2020-06-30: Better Days

Players: Connor & Rashmi

ConnorF_icon.jpg RashmiF_icon.jpg

Summary: There are many truths in life. Inconvenient Truths, Practical Truths, and Painful Truths. The time has come to clear the air, before the greatest fight one has ever known begins, and the first step on the most dangerous journey for another.

Date: June 30, 2020

Better Days

Rating: PG

The Future - The Underground - Meeting Room

One of the bigger tunnels has been turned into a meeting room for those who are plotting the next stab at freedom or the next sentinel attack. There are lights hanging from the pipes above and table in the middle of the area where people can stand around as there isnt really room for chairs. Papers and maps cover the table and there are boxes on shelves with information thats been gathered. This is the only place down in the mutant tunnels that has some electricity from a small generator that's charge via mutant powers and its used sparingly so that the Rebellion can gather information to make their next move.

OOC - Once more delving into the realm of music, the title is from the Goo Goo Dolls piece 'Better Days', if you care to listen as you read. Please enjoy. Here's a youtube link for the video.

Even what limited radio news reported the fireball that lit up the coastline of Florida and the destruction of the Sentinel Facility. The deaths of Hunters and an Omega Sentinel downplayed as Volk turns off the radio wired to the wall and receiving outside signals, then goes to sit back down where his weapons are laid out in front of him, all in various states of repair. His particular interest is a wakizashi of some strange mixed metal that looks to have been made from supercompressed and magnet-forged junk. Bandages are on him once more, this time on his forearms to cover the dispersed laser burns, and on his bicep and shoulder where he was taken through and through, all of which looks easily tended to.

Emerging from the shadows of the tunnels beyond, Rashmi enters the meeting room, face hard and serious. "Good job, Volk," she says as she makes her way to the table, dropping down on one of the larger empty crates. "They're probably getting very worried, now. You going to be okay for the big one?"

"Sabretooth…" he whispers as he continues to sharpen the blade, "The Lizard, Venom, The Wasp… Hawkeye… and we… killed them… cold. There will be… very hard… backlash… over this." Looking up after a moment, Volk shrugs, and pokes at the wounds, "I will. No one… else… can do it." And with that he shakes his head and flexes the blade, causing a break where the two gravity-thrusted slashes caused a fault in the metal, "Did… what it needed. Shame too."

Rashmi's eyebrows rise at this news, fingers tapping out a quiet rhythm on the planning table. "…So it was an ambush, then," she muses, eyes falling to the maps and charts. "Which means the last one to go's going to have a hell of a time of it; that's the last major Sentinel factory in the country, if my notes are anything close to accurate." Frowning, she leans forward, placing her elbows on the table and staring up at the mercenary. "…We need to talk, Connor."

As the blade is tossed away, and he reaches around to start reconstructing one of his guns, Volk's eyes flick up and then back to his work, hands going with ritual precision, "You have… that tone. Which… of my many… crimes will it be?" Not even keeping the contact as he continues to work, mumbling under his breath something in Russian while he finishes the pistol, racks the slide, and then loads the magazine.

"You've been playing me," Rashmi says into the growing silence, cutting right to the chase. "And I want to know why."

The counter-question seems almost as abrupt, "Who… REALLY… brought Mystique in… Rashmi? No one… gets past… the crazy… redhead. No one. Not even… me." Now his eyes come up sharply, and he stands up meet her as well, shaven-bald head catching a bit of light off of it, and highlighting the neck tattoo slightly.

"You're right," Rashmi says mildly, eyebrow curving upward. "But now I want to know why you're asking me instead of Addison, and dodging my question besides. You've been playing me, Connor. You and Jericho and James and probably half a dozen others, all tugging me into place. Bringing me here. I want to know *why.*"

Stepping around the table, Volk walks right up until he's nose to nose with Rashmi, and standing there, he whispers out, "Because you work best when you've the guidance to…" Turning his head to cough before he continues in the rasped but improving voice, "… make the right choices. About… Lucas… about James… about your life. It HAD to be this way… until the… mole… was discovered… I couldn't… count on the other side… keeping him alive. Letting things… build to this point. Trusting… once all the pieces… assembled in front of you… you'd know… what to do. Because… I won't be there. Not this time. Robyn… was my fault. I didn't know… Dingo's… situation. I suspected Lucas, actually… so… I started working… the angle."

Slowly, Rashmi's hand rises between them, first two fingers spread and curled inward. Gently, she clasps Connor's nose between them, tugging his head down to look her in the eyes. "Sound and fury, signifying nothing, Connor. I work *best* when I know the story and can make informed decisions. *Guidance* just makes me a puppet. And I *hate* being someone else's puppet, Connor. You of all people should damn well know that by now. So. I ask again. *Why.*"

The hand is slapped away as sudden fury erupts in his eyes and the collar of her shirt is grabbed as Volk growls out, "I lost everything to this war… my family… my SELF… my BEST FRIEND. NO MORE. I will kill… I will steal… I will manipulate… I don't CARE… Whatever it takes… to bring this… family… back together. To give you… back… something. A husband. His Friend. Just… look into my eyes… and you can SEE… what we've all… become. I couldn't tell you… because… it was a gamble. I was… betting. Guessing. Playing angles on a hunch. And I did it… because of love." Letting go of her shirt, he sits back, and just continues to stare, "Call it… what you want. Everything I did… was for… all of you. And I don't… regret a thing."

The sudden yanking on her abused bodysuit startles the redhead into silence, and it's a long moment after she's released, before she can process it all, and tally up the whole of Connor's words. Turning away, she clenches a fist, hand shaking with the effort spent not to sheel around and belt him one. "Oh, I see it, Connor… I see a lot of other things, too. Like… if it hadn't been for Lucas…?" A shoulder lifts and falls, the thought remaining unspoken. "Who knows? But you *should* care, -Volk.- I thought we could get by not caring, too. I was wrong. It took *Captain Fucking America* to die to show me that, but… There it is."

Volk's reply is just as damning as he then says, "Pot and Kettle. We used… each other. You just… felt guilty… first. Now… answer… my DAMN… QUEST- *COUGH COUGH*TION…" Practically yelling and ending up into another coughing fit as he goes to his things and gets a drink of water, sighing in relief.

"I can't," Rashmi replies quietly, pinching the bridge of her nose. "I had to make a lot of promises to get contacts with the Harbingers, and they're not even all that reliable… but they do their job *really* well. California well." Shaking her head, she turns to face Connor. "I can't give you those answers until I'm told I can. I'm sorry… but that's just how it is. And I never used you, Connor. I *always* wanted you in, always always *always.* Because you were *killing yourself* out there, no matter how nice you said you had it. You *needed* people to care about again, just like Robyn did."

"AND YOU DON'T TRUST US!" He roars out in a single, unbroken sentence, all his myriad items around him floating upwards for a moment and then settling back down again when his hands slam on the table, "I… trusted you. Addison trusts you. It's your… gift. And you USED it. Half… the people… here… are here… because of YOU. NOT JERICHO. YOU. And you… didn't. Now… who's the hypocrite." Eyes so bright the cavern is subtly illuminated, "At least… I was honest… enough… to know WHO to go to… for help."

And display is met by display, Rashmi's spheres fading into view, spinning at top speed, then blurring down to *crack* as one against the thick stone floor, the redhead's dark eyes blazing. "I went to *everyone,* Connor. You, Magneto, the Harbingers, *Heather,* every single contact and avenue I could scrape together, because the more people I can go to, the *better I can work.* God damn it, Connor, WHY DOES IT PISS YOU OFF THAT I WANTED YOU IN SO BADLY AND NOT THE OTHERS?!"

Volk lunges at Rashmi, pinning her against the wall for a long moment, glaring and huffing, bestial enough to be mistaken for Wolverine in his ardent fury. And then… he kisses her. Pouring all that rage, heartache, longing, and the tattered shreds of humanity into it as his lips lock against her own. Still keeping her pinned, his eyes close, leaving the pair in darkness for a long and seemingly tense moment…

It's a good few moments, before Rashmi tugs a hand free, applying pressure to the center of Connor's forehead and pushing him up, just a bit. "Please let me go," she says, voice not *quite* even, but neither enraged or terrified.

The other hand is released, and he stands back, Volk speaking softly as his head hangs, "This… isn't our world. The right world. Someone has to fix it. It's fallen to me. When the Hunters come… it will be the last time we see… each other. But how… was I supposed to leave you… alone." One hand comes up slowly to touch her face, "We… aren't ment to be… but at least… in my goodbye… I can give you back… what you should have always had." The hand slips away, and falls to his side before he turns to walk back to his things, "God willing… everything… will be settled… in that battle. And finally… something… will be made… right… for a change." Picking up and unmarked envelope, he comes back and holds it out to Rashmi, "This is for… James. If he… truly… does what I hope he will… and gives you… the truth you need… then give this to him. If… he dies? Burn it."

Rashmi crosses the room, slowly taking the envelope out of Connor's hand, frowning down at it for an instant. Then, in a flash of understanding, she looks up, nodding seriously as she tucks the envelope into her jacket. "I will," she whispers, and stands there for a moment, before moving in close, wrapping her arms around his waist in a tight hug. "You take this with you too, okay…? Just in case we can't manage to make it all right… At least you can make sure your last memory is something good."

As the pair embrace, he then seems to chuckle as he reaches up to stroke her hair, before the man says softly, "Take my assault rifle… too. She's been… good to me. You'll need… the extra… firepower down here." But he stops, and leans his head in, pressing cheek to cheek, "I remember… your wedding day… James… dragging me out… because… my tie… wouldn't sit right. I know it was… the OCD, but still. Lucas… forgot… his vows. So… he pulled out… his guitar… and sang to everyone… remember?"

"I remember," Rashmi murmurs, resting her cheek on the mercenary's shoulder. "Even the priest rolled his eyes, but Mami and Papi couldn't help but chuckle. "'That man would gladly make a fool of himself for love of you,' Papi told me. 'This makes me know I can trust your happiness to him.'" Drawing in a deep breath, she sighs, closing her eyes. "That was one of the happiest days of my life, you know… I'm glad you were there, OCD and all."

There's a soft laugh from him as Connor's voice, for a moment comes through, "You were sitting there… alone… for about a minute… while Lucas was getting you some drinks. Everyone was sitting around, or dancing… or laughing… talking. I remember… our eyes meeting, and for… for a moment it looked like you… wanted to say something to me. But then Lucas walked in front of you." Still holding tight, utter gentleness compared to moments before, "You've never let me feel alone in this world, Rashmi. You never gave up on me. Thank you."

"I did," Rashmi says quietly. "I don't remember exactly what… but… you looked kind of out of place, and I wanted you to relax a little. …So… I was going to ask for a dance, and tell you not to give up on yourself either… or something… I don't know."

Connor finally lets go, and then steps back, smiling a moment as a single tear streaks down once side, clinging to his chin a stubborn moment before vanishing away. Looking you up and down for a long moment, he breaks into a smile, "It gets… hard… to live in the world that is… when every time I close my eyes… I see the might-bes." Then he almost chuckles, "Some days… I wonder how we got stuck… with this shitpile. But I'll make it… right… again. I promise."

Rashmi manages something like a smile in return, nodding decisively. "If anyone can manage it, Connor, it's you. I'll try and hold things together here. That way… At least you know you're not… leaving…" She trails off, shaking her head and balling up her fists. "I'm trying *so hard* to keep from begging you not to go, Connor. Without you… It'll just be me. I said I didn't like to be played, but… I'd almost prefer it to realizing that I'll be running without backup…"

Connor snorts once as he starts assembling another pistol and gives her a wry look, voice coming back with that now-familiar growl, "Theo… Daisuke… Robin… Chloe… Lucas… even James… I've… put my little touches there… for you to see." But now there's a nervous gulp and a smile, "I wish… it was someone else. Believe me. But… There's… no one else who can go back. Who can… do these things. Everything… I've done. Every bad deed… every job… it's lead… to this. Nothing happens… without reason." Finishing up, he moves to one of the SMGs, "One last… little string. Theo. I brought him… a big damn present." And the parachute bag lifts up in the air and settles down on the table in front of Rashmi.

Rashmi lets out the tensoin with a rough sigh, hands falling open and shoulders slumping. "I know it doesn't. And… I'll try and keep it in mind." As the bag floats up, she blinks, tugging open the mouth and peering in. "…You got these from the factory," she says, voice disbelieving. "….You *stole* these from the computer?!"

There's a merry wink as the armor slides back into form, and the look that says Volk returns to the front as the last of the weapons is reassembled and checked over, "Stick me… in a bear trap… I'll… file the teeth off… and make arrows." Nodding once towards the memory cases, "They've got… new toys. More of those… Specialty Sentinels… new… Spider bots… with networking.. software. And something else. Cyborgs. She looked human… except for the… blast ports… in her arms… They're upping the game. So… learn the new rules."

Rashmi closes up the bag, taking hold of it and tugging it out of the gravity field, nodding. "That, I can do. Thanks again, Connor… And… I'm sorry."

He doesn't look as he asks softly, "Was it you?"

Rashmi remains silent for a moment, inwardly cursing her vows of secrecy. Drawing in a deep breath, she looks away. "…I can neither confirm nor deny to the best of my ability."

With her back turned, she can't see the smile on his face, but she can hear it as Volk says, "You can tell them… they're the biggest bastards… of all… and they're… too lucky… for it."

"If I ever get the chance to, I'll pass that along," Rashmi replies, sighing to herself. "But for now… let's just get to making the best of what we've got, hm?"

And with a Cheshire grin, Volk sweeps up his cleaning supplies and packs them away, replying, "Got that… covered too…" While the man walks off… he WHISTLES…

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