Logs:Recent Traumas

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Recent Traumas
Dramatis Personae

Elie, Gaétan, Matt


"{I am not throwing stones.}"


<NYC> Graveyard - Tessier Residence - Greenwich

What had been a lush harvest garden only days ago is now a desolate, ill-kempt pet cemetery. Cobwebs stretch wispy across the shrubbery, the old oak's leaves crunch yellow and sere underfoot, and the graves are, of course, unquiet. An untidy row of headstones stand in memorial to dearly departed cats and dogs and more. Some of them look to have been buried in haste and not all of them look to have stayed buried. There's a mangy paw struggling out of the freshly disturbed soil, a mostly skeletal cat crouched under a rosebush with glowing blue points of lights for eyes, a partially decomposed parrot perched on a low branch of the oak, and a hound stalking at the back of the garden with large chunks of coat and flesh missing, one eye socket empty and one lip torn wide open to bare bloody teeth.

The house is bustling, right now. Despite (or perhaps because of) the relative dearth of Actual Residents inside it's a perfect time for a team of decorators to descend on the home; they're hard at work inside getting the place ready for the spate of seasonally spooky festivities scheduled for the weekend and beyond. Gaétan (after dutifully ensuring the work crew has adequate refreshments) has escaped the transformative bustle, disappearing out into the already-spookified backyard. Among the carefully sculpted and/or animatronic revenant pets that stalk the gardens there is one quite lively pup; Flèche's coat is, at least, sleek and glossy, her flesh intact, though she's voraciously working at tearing chunks out of a large stuffed dragon she currently has pinned between her front paws where she's lying in the grass under the old oak.

At the table just beside her, Gaétan is sipping from a still-steaming mug of cider and looking over a sheaf of paperwork. He's barefoot, toes scrunching idly against Flèche's side, in jeans and a grey button-down unbuttoned over green tee. "{-- just as wild last year,}" he's saying, light and amused, "{there was this whole E! spread about the Halloween party -- oh I can show you pictures.}" He's digging out his phone to pull up an album before passing it across the table.

Perched prim on the chair across from Gaétan as if she belongs in this home, belongs in this festively creeping garden -- well, Elie is back from the dead, isn't she? Perhaps she does. Rather than the grave she smells just-faintly of sweetness and spice -- a hint of iris and violet, a touch of cardamom, a faint sandalwood base note. She's immaculately dressed in a purple gabardine cape blazer open over a pale rose blouse, pleated black trousers, and spool-heeled ankle boots in fawn suede that match the understated but capacious shoulder bag that she's set aside on an empty seat. Though she's until now seemed faintly distasteful of the ghoulish creatures around them, this mellows into a small curious interest as one manicured finger swipes through the photographs. "{Goodness but you have a lot of famous friends,}" is too breezy to sound impressed, really, but her eyes are lingering appraisingly on some of the star-studded party photographs. "{Are you feeling up for this kind of fuss now, after -- well, it has been quite a year.}"

It's hard to say how long exactly Matt has been home, easily side-tracked as he tends to be when it comes to all things spooky. But he is emerging from the kitchen door now in a lilac dress shirt under a hunter green vest, and gray trousers. He has a book tucked against his chest (A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay) and a thermos in his hand, and he stops dead in his tracks when he sees Elie. For a moment he looks like he's just going to retreat back inside. But then, Flèche hops up to greet him, and starts nosing past him at the still open door. He closes it decisively. "Mother?" This comes at a delay, and there's something strange in his tone--not suspicious exactly but certainly unsettled.

"{It's Luci's crowd mostly, but I have made a lot of connections through his whole --}" Gaétan waggles a hand in the direction of his phone and takes another swig of cider. He's mulling this question over slowly as he swallows it down. "{It is a lot, but I think I --}" cuts off sharply as Flèche's head perks a moment before the door actually opens. His eyes are snapping toward the door, and he's gone tense -- then relaxed again when Matt emerges -- then tense all over again, if slightly less so. His eyes tic between his mother and brother and he doesn't say anything more.

There's a very small tilt to Elie's head, the very slight beginnings of a frown troubling her brow, while Gaétan speaks. "{Darling, if it does get to be too much --}" Her offer cuts short, here. The sweep of her eyes isn't quite as sharp as Gaétan's but she's watching the door as well with a keen alertness. When it opens, she is on her feet also -- though unlike Flèche not wagging or bolting near. One of her hands has dropped to the tabletop as if this delicate tent of fingers on the iron surface could steady her; the other flies up, knuckles touching light to her lips.

"Matthieu." Her hand lowers, Gaétan's phone still clutched tight in it where it presses now over her heart, and as her vivid eyes fix on her eldest -- well, it may be painful, it may be complicated, but finding her here in the garden seems altogether very normal. Tis the season, after all. She lowers her hand slowly, draws in a deep and steadying breath. "{... You look well.}"

"Mother." There's no question in Matt's tone this time, but there's something else, cautious and reserved. He tears his eyes from her and looks over his brother in an oddly protective way, as if he just needs to be absolutely sure Gaétan--unlike some of the resurrected creatures lurking in the garden--still has all his limbs. "{You ought've told us you were coming,}" he admonishes lightly, his smile just a touch embarrassed. "The house is a shambles, and soon to be full of undead. Of the shambling variety."

He's stooped down to give Flèche the greeting she sought, then straightening again to move into the garden. He pick his way carefully, perhaps for fear of disturbing the disturbing decorations, but there's a kind of hesitance, too, when he fetches up at the table. His empty hand drops to rest on the back of an unoccupied chair without actually pulling it out, and his eyes dip to the paperwork in his brother's hands. When they lift back up to Elie he's smiling again, faint but unaffected, his voice gentle. "{You look well, also. But, what brings you here?}"

"{She told me she was coming,}" Gaétan says -- not quite apologetic but it's certainly a little conciliatory. "{I think I just lost track of time.}" He hesitates, then slides the paperwork closer to Matt. "{We were just trying to get some things together for, um, school. I -- probably Luci,}" this is a little apologetic, "{has to sign some of this, though.}"

That small wrinkle is returning, only daring to wrinkle Elie's brow for the briefest moment of puzzlement before it fades away. "{Why -- my children, of course.}" She, too, is glancing to the paperwork, and then settling her gaze on Gaétan. "{Gaétan is brilliant and driven and it would be such a shame for that to be derailed by,}" she says this somewhat delicately, "{his recent traumas.}" She glances down as if only just remembering she's still holding her son's phone -- though doesn't return it, just taps a nail lightly against the side of the case as her eyes (very, very briefly) flick down to the ground. Her gaze is steady when she lifts it back to Matt. "{I know it's hardly enough to make up for the past, but I want to see to their futures.}"

Matt accepts the paperwork from Gaétan and leafs through it, blinking rapidly. "{I'm so glad you've come around! Luci will be, also, and--well, you know he's good at this sort of thing.}" He waggles the sheaf of papers and hands it back with a relieved smile that doesn't altogether fade when he turns back to Elie. "{And I appreciate you wanting to help.}" His voice is quiet and even, his empty hand turning palm up with this next. "{But given how Gae wound up with those recent traumas, I hope you understand why we might have concerns about you showing up like this unannounced.}" The hand lifts fractionally, like a shrug. "{Again.}"

"{She was in there, too.}" Gaétan's voice is quiet but very firm. "{Feel like none of us here have stones to throw about what we do in there to stay alive.}" He takes the paperwork back, though he isn't looking at it anymore. He curls both hands around his mug, holding it tight. His determined attempt to shift the subject isn't subtle, isn't trying to be. "{S'like a school specifically for students already starting their careers. Seems targeted at entertainers, mostly. Mom's already talk to them, some, seems like -- a decent fit.}"

"{Given how he wound up with those recent traumas,}" Elie's soft voice and rearranged expression are the picture of empathetic concern, "{I had thought it might be a positive direction -- finishing up his schooling in a good stable environment with a strong academic focus.}" She's looking Matt's clothing over with a small and thoughtful moue. "{I'm quite sure you all do wonderful things for the world,}" she's quick to assure, "{but those children do seem to be getting ideas that are better left to --}" Her hand tips up, indicating Matt with the outward tip of her fingers. Only now does she set Gaétan's phone back down, and sink, slow and graceful, back into her seat. Her loose-curled fingertips cup light at the side of her face. "{I must admit the idea of you running into mortal peril over and over doesn't thrill me.}" The soft contrition in her voice has only grown, here. "{I am so sorry I never kept you safe as I ought to.}"

"{I am not,}" Matt says delicately, "{throwing stones. However tempting it may be, I know better.}" He fixes his gaze on Elie. "{They had their ways, and maybe you had no choice in your previous drive-by mothering. But if you have one now, I'm asking you to understand how this looks from my perspective. You ought to be pleased I'm wary for my family's safety--it was you who taught me to be.}" His smile is a little wan, a little lopsided, and a little frozen, though the sweetness of his voice does not change. "{And while we're not throwing stones, I'll thank you to leave off any insinuations about Xavier's in this. As for the raids... I'm only sorry to have put my family through such grief.}"

He swallows and lowers his eyes. "{You couldn't have protected me from Prometheus, Mother. Everything that came before...}" His lips compress. "{Well. You should understand my wariness. But that doesn't mean I disagree about this diploma business.}" He looks again to the papers in his brother's hands, thoughtful. "{I know Xavier's was never a good fit for you, and if I hadn't been...} He shakes his head. "Tabarnak. {But if you like this school--if you think it'll give you the space to do the work you actually want to do? That's brilliant.}" The smile returns, small and hopeful, as he finally does pull out the chair and sink carefully down into it. "{Tell me all about it, if you please?}"