2012-10-27: Courage


SophieD_icon.jpg Rashmi_icon.jpg

Summary: Rashmi finds Sophie alone in Mutant Town, and takes her in.

Date: October 27, 2012

Log Title: Courage

Rating: PG

NYC - Mutant Town (Avenue B)

//Mutant Town, also known as District X, has become a haven for mutants. This section of town doesn't care what you look like, accepting all mutants no matter what their appearance. Most of the businesses in this section of town are mutant run ranging from small convenience stores to clothing shops to restaurants to night clubs. The buildings here aren't the high rise buildings you might find in mid-town but most are about 5-6 stories high. Mutant Town might not be the most luxurious section of town, in fact it's fairly run down, but this section of where mutants are safe and welcomed regardless of race, religion and culture. //

Late night in Mutant Town, and Rashmi creeps slowly through Avenue B. Always careful to keep to the streetlights, never stopping in one place for very long, and very *definitely* not seen holding her PDA, with which she's done so much public-relations warmongering. It's very late, she's walking alone, and at the best of times it would be an inadvisable thing; with Mutant Town under total, Sentinel-enforced lockdown, she's practically *begging* for trouble to look her way and decide something should be done about her.

Rashmi is certainly not the only one out and about in Mutant Town tonight; though people on the streets are definitely few in number, there are still some about, under the ever watchful eyes of the Sentinels it would seem. One person, a blond haired girl dressed in a woolen coat that looks like it's been bought and sold in a thrift store more than once, is most decidedly not keeping in the streetlights, however; instead, she is busy feeling her way slowly along the store fronts, though when she does pass through the light her golden hair is illuminated, as are a pair of cloudy, blue eyes.

Rashmi pauses for a moment, blinking slowly as she watches the blond girl move down the street. Rubbing the sleep out of the corner of her eyes, she takes a second look… and sucks a breath in between her teeth. "Sophie?!" she calls, hurrying forward toward the blind girl. "Sophie is that *you?!*"

The blind girl stops, and jumps as if bitten at the first, sudden noise. She presses one hand to her heart, before she turns to face in Rashmi's direction, revealing that indeed it is her; albeit lacking in both blindfold, and cane. "Rashmi?" she replies, and bobs her head. "Si… it is me, Sophie," she adds. "I…" She pauses, fumbling for words, as she reaches up to awkwardly brush her fingers through her hair, apparently more for something to do with her hands than anything else. "It is a relief to hear your voice," she finishes at last.

Immediately, Rashmi takes Sophie by the elbow, her other hand resting on Sophie's opposite shoulder, as she guides the blind mutant back toward her apartment building. "What *happened,* Sophie? I thought everyone was safe, did they get any of the others? Are you hurt? What happened to *Hosea?*"

Sophie gasps softly as she finds herself being pulled along, but makes no motion to resist the direction; though she does move to clasp her hand to Rashmi's upper arm. "They are fine," she replies, hurriedly. "Everyone is fine, Rashmi, Hosea is fine, the school has not been attacked." She shakes her head quickly, and gasps once more as she nearly tumbles head over heals after tripping over a rock. "Please! Not so fast," she pleads. "I snuck out of the school and registered," she explains. "I am here of my own free will."

"You *what.*" Stopping dead, Rashmi stares at Sophie, eyes wide, regardless of whether or not the blond can see. "You sn… *Why did you do that,* Sophie? You were *safe* there, the staff's going to have *kittens!*"

The blind girl nearly stumbles once more, as she's suddenly stopped cold, and her grip tightens around Rashmi's arm. "I know they will," she whispers. "And I'm sorry for the stress it will cause them. But… I have to be here. I *belong* here, Rashmi." She sighs heavily, and drops her gaze to focus on the ground in front of her. "Nobody is allowed to leave here, si? And there are no medical facilities. What will happen when people become sick, or hurt?" She shrugs her shoulders lightly. "You will need a healer."

"Yeah but I…" Rashmi pauses for a moment, then closes her eyes, sighing. "…Okay no nevermind. It's a silly argument, and anyway it's moot. So… let's just focus on what you *can* expect while you're here… c'mon." And with that, she resumes her guidance, though not quite so much in a hurry. "Right now, it's okay, considering… We still have water, and power, and even cell and Internet. They haven't bothered to shut off any of the utilities, but nobody's paying for them… which means we probably *will* lose them at some point. Food's not a problem yet, either… everyone has a weekly ration, and it's cheap rice and canned veggies and beans, so people who owned stores or restaurants are trying to pool what they've got and make the good food stretch, y'know?"

Sophie listens closely as she follows along, still clutching tightly to Rashmi's arm. Her guide might well feel her trembling as she moves, and even without obstacles she stumbles a couple more times. "I understand," she murmurs. "Take nothing for granted, not even water. We may lose it all at some point." She huddles a bit closer, and sucks in a deep breath at the sound of something being knocked over somewhere in a back alley. "I am guessing," she murmurs, "Judging by my experience in registering and from what common sense tells me, that the loss of utilities is likely not to be our greatest fear?"

"A lot of people are angry, Sophie," Rashmi says, voice gentle and sad. "They've been torn away from their homes… sometimes driven halfway across the country, dumped in here like trash, and then ignored at best, or hounded, insulted, and spit on while they're made to live like animals wherever they can find room to. And that's not even the worst thing that could happen… C'mon."

Sophie sighs heavily. "I had guessed," she murmurs. "Their anger is understandable, si?" She shakes her head slowly, and reaches up to rub at her naked eyes. "They took my cane, my blindfold… even my rosary," she complains. "As if I need it; I have the prayers memorized." Her grip on Rashmi's arm relaxes, as she slowly gets used to the pace, and the lack of her cane. "So many broken families, so many people hurt, mutant or otherwise… Do they not see, what it is that they do?" The blind girl pauses, and licks her lips to moisten them. "May I ask… where are we going?"

"I don't know what's worse," Rashmi murmurs, picking her way through the streets, doing her very best to stay within the light as often as possible, "that they don't see, and can't even *understand* what they're doing? Or that they do, and just *don't care.* Either way… I'm trying as hard as I can to fight it, the best way I know how. It's just… *hard,* balancing that anger without inciting riots, y'know? Anyway… we're going home, Sophie. You'll finally get to meet my cats. …And the other couple of families I'm hosting, besides Travis and I."

Sophie manages a thin smile, and bobs her head once. "I have always wanted to meet your cats," she murmurs. "But— families? There are entire families in here?" Her eyebrows perk upwards, and her smile fades once more. "I know you are always modest about your abilities," she adds, "But you are the best leader I know, Rashmi. Mutant Town could not be in better hands. I… I heard your last message. I wept upon hearing it." She pauses, sucking on her bottom lip as she considers something. "Would I be able to call home, briefly? I could not do so before I left the mansion, I was… worried I would be stopped. But I think the Mother Superior has a right to know where I am."

"Mutant Town isn't *in* my hands, Sophie," Rashmi says softly. "I can't decide its fate… I can only try and convince those who can, to choose what's best for everyone." Leading Sophie onward, she smiles after a moment. "Yeah… you can call your Mother Superior, Sophie… I think the only people who'd be listening in won't say anything about it anyway… and you probably want to call her soon, before we lose cell capability anyhow."

Sophie bobs her head, "Then I will," she replies. "But Rashmi, starting tomorrow morning… I did not come here to make a statement or anything like that. I came here because… Because I feel that God has called me to this place." She sucks in her breath, and sighs softly. "Talking to Quenton once, I referred to mutant powers as gifts. He corrected me, and told me that *I* have a gift. God has entrusted me with something wonderful, si? But I cannot sit idle with it, that… that is why I came. I have come here to work. I will not rest idle so long as anyone is hurt or sick." She pauses, and reaches up to dab at her eyes. "And if my decision leads to my death, then I will stand before God, and say that I tried," she whispers.

"But we're not going to talk like that again," Rashmi says, somewhat chidingly, "because from now on we work as though we expect everything to turn out for the better, *right?*" Walking up to the Four Arms Apartments, she pauses to dig for her keys, then sighs. "Right… they broke the locks," she mutters, opening the door and ushering Sophie through. "Anyway… I'm not going to argue with a calling, Sophie… I just… well, sort of wish I knew beforehand. …But that's just idle griping, because getting word through would have been *way* too hard to expect."

"Si, no more talk like that," Sophie agrees. "Hope is a greater weapon against evil than any sword, si?" She allows herself to be ushered inside, and takes note of the fact that locks do not work without comment. "Hosea wished me to speak with you first," she admits. "I wanted to, but was afraid that my calling would lead back to the school, and then I worried also that if I waited, I would lose my nerve." She waits for the door to close, before throwing her arms around Rashmi and squeezing tightly. "I am sorry you are here," she adds, "But it is a great relief that you have found me. Walking the streets alone was very frightening."

Rashmi guides Sophie up a couple flights of stairs, murmuring a word of greeting now and again to those few still up at this late hour. "I don't doubt it was, Sophie… But I'm glad to see you safe. We're going to be bringing wounded and sick *to* you for now, okay? It's one thing to have you on file as a healer, but really another to have the Purifiers *see* how easy it'll be to recover from their sport…"

Sophie nods her head quickly, "Si," she agrees, in a most relieved tone of voice. "We would not want the Purifiers to decide that I should be segregated from everyone else. I—" She pauses for a half a second. "Did you say Sport?!" She sucks in a deep breath after her exclamation. "Do you mean to say they hunt us, like…" She trails off, and purses her lips. "Of course," she murmurs, dropping her voice once more. "Animals." She picks her way carefully up the stairs, making sure each footfall is correctly placed as she goes. "I will need energy," she murmurs, to change the subject. "Sunlight is good. Things like heat lamps are better… anything high energy, really. At least while we have it, anyway."

"Not *hunt,* thank God," Rashmi says, shaking her head. "But if you've ever known bullies who like to goad people into reacting? …Well, think that, but with handcuffs and clubs. Anyway…" And here the sound of three or four locks being opened is heard, and a door swings open, almost immediately followed by a duet of plaintive miaows, and a single dismissive sneeze. "Here we are."

"I know one such person very well," Sophie admits. "From back home, in Spain. And she happens to be my sis—OH!" Sophie clasps her hands together, and moves just inside the door so it can be closed again. "Your cats! They greet you at the door, how sweet." All trace of worry leaves her face and she smiles quite joyfully, and sinks slowly to kneel on the floor. "Hola, amiguitos de Rashmi, como estas esta noche?" she coos down at them. She holds her hands out and waits, letting the cats come to her… or not, as they choose.

"Yeah, sort of," Rashmi says with a soft chuckle. "More like 'Hi mom, you're home, now feed/pay attention to/play with/pet us *and who are all these weird people.*' Zero and Bamf are always a little, um… twitchy? But they've been almost traumatized, ever since Connor got taken." As she speaks, Sophie's fingertips are graced with a delicate tentative nose… and another, larger one that bumps against one fingerpad, then shoves forward as if to say 'You will pet me now and you will like it. Are we clear?' "…THat would be Dex," Rashmi murmurs with an audible grin. "He *hates* men, so he sort of adopted me by default. The other one's Bamf… you probably won't know Zero's anywhere around until you sit on him."

Sophie beams, grinning ear to ear, as she pets Dex and it certainly seems that she likes it as she has been commanded to do. "They are all wonderful," she replies. "We had a cat at the orphanage. She was an old black grimalkin, but caught mice well enough… on Sundays she would wait until the Mother Superior had opened the Bible, and then jump up and sit on it." She tilts her head to one side, and coos wordlessly as she pays attention to Dex, and keeps her other hand held out for Bamf to sniff at. "What colors are they? …I am sorry to hear they are upset, lately. Hopefully soon Connor may return to them."

A respectable fifteen pounds of feline thuds against Sophie's lap, purring like an out-of-tune chainsaw. "Well, Dex is bluw," Rashmi begins, and Bamf is—" at which time the smaller of the two cats takes himself out of the conversation entirely, disappearing with a faint *bamf* and a whiff of sulfur "….Gone. As for Zero… I don't even bother trying to assign him a color anymore, since I only know it's him when it's not one of the other two. He's a shapechanger, after all, and no I have *no* idea how we got mutant cats, except they came with the apartment."

"Oh!" Sophie oomphs softly as a large feline leaps into her lap, and laughs softly, giving Dex a good scratch between the ears. "Aren't you wonderful," she says, smiling. "Un principe en medio de los leones; a prince among lions," she adds. "It would seem that you chose the right apartment, Rashmi," she adds bemusedly. "And you must have met with approval as they are all still here, si?"

"Seems like," Rashmi murmurs. "I'm Dex's, Robyn's Zero's, and Connor's Bamf's, by the looks of it. So… We've got one family in Connor's room — which is going to *really* suck when this is all over — One in Robyn's, and whoever I've been trying to help out a little in my room; they're asleep now, so we'll want to be quiet going in, okay? Tomorrow, we can get started figuring out what to do from here on in… And I have another video to make."

Sophie bobs her head once. "I hope I have not been too loud," she replies, dropping her voice to a whisper as she continues to stroke Dex between the ears. "but si, quiet from here on in." She pauses, and rubs at her face with one hand. "Come on now, mi rey de los gatos," she murmurs, before cradling her arms around Dex so as to give him the option of going or staying when she stands up. "What is the video you are making tomorrow, if I may ask? May I help, in any way?"

"Not yet," Rashmi says, shaking her head. "It's just going to be a weekly thing for now, or when something major happens. They're operating this place without any oversight that I can see. Except for me, anyway. And I intend to show people exactly what happens here."

Dex appears to have decided that now is a good time to bounce out of Sophie's lap, sine the blind girl is standing up, and so Sophie takes the opportunity to brush her hands through her hair and dust off the front of her skirt. "Si," she murmurs. "But if ever I can help, Rashmi, I will do anything that I can. Anything. You need merely name it." She turns to face her friend as she speaks, and her cloudy eyes stare at a space somewhere over her shoulder. "I am sorry if I have increased your worry, in coming here," she adds. "But it will pass, si? As you say."

"It'll pass," Rashmi says, nodding gently as she guides Sophie toward her room, pausing at the door. "I just worry what it's going to leave behind, when it does… Okay. Right in front of you is the door to my room. Right behind you, just across the hall, is the bathroom, if you need it tonight. I'll put down a sleeping bag close to the door, so you don't have to worry about tripping over anyone, okay?"

Sophie bobs her head once, as she listens to the directions. "Okay," she replies. "I am told that I am a quiet sleeper, so there should be no snoring." She pauses, and flashes a grin. "Jill started snoring after we returned from Romania. I never did tell her." She shakes her head, and falls into a brief, almost awkward silence, before raising one hand up in front of her, palm turned towards Rashmi. "Are you hurt?" she asks. "Have any of the Purifiers tried their games on you, or… anything?"

"Not yet," Rashmi says softly, easing her door open and guiding Sophie in. But I've been pretty good about not giving them an excuse, y'know? Probably that won't last forever, but… beatings… aren't exactly a new thing for me. Don't worry, I'll be okay even if I get hurt."

Sophie steps forwards, tracking Rashmi's voice, and throws her arms around her. "You will be alright because I will heal you," she murmurs, before releasing Rashmi once more. "If they ever decide to pick on me, what should I do? I know that fighting back is not an option. Do I simply let them have their fun and pick myself up off the floor when they have grown tired of it?"

"No, I'll be all right because I know how to think my way past it," Rashmi murmurs, returning the hugh with a tight squeeze. "It's sort of a game… Whoever loses their cool first, loses the game, y'know? That way it's a little easier to keep your spirits up, because even if it hurts… you won."

Sophie nods slowly. "The last time I met Purifiers, they shot at me," she murmurs. "Along with Professor Hildegarde, Nicholas, and Locke… and they kidnapped both of the boys. At least now I can expect not to be shot at, si?" She pauses, and shrugs her shoulders lightly. "I wonder if they will put my face on the news again, now that I have registered," she muses. "Detainee De Costa. I suppose I am not bothered either way." She shrugs, and steps back, feeling beside her for the doorknob. "I should let you sleep," she murmurs. "But… only one more question; have you anything I might use for a blindfold? I know it is now a trivial thing, but I… I do not like people to see my eyes. I would ask for a cane, but I imagine something suitable will be very hard to come by here, so I will manage."

"I'll have something for you by the time you wake up," Rashmi says, unrolling a sleeping bag and guiding Sophie to its place. "Try to sleep well, Sophie… Just… it's okay to be scared, all right? Right now… you're probably one of the bravest people I've ever known."

Sophie casts off her woolen coat, but not before finding a certain spot on the inside lining, where she picks at some crudely made stitches and tears them open with an audible rip. She withdraws a loop of black string with an equally crude wooden cross hanging from it, which she drapes about her neck, and then pushes her hair out overtop of it at the back. At the praise from Rashmi, she blushes softly. "Thank you," she whispers. "For everything, Rashmi. Thank you."

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