From X-Men: rEvolution
Dramatis Personae

Dusk, Matt


"Well, there goes my suspension of disbelief."


<NYC> Tessier Residence - Greenwich Village

Understated opulence claims this spacious and well-kept townhome, the decor throughout the whole of it of the highest quality and carefully chosen. The front door opens onto the entrance hall, a closet close at hand to receive coats and shoes -- the pale hardwood floors gleam underfoot, unsullied by tracked-in mess from outside. The living room beyond the entrance is all dark woods and pale earth tones, comfortable couches and armchairs and a thick soft rug laid down beneath. Two large and painstakingly aquascaped aquariums flank the entrance to the dining room, with several brightly coloured species of fish within. Most of the rest of the wall space, notably, is taken up with shelves -- shelves crammed with books of every subject and genre.

A study branching off of the main hall is cozy, small, done in pale blues and lined with books as well around the large computer desk and smaller futon, though these rarer books are cased behind glass. Another securely locked door leads to the basement, and another to the full bathroom downstairs. The kitchen connects to the living room; in contrast, it is sleek and modern and well-appointed, stocked by someone who takes their cooking seriously. And takes their alcohol equally seriously -- to one side of the kitchen there is a fully-stocked bar. The back door to the kitchen looks out on a small well-kept garden.

It's a cold day, especially when the wind gusts, and especially after the sun sets. The sky is clear and growing deeper blue as the twilight fades and pedestrians hustle dinnerward with shoulders hunched under thick coats.

But inside the Tessiers' house it is warm. Matt is in the kitchen, staring down at the pot of soup simmering on the stove with a faint wrinkle between his brows. It looks...noodly. /He/ looks a little noodly, too, shoulders slumped and leaning against the counter heavily, eyes bleary with lack of sleep. He wears a red t-shirt with Calvin and Hobbes riding the Millennium Falcon and old, worn blue jeans whose cuffs are frayed where they drag on the ground. His socks are black and threadbare at toes and heel. He finally sprinkles some salt into the pot, stirs it, and tastes. Then frowns deeper and eyes the spice rack thoughtfully.

There's been a knock at the door, summarily answered by Gaetan. It takes a bit before Dusk actually makes it from the front door to the kitchen -- boots to take off, a heavy outer cloak to hang up, a stop off in the bathroom to pee. Eventually, though, he makes it through to the kitchen, padding in in thick warm socks, frayed brown corduroys, a long asymmetrically-cut wrap tunic, wine-red with black trim, messenger bag strapped across his chest. His wings are fiery, each a continuous conflagration that flickers and shifts as the angle of the light changes on the velvety fur that covers them. Quiet, subtle blue lines the bottom edges, brightening to a band of jagged white, which fades to yellow and orange and, finally, a few flickers of red along the length of the bones that frame them. One of those wings is stretching out as he enters, curling against Matt's back in a loose drape. Squeeze.

Matt had peered into the living room when Dusk entered, but remains with his soup and waits for his visitor to work his way back. He sighs when the wing curls around him, rubs his cheek against the soft fur that covers it, vivid green eyes traveling down over the fiery patterns. 'Hi. How are you?' he signs; the stiff formality of his novice signing jars with the fragile and unguarded smile he offers Dusk. 'You want coffee?'

'There's actually coffee in this house?' Dusk's brows have lifted -- surprise? Skepticism? His wing presses gently back against Matt's cheek as he shifts in, leaning with one elbow propped on the counter. 'Does your brother allow that?' His head is craning over to sniff at the soup.

Matt /stares/ at Dusk's hands, struggling to follow his (much more casually) signing. 'Allow?' He repeats the word, maybe as much to retain it as to question it. 'L-U-C-I, /he/ picks the coffee. Good, fancy coffee. For...' He casts around for a word, then finally gestures at--all of Dusk. His soup smells a bit bland, and appears to contain some chickpeas, mushrooms, and soba. 'I might need Internet, tell me how to coffee.'

'Picked it, just for me?' Dusk cheerfully misinterprets. 'I didn't know I meant so much to him, I'm touched.' He shifts closer, pressing a kiss to the side of Matt's head and then turning aside to grab a pair of mugs from the cabinet. 'Tea is fine. You don't need to give yourself a coffee lesson just for me. Though if you ever /are/ in the mood, Shane could show you how to brew the /best/ cup.'

Matt smirks and turns on the fire under the kettle that never leaves their stove, then goes back to stirring his soup. 'You want to stay for dinner?' He gives his soup a critical look and reaches for a bottle of tarragon, pouring some into the palm of his hand and rubbing it briskly as he sprinkles it into the pot. 'I think this soup, not so good, sorry.'

'How could I say no? When you sell it so well.' Dusk's wings have folded in tight at his back as he meanders over to the tea cabinet. Aloud, now: "... jesus f'cking Christ." He's opened the doors, peering into it with a deep furrow of brow. Turning around to lift his brows to Matt. 'How do you /ever/ choose?'

'Last week, Jax made for us C-H-I-C-K-P-E-A noodle soup.' Matt's fingerspelling is painfully slow. 'He said, easy to make. I try now, too. But, I am not Jax.' He turns and watches Dusk's amazement with a certain satisfaction, his smile faint but warm. "Depends on the time of the day, phase of the moon, season, weather, how I'm feeling, who I'm with. Right now?" He looks up at the ceiling, hms quietly, considering. "Maybe the Nilgiri oolong. Second from the top, third from the left. The label /might/ say 'Blue Mountain oolong'; I can't remember, Luci wrote that one."

'Most of us aren't so blessed as to be Jax.' Dusk's wings are twitching in slight restless fidget behind his back, setting the colours on them into a flickering shift of play. "The /moon/ affects your tea choices? Is that universal or is this some kinda witch thing?" He reaches up to snag the canister of tea from the shelf, tilting it to read the label before he heads back over to set it down on the counter by Matt. 'So, okay. A bright full moon, high summer, you're exhausted but -- that good kind of ache from spending too long out dancing with friends. Lying in the grass outside, muggy like it's just about to storm.' One sharp claw flicks back towards the cabinet. "Which one, then?"

"It's /probably/ a witch thing, but you'd have to ask someone who isn't a witch. I've been one for as long as I've had my own choice of teas." Matt stirs some more basil into his soup, as well, then turns around to lean against the counter, facing Dusk. His hand goes to his cheek, fingers half-covering the smiles that tugs at the corners of his mouth. Bright green eyes strays to the tea cabinet, and it's several seconds before he finally concludes, 'Sun Moon Lake. Black tea. Cold and /shaken/ with a little milk and sugar.'

Dusk turns to lean back against the counter, wing hitched up against it to prop him there. His gaze follows Matt's to the cabinet, then drifts back to the other man. 'Not stirred.' This draws a chuckle from him, his grin quick and sharp. "Does that make a difference? With tea?" His other wing stretches, first just extending, rolling, shifting out in another restless /shift/; but he settles it in casual drape across Matt's shoulder after rather than pulling it back in.

'OK. Young moon, dead of winter. You've just woken up, /had/ lots of plans for the day -- that you didn't /really/ want to do anyway, /errands/, pah, who's looking forward to /that/ -- only you roll out of bed and there's an /enormous/ snowstorm. I mean, like --' Dusk's signing is always expressive, though here the puff of his cheeks and shape his hands describe in the air indicate a rather comically large mountain of snow. '/Drifts/ built up against the door, windows piled high, you're not going /anywhere/. So instead you stay in your pajamas, grab a book /and/ --?' His hands spread questioningly, glance flicked back to the cabinet.

'Big difference.' Matt's reply is sincere, almost /solemn/, eyes a touch wide and face reverent. He leans into Dusk's wing slightly, his shoulders tight for a moment. His breath hitches at the end of the second hypothetical scenario, but he hardly hesitates at all before replying. 'Y-U-N-N-A-N gold. Not the really fancy grade, just the regular kind. Nothing in it.'

"What makes a tea" 'fancier'? Only this last word is in sign. For /extra/ snooty emphasis, perhaps. "It's the /gold/ part, right? Is Yunnan /diamond/ even better?" Dusk's wing nestles more snug around Matt, rubbing gently at the other man's back. 'Waxing crescent, early evening in autumn. Just a fucking /riot/ of colour everywhere, sun setting to light the whole park up around you. But you, you're focused, right now, because you've been sitting here for hours and you were having a good streak but it's turned and now you're getting your ass /thoroughly/ kicked in chess. You really need some reinforcement so --' His wing squeezes in again at the other man's back, his smile quick-sharp again. 'What's in your thermos?'

'Depends on the tea,' Matt replies, '/and/ who you ask.' Then switches to English, "Could be when it's picked or how it's processed, or even the age of the plant and the prestige of the grower. But the most common measure is the type, size, and integrity of the leaf. Small, whole, tightly-furled leaves are usually the highest quality." He relaxes against Dusk's wing, one hand caressing the inside of its warm, soft membrane absently. He watches Dusk raptly, the detail of the scenario coaxing a smile from him yet again. Until the last bit. "Getting my ass kicked? Well, there goes my suspension of disbelief." Behind him, the kettle starts to whistle steadily, and he turns off the fire beneath it without turning away. 'But, I guess in the fantasy world where this happens? A smooth, mild S-E-N-C-H-A.' "First picking," he adds aloud, "partially shaded."

Dusk hums, a quiet pleased sound at the petting of his wing, that fades off into a low thrum of purr. His shoulders shake in a brief ripple of silent laughter at Matt's reply. "/Soundly/ kicked," he clarifies, shoulder nudging against the other man's. "You were playing against, like, fucking, Hikaru Nakamura. It was a real nail-biter." The quiet purring continues on underneath his words. His fingertips play along the side of one of the empty mugs. "Think you missed your calling, though, man. Tea sommelier. Only instead of matching to your meal, just match it to people's moods. I bet you'd make a goddamn killing out in Williamsburg."

'You know that's my M-U-T-A-N-T power?' Matt stops there, though, tilting his head and chewing on a corner of his lip. "How have I never seen that word signed?" He peels himself out of Dusk's enveloping wing with obvious reluctance, loads a teapot with the dark, curly tea leaves, then fills it with water from the still-steaming kettle. His eyes dart to the clock, then back to Dusk. 'Not /losing at chess./ I tell people what they want to eat. /And/ drink.'

"That would be a hella shitty one." Dusk's mouth has twisted up into a smirk. "But if sucking at chess is your power you've kind of been failing at /wielding/ it. -- What do I want to eat, then?"

His wing pulls back in when Matt moves away, slow and somewhat reluctant as well. 'How /have/ you never seen that signed? Anyway, mutant, shit, /that/ depends who's saying it. You're going to see a lot of different signs.' He lifts a finger, pausing for a second. "So, are you getting a physical? Your doctor'll probably talk to you about mutant health." Here his finger crooks into an X, before the first two fingers of either hand touch together to twist outwards and describe the twisting shape of a double-helix in the air. "Or is this like, some asshole totally just jealous of your badass wing art, /they/ get a little less polite when they sling /mutant/ at you." This time the rapid flick of his fingers, F- shifting to -R- to -K does seem kind of /thrown/ in Matt's direction. "Or do we mean when you're at school and one of your advisees comes to talk to you about shit they're dealing with, cuz /they're more likely to bring up issues they deal with as a mutant." Both hands curl into X-handshapes, shifting against each other in a similar motion to the sign for CHANGE. "/Or/ do you mean if you're at a cafe getting suckered into a conversation with some well-meaning human who totally just wants everyone to coexist and only drinks fair trade organic coffee and is a hundred percent not racist because they dated a black guy once and they just think that if people would be peaceful and /vote/ then we'll see some real progress for mutants." Here his hands just form into Ms, both shifting straight in parallel lines down the front of his body. "/Or/," with a brighter grin, "do you mean hanging out at the Commonhaus on Game Night when Flicker is /savaging/ everyone a-fucking-gain and there's about to be bloodshed and Hive tells everyone to sit our goddamn mutant asses /down/ before he /sits/ us down --" Now the hooked swipe of fingers past his face decidedly just says /FREAK/. "-- But you come at me with that last one one the street and we're gonna have /words/."

Matt narrows his eyes at Dusk, then lifts a hand to touch two fingers to his left temple. "Well.../me,/" he replies with a confident nod as he tucks himself back under Dusk's wings, "but you'll settle for my bland-ass soup with a splash of hot sauce." 'Am I right?'

He follows the explanation, nodding frequently and echoing the new signs to aid his memory, snickering occasionally and even allowing a single eyeroll at the hypothetical well-meaning human. 'I think I probably /have/ seen some of those, and just not recognized them. And I will /probably/ mix up half of what you just told me, too.'

'Just stick with mutant,' Dusk's sign here is the one he'd assigned to Matt's hypothetical advisee, 'most of the time that'll be perfectly appropriate.'

The other answer has put a low growl in his chest, rumbling up soft and deep. A faint flush rises into his cheeks, his smile flashing back wide towards Matt. He curls his wing in closer around the other man, pulling Matt in nearer his side as he tips his head down to nuzzle at his neck. "That one was kind of a gimme."

'Mutant, right,' Matt repeats the sign yet again, rolling his head back onto Dusk's shoulder. 'Even the part about the soup?' He turns his head into the other man's scruffy dark hair. "Am I being cruel?" More softly. "Are you keeping fed...enough...ish?"

The growl in Dusk's chest deepens as Matt's head rolls back, his breath drawing in in a sudden catch. His wing presses tighter, warm and snug and firm around the other man as he buries his face in against Matt's bared throat, exhaling again slowly. Though the rumble of growl doesn't cease, his quiet exhale turns into a soft shiver of a laugh, the grip of his wing easing into a gentle loose hold. 'Of course the part about the soup. Spending time with you never feels like /settling/.' "Anyway, hot sauce makes everything bearable."

He presses a light kiss to the side of Matt's neck, chin dropping to rest on his shoulder. A trace of amusement is in his voice, the rumble of his growl lightening slightly, with the addition: "But you are just a little cruel." He straightens, wing still rubbing gently at Matt's back even when he has shifted away to peer into the pot again. "I'll be fed after this white-boy soup of yours. You know, I'm pretty sure at /least/ one or two restaurants does deliver to the village."

He may have been just teasing, but the breath Matt draws is long and shivery as Dusk's face presses to his neck. "Oh...{that's nice.}" This last part comes out, somewhat automatically, in French. He signs it a beat later, too, when Dusk's wing loosens its grip on him. 'Plenty of restaurants, yes. But I wanted something useful.' While the other man looks at his soup, he glances at the clock again, pours the tea into the mugs set aside, handing one to Dusk. "At least my /tea's/ not white. Most of it, anyway. You don't have to /not-settle,/ you know. Can have my soup and bite me too. Though..." His brows wrinkle. "I can't remember if my time's up yet. Last few weeks have been a blur."

Dusk's growl deepens, briefly, at Matt's shivery breath. He turns aside to get bowls out of the cabinet, setting them down on the counter without ever actually removing his wing from the other man's shoulder. One hand curls around the warm mug, the other reaching into his pocket to pull out his cell phone, check his calendar. "You're up in a week. How about soup first? Blood loss plus an empty stomach doesn't really help make things less blurry."

"Gaetan," Matt calls into the next room, "{dinner's ready.}" He grabs a ladle for the soup, filling a bowl for Dusk and pulling down a large bottle of Sriracha, as well. The second bowl he hands to his teenaged brother as he comes wandering through the room, not looking up from his DS. Matt picks up a third bowl and eyes it. 'I'm not really hungry,' he signs, eyes dropping a little sheepishly as he huddles under the shelter of the other man's wing. But he does finally fill that bowl, too (sans hot sauce), with a rueful smile. "But yeah. Soup first."