Logs:Detangling/Debriefing

From X-Men: rEvolution
Detangling/Debriefing
Dramatis Personae

Lucien, Matt

2019-02-06


"Well. I do hope he is crazy." (Sorting through Steve's revelations.)

Location

Tessier Residence, Greenwich Village


The upper floor of this apartment holds the bedrooms; one master bedroom and three smaller ones. One has been converted to a lounge, couches and more books and a large desk by its window. The other two smaller bedrooms upstairs, in strange departure from the rest of the house's style, seem decorated more with younger occupants in mind. One of them, styled largely in purples and blues with a strong butterfly motif, has a lofted twin bed and an antique writing desk. The other is very green, its bedspread green-and-black striped; the walls are covered with a host of movie posters. Between the two bedrooms stands a bathroom, cheerfully decorated with colourful mosaic fish in its tiles.

The master bedroom, in contrast to the paler, earthy scheme outside, is warm and rich, decorated in deep reds. The exquisitely crafted furniture is dark, with reddish undertones to the mahogany wood. The king-sized bed is stocked with an overabundance of pillows, and more cushions rest in the windowseat. One wall holds a spacious walk-in closet. A table, low to the ground, sits on a thick rug between the bed and the entrance, the right height for kneeling rather than chairs; the checked pattern carved into its surface marks it as a chessboard, though the pieces are not in evidence. The master bathroom adjoins the bedroom; it is large, done in black marble, with an overly spacious glass-walled shower and a similarly large jacuzzi bathtub.

It's the middle of the night, by now, and the house has gone largely quiet. Whatever movement there had been downstairs had ceased some time ago, and by all rights Luci should have turned in. But here in the midnight hours, the door to Matt's room is opening quietly, shutting again. Lucien is still dressed -- soft grey trousers, pink button-down -- and his mental landscape is chaotic. Tumultuous with exhaustion, stress, his jangling emotions are kept in firm check by an indelicate clamp of his abilities simply pressing them down hard rather than taking the time to sort through them. Quiet, he slips through the darkened room to Matt's bedside, perching himself on the edge of the bed and reaching over to shake his brother's shoulder gently.

Matt begins to stir well before he is properly awakened. His powers instinctively respond to his brother's, though not with enough cognizance to do much more than gently coiling around them. "Mmph," he says blearily. Coming more fully aware now, his powers flutter over Lucien's delicately, assessing. "What happened?" The sleep has mostly fled his voice now, and he props himself up onto one elbow to tap the screen of the cell phone plugged in on a nightstand. Soft green light like sylvan shadows floods the room. "Luci?" There's a note of concern, but just that -- no more and no less. "{Do you need something?}"

Matt's transition to wakefulness is assisted by a gentle guidance from Lucien's powers, brushing away the heaviness of sleep and bolstering his awareness. Lucien's hand drops once Matt is up. He untucks a thermos from beneath his arm, offering it to Matt as he curls his leg up beneath himself.

The questions, at first, earn only a quick shake of head. Lucien's fingers brush in repetitive short sweeps where they've fallen against the soft fabric of the bedspread. A thread of calmer order starts to take root in his mind, beginning the slow process of untangling the overactive roil of brain chemistry into something a little more manageable. "{I was hoping, perhaps, you could help me in figuring that out.}"

Drowsiness thus banished, Matt accepts the thermos almost automatically and uncaps it for a long draught. Though bright-eyed now, and rosy-cheeked, his brown hair lies in an almost caricaturish state of disorder. He wears a white t-shirt with a bright red filigree heart bracketed by ornate capital As in ace of hearts fashion. He studies his brother, his powers sinking down seamlessly to assist with the other man's neurochemical tidying. "{I shall do my best.}" He offers the thermos back. "{Take your time, but do you think you can try telling me?}" He shoves a couple of his numerous extra pillows behind himself and settles against them.

The creamy sweetened Assam in the thermos is still quite hot, but on just the right side of drinkable. Lucien accept the thermos back, but doesn't drink from it. His eyes fall to the lid, his fingers now running against the smooth matte-metal side of the container. Only for a moment; after a beat he tenses, brushes away that feeling with a physical and mental flick, rests his hand back on the softer cover. "{I'm -- frankly not certain, entirely, where to begin. This they brought by this evening -- Hive had led me to understand that he was in a tenuous and perhaps abusive living situation, and could use help with resources finding somewhere safer. I don't -- entirely think that assessment was wrong, now, but I'm not sure it begins to encompass...}" He trails off, his lips pressing briefly together. "{Have you ever heard of a governmental organization called SHIELD?}

Matt reaches over and turns on his bedside lamp to its lowest setting. He nods as Lucien speaks, and does not prompt him when he trails off. At the last question raises his eyebrows fractionally. "I cannot say that I have. Is it an acronym? A bit James Bond, if so." He lays the fingertips of one hand along his jaw, tapping thoughtfully. "{Is it that you think this man may be in an abusive living situation--with the government?}"

"The Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate." An amused quirk pulls at Lucien's lips. "{They really stretched themselves on that one.}" He takes a small sip of the tea and passes it back to Matt. "{I am not certain what to think. I admit when he began explaining himself, I assumed he was entirely out of touch with reality. And next, that perhaps he was out of touch with reality owing to serious and invasive meddling with his mind. But now I am unsure.}" He squeezes his fingers slowly into the comforter, his brows knitting together. "{He claims to be a veteran of the second World War.}"

Matt's eyebrows only raise higher. "Goodness! That's quite a mouthful." He sips at the tea and gives a quiet hum. "{There are still quite a lot of surviving second World War veterans.}" His head tilts slightly. "{But you have cause to doubt this claim?}" The rise in his intonation is barely enough to signify a question.

"{He looks to be no older than I am.}" Lucien tips a hand out toward his brother, a mild curiosity in his voice. "{I've put him up in the spare room for the night. Can you feel him?}"

"Oh!" Matt takes another sip of tea before passing the thermos back. Then, mildly, "That's unusual." His bright green eyes unfocus briefly. Lucien can feel the shift in his brother's powers, still enmeshed with his own, stretching outward, questing. "{No, nothing.}"

"Mmm." Soft, thoughtful. Lucien looks back down at his hands, fingers drumming lightly on the bed. "{He claims, moreover, that he was frozen in the arctic all these years, until SHIELD found and revived him. Furthermore, that he was the subject of some voluntary experimentation, in the 40s, that are the likely source of his resilience and longevity.}" Another pause. He retrieves his phone, unlocks it, hands it over to Matt with a Wikipedia article pulled up on the screen. "{He gave me his name as Steven Grant Rogers and said the military falsified his birthdate to July 4, 1920 when in truth it was the first. He does look strikingly alike.}"

Matt's powers flutter almost imperceptibly at the mention of experimentation, but all he says is, "Mmm." He takes Lucien's phone and scans the article quickly. "Oh, it's Captain America!" This with the faintest twist of a smile, there and gone. He hands the phone back. "{So, our most likely explanations are, one--} He extends the thumb of his free hand. "{He is not the Star-Spangled Man, but believes that he is, perhaps due in part to physical resemblance and psychological trauma; two--}" His index finger extends now. "{Someone, perhaps the government, has subjected him to brainwashing and plastic surgery in some bizarre attempt to re-create Steven Rogers; or three--}" The middle finger, now. "{He really is Captain America, who really was a supersoldier as propaganda painted him, and now--}" His breath hitches in his throat "{--now the government would study him in a bid to make more.}"

He sucks in a deep breath and lets it out as his hand drops down to the covers. "Well. I do hope he is crazy. Have you taken any other steps to verify or disprove his story, yet?"

Lucien pushes out a sharp breath in time with the one Matthieu draws in. "{Yes. If their experiment did work, I imagine they might feel strongly about such an investment.}" He slips his phone back into his pocket. Sliding back along the bed, he sinks against the pillows. "{Of SHIELD we can find no mentions. Mirror has been looking into finding any vital records for our guest. There are enlistment papers for a Steven Grant Rogers -- born July 4, 1920 -- admitted into the army despite a long list of disqualifying physical ailments and the stature of a sickly teenager. Missing in action in March 1945 and declared KIA. And --}" He's ticking these off on his fingers, thoughtfully, "{A baptismal record for a Steven Grant Rogers, born July 1, 1920 and christened at a Catholic church in Red Hook. That latter is, so far as we can discern, not found through any simple searching online. Certainly it is not information that has been publicly associated with the man from the propaganda.}"

Matt listens, brushing the backs of his knuckles absently against his chin. He does not immediately speak when Lucien finishes, staring off across the room for a few moments. When he does, his voice is level again, "{Being admitted despite disqualifying conditions would support the experimentation story, likewise the contrast between his health at enlistment and...well, Captain America. I suppose it's not impossible those are two different Steven Grant Rogers? Some more digging may tell.}"

He chews on his lip, drumming fingers along his jawline again. "That church record--the discrepancy in date of birth? In scenario one, he might well have done quite a lot of research to prop up his delusion. But as for scenario two, I think it astronomically unlikely some government brainwashing program would have hunted down such an obscure detail to feed him. Tsé..." He rolls partly onto his side, facing Lucien. "{We could ask him for a demonstration. He's meant to have superhuman strength, no? It might be upsetting, but far less invasive than sitting him down with a telepath.}"

"{We might.}" Lucien tips his head down, gaze dropping to Matt's face. "{We shared several glasses of whiskey, while we talked. So far as I was able to feel, they did not affect him at all. And if he is not a mutant --}" He turns his hand up. "{He certainly is something.}"

"{Something.} Matt's eyes flick to the wall, then back to his brother. "{If what he says is true, and there's some covert government agency after him?}" His head drops down onto Lucien's shoulder. "{He may have to flee somewhere that has no extradition agreement with the U.S. for lasting safety. Maybe not even then, if the agency is determined enough.}" His lips press into a thin line. "{If he went public about his identity, however...}"

"{I had that thought, as well.}" Lucien rests his cheek gently against Matt's hair. "{He seems quite horrified by what he's learned, so far, of our present-day world. He says he wants to fight.} Injustice. Stand up for what's right." He sets these words down with a careful emphasis. "{Perhaps once he has had some rest we can discuss further how he might best accomplish that. But going public could well be a means to more than one end. It is,}" there's a tension winding tighter in his mind, here, "{a touch harder to disappear those in the public eye.}"

"{It's certainly reasonable for him to be horrified and to want to fight injustice...}" Though Lucien can no longer see Matt's expression, his reaction is plainly sensible: worried, amused, admiring--with reservations--and mildly impressed. "{...but I have this funny feeling he means 'fighting' literally.}" His powers press against the tension that passes through his brother, a reassuring presence rather than any attempt to uncoil it. "{Not much more to be done about it until other people are awake whom you might need to tap.}"

Lucien's quick puff of laughter ruffles through Matt's hair. His eyes slip closed, his mind quieter, now, more carefully structured, though his exhaustion has only grown with the effort of this task. He lets the silence stretch between them, for a time. When he breaks it it could almost be a nonsequitur: "{The Grammys are this weekend.}"

Matt's powers have stilled somewhat, as well, but remain twined in Lucien's, bolstering the mental processes that go on passively. He's not falling asleep, but does gradually begin to radiate restful tranquility. "{Mmm. All your preparations done, more or less? I'm rooting for him.}"

"{More or less. I do not truly know how to prepare him for the aftermath, though.}" Matt's restfulness spills over through the connection between them. Lucien doesn't open his eyes relaxing back into the pillows. "{Between Ryan and our new houseguest, it is sure to be an interesting month.}"