Logs:Arcade Angst

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Arcade Angst


Characters: Ian and Tris
Date: 2020-01-17
Summary: After an evening of dumb decisions, Tris rents out an arcade to touch base with Ian. Things go a little sideways. Don't mind the tears.
Disclaimers: {{{disclaimers}}}

Ian shows up again with the motorcycle helmet - he's bought his own - and doesn't remove it until he's in the door. It really ought to be a little easier than this but he's gotten paranoid about people recognizing him.

--

It's nearly lunchtime before Tris' texts come in to Ian. Does he want to meet Tris at an arcade at <location>? He rented the place and paid off the staff to take a long, long lunch. He's got food, he's got tokens, he needs company. It's practically all Ian bait, if Tris has read Ian at all correctly. So the Beast leans out the door when Ian shows up, pulling the door closed and locking it behind him, leaving the keys there in the door. There's a sign that's been turned to 'Sorry, we're closed,' and though Tris is quiet as he hands over tokens there's nothing dangerous (beyond the usual of his nature) to his subdued demeanor.

The tunes on the stereo have been changed to something that seems to be classic video game theme songs with a twist. "Hey, how're you?" The man finally asks as he meanders at Ian's side, letting the Elemental lead the way through the mundane arcade that has just about everything a person could want when they think the word 'arcade' except people to man the snack and reward counters; they'll have to play those roles themselves.

--

Yeah, Tris read Ian absolutely correctly - arcades are candy, free tokens hark back to his childhood and appeal to his greedy dragon nature, especially if they're golden tokens, and the lack of people makes paranoid adult Ian relax substantially. The helmet comes off and the smile he flashes Tris is relieved and delighted as he takes the tokens. "Thanks," he responds, and, "Better. Going out helped." Even if he bolted right after. Like the child at heart that he is, Ian gravitates straight towards the skeeball row near the back. "This is really cool," he adds, gesturing to the empty place. "Thank you." In goes the token, down come the balls, and Ian begins lining up a shot.

--

.oO( Tris rolls 7 Dice )Oo..................................................o.
 Roll: Dexterity + Athletics
 Result: Success (2) -- (8 2 8 4 3 1 5)
.o...................................................oO( success (public) )Oo.

"It can take some practice." Tris murmurs in a way that suggests he has personal experience with that. "Crowds are still hard for me." He rolls his shoulders in a shrug. His token is tucked into the machine beside Ian's and his ammo rolls down the chute just as Ian's did. "Anything you want to talk about from last night? It was just Miles and I when you texted. Buster... was drunk, I guess?" He squints down at the ball that he palms and then gives it a roll, popping it up into the 20 ring.

--

.oO( Ian rolls 5 Dice )Oo...................................................o.
 Roll: Dexterity + Athletics
 Result: Success (2) -- (7 9 9 1 5)
.o...................................................oO( success (public) )Oo.

First roll - surprisingly successful. An enormous grin splits across Ian's face. He's still got it, whatever 'it' is. "No? I mean... I didn't get spotted, did I? Though I heard yelling, so maybe that's a problem..." A fluid shrug of the shoulders and a flex of the wings under the hoodie - and then Ian pauses in skeeing to just take the hoodie off and let his wings out. Underneath he's in a tank top with a distressed ink print on it for KISS. "I'm sorry I left so soon..." A wary look flicks over.

--

.oO( Tris rolls 7 Dice )Oo..................................................o.
 Roll: Dexterity + Athletics
 Result: Success (1) -- (6 5 7 4 5 10 3 6)
.o...................................................oO( success (public) )Oo.

"The yelling was just Buster being a dick about ... dicks." Tris sighs and rubs his face with the hand not already holding the next ball. This shot is still good, but not as good, slipping into the ten, but then the Beast seems a little distracted. He doesn't immediately reach for another for one. For another, one of his hands starts subconsciously tracing the scars at the back of his neck that are glimmering green, orange and blue in the arcade lights. "It was probably for the best, really."

There's a brief flash of frustration on Tris' face but it doesn't seem to be directed at the Elemental, but rather at something inward. "Maybe another time you can meet Miles again." There's no more mention of Buster. "So, dragon, huh?" There's a little tension in his frame, but he's not looking at Ian like the Changeling is about to bust out into dragon form right there and eat him. He's turning back to pick up another ball.

--

Dicks? Ian looks vaguely confused. He stops with the skeeing, straightens up, and studies Tris. The answer takes a little while in coming. "I thought the horns and wings gave it away." Of course, how often do you see a dragon made of glass? "There's other stuff too. I've been a dragon longer than I was human. It's hard to forget the habits." He fiddles with a gold coin in his fingers, flicking it over the backs of his hand. "For Christmas, Robin gave me a big cat-bank full of gold coins. I've been counting them. Over and over. It helps me calm down." Then, "Does your friend dislike me? He seemed upset about the house."

--

.oO( Tris rolls 7 Dice )Oo..................................................o.
 Roll: Dexterity + Athletics
 Result: Success (2) -- (1 7 10 3 2 1 8 3)
.o...................................................oO( success (public) )Oo.

Yeah, that confusion is about what Tris thought it was going to be, so fleetingly, there can be a reassuring smile that it's not important. "They did. The shape is familiar but not quite the way you do it." The ball leaves Tris' hand and slides up into the 20 pocket again. "Habits are hard to forget." The Beast's voice is more serious than an arcade should inspire, but the conversation is not, presently, exactly an easy one for him. "I didn't have great experiences with dragons, There." Anything that didn't involve gruesome pain and death would have been better, really. "So sometimes I have some trouble with dragons." He looks over to Ian, "I'm... I wanted to tell you in case I ever get a little weird when you... do that. It's not you."

Then, with less gravity, as if by opening up about that one small thread of his experience, he's teased some of the tension from his muscles. "It was thoughtful of Robin to get you something you liked. It's good to have things that help you calm down. That's why I run. Sometimes I run for a long time." This might seem familiar, but perhaps it bears repeating.

"I don't think you met Miles long enough for him to have an opinion about you. The only story he really associated with you was the house thing, I think, so he just wanted to make sure the ground rules were clear if I brought you over. We just got our house at Christmas, and it's important to him." That's probably the easiest way Tris can think to put things without getting into anything complex. "I'd like you to meet again, sometime. Miles spent a lot of time sort of alone and he isn't always the best in social situations. He comes off as haughty when he's just not sure what to say." Dark blue eyes flick to Ian and a single brow quirks just a little as if to suggest that perhaps, just perhaps, the Elemental can relate.

--

A solemn nod from Ian to the first - he can accept that. He makes no comment regarding it. The second bit provokes a smile of understanding. Ian leans down to pick up a skee ball at last, weighing it in his hand. "Two people was just too many. And one of them was a..." Whatever Buster was. Ian waves the ball-hand idly to encompass /that/. "I promise, I am not scared of you or your friend. I just... had to go, and then I remembered I could fly, and I /had/ to try it. There was no choice, I just did. And once I did, I remembered how good it could be." The smile is back, spreading once more. "I hadn't done that since I got out." Flying in the Hedge is different. "So I had a good night, even if it wasn't what I was expecting to do. Maybe next time I meet your friends, it'll be a little calmer." And Buster won't be drunk. "I... might spend more time with you guys. Or you could spend more time at the community center. It's sort of quiet there lately now that the flood is past."

--

.oO( Tris rolls 4 Dice )Oo..................................................o.
 Roll: Manipulation + Composure
 Result: Failure -- (7 1 3 1)
.o...................................................oO( failure (public) )Oo.
<Poker Face roll turned into drama fail. >

"Buster's a vampire. And he was drunk, I guess. He said something about--" No need to go into exactly what the drunk vampire said. "He's always kind of rude, which isn't for everyone," but Tris likes it-- liked it? He frowns faintly and then shrugs. "I'm trying to learn more about the Kindred, since we know apparently nothing. Don't light fires around ones you like is about all I've got so far and that's just because I ended up on fire when some asshole grabbed Phoebe on New Year's. Living in this city, though, there's vampires, there's werewolves. I don't know nearly enough to be helpful to Jules. To the freehold." They're probably basically the same thing in Tris' mind, or he wouldn't be trying at all, probably. Beasts don't tend to normally give two shits about freeholds or rules or-- well. Look at how Tris throws his money around; it's just the gentler form of not giving a shit.

Tris skips flying to address the much easier, "You're welcome to come spend more time with us. I bought Miles and Jules our home for Christmas. We wanted a little more privacy than what the community center has, something closer to Jules' family home. But you're welcome to come hang out. I'll try to come by the community center more often too. I brought dinner by for everyone the other night," from a gourmet restaurant, "but left after I checked on Phoebe."

"Anyway, I'm glad you got a good night out of it all." Someone should have, wasn't what Tris had meant to imply so openly. But the fact that Tris is suddenly and embarrassingly doing more than just tearing up, with those tears quick escaping his eyes and rolling down his cheeks to the sound of his shuddery breath and exhale of, "Shit, sorry," as one hand comes up to dash away those tears is basically the opposite of putting on a good front, and really, more than he'd normally want to show anyone, not just Ian. "Sorry," again, for a Beast who rarely apologizes even once and means it. He draws in a breath, but the tears just aren't stopping. "Shit got crazy after you left," is what the Beast can presently offer as explanation.

--

.oO( Ian rolls 5 Dice )Oo...................................................o.
 Roll: Presence + Empathy
 Result: Failure -- (5 1 7 6 5)
.o...................................................oO( failure (public) )Oo.

Vampire. Ian stares at Tris with a slight widening of the eyes, wings mantling protectively/aggressively. The wings relax slightly at the don't-light-fires bit. Robin will protect him. He also gives small nod to the bit about hanging out; Ian looks thoughtful, likely working out how that'll work. It's when the tears start to flow that alarm hits and instantly he's abandoning the skeeball to come forward and raise his hands like... uh. Well, he was going to touch, but he's made of glass, that's not helpful. "Hey," he says quietly, gently, his voice acquiring a soothing undertone like a cello's mournful song, "Hey. It's all right. Sit down." Light touches to Tris's hands and elbows guide the man to take a seat on the end of the skeeball aisle. "Tell me what happened." The wings have come around to sort of frame them both, protective and possessive, though they're glass so it's easy enough to see right through them. He has absolutely no idea what he's doing, or whether any of this will help.

--

.oO( Tris rolls 1 Dice )Oo..................................................o.
 Roll: Resolve + Composure - 2 (for earlier Drama Fail)
 Result: Failure -- (2)
.o...................................................oO( failure (public) )Oo.

Tris manages to keep his hands gentle as he reaches out to not just touch the wings (if he gets to that point), but to push them away. "Can't be trapped." That much he can explain as the tears just won't stop. Trapping a Beast who was hunted could get ugly quickly, even among friends. Perhaps that part is just too distracting for any of the rest to do much good.

Tris' words come too fast, a babble of things he just should not be saying, not to anyone but his therapist. "Sorry, shit. I just came from my therapist. And it's still just a lot to process. I'm bound to an addict. I knew I was moving too fast when I threw myself into things between Jules and Miles, and that I didn't really know them well enough to do what I was doing, but I did it anyway because I was just so damned close to going Back and--" It's at the point that Tris takes a gulp of air and stares at Ian. Maybe Tris can't pull himself together, but maybe he can at least stop the words coming out? "It was awful There, with Him." Nope, nope, he can't. "And I was going to go back. What the fuck is wrong with me?" So much, Tris. Just so much. Sorry, Ian.

--

<spend> Ian spends 1 point of his Willpower pool.
.oO( Ian rolls 8 Dice )Oo...................................................o.
 Roll: Presence + Empathy + 3
 Result: Success (2) -- (7 9 5 1 2 6 1 8)
.o...................................................oO( success (public) )Oo.

The wings retreat at a touch, like a folding curtain. The glass is... living somehow. It can be touched, bent. Ian isn't /that/ uncomfortable to touch, he's just self-conscious. Down he gets, onto his knees, laying his wings out to either side of him so they're not in the way, not threatening, not intimidating. Very carefully, he winds his fingers into the spot where Tris's hands are, weaving the smooth, glassy surface between them so that he can steal a little warmth and just /be there/, and /listen/. It's important to listen, he's learned, even if you don't know what to say. The flood can go as long as it needs to, even longer still if Tris needs to just talk, and Ian just puts his heart in his face and listens the whole while, holding on, being there, no judgment in his eyes whatsoever.

--

.oO( Tris rolls 3 Dice )Oo..................................................o.
 Roll: Resolve + Composure (leaving out negative modifiers because of Ian's success)
 Result: Success (1) -- (4 8 7)
.o...................................................oO( success (public) )Oo.

Listening is important. This is universally true, if not always situationally the best choice. In this case, it is, though. Tris' dark blue eyes have turned a little wild, darting as he struggles to control feelings that, even at nearly thirty plus howevermanymanymany more Arcadian years/decades, are too big for him to really grapple with much success. Maybe there's even some part of him worried about what he might be doing to Ian who started in Arcadia so much younger, but something about the fact that Ian listens and doesn't judge and just stays stabilizes the Beast in more than one way. It helps him finally manage to get those annoying tears to stop and it helps him find a different place of concern for Ian. Where he might have been nannying last night, perhaps now he has the proof that might've worried him that Ian can handle himself when shit gets a little nuts. It takes a few moments, a few hard swallows, the turn of his head to rub his face into the short sleeve of his designer tee-shirt, but he doesn't let go of Ian's hands, not until he's mastered himself in truth.

His soft fingers briefly squeeze Ian's glass ones in appreciation, the heat of his Summery mantle backing off from the blazing inferno it had inadvertently become to being just that hot desert day again. If there's a little heat mirage above Tris' head that gradually reduces as he breathes, it's the visible sign of this mastering. His hands come away then to properly rub his face. "Sorry, Ian. That's not what I had intended this afternoon for. I got us burgers," he gestures in the general direction of the snack tables. "And cotton candy." Because what's lunch without dessert? "Thanks." That's quieter, sincere, even if the Beast is still blush-touched in his embarrassment.

--

The squeeze gets a small smile, because squeezing fingers is one of those subtle, secret gestures that shows exactly how much people care. "It's okay," he says quietly, again with that weird harmony in his voice. "You're welcome." A squeeze of Tris's knee and Ian moves to stand, then offers his hand with a smile. "Let's eat." And he reaches down to take Tris's hand and tug the Beast up and off towards the food, his wings folding in close behind him.

Ian isn't as demonstrative or talkative as Tris, but he is... dragon. Once a dragon has claimed something, it doesn't want to let go. Ever. This is a bit of a problem sometimes. The skeeball tokens? They're all in Ian's pockets. They might go home with him, and make him a filthy thief. But then again, what are laws to a dragon? Tris, too, is getting tugged along for the food. You can't own people and Ian knows this. That doesn't prevent the greedy dragon feelings from making him hang on a little too long.

--

For all that there is ready evidence of just how violent and horrible some parts of Tris' durance must have been in Tris' glowing scars, the empathetic Beast accepts the friendly touch in the spirit in which it is given, and as if it were the most natural thing in the world. He was made to be hunter and hunted; he was made, too, to be a friend. Tris cares little for law or even common practice except that he grew up in this world (if not NOLA itself) and knows that money greases the way better to doing what one pleases. If tokens go home with Ian, the arcade will probably consider it a fair trade for whatever Tris paid for this private party.

He goes willingly with his friend, because Ian may have dragon tendencies to keep the things or people they value, but truefriends can't help but be ready to form deep and meaningful friendships, which is what this one looks to be shaping into. "I wasn't sure if you liked cake, but they had one and--" now it's there beside the takeout burger boxes from somewhere with much better food than the snack bar, and in pink icing it just says, 'Ian!' Evidently, Tris is not terribly creative with these things, but he probably was told he had to say something if he wanted the cake. "Do you like video games?" It might come out of left field, but they're due for a topic change along with the food, and it probably has a purpose.

--

"Oh wow," Ian says at the first sight of all the food, his eyes gone wide. "Is it my birthday? No really, I can't remember when that is." It's not his birthday, he was born on Halloween. He laughs at the pink icing, then darts a finger out to swipe some up and lick it off his finger. "Mmn." A small shrug. "I like playing?" A glance shoots sideways at Tris, then Ian starts busily opening food and getting things out so they can eat a huge pile of it. The dragon has a fantastic appetite, even if he's not a big person in his normal form. Finally he's let go of Tris because there are things he needs to do to begin stuffing this food into his stomach, and those things are going to take both hands. "Why?"

--

Tris' lips press together briefly as he takes his seat. "Let's find out," he replies, shrugging as he produces his cellphone and taps away. "Playing is good. What do you like to play?" He asks and for all that he's looking at his phone, he's also paying attention to Ian's answers. "No, it's not your birthday, but cake isn't just for birthdays, so." There's an inviting wave to all the food. "I used to like video games. I don't know if I like them now. Might be too much like being There, but I haven't had anyone to try any with. Jules and Miles are both... well, they were born a long time ago. Video games..." He shrugs. "I'm taking up rock-climbing again, actually. Do you think you'd like that? It's sort of like being on a playground."

--

"There's an Xbox in the community center," Ian says thoughtfully. "I liked racing games before I got taken." He shrugs and flings a smile over at Tris. "I think I'd like anything so long as it wasn't too scary and I had you with me. You're sort of nice to be around, Tris. In case you didn't realize. A lot of people don't know that, did you know? It's very strange." There are spots to sit, right? He claims one, fans his wings out, and bites into the burger with a vicious chomp that's almost too big for him. Silence for a few moments while he chews, kicks his feet, and flexes his wings languidly. At least he's gotten more comfortable with those since he got back.

--

"Racing games sound safe, as long as they're cars. I do like real car racing better. I used to do that. The illegal kind." Because there are legal kinds. "I could teach you to drive, if you wanted. Or ride a motorcycle. Or both." There's a gesture toward where Ian's helmet was left.

Tris has a flash of a smile for the other Lost. "I try to be nice to be around. The things I went through... I wasn't always alone, but sometimes I was the thing to be scared of. I protect what needs protecting," he's like Robin that way and would probably be pleased if the comparison were drawn given his respect for the Summer star, "but I don't like being scary if I don't have to be. I like being around you, too, Ian. I'm not always going to get it right though. I'm trying to find the balance between what I'm imagining things were like for you when you left and what they're like now, with a lot of gaps in the middle."

The Beast frowns slightly before there's another necessary shrug, "Even if I knew everything, I'd still get it wrong. Be over-protective, or under-protective, or just an ass. Sometimes I'm that guy. I wasn't frequently very nice without motives before I was Taken. Sometimes I think some good things came out of all that awful." And sometimes he second-guesses that. "So, sorry in advance, I guess, but I'm glad we're friends even though." Even if that gives Tris one more person he can fuck up with.

--

"That might be okay," Ian agrees, to learning about how to drive. He needs to do it. He's sort of dreading it. He smiles a little, lopsided. "It's fine, Tris," he murmurs, and reaches out to touch, just the barest graze of glass fingers on the back of the man's hand. "I like you. That won't change, even if you turn into a bastard. I hurt your ear, for fuck's sakes." And Ian looks pleased with himself for cursing. "No matter what happens, I will have always hurt your ear, and you will always have kept quiet for all of it, and that really happened. So you can't go back. You're here now. And if your Keeper ever comes looking..." A pause. Then Ian decides, "I'll eat him." Yeah. The look he casts over is deadly serious. "You protected me from my Keeper last night. Not the real one, just the thought of him. I'll do the same for you gladly." Ian reaches over and grabs a wad of cotton candy, then holds it out to Tris. "Eat. You'll feel better."

--

Tris flips his hand under the graze of those glass fingers and he catches just the tips to give a little friendly squeeze as a return gesture. He even smiles for the curse word, just a little, or maybe it's in answer to Ian's smile. He reaches to take the cotton candy offered and pop it into his mouth, letting it dissolve there before he answers anything.

"Friends stick together. I'm not going back. I have you, I have Miles and Jules. I'm making other friends. There's good reasons to stay. And thank you. If my Keeper ever comes, I will take every help offered. I'm glad I was able to help last night. I'm just a call or text away, if you need me. I'll do my best. I'll have your back," whenever he can. "I'd like you and Jules and Miles to all get to know one another a little better. They're very..." He pauses then sighs, "Wintery." Winters. "But if you can weather a little of their aloofness, they're good people to know. I think. They're my people, anyway." And it's nice when one's people and one's friends get along. Or at least when one's people don't ban one's friends from the house.

Then he digs into his meal properly. "I think I saw a dancing game over there. I bet I can kick your ass when we finish these." Dancing games should be safe, right?

--

"Jules is all right," Ian opines. "He listened. He let me be a dragon at him without judging or getting upset. He promised - not officially but he said he would - to watch after Robin. I could be around Jules, though... how do you do anything fun with that crown on his head? It looks heavy." He picks himself up and goes for a big slice of cake. "I'm pretty good at dancing. You should be careful making bets on that." A sly smirk shoots over. Then Ian devours cake - pink icing. Nomf.

--

"He can make it meld in with his mien." Tris leans forward as if imparting a secret, then a little closer to add, "Sometimes, he glitters when the doesn't do it quite right." That fact makes the mischief light up the daredevil's face and wash away the sorrow of the other moments with the delight of Now, of knowing he's probably stirring up trouble by telling a dragon that his monarch sometimes glitters. Then he's back to eating his burger. "I don't know that I have anything you'd want. Except my cars, but you already have one of those so..." He looks thoughtfully at the dance game yonder. "Well, we can think of something interesting to bet for." They're creative, right? "Hurry up." And with that encouragement he's scarfing down his burger so they can get on with the games.

--

Ian looks vastly amused. "At least he doesn't sparkle," he says with a straight face. Yes, his brother told him about Twilight. "I bet..." Hmm. "I'll come to your house and go to a party or something. And you can bet some more gold. I love gold." Ha. "Let's do this." He wipes the last bit of icing off his lips and heads for the game, grinning.

--

.oO( Ian rolls 7 Dice )Oo...................................................o.
 Roll: Dexterity + Expression
 Result: Success (2) -- (7 9 4 10 2 6 7 2)
.o...................................................oO( success (public) )Oo.
.oO( Tris rolls 8 Dice )Oo..................................................o.
 Roll: Dexterity + Expression
 Result: Success (4) -- (6 5 10 8 4 10 9 5 3 3)
.o...................................................oO( success (public) )Oo.


TRIS WINS~~