Logs:Fade Out

From X-Men: rEvolution
Fade Out
Dramatis Personae

Lucien, Matt

2019-06-10


"{They had /tactics/.}" (in the immediate wake of returning home from the raid.)

Location

<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.

In the still of the late hour, the quiet splash of tea decanting into celadon mugs is momentarily the loudest sound in the house. Matt is still half-dressed from the raid, stripped down to a skin-tight white performance t-shirt and sturdy black tactical pants. His hair is a mess and his eyes sunken deep, his movements slow and halting. The hands that hold the teapot poised aloft are steady, though. The soft, clean fragrance of the dragon well tea mingles but somehow does not vanish into the savory smell of the stew simmering on the stove.

Matt sets the teapot down with a minute clink and gathers both mugs into one hand, delivering them and a plate of scones across the kitchen to where his brother is slumped, dozing at the island counter. His power, stretched to its utmost limit and near to failing altogether, has coiled with the ease of long familiarity into Lucien's, keeping him asleep while Matt bumbles around the kitchen less quietly than he is wont. Now he slowly eases off, allowing his brother wake--though not actively waking him, and not altogether withdrawing his power, tenuous as its touch may be. He lays a hand--it's uncharacteristically cold, and /does/ tremble now--on Lucien's shoulder and leans over to plant a kiss on his temple.

There's a shiver that runs, first through Lucien's mind, noticeable to Matt's senses even before he outwardly stirs. The touch of Matt's hand earns a wash of spillover feeling; a throbbing lance of pain corded down Lucien's back, a splitting headache, a foggy haze of fear and worry that is briefly clearing -- then returning still more sharply -- as Lucien starts to shake the grip of sleep.

He blinks, starts to lift his head, the more relaxed loose weave of his mind abruptly snapping into a tighter more controlled knot that pulls the leaking sensation inward even before he starts the /proper/ work of reorganizing his mental pathways. "Oh --" He draws in a very short breath, looking to the scones and tea. "{Oh, no, I am sorry, I had meant --}"

Rubbing knuckles against his temple, he looks up at Matt. Kind of intently, his own mind stretching out to search the other man's current state. He begins the process of tidying /that/, soothing the worst of exhaustion. "{You're back.}"

Matt flinches at the spill of pain before he can quite stop himself--though Lucien /can/ feel the sluggish impulse to do so, as well as the reflexive attempt to assist with his mental tidying that falls uncharacteristically short, nearly ending in a seizure.

"{I'm back,}" he confirms softly. "{You did plenty, and I am ever so grateful, my dear. /I/ am sorry to return so late, knowing you'd wait up.}" His hand stays on his brother's shoulder to steady himself where he sways despite his other hand being braced firmly against the counter. "{The position you fell asleep in can't have been helping your back.} As if today hasn't already done a /number/ on you..."

To a more careful examination Matt's nervous system is a snarl of weariness and stress and hypoglycemia, exacerbated by the overuse of his abilities, the attendant headache, nausea, and bristling restlessness.

"Several numbers, as it so happens. {But you had rather a full plate today.}" Lucien is slow, but meticulous. Nipping that almost-seizure in the bud, carefully sorting through the tangle of Matt's nerves to ease the ache, the nausea, knit the unraveling edges of his overtaxed mind back together. He's also slow to stand, sliding down from the stool carefully, jaw a little tighter as he straightens up. He pulls out a stool for Matt, nudging his brother toward it. "{Sit. You need food.}" /He's/ going to fill a bowl of stew.

Matt looses a small, muted noise of contentment, the tightness in his shoulders relaxing just a touch as Lucien tends to the mess the day has made of him. He offers no resistance at being steered into a seat, leaning even more heavily against the counter once he's settled, pulling one of the mugs toward him and sipping delicately at the green tea. "{I was loath to missed it, but I'll watch the recordings.}" He props his chin up in the palm of one hand, his eyes following his brother listlessly. "{So then--/did/ you win?}"

Lucien sets the stew down in front of Matt and takes his seat again, picking up his own mug of tea. The question freezes it halfway to his lips, his eyes fixed hard on the mug. In the busy background hum of his mind something complicated is untangling itself, shifting, pushed back down again. Slowly, silently, his mouth works around words that don't quite form. His gaze is still fixed on the tea when he finally manages: "{Did you?}"

Lucien's mirroring of his question doesn't seem to affect Matt at all, but he does not immediately answer, either. He lifts the mug to his lips and drinks deep. Puts the mug down and laces his fingers together. "{No one is dead,}" he allows finally, with uncommon diffidence. "{We got out all but one, who refused aid. Our hackers even got at the data they'd wanted.}" His shoulders have hunched in tighter again, and Lucien can feel his unease growing--in a distant, almost abstract sort of way.

Lucien's aborted motion resumes only once Matt starts speaking again, the tea completing its journey to his mouth. He takes only a small sip, eyes sliding half-closed as he listens to Matt speak. He does not look over again, but he does reach a hand out, resting it lightly atop Matt's folded ones. A gentle flutter of warmth threads itself through the other man's unease. "{But?}"

Matt sighs softly, leaning into the warmth. "{But...Flicker suffered...something of a nervous breakdown, I think, just before he died. And Prometheus has been recruiting mutant guards heavily. And they've been preparing for these raids.}" He lifts the tea again, just to inhale its vapor. "{They had /tactics/. Not /good/ ones, mind you, but still. Enough to make me want a stiff drink.}"

The small widening of Lucien's eyes is less noticeable than the hard coil of tension that lights in his mind. He takes another small sip of tea, and then sets the mug back down on the counter. He stands slow and stiff again, heading to get a bottle of Reyka from the fridge to pour out two shot glasses. He returns to set one of the shots down in front of Matt, keeping the other for himself and leaving the bottle on the counter between them.

Matt slumps a little harder against the counter, tilting his head almost sideways to watch Lucien. He says nothing until his brother hands him the shotglass. "{Thanks.}" Then, after a moment's consideration. "{Here's a health to my team.}" He tosses back the shot and settles the glass back down on the counter so delicately it hardly makes a sound. "{By gods, do we ever need it.}"

Lucien raises his own glass, downing the shot quickly. He keeps hold of the glass afterwards, rolling it back and forth between his thumb and fingers. "{You'll need a lot more, if Prometheus is learning to outmaneuver you. You are all stretched so thin already. Flicker --}" His lips compress. "{This time, you all made it back.}"

"{/This/ time.}" Matt scrubs one hand along his jawline, his disproportionate flash of irritation at the scrape of his stubble apparent to Lucien. "{It wouldn't really be sustainable regardless, but as obvious as it is now that they're onto us?}" His hand turns palm-up, fingers splaying in the air. "{We need to re-think our entire strategy.}" His gaze drifts to the bottle of vodka, but he reaches for the stew instead and takes a small bite of it despite the nausea rising back up.

The nausea immediately is tamped back down again. Even a hint of /appetite/ added on top. "{I pray you have enough downtime, now, to do so. This has been --}" His eyes stray to the vodka as well. He picks up his tea, instead. "{As you say. Unsustainable.}" Where his hand has come to rest against Matt's again, his fingers trail in absent restless circles. "{How have they been preparing?}"

That Matt's body, at least, needs the food is quite apparent, for even with that small encouragement he falls to his meal with a vengeance. He soon forces himself to pause for a sip of tea. "{We should have plenty, unless Jax and Ryan plan another this year.}" There's a tense coil of worry through him at this. "{Which may to some extent depend on what information the hackers have retrieved. We shall see.}" To Lucien's question, Matt glances at the vodka again. And then sips his tea again. "{They had a plan for a counter-assault, not just defense. Again, I don't know think it was a /great/ plan. It hinged on taking me out of the fight.}" He drains the rest of his tea and picks up his spoon again. "{Well. Capturing me.}"

The repetitive circles Lucien's fingers are tracing grow more rapid. He sets the tea down, untouched, and pours himself another shot. "{I see.}" When /he/ puts the glass down it is with a hard thunk. "{Staying home,}" he finally says, quiet, "{is quite a sound strategy.}"

Matt tucks into his stew again with a will. There's little humor in the quirk of his lip at Lucien's reply. "{Indeed. Especially as I have a suspicion they may know to go after /Flicker/ first, next time.}" He finishes the last two bites of his meal and downs another shot of vodka. Still sets the glass down quite delicately, though Lucien can feel the alcohol beginning to affect him, the edge of his intoxication harsher than usual. "{The the one we left behind has powers like mine. And is collaborating.}"

"Ah." A hard clench tightens Lucien's jaw. His eyes train steadily on his empty shot glass, his fingers pressing harder down against the back of Matt's hand. "{The toll these things have all taken --}" This only hangs in the air for a moment, his brow creasing as he searches for words. "{It would be unsustainable even if you never returned.}"

Matt's nod is minute. "{We may decide after all that my physical presence on the team does more harm than good. I don't think that is the case, but, as you say...}" He tilts his head to one side, eyes sliding shut. "{We /must/ change our approach, either way.}" A profound weariness overwhelms him, tinged with despair. His teeth grind quietly and his eyes, already closed, squeeze shut even tighter against the attending pressure of a formless violence trying to claw it way up out of him.

Lucien's arm tenses, and his own mind coils in further on itself, shoring itself up harder against the chaos that is rising within Matt. "{I should think they would be at more risk if you stayed home,}" his admission is crisp and curt and none too pleased, immediately followed by, "{I was speaking only of the risk to your own mental /health/. /That/ damage seems profoundly immeasurable, and unlikely to ease any time soon.}"

Matt presses the darkness back down with a deep breath and opens his eyes again. "{You are not wrong.}" Then, much softer. "{But that damage was immeasurable before I started going on these raids. Before Prometheus took me, even.}" He presses a hand to his mouth, and does not speak for a moment. There's a low ripple of grief and shame through him, there and gone. His next words come out almost jarringly calm and matter-of-fact. "{I need therapy.}"

Lucien squeezes Matt's hand. The steady touch of his mind only continues its work of bolstering Matt's, gentle where it eases exhaustion and pain, leaving the other man's emotions to sort themselves out. "{If you would like help in making those appointments, I can assist.}"

Matt swallows, and nods again, more definitively this time. "{I have been consider it for a while, but the prospect of finding someone able to handle /this/...}" His hand turns an elegant half-circle in the air, indicating his own temple. "{...seemed impossibly daunting. But I think, at this point, perhaps even a less-than-suitable therapist is better than none.}" The small twitch of a fey smile touches his lips, and something in him relaxes--slowly, deliberately--out of its habitually hypervigilant clench. "{But I've faith you can at least help me locate one who won't run away screaming.}"

The slight twitch of Lucien's own smile is wry. "{Luckily for you, I have some practice in navigating this particular labyrinth. I have faith we might find someone who can handle your brand of crazy.}" One eyebrow quirks upward. "{I make absolutely no promises as to whether or not they will flee from the puns, though.}"

Matt rolls his eyes. "Oh, come now. Someone has to put the /sigh/ back into psychology." Turning his hand over in his brother's, his squeezes back--his grip feeble and brief, his power instinctively reaching out again and falling short, summoning a knot of frustration in its wake. "{Thank you. I know none of this has been easy for you--nor will be, therapy or no.}" He lifts his bloodshot eyes to search Lucien's, his gaze not quite focusing right. "{I beg you will not sideline your struggles and triumphs just because I am a wreck, though.}"

Lucien doesn't answer this. His lips compress a moment as he works on steadying Matt's mind a little further. Enough so that he feels safe to let /go/ of his brother's hand, rising again to take the bowl to the dishwasher. "{You ought to rest. Your eyes are barely focusing at this point. Come, now.}"