2012-09-23: A Light In Dark Places


Rashmi_icon.jpg SophieD_icon.jpg

Summary: Rashmi and Sophie talk in the library, and hope replaces despair.

Log Title: A Light In Dark Places

Rating: R

Xavier Mansion - Library

//Like most Libraries, this one has that respected quite hush about it. A desk to check out books sits next to the door, next to the desk sits a statue of an Orangutan with a sign saying Return your books or else. Row upon row of books goes up and down the room. In the middle of all the shelves are two computers for looking up titles and a group of tables for students to sit and study. Along the back wall are windows with padded window seating for students to read in quiet. //

Given the amount of danger Rashmi has put herself in following her daring video challenge, leaving the Embassy was something of a chore. Three vehicles leaving in separate directions, each changing passengers twice, and a route that only the most determined navigator could follow or remember, left the redheaded Hindi rather worn out. Still, there's work to be done, and the Mansion is a good place to do at least some of it. Thus, with a stack of heavy books as tall as her head, Rashmi sits at one of the tables in the library, busily researching.

While Rashmi might be alone for the moment, the moment ultimately does not last. Even late in the evening as it is, students still come to use the Library occasionally; one such student now enters, preceded by the soft tapping of a cane. Sophie has a light backpack slung across her shoulder, clearly laden with several books; and her left hand is swaddled in a bandage. She pauses near the book drop off, and goes about the business of returning several volumes of various sizes.

Rashmi looks up from her research, her worried, studious expression melting away in a broad, gentle smile as she looks back down at her book. "Hello, Sophie," she says, pitched just loud enough to carry across the hush of the library. "It's Rashmi. Are you okay?"

Sophie quite literally jumps at the first sound of another person's voice, and several books sail through the air in various directions. (Ironically, one of them is about physics.) As they land about her, she clutches her cane tightly in both hands, and breathes out slowly. "…Sorry," she replies, speaking a bit more loudly than is necessary. "I was… expecting to be alone, si? I have become a little bit… jumpy, these last few days." She pauses, and kneels down to pat about for the books. "Where are you? I cannot quite place you, you must be near the tables?"

"Not anymore," Rashmi says, her voice tinged with humor as she slips out of her chair and moves to help collect the books. "I don't blame you for being jumpy… What happened to you guys is enough to make *anyone* nervous for awhile. But in the school, at least, you're as safe as you can get. Trust me on that."

Sophie bobs her head once, as she manages to collect the physics book. Still arrayed around her are a book about Second World War history, specifically about the Pacific war; a book about speaking German, and the first Harry Potter book, all in braille aside from the titles, of course. "Si… and it is why I have not left the mansion since I have been…" She pauses, and sighs softly. "Accused of being el terrorista." She sits back, and inspects the physics book to make sure it isn't damaged. "Thank you," she adds. "Your message on TV was very brave of you to make."

Rashmi blinks, tilting her head. "Oh, so it's gotten on TV? That's good, I was worried it would just sort of sink, but that means people'll be talking about it soon… if they aren't already." Picking up the history books, then the Harry Potter, her brows furrow slightly. "But I don't blame you," she murmurs, touching Sophie's hand and tapping the top of her stack three times. "Leaving the Embassy was probably one of the most nerve-wracking things I did, and it probably wasn't a good idea anyway."

Sophie smiles, "Si, it was on TV, it was the best thing I have heard since these… Church of Humanity people attacked us in Salem Center. I could not believe it, the next day when I found out that Professor Hildegarde, a man I do not know, and I were all labelled terrorists, and we had not even done anything." She tracks the sound of the tapping, and picks everything up, so she can push the lot of it down into the returns bin. "What are you doing here, anyway? Not that I'm not happy to hear you, of course." She pokes absent-mindedly at her healing palm while she talks, and waggles her fingers in the air.

"Work," Rashmi says, sighing softly. "I'm going to be having Robyn make interviews with mutants in the Danger Room, so nobody can trace the location back here. And I figure I may as well touch bases with Ms. Frost, and see if there's anything I can do to help, since *most* of what I'm doing already is just phone stuff. Getting hold of the DA, the CHief of Police, hoping like mad I can get an interview with Anderson Cooper… lots of things. Ms. Walters is really happy with me, at least." Falling silent for a moment, she shakes ehr head. "That's the part of the spin doctoring they're doing that upsets me the most. But really, I should have expected it; if you want to get rid of mutants, it's only *logical* that your first step be to turn the public against them. And the best way to do that, these days, is by making terrorists out of them."

Sophie bobs her head slowly as she listens. "I know," she replies. "I saw the reasosn behind it, it was obvious. That doesn't make it any less cruel." She pauses, and shrugs her shoulders. "I am afraid I… I cried. How could a blind girl possibly be a terrorist, or all things? They even put my picture on the news with my blindfold on, how could people possibly be fooled by that, even if they thought they were telling the truth about the other two?" Her voice rises as she speaks, and she forces herself to pause, uncurling her fingers from where they'd gotten all tight about her cane. She breathes out slowly, and shakes her head. "I am glad you are here. It is very good to hear you."

"Sophie," Rashmi says gently, "it's *easy* to make people think you're dangerous. All they have to do is tell people you're a mutant, and their imaginations do the rest. Can you see without your eyes? You're glowing; maybe you're radioactive? Maybe you can kill someone just by thinking hard? *Nobody knows but mutants who know you,* and that's exactly why it's so easy." Letting out a long, slow breath, she shakes her head, reaching out to rest a hand on the blind girl's shoulder. "I'm glad to talk to you too. I was really worried about all of you."

"I suppose you're right," Sophie replies. She reaches up to rest her good hand atop Rashmi's, letting her cane dangle by the loop. "It does not mean I have to like it." She pauses, and shakes her head slowly. "You should be more worried about Nicholas and Warlock, I think," she adds. "Professor Hildegarde and I, and Fiona, we just got hurt, but… they got kidnapped. By these horrible people! Who knows what might have happened to them? I do not like to think about it."

"And Connor and Quenton," Rashmi whispers. "And I can't *help* but think about it. Because I know what happens. Probably they have it worse than I ever did, but… They're alive, at least. Suffering… but they're alive. So there's hope."

The blind girl bows her head as she listens, as the first signs of blushing color her face. "It was my fault Nick and Locke got taken," she blurts out. "I know you'll tell me it was not, but… When it started they had this thing making a lot of noise, and… and I am blind, and I could not hear anything either, and I panicked. And Both of them could have run away but they tried to help me, and I just… I did not do anything, but panic and cry, and then Professor Hildegarde came to help us and she got shot and nearly killed, and now Nick and Locke might be in for the same fate and I feel like I am going to burst!" she blurts out, the words coming out in an increasing rush and nearly tumbling over each other towards the end. She sucks in a ragged breath, and by now her face truely is blushing, and fiercely.

"Sophie?" Rashmi says, voice soft, "have you *ever* needed to fight before you came here? Have you managed to be mostly okay *without* fighting since you came here?"

"Before I found out that God has blessed me differently from most people, no, I have never had to fight," Sophie admits. "But since coming here, I have faced violence more than once. I have been assaulted twice and kidnapped by Count Dracula." She reaches up to rub at her eyes through the blindfold. "But otherwise, si, I have been okay."

"Then why should you be ashamed of yourself?" Rashmi asks, tilting her head. "When have you ever *needed* to learn how to stand, when every instinct screams at you to run? Why should you *expect* differently of yourself? You're a gentle person, Sophie… Gentle people don't come to violence easily, nor should they *have* to."

"God gave me neutron blasts for a reason," Sophie mumbles. "But I do not even mean that. I could have run away on my own, or at least tried. If they hadn't had to help me they might never have been kidnapped, and then Quenton would not have wanted to go out looking for them either." She swallows audibly, and shakes her head. "I froze up because I cannot see, and they defeaned me as well." Her hands pick at her blindfold, and her voice abruptly rises, "I *hate* being blind! I thought it was okay but then Dracula made me see again and now I have to get used to it all over again, and now this, and if they do not come back I do not know how I can ever live with it!" She pauses, sucking in a ragged breath, spends a long moment, quite obviously holding back tears, before adding in a quiet whisper, "I am sorry. I am being selfish and ungrateful for… for everything I do have, and I am sorry."

Rashmi weathers Sophie's outburst in silence, closing her eyes for a moment. "Sophie… Sophie. It's not your fault. If they didn't mean to take them, they would have been in the hospital right next to you. It's not random chance, Sophie… They take exactly who they want, and make demons out of the rest, and *they do it on purpose.*" She falls silent for a moment, then gathers Sophie into a tight hug. "I'm sorry about Dracula," she murmurs. "I'm sorry he's such a cruel person, and he knew exactly what best to tempt you with. But there was one kindness in that cruelty. Now you know Hosea's face."

Sophie wraps her arms around Rashmi's waist in turn, and finally cannot quite hold back the tears any longer. "I know," she replies. "And… I wish I could see his face again. And yours, too." She squeezes the other girl tightly, and chokes her emotions back once more, though too late to prevent the glisten of moisture on her cheeks. "Is…" She trails off, and pauses, willing her muscles to stop trembling for a moment. "Is there anything I may do to help you? …Help you research?" She pauses, and shrugs her shoulders lightly. "I will speak for the TV for your interview, if it would help," she adds. "Not that I… expect that I have anything much anyone wants to hear, but… well… anyway."

"I think you have *exactly* what they need to hear," Rashmi murmurs with a smile. "I want Robyn to get from people, what it's like to be a mutant. Where they come from, what they want, *why* they want it, why being a mutant makes everything so complicated… Tell your story, Sophie, when Robyn asks. People need to hear it. People need to know *who you are,* and it's doubly important because you've been called a terrorist. People need to see the lie for what it is."

Sophie listens carefully, and as Rashmi finishes, she bobs her head slowly. "Okay," she whispers. "Alright. Si… Si. This, I can do." She straightens her back a little, and her breathing slows as she quite palpably calms down. "I will have to think," she murmurs. "But, I will be ready, when Robyn asks me. It… I… It feels good to finally have something that I can do. It is not a good feeling, to think that you are a burden upon others." She pauses, and reahces up to brush a lock of hair behind her ear. "Thank you, Rashmi. Sometimes there is nothing more valuable than a sympathetic shoulder to cry on."

"No, it isn't a good feeling," Rashmi murmurs, squeezing gently, then pulling back. "But y'know what? You can be scared and be brave. Because the only thing that bravery is, is being scared and *doing* regardless. It doesn't even mean you need to fight, if you don't have to. Just do *something,* do the *best thing you can do,* and you'll be brave enough for anyone. That's all… that's the big secret to bravery," she says with a soft chuckle.

Sophie sucks in her breath, and lets it out slowly. She brushes her fingers through her hair, and smooths out the front of her blouse. "Si," she replies. "The Mother Superior once told me the same thing. Just after I lost my sight, and I could not move for being frightened of everything. And… like from her, with you, it is easiest to learn from one who teaches by example, and not only with words." She takes another deep breath, pausing to compose herself, before her lips quirk upwards lightly. "The last time I spoke to Nicholas, he… the last thing he said to me, is 'you dress like a granny, Sophie'. …Do I dress like a granny, Rashmi? Am I really so unfashionable, in America?"

Rashmi blinks, raising an eyebrow and looking Sophie's clothing up and down. After a moment, she shrugs. "…Y'know, I really wouldn't know," she says after a moment, chuckling. "I shop at Goodwill, and I only care about whether they're earth tones and skirts, unless I absolutely *have* to wear pants. So I'm sort of the wrong person to ask about fashion, really…"

Sophie coughs softly, and shakes her head. "I always buy clothes that are just… whtie, or grey, or light blue or something," she admits. "I am always worried that if I got all sorts of different colors and things that I'd put on something that would completely not match, and look silly. …Or that someone would help me buy a T-Shirt and assure me that it is 'really cool' when it actually has a rude word printed across the front, or something, and I would never know it." She pauses, and her brow furrows as she considers that for a moment. "Maybe some of the other girls can help with fashion, once this… nightmare has passed and the day shines on us once more. …It will pass, right?"

"Of *course* it will," Rashmi says without hesitation. "Trust me on that… it always passes. No matter how bad it seems, it all tends to work out, eventually. Never forget that, Sophie… and always try to do whatever you think you can, to make it happen quicker."

Sophie bobs her head quickly. "I will," she replies. "And… do you need help with your research? I have plenty of time, if you need an assistant, after the time you have spent with me. I have brought my laptop, which has a special screen… so I can help you with things on the internet, perhaps." She sweeps her cane in a quick circle around her feet, and humms softly. "Oh, and… if you do not mind my asking… have you ever read Harry Potter?"

"I'm mostly done for the day, I think," Rashmi says with a soft chuckle. "If I do need an assistant, I'll let you know, though. Harry Potter? Yeah, I have. It was pretty good… not *exactly* my cup of tea, but good books. … …..Still prefer Lloyd Alexander for learning-how-to-grow-up epics, though."

Sophie ohs? "Lloyd Alexander? …I quite enjoyed the first Harry Potter, but I am curious. What has Lloyd Alexander written?" She scratches the back of her head, and shifts her feet as she racks her brains. "I am not so good with American writers," she admits. "But after Harry Potter, I am meaning to read Lord of the Rings. I do seem to remember you telling me that it is good."

"Oh it *really* is," Rashmi says with a grin. "Lloyd Alexander did the Prydain books… Disney took the first two and made the Black Cauldron movie, if you've ever seen that growing up. It's *seriously* a good series, especially the fourth one… That's where Taran *really* learns about growing up and finding him place in the world… If they don't have them here in Braille, I'm pretty sure I could find them for you."

"Alright! I am convinced." Sophie brushes her heand over her cheeks to wipe away any lingering residue of tears, and manages to smile more warmly than she has, well, since the attack in Salem Center. "Harry Potter, then Lord of the Rings, then Prydain. …I am pronouncing it right, si? …homework has been light, lately. I expect to be reading Lord of the Rings by next week. I will be sure to tell you what I think of it."

"Do please," Rashmi says. "You should know my email address if I'm not here. If not, I'll be sure to give it to you before I leave." Tilting her head, the Hindi girl's lips turn up at the corners. "…Feel better?"

Sophie nods her head quickly. "Much," she replies. "And si, I do have your e-mail." She pauses, and her smile fades slowly. "I am still worried about Nick, and Locke, and Quenton, and Connor," she murmurs. "And I will pray for them every night until they are safe. …But…" She pauses, and allows herself to smile once more. "At least now, I have hope. You have given me hope, Rashmi, where before I had only despair. Thank you."

"If Lord of the Rings taught me anything," Rashmi says with a soft smile, "it's that no matter how bad things get… sometimes even a little hope is all you need to light the way in the darkness. Remember that, Sophie, no matter what… and I promise, you can weather anything that comes your way."

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