2010-03-18: Back to Nature


Robyn_icon.jpg Rashmi_icon.jpg Mike_icon.jpg

Summary: Spring is almost here, and three friends meet in a hedge maze

Date: March 18, 2010

Log Title Back to Nature

Rating: G

Xavier Mansion - Hedge Maze

Within the Hedge Maze, the walls are, as one would expect, green shrubbery. Openings have been cut in the walls to allow for passage through the maze.

After last night, Robyn didn't come back inside the mansion, he spent the night in the woods. Not sleeping mind you, just reflecting. Now he's made his way into the hedgemaze and is sitting in one of the corners. He might be lost but he hasn't tried to find his way out yet so who really knows. He's a bit dirty from spending time in the woods but he really doesn't care. There's just been a lot on his mind and he's finding it quiet difficult to sort through everything. At the moment he has a stick in his hand and is making weird patterns in the dirt.

Nature, red in tooth and claw? Nature or nurture? Nature is one bad Mother? Nonono. Mike wanders slowly into the hedge maze with his attention focused on a small notepad wherein he's writing, apparently a composition of some sort.
He notices Robyn at the edge of that sense he had to rely on for a while and turns automatically to go that way, stopping just short of him.
"Hey Robynn, whatz a good theme for Nature?"

Rounding a bend, Rashmi walks slowly into view, eyes closed, one handoutstretched, fingertips kept in light contact with the leafy walls. A pair of white earphone cords trail down from beneath her hair, to what's likely a small mp3 player in her pocket. "I see in your eyes," she murmurs, apparently speaking along with what she's listening to, "the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails… when we forsake our friends, and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day. An hour of wolves, and shattered shields, when the age of Men comes crashing down. But it is not thi— " Her eyes open briefly, lighting on Mike and Robyn, and she flushes deeply, yanking the neadphones out of her ears. " —Oh! Um. Hi."

Robyn looks up at Mike from the spot where he's sitting on the ground. "Huh? Nature?" He ponders it for a moment before finally saying something. "How about lightning and thunder storms?" As Rashmi rounds the bend, Robyn gives a small smile. "Hey Rashmi, quoting….Lord of the Rings?" It sounds like what he's heard in the movies and also he knows she has a love of the books. "Mike, did you hear about Jono?"

Mike grins (via illusionary human image, and that also is nice to have back) and says, "Not so much directly. Addizzon was in the medbay next to mine. He kept doing szomething … I could tell becauze the flaming birrd thing would light up … then he'd get thiz blissed-out szmiile. Cloud woke up after one, szo I figured he alszo got Jono. I havenn't seen him yet though." He sketches a wave to Rashmi. On the pad, and hands it to her. His sense of humor was not improved by prolonged immobility.

Rashmi hurriedly stuffs the earphones and player into her bookbag… then pauses, blinks, takes the whole thing out and turns it off, before replacing it. "Um… Yeah… I sort of got ahold of the audiobooks, and decided to take a walk. Um. It was nice, but now I guess I'm a little embarrassed…" She pauses again, as Mike hands the pad to her, and looks up with an eyebrow arched. "…You were *really* bored in there, weren't you? And now you're making up for lost time?" With a chuckle, she hands the pad back, shaking her head.

At a closer look Robyn might have some mud caked on his clothes but otherwise, he doesn't look horrible. Just a bit unkempt. "Why do you need to be embarassed Rash, I can see you saying that speach before a Danger Room session to your teammates." He's teasing but yet serious at the same time, he really can see that. "Yeah…Addison did. He's…I need to see him again soon for my daily fill. That energy is incredible."

Mike blinks. "I guesz it would be … did either of you haave a huge energy bird fly through yourr mindscape? I was working on a car design, it came in, said "too small", then there was that I AM PHOENIX boom that I guessz was Addiszon. It left little bird symbolsz all over the dezzign. Had to tosz it and start over."
He sketches one. Yep … that phoenix symbol that all the cosmic bird-bearers wear.

Rashmi nods slowly. "It was really strange… Like…. if God had been looking for something, and wanted to see if I was it…" Shaking her head, she throws a worried look Robyn's way. "Robyn… Maybe you should find someone else for a while, you know? I mean… it really can't be good to keep pulling at something like that, especially if what Jono said was true…"

"It was hot, and asking for help, and yeah, it was Addison. I'm just…worried. After what Jono said." Robyn's scared for Addison, and he doesn't want this fear right now. He doesn't need to worry about someone, or something, else. He looks up at Robyn and shakes his head. "I..don't know Rashmi. It feels so good and so…pure. It's like drinking filtered bottled water over cloudy tap water." Not that all tap water is cloudy but sometimes it is in New York City. "It's like Addison is the one I need to drain off of."

Mike says solemnly, "It'sz very powerful, it might not hurt to tap it. Maybe it'll help you get stronger yourself so you don't have to feed off other people?"
Not that he really knows how that would work. But… one question he had in the downtime comes to mind!
"Hey Robyn? Sometime when it's safe, could you try to possess me? I'm curiousz what would haappen. But we szhould probably have a really sztrong telepaath nearby in case."

Rashmi looks back and forth between Robyn and Mike, lips pressing together slightly. "…I'm just going to say it might be a bad idea… both of them… and leave it at that, I guess. Just… be careful, all right?"

Robyn pushes his hair back a bit and nods. "If someone like Addison or Jono is with us, and after this whole thing is over, I can try. And Rashmi, if you wanna be there to make sure we're okay, I don't mind, though I won't do it without a teacher." Robyn has no clue what would happen there. "I'll be careful Rashmi, promise."

Mike nods. "I think, iin my forzed time off I got intoo a very odd plaze with my mind. Diid I say something about time travel?"
He shakes his head, a bit confused. "Szoo, I thhink it's safe enough if you don't diszplace the spirit of the perszon you possess. If you just make room in their mind."
He glances at the pad again. "Hmn … Nature. Human Nature. What is it, where doesz it come from, what makesz someone human. That'sz probably cheating but I'll do it for myself anywaay."

Rashmi nods slowly, letting a slow breath out through her nose. "All right… just… let me know when you intend to try, okay?" Shaking her head a little, she tilts her head at Mike, eyebrow rising. "What subject?"

"I really don't know the details on how my power works, I don't know what I do." Robyn admits as he just knows what he can do, not how he can do it. "Human nature, I dunno, but what makes someone human? The fact that they exisit? The fact that we can make choices and the fact that we can be ourselves?

Mike writes down those ideas for his paper. "Itzs for composition class, Rashmi. The teacher asked us to 'commune with nature and come back with a two page essay describing what nature told us' … Szo I think I'm using the wrong termsz"

Rashmi chews on the inside of her cheek, nodding slowly. "…Usually they mean to go outside someplace, sit down, and just sort of open up to everything that goes on around you, you know? Like wind going through the trees, the water in a river, or something like. See if anything catches hold of your attention, and what it seems to mean."

"Try going up to the attic, there's a whole green room up there." Robyn says as he just discovered it recently. "Maybe listen to a rain storm, something. Rashmi's right. Just kind of relax and see what comes to mind as you sit outside. Even right here, sitting and relaxing, is kind of communicating with nature. You have all these hedges around."

Mike thinks about this for about 3.54 seconds. "So I sorta did that and ended up here and, Nature tells me that my friendsz are very tired of being afraid, that they've had their impulszive nature beaten back, annd that regarrdlezs of how we feel, the sun is still shining, the wind blowsz, the water still triesz to rust my feet. Plantz are growing and szpring is on the way. Now if I can put that into a two page essay, I'm gollden."

Rashmi blinks, nodding slowly. "Well… maybe spend a page or so writing about how it made *you* feel, first, to be outside? Write down what you saw, what you felt… then go in about the rest? ….Honestly? I think you've really got something good, there… I'd like to see it when you're done?"

Robyn pushes himself off the ground and nods. "Yeah, I like that, the sun is still shining stuff." Here would be a good time for an armor all, if Robyn knew what that was. "I think I'm gonna head inside though, I should take a shower and just…work on homework." Explain to teachers why he wasn't in class today. Robyn pats both Rashmi and Mike on the shoulders and goes to make his way out of the hedge maze.

Mike watches as Robyn walks away, smiling. Then he unconsciously feels the spot where Robyn had patted his shoulder.
"Do you know what the worzt part, well, one of the worzt parts wasz for me, Rashmi? I had no sense of touch. I think Scott … Mr. Summers … did an amazing job when he figured out how to reconnect that. My eyesz are yellow now, though. I don't think he found the HID Blue lamps. Izs not szomething I will complain about."

Rashmi nods, frowning slightly. "I can imagine… God, Mike… are you okay? I mean… I know a lot of people got hurt, and hospitals are boring and all… But I can't *imagine* what it must have been like not even being able to feel the bed or anything…"

Mike nods. "I turned off my emotionz, remember? It'z very hard to feel shuddering horrorz. Boredom, though, that I felt. Apparently not an emotion. Lonely too, but then after a while I had Clooud and July annd AnnaLisza. Grant me patience o Lord, but not by forzing me to learn it."

Rashmi winces, her breath an indrawn hiss of sympathetic pain. "Seriously? Ow… well… Mysterious ways and all that, I guess. I remember my first real day here, July and Annalisa were like the second people I met. ….It makes me wonder, could cars get diabetes?"

That gets a laugh, and it sounds … real. Imagine Mike looking at the bucketful of July and practicing his laughing.
"I definitely felt liike my fuel szupply were filling up with sugarr."
He's writing, while he talks.
"The fresh air feels good in my carburator. I wonderr if my filter waaz getting dirty. I didn't know I haad one."

Rashmi tilts her head, smiling. "Well… I mean, I guess that sort of matches lungs and sinuses, right? Everyone's got to have something to filter out all the pollen and junk… At least *you* don't have to worry about allergies in the next couple months, though, right?"

Mike shakes his head. "No, just rust from the salt on the roads. But I'm good for that. Hey, do you own a powdered horsehair wig? Or a bishop'sz mitre?"

If ever there was a non sequitur that could startle her into a traffic jam between mouth and brain… "…What? No. I… but… *Why* would I have *either of those??"

"Dreamz," Mike answers. "Don't know why you're a bishop but the wig iz for being a barrister in England."
He draws a quick little sketch, Queen's Counsel Cardinal Rashmi on the Bench directing a grubby Mike to WASH! while pointing at a hot tub made out of a plymouth thunderbird. "This was the dream."

Which just serves to throw the redhead into deeper confusion. Rashmi squints at the picture for a long moment, then back up to Mike's yellow eyelamps, and wrinkles her nose. "….You're… dreaming about…. Bishop Judge me…. yelling at you to wash? I…. um…. I have *no* idea how to take that…."

Mike laughs again … "Neither did I!! But I think I finally got it. I … hey, I DID talk about a time machine, didn't I. Magneto was … hm. Memory link enCRYPTED? Oh come on. OK, I won't ask. But … I think my subconscious was running by itself for a while. I found a bunch of clues to myself. Things I should've known or thought about. One of them is why I'm asking Robyn to possess me … I think it will show me what I'm doing wrong with drivers. The thing with you?"
He grins. "You're an authority figure, my big sis from another mother, you were me telling myself that I could 'clean up' if I just got into a car. Also the Thunderbird — that phoenix thing again."

Rashmi remains silent, almost blank-faced, as Mike rattles on his own personal theories. "O-kay," she says after a few moments. "So, wait… I remember you talking about a time machine, and telling Magneto you couldn't come up with a better idea because he wasn't telling you enough— by the way, that was *really creepy* don't ever talk like that again— …and so your brain figured you'd listen to it if it pretended to, what, be me? That's… huh… okay…. it sort of makes a weird kind of sense…" Shaking her head, she reaches out to pat Mike's shoulder with a chuckle. "…And yeah okay, you're pretty much the only little brother I think I'd tolerate, so that works too."

Mike tilts his head a bit and looks over at Rashmi. "I don't think I _can_ unless you find some way to hypnotize me. That was my subconscious, yes. It does a lot of stuff that I don't think it would be good for me to know about. Like, you know how you can track each of your spheres? Imagine if you had to be fully conscious of all of that and still … Ohwait. Please tell me you're not trying to be fully conscious of what your spheres are doing."
He does the "hand to forehead" gesture but not because it's helping, rather, because it expresses his gobsmackedness.
"Is that why you keep losing track of what you're saying lately?"

Rashmi nods slowly. "I've been practicing a lot with telling them how to move kind of separately, yeah… Here…" She glances up, the spheres fading into a lazily-spinning halo over her head. "…You're right, it's a *lot* easier to think when I'm working at it…" As she speaks, the spheres swing down, first describing a vertical circle in the air between them, breaking apart and moving on their own separate paths to sketch out an ever-shifting spirograph pattern… almost like the fronds of a sea anemone, unfurling and shifting in a mathematically-described repeating pattern.

Mike murmurs, "Giant 3-d spirograph of doom. I should read ahead to figure out what that curve is called, it's very elegant."
He watches Rashmi, to see if she's becoming more or less scatterbrained as she's juggling. "So how is Lucas? Have you seen him yet? Why do I remember him having hit you?"

The pattern jerks sharply in midair, a furrow forming between her eyebrows. "Because he did," she mutters sourly. "He didn't want me to get arrested because 'lawyers can't have a criminal record, Rash'… So he knocked me out." With a snort, she folds her arms across her chest. "I told him he has to get forgiveness from everyone else before I'll even consider changing how annoyed *I* am at him."

Mike says, "OK… uh… Was this related to why Cloud showed up with… words cut into him? Also who was it that came in with blood all over his hands?"

Rashmi tilts her head, wrinkling her nose. "Sort of… Cloud got captured when he tried to run out after Jordan… and, sort of got teleported with him or something… I'm not really sure what happened. Just that him and Lucas…" She pauses, grinding her back teeth. "It's like they were just spoiling for a fight. We *could* have at least kept from getting everyone hurt, but no, *they* had to run in without *listening,* and a guard got a wood peg shoved into his hand, the guy's house got broken, Lucas smashed a bunch of computer stuff, and Jordan *still* got what he was looking for…. argh!"

Mike's expression goes all samurai-stern. He thinks, but doesn't say because, different squads, confidentiality, esprit-de-team, etc., 'and this is why I call him Fools Rush In during training sometimes.' "Wow. That's pretty stupid. Well, I'll have to ask him what he was thinking. He was brain pudding in the medbay. We talked a bit. Seems like he absorbs personality traits and that was left jammed on. He was all part-scott, part-something vile, part Annalisa… that was the annoying bit. 'wow July is pretty' … if he'd run screaming from a fire I would have figured he got her salient points. And I know there's more to her than that but… she cut her hand open cutting LETTUCE. How do you do that?"

Rashmi blinks, rearing her head back from the force of Mike's voice, but finds her jaw falling open. "….Um. Wow. That's…. that's pretty bad, yeah. Maybe someone ought to tell her that you only use a meat cleaver in the movies? Just…. wow. *Wow.*"

Mike shakes his head. "Another reason why I left my emotions off. I could sit back and observe and not go NUTS listening to them. When Cloud came back… Oh, it was Kael who came back with the leaky body, wasn't it… Anyway. Cloud came back from Sinister and his mind was like pudding, I think I mentioned this? Why wasn't he tranquilized and locked down in his bed? He went running off when the alarm went, along with Gumb… uh. July and Annalisa. And all three came back even more injured and messed up."

Rashmi lifts a shoulder in a half-shrug, plopping down onto the grass next to Mike and blowing out an annoyed breath. "I have *no idea,* but I doubt they'd've let that stop them.. Is it just me, or do half the people here seem just *intent* on throwing all sense right into the wind and getting themselves just *pounded* on?"

Mike shrugs, watching the swirling spheres, and answers. "That's easy. They're all immortal. Those of us who've died, or who have common sense, just get ourselves pounded on without throwing away our sense first. Also, this is someone predatory and we're the predatees… is that the word? Prey. Which… I've been studying aikido in squad training, and it's just beginning to make sense to me. I don't want to become a superhero, Rashmi. But what if it's my calling?"

Rashmi looks up at the pattern the spheres make, and an eyebrow twitches downward. Breaking apart, they swoop backward and reform, all moving at separate speeds and directions, until they resolve in the shape of a (very) rough human upper body arms spread and nudging upwards in a discernible shrug, before swooping down, resuming their 'idle' orbit around her. "I don't know, Mike… I've been sort of wondering the same thing myself, you know? But, honestly? I think what Jono said made the most sense out of anything I could come up with. We're still pretty much kids, and this is the time we try different stuff out, see what fits. And, for me, if it *really* comes down to it? I could always be like She-Hulk, being a lawyer *and* an X-whatever, you know?"

"I think she spent several years establishing herself as a lawyer first though. At least that's what her biography said."
Mike makes a simulated oops-bite-the-lip said-too-much face. Because the biography in question is a signed copy of The Strictly Fabulous She-Hulk that Mike managed to find on e-Bay. Apparently someone had given up being a She-Stalker and sold his collection.
And it's intended to be Rashmi's Easter present.

Rashmi blinks at this, peering upward at Mike's eyelamps. "Um…. o-kay…. Well… That, um… doesn't really change much, anyway, since Jono said I *could* stay here for a year or so to see if it's what I want, anyway…" Another suspicious look thrown the robot's way. "…I didn't really peg you for the type to read superhero biographies, Mike…"

Mike plays a sample off the radio - much higher quality than before, since they gave him a cheap memory stick instead of the blown-up horrible cheap voice-note-pad. 'You don't know me, you don't know me at all' … played softly in the background. "There's more to me than a shiny paint job and a nice set of wheels, Miss Eep," he says with that extreme grin.

Rashmi's eyes narrow, nose wrinkling at the use of Magneto's favored nickname. "Mmm-*hm.* Well, Mr. Speed Racer," she says, levering herself off the ground and brushing off her skirt, one sphere detaching from orbit to lightly tap the back of Mike's head, "I guess you're right. You did, after all, forget to mention your utter lack of a muffler of any kind."

"Hey, I have a perfectly good exhaust scrubber and most of my engine noise is in another dimension where it only bothers orcs and kobolds."
Mike laughs and stands in the pattern of slow-whirling spheres, trying to use his sense-of-surface to follow them so he can use the aiki trick of 'blend with the movement and let the object pass' … of course this works beautifully if they aren't moving very fast, or at a sharp angle.
"Actually no real orcs are hurt, it's a spatial dimension, not a full spacetime manifold. And my nickname is Motorcycle Boy, if memory serves."

Rashmi grins, the spheres breaking off into six discrete orbits, flanking her like electrons in a poorly-rendered drawing of an atom. Low speed, but several things to keep track of at once. "Yeah, but frankly I'm all kinds of happier forgetting almost anything Magneto's ever said to me… he just gives me the screaming creeps. His son, now… *he's* a lot nicer to talk to."

Mike manages to get tapped twice, and appears to be dancing with one sphere in particular. Apparently their surfaces are ever so slightly unique, or maybe he's just lucky.
"Who, Quicksilver? I've heard he's a jerk, more impatient that Northstar. Of course that may not be" oops, t-clink, tapped by another sphere, "may not be saying much and the tag on that memory says do not open until Sunday, is there something about the vernal equinox that's going to be special to memory?"
Movement. Such a NICE thing to be able to do now.

Rashmi raises and lowers a shoulder, reversing the orbits of the spheres with a twitch of her hand. "I don't *think* so… he was really polite and nice when he was talking with Robyn and I. He… actually really helped me feel better about all this. Promised that no matter what, everything would turn out all right. And he's an Avenger, so I guess he'd know better than anyone how to keep a promise, since he like works with Captain America, and all…"

Mike keeps dancing with bowling balls. No, that's not his name in Blackfoot.
"Wow, that'll show you how reliable rumors are. I just … Magneto seemed to have important things to say. No bastion of moral decency though. I remember him scolding me for not designing my body right. When I was twelve and had no idea that I was even a mutant I should have KNOWN that in a world where he exists, EMP is a problem, and one I needed to take personally. At least" BAP! "Ow." Mike spins backward a way from the orbits. "See, i got distracted. Anyway. I'm hardened against it now."

"Well, he *did* have a whole lot to say — ouch that sounded like it hurt, are you all right? — And after you passed out again, the Headmaster came charging back from the City, and oh boy did Magneto have a whole lot *more* to say…" Rashmi's lips purse at the memory, like she'd just bitten into an underripe lemon. "Frankly the way I saw it, most of it was unfair for a guy who was in town for parts for you and had to drive all the way back to school after hearing Kael got stabbed, you know? Honestly… people really need to back off him, at least a little." With a sigh, she nods at the spheres, watching them surround Mike to do a slow sine-wave orbit around the robotic youth. "It's good to know, though, that the next time he pitches a fit you won't end up in Medical for half a month."

Mike nods, running a selfcheck. "No dent. Nice. Totally expected one. I should finish that pair of essays. I'm glad to see your face again, Rashmi. You're kind of scary as a set of planar intersections."

Rashmi blinks. "I…. what?"

Mike grins. "Didn't you notice I could tell where you guys were when you were hiding behind the bed? I can sense surfaces for about 3.5 meters around me. You're a bit more scary because of the spheres and the way you carry yourself, sometimes. Venging angel but with bowling balls instead of wings."

Rashmi flushes deeply, the spheres breaking apart to set up a vertical circle just above head-height behind her. "Avenging angel…. me? C'mon. That's just… *beyond* silly, Mike, seriously."

Mike laughs. "You're doing it again!"

Rashmi huffs, turning up her nose and looking off to one side…. only to catch the positioning of the spheres out of the corner of her eye. "HEY!!" Whipping around, she actually *flails* at the things, which break up and track random paths like a small clump of bumblebees, before fading away. "….Stupid manifested subconscious…."

Mike just cackles. "YOURS DOES IT TOO!"
He finally recovers his composure. "Actually I'm kinda happy that my subconscious manifests. It means 'm not dead. So, where do you think we could find Jono? I have to say hi."

"I would be too… Except I guess it's more my id, you know? They do what I *want,* not always what I tell them to, unless there's nothing much better for them to be doing…" With a slight shrug, Rashmi hikes a thumb toward the house. "I don't know… why don't we go look?"

Mike nods, and follows.

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