1965-05-06 - Up On The Roof
Summary: Even if the world isn't getting you down…
Related: None
Theme Song: None
billy keith noh-varr 

Billy had let him stay at his place for a couple of days, but soon enough Keith had found some employment and said he had found a place to stay. The former -was- true, and he had managed to get some good dough as a courier thanks to his talent, but it didn't exactly pay for a roof over your head. That wasn't an issue, because the redhed was accustomed to living on the road in one way or another. When everywhere is just a hop away, finding a place to crash isn't as problematic…

It is about four o'clock when Keith walks bck into the inn, his true appearance hidden to all thanks to the magical illusion- just another red-hedaded teen in greaser garb, nothing to see here.

He heads to the bar for a refresher first before he goes to see if The Kids are in today or not. He plops himself on a stool while he waits for his drink, happy to have some bread to pay this time around. It was embarrassing enough when Billy offered to pay last time.

After a few seconds of nursing his drink, he asks the bartender casually "Hey. Seen Billy today?" nodding towrds the back corner. Not that he expected the tender to keep tabs on who came and went all the time, but it would save him a trip up.

Noh-Varr is already at the bar drinking one of those drinks that has a cherry and umbrella in it. Froofy would be the common slang term. He's dressed in jeans, sneakers and a tank top, much like Billy tends to wear. As Billy magicked them up, this is probably not coincidence. And speaking of Billy… "Billy who lives upstairs Billy?" he asks, turning to look over Keith. "He's not here."

"Hm?" Keith turns when he hears Noh-Varr speak, and raises his eyebrows. "Aw, darn. I have the worst timing. Did he leave a while ago?" His is just a regular classic martini- nothing incredibly fancy. He usually saves the fancy for later. "I'm Keith, a friend of Billy's." He holds out his hand- he hasn't bothered to take off his leather gloves, which is a little odd for the warmer weather. And, well, handling a drink.

"I don't know when he was here last. Did you try his apartment?" Clasping the hand, Noh-Varr nods at being informed this is a friend of Billy's. "I'm not surprised. He collects pretty boys. I'm Captain Noh-Var of the 18th Kree Diplomatic Gestalt." Both comment and introduction get a strange look from the bartender who moves to the other end of the bar.

Keith blinks for a second or two. And then he laughs, almost choking on his cocktail.

"Okay… sorry. Ahem," he says, once he has cleared his throat and isn't in danger of coughing himself into a fit. He may have enjoyed the bartender's rection a little too much, to be truthful. "One- you rather fit that description, not me. Two- nice to meet you. Billy has actually mentioned you to me. Funny enough, I was hoping he'd introduce me to you and the rest of the…" quick side-glance at the bartender, back to Noh-Varr "The boys." Because he can't say 'team' or anything of that sort out in the open, and what the hell- he decides to go with the hilarity.

"He did?" Noh-Varr asks, sounding surprised. "You were? Oh. Do you have abilities as well?" That would definitely make sense. Billy collects them too: pretty boys with powers. "Well, now you have. Though if you want to talk about it, this isn't really the place. The common public on this planet seems to be very puritanical."

"In a manner of speaking." Keith reaches into his pocket and drops a generous tip on the counter for the bartender, for his trouble, and Keith's amusement. "Yeah, you are right, probably not the best place. Where should we go to yak a bit?" He slides off the stool and stretches, leather jacket creaking. Leather jacket… in this weather.

There's over half a drink left in the glass when Noh-Varr downs it. Standing, he heads for the doorway, already having paid for his drink. "A rooftop would be easiest." he answers, glancing over a shoulder. "At this hour, there's too many people around."

"Good idea. I'll meet you up top, then." Keith slips out, moving with surprising agility and fluidity. The effect of effortless elegance would have been complete, if not for the creaking leather. Surprisingly, the rather heavy boots that he was wearing made no sound whatsoever on the floor.

As he steps out of the door and turns a sharp left . From there, it's just a quick hop through a Rabbit Hole after moving towards one of the other doors in the block, disappearing instantly and reappearing up on the roof.

Noh-Varr follows Keith out and walks away from the door that leads to the apartment's above the inn. Billy is normal. Billy does not have friends who climb up walls. Once he gets to the far end of the building, he climbs up the wall, not needing any hand or footholds. "There you are." he says, spotting Keith and walking over.

"Here I am," Keith answers, chuckling, and walks over to Noh-Varr, hands in his jacket pockets. He shrugs his leather jacket off mid-walk, letting it fall to the ground with a sigh of relief. He, too, wears tank top, his bare shoulders unusually pale. He starts taking off his gloves and hooking them from the loops on his belt. "I don't need to wear this with you. Thank goodness for that, 'cause I'm cooking in this heat," he exhales. "Gotta wear it around the 'normals', though. Just in case."

Noh-Varr is about to ask a question when he stops, since Keith just answered it. Though not completely. "Just in case what? Does your skin secrete a toxin? That could get inconvenient if it's dangerous. Does it not affect Kree?" Not looking particularly concerned, he sits down cross legged.

"Hah, no, nothing like that. It's more of a side-effect thing than anything else. Allow me to demonstrate." He places himself in front of Noh-Varr and bows, as if he were a member of the audience. He then proceeds to do a few passes in the air, like amateur magicians do, to demonstrate he has nothing up his sleeve- which he doesn't, since he isn't wearing any- before holding up a finger.

"Behold. As you said, 'pretty boy.'" He pinches his own cheek with a smirk-

And then he tears his face off.

It isn't gory or bloody, but rather if is as if the human had been nothing more than a suit he was wearing, and which was removed by an easy tug. There is now the Cheshire cat, holding the deflated human version of himself up between index and thumb. "Aaaand freak of nature!" the deflated Keith speaks, and the cat grins.

He gives the human 'skin'a vigorous shake and it turns into a swarm of purple butterflies that whirl about Keith for a few seconds before disintegrating.

"And that's why I can't let people touch my 'skin', because if I were to shake your hand without gloves, you'd touch fur."

He walks over and sits down next to Noh-Varr. The boots vanished with the human appearance as well, which explains why he can walk around so quietly.

Noh-Varr watches curiously as Keith 'performs' and a blink followed by raised eyebrows is the reaction to him tearing his skin off. They're sitting on the roof to the restaurant proper as opposed to the section that has the apartments. "Shapeshifter? The Skrulls don't do it that way but it's a large universe." Once Keith sits down, he reaches out to touch an arm and feel the fur. "Yup, fur. You an alien too or just a mutant?"

Keith does not purr. Okay, he does, but it's a reflex and he pays it no mind. "To be exact, I am a gestalt entity resulting from the merging of a semi-omnipotent feline creature of chaos and an earth person. The result is the very much not-omnipotent not-human me. That was just magic- an illusion I use to hide my ugly puss from people."

Pun not intended, and when he realizes he made it, he chuckles a little. "So I'm kiiind of like Billy, in that I am magical, but very different from him."

He looks at Noh and tilts his head. "Yaknow, you're the first alien I've met. Are you… in disguise, or do your people look like ours?"

Billy wanders up onto his roof, and having wandered there, sees that on the roof of the nearby building there are two people he recognizes. And so, he rises up into the air and floats down to their roof. The young man is in jeans and a green t-shirt at the moment, both fitted. "Hey, guys." He flashes a dimpled smile and lifts a hand as he settles onto the other roof.

Ah, illusion. That does explain it. "So you got possessed by an other dimensional entity who's capable of affecting the universe directly through belief and willpower." Noh-Varr summarizes. Or rather, expands upon. "No, this is my actual appearance. Humans look a lot like us. You have more skin tones though; we only have pink and blue." When Billy speaks up, he looks over. "Hey Billy. Come join us. Unless you want to move to your roof."

"Not possessed per se. It's all melted down into one walking disaster now." The cat looks up and smirks, waving over at Billy. "Speak of the devil. C'mon, let's be good hosts and accomodate him."

The Cheshire cat stands up, dusts off his leather pants with his hands and looks about to step off the edge of the roof onto a splattery death below, when the Rabbit Hole opens, a shimmering tear in space, and links him to the other side. "Hey Billy boy. You were right, he is almost insufferably pretty," he says with a tiny hint of mischief to see if it will get Billy to blush. "What were you up to, anyways? Bringing pronouncements from the future, or just potato chips?"

Billy blinks at the rabbit hole, furrowing his brow, "Hey, you do wormholes too?" He laughs softly, then shakes his head, "I was just about to grill up a hot dog, really. No chips— though if you want?" The offer is left lingering, "And I saw you guys. You want a hot dog? We can go up to my roof." He pauses then, and grins, "But seriously, it should be a crime. Only Teddy's prettier. Its almost annoying. I feel bland." He looks then to Noh-Varr, "Have you ever *had* a hot dog?"

"I am not insufferable." Noh-Varr protests. The rest is just fact. Since it seems that they're moving, he stands up. "Yes. I spent over a year on an Earth so I'm not completely unfamiliar with your world. It was more advanced though."

The cat seems amused by Noh-Varr seemingly handwaving the compliment as fact, and he reaches over and musses Billy's hair. "Shut up. You're not plain. I'm the one who is going to have to wear a mask if y'all accept me into the team, so as not to corrupt the team aesthetic," he says with a sardonic expression. He left the Rabbit Hole open for Noh-Varr to come through, in case he decided to, so he makes a point of shaking a finger under Billy's nose. "Rabbit Hole, Billy. Worms make *tinier* holes. And speaking of which-" he waits until Noh has walked through to dismiss the Rabbit Hole and summon a new one. Where it leads isn't readily identifiable, safe to say that it seems to be under a tree in the middle of nowhere, with Keith's motorcycle prepped against it. He reaches through the hole and into the satchel hanging from the motorcycle and pulls something out of it. As the Rabbit Hole closes up, Keith pushes a book up against Billy's chest.

Alice's Adventures In Wonderland.

"It's high time you read this."

Up top on the other roof, there's a the fixings for hot dogs, and the gas fired grill is up and burning. Billy glances over at Keith and grins, "A wormhole is a euphemism for an Einstein-Rosen bridge, a tweak in the theory of relativity that allows for two places in spacetime to be folded over and connect, so you can travel from point A to point B without going through the space between. If you think about spacetime as fabric, it folds the fabric across to touch two places far away, right close." Billy is a nerd. But he's a nerd with skills: in particular, he lifts a hand and three kosher hot dogs rise up, and three slices of bacon do as well, and the bacon wraps around each hot dog in turn. That the hot dogs are kosher totally makes him a good Jew, the bacon doesn't invalidate it, right? Then they float over to settle on the grill.

Then he looks at the book he's holding, and squints, "Okay, will do. Is there aliens or elves in it? Most books I read have aliens or elves."

Noh-Varr goes through the wor… rabbit hole, watching it curiously as it closes behind him. "He's right." he says of Billy's explanation. "Three dimensional space is only what you can perceive much like what something that only had two dimensions would only be able to perceive two dimensions. But it can be warped into other physical dimensions so that two points separated by distance can touch, thereby bypassing the physical space in between. You shouldn't normally be able to do that by just thinking about it." he adds. But humans seem to be special.

Keith shakes his head, "It's got me in it," he replies to Billy's inquiry. He looks between the two as science talk goes on, and he goes slightly cross-eyed until it is over. "Isn't it funny how I can do that and not know any of that technical stuff?" His nose twitches at the smell of the food, and he licks his lips.

"I used to be able to do a lot more, back before… back in the day. I used to be…"

A rather melancholic expression comes over him when he trails off. Noticing that he's gone quiet, he shakes his head and brushes a lock of his red mane from his eyes. "So, Noh-Varr. You got a spaceship of your own?"

Billy grins at Keith, "Hey, once upon a time I thought I might be like, Zeus's grandson." He lifts a hand and electricity arcs between his fingers, "Between that and flying— I fell off the roof and missed the ground and whoa, was flying— I'm like, God of Thunder's kid? I didn't know any technical stuff to do my basic abilities. Its only once I started doing *magic* that I needed to understand the technical stuff." He peers a moment at the melancholic expression, looks curious but doesn't want to pry, so he hesitates, and looks back to the hot dogs. With a flick of the wrist, they rotate. He looks to Noh-Varr, "Have you decided where you want your door?"

Noh-Varr walks over to one of the chairs and flops down onto it. "Yes. It's currently fused with the rock of the island so it's not going anywhere. I might, possibly, be able to cannibalize it and build a smaller version. But that's a pretty major undertaking and I don't have the tools I'd need." At Billy's question, he shakes his head. "Not yet. I've been talking to the Fantastic Four about selling some advanced technology. Once I get some money, I'll find a place. I don't really need anywhere fancy since I have my ship. Though Johnny Storm's apartment is very nice. I might like something like that."

"Oh- that's too bad. I've never been to outer space. I would've loved to see the earth from your flying saucer." Keith walks over to a chair and sits himself down, crosing his legs. "I'm living on the road right now until I have enough bread for a place," he confesses. "I've never been to Johnny Storm's apartment, but I imagine it must look great." Admittedly, so did Johnny Storm. "Hey. If you ever get your space feet back, I wouldn't mind a sightseeing tour on your ride, mister Starman." Keith gives Noh-Varr a grin, "I imagine the Earth would look magnificent from up there."

He leans back on the chair. "Zeus' grandson? I guess it's possible. I mean, if Thor's walkinng round, there's probably a whole bunch of Greeks procreating all over the place. Though I don't think Zeus is still around. Nobody's reported getting pregnant via golden shower in the last few centuries, you know."

Keith had grown up with private tutorss. He knew the classics, however much he tried to play that part of his upbringing down, and he knew his myths well. That story about Danae…

"You know Johnny Storm?" Billy asks Noh-Varr with wide eyes, "Wait you've been in his apartment?!" He downright gapes at that point, "You know I once saw Steve Rogers running down the street in his underwear." He fans himself with a grin. But, he shakes his head at Noh, "You don't need a place. Just pick a neighborhood, pick a restaurant, pick its bathroom door. Its nothing that needs some big, deep time commitment. Or the side door down an alley. Doesn't even have to be one you can open normally, just pick a door. Any door. Anywhere." He laughs, "Except my bathroom." He looks back to Keith, "Oh, that's _used_ to. I know I'm not now, but for a long time I didn't understand what I did. My parents are both magical, Dad's got a trio of gods backing him, mom's just badass. But I didn't know them." He frowns, "They put me up for adoption, we're not sure why."

"Oh, I can show you that easily enough." Noh-Varr tells Keith. "Don't even need to go anywhere…" Reaching into his pocket, he pulls out a small pink cube, a square inch on each side. Pressing his fingers to a few of the faces, it expands to three times its size. "A portable version of the training area on my ship." he explains idly as he concentrates on the cube. After a moment, the air around them begins to shimmer and darken. Stars appear in the distance and 'below' them is the Earth, slowly rotating. To say it's disorienting might be an understatement, as they seem to be in orbit instead of on Billy's rooftop grilling hot dogs. At least they've still got gravity. "Any door at all, even one I can't open normally? That changes things."

Keith reaches out to put a hand on Billy's shoulder, "Maybe they did it because of safe-" and then space happens.

Keith almost falls off his chair, and when he has regined his bearings he slowly stands up. He looks down, and his eyes go wide. "Wait… is this real or just an illusion?" he asks, looking doubtful.

Billy fights off his frown, but its clear its difficult. The subject of his adoption is a sore one, clearly, even if he has made peace with his parents. Then space happens! "Whoa." Without even thinking he rises up a couple feet, just out of pure instinct. Absently he nods towards Noh-Varr, "I can work the standing spell so if you — and only you — try to open it while its locked, it unlocks. No problem, just a simple tweak to the parameters." But he's still staring at the earth, "We do have a very pretty planet, I have to say."

"It's real. But it's a hologram." Noh-Varr explains. "We're not really in orbit." It just looks like it, with even the grill and chairs gone though they can still be felt. The Earth continues to slowly spin beneath them and should anyone look up, the moon is there. "Yes, it is." he agrees.

"So it's there, but we're not." Keith was about to say something along the lines of it not being the same. Like seeing the Beatles on one of those TV appearances instead of being at a concert- but he catches himself, realizing how rude that would have sounded, and it would have seemed dismissive of the gesture.

"It *is* very lovely," he says, taking his eyess off the planet to give Noh-Var a smile before looking back down again. "There are so many places I haven't seen, still… you know, I can technically go all sorts of places… could do an outing to the Caribbean or something at some point…"

"Uh, quick question, can everyone who isn't, you know, us, see that we're space here? From the street? Because that sort of thing isn't actually good, because it'll draw attention. I could have shunted us into the Mirror Dimension for demos, but otherwise—-" Billy coughs softly, "Let's not draw attention to the wizard's secret lair?" He grins with dimples, then looks back to Keith, "Why don't you? I love travelling the world. Tonight I'm going to take Teddy to Moscow for dinner. Teleporation is the best superpower *ever*."

Abruptly, the view from space disappear and they're back on the roof as Noh-Varr puts the cube back in his pocket. "It wasn't a real time image." he clarifies. "Just a recreation based on both my memory and my ship's records. Accurate though and you can actually breathe."

"It's not a ton of fun traveling alone, Billy. Part of the fun is in the unexpected stuff on the road. For one, it's an ordeal, for two it's an adventure." Keith shrugs and smirks. "I'll have some of thoe dogs now, if they're ready." He goes back to his chair and leans back. He watches as Noh-Varr excuses himself to get something from the fridge. He watches him go. Indeed.

Then he turns back to Billy. "Well, Noh-Var doesn't seem to hate me on sight yet, so maybe I'll make a good impression with the rest of the team."

The dogs are indeed ready, and on nearby table, there's various condiments laid out. Billy snags his dog and puts it in a bun, adds ketchup, mustard, mayo, relish, and onions he grilled up earlier. "I like to think that the kosher hot dog cancels the bacon and therefore I'm still a Jew." But he bites into his non-kosher bacon dog and makes a wistful sigh, "I can see that, though. The ordeal-adventure. Its not unheard-of for the Planners to take a trip together for dinner, have a meeting in a German pub or something." He peers at Keith, "Why would anyone hate you on sight? You're a good guy, if prone to wandering."

Keith helps himself to a dog, with a generous helping of condiments as well, and bites in with gusto. "My sense of humor isn't to everybody's taste," he says, wiping his mouth with a napkin. "I usually expect the worst. You know it's almost been two years now since I turned? I've been counting the days. One year, eleven months and four days." He raises an eyebrow. "And I've gotten pretty good at keeping the cartoon show on at all times. When I drop it, I get *that* look from people." He pauses. "Excet you. But you're Strange." Pun completely intended.

"I'm a gay brunette jew witch." Billy shrugs, grinning, "Had I oofed through time a decade and a half earlier then I did, I'd be like Nazi Enemy Number One. So you're furry, who cares?" Billy noms on his dog for awhile, going over to sit at the table, "If I said hey, Keith, I need help, would you help me? I'm a lot more interested then that then anything else." But he pauses, "Turned, you said? What was it like, being… You… then Different-You?"

"Yeah, well. Going *without* for two years is… getting on my goddamned nerves. And there ain't a guy who's up to take the challenge, Billy." He munches on the dog again, and another bite.

His ears twitch for a moment when Billy asks the question, and he gives this his full attention for several seconds as he acquires a distant look, the hot dog held in his hand but apprently forgotten for the moment.

"Ever woken up from a dream? The kind of dream where things were good?"

That question gives Billy pause, though he does float over a pair of soda pops and telekinetically pops the tops and sets them by each of those eating. "Have I? Well, of course. Who hasn't? And then you try to go back to sleep to capture the dream again, and its like almost in your grip but is slipping— slipping away—"

"When I turned, it was like waking up from one of those." He finishes the hot dog and proceeds to play with the hankerchief, turning it this way and that. "I can tell you what the Queen of Hearts wears every morning. I remember little Alice- dark hair, not blond, yellow pinafore, not blue. I can also recall being a child in Ohio. I remember my mama passing away." He has folded the paper napkin into a floppy crane "Or at least, I remember it happeningn to other people. I know those things happened to whomever the two people I was before I was this. But as far as remembering things happening to -me-? For all intents and purposes I was born on that day. Everything else is like I saw someone else's memories playing out on a movie screen."

"It's strange, but you get used to it. So these almost-two years are the only years *I* have known, as far as who I am right now goes."

There's a long, long pause at that.

"I know exactly what you mean." says Billy softly.

"I was born in 1946, and in 1981. I remember the world like it was, like it is, now, and like it will be. I remember the education I got *then*, and the education I have in this time. These two lives, the Billy of the Future and the Billy of Now, aren't like the future melding into the now. They're scrambled together. Fractured. Its like a map of two lives shredded and then taped back together. The *I* that I am now? I can't be defined by either of those lives, not really. I'm both and neither."

"You do know, then."

They sit in silence for a little, and then Keith smiles a little. "This is going to sound funny despite everything. I sorta envy you."

He reaches into thin air and plucks a beer through a small Rabbit Hole. He's raiding his father's choice stash back at the mansion. And he doesn't care one bit. He takes out another and offers it to Billy before closing the hole.

Billy makes a face and waves the offer away, "I can't figure out how people can stand beer, its gross. I like daiquri's." He laughs and shrugs helplessly, before his expression furrows and he tilts his head, "What's there to envy? Well, besides Teddy, I get that. I'm unimaginably lucky there."

"You get used to bitter things, probably?" Keith guesses, and then provides his answer by counting on the fingers of his hand. "Why? You've got it hard but you make it work. You own it and come through. You've got a small army of friends who are close to you. And yeah, you've got a prince of a boyfriend, but you can't say you're lucky. One of those things? Sure. All of those together?" He shakes his head. "This isn't about luck. This is what you've made yourself. So you were given up for adoption… my only parent threw me out of the house when he caught me with a guy- incidentally that was the last time I ever was with a guy."

The cheshire cat shrugs, "You're just… likeable, Billy. You're loveable."

There's a pause of thought, and Billy shakes his head slowly in return, "My parents— the ones who adopted me, who raised me, who I love dearly— I'm pretty sure if they knew I liked guys, they'd disown me. I can't imagine ever telling them. My birth parents, they're fine with it, they only care if I'm happy, and yeah, that's amazing. As for the rest… having people like that, all it takes is waking up every morning willing to do anything at all for the people that care for you, anything at all. And then committing yourself to doing anything at all. Thats me, for my friends. You could be one of those friends if you wanted. All I'd ask is you to do the same. Sooner or later, friends become family."

"You also see the best in people," Keith adds to that, taking a sip from his beer. "I always feel the other shoe is about to drop."

He swishes the contents of his beer bottle, looking at Billy thoughtfully.

"I got shot up helping some mutants escape from some shady government kidnapping thing. I barely knew them, then." He swigs the bottle and licks his lips.

"You think I wouldn't do the same for you?"

"If I thought you wouldn't, you'd never have been invited to meet the Planners, let alone join us." counters Billy with a calm certainty, "If I see the best in people, I see the best in you, too. You've had it hard, and your instinct is to run. I get that. I don't run because I cling, but it doesn't mean I don't get that instinct. Come with me." He lifts his soda, quickly scarfs down the last of his hot dog, and heads down into the apartment itself, "Let me show you something. Don't try to do any magic in here by the way— there's a very good chance your wormholes would go very badly for you. Dad warded the apartment up to a T, there's nowhere more secure then here, but it allows only he and I to teleport in. I don't _know_ what would happen if you put your wormholes against the Sorcerer Supreme's wards, but I wouldn't wanna test it." He's cautious in his warnings.

"I've seen him in action firsthand. I wouldn't want to put my holes up against him, either." Keith finishes the lst of his beer and gets up to follow Billy. "He's cool, too. For, you know. A Dad."

He will let Billy lead him, and he will be very good about not doing magic. Even if his contrary brain wants to present it to him as a challenge… but his self preservation, fortunately, is stronger.

Billy leads them to .. a wardrobe. He opens it with his left hand, and there are coats. "Yeah, Dad's cool. I mean don't tell him I said that or anything, but as the Lord High Muckity Muck of the Wizarding World, I mean, he could use a long fudge off beard and a pointy hat, I don't at all understand why he doesn't have either, but besides those points… He's protective. I know I can lean on him as hard as I need and he'll hold me up." Then he opens the wardrobe with his right hand, and beyond it… is a huge expanse of another room entirely. Its not just a room, its a whole…space. "The lion, the witch, and the wardrobe. Welcome to Narnia." The huge space has windows, but they're all blackened. A kitchen in a corner. A workout space with various types of equipment. A couple couches, a few chairs around a table.

Keith's eyes widen as he peeks at the expanse beyond the wardrobe. He didn't dare sense anything since Billy said magic was Verboten. He didn't know if this was another place somewhere else on earth that connected to the wardrobe like a Rabbit Hole… or something else. Like a pocket mini-world attached to the wardrobe. Either way, it was impressive…

"I need to hire your architect," he says, quipping being his usual fall-back when he's speechless.

"This is the secret base of the Contingency Plan." He points to the line of wardrobes like the one they just stepped through, "Each keyed to our individual places, our individual hands. It's a standing spell that when opened by the right person with the right hand, opens a wormhole to the base itself. " Billy turns to look at Keith, "This, too, is a safe place. Heavily warded. If you wanna join us, be our friend, our family, and know that we will have your back without hesitation, this is sanctuary. Consider this a formal invitation."

The Cheshire cat looks at the space, truly speechless for a long time before he finally finds his voice. He crosses his arms, trying to look non-chalant before saying very carefully: "What 'bout the other team members? You don't think they'd… you know… object?"

"This is my team." Billy says firmly, "I know them. If I thought they'd object, I wouldn't have offered. There's the K-Twins, Kellan and Kalab. Kaleb can be a trial but I like him, you just gotta realize he comes from a point of view that isn't like ours. He sees the worst in things. There's Vic, he's… a cosmic entity that is merged into a guy who was nearly braindead, you two might actually relate. You've met Noh. There's Teddy, of course, but duh, he's awesome. And then there's Harper, a nephilim, recent joinee, helping out in our current mission. She's cool. Don't worry."

Well, there it was, all laid out. The cat looks on for a minute in complete silence, and then slowly begins to nod. It was time to do things differently. He recognized the universe giving him an opportunity, and he wasn't so stupid as to turn it down.

"Alright. Yes. If you'll have me… I would like to." He pauses, and remembers, "Do I need to have a place of my own to access…?"

"You're in." And that's it, it's as simple as that. Billy's patient, he waits the cat out, but he then shakes his head, "Pick a door, any door in the city. I'll spell it. If you have a place, great. Use your bathroom door. But if you don't? Any door. The standing spell I've worked out for the access key is not trivial but I have it down and set. Hell, if you have a car, the car door will work. Though I think you have a bike. Once you pick the door, I'll set you up with the wardrobe. It doesn't have to bw a wardrobe, on the other side, they're just convienent, as they're mobile. It can be the entrance to a bathroom in an 24/7 shop, doesn't matter. It'll be your own access key to Narnia."

Keith thinks about this for a few seconds, thinking. Itinerant as he currently is, he doesn't have a set place. Then, an idea comes to him. "How about one of the doors in Belvedere Castle?" The castle had been closed to the public forever, and it had been badly vandalized. Many of the doors could be easily opened, and hardly anyone ever watched over the plce.

Billy pauses, "Actually, you're the only one who doesn't need a door. I'll just have the access wards adjusted so your… own unique magic works here." He laughs softly, "You don't need a door, you're the only one of the team who can teleport on their own. Yeah. We'll just adjust the wards. If-when you get a more permanent place, we can get you a wardrobe if you want to just not bother with your wormholes, …er.. rabbit holes. Or not. Either way, we don't want you to be restricted from using your magic here, so we have to attune the wards to you either way."

"That works, if it's not too much of a bother. I'm sleeping up in some deserted island I don't know the name of. Tiny, it's barely a strip of sand in the middle of nowhere, but the breeze is fresh and I can see the stars. Got a job as a courier- just need to find something better to get enough for some apartment. Somewhere." He shrugs, and then looks at Billy.

After a couple of seconds, he leans over and wraps his arms around the young mage and pulls him into a hug. "Hey… thank you," he says quietly.

There is a hug! At first, Billy is surprised, but then he gives into it warmly. Really, Billy is a hugger. It's returned not as one of those man-bro hugs with back-pattings, but a full embraced squeeze.

"You can sleep here, you know. Harper's going to, since well, apparently, like, angels are after her." Billy says this nonchalantly, and as if its no big concern. He's apparently seriously confident about the wards. "I can conjure up a few walls for a private room, there's enough space."

Keith isn't a hugger, or at least it has been a long time since he's actively hugged anyone. He stays hugging Billy, because the contact feels nice- it's the first bit of human contact he's allowed anyone to have with him… well, his entir current life. "You sure about that? I could. But if I do, I insist that it be my duty to stock the kitchen." He gives Billy a quick nuzzle to stop any potential protest. "I make enough with my courier job for that. I'm faster than any courier they have. It's only fair to consider it my rent until I get my own place."

Billy doesn't mind letting the hug linger, squeezing, and when he withdrawls, he holds a hand up to one corner, "A haven from the dark, a haven from the dark, a haven from the dark, a haven from the dark." And what happens is walls materialize, and a door. He turns to grin at Keith, "Sure, stock up. There's no rent needed, Teddy and I make bank in our day job, but feel free to contribute to Narnia any way you see fit. This isn't a /transaction/, Keith. Its not… hey, you give us X, we give you Y. Its, will you have our back? Because we'll have your back even if you say no. That's what it means to be a Planner." He is perhaps the most absurdly optimistic guy ever.

Keith nods quietly, "I've got your backs, Billy." He wasn't going to argue- the 'rent', the commitment? It was his way of tying himself down. Because every fiber in his body was telling him to turn around and walk away. Run. The fear of being disappointed, of being left behind.

He was responsible for that kithen. He couldn't leave. Who would stock it, right? "I've got your backs." He reaches out and squeezes Billy's hand before looking at his wristwatch. "I should go get some groceries from the store before they close. When I get back, you can tell me exactly how it is we're going to deal with that 'angels are hunting for Harper' thing."

"Wait." Billy lifts a hand, closes his eyes, and *concentrates*. There is tension on his features, "Keith is one of us. Keith is one of us. KeithisoneofuskeithusoneofusKEITHUSONEOFUS." There is no obvious change as the world all around them ripples— except to those who can see magic. To them the whole topography of this place changes. The wards shift, realign, connect to Keith and recognize him. Billy lowers his hand and unleashes a weary sigh, "There. Never, ever, leave the actual exit. Always use your wormholes to go to or from here. Or one of our wardrobes. As far as anyone outside here is concerned, no one comes in our out of this place. Its part of the security."

"Undestood, no mucking with the exit or else you muck with the security." Keith realizes his jacket is still up on the rooftop. With his wallet. "I'm going to the store now. After I pick up my jacket… again, Billy… thank you. I promise you won't regret this," he says with a very naked sincerity, as he starts to make for his way up on the roof.

"I trust you." This is Billy's words, simply said.

The room shakes and begins to crumble.

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