"What counts as /weird/-weird, there?"
<NYC> Abandoned Construction Site - Brooklyn
It's hard to say just by looking what the developers intended to make out of this skeletal construction occupying most of the block. A convention center? A theatre? A mall? They got as far as building the long sweep of a crescent-shaped balcony and the cagelike outlines of a tall spire above it. There's another elevated section that has crumbled recently, creating a surreal wreck of concrete and rebar across both the already rubble-strewn ground and part of the crescent-shaped platform. The lower reaches of the site have been liberally graffitied and littered, but the elevated portions were hard to access and grow harder still as the scaffolding distintegrates.
"-- got a /sweet/ view if you climb up into the spire," Spencer's voice begins abruptly mid-sentence when he appears on the crescent-shaped balcony. He's wearing a blue t-shirt that reads 'On My Worst Behavior' in blocky stencil-styled black letters, black cargo shorts, and gray canvas sneakers. He trots over to the concave inner edge that overlooks a pit that was once perhaps intended as a basement level, now half-filled with rubble like a twisted postmodern labyrinth. "Also the acoustics from here are /totally/ awesome." He hops up onto a chunk of concrete with twisted rebar protruding from one crumbling edge like steel entrails. Sits down with his feet dangling, the nearly worn-through soles of his sneakers showing when he kicks them in tandem. "So! What do you think? Cool, huh?" This earnestly, though the casual tone sounds a /little/ forced.
Gaétan has been holding on tight to Spencer's arm, but lets go Pretty Quick once he finds himself on stable footing up on the balcony. He's similarly casually dressed -- blue jean shorts, black sneakers, a short-sleeved red and grey and white plaid button-down unbuttoned over a heather-grey undershirt. His feet scuff as he walks to the edge of the balcony, doesn't so much /kick/ a broken crumb of concrete off it as gently /toe/ it off to watch it topple into the piles of mess below. "Huh." His head tilts, a half-smile slipping across his face at the ensuing thunk. The nod he gives is slow. Maaaybe approving. He tips his head back, looks upward, considering. "So come on then." A small jerk of head toward the skeletal spire.
On the first floor as well, there is the hissing of a spraypaint cannister, as Marinov makes a mark to say that they were there. Unfortunately, Marinov's spraypainting skills leave something to desire: the asymmetric, drippy, yellow, tragic looking cat face is hardly a masterpiece, but its creator does not seem to mind, nodding approvingly at the quick work. They tuck their can back into their backpack and throw it back over their shoulders, the black straps covering the tight maroon halter top that they have on. Their ears swivel around towards Spencer and Gaétan before they turn, blink once slowly and tuck their hands into the pockets of their pre-worn-and-torn jeans. They lift their chin slightly and comment, "It's real cool."
Spence's smile is abrupt and maybe just a touch relieved. He jumps off of his perch and pads toward the base of the spire, rounding the corner of one large chunk of concrete that had been concealing Marinov from view. "Whoa!" This more excited than startled. He waves. "Salut! Oh, Gae do you know Marinov they created Something Different." He manages that whole sentence on one breath somehow. "Marinov this is my friend Gaétan he makes /such/ great music. Did you climb up here?" He tilts his head and looks past Marinov wide-eyed at the dilapidated scaffolding.
Gaétan scrambles up to the top of the large slab of concrete, settling down into a crouch on its uneven surface once he's atop it. His fingers curl over its edge, one eye squinting up as he peers down at Spencer and Marinov. Then the spray-painted cat. Then Marinov. "Oh -- uh. /Oh/. Yeah -- yeah, the art thing? That was you? I went to some of that. Pretty neat." His teeth drag slow against his lower lip, worrying at a flake of chapping skin. His eyes shift to the scaffolding, too, brows raising a little bit with Spencer's query. Questioning? Impressed?
"Privyet, Spence! Yeah, I climbed up here," says Marinov, ears perked forward in a friendly fashion. They turn their gaze towards Gaétan and offer a wave. "Yeah, I organized the art thing. Glad you enjoyed it! Glad lots've people showed. What kind've music do you do?" They pause and then glance back over their shoulder, "You two planning on climbing the spire? Or just... ending up there? Pretty adventurous. Haven't been up, myself."
"Awesome!" is Spence's evaluation of Marinov braving the rather shaky scaffolding. "Something Different was sooooo cool I can't /wait/ until the next one -- is there going to be a next one?" He scampers up onto a heap of crumbled wall that rests against the base of the spire. "You can see /so far/ from up there. It's way faster if I just /go/, but climbing up is fun and these beams are pretty solid." He raps on one of the steel I-beams by way of demonstration. The whole structure hums subtly but does indeed appear stable.
"Probably a lot of work, huh?" Gaétan's fingers are picking slowly at the cement block he crouches on. Tiny grains of concrete crumble loose, pattering quietly down to the floor. "Do you go to Xavier's? My brother said a lot of his students did -- art shit. In the thing. He was excited." A small frown. "I guess he's always excited." He gets to his feet, dusting his hands on his shorts before he jumps down off the block. "I play bass." With a small shrug. "You think you could see across the river? Straight to your house, maybe?"
"Yeah, next year looks like it's gonna be a go for Something Different!" Marinov nods to Spence. They take very light, quiet steps, climbing towards the spire to take hold to test the sturdiness themselves. "I go to Xavier's, yeah. Class of 2019! Who's your brother? A teacher at Xavier's, huh? Hope he's one've the good ones!" Satisfied with the state of it, they climb on. "I guess we'll see what we see."
"Oh yeah, you can see the bridges, and the Commons I bet we could even spot /people/ if it's clear." Spence bounces up onto his toes and for a moment looks like he might 'just go' regardless of the fun of climbing, but ultimately he masters himself and scrambles up to the first horizontal I-beam, walking across it to one of the vertical supports and beginning to scale it. "I'm glad there's going to be more Something Different.../s/. Something/s/ Different? My siblings loved it, and my pa, too, and I met so many people from /all over/ it was like a /convention./"
"Do /you/ do art? I don't --" Gaétan falls briefly quiet in order to hoist himself up onto a beam with a small grunt, scooting sideways along it to the next support strut. "-- remember if we saw. Your stuff. My brother's Matt. Uh, Tessier. There's probably a zillion Matts." There's a small shower of rust but no actual unsteadiness as he shimmies his way up after Spence. "Something Different, Evolympics -- what other kinds of mutant conventions could you have?"
"I say Somethings Differents, just pluralize everything, that way you're good and pluralized without a doubt," remarks Marinov, "Since I made up the name, that's canon now." They stretch out to grab one of the overhead beams, pulling themselves up with a huff of exertion but little more. "Oh! You're Mr. T's little brother! Yeah, your brother's cool. I do art, but I didn't have an entry at the show. I don't, uh, spraypaint usually. I make clothes. I make dolls. I sometimes make... dioramas..." They get back up to their feet from the higher vantage point. "I guess you could have a mutant baking convention or something."
"There /was/ a lot of stuff to see, I was there almost the whole time and I still don't think I saw even half of the art." Spence has reached the next beam up and pauses there for a moment, leaning out into the wind with only his feet braced and his fingertips hooked around the corner of the vertical strut. "Somethings Differents," he tries the pluralized name out. Nods. "Are you going to enter some of your own art next year? Oh wow a /baking convention/ pa would bake /all/ the things."
"Matt's /my/ brother," Gaétan corrects with a careful emphasis. The hike of his eyebrows at hearing Matt described as /cool/ might maybe be skeptical, but he's too focused on pulling himself upward again -- sneakers toeing carefully to find purchase before he steps out onto the next beam -- to argue this point. "You make dolls?" Kiiind of uncertain. "They're not like. Out of bones or anything are they?" He's side-eying Spencer just a little bit, here. "Everyone at that school is kind of..." This trails off as he pulls himself up higher, squinting now against the wind and curling an arm around a support as he looks out onto the city.
"Bones?" repeats Marinov, "You might be thinking of someone else. My dolls are, like, just sorta made of your standard materials." They walk carefully across the beam to reach a more advantageous climbing position and pull up once more to the next level. "I want to participate next time. I'll take a performance slot, have a fashion show." They keep one hand on the beam and raise the other hand over their eyes to block some of the wind out, becoming silent as they observe from the new vantage point.
Spence swings himself around to the other side of the strut for a different view of the slowly shrinking cityscape. The maneuver looks terrifically perilous, hundreds of feet above a broken field of concrete and steel. "I guess you can make dolls out of just about /anything?/ But you mean like cloth and stuff, right?" Possibly he is not overly familiar with the construction of "standard" dolls. He reaches up, grabs the next crossbeam, and walks his feet up the side of the strut until he can flop over the beam, head hanging upside-down to watch the two teens below. "I think Gae's mostly only met the /weird/ Xavier's kids he has a /skewed sample./" He scrunches his face up in thought for a moment, then adds, nodding "/Mostly./"
"Desi's way normal and /she/ landed up there somehow." Gaétan's shrug is lopsided, one arm still just clinging tight to its beam. "Doll fashion or regular fashion?" His head thunks sideways against the support before tipping up toward Spencer. "Are you going to go? -- Hey do you think it's better or worse," this abruptly, intently, to Marinov, "if you're related to a teacher. I mean are people going to hate you extra?"
"Regular fashion, that's sort of more my speed these days. I make most of my own clothes, 'cause I've got weird proportions. I usually keep the dolls to myself." Marinov glances upwards towards Spence's upside down face. "It's not like it's a low proportion of weirdos, though. Back in Seattle, I was the weirdest, but at Xavier's I'm like... I dunno. Middle weird." They start to scramble up to get a bit higher again, answering Gaetan while climbing: "Depends on- hf- the teacher. People will probably just hate you the normal amount."
"There's nothing wrong with weird. Or /not/ weird. As long as you like being that way." This kind of /philosophically/. Spence rights himself and shimmies sideways until he straddles the beam. "To Xavier's? Of course, I mean --" He hesitates. Glances at Marinov, then back at Gaétan. "-- I've gotta look out for my pa, you know?" His grin is bright and fierce and obviously copied from Shane, though its sharpness doesn't quite measure up. "Matt, too. The administration walks /all over/ them."
"Wow." Gaétan's expression isn't exactly judgemental as he studies Marinov. Thoughtful, though. Assessing. "Middle weird." Weighing this with a small frown. "What counts as /weird/-weird, there?" He chews at his lip a moment, watching the others. Eventually pulls himself -- slowly -- back to his feet, looks up at the cross-beam above him a long moment before carefully pulling himself up to it. He snorts -- head shaking, at Spencer's answer, once he's gotten himself firmly re-settled. "You know they'll yell at your dad more if you act up. That's how it works."
Marinov’s ears flick back uncomfortably under Gaétan’s scrutiny and they admit, “Well… at least I’m not the /weirdest/.” Pause. “Probably not anyways.” They shrug one of their shoulders and crouch down, end of their tail flicking back and forth slowly. “I’m fine with being weird, though, yeah.” Their eyes flick over to Spencer for a moment, and their ears flick back up at seeing an almost familiar grin. “Heh, well, I’m sure you’ll manage to make the admin think twice about giving them trouble, then.”
"You never know what new heights of weird the incoming class will bring, though!" Spence offers brightly. Then adds, "/Or/ new heights of normal." He stands up on the crossbeam, and, not to be outdone by Gaétan, reaches up for the next one. He has to hop to get a good purchase on it, and swings back and forth as he hauls himself up. "You're probably -- right though --" For a split second he looks like he might slip off, but with an effort he gets one forearm up over the next beam and clambers up, just a little breathless. "Still. They clearly need to learn some /lessons/. I just have to think up /strategies/ you know?"
Gaétan's lips press together, his fingers clenching tight against a beam overhead. His eyes turn outward, fixed far out across the city now. "I'm going to be starting there in fall." This admission sounds kind of flat. "/My/ strategy is going to be do all my homework and leave the /trouble/ to Spence." He sways, teetering outward into the wind, his grip tightening hard and fast to grip him in place. "I think I can see your place across the river."
Marinov looks up thoughtfully as Spencer ascends further, still crouched and looking thoughtful. "Well, if you ever need help stirring things up a bit..." Marinov raises a hand and wiggles their fingers slightly. They lower shift from foot to foot a couple of times and then jump up, using their hands to pull up using the momentum of the hop. At this level, they seem satisfied to just sit and let their legs and tail hang loosely over the edges of the beam, kicking lazily from time to time. They glance to Gaétan, before their eyes trace out towards the horizon. "Well... you'll find out soon enough where you fit on the weirdness scale."
Spencer flips around to sit on the beam he's just reached. "I'll take you up on that, Marinov. Once I get there. I'm sure plenty of other kids can hold down the troublemaking end of things until I'm old enough." The three youths are only three rungs below the apex of the spire now and the whole structure can be felt swaying ever so slightly in the wind, though not in an alarming way. He watches Gaétan carefully when he sways, but then, confident that the other boy isn't going to fall right this second, follows his gaze north, toward the hazy headland of Manhattan beyond the glittering gray waters. "Yep! See, that blob of color near the bank is /probably/ Skipper Rainbowface." Then, more thoughtfully. "Anyway there's of still /lots/ of summer left to do. The weirdness can wait."