oh so quiet... [attn: kiara/nick/pen]
"Ay, güey, es bien sangrón..."
"Yes, it is."


"Shh!" says Andrés as they make their way to Nick's car, though Nick has hardly spoken at all. Or maybe he starts to say "Shit!" and then decides better of it.

He cups the hand not wrapped in sweatshirt underneath Nick's elbow, as if catching for something viscous, scooping more like it before trying to put back where it belongs, the 'it' in this scenario being the hallucination to which Nick is not privy. Lucky for him. If the man's hallucinations were actualizing, they would not have a Mad Scientist on their hands but a Marauder, and a Marauder you can only fix by stamping their name on a bullet.

A harder step down than he means to take, and he shouts and jumps back as if startled. Frowns. Blind eyes dart around, take his head with them.

"Walk softer," he says in a whisper, and starts to pat bare skin on his own neck, on Nick's arms. Whispers: "Is it staying on? It doesn't hurt."
Look. I have school. And RP. And all my other time is taken up by sheer, unreasoning panic. I don't have time for Reddit.
-- ixphaelaeon
And: Pen, her back against a wall, come swinging around: what. What wall? Some convenient nearby wall, not calling out to draw attention but gauging the right moment to come near. Around the corner's an alley, a deep alcove.

Pen, stark: big big shades (rose-tinted, you can see the eye through them) and a flimsy drifting dress of many layers the color of cherry blossoms, nips in at her waist, flares over her hips becomes transparent and diaphanous the layers at her calves look there are tiny flowers embroidered into the fabric and her dark (auburn, said Anne of Green Gables; a handsome auburn! Carrots said others. Less discriminating, less artistic. We'll split the difference and call the color 'Medea ardent') hair gathered in a loose bun at the nape of her neck and hanging from her left shoulder a leather book bag large the kind of old fashioned book bag that can hold (let's just say -- a lot) whatever you'd hardly be surprised.

One of her hands is -- see! How daintily it is buried in her skirt, gathering the material up (ah! Dawn) so when she does leave the wall it will drift after her as light as air and flash her ankles. There's a lot of fabric. That hand: she's holding her wand. Guage guage guage Andrés shouts guage guage guage measure consider narrow eyes. The thing is: Pen could've stayed far and away [and been just as devastating there as she might be here--perhaps, just in case--] to monitor, but she hasn't quite sluiced all rash impulse out of her bones yet.

Wait for it wait for it. Whistle. 


Not before: Pen, come swinging around.

An alley, a service door, deep and near enough for her purposes, almost hidden, not quite hidden, we'll trust to faith (no we won't. We'll Look first. We'll peer in water in a cup, we'll brood Circe rather than Medea and we'll let ourselves be Aware of the area and then) then Pen was an Elsewhere Pen and she pronounced an invocation in a celestial tongue and accompanied it with the precise gestures needed to compass a door and unlock it and 

An alley, a service door, deep and near and in that service door atop a concrete stair, suddenly a woman. The door is locked from the outside; it did not open. Her legs went to jelly: it fucking worked.


OOC stuff. Andrew/Kenna both witnessed. *g*

[Scrying. Corr 2/Prime 1/Forces 1/Entropy 1. -1 sympathetic or -1 near a node. She's either at home (Nick's hair, yo) or studying at the Chantry library, one or the other. -1 personal instrument. Diff 5 - 2 = 3. ]

Dice: 3 d10 TN3 (2, 4, 6) ( success x 2 )

[Intelligence + Awareness. Sense of place I'ma bamf to.]

Dice: 5 d10 TN6 (2, 2, 3, 5, 8) ( success x 1 )

[Let's Intelligence + Esoterica (Enochian) this.]

Dice: 7 d10 TN6 (1, 4, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6) ( success x 2 ) [Doubling Tens]

[Corr 3. Vulgar as fuck w/ out witnesses. 1 success needed (thanks to above roll 'within immediate perception,' yay). Diff: 7. -2 (Enochian), -1 personal instrument. Diff: 4. WP for obvious teleportation reasons.]

Dice: 3 d10 TN4 (2, 8, 8) ( success x 3 ) [Doubling Tens] [WP]

[...No doubling tens, obviously.]

For reasons Andrés does not know, will never know, as he pats Nick's skin and asks whether his skin is staying on the Chakravat shudders. It's imperceptible, almost, a faint tremor that rills down his spine which carries the vibration into the rest of his bones, but certainly present. There is a haunted look in his eyes because: Gates of Horn, and Andrés is not so far from becoming a Marauder, is he now?

They say we only want to look to the future in difficult times, not pleasant ones, but this sometimes is a curse of people who dream true. They wonder, every time they glimpse a sign of loss on the horizon. This is a curse of the perceptive and people who dream true alike.

Nicholas says nothing. He continues on, doggedly, toward his car with Andrés pressed against his side, his arm clasped around the other man's waist. Passersby glance at them, out on the busy downtown streets. A young woman gives them a thumbs up. Nick speeds up his steps. And then Pen appears, around the service alley, and his relief is palpable as soon as he sees her there because while her presence changes nothing he is no longer alone.

"We need to get him to the car," he tells Pen once he draws near enough (or she draws near enough) to be heard. "I'm taking him to Kiara's."
And Andrés has seen better days. Worse ones, too. Way worse. This is nothing, and he isn't here, anyway. Gates of horn, gates of ivory. They're on different sides right now, even if their sides are pressed together.

He could crawl faster than he could walk, bloodied and half-raving like he is, and he doesn't see the thumbs up from the passerby. Doesn't realize Nick is trying to walk faster and stumbles, nearly goes down but for he very much does not want to land on whatever he just stepped on. Doesn't notice Pen when she steps through and goes wobbly herself.

I'm taking him to Kiara's.

Nothing to say to that. Nick's voice doesn't make it through the static droning in his ears, one of which he rubs with the sweatshirt-bound hand as if it aches.
Look. I have school. And RP. And all my other time is taken up by sheer, unreasoning panic. I don't have time for Reddit.
-- ixphaelaeon
"Where are you parked?" Meaning: if very far, she'll nip over and bring the car to them.

Beat. "Hey, Andrés. Toughest bar crawl with Nick yet, hmm?" For a moment her attention is the Society man's. The rose-tinted lenses are transparent enough that they reflect only the shape of the two men, no features no Denver city-scape no street no cars no consequences to what happened to them. But she studies, taking note of: his hand, his erratic step. Conscious awareness.

Someone across the street shouts, not at any of them, but a shout of laughter: somebody has been hitting the sauce. That's what happens outside. Humanity, everywhere!

"Not far. Walk with me," Nick says, and there are dark stains on his navy blue shirt and dark stains on his hands, though the worst of it all is concealed by the sweatshirt that Andrés has wrapped around his injury. It's not much, they don't look as though they've just walked out of some abbatoir or off of a battlefield though it may feel that way to Nick (explosion and smoke and shattered glass), but still best that they get themselves into a car as soon as they can.

It is indeed not that far at all, a block or two: they can get there by cutting through the alley that Pen Strode into, though it's perhaps ill-advised in the gathering twilight. So instead they cut around a corner and there is a parking lot, and there is Nick's little black Honda. It chirps and flashes its lights when he unlocks it, and as it is a small car the sound is surprisingly cute: as though it is greeting them like an enthusiastic cat.

He says nothing to Andrés as he opens the back door and directs the Etherite to sit in the backseat, and once done he will lean down to buckle his seatbelt for him and arrange his injured hand, with its wrapping, in his lap. "Can you drive?" This, to Pen (of course.)
Where are you parked?
Not far. Walk with me.

"Son of a bitch."

Hey, Andrés. Toughest bar crawl with Nick yet, hmm?

"Sonnnnnn of a--"

He makes as much of an attempt to yank away from Nick as is possible given their differences in height and health, one permanent and one temporary. It is not difficult for Nick to steer him because Nick is real, he is unharmed, but he is also bound by the rules of sanity, and he cannot see whatever has the Etherite's eyes gone functionally blind.

In good health he would be a sprite on his feet. Now, he tries to avoid stepping on something, nearly falls, uses his left hand to fumble in his pocket for one of his devices. Deadweight again. Nick may end up having to drag him, manhandle him a bit to get him in the backseat, upright and buckled in. He's about as much help to himself as a man falling-down drunk.

He mumbles something to the effect of "Veronica, you crazy-ass... ass... stranding me in some kind of fucked-up blastoma dimension..." like this all makes sense now.
Look. I have school. And RP. And all my other time is taken up by sheer, unreasoning panic. I don't have time for Reddit.
-- ixphaelaeon
Can Pen drive?

"Can the Roadrunner outwit Wile E. Coyote?" Rather than bravado there is a low and confessional intimacy to her tone of voice. Her observation of Andrés (it continues while she settles into the driver's seat - maybe she has her own set of keys or happened to have the spare in her bag, glances into the rear view mirror and adjusts it minutely) causes her to say, "Nick, maybe you should sit with him. Does Kiara know he's coming and needs some help?"

"Hey, Andrés, a glaucoma - " she cannot hear him properly. He is mumbling. " - dimension? Are you assailed by strange visions?"
(OOC: Just slot my post in where it works if you want to do more re: them getting to Kiara's! This is just so they know what to expect.)

So: to Kiara’s apartment.
When they arrive, they are presented with an impressive structure looming out over the corner of 17th Street. There is no doorman at 817 but there is an intercom system. When someone hits 422’s, there is a low buzz that swings open the mechanism of the heavy glass door.
There were marble walls inside the entrance lobby, old columns and a domed, arching ceiling overhead. At the end of the lobby, they are presented with a staircase and a set of twin lifts with gold trim around the edges that sat in an elegant display against the walls.
The elevator plays tinny music on their ascent (assuming they don’t decide to drag Andrés up the four flights of stairs), the interior fitted with mirrors that cast back polished and slightly warped reflections of the Mages.
When the doors swoop open with a heraldic little chime, they are presented with a carpeted hallway with a small window at one end and, sitting outside a partly open door as if anticipating their imminent presence: a rather luxurious grey and black striped cat with golden eyes. The feline’s tail was curled around its body and it paused in the midst of grooming one of its ears to observe the trio.
There was a tiny flick of a tail and the animal rose, stretched and vanished into the depths of the apartment.
Had they just been announced by a cat?
Blastoma: it's a word familiar to him; he had a client die of one, once, not so long ago, and so his mind goes a different place than Pen's as she repeats what Andrés said.

The man is dead weight, and Nick grunts and does indeed have to manhandle him into the car. Though up to the task of wrestling his friend into the backseat, Nick is not a strong man and so it takes a while and considerable strain on his part. "I'll sit with him," he says, a little breathless as he nudges Andrés toward the middle of the back seat's bench. He tries to slide in next to him, wiggles himself in next to the Etherite. "I think he's in Quiet," he tells Pen now, now that she has asked about the visions.

He is certain Andrés is having visions or hallucinations of some sort: he was after all talking about the Russians hacking his brain, looking for evidence that Nick himself is a construct.

"Kiara does know we're coming and said it's all right. I texted her. We're going to 817 17th Street."

And so they drive.

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