ArchivedLogs:Cold Comfort

From X-Men: rEvolution
Cold Comfort
Dramatis Personae

Jax, Steve, Tian-shin

2016-01-07


"{I'll dance whatever kind of dance he tells me to.}"

Location

<NYC> Harbor Commons - Treehaus - Lower East Side


A spiral of sturdy slatted wooden stairs winds up the trunk of an enormous oak, leading the way up to this treehouse positioned between a pair of trees at one side of the Commons yard, abutting the river. It's clear enough upon ascending that this is no ordinary treehouse, built sturdy-strong and with a polished finish that would rival most /regular/ residences. Spanning the distance between the pair of oaks, the treehouse is a long one-story building, equipped with both plumbing and electricity. The stairs lead up onto a wraparound balcony that projects out at one side to overlook the East River rushing by below.

The doorway inside leads to a furnished sitting room, long low futon-couches on the pale wood floors, walls painted in leafy shades of green, exposed-beam ceilings that seem to have worked some of the actual branches of the tree into the curvature of the roof. The front room is bright and airy, large windows looking out on the Commons grounds and the river outside. Recessed lanterns in the wall give the room a warm glow, come nighttimes, and in the center of the room amid a stone-tiled patch of flooring there is a squat glass-encased gas fireplace providing warmth in winter. Off to one side of the room there is an elevated loft up nearer the ceiling, accessible by ladder and furnished with pillows and plush futon mattress and lots of blankets.

The adjoining room is decorated in watery river-blues instead of leaf-greens; in here there's a small kitchenette to one side with sink and stove and toaster oven and counter space, cabinets on the walls. A long dining table in this room seats eight; by the windows, plenty of cushioning sits in the wide window-seats. Off in the very back, a tiny half-bathroom holds a sink and toilet. No stove in here; the wintertime tends to find this room much chillier, but there's generally plenty of warm blankets lying around the house.

The sun has not quite risen just yet, and the early light that saturates the cloudy sky has no power to dispel the night's damp chill. The City wakes slowly, reluctantly. The rattling of subway trains seems the loudest sound where everything else seems muffled under a thin layer of mist.

Even with her long black hair coiled into a perfect bun, even with her black pinstripe pantsuit freshly pressed and the ruffles at the collar of her red satin blouse arranged just so, even with carefully applied makeup concealing the shadows under her eyes and the pallor of her skin, Tian-shin looks exhausted. She sits up straight in a chair beside the fireplace, staring into the faint blue glow of the gas-powered flames. Her laptop lies open on an endtable beside her, surrounded by fat manila folders whose edges have grown ragged from use and transportation. She hasn't moved in a while.

Jax's steps come slow up the ladder to the Treehaus, slow, too, trudging outside its balcony. Pausing, for a time, outside the door before he actually enters. When he makes his way inside /he/ looks bright and cheery, despite the early hour. If his steps were trudging before, he's walking more easily now on the toes of his stompy-tall boots. Dressed in black skinny jeans, bright blue and black striped armwarmers, black tee dotted with silver stars, a soft black sweater threaded through with silver open over top. Vivid metallic silver and blue makeup gleaming over his eye and on his lips -- which curl readily into a smile once he's inside.

There's a canvas bag over his shoulder that he sets on the table, unloading from it a large thermos, a few tupperware containers. "{Good morning! I brought tea.}" And food, evidently. Though he's already straightening to bustle off to the kitchen. Where he's -- a little slower about gathering cups and plates and silverware from its cabinets.

It's only a moment later that a heavier set of footfalls sound on the stairs, taking them two or three at a time, rapidly. Steve enters, shedding his navy blue peacoat at the door along with the harness for his shield, though the shield itself he keeps with him. His purple, green, and blue flannel shirt is unbuttoned to show the colorful artwork on the t-shirt beneath it, a phantasmagoric mechanical landscape of blue and purple and silver towering over a cartoonishly adorable golden retriever puppy whose collar tag looks suspiciously like the shield in his hand.

"{Good morning.}" His smile is a little tired, and loses some of its cheer as he studies Tian-shin. "{How are you doing?}" He looks past her at the sounds from the kitchen, the smile returning in some measure when he spots Jax. "{Do you need a hand?}" he raises his voice only just a touch, enough to make clear who he's addressing.

"{Good morning,}" Tian-shin echoes, smiling a thin, weary smile. "{Oh, tea! Thanks you so much.}" She reaches out and /pets/ the thermos lovingly as Jax disappears to gather utensils, and is still doing this when Steve arrives. "{Hi. I'm fine, just...had a long night.}" She chuckles, soft and breathy, when she sees the t-shirt. "{Tag was afraid you might find that one belittling. /I/ thought it was cute.}" This with a shrug of slender shoulders beneath the jacket of her suit. "{How are you--both of you?}"

"{Oh! I --}" There's a hesitation from the kitchen. "{I am okay. Thank you!}" It takes a bit, though, a slow opening and shutting of cabinets, a slow rattle of dishes, before Jax returns with a stacked armful of plates and mugs and spoons and forks. Just as bright as before as he stoops to set them down.

"Oh, /gosh/, that's precious." His smile quirks a little lopsided when he looks at Steve's shirt. He pours out the tea first, a steaming Yunnan Gold, before opening up the containers -- tofu scramble in one, berry muffins in the other. /He/ settles down on the futon with a cup of tea. "{I'm -- still waking up. You look -- exhausted.}" There is distinct fret in his voice. He nudges a cup of tea closer to Tian-shin.

"{Belittling? No, it's adorable, and...relatable?}" Steve takes a cup of tea and a muffin, settling down beside Jax. "{Thank you for food and tea,}" to the other man, and then, to Tian-shin again, "{And thank /you/ for meeting with us so early. I'm supposed to talk to the press later, tell them that I am...human.}" He takes a careful sip of his tea. "{I feel like you should know that if you're going to represent me -- that there's already an uh...} PR angle." He doesn't sound /thrilled/ about this.

"{I haven't really been getting enough sleep,}" Tian-shin admits, but in a somewhat dismissive way. "{Need to start taking naps over lunch.}" She accepts the cup happily, wrapping her slender hands around it and just holding it close to her face so that the steam can rise into her nostril. "{Oh, this is one of my favorite winter teas. Thank you so much.}" Taking a slow, appreciative drink, she sets the cup down with visible reluctance. "{I guess all that Captain America stuff taught you a thing or two about PR.}"

She glances at her laptop screen and seems to gather herself with a long breath inward. "{First things first: I am almost /entirely/ certain that I can keep both you out of prison even if you /are/ convicted. Not because I'm such a spectacular lawyer but because you were arrested for literally saving children's lives in a dramatic and public way.} Her fingers drum on the table beside her computer slowly, the glossy red nails--some decorated with small, abstract patterns in black and gold--clicking. "{But I still need to know how each of you wants to approach this. I suspect you, at least,}" she nods at Jax, "{mean to fight it?}"

"{It does kind of fit you.}" There's a quick smile that touches Jax's lips at this. He sets the first plate down in front of Tian-shin together with a muffin, filling the second -- much more full, two muffins here -- and handing it to Steve. "... PR." His pierced brows lift, the corner of his mouth hooking up. "{/That's/ going to be fun. Have you seen the news trucks parked outside? I am not looking forward to sneaking off to work later.}" His mouth sets into a thin line, hands tightening around his tea as he leans back in the futon beside Steve. "{I /want/ to approach it by crawling into a hole for the next few weeks. But, yes. I plan to fight this.}"

Steve blinks at Tian-shin. "{Me? Oh, no, I'm slightly more lost puppy than} propaganda machine." He taps the shirt with a rueful smile. "{Not my battlefield, but I have an...advisor. Lucien,}" he adds, aside, to Jax; then to Tian-shin, "{Do you know Lucien Tessier? My approach is...his, unless you have better advice. He thinks, if my case gets dismissed, will make fighting /Jax's/ case easier.}" There's a note of skepticism in his voice here. "{It sounds kind of like throwing a comrade under the bus, to me.} Oh gosh!" The last words, along with a bright smile, are aimed at Jax at the very large plate of breakfast. "{Thank you! This smells delicious.}"

Tian-shin's slender black brows lift up. She accepts the plate with a slight bow of her head. "{I know Lucien...not /well/. His brother Matt works at Xavier's too. At any rate, that's actually a sound strategy. We don't stand to lose /much/ if it doesn't work, but if it /does/, I have a lot more ammunition for Jax's case. Though...}" She frowns, sipping her tea, and looks at Jax appraisingly. "{It's even possible you'll get acquitted. Not.../likely,/ but that would make it hard to fight.}"

Jax lifts his tea, taking a small sip. "{Oh. Oh, Luci's -- when it comes to /PR/, you can't hope for better. He --}" His brow furrows, head giving a very small shake as he switches into an easier English. "He ain't throwin' me under no... I know he don't exactly seem /warm/ an' fuzzy but he. /I/ trust him to -- I mean, I /do/ know him well. An' he may not be real /demonstrative/ about it but he cares real deep about -- an' he's /good/ at --" His fingers tap, fidgety, at the side of his cup. "There's just a whole lot we wouldn't never have even accomplished if t'weren't for him. Las' time they thrown me in prison over that terrorism nonsense actin' like me an' Dusk was responsible for startin' the zombie plague he done more to turn things for us than anyone. An' Prometheus'd still be /running/, like as not, if --" There's a flicker of light around him -- it calms as he takes another drink of his tea, lowering the cup back to his lap.

"{... I know it's kind of an /uncomfortable/ sort of dance to dance. And I've never been good at it, either. But you can't win every fight with fists and he's -- been there for me through...}" Jax trails off again, staring down into his cup but then looking up again, first at Tian-shin, then at Steve. "{I'm just, okay with it.}" His smile tips up, a little skewed. "{I can't say I'll /cry/ if I end up getting acquitted. Make /my/ life less complicated. Even if it'd mean the case goes nowhere.}"

Steve plows through most of his scramble while the others speak. He nods periodically, looks pensive. Then, finally, he sets down his plate and picks up his tea. Doesn't actually drink from it. "{If you trust him,}" to Jax, then, to Tian-shin, "{and if you think it's a good idea, I'll dance whatever kind of dance he tells me to.}" His smile is kind of crooked. "My /comfort/ is a lot less important than beating this law, and this is not a fight I can win with fists."

Tian-shin pushes her food around more than she actually eats, but drains her tea in short order. "{All right, then. I know all the relevant details of the actual incident and arrest already, thanks to the Internet.}" Her fingers fly across her keyboard. "{So, now that I know where you two stand, I can start preparing documents. Though, Steve, I would like to look over your statement before you give it, and, ideally be present when you speak to the press.}" She looks back up at the men, gives the same thin smile again. "{I'll try to make this as small of an ordeal for you as I can.}"

"That ain't -- I mean, your comfort /is/ important, it's not --" Jax's mouth clamps shut hastily, though. He gulps at his tea, leaning forward to set it down and pluck up a muffin to pick at it. "{Thank you, Tian-shin. I know this is...}" He shakes his head, slowly. "{I don't /mean/ to always be trouble. Just kind of seems to keep finding me.}"

Steve smiles sidelong at Jax. "Well, I'll be a /lot/ more comfortable when that law gets struck down. {Thank you, Tian-shin.}" He picks up the thermos and raises his brows at Tian-shin. "{More tea?}" His eyes flick to the food she's barely touched, though.

"{It's the kind of trouble that's symptomatic of problems in our society, not in you.}" Tian-shin perks up slightly when Steve picks up the thermos. "{Oh, yes, please.}" She holds out her cup. "{And you're welcome. I've mentioned before, there are a lot of lawyers out there more brilliant and experienced than I am, and plenty of them would be willing to take a high profile case like this pro bono.}" She bows her head. "{I'm honored that you have faith in me. We'll get through this.}"