2010-01-19: Forgiven


Rashmi_icon.jpg Nathaniel_icon.jpg

Summary: Nathaniel runs into Rashmi, is treated to leftover masala and forgiveness.

Date: January 19, 2010

Log Title Forgiven

Rating: PG

Xavier Mansion — Ramsey Dormitories Lobby

The lobby of Ramsey Dormitories has two elevators at one end of the wall along with the entrance to a cafeteria. On the wall are three pictures that say 'In memory of'. One is of Douglas Ramsey, another of John Proudstar and the last one is of Jean Grey. There are several couches and tables down here for students to relax. Large windows in the front and sides allow for a lot of light in the room.

While he would be happy spending the rest of his life locked up in his room, Nathaniel eventually has to force himself out to shower and eat. He's done the first, his hair damp under the hood of a thin teeshirt hoodie, black, his hands tucked into the pockets. His pants are black as well, oversized and concealing, and when he walks, it is at a fast clip, his head ducked down and his eyes focused on the floor. When he bumps into someone, for once lacking the unconscious guidance his empathy allows him, he mumbles a quick apology to the boy before continuing towards the cafeteria. He wants to get in, get food, and go back to his room.

Sadly, it is probably not to be, for there's a brief flash of thick red braid at the top of Nathaniel's field of vision, and a startled noise as another student is bumped into, this one likely focused inward as much as himself. Startled enough to send books clapping to the floor. "Oh! I'm sorry… here, just let me get these, and I'll be out of your w—" There's a pause, as Rashmi's eyes turn up, searching the boy's face. "…Nathaniel…? Is that you?"

Nathaniel is typically the sort to stop and help, and he starts to at first, but coming close to touching another person seems to bother him. When he recognizes Rashmi, he withdraws from her as if she was on fire. Green eyes stare at her for a few seconds before he takes a couple steps away from her, "N-no, it's not…" Cowardly as it may be, he proceeds to try and turn and walk away from her as fast as he can. Once you've taken over someone's free will, 'I'm sorry' doesn't seem to cover it.

"No no, wait!" Books are gathered up at speed, and a long plume of red hair waves like a pennant as the girl hurries to catch up. "No… it's okay, Nathaniel… I've actually been hoping I could talk to you." What she hopes is an encouraging smile grows on her face, as her voice lowers, softens. "Really. Just talk… Maybe it'll help, a little."

Nathaniel hesitates in his speedy getaway when Rashmi talks to him like that, glancing around at the other students that happen to be near before he actually looks at her again, then down at his feet, "I… um… okay… I was going to get something to eat?" It's a question about whether or not that's all right and if she wants to come with him, wrapped up in one inflection. He doesn't take his hands out of his pockets, though, and he avoids looking directly at her. Whatever he was as a demon is about as far as you can get from him as a human, it seems.

Rashmi nods, smiling gently. "Okay… I was just abo—oh! Perfect! Actually, I've got just the thing! Come on… we'll go to the kitchen, okay? You, um…" She pauses, biting her lip. "Don't… really look like you want to be around all the others, anyway."

Nathaniel nods his head acceptingly of that, shifting his walking path to head towards the kitchen instead, "Ah… thanks." He fidgets inside his pocket a little, sucking on his lower lip and avoiding asking some obvious questions.

Rashmi walks quietly beside Nathaniel, head high, the black looks thrown their way by some of the other students seeming to slide right off her, unnoticed. By the time they near the kitchen, her gaze turns his way, eyebrows rising. "…It's okay, you know… You can ask me what you'd like. Probably you really need to know the answers, anyway."

Nathaniel licks his lips and shakes his head somewhat, lifting his foot to scratch the inside of the other leg before he continues into the kitchen itself, "Why're you being nice to me? You don't have any reason to." He shakes his pants leg via the pocket, but once he has to stand still, he can't help but fidget restlessly.

Rashmi pauses in the door, a look of utter confusion on her face, as though the question had never even occurred to her. "…Why *shouldn't* I?" she asks, in the tones of a math teacher asked why one plus one equals two. Shaking her head, she crosses to the refrigerator, pulling out a pair of Tupperware containers and a couple of plates. "The way I see it, you probably need it as much as any one of us… Probably more, in some ways."

Nathaniel finds one of the stools they keep around the kitchen and pulls it up to the island, sitting down and drawing his knees together before he folds his arms on the top of it, watching Rashmi with wary curiosity. He licks his lower lip, swallowing thickly before he asks, "Did you hear about what I did to Robyn?"

Long white rice is scooped onto the plates, thick, buttery-yellow sauce with meat and vegetables spooned on next to it. She starts to cover the plates to put in the microwave, and pauses as the question is asked. "Yeah… I did. So did some of the others. …I think that's part of why I'm doing this." Setting the plates in and starting the microwave, she looks over her shoulder. "Because as bad as Robyn's hurting, right now… It can't be any better for you. I can't imagine what that's doing to you, Nathaniel… But I can't ever hold it against you. Besides," she says softly, turning to lean against the counter. "Even if I could… would anything I say, honestly be worse than what you're doing to yourself?"

Nathaniel watches what's taken out with a certain curiosity, pulling his hood back finally so he can run his fingers through his still damp hair, hair that's now more blonde than light brown, almost platinum, "Leo… he… he can't forgive me. He comes to check on me, but… his powers are almost totally gone. That's my fault, too." He pulls his sleeve back and scratches his the underside of his forearm, "I had… reasons for agreeing to an illusion of an angel's offer of family, but that doesn't really excuse what I did. Even if it wasn't completely me."

"Maybe not," Rashmi agrees quietly. "But, even if it doesn't excuse it… sometimes why is an important question that needs answered, I think. ….If you think it's okay to tell me…?"

Nathaniel lifts his hand to scratch the back of his neck, unable to sit still, but eventually he nods, his expression a little tight. When he speaks, it comes out sort of in a tumble of information, "My parents didn't want to get married. They didn't love each other, but my mom got pregnant, so… they held me responsible for ruining their lives. That sounds sensationalist, but it's not. There… there wasn't any sharing in my family. The only emotion they ever expressed around me was… anger. My dad, he… he drank a lot, and sometimes… sometimes he would hit me, when he'd come home drunk during the day, and that was okay, you know? I could be ready for that… but when he came home at night…" His voice catches, his eyes glossier for it, but he continues, "When he came home at night, he'd come into my room…" He runs his fingers through his hair, stopping for a second to let the idea behind that statement sink in.

Rashmi listens in shocked silence, giving herself a little shake as the microwave timer beeps. Taking the plates out, she brings them to the island, scooting a second chair up on the other side of Nathaniel's place, taking off the covers. For some, 'comfort food' is either simple, rich, or simply a spoon taken to a jug of ice cream. For Rashmi, however, only rich, heavy Hindi food seems to work, and the chunks of chicken and vegetables fairly swim in the thick, buttery sauce. "Here," she says softly, setting down a fork. "I think maybe you *really* need this."

Nathaniel smiles faintly when the food shows up, murmuring quietly, "It looks really good…" He takes the fork, fiddling with it and taking a bite of the rice before he continues, "when my powers manifested, my dad threw me across the room and I just… I lost it." He picks up a piece of meat with his fingers, ignoring the heat and popping it into his mouth, "They were both insane for… months. Institutionalized. As soon as I was gone, they divorced, and then… when I turned seventeen, they started getting mail for my colleges, and… and financial aid and… I went to see them because they wanted to legally cut me out of the family for good." He licks his fingers, sucking the sauce off his thumb before he goes on, "It's just… I came here, and we're being trained to be heroes, we're all supposed to act… normal, and Leo, God, I love Leo, but sometimes he might as well be a kid for all he understands, you know? I just… he told me I'd have a family, that they'd understand me, that it'd be better. I just wanted that. I was so angry and alone and I didn't know what would happen. I didn't know."

Rashmi nods slowly, pushing her food about on her plate for a moment, in silence. "…I was walking home from work, one night," she says quietly. "…This summer, actually… We don't live in the best neighborhood, but being mugged was just… one of those things you never quite understand, until it happens…" With a shrug, she looks down at her plate. "I was so scared… I wasn't going to be paid for a while, so I had no money. That… didn't help my chances any… That's when my powers showed up… I just wanted him to go *away,* you know? But I was so terrified… I'm not sure if he lived, or not, after. I never found out… but I was a wreck, until the professor came to the house."

Nathaniel nods his head in understanding of that, though he quirks a faint smile and shakes his head, "People who hurt other people… they deserve it, you know?" He focuses on Rashmi for the first time since he really saw her, chewing on his lower lip before he says, quietly, "I'm /sorry/, Rashmi… I'm sorry for… for taking your choices away and for making you walk that stupid ass distance. I'm sorry about Lucas. All of it, just… I'm sorry." It's what he was working up to mostly, gripping the fork hard enough that it's turning the skin around it pale.

Rashmi reaches across the island, curling her fingers loosely and letting her hand rest on the table, near Nathaniel's plate. "I know you are," she whispers. "I know… because you're really a good person, Nathaniel… But you're not perfect. No one is. And that's why I can forgive you."

Nathaniel is hesitant, though it's obvious he'd like to take Rashmi's hand; after a few seconds, he does, carefully, as if he were afraid touching him would cause her to implode, "Thanks, Rashmi… I think you may be the only one." Including him. He smiles at Rashmi wanly, but after a few seconds his brow furrows and he actually squeezes her hand very lightly, "Lucas… he'll be back. He won't stay this way."

Rashmi sets her fork down, resting her other hand atop his. "Maybe I am… for now. But where one goes, others will. You just… have to keep hope, you know?" Patting Nathaniel's hand, she tilts her head, smiling slightly. "I know Lucas will come back. I just hope he can do it in time to keep himself alive…"

Nathaniel smiles faintly, withdrawing his hands with the same amount of care if only so he can continue to eat, asking, curious, "Why do you have so much faith in us - them? We've all done horrible things. I know there are people in school who wouldn't lose sleep if we all dropped dead…" He stands if only to get a soda from the fridge, holding it up to her curiously to see if she wants one.

Rashmi bobs her head in thanks, leaning against the table to consider the question. "…It's just who I am," she says after awhile. "My mama and papa came to the country from West Bengal… I don't know if you know what it's like there, but… there are a lot of ways in which you're almost stuck where you're born. They'd tell me a lot of stories of the old country, when I was growing up… And when I was old enough to figure out what I wanted to do, it was always people like Gandhi, or Dr. King, I'd look to. People who weren't afraid to fight for people who deserved fighting for, you know?" Shrugging, she takes a bite from her plate, chewing slowly as she thinks. "I just can't believe that there's not a single person in the world who doesn't deserve a chance to do better, if they want to. And I don't like seeing them denied that chance."

Nathaniel laughs at that, but it's not particularly an amused laugh, "I don't think Dr. King would've agreed that we deserve sympathy. Gandhi, maybe." He hands her the soda as he settles back down, cracking his open and taking a sip before he continues eating, "Usually, I'd agree… people deserve a second chance to be more than what they were the first time. It's just hard to think that from this side, you know? Or Robyn's, I imagine…"

"Well…" the word is punctuated by the crack of the soda can opening. "…Don't you think that sort of proves you deserve it? That you don't really believe you have the right to another chance? Robyn…" Rashmi sighs, shrugging slightly. "He's… really hurting. And he will be, probably for a long time. But, you know what he told me, the last time I saw him…?" Tilting her head, she continues, not waiting for an answer. "That one day, maybe, he could be able to face you. Just not now." Her eyebrows rise as she takes a sip of her soda. "It's probably hard to hear… But it also sounds like there's hope there, to me."

Nathaniel takes another sip from the soda, lifting the can to his forehead but shaking his head a few times before he rises to his feet, "I… I'm going to head back to my room. I'll have to see him at some point. I've got to tell him… I don't know. I've got to tell him something. Thanks for lunch, Rashmi… and I appreciate you talking to me. It's… you know. Good that someone will." He takes the plate along with him, but being out in the open is apparently not what he'd like right now.

Rashmi nods quietly. "Nathaniel… just don't give up hope, okay? A lot's happened that you can't take back, I know… but you can make it right. Just… be the good person you are. And if you need to talk to anyone, I'm not going anywhere. Well… you know, unless I'm kidnapped again… or hurt… anyway. Keep your hope, all right?"

"Yeah, well, if it happens again, I'll try and save you rather than making you walk the highway, all right?" Nathan says with a faint smile before it fades and he just disappears outside, tugging up his hood with the soda hand so that he can try and sneak back to his room quick as capable.

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