looks down at the neatly racked billiards. "Gods know I've been a mess over Dawson, and maybe I always will be, but I don't think avoiding you will help me heal. And if it hurts to look at you sometimes--well, I have it on good authority you are worth it."