2010-12-19: Politics And Rock Stars


Mason_icon.jpg Rashmi_icon.jpg

Summary: Rashmi tries to comfort Mason in the aftermath of the Mutant Town attacks.

Date: Sunday, December 19, 2010. 7:15pm.

Log Title: Politics and Rock Stars

Rating: PG

Xavier Mansion - Music Room

The music room has four levels of tiers that each sit one row in a semi circle. On the floor in the semi circle is grand piano. There is a large closet on either side of the room, one filled with string instruments and the other filled with various wind and brass instruments. There are a few guitars in the back of the room next to a large variety of percussion instruments. All the instruments here are for the students to use provided they take care of them and clean any necessary parts after they use it. The room is sound proof, so once the door is closed, the music being played will not interrupt the other classrooms.

The music room is alive with the sound of some music, but it isn't pop. It's Pavane pour une infante defunte. Try saying that three times fast. It's not complex, as Mason is known for composing, nor is it difficult. The teen sits at the grand piano, and his fingers glide across the keys slowly, as if he were sleeping while playing, adding a very mellow tone to the already mellow music. Something you could rock a baby to sleep by, though sad.

While the Music Room might not be a place she frequents, it's hard to resist the draw of such beautiful, melancholy music. SHIELD-issue PDA in hand, Rashmi cracks open the door of the room,slipping in once Mason is identified and shutting the door behind her. Ever familiar with the habits of artists deeply involved in their work, she takes a nearby seat, paging through her work and waiting for the younger teen to re-emerge from the grip of his muse.

Mason doesn't open his eyes for several minutes, playing the piece by heart, and without sight. He doesn't even notice Rashmi enter. He takes a moment after he finishes to pick at his chest. Beneath the dark t-shirt is the bandage that covers up his bullet wound. He was really lucky. An inch lower, and the bullet would have gone through his stomach. He still hasn't noticed Rashmi, though.

"…You should really go down to Medbay," comes Rashmi's voice, quiet, from a few feet away. "They can have that gone by tomorrow."

Mason turns to face Rashmi, "Oh, sorry," he says apologetically. "Didn't hear you come in." He looks inside of his shirt to check the bandage. "Yeah, but then people would wonder how I healed so fast. I don't want to pull the school into the media." He shrugs. "Price of fame. I got them to treat the sternum, though, so it'll just be the broken skin to worry about. Probably be gone in a week or two."

Rashmi shakes her head. "No need to apologize, I've got artist friends. I didn't want to interrupt." Glancing down at the bandage, the redhead raises an eyebrow. "…I'd fight you about that, but, I don't think either of us wants that argument now. … …..How're you holding up?"

Mason shrugs. "Honestly? Not very good. I shouldn't have gone. I knew in the back of my mind that it was a bad idea, but I did it anyway." He plays a minor chord. "I could have just told Mr. Lensherr no. But I said yes. Now more people are dead, and the media called my manager asking what I meant during my speech. I didn't think. I was frazzled, scared. I didn't act soon enough, or smart enough — " The chord is held through his whole speech, a good emotional image of what he's feeling. Crap.

"People would have been dead if you'd been there or not," Rashmi counters, setting the PDA aside. "It doesn't matter how soon, how smart, how brave you did anything. I saw the footage, Mason. You did *something.* And because you did, you probably saved lives. If there's anything I've learned here… It's that the best you can do is all you can do. The rest, we just have to hope for."

"Rashmi! There were more people there because I did a concert!" the pop star blurts out. "I knew it was going to happen! If I hadn't gone, some of those dead people would have been at home watching from their TVs, or wouldn't have cared enough to come at all. So you tell me? Did I save lives or did I kill people?" He isn't convinced, nor does he know that Rashmi was even there, stated by his next statement. "If you had been there… it was awful. I've never seen so much blood… most of them weren't any older than me."

"Mason, I *was* there," Rashmi says, her voice still soft, urgent. "At the Embassy. They were going to *set children on fire.* And *I* knew it was going to happen, too. I knew before just about anybody did. It was the stipulation to being hired on to work at the Embassy. So *believe me,* Mason, if you hadn't been there, someone else would have, doing what you were doing. But it *wasn't.* It was *you,* and I'd like to think you made a difference for the better, because you care about things that anyone Magneto might have hired might now have."

"Yeah, well the little trap that Magneto set sure did backfire," Mason says darkly. "I don't understand why he would put so many people's lives in danger just to make a statement." He shakes his head. "How are you holding up?" he asks. His fingers press another chord, he's casually playing a non-specific tune, just a scale that he's weaving in the same melancholy manner.

Rashmi draws in a deep breath, letting it out slowly. "It wasn't just a statement," she says, voice soft. "I don't think it was the best plan ever, but something needed to be done. You weren't here for the rest… It started in the summer. People flying into Salem, looking for mutants to kill. Then in Mutant Town… twice, I think, maybe three times before that. And I saw the records. Photos of 'high score kills,' people who really *wanted* to jump in but couldn't screw up the courage to… No, Mason. People were going to die. I just… have to think that because of Friday, it's going to stop. …And I mean to make sure enough people know about it that nobody'd be stupid enough to pull this stunt again."

"I hope your right," Mason says. "I never want to see something like that again." He stops playing, and supplies, "On a lighter note: I've gotten my first real hate blog on the matter," he adds. "People saying that I should just stay out of the mutant debate because I'm too stupid to do it right, and I'm just going to get more people hurt. I don't know if they're right, or I'm just too much of a pushover to keep up the stamina."

Rashmi lifts a shoulder. "You're, what, fifteen? How many fifteen year-olds d'you know that even *care* about stuff like this, much less have the ability to actually be heard? Trust me on this; there *should* be more people our age speaking up, because we're the ones who've usually just dealt with it, or are in the *middle* of dealing with it. And those're stories that need hearing. …Um, which reminds me," she says, clearing her throat. "…That girl you talked about at the other concert. D'you want to be the only one telling that story, or can I use it as a maybe talking point?"

"Sixteen," Mason corrects. He makes a face at her request. "I dunno," he says. "She doesn't like attention. I don't know if I should've even said it the first time." The star seems uncertain how to answer properly. "See, she really hates me. I mean…she hates me. She'd probably be happier if I had actually died like the news report said at first." He places his hands on the keys again, but doesn't play any notes.

"I doubt that," Rashmi says, settling back in her chair. "I don't know the whole story, so make of that what you will." And I'm not going to ask, the statement that remains unspoken. "I'm just asking, cause um… I'm… planning on knocking on the door of the Time Warner Building sometime within a week. …So you'll probably be upstaged for awhile until they get tired of my lobbying."

"Oh, upstaging is good," Mason laughs. "I could use something to take the attention off of me for a while." He is curious about the statement regarding Time Warner. "What exactly are you going to be lobbying for?" he asks. "Making a movie?"

Rashmi shakes her head. "Once I get all the information I need from SHIELD on what's classified, what's sensitive, and what's not, I'm going public with the story. We have the name of one of the backers, enough video evidence to sink a ship, and I'm pretty sure I have enough leg to file a class-action lawsuit. I just need public opinion to be on the side of Mutant Town."

"You don't think it will be already?" Mason asks. "I mean…look at the place. It's like one of those World War II movies. The whole place is in shambles. How could people not be on Mutant Town's side?"

"Easy," Rashmi sighs, wrinkling her nose in distaste. "And I can give you a good example. I put down *two* of those people, and I think I broke the hip on the guy looking to set the children on fire. And I *hate* that I'm proud of myself for that, but, I am. And they were in *armor,* Mason, like the kind of stuff we *wish* the soldiers over in the Middle East had. Look at me, do I look like I'm capable of that?"

"Wait, put down?" Mason echoes. "You mean…like…" he makes a face to supply the terminal implication. "I can't see you doing that. Are you sure?" Here he thought that Rashmi was such a sweet girl.

Rashmi shakes her head quickly. "God no, I hope not. Like, knocked them unconscious. … Not like before, I knew exactly what I was doing this time."

Mason's face sweeps with relief. "You had me kinda scared. But I guess I see what you're saying. Still, it was self defense, why would anybody fault you for that?" Apparently he hasn't made the connection that such a small girl took down a guy in body armor without any weapons.

Rashmi coughs, raising a finger. "Um, sort of missing the point… *I* did. They had like robot body armor or whatever, flamethrowers, missiles, and machine guns."

"And that's really good," Mason says, starting to get to his feet from the bench. "Not just anybody could — " And he gets it. He sinks back down. "Oh." The spin that people could take on this hadn't even occured to him. "There were dozens of them… armed to the teeth." And they all went down by a much smaller army of mutants. Plus Maxwell.

Rashmi nods slowly. "Yeah… Dozens. *That's* the core of the problem. Mutants don't *need* rockets and guns and lasers and bombs. And having all those things doesn't mean you're going to *win* if you want to kill them all. Someone tried, and got a *whole bunch* of wackos ready to try. And look what happened."

"I think people will listen to the victims more than the attackers," Mason tries to defend, though he's not entirely sure he believes the statement himself. "I mean, they came after the mutants, it wasn't the other way around." He gets up from his seat, and paces a little, pulling a pack of tic tacs from his pocket. "This was supposed to help mutants, not make things worse."

"That's what I'm planning on doing," Rashmi says, nodding slowly. "Hence, y'know, knocking on Time Warner, asking for an interview with Anderson Cooper. I'll have to move quick before the spin doctors get ahold of it, but I intend to see public opinion go where it *ought* to be."

"That's good," Mason says. "I'm glad you're smart like that," he adds with a complimenting smile. "I'm not nearly as smart. Fortunately, Kisha helped me with good stuff I can do. We're going to sell some of my songs on download only to raise relief funds to help with the rebuilding of Mutant Town."

Rashmi bobs her head. "That's good. That's *good,* Mason, you should be proud of yourself for doing that," she says, her smile bright. "See? You don't have to be political to do good things for political movements… You watch. Hopefully by the time the suit gets underway, almost everyone'll point at you and go 'He does *good* for the cause."

The smile freezes for a moment in time, and then seems to droop. "Yeah," he says. "They'll say that maybe." He pops one of the tic tacs into his mouth, and chews it. "Yours will be better I think," he says.

Rashmi shrugs. "So? I can't carry a tune in a bucket on a cart. You'll be a famous musician *and* political, like Bono. I'll just be a politician and a lwayer, because this is what I want to do with my life. Why *shouldn't* I do better? Doesn't mean you'll be useless, right?"

Mason nods, "Mine seems a lot more self-serving, though," he admits. "I mean, I get glory and fame and money because people think I'm a 'good' guy." He shakes his head with a mocking laugh to himself. "I hate that. I feel so much like a sell out."

"Well," Rashmi says slowly, "what would you *like* to accomplish? Let's start there, okay?"

"I just want people to like me," Mason says simply, tossing his hands out. "That's why you do it so much better. You want to help people. I didn't jump in right away in that fight. I could have maybe saved more people if I had acted sooner, but I was so afraid of what people would think." It would have required letting people know that he was a mutant, rather than taking time to hide and disguise himself. "But the truth was, I was more concerned with what people thought than I was with what was going on."

Rashmi shakes her head. "Neither did I, Mason… In fact, I had to panic and get dragged inside an armored car, and the only reason I jumped out at all was because I'd hate myself for staying safe when no one else was, y'know? But okay… You want people to like you. *Why* do you want people to like you?"

Mason laughs, "You're my shrink now?" he asks. "I dunno, I just do. Nobody wants to be hated, you know? You want people to like you, right?" He doesn't think he's alone in the desire, not many people like to be hated.

Rashmi shrugs. "It'd be nice, sure… But people hate politicians. People hate lawyers. People think activists are strident nutcases chaining themselves to trees and never shaving. People think *mutants* are walking talking nuclear bombs. So if I really *wanted* to make everyone like me, I'd have an amazingly uphill fight, right? So I'll just worry about what I can change, and let the rest take care of itself."

"You really are a very impressive girl," Mason admits. "I don't think I'm that brave. Wish I was." He pops another tic tac. "Everybody says I'm shallow, maybe they're right."

Rashmi snorts, shaking her head. "I am not. People just think that because they don't think they could do the same if they wanted. Which is *total* crap, by the way. Whether or not you think you helped, you were there, right? You could have said no. … …Not that saying no to Magneto is *smart,* but you could have. Still. You didn't. That's a start, right?"

Mason shrugs. "Yeah, but for you, it's so…effortless. Like you were born to help people." He suddenly seems to start to calm, and puts the tic tacs back in his pocket. "You don't let anything stand in your way."

Rashmi lifts her hands, sighing. "Mason… I grew up on stories fo Gandhi and Dr. King. My parents, honestly, emigrated from West Bengal because of the American Dream. Franklin's not even the last name they were *born* with, it's kind of a tradition with their area and ancestor reverence, they picked it because of *Ben Franklin.* You can't grow up in an environment like that and just *not care,* y'know?"

Mason nods, understanding. He takes several steps closer to Rashmi. "Still," he says. "I think you're more than just what your parents told you to be. It's not just your environment. There's something special about you."

Rashmi flushes, shaking her head. "Lots of people say that," she says, clearing her throat, "but it's just not true. I'm not any more special than anyone else… I just want people to believe *they're* special enough to make a difference too."

Mason gives a slight grin. "You're too modest," he answers. "But I like that, because you're honestly modest, it isn't fake." He goes back to the piano and covers the keys. "It's just part of who you are."

Rashmi lifts a shoulder, clearing her throat. "Um… okay, thanks, then… Anyway… Think about it, okay? I don't think you'd put your life on the line if it meant people would like you… so maybe start asking yourself… What *would* you die for? Maybe then you'll start to know what's even more important to you than being liked."

"Thanks, Rashmi," Mason receives. "It's something for me to chew on." He goes to the chair where his coat had been discarded. "I'm supposed to be laying down as much as I can, so I better say good night," he says. "Hopefully I'll see you after Christmas. So Merry Christmas, okay?" he bids as he puts his coat on with care. He still hurts quite a bit.

"Merry Christmas, Mason," Rashmi says quietly, turning back to her work as Mason leaves the room, a fresh sadness in her eyes.

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