From X-Men: rEvolution
Dramatis Personae

Ion, Lucien, Matt, Steve, Dragonlord


"{Pretty monster you have no idea how many places we're going to go.}"


<NYC> Tessier Residence - Backyard - Greenwich Village

Living in the heart of Manhattan means space is precious, and as such, the yard behind this house is small. It is as exquisitely well-kept as the rest of the place, though; all available space has been meticulously cultivated and transformed into a lush retreat from the concrete and asphalt of the city. The borders of the garden are lined in a wealth of flowers, the selection chosen to provide a panoply of color in all seasons save winter. A grassy rock-bordered pathway separates these from the raised-bed vegetable garden that dominates its center. The far left corner of the garden plays host to a tiny rock-lined pond, goldfish and a pair of turtles living in its burbling water. To one side of the pond is a garden table and set of chairs and presiding over the pond, a large oak tree with a hammock underneath, its branches spreading out over the tall brick wall that screens the entire area off from the city outside.

It's a balmy, pleasant Monday evening, the sun not quite set though it is well on its way. Though the noises from the city can't really be shut out even by the sturdiest of brick walls, there's a sense of quiet lent by the tall and elaborately-mural'd walls surrounding the garden. It's added to by the music that plays quietly; at the moment, the /Papillons/ movement from Schumann's /Carnaval/; the lilting piano notes serve to drown out some of the traffic and aural clutter beyond.

Just as the garden's lanterns begin to light themselves, Lucien is lying draped across the rocks beside the pond. Overhead the pendulant branches of a young weeping cherry, a scant few pale-rose blossoms still tenuously clinging to its sparse canopy, sway gently in the light breeze. He is dressed to match the tree -- pale blush-pink short-sleeved button-down paired with white linen trousers, feet bare, fingertips trailing in the water. Eyes closed, at the moment, the deep shadows underneath them are /almost/ overlookable.

Matt sits beside his brother, a book open in his lap, though with the sky growing dark and the lanterns not yet all ablaze it's rather dark for reading. He wears a black t-shirt with a blue outline of a house on it (a structurally improbable spiral staircase reaching down from it into the ground like roots) and ancient, much-faded blue jeans. His feet are also bare, his toes flexing and kneading in the soft grass. One of his hands rests on Lucien's shoulder, rubbing gently, absently.

Steve has been bustling about the kitchen, though Lucien's cooking leaves little enough to clean up. Then the back door opens and he emerges, carrying a tray laden down with three cups of fragrant milk oolong and a plate of spiced snickerdoodles. He's still dressed for work, though the sleeves of his sky blue dress shirt are rolled up to the elbows, he has shed his tie at some point in the evening, and his gray trousers are a bit rumpled now. His shield hangs from its harness, which he isn't wearing properly, just slung over one shoulder. Flèche is dancing along at his heels, tail wagging furiously, big brown eyes fixed on the bottom of the tray /ever/ so hopefully.

There's little warning given, to this tranquil idyllic scene. Somewhere in the muffled-muted white-noise beyond, maybe there's the purring of a motorcycle engine. Somewhere in the house adjacent, a small crackling, a brief shivering of the lights. For a very quick moment -- nearly too brief to catch -- the sound system hitches. Somewhere in the house, too, an opening and closing of door -- a short while later, a gravelly deep voice booming out: "YO. Hey-/yo/ {damn it smell good in here} where y'all at --"

By the time Ion has made his way to the backyard he has a pair of snickerdoodles, himself, one held in his hand and one in his teeth. He has, at least, conscientiously removed his boots! Probably a good thing, too; his jeans look fairly mud-splattered near their bottoms. "Tiny monster come look these trees huh? You climb them maybe? Have to stay inside the walls, though, ¿vale?" He's holding the door open with a heel, glancing briefly back over his shoulder. "Fuck you all look like a goddamn picture out here you live every goddamn day like this?"

There's a scrabbling of too many tiny claws from the kitchen, and a moment later Egg comes soaring out into the garden, wobbling only slightly in their flight path. Their landing is somewhat less majestic, not so much alighting on as /intercepted by/ one of the lower branches of the great oak, their limbs flailing wildly for balance and purchase. 'Doggy!' they sign before they've even properly situated themselves. 'Look Dad, look at the doggy look.' Just in case Ion hadn't noticed. Then, a beat later, 'Hello!'

Lucien's eyes press, briefly, just the tiniest fraction tighter closed. He pulls in a slow breath, shoulder pressing up into Matt's touch and then relaxing down onto the stone still warm from the day's sun. His hand does not lift from the water, but his other rises to accept a cup of tea from Steve; he does not set it back down, still holding it up on the tips of his fingers when the door opens. "Certainly not. That would be ridiculous." Slowly his head turns, eye cracking open to look over toward Ion. "In winter we take our tea by the fireplace instead. Would you care for a cup?" The one he still holds, he is extending now toward Ion. "It goes quite well with the cookies. Bonsoir, Eridani. How are you this evening?" His eyes both open, now. Skate a quick moment to Flèche -- then back up to the gargoyle.

Matt closes his book, rises up onto his knees, and takes a cup of tea for himself. "Merci," he murmurs, settling back down, working his toes into the grass. Whether alerted by his powers or the more mundane signs of their newest guests' arrival, he looks expectantly to the door even after Steve has emerged, and flashes a bright smile at Ion. "Bienvenidos! We do mix it up a bit, even in warm weather. Sometimes," he confides, "we actually sit /in the chairs/."

Flèche is Very Interested in the arrival of the winged toddler. Cookies forgotten, she turns her gaze to Egg as they struggle to find their balance on the branch. Her ears perk up, even the floppy /almost/ upright. She lifts her muzzle and sniffs, then begins stalking toward the tree, tail wagging slow and uncertain.

Steve blinks at Ion for a moment, nonplussed. "Oh, buenas noches!" He sets the tray down on the table. "I'll go and put on more tea -- it won't take long, the water's still hot." He looks at Flèche. Looks at Egg. Emits a quiet hum of consideration. "Maybe some peanut butter in a Kong for her?" Before he turns and ducks back inside. "Be right back!"

"/In/ the chairs {fucking rebel you are.}" Ion ambles over to swipe the tea from Lucien's hand. He trails his other hand up, fingers lacing through the overhanging branches of the cherry tree. 'Yeah I see the dog. She's great. Not food. Maybe for petting. You have to ask the brothers about that.' A few stray petals dislodge, fluttering down toward the Tessiers. "You always get your tea hand-deliver by Captain America too? I gotta get me set up in this luxe. Though you know for how much you balling you like fucking shit." He tips the cup down toward Lucien's face. "{He look like death you know?} I thought you the dying one." He's frowning at Matt thoughtfully, patting now at the pockets of his leather vest (today worn open over a plain and rather grungy white undershirt). "You gonna need anything with that? Them drugs they get fucking pricey, huh?"

'I went for a /ride/! So fast! Dad's bikes are the fastest.' Egg has secured their perch by now, if a tad awkwardly: legs folded beneath them, talons gripping the bark, tail half-coiled around the branch, and one wing stretched out, two of its talons hooked on another branch. 'Great doggy!' they agree enthusiastically. 'May I pet her please? I know how to pet doggies. You don't pull on ears or tail and don't use claws or teeth.' Their eyes are huge, solemn. 'Doggies don't like that.'

Emptied of tea, now, Lucien's upturned palm catches a drifting petal against it. His fingers curl inward, lightly cupping it as he lowers his hand to his chest. "Flèche enjoys petting, especially at the back of her head and neck. I'm sure she would be delighted if you gave her some pets. She's been feeling terribly neglected because we're eating cookies and haven't yet shared." Somewhat reluctantly, he pulls himself into a seated position. Hand lifting from the water, now, his fingertips drip dark circles onto the flat grey stones. "We only have the Steve Rogers special on Mondays, currently. I wouldn't want to get too ostentatious about it, after all." He tips a glance up and over to his brother, brows quirking slightly upward. "Slightly pricey. Yes." The answer -- a touch bemused -- comes at a small delay.

Matt takes a sip of his tea and somewhat automatically passes the cup to his brother when he sits up. "You are very knowledgeable, my small friend! No doubt on your way to being a doggie /expert./ Flèche, {lie down.}" The dog obeys, albeit slowly, their eyes still fixed on Egg high above her. "Well...much as Lucien doesn't have a monopoly on drama in our family, I don't have monopoly on looking like death warmed up." His smile doesn't falter, but his toes do curl tighter into the grass. "So I've heard. We'll be sure to ask if we need you to...look into that."

"Yeah you eat one dog it's time for some lesson about dog right? We been learning good." Ion has crunched his way through one cookie; he gulps at the tea before starting in on the second. "{Okay good.} Ain't no sense you having much pain or nothing just because some insurance they fuckshit bastards." He crams the rest of his cookie into his mouth and dusts his hand off against his jeans. Reaching into the inside of his vest, he pulls out a brown paper packet from inside to hold it out to Lucien. "This stuff doing you right? Last time it last you longer."

'I learn so much I learned--' Egg stretches out their batlike wings to their (perhaps startlingly wide) maximum span, almost thrice their own height. '--/this/ much.' From there they hop off the branch, gliding down to the ground and only backwinging a couple of times before landing somewhat roughly, tumbling end over end (though this fazes them not at all). 'Hi doggy,' they sign, scuttling over to Flèche--slowly, by their standards, though still much, much faster than any normal toddler could move. Propping themselves up in a curious kind of sit with tail and one wing braced against the ground, they stretch out the other wing to pat (gently!) at the back of the dog's neck. 'Good doggie!'

Lucien's eyes have followed the toddler very steadily, even as he lifts Matt's cup for a very slow sip. "Merci beaucoup." Just slightly distant, while he reaches to take the packet from Ion. His eyes don't leave Flèche and Egg immediately; only at a delay does he glance down to the bag in his hand and then up to Ion. "Ah. I find no fault with your product. I have been a little taxed, is all. {Goodness -- apologies.} Slowly, he's starting to rise. "I expected you later. My wallet is inside. I'll be only a moment."

Matt is also watching Flèche and Egg, fondly, but with a certain degree of alertness. "The pharmaceutical industry is generally rife with terrible, and cancer drugs--well, are their own /special/ brand of awful, in more than one sense." His shoulder hunch up briefly, as if he had intended to shrug and just couldn't quite cut it. The fingers of his right hand probe gingerly (perhaps unconsciously) at the inside of his left elbow.

Flèche looked ever so slightly alarmed when Egg descends, but holds her position and waits for them to come to her, nose twitching curiously all the while. Once the fuzzy wing starts petting her, though, she relaxes again, tail swishing rapidly. She noses at Egg, snuffles, and then gives their face a tentative lick.

Steve returns with a teapot, an extra cup, and a peanut butter Kong, setting the first two down on the table. "Looks like they're getting along!" he says cheerfully. He pours another cup for Lucien and sets it aside, picking up his own tea at last and nibbling at a snickerdoodle. His eyes do not linger long on the parcel that passed from Ion to Lucien, but he definitely noticed it. Sitting down in the grass beside Egg and Flèche, he also pets the dog, behind her ears. "See, she likes this, too. Can you do gentle scritches?"

"{Dog's name is Flèche.} That's like meaning arrow, yeah? Pointy. {The softest arrow. I think she like you, little dragon.}" There's a restless bounce in Ion's posture -- he paces between the pond and the table as he talks, his eyes constantly straying to Egg and the dog as well. His head shakes quickly when Lucien stands, hand lifting as if to wave away this motion -- though it's a moment longer before he actually speaks again. "Nah -- no, naw, actually I was. Was thinking -- {wondering --}" His brows have knitted. He stops abruptly mid-pacing, frowning a long while at Steve. He shoves his hands into his pockets, shakes his head again. "I know maybe you busy as fuck here but is possible we can work out something else. For paying. I mean, you like all -- all --" Extracting one hand from his pocket, he waves it vaguely in Lucien's direction.

'So soft!' Egg agrees. 'Not pointy. Maybe she is /fast/ like arrow, does she go fast?' Their wing curls around to the back of Flèche's head, the small black talons tipping their elongated phalanges bending to scratch at the fur there. '/I/ like /her./ Can we have a doggie?' They turn huge green eyes up toward their father, luminous and unblinking in the half-dark.

"It means arrow, yes. She goes quite fast, when we are playing. She enjoys chasing balls quite a lot. And other dogs. And arrows, for that matter. -- I take no responsibility for awakening this dog-yearning. Ah --" There is just the slightest tilt to Lucien's head. A small upward tick of brows. He, too, follows Ion's gaze to Steve -- though only for a brief moment before he tips his eyes up to the cherry canopy above him. His fingers uncurl, releasing the lone petal still in his palm to flutter down and alight amid several others atop the gently rippling water of the pond; its landing comes in time with a soft small exhalation from Lucien. "If you are so inclined, I am sure we could come to some other arrangement."

"I think it was inevitable. Dogs are just too excellent, and Flèche is a fine example of her kind." Matt has also risen, if only to claim another cup of tea. His gaze skids between Ion and Lucien, one of his brows just slightly uplifted. "If you'd like to have Serious Business Talk in private, Steve and I can retire inside."

"She is /very/ fast. Runs circles around most of her fellows at the dog park." Steve looks up at the other men, his brows wrinkled in perplexity. "Oh, yes, I can definitely step out. Or step /in/, rather. But if it makes any difference, I'm aware of Lucien's...other work." The frown deepens. "Admittedly, that doesn't narrow it down a whole lot."

"Mmm {I don't know smallthing. Dogs maybe wouldn't like zooming around on the bike so much? And I think definitely they wouldn't like to travel how we do.}" Ion's brows have pulled deeper together. He resumes his pacing, though now with intermediary fits and starts. "Naw, no, you don't -- have to -- " There's a slightly darker caste flushing up his cheeks as he waves away Matt and Steve's offers. He pauses again, fingers drumming against the side of his leg. "Actually," he admits to Matt, "you also -- maybe it's better, you stay. Maybe I can work out -- {something} -- something with you both."

'Why not like? Bike goes fast, dog goes fast. Fast fast fast!' Egg is bouncing up and down now, edging slowly toward overstimulation in their excitement. It does not, perhaps, help that the adults are paying more attention to /each other/ at the moment than to them. They are clicking low and rapidly, their pupils dilating to vaguely disturbing effect, shining eerily with reflected light.

"I'm pretty sure Flèche would be /quite/ into riding around in a sidecar, actually. But probably not all dogs would. Perdon, I'm not helping, am I?" Matt sounds...not very contrite, actually. At Ion's next suggestion, though, he stiffens, his hand closing tight around the teacup. The touch of his powers on Lucien's suddenly turns into a steady grip, sinking tendrils in so that he might wield his brother's abilities where before he only monitored. Doing this seems to calm him, and he relaxes fractionally. "I dearly hope," he says evenly, though his jaw is still tight, "you are not talking about hooking."

Lucien's eyes snap back to Ion. He's turned somewhat abruptly to face the other man, as well; at his side his fingers are flexing. Where Matt's mind touches up against his there has been a sudden steeling, sharper and brighter, a keen slice of focus that hangs just on the precipice of actually resolving into any concrete shape. There's a small twitch of movement -- though the lift of his hand is aborted when his brother speaks. He just watches Ion instead, steady and quiet.

Steve looks up from pup and tot, sensing the abrupt shift in the Tessier's bearing. "You can't mean -- /that/. I mean Matt doesn't --" He frowns even deeper. "So what /are/ you talking about, then?"

Ion's restless pacing freezes, hands tipped up and posture near rooted in place at the brothers' reactions. His eyes have widened, again; there's a small crackle of energy around him, bright and jittery in contrast to the rest of his stone-still posture. "Shit I didn't -- I don't -- wait, /you/ ain't a --" He's looking at Matt with this last, a little confused. Then looks past them to Egg. "{I mean because you're a /teacher/.}" The skitter of electricity around him dies away as he exhales, lifts his hands to scuff them through his hair. "I didn't -- I mean you whole house full of books right? And the gargoyle they getting big enough now I thought -- you could help --"

The abrupt tension is not lost on Egg, and only serves to work them up even more. They clamber up onto Flèche's back, if only to gain a better vantage point, tiny sharp claws prickly where the dog's coat is thinner.

Lucien's posture stays just as straight, but there's a quiet release of tension within his mind, a faint uncoiling at Ion's words. "/Books/." A soft breath, a small shake of head as he looks to Egg. "You want him to teach your child to read?"

"Oh!" Matt's relief is much more visible. His body relaxes so abruptly that he sways a little, and then blushes a deep pink all the way up to his ears. The grip of his power on Lucien's eases, soothing now though still tremulous in the wake of his intense focus a moment ago. "Lo siento, I misunderstood." He's studying Ion now, thoughtful. "I have some relevant experience, and I would be happy to read with the young Dragonlord, but an ideal foundation would involve you. Rather heavily." He takes a long pull of tea.

Flèche is, like Egg, aware of but not able to understand the tension. Unlike Egg, she does not approve of their digging tiny sharp claws into her shoulders. She emits a low, grumbly whine and stands up.

Steve nods. "Ah, right," looking to Matt, concern and confusion both written on his brow, "you were tutoring pretty young children for a while, no?" When the dog stands up, Steve somewhat reflexively reaches out to catch Egg lest they fall. "Whoa there buddy, I don't think she likes you climbing her like that."

At first Ion stays still where he is -- watching Lucien's exhale, Matt's relaxation, before only then does he finally snap back into restless motion. "{Little monster, maybe we pet the pup, we don't climb the claws on the pup.}"

His eyes are skittering from the pond to the trees to the child. "I, yeah, this, I know, they get big now. And not talking, it more important for them, I." He's still pacing, small pops of energy intermittently accompanying his words. "Not them, yo." He stops again, shoulders tenser as his eyes skate with a swiftness past Steve to fix hard on the brothers. "I want you to teach me to read."

Egg's wings stretch out and execute a complex circular wobbling in an attempt to keep their balance as Flèche stands up. But then, perhaps because Steve presents a much more stable-looking perch, they hop off onto his forearm, tiny claws digging in. Not climbing the puppy anymore! 'Sorry doggie,' they sign, somewhat distractedly, still eyeing their father, clicking low and fast.

Where Matt's mind still abuts his brother's, he can feel a quiet meticulous grooming. A careful ordering of emotions, laying what would be a jumble of reactions neat and precise for closer examination. Lucien's eyes meet Ion's, brows pulling up just a hair. There's a thoughtful lilt to his initial, "hm --", his glance at Matt, before he inclines his head. "I cannot promise you /I/ have any great skill as a teacher. But if you can tolerate the vagaries of our schedules, I think we would be glad to come to an arrangement."

Matt does not look exceptionally surprised by the request, now that it has been voiced. He turns to glance at his brother, their movements in near hive-like synchrony. To Lucien's answer he gives a nod and a small what-he-said flourish of his hand. "I wasn't a teacher, either, until I started teaching, but being an elder sibling is good practice in many respects. Besides," to Ion now, with a bright, conspiratorial smile, "he has much better taste in reading material than I. But yes, between us, we can make this work."

Steve doesn't seem much bothered by the little talons hooked onto his arm. He rises, curling his other arm around the toddler as if afraid they might fall despite aforementioned talons anchoring them (and nevermind that he only a few minutes ago saw them make a controlled crash much higher with no ill effect). "You may already know this, little friend," he's telling the child, "but you have a fantastic dad."

For all the quiet understatement of the others' responses, Ion's relief is nevertheless a tangible thing. His sharp exhale, his smile -- momentarily shaky before regaining its trademark ferocity, these come with a release of tension within him, a release of /energy/ that crackles out crisp and static through the garden. "Oh. Oh. Bueno, gracias -- I mean merci -- I mean /shit/ yo that's excellent." The grin he turns to Egg now is broad. "{Pretty monster you have no idea how many places we're going to go.}"