Logs:Of Parties and Portals (Or, Another Vacation)

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Of Parties and Portals (Or, Another Vacation)
Dramatis Personae

Beau, Gaétan, Harm, K.C., Kavalam, Kelawini, Lael, Marcus, Marinov, Nanami, Naomi, Nessie, Tomas Ferris (Old), Zeke


"Oh, Bangor."


<XAV> Lake - Xs Grounds and Across the Rift

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.

Far off in the distance, the mansion still twinkles with lights, warm and bright -- though far fewer lights now than there were earlier in the weekend, plenty of students already packed up and headed home, others on their way out. Out here it's chiller, darker, crisp and cold and perhaps later it will rain. It's holding off for now and in the blazing light of the lakeshore bonfire the chill has been staved off, crackling and illuminating the faces of those gathered for one last hurrah before break begins in earnest. There are snacks, there is cider and cocoa, there are s'mores, there aren't any exams anymore.

Gaétan has already packed most of his stuff and largely vacated his dorm -- not a hard task given he's already back in the city every weekend -- but the promise of company and Seasonally Appropriate Fire is alluring all the same. He's seated on a log at the fringe of the firelight, in jeans, sneakers, a thick warm grey and black sweater, nibbling at a browned marshmallow on the end of a stick. "-- okay but will it be weird travelling? If I were leaving New York, I'd wear a hazmat suit."

Beside Gaétan on the log, Nanami is leaning forward, elbows resting on her knees. Her loooong coat, thick and toggled and cotton-candy pink and purple, covers up most of her poofy hoop-skirt dress, contrastingly black and subtly embroidered with skulls. Her tights are fleece-lined, thick, as are her black and pink armwarmers; the tall boots she wears are chunk-heeled and heavy-buckled, hair neatly braided, pink and black makeup impeccable. She sets a marshmallow carefully at the end of a stick herself, lowering it into the fire. "Chee yeah it's weird! What here's not weird. Staying be weird. Going? Weird. Vaccine made by some incarnation of plague? Triple weird?" She shrugs, toes wiggling in to point toward each other. Grumpily: "Chicago it's gonna be colder."

Harm is wearing a chunky blue-purple-pink ombre sweater they just finished up during exam week, flannel-lined blue jeans, and dark green hand-made ankle boots. Since entering the warmth of the bonfire they've shed their green wool cloak and stuffed their rainbow knit hat and scarf into the bicycle inner tube bag at their side. For once they're not knitting or spinning, but casually rolling up a joint. "Weird or not weird, at least we're immune." They bite down on their lower lip. "But most of the other people who are going to be traveling -- not so much." They look up at their schoolmates, dark eyes haunting in the firelight. "What if the virus has mutated again?"

Marinov is sitting next to Harm, and they look over through the blur of the smoke, their ears swivelling seemingly automatically towards anyone who is speaking and the light of the fire sometimes catches their eyes in a way that makes them glow eerily. They're wearing a navy coloured scarf, a cream coloured sweater and a knee length black skirt. A forest green peacoat is folded on their lap. They brought their own snacks, made up entirely of dried meat, which rests next to them. "Well. If the virus has mutated again, then I guess... we just gotta mutate harder! Win the mutation race."

Nessie is settled on the ground, near but not too near Marinov, all her many legs folded up beneath her as she stares into the fire. Then stares at Harm's joint. Then stares at the fire again. Perhaps that is not the first joint Harm has rolled that night. She's wearing an ancient sweatercoat in -- maybe once it was black, now it's many shades of grey, and her tail is slowly swaying back and forth over her head. "I mutated. Sooooo hard." Swish. Her tail flicks toward the fire.

“Same. Just...” Beau trails off, squinting at the fire. It’s definitely not the first joint he’s seen tonight. “Shit, what were we talkin’ bout?” He’s squatted near the fire, trying very carefully not to fall in. He’s wearing a flannel shirt with the sleeves rolled up just above the elbow, a pair of dark blue carpenter jeans, grey slip on boat shoes, and a black laptop bag slung over one shoulder.

Across the fire pit, Naomi has a fairly thick piece of wood in hand, formerly used for roasting marshmallows but now using it determinedly to move kindling around the fire. A mug of hot cider is resting precariously in her lap, threatening to (but somehow hasn’t yet) spilled over her flannel lined wide legs jeans. She sits pretty close to the fire, even though she has three visible layers on - a green crewneck long sleeve, a blue and grey flannel, a Xavier’s zip up hoodie all contributing to the appearance that Naomi is suffocating under the layers. Every so often her green eyes flit over to Harm and their joint, then with guilt to the shore where her brother is. Shoves some embers around. “Mutation, Beau,” she says, breaking the personal silence she's been maintaining for the last little while. “Virus mutation. Our mutations.” Stabs at another ember, sends some sparks flying above the fire.

Dressed lightly in jeans, sneakers, a long-sleeved grey waffle-wave shirt, his peacoat folded across his lap, Marcus is cupping his own mug of cider between his hands, his brows scrunching together at the talk of the risks of going home. His shoulders tense, head dipping to sip at the drink, but his posture eases at Marinov's comment. Nessie's attempted assault on the fire. He puffs a quiet laugh, shaking his head to himself and scooting juuust a little closer to Naomi as he watches the sparks sizzle upward.

If Kavalam has been taking much part in these festivities it's hard to tell, but now he is coming back -- weaving back, really -- from the direction of the woods, a bottle of Popov on one hand and his phone in the other. Booze and unsteady steps and boy alike don't really attract much of any attention, to be fair; not when he arrives, not when he drops down onto a rock right beside Marcus and Naomi. His leather jacket is unbuttoned over a yellow sweatervest, blue button down, jeans. "Shit. It's a race?" Admittedly, the number of people likely to attend this question is -- not high.

Kelawini is a bit surer on her feet than Kavalam but definitely still showing signs of inebriation as she sweep in beside him, looking sleek and fashionable in a long coat and red skinny jeans tucked into engineer's boots. Her voluminous pink circle scarf matches her gloves, and her long wavy hair is tumbling free in the wind. She, at least, answers, him, "No kine race all us freaks together can't win." Though after a beat she adds, a little uncertainly, "Wait, is it a race?"

"Aw yeah, professional mutaters right here!" says Marinov to Nessie enthusiastically. Then after a pause, they add idly, "But actually, at first I thought. Maybe I am immune to this thing cause my biology is all fucked up, but then some fucking tigers got it, maybe I am just-- Double vulnerable! I dunno how this vaccine works! Or how tigers work! I'll just depend on the people around me to protect me, I guess. The herd and all that." They tilt their head when Kavalam 'arrives', opening their mouth as if to ask a question, and then instead just looking back towards Harm's rolling.

K.C. is on Marinov's other side, though she's gotten up from her seat to -- do nothing, really. Just tip her head back, look up at the stars, the skittering sparks, the rising smoke. Much as she always does she looks bland; baggy jeans, oversized canvas jacket over a drab rust-red sweatshirt, thick grey earmuff band over her ears. "So much winning. Tired of winning." This is followed by a quiet huff of breath. Her hand bats at the air in front of her. Her eyes skip sideways to Marinov. "I think," her tone is solemn here, "that we just won."

Lael has been coming and going from the bonfire proper, wandering off every so often rubbing his temples. Now he's wandering back along the shore, kicking at rocks every few steps. He's in many layers, a hefty gray coat on over a denim jacket over a Xavier's hoodie, black dungarees and heavy, no-nonsense work boots. His hair is squirming slow and sedate after his break from the psionic noise of the gather, and he seems to brace himself as he steps back into the firelight, his serpentine eyes tracking first to Naomi--his smile is small but approving--then to the others who have gathered. "What we gone an' won, now?" he's asking K.C.

"Lord this is good." Zeke took a large gulp from the mug of apple cider in his hands. The cold fall air was still...well, cold, but the heat from the bonfire and the warmth from his drink was doing a great job of keeping the chill away. Zeke made his way around the edge of the bonfire, looking around for anyone he had met during his first week living at the school. Not seeing anyone, Zeke wandered over to an empty log and sat down. With one hand, Zeke unbuttoned the top few buttons of his black thermal shirt; the heat from the fire was keeping him warm enough that the light thermal and his red winter vest were more than enough to keep him comfortable. Zeke finished the rest of his cider, then reached into his backpack for his sketchbook and a piece of charcoal. Without paying too much attention to his surroundings, Zeke began shading a scene—large shadows cast by flames, an uncountable amount of students, and a large void filled with flames in the center of it all.

Tomas sits on a log beside the fire eating his expertly cooked marshmallows as he nods along to the music playing in his ear. Beside him is his sachel bag, every so often he will take a piece of paper, an old exam a syllabus etc, from it ball it up and with a slight grin throw it in the fire.

Harm laughs quietly behind their hand. "We can try to be a good herd," they tell Marinov. "The winningest of herds." They finish rolling the joint. Lights it, takes a deep inhale, and offers it out. They breathe the smoke up toward the smoke and sparks spiraling up from the fire. "I haven't seen my folks all year, but I already know I'm going to miss you all over break." Their smile skews a little self conscious. "I wish we could have another vacation together, like over the summer."

The fire shifts, twists -- this time its not its usual flutter. Not the skitter of embers and dance of flames but a more distinct warping, an odd inversion that overlays the fire's warmth with a blast of colder air. A gust of icy wind, a flutter of snowflakes that stutter, stops, starts again. The world around them shifts in a dizzying lurch -- the fire doesn't gutter out so much as just vanishes.

When the world settles again, it's definitely not at the lakeshore. The lake is gone altogether; it's gotten a good deal colder. There's a cobbled-brick plaza around them, wide and open but quiet, currently, a deserted quaint-downtown feel that is absolutely not Salem. The few streetlights around -- already strung up with twinkling Christmas lights -- illuminate darkened storefronts, empty metal benches, a small circular central garden, bare trees hung with lights as well. Snow is drifting down overhead, not yet sticking though it's left the benches and sidewalks damp, as well as the newspaper boxes on the sidewalk. In the distance some of the stores are brighter lit, a lone few figures hurrying by on -- perhaps more populated -- cross streets.

Kavalam's bottle smashes to the ground. Abruptly he's more noticeable -- though before he'd skated below most of the students' radars, in the wake of this now he's swung very much the other direction, attention pulled onto him like a beacon. His eyes have riveted on Harm. "What kind of witchcraft was that."

One of K.C.'s hands flutters at the air, her other arm wrapping tight around herself. "Bangor," she mutters quietly, then louder: "Bangor. Not good vacation. Try again. Try --" Here she cuts off. Looks up. Looks around. Her hand twitches -- tugs at the air. Bats at it. Twitches again. "Not good vacation," she repeats, and louder, "not good vacation."

Zeke's head snaps up from his drawing and his eyes immediately find Kavalam amongst the crowd of celebrating students. "Oh...Christ." Quickly, very quickly, Zeke flips to a blank page in his sketchbook and starts to shade a picture of the mysterious boy.

Marinov catches themselves before actually falling from their lack of seat to land on the ground and pushed back to a standing position. "Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Did I smoke something-- ?" They look around a bit and then say, "Um. Maybe someone had a teleportation accident? Where the hell are we?-- Bangor?" Calmer, "Oh, Bangor." Then suddenly in a more high pitched, frantic voice, "Bangor?!"

The lurching finally spills Naomi’s drink with a crash to the cobblestones- she scrambles to her feet, eyes wide with panic. “Spence?” She asks hopefully, looking around with hope for her friend among the gathered students. Her focus is instead pulled to Kavalam, which is not the reassurance she's looking for. A snowflake lands on her scales - she shivers in the cold. Her breathing speeds up. “Where the hell is Bangor?”

Nanami, similarly, is tumbling to the ground, a small eep pulled out of her before she scrambles back to her feet. She brushes at her butt, tucks her coat more snug about herself with a shiver. Her eyes have fixed on Kavalam until the others speak -- only then is she looking around uncomfortably. "What? Who -- why? What the hell? Who even -- 'huh'?" She's scanning the plaza with wide-eyed bewilderment, pulling her hood up over her head with a disgruntled frown and brushing snowflakes from her cheek.

Beau falls flat on his ass and lets out a startled “Fuck! I swear to Christ if this is some sorta joke.” The giant of a teenager pushes up to his feet and looks around, “Look, I know I wanted to see Stephen King‘s house, but it ain’t even Christmas yet.”

Weird. Very very weird. One second Zeke was seated on a log by a warm fire and the next he was flat on his stomach. In his rush to shade a picture of the mysterious boy—Kavalam, he hadn't fully taken in his...unique situation. Now, sitting up and collecting his sketchbook, he took in his surroundings. Noticing Beau made Zeke feel a bit better. He stood and brushed himself off. "Beau...big guy, what happened? Where are we?"

Marcus says nothing. His cider has splashed down over his leg and he's rubbing at it, uncomfortably, as he picks himself off the ground. He stands slowly, wanders slowly. Stops by the newspapers with a small widening of eyes. Then a larger one. His mouth opens. Closes. Opens. Lael is probably first to notice the panic in his mind. The flap of his hand comes next, gesturing the others nearer as he points at the paper stand.

In front of his wide-staring eyes, nestled among the Bangor Daily News discussing Thanksgiving traffic and a free weekly jobs newsletter, a Daily Bugle: `PRES. PENCE PROMISES SENTINELS, FUNDING FOR MUTANT DETENTION CENTERS`

Tomas falls, now seated on the ground, let's out an audible "umf" as he sits. He then looks around clearly disoriented, he looks around him seeing that he no longer has his sachel bag nor his marshmallows. He then drops the balled up piece of paper from his hand and pulls out his phone. As he looks thru his phone he eventually pulls up the map app, however it doesn't display any map, instead it is a blank screen. He looks thru the phone franticly rubbing his head as he does so. He then taps Baeu on the side to get his attention. He franticly shows him his phone and makes frantic gestures.

Nessie skitters over towards Marcus at the waving. Squints at the paper, squints at the others. Looks back at the paper. Giggles, clapping a hand over her mouth. "President Pence." This comes with a snort, "Oh my god can you imagine? That would be a nightmare."

"I'm getting cold," Nanami says a little uncomfortably, one ankle rolling to the side and her arms crossing tight around her chest. "Whoever did this can you put us back now?" Her eyes dart to Nessie, narrowed. "What?"

When Marinov follows Marcus's gesturing towards the news, their voice almost sounds sick, "President... Pence..." They squint towards the paper and start to tentatively walk over, "Are we. In the future?"

Gaétan scrubs his hand over his face, staring first at Kavalam -- then Marinov -- then the Christmas lights. The lights get the longest frown, as he gets to his feet. He's quiet through the initial waves of confusion, his own expression scrunched up in -- no less puzzlement. He's taking his phone out, frowning at it when it has no signal. Wandering a bit, grimacing eventually and tucking it back into his pocket. It's Nessie's giggling comment that stops him, turns him back to the group. "Sorry -- what did you say about the President?" He hastens closer, looking to the newspaper. Looking to Marinov. Back to the paper. He's gone still and -- verrrry quiet. "Um -- I think I -- may..." he starts, but then pauses. "We should maybe move from here."

"You?" Marcus turns, abrupt, to stare at Gaétan. "You -- do this?" Careful and polite: "Please. Undo."

Lael rushes to his sister's side, his hair writhing faster and faster as the others process their panic and confusion. He shrugs out of his jacket and drapes it over Naomi's shoulders, ushering her over to where Marcus indicates. "Date's today, but there ain't no way that's..." His snake-like eyes dart over to fix unblinking on Gaétan. "...real." He looks around them, his locks twisting into anxious knots. "He's right. We gotta get outta sight and we gotta do it right quick."