ArchivedLogs:Balancing Act

From X-Men: rEvolution
Balancing Act
Dramatis Personae

Lucien, Matt, Steve


"It depends heavily on your inclinations."


<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.

It's a mild but drizzly out, the damp streets full of late Monday evening commuters rushing to and fro in their eagerness to get home. Here inside it is nice and warm and dry, the air filled with the fragrance of a freshly brewed Dong Ding and the raw strains of 'Out-Loud' from Ryan Black's upcoming album "Unruly." Steve has not been out of the weather for long, and the damp clings to him still. He's still dressed from work in a pale blue dress shirt, royal blue paisley tie, and charchoal slacks (damp around the cuffs from the rain), and he looks just a little haggard as he sits down at the kitchen counter with a mug of oolong tea cupped between his hands. "{Thank you,}" in French, quiet and a little tired. "{I'm later than I wanted to be, but I'll help you out in just a moment.}"

"{Quite all right.}" Lucien is dressed more casually -- jeans, a long-sleeved green henley. The kitchen smells rich and warm and herby, a pile of pans and pots and cutting boards drying on the rack, but at the moment he is in between dishes. Already cooked food stored in the fridge or freezer -- there are vegetables out on the counter, some already chopped, some not, waiting to be cooked next, but right now he is not cooking. Just slipping around to settle at the counter, setting a plate of rosemary-tomato scones down in front of Steve. "{Perhaps a moment to relax, first. The food will still be there. Was work particularly trying, today? You look exhausted.}"

Matt finishes pouring the rest of the tea and slides one mug to his brother. He sets the celadon teapot aside and cradles his own mug, resting his elbows on the countertop. His hair is touseled and still drying, but his clothes are clean--a red t-shirt with Calvin and Hobbes riding the Millennium Falcon and ancient threadbare jeans frayed at the cuff. "{Can I get you anything else?}" he asks, snagging a scone.

Steve shakes his head, flashes a warm smile at Matt. "{No, thank you. Tea is what I need now.}" Although he also picks up a scone, smile skewing crooked, blushing. "{Tea, and probably half of these if you don't stop me.}" He takes a bite, takes a sip, frowns down at the countertop. "Work was...well, work. I had a long talk with Fury, so that wasn't the /most/ fun, but the reason he called me in was..." His lips press into a thin line and he runs his hand through his hair. "{I went to see Jax after the bridge action Saturday night. We...we had sex. The lights were off, but the guards -- well, they know. But even if they didn't...}" He takes a deep breath. Releases it. "I have to come out. {I know it's terrible timing, but I won't put Jax through that again. I'm not sure I can put /myself/ through that again.}"

"{I made plenty. I have, of late,}" Lucien admits with a small crinkle at the corners of his eyes, "{adjusted the volume of snacks I have ready on Mondays.}" He takes a seat beside Steve, leaning in to curl his hands around the mug his brother slides him. "/Did/ you." His brows lift. His hands curl tighter around the tea, and he lifts it to take a -- very long sip. "{It was, I suppose, long overdue. For the both of you.}"

Matt nibbles at his scone, chin propped in the palm of one hand. His eyes widen only fractionally at the revelation. "Oh! That's good--maybe not the guards finding out, but even so..." He considers for a moment, nursing his tea. "{I'm not sure there's anything like /good/ timing for it, in your life. But it's still /your/ life, not Captain America's.}"

Steve blushes and polishes off the scone in his hand. "I should learn how to bake, too," murmured over the brim of his cup. "{It's Captain America's life, too. That wasn't the only thing that held me back before, but it's definitely a factor.}" He straightens up a little, studies Lucien. "{There are people out there who will take news like this very poorly, and I suspect a lot of them will blame Jax.}"

"{It is somewhat difficult to extricate the two. While your average Captain America fan may spare precious little thought for Steve Rogers' life, I daresay Steve would be in somewhat of a predicament if he neglected to give a thought to how the /Captain's/ will affect him. And this --}" Lucien pauses for another sip of tea. "{Will affect him.}"

Under Steve's scrutiny there is a faint tightening to his expression -- a small press of lips, a small pinch between his eyes. "{I suspect many will. You are, after all, Captain America. And he is...}" This just edges into small push of breath. Another sip of tea.

Matt nods equably. "{Perhaps you don't have to involve Jax immediately? If the guards don't have anything they can release online other than rumors, maybe it's better to fight one fire at a time.}" He chews on his scone contemplatively. "{I certainly don't suggest that Captain America's actions will not affect Steve's life, but...}" He lays a hand on Steve's arm. "You should get to have a life, nevertheless."

Steve looks down into his teacup, brows wrinkling. "{It's a balancing act,}" he admits, finally. "{I'm ready to deal with the consequences, and as for Jax...}" He frowns harder. "{...he may well bear the brunt of the public outcry either way. Because I /am/ Captain America, and he is both a known associate and a notorious homosexual terrorist.}"

"A balancing act, yes." Lucien's fingers drum slowly against the side of his teacup. "{Have you spoken to Jackson about how he cares to handle this? I admit I have given it -- some level of thought, before now. There is more than one way to approach this, in terms of attempting to manage the fallout, but --}" He tips his hand upward, outward to Steve. "It depends heavily on your inclinations."

"His /inclinations/ are going to be portrayed as The Gay no matter how you manage the fallout, or how /well./" There's a faint spark of mirth in Matt's bright green eyes as they peer at the others over his mug. But he sobers again quickly as he sets down his tea. "{It's one thing having your names dragged through the mud--and gods know Jax is used to /that/--but some people might actually come after you.}"

"{Jax reasons that this won't change the amount /or/ quality of hate that he gets as significantly as mine, so he's deferring to my preferences -- about what to disclose and how.}" Steve blushes fiercely. "{/I/ want to come clean about our relationship from the start, preferably with a statement from him, too.}" He pauses a beat, takes a long drink from his tea. "He says he'll just post a picture on his weblog of us making out while he makes rude gestures at the camera with a caption that reads 'Y'all wish you were this lucky.' I'm not completely sure how serious he was." The blush is not fading. "Anyway, it won't be the first time my inclinations have been up for debate, but I get a say in it this time, and that's something. {I've had the entire Wehrmacht after me. I'm ready for this.}"

Lucien lifts his hand, the tips of his fingers pressing lightly to his lips as he stifles a small chuckle. "That, I would rather like to see. I do not imagine it would smooth over your road, but there is something to be said for making it more entertaining for the both of /you/."

He leans forward in his seat, weight resting more heavily against the counter. "{There will be quite a bit of hate, it is true. But there will be people excited, as well, at the idea of Captain America, an icon of their community. That is -- a weight of its own, that you may not want. In how we craft this it is up to you to decide. There is a wide range between short concise statement about your orientation and relationship and -- longer, about /why/ you have chosen to disclose now and stance on rights or the ability to live freely and openly as you are. Different places on that spectrum will draw more hate -- and more gratitude, as well.}"

Matt covers his mouth, eyes wide with amusement. "Given Jax's glowing reputation with the homophobic elements of society, I'm not really sure a post like that would actually make things all that much /worse/, either." He tilts his head, leaning into his palm. "{You don't have to fight every fight that comes your way, you know.}" Though he's wearing a slightly skewed smile, knowing but not unkind.

Steve does not answer at once, starting on a second scone instead. "I have some bad habits when it comes to picking my battles, but I'm learning. {I do want to make it clear I support queer liberation, and not merely because I am myself queer, but I don't want to stress it too much. For one, I won't appoint myself spokesperson, for that or /any/ movement. The media tries hard enough to do that as it is. I also don't want to draw too much ire toward Jax, even if it is just more of the same for him.}" He finishes the rest of the scone and drains his tea. Dips his head at Lucien. "I...suspect that's asking a lot."

"You are asking a lot." Lucien's response comes with a thread of warmth in his voice, a small uptick at the corners of his mouth. He, too, drains his cup. Rises, tucking his stool neatly back against the counter. "{But then, the world has always asked a lot of you, so it does seem only fair.}"

Matt clicks his tongue, his smile bright and fond. "{Who do you think you're asking?}" He gathers the empty mugs and sets about refreshing the tea. Then adds, looking over his shoulder at Steve. "Never you fear, he'll deliver."

"I don't doubt that." Steve surrenders his mug with a nod and a quiet 'Merci.' Then, rising himself -- only a touch more slowly than usual -- he goes to wash his hands. "{So then, let's get cooking.}"