i_am_your_host: (eyes)
Emcee has decided to take a little trip back to Jay's Berlin. Up in his room, he packs a small bag with essentials for a few days away. Clothes, toiletries, makeup kit. Just some things to make his home away from home start to actually feel like a home.

He lifts the lid to his drone-made music box, glittering silver and blue. Somewhere Over the Rainbow plays sweetly, and he listens for a moment before picking out the special key with the glass fob on a chain. He gathers it into the palm of his hand and tucks it into his trouser pocket. After the last note of the melody, he gently shuts the lid.

A new Berlin calls to him.


Emcee borrows a smartphone and charger from the Bar, and leaves a note for Jay. Emcee is fairly sure he won't be missed by anyone else, but just in case someone asks, Jay will know where he is.

He then pauses at the door just long enough to use the key for the first time, trusting it to lead to the penthouse, and not a hail of bullets.

He turns the knob. Opens the door.

...It works.

With a breath of relief, Emcee hangs the key around his neck and slips through, closing the door behind him.


It's early evening. The wide windows let in the dusky light as the city skyline begins to twinkle awake. The expansive room is quiet, empty, incredibly still.

Emcee still feels like a stranger in it. Perhaps turning on a lamp will help? He does so, and he drapes his leather coat (can't go anywhere without it) on the back of a chair, and sets his bag down on the floor.

Actually, no, he'll bring his bag to the master bedroom. And he'll unpack it. He'll take out his clothes and arrange them in the dresser and the closet, and he'll set out his makeup on the vanity table.


Music! Music is definitely missing from this scenario, so Emcee heads back out into the living room to turn on the stereo. This is a state-of-the-art entertainment system, because Jay would have nothing less for Emcee. However, there are a lot of buttons. Emcee pushes many of them in growing dismay until he finds the radio, which immediately blares out a bright and dance-y pop song that he has never heard of, but he likes it!

There! Music!

Filling the very big and very empty room.

Emcee sighs.

(He is going to have to plan a party here, and fill the rooms with life.)

He rummages through some drawers in search of cigarettes. He finds a stash of several unopened Lucky Strikes, which makes him smile. At the wet bar (he has his own bar), he pours himself a gin on the rocks, and takes his glass and cigarette out onto the balcony. It's getting darker, and the weather is pleasantly cool, with a breeze that plays with Emcee's hair.

How much time has passed since he was last here? Are Alice and Jared still waiting for his return?

He stays out there for as long as it takes to finish his smoke and drink. He doesn't think too deeply on anything in particular. It would be too overwhelming.

Right about now, in a past existence, in a past Berlin, he would be showing up at the Kit Kat Klub for his opening number.

No, that's too deep. Emcee turns and goes back inside, as if wanting to leave his thoughts on the balcony. He needs a distraction. He'll go to Wonderland.


After a glorious shower in that glorious bathroom, he parades around naked through his rooms as he prepares for a night out, because he can.

Tonight he'll wear the tank top with the word Delicious splashed across the front in hot pink, and a pair of tight, black, cropped trousers. His trusty old boots will do for dancing (though sometimes he wonders if there would be any harm in buying a new pair, frugal as he is). His eyeshadow is lavender, his lipstick a deep purple.

Wallet with cash in one pocket (he'll leave the credit cards behind for safety), smartphone for selfies in the other, he pats the key hanging on its chain under his shirt to check that it's still on him.

Is he ready? Is he really doing this?


He shrugs on his coat before turning off the radio and the lamp, bathing the entire room in darkness, except for the city lights glimmering through the windows. And then he heads out into the embrace of this beautiful city, hoping it will remember him.


Emcee takes some detours on the way to Wonderland, just to familiarize himself with the immediate neighborhood at night. The sound of German being spoken everywhere pulls him in every direction at once, and he loves it. There are a few bars, some shops that are closing up (a bookseller, a dress boutique, a housewares store, an art supplies shop, and the like), and some cafes that are still open. Emcee can't resist popping into a bakery to buy a square of Bienenstich cake. He hasn't had any sort of dinner yet, but he's never cared about the order of things.

With the taste of honey on his lips and tongue and fingers, he makes his way around back to the street where the penthouse is -- above Wonderland, its art deco signage glowing warmly in the dark.

Emcee's excitement and anticipation builds as he approaches the nondescript door to the club. Outside, there are some party people milling around, smoking, laughing into the night air. His people, basically, and he smiles to himself.

The smile widens as he sees the bouncer keeping watch at the door.
i_am_your_host: (door)
Emcee is going to visit Noriko's world today! And a fabled store that sells Swedish furniture and meatballs. Because why not? He's spent enough time in Milliways to not question things that make little sense. And he's spent enough time in Milliways, period. He needs to get out.

Having asked the Bar for some more modern clothing that was comfortable and suited his style, he comes downstairs wearing slim black capris, silver high-top Chuck Taylors, and a white tank top with the word delicious printed on it as if scrawled with red lipstick. His makeup is, of course, flawless, a dark purplish wine for his lips and smoky black for his eyes. A pair of cheap plastic heart-shaped sunglasses (a souvenir from a visit to modern-day Berlin) is perched on top of his head, keeping his long bangs out of his eyes.

He sips black coffee from a travel mug while he waits for Noriko at the bar.
i_am_your_host: (Default)
Emcee opens the door to his room and leads Aureus inside.

The shades are up and the windows are open to the night air. The large bed is neatly made, with soft, dark linens and down pillows. On the table near the plush loveseat are glasses and bottles of wine and other liquor, and a gramophone.

"Would you like something to drink?" he offers.
i_am_your_host: (door)
[Continued from here]

Emcee opens the door to his room and leads Eric inside. It hasn't changed much since the last time he was here, perhaps one or two new items, but nothing extravagant.

The shades are up and the windows are open to the night air.

"Make yourself comfortable, darling."
i_am_your_host: (window)
[Continued from here]

When Emcee's bartending shift is over, a napkin with a thank you note appears on the countertop. He finishes his food that he'd ordered from the kitchen, and drains his last drink. It's not even midnight yet. And Eric is waiting for him.

With a lightness in his step, he heads upstairs to his room, letting himself through the door.

IMDb flu

Apr. 1st, 2017 07:04 am
i_am_your_host: (hungover)
[After this.]

By the time Emcee reaches the stairs, he isn't thinking at all about whether he had just had a conversation with Jim or a completely different person named Gethin. Because now his head is swimming, and getting up the stairs is more labor intensive than he anticipated. He clutches the railing in one hand, and his thermos of tea in the other, not wanting to drop it, yet not wanting to fall.

Perhaps he might require something more than just tea and a nap. But he's suddenly feeling too ill to go back downstairs. So he makes his way to the nearest welcoming room he knows.

He knocks on Sinric's door.
i_am_your_host: (stark)
[Continued from here]

Emcee carefully carries the glass of his blood up the stairs and makes his way to his room.

Is he having second thoughts about Guppy's offer to stand by while Eric drinks? ...Not really. He's just convinced by his own stubbornness that Eric is still trustworthy enough to not do anything horrible to him.

Emcee enters his room and shuts the door.
i_am_your_host: (demure / pillow talk)
[Continued from here]

Emcee leads the lost puppy Eric up to his room.

The window blinds are raised, but it's evening, so no accidental burning.

"Well, here we are," he says, casually entering first and assuming that Eric will follow over this new and strange threshold.
i_am_your_host: (demure / pillow talk)
By the Bar's calendar, it's New Year's Eve. But Emcee isn't throwing a party. His heart isn't in it to celebrate anything.

But Emcee's room has been thoroughly cleaned and aired out in an effort to drive away the malaise that had settled like dust upon everything within it, including its occupant.

The sleek, minimalist, art deco-esque design and furniture has regained prominence, no longer obscured by crumpled bedsheets and discarded towels and clothing. Empty liquor bottles are replaced by full ones, full ashtrays are emptied. The clutter cluttering the vanity table and dresser has been neatened. The bathroom sparkles with chrome and glass.

There is a tray of simple finger food on the table. Cheese, sausage, crackers, bread, mustard, olives, carrot sticks.

George the little green drone is happily rocking back and forth as an old jazz tune (still quite contemporary for Emcee) plays through him via the tablet.

Emcee himself, dressed in a white sleeveless undershirt and black trousers (both clean), is sitting up in bed with a magazine in his lap.

The door has been left ajar.

Why, it's almost as if he's expecting company.
i_am_your_host: (window)
During Emcee's recovery in his room, he became a recluse. He couldn't find the motivation to go downstairs (too tired, too lazy, too sad, too unsure of himself), so he would ask George to see if any of his friends were around. To talk, and perhaps to let the talking lead to other things. Jay, Sinric...even Eric.

At least, he thought, he might be ready to take up his other old habits.

(He wasn't certain if he could feel Eric's presence. It might have just been wishful thinking. Or not.)

As it happens, Sinric is in the bar when George goes on this particular errand. He floats up to the long-haired blond and chirps out the sounds Emm See! at him, and moves backward toward the stairs as a gesture to follow.
i_am_your_host: (window)
My will to live is for the moment stronger than ever, even though I have already experienced dreadful things and died myself with them several times. Yet the more one dies, the more intensely one lives.
-- artist Max Beckmann, Berlin, 1914

When Emcee was discharged from the infirmary, he took his roses, his peach schnapps, the books and magazines, the headphones and tablet, his new sweater, and the bag containing his (bloodied, bullet hole-ridden) coat, up to his room. It was a quiet, rather solemn affair, accompanied only by Jay and one of his young drones, George.

Emcee had last seen this room just a few days ago by his own world's time, but it felt as if ages had passed. Most notably, the windows had been changed. There were still curtains, because Emcee liked curtains, but automated blinds had been installed while he was away. They were light proof, and were currently closed. After tinkering with the control panel, Jay showed him how to operate the blinds, and left them open to let in the wintry afternoon sun.

The rest of the room was how Emcee had left it. Phonograph, stacks of records, bottles of liquor, more books. The glass music box that George's colony mate, Lock, had made.

As Emcee settled in, he told Jay that he preferred to be alone for a while. He needed more time to think. To pull himself together. He knew how protective Jay was of him, but Jay obliged. George, however, could stay if he liked. And the little drone did stay, providing quiet and undemanding companionship, and a quick link to the bar whenever Emcee needed to eat or drink.

One of the first things Emcee did on his own was to take a hot bath. The last time he'd done that was when he came in injured--entering Milliways while injured seemed to be his manner as of late--and Sinric gave him a haven in his room. Now, even as he soaked, he could still feel the hot stickiness of his own blood on his skin, spilling from burning wounds that were no longer there. When he closed his eyes, he could still hear the crack of gunfire, the harsh voices, the screams, the crying.

He sat there in the bath for a long time, tears silently falling. He then thought of Rae, Jay, Eric, and Guppy, and what they had done for him. He thought of everyone who visited him in the infirmary to wish him well. And then he cried some more.

When he finally emerged from the bath, his body may have felt some relief, but he felt no better in his soul. He poured himself a glass of the peach schnapps and lit a cigarette to relax, but found that his old habits seemed strange and forced. It troubled him, though it was probably just the exhaustion warping his mood.

But he couldn't help thinking, Who am I anymore?

He had been stripped of everything. Very nearly including his life. How could he ever get it all back?

Over the next few days, he slept a lot, more than he needed. It was difficult to drag himself out of bed, often spending hours wrapped up in his blankets doing nothing. He sank back into drinking and smoking, and consumed all the liquor and cigarettes in his room before asking George to get a rat to fetch some more.

But was this really the old self that he wanted to find?

He once asked George what day it was, so deeply was he lost in his own idleness. George projected the bar's calendar on the wall. It was with a sinking feeling that he remembered that it was so close to the end of the year. The end of the year meant holidays. The holidays meant parties.

What were parties anymore?

And then he resumed crying. It pained him to know that he couldn't bear to enjoy himself. It wouldn't be right.

Herman, Helga, those two other refugees, the two fishermen who helped them, even the sailors on that cargo ship--they were all in danger. Trapped in time, certainly. But Emcee's heart was too heavy, his whole being wracked with guilt. The darkest part of him blamed himself for the failure of his plan. The darkest part of him knew it was better not to care. The darkest part of him told him to give up. Stay. Forget it.

there are no

The darkest part of him was familiar. It was almost a comfort to sit in its shadows. But that was all that it was made of: shadows. And once he immersed himself in them, he had a clearer choice of where to turn.

There was music playing almost constantly. Music, Emcee had decided, was still important. At some point George wirelessly connected to the tablet and acted as an external speaker. Emcee found the technological gesture incredibly charming for some reason, and it lifted his spirits somewhat to have George channeling the music instead of an inanimate device.

Eventually, Emcee began to sing again.

Because one cannot dwell in shadows without also seeing light.
i_am_your_host: (intense)
“Quickly, now,” said Maurice in a low voice as he shepherded Emcee, Herman, and Helga down the alley and out the other end. “Straight ahead. Keep quiet.”

Helga held Herman’s hand tightly as Emcee kept close. The sound of their hasty footsteps on the cobblestones seemed louder in the stillness of the night. Maurice stayed in the shadows out of the streetlamps, and the trio did their best to keep up while remaining just as silent. From what they could see of him, he was young, stocky, with straw-colored hair that stuck out from underneath a seaman’s knit cap. He moved with familiarity and precision, as if he had gone this route before.

The houses began to thin out, and the whisper of gentle waves lapping against dock posts and the hulls of boats could be heard. Faint lights twinkled on the black surface of the water.

“I’ve got a friend helping us, so don’t be alarmed,” said Maurice as they made their way along the canal that opened onto the Elbe River. “Also, two other people will be joining you.”

“What?” said Emcee, unprepared for this addition. “Who?”

“Some fellow travelers seeking passage just like you,” he replied.

Emcee hadn’t thought of that. That others were having as difficult a time breaking free as he and his own friends were. That others were braving dangers that they were facing as well. Somehow, in his otherness, he didn’t quite feel so alone.

Read more... )
i_am_your_host: (intense)
When the sun went down, Emcee grew restless, and he awoke before Herman and Helga. However, he was sandwiched between them (I sleep in the middle / I’m left / And I’m right / But there’s room on the bottom if you drop in some night…), with Herman’s arms around him, and his own arms around Helga. He had to admit, this manner of sleeping was one he would loathe to give up.

He kissed the back of Helga’s head. “Liebling, wake up,” he murmured into her hair.

She made a small, mewling sound of protest as she shifted and stretched. Herman grumbled against the back of Emcee’s neck.

Emcee would be inconsolable if he never felt that again for the rest of his life.

He carefully climbed over Helga and off the bed. Groping for the light switch on the lamp, he turned it on, and checked the time on his pocket watch.

“It’s almost five o’clock,” he said, a slight stiffness in his voice. “You realize that at this very moment, Max is probably wondering where in the hell I am.”

The realization was a literal eye-opener, as Herman and Helga slowly sat up, fully awake.

“And he can’t do anything about it,” said Herman, giving Emcee’s arm a reassuring squeeze. “We’re free of him now.”

Emcee nodded slowly and snapped the watch shut. “We still have a ways to go until we’re truly free,” he said, as he dug into his coat pocket for his lighter and cigarettes. He lit one, took a drag, and passed it to Helga.

“What do you think our lives will be like in New York?” she mused wistfully as she exhaled a plume of smoke and shared the cigarette with Herman.

“Well, I wouldn’t set my heart on running into James Cagney,” Emcee chuckled.

“I suppose it’s like any other big city, isn’t it?” she said. “Like Berlin or London or Paris.”

“Different, but familiar,” said Herman.

Emcee could say the same for modern Berlin.

“Now that,” he said, “I do have my heart set on.”

Read more... )
i_am_your_host: (window)
Emcee, Herman, and Helga boarded the train, entering one of the third class cars at the rear. The hard, wooden benches could only occupy two persons each, so Emcee and Helga slid in together, and Herman sat across the aisle from them. Since their suitcases were small, they were able to bypass checking them in and simply pushed them under their seats. Helga used hers as a footrest as she tried to get comfortable beside Emcee.

As the train bustled and brimmed with passengers squeezing on and trying to find space to sit, Emcee sat numbly, his thoughts and emotions a whirlwind from which he stayed just out of reach. To think too deeply on this new reality would be to give in to his fears. And he could not allow his fears to take over. Not now. Not when escape was in sight.

Read more... )
i_am_your_host: (eyes)
Herman's flat was bare, save for the most basic of furniture. Once filled with the comforts of books and music, the shelves now only bore dust and emptiness. Here in this cold little room, Herman, Helga, Fritzie, Frenchie, and Emcee took refuge on their last night in Berlin.

In hushed tones, and moving around in stocking feet to muffle their footsteps from neighbors, they readied themselves for their journey.

Read more... )
i_am_your_host: (hiding)
The Kit Kat Klub was no longer the den of sin and vice as it once used to be. It was now a restaurant with light evening entertainment, tame and pleasant, and in strict accordance with the regulations set in place by the government.

The orchestra was down to a bare bones ensemble, a pianist and violinist, temporarily on loan from another cafe down the street. It was inevitable. All its previous dancers and musicians, the notorious Kit Kat Klub boys and girls, had gradually left over the course of the past several months. Some quit voluntarily. Some were fired. Some simply disappeared.

And then there was the former Master of Ceremonies. He was the singer, the crooner of sappy torch songs and stilted standard ballads.

He was good, but he was never meant to be a songbird. The cage didn't suit him.

That was how Max kept him. In a cage. He paid him slightly better than before, pretended to be nice to him so that he wouldn't leave or misbehave onstage. But all the while, both of them knew that Max could have Emcee arrested any time he wanted.


It was just before midnight when the entertainment portion of the evening ended, and the last drinks were being served. These early nights were a novelty to Emcee. The Klub used to close at around three or four in the morning, with Emcee taking a party of three or four revelers to his dressing room or flat to continue reveling.

People were afraid to do that sort of thing now.

Emcee went to his dressing room alone, sat at the vanity table, and began to remove his stage makeup. Every speck of it. Not even a trace of eyeliner. Leaving himself completely naked.

It was a measured and deliberate process. He took his time. Because despite the calmness with which he wiped the crimson lipstick from his lips, the rouge from his cheeks, inside he was a roiling mass of nerves and emotions.

This was the last time he would be sitting here, doing this. These tattered walls, this tarnished mirror, this room cluttered with the accoutrements of a life lived in shadows and spotlights. He was saying goodbye tonight. Goodbye to that life, goodbye to the person he once was.

No one knocked on his door. Oh, those hedonistic nights when people clamored to come inside. But now he was grateful for the silence. And he was grateful for the solitude, because he didn't want anyone to know he was leaving this silence behind.

Most of all Max. Max had no idea. Emcee was breaking free from his cage.

He changed out of his stage clothes and into his own, a plain white dress shirt, long trousers, a vest, the leather coat, a scarf and flat cap. He had to be normal and decent and invisible.

From behind the sofa he pulled out his little suitcase, packed only with essentials, not even a book. ...Well, he did pack one magazine, an issue of National Geographic. It contained lengthy articles about the history of Western America.

And then, as the staff bused tables and swept up, Emcee quietly slipped out the back door and into the night.

Walking with purpose but not too swiftly, he merged with the clusters of stragglers heading home from various other restaurants and bars. He was on high alert, his nerves crackling. It seemed as if every ripple of chatter was amplified, every movement out of the corner of his eye exaggerated.

Was someone following him? Was someone watching him from a window? Was someone around the next corner, preparing to attack?

He kept walking.

He stopped at an apartment building and let himself inside with a key. Taking two steps at a time, he hurried up the stairs on light footsteps, the old floorboards barely creaking under his feet. And then finally, finally, out of breath and his heart pounding in his ears, he reached a door. With trembling fingers, he slotted another key into the lock. It rattled more than it ought to have as he turned it. And he pushed inside into a dark room.

A small lamp flicked on.

"Emcee," Herman gasped.

Herman, Helga, Fritzie, and Frenchie were all there in Herman's apartment, waiting for him. And they all gathered around him and took him into their arms as they let tears of relief stream down their cheeks.

This was only the beginning.


Nov. 10th, 2016 03:01 pm
i_am_your_host: https://twitter.com/Alancumming/status/576838902465589248 (boots)
There are notes left at the Bar to be delivered to a few people.

To Abe no Seimei: )

To Sinric: )

And to Jay: )
i_am_your_host: (lips and sparkly eyes)
[Continued from here]

With an open bottle of wine and a chocolate cupcake wrapped in a napkin, Emcee leads Eric to the grove of trees where Jay had taken him earlier in the evening. Amid the scent of pine and grass and soil, Eric would no doubt smell sex.

He sets his drink and snack (and the glow stick) down by a tree, and moves toward the center of a bare patch of grass. Without taking off his wings, he sits down on the ground and leans back on his hands for a moment, looking up at Eric.

"Just be careful with my makeup. And I still have to go out there and dance to ABBA."
i_am_your_host: (eyes)
[Continued from here]

Emcee enters his apartment and leaves the door slightly ajar.

As he waits for Eric, he kneels by his traveling trunk and buries the envelope with money under some books and clothing.

Aside from the trunk, there are a few other things that were not here the last time Eric spent the night. Notably the phonograph on the table, and a sparkly blue and silver music box on the dresser.
i_am_your_host: (door)
[Continued from here]

Emcee sets the phonograph down on the floor so that he can unlock the door to his room. Pushing it open, he steps aside to let Jay through first.

"You can put the trunk anywhere out of the way," he says, before picking the phonograph back up and following him inside.


i_am_your_host: (Default)
The Master of Ceremonies

September 2017



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