Logs:The Void in Minor
|The Void in Minor
"Real old school hours up in this treehouse today."
<XAV> Treehouse - Xs Grounds
Built by enterprising students of yesteryear, this treehouse has weathered generations of Xaviers' students coming up here to study -- or escape from studying. A cozy retreat, its wood planks are sturdy and well-sanded, fit snug together to keep out draft. Snacks occasionally find their way up here, and the roof keeps the rain off well enough to pass a night -- so long as the teachers don't catch any students at it. For anyone agile enough to make the jump, a lucky leap juuust might carry them from here to the school rooftop, so long as they're careful of the drop...
The sky is filled with grey clouds making the already cool weather feel even colder outside. The lack of any direct sun will accomplish that and the resultant dreariness feels quite fitting as the first week of the new semester is just past the halfway point, but not quite done. For Astrid those three days have felt more like three months and the tree house has become the current spot of reprieve for any school related activities. She sits cross-legged on the floor made up of well sanded and worn planks.
She’s wearing her usual black beanie, pulled down low enough to only leave a sliver of space above her thick black glasses. A dark navy hoodie adorns her upper body with the left collar of a red and black plaid shirt underneath pops out. She’s wearing beige, loose fitting pants that look like the bottom half of scrubs, but to those in the know it is obvious where they came from. A new pair of Chuck Taylors round out her outfit.
To anyone approaching the tree house the sounds of a fast paced rhythm being played on a banjo can be heard. Occasionally it is accompanied by a rather hollow sounding voice, the words indiscernible from the outside.
Astrid's solitude is about ti be interrupted; there's the sound of shoes on the ladder up, a red toque poking up into the entrance just before the rest of Gaétan's face. He hesitates halfway in, head cocking as he listens to Astrid playing, waiting for some break in the music before he ventures: "You mind company?"
Spencer had been waiting semi-patiently at the bottom of the ladder while Gaétan scaled it. Now he vanishes from where he'd been slumped against the oak's trunk and --
-- reappears inside the treehouse before Astrid has a chance to answer to question. He looks pale and sick and way too skinny, very bundled up in a blue puffer coat, thick gray corduroys, and faux-fur-lined boots, his hands in dark gray knit gloves with sparkly blue fingertips. On his head is a black Bucharian kippah embroidered with stylized stars and planets in many colors, and despite its large coverage it's still obvious on closer inspection his head is shaved. "Hey!" he chirps brightly. "Whatcha playing, it sounds great!"
“They declared me unfit to live, said into that great void my soul'd be hurled. They wanted to know why I did what I did Well sir I guess there's just a meanness in this world.”
The song quickly wraps up as the last words are sung. By no means does Astrid have what would be considered a good singing voice. The tone is low, slightly off key and a bit haunting. Unique might be the best thing going for her. The playing is at least good.
She makes brief eye contact with Gaétan and before she can reply, the sudden appearance of Spencer grabs her attention as her eyes dart toward him. “Oh shit!” She shouts, briefly wondering if she’ll ever get use to that. The look of surprise quickly turns to embarrassment as the instrument is laid down in her lap. “Oh, thanks… just the song Nebraska.” Her lips curl up into a slight smile. “Not at all.” She turns towards Gaétan. “The more the merrier.”
Gaétan bobs his head, clambering the rest of the way up into the treehouse somewhat awkwardly; he has to carefully maneuver through the doorway with his backpack on his back and his guitar case strapped to that. He's less bundled than Spencer, just a black and grey sweater, jeans, Vans sneakers. "Real old school hours up in this treehouse today." It doesn't sound like a criticism. He's careful about unhitching his cargo from his shoulders, setting it down in a corner and thumping down beside it. "Is the void like -- the mood or are you just feeling Springsteen."
Spencer hunches his shoulders slightly when Astrid starts. "Sorry to startle," he says, then, biting his lower lip. "Maybe kind of a disingenuous apology when -- well, I mean I don't even have any excuse normally, but I know I'm doing it a lot." He digs his phone out of his pocket -- from Gaétan's vantage point it's clear he's looking up 'Nebraska lyrics', his eyes skimming over them quickly, then lifting back up. "It's about...mass murder?" His gray eyes are very wide. "Parts of Nebraska are kinda void-like, in a majestic sort of way."
Astrid bites down hard into her bottom lip, as her mind fishes around for an answer to Gaétan’s question. Marks remain as her lips begin to part, teeth hovering over the indentations left behind. “Yeah, definitely been feeling the void lately. That song seemed, well… the right tone maybe?” A smile does begin to creep across her mouth as she catches sight of the guitar case.
“No worries. Sorry I startled.” Full on toothy grin emerges. “I should be used to that by now. Or so you’d think.” She watches as Spencer scans the lyrics to the song. “Yep. I think it is about a real event… but can’t remember exactly.” The comment on the state of Nebraska is responded with a quick nod. “I haven’t actually been, though from what I’ve heard that might not be a bad thing?”
"Yeah." Gaétan leans back against the wall, the thump of his head muffled against the wood by his knit cap. "Been hard to figure a tone for life lately but that's as good as any." He pulls his guitar case near, but doesn't actually open it. Just drags one knee up by his chest. "Majestic isn't what I think of when I think of Nebraska." Bites down on his own lip, too. "If you stare too long into the cattle, the cattle stare back at you."
Spencer's blush shows easily on his cheeks and he scruffs at the back of his head. " He finally settles himself down, too. "I dunno, I think it's pretty. The parts I've seen, anyway. There's so much sky out there." Then he adds, "And so much cattle, it's true." He looks from Astrid's banjo to Gae's guitar case. "One of the amazing things about music is you can like. Make a tone for life, right? Even if it's only for a while."
Astrid bobs her head as her fingers quickly tap out a straight rhythm across the drumhead on her banjo. The cow comment elicits a quick laugh, which is stifled as her eyes go momentarily wide. “Oh, that reminds me… how’re you doing with…um...” She pauses, tilting her head. “Your not-sister being here?” Quickly it dawns on her as how this could be interpreted as she nervously tugs down on her beanie. “Not the cow comment. Shit. Life right now.” She stumbles over words and laughs nervously. “You know what I mean.”
Spencer’s comments strike a chord with Astrid as her brows furrow together. “Yeah, I could see that. Back home the sky can feel oddly claustrophobic. Sorta like here today with all the clouds and the trees obscuring the horizon.” Though fleeting, there is a regret to her earlier comment on Nebraska. Her smile is quick to return. “Absolutely. Lately, I feel life deserves nothing but the minor scales.”
"What?" Gaétan's brows scrunch at first, confused until Astrid's stumbling clarification. "Oh -- that's. Been." His cheeks puff out, arm curling around his knee as he blows out a heavy breath. His eyes dart to Spencer, then lift to the ceiling. "Weird, mostly. You'd think the weird would end after getting back from the alternate dimension but it's been surreal as hell."
Now he does reach for his bass, flipping open the locks on the guitar case and pulling it out. His laugh is small, quiet. "Think my family of all people would have some preparation for this stolen-to-fairyland-ass nonsense but." He shakes his head. The idle tune he starts strumming is in a minor key, slow and haunting. "Probably too soon to start turning all this into a musical. I'm definitely doing one about our impending civil war, though."
The color drains from Spencer's cheeks as quickly as it came, and he curls in on himself as if cold. "The girl in Lost! actually wanted to get stolen away, but..." He hunches tighter. "Maybe nothing really prepares you when it happens." His shoulders ease a little when Gaétan starts playing, and he settles his chin on his knees. "Do you mean 'doing one' like, write one? Or 'doing one' like write, produce, direct, and cast one all by yourself?" There's a ghost of a smile on his face, here.
Staring at a point on the wall just to the left of Gaétan’s heads, Astrid’s features quickly turn solemn. “I can’t even…” She simply shakes her head. “Well, let me know if there is anything I can do.” A single digit is used to scratch at the back of her head through the fibers of her beanie before her banjo is picked back up. “Both are ripe for some rock opera type concept albums.” She begins placing her fingers around on the neck, looking for the chords to match what Gaétan is playing but holding off on actually strumming. Spencer’s words are quick to grab her attention, one brow raised as she looks in his direction. “Like in that TV show, Lost?” She asks, clearly not having any clue as to what he is talking about. Not long after she starts playing lightly.
"Oh -- uh, nah, I haven't seen the show. It's a Broadway thing. Musical. About this girl who gets stolen away from her world. S'a whole -- thing." Gaétan snorts at Spencer, his head shaking. "Where do you think I'm gonna get all those skills? I'm struggling enough with video editing since Marcus left. Just gonna write the songs and let the internet take it from there. The world does not seem to be slowing down on providing material, anyway."
Spencer had sucked in a deep breath, but lets it back out without the explanation of Lost! that had probably been loading before Gaétan answers. Instead he just adds, trying and failing to copy his friend's casual tone, "Yeah it's really good. If you like musicals. I mean shows aren't running right now, and I don't know if it'll be back on once the theatres open back up, but -- well, it won't be the same." He scrunches up his face. "You write and produce and direct and cast your TikToks and they're amazing. I mean maybe those skills don't -- scale up? I don't know." He curls his arms across his knees and half-buries his face in soft fluffy sleeves as he listens to the others play.
“Ahhh…” Astrid mouths the word more than saying it. “That makes sense. Yeah.” Eyes fall to the frets littering the banjo neck. “I don’t think I’ve seen a musical. Not in an actual theater anyway.” She continues to pluck at the strings softly, making sure her contribution doesn’t overwhelm the discussion. She looks up briefly, looking between the other two in the tree house. “Not sure I have an opinion on musicals. Probably should see one before deciding, right?” Her eyes fall back to her instrument as she listens to the discussion on TikTok vs full on musical production. “I bet you could do it. Got to be enough people here to help fill in any gaps, right?”
"I've seen -- way too many. My brother's really. Involved in that whole scene. There's some decent ones online, anyway, I don't think the actual theatres are reopening till spring. Assuming we still have a country by spring." Gaétan's eyes dart across to watch Astrid momentarily as he plays. There's still a distinct melancholy in the tune he twines with hers. "Yeah, I could probably find people to help. Why, you all interested in being in a musical?"
"His brother is this big time Broadway actor he won a Tony Award for his role in that play it was so amazing but he won't be in it when it comes back," the words finally spill from Spence in an enthusiastic tumble. "Uh -- not Mister Tessier -- I mean he's also a Mister Tessier just not the one who teaches here. He's in some of Gae's videos!" He's rocking back and forth subtly now, pressing his face into his sleeve a little. "We should get a bunch of kids together and go see something when the theatres come back. And we could do a musical whoa!" His already wide eyes have gone even wider. "I don't think I'd be a good actor but I can build sets and be a stage hand and all that!"
Astrid nods to the “way too many” comment, which looks like she was briefly nodding along to the music. Her head remains down, eyes glancing back and forth between her hand holding the down the frets and the one an strumming the strings. She’s quiet as she concentrates, her playing continuing to line up with Gaétan’s. “A Tony? Seriously? Now I’ve got something better to do than homework later tonight.” She looks up, smiling and briefly loses her concentration, but is quick to recover. “I think it would be awesome and volunteer to help in any way you need. Of course you’ll put me in the musical only if you want it to fail”
"Oh, yeah. He's pretty good. I mean, that whole show was wild. Whole thing is online." Gaétan falters shortly after Astrid, but doesn't pick back up; his hand presses down against the strings and he slumps back against the wall, his leg straightening out. "Aight. Crew's important, too, if we're going to bring High School Musical: The TikTok: The Musical to life. Guess I'll have to start writing shit that's longer than sixty seconds. This is really going to push my talents to the limit, just so you know."
"Seriously!" Spence seems pleased that Astrid is suitably impressed, or maybe he's just continuing to be excited about the hypothetical Xavier's musical under discussion. "This is /so/ cool. Except now that you say your acting would make the musical fail I'm convinced you're actually an amazing actor," he tells Astrid confidentially. "Oh! Maybe all the songs could be sixty seconds long and like you can find someone else to like help you write the script, you know?" He picks his head up enough that the other can see his bright smile, not that it was much hidden in the crinkle of his eyes and the exuberance in his voice. "But you'll be fine on the /talent/ front/. You're pretty good yourself."
“Can’t wait to see it.” Astrid says, continuing to play for several more seconds before stopping. Her smile is beaming when she finally looks up. The banjo is set back into her lap, this time with the strings facing down. Both hands are folded neatly across the back of the instrument, the headstock hovering parallel with the floor.
“I doubt it.” She says to Spencer, a little color making itself present in her cheeks as she begins to blush. “But I really appreciate the thought.” She not only sounds excited, but the way she straightens her back, shoulders held at less of a slump like there is some renewed energy. “But I guess if that is what is needed, I can give it a shot. For sure I can help out with any music.” The back of the banjo is thumped to accentuate her point. “I have no idea what it is going to be, but I am so excited. You’re going to kill it.”