Home Is a Safe Place

Characters: Rachel, Luciana
Rated: PG
Summary: Luciana reaches out to Rachel, who has been staying at the Mansion for a while.
OOC Date: 2018-03-02
IC Date: 2018-03-02
Where: Breakstone Lake, behind the Xavier Mansion

Luciana is just another of the adults around the Mansion. With Rachel having kept her distance to some degre she is unlikely to have picked out much that is special about the other woman, other than the fact that she is one of the faces of color amongst the students and staff. But Luci has kept a close eye on the redhead from afar; it's her job as the school nurse, and also in her nature as a caring and nurturing sort. She is also likely to be the only non-telepath in the Mansion to have puzzled out any part of the mystery of the girl, since she's the one who would run most basic medical tests, which include genetic profiles and assays here. But she has said nothing, and has not pushed, waiting for the girl to settle in, calm down, and find her own place amongst them.

That doesn't seem to have worked out very well. So now Luci and her twin are done waiting from afar. It's time to get involved, much as others did to help them years ago when they first came to the Mansion. Many are those of the younger class years who do not understand why it is that Luci's callsign is Gemini, rather than something better suited to the apparent ability of the liquid biometal that heeds her call and serves her needs. They never seem to realize, until she makes a point of it, that said biometal is not her power; it is her twin sister. Even fewer ever understand what Luci's own actual power really is.

This chilly early spring afternoon finds Luci traipsing over the grounds to the rear of the Mansion, heading once more for Breakstone Lake. She knows Rachel is out here again; she is often out here, hence making this no surprise. Having decided that enough is enough, the twenty-something Hispanic woman comes trundling across the open grass towards the lake's edge, eyes sweeping wide until they narrow in on a particularly brilliant swatch of orange and the rest of the young woman there attached. Then she changes direction and heads in that direction, making no secret of her approach.

It's a hard thing, adjusting to the fact that the world as you knew it is over. Even when that world was awful. Even if it seemed hopeless.

It was still your world. Your home. And now…

Now, for the past few months since she arrived, Rachel Grey has been having to try to acclimate to a world that seems so similar to her own, and yet so different. It's difficult. It's difficult, seeing the faces of people she knew, but so much younger. Difficult, seeing the faces of people she lost. Difficult, seeing the faces of people she…

Ultimately, Rachel's found herself adjusting simply by staying to herself and only interacting with others when absolutely necessary. She's already not particularly good at it; add in outside factors, and, well… she's found her room and the privacy of the distant outdoors comfortable enough for her. Aside from the fact that she 'comes from a future' Rachel hasn't explained much about herself, or her life before coming here. It's difficult, to trust people with that knowledge. And more than that, she just doesn't want to remember.

So now, Rachel just sticks with her thoughts, where it's not necessarily much more comfortable, but at least a known quantity. The redhead is currently sitting, floating and cross-legged, near the edge of the lake, dressed in shredded jeans and a black, fishnet halter top. Despite the chill, she doesn't seem particularly bothered — the errant flick of flame at her shoulders might help to explain that. And here, she simply seems to… relax. Let her thoughts wander.

Her eyes are shut. But that doesn't mean she doesn't at least notice Luciana's approach; life and necessity have taught Rachel to be endlessly wary, and even before Luciana is within talking distance, one of those green eyes are cracking open to peer at her. The twenty-something time-displaced mutant lifts a hand, pushing it through short red hair as she looks the other woman's way. Her brows furrow. "Er… hi," she begins slowly, awkwardly. She never was good at small talk. "Is this your spot? I can leave, if you need some privacy." Which might be why that is her first assumption.

Luciana herself is a warm and caring, nurturing presence. But her mind is a bit hard to keep a bead on; emotions not as much. She seems to naturally generate a sort of confusing static on a telepathic level. As such, the hispanic woman has gotten used to telepaths who assume the potentially worst when they first interact with her directly; they're so used to depending on their other senses to guide those interactions that they assume something is wrong when they can't confirm one way or the other.

Luci raises a hand, smiling, and shakes her head slightly. "Not my spot, Rachel. No one owns the lakeshore, least of all me. I came out here to see you." See? Nothing bad. No accusations. No recriminations.

It's a bit unnerving, not being able to read someone's thoughts; it's something Rachel does almost as a second nature, like breathing; it's not the first time she's met someone with scrambled thoughts, but for someone with deeply-seated trust issues, it is enough to put the redhead on edge as she turns about from where she floats to face Luciana. She's met the other woman before, obviously; but the fact that it's largely just been in Luciana's professional capacity in the mansion has Rachel taking the hispanic woman in as if sizing her up for a silent moment.

"Me? Why?" she asks, and her voice is touched with wariness for a brief moment before she quietly curses and forces herself to remember that the people here are friends. That they want to help. She manages a small, apologetic smile, and tense though she is, it looks genuine. "Sorry. Force of habit. It's just… not many people come to see me." And she doesn't, either. She rubs the back of her short head of red hair, curiosity in her green gaze. "D'you need me for something?"

"I'm here to help, and support." Luciana offers, warmly. "I know it's probably a bit disconcerting, Rachel." She smiles. "You're a telepath, and you're used to being able to read others without much effort. Izzy and I complicate matters quite a bit, I imagine. At least, that's what the others always told us." The hispanic woman offers a little shrug. "The others don't come to see you, much, because they're not sure what to make of you. Izzy and I, we make up our own minds, by giving everyone a chance, and watching where they go with it."

Confusing, right, the way Luciana speaks of someone Rachel cannot see? But Luci holds out a hand, palm up, as it fills with a rippling pool of silvery metal, which then swirls up and forms … into a tiny statuette of a ballerina, and plies into a curtsy and bow. "My twin sister, Isabelle. We're never far apart. Hence why they call us Gemini." Luci explains. "We know better than most the power that can come from being connected and grounded. And we know how painful it can be to be adrift and alone." Luci's smile takes a sadly wry twist. "Even when standing in the midst of those to whom we should be closest."

Warmth is not something Rachel is unfamiliar with, but it is clearly something she is still adjusting to, if the way those red brows scrunch inward, just slightly, is any indication. Like someone attempting to hold back a suspicious reflex that they know couldn't possibly apply here, but was an absolute necessity where they were from. Adjustment. It's difficult. "… A little disconcerting," she admits, after a moment, her tension ratcheting down just slightly as she folds her hands into her lap. "I like knowing what people are thinking. It's…" She tries to find a better word, but cannot: "… safer."

A moment passes. "Izzy?" And on cue, liquid metal spills from Luciana's palm to form a smaller person against her skin, made to move into that formal gesture of greeting. It's surprising, even for her; green eyes shutter in a blink, and her head tilts. But maybe it goes to show just what Rachel has been through that it's less confusion that grips her, than understanding. "She lives inside you?" she wonders for a moment. "… That sort of connection must be nice." A second passes, within awkward silence. And then, Rachel slowly descends from her floating stance, heels touching ground as she stretches her arms up over her head and lifts up onto the tip of her toes with the arch of her back and a small, slightly more relaxed, sigh. A frown, briefly, flits across her lips as green eyes cast aside. "… I don't really have anyone like that, here."

Luciana nods, acknowledging the other woman's words. "Of course it would feel safer. It's no longer about trust and faith, but about knowing. Pure fact, without shade." She really does understand; she has the heart, the empathy, to be able to put herself into Rachel's mindset, even not knowing everything there is to know about when and where she came from.

"Yes." Luciana agrees. "It is often very nice, having such a connection. And I imagine it must be incredibly hard, being here without even others you actually know and know you, let alone lacking the kind of intimate trust and connection Izzy and I share."

Then the hispanic woman steps forward, lightly resting her other - non-ballerina - hand on Rachel's wrist. This has the benefit of making a connection to her mind much more direct, easier to peel through the fog of those two minds together. "I can't give you someone as close as Izzy is to me. But I can listen. No judgements. I can try to help you ground yourself here. A base of real support. When and if you are ready." Which means it doesn't have to be now.

She's fidgety, in her own way. Less the calm and understanding presence Luciana strikes, Rachel twitches her way through the conversation every now and then; the uncomfortable shift here, the wary glance there. The little spasm of fingers and sway of her weight from one leg to the next like someone who hasn't really grown accustomed towards standing still. But as the hispanic woman speaks, those green eyes turn her way, lips pursing — and all she can really do is nod, once, at that expression of empathy. Because it sums up everything better than she could ever say. Or, really, want to. Trust is not something she's ready to give out compared to the safety of certainty.

Gradually, vivid green eyes roll back towards the lakeside; Rachel's breath comes in cool, white vapors as she listens to the other woman, a wry smile stitching itself on her lips. "I don't think I've ever had something quite like that," she admits, after a moment. "And everyone I knew…"

The thought never completes itself; instead, the short-haired redhead lets herself be happily distracted by the touch of that wrist on her own. She blinks, as the dual layers of two minds entwining opens up a bit more to her as she feels the warmth of fingers pressed to her skin, stare turning back towards Luciana as she speaks. Her wrist turns, just a bit, against that touch. Suspicion flares briefly, but is quietly quelled in something that more approaches a tentative if not genuine sort of gratitude. "… Thank you, Luciana. Seriously. I…" It's hard, she wants to say, to reach out. "… I appreciate it. Maybe I could use something like that."

Lucianna nods, another brief flash of a smile. "You're welcome. Any time. You know this place, and where to find me." There's a crystal clear assurance in her voice, in her eyes, and echoed in her mind. Rachel won't be able to miss it: Luci knows. She's not sharing it. Not telling anyone. But she knows. And still she's not pushing. Just letting Rachel know, and waiting for when Rachel is ready to try. And maybe try again. Until it works. "If now, I can stay. Or we can go, and you can come to us if and when you're ready. Your call. You are in control."

She can tell, quite clearly, from that look — even if Rachel wasn't able to read the contents of Lucianna's mind now with greater clarity. Some things you just know. And it makes the redhead seize up briefly, psychic flames licking tongues off the tips of her hair as her eyes go wide. She looks like she's simply about to bolt for a solid five seconds rather than risk the possibility of discussing any of that.

But eventually — inevitably — she begins to relax. The tension in her arm, under Luci's touch, gradually loosens up, just a bit. Her free arm wraps around her waist as she looks aside, trying to give her best attempt at an apologetic smile. It's more awkward than she'd like. "… Not now," she admits. "I'm sorry, but I…" Her head shakes. "It's not that I don't appreciate it, it's just…" She tries to find the words. "… it's complicated." Her smile grows more sincere, as she hesitates — and then reaches out with her free hand, to press briefly on Lucianna's. "When I'm ready. I'll find you. Okay?"

The other woman, and the ballerina in her hand, both nod. "Of course. I understand. I just wanted to reach you, and let you know that someone could understand, and could listen, when you were ready." For just a second, Luciana's other hand covers Rachel's, and then withdraws. "Be well, and be safe, Rachel. You can find both of those here." That said, she nods and then withdraws, walking away. Pushing won't help, here. Only patience and understanding have any chance.

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