ArchivedLogs:Breaking Up the Quiet
|Breaking Up the Quiet|
Locker room chat.
<NYC> Sweat - Greenwich Village
An apropos name; it is hard to escape the smell, when visiting this fitness club. Open twenty-four hours, this facility comes equipped with all the bells and whistles for those who want to train hard. All the standard gym equipment can be found and then some. In addition to private personal trainers, there are group classes in all sorts of things, from bicycling to crossfit to yoga to martial arts to more esoteric fare such as pole dancing and dodgeball. An olympic-sized pool makes this a popular draw, and the sauna rooms by each locker room are nice spots to unwind after a heavy workout.
Late afternoon is too early yet for the after-work crowd to be mobbing the gym, too late for the lunch rush, too. As such there are many lanes open in the pool, which is convenient because Jackson has been in there doing laps for quite some time. Longer even than his usual hour-long stints, long enough that by the time he's back out it's with a faint grimace as he stretches sore muscles. He brings the sharp smell of chlorine into the locker room with him, though by the time he's through his quick shower it is at least exchanged for the milder one of sandalwood soap. He hasn't exchanged the grimace, though, flexing a shoulder tiredly as he heads, towel wrapped around his waist, for the lockers. He doesn't open one. He just bonks his head against it, eyes closing as he absently kneads at a shoulder with his opposite hand.
Another familiar face is in the gym, albeit a cloudy one. Doug sits in jeans and not much else in front of his locker, GLARING at the contents as if they have somehow conspired against him. Maybe they have. Most of them look like they've been flung inside. He must have come in while Jax was in the showers, because he looks surprised when the man emerges, and he sits up a bit straighter. There might be a slight sucking in of stomach. He watches with a set jaw as Jax passes him, and he lifts a hand. "Hey, Jax," he says in a dead-sounding voice that doesn't match the tight smile he offers. "Everything okay?"
There's a ripple of muscle along Jax's back, tensing into harder definition for a moment in surprise at the voice; the very large red-and-black feathered wings that are inked across most of his back ripple, too, with this shift. He turns his head, brushing his (dry, thanks to his swim cap) purple and green hair back from his eye and flashing Doug a smile that is quick and warm. "Oh, gosh," he says, lightly, "I think the pool near bested me today. And I ain't even a tenth of the way to being able to keep up with my /kids/." He turns around, leaning back against the lockers. There's plenty more ink tattooed across his chest -- a large peach tree climbing up one side, its branches anachronistically bearing both fruit and flowers and a tiny blue-haired fairy perched on one lower bough; a dove over his heart with the words of a prayer ringing it in plain black text; a bright blue dragonfly up near his shoulder. He tightens the towel around his waist, looking Doug over. "I might could ask you the same thing?"
Doug chuffs a dry-sounding laugh, and shakes his head. "You're probably fighting a losing battle, trying to keep up with the twins," he says. "You'd have to be Aquaman or that Sub-Mariner guy that was the Navy version of the gremlins in WWII." The tight smile tilts, and he lifts a shoulder at the question. "Failed a test today," he says. "Thought I'd studied the right material, and the professor went left on us. Most of the class failed." He sounds deeply dissatisfied with this outcome as he reaches into his locker and pulls out his workout gear. "You'd think that would make it better, somehow, but it doesn't. Now I have to take a make-up test on Saturday." He snorts, and stands, unbuttoning his jeans. "What's new with you? I haven't seen you in a while."
"I'd have to be what?" Jackson says, with a mildly puzzled expression. "Oh," he adds, to Doug's explanation, wincing slightly in sympathy. "That's rough, m'sorry. 'least you get a chance for a make-up, right? You got a little time to study the other stuff." His lips twitch, for a moment, teeth clicking down against a lipring to wiggle it absently. Clickclickclick; for a few beats it's the only response to Doug's question, his gaze flicking upwards as Doug stands to search the ceiling. "Oh, s'been busy," he offers, light, with another quick smile. "Be looking forward to spring break in a couple weeks, that's for sure. You been aright 'sides this test?"
Doug seems unaware of Jackson's shift of focus as he strips of his jeans and underpants, standing there nude for a moment before he begins putting on his workout gear. "You're always busy," he says, snapping the waistband of his supporter into place and reaching for his shorts. "I said what's /new/?" He glances over his shoulder as he pulls on the shorts, and shrugs. "I haven't been as busy," he says. "Been trying to find out more on my dad and stuff, but that's not really panning out. Other than that, I guess I've been okay." The blonde grabs his tank top, then, pulling it over his head. "You got big plans for Spring Break?"
Jackson's eyes stay absently turned upwards, one arm crossed across his chest and the other hand lifting to toy with one earring. "Probably hard to find," he says, a little frowning but a little sympathetic, "I mean, it's kinda the sort of thing that's, um, they're real used to hiding good." His smile curls wider at the question, gaze dropping back down as he laughs, quiet. "Oh, yeah. Gonna pick up a few extra shifts at the club, a lot of extras at the studio, take some time to finish some extra commissions. It's gonna be a /party/. How 'bout you?"
"Yeah, it's all shoved back behind government servers, and those aren't easy to sweet-talk." Doug scrunches his nose, sitting on the bench to fetch his shoes and socks. "But I'll find something soon." He doesn't sound as sure as his words, though, and he frowns into his locker. "See? You're always busy. Most people take a break from school to take it /easy/." His smile then is more relaxed and genuine looking, until Jax asks his return question, and then it's gone again as he focuses on his socks and shoes. "Oh, I've got nothing planned. Probably just stay in the city and work on my video game."
"Yeah, but most college kids don't exactly have three mutant kids to look after," Jackson says, a quiet note of amusement in his soft voice as his attention drops to the ground. "I'll take it easy when they're all three grown and settled." His head tosses to one side, a brief twitch of motion to clear floppy hair from his eye again. "Nothin' wrong with just -- taking it easy," he says, his smile a little lopsided as he looks at Doug's lack of smile. "You rather be doing something else?"
Doug makes a noise in his throat, pushing a foot into a shoe a little forcefully. "I guess down-time's okay," he says, lifting his shoulders. "Only, since Anwyn moved out, it's just been me and the cats...all my down-time is too quiet." He makes a face, and pushes on the other shoe, then bends to tie them, quiet for a long moment. "I'd like something to break that up, I guess."
Jackson's smile curls a little wider. "So do something to break that up!" he says, brightly.
"Easier said than done," Doug says. "Between school and stuff." He lifts a hand in Jackson's direction. "You know how it is."
"Yes, but you were talking about what you were going to do on /break/," Jackson says, still smiling, a touch of amusement in his voice. "And I'm pretty sure you don't have /quite/ the same time considerations even during school. But even if you /did/, it's not like I don't /ever/ have time to have fun. But you kinda gotta go make fun! I mean, sometimes you just stumble into fun, but if you're /wanting/ things to be less quiet there's a whole giant city out there full of exciting."
Doug shuts his locker, the noise probably louder than he intends, and he wrinkles his nose. "Yeah, I get all of that," he says. "I'd just...I feel weird, doing stuff by myself. Not all the time," he amends, holding up his hand. "THere's plenty I do on my own. But fun, exciting stuff..." he lifts a shoulder. "I get shy about doing that stuff by myself." He grins shyly. "I'm friendly enough when it's one-on-one, but stuff where there's a bunch of people I don't know -- I get all shy and weird-acting."
Jackson's nose crinkles up at this, too, though he looks a little confused. "So don't do it by yourself," he says, puzzled. "Go out with Anwyn. A friend from school. Something. Go out and meet new people doing things! I mean," he says, shrugging a shoulder with a mild note of confusion, "I guess I'm just not really sure what -- um. Sorry, I'm not good at, uh, words. What -- the --" His teeth drags against his lower lip. "I don't know. When I want not-quiet I go out and have fun. Or stay in and have fun with people, either way!"
"Wow," Doug's tone is hoar-frost as he stands up, flipping a towel over his shoulder. "That's something I hadn't considered." He gives Jackson a flat look, and then shakes his head. "Sorry," he says earnestly, and rubs at his face. "I'm in a mood, and you didn't deserve that. It's just kind of hard to hear that kind of advice from someone who's neck-deep in people in his life." He lifts his eyebrows and his mouth pulls tight. "Anwyn won't even talk to me, as long as I live in the haunted apartment -- apparently hauntings are contagious, according to her friend Autumn. And I can barely stand the people in my study group, because they're all more interested in /hooking up/ than doing anything else." There's a definite note of jealousy in his voice, but he rolls his eyes, and jerks his towel around his neck, snapping the ends. "I'll go do something," he says, his expression softening. "There's a lecture at Empire State University from some physicist who thinks he's discovered a new kind of atom. I might go to that."
Jackson's smile doesn't quite fade at Doug's initial iciness, but he does straighten, turning away to finally begin getting dressed. "Um," he says, quiet and a little distracted, rather more detached after this outburst than his earlier warmth, "how do you think you /get/ neck-deep in people? They don't just come to you sitting home in your apartment." He shrugs a shoulder with another absent flex of tattoos. Clean clothes are pulled out of his locker, black boxer-briefs first that he briefly sheds his towel to pull on. "That sounds like a good start. I mean, there's bound to be other people who share your interests at -- um," he finishes his sentence a little sheepish-awkward, "a, uhm, thing you're interested in. I used to just be mega shy but I started volunteering at places I cared about and that helped, too."
Doug laughs, and there's only a tiny hollowness to it. "I wouldn't say it was something that interested me," he says. "Physics is easy enough to understand, but it's dry as week-old toast." He frowns, and scrubs at his face again. "It's just something to do that gets me out of the house. I just..." he lifts a shoulder. "Fail. At asking people to do stuff with me." He lacks the bitterness or ice of earlier, and he exhales a long breath. "Volunteering's a good idea. I didn't think about that."
"Mmn. So go to a thing you /are/ interested in instead. There's so much going on any night in this city. You go to meetup.com there's like, a bajillion different groups around all /kinds/ of interests. Probably dozens for different types of computer stuff. Bastian joined a coding one when he was learning Python. I mean, that means more people, but, it's hard to /meet/ people one-on-one unless you like talking to strangers or, like, internet dating. Both of which are fun! But can be really awkward in their own way." Jax is dressing as he talks, tugging on some paint-splattered faded bluejeans, a cheerful pink shirt that reads "I'm one of the bravest girls alive.", some bright-coloured mismatched armwarmers. "I don't know what sorta thing you're into but there's /so/ many places that need help. I serve food with one group that cooks a couple times a week, and do a shift each week at this anarchist bookstore and run the youth group at my church and --" He stops, blushing, as he pulls on first one sock and then another (also brightly-patterned, also mismatched), and dips his head apologetically. "Um, not that you need to be /quite/ so ridiculous as I am. Probably just starting with /one/ regular activity'd be a good way to meet people."
Doug absorbs that, leaning against the lockers and frowning lightly. "I've never even heard of that site," he says. "I'll have to check it out." He can't quite stop the snort at the other options to meet people. "Internet dating...I haven't even /had/ a date, yet. I don't know if that's really the way I want to start." But his tone is thoughtful, and his brow lowers. "That's a lot of volunteering," he says, tilting his head. "When exactly do you find time for fun, between three jobs and three volunteer things?" He lifts his eyebrows. "Or /is/ that fun for you?"
"I don't sleep," Jackson says, brightly cheerful, "But each one's only, like, one time a week so it's not that much investment here and there. And I dunno I've met tons of cool people on the internet it can even be like internet dating to find friends? At least I'm pretty sure you can tell OKCupid you're looking for friends and not dates. Or fetlife. Or -- whatever's your interest," he adds hastily, with a sudden /deep/ blush.
Doug grins, suddenly, his eyes crinkling in amusement. "Really? They got a site for cute, gay mutants?" he asks, lifting his eyebrows. "'Cause that's totally my interest." He lifts a shoulder. "I'm not even fussy about the mutant part."
"Actually yeah they do," Jackson says, slipping on his shoes, "but I haven't tried it, I hear there's almost as many trolls as actual, um, guys and this kid in Alabama got killed once arranging a date with someone who actually just --" He shrugs, his expression dipping into a frown. "But there's /definitely/ sites for gay men if you're not fussed about the mutant thing." He shrugs a shoulder, his cheeks still slightly red as he closes the locker door.
Doug frowns at the information about the site, and his jaw sets. "Someone should do something about that," he mutters, and his gaze goes thoughtful and dark for a moment. Then it's clearing, and he's back in the moment, tilting his head at Jackson's redness. There's another crinkle of his eyes, and he lifts a shoulder. "I guess I could check out a couple," he says. "It wouldn't hurt anything to meet for coffee, if I meet someone I like." He sniffs, and pushes himself upright with a flash of a grin. "But keep your eyes and ears open just in case, though, yeah?" He winks. "If you run across anyone who'd be cool to hang out with, I mean."
Jackson grins, a little crookedly. "Our own building's full of people it'd be cool to hang out with, so y'probably don't even need to go far." He pulls on his coat, shouldering his duffel bag and giving Doug a quick -- albeit reserved -- smile. "Good luck," he says, easily, lifting his hand to his head like tipping an invisible hat to the other man -- only a moment later it's /not/ invisible, a black Stetson appearing to accompany the gesture. "See you 'round, man."
Doug laughs. "I should throw a building party or something," he says, only half-joking. Then he's lifting a hand in farewell, even as he's following Jax out the door. With a frown. "How the hell do you even /make/ black light?"
"Might be you should!" Jackson agrees, holding the door for Doug as they head out, his hat vanishing once they enter the more populated gym. "I mean, I don't /make/ light I just change the way it's -- I can absorb it into /no/ light or -- you know, let's just say wizardmagic," he decides with a crinkle of his nose. "Later!" He's slipping off through the gym, skirting around a group of men chatting around the freeweights as he heads for the exit.
"Wizard magic," Doug agrees with a laugh. "I can work with that. See you around!" He waves after Jackson, then heads over towards the punching bags, stretching lightly and joining the men in line for said equipment. He watches the exit for a long moment, and rubs his nose. Maybe he's already planning the party. Or his dating profile.