The Naked Time

Summary:
August 7, 2014: Nancy comes to visit Roberto after the most desperately needed shower of his life.

Da Costa Penthouse

A grand penthouse with a largely open floor plan and minimalist architecture, this home is designed to rely as much as possible on natural light. Tall plate-glass windows dominate every exterior wall. The furnishings are modern and chic, and pale hardwoods and white dominate the decor. Plants are scattered around, too, along with a few choice pieces of Brasilian futebol memorabilia. There's a high-end entertainment center, a sprawling kitchen, a wide patio with a hot tub, and every other imaginable amenity.


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:


After having gotten the information out of Illyana of where to find the place, Nancy arrives. Holy crow. Seriously? Must be nice. The elevator opens and the whole floor opens up before her. She stands there, feeling more then a little out of her element. "Who the hell to I have to sleep with to get a place like this?" she wonders to herself

-

A couple of days ago, Roberto added Nancy O'Neal to building security's access list for the penthouse. He figures that in most cases, Illyana would just disc her friend over, but on the off chance that the mutant tries to visit the normal way, he would rather she just come upstairs than have to get paged through the desk.

That's fortunate for Nancy, because Roberto has been in the shower for probably 45 minutes, soaping, scrubbing, shampooing, sobbing, and other words that start with S and involve cleansing himself after a slimy, fishy ordeal at the Museum of Natural History. He's been so intent on washing himself, in fact, that by the time he's done, every towel in the bathroom is soaked in water (and, in many cases, pliosaur mucus).

He finally decides that it can't possibly be healthy to get any prunier and exits the bathroom when he hears the loud elevator arrival chime. Swearing, he makes a run for the linen closet, wet feet slapping and sliding on the hardwood.

-

Carrying a small tree sapling and a book, Nancy hears the pitter patter of not so little feet and starts walking over there, her head tilting to see who it is. "Illy? Ill? It's Nan! You told me to come by and see the hottie yer living with. I didn't realize you meant his power, you dork." She follows the sound of the feet, having learned her bad house guest manners from Illyana herself.

-

"Uh… you may end up seeing a little more of the hottie than you bargained for," Roberto calls out. He yanks the narrow door to the linen closet open, ducks behind it, and then peeks his head out to watch for his visitor to come around the corner. "What IS it with my luck that I can't get naked in my own home without girls showing up unannounced?"

-

Nancy pauses when the voice she hears is male and then starts to laugh. "What, you forgot you're towel?" she teases as she walks around the corner. "Oh! It seems you did. Ummm… " She passes the potted tree sapling to him. "Here. Use that," she says before bursting into giggles again.

Nancy has the decency to cover her eyes with one hand, but isn't above spreading her fingers for a peek. She's dating, not dead. "Maybe it's a feature of penthouse living? Get naked, girls arrive. You know, most guys wouldn't complain about that."

-

From this particular angle, the narrow door offers enough provisional privacy for his nudity not to be completely offensive. Nonetheless, he reaches out from his cover with one bare arm to take the plant with a grin. "I didn't say I was complaining. Maybe my luck is really really great." His face vanishes as he searches for a fresh bath towel, and he can be heard to mutter, "After that mess earlier, I damn well deserve it to be."

"Yana's not in at the moment, which is probably a good thing," he continues in a normal voice from behind the door. Nancy's peeking is going to show her a developed back and a butt that… well… let's just say that Berto does a lot of running. "If she'd smelled me when I first got home, I think I might have permanently lost a friend. You're welcome to stick around if you want, though."

-

Now that his back is to her, there is nothing stopping Nancy from getting a healthier gander. Mmmm, Brazillian hottie is hot. She smirks lasciviously as she watches him look for a towel. "I was gonna ask what that smell was, but considering what I saw on the news, I think I already know. You were there?"

Nancy leans against the wall, getting comfy as she enjoys her view. "Actually, it's you I wanted to talk to. About that tree actually."

-

"It rolled over me," Roberto answers with a shudder. "It rolled. Over. Me." Finally he locates a towel and wraps it around himself. Show's over, folks! (From the waist down, anyway.) He turns around, tucking one corner of the towel undereath to hold it in place. When he looks up, he spots that Nancy has repositioned herself for a better view, and gives her a teasingly reproachful look. "Aren't you dating my long-lost twin or something? Surely you can get this view whenever you want," he jokes.

When she identifies her preferred topic, he shrugs amicably and answers, "I'm game. Go ahead. You want coffee or a drink or anything?" He points toward the kitchen.

-

"Well, at least you were able to live through it. I'm all soft and squishy. I'm great all one on one with another mutie, but that dinosaur thing thing? Way out of my league." She smiles impishly and shrugs. "What, you think guys are the only ones that fantasize about twins?" she responds with a laugh. She starts heading back to the rather spacious living area then.

"Hey, I'll drink whatever you're having. You're not russian and I'm not depressed, so I shouldn't have another morning like yesterday."

-

Roberto laughs. "Well, he is long-lost," he points out. "I'm not sure we're close enough yet for him to be okay with sharing. And you'll be fine tomorrow — I don't drink to forget; I drink to party." He pops open the stainless steel fridge and retrieves a pair of expensive craft beers. Holding one in each hand, he goes all molten (the towel remains fuzzy and white, which looks pretty goofy) and flicks the tops off with each thumb. Returning to his usual dark skin, rather than his unnaturally light-soaking shadow self, he smirks and passes one to his guest. "So, seriously: what's on your mind?"

-

Nancy enjoys the show of the handsome brazillian walking around in a bath towel. She takes the offered beer, getting comfy on one of the couches. "Okay, so, have you ever been to Limbo?" She sips at the beer and her smile fades as she grows serious.

-

"Sure, I've been to Limbo. The place freaked the hell out of me the first time, too," Roberto answers with an easy smile, plopping down on the couch opposite Nancy. "And the second time, and the third." He takes a swig of his beer, shrugging, then continues, "It's still not pleasant, but I guess I'm sort of used to it now."

-

Nancy remembers her first visit to Limbo and shudders. "Yeah, I screamed like a little girl. I doubt she is ever going to let me live that down." She sips at her beer, leaning her head into her palm as she puts her elbow on the back of the couch. "Have you ever seen the garden in there. That strip of green? You can see it from her bedroom."

-

Roberto frowns thoughtfully. "Yes, I remember that. Not that I've spent very much time sightseeing while I was there." He leans forward, cupping his beer bottle in both hands and watching Nancy intently. "It represents something important for her, doesn't it? Is there something wrong with it?" He doesn't like to contemplate what that might mean for his friend, but nonetheless, that's exactly what he's doing.

-

Nancy nods her head slowly. "She and I have a friend, Jericho. He's trying to help her make the garden thrive. You see, Limbo's appearance is an extension of who rules it. How corrupt they are. When Belasco was killed, for a very short while, Limbo was green all over. But… Illy had already been corrupted, so it went back to the way it was, except for that little bit. We want to make that little bit bigger."

-

His brow furrowing, Roberto takes another sip of his beer. "Okay. This is a lot more" — he waves one hand vaguely as he searches for the right word — "metaphysical than what I'm used to, but I think I'm following you so far. You're saying her soul affects the garden, but it also works in reverse? So tending it is also good for her soul?"

-

Nancy smile brightly. "Well! Ain't you the smart one. Good looking, a brain and rich. Triple threat!" She laughs as she teases, her pale grey eyes twinklng as she teases him. "So, hence the trees. I am asking all her friends to grow a tree for a few months. Think of that tree as if it *is* Illy. Care for it like you would care for her. Water it, talk to it. Tell it all the things you like about her. And in a few months, when your tree is full of all that positive energy, we'll plant it in her garden in Limbo and see if our love helps her garden."

-

The Brazilian mutant snorts. "Not smart enough to get out of the way of a fish monster from the dawn of time," he reminds her with a self-deprecating twinkle in his eyes, "but I guess I have my moments." He mulls over her words more seriously, then slowly nods. "That shouldn't be a problem. I'm a busy guy, but I have to spend some time sunbathing every day anyway. That can double as gardening time pretty easily." With a sudden grin, he adds, "I probably shouldn't use the junk-covering tree, though. Impure thoughts, and all."

-

Nancy remembers the dinosaur fish thing from the news and imagines being crawled over by it. She starts to giggle and shakes her head. "Better you then me, man, seriously." She sips at her beer and arches a brow. "So, daily sunbathing time, huh? In flagrante delicto?" She waggles her brows as she smirks. "And well the junk-covering tree was sorta why I brought it. I can't help if I perved all over it."

-

"Well, now it's too late. We're headed down the pervy path," Berto says with a grin. "I guess it's love. Of a sort." He nods in the affirmative, knocking back a bit more beer as he does so. "If I'm home, yeah, I let it all hang out. At the office, I think I could get sued, so I wear a pair of shorts." He holds up one hand, with the fingers close together, and squints at them with one eye shut. "About…that big. You've never gone swimming with me, or you'd know."

-

"Okay, I officially like you. You're about as cheeky as me, so you don't take me seriously. I can have fun and know you're not gonna get all weird about it." She makes herself more comfortable on the couch. "That's all, huh? Well, I'll stick to the other twin then. Thanks for the warning." She looks around the penthouse and shakes her head. "I can see why she turned down my offer. You could fit a whole hero team in here. … Just sayin'"

-

"Tiny shorts! Not tiny… that," Roberto clarifies, laughing. "You know what I meant!" He runs his free hand back through his still-wet hair, smirks, and adds, "Harsh. In fact, below the belt." He waggles his half-empty beer bottle at her with a mock-scolding squint.

"Offer, though? You mean…?" He follows her gaze, and it clicks. "Oh! The place. Yeah, my pai is loaded, and when I graduated, he gave me a big chunk of the family business. Mostly it's a lot of work, but there are definitely some huge perks, too. Like I said, you're welcome to drop by whenever you want — although I don't know about a whole team." He looks harried for a moment. "Like I said, I value my naked time."

-

"And hey! I value your naked time too!" Nancy rests a hand on her heart. "I would make it my sacred duty to make sure you could walk around naked as much as you like." She then holds her hand up to her shoulder. "Scouts honor!" She sips some more of her beer, craning her neck to see if she can get a peek under the towel since 'Berto is relaxing. "And thanks, but I got Bobby's place and the farm with the other mutates like me."

-

Sunspot puts one hand to his bare chest, wearing an exagerrated look of gratitude. "Obrigado, minha dama. You have no idea how much that means to me." He laughs, takes another sip, and then elaborates, "But I'm not just being pervy, here. I need naked time — as in, physically need. As in, I'm pretty sure that if I didn't sunbathe for long enough, I could literally die." He shakes his head. "Science teachers act like photosynthesis is all sunshine and bean sprouts and rainbows, but they don't talk about the dark side. What's the farm, though? I don't think I've heard about this."

Bless his heart, Roberto is not all that accustomed to wearing a skirt. And you know how guys sit when they're relaxing — knees far enough apart that the airline could charge for two tickets. If Nancy puts her mind to it, she's not going to have too much trouble getting a Basic Instinct-style eyeful.

-

Nancy smiles to herself, just enjoying the view. "Actually, I totally get that. What with the whole thing about solar powering the car, I'm guessing that solar energy is your thing, so… I get that you need it. But it has to be totally naked? So, just out of curiosity, what happens if you sunbath without being naked?"

Nancy starts to look uncomfortable and shakes her head. "It's complicated. I don't know if you're at the school much, but you might have heard of the violent rescue? The mutates at the farm?"

-

"Good catch," Roberto congratulates Nancy with a nod. "Solar power is my thing, and, okay, technically I don't have to be ALL naked," he admits. "It's like you'd expect: the more covered up I am, the less I get. It's no big deal in the summer, when I can wear tank tops or go for a run with my shirt off and the sun is more intense anyway, but in the winter? I have to cram as much sun-soaking into as little time as possible."

The Brazilian may not pick up on her peeking (and no, he doesn't wax), but he does notice that his question about 'the farm' makes her uncomfortable, so he's quick to reassure her, "If you don't want to talk about it, you don't have to. But I haven't been at the school much, and I don't know about this 'farm.' I know that mutates means they were made to mutate, rather than it happening naturally, though."

-

Nancy seems thoughtful as she considers his power. "So, it has to be genuine solar light? You couldn't use a tanning bed with full spectrum bulbs?"

But as he talks more about the farm, Nancy sits up. "Have you ever heard of Hydra? They're a secret organization. Big enemies of Shield. They had ties to the Nazi party during WWII among other things." She finishes off her beer and starts playing with the empty bottle. "They… they wanted to try and remake the thing that made Captain America. They got it wrong, but they did manage to make mutates. I'm N-13 of the Ubermensch Project. Nice to meet you."

-

Roberto pauses with his bottle halfway to his lips, giving Nancy a sympathetic look, and then lowers the beer. "I'm sorry — I didn't realize," he tells her sincerely. "I didn't mean to imply that you're not — that —" He stammers to a stop, winces, and tries a different tack: "I'm glad you're out of their clutches." He offers her a bracing smile. "I like the name 'Nancy' better, though, if that's alright."

After a pause (in which he gets that last sip he was after earlier), he decides to return to the topic of his powers. "I can run off of artificial light, but it's never quite right. Nice tanning beds, growing lamps — those aren't bad, but they're not the real thing, either." He wrinkles his nose, sitting back against the couch cushions. "It's like eating nothing but ramen noodles for a month. You won't starve, but you won't be healthy, either."

-

"That I'm what? Not a real mutant? Don't worry about it. If I wasn't using the term mutate in the first place, you wouldn't have known. It doesn't bother me. It used to, before I manifested. I wanted so bad to have super powers and they never came. And you see these supers flying about, causing all sorts of collateral damage and not doing anything to help. Like today… what's gonna happen to all those people. Cars destroyed, businesses ruined. Did you know there are clauses on insurance papers to cover Act of Super? And that it costs a mint?"

She starts plucking at the paper on her empty beer bottle. "Okay, so real sunlight to keep you healthy. I'll be sure to come around lots in the winter to point and laugh at the shrinkage. And for the record, it's why my mom named me Nancy. N for Nancy. Of course, always makes me wonder what happened to the rest of the alphabet."

-

Berto finishes his beer off, looking deeply uncomfortable when Nancy says the words 'not a real mutant.' That is, of course, exactly what he didn't want to imply and worried that he had. "'Real' mutant is kind of a ridiculous distinction," he says once she has finished. "I mean, mutation is, by definition, a thing that happens. It's not like it matters whether you mutate in the womb or when you're older. Supposedly, I was mutated before I was born, but it's not like I was throwing cars around as a preschooler." He frowns, and quickly moves from the topic.

"So, at this farm — they were keeping more mutates? From a program like the one that created you? And the X-men saved them?" He smiles thinly. "I'm glad they're out from under Hydra's thumb, too. People don't deserve to be treated like that."

He doesn't mention that he knows more than most about the cost of insuring businesses and property. Her anger is well justified, and his quibbling wouldn't really be relevant. The turn to these dark topics does cause his sitting posture to alter a bit, though, and Nancy is probably going to note that he has crossed his legs.

-

"Well, depending on the way you look at it, I could be a mutant. See, they injected our moms while they were pregnant with us. We were all born with the X-Factor. So, if you think about it, our moms are the mutates to make us mutants." Nancy rolls her eyes at the technicalities. "And I'm not offended, even if I was. I am who I am. You either like me or you don't. I can't change who I am, and I don't know if I would, even if I could. I have flaws, yeah, but my flaws make me who I am. If I didn't have them, I wouldn't be me." She starts to laugh then. "As you can see, I've been thinking about this a lot lately."

"Okay, so Hydra was holding them at a hospital. It had been shut down, but they were using it. They were holding a bunch of us N-Series and some of our loved ones so we would co-operate. They call them 'incentives'. We… not the X-men, Bobby and I and some vigilantes I know, we saved them. We wanted the X-men to help, but they didn't feel that they could. So they gave us a place to take them after. That's the farm. A safehouse for the N-series and their families after the rescue. Only, there wasn't as much communication as there should have been with the people in charge. And now, Kurt and Hank are … taking charge of the situation." She's trying to be polite about it, choosing her words carefully, but the tone in her voice sounds very unhappy about the situation.

-

Roberto watches unhappily as Nancy continues into what is clearly uncomfortable territory for her. After a second of indecision, he stands up, walks over to her, and crouches nearby, balancing easily on the balls of his feet with his elbows on his thighs. He's not great with comforting words, and often falls back on offering what he hopes will be a comforting, friendly presence, instead. "You feel responsible for them, and you feel like that responsibility is being taken away from you," he guesses. Tentatively, he reaches out to put a bracing hand against her shoulder and smiles. "And you are hella pissed about it. One of those flaws that makes you you."

-

Nancy watches as Roberto gets up. Dammit. He's gonna hug her or something. She braces herself for the nicety that is to come, waiting to give him a brave smile and say thank you. But then he surprises her. He gets it. He actually gets it. She blinks, staring at him unbelievably for a few seconds and then gives *him* a hug. "Thank you! I was starting to think that I was in the wrong. That I was being unreasonable."

-

Berto laughs, accepting and returning the hug warmly. (And thinking about baseball.) "Hey, no problem. I'm not a psychic, but I can definitely see how that would make you upset. I don't know what Kurt and Hank's thinking is, but I know that even people who only mean the best can be frustrating to deal with, not to mention screw up entirely." He laughs again, deeply. "Merda, I've been the well-meaning screwup myself on plenty of occasions. I gather you've talked to them about how this is making you feel."

-

Enjoying the hug for a long moment, it's when Nancy realizes she's maybe enjoying it a little more then she should that she backs off. "Okay, towel boy, back off." Damn half naked Brazillians. "Back to your end of the couch." She chuckles softly and takes a deep breath. "When we talked about it, they kept saying how young I was. I'm only 20. I'm only 20. Nevermind that I'm 21 and they totally missed my birthday. I mean, I get it. I'm young. I'm inexperienced. I have a lot to learn. But how am I gonna learn if they never let me try?"

-

Roberto takes being rebuffed with considerable amusement. "Whaaat?" he protests, laughing. "I touched your shoulder! I may be irresistible, but it's not like it's actual hypnosis!" Despite seeming to argue the point, he stands, tightens his towel, and walks past the other couch and into the kitchen to grab himself another beer. "When I was 20, I was already buying up dockyards and running a shipping network," he tells her with a snort. "I disagree with my pai about a lot, but we do have similar ideas about helicopter parenting. If they're worried about your age, they should assign you an older adviser to help. You want another beer?"

-

"Oh yeah, play innocent, Mr. Hard Bodied Half Naked Sexy Accent Tanned Guy. You just keep walkin'." She smiles, and nods her head when he asks her if she wants another beer. "So… buying dockyards at 20? You don't look much older then that now!"

-

"I'm not. Actually, I was making property purchases at 19. The year before that, admittedly, I spent mostly selling off the tainted holdings Pai gave me," Roberto clarifies, making a face when he mentions the ventures he had to liquidate. He offers a repeat performance of his balrog bottle-opener trick, then brings the pair of beers into the living room and hands Nancy hers. "I used 20 because that's the age they're concerned about. I am now a ripe old legal drinker." He flops onto the couch facing hers, this time lounging sideways with his legs outstretched.

-

Nancy shifts her seating so she is next to Roberto, clinking her beer to his, neck to neck. She considered doing the mean thing of making his beer overflow and make a mess for another view, but nah. She mimics his posture of stretching out her legs and smiles. "I do believe, Roberto de Costa, that this is the start of a very beautiful friendship."

-

Roberto grins at the gesture, returning the toast. "I must admit, Nancy O'Neal — I am inclined to agree."


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