The Anywhere Room is currently dark, and there are pulsating lights gleaming and striking across the area. They sink and spread in circles that rise up, sporadic and epileptic in their rhythm. The music itself is pounding, a hard techno beat with almost the entire crowd of people moving as one. Arms go up to have hands make different gestures, but everyone's shoulders are more or less in even rhythm because the whole group is pinned to the beat. The music is almost deafening, and there is a long bar down one side lit in intense blue. All the other colours are more or less violently hyper, brilliant and pinned with hot edges of personal display devices - mobile phones recording, or LED wired light making extra patterns.
Off to one side on one of the platforms is Arcade, who is wearing nothing but bright gleaming loose trousers and a pair of sneakers with light up red soles. He has traded his usual glasses for an electric rainbow visor set, and is sweating away, part of a thousand strong dance scene with only one actual person in it - him.
Dare steps through the door, blinking rapidly as he tries to figure out just where he is, his outfit morphing into a loose trousered outfit perfect for dancing in, the fabric mostly black with splashes of neon that glow in this lighting. His dark curls dusted with purple and electric blue. He looks a little lost, this style of music a little too late for his first life and a little too archaic for his third.
The song 'Children by Robert Miles is a bit old even for the Optimist, but the fact is, the song is an absolute rager, and the drops are incredible, and the song is very beautiful. And so it is that Arcade is completely lost, throwing up his hands, and spinning around. Arrows light up under Dare's feet and they bing bing bing away before leading firmly off to where the Optimist is.
Dare peers at his feet as the arrow first apears, and then he throws his head back and laughs. He moves that way to the beat. His dance style is very '80's gay man, but he really can dance, and dancing towards the Optimist is what he does, the coloured lights dancing on the sculptural planes of his face. Up close there is still something of angel's haunted look in his eyes, but he looks more like himself despite it.
The arrows blink blink blink and then display for Dare 'Wait for the Drop' The Drop? Hard to tell what it actually means, though the music and the bass is building, building, and tension is begrudging to reach a sort of almost pre-violence state. The Optimist has entirely unfocused eyes - not drugged, but rather lost in the sound of it. Until he senses Dare, and then he turns and beams at him and waves, reaching a hand out.
Dare stops daning and waits, obviously confsed and looking at the floor round him in case there is some sort of trap door. Then Arcade issmiling at him and so he takes the offered hand, smiling back hopeful, but a tad apprehensive.
The Optimist reaches out and _grabs_ Dare's hand, lifting him bodily up to the podium. Shadowy people of various kinds around them cheer - everyone joining in is wanted. Arcade spins Dare for a moment. He then leans back as the music chaotically surges louder - building. Then there is a _break_ and a sudden screaming drop in pace, shifting into musicality. Like a form of aural orgasm.
Once he figures out what Arcade's trying to do, he helps by vaulting in the direction of his tugging. Angels ballroom dncing instincts have him following Arcade's lead on the spin. At the change, he seems to get the basic idea, and attempts to spin Arcade back, swing style.
The swing works, because Arcade goes with it, brightly - he bounces off, and he turns - this modern dancing needs quite a lot of care in the footwork, and the hands to balance on the other side. But it is not paired as ballroom or swing are - everyone dances by themselves. Unless they are dancing with someone. Arcade hip-bumps Dare, and then he is leaning back as the music finishes. He puts a very sweaty hand on Dare's shoulder, panting hard "H...hi!"
Dare grins at him, "Hi! So is this the W-steps?" His is a touch breathless himself, but bright eyed and curious. Dare experiencing a new thing.
"W-steps?" asks the Optimist. He digs a brightly coloured bandana out of his pocket to mop his forehead "This is a rave - we're at a rave. Do you like it? It feels like you're part of everyone else - and they're all part of you!"
Dare repeats, "A rave. Right! Sorry. I've been to hell and back since that conversation." He cocks his head, "Teach me to dance like this, and... and should I be... Is this a thing done sober?"
"Oh, no, almost everyone but me is high as fuck," says the Optimist brightly "A lot of ecstasy and speed, basically." He guides Dare towards the bar, and he keeps an arm around him "Do you think Briar would like this? Or the others?" He beams at Dare, then hesitates "I mean, er, you know. Do you think people would like to be with me here?"
Dare curls his own arm around Arcade, gong where he's taken, letting the Optimist be his guide, "I think they'd love this. Briar's not a grudge holder. Cheer... may need a little time." he adds hastily, "It's not you, Arcade. It's... It was a really bad trip for her I need to see how she is once shes had time to... deal with things. I think the older ones like Chance are relaxed about the darker stuff we do out there. I... haven't seen fizz and i don't know how he feels about me, let alone you."
"I think I'm probably evil," admits the Optimist to Dare "I mean, first time around, Ouroboras ate people, and then Harkaway." He frowns, worriedly "I don't know why I'm so dark." And he leans out to collect Dare a sparkling, gleaming drink "Here, try this. I just really love dancing, I love being able to move my body, and I love being able to feel the music move me. A type of ecstasy that doesn't need any drugs to get there." He pauses, and he says, a bit awkwardly "People are pairing up a bit in the Facility."
Dare glares at him, "You aren't evil and half of us ate people. Do you think Briar and Seb and cheer are evil? They ate people. Seb's an asshole half the time and kind the other half. Is he a bad person? I refuse to think you are evil, just because you got a couple rough breaks. It could be me next. If I'm a monster next time will you hate me here?"
He takes the drink, eyeing it with some fascination and trustingly tries it, "What is this?" He gives the Optimist a sympathetic look, "It's more like, people reconnect with people they've loved each time out and they always need a little time to sort out the dynamics of that. There's a certain amount of nesting and... complications." he squeezes his shoulder, "You have friends, Arcade. As long as I am still here you'll always have me. You know that right?" He takes a breath, "Will you teach me to dance like this?"
The Optimist looks even more awkward "I really liked him the first time around, and the second time around, I hated him. I don't know what to do. I kind of like him?" He frowns a bit, and then he says "Oh, er, I don't think I can hate people when I'm here. I never seem to feel that way, I mean." He reaches out for one of his own drinks "Oh, this one's a Glowing Fruit Tingle." He adds "It's got some glowing bitters, and the rest of it tastes like a fizzy sweet?" Then he says "I guess. But I'm new. The rest of you have relationships. It doesn't matter what happens in there. I'll never be able to participate out here." And he does smile "Sure! It takes a bit of footwork. And a lot of listening deeply to the music. You need to be part of it. You need to move with it. It carries you, in a whole different way - you give your emotions totally up to it."
Dare smiles sadly, "I'm attracted to him every damned time, but he's never attracted to me." He takes a longer drink, considering, "Ac-ardade, I've only been here one trip out there longer than you, and Briar's one trip longer than me. I just feel like an old timer to you because I was settled in my the time you turned up, and you do have relationships. They just all happen to be friendships. Friendships count. No matter how weird things get, you'll always have friends." Another drink of his tingle, "I don't know if I know how to do that, but steps I can learn and work from there."
"I can show you the beginning of a shuffle. One of the things is moving your hands - your feet show your energy, your hands show your emotions," says the Optimist, and he puts his own hands together, and he says "...you can call me Ace. You know, if you want?" He leans on the bar, and he reaches out to get his own drink, and then he says "Yes. I know. Just a lot of people seem to feel that they're not really as important?" He smiles and he shakes his head, and then he says "You know, I definitely regretted not feeling what Ouroboras did? And I kind of regret not feeling what Hark did, too."
Dare echoes, "Feet energy, hands emotions." He studies his face over the rim of his glass, "You don't mind? It doesn't... bring up bad memories or anything?" He takes all of this seriously, "I consider this friendship important. It's different from what I feel for Jazz, but out there? I seem to be drawn to you and I think vice versa, even though the... feelings that come with that were different both times. What... did Ouroboras feel, Ace?"
"No, I don't mind. What I am, I am because it's my orientation. That doesn't mean that I'd feel bad about being gay if I was gay instead. It doesn't mean I hate someone who isn't asexual having sex." He pauses, then he says "I've always wondered what it would be like to feel different. And it's fun. But I still think dancing might actually be even better. Drawn? Hmm. You know, I think some people actually feel kind of like I'm annoying?" He adds "Because, er, I'm cheerful. And not able to form that kind of connection?" Then he says "Oh, weow, well. He _really_ liked having what he thought were varied and powerful mates. But he was very open minded. And also a God, I guess. He couldn't really. Determine why he'd restrict himself."
Dare gives him a big smile, "We can always dance, and I don't find you annoying." He thinks this description of Ouroboras' thought process while he finishes his drink. "There is a beauty to that... purity we had when we were Gods. I miss it, Ace. There was a beauty to Harkaway too, the way a sword can be beautiful or a carnivorous plant. Neither were... much like the average human, but they... had a kind of elegance of thought. Maybe our differences are what draw me to you as a friend and out there sometimes lover. My... pain and radical empathy seeking your cheerfulness and difference of thought. There is always something in Briar that calls to me even if we aren't lover's or can't be lovers, but it's different, I think."
"Oh? What is it?" asks the man, curiously. He grins and he hops up and claps his hands together "Yes, I miss the single-mindedness both of them had? I feel more diffuse. Maybe because, uh, I've had more lives now? I don't know." He then says to Dare "Look. The fact is that I seem to change my orientation to being a different one when I'm in an Encounter. Event? But that's just...I guess that's just a weird thing? I've now had three different orientations. Maybe that's cool? Maybe it means I've had different experiences." He purses his lips "Yeah. Maybe it's all to improve us and help us?"
Dare looks down, blushing, "There are places we overlap, dark and light. Briar can love all of me and I can love all of them, whatever gender or form or iteration they are in because the..." He looks up sharply, "This is not to be spoken of to anyone including briar, all right?" He takes a breath and lifts his chin, "We both have... surrender to ecstasies of one kind or another threaded through our natures, as well as a certain... self destructiveness, but we're good at loving each other and thus ourselves even in the bad patches." Another breath, "Cheer and I overlap in the... tendency to throw ourselves of a cliff with a squeal of delight. We drink the cup of life so deep it can be hard to think about consequences. Fizz and I... I have this chart in my head sort of? Things that overlap and things that contrast. Star and I are really different, but somehow, we share a drive and usually a set of goals. Chance and I are... scary similar in a lot of ways. Radical empathy and a tendency to hollow ourselves out if we're not careful. It doesn't surprise me een a little that Briar and chance love each other the way they do."
He gives Arcade a crooked smile, "So much of Finn's identity was built on being gay and then I woke up here the first time bisexual as a dolphin. It shook my entire sense of self. It made me question everything to be bowling right down the middle all of a sudden. I'd never... Nevermind. Here I'm always a Kinsey three, but out there I've been a 5.7or.8, a 2, and a six. I've... feeling that Osiris is the closest to straight I get, but I could be wrong. Queerness feels... Not as essential as sacrifice, but it feels like me, you know? If I did end up straight out there it wouldn't shake my world like waking up bi did, but it would unnerve me, I think. I'm not sure of the why's of any of this, but it seems... too elaborately weird to be arbitrary if that makes sense?"
"Hmm. I see what you mean? So you and I are very different, almost all the time? But that's not a bad thing?" asks Arcade, who is already heading back out, trying to get Dare to follow him. He wants to keep dancing "Come on, come on -" And he laughs and says "Well, okay, I don't need to talk about anything. I don't feel that surrender, and I _never_ feel self-destructive. Ever. I mean, I don't think I'm a survivor. You know, I'm not tough. And I like to think things through, to plan. I don't know. Maybe I'm not. Like any of the rest of you." He jumps "Come on, this song is the best!"
Am I love? Every heart is beating I'm all love Can't you feel me feeling? Take my hand Cold like a junkie I'm an ice cold man (I'm an ice cold) Why am I crying for you?
And the Optimist says "I don't know what I am on the scale. Maybe I can't be a thing on it. Who knows. It's interesting getting to experience it. I don't really think I have a core. That I can feel as an identity - I was talking to Samantha about it - er, Penny. She's calling herself Penny. She was asking me how I was so sure...and now as a result of the asking, I'm not sure." He kicks out his feet, springing off the side of one of the platforms into a sudden shuffle to the side, lighting his hands and spinning around "Awwww yeah! Feel like the man who fell to earth! That this is not where I belong - they rule my life from a metal box. That's windowless - and I wonder where it all goes wrong?" He knows the lyrics. Which creepily describe the Facility.
Dare follows after him, bobbing along to the music, "You and I are like complimentary colours I think. Opposites that go really well together. There is someone here who is not a bad person, but we're more... fire and rain, you know? Opposites that clash." He jumps after, laughing, "Like or not like, I enjoy your company and never think otherwise!"
He doesn't even try to do the jump, but he watches the Optimist's feet, trying the shuffle and the spin, while using his hands for balance instead of trying to express anything just yet. He seems to be getting the footwork though. The lyrics freeze him though, "Those lyrics. Is that... about you? Did you write them?"
"That's just a song I like -" says the Optimist, and he uses his arms, flicking them wide to show his feelings about it all. Then he says "Who is that?" about the other person "-I mean, I can't remember when I heard it. Or who it's by. But I...I think I only just heard it here?" And he already can sing along completely, to the highly energetic somewhat house, somewhat disco groove "Maybe this dream will stay alive - But can the madness be undone? Am I the new intelligence? You know I need something - I can hold on to - Hold on to...I said goodbye to the world I knew! And took off into inner space. Weren't you the ones who promised me - A very different place? I've powered up, get my program set. And tilt my head toward the sun. Inside I know, I'm null and void..." For the first time he hesitates, listening to the music and mumbles "I'm automaton."
Dare starts dancing again, learning the vocabulary and grammar of the footwork before trying to make art with it. He eyes the Optimist, "It's us! Creepy, but that doesn't mean it's bad. Who doesn't like to dance to Ra Ra Rasputin, and that's kind of creepy?"
"That...you're right. It's about us," says the Optimist, his eyes wide "A rave just for me, and music about me...well, and you." He shivers, leaning back. The footwork is difficult, and _he_ really throws himself into the music. A bit like watching Daft Punk dance. But the lights are a spiral of beauty, really, and everything around them is a brilliant sink of pulsating noise and sound. Arcade pants, throwing his arms around Dare "Throw me up and into the dance pit!"
If he misses a sequence he takes it in stride, noodling the best he can. He seems happy enough with the beauty of the lights and the joy of moving. The sudden body contact startles him, and it takes a moment for his brain to catch up, but then he's grinning like a mad thing and giving optimist tossing his best shot.
The man is not the lightest, but he manages to get up, bounced into the crowd amongst the rhythm. Only once he has had a good try at dancing his heart out, and tried to show the Martyr a few moves to go with it, does he come back. The man says "Not sure where my shirt is. Do you want to go get some water? What do you think of modern raves?"
Dare simply enjoys the show, sticking to the simpler steps while he does. "You look just fine without! Water's good! This is fun!" He offers him a hug, sweaty himself and not minding.
The Optimist pats Dare, beaming. And he finally says "Come on, let's go - my ears are going to be ringing!" He tugs on Dare's hand "Let's head back out to the Dispensary? We can always come right back in here. I guess I can see _why_ people become addicted to the place."
Dare lets the Optimist tug him along, "They'll heal up tomorrow! If you want company next time, I'm happy to come along!" He really does seem to mean it, just like he meant the things about being friends earlier.