Logs:Totally Normal Tessier Things

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Totally Normal Tessier Things
Dramatis Personae

Elie, Gaétan


"{You'll be right back for Monday.}"


<XAV> Reception - XS First Floor

The front office of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters mirrors the headmaster's office across the foyer -- rich dark walls, polished and clean hardwood floors with plenty of space for mobility devices to move through, plush cushioned chairs lined against the wall for waiting guardians and students alike, wooden filing cabinets of student records and paperwork at home amid the old-fashioned aesthetic, as is the wooden counter separating the administrative space from the waiting area. The desks in here are far more modern -- two sleek stand-sit models, one nearer to the door to the hall, the other flush with one of the tall windows facing the lawn.

Visible through the open doorway, Elie Tessier is chatting animatedly with one of the receptionists, leaning ever so slightly across the counter towards their space as she does so. She's dressed in a leaf green one-button blazer that subly accentuates her curves and not-so-subtly accentuates her already intense eyes, a soft cream blouse beneath with a cascade collar that somehow does not look frumpy, wide-legged gray linen slacks, and fawn loafers with just enough of a heel to sidestep the word "sensible".

" -- well, what scents did you wear when you were first courting? Olfactory association is a strong component when it comes to reigniting old passions, but simply adding sandalwood will do you no favours unless he thinks of you when you light the candle." Has Elie introduced herself as a neuroscientist? Has she been here for hours? The summons for her son only went out maybe fifteen minutes prior, yet this nosy line of thought seems a perfectly natural progression of idle small talk in Elie's lightly francophone-tinged voice. Sherri seems grateful for the outside perspective: she's taking notes on a Xavier's branded steno pad.

Gaétan's brother has a perfectly functional cellphone and knows how to use it -- how long has it even been since anyone last summoned him when he was being picked up from school? Long enough that by the time he's collected his things and ambled down to reception he's looking just the wrong side of gruntled already, hitching up his backpack further onto his shoulder as he slouch-slouches down to the doorway and --

freezes, stares -- oddly enough, some of the absolute bemusement in his expression is starting, very gradually, to wane. His fingers are scrunching, slow and uncertain, into the shoulder strap of his backpack. For a long moment he's just hovering indecisively in the doorway, looking very much like he might, possibly, just leave again. But instead -- with a very small sigh: "... you're dead."

Sherri is volunteering some additional information when Gaétan stutters on the threshold of the office, but she doesn’t seem to register the finger that Elie holds up to silence her as rude or off-putting, just a signal to turn back to her computer and continue gamely trying to google this Long Out Of Production perfume of her youth. Elie’s attention turns to her youngest son, vivid green eyes bright and wide. Her posture changes — not formal now but differently open than before, a curl of shoulder making her seem just touch more fragile when she raises her hand in front of her open mouth. “— Gaétan,” comes on a nearly breathless exhale, “I — look at you.” It takes her a moment more to collect herself, a moment that doesn’t seem reasonable to deny. “I’m dead? Well, that is certainly news to me.” Her tone is not at all dismissive, just a soft matter-of-fact declaration before it turns sorrowful. “I was terribly unwell, and gone for so long and I’m so sorry, my darling, for leaving you all behind.”

There are a million and one questions gathering behind Gaétan's dark eyes, a million and one questions that want to spill over but ultimately wait in patience for his not-dead-actually mother to gather herself. "Okay, but this --" He's gesturing, up, down, towards Very Much Alive Elie, "is going to be news to --" There's just a slight tightening at his jaw, just a small swallow. His voice is a touch less steady when he continues, a rough Montréal-accented French now rather than his very lightly Queens-flavored English: "{--all of them, you know? We thought you were -- Luci said --}" He takes a breath, takes a half-step forward, almost lifts his hands but drops them to his sides like he isn't quite sure what he should be doing right now, really. It's a little smaller when he asks: "{Where were you?}"

"{Luci said?}" There's a faint furrow in Elie's brow that doesn't go away for an almost-too-long moment. "{... Perhaps that was easier for him to...}" This half finished sentence, with its light emphasis on the pronoun, carries with it a sense of heart-broken disappointment. "{I was --}" The hesitation here is brief, it and the tremble in Elie's voice easily and smoothly attributable to some strong shame or grief, "{-- well, you remember how I was. When finally I woke up, I knew I needed to get clean, get better so I could be your mother properly. I'm so sorry it's taken so long -- I couldn't bear to hurt you all again, I had to be sure that I wouldn't fail the same ways I failed before.}"

Elie's emotion seems to carry her, step by hesitant step, towards Gaétan, stopping just an arms length away. She rests her hands on her youngest son's shoulders, this small contact seeming at once so right, not at all unwelcome after seven long years of absence, and the distinct sense she's trying desperately not to hug him -- yet. "{I know it's going to be difficult for all of you -- your brothers even more than your sisters -- but I'm ready, now, to put our family back together. However long it takes.}" There's conviction in her voice, honest and vulnerable -- perhaps even more so when Elie switches back to English, her accent still as heavily Montréalaise as her French was. The plea, when it comes, seems so difficult to refuse -- "Please. Let me show you."

A brief frown crosses Gaétan's expression at Elie's mention of Lucien, his teeth sinking into his lower lip. It clears quickly enough at Elie's touch, his eyes lifting to her with a harder swallow. "{You didn't fail, they just --}" But his voice is shaking, here, and he doesn't get the sentence out. Instead he's leaning forward, throwing his arms around her tight, so much taller and so much stronger than he was near a decade ago the last time he saw her but still, always, so familiar. His breathing is ragged and uneven, tears soaking damp against the green blazer.

No surprise on Elie's face, no shock at the contact, her expression simply contented as she wraps her arms around Gaétan's shoulders. "{Oh, darling,}" comes softly near his ear, her heels giving her just enough height that there is no awkwardness, physical or otherwise, when she lifts a hand to stroke his dark hair. "{I know. I know.}"

Probably in other circumstances, Sherri would be a little bit uncomfortable with the display of emotions happening in her workspace (though that's not necessarily uncommon at this school). But when she approaches them both, it doesn't feel like an intrusion on the mother-son moment. "You're all set, Ms. Tessier. Just need both your signatures for the sign-out." A clipboard is presented across the countertop for both, along with a pen.

"One moment," says Elie, accent creeping back to Just Vaguely French, still soothing Gaé until he's ready to let go. "{Come with me -- just for the weekend, hm? I'll explain everything, you'll tell me about school, I can show you my home, my job, you can help me prepare to tell the others. You'll be right back for Monday.}" There are no questions here, really -- of course this is reasonable, of course this is the plan, it makes perfect sense.

Gaétan is still wiping his eyes on his sleeve when he does let go, nodding slowly along with his mother. "{Yeah -- yeah. Of course, I --}" He steps back, looks up at her like he can still hardly believe this. "{Feels like there's a million and two things to catch up on, I don't even know where to --}" But his voice is coming more steadily now, easier like some long-held tension has finally eased. "Monday, shi--" He only barely catches himself, hesitates, only looks minimally awkward like he doesn't really know whether or not he should bother worrying about Cursing, and continues on easily enough as he heads out, holding the door for Elie: "{It's been way too long since we were all together, this is going to be great.}"