Logs:Needs

From X-Men: rEvolution
Needs
Dramatis Personae

Lucien, Steve

2019-09-17


"{Simply adjusting your metabolism to allow some familiar comfort.}" (A few hours after Steve and Flicker hook up)

Location

<PRV> 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 quite late; save for, perhaps, the upstairs guest room, things have been quiet in the Tessier house for some time now. There are, though, signs that not all the home's residents have been sleeping. A faint soft light coming from under Lucien's bedroom door. And, on the kitchen counter, a large scalloped plate sitting out, deep green glass flecked in glittering silver. Atop it, a matching glass plate cover, translucent enough to see the neat array of crimped-edge half-moon hand pies arranged on the dish. Tucked leaning up against the side of the cover is a small card of heavy black paper -- it says, only, "Steve" in elegantly calligraphed silver pen.

Steve descends the stairs quietly, avoiding the creaky spots for the most part. His eyes are a little puffy and his hair quite mussed, but otherwise he looks little worse for wear, and is fully clothed again. He stops short in the doorway of the kitchen, staring at the platter. Runs a hand through his hair, smiling wanly. He pours himself a glass of water and fetches a dessert plate before sitting down at the counter. Takes the card up, brushing his thumb over the silver letters. Removes the cover and serves himself a trio of pies, which he begins devouring ravenously.

The pies on the plate are mixed, half apple-sage-onion-cheddar and half mushroom-gruyere. For a time Steve is left to eat them in peace. Eventually, though, Lucien's bedroom door opens; he is in pajamas when he emerges, soft black pants and a black tee with an Ace of Spades playing card motif. He only glances to Steve for a moment before slipping off into the bathroom. The toilet flushes, the water runs for a minute. He is flicking a lingering trace of damp off of a fingertip when he emerges, almost heading back to his room but pausing. Rerouting. Stopping in the kitchen doorway to lean against it, looking over Steve thoughtfully.

Steve goes through the first three pies rapidly and transfers two more to his plate, gulping down water in between. He tenses when he hears movement behind Lucien's doors, and though he relaxes again almost at once he might not look entirely unruffled to a familiar eye. When Lucien pauses in the door way he lifts his gaze to him. Plucks up one of the pies and performs a vague sort of salute. "{Thank you. These are delicious.}" His French still carries a heavy provincial accent, though his clipped cadence is more and more Quebecois all the time.

"Yes," Lucien agrees simply, his head inclining. "{I am glad they meet with your approval.}" His voice is quiet, his eyes pulling away from Steve to flick -- brief -- towards the stairs. "{Is he getting some sleep?}"

Steve blushes fiercely, looking down at his plate. "{Yeah, he is.}" Softly. "{Again, I'm sorry -- about all that earlier.}" He swallows, looks kind of past Lucien for a moment and not at him. "{It was awfully rude.}"

Lucien lifts a hand, long fingers unfurling in a languid dismissive wave. He straightens, moves to the bar to get a glass, pour himself a measure of Scotch. His brows lift -- he lifts the bottle, too -- in silent questioning. "{That table has been through worse. And if you had broken it, I happen to know an extremely capable carpenter.}"

Though Steve's blush hasn't fully faded, he quirks a smile at the offer of Scotch. "{Please.}" And then he's suddenly blushing harder. "I hope that I wouldn't be that careless." His shoulders hunch up, just a touch. "{Then again, I couldn't imagine doing anything like that at all, until now. Today.}" Frown. "{Yesterday.}"

"Mmm." Lucien pours a second glass, bringing both and the bottle as well over to the counter. "{I never had a thought that you would be careless with him.}" He slides one of the glasses toward Steve as he takes the adjacent seat at the counter. "{It is not so bad, perhaps, for life to occasionally surprise you. And if you found something you needed in each other --}" He rolls his wrist idly, watching the golden alcohol gently swirl in the glass. "{The board game can wait, I'm sure.}"

Steve shakes his head slowly. "{I -- should have been more careful than I was.}" His shoulders pull even further inward. "{It seems a bit much to say I needed -- that. Thank you.}" He picks up his glass and holds it out to Lucien. "{To life's occasional surprises?}"

"{Does it?}" Lucien tilts his head very slightly to one side. "{If you are well habituated to disregarding your own needs, I suppose it is a bit much to allow them space.}" His eyes fix on Steve, silent and still for a beat before he clinks his glass gently against Steve's. "{To the people who occasionally surprise you.}" He sips slowly; his other hand rests on his leg, fingers tracing against the soft fabric of his pants. "{What would you say you need?}"

Steve's eyebrows lift slightly. "{It's hardly a need, is it? Plenty of men go their whole lives without it.}" He nods his agreement to Lucien's version of the toast, and drinks to it. Chuckles abruptly after. "{Well, five minutes ago I would have said I needed a drink.}" He raises his drink. "{Your hospitality has seen to that. I suppose...}" This a little sheepishly, looking at the contents of his glass. "{...plenty of men go their whole lives without alcohol, too.}"

"{Certainly plenty do.}" There's the faintest tug at the corner of Lucien's mouth. "{I hardly think taking him in my dining room was a pressing necessity. But connection? Comfort? The touch of someone who cares for your?}" He tips his hand up, slightly, lets it fall back to his leg. "{Those things, yes. I do not mean to suggest it is not complicated for you, but we are ill-designed to survive without them.}" He is watching the liquid in Steve's glass, now; his fingers curl a little tighter around his own. "{Plenty of men have quite a bit less weight they carry, and even yet can use a respite every now and then from their burdens. You...}" But here he falters. His eyes lower, and he takes a small swallow of his own drink.

Steve's cheeks flush again, but he doesn't look very perturbed by it. "{I could have taken comfort in his friendship and not -- his body.}" His next pull of Scotch is longer. Quieter now, "{I told him about Howard. It just...came out.}" His breath quickens, barely noticeable. "{Bad enough I was burdening him with my loss, but then...}" His head shakes, short and quick. "{I feel like I've used him.}"

"{I very much doubt he considers lending a friend his ear to be a burden.}" Lucien is still looking downward, lowering his Scotch back to the counter. "{As for the rest, I -- imagine only he could say for certain. I suspect he was not entirely averse to finding some comfort himself, though.}" He turns on his stool, slightly more towards Steve. "{Are you regretting it?}"

Steve looks up again at the question. Considers it for a moment. "{No,}" he allows. "{But I feel as though I should -- not because of Howard...}" He trails off, his frown thoughtful. "{Well. Maybe because of Howard, in a way.}" His fingers begin to tighten on the glass, then relax. "{You know, his own son thought I'd be better off keeping it a secret for my own reputation.}" He swallows hard, takes a generous gulp of whiskey.

"{He is likely not wrong. Howard Stark had a bit of a reputation,}" Lucien is still watching Steve carefully, eyes trained on the other man, intent but not unkind, "{and it is one that would be hard for many people to reconcile with -- Captain America.}" He hesitates, then reaches for the bottle to refill Steve's glass. "{That only needs figure into your consideration insofar as you wish it it to. It's certainly something to be aware of, but it is terrain I think we can navigate -- carefully. If you wish it.}"

Steve huffs a short breath that might have been a laugh, under different circumstances. "{He had a far bigger reputation, in our day. But I am not unaware of how he is remembered, by those who care to remember him at all.}" The last few words come out hoarse, and he twitches a faint bittersweet smile as Lucien refills his glass. "{Thank you. I don't think I can trust myself to decide about Howard, just yet but...}" His brows furrow deeply. "{...don't you think it'll be hard for most people to reconcile Captain America being queer, at all?}"

"{Sooner or later, most people will have to reconcile Captain America being a militant communist. The question of who you might love will be a challenge, to be sure, but as flagrantly un-American attributes go, one of those far outstrips the other these days.}" Lucien's gaze slips down to Steve's drink. He sets the bottle back down, leaning with one arm propped up on the counter and his chin resting on his palm, fingers splayed loose against his cheek. "{I will not pretend that it won't be difficult. For you, most certainly. Likely for anyone the media thinks to connect with you. I suspect there will be only too many people champing at the bit to accuse Ryan of corrupting their hero and lashing out at him and any other queer man in your life.}"

Steve breaks into a crooked smile. "{Being a communist wasn't too popular back then, either, but less damning than homosexuality.}" He sighs heavily and scrubs a hand over his face. "{Right. I already knew there were some people I'd want to talk to before I went public with that, but...}" His jaw sets tight. "{I guess there are just more than I'd have thought. And with consequences more dire. God...}" He tips his glass back for another swallow, eyes closing appreciatively for a moment. "{This would be another one of those nights when I wish I could get drunk.}"

Lucien lifts his eyes back to Steve's face. His fingertips twitch, one faint jerk of movement, against his knee. "{If you think it would help,}" he finally says, slow and quiet, "{I could make that happen.}"

Steve's eyebrows rise up, up, up. "{My friend, I know you have an impressive cellar, but I would rather not deplete it all in the name of a little temporary relief from this...}" He gestures vaguely at his temple with his free hand. "{I doubt even that would do it. My body is very efficient.}"

Lucien's hand curls tighter against his glass. He lifts the other, reaching to take Steve's hand in his own. Some of the workings of his ability are subtle -- quiet shifts in Steve's metabolism, gently slowing some processes and rearranging others in order to allow the alcohol to do its work.

Some of the workings of his ability are not. The sudden fluttering buzz that spreads warm and blissful through Steve in a fierce rush. Lucien's expression has not changed, his tone just quiet and simple. "{As is mine.}"

Steve looks nonplussed at first, but does not pull away from Lucien's touch. Then he gasps quietly, his other hand tightening on his glass, then relaxing, then setting it down altogether. He sways in his seat, his body reeling from the sudden, unexpected intoxication, however mild. His eyes raise unsteadily to Lucien's. "Oh, gosh. This..." He glances down at his Scotch, glances at the /bottle/, then back at Lucien, who can sense the easing of Steve's tightly wound nerves. His cheeks flush a little, and it's not /all/ because of the alcohol. "{You -- you, also.}" It isn't /quite/ a question. "{Thank you.}"

Lucien's head inclines slightly. A very faint dusting of pink rises to his own cheeks, in time with Steve's blush. The warm flush continues, a wash of pleasant relaxation that pushes back the stress and tension that was there before. "{It isn't much,}" Lucien is picking his own drink back up, sipping it slowly, "{but everyone ought to be able to relax, now and then.}"

"{It's...a lot, to me.}" Steve takes a small sip of his whiskey, and the warmth it brings is also not entirely the alcohol -- /or/ Lucien's powers. "{Not because I /need/ it, but...}" His quest for the right words is perhaps slightly protracted by tipsiness, though his speech is still clear enough. "{...it's a familiar comfort. I've been running low on those. Are you --}" He breaks off. "{-- if I may ask. /How/ are you doing this? I mean to say, is this some sort of telepathy, or...}"

The compression of Lucien's lips is very slight, very brief. His thumb traces slowly against the back of Steve's hand, the trickle of warmth holding steady. "{I do not read thoughts.}" His other forefinger taps light and quick against the side of his glass. "{Only brains. The neurochemical activity within you. Numb pain, give pleasure. For the most part. Right now --}" His eyes flick to the bottle, then back to Steve. "{Simply adjusting your metabolism to allow some familiar comfort.}"

Steve blinks rapidly. "{Brains, but not thoughts,}" he repeats meditatively. "{What you describe sounds like a kind of...pharmacology.}" The tentative way he pronounces the last word suggests he isn't sure it's actually the correct term in French. "{And that does not sound so very simple to me, but...}" He inclines his head, smiling faintly. "{I trust you.}"