|Location||Kade's Apartment - Montague Apartments - Brooklyn|
|Summary||In the morning after too much to drink, Ciel and Kade talk faith, family, and the past.|
| This two-bedroom apartment is much like hundreds of others in Brooklyn. Hardwood floors, white walls, and appliances that are reasonably up-to-date, if nothing fancy. The view is terrible - balcony looking out into the alley of a neighboring apartment building - and it's smack in the middle of the complex without any extra features. But it's clean and the building is quiet, within walking distance of some decent restaurants and not horribly far from the nearest train stop. Most of the furniture looks like it was hastily acquired at IKEA or at a rummage sale, but there are pictures of family and friends on the wall that give it some feeling of home. A large holo-display and home sound system has been set up, to take advantage of the deep library of digital and disk selections the occupant of this place has.|
| It is a winter evening. The weather is cool and overcast.|
Kade said little when Ciel showed up on his balcony. He just her inside and led her into his bedroom to curl up, where he stayed with her until she passed out. He's still there in the morning, sleeping soundly, though he got up at some point to put a glass of water and a bottle of Aspirin by her side of the bed. The blinds are closed in his bedroom, so the light filters in slowly as the sun comes up and morning lengthens. All the blinds are closed in the entire apartment, actually. It's sort of set up at a hang-over light level, and it's unlikely that was all done after the space of a comm call for Ciel's benefit.
Ciel stirs at an hour of 'too damn early', which isn't really that early at all, if you discount the hour at which she passed out curled up against Kade last night and the pounding of her head this morning. Nevertheless, when she finally cracks her eyes open and forces herself to leave the warmth of his bed to stumble toward the bathroom, she looks as if the hour itself has somehow betrayed her. Ciel makes every effort to be quiet. She moves slowly. She inches the door open, then closed behind her. But then on her return she wastes no time in sliding back into bed and tucking cold feet against Kade's shins, which kind of defeats the purpose.
Kade isn't a particularly sound sleeper, but Ciel's quiet enough that he doesn't stir until her chilly feet tuck in against him. He yawns, drawing his arms around her slowly easing himself into consciousness. "Hello there," he mutters, nose resting in her hair somewhere not far from her ear.
"'S too early," Ciel mutters, shifting a little for the wrap of his arms and resettling her toes against his legs. "And too cold. And my head hates me." All that said, her mutter fades into a lazy smile directed at the ceiling that warms her voice when she adds, "Hi."
Kade radiates ever so slightly more warmth. And then shows great sympathy for Ciel by laughing at her. Softly, but he still chuckles. "Welcome to your thirties, honey. The days when you can drink all night and still feel like a human in the morning are done. It's all downhill from here." His tone is more than a little rueful. This is a thing he's been reminded of painfully recently.
"Ug," Ciel says, and flops a pillow over to hit at his middle before she turns her head to look at him. Her feet snuggle a little closer, chasing that warmth. "Be careful, old man," she says. "Do you really want to remind me of how ancient you are?"
"Hey!" Kade is all affronted when he's hit with a pillow. He gives her a playful shove, though he doesn't try to wrestle anymore than that. It would be sadly one-sided right now. "I look younger than you at this exact moment. I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts. You want me to make you some coffee? I also vaguely recall promising eggs. I think. That call last night is kind of a blur." Texts, whatever.
"I thought you were supposed to flatter me," Ciel complains. "Did I forget to write flattering me into the contract?" She looks up at the ceiling again, adjusting just enough to stay close to his radiating warmth. She actually sounds abashed when she says, "I'm sorry about that. I was-- definitely way, way too drunk."
"I got a contract now? I am afraid of what's in this. Very afraid." Kade rests his head against hers once she's settled, lips brushing a kiss against her temple. "It's OK. I think there's something extra in the whiskey in Mutiny. It's...super effective." If you drink lots and lots of it, especially. "You want to talk about it? Whatever it was."
"That's exactly what I was drinking!" Ciel exclaims, and then instantly winces in regret for her enthusiasm. She lapses into silence for a second, fingers picking at the covers as she turns over his question. "I don't know," she says eventually. Her eyes flick sidelong toward him. "It feels a little--"
Kade snorts a laugh at her enthusiasm about the evil whiskey, and insta-regret of it. "I am telling you. It's poison, it is. We should start some kind of public safety campaign." His head tips so he can kind of look at her instead of nuzzling at her dark hair. "A little what?"
"I don't know," Ciel says again. She meets his gaze with a rueful smile. "Weird?" She lifts a hand to rub carefully at her eyes, and while she doesn't have to look at him, adds, "Apparently they're BFFs now. Rider and Rohan. So Rider chewed me out on his behalf."
"Oh. English. OK." Kade eases back down, still holding her, and still warm, but not looking at her for a moment. He tries to keep his tone carefully neutral, but the neutrality itself is probably telling. He has no commenton Richard and Rohan's friendship. "What the hell did he chew you out for?"
"Checking in on Rohan after that fight," Ciel says. Her head rolls sideways, looking at him for a beat in the face of his tone. After a moment she says quietly, "We don't have to talk about it." And then lighter, "We can just call Rider an asshole and leave it at that."
"Oh. Ah." Kade sounds like he actually gets that. Not that he's going to agree with Richard Rider in any kind of demonstrative way. He rolls his head to look at her again, giving her a little smile. "Total asshole. Sorry. I'm trying not to be That Guy about /that/ guy." Rohan, he probably means. "It is just occasionally an effort. I'm a sadly typical man a lot of the time. Sorry." A pause, and he adds, "Besides, I got the impression last night it was more than just personal bullshit."
Ciel snorts very quietly and jerks her shoulder up in a sort of half shrug. "It's okay," she says. "I told you it was weird." She twists a little, settling her head against his shoulder so she can avoid his gaze entirely. For a beat she's silent, then she says, "I asked him if he believed that-- that one day we'll have to answer for all the things we do." She pauses, then adds, "I was really drunk."
Kade's blue eyes shift, to try and meet hers, but he's at a bad angle for it. And he's not going to make a point of it just now. His arm just snugs a little tighter around her, fingertips brushing against her bare skin under the blankets. "What'd he say?" Pause. "Do you? Believe that, I mean."
"He said it sounds terrifying," Ciel says with a quiet snort. She tucks her head a little tighter against him, looking at nothing in particular, but her legs shift against his for the tightening of his arm. She draws in a breath, then says, "I--" and gets no further.
"It does sound terrifying." Kade tries to find her hand under the covers, to fold his fingers around hers. "I was never a particularly good Methodist boy. I like a lot of the ideas, but I still don't really know what I /believe/. About a lot of things. I think decent people, if they've got any decency in them, answer for what they do every day. That's why I can't hate Rider, I guess. When I was over at his place..." He trails off, swallowing, before finding the words again. "...he's already punishing himself, whatever anyone or anything else is going to do to him on Judgement Day."
"I was a very good Catholic girl," Ciel says, her voice dry as her fingers lace through his. This fact may be a bit of a surprise - Ciel was only ever an occasional church-goer in her X-Force days. Then again, maybe it's not. Jean-Paul, after all, was always far firmer in his beliefs - and his attendance at Mass. She squeezes his hand slightly. "If I still were, I'd be praying for him instead of judging him. I don't-- Ug. I don't know, Kade. It was easier when he was a few thousand miles away. When he was just-- someone to blame shit on."
"Did you have one of those little uniforms, with the tartan-style skirt?" Kade asks with a grin. Picturing this. Before he makes himself stop, and clear his throat. "Sorry. You're being serious, and that was not cool." Ahem. "I kind of went in and out of it. Church stuff, I mean. My parents were never that hardcore about it. My sister and I were Baptized and went to Sunday School and stuff, but we stopped going when we got older and nobody cared. After Nina was born, I got /super/ into it for awhile. Like, going every week. Because that seemed like a thing a Good Alpha Husband was supposed to do. But it wasn't really for /me/, and after Sierra and I split I was back to just Christmas and Easter again." His head turns, so he can kiss her forehead again. "I know. It's not just him. It's this city, too. It's hard not to think about it, when you can sometimes see it out of the corner of your eye. Where Staten Island used to be." He says the name of the place with some trepidation. He talks about it so rarely, and always only in passing.
Ciel answers with a half-hearted punch to Kade's ribs as she answers tartly, "No. I did not." She falls silent for his explanation, shifting just a little in the curve of his arms. "Yeah," she breathes in quiet agreement. "It's everything. It's-- this job, even." She's quiet for a beat, then adds more softly, "You." Her fingers twist in his, and her thumb takes up an absent stroke against his. The pause between them feels heavy before she says, "My parents were very serious about it. Mom especially." It is probably the first time Kade has ever heard the word pass Ciel's lips.
Kade swallows at the 'You.' But he doesn't disagree with it. He just adds a soft, "Yeah" in agreement. His hand is steady, letting her fingers twist, just a little warmer than normal against hers. There's a blink of surprise when Ciel mentions her mother. "Do you still talk to her?" he asks soft.
"Sometimes," Ciel says. Her head shifts against him, her eyes fixing blank on the ceiling again. "Not often."
"Mmm." Kade gives her head another kiss, lips lingering against her tangled hair after. He just lets the quiet sit for a spell, speaking slow when he breaks it. "I never really thought too much about what they believed. Al-Sahra. I was a twenty-year-old moron trying not to get shot. And failing." He /did/ get shot in the al-Sahra mop-ups. The rather ridiculous 'ring of fire' tattoo on his ass artfully covers the scar. "I thought about asking Jean-Paul about it sometimes, but it seemed like one of those things that wasn't any of my business. What's she like, your mom?" A pause, and he adds quickly, "If you want to talk about it, I mean. It's fine if you don't."
"Probably better you didn't," Ciel agrees in a gust of humor that fades quickly in the wake of his question. The intake of her breath is audible, and her eyes press closed against the light, against her headache, against the question. But she does answer, even if the answer she gives is short and woefully incomplete. "She's like Jean-Paul, only-- more. More self-righteous. More judgmental. More demanding. More pious. More convinced of her own vision." It's perhaps a little hard to imagine these things, given the levels Jean-Paul sometimes displayed. Given the levels /Ciel/ has displayed. There is a very short pause before she adds quietly, "She was always extremes. Always."
"I can picture it." Kade's probably just picturing Ciel and her uncle, taken to the nth degree. He doesn't press for a complete answer. He just holds her, and takes that in. "My mom's a piece of work. In good ways, mostly. She's still the most disciplined person I've ever met, in my life. I guess she had to be. She grew up on the South Side of Chicago, kind of rough. She worked really hard so my sister and I would have things easier. I think it broke her heart when I found out I was a mutant. She knew nothing was going to be easy anymore. Took me years to figure out how right she was."
Ciel finally lifts her head away from Kade's shoulder, twisting with a half roll to push herself up on her elbows and look down at him. Her hair is a complete mess, mussed in wild, frizzy disarray around her shoulders. "It's funny," she says with a smile that curves soft on her lips. "My mother would have been /thrilled/. I mean. She was, when I finally told her. She thinks we're going to inherit the earth. Fuck, I think Jean-Paul would've been devastated if I'd turned out normal. It's bad enough that I don't even fly properly."
Kade reaches up his off-hand, the one that isn't still twined around Ciel's, to play with her very messy hair. One tendril gets an almost playful tug. "I think you fly just fine." His head tilts into the pillow, looking up at her. "My dad thinks we're goddamn super heroes, but he doesn't really have the most practical take on...most things. I'm just a guy. An occasionally very warm guy." He smiles at her, just looking at her for a beat. Eventually, though, he smile fades. "I went to see Rider a couple days ago. Did I tell you that? I was...also pretty trashed, when I decided talking to him was a good idea."
"You're more than that," Ciel says, briefly serious despite his playful tug. She leans down to give him a quick kiss, a brush against the warmth of his lips before she pulls back to flick her brows up at him. "You-- mentioned something. What happened?"
Kade tries to linger in that kiss. It's a more pleasant place than thoughts of Richard Rider. He brought it up, though, so it's only fair he follow through. He sighs, falling back against the pillow. Looking up at the ceiling rather than at her, and then just starts talking. "I was pretty messed up after Staten Island. Like, non-functional messed up, for awhile. I don't even know why, really. It's not like I /wasn't/ messed up after the al-Sahra raids, or after Moscow, or Sinaloa or a dozen other shitty places. It was just...harder to pull it back together, I guess, with everything gone. The team, the structure of the job, all of it. I used to dream about it. Like, every night. My shrink made me do this exercise where I'd kind of...try to take control of it. The narrative, in my head. Try to find a way to give it a different ending, change things. Except I never could. I could never figure out what we did wrong. What I did wrong." That last is murmured soft. "I guess that's why I ended up at Rider's place. I felt like...he has to have answers, you know? If anyone can say what more we could've done, it's him. Except...he didn't. He said we did everything we could. That there was nothing else that could've kept those people from dying." This answer does not satisfy him, for all that he clearly thinks it's probably the truth.
Ciel settles back down, curled on her side next to him. She tucks her legs close and braces arm against the bed, cheek resting in her hand as she watches him in profile. "They took everything away from us," she says as he falls silent. "Our whole lives. Everything about me that-- that ever mattered." She pauses for a moment, then admits, "Me too. I mean. I-- dreamt about it. All the time. No shrink, though."
"It helped, actually," Kade admits, grudgingly, because he's a big, strong man who does not need help with those kinds of things. "Just talking about it with someone who, like, wasn't your friend, or your family, or anyone you needed to worry about at all, beyond that. Just put it all out there, see what it looks like. I still see the guy sometimes. Not every week anymore, but once a month or so. I'm thinking of making an appointment after things are more settled with Mikhail and I can get down to DC for a couple days."
"Really?" Ciel blinks at Kade in surprise, her gaze fixing on him. "About-- Staten Island? I mean, still?" Despite her choice of words, there is no judgment in her voice. There is instead a sort of low wistfulness.
"It gets back there sometimes," Kade admits. "But it's not so much about that anymore. It's just about...me. Sometimes it's about older stuff. About my family. Or about what's going on now at my job or...whatever. It's my money, I can spent my hour talking about whatever the hell I want. It's kind of nice." He admits it very ruefully. Even if it's maybe not surprising he's the kind of person who enjoys talking All About Himself in some context, even therapy.
Ciel grins abruptly, shifting a little as she watches him. "Are you gonna tell him about me?" she wonders brightly, blatantly fishing for some sort of reassurance of her place in his life.
"Do you want me to talk with my psychiatrist about you? Is this what you're saying to me?" Kade laughs. And leans up to kiss her again. This is /not/ the reaction he was expecting to any of this, and it just tickles him. He's still chuckling when he breaks from her. Shrug. "Probably. Like, my life is better now than it has been for awhile, in a lot of ways." His fingers squeeze her. "Which kind of freaks me out sometimes. Which is weird, right? But so it is."
"Kind of," Ciel admits in a murmur that chases the kiss. She drops down to folder her arms against his chest, bringing her smile a little closer. "I feel like I should be talking to a priest about you." Here her voice turns quietly wicked, warming with suggestive humor before it fades again to something a little more serious. "No," she says. "I-- know what you mean." Her smile is small when she tells him, "I'm kind of happy right now."
"Oh God," Kade mutters. Pun probably not intended. "I mean, you /could/, I guess. It'd be a hell of a lot cheaper, and I guess they do basically the same thing. If a priest is anything like a pastor." He admits, "I really have no idea how Catholicism works, outside what I've seen in the movies. It seems way more evocative for films than Protestant stuff, but I have no idea if any of that's accurage."
"Some of it," Ciel says, her lips curling into a wider smile. "Confession. Ritual." She pauses, grinning briefly as she adds, "The tartan skirts."
"I knew it!" Kade is so excited, about the skirts. He chuckles, looking a little abashed. But only a little. "It sounds kind of beautiful. The rituals, I mean. Like I said, I'm not sure what I actually believe about any of that, but I like the idea of stuff that makes us part of something bigger than just us."
Ciel's expression fades to something more serious for a moment, and she flattens her fingers against his chest. "It is," she says. "It's very-- it can be very comforting. Like-- this place you always belong. This thing you always understand, that always understands you." She smiles just slightly. "Whether you want it to or not."
"You sound like you miss it," Kade observes soft, folding his hand over hers as she touches his chest. His fingers twining and playing over hers, now.
"Some of it, maybe," Ciel says. Her serious expression disappears in the wake of a sudden grin as she pushes up to kiss him again, slower this time, and lingering. "Not all of it," she murmurs. "Priests tend to disapprove of this sort of thing."
Kade chuckles, the sound muted by her lips, a tickle in his throat. "I think pretty much every stripe of Christianity is all lame about pre-marital sex." He shrugs. "Like I said, I'm a very bad Methodist boy. Oh well. I'm told I'm forgiven, eventually."
"Only if you confess," Ciel tells him very seriously, whispering the words against the skin of his jaw as her lips press warm there. They work down the column of his throat as her hand shifts from his to brace better against the bed. "And repent."
"O-ho-ho," Kade murmurs, as her lips press into his throat. That feels good. "I think I could deal with confession. Repetance might be the place I run into problems. I have trouble being sorry about things that feel good. How are /you/ feeling, by the by? You're not horribly debilitated by the demon whiskey, I hope?"
"My head hurts and my mouth--" Ciel pulls back a touch, grimacing an apology as she looks down at him. "Maybe I should brush my teeth."
Kade laughs. "Maybe." Not that he was exactly complaining, but he's a guy and he's turned on right now, so very few things seem worth complaining about. "You can use mine. My last dental check-up was entirely clean, I promise." He adds, "You should get one to keep over here. A toothbrush, I mean."
"Yeah?" Despite her words, Ciel dips down to steal another quick kiss, and she's grinning when she pulls back. "I'll remember to grab one the next time I randomly decide to portal into your apartment," she teases before slipping free of the bed once more. This time her gaze catches on that bottle of aspirin, and she shoots him a pleased smile as she scoops it up on her way to the bathroom. When she returns, she's minty-fresh and, if not exactly headache-free, medicated.
"We live in a city of many bodegas, honey," Kade says, winking at her and sprawling, while he waits for her to come. He's not considerate enough to brush his teeth, probably also because he's a guy.Judging from the swiftness with which Ciel returns to the warmth of Kade's bed (and Kade himself), she doesn't seem to mind. "Convenient, that," she says, and settles astride him with her knees pressed against his hips and her mouth pressing warm and open against his skin as she sets to work positively scandalizing any priests of her acquaintance, if only they knew. It may not be cure for a hangover, but it definitely passes the time more pleasantly.