"...Bet you some flatscan at Berklee gon' try to write Occupy Lassiter: the one-act-concert-in-the-round by May."
<NYC> Tessier Residence - Backyard - Greenwich Village
Living in the heart of Manhattan means space is precious, and as such, the yard behind this house is small. It is as exquisitely well-kept as the rest of the place, though; all available space has been meticulously cultivated and transformed into a lush retreat from the concrete and asphalt of the city. The borders of the garden are lined in a wealth of flowers, the selection chosen to provide a panoply of color in all seasons save winter. A grassy rock-bordered pathway separates these from the raised-bed vegetable garden that dominates its center. The far left corner of the garden plays host to a tiny rock-lined pond, goldfish and a pair of turtles living in its burbling water. To one side of the pond is a garden table and set of chairs and presiding over the pond, a large oak tree with a hammock underneath, its branches spreading out over the tall brick wall that screens the entire area off from the city outside.
It's a bright summer day and the garden out here is in riotous bloom -- at first perhaps this just looks Particularly Well Tended, and certainly with all Luci's hard work it is, but closer looks might reveal the somewhat unnatural-fantastical bent of some of the plant life. Roses whose petals fluoresce when they are cast into shadow, bleeding hearts that are actually dripping odd reddish sap from their blossoms, foxgloves that seem to have grown themselves a fine coat of fur -- if Jackson had slipped in at some point to paint the garden it might have come out looking something like this. The old oak tree is, at least, unmolested, stately and generous in the shade it provides.
Gaétan is just emerging from the door back into the kitchen, barefoot in jeans and a lightweight green-checked button down open over a plain undershirt. He's setting a heavy-laden tray on the garden table -- there's sweet tea and summer rolls full of lemongrass beef and fresh veggies in thin rice paper with peanut dipping sauce, little satay skewers, small veggie potstickers. He drops himself back down into the empty chair beside where he'd left his bass earlier, closing his laptop as if to remind himself not to fiddle around with any work for now. "-- no matter how much I try," he is lamenting, "torture jail is not making for great musical content."
Naomi was probably seated when her host disappeared into the kitchen, but when he returns she's over by the flowers, petting the furry foxgloves with open fascination. "Here I thought we was on some art retreat all these months," she says when she wanders back to the table, teasing. She's in high-waisted jean cutoffs and a grey tank top (All I've ever known is how to hold my own blockily printed across the front) that leaves the scales on the back of her arms exposed, a longsleeved shirt poking out the top of her bag along with a pair of drumsticks. Unlike Gaétan she has not even bothered to break out her instrument (not that hers could have travelled on the train easily, anyway).
She settles back into her chair with a quick "Thank you kindly" for the food, plucking up a skewer immediately. "I think torture jail gon' be hard to musicalify -- how you gonna give them shitfucks a big creepy villain number if they behind glass the time?" Her nose wrinkles at this thought -- then her whole face sours. "...Bet you some flatscan at Berklee gon' try to write Occupy Lassiter: the one-act-concert-in-the-round by May."
"People always tell me art is pain. Suffering is justified when it becomes the raw material of beauty. I gotta say I am not seeing it, my work was bomb when I spent the summer going to art festivals and getting stoned and now --" Gaétan's fist thumps slowly against the side of his temple as if this might knock some good ideas loose. He's picking up the pitcher, pouring both glasses full, but then snorts at Naomi's speculation. "Oh gods I can already half hear that drivel." But then his expression is twisting downward, too. "-- shit, if someone tries to fucking Boy in the Striped Pajamas me, like the real tragedy here is that some poor human got caught up in this --" He's grimacing deep, setting the pitcher back down with a thunk.
Naomi uses the satay to conduct her imagining -- "We're all human no matter our genes, something something open the gates please," is not sung to any particular melody or in any particular key, but the rhythm of it evokes a Specific Type of New Musical Theatre Tendency. "Some bullshit like that. You," and now the skewer whips around to point at Gaétan, "gotta get your memoir rights fixed up 'fore someone gets ideas 'bout your interviews being fair use." Naomi is no longer teasing. "I'on think it's if, it's when." She bites off a piece of satay now, adding around the mouthful, "Or they gon' try and Schindler's List-ify the shitfucks."
Gaétan is looking a little greener around the edges than he had been a moment before, but that does not stop his reflexive humming along to add a more intentional melody to Naomi's improvisation. "Shit. You're right. I was not planning on doing a memoir but I sure as hell don't want anyone else to --" He shakes his head hard and attempts to wash down his disgust with a large gulp of tea. "They're already on that trip. Dawson Allred's probably turning over in his fucking grave watching his twin parade around like the savior of the labrats that she was torturing. Somehow being used for her fifteen minutes of fame feels even more sleazy than being used for mad science."
"Bet you could just say you gonna write one and then never write it," Naomi says after polishing off her satay, with all the confidence of someone who learned this strategy from Tumblr. "-- waymint, she's his 'twin'?" There's a brief hissing in Gaétan's ears, a brief green glow reflected off the surface of his bass, both quickly fading with a whispered "Shit, sorry," when Naomi ducks her head. "I been tryna ignore her in the news, I knew they was related but --" Naomi sucks in a breath through her teeth, the rest of that sentence aborted into just, "-- sweet Jesus. "
A brief tension shivers through Gaétan in time with the hissing and fades again just as quick. "His twin," he reiterates with a more savage emphasis than is usual for him. "He pulled my brother out of a cage when we thought he was dead and now she's making her name off keeping us in them. And like, all the times Matt's almost died to help get people out of there, to see --" His jaw clamps hard, and he slouches further in his seat. "Shit, sorry," it's his turn to say now, "I thought I'd invite you here for vegetating with the Playstation and not thinking about all this but --- hnngh."
Naomi's not looking up quite yet, though maybe that's just so she can take a quick sip of sweet tea. "-- s'hard," she says after a moment, "to not think about it. Bet it's harder when you can't tell nobody what you actually gone through. Bet it's even harder when your primary shitfuck is --" her mouth pulls to the side, scales pushing up into ridges between her widening eyes, "-- shit, she some family friend? Did y'all have her and Dawson over for dinner here?"
Gaétan's eyes lower, teeth sinking briefly against his lip while Naomi speaks. That last question has him sitting up straight, though, eyes wider and a vehement: "No. Dawson was one of Matt's best friends. He hadn't talked to his family since forever, they threw him out when he manifested. She turned up in town after he died like his friends should forgive her on his behalf or something and now --" His eyes have fixed hard on the glass in front of him. "Guess sometimes you just gotta torture a few kids to prove you're such a good --" His mouth twists, pulling crookedly up at one side. "ally," is heavy-laced with derision.
The garden is sprouting newcomers -- not from the house but the tall wrought-iron gate back out to the street. Flèche is first through, the black and tan mutt unleashed just in the gateway and bounding, now, eager as she prances up to the teenagers with a great deal of hopeful affection towards them and their table of food both. Lucien is more sedate in following, the dog's lead dangling from his hand; he's casually dressed in well-tailored jeans and a very soft grey short-sleeved henley. "Ah, Naomi --" His greeting comes with a small inclination of his head and a quick (appraising, approving) glance to the laden table. "-- goodness, but I've been going about it all wrong," is his mild commentary on, presumably, that last overheard snatch of conversation.
"What in the hell?" Naomi's eyes are growing wider, her grip on her tea tightening until she sets it down. "That's -- how you gon' go talk about doing something like this for your family on TV when you ain't even bothered to know 'em?" There's a fierce anger rising in Naomi's voice, raw and vengeful and growing louder. "I hope she enjoying her fifteen minutes 'cuz if I ever see her again -- hi, Mr. Tessier." Naomi's volume drops some decibels, her cadence shifting. "Sorry for hollering. Jus' --" she glances at Gae, then away to pluck up a potsticker. "-- we saw her a lot, inside. We all 'ppreciated your kind of allyship much more."
Gaétan stretches out a foot, idly scritching at Flèche's side with a scrunch of his toes. "I hope you don't have to ever see her again," his voice is soft in contrast to Naomi's but there's a definite heat in it all the same, "but if you do --" His eyes flick up to Lucien as he arrives, and this thought just drops into a small and irritable chuff. "Can not imagine you dabbling in medical torture," would sound almost like a vote of confidence if he didn't follow it up immediately with: "-- you're shit at science." He picks up one of the satay skewers and drags it through the sauce. "She was working with all of us for, like, months, before Matt and everyone showed up but just -- coincidentally forgot to mention to anyone? Guess her morning show loop does have a little more zing after a few more people have gotten killed, though."
"I see no need for indoor voices in the garden. You all have regretfully had quite a lot to yell about." Lucien has crossed one arm over his chest, the other hand lifting to half-cover his mouth. His palm drags down slow as Gaétan speaks, eventually falling to rest in the crook of the opposite elbow, and his brows have hitched just slightly higher. "-- for months with you all," echoes, and it's very, very calm. "Yes, that information would have been --" His fingers press down tighter against his elbow. "Désolé," he murmurs then, instead. "News cycles are fickle enough you will hopefully not be stumbling across too much more of her, at this juncture."
"I've been trying to keep my voice in check in general," Naomi says, "but thank you." She nods along with Gaétan's account, expression grim. "She poked at just 'bout every one of us at some point, I think, but --" Her eyes drop to her lap, trying and failing to mask another blink-and-miss flare of green. "-- she worked with Gaé so much. My main sh-- scientist was so mad about it." There's an amused curl to her lips, there, but inconveniencing Alexis Gillepsie doesn't seem to be enough to get Naomi to a smile. "If someone kept me away from my brother for that long, I'd --" The pause here is small, Naomi biting down on her lip hard before continuing, earnest and sympathetic towards Lucien -- "I really hope y'all don't gotta see much more of her, either."
"Luci's old hat at losing us to the labs by now." Gaétan's answer is a little bit too blithe. He tears off half his satay, head tipping back to look up at the leaves overhead. "Don't expect she's going to be invited 'round for dinner any time soon."
"Oddly, it gets no easier with the repetition." Lucien's eyes close. He draws in a slow breath before he opens them again. "Mmm. Merci. She runs more in Matthieu's circles than mine, but I do very much doubt he will be extending that invitation." He is calling the dog back to his side with an outward tilt of his hand. "You, though, are welcome to dine with us any time." His head tilts toward Naomi before he heads back inside.