2010-10-13: An Emotional Vaccination


Rashmi_icon.jpg Magneto_icon.jpg Theo_icon.jpg

Summary: Young Isabelle Lewis (of A Familiarity of the Law) joins the Institute, much to Rashmi's delight. Theo stops by for a brief visit and update.

Date: October 13, 2010

Log Title: An Emotional Vaccination

Rating: PG

Xavier mansion — Courtyard

Surrounded on three sides by the school, a large courtyard forms the front yard. The courtyard leads right up to the door of the mansion. Yellow square stone slabs cover the ground where the grass would be. The most noticeable thing about the courtyard is the large statue of Jean Gray, aka Phoenix, in the middle as a memorial. Benches surround the outside of the statue so students can sit and hang out in the courtyard. There are two paths leading off the courtyard, one to the left and the other to the right.

The day is drawing to a close, with night hovering on the horizon, creeping westward in the tracks of the sun. The sky is alive with color, for those few brief moments before the day disappears, vibrant blues shading through hues of salmon and pink to reds and purples. A lovely evening… and someone, high overhead, is shouting with laughter. A sunset can be enjoyed in so many more ways, when mutants are involved.

The laugher is Isabelle, and she will soar over the driveway and swoop toward the courtyard, giggling as she comes. Another is with her, providing transport. Magneto isn't known for his willingness to be the 'bus', but he's made an exception this time. Second exception: he's actually smiling. Wonders clearly do not cease.
With all the work and worry and study and worry and tension and worry surrounding the Mansion in general, and Rashmi's new workload in specific, getting out under the sky now and again has become an essential addition to the redhead's daily routine, as Viggo Time has never become more critical. The sound of bright, joyous laughter from overhead does serve well to pull her attention away from the sound and fury of the Battle for Helm's Deep flickering away on her PDA, however, and the movie is paused as the young woman stands up from her bench, head tilted.

Magneto, ferrying a small child about high over the Mansion. Magneto, smiling broadly as he does so. When the penny drops, Rashmi is, predicatbly, stunned, and the PDA is put away for now. Greater wonders swoop high above her head, this evening.

One final swoop and Isabelle is set gently on her feet, which she promptly uses to jump up and down with. "No! Not already! We were having fun!" She is windblown and disheveled and could use having her face washed, but her eyes are bright and her health is all but radiating from her.

Magneto comes in for a smooth landing of his own, cloak billowing around him. "We have been flying for most of an hour, young lady," he says, smile diminished but definitely still active. "I believe you will find that you are hungry. I know that I am. —Good evening, Miss Franklin. How are you tonight?"

Isabelle startles and pivots to face Rashmi. "Oh! You're here! I didn't even see you!" And Rashmi will find herself the target of a glomping hug, if she doesn't dodge. "Hihowareyouit'sgoodtoseeyouThankyouforyourhelp!"

Rashmi blinks sharply as the figures drop into focus, eyes widening to see the little girl hovering on the edge of death, now full to bursting with life and happiness. Indeed, instead of dodging, the redhead quickly stoops, gathering the girl up in a tight hug, a pleased laugh startled from her. "*Hi,* Isabelle! Oh my god it's *so good* to see you, how are you doing!" Over the girl's shoulder, her eyes flick to the elder mutant, face softening visibly. 'Thank you,' her expression says, gratitude nearly too deep for words to convey.
Magneto crosses his arms and watches the ladies do the mushy-get-reacquainted bit. He gives Rashmi a nod when she looks at him, but doesn't interrupt.

Isabelle is nowhere near as restrained. She pulls back to talk to Rashmi, still a mile a minute. "Magneto says that I'm much better and I don't have to be in a stinky hospital room any more, and that there are lots of mutants, and they're kids! Like me! And he promised that I could meet them and make friends with them and maybe even learn how to do new and cooler things to do with my powers." Her voice drops. "I told him that my powers are lame. I mean, they're cool for me, but they're really lame if you wanna DO something. He says not, but he's MAGNETO." A roll of her eyes. You know… old guys NEVER understand.

Rashmi chuckles gently, ruffling the girl's hair. "It's true, Isabelle… Everyone at this school is a mutant, just like you. And yeah, he is… but he's right, too. Not everyone has those kind of powers, and a *lot* of us have to learn it's okay, y'know? Besides, *I* like your powers." The redhead gets to her feet, keeping an arm around Isabelle's shoulders, nodding toward the elder mutant. "So everything's all right, sir?"
Magneto nods and steps closer. "You will not know yet what your powers truly are, Miss Isabelle. That will only come with time and practice." Maybe Isabelle didn't drop her voice enough…

He looks up at Rashmi. "She will need follow-up checks, so that we may be sure she doesn't suffer any relapses, but otherwise yes, she's fine. I've already sent her medical file to the Institute, just in case." He looks back to Isabelle. "This is the Institute I spoke to you about, Isabelle. How do you like it?"

The answer can be translated as, "SQUEE!" Isabelle has never been closer to nature than Central Park and the Bronx Zoo; she commences chattering about both, comparing them (unfavorably) with the Institute and starting a dozen questions about the place, without waiting for answers for any of them.

Rashmi laughs, shaking her head at the barrage of questions. "No, there's no horses, yes, they have a lake to go swimming in, yes, that *whole house* is your school, yes there's a forest but it's better not to go play until you're settled, and by the way there's a *whole garden* in the attic Ms. Munroe turned into a greenhouse. Don't worry, you'll have all the time in the world to check it all out." Looking back up at Magneto, Rashmi raises an eyebrow. "It's good to see another happy student, sir… Thanks for bringing her by. There wasn't any trouble, I hope?"

Magneto shrugs a shoulder, as Isabelle continues the barrage of questions. "There isn't any that we can't deal with." A distinct chill has entered his expression, if not his voice. Isabelle doesn't notice, even as she runs over to him and demands he lift her 'so she can see over there'!

"As the young lady commands," he says, with a bow of his head, and up she soars on a gesture from him. A fresh gale of giggles rains down. "She is hyperactive," he says, face tilted up to watch Isabelle flailing happily overhead. "That may be an issue. This girl doesn't recognize her limits… or even her boundaries. Not on any consistent basis."

Rashmi nods slowly. "She wouldn't be the first, at least… …When James gets back I'll be sure to warn him. He *loves* playing with the younger ones, but he also has that, um… line… of his own. Anyway," she says, dropping her voice and edging closer, "it'll be nice to hear someone laughing again. Possibly she'll be just what a lot of the people here need to feel a little better, y'know?"

Magneto flicks a brow at the mention of James. He's met the boy — once — and read a great deal more about him. He figures Isabelle is a match for him—she can out-talk him, if nothing else. "She has proven to be resilient," he says. "Very determined to have a good time. Very much protective of her right to have a good time." He eyes Isabelle, who is whirling around, now. "You might have to save the other students from her."

"It'll be a nice change, sir," Rashmi replies with feeling. "Besides, she's got a lot of good time to make up for, right?"

"Good time? Miss Franklin, as far as I can tell, this child has always lived on the over-privileged side of the fence. It was only when her genetic status became obvious that her parents fell off the rails. One could call it over-zealous parenting, taken to the nth degree." Magneto shrugs. "I don't doubt that that will prove to be an issue for the school, too."

Rashmi's eyebrow twitches upward, eyes following Isabelle's swooping aerial gyrations. "…They've been making a vocal issue of it I assume, sir?"

"They've been trying to." Magneto is very dry. "It is remarkable how big money falls to bigger money. Being the head of state of an independent nation has its advantages… especially when judges get calls from State department employees regarding gag orders on court cases." He gives Rashmi a sideways glance and a smirking smile. "I think they are interested in keeping me within their laws."

Rashmi coughs quietly, something like a smirk crossing her own face. "…Then it's a good thing you *have* been, isn't it sir? I'll guess the recording and the transcript didn't go over very well with the judge… unless it hasn't gotten quite that far, yet?"

Magneto swoops Isabelle across the courtyard, which she loudly appreciates. "I haven't been following the details of the case that closely, although I believe that evidence has been reviewed. There are several lawyers tasked to the problem, Miss Franklin; I assure you, you do not need to worry about this. At all." He gives her a bright, white smile.

"By now you should know me better than that," Rashmi murmurs beside Magneto, head tilted skyward to watch a girl of no more than eleven years of age being swooped and twirled around the courtyard, clearly not under her own power but just as clearly to her immense delight. "I still see her throwing up some times, when I sleep; I'm going to worry about it until it's done. I'm just not planning on making a *pest* of myself while I'm worrying, is all."

Magneto snorts. "Worrywart." He watches Isabelle laughing. "When you have those memories, Miss Franklin… remember this. I believe you could consider it an emotional vaccination."

Theo carries his laptop under his arm, plotting a course from the dorms with purpose. His phone is hooked into the laptop, pinned against the larger device by his thumb. He notices the flying girl before he notices Rashmi and Magneto in the courtyard. He slows his pace, watching her soar across the court yard. "And here I thought you were always serious," he says to Magneto as he grows closer. "Who's that?" the technopath asks, slowing to a stop near Rashmi. He adjusts his position a little, as if he's not sure how close to stand to her.

Rashmi's eyes flicker downward as Theo's voice is heard, her smile not dropping a millimeter as he approaches. "It's a rare occasion, Theo," the redhead says, chuckling. "That girl's name is Isabelle. …We saved her life, Mr. Magneto and I, and now she's well enough to terrorize the school." Drawing in a deep breath, she lets it out in a slow sigh, clearly taking the elder mutant's words to heart.

Magneto lifts a brow at Theo. "Mr. Fegenbush. Whatever makes you think that I am not serious about this, too?" Then he looks over to Rashmi, and both eyebrows go up. "Mr. Magneto? How…" He decides not to finish that comment. He glances back up at Isabelle, then down at Theo and Rashmi again. "The girl is the center of an international incident, Mr. Fegenbush. Until that is resolved, I would like to be sure that she is both safe and happy. What better place than here?"

Theo arches his brow in return to Magneto's statement. "International incident?" he echoes. "That sounds rather par for the course, here." He offers a grin. He continues to watch the young girl. "I don't know if I would call this place safe, though." After all, there's been plenty happening lately that might make this the last place to be called safe.

Rashmi sighs quietly, shaking her head. "Safer here than with her parents, Theo… Don't get me wrong. They loved her… spoiled her rotten, I guess. But they were doctors… the wrong knds of doctors entirely to think they could 'cure' her." Her nose wrinkles, a touch of the chill in her expression Theo'd only heard once, in her voice, and that regarding Selene. "Thank God she found the Embassy, Theo… I'd cause a dozen more incidents *myself* than risk what almost happened to her."
Magneto gives Rashmi a look of approval. "Miss Franklin! There is hope for you yet." Big grin.

He gestures and Isabelle soars back to the group. She realizes what's up before she lands, though, and energetically wriggles to avoid the ground. "No! Noooooo! I'm having fun! Let me fly some more! It isn't even all dark yet!" Which last is only just barely true. The sun has set, and the western sky has gone red and purple. "Please!"

With a nod, Theo pulls a flash drive from his pocket, and plugs it into a free USB port. "Yeah, speaking of incidents, I have that paper for you," he says. He pulls the USB back out of the laptop, and holds it out to the master of Magnetism. He looks Magneto straight in the eye as he extends the drive, as if he should understand something about what he's doing. "Rashmi, I have a few things I was able to pull from that security tape that I was able to sharpen up. Maybe we can figure out a few things that were being said when everybody was disappearing."

"Oh good," Rashmi says to Theo, turning to put her brightest smile on for Isabella. "C'mon honey, aren't you getting hungry? We can go to the cafeteria, or I can make some curry? I'm *pretty* sure Mr. Parker-Mayfair still keeps a little aside for me, and besides we still have to get you sorted out and into your dorm, right? There'll be plenty of time for flying tomorrow."

Magneto's eyes narrow and he smiles, tightly, as Theo offers him the flash drive. "Yes. I was wondering if you'd finished it yet. Thank you for being prompt." He tucks the device away. "And yes, about these disappearances. Has anything new been discovered, absent the data Mr. Fegenbush has?"

Isabelle is whining. Magneto will turn to her and say, "Young miss. I do think that you should have some supper. If you do not, we will have to put you back into the hospital, and I believe you already said something about not liking it there." A half-smile, and Isabelle shuts up. Not without sticking her lip out, though.

Theo shrugs, "I don't know. All I have access to are the video surveillance. The staff may already have the information I do. Forge is better than I am with that stuff. For now." He just had to add that bit of arrogance to the end. "I sure hope they have more than me, if they don't, then they really suck at this superhero stuff."

"Probably," Rashmi says, nodding at Theo. "Addison's still shut in doing… I don't know, whatever he does, and he's probably got a lot more. But from what I remember, probably he's too busy overworking himself to remember to get what he's learned across." Lifting a shoulder and letting it fall in a half-shrug, she looks back down to Isabelle, smiling broadly. "C'mon. Let's get you some real not-hospital-food, okay?"

Food. Yes. Magneto smiles and waves everyone ahead of him, opening the front door of the mansion as people move toward it. "I gather from your mention of curry, Miss Franklin, that you are adept at its preparation. If I might impose on you for a share…?" Because he's been flying and lifting a little girl around for over an hour, now, and he's hungry. Really hungry. He could subsist on Logan's beer, if he had to, but seriously? Canadian lager? Pfft.

Theo grins, "Rashmi's curry is pretty good. I would come with you, but I ate with the guys from work earlier," he says, and quickly adds to Magneto with a raised finger, "We were still on the clock!" Lest anyone think he was breaking the sacred grounding of Emma Frost.

"There'll still be enough for leftovers, then," Rashmi says decisively, steering Isabelle after Magneto toward the house. "I never learned how to make anything else than enough for more than just us three; Mami's recipe was always good for at least five people." Grinning at Theo, the redhead chuckles to herself, blinking at a thought. "Oh! Maybe some naan too, while I'm at it…. We *should* still have some of the good flour left…" And for the moment, Rashmi is pleasantly occupied with dinner pre-planning, almost absently guiding Isabelle through the various hallways.

The arrival in the kitchen gets Isabelle's attention. "Oh!" she says. "I'm hungry!" She procedes to run around the place, touching everything, snooping in cupboards. "This is bigger than the kitchen at home!"

Magneto looks around the room. Coffee? No… tea. He heads for the kettle. "It serves a great many more people," he comments. Tea… ah… Earl Grey? Ugh. He keeps looking. "This is a school, young Isabelle. Lots of students. Lots of food." He finds a canister of Darjeeling and is not pleased with the dusting of flakes on the bottom. Clearly, someone needs to go shopping. "For instance, that fruit basket, which you have passed three times now."

"Have a good dinner," Theo adds, following the group as far as the kitchen. "Magneto," he adds. "Maybe you can give me some feedback on that paper later. Tell me what you think." He turns, and starts to head back out of the kitchen. "I'm off to look over the Blackbird training module for tomorrow."

"G'night Theo!" Rashmi calls brightly, emerging from the pantry with a small armful of spices. "Curry'll be in the fridge if you want to take it to work! Oh… Sir? There's some red tea back behind Lucas' Pop-Tarts. Loose leaf, too, I keep it there for Sundays. Isabelle, sweetie? If you want a banana for right now go ahead, but only one, okay? This is *really* good food, I don't want you to miss it, okay?" Spices measured out into their bowls, the next acquisition; boneless chicken breasts, and milk, the redhead keeping up a cheerful nattering about the kitchen, cafeteria, differences between, and Christopher's legendary cooking skills all the while.

Magneto mutters a good-bye to Theo; he's concentrating on searching through the unfamiliar kitchen cabinets. He does make a mental note to catch up with the boy later, however.

The red tea is acquired; much better than the Earl Grey. Magneto is mollified for the moment. He busies himself with making a pot, keeping an eye on Isabelle as he does so. The girl does another circuit of the kitchen before focusing on the fruit bowl, and the choosing of the absolutely single best banana out of it. She chatters brightly about whatever enters her head… and bombards Rashmi with questions about the curry. It's like a verbal Danger Room session — everything coming at once, and stuff overlapping, and having to keep going forward regardless.

A session for which Rashmi is more than prepared; she had, after all, done the same thing to her mother at an equivalent age. Each question, answered with barely a hiccup in preparation, and the rice put on to boil. Not much longer, the rich, buttery smell of masala set to simmer fills the kitchen, a cup of tea poured out for her as the activity settles down to keeping watch over the food. "So, Isabella… What were your grades like, before? It's kind of important, so they know how to place you now."

Being the child of two type-A personalities, Isabelle was pushed, from babyhood, to excel. She will chatter about Montessori school, about her private tutors, about tests and scores and medals and trophies. Gold stars? Not for her: it was A's or remedial work until the A's appeared.

That said, she's not markedly ahead of her grade level. She's very, very good at providing exactly what her teachers wanted, but she wasn't very forthcoming with self-direction or extra work. She loves the violin; she'll happily talk your ear off about that!

This news, something to make Rashmi grin. "Well! I'll *have* to introduce you to Mr. Gilpatrick, then; he's the music teacher, and I know he'd *love* to find someone who likes music as much as you do! Other than that, we'll have to see sweetie. A *lot* of kids who come here are pretty smart like you are, so if you really really want the A's, you're going to have to do the pushing yourself, you know?" The lid of the sauce, pulled back to check, releasing a fresh wave of roiling fragrant steam.
Isabelle is hungrier than she is admitting to herself — she's getting closer and closer to the preparations, all but crawling into Rashmi's lap. Her banana, half-eaten, lies abandoned on the counter, because the *smells* are so much better.

Yet more bombarding of questions and information: what's that smell? That spice? How do you know that will taste good with this? She's allergic to peaches… are there peaches in this? What does a peach taste like, anyway?

Magneto leans against a different part of the counter and drinks tea. "Do you know how to play any other instruments, Miss Isabelle?" He drops the question into the stream of words and the girl is diverted into chattering about pianos ("They're too big! Who can carry one around?!"), flutes ("It's like whistling, but that's lame."), and drums ("I saw STOMP! It was cool. Have you seen STOMP?") He gives Rashmi a wry smile. Much better than the cycles of hysterics and rage, yes?

In Rashmi's raised eyebrows and bemused grin, a definite affirmative. "There's no peaches in this, no… And it's impossible to *tell* you what a peach tastes like…" The redhead pauses, tilting her head as she stirs the pot, dipping a spoon in to blow cool, then lowered in front of Isabella to sample. "…Actually sweetie, I have sort of a funny question. If someone could show you what a peach tasted like just once, and you *really liked it,* would it make you sad not to be able to try it yourself?"

Isabelle all but shrieks in delight at the opportunity to sample those smells, and hovers long enough to savor it. "Yum! That's yummy! How long until it's done?" She remains hovering, in case Rashmi is handing out more samples.

The question is considered carefully, complete with wrinkled nose as Isabelle thinks about it. "Well, I really want to know, because Momma says that the fake stuff isn't like the real stuff. But I don't want to be sick, either. The fake stuff is okay, though… is real stuff better? I mean, if I really liked it, and I couldn't have it, I think it would be really lame to want it." She hugs herself. "Kinda like someone making fun of you, you know? And you can't do anything about it, so you just have to let them, and that sucks."

Rashmi bobs her head, rewarding this detailed mulling over with another small spoonful. "Okay then! I think you're right, personally, but I'd rather be sure. And… it looks… about… done! Go wash up Isabella, okay? I just need to gets the bowls ready, and then we can eat." Suiting deed to word, she takes down a trio of simple white bowls, spooning rice in first, slathering it with buttery yellow sauce filled with chicken, carrots, potatoes, and thin slices of apple. Isabella is served first, then Magneto, *then* does she take up her bowl and tea to join them at the table.

Isabelle gives a shriek of pleasure and scampers off to wash, and is back again so soon that Magneto takes it upon himself to send her back to do the job right this time. Isabelle is cranky over this; Magneto is amused. "You're properly trained for motherhood, Miss Franklin," he says, regarding the order of the servings, once Isabelle returns again (she is studiously ignoring him, which he is just as amusedly ignoring in turn.) He shifts the cloak out of the way as he takes his place at the table — he doesn't sit until Rashmi does, though. (Isabelle sits immediately, and digs in.) "Have you plans in that direction?"

What a question to ask, and especially right after Rashmi takes her first mouthful. What follows is a rather commendable effort to keep oneself from *breathing* the food, rather than eating it, and for a few moments the redhead has to sit there, napkin pressed firmly against her lips, before the situation can be brought under control. "….Not…. at the *moment,* sir," she says once she can trust herself to speak without coughing. "…Probably not until after I've sat the bar, honestly…. um… may I ask why the curiosity…. sir?"

Magneto gives Rashmi one of his patented butter-wouldn't-melt-in-his-mouth-if-you-used-a-blowtorch-on-it looks. "I'm making conversation, Miss Franklin. I must say, however," and he pauses to take a mouthful of curry, giving it a nod of approval, "I believe you would make a good one."

"Thank you," Rashmi says airily, digging back in and attempting *not* to look mortified. "I'd *like* to be as good as Mami was, at least… How d'you like your curry, Isabella?"

"It's fabulous! It's wonderful! Will you teach me how to make this? Are there other flavors? Is curry something you can teach, or do you have to be born in a family that makes it? Momma never cooked. She never let me cook, either. We had a maid who made food for us. It was mostly enchiladas and ratatouille and pilaf. Stuff like that. She had books and things that she made stuff out of. Sometimes I watched, but I wasn't allowed to help, because stoves are hot and I might burn myself. Did you burn yourself making this?" All this between bites and gulps. Isabelle is a multi-tasking talker.

Magneto grins at Rashmi. Mortifying her is always good entertainment. Watching her try to retain her level of calm and collected? Priceless.

"Once or twice," Rashmi says, moving on to the don't-let-on-you're-trying-to-keep-it-together stage of the game. "Mami always believed that you can tell someone what hot is, and it'll hurt, but they'll never *know* what hot is until they burn themself." Clearing her throat, she puts on an accent far more fitting to her heritage, noticeably thicker than the faint musical lilt to her syllables. "'It is good to succeed, Sunshine, and Papi and I wish very much for you to achieve all that you reach for. But the most important lessons you ever will learn, is what you learn from failing. If you never fall, how will you know to stand up again?' I was eight years old when she said that to me, Isabella. I'd gotten an F in math, and was terrified my parents'd be mad at me." Grinning, she winks at the child, studiously ignoring Magneto's amusement. "It's a little tricky to make, but sure I can teach you. We have Home Ec classes, too, Mr. Parker-Mayfair's an *incredible* cook."

Isabelle stops chewing to stare at Rashmi and her new accent. She swallows and says, "You sound just like Dr. Rama-Chandrakhar! He's my daddy's friend." This important piece of information imparted, she goes back to bombarding Rashmi with questions. Was her nickname really Sunshine…?

Magneto smiles over the 'studiously ignoring' bit. All part and parcel of the entertainment. He does, however, agree aloud with Isabelle that the curry is very good. "It's the combination of fresh ingredients and loving care," he says, and yes, he's watching Rashmi out of the corner of his eye as he says that.

Rashmi chuckles quietly, flushing a bit at the reception of her cooking. "I'm first-generation, Isabella… That means Mami and Papi weren't born in America. When they got married, they used every last bit of money they had to move here. They were pretty poor back in West Bengal, too, and they wanted to make sure their children could do *whatever* they wanted, no matter how poor we were. And yes, actually… It's what Rashmi means, and she was trying to speak English as often as possible."

Isabelle stops eating again (she's a bit less hungry, now that she's inhaled half a plate of curry.) She peers at Rashmi. "You mean, it isn't a nickname? So what do you call it instead?" This concept appears to sincerely baffle her.

Magneto doesn't help. He's eating, for one thing, and he's interested in how Rashmi deals with questions like this, for another. Isabelle is one of those people who tests the people and things around her. He hasn't had a lot of opportunities to watch Rashmi be tested.

"I call it a really sweet thing to name your daughter," Rashmi replies, grinning widely. "Also it turned out to be kind of accurate, once my hair started growing in. D'you know, redheads in India are considered lucky?"

"Oh," says Isabelle. "I thought you just dyed it!" Then she slaps both hands over her mouth as the social filter kicks in that much too late. "I'm sorry!"

Magneto is VERY amused. Who says that he will only laugh at Rashmi? Isabelle gives him a dirty look, which is as effective from her as from anyone else. In short, not at all.

Rashmi can't help it; it is to laugh. "…Actually that's why I said it; just about *everyone* assumes it's dyed. Once I even had a woman tsk at my mother for spending *all that money* on hair dye and not getting me decent *clothes!*"

"And then there are those ladies who would consider such a trade-off not only acceptable, but preferable." Magneto finishes his bowl and slides the empty dish to one side, so that he can fold his hands together and smile at both young women in front of him. "I can only guess at the value system that would produce such priorities." A flick of a glance at Rashmi. "Sunshine. How… appropriate."

Rashmi glances up at Magneto, quirking her lips in a smile. "Why thank you, Sir. Mami and Papi would happily agree with you." Her own dinner done, she settles back in her chair, sipping at her tea, at which point it becomes obvious; she *does* consciously choose to take the most complimentary interperetation. Her own brand of counting coup, perhaps?

This, too, amuses Magneto, as Rashmi doubtless realizes. He gets up to refresh his tea mug, and offers her the pot, too. "We should discuss Isabelle's housing requirements. It's late, and she still needs a wash before bed. I assume the Institute can supply her with suitable clothing for tonight and tomorrow; I did not bring her things. I'll forward them, however, and they should arrive tomorrow afternoon at the latest."

Rashmi bobs her head, lifting her bug to be refilled. "You're right… I hope you don't mind, Isabella, but you're probably going to be sharing a bedroom with someone else your age. Everyone but the staff doubles up, but you get your own bed and desk at least. And yeah, we have plenty of spare clothes, I'm sure we can find something to fit you." Slipping out of her chair, she tilts her head at the girl. "How're you doing, sweetie? You happy to be here?"

Isabelle gives Magneto another dirty look — he's talking about a bedtime! But since the next thing she does is yawn… "I've never shared a room with anyone before," she says doubtfully. She scrapes a trace of curry sauce out of her bowl and sucks her spoon, mostly to procrastinate. "I mean, what if they snore?!"

She'll drop her spoon into her bowl and stand up, and she gives both Rashmi and Magneto dubious looks. "What happens if I don't like it here? Will you send me home?" She's not sure about that. She hates what her parents were doing… but they're her *parents*. And if they didn't want her (as she was) and if she doesn't like it here…

Rashmi gathers up the dishes, smiling gently. "Well, that would be a problem, wouldn't it? That's why the adults here do their very best to fix the problem in ways that *don't* mean you have to leave. If you don't like your roommate, you can ask for another. If you're having problems dealing with something, you can talk to Mr. Mayfair-Parker to see if he can help you feel better about whatever's bothering you. So things might seem really crazy around here sometimes, but it's important to remember; these are adults you can trust. And it's important that if you have a problem, you tell someone, okay? Nobody can fix what they don't know about, right?"

"But," she says after a brief pause, if you decide you really don't want to stay, you don't have to, and we can come up with something else if we need. Okay?"

Isabelle goes back to whining. "Why I can't ask you for help? Aren't you going to be here? I don't know Mr. Mayfair-Parker! What if I don't like him? What if I don't like anyone?" And worse: "What if they don't like me?"

"Awww…" Few things, after all, tug the heartstrings like a panicked, wide-eyed little girl. "Of *course* you can ask me for help if you need to, sweetie. But I graduated last June, I don't actually *live* here. I'm just staying on for awhile to help out because the school asked. So after maybe a couple weeks…" Optimistic, this girl… or all too familiar with the transience of the school's crises. "I go back to college in the City. But don't you worry, okay? I *know* that by the time I have to go, you'll have *plenty* of friends. It just takes a little getting used to, you'll see."

"And a certain amount of work." Magneto puts his two cents in. "This school expects excellence in its attendees. You are familiar with working for excellence, yes, and I believe you will find that that attitude will stand you in good stead. You will learn more when you are integrated into classes, but that first: work hard. Try your best." He watches Isabelle straighten up, unconsciously, and nods. Considering what she said about her parents, he thought that would get through. "I see you understand. Good. You will do well here, Miss Isabelle."

Rashmi bobs her head. "He's right, of course. I don't know much about the other school you went to, but… well for example our science teacher's one of the smartest Avengers there is. You've heard of Beast, right?" Straightening, the girl grins. "Just remember; it's okay to make mistakes, but *only* as long as you can pick yourself back up and keep going, y'know? C'mon, sweetie… let's get you settled in, okay?"

Isabelle looks alarmed, and she slips her hand into Rashmi's for reassurance. "The Avengers are teachers here? The Beast? I think I've seen him on TV. He's scary." Because furry people tend to be scary to little girls who grew up 'normal'. "Do I have to take science? With him? I don't really like science. My Momma and Daddy are scientists, and they're not very nice. I don't want to be like them."

She gives Magneto a look. "But you'll be here. You said so." Daring him to contradict her, that look.

Which, of course, he does. "I will be here part of the time. Not all of the time, and not even most of the time. But a message to the Embassy will reach me, if you need that, and I do have a class here that I will be teaching. Not one that you will be attending, young miss," he says, when Isabelle would interrupt. "It is for older students. But I will be here and you may speak to me, or I will speak to you."

Rashmi chuckles softly. "I know he *looks* kind of scary… but he's actually amazingly nice, he just loves to talk in really big words." Squeezing the girl's hand, she gestures toward the living halls. "And I'll show you where I'm staying too, just in case you really need to talk, okay? …Oh. And no, not *all* of the Avengers, just him. Since, y'know, he's a mutant and all. Like I said… once you get settled in, it'll be okay. It took me awhile to get used to it, too, I'd only moved here just after Christmas last. But this is a *really great* place, Isabella, and I have an idea that you'll like it here a lot. Besides," she says, grinning at the elder mutant, "if you can get *Magneto* to give you rides, you won't have *anything* to worry about from anyone here."

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