Pairing/Characters: Mina+Carnival+Maybe John [claim → main party]
Spoilers/Warnings: May be a bit confusing if you don't know who Mina and Maybe John are (i.e. if you haven't read God of Clocks).
Summary: I'll head out from here.
Mina had gone out with Basilis that day: it was bright and beautiful and clear, and if he didn’t get his walks, he got snappy. And her family just wouldn’t have anything to do with him then.
She’d been thinking of things—lots of them, with no particular theme to those thoughts—when she came across the unusual sight of a girl with black hair and wings headed down the other side of the street, with a kid toting a red wagon tagging along.
Mina did what anybody with a healthy sense of curiosity would: She gave Basilis’ leash a good yank and jaywalked the street at a jog, calling out “Hey Carnival, whatcha doin’?”
Carnival turned around and rested her hands on her hips, evidently nonplussed. Her tagalong turned around too, and Mina recognized the slightly scruffy boy as John’s son.
“Well, Anchor and Hasp are being boring, so we’re ditching them,” Carnival said matter-of-factly. “We’re running away to the park until dinnertime, and we’re not going back until our food runs out or somebody notices we’re gone.”
Mina agreed that this was a quite sensible idea. And then grinned.
“Mind if we come with?”
Young John had packed the wagon, for the most part. There was a bag of celery and raisins and a jar of peanut butter, graham crackers and a checkered blanket, a few Calvin and Hobbes books that were probably Carnival’s or Dill’s—John was a little young to have read that comic while it was still in print—along with assorted other knickknacks. There were juice boxes in there. Mina approved of the fare, but unfortunately for her, Carnival flatly forbade Basilis from getting any of it.
The park was a fifteen-minute walk away, and when Mina ran out of steam, she just listened to Carnival bantering with John—it was funny how well they got along, or rather, how Carnival tried to cope with the puzzle of the boy thinking she was “cool”. Mina had concluded long ago, at the outset of this rather amusing development, that it was going to be good for Carnival’s social skills.
She’d get proven right about that in the end, she was sure.
Once they were there, Mina found a few interesting knobbly sticks, but Basilis was more interested in sitting and chewing them than fetching the things. There were more kids playing down by the spring-mounted metal animals and slides, and John ran off with a blond boy and a red-haired girl in a game of tag. While Mina set up the blanket, Carnival headed for the tire swing hung from the biggest and healthiest of the trees.
Mina had to stop and watch. It was amusing for lots of silly reasons—Carnival didn’t use swings like a normal person. Instead of sitting in the tire, she put her feet on the inner rim and hitched herself up by the rope, pushing off the ground and flapping her wings to get extra motion out of the swing. Then she’d fold them at her back and drift until she needed a boost again.
With neither Carnival nor John there to tell her not to, Mina made herself ants-on-a-log and picked up one of the comic anthologies. She couldn’t remember what she’d been considering doing later at all—but that was fine, since she’d be happy with this anyway.