If You Had A Choice

Rashmi finally gets down to the core of Alexis's issues. Well. One of the cores, anyway. (CW: language, but it's the TV's fault)

Date: 2017-12-16
Pose Count: 22
Stahlritter 2017-12-16 21:25:18 87633
The state of Alex isn't entirely news, anymore, to a lot of Mahou. Even less so to people who were actively involved in rescuing him, naturally. So of course, Rashmi would know that he is still keeping himself in the ECFH, even if he has more or less advanced leaps and bounds in his physical rehabilitation. ... Much less so in the mental and emotional one.

At the very least, in this particular moment he's found in the living room of the apartment proper, rather than hiding in the room assigned for him. Sat down on a couch, staring at the tv screen while some anime with strangely often changing color scheme plays through it -- and both his hands work through the process of lifting handweights up and down. Because apparently he's obsessed with building up bulk again, for the most inexplicable reasons.
Rashmi Terios 2017-12-16 21:41:15 87635
Even when mahou requirements die down, some girls keep themselves busy enough that clearing the schedule can take some effort. But, delivery box in hand and Korma Chameleon ballcap on head, Rashmi finds herself in front of the door to the ECFH. Opening the door, she exchanges her shoes for house-slippers, then knocks on the corner of the wall. "Alexis-san?" she says, in case new company is unwelcome unless announced. "It's Rashmi, and I brought lunch?"
Stahlritter 2017-12-16 21:52:50 87636
Rashmi's entry through the door comes in time with a loud, accented english yell of "HOOOLEY SHEEEIIT!", of all things.

It is, thankfully, just the television, rather than any actual emergency. And if such wasn't clear from the start, it's followed by Alex's voice calling (in japanese), "Over here!"
Rashmi Terios 2017-12-16 21:59:53 87637
The yell gives Rashmi pause -- I mean, c'mon, you hear a lot of things when you walk into the ECFH but not usually that -- but on Alexis' reply, she gives herself a shake, and trots the delivery box in, all smiles. "Looks like you're doing a lot better, Alexis-san. It's good to see you up and about, I hope you're hungry?" Sitting the box down, she unzips it to release fragrant and slightly eye-watering steam as she sets out to-go boxes. "I didn't know how much better you're feeling about food, so I went with three-star just to be sure. There's lamb, and another with vegetables, and saffron lassi." This last, accompanied by a bright green Thermos, still cool to the touch on one side.

Grinning, she extracts her own meal, a single box with curried fish, vegetables, and rice, and hot, red tea on the side. "So... how've you been?"
Stahlritter 2017-12-16 22:09:21 87638
There's much less english to be heard upon Rashi's approach into the living room, but in place of it there is a series of japanese spoken in absolutely, ridicilously overdramatic manner while the television screen itself is filled with written manga sound effects.

At the very least, Alex does let go of one of the handweights in favor of grabbing the remote and lowering the volume so that the anime ends up being background noise rather than overtaking focus. "...I'm moving around at least," he murmurs over the redhead's words either way, with his eyes flicking up to the cap on her head. "...Nice hat. Gives you a nice look with the braid, somehow."

His hand takes the weight again while she's unboxing the things, rather than actually answering the question on wether or not he is hungry. But her last question does bring a sigh from him. "...About as well as I can be, I guess," he mutters. "You know, considering my whole life more or less just got shattered into pieces."
Rashmi Terios 2017-12-16 22:27:45 87639
"....Yeah," Rashmi answers, sighing. "I kinda figured it was something like that. People are worrying about you, y'know." With that, she starts picking at her food, occasionally glancing up at the TV and raising an eyebrow. "...Okay I know I've only seen a couple seconds of this, but this really reminds me of the kabuki show Grandpa took me to once.
Stahlritter 2017-12-16 22:45:02 87640
"I know," Alex breathes out. "I keep telling people I probably just need time. But honestly? I don't know what I'm gonna do with all that time. I don't even know if I can go outside safely anymore, for all that people keep telling me I can't keep to myself."

Over the commentary on the tv show, he turns a brow-raised look at the redhead. "...Really," he says. "Did this kabuki show have big-muscled men fighting with spirits and a power-hungry super-hammy vampire?"
Rashmi Terios 2017-12-16 22:49:18 87641
"You've never seen kabuki before, have you," Rashmi says with a chuckle. "It's like... Okay imagine the opera, you know how everything's super hammed up to eleven, so even people at the back of a stadium can follow what's going on? Okay. Now picture that... only makeup, costume, and gesture gets the same treatment."

Falling silent for a bit, she faces the TV, picking idly at her fish for a moment, sneaking the odd surreiptitious glance at Alex. Then, finally, she loses grip on the question she'd been holding in. "...There's a way you know you could at least take on whatever comes after you?"
Stahlritter 2017-12-16 22:58:19 87642
"Well I haven't really been to an opera either," Alex points out. "So I wouldn't really know, I guess. But I think I sort of get what you mean. Maybe."

He seems happy enough to let himself fall silent when Rashmi does. He even sets one weight aside so he has a hand freed up for picking at some of the food she's provided. ...But when she asks *that* question...


It's the bluntest she's probably ever heard Alex be.

"I think I already know what you're going to say, and the answer is no."
Rashmi Terios 2017-12-16 23:04:17 87644
"Why?!" immediately follows Alex's denial. "He helped us get you out!" Now she's looking right up at Alex, her expression a cross between confused, annoyed, and worried.
Stahlritter 2017-12-16 23:29:58 87645
"I've known some con artists before, and this one I don't *trust*," Alexis declars in answer to that simply, with a sharp, slightly irritated grunt making way up from his throat. "Besides. That thing? That was meant for... doing something completely else. It was meant for me to use to do my folks' bidding. It just don't feel right."
Rashmi Terios 2017-12-16 23:34:11 87646
"Alex-san," Rashmi sighs, "Devices are intelligent. That means that no matter who's kept them and why, their job is to support their User. I mean for all I know Nicomachea used to belong to some lunatic alien scientist or something, he won't tell me but whatever it doesn't even matter. He and I are a team now, and he wants to help me. That's how Devices work."

Pouring her tea into a cup, she sips, considering. "Have you even talked to him, or are you just, y'know, assuming you already know everything?"
Stahlritter 2017-12-17 00:04:21 87647
"I'm not assuming I know everything," Alex insists with a scoff of a sound, seemingly frustrated enough that he goes on to just set the handweights down and away. "Look-- this thing came from my folks. My mother. Would you really put it past them to put some hidden bullshit in that thing that activated when it's actually used?"
Rashmi Terios 2017-12-17 00:05:24 87648
"Do you want to know for sure," Rashmi counters, "or are you okay with just guessing?"
Stahlritter 2017-12-17 00:23:27 87649
"Look, what do you want me to say?" Alex asks, with his hand reaching to grab the tv remote, and just straight up shutting the thing down. "That I just straight up think it's wrong for me to have it? That beyond just the fact that it's not right for me to be wielding something that waws meant for whatever bloody evil my parents are getting up to, I don't deserve it? Because-- fine. There. I said it."

With a sharp groan of frustration, he pushes himself up from the couch, forgetting both the weights and the food down behind there. "It's not as if I don't have enough existential crisis to deal with already with *that* too."
Rashmi Terios 2017-12-17 00:26:00 87650
"What do you mean you don't deserve it?!" Rashmi explodes, waving one arm above her head -- a proper flail would get tea everywhere -- "Alexis-san how do you even know you don't deserve to be able to fight back against someone who is, legitimately, dangerous to you and everyone you happen to like?"
Stahlritter 2017-12-17 00:54:03 87651
"NOt like that," Alex murmurs, his voice... shickingly enough much quieter than Rashmi's for once.

(Whoda thunk that'd ever happen?)

"Don't deserve power," he murmurs then, while he's turning slowly away from her, with the apparent intention of walking away. "Especially not the kind that's meant for hurting."
Rashmi Terios 2017-12-17 01:22:35 87654
"So what did I do?" Rashmi says, her voice quiet as well. "Why do I deserve to be able to hurt people, and you don't?"
Stahlritter 2017-12-17 01:42:31 87659
"You weren't made for it," Alex says, bluntly, turning a brief peek over his shoulder at the redhead. "I should have figured it out already when I was a vampire. They said my state then wouldn't change my state of mind necessarily so much as just... amplify certain things. It was always there, to begin with."
Rashmi Terios 2017-12-17 01:50:27 87661
"So what?" Rashmi explodes, putting down her tea so she can flail properly. "I mean okay, it's spooky as hell that your mom has been doing evil scince to you for most of your life but right now what you need to know is really simple." Rising from the couch, she not-quite-stomps to block Alex's path, hands on her hips. "Alex-san; if you had a choice, would you want to keep people from being hurt?"
Stahlritter 2017-12-17 02:05:16 87663
Reasonably, a Rashmi-sized obstacle would be pretty damn easy for Alex to get past, but her interposing herself before him with those words causes visible pause in him.

For having looked just lethargic for the most part after him waking up from his stasis-coma, now he just looks... helpless.

"...I wanted to be able to make that choice," he murmurs, quietly, with his eyes closing. "For most of my life. For all I know that wish was put there by them too. I don't know for sure. I don't know anything anymore."

"...I just know now that I am not meant to be that kind of man."
Rashmi Terios 2017-12-17 02:11:05 87665
"Everyone has a choice, Alexis-san," Rashmi says, brow furrowing. "The only destiny you have is the one you decide to take hold of. And power... That's just a tool. All power is is the shovel you use to dig out your path. If you want to give up your ability to make a choice? Well... you decide, you choose, to walk up to your mom and go 'My mistake, please put me in that tank or whatever.' You want to be the protector you always wished you could be? You decide to do that too, however you see fit."

Edging around Alex, she picks up her tea and the delivery box, conspicuously leaving both servings of food on the table. "You want to lift weights and watch cartoons of people making the choices you wish you could?" Shrugging, she tugs down on the brim of her hat, patting the boy's shoulder as she passes him towards the entrance and change out her shoes. "That's a choice, too. But it's never up to anyone but you what you do, Alexis-san. Dinner's on me... let me know when you come to a decision, okay?"