Rabid Dogs Dancing

Dillon frowned at Paulings argument, but didn't continue it. No, of course he didn't value the life of a rat over their own lives... but that didn't mean he didn't value it at all. Even if that hypothetical rat... wasn't real. He knew he still wouldn't want to hurt it. It got him thinking about Isaac. He was artificial as well, right? Yet... his life was much more valuable than a rat, real or otherwise. When it came time... what would happen? Would he be able to make the right decision? To do the right thing for all of them? Would he ever be able to shoot a rabid dog?

He sat down on the other side of the counter, only leaving one stool between himself and T as he ate sullenly. He could feel the tension rising back up again. Something was going to happen soon and it made his heart ache with worry. He'd always hated confrontation and arguements- drama of any kind, really. He was perfectly aware Isaac was likely full of malicious plots under his innocent worried mask, but Dillon couldn't help it. He didn't want to see anyone hurt, physically or otherwise. It wasn't in his his nature to hate anyone... however awful people could be, even on a personal level. He could feel the emotion welling up in his throat in anticipation of what was to come, but he swallowed it with his meal, just trying to put it out of his mind, even just for this one moment.

~~~~

Jacob ate so slowly it was no wonder Isaac finished first. He wondered briefly if they shared a stomach, but it didn't seem to be the case. It didn't mean that poison wouldn't effect both of them, but that wasn't really Isaac's intention anyway. He stood, leaving his bowl on the table to vanish eventually. "My turn?" he asked, sounding timid.

Once he was allowed and places were traded, he took his turn in the kitchen, going for something much more involved than simply throwing some ingredients in a wok. He opened the pantry, pulling out a stack of neat clear plastic containers containing flour, sugar, and the like. They weren't there before, but now there were cute little ceramic pots lining the wall on the counter with labels like "sugar", "baking soda", "baking powder", and "salt". He pulled a large mixer out of a cabinet and set it on the counter, plugging it in and selecting attachments before adding butter and sugar and turning it on.

He had to fight the urge to hum quietly as he worked, expertly chopping up apples and dropping them in a pot on the stove with a drizzle of honey. Maybe the innocent activity was a farce, but it didn't mean he wasn't legitimately enjoying doing it regaurdless. It was interesting to think about. Maybe he wasn't so different from Dillon on the inside afterall. It was annoying, but he tried not to look like he was having a calm enjoyable time. No, he had to look like he was worried, and barely keeping it together.

By the time he rolled out the dough, layed it in the pan, and added the filling, he was having trouble deciding how to do the top. He could do little hearts like aunt Zoe... A fun pentagram like the time he'd made it for Lynn... Oh, it was so bizarre to have his own copy of these feelings and memories of people, but it was ample ammunition for use against dear Jaboc... just not yet. He settled on a simple lattice weave and a braided edge. The last thing to do was sprinkle the pie in decorative sugar crystals, cover the edges in tin foil so they wouldn't go too brown, and slide the whole thing into the oven.

He straightened up, stretching, and sighed. The timer was set for forty-five minutes. Plenty of time for... just about anything.

"You're letting it bake for the full time?" came Jacob's voice, gently pulling him out of his little baking and plotting heaven. "I bet you could just have it done instantly."

He shrugged. "I don't want the void doing the work and messing with my pie," he said. "Besides, having to wait has always been part of it. I like to think that's how aunt Zoe taught us patience. It's always more worth it if you have to wait for it."

Jacob nodded. It looked like he reluctantly agreed with him. Isaac tried not to smirk. He sat down on the same stool Jacob had previously occupied. "So now we have some time on our hands..." he said.

Jacob looked at him suspiciously. The others looked like they'd been waiting for the opportunity and were about to interrupt.

Isaac sighed. "Look, before we start this witch hunt... There's... There's something I've always wanted to do, and now that there's two of me, I can finally do it..."

Jacob looked confused and maybe worried.

Isaac gave him a small smile. "Come on," he said. "We've always wished we could play more instruments at the same time. A one man band isn't exactly our look."

Jacob's eyes actually lit up, but he shook his head, obviously trying to snuff that light out. "This isn't the time to-"

Isaac frowned, shrugging and tilting his head. "When is? When will this stupid opportunity ever come again? We all know one of us is probably going to be kicked out or something before that pie is even done. Come on. Just humor me. One last little chance to think about this before we do something we'll regret." He gave Jacob such a sincere pleading look. He didn't care if the others could call him out because of it now. The sight of Jacob absolutely face planting on the guilt he was kicking him in the ankle with was worth it. God, he looked like he was going to cry... and Isaac was reveling in it.

"Okay..." said Jacob weakly. "Fine. It's your turn, I think... You want viola or piano? Or guitar? Or... what are we doing?"

Isaac gave an "innocent", "relieved" smile. "I'll take piano. You should do violin."

They both knew what the other room on that floor had been from the moment the house had been created. It was full of instruments, music equipment, and albums and posters hung up on the walls. It was hidden, out of the way, an eyesore to the neat open living room, but now the whole wall separating them was gone.

He extended his hand politely toward Jacob, as if he were inviting him to dance. Jacob lifted his hand hesitantly as if he were going to accept, but after a glance with Pauling and T, he decided against it. Isaac shrugged, unoffended. He headed toward the other room and sat down at the black baby grand piano that barely filled a corner of the room without making it feel to crowded. It was a perfect replica of the one from the living room of their father's somewhat modest penthouse. The thing had been the main gift of their first christmas there at six years old.

~~~~

Isaac looked so at home there on the bench as he lifted the cover off the keys and waited patiently for Jacob to join him. He gave him such a sweet, shy smile. They couldn't be that different, could they? Isaac had to be struggling with this as much as he was. Was he just... afraid? Like he was? Confused? With no idea what to do? Or was he just trying to manipulate those feelings out of him?

Dillon sighed, getting to his feet and heading to the shelf on the other side of the room to open the violin case and pull out the replica of one of the Cristmas gifts of the following years. He somewhat prefered viola, but he supposed it didn't matter. If Isaac thought the song would sound better with a violin, then so be it. He applied resin the bow and plucked the strings to check that they were tuned. Satisfied, he took a few steps closer to the piano, but kept his distance. He still didn't trust this.

"What song are we playing?" he asked, getting the violin into position and pulling the bow across the strings to test once more that all was in order.

"Are you ready? You'll know when I start."

Dillon rolled his eyes, standing at the ready by the microphone to boost the quieter instrument slightly. He was expecting to play "This is Gospel", but was caught off guard when Isaac started playing something else. It took him a moment to reckognize it and adjust. He certainly hadn't expected it... but that didn't stop him from joining in flawlessly.

He had to wonder why in the world Isaac would pick this song if he was trying to come off as innocent, but he dropped the thoughts for now while he focused on playing. Maybe it wasn't about the lyrics that niether of them sang, but simply the tunes and melodies, the roles each instrument was playing in their duet. The "conversation" as his music theory professor would put. Isaac's piece was jaunty, but perhaps sinister, while his own was almost desperately trying to convey something. It made sense, he supposed, for the violin substituting the vocals, to sound that way. He didn't know what Isaac wanted from this, but he couldn't help but appreciate the unseen dance their instruments were beautifully joined in. Maybe that's all it was about. "This is Gospel" wouldn't have nearly lended such an equality to both instruments. This wasn't about the lyrics. This was about the dance; the dance of Isaac's fingers across keys and Jacob's bow against strings.

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