|Location||Richard's Apartment - Mutant Town|
|Summary||Kade and Richard discuss some less-than-pleasant possibilities.|
| A cramped, tiny studio. It's messy, but not necessarily dirty. (Usually.) The kitchenette has the barest amount of space to warrant the name, and the rest of the apartment is mostly his bed and shelving. The latter of the two is stuffed to the brim with paperbacks, comic books, and a few model starships; science fiction, particularly of the pulpier kind, is the focus of the collection.|
It's into the evening when Kade knocks on Richard's door, but not /too/ late. And not some ominous, pre-dawn/post-last call hour, either. Maybe this represents growth. Anyway, Kade knocks and waits to see if there's an answer.
Knocks that you don't expect can actually be exceedingly strange in NYC. Richard squints at the door of his apartment from where he's sprawled on his bed with a battered paperback book open in his hand. He eventually slides to his feet and steps over the door, taking a moment to check the peep-hole -- and then opening the door. "Caruthers," he says, not unfriendly but a little curious.
"Hey, Rider." Kade's cool, calm and collected, as he likes to be, though there's a curiosity of his own under the surface. "Glad I caught you home. Probably should've called first." It's a little apologetic. Not too much, though. "You busy?"
Richard gestures at his empty apartment with his book. "Terribly busy," he says wryly. "I'm very busy and important, you know. You want a beer?" He's in his regular jeans and some sort of geeky t-shirt that I'm too lazy to invent. But it's vintage and nerdy.
Kade is in jeans as well, and the old 'Republic of California' t-shirt he favors. "Yeah. Thanks," is his response to the beer, and he enters the apartment. Waiting until the door's closed behin him before saying anything more. His eyes flick around the place, pausing on the paperback Rich set down, a little curious about the title.
It's something about space adventures and robots. It looks /terribly// pulpy. Richard shuts the door behind Kade and then shifts over to the kitchen to dig in the fridge for a pair of beers; his apartment is a bit better-stocked than it was when he was a bachelor, thanks to a boyfriend who worries about his eating habits. "So," he says, handing Kade a beer and pulling out his keys for the bottle-opener to pop off the cap. "What can I do for you?"
Kade takes the beer, sipping on it and finding a convenient place to lean before replying. But it's not too long before he gets to it. "I've been thinking lately. Since everybody got back from that...Lord of the Rings adventure or whatever-the-fuck happened." This is what he's the extent he's managed to wrap his brain around all he's heard of fantasy land. "And then Ciel and I got to talking the other night and...it feels like something, doesn't it? Two of these Alt Universe events coming so close together, I mean."
"Sounded like a bit too many mages for Lord of the Rings, from what I heard," Richard says with a faint smile, because unlike other alts he totally knows his Tolkien canon. But he considers Kade thoughtfully as he pops the cap of his own beer. He's silent for a moment, taking a sip. And then he says, "It used to be years. In between. Decades."
"I never got much past Gandalf and Harry Potter with that stuff," Kade says, his own lips crooking slight. He does not digress into questions about the difference between a mage and wizard, though. "When Gamora came to get us all, after Ravenous took you, she said something that keeps bouncing around in my brain. 'The walls have thinned.' Now, at the time, I figured that was about what Annihilus was doing, and about how she'd made her own portal and stuff. But...I don't know. What if it was something...more?"
Again, Richard is silent. There's a certain reticence in the set of his shoulders and the slide of his gaze to the window. "You mean what if it's everywhere," he says quietly. "What if we're in some state of -- dimensional freefall."
"I have no damn idea," Kade admits. With a hint of frustration. "I wasn't the science guy even back in the day when I had access to the files on this shit. Wish I'd taken the time to learn more about this stuff but..." Shrug. He is /long/ past the point where he's going to be a PhD of any sort. "I don't understand any of it. It's just...there's been some shit lately, and it's got me thinking." He takes another drink of beer. "I was wondering if you could ask your brother...fuck, I don't know. If there's been any indication we're in dimensional freefall, I guess."
"I'd /like/ to think he'd've told me," Richard replies, the dryness of his voice almost negating the humor entirely. "Maybe he doesn't want me to worry."
"Or maybe it's just some extra weirdness that doesn't mean anything," Kade says with another little shrug. "I don't know. I don't even know what I'd /do/ if something majorly trans-dimensional was going down. That's light years above my pay grade these days." He tries to say it lightly, but there's underlying frustration, and a certain yearning, he can't quite cover.
"There's nothing we /could/ do," Richard says simply. He sets his beer down on the counter and leans back. "None of us have the knowledge base for something like that. Unless the scientists came up with some magical way for us to fix it via heroism."
Kade chuckles, though it's not a particularly amused sort of laugh. "We could gesture dramatically at inter-dimensional portals. But. Yeah. I got you. I guess I just...I hate the feeling that shit might be happening and I'm not...I don't know." Charging stupidly toward it? He drinks a little more. "Do you regret not running off with all of them? Into Not Wizard Land, I mean?"
"No." There's no hesitation, and Richard's voice is quiet but firm. "The last time I ran off like that, I lost someone I loved and a couple decades of my life."
Kade nods. There's a quiet beat while he drinks and turns various things over in his head. "I don't regret not going. I'm trying to cut down on how often I abandon my kid." It's wry, but not really a joke. It's the kind of glib statement there's years of accumulated guilt behind. "But I've got to admit...when I got that text about the sword-woman in the park, I did /want/ to run toward it. Not sure what the hell that says about me. It's not like I don't know where it can lead."
"It probably says that you did well in X-Force." Richard's lips curve in the faintest of sympathetic smiles. "It was always full of adrenaline junkies, both before I left and when I got back." He hesitates, like he's not sure if he wants to share it, and then he says, "Part of me wanted to stay. After we finally found our way home. A small part, but part."
"I did OK," Kade allows with a soft laugh. "At the job, at least. A lot of other parts of my life were kind of fucked up. But I did OK at the job." He nods, at the admission. He doesn't look particularly surprised. "You were part of some major universe-saving stuff. Like, even having read your debriefs, I didn't really /get/ it until I saw it. I think..." He pauses himself. "...I think, out of everything, that's the thing I actually miss. Not even the rush, so much, as...feeling like I was part of something bigger than me."
"You know, sometimes I feel kind of done with everything," Richard says with a laugh. "The rush, the thrill, the heroics. Not all the time, but sometimes." He takes a swig of his beer and says, "Like I've almost figured out what content can feel like."
"You've got some good things going for you here," Kade says simply. He doesn't specify what. The 'Jeremy' part, at least, is probably unspoken. "I feel that. Like, this is as un-fucked as my personal life has been in literal decades. I don't want to go back anymore." That, at least, is said firmly. Perhaps surprisingly so. "I'm just not sure how to do the best by what I've got now a lot of days, I guess."
"People are mostly jealous of my mutation," Richard says. It's a little off-topic, but he seems to be working up to something. "Don't see a downside to it, you know? And I don't know if it's actually the power or just me, but I've always been -- restless. I don't know how else to describe it. It's not always about adrenaline or heroics, just--" He gestures, but it's vague and aborted by the close of his fingers. "I don't know. Restless. The only time I don't feel it is when I'm going as fast as I can. Even when I'm happy where I am, some part of me wants to be racing somewhere else." He swallows, looking away a bit suddenly as he realizes just how much he's shared. He shrugs.
Kade listens intent while Richard talks about his mutation, nodding at parts of that. "I think I get that. Kind of." There's a pause, while he collects his thoughts, and he doesn't seem sorry Richard is looking away. "Like, what I do...I don't draw the pyro stuff from anywhere. It's all in /me/. It's like...energy that wants to get out. Took me a long time to figure out how to channel it without just setting shit on fire." It's wry but, again, not a joke of any kind. "So, you saying you think it's your mutation that makes you into the adreneline junkie stuff?" Said like he's never really considered this before. And like the idea troubles some part of him.
"Who knows?" Richard shrugs again, the discomfort lingering in the set of his shoulders. "But after this much hurt, I think I'd rather be happy than excited. Or I wish that's what I wanted all of the time." He shakes his head. "Forget it. I'm just rambling."
Kade shakes his head. "No. It's fine. I mean, I get it. Parts of it, at least. And I'm glad you're finding some content, Rider. It's probably about the best any of us can work for." He takes another drink, finishing off his beer. "I'll try not to be jealous of your special skills. Still." Slight smile. "I do kind of wish I could fly."
"Sorry," Richard says with a hint of humor. "I reserve passenger flights for special occasions." He looks down at his beer. "I've just already done a lot of fighting. Feels enough for one lifetime, you know?"
"Enough for several lifetimes over, if what I saw while we were in space is any indication." Kade chuckles soft about the flying. "I wouldn't be so gauche as to ask. I'm just a sorry I didn't draw jet propulsion from the mutant lottery. Even if it does have its drawbacks. Anyway." He sets his empty beer bottle down on the counter. "I shouldn't bug you too much longer. I shouldn't be out too late tonight. I'm trying to re-normalize my sleep schedule. Start a new job on Monday." He sounds more aniticipatory, and relieved, about that than he probably means to show.
"Good luck with that." Richard's voice is just a little dry -- clearly he's been through some normalizing of his own sleep schedule to know the difficulties. His brows do raise with a hint of curiosity, though. "What's the job?"
Kade shrugs in an off-hand sort of way. "Just office stuff at the Cherry Lane Theater in Greenwich. A lot of making sure messages get to the right place and schedules stay on track, from what I gather. And possibly fetching coffee. Doesn't pay any more than the mall did, but I like the vibe of the place. I think I might like it OK once I get the hang of it." He plainly hopes so.
"Oh, cool." He guesses? Richard knows nothing about theatre. "Well. Good luck with that, then?"
"Thanks. And thanks for the beer." Kade turns to go. Though, before he leaves, he says, "Let me know if you hear anything from your brother about...well, anything of mutual interest." Dimensional freefalls, and such.
"Right. I'll -- give him a call sometime." Richard's smile is a little tight. "See you around, Caruthers.""See you," Kade says. And off he goes.