Altair A paper plane (stealth type!) strikes Furud right in the chest on the bar of Altair's third living room. "Gotcha."
Furud jumps a bit - he's so jumpy lately! - and catches the plane before it hits the ground, looking up to see who'd sent it. A complex expression crosses his face, irritation, then trepidation, and finally a somewhat dubious smile. "Hey."
Altair "Not a word." He answers the smile, raising a finger, "Seeing you here just gives me memories."
Furud "I almost didn't come in, you know?"
Furud "Because... everything is so different from last time I was here."
Altair "It's been... what, three years?" He sits in the bar next to Furud. "Man."
Furud nods, and runs his had back through his hair, leaving spikes behind. "Forever ago. Never thought I'd be back here."
Altair looks at the full glass before Furud. "Doesn't sound like it's been an easy three years."
Furud shrugs a little, smoothing out the little plane's creases. "Most of it was alright I guess. High school sucks, dated a lot of bitches... you know."
Altair "Huh, what'd you know, it was pretty much the same. Remember Fiorella? You met her awhile, my sister's friend?" He grins, pouring a glass to himself and letting some pills fall over the bar's crystal cover.
Furud "The one with the eyes?" He leans back, relaxing a little and finally picks up his glass. A quick toss and half of it is down. "She still a model?"
Altair "Yep. She kept chewing me when I didn't go to her walkouts. What's with them thinking they can be so damn demandin', anyway?" He does the same, in synchrony with Furud, "A kiss, a quickie, and suddenly you're SUPPOSED to..."
Furud shakes his head. "Girls, man. I'll never understand."
Furud sighs and takes another drink. "Speaking of girls I don't understand, how's Merope?"
Altair "She's doing better. Her brother really helped her. Fiber-Optycs gal is fine, too."
Altair "I just don't get them, though. When I think I understand one of them... they just change it all."
Furud "Thinking of something in specific?" He leans his elbow on the bar counter
Altair "Maia. She wanted to help you guys, then... well, she wanted to go to Johnstone. Antares was all mad about her friend, and then... well. It's like something in her came loose, man. It's like something in her just snapped." He finishes his glass and refills it.
Furud "Yeah," he says quietly. "Things are all fucked up right now."
Altair looks at Furud's glass. "I remember when you first got drunk. We tried fake I Ds?, they sniffed them out." He chuckles, "Then you just snatched the drinks and ran like hell... you ended up spending half the night making horrible noises in the sink."
Furud "You'd think we'd learn..." He grins. "Most of the time I make it to the toilet, now, though. That's improvement right?"
Altair "It's an improvement over MY first time, for sure. At least you did on a sink, not over your date." He shakes his head, a little embarassed even five years removed. His third glass, now refilled, was in front of him. "What happenned to us, man?"
Furud chokes a little. "Yeah.. that must have sucked."
Altair "Totally." He popped the pills on his mouth, and drowned them on alcohol. "We really should stop."
Furud refills his glass and chugs it. "Yep. It'd be smart of us."
Altair stops the glass before it gets to Furud's lips. "You shouldn't."
Altair "You're supposed to be happy, damnit. Smug!"
Furud snorts. "Sorry to disappoint you."
Altair "I did that for you. So you'd have a chance to have a life. You can't just... not like me."
Furud "Shoulda come to town earlier then, I guess." He pulls the glass away from Altair and drains it.
Altair "No." He gives Furud a piercing glare. "You should snap out of that and remember those girls are depending on you."
Furud "Well ain't that just fucking great?" He slides the empty glass across the counter away from him. "I can't save them. I can't even save me."
Altair gets up and pulls Furud up with him. "Who the fuck says you can't?"
Furud pushes Altair off of him. "I do," he snarls.
Altair curls his hands into fists. "So what? What're you scared of?" He shouts at Furud
Furud "I..." He looks away for a moment, then back at Altair, his own fists white knuckled. "Fuck you, you don't know anything. I'm not your savior, I haven't been saved. I'm just a fucking stupid kid who can't even... " He clenches his jaw. "It's too much."
Altair curls until his knuckles get white, moves as if to strike Furud... and hugs him. Tight.
Furud is tense in his embrace, "Stupid stupid... I don't know what to do anymore." He finally sags against Altair.
Altair "I know... I know." He holds Furud, close.
Furud "I can't control my temper anymore, not since they took me... I thought it was all a game, but it's not, Altair. It's not a game and it's not beautiful, and the songs... the music is stronger than us."
Altair "Then we'll take it over... you told me, you told me to fight, fight for them all... it's still beautiful. It'll always be... even if... even if doesn't seem... it's still you. You were always..."
Furud shakes a little, trying to calm his breathing, control his emotions. Altair's solid presence breaking the waves. "Fight them..." he pulls back a little. "We'll see." He remembers the bright flash of the silver knife through the pumping blood, with a shudder.
Altair pulls him back. Not letting him go. "And remember you have friends. Remember you have me."
Furud smiles shakily. "Thanks."
Altair And, almost without thought, his lips are upon Furud's!
Furud 's eyes open wide with surprise. His lips linger a little too long pressed against Altair's before he pulls away.
Merope is at the door.
Altair "Furud... that..." He stops, and turns, face burning. "... oh, hello, Angela."
Merope closes her mouth, lips quivering.
Furud "That... Ang... ohshit." He spins away from Altair, scrabbling for the bottle of whiskey. Finally having siezed it, he takes a swig, then slowly his gaze flickers up to Merope's. "Drink?"
Merope bursts out laughing.
Altair "Look, that ISN'T what it looked like."
Merope just laughs and laughs, doubling over with it.
Merope "Oh.... Furud.... was he at least better than Heka?" She erupts into laughter again.
Furud turns bright red and turns away from Merope. "Shut up."
Altair "... you kissed her brother TOO? Oh man. See, it's all YOUR fault."
Furud "No! It wasn't like that! There was a towel..."
Merope "Yeah, Heka was naked!"
Merope CANNOT stop laughing.
Altair begins laughing with her, "Oh, man. You have me beat!"
Altair "Furud, I never imagined." He shakes his head in mock disapproval and sadness.
Furud "Oh fuck you. Fuck you both. I've got a GIRLFRIEND." He pauses to take a drink, then mutters, "at least I hope I still do."
Altair "It's ok, Furud, we understand." He pats his back solemnly, trying not to laugh. "It's so hard to come out of the closet. So hard to wear the beard!" He fails.
Furud hurls the bottle across the room and storms out, the glassware rattling in his wake. "I'm not going to stay here and take this. Go to hell."
Altair "Hahahaha... huh." He watches the bottle strike the wall and the pieces of glass on the ground.
Altair "... maybe we overdid it?"
Merope sobers up rather quickly. "Furud... Furud!"
Furud calls back over his shoulder. "Just leave me alone. It wasn't even ME!"
Merope "I know that!"
Merope rushes up after Furud.
Merope "It was an accident, right, like with Heka, I get it." Merope looks completely serious.
Furud whirls to face Merope, his hands clenched into fists. "Just stay away from me before I hurt someone. I'm not trying to... fuck it doesn't matter does it? None of this happened, right?"
Altair "Nothing at all." He appears behind Mero. "I was only JOKING."
Merope "Furud, just... relax, okay?"
Furud Suddenly, Furud's hand shoots out to catch a priceless vase that just rattled off a decorative table. "I can't..." He squeezes his eyes shut. "..breathe."
Altair "FURUD!" He rushes to his friend's side, holding Furud again. "Furud..."
Furud shakes, his breath harsh and ragged. His flush has paled to gray. "Need to go... outside."
Merope "Furud, I'm sorry, I...."
Altair puts one of Furud's arms over his shoulder, and begins to take him outside!
Altair "Angela...?" He asks, clearly needing some help to take Furud!
Merope "Furud? Can you walk?" She moves to his other side, ready to try lifitn him if she can.
Merope "Shit, Altair, how much did he drink?" She sniffs. "AND he must be high as a kite."
Furud "I can..." But he does not shrug them off, keeping his eyes closed. He lets them lead him out, trying to still his jumping heart.
Altair winces, almost falling to one knee. "Too... too loud. TOO LOUD!"
Merope stumbles with Furud's weight. "What the hell?"
Merope "What were you guys DOING?"
Altair "Can you hear it... Mero...? Furud, he is..." He recovers, almost shoving Furud foward, gritting teeth. "... too loud! Turn that off!"
Altair "Just... drinking."
Furud "Can't..." He grits his teeth, and stumbles, phantom tremors pulsing out from him.
Merope "Someone HELP ME! They're all going crazy out here!"
Altair falls down upon the grass as soon as they get outside of the house, fingers digging into the earth below
Maia is sitting in the yard, slouched against the wall of the house, eyes half shut. They open tiredly at the approach of the others, then a little wider.
Maia "...the hell is wrong with you people?"
Merope rubs her temples. "I dunno, they both started freaking out on me!"
Merope "I think they've taken something."
Altair "Just the usual happy pills. But Furud is..." He looks up, clutching earth in his knuckles as he turns to look at him. "It's not supposed to sound like this. It's not supposed to be like this!"
Maia "Guys. Guys. Are you okay?"
Maia walks over to Furud and puts her hands carefully on his shoulders.
Furud slips sideways as he loses Altair's support and lands on the grass next to him, gasping.
Maia drops to the ground as he does so, and takes his head in her hands instead.
Maia "Furry. What's happening?"
Merope is shoved by an unseen force. "The hell is doing THAT?"
Furud "The music..." He shudders in Maia's hands. "can't stop... wrong.."
Altair "Furud. It's a crescendo, growing, growing, calling his climax, to all of us..."
Maia "Shhh. Shhh. It's okay," she whispers.
Maia "It's okay."
Maia "Get Cassie. Now. She's in the study."
Maia "Thank God there's a wall."
Merope opens her mouth, but then shits it and runs off without a word.
Maia hums quietly, rubbing Furud's shoulders.
Maia "It's okay."
Maia "Story of my life."
Merope is bringing Cassie, leading her by the hand as fast as she can.
Altair reaches to Furud's hands, staining them with earth, holding them.
Maia "Hey, Cassie."
Maia takes Cassie's hand and puts it in Furud's carefully.
Maia "Furud's too loud. He's too loud, okay?"
Maia "Can you fix it?"
Merope "Maia, she only just woke up... isn't this too much?"
Maia "She's been doing this for three years. I think she can handle it."
Maia "Okay, Cassie?"
Cassiopeia looks blankly off into the distance.
Furud grips their hands tightly as if they were anchoring him to earth. "Can't hold... longer"
Cassiopeia "Too loud."
Cassiopeia "I hear it."
Maia "Fix it, okay?"
Maia "Make it quiet."
Maia "Just like always."
Cassiopeia nods, slowly.
Cassiopeia hums a single note, a continual buzz...
Merope The lights in the hall start to flicker. In the downstairs lounge, the TV's low-level chatter is replaced by a constant tone...
Cassiopeia There is a moment of perfect silence, where only the tone can be heard.
Cassiopeia "It goes this far and no further." From the TV, the radio and from her lips - she is her own chorus.
Maia Good girl."
Altair "Symphony." He whispers, his own eyes closed. "It's beautiful..."
Furud jerks as the tone begins, the music fighting to get through the haze, then slowly he goes limp, and his eyes open glassily. His breathing slows, and the only sign of his struggles is a bright red streak of blood coming from his nose. He sighs slowly, and closes his eyes again.
Merope watches this, first in awe and then in trepidation.
Altair hums that silent tune with Cassiopeia, tears coming off his eyes. "Beautiful..."
Maia "Okay. Let it go as soon as you need to, okay?"
Maia "Don't worry. We'll take it slow."
Cassiopeia nods, again. She feels along Furud's hand and arm, moving toward his face. "Many new people."
Furud "Who..are you?"
Altair cradles Furud's hand in his. "She's music."
Cassiopeia touches his face. "I'm Cassiopeia."
Cassiopeia "You're Furud. "
Furud "How do you...?"
Cassiopeia "One of the women said so."
Furud "Is everyone okay?"
Altair "Now that you've stopped shouting. Idiot."
Cassiopeia "You seem clammy. Are you unwell?"
Cassiopeia This last sentence isn't echoed by the TV.
Cassiopeia The light ceases to flicker.
Furud "I just..." He looks up at the girl's face, her strange hair falling over him. "I lost my temper," he finishes quietly.
Cassiopeia "Did you find it again?"
Furud grimaces. "Kind of."
Cassiopeia lets her hands drop. "Two women, one other man."
Maia just looks a little smug.
Cassiopeia "The first was Merope, who I know. The other was called Maia. And there was another male voice."
Maia "That was Altair."
Cassiopeia gropes around uncertainly.
Altair takes Cassiopeia's hands gently on his' and guides them to his face. "It's a pleasure, symphonia."
Maia "Get some sleep, people. I have a lot of having a head wound to do."
Merope "We don't sleep, Maia."