Difference between revisions of "Logs:But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way."

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Latest revision as of 16:12, 28 June 2020

But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.
Dramatis Personae

Leo, Lucien, Matt

2020-01-12


"You can also, ah. Unmake them?"

Location

<PRV> Tessier Residence - Greenwich Village


Understated opulence claims this spacious and well-kept townhome, the decor throughout the whole of it of the highest quality and carefully chosen. The front door opens onto the entrance hall, a closet close at hand to receive coats and shoes -- the pale hardwood floors gleam underfoot, unsullied by tracked-in mess from outside. The living room beyond the entrance is all dark woods and pale earth tones, comfortable couches and armchairs and a thick soft rug laid down beneath. Two large and painstakingly aquascaped aquariums flank the entrance to the dining room, with several brightly coloured species of fish within. Most of the rest of the wall space, notably, is taken up with shelves -- shelves crammed with books of every subject and genre.

A study branching off of the main hall is cozy, small, done in pale blues and lined with books as well around the large computer desk and smaller futon, though these rarer books are cased behind glass. Another securely locked door leads to the basement, and another to the full bathroom downstairs. The kitchen connects to the living room; in contrast, it is sleek and modern and well-appointed, stocked by someone who takes their cooking seriously. And takes their alcohol equally seriously -- to one side of the kitchen there is a fully-stocked bar. The back door to the kitchen looks out on a small well-kept garden.

Debussy's Nocturnes are helping lend a tranquil air to the Tessier's house -- which, today, feels bizarrely springlike even here in the middle of January. The garden-side windows have been thrown open to the near-seventy degree mildness outside; Flèche is lounging on the kitchen windowseat, staring with a very occasional tail-thump at the birds that have come to peck through the leaf litter in the backyard. Lucien, in a soft grey-green v-neck tee and slightly faded slimline blue jeans, is taking a small break from slogging through emails to bring a tray out to the living room -- bai hao oolong, some delicate pizelles arranged in a neat spiral on a small plate, some fresh warm lightly gingered scones, a small ramiken of butter. He sets the tray down on the coffee table, crouching beside the armchair to lay a hand gently on Matt's knee.

Matt has ostensibly been working, as well, but the screen of his laptop has gone black with disuse since he dozed fitfully off. In recognition of the mild weather he's wearing a blue t-shirt with a cartoon figure reading beneath an arch of books, bracketed by the words "Best Time Machine EVER!" and gray cargo shorts, and yet had pulled a soft green throw blanket up over his legs--which he has since kicked mostly off in his sleep. He's distressingly warm to the touch, and does not immediately wake, his breathing quick and faintly audible. Finally he stirs, opening his eyes, though they refuse to focus properly. "Oh..." is barely audible. He licks his lips, tries to swallow, winces. Then, still hoarsely, "Ostie de tabarnak de crisse--" which then devolves into a painfully dry cough.

Lucien's eyes lower, his fingers running lightly down the edge of the blanket. Something inside his mind shifts, carefully sequestering itself away before he reaches to pick up one mug. He takes his brother's hand, a flutter of soothing cool washing out from his touch -- it doesn't abate the fever but it does take the edge off the discomfort, overheating and pain both. His hand steadies Matt's as he sets the mug on the arm of the chair, not quite releasing it even after it's in the other man's grasp.

Matt swallows again and manages to stop coughing as as the haze of pain thins, though his mind is muddled and feverish still. "Merci." He leans inwardly into the comfort of his brother's touch, pulling the mug to him and taking a small sip. The tea is soothing to his throat, but he coughs again, each one jostling his aching body to painful effect. "{So soon. I don't like this.}" His smile is weak but pleased, though, when he adds, "{The tea is good. You are good. Yeah...}"

There are quiet footsteps on the stairs. Hesitant even before they reach the living room. Leo is more put together than when he first showed up, less ruffled, more color in his skin, hair neatly combed. In daisy yellow short-sleeve button-down with a subtle windowpane pattern and dark indigo jeans with yellow contrast stitching he's looking almost springlike, himself. There's still a constant hum of sensation from him -- quieter, slower, this time veeeery slowly sponging inward rather than the erratic leaking of the day he arrived. He stops in the kitchen, scritches Flèche on her head before continuing to hover uncertainly in the doorway to the living room. His hands clasp in front of him -- then behind him -- then drop to his sides.

"{Nor I.}" A slight tension coils through Lucien's jaw at the new ripple of pain. He takes a breath, tamps that down as well. "{I know it is early, but if this worsens, we ought to consider --}" He pauses, head tilting at the soft pad of footsteps behind him. He only half-turns, his hand still braced lightly against Matt's. "Leo. Do you like scones? I had a mind to bring some up to you, shortly. They're blueberry ginger, and quite fresh."

Matt subsides back into his armchair, exhausted by the coughing fit. He takes another sip of his tea, his hand shaking against his brother's. For a moment he seems perplexed, unsure why Lucien has broken off. Then he looks up, over at Leo and offers a feeble wave with his free hand. "His scones are splendid," he assures their guest. Then coughs violently, almost spilling his tea. Even after it passes, his breathing remains quick and labored. "Sorry. I wouldn't--wouldn't blame you for keeping your distance, but in all likelihood this is--something that would be too weak to bother someone with a--working immune system."

Leo creeps further into the room, his eyes a little wider at Lucien's invitation. "Thank you." He kneels by the side of the table, looking at the scones for a long moment before taking one. "Thank you. I -- didn't mean to interrupt, I just." He shakes his head, cupping the scone carefully between both hands. His brows pull together when he looks up at Matt. "Oh -- this. This isn't -- that's not from the, um. The cancer?"

Lucien steadies the mug as it jostles. He rises, perching himself instead on the edge of the chair's arm. He drops a hand casually to rub at Matt's back, slow once the coughing fit has passed. "It's more -- cancer-adjacent. Several bouts of lymphoma do nothing kind to one's immune system. His just kind of prepares a comfortable welcome for every passing virus that wants to make itself at home."

Matt nods, gesturing vaguely in Lucien's direction as he tenses in an attempt to hold back another coughing fit. It works, this time, and he's a little less breathless when he adds, "The chemotherapy unfortunately can't tell the cancer from the...rest of my lymphatic system." He takes another sip of his tea. "I admit, sometimes I do wonder if I'm--taking the whole hospitality thing just--just a little too far. Could probably do with turning a disease away every once in a while."

"Oh -- oh no. Is -- this is new?" Leo bows his head, staring down at the scone in his hand. "I'm -- I'm so sorry. I think." His voice has dropped, and he swallows before continuing. "I think this is -- my fault."

Lucien raises one eyebrow, his green eyes fixing steadily on Leo. He leans forward, taking a mug for himself, though only cups it on his knee and doesn't drink. "I assure you, Matthieu's immune system has suffered much worse than a temporary houseguest."

"I suppose it's not impossible I picked it up from you--although that would be an extremely short incubation period--but that wouldn't make it your fault." Matt shifts a little in his seat, trying to get more comfortable, though his muscles do not cease aching. "But really...I'm a teacher. Chances are I caught it at school."

"No, I just. When I got here, I was upset and I --" Leo's shoulders are tensing, his fingers starting to dig into the scone. He catches himself with a start, a small gasp, carefully brushing up a small scattering of crumbs from where they've started to fall to the floor. "It's my -- my. It's what..." The breath he takes is shaky; it's slow and deliberate when he drags his eyes up to meet Matt's. "What I do. I make -- I spread -- I. Do -- diseases. I'm --" He stands quickly, one hand holding the scone and his other curled loosely around his palmful of crumbs. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't be here. I can -- I can stop that, though. That --" He gestures towards Matt. "Can make it stop before I go."

Lucien's eyes grow ever so faintly wider. He looks at Leo a long moment, then looks down at Matt, his fingers pressing subtly harder against his brother's shoulder. "Pardon," he finally ventures slowly, "could you run that by me again? Are you saying that -- your mutation is -- to make diseases?" There's a slow care to his words. "Please -- stay. You can also, ah. Unmake them?"

"Ohhh... It's your mutation," Matt says, kind of dreamily. "That...might explain. A few things. I can help you learn to control it, if you like. When I'm um...a bit less delirious, probably." He suddenly sits up straighter--until another fit of coughing racks his body. "The others--" he blurts before he's quite done, "--last night. Might they be sick, too?" He starts patting himself down, perhaps in search of the phone he had earlier laid on seat of the chair beside him. "I would indeed appreciate if you could. Make this stop." His shoulder has tensed hard beneath Lucien's hand. "But tell me...do you mean any disease?"

Leo visibly flinches at the word 'mutation', his eyes dropping sharply back to the floor. "It -- yes. I -- usually it's under control, I think, I just. I was a little bit -- in shock that day and -- I'm sorry. I'm sorry." He steps closer to Matt, starts to reach out -- frowns down in some uncertainty at the scone in his hand. Drops his hands, takes a step back again. "Oh --" He's gone a little paler, his shoulders tightening. "I'm so sorry. I don't think -- no. It only works on -- on the infectious kind. I can take, um. Take a cold, but not -- not that." Another helpless gesture to Matt.

Lucien exhales soft and slow, head inclining heavily at Leo's answer. "Ah." He rises, getting a green cloth napkin, offering it folded in half out on a palm to Leo. "Even so. You can cure any infection? That is -- a remarkable gift." A wry note slips into his tone when he continues: "And certainly one that would be a boon if you exercised now."

Matt nods slowly. "That--yes, what...my brother said." His shoulders slump just a touch. "It can happen to the best of us, when getting shot at. Do you know what this is, by the by? The respiratory infection, I mean, not the cancer. We know all about that." He resumes searching for his phone, and finally finds it. "Steve will be fine, I'm sure, but we had probably best warn Flicker and Rasheed."

"Gift?" Leo blinks at Lucien in astonishment. He nearly forgets about the napkin being offered him, only taking it a few seconds later to carefully tip the crumbs into its folds, wipe his hand against it, fold the crumbs neatly inside. Rest the mostly intact scone atop it. "A gift? It -- no. I don't think you understand, I. It's just dangerous, I could -- they gave me -- made me --" He draws in a deep breath. "I'm sorry. After how many times I've had smallpox it's hard to think of it like -- that." He kneels down beside Matt's armchair, tentatively reaching a hand out and resting it, upturned, in offering on the seat's arm.

Some of the color drains out of Lucien's face. He squeezes down at Matt's shoulder again, eyes flicking down to Leo's outstretched hand. There's another rapid internal fluttering in his mind, abruptly tightening up on something that is starting to spike. "Ah." It's very mild.

Matt looks back up at Leo, whatever he was about to do forgotten. His eyes are glassy and unfocused, which somehow make his bright green eyes look even more unearthly. "Oh, dear. That..." He sets the phone down. "...can make it hard, yes. Even so, our abilities are not what Prometheus did to us--we are not what Prometheus did to us." He reaches out and settles his hand in Leo's, his skin hot and clammy. "This is us." He squeezes the other man's hand feebly.

Leo's head bows at Lucien's reply. His fingers only curl up very slightly, his touch light back against Matt's hand. What is stronger is the feel that comes from within him, reaching out through the other man. Whatever faint pull has come from him before intensifies abruptly; it wouldn't likely feel like much except for Matt's extra sense able to feel the heavy wet slurping that sucks its way through him. Leo looks a little shakier when he lets go and stands up, holding the napkin with its scone close to his chest. "It is gone now. Sorry," he says again quietly, stepping back toward the kitchen door. "I'll -- get out."

There's a slow tightening to Lucien's expression as Leo works. His lips start to compress; he looks away, lifting his mug for a small sip of the tea. He, at least, makes no move to stop Leo's retreat this time. Just lifts his hand from Matt's shoulder, giving his hand a small quick shake as if he can flick the sucking feel off his skin. His nostrils flare, his exhale sharp and quick. "{Smallpox.}"

Matt's power stretches out fine tendrils, feeling out the shape of Leo's with considerably less than his usual finesse--though this is noticeable only to Lucien. He sucks in a sharp breath at the sudden intensifying of the unfamiliar ability. His eyes squeeze shut tight, and by the time he open them again Leo is already hastening away. The haze of fever hasn't lifted from him yet--in every respect he seems no better or worse than he had been a moment before, though some of the tension has released from his frame. "{Smallpox.}"