2010-01-09: Breakfast of Champions


Lucas_icon.jpg Rashmi_icon.jpg

Summary: Rashmi joins Lucas for breakfast. It goes as expected. Sorta.

Date: Jan. 9, 2010

Log Title

Rating: PG

Xavier Mansion Cafeteria

In a school for children the dining room is decorated to be practical instead of elegant. The walls are a pleasant tan color. Two large windows line the walls looking out to the school grounds. A large table for at least forty people sits in the center of the room. Two chandeliers hang from the ceiling to light up the room. Along the wall is a hole in the wall looking into the kitchen so food can be passed back and fourth.

Lucas is sitting at a table by himself, near the back of the room. He has a container of milk in front of him, and a tray of scrambled eggs, bacon, and grits. His hair dangles around his face, like a curtain protecting him from having to be social with any of the other people in the room eating.

"This seat taken?" At the end of the table, Rashmi stands with her own tray, head slightly cocked, a polite smile on her face.

Lucas looks up at her through his hair. He pauses, sighs, and just shrugs, returning his attention to managing his spoon with his large gloves.

Rashmi drops into the chair across from Lucas, frowning in mild concern as she watches him fumble with his breakfast. "…I'd offer to help, but I'm not that stupid… Maybe get some toast, eat it that way?"

Lucas shrugs, "Ah manage." He flips his head a bit to move some hair out of his way, and then scoops up a goop of grits, shovelling it into his mouth. "You're up early."

"So are you," the redhead points out, toying with a strip of bacon. "Actually, I was hoping to run into you. I just wanted to say thanks. For last night I mean, trying to hang out with the others."

Lucas looks down at his tray and shrugs, "Whatever." He takes another bite of grits. "Ah don't like that he's afraid of me."

"I don't blame you…" There's a pause, as eggs and cheese are scooped onto a corner of toast. "Wish I could help there… but I'm afraid that's all on you. Give it awhile, I guess," she finishes lamely, shrugging. "Still got a couple of friends though, so that's a start, right?"

Lucas looks across the table at her, "Ah don't have friends here. There's no start." He looks back to his food. "You an' Dallas don't seem to really get along. What's with that?"

At this statement, actual anger can be seen on the redhead's dark features when Lucas looks back down, but soon it gives way to simple disappointment. "Actually, we get along really well. There was this guy at my old school, he used to tell me 'you know, the best kind of friend you can have is the one who'll tell you to go to hell if you deserve it.'"

Lucas smirks, "MAybe Ah do have friends then. Ah been told THAT a few times." He looks at her, and smiles a little wider. It's not used often, but his smile is a rather charming, dimple-laden endeavor.

"Probably more than you'd rather admit," Rashmi says, her wry tone at odds with the gentle smile she gives the blond in return. Her head tilts to one side, and she chuckles. "Y'know, you should smile more often. It looks good on you."

Lucas licks his lip, bites it a moment, and then shrugs, "Ah used to. Not much to do it over no mores." He spoons a bite of eggs. "My maw used to say Ah could get whatever Ah wanted from anyone with my smile." He takes the bite, and through his full mouth, finishes, "She'sh jusht shayin' that 'cuz she'sh my maw."

Rashmi chuckles. "You'd like to think that, wouldn't you?" She pauses a moment for another bite of eggs and bacon on toast. Once finished, she looks down at her plate. "Seriously, Lucas… Maybe it's just me, but I honestly think that you could be happy here, if you wanted to be…" Looking back up, her eyebrows rise. "*Do* you want to?"

Lucas sighs, and sits the spoon down. He leans back in the chair, and asks her, genuinely, "Why do you care?"

"Because I do." Honesty for honesty, without hesitation. "I know how you feel about your powers, you know that. And you're really a good guy, Lucas… You just take some work, getting past all that armor."

Lucas shakes his head, crossing his arms and closing up as he looks away, "Ah ain't so good. Don't just assume that."

"Well you'll never be a saint, sure," Rashmi replies. "Frankly, there are times when I just want to find the nearest pipe and knock you over the head with it." Smiling a bit, in an attempt to illustrate her rather weak joke, she leans forward, resting her elbows on the table. "But, that's not you. …Not all of it, anyway. I finished the book you gave me, on a related note."

Lucas tilts his head a bit, ignoring her observation and skipping straight to the last, "And…? What'd you think?"

"Kind of startling, actually," Rashmi says, lacing her fingers together and resting her chin on them. "If you just read Catcher, you think that Salinger doesn't think much farther than what's annoying him today… It was a nice change. Sort of like someone I know, actually."

Lucas nods, "Holden is an unreliable narrator, he's always changin' how he perceives shit. It's unusual, because he's a static character, relatively unchanged at the end, even after everything. Well, unless you see him changin' roles with Phoebe as to which is the catcher and which is the falling child." He grins a little, "He admires in all these kids these traits what he can't find in adults around him. There's no innocence, no givin' or love. They're all trapped. An' he sees kids fallin' into adulthood…" He swallows, and sort of looks away, sheepishly. "Sorry… Ah'm ramblin…"

Rashmi nods slowly, the corners of her lips twitching upwards as Lucas looks away. "You'll never really understand him until you've seen every kind of person he could be… yeah… *definitely* sounds like someone I know."

Lucas looks back at her, and offers with that smile once more, "Ah have a first printing hard cover in my room."

Rashmi chuckles. "I bet you do," she says, shaking her head slightly. "I'd like to see it
sometime, too… Bu-u-ut, I hope you don't take it the wrong way… Maybe someplace not in your room?"

Lucas chuckles, unfolding his arms, "Look, Ah said Ah was sorry Ah kissed you." His smile remains intact.

There's a long, long silence, spots of color touching the redhead's cheeks. Looking away, down at her own breakfast, her shoulders rise and fall slightly. "…I'm not," she says at the last. "I still don't know whether to smack you or thank you… but I'm not sorry."

Lucas furrows his brow just a little, as if maybe slightly surprised, but then it washes away into a soft smile, and he looks at his tray. "If'n ya'll wanna slap me, you'll have to get in line, Ah reckon," he jokes.

Rashmi nods, conceding this with a quiet chuckle. "Maybe, but it's been rather a bit too long to justify slapping you, now. Another few days? No point even considering it."

Lucas shrugs, "Ah reckon Ah could kiss you again, if that'd help. Refresh your fluster?" He grins. "Just sayin'." He takes a bite of grits again.

Rashmi actually chokes on her eggs for a moment, thick read hair falling in front of her face as she thumps on her chest. Once the blockage is finally cleared, after the first big breath, she looses a short, bright round of laughter. "Now *that* I could smack you for…"

Lucas laughs a bit with he, and shrugs, "Your loss." He smiles, and leans back in the chair again. "Anyway, that's fine. Ah don't think Ah'm datin' no one any time soon." He sighs, and then shrugs, "You an' Dallas should hit a movie. Ya'll'd be a right nice couple, Ah reckon."

"*Dallas?*" From the look on the redhead's face, the very idea is absurd to the point of comedy. "Good lord no, we'd take each other apart within a month. Besides, I don't even *like* sports, and there's no way I'd stand to be *that* girlfriend who gets dragged to every. Single. Game. No way, thank *you.*"

Lucas nods, "Ah reckon that would suck. You don't strike me as the cheerleader type." Then he quickly adds, "Ah mean, it ain't that you don't have the looks…" He shrugs with a little smirk, "Anyway… Ah'll stay outta your love life. Ah imagine if'n ya'll find someone what is your type, you can handle it on your own."

Rashmi's eyebrow quirks upward, and it looks like she's about to say something, but leaves it alone. "Besides, I'm too happy getting into arguments to be anything like a decent girlfriend." With a shrug, she takes a sip of her orange juice. "…I just can't stop practicing, I guess…"

Lucas furrows his brow, "What do you mean, practicin'?"

Rashmi says, "Didn't I tell you?" Settling back, she shrugs. "Before… well, last summer… I'd planned to get into law. Maybe politics." Flushing, she looks away, a self-deprecating grin on her face. "Kinda had dreams of following in Dr. King's footsteps, you know? With the stories my mom and dad told me when I was growing up… I dunno. I guess it was just bound to happen.""

Lucas nods, "Right. You did say that." He sighs, "Ah wanted to be a biologist." He looks at the huge gloves sitting on the table, his hands inside. "Haven't figured out what to do now."

Rashmi nods quietly. "Marine biology, right?"

Lucas shrugs, "Yeah." He sighs again, "It weren't like Ah was runnin' around when Ah was a kid hopin' ta be a superhero when Ah grew up." He rolls his eyes, "Ah don't reckon there's much money in it, either."

Rashmi looks down at the gloves. "Bu-u-ut… That means you'd be spending a lot of time… underwater, right…?"

Lucas nods, "Sometimes. A lot of times, not so much. Ah can't do lab work in these." He pushes his plate away from him a few inches. "It's okay. It ain't like Ah'm the first kid what ever had his dreams broke, right?" He smirks, "Ah'll live. Maybe Ah'll open a barbecue stand," he jokes, imagining frying pork with his bare hands.

Rashmi snorts in wry amusement. "You'll find a way. If there's anyplace you could, I'm pretty sure this is it. Me, though…" Leaning back in her chair, she frowns down in her hands. "….Like I said, I want to get into politics. But… now I'm a …mutant." The word is forced out, almost as though it's the first time she's spoken it of herself out loud. "I don't know what it's like where you came from… But New York can be hard for… mutants."

Lucas shrugs, "Ah'm from Chattanooga. Ain't really many freaks there." He sighs, "Lots of barbecue joints, though," he adds, with a chuckle. "So, if you run for class president, Ah'll vote for you."

Rashmi nods, smiling some, and returns to poking at her breakfast. "I'll probably still do it… I mean, law school isn't something you go for unless you mean it… But, I already know how it's going to be if I go into politics; either I completely hide it, for the rest of my life, no matter what, because someone would use it to kill my credibility… Or I just come out the first chance I get…. and start with no credibility at all, probably lose any hope of a law practice to boot."

Lucas shrugs, "Ah reckon either way you'll be fine an' happy. Just with different clientele. You forget," he reminds her with a grin, "Fuckup mutants need legal advice sometimes. Ah'd hire ya."

Rashmi laughs. "Well yeah, there is that…" Pausing, she looks up, a slow grin spreading on her face. "See? When you feel like it, you're really a good guy to be around."

Lucas rolls his eyes, "You know Ah don't need you to save me, right?" he says, softly, looking at her through his falling hair.

Rashmi nods softly. "I know. And I don't plan to. It's just a lot nicer, when you do save yourself, if there's someone there who'll see it."

Lucas uses both his hands to carefully lift the milk to his mouth, taking a drink, and precariously sitting the glass back down. He swallows the liquid, leaving a little white mustache on his lip. "This mean you're gonna lead the paragons?"

"Maybe," comes the slightly distracted reply. "I've thought about it now and again… but not really much." Her eyes flick down to Lucas' lip, eyebrow rising. "Why? Think I've got what it takes?"

Lucas shrugs, "Ah dunnow. Maybe. Ah just figure it has to be you or me."
Rashmi chuckles, shaking her head. "Probably… Well. If it does end up being you, I'll back you no matter what. If you'll do the same." A hand stretches out over the table, eyes serious. "Deal?"

Lucas smirks, "Ah just figure, Ah ain't gonna listen to no one but you, so it best be one of us." He looks down at his giant glove, then to her hand, and then he slowly reaches out and shakes her hand. The glove is rough and scratchy, like burlap, and very warm.

Rashmi takes hold of the glove with no visible hesitation, shaking firmly. At the declaration, a wide smile blooms. "That means a lot to me, actually. Thanks."

Lucas shakes his head, "Don't let it go to your head. Ah won't follow you if you start actin' like Dallas." He finally wipes his mouth, and leans back in the chair. "Any idea when we start training?"

Rashmi chuckles. "No idea, but we do have a coach. Northstar, if you can believe it."

Lucas shakes his head, "No idea who that is."

"I did some checking up when I found out. Athlete, author, kind of a celebrity. Canada, mostly, but he's got fans pretty much everywhere." Rashmi shrugs, turning the last piece of bacon over in her hands. "I suppose if nothing else, he'll know how to be a really good coach, since he's an X-Man."

"Ah guess," Lucas says, with some disbelief. "Ah don't really know what it is they expect us to learn. It feels like it's just a big sales pitch for how fuckin' cool it would be to be an awesome X man." He rolls his eyes.

"Powers training," the redhead replies, ticking points off on her fingers, "dealing with teammates, knowing how to handle the unexpected… Just think of it as a competition club. I mean," she says, looking meaningfully at the gloves, "don't you want to see if there's anything that can be done to let you use your hands better? I know I'm happy with the idea of keeping my 'psychic bowling balls,'" and again, the quotes are so heavily vocalized it doesn't even matter that she's not mimicking them with her fingers, "from hurting anyone, again."

Lucas shakes his head, "Great. So, you drank the Kool Aid, huh?"

"Not even that, Lucas." Rashmi's voice is disappointed, at first, but as she leans across the table, there's an intensity in her eyes, hard steel in her voice. "I want my *life back.* I want to win every case I take. I want to change laws that need changing because nobody ever convinced the people who keep them that they're *stupid.* I. Want. My *dreams.* And the biggest thing that keeps me here is the hope that I'm not just being silly. That they can do what they say they can, and can show me how to pick up the pieces of everything that broke, one stupid summer night when one *stupid desperate* mugger put a knife to my throat."

Lucas watches her for a moment, and then looks away for a second, before looking back at her. "Ah hope you get that," he says, softly.

"If I can have it, then so can you." There's no hesitation in her voice, no chance at convincing her otherwise. "And when you get mad the next time I try and pull your chin out of your chest to see it, remember this. *This* is why I'm going to be annoying you, Lucas. Because damn it all, if I *do* get my wish, it won't be because someone handed it to me. It'll be because *I* worked for it, and I *earned* it. So I dearly hope when I get my wish, you'll be right there too, with your own."

Lucas sighs, "Rash, Ah…" He pauses, licking his lips, glancing around the room, and then leans forward towards her. "You want your life back. And you can get it. What you're missin', is that my life is gone. It's not coming back. Ah can't bring it back. It ain't about what could have been, it's just how it is." He scratches the back of his head, "And you don't annoy me."

"I will, probably." Her eyes search his face, a hint of a frown touching the corners of her mouth. "I know, Lucas… I'm not even going to pretend I know what you lost. And I won't even ask you to tell me, because you will when you're ready to. But damn it… I can't be the only one who believes in you all the time. You need to sometimes too, you know?"

Lucas furrows his brow a bit, "This isn't a self confidence thing. Believe me, Ah'm pretty arrogant. Ah just…" He makes a grumbly sound, and leans back in the chair once more. "Look, Ah just haven't figured it out yet, okay? When Ah do, Ah'll do it. But… Ah ain't got it yet. Okay?"

Rashmi is silent for a moment, then nods slowly, sitting back in her chair. "Okay."

Lucas sits there for a long minute, watching her. He folds his arms over his chest, and just asks her then. "You're mad at me." Okay, he doesn't ask. It's a statement.

Rashmi shakes her head. "Not at all, actually. Just, I don't often have that kind of a head of steam. Still kind of buzzing, to be honest."

Lucas tilts his head, "You think Ah have a head of steam?"

Rashmi's eyebrow rises. "Some days I wonder where you get all that energy from. It's *exhausting* being that upset that long…"

Lucas looks down at the table. "Sorry. Ah don't know how to feel anythin' else anymore." He shrugs, "Your parents support you bein' here?"

Rashmi smiles. "They begged the professor to take me, honestly. This place was kind of their last hope, too. See… coming to America… it was a big chance for them. India isn't really good for people who aren't born even kind of well-off, and they wanted better for their kids."

Lucas nods, "That's great. Have they come to visit yet?" He gives her a little, encouraging grin.

Rashmi shakes her head, finishing off her orange juice. "Not yet, but we write every week. And I hear there's a Parent's Day coming up in the spring, so…"

Lucas smiles, "Maybe they'll come then. Ah'll make a right good impression," he says, with a bit of a devilish grin.

Rashmi chuckles. "Gotta start sometime, I guess,"

Lucas nods, "You have any siblings?"

"Nope… not yet, anyway." Chuckling, the redhead settles back in her chair. "Mom and dad are still amazingly in love, it wouldn't surprise me much if I ended up with one before long… How about you?"

Lucas shakes his head, "Only child. My Paw was killed a few years ago, so… No more. Just me." He shrugs, "Ah reckon that's fine. Ah'm pretty perfect, you know." He tosses her a coy, fast grin.

Rashmi chuckles obligingly, but the look on her face proves that she's not fooled. "…And… your mom…?"

"My maw…" Lucas bites his lip a second, and then shrugs. "Ah was kind of a latchkey kid. She worked a lot after my Paw died. She spends most of the time at the hospital, so Ah don't really see her much."

Rashmi nods slowly. "…Nursing?" Her voice is hesitant, as though she doesn't quite believe it herself, but it's a thread to follow regardless.

Lucas tilts his head, "You think Ah'm lyin'?" he asks, not quite hostile yet.

"Of *course* not," Rashmi replies, slightly irritated at the thought. "Just, that was pretty wide open… Thought I'd make sure I had my facts straight, you know?"

Lucas pushes his plate a little more away from him. "So, what? Did Ah pass?"

Rashmi waves a hand. "Uh-uh, I can see where this is headed. So is she coming up for Parents Day? I'd like to meet her, if it's possible."

Lucas shakes his head, "No. She doesn't know Ah'm here." He looks over at the door to the cafeteria. "Maybe Ah'll sneak back to Chatt that weekend and visit her instead."

Rashmi blinks sharply, brow furrowing. "…Um… If I asked what you meant… would you rather tell me? Or just leave it at 'you don't want to talk about it?'"

Lucas sighs, "She doesn't know what Ah've turned into. And Ah'd rather she not know. That's really it."

Rashmi's eyebrow rises sharply. "…D'you think she'd rather not know anything about her son other than that he's gone?"

"She doesn't need to know," Lucas says, but it's a bit more firm.

Rashmi's frown deepens some, but she nods. "All right, I'll back off."

Lucas closes his eyes, and then shakes his head. "Sorry." He looks back at her, and sniffs, wiping his mouth off on the back of his glove. "Maybe you should lead."

Rashmi chuckles, her seriousness slowly vanishing. "Always comes back to that… All right, fine, but only since you seem to have a lot more on your mind."

Lucas glances away from her as he says, "No. Because you clearly need this more than Ah." He looks back at her, "No one would listen to me anyways. Ah mean, lets be honest."

"I always am, if I can help it," comes the amused reply. "And I don't need to lead the squad to work for what I want. I just want to make sure that if we're going to be a team, we do the best job of it we can, right?"

Lucas smirks, "Christ, you're as overconfident and full of shit as Ah am, little girl." He smiles all the way, tossing a wink her way.

Rashmi grins. "I get that, sometimes. Nice to see things don't change."

Lucas laughs at her, "You remind me a lot of a friend Ah had back home." He smiles, "And yes, Ah DID actually have friends."

Rashmi smirks, waving a hand. "Well, now you have my attention… Tell me about her?"

Lucas tilts his head a bit, "About Sam?" He shakes his head, "You don't… Ah mean, you know…" He shrugs. "It's not that interesting." The room around them begins to feel just a little warmer, and he shakes his head again. "It was a long time ago."

"…You know," Rashmi says gently, after the silence has drawn out slightly, "If you don't want to tell me, just say so. Honestly, it's a whole lot easier than trying to lie about how important it is."

Lucas furrows his brow again, and the room again feels another couple of degrees warmer. "Ah'm not lying," he says, a little harsher. "Look, she's my ex. Ah'm sorry Ah don't wanna make this all awkward by tellin' you all about her, okay?"

Rashmi smiles a bit, nodding. "See, that's all you needed to say. I won't ask anymore."

Lucas shakes his head, "Anyway, it doesn't matter no mores, so… Forget it." He folds his arms over his chest once more, and the warmth in the air seems to begin to disapate.

Rashmi tilts her head. "I won't forget it, Lucas… But I promise, I won't ask unless you say it's all right, okay?"

Lucas looks a little annoyed, "Why do you do that?!?!"

Rashmi blinks. "Do what?"

Lucas raises his voice a little, angry about this and, yet, it's silly. "You sit there, an' you get me all nice an' guard down, an' then you ask me these things what Ah don't wanna talk about, an' you get me almost to do it, an' then when Ah figure out what you've done and stop it Ah'm the one what feels bad about it!?!?!"

Rashmi throws up her arms, in full-on argument mode. "I don't know why! I'm just curious, and I'm *trying* to be straight with you, and I *promise* all you ever have to do is just say 'Nope, don't wanna talk about it,' and it's *done!* Why is that so hard to understand?!"

"Because NO ONE acts like they care to get you talk without a price!" Lucas huffs, and gets a little more even volumed. "Ah'm just tryin' to figure out what it is."

Rashmi's hand slaps on the table, palm down. "Maybe… *Maybe* I'm not *acting!* Did you think about that?!"

Lucas stands, "Ah have given you NOTHING but good reasons to hate me an' walk away!" he yells, and now, once more, it begins to get warm. "But you don't. You keep trickin' me to tell you all this shit about me what Ah don't wanna tell! You keep comin' back! Ah don't get what your angle is!"

Rashmi leaps to her feet, one hand shooting out and snagging a fistful of Lucas' shirt. "I'm not *tricking* anyone, *Lucas.* And before you keep spouting that… that… utter… *BULLSHIT* about hating you?" Narrowing her eyes, the redhead leans in very, very close, pitching her voice in a tight whisper ensured to be heard only by him. "You didn't *have* to loan me that book. You didn't *have* to try and cheer me up." Letting go, she thumps back in her chair, glaring up at the blonde. "So what was *your* angle?"

Lucas gasps when she grabs him, holding still, his blustery explosion kind of startled out him by her action. When she's finished and sits again, he just stands there, frozen. His face pales a little, and that heat in the air fades once more. His eyes dart around her face, then he looks off towards the kitchen, then down to the floor. Slowly, he shakes his head, "My angle is Ah can't do this," he says, quietly. He looks over at her, with a rather sad look on his face, and then he begins walking towards the door.

"Lucas." Rashmi's eyes are on her plate, arms folded over her chest.

Lucas continues walking a few steps, even after she calls his name, before he comes to a stop. Slowly, he turns just his head to look back at her.

Rashmi's eyes remained fastened in place, her hair obscuring the bulk of her face. "…I'll see you at the pool. … ….Whenever you're up for it."

Lucas stares at her for several long seconds. He chews on the inside of his cheek, mulling over a number of responses, before simply turning, and heading out the door.

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