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Dramatis Personae

Elie, Gaétan, Lucien


"{Certainly, with all this, even you could bring our whole family home.}"


<PRO> Grounds, Lassiter Research Facility, Ohio

The squat and imposing facility has been largely silent, in the day-and-change since the masses started descending here -- but the grounds around it has not. What started as a few hundred people has rapidly swelled to several thousand, spread out around the previously well-manicured grounds of Lassiter in cars and buses, tents, a couple hastily-erected pop-up sheds, a number more unique temporary shelters (a hobbit-like hole carved into a hillock; an igloo standing in stark defiance of the sweltering heat wave, several very patchwork-looking but remarkably sturdy tiny hutch-type houses built out of an assortment of repurposed metal & sod. The masses of people around each door have been diligently preventing anyone from entering, at least in the conventional way; people leaving have been scrutinized, first, by some of the recently-freed Lassiter survivors and allowed to exit only on assurance that their faces were not familiar ones in anyone's abuse.

The grounds are a chaos -- people trying to keep spirits high with impromptu drum circles and dance parties and sing-a-longs, several competing chants going at any time, a bustle of well-meaning Human Allies trying to make themselves useful, an even bigger bustle of Human "Allies" trying to make themselves look good on social media, an out-of-place but highly enthusiastic contingent of Blackbirds with elaborate and glittery protest signs, several, opportunistic vendors trying to hawk Occupy Lassiter merchandise, a wide spread of former Prometheans flocking in from around the country with fury and war stories of their own. A fleet of buses recently rolled in -- chock-full of angry military veterans who may or may not have troubled themselves to care about all this if not for Captain America in custody, but, at least they are largely being polite as they get to work organizing trash crews and hygiene stations. A louder fleet of widely eclectic motorcycles not long after that, the equally-angry Western chapters of the Mutant Mongrels MC who likely would have troubled themselves regardless but sure are even more pissed at the unknown fate of New York's chapter President, and the food situation is getting more regimented, three hot meals a day churned out as some of those hapless humans get pressed into work.

In all this tumult, many of the newly-freed inmates are making friends with some of the laboratory veterans. Not so Gaétan, Designated Human and strange bedfellow to many of these -- just at the moment he's sitting on the hood of a very large Ford truck, no doubt the property of some guard still inside though currently several sturdy tarps have transformed its bed into yet another makeshift shelter. The freak thunderstorm that recently rolled through has tapered off after entirely failing to lower the temperature here at all; still oppressively hot, now it's oppressively hot and muggier. Still in a pair of scrubs and laceless sneakers, he's easily marked as One Of The Rescuees, but at the moment no clusters of humans are accosting him for a selfie as they have been wont to do. He's eating a bowl of unremarkable-looking but very tasty chili, slow and mechanical.

The rented blue Subaru Outback that rolls slowly -- slowly -- up the drive after a quiet conversation with the bikers stationed at the entrance to the grounds -- despite being an SUV is dwarfed in size by many of the vehicles around here. It takes several more conversations before Lucien is pointed the right way, still moving at a slow creep through the scattered crowds before finding a spot to tuck the car not to far from Gaétan's commandeered pickup. The car disgorges him -- certainly looking a bit more put together at the moment than many of the campers, in a light gray linen expertly tailored to downplay his muscular physique, with a single understated forget-me-not for a boutonnière, a pale blue loose-weave dress shirt, a sapphire tie that brings out his ice blue eyes, cinched in a neat but unremarkable half-Windsor knot, and black derby shoes -- in a rush, a slam of door, an actual run before he pulls himself up into a more sedate walk.

He stops by the cab of the truck, hands lifting -- dropping to his side -- lifting again and then folding loose across his chest. He's looking Gaétan over slowly, and swallows hard before he actually speaks. "{... did you get taller?}"

Gaétan looks up, swift and wide-eyed as Lucien approaches. He sets his bowl down, sets it aside -- is he going to slide off the roof of the car, almost, but then decides against it. He puts his bowl back in his lap, but doesn't eat; just clutches the bowl tight in slightly unsteady hands. He looks down, and pulls in a slow breath. "{Yeah,}" comes shaky, halfway to a laugh, when he lets it back out, "{Matt's gonna be so annoyed.}"

Into this (touching? awkward? upsetting? weird?) reunion, a force of nature is sweeping back into frame -- not a midwestern thunderstorm, but Elie Tessier, bearing gifts in a wicker basket 'Occupy Lassiter' tote bag. She's not quite as disheveled as some of the other recently rescued labrats -- her laceless shoes less scuffed and muddy for the moment, her scrubs less wrinkled and smelling faintly of lavender-- but there is uncharacteristic flatness to her hair. Maybe it's the heat -- maybe that's why she's pulling out a frosty plastic bottle of water and depositing it at (one of) her son's side. "{Oh, darling, you must try to eat while it's still reasonable outside.}" Her tsk seems delivered to the chilli, how dare it still be so full! "{We've been gifted a set of those little electric fans, but we ought to find you a hat for the afternoons as well, we cannot have you fainting before --}" Only here do her vibrant green eyes stutter over Lucien, her voice hitching before it drops several degrees -- "{Lucien. Whatever are you doing here?}"

"{Mmm. Perhaps with some practice, you could grow him taller. Admittedly, you would be thieving a very large source of --}" Of what? Lucien goes stark silent as the storm of lavender-scented mothering descends upon Gaétan. He doesn't exactly shrink back, his posture as impeccably upright as it ever is, but for a brief moment his slight backwards shift of stance and lowering of eyes suggest very much that for all his height and imposing physique he is, somewhat futilely, attempting to disappear. His fingers press a bit harder into the crooks of his arms, and his nostrils flare on the slow breath he pulls in. "You might have heard," his voice is aggressively mild, when he finally speaks up again, quiet, "but someone absconded with my brother."

Gaétan sits up a little straighter as Elie arrives, and he's dutifully taking the cold water bottle to uncap it. He takes a long swig, his brows slowly knitting as his eyes shift from Elie to Lucien. Quiet, he offers the bottle out to his brother, frown still firmly in place. "It's not much consolation, but when we got dimensionholed it was actually a pretty cushy dimension. Small silver lining to the, you know, months of --" He presses his lips together, eyes darting briefly to Elie and then back to his bowl. "Well."

"They will not have left him in that otherworld nearly as long as they left your friends, I suspect," Elie says, primly, at Gaétan. Even without heels there is a sense of height to her body language, even when she has to look up at her son. Sons. "Matthieu was far too valuable to them." There is some pride under the worry in Elie's voice, even as her voice trembles. "I pray that they still have him there," one hand sweeps out to the looming prison, "and haven't secreted him away. There are so, so many of these horrid places, and without Dr. Allred's influence, I fear..." Her hand drops. "Gaé and I only just escaped because of his bravery, you know," she informs Lucien, "and we will be staying here until they let him free." Her stance shifts, ever so slightly, to put herself between Lucien and Gaétan.

"I was speaking of this brother here." Lucien shifts, just slightly sidestepping Elie so that he can accept the water from Gaétan. "Neither of my brothers would have been in this situation if you had not brought Gaétan to one of these, ah, horrid places to begin with." He takes a slow pull of the water, and reaches to set the bottle back down beside Gaé. "{I had wanted to have a talk with you,}" and it's Gaétan he's looking squarely at, right now, "{about the push to bring Matthieu and his teammates home, but --}" His eyes are scanning over Gaé, thoughtful. "{You have been through such a trauma, I am not sure it is good to burden you with responsibilities.}"

Gaétan's frown deepens. He shifts, too, just slightly to one side so he can better see Lucien, at least. "{Valuable to them is not what you want to be.}" He sounds kind of wry, here. "{-- it'll probably be worse even for Matt and his people than for us. Prometheus fu -- really hates them.}" He takes the water back, swigging it again and then recapping it. "{If there's something I can do to help, I will. I want to. Better than just sitting here and stewing.}"

Elie is frowning too, now, one faint line creasing her forehead. "{I'm sorry,}" is a softly concerned interruption to these plans, only just a touch confused, "{what is it, exactly, that you would have him do?}" The faint edge of suspicion in her voice is probably fine, yes? After all, that is her youngest son's knee that she's resting one light but protective hand upon while she speaks to Lucien.

"Almost assuredly something less traumatizing than being locked in a torture factory for months," Lucien replies, and it's crisp when he's talking to Elie but gentled back to his habitual neutral cadence when he slips back into French. "{Ms. White's documentary already has the media -- the country, really -- in an uproar. News cycles are fickle, though. Some voices from the inside, reminding the public -- anew of why this project needs to be shut down, why Matthieu's cause was just -- certainly keeping the pressure on them can hardly hurt and may yet sway some on the fence --}" His grimace here is small. "{Or at the least provide that few hundred extra constituent calls to a congressman here or there who surely does not care but might be compelled to pretend.}"

"Luci..." Gaétan hesitates, teeth sinking down against his lip. "Mom was in there for longer, you know." His fingers drum against the side of his bottle and it's the same gentle not-quite-reproach that he directs to Elie: "Mom, s'cool. Luci really knows what he's doing, here." He squinches up one eye first, and then the other (slightly puffier, still, from the latest of many altercations), in idle testing. His smile is slightly crooked, slightly wan. "{Get in front of a camera quick enough and this should still be visible.}" After this, more somber: "{You talked to any of the others? Mostly kind of camped out over in the garden. Everyone's stressed as hell but I think a lot of them would do anything if it meant getting the rest of our friends out.}"

Elie's lips press together, not responding to either Lucien's comment nor to Gaétan's assurance. There's something -- not quite easing, for she is not tense, but shifting in her carriage as she watches her sons talk. Something maybe-almost appraising in the gleam of her eyes when she looks at Lucien anew, maybe-almost recognition of him as one of her own. Her hand lifts from Gaé's knee and turns, slowly and simply, palm up. "{Surely, there is something to having us both appear, no? Our family has been persistently persecuted by Prometheus -- when was the last time they had none of us in their clutches?}" She's watching Lucien, now, with keen interest.

Lucien's eyes narrow at Gaétan's reminder, but he says nothing yet of Elie. His head dips, his voice softer. "{Yes, that is rather what I am afraid of. As we've handled things so far, the spotlight should stay fairly well off of -- all of you save Spencer, really. We will try and keep it there, as much as possible, unless someone would like to step into it -- but adding their voice to public record in this way may follow you all a long time, regardless. It is not a thing you all should feel pressured into.}" His lips compress, and his hand starts to turn up -- presses back to the crook of his arm. "{But circumstances being what they are, everyone will be making this decision under rather severe duress.}"

His gaze tracks to Elie's hand, and then up to her face. There's an additional tightness in the line of his jaw, in the set of his shoulders as well. He pulls his eyes away -- scanning the crowd, maybe. Scanning the sky. His teeth clench a little harder. "{One son among the heroic lost, your other son just dragged from the fire. On air, you would be quite compelling.}"

Something does ease, in the set of Gaétan's shoulders, slightly more relaxed as Lucien speaks. He picks his spoon back up, starting in on his chili with something almost approaching an appetite. "{It's a messed up position to be in,}" he agrees lightly, and the upward twitch of his mouth here is quite humourless. "{For them. I'm not risking so much. I'm Lassiter's first human subject, after all.}"

"{The very first human subject, brought in for the crime of being related to mutants, and your poor mother already in their clutches,}" Elie adds on, her expression brightening as she warms to this idea. "{Surely that tale could take some attention off the children, no? Oh! We should play some of Mlle Lin's stress recollections -- anonymised,} bien sûr, -- { to tell some of the other horrors, without forcing any of the children to speak further.}" Is Lucien in charge here, or his mother? She claps her hands together brightly. "{Certainly, with all this, even you could bring our whole family home.}"

Lucien pushes out a hard huff through his nose, though he doesn't quite smile at Gaétan's assertion of humanity -- and if a smile had been daring to consider making an appearance, it turns tail fast and flees as Elie picks up speed. "{I will talk with your friends,}" he promises Gaétan. "{and do the very best I can to shield them from further indignity.}" He's turning away, mouth pressed into a thin line and his expression shuttered. He's surveying the grounds -- the tents, the banners, the music, the cameras -- and though it does little to lighten his expression, his voice is sure enough. "{With all this, we can can cast a Titan into hell.}"