|Location||Open Hands - Mutant Town|
|NPCs||Tyrone Stevens, Sergio Mireles, Misty the Bat Girl|
|Summary||Orianne heads to Open Hands to check in on Misty, and encounters someone else instead.|
| Open Hands consists of two adjacent row houses purchased at auction from the city. Repaired but hardly refurbished, their continued existence is a constant uphill battle. Their insides have been converted to suit every purpose, not the least of which being beds and living spaces for mutants in need.
The main building boasts a wide array of pre-owned books, video games, and a donated ping-pong table. Daily activities include yoga, career coaching, group therapy and crisis counseling as well as many other wholesome distractions.
Non-prescription drug use and the consumption of alcohol on-grounds is strictly prohibited. Meal times and curfews are more loosely enforced by fellow residents and volunteers, as well as the community chore list.
A brand new, state of the art holoprojector has been installed. It's basically whatever the 2046 super version of mega HD is. Also, its data cloud is preloaded with more or less every popular video game known to man that Samad doesn't think sucks.(Set by Samad on Sun, Sep 18.)
| It is a summer night. The weather is hot and raining.|
"NO! I SAY WE-!"
"/BRO!/" There is a clatter of dishes from the kitchen as Tyrone drops the flatware he'd been scrubbing clean to turn around open armed. He gives his friend and roommate Sergio a pointed look of warning from across the room.
Still worked up, Sergio lowers his tone but continues on in an almost inaudible hiss. It's clear that they are probably talking about what happened to the park.
In the common room where the front door opens to, Christian doesn't look up from where he sits cross-legged on the floor. Rather than sit on the couch, he drapes his arms over it and uses it as if it were a table. His tongue presses out from the corner of his mouth in concentration as he slowly winds his pencil along the lines of one of the workbooks spread out before him. There's an action playing on the holoprojector that quite frankly is getting much more attention than his studies.
He wears a shiny, oversized soccer jersey, baggy denim shorts that hang past his knees, and clean white socks that go up about mid-calf.
The young woman who makes her way into the common room pauses at the sudden shout, as if uncertain whether she actually /should/ enter now. Orianne is dressed in slightly warmer clothes than the weather might warrant, as if New York's fall chill still gets to her; a lightweight jacket, warm calf-length boots in place of her usual parkour sneakers, and a poofy knit cap a little bit too large for her. She has a decently-sized bag in one hand, which she lifts as if in explanation. "I hope I'm not intruding? I wanted to check in on Misty." A pause, and then she elaborates, "I brought cookies."
"Hi!" Christian clambers up from the ground, flailing about in the .5 seconds it takes him to stand at faux-attention in response to Orianne's totally normal entrance. "Hi!" His eyes bulge somewhat. And he just stares at her. He tries to smile behind how red his face becomes. "She's... somewhere."
Glowering, Sergio pokes his head out from the kitchen area very suspiciously. When he goes back to talking to Tyrone, it's something about Christian's 'game,' whatever that is!
Christian's flailing earns a quirked eyebrow from Orianne, and perhaps a little bit of a self-conscious blush. Luckily for her, her skin's dark enough that it's hard to tell. She holds the bag out in offering, presenting what appears to be two plastic containers of cookies; one is chocolate chip, the other is a mixture of snickerdoodles, peanut butter, and more chocolate chip. "Cookies," she repeats. You know, in case he didn't hear it earlier. "I, ah... how are you doing?" She /was/ here to check on Misty, but seems to have forgotten that for the moment.
Taking the stacked containers in both hands, Christian regards Orianne with a nod of devotion, "I'll make sure to share them with everyone." Okay, now what does he do? He just stands there holding them. He blinks, eyes darting down to the workbooks he'd had spread out. Even from a passing glance, they're rudimentary. The lettering and line spacing is all so large that they're obviously meant for a child. But here he is... a grown man. "I'm doing well-" Christian stammers, clumsily setting the cookies down on the coffee table as he moves to try and cover up the books before she can see.
"Oh, good. It's been a little crazy out there this week, with the..." She gestures vaguely, in a manner probably meant to evoke 'fire' or 'smoke' or possibly 'the state of the world in general'. But unfortunately for Christian, attempting to cover up something often only draws attention to it; Orianne glances over at the books, perhaps seeking a conversational topic less prone to either discussion of the fire, or to awkward pauses. "What do you have there?" she asks, making her way over to glance down at the books.
"Oh, nothing," Christian shrugs one shoulder into his neck, wagging his head back and forth oh-so casually. He fumbles with the floppy, shiny books as he tries to draw them nearer to himself. One slides out of his grip and with a smack, lands out on the hardwood floor at Orianne's feet. It's a book on foundational mathematics. The happy, pig-tailed girl on the cover is still in braces. Christian doesn't look half as carefree as her. He looks horrified. Both of his broad shoulders slump down theatrically low.
Ever-helpful, Orianne kneels to pick up the book. "Here, I think you dropped this one," she offers, though she pauses to look at it for a moment. She almost starts to open it, to glance inside, but then she seems to think better of it; she simply presents it to Christian. There's no judgment in her tone when she says, "I guess other worlds don't always have a lot of call for math, do they?"
Taking the book, Christian sputters out a hiss that could be a laugh. It could just be a hiss, though. His Adam's apple bobs with a gulp as he stacks the workbook with the others. "Not exactly," he waggles his peppery eyebrows, "I'm sure the space one did... we just didn't have to do it." Her casual nature puts him a little more at ease... but Christian still isn't sure what he's supposed to say to her. He grows silent and wetting his bottom lip, he watches her.
"Oh, they probably did a /lot/ of math," Orianne agrees, nodding firmly. She's not sure what to say to Christian either, but she can take this topic and run with it for a couple of sentences! "I bet the part of flying a spaceship where you warp to a whole other /star system/ probably needed a lot of math. But I don't think the flying castle ran on math."
"It probably did but they just call it magic," Christian muses quietly. He pretty much second guesses every word that comes out of his mouth. "Because they called pretty much everything magic." Wringing his hands, he gives a twitch of an unsure smile.
"They did," Orianne agrees. "Though I guess I can't argue; it's their world, so they knew it better than us. Maybe it really /was/ all magic there." She pauses, as if considering Christian's own time away. "Have you been out to see New York at all? Lately, I mean. I feel like I've been cooped up here in Mutant Town /forever/. And tourist spots should be safe; I'm sure the Friends of Humanity wouldn't try to burn down the Statue of Liberty."
"I like to go on walks," Christian says, almost brightly. He gulps, again. His jaw strains against the faint white shadow of his stubble. "But I haven't been on the trains or... to anywhere in particular, if that's what you mean." Bringing up an arm and reaching behind himself, he runs his fingers through the back of his already messy hair. "The noises and all the lights and... all the people... it can be..."
Orianne moves to Christian almost before she realizes she's done it, when he can't even finish describing being overwhelmed; she rests a hand on his arm as if to offer him an anchor. "It's okay. You don't have to if you need to. But if it would be easier with someone else..."
The muscles in Christian's arm pulse against Orianne's touch. The proximity and contact all but locks him up. Both of his lips tremble as if he might speak, but he doesn't. Instead, he... well... he... uh, he smells her. He leans in and just like, sniffs her hair.
Orianne can feel the tension in Christian's arm, and so after a moment she lets her hand relax, preparing to let it drop. She doesn't want to make him /uncomfortable/. But then she pauses as he... sniffs her /hair/? She flushes slightly and raises her free hand to check, self-consciously, that there's nothing in there that might smell 'off'.
Before Orianne's hand can fall away, Christian catches it. Gently cupping his larger hand over it, he holds it in place for a few heartbeats before... his own hand slackens. He can't bring himself to look at her face but rather, pointedly shows her his profile as he flexes and unflexes his jaw.
"Orianne?" A female voice, faint but sweet, cuts into the room with a vibratory quality. Misty steps down the staircase from the second floor only enough to peek down into the common area. The smile on her voice carries to her mouth, "I thought I heard your voice!"
Christian pulls his hand away.
Orianne seems about to say something to Christian, but then she hears that unique voice; she half-turns to glance at the stairs, and a moment later a second Orianne appears much closer to the stairs, greeting the bat-girl enthusiastically. "Misty! I wanted to come check if you were settled in okay." Orianne-2 pauses, gesturing back to the coffee table. "Also, I brought cookies."
Prime Orianne turns back to Christian, watching him for a moment before asking, "Should I let you finish studying?"
The thin, tattered membranes of what remains of Misty's long since healed-over former wings flutter as she opens both arms to embrace the Orianne puppet in a hug. "That's so sweet of you!"
Christian finds it difficult to draw himself out. He's too intense. Too overloaded. Clearing his throat, he brings his hands back together in front of him. His fingers wind together and he picks into his own nails absently. "Probably," he agrees. Hushed. He blinks.
Orianne-2 returns the hug cheerfully, clearly pleased to see Misty doing well. "I'm sorry I haven't had many chances to come visit yet. But you should come by Oddball sometime; I've got a job as a barista there now, and I can get you the employee discount. You like hot chocolate?"
The primary Orianne, however, watches Christian instead of Misty. His fidgeting, his uncertainty. She steps forward, hand reaching out towards him, and then stops to clasp her hands behind her instead. Fidget fidget. And then she seems to come to a decision, stepping forward and up onto her tip-toes to give him a quick kiss. Just a brief one, a very brief contact. And then she dances back a few steps, back towards the stairs where Misty (and Orianne-2) are. "I'll let you get back to your studying."Christian's knees give a tiny sort of buckle as he watches Orianne go. His eyes nearly bulge right out of his head but he doesn't move. She's paralyzed him.