2011-12-14: Catharsis


Jill_icon.jpg Nicholas_icon.jpg

Summary: Trauma, like misery, loves company.

Date: December 14, 2011

Log Title: Catharsis

Rating: PG-13

Xavier Mansion - Kitchen

This kitchen was designed to feed large numbers of people, and looks it with its bright white walls and stainless steel appliances. The stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher are all larger than normal. There is an island with stools around it for people to sit and eat around along with a table for twelve by the windows in back. Along the wall is a hole in the wall looking into the dining room so food can be passed back and fourth. Anything you want to cook or eat in the kitchen you will find the food and supplies to do so.

It's lunchtime and even though Nick doesn't know how to cook he's decided to find something in the kitchen to make, which is a can of Beefaroni. There's dirt all over his pants and shirt and he kind of smells like a barn but it doesn't seem to bother him. Nicholas stands over the stove stirring the canned pasta in the quiet of kitchen.

It's unusual to find students not only willing but actually able to prepare their own food when the school spares no expense in such matters. "Ugh, what is that smell?" comes a voice from the adjoining hallway, immediately followed by a translucent blue head peering around the frame of the open door. "Oh," says Jill, chagrined.

Nicholas turns and looks at Jill, holding up an empty can of Chef Boyardee. "That smell is my lunch." He says frowning. "And I like this stuff." He doesn't offer if she wants any since she seems to not like the smell. "Uh…anyway..how are you?" There's definitely an awkwardness to Nick as he uses his powers to open the fridge and dig out a can of coke. "You want anything?"

"Ugh, you're actually eating that? You know how much salt is in just one serving?" It seems Jill really was referring to the Beefaroni, not Nick after all. More playing for laughs, she pulls the collar of her t-shirt up over her mouth and nose. "A Diet Coke, please, if there are any left. And I'm fine, if you count scared to death of taking a French exam I'm completely unprepared for." She huffs out a breath and tugs down her shirt collar, feeling the joke's gone on long enough.

Nicholas looks at the can and shrugs. "I'm don't really care honestly, it tastes good, and it's something I can cook." He says moving so he can look through fridge to find a diet coke. When he does he uses his powers to float it over to Jill, using his hand as a guide as his eyes glow bright blue. "I never took another language. I'm fine with just knowing English. But I just wanted to apologize, really. I'm sorry you've had to put up with me."

Jill reaches out to catch hold of the can with both hands, making sure she's got it before Nick lets go. She pulls out a stool and sits, taking a sip which visibly travels down the inside of her throat. Weird. "I wanted to go to Paris some day. Now I just want to pass with a C." The can makes a hollow crinkling sound when she worries the tab back and forth until it breaks off. "Don't be," she says, shaking her head. "I can't help, y'know, sticking my nose into other people's business sometimes."

Nicholas can't help but watch the soda run down her throat and blinks a few times before turning away. "You can still go to Paris someday I bet. Just because you're blue doesn't mean you can't, I mean you looked normal at the mall." He says trying to be encouraging but there's a certain flatness to his voice, like there's almost no emotion behind it. He turns away from her to focus on his food which seems to have burned to the saucepan. "So how did you deal with it?"

"Looking normal is thanks to the school," Jill explains with a pedagogical tip of the Diet Coke can in Nick's direction "I can't do it on my own, and I don't think I'll ever be able to. It's some little gadget one of the old students or teachers whipped up, I think. I had to borrow one for a while when I went home." Clearly not on the same wavelength, she eyes the stove before asking lightly, "Deal with what?"

Nicholas turns off the burner and moves his burned canned pasta to the side before muttering. "Your parents, you said you lost them too. How did you deal with it?" He asks quietly, not quite able to look at Jill.

Jill's expression slackens, a certain melancholy overcoming it. She takes a moment to simply breathe, heedless of the smell of burnt food, before her face returns to something more neutral. "I cried," she admits without shame. "A lot. I blamed myself, thought that maybe if I'd been… better, it wouldn't have happened. Or that if I was extra good, they'd come back." She stares at her drink. "Took a couple years of therapy before I could realize it doesn't work that way."

"I already know that it doesn't work that way, and I know it's my fault they died, well, no…" Nicholas says shaking his head. "It's their fault but me being a mutant played into it that it's just, I hate it Jill." Nick says not able to really look at her. "It's why I've been such an asshole because I don't want them to be gone. I don't hate it here but I want to be home."

"I was… a lot younger than you are now. When it happened. So maybe what I felt then and what you're feeling now really aren't the same." Slowly she sets her can on the tiled counter and wipes condensation onto the thighs of her jeans, lacing her fingers and leaning forward slightly. "What… what do you think you could have done differently?"

"I…I don't know. Maybe when I got home and saw the door broken in I shouldn't have rushed inside but called the Sherriff, or even Bodie or someone. My powers saved me but I couldn’t use them to save them, they were right there and I couldn't do anything." Nicholas says his hands balling up in his fists. "Maybe I could have used my powers to fight back but I didn't, I just let myself get beat up and didn't do anything."

Having only heard bits and pieces of the story through the usual underground gossip vines, Jill looks stricken as more of the details become clear. With difficulty, she pushes it all down and tries to remain sympathetic and open but calm. "I'm not sure that…" She falters, looking down at her hands and squeezing them tighter. Taking a breath, she tries again. "You did everything you could. Didn't you?"

"I don't know Jill, it just happened so fast. I came home and it all happened so fast. I was scared." Nick admits. "And I honestly thought I was going to die with them but the smoke didn't bother me like it did them and by the time I was able to free myself, they were…then Bodie…it's like a horrible nightmare." He says as his voice cracks as he's trying so hard not to lose it.

The kitchen stool makes a soft scraping against the floor as Jill levers herself gently off of it. Her hand is on Nick's shoulder, turning him with featherlight tenderness toward her. Though she's almost half a foot shorter, she opens her arms broadly to him as if she were the pillar of stability, literally a shoulder to cry on.

It's the second time this week he's ended up crying in front of someone and as much as he hates it, he can't help it as he leans down to accept the hug and cry. "The worst thing about it is, it's Christmas." He says between sobs.

No platitudes, no reassurances, no quiet murmurings of 'It's okay'. Jill just holds on, squeezing Nicholas lightly and simply being there until he doesn't need her anymore.

It takes a while but once he's done he pulls back and wipes his eyes looking at his burned lunch. "I'll also miss her cooking." He says with a sniff. "Thanks, it's just so hard. I feel so lost Jill. I just get so angry so easy lately and I don't feel like myself."

"I know," Jill soothes, not condescending in the least. She rubs a finger into the corners of her own eyes, teardrops difficult to see against her already shiny skin. "But you don't have to be alone. I know it's… not the manly thing to do, but maybe… You should talk to someone. See someone. A professional." She swallows, folding her hands for lack of anything to do with them. "There's no shame in it. At least, think about it?"

Nicholas leans against the counter and nods. "I guess, I don't know. Seeing a shrink is something people with money usually do…I mean, not saying you do cause there's nothing wrong with it I guess..I mean…" Nicholas feels a bit flustered cause he doesn't know how to say it right. "Sheridan County is just different I guess, we're really small town so, things like that just don't occur to us there. I don't know, I'll think about it." He says avoiding Jill's gaze.

"It helps. There isn't, like, some magic pill that will make it all better overnight." Slowly coming down off the emotional rollercoaster, Jill takes a little wandering step backwards to give the boy more breathing space. "But if you promise you'll think about it, that's good enough for me. I won't force you. I won't tell you what to do. But I really do want to help. Believe that, okay?"

"You're the second person to say that." Nick says but there's an appreciation in his voice if it isn't on his face. "Thanks. I promise I'll think about it." He says and means it. "It's all so scary you know."

"It is. It can be." The blue girl nods slowly, sniffing softly and wiping at her nose with the back of her forearm. "I'm here, though. The rest of the school too, if you let them. If you need anything, or you just wanna talk… you know…"

Nicholas looks up at Jill and bites his lip. "Oh, I didn't mean to make you cry." He says feeling bad about it. "I know, but at the same time I want to be alone at times and I snap easy and I don't know." He sighs in frustration. "It just sucks so fucking much."

"I just… you remind me, that's all. And I don't want anyone else to have to go through it. But I can't do that…" Her own motivations feel suddenly selfish and Jill pushes them aside with a visible effort. "I can try, though. If you want space, take it. If you wanna throw things or yell, do it. And if you wanna talk, just ask." She makes a little shooing motion and reaches for the pan of burnt Chef Boyardee. "I'll even clean up for you."

"I don't either." Nick whispers before looking up at Jill. "And it sucks that you had to go through it too, I'm sorry." He says. "And you don't have to take care of it, it's my mess, and I still have to find something to eat before going out to check on Orion again."

Not wanting to be pushy, Jill relinquishes control of the burnt offering. "If you're sure." Picking up her nearly forgotten Diet Coke, she rubs the water droplets off the outside and flicks them onto the floor. "Thank you, too. I…" She starts to add something positive, some reassurance or empty promise, but stops. "I'll be around," is all she says, turning to go.

"I burnt it, I can clean it. But thanks for offering and thanks for being cool Jill." Nick says as he watches her leave, once she's gone he shakes his head and goes to empty the pot so he can scrub it clean.

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