Songs Of Summer


delilah_icon.gif dirk_icon.gif faulkner_icon.gif lance_icon.gif magnes_icon.gif

nicole3_icon.gif pippa_icon.gif richard3_icon.gif robyn6_icon.gif seren_icon.gif


matthew_icon.gif walter_icon.gif

Scene Title Songs of Summer
Synopsis And a good time was had by… most.
Date July 4, 2020

Kaleidoscope Studios, Rooftop

Kaleidoscope Studios is a small studio owned and operated by former New York musician Robyn Roux, originally opened with the hopes of helping revitalise and revive New York City's local music scene in the wake of the Second American Civil War. It possesses a walk in reception and lobby that doubles as a small practice space with attached kitchen nook for recording breaks. A hallway leads to two recording studios, each with its own green room for writing and practice. Each of the two studios was rebuilt specifically to accommodate music dampening and a large number of electrical equipment, with both actual rooms furnished with instruments repaired by Robyn herself as well as the best recording equipment that was easily available at the time.

The building Kaleidoscope Studios is housed in covers half of its block of 41st Street, though the studio only occupies part of this space. Above the studio, the home of the owner can be found, though high end Yamagato branded security is used to prevent intruders from gaining access to the floors above the studio. There is additional space as well, however it is currently utilised by the owner as either studio or living space.

"Please, come on up!"

It has been a busy day for Robyn Roux. Long out of practice in how to prepare for a day like this, she has been scrambling since the dull, foggy morning light had first shown through her window. It's 4th of July, and for the first time in a decade she is throwing a party rather than just finding her fanciest suit or dress and attending one. But for this, she had to go all out in a way she hadn't been sure she was even capable of. If nothing else, this wasn't like last time. This time, there wasn't a safehouse to worry about. This time, the government wasn't looking for any of her friends. This time, she wasn't a terrorist in training. This time, she didn't need to be picky about the guest list. That meant she had the freedom to do this party how she wanted.

That meant, it was time to break some noise ordinances.

That's why she's chosen the roof as the main site of this party, rather than taking the time to fix up and furnish more of the space she owns in her half-block. Some things, after all, never change. There's two tables of grill food and drink set up, along with a keg - though she's skipped on wine or liquor this time, the party isn't completely dry. A few instruments - two guitars, a bass, and a keyboard - sit next to a DJ station that is currently running on a playlist. She plans to man it later, and hopes to offer both Lance and Jolene the opportunity to do so outside of WSZR. Her living room and kitchen of her home are open to those she trusts, while others find themselves relegated to just the roof and the ground floor lobby and bathrooms of the studios.

Leaning over the railing she's had installed on the roof, she waves at the new arrivals she's just called to as they pass under a large banner she's mounted above the entrance that reads "Summer Hearts Never Die". There's already a few here, and others likely to arrive soon. She hadn't been picky about the guest list despite her worries otherwise… though she had given Matthew an opt out if he wanted.

Curiously, this Robyn at the rails isn't the same one that shouted for guests to come on up. That voice carries from an identical woman standing a few feet back with her arms crossed, keeping a keen eye on the other Robyn as she mills about. The one thing that tells them keenly apart is their outfits, one dressed in a white button up shirt over a t-shirt and jeans, while the one standing back wears a black sleeveless dress that shows off both scars and the lyrics tattoos on her shoulder and arm.

For now she smiles, watching over the railing as she enjoys the beginning of the day's festivities.

“Robyn!” Dirk’s voice carries through the door just before he becomes visible. Fourth of July has always been one of his favorite holidays, because why else? ‘Murica! When else can you be a gun toting redneck and completely get away with it because that’s what Independence is all about? Not that he is, because he doesn’t own a gun, but he is wearing as many flags as he possibly can: Bandana, patches on the jeans, wrist band, unmentionables… no one gets to see those.

His wide grin wanes juuuuuuust a little when catching sight of Matthew, “….kiiiiid?” No malice, just old man memory. “I’ll just call you R.J. okay? Awesome. Be a pal and bring these beers over to where the beers go, ‘kay? Great.”

Everything but the ‘bye bye now’.

Seren's heart is fluttering as they wave back up to the hostess, heading inside the ground entrance to follow up the stairs. They didn't know what to expect upstairs, but they had the highest of hopes for the evening. With the distance, it was harder from above to make out the details of one person Seren had on their arm when walking in. But when they direct one of them to head up the stairs first before them, they have perfect view of the gray-toned legs heading up the stairs before them.

"Thanks for coming with me," they say, and it's not to the person ahead. It's to Isaac behind them. Then they look forward again to the sound of heels of the woman before them.

But the clatter isn't right for heels. And that's because they're talons, polished conclusions to legs that are just too thin as thigh tapers to calf, ending in bared, clawed, three-toed feet.

The woman turns back to Seren and smiles warmly with just a flash of teeth, sharp and pointed for all her genuine joy. She's dressed in a boatnecked peasant shirt, white and bright in contrast with the black hoodie tied about her waist for if the weather dips after dark, one that matches the black fabric choker about her neck. The denim shorts she wears are a darker mauve than her hair, a shade that pops the teal brightness of her eyes. "Ready?" she asks, extending a scaly hand back to Seren once they reach the top of the steps. The back of her hand is shielded by the extension of gleaming black wings that appear from the rolled up sleeves of her shirt, similar feathers all down her forearms.

Seren reaches out to take ahold of the harpy's hand, meanwhile they reach back for Isaac's. The curled, small winged serpent form Baird's taken on tonight shifts around their shoulders, white with teal accents that complement the woman's eyes. His gold eyes peer forward. "Ready!" Seren declares brightly, cresting the top of the steps with a smile as they look out over the roof to see who else is here— and if any familiar faces are among them.

They'd been so worried about what Baird would look like showing up they'd hardly paid as much attention to their own fashion. They look comfortable, in a black sleeveless shirt with wide off-white pinstripes, like a jersey— equally comfortable jeans and Converse to match.

Although she and the sprout have been over often enough, there's something about a party that really gets the spirit going. Patriotic bent aside, Delilah is absolutely showing up; in fact, just a twee bit early to help Robyn, despite the numerous extra hands they already had. Besides, it'll keep the Boys busy faster, and Dee loves this stuff. Her dress is a lacy yellow, red hair pinned back and skirt a casual flutter as she minds the last of the snacks to the table.

Eyes in the back of the head isn't a mutation. Or is it?

"Iiii'll just be takin' that." The redhead slides in to expertly intercept Dirk's attempts to palm off alcohol, giving the man himself a tip of her head and a rictus smile of warning when she sweeps through. Kay? Kay. Delilah is only briefly distracted by the new arrivals, head angling back to openly blink the sight of Seren and Company into her head. Oh, that's interesting and new, what in the world—

"Sounded like fun," Isaac replies to Seren with a slightly bemused smile. There's always been something a touch surreal about Seren; tonight, though, it seems like they've decided to go all in, judging by their, ah, new friend.

Isaac, for his part, is dressed casually, wearing black pants with a white shirt and sneakers… but the shadow he casts looks to be wearing a high-collared, billowing coat — just a little trick of the dark. It costs him a little more effort to use his trick this way than it seems to cost Seren, but hey — practice makes perfect, and if Seren's going all in it'd be a shame to let them down.

As Seren offers their hand, he grins, taking it. "Little surprised you invited me, though. Not that I'm complaining; always good to meet new people…" There's a hint of something more serious buried under his good humor for a moment, but whatever it is, it's short lived. This is a party, after all.

"Matthew, ignore Dirk." Black Dress Robyn angles a look at Dirk. "The last thing I need at my first party is a citation for the minor carrying the beers.." Robyn was drinking when she was 17, sure, but if that's the bare minimum metric than Matthew has several more years to go before they broach that particular topic. Plenty of time to decide if the wine would flow as freely as it did with her mother.

A wave is given to Delilah by Blouse Robyn, waving her over both for a check in and maaaaaybe to thank her for intercepting Dirk. But both of the Robyns stop as Seren and Isaac and- someone? step out onto the roof. One Robyn angles a look at the other, and Black Dress Robyn laughs. "Well. Hello, uh…Seren, yes?" Her eyes flick over to the, um, harpy? and then to Isaac.

"And I thought I was the weirdest thing here." Ths comes from the other Robyn. It sounds somewhat like her, but heavily artificial, synthesized like she speaks through a poorly set up vocoder. Light blooms from her mouth as she speaks, dissipating like someone's fog tinged breath.

Black Dress Robyn swallows, looking at Seren apologetically. "I'm surprised-" She looks over at Isaac and Baird. "Are these your friends?"

For all the stares, Seren just seems glad to be remembered. They smile warmly when addressed by one of the Robyns, hoping to mask over their own nerves. "It's so good to see you again, Robyn. I really appreciate the invitation." Then, when the second Robyn speaks, Seren's brow ticks upward in surprise at the sight of her. Wait— Two?

Their eyes begin to gleam silver round the edge of both irises, fascinated.

"Yes!" they recover when Robyn asks asks them indirectly who it is they've brought with them. "You've met Baird already—" Who definitely did not look like that when Robyn had been by Raytech, but Seren takes their hand from Isaac's to gesture to Baird around their neck, who licks his nose with a cat's tongue while observing both Robyns demurely. "And this is my friend Isaac Faulkner," who they indicate with a gesture of their hand back his way.

"And my friend Nix," Seren ends with some small cheer, looping their arm around Nix's at the elbow. Nix closes her eyes and issues a closed-mouth smile at Robyn.

"nIce to meet you," the harpy says, but like the emission from the Robyn made of light, it sounds a shade off from normal, even for all her cheer.

“Hey, Robyn,” Lance calls out as he walks into the party, cradling a plastic milk crate filled with vinyl records to his chest. He’s dressed ‘casual-nice’ for the party, which means a pair of jeans that don’t have holes and a black sleeveless shirt with a hood hanging back behind his head. “I got those records you were looking fIS THAT A HARPY?

He stops dead in his tracks to gawk.

"Yeah, me too." Delilah snerks to the Robyn by her side, a laugh and a shake of her head following up. She angles for a better look at the bird-person, passably both concerned and fascinated. She only leaves the table when she situates a few quick things; a beeline is made, because she can't not immediately check this out. Sorry, Seren, your entourage is crazy cool.

"Lance, get over here before your eyes stick like that.." Gawking is worse than staring, right? Dee waves the young man out of the traffic lane when she comes closer. "Pretty sure it is. Never seen one before? Pssh." as if it were a common occurrence.

Delilah's warning smile goes right. over. Dirk's. head.

In other words, he just smiles back, grateful to have the heavy case out of his arms and into someone else's. "Sure! Like I said, wherever the beers go, thanks Red." Then Lance's shout has his head turning and matching the young man's shock, maybe one upping it a little when he nearly jumps into Robyn's arms with a girly squeal. "Holy mother fffffudging chrrriiiist-mas!!" Swearing is hard around kids and adults that might be prudes about things like that. He doesn't know this new persona his ex-roommate is trying on, Dark Momyn and Light Momyn. Whatever, 2020 is a year for reinvention.

Dirk scrambles backward, edging behind Lance and basically using the younger man as a body shield in case the animal/monster gets out of control. He's heard rumors, he's pretty sure Lance has to be good with animals to put up with his homelife. After all, Ninja-boy doesn't come to work smelling like a barnyard, most days. He's got to know some tricks.

Blouse Robyn's laserbreath and odd voice — and rather blunt commentary — prompt a raised eyebrow from Isaac, but he bites back on any commentary of his own. He's a guest, after all. A guest of a guest, actually, which is another reason to be on good behavior — he'd rather not reflect badly on Seren. So he smiles politely, focusing his attention on Dress Robyn. "Pleased to meet you," he says, nodding; his shadow, though, executes a sweeping bow.

The sound of a familiar voice shouting, though, draws his attention — he remembers that voice. Sure enough, there he is. Agent Lance of the Crooked Tie. Isaac narrows his eyes; at his feet, his shadow straightens from its bow and points… but Isaac doesn't say anything to Lance. Instead, he takes a step forward, leaning closer to the harpy. "Don't take it to heart, Nix. He's just the excitable sort. Always has his tie on crooked," he says in a low voice, flashing a conspiratorial grin to Seren, Nix, and Baird.

It's Seren who cringes a little at the shrieks on noticing Nix's presence, but the harpy herself couldn't mind less. She swings up her free arm, the paler, blue-gleaming inside of that wing providing a clear canvas against which she wiggles scaled fingers in a cheeky hello. She also winks. Yes, she's here, she's real, she's proud, and she's ready to party, y'all.

Isaac's comment brings Seren out from their sheepish duck, a small smile coming from it. Nix only looks slyly over to Isaac, fingers curling into her palm before she asides to him in that bubbling warble, "pRobably the type to leave the house with his shoes untied because he's so taken by the wonders of the universe." Her eyes flit over to Dirk, nictating membranes flashing over them. "aNd that one…"

Seren squeezes Nix's arm visibly but gently as they look up to her. "A-all right," they softly encourage her to move on. Sharp teeth appear in a quick smile, and she does in fact move on, grinning at Robyn instead. The one that had been glowing. "yOu're a cool kind of weird, too, for what it's worth. tHanks for letting us crash your party."

At Lance's sudden outburst, Black Dress Robyn's gaze snaps to him - and in letting her other self out of her immediate sight, it suddenly vanishes from the railing, appearing beside Robyn with an electric snap. Blouse Robyn, now also looking at Lance, folds her arms across her chest and shakes her head. "Don't be rude, Lance!" she says in that vocoder-esque, light-tinged voice.

Black Dress Robyn closes her eyes and sighs. "I'm sorry about that, Seren. It's not crashing if the guest list is open, after all." Despite her chastising comment, she offers Lance a smile. "Mind bringing those over here, Lance? If you're gonna gawk, at least do it over here where I can smack you." Dirk receives Blouse Robyn shaking her head at him too, though she bares more of an amused smirk this time.

"Nix, huh?" Yes, Isaac, she caught that. Her eyes fall on the so-called harpy, and then over to Isaac. If Robyn knows what Seren can do, she's not paying much heed to it as she extends a hand to both Isaac and Nix. For all she knows, this could just be someone's very odd Slice manifestation.

You almost had me!” Comes screaming out from the upstairs, followed by a short young man with short brown hair dressed in one of Robyn’s long coats leaping down the stairs in galloping bounds. Robyn’s adopted son Matthew had not come from upstairs since—

Come back here, Shadow Man!

Since Walter Trafford went up to his room.

Wielding a cardboard tube like a sword, the ginger-haired boy comes barreling after Matthew, thundering down the stairs while brandishing his sword in heedless enjoyment. He weaves through the guests, skidding past Lance, following Matthew who stops in the doorway to another room and throws one hand into the air.

Black hole! Black hole!” Matthew cackles, both hands raised into the air, and then zips away into the other room. Walter would follow, but that’s right about when he notices everything that’s going on with Seren.

Hot on their heels is a skinny blonde dressed in a red dress spangled with silver stars. “Red Queen's gonna stop you!” she cries out, curls bouncing, her little mary-janes clapping loudly on the stairs as she clamors after the older boys.

Skidding to a stop when Matthew throws out the black hole, she balls up her fists, takes a deep breath, then angles her face at the sky and this invisible threat to all mankind.

Then screams, at the top of her lungs.

It isn't the other eyes of the adults on her suddenly that makes her freeze in place, her eyes big. It's the fact that she can feel her mother's eyes on her. Without even knowing where she is, she can feel her slowly turning around, and knows that her mouth is pursed up real small and her brows are coming together over the bridge of her nose and she is scowling.

“Phillipa Al—”

“—lyn Ryans,” the girl finishes before her mother can, their voices overlapping for a moment. “I know, I know.”

“I did not raise you in a barn, child!” Nicole Miller practically materializes out of nowhere. Which is amazing, because she is incredibly pregnant and to have that much hustle from the other side of the party is a feat that's nothing short of astonishing.

“We did spend that summer at the farmhouse!” Pippa provides in her own defense, which her mother remains entirely unimpressed with. So looks down at her shoes, scuffing one toe against the floor. “Sorry. I got e'cited.”



Nicole rests a hand on Pippa's head and sighs heavily. “No more screaming, okay? You're going to put me into early labor.”

There hadn't been many social appearances from Richard Ray since he was recovered from his apparent kidnapping; whatever the details of it, he just hadn't been out around other people very much. Some of those here at the party know why. Most don't. But he'd just walked in the door when the children went screaming down the stairs and across the room, dressed casual in jeans and a grey t-shirt, a smile curving to his lips as he sees familiar faces, some he hadn't seen in months. A hand started to raise up, lips part to call a greeting…

…then fell silent as he caught the cries of the children, stopping in his tracks, head turning in their direction. The smile turns brittle on his expression, then fades away like smoke in shadow. And then so does he, turning to quietly vanish back out the door with a sudden alacrity.

"It— but— they— um, hey— " There's no disbelief from Lance, just startled confusion, especially when Nix is wriggling her fingers in greeting over in his direction. When Delilah seems to be taking it in stride, he gives her a confused look, then back.

Just as he's getting his mental footing, then there's suddenly two Robyns, and he's looking around wild-eyed. "Am I being pranked?" Children are screaming and running! There's a harpy! He clutches the milk crate of records against his chest as if it were the only thing that at the moment makes any sense in the universe.

"Boys!" Delilah calls after both Matthew and Walter, "Watch it! What did I tell you about the stairs— Jesus— " The latter whispered to herself in a tiny hiss. She isn't sure if it's because of the screaming child or the content of the play, but she looks put-upon nonetheless, giving Nicole a sigh of gratitude and angling her head at Pippa. "You've got a great set of lungs, kiddo."

"Lance, hey, come'ere." Turning back to the poor guy clutching his milk crate, Delilah lifts her hands to his shoulders and nudges him away from the tangle of what-the-fuckery and towards the turntables. Stimulation is great! But not too much. Here is some familiar territory. "What'd you bring up?"

At first the kids bursting on to the scene doesn't seem to bother Robyn - she'd of course wish they'd be a bit quieter and a bit more careful given there's stairs and a roof involved. It's only once she realize what's being said that her eyes widen and her head snaps from Seren in the direction of Matthew and Walter and Pippa.

It doesn't quite look like she's angry, but she is clearly not pleased.

"Les mômes, comportez-vous!" It's almost reflexive how the words - ones her mother would use on her when she was being a brat - tumble out of her mouth.

"That means behave, but with fewer expletives than normal," her artificial sounding double remarks, still standing beside Black Dress Robyn. Rather than look like a mom ready to be angry, though, she looks mildly annoyed.

As her double speaks up Black Dress Robyn blanches a bit - she's still learning how her new ability works, but the fact that she sometimes says what's on her mind is a hurdle she hasn't learned to navigate yet. With a heavy sigh, approaches the kids as she attempts to bring a smile back to her face. "Sorry. I didn't mean to yell. I'm glad you kids are having fun, but try to keep it down a bit?"

Her eyes flit over to Walter, and then- to Richard, whom she notices starting to turn away as soon as he's arrived. "And pick another game. I'll explain why later if you need me to." She doesn't know about Walter and Pippa, but it would probably be one of the less wild stories she would tell Matthew.

Which is terrifying.

As she speaks to the kids, there's that electric snap sound again as Robyn looks up to Richard, and the next thing he knows, Blouse Robyn is just- there, in front of him, seeming to block his way. "Sorry about that, Richard. They're just kids. Kids with parents involved in wild comic book bullshit, but still kids." As the light filtering from her mouth dissipates into the air, she looks past him at Black Dress Robyn, and then back to him. "I have your favorite whiskey?"


Richard jerks back a step as there's suddenly a Robyn there in front of him, the wolf's head cane he's carrying brought up in a momentarily defensive posture before he relaxes. The old wood slides between his fingers, and he drops it down to rest to the floor.

"Don't— do that, whatever you just did, some new way of using your power? Nearly gave me a heart attack." He doesn't wait for an answer before shaking his head, "And— they're just kids. Yeah. I know." Just kids. He knows better.

A smile's forced, "I just— can't deal with him today, Robyn. I can't handle being in even more of his shadow than I usually am. I appreciate it, though. I'll come by soon, we can talk music or something?" He's not wearing gloves today, which is a first for almost half a year.

Suddenly descending from the sky, because this is a rooftop, is an American flag.

More specifically, it's Magnes J. Varlane wearing a black shirt with fancy cursive writing that says Night Goth, and then right under that is a distorted green, melty font that says With Her Droogs. But more notably is the massive American flag cape he's wearing, landing with a stack of five pizzas in his hand.

Even in 2020, he still manages to provide boxes of pizza. "I've got barbecue chicken pizza, and two plain cheeses for the picky kids." He heads over to a table to sit the pizza on, waving to Robyn, then peers over to Delilah. "Annnd you've got Delilah." he notices.

Blinking, staring.

His brain malfunctions for a long moment.

Isaac's shadow had raised a hand to its face at the mention of the Shadow Man, while Isaac himself had looked rather startled… but that swiftly gave way to a thoughtful, considering expression. He takes Robyn's hand and shakes it, mustering a smile.

"Thank you for having us," he says politely, having spotted the keg and busily calculating the fastest route to it. His considering expression returns again as the madness continues to play out around him in all directions.

Seren takes ahold of Robyn's hand with a firm shake, and Nix is on the verge of following up with her own— when the shouting starts.

It's with the curl of a grin that Seren takes in the sheer chaos that erupts on the roof from the screaming children at play, leaning forward just a little. What a marvelous thing, to play at being heroes. Somewhere inside Pippa Allyn Ryans' little, piercing scream, Seren even laughs to themself quietly, one hand lifting to cover their mouth to keep the sound from carrying.

Because really, who's not been there at some point?

"Let's just hope they're not playing make-believe out of the River Styx version of events," Seren asides to Isaac with a grin they've probably not earned. They've been party to enough groans and side-eye at Raytech to understand that the show's contents are just a touch off from the reality of things, even if the agony of that isn't quite personal to them.

And… speaking of.

Their gaze wanders when one Robyn snaps out of existence, finding the faint glow of her elsewhere, and of course— "Richard!" Seren practically stands on their tiptoes to give him an enthusiastic wave of their arm, their other still looped around Nix's. Baird slips from around Seren's neck finally to begin to slither serpentlike through the air above them, tiny explosions of fireworks chasing his teal and white body as he, too, demonstrates his hellos. "Richard, there's pizza!" And if that's not exciting and reason enough to stick around, they don't know what is. They turn to Isaac and flash a warm grin before pulling the harpy at their side along with them.

"C'mon, c'mon," they chime with delight before rushing over to the table where the pizza's been placed at. "Hi!" comes from them with enthusiasm, issuing a proper greeting to Magnes despite his distraction, before they turn to look at the offerings he's making to the party. "Is it just those two flavors?" they wonder. It doesn't sound like they'd mind, even so.

Despite the ruckus, there's something comforting about a brief commiseration with Lance on the topic of records, in between the introductions and the arrival of an American fla- oh, wait it's just Magnes. The redhead has zero hitch in her swap from giving Lance a helping hand to clear a bit more of the table for pizza boxes; she also leaves the lizard-brain fizzle to be addressed after the fact.

"Hey there, Captain 'Murica." The off brand version. Delilah's expression veers playful and grinning, a hand wagging in front of Magnes' face to make sure of presence. "How's the hero life? Too busy with crime for a visit, yeah?"

“Oh, these are some of Martin’s old records— his personal stash, mostly jazz,” Lance explains to Delilah as he moves with her and out of the way of everyone, setting the milk-crate down on a table, “Robyn asked me to bring them for some reason. I brought them home from the station after the government— took him away to protective custody.”

He grimaces a little, then shakes it off, “Hopefully he’ll be back soon. I’m starting to get into them, real… lly…”

Oh, and there’s Magnes. He blinks, then grins, raising a hand in a cheerful wave.

"Hey! I don't think we've met. I'm Magnes J. Varlane." Magnes offers his hand to Seren, smiling. "I only made the two flavors. I was in a bit of a rush for ingredients." he admits, managing to take his gaze away from Delilah only up until she actually speaks to him. "Oh, well, there's no more superhero business going on. I kind of disappeared for a while to find myself. I became a professional wrestler. John Strange, you might have heard of me, but I'm a masked wrestler so I keep my identity a secret."

Then he waves back over to Lance, and motions for him to come get pizza.

"I'm sorry," Blouse Robyn replies once more to Richard, nodding her head. "Yeah, just call or whatever. You know I have no life right now. Lance brought more records for us to look through too, if my other half will ever actually talk to him." She smiles, looking up to Seren and shaking her head, before returning her attention to Richard.

"I'd give you a pat on the shoulder or a hug or something but—" The light replicant reaches up and, in a motion that Richard can't see the full breadth of, sticks a finger through his cheek like she's a ghost. "I'm feeling a little empty right now." It's a joke that lacks any real substance at all.

Black Dress Robyn takes a deep breath. The children are dealt with, and now it's time to turn her attention back to the chaos around her. "Play quietly," she says, reaching over to pat Matthew on the shoulder. "You can all stay up here if you want though. Just be mindful of the fact that it's a roof and try not to be too rough." A warm smile is given, before she turns attention to Magnes - and as she does so, her duplicate snaps back next to her.

"It's not a secret if you keep telling everyone," Blouse Robyn remarks with a snicker, while her primary counterpart steps forward to him, reaching up to the tie for his, erm, cape.

"You heard her," she remarks. "You're going to ruin your mystique. And you're going to get yourself caught on a flagpole or something with this," she says as she begins to loosen it. "Thank you for bringing pizza, though. I have pub foods but… that's it, really. And I'm not about to order some on Fourth of July."

Eyes flick over to Lance, and her double begins making her way over towards him. "What'cha got here, Lancelot? This Pines' stuff, right?" Blouse Robyn kneels down, examining the crate with enough curiosity that she actually reaches to pull one out — something which doesn't work well and leaves an exasperated look on her face.

As the primary Robyn lets out another sigh, she smiles and looks to Seren and Isaac. "How'd you both hear about the party anyway? I assume Rue told you?" A blink, and Robyn looks around while keeping her double in her periphery. "I'm surprised she's not here yet."


“Heya, Mister Ray,” comes a familiar voice at Richard’s flank. He’s blocked in now (as blocked as he ever is) by the form of a lanky redhead in cutoff shorts and a blue tank top that matches the color of her eyes. The black of her back brace looks more like a fashion accessory than a medical device. Especially under her moto jacket.

“You aren’t leaving already, are you? I’ve only just got here,” the freckled-faced woman teases with a wink. Her shadow is dark and artfully smudged (so it will continue to look intentional when it is less artful but still smudged later), her lips painted a shade of mauve she’s well known for.

Whoever coined the phrase lit up like the Fourth of July must have been describing Rue Lancaster.


She’s been pregaming.

Heeeeey, Quinnie.” The fashionably latecomer offers a cheeky grin and a wiggle of her fingers in a wave before letting that hand settle on the back of Richard’s shoulder.

As that finger pokes through him, Richard actually flinches a little. “Careful,” he says, his tone wry, “Shadowmorph, remember. Light bad. Nice trick, though— I’d say ‘must be good at parties’ but we’re at a party, so, there it is. And good, just bring them by the lab when you have the chance and we’ll extract the— “

Then there’s Rue, and he turns his head to regard her with an eyebrow’s slight raise over the edge of his shades. Oh yeah, she’s been pregaming, alright. “Yeah. Sorry, I was just going - have fun, though, I think Magnes just flew in some pizzas.” Notably, he doesn’t flinch away from that hand on his shoulder, which at least suggests he’s gotten one problem under control.

“Yeah, they’re all his personal records, not the station’s,” Lance explains as one of the Robyn’s examines the crate, “One of them was on the player when he left, if that’s what you’re looking for — Straight, No Chaser? Thelonius Monk? I gotta say, it’s pretty good, my sister’s been making fun of me for playing it at home. Calling me ‘old man’.”

He grins a bit, shaking his head, “So um. Why are there two of you? And one sec, don’t eat all the pizza without me!” The latter called over in Magnes’s direction.

"Oh, I'm just here with Seren," Isaac says, giving Robyn a wry grin. "Seren said there was a big party, so I figured, why not? It's always good to meet new people," His shadow gives an elaborate shrug.

"So… if you don't mind me asking…" he glances over to the other Robyn. "Much as I hate echoing Crooked Tie over there, why are there two of you?" His shadow raises a hand to its chin, striking a thoughtful pose.

Seren is midway into opening a pizza box when Magnes carries on with the spilling of his secret identity, chuckling not exactly at his expense, but definitely still at him. "I'm Seren. The little guy tailing me in the air is Baird. And my other friend is…"

Nix is midwave to introduce herself to Magnes on her own, sharp teeth standing out against her gray skin as she grins. Her teal eyes pop with such color, until they suddenly shift more blue. Her hair— less mauve, more overtly red.

Seren snaps their head in the direction of Rue Lancaster's voice, their own eyes widening a touch. She's not seen them yet, it seems, but they see her. Drunk, and … with her hand on Richard's back.

Nix splices out of existence like a thin layer of film over reality has suddenly been thrown off-kilter.

"R-Rue's… um…" Seren breaks off and looks back to Robyn, uneven to fully answer her question. Their face has flushed crimson despite best efforts, and when they look to Nix for support, she's gone. When they look to Baird above, the teal ridges of fur on him have begun shifting in color. It's already mauve in some places.

They let out a flabbergasted note of anxiety, reaching up for him. "Bud, here, now," Seren tries to encourage him, and he continues to do slow somersaults in the air with silent blooms of fireworks trailing after him… very slowly in his summoner's direction.

"Well, my mom listened to it, so. Besides, you and I both know Hailey wouldn't know good music if it-"

Upon hearing Rue's voice, Black Dress Robyn spins excitedly on her heel to face the door to the roof - a motion that brings her duplicate snapping into place next to her mid sentence. Her hands clap together, clearly thrilled to have her friend here.

It doesn't last.

"-bit her right in the oh what the fuck." Blouse Robyn seems a bit disoriented by her sudden reorientation. She looks over at her primary self annoyedly, and then ahead to Rue, who- clearly is already drunk, and she sighs. "That's not good." And then Nix vanishes next to her, causing the replicant to look over with wide eyes. "Neither is that. Is that what it's like when one of us-"

"Rue?" It sounds distinctly questioning as the primary Robyn stares at her friend, quirking an eyebrow. Her duplicate is right, something is off. But, instead of dwell on it, Robyn attempts to laugh it off and cross the distance between her and her intoxicated friend. "Isaac! Toss a beer, please?" Because that’s what this situation needs. Beer, stat. "You know you can't call me that anymore, right?" It's meant to be a tease, if anyone can still call her Quinn, it's Rue.

They're all going to need it, one Robyn approaching Rue with open arms while the other offers Seren a querying look. "I feel like there's a story here."

“I can call you whatever the fuck I want,” Rue asserts. She’s leaning on Richard now, her palm against his shoulder and bicep. If he were to move, she would absolutely fall flat.

Blue eyes blink heavily and her head tilts to one side, then the other. She squints at Robyn.

Then she squints at Robyn?

Rue pushes herself back up from her slant against Richard to stand straight again. With a look of abject confusion, she points at Robyn-in-the-dress, then Robyn-in-a-blouse. Then back to Dress Robyn again. The other hand lifts to point at Blouse Robyn at the same time, as though that would quantum lock the pair of them somehow. Or reconcile them into one solid form?

“Okay, I know… I know Lucille likes to fuck with me, but I don’t think she—” Why is she seeing double? Seeing double does not usually entail whole separate outfits.

Both hands drop to her side again and Rue’s teardrop shaped mouth scrunches up very small. She covers her right eye and squints harder. Is that what this is? Okay, try the left now.

Nope. Still two Robyns.

Why are there two of you?” Rue demands.

No response… but the instant Dress Robyn's attention shifted, Blouse Robyn moved.

Interesting, that.

Less interesting and more alarming, the sudden motion of Nix not existing anymore. The look on Seren's face is also… concerning.

Alright. Time to move.

Isaac saunters over to the beer table, grabbing a can. "Beer! Catch!" he says, pitching one in a lazy underhanded arc towards Blouse Robyn. He snags a couple more and slides over to the pizza table, grinning at Seren. "Beer?" he asks, eyes flickering between them and where Blouse Robyn is standing.

"Secret. Alright." Delilah seems to take Magnes' admission in stride, even though she notes at the back of her mind to ask about it a little later on. Sounds like something interesting, at least? She laughs a little when Robyn approaches to lay hands on the cape, just nodding along in a 'she's right, you know' if Magnes should look to her for a reaction. Yep. Flagpole. Shrrrip, smack, flop.

Seren and Nix, closer now to sneak up on the pizza-prey, don't quite draw Delilah's gaze until the latter blips out of sight in her periphery. Then she spots the gaggle by the entrance, complete with poor souls caught in the middle. It might be amusing if it weren't concerning — what with Seren's sudden complexion and the zipping back and forth of Robyn's mirror.

"Hey, uh, Legs, do you want some water? You look like you could use some water." Delilah is there now too, except she's offering Rue her hand with a cautious grin; come on, come in, please don't tip over, the first aid kit's downstairs.

There’s his chance! As Delilah moves in to retrieve the intoxicated February Lancaster, Richard takes the opportunity to smoothly slip past her and out the exit fully, shaking his head at his own thoughts as he makes his escape.

Both Robyn and her duplicate turn to look at Isaac when Catch! rings out, Blouse Robyn's eyes widening as the can comes sailing at her. "Wait, no, Isaac, I'm not—" She doesn't finish before it's out of his hands, sailing through the air and towards her hands. Unfortunately for everyone on the roof, this new trick of Robyn's has one big weakness.

The beer goes sailing through the light-forged duplicate, the primary Robyn watching in horror as it continues it's trajectory back.


This shitshow just keeps rolling.

Rue is slammed in the center of the chest by the flying beer. Either her reflexes are dulled from the liquor she’s already consumed, or she really thought Blouse Robyn had that. She does bring her hands up in time to catch the can before it bounces off of her and to the ground. But the wind has been knocked out of her, and it sees her turning away and dry heaving once. Twice.

I’m fine!” Rue croaks. Straightening up, she takes the beer and wedges it into the front of her shirt, between the brace and her breastbone. “It’s cold. This is fine.”

Between Robyn wanting a story, Isaac offering them a (needed) beer, and just about everything else going on, Seren loses their focus on calling Baird back to themself. Frazzled, they look to Robyn first and then Isaac second. "I— um, it's a…"

The sound of the scramble owing to Robyn being intangible snaps their attention that way, and in turn, Baird's. He lets out a croon of delight. Rue! And then she takes that dramatic hit, with its dramatic aftermath. Rue??

That's all it takes for his path to err, serpentine dragon swimming through the air toward Rue instead in lazy loops of worry. Seren lets out another tiny note of distress and suddenly holds their arms up in the air like they're grasping hold of an invisible tether between Baird and them. "Bud, no!" they implore him in a stage whisper, his movement arrested by the tug. "Rue doesn't want to see us anymore." In protest against the stop and drag back he undergoes, the tip of his tail lights up again, sizzling bright like a sparkler and rattling like a snake's.

To his chagrin, another yoink of Seren's arms pulls him back into their embrace, grasp locking around him like a cage. Their face continues to burn red in embarrassment, and they find themself wishing they were anybody else about now, turning away from the stairwell to face Isaac as quickly as possible. "God, a beer sounds great," they say with a strained smile.

Dear god. It's like a slapstick skit. Delilah pauses in her fussing, hands hovering in front of her until it seems like there's another opening. There is, after the dry heaving. Dee doesn't ask to help this time, she just goes to Rue to put a hand around her and try to lead her into a chair.

Magnes finds himself sans-cape, his cheeks flushing just a little when Robyn unties it. "Well I mean, I'm among friends. Besides, I think you guys deserve to know that I've been a masked wrestler, given how long I've been gone." And, while smiling at Delilah he adds, "I always have a mystique!"

Then, staring at Seren, and Seren's friends, he points. "Uhh, is this an Illyana Rasputin situation, or…?"

He looks around for answers, surely someone has an answer.

It’s only after Delilah brings Rue to a chair to sit down, “Thanks, Red,” that she finally starts to blearily check to see who else is at the party. “Oh. Fuck.” She’s spotted Baird first, perhaps entirely unsurprisingly. And where there’s Baird…

Blue eyes drift to Seren’s form and the shift in Rue’s demeanor is instant. Regret. Guilt. None of the fun feelings she showed up to the party with seem to remain. Burying her freckled face in one hand, she mutters to herself. “Shit.


Faulkner winces just a bit as the beer can passes through the Robyn… projection? …and checks Red Two. It had been a soft pitch, but it looks like she's been, uh, pregaming a little hard. Thankfully, someone's got her taken care of; Isaac quickly turns his attention back to the matter at hand.

"A what—" Isaac starts to ask, blinking at Magnes. Wait. Wasn't there a… is he talking about… but how does that even —

He shakes his head slightly. He has some idea of what Magnes is talking about, but not enough to see how it applies. More importantly, though…

"Do… we need to go?" he asks Seren, regarding them with concern.

Dirk is just not drunk enough for all of this. From his corner of the rooftop patio, he takes liberal swigs of beers, emptying his fourth or fifth bottle (who counts on freedom day anyway). It’s not too often that he wishes his roommate was around but right now he thinks Isis and ice cream would be good. Or maybe Isis and a root beer float. One or the other.

He doesn’t touch the pizza, not trusting the harpy enough with bird flu viruses and things like that. Shit’s weird and just getting weirder by the minute. Pippa only receives big smiles and whenever his bottle gets a little low, it’s his little coffee buddy that gets the fiver … if she brings another from the cooler.

An abrupt, shrill whistle rings out over the rooftop before Seren can answer Isaac. The look on the primary Robyn's face is steely and unamused, the whistle being something she's honed in on how to do since becoming a mom can only mean one thing.

"Alright, children." Yep, mom mode has been activated. Next to her, her light phase duplicate rolls her eyes. "Let's clear some things up here."

Turning, she motions to Isaac. "Maybe a softer toss next time. That one's on us though." Us. Next to Seren, "If there's going to a problem, let's step aside and discuss it," with a look angled over Rue's way, "because I want everyone to have fun." She follows that up by turning to Magnes and tossing his cape at him. "Stop sharing trade secrets," is comparatively less harsh, and that finally brings her to Rue. "I would appreciate it if you had more respect than to show up already drunk."

Next to her, her duplicate sarcastically mouths along to Robyn's words, occasionally using her hand to indicate her primary self is talking too much. Still, the primary Robyn's expression softens as she makes her way over to Delilah and Rue. "That said you're already here, so please tell me you brought some with you. I think we all need it."

This is said as she plucks the can casually and very carefully from where Rue has shoved it. "As for why there's two of me, you're not seeing things, and…" She turns to bring her duplicate into full view, smirking. "Don't worry about it."

Seren falls quiet when Robyn shrilly whistles, eyes closing against the pierce of it, a slight lean of their shoulders away from the sound accompanything the act. While they're embarrassed to have been called out, they look sidelong to Rue, humbled and cautious. They inhale a breath to defend themself, but Robyn moves right along and the note of it dies before it even sees proper air.

They turn to Isaac when Robyn begins walking off, offering an apologetic smile. "I think we should be okay. We should have fun! It's my first Fourth of July. I'd hate for it to be ruined just…"

Baird wrangles his way from their arms finally, white serpentine dragon with his proudly mauve fin of fur down his back looping away with the sound of some distant, screaming firework. Seren wrinkles their nose at it but lets him go this time, despite seeing right where he's headed. Only their head turning to Isaac, they circle back to what they'd been saying. "… over something so silly as still caring about someone."

"I'll be back," they promise more quickly, hand reaching out to place a reassuring touch to Isaac's forearm before they jog off after Robyn— after Baird.

Baird, who changes shape midflight, tiny legs stretching slightly for their reach— curling up his body, leaving behind a form that's mostly swishing tail that streamers in the air. The catlike nature of his facial features just becomes moreso, charmingly kittenlike and very clearly beaming. The mauve of him redistributes so every bit of him is some intensity of that shade, save for his amber eyes.

"Sorry," Seren calls ahead apologetically, right as the kitten thunks into Rue's recently-vacated sternum with more force than such a twee thing looks like he should carry. He burrows his head in under her chin, egregiously-long cheshire tail swishing as he stands on her torso to get the leverage he properly needs. "He just… missed you."

They smile, small, but this without apology. Then their brow buckles together, pulling up in concern at the same time. "You okay?"

More respect? Rue lifts her hand, and one finger, in response to Robyn’s request that she maybe not show up to a party that has alcohol not already drunk. What is the big problem anyway? Didn’t they always do it that way before? “If I had my own, I wouldn’t be here,” Rue sasses. Then her gaze slants away, expression sour. “The Dirty Pool 86’d me.”

Wonder why.

Pippa returns Dirk’s grin with one of her own and glances to the bottle in his hand to see if it needs refreshing. But her mom’s noticed that she’s squinting at it, and now Nicole is squinting at Dirk.

Nicole points to her glowing blue eyes with two fingers, then points one at Dirk. Not cool, pal.

When Rue looks up and catches Baird’s approach, it’s too late to keep him from colliding with her, and she makes a startled sound, recoiling into the back of her chair rather than fondly embracing the chimera.

At first, anyway.

Hesitantly, when she realizes he’s not about to attack her for her role in Seren’s hurt feelings, Rue brings a hand up to stroke at his fur. The shade of it matches that of her lipstick, and while she doesn’t think about that — beyond marveling that she finds the coloration pleasing to her without immediately understanding why — she does look up to Seren, shame creeping into her expression.

“It’s okay,” Rue assures them. “I’m fine. I… I missed him, too.” Which is a lot like saying she missed them, but without having to make that commitment.

Delilah is quiet as she helps Rue, quiet while Robyn makes an address like a teacher at recess; she takes the moments in between the ruckus to find a water bottle to bring back to Rue, returning just as Baird comes noodling on up to the other redhead to accost her with apparent affection.

"Hey," Dee more or less places the cool metal bottle directly into Rue's hand. "Take it easy… I mean it." The or else is implied, and the look Rue gets from those doe-brown eyes helps nail it. Despite the foot down, there is a light pressure of Delilah's hand at her shoulder. "Do you need something to eat? There's cheese and crackers, should be good for your stomach." Someone's gotta do it. "I'm not going to give you Magnes' pizza, that would be a disaster."

Well, looks like Seren's off to face their… fears? Ghosts? Good for them.

But hey, there's beer, and Party Mom's light double is taking every opportunity to sass her, and Pizzaman is here to save the Fourth of July from being lame; isn't that better than brooding alone at the top of some high up vantage point and looking out over the city at night as fireworks bloom in the midnight sky?

Faulkner suppresses his gut-level answer to that question. "Thanks for the pizza," he says to Magnes, snagging a slice of cheese and a slice of barbecue chicken. He's never had barbecue chicken pizza before, but it smells pretty good, at least.

Lance pulls a slice of cheese pizza from the box and takes a bite of it, chewing as he looks at all the drama going on. After he swallows, he comments, “Wow. It’s like Gun Hill all over again. Only less people are trying to kill us, and— “ No, don’t say ‘Eric is missing’, it’ll make you sad. “— Colette’s not here.”

“Gun Hill! I heard stories about that place,” Dirk says lightly as he snags his own piece of pizza. “So many many wild stories.” He doesn’t elaborate, there are children present and even he can be a gentleman sometimes.

Nearing Pippa, he slips her a folded five spot but sloshes his bottle around slightly, letting her know that it’s still mostly full. “Hey Pimple,” he says in a lowered tone but still light and cheerful, using the nickname reserved especially for her, “long time no see. Did you get a new job, I never see you at the office anymore. Did I tell you that your mom totally lost a bet at work? We were guessing what Miss Pak’s favorite kind of cake was…” He waits a moment, just allowing the subject of the bet to sink in. “Your mom bet on buttercream icing. Can you believe it? Buttercream instead of marshmallows? It’s like she doesn’t know unicorns at all, right?”

A huff of a breath escapes her throat as the dress clad Robyn shakes her head at Rue. "I'm sorry," she says quietly. "I didn't mean to mom you, just…" As Baird and Seren make their way over, her eyes slip over to them. "Don't listen to Delilah," she offers furtively, though not quiet enough to keep it unheard from Dee or Seren. "Have fun. Just be careful."

There's probably more to be said, but two words catch her attention like a bolt of lightning from the sky. Her gaze snaps over to Lance, her duplicate snapping to her side at the same moment. Her eyes fall on him with laser focus, like a hawk sizing up prey. Eyes slide over to Dirk and then back.

It takes a moment but her expression softens considerably as Black Dress Robyn strides forward. "Sure, Lance. Like Gun Hill." Reaching down to a cooler, she pulls out a bottle of Cheerwine. "What are we without our community, after all?" Popping off the top, she reaches back down and pulls out another Cheerwine, setting down next to Lance.

No beer for you, kid. Not yet, and definitely not while their boss is here.

"That's why I did this. Ten years later, some things never change, right?" She smiles, angling her bottle towards him for a cheers. Her duplicate watches with a look of amusement mixed with almost jealousy, before turning back to keep an eye on Rue and Seren.

Seren shifts when Rue looks up— posture straightening, awkward smile placed, they're fine, they're doing great, see?— and makes a passing attempt at a casual nod. They step back to allow Delilah to dote on her, their hands coming to fidget before them. They look back to check on Isaac with a small smile, one they hold onto as they look back to Rue.

"Do you need someone to get you back home?" they ask gently, trying not to impose. Meanwhile, Baird's tiny paws knead biscuits onto Rue's collar, head still curled against the side of her neck.

Rue accepts the bottle of water from Delilah, but shakes her head at the offer of food. “I’m fine,” she insists. There’s no slurring to her speech now. Maybe this whole situation is sobering. A glance darts to Robyn, then away again. Have fun. Right.

Now it’s Seren that has the redhead’s attention again. Rue strokes Baird absently and shakes her head again. “I’m alright. I’ll just… I should go. Let you have your fun. I didn’t realize you’d be here.” Maybe she should have. “Sorry buddy,” she murmurs to the chimera. “I should head out.”

Nicole levels an unimpressed look at Dirk from the moment he calls her daughter by that nickname she does not appreciate. (To be fair, neither does Pippa. Pimples are annoying and nobody likes them, after all.) Still, the little girl takes his money, shoving it into the pocket of her dress. “Miss Jane’s a unicorn?” Pippa’s brow furrows. “I don’t know. Mx Evans showed me a unicorn before.” Her blue eyes grow wide. Her voice drops to a whisper. “Do unicorns shapeshift?

Lance slants a look to Black Dress Robyn as she sits, a rueful smile just-curving to his lips. “There were some good times, then,” he admits, “Simpler times, even if we were hiding. I know I was a huge pain in the ass, though.”

He waggles the slice of pizza he’s holding at her, “Sorry about that, ten years late.”

He is not really sorry.

“So, what— “ A glance to another Robyn, then back, “Are you like Brian now?

"Please," Robyn responds, watching as the pizza waves to and fro. "I'm better than Brian." Her statement is punctuated with a smirk and a long sip of her bottle. "But kind of." Turning, she puts full vision on the duplicate for a moment before shifting so that it rests in her periphery - enough to keep it from snapping back into place next to her. "She's made of unsubstantial light, and doesn't seem totally autonomous like Brian's were. But I'm still exploring the limits of what I can do with her."

Another long sip, and she sets the bottle down on the table before reaching for pizza herself. "But if you thought one of me was bad enough…" A chuckle escapes her lips. "Well."

"Hey, Dirk." This comes from the duplicate Robyn, looking back over her shoulder. "If I catch you telling any of those stories, I'll make sure you can't enjoy them anymore." With that said, she turns back to Rue. "Please don't go, Rue." A glance idles given over to Seren. "Unless it's really the better idea. I promise I won't mom."

Isaac takes a bite of his pizza. As it turns out, barbecue chicken pizza is… not bad. Not bad at all. Pizza may not be actually Italian, but it's close enough that Faulkner's First Maxim of Italian Food still applies.

He's also listening to Crooked Tie and Dress Robyn converse. He's not sure who Brian is or was, but her talk of her ability makes for some interesting food for thought. "How do you do the voice, though?" he asks, looking interested.

Seren seems captivated enough by this moment they've momentarily forgotten everything else going on. They inhale to reply before Robyn cuts in and they sheepishly duck their head. "You're allowed to have fun, too," they stress to Rue. "Stay. Have some fun. I'll give you your space. Just get home safe, okay?"

There's enough people around to ensure it, at least.

"C'mon, bud," they issue to Baird, who responds by hiding his face against Rue (because if you can't see them, it means you can't hear them, right???) before slipping back down into her lap. "Baird." It's not without issuing a sneeze of protest against the manipulation of his being that he prepares to leave, tiny paws resting on Rue's thighs. He looks up to her in farewell.

Rue shakes her head quickly, then winces and rubs at the back of her neck. “No, no. I… I appreciate the welcome, but… I won’t really be able to relax. That’s on me, not on anyone else.” With one last ruffle, she lifts Baird up as she stands, setting him carefully on the chair she had occupied. “Have fun, Seren, okay? I mean it. I… I’d consider it a favor.” She flashes them a smile that’s genuine, but filled with sorrow.

Things just can’t be like they used to be, and that’s no one’s fault but her own. (Either of her.)

“I’ll catch you later, Quinnie.” Can’t resist the parting shot there, apparently, as Rue claps a hand briefly on the corporeal hostess’ shoulder, then heads back for the stairwell and the street below.

Pippa breaks away from her mother, blonde curls flying behind her as she races over to where Seren stands. The little girl throws her arms around the summoner’s legs. “Hi, Baird!” she greets the chimera cheerfully first, unaware of the sadness that’s just transpired here. “Hi, Mx. Evans! Do unicorns shapeshift?”

That's one hell of a way to bring the mood back up. Seren's brows lift as they're collided with, recognition dawning in their eyes once they look down at the mess of blonde locks and cheer that's wrapped in a hug around them. "Hey there, Pippa. It's good to see you again." Politeness first was a thing to observe.

Floating ferret-cat of a Baird finally turns his head away from the last of the sadness, ready to return to the party. His tail begins sparkling again in anticipation of it— and the question.

Do unicorns shapeshift?

A surprised laugh comes from them before they admit, "You know, I don't know! I only have the one unicorn friend. Maybe there's more that do. I've heard there's winged unicorns, though. Like a pegasus. But I've only heard that." The cheer the child has is infectious and brings Seren to smile again. "I'm pretty sure the type of magic unicorns have isn't shapeshifting, though."

The duplicate Robyn sighs and rolls her eyes at Rue's insistence on leaving, _as well as_ her little parting shot. "You're lucky you're the only one who can get away with calling me that anymore, Rue." The duplicate resists a parting shot of her own, instead turning to look back at her primary self the chaos unfolding around her.

"This was a terrible idea."

"This was a fantastic idea," the party host notes despite watching Rue leave, settling back comfortably in her seat. Glancing over at Isaac, she chuckles just the slightest bit. "Are you ready to be disappointed, Isaac?" An eyebrow quirks up as she leans forward, smiling. "I don't know."

With that, she reclines a bit more. "But I have an idea."

Isaac might regret asking, with the in depth and technical explanation of light physics, heat, and vibration that is about to follow. Despite that and a few unwelcome hiccups, the party seems to be a success, a small slice of a time long ago brought forward into the present.

Might as well enjoy it now, knowing it probably won't last.

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