|Let It Go|
|Location||Open Hands - Mutant Town|
|Participants||Alexandra, Christian, Orianne|
|NPCs||Lil Miss Freeze|
|Summary||Winter is coming.|
| 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 fall evening. The weather is cool and stormy.|
It is a dark fall night, the chill of autumn just beginning to seep into the air. The sky is like dark wool, choked with clouds, but no rain yet. It's late.
It's after lights out at Open Hands, which, means, theoretically, everyone should be in bed. Well, all the residents at least. There's a light still on in the common room, where those who have drawn the short straw for late night security work can sit and rest. Otherwise--it's dark and quiet, with that still creepiness a place that is normally bustling acquires when empty, like a school after hours.
Orianne is not a resident, but having just finished her Oddball shift, she's keeping a promise she made: she's shown up with a set of lattes for those who are stuck playing at security, to keep them warm and awake. It's a small gesture she can make and besides, she gets an employee discount. But though the drinks have been delivered, Orianne herself hasn't yet departed to head home, sitting to keep those on watch company for a short while.
Alexandra has thrown on one of her lighter jackets in deference to the cooling weather; it's especially noticeable after the blaring warmth of summer. (This temperature will feel downright balmly by the end of winter, though.) She's simply rolled up the sleeves for the indoors. She offers Orianne a downright /worshipful/ look for the lattes. "I love you," she tells her quite seriously as she curls her fingers around her cup.
Christian lets out an audible yawn as he emerges from his bedroom on the second floor. Accompanied by a wide stretching of arms, it's high pitched and cartoonish. He wears a pair of flimsy grey sweatpants that ride low on his hips. The antler-hilt of a handcrafted dagger juts out of the waistband, leaning alongside the shallow groove of his apollo's belt. Is he allowed to have a knife? His socks absorb much of the sound of his footsteps as he lazily comps his way down the stairs. Studying upstairs is hard. He has to stretch more. Not wearing a shirt is totally an accident-oh, weird, Orianne is here. What a surprise! He totally wasn't staring listlessly out the window or anything. Casual stretching.
"You're welcome," Orianne notes to Alexandra, with a smile. "I figured everyone could use it, especially with the city getting so /cold/." Poor little equatorial girl; she's already managed to block out the memory of just how bad the winter gets. She lifts her own cup to her mouth to take a sip, glancing over at the sound of someone on the stairs as she does so. As a result, she just about pours her drink down her own shirt when she takes in Christian's lack of one, catching herself only at the last moment. It makes for a momentarily comical juggling of the cup in an unsteady grip, with only luck preventing disaster.
It's only because the place is so quiet that it can be heard at all--a patter against one of the front windows, as if hail or pebbles had hit it. In the day, no doubt so small a noise would be lost in the bustle.
"I'm pretty sure that knife's big enough to be illegal," Lexie informs Christian. She is not so easily distracted by his partial nudity, but he seems to be slotting into something like a Little Brother spot. Most of the time. She does stifle a laugh at poor Orianne's reaction, though. It almost makes her miss the patter against the glass, but not quite: her gaze shifts around towards the front windows.
"But how will I kill my enemies?" Christian asks with an innocent, open gesture. He sneaks a shy smile to Orianne, letting the sound outside the windows go unacknowledged even as he peacock struts right by them.
Orianne finds her composure -- she left it around her somewhere -- and straightens slightly. "Do you think you have a lot of enemies who show up at Open Hands?" she asks Christian curiously. But then she sees Lexie's gaze shift to the windows, and turns her own attention that way to see what drew the other woman's attention.
It is too dark to see what happens at the window, not clearly. Only that, with a loud crack, all the glass seems to shatter and fall to the floor, just a step behind the strutting Christian.
"I dunno, man, maybe you shouldn't kill people," Lexie says, but in a quieter mutter than her usual tone. She's just starting to stand up, gaze towards the windows, when they suddenly /shatter/. The latte cup drops from her hands to spill on the floor, but she's already lurching forward, trying to grab Christian's arm and /yank/ him to the floor.
Christian had just been making a grunt of mild agreement when- ! Hunching forward, he drops to a crouched position almost immediately, pivoting to half-face the window itself. "Get down!-" He warns, even as Lexie pulls on him closer to the floor. He has already drawn his knife.
Orianne curses under her breath in French, one hand going to the stinger in her pocket even as she, too, dives for the floor. Simultaneously, a tiny dragon appears in the air, sticking near the ceiling as it tries to keep watch on the window.
Nothing immediately explodes. Nothing comes through the window but the wind, gusting into the room and blowing discarded latte cups around. It's cold, this wind, as cold as the arctic.
Outside, a soft cry, and the sound of footsteps.
"What the fuck." Lexie's eyes are wide and a little wild as they sweep around towards the window from floor level. She crawls forward on her stomach, trying to get closer without crawling over glass (if -- possible) in hopes of seeing what's going on outside.
The slice of glacial air causes Christian to goosebump. His skin remembers. The white pelt of hair that covers much of the front side of his torso nearly stands on end. Beneath it, his chest heaves in quick and shallow breaths, like a man on the precipice of panic. "I can't go back-" He whispers, eyes widening.
Orianne's little dragon circles once and then darts out the window and up into the night, trying to get eyes on what might be happening outside. Anne herself stays low, frowning at the opening. She rests a hand on Christian's arm, trying to reassure him without thinking. He's not alone, he's not going anywhere. "I'm going to kill the lights," she murmurs towards Lexie, even as she does so. "So they can't see us so easily."
A second Anne appears next to the light switch for just an instant, flicking it off before vanishing once more.
It's dark outside. Mutant Town street lights are never a priority for the city, curses. Lexie can see, however, a flicker of movement heading away from the window. The dragon can see a little more--a figure clad in gauzy white, running for the shadows beside the building.
"Something's running," Lexie whispers, and then she's suddenly up and reckless and sprinting after it. THIS IS A GOOD IDEA.
Christian tenses against Orianne's touch. His expression goes cold. Quite unintentionally, he swats her hand away. He needs that very arm to push up off the ground. Following Lexie's lead, Christian attempts to clear the broken glass with a quick skip-leap to the door.
The little dragon shifts to follow the figure as well, trying to get a clearer line of sight. Whoooo are you? Who who? Who who?
Orianne, however, sits upright, turning her attention to Christian as he smacks her away. "This is such a /bad/ idea," she mutters to herself, even as she scrambles to her feet and sets off to follow the others.
<FS3> Christian rolls Reaction: Success. (6 4 7 4) <FS3> Orianne rolls Reaction: Good Success. (2 7 7) <FS3> Alexandra rolls Reaction: Good Success. (8 8 7)
All manage to avoid the broken glass on the floor, which lies in a slowly spreading puddle of water. As they leave the building, it's Christian who slips--but manages to remain on his feet--on a slick patch of...ice? on the ground.
The dragon can just make out the flicker of the figure in the darkness, trying to hide in the bushes near the front of the building, restless and uncertain.
A soft noise breaks the darkness. It sounds very much like sobs.
Alexandra pauses outside, trying to catch sight of that flicker she saw earlier. "Did you see--" she starts to tell Orianne when she hears that faint sob. Her gaze snaps back around in the direction it came from, and she steps forward carefully.
Christian emerges onto the front stoop with slide. He has to rotate his hips to come to a complete stop, at which point he flourishes his dagger. As the sobs become more evident, the white haired man bares his teeth. He lifts his knife as if in preparation to throw it at the bushes -- he doesn't. Instead, his own icy blue eyes flick suggestively in an unasked question. ...who is goin' in?
The little dragon circles down towards the sobbing, making an inquisitive little noise as it does so. Hopefully there's a place in or near the bushes for a tiny dragon to perch. Everyone finds little dragons soothing, right?
Orianne, meanwhile, finds the glass and water no real problem; the parkour traceur vaults out the window after the others, slowing as they all draw near the bushes. She glances first at Lexie, then at the still-shirtless Christian, then steps forward to clear her throat. "Ah, hello?"
Snap. Crackle. (Pop?)
A loud cracking noise splits the night. In what light there is, from the moon, from the far off streetlight, glimmers on the ground in front of them as a sheet of ice grows, crawling from the bushes right up to their feet.
"Don't--" cries a girl's voice, thick with sobs, from the bushes.
"Don't what," Lexie mutters, even as she stumbles back at the sudden gleam of ice beneath their feet. "Fuck," she says. "Um." Her voice raises a little to be heard when she asks, "Are you doing that?"
Christian sucks in a breath. He gives the ripple of fresh ice a bit of a wild-eyed sidelong look, but tries to keep most of his attention on the bushes. He's not about to win any frozen bush monsters over with charisma, but he'll still throw this gotdang knife if he has to. Let Lexie and Orianne do the talking.
"Hey, it's okay." Orianne crouches down, though doesn't yet move any closer. "We're friends. And you didn't mean to do that, did you? With the window."
The little dragon, meanwhile, scurries down into the bushes. Look, it's a friendly dragon! Who doesn't want a friendly little dragon to visit them?
"Don't--" says the voice, miserable. "I can't control it. It--just happens--" And, as the dragon enters the bushes, a scream erupts from them, and the edge of the bushes immediately freezes over in a giant misshapen wall of ice.
Alexandra starts as the voice screams again. "Jesus Christ," she mutters. "I'm sorry, can you just -- it's okay, we don't care about the ice, can you just -- not scream like that? /Orianne/!" Maybe don't send tiny dragons in there.
Christian flinches away at the arctic scream. "Uh-huh, huh," he shudders as he fights to regain his composure. "What kind of little animals," he ventures cautiously to the anonymous mutant in the bushes, "/DO/ you like?" We'll get to the bottom of this, Orianne. Don't you worry!
"I'm sorry!" Orianne dispels the dragon immediately, taking a step back and raising her hands in apology, as if the girl in the bush could see her. "I didn't mean to startle you! I just thought maybe you could use some company in there." She glances over at Lexie sheepishly. Oops. Turning back to the bush she adds, "But it's okay. Like she said, we don't care about the ice; lots of us had to learn to control our own powers. That's why Open Hands is here." Christian's attempt to determine what puppet might comfort the girl, however, earns him a smile.
"What was that?" asks the girl, her voice shaking. No new ice appears, at least. "I heard about Open Hands. It's--where the freaks go." She speaks between sobs. "That's what I am, isn't it?"
"You're a -- mutant." Lexie's voice is as gentle as she can manage with her adrenaline still pounding in her ears. "I mean, kind of depends on how you want to define 'freak,' and I think some of us kind of like to reclaim the word--" This probably isn't helping.
Christian finally begins to lower his knife. Inch by inch, he brings it down to his side and partially out of sight. "What is your name?" He asks, shifting his eyes to try and catch those of the others. "We are all mutants. My name is Christian. I create water --Like your ice!" Bless his heart, he's trying.
"It was a tiny dragon," Orianne answers the icy bush. "I can create things and move them around as if they were alive. I just... I thought maybe you would like something to keep you company in there." She sounds a little sheepish. But mention of 'freaks' earns a noise somewhere between mild offense and exasperation. But she leaves it with Lexie's definition, rather than arguing the point. Instead, she just concludes, "My name is Orianne."
There is a long silence, broken only by the occasional gasp of a sob. Finally, the bushes part, the ice cracking and dropping to the ground, and a girl emerges. She's young, maybe mid-teens, but carefully dressed for a night out. Or was. The skirt of her gauzy party dress is in shreds, her blonde hair is tangled about her shoulders, and her mascara is running down her cheeks; the entire disarray making her look even more pathetically young. She is covered with bits and shards of ice, glimmering in the low light as if she were covered in jewels. "I was normal," she says between tears, "but now there's ice everywhere and no one wants me."
Lexie's expression sinks into something a bit more sympathetic, brow cinching above her nose. "Hey," she says, a little gentler. "It's okay. All right? We've all been there. I mean, you're in Mutant Town, we've literally all been there. You're gonna be okay now. This is pretty much the exact right place for you to be right now."
Opening his arm, Christian gestures towards the still-open door. "You should come in off of the street," he nudges his chin, "We all should." It isn't safe. "You are in the right place," he adds, echoing Lexie's sentiment. Cocking his head to peer over his shoulder, he tries to get a look at the broken window but can't quite see it from that angle.
"I won't lie and say everything will go back to the way it was," Orianne notes. "But you're welcome here. And we'll do everything we can to help you learn to control..." She gestures towards the ice. "Like she said, this is the best place you can find help."
The girl wipes her eyes with a swipe of the back of her hand, further smearing her mascara. She steps forward slowly. One of her shoes has a broken heel, and it clacks against the pavement. As she moves toward the others, she leaves icy footprints behind her, marking her passage.
"Maybe there's some hot cocoa inside," Lexie says, although she's a bit unsure on that and glances at Christian. What else do you do for an ice princess? "That or something else. Either way, you'll have a bed tonight, and it's okay if you freeze some things. We'll all manage."
Christian meets the glance and pouts. He should know this. After all, he /was/ an ice princess like, a week ago. "On a hunting excursion during the dark months, I was briefly separated from the rest of my hunting party. I thought that I would freeze to death, but was able to kill and climb inside a baby polar bear." He frowns thoughtfully over to Orianne as he steps out of the way, allowing the ladies inside first. "Perhaps, one of those will comfort her." Oh! He lets out a little gasp, "Or maybe one for everyone." Can you do that, Orianne?
Orianne gives Christian a Look. "We will not be crawling inside any of my puppets," she notes in a /very/ firm tone. To the newcomer, she notes, "He grew up in an icy wasteland for years; we're still working on civilizing him again." But hey, he looks good without his shirt.
Despite her insistence that polar bear puppets are NOT appropriate sleeping bags, she holds her hands out for the other girl's inspection. A moment later a tiny polar bear no larger than a kitten sits there, blinking drowsily. It yawns, sitting back on its haunches in Orianne's hands as it watches the newcomer, and then waves one tiny paw at her. HELLO NEW PERSON.The girl is, at first, crying too much to notice the polar bear. Sometimes her tears remain liquid, and sometimes they form into ice. However, gradually, she is coaxed into the building for cocoa. And tiny polar bear cuddles. And, eventually, a nice non-icy bed.