Three On A Match
⁂ Third on a match. Meaning: bad luck.

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It's hot, it's time to hit the beaches!

close your eyes and watch the stars glow
Lower Fens 

Melrose Lane
Following the charity gala
Hadley Hopper Offline
Siren Half-Blood
They'd probably been the first pair to leave the gala and were lucky to exit with precious gifts in hand; candy, leaflets, coins, fluff. Hadley liked to read everything they were given even if it was garbage because sometimes you found a really funny spelling mistake or the flowery language people liked to use provided some much needed amusement in among all the dry bullshit, but the leaflets were glossy, professional, straightforward. Boring, though the charity's causes seemed admirable.

All of it was promptly forgotten as the mismatched pair drifted into a convenience store, the hem of Hadley's gown picking up dust and fluff from the edges of the aisles as they browsed for promised snacks, despite the four or five broken crackers full of treats cradled in their bodice. Picking out some fancy (for a convenience store, anyway) cider and a few light snacks that could be saved for later, the siren poked Dallas for their wallet and paid for everything the pair selected, and then it was off towards the place they made home sharing giggles and being scolded for buying more alcohol after drinking their cocktail like that at the gala.

Criticism ran off Hadley like water over feathers, though.

They were still giggling when they finally made it back through the door to their apartment, raising the strawberry and lime cider above their head in triumph as though they'd survived some kind of medieval gauntlet instead of a relatively boring charity event.

One they might have enjoyed better without the boyfriend incident at the start.

Surely they were still going to have to talk about that.

Making a pile of treats on the table, Hadley elected to keep quiet, flopping backwards onto the couch, one leg up on the back cushions, the other foot pointing towards the floor, the copious skirts the only thing saving what little modesty they possessed.

Picking out a cracker from betwixt imaginary bosoms, the siren grinned up at Dallas and tipped a mini crab cake into their mouth. Still warm! Still amazing; they should have asked for the recipe.

“Wasn't so bad, right?” they murmured through a mouthful of crab mush. “Or do you still hate me for dragging you along?”
Dallas Montana Offline
Mundane Human
The cream puffs stuffed in Dallas' pockets didn't even make it to the little 24/7 mart. No snack would ever survive the appetite of a man who ate like a bear, storing energy for winter. Besides, Dallas, the overly tall man dressed in a suit, had snack goals for tonight, loading up a basket with items he required to soothe himself after such a busy night. Some could say the man ate his feelings, but Dallas preferred to say he ate indiscriminately in whatever situation offered him the most servings.

The man was sad-faced by the time they made it back to their small apartment, lugging behind two large paper sacks of snacks, wobbling in just behind his friend. Somewhere on the stairs, Dallas remembered he was sad, hungry, and itchy after wearing so many uncomfortable clothes. The shoes came off the second he shut the apartment door, using one big toe to expertly yank each sock off his foot, nimble as a monkey as he squished the sweaty items into his shoes. The man slugged to the couch behind his friend, setting the sack of food down, quickly unbuttoning the suit blazer and then the undershirt, yanking it and the pants free until Dallas was sitting in navy blue boxers and a white wife beater. He exhaled loudly as he sat, bending over to rummage for a large gallon of pistachio ice cream. Dallas peeled back the lid, sighing again as he realized he was without a spoon but had zero energy to get up again. No, instead, Dallas simply licked the ice cream, undeterred from getting what he deserved after such an awful night.

“It was alright.” Dallas answered, his voice barely breaking over the loud sounds of him lapping ice cream like a dog. The man already looked miserable again, as if he'd spent too long reflecting on everything. Then again, Dallas did have a naturally morose expression.

“And I would never hate you.”
Hadley Hopper Offline
Siren Half-Blood
Alright, the guy said, while looking like Hadley had dragged him to a paint drying contest where you had to stand barefoot on Lego to view the competitors. Slowly, they withdrew the leg from the back of the couch, pulling their heel in towards themselves so as not to kick their friend in the back of the head. Just as quickly as they'd flopped onto the couch, they were standing up, swishing their gown back and forth towards the kitchen for a spoon.

Had Dallas not been here they would simply have slipped the gown off and let it fall to the floor, but that would have given their inhuman nature away and they'd subjected Dallas to more than enough tonight.

And yet not enough, because Dallas still wasn't talking about Vass.

Picking one of the larger spoons from the drawer, they sashayed back towards the couch and offered the spoon like an olive branch.

“You'll end up eating the carton if you don't use a spoon,” they murmured, and it wasn't without experience. On the witnessing end. “Um. Are you gonna call your boyfriend? make sure he got home okay?”
Dallas Montana Offline
Mundane Human
No more talking, please, Dallas wished to say, wanting nothing more than absolute silence other than his loud ice cream licking. Only Dallas wasn't wired that way, not a creature to ever verbalize selfish demands like telling his bestest best friend in the entire world to be quiet. Instead, Dallas just accepted the spoon, tucking it behind his ear and lowering the carton, licking the dribble of cream surrounding his lips, chin, and the bottom of his aquiline nose.

“He's not my... uh” Dallas tried to explain, but fear of declaring Simon was not something he might've thought he was, it felt cruel. Dallas wasn't cruel. “I... should... I just don't want to hurt him anymore tonight... but you are right, we need to talk.” Agreeing at least in that regard, Dallas knew the boys needed to talk, needed to figure out where everyone's feelings were, and how they could proceed without any more mishaps.
Hadley Hopper Offline
Siren Half-Blood
Used to clothes with pockets - even the sun dresses they owned had pockets! - Hadley immediately moved their hands towards their skirts and was momentarily confused when all they found there was tulle and more of it, infinite folds of fabric that just led to more fabric. Sitting up they examined every inch of skirt from hip to hip, squeezing their butt as though they might find secret pockets there. Flopping back into the couch, they searched their bodice. They hadn't even picked up napkins at the gala??

Sighing deeply, they dragged themselves back up into a standing position and teetered for a moment, letting their skirts settle before heading to grab a square of paper towel for their dismal-looking friend's ice cream coated face.

Dallas should talk to him.

Apparently about more than Hadley anticipated, the walk between couch and kitchen counter giving them ample time to think about the information they'd just been handed.

Vass was not Dallas's boyfriend.



They zoomed back to hand over the napkin so fast that they left a trail of three golden feathers in their wake.

“Wait, but you said - you said a lot of boyfriend stuff about him to me!” they squeaked in disbelief, brows knit in confusion, mouth open in shock.
Dallas Montana Offline
Mundane Human
The sharpness of Hadley's voice made Dallas wince, as if his body, mellow like undisturbed waters, were reacting to a stone being thrown in. Dallas loved his friend, cherished him deeply, and appreciated him for all his uniqueness, but sometimes the smaller man's vocal strengths could split ears. Dallas responded by closing his eyes, long lashes coming down like drapes over his hazel hues to shield him from the incoming conversation: but wait, Hadley, there's more.

He didn't want to talk about it, but the squeak and quick appearance indicated this would not be a conversation he could avoid by feigning a bellyache.


His stomach did hurt a little, raising the ice cream to his face again as he refused to open his eyes.

“I...” He stammered, taking a bite of ice cream from the carton, taking his time to swallow.

Why did he feel like crying?

They were feelings, and there was nothing wrong with feelings, but why did this conversation feel like a type of betrayal? The pit in Dallas' belly grew cold (and totally not from the gulps of ice cream), making him move uncomfortably.

“It's... we never actually discussed an official title, you know?” Dallas admitted with a heartbroken blink. “But I definitely fear I gave him that impression, and I'm afraid to see how badly I've hurt him because I'm... I'm stupid.” Finally vocalized with an embarrassingly telling vocal hiccup, his oversized downturned eyes betraying him the moment the light caught his welling tear line.

Dallas had done something he hoped he'd never ever do: hurt someone.

Trying hard to bully back frustrated tears, Dallas pushed his vision to something else, anything that could distract him, and they would find their distraction just a few feet away from their friend, resting scattered on the floor: three golden feathers.
Hadley Hopper Offline
Siren Half-Blood
The sleepy cook hid behind that ice cream carton like it was a shield, chewing on its contents as though it might offer him some of its strength but surely he understood there was much you couldn't drown in ice cream, and more still one couldn't hide from the sharp eyes of the siren.

Guilt was etched into every line and crease that Dallas's hidden expression pushed into an exposed forehead, much as dark curls popped forth and tried to cover like vines.

And too readily, he gave in to Hadley's stare and unspoken concern, the siren still standing just out of reach with mouth hanging open, taking the guilty sinner's confession as it hung heavily in the air between them.

They hadn't talked about it enough, but by the sounds of things, they had acted, and actions spoke much louder than the conversations they'd put off for so long.

Slowly, the siren's mouth closed and their lips pressed together, a mixture of sympathy and concern in the hard look in their dark eyes.

But they couldn't hear that deprecation.

Gown shifting and rasping against itself, Hadley moved closer to touch a gentle hand to their friend's shoulder.

“You're not stupid,” they insisted firmly, missing the scattered gold that caught Dallas's eye. “But you do need to talk to him. Like yesterday. Really set expectations.”

And understand his, too.

Even if Hadley thought very little of him and whatever his expectations might be after their meeting.
Dallas Montana Offline
Mundane Human
It was easy for Dallas to linger on the feathers, watching as the room atmosphere caught them at the afterfeather, fainter wisps that Dallas assumed would feel just as soft as a dandelion. For Dallas, despite his need to be a good person, he found it easier to get up and solve the mystifying bird mystery than it was to turn and look at their friend and carry on some conversation.

Perhaps Dallas was not so great, and all those compliments he received for being 'nice', really were just a lie.

Maybe Dallas wasn't so great.

“I can't go back in time...” Dallas explained, the words only pushing Dallas into a guiltier realm, squeezing the container of ice cream hard enough to turn the tips of his fingers a pale yellow. “I wish I could... I'll talk to him tomorrow, I can't tonight... need... to think...”

Think, journal, eat, cry, all the normal things Dallas needed to process anything.

“Hey, do you think a bird could get in here?” He asked, his eyes bouncing back to the feathers before he turned and finally dared to glance at the tiny roommate.

Funny, those feathers really did match Hadley's hair nicely.
Hadley Hopper Offline
Siren Half-Blood
Can't go back in time.

There were precious few times that Hadley thought they might wish to have such a power. Maybe one of those moments was right now, watching Dallas sink into a chasm of guilt that no one could drag him from but himself. Maybe they would take back the unhelpful words so he wouldn't have to feel so bad, devouring his ice cream without thought to limits. But then... Dallas was sort of just like that with ice cream, and he needed to understand that he was playing a difficult, sad sort of game. Intentionally or not.

The siren gave a soft sigh, arms folding across their chest and ruffling their pretty dress. They wanted to take it off now, but could they leave their friend in such a pathetic state?

And then Dallas got up, which Hadley took as permission to go to bed, and with the gentlest one armed shrug they moved to tidy away their treats for later, only to freeze in place when the sorry sad boy started asking about birds.

Almost imperceptibly they craned their head round to look at the feathers on the floor.

“Uh... I mean maybe; I like to leave my window open to let the air circulate,” they offered as an explanation, hoping that Dallas wouldn't look towards their firmly closed bedroom door.
Dallas Montana Offline
Mundane Human
If they focused on the feathers, Dallas wouldn't have to continue discussing everything wrong with him as a person. Suddenly, the feathers were the most interesting thing on the planet, causing Dallas to stoop for them, biting into his ice cream so he could gather them up with both hands.

Peculiar things, beautiful; their mysterious reappearance around the small apartment captivated the man who often found himself inspired by silly 'fake deep' poems on Tumblr. Dallas never claimed to be a smart man, basking in words he assumed to be far superior to his own, he could often be found moved to tears by the very words found in some discount storybook on a rack in a convenience store, just in front of pallmall's short menthols.

Dallas held the feathers close, shuffling to the counter so he could continue to inspect, mumbling incoherently through the container of ice cream when Hadley offered a clue: an open window in his bedroom.

Almost instantly Dallas' head was veering over at the smaller man, then to the closed bedroom door, container falling from his asymmetrical mouth, flashing teeth he often tried to hide due to their less-than-Hollywood standards.

“I think a bird might be in there? I've found so many feathers lately,” he tried to explain, excited to have a possible lead on the great feather mystery.

In a blink, Dallas was abandoning his melting treat to race to his room, disappearing inside for only a moment before he exploded through the frame with his journal lifted high.

Dallas was quick to approach the smaller man, unaware of the surmounting discomfort, displaying his journal with all the feathers he'd collected and glued within the comforting lines of his own words. If Dallas had any self-awareness, he might've blushed at the realization he was revealing very personal words and doodles, many of them about himself, his dreams, his monstrous body, random drawings of his friend, and a lot of food.

“I think I could make a whole pillow-”
Hadley Hopper Offline
Siren Half-Blood
It felt really invasive and weird to see their friend scooping up their feathers - their feathers! - without even a thought as to where they might have come from. And Dallas was food safety trained, too, and was still carrying ice cream by his teeth and lifting up strange feathers he thought were coming off of wild birds. It felt gross and intimate and guilt prickled at their skin like the familiar feel of bloodrush, when fresh feathers would sprout from under their skin, an immediate burst from pinfeathers to full-blown golden-sheened tawny grown quills.

How did you even start to tell someone not to touch your tailfeathers?

It was easy when it was other sirens, other magic folk. Or, well. It should have been. There were times it wasn't easy to tell people not to touch them, to tug them, to pluck them because they were asymmetrical or they looked "wrong".

So maybe it wasn't surprising that the boisterous siren couldn't find their voice here against their friend who collected their feathers before disappearing to his room, returning with a horrendous journal bulging out to bursting with seemingly almost every feather Hadley had shed since they came to know each other.

Suddenly their mouth felt dry.

They put a hand to their mouth, catching snippets of paragraphs in Dallas's familiar handwriting, their own name, food, a flower they saw, food, how the last work shift went, food. Mostly predictable.

The feathers, though.

“Maybe you shouldn't keep those around,” they suggested gently, chewing their lip. “If there is a bird in here you don't know what it's carrying.”

All hard conversations successfully deflected for the evening, so it seemed.
Dallas Montana Offline
Mundane Human
Dallas was standing pretty boldly for a man in his underwear, displaying his inner thoughts to a short person in a dress whilst clutching a handful of feathers, but that was just Dallas. He breathed steadily, calm despite the excitement of a bird in their tiny apartment.

Weird. He'd never heard a bird in here before, but their walls were so thin, how could he hear anything over the bustling of a busy city?

Hadley's warning sounded again in his head, a pit of worry tickled at his tummy hairs.

“Good point...” He mumbled, scratching his chin with one of the quills, while the others found a home between the pages of his journal. “Hey... Hadley, we should check your room then, you get sick easily-” Worried hazel hues fixing on their dear fragile friend before dragging themselves away and back to Hadley's closed door.

They really should check things out.
Hadley Hopper Offline
Siren Half-Blood
“Wh -- no I don't!” they huffed, following their friend towards their bedroom door, feeling a little bit like a cake topper rather than an elegant young siren in a pretty gown after several hours of wearing it. What did a cake topper feel like? Stiff, cheap. Wobbly. Difficult to manoeuvre. Or that was how Hadley imagined it would feel to be one, anyway.

Eager to get to their room before Dallas barged in with melting ice cream in tow, Hadley pushed ahead, opening the door and scanning quickly for any more rogue feathers.

None on a quick glance. promising.

“I have sensitive skin, that's all.”

It was kind, of course, that Dallas worried so much. But the only bird in this apartment was Hadley. In the flying creature with feathers sense, not the British slang sense.
Dallas Montana Offline
Mundane Human
Hadley had a weird way of moving with alarming speed, pushing past Dallas' slow frame to get into his bedroom. If Dallas had taken a moment to consider manners, he might've offered his friend a few moments to hide any embarrassing unmentionables. But even a wonderful mountain like Dallas could be forgetful at times.

Like a shadow, Dallas wobbled in behind, staring around the room with intent on finding the bird.

“Sensitive skin is reason enough, Hadley,” the older man explained while getting on his knees to check under the bed. “Heck, you might even turn into a bird!”

If Dallas were a bird, where would he hide?

Hadley seemed to be getting into the role, fluttering around his room in a panic, not that Dallas seemed to notice.

Dallas began reaching under the bed, feeling around for anything that might be alive, his fingers didn't immediately find what they were looking for he pushed himself further underneath.

His big head gave him trouble, but with a bit of wiggling, Dallas overcame and managed to shimmy into the dark.

Hmm... Nothing. Nothing yet...
Hadley Hopper Offline
Siren Half-Blood
No feathers, no birds.

Dallas wouldn't find anything because Hadley was meticulous when it came to keeping the place tidy, largely because feathers were a big telltale sign of short tails where they shouldn't be. Or really, where they ought to be in the case of a siren. But non magical folk were so often so weird about feathers and magic. And feathers on people, growing from them. It wasn't pretty, either. It looked weird and off and wrong.

People found them unsightly when stared at for too long.

While they tried to pick out some soft, comfortable clothes to wear to bed, they missed Dallas looking under their bed at first, but turning to look for a grey shit they favoured they watched in horror as the lanky cook disappeared underneath the frame.

There were plenty of storage boxes under there. No birds. Feathers maybe, but none of Hadley's. A couple of intimate things in a box that Dallas better not go rummaging through, clean as everything was kept in here.

“Dallas, get out from there; you'll get stuck.”

At least they could take this moment to allow the dress to drop from their form and quickly stuff their lower half into some loose-fitting pants.
Dallas Montana Offline
Mundane Human
With just freakishly long and hairy legs poking out from under the bed, Dallas continued his brave search for the bird. He clunked his head on storage but was otherwise undeterred from his search.

Clumsy, he felt around, his hand knocking directly into a smaller box, and to Dallas' surprise, the box responded by buzzing. Vibrating? Fluttering? A bird nest has been disturbed.

“I think I found him-” Dallas exclaimed in a whisper, reaching to grasp the box, which sounded like it was putting up a fight by vibrating vigorously; the bird was fighting valiantly for freedom.

Hold on little guy, Dallas will rescue you soon!

Without hesitating, Dallas flung the box from under the bed while giving his friend a quick warning:

“Careful, Hadley! It's angry! Watch out!” Dallas tried to shimmy back from under the bed, but his massive noggin was stuck, leaving Hadley to fend for himself.

Head stuck, Dallas stared up at Hadley in concern, then back down to the bird, his mouth falling open at what flopped about on the ground just feet away from him.
Hadley Hopper Offline
Siren Half-Blood
Successfully stuffing feathers into their pants and keeping tail well hidden, they gave up on the comfy soft shirt they wanted to wear and picked a baby blue long sleeved top that didn't match the grey sweats at all, but it was fine to sleep in; it wasn't like they had to watch themselves sleeping.

Right as their head poked up through the collar of their shirt, the unmistakable sound of a vibrating item rattled from under the bed, which told Hadley that Dallas had found either their handheld massager (it was shaped like a bumblebee and perfect for tense shoulders!) or one of the more intimate items hidden way at the back of the space.

“That's not-” they tried, pulling the hem of their shirt down over exposed skin, preparing to try to pull the silly human out from the cave of wonders before it collapsed onto him.

They were too late for the rescue, however.

Somehow Dallas was stuck on something, wedged under the bed, and out slid a box full of items that were quite frankly none of Dallas's business, including the fleeing "bird" - a little purple wand that rolled harmlessly into the light.

“Whisper-quiet my ass,” the siren muttered, reaching to switch the thing off to stop it rolling around on the floor. “Get out from there; I clean under there every week. I'm pretty sure I'd have seen a bird if there was one.”
Dallas Montana Offline
Mundane Human
Out rolled the item Dallas suspected to be a bird, vibrating loudly against the floor as Dallas struggled to free his ginormous skull from under Hadley's bed.

It wasn't until Dallas yanked himself free, leaving a small tuft of hair where his head had been, that he realized his mistake.

“Oh--!” Dallas squeaked, his face taking on a deep shade of crimson.

Should he pick it up and put it back in the box? Should he leave? Should just throw himself from a window now and pray it kills him?

Uncertain, Dallas hovered, not sure the protocol for finding your roommate's items of pleasure.

There was a question of how men used toys, but Dallas swallowed his stupidity for a more pressing concern.

“I didn't know, I'm so sorry--uh, should I--Uh” He trailed, making a scooping motion as if to ask if he should return it under the bed, a thick sheen of sweat was forming on his brow. “Just go? Should I go--Uh-I, oh my god-” He withered, bringing his hands to cover his ears as if to hide the shameful way he viewed sex.

Hadley's secret was out: Hadley knows what sex is.
Hadley Hopper Offline
Siren Half-Blood
Luckily, Dallas didn't have to make any decisions about the toy or the box it came from. Hadley was proactive, dropping the now quiet item back into its home with the other items the cook was ignoring, or perhaps unable to process while he greatly overreacted to a side of Hadley that had never really been a secret.

Obviously they weren't leaving their stuff around the apartment but it wasn't like it was shameful to know what you liked.

Blinking down at Dallas - his hair looked like it was sticking up in places and broken in others? - Hadley opted to store the box in the closet for now.

“It's late, so... yeah, you should probably go to bed,” they yawned, offering a hand to help their friend off the floor, but Dallas was curled up and embarrassed. Treating the revelation about the little siren like it was some kind of humiliating ailment instead of natural impulse. Okay. Someone had hangups and Hadley was surprised it wasn't themselves.
Dallas Montana Offline
Mundane Human
In the agonizing moments of Dallas asking Hadley what he should do, Hadley rectified the situation by sweeping up his items, even offering Dallas an outstretched hand to help him off the floor. Dallas, not quite willing to touch his friend's hands at this very moment, half crawled out of reach, his reddening skin making him appear like some shell-shocked crab.

“Yeah!” Dallas yelped in agreement, stumbling to his feet and quickly exiting the room. If Dallas had been on a mission for a bird, it was long forgotten now. “I should! Wow! Tired!” Babbling stupidly as he disappeared out of sight and into his bedroom, the sound of music playing quickly followed.

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