From X-Men: rEvolution
Dramatis Personae

Lucien, Matt




<WES> Somewhere in the Catskills

Summer has come back in full force, as if aware that this will, for many, be the last weekend of vacation. In the deep shade of the forest, however, the blazing sun only trickles through in thin streams, pooling here and there in small clearings left by recently fallen trees. Birds flit among the branches and squirrels rustle up and down the trunks, squabbling over nuts. The cry of a hawk wheeling high overhead quiets the small creatures for a moment.

Matt pauses, too, eyes lifted to the canopy that conceals the hawk from view. He’s dressed in a bright green athletic t-shirt, gray zip-off pants, green-and-olive hiking boots. An ancient paisley bandana, once black but faded to gray, covers his head. He carries only a light day pack, leaf green and silvery white. He only lingers a moment, then forges on toward the ridgeline ahead, whence sunlight beckons.

Reflexively, Lucien’s steps pause when his brother’s do. He is similarly dressed, though his lightweight convertible hiking pants are khaki, his shirt mostly grey with green stitching, his head bare, his pack black and green, his boots plain black. His hair falls today in a damp sweaty muss whose tousle is just /messy/ and not at all deliberate. His eyes sweep low when Matt’s lift high, watching the very brief rustle-then-quiet of leaves and underbrush at the raptor’s cry.

There’s a slight delay before he follows after Matt. His steps speed, somewhat, to catch up. He’s taking a swig from a water bottle when he falls back into step beside the other; he holds the bottle out to Matt after, nudging its tip silently into the other man’s biceps in quietly insistent prompting.

Matt accepts the water bottle with a smile in lieu of words. He drinks deep, then swishes the bottle thoughtfully, handing it back to his brother. They make the sinuous ridgeline after a few more minutes of rocky trail that would have benefited greatly from a few switchbacks. The patch of sunlight which had guided him marks where a part of the ridge had given way some years ago, the landslide partly clearing the slope of trees and leaving a small cliff that serves as an ideal overlook. Shading his eyes with one hand, Matt squints down into the valley newly laid before them. His other hand points out the faint glimmer of a stream just visible through the canopy. The grin he flashes Lucien now is crooked, and he takes off at a not *completely* incautious run along the trail that leads down in the direction of the water.

The water bottle gets tucked back into a mesh side pocket of Lucien’s pack. He picks his way along after Matt, moving to the edge of the ridge. He nudges at the rocks at the cliff’s edge with one toe, testing their stability before settling down to just stand, gaze following the path off Matt’s finger. The twitch at the corners of his mouth is fleeting and barely visible, but the crinkle that warms his green eyes lingers, far more readily apparent.

It doesn’t take long for that warmth to turn into a slight narrowing, his breath puffing out in a sharp ‘hff!’ of exasperation.

Which doesn’t stop him from turning to bolt after Matt. A skittering shower of pebbles accompanies him with a rattle; his run turns quickly into a /skid/ down the trail. His arms are kind of windmilling as he catches up to -- slides /past/ -- Matt. Maybe he’s trying to grab on to his brother for balance. Or just /bap/ at him for good measure.

Matt descends with the nimble grace of a mountain goat, bounding over gnarled tree roots and around treacherous patches of loose stone or leaf litter. He catches at passing trees to keep from building up too much momentum, and all in all stays on his feet rather well...until Lucien comes barrelling by. He yips, as much in in amusement as alarm, then loses his balance and stumbles. His arm flails out, reflexive, really, to catch at Lucien. It might save him from face-planting, or it might just drag his brother down with him.

Lucien’s arm meets Matt’s, fingers curling out to clasp at his brother’s forearm. For a moment he half-turns, his other hand moving in his spin to rest on Matt’s shoulder. It’s swift, smoother and quicker than his previous evident flailing. Redirecting some of his downward energy into a neat little /push/ as they near the stream. With Matt’s hand still clasped around his, the hand that just pushed at his brother’s shoulder reaches up to grasp on to a tree branch poking over the water as his other hand releases its grip on the other man’s wrist.

Matt steadies himself against Lucien and finds his stride again, but then his eyes widen and he tries to twist away, just a little too late to avoid the shove. This time his yelp is more indignant than anything else, even as one of his feet slides out from under him in the soft, moist soil on the streambank and he tumbles over the edge and into the clear water of a wide bend in the creek. His splash-down looks and sounds catastrophic against the backdrop of idyllic calm. Fish scatter in terror from the gigantic intruder into their realm. He rights himself in the water, utterly drenched and laughing aloud.

Looking up, eyes narrowed in mock disapproval, Matt points index and middle fingers at his own eyes, then Lucien’s. I’m watching you! He sheds his backpack and tosses it onto the pebbly berm, then pulls the soaked bandana (black again, for the moment) from his head to rinse it off, watching his brother all the while.

Overlooking the stream bank, Lucien's small smile looks entirely unapologetic. One hand stays gripping the tree, weight partially hung against it as he watches his brother's spill into the water. A small ripple of near-silent laughter shakes his shoulders. He sheds his own pack to lean it up against the tree trunk, picking his way lightly down to the water to hop onto a rock in the stream bed. Then another, then another, stepping over to stop on a wide flat stone only barely submerged by Matt's side. One hand extends down, brows lifted in silent offer of assistance back /up/.

Matt wets his bandana again and wrings it out over his head, smoothing over his mess of short brown hair and making him look even more like a drowned rat than before. He twitches one eyebrow at Lucien’s proffered hand, as if somehow *suspicious* of his assistance now. Still, he does finally reach up, and, clasping Lucien’s hand, pulls him sharply forward into the stream. Though not particularly strong, the older Tessier is *much* heavier now by virtue of waterlogging.

Perhaps Lucien should really have been expecting this. Perhaps he /was/; there’s a certain bracing to his arm, muscles tensing and feet planting even in the moment /before/ that tug comes.

For all the good it does him when his footing is a slippery rock in a streambed. One foot starts to give way beneath him and the rest of him is soon to follow, toppling forward towards Matt with a sudden *splash* and eyes opening wider. He lands half atop the elder Tessier, forehead bonking down against Matt’s sodden shoulder and his knees planted firmly in the silty bed of the stream. The noise he makes is half laugh, half splutter. He’s starting to push himself back up but ultimately settles right where he /is/ instead, reaching past Matt’s head down into the water. His hand comes back up carefully cupped around a pale grey-white exoskeleton, crayfish moult in oddly perfect condition. Much of his weight still planted on Matt’s chest, for a moment he eschews further wrestling, eyes focused instead on the little shell resting on his palm.

Laughing heartily in his triumph, Matt is just about to tip Lucien off of him and wholly into the water, but stops to twist around and gaze upon the ghostly shell in his brother’s hand. He smile is less playful mischief now and more genuine appreciation. He settles for casually splashing Lucien with the flick of a hand in the process of getting an elbow down to prop himself back up. Bops their foreheads together gently.

Lucien's eyes only slip half-closed against the splash, head turning just slightly to catch the water on his cheek. His forehead rests down against Matt's, fingers curling upward in a careful cradle. Slowly pushing aside, now, he rolls away to scoot back onto the flat rock he'd been standing on. This time the hand that clasps Matt's doesn't pull his brother to his feet but simply over to the side, tugging the older Tessier over to join him on the rock. Lucien makes no move to get out of the stream, pulling his feet up onto the rock in front of him, one knee crooked towards his chest and the other foot tucked half-lotus beneath himself as he settles down, quiet and seated. His eyes are focused down at the water around them.

With Lucien’s help, Matt heaves himself up onto the rock as well, water streaming from his clothes. He leaves his feet in the water, boots and all; they’re not getting any *more* soaked. Leans against his brother, he tilts his head back to face the bright blue sky and fierce sunlight filtering down through the gaps in the canopy. Smiles faintly.

Lucien curls his hand loosely around Matt's waist. His eyes stay fixed downward on the water, now, as he settles back in against Matt. Around them the world drifts back into quiet -- though not silence. With no more of /their/ splashing in the water, the forest around them comes back to life. A pair of brilliant green dragonflies flits by close to the surface of the water. The leaves rustle not far away with a small skitter of paws. There's a splash-plop as a frog hops off the muddy bank and into the water.

Lucien rests his chin on Matt's shoulder, watching the water swirl around their rock. He stays very still, fingers curling in at the other man's side. Sans disturbances, the water around them is coming to life, too. A school of silvery fish flashing in the sunlight as they pass over the pebbles. A crayfish cautiously scuttling out from under the rock they sit on. A small dark spotted salamander creeping slowly out of the water onto the rock's edge. Lucien's fingers curl in a little closer, thumb brushing slowly against the dark ring on his finger before he sets the crayfish shell down, resting his hand gently against the rock.

A flicker flies down from the canopy to land on the trunk of a snag, its flight feathers flashing bright yellow as it backwings for the landing. Matt dips his hand gently into the water beside the rock, flicking his thumb over *his* black ring, twin to Lucien’s. His other arm curls around his brother, digging into the other man’s shoulder. He leans a little more heavily, but his smile does not fade.

Lucien's breathing slows, steady and quiet. The surface of his mind ripples, a brief shiver that slips soon back into tranquility. Much farther up in the trees, the silhouettes of a small crowd of deer are visible, picking their way down along the path with tiny faint crunches of hoofsteps. Lucien's fingers continue to turn at his ring, the calm stillness of his posture showing little inclination towards movement.

Matt turns his head lazily, rolling it against his brother's shoulder, to watch the deer. Subtly, with the finesse of long familiarity, he dampens the tranquilizing reflex of Lucien's mutation, though not suppressing it wholly. His hand squeezes down harder, though nothing changes in his expression. Turning back, he presses a kiss to Lucien's cheek.

The next breath Lucien draws in is deeper. His hand squeezes back, the ripples in his mind easing off. They're slowly replaced -- by calm, as well, though this kind is less /numb/, a soft gentle warmth that trickles over to Matt through the light kiss and the damp touch of Lucien's forehead tucked beneath his chin. The empty crayfish shell is picked up by the water, washed off the rock and away downstream. The spotted salamander slinks up to take its place, poking curiously first at Matt's leg and then Lucien's finger before disappearing into a crevice of rock. The deer slowly make their meandering way down, finding a spot far upstream to drink and cross. The flush of warmth from Lucien rises, his hand slipping down into his brother's once the herd is long passed. To /actually/ help him up, this time; or perhaps to be helped, himself, his legs unfolding only slow and stiff after the long period of stillness. He answers the kiss with one pressed to the top of Matt's bandanna-covered head. The soft cadence of his voice is only just enough to rise above the splash and burble of the stream. "{Thank you.}"