1963-12-12 - That Apple Tasted Terrible
Summary: Well, like the title says - that apple tasted AWFUL.
Related: Rosemarie/Illyana logs.
Theme Song: None
illyana rosemarie 

NOTE: Kissing. You have been warned.

Illyana, apparently, despises the cold weather. She's bundled herself up in her heaviest dress, warm stockings, a coat, a knit cap, and poofy white earmuffs she found… god knows where, which cover half of her head on each side.

Thus is how she enters Rosemarie's apartment, melting a little at the rush of warm air, and tugs a scarf down from her nose and mouth to speaking, spitting wool fragments as she does. "Ptah! Ugh. Wretched cold," she mumbles, stamping snow from her boots. She moves into Rosemarie's apartment, obviously cold to the bone, and starts unbuttoning her coat to let the warm hair of Rose's home replace the cold still clinging to her skin. "Is terrible. Is wet, is cold and wet air," she mutters, mumbling mostly under her breath as she starts trying to extricate herself from the mess of hastily assembled scarf, gloves, jacket, and whatever else she has on.


The shorter woman, looking like a model for the latest catalog in winter gear, is let into the apartment and followed with a silently-amused cinnamon-brown glance. The door is locked, bolt slid home, and Rosemarie watches her divest herself of the layerings once now inside the warmth of the apartment.

"You didn't walk here, did you? It's too cold for you to be out that long," she chides gently, smiling nonetheless. Dressed in sheer black leggings, knitted knee-high stockings in cream, and a long-sleeved turtleneck sweater dress in deepest navy-blue, she's been home from work for about an hour or so.

Shifts at the library were shorter today due to the weather and being short-handed was a near-impossibility due to the lack of patrons. Lola the cat? Hiding in the bedroom once more.


"Piotr asked, not so much using stepping stones in town," Illyana says, unscrewing her scarf, removing her hat and earmuffs, and finally throwing the whole mess on the ground along with her gloves. "Scares people. Know safe place, coming from Institute to here, but other than that, must walk."

She struggles out of her coat and tosses it aside, her hair a frizzy mess from her hat, and turns towards Rosemarie. She takes in the lovely librarian, eyes flickering and a smile curling at her lips before she realizes it. With two steps towards Rosemarie, she abruptly remembers her manners and at least doesn't fling herself at the other woman. "Umm… hi," she says, more quietly, and visibly dithering on the edge of flinging herself bodily at Rosemarie.


Rosemarie tilts her head to one side, not knowing this name she offers up. Piotr? Someone who cares for Illyana, clearly. Perhaps a relative? Not a significant other…at least, she doesn't think so. Regardless, it is a good point. When first subjected to the Stepping Stones into Limbo, the brunette had been barely able to keep from bursting into startled tears.

She was almost able to wrap her brain entirely around the concept of magic, even if she was still treating it as some sort of arcane science rather than the metaphysical manipulation of reality through energy.

The sudden pause on Illyana's part is noted and the taller young woman sighs in quiet affection. "Come here, Illy," she murmurs, opening her arms and inviting a hug.


Illyana almost literally leaps at Rosemarie, wrapping her arms around the taller woman's neck, and hauls her down to be kissed rather thoroughly, and fairly purring as she does so. Her lips and skin are pale and cold, but she warms up rather rapidly as she flings herself into Rosemarie's embrace.

"Mmm," she says when she breaks the kiss, sighing dreamily. She looks up at Rosemarie and a grin blossoms across her face, eyes shining delightedly as she worms her way deeper into Rosemarie's embrace. "I missed you," she says. "Did not want to go home last night." She sighs happily and hugs Rosemarie again, pressing her cheek against the taller woman's.


The fling is somewhat expected, given Illyana's past history of rather impulsive behaviors. The kiss? Surprisingly less so. It remains a novelty to Rosemarie, given the last few years of single-dom.

Mmm…petrichor…and that slow golden zip of warm leaves, all intertwined with the zest that is the blonde Russian's essence. It's like…kissing an autumn thunderstorm, with how her hair shines like sun-caught aspen leaves and those eyes deepen towards the shadows of low-lying clouds. Too easy to wrap her arms around the lean form, with forearms along ribs and hands curled about the curves of the petite young woman, right above where her side delineates hips.

The brunette blushes at the admissions, but returns the snuggle with only a little hesitation. She's somewhat sleepy still, after not returning to dreams until the early morning, around 4am. Coffee can only do so much.

"I missed you too, Illy." No lie. It's getting to be odd not seeing the frenetically-different blonde around the apartment. "What brings you by?" she asks, looking down at Illyana with a small smile.


"…missed you," Illyana repeats, as if unsure if Rosemarie had misheard her. She doesn't seem to mind repeating herself, burrowing against Rosemarie to sap her precious affection and even more precious physical warmth.

"Oh no — I did not call," she says, suddenly blinking in consternation. "Am so sorry — was so excited to see you, did not think to call ahead." She palms her brow, muttering chastisements in Russian. "Please forgive, I will — I will work hard to be sure to call ahead next time. Do not mean to interrupt you," she tells Rosemarie. The poor thing could deal with a sword wound to her belly without batting an eye, but the thought that Rosemarie would be upset with her causes the skinny blonde visible consternation.


"Oh, Illy, don't worry," Rose replies with a giggle, her brows knitting at the deep concern on the blonde's face. "I don't mind, really. You can call ahead if you think I won't be home. How about that?" She purses her lips against a sudden smile and gets to combing at the mildly-frizzied hair that nearly frames Illyana's scalp in a halo. "That is some impressive hat hair," she murmurs, finally content with her efforts. Her palm slides from forehead to back of head once…twice…okay, selfishly once more, if only to feel the silkiness of the blonde floss against her skin.

Realizing she's basically petting Illyana, the brunette bites at her lip and laughs again, blushing to her ears. "Oops, sorry. Your hair is…very soft." The explanation comes with a little shrug of her shoulders.

"Um…" Quick, topic change. "Would you like some coffee?" Not that Rose needs more coffee today, she's awake as can be, but hey — maybe it'll be funny to watch the normally-subdued librarian's aide try to figure out what to do with the excess energy.


It is silky smooth. And she doesn't even condition! A lifetime of washing her hair using only water and mild soaps must have some perks, and the cut of her bangs gives her a bit of volume on her scalp.

"No coffee. Coffee is disgusting," Illyana says, shaking her head. "Tea with lots of sugar and milk," she requests, instead. She doesn't seem to mind being petted, leaning visibly into Rosemarie's touch and her eyes lidding a bit in sensual self-indulgence. The smile returns, and she turns her blue eyes up to Rose's face through her lashes.

Finally she breaks from Rosemarie so the librarian can make the drinks, and moves to the sofa where she curls up on it and hauls a blanket closer to cover her stockinged feet, for warmth. "Is nice and warm in here," she remarks to Rosemarie, watching the woman puttering around the kitchen.


Illyana is in luck! The librarian's aide does have tea, though it's probably not anything close to what she's had at the Sanctum before — though Rosemarie wouldn't know this. As she pulls open a drawer and grabs a few satchets leftover from…god knows when.

"I've got…a black breakfast tea, some chamomile, and…Earl Grey," she calls over her shoulder. "What do you want?" Hearing the answer from the couch, she goes about cheating as far as the water goes. The kettle was already on in contemplation for another cup of coffee (French-press, she's secretly the snob) and the water is perfect for brewing tea. The mug with the tea bag floating in it is delivered with the reminder of, "It's hot, be careful," before the brunette returns to the kitchen for the milk and sugar. Uncertain of the required amounts, she elects to fill a small measuring cup with milk and another smaller measuring cup with white sugar and sets these down on the low table in front of the couch.

"I wasn't sure of how much you'd want," she explains, rolling up her sleeves. Illyana is correct; it is warm in here and she's tempted to change out of the warm sweater dress — but in a bit. "Let me go make myself a cup of coffee and you can tell me about your day."

Another few minutes of puttering, all the while mindful of the possibility of sapphire eyes on her back, before she returns and settles in on the couch. Folding her legs beneath her and tilting to one hip, she leans against the cushions and sips at the steaming coffee. "Mmm…" It's a purr of contentment reflected in tone and languid set of eyes.


Illyana would blush like — well, a rose — if she knew how dreamily ecstatic her expression was, indulgently watching every one of Rosemarie's tidy domestic movements as the woman sets about preparing some drinks for them. By the time the drinks are done, Illyana's started to warm up enough that her toes creep out from under the blanket, and she smiles delightedly as Rosemarie shows up with drinks on the tray.

"Thank you so much," she murmurs. Leaning forward, she obviates whatever deficiencies might exist in Rosemarie's tea by dumping most of the milk and sugar into the cup and mixing it quickly.

When Rosemarie settles into the sofa, Illyana wastes no time worming her way up against Rose's side, though she curls her knees under her to prop against the sofa's back so she can sit facing Rose on close to the same height level. "Thank you. Just what needed," Illyana says, smiling over her teacup. She takes a few quick gulps and exhales, her breath warm and milky as she presses against Rosemarie's shoulder.

"Was the library open?" she asks Rosemarie. "Saw some buildings closed because of snow. Many seem to stay home to hide from the cold," she remarks, utterly missing the larger nuances of traffic patterns affected by the weather.


For all that Lola the cat seems to detest the blonde Russian, the young woman herself is just shy of cat-like herself, with how small she can make herself curled up against Rosemarie's side. She's careful to hold her coffee mug out and away in case of jostling and, thankfully, none of the dark drink spills to the carpet.

Not that it would be much of a catastrophe, since the carpet is already dark to start with, but…it's the thought that counts.

Once Illyana seems settled, her friend takes a fortifying mouthful of milky coffee before setting aside the mug. "The library was open, yes, but not many people showed up. I was sent home because they had enough staff to run it without me. Not that I can complain," she adds, her finger winding through a strand of chestnut hair that hangs alongside her cheek. "Everyone was very grumpy with the weather. I don't think they'd close down many of the businesses unless it snowed a lot, maybe…over a foot. They can still salt the sidewalks to keep people from slipping."

Before she's really considering her actions, her wandering touch has made its way back over and into Illyana's blonde hair. Slow flexion of her fingertips is akin to massage at the warmed skin beneath the soft tresses and Rosemarie smiles a fond little smile as she works her way at deliberate speed from the dome back towards the base.

"But that's asking about my day. What about yours?"


Illyana's eyes remain dreamily focused on Rosemarie's face while the woman talks. Not that the Russian ever was particularly bothered by staring at people — a somewhat unsettling habit of hers, to be true — but knowing it's not making Rosemarie uncomfortable, she indulges herself a bit more.

When the fingers tickle her scalp, her eyes flutter and lid and she groans low in her chest, the sound almost a purr. The question prompts a rare, brilliant smile, and she looks at Rosemarie again.

"School. All day, school. But, many topics, so not too many hours on one thing," Illyana says. That must appeal to her flighty learning style. "World history, some science. Had thing — " she makes a twisting gesture with one hand, spinning. "Uh, top? A spinning top. Demonstrated centrifugal force," she says. "Top stays upright because is trying to — " she blinks. "Wait, understood this earlier. Teacher drew lines in all directions." She frowns, then mutters curse under her breath. "Will need to study more. But — " she murrs softly as a fingernail scraps her neck, leaning into it. "will, uh… need to study more."


"Always a good idea, studying," Rosemarie replies softly. Those fingernails reverse direction now, making their way back up towards the apex of Illyana's scalp once more. It's an easy-enough thing to do, so akin to scritching at Lola when the flighty cat wants attention, and the brunette has the fine art down of just enough pressure to keep from causing unwanted pain. "I'm curious, Illy. You're at school then. You mentioned having a mentor… What do you study with him, magic?"


"Da," Illyana says. Her eyes flicker open, the topic giving her a more serious expression. "Strange. Dr. Strange — doctor of… medicine, I think?" she recollects, hazily. The scritching isn't helping her focus, and her sharp blue eyes keep getting soft and out of focus.

"Er, but is also — very strong magician. Knows much about magic — more than anyone, I think," she admits. "But is also very… arrogant and demanding. Knows much, but harsh, hard teacher sometimes." She scowls prettily. "And very bossy. Rules about when to sleep, when to eat, how to leave and enter, what to wear… but he has taught me much," she concedes. "Has been friend to me, in end."


"His name is…Dr. Strange?" The brunette scoffs — and even giggles before biting at her lip. "I'm sorry, that's…ridiculous. Who has a name like that, even if he is some magician? It's ridiculous," she repeats, pausing at a place where the blonde hair seems to whorl in a natural cow's lick of sorts. Her nails work to realign the hair to its natural fall.

"He sounds like a jerk. Like a control freak," Rosemarie murmurs with a scrunch of her nose. "Too many rules for me. I mean…I think you're the better person, for treating him like a friend. I don't think we could get along well." The concession is offered quietly, with a bit more hesitance now. It seems she's just realized that she's trash-talking one of the blonde Russian's friends. "I've taught before and never needed to be harsh." There's a certain sympathy in the cinnamon-brown gaze that rests on the young woman reclining across from her.


Illyana sighs dreamily and rests her head on Rosemarie's shoulder, then kisses the side of her neck gently. Her other hand rests on Rose's knee, fingernails scraping idle, gentle little whorls in the fabric of her dress.

"He is jerk and controlling," Illyana agrees. "But means very well. I think is difficult for him — is very smart. Smarter than most. So, thinks fast, and thinking fast is difficult because he doesn't like having argument. Arrogant," she says, shrugging into Rosemarie's ribs. Her hair is unspeakably silky and flaxen — without a trace of curl to it, and with just enough natural volume that it pillows around her instead of falling like a sheet.


The light kiss to her neck is enough to make Rosemarie inhale silently. Maybe, with how the blonde rests her head upon the line of muscle, she feels the quick little rise of the brunette's torso. Thankfully, no coffee sloshes from the mug held in her partially-uplifted hand, the one not currently tangled up in the straw-hued hair.

She collects herself enough to continue speaking. "Well, you can be smart and not be arrogant," she argues half-heartedly, wondering if this is a silly subject to dwell on with Illyana. "It's called altruism. Not being selfish. Using your intelligence to build people up, not break them down."

A pause of silent thought and then she shrugs too. "I hope you're learning what you want from him, if he's so magically-powerful."


"Da. Magic — " Illyana sits upright, perhaps having missed the little nuanced inhalation, and straightens her back before looking at Rosemarie more studiously. "Magic in Limbo — different from magic here," she explains. "Limbo is… I don't think about it. I just think, 'want wings', 'want food', and — is there, da?" She clicks her nails against her tea, then takes a quick sip.

"Magic on Earth, is harder. Energy more difficult to move. Harder to keep idea in mind, must — like, wings, must make idea of wings, fill with energy. Very hard on Earth. Must also learn how people share magic, how they communicate, how to handle energy in this place. Feels very different than home. Am getting much better," she says. She shifts a little, sitting sideways with her legs tucked under her and bare knees resting atop Rosemarie's thigh.


"So…it's like a different language entirely? The words aren't the same? Or…no, not the words," and she ponders with a little hum, "the…concepts? You make the wings look so easy in Limbo. They're just there when you think of them. How are they different here?"

Her hand shifts out and away from Illyana's hair to return to her lap. It lingers there, but not idly and not for long; it rests on one of the bare knees within reach.

"I'm sorry, I must not be following. Fill with energy?" Rosemarie laughs in light embarrassment. Look who's being schooled now!


Illyana pinks a little at the fingers touching her so casually, a smile curling at her lips despite herself. "Uh — oh. Can show," she offers. She sets the tea aside, which makes a convenient excuse to wiggle a bit closer to Rosemarie, and then cups her palms together, concentrating firmly on it. A sparkle of light manifests between her fingers, and it turns into a small apple. Illyana's face grows tense, then relaxes. "There. Is only illusion, though," she tells Rosemarie. It's a really good illusion, but — the apple is entirely intangible. "Can make into real, but requires much more focus, because — it outside of me. Easier to internalize energy, like wings, I could do wings on Earth, but would still be very tiring because, very complicated."


Rosemarie watches the air within the cupped palms begin to gather visibly. Motes coalesce and shift in the color spectrum from pale-crystal-clear to a rubied red, the small hue as the skin of…an apple, the very one that appears there before her wide eyes.

"Oh!" Her lips form a pert little rose of surprise. She can't help but test the statement as to the apple's lack of true being. Reaching out, she expects to feel the waxy skin but instead, her fingertips pass through the illusory fruit and retreat out once more. Again, that sense of light static, like the flitter of moth's wings against skin. "It is illusion," she murmurs, glancing up at Illyana with truly appreciative surprise. "Make it real?"

This is a young woman who observes the things she adores closely, this list including the elegant magician who sits on her couch and weaves unimaginably amazing things as easily as breathing.


Illyana hesitates. Just a second. Then she nods.

There's a surge of pressure — not pressure, almost, but suction instead, as energy crackles around the two women and is shoved bodily into the apple. It shudders and kicks, with strange noises emanating from it, and then, abruptly— it glints in the light, properly, as if catching the reflections instead of merely imitating them. It dimples Illyana's palms.

Sweat beads on her brow, and she exhales, raggedly, and slumps a little. "There. All real, and I think permanent," Illyana tells Rosemarie, handing her the apple. "Er — maybe… don't eat it. Not, um… I am not so good at making the foods come out, uh… proper taste, sometimes," she says, hesitantly.


Now that — that is magic. She can even see the outline of her hand on the apple's surface as she reaches out and takes it from Illyana's grasp with little warning. The coffee mug is sipped at and then set aside on the coffee table.

The fruit rises and falls in a little toss when she tests at its weight and heft. A squeeze, to test the firmness of the inner flesh, and Rosemarie then gives the blonde a little smile.

"I wonder what it tastes like…?" Regardless of if the magician warns her otherwise, the brunette then bites into the rosy skin. It breaks perfectly crisp against her teeth and she pulls the chunk loose before chewing twice, her line of sight never wavering from Illyana's face.

"OHMUHGUH, AUGGHCK!" The piece of half-chewed apple is spat out onto the carpet and Rosemarie physically fights her rising gorge as the taste remains in her mouth: mothballs and motor oil with an overlay of wood dust. Tears linger at the corners of her eyes as she coughs and coughs and finally manages to get down a swig of scalding coffee.

Death to the tastebuds and her blessings on it!

"Illy, that was…awful," she manages and then breaks into laughter at the absurdity of it all.


Illyana's eyes go wide with alarm, but Rosemarie dives in — to devastating effect. The reaction causes Illyana's jaw to slack and then she covers her face, skin turning a flaming shade of pink between her fingers. "Oh, no no no," she groans, the words muffled. "No, please — am so sorry, flavor is very hard, I am sorry," she whimpers, clearly mortified and embarrassed that the little piece of fruit turned out to have such a bitterly poisonous taste to it.


"No, no, no, Illy!" Rosemarie can't help but continue belly-laughing, even as she can't help the smacking of her lips in reflexive disgust at the sheer memory of the taste. "It's fine, I'm fine!"

The apple has rolled beneath the coffee table, discarded during the flailing of her hands, and she takes another mouthful of coffee to push down the little tightness in the back of her throat.

Her palm returns to its place on Illyana's knee and gives it a squeeze, attempting to draw her out from behind those shuttering hands. "Come on, Illy, I'm fine. Look. I'm alive. It just tasted awful, that's all. Like you said, taste is a complicated sensation." She tilts her head, trying to locate those sapphire eyes from behind fingers. "You do know you've discovered a great prank, right…?"


Illyana peeks between her fingers, but Rosemarie's earnest, curling smile and wide appealing eyes pull her out of her shell. She wriggles a little closer — almost kneeling on Rosemarie's lap, if she gets much nearer, knee moving pleasantly under Rosemarie's hand. Her fingers drop away, one landing on Rosemarie's wrist and giving it an encouraging caress of her fingernails, the other falling limply in her lap.

"Prank?" Illyana searches her memory for the word. "Oh, a trick! Da, that would be good trick," she says, eyes brightening with a laugh. "A terrible trick, but good one, too?" She leans forward and kisses Rosemarie a with that fidgety combination of impulsive wariness, unsure of what the lines are in their new dynamic. "Will try on Piotr. Would be funny to see him make faces."


Ah, there she is. Come on, little falcon, out from under your wing. The mirrored touch is a good thing, the lingering at her wrist, an indicator of trust. That Illyana can take being laughed at, even in a gentle manner, is a good start. The brunette suspects that she'll need to move carefully to not scare off the young woman.

"Yes, a good tr — "Interrupted most delightfully by that sudden kiss and left blinking and lightly reddening beneath the freckles on her cheeks. Rosemarie decides that it's probably best to put aside the coffee, in the case of another unpredicted move; after all, hot coffee burns all skin, not just tastebuds. "I was thinking you could prank your mentor, the next time he gets all arrogant with you, but…that makes me a terrible person, so…forget I said that," she mutters, tucking her chin. Even so, she looks up through her lashes. Deep within that hesitance and restricted personality, there apparently lurks a wicked streak of humor.

Uh oh.


"Could prank you," Illyana says, prodding Rosemarie's ribs with a few fingertips, her cupid's bow lips curling into a grin of amusement at this new, unexpected side of Rosemarie's wit, leaning forward to bump her brow against Rosemarie's, nose playing eskimo kisses. "But maybe da, will prank Strange. Invent strange food tastes, leave laying around?" she says, knees rubbing against Rosemarie's fingers as she sits more upright, putting her head slightly above Rosemarie's and stroking the other woman's cheek. "Um… oh! Could maybe, uh, rearrange all books in his office! Would be good prank too, da? Won't find anything."


"Oh no, not the books!" Her giggles ring out in the living room as she continues blushing lightly; this behavior of brushing up against her is rather cat-like. But wait, has Illyana ever even seen a domesticated feline within this realm? "Oh, that might be a little too much, but I'm probably only saying that because of my job. Jesus, if someone did that to me…" She bites at her lip for just a second before grinning. "I might get a little annoyed."

Still, Rosemarie relents a moment later. "Just rearrange part of the shelves, not all of them. Maybe take one from each section and switch it. Pick the most random sections, like…move the mathematics into the arts and the english into the geography." Clearly, she's not taking into account that the books are likely a bit more complex in topic than basic biology and Shakespeare. "And don't do it all at once. Move only one or two. It'll drive him batty!!!"

With a small, semi-repentant smile, she tilts her head as charmingly as she can and asks, "Maybe not prank me though? Like I said, I'm a terrible person…giving you all these ideas and then asking for clemency."


Illyana is peculiarly like a feline. Perhaps that's why Rosemarie's cat doesn't like her so well? Prowling, curious, aloof and vulnerable— it's almost a certainty that if you rub her belly in just not quite the right way, you'll get scratched.

Or perhaps it's just a young woman revelling in having the real freedom of personal intimacy for the first time in her life. Or both.

"I make no promise," Illyana grins at Rosemarie, nose screwing up in a buttoned expression of delight. "But, would not want to do anything that makes you unhappy," she promises the librarian.


Rosemarie shakes her head slowly, giving the young woman a small but knowing smile.

"I guess I can assume nothing less of you. You're too clever for your own good, you know? I think your mentor underestimates you." Her hand, still resting atop the bony bend of the nearest kneecap, drags thumb back and forth, soothingly, offering tentative affection in case of a sudden swat.

The silence, one that's beginning to get comfortable, draws out a bit more before it's broken by her reaching for the mug of coffee and testing its temperature with lips. Maybe a warmer in a bit. "What makes you happy, Illy?" Yes, it's a question out of the blue, but one asked sincerely. The brunette holds up a sudden finger from her grasp around mug. "Actually…do…do Imake you happy? Is this a good start with me? Tea and coffee?"

Cue the bit of retreat back into herself, the withdrawal of chin without twinkle and cheek, but with hesitance and hope and a terrible quivering fear of rejection.


Illyana gives the question the consideration it's due, thinking, and then a bit hesitantly, lifts her bare legs and swinging them across Rosemarie's thighs, curling into the woman's side. She rests an elbow on the sofa behind her and props up her head, looking up at Rosemarie.

"This is … I don't… I don't know, but I want to say yes," Illyana tells Rosemarie, flushing a little at her visible emotional immaturity. "All my life, alone in the shadows. Then Cat and 'Ro came, and I had friends. Had not been even hugged for.. I don't know, entire life in Limbo. Now, in America, I have friends, have brother, have real life," she exhales, eyes flickering downwards in thought.

"But with you is… is different. Feel … fluttering, in belly. Safe when you hold me. When you kiss me — " she turns a brilliant shade of scarlet, rolling her lips to try and suppress a grin of intense joy and longing at the same time. "feels… like perfect, warm blanket when cold outside. I don't — I don't know love or this… these relationships," she says, struggling over the unfamiliar term. "Just know that am happy when you are with me." Her blue eyes flicker up through her eyebrows with an impishness that only her smile and a fierce blush saves from being outright suggestive. "Liking even better, when am being touched," she says, ears turning pink.


While Illyana might flush at emotional immaturity, Rosemarie flushes in pure relief and consternation that she even considered, for a moment, that she was messing it all up right at the start.

"I'm — I'm very glad that I'm safety and-and warmth and that I make you happy," she manages to say, all the while with a mind churning much faster than anticipated. She was hoping to remain the less flustered of the two of them after asking her question, but clearly, this is not the case. She's utterly beguiled by that sly light in the true-blue eyes that hold hers effortlessly and now leave her with dry mouth and heart in her throat.

"Very glad," she repeats faintly, clearly attempting to find a logical line of thought to follow and failing at it tremendously.

Coffee. There was something about coffee. Coffee? Warm coffee, warm like the pressure of Illy's palm lingering on her cheek. Er, no, needing a warmer coffee, that was it. But if she gets up now, she's need to untangle herself and…that takes effort and whoa, when did they get to snuggled up so close to one another?


Illyana is learning. Slowly, painfully at times, but she's learning. A bit of projection from herself, trying to infer agency in people — to anticipate what they want before they must ask or insist.

As if sensing Rosemarie's dry-mouthed surprise, as if she can hear the heartbeat hammering, she slowly leans back from Rosemarie to make just a little space, then, with those same slow, tentative motions, relieves Rosemarie of her coffee and sets it on the table for her, her silky hair shimmering with each motion as it runs over her shoulders like flaxen water.

Returning to Rosemarie, she eyes the other woman, biting her upper lip once with hesitation, then slowly slides herself into Rosemarie's lap, sitting sidesaddle on her thighs and curling her feet back under her again, half-facing her and nearly belly to belly.

"Rose, do you… feel same way, about me, then? Am happy with? Am I making you happy?" she asks, her tone weirdly soft and clearly more than a little apprehensive.


Wait, b-b-but, the coffee, where is she — she took it, it was the shield between inaction and reaction and now Illyana is basically astride her lap. There's that scent again, of the leaves and that bit of ozone that lingers around the blonde Mystic, maybe an aftereffect of her magic and the complete summoning of the apple. It makes Rose swallow and try to think fast about how to respond other than with something she feels is ridiculous.

"Y-y-y-yes, Illy, you make me happy. I get butterflies and-and your eyes are just…just so blue and this isn't making sense, sorry!"

Itchy…getting itchy! Behind her ears, the fans of feathers emerge with smooth speed and she notes them as she reaches up scratch. They brush her knuckles with soft touch and Rose immediately brings her hand down. "You…um, you make me go feathery, apparently," she adds with a hesitant laugh.


Illyana's lips curl and twist in a smile that worms across her face, and she lifts her fingers to Rosemarie's temple, then gently strokes the feathers behind Rosemarie's ears with a featherlight touch. "Falling makes you feathery too, Rose," Illyana observes, wryly. "So… is good thing, or bad thing? Am I making you uncomfortable?" she asks, her weight shifting on Rosemarie's thighs minutely. "I — I do not want you to dislike me. Look, I will make myself feathery, too, da?" she offers. Wings ripple into reality behind her, but they don't quite catch the light properly — illusions and images, though they flutter as if real. "There, both feathery. No need for fear."


The brunette's eyelashes flutter as the ghosting brush of fingertips to feathers sends a wave of goosebumps along her skin that rushes down her entire body. It elicits a subtle movement on her part as well, mirror to Illyana in how she too re-balances herself.

"N-n-n-n-no, Illy, y-you're fine, you don't n-need to…" But the sight of the wings appearing from behind the Mystic's shoulders, in how they spread and catch the ambient light in creamy pinions, even if they remain near-perfect with that delicate difference between substance and illusion — it's all enough to steal the breath from her, as always.

"You don't scare me, Illy," she whispers, her hands hovering somewhat uselessly before choosing the safer surface of the couch proper. To touch the Mystic again could totally enthrall her. "How could I dislike you? You are…so vibrantly amazing. Strong. Resilient. You are a very good thing," the emphasis is noted in the shifting of her irises to complete raptor-orange, those pupils blown wider still.


Illyana smiles at Rosemarie in fond relief, tension melting from her spine. She nods, once, as if unsure if she can trust her voice, eyes dipping away to conceal the rush of emotions that unwind her spine and shoulders.

Spotting one hand on the sofa, those nigh-talons curling in reflexive uncertainty, Illyana looks at Rose curiously, then picks up one hand and brings it to her face. Watching Rosemarie's face almost curiously, she gently kisses Rosemarie's palm, then uncurls the fingers and presses her cheek against the librarian's hand, eyes lidding as she looses a milky, heavy-lidded sigh, leaning into the caress she encourages Rosemarie to give her.

"Do not be scared, Rose," Illyana murmurs. "Believe me, am scared enough for us both."


"I-I-I'm not scared," the librarian's aid replies. Liar. Her tone gives it away. This is the first time in literal years that she's held such possiblity in her hands. The bestowment of affection to her palm is enough to make her quiver again, this time at a rate sure to be noticed. At her shoulders, the prickling warning of wings imminent. "You don't l-l-look scared either, y-you…you look radiant."

Her skin is so soft and warm and it's so unfair how the blonde Russian does nothing but exist to cause such a whirlwind in her innards. When did this happen? When did it become more than simple words? Even as Rosemarie licks dry lips, her eyes flicking from that sweet cherry-blossom of her mouth up to those somnolent azure eyes, she can't help but shift again. Her nerves are attempting to convey too many things at once.


Illyana looks unsure. A bit puzzled. The tension, the shifting, the feathers and the darkening of the iris— all stress reactions. All fear and anxiety, and it's obvious she's worried that she's the cause of Rosemarie's consternation.

"You do not have to hide your feathers from me, Rose," Illyana reminds the woman, gently, her own hand finding Rosemarie's fingers and interlacing with them gently. "I like them. They are part of you. If — if you would like, I will change, too, da? We can both be winged together. Would make you more comfortable, maybe?"


"Y-you already have wings, Illy," the brunette reminds her in near-breathless confusion. Fingers interlocked within the Mystic's stronger grasp leaves Rosemarie with nothing to focus on beside the magnetic presence of her. Within her blood, something frissons and makes her inhale sharply, pupils blown full-wide.

RRRRRRRRRIP!!! There goes the infrastructre of the top; as always, it gives, hanging on her body by strands of fabric. Out come the wings, stretching fully, somehow avoiding getting caught on the couch and missing the side lamp by mere inches. Spine arched — it's an ecstatic feeling of freedom that the Otherness rewards with a rush of endorphins — to press her basically flush to Illyana. Her face remains uptilted towards the ceiling as she pants, eyes held tightly shut. She can feel the warm pufts of the Russian's breath against the line of her jaw and worries in a fleeting moment if she's crushing Illy's hand.

Remembering that the young woman is much more physically fit than her does not help to lower the rate of her pulse.


Illyana's eyes fly wide open. "I meant in Lim — " but the process is one that's operating almost entirely on a base, even instinctual level. She leans back in slight alarm at the explosion of muscle and feather, breath catching in a gut-level echoing twinge at that singing release of endorphins. And her own hormones surge wildly as Rosemarie arches her back to belly up to the lean blonde Russian, who grips her shoulders and holds on tight as Rosemarie expresses sighing release from the tension gripping her body.

"Oh, Rose," Illyana sighs, her slender, strong fingers curling tight against Rosemaries gripping digits in response to their clenching spasm. She kisses a quick line against Rosemarie's slender jawline, before capturing her lips in hers, with a heady passion thundering in her ears, one hand pressing against her collarbone and the other cupping the back of Rosemarie's neck, weaving through her hair to hold her tight.


Kissing a thunderstorm, always. Autumn skies incarnate, that is what Illyana will always be to the winged librarian.

Tea and milk, all intertwined with pillowy lips and irresitible pinning by the scruff of her hair — it's all being observed and documented at some far distance, no doubt able to draw shivers and memories by the simple noticing. Rosemarie allows the mantling by the Mystic, unable to do much more than return the kiss breathlessly. Within her blood, the Otherness coos and agrees entirely.

This much, right now — this is perfection.


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