From X-Men: rEvolution
Dramatis Personae

Lucien, Matt, Joshua


"{I'm so sorry.}"


<NYC> {Funhaus} - Harbor Commons - Lower East Side

The house might have started out looking capacious and respectable, but it has since moved through various incarnations, always colorful, but never colorful the same way for longer than a few days. There is little in the way of what most people would call furniture: a sectional couch buried in fluffy cushions, three bean bags of varying sizes, a scattering of bookshelves, what looks like a human-scale cat tree in one corner, and a low, square table surrounded by zafus.

The floor plan is largely open, criss-crossed by rope bridges linking small elevated platforms to the landing of the second storey, beyond which lie the bedrooms. The kitchen is separated from the living room only by a long counter, lined with stools. Even the appliances are decked out in unexpected hues, edged with designs that change on a daily basis. A row of tins and jars runs the length of the breakfast counter, none of which match and all of which bear brightly colored text describing their contents: teas, coffees, mates, and various herbal blends.

Despite the chilly and damp and outside, snow falling but not accumulating, Funhaus is decked out for an early spring. Potted plants line the modular shelves in the living room, vines--living and otherwise--hang thick on the rope bridge, the sofa and beanbags look like moss-covered boulders, and the floor is carpeted with wildflowers. A forest of budding trees wraps around half of the common space walls, while the other looks out onto a valley meadow, a silver stream winding in the distance.

Joshua's bedroom, however, is as bare as ever. The riot of color that covers every wall and ceiling and floor in the entire house terminates at his threshold, beyond which neutral matte eggshell reigns supreme. Though spotless and well-lit, it is furnished only by a single full-sized bed neatly made up with white sheets.

Matt sits cross-legged on the bed with a slim black thermos resting in the crook of one knee, fiddling with his phone before slipping it into the much-weathered Blue Suns messenger bag beside him. He wears a red t-shirt, worn thin and soft, with Calvin and Hobbes riding on the Millennium Falcon, and similarly threadbare jeans. Unless he braved the sudden snowstorm in short sleeves and socks, he must have left his jacket and shoes elsewhere in the house. He looks pale and gaunt, though not so ill as he had in the worst days of his treatment, and he still has his hair, limp and dull as it is. His mind is quiet, subdued--by weariness in part, but not all. There is fear, too, packed well away, and a fiercely focused determination. When he speaks, though, his tone is casually bright, "I'm ready when you are."

"That's great, but I honestly have no idea what I should be doing." Joshua is casually dressed, too, in faded jeans and a black t-shirt (it features a dagger on the front and the text SAVE YOURSELF across the back), barefoot and crouched on the floor opposite the bed. His arms rest across his knees, a mug of coffee cupped in his hands. "I'm not used to these things hiding from /me/."

Lucien stands, leaning against the wall just beside the bed with arms loosely crossed over his chest. He doesn't speak. He leans over and plucks the thermos from Matt's lap, popping the cap and taking a small sip before replacing it. Returning to his lean, one shoulder propped against the wall. There's been a careful rearranging going on in his mind, a methodical partitioning-away of his own feelings to free up more attention for monitoring the others.

Matt's powers stretch to probe at Joshua's, brushing over the familiar complement the other man keeps at hand without augmenting or dampening any of them, finally twining around the meta-ability behind all the borrowed ones, sensible to so very few. "We've got a theory," (<< --it could be bunnies! >> his mind supplies, unbidden and quite off-key) "that acute distress lures it out of hiding. Well, acute distress and /me/." He intercepts the thermos as his brother returns it and takes a sip. "If you're willing to endure it, we can.../distress/ you without putting you in any real danger." A beat later, feeling less confident than he sounds. "At least not directly. And if I can catch the power as it emerges, it will be no danger to any of us."

Joshua's lips twitch slightly at their corners. There's a faint dilation of his pupils, a small tightening of his fingers against his mug, before he just lets out a small breath and nods. His mind is rearranging itself, too, the familiar patterns of Spencer's teleportation, Xavier's telepathy, dissolving away to leave the quieter undercurrent of his own power slightly less encumbered. His dark eyes fix steadily on Lucien. He sets his mug down, nailbeds slowly regaining their color. "{Sure.} Let's go, then."

Lucien is slow to stir himself. His mind reaches first for his brother's, a quiet mental stretch that seeks to twine their abilities more securely together. He moves afterward to Joshua's side, folding himself down onto his knees beside the other man. He turns his hand upward, extending it to Joshua.

Matt only nods once. His power threads into Lucien's with far more fluidity than it had with Joshua's, but with no less care, subtly augmenting his brother's biokinesis all the while. The coiled tension in him is plain to Lucien, as is the vague sickness worming its way up from the pit of his stomach, the ache in every muscle, the weariness and general disregulation of his body. His grip on Joshua's power tightens, heightening his perception of it--and, presumably, /its/ perception of /him/--but still not exerting any control as yet. He closes his eyes and whispers something far too softly for the other men to hear, thumb brushing over the black titanium band on his finger.

Josuha picks his mug up again. Downs a large swallow of coffee. Sets the mug aside, settles down to sit, one leg tucked under him and one stretched out in front. There's a small tension that tightens his shoulders as he reaches to close his hand around Lucien's.

Lucien's touch is warm, his grasp firm. For a time there's nothing -- nothing sensible to Joshua, at least, though Matt can feel the careful and thorough mapping Lucien is taking, studying the other man's neurochemistry at some length before anything else.

When the focused flex of his powers does come, it comes swiftly. No pain, here, not as such; just a targeted overstimulation, an ensuing flood of hormones. A sudden spike of heartrate, of breathing. Cheeks flushing, eyes dilating further, a loss of peripheral vision, a further tensing of muscles --

The room is still quiet, still calm, but the cold panicky clench of terror feels viscerally real regardless.

Joshua's hand squeezes tighter around Lucien's. His other falls to the floor, bracing there though not quite actually stalling his reflexive backwards scoot. His fingers press down against the floorboards, his eyes closing. There's an awakening chaos within him, /his/ powers reflexively reaching for -- something. Anything, though his most comfortable and familiar arsenal has already been shed.

Matt is very still through all this: eyes closed, attention focused on the feedback from his powers. His jaw sets tight at the panicked scramble, guilt twisting in his chest but firmly ignored. He starts gradually suppressing Joshua's power, delving deeper, feeling around for the specific, elusive one while quashing any attempt to dredge up /other/ powers to ameliorate his terror.

The suppressing touch of Matt's power is likely a blessing. Joshua's is already working hard to assemble Lucien's own ability, though this desperate reach for retaliation is quelled by Matt's efforts.

Instead, finally, between the hyperventilating and the cold sweat he's breaking out in, something else claws its way to the surface. Previously quietly buried and now unfurling, reaching out to lash out at the people attacking him.

It's a wild and unrefined kind of strike. A raw outward burst of power that rips through the brothers, leaving a swath of cell death in its wake, painful and enervating. There's an attempt, somewhere in there, at a further focus, though it's one that Joshua can't quite yet grasp.

Lucien grits his teeth, doesn't let go. Not of Joshua's hand or his mind, though his touch subtly shifts. Easing up, if only slightly, on the panic. Coiling around that attempt at a more precise attack, leaning into it rather than away. Honing the other man's focus.

Matt sucks in a sharp breath and braces both hands on his knees, but likewise does not let go. Neither does he attempt to /stop/ the assault, though he dampens the effect as best he can with a barely rudimentary understanding of how the power actually works. As one with Lucien -- complementing one another with elegant fluidity -- he focuses in where Joshua is struggling, selectively heightening his ability to manipulate the borrowed power even while continuing to weaken the power's output.

Whatever is lashing out from Joshua is sharpening its thrust. Guided in part by the mimic's years of practice in feeling out unknown abilities, in part by the twinned assistance from the Tessiers in honing his focus. The rampant decay slows; in its place, a more well-aimed twisting that reaches straight for the source of his distress. Something warps, working inside both the brothers to pull the very abilities affecting him misshapen.

The mental boost Joshua has been receiving from Lucien cuts off abruptly. Lucien has gone quite pale, jaw clenching as he drops Joshua's hand. Drops, entirely, stiff and convulsing on the floor.

Matt pushes back against the warping, but can gain no leverage with his power affected so directly. His entire complex network of control drops, as well, though not quite all at once. A single thread of it clings stubbornly for a moment longer to Lucien, desperately attempting to stabilize his nervous system. Before this fails, too, Matt is already on his feet. Then on the floor--he retches but does not throw up. When he rises again it is with a fraction more care that he staggers to Joshua and Lucien. "Are you hurt?" This to Joshua as he drops to his knees, reaching for his brother but stopping short. "I can't feel him," he looks back to Joshua, frowning, "/either/ of you."

Joshua is shaking, a sickly yellow tinge beneath his dark skin. Reflexively he jerks back away from Matt, away from Luci as well, a half-mumbled apology rising to his lips as his head shakes. He lifts a hand, pressing the back of his wrist hard against his lips as he watches Lucien shake. "I can feel you." Quiet, a little hoarse. "{I'm so sorry.}"