|Daniel Ciin | Ares (thouros) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2017-02-23 11:22:00
|Entry tags:||ares, eris|
Who: Daniel & BB.
What: BB stops by Daniel's apartment to start working on his cosplay claws. At 6 a.m.
Where: Pax Letale, second floor.
When: Feb. 18, BRIGHT AND EARLY.
BB made a fist and banged on the door of 209.
"Daniel! Rise and SHIIIINNNEEE," she called out, moving the cardboard box from under one arm to the other as it started to bite into her armpit. Her left hand held a can of glossy silver spray paint. The rest of her was dressed in her usual running gear, though she hadn't yet gone out for her morning workout. Instead, she'd gathered the materials she had on hand for her own costume, intending to hold Daniel to his promise about WonderCon.
"DANIEEELLLL, WAKEY WAKEY," she sing-songed at his door, intent on getting the clam out of his shell if she had to stand there and make noise all morning.
Daniel made her wait ten more minutes. In that time he found a shirt -- a worn black tee shirt emblazoned with the Atlanta Falcons logo, Rise Up in red graffiti across the front -- and a pair of reasonably clean red boxers. He checked his hair in the bathroom mirror, then left it alone, completely ignoring the cowlick at his crown that left a thick rooster tail of black hair standing up in the back. He shuffled barefoot into the kitchen, started a pot of coffee, and grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge. Then, and only then, did he answer the door, his narrowed eyes blinking as he stared out at her in the hall.
"BB," he said, his voice still scratchy from sleep. "What's. Up."
"Hey there, sleepy head!" BB grinned widely, waving with the can of spray paint. "Bout time you got your ass out of bed. We've got work to do." She ducked in under Daniel's arm, inviting herself inside his personal space. "Damn, and I thought my apartment was messy." She wrinkled her nose as she surveyed the interior of his apartment, looking for a place to put the cardboard down.
He motioned for her to follow him, leading her through the small foyer into the living room beyond. A broad, square coffee table sat in front of an overstuffed sofa. He gestured vaguely down to the table, then flopped down onto the thick red cushions of the couch. "You always do arts and crafts at ass o'clock," he asked, "or did you just miss me that much?"
BB was already dropping the cardboard and paint onto the surface he'd implied, but she grinned at his assessment.
"The day is young, Daniel, you gotta make the most of it! Carpe Diem and all that shit. Plus I just wanted to catch you before you went out and then started making excuses about not going to WonderCon with me. Where's your computer? Do you have a printer? There's a site I know of that has an outline of the claws so that'll make it easier, plus we're gonna need a box cutter, some glue, a sharpie..."
"Jesus," he whined. "I'm not Hobby Lobby. I guess I've got most of that shit." He did not rise from the sofa, instead craning his neck to look around the room. A wireless printer was in the corner, sitting dusty and ignored on the floor. He leaned forward and pulled a thin laptop from the shelf beneath the coffee table. "You can find what you need here," he said, typing his password into the startup screen. "Print whatever you need, I guess. Sharpie and box cutter are in the junk drawer in the kitchen, closest to the door. There might be glue in there? But I make no promises."
He leaned up again, setting the laptop down beside her. The coffee was nearly done; its earthy scent already wafted from the kitchen out to them. He would get up for that, when it was finished, but plainly had no intention of moving until then.
"Hot glue," BB added. "That Elmer's shit isn't good for anything." She moved toward the kitchen, and started bluntly pulling open drawers until she got to the one he'd described. In it were the sharpie and box cutter, but no glue.
"OK whatever, I've got some in my apartment. Once we get this stuff cut out and painted, I can go get it." The only drawer she closed was the one she'd taken her necessary tools from, and she all but skipped back to the coffee table, coming down to lean on her knees beside it as she set each item helter-skelter next to the other, bringing the laptop closer. She started typing in an address, glancing periodically at Daniel.
"Soooo...." she started, as if suddenly uncertain where to begin her questions, although that was hardly the case. "How'd it go?"
"How'd what go?" he asked, feigning innocence. He was tired enough that very little showed on his face aside from mild frustration and the last shadows of sleep. He did move down to the carpet to sit beside her, peering over at the screen as she worked. "You an' Aurora? I am curious about that, so go ahead and fill me in whenever you're ready."
"Oh, woah there, buddy," BB grinned back at Daniel, hitting another button; the wireless printer on the floor suddenly sprang to life with a juttering cough. "I asked first. You and your...whatever he is. The dude you totally blew up over after you blindsided him. Can I just say that your courting technique needs work? Or maybe that's just what dudes are honestly into. I haven't tried it, but obviously I need to know how well it's working out for you."
Daniel waved her off. He had just settled down, but he rose again from the floor, shuffling off into the kitchen. "Coffee?"
It was unusual for Daniel to be so tight-lipped about anything, and as he walked into the kitchen he knew BB would certainly pick up on this. But his sleep-fogged mind could think of no other recourse, and at least the kitchen walls kept her eyes off him for a time. He made an unnecessary racket while procuring coffee mugs, sugar, and milk.
"How d'you take yours?" he called.
"Blacker than where the sun don't shine," she called back, rising from her spot on the floor to collect her printouts. She frowned as she laid them out on top of the cardboard. "Do you have scissors?"
He strode back into the kitchen, two cups of coffee of widely varying shades in his hands. The scissors were held between his teeth. Unsafe though it was, it kept him momentarily quiet, and that seemed no bad thing at all. He set each mug down far more neatly than the scissors, which he dropped to the coffee table with a clatter. The scars the table bore indicated this was a common method of treatment. After a sip or two from his heavily sweetened cup, he folded himself back down on to the floor beside his guest, looking markedly more awake than before.
"Okay," he said. "What d'you want me to do?"
She shoved the scissors and the printouts at him. "Cut along the dotted line, I'm sure you can handle that, right? So, anyway," she continued, folding her arms on the table and leaning over the cardboard, "seriously, how'd it go? Same guy, or did you just pack up and go home? I didn't even get to rub it in your face that I left with Aurora! Why you gotta leave me hanging like that?"
Daniel groaned audibly. He steeled himself with another sip of coffee, then set to work as she demanded. Embarrassingly, he nearly cut through a portion of the printout that was not, in fact, on the dotted line, but realized and corrected his mistake before following through. He chewed his lip as he focused, not admitting even to himself that he wanted the time to concoct an answer that would satisfy her.
"You left with my ex-girlfriend," he said, "and you wanna know about my night? C'mon, now." He rolled his eyes. The next snip of his scissors was louder and more forceful than it had any need to be. "I just went home." Not entirely a lie, and he congratulated himself for it. "Had some cookin' to do anyway. Which reminds me, you should definitely buy me breakfast after this."
"Sure, I'll drive through McDonald's and get you a big stack of pancakes, OK? And so what if she's your ex, it's not like you own her. Learn to share your toys, Daniel." BB toyed with the silver spray paint for a moment, letting it roll back and forth between her hands as she watched Daniel make a mess of the printout. "So lemme get this straight. You got drunk and pissed off and went home and cooked?" BB turned to glare at the kitchen, which looked mostly unused. "Did you just put a bag of popcorn in the microwave? Because that so doesn't count."
"No," he muttered, sulky.
He watched her play with the spray paint, and a thought occurred to him, nearly too late. He rose again, disappearing into the bathroom for a moment, return with an armload of ratty black towels. He set them down on the corner of the table. "Makeshift dropcloth," he explained. "I actually do like that table a little..."
He licked his lips after another sip of coffee, returning to his task of cutting out their template. "I know I don't own her," he said. "But you know. It's complicated. So I might get a little touchy about it from time to time. I'll deal." Snip.
Her head bobbed, and she seemed to take a cue from his tone. The silver spray paint continued to roll back and forth, its cap firmly attached. "So, seriously. Did you make up with grouchy or not? Asking as a friend, Daniel. Maybe I give a shit if you're happy or not, and typically getting laid equals at least a brief dopamine rush." BB barely knew this guy, but there was an ease in her posture and her words that implied something more. She'd never had difficulty when it came to making friends, or feeling at home in new spaces. "If you don't really wanna talk about it, though, you can just tell me to shut the fuck up and we'll talk about something else. Like my ideas for your yellow spandex outfit." She grinned, her brows rising, hoping the comment might draw a better mood out of him.
"I'm going as Logan," he said, "not nineties Wolverine." He pointed the scissors at her, and the beginnings of a smile stirred at one corner of his mouth. "You promised. And I looked it up. He's in, like, a tee shirt and jeans and shit." The more he talked, the more he regained some of his typical spark. "You're tiny and brunette. You could be that X-23 girl. Isn't that the girl in the trailers?"
The cutting finally done -- and cleaner than he had imagined it might turn out -- he cleared his throat and took another long sip from his coffee. "Um, so yeah. I chilled out and I think we're cool. For now." He cut her a sidelong look. "So if you could please not fuck this up for me…"
"Wow. Wow, Daniel. Wow. Where's the trust? I don't even know the guy." BB leaned back from the table, holding her hands up in the air in an offended manner. Daniel only rolled his eyes. "Doesn't mean I can't but yeah. Hands off, I mean, for now anyway. And no, I already said I'm doing Kitty, I have a costume! Why, I have to hold your hand to get you to wear the costume? Speaking of, we should check your closet to make sure we don't need to thrift your outfit." BB jumped to her feet, glancing around at the various clothes strewn on the floor. She made a face. "Do you wash anything?" She plucked up one shirt with her forefinger and thumb, peeling it apart with her other hand.
"Obviously," he said. He pointed at the shirt in her hands. "But that's workout shit. I'll wash that later, cos who really cares about that. My good clothes I keep clean." He jerked a thumb back toward the bedroom. BB did not hesitate, and moved in the direction he'd motioned. There, the floor was just as littered with clothes and dog-eared books and half-filled notepads. The closet inside the bedroom was another story altogether. There, clothes were pressed, neatly folded or draped on thick wooden hangers. On a narrow shelf of dark wood, a small assortment of rings sat; beneath the shelf, an impressive arrangement of necklaces hung from small hooks.
"There's some tee shirts and kinda random shit in a plastic thing under the bed, too," he called.
BB stepped over the would-be trash that littered the floor, treating each like its own land mine as she skipped over them. Her gaze took in the room, but she beelined for the closet, which she started to shuffle through. Incisors chewed her lip as she found a decent, white collared shirt, button up, and a dress jacket that would work.
"What about pants," she called back, tossing her finds onto his bed to kneel down and look beneath. She pulled out one box, rolling her eyes at a stack of condoms, casually flipping through a pile of photos without invitation. Before he could reply to her question, though, a shrieking laugh erupted from the bedroom. "Oh my god, is this you?!"
It took a moment, but he padded into the bedroom soon enough, and moved to lean against the doorframe. He folded his arms loosely across his chest; the expression on his face showed plainly he wasn't the least bit disturbed by her snooping. He had essentially invited her to, after all. "What'd you find?" he asked. He peered over her shoulder at a photograph in her hand. A bright smile broke over his face, followed closely by an outright, unfeigned laugh.
An aging snapshot, fading and curled at the edges, showed a more youthful Daniel, somewhat thinner and clean-shaven, in a tightly fitted black dress and perilously high heels. His hair was longer, bound in a loose knot at his nape; smoky eye makeup and lipstick the color of drying blood finished the look.
"Oh," he said. "Yeah, don't lie. You'd hit it."
"Oh god no, that's like a fucking bait and switch," BB replied. "Total false advertising. You can pull it off, though, and now I'm upset I didn't ask you to be Psylocke." She stood, the photo still in hand. "OK, so, pants? You've got half of his suit, but if you don't have any nice black dress pants, I guess we can make it work. Also, we need to probably age up the shirt, do you care how dirty it gets?" She picked up the shirt and dress jacket with her free hand, the other sliding the photo into her back pants pocket. Just as quickly, though, that hand took the shirt out to wiggle it before Daniel's face, distracting him.
Her ruse worked well enough; his nose wrinkled and he took a step back out of the room, away from the flapping fabric. "Nah. I'm good if you want to use that. But If I admit to having nice black dress pants, are you gonna destroy those, too?" He moved to the closet, gingerly pushing hangers apart. Two pairs of dress pants, one decidedly more formal than the other, hung at the far side of the closet, safely tucked away from her view. After a moment's hesitation he retrieved them, turning back to face her, holding both hangers up for her perusal.
BB put the dress jacket with the shirt in one hand, the other rising to her chin in thought. She screwed her mouth into a thoughtful moue, considering.
"Those," she said, pointing to the less formal of the two. "And no, they don't have to be dirty, but the shirt you've got here is white and his is like, uh, I dunno, eggshell or some shit but that's from all the dirt and blood and whatever from rolling around fighting. So I'll figure that out, maybe put a blowtorch to it or something." She handed him the dress jacket but kept the shirt, walking out of the bedroom and back to the coffee table. The shirt went hooked onto a chair back before she plopped down in front of their makeshift workstation.
He followed her, his eyes widening all the while. "Wait, a blowtorch…?"
"OK so now the claws. I assume you're just as prodigious with the box cutter as you are with the scissors?"
"I'm way better with a box cutter," he said, "but I wanna get back to this blowtorch thing. You said dirty, not on fire. I feel kinda betrayed right now."
"Oh my god, Daniel, it's called a euphemism, you know, the thing where you make a bigger deal out of it. Or maybe metaphor is the word I mean, but whatever, I'm not actually going to light it on fire." She blinked, looking up from where she'd been placing the cut outs of the claws. "Oh, right, you have a thing about that. Sorry, my bad, poor wording on my part; don't go all PTSD on me. I was literally just thinking of putting it on and rolling around in the dirt, but I mean, you could do that too, if you really wanted to." Her smile implied another teasing euphemism, and she picked up and held out the box cutter for him to take.
Daniel plucked the box cutter from her hands, his lips pursed, his eyes narrowed. "Fun as that sounds," he said, "I think I'll leave that to you."
He took one cut-out and cardboard, placing the former neatly atop the latter. "I assume this is what you want me to do," he said, already beginning the first clean cut. This time, he was more careful than before; though he moved no less quickly, every cut was even and precise.
"So how serious is this thing with Aurora?"
BB's face darkened. "I mean, not very on my end, though I'd appreciate her not texting her next conquest when I'm trying to suck her face in the elevator. Sorry for the graphic description," she added, rolling over it in the next thought. "I didn't even know that guy lived in this building, first he's gotta encroach on my stories but now where I live?" She huffed an overdramatic sigh, waving a hand in annoyance. "I'm probably just overreacting. But yeah, no. I mean, she's fun. I think I pissed her off a little." It's not a race, BB, echoed in her head, making her feel like an immature college freshman all over again.
"That's easy to do," Daniel said. Unconsciously he shifted a little closer to her, as though they had bonded over the pain of chasing a creature such as Aurora. He recalled Aurora's post to the apartments' forum, the passing mention of yet another suitor; he drew the box cutter down the cardboard again as he tried to run through the tenants he knew, wondering which of them might be to her tastes. "So who's this other conquest of hers? And what's he got to do with your stories?"
BB's fingers rubbed her eyes, sliding down her cheeks and pulling her expression into a distorted grimace. Then she let go, the muscles and flesh moving back into their God-given placement.
"He's this dork who showed up at the same place I was doing a story, this celeb who got caught embezzling. Had to talk him out of trying to trip me down the stairs, can you fucking believe it? I got him to do the case with me, after so much convincing, not gonna lie, I think he might be retarded just a little bit." She pinched her forefinger and thumb together to indicate a small amount, holding the gesture close to her face as she narrowed her eyes. Then both hands folded gently on the tabletop.
"I guess he was at the Valentine's day thing, Aurora saw him and I had to basically drag her out the door away from him. No idea how she knew him beforehand, but then she was texting him in our fucking Uber that I paid for, and then right before the elevator. I mean, does she have an ADD problem or what?"
"That'd explain a lot," Daniel admitted, though he was shaking his head even as he said it. "She just really likes attention and needs it from as many places as possible. Just... try not to get too attached. I'd give this other dude the same advice if I knew him, but." He set aside the first of his homemade claws and began on the second. "As it is, you get all the benefit of my vast experience."
"I feel so blessed," BB replied wryly, shaking her head, one hand reaching for the silver spray paint again. Her gaze followed his careful movements, glad he was willing to put the work in where she wasn't. She noted a small cut, a few small cuts, in fact, on his right hand. Her head bobbed toward his appendage.
"What happened there?"
A furrow appeared in his brow as he looked where she had directed. He held up his hand, peering down at the marks he had somehow not noticed before. Small hairs rose at his nape as he stared. Something about each little cut felt familiar, and though he had a guess as to why, he was reluctant to address it head-on. "I dunno," he mumbled. He set down the box cutter and picked at one narrow mark. The longer he dwelled on it, the more it bothered him. Annoyed with himself that admitting this, to her, bothered him more than discussing a shared sex dream with the man he was trying to get into bed, he finally spoke up.
"It's kinda funny, though, cos a few nights ago I had the weirdest dream and I got a cut in the same place. You were in it, too." He shrugged, still watching her as he picked up the box cutter again. "Maybe I was just dreamin' about doin' this, I guess…"
BB's spine immediately straightened, her interest pulled away from his work to his face.
"Did it... Were you in a room?" For once, her speech was slow and careful, and she was watching him with special interest. "Like...a lot of shelves? With stuff, dusty stuff on it? Stuff that seemed, kind of, familiar?"
Daniel's brow furrowed. He was perhaps less surprised than he otherwise would have been, but it still took him aback, sharing a dream with a relative stranger. Until his move to Pax Letale his dreams had been as mundane and easily forgotten as anyone else's. That he was now consistently experiencing something different, something more, was disconcerting.
"Yeah, actually. I mean, not all of it was particularly familiar? But enough of it felt that way that… I dunno. Should I ask why you're askin', or do I already know?"
"You already know. I had pretty much the same dream, I mean, we were in this room, I think it was in the lobby?" BB's face scrunched with concentration as she tried to recall details of the dream, as though they were fleeting. "But there was just stuff everywhere, and it looked like it'd been there for awhile. I think I picked up a necklace? I mean... I didn't have hands." She glanced down at her own, currently human appendages, which were spread out flat on the table. "I think I had a...maybe a tentacle? Maybe I was stoned before I went to bed..."
Her gaze snapped back to Daniel's, a hand rising to point an accusing finger in his direction. "And you were wearing like some 300 shit! Total Leonidas or whatever that guy was called, you know, the dude Gerard Butler played."
Daniel snorted a laugh at the mental image. "Yeah okay," he said, waving a hand dismissively in her direction. But the laugh did not last long, consumed as he was by the sharpening memory of the dream. Like his shared dream with Chris, this had been as real as it was possible to be; they had experienced the same things, seen the same things, and he bore marks on his hands that were inexplicable otherwise. He picked up the box cutter again, hoping that occupying himself with work might distract him from the impossible implications of this.
"You sure you didn't spike the water supply here?" he asked. "Cos I've not been high in a while or I'd have the same explanation, but…" He shrugged. "I wasn't even buzzed that night. This is weird, and I'm not sure I like it."
"Man, not gonna lie, the idea's struck more than once because you would not believe how many stuck up people there are in this building, but no, I can safely say I have not put my weed stash in the drinking water." BB leaned forward on her elbows, clenching her jaw as she thought.
"You know how we can figure out if this thing was true or not? We should find the room. I mean, when Stephan's not there. Maybe distract him? That guy seems like he fucking lives behind that counter. Maybe he's got a little cot or something... But, I mean, it'd be worth a shot, don't you think?"
Perhaps he did not hesitate as much as he should have. Others might have counseled caution, but this was a concept neither Daniel nor BB particularly adhered to. So he nodded immediately, his mind already racing with potential means of distracting their diligent concierge.
"There's always somethin' goin' on in this place," Daniel said. "I bet I could find an excuse. And if I could pull him away for a few minutes, you think you could get back there and actually be quiet about it?" He flashed her a teasing grin. "You can text me when you're done. I'll have my phone on vibrate or somethin'. You think that'll work?"
BB made a "pft" sound that was anything but quiet. "Of course I can be quiet, how do you think reporters get around half the time?! Jeez, quiet, like that's a foreign concept." But she grinned just as shortly after. "I think that'll work just fine. We're gonna get to the bottom of this, just you wait and see."
Nodding, Daniel returned to his work, finding his mood markedly improved from before. As he set to work finishing flimsy, silvery claws, he could not help but smile at the thought of what was to come.