2011-07-19: Bite The Bullet


Connor_icon.jpg Jordan_icon.jpg Kieran_icon.jpg Rashmi_icon.jpg Robin_icon.jpg Sage_icon.jpg SophieD_icon.jpg

Summary: Jordan comes back to Xavier's and tends to rub folks the wrong way.

Date: July 19, 2011

Log Title: Bite The Bullet

Rating: PG - 13

Xavier Mansion - Right Path

A brick path off the courtyard cuts through the grass to lead to the other areas on the outside grounds of Xavier's. There are a few benches that line the path so students can sit and enjoy outside. Either side of the path the grass is well manicured and has enough room for students to have a picnic, play Frisbee, or relax and study. At night there are small lamps that raise three feet off the ground to provide light.

The stars are out and the moon is a sliver in the sky. With the sun down the temperature outside has already started to cool down. Enjoying the nice night is Sage, lying in the grass strumming on his ukulele quietly. The song he's playing would be recognizable as 'While my Guitar Gently Weeps'. He stares up at the stars as he plays perfectly content and happy.

"Doesn't have quite the melancholy tones on the ukulele that it does on the guitar." Kieran says as he approaches Sage, wearing just a white muscle shirt right now. Hands in the pocket of black cargo shorts.He does like the song quite a bit.

Robin is out, wearing a fairly non-descript grey sweater and a pair of skinny jeans, thumbs hooked inside of her pockets as she looks up at the sky. She pauses for a moment upon hearing the sound of the ukelele, and turns to look towards the source. Her puppet mimes the motion perfectly, and both seem to stare for a moment at Sage (though through a single eye). That pause, however, doesn't last long before she approaches.

From the Quad, Rashmi slowly walks down the path, frowning at something on the PDA tablet, held in the crook of her arm. A few taps of a finger on the screen, a quiet, irritated sigh, and she pauses as the gentle melody penetrates her train of thought. Smiling, she tucks the device under her arm, approaching the gathering knot in silence.

A gunshot fires in the distance. Barely seconds later, a man enlarges on the path, beside Xavier's. He hasn't set foot on the campus in a while, but the defenses do recognize him and don't attack. That's… a good thing. He stops his growth at about seven feet tall as he looks around. "Anyone seen Robyn Larkin lately?" He asks, deepening his voice a little bit. At least one face here, though, is a face that he recognizes, and should recognize him. Maybe more that he hasn't noticed of yet. He's not being angry or even rude in his phrasing. But it's obvious that he's forcing a veneer of calm onto his body.

Following along with Rashmi is a familiar but quiet foreign form of the replacement Connor. Dressed down into the usual nearly priest-like Japanese boy's uniform, his hands are behind his back and he's watching the young woman with a faint trace of amusement, specially since his proximity is causing the device to not function properly. The gunshot causes him to merely arch an eyebrow, and that posh accent declares in an almost amused tone, "And here they say nothing ever happens on a Tuesday."

"It all depends on who is signing along." Sage says looking up at Kieran with a smile. "How are you doing tonight Kieran?" He asks not getting up from his position laying down until he hears the gunshot noise. Jumping up the first person he spots is Robin. "Robin, what was that?" Sage asks in a bit of a panic, his dreadlocks starting to drift up around him slightly as he can't help but be a bit on edge. The appearance of the seven foot tall man doesn't help either.

"Better. I can actually play my guitar again. Still need to take it easy so no push ups and that kind of thing for another couple weeks at least. I don't know, the ukulele has a very happy sound to it." Kieran says before he hears someone asking about Robyn,"Err… I haven't seen him since the incident at school." He says eyeing Jordan rather curiously. As for the others, they're given slightly nervous looks as he doesn't know Rashmi or Connor well at all. Robin is for the moment not noticed.

Robin raises her eyebrows first at the gunshot, and again at the surprise appearance by Jordan. "Robyn? I've been looking for him, I've been concerned since-" She stops. "What was that noise, anyway?" She adjusts her glasses slightly and continues, "Do you not know where Robyn is? I can explain, but… umm, I doubt you'll be especially happy…" She bites her bottom lip between her canines.

The sound of gunfire jerks a startled squeak out of Rashmi, the redhead hopping a couple steps off the Path as she whips around, eyes wide. Once the identity of the intruder resolves itself in her head, she straightens, narrowing her eyes. "Jordan, what is the *matter* with you?! D'you have any *idea* what it's like around here, and you go— oh… forget it," she grumbles, shaking her head and glancing at Connor, lifting a shoulder. "Robin's right, you're not gonna be happy at *all.* So… take a breath, okay? You're scaring the younger students."

"The noise was me." Jordan says with a bit of an eyeroll. "Incident? Ok, who's kidnapped him and what do I need to do to get him back?" He asks, jumping to a possibly accurate conclusion. After all, Jordan and Robyn are no strangers to being kidnapped… mind-controlled… taken over. It's just part of who they are. He cracks his knuckles and blinks. "What? You forget, that's how I move. I'm not ashamed of my mutation or how it works. Even the Sinister upgrades." He says with a shrug, unapologetically. "Just tell me." He says with a sigh. He rubs the bridge of his nose. "Maybe I'll call my crew in. It's not like the staff here ever do anything right." Yes, he's angry, but that's why he left.

The young man's mouth opens a moment and then clicks shut as he looks around for several moments as his eyes go a bit wider and he looks back and forth a moment. Taking a couple steps to the side, the other Connor brings his hands around to show a teacup and saucer, filled and ready for consumption, including spoon. Stirring it a moment, he then lifts the cup to take a sip from it and sets it back down, "Perhaps, good man, you might wish to consider taking a breath and letting these young people speak? It's not as if an hour of your time is going to change the current situation." But the belligerence makes him actually sniff with amusement, and offers a second cup and saucer, suitably also from nowhere to Rashmi. Darjeeling. "Tea?"

As there is no immediate signs of danger, Sage relaxes a bit and his hair seems to settle. "That's good to hear Kieran." He mutters to him in his Northern British accent. He looks around the group. "Whose Robyn? Does have to do with that girl whose got the evil parents and why the school was attacked?" He usually tries to just ignore what's been happening but it seems like it's impossible to do so.

"That would be Heather. Heather is Robyn's friend. Robyn's a boy who has some pretty nasty telepathic powers." Kieran says seriously as he considers all of this."Simply put Robyn's gone sort of wacko thanks to Heather's parents and is pretty hard to do a take down on to try and help him." He says with the utmost sincerity to his voice,"I tried to stun him and the other girl but it was rather pointless as no matter how hard I tried, they just kept coming and I didn't want to you know… kill them. As it was, those of us in the lower level got pretty banged up thanks to him and the girl. If you and your friends go after them, they'll probably hurt you pretty bad since they don't know what's /really/ going on around them."

"As far as I know, there are a couple of supervillains who have, umm, somehow manipulated him into doing what they want… I don't know much about it, but I do know that they're pretty dangerous. I've been using Blank to scout it out, but so far, no luck," says Robin, tilting her head as she tries to remember what she knows, "As for how to get him back, I guess I don't know? That's what I've been wondering. One of them has mind powers, so be careful if you do choose to, umm, talk to your 'crew'…" She then nods at Sage to confirm what Kieran has to say.

"Jordan," Rashmi says, her tone brooking no nonsense. "Listen very closely, okay? …Thank you, Connor, that's very sweet," she says, pausing to tak hold of the teacup with a nod and a smile. "You do *not* want to take them on on your own. *Seriously.* Heather's mom, Upgrade, boosts powers. Her dad, Mindbender, can tell your brain you're in another world entirely… you could be running in circles for an hour thinking you're chasing them. You want to help? Great. But running off half-cocked is just a good way to get you *and* your crew dancing to whatever tune they care to call."

"Heather. Time chick. Gotcha. I got someone who can counter that. Mental? Hmm. Well," It's about that time that a voice comes from a small transciever somewhere on Jordan. 'Bullet' it says, in a feminine voice. 'You really shouldn't be there. You know he won't be happy.' He rolls his eyes and taps it. "Don't really care, Tempo. I haven't heard from Robyn in too long. I'm worried. They'll at least know something, even if they won't act on it." He says with a bit of a sigh. "May need your help. And Envy's, if she's still around and not being a crazy bi…." He says quickly, stopping himself from being too mean in his wording. He pauses at Rashmi's discussion. "Yeahyeah. Wait until they're all dead, so teaches the Xavier Institute. Don't worry. I have resources you wouldn't believe and people that can do things the X-Men wouldn't dare. Rashmi… I'm not stupid. You ought to know that by now. But I can slip past things better than anyone here. And with the exception of Sinister, I'm not too bad at fighting off mental compulsions." Or so he thinks. He could be mistaken. "Anyway, got the info I need. Time to get going." He says, not leaving just at the second.

"Oh yes…", comes the soft londoner accent as the teacup and saucer in Connor's hand vanishes, "Forever the easy way out, isn't it?" Hands behind his back, he takes a couple steps forwards to stand close by, and then another step in front of Rashmi so that her eyes carry over his shoulder, "Listen, good man… if you've not become acutely aware of how reality works… the staff works to protect the student body. So… yes… please. Go off with your little gang and try and see what you can do. If they can manage to take the finest the school has to offer, I hardly see what you and your…" Pausing a moment to look Jordan up and down, "… thugs… will have to offer. Amazing what he sees in you… a bully, no matter how well-dressed, is still nothing more than a bully, quite?"

Sage hugs his knees to his chest as he listens to the others talk. "Even I know the school isn't just doing nothing and I just got here." He admits. "Everyone is quite concerned for your friend and the others, that's all the talk about here. Even the woman in charge here, Ms. Frost, has been quite injured from what I understand and is still in the medical bay. I'm not keen on fighting or helping out with this cause it's not my place but it's it best to work together?

"I'd be careful. The people I've heard about them getting are incredibly dangerous people. I mean for instance they have /Heather/. Neither Tyler, nor I could even get close to her to slow her down." Kieran says seriously towards Jordan,"The fact that they managed to get in here the way they did and hurt as many people as they did is pretty good indicator that that's a lot of power. I mean you might be good at protecting your mind, but what about your allies? Are they all immune to telepathic attack? Because only takes them getting the right people to really ruin your day as it were. Heather's dad can make your allies believe you're someone else. Robyn thought I was Electro for instance."

As if just realizing something, Robin just stares at Connor and says, "When did you become /so British/?" She rubs her forehead lightly and then shakes her head, adjusting her glasses lightly, "In any case, I'm only recommending that you be careful, which… frankly, you really need to be. If Ms. Frost can get hurt while on home turf, ummm… just don't do anything stupid like underestimating. That'll get you hurt or turned against each other. I understand that you're concerned for Robyn, I got the same way when Sinister got Skyler… but really, try not to think with your feelings right now…"

Regardless of what the others have said, the moment the word 'Envy' left Jordan's lips, Rashmi freezes in place, eyes wide, face pale. Drawing in a shuddery breath, she looks down at her teacup, closing her eyes, lips moving as she counts to ten. Lifting the cup to her lips, she takes a slow sip, letting her breath out through her nose. "….Jordan? When this is over? Drop your crew before you talk to Robyn again. Friendly advice." Finishing off the tea, she turns her back on the larger mutant, handing the cup off to Connor. "Go home, Jordan. Tell that lady on your radio that Envy's going to get you *all* in jail."

"Listen, little man. You don't know me. So your words don't bother me. I was a student here for a while. But I saw their true colors, and I left. And if you ask the ones that knew me here, I am not a bully. I protect those that are important to me. Right now, the only ones important to me are Robyn, my family, and a few others. Even Rashmi, as pissed as she is at me, will admit to that. I'm not Cloud. I don't rush in blindly. I do look into things first. I just have resources that the X-Men do not. For example, a time-warper who can affect multiple people." Jordan looks at Sage and shakes his head.

"No, my friends aren't welcome around here most of the time. -I- am, but that's because I've never done anything to hurt the school, and I wouldn't, simply because I don't want to cause more trouble than the students already have to put up with. There's enough of that already. Stryfe always thinks things through." He pauses. "I may not have a choice, if Stryfe won't do anything to help. But if he will, I'll do things my way. No, Envy won't. Stryfe keeps her in check when she's with us." His transciever buzzes again. 'Bullet. You're needed.' He sighs. "And with that, I have to go." He says with a shrug, shrinking down quickly. There's another gunshot as he exits.

Connor just sniffs once as Jordan makes his declarations and then departs, and as the second cup of tea and saucer vanishes, he turns and looks at Rashmi with a puzzled look on his face, "Well… how rude. I do believe someone is quite in need of some time at a proper gentlemen's school." The comment made by Robin is not missed, and he tilts his head, "Ah yes… well… I must apologize. I am not your Connor. Or rather… I am… A… Connor. It's all terribly complicated, and to explain properly requires charts and a black board. All horribly boorish if you ask me. Now… let's brighten the mood a bit, hmm?" And with a wave of his hand towards Sage, the eukelele begins to play a merry little tune of it's own accord.

Most of what Jordan says goes right over Sage's head but he sighs as Jordan leaves. "Thank goodness he's gone. He seems like quite the horrible influence." He states before looking around. "I think I'm going to head inside and get some sleep. It's getting a bit late for me. I hope things work out with your friend." He tells the others before heading back to the school.

What do you say when someone seems hellbent on going after these people? Kieran just shrugs a little bit. "I'll see you another time Sage." Kieran says before looking towards Connor,"Shame I didn't bring my guitar with me or we could get some music going. A proper gentleman's school? What exactly would that sort of thing entail? I don't think I'd qualify for that knowing my luck." He says laughing a little bit as he looks towards Connor.

Robin nods slowly at Connor and says, "Well… umm, don't bother getting out the chalkboard. I assume you're some kind've, um, otherworld British Connor or something. Which I guess I can accept because I guess that's not the weirdest thing I've seen yet… So I can leave it at that…" She shakes her head again and glances off to where Jordan disappeared and then nods at Sage, "Have a good night." She pauses and notes. "I feel like, I dunno, he's going to make things worse…"

"Good night, Sage," Rashmi says, her voice weary. Once Jordan is gone, she shakes her head, turning back around. "That… was Robyn's boyfriend. …Who apparently has decided to run with a less than healthy crowd…" Blowing out a rough sigh, she glances at Robin, smiling a bit. "Pretty much. Also, wizard. His world's pretty interesting, and oh by the way Connor… sorry about being so presumptive. I've not exactly been on top of my game."

Connor waves it off with a chuckle as Sage's little guitar floats off with him, carrying it's dulcet tones along and away before saying softly, "Not to worry, Miss Franklin… it's no bother. I just did not want to see a young lady go unescorted about the ground with all this… conflict… going on." Then with a sigh, he looks to Kieran, "Any young man can attend a gentleman's school… it's a place to learn the proper etiquette for any situation, including how to defend one's honor."

"I was wondering what his deal with Robyn was." Kieran says before tilting his head a bit to oneside as he looks at Connor,"I think I know how to protect my honor perfectly well without a school to teach me." He says wrinkling his brow slightly. "Or are you referring to fencing, because I don't know how to fence in anyway shape or form. The Extent of my knowledge with swords is that the pointy end goes into the other guy."

"… Wizard? Okay, um. Okay," says Robin, nodding slowly at that, "That's neat, I guess… Magic and all that." Blank makes some motions that would indicate casting spells with a wand, though Robin does not seem conscious of it. "I guess I've never gone to any kind of an etiquette school or anything… I'm from the country. So… what /is/ your world like? If you're not bored of answering…"

Rashmi takes a step to the side, glancing at Connor with an upward quirk of her lips and a raised eyebrow. "Bet you knew this was going to happen," she murmurs to the wizard, chuckling. "Besides… probably better that we talk about *anything* more pleasant than Jordan…"

Connor openly laughs and then looks around, "Allright, allright.. I suppose story time is in order." And he steps back and away from the group, and turns to look at the group as he nods his head, "I am from the American Colonies. On my world, the supernatural has taken the place of your… mutations. The dividing event was that supernaturals were used as slave labor instead of those from the Africas. The dangerous nature of this caused such destruction in the Civil War, that Britain was forced to take over the failing Colonies. I attending Lord Xavier's Institute of Supernatural Studies, and graduated with a degree in Thaumaturgical Sciences. Where you have science, we have magic… according to your… ahh… Wikipedia… our technical level is about your pre-industrial."

"Sounds like it's pretty weird in comparison to here." Kieran says blinking slightly at Connor. "So is it really weird to see cars and such? Or did you get some kind of advanced warning what this place would be like before you ended up here?" He asks curiously. Magic is not something that he's able to grasp since it isn't real to him. "Sounds like something that the British government here would have LOVED to have happen." He says laughing softly.

Robin scratches her head and says, "Wow, that's pretty neat. I guess your world, umm, must have some parallels with ours given that you also went to Xavier's. I don't know much about parallel universes, though, it's not… sometimes I regularly think about."

Connor actually colors a bit in the cheeks, and then sighs, "Listen… I really do not wish to take up everyone's attentions… it's all quite embarrassing… but if you must know… the Colonies were a huge financial burden upon the Commonwealth for nearly fifty years. They had to restructure the entire eastern coast of the Colonies from Maine to Florida. It quite changed the landscape of the world." Smiling at Kieran and Robin, "Actually… I feel overloaded here. There's so much you take in. These little phone-things of yours, and the television, and billboards on the street. Everyone wants you to eat their things, or buy their things, or watch their things, or do their things… when do people take the time to have a pleasant conversation?"

"Ummm when they are just relaxing. Plus we multitask." Kieran says shrugging again,"It's all on what you're used to doing I think. I mean many times I'd have conversations while running laps, or over a dinner with family, or what have you." He says casually. "Just take things slowly and let yourself learn. Cellphones make conversations possible even when people cannot be together."

"I dunno, I guess I stay in my room and work most of the time anyway. I only really talk to people when I leave and happen to run into them. Um, I guess I'm probably just a bit've an introvert," says Robin, scratching her head lightly. "But I don't really do many of those other things either, though I use my phone…"

Connor sighs once, and then gives a brief incline of his head, "I have much simpler tastes, I'm afraid… a simple man. I think if there's anything I much prefer to do instead of all these things I see you doing? Is well… a good walk in a park. But the parks around here are so spare. At least the grounds are entertaining. That sand-garden… fascinating stuff. We do not get much Nipponese culture on my Earth. I had someone explain the concept to me, and I was thrilled. I'm hoping when it's next raked they will allow me to assist."

"They remained isolated like China instead of working with the foreign nationalities?" Kieran asks curiously,"The sand gardens are rather nice." He says considering that,"There's probably a lot of the culture here that is different. So how much did the Commonwealth control? Was it like the British Empire where it controlled a bunch of different places?" He asks seeming interested.

Robin nods at Connor and says, "I'd prefer just going for walks myself, but i guess I do occasionally watch TV or play a video game…" She shrugs at that and notes, "But I guess it has to do with how you were raised. I still like talking to people sometimes…"

Sophie comes around the corner, guiding herself with her cane as she comes. Her left arm remains in a cast, though at least she doesn't need the sling anymore, and though she can't see it several people have signed the plaster by now. She comes to a stop near the group, and clasps her hands around the top of her cane. "Hello," she murmurs. "Who is there? I hear several people."

Connor inclines his head to the newcomer, and replies, "Pardon Miss… I'm not terribly good with names… but I am here with Miss Franklin and two others." With a bit of a nod, and an amusedly aggrieved look on his face, he says to Kieran, "The Commonwealth takes up The Hindis, the Island of Madagascar, The United Kingdom, Iceland, Australia until it's rebellion… and of course the Colonies taking up everything from the Arctic to the Rio Grande river in the colony of Pueblo Mesa."

"Interesting." Kieran says before noticing Sophie,"Hello again Sophie." Kieran says to the older girl as he stands there hands in his pockets,"My name is Kieran O'Toole." He says looking as if he's going to offer a hand before he thinks better of it,"That's a pretty big space." He says casually,"I guess they're still a superpower in your world."

Robin says, "Oh! Umm, it's Robin here, Sophie." She glances over towards Connor and says, "Robin Keen, I guess I sort of assumed you'd know who I am in a weird sort've way!" She smiles and then shrugs along with Blank and then says again to Sophie, "Have you met, umm, British Connor, Sophie?"

"And Rashmi," the redhead pipes up from her place a few paces away from Connor, eyes on her PDA. "…Sorry, just… needed to update some people on some things. And by the sound of it, Kieran, they're *the* superpower. … Well unless China or Russia expanded anything like as successfully…"

Connor shakes his head, "Russia… or the United Russian Republic Soviet… is a buffer between the Union of Nations and The Empire of the Sun… I feel sorry for them. A noble people and a rich land, and constantly stuck within conflict. But they do have some of the fiercest fighters to ever grace the world. Not many live when facing the Cossacks."

Sophie nods her head, and manages a bit of a courtsy. "Sophie DeCosta," she replies, her Spanish accent evident in her voice. "I am sorry, I did not quite catch your name, Senor…?" She pauses, "Oh, Senor Connor, thank you Robin. And… no, I have not." She taps her lips. "I was about to ask if you were writing a novel, but… you are… from another world?" She moves to stand a little closer to the group, and bobs her head. "Hello Rashmi, and Kieran, also. It is good to hear you all, si?"

"So the Czar and his family still fell in your world? Or are they still in power?" Kieran asks curiously,"And the Empire of the Sun would be China and Japan right?" He asks trying to sort out who is who in that world. "Who are the Union of Nations?" He asks curiously.

Robin tilts her head slightly and says, "As interesting as it is, I guess I can only think of it as a story… or, um, speculative history. Even if it's real for you, it's kind of… well, weird to think of history not having happened as it happened except in the context of fiction!"

Rashmi chuckles. "It is, but think about this, Robin; from his perspective, *our* world has to seem pretty schizophrenic. I mean, what's one big Commonwealth to him, is like half a dozen separate sovereign nations. Then there's Europe, and Russia, there's another dozen-plus each." Pausing a moment, she shakes her head, chuckling and turning to Connor. "I'd almost want to suggest you bring a political sciences expert with you, if you ever come back… just to see his face when he finds out what the world stage is like!"

Connor puts up his hands towards Kieran, "I surrender! I surrender! I'm only middling when it comes to geography." And to help cover his mild embarrassment over the inability to answer all these rapid fire questions, he moves to Sophie, and offers his arm, "Signora? May I escort you to a bench?"

Sophie hmms? She tilts her head up, and smiles softly. "Certainly, Senor, thank you." She lets her cane dangle by the loop about her wrist as she holds out her arm in the air before her. "Normally I would offer my left hand, but it is… not so useable," she laments. "That does make sense, Rashmi, if I understand the conversation from… entering in the middle. Might I ask what has become of Spain, in your world? I do not mean to press you, of course."

"Alright. Sorry. I am by nature somewhat inquisitive. I like to know stuff." Kieran says laughing a little bit,"If I am missing my guess, the Union of Nations, is probably roughly equivalent to the European Union. I could be completely off on it. That would include Spain and France and Italy at least." He says with a thoughtfulness to his voice and expression,"I sort of wonder how they'd take it. I mean the fewer nations, probably means slightly few border disputes."

Robin shrugs at all of the questions directed at Connor, and Blank mimics the movement. "Speculative politics is even less something I'd like to contemplate…" She glances towards Rashmi and then nods, "I imagine there's a fair amount of difference, though, yeah. I mean, just like if someone popped out of a fiction book and tried to live in our world!" She pauses and then says to Connor, "Ummm, no offense. I totally get you're not a fiction book character."

Rashmi shakes her head, chuckling at the round of questions. "Look at it this way, Connor," she says, a wry smile on her face. "Least you're not from the future. You'd get all *kinds* of questions you probably wouldn't even care enough to know the answers to, even if you could give them…" Looking to Robin, the redhead nods. "It does make sense, sure! But that's sort of the consequence of not being the world we're used to, y'know? Trust me… I've traveled with *our* Connor often enough, it's pretty easy to imagine all sorts of versions of us in every situation imaginable."

Connor assists Sophie to the bench and sits down with her, saying with a smile in his tone, "Thank you ever so much for the honor, Signora DeCosta… and to let you know, the Kingdom of Spain maintains it's borders as part of the union, and is a center for culture. Some of the best gentlemen's schools are in Spain."

Sophie settles herself on the bench, and bobs her head. "Then that is a relief, si?" She smiles softly. "It is how Spain is here, truely; and I would wager that in your world as in mine, Spain is much better off without the Inquisition. There is zeal, and then there is… that." She shakes her head slowly, as she snaps her cane into itself and plays with it between her fingers. "Robin, Kieran… I do not think I have heard either of you since before the excitement the other day. Are both of you well?"

"Well I think I am going to go get some sleep." Kieran says seriously,"It was nice meeting your Connor. Now I will take my leave of everyone." He says casually,"And yes. I am well enough, although still recovering. I got some stitches but no broken limbs." He says casually.

Robin nods at Kieran and says, "You have a good night." She then looks towards Sophie and says, "I'm fine, Sophie, don't worry about me. I was out of the way of danger the whole time. I'm just glad everyone who was there is okay."

"For given values of 'okay,'" Rashmi murmurs, then gives herself a shake. "At least we know that if Forge can work fast enough we should not have to worry about any *more* students being lost… I hope. SHIELD was kind enough to put their brains to work, and sent a small something over a couple days ago. Just a heads-up, for you all."

Connor sighs deeply and rubs at his eyes, "If you will all pardon me, but unfortunately my little time here is done. Something is attempting to come through the barrier I've erected…" And he takes Sophie's hand, kissing the back of it… then Rashmi's… and then Robin's before saying, "Please allow me to offer my most sincere apologies for abandoning three such lovely ladies. I will attempt to make amends." And with that there's a crackling in the air, and the man is just gone in a swirl of blue-green smoke.

Sophie opens her motuh to respond, but before she can say anything, Connor is gone. "…Now he was a gentleman," she observes. "Si? But anyway." She turns her collapsed cane end over end in her good hand. "Goodnight, Kieran," she calls after the retreating student. "But, Rashmi… tell us. What is this thing that SHIELD has sent? If you can tell us, that is."

"Well, it'd be nice to know that we're a little safer than presently… I mean, it's pretty scary that they used our own students to make an attack on the school," says Robin, nodding slowly at that, "It's a kind of worrying thing to imagine that this might be an illusion! Though I guess it's probably not. Why control a puppet who controls a puppet?"

"…Actually I can think of a couple pretty good reasons *why,* Robin," Rashmi admits, clearing her throat. "But none that involve anyone *staying* on the grounds, so I'm pretty sure we're all right. And… I can't really say, Sophie… mostly because I don't *know.* Which means we'll probably all find out in a week or so."

Sophie ahhs softly. "I see," she replies. "Err… well, I understand, anyway. I am sure that I am safe, at least; I do not think they would see much use in taking over the mind of a blind girl. What use would I be to them? I think from that you can assume that neither of you are in a dream world, either." She pauses, and purses her lips. "Or at least, I hope you can."

"Well, I guess I figure, why not skip the middleman when it comes to controlling things, and they could probably find someone who can punch Blank right through the chest," says Robin, looking over to the puppet, which takes a queasy stance and clutches its chest. "Anyhow, I suppose having a healer would probably be pretty useful, blindness wouldn't be a disqualifier for that… wasn't one of them injured in the attack?"

Rashmi glances from Sophie to Robin, raising an eyebrow after a moment. "…Okay! Now both of you listen to what you just said. …Ma-a-aybe you're downplaying yourselves just a *little* too hard, d'you think?"

Sophie blushes heatedly, and shakes her head. "Well… maybe in a year or two I might be," she mumbles. "But I'm still pretty… weak with my powers, yet." She taps at her cast lightly, and absent-mindedly drums her fingers on the plaster. "I think you sold yourself short though, Robin. I think that puppet of yours is very useful… it must be a lot of fun to play with."

Robin glances between Rashmi and Sophie. "Well, Blank /is/ useful, that's not the reason I think they wouldn't control me. Just seems kind of like, I dunno, I guess it's a roundabout sorta way to control an entity like Blank! Just too complicated to be worth it, s'all I'm saying. My power's pretty decent, really."

Rashmi shrugs. "If someone wants what Blank can do? Wouldn't matter how roundabout it was, I'd think. But anyway… The point is, there's humble, and then there's silly. You two are both being silly about yourselves."

Sophie shakes her head slowly. "Well… perhaps I am, si," she acknowledges. "I am not saying I am useless, Rashmi; I am certain that I am not. I am told that my healing powers helped to save Tara's life after the attack. It is just, on the quick and easy road to power by means of controlling the minds of others, I think a blind girl would be quickly overlooked; which might be their misfortune more than mine, I will grant."

Robin scratches her arm lightly over the fabric of her clothes and then notes, "Well, I guess, though I guess I don't think it's silly! Just a practicality issue, but I guess I have no idea how easy it is to make illusions for that guy to fool my eye and Blank's. Still, like I said, I find my ability pretty useful. It's saved my life more than once."

Rashmi runs a hand through her short hair, lifting a shoulder. "….Actually let's just leave it at that… I could keep arguing this, but the method would just make me depressed and terrified, and the *last* thing I want to talk about is what those people *could* do…"

The blind girl smiles softly, as she snaps her cane out to full length. "Do not worry," she murmurs. "I understand what you are trying to tell us, and I will do my best not to sell myself short, or underestimate my abilities." She stands up, and flicks the cane about herself in a quick circle. "But for now… I think I must return to my room, and get some sleep; I am exhausted." She bobs her head, as she turns to make her exit. "Have a good evening, si?"

Robin nods at Sophie and says, "Have a good evening, Sophie." She then glances towards Rashmi for a moment after the blind girl departs, and then ahead with a shrug, "I guess it's all scary to think about and I'd kind've rather imagine that they wouldn't control me, whether or not that's fully rational."

Rashmi nods slowly. "That, I can understand, yeah…. Just… I wish you could see like I do how incredible you are, Robin. And I know it sounds weird, but… That's honestly how I think."

Robin blinks a few times and then shrugs, "Well, I guess I don't think I'm any more incredible than anyone else! I mean, we're all incredible in our own ways, aren't we? More suited for some things than others, though, like I'd be the /last/ person you'd want on your hockey team…"

Rashmi's lip quirks up at the corner, her gaze leveling on Robin for a good few moments. "They're called compliments, Robin," she says gently, without rancor in her voice. "I like to give them to people who deserve them… especially if it's something they should *know* they deserve."

"I wouldn't recommend recruiting me onto your 'knowing how to take compliments' team, either!" says Robin, crossing her arms with Blank at that. "I'm not really super used to it, honestly, and I don't know what to say. 'Yeah, totally incredible, that's me!'"

Rashmi smiles gently, shaking her head. "'Thanks' is a good default, for future reference. Also taking it to heart, but, that's not something you have to do out loud, so."

Robin nods and says, "Well, thanks, then. And, I'll try to take it to heart…" She sits down on the grass next to the path and shrugs, "You're probably a champ at receiving compliments, you probably get them all the time."

Rashmi lifts a shoulder, settling down on the grass near Robin and smoothing her skirts out. "More than I'm comfortable with, really… But, that's just because people go a little too far, y'know? It's one thing to be told 'hey, you did a good job, thanks,' and another to hear 'She's the most incredible wonderful person I've ever known since Little Debbie' or something. I don't mind being complimented if I deserve it, but, I *know* I don't deserve *that.*"

Robin chuckles and says, "Man, if someone told me that, I'd probably explode. I only really took compliments from Skyler that were so over the top, and that was a situation where I guess I'd expect it." She smiles slightly and then shrugs, "But really, you probably do deserve most of the compliments you get. You seem brave."

Rashmi snorts, smiling and shaking her head. "See, that's the thing. Right there. *I* think you're just as brave as I am, only for different reasons. I mean… What's bravery? Being afraid to risk doing something, and then doing it anyway. Just from the last time we talked, I can think of a good bunch of ways you could be called brave and *mean it.*"

Robin shrugs and says, "I guess I have some reasons to think I'm brave, but… I dunno! I guess what I'm saying is that you seem admirable, and you'll probably say I'm admirable, but still… I just think most of the compliments you get are probably deserved. Even if /some/ are over the top. Though I think you're better than Little Debbie."

Rashmi grins. "You've never had a Fudge Round, then. Trust me, I'm *not.* Anyway; I don't… really know what to say to that. *I* don't think I'm admirable, but I guess that's just because I'm being myself, y'know? Lots of people seem to think they have to be someone else to make other people like them… But… I've never really bought into that."

Robin shakes her head and says, "While I haven't had a Fudge Round, I could probably bake something better! Packaged food's not my favorite thing." She smiles slightly and then says, "And, well, I guess I've never wanted to be someone else for someone else to like me. Mostly, it's kind've a mission of liking myself."

Rashmi nods slowly. "I can understand that… but… y'know, that's when honest compliments start to get important, y'know? How are you going to like yourself if you don't know what's likable about you?"

Robin nods slowly and says, "Yeah, I can understand that. I mean, I like getting compliments, but I guess I'm never sure if I deserve them! In any case, I think I'm kind've likeable… if a bit negative sometimes…"

Rashmi shrugs. "Negative's something you grow out of, really… I mean, not to say that you're childish, just, it means you just need to learn how to see the positive, too. Like I said before… Takes a lot of pushing, at firs,t before you can build up the momentum."

"Yeah, fair enough, I guess I'm trying to make that push! But really, I'm not sure why I should be negative, I'm in a pretty great position in life…" says Robin, looking down and pulling at the grass, "And yet, I'm always worried about the worst."

Rashmi chuckles. "It's not a bad thing, being worries like that… Lord knows you've had enough *reason* to. But, maybe take a little time out when you're worrying, and ask yourself 'Okay, self. What's the *best* thing that could happen?' Then, once you've got that figured out, say 'All right, self, *how* can I help make that happen?' And, boom! You're hoping for the best and trying to get it, instead of waiting for the Hammer fo Doom to fall on your head."

"I guess so, and really, I am trying to make the best case scenario happen here. I mean, best case is that I can find someone captured, and give good information on where to go looking for them," says Robin, tilting her head, "And I sincerely hope that happens! But that doesn't get rid of that niggling worry that the sun's going to explode or something."

"…Well," Rashmi says, clearing her throat and most definitely *not* laughing at the idea of an exploding sun as a direct consequence of Robin failing to find someone, "Worst case scenario, realistically? You don't find them. But probably someone else will. Which means at best, you tried hard and succeeded. At worst? You tried hard but didn't succeed. So it's, y'know, okay to concentrate harder on finding them then worrying that you won't."

"Well, that's certainly true. And when I'm searching, I don't worry as much. Or really at all, I'm kind of busy. I also don't worry when I'm doing homework or anything. Worrying is a free time activity…" says Robin, nodding once at that when she decides it sounds about right. "Umm, but yeah, I know… they'll be okay. And I just hope that I can help them be okay sooner."

Rashmi bobs her head, smiling. "Well, there you go! Thinking like an optimist, in three easy steps."

"Is that how optimists think? But yeah, every time we've come across something crazy like this, we've overcome it… so I guess we will again. Even if I'm worried we won't, you know?" says Robin, biting her lip lightly as she asks.

Rashmi bobs her head. "That's exactly what I say to myself, every time something horrible like this happens. 'Oh God, this is horrible, I'm terrified. But we've gotten through X, and Y, and Z, and just pattern recognition alone says we'll get through this too.'"

Robin offers a single nod and decides, "Yeah. I mean, eventually every crisis ends, that's just the way they work. If they didn't end, well, I dunno. At least we're probably not gonna have another crisis?"

Rashmi grins, leaning over and nudging Robin with her shoulder. "See? It's not so bad. Urgent, sure, and there's real reason to worry for people… but like you just said, eventually they all end. So will this."

"It will, but… What I'm /really/ worried about, and something I'm pretty sure is already true, is the damage that's already been done… lots've these people seem to have a lot've scars already, and they're just being peeled open again," says Robin, frowning, "And so I hope they're not exposed to that, you know, more than they already have been…"

Rashmi's smile fades, breath drawn in and loosed in a long sigh. "That's good… but… it might not also happen. And whether or not it does, you don't have any control over. What you *can* hope for, and work at… is the hope that when this is over, they can find a way to stop hurting so much, y'know?"

Robin continues to frown, inclining her head and says, "Well… I want to be there for my friends when they come back… Robyn's helped me through a fair bit and Shane was, umm, well, I shared an experience with her. I really want to help, but it's those emotional wounds that are the worst. You can't tell if they're healing…" She rubs her arm lightly as she speaks, and shrugs when she is finished.

"Actually?" Rashmi reaches out, resting her fingertips on Robin's arm briefly. "You *can.* It's hard to tell, though… mostly when you stop, look inside yourself, and realize it *doesn't* hurt as much as it did. Trust me on this, Robin… I *know* what that feels like."

Looking down at her arm, Robin purses her lips lightly and says, as if dismissing the idea entirely, "I'm not talking about me." She pauses for a moment and continues, "I mean, I can't know if my friends are still hurting. Or just faking good, and that's kind've scary."

Rashmi nods slowly. "It *is* scary… but if you spend enough time with a person, and you pay attention… you can learn how they move. And sometimes that tells you how they think. Like, did I lead you to believe I was talking about you, rather than your friend, just because I touched your arm? Regardless of how applicable what I said was for both of you?"

"Well, yeah, you did… I mean, how could you not've been talking about me, there? You know about my habit…" says Robin, shrugging slightly, "I guess I can read body language too, from others. And me, I can't really fake anything, 'cause Blank is playing charades with my emotions any time I'm paying enough attention to my emotions to acknowledge them…"

Rashmi smiles. "How could I not? Easily. You're more worried about your friend than yourself, and we already talked about that. So why belabor a point you're not even talking about, mh? Actually, I just did that to emphasize that I know about what it's like to heal from that kind of hurt."

"I guess," says Robin, a bit resignedly, "And I'm glad that you recovered from your hurt, Rashmi, it shows strength… and I hope they can, too, but… like I said, lots of these people involved seem to carry these scars…" She leans forward into a kneel and then rises to her feet, "I should get back to the dorms… it was nice talking to you again, Rashmi."

"You too, Robin. And hey…" Rashmi levers herself to her feet, dusting off her skirts. "*Everything* heals, given enough time and care. Maybe it won't be as quick as we'd like, but… doesn't mean it won't happen."

Robin nods once at Rashmi and says, "Yeah, you're probably right about that." She waves and then heads back down the path back to the dorms, her puppet following faithfully behind her.

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