2010-11-30: A Home For The Holidays


Rashmi_icon.jpg Travis_icon.jpg

Summary: Rashmi and Travis talk about the Holidays and Family.

Date: November 30, 2010

Log Title: A Home For The Holidays

Rating: PG-13

Barnes Academy - Library

There are only a few thousand volumes on display here, mostly for decorative purposes, though of course they can be checked out. The actual 'Library' is almost entirely electronic, with secure link to the entire contents of the Library of Congress online as well as hook-ups to the best universities and research facilities in the free world. Students can browse the Internet or do work projects from the stations here or download materials to the next generation pad computers/e-readers that are stanadard issue to all students and staff.

Even though Barnes isn't your typical school it still has homework and thus Travis is in the Library working on his homework for several classes. He's put off most of it till last minute since the weekend he tends to slack off and not get everything done he needs to. So with his history report on SHIELD's involvement in World World Two due tomorrow, he's working on it now. One arm is flipping through a book while two of his hands type away on his laptop. A fourth hand is holding a can of Redbull while the other two are just idle for now.

The almost completely paperless library carries with it several drawbacks; for Rashmi, chief among them is the inability to construct her Fortress of Knowledge the way her scattered thought processes prefer. Folders and paper-clipped printouts simply don't have the heft of piles of books. But she makes do, and is glad for it now that she's returned to school. A cup of red tea drifts steam a few workstations down, keyboard tapping away as document searches are performed, essays researched, practice legal briefs composed, and all the busywork of a first-year prelaw slogged through.

Travis really isn't use to all this electronic library stuff even if it is neat and seems like it's straight out of a SciFi movie. He mutters to himself as he works. "Okay so it wasn't really SHIELD back then but these….Howling Commandos." He takes a deep breath and leans his head back which is when he spots Rashmi and gives her a smile and a head nod. "Hey Rashmi, welcome back." He says as he hasn't seen her around lately and heard that she'd gone to help out with something.

Rashmi's head pops up at the sound of her name, Travis given a bright smile. "Travis! Hi!" Holding up a finger, the redhead clicks the active window over to the research outline being worked on, one of the folders moved from the stack at her right hand to the stack closest to Travis, her personal PDA laid to rest on her lap. "Okay. There. It's *really* good to be back, how've you been?"

Travis welcomes the excuse to take a break from his studies even if that means he'll be up all night on his report. "I'm doing okay, keeping busy. Working on this report for History class it's…shit I didn't even know about." Which means a lot of football watching lately on Sundays and Mondays. "Did you do anything for Thanksgiving?" He asks as he saves his work on his laptop and pushes it away for a bit.

Rashmi bobs her head. "Mami and Papi are really big on Thanksgiving. It… I dunno, I guess it was just one of those things that they started just because they wanted to Be American, and after awhile really grew on them. They like to have people from the neighborhood who get stranded or can't celebrate it… but since they live in the Kitchen, they sort of have to be careful who they invite, you know? What about you, what did you do?"

"I stayed here." Travis says with a smile. "Since it's just me and my Mom and we both live here we did a little something together. She cooked a small meal for the two of us. We could have had it with the rest of the Barnes staff and kids here but…it's kind of nice just spending time..as a family." Him and his Mom are pretty close and he's not really ashamed to admit that. "Kinda sappy."

Rashmi nods, her smile softening. "No, I understand… I know exactly what you mean. But tell your Mom that next year, if you both want? You're invited to our little apartment. It's crowded," she says quickly, "and it lasts like most of the day with people coming and going, but, I know Mami would be *annoyed* at me if I didn't invite my friends just in case." She puts her head to one side, gazing off into the middle distance. "…I could ask them about Christmas dinner, too, now that I think of it. That's a *lot* less crowded, but they'll want you to help make up the plates for when we go out with the leftovers."

Travis smiles and nods. "Actually…I'll talk to Mom about it. Don't tell her I said this but…her getting out and making friends might be nice ya know. It's not really that easy having to start over again." He says as nods. "And you guys go out with the leftovers? What do you mean? Like..offer the leftovers to those who aren't as lucky?"

Rashmi nods firmly. "Every year. We make up plates with a little of everything, and if the money's not been so tight that year everyone who comes to dinner tries to pool together to get like a McDonald's card with five bucks on it or something to go with every plate. …Which… doesn't really happen many years, but we do when we can. It's not a *whole* lot, but even people who can't get to the soup kitchen deserve dinner and a present on Christmas, right?"

"Wow, that's really amazing. You parents sound really awesome Rashmi." Travis says as he's never done anything like that. "I can't cook or anything but my Mom makes really good green bean casserole and a good apple pie too." He says with a chuckle. "I don't cook, just never really got the interest in it. I usually just help with cleaning though one of my roommates like to cook. Billy….that Wiccan kid? He likes to cook all this weird fancy stuff with those crazy French names."

Rashmi chuckles. "Then yeah, *definitely* tell your Mom to come. Though it's going to be a little weird, Mami and Papi like to make real Indian food, and other people bring stuff like shepherd's pie or Grandma Xiehua and her duck noodles… Um. That's what she has everyone call her, Grandma Xiehua, she's not *actually* related. Anyway, yeah. Lots of really different food, probably a lot of it's gonna be weird if you don't eat out much. But apple pie's *always* a good idea to bring, so."

"Well my Mom and I usually have the same thing for Thanksgiving that we do for Christmas. It's just easier to keep things the same." It's more holidays have become routine for 'Smith' family. "My Dad used to cook too but we found it was too depressing if we took over what he used to do. Holidays are always a bit rough but Mom and I try to make the best of it. This year was good though."

Rashmi nods softly. "I can't say I know personally," she says softly, "but Mrs. Kettleman's really the same. It helped her a lot that even if her husband was gone, at least there'd still be smiling faces all around her, you know…? The first year she came, she broke down into tears halfway through dinner, but I'll never forget how she looked at Mami and Papi, and said 'My Gerald, God rest his soul, would be *so proud* of you for doing this, you two… Thank you, from both of us.'" Trailing off, she sits back in her chair, dabbing the back of her hand at one eye. "I was only nine years old that year… But it stuck with me, you know? Just how much it helped that poor lady, that someone just *cared* enough to open their arms."

"It was about five years ago that Dad died." Travis says. "It..gets a bit easier but those first few years it was really hard since Mom and I didn't have anyone else. We were trying to get used to Dad not being around while trying to get used to a whole new life. Now we're having to do it all over again..I.." He looks away a bit embarrassed cause..well..guys don't cry. "Well, at least once of us breaks down during one of the holidays if it's My Birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years since they're all right in a row. Having friends does help though."

Rashmi slips out of her chair, walking down the line of stations, to lean down and wrap her arms around Travis' neck, hugging gently. "It really will… And you give that hug to your Mom too, if I don't see her. Mami and Papi would never forgive me if I didn't tell you the door's open to whatever holiday you guys want to be around people to celebrate, okay?"

Travis returns the hug with one of his arms and smiles. "I will, and I'll definitely talk to my Mom about going. I'd…like that." He says because it's nice to feel like you belong somewhere and with friends and friends of the family it makes a place feel more like home. "So do you have any brothers or sisters or is it just you and your Mom and Dad?"

"Just us," Rashmi says with a chuckle. "Not for any real reason, just, I was the only kid they ended up having. They're still in their forties, so I'd be sort of shocked if I never *ever* had a sibling, but for now it's just them at the house."

Travis chuckles at that. "You'd probably be a great big sister." He says using two hands to push back his hair. "Well it sounds like your parents keep busy and at least you're close enough to them. I'd love to go back home…well to Colorado at some point. I miss skiing in the winter." Travis was always a bit of a sports person.

Rashmi blinks, raising an eyebrow. "Um… have you looked around all that much? I mean it's not the Rockies, but…" A few taps on her PDA, a couple more, and up comes a brightly colored map of the state. "There's *all kinds* of ski places upstate you could go to. I mean… I know what you're here for, but this is SHIELD your Mom works for. I'm pretty sure if they can swing it, you and your Mom could have a security detail or something just for a little family trip, right?"

Travis raises up all six arms, one of them still holding the can of Red Bull. "It's a bit hard being out in the open like this. Most skiers don't have six arms. It'd be interesting though to see how my balance is with the six arms though since only two are really needed. But yeah, I know there are places upstate New York..I'd have to look into it to see if something…secluded is available."

Rashmi snorts. "Being a mutant shouldn't keep you from doing what you *like* to do. And besides if you *do* get upstate and *have* that security, you *definitely* won't have to worry about anti-mutant idiots. But anyway, yeah. Talk to your mom and staff and see what they can do, seriously. You really *should* be able to do everything you like, as much as you can."

"Well…I'm a mutant but..it's weird." Travis says with a chuckle. "There was an accident actually that seemed to have turned a recessive gene dormant they said. But…it's just, I'm still not really comfortable going out with the six arms and all. It's still awkward to be honest and also it's…there's a bit more too it. My Mom and are supposed to try to stay under the radar a bit."

Rashmi nods. "I know, and I'm trying to figure out how to get around that. …Well. At least as far as staying safe is concerned…" Shaking her head, she tucks back a lock of her hair. "But as far as being a mutant… yeah, that takes a little more getting used to. Have you spent all that much time in Mutant Town? I hear there's this bar that has this thing where they open it up to underage people now and again. We should go sometime, maybe that'll help you get a little more comfortable?"

Travis shakes a hand a bit. "A little bit, I mean I do have a jacket that can cover up four of the arms so it'll be easier now that it isn't summer. But as much as it's 'look at me I'm a mutant', having six arms is really helpful. It's got it's ups and downs, and I'll never complain that one of the hands is able to heal people."

Rashmi inclines her head to concede the point, but wrinkles her nose. "…I know I'm probably the last person who ought to be opening her mouth about this, but… You shouldn't *need* a jacket to go out, you know? But that's just my activist talking, I get *really* indignant when someone has to hide who they are."

Travis takes a while to answer that seeming like he's trying to figure out how to answer. "Well..it's not just the hiding cause I'm a mutant thing it's….I'm, I can't really make myself be known. They found out where my Mom and I were once…now that I have six arms I'm a lot more distinguishable and I don't really want anything happening to my Mom. She's been through so much that….I need to make sure I keep her safe too." He says standing up with a shrug. "Well I'm gonna head to the cafeteria to get another Red Bull so I can finish this report, you want anything?"

Rashmi shakes her head, stepping back with a small smile. "No, I'm good thanks. And let me know if you're stuck, okay? I've got like three different things I'm working on now, it'll be nice to have a break and engage my brain on something else. And… I do understand what you mean, Travis… I just…" With a huff, the redhead frowns, deeply. "…Let's hope you don't *need* to hide much longer, I guess."

Travis smiles at Rashmi and gives her a wink. "I'll let you know if I need help." He does understand what she's saying but he doesn't say much more about it. "I'll be back in a bit." He says as he heads out of the library to pick up more stay awake juice in a can.

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