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Latest revision as of 19:16, 26 January 2020

Aftercare
Dramatis Personae

Lucien, Steve

2020-01-18


"I can work with that, easily."

Location

<PRV> 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.

It's been a cold day and a colder night, and though it's been flurrying for a while there's not much snow on the ground outside. In the Tessier house it's cozy and warm even without a fire, and the fragrance of Chinese takeout lingers in the air. Matt has been dozing in his armchair for a little while--not always peacefully, but for the moment at least he's still. He has a soft cream and green blanket tucked up and around him, careful and snug, a throw pillow cushioning his head where it droops, and a hardback copy of Zen Cho's Sorcerer to the Crown in his lap. His supper has been left half-eaten on the coffee table, along with the remants of a mug of tea long since gone cold.

Steve is curled into the corner of the couch nearest to Matt, his own mug of tea cradled against his side with a gauze-wrapped right hand and a book of his own (Beloved by Toni Morrison) propped open again his left leg, folded up over the right. He's wearing a black and red buffalo plaid flannel and soft indigo jeans. The dog is sprawled on the floor between his white socked feet and Matt's, swathed in blankets.

Lucien is slow when he drags himself into the house. He locks the door behind him but then slumps back against the wall, a long few breaths filling the space before he sinks the rest of the way down to remove his shoes and tuck them into the hall closet shoe rack. Hang his jacket, stare for a moment at the line of vastly different coats before he remembers to close the door.

He's in jeans, an extremely soft green sweater, when he trudges stiffly to the living room. The drawn expression he wears lightens a touch when he surveys the scene in the living room, his posture straightening just slightly. His circuit through the room after this is perfunctory -- he stops by Matt's armchair to press a light peck to his brother's forehead, a flutter of soothing calm washing out with the touch. Kneels to dot a similar small kiss to Flèche's head to the tune of one muffled thumping tail. Scoops up the mug of cold tea, leans in to dot one last light kiss to Steve's forehead with the same light flutter of calm before he drifts off toward his room, sipping the cold tea as he goes.

Steve looks up when Lucien enters. Offers a nod of greeting but doesn't press when the other man -- probably fails to notice. He receives the kiss with a ripple of wistful affection, the melancholy in it mild compared to the sharper grief he so often feels. He waits until the shower has been running for a while, then rises -- gesturing vaguely at Flèche to encourage her staying where she lies -- and goes to the kitchen. Puts the kettle on and preps a teapot with dragon well green tea, taking his time and tidying up around the takeout on the counter as he goes, lining up the containers of kung pao chicken, beef and broccoli, shrimp fried rice, and leek dumplings. He doesn't quite have the tea ready precisely as Lucien returns, but it is a near thing.

Lucien takes his time in the shower tonight, but does eventually emerge in soft black pajama pants and no shirt, freshly smelling of sandalwood and with his damp black hair combed down neatly. His stiff gait has evened back out after the hot water, though he moves slowly still. He already has his phone out as he slumps into a seat at the counter, half-heartedly beginning to work fingers through his hair to set it back into its usual state of controlled chaos. "{Thank you,}" he volunteers softly, though he's barely looked at the food. His fingers wrap tight around his phone after he finishes sending a message; he doesn't put it down when he lifts his hand to grind knuckles against his eyes. "{Apologies, it's a bit later than I expected. Would you prefer to stay the night?}"

Steve pours a cup of tea and places it within Lucien's reach, then another for himself, before he sits down beside his host. "{It's nothing. But I would be glad to stay if it isn't inconvenient to you.}" He hesitates. Takes an experimental sip of his tea. "{If you've still work to do or need to rest sooner rather than later, I can see to it Matthieu gets to bed. I wasn't sure whether I should wake him back up, after he dozed off.}"

"{His chair is very comfortable and his sleep so often fitful. If he seems at peace I find it best to let him be.}" Lucien is writing again, a gradual frown etched into his face as he does. He sets his phone down soon after, looks up to examine the containers of food with a small compression of lips. "{Did he eat?}"

He abandons his efforts with his hair, smoothing at it briefly and leaving it largely flat and neat. One hand starts to reach for the dumplings, but aborts this and picks up his tea instead. When his phone flashes again, screen lighting up, he glances to it, grimaces, turns it face down on the counter. "{Do you suppose,}" there's a weary sort of patience to his voice, "{that any of the people who valorize you for your service have any idea what this country was doing at war?}"

Steve nods. "{That would have been my guess, left to my own devices.}" Then, with a worried wrinkle of brows. "{Not much. Half a bowl of fried rice. He ah, fell asleep in the middle of it.}" He seems to give the question serious consideration, taking another sip of his tea. "{In broad strokes? I think they must. But many don't seem able to connect the Nazis of the Third Reich with the contemporary ones.}" Pulling the box of dumplings over, he pulls off its lid and uncaps the little tub of sauce. Balances a pair of chopsticks across the container and nudges it between himself and Lucien.

Lucien's lips press more thinly together, his eyes flitting briefly sidelong to the living room doorway. They lower as he sips at his tea, fingers curling against the mug to cradle it against his chest. "{The sheer number of people expressing shock and horror that Captain America might have perpetrated a violence -- against a Nazi no less -- makes me quite curious what purpose they believe the good Captain was constructed for.}" His exhale is slow, and he's slower still to lower the mug and pick the chopsticks up in its place. "Still. It's for the best, I think, if they continue fixing their horror on you. I can work with that, easily."

"{I suppose, technically, I was only meant as a proof of concept.} Steve shrugs. "{But certainly what I advertised in the USO and what I ended up doing when I left was pretty violent, and I've never denied it, however complicated that is for me personally.}" He glances sidelong at Lucien, expression unreadable. "Of course it's better they be horrified at me and not Ion or Flicker, or Akihiro, for that matter." His jaw sets tight. "But it infuriates me there isn't more horror over the Swords of Tyr plainly showing up with a view to disrupt that event because they just hate immigrants that much, and being ready to injure or even kill for it." He takes a swig of tea. Then, his anger softening a little, "{I guess keeping their focus on me gives me more opportunity to speak on it and be heard.}"

"Americans have just come to expect a certain amount of fascism as a routine fact of life. I strongly suspect most Americans would be far more horrified at the idea a mutant killed a Nazi than at the idea that that Nazi showed up intending to do violence to an immigrant fundraiser." Lucien tips his hand upward, fingers spreading. "A good portion of the country thinks we aren't committing near enough violence against immigrants, after all. And Ion, my goodness. He isn't just illegal, he's the leader of a mutant gang." His hand drops, fingers splayed lightly against the counter as he finally plucks up a dumpling. Dips it carefully into the small tub of sauce, rotates it for a more even covering. "Flicker may be white, but he is still a terrorist. I doubt he would find much lenience either, in court or the public eye. You, on the other hand..." He's eying Steve thoughtfully as he carefully takes a bite of the dumpling. "{Perhaps the voice of a hero might remind at least some out there of the values they claim America embodies.}"

"{Really, it was the other Nazi who killed him,}" Steve says matter-of-factly. "{Pity it was only just the one. But if you think it would -- help the cause for me to take the credit, I can play that up.}" His right hand starts to clench beneath its gauze wrapping, then stops as he gives a quick flinch he tries to cover. "{Wish I could remind people the country only embodies what values its citizenry do. That they can't make America free and just merely by saying it louder.}"

"{You'll get no argument from me on that front. I am not entirely sure how far it will go, though, if anyone tries digging too deeply into how he ended up jumping straight into the middle of that storm. As it is at the moment, though, even on camera things were a bit chaotic -- it's mostly your involvement that has drawn the scrutiny. If it does not trouble you, I will gladly keep it that way.}" Lucien furrows his brow, studying the tray of dumplings with more intensity than they warrant. "I ought to talk to Flicker, too, I suppose. I only -- between injury and illness I am not certain what news he has heard. Perhaps it is more of a boon not to inform him."

He glances, quick, not to Steve's hand but up to his face after the wince. His own right hand flexes demonstratively. "{Do you, ah, have plans to get that looked at?}"

"{Please do. I have plenty of dead Nazis on my record. I'll not be troubled by one more.} Steve lifts his tea and takes a slow sip, his eyes following Lucien's gaze to the dumplings. "I'm not sure, either, but if he doesn't know already he probably will soon enough, and he might..." He trails off. Gives his head a quick shake. "{I'm not sure, but I think it would upset him if he thought I was being unjustly accused. May be best if I tell him.}" He doesn't look at his hand, either. Flexes it again, slowly and carefully. He can't close it all the way, but doesn't wince this time. "{It's -- just an inconvenience. But I have an appointment with an orthopedist at the VA next week.}"

"{Perhaps that would be best.}" Lucien sounds noncommittal on this point. His eyes fix on Steve's face thoughtfully. He looks away only at the quiet pad of incoming paws, Flèche rousing herself to come lean against his leg. "Next week? At the VA? I suppose there are still some benefits to being Captain America. Please do keep me updated about the prognosis? It is -- a bit unlike most injuries."

"I doubt he'll like it, no matter who tells him, if only because it makes me a target." Steve is quiet for a moment. "I worry he's likely to go and try to claim he did it, as if they'd need any excuse whatsoever to go after him. If..." He looks down at the countertop, brows wrinkled. "{If you think you can persuade him better -- then I defer to you.}" He still looks troubled. Tucks his injured hand between his left arm and his side. "I'm sure someone pulled strings to make it happen. I'm not so sure how much they can do about it, since..." He sighs. "I'll let you know."

"Claim?" One of Lucien's dark eyebrows arches up. He picks another dumpling out of the box, dipping it carefully into the sauce. "{Yes, I imagine that he might.}" He taps the chopsticks lightly against the side of the plastic dish, watching as excess sauce drips down off the folds of the dumpling wrapper. "{I think he might listen better from you, all the same. He is -- quite in love with you, and I --}" There's an extremely small sideways twitch of his lips. "Well. It might be better to hear your thoughts on the matter directly."

His eyes press closed tightly as he rolls one shoulder, then the other. He eats the dumpling, gives the rest of the spread of food a weary look. Finally rises to retrieve a proper plate. "Will you join me? {I know you could stand to eat again.}"

Steve's eyes snap aside to Lucien, one of his own brows quirking up, too. He opens his mouth. Closes it. Drains his tea. Then, finally, "{You're probably right.}" A beat. "{You usually are. I meant to go see him tomorrow, anyway.}" He studies the food without much apparent enthusiasm, but nods all the same. "{Yes. I'll need a fork, if you please.}"