|No Substitute for Sleep|
Another day, another failure, but so it goes. Lucas has been looking for years, now. If not for the incredible thing Sun did for him, he would probably be pretty depressed by now, but as things are, he's actually doing pretty good. What was once a search for the gravestone of a loved one is now more of a ritual than a necessity. He's made his peace. He just has a few things he wants to say.
Wandering into the Usual from outside, Lucas books it straight for the bar, ignoring any other patrons until he's had a chance to place his order for a Strawberry Italian Soda. Not exactly a hard drink, but hey, one likes what they like. He closes his eyes, spins on his stool, and leans back against the bar like it's an old friend propping him up.
"You know, life isn't so bad." He's not talking to Rayne, or anyone in particular. Just self-satisfied musing. Someone sounds like they're in a decent mood - maybe if he'd noticed that Rayne is deep in thought he would be more sensitive... but sometimes people are blind.
Rayne blinks, stepping out of her internal debates as the man sits down nearby and speaks. "Uhhh, is it? Good, I guess." She looks at him for a moment before shaking her head. "Sorry, I can't recall your name, off hand. I'm pretty sure we've met, though, right?" Well, at least he looks familiar to her.
As it turns out, leaning against the bar backwards isn't the best way to receive a drink. The tender on staff slides the drink down the bar, and it looks an awful lot like it'll just hit Lucas, who isn't so much as glancing in that direction. However, he snakes a hand out to cushion and catch it at the last second. It makes him look much more 'cool guy' than he's probably aware. It's easy to react to things outside of your field of vision when you are used to not having one.
Also he comes here a lot.
When Rayne speaks up, he turns to look at her, but his eyes don't focus; it's probably more out of courtesy than necessity. "...? Think so, your outfit's pretty unique. Ah can't say Ah remember the name, though." He peers in a way that looks more out of habit than anything else, scrunching his eyes up a little. "...Think Ah metcha on one o'my all-nighters. Ah'm Lucas." He raises the glass toward her, then goes to take a sip, and misses the straw on the first try, before getting it the second time. Hey, noone's perfect. Rayne nods to Lucas. "Rayne Hurris. Second of TASK, founder of the Welcome Center," she says to introduce herself... likely the second time, but clearly the situation is mutual between them, so she doesn't feel either guilty or offended.
Well, maybe a little guilty.
She takes a sip of her tea finally, then sighs and leans back again. "You ever get the feeling that everything just keeps building and building and building and then... stops? It's like... There's so much tension, and yet... everything has completely stabilized." She looks down at her tea and frowns. "Sorry, I'm babbling already now."
With a nod, Lucas sets his drink down, and shifts a bit so that he can lean back against the bar again. It looks very casual, especially when he spreads his arms, but he manages some sincerity in his voice that helps to counter the cavalier image.
"Felt like that a few times. Like a spring what keeps gettin coiled over and over, ready to release... but th'release never comes, right?" He tilts his head to one side for a moment, as if listening to something unheard, or perhaps just remembering something long past. "Mind if Ah ask what happened?" He waves a hand in front of his face. "Ah don't see much these days."
Rayne takes a sip of her tea as she ponders how to answer the question. Or rather, how to answer what would be the next question asked, in a way. "Weellll... It's like... For so many months, I was overworked, overstressed, had threats I was in a damn near panic over, and then suddenly the big threat is taken care of by someone else, the work slows down immensely, and I mean in /both/ of my jobs, and then there's just... life going on without change suddenly. I mean, don't get me wrong, I've had a lot of points in my life when I went without change for a while, but... I kinda didn't expect it /here/." She shrugs with a frown, apparently oblvious to the fact that Lucas wouldn't likely notice those particular visual clues.
Lucas listens, at first just looking relaxed, as is his default state. After a while, though, he sits up a bit, and leans forward a little, steepling his hands in his lap to look more interested. Regardless of if Rayne has noticed his blindness, he still seems to want to convey a sense of listening. Courtesy is a thing where he's from.
"Can be hard, tryin t'deal with it. Just sort of like everythin deflates, and y'wonder what you're supposed to do now." He pauses, then lifts a hand up over his head and stretches a bit while he cricks his neck. "Well. Ah'm just talkin from mah experience. Might be different for you." Or it might not be.
After a moment, Lucas reaches back for his drink, and then brings it in front of him so he doesn't have to start looking like he's moving away from the conversation. "Need t'talk about it? Some people say it helps. Always found hittin..." He pauses, as if course correcting his words. "...the gym t'be more helpful, though."
Rayne takes another sip of her tea. She looks down at it with a slight frown, and then it's suddenly steaming hot again. She nods before saying, "Yeah, that kinda sums it up. It was all moving so fast, I feel like I've been climbing climbing, climbing to the top, and then... there's this featureless plateau up there. No grand view, no one up there to help you celebrate the climb." She sighs again, then shakes her head. "I thought we were more or less talking about it? I guess it's not as exciting to listen to about as it was to live through it." She glances over at the door to the gym, then tilts her head for a moment. She shakes her head with a frown, in the end, however. "No, not really in the mood to fight tonight, not even against a holo opponent. Not even against holo-me."
When Rayne reheats her tea, Lucas blinks, then smiles. Aha! He CAN sense things! "Well, Ah guess we are at that." He holds that smile, and shrugs. "It kinda snuck up on me." Actually, he kind of walked into it fully aware. But it's a phrase.
When Rayne mentions not being in the mood to fight against a holo opponent, not even holo-her, Lucas raises his eyebrows. "They got holo-fights in there? Never knew." How can you not know? All you have to do is read the... or look at other people fi-- oh. Well, yes, that actually seems reasonable. After a moment, he turns his attention back to Rayne.
"Sorry. Y'learn somethin new every day." He takes a sip of his drink, then stirs it a bit with his straw while he savors it. It takes a few seconds. "...Ah'm not sure how else to get it out. Always been kinda kinetic myself." Ah, he makes puns! ... But noone'll get it.
Tabitha looks up towards Rayne and offers a light wave. Her eyes have that dark, sunken look that comes from not sleeping for far too long. Either that or she's very sick. Probably not the later, though. With a weak smile she lets her head hit the table top of the booth. A few moments later comes a skutter with a strawberry Italian soda on a tray. With a twitch of her ear at the sound of its little motors, the nekojin lifts her head enough to see the glass, takes it, and resumes whatever she's doing. At least she's not dead!
"Well, maybe Ah'll try it later. It's been a while since Ah sparred with anyone. " Maybe, but Lucas' hoodie isn't hiding his physique THAT much. He works out, at least.
It actually isn't until Rayne calls to Tabitha that Lucas seems to notice the girl. Well, he was paying attention to his conversation, not listening to George greet everyone that walks in. Classic George.
Lucas twists around to 'look around' for Tabitha. "Oh, did we pick up a stray?" Cat jokes. Very original. She's never heard those before. He speaks to Rayne as an aside. "Ah can't see, is she ok?" He pauses, realizing it's kind of silly asking Rayne a question he can just ask Tabitha, and turns.
"You ok?" ...She probably heard the first time, man.
Rayne looks slightly worried... but then again, she's only met Tabitha once before. "I'm... not sure if this is normal or not, to be honest. I don't know her very well."
The girl's ear twitches as she's being talked about. Making a show of pulling herself up, she takes a sip and turns towards the two people asking about her. "...I've been tryin' ta talk ta Sun but she hasn't been home for more than a few seconds at a time..." She wobbles. "I thought stayin' up would make it easier..."
Nodding to Rayne's comment about not knowing Tabitha that well, he turns a bit more fully. He doesn't know her too well either, but he did once advise her not to be an obedient slave to a demon. Apparently you don't need to know someone very well to have these kind of conversations. Not when you're from... The South. (TM)
When Tabitha mentions Sun, Lucas resists the urge to ask how she's doing, and that ends up proving wise since Tabitha mentions that she hasn't been able to see her for long. "She's kinda flighty, that one." That's a joke! See, because she's a dragon, and they... ah, well, it was funny in his head, anyway.
"Haven't seen her much either. Then again, Ah keep weird hours." He really does. "...Y'want Ah should just tell her you want t'talk to her when I see her again? Y'look like you could use some sleep."
Rayne tilts her head and frowns. "Have you tried... Leaving a note for her? Telling her you want to talk?" She then shrugs. "I saw her here the other day, actually." She downs the rest of her tea. "You do look like you could use some more sleep, Tabitha... It's making /me/ more tired," she says before yawning.
Tabitha just keeps sipping away as people talk. What else is she going to do? After both of them have said their piece, the girl puts down the drink and yawns back. "I live with her." That should probably explain everything but in case it doesn't. "I should probably see 'er before anyone... It's makin' me nervous." She pauses for one more drink. "But I can't do it anymore. I'm gonna drink this, think about maybe eatin', and then I'm going ta sleep until I can't sleep anymore."
Very pointedly, Lucas does NOT sympathy-yawn. Nice try Rayne and Tabitha! "Y'all seem kinda..." He lifts a hand up in the air, then flops it over and drops it down like it died. One might expect him to say 'Bleh!' to go along with the gesture, but he doesn't go the whole nine yards. A shame. "...low energy." Dead. He means dead.
"Ah recommend sleep or caffeine. Only things that'll fix the problem without creatin two or three more." ... What kind of things does he have in mind? Eh. He's a pretty unremarkable guy, probably not worth asking. Southern wisdom or something.
"Well, sure, but if Ah see her before she heads home, Ah'll tell her you want to jaw at her." ... Who even says that?
Rayne nods to Tabitha. "Like I said, leave her a note somewhere. It might get the idea across without you being there, right?" She then nods to Lucas. "I'll keep an eye out for her too." She then pauses a moment, then nods with a sigh. "Well, the caffeine didn't work... sure, it wasn't coffee, but... I think I'll head home now." She stands up with a stretch.
Tabitha begins to wobble as she finishes off her drink, and seems to be having problems setting it down. "Wooooooo." Interesting. "Yous shud do tha thing." Apparently she CAN slur her words more. "I suddenly feel like I shud get anodder one." She smiles happily and nearly falls out of the booth waving for a skutter. Maybe she's more tired than she let on?
With another nod, Lucas offers Rayne a polite wave. "Well, g'night then. Hope y'find some way of uncoilin that spring." Once she's actually standing, he leans back against the bar with arms spread out again. Well, he's not having a conversation anymore, no need to provide the rapt-attention look.
When Tabitha starts slurring and truly wobbling, Lucas looks over at her with a little more concern. "Y'know, no harm in takin a little nap in one of the booths first. Ah won't tell anyone if you don't." Is she... drunk? Off sleep exhaustion maybe.
Rayne frowns at Tabitha's mannerisms. "Tabitha... get some sleep, then leave Sun a note. I'll tell her if I see her, okay?" She looks from Tabitha to Lucas and nods. "Let's hope I can, then. Goodnight," she says before turning for the door to leave.
The catgirl hangs onto the booth seat as she gives Rayne a nod in response. Apparently one of the skutters understood the flailing because over comes another one with another drink. "Heeee" She snatches it up and flails backwards to lounge across the seat as best she can without spilling her soda. "I dunno why I like thesem so much." Sluuuurp. Her ears actually pull back comically as she takes a drink. "...y'knonw, I don't get why they call 'em itallian. Is this what itallians taste like?" She giggles at her own drink and takes another joke.
Giggles at her own joke and takes another drink. Shut up.
With Rayne gone, and noone new coming in for George to shout out to, Lucas' attention turns completely to Tabitha, who is... probably going to brain herself before too long. "Ah think it's just who came up with th'mixture. D'you need a hand gettin to a booth?" He stands to his feet, setting his own soda down for a moment. "Don't think you're gonna make it like that." She's not as think as you drunk she is, officer.
Tabitha waves her glass at him. "YER not gonna make it." She giggles again. "NO! We ain't gonna make it..." She takes another large gulp. "We're not gonna taaake it. Anymoooooore." She grins happily. The bags under her eyes are becoming even more defined. Maybe she fell asleep somewhere along the way and she's just dreaming now. Sure. That'll happen. The girl suddenly looks up at the celing, "You shut up. I'm not dreamings." Her attention returns to Lucas with a shake of her head. "An' you shut up. I c'n get up just fine. Not like I have ta walk far ta get home."
With a bit of a sigh, Lucas starts heading over to Tabitha. "First time Ah heard anyone try t'sing Twisted Sister in Twisted. Some kinda irony in there." He moves close enough that he should be able to catch her if she suddenly topples. "Ah'm sure you're fine. Never hurts t'have a friend's help though." He offers her a small, easy grin. "Plus, if you pass out, Ah get dibs on the rest of your soda." Diabolical.
Hugging her drink against her chest, Tabitha shakes her head. "Nooooooooo!! S'mine!!" Fine, she'll go along with him. FOR NOW. Pushing herself up and slumping into the blind man, the nekojin shakes her head. "I'm just tired. Thas all." A nod. "I always get like thish when I drink these an' I'm tired." If she only knew that had more to do with Johnny than her amount of fatigue...
With a nod that is probably much more convincing than it should be, Lucas uses an arm to make sure Tabitha doesn't simply fall when she slumps over. "Ah'm sure. Come on. Ah bet y'can't make it all the way to a booth without trippin." Reverse psychology! Like telling the drunk guy 'I bet you can't jump over that table', then getting out your camera. Dastardly! Maybe Lucas isn't completely clueless after all. Then again, being good at talking to drunks is not exactly a widely cherished life skill.
Tabitha "Pfffffffffffffft"s at Lucas's attempt to motivate her. "Ahm a CAT." Her tail swishes into him playfully. "I c'n balance on th' rafters in my sleep." A sage nod. "Yer just tryin' ta steal my soda." She leans into him and whispers conspiratorially, "...you can get your own. Just ask." Pulling away she lunges herself towards the bar, grabbing it with her free hand and slamming an empty glass down with the other. "I DID TH' THING!!" Yes. Good job. She suddenly points at the door. "TO BED WITH MEEE!" A wise decision.
When Tabitha gets all conspiracy-like with him, Lucas laughs a little and coughs. "Really? Ah hadn't thought of that." Yup. Totally wasn't drinking the same thing, himself. Nope. "Good job!" He is actually impressed she didn't fall down during her lunge. "...D'you need me t'carry you?" Well, she did point at the door while exclaiming, as if announcing 'Home James!'
Energetically she shakes her head, "I /know/ where I live, jeeze." She gives a wave to the room. "G'night guys!" At least George gives her a slight wave back. "NIGHT TABBS!" He's such a nice guy. Halfway to the door, Tabitha turns and eyes Lucas a moment. A long moment. What is she doing? With one eye narrowing she suddenly nods and mutters with a whisper, "...it's okay. I won't tell anyone." Wait, what does that imply? With another wave she turns and stumbles out the door.
With a blink, Lucas waves to George as well, calling out to the long-time staple that has warmed seats at the Usual just as long as he has. "Ah gotta make sure she doesn't run over any cars." He nods, then heads out into the night after. "Hey, Sun'd probably beat me up if Ah didn't walk you home, y'know. You tryin t'get me beat up? That's hurtful."