ArchivedLogs:Necessary Attire

From X-Men: rEvolution
Necessary Attire
Dramatis Personae

B, Steve

2016-03-07


"... that wasn't the last uniform he ever made you."

Location

<NYC> Harbor Commons - Guest Room 1 - Lower East Side


Simple but comfortable, this guest room provides a quiet escape from the bustle of the rest of the Common house. In decoration it is spartan; plain pale hardwood floor, plain white walls with only a splash of light blue to break up the monotony on the trim. Large windows let in plentiful light; by one window, the queen-sized bed hangs on a wooden platform from the ceiling by thick sturdy ropes, able to be winched up against the wall if extra floor space is necessary. A small wooden desk with single desk chair and three drawers sits to the left of the bed; above it, several bookshelves have been installed on the wall. Against a different wall, a plain dresser provides storage space. Opposite the bed, a cushioned bench seat has been hung against the wall in similar fashion, sturdy ropes supporting it quite solidly.

The room has gotten somewhat more homey as the winter wears on. The collection of trinkets gifted by Horus now occupy an entire corner of the desk, though the addition of a extra bookshelf (the folding kind meant for college dorm rooms) has cleared some space, as well. A hook has been installed beside the bed for Steve's shield, and another one opposite it for the (decorative!) glass Rose Quartz shield. The blanket draping the bed itself bears the motif of a white star in a blue circle ringed with concentric bands of red and white.

It's quite late, and the Commonhaus is mostly quiet, those who have their own houses having returned home. The light in Steve's room is on, and the window open the let in the cool but pleasant air. He's sitting at his desk, wearing a white a-shirt and blue jeans, chin propped up in the heel of his left hand and a pencil held in his right hand. The drawing he's working on is only outlines right now: Lucien and Matt, sitting together on a bench. Lucien's posture and dress are both impeccable, down to the pointy witch hat poised elegantly upon his head, and his eyes are closed, his lips parted to speak -- or sing. Matt's witch hat sits crooked on his head as he gazes up fondly at his brother, his smile half-hidden behind the cup he lifts to drink.

There's a quiet tap at the window. Tap, tap, tap. Tap tap tap. A spindly metal leg is tapping at the glass. Outside, perched on the windowsill, a spiny spiky-headed mantis-shaped robot, strikingly mottled black and yellow in colour, is peering into Steve's room. Tapping a sharp forelimb in quick small jerks at the pane.

Steve drops out of his seat and into a crouch behind his desk, reaching for the shield leaning against it before he even looks up to investigate the source. Then he straightens up, completely unself-conscious about his initial reaction. Sweeps a hand to welcome to mantis in. "Hello, there."

The bug-bot scuttles in, spreading wings that hum to life once it is on the inner windowsill. It flits over to perch on Steve's desk, tapping its way across the drawing-in-progress and ultimately settling at one corner of the desk, for a moment looking like just one more trinket among Steve's collection. "Oh. Oh, they're /pretty/, aren't they?" It's B's voice that the mantis speaks with, head tilting and huge eyes looking down at the drawing.

Steve picks up a red t-shirt hanging over the back of his chair and pulls it on (there's a cartoonish yellow five-pointed star on the chest). Turns his chair slightly and settles back down into it, facing the mantis. He also looks down at the drawing. Smiles. "Yeah, they sure are. I'm...working on portaits of the whole family. For Ostara, maybe. Not sure if that's something they'd like." Bends to pick the pencil back up and add another few strokes to the stripey scarf around Matt's neck. "How are you doing?"

"The whole family?" There's an uncertainty in B's tone. "Well, your art /is/ really good." The mantis has settled into stillness. Maybe it is watching Steve. It's hard to tell; it's head is still tipped slightly downward but the enormous compound eyes probably have a good view of a lot. "I'm doing -- um. I mean, there's -- there's school, you know? Have things here been okay?"

"Maybe for some other holiday," Steve mutters, not lifting his eyes from the drawing. "In the future. But thank you for the vote of confidence. These...are just how I think about people, in a way." He finally does look up at the bug-bot. "I'm not sure I /really/ know -- I never went to college -- but...I can imagine. Things here are..." He holds out a hand (pencil still tucked under a thumb) and wobbles it in the air: so-so. "Tense, I guess."

"You could still go to college. If you wanted. Not -- sure I'd recommend it. What would you have studied if you /did/ go?" The bug-bot doesn't look back at Steve, just frozen still where it stands. "Are /you/ tense or is -- /everything/ tense?"

Steve raises an eyebrow at the mantis. "I didn't want to before, and I can't say I really want to now. Wouldn't know what to study if I did." He draws a deep breath and tucks the pencil behind his ear. "Both. I mean, you know about your father's plans, right?"

"I don't know if I want to, either." This is much quieter. There's a long pause before the mantis speaks again, an uptick of surprise in B's tone: "Me? Of course /I/ know, I helped -- wait, why do /you/ know. You're not /coming/?"

The look that Steve fixes the robot with is not quite surprise. "Well, I suspect it'd be mostly their loss, if you quit. What did you hope to get out of college? And are you getting it?" He drops one hand to the shield leaning against the desk, fingers playing along its gleaming edge. "He told me, and yes, in some capacity. I'm more than prepared to fight, but I'll fill whatever role Jax needs filled."

"Oh, I'm pretty sure MIT'd be glad to be rid of me." The tiny bug-face is, at least, expressionless, but there's faint laughter audible in B's high clear voice. None, though, when she continues more fretfully: "Shane wants to go, too. School's /already/ wearing /him/ down so much I don't --" This sentence breaks off into a small huff.

The robot's feet click lightly against the desk as the mantis shifts, turning slightly out to face a little more forward. A moment later the air shimmers, B appearing -- or a life-sized if faintly translucent holographic image of her, anyway, in a black lace-trimmed handkerchief-hem dress with corset detail at its front. Tall stompy boots. Thick spiked cuffs over long lacy fingerless gloves clearly custom-fit to hir webbed hands -- one of which is touching against the edge of Steve's shield, now, or at least would be if there were any substance to her, faintly luminescent clawed fingers overlapping slightly with Steve's. "... kind of weird, isn't it?"

"Didn't say they'd miss you, but it's still their loss, either way." Steve smiles, if faintly. Though this soon fades. "Shane...between schooling and superheroing and Evolve. Yeah." He's quiet for a moment, studying B's holographic avatar. Looks down at where their hands overlap. His fingers move beneath hirs, finding no resistance. "Weird? Do you mean this?" He taps the shield with an index finger, the soft paff of its impact almost inaudible. "It'll raise eyebrows, and maybe make people think. That's why I want it seen, why I want to fight this fight in uniform..." The smile that quirks his mouth now is crooked. "...preferably without needing to rob the Smithsonian."

"It's been taking a lot out of him." B's ridged brows have knit together, a small flutter running through hir gills. "He doesn't like to say, but -- especially since Dai --" There's a faint slump to hir shoulders. "/I/ wish I could be down there more. I /should/ be --" She pulls in a quick breath, straightens up. Hir claws trace soundlessly against the rim of the shield. "This. Yeah. Pretty sure it'll raise more than a /few/ eyebrows, you go in there in -- wait, the /Smithsonian/? What, you mean they don't even let you bring your own /uniform/ home? Cheapskates. Isn't this shield worth about two hundred /billion/ of the uniform anyway, that's --" B snorts. "... I guess they want you to /not/ do stuff exactly like what you're wanting to do, huh?"

"He says enough." Steve looks down, the slump of his shoulders subtle but impossible not to notice -- they are so very broad. "He has support here, too...though that's not to say he doesn't need you, or that you ought to miss each other any less." He rallies, though. Drums his fingers on the shield. "Oh, no, they'd let me bring my uniform wherever, though I /suspect/ the director, at least, wouldn't like me doing anything like that in it. Some of my team might not care." This with a slight shrug. "I'd just prefer my /old/ uniform. The materials might not be as high-tech, the colors not as bright, but..." His blond brows furrow deeply. "...it doesn't have the same baggage, if that makes any sense? It wasn't a prop to show off America's thin red line against the mutant menace." Then, with a thin, rueful smile. "Maybe I'm just being sentimental. It was designed by a man who loved me and wanted to keep me safe."

"Yeah, but not like he's going to /ask/ for anything he needs." B bites down briefly at hir lower lip. "... could you do me a favor?" Hir eyes have lowered, watching with a thoughtful kind of curiosity as Steve's drumming fingers tap through hir holographic ones. They lift again, though, as Steve talks, lips parting just slightly and a small thoughtful breath pulled in. "Um. /Um/." One heavily booted toe thumps briefly against hir opposite heel. Hesitantly, eyes suddenly wider: "... that wasn't the last uniform he ever made you."

"/That/ sounds familiar -- the both of you, and your father." Steve's smile softens, at once fond and frustrated. "But yes. I can." No conditions, no caveats. Though here he tilts his head at B's hologram. "He made several versions, he -- Howard, was never satisfied with his own work. Or anyone else's. Probably most of them are in S.S.R.'s archives, still, but I can't very well ask without arousing suspicion."

"If I send you some money, ask Shane to take you shopping. For clothes, I mean." B drifts away from the table, the mantis's legs clicking slightly as it turns to angle after hir projected image. "Well. I don't know about most of them. But there's one in Mr. Stark's workshop that doesn't -- isn't --" Hir gills flutter again, head dipping awkwardly. "... S.S.R.'s. I guess -- it never got to you." She's stopped, now, by the wall, tipping hir head back to look up at one of Steve's sketches framed on it -- a young Howard Stark, aviator goggles pushed up onto his head, a champagne bottle in one hand and a champagne sword in the other. Hir lip catches between hir teeth again, weight teetering back and forth on hir heavy boots as the mantis skitters nearer the closer edge of the desk. Mouth opening -- closing again without actually voicing anything.

"Of course. /I've/ been meaning to go clothes shopping, anyhow -- for practical reasons, if nothing else. You think this would be...therapeutic to him?" Steve rotates his chair to follow B as her holographic image moves across his room. "Certainly it is a practical necessity for /him/, too, especially with the weather changing." He does not react to B's information at once, but then, "Oh, he...that's...well." His frown returns now, as he gazes up at the same sketch. "Tony Stark and I don't exactly get along. That's an understatement, actually. I kind of got the impression he loathed me."

"It's been a necessity for him for a long time. He just wouldn't let /me/ take him. But if he thinks you need to go anyway --" B shrugs, gills fluttering again. "He needs to be able to look like himself again." The small shark's eyes are still fixed ahead of her. "-- You said Howard Stark loved you." Sort of half questioning.

"I see. Not merely a practical consideration." Steve nods slowly, thoughtfully. "I /do/ like his style, and would legitimately like his input on fashion, for what it's worth. But certainly, yes, I will do this." He slides down in his chair just a little. Turns away from the sketch and stares down at his shield. "Yes. And I loved him. Love him," he corrects himself dully. "But it was a long time ago. I was gone decades before Tony was born. Surely..." He shakes his head, sharply. "Well, the man owes me no explanations."

"{Sorry.} It's not really my business, I just..." B shakes her head quickly, turning away from the wall to move back to the desk. Pull herself up weightlessly onto it, perching on its edge -- the hand that reaches out to Steve can't actually settle /onto/ his shoulder, fingers resting there only a moment before dropping, intangible, through the man and into hir own lap. "He's kind of a jerk. But it /is/ your uniform. I'm pretty sure he'd give it back to you."

Steve tilts his head at B. "I'd like to think us friends enough that it matters less whose business it is than what you'd like to know and whether I feel comfortable with you knowing it." He instinctively leans into the hand B stretches toward him, though he obviously knows the hologram's limitations, as well, and looks not in the least surprised when it passes through him. "You know him better than I do, but when I met him..." Steve's lips press into a thin line. "He wasn't just being a jerk, it felt /personal./ As if he wanted to provoke me." He shakes his head, slowly this time. "But it probably won't harm to ask."

B's head lifts, the widening of hir eyes slight but still quite noticeable, given the disproportionately large amount of hir narrow face they occupy. "-- Oh." Ze blinks, shakes hir head quickly. "He'd never even met you. Maybe he just hates America." This is abruptly lighter than before. B hops down off the desk -- vanishing into nothingness as ze does so. The mantis's wings spread, a low hum sounding as it lifts into the air. "I should get back to work. You should ask him."

"There's plenty to hate, to be sure." Steve admits, not quite so lightly, though he does make an attempt. "I'll summon all my powers of diplomacy and ask him." He takes up the pencil again, watching the mantis depart. "It was nice talking to you. Don't let the work eat you," he cautions, a glint of humor in his pale blue eyes now. "Eat it first."

There's a brief chuckle from the robot. The drone pauses for a moment on the windowsill. Behind it the space fills up with a very inordinately /large/ projection -- only a mouth, huuuuuge and grinning and sharklike with far (far) too many rows of teeth, yawning wider than Steve is tall to CHOMP -- thankfully without any feeling to it around where Steve sits. Then vanishes, the drone swooping off out the window.