From X-Men: rEvolution
Dramatis Personae

Lucien, Matt, Steve


"Despite what much of the literature will lead you to believe, peculiar children often grow up into peculiar adults."


<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.

The mild, cloudy day has devolved into a chilly, cloudy evening. Steve strolls down the street from the direction of the subway station, carrying a New Leash on Life canvas tote over one shoulder. He's wearing a red and black flannel shirt over a plain white t-shirt, blue jeans, and black combat boots, a few stray spots of paint splattered on his face and in his hair. He's singing, in a cheerful tenor, "Follow the rainbow over the stream, follow the fellow who follows a dream..." Coming to the door of the Tessier house, he knocks and lowers the volume of his singing, but does not leave off entirely. "... Follow! Follow the yellow brick road..."

Flèche rushes the door well before Steve knocks, her keen ears having picked up his singing from afar. And so Matt, with a cursory glance out the window, answers the door quite promptly, and picks up the next verse with considerably more spirit than skill, "We're off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz!" He's wearing a white t-shirt with a graphic of a woodpecker carrying an electric drill and ancient blue jeans with tattered cuffs. The wobble of his voice is truly cringe-worthy as he tries and fails to hit the high note in Steve's register, but he seems undeterred as he pulls the door open and restrains his over-enthusiastic dog. "We hear he is a wiz of a wiz, if ever a wiz there was!"

There are warm smells coming from the kitchen, garlicky and herby, fresh-baking bread and the tang of citrus. Lucien does not emerge from the finishing touches of dinner prep that he is doing, but his rich baritone joins in: "-- If ever, oh ever a wiz there was, the Wizard of Oz is one because --"

"Because, because, because, because, because --" Steve continues, picking his volume back up as he enters. "Because of the wonderful things he does!" He closes the door behind himself before finishing with, "We're off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz!" He only blushes faintly, laughing. "Good evening, everyone, and thank you for the accompaniment." So saying, he stoops to unlace his boots, though not before giving Flèche a firm ruffle about the head and some scritches behind her ears. Straightening up, leaving his tote tucked beside his boots, he offers Matt a hug.

Matt joins his voice to the refrain, only slightly off-key this time. Flèche throws her head back and howls, her "awoooo" soft and wavery, her tail thrashing wildly. Her participation causes Matt to break into laughter before he's quite made his way to the end of the line, and he's still chuckling when he embraces Steve. "I'm not /often/ thanked for my singing, but I'll take it." He draws Steve farther into the room and heads for the kitchen. "Would you like some tea?"

In the kitchen, Lucien is just putting the finishing touches on dinner, carefully scattering crisped garlicky mushrooms atop a creamy lemon-parmesan risotto already dressed with roast asparagus; there's a tray of fresh rosemary bread just out of the oven, brie, smoked salmon, fresh basil lemonade. The sleeves of his subtly striped green button-down are (/extremely/ precisely) rolled up above his elbows, his grey slacks neatly pressed. He does not look up from what he's doing, just clicks his tongue quiet and disapproving against his teeth. "{Don't tell lies. I thank you quite regularly.} Steve, tell me, are you at all familiar with the camp aesthetic?"

Steve follows Matt into the kitchen, though he stays on the far side of the counter, well out of the way. "Oh gosh, this all looks -- and smells -- delicious!" To Matt, "If we're about to eat anyway, I'll just go with lemonade." He braces the heels of his hands against the edge of the counter and leans forward, brows furrowing slightly. "Camp." It's not.../exactly/ a question. "That depends what you mean, I suppose? Are we talking about scouting, or um..." His mouth works silently for a moment, and he waves one hand in the air. "...homosexual culture?"

Matt sighs theatrically. "{Oh, very well.} I'm not often thanked for my singing by anyone /save/ Luci." He frowns, tapping the side of his chin. "Though, come to think of it, I'm quite often thanked when I /stop/ singing." He slips around to the other side of the counter and plucks up a crispy mushroom from the risotto to pop into his mouth. "The latter. Though it's grown rather more broad in usage since your time." He pauses in the middle of opening an cabinet and looks back at Steve. "/Were/ you a Boy Scout, though?"

Lucien's lips compress, and he drops another chanterelle in the place of the one that Matt has just stolen. "Captain America was of /course/ a Boy Scout, regardless of what Steve Rogers might have done in his youth." There's a slightly dry note to his tone. "I mean the latter, though -- yes. A bit more broadly. I've gotten you tickets to a gala next week at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It's a formal event and one of the most exclusive charity gatherings of the year. Ryan was slated to co-chair and it took --" He has a beat of pause, here. He places sprigs of parsley with a very delicate care atop the risotto. Adjusts them /just/ so. "-- Some work to make sure they did not rescind that offer. Regardless. This year's theme is /Camp: Notes on Fashion/, and I believe you could pull it off splendidly."

"Boy Scouts? Goodness, no!" Steve's abrupt chuff of a laugh suggests he finds the idea ludicrous. He acknowledges Luci's reply with a nod. "I'm sure the people who wrote Captain America's lines imagined him a model Scout, but...well, let's just say it wasn't really the right kind of organization for a poor Irish kid from Brooklyn who had to help put bread on the table. I /was/ a Red Falcon -- briefly. A particularly awful bout of pneumonia put an end to that." He straightens up slightly and looks briefly unsure of what to do with his hands. "How /much/ broader has it gotten? I'm not really sure I can pull off camp as /I/ remember it, and I don't remember /much./" He chews on his lower lip. "Just, broadly, it was how people described homo -- /gay/ men of a particularly effeminate, effusive, or ostentatious..." His eyes skate aside to Matt, and he blushes deep and fierce. "...bent."

Matt finishes pulling the plates out of the cabinet and sets them on the counter and goes to fetch the silverware. "Red Falcons?" His eyebrows rise up. "I've only the vaguest notion they existed, and would love to hear more. I can certainly commiserate about the pneumonia..." He eyes the mushrooms topping the risotto again, but then, glancing up at his brother, decides not to risk it this time. "That's certainly still a /current/ in camp, but modern camp tends to encompass taking ironic delight in aesthetics which are commonly held to be in poor taste, be it kitschy or banal or..." He shifts most of his weight onto one leg so as to put his hip to one side in exaggerated fasion, then props his chin in the palm of one hand, batting his eyes coquettishly. ".../flaming./"

Lucien looks up from the risotto, his brilliant green eyes fixing on Steve with a long and serious scrutiny. "I think with just a bit of explanation on the finer points to grasp the nuance, you will pull it off -- impeccably. You have more practice than you know." His eyes lower back to the food, and his jaw tightens as he starts transferring it to the table. "{I would rather you not even /think/ about the pneumonia just now.}"

The redness on Steve's cheeks doesn't really /fade/, and he has the look of a man who would be spitting out his drink were he in the process of imbibing anything. "You know. I'm going to take your word on that, but as far as acting goes my range is /pretty/ narrow." He's smiling through the blush, now. "I've pretty much only ever played the one character." Though now he's frowning, eyes skipping between the two brothers. He switches handily to French, too, his own accent not only distinctly Continental but almost jarringly /country/, though he's already started adopting Quebecois diction here and there, "{Are you getting sick? I don't recommend pneumonia /at all./}"

"That one character will do," Matt reassures him, gathering the place settings together but not yet departing for the dining room. The droop of his shoulders is a terribly subtle thing, and his mischievous expression does not change. "{I'll try to oblige, but I fear there are other ailments that won't respect my formidable skills in psychological compartmentalization.}" To Steve question he gives a breathy laugh. "{I most certainly hope not.}" He reaches up and raps on the wooden door to a cabinet.

"But you do play him so well." Lucien balances the risotto on a silicone trivet on one hand, the tray of bread and cheese and salmon on the other, as he heads to the dining room. "{He is not allowed to get sick. We've declared a strict moratorium, in this house.}"

Steve just looks puzzled now, but all the same he picks up the pitcher of lemonade and a stack of glasses to follow Lucien. "{What's going on?}" He distributes the cups and fills them by turns, pale blue eyes darting up to study first one Tessier, then the other. "{Or is this something you'd rather not speak of now? Or with me?}"

"{I do not think Luci is very keen on rehashing this.}" Matt trails behind the other two men with the plates, napkins, and silverware. "{But, in brief, there is a new student at the school where I teach who has not received /any/ of our required immunizations.}" He sets the places carefully, his expression and tone casual to the point of blandness. "{Permitting her attendance, and by that precedence other unvaccinated students, poses a credible threat to my life.}"

"{I do not think Matthieu is keen on me rehashing this.}" Lucien sets the tray of bread down with a clang, jostling some of the neatly sliced salmon from its artful arrangement. His tone is no less mild than before. "{If I think on this all too long /I/ may pose a credible threat to the lives of his superiors.}"

"{You are more vulnerable because of your previous sickness, that I understand.}" Steve's perplexed frown remains firmly in place. {But why can't the studentsl get the vaccines /now/? Are they too expensive?}" He studies Matt curiously.

"{I am more vulnerable because of my previous sickness/es/,}" Matt agrees ruefully, "{/and/ I could not receive many of my immunizations for the same reason. I'm not the only one at the school in this position, but I am probably the one with the weakest immune system currently.}" He carefully straightens the silverware on their beds of napkins. "{This new student, however, is perfectly capable of receiving her shots, which the school provides free of cost to those who cannot afford them. It is only that her parents will not permit her.}"

"{It is bad enough that this ignorance keeps spreading, but that the school would coddle it. Above safeguarding the students and staff under its roof.}" Lucien closes his eyes briefly, his palms pressing flat to the table. "{I've a mind to go talk to the Professor myself, tomorrow.}"

Steve's eyes widen and his mouth falls open. "{Her /parents/? Why would they --}" He gives a short, quick shake of his head. "{It hardly matters, if the result is still endangering the child and those around her. There was the odd religious objection in my time, too...but you say this is /spreading/? Surely the school's administrators understand the risks, if they had immunization requirements to begin with.}"

"{I can't speak to their particular reasons.}" Matt's shrug is minute. "{But, broadly, the modern anti-vaccination movement rose from the intersection of complacency over infrequent outbreaks and hysteria over fraudulent statistics on vaccine side effects.}" The corner of his mouth twists up, but there's no real humor in it. "{The former, of course, resulted from decades of rigorous immunization efforts.} When we were children, there was little risk in my forgoing some vaccines. Now I'm living in the midst of a measles outbreak." His bright green eyes skid aside to his brother, though his answer is ostensibly aimed at Steve. "{The administration says the risk is low, and the school needs the money. There is something to be said for having that conversation face-to-face, I suppose.}" He sounds profoundly unhappy about this last, though.

"{There's a whole confluence of misinformation that goes into this particular strain of ridiculousness, but when you get down to it the crux of the matter is that parents would rather see their children -- or other people's children -- /dead/ -- than have to deal with children like me. It is an intersection of bigotry and ignorance I have very little patience for --} particularly when it might get my brother killed." Lucien slips his phone from his pocket, glancing to it briefly. "Desi is on her way. We ought to wait, it won't be long."

Steve's confusion and horror transforms abruptly to anger. "There's a vaccine for the measles?!" he sputters. Then, glancing at Matt, adds hastily, "I've already had it, so I'm immune -- the old fashioned way. Laid me out for a month and damn near killed me. Healthier kids had an easier time of it, but jab in the arm is still far preferable." Though now his confusion returns. "{Children like you?}" he echoes, eyeing Lucien as though this might reveal the hidden horror to him. "{I don't want to make any assumptions, but you seem healthy enough to me...}"

Matt nods and rests an elbow against the back of his chair, taking up his lemonade for a sip. "{You said you hadn't fallen ill once since the procedure, so I wasn't too worried about you regardless.} Luci is autistic." This, too, is casual--though lighter, not so /determined/ in its casualness. "A /lot/ of people are autistic, but much has been made in recent years of how tragic their lives are. Every pseudo-scientific claim that comes along about preventing or 'curing' autism sweeps up droves of terrified or hopeful parents, and anti-vaxxers have firmly latched onto the notion that vaccines cause autism, which..." He turns his free hand palm up in the air and waves it vaguely. "...is utter nonsense. But even if it were true, as he says, it relies on the idea that it is better to expose children to deadly diseases than countenance the possibility they may be /different./"

"There are vaccines for many things, now, yes. And for a time it was not such a fight to get people to take them. I am not entirely certain," Lucien muses, "whether autism was being much diagnosed as such when you were young. I imagine they just considered us very peculiar children. Then again," the corner of his mouth twitches, slightly, "from the bulk of all the available autism-related information out there, that is all most people still think of it. Despite what much of the literature will lead you to believe, peculiar children often grow up into peculiar adults." He leans against the back of a chair, fingers rubbing slowly against the smooth wood. "{-- Provided, that is that they've received their immunizations.}"

"/Autistic./" Steve's frown is less puzzled now and more thoughtful. "No, I can't say as I recall encountering the word, but my education was admittedly limited in some areas. I knew my share of peculiar people, though -- heck, /peculiar/ is probably one of the nicer things people called me, growing up -- and if you're any sort of indication, I'd take autism over measles any day." He leans against the table and reaches down to pet Flèche, snuffling about the place settings in hopeful anticipation of the meal to come. "{What will you do if the administration refuses to budge?}"

"Autism or no, /I/ definitely would have preferred the immunization, had my health allowed it, over worrying about /the measles/ in the year 2019." Matt tsks softly and refills his lemonade, though he had not yet drained his cup. "{I suppose I may quit. I rather /like/ my job, and I think I do a lot of good there, but I can't just call out sick every time this student goes out and gets exposed, and if the immunization policy is relaxed going forward...}" He shakes his head, slow and ponderous. "{It just isn't a healthy work environment for me.}" His lips press together tightly. "{Then again, there are not very many healthy work environments for me, these days.}"

"Better than the measles. Captain America certified. I'm including that in my bio." Lucien exhales quick and sharp, his head shaking. "{You rather like your job.}" His fingers drum quickly against the chair. "{I shall talk to them.}"