2010-03-22: ...Grow Up Fast


Rashmi_icon.jpg James_icon.jpg

Summary: Shell-shocked Rashmi opens up to James who offers coherent advice. Then he's a jerk.

Date: March 22, 2010

Log Title …Grow Up Fast

Note: Proceeds "Kids…"

Rating: PG-13

Xavier Mansion - Japanese Gardens

A large area of the grounds is landscaped with a Japanese Garden. A river filled with coi fish runs through the middle with a wooden bridge. There is even a small waterfall splashing on the rocks. Bamboo can be heard clacking on the rocks. A small statue of a Buddha can be found in various places. The trees hang over the area and when the flowers are in bloom, it brings a variety of color to the peaceful landscape.

The Gardens are the sort of place Rashmi keeps reminding herself to visit, but never finds the time to. However, lacking immediate homework assignments due to recovery, and needing to talk alone with a friend she's more than a little concerned for, now is the perfect time to make up for lost opportunity. And the railing of the bridge, the perfect support to lean on, as the walk is a bit more draining than she remembered. "Okay… Now that there's not so many people… I'm *seriously* worried, James, what's wrong?"

Crap. 'That' Garden. James sees where his teammate is headed, calling out after her "Can we do this…elsewhere?" It's pretty obvious he'd rather be elsewhere; pacing nervously on the outskirts. He gives in and sprints towards Rashmi, "kay…I'm here." Memories flood back, Jono…Robyn. Still fresh in his mind. "I'm fine," the hyena responds as he crosses his arms over his chest, "Just bad dreams."

Rashmi blinks at James' reaction, eyebrows furrowing. "…Um. Okay, sure. I just wanted to be outside, I don't really care where…" Her concerned look only deepens, as she approaches the hyena. "…You've been trying *not* to sleep, haven't you?"

James watches the ground, toe claw cutting lines into the dirt, "No…" His eyes glance up as his teammate approaches, "I'm sleeping fine. Just…" He shrugs, "Stuff." There's a sigh, "I just…I dunno." More dirt pushing. And a rock. Rocks are great distractions. An eye looks up, then back down. For someone so big, he's doing an pretty good job at looking so small, "Why would anything be wrong?"

"…Because we've only *just* settled down from probably the worst thing to come to the school ever that I've ever heard of?" Rashmi asks gently. "Because just about everyone any of us care about has been hurt badly? ….Because *I've* been having nightmares too, about what could have happened if I *didn't* miss any one of the spikes Daisuke threw that I kept from hitting us…? James… I… I almost died out there. I try not to think about it… but… It's really true. I almost *died.* And…" She looks down, beginning to shudder. "….And… I don't know what to think about it…"

James looks, his eyes turning softer as if the whole Kitchen thing was suddenly excused. He gives Rashmi his full attention, and offers her his arms. He doesn't wait for permission, as teammates they've been a bit above that in the past. So he surrounds her in them, pulling her tight against his chest, " "I'm sorry for earlier." He sighs, "But, I don't want to talk about me this time. We always talk about me. Let me be the one you can come to for once, okay?" Another sigh as he lays his head on top of hers—an advantage of being tall.

Rashmi curls up in the embrace, squeezing her eyes shut. "I wanted to, James… I just…. there's *so much* going on… and… so many people have *really big* problems, you know…? I…." Her breath hitches, voice quivering around her tight throat. "Thank you," she whispers finally. "Thank you…"

James shhhssss his teammate, keeping her close; his body heat much higher than a normal person's, "I know…I know…" He nuzzles the top of her head, taking in her scent, "We have something that they don't have, you know? Each other." He makes a soft sound, "Tell me about your dreams." He keeps away from the death topic. For that, even for him, is too scary to touch upon for the moment.

"It's just… just…. Daisuke…. he throws the spikes… and… I can't stop them… they kill Mike… Tara…. and… and I look down and there's just these *holes in me,*" comes her thready, shaking voice from against the hyena's chest. "And it starts to hurt…. I get dizzy… and I see Brian cutting Chloe apart… and… and… and…"

James hugs Rashmi harder, setting his head on her shoulder after she describes the scene. It's a little disturbing even to him as noticed by the sudden fuzz-up of all his hairs. Closest thing to a chill he can offer. He tightens his grip just a little and sighs softly, "I had a lot of bad dreams after the mall. I almost went to Addison about it. All I can offer is that they fade after time." There's a small disappointed sound, "This is why I take my training so seriously. I…know that probably doesn't help."

"No… no, it does…" Sniffling, the redhead looks up, wrapping her arms around James' waist and returning the hug, tightly. "I mean… I *know* it's just in my head.. and… and it didn't really happen… But it's hard to remember that really late at night, when you just… *snif* just wake up, you know…?"

James gives Rashmi's face a fond touch as he uses a claw to gently push some stray hairs out of her eyes, big black orbs looking back at her, "I know, really I do. Some nights I wake up thinking I'm back in the med bay. Then I realize I'm in my room and now Lucas is awake, and he wants to know what's going on….then you just feel weird about it. And you don't want to discuss it, so you try to go back to bed. And 'maybe' everything's fine until morning." He puts his paws on her back and gently runs those claws of his down her spine, "Is it sorta like that?"

Rashmi nods a little, squeezing her eyes shut and opening them again. "Sort of… except… there's no one else in my room… and… I'm usually too busy worrying about the people who *really* got hurt… um…. mostly so I don't have to think about it… but, yeah…. Yeah it's sort of like that…" Burrowing back into the embrace, she lets out a long, shuddery sigh. "…But I can't talk to Addison… I *can't.* Or Jono. Because… they've got great big huge problems to deal with, you know…?"

James nods, "Well…I know what it's like, and Lucas—for all his toughness—has nightmares to. And I bet Robyn does too. So that's three right there that you can talk to without feeling weird." He hmphs and puts his hands her shoulders and pushes her away just enough that he can look her straight in the eyes, "I hate to be unkind…but I think you're being stupid about 'not' talking to Jono or Addison. Yeah, they have problems. So? You do too! And if you 'always' put yourself last you're 'always' going to be last even when you need to be first." He nods his head towards the school, "And…well…hell….I kinda need you around to keep me in line. And if you're not on your A-game, I'm gonna get away with stuff. So…maybe for the safety of everyone you need to go speak with them." He offers a smile?

Rashmi manages a small, tremulous smile. "Probably… Maybe Jono, anyway. Just, Addison… I mean, did you *feel* that, when the whole Phoenix thing happened? It was like…. Like… Like *God* was in my head, James… I *still* don't know how to deal with that, and it was just for a second… but… Now it's in *his* head, and it's there *all the time.* …How can I even *start* nerving up to tell him about just this little nightmare I have?!"

"Because, if you don't, who will?" James asks. He tilts his head, giving her a sad look, "Rash…I know you have this thing about putting 'everything' in front of your needs—a need I don't share! But, sorta like me and putting my needs in front of everything…sooner or later you need to entertain the alternative. Mostly because a teammate is asking. So, today it's me doing the asking. So please…please…go see an adult about this. And, by that, I don't mean using me as an example and 'lightly skirting' the topic. I mean, lay it all out."

Rashmi meets James' eyes, silent for a few moments. Finally, she sighs, nodding in reply. "All right… all right. I'll get an adult to help. I promise." Her shoulders sag, and she leans back against the hyena's chest. "Thank you, James," she murmurs, closing her eyes. "I mean that."

"Heeeey," James says in his nonchalant manner, "What are teammates for?" Which, in hyena-boy speak means, 'OMFG BFFs!' He wraps those long arms of his around the girl and snugs, "Just remember, you can always talk to me or your friends, alright? No reason to go it alone. Okay?" Says the guy fighting with an invisible tormentor. He smiles and puts his hand a top hers again, making a happy, fond noise from somewhere deep inside.

"You too, all right?" Rashmi murmurs, cracking an eye open to look up at James' throat. "…You and Lucas are really bad about that, y'know… gets on my nerves sometimes."

James mostly ignores that, choosing to watch something going on elsewhere, "Yeah…well…" He shrugs, "Do as I say, not as I do?" He smiles, an eye looking down at her form, "You know…if you do this. Maybe you can lead by example, and maybe, maybe I'll try talking about my problems too. Someday." The smile turns into a smirk, "See, it 'is' good for both of all of us."

Rashmi's shoulders shake a bit at this, the fond smile and rolling of the eyes unsees against the hyena's chest. "…Cute," she says finally. "Really cute." Pulling in a deep, shaky breath, she wedges a hand up against her face, scraping away the tears. "I'll see who I can talk to… Probably Mr. Parker-Mayfair, now that I think about it. He really helped Robyn and Dallas, when they needed it."

James smiles, "See…now there's an idea." He stiffens a moment, but shakes something unseen off. Oy…Robyn. He wonders if anyone noticed the problem was Robyn. Not Tara. "And don't take that too lightly. I 'do' listen…sometimes. When stuff happened, I kept Jade from walking into the fire fight. See, that proves I listen. Sometimes." He smirks once more for good measure and offers a squeeze.

Rashmi bobs her head, her smile widening. "Yeah… When it counts, you really do… I'd heard about what happened on your side, you know… And I'm really, *really* glad you were there to keep Jade safe. You did a good job, James… and even if no one else ever says it… I'm proud of you."

James grins. And a compliment he actually listened to, ta boot! "Just wish I had been on the other side of the mansion…maybe things would have been better for you. But then again," he says with a shrug, "I guess you'll always think more about what you didn't do over what you did." The smile returns, "If nothing else, maybe Jade won't be so twitchy around me." Because, you know, he never did a thing to deserve it!

Rashmi chuckles. "Well… also it helps that you did something nice for her that she can sort of *prove* was just nice, y'know? Not like 'helping her around school,' and all," she says, gently nudging a rib. "…Oh, by the way… Do me a favor, when you and Tara go into the Danger Room on Sunday…?"

James narrows his eyes, "Wha'dya mean Danger Room on Sunday?" He makes a questioning sound, leaning back a little, "I don't remember that on the schedule?" Obviously, he missed something discussed—that he seemingly agreed to—only a few minutes prior in the kitchen.

Rashmi's eyebrow rises, head pulling back to look up into those alien black eyes. "…I'd asked Jono to give us an hour in the Danger Room on Sunday, remember?" Specifically, for you two."

"I dont remember that," James says flatly, "When was this?" He raises an eye ridge, wondering what's being pulled over on his. "Why would I need a DR session with Special T..errr…Tara?"

"While you two were arguing back in the kitchen," Rashmi replies flatly. "And, it seems, not listening to me. So no, you're not running *with* her. You're running *against* her. The obstacle course, as hard as I can get Jono to make it."

James crosses his arms, "No." He turns his head, "No one asked me. I didn't agree to any of it." He snorts out a little air, "I don't have time to play games right now." And a million other excuses will follow suit, "Sides…I'll have detention." Deft nod there. Yep…detention!

"Yes," Rashmi says, amused, "you will, because you *did* agree to it, unless 'Fine, okay' means something totally different in Hyena Latin or whatever. And you won't get detention, because why would you when a team member has gotten permission for a little competition on the obstacle course, and has set the time aside in advance?"

James hmphs, "I never said that. Dunno what you 'thought' you heard, but it wasn't me agreeing." The novel tone leaves his voice a little, "'Sides…I don't like her. So, I'm not going out of my way to be nice. No matter how much Northstar seems to think I need to be."

Rashmi's eyebrow rises. "I wasn't going to ask you to be nice, James."

"So, then, what's the whole obstacle thing all about?" James asks with a confused look, "Gotta be something to do with her. 'Cause it don't involve me."

Rashmi nods. "It has a lot to do with her, but it *does* involve you. You don't think she can handle it, and is only on our team because we have to take everyone, right?"

"No it doesn't, cause I never said it did," the Hyena protests, "I didn't agree to anything. So don' t try that tricky double talk stuff." James narrows his eyes just a little, "Lets cut to the chase, and do a recap. I'm here for you, go get help. No for Sunday." He nods with a sharp snap of his head, "Blinky can take a long walk off a short peer for all I care."

"…Not even if it means doing your best to beat her on the course, cold?" Rashmi says, curiously tilting her head to one side. "…I thought you *liked* having a decent chalenge for a change?"

James hmphs, "I'm 'not' interested." Last bits a little cold. "And that last bit isn't going to work. Might as well try to steal from the king of thieves. I'm a master manipulator, you know?" He smiles.

Rashmi lets out a quiet huff. "…I don't suppose it'd help if I said 'please?'"

James shakes his head, "Nope." Problem is, he really doesn't remember agreeing to anything. "Not in the mood to feel like I'm manipulated today, Rash," the hyena says in his 'tone,' "Lots of shit going on. Can't we save this for a week where people aren't trying to kill each onher?"

Rashmi sighs, putting a hand up in a gesture of surrender. "Okay, okay, I'll shut up, I'm sorry."

James shrugs, "Nothing personal, Rash. Just…got lot going on." He nods out towards the school, "Do me a favor?" He looks left, right, then back down at his team mate, "Give me some distance from Robyn for a bit. I'm…getting a little overwhelmed right now." He lies, but it's better than explaining 'why' he's getting distracted, "Robyn's cool. But…I need a break."

Rashmi frowns, eyebrows drawing together as she peers up at the hyena. Opening her mouth, first, to dig deeper, she closes it with a sharp *click,* shaking ehr head. "All right… I'll… think of something to say. Probably 'need time alone' will be easiest."

James nods, not meeting Rashmi's eyes, "Anything that doesn't make him think I hate him or something. You know Robyn. He takes things a little more personally since the stuff with Jordan started. 'Sides. If he thinks something's up, he'll come right to me…and he'll be mad…and…" The hyena changes his mind suddenly, "Second thought. Never mind, I never said anything. Just for get it. I'll handle it.”

Rashmi's frown only deepens, now. "…After you just stood here and tugged my mini-breakdown out of me?" Closing her eyes for a moment, she looks away. "…Not nice, James."

"What?" James asks, uncertain of what he just did. His ears go sideways, "What'd I do? I just think the direct approach with Robyn will make things worse. Just need some alone time. And he's been talking at me a lot." He frowns and puts his arms up in the air, "I don't get it. I try to find a nice way to make it so I'm not gonna hurt someone's feelings and it's a bad idea…?"

"…Nevermind, sorry," Rashmi says, shaking her head. "…I'll leave it alone. If Robyn asks, I'll just say you need time to yourself, and Trespassers Will be Bitten, and stuff. Okay?"

"More true than you may know," James says quietly under his breath. There's a quick close of his eyes and a sigh, "Anyways…I have school work. And no one's taking bribes this week, so I have to do it on my own." He puts his hand on Rashmi's shoulder and steps past, "Remember…you promised. Okay?"

Rashmi reaches back, just before the hyena moves away, looping an arm around his waist and squeezing. "Just like you said you'd follow my lead. … Take your time, though, just don't wait too long, okay?"

James stuffs his hands in his pockets, and smiles toothfully at the girl as he walks backwards, away, "No worries. I've got everything under control." If by control, he means quitting football tryouts to avoid the locker room, then he's doing great! "Couldn't be bett….whoh!" And with that he trips and falls backwards over a large rock. He waves an arm, "'M alright!" He dusts himself off and walks towards the school, "Call me if you need me."

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