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Latest revision as of 18:07, 22 March 2020

Dramatis Personae

Daiki, Desi, Shane, Vic


"Out of one closet, into another, you know?"


<XAV> Lake - XS Grounds

Bright, bright, bright; the lake glitters wide and expansive here, stretching off into the distance. Sunlight, moonlight, starlight, it catches them all. Lapping at the rocky shore, its deep waters are frigid in winter and cool even in summer. A stone pier stretches out a ways into the water, wide and smooth, though often icy in winter.

The water teems with life nevertheless, home to myriad species of fish that provide for ample fishing or just lazy watching on a slow summer day, for those who want to take a boat from the boathouse out to the center of the lake, or perhaps lounge on the pier and try their luck.

It's not exactly warm quite yet but it's mild, pleasant enough here at the break of spring out here by the lakeshore. There's a goodly distance between this particular rocky stretch of waterside and the stately mansion off across the grounds and somewhere Way Over There there are, (to keen ears, perhaps, of which there are no shortage around these parts) the noises of students enjoying their Saturday out on the sports fields or in the gardens, intermittent vehicles wending down the long-long drive on trips off to town.

Here, though... here there is the flick flick flick of a lighter and the sharp grumbling of one (1) evidently cranky blue sharkpup. Shane is dressed neatly; well-tailored black slacks, a mandarin-collared silvery button-down embroidered with deep blue vines. The polished dress boots he had been wearing have been shucked and neatly set aside beside the rock he is perched on, webbed toes dipping down into the cold water. "-- like what the fuck are they gonna do," Shane is saying over the jittery-rapid flick of the torch lighter in his hand -- there doesn't seem to be anything immediately in evidence he plans to actually light with it. Just flick, flick, flick. "Lock me up more, I'm already supposed to be there from now till I'm like. Fifty. Where's Bastian, have you seen Bastian, I need to get the hell out of here."

The young woman beside Shane looks rather unremarkable by comparison, shoulder-length brown hair drifting in the wind, a dusting of freckles on her pale cheeks, vivid green eyes. Perched cross-legged on the rock, she's wearing a lilac peasant blouse and seafoam green broomstick skirt, both trimmed with white lace, and elbow-length gloves in a fawn brown that matches slouchy suede boots. The green ombre knit scarf wound loosely around her neck seems a little excessive for the weather, but she toys with it with a kind of absent fondness. "I imagine," she replies dryly, "they will have stern words with your father and also give you more detention." Glancing over her shoulder, she shakes her head. "Perhaps sequestered away for a club project? I'm sure that he will answer if summoned."

Vic lounges on the rocky pier, closing his eyes, for what little that matters. His gray long-sleeve tee and tight jeans are well-fitted and expensive-looking, but both have jagged holes where the designer labels have been torn out. His hair is as blue as Shane’s skin. This color, however, comes from a bottle rather than a misplaced gene.

“I can take a look if you’re desperate,” he says. “But no one likes it when I start prying into people’s privacy. Least of all me.”

He holds out a hand-rolled cigarette of indeterminate provenance. “If you’re gonna play with that thing, at least make it useful.”

Emerging from the gardens slowly waking to an early spring, Daiki makes his way on long, graceful strides down to the lake. He's neatly dressed, and more formally than is common for his schoolmates, though nowhere near so debonair as Shane -- a white dress shirt with a sensible navy blue sweater vest that hides most of the peacock-colored abstract geometric tie, charcoal trousers, and polished black oxfords. He's carrying a wide cylindrical parcel neatly wrapped in a furoshiki whose blue-and-white pattern calls to mind waves or fish scales, or possibly both. He slows as he approaches the small cluster of teens on the shore, dark eyes lingering on Vic in particular, though ultimately he breaks into a warm, if reserved, smile as he comes within conversational range. "Hi, there." His words are quiet and even. "Mr. Miller sent me to fetch you, Shane, but I have instead fetched you this." He sinks down beside Shane and presents the parcel.

"My detention schedule is full up. Anyway, it should be illegal to give detention on my birthday the fuck is that about?" Shane sits up, frowning over at Vic. "Please, I have a phone, I'm not desperate. Well. Not to drag Bastian away from his nerd time, anyway." He does lean over to nab the cigarette, though. Tucks it between his lips, starts to flick the lighter again but instead perks up, his gills fluttering along the sides of his neck and his pitch-black eyes opening uncannily wide as Daiki approaches. His hand lowers, the smoke temporarily forgotten. "Oh damn! Did you tell him it was my birthday and he should chill out? He'd listen to you." The cigarette bobs between his lips erratically as he speaks. He hops down off the rock, taking the box with one hand and looping the other arm in a brief squeeze around the taller boy's waist. "Okay. First day of spring in the city, where would you go?" It's unclear exactly which of the others he is addressing this question to.

"Truly, the injustice cannot be borne," Desi says, without the least hint of sarcasm or derision in her voice. She cocks her head slightly, but lets Shane answer Vic's offer. "I expect some people find it interesting, at least. Many students here have, I think grown somewhat resigned to lacking privacy on various fronts." Answering Daiki's smile, she shakes her head. "I'm not altogether certain Miller is capable of chilling out, absent chemical assistance." Though here she pauses thoughtfully as she studies the tall boy. "The High Line, perhaps?" This to Shane, again. "It's not the best park for a picnic, but there are spots that work."

Vic had held his power as close to him as possible, out of courtesy for his friends, but Daiki's voice prompts him to unleash it fully. A million tiny motions enter his awareness. Minnows swimming, frogs hopping, blood pumping through veins and food churning in stomachs. Daiki's staring. Again.

Daiki's power is, supposedly, "super charisma," but Vic can't see it. On Vic's first day of school, he caught Daiki staring at him from around a corner, and the feeling of creepiness that his classmate emanated only got worse from there.

Still, he played friendly, smiling slightly. Similarly, he graciously allowed Shane to steal his cigarette. His allowance was substantial. He could afford to be generous. Reaching into his pocket, he takes out his rolling paper and loose leaf and starts to make another.

"Happy birthday, by the way," he says to Shane. Then, waving to Daiki, he says "yo." He keeps his head turned in the direction of the lake, though, so Desi is the only one who can see his smile not reaching his eyes.

Daiki wraps one spindly arm around Shane, blushing faintly. Then shifts over to sit on the rock that his boyfriend has just vacated. "I did. He still wanted to 'have a word with you'." He doesn't add the air quotes physically, but they are evident in the weight of his emphasis. "I made no promises."

Relieved of his burden now, Daiki waves back at Vic. "What are you all up to, other plotting Shane's great birthday escape?"

"Yeah, *you'd* think the High Line is a good spot, I'm guessing no cops have ever threatened to chuck you right off it." Shane snorts, though the dismissive shake of his head is a casual thing. "Picnic sounds good, though. And there's a show tonight I was thinking of checking out." He waggles the lighter in a lazy kind-of-salute of acknowledgment to the birthday wishes, now remembering to lift it and light the cigarette. His slim black claws make quick work of undoing the wrapper -- which he folds neatly and hands back to Daiki.

He opens the box with to reveal a black trilby with a silver-blue hat band; pulling it out with a flourish he sets it straightaway on his head before removing the salted watercolor card from inside to read it. His grin is bright -- broad, *excessively* toothy. "See? *Now* I'm dressed for the weekend."

"Mm, you guess correctly," Desi admits. "There are far fewer cops per square mile in Forest Park, though the view's not near so expansive." Catching Vic's expression, she plucks at her scarf, the motion suddenly, if only subtly, anxious. "How lively a picnic do you want?" She rises and tugs her gloves off, picking through the ground around them for flat stones." I can rally the troops without alerting your jailer, I'm sure--as I am sure that Bastian would rather celebrate with you than do nerd things, on this of all days." Her first stone skips only twice between sinking beneath the mirror-like surface of the lake.

"I'll see the cops before they see us," Vic says.

He finishes rolling his cigarette and tucks it unlit behind his ear. Then he follows Desi's lead and tries skipping a stone. He cringes the moment it's released, recognizing instantly that it's path is not ideal. Still, he manages three skips, one more than Desi.

"'Sides, I'm the perfectly normal baseline human son of Congressman Vernon McCallahan. If we do manage to get cornered, I'll just drop his name and tell cops you're one of the 'good ones.'" He spits in the water, then holds his cigarette out towards Shane for a light. "Out of one closet, into another, you know?"

Daiki's smile is quick and bright when Shane dons the hat. "I knew it would look good on you." He folds himself down just a little tighter where he sits, glancing over at the motion of one skipped stone, then the other. "It's your big brotherly duty to remind him it's his birthday, too."

Then looks up at Vic, genuine surprise temporarily interrupting his usual artificial calm. "Oh! That's -- I'm guessing he's not a fan of you coming here." He pauses a beat, his head dipping slightly. "Not sure there's any closet yet made that'll hold Shane, though."

"You're underestimating Bastian. He will absolutely do nerd things while we celebrate." Shane's gills flutter briefly at Daiki's compliment, his slight blush hard to see with the current dark blue hue of his skin. He has taken out his phone to send a quick text -- presumably to the twin in question! before tucking it back away. Taking a drag from the cigarette. "Alright, we got -- food, entertainment, even, uh --" His hand waves towards Vic briefly, "Security! This is almost like a plan. Maybe with age I'm becoming the responsible one."

He steps forward to flick the lighter again, lifting it towards Vic's cigarette. The hairless ridge of his brow has hiked up -- way up -- as he lifts the flame, though. "The fuck you'll tell them I'm licking the boots of some bigoted flatscan. You're kidding me with that shit, right? What the hell closet exactly --" This time the flick of his webbed hand encompasses only himself, "do you think I was ever in?"

"Don't be so hard on yourself," Desi says lightly--maybe *too* lightly, the ease sounding just a little forced, "responsible can happen to anyone. Besides, you're still skipping detention to do this." At Shane's outburst she stiffens, taking a step closer to the two boys as if preparing to break up a fight, though she does not reach for either of them yet. "Not sure the average cop here would know who he was, anyway," she offers, casually placatory. "I'd be surprised if half of them could name their *own* representatives."

“Shit, sorry,” Vic says, before taking a long drag of the cigarette. “But you’ve gotta know that the hiding is all Xavier. Security, assimilation, blah blah blah. I swear, as soon as I’m out of here, I’m gonna announce my status to the world. No more hiding. I’m sure Desi and Daiki are with me?”

He puffs again. “And Desi, the kind of cops that’d toss Shane off a cliff are exactly the kind that would idolize gramps. *Some of those that work forces...*”

Daiki does not look as alarmed by Shane's words as Desi, but he does stand up. Casually. He opens his mouth, but shuts it again quite abruptly at Vic's question. His pulse and breathing speeds, though he gets the latter under control in short order. The sudden wave of intensity that rolls over his companions, however -- strengthening and sharpening their feelings toward him -- he cannot reel back in. "I don't know," his voice is more or less steady when he finally replies. "But I won't let the Professor make that decision for me."

"Come on," the roll of Shane's eyes, pupilless as they are, is hard to see but probably easier for Vic to feel, "that's a fucking copout. You think Xavier can stop me or Bastian or goddamn -- Taylor from telling anyone who we are? Then why would it be so earth-shattering if you did? There are plenty of others who choose not to and we haven't exploded -- yet." He takes a step back, head shaking as he pulls from his cigarette again. Turns away from the others to blow the smoke downwind. "The school is hiding cuz they're embleer cowards who care more about Xavier's image and some kind of respectability than they do about the safety of those of us most likely to get murdered in the streets. You want an easier life, fine, but don't push that choice off on someone else. There's plenty reasons someone might not want to be out and I'd much rather they have the balls to claim 'em for themselves than 'oh well Xavier says...'"

"Let me rephrase," Vic replies. He sounds bitter, but the bitterness isn't directed at anyone present. "I shouldn't have said 'the hiding is all on Xavier.' I should have said 'the hiding is all of Professor X, the most powerful telepath in the world.' He was nice about it, but he didn't request I stay hidden. Doesn't want gramps to start thinking I'm a liability and turn the government eye in this direction."

Vic doesn't want to look at Daiki, but his power doesn't give him the option, so he tries to distract himself by counting his friends' heartbeats. Unable to help himself, he adds, "and don't single me out for that shit. We're all doing it. But I'm not the one dithering over the promise to change."

Desi's lips press together tightly, her already pale face draining further. Her slender fingers dig into the tail of her scarf where it hangs down. "I will thank you," she says, her words quiet but carefully enunciated to menacing effect, "not to make assumptions about Daiki's life--nor anyone's whom you know nothing about. He's more out than you or I, when it counts."

Her bright green eyes blaze with protective anger and make her delicate frame look somehow imposing where she's positioned herself between Vic and Daiki. "Your anger toward Xavier is just. Do not sully that by taking it out on someone blameless in your predicament."

"Desi..." Daiki's voice quavers a little, plaintive and warning, though he gets both it and his breathing under control again a moment later. "I'm sorry, Vic. I didn't realize the Professor was singling you out, and that is awful." He lifts both hands up, palms out, in a gesture of appeasement. "I don't know because I'm still learning to control my power. I don't know what it'll look like in a year or two years, Don't know whether I'll have to spend the rest of my life --" He cuts himself off. Takes a deep breath. Continues more evenly. "-- worrying about any given conversation going like this." He blinks hard. "Or worse."

"What's your power got to do with it?" says Vic. "If you want conversations to go better, you have to do two things. One: stop dithering and take a stand. Two: stop checking out my ass when you think I'm not looking. You have a boyfriend!"

Desi untangles her fingers from her scarf at the sound of her name, drawing that deep breath in tandem with Daiki. "No," she say softly. "I'm *pretty* sure he's *not* checking out--" Then frowns ever so slightly, her eyes giving Vic a quick once-over, her head giving a sharp shake. "No," again, more firmly, stepping over and laying a pre-emptive hand on Shane's arm. "I think we should stop, take a step back, and think about this. Why are you angry at *him* for being honestly unsure how to live his life--which is totally reasonable--but not at me for failing to answer altogether?"

“If you’re dithering, then I am a little peeved at you,” Vic says. He breathes in, then out. He’s looking out over the lake, rather than making eye contact with anyone. He raises the volume of his voice, not shouting, but projecting enough to be heard even though he’s facing the wrong direction. “But to answer your question: every time he walks in the room, I can literally feel where his eyeballs are pointing, and they end up pointed at me way too often. It doesn’t stop being creepy just because I’m a gay guy and not a girl. So I’m not predisposed to giving him benefit of the doubt.”

Shane's gills have set to fluttering again; quick-short motions along the his neck and, beneath his shirt, all along down his sides. There's a slight flex of his claws as his webbed fingers curl -- but relax again when Desi rests her hand on him. He tugs the cigarette out of his lips, and instead exhales a heavy breath of rough laughter on a thick cloud of smoke. The skim of his eyes over Vic is cursory; his head rolls slow on his neck. "Sorry but what ass? Oh my god you fucking rich-ass white kids really buy into this idea that you're everyone's ideal. Come on," he stoops to scoop his shoes up as he turns from the lakeshore, "I have way better shit to do with my weekend than explain to some self-centered coward that other people got lives and problems that don't revolve around them."

Daiki's mouth drops open, but for a moment he cannot manage any reply at all. "I keep a close eye on everyone I don't know well yet because if I'm not careful this happens. I'm sorry to have made you uncomfortable, but --" He breaks off, biting his lower lip, blushing slightly. "-- but being gay doesn't mean I'm interested in every guy I look at. I promise, all I wanted was to keep us both safe..." His head dips slightly. "...and maybe find an opening for friendship eventually. I hope you have a good day." Turning slowly, he falls into step beside Shane.

Desi blink. "I suppose if anything short of doing things precisely your way counts as dithering, then I'm a ditherer, too." Her jaw tightens, then relaxes. "I wish you much joy of your certainty, but don't see what good it does anyone else if there's no room in your ideological purity to consider people's actual lives." She trails in Shane's wake, tugging on her gloves as she goes.

Vic stands still, waiting for his classmates to exit his expansive radius, then waiting another minute or so to give them time to get out of earshot. The cigarette in his fingers burns slowly, unsmoked, until the heat on his skin becomes uncomfortable and he flicks the stub to the stony ground.

He kneels down, picks up a flat rock, and winds up. “Fuck!” He screams into the air, flinging it at an angle into the water. This time, it flies true, a solid nine skips before sinking to the bottom. Vic watches minnows swirl around the silt it kicks up when it hits the lake bed. Then, he pulls his senses into the tightest radius he can manage, and begins the lonely trek back to his dorm.