Logs:In Which A Headache Is Distributed, Without Immediate Relief

From X-Men: rEvolution
In Which A Headache Is Distributed, Without Immediate Relief
Dramatis Personae

Hive, Sebastian, Skye, Taylor

2019-09-22


"Winging it is my specialty."

Location

<NYC> Evolve Cafe - Lower East Side


Spacious and open, this coffeeshop has a somewhat industrial feel to it, grey resin floors below and exposed-beam ceilings that have been painted up in a dancing swirl of abstract whorls and starbursts, a riot of colour splashed against a white background. The walls alternate between brick and cheerfully lime-green painted wood that extends to the paneling beneath the brushed-steel countertops. There's an abundance of light, though rather than windows (which are scarce) it comes from plentiful hanging steel lamps. The walls here are home to artwork available for sale; though the roster of prints and paintings and drawings and photographs changes on a regular basis it has one thing in common -- all the artists displayed are mutants.

The seating spaced around the room is spread out enough to keep the room from feeling cluttered. Black chairs, square black tables that mostly seat two or four though they're frequently pushed around and rearranged to make space for larger parties. In the back corner of the room is more comfortable seating, a few large black-corduroy sofas and armchairs with wide tables between them. There's a shelf of card and board games back here available for customers to sit and play.

The chalkboard menus hanging behind the counter change frequently, always home to a wide variety of drinks (with an impressive roster of fair-trade coffees and teas largely featured) though their sandwiches and wraps and soups and snacks of the day change often. An often-changing variety of baked goods sit behind the display case at the counter halfway back in the room, and the opposite side of the counter holds a small selection of homemade ice creams. A pair of single-user bathrooms flanks the stairway in back of the cafe; at night, the thump of music can be heard from above, coming from the adjoining nightclub of the same name that sits up the stairs above the coffeehouse.

Weekend brunch is always a popular time at Evolve. This afternoon no less than other times; the tables are crowded with people enjoying a companionable meal.

Or, in Hive's case, sullenly claiming a table to himself and steadfastly ignoring the press of people waiting for seating. He looks nondescript in faded jeans, beaten up old black Chucks, a black tee with an image of the Death Star underneath which it reads, 'ceci n'est pas une lune'. In front of him there's a huge coffee, and a large half-finished plate of shrimp and veggie bánh xèo, his laptop folded closed and for now set aside. At the moment, most of his attention is taken up by the phone in his hand.

Skye had been in line for A While now, alternating between chatting with her new queuing buddies and playing on her phone. She looks tired but freshly showered, her hair still slightly damp. She wears a purple t-shirt that reads "Social Justice Mage" in big bold capitals and beneath it in cursive "you call that a flame war?", slim-fit blue jeans, well-worn Doc Martens, and a gray messenger bag labelled "Bag of Holding". When she finally makes it to the counter she greets the staff in a friendly way and orders a large double mocha, a florentine benedict, and the most sugary-looking cupcake in the case. Once this is paid for and her drink made, she wanders through the cafe kind of aimlessly, searching for a place to sit where she can also watch the counter for her food. She's almost given this up for hopeless when she spots Hive and makes her hopeful way over. << Maybe he's saving seats, but who knows. >> "Hey man," she says, "mind if I sit here?"

"Saving it for you, I guess." Hive doesn't immediately look up, but he does drag his laptop off the table, twisting halfway around to shove the computer down into a backpack that's hooked on the back of his chair. He finishes swiping out a message on his phone. Only then looks up, setting the phone on the table and picking up his coffee instead. "Oh shit," is his first comment upon looking at Skye's shirt, "I am so fucking behind in my prep for next session."

"Sweet." Skye hooks the strap of her messenger bag over the chair and sinks into it with care, her aching body grateful for the relief. She hunches around her mocha and sucks down a long gulp. << Ah, sweet, sweet stimulants. >> "You still have time! Or you can just wing it." Her grin is bright and mischievous. "Have some dude stumble in with a cryptic note pinned to his back with a knife or something."

"Winging it is my specialty." Hive rocks back in his chair, bracing a hand against the edge of the table. "Wait, am I not supposed to let you all know that? Shit. Ah well. I'm a by-the-seat-of-my-fucking-pants GM." He creases his brows, rubs briefly at the back of his neck. "... I guess more or less like that in the rest of life, too. Flicker usually helps me put together something a little more thought out. He's..." A brief hesitation. "Usually," comes with a slight grimace, "more on top of life plans."

"Coming through!" Weaving his way through the packed dining room in jeans and a black tee shirt (bold white text printed across his muscular chest in all-caps reads 'WHITE LIVES MATTER TOO MUCH'), Taylor has most of his arms full at the moment. The majority of his serpentine limbs are occupied with dishes of various sorts -- though he's divesting himself of these as he circles the room. A soup deposited here, an omelette there, large plates of waffles and potatoes over there, one loooooong tentacle winding its way around a table to leave a coffee in front of another (slightly alarmed-looking) patron. By the time he makes it to Hive and Skye's table he is down to only the benedict, nestled snug in one of his many serpentine limbs. His brightly practiced-cheerful smile eases with a vague sense of relief (friends! A break from the press of white people!) as he stops by Hive and Skye's table. "Yoooo." He sets the benedict down in front of Skye. There's a mingled sense of worry and relief in his mind at the thought of Flicker and life plans. "Man, you need a new system if you've both decided on just Gryffindoring your way through life."

Skye gives an exaggerated shrug. "I already knew that, but thought it was just because you had to, what with how we're always going off on totally random side-quests that probably weren't even supposed to be quests to begin with." The haze of exhaustion is slowly lifting from her mind with the addition of copious caffeine. << Is anyone ever actually on top of life plans, though? Sounds kind of fake... >> "Nothing wrong with a bit of improvising. Or even a lot, if you're good at it. Thanks, Taylor!" Her hunger spikes sharp and bright when her food arrives. "But like --" She tips her head in Taylor's direction as she unwraps her silverware. "-- yeah, that seems. Maybe not so great if you don't have some kinda...I dunno. Backup? Balance? Big picture?" << Ok, not like I have a lot of stones to throw here, but yikes that whole last summer... >>

Sebastian wanders around the club seemingly aimlessly as he bumps into one patron and then another. "Sorry, sorry," he mumbles through a splitting headache as he stumbles about. Disoriented. That's the word. He's been in and out of the state so much, as of the past day, he can hardly even remember what time it is now. He can already feel that it's only a matter of time before he rolls back into it again. Sebastian almost tumbles over a table but instead knocks a glass off of it. Then it happens. The cup never hits the floor, and his headache gets a little worse. To the others, it only takes a moment. But to Sebastian it seems to take hours. By the time that they see him again, he is leaned against the back of Hive's chair with his knees to his chest and his hands over his ears. << Make it stop. Make it stop. Make it stop. >> An odd choice of words, considering that he is literally begging time to start moving again. << Please, God. Make it stop. >> His head feels like it is on fire as he rocks back and forth and the cup continues its descent towards the floor.

"When you put it that way, it sounds a lot like, uh, most of our life." Hive sips again at his coffee. Flashes a quick smile up to Taylor. "We definitely only need one impulsive --" Whatever he was going to say next just cuts off in a sudden wince, his hand rubbing hard at the side of his head. "Fucking Christ." It's a gruff mutter, his eyes lifting to look around the cafe with a frown. The frown only increases when Sebastian leans up against his chair. "Dude, fucking watch it," is his initial snappish reaction, dragging his chair a liiittle bit forward away from the slumping teenager. << Think you need more than coffee, >> surfaces irritably in his mind, idly considering the distance from here to the Mendel Clinic.

Taylor's breath hisses inward, his eyes scrunching up, too. One of his limbs snakes outward, unfurling quick and long to snatch the falling cup as it drops toward the ground. He replaces it carefully on the table. There's irritation in his mind, too -- << We're a cafe not a goddamn halfway house for broken freaks. >> but for all this instinctive annoyance, when his grimace evens out there's no irritation written on his expression. It just snaps back to his default customer-service polite. "Kid, you need an Advil?"

Setting her coffee aside reluctantly, Skye starts tackling her meal, glancing up at Hive as he speaks. She puts her fork down in alarm when he breaks off and exclaims, but doesn't ask aloud. << It's gotta suck being a telepath in here when its so crowded. >> This comes with an extra burst of sympathy for Taylor. She jumps a little in her seat, though, when Sebastian suddenly appears behind Taylor's chair, and drops both of her utensils -- which were fortunately not far up and just settle to her plate with a quiet clatter. A quiet clatter that goes on for longer than it really should, rippling out from her meal to a few nearby tables in a startled reflexive shudder of her power that she quashes with an irritated quickness. "Hey uh...you alright there?" Concerned and a little uncertain, the question is obviously directed to Sebastian, but her eyes dart quickly to Hive and to Taylor, knowing they'd have more insight on what was actually happening. << Probably just newly manifested. I know that feel, kiddo. >>

Sebastian yelps a bit as the chair slides away from him, sending him tumbling back just a bit. << Fucking-... >> He remains unable to finish a thought as the headache increases in intensity when he feels his spine rolling back. "Gnngh..." He squeezes his head in his hands as if somehow that will help the pressure. He skitters up to a sitting position against the chair again so that there isn't as much pressure on his spine. When they all spoke to him seemingly at once, all he could bear to say was, "I can't control it. Please, just make it stop." A clear thought finally managed to pass through his head, << At this rate, I'm going to pass out again... >> It had happened once or twice already, but he always felt better after passing out for a while. At least, until it started again. He was glad it wasn't happening right now, though. He wasn't sure how he would respond having all their eyes on him at once. << If I could just control it, this wouldn't happen any more... >>

"Personal space, man." When Sebastian skitters up to lean against Hive's chair again, the next time he actively jerks it away, legs scraping loud against the floor as he yanks the chair to the side. "The hell do you think this place is?" Hive's palm is still pressing hard at his temple, and though Taylor is constrained by his own polite nature and the bonds of service work, Hive -- is not. "If you can't control your shit, there's a clinic four blocks away. Here? They serve coffee."

One of the smallest of Taylor's pairs of tendril-arms is lifting, rubbing a slender end against his eyes. "I'm sorry you're hurting, that's gotta suck. I don't know how exactly you want us to make it stop," he replies, extremely mildly, "but I can get you an Advil, or the address to the Mendel Clinic. They're a little more equipped to deal with this kind of thing than --" Another slim arm waves in a sweeping gesture around the cafe.

Skye's dark brown eyes go wide at Sebastian's words. << Oh fuck is this kid gonna explode or turn everything he touches to mackerel or teleport us all into the sun -- >> She relaxes a little, though, when the telepaths speak, imagining they must have some idea the level of danger the unfortunate youth poses. "Yeah, the clinic's not far, and it's your best bet if you're having a power emergency. Definitely safer than a flatscan hospital." Her shudder is mostly internal -- mostly. "They have a very generous sliding scale if you're uninsured." << Can he make it, though? I wish we had any kind of emergency service we could call that'd actually take him. >>

Sebastian feels a shudder creep up his spine. He hears Hive speak and feels the chair move away, again. He's surprised that the other has any space to move forward after the first scoot. "I'll go," he whimperes a little... Well... A lot louder than he intended to. He can tell he's not welcome, at the moment. At least for the moment. This isn't his first time here, but this has never happened before. << Just calm down, >> he tells himself, bringing one of his hands down wrapping his teeth over it and biting down to try diverting the attention from his head to his hand. He can feel his teeth making impressions in his skin as he tries to stand up. << Just stay calm. Don't let it happen again. >> Maybe his power is connected to his adrenaline. It only seems to become a problem when his tension peaks. "Just give me a second, I'll go."

Hive picks up his fork, stabs it harder than necessary into his crepe. << Good, >> is his only mental response to the promises to leave. Aloud, muttered, "Better not be about to explode. -- Clinic's by Orchard and Delancey, if you need help with that." He chomps down hard on his food, his eyes still narrowed in a wince of borrowed pain.

<< Sir, this is a Wendy's, >> surfaces reflexively in Taylor's mind, this time echoing longsuffering and wryly amused to both Hive and Skye. Somewhere patient and patiently exhausted in his mind is the brief thought of how many powers-related mishaps he sees here weekly. "There's also a support group for newly manifested mutants that meets upstairs here weekly. If this is less urgent than an actual medical crisis. You come back when you're more in control, we'll get you the info." His voice is still mild. He drops a hand to Hive's shoulder, claps it in a firm squeeze. Then he's dipping out, returning to the counter and the long line waiting there.

Skye bites her bottom lip, eyebrows creeping up. "Alright, man." << Is that all we can offer? I guess, if he's bad enough off he can't even carry on a conversation. >> She feels like she shouldn't be watching this kid struggle. Taylor's meme -- thought of a meme -- earns an appreciative inward ruffle of amusement, but still her memory flashes to being a terrified teenager, walking on eggshells for fear that her powers will surge up out of her at any moment and shake her world apart -- or worse, give her away to Prometheus. << I'd love to say 'it gets better,' but...maybe it won't, for him. >> "Good luck," she adds, instead, "be safe."

Sebastian continues biting on his hand as he attempts to fully gain his footing. He can hear the others just barely as he steps away from the table he disrupted. He can't tell if time is moving or not until he finally reaches the door and it opens. << Just stay calm, >> he keeps telling himself as his mind wanders over what an awkward situation he just put himself in. << Stay calm. Stay calm. >> he doesn't want to go to Mendel. He doesn't want to sign the papers and pay them to help. But he isn't sure he has a choice. << Just go. You've caused enough trouble already, >> he tells himself before he steps outside, leaving the others to enjoy their... Whatever he just interrupted.

Hive slowly relaxes as Sebastian moves away. The pinched strain in his expression eases, his hand dropping from his temple back to the table, and he exhales a soft relieved sigh. "Fuck, that was a nightmare," sounds pretty strained. His eyes skip towards the door, then back to his food with only the faintest trace of guilt in the -- very brief -- slump of his posture. When he returns to eating, it's slower, his head shaking. "Yeah. Doesn't, always, get better." His jaw is a little tighter, here. "Hope he finds the help he needs."