1964-07-28 - Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying
Summary: Old classmates catching up
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
karma illyana 


It's a mostly quiet summer afternoon out behind the Xavier Institute. From off in the direction of the lake a radio can be heard. "… a game and it can always come again. Oh don't let the sun catch you cryin'," Gerry and the Pacemakers sing. "Don't let the sun catch you cryin', oh no, oh, oh oh…"

The song fades out and a DJ announces, "That was 'Don't Let the Sun Catch You Cryin', Gerry and the Pacemakers at number seventeen on today's top forty! Next up it's Millie Small, tellin' us all about her boy, Lollipop!" The next song begins to play.

The radio is sitting next to a lounge chair, a frame of metal tubes crossed by plastic bands, leaning back to expose the young woman sitting on it to the sun. This, of course, is Illyana, trying to ignore the problems she's facing in favor of getting a tan. She's wearing a simple white bikini, and her face is turned to the sun, eyes covered by sunglasses with wide, plastic rims. Her bare feet move to the beat of the song, but there's no other sign that she's awake.


Drawn out by the sound of music, Xi'an wanders out towards the lake. The young woman is dressed in a yellow sundress, faintly patterned in gingham. It falls to her knees, and exposes just a bit of shoulder. Fairly conservative. Certainly not a bikini. Onward Xi'an goes until the source is discovered. A grin grosses her lips, and she stares for a moment. Debating. Debating just what to do when locating a sleeping Illyana.

After a few moments, and a few plans laid out, Xi'an decides against those plans. Too mean. Instead, she slowly walks around to stand on Xi'an's other side, between the blonde and her sun, and casts a shadow right over the woman's face. And she just stands there, staring, waiting.


"The feet are moving," says Illyana. "I -am- awake. Hi, Xi'an." Her feet keep swinging left and right as Millie Small explains that her boy Lollipop sets her world on fire, is her one desire. One hand rises to Illyana's face and draws her glasses down to expose her blue eyes. "Comment allez vous?" She's not fluent in French, but she knows a few bits and pieces, enough to ask her old friend a simple question.


"And I am not fetching a bucket to dump lake water on you, mon ami," Xi'an says, with a smile on her lips, and a soft laugh. She steps forward up to the chair, then reaches down to give Illyana's leg a little nudge. She proceeds to perch on the edge of the lounger, regardless of if she moves or not. "%<199>a va bien, merci. Et toi?" she asks. "You going to audit my fall course?" she asks, ever hopeful.


"I'm not the one who should be happy about that," Illyana replies, an evil little grin coming to her face. "I would be perfectly capable of responding by teleporting you into the middle of the lake." She moves her legs a little as Xi'an sits, but doesn't seem bothered by the other woman's proximity. "I have a demonic coup boiling. Some of the demons have taken to protesting human superiority. Or something to that effect. What class are you teaching?"


"You wouldn't! Ruin my lovely dress… make me… immodest where all these impressionable young minds could see!" Xi'an protests, with a grin. Nevermind that it's summer, and there's not a bunch of students loitering about. The point stands! Xi'an reaches out to lay a hand on Illyana's knee, and she gives a little squeeze. "I am teaching french. Three levels. Tuesday and thursday for the two beginnings, then an evening class, Monday, for conversational," she explains in those accented tones of hers. Her head then tilts. "Pietro came through… said something about being attacked by demons? I never know if he's speaking nonsense or not… but could be a real happening?"


"Not my demons, I'm fairly sure," Illyana says, not addressing the issue of whether or not she'd actually drop Xi'an into the lake — though really, somebody who has known Illyana so long should be fully aware that she is perfectly capable of such mischief. "Mine are busy with their foolishness. Some reprobate has managed to sneak into Limbo and is organizing them. I'm trying to ignore the problem tonight. French class." This is said with pursed lips and a brief, thoughtful look. "Perhaps I'll come sit in, but just now I can make no promises. I have… well, absolutely no plans for the fall, but you never know what may crop up!"


"You mean, besides demons?" Xi'an asks, with the faintest of smiles. She continues to watch her friend, head tilted, considering. Considering, considering. "Might be an ideal night for sitting out and having some wine," she decides. "If you are wishing to forget, that is. I went to the record store yesterday… Getz and Gilberto. Bossa nova. Jazz. It's supposed to be incredible," she offers up.


"Demons always crop up," Illyana replies. "They are as constant as taxes." She does not include death in those constants, of course, because in a world of superheroes, death is never a constant. "Wine is fine, though vodka is my personal preference." Given her heritage, it certainly will be. "I suppose, if you want jazz, we can turn off the radio. You have a record player?"


"I'll be happy troubled teenagers is my constant problem," Xi'an says, with a soft smile. Because, really, her life has been fairly simple for the last little while. Younger siblings in their 'foster' home doing well, her own job going smoothly. At the mention of 'vodka', well, that causes a face-scrunch. "I'll just get drunk and turn bright red," she says. "Wine is safer," she decides. Then she looks over to the radio, and then looks around. "Oh? Now? I wouldn't want to ruin your sun burn in progress," she says, with a sly smile. She reaches out to give Illyana's stomach a poke.


One hand reaches down to the opposite side of the lounger and lifts a plastic bottle of Coppertone. "No burns for me, thank you," she says. Her belly is slick with the stuff when poked. "Wine just gets one drunk more slowly. I know a girl who insists on making her own fortified wine. Port and vodka. Overkill, I say." She drops the bottle to the side once more, then stretches her arms up over her head with a yawn.


There's another nose scrunch as Xi'an draws her hand finger back. Greasy Illyanas are no fun. She wipes that finger on her own dress. "That sounds like a perfectly good waste of Port," she decides. "And yes, it gets me drunk more slowly, which means I simply do not drink as much. Then… no drunk. No turning into a tomato," she explains, with a smile.


Illyana notes the way Xi'an wipes her finger clean with a smirk. "You wouldn't want me to turn into a boiled lobster," she says mildly. "I agree, a true waste of vodka. Xi'an, I am Russian. We are a hard drinking people who know that the true purpose of alcohol is to get drunk and forget our troubles! Russians have many troubles." A firm nod. Russia, so troubled.


"I am very away that you are Russian, mon chou," Xi'an says with a smirk. "As if you'd let me forget," she adds. "It is why I am worried about you getting sun burned. Your people are meant to be inside, drinking. Not laying about in the sun," she decides. And Xi'an, of course, gets so nice and dark. "What troubles you now? Or- oh, yes. We're supposed to be forgetting our troubles, not dwelling on them," she says. "Forgive me."


"Russians have many troubles," Illyana repeats, emphasizing the first word. "One Russian may not have any, but since my country is Communist, we share all — including misery." She affects a terribly unhappy face that lasts for about a second and a half. "You are forgiven, moya podruga. But even Russians can tan."


"Yessss… But you are so pretty and white," Xi'an says, her smile going whimsical as she looks her friend over once more, then turns to look away, over towards the lake. "Yes," she whispers out, then. "Waiting for some good news from home and… it's not coming. We're months since victory was certain for the South," she murmurs out, then gives a little shake of her head, and lets out a sigh. Seems Xi'an can have problems, too!


"I've heard," says Illyana sympathetically. "And I'm sorry that Russia is so involved in Viet Nam's troubles. Not that there's anything I could have done about it." After all, from the point of view of the paperwork of the Soviet Union, Illyana Nikolaevna Rasputina, late of the Ust Ordinskiy Collective, is all of eight years old.


"Well… the troubles started long, long ago. The French… Now the Americans…" Xi'an says, a frown lingering on her lips as she considers. "I am wondering if family will attempt to reach me. If my uncle is involved in any of it…" she says, with a faint sigh. "Wondering if the X-men will get involved. If I'll be sent back there. I just…" The Viet woman pauses, and holds that soft frown. "I'd like to see home again. But not if it's to fight in a war…"


"You won't be required to go back," Illyana says firmly. "If you want to go help your people, that's one thing. But the professor would never require you to go someplace you don't want to go. And if he tries, I could easily sequester you away someplace safe for a bit." She pauses. "I mean, he'd locate you, but he wouldn't come after you to make you go. Which he wouldn't anyway."


"I know, I know," Xi'an says, lifting up one hand, in a placating sort of gesture. "I know no one will /make/ me. But if they ask? Who else speaks Vietnamese? Who else already knows the country?" she asks. "It would be foolish not to go. And cowardly… to stay here… just because of some bad memories," she murmurs out. There's a pause, and then she smiles, as she glances back to Illyana. "Thank you, Illyana. Even if you don't mean whisking us both away to lie on a beach somewhere, I'm still happy that you would take care of me."


"Doug Ramsey," Illyana replies. "He speaks Vietnamese, anyway. Jean and the Professor can communicate with anybody without any trouble, and Rogue can absorb memories and abilities to do any of the above. There are always alternatives." She smiles. "Why not going somewhere with a nice beach? I hear Tahiti is wonderful this… any time of year."


And how both hands come up. "D'accord, okay, I get it. I am not needed," she says, with a little laugh. "You have a way with words, you know, mon chou?" she asks the other woman, with a smirk. And then her brows lift, and a little laugh comes out. "Really? Could you actually go on vacation?" she asks. "Leave the rest of the world behind for a few days?"


Illyana shrugs. "People could reach me if they needed me. I should really be dealing with the Limbo problems, but they aren't getting out without my help, so…" Another shrug, a wry look. "I live the life of idle royalty. I do what I like until somebody overthrows me and tries to cut off my head."


"Mmmm…" muses Xi'an as she stares at her friend. "Well. I couldn't reach back here, not from Tahiti. So…" That awkward moment when your dear friend can do anything, and is fighting demons, and you're still taking the bus. She considers a moment, and then gives a nod. "We should, then. Go. Before the semester starts. August 21st, I do believe," she says. "Perhaps we could talk Dani into it, too…?"


"We can certainly ask her if she'd like to come. A little class reunion." Illyana smiles at this. "It would be nice to have some of the others along, but… what can one do? There are so many graduates, and only so much space for us all."


"Have you spoken to her recently?" Xi'an asks, idly curious. "I've not," she says. And then there's a pause, and then she's fixing an incredulous look upon the lbonde. "There's only so much space… says Magik?"


"We were in the same place on Monday," Illyana replies. "We wound up fighting werewolves. And exploding rats." Her nose wrinkles slightly. "I think Lorna's boyfriend may have had an embolism when a rat exploded all over him. There's only so much space -here-," she clarifies. "We can't house every mutant to ever graduate from the Institute and still take new students."


"Oh?" Xi'an asks, brows lifting up high. She listens, and then she gives a laugh. "Kaleb… I met him just the other day. Lorna seemed quite happy with him, even if… well. I intend to keep an eye on him," she says. "He was decidedly more cautious than Pietro. The man who suggested Lorna should test her powers in the /Medbay/," she says, with a roll of her eyes. "Anyways, you are right. Though really, I was referring space on the trip over to Tahiti. As if the plane wouldn't be able to hold us all," she says, with a smirk. "Who else would you want to invite?"


"I've been meaning to sit down with the man," Illyana says. "Nobody hurts Lorna and gets away with it. This one needs to be warned." Lorna considers her father and the Professor her disadvantages in terms of finding the right guy. Illyana tends to consider Lorna her own worst enemy in that regard, and herself something of a close second. "Lorna could probably use a vacation. I'm sure there are plenty of others who'd appreciate one."


"Pietro made some vague threats. The young man handled himself well enough," Xi'an says, musing quietly over the interaction. "I do not think you need to threaten him. I think he understands. I believe he was to meet Erik… soon. If he hasn't already," she murmurs out, a bit distracted by the though. "So I'm sure there will be more than a bit of 'stern talking to'," she says. Then a pause. "Of course… Lorna must make her own choices…"


"I don't threaten, Xi'an," says Illyana. "I make a series of reasonable statements explaining how one event leads inexorably to a sad conclusion. That's not threatening. It's education." She looks pleased with herself at this. "The problem, though, is that Lorna makes some bad choices. I mean, she was my roommate for awhile, and I adore her, but… sometimes one needs a friend to step in."


Xi'an stares. Oh, how incredulous that look on her face is. She lofts up both dark brows as she stares at her friends. "So, it wasn't threatening to throw me in the lake. Simple explanation of cause and effect?" she asks. Her smile is back. "I do adore you, Yana," she says. The look on her face reveals it to be wholly true, too. "Just… don't stifle her. Too much control and…" There's a small wave of her hand.


"The potential cause had already been averted," Illyana replies. "One can hardly threaten when the potential action will never have happened." Ah, weird tenses, the bane of time travelers and grammaticians. "I am happy to be adored, Xi'an. Give a queen her due." A wink, and then she shakes her head. "I won't stifle her. Kaleb may wind up being right for her. I'm just tired of her getting hurt."


"It does seem wiser… to choose the path of loneliness," Xi'an decides, her smile going a touch sad. "At least, romantic loneliness. We have our friends, our family. Well. I do, at least. You, and Leong and Nga, and everyone else…" she muses. "Easier to not get hurt that way. But then, Lorna is all of… eighteen now? Harder to think clearly…"


"I will never be a good one for romance," Illyana observes. "I've got friends and family, too, and too many evil, grotesque little children to count. As for Lorna… I think she wants love too badly, sometimes." She shrugs at this, sitting up in her lounger. "She's eighteen, and she's had at least two intense romances in the last year."


"Have you ever… had anyone?" Xi'an asks, head tilting to the side. "I mean, I don't remember, but…" She pauses for a moment. "If you don't mind me asking. I just… well. It's been a little while since we last talked like this…"


Illyana turns her face toward Xi'an and studies her for a long moment, her lips pressing tight before she heaves a sigh. "Xi'an," she says, voice careful, measured, "I was kidnapped when I was six years old by demons. They are not creatures known for courtesy. And I spent thirteen years with them, from my perspective, before I managed to gain sufficient control over my power to overthrow their master."


"Yana-…" Xi'an starts, then stops. She reaches out to lay her hand on the blonde's knee once more. "I'm sorry," she says, in a soft voice. "I just-… you know. Maybe… someone… came along and things changed. I don't know," she whispers, her tone a touch hopeful, and decidedly apologetic. "You know, anything is possible…"


Illyana shakes her head, a hand stretching out to cover Xi'an's, giving a gentle squeeze. "It's not impossible," she says gently, "but I think it's extremely unlikely that I'll ever want that sort of relationship with anyone."


Yana earns an appreciative smile in response. Xi'an certainly doesn't want to upset anyone. At least, not for this reason! "That is all I mean by it," she asks. "And I just ask because… I care for you. And… given everything… gossiping about… people… we have crushes on can often fall to the wayside. So, I ask," she says. There's a faint shrug, a squeeze of Illyana's knee, and then Xi'an draws her hand back. "As I said, I think… it seems wise. Too many other things to worry about," says Xi'an, as if she totes isn't in love with anybody!


As if, right? Illyana hesitates a moment, then leans in and hugs Xi'an. "You are a lovely woman, Xi'an," she says. "If I were open to such relationships, I'm sure you would be wonderful for me." She plants a very gentle kiss on the Asian woman's cheek, nothing but friendship in that, but friendship is a sort of love too. She doesn't apologize — but Illyana rarely apologizes for anything. Still, there's the embrace, so perhaps that's something.


The hug is accepted, rather eagerly. Xi'an's arms slip about the other woman, and she gives a gentle squeeze. The follow up, though? That has her whole body tensing. "I-… I didn't-… That is not why I-…" Xi'an stammers out, and as she draws away, her face is already flushing. "Oh, mon dieu, Yana that is not what I meant!" she insists. "I was just-… I was just asking!" she says, again, and then quickly looks away.


Illyana raises an eyebrow. True enough, she's not the best judge of human interactions. "Then I apologize," she says, one arm sliding away. "I misunderstood."


Xi'an's eyes flash a touch bigger, and she quickly turns back, and grabs Illyana's hand, the one that has pulled off her. "No, Illyana… Please, don't-…" She takes a breath, and huffs it out. "I am sorry. You're not-… Putain," she mutters, that last one a curse. "You're not ''wrong''," she says. "It's just… I… you are… I care for you very much. But I wasn't… trying to push you into a conversation about… anything. It's just… been… difficult for me. So, please, don't-… Don't think you're wrong."


Illyana smiles. It's a rare sort of smile for her. Most of the time her smiles are full of mischief, a little evil, a little danger. She's lost most of her soul to dark magic, and it's reflected in her eyes with some frequency. But there's nothing of that evil in this expression. "What I think," she says, letting Xi'an take her hand, "is that you are my friend, and that's what really matters."


"And in that, mon ami, you are very much so right," Xi'an says, returning the smile, and finally relaxing. "And I am so very glad that you… care for me. And that you worry about my feelings." Those silly human feelings! "With or without romance… we will be happy," she adds. "And a vacation to Tahiti will make that all the better."


"I can already feel the…" Illyana pauses here. "I've never been to Tahiti," she admits. "So I'm going to assume 'hot sun' and 'ocean air' are sufficient descriptors."


"I've not been, either. I'll hope it's a bit… more dry… than the islands I have been to. Eighty-eight degrees, at night, with air as thick as soup… well. When you are on the beach, it's better," Xi'an explains. Then a pause. "Sorry, that is… back at home, near home," she adds. Then there's a shrug. "They speak French in Tahiti. You can practice," she says, with a bright smile.


"I'm going to get dragged into this French class," Illyana observes. "There is no escape for me. I am doomed to learn French."


"C'est la langue de l'amour!" Xi'an exclaims, with a grin. "Why would you not want to learn it?" she asks, then there's a touch of mischief in her eyes. "Prefer your own language? Which is composed mostly of just grunts?" she asks.


"We do not grunt. It is guttural. There is a difference. And we have established my feelings about 'l'amour'." Illyana smirks at this, some of the mischief returning to her expression. "Clearly you don't appreciate Russian because you're not drunk enough."


Xi'an laughs and bobs her head, nodding along as her friend speaks. Her smile showing clearly in her eyes, as she appears to squint. "Mmm… We could work on your Vietnamese?" she offers up. "No khong phai la ngon ngu cua tinh yeu," the woman says, in a voice decidedly less playful and serious. She holds the serious face for a moment, and then laughs again. "Does it have to be vodka drunk, or will wine drunk suffice?"


"And what does that mean?" Illyana asks of the Vietnamese expression. She is no Doug Ramsey. "Wine drunk will likely suffice, but only because I like you."


"We'll see if you continue to like me while drunk," Xi'an replies. Likely, their time drinking together has been limited. Xi'an had been playing responsible for the past many years of her life, and had to go take care of children most nights. Getting drunk is rare. "And I said… It is ''not'' the language of love," she says, with a smirk. "I don't much care for it.. Vietnamese. More logical than English but still… Mmm."


"Logic is overrated," says Illyana, "but don't tell Doug I said so. He'd be terribly upset, possibly." She leans back in her seat again. "Whatever the case, I'm sure we can get together a group for a week in Tahiti. Or even just a weekend."


Another laugh from Xi'an, and then she nods her head. "Our secret," she promises. Then a breath, and another nod. "Mmm… you would take us there, yes?" she asks. "Rather than a whole day, across a dozen planes…?" she asks.


"I would take us there in a series of short hops to make sure we don't accidentally wind up halfway across the universe," Illyana promises. "At least my messed-up teleports never seem to take me anywhere unsurvivable."


Xi'an's eyes narrow at that. "Yes, not… unsurvivable," she murmurs out. Because, well, she survived! And got a killer physique for it! "But. Short hops. That… seems… safe," she says. There's a pause, then a little gesture. "Does it help if you've been to a place before?" she asks. "Or is it all the same, so long as it's not too far?"


"It's mostly distance that causes the trouble," Illyana concedes. "I've got it better in hand than I used to, though. I don't think I've had a major miss in years."


Xi'an bobs her head. "We can stop in LA, then Hawaii, then down to Tahiti… maybe. I'll consult a map," she decides, with a smile. "And we'll talk to Dani. And Lorna? If we go before the semester starts, she won't ''officially'' be my student yet," she says. "And I'll let you decide if Kaleb is to come, too," she says. Xi'an then shifts, and draws herself up. "I'll let you enjoy your sun."


"She's eighteen. I think she graduated already," Illyana says. "Though I could be wrong. As for Kaleb… I feel like this should be a girls' adventure." She smiles. "You should drag out a lounge chair and relax, Xi'an. Feel free to join me any time."


"You underestimate her brilliance," Xi'an says, with a smirk. "She's entering her sophomore year. Skipped a year of highschool, I believe," she muses, then a shrug. "Regardless. She'll be in one of the French classes," she says. Then there's a look around, and a moment's consideration. "Mmmm… Alright. I'll go get changed and be back. With wine," she says, with just the faintest bit of mischief in her voice. Because that's breaking the rules! "Je reviens!" she declares, as she turns off.


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