Logs:Usual Kind of People
|Usual Kind of People|
"Next time I'll warn you."
<NYC> Chimaera Arts - DUMBO
This is just one of the many abandoned warehouses in DUMBO, and like many of them it has recently changed hands. /Unlike/ most of those, however, it does not have some corporate developer's sign out front promising a transformation into luxury condominiums or a boutique shopping center or the latest concept restaurant. Instead it's marked by a piece of weathered but wildly colorful plywood propped up on a stack of broken pallets, which reads "Chimaera Art Space!" above "chimaera.org" in smaller letters.
The warehouse is moderately large and decorated with graffiti art in various styles--some of it recognizable as the work of renowned local street artists. A pair of monstrous scrap metal sculptures, perhaps still works in progress, flank the entrance. The building itself has undergone significant renovation recently, complete with wiring, plumbing, and a modular partitioning system. The grounds, too, have been cleaned up, ramshackle fences torn down and rusting detritus removed in favor of reclaimed (and brilliantly repainted) outdoor furniture ringing an impressively engineered firepit.
It's a brisk spring afternoon, persistently cloudy, though the rain has held off. Chimaera is still recovering from the aftermath of May Day: partitions that had been put up for the work party beforehand only halfway torn down, stray litter strewn about, missed in the initial sweep, and not one but two large stacks of picket signs cluttering the corners. At least the art and medic supplies have been put away, which probably reflects the priorities of the small cleaning crew, most of which is now chatting and smoking around the fire pit outside. Steve is still inside, wearing a black t-shirt with a fierce but adorable chimera carrying a paint brush in its jaws, blue jeans, and black combat boots, methodically dismantling the partitions and returning them to storage. It's usually a two-person job, though he seems to be managing it fine -- if not /quickly/ -- by himself.
Flicker hasn't been here, but now, abruptly, he is. He appears in a sudden ghostly trail flitting in from the doorway and vanishing off towards one of the storerooms too fast to smoothly track. When he actually settles down, though, it's nearby Steve. He's in khakis and a slightly rumpled dark grey polo, a backpack slung over one shoulder, his opposing arm very simple today in its bifurcated crimson and black coloration. "Hey." The smile that crosses his too-pale face is brief. "Did you need a hand?" Maybe the question's a formality; he's letting the backpack slide to the floor with a heavy THUNK, moving to join Steve in taking apart the current partition.
Steve's startle reflex at Flicker's appearance is almost routine by now -- sharp intake of breath, subtle lowering of stance, eyes scanning the warehouse for other potential foes before fully registering the first one as a friend. His smile is quick, bright, and a bit embarrassed. "Sure, if you --" But Flicker is already beside him and he only chuckles, his gaze lingers briefly on the other man's face. "Thanks." He pauses a beat, lifts up the partition segment so Flicker can disengage the latch more easily. "You feeling alright?"
"Sorry," Flicker flushes, dips his head as Steve's posture shifts, but the look of apology is short-lived. "Sorry?" He blinks, looks up from what he's doing. Reaches up reflexively to pat at his (also kind of mussed) hair, straightening it down flatter. His eyes have widened, his tone slightly more strained. "Am I - not - alright? I'm fine?" The crease of his brow and uptick at the end of this don't leave it /entirely/ certain.
Steve's brows crease slightly at the reply, his eyes ticking to follow Flicker's hand. "You just seem a tad...out of sorts?" He also sounds pretty unsure about this. "I don't mean any criticism by it, but if you want to take a load off for a while, I can definitely handle these." He nods at the partition. "Could also fetch you some food, water, coffee, maybe?"
Flicker's cheeks darken again, this time deeper. "Oh..." His tongue flicks briefly across his lips, his eyes lowering. "Sorry, I." His right arm falls to his side, the motion stiffer and more mechanical than the prosthetic tends to be. "Class has just been. A lot lately, sorry." His smile returns, a little delayed, a little crooked. "Could probably do with a bit more sleep. Maybe I'll catch up this weekend." He looks back down at his side of the partition, for a moment kind of blank before reaching to take hold of it. "You've been around more. Liking it here?"
"It's not hurting me any, but I hope you find the time to rest soon." Steve's smile is sympathetic. "How about we get this one put away, and we both grab some food? There's still leftovers from Wednesday." He eases the detached partition down so that he can carrying it by one of the shorter edges with Flicker remaining where he is."Yeah, this place is great. The /people/ are great, and I've been curious to see how twenty-first century folks fight the good fight." As they start shifting the partition, he glances at Flicker's backpack where he'd dropped it upon arriving. "What're you studying, anyway? Sounds like an awful lot of books!"
"As far as I can tell they fight it with a lot of dark humor, coffee, and cigarettes." Flicker brightens. Lets out a short relieved breath. Nods, picks up his end of the partition. "Yeah, food sounds great." He follows Steve's glance toward the backpack as they move. "I'm in med school. Theoretically I might be a doctor one day but --" He shakes his head as he backs into the storage room, lining this piece of the makeshift wall up against the others. "Feels a long way off." For just a moment he leans up against the partition once he's set it down, a small downward slump that he straightens out of quickly. "You said there's food?"
"When you put it that way, doesn't sound all that different from my day." Steve's smile skews a little crooked. "Especially if you throw in some booze and fisticuffs." His eyebrows raise up. "Medical school! No wonder you're not sleeping. I heard there's a whole lot of parts to memorize." He starts to reach for Flicker when the man slumps over. "Yeah, there's still some chili and sweet potato hash. Come sit down on the couch and I'll bring you some, alright? And maybe a coffee? Or tea? You look about set to fall asleep on your feet."
"A fair bit of those, too." Flicker just nods along to Steve's suggestions a bit automatically. "Especially the -- no, wait, especially both of those." The support seems to bolster him a bit, when Steve reaches for him. Just a tic where he relaxes - gathers himself - straightens with a grateful smile. He lifts his hand, resting it on Steve's. "Couch, right --"
A moment later, the world lurches. Kind of a dizzying nauseating blur, the storeroom around them melting into indefinable swirl. There are brief snapshot-moments in between where the warehouse almost - not quite - resolves back into place, each time slightly offset from where it was before. When it finally resettles they're at the couch, the world just as it was before despite the precipitous and stomach-churning displacement. Flicker sinks down onto the couch, hand dropping to his lap.
"Oh!" Flicker's eyes widen. He's been slumping back into the couch but now he sits up straighter, hand lifting to dig knuckles into his eye. He looks like he might say something, but just shakes his head, settling back until Steve returns. "Thank you," he says, as he takes the plate. "I mean, I'm sorry. I mean, I don't usually. Um. I usually warn people before I -- I shouldn't have -- I just forgot. That you hadn't..." He looks down at the food, cheeks flushing again. "-- My friends are used to that. I know it's not. Fun." He picks up his fork, tapping it restlessly against the edge of the plate. "Thank you." His eyes dart back up. He sucks in one side of his cheek, chewing on it as one knee bounces, threatening but not quite actually spilling his food. "Coffee. Um." He takes a bite of sweet potato hash, chewing it over quickly. Swallowing. Taking another. "Thank you."
"You're welcome. Coffee'll be a couple of minutes, yet." Steve flashes an encouraging smile. "Hey, it's alright. I know it's normal, for you -- how you get around and all. Didn't realize it was something you did with...other folks, except in emergencies." He studies Flicker, his gaze steady and appraising, before averting it. "But it was just a bit of a head rush, no harm done! You know, I used to jump out of perfectly good airplanes on a regular basis -- I've got a strong stomach." He closes his eyes for a moment, lips moving soundlessly, before tucking into his meal with ravenous zeal.
"I usually don't, except with people who --" Flicker blushes, shakes his head quickly. He glances up sideways at Steve, one side of his mouth pulling back up into a smile. "Next time I'll warn you. Strong stomach or not, it still just seems -- polite." He rubs his shoulder against his cheek, shifting to turn toward Steve. "I also hope it's a little different. Hopping to a couch to eat and. I dunno. Jumping into -- Nazis." His brows knit. "Not that I don't sometimes also jump into nazis. But I'd /definitely/ warn you first."
Steve takes a break from shoveling food into his mouth -- he's already three-quarters done with his plate. "Well, I do appreciate that. You are a gentleman and a scholar." He laughs now, abrupt and bright, and it seems to surprise him. "This is /definitely/ nicer than jumping into Nazis. But it still needs doing, obviously. I'm still ready to do it, and would be happy to do so with you." He quirks a smile back. "/With/ warning, preferably." He glances in the direction of the kitchen. "Do you take sugar and cream? Or...milk. Or milk substitutes?"
"That's not /usually/ the kind of thing people are eager for." Flicker looks over Steve longer, something easing in his smile. He's not tucking into his food /quite/ as quickly as Steve, but he's putting it away pretty well all the same. "I guess you're not exactly a usual kind of person. Fit /right/ in with most of my friends that way." He sits up straighter again at the question. Abruptly flushes once more. He pauses, a forkful of chili halfway to his mouth. "I -- um." The frown that crosses his face is quick. "How...ever you take it is. Fine."
Steve looks up thoughtfully. "I'm having a little trouble imagining Matt punching Nazis, but I guess I shouldn't judge a book by its...gentle highschool teacher cover." He sets his plate aside. "Black it is, then. Be right back." He goes to the kitchen and returns more quickly this time with two steaming (colorful) (also mismatched) mugs. "Here you go. It's on the strong side, should perk you right up."
"There's more ways to fight than just punching." Flicker's eyes track Steve across the warehouse. And back. He sets his silverware down on his mostly empty plate, reaching up to accept the cup gingerly, carefully cradling it in his right hand as the other stabilizes it. "Thank you." This time his head bows, eyes closing a silent moment before he lifts the cup for a tentative sip. Briefly winces, takes a longer swallow anyway.
"Welcome." Steve downs one long culp of his coffee, only wincing slightly at the temperature. "Ah... I just can't get over how /good/ coffee is these days." He tips his head toward Flicker. "But, yes, I do appreciate that. Did, even before the war, but now I know you don't really win with fists or knives or guns. You win with /logistics/." He takes a more leisurely sip of his coffee before returning to the remains of his meal. "I took Jax's protest health and safety class earlier this week, and I'm so glad there's folks like him taking care of folks. /And/ you, doctor-to-be. It's just..." He gives a small shrug. "Well. My expertise /mostly/ lies in the punching department."
Flicker swallows, nods along silently with Steve as he takes another slow small sip of the coffee. His mouth works for a moment, but he stays silent. Follows the sip with another bite of food, then puts the rest of the plate aside. "Jax is. Great. We need more people like him. Me, I just..." He trails off, staring down into the mug of coffee. Shaking his head sharply. "Thank you. I think I really needed -- just. A moment, you know? I wasn't sure how I was going to make it through work tonight." His fingers have curled white-knuckle tight around the handle of the mug. He looks back up at Steve with a small quick smile. "You sell yourself short. You seem like you're /pretty/ good at taking care of folks, too."
Steve has polished off the rest of his food and set the empty plate aside to focus on his coffee. "Sounds like you're keeping a lot of balls in the air. /More/ balls, I mean. Than I was thinking." He opens his mouth as if to explain further, but closes it again, blushing faintly. "Sorry, that got away from me a bit. Point is, I'm glad you took a moment." His eyes drop briefly to Flicker's hand where it clutches the mug tight. "Wish you could take more than just a moment. Anything thing else I could do to help? If you're still hungry I can bring you more food." His blush deepens a bit. "Well. I /said/ 'mostly.'"
Flicker blinks. Opens his mouth. Closes it. Swallows whatever he was going to say. His leg has returned to bouncing, quick and restless. In contrast to his hand, his cheeks are back to a furious crimson as he takes another measured swallow of coffee, his eyes lingering on Steve a long beat before pulling away. "I --" His teeth press down against his bottom lip. "Honestly, I'm just. Glad for the fellowship. Thank you." He downs the rest of his coffee, shoulder slumping after. When he stands it's slow, pulling himself heavily up from the couch. He gestures to Steve's empty plate. "Can I take that?"
Steve meets Flicker's reaction with a perplexed frown, and then his eyes wide and /his/ blush, too, goes bright and vivid. "Sorry," he chokes out, scrubbing his face with one hand. "I um -- am a deeply awkward person when I'm not punching anyone." His smile is lopsided, rueful. "Oh, yeah." He hands over the plate. Considers his coffee downs the remainder so he can surrender the mug, too. "Thank you." He rises, too, not nearly so wearily as Flicker. "Feeling up to tackling the rest of those walls now? I'm not going to judge you for resting a while longer."
"I think you're pretty alright." Flicker takes the mug, the plate, stacks them with his own. His smile is smaller, head slightly bowed. "Oh, trust me, I'm judging me enough for the both of us." He hefts the dishes, back to his regular brightness when he looks back up. "I'll get these cleaned up and we can get back to work." And then -- in his usual ghostly blur -- he's gone.