2011-10-09: What If You're Wrong


Rashmi_icon.jpg Quenton_icon.jpg

Summary: Rashmi and Quenton meet, to Quenton's frustration.

Date: October 9, 2011

Log Title: What If You're Wrong?

Rating: PG

Xavier mansion — Kitchen

This kitchen was designed to feed large numbers of people, and looks it with its bright white walls and stainless steel appliances. The stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher are all larger than normal. There is an island with stools around it for people to sit and eat around along with a table for twelve by the windows in back. Along the wall is a hole in the wall looking into the dining room so food can be passed back and fourth. Anything you want to cook or eat in the kitchen you will find the food and supplies to do so.

It's lunch time, but expecting Quenton to eat with the other children is, well, hopeless. Yes, instead he's in the kitchen, staring at the refridgerator door with hatred. "Damn it," he mutters. If he tries to open it, he might rip the door off, or accidentally toss the appliance over his shoulder. So, instead, he just taps his foot, eyeing it suspiciously. "Hi tech place, so… open?"

The kitchen door bumps open, admitting a dark-skinned whirlwind of activity of the utterly mundane variety. Bookbag dropped onto one of the chairs at the island, laptop placed on the counter in front of it, cupboard doors opened and pots and pans clanging. "Sorry… s'cuse me," she says as she edges past Quenton, eyes large and smiling under a pixie-cut mop of coppery-red hair. "Just need to fill this up and get it boiling and I'll be out of your way… oh hey would you mind getting some garlic, carrots, potatoes, and I *think* there's stew beef in the fridge? I'd really appreciate it, thanks."

The door, alas, continues to sit, deaf as a post and dumb as a sack of hammers.

Quenton stares at the girl, now, dumbly, before watching her set a few things, the clanging doing nothing but making the vein in his temple twitch. His skin is tanned, but dark red veins, instead of the usual blue, show on his arms and on his forehead. "Uh…" He glances at the refridgerator, and then glances towards the girl. Hide weakness with rudeness, even if she's nice looking. "Who the hell do you think I am, your kitchen buddy?"

"No," comes the immediate reply, "but you were standing right there looking like you weren't sure what you wanted, so who'd it hurt to ask, y'know?" Lifting a shoulder, the girl makes shooing motions. "Have a sit, then, I'll get what you were looking for. Which was…?"

"Something to eat," Quenton mutters, but doesn't elaborate, moving over to the small table and dropping onto a chair, making his body limp so that he doesn't crush it. He glances at the girl, pressing his lips tightly at her offer. "But you don't have to make me anything. I was just rude to you."

Rashmi shrugs. "You're here, you're hungry, I was making something anyway and I always make enough for leftovers, why should that stop me? Besides. You sound like you need comfort food." she says with a nod, popping open the fridge and loading herself down with ingredients. "It'll be a bit, how hungry are you?"

"I don't need comfort food, but I can eat," Quenton mutters, while he leans against the table limply. He glances over at the girl, pressing his lips tightly together but not moving yet to help her. "Who are you, anyway?" he wonders to Rashmi.

Food prep is halted, the girl moving over to the pantry nearby and digging out a box of Pop-Tarts from way in the back, blithely ignoring the [LUCAS] scrawled in sharpie across the front. "Here… Brown Sugar Cinnamon, should tide you over," she says, tossing one of the packets on the table and replacing the box. "If Lucas gets upset, just tell him I gave them to you." And back to the stove she goes, cutting up vegetables with the quick, sure strokes of long practice. "Rashmi Franklin, actually… sorry I didn't introduce myself. I do volunteer work here on Sundays, since it's about the only time I can get a good chunk of time free anymore. You are?"

Quenton doesn't seem to care either, glancing down at the pack of food and picking it up a moment. "So, what, you're some kind of teacher here?" he wonders to her, eyeing the woman a moment before he rips the packet in half, including the foil wrapping. His fingers get a little messy, covered in some of the inside of the pastry, and so he just eats messily.

"Nope," floats up from Rashmi's turned back, a tremendous pot of water set to boil, mushrooms and garlic and onions frying in what looks like way too much butter, "I just come in and help out, sometimes. Usually cleaning or talking to kids who need a friend. Sometimes both, really. Anyway, how d'you like the school so far?"

"Right," Quenton replies, glancing over towards Rashmi, and watching her cook, inhaling the scent. If there's one thing he misses about being able to control his strength, is cooking. And piano. "I don't need a friend. And the school hasn't helped me a bit at controlling my powers yet."

"*Everyone* needs friends," Rashmi counters, tipping the quartered chunks of stew meat into the sauteeing pan, resulting in a burst of noise and fragrance as the meat begins to cook. "Some people just don't think they deserve them. Which is silly, but understandable, really. I mean, who'd honestly *want* to go through life being too horrible to have anyone genuinely like them, y'know? Anyway… what *are* your powers? That might be a good start."

"I don't," Quenton promises, glancing over at the girl, his sunglasses hiding his eyes as he watches her. He wets his lips, before stuffing some more of the pop tarts into his mouth. "I'm strong. Stronger than most kids at the school, and I can fly and take a lot of punishment. But the problem is I can't control that strength, and sometimes… well. There's a reason the Paragons chose Rage as my name."

"Ooh," Rashmi says, the wince audible. "Yeah… that's gotta be pretty upsetting… But honestly? If they're not teaching you how to control your powers, they must think you can do it yourself. And… well, I can see *why* they would. C'mere, I'll show you. Get me some water from the fridge?"

"No," Quenton mutters, already stiffening. "Besides, my hands are dirty." He glances at his hands, now, before trning his eyes to Rashmi. "With brown sugar crap. Anyway, you're closer," he mutters, shaking his head.

"Yes," Rashmi answers with a chuckle, "but this is *educational.* I'm just getting water out of it as a bonus. Either way. Go back to the fridge? I promise I'm serious about this, and besides I'm plying you with masala and naan. Please?"

"No," Quenton says firmly, glancing towards the appliance, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand before rising. "This was a mistake. I shouldn't have mentioned it to you at all." He eyes the fridge. "Anyway, there's a sink you can get water from."

"All right, all right, sorry," Rashmi says, taking the skillet off the heat and turning. "Seriously. I'm sorry. You don't have to if you don't want to. Besides, you couldn't break that thing if you tried, it's reinforced and the doors are made to pop off anyway. Just, I was going to show you how you *could* open it up without worrying about how strong you are." Indeed, the redhead *does* look sincerely contrite. "I can't help it, really… Ask anyone, I'm kind of a huge busybody. It's just the way I'm wired, really, so… stay long enough to eat, at least?"

"Fine," says Quenton abrubtly, though his voice sounds tense. "Fine." He glances towards the refridgerator. "Fine, show me," he murmurs, moving towards the sink a moment, before clearing his throat and glancing over at the redhead, then down at the sink. "But uh… first can you turn on the water for me? I don't care if it's hot or cold."

Rashmi's shoulders droop slightly, a small, relieved sigh heard and she nods. "Thanks… and seriously, sorry for making you uncomfortable." That said, she turns on the hot water and returns to her cooking, tipping the cooked food into a large saucepan, tossing in chunks of peeled potato and carrot in after. "I'm guessing you break stuff 'cos you're used to just doing stuff without thinking about it, right? And you never know *how* much you have to hold back now?"

"I know some things. I have a trick. Just because I'm very strong and can take more damage than most people, doesn't mean my body is heavier than normal. So I go limp. It's how I close doors and other stuff. Dead weight. But any application of force and I destroy things," Quenton murmurs, quietly, shifting on his feet, nd scratching the back of his head. For a jock, he has a good vocabulary.

Rashmi nods slowly, adding a large splash of milk, a dusting of spices, and a generous amount of curry powder to the sauce, giving it a brief stir before clapping a lid on. "Which means *pulling* things has to be terrifying, especially considering how expensive everythign here probably is… yeah, that totally *does* make sense. Anyway, all I was going to ask you to do is, wrap your hand around the fridge handle. You don't have to squeeze, just go slow, and stop when your fingers touch it, y'know?"

Quenton wets his lips, before he moves to the refridgerator, touching the handle of the fridge. Whether it's a light touch or not, the appliance tilts towards the counter it's against, but not enough to knock it over. His hand is trembling, however, and tense, as if afraid he's going to break something, or do something. He intakes a short breath, closing his eyes behind his dark sunglasses.

"Okay… Now, relax," Rashmi says, eyeing the tilt the appliance picks up. "Just go limp like you normally do. Seriously, you're doing good." Something at the back of her mind nudges her, and she turns to return part of her attention to the sauce, releasing a cloud of buttery, rich fragrance, before the lid clatters back into place. Once the fridge is settled, just pu-u-ull your hand back, as slow as you can. Remember, it's not about how hard you can pull with a fridge, as long as it's steady. Just relax, be patient."

"Pulling. Pulling is bad. Pulling is a terrible idea," Quenton murmurs, shaking his head now and glancing towards Rashmi, furrowing his brow now and scanning over the girl while he rubs the side of his face. "I don't know about this. I don't," he mutters, glancing towards the refrigerator, and inhaling, then exhaling.

"Even if you *did* mess up," Rashmi says, her voice quiet and calm, "nobody would think you were stupid. *Everyone* has powers issues, but you can't control them without practice. And you're *definitely* not the first incredibly strong guy they've ever had walk through the doors, you know." Lifting her shoulder, she turns back to the stove. "Honestly, it's entirely up to you. If you don't want to? Go ahead and let go, the food's almost done anyway and I know where they keep the heavy silverware. I promise, Quenton, you've got nothing forcing you to try except what you *want* to do. I just told you what you *could* do."

"I would think I was stupid, for even attempting it," Quenton replies, pressing his lips tightly together while he stares at the appliance. He turns his gaze onto the girl and then moves back towards the table. "Heavy silverware?" he wonders, going limp. "Can it withstand twenty thousand pounds of pressure?" He mutters this miserably, but hell, who knows what Xavier's is capable of these days.

"Maybe? All I know is I can barely lift it," The girl says with a shrug. "I'd be more worried about the table myself, but… Hm. I'll have to talk to Ms. Frost. I think I have an idea, but, she'd need to bother Forge and that's something I'd really rather leave to her since I'm going back to school in the morning. *Any*way. Probably you'll want to sit at the island there, I'll have the food ready in a second. So… where'd you come from?"

"The Bronx." Quenton shrugs his shoulders as he glances at the girl. "I thought the Mansion offered college courses." He leans back, now. "Unless you're going to a more prestigious place then this." He drums his fingers on the table, raising them and letting them fall limp. Fun, but he couldn't play piano like this. "Where do you come from?"

You say, "Couple blocks outside of Hell's Kitchen, actually," Rashmi answers, chuckling. "I wouldn't say *prestigious,* because…. well one that's just *way* too pretentious, and two because it's hard to get a law degree here. ….Not… that it's much *easier* anwhere else, especially where I'm going, but, apparently it's doable so I'm not complaining." The sauce is checked on again, the pot of rice studiously left alone, and now she turns, leaning back against the counter. "The Bronx, huh? First time out of the City?""

"Yeah. I hope to go to Russia, someday, though. I have descendants there." An easy lie. He did want to go to Russia, but not for that reason. "Anyway, where are you going to school? Something Ivy League?" he asks, leaning on his fist as limply as he could, making him look deceptively exhausted. "Anyway, the one good thing about it is the beach nearby. The sand is good practice."

Rashmi chuckles, shaking her head. "Hardly. Mami and Papi could never afford it, even with scholarships. Fortunately, it's kind of an open secret here that SHIELD recruits for their school in the City, that's where I go. Probably they're a little annoyed at me that I'm after Constitutional Law instead of whatever covert operations they'd want, but, Ms. Drew is *really* nice, and I think Ms. Walters would pitch a fit if they didn't allow me."

"Oh," Quenton says, lifting his eyes to the ceiling. "That place. Heard of it. Congratulations. I thought SHIELD was anti mutant or whatever, but then, hell, I don't know. It was a SHIELD guy who spoke to Mister Summers and got me into this school." He scratches at the side of his face, now.

"…You've either been talking to Bruce, or happened to be around when he was throwing a fit," Rashmi snorts, voice dark for a moment. Shaking her head, she shrugs. "Frankly it'd be silly of them to be, honestly. I mean, they work with the Avengers, of which two teach *here.* They're just… well, Xavier's is for mutants, right? But there's lots of other powered types besides mutants. Aliens, magic, all kinds of stuff. They take them all in… as long as they could be good SHIELD agents, trained up right. Just, they tend to default with mutants in bringing them here I guess, which makes more sense since Xavier's has been doing this for a *lot* longer."

"So, do you think Xavier's will turn away some sort of alien, or… wait, magic? Magic exists? Bullshit," Quenton mutters, though he does sound a little fascinated. If mutants exist, why not magic? "I mean, how can we tell the difference? What if an alien came down and accidentally mated with a human and started mutant powers? What if we're all born with magic in us? I don't know. It's hard to think about it all."

"Good questions," Rashmi says, grinning. "Actually, mutants have a specific gene you can test for… Besides which, there's Cerebra; if Ms. Frost needed to, she could locate every mutant on the planet…. though, *doing* something about it's not usually so simple. But yeah, Xavier's just not equipped to *handle* aliens like they are mutants. Oh, and trust me; magic is *definitely* real. Probably you'll have proof before too long, but for now? Yeah. Even took an elective class taught by a pixie last year, it was pretty wild."

"Well, maybe the specific gene is only for a specific mutant strain," murmurs Quenton. "Maybe that pixie who taught your elective class is secretly a uh… mutant. Maybe she mutated." He shrugs his shoulders. "Then again, you've been at it longer than me, so you'd know better than I, I guess," he agrees, before shifting on his feet and clearing his throat.

Rashmi snorts, shaking her head. "Hey, don't apologize. I *like* arguing, Quenton, always have. I mean I'm only getting into law so I can get into politics, eventually, and you *have* to like a good argument to be an honest politician. Besides, I'm not perfect; I could be wrong about everything I believe in, who knows?"

"Why do you want to be a politician?" wonders Quenton, now, hands moving behind his head and fingers interlacing while he glances down at Rashmi, tilting his head. "Are you an idealist or power hungry? Or both?" It's hard to tell if he's joking or not, he gives no indication on his face. The sunglasses hiding his eyes help.

Rashmi grins, pushing off the counter and heading to the cupboards. "Oh, idealist all the way. I get it from my parents, actually; they spent everything they had immigrating here from West Bengal, pretty soon after they got married. They *really* believed in the American Dream, y'know, and I just sort of… grew up around all this reverence for the *hope* that America used to bring just by being, y'know? It's a shame it's not like that anymore… but, who's to say it can't be again?"

"Yeah, well, good luck," Quenton murmurs, pressing his lips tightly together as he watches Rashmi, then leans on the table limply. "The American Dream. What's that supposed to be, anyway? Equality for all? That's a laugh. Freedom? I have a curfew." He sighs, quietly. "Though I deserve mine, I guess." His eyes glance towards Rashmi.

"The American Dream," Rashmi repeats, though with much less scorn, as the stove is turned off, bowls taken down and filled first with fragrant, yellow-tinged rice, on which is ladled rich, buttery golden sauce, a generous helping of vegetables and beef in each bowl. "The idea that there is no such thing as reaching too high. If you want it badly enough, and you work hard enough, you could in fact earn everything you ever wanted. The land of the second chance and the fresh slate. Opportunity, Quenton… This country was founded by people who believed with all their hearts that the best good you can do for people is give them a choice. Nobody, here, does anything without *wanting* to. And trust me… that's pretty rare, in a lot of other places."

"That's a lie," Quenton mutters. "At least for me, that's a lie, and for like… the Hulk. Mutants who can't control their powers." The tall mutant clears his throat. "But I know what you meant, I'm taking it too literally." He clears his throat, now, and sits back in his seat. "But the problem, is, sweetheart, that's all it is. Just a Dream."

Rashmi lifts a shoulder, setting one bowl in front of the boy. "Maybe," she says, reaching into a drawer and with some small bit of effort, extracting a dinner spoon that could, indeed, probably be used to beat a man to death. "But what good is a dream if it can't be made into reality? Nothing's ever perfect, but that doesn't mean we don't get anything out of trying as hard as we can to get as *close* to perfect as possible. Milk, soda, or tea?"

Quenton shrugs his shoulders, while he glances towards Rashmi and rising to his feet. He walks over, quietly, to take the spoon from her. Well. He doesn't take it, just holds out a hand for her to give it over. "I don't know. Some people rely more on hope than reality. Like religious people, all about faith or whatever. You religious?" he the wonders to the girl.

"Yup," Rashmi says, dropping the spoon into his hand, turning to fill up her own bowl. "Mar Tomas Syrian Catholic, just like Mami and Papi. I just don't think it's the *only* religion, which is honestly the problem with a lot of faiths. Everybody caring more about who's right, and the real message gets lost," she says, shrugging. "Besides, the point of faith is *supposed* to be something to lean on when things are so tough you think you can't take it anymore. Faith's pretty much like courage, that way, and it's gotten me through more things than I want to even think about."

"Yeah, well, you'll forgive me for being uh… agnostic." Quenton shifts slightly, while he runs a hand through his dark hair. "I'm not going to pretend I have faith, or courage. I'm just afraid of backing down or running away." He wets his lips, before turning his gaze to Rashmi. "Mar Tomas Syrian Catholic. What's that mean?"

Rashmi lifts a shoulder. "Like I said, my way's not the *only* way, don't worry. Um… It's a Christian sect that got folded into Catholicism way, way back. Story goes, after Jesus died, the Apostle Thomas got on a boat and headed out to spread the teachings. He ended up landing in Assyria, and the faith spread from there. Whether or not it's true? Still kind of interesting, considering that it managed to grow in the middle of a pretty Hinduism-dominated area. Anyway. Sure you have faith. And courage. You haven't walked yet, right? I mean, courage is just being terrified down to your bones… and then doing what you need to do anyway. Same with faith, no matter where you place it; it's hope that things will get better, and the will to see it happen."

"Right, well. I don't know. We'll see," is all Quenton offers, there, while he sits back down, staring at the large spoon. "I feel like I'm eating off the plate of Thor," he mutters, before leaning back limply, watching Rashmi. "So, Assyria? Like, as in, the ancient Assyria? Or am I thinking some place else? I'm not the smartest kid in this school."

"That's one thought, yeah. Though I haven't paid a *lot* of attention to historical geography that I know for sure. I know he basically spread Christianity in India, and Christian tribes've been reported in North India since like the second century. So, again, who knows? How's the food?"

Quenton takes a careful bite of the food, careful not to touch the edges of the bowl with his spoon. One spoonful. Two spoonfuls. She's good. "It's good," he follows with. "Really good. You should have aspire to be a cook. I used to want that, long time ago. Then I wanted to be a pianist." His hand closes around the spoon, squeezing it tightly. "That was too long ago, though, and is never gonna happen. So, I don't know what I want. To be left alone, I guess."

"But," Rashmi says quietly, nodding her thanks at the compliment, "how do you *know* it's not going to happen? Sure, you're superstrong. Okay. Well, I work for *She-Hulk.* I *know* it's not the end of everything, if you don't want it to be."

"Yeah, well. I have an anger issue, and if I get too angry, I lose control. Become a monster. And each time I do, I change. I raged the first time, and…" He lifts a hand, taking his sunglasses delicately off by limply making his hand fall to the side and slide it off, displaying his eyes, the irises red, glowing, though only his irises, not like most folk with glowing eyes who take on an entire color without pupils or such. "The second time I raged, my blood is red, and I mean, before oxygen hits it, even in my veins. If it happens again, well… who knows?"

Rashmi nods slowly, leaning close to look into Quenton's eyes. "Yeah… scary question, isn't it? Who knows? Every horrible thing in the world could be sitting there, waiting to answer that." Smiling gently, she slips off her stool, moves to the fridge, and gets out a couple bottles of tea, pausing to snatch a bendy straw from a drawer. "The question *is,* though…" The cpas are twisted off, the straw dropped into one and slid over. "What's it worth to you, to have your dreams back? A little hurt, a little humiliation, a lot of hard work? Me? I'd say so."

"I don't know," Quenton murmurs, shaking his head. "I just want to be left alone, now, I guess. I mean, if I ever do learn to control my strength, I imagine I'll have to still be careful, with every thing I do. And I don't know if I can play like that. Let alone cook. I miss doing both." He sighs quietly, placing his forehead into one hand limply while he eats. "So, are you a mutant?"

By way of answer, a half-dozen spheres, glowing faintly blue, fade into existence above Rashmi's head, lazily revolving in orbit above the counter. "Being a mutant *sucks,*" she says quietly, sipping at her tea. "It's like double puberty, only without the instruction manual. There's nothing to tell you, or *especially* your parents 'hey, this happens sometimes, here's how you deal with it.' And teenagers likewise suck at coping with pretty much anything rationally. That's why I'm *so glad* this school even exists, for all I didn't know about it until the teacher came to our door."

Quenton glances above Rashmi's head, staring at the spheres, before nodding his head and glancing down at his bowl, taking another bite of his meal. "When I discovered I was a mutant, I was able to control my strength," he confides. "I was so strong, and I became… uh, you'll think this is silly. I was Avenger Boy, I don't know if you heard of him. I flew around, stopping gangbangers from beating people and generally having fun with my powers. Then I raged. Red eyes and unable to control my strength. It sucks." He shifts a moment, then wonders, wryly, "There's an instruction manual for puberty?"

Rashmi does, to her credit, at least try to stifle the chuckle at the tale of Avenger Boy. And even mostly succeeds. But she does sober as the tale wears on, and she nods slowly. "That… yeah, that sounds about right… It's stress, I think… oh, Dr. McCoy could tell you way more about it than I could, but he also loves his twenty-dollar words and sometimes he's just impossible to follow. But… yeah. Whatever happened when you… raged? It makes sort of a bit of sense, why things are the way they are now. And it's a horrible truth; nothing is ever going to be the way it was before. Now, you're always gonna be strong. You're going to have to be careful about every last little thing. And… please don't be mad at me if I sound like I'm prying, which I'm not, but it sounds like you know *really* well what happens when you get too mad. I won't ask why; that's up to you. Just… I *do* know how you feel, a little. I've been there."

"The first time I raged, I was trying to stop a bank robbery, me and my best friend, Jake. The problem was, it was a huge bank, and the people robbing it were out of our league. They killed him, and almost killed me, before… the rage took over." Quenton wets his lips, glancing at Rashmi's face to watch it. "Anyway, I killed six people. Brutally. My father's a police captain, and he the first on scene. He didn't even know I was a mutant until then. What a fucking wake up call, huh? They took me to jail, not juvie hall." The tall mutant shrugs. "So, yeah, I know all too well what happens when I get too mad. I mutate, kill, and can't stop myself."

What passes over the redhead's face is not surprise, or horror… however much in a perfect world it ought to be. Instead there's only sorrow on her face, and a deep hurt glimpsed briefly in her eyes. Reaching out, she rests her hand on his forearm. "…Thank you, Quenton. I know it hurts to talk about. Just… remember why you're here. This isn't a jail, or a camp, or a place to stick people nobody else can deal with. This school…? It's all about second chances. About *hope.* And when we leave, hopefully, we've forgiven ourselves for the things we couldn't control. And we know how to keep it from happening again. You can still be anything you want to, Quenton… and it's okay to ask for help, getting there."

"Thank me? For what? For telling you I'm a monster?" Quenton snorts at that, shaking his head and leaning back again. "And yeah, sure, my mother and father send money or whatever, but they didn't hesitate to take me here. My sister's the only one who ever calls, and my brother ignores my existence. This feels like a prison to me. Sure, they let me leave, but they're not going to help me if I suddenly spaz out and accidentally kill someone. I'd bet money on that." He scratches at his face viciously, enough for thin lines of blood to be seen on his cheek.

"For telling me something that *obviously* hurts to even think about," Rashmi answers, voice even, "however much you can't get it out of your head. And of *course* they sent you; would you let *your* son go to jail if there was a way out? *I* wouldn't, not if I had a did that did what you did. I mean, c'mon; my boss' specialty is defense lawyering for powered people. I *know* you don't deserve jail. I can name a dozen people off the top of my head who've been through what you've been through, and they'd agree. Most of them? Either went to this school, taught at it, or *do* teach. What you're here for is to learn how *not* to lose control of yourself. Or at the very least, to make sure it only happens when there's no other way for you. I *don't* think you're a monster, y'know… I *know* monsters. You are nowhere near that, and you don't ever have to be."

"Yeah, well, guess what, sweetcheeks? If I spaz out and no one is fast enough to stop me from killing someone here, someone you probably know? Your opinion of me will change. Quickly. I guarantee it," Quenton mutters, stuffing a spoon into his meal, but halts it before it hits the bottom. "And hey, don't get me wrong, babyface. I appreciate the good faith, but I'm telling you that you're wasting it on me. Tons of other people in this school I wager would be better off with it." He spoons another spoonful into his mouth.

Rashmi chuckles, a small, sad smile touching her face. "Maybe… maybe. But, personally? I can't help but think, 'What if you're wrong?' And that's enough to tell me I'm not wasting it."

"What if you are?" shoots back Quenton, after swallowing the food in his mouth, watching Rashmi. "Anyway. I'm not going to let it happen. I'll continue my little push people away stratedgy. It seems to work so far. And I like the reputation of being disliked. It means people leave me the hell alone."

Rashmi glances down at the half-empty bowl in front of Quenton, then back up, and raises an eyebrow. Nothing, apparently, needs to be said at the moment.

Quenton glances down at the half empty bowl, then back up to Rashmi. Realizing something, he clears his throat, then pushes the bowl away. "Yeah, okay. Maybe I'm being contradictory right now."

Rashmi reaches out, pushing the bowl back. "Maybe… but maybe that says more about your strategy than you think, y'know?"

Quenton shrugs his shoulders, pushing the bowl again away stubbornly. Unfortunately, his strength acts out, and it whizzes by Rashmi, hitting the wall uselessly but planting food on it and richocheting off, hitting just above the door and getting some sauce on the table. Quenton doesn't seem to care, though. "We'll see."

Rashmi starts at the sudden speed of the bowl, watching it ricochet around the kitchen, and turns back to Quenton, lacing her fingers under her chin and shrugging. "Looks like we will," is her answer, and with that she slides off the stool, picking up the bowl and carrying it to the sink. A towel is wet, and it becomes clear that Rashmi intends to clean the mess up there, on the spot, without so much as a word of complaint.

Quenton watches Rashmi, and seems to be agitated, though less angry, maybe, at the fact that she seems unconcerned with what he just did. "Who are you?" he mutters, rising to his feet, now, grumpily watching her grab the towel. "I'm not helping you clean up," he says, though he hesitates, watching for the girl's reaction to him.

Rashmi lifts a shoulder, crouching down to wipe the mess off the floor. "I already told you; I'm Rashmi Franklin." In silence, she wipes up as best she can, pausing by the sink to grab a sponge and wet it down. "And whether or not you help, honestly? Your choice. I'm *pretty* sure I didn't ask, but I could be wrong."

Quenton watches Rashmi, before muttering and shaking his head. "Don't worry. I'll work on you soon enough," he grunts, heading towards the door, opting not to thank her for the food, despite having liked it. Whether this is because he's ungrateful or trying to be a jerk is up to Rashmi to decide.

"We'll see," Rashmi calls, as Quenton heads for the door. "Just remember… I've been doing this a lot longer than you have!"

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