At least it wasn’t anyone he knew. That was the first thought in L’s head as the teacher finally got to his project assignment. Of course,,,he’d have vastly preferred to work separately, but the one good thing he could see that might come out of this was the fact that with a partner to consult, he was less likely to misinterpret the instructions completely and complete a different and irrelevant project. Not that he was speaking from experience, of course. He did know who the name belonged to. Orpheus...he tilted his head, shooting a subtle glance at the owner. Not popular. Not unpopular. One of those kids who simply went through school as though school was the main event, rather than a side quest.
L. Orpheus took note of that, looking up at the teacher for another long moment before he twisted in his seat, trying to catch sight of the other boy. The school was small enough that he knew everyone, but also didn’t know everyone. He knew L by name and face only. He wasn’t entirely sure whether or not they’d gone to the same middle school, but Orpheus found he doubted it. It wasn’t outside the realm of possibility – Orpheus has spent most of middle school trying to escape into a haze of music – but it meant he had never had a class with L before. So they were practically strangers. Even with that in mind, he raised a hand in greeting and gave the other boy a small smile. Group projects weren’t his favorite by far, but partner assignments weren’t terrible, and Orpheus got the impression that L was the sort who actually did his work. Orpheus did, too. Well… for the most part. He tried to, but sometimes he got distracted. Still, his grades were passable. We’ll spend the last ten minutes of class working with your partners! The teacher’s cheery voice echoed in Orpheus’ ear for just a moment as he moved his backpack from the side of his chair, making room for L if he wanted to sit over here. Or… he could go over there… he really wasn’t sure what L was expecting. He didn’t want to presume L would move for him, but… there was more room at Orpheus’ desk than there was at L’s.
L’s eyes widened a little as Orpheus looked at him, though he probably should have seen that coming. He had, after all, looked at Orpheus automatically. He didn’t know much about him, besides what he’d gathered from his observations of all the other students. Knowing who was who and who did what and who was friends with who and who was likely to spill secrets was very useful knowledge for general survival, he’d found. Knowledge was power, and power was safety. He hesitated, then waved back, expression serious. Orpheus was a hard person to get to know by observation. He did his work (usually) and he stayed out of trouble, and that was pretty much it. He neither fit in nor stuck out, he didn’t have friends or enemies, his grades were good but not excellent...he was difficult to predict for those reasons. He could be anyone behind those eyes, anyone at all. He glanced at the teacher, who seemed to expect them to move seats to sit next to their partners. They hadn’t specified who was meant to move, though...a sliver of gratitude went through L as Orpheus moved his backpack. He at least knew what he was meant to be doing. He got up, glancing at his supplies for a moment before grabbing a notebook and a pencil and moving to join Orpheus. He sat down as he was supposed to, and attempted to hold his pencil properly, then looked at the other student, eyes searching. “Hello,” he said simply.
Orpheus was painfully average in most things. There were a great many people he didn’t care much for, but he avoided them the only way he knew how: by disappearing into the music rooms and spending hours there singing and writing songs, mastering every instrument the school had until the music teacher was forced to tell him night after night that he needed to go home. He could have spent time doing the same thing at home, but as much as he loved Mr. Hermes, they couldn’t really afford all of the musical instruments that were available to him at school. His guitar was one of the few he actually owned, and though he loved it, there was something about incorporating new instruments into his songs that gave him a rush of joy. He doubted most people knew where he went when the school day was over. It would be easy to assume he just went home, because he just sort of… disappeared. And he didn’t reappear until most of the other kids were gone, except for maybe the football kids who were still at practice. But now wasn’t the time to think about music. It was time to think about… he frowned, gaze skimming over the assignment. “Hi,” he returned, looking up and giving L another small smile before pushing the worksheet over so L could read it, too. “So… we have to figure out how to drop an egg from the roof without breaking it.” It seemed… difficult. Especially since they weren’t allowed to hard boil the eggs. Orpheus’ gaze caught on the way L was holding his pencil, and his frown deepened. “I’ve never met anyone who holds their pencil two different ways,” he commented, lifting his gaze up to meet L’s. “The way you were holding it before was cool.”
Post by ®Hawkpath® on Mar 15, 2021 12:18:54 GMT -5
L was good at some things in school and very bad at others. He was good at thinking through problems and finding solutions, but more and more he’d discovered that that was how you figured out the assignments, not completed them. Completing them was a different story completely. Still, his grades were good. Really good. He didn’t try that hard, all things considered...yes, he wanted good grades, but he got bored doing most things required of him. He considered Orpheus. He seemed friendly at least...no telling how long that would last though. L couldn’t trust him just yet. He tilted his head a little, at the assignment as Orpheus pushed it towards him, and carefully reached out to tap it with his index finger. “That means we’ll be standing on a roof…” he muttered, giving Orpheus a quick glance to make sure he wasn’t annoyed by L’s thoughts. “And if we fail, do we have to clean it up? Hopefully it’s a safe roof. What if someone is afraid of heights? I need more information…” He frowned at the unsatisfactory paper. The assignment itself seemed...kind of boring. “Do we get to practice? How many times do we get to practice? Are they going to pay for the eggs or do we have to? That’s not fair what if someone needs those eggs to eat?” He stopped himself. It probably wasn’t the assignment that was annoying him, not really. He looked up, surprised as Orpheus spoke, then searched his eyes. Was he making fun of L? He looked sincere, but that meant nothing, people were sincere to your face and then laughed at you behind your back all the time. “Yes,” he said cautiously, glancing at his pencil. “It’s easier to use the other way. This way bothers me.”
Orpheus blinked. He hadn’t really expected L’s thoughts, but that didn’t mean he was annoyed by them. Just… surprised. Most people just looked at assignments and rolled their eyes a little bit before just doing the bare minimum. L seemed to be taking absolutely everything into account. Which wasn’t a bad thing. In fact, it showed that he was probably far more considerate than most of the other people in the room. Orpheus himself hadn’t stopped to consider what might happen if someone was afraid of heights. It was possible, but… maybe they could just watch from the ground. Orpheus didn’t have a problem with heights, and it didn’t seem like L did either. “I think it’s probably just the roof of this building,” he said after a moment, giving a small shrug. “And I think Mr. Hermes has some eggs at home that we can use to practice. He’s got a friend who runs a farm, and she delivers us fresh eggs every week ‘cause she knows they’re better than the store-bought ones. So… we probably don’t need to worry too much about the roof, or about having enough eggs to practice with. I’ll just have to have something else for breakfast the week we decide to practice!” Orpheus’ smile was wide and genuine, and he hoped his words would ease some of L’s worries. L hadn’t really seemed the nervous type, but Orpheus was getting the feeling that his initial impression was wrong. He read over the assignment one more time, skimming over the requirements before looking back up at L. Or, more specifically, the hand he was holding the pencil in. “Why do you do it that way if it bothers you?” he asked after a moment, the confusion evident in his voice. “Wouldn’t it just… be easier to do it how it’s comfortable?”
Post by ®Hawkpath® on Mar 15, 2021 16:09:42 GMT -5
L hadn’t intended to start rambling the moment Orpheus came over. He hadn’t intended to say all that out loud, but there it was. He hoped Orpheus wasn’t irritated by him already...he didn’t want to make any more enemies if he could help it. Not that he had any intention of making a friend, he just wanted them to be partners and get this assignment done, then go back to ignoring each other. Orpheus seemed decently friendly, at least...maybe he would even prove helpful. L considered the assignment. Lack of information aside, it seemed the sort of thing he’d have loved to figure out...in his own time by himself with no grade depending on his answer. He disliked being judged. Especially when he was likely to think of a solution that worked but was technically considered the wrong answer. He glanced at Orpheus and gave a small nod, considering that. Not that getting eggs would be a problem for him either, he was sure Watari would happily supply as many as he needed, but it was good to know they could practice at either house. Would this require visiting Orpheus’ house? He hoped it wouldn’t…he didn’t really want to visit anyone he didn’t know, and he didn’t know Orpheus very well. Besides, he trusted most adults even less than most kids. It wasn’t exactly that he was nervous...he was just unsure. It didn’t really matter, though. And Orpheus seemed to know what he was doing, anyway. He glanced at his pencil again. “Easier, yeah,” he agreed, glancing at the treacher before glancing back at Orpheus. “But not correct. And adults really, really care about correct. Even when incorrect works much better.”
Orpheus didn’t mind the rambling. He tended to be pretty quiet around strangers, unless he had a reason to talk to them or something he could connect with them about, but… mostly he was shy. L didn’t seem too bad, at least. Orpheus would rather be paired with a stranger than one of the popular kids. Although he spent much of his time hiding away in the music rooms, even he knew who was popular. He didn’t spend enough time with others to know who tended to be picked on by the popular kids, but he could guess, usually. As nice as L seemed (or perhaps because L seemed nice), he was prime material to be picked on. Orpheus hoped it didn’t happen too often. He wasn’t going to ask. That would be weird. ‘Hey stranger, I know we’re supposed to be talking about eggs, but do you regularly get bullied?’ That was one way to get his new partner to hate him. Orpheus wasn’t thinking yet about how exactly they would do the project. He wasn’t considering the implications of having to go to one person’s house in order to get eggs. “Maybe… we should start with measuring how high the roof is?” he asked after a moment, considering. “I mean… we can’t really practice if we don’t know how high we’re supposed to be dropping it from, right?” Orpheus wasn’t the best at science. He didn’t really know how to do things all the time, but he had a good idea of where they were supposed to start for this, at least. It was easier to let that thought sit in the back of his mind as he turned his attention back to L’s pencil. “I think that’s stupid,” he said, expression genuine. “If it’s easier and it works, then you should be allowed to do it.”
Post by ®Hawkpath® on Mar 18, 2021 20:32:46 GMT -5
L was usually fairly quiet, but he didn’t seem to have a medium between rambling and saying nothing, and with the project, saying nothing wasn’t an option, so here he was, rambling. He was deeply aware of how the school worked. He knew who was popular and who wasn’t, he knew who had the power and who was willing to do anything to stay in the good graces of those people. Often, the worst of the bullies were the people desperate not to get kicked out. Not that the rulers didn’t get their hands dirty too, of course. He didn’t think Orpheus got picked on, at least. He hadn’t ever seen him go through what L did daily, anyway...not that a lot of people saw L go through it either. They were clever. They were good at not getting caught. He shook his head a little. No use thinking about it now, he focused on the project instead. “We might have to ask someone how tall it is,” he replied, nodding. “Measuring it ourselves might not work. But if we can find an even higher place to practice, then we can be sure that it won’t break, right?” He blinked, glancing at his pencil. “Oh…” he managed, startled. “I think so too, but adults make the rules, right? Not like they really care if it makes sense.” He shrugged. It was annoying, but he wasn’t going to fight about it. He could hole his pencil how he wanted to at home, and appease the teachers at school. Not a big deal.
Orpheus was aware of the bullies, of course. He avoided them like the plague, but he wasn’t oblivious or anything. He had a healthy amount of self-preservation instinct, and even if not risking meeting the bullies cost him the opportunity to have friends, at least he had music. That was enough for him. As long as he could keep playing during lunch and after school, he was happy. It meant that the bullies didn’t have anything on him, because people really only saw him when he had classes with them. He was friendly in classes to almost everyone. Actually… no, everyone. He was just a little bit less friendly to the bullies, because they were mean to everyone else, and they didn’t deserve to be treated as kindly as everyone else. It also meant, however, that he didn’t know the extent to which other people were bullied. He figured it was a small problem. “D’ya think the teacher will know?” he asked after a moment, tilting his head a little bit. “It’ll be a lot easier if we don’t have to measure it ourselves. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a tape measure long enough to stretch the entire height of the building.” It was only about three stories high, though. How high was a story? He was fairly certain someone had told him there was a standard unit of measurement for that, but if that were the case, wouldn’t all ceilings be the same height? His mind was wandering. “Well,” Orpheus said, grateful that L had grounded his thoughts, “when we’re working on our project, you can hold it however you want to hold it, because I’m not a teacher, and our group shouldn’t have any rules except… like… the normal ones. Be nice and stuff. And… we each have to do some of the work.” He thought about that, then nodded firmly. “I don’t like rules, much. I think those are the only two we really need. For the project, I mean.”
L missed the days when a self-preservation instinct had been all he needed. Avoiding the bullies was harder than it sounded when you didn’t have anywhere to disappear to, and it wasn’t for lack of trying. He wasn’t that friendly, all things considered. He tried to keep his head down, tried not to talk to people, but word of his grades and his personality got out anyway, and the bullies didn’t appreciate him ruining the curve. Or maybe they just didn’t appreciate his face. It was hard to tell. No, avoiding them wasn’t possible. So he did the next best thing, which happened to be nothing, because he hadn’t yet come up with a suitable plan B. He looked at Orpheus again, considering that. “They might,” he answered thoughtfully. “If they don’t, there might be a book that does. Someone has to know, right?” He had no idea whether they did, but it seemed likely, and if no one knew...well, it probably didn’t matter all that much. He nodded seriously as Orpheus continued. “I don’t like rules either,” he agreed. “They get in the way. But...those are okay rules. I’ll be nice and do some of the work.” Thar settled, he focused on his pencil again, then glanced at the teacher and subtly shifted how he held it back to how he liked to. There. If they wanted to correct him, they’d have to tell him. He looked a the paper again. “Is that all?” He questioned, glancing at Orpheus.
Orpheus was lucky. None of the bullies had very much time after school to search for him, even if they wanted him gone. Even if they did, nobody would think to look in the music rooms. Those were deserted more often than not, because the band practiced during class times and occasionally in the mornings. He had found a good hiding place, and it just so happened to be where his true passion lay. Or perhaps it was the other way around. Either way, he had a way to avoid the bullies. Not that he really needed to avoid them. He was nothing if not average. He got decent but not great grades, he was friendly enough to be looked over, and he spoke in class a moderate amount. The only area in which he excelled was music, and nobody ever heard him play. He didn’t want to join band because he wanted to write his own songs, and although he was a freshman, he was already in the most advanced guitar class. None of the bullies could possibly know that, because even if they were interested in music, they would be in the beginner classes. Orpheus’ excellence was kept under wraps, which was fine with him, because he didn’t even consider it excellence. He just considered it an awful lot of practice. “I don’t think they can really expect us to do the assignment without knowing that, right?” Orpheus asked, tilting his head. He stuck his hand in the air, waiting for the teacher to notice him and answer their question. He gave a small smile, meeting L’s gaze for a long moment before looking down at the assignment sheet. He didn’t think the rules were very difficult, but it seemed like being nice was hard for some people. His gaze flicked back down to L’s hand, and he gave a satisfied nod. Good. If L thought it was better, than he was probably right. Orpheus wasn’t going to make him settle for adult rules that didn’t make sense. “I guess… we should probably talk about when we wanna work on the project?” he frowned, then sat back. “I have second period off. Do you have a free period?”
Post by ®Hawkpath® on Mar 19, 2021 20:34:56 GMT -5
L knew there were people who the bullies weren’t interested in, or just couldn’t hurt, but he had a hard time imagining that life. A good portion of his brain was devoted to trying to deal with them. Even at home, he thought about them. He’d tried messing up his grades on purpose, but that had just made matters worse. He’d tried avoiding them, but they seemed to enjoy tracking him down. He’d tried everything, and here he was, in the same situation. He shook his head, glancing over his shoulder to see if any of them were in class with him. If not, then he had a chance at evading them for today...if they happened to be here, it was almost a guarantee that they’d corner him as soon as class ended. L didn’t mean to stick out, but he did anyway. He just felt out of place here. His uniform bothered him, he had to wear shoes, he has to hold his pencil the wrong way, he couldn’t sit how he wanted to, he had to eat food he could barely manage to choke down...no, it wasn’t just the bullies, but they just made everything so much worse. He looked back at Orpheus, considering him. “I don’t know if - “ he began, then broke off as Orpheus stuck his hand in the air. He looked at the teacher, eyes narrowing slightly as he waited for them to say something. Truthfully, he was glad Orpheus had suggested the rules. Being nice was something he didn’t get much opportunity to do. He didn’t have friends and any chance of being nice to the bullies had disappeared a long time ago. So...really, he was only actually nice to Watari. He was distant at best with everyone else, including teachers and people he was forced to work with. He hesitated. “I do, after class.” He confirmed, tapping the desk with his pencil. “Maybe we could talk then.” The teacher finally noticed Orpheus’ hand and looked over, smiling at the two of them. “Orpheus? Did you have a question?” They asked, and L looked at Orpheus, then attempted to seem smaller in case there were any bullies who might have just had their attention called towards him.
Orpheus didn’t know L very well. He didn’t know about the rules that bothered him (other than the pencil), and he didn’t know how he could make things better. School… wasn’t great, but it was definitely better for him than it was for L. He didn’t know that yet. He just knew that L was the smartest kid in his class, and though he never bragged about it, everyone knew it. And Orpheus knew that plenty of people held it against the other boy, which didn’t quite seem fair. They didn’t have the right to be upset, not when they didn’t even try that hard to get good grades in the first place. But… from Orpheus’ limited time in class with L, it seemed like he didn’t try very hard either. Good grades came naturally to him. Orpheus was right in the middle of the pack. His grades were decent, and he had to work somewhat hard on them. He probably could have gotten straight As if he spent more time doing homework than playing music, but… in truth, he didn’t think he needed to excel academically to do what he wanted in life. He would rather get really, really good at music and nail his audition to music school. All he needed for that were passable grades. For Orpheus, high school was more of a pit stop than the main event. He knew it wasn’t like that for a lot of people, but… those people had friends. Orpheus just had music. It wasn’t the right time to get lost in his thoughts, though, because the teacher had noticed his raised hand. “Oh. Yes… well… we can’t really figure out how to stop the egg from breaking if we don’t know how high the building is, right? So… do you know where we could find that out?” Orpheus glanced at L for a long moment, giving him a small smile before he turned his full attention back to the teacher as they nodded and began fishing through some paperwork at the front of the classroom. They’d probably have their answer soon. For now… “We can work on our project after school, if you don’t have any extracurriculars. Whenever your last class finishes you can meet me in the music rooms, maybe?”
L knew he was the smartest person in his class. He didn’t pretend otherwise. It was a fact, he didn’t really have any strong feelings about it one way or the other. He didn’t brag, but he didn’t lie either. Unfortunately, certain others didn’t feel the same way. L wasn’t sure whether they felt threatened by him or something else, but something about his intelligence made them hate him. At least...he thought that might be why they did. It could have been something else, he supposed. It was true he didn’t try very hard in school. Studying was a relatively useless activity for him….or so he imagined. The truth was that he didn’t usually bother. He generally understood the material he learned in class without studying, and when he didn’t understand the concept, he psychoanalyzed the homework itself. Tests were predictable. And most of what he was learning bored him, anyway. Apparently when you were obviously not paying attention in class, got called on, and gave the correct answer along with an unnecessary but accurate side note, it attracted the wrong sort of attention. He hadn’t meant to show off, it was just that technically speaking there were exceptions to the rule and it hadn’t seemed likely that the teacher was going to mention them. He looked at the teacher, and tapped the desk lightly with his pencil, waiting for a reply. He figured they’d probably have the answer...it did seem fairly relevant to the problem they’d just been handed. He should have been expecting them to tell him to hold his pencil correctly, but he wasn’t. The problem with it being comfortable was that he could forget he was doing it, and so he wasn’t thinking about it anymore. Instead, he was looking at the project instructions again, trying to commit them to memory so he wouldn’t accidentally break any rules and get them both disqualified. “Oh, the music rooms. I’ve never been there,” he replied quietly, and gave a small nod. “Okay. I’ll be there.”
Orpheus didn’t hold L’s intelligence against him. He wasn’t sure he could. It was impressive, and he wasn’t the sort of jerk who went around telling everyone that he was better than them just because he was good at getting the right answer. Orpheus knew plenty of those kids, and although L was probably smarter than them, he didn’t try to use it to make other people feel bad. Of course… there were people who did end up feeling bad, but most of those kids became bullies so Orpheus didn’t really feel bad for them. If they couldn’t deal with feeling like they weren’t as smart as someone else in any way other than lashing out to make other people feel bad about themselves, Orpheus wasn’t going to be mean to them, but he didn’t have to like them, either. Besides, Orpheus found he sometimes learned more from L’s classroom contributions than he did from the actual class itself. The things L pointed out seemed to be relevant, and the things the teacher brought up sometimes seemed tangentially connected at best. They didn’t follow a path that made a lot of sense to Orpheus. It was like… they jumped from chord to chord instead of doing it in a way that created a melody. He looked up at the teacher, waiting for them to find the answer, then gave a small smile as they wrote it up on the board so everyone would have it. Good. That way everyone would have it to use. “I spend most of my time in the music rooms,” Orpheus admitted, awkwardly rubbing at the back of his neck. “They’re nice. Nobody’s usually there after school, and the music teacher gave me the keys to the instrument closet, so long as I promised to pay for anything that gets broken, so sometimes it’s fun to practice on instruments that I don’t know how to play very well…” he trailed off, blushing a bit as he realized L probably wasn’t very interested. The passion in his eyes died down as he turned his attention back to the instruction sheet. “It’s quiet. It might be a good place to start talking about our project, at least.”
Post by ®Hawkpath® on Mar 22, 2021 15:02:54 GMT -5
L didn’t intend to make anyone feel bad. He didn’t even intend to be smarter, he couldn’t help it. The best he could offer was pretending things were harder than they were, which backfired when certain others assumed he was mocking them. He wasn’t actually sure what they wanted from him...what was he supposed to do about it? He couldn’t change his brain anymore than they could, it was just now he was, no matter what he did. Sometimes he wished he struggled enough in school to be left alone, but then, he supposed school would become its own problem. He couldn’t seem to win. So he did his best and dealt with the consequences. If they were going to hate him, at least let them hate him for something genuine, not an attempt to suck up to them. He had tried smothering himself to make them happy. He was done pretending. Besides. Maybe if he explained his thoughts in class, he could help someone else. Maybe if he could point out what he noticed, someone who was struggling would have an epiphany and get a better grade. Was it worth it? Didn’t matter. He didn’t have any options left at this point, so honestly it was. He looked at Orpheus, meeting his eyes as the other student spoke. That explained his usual absence from anywhere but class, he supposed. Did the bullies know where the music room was? If they didn’t...that was a possible place to hide out in the future, if Orpheus allowed it. He tilted his head a little as Orpheus broke off, the light dying in his eyes as he stopped himself...oh no. Oh no, L recognized that look. The expression that was your brain reminding you that no one cared about the things you were passionate about. That no one wanted to hear you ramble. The voice that sounded an awful lot like people who had told you to shut up in the past, or complained that you never stopped talking, or laughed at the things you cared about. L grit his teeth. It made him mad that he wasn’t the only one to have been told those things. “What’s your favorite instrument?” He asked. holding Orpheus’ gaze. He’d undo what damage it could.
Orpheus knew he had a tendency to ramble. He knew he talked about things that people weren’t interested in, and he knew he often said things that didn’t make much sense to anyone else because they hadn’t grown up surrounded by music. He became popular around Valentines day, when everyone wanted him to write songs for their girlfriends (or perform cheesy pop songs for them), but that was about it. Otherwise, he rambled a bit too much about instruments and metaphors in lyrics and what a line break meant in a song… it had taken him a while to learn that most people in middle and high school weren’t that interested. If they liked a song, they didn’t care how it worked, so Orpheus had learned to back off on his explanations. “Oh…” he whispered, holding L’s gaze for a long moment. He hadn’t expected L to practically ask him to continue. To invite him to keep talking, even though class was almost over and they were technically supposed to be talking about the project right now. “I guess… I play the guitar most often, but I don’t know for sure if it’s my favorite. It’s the one instrument I own… well, I own a harmonica, but you can’t do as much with a harmonica as you can with other instruments. I want to learn harp, I think… and one day I’d like to try to make a lyre. Like… a traditional one, not the lyre harps you see sometimes. I guess… I like stringed instruments best. I tried learning violin once, but I like instruments I can sing with.” He gave a small smile, shaking his head just a little bit. “I’ve been trying to figure out how to play bass – you have to be really careful with that one, because the places where you put your fingers aren’t very clearly marked. But once I learn bass then I’ll know how to play cello, too.” He set his pencil down, his face a little bit flushed from the excitement of actually getting to talk to someone about the passion he had for these instruments. “Have you ever played an instrument?” Orpheus asked, tilting his head a little bit. Maybe… they might have something in common. That would be nice. But it was alright if the answer was no, too.
Post by ®Hawkpath® on Mar 23, 2021 16:40:43 GMT -5
L, too, was prone to rambling when he found something he was interested in. He could talk for hours if he was allowed, and eventually someone usually had to stop him, as he showed no signs of tiring. He didn’t know anything about music, though...he’d never played an instrument before, and he didn’t know anything about how it worked, only that it sometimes sounded good, He wasn’t aware of Orpheus’ reputation, or that he was someone people went to to write songs for them. He hadn’t been aware that Orpheus had anything to do with music, actually, until this conversation had happened. He listened quietly, nodding at appropriate moments to encourage Orpheus to continue if he wanted to. It was all fascinating information about a subject he knew very little about, and Orpheus’ clear passion for it only served to draw L in even more. String instruments were his favorite. That was good to know. And he could play the guitar and the harmonica, but not the harp, bass, or cello. “No, I haven’t,” he admitted, setting his own pencil down so he could turn his full attention to Orpheus. “I didn’t know any of that. I don’t even know what a lyre looks like...is it like a harp? It’s probably stringed...” he tilted his head, considering. He wasn’t thinking about bullies or teachers or rules anymore, just the fascinating world Orpheus had just drawn his attention to. Learning new, interesting things always made his problems seem insignificant. Why be sad when there was so much he didn’t yet know about the world?
Orpheus himself wasn’t very aware of his reputation. He just knew that people thought they could write songs and were often very quickly proven wrong. They didn’t know how to write poetry, let alone music. And asking someone else to write a song for your girlfriend was a lot easier than doing it yourself. Not that anyone gave him credit for the songs, unless the was the one performing them, which… he often was. The popular kids who used him for his music weren’t very musically gifted themselves. Orpheus thought they could be, if they were willing to put in the effort. But their effort went almost entirely towards sports and being mean to other people. Still… the best way to avoid them getting mad was to just do what they wanted him to, and he didn’t have an issue writing songs. It was easy enough, and it got them off his back. “Oh,” he murmured, a small smile settling over his face. He picked up his pencil and doodled a lyre on the instructions for the egg drop assignment. “This is what a lyre looks like,” he explained, moving back a bit. “I mean… this is what a more traditional lyre looks like. Lyre harps are a little bit smaller and they don’t have the big section down there. Hold on…” he hesitated, then very carefully doodled a lyre harp next to it. “That’s a lyre harp. They’re different, the lyre harp is a lot smaller than an actual lyre. But… it depends on where the lyre is from, because a lot of them look different depending on the culture. And even in Greece, where they first came from, they had a lot of different numbers of strings, because they were sort of used for different purposes… and it was up to the individual musician how many strings they wanted.”
L knew he couldn’t write songs, so he didn’t try. Not that he would have tried even if he could, most likely, since he hadn’t found a use for music in his life, but still. The fact remained that he was very much not the person you might come to for music advice. He barely knew what a chord was. He didn’t have much to offer the popular kids, that was the problem. He got very high grades and he didn’t even have a way to appease them. His words seemed to just make things worse, but they got angry when he ignored them. There was just no winning. L watched carefully as Orpheus drew the lyre, his eyes wide and focused. Then he looked at the lyre harp, and his eyes narrowed a little. “They’re very different,” he said after a moment, picking up the paper to see the two better. “I can see why you might prefer one over the other. A lyre harp would be easier to carry around, but a real lyre would be amazing to have. I wish you could get an ancient one...that would be cool.” He put the paper down, giving Orpheus a small smile. “How many strings would yours have, if you could choose?” He wasn’t usually good at having actual conversations. He tended to talk too much or not at all. But when he was actually interested in the topic, he was full of questions, which helped.
Orpheus thought anybody could probably write songs, if they wanted to. If they put the time and effort into learning how. He would have been happy to teach L – or anyone really – if they were interested, but the thing about most people was that they didn’t want to put in the effort. They just wanted the thing done. “They are really different,” Orpheus replied, nodding a little bit. He was ecstatic that L was willing to listen to him talk about this, was asking questions even, although he didn’t need to. There was nobody making him sit there and talk to Orpheus, he was just doing it of his own volition. Which Orpheus was more than grateful for. He watched as L picked up the paper, a tiny smile on his face. So what if they were supposed to be talking about their project? They had already set up a time to actually talk about their project, and it wasn’t like they were the only group that wasn’t focused. And unlike some of the others, they had at least started out with talking about their project. Orpheus didn’t really like group projects, but he actually had hope for this one. Maybe it was just because L seemed nice, so far. “Maybe one day I’ll actually get one,” he smiled, placing his feet on his chair and hugging his knees to his chest. “And then I’ll play it for you, so you can see how they’re supposed to sound. I found a video a while ago teaching you how to make one, but you need lots of supplies and also skill with working with wood, and I… don’t have that.” He frowned a bit at the thought, but brightened up almost immediately at L’s question. “Seven,” he said decidedly. “I’d like a seven string lyre.” He looked up at the clock, expression clouding as he realized they only had a few minutes left. “Sorry… I’ve been talking a lot about music. But… we can talk about something you’d prefer talking about, if you want!”
L didn’t really think he would be good at writing songs...it took a lot of poetry, and he was much better with logic and facts. He wasn’t good at describing people like weather events, or saying the right thing at the right time. Why would songs be any different? Somehow we’re like atoms, doomed to be attracted yet never to touch each other or your thoughts, similar but not identical to computer code, make sense to me, didn’t seem like the type of poetry kids his age...or anyone, actually...liked to hear. Oh well. He wasn’t crushed or anything. Poetry was best left to the poets. He looked at Orpheus, studying him for a long moment as he listened. They would need to get back on track with their project at some point. But they already had a plan for that, so L didn’t feel at all bad about using this time to learn about lyres. And music in general. He watched Orpheus pull his feet up and swung his legs, wishing he could find a more comfortable way to sit. He didn’t like chairs. Or sitting. He liked walking around better, it helped him think. “Seven is a good number,” he mused, though he didn’t know what that meant as far as the lyre was concerned. He guessed maybe that was a pretty in between number...which was a good idea, really. Best of both worlds. He blinked, surprised as Orpheus spoke again, and he too looked at the clock. “Oh,” he said, startled. “That was fast. It usually takes longer for class to end.” He turned back to look at Orpheus, his gaze intense. “I don’t have much else to talk about,” he decided after a moment. “Or...nothing that will only take a few minutes. Do you have anything else you want to talk about?”
Orpheus would have been intrigued to hear L’s poetry. Maybe it wasn’t conventional, but maybe that was what made it interesting. Maybe he thought everyone was a little bit of a poet, whether they believed themselves to be or not. But they weren’t really talking about poetry. They were just talking about music and lyres, and Orpheus was a little bit too aware of how much he had been talking. L had been interested, otherwise he wouldn’t have asked all the questions, but Orpheus still felt bad for dominating the conversation. He should have asked L earlier about his interests, not when class was nearly over. Hopefully they would get more time to just talk even when they were working on their project. L was interesting. Or maybe it was just because nobody had actually been nice enough to listen to Orpheus go on and on about music except for Mr. Hermes, and he didn’t count. Listening to your children ramble about things you weren’t interested was just part of the deal, if Hermes was any indication – though Orpheus was grateful he at least pretended to be interested. He knew plenty of parents didn’t. “I guess… there’s not much more I could talk about that wouldn’t be too time consuming.” Orpheus glanced at the clock again, almost willing it to slow down. He wanted to stay here talking to L, he didn’t want to have to go to Algebra and stare at numbers for an hour until they stopped making sense in his head. He wished L was in his algebra class so they could continue their conversation without the teacher finding out. “Well…” he said, somewhat reluctantly, “I suppose that just means that you’ll have to tell me what you’re interested in talking about when we meet after class in the music rooms.” He kept his voice low, making sure the teacher didn’t’ hear him more or less planning to use their group project time to make friends instead of actually focusing on the group project. They’d finish the project. Eventually. But Orpheus was (more than) a little bit more interested in his potential new friend.
L had tried to write poetry before, but he had never shown anyone. He didn’t believe himself to be a poet, or even really capable of mimicking one. Still, he didn’t mind, he had other talents. Orpheus struck him as a poet. He liked music, right? That seemed poetic, or...at least lyrics did. Lyrics were basically just poetry, right? Song poetry. He didn’t mind that Orpheus had done most of the talking. It had been interesting to listen to, and he knew more now than he had before about music and lyres, especially. Orpheus was, without a doubt, a very interesting person. L found he wanted to see him again...which surprised him. He didn’t usually care much whether he saw someone again. Orpheus...Orpheus just seemed nice. Which was unusual for kids and adults alike. Teachers only cared about school. The one nice adult was Watari, and he didn’t know any nice kids. Or he hadn’t before he met Orpheus. L glanced at the clock, too. Time was slipping away...he shifted back to holding his pencil the way he’d been told to countless times, and glanced around, searching for people he would need to avoid when they left the room. He couldn’t be sure he could do that successfully, of course, but it never hurt to try. He glanced at Orpheus again, the curious, open expression he’d had for a couple minutes slipping back into his cautious, closed one. “Yes, I will,” he agreed, keeping his voice as low as Orpheus’, though not for the same reason. He didn’t need anyone overhearing where he planned to go. That would just end badly. The moment class ended, he would be out of his seat and trying to make it to his next class before anyone could follow him. Which of course wouldn’t work of the bullies weren’t in class with him, but he didn’t have a strategy to help with that. He was stuck.
Orpheus watched L very carefully “fix” himself to once again fit the standard that was expected of him. He watched him switch the pencil to the way Orpheus himself was holding it, watched him adjust himself to be seen by other people. It made Orpheus sad. No… not just that. Angry. Or… no, perhaps not quite angry, but indignant at the very least. L should be allowed to act however he wanted, especially since he wasn’t hurting anyone with how he held his pencil. He wasn’t hurting anyone by being curious… Orpheus found he didn’t like the way L closed himself off, though he understood why he did it. People were cruel. They were mean for no reason, sometimes, and they picked on certain people. Or maybe that wasn’t why L did it – he didn’t know, he wasn’t in L’s head. But he still wished he didn’t have to. - Orpheus lost track of time. He didn’t mean to – he always tried to be respectful of other people’s time, but… but sometimes he got carried away in a melody, found himself wrapped in notes that had never been heard in this sequence before… his eyes were closed as the music worked its way through him. Not the sort of thing he usually performed for other people. For others, he knew a lot of pop songs and various memes. He knew what people wanted to hear from him. But when he was by himself… he plucked note after note on his guitar, his voice folding poetry between the vibrations of the strings. He didn’t know if he had a genre, just that it wasn’t what most people liked to listen to. It made him happy though, and in his head he could imagine what it would sound like with a lyre instead of the guitar. No… not instead of. On top of, perhaps. He liked the way it sounded now, the lyrics soft and steady, already formed by the time they left his lips. Improvisation. He was recording it on his phone so he could write down any part of it he liked later. He played straight through the alarm he had set to remind himself he was supposed to be meeting with L.
L didn’t always pay much attention to what time it was, or what that time meant. He tended to lose track pretty fast unless he was actively trying to pay attention, which, in this case, he was. He didn’t want to be late to meeting Orpheus. So far, things seemed to be going smoothly between the two of them, and even if he had no idea if it would stay that way...even if he doubted it would...well. He was willing to put off Orpheus ending up hating him as long as he could. He approached the music room, snatches of song and guitar playing as one. He paused outside the door, eyes bright with interest. He felt a little bit bad spying on him, but he wasn’t exactly spying, right? He was just...not announcing his presence. And listening. So spying, basically. Well, he been spying on grown ups as long as he’d been able to move independently, so maybe he didn’t feel too bad about it after all. And he wanted to know what Orpheus was up to.
Orpheus didn’t notice L. He probably wouldn’t have noticed him unless he had entered the music room with a foghorn and a troop of elephants. When Orpheus was working, when he was writing and thinking and making music, sometimes it felt like there was room for nothing else in his brain. Just the notes and melodies that he was doing his best to work into something manageable. It was harder when he wasn’t as familiar with the instruments, but he was learning. And you never got better if you didn’t struggle a little bit, first. That was how Orpheus saw it, anyway. He let the music run through him, leaking into the music room and filling it with a melody that nobody in the world had ever heard before, even Orpheus. It took him a long time to let the song wind down. He was already picking up on the progressions and harmonies that might be good enough to keep, and it wasn’t until he hit the ‘stop record’ button on his phone that he realized what time it was. His gaze snapped up, hazel eyes landing on L as pink spread across his entire face. “S-sorry!” he stammered, trying to get the instruments put away as quickly as possible. “I didn’t… mean to keep you waiting.”
Post by ®Hawkpath® on May 17, 2021 15:49:40 GMT -5
L could understand getting sucked into something so much time slipped away. He could understand how it felt to be completely absorbed in something and not be able to see what else was happening...it was how he functioned most from the time, actually. Not with music, though...he’d never been very musical...but with other things. Things like hacking places he definitely was not supposed to be getting into. He listened quietly as the song progressed, not wanting to interrupt it. It was...unlike any other music he’d ever heard, truthfully. He didn’t know what about it was different, but he could tell it was, just like he could tell Orpheus was enjoying himself. It was like...seeing him alive. He’d been there, before, but not as alive as he was now. He stepped into the room a little more as Orpheus stopped the music, then paused, giving a tiny shrug in reply. “I liked your music,” he said hesitantly, glancing at the guitar. “You...seemed like you were having fun.”
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Cloudy Sky: Seeing the name gave me flashbacks to certain events that happened about two weeks ago.
Jun 22, 2021 4:51:35 GMT -5
Violetsky: Her name is Tika. She's a Cymric, or long-haired Manx.
Jun 22, 2021 6:27:08 GMT -5
Violetsky: I left the gel pack in the freezer overnight and now it's a solid thick sheet of ice.
Jun 22, 2021 6:32:05 GMT -5
Violetsky: Cymric is the technical term for a Manx cat that has long hair.
Jun 22, 2021 13:48:50 GMT -5
Violetsky: Technically they are Manx's as well; they are not a separate breed but an alternative variety of traditional Manx's, which are short-haired. They're also called longhair Manx's.
Jun 22, 2021 13:50:11 GMT -5
Violetsky: It's okay, I thought she was a traditional Manx for a while
Jun 22, 2021 14:02:13 GMT -5
Violetsky: Well, she is. It's like if brown bears that lived further up North had thicker and longer fur than their southern counterparts. If that was true, then they would be the same species and "breed", they just have different adaptations.
Jun 22, 2021 14:02:52 GMT -5