2020-06-15: The Wolf And The Rabbit


ConnorF_icon.jpg RashmiF_icon.jpg RobynF_icon.jpg

Summary: A desperate Robyn comes to Rashmi and Connor for help.

Date: June 15, 2020

The Wolf And The Rabbit

Rating: PG

The Future - The Underground

Under the streets of New York City there are many tunnels that are long forgotten. There are many dead ends, rivers of sewage, pipes and maybe that alleged alligator. There isnt much light down here and if you dont have a flash light, youll be navigating the tunnels blind. Occasionally there is a bit of light that filters down from a storm drain. For those that dont know theyre there, its almost impossible to spot, but in spaced areas in the tunnels are markers to show those how to get to the mutant haven deep underground which is home to the redeemers and the rebellion.

Robyn asked Connor to meet him out in the tunnels, it's one of the few times he's actually left the base but right now, he just doesn't want to be around the others. It's just one of those times when he wants to have a conversation alone…alone alone, and Robyn doesn't know anywhere else to go. He's in his wheelchair several yards away from the entrance with a flash light tucked into his wheelchair along with a double barrel shotgun, it's dark but he's in an area with faint light.

Thankfully the man who can go practically anywhere appears behind Robyn, the clop of Volk's boots the only warning that the other man has before a hand is placed on his shoulder, and another on the handle of his wheelchair. The world goes blank for a moment… and Robyn receives a momentary vision of a world where he and Jordan have swapped positions… standing as Jordan sits in a wheelchair and chatting away with a feigned smile. The pair reappear where he took Rashmi. To Volk's new york stash. The psychic sees what Rashmi saw… the cracked windows looking out over New York from a high rise. Boxes piled all over. A small card table. Even signs of habitation in the form of a small battery-powered heater and campstove behind an aluminum shield to keep heat detection down. A sign is put in front of Robyn's face -Yes?-

Robyn winces from the light as he hasn't been outside in over four years. For the last four years he's been confinded to that underground base. "Give me a scond Connor, I can't see anything. And I'm glad I was the one that ended up like this, not Jordan." He comments at the vision as Robyn thinks that Jordan wouldn't have been able to handle not being active. He blinks, a lot, and it's close to a minute before he can keep them open long enough to see. "I just…I need to talk to Connor…I need to talk to a friend. Just something Jeri said last night hit me. Bad. Do you think you can find Rashmi too?" He says quietly, fiddling with the empty shotgun in his hands as he sits in Volk's New York Base.

Taking a small battery-powered teakettle out from a reinforced storage box, Volk set it up, and then puts out a couple bottles of water, and a small tin. Pointing to it, he then holds up the bottom to show where the directions are before he vanishes once more, reality rippling in his wake, the loose items on the car table momentarily leaning in his direction.

Robyn reads the instructions and starts making the tea that Volk laid out for him he doesn't look like his usual self today, he actually looks defeated, sad, tired. A different type of tired than he has been. It's as if that shell he's been building around himself is being cracked from the inside and what's inside isn't that pretty. He takes a deep breath cause he knows it's going to take a lot for him to say what he has to be he knows it's needed.

Popping back into the underground for the time being, Volk tracks down Rashmi by the usual means… waiting in a hall intersection for her to appear… and when he does… he just smiles, but this time he holds out his hand for her and holds up his PDA, where it just flashes the name 'Robyn.'

Rashmi walks on by in short order, pausing as Volk crosses into her sphere of awareness. Tilting her head, she blinks, peering at the PDA for a moment, and nods, taking Volk's hand without hesitation. "Time I can make, for him. Let's go."

The pair reappear in the same building husk that he'd brought Rashmi to the previous day, the surroundings almost unrecognizable in the much brighter skies outside being filtered through the cracked but servicable shaded double-pane glass. Volk releases Rashmi's hand and then shifts his HUD and balaklava off, tucking them into his harness for the moment. Walking over, he checks the small kettle's temperature gauge, and then looks to Robyn expectantly.

There's a slight wave from Robyn and he exhales. "Thanks Connor, sorry to pull you two out I just needed to….get away from down there. Can you believe I haven't left in four years?" He says looking off into the distance. "I just needed to talk to both of you, not about anything to do with resitances, rebellions or mercanry work. I just needed…friends." He looks nervous as he doesn't know how to say what he wants to, chewing on his bottom lip for a bit before eventually talking. "How am I supposed to just let Jordan die….again. I don't want to go through that again not matter how necessary it is."

Rashmi glances at Volk, raising an eyebrow, and walks over to the card table, scooting out the old SHIELD crate she'd used as a chair her last time here. "Actually, Robyn… I have a better question that you're really going to hate," she says, plunking down and resting an elbow on the table, regarding the wheelchair-bound mastermind with serious eyes. "Is it really up to you, how Jordan decides to do his fighting?"

Volk's eyes darken a bit as the topic of Jordan comes up, but staying back and away from the pair for the moment, he instead of using the PDA, takes a sheet of paper and a pencil once more and begins to write. The air in the room actually smells a bit of heated MRE and fresh cordite, and gun oil. Many of the plastic reinforced crates up here look freshly cleaned and polished. There's even sighs that he's got something of a rain-water shower and privy set up in the corner. All the joys of living in the badlands.

Robyn shakes his head. "It's…it's not the fighting, and he's coming with me on my next mission but….it's that Jeri and I have been viewing him an expendable soilder, knowing the next clone will just come back again. I couldn't let it bother me before, it was necesary but saying again…think about it Rashmi. You have to explain to someone you -love- someone who means the world to you everytime they come back you have to explain to they died and are just a clone, what kind of world they've woken up to, why I'm ten years older than him. Can you even imagine that? Someone who you've had all these life experiences with just….reset. He doesn't even remember the first time we had sex because it hadn't happened at his 'reset' point. I have to explain to him how I ended up in a wheel chair. I…I don't know how long I can keep doing it. I just don't." There's a tightening in his chest as he explains, taking a few deep breaths, tasting fresh air again. "I always thought that when this was over, I can start formi

"I always thought that when this was over, I can start forming new memories with the last clone but…I can't even hang onto my own boyfriend!"

Rashmi nods slowly. "Makes sense… and yeah, I can imagine that'd really, really suck, for all that you're lucky to even *have* him at all. But… The question I have to that, then is; what are you going to do about it? It's… sort of obvious, really. You have a boyfriend, you've been treating him as expendable, and he has been, and it's getting to you. So… what's wrong with this picture?"

The paper that Volk has been writing on is set down in front of Robyn, -I've held my tongue… proverbially speaking… on this topic for a long time. That's not Jordan. The real Jordan died a long time ago. All that is is a memory of better times made flesh. A memory you're so comfortable with you know what to say and when to say it to get him to do what you want until he's gone again. But that's become fine with you, because you've become the monster. If you'd had any dignity left in you, you'd have let people go out, find the cloning chamber, and destroy it. I may have turned into the things we fight to survive… but I can at least live with myself for my choices. You can't anymore. You have to let him go, Robyn. You have to stop tormenting yourself, and then punishing him by letting him believe he's doing the right thing. Jordan was not a resource. Jordan was not a gun. He was a person. And he deserve the amount of respect that came with it…

…Even Ahab isn't as cold as you've become. He actually gives a damn what happens to his Hounds. You tell yourself you care, but all I hear? Is the echoes of the person you let go of a long time ago.-

"That I'm just now realizing?" Robyn spits out bitterly more against himself than anyone else. "That I'm beyond fucked up that I can't even see things straight anymore? That I can't even talk to him about it? There is so much that is wrong with this picture….I just have to make sure that when he comes with me on this mission that I use his powers for more than…" Then he reads Connor's note and pales. "I know Connor…I hate myself for it. I cannot live as this person any longer. I can't. I can't do it. I can't be this. And you say let him go, it's not that easy when every single time he comes back, he expects you to be there, to be the one to help him through what happened and…I can't do this anymore, I just can't. I can't deal with again, I -need- to make sure Jordan lives." He says not able to look at either of them as he speaks but his shame and guilt is obvious.

Rashmi's nose wrinkles, much like it did back in the good old days when she was resigning herself to something not quite unpleasant but certainly troublesome, and gives a sideways glance at Volk. "…I'm starting to wonder if we should give up the front lines and start teaching. First Robyn, now I guess Jordan." Shaking her head, she scrubs her hands through her hair. "..All right, Robyn, look. First thing you need to do; knock this the hell off. Stop telling him what he needs to hear to get his fighting pants on. Take a day or five, sit him down, and give him the *whole story.* Tell him everything, good and bad, and leave it up to him what he decides to do. Tell him about the people he can talk to to make a better decision. Then *let him make up his own mind.* Maybe he won't be with you, and that's scary, I know. But it means he'll have a shot at being a *person* again."

Flipping over the page he was working with, Volk writes down, -And break the damn cloning chamber. Let him lead you back, and destroy it. Make his life precious again. So long as that exists, this thing you've got to learn to live with inside of yourself will continue to give you the excuses to suffer his death. It meant something the first time, it hurt. And in your grief a miracle happened. Last time you and Jericho talked about his just walking back in, I wanted to reach down his throat and yank out the icicle he calls a spine.-

Robyn nods to Rashmi but what he's talking about isn't just about his relationship with Jordan it's about how much he's changed and how much it scares him too. "I've become a real asshole." He mutters still not able to bring himself to look either of them in the face. "I..I can't keep hiding inside myself, but I'm still going to do my job." Maybe better now that he cares about it. "Yes…Jordan and I…I need to tell him everything, and he needs to be the last one. It's not just him that needs to be a person again….I need it too. That's why I'm talking to you two…I need your help. I can't do this on my own, I can't survive on my own."

"You could," Rashmi says gently, reaching out to rest a hand on Robyn's arm. "Believe it or not… yeah, you could. You've just been too scared to. Living day to day without focusing on the mission, living with Jordan without making him nothing but a living memory… yeah. That's pretty scary. But it's a dream, Robyn, and you've held onto the dream for too long, and it's rotting away in your hands. I'm sorry… but it's time to wake up."

No more words come from the other man. Volk just shrugs and smirk as he pats Rashmi on the shoulder. Opening up the now-heating and working kettle, he adds in the water, and to the built in infuser some rich red tea with a citrus and spice scent. Then going back in the corner, he opens up something and you both catch the whiff of… naan flatbread! Apparently with a buried clay oven somehow jury-rigged, the merc comes back with a hot piece for each/

Robyn shakes his head at Rashmi as he takes the bread. "No..don't be sorry, I do need to wake and realize that things…I can't hide from myself. It's not productive anymore. Everything just hurt too much, losing my parents, losing Jordan, being stuck underground, Connor turning into Volk, James becoming a Hunter and doing what he did, and what's happened to you Rashmi…I couldn't take it. It's still too much but, I need your help, to keep me on my feet. To keep me stable, to keep me from becoming an asshole and a cold hearted bastard again. I know you guys aren't perfect either, and we're all messed up but…I need something to hold onto and you're all I've got anymore. You're the closest thing I have to family now…and….I want you to help me." It's very rare that Robyn asks for help, even when he was young it was rare, but he's finally able to step up and admit it.

"I'll do what I can," Rashmi says, nodding… and then the naan is brought out, and the redhead simply melts in place. "Connor you're an *angel,* when did you…?"

Setting three rounds out on paper slips, Volk gets out a new piece of paper, -I've been living in Bangladesh. It's central so you get a lot of Hindi and Pakistani food. Not to mention developing an iron gut. I was with a unit for a month that called me Goat instead of Volk because I could stomach anything.- But then somberly he turns and looks into Robyn's eyes, and tilts his head to one side, before writing down, one simple work… -ASK- Circling it several times, and then pointing at it.

Robyn still hasn't eatten any of the bread yet but he looks up at Connor as he reads the note. "I am asking for your help…what do think I'm trying to say…I'm not good at this okay. But…" He just sighs and finally takes a bite. "Thanks…for the bread. It's…it's wonderful." He says and even though his voice doesn't sound serious, he really is. "What do you want me to ask? I'm trying Connor…I'm trying…" He's not sure what else his friend wants.

"What he's saying, Robyn, is that asking if we're okay with helping you isn't the same thing as asking for help," Rashmi says calmly, closing her eyes and bringing ehr teacup to her lips. "What you need is the hardest thing ever… but it's also the simplest. It's one thing to say how hard it is, how weak you feel, and how much help you need… But it's another thing entirely to look a person in the eyes, admit to yourself you're not strong enough, and say 'Please, help me.'"

Nodding in agreement to Rashmi, Volk gets his own half-glass of tea and then sip from it, blowing on it before taking his own sip. Looking towards Robyn, almost wolfishly he moves close, as if sniffing the young man's fear. Very slowly, he draws one of his knives and then brings it up enough that some of Robyn can be seen against the glinting steel edge. Looking back to Rashmi for a long moment, the man takes the blade and touches it gently against Robyn's neck. A peculiar intensity in his eyes as he leaves his precise touch in place… watching carefully…

Robyn takes a deep breath and nods to what Rashmi's saying, something that's been next to impossible for him his entire life as even when he had the accident ten-years ago, he didn't ask for help. He takes a few deep breaths and then before he can say anything the knife is pressed against his throat. The fear is impossible to miss, and he's not going to try to hide that having a blade pressed lightly to your throat isn't nerve-wracking. He looks right in Connor's eyes, and whispers. "Please….help me. Help me to become stronger again. I trust you." He looks over at Rashmi and looks right in her eyes. "You two are the only people I trust anymore. I need help, please."

"'And so the little Rabbit, wracked with grief and rage at the death of his family, sought out the Wolf,'" Rashmi murmurs, eyes still closed, teacup held to her lips, "'And he fell before the Wolf, trembling in terror. "Make me strong," The Rabbit said, pouring his tears upon the snow, "teach me to run as a Wolf, that I may hunt those who have murdered all that I love."'" Opening her eyes, she fixes her gaze upon Robyn, face neutral, impassive, almost hawklike. "'And the Wolf replied, 'I am a killer, little Rabbit. You seek me out to learn my ways, but your fear will bring only death. If you would learn from me, then prove to me that you are no Rabbit. Bare your throat to my fangs."'"

The knife slides right along the throat, the edge a kissing caress before it's drawn away, and then flipped over easily in Volk's hand, holding the heavy combat blade out to Robyn. The tableau remains there, the fear revealed, and the weapon is now given to the fearful. There's no smile on Volk's face… nothing but that continued intensity as he glares at the fearful visage, eyes remaining locked on Robyn's when they come back. At the core of their ice however, there is some mote of warmth.

Listening to Rashmi recite the poem, it all clicks to him, and he reaches out to take the combat blade. "Thank you." He whispers to both of them as he runs both hands through his hair, pushing it out of his face. He's probably going to be calling Volk, Connor now most of the time as he can't just let nicknames make him believe that they're someone else. He then takes another bite of the naan bread and savors it. "There is no going back to the way things were, I know that now, but we can step forward."

But the tale clearly hasn't completed, for Rashmi's eyes don't leave Robyn's face, steam wrathing around her cheeks. "'And the Rabbit bared his throat, and the Wolf was pleased. "You show trust, little Rabbit, in one who is death to you and yours. Trust is a gift, little Rabbit. A gift to be cherished, and a gift to be returned." And so, did the Wolf bare his throat the the Rabbit, whose teeth were not sharp, but could still, if he wished, rend the Wolf's throat, bringing death to the greater animal.'"

Going over to his things, Volk gets another piece of paper and writes down, -There has always been room for gentleness in this world. Gentleness is the greatest strength there is. But is must also survive long enough to be nurtured, to grow, and to become greater than that which could destroy it. The best food for gentleness is trust. Lessons like these are hard, even for one like me… because for so long, I did not trust. I failed. I failed myself, and in so I failed all of you. Not because my deeds were not swift, precise, and skilled. But because I did not trust. I did not accept the knife to my throat was not by anyone else's hand but my own.-

Not being familiar with the poem, Robyn wheels himself over to Connor nods. He places the knife upto Connor's throat and just looks at him. "Will you let yourself trust again Connor? We've failed each other but we can learn from our mistakes." He says as he just holds it there and watches his friend, his ex-roommate.

"The book we found this tale in, Robyn, carries a message. It was a tale told, by a great warrior of the Northern Native American tribes, a man known for his ruthlessness, and his fairness," Rashmi says quietly. "There was a lesson, written into the end of it; 'If a blade is at your throat, there is not room for another. Choose well, who you give your throat to.'" Finishing off the tea and naan, she leans back away fromt he card table. "Robyn… I hope you realize, we are going to be hard on you. You have to learn how to live on your own, and that's never an easy thing to learn. You'll probably hate us, for how we teach you. But… that's part of it too. We'll help you, because we love you, and we want to see you and Jordan become real people again."

There's a bit of a smirk as Volk reaches down and actually adjusts where Robyn has the blade, getting it under the chin, so that there's less of a chance of moving his head. He holds it there for a moment and then pats Robyn's wrist once and retrieves his blade. Leaving the two with paper cups of tea and their cooling naan, the teleporter pulls on his balaklava and HUD-eye back in place. Walking over to his things, he opens a box and takes out a black and steel butterfly knife, taking it and dropping it in Robyn's lap before touching his shoulder, and then Rashmi's arm. Apparently the snack and philosophy are to go today… and in an eyeblink, the pair are in the main cavern… and Volk is gone again… presumably back to his cache.

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