You don't even notice it at first.

You're busy – typing out a memo to the pathetic moron you were three days ago, back when you actually thought that the laundry rota was ever a thing which might happen – and you don't know how long it is before you realise there's more sound in the room than your frantic tapping on the keyboard. It takes you a moment's pause to recognise the low thrum as rhythmic – artificial, not some strange archaic beast awakening to slaughter you all – but when you place that pattern, you know the source.

You log off abruptly. Past you will – is – did complain about that, but what does he know?

This has got to stop.

You'll swear it gets louder in the time it takes you to reach the corridor. A minute ago, you couldn't even hear it, but now it's the only sound, stronger than your breath or your blood and your footsteps fall into it, marching in time with the drums.

As you round the corner, a second rhythm begins to emerge, jumping around the first, playing back and forth, dancing around the main beat – but no, it's out, a fraction to early, and your breath hitches as it skips for a second, sliding into its proper place, where the two tracks can push in and out of each other without catching.

You're outside his door now, and this is the point where you burst inside and tell him to shut out the godawful noise – wait, fuck, what is that?

There's silence where there should be a beat.

It rips at you, and you freeze. You don't even have a moment to recover before it happens again – fuck, and he calls himself the Knight of Time? How can he bear it, this monstrosity, the gaping wound in his music – again and again, there

You don't mean to move, and the sound of your fist against the metal wall makes you start – but the rhythms keep playing, and fuck, the idiot still hasn't cottoned on and fixed it. The emptiness of those moments is so wrong it makes your head buzz, and you have to fill that hole – so you hit the wall once more, then one more time after that, until you're pressed against the door pounding out the missing rhythms.


The pattern starts to shift, but you feel each change before it comes, and you're moving with it – or perhaps he's moving with you, but it feels like the hollow, echoing beats are dragging you after them, and every nerve in your body pulses with it. Your eyes are shut, and every part of you is moving – feet following his bass line, fingers tapping out a counterpoint in triplets and hemiolas, and always your hand keeping time, bashing out the desperate heart of this cacophony. There is nothing in you but the music, and you think if it stopped the blood would freeze in your veins.

You don't care.

The motion shifts again, and you can feel it coming together – curling in on itself, pulling itself tight and compact. It's faster, but more basic – your fluttering fingers lose time and drop out, and there is nothing but the raw beats, crescendoing –

And dropping away.

As the last hit echoes into silence, you slump against the wall, your muscles suddenly unneeded. For a minute you just breathe, and every motion seems rough, uncoordinated, out of time.

There's something you have to do.

When you open the door he's stood at the turntables still, perfectly poised with his hands just barely brushing the console. For a second, you think his eyes must be shut beneath those impenetrable shades – but then he inclines his head in the slightest nod, and you know your gazes meet.

You step over the threshold, and let the door shut behind you.