ArchivedLogs:Top of the Game

From X-Men: rEvolution
Top of the Game
Dramatis Personae

Hive, Matt


"{We're not the only ones who need you, man.}"


<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.

The soft, bright strains of Joseph Haydn's symphony number 47 fill the main level of the house. The audience consists of Matt alone, perched on a stool at the breakfast table in the kitchen, an ancient but well-preserved copy of /Through the Looking Glass/ open before him, his hand waving in the air in time to the rise and fall of the music. He wears a white t-shirt decorated with a red filigree heart bracketed by ornate capital As in Ace of Hearts fashion, and black flannel pajama pants covered with tiny red and pink hearts. A round, glossy celadon teapot sits on the island counter, a faint curl of steam rising from its spout.

The door to Lucien's room opens, closes again quietly. Hive looks rumpled, but then, he often /does/. Faded scuffed jeans and plain white socks, brown tee upon which several hedgehogs are watching another upend a can of blue paint over itself. He trudges into the kitchen, slow. Slumps down against the corner edge of the kitchen's bar, elbow leaning against it and one foot hooking up ono a rung of a barstool, eyes drifting slowly from teapot to Matt's waving hand.

The buzz of Matt's phone is just barely audible over the music, and he drops a hand into his pocket to still it before closing the book and rising. He bumps Hive's shoulder gently with his on his way to decant the tea into two matching celadon tea cups. "{Would you like some?}" He's already taking down a third cup before the answer comes. "Bai hao oolong, from Taiwan."

"{Thanks. Think your brother might need his delivered. I might have worn him out.}" Hive's eyes stay fixed a moment on the spot Matt had been. He pulls out the stool slowly, settles down onto it, slumping in against the bar. "{How's your vacation?}"

Matt pours out the third cup and slides it to Hive. His first and second inwardly reactions to the question are both wordless--a warm, pleasant sense of contentment followed by guilt and anxiety. "{It's nice, but I'm ready to go back. Last term...well, I felt like I was gone as often as I was there. I'll be right back.}" He takes one mug and walks it down the hall to the study, whose door he pushes open without so much as a knock to deposit the tea on the desk and a kiss on Lucien's head before returning to their guest. "{How are you doing?}" A thick haze of worry underlies his words as he takes up his own tea, leaning on the counter across from Hive.

Hive is still mostly just slumped on the bartop when Matt returns, tea untouched. There's a faint flutter of his mind against Matt's, a light uncertain touch before he lifts his head again. He props a cheek against one loosely curled fist, spinning slightly on his stool to face Matt. "{Better than I was a couple hours ago. Primed and ready to --}" He stops here, the curl of his smile a little sharp. "{Take a nap, honestly. Work will come later.}"

Matt's hands curl tighter around his cup as he lifts it to his lips, though he also does not drink from it, just yet. His vivid green eyes regard Hive steadily through the steam rising from his tea. "{You're well within your rights,}" he says gently, "{to rest. I wish you could have more than you get.}" His concern has smoothed out, faded into the background of his emotional tapestry. "{I'm glad you're feeling better, all the same.}" << {However long that lasts.} >>

"{Rest will happen,}" Hive's tone is light enough, here, a small shrug of one shoulder accompanying his words. "{Just got a few big projects and one potentially impending -- uh, death. To get through. Before then. /After/ raid time, though, I'm sleeping for a year.}" He curl his own bony fingers around the mug, smile widening into a quick easy grin. "{But before it, we're doing Game Night again. Tomorrow. You in? Tell me you're in, Flicker's been getting /too/ complacent and someone needs to put that smug bastard in his place.}"

That guilt and anxiety comes back tenfold, but it only shows through as a faint wrinkle between his brows and a whitening of his knuckles as his hands clench around the cup. << {I should be with them,} >> this is indistinct, harsh, berating. He closes his eyes, marshalling his thoughts. When he smiles, it's genuine, a blossoming of fondness and even excitement. "{I'll come, though I can't make any guarantees about my performance.}" He looks down a bit sheepishly, taking a small sip of his oolong. "{Haven't been on my best game lately.}"

"{Pff. Modesty doesn't suit you. You're a terror at the gaming table. Anyway, Flicker's --}" Hive's jaw tightens, faint and brief -- there's a small fluttering shift of his mental presence, briefly travelling outward along his expansive psionic network before he centers himself back here. "{-- Not really at the top of his game either so you'll have a chance. Thinking of picking up something new to play but I haven't /quite/ decided what yet.}"

Matt peels one hand away from his cup and stretches it out, laying feverishly warm fingers against his arm. "{I don't have any recommendations, I'm afraid. For board games. That are new to you.}" A twinge of worry runs through him. << {Flicker...isn't going, is he?} >>

Hive's fingers tighten against his cup, his eyes lowering to look down at his tea. "{I'll find something. I've heard King of New York is better than King of Tokyo was.}" He uncurls his hand, turns it over too, calloused fingers curling up against Matt's wrist. "{I don't know. If he's going.}" His voice is very level, here. A shiver of mental energy squeezes in against Matt's mind in a prickly ripple that carries a tinge of disquiet before it settles. "{He's not in shape to right now. Your brother is very talented, though.}"

"{Haven't played it. I'd like to.}" Matt closes his hand around Hive's forearm gently. "{But I'll play whatever, you know.}" He steps around the counter and drapes an arm around the other man's shoulders, gathering him close. He opens his mouth, and closes it again, thoughts indistinct and half-formed and riddled with concern. It's several long seconds before he adds, softly, "{He is.}" The swell of warmth and affection this brings does not drown out the worry, but it does dull the edge.

Hive's bony shoulders curl inward, weight shifting in a tired lean against Matt. "{Good. Good. At least a new game we can /pretend/ everyone's starting on even footing.}" His lips quirk slightly. "{And then just wait for you two to wreck us all.}" His eyes close, forehead thudding lightly down against the other man's shoulder. "{Is it terrible if I don't want him to be?}"

"{Mm, and I'm sure that song will get passed around like a sickness while we play.}" Matt presses his cheek against Hive's hair. He lifts his head, drinks from it long and deep. "{Don't want Luci to be talented? Or don't want Flicker to be in shape to go?}"

"{Through no fault of /yours/, right?}" Hive straightens with a small chuckle, lifting his mug. Setting it back down. Not actually drinking. "{Comes out to the same thing in the end, really. He does his thing, fixes Flicker up, then he's back in shape and ready to jump into the fight again.}" His lips compress thin. "{It'll be his ninth.}" Still thinned, one corner of his mouth twists slightly up, as he glances back towards the closed door to Lucien's room. "{I guess I could just. Not pay him.}"

"{Oh, yes,}" Matt agrees readily enough, "{I would bet on being patient zero for that.}" His gaze follows Hive's to Lucien's door, then shakes his head. "{Setting aside Lucien's vested interest in your success, would you really rather if Flicker tries to go on the raid without my brother's assistance?}" The thought sends a lance of fear through him, and he soothes it with a swallow of tea.

"{He's not /suicidal/.}" Hive says this a little too readily -- a little too sharply. "{If he isn't in shape to go he won't go.}" Though this statement comes with its own mental quiver, uneasy, guilty, a little sick. His hand lifts, raking through his shaggy mop of hair. << {/Nine/ times. He died on three. It would have been more if --} >> His fingers press to the side of his head, then drop back to the countertop. "{I would rather a lot of things.}" Softer, now. "{But your brother /is/ good at what he does. So I guess we'll see.}"

Matt's arm squeezes down. "{Jax wouldn't allow him to go if he weren't ready.}" This sounds less like musing now and more an attempt at reassurance--whether meant more for himself or Hive, it's hard to say. However confident he is of that, the guilt and worry doesn't subside. << {They'd be safer if I went.} >> But aloud, slightly resigned, "{Yes...we'll see.}"

Hive's brows crease. His arm curls around Matt, now, wrapping around the other man's shoulders to pull /him/ close. His eyes skip back towards Lucien's door, arm tightening around Matt's shoulders. "{We're not the only ones who need you, man.}"

Matt closes his eyes and leans heavily into Hive's embrace. A twinge of fear, clinging and grasping, runs through him, and a physical shiver in its wake. "{Same goes for everyone on that team.}"

Hive doesn't have an answer for this. His arms squeeze firmer around Matt, eyes closing as his forehead tips in against the other man's. His fingers knead in hard against his friend's back, the tension in his posture slowly easing as the vast mental web around them ripples and expands outward through the city once more.