"I don't think what either of us do here rules out there being fairies around, benevolent or not."
<NYC> Chimaera Arts - Dumbo
This is just one of the many abandoned warehouses in DUMBO, and like many of them it has recently changed hands. /Unlike/ most of those, however, it does not have some corporate developer's sign out front promising a transformation into luxury condominiums or a boutique shopping center or the latest concept restaurant. Instead it's marked by a piece of weathered but wildly colorful plywood propped up on a stack of broken pallets, which reads "Chimaera Art Space!" above "chimaera.org" in smaller letters.
The warehouse is moderately large and decorated with graffiti art in various styles--some of it recognizable as the work of renowned local street artists. A pair of monstrous scrap metal sculptures, perhaps still works in progress, flank the entrance. The building itself has undergone significant renovation recently, complete with wiring, plumbing, and a modular partitioning system. The grounds, too, have been cleaned up, ramshackle fences torn down and rusting detritus removed in favor of reclaimed (and brilliantly repainted) outdoor furniture ringing an impressively engineered firepit.
There are several members and a few visitors here this afternoon, setting up the Longest Night concert slated to take place that night. Daiki's been in the kitchen, unobtrusively tidying up for a while now. Even at work he looks sharp in a black button-down shirt with bright yellow accents under the upturned cuffs, spread collar, and placket, slim-fit jeans, and yellow Converse high-tops. His long hair is gathered back into a neat, functional ponytail, hand-tied into place with a slim yellow ribbon. Now he emerges with a red bento box decorated Chimaera's cartoon mascot, a (colorful!) napkin, and (mismatched) cutlery in one hand, and a beaten-up folding tray table under the other arm. He walks swiftly, his brisk efficiency making his actions perhaps less noticeable amidst the bustle of preparations for the night's event. But he's not helping with the set-up. Instead, he stops in front of one of the partitioned studio spaces where a member has been shut in for a while now, absorbed in her sculpture. He sets the container down quietly on the tray table, arranges the silverware on the folded napkin beside it, and quickly turns to go.
Steve has been helping with the set-up, carrying the heavy sound equipment and stage components with ease. He's wearing a blue-and-white plaid flannel, the top two buttons undone, white shirt underneath, dark indigo blue jeans, and black combat boots. On one of his trips back toward the storage area, though, he catches sight of Daiki laying out the food and utensils on the tray table. Tilts his head slightly, considering -- but not for very long. Only an instant later, he's headed toward the lanky youth. "Hey there," he says, breaking into a warm, slightly embarrassed smile as he approaches, "excuse me, but do you have a minute to chat?"
Ryan has notsomuch been helping with the manual parts of labor here, though he has been heavily involved in the organization of tonight's event. His outfit reflects his distinct lack of getting his hands dirty tonight, spotless and bright: a stark white single-button jacket in a jaunty, distantly military-inspired style over a dense gold mesh shirt with a matte black sun-burst on the chest, skin-tight white trousers with slashes along the thighs to show gold fishnet underneath, gold platform boots. His makeup completes the look; gold eyeshadow with jet black eyeliner and kohl, gold lipstick, and a faint dusting of gold highlighter that lends somewhat unearthly angles and depth to his face. Though he's been chatting with one of the sound techs well across the cavernous warehouse space, he glances up quickly as Steve greets Daiki. Quietly excuses himself, saunters across the bustling floor. By the time he's approached he's nabbed himself a cider (where from? who knows!) and is sipping it. Offering it to Steve. "Did they have canvassers in your day, man? You sound ready to collect some money for the environment." His words come with a gentle flush of warmth, soft and calm and pleasant. "Anyway, I'm sure Dai could use a break, he's always busy as hell."
Daiki freezes momentarily when Steve addresses him, eyes going wide behind his glasses, but it passes so quickly as to be nearly imperceptible. In that split second, he seems extremely compelling -- fascinating, even -- for no particularly obvious reason. Then he's smiling a small, reserved smile, and the intensity of his presence softens considerably. "Oh, hi." His voice is quiet, and a little shy. "Sure. How can I help you?" Something in his posture eases further when Ryan joins them, even before the sound-mediated calm of the older man's words washes over them. "I was taking a break," he points out mildly, no hint of argument in his tone despite the implication of it.
Steve blinks, coming up short as Daiki's extremely compelling startle reflex leads him to scrutinize the young man /much/ more closely, his expression dimming a bit and momentarily difficult to read. "Sorry to bother you," he adds, his tone neutrally apologetic, though Ryan can easily discern the guarded unease beneath those words. He relaxes visibly at the sound of Ryan's voice, his smile brightening again as he waves to his friend. "Of course. Unless you mean something very different by 'canvassing', I did it quite a lot of it for the print shop where I worked. We -- had our own newspaper." There's a surge of fond embarrassment in this admission, his cheeks tinting just a little pink. He accepts the bottle from Ryan, taking a sip before passing it back. Then, to Daiki again, eyes still searching, though not with the same piercing intensity as before, "It's just -- well, I saw you leaving some food for Erin, and I was wondering...if that's something you do a lot?" Then shakes his head abruptly, blushing much deeper. "Goodness, but I'm being terribly rude! I'm Steve."
"Your own newspaper. Of course you did. I can see it. Were you a very prolific, uh, newspaper -- hander-outer?" The calm flutter of warmth spreads -- just quiet. Mild. Ryan takes his cider back, swigs from it deeply. "You two not met yet? Daiki's a good friend. Kinda like -- Jax's -- fourth kid." In the bustle and activity around them, a wire shelving rack nearby has just been emptied of its supplies; Ryan spins it around, drags it nearer so that he can seat himself half atop it, one foot resting on a lower shelf, one still planted on the floor. "What I've heard, most people just assume we have some kind of -- benevolent fairies lurking around here? Actually, half of the time they figure that must be Jax but, uh." He shrugs a shoulder, gives Daiki an apologetic half-smile. "He doesn't have the fairy monopoly."
"Pleased to meet you -- officially." Daiki bows his head primly. "We've seen each other around, in the usual Chimaera way." He raises his eyebrows slightly at Ryan, his smile strained at the edges with the effort of holding back laughter. "I don't think what either of us do here rules out there being fairies around, benevolent or not. But yes." He dips his head again, a single nod for Steve's benefit. "I try to keep an eye out for people who get really absorbed in their projects, who might not otherwise be getting enough to eat or drink while they work. Jax does help me a lot with cooking and keeping the fridge stocked, so those who think it's him aren't actually all wrong." There's a sharply curious glint in his dark eyes, but when he continues his voice is mild, "What kind of newspaper was it, if you don't mind saying?"
"Please to meet you -- Daiki?" Steve's pronunciation is a little off, but only a little. "Oh, I was," he chuckles, as pleased as he is mortified. "I had plenty experience from when I was a boy and sold real newspapers...well, they were all real, but I mean the papers most folks actually wanted." His eyes skip between the other two men. "It covered local union news and labor issues around the world, but honestly the bulk of it was just...ah badly written socialist propaganda. I take no responsibility for the copy, but I did contribute some illustrations." He runs a hand over the back of his neck. Nods. "Well, I really appreciate it. Not that I'm necessarily inclined to get so wrapped up in my art that I forget to eat, but it took me a while to really get it through my head that the communal food was -- communal. There were evenings I'd have certainly gone hungry without your..." He waves a hand in the direction of the meal Daiki had just delivered. "...fairy magic."
Ryan's eyes widen, and he starts to slide off the shelving rack before planting himself a little more solidly on it. "You -- you were a newsboy? Before you were a commie you were a newsie? Oh my god." His free hand claps for a brief moment to Daiki's shoulder, jostles it lightly before dropping back to his lap. "Oh my fucking God. Okay." He takes a deep breath. Nods firmly. "Cool. You aren't busy tonight are you?" WHAT are they all setting up for, again? Irrelevant! He's sliding his phone out of his pocket, thumbing through it eagerly. "This place is pretty magic, but some people definitely do uh. An extra share of helping it along."
Daiki nods, attentive but far more reserved than Ryan in his interest. "The news people want and the news that needs to be published are not always the same," he says quietly, his polite smile still in place, but somehow easier now. Dips his head again at Steve's thanks. "The mystery was incidental, but I'm glad the food has been helpful to you. I'll keep it coming." He quirks a quick flash of a knowing grin at Ryan before reining it back in. Leans into his friend's hand briefly, but doesn't comment, watching Steve with a casual interest now.
"I was," Steve confirms, though with a slightly perplexed frown at Ryan's reaction. "I'd like to flatter myself that I was already a commie -- or, if I wasn't before, selling papers sure destroyed any illusions I might have ever had about the glamor and justice of capitalism." He blinks, glancing at Daiki as if hoping the younger man will supply some answers. But since none are forthcoming he allows, "I was going to a dinner party at the Tessiers' place. Why?"
"Excuse you, but I make capitalism look very glamorous." With bottle in hand, Ryan gestures with a flourish down at himself. "That does exactly shit about the injustice, though." The leveling balm of his psionic influence is fading. He looks up with a hike of eyebrows. A wide grin. "Dinner party? Please, what distingué bastard fed you that line, it's a fucking dusk till dawn bacchanal. Anyway, I'll get us to DC and back long before the sun is up. -- You gonna be keeping vigil for the light, too?" This time he's directing the question to Daiki, chipper, bright. "We're taking a quick hop out of town. Dinner's on me."
"Good thing you weren't around to corrupt this national treasure in his formative years, then." Daiki's tone is still sincere and even, but Ryan can feel the mirth underneath. "I was planning on it, but I wouldn't mind a bit of adventure before settling in to wait for the sun. It is an amazing party," he tells Steve, smiling shyly. "But you probably expected that already, knowing the hosts as you do."
"You could probably make any economic system look glamorous," Steve retorts, gesturing at all of Ryan. "That would be Luci -- he's got almost as great a knack for understatement as for throwing amazing parties." He blinks again harder, and more persistently. "DC -- as in Washington? Why in the world..." But then he trails off. Shakes his head, laughing. "Alright, you've got me by the curiosity. Let's go to DC."