From X-Men: rEvolution
Dramatis Personae

Iolaus, Lucien


A discussion about the nature of beauty, among the shelves of the Strand


<NYC> Strand Books - East Village

The Strand manages to pack a whole lot of character into one bookstore, but they have a lot of space to fit it in. They advertise themselves as having eighteen miles of books, and whether or not that is true, it certainly is true that they have an enormous number of shelves packed into their rows and rows and rows of books. A book-lover's haven, this East Village landmark boasts an enormous collection of volumes of all types among their stacks, crammed into the narrow aisles. Well-known for their rare and out-of-print collection, they have many hard to find volumes tucked away in their labyrinth of shelves as well.

After Christmas, the holiday rush has subdued; the /day/ after there were mobs as well, come to return unwanted gifts or simply things lying around the house for years. But today much of the world is back to work, and much of the city back to its usual routine. The aisles at the Strand are quieter, especially back here among the leather and paper smell of older and rarer books. In one aisle Lucien sits, casual in trim dark jeans and a soft grey sweater, a grey-and-green scarf curled around his neck but matching hat and gloves set aside with his leather jacket. At one point he was likely browsing, but he has lost his way, fallen instead into the pages of the book he holds carefully against one leg. Green eyes sweeping the page, other leg stretched out across the aisle where he has taken up residence right on the floor, attention absorbed in the page in front of him.

Another figure steps through the aisles, carefully, hand trailing a few inches along the books as he searches every spine for the text he is looking for. As happens so often in the Strand, especially after the Christmas rush, it was not where it was supposed to be. A foot or so from Lucien, the figure - Iolaus - reaches up and pulls a text off of the shelf with hands so delicate they might have been handling glass. He opens it and then closes it, a brilliant smile breaking across his face. He clutches the book gently to his red-trimmed black shirt, cradling it in his arms. "Finally," he murmurs.

Lucien's mutter comes beneath his breath and not in English, something low and reflexive as he pulls his leg up towards his chest and out of the way of people coming down the aisle. The book he holds is red to match the trim on Iolaus's shirt, and he closes it very carefully as he looks up -- /Alice's Adventures in Wonderland/. "Finally?" His eyebrows quirk upwards as he looks from Iolaus to the book he holds.

"Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, by Edgar Allen Poe." Iolaus says, holding the book out gently for the other man to look at. "Circa, I believeearly 1900's. First edition by one of his later publishers. The store was supposed to hold it for me, but in the rush..." he trails off, giving an affectionate and annoyed look around him. "Well. I am sure you know how it goes."

Lucien /takes/ the book rather than just look at it, gently drawing it from Iolaus's grip to study first its cover and then its inside pages. "This season is a chaos. I am glad for it to end. Does the grotesque appeal to you?"

"Not particularly," Iolaus admits, "But Poe is a wonderful read. Besides, it is the society that decides what is grotesque. Many times, society doesn't select correctly." he says, a little smile on his lips. "Besides, I believe Poe simply meant that the book was frightening."

"Society decides many things are grotesque," Lucien agrees in a quiet sort of musing, looking down as his finger traces against a page, "that are, to other views, beautiful. This book holds much of the grotesque, though." He closes it, handing it back up to Iolaus. "Unless dismemberment turns you on."

"Quite not." Iolaus says, taking the book gently from the other man and holding it cradled in an arm once again to support the spine of the book. "I am not arguing that I disagree with society on /all/ things. Just on some." He gives the other man a smile, as he looks down. "Alice in Wonderland, I think, makes some similar points."

Lucien's jaw tightens slightly as he looks down at the red book in his lap, as if the conversation had led him to forget its existence. "My brother could write a treatise on his thoughts on this book," he says, a little clipped as he holds it to his chest to stand. Less clipped: "Where do you and society disagree, then?"

"Many places. Everything from relative attractiveness, to social issues... to mutants." Iolaus says, glancing around the aisles briefly. "Many people find physical mutants disgusting and... grotesque, even. I think using such a broad brush is inappropriate."

Lucien's lips press together thin, a quiet breath exhaled through flaring nostrils. "And the internet will tell you how many find it /appealing/, screwing a person with wings or a tail," he says, thinly. "People have all sorts of tastes. Is this a fetish of yours? The internet can help you there, too."

Iolaus shakes his head. "No, not at all." he denies, flatly. "Insofar as a fetish is something unusual. My tastes don't run towards physical mutants - some are attractive, some are not, just as people are attractive and not." he gives the other man an equally thin smile. "I simply don't find it all that different."

"Ah." This information softens the thin tightening of Lucien's expression, relaxing back into a state of bland neutrality. "Well. It is different, for sure. In that it is rare. Different like heterochromia. Different like identical triplets."

"Oh, I agree. But that is a simple sort of difference, and can hardly be counted as a grotesquerie." Iolaus says, with a small smile. "Then again, I am hardly an independent judge of such things, considering my occupation is about to be all mutants, all the time."

"Is it?" This is all Lucien says. His eyebrows raise, his brilliant green eyes settling on Iolaus with -- passing curiosity, perhaps. He looks to the doctor and then looks away towards the shelves, carefully setting the red book back in its case and continuing to browse.

"Yes." Iolaus answers, stepping along and following the man, eyes following along the shelves even as he places the book gently into his basket. He stops to pull out another book from the shelf and check the spine before replacing it gently back in the shelf. "I'm opening a clinic to specialize in specialty and primary care of mutants."

Lucien exhales a quiet laugh, though it does not put a smile on his face and does not warm his eyes. "/Really/." It's flat, and he turns away towards the shelves, running a finger lightly down one leatherbound spine. "Are you," he asks, mildly and contrastingly polite, "perhaps suicidal?"

Iolaus chuckles, a smile on his face that matches the sound that they both make. "The woman I have hired as my bodyguard believes I might be. Though she is quite a bit on the paranoid side." he jokes. His humor fades, though, to seriousness. "No, I'm not suicidal. Just determined."

"On this matter, there may not be much of a gap between the two." Lucien studies Iolaus's face for a moment, but then looks away once more. "Good luck with that, then. I imagine there are many who would welcome such a development. I imagine there are many /more/ who would see it razed to the ground."

Iolaus gives a little shrug of his shoulders. "I will worry about that when it gets closer time to open. For now, it is still but a dream. And a shell company collecting money for charity." His smile is wry, and he shrugs, glancing around the shelves once more. "How about yourself? What are you up to, these days?"

"Reading." It is clipped and quick, Lucien's hand falling away from the shelves to rest at his side. He casts another look at the red-bound book tucked away now behind its case, and then steps aside to scoop his discarded jacket and winter gear from the ground. "Which I suppose I might do as well at home. I hope you find what you are looking for." Maybe he is talking about the books. Maybe not.

"Quite." Iolaus says, looking over the other man with a furrow in his brow. "And I, you. Say hello to your brother for me." He shrugs and turns to head further into the Strand, towards the registers where he can finally take his precious book home with him.

The request puts a dip in Lucien's head, though it is not quite a nod. More like a sinking of weight, his eyes closing briefly. "{Sure}," is a distracted mutter in French, before he turns to leave empty-handed.