2012-06-01: Tea And Mochi


Quetzal_icon.jpg Rashmi_icon.jpg

Summary: Agent Queztal calls upon Rashmi to see how she's holding up after Romania.

Date: June 1, 2012

Log Title: Tea And Mochi

Rating: PG-13

Barnes Academy - Quetzal's Living Area

Quetzal's room is a large studio with a small kitchenette off to the side. The floor is all hardwood made from a light red oak. In front of the door is a small rug and a place to put shoes. There are two plain white walls, with not much decor except for two traditional looking Japanese scroll paintings, one of a tiger and the other of a waterfall. The other two walls have shoji screens against them from top to bottom with some lighting that shines behind the thin paper. There's a black grand piano that takes up a good part of the room that seems to be well taken care of. Against one shoji screen wall are three black short drawers with a flatscreen television on top of the middle one. Along with a few pictures of his family on top. In front of it a black kotatsu sits on the floor white futons with four matching pillows around it. Along the far wall sits a futon with white pillows and sheets that seems to also double as a bed. There is a very Japanese feel to the room with the way that it's styled.

A letter was sent to Rashmi asking her to meet Quetzal in his room, mainly because he doesn't have his own office and he figured the conversation a class room would really be suitable, besides there's a certain comfort to his room that might make it easier to talk. He sits at the kotatsu while reading a from a book while he waits for his guest to show. Curled around his neck and shoulders currently is a bright green snake that seems to be looking at the pages of the same book.

It's not long, comparatively, between Rashmi's receiving of the letter and her knock at the door. With a few days yet left in her recuperation leave, the request for the meeting puzzles her; more so, that it be Agent Quetzal to send the invite. Most of the SHIELD agents she has a better than passing familiarity with, would either have accepted the debriefing as enough, or called her on the carpet for her quiet but brutal lobbying over Jeremy's well-being. Still, when an Agent wants a meeting with a student, be it ever so informal, the student puts down what she's doing, trots her little way down the hall, and attends the meeting.

After a few moments the door is answered by Quetzal and he jestures for Rashmi to enter and there's a visible strugle on his face with words before he takes something out of his pocket, reads it, then speaks with a thick Japanese accent. "Please come in and make yourself comfortable. I must ask that you take off your shoes first. Do you like green tea?" He asks. "I know it seems like an odd request as you only have me for Latin but I was curious how you were after everything that has happened." He motions for her to take a seat at the kotatsu. The snake watches Rashmi for a bit before speaking. "Do you have a favourite animal?"

Rashmi blinks a bit, nodding once and slipping out of her shoes, displaying rather new white ankle socks. "Um. In order, yes as long as it's not chai, sort of, and really only my blue cat," she says, the last aimed at Verde with a smile, "so really whatever's comfortable." Running a hand through her hair, she moves forward with an apologetic smile, she gestures at the spot at the table across from Quetzal, as if asking his permission to sit. "The middle answer is really the very very short version, of course…"

"Please have a seat." Quetzal offers then brings over a tray with a pot of green tea, cups and various mochi on it. He sits down and pours two cups, offering one to Rashmi and one for himself. "There's red bean, green tea and taro mochi, feel free to help yourself." As he's doing all that, Verde turns into a cat, but not a blue one, and sits down next to Rashmi. "I didn't want to ask you about what happened or anything like a debreifing, those are long, stressful and tedious. I've noticed you have been worried about one of your classmates but I was curious how you were. I know from personal experience how it can be, being held prisoner for a long time."

"…Recovering," Rashmi says after a moment's silence, bobbing her head in thanks at the pot of tea. Drawing in a deep breath, she pours herself a cup, setting it in front of her to let cool. "…In some ways… I was actually sort of worse than Nigeria. I mean don't get me wrong, I'd be perfectly happy to never be a slave again… but… there, I had something to *fight,* y'know? In the tower, it was just… waiting. Lots of nothing, and it was always night…" Shaking her head, she picks up a piece of red bean mochi, toying with it for a moment. "…Time really just… stopped mattering," she says, finally. "I mean… all we had to keep us occupied was whatever we could find."

Quetzal nods. "I understand all to well." He says taking a sip and by now the Japanese accent is gone and is replaced by one identical to Rashmi's American accent. "I know at this school we focus a lot on bringing out your full potential, recruiting those we know would have a sucessful career in SHIELD if they choose it or not so a lot of times we forget to ask those students how they are holding up." Like with her friend Jeremy. "It's not easy to get over what happened, and I want you to know that if you need someone to talk to, or just need a day off, let me, us, know." He's realizing they need to take a more proactive role in their students well being.

Rashmi's lips purse for a moment, but the redhead accepts this with a nod. "…I'm not… really good about knowing when I need time off," she admits, still toying with the powdered treat. "I mean, law school and training here, legal assistant for Ms. Walters, and on my weekends I bounce between Xavier's and the Embassy… And that's a *normal* week for me, y'know? …I can't help it, really, the way my brain works it can get really, really distracting if I'm not *doing* something. Ask Travis." Settling back on her feet, she draws in a deep breath. "…But really… I *needed* this week off. Not so I could unwind, but, just… get used to there being a *sun* again, y'know? Remember what my routine even *was.*"

There's a slight chuckle and nod at Rashmi's words. "Oh I know. The sunglasses I tend to wear aren't always for show, I didn't see sun for nine months, my eyes are still a bit sensitive to it." He takes a sip of tea and picks up one of the red bean mochi. "If keeping busy is what helps you work into a normal routine and helps you recover, then do that, but over all you're handling everything….well enough?" He's not sure if that's the exact way he means and so the cat just speaks up with a sigh. "What Quetzal's saying is that he wants to make sure you're not just putting up a front when inside you feel like you might want to break."

Rashmi's brow furrows at Quetzal's slightly halting words, her attention snapping to the cat as a translation is provided. Blinking a moment, she looses a soft laugh as understanding breaks. "Oh… no. It's not like that, for me. If I need to have a little panic attack, I'll find someplace out of the way and get it over with. It's…" She pauses, tilting her head. "…I'm not sure if you've read up on quite how my mind works, sir? If you haven't, I'll spare you what everyone's been able to puzzle out, just… Things like that, it's like dirt at the bottom of a river. After awhile, most of the time it'll be all right, then something'll stir up the mud, and… well, then I need to deal with it."

"I might have a while back but it's hard to remember I'll admit." Queztal confesses. With reading so many student files it's not easy to remember ever little detail unless it's life or death situations. "That's a very conveninent way your mind works." And he means that as a compliment. "In a good way that is. In one small way you're lucky, you went through this with others so at least you have, hopefully, friends that understand what noone else can. As much as I say I can relate, I can't truly understand. Are they also doing well?"

"I… don't actually know," Rashmi admits, flushing and looking down. "I've been mostly worrying about trying to wrestle myself back down to normal, so I can deal with all the stuff that I'd've had to deal with anyway while I was gone. I mean *seriously,* why was I the only one raising quiet noise about Jeremy?" Blinking, she shakes her head. "Anyway… You'd probably be better off asking Dashenka about how she's doing, and Tabitha if you want to know how Kalindi's holding up."

"I plan on taking to Dashenka as well." Quetzal says before looking down. "Honestly, I do not know much about the case with Jeremy but you have caused enough attention to the matter, thus part of the reason I am reaching out to you and to Dashenka. I've been there, held prisoner with no escape. As for Jeremy, what I was aware, there were others keeping an eye on him. Unfortunatly I am not qualified to help with his situation." He takes a few sips of his tea and frowns. "I'm not the best when it comes to talking with students." Though he's making an effort with Rashmi.

Rashmi shakes her head, looking up. "Oh no, I'm sorry, I don't mean…" Trailing off, she frowns at herself, taking in a deep breath, she sips at her tea. "No, sir, you're being *incredibly* kind, and I really *do* appreciate everything you're doing." Pausing, she tilts her head. "…Can I ask what happened to you, when you were captured?"

With the question, Verde leaps up from his spot next to Rashmi and goes over to Quetal to lounge next to him, but on the way over has changed from a cat to a German Shephard. "I can tell you what I can without going into too much detail as most of it is classified, even I don't know everything and I was there. The vague story is, my team and I were caught by the enemy and transported to their faciltity. We were put into seperate cells and for nine months we stayed there. I'm not sure why it was so long because noone talked to us or anything, they just kept us fed which meant they were keeping us alive for a reason. Then one day they decided to kill us so we were moved from our dark cells to these pits in the ground, when they tossed me in broke my leg. It was because of my gift for languages that I was able to communicate with Verde, we traded a piece of our spirits and he became more than just a spirit again. It was him who got me out of there and we were able to get my two friends out, we found out l

You say, "later that the my third friend was killed. So we stole a plane and I was able to fly us to where we could contact SHIELD.""

"That's… oh, I'm so sorry, sir," Rashmi whispers, a hand to her mouth. Silent for a while, she frowns deeply, shaking her head. "That just… seems so *senseless.* Did you at least get any kind of idea why afterwards? I'm not asking you to tell me or anything, sir, just…"

Quetzal shakes his head. "No need to be sorry, what happened, happened. I just get bitter about my leg is all." He says with a soft chuckle. "I never did, I never really cared to be honest. I knew why we were there, just not all the details of why they didn't kill us right now away. It's not my job to know or ask." And he's fine with it that way since that's the way of the military. "After everything I was granted a year's leave, went home to Japan for a while. Losing a good friend was the hardest part though."

"I can't even imagine," Rashmi murmurs, shaking her head. "…What kept you going, all that time, sir? I… if you don't mind my asking, of course. Just… Nigeria was bad enough, but I don't know if I'd *ever* have been able to survive that long…"

"A few things." Quetzal says. "First is probably the biggest, I didn't want to die. Anytime food came throught that hole in the door I knew that it was another day they were keeping me alive for some reason. I have two sisters back home that I wanted to see again, and both have children I had never met before. One of my sisters is actually my twin so wanting to see my family again was a driving factor. Last, knowing that my friends where there even though I couldn't talk to them or see them was a bit of a driving factor as well. You'd be surprised at what you could survive when pushed."

"Yeah," Rashmi says quietly, "I've been learning that for quite awhile, now…" Finally taking a sip of the tea, she raises her eyebrows, nodding appreciatively. "This is really good tea, sir, thank you very much."

"You're welcome. It's the green tea powder that I made it from." Queztal explains. "It's just nice to have comforts of home even when you're living so far away." There's a doggy yawn from Verde and he rests both paws, then his head, on the table. Very un-dog-like. "He's just an old man set in his old ways." Says the dog obviously teasing. "It's always a hard thing to learn much you can survive but Quetzal chose that sort of life and we have to just live on knowing that the actions that made us suffer prevented others from suffering."

Rashmi chuckles quietly, nodding. "Mami and Papi say sort of the same thing; they tried to make our home a little piece of Bengal, like that. The good parts, at least… Kind of their way of honoring the whole point of the country, y'know?" Tilting her head at Verde, she nods slowly. "Oh, I don't think I've ever once*regretted* the things I've had to go through… I mean yeah, I'd probably be perfectly happy never to have dealt with them, but…" The redhead shrugs, looking at the mochi in her other hand. "*Everything* that happens in your life is important, y'know? It's just important not to let them take over, is all."

"You're a lot wiser than most people you're age. I'm actually quite impressed with your inner strength." Quetzal says nodding his head polietly to her. "Most people would be happier but I always viewed the whole incident as lifes way of telling me I was getting to old to continue how I was living and I should settle down a bit. I do miss it but also it was about time I settled a bit in a safer profession." Quetzal offers Rashmi another cup of tea before pouring himself a second. "Have you ever gotten a chance to visit Bengal?"

"Not yet," Rashmi says, lifting a shoulder. "Once Connor said he'd take me anywhere in the world I wanted to go, but… I kept forgetting about it, and then he list his powers… I guess now they're back? But even still, it's an expensive trip. I could save up for it, sure, but there's so much I haven't seen *here.* Maybe sometime, Mami and Papi and I will all go, they *really* loved their trip to the Old Country they took when I got accepted here."

"Go if you get the chance, you'll love it. Being able to see the world is an amazing thing." Queztal then clears his throat. "Speaking of your friend Connor, I will confess it was Barnes and myself that gave him the task of finding you all and rescuing you." He doesn't offer any other explaination but quietly waits Rashmi's reaction.

Rashmi blinks quietly, lifting an eyebrow. "….Huh. Really? I'd wondered why he was writing that report to SHIELD afterward…" Furrowing her brow, she takes a bite of the mochi, pausing a moment to savor a truly different type of sweet. "…I guess the only real questions I have are, um… In order of importance, what took you so long, and how did you talk his dad around?"

"Any matters between us, his father and Connor I am not going to speak of. Those are personal matters and I do not feel anyone would appricate me telling their business. I'm sorry, if I could answer I would." Queztal says as he doesn't even know the answer himself. "As for what took so long, Mr. Blake did his research well and found you all, what he had trouble procuring was transport to get there. This was his mission and we trusted him to get you all home safely. Your friend is a good man."

Rashmi snorts her amusement, shaking her head. "No no, I mean, what took you so long in recruiting him? I know very well SHIELD's had their eyes on him since he graduated, and I'm honestly surprised his practical waited this long. …Of course," she murmurs, "ideally his practical would probably be a bit less, um… urgent? But anyway. I do know that Connor's dad won't be happy at all… or, isn't. Either way, I've been meaning to have a sit-down with Mr. Blake for awhile. When global intelligence agencies get tight-lipped about who someone *doesn't* work for, that, um… tends to be a sign. Just, FYI."

Quetzal raises both of his hands as if to say 'I'm saying nothing'. "In regards to your friend, it wasn't a lack fo us trying, it was making your friend realize his potential. We were waiting for an incident with either you or your other roommate, Mr. Larkin, to get into this type of situation and task it on Mr. Blake it was the only way for him to realize what he could do. Honestly, my money was on your other roommate, he does tend to find himself in a lot of trouble."

"Used to," Rashmi corrects, raising a finger. "Art school isn't as much of a trouble magnet as, um…" Glancing around her surroundings meaningfully, especually toward the seawater separating them from Ellis Island, she cracks a wry grin. "Besides, I would have been *perfectly* happy to help stage something. Even if I only found out about it *after,* y'know?"

There's a chuckle from Queztal and he nods. "We did think about that but we were trying to figure out how to make it as real as possible but someone always pointed out what didn't work about the plan. Or it was to expensive, to extreme, we were having trouble forming a good plan. We were to afraid to make the danger real enough."

"Well," Rashmi says, clearly in a much better mood than when the conversation began, "speaking as the likely candidate to be *put* in danger, I do appreciate the sentiment. Anyway, I take it he passed the test?"

"It's up to him now if he accepts a scholarship to be a student here. We'd certainly like him. We didn't want to ask you this, but if he talks to you about the offer, once we give it to him, if you could try to put in a good word." Quetzal says as he stands up. "He also managed to get his abilities back during this, which is always a benefit. Though as much as I enjoyed our talk I have to get ready for my last class of the day. You can feel free to stop by for tea anytime."

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