Difference between revisions of "Logs:The fear of man lays a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord is safe."

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The fear of man lays a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord is safe.
Dramatis Personae

Flicker, Leo, Matt, Rasheed, Steve


"We'll figure this out together." (Flicker et al's arrival preceded by a run in with ICE.)


<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.

The table has been set with a feast -- most assuredly not of Rasheed's making, thankfully for all concerned. His only part in this has been ordering it from Meskerem and bringing the containers full of chicken tibs, yebeg wat, miser alech, mild sauteed mushrooms, white beans with awaze, injeera, over to the Tessiers' home. The food laid out, he's gone to retrieve dishes as well -- waylaid in this task by the eagerly frisking pup who seems determined to press fur into his slightly rumpled grey slacks. "You probably shouldn't be having this," he tells Flèche -- not particularly firmly, with a thoughtful eye cast toward the food that's already been set out. His dark eyes skip to his host for confirmation, brows lifting: "-- She probably shouldn't be having this, right?"

His host has been staring into the refrigerator for far too long, and turns with a small start at the question. Matt looks just a bit pale and just a bit droopy, though still reasonably put together in a leaf green button-down and--nice! properly fitted!--medium wash blue jeans, the effect somewhat ruined by fluffy pink house slippers. "Oh, she can have a little chicken or injeera, as a treat," he replies, the corner of his mouth tugging up. "In her bowl, though, so as not to encourage begging, which she will do nevertheless." He finally pulls out a bottle of ginger ale and an elderflower pressé, holding up the latter for Rasheed's inspection with uplifted eyebrows. "We've also got--more ginger ale. Or I can make some tea, of course..." His eyes are already tracking to the cabinet containing the tea things.

"Just water will be fine for me -- thank you." Rasheed sets the dishes on the table. Carefully tears off a small corner of injeera, scoops a piece of chicken out of its dish, and goes to set it into Flèche's waiting bowl. He washes his hands again after, though they haven't actually come in contact with the dog. "Begging or no, she's far better mannered than many pups I meet." He's studying Matt thoughtfully as he dries his hands, "It hasn't even been a week yet now, mmm?"

Matt returns the pressé to the refrigerator and fills a glass of water instead, smiling indulgently at Flèche's eagerness--shifting her weight from one foot to another where she sits by the bowl. The food had barely hit the bottom of her bowl before she darts in after it, swallowing the whole in one bite. Then she sits back down, expectant. "That's thanks to Luci's training--and rather in spite of mine," he admits, handing Rasheed the glass. "Not yet. I'll be done with the first course tomorrow." He returns to the dining room and slumps down into his seat, staring down the spread of food ruefully. "It's just R-DHAP. Been there and done that."

Alas for Flèche, but no more food is forthcoming from Rasheed. He takes the water glass with a nod of thanks, sitting down at the table opposite Matt. "If only that made it go easier." He rubs his palm against his chin with a quiet rasp of skin on stubble, head shaking as he slouches down into the chair. "Look, I -- know that this might be forward, but. The next few months are going to be rough enough already without worrying about --" He pauses, frowns, drops his hand to his lap. Lifts it back to his chin. "-- Maybe I should be talking to Lucien about this," kind of half-muttered into his palm.

"If only!" Matt's smile is sincere. "Thank you for all this, though--I don't just mean the food, although I do actually appreciate that." He takes a sip of his ginger ale, green eyes keen despite his evident weariness. "Luci's got a lot on his plate--not all of it cancer-related, but...well, you know he handles a lot of that, also. I'd rather not add any more if I can avoid it." He quirks a small not-quite-smile. "Of course, now that I've said all that, I'll probably end up foisting it off on him after all."

"I just -- get the impression he tends to handle more of the." Rasheed's brows furrow. "Financials around here. I -- know this treatment is going to be difficult in a lot of ways. I'd rather you not have to be worrying about that aspect of it on top of everything else. There's little enough I can do here but -- the cost of this. I could help."

"He does," Matt agrees, bowing his head slightly. "Goodness, but we would be in serious trouble if I did that." But here his eyes go just a touch wide. "Oh!" I--" His hand lifts to cover his mouth, and he struggles for a moment before finding his voice again. "That would be--an immense help to us. Not that I'm not upset about the cancer and the treatment and--all of it, but I admit I've dreaded burdening my family so terribly. Yet again." He's gone quieter, but his "thank you" is still clearly audible.

"There's a lot to be upset about." Rasheed drops his hand to the table, knuckles curling in against it. "At least it will be one less plate to juggle. Ah --" He furrows his brows, crooks a half-smile up at Matt. "-- really, though, should I talk to Lucien about the practical side of it?"

"It's--not a small plate. It's a whole damned china cabinet." Matt lowers his hand to the table, as well. At the question he guffaws, slapping his hand to his mouth again. "Oh dear! I suppose--yes, actually. I called it, and you called it before that." He takes up his soda for another sip, but stops mid-motion. "I'm still working myself up to eating, but please--" His words cut off suddenly and he tilts his head, looking up. "Flicker?" he murmurs, the note of alarm deeply buried but still discernible as he digs his phone out of his pocket to check its notifications.

There are no notifications from Flicker on Matt's phone. There is, however, an extremely rapidly incoming strobe-flash of power that doesn't stop -- just drops straight into the kitchen. Flicker has more than his arms' worth of men in tow -- he looks, at least, fairly apologetic as he lets go of Steve and Leo. He winces, rolling his shoulder stiffly before straightening the cuffs of his button-down shirt. "I'm so sorry. This just -- was the first place I thought to go."

Steve had his eyes screwed shut and his arm wound probably too tight around Flicker's shoulder. When he lets go of the smaller man he only sways very slightly, blinking as he looks around. "Thank you," he tells Flicker as he unzips his jacket. "Ah...hello," he adds, waving at Matt and his guest, a little awkwardly. Then, to Leo, "Hey, are you alright?"

Rasheed's eyes have widened, at the sudden intrusion. His fingers curl harder against the table, his eyes locking -- briefly -- on Leo. Then looking to Flicker. Then Steve. Slowly, he reaches for his glass, taking a long sip of water.

Leo is looking more than a little peaked, his skin kind of clammy and his eyes still wide-wide-wide. Undetectable (as yet) to any of the others, Matt's senses can no doubt pick up a chaotic tumult of activity from inside him, something churning and then oozing off of him in waves. He wobbles where he stands, when Flicker sets him down. Looks around the kitchen with a slightly desperate air. Stumbles over to the sink, hands clamping to the counter as he leans over and promptly disgorges the contents of his stomach into it. Shudders, retches again. Runs the water, his hand trembling as he rinses out first the sink and then his mouth. "I'm sorry," he says, low and hoarse, "I just -- I'm --" He stops, straightens. Stares at Rasheed -- then Flicker, helplessly. "Sorry -- who is that -- I should go. I didn't mean to -- cause trouble."

As Flicker comes down through the house, Matt casually reaches down and hooks his fingers around Flèche's collar. Predictably, she's flies into an excited frenzy at the new arrivals, paws scrabbling at the floor. "{Lie down,}" he tells the dog softly in French, "{stay.}" She reluctantly flops down, though her head is still held high and ears--even the usually floppy one!--pricked up toward the unexpect guests. Louder, and in English now, "It's raining men, hallelujah." Matt levers himself up out of his seat, wincing with obvious sympathy as Leo retches. "Rasheed is trustworthy," he says soothingly once Leo has somewhat recovered, "and a good friend. He's helped a lot of us coming out of the labs, though I suppose you've not met. Rasheed, meet Steve and Leo; Steve and Leo, Rasheed." He starts pulling teapots and cups from the cabinet. "Anyway, I appreciate Flicker's generosity in sharing this bounty, and I'm glad to help any way I can. Including...whatever that is, if you don't mean to be doing it." He waves one hand vaguely around Leo's person. "How about I make some tea and you tell us what happened, hm?"

"Please, stay. That's just Dr. Toure, he's a friend." Flicker is slumping back against the door now that he has rid himself of his passengers, only belatedly thinking to crouch down so that he can untie his shoes. "I'm sure Leo could tell you best what's happened. I just got an SOS from Steve and --" He shakes his head, lining his shoes up neatly by the back door before standing again.

Steve hands Leo a tissue and then follows Flicker's example, struggling out of his boots without unlacing them altogether. "Nice to meet you -- Dr. Toure." He offers Rasheed a friendly nod. "Sorry for interrupting your meal. And -- yours, I presume." The addition is to Flicker, with a more sheepish smile. Then he wrinkles his brows as he watches Matt prep the tea things. "I can take care of the tea, if you want to sit down with Leo...?"

Rasheed stands, too, crossing to get extra plates to lay out on the table. "I went a little overboard with the food anyway. There's more than we were going to finish, if anyone --" His lips press together for a moment. "Has an appetite." There's only a faint wrinkle between his brows as he looks to Matt, then Leo. Opens his mouth -- closes it again, instead getting napkins to fold neatly beside the plates.

Leo accepts the tissue, crumpling it into his palm. Uncrumpling it, wringing at it -- by the time he actually looks down and recognizes the item in his hand it's gotten a bit shredded, but still perfectly serviceable for dabbing at his damp mouth. The miasma rolling off of him hasn't ceased, though it's a little less tumultuous, settling into a slow continual seep. "Sorry," he whispers again, starting toward the table. Catching himself, turning back toward the door, stepping on the heel of one boot to start to slip it off -- ultimately just slumping back against the counter. "I'm sorry. I don't want to make trouble. I -- I was just heading home from work. There were some people --" He hesitates, wringing at the tissue again and staring down at his hands. "Um -- from ICE. Waiting. I panicked. He --" He gestures jerkily toward Steve. "I was just lucky he was there."

"Thank you, dear, but I'm not quite that feeble," Matt tells Steve. "At least, not yet." He measures out some tightly bunched jin xuan tea leaves and puts the kettle on before leaning back against the counter. "I'm terribly sorry that happened to you, and it doesn't sound to me like you were making any trouble whatsoever--only it came looking for you all the same. You are safe here for now--they cannot have followed, the way Flicker brought you--and we'll help you figure out what to do next. We've a spare room upstairs, my brother has some experience wrestling with immigration, and the team has got many other resources besides." He glances back at Flèche, who is still beginning to emite soft, mournful whines beneath her breath. "You like dogs, no? Would you mind if I let her come in here? She's a darling, but very excitable."

"I was kind of hoping Luci might be able to help. He's good at navigating --" Flicker's mechanical hand waves toward Leo. "Oh -- oh gosh yes, I was having dinner, I should --" He frowns, pulls his phone out of his pocket. "I'm glad you were there. I'm glad you interrupted my dinner. We tell everyone after we get them out of that place -- and we mean it. We don't want to let you just fall through the cracks again, okay?

Steve shakes his head, disgusted. "I've read and heard ICE is thuggish even by cop standards, but I'd never see it myself. It's a disgrace." He grits his teeth. Looks over at Leo. "I wasn't going to let them take you, no matter what, but sorry it was such a sloppy rescue. I didn't expect you to take off, so I improvised." He frowns. "I hope it doesn't make more trouble for you, down the line."

"I -- have no idea if I can be of any use here," Rasheed interjects, a touch apologetically, "but money can open more than a few doors. If there's anything I can do to help --" He's taking his seat again, though. Slowly scooping some lentils and mushrooms onto a plate.

Leo is still wringing at the (kind of hopelessly mangled) tissue in his hands. His nodding is kind of numb, kind of automatic, but he looks up with a faint sliver of smile at Matt's question. "I love dogs." His eyes drop again after this. "I just don't know what to do. The last time ICE took me I never saw a lawyer or my family again and I ended up -- well." His fingers curl harder into the shredded scraps of kleenex. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to panic. I just. Can't do that -- can't do that again." He shudders, shoulders curling inward. "Spare room? No -- no I couldn't possibly -- impose, I. Shouldn't even be here. I'll just. I'm sorry. I'll go."

Matt fills the teapot while the other men speak, nodding to indicate he's still listening. He mirrors Leo's smile with a slightly brighter one of his own. "D'accord, Flèche! Viens ici." He's hardly finished the first word than the dog comes barrelling into the kitchen. She does go to Matt first, but after mashing her face into his leg bounces over to try and greet Steve, Flicker, and Leo all at once, her tail thrashing wildly all the while. To Rasheed his smile is gentler, "I'm sure that it will help, and Luci can tell you better how." His gaze settles on Leo again. "You don't have to stay here, but we've plenty of room, and I really do think it would be best, at least for tonight. That, or let Flicker take you to someone you'd feel more comfortable crashing with for a couple of days. Once you've caught your breath and had a bite to eat, you can make a list of things you'd like from your place and someone will go fetch them."

Flicker is frowning at his phone, a little distracted as he reads his texts. "Can probably just trust me on this one," there's an odd sort of casual to his voice with this, "everyone involved will find it a lot less of a fuss to work with you to help you plan next steps than to have to plan your rescue because the labs scooped you back up while you were trying to take care of things on your own. -- Dusk thinks," this is a little more solemn, "that they've been watching you a while now. Not ICE, I mean. Prometheus. If they came for you tonight -- well. We should maybe think about a more immediate safety plan while you're working on sorting out paperwork."

Steve stares at Leo. Scrubs one hand over his face. "That's horrible and -- well, I wouldn't blame you for panicking even without that kind of experience, honestly. You're just going about your evening and suddenly men with guns come to carry you away?" His head gives a short, sharp shake. Drops one hand to kind of pet the dog in passing as she wriggles her way around the kitchen. "That's not something anyone should have to deal with." He's quiet a moment. Studies Matt's slightly droopy posture. "Look, Leo...you don't know me from Adam, but the Tessiers -- they did as much if not more for me, and my need wasn't even as dire as yours, it sounds like. It's alright to let folks help sometimes -- friends no less than strangers."

"I'm so sorry for what you've been through." Rasheed tears off a small piece of injeera, swiping it a little aimlessly through his lentils. "I'll -- add it to the list of things to talk to Lucien about. Is --" He hesitates. Frowns down at his plate. "It normal for them to -- take. A -- a vested interest like that? I had gotten the impression that most of you they more or less. Leave alone."

Leo opens his mouth -- but closes it again without protest. He kneels, instead, scrunching his fingers into Flèche's fur. Then tipping his head forward, resting his forehead against her neck. The unsettled churning within him had just begun to roil again -- but settles, somewhat, as he mashes his face up against the dog. There's still a slow and continuous secretion of something, quieter and steadier. He ruffles at the dog's neck, breathing in deep. "There was a drone -- or two -- but I thought." He shakes his head. His shoulders sag. "I don't know what I thought. I -- if they want me. Specifically. I think it's -- I think. I'm just. Dangerous."

Matt bumps his shoulder lightly against Flicker's, but doesn't otherwise comment on the source of this particular wisdom on his part. "There are safer places than here, of course. I think it'll serve for the moment, but if they are proactively not just opportunistically trying to get you back, we may need to figure out more than just your immigration status. As for being dangerous, well..." He glances at the clock and decants the tea, setting each cup along the counter for anyone who wants them and taking the last for himself. The delicate sweet fragrance of the oolong mingles with the sharp tang of spices. "Many of us are, and I think it is only one of many factors in their considerations about how hard to go after anyone. We should probably talk about that." His eyes skip to Steve and Rasheed briefly. "But it doesn't have to be right now." He starts gently ushering his drop-ins toward the food. "Come, you can sit and eat with us if you like, or rest a while upstairs if you'd rather be alone."

"A lot of people are dangerous. Most of them not mutants. Dangerous isn't why they lock people in cages, though." Flicker doesn't take a lot of ushering, flitting over to the table to start getting himself a plate of food. "You have friends, Leo. We'll figure this out together."