2011-03-14: I Know How You Feel


Rashmi_icon.jpg SophieD_icon.jpg

Summary: Rashmi and Sophie's conversation grows into a moving heart to heart.

Log Title: I Know How You Feel

Rating: PG

NYC - New York Public Library

With the two symbolic lions outside, nicknamed "Patience" and "Fortitude", stands the New York Public Library. Not your usually Library, it's more like a museum. The main room is all marble with two decorative staircases leading upstairs. There are a few rooms for research, and the twin reading rooms. On the third floor it is more like a museum, with artwork on display, and one of the Gutenberg Bible's on display. The New York Public Library is good for studying or just going into to marvel at the architecture.


It is late afternoon in New York, and in the Public Library the sun is shining a warm, pleasant gold through the windows to be seen and enjoyed by all; all save Sophie, though she can at least feel the warmth. Perhaps that is what has attracted her to a seat near one of the windows. She is dressed in a light blue blouse and a dark grey, ankle-length skirt; she has no jewelry save a silver crucifix, though she is more than adequately accented by the soft glow from the battery organ, nestled within her chest. Her fingers brush over the braille in a book, and a stack of three more similarly printed volumes rest balanced on the armchair beside her.

The Library is one of those places in the City that has *everything* a young bookworm could possibly want, with the exception of more hours in the day to read. Pushing along one a small cart stacked with tomes of a dizzying array of subjects — law, history, ethics, fantasy, combinations thereof — Rashmi pauses as she spots the blind girl by the window, tugging back a little more sharply to kill the cart's inertia. "Sophie? Hi! It's Rashmi. Um… mind if I sit?"

Sophie's gaze snaps up at the sound of screeching wheels; an old habit from when she could see, most likely. Her fingertips pause at their place in her book and she smiles pleasantly at the introduction. "Senora Rashmi," she replies, and bobs her head, "Please! It has been a long afternoon, and I could use some company." She fill the brief pause with a light chuckle, "It sounds as though you have found more books you wish to read than you can carry, si?"

Rashmi chuckles, bobbing her head as she guides the cart to the chair across from Sophie. "Yeah… it's pretty common, actually. I've always been kind of a browser, and I end up just stocking up on stuff I'll probably be flipping through beforehand. Besides, how can you *not* be in a place like this?"

Sophie shrugs her shoulders lightly, "Well, that depends," she replies. "When most of the books are not written in a way that you can read them, that does limit your choices somewhat." She brightens with a smile as she sits up straighter, "But! They do have a much better selection of braille books here than most places do. And they have a copy of Beowulf… which the lirary at Xavier's didn't have." She pauses, and marks the place in her book with a ribbon. "What do you like to read? I'm reading Beowulf for school, but I am quite enjoying it."

Rashmi chuckles. "Epic fantasy, actually… Tolkien, Alexander, Lewis, L'Engele all of them… I got sucked in when I was a kid, and I never really stopped, you know?" Tilting her head slightly, she glances over her shoulder. "….I'm *pretty* sure you can get Braille copies of just about everything, here, honestly. You've asked the front desk for something specific?"

Sophie nods her head quickly, "Yes, I asked for Beowulf." She giggles softly, and pats the books beside her. "And… for the Lord of the Rings, while I was at it. I've never read it… and I didn't get to see the movies when I could still see. But I am told the books are better anyway." She pauses, and taps the cover of the volume in her hand. "There's a noticeboard at Xavier's, si? Someone told me that Professor Lenscherr posted an offer for extra credit, for an essay about how Beowulf can be related to the mutant condition. …I think he may have been playing a trick upon me, actually, but I am going to write it anyway, just in case."

Rashmi shakes her head. "Connor may have a snarky sense of humor, but practical jokes aren't his thing. If he said Mr. Lensherr posted extra credit, he did… and it's actually a pretty interesting thought experiment, honestly. I, um…. if you don't mind, I'd actually like a copy of that paper when you're done?"

Sophie mmms, "I do not think it was Senor Connor who told me this," she replies, "But I have only met him the once and cannot quite place his voice, so it is possible I might be mistaken." She shrugs her shoulders dismissively. "But if you would like a copy? I will make sure that you get one." She brushes her fingertips through her hair, taming a few locks back behind her ear rather than letting them spill out over her blindfold. "I do not actually receive any instruction from Professor Lensherr at the moment. Is he… how do they say it in America… 'tough'? I rather get the impression that he is not easily impressed… though I do not say this as though it is a bad thing, of course."

"No, he's not," Rashmi replies. "But then… you can't really expect him to be, you know? I mean… He's been blowing stuff up in the name of free mutants since forever, and now he's a head of state for a country that *just* managed to end mutant *slavery,* y'know? It's like… having Garcia Oliver handing out your PoliSci homework."

The blind girl's eyebrows rise. "You know Spanish history better than I know American history," she observes. "Though that may be because the curriculum at the convent was rather… limited, sometimes." She shrugs her shoulders lightly. "But yes, I understand what you mean. Still. I have always endeavoured to impress my teachers, and I am not about to stop now. I shall simply have to work extra hard." She tilts her head, and taps her lips lightly. "Did you ever study under Professor Lensherr, Senora Rashmi?"

"Not… studied, no," Rashmi says after a moment, arranging her books to form a low bulwark around her, more out of habit than anything else. "I work at the Genoshan Embassy on Saturdays. And I've done some… consulting… on the side. Usually when he wants my opinion as a law student…. which ends up meaning he wants me to take care of a little situation that develops, partly because he thinks I can manage it, partly because he wants to see *how* I manage it. The rally was kind of like that, actually… it was the end to a whole bunch of tragedy that shouldn't've happened, but it would have been *so much worse* if Dingo'd been allowed to handle it his way."

Sophie ahhhs softly, and nods, "I am suitably impressed," she replies. "Si, if he asks you to handle things it sounds as though he must properly trust your judgement. Also, I won't deny; after attending that rally, I was quite impressed as well — you remind me of the Mother Superior from the convent. She is very wise, as well." She smiles, and shifts in her seat a bit before plopping Beowulf down on top of her stack. "But… who is… Dingo? That is not someone I have been told about yet."

Rashmi makes a noise, waving her hand in the air in front of her. "Oh… I'm *definitely* not *that* great," she says, cheeks heating up. "Dingo. Hm. Well… he's… well if I was to be *perfectly* honest, I'd say he's a good example *why* mutants have such problems. Anytime a human attacks a mutant, you can be pretty sure he's going to tear up part of the City to get payback. And it's so *completely* us against them, he's liable to hurt his cause more than help it, you know? I *want* to like him, but we're *never* going to see eye to eye there."

Sophie perks an eyebrow. "Violence only begets violence," she replies. "I think Garcia Oliver found that out eventually, also — he did end his days in exile in Mexico, si?" She sighs softly, and shakes her head. "I think Mahatma Ghandi had it right — he showed the Indians how to convince the British to leave India, without firing a single shot. What was it he said?" She tilts her head and taps her lips. "First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win."

Rashmi nods slowly. "And while I'd *like* to believe it's possible for everyone to do that…" The redhead shrugs. "The sad truth is, we don't live in a world that allows such a victory to happen, every time. Gandhi has always been one of my heroes, you know… Papi would tell me stories of him, when I was growing up. I'm first-generation, by the way, Mami and Papi moved here from West Bengal. So his works are part of their history. Anyway. That's why I want to get into politics, eventually; because the fighting isn't going to stop until society changes enough to allow for it."

Sophie drops her hands to clasp over her belly. "I did not realize you were Indian yourself, Rashmi," she replies. "You have a history to be proud of though; especially with figures like Ghandi. I pray that you can be so good a leader as he was, si?" She chuckles softly, and nods her head. "I am proud to be Spanish, do not mistake me, but some parts of our history… like La Inquisicin, I am not so proud of." She pauses, and leans forwards as she drops her voice. "Actually… I wonder if some part of that might still be alive today. After a man from the Church in Madrid came to ask me a lot of questions about what I can do… the Mother Superior arranged for me to be sent here very quickly indeed. I… I am forced to wonder, what was going on. Was I in danger?"

"I…" Rashmi falls silent at this question, furrowing her brows for a moment. "…I don't know, Sophie… but as much as I'd love to? I, um… wouldn't rule it out. There's a lot of people all over the world who'd have, um… pointed interest, in knowing who you are and what you can do."

Sophie's lips purse, and she adopts a very calm expression. "I know," she murmurs. "I realize that the powers we possess make us… pariahs, in the eyes of many. Dangerous; strange, inhuman. I think that had a great deal to do with my being sent here." She pauses, and taps her lips lightly. "I will not pretend that I am not afraid. But what can I do? My life is what it is; I am sure there is no expectation placed upon me other than to use what I have to do what I can, and I intend to do precisely that."

"What you can do," Rashmi says gently, "is what Xavier's exists to teach you to do. You learn as much as you can about the gifts God has given you. You learn as much as you can about the world around you. And *then,* you learn as much as you can about what will help keep you safe, if trouble should come to you. And then…. you live your life, however you believe you should."

Sophie listens carefully, and though she cannot see she still faces intently towards Rashmi as she speaks. As she finishes, Sophie's lips quirk upwards. "You see? you do remind me of the Mother Superior," she reaffirms. "And you are correct, of course." She holds up her hand with fingers outstretched, and a soft glow radiates from her palm for just a second or two. "I am sure I will learn just… how my power works, soon enough." She pauses, and tilts her head up once more. "May I ask what it was like for you? When you first learned of what you could do?"

Rashmi lets out a quiet breath. "Terrifying, actually," she murmurs, clasping her hands together in her lap. "I was walking home from my summer job, and I was mugged. We were always relatively poor, you see… most of my money went to making sure Mami and Papi didn't have to worry *too* much more about their bills, and the like. I never really minded, either; I loved them dearly, I had what I needed, and I was happy. Well… I wasn't going to get paid for another couple days, so, I didn't have any money at all on me."

Sophie's eyebrows rise sharply. "Rashmi! That is terrible. That such a thing should happen to you; it is not an experience I should wish upon anyone." She pauses, and composes herself once more. "I hope you will not be offended if I should pray for the people who did it — it sounds as though they must have need of it. But, please, I am interupting, si? Please go on?"

Rashmi lifts a hand, closing her eyes. "Oh, that wasn't the worst of it, though… See… I didn't know I was a mutant. So… Like I said, I was terrified. When he moved to grab me, all I could think was that I wanted him *away.* …And that's how I found out about my powers… running away from a beaten and bloody man who had been attacked by them… I'm honestly not sure if he died… I don't think I ever tried to find out."

Sophie falls silent, and bows her head for a moment. "I understand," she murmurs. "I am sorry that you had to go through such an experience, Senora Rashmi. I am sure you have heard the words 'you did nothing wrong' many times already, and they must ring hollow by now." She pauses, and bites her bottom lip. "After I went blind, I… I cried. Often; every night, even though by day I told everyone that I was fine, and put on as brave a face as I could." She blushes softly, as she tilts her gaze downwards once more. "I cried until I spoke with the Mother Superior, and she told me that nobody ever suffers from a thing that they were not crafted by God to bear. I… I will pray that she is correct, si?"

Rashmi nods slowly. "I try very hard to believe that too, Sophie," she says, voice gentle, "but sometimes…? All the faith in the world can't help, when you're alone and terrified in the dark. Whether you trust in His Plan or not, whether you believe He will send you deliverance… it doesn't change the fact that you're hurt… and scared… and just want everything to be normal again." Her eyes fall to her lap, and for a moment the redhead is silent; then, she draws in a shaky breath. "…But then you remember that no matter what, He still believes in *you.* And you get up, and keep going."

A nervous smile comes to the blind girl's lips, and she brushes her fingertips over the top of her blindfold. "I am always in the dark," she replies, with a voice that wavers briefly. "And sometimes I am scared, too. But you are right; and it may not just be He that believes in you. Because… I believe in you, too." She leans forwards, and holds her right hand out in the air in front of her. "May I… may I see you? I would like to put a face to the woman before me, who is so brave in all things."

Rashmi slips out of her chair, edging around the table to lower herself to her knees next to Sophie's chair. "Of course, Sophie… but you know, there's no real trick to being brave. *You* are as brave as anyone else I could name, you know…? Because all bravery is, is being terrified to do something… and then doing it anyway."

Sophie's head tilts, lending an ear to the sounds Rashmi makes as she moves, just as her cheeks color at the compliment. "Being blind can be terrifying, si," she agrees. "but… sometimes it is gratifying." As she speaks, she probes the air beside her seat, looking for Rashmi with her fingertips. "I once mourned the loss of my independance… but I realize that now, people seem to… show me their best sides, si? At the dance, I took a turn on the floor with Senor Tony Stark; and I have heard that he is brash and arrogant, but to me he showed only gentlemanly consideration. When people behave in such a way… it makes it easier to be brave."

Rashmi chuckles quietly, taking Sophie's hands and guiding them to her cheeks. "I can imagine… But I'd bet some people'd also try to take advantage of that. It's good that you can trust people, Sophie, it's *very* good. Just… remember that not everyone's able to do that back."

Gentle fingers rest on Rashmi's cheek, and linger for a moment before they wander, and explore. "I sometimes worry," she agrees, "What may become of me if I should trust the wrong person." She shrugs her shoulders lightly. "But that is why we learn our powers, si? Though admittedly, mine is unlikely to save me; I seem to be made only for the saving of others." Her voice is calm and pleasant as she speaks; no trace of bitterness or rue. Her fingers just barely touch Rashmi's face at all points, though she is careful to avoid poking any eyes, before her hand withdraws once more. "You are as beautiful as your voice," she murmurs, as she rests her hand back in her lap. "Thank you."

"And that," Rashmi says with a quiet smile, "is why you learn of everything that *isn't* your powers." As Sophie's hands retract, she flushes, returning to her seat. "Because we're all people. Some have the gift of art, or science. You have a different gift. But that doesn't mean your life is laid out for you."

Sophie grins, and her gaze follows you as you return to your seat. "It is true," she replies. "Though it is not a gift I shall allow to go to waste; that truely would be a sin, I think." She shifts, and crosses her legs. "Anyway, I like healing people. It… it makes me feel that I have done something proper, and worthwhile. But it is not the only thing I enjoy." She hmmms softly, and lets out a soft, contented sigh. "Is it true, what I am told? That Xaviers students almost invariably wind up getting whisked away on adventure, wether they seek it or not?"

The silence that draws out following the question speaks volumes, all its own. "…In my experience, yes," she says finally. "Maybe not the same ones that others will have to deal with… but… …. ….yes. The school has been around for a long time, and a lot of powerful people make it their home. It… sort of can't be helped. … …But it doesn't mean it's not something you'll ever have to deal with once you leave, either. It's just… …another part of the world, that you didn't know was there."

Sophie ndos her head slowly. "Que sera sera," she replies. "Rashmi, I… I am sorry if I have touched upon a nerve with that question." She sits up straight, and brushes her fingers over her blouse to smooth it out; the crucifix she wears comes to rest over the glow from her chest, outlining the cross in silhouette. "It is worth a great deal to me, that you not only stop to talk to me, but that you indulge all my questions even when they prove difficult."

Rashmi shakes her head slowly. "It's not indulgence, Sophie… And it's okay. It's just… something recent. That I'm still working to be over… and probably won't ever be, not all the way. But don't be afraid to ask questions, okay? I won't give you anything but as much of the truth as I can… and I'll try not to leave out anything you might *need.*"

Sophie's lips adopt a broad smile, and she bobs her head in agreement. "As you wish," she replies. "I shall do my best to return the favor in kind." Her fingertips brush over her crucifix, before returning to clasp over her waist. "And if ever you wish to speak of anything… should you happen to desire my ears, they will always listen, si?"

"I'll remember that," Rashmi answers, her voice serious. "You too, all right? If you need help, just let me know."

Sophie's face blossoms into a broad grin once more. "This, I shall remember aslo," she replies.

~ Fin ~

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