another weather-related one

The inside of Grand Street Station is almost always dark. L Street and their jenny squat topside, and it takes a special favor to get them to come over and do the lights for the underground. Sometimes when the sun’s in just the right spot and the doors are open it filters in enough to show the graffiti on the walls and the trash kicked into the corners, but usually they just rely on lamps. Even those are turned off right now to save the batteries.

Inside the car it’s also dim at the moment. Two camping lanterns and a couple of strings of Xmas lights wired up to a battery provide a bright spot at one end, enough to read by if there was anything to read and anybody who wanted to read it. Delta’s got one of the lanterns sitting on the seat right above her shoulder, so she can sew; she’s on the floor with her legs stretched out and up, feet in Dog’s lap. He and Freak are playing Bullshit under the other lantern.

In the dark end of the car, Poison is still draped over a seat with one arm dangling into the aisle. She wakes up slow and grumpy, pulling herself to her feet and muttering curses as she digs through her bag for some aspirin.

The others greet her with nods once she’s vertical. She waves half-heartedly back and kicks an empty bottle out of her way, heading out of the car to check the weather just in time to catch Sid sliding down the handrail in the middle of the broken escalator.

“Still raining?”

“Still raining. This is getting fucking ridiculous.” He shakes his head and pulls the door open.

Poison nods and scowls and stretches ’til her back pops, then stops, eyebrows knitting. “Where’s Vitch?”

Sid freezes half-in the car. “Huh?”

“I didn’t see him when I woke up – thought he’d be with you.”

“Well, he’s not – ” He ignores her “obviously” and sticks his head inside the car. “Hey guys, you seen Vitch?”

Head shakes from Delta and Freak; only Dog looks up. “No, wasn’t he with you?”

“Shit.” Sid hops back out of the car. “Vitch? VITCH?”

“Oh my god, don’t yell so fuckin’ loud,” Poison snaps. Then she puts her hands over her ears and yells even louder: “VIIIIIIIITCH!”

It echoes off the walls. Sid starts walking past the car in one direction, Poison heading in the other. Search and rescue mission is go.

Suddenly a distant indignant “WHAT?!” echoes back up the tunnel, and they both stop and whirl toward its source, annoyed.

“DON’T FUCKING WANDER OFF LIKE THAT, YOU LITTLE ASSHOLE!” Poison still has her hands over her ears as she shouts, as if this will somehow help her head.

“OH FUCK OFF,” comes the reply, and then footsteps are audible – growing nearer until he rounds a corner and his flashlight is visible. “I was right the fuck here! I went up to Ency to check if it was still raining! Tunnel’s getting flooded up there.”

From inside the car, Delta asks: “Did you find him?”

“Yeah, thanks for helping,” Poison snaps.

Vitch’s flashlight creates a lightshow on the walls, implying the angry gesture that can’t be seen. “I WASN’T FUCKING LOST!”

“See? Didn’t need me,” Delta says drily.

Sid ignores them; the scout report’s more important. “The tunnel’s getting flooded?”

“Yeah, it’s like, up to my fucking ankles. It’s lame. Only after the turn though so we’re cool, right?” By now Vitch has reached them, standing inside the circle of light Sid’s providing; he snaps his flashlight off and glares at Poison. “The hell were you wigging about anyway, you afraid I was gonna trip and drown?”

She is having none of this. “Don’t fucking wander off without telling somebody, god, I’m not going out there to pick you up if you get lost and fall off a ledge!”

Vitch rolls his eyes dramatically. “I brought a fucking flashlight, ‘n’ I know the tunnels better than you do anyway, I’m not gonna get fucking lost on my way to Ency.”

“Yeah, that totally helped you not twist your ankle last summer – ”

“Fuck off, that was an accident!”

“That’s my fucking point, you dipshit – ”

Sid literally steps in between them. “Poison, quit bitching at him. Vitch, fucking tell people when you’re taking off.”

“Oh, fuck both of you,” Vitch grumbles, shoving his hands in his pockets and stalking past them into the car.

All three of its occupants look up, and Delta has a smile for him. “Hey, Vitch.”

“Where’d you go?” asks Freak.

“Up the tunnels.”

“You shoulda told us,” Dog says, tossing a card on the stack. “We thought you were with Sid.”

Vitch stops in the aisle and does a half-spin, looking up at the ceiling in disgust. “OH MY GOD, WHY IS EVERYBODY A DAD TODAY?”

“Oh hush and come sit,” says Delta, patting the floor at her side. “I can’t believe it’s still fucking raining.”

“And we’re almost out of booze.” Vitch kicks another bottle out of the way and settles in at the indicated spot. Delta immediately enlists him as tailor’s assistant, spreading the sleeve of the jacket she’s fixing up across his lap.

Poison and Sid follow him in, Poison immediately settling in on the seat next to Delta’s lantern. Sid makes sure the door is shut all the way before flopping down next to Dog. “It’s gotta clear up soon. If it’s still comin’ down by tonight, you guys wanna take the tunnels up to L street ‘n’ mess with ’em?”

“Sure, why not.” Dog triumphantly tosses the last of his cards onto the stack, then picks the deck up and hands it to Freak to shuffle. He scoots over on the bench to make more room for Sid, and transfers Delta’s feet to the other man’s lap while he’s at it. “Poker while we wait?”

“I’ll play if it’s strip,” Delta says, with no reaction to the seating rearrangement.

“You’re fuckin’ awful at poker,” Poison points out.

“That’s why I’m only playin’ if it’s strip, honey.”

“Okay, Delta strips, everybody else plays for chips.”

They settle in for poker, potato chips for tokens. Freak eats most of his ante before they’re even done dealing, but since he doesn’t really know how to play anyway, it’s no great loss.

Sid keeps trying to eat Vitch’s, and not even sneakily; they start out sitting on opposite sides of the car, making him lean forward and stretch to reach. Vitch sees it coming and kicks at his feet, Sid kicking back but otherwise ignoring him and continuing his attempt; Vitch’s attempt to fight back leads to wrestling, everyone else shouting at them for disrupting the game while they grab their own chips and pull out of the way, and the wrestling leads to Sid pinning Vitch to the floor until he stops wiggling. This in turn leads to the two of them getting repositioned with Vitch in Sid’s lap whether he likes it or not, Sid still trying to eat Vitch’s chips and Vitch elbowing him and complaining loudly about Sid looking at his cards.

Finally Poison gets fed up, folds, and heads into the other car, followed shortly after by Delta “to keep her company;” at this point the game is a straight loss and only Sid and Dog keep pretending to take it seriously, until Poison and Delta come back and the whole gang is free to head up the tunnels to L street to mess with them.

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