"Only so much you people-ing I can handle per term, yknow?"
<XAV> Music Room - Xs Second Floor
Wide and spacious, seating in this soundproofed room comes largely on the sweep of gentle risers that afford the teacher an easy view of all the budding performers, and add another dimension to the acoustics of the room. Instruments of all types are carefully stored around the room, and a grand piano, immaculately upkept, takes the position of prize near the back. In a nod to the eclectic studies of the students, digital mixing equipment and turntables rub shoulders with the classical instruments. Music stands sit in front of most of the seats, and the only windows look out out over the side of the school grounds.
There's a steady drubbing rain tipping down from the sky -- chill and unpleasant outdoors but here in the warmth of the mansion, it just provides a quietly soothing background noise. Laid over this, currently, is an intricate melody whose cheer borders on frenetic. Gaétan has set aside his usual bass today and is working this melody out on the keyboard. His laptop is hooked up to it, set on the floor nearby and transcribing the notes as he plays them. Which he's currently doing over -- and over -- and over -- with a minor adjustment here or there. There's a steadily growing dissatisfied scowl on his face with each not-quite-repetition.
Naomi probably didn't expect to be alone in here this afternoon, and came prepared; there's a knotted AUX cable in her hand wrapped around a pair of drumsticks in the pocket of her Xavier's grey hoodie, large over the ears headphones resting around her neck, a folder of music threatening to shed pages held loosely in the crook of her arm. In the doorway her green eyes dart first to the actual drumkit -- seat empty! -- then to Gaétan, then the electronic drum kit with its well-worn pads and annoying wires with a weary disappointment. Doesn't interrupt Gaé's ever-more-frustrated flow with speech, just lifts a hand in acknowledgement if he looks up. From many music rehearsals last year Gaé might recognize the particular combinations of side-scrunched lips and scales rising in ridges above her eyes -- Naomi has a comment about his music. 'Til it's asked for, well -- Naomi has a relatively silent drumkit to plug into, which requires a wee bit of rattling about the percussion corner.
Beauregard was hoping to be alone, and awkwardly haunts the doorway for few moments before making his way into the room. Slung across his body is what looks to be a miniature golf bag, but with several extra pockets. He offers a small wave towards the others, regardless of if they’re actually looking at him enter and finds himself a seat, unshouldering the case and digging some folded sheet music from one of the side pockets.
Gaétan does not immediately glance up when the door opens, but does as Naomi moves further into the room. He's still testing out his passage -- a little more syncopation in this repetition than last -- but spins sideways on the bench after another dissatisfied effort. His chin lifts to Naomi and Beau both, although it's the former that he addresses -- with a crooked smile and a lift of eyebrows. "C'mon. Hit me."
"Boy please tell me you ain't gon' blow-Gabriel-blow in here." Naomi looks extremely pinched about the Beau development, hand curled tight around the metal music stand (the good one, the one with the folding back!) she was just relocating in front of the drumkit while gesturing at the taller boy's folded music. Taps on her headphones. "These ain't soundproof 'nough for brass." Not that she seems put out for long— at the invitation she drifts (music stand still in tow!) towards Gaé's laptop. "You tryna do too much all scrunched together up top," is her assessment -- she points with the rounded mallet end of one drumstick to a cluster of notes on the screen, multiple layered flags off the ends of their stems, the single measure taking up the width of the screen to leave space between the overlapping noteheads. "Give it some air, like, here, or there maybe, like even a full quarter rest ain't gonna lose the energy yknow? You want this sung or played?"
“Had a mute, but it does feel like I’m interruptin’.” Beau picks nervously at his tan jeans before taking the sheet music and folding it back up. “More eloquent than I could’ve put it. Feels kinda manic, not sure if that’s what you’re going for or not. Other than that it does sound amazing, you’re a much better musician than I am.”
"It's the music room," Gaétan answers with an easy shrug of one shoulder, "if I cared about being interrupted I'd be somewhere else." His head cocks as he listens to the others' feedback, turning back towards the keyboard to track Naomi's drumstick-pointing. "It is supposed to be kind of -- anxious," he says slowly, fingers drumming light and soundless against the keys without actually depressing them. "But I guess it might be tipping over into just messy. -- this isn't sung, this is." Rather than try to explain he pulls his laptop up into his lap, paneling the windows so that a fuller picture of the music can be displayed. "See, each of these vignettes has a real different voice but this motif has to tie them together. Trying to figure out how to incorporate the anxiety of this section into the recurring theme -- but it hasn't. Really been working out." He's trying again, though -- this time incorporating a little more space into the notes. There's noticeably less dissatisfaction on his face, this time, even before he turns to Naomi and Beau with a questioning lift of eyebrows: better?
"See y'all got options," Naomi points out, "none of the practice rooms got space for all the drums." Naomi looks at Beau one more, then adds, "...prolly you find them practice rooms too tight, huh." The bright flash of initial irritation is gone, now, replaced by rapt attention towards Gaé's music. Nods when he looks back, a growing smile on her face -- better!
In her mallet hand, the sticks have shifted to be held in a cross, malletheads sticking out between her index and middle finger and her ring and pinkie, bouncing just minutely in the air. Looks again at the music on the screen, then up past Beau to the xylophones, vibraphones, marimbas. Back down to the music, mumbling the left hand chord progression under her breath. "You want more anxious? Run that back, no left hand. Beau, can you help me --" Naomi is already hop-skip-dashing across the room to the big marimba, trying to tug it out to the open floor with one skinny hand, the good music stand just in it abandoned back with the composer.
“Pretty much everything is too small for me.” Beau agrees before his attention falls on Gaétan’s revised music, nodding along as he takes it in. It looks like he might be about to say something when Naomi runs off towards the marimba, pushing back up and heading over. “Sure enough.” he grabs hold of it with one big hand and starts walking backwards, following their lead on where to place it.
"... is the trumpet too small for you? Can -- you get custom trumpets for bigger hands? They make custom guitars, but..." Gaétan is watching as the others wrangle the marimba into place -- mostly, curiously watching Beau and his effortless heft of the instrument. When it's settled he returns to the segment he's been workshopping, playing the right-hand part over again.
Naomi snorts under her breath, but lets go of the marimba with a grateful "thank you, just out so I can see Gaé, here's great, thanks," as she guides Beau. "You want a good long note ever for clock app, Beau got lungs." Mumbles the chord progression under her breath again after this diversion, runs her mallets (four, now -- maybe this is her tertiary mutation) over the wooden blocks to mark the chords.
When Gaé plays the melody again, the underpinning chords are quiet, empty where Naomi has taken out some of the inner notes to focus on the outer two, sparing the occasional strike of mallet to fill out the sound. The volume grows as Naomi picks up speed -- the rapid layering of vibration from double mallets rolling on the tonic note set the whole sound to a restless shimmer. The resonance of the instrument itself might be a bit out of place against the keyboard, too warm, too rich; Naomi's quick striking mallets, however, keep it the sound light and unresolved. Looks up at the boys after, her scales ridged in what passes for a raised brow for her -- what do you think? "Harder, I reckon," suddenly bashful, "to get that--" she rolls her mallets against another block in demonstration, "-- when you got so many other notes goin' on the keys."
“Like holdin’ a flashlight in a catcher’s mitt. Should probably size up to something more girthy, but the trumpet has the best solos. Well, that and the clarinet, but that would look even goofier. ” Beau half rambles as he moves out of the way and into position to better listen to them both. When the music starts back up his eyes fall mostly shut and he bites his lower lip in concentration, fingers keeping time against his thigh. “I like it, sort of makes my skin itch. Things are definitely moving in the right direction.”
"Buck expectations," Gaétan suggests seriously to Beau, "take up the piccolo." His brows hike at the coruscating sound of the marimba underlying the keyboard notes, and this time instead of simply Not Displeased, there's a genuine excitement slipping into his expression. "Ohshit --" His smile is slipping a little skewed -- maybe apologetic? as he agrees, "... I may have been writing this piece forgetting most piano players only have the two hands. That --" He nods toward the marimba, "adds something great. That, uh, won't strain anyone's fingers." A beat. "Too much."
Girthy, Naomi mouths, clearly biting back a giggle. Out loud, she doesn’t make the joke, says instead, “Boy do not let Gaé write you a solo, he gonna come up with something that needs two mouths to play next.” Her tone is warm, teasing, the exasperation fond. “You can use them long chords for the other vignettes, switch to this or xylophone or somethin’ when you need Double Anxiety. Same chords and all yknow?”
“Fingering strain is a serious issue.” Beau says with a straight face, nodding once. “Or you could pull a Sondheim and just screech at the audience, they’ll never see it coming. Hell, I know it’s coming when I listen to The Ballad of Sweeney Todd and it still gets me half the time. Then again I’ve been a little jumpy these last few years, so I’m sure that isn’t helping anything.”
"Two mouths, difficult fingering, we are wildly switching genres from what my story was gonna be." Gaétan is looking down at his computer when he says this, adding notes to his current work-in-progress, though even side-on his amused smile is easy to see. "... do you think double anxiety is enough?" His gaze is skipping between the others at Beau's mention of being a little jumpy. "Everyone here's already got the Double Anxiety maybe I should," is this suggestion serious, he sounds serious enough, though there is still a small tug at the corner of his mouth, "-- give my drumline a little more panic, really set the mood."
Naomi winds up her arm, mimes chucking her mallets at Gaé's head from across the room. "My guy," though it isn't clear if she's saying guy or Gaé, here, "you want drums in your show you best keep that shit easy." She's laughing, though, as she tucks the borrowed mallets back into their attached pockets of the marimba. "Pft, maybe we all jumpy as hell but most these new kids?" Naomi raises her
“Gotta admit it does sound like one hell of a party though.” Beau cracks a grin, any real hint of his former anxiety long gone. Anything else he might of had to say is lost as Naomi mentions the new kid, eliciting another nod from him. “Ran into him and Kieow the other day, they definitely spooked him. Pretty sure I did too, but I’m a more human kind of freak. Long as you don’t have to carry me anywhere. He asked if they could grow him some ragweed because Spencer had some bruises? Pretty sure he was anxious as hell. Freak out when he saw you?”
"Easy'd have been much less satisfying when you finally rocked the shit out of it." Gaétan blushes at fullass human, teeth pressing against his lip, but it's very short lived. "Oh my gods," his eyes are just a little wider, an exasperation creeping into his tone, "have I met the new kid." Evidently the thought of it is a continuing vexation; he's folding his laptop actually closed once he finishes making notes across multiple different sheets for what to work on later on this song and turning his fuller attention to his classmates. "Please tell me he didn't like, cry gumdrops at you all or anything."
Naomi's cheeks flush dark, too, at the praise. She bops the head of one mallet lightly against Gaé's shoulder before perching on the edge of the near riser. "Maaaaaan asking folks to make him shit first week? Yikes. He cry gumdrops at you?" There might be permanent ridges forming in Naomi's hard scaley forehead -- already slow to settle, they've pinched into an exaggerated brow shape that is not getting a chance to fall. "I just heard he offering everyone literal pieces of him like, boy you a new freak how you know that ish ain't poisonous?" She sets one mallet down, spins the other in her right hand. "Probably he freaked, but I ain't gone an' talk to him yet. Only so much you people-ing I can handle per term, yknow?" Is that a slight accent on the you people? Maybe! The air quotes she puts around it with her free hand might make it more clear that this is a specific grievance.
“Mostly just word vomit, but I do that when I’m anxious.” Beau shrugs before crossing his arms. “I don’t know how I’d feel about eating people candy. Guess I eat hooves and shit, but horses don’t give you kuru. Although unless it’s brain candy I guess you don’t have to worry about it either.” His right hand raises up in a sort of half shrug.
"Really gotta get people dinner before you're asking to swap bodily..." Gaétan wrinkles his brow as he considers. "... we don't really have a word for if you jizz syrup or secrete reproductive spores out of your --" He waggles a hand towards his head. "--leaf-hair but I still feel like that's, uh, crossing some boundaries." He shakes his head, his expression scrunching in a mild distaste. "Nah he had like a whole freakout over Spence keeping kosher. Exploded some cookies when Spence wouldn't eat them. It was --" Here, though, he's breaking off; the defensive tone that had been edging into his voice at the mention of the encounter with Spencer and Remi is solidifying here. "Wait, who's been -- that wasn't him, was it? Someone been giving you shit?"
“Sure but you word vomit ‘bout yourself, not… vomit up? Parts of yourself?” Naomi is losing the thread, here, maybe, distracted as she is by the mention of — “Oh man he the one popping firecrackers the other night wasn’t he?” She sucks a breath in through her teeth. "Maybe he is turning all his brains to candy." The mallet in her hand stops spinning. "Ohshit I ain't meant to bother you with this nonsense uhhhhhh." Is that a sentence? Naomi's shrinking into herself, shoulders tugging in as she fidgets with her drumsticks. "Was Helo, but -- before Avi and I rolled out the welcome wagon ion think he'd ever seen a mutant or a Black person, like, ever."
“It might’ve taken time to realize some of the more subtly racist bullshit my parents taught me, but I don’t think there’s any doubt about throwing around ‘you people’.” Beau can’t help but facepalm, hand sliding down to the bridge of his nose. “If I can help it I don’t want to vomit anything other than words. Would trade sev-“ instead of finish the thought he just huffs and lowers his hand, a grimace on his face, “Throwing up is literally the worst. I don’t care if you feel better afterwards, almost not worth it.”
"Helo what." Gaétan's brows go way up. "Never seen... eesh. In theory I get that's possible but I grew up in Jamaica so, uh." His hand lifts, palm scrubbing against his face. "I dunno if I can like, apologize on behalf of white people but -- that's shitty, do you --" He shifts a little awkwardly where he sits, and turns a hand up in questioning. "Want me to -- talk to him?" Even less certainly: "Words or fists I'm pretty glib."
Naomi is staring at Beau like solving whatever is up with his aversion to vomit will in fact erase her other problems. “Ementophobia?” She does not sound confident about this word at All. “I can drop it with the vomit talk, sorry.” Of course, that doesn’t actually address the racism. Naomi doesn’t meet either boy’s eyes, stares at her drumsticks instead. “Hey, maybe it wasn’t racist at all, maybe he just meant freak-looking.” The small shrug of shoulder is casual, her voice only a little strained. “Y’all don’t gotta throw down or have words or nothing, he lives with you ion wanna make shit awkward…” A pause, then, anger bleeding in, “— but if he says some nonsense ‘bout Lael or anyone then —“ Naomi squeezes her eyes shut, breathes in, out. “…maybe one o’ y’all should warn him ‘gainst doing that.”
“Oh, no, nothing that severe. Like, the way it feels is just awful. I imagine most people hate it.” Beau waves a hand dismissively before seeming to note Naomi’s discomfort and softening slightly. “Who cares if you guys look different though? Not like it makes you less of a person because you’ve got some scales.”
"Okay but that's not, like, better, is it? Being racist or being..." Gaétan's brows crumple in thought as he tries and discards several possible options before settling on, "anti... freak-looking." The echo of Naomi's words sits uncomfortably on his tongue. He looks over Naomi for what borders on an awkwardly long scrutiny before catching himself with a flush and shaking his head hard. "You can say they shouldn't, but I think a lot of people care. "I don't see scales" doesn't stop the fact that you all are way more likely than me to end up..." He doesn't finish this thought, though the abrupt paling of his face and briefly distant shift of expression suggests that the memory that just came up is pretty ghastly. He's a little more subdued when he continues, "I can talk to him. Non-awkwardly. Hopefully."
“Lots of folks care.” Naomi’s voice has dropped in volume. “Should they, ionno ‘bout that, but they do. Least y’all up here don’t think it’s from the devil or nothing, if I gotta hear that again —” she clicks her tongue. Her eyes open again (maybe just a little greener than before, though the effect is fading so quickly maybe it’s a trick of the light), cast up and catch Gaé’s gaze before he looks away. Doesn’t try to finish where his thought was going, just mumbles a quiet “Thank you.”
“And those people are bitches. They should know the devil doesn’t go around handing out cool shit, otherwise I’d of gotten that Lobo space bike I tried selling my soul for in elementary school.” Beau seems almost disappointed about the lack of a flying motorcycle. “They just want some reason to break out their dollar store tiki torches over, like they can’t get punched in the face. Although maybe we let Gaé do the punching, otherwise they just die and don’t have to live with the embarrassment of getting their assess kicked.”
"Lucifer has totally lied to me if the devil doesn't go around granting favors." Gaétan sounds terribly disappointed in the inaccuracy of fantasy police procedurals. Something in Beau's words draws a longer look from him -- searching and thoughtful -- but what it is, he does not clarify. He is slipping his laptop away, now, shutting the keyboard off. There's a brief curious glance at the limning of green in Naomi's eyes, and he ducks his head as if to stop himself continuing to look. "Yeah," he says, light and playful as he shoulders his bag in preparation for leaving, "-- imagine what would happen if he ran his mouth to Lael and you had to kick his ass? My percussion section would suffer if you were in suspension during rehearsals."
Naomi's smile is returning, not as bright as before but clearly cheered by some combination of Lobo space bike and hypothetical punching-on-her-behalf and implicit praise. The mallets in her hand still just long enough for her to push off the riser. "Pft, just bring the whole band to detention, see if they can stop us." She picks up the good music stand and takes it -- again, finally -- to set in front of the electric drumkit. "Right now though, all I'm planning on hitting is these nonsense beats."