<< Maybe not an accident. >> (set just after Hive's SOS went out.)
Village Lofts 403 - East Village
There's kind of a college-dorm feel to this place, though some of its occupants have left college behind. Entering the apartment finds visitors greeted by the perpetually messy living room, a mismatched assortment of couches and chairs (and milk crates) surrounding the wide table in the center. The wall holds a range of posters; some political, some sporty, some from video games, and a string of white lights strung over the kitchen doorway might be a holdover from Christmas. A widescreen television stands against the wall opposite the couch, shelving beside it holding a host of video games from different consoles. More shelving beside the windows on the far wall carries stacks of board games, as well as sourcebooks from various RPGs.
The kitchen adjacent is just as cluttered, its table unfit for eating due to its perpetual covering of books, papers, cereal boxes, projects; the fridge is usually sparsely populated. Ketchup. Beer. Not a lot of food. There are two bedrooms here and one bathroom situated between them, split between the three people who live here.
Shane has been pacing the living room at Geekhaus, his phone in hand. His slacks are neat, pressed, though paired only with a sleeveless black undershirt. His circuitous path loops around the room, into the bedroom -- frowning at the inert body lying in bed -- back out into the living room. He stops, opens up his text messages (for perhaps the dozenth time), closes them again with an intense wash of anxiety.
There's a thump out on the fire escape. The window opens -- Dusk looks sort of a rumpled mess, his (still faintly damp) hair standing out in many directions; no shirt, no shoes. His wings fold in tight behind himself, and he makes a beeline for the bedroom, stopping short of Hive's doorway to just frown at it. His mind quests outward, feeling somewhat blindly for the others. One wing, smelling faintly still of cinnamon and cloves and cardamom, stretches out to brush lightly against Shane's shoulder.
Matt clambers in after Dusk, also wet and mussed, though more fully dressed--a black t-shirt with the blue outline of a house, a staircase spiraling deep into the ground beneath it, and gray cargo shorts. His power curls out ahead of him and sinks with perhaps startling delicacy into Hive's, guided by his general familiarity and the limited psionic proprioception of his own hived status. He walks past Shane and into Hive's room, relegating his own greeting to a quiet mental /press/, and sits down on the edge of the bed. Once he has hold of their telepathy, he gingerly stretches out his awareness for one of their thousands--the first of their thousands, who dwells, at least sometimes, in the skinny lanky frame beside him.
If Hive is there, it's hard to tell. The glut of minds teems around and within them in a vast tumult, blending into a static white-noise from which individual experiences are hard to pick out. Within it Hive's own thread of consciousness is no more or less distinct than the rest, just one mind among many faded into the overlapping din.
"He was just --" << (like that) >> finishes Shane's mind when his voice falters; he gestures with his phone toward the bedroom. << Tried to poke at him but -- >> He shakes his head hard. "Pa went to check the, the Clinic in case -- maybe there was an accident and. Flicker's not -- answering." He lifts the phone in indication.
<< Accident. >> Dusk turns this thought over in his mind. He holds it up uncertainly against his recollections of Flicker recently -- always pale, always exhausted. << Does he even sleep anymore? >> Against the kindly solicitous men from his church who keep turning up asking about Flicker's absence. Against cancelled Game Nights and perpetually unanswered text messages. << Maybe not an accident. >> This sounds grim. His wing enfolds Shane properly, drawing the smaller man near.
Matt nods. << Maybe not, >> a soft echo of Dusk's voice. His prayer is a wordless whisper of moonlight and wind and the smooth hard surface of his ring as he brushes his thumb over it. His eyes slide shut as he pours himself deeper into them, questing with inexpert telepathic reach for the bright, quick flutter of Flicker's mind.
Shane presses his cheek to the inside of Dusk's wing. His mind shoves hard at the thoughts Dusk turns over, forcibly batting them away. << He's just been busy. >> This comes fierce and defensive. But smaller, not at all certain in his tremulous reach for Matt: << Can you feel him? >>
Dusk tips his head down, pressing a kiss to Shane's forehead before he lets his wing drop. He watches Matt's searching with a tired inward spark that does not quite kindle into real hope. His shoulders are slumped, wings pulling back in slowly as he trudges off to the kitchen to start some water boiling. << We might be here a while. >>