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Latest revision as of 01:52, 9 June 2019

Unwise
Dramatis Personae

Lucien, Matt, Steve

2019-06-08


"Tomorrow will be quite a day, yes." (CW: Mentions non-consensual medical experimentation.)

Location

<NYC> 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.

This late at night, the near-summery glory of the day has long fled to leave the air clear and chill. Steve hasn't bothered with a jacket, though. He hasn't even bothered with a long sleeve shirt -- just a plain white tee, blue jeans, and black combat boots. He walks briskly up from the subway and knocks at the door to the Tessier house. In an uncharacteristic show of impatience, he is looking for somewhere to put his hands. One moment they're in his pockets, but then come back out to clasp behind his back, then to hook thumbs through belt loops. He finally settles on crossing them loosely over his chest.

Lucien answers the door in short order. He is dressed for bed -- soft black pajama pants, a black Ace of Spades tee, a length of braided green and black cord wound around a wrist, his eyes shadowed but his hair in its usual /precise/ level of artful tousle. He is nudging Flèche back with a heel as he opens the door, frowning briefly at Steve fidgeting on the doorstep. His eyes flick over the other man, lips briefly compressing. "Please." He takes a step back, gesturing Steve inside but already turning away to disappear to the kitchen -- where, unsurprisingly, a pot of tea is steeping.

Matt is slowly descending the stairs, similarly dressed--white Ace of Hearts t-shirt, black pajama pants covered with little red and pink hearts, identical cord around his wrist. /His/ hair, however, is far messier than even his own usual level of not-so-precise tousling, to say nothing of his brother's, giving the impression he has just gotten /up/. He flashes Steve a weary smile and an appraising glance. "Do you need anything to eat? We've got some shortbread."

Steve gives a quick, grateful nod and slips inside, stopping to unlace his books and greet the dog. "I've eaten, thank you, but could definitely use that tea." He starts to follow Lucien into the kitchen, then thinks better of it and goes back to the couch, but can't quite seem to bring himself to sit down, and finally does enters the kitchen. Doesn't sit down there, either. Just braces his hands on the edge of the counter. "So sorry to bother you. I know you've got a long day tomorrow." He frowns. "This is heavy -- and I don't know if there's much you could even /tell/ me about this, much less advise me. But I couldn't find any information on my own, and you're a man of -- considerable resourcefulness."

"Tomorrow will be quite a day, yes." Lucien's voice is very mild. He is taking his time about setting out cups. Taking his time, too, about pouring them, fragrant strawberry sencha steaming in the pale mugs. His eyes track Steve as he does, intent and curious. Silent, he slides one of the mugs to the other man.

Matt drifts into the kitchen in Steve's wake and swipes one of the mugs for himself. Goes to grab a piece of shortbread, too, nibbling on this last while studying their guest with intent if sleepy interest. "Anything that's serious enough to get you into such a state as this probably warrants some attention." He flashes Steve a small, encouraging smile.

"It can wait, of course, if you need to rest." Steve's eyes skip anxiously between the two brothers. "Thank you," he murmurs, accepting the tea and taking a long sip. Then a deep breath. "You -- must know about this, more than I do at least, but -- there are these labs. Military labs. That kidnap and experiment on mutants." He starts pacing again. "Ryan had mentioned something like it before, but -- I didn't have any notion of /anything/ at the time. But now --" He stops. "Now I have some leveage with the military, I have to. Do /something./"

Lucien is already looking just a /touch/ piqued when Matt takes one of the mugs. He has started to reach for it already -- pauses briefly, as Steve speaks. His eyebrows hike way up. More swiftly than before, he reaches to claim the tea right back from his brother's hands.

Matt is watching Steve with keen interest and obvious growing incredulity. Thus distracted, he makes no move to stop the theft of his tea. He does not even object, other than emitting a soft disgruntled noise. If he had further complaints, though, they're lost beneath the laughter that seems to bubble uncontrollably out of him. He slaps his hand to his mouth--maybe it's for the best he's been divested of his hot beverage, after all--but can't stop it from escalating into a heaving, hysterical laugh that...just keeps going. He waves his other hand in the air vaguely, tries to gasp a breath with which to speak, but finally just drags himself out of the room on weary feet, patting Steve on the shoulder on his way to the stairs. His laughter fades away only as he makes his slow way back upstairs.

Steve frowns. Opens his mouth. Closes it again. "I'm sorry...did I say something foolish?"

Lucien holds the tea close to his chest. He watches through Matt's hysterical laughter, gaze following his brother out of the room. He takes a seat on a counter stool, leaning up against the granite and shaking his head slow. "We are quite aware." His eyes have returned to Steve, his voice no less mild than before. "Matthieu's own tenure in those facilities was difficult to ignore."

Steve's jaw actually drops open at the understated explanation. For a moment he just stands where he'd stopped pacing at Matt's outburst, staring wide-eye at Lucien. "Oh God, I'm so sorry." His voice is quiet, now, measured. "Do they...also kidnap and experiment on /humans,/ or is he..." His eyes flick to the stairway, empty now, Matt having presumably returned to bed. "...a mutant?"

"As far as I am aware, they do not abduct humans." Lucien lifts his tea and takes a slow sip. "Forgive me. I can see this has you quite shaken. We have had a good deal more time to process this." He glances, also, briefly in the direction Matt has left. Only briefly. "Please believe that I agree something must be done about this. Might I ask what /you/ are of a mind to do?"

Steve looks from the stairway to Lucien. Back again. Opens his mouth. Closes it. Shakes his head sharply. "My first thought was to find and break into these -- /labs/, and liberate their inmates. Maybe in the process gather some information to expose them?" He takes a sip of his own tea, starts pacing again, and then stops himself. Leans against the counter. "I thought -- the media probably wouldn't listen -- probably /hasn't listened/ -- to those who have been victims of this vile business and escaped, but they might well listen to me. Especially if I had proof." He sighs. Sets down his mug. "Though...I suspect security at secret research facilities has come a long way since my time."

Lucien's eyes slip closed. He pulls at his tea again, longer and slower. "They do not listen," he agrees softly, "but that is something I have been working to change. It is not an easy process, and takes work on many fronts at once. Like, perhaps, helping to establish well-known and charismatic mutant celebrities who have a large platform to speak to these things as well. Making sure knowledgeable and outspoken mutant activists find an audience to address the everyday injustices their people face. Grooming sympathetic media contacts who will be able to help propagate stories. Cultivating prominent human allies who will have the ear of those in power." He opens his eyes again, watching Steve over the rim of his tea.

"Ah. I see." Steve is flushing pink now. "Sorry. Obviously you -- have been working on this for a long time." His jaw tenses and shifts. "You've told me before, more than once, that I can do a lot of good by -- well, basically, /being Captain America/ and speaking up about injustices. Judiciously." He pulls in a deep breath and lets it back out. "I believe you. I do. But -- Captain America is more than just a figurehead. I wasn't given this strength to stand by and..." He scrubs a hand over his face. "...be wise. Do you think that my going after this program would be incompatible with your... strategy?"

There is a stretch of silence, after this. Lucien considers his tea, finger tracing slowly against the side of the mug. "It is a difficult question for me to answer. It is not my strategy. I have certain skills, and I am quite adept at what I do. But in this matter, my role has been -- as yours might best be -- to allow those /directly/ impacted to decide how best to steer the fight." He turns a hand upward, fingers tipping slightly out toward Steve. "And it is a fight that is ongoing. That you currently know little of it should not be taken to mean that nobody is taking action, Steve. Many are, and have been, and will no doubt continue to do so as long as it takes. If it is your muscle that they want, by all means you ought lend it to them. And if it is your voice, then that as well." He curls his hand back around his cup. "But they do have strength and voices as well, and you might do well to consider whether your actions serve to bolster those, or charge straight over them."

Steve doesn't move, doesn't speak, just grips the edge of the counter hard through this. Gives a small nod. "Of course. I shouldn't have assumed, that's....ridiculous and condescending." He sighs, looks down at the countertop. "I'll...talk to Matt about it, then." Slight frown. "If he's willing, after I barged in here to rant about /his/ trauma. Not /now/, obviously." He picks up his tea again. Rotates the mug between his hands carefully. "Thank you for explaining this to me. I will be discreet with this information -- both generally and specifically." His eyes flick up to Lucien. "You look exhausted, and I'll go if you want to rest, but..." He hesitates for a moment. "...If you'd like to talk, or just. Drink some more tea. I'm happy to stay a while."

Lucien's initial nod as Steve's replies is small, a somewhat rote acknowledgment at the other man's words. Somewhere around Steve's conclusion, though, his head lifts, a very faint widening to his eyes. "Oh." He breathes this out quietly, letting the set of his shoulders gentle as he leans down against the counter. And again, more thoughtful: "Oh." When he draws a breath back in it is slow, and a touch unsteady. He leans forward, picking the teapot back up and standing up so that he can top both mugs back off. "I do need rest," he agrees softly, taking his seat again and gesturing to the stool beside his, "but I would very much like to have this tea with you, first."

"Merci." Steve picks his mug back up once it's refilled and rounds the counter to sit in the stool his host indicated. The stiffness of his movements still suggests tension, but once he sits down the set of his shoulders eases, just a touch. He studies Lucien sidelong. "It is very good tea," he says, taking a slow, deliberate sip.