2012-12-23: They Didn T Break You


Nicholas_icon.jpg Rashmi_icon.jpg

Summary: Rashmi visits Nick to see how he's holding up.

Date: December 23, 2012

Log Title: They Didn't Break You

Rating: PG-13

Xavier Mansion - Ramsey Dormitories Lobby

The first room one walks into upon entering The Ramsey Dormitory is the Lobby, which has been set up a study room for students. On the far end of the room across from the entrance into the dorms is a pair of elevators. Along that wall are closed double doors that lead into the cafeteria. Two bay windows sit on either side of the door and matching bay windows are on adjacent walls. One side of the room has several tables and chairs and a bookcase with copies school textbooks and popular fiction novels. The other side is a large electric fireplace to warm the room in colder months. Large comfortable chairs and sofas sit around the fireplace with a table in the middle.

It's that time of year where it stays dark outside the longest so at six thirty at night the sky is black. The lights of the new dorms glow and a Christmas Tree can be seen in the upper windows of the Rec Room. Inside the lobby a fire appears to be roaring in the electric fire place and Nicholas sits in front of it enjoying its warmth. He has his PSVita with him and is currently watching a video on the small screen. The ear buds are in Nick's ears as he tries to block out what's around him.

With cleanup of Mutant Town well underway, her own apartment mostly finished and waiting for her roommates to return, Rashmi has come to Xavier's for a myriad of reasons; to let Connor and Robyn know it's okay to come back, and to talk to whoever among the student body needs talking to. Some curiosity about the new dorms can't be denied as well, of course, and it's with an appreciative eye to the new Rec Room that Rashmi enters from the Quad. Once the back of Nicholas' head is spotted, her wandering turns purposeful, and she gives a solicitous clearing of the throat once she gets close enough.

Nicholas isn't one of the people who listens to things at a deafening level so the clearing of the throat can be heard over his viewing of Serenity. He turns and looks at Rashmi, pulling the earbuds out of his ears and looks shocked for a few seconds at seeing her. He sits up quickly and waves. "Uh hey. How's it going?" He's not really sure what to say to a girl he's spoken to a few times.

"Hi," Rashmi says, lifting a hand in greeting. "It's going okay… Mutant Town's kind of pulling itself back together, so I have some more free time." Falling silent for a moment, she chews on the inside of her cheek for a moment, as though considering how to phrase things. "…Can I sit down?" she seems to settle on, gesturing to the other side of the couch from the boy.

Nicholas nods. "Yeah, sure, there's plenty of places to sit. It's a public room so it's not like I can say no either." He gives a half smile to show he doesn't mind her sitting down. "That's good, I've only been to Mutant Town once, it was, well there was some anti-mutant protest going on there."

"Well considering I sort of want to talk to you specifically," Rashmi says with a small smile, moving around the couch and sitting down, "yeah, you *could* have said no. …Yeah… I don't doubt it. But I'm pretty sure there won't be anything like that around the City for a good while. New Yorkers tend to close ranks pretty hard once a disaster happens… Or when they're *aware* of it, at least… Anyway," she says, shaking her head, "first thing I wanted to say was I'm sorry, Nicholas."

Nicholas seems to be confused when Rashmi says she wants to talk to him specifically and then seems more confused when she says she's sorry. He looks down at his feet and scratches the back of his head. "You don't have anything you need to be sorry about, nothing's your fault." It's one of those things he feels awkward responding to.

"Actually… yeah, I do," Rashmi says, settling back into the couch. "I don't know if you had Internet access, but… I sort of used your name — all four of you, actually — as part of my 'Pick a fight with the Purifiers video.' If I'd been able to, I'd've tried to talk to you first and get your permission… but… I couldn't, so I didn't. And I'm sorry."

Nicholas shakes his head. "Don't worry about it. I saw those videos…you didn't spread my name around anymore than the Purifiers did through the Media. If anything it was good to have something say I wasn't a terrorist and I wasn't a murderer." He does scowl a bit as he says that though. "Everyone out there knows my face probably."

"Probably… And it's going to get a little harder, before it gets better," Rashmi says with a sigh. "Those videos… There's probably going to be a lot of investigating done in the near future. A lot of people being hauled into court to account for what they did. Which means you'll all probably be asked to testify." Tilting her head, she smiles faintly. "But I was glad to be the one to speak up for you guys. I *couldn't* let only one side be heard."

Nicholas's gaze says focused on his feet and he can't really look up at Rashmi. He folds his hands in his lap and starts to fidget a bit. "I just want it all to be over. Everything, I'm so tired." The lack of sleep and stress is quite evident on his face. "Thanks for doing that. At least someone did this time." He eventually looks up at Rashmi. "You're friends with Connor, how's he doing?"

"You'd know better than I would," Rashmi says softly, shaking her head. "He was able to visit once, but I haven't seen him since then. I told him and my other roommate to come here and go to ground, and I haven't heard from them yet. That's… well, *one* reason I came by… but I'm also worried about *you,* Nicholas… Have you been able to just… talk to anyone about what's on your mind?"

Nicholas nods and frowns a bit. "I'm just a bit worried about him, he had it harder than the rest of us without his meds. I think trying to keep him from losing it kept us focused on that so we couldn't lose it." It seems he's trying to avoid talking about himself until he looks back down at his feet and shrugs. "There isn't anyone to talk to."

"There's me," Rashmi says softly, turning to better face Nicholas on he couch. "That's why I'm here."

Nicholas looks over at Rashmi from his hunched position and raises his eyebrows at her. "What am I supposed to say?"

Rashmi lifts a shoulder. "Whatever you need to? I don't know what you *should* say, Nicholas… But of everyone who wasn't there with you… I have a better idea what it was like. So… just say what you need to, however you need it."

Nicholas scratches the back of his neck and seems apprehensive for a bit. He's quiet for nearly a minute. He leans back on the couch and sighs. "You know what's bugging me the most, everyone talking about wanting to go out and get revenge or attack these guys. I hate listening to it because they don't understand. They think they understand but they don't. But then as much as it bothers me hearing them, that's something I want to do, just get my revenge."

Rashmi nods slowly, drawing in a deep breath and letting it out slowly. "What don't they understand?" She asks, tucking a lock of hair behind an ear, tilting her head.

Nicholas scowls, seeming a bit irritated by the question. "Everything!" He takes a breath. "Okay, not everything but what those guys are -really- like. They don't know what they'll do to you. It's not what they can do, it's what they will do. If they go after them and get caught or worse…. They don't understand what it's like to have everything take from you and more."

"So," Rashmi says, apparently unfazed by the outburst, "if you could tell them what it's like, and know they could at least just… get it… What would you say?"

Nicholas seems quite flustered by the question and crosses his arms across his chest. "I wouldn't have to. Just like I don't have to say anything to Q, or Lock or Connor."

"Well yeah," Rashmi says, eyebrows rising. "They were there. Like my boyfriend was a prisoner like me, in Nigeria. He gets it. But other people don't… And it's almost impossible to put it into words, y'know? It's *frustrating,* sometimes, because you can only really put just a part of it into words."

"And a part of it makes you feel selfish." Nicholas mutters. "Like you don't think they have a right to want revenge as much as you, like they can't hate them as much as I can." He mutters. "I never got closure, for anything. I need something because…I'm tired of them having the upper hand over me."

"Closure's important," Rashmi says, nodding. "Testifying in court will get you that… at least a little, if not all the way. But you're *angry,* aren't you? Because they haven't just ruined your life… they *followed* you here, and tried to ruin it again, and almost *did* it… and even worse, they almost got away with it."

"They've already gotten away with it." Nicholas says, the frustration obvious in his voice. It's not frustration at Rashmi but the situation. "They killed my family and nothing. Now they do this, they're not going to stop. I don't even know why they want me dead. And as of right now, they're still getting away with it this time. When all of them are behind bars or worse then it'll be over."

"Well, that's one of the good things about testifying," Rashmi notes, settling back a bit into the couch at the words 'behind bars.' "It's hard… but that means you can look them in the eye, and do your best to make *sure* they're put behind bars."

Nicholas nods, he hasn't thought anything about having to testify. "It's going to suck. They're going to paint me to be some bad guy again. I don't know, I just…it's too hard."

Rashmi shakes her head. "They can try all they want… but I don't think you know *how* many people are calling bullshit, now. I mean, enough that the government was sort of forced to completely flip the table over on the Purifiers over this last week, no matter how many supporters they had. And they're not just some extremist group, now, like the others; they're out. *Lots* of people know who they are, now. And if you testify… well… you can make sure they *don't* get away with what they did to your family, Nicholas."

Nicholas opens his mouth to say something to Rashmi but then shuts it before looking back down. He pulls his feet up to the couch so he can wrap his arms around his knees. "Nothing's ever going to be the same. I'm so tired. I hate being like this but I can't stop feeling like this."

Rashmi scoots over on the couch, reaching out to rest a hand on Nicholas' shoulder. "I never said it was going to be the same," she says softly. "Just that they were going to answer for what they did. I wish I could say it gets better… Y'know, like they say time heals all wounds? Well… it doesn't. Time just puts some distance between you and now. It helps… but it doesn't fix anything."

Nicholas looks over. "I know it sounds unreasonable but I don't feel like that's enough. They aren't going to have to walk up every morning with the idea that they'll never be able to talk to their family again. They're not going to have to get tortured just for shits and giggles. They're never going to have to feel that fear or look in the mirror and have permanent reminders on their body. No, going to jail would be lucky for them."

"It's not unreasonable," Rashmi says, tilting her head. "Not at all. Honestly? I'd be sort of worried if you didn't feel that, Nicholas. You were hurt in a way that nobody should *ever* have to be hurt… Not just once, even, which would be bad enough… but they destroyed your entire life. Who *wouldn't* want to get back at the world for that, seriously?"

"How do I deal with that?" Nicholas asks rhetorically. "Everyone expects you to just get over it. I can't just get over it, I can't smile and mean it most of the time. It's lonely and people don't understand how alone you can feel when you lose the people that mattered most."

"I don't know," Rashmi whispers, squeezing Nicholas' shoulder. "I really, really wish I did, Nicholas… But I don't think I could ever have any really good answers for you, y'know. I'm not where you are."

"I don't think anyone does." Nicholas whispers wiping at his eyes quickly. "It's really hard, the nightmares just don't go away. I can barely get any sleep and it's this weight that's just draped over me. And with how people react, they just think there's a magic 'fix it' button I should be pressing."

Rashmi scoots closer, gathering Nicholas into a tight hug. "The dreams will," she says, closing her eyes. "It's slow… but they do pull back. They don't go away forever, though… they just… wear themselves down until they aren't so heavy anymore."

Nicholas leans into the hug and sniffs trying to fight back tears for a bit before losing. He can't talk for the moment as he just cries. The weight of everything just crashing down on Nick emotionally.

Rashmi squeezes tightly, letting Nick cry himself out, occasionally rubbing his back. If he could see her face, he'd see utter, heartbroken sorrow, but she's orator enough to keep it from creepng into her voice, as she murmurs wordless, soothing syllables into his hair as he cries.

After some time Nicholas pulls away and uses his shirt sleeves to wipe his red puffy face. It's one of those things that just feels comforting while crying. "I'm sorry, I don't mean to put all my issues on you, you barely know me."

"Nicholas," Rashmi says with a soft laugh as the boy pulls back, "I *told* you I was worried about you. I practically *asked* you to put your issues on me. Don't apologize, okay? I think you needed something like this *really, really badly,* y'know?"

Nicholas nods and knows he needed something like this too. "I like the friends I have here, they're pretty much all I have but I can't usually talk to them like this. They're sick of it and they have issues of their own. And there isn't really a teacher here I can talk to."

"Well," Rashmi says, smiling gently, "you can talk to me, yeah? Even if it's just over the phone… I'd be happy to talk to you if you need it."

Nicholas nods to Rashmi. "Thanks, not sure if I'll always take you up on that but thanks for letting me know that you'll be there if I need it. Are you going to talk to Connor to? I think he's probably going to need it also."

"Oh definitely," Rashmi says, bobbing her head. "But it'll be easier to corner him, since he's my roommate. Quenton and Warlock too, if I can help it… Quenton I met once before, Warlock… I'm not sure if I ever have."

"Warlock seems to be doing okay. He's a great guy." Nicholas says before shrugging. "Quenton, well, don't take it personally if he cusses you out and finds ways to make fun of you over talking to you. He's also a great guy just he's got it rough too."

Rashmi snorts, shaking her head. "Oh, I won't. I told you, I've met him once before. He was a *lot* more horrible than that." Chuckling for a moment, she subsides, looking into Nick's eyes. "…..I saw the videos," she says, changing tracks to the vastly more uncomfortable topic. "And… there's something I really, really think you need to hear."

A look of confusion spreads across Nick's face. "The videos? What videos? And what's that?" He's got a nervous feeling though from the tone of her voice.

"Of what happened to you guys, Nicholas," Rashmi says softly "I meant every word I said in the one I put up, at the end… But what I need you to hear is this; whatever else anyone says to you… no matter how bad the dreams get, or how upset you get with people pitying you… Remember that even until the very end, you *never broke,*" she syas, with the quiet urgency of someone who knows exactly what those words mean, much more intimately than most ever could.

Upon hearing that there are videos of it, nausea starts to creep up in the pit of Nicholas' stomach. "There…there are videos of it?" His voice is a bit shaky and a look of nervousness spreads across his face. "H…how did you?"

"They taped what they did to you," Rashmi says, tugging her books out of the battered leather bag at her hip, emptying its contents onto the couch as she notes the faintly green tinge in Nick's face. "To all of you. A friend of mine got into Risman's home, took everything he had on what they were doing. Some of it went to me, the rest… it went to people who could use it to bring them down." Leaning back, she pulls the strap over her head, pressing the bag into Nicholas' hands.

Nicholas just feels sick upon hearing this. That people have watched it, it just doesn't sit well with him. "Risman…" He says in an odd voice. "He was the one, he was there. I recognized him on the news, he lead the attack on my parents and he was one of the ones who…well, you saw." He feels weird, exposed. He looks down at the bag being pressed into his hands and pales. "Please don't tell me these are the videos."

"…Um, no," Rashmi says, looking down at the empty bag. "…You just looked like you were going to throw up." Shaking her head, she takes Nicholas' hands. "Just remember, okay…? You never, ever broke. Trust me… that's more important than you might know. It was my lifeline, after Nigeria, and Romania. Not breaking… that's *hard.* And nobody ever expects you to stay strong after that kind of thing… but you *were.*"

"I feel like it." Nicholas admits and he's not sure if he's in the clear that he'll be okay or not. "I keep hearing people say that, you're strong. If I'm so strong, why am I so broken? I don't feel strong."

"Because it hurts," Rashmi whispers. "Because it's going to hurt until it's scabbed over, and it's going to hurt again every time something pokes that scab. But you're *hurt,* not crippled. You'll have scars all over your heart, but that's okay. You endured hell that no sane person should ever visit on one another… but you didn't break. Cracked… sure. Maybe had some chips knocked off your heart… but that's all."

Nicholas's eyes look to the floor again and there's a nod from him. "It was because we had each other. I think we all would have falled to pieces if we didn't have each other. Especially Warlock. Even when we were convinced it was the end and we were going to die, Lock didn't. And Connor…having to keep him together made it so we couldn't fall to pieces."

Rashmi nods slowly. "That makes a lot of sense," she murmurs. "And explains why you say you weren't strong… but it amounts to the same thing, if you could all keep each other up. So… don't ever, *ever* let anyone convince you different, okay? You… *all* of you… are stronger than I'll ever know."

Nicholas nods to Rashmi and turns his head towards her. "Thanks. For just listening and not making me feel guilty about that stuff. I think I'm gonna head upstairs and get used to my new room. It feels foreign, like I'm sleeping in a hotel room." He gets up and awkwardly stands there, not sure if he should give Rashmi another hug, a shoulder pat or a wave.

Rashmi chuckles, rising to her feet and wrapping the boy into another tight hug. "All right… I'll be sure to have the school give you my new number when I get a proper phone again, okay? Until then, Connor knows where to find me, and our apartment's pretty much clean, if you ever need to get away from the school for the day."

Nicholas returns the hug tightly, holding on for a few seconds longer than normal before letting go. "I'm probably not leaving the school anytime soon, especially to the city. No offense. I just don't want to deal with stares and strangers. Thank you again. G'night Rashmi and…thanks." He says before picking up his Vita and heading to the elevators.

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