There were few things Niels could be tempted out of his usual routine for, though the young sorcerer didn’t keep to a typical schedule by comparison to other people. Rarely sleeping for more than a couple of hours and throwing himself either into his thesis research or his experiments, his part time job as a night clerk at a local niche museum taking up the remaining slots, it was difficult to find the pattern unless you knew what to look for. Often, when neither monster movies nor magic suited, his insomnia drove him out into the city far past when most of its inhabitants were asleep. Walking along the streets, he could occupy his mind with technicalities. Street signs and directions. Seven blocks this way, left turn, two blocks, right turn, five blocks. A diner on the right, a city park across the road on the left. Reverse to home. Same steps. Dull, dry facts about this subject or that to fill in the gaps. It kept his brain from focusing too much on the fears that plagued him. Helped remind him that the tapping noise he’d heard at the window had been nothing more than just an inconsequential noise. That the shadows that lurked in the corner were not seething, breathing, coming to life to consume him.
This world was not the one he’d come from. Niels knew that in an intellectual sense. Acknowledged it. Received a sort of cowardly relief from it. The monsters that plagued his world gained no footing here. For all he knew (and hoped) could not cross the portal that separated the two planes. That did not mean they did not haunt his sleep like a jealous crone in retribution for the escape he had made from them otherwise. The sorcerer went to great lengths to avoid them even there, pushing his body to limits of what it could endure through whatever means he could find. Mental stimuli, caffeine, physical exertion, whatever worked in a particular instance to keep the natural pendulum of the human body from swinging towards sleep. Though he had found a routine of sorts -- a balance of several things -- that worked best for him currently, he was not always successful at avoiding eventual collapse. He couldn’t always recognize the signs when they came, for one reason or another, and it would occur at the least opportune moment. More than once had he woken up only to found himself slumped against the stoop of his apartment building or curled up on the kitchen floor.
Were it not for his roommate, the list would likely much longer. A collection of even odder places to have slept than it currently stood. It was for the aforementioned roommate that Niels had set aside his usual habits as they currently made their way towards Haven Hill. An abundance of free food had been mentioned -- a feast -- and that had been an even bigger incentive to leave his bedroom-turned-at-home-laboratory than even Kaito’s company -- someone he actually liked more than he liked most people. Which was not a sterling accomplishment in and of itself as Niels rarely liked people in a general sense and they ever more rarely liked him in return. Though, in top form, the young man could be both personable and witty, he was much more often brusque and lacking in self-awareness. Given his aptness at refusing sleep for days on end, it was unsurprising that other healthy habits usually fell by the wayside in the process.
At least he had remembered to shower and, if his hair hadn’t seen a comb in a while, his fingers worked just as well at untangling the mop of dark curls where they fell across his face. He peered through them at his roommate as they walked side-by-side towards the building, dark eyes cutting a glance towards the entrance. From the way his brow wrinkled in thought, expression serious, one might assume the young man was preparing to embark on a weighty topic. When he spoke, however, it was quite different. ”What sort of food do you think will be available?” He pondered thoughtfully, before his lips turned into a frown. ”I hope there aren’t an abundance of carrots.” His lip curled in disgust as he faced forward again. ”I deplore carrots, even the smell of them. Yams, too.” He added the last quickly before his expression cleared of the childish snarl, his tone turning wistful. ”Do you think they’ll have coffee?”