a fire that burns everything

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On stage there are two men and two microphones. One man is tapping a 4" high heel by _mudforce_ against a statement necklace from TrendsKill in a semi-rhythmic pattern. The other guy hovers near the back of the stage, eyeing his microphone warily from a few feet back.

The invitation to this event wasn't sent by anyone or any brand Qannen knew. A girl named face_prison. A little ways back in her TL there were pictures of her with other women Qannen vaguely recognized from the Ramilams. So the invite, arriving so quickly after her liking Syklomeme's old pics, wouldn't be a coincidence. She was sure if she dug deep enough it all would relate back to the Qrrashiclandom somehow.

Orifex is the name of the event. In what they are calling a warehouse space, which is a term for a large interior room created by carving out 3-5 smaller brand locations and combining them into a unified area.

Qannen pushes her way through the crowd, wanders around, gets a drink (a Raisacado Injection by Evolvolution), and scans the crowd on her screen. There are people she knows here but not that well, and from the way she keeps catching people staring at her she isn't in the mood to have the conversation everyone else probably wants to have with her. What's going on with your sister, did you know she was going to do that, what's going to happen now, where is she, are you here alone, what are you going to do, who knows who knows who knows.

She finds a spot where she can lean against the wall with a clear view of the stage. Now the guy making the noises is mixing it up by tapping the heel and the necklace against a lip-liner by Bonometh. Qannen is about to look at her screen to make sure she's in the right place when she feels someone squeeze in next to her.

Her screen feels different somehow, warmer, with the proximity alert of an old friend returning for the first time in a long time.

Qannen scans her old friend IRL, from heels to hair. She's wearing a really cool mix of Babyreaper and Republic of Modern Choice. She looks. So hot. Qannen's,,,not sure what to say.

"This spot taken?"

Qannen smiles and shakes her head no. For a moment they turn their attention back to the stage. For a moment she can pretend this is normal, comfortable, the rift between their worlds a thing that never even happened. Just 2 people in a crowd doing a normal interaction.

Qannen points to the guy on the left, banging the random sh*t together. "So this one?"

"Panickator."

"He hits stuff?"

"Yeah, with other stuff. Analog beatmaker."

"But this other guy." She nods to the guy still pacing back and forth at the back of the stage, staring at the microphone like he wants to kill or f*ck it.

"Jory's_39_Windows," Syklomeme says with a series of exaggerated air quotes. """Approachful singing."""

"What does he sing?"

Syklomeme shakes her head. "It's more about what he might sing. How he paces the stage, how he comes towards the mic and then retreats, building anticipation?"

"So he doesn't actually sing?"

"No. But like imagine if he did."

Qannen lets a few moments pass. Maybe this is enough. Maybe this can be it. Two old friends lightly reconnecting, without having to go through all the stuff.

No. "So," Syklomeme turns to Qannen and it's clear they're going through the stuff. "You're here alone." It's a statement, a question, an idek. A message sent from the other side of the rift, as pointed as any arrow.

"I am here alone." Qannen states, for the record, captured by the zonnys clinging to the craggy ceiling high overhead.

"How fun," Qannen says, turning back to the stage. "So." She's smiling to herself. "What's new."

OK this bitch has arrows for days, apparently. "How much of this do you want to do here," Qannen asks.

"I'm here for 5 more minutes of watching this guy not sing and then I'm doing a photoshoot at HourlyWall. We can use that time however. You. Want." She says this looking not at Qannen's body, but directly into her eyes. It's somehow worse.

Qannen has one sentence to say, for the record, and it is going to light a fire that burns everything around her life. There's no way what's about to happen doesn't pull the rest of the Qrasshiclandom apart. There's no way her sister doesn't notice what she's doing.

She steps up to the rift.

"I was wondering. If you. Wanted to hang out. Sometime."

Something in Syklomeme's eyes sparkle. The messy drama bitch part. "Now that is compelling." she says. "Personally I would love it."

And even though Qannen is relieved to at least have it out there, even though she's so glad they're playing this cool like old friends instead of what it really is - a desperate cry for help from the last person she can turn to - she regrets it. She doesn't want to hurt Qynka, even after everything. And there's no way anyone comes through this unhurt. But at least Syklomeme's not making it messier than it needs to be.

Until she does. "We can definitely hang. But look. Some advice. You should think about letting Raminashi f*nger you."

"Um. Here?"

"No not here. He's in the studio tonight." [A look that says: You wouldn't want to look like you're just retaliating against your sister.]

Qannen: [A look that says: Isn't that what I'm doing?]

"It'll destroy my sister," Qannen says.

"It might be time to start thinking of her as indestructible."

Qannen has no response to that.

"Just a thing to think about, or not."

"I've been thinking that I've been thinking too much lately."

"Right? We'll just hang," Syklomeme offers. "Arrange an introduction. See how things go. No harm done. But if it ends up with him f*ngering you, it could be a really big deal."

Jory's_39_Windows takes a tiny step closer to the microphone.

Qannen sighs. "It usually is."

///

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