|Secrets and Lies|
|What: Illyana and Peter go out to the movies and then talk about the weight of secrets and lies.|
Illyana thinks she might be late. OK, she's pretty damned sure she's late. Time and Illyana, not really friends. It's totally not her fault this time though! There was that fight and the Loki guy disappeared and so she was hunting all over Limbo to make sure he hadn't slipped off into there. The Mistress of Limbo does *not* want another magic user sneaking around her home! She checks the address she wrote down and looks at the house with a shrug. Seems to be the place. Wearing worn bluejeans and an NYU T-shirt with her Xavier's hoodie on over it, she looks positively normal today! OK, so she's still got her agressive boots that looks like she orders exclusively from New Rocks and black polish on her nails. BING BONG! she presses the doorbell.
There's a few step, thump-swing, step, thump-swings. Eventually Peter answers the door, with two old crutches under each arm. In the couple of hours it's been, his healing factor has mended the bone itself, but the ligaments and rest of the ankle are still too injured to walk on. Nevertheless, he's got a smile on his face, somewhat surprised she still came. "Hey," he says as he looks at her. "You look nice." He checks to make sure his necklace under his shirt still has the ring on it and makes sure his webshooters are adequately concealed. He does not mention her lateness. "You ready to head out?"
Illyana shifts her stance, one hip cocked out a bit so she can rest a hand on it and looks at Peter's ankle. Then slooooowly slides her gaze up to his eyes and cocks a brow. "It doesn't look like you're ready to head anywhere. What happened?"
"Banged it against something hard. Wasn't watchin' where I was goin. It'll be fine in the morning." And in that, he's being completely and totally honest. "I'll be okay. I don't want to lose this opportunity to go somewhere with you. I can afford it this time. Promise."
Illyana still looks dubious but shakes her head. "Alright, fine." She chuckles. "I don't know that I'd call it an 'opportunity'." She starts back towards the street, keeping her pace slow so that he can keep up with the crutches. "You're accident-prone, aren't you?"
"What would you call it then?" asks Peter as he step-swing-thumps step-swing-thumps. "And I'm not accident prone, I don't think. I was when I was younger, but I think I've been quite wary lately."
"Mmmm. Not sure. Just makes it sound like it's something unusual or unlikely to happen instead of just hanging out." Illyana says, sliding her hands into her back jeans pockets and matching her stride to his, the tromp-tromp of her heavy boots playing counterpoint to his three-part beat. "I dunno. You crashed into me and busted Howie's game thing, and now you ran into something. Jumping off the building and crashing through the window won't count, since you did that on purpose."
"Didn't you run into me?" Peter asks, trying to clarify. "Sorry. Last time you told me that it doesn't really need to be anything, which is girl code. So I thought opportunity was an apt word." The theatre is just a few blocks away and Peter realizes he's got no idea what they're going to see.
Illyana grins, slow and slightly mocking. But it's definitely more grin than smirk. "'Girl code' huh?" That amuses her. As if on cue, Illyana asks, "So what movie are we seeing anyhow?"
"Whatever's playing closest to when we get there," Peter says as he returns the grin smoothly. "Yeah. Girl code for, I ain't really diggin' on you, so there's the door."
"If you try to make me watch the new Tyler Perry movie, I am *so* gone." Illyana tells Peter as he reveals his *brilliant* plan. His translation gets a slightly puzzled glance. "Really? Huh." She shakes her head, "I don't have a lot of practice making friends." She admits, looking over to him, the words coming after just a moment's hesitation. "I went to a boarding school, so it was kinda make friends or be alone all the time."
"It's a real Russian Roulette, then, I suppose," Peter says forlornly as they are almost to the theatre. "Okay. Not my best humor." He looks over to her and shakes his head, "Illyana, I'm just messin' around. You can be my friend. Or you can be alone, too. It's convenient...like.." He looks off at the signs for movies as they finally get to the theatre. "Looks like you get your choice of summer block buster or romantic foreign film."
"Summer block buster. I'm not a romantic movie type." Illyana says with a slight crinkling of her nose. Guess he won't get stuck watching chick flicks! "No, I like having friends..." If only she sounded more enthusiastic about that! "I'm just... not good at being a friend." She says with a shrug. She doesn't even bother to acknowledge the awful, awful pun.
"Two tickets to Rush Hour 8," Peter says as he slides some cash up on the ticket booth. After getting their tickets, he awkwardly tries to pull the door open for Illyana, but it's a jangled mess. "I think...*unf* You're a pretty good friend. I think we're just both a bit awkward."
Illyana could offer to open the door. Or she could at least help. But no, she leans her weight back on the heel of one foot and cocks her head to the side to watch Peter all but dancing with the door as she smirks at him. When he eventually gets it open she gives him a wink and walks through. Now he just needs to manage to get through with those crutches! Which of course she turns to watch as well. "I drug you to a heavy metal club and tripped your 'weird-shit-o-meter' to 10."
"You did," Peter says as he stumbles through the doorway in a hop that actually comes off remarkably gracefully, which he seems to be able to do when he needs to. "But you made me look pretty with black nailpolish." He nods over to the counter, "Would you like popcorn?"
"Not a fan of popcorn." Illyana admits. "But Red Vines are my guilty movie pleasure. What do you want? You got the tickets, I'll get the snacks." Illyana offers, heading over towards the counter, walking backwards as she waits for his answer.
"I want to pay," Peter says, in response, moving towards the counter. "Red vines for the girl, popcorn for me," Peter tells the attendant as he goes for his wallet.
Illyana rolls her eyes a bit but she doesn't fight him that hard. "I'll carry. Or else we'll never get into the movie and you'll be wearing the popcorn."
"Things go poorly, I might be wearing it anyhow." Peter pays and allows her to carry the popcorn as they make their way in. It's slow going, but the movie starts without any further drama.
Illyana laughs, but doesn't say that he won't! When they get to their seats she slouches down low, putting her feet on the back of the chair in front of her. The lights go down and the movie starts.
Blah blah blah. The movie kind of sucks. Peter eats his popcorn, and doesn't make a move or anything exciting like that would necessitate a big scene issue.
Despite the fact that it's kind of a sucky movie, Illyana seems to enjoy it well enough that she doesn't look bored and even laughs at the funny parts. As the credits roll and people stand to leave, she seems content to hang out until the crowd disperses. "Favorite part?" She asks, looking over at him.
Peter notices she doesn't get up as the people begin filing away, so he decides to sit as well. He tests at his foot, the healing factor doing nicely at this point. He thinks it should be good by tomorrow. "Uhm. I like the mugging gone bad towards the first part of the movie. What's yours?"
"The slow walk away from the explosion." Illyana says without really needing to think about it. "It's a classic. Totally cheesy but.." She shrugs. Only once people have left does she stand, waiting for crutches-boy to get himself together.
Peter gets together rather quickly. He sort of hops up onto the one foot and smiles at her. "Gotta admit, the slow walk away from the explosion was pretty cool, yeah." He checks the time on his cellphone, wondering with his injured foot if he should risk going on rounds tonight.
As they file out of the theater, Illyana looks over while he checks his phone. "I'll walk you home so you don't look like mugger-bait." She offers him with a grin.
"Awww." Peter says to her, a bit sarcastically. "You're very sweet." Instead of heading out the way they came, Peter heads for one of those exits in the back that lead out a side door. He kicks out with his foot as he brings them both up, kicking open the door a bit. As he lands on his good foot, he elbows the door the rest of the way open, out into the humid evening.
Illyana lets him lead the way out, figuring since the theater is near his house, he's been here before and this is the better exit. She hooks her thumbs in her back pockets. "I know. Like sugar." She teases. "No more visitor problems, I take it?"
"That's your new nickname. Sugar," Peter says as they make their way down the sidewalk in the back. It's still wet. Must have rained. "Nopers. Your mystical amulet...well, I wear it around my neck...It's kept me safe thus far."
Illyana grimaces. "Oh hell no." She says of the nickname. "No way." She gives a satisfied nod as he says that. The demon that had been annoyed with him obviously got the message.
"Oh, come on, sugar." Peter says just before his spidey-sense starts tingling, "Look out!" A knife wielding attacker who jumps from the bushes gets a crutch right to the face. Peter winces as he comes down on his bad ankle, but it holds. From behind, another attacker attempts to go for Illyana!
Illyana doesn't have spidey-sense, but she is very observant. Growing up in Limbo makes one always expect to be attacked. She doesn't have Peter's reaction time either and she's still turning to take in the danger when said danger gets a crutch to the face! She drops down, one foot sliding out to the side as she does so. There's the sound of the soles of her shoes scraping against the sidewalk as the other attacker slashes with his knife. Illyana's elbow comes up and back, over her head as she aims for the baddies' stomach.
The baddie OOFS as his stomach is smashed and his knife goes flying, right next to Peter who kicks it out of the way. In two fell swoops they've totally just beaten down two would be robbers. Peter's breathing is a bit heavy, but he turns to Illyana, "Nice move. Should I call the cops?"
"If you wanna spend the next few hours giving your statement." Illyana says as she gets back to her feet and giving a wary look around. She can handle knives. Guns are bad though. Just ask Doug Ramsey. She looks back to Peter with a frown of concern. "You OK?"
"Fine," Peter says as he winces down to pick up his fallen crutch. He slams it into one of the thugs for effect. He could probably go out as Spidey tonight. Maybe a crutched Spidey. That'd give Jameson something to sell. Well, on second thought..."Well, I think both of will probably need some medical attention. Think you clipped that guys rib. I don't think they'll be hurting anyone." Peter does, however, text a tip to the tip number in Queens quickly. When he's done he looks up and smiles, "So, you were walking me home, right?"
Illyana chuckles and nods, falling in beside him. "Nice reactions, by the way." She says, looking both a bit impressed as well as slightly confused. She's had the training and experience to realize that was *really* nice reactions.
"Yeah," Peter says mockingly arrogant. "I watched a lot of Bruce Lee as a kid." He winks at her and goes back to step-swing-thump step-swing-thumping. "Nice night," Peter begins before going somewhere he has yet to go with her. "How long did you live in Russia? Do you miss it?"
Illyana gives a disbelieving huff of amusement at that. "Crutches are really more Jackie Chan." She points out before answering the question. "I left when I was five, so I don't remember it really well." And going home to visit is just awkward, given she's ten years older than she's supposed to be so family visits are avoided.
Peter nods, "I've lived in New York pretty much my whole life. My parents put me with my aunt and uncle when I was six and I've lived in Queens ever since." Peter's moving quicker now than he did earlier. The ankle is doing much better.
"Why'd they have you live with your aunt and uncle?" Illyana asks, easily matching his stride. Her attention is mostly on him and the sidewalk in front of them but she also habitually keeps an eye on their surroundings too. Especially since they got themselves jumped just a bit ago.
Peter seems oddly calm. It must be a bad neighborhood or something. "I never got a straight answer. They died shortly after in a plane crash." He gets a bit more serious than he has in the past with his voice. "It would have made sense if they were poor, or junkies or something, but they weren't. They just said they needed to leave. At first, it was just supposed to be for a little bit. But then it turned permanent."
"Huh." Illyana says, frowning thoughtfully as she puzzles over that mystery. Of course, she has even less to go on than Peter, so she's going nowhere with it. "Just me and my brother moved here. He teaches at Xavier's so I lived with him, then went to school there." Maybe Piotr's older than he looks, for him to have started teaching when she was five!
"He's in pretty good shape. Looks pretty young for having taught so long. I kind of like the guy, to be honest. He seems really nice. Like..." Peter shrugs, "I dunno. He seems like a good person to me. I like to think I'm a good judge of character."
"I'd say he's the best but, obviously I'm biased." Illyana admits. "That said, he's the best." Where most little girls have that hero-complex for their fathers, Illyana has it for her brother. She realizes her mistake when Peter comments on how young he looks and finds another way to steer the conversation. "I had fun tonight." She almost sounds surprised.
"Really? I'm glad. I kind of figured you'd think it was boring, but it was really all I could afford and all I could think of." Peter's house is coming up in the next block, if memory serves.
Illyana just shakes her head. "We could have rented a movie and watched it on the couch. Or you could have let me buy the snacks." She glances over to him and an expression that's amused even as she chastises him.
"Watching a movie on the couch is like 8 dates...or hangouts...or occurrences or whatever you want to call them down the road," Peter says with a smile as they reach his front steps. He hobbles up the steps carefully and reaches into his pocket for the key.
When Peter says 'dates' Illyana just looks over at him, smirking as he corrects it. Clearly, in his mind, they're dates. "Hanging out with friends doesn't have silly rules like that." She disagrees.
"Says the girl who readily admits she doesn't understand what it's like to be a friend." Peter grins at her, obviously meaning nothing by it. "If you want to come in, I'd be happy to get you some ice cream or whatever. If you got to run, that's cool too. Whatever you want."
Was... was that a skittering sound in the brush at the mention of ice cream? "I said that I'm bad at making friends and that I'm not a very *good* friend." Illyana corrects. Then admits with an offhanded wave, "Maybe I said that too." She seems to go still for a moment about the same time as that rustling sound and then she seems to paste on a smile. "That would be great. Need me to get the door?" Look! She's being... helpful. Odd.
"Sure," Peter says as he puts the key in. "That'd be helpful." His spider-sense starts tingling. "Something's going on..." he mutters quietly. "Is it another one?" He touches the ring on his collarbone and looks over his shoulder at the bushes. "Come out, lil buddy. Comin' close to my home turf makes Petey angry..."
Illyana opens the door and tries to hustle Peter through quickly. "It's fine. Ice cream." She says, her voice low but not quite a whisper.
Peter does as she says, she's the expert after all. "So this is it. Chez Parker." He says as the door closes behind him. He no longer seems frightened of the demons. Just perturbed. He leads her into the townhome atop wood flooring. Off to the left is a comfortable living room. Straight ahead is the dining room, and past that is the kitchen. Set of steps go up, set of steps go down.
Illyana does look around as the come in and for a moment she pauses. It's... normal. Something she can only vaguely remember growing up on the farm in Russia. Instead of living in the wilds of Limbo, or Belasco's Citadel or the crazy madhouse of the Xavier mansion. She gives herself a small shake and turns back towards Peter and the kitchen. "I didn't think to warn you not to say that."
"Warn me to say what?" Peter says as he sets the crutches up and opens the freezer. He pulls out some vanilla and then some syrup from the fridge. "I'll give you a dollar if you just tell me what it is that's going on. That'd just be the easy way."
"They've got this thing for ice cream." Illyana admits. "And it's probably following me, not you, so don't worry. Where's your bowls?" She asks, offering to help.
"Up there," Peter says and he nods towards a cabinet near the stove. He dips his hand into a drawer and pulls out two spoons before hopping to the table.
Illyana opens the cabinet, going up on tiptoes to get out three bowls and bringing them back to the table. "Think of them kind like... weird Familiars."
"Familiars? Sounds like that tv show with that girl from Who's the Boss." Peter looks at her, having no idea what she means, really. He takes a seat at the table and beckons her to join him. 3 bowls...? He doesn't say anything
Illyana goes ahead and starts scooping ice cream herself, instead of waiting for him to do it like a proper guest should. Then she heads for the door with the bowl in-hand.
"Wait," Peter says, but doesn't mean like wait and don't do it. He means like, wait and let me figure this out. "Are you saying they're like...pets, kind of?" Peter looks to her. "So, you're some kind of witch, or wicca or something like that."
Illyana glances back towards him but doesn't stop, opening the door and setting the bowl outside while he thinks it through. When she comes back over she joins him at the table and tilts her head back and forth. "Something like that, yeah."
"Getting things out of you is like pulling teeth." Shut up, Peter. You're not one to talk. He starts scooping some up for her and slides her the bowl before he does the same for himself.
Illyana reaches for the syrup, squeezing some over her ice cream before she leans back and takes a bite. "Because telling people that straight-out is totally smart." She counters. See? This is why she doesn't make friends.
"Are you implying I'm dumb? Because I won't do your homework for you this semester if you're calling me dumb," Peter grins and pours some chocolate over his own before digging in. After a few bites, "You got a point."
"You can be book-smart and life-dumb. Totally separate things. Also? I'm taking History. Are you any good at history?" Illyana asks him with dramatically over-the-top consideration. Then she nods as he admits her point. "'Hi, nice to meet you, by the way don't mind the fact that I have demons that like to follow me around.' Totally the way to make friends."
Peter looks at her and licks his lips as he considers. He opens his mouth to say something, but then closes it. He looks a bit withdrawn as if he's thinking deeply about something.
Illyana takes that as conceding her point again and nods, pointing at him with her spoon. "See?"
"Did you ever want to tell someone something that...well, you don’t know if it's a good idea or isn't? But then they're kind of open with you and..." Peter hrms a bit, dropping the spoon into the bowl as he considers.
Illyana hitches a shoulder a bit, her gaze down on her ice cream as she stirs in some of the chocolate syrup to her next bite. "It's always a bad idea. It's safer if you just say nothing. And the more you know about them, the more power you have over them." Then she sighs a bit, still looking at her ice cream. "But... I find that's really only great if you also accept that friends are a bad idea. Eventually it comes down to say nothing and they walk away because obviously you don't trust them or lie." Finally she looks back up and over to Peter. "It may be like pulling teeth." She admits. "But I haven't lied."
Peter thinks about that for a long moment. He decides to bury his secret again. He hasn't lied either, but somehow he thinks he might have been close. Instead he just nods and eats at his ice cream. The last thing he needs is for another person to have power over him. Jameson is enough.
"I figure being a pain is acceptable, but being a liar kinda kills everything." Illyana says, unaware of Peter's inner turmoil as she continues to eat her ice cream.
"Yeah," Peter says. "Sometimes..." He takes a deep breath as he plays with the ice cream as his spoon dances through its warming gooey mass. "Sometimes...don’t you think you have to lie? Even though it's wrong?"
Illyana's quiet in the face of that question for a while as she mulls over her answer. "Lying to people is one thing. They're nameless and faceless and generally truth or lie really means nothing to them except satisfying some sense of entitlement to the truth they have. Lying to a friend, or your family, that's different. Keeping secrets then... it always just seems to come back on you."
Peter looks away at the table, "When is a lie and keeping a secret two different things?"
Illyana looks over at Peter critically now, because if he were arguing, or upset with her for the secrets, he should be looking at her more. But he's avoiding her attention. After a long pause she admits, "That's sticky." She takes a bit of ice cream, sucking on her spoon thoughtfully. "Generally, if it makes your stomach do that twisting thing? I think then it's a lie." For her, it's really when she feels like she has an Angel Piotr standing on her shoulder giving her a frowny-face but hey. Close enough!
Peter nods, "Yeah. I guess it's really in the eye of the beholder." Peter does feel badly keeping this secret from his Aunt. But there's nothing he can do, right? If someone were to find out about him, it'd put her at risk. It'd put his friends at risk. Maybe even Illyana. No, no, it's better to keep secrets and just hope they don't become lies.
Of course not! It's not like his Aunt or anyone else would be more prepared knowing that someone might be targeting them because of a connection to Spider-Man. That's just crazy talk. "There's no perfect answer. That's why it's people, and not math." Illyana says, attempting for some humor to lighten the mood.
Well, no one ever called Peter Parker LifeSmart. "I..." Peter smiles and shakes his head sheepishly, "I kind of like math."
"I know." Illyana says between bites. "That'd be why I brought it up."
Peter wipes at his eye and tries to decide if he sort of hates it when she's snotty, or honestly kind of loves it. "Oh!" He sticks his spoon towards her in a point and mutters under his breath, "Good point."
Illyana puts her bowl down on the table. "I should probably go. Let you get some rest and heal up that ankle." They've dipped into some heavy conversation for the night and it might move from pensive into awkward if she stays.
"Yeah, okay," Peter says as he nods and pops up out of the seat on one leg. He hobbles over towards the door, doing one last door opening for the night. (His room is equipped with a gizmo that closes it and locks it on its own by control).
The bowl Illyana left outside is empty now. Completely clean. Like it had been licked. She stoops to pick it up, handing it to him as she steps outside. "Thanks for the movie, Peter." She gives him a slight smirk and turns to head down the stairs and out to the street.
"No problem." Peter watches her go to the street with an odd look on his face. He stands there with the bowl, inspecting it. "Guess vanilla was a good choice."