2012-05-24: What Is Owed


Jeremy_icon.jpg Rashmi_icon.jpg

Summary: Jeremy talks to Rashmi about the things she missed while in Romania, along with the 'Death' of Donna.

Date: May 24, 2012

Log Title: May 24, 2012

Rating: PG-13

NYC - Ellis Island

For generations this was the gateway to America, with literally millions of immigrants pouring through the doors to find new lives and new hope. These days it's a museum dedicated to that heritage. Wide corridors and high ceilings cause every sound to magnify and echo and distort. That, combined with the weight of history, tend to breed a sense of reverence and quiet not unlike a library or church.

Being social is not something Jeremy is good at so instead of using his free time hang out in the common room or the holoquad, he's out on Ellis Island. His long hair is tied back into a ponytail and he leans against the nearest railing to the entrance to the school, smoking a cigarette. He stares across the water at the city across the way, ocasionally bringing up a gloved hand to wipe at one of his eyes.

Debriefing. The bane of the intelligence community… or at least, those parts of it that intelligence-worthy things happen to. Feeling more than a touch wrung out, Rashmi emerges from the entrance to Barnes Academy with a deep sigh. A week off to recover, at least, has been assured, and will be taken advantage of post-haste. As she makes her way into the open air, Jeremy catches her attention out of the corner of her eye. As she looks closer, it seems he's either been crying, or trying not to… Either one a thought that makes her frown slightly. "Jeremy?" she calls, approaching slowly, "you okay?"

Jeremy jumps at hearing another voice, accidentally dropping his cigarette on the ground. "Rashmi..uh..you're back." He says sounding a bit surprised. "Welcome back…uh…no..not really." He admits before turning back around and staring over the water. "Someone actually did it, they killed her. I…she gave me tea, I gave her cigarettes and she listened. She actually listened and now…" He hangs his head and shakes it as if to say 'she's no more'.

Rashmi blinks, brow furrowing. "…She…?" Tilting her head, she moves a bit closer, leaving roughly an arm's length of space between them as she leans against the railing. "…What happened, Jeremy…?"

"The news." Jeremy says fumbling for a new cigarette, hands shaking a bit. "Envy wanted her head or she was going to kill a bus of kids…someone turned it into her. Kids go free but Donna's dead." He never knew her as Stormwaltzer. "Donna….I probably would have killed myself by now if it wasn't for her." He admits quietly. "I thought about it, a lot. Especially after they let -him- back into the school but, she just was there are the right time and I thought…maybe I'd give it another shot and now, some…some…asshole actually went and fucking did it."

"Oh… *Oh.*" Hands come up to cover her mouth, eyes widening. "Oh my god, I didn't know you knew her, Jeremy…" Moving closer, she reaches out to rest a hand on Jeremy's jacket-clad arm, squeezing. "I'm so sorry…"

In a sort of knee jerk reaction, Jeremy pulls away from the hand. "Don't touch me!" He says shaking before realizing what he did. "I…I'm sorry." He says still keeping his distance and looking down at his feet. "I, didn't know her well just enough to…she made enough of a difference. I never said thank you."

Rashmi holds up her hand, placating. "Don't apologize, Jeremy," she says calmly. "I understand." Looking out over the water, she rests her elbows on the railing, taking in a deep breath. "So… she listened to you. ….And… a bus full of children gets held ransom for her head…" Her eyes move to the Statue of Liberty for a moment, then the redhead looks over her shoulder at Jeremy. "It sounds like young people meant a lot to her… What do you think?"

"It's a bus full of innocent kids Rashmi, a lot of people would try to stop them from being killed." Jeremy says. "But…it shouldn't have been her head. It doesn't even make sense to me." He says wiping his face with the back of his gloved hands and goes back to being quiet.

That's because you've been lucky enough not to know Envy," Rashmi says wearily, raking a hand through her hair. "Envy is… and I try my very, very hardest to see good in people, but Envy… she's crazy. Like, the dangerous kind of crazy. If you're in her way, she'll probably try to kill you. If that doesn't work, she'll immediately start hurting innocents, because she can always hurt you that way. It sounds to me, like… Donna…? Really got under her skin. Worse than the usual 'I can't beat you' nonsense…"

"Lucky…that's not a word I'd ever associate with my life." Jeremy spits out bitterly. "I don't care about the reasons why, it's not going to bring her back to life, but instead some crazy woman named Envy is out there walking around because that's how things are. It doesn't matter if you're good or bad, all that matters is…I don't know just that…I hate this. Everything about it."

"I do too," Rashmi says softly, closing her eyes. "I wish I'd've known you'd talked to her when I came back… I'd've had a lot more to say to Bruce then." Drawing in a deep breath, she looks to Jeremy, tilting her head. "…but that doesn't mean you can't still say thank you, you know…"

Jeremy looks at Rashmi and shakes his head. "Don't. Don't try to pull that on me, once your dead your dead. It doesn't matter cause she won't hear it. There's nothing out there that will hear it." He slowly moves to sit down on the ground, finally managing to light up the cigarette he was trying to earlier, but like usual it takes a while with his gloves. After he takes a long inhale he closes his eyes. "It doesn't matter, she's dead."

"That wasn't what I was going to say," Rashmi says softly, the corner of her mouth quirking upward. "She may be dead, Jeremy, but the difference she made to you isn't. And honestly… If I were her, I'd probably want that difference to keep mattering no matter what happened, y'know?"

It's always an odd thing to be smoking while crying, trying to inhale inbetween shuddering breaths which is what Jeremy is currently doing. He doesn't say anything in reponse but just sits there on the wet pavement as he cries. It's not until he's over halfway through the cigarette that he speaks quietly. "I just want to runaway. From everything."

Rashmi moves a bit closer, but allows Jeremy the choice of whether or not to lean on her shoulder. "I'm sorry it's so hard," she says after a moment, eyes bright with tears. "…But… do me a favor? I meant what I said before, about calling me if you need someone to talk to. So… just remember that, okay? You don't *have* to go through this alone."

Jeremy doesn't lean on her shoulder, as much as he craves that physical affection from another person he's just to scared to let anyone touch him. "It's so hard." He starts. "Everyday is so hard that…I can't deal with anything worse happening and when it does, all I want to do is disappear until I can't feel anything. Everyone says they understand but, it's impossible nor do I want them to be able to understand."

"Then tell me how I can help," Rashmi says, tears standing out in her eyes. "If you don't know… that's fine. But I want you to understand something… When I say I want to help… I *mean* it. If there's anything, anything at all I can do, I will."

"I…I really don't know." Jeremy says in a voice that is barely audiable. "I just want to be able to manage my powers, I see you all here living something close to a normal life, with what's stuck in my head, I can't. My own roommate tried to kill me, because…he wanted to see if he still could do it. Maybe I'm lucky he couldn't." There's a bitter sort of 'heh' that exits him. "When I say I don't want you to understand, I'm not trying to push you away it's just…to understand you'd have to be a place where heroin is a good idea. Where taking a shower and getting dressed impose a problem everyday. Have your parents reject you because of what you are and end up stranged in the middle of a strange city with nothing. I don't want people to understand that beacuse I don't want people go to through it."

"That makes sense, Jeremy… And I honestly think you're *amazing* for thinking that way. I don't know all that many people who have the presence of mind to really *understand* that… and all of them are people I admire." At this, Rashmi smiles, then blinks sharply. "…Wait… What was that about your roommate?"

Jeremy presses the bridge of his nose with a hand and sighs. "Kai, or Thirteen, he's an ex-Hydra operative. He…tried to kill me. And when he couldn't he made sure I saw -everything- before stabbing me and leaving. He said he wanted to make sure I didn't run away and that I needed to tell Barnes about it." There's an anger to his voice as he speaks. "Now he's back cause he's trying to be a good person, but I've seen everything and…" His voice trails off in an angry frustration so he shakes his head instead.

"*What.*" Rashmi's voice, flat, eyes wide. "He…. *what?* And what's the school doing about it, for you? Have they *said* anything at all to you?"

Jeremy shrugs his shoulders like it's nothing, but after all that was said, it's easy to know it's not. "It's not like it matters, they never really did a whole lot for me except give me a place that wasn't the streets." He let's out a sigh. "I asked to take more marksmenship classes."

"Yes," Rashmi says, "yes it *does* matter. *All* of it matters, Jeremy… And if that's all they've given you…" Her back straightens, righteous anger glittering in her eyes. "…Then I think it's long past time they make good on what you *should* have had from day one."

"Who's to say what should and shouldn't have been done. The only thing they've done is helped me kick my drug habit, maybe that's enough for them." Jeremy says shrugging. "They don't owe me anything."

"After what's happened? Oh yes, they owe you a *lot* more than that. Have they bothered to make appointments with Dr. Samson for you? Did they even *tell* you what was going on?" Drawing in a deep breath, she shakes her head. "…Probably not, or you'd never have let them put you together. Did they tell you *why?* after at least? Oh no, Jeremy… Don't shrug. This is a real reason for you to be angry, and you'd have every right to be. And even if you don't think it's worth it… No. I won't let this go. *This* is something I can do for you, and I promise you I will back you all the way if I have to."

Jeremy curls up a bit more on himself, almost like a person hiding when being yelled at. "I'm not rooming with him anymore." He says quietly. "I'm by myself now. I'm off drug watch I guess." He says as a maybe, positive point? "They had Kai tell me he was back and that….he'd changed." He's still hurt about the lack of apology, even if he would or wouldn't have accepted it, the lack of act stings. "….thanks."

Rashmi nods once. "This is what I'm here for, Jeremy," she says, voice softening. "And if Barnes *can't* help, rather than just won't… Well. I know people who might have a better shot at it. It's been awhile since I've called in any favors at all, and I have a lot of goodwill stored up that needs using."

Finally looking over at Rashmi, Jeremy offers a small, if tear-filled, smile. "You don't have to do that for me. I'm not…" He trails off before saying the words he wants to 'worth it'. He takes a deep breath. "I just don't know what to do myself. I'm not used to fighting for anything, for me that is."

"Then maybe it's time to start practicing," Rashmi replies quietly, holding out her arms. "Because if I'd been here, I'd've been able to do something about it then… And I'm honestly really, really sorry I wasn't, Jeremy. You *deserve* better than what you've had, and… well, I can't think of anything more worthwhile than seeing that you get it."

"You don't have any reason to be sorry." Jeremy says, not to be mean or anything but almost that he feels awkward about it. "I started learning how to use firearms better to protect myself. I don't want to let anyone try to kill me again."

Rashmi nods slowly. "It's a good start… I started doing that after Nigeria. I don't like fighting, but… I'd rather know and not need, than the other way around."

"Everyone here has powers that they can use to defend themselves with, me, I don't." Jeremy says and if the arms are still open, he takes a deep breath and covers his lower face with the scarf he usually wears before taking a cautious lean in, tense and shaking but allowing the physical contact. "People think that just because you can't see my powers, that I look normal must mean I have an advantage….most of the time I think it's the opposite."

Rashmi closes her arms slowly, making sure that whatever bare skin shows, touches nothing but clothing. "I've had my powers taken away from me too many times to rely on them, anyway," she says after a moment. "But I don't for one second think I'm anything but unbelievably lucky in what I can do, and I try not ever to take it for granted that anyone else is the same. And you're right… I can't even imagine everything you've been through, not completely… But that doesn't mean I don't think you're one of the bravest people I know, just for even *trying* to hold up under it all."

Shaking and tense, Jeremy eventually moves his arms to return the hug. "I wish I could have my powers taken away from me. So I could just touch something. I think, for me, it'd be a blessing." He says stepping away from the hug. "I'm not brave." He mutters through the cloth, before lowering it from his face slowly. "I've thought about killing myself so many times just to stop all of this…just, I'm to afraid to do it. Is that brave?"

"Jeremy… you're looking at it the wrong way," Rashmi murmurs with a small smile, squeezing gently. "You've been hurt *so badly* by your life, that you're afraid to do almost *anything* because it might hurt you even more… But you still try. And *that* is practically the *definition* of bravery."

Jeremy shakes his head. "Rashmi…I'm afraid if I go through one more hardship I'm going to turn back go drugs or worse. It's the hardest thing to go through. If I was braver I would have done something. I would know what to do to stop feeling so afraid, so untrusting, of everything but I don't. I'm even afraid of the one person who I was growing closest with. It's like, it's impossible to believe she really does care."

"Small steps," Rashmi says, leaning her head back to look down at the teen. "Once you've convinced yourself that, yes, for you *getting up in the morning* is brave, then you can push it out a little. Start to take back your life."

Jeremy isn't convinced by Rashmi's words but obliges them with a nod. "So you were gone for a while, what happened?" He asks taking out another cigarette and lighting it up. "I just heard that you and the Russian girl went missing."

Rashmi nods, breaking the hug away to give Jeremy room to smoke. "…We were kidnapped, actually… Um… by… well… Count Dracula. I got taken… Valentine's Day?"

Jeremy's eyes bug out a bit at what she said but the quiet, timid voice still remains. "You don't mean an actual vampire, Count Dracula guy from the books do you? Or was it some guy pretending to be count Dracula?" He asks her before frowing a bit. "And sorry you god kidnapped."

"No," Rashmi says, sounding a bit tired. "I mean the actual, real, King of All Vampires Dracula." Sighing, she rakes a hand though her hair. "…I guess he wanted his son to get married, so, they made a deal; the son'd pick a bunch of ladies from New York, and then he'd have to choose which one would get turned into… well… a vampire."

Jeremy just watches Rashmi for a bit and bites his lower lip. "I'm sorry." He says finally after finding no other words to say. "I'm glad your back. Thanks also for putting up with me and my…issues. If…uh…you want to talk, I can listen." He figures it's only fair to offer. "Just…don't make me touch you to find out, not that I think you would."

Rashmi shakes her head, smiling gently. "It's okay, Jeremy… I'm mostly just tired because I just got out of debriefing, and those are a *horrible* pain. Like rolling together a psych therapy session and an informal inquest all at once. And really, it helps just *being* able to help you, y'know?"

Jeremy nods as he had to do them back during the whole Kick fiasco. "With Kai I didn't have to do to much of one, I just shared what I could through my powers." He says but most of the aftermath of that is a blur. "Thanks again. Once I'm done with this cigarette though I have to get to my next class. Classwork keeps me busy and I'm hoping to finally graduate next month."

Rashmi nods. "I'll let you know by the end of the weekend what we can do for you, Jeremy… And with all the options I can think of, I'm *sure* that there'll be *something,* at least."

Jeremy nods to Rashmi and offers her a small smile again. "Thanks again." He puts out the last of his cigarette with his foot then picks it up and places it in the proper trash receptical. He doesn't have much faith in what she'll be able to do but it's the thought that means something to him. "I'll see you around the school and I'm glad you're back.

Rashmi bobs her head, giving Jeremy a bright smile. "I'm glad to be back, yeah… I'll check in now and again, but, mostly I'm off for the next week. Which means there is literally no time you can't call me if you need it." Lifting a hand in a small farewell wave, she makes her way off Ellis Island, and toward home.

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