Log:Of Mimics and Monitors
When one can't leave Sanctuary, one finds ways to escape within Sanctuary, and so Phoenix is given to wandering, sometimes to the Farm where he meets up with those he knows among the Savvy, sometimes to speak, sometimes to trade, sometimes merely to get lost for a little while before he needs to perform later in the evening. It is fairly early in the day, and so it's quieter and cooler than it would be later. He is dressed in his non-descript greys and black boots that he wears when not performing, and not serving as companionship for others.
Xavier is dressed in loose drab brown homespun caftan, designed to hide as much of their form as possible. A long matching scarf is wrapped around their head covering most of their hair and looping below their chin as the sun is not high yet. A strong nose, big dark eyes, and tawney skinstretches over a classical handsome face with rather hollow cheeks. They are thin, but not the thin of starvation or the thin of the sick, but rather the thin of an active person who eats sparingly. The thing that is most noticeable about their face is that despite clearly masculine features, they have no whiskers or stubble, just soft, downy skin.
Xavier chemist is eyeing certain of the plants on their way to work. They start a bit and smile a little uncertainly. they were born in Sanctuary and have lived here all their days, but have spent most of it studying and working with the savvy.
Phoenix has likely been seen prowling around before. He's lived his entire life in Sanctuary as well, though the quiet, taciturn Fortunate tends to only be conversational with a few from time to time. He knows KissThisThen, and has been known to sometimes visit. It's not impossible that they've crossed paths before, but it's only today that they find themselves on the same narrow path near the same plants on the same morning. Phoenix studies the figure before him, clear pale eyes take in the dark ones, and he gives a nod of his head in greeting. "Morning," he manages.
Xavier nods back, ducking their head a little, "Aren't you Kiss' friend? I'm Xavier, I'm hoping to do some work with him on plant extracts." Their voice is a light, androgynous tenor. "I'm Xavier Chemist."
Most people don't talk to him when he passes through. Most just nod. Some even smile. But few actually converse, and so when Xavier says something before he passes by, his steps slow, and he turns, and studies the figure once more. "Phoenix," he introduces himself. Just that. There's no other name. Then after a moment, "Yes, I know Kiss. He's made some extracts for me in the past."
Xavier keeps their eyes lowered, but their tone is warm, "he's very gifted. Entirely wasted where he was. He should have been over here the whole time. He has some interesting thoughts about irrigation effciency and seed hybridiation. we both share an interest in bringing back some of the older botanicals, him from a botanist perspective, me for their lost biochemical potential. What sort of work do you do?
Does a Monitor, particularly a Copper really need a reason to be in a given place? Faustina is here walking along the path, though her attention seems to be more on the area around, watching the Reapers and other Savvy at their work. Perhaps that's why she trips over a bump in the path and is caught from actually falling by the man walking a few steps behind her. Her regular shadow, Mark, does, potentially, indicate to Xavier that she's on duty at the moment. Not that she ever really stops being on duty, but Mark means she's officially so.
Phoenix nods a bit and looks out at the plants as he listens to Xavier speak, and discusses the differences between his perspective and that of KTT. He's been educated, as all Fortunate are, and so he isn't entirely left behind in the conversation. "I'm a Companion," he says when asked what sort of work he does. "I perform with fire in the bazaar, and for private shows." Unspoken, of course, the implication that he performs all the other duties of a Companion as well. He notices Faustina's stumble, eyes flickering toward her at the sudden movement, and Mark's catch. His attention then returns to Xavier.
Xavier bobs their head at Faustina and looks momentarily, transparently guilty of something. Then they gives their sister a disarmingly bright smile, "You are wearing your serious face." As if she has any other kind most days. Their eyes flick back to Phoenix, brows knit, "what do you, uh, do with the fire?"
Faustina looks over on hearing Xavier's voice. Her serious face relaxes into her fond face for a brief moment, though likely Xavier is one of the few people able to see the difference. It's all in the eyes, since the rest of her face rarely changes. "I have work, though I can take some time for you." She turns to the hulk, tattooed man just behind her. "Mark, go get started. I will be there soon or send someone with a note if I am prevented." There's one last look over the wider area, then she's turning her attention towards Xavier and Phoenix.
Mark, for his part, continues on past them all down the path, giving the other two a wave and a sort of 'friendly police officer' kind of smile. It sort of says 'we're all friendly here and we want to stay that way, so don't do anything that will make us unfriendly', but without using words. And then he's loping along towards whatever the two Monitors had planned.
"Dance with it, breathe it, swallow it sometimes," Phoenix answers Xavier when asked what he does with the fire. "What sort of plants are you looking to bring back? For which properties in particular?" That seems to have caught his interest. He pauses when Xavier addresses Faustina, and his attention shifts back to her once more. He has little to be concerned about from Monitors, and thus there's little reaction to them. He simply assumes that they are ever-present and always watching. He gives a nod to Mark as he passes on by.
Xavier waves at Mark, a little shyly. Theblush faintly again, "There is something I'd like to ask you maybe. Later." Their eyes flick between the two. "Well, Kisses knows a whole lot abou mushrooms, butthey have hopes of experimenting with fruit trees if they can get clean enough seeds. I've been mostly working with things I can grow in small spaces. Things that might look like... well, nothing much, but might yeild medicinal appications. If we can get a decent sample size of something, even if we can't bring it back, sometimes we can mimic it. I've become..." Yet another blush, "fascinated with mimics."
Faustina's eyes narrow a little as she studies her brother. "Of course. I try to be available to you when I can be." She nods a little more at the plant discussion. "Their experiments thus far have shown potential. Though medicinal plants are also a potential priority for long term stability."
Phoenix nods his head as he listens to the conversation about the plants, ignoring the other conversation since it doesn't concern him and is none of his business. Instead, he nods and says, "If I hear of anyone finding seeds that might fit your purposes, I will see what information I can find out." Because Companions talk to a lot of people, and sometimes they hear things, and learn of things by sheer coincidence of who they run into. "What sort of mimics?" he asks. "There are plants that mimic other plants?" That seems new to him.
Xavier gets that guilty look again, "Well, even if we don't find a good remed for sickness, more things for things like fevers could be a big step forward. we have so little of what the ancients had." They perk up, "Oh yes please! seeds especially, but even samples of before time plants can help. we can't grow knew ones from samples, but if I can find out the... things that make them up? Sometimes I can copy them. It's not as good as saving a species, but we can have the use of their ghosts as it were. If some plnt, say, limits swelling, sometimes I can find the specific chemical inside the plant and copy it."
Faustina's eyes narrow a tiny bit more. Xavier is probably not used to getting quite that look from Felicity, that 'you have clearly done something, and now I need to find out what' look. She continues to study him as she comments. "There are plants which look very similar to other plants. There are also plants which have the same medicinal effects as other plants. Sometimes, our chemists are able to isolate and replicate useful compounds from the plants, as well. Mimicry has many forms."
Phoenix listens to both of them as they talk about the plants, their properties, and chemical as well as physical mimicry, his attention shifting from one to the other as they speak. If he notices the looks being exchanged, he ignores them for the time being. Instead, he merely nods and says, "Interesting," though his brevity seems only due to the fact that he is mulling this information over.
Xavier sighs, "I didn't do anything... Nothing's on fire or missing that shouldn't be, I promise." They cock their head, "If you've ever used burn salve, odds are part of it is mimickery and part grown here."
Faustina keeps eyeing Xavier for a few more moments, but eventually nods and turns her attention towards Phoenix, though much less intensely and soon it's wandering again back over the workers in the distance. "Aloe grows well and is important for that. I should check on our current stocks."
"If I burn myself, I'm doing it wrong," Phoenix says to Xavier with the very faintest hint of a smile that touches the edges of his expression, but his nod indicates that he gets the point of what they were saying. He nods to Faustina, having heard of Aloe before, and its properties. He's likely acquired it from KTT for others in the past.
Xavier smiles softly, "The nice thing about aloe is it does fairly well under out growing conditions." They laughs softly, "I burn myself often. Sometimes, it's part of learning. I think... I'd like to see you play with fire. From a safe distance.
Faustina twitches very slightly as Xavier mentions burnig himself and wanting to watch the fire dancing. Still, she nods to Phoenix. "Accidents sometimes happen." Pause. "More to some people than to others."
"You can see me on stage in the bazaar some evenings. I do short performances to give audiences a taste of what they can pay for," Phoenix says. Private performances, and the longer performances cost Lux, of course, but what he does in public can be seen by anyone passing through the Fortunate bazaar when it's on one of the public stages. Though he then smirks just a little and says, "If you burn yourself often, then learning has not yet occurred."
Xavier says sheepishly, "sometimes experiments don'tgo as one hoped. still, the work continues apace." They look down, "I'm not... in the market for private performances, but I do like fire. And dancing." The look up, smiling brightly, "See the trick is to never make the same mistake twice."
Faustina has apparently seen him at times on her duties in the bazaar. Phoenix would probably know that she either doesn't tend to claim time with Companions or is amazingly discrete about doing so. There may also be whispers that she's someone who might be approached if other Monitors are abusing their privileges. She actually snorts at his comment about learning and then her gaze flickers to Xavier before moving away again.
"If that isn't the truth, I don't know what is," Phoenix says, regarding not making the same mistake twice. He then gives a nod of his head and says, "Not everyone is." In the market for private performances. It doesn't seem to offend him at all. That's just the nature of things. It's likely that Faustina would know that Phoenix's time has been claimed by other Monitors in the past, but none to any particular excess. The only trouble he's ever had with Monitors is on occasion using his brawn to stand up for others who are taking abuse. He's willing to brawl a bit if he needs to, and as a Meanie, stood up for other kids who got picked on more than once, getting in trouble for it. But now, in his mid twenties, it's a less frequent thing. He watches as she departs, and gives her a bit of a nod. Then he looks back to Xavier and says, "Nice meeting you," before turning, and continuing on the way that he'd been going when he stopped to talk.
Xavier ducks their head again, "It really was nice meeting you. I'll look for you." Their eyes follow him discreetily as he goes. They turn to their sister and murmur, "Will you sit by the fish with me?"
Faustina looks back to Xavier and considers him for a moment, then nods. "I can spare a little more time."
Xavier walks over to sit where they might watch the fish rather than her face. It tkes them a little while to gather their thoughts. "I... I might be interested in someone." They've never dated; they have lived a monkish existance in most respects, dedicated themselves entirely to the work since the accident. "I don't... know what i'm doing or if anything.. if they like me or whatever, but... Um...." They look up then really worried about her reaction, but also with that little brother expression of absolute faith that she knows all the answers.,
Faustina follows them over to the fish and even sits, though she watches them as they speak. She just blinks at him a few times. "Oh. Alright." Pause. "Did you need something from me?"
Xavier looks entirely helpless, "I'm not... I don't know what happens next or what i'm supposed to do or if you'd... not approve. I'd hate to disapoint you. In anything, really."
Faustina blinks slowly. "I do not disapprove as long as it does not distract from your duties. I can not tell you what you should do next, though. I have never had a romantic relationship." She's kind of frozen, which, again, most people wouldn't notice, but Xavier probably would.
Xavier's eyes go wide, "You haven't? But you're so... you." It genuinely never occurred to them that Fasina wouldn't have interested parties lining up, "I mean, you're all... While I'm... sort of a mess?" Their tone softened, "Do you... I mean, I mostly don't like being touched and I'm bad at... The things most people are good at with other people generally."
Faustina blinks a few times, still sort of frozen in place. "I am not fond of touching from most people. And I have never been interested in anyone in that manner. I am not sure what I am that makes you think I would have been involved. In Monitors, it often leads to corruption. Sanctuary needs to come first."
Xavier thinks that over, examining assumptions, "Because youre older, and amazing, and good at your job and you look... I mean, I don't look like... but you do."
Faustina actually frowns very slightly in confusion. "What do I look like?" Pause. "Good at my job is not something most people desire in a partner so far as I know. If anyone has been interested in me in that manner, I have not noticed it. I likely would not return the attraction if they were. So it is of little consequence."
Xavier looks baffled, "Perfect. You look perfect. Even I can see that, and good is good. You are useful and excel at your purpose. I'm useful and good at my purpose, but I'm... obviously different, even if I'm healthy as a weed."
Faustina just blinks. She's processing. It's taking longer than usual. "But part of my purpose is to be neutral and romantic relationships interfere in that." After a moment she shakes her head slightly. "Immaterial. Who is this person in whom you are interested?"
Xavier thinks that over, his processing expression nearly identical to hers, "Another Monitor perhaps?" They look down, blushing to their ears, "Kitten. I don't think I mind kitten touching me."
Faustina considers. "Kitten is very good at what they do, but I think the fever damaged their mind severely." She seems to ignore the suggestion of being with another monitor.
Xavier nods, "Everyone said that. Kitten tells me that too, but they seem fine to me. I mean, they're really clever with machines. They have purpose and are good at their purpose, so it can't really be bad can it? Even if they aren't who they used to be, they're fine now."
Faustina nods slowly. "As long as you are aware. I believe that their memory has been affected. I have to return their tools at times when they have forgotten them someplace. However, as I said, as long as it does not interfere with either of your duties, I have no issue with it."
Xavier nods, not really understanding the depth of what they are getting into. "But do you approve? I mean..." Faustina is the most important person in the world. He can't say that, but it's in thei eyes "Your better at... deciding if something is a good idea. And I never want to disapoint you again."
Faustina blinks a few more times, then says, far more fiercely than she usually speaks, "You are not a disappointment. You do not disappoint me. You are my brother." She takes a deep breath and returns to her more usual tone. "It is not for me to approve. I think it may involve more difficulties than you anticipate, but if you like them and they are amenable, and it does not interfere, then I do not disapprove."
Xavier blinks in surprise at her vehememce, then gives her one of those quick feirce hugs that are reserved only for her, "Thank you, Fausty." They take a breath, "They aren't like me, but they are... the closest I'm likely to get, and they make me feel... things I only feel in dreams." They look down, "I might... be less wasteful. If they lke me back. Maybe." They study the swirl of fish, "They've... liked a lot of people, I think, so I dont know if... things will work out. I just... feel good when they're around. I'm fine when i'm working, but even I can't work all the time."
Faustina hugs him back, when he hugs her, but releases him quickly. "If being with them helps you be less wasteful, that will be a good thing." Look at her not addressing feelings or whether or not someone can always be working.
Xavier studies her. They are fairly oblivious in all sorts of ways wth people they don't know well, but he knows her, possibly better than himself. "Fausty? are you all right? I don't mean the not wanting to be with people thing. I mean... You're worse than I am with the... not being good at stopping."
Faustina looks away, over the fish pond, one might almost get the feeling that she's trying to count the fish. "There is too much to do and too much to know and too much to count. Too many ways everything could go wrong. I never have enough time. How can I rest when resting means I miss things. I don't mean sleep. I sleep. Sleep is necessary. But leisure is... other people seem to need it. I end up feeling like I ought to be working. It is not... pleasant for me. So I work."
Xavier looks at her face, very serious, and lightly touches the back of her hand with one gloved finger tip, "It wasn't your fault; it was mine, you know."
Faustina freezes for just a second, then states with the aire of someone who was told this multiple times and has had to repeat this over and over, "It was no one's fault. It was an accident."
Xavier's expression is all sorrow and regret, "Those are too different things: Fault and accident. If I mix a compound wrong, it's my fault, but it's still an accident."
Faustina states emphatically. "You were five. It was not your fault. I was supposed to be watching. And adults were supposed to be watching all of us. It happened. There is no blame."
Xavier states just as emphatically, "It was my idea. Slipping away from you. The game. I was leading when she fell. I was bright enough to have been more careful. I'm really stubborn in my way. Always have been and you were what? Eight? Nine? It's not your fault. There were several of us and not a one of us making it easy for you or taking even a minute to think how much harder we wwere making it for you."
Faustina shakes her head once. "It is past. What matters is preventing the next tragedy. Or mitigating it if it cannot be prevented."
Xavier is firm about this, "You can't prevent everything no matter how perfect you are, and I think you are about as good at what you do as it's possible to be."
Faustina finally turns her head to look at him, and her eyes reflect the deep-seated fear and sadness, the worry that never, ever really leaves her. "Do you really think I do not know that? I am aware of all my imperfections. I know that I will not manage to predict everything. Will not manage to stop every potential issue. Some possible disasters must be set against each other because to prevent one is to make another more likely. I am well aware of exactly how fragile all of this is. Exactly how it could all crumble. I know. But that is precisely why I have to do everything in my power."
Xavier whispers, "But I think it may be... harming you. I don't want... anything bad to happen to you."
"Harm to me is immaterial. Sanctuary is what matters. Humanity must survive." Faustina looks away again, back towards the fish. "It hurts more when I stop. I spend my time thinking about what I ought to be working on instead."
Xavier gazes at her with those little brother puppy dog eyes, "you matter to me Fausty. Sanctuary is more important than eiher of us, but that doesn't mean you aren't important to me.
Faustina shrugs a tiny bit. "I am your sister. You are important to me as well." Her gaze skims over the plants above the water, almost looking like she's adding up how many there are. So many per row, so many rows in each box, so many boxes.
Xavier gazes with her, knowing he's lot this particular battle, not knowing quite what to say next. Finally he gives up, "Just take care of yourself, all right?" Another pause, "You'll help keep Kisses safe won't you? I think he's... maybe a bit fragile, and I think he's going to do a lot of important work in what time he has left. he got badly hurt before he git transfered. I worry... I don't know. It's like he doesn't have any armour at all." Says the man with hardly any no counting her.
Faustina nods once. "I take my safety and usefulness into consideration in my projections." There's a tiny pause. "His work is one of our best mitigating factors against several potential weaknesses. I will do what I can."
Xavier says, "Thank you. His... uh, head particularly. They were rough with his head before."
Faustina nods, her eyes still on the plants. "He seems to have had some hearing loss, yes. I will do what I can."
Xavier flashes her a bright smile, "Thank you for everything. especially for being the best big sister in the world."
That draws Felicity's gaze over to him. "Hardly that. But you are welcome to anything I may give you." A deep breath in and out and then she stands. "Mark is likely wondering what has taken me so long. I should return to work. Take care of yourself." The 'I love you' is unspoken, but there all the same.
Xavier smiles crookedly, "Far better than I deserve at least. I really will try to keep out of trouble." He rises, "Timmy will be impatient, I suspect and rightly so." his I love you is unspoken, but he hears hers loud and clear.