From X-Men: rEvolution
Dramatis Personae

Jax, Steve


"Let's jus' hope Luci can convince the world of that."


<NYC> Buddha Bodai Kosher Vegan - Chinatown

This small restaurant tucked into a snarl of shops on the southern end of Mulberry Street does not draw many tourists. Beneath a large red sign advertising the name of the establishment and its vegan fare in both English and Chinese, the glass storefront offers a very limited view inside, much obstructed by posters, menus, tall refrigerator, and a bizarre diorama that includes a fake white peacock. Inside, the surprisingly capacious and well-lit venue sports tastefully subtle decorations in red and gold. White tableware waits on red lacquered tables flanked with glossy black chairs, all arranged in neat, cozy clusters. The artwork on the walls depict stylized bodhi trees, lotuses, mudras, and dharma wheels. Equally pleasant, the scent of the dim sum in which the restaurant specializes.

In addition to the expected house tea, a server has brought over two smoothies: one lychee, one strawberry. Steve is sharply dressed in a light gray pinstripe suit (though he has shed the jacket and draped it over the back of his chair) with a pale blue dress shirt and red tie subtly embossed with stars. He looks up from the dim sum list he is covering with pencil marks, his perplexity short-lived as he returns the server's bow with a quiet "{Thank you}" in badly English accented Mandarin. He still pours two cups of tea, looking over his prodigious order before sliding the paper across the table. "I ordered more than I strictly speaking need, so you can just pick at mine if you prefer." Then hastily adds, "So long as you leave one of those barbeque buns for me."

"You're asking a lot." Jax's pierced eyebrow quirks upward as he looks over the paper. "Save you a taro bun, sure. But those barbecue --" He shakes his head somberly, even as he amends the number beside the barbecue buns. Across from Steve, he is dressed brightly, neon green fishnet shirt over a glittery black tank, wide-leg black and green jeans, his makeup shifting colours for a time before settling into a sharply defined green and silver scheme. "Honestly, though," he's making another extra tick on the paper before setting it aside for collection, "I got faith you coulda handled all that. You're real skilled in the eating department."

"I /am/ very demanding," Steve agrees, unabashed. "But I try not to ask more than you can give." He pulls the strawberry smoothie over and takes sip before waggling it at Jax. "They're both quite sweet, but I think the lychee might be sweeter?" He sets it down and starts in on the peanuts, instead. "Your faith is not misplaced. I can get by on surprisingly little, and I can take quite a lot. There's a great deal in-between and," his expression sobers, "if it were necessary, I could make do with no barbecue buns at all."

Jax reaches for the strawberry smoothie, eye squeezing closed momentarily as he takes a long sip. Then a longer one, pulling hungrily at the straw until a third of the smoothie is gone. His cheeks flush when he finally pushes it back towards Steve with a mumbled apology. "Now you're just being extreme. I think with some work you're right, I could save you --" Hesitation. "/A/ bun." He falls quiet after this, one leg jittering beneath the table before -- almost tentatively -- he reaches across the table for Steve's hand.

A server comes by and takes the order sheet without looking least surprised at the sheer quantity of food on it -- enough feed five grown men. Steve just watches Jax drink the smoothie, a fond half-smile on his face. "Oh, you can have both of them, really." Though even as he says this, he snags the lychee smoothie to steal a sip before pushing it back across the table. "Well. I'm a very extreme person, but I am eternally grateful for your generosity." His breath catches briefly in his throat when Jax reaches for him. He extends his own hand, grips it ever so carefully, calloused thumb brushing over the other man's knuckles.

"S'nothin', I mean, you know what everyone -- says about me, I'm..." Jax's words stumble, here, his light tone faltering. He takes in a deep breath, fingers squeezing hard around Steve's. "Lo siento. I don't -- mean for things to always be. Hard."

"...a wonderful, caring, giving person." Steve's hand tightens just a fraction in response to Jax's squeeze. "I know you don't, but I knew what I was getting into. And /hard/ isn't all there is." The corner of his mouth twitches up, and he sings softly, "There must be blood, and this I knew. I believe there must be wonders, too."

Jax's head bows; when he lifts it again his eye is glistening over-bright. "Do you think there are?" Very softly. "Wonders. Been years now it's just -- it's just felt like a lotta blood."

Steve's answer doesn't come at once, but when it does he sounds quite certain. "I do." He shifts his hand, lifting Jax's up as if he means to kiss it, although he does not. "/You/ yourself are a wonder.

The red in Jax's cheeks flushes deeper. His head dips toward his smoothie, though this time he doesn't drink so much as just worry the straw between his teeth. "Let's jus' hope Luci can convince the world of that."