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15 March 2010 @ 10:43 am
Scotch and Wine  
I wish... Right now, I wish a lot of things. Mostly, I wish I could have stayed.

I should have fought more, to stay. I think I have failed as his friend.

Log. Tuesday, March 09, 2010. [NYC] Tessier Residence.

Understated opulence claims this spacious and well-kept townhome, the decor throughout the whole of it of the highest quality and carefully chosen. The front door opens onto the entrance hall, a closet close at hand to receive coats and shoes -- the pale hardwood floors gleam underfoot, unsullied by tracked-in mess from outside. The living room beyond the entrance is all dark woods and pale earth tones, comfortable couches and armchairs and a thick soft rug laid down beneath. A large and painstakingly aquascaped aquarium stands against one wall, with several brightly coloured species of fish within. Most of the rest of the wall space, notably, is taken up with shelves -- shelves crammed with books of every subject and genre. Through a doorway lies the kitchen which, in contrast, is sleek and modern and well-appointed, stocked by someone who takes their cooking seriously. And takes their alcohol equally seriously -- to one side of the kitchen there is a fully-stocked bar. The small dining room past the kitchen is used only rarely, the small table in the kitchen's nook favored for daily meals, but is always kept pristine and ready for company. Down a small hallway lies a storage closet and the staircase leading upstairs -- there is a downstairs, as well, but the door is locked. Two doors before the staircase lead into Lucien's bedroom and the bathroom, respectively.

Julien's bedroom, in contrast to the paler, earthy scheme outside, is warm and rich, decorated in deep reds. The exquisitely crafted furniture is dark, with reddish undertones to the mahogany wood. The king-sized bed is stocked with an overabundance of pillows, and more cushions rest in the windowseat. One wall holds a spacious walk-in closet. A table, low to the ground, sits on a thick rug between the bed and the entrance, the right height for kneeling rather than chairs; the checked pattern carved into its surface marks it as a chessboard, though the pieces are not in evidence. The bathroom connects both to the bedroom and to the living room; it is large, done in black marble, with an overly spacious glass-walled shower and a similarly large jacuzzi bathtub.

Tuesday evening, and here is Julien: alone, sprawled on his couch, an arm flung over his eyes to shield them from the light -- dim as it is; his living room is currently lit only by candles, a half-dozen of them scattered around the room -- a bottle of Scotch sitting on the coffee table beside him, next to a half-full glass of the same. Quiet classical music floods the room. He is dressed in skintight black leather pants that leave absolutely nothing to the imagination, and a black mesh shirt worn open over the leather straps of a harness that criss-cross his chest. In his hand, a (also leather) flog, its many tails dangling off the edge of the couch to trail along the ground. The house smells like food -- something rich and wine-y cooking -- but there is no sign yet of dishes or recently-eaten meals. Just him. Lying on the couch. Trying not to move. Aside from the classical music, sounds in the apartment are few: the soft ever-present burble of the aquarium filter, the even quieter swish of the tails of his flog, trailing back and forth against the hardwood floor with the very slight twitching motion his wrist is currently making.

Sunset is sure that if she knew how Julien was at the moment, she would feel insanely guilty for knocking on the door and disturbing him, but! She doesn’t know what he’s really up to, so she knocks anyway. Expression carefully kept blank, she hasn’t exactly bothered to dress up a bit like she usually does when visiting Julien, the redhead dressed in simple, rather worn jeans, an old t-shirt, and a jacket over it. Sneakers complete the outfit. If anything, she is not knocking /happily/.

Julien is slow to respond. His fingers tighten around the handle of his flog, and his arm presses further over his eyes. Slowly, his legs swing down to the floor, and he pushes himself to his feet with a quiet groan. Still holding the flog, he pads over to do the door, unlocking one lock and then another and another and finally sliding the security chain open and waving Sunset in. He offers no greeting, or commentary on her outfit. Just squeezes his eyes shut, and waves her in. He also does not bother turning on any lights. The candles will have to do for her.

“You look nice in leather pants.” She had to say /something/ about his current state of dress, though she is not mocking it! Taking in his mood as she hurries in and takes off her shoes, Sunset glances around to the candles, and notices the smell of food. If this were anyone other than Julien, she would have been making a comment about candle-lit dinner right about now. “Are you feeling alright, Julien?”

The corners of Julien's lips twitch upwards, too brief and faint to be properly a smile. "I look nice out of them, as well," he murmurs, the words carrying no flirtation but a lot of arrogance. "Have you eaten? Dinner should be ready soon enough." Her question goes ignored, as he returns to his living room, draping himself in a lazy sprawl on one end of his couch.

“I will take your word for it, considering I’m not sure I will ever be in a position to find out.” Sunset answers, tone amused. “And no. If I had known you were cooking, I would have brought something to go along with it.” Following him, she sits down in one of the armchairs, careful not to sit in his favorite. Just in case. As soon as she sits, her demeanor changes, slumping down to rest her head in her hands, and she suddenly seems tired. Very tired. “May I have some scotch?” She asks, words muffled.

Julien eyes the bottle of Scotch on his table, and the glass beside it. Wordlessly, he leans forward to top the glass off, and nudges it to the side of the table nearest Sunset. Hopefully she doesn't mind Julien-cooties. He is not getting up for a fresh glass. For the moment he just eyes her; there is questioning in his expression, but he does not give it voice yet, electing simply to let her settle in with the drink for now.

Julien cooties are not a problem, really. Reaching a hand out to take the glass, Sunset stares into it for a moment, not really seeing it, before she brings the glass to her lips. The Scotch is gone in a few swallows, before she brings her arm to her mouth, covering a few coughs. “Thank you.”

Julien leans over to pick up the bottle, refilling Sunset's glass once it is drained. "Long day?" he asks mildly.

“Long day. Long /week./ Long... coming back to life.” She mutters, before looking to him. “Did I ever thank you for helping me after... When I wasn’t myself? Because, if I haven’t... Thank you. I don’t know if I can tell you how grateful I am that /you/ were the one that found me, and then you... Well, you could have just gave me some money and left me there. But you didn’t.”

"You did not," Julien says quietly, "and you are welcome." He leans back in his seat, leather creaking slightly as he tucks a leg up beneath him and drapes his flog over the sofa's arm. "I suppose I might have. I do have rather a lot of disposable income. But I am not sure in your state you would have known what to /do/ with the money."

She gives a bitter laugh, before taking a sip of scotch. This glass might actually last more than five seconds. “No, I probably wouldn’t have known what to do. And I apologize. I should have thanked you sooner. It’s shameful that I didn’t.” Bringing the glass of scotch to her lips again, Sunset quiets for a short pause. “This is good scotch. Then again, it is /your/ scotch.”

Julien's lips curve into a slight, quiet smile. "It is /my/ Scotch," he agrees simply -- /clearly/ enough said on /that/ matter. /Bad/ Scotch would not find its way into Julien's liquor stash. "Why so long?"

“Why did it take me so long to thank you, or why so long as in why am I so... less than ecstatic today?”

A soft breath of laughter escapes Julien's lips, and his head tips back against the sofa cushions, eyes lifting to the ceiling. "I was hardly waiting on your gratitude," he says dryly. Thus: the latter.

Taking another sip of Scotch, Sunset frowns. For a very long moment, she doesn’t answer at all, trying to really decide where to even start. “...Lately, it seems that the fates have decided that they want to do everything they can to remind me that I was gone for two years. It seems like everyone has moved forward, and I... am simply stuck in this odd sort of limbo, and left behind. I keep expecting everything to be as it was when I died, and it always comes as a shock to find that everything has /changed/. And now that I’m trying to explain it, it all seems very... petty. /Very/ petty.”

Julien's hand falls to rest against his knee, fingers rubbing idly against the grain of the leather. "Two years is rather a long time. People do not stay in stasis. The world does not stay in stasis." His chin drops back down, emerald gaze leveling on Sunset thoughtfully. "You cannot stop the world from changing. When reality is contrary to your expectations, you really have --" His hand turns palm-up. "Three options. Accept your disappointment, or adjust your expectations accordingly." In the kitchen, a timer beeps a few times and then quiets. Julien starts pushing himself lazily to his feet, not seemingly in a /rush/ to respond to its call.

“I certainly am trying to adjust. I can’t help but think it would be easier, though, if people would simply understand that I am /still/ adjusting, and quit trying to act as if they understand what I’ve been through.” Sunset mutters, expression darkening. It only lingers for a few seconds before it’s gone, and her gaze turns to Julien. “That was two options. What was the third?”

A corner of Julien's lips twitches upwards slightly, and he nudges the bottle of Scotch closer to Sunset. "Drink," he suggests lightly, "until the world goes away." He slips off in to the kitchen to tend to dinner.

“An option I would quickly be leaning towards, if it did not involve stumbling home drunk to Warren.” Staring into her glass again, Sunset reaches out to push the bottle away, just slightly. “As such, I think this will be my last glass for the night. Thank you for sharing it with me.”

"You are a grown woman. Surely he can handle the fact that occasionally you partake of alcoholic beverages." Julien's voice is lightly amused. "-- Besides, you would not have to stumble home drunk tonight. I have extra beds. Or if he has given you a curfew, I could drive you." From the kitchen there are -- kitcheny sounds! Dishes moving. Things being stirred.

Sunset gives a small laugh at that. “No, it is nothing like that. I simply... do not want to let on that things are a bit, ah... melancholic with certain aspects of my life at the moment.” Setting her glass down, she stands to walk towards the kitchen, leaning against a counter where she will hopefully be out of the way. “I don’t want to worry him.”

"You sound like you need a break, though -- especially if you cannot yet bring yourself to let on to your partner that not all is okay." Julien is busy arranging food on plates. Coq au vin, served on a bed of egg noodles, with spears of fresh asparagus alongside. "Surely it would not arouse too much suspicion if you merely said you were spending the night at a friend's?"

“No, most likely not. The only problem with that is the fact that I’ve gotten very used to having regular sex again, and... I certainly do like you, Julien, but not in that way.” Sunset teases. “Perhaps if I had more scotch.”

Julien laughs, head shaking as he brings the plates of food to the already-set table in his little kitchen nook. Like the living room, the kitchen is /also/ only lit by a number of candles flickering around the room. "You can hardly drink scotch with this," he chides mildly. "Now, a good Pinot Noir, on the other hand --"

“Well, I suppose I will have to see how I feel after the wine, then. You do already have points in your favor with the candlelit dinner. If I did not know better, I would say you were trying to – Actually, hm, no. I’m not sure you would have gone this long without the use of your powers to seduce someone. That would certainly speed the process up.”

Julien already has a bottle of the wine out on the table -- it matches two empty bottles on the counter, presumably used to prepare the dish, and he uncorks it to fill two wine glasses. A slight gesture of his hand, inviting Sunset to sit as he pulls out a chair for her. "Goodness. If it were /seduction/ I was going for, I would not be in these pants. They are hardly subtle. Seduction is an art and this is more like a -- bludgeon."

Sunset laughs as she sits down. “Yes, you have a point there. Your outfit doesn’t leave too much to the imagination, but it /is/ very nice to look at. Even if it does make me feel very overdressed.” Delicately picking up one of the glasses of wine, she gently swirls it around the glass, taking a moment to smell it. “Thank you for cooking, Julien. You certainly didn’t have to go through the trouble.”

Julien's hand turns up, fingers spreading. "I do not often have others to cook for, these days," he says, something rueful blossoming behind his eyes at this. He lifts his glass, swirling the wine around in it as well. "Things are going well with Warren, though, non?"

“Better than I had hoped.” Taking a sip of wine before she picks up her fork, Sunset lightly trails it through her meal before spearing a piece of chicken. “Though, I fear that something will soon go wrong. I have never had a relationship go this well for so long after moving in with someone, and I am slightly paranoid about it.”

"Well," Julien says, quiet and dry, "I have heard that neglecting to be open with your partner about your feelings is a wonderful way to keep the relationship strong." He picks up his fork, but only nibbles at a mushroom. The serving on his plate is considerably smaller than the average-sized one he gave to Sunset.

He has a point, and she knows it. Lips twitching upward ever so slightly, Sunset nods. “Yes, I know. I am going about this the wrong way.” She remarks, just as dry as Julien. “I’ll do my best to fix that.” And truly, she will. But Julien is easier to talk to than most people she knows. Casting a glance to Julien’s plate, her brow furrows for a moment, thoughtful. “How have you been? You aren’t feeling well, that much I can tell. But the why eludes me.”

Julien's fingers move to his opposite arm, brushing light against the vein there before dropping back to his lap. "Some things," he replies softly, "have not changed." He sets his fork down, opting instead to take a slow sip of wine. "I do not believe there is anything wrong with occasionally needing space to sort your feelings out, away from your partner. But if you find it a pattern -- not being able to tell them what is on your mind -- it might be an indication you need to work something out. Is /he/ one of the ones -- trying to act as though he understands what you have been through?"

Following the movement of his hands, there’s a flash of understanding in Sunset’s eyes. Ah. Silly, and rather stupid her, for not figuring it out sooner. Julien’s question immediately distracts her, however, and her expression darkens once again. Setting her fork down, Sunset shakes her head, bringing a hand up to pinch the bridge of her nose. “No. No, Warren has been /wonderful/ with understanding that – It is not him.” Giving a sigh, the redhead quiets for a long pause, before speaking again. “It’s Sabrielle.”

"If the problem is not with him," Julien suggests gently, "there is all the more reason to think he will be understanding if you explain how you are feeling." His head tilts slightly to the side, candlelight casting flickering shadows across his face as he lifts his glass to sip again. "Sabrielle? What has been wrong?" A brief pause, and he adds, "-- If you need me to hurt anyone for you, I excel at that."

Sunset chuckles, though it’s not exactly amused. Grateful, but not amused. “Thank you. But no, she did not – I do not believe she has done anything on /purpose/. It is just – The situation is... delicate. And I worry about bringing it up, for fear of coming across as horribly cruel and hateful, when I would never mean to, or want to.” Pausing to take a long sip of wine, her food momentarily forgotten, she quiets, again trying to get her thoughts in order.

“I was seven months along when I died.” She finally speaks. “If she had not – I think she would have had a fine chance at living, had it gone differently. But I had seven months to – to constantly think about having a daughter, and changing my life around for her. And Sabrielle, she... After Oz and I left, she found out she was pregnant, but... she lost it, after a few weeks. And I am not saying that it was not horrible. I’m not trying to belittle what happened to her, not at all, because I’m sure it was much worse than what happened to me, in ways.”

“But, I cannot help but feel that when she says she knows what I’m going through that, as horrible as it makes me sound... No. She doesn’t know. And if I am a horrible person for being angry that she thinks... That she can tell me that... Then I am a horrible person. So be it.”

Julien does not repress the reflexive curl of his lips into a faint grimace of disgust at the mention of pregnancies. He exhales a slow snort, eyes slipping half-closed as he takes a long drink. Loooong. "Empath or no," he says at length, voice carefully bland, "it is foolish to imagine she knows what you are going through. Spontaneous abortions are thankfully quite common. Returning from death to find your entire life and hopes so drastically rent and changed -- that is something else entirely."

“Mm.” The response is rather noncommittal, Sunset already regretting bringing the topic up and wanting to get away from it entirely now. She was worried she had perhaps already ruined the evening just by making Julien her agony aunt, but to bring up a topic that she knew they disagreed on was quite foolish, even for her. “I just do not know how to bring this up to her, or if I should just ignore it, or... Or perhaps I can stop monopolizing the conversation.” Picking her fork up, she starts to eat, taking a moment after each bite to savor the meal. “As always, Julien, your cooking is... divine.”

"Monopolize away," Julien says with a breath of laughter. "And perhaps you should tell her what you just told me. But then, I am a fan of being blunt. Others are -- not always so much fans of receiving bluntness." His head inclines in quiet acceptance of the compliment, the small smile that touches his lips the only sign that her words please him. He eats -- slowly, in small bites, but he eats.

“Perhaps I should. If anything, with her powers, she should be able to tell that I certainly don’t mean anything negative with it. I was just... I am not sure if offended could be considered the right word. Wounded is perhaps a bit closer, but still not quite right.” Pausing to take another bite, Sunset washes the food down with a sip of wine, before taking a longer drink. “And yes Julien, you certainly are a fan of being blunt. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy talking with you. You have no problem telling me what you think, no matter if I want to hear it or not.”

"In friendships as well as romantic relationships, I imagine that honesty provides a more concrete foundation to build on than hiding your feelings." Imagine, because it is not as if Julien has a /wealth/ of experience with interpersonal relationships to draw from. He does not elucidate as to whether he is referring to Sunset talking to Sabrielle, or his own tendency towards bluntness. He just focuses on eating, slowly and quietly.

“You imagine correctly, though it also depends on exactly how healthy the relationship is. I have had my fair share of both relationships and friendships that were only simply able to exist because nobody asked questions, and simply let the other person be. Of course... Most of those also ended because of that.”

Julien lets out a slow breath that is not, quite, laughter. "Perhaps it is not worth your time to let /current/ relationships form along the same patterns, then?" He leans back in his seat, fingers wrapping around the stem of his wine glass and his eyes slipping half-closed as he takes a sip, savoring the wine. "Are unhealthy relationships worth cultivating?"

“No, it certainly would not be worth my time. I’ll make sure that it does not happen, from now on.” Bringing another forkful of food to her lips, Sunset takes her time with chewing, using it as an opportunity to think his last question over. After she swallows, and takes a sip of wine, she answers. “If it is possibly to turn them into a healthy one, then I believe they are. I would compare it to... taking a very horrible and overgrown garden, and slowly weeding it out and growing it back to its full glory.”

Julien's lips press together, his gaze sliding away to the window looking out on his small yard. Not that anything much can be seen of it in the darkness beyond the pane. "It is not always possible to turn them healthy, though. How do you tell the difference? At what point do you give up?"

“Well... When it came to Zachery, I gave up when he stabbed my brother in the spleen.” And considering Zachery, it is a little sad that it took that much. “It all depends on the relationship, and the people in it. No two relationships are the same, so I can’t really say when you would know if something is not worth trying for. I would say that it mostly depends on the situation, and the people involved.”

The corners of Julien's mouth twitch just faintly upwards, and he hides the partial smile behind his wine glass, draining the rest of it. Reflexively, he reaches for the bottle to refill it. "How long, I wonder," he murmurs quietly, "will it take you to get to that point with me." It is not a question, exactly; just soft musing.

“You’re my best friend, Julien.” Sunset points out, looking down into her glass. “And I would honestly hate to get to that point with you.”

This comment pulls the corners of Julien's mouth exactly as far downwards as they had just curved upwards -- that is, not /very/, but it is a noticeable change. He snorts, soft and sharp, and his head shakes once. "You must have a miserably lonely existence."

She has to keep herself from immediately answering and telling him that really, he is not much better. Instead, she shrugs. “Perhaps. But I’m fine with it... Previous conversations about certain situations not included.”

"There is something very wrong in the life of someone who counts me as their best friend," Julien replies flatly.

Pressing her lips together to stop a sardonic smile from forming, Sunset again shrugs. “Do you suggest I try and fix that, then? Because I know of no one else who could take that title from you.”

Julien just presses fingers to the hollows of his eyes, his expression abruptly impossibly weary. "N--" is as far as he gets towards reply at first, the brief, tired sound aborted before making it through the first syllable. "There is someone," he says, a touch wryly, "who seems to seek to wrest that title from /you/, in my life." From his tone, this -- does not stand much chance of actually happening.

A laugh escapes her before Sunset can’t stop it, though it is not mocking. It is simply amused. Pressing her fingers to her lips to stop herself from continuing, she clears her throat after a moment, composing herself. “Should I be worried, then?”

"Hardly." Julien's tone is dry. He sips at his wine again, and then sets it back down, finger tracing slow around the rim of the goblet. A low hum resonates through the air from the crystal, and Julien lets it linger for a while before the motion of his finger ceases. "I believe he is quite insane."

“Do you believe that is simply a factor needed to want to become a friend of yours, or do you believe that for a different reason?” She questions, before trying to hide her smile behind a drink from her glass, finishing what was left.

"I believe it is a factor needed to want to become a friend of mine after receiving excruciatingly high doses of pain for the crime of attempting to be kind to me," Julien replies. "But he did save my life, so I must make some allowance, non? I let him spend the weekend here."

Her smile disappears. “What happened for him to have to step in to save your life?” There’s a pause. “And Julien, perhaps we should work on your reactions to kindness.” /Perhaps./

"Anaphylaxis happened," Julien replies simply. Her second statement is -- ignored. He drinks wine instead, and nibbles at a mushroom.

“Well, it’s nice to know that he was there to help you. I should send him a thank you card as soon as I get the chance.” After all, this mysterious person saved the life of her best friend! Even if Julien does not want that particular title. “What is his name, so I know who to address to?”

"He was not there. I was rushed to the hospital. He is a doctor." Julien's fingers flick in a dismissive, almost irritated gesture. "He does not need a card for doing his job."

There’s a hint of her smile returning now, as she picks up the bottle of wine to pour herself another glass. What is left of her food seems momentarily forgotten. “No, I would imagine not. Spending the weekend here certainly seems like reward enough.”

Julien's nostrils flare faintly as he snorts again. "He made an interesting toy the first night and a rather irksome nuisance the second."

“Oh? This sounds like a very interesting story, if you would be willing to tell it in its entirety.” She is not being nosy! Exactly. But she /is/ rather curious, and obviously amused.

Julien's lips curve into a very faint, very thin smile. "In its entirety it is long, and begins with my near-death. The highlights, though --" He swirls his wine slowly in his glass, eyes fixed on the reflections of candlelight in the swirling liquid. "He came with me to pick up Sera for the weekend, out of fear I would have a secondary reaction and need further treatment. Which I did, so I suppose it was a good thing. He /stayed/ the rest of the weekend out of -- some sort of misguided affection." Julien's fingers tighten around his glass, his eyes slipping half-closed. "Considerable amounts of pain did not dissuade this -- in fact, he ended the night sleeping at the foot of my bed. Much preferable to a dog, really. He did not /shed/."

Her eyebrows nearly disappear into her hairline at the mention of Sera, knowing that Julien bringing this person along with him to meet his sibling is very big, in of itself. The rest of it does not surprise her near as much, though that is not to say that it does not surprise her at all. “I cannot see you having a dog and letting it sleep on the bed in the first place, Julien.” Sunset murmurs. “Hm... This affection of his. Is it friendship, or something more?”

Julien turns up a hand in a shrug. "It is lunacy," is his flat and unhelpful answer.

Sunset smiles, giving a small laugh before she takes a drink of wine. “Well. What do you plan to do about him, then?”

"Torture him," Julien replies, his tone completely calm and completely serious.

Oddly enough, her answer is not exactly disapproving. “Does he enjoy when you do that, or are you hoping that if you find the right frequency of pain that he will simply leave you alone?”

"He enjoys some of it," Julien replies carefully, the words coming with a hint of regret.

“Then perhaps causing him pain is not the best way to go about making him leave you alone, hm?” Sunset is chuckling again, close to giggling as she continues to drink from her wine glass. “However, I do not really know what to tell you, as an aversion tactic. I have not met this man, after all.”

"Not physical pain, perhaps," Julien murmurs musingly. Finally, he finishes the last of his food, leaning back again once his plate is emptied. "But there are other kinds."

“Indeed there are.” She agrees, finishing off her glass and again reaching for the bottle of wine. Pausing before she pours some more into her glass, Sunset gives a thoughtful frown. “I do not want to drink all of your wine. Perhaps I should return to the scotch.” Or maybe not, since there are small signs that the alcohol is finally starting to kick in. Her face is starting to flush, and she sets the bottle of wine down a bit less gracefully than she did before. But Julien /did/ offer to let her stay, if she needed to.

"I have plenty more wine," Julien says with a faint twitch of a smile. "Of that vintage, even, I believe." His lips purse and he examines the bottle thoughtfully before pushing himself up from his seat. "Or others. I do not know what your preference is, really. You could --" His hand waves vaguely towards -- well, somewhere not the kitchen or its bar, at least. "Come see."

Head tilting curiously at that, Sunset blinks. "Hm?" Hands pressing against the table to steady herself as she stands, the redhead dutifully follows behind. "Let me guess. You have a wonderful, fully stocked wine cellar? I would not put it past you."

Julien just exhales a ghosting breath of laughter, smile curving a touch wider. "I have a wonderful cellar," is his quiet reply; he stops on his way to pick up a set of keys from his room -- necessary to open the multiple locks on his basement door. He offers Sunset his arm at the top of the stairs -- after all, she has had quite a bit of alcohol. And they are stairs.

The arm is gladly taken, a smile on Sunset’s lips at Julien’s answer. She is quite possibly a happy drunk, and the liquor is quite possibly hitting her all at once. It seems that she did not eat as much as she really should have. “I would not expect any less! You are a man of impeccable taste, after all.”

[NYC] Tessier Residence: Basement.

The lowest level of this home is always kept securely locked, and from the bottom of the staircase it is clear that this floor is nothing like the ones above it. The decor is dark and severe, the room outfitted in black and steel. One wall is fairly lined with whips and paddles and crops and canes of all sorts. Against another, a large St. Andrew's Cross; to either side of it there are a pair of very sturdy cages, one taller and narrower, one shorter and squatter. The king-sized bed is constructed of black steel as well, its frame punctuated with restraint hoops, perfect for attaching chains or handcuffs to. In one corner there is another free-standing frame; most often there is a sling or swing of one sort or another attached, but with a liberal number of connection hooks its purposes are versatile. Along with some cabinets and drawers, assorted other pieces of furniture are arranged around the room: a pair of coffins, a steel bondage chair, a restraint bench, among others; but they all leave little question as to their general purpose.

A few doors lead to other rooms: a smaller stark white room in back, with faux-medical decor, a sumptuously decorated room with comfortable couches and a very large wardrobe of clothing and costumes, a large bathroom, a spacious storage room stocked full of a wide assortment of toys; a plush bedroom that seems downright /normal/ compared to the rest, and has a door leading out to the side of the house. Incongruously, a final door leads to a quite tame and well-stocked wine cellar: with many expensive, exquisite and hard-to-obtain vintages of wine and other liquors, it is perhaps the real reason Julien keeps his basement locked tight.

Julien has had a few drinks himself, but his tolerance is -- rather high. And so, he is quite stable and supportive as he leads Sunset down the stairs, wincing /just/ slightly as he flicks on the lights, though he keeps them turned down quite dim. He takes her through the main room of the dungeon as if it were no more unusual than the rest of his house, stopping at another door to unlock that as well.

Surprisingly, she does not stumble as she walks down the stairs. Sunset is certainly not stable, but she does not stumble. Of course, once she catches sight of the basement and how it’s set up... Any thoughts of wine or scotch, or any other sort of alcohol completely leave her mind. An envious moan escaping her, she lets go of Julien’s arm to make her way towards the wall covered in whips and paddles. If she had a bit less dignity, or were a bit more drunk, she would be practically drooling right now. Reaching a hand out, she does not touch! Just runs a hand bare centimeters over everything in reach, worshipfully.

Julien's head turns at the sound, and his keys rattle as he hooks their ring around a beltloop. His lips twitch, and he leans against the door he just unlocked, gaze flickering over Sunset. "You /can/ touch, you know," he murmurs quietly. "They are here to be enjoyed."

“Don’t tempt me, Julien. I imagine that at some point, you would want me to leave.” Giving a slow, somewhat mournful sigh, Sunset turns around to look the dungeon over completely. The restraint bench gets a rather envious look before she returns to admiring the paddles. “Now I am wishing that Warren and I had a basement.”

Julien's head tips to the side to rest against the door. "Mine is soundproofed. And has its own entrance to the house."

“...Might I borrow it one day as a late birthday present? If I can talk Warren into it, and it’s not in use?” Really, it is only because of the alcohol that she has the courage to ask this. Usually, she would simply /think/ it, and then not ask for fear of being rude. “I’d make sure that when we left, it’d be just as clean as it was when we got here.”

Amusement dances in Julien's eyes as they sweep the dungeon. "Do you think Warren would go for that?"

“Well, he rather enjoyed giving me birthday spankings. This isn’t... too far off of that.” Ha. No, it’s not that different at /all./

"You two are welcome to it, then, if he is willing." Julien still just leans against the door, watching Sunset thoughtfully. "Just, ah. I take no responsibility for injuries sustained through improper use of --" His fingers spread, flicking a vague gesture towards the room at large.

After a beat of consideration he adds, "-- Or proper use."

“I would never blame you.” Sunset protests, tearing herself away from the wall of whips to look at Julien. “On one hand, it is not as if /you/ caused the injuries, and on another... Well, I cannot see myself complaining about whatever Warren does to me if I haven’t said the safe word.”

Julien's smile just widens at this. He straightens from his lean, opening the door into, as Sunset guessed, a small but very well-appointed wine cellar, the walls of the cool room lined with racks for bottles of wine and liquor of all sorts. His fingers uncurl in a lazy sweep of a gesture, inviting Sunset inside.

Her first step away from the wall seems almost /painful/, as Sunset casts one more envious glance around the room, before hurrying as much as she can manage towards the wine cellar door. There is a chance that if she stays too long, she will never leave.

Julien heads straight for another bottle of the same Pinot Noir they have been drinking, but does not actually take it yet, just gesturing around the room. "If you see anything you like better, we can move on to that. Now that the food is done. There is chocolate mousse for dessert, so perhaps keep that in mind."

Holding her hands behind her back, Sunset makes sure to not quite touch anything, just in case. But she does look! At one point, she would have been completely baffled as to what to choose, but she had done her best to look into becoming a bit more knowledgeable about these things once she started dating Warren. Eventually stopping in front of a bottle of dessert wine, she looks at it with a critical (slightly drunk) gaze for a moment before nodding. “This one.”

Julien smiles, pleased at her selection, and reaches to pluck the bottle off its rack. "Just tell me when is good for you," he says then with a faint smile. "I will set a key out and, ah. Make sure I have no clients then." /That/ would be a little awkward.

For a moment, she is confused, wondering what wine has to do with when. After a perplexed look at Julien, however, it dawns, and Sunset gives him a very large smile, eyes sparkling, mischievous. “Well, I’m not sure how Warren would feel about that, but it might help enlarge your clientele a bit. Thank you, Julien.”

This prompts a laugh from Julien, bright and easy. "/Gods/ but I know some people who would kill to find themselves in a place like this with Warren Worthington --" Amused, he shakes his head, fingers curling around the bottle as he heads from wine cellar back into dungeon.

Still smiling as she leaves the wine cellar, Sunset does her best to focus completely on Julien and not the surrounding area. After a beat, her smile fades, changing to a wary and somewhat comically serious expression, considering how flush her face is, and how her eyes are somewhat glazed over and far away. “I - /Who?/ Is it anyone I would ever have a chance of meeting? Because I do not particularly /like/ sharing. And I am very possessive, I think.”

Julien's hand turns up, fingers spreading, and he leans against one of the sturdy metal posts that frame the large bed. "He is a wealthy, famous, powerful, and attractive man," he says with a laugh. "There are any /number/ of people who would find that extremely desirable. You need not share, but certainly must get used to the notion that his appeal is far-reaching."

Sunset continues to frown, thinking that over. It takes a bit longer than it usually would. “Well. He’s mine, and people can just deal with it and get over it.” She finally answers, giving a /very/ decisive nod. “Otherwise, I might have to get into fisticuffs with someone, and that’s just unladylike.” Which she worries about. A lot. Obviously.

Julien's eyebrows quirk upwards, amusement dancing in the brilliant emerald of his eyes. "Unladylike, perhaps, but it would be entertaining to watch. But, come, now, surely this cannot be the /first/ time it has occurred to you that you are dating someone who is bound to attract a wealth of attention other than your own?"

“Well, no. Not /exactly./” Sunset mumbles, sitting down on the restraining bench and resting her elbows on her knees, chin resting in her hands. “But usually, when I realize just how much of a catch he is, and how lucky I am.... That’s usually when he’s naked, and then my mind just goes away. I mean, that is not /only/ when I realize how awesome he is. He is a good cook, and he sends me flowers, and he is just wonderful over all, but... but the naked thing, that is a really big point in his favor.”

Sunset pauses, just a beat, before continuing. “A /really/ big point.”

The amusement blossoms further, and Julien drops to sit down on the edge of the bed with a soft laugh. "I can imagine," he murmurs, lips curving into a smile. He rests the wine on the bed beside him, leaning back to prop himself up on his elbows, mesh shirt slipping even more open over his mostly-bare torso. "I do not think there is anything /wrong/ with the possibility other people might envy you your place. It is just -- something to keep in mind."

Her lips purse thoughtfully at that as she lapses into silence. Of course, that silence does not last very long. “Well, they aren’t going to /get/ him.” She mutters, mostly to herself, before looking back to Julien, again falling silent. Her expression is /still/ thoughtful, though it’s obvious she’s debating whether or not to ask something. “Julien... I have a question. But it is possibly a very rude question. So I don’t know if I should ask it or not.”

Julien's eyebrows just raise, inquisitive.

“Can I grab your ass when we stand back up? It is a very nice ass. And those are very nice pants. And I think I am very drunk.”

The question startles another laugh from Julien, eyebrows raising even higher. "It /is/ a very nice ass," he agrees with easy amusement in his tone. "But do you have any idea how much it goes for?" He flops back further, arm draped loosely over his chest and his eyes focused up to the mirrored panels over the bed. "Then again, I suppose the /friend/ spot you hold does come with its perks. I already give you my time for free. The rest of me is much less precious anyway."

“Julien, almost everything about you is precious. If not precocious. If you wanted my general opinion on the subject.” Standing from the restraining bench to walk over to the bed, Sunset only stumbles a little bit! This is an accomplishment for her, really. Climbing onto the bed next to Julien, she turns to face him, an arm under her head, knees curled up to her chest. “But was that a yes?”

Julien rolls onto his side to face her as well, propping himself up on an elbow, eyes still bright with amusement. "I am just saying. You get my time already, which I hold far more dear that something as material as my /body/. Comparatively, sharing /that/ is nothing at all."

Looking up at him, brow slightly furrowed, Sunset sighs. “I am too drunk to decipher big words, so I’m just going to grab your ass when we stand up, no matter what you just said. Besides, if you need payment for it, I think that maybe seeing me plastered is payment enough. This is a rare sight. You should feel honored.”

Julien snorts, and scoots a bit closer to Sunset, still lying on his side. "There. No standing up required."

Sunset grins, trying and failing to hold back a snicker as she pushes herself up with one arm. “Thank you. I’ll make sure to put this in my autobiography, if I ever write one.” Leaning closer to him, her free arm goes around his back, wandering for a moment before she finds what she was looking for in the first place. Ass grabbity, indeed.

Julien's ass is -- firm! And covered in very fine, very tight leather. He just smirks as he is groped, laughter dancing in his eyes as they fix on Sunset's face. "Does it live up to expectations?"

“Yes! I would say it does. And I am confident that it is not just the pants to make it such a nice ass.” It takes a bit of a longer moment for Sunset to stop groping him than it usually would, before she falls back onto the bed, a few giggles bubbling from her throat. “I should get Warren pants like that.”

"It is a good deal of exercise, and some fortunate genes." Julien rolls back onto his back, looking up at Sunset's reflection overhead rather than directly at Sunset. "I can give you the card of the woman who made mine," he offers with a crooked grin. "But only if you take a picture of him in them for me, once they are made."

Curling back up, Sunset continues to giggle for a few more seconds. “Well, I’ll have to see if he would even /want/ to wear skintight leather pants that show off his ass and everything else it covers. And you’d have to promise to never show that picture to anyone else. /Ever./”

Julien draws an X over his heart with his forefinger. "Though, who would /not/ want to wear pants that look this good?" He lowers the bottle of wine down to his pants -- nooooot because he is doing inappropriate things to it, but to bring it in reach of the corkscrew attached to the keyring hooked onto his belt loops. Dessert or no dessert, the bottle is getting opened now. They have no glasses, but it doesn't seem to bother him as he offers Sunset the bottle.

“Well, you have to remember that I am already going to bring up the subject of borrowing a friend’s dungeon to use. I think I will save the leather pants discussion for another day, depending on how that first conversation goes.” The lack of glasses doesn’t seem to bother Sunset, either. She had already drank out of his glass and gotten Julien cooties, anyhow. Taking the bottle, she very carefully takes a drink from it, doing her best not to spill it anywhere. “Damn. I have good taste in wine.”

"If he says yes to the first request, he will need to be properly attired when he comes here," Julien points out with a crooked grin. His head inclines in faint acknowledgment, gaze skittering towards the bottle. "Indeed. As dessert wines go, that is certainly a choice pick."

Giggling as she takes another drink from the bottle, Sunset raises a hand to her mouth as a small bit of wine trickles down her chin, catching it before it any can drop onto the bed. “Well,” she laughs, handing the bottle over, “I suppose that means I should start looking for appropriate attire for myself. I certainly do not have anything!”

"Mmm, well." Julien takes a pull from the bottle, eyes slipping closed as a satisfied expression crosses his face. "The sub is so often quickly out of their clothing /anyway/, it matters slightly less. Still, it does not hurt to properly set the mood."

“What would you suggest, then? I have very few articles of clothing that could be considering mood setting in any sort of way.” Frowning at that, Sunset rolls over, looking up at their reflection. “I should fix that. It would make it easier to surprise him when he gets home from work if I had a few sets of lingerie.”

"Perhaps I should take you shopping." Julien takes another drink of wine, and offers the bottle back.

“Perhaps! It would not be the first time you have taken me clothes shopping. Though I imagine that lingerie will be a bit easier to find than formal maternity wear.” Sitting up as she takes the bottle back, Sunset gives a sad sigh as she looks at the label. “I miss that dress.” She mumbles, bringing the bottle to her lips.

"Lingerie will be quite a bit easier, yes. And I am more well-versed in the types of stores that sell it, too." Julien folds his hands behind his head, looking up at the mirrors. "There will be more dresses. In future."

“That reminds me. Warren in throwing a party soon! Ish. He did not exactly specify when, but I do know he actually wants to introduce me to all the... rich, snobby jackasses that my presence alone is sure to piss off! Maybe this time, I will actually get to /talk/ to one of them. You should go. It’ll be fun.”

Julien's head turns, and he just /eyes/ Sunset at this. His eyebrows raise.

There’s a very long silence, before Sunset brings the bottle of wine to her lips again. “That was a rather stupid thing to say, wasn’t it?”

"It is," Julien says dryly, "some strange definition of /fun/ with which I am quite unfamiliar. But then," he allows, lips twitching into a smirk, "English is not my first language, after all."

“Well, perhaps I will cause such a commotion – With coming back from the dead, and all. And being /poor/. And /common/. – that someone’s head will explode. That will be, er... /something/, if anything. Perhaps not fun, but /something./”

Julien snorts, his tone still dry as desert sand. "If someone's head explodes, please be sure to take pictures for me."

“Gladly. That, and Warren in leather pants.” She answers, grinning. Taking one more drink from the bottle before handing it back over, Sunset struggles for a moment to get her cell phone out of her pocket. “I should call Warren and tell him I am staying the night, before I forget how to dial a phone. Maybe I can ask him about borrowing the dungeon.”

Julien uncurls a hand from beneath his head in order to reclaim the bottle. He drinks deep, and slants a crooked grin at Sunset. "And about the leather pants," he reminds lightly. "It is very important he knows about the benefit of such -- assets."

Gladly handing over the bottle, since she needs both hands to dial in this state, Sunset takes a short pause to simply /frown/ at the piece of technology in her hand. Work, damn you. Eventually, she gets the correct number to dial, holding the phone to her ear as she clumsily falls back onto the bed, staring up at the mirrors above. “It’s /ringing./” And so it is!

Fortunately for Sunset, Warren is more or less married to his cellphone, and picks it up on the second ring. "Hey there, Sunny. Where are you hiding at?" He sounds amused.

Julien just lies back, resting the base of the bottle against his mostly-bare chest and staring up at the mirrors over the bed. He hums something quiet while he waits, fingers tapping absently against the wine bottle. "Perhaps a body harness," he muses idly, returning to a recent topic, "I think I know where we could get one that would look quite eye-catching on you."

“Warren!” She sounds far too delighted about the fact that he answered the phone. “Warren. I am at Julien’s. And I had some scotch. And wine. And then some more wine. And now I am really too drunk to leave, and Julien is not feeling well, so I think I might stay here tonight. And we’re getting you some leather pants.” Pausing now, she sends Julien what is really supposed to be a /very stern look./ (Of course, she fails. Horribly.) “And Julien has a dungeon that he says we can borrow! Can we? There are /riding crops./”

Warren sort of stares at the phone for a minute. "You." He says. "Are very drunk. And I'll be over there shortly." He's not entirely sure there really is a basement, because Sunset is /clearly/ sloshed out of her mind, but still.

Julien goes back to humming. Rachmaninoff, to be precise. He takes another gulp of wine and offers it back to Sunset.

"I /told/ you I was drunk!" Sunset answers, still obscenely cheerful. "And okay, if you want to. But, really, there is no need for you to - No, Julien, I don't want any more wine right now. - come all this way if you reeeeeally don't want to, because there are guest bedrooms and they are /fine./"

"I'm coming over there." Warren says. "I'll be there in fifteen." Movement is audible.

"Come all this way?" Julien echoes Sunset's words, his brows pulling into a deep (and highly disapproving) frown. "Does he have my address?" He sounds rather unpleased with this. He lowers the bottle back to his chest, turning his frown up towards the mirrors. "-- Is he staying the night too?"

Pulling the phone away from her ear, Sunset glances between Julien and the cell phone, trying to decide who to answer first. “Warren, how do you-“ She starts before stopping, quickly putting the phone back against her ear. “How do you know where Julien lives? Are you staying the night /with/ me? Because the basement /is/ soundproofed.”

"If you're sober enough to give me an address, I'll know." Warren says. "And if not, I can just look in the phone book." Hah, take that. "And no, I'm not staying the night over there. Neither are you. I'll bring you back home."

"He could stay the night here," Julien allows with a faint downward twitch of his lips. He lets out a slow sigh, something sad crossing his expression. "We did not have dessert yet."

"I don't think he's lis- Um... Here, talk to Julien!" Thrusting the phone in Julien's general direction, Sunset offers a sheepish smile and shrug, before stage whispering. "He wants your address! And, er. I don't know if you want me to give it to him or not, so. Here, please. Playing operator is making me dizzy, and not the fun kind."

"Sun ... " Warren starts. He's trying hard not to laugh, because this is more than slightly funny. "Julien?"

"Warren." Julien's voice is warmly pleasant -- he is not /as/ drunk as Sunset, but the alcohol he /has/ had helps take the edge of his general coolness. "I cooked dinner, but we have not yet had dessert," he informs Warren with a touch of regret. "And the mousse turned out /so/ well tonight."

“Julien, /you/ see if you can talk him into the leather pants. He didn’t answer me when I brought it up!”

Oh lord. They're /both/ soused out of their minds. This is not encouraging. "What's your address?" He wants to know. He might just be staying over there after all. He wouldn't trust either of them on their own, if the way they're talking is any indication of how drunk they are.

Julien blinks over at Sunset. "-- I am far more practiced talking people /out/ of pants, not into them," he says, but then begins anyway: "Warren, Sunset would very much like you in my pants." At a delay, he remembers to offer his address to Warren -- the location he gives is in the East Village.

Warren pinches the bridge of his nose. If they're making comments like that, he really needs to get over there before one or both of them end up doing something they'll regret when they're finally sober. "I'll be there in about fifteen or twenty." Thank god for fast cars. He hangs up.

Sunset gives a whine, grabbing for the phone again. “Stop making things sound misleading!” Taking the phone back, the redhead gives a small huff before speaking again. “Warren, he is lying, I don’t want you in /his/ pants - ...Even if that would be incredibly hot. – I just want you to get a pair of leather pants like he has, because they are very tight, and it is very nice.” And of course, it is only when she finishes that she realizes that Warren has hung up. “...Damn it, Julien.”

"It /would/ be incredibly hot, non?" Julien just looks amused. "The mere thought was enough to get him to head over here /immediately/."

Warren makes good time, and soon there's a ringing doorbell.

“Tease.” is all Sunset murmurs to that, grabbing for the bottle of wine again. They continue like that until the doorbell rings, and Sunset sends a rather annoyed look towards the stairs that lead up and out of the basement. “Julien. I do not think I could get upstairs without being /carried./” Stairs are /hard/, okay? “And then I would just be a /bother./”

"No worries. I will retrieve him. /And/ the mousse." Julien sets the wine bottle down, squinting at it thoughtfully. "Perhaps some actual glasses now, too." He pushes himself off the bed, slipping away up the stairs -- /he/ manages them just fine! -- to go let Warren into his townhouse. When he opens the door, he is -- well! Still dressed in the outfit he has been in since getting back from work before Sunset arrived. Very well-crafted and /very/ skintight leather pants, a leather chest harness criss-crossing his chest, and a mesh shirt over top of it that, between its see-through fabric and the fact it hangs open and unbuttoned, does not really provide much cover. His smile is faint and polite as he pulls the door open, one hand gesturing to invite Warren inside his rather spotless and tastefully appointed townhouse. "Bonsoir. Do you like mousse?" It seems a vitally important question. The house still carries the warm and winey smells of his home-cooked dinner; coq au vin, tonight.

Warren does not generally get caught flatfooted, but this does it. He just sort of stares for a minute. Sunset is going to whine when she sobers and realizes she missed this. "I like it well enough." He finally manages, his voice somewhat strangled. "Where's Sunset?"

Sunset is still in the basement! Though, if it makes Warren feel /any/ better, she is not in revealing leather clothing! Worn jeans, long sleeved t-shirt, and jacket! Well, the jacket is in the living room now, but, the rest of her clothes are still on.

"In the dungeon," is Julien's so very reassuring reply. He locks the door again once he has let Warren in, but doesn't immediately show Warren where it is, stopping first in the kitchen to collect the mousse. /Three/ bowls of it, rather than two, now. It is chocolate hazelnut. "We had dessert wine," he explains lightly, "but forgot the dessert. Come." His head tips towards the basement door, and he leads Warren down.

Ahhh, shit. Evidently, there really was a dungeon. Warren's caught between being pissed off and alarmed. And Sunset isn't going to miss the look on Warren's face when they get down there. Utter horror.

If Sunset doesn't miss it, that is a very big feat indeed. Face rather flushed, and eyes just a /liiiiittle/ tiny bit glazed over, she is very obviously drunk, where Julien is not. Feet dangling off one side of the bed, she manages to push herself up onto both elbows as she hears the sound of people approaching, a very large smile on her face. "/Warren!/" It is /not/ exactly a squeal of joy and amusement, but it is close, as she struggles to sit up completely. "Warren. Warren, we need riding crops, did you know that?"

"You can borrow mine," Julien offers helpfully, slipping back onto the steel-framed bed to offer Sunset a bowl of mousse. He offers Warren one, too, horrified look be damned. There's a bit of a mischievous gleam in his eye as he adds, a crooked grin curling his lips at the sight of Warren's expression, "I offered Sunset use of this room with you whenever she might like."

Warren can't quite seem to get his mouth and his brain on the same page. He takes the mousse, but it's mostly an automatic motion. At least Sunset is clearly not tied up or worse, naked. So things haven't gotten too far. "We need to head out, Sunset." He finally managed, pulling that blank-faced 'business mask' on with an effort. "Can you walk?"

Not that it would have progressed to that point in the first place. Taking the bowl of mousse, Sunset has just put the first bite into her mouth when Warren’s question comes. Brow furrowing, she carefully leans over to look at her feet, doing her best to focus on her toes, which she is also doing her best to wiggle. “...Probably not.” She answers, words mumbled around the spoon still in her mouth, before she starts to giggle.

Julien -- doesn't say anything. His face /crumples/ when Warren says they need to head out, though, but it is brief; a heartbeat later he has rearranged his expression into a blankly neutral one. "Come, now," he murmurs, quiet and polite, "surely you can wait for dessert to finish, at least."

Warren would be quick to point out that drunk people do things sober ones would never consider. He doesn't think Sunset would deliberately cheat on him, but two people, drunk out of their minds? Yeah. Things happen. "No problem. I'll just carry you." And thank heavens for increased muscle strength. "Honestly, no, we can't." Warren wants OUT of that room. Like /now/.

Looking between the two men, Sunset's smile slowly fades. "We could always just go... finish dessert in the kitchen." She quietly suggests, before scooping another spoonful of mousse into her mouth, waiting until it's gone to speak again. "Please don't fight. We were only... All we do is /talk./"

"No need," Julien says in a flat tone, his expression blandly unreadable. "There is a door down here to the outside. I can bring Sunset's jacket out to you." He sets aside his bowl, untouched, and unhooks the keyring that hangs on his beltloop to get up and head for a door, unlocking it; it leads out into a quite ordinary bedroom, and beyond that, a door out of the house.

"We're not fighting." Warren says. He'll apologize later, when everyone is sober and he can get his head around what he's seeing in the room. He walks over to Sunset. "C'mon gal, let's get you out of here."

Following Julien’s movement with sad eyes, Sunset places her own bowl of dessert aside. “He’s my /best friend/, Warren.” She protests smally, moving closer to the edge of the bed and reaching out to grab onto him as Warren draws closer. “We just... He was... Can I at least give him a hug before we leave? /Please?/"

A shivering tension passes through Julien as Sunset reaches for him, and at her touch there is a flicker of pain -- /not/ the sharp pangs he is so quick to cause when he is irritated, but just an uncomfortable leaking of sensation from him to her: a flicker of nausea, a twinge of muscle ache, a burning itch coursing through the veins. He pulls away from the touch quickly with a brief look of apology, the unpleasantness clearly unintentional, and just continues into the next room to unlock the door leading outside. "Goodnight, then," he says, voice light and polite.

Warren lets them hug as he half-carries Sunset. He'll apologize later. He really will. Once he gets his brain back from wherever it went to hide.

Flinching back just slightly from the initial touch, the muscles in her jaw clench just slightly before she reaches out for the second time, arms wrapping around Julien in a very protective, very warm grip. Eyes squeezing shut against whatever leaks into her, she doesn't let it show other than that. "Bye, Julien."

Julien melts, briefly, into the hug, the slow close of his eyes the only emotion his face betrays. He pulls back quickly, though, and just holds the door open for the others. "Goodnight."
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