2012-04-19: Reaching But Not Touching


Jeremy_icon.jpg Tabitha_icon.jpg

Summary: Tabitha tries to reach out to Jeremy with little success.

Date: April 19, 2012

Log Title: Reaching But Not Touching

Rating: PG-13

Barnes Academy - Cafeteria

A large open space with dozens of tables is attached to a kitchen module and a few freezer bays. Trained chefs prepare nutritionally balanced meals for staff and students here that is usually actually pretty tasty and after hours, there is an a la carte fridge with glass doors open to all. The cafeteria is even equipped to handle non-traditional metabolisms and there is even a small private dining module towards the back for staff dinners, guests of the teachers or for use by students with dietary requirements that might disturb others. The entire ceiling is a dome of transparent material and full-spectrum lighting gives the whole space a pleasant, sunny atmosphere, bolstered by the video monitors on the walls showing various live land and sea scapes.

Making sure to take his meals well after most people are done eating, Jeremy is just sitting down at one of the tables for a late dinner. There's almost noone in the room which is how he prefers it. Settling down with his tray at one of the tables in the corner, Jeremy starts to take out some of his books and work on some homework as he eats his dinner of a sandwich, chips and soda.

The cafeteria might be almost empty, but within moments of Jeremy taking out his books, it becomes slightly less so. The unmistakable visage of Tabitha Jones appears just inside the door; quite literally appears, without the door opening and closing behind her. She gazes about briefly, before vanishing again and instantly reappearing at the counter where one orders. "Uhm… could I have the cheeseburger?" she requests. "And then another one?"

Looking up, Jeremy watches Tabitha for a bit as she orders. There's a bit of suprise as the tiny rat girl orders two cheeseburgers but he just looks back down and almost hides behind his book. For the most part though his meal is ignored as he keeps glancing over quickly at the other student. He tightens his gloves on his hands as he reads over his History ebook.

"Mind if I join you?" Tabitha's voice is heard from shockingly close to Jeremy; probably not more than four, five feet away, but there's a gentle tone to it. She's appeared there, without a sound, and now with a tray with two cheeseburgers and a bunch of fries and coleslaw piled high on a plate. "If I'm not interupting, Jeremy."

There's a jump from Jeremy as he hears the voice and he looks up at Tabitha like a deer in headlights. "Oh….uh…sure, yeah." He moves his stuff so she has plenty of room. "No, just history homework, it's not due until next Tuesday." He just is in the habit of doing it early. "So…um…how are you?"

Tabitha slides her tray into place on the table, and settles down on the seat, mumbling a thank you. She pauses, tail flicking behind her as she leans forwards and hunches over with her elbows on the table. "I'm… well… my girlfriend is still missing, so I guess I'm basically just… permanently stressed out," she replies. "I'm trying to keep it cool, but it's hard, y'know?" She shrugs, and picks up her first burger. "How're you?" she echoes, before taking a bite.

There's a long pause before Jeremy answers her. "I'm sorry about your girlfriend. I heard Rashmi went missing." And that's about all he says on that as he hasn't thought much about it with recent events. "I'm..here, I guess." He takes a bite of his sandwich finally and after he swallows he speaks. "So…you know that woman Donna?"

Tabitha sighs softly, "Yeah, I know. Rashmi is my best friend, and I miss her very much as well… and I'm going crazy 'cause I can't seem to do anything." She tears into her burger, and nods her head while she chews. "Yeah, I know her," she affirms, "Though she only gave me her name grudgingly. She's not exactly someone I like very much. I'd be happy if she were to move to, oh I don't know… Madagascar."

"Oh." Jeremy says sounding a bit disappointed in her answer and looks down at his food, frowning at it. "She didn't seem that bad to me just…she…she wasn't bad." He doesn't really know how to word it as he fiddles with his hair a bit.

Tabitha blushes softly, mostly evident by how the insides of her ears darken in color. "Uhh, yeah," she replies. "She wouldnt' seem that bad to me either if she'd keep her nose in her own business. …But that's not the point." She shrugs lightly, and stares at the half a burger in her hands. "Anyway, uhm… what about her? I'm sorry for interupting your conversation with her the other day, I didn't mean to chase you off."

Jeremy shrugs and takes a bite of his sandwich. "It doesn't matter." He says. "It's not like it was anything important, we talked more a few days ago." He's not really sure what to say, his shyness evident in the quite tone of his voice. "She listened and that's enough I guess."

Tabitha bobs her head once. "I undertand," she replies. "I mean… I guess sometimes, the fact that someone listens is worth more than someoen giving you advice, really? Just… knowing that someone understands what's bugging you." She pauses, eyeing her burger before digging into it once again. "You know…" she adds, after swallowing, "I'd listen, too."

Jeremy shakes his head. "No one can understand, unless you have to go through what I do everyday, you won't." He says bitterly. "And just because someone listens doesn't mean they understand. Just means they listen." He says sounding a bit irritated. "And do you really want to listen or are you just saying it?"

Tabitha pops the last of her first burger in her mouth, and swallows audibly. The rat girl leans forwards, perking an eyebrow upwards. "I could say the same thing," she murmurs, "About my appearance, as you do about your powers. Don't think you're the only one with a cross to bear." She settles back once more, and plucks a fork off her tray to dig into the coleslaw with. "But yes, I mean it. I wouldn't offer and not mean it."

"Just because I look normal doesn't mean I haven't been judged for my appearance." Jeremy says quietly. "I used to be homeless, it might not be the same but at least I've been judged for being that." He says shrugging a shoulder. "It doesn't matter though." He looks down at his sandwich and sighs. "Nevermind."

Tabitha shrugs her shoulders lightly. "As you wish," she replies. "I'm not going to force you into anything that'd make you uncomfortable." Her fork makes scraping sounds as she digs around in the bowl of coleslaw, munching on the cold salady-stuff. "Just remembe,r the offer always stands. …And… actually, I could find out what you go through, like nobody else can. You just told me not to, last time iI mentioned it, and I choose to respect that."

Jeremy tenses as she brings it up and he slowly lifts his eyes to her. "No." He says firmly. "What I go through has led to my parents wanting me dead, me turning to drugs…twice, over dosing, my old roommate trying to kill me and then -using- me for my powers. I know the truth of -everything- I touch and it -never- leaves my head." He lifts up one of the sleeves of his shirt and shows the faded track marks on his arm. "Do you really, -really- want to understand something that makes this seem like a good idea?"

Tabitha perks an eyebrow upwards, "Your parnets sound a lot like my Dad," sge replies, "So I understand that part pretty well. Better than I'd like to, honestly." She eyes the mark, and shakes her head slowly. "I'm not going to judge, Jeremy. I'm just gonna say I'm glad you're still with us, and I think you're a tough kid. Tougher than me, anyway, if I ever copy something I don't like I only have to keep it for the best part of a day and I can ditch it again." She demolishes the last of the coleslaw, before dumping the bowl back down on the tray and taking up her second burger. "Look, I don't pretend to be a therapist or anything. I might just be making you feel worse, and I'm sorry if I am, because I am genuinely trying to help… even if it is just like how a bull helps to renovate a china shop. But if it'd help you to know someone else *really* understands, then yes, I'd risk it for a day."

Jeremy pulls the sleeve of his shirt down and slams his hand down on the table in frustration. He takes a few deep breaths to calm down. "If you want to help, don't offer that again. You think I want the guilt of this doing…whatever to you? Even for just a day? I wouldn't wish this on anyone." He says almost pleading. "And don't…there is nothing tough about me."

The rat girl's ears flatten against her head, and she blushes once more, gazing down to focus on her burger. "…I'm sorry," seh mumbles at last. "I really *am* trying to help, Jeremy, I'm not trying to be a pushy douchebag or anything. It's just…" She shrugs her shoulders heavily. "I don't know what to do."

Jeremy just buries his head in his hands, his long hair covering his face as he tries to hide from her. "That makes two of us." He mutters in a barely audible voice. "I want to make everything in my head go away. I don't want to know this stuff anymore."

Tabitha sighs softly, and her shoulders hunch over once more. "I know you do," she murmurs. "I…" She sighs softly, and fiddles with her burger, getting her fingertips greasy as she pokesa t the patty to center it between the bun, before she reorganizes the lettuce, and picks out the mushy tomatoe. "I'm sorry Jeremy," she adds.

"I'm sorry about your girlfriend and Rashmi." Jeremy mutters back to her as he pushes her sandwich to the side not having much of an appetite anymore. "You can always talk to Rashmi's boyfriend since…he's probably not going to just do nothing."

Tabitha shrugs, "I haven't just been doing nothing either, just, what I've been doing hasn't turned up anything worthwhile," the rat girl replies. "Look, I just… I dunno. I'm not religious or anything, so I don't pray. I just kinda hang about clinging to my personal belief that they're okay, and I'll see them again soon. And I study a lot and work on my car to take my mind off it."

"I'm not religious either." Jeremy says. "I was, until…well my parents are and we grew up going to church and stuff. That was until the night I saw what they really were. My parents that is. I was just working up the nerve to tell them what was going on when my powers triggered, they weren't always on at first. I saw it, the meetings, the murders, the plotting, the shame I brought on them for having a mutant son. Noone in the Friends of Humanity should have a mutant as a kid so they were planning something public, to make an example out of me that just because I was their son didn't mean I was safe. I got into a huge fight with my parents and ran away." He says before looking away from Tabitha. "Sometimes I wonder if it would have been easier if I didn't find out and they just…did what they were planning."

"Don't," Tabitha replies, in a firm tone of voice. "Don't think that way, Jeremy. Don't allow that thought to even flicker through your mind, alright?" She sets her burger down, and points a finger at the man sitting opposite her. "YOu're a great guy, and you have a lot to offer hte world, and you have a right to a good life. …Rashmi told me basically the same thing once, and she was right." She pauses, and presses her lips into a thin line. "It might've been easier, but it wouldn't have been better."

Jeremy looks over at Tabitha and shakes his head. "You barely know me, how can you claim I'm a 'great guy', what is it that makes me great?" He asks obviously not believing her and thinking they're just words. "How do you know it wouldn't have better? You don't. And what does an ex-druggie mutant have to offer the world besides misery?"

Tabitha snorts loudly. "I know you're a great guy," she replies, "Because you cleared your stuff and let me join you even though you're miserable and probably want to be alone. You asked me how I was, and you were sympathetic and supportive about my girl and my friend. …Not only that but you took the fact that I'm gay without the slightest hint of judging me for it. That's cool, Jeremy. And honestly, that's at least a small part of what you have to offer. You're shy, I can see that, and I don't blame you. But you're still willing to push through that and reach out to others who need it. Seriously, dude, I can see that."

"How can I judge you about being gay when I am who I am. As long as you haven't murdered anyone how can I judge you?" Jeremy says as he hates the fact that it feels like so many people around him are killers. "I only let you join me because it's rude to say no." And he doesn't have the spine to say no. "I don't want to reach out to anyone, I don't want to know anything about anyone, I know you trying to cheer me up but I'm not a great guy. Not even close. Look at me, I'm a failure of a person."

Tabitha sighs heavily, and shakes her had. She holds on to her burger, as she slowly rises from her seat. "Stop thinking like that," she replies, albeit in a tone of voice resigned to knowing she won't be listened to. "You aren't. Okay? You are not a failure of a person, I promise you that. Honestly… it took me a long time to learn that it's okay to be happy." She shrugs her shoulders lightly. "Anyway, if you wanted to be alone, I'll leave you be… you only have to ask, I won't be offended. Take care, Jeremy."

Jeremy stands up and looks at Tabitha and shakes his head. "Thanks for trying but, I know what I am." He says as he starts to pack up his stuff. "You stay here and finish, I have stuff to do and I'm not hungry." Once he slings his backpack over a shoulder he grabs his barely eaten dinner to throw away. "I'm going to go smoke, have a good dinner." He says to her as he leaves the room.

Tabitha sighs softly, as she watches Jeremy go, burger in hand. The rat girl just shakes her head, ears flattened in dismay, and she remains silent for the time being. After a moment, and once more without a sound, she simply vanishes, not reappearing anywhere inside the cafeteria at all. …And it would seem that she's forgotten her fries, as they sit there going cold on the table, uneaten.

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