2010-03-08: After Action Heart To Heart


James_icon.jpg Rashmi_icon.jpg

Summary: Still recovering from a severe case of Buick, James tells Rashmi what happened.

Date: March 7, 2010

Log Title After-Action Heart to Heart

Rating: PG

Xavier Institute — Medical Bay

The Medical Bay contains the latest medical equipment to patch up students and X-Men with the smallest and worst injuries. Six beds line the walls for injured patients. Equipment lines the walls, medicine in the cabinets, and more serious medical supplies locked in cabinets. One this about this room it screams sterilization.

Just past noon, and for the past few hours, pretty much as soon as breakfast was done, Rashmi has been planted firmly in the chair by James' bed, armed with books aplenty, just waiting for him to come around. Now and again, she'd raise her head, searching for signs of motion in the heyna's sleeping face. Finding none, she shifts herself on the chair to get more comfortable, sniffles back a few tears, and returns to the business of waiting.

If there was such a thing as the 'sleep of the dead' James would be experiencing it. It's a stark contrast to the last time he was in here. There's no funny business and this time the machines he's tied to were put there by a doctor, not as a set up for a joke. The chart says it all: He's been out since he arrived, his healing factor gently, slowly repairing his body while modern medical miracles keep him comfortable and offer a platform to keep his body on the mend. Then, out of the blue, there's some movement followed by an opening eye, and the curious nose of someone whom just woke up in an unexpected place.

The *second* the noise is made, the book is put away, the eye focused upon as Rashmi slips out of the chair, crouching next to the bed to keep herself at eye level. "Hey," she whispers, voice tight. "good to see you awake…"

James takes a second to focus in on his surroundings, mind trying to confirm what his that nose already picked up: med bay. He moves his arms and finds them rather securely strapped down—a step taken given his state of mind when he arrived. No reason to chance him to try pulling out the IVs or worse! He looks down at his wrists, giving them a 'Oh you have got to be kidding me' sort of consideration. Those eyes direct themselves over to his teammate with an understanding that clearly states: No flashbacks needed. I know why I'm here, "Hey…"

Rashmi opens her mouth to ask a question, probably several, more probably one after the other, but she frowns at herself, shaking her head and hauling herself back to more immediate concerns. "Sorry about the straps… um… are you thirsty?"

James's puts his ears sideways, "I'm fine." He hmphs and gives the things a small tug, "Can you…uhh…unstrap me? This is embarrassing." His look softens a little, "I hope I didn't totally screw things up again."

Rashmi glances left and right, unsure whether she *ought* to be unstrapping him. "…Okay," she says, finally, "but only if you promise to leave all the other stuff alone, okay?" Rising, she rests a hand on the leather cuff nearest her, sighing quietly. "…You were… out of it," she says at first. "…We were pretty scared. Robyn tried to help you inside… um… I guess he moved something, because then you… well… basically you sounded like a really hurt, really pissed-off… large…. something…. and took a swing. And fell and knocked yourself out on the steps. Lucas carried you here, I found a doctor…. yeah. It was pretty bad."

James gets a pained look on his face when he hears the news. He flexes his hand as a distraction and moves it over to the other one to release it as well. In a moment, he's free! Yeah..free to lay there some. "I…didn't hurt anyone did I?" It's a question he really doesn't like to have to ask, but there isn't a choice. He reaches over to trap her hand in a non threatening manner, eyes meeting hers, "I'm so sorry. I went out, I honestly forgot about the buddy thing until I was already in front of Jono. Things got really bad…." He closes his eyes for a moment, "My head hurts. A lot."

Rashmi nods softly, resting her hand atop the large paw. "It's okay… you're back. And you're going to be all right." She attempts a smile, but the tears standing out in her eyes don't do much to sell it. "Nobody got hurt… well… except you. What *happened* out there, James? You were… well if it was anyone else, I'd be afraid that you'd've died during the night…!"

James makes a really honest attempt at trying to wipe one of those tears, "Don't cry…I'm a tank. It'll take more than Jono to hurt me." Technically that's true considering the cars… Allowed to, and he'll pull her close enough to hug, keeping her there as long as he can. He use the moment to craft his story. It's Rashmi. She's like his best friend ever on the team….so if nothing else, that means…she….shouldn't know everything, "I got hit by a car. Twice." There's a shrug as he starts retelling the story, purposely leaving out the whole mental retelling if all the deaths Jono made him experience. Instead he fills in that with, "He…did something to me. Made me…much more wild. Beast like. Forced me to feel what it would be like if I lost control." It's not a total lie…so that's okay…right?

Rashmi wraps har arms around the hyena's neck, squeezing her eyes shut as she listens to the tale. "Oh God, James," she whispers against his shoulder, once the tale draws to a close. "I'm so, so sorry… are… you going to be okay…? I mean, *really?* That just… I… I don't even know…" With a deep, shuddery sigh, she raises her head, tears falling freely down her cheeks. "Don't go out alone again, okay…? Please?"

James hugs back stiffly, arms wrapped tight around her back, "Yeah…I'll be fine." No he won't, not right away. He closes his eyes and lays still for a moment, that big muzzle almost on the smaller woman's spine, "He said things about it. Things I can't really disagree with." He sighs, "I won't. I did't really realize I did until it was too late." He stiffens a little, "I know how we can beat Sinister's control."

Rashmi half-rises, eyes wide. "…You do? How? What happened? How'd you find out?" A barrage of quesions, that seem about to continue, but she almost visibly hauls herself back. "…I also want to know what he said… about that… but after. Please, James… I'm all ears."

James' eyes rolla a little bit at the thought of the 'finer' details of the episode. He 'is' a male..and a male beasty with all those 'I'm so not a wuss' instincts. But he gives in, never 'really' regretting the tale. It is Jono after all. So, this time he retells the story from a non-action movie stand point, telling his close friend about what he said to Jono and how he felt, the daily battle the hyena fights to remain in contol, all the sensory overload and how it drives him mad…and how Jono is the one person his mind actually stops and listens to, "I think it was me telling him what he meant. It really had some sort of effect. He was fighting it, but it wasn't enough." He closes his eyes, letting go of another detail, "I tried to kill him. I wanted to rip his chest open. I wanted to crush his heart with me bare hands. And, I think I nearly did it." He holds up the hand he used, "I sliced him open. And hen I did, just for a moment it was him again—the Jono we know."

Strangely enough, Rashmi's expression doesn't change one bit during the more truthful retelling. Concern, sadness, a soft smile as James reveals that Jono is his hero. Nodding slowly, she settles back down, returning to her hug in an attempt to reassure beyond words. "…He's a good hero to have, James… And you're right. There's something there… And… I think I have an idea. Just… I want to tell you something, but I need you to *believe* it, okay…?"

James nods, closing his eyes, his body letting go of that last little bit of tension he was saving, "It's just not fair…you know?" He leaves it at that, listening close to his teammate's words, "From you? I'd be a fool not to believe you." His lips pull back in a little bit of a smile. But it's not enough, and even he'll admit to that, "I trust you. If you say something is the way you say it is, it's gotta be the way you say it is."

Rashmi looks up, meeting James' eyes without flinching. "James… I had to tell Jono this, and I'm pretty sure he didn't believe me… but… I don't pick my friends, just because they're, you know, safe. That's not what's important to me, you know? So… Stop beating yourself up about it, okay? I trust you. I *believe* in you. And… ask Mike; that's not easy to change. So… it's okay to relax, you know?"

James tilts his head and looks away, a little frustrated, "Does Robyn trust me after last night? Lucas? I 'hurt' Jono, I almost hurt my friends—all because they were trying to help me." Little does he know Robyn was here most of the night as well, "I'm trying…honestly I am. But even I can't trust me. It's…" He holds up his claws, looking them over, still slightly bloddied from the battle regardless of how much cleaning the nurses would have done. It 'is' blood, "Everyday for me is a controlled fall. And everyday I have to make sure I don't fall 'on' someone." He hugs again, tightly, "I don't want to be an animal. I'm trying. I really am."

Rashmi shrugs quietly. "Robyn was just scared. I mean, you don't hear a noise like that and be completely cool, you know? But, he was here, too. You *didn't* hurt your friends, James, no matter how much 'maybe' there is. You *didn't.* That's *fact.* Like, science fact even. And… even if *you* don't trust yourself, James, that doesn't matter. *I* trust you. So… just remember that, when it gets hard… okay?"

James nods, letting out a long sigh as the pair hang on to each other, "Okay… I will." It's the sound of humoring someone…but he really will try to remember that, "I just…want to be the hero for once. Not some big, monster thing."

Rashmi's eyebrows draw together, a frown tugging at the corners of her mouth. "…Okay… back up a second. So what you're saying is… you ran across Jono. Alone. You didn't run, but you didn't try and fight him like an idiot. You might have found out how to free him for good… oh, right, let's not for get *he threw a car at you and you're alive.* *And* you gave us a way to *find* him." Slowly rising, she stands up straight, head tilted for a moment of silence, then her arms are flailed skyward. "How are not a hero?!"

James falls silent thinking that over, "Because he's not here now?" He's stretching this one but oh…how he hates to be complimented. He crosses his arms and looks gruff before finding somewhere else to put his gaze, "I dunno…" But, even in all that fierceness, the corner of his mouth pulls back a little. Maybe that's a smile?

"Well as far as *I'm* concerned you are," Rashmi says, with that stubborn finality that says she won't be budged without architectural machinery. "So I guess you'll just have to deal." With a smile, she scoots the chair closer to the bed, dropping back in. "…Anyway. My idea. Um… out of curiosity… how'd you feel about writing Jono a letter? I mean… *Our* Jono, not… that. I… it's gonna have to be sort of personal, but there's a *good* reason for it."

James gives Rashmi a rather strange a look. A letter?? "I guess…I mean, it's you so there's a good reason," the boy says. He stare at the foot f the bed for a moment, "That wasn't our Jono…but he's in there. And if there's anything I can do to help get him back, then I'm in." Mentally, he draws some parallels with the whole current event. Yet another person taken over. Yet another group of friends trying to get him back. Seems like a familiar, repeating story.

Rashmi nods slowly. "Write him a letter, then, James… tell him how much he's meant to you. Tell him why. Tell him everything that makes him matter to you… Then…" She draws in a deep breath, closing her eyes and steeling herself for this next part of her proposal. "Give it to me. I'll hang onto it… just in case I get unlucky… and he finds us before the adults find him."

James nods, asking, "He's got my phone. Why not just call him? Or use the GPS? He 'took' it. It wasn't an accident. He pulled it out of my pocket." The hyena looks over at the wall, "And I now know what he smells like. I could never track him, until after yesterday." He unconsciously rubs a spot on his cheek that was seemingly put there on purpose, "He can't hide anymore."

Rashmi nods. "We'll tell the Headmaster that… but it's the *adults* who should actually go looking for him, James… I mean… come on. You did *so good* out there… and at the Grindstone, Mike told me about that… but… this isn't the kind of thing *we* ought to go looking for, you know?"

James hmphs…another dreaded compliment, "I was just keeping everyone safe." He skips the whole thing about how glad he was to be forced to sit in on a leadership class as part of his recent detention as a result. He puts his nose in the air, "Okay…you have..24-48 hours before I escape tis place. Maybe less. So, consider it a head start. After that, I get to start sniffing around again."

Rashmi's eyebrow rises. "Not alone, you're not," she says, her tone warning. "If I have to, I'll tell the Headmaster exactly that, and make sure you've got an adult chaperone *at the least.* I'm not kidding, James… we *can't* go looking for trouble, all right? So… wherever we go, we go as a team. Maybe more."

James nods, his look turning little kinder, "Team is is." That is, after all, one of the few things that seems to matter at times, "And you so wouldn't tell on me…!" Oh yes she would, "Oh yes you would…" He glowers a little, ears going backwards, "I can't believe you'd invoke the name of the headmaster-that-must-not-be-spoken-of."

Rashmi responds with a brilliant grin. "I want to be a *lawyer,*" she says with a chuckle. "There's *all* kinds of ways for them to fight dirty, you know… They sort of *have* to, to win cases."

James smirks, "That's why I like you. You'll do what it takes to win." Well, the smile is back on a regular basis so he can't be feeling too bad still…maybe? He coughs a little, "I want outta here. Real bad."

Rashmi smiles gently, patting James' paw. "Then give Dr. Williams the big puppy eyes, next time he makes the rounds. Probably you'll be out in a day or two, that way. Now… I should get to the library. I've got flyers to print out… Oh!" The book she'd been reading, set on the table, another stacked on top of it. 'A Wrinkle in Time' and 'A Wind in the Door,' by Madeline L'Engele. "I know you're not much for reading… but these are *really* interesting. Sort of sciency and magicy and spiritual and… well basically they're really good. So, maybe they'll be interesting, I hope? It's okay if they're not…" Disjointed, partly-babbled stream of consciousness talking; it's clear that there's a large part of her focus involved in working on some problem or other. "Anyway… you rest up, all right? I'll see if I can't bring down something better for dinner than hospital food."

The hyena gives the books some consideration. He says, "Okay, I'll take a look." But his body says, 'the second she turns around, you're sleeping another 12 hours.' He can already feel that creeping tiredness, and, like it or not, he's about to have a long, long rest, "Rashmi…thanks. You know….for believing in me." It's a shy response, but well meaning.

Rashmi chuckles softly, leaning down to give the hyena a light hug. "…It's what I do," she murmurs, rising. "Don't forget that. And keep hope; Jono will be back. The others will be back. Everything… *everything,* will be okay, one day. It's just going to take some work."

James hugs and nods, "I know…it's just…painful. I know what it feels like to be on the other side. Either position is not a fun place to be."

Rashmi nods. "It isn't… but it's also not forever." One last smile, and the water glass is filled, a straw added, and moved on the table to be in easy reach. "Sleep, James… I'll be back later tonight, to check up, okay?"

James smiles…because he so wants to ask for a bed time story. But, there's times for jokes later, "Thanks. I think I will. Tired and my head is still killing me." He waves, adding a, "Night." at the end.

"Good night." And with that, Rashmi leaves James to his recovery, heading straight for the Library with ideas turning over in her head.

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