From X-Men: rEvolution
Dramatis Personae

Lucien, Matt


"{Do you know what day it is?}"


<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 late, tonight, Gaetan long since asleep -- or, well, long since gone /to/ his room, there's a pale blue light under the door that suggests his computer may still be on -- but there's still a light on in Lucien's study. It's been quiet in the study for quite some time, though. Inside, Lucien is settled neatly into a corner of the futon, still dressed from his day -- pale vest and button-down only slightly less crisp than they were this morning, well-tailored jeans. A glass of Scotch at hand, a copy of "The Ladies of Grace Adieu" in his lap, finger hovering on the edge of turning the page.

There's a quiet knock at the study door, though Matt doesn't actually wait for an answer before letting himself in. Though his eyes are bleary and his hair enough of a mess to suggest it has had encounters with a pillow recently, he's not in pajamas, either: black t-shirt with the silhouette of man clutching a book to his chest, engulfed in abstract orange flames, and loose, comfortable old jeans. In his hands he carries two glass mugs, the tea in them a very pale, very vegetal green. One of these he sets in front of Lucien, the other he keeps for himself as he sinks down to the futon. "{Do you know what day it is?}" His voice is very soft.

Lucien's fingertip flicks lightly at the edge of his page, still not quite turning it. His eyes don't lift from his book when Matt enters, finishing scanning down to the end of his page before he slips a slim bookmark into it. Even then he looks up only slowly, tapping his finger lightly at the edge of the book. There's a veeery long deliberation before he finally answers. "... Friday."

Matt sips his tea patiently while Lucien considers his answer. He stops, eyes narrowing, when the reply comes. "{Wrong,}" he says, with an air of great forbearance. Then, leaning forward, a little conspiratorial in his use of emphasis, "{It is /Saturday./}"

"{/Is/ it?}" Lucien's eyes widen in mild surprise, gaze skimming off to a clock tucked onto one of his bookshelves. "It does get so easy to lose track of time with a good book, non? {If it is Saturday already, should you not be sleeping? It must have got quite late.}"

Matt narrows his eyes even farther and stretches out a heather green socked foot to kick his brother in the ribs. Not /very/ lightly, either. "{Should /I/ not be sleeping?}" he says, indignant, "{and should /you/ not?}" Some of the mock anger is already failing him, the very real concern beneath it plain in the furrow of his brows.

Lucien huffs out an exaggerated breath, setting his book aside and picking up his glass to take a swallow of Scotch. "{It is quite difficult to sleep,}" he answers mildly, "{when this petulant /old man/ is in here assaulting me.}" He sets his glass aside, pushes up out of his seat to go across to his desk. He pulls open a top drawer, hand lingering over it a long moment before he pulls out a rectangular package, wrapped in plain matte green paper with a slim black ribbon. A card is tucked beneath the ribbon, in a black envelope. "{This is only half your present.}" There is a small crease between Lucien's brows as he returns to the futon, sitting down beside the elder Tessire. "You will have to wait on the rest. Till it is /properly/ Saturday."

Matt watches Lucien rise, almost warily. He tucks himself closer to Lucien and unties the ribbon. Instead of actually opening his present, he twists around and tucks the ribbon around his brother's neck, under the collar, and ties it into a neat bow. "{I have not even begun to assault you,}" he mutters, kind of grimly, as he opens the card and the package both.

Neat or not, Lucien compulsively straightens the ribbon-bow around his neck. "{You did bring tea. I suppose I will forgive it.}"

The card features a cartoonish wreath of flames around text written in Comic Sans -- 'Are you a banned book? Because you're on fire.' Inside, though, the message printed in Lucien's elegant script deviates from the cheesy Valentine's card theme:

'Make-believe, and count me in. I find the ground over-rated anyway.

Bonne fête, Matthieu.'

The package contains a book, bound in soft black leather with a frond of yarrow tooled into its cover. Inside, though, the pages are much brighter, much more eclectic, a wildly divergent mix of handmade paper and printed ones on thick heavy stock, collages pasted together and drawings stuck onto the pages. Sera's artwork, bright and cheerful, alongside some that Gaétan had worked on. Poetry from Sera, songs that Gaétan wrote. Mostly stories, towards the end, a collection of fairytales that Sera and Desi had been working on. After this the paper -- handmade, pale and pastel and speckled, a project of Sera and Spence's last summer -- is just blank, waiting.

Matt breaks into a grin at the card and looks down meaningfully at the graphic on his t-shirt. His smile only fades a little at the inscription inside, though his eyes water a little, too. He runs the tips of his fingers over the cover of the book, glancing up at Lucien, then back down as he flips it open. His shoulders shake with quiet sobs and he covers his mouth with one hand to stifle a soft whimper. "{Oh, gods...}" his voice is muffled and quavering behind his hand. The tears slide freely down his face, and he carefully moves the book out of the way. "Luci." He drops his hand from his mouth finally and takes one of Lucien's. "{Thank you.}"

Lucien picks his glass back up, slowly sipping at his Scotch as Matt opens his present. His eyes drop away from the other man's face, a small wrinkle in his brow at the sobs. His hand is already extending, turning up even before Matt has reached for it. "{Forgive me. I just thought...}" He trails off, looking up slowly. "Happy birthday."

Matt threads his fingers through Lucien's, his grip painfully tight, though not as painful as the ache in his chest or the chaos of grief and loss and love behind it. "{No, it's--it's beautiful.}" He flips gently through the pages until he arrives at the blank section. When he turns his face up toward Lucien, his eyes are red and cheeks streaked with tears. "{But if there were anything to forgive, you know I will always forgive you. Always.}" He closes the book and clasps it to his chest, and Lucien's hand over it.

Lucien swallows, his eyes lowering again. He squeezes Matt's hand back tightly. Knocks back the rest of his Scotch and sets the glass aside. A flutter of warmth trickles out into the other man, threading through the storm of grief and loss. "{It is a work in progress.}"

Matt only nods, sinking gratefully against Lucien and into the warmth spreading through him. "{So are we.}"