ArchivedLogs:Plenty of Fight
|Plenty of Fight|
"/Are/ you a Dropkick Murphys song?"
The smell instantly changes here to something greener, herbally sharp and mulchy; paved walkway drifts at angles through raised multi-tiered garden beds, reaching varying elevations of a mere foot above the ground to three feet, each held up by retaining walls of leftover stone from the houses, riddled here and there with spiraling mosaic dragons.
While companion flowers of red geranium, fuchsia bee balm, violet petunias, pastel-and-white sweet pea, are sprinkled throughout and alongside each box, it's primarily vegetables; between tall eerie trellis spires of fixed animal bones, clung over with curlicues of lush vine sheets and okra, delicate netting protects lower levels of melon and tomato, kale and tomatoes and a number of other edible foods, with a separate box of sand-loving root vegetables sending up frondy foliage for carrot and onion and garlic.
To one side, a compost heap lets of faint shimmers of heat and steam, to the other, a strongly scented bed of myriad herbs, both medicinal and otherwise, flanked on one side by a large healthy swell of coneflower. With a shed nearby housing gardening tools, the whole of it is watered by a network of hidden hosing that gives off faint tickles of mist when in use, ribboned with rainbows, and there are structures in place to suggest the garden can be enclosed in winter months.
The enclosing panels of the plot have recently been taken down, transforming it from greenhouse back into garden. In the Commonhaus it's bright and warm but with no covering, it's cool out here tonight -- no rain, today, but a lingering chilly damp in the air. Away from the cheerful post-dinner chatter, one lone figure is perched out in a corner of the garden, tucked on the edge of a rock wall by a row of half-height (though still taller than /hir/) yet-to-bloom sunflower seed stalks.
B doesn't look adequately dressed for the cool -- barefoot, short skirt (black lace layered over vivid magenta satin), lacey midriff-baring tank. There's a small metallic dragonfly drone perched on the rock beside her -- and an enormous metallic blue dragonfly tucked on the ground by her feet, Sugar worrying idly at the scraps of meat hanging off a large shank of venison. B's eyes are fixed kind of blankly ahead into the flower stalks, a small furrow in hir brows.
Finishing up with the cleanup in the kitchen, Steve only socializes briefly before coming outside with a thermos (decorated with a riot of spring flowers and vivid green grass beneath a sunny sky) in one hand and a book (\The Mists of Avalon\ tucked under the other arm). He wears a heather red shirt with a big yellow star on the chest, blue jeans, and a brown leather jacket. Though it's not clear whether he had seen B before deciding to come outside, he drifts toward hir now, picking his slow way among the garden plots. "Mind if I join you for a while?" he asks, coasting to a stop nearby.
B's nose twitches as Steve approaches, though ze doesn't look away from the sunflowers. Sugar's forelimbs shift protectively over her bone, her next rip of meat a little more vigorous than before. B snorts, head shaking. "I don't mind. Might have to bribe Sugar, though. /I'm/ more likely to steal your meat than he is, you know." The dragonfly only chews in response.
Steve's chuckle is soft. He does not come any closer for the moment. "All I have is cocoa and this book. I'm sure that librarian who's always chatting me up will be very put out if I tell her I fed it to a giant dragonfly." Slight frown there. "Or possibly charmed. She's into fantasy literature." He pauses. Watches Sugar at her meal. Then looks up at the sunflowers. His lips press together. "How are you feeling?"
"Sugar is definitely a conversation-starter." B finally turns hir head at the mention of cocoa, perking slightly with a small twitch of nose. Ze turns back towards the flowers soon after. "Not ready to head back to Boston. You?"
"I can relate." Steve holds the thermos out toward B, swishing it in hir peripheral vision. Tempt, tempt. "To Sugar, I meant. In terms of being a conversation starter. Although I can also relate to you in terms of never wanting to go to Boston. I'm -- frustrated." Slight pause. "Cooking is /hard./"
"Do /you/ need to go to Boston for some reason? You know, they shoot New Yorkers there." B is easily tempted, twisting around to readily claim the thermos from Steve. "You start the most ridiculous conversations." There's a quiet hum of amusement lightening hir voice. "I ran into this old teacher from my school the other day and he was so eager to punch you. He really wanted me to let you know." She pops the lid on the thermos, sipping from it as hir other hand waves in front of the /robotic/ dragonfly to wake it up. In quieter afterthought: "Pa makes it look easy."
"Not recently, but, come to think of it, most of my previous visits there /have/ been on May Day." Steve scruffs his knuckles under his chin, which sounds faintly sandpapery even if his five-o-clock shadow is too blond to stand out to the casual glance. "Boston has gotten even ruder over the decades, then. The last few times I went there I just got beat up. Is your old teacher from Boston, by any chance?" He looks down, studying the scuffed toes of his combat boots. "Yeah, I...yeah. He does."
"You've really gone and gotten beaten up in Boston?" B sounds kind of /charmed/ by this. "Was it /on/ May Day? /Are/ you a Dropkick Murphys song?" She's not giving the cocoa /back/ after sipping from it -- though mostly she's forgotten it, now, tucked between hir knees as hir fingers twist at the holographic projection of hir computer. An email arrives in Steve's inbox from B a moment later -- a name ('Dante Raymond Pearse') and a slew of contact information in the body, together with an attachment with a photo of the business card from which it came. 'wants to punch', says the subject line. "I don't -- /think/ he's from Boston." B doesn't sound entirely sure. "Anyway he doesn't want to punch you like angrily, he was really /excited/ I knew you he's, I dunno, a giant fighting nerd or something? He made it sound like it would be an /honor/ to fight you. Like you are the Grand High King of fighting." Her eyes have shifted back to the flowers, gills fluttering quickly against her sides. "You could just eat your food raw."
"I've been beaten up in Boston, on May Day, for Solidarity reasons, several times. So, basically, yes. Though, in fairness..." Steve admits, perhaps a touch sheepishly, "...I get into fights /everywhere/ I go. Excuse me." He does not seem to realize, until he pulls his phone from a pocket to glance at the notification that just chimed, that it was B who had emailed him. "Oh, he's...actually not the first." He slips the phone back into his pocket. "I'll talk to him, but...did you /tell/ him you mopped the floor with me?" This sounds more amused than embarassed. "Not that it should preclude a friendly spar, either way -- who wins or looses in a fight is often circumstantial. Especially when consensual, it's as much about the nature of the social contract as actual skill or ability." At the suggestion his eyes track to Sugar again. "Not the worst idea I've heard. It's a somewhat less messy proposition for me now than it would have been before."
B's fingertips touch lightly to hir mouth, stifling a giggle. "That's kind of delightfuly." She taps at hir console again -- in another moment the dragonfly begins to play the Dropkick Murphys' "Heroes From Our Past".
When her hand drops again it lands on the thermos -- she twitches, a touch startled, and hands it back with a blush. "Lo siento -- and no, I um. I mean he seemed /so/ excited like. Like he was /such/ a badass that you were the first person in the history of the planet who would be able to give him a decent fight, I really didn't want to break it to him that --" She gestures down to herself, tiny form and lacy clothing and all. "Which is -- you know, /puzzling/, he taught at /Xavier's/ -- though not for very long. He says he /wants/ to teach Martial Arts there, he's gong to have a rude awakening if he lands that spot."
Steve breaks into a smile at the song -- the light of recognition comes into his eyes before the lyrics even begin. He accepts the thermos back with a nod a takes a long swig. "Enhancements aside, I /am/ a decent fighter, but if the man is a serious student of martial arts, I doubt I'd present /that/ big of a challenge. He's probably seen some of the older propaganda -- the comics, maybe?" He offers B the thermos again. "I don't know if I mentioned specifically, but I'm not averse to fighting /you/ again, if you feel inspired.
"Has Dusk been infecting you?" There's a small smile on B's face in answer to Steve's. "Listening to them it's like the only time you'll get him to admit there's any Irish in him." She half-turns on the wall, facing Steve a little better. Shrugging, though, at the speculation on Dante's desire to fight Steve. Her head ducks shyly, another flutter of gills rippling down hir sides. "I wasn't too kind to your um. Skin. Last time."
"Yes, and I rather like them, Irish or not." Steve's foot is tapping to the driving beat of the song, and he sings along with the refrain, "So come on, rally 'round this brave and valiant cause, with tradition, pride, and honor at its core. With swords drawn to defend stood these noble-hearted men, fag an bealach, clear the way, me boys!" He tilts his head, grinning at B, now. "My skin didn't mind nearly as much as everything /underneath/ of it. It /hurt/, to be sure, but -- it was cathartic. And. Also fun."
B's smile grows as Steve sings. Ze rests hir chin down on hir knees, the flutter of hir gills slowing to a languid flap. "They didn't know it, but they wrote half their albums for you." Hir head turns, cheek tipping to one side. "Cathartic." She echoes this kind of musingly. "You know," for juuust a moment there's a tiny sliver of teeth visible behind hir blue lips, "I /have/ felt kind of in a mood to hit things, lately."
"I suppose so, but not /just/ me." Steve is still tapping along to the song. "I just happen to relate to their music /slightly/ more literally than some of their target audience. And it's funny you should mention that." He rolls his shoulders as if preparing to throw down /right then and there/. "I am /also/ in a hitting-things mood. Maybe it's uh..." Makes a vague gesture at the sky. "...because Mars is retrograde."
B doesn't bother to stifle her giggle, this time. "What'll your excuse be /next/ month?"
"Hot weather, hot head." Steve was ready with that reply, and delivers it completely deadpan. "I can visit you in Boston. Continue my tradition of getting trounced every time I go there."
"I would like that." B's voice has dropped quieter. "It's kind of lonely, there." Her smile is a little bit crooked. "I was tempted to kidnap your dog the other day but she'd have been a little hard to hide."
"We have /smaller/ dogs," Steve offers, somewhat off-handedly. "Though, really, you can just tell them she's a robotics project." He nods at the smaller and more mechanical of the two dragonflies present. "/I/ would believe it."
"I thought about trying that with Obie," B admits, with a touch of amusement, "only I don't know how long it'd work. Nobody'd buy that I let a project go /that/ long without fixing all its glaring bugs."
"Maybe you find it charming how he...doesn't understand the concept of things being in his way." Steve rubs his chin again. "Yeah, it's a bit of a reach. Zenobia is definitely a believable pet project for you. Prototype mechanical canine steed."
"Pa's dog down at the farm is big enough to ride on. Well." B's nose wrinkles up. "For /me/. Doesn't bow like Zenobia, though. /She/ was charming. I think Matt was in love." The smile that had been spreading on hir face fades, though.
Steve's smile had already faded at the mention of Jax's farm. "I think Matt falls in love with ever single dog he meets -- I say this, having introduced him to /quite/ a few." Though here he frowns, lightly. "I don't really understand what happened, in the park. I only know in the broadest terms who Iolaus Saavedro is -- among other things, persona non grata around here -- but...Joshua and Matt. Are they alright?"
"My old boss," B says with a small distasteful grimace. "Kind of just a pathetic waste of oxygen, now." Hir brow furrows deeper, gills rippling again. "-- I don't know. Io --" She shakes hir head, quieting briefly. "I don't know. I haven't seen Matt lose control like that before."
"I know he founded Mendel, and then he was forced to step down a few months ago, but..." Steve's frown deepens. "Did he hurt Matt?" Then, quickly, "I realize it may not be your place to answer. I just want to know /how/ wary I should be of this man."
"He hurt everyone." B's voice is a little terse, though it softens afterwards. "But Matt more than most." One hand lifts, the back of hir knuckles rubbing at hir eyes. "You know Doctor Toure?"
"I met him -- I volunteered as a subject for the zombie drug trials. We didn't exactly interact much, though." Steve swishes the cocoa around, but does not drink from it again. "I have a vague impression he also worked at Mendel, maybe?"
"He worked at Mendel," B agrees. Hir gills flutter again rapidly, a soft growl rising in hir throat and then quieting. "He also founded Prometheus."
Steve just goes very, very still. "He -- what --" Sputtered, shocked at first and then with a slow, tight winding of anger as he speaks. "And he's still out there treating patients? Hailed as some sort of hero over the cure?"
"Doctor Saavedro knew, and kept him at Mendel. Treating mutants. Treating /Matt's/ sister with the same drug he --" B's lips compress, thin. "Anyway, neither of them have. Many friends here anymore."
Steve opens his mouth and closes it again. "That's...how can he just go on practicing medicine as if --" His head shakes quickly. "I'm sure he has it all rationalized somehow. But they've both specifically betray the community they professed to serve. Saavedro said you were his friends." It's not a question, and he goes quiet after this. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to distress you. Even more."
B just shakes her head. Twists back around, reaching to swipe the cocoa back from Steve. "I grew up in Prometheus. I got really used to doctors rationalizing all /kinds/ of things. But when the Clinic came along, you know -- people wanted to believe that was. Different. /Those/ humans were different. It was just a wake-up call realizing at the end of the day /none/ of them --" She breaks off, eyes flicking up to Steve quickly and then away. Her head bows, and she drops off into silence, just sipping at the cocoa.
Steve relinquishes the thermos without contest -- he seems to have quite forgotten it was in his hand at all until it's gone. He does not speak for a time, but watches B, his expression unreadable. "Can't speak for all humans, but.../I'm/ not one of you, and I'll never really understand." He dips his head, voice is soft and even. "But I'll change my ways if I err, and I'll fight alongside you if you let me." Looks back up. Draws a deep breath. "It doesn't undo the horrors or the betrayals, but it's all I've got."
"No." B's eyes have fixed back on the sunflowers, hir voice soft as well. "You won't." The quick sliver of her smile is thin, and fleeting. "Fighting, though. I'm always good with /that/."