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Dramatis Personae

Nom, Rasa




<XS> Treehouse

Built by enterprising students of yesteryear, this treehouse has weathered generations of Xaviers' students coming up here to study -- or escape from studying. A cozy retreat, its wood planks are sturdy and well-sanded, fit snug together to keep out draft. Snacks occasionally find their way up here, and the roof keeps the rain off well enough to pass a night -- so long as the teachers don't catch any students at it. For anyone agile enough to make the jump, a lucky leap juuust might carry them from here to the school rooftop, so long as they're careful of the drop...

The girl is currently curled up on the floor of the treehouse, and boy-howdy, she's made a mess. Mostly empty bags of chips, jerky, snack cakes, soda, etc, etc. It's a real binge. Even by Nom's usual standards, this is... a lot of trash. Where she got all of it is anyone's guess. But she's got that slightly manic look some people get when they've gone a little off the rails.

And what's keep her attention? Well, right now, it's some kind of scrapbooking album stuffed with pictures. A lot of pictures. And all of them recent. And she just keeps flipping through them. A lot of them? Pictures of food. Still others, of Nom herself. Except, not quite right... They're all off somehow. She just sort of chews on her lower lip, with no regard for the fact that classes might possibly be a thing she needs to do at some point.

There are four individual, light concussive blows to the ceiling in rapid succession, followed by a rolling sound, growing quieter as the being on the roof comes to a stop with a light tap of two limbs. The gentle scraping noise moves then down the wall over to where one of the windows is. A shadow lowers from above as fingers wrap around the upper edge of the frame. The fingers are barely human, covered in a segmented shell. Yellow eyes peek out from from midnight blue, furry face, hair short and out of the way. Blinking, ze shifts hir weight, twisting to bring hir legs around the side to look in on the treehouse from a right side up angle. Ze waits to see if Nom notices hir.

She's still a little bit wild sometimes, so when she hears the light concussive sounds of someone moving around on the roof, she actually hisses. When the eyes peek in the window, her spine ELONGATES, and her jaws gape in an open rictus, wide and open enough to swallow a goat whole, teeth extended impossibly wide. That crocodile rumble escapes her throat threateningly, album dumped on the ground. Then she gets a look at a relatively non-threatening face, and subsides back into her more normal shape, looking somewhat... abashed? "Nom sorry. Not used to being surprised. Me clean up. Such a mess. Make place for you sit." She starts stuffing the trash in her mouth, living up to her name. Omnomnomnom.

Rasa shrugs a little, bringing up hir arms to rest them almost casually on the window ledge. "It's why I waited out here. There are more than a few students around here that have problems with being startled." Ze remains where ze is, watching Nom hoover around. "Oh. Um, I guess. Kind of in the middle of my morning work out. I could... do it inside." There's a hesitence to hir tone as ze starts hoisting hirself inside. Ze doesn't touch down. Instead ze crawls across the ceiling. Ze is wearing a pair of spandex shorts with loser running shorts over the top in process blue. Hir shirt is forest green and baggy with the sleeves torn off, hints of a band around hir chest peeking out when the large armholes shift that way. "What are you doing out here?"

"Nom sometimes... emotional. Am looking at pictures of things I remember." She's rolling the words around in her head, doing her best to select the correct ones. Even so, Nom has some trouble. After she hoovers up most of the trash, she shows her picture album,"Before me decide what want to look like me try many looks. Human shape... me get used to. Not fast or efficient. Frustrating. But like pretty." She holds up her new bracelet, showing the thing off, before looking back down to her album,"Little girl am give me. There man other day. Girl tell me he can fix brains. Me am want ask him fix Nom brain. He am obviously afraid Nom am going to eat him little girl. So Nom not ask. So stupid." The girl drags fingers through her hair with a sigh and shrugs,"Nom am think have twinkies left. You am want twinkies?"

"Emotional?" Rasa considers this before letting go with hir hands and hanging by hir feet alone, studying Nom upside down. "Can't blame a person for being emotional." Hir attention drifts momentarily to the photo album and then to the bracelet on hir classmate's arm, hir head tilting to one side a little. "Oh? A girl? Where? If you don't think that you would be able to convince him, you could try talking to the teachers, asking them to ask for you. They are pretty good at being convincing and very good at getting students the help they need." Ze tucks hir knees to hir chest as ze releases the ceiling and performs a little flip in the air, dropping to all fours on the floor. "I guess a twinkie couldn't hurt. Sure."

"There were little girl, Sera, and... me not know... parent... Luci she call him. She give me this. She nice. She think me teeth neat." Nom flips the page on the photo album,"And he pull her away. And first time... me embarassed be the way me am." She looks up at Rasa this time, massaging the bridge of her nose,"Me not worry 'bout those things before me am starting being human again. Me not care. Me like who me becoming. Me not like these feelings." She closes the album, clutching it to her chest, and falls on her back, looking up at Rasa. "Me not know if me can't convince. Me not even try, so embarassed. It are Mendel place." She heaves a sigh and holds out an arm. Her palm splits open, and a tendril of muscle, almost like a web-slinger, fires out and wraps a box in the corner of the tree house. She reels it in, tears open the box, and seizes a twinkie, which she tosses to hir once ze lands on the floor.

"Luci, eh?" Rasa reaches up and snags the twinkie when it is tossed at hir. Hir free hand reaches back and itches at hir back. There's a little shifting of hir clothing as a long blue tail grows out of hir back, helping hir balance as ze lifts hir hands off the ground, working on the package wrapper. "It's kind of amazing how trying to fit in can hurt. There are so many rules to being polite and behaving like a member of society. How to dress is just... scraping the surface." Ze turns quiet and thoughtful as ze takes a small bite from the processed pastry. "I know a Sera and Luci. Their sister Desi goes to school here. I don't know that much about what Lucien does, but Desi might - and if you ask her, she'd also help you with talking to her brother, if it is something he can do." Ze takes another bite.

Nom nods slowly to Rasa,"It am the teeth. They am find them scary. Me am need get rid of most of them if me am be normal... But me am like them... Make me feel safe. Strong. Comforting." She helps herself to a twinkie, dumping it... wrapper and all... in her mouth. Omnomnom. "Me am led to believe am rude to ask favor of somone not know." Yes. She's talking about fixing her brain, and RUDENESS is what she's worried about. "You am smart, put together. How you fit in?" Yep. Asking Rasa on advice for fitting in! "How you make friends?"

"I am only guessing that the Sera and Luci you are talking about are the siblings of Desi. There are so many people in and around the Mendel Clinic, I wouldn't be surprised if the little girl was talking about someone else." Rasa gives another shrug and finishes off the twinkie, chewing quietly for a while before swallowing. "Teeth are tricky," Rasa admits after a while. "I know my own teeth are comforting to me, but teeth on others are a threat. It... should make sense. I mean, in order to protect you, the teeth have to have the potential to hurt others. People react to that."

Rasa settles down on the floor after a while, looping hir tail around to rest in hir lap, the triangular tip flicking with agitation. "Um. Well. Fitting is a funny concept. It basically means to be the same as everyone else. It's dumb. You have to be like everyone else, but still be different." Hir hand reaches up to scuff at the back of hir head. "So, I guess, maybe try copying people for a while. Watch how people eat in the dining hall. Try to eat like that. Listen to how people speak. Try repeating things to yourself or just using some of the phrases they do." This couldn't possibly go wrong. "As for friends? That's mostly a trial and error things. Spend time with people repeatedly. You will either grow to like them more or less. They will either like you more or less. ...Be nice to them and they'll probably like you."

The girl shrugs again,"The Luci... he seemed nice enough. Pretty. Very prety. Me enjoy looking at him." She haltingly describes none other than Lucien himself, albeit in the simple terms available to her. "Me there see psychiatrist and gender specialist. Me talk to doctor. We talk many things. He say, trouble talking..." She taps the side of her head,"Up here now. Me am know enough words. He say, me know know who am. Me say, me trying figure out. No memory. He say, that not help. Need figure out who am now. So complicated."

She scrubs her face with her hands for a while,"Teeth am... Teeth ARE who me am now. Teeth. Hunger. Me am not eat people. Medicine make that easy." She helps herself to another twinkie, crossing her legs,"... but me want sometimes. Me not want that be me. Me just need ask Desi" She gulps down her twinkie, and then she nods,"Me am... try watch and do like other people. Me always nice. Except once. Me try harder."

"Huh. The gender specialist wants to know what gender you prefer, based on how you feel not necessarily based upon your memory?" Rasa makes an attempt at clarification, waiting to see what her reply will be.

"He confused. He think I too busy trying be who I think I used to be. He not understand." She fishes for a way to explain, then finds it,"He think because I happy way gender am, like this, me must be confuse. Me happy this way, though... only thing me am know about self for sure."

"Oh. So ... well, actually, what gender do you prefer right now?" Rasa tilts her head a little, looking at her clothing quietly. "I don't really want to guess, because I know many people who dress the opposite of their gender and just like to wear the clothes. And... well, what pronouns would you like to use? Example? I consider myself gender neutral. I prefer that people use 'ze' instead of she or him, and 'hir' instead of him or her."

Nom lifts her shoulder a little bit,"Me am girl. Me not care so much what call Nom, though. Me am know what am. Good enough for me. Like feel pretty." She shows a toothy grin to Rasa. "You am use girlnouns for me. Me am not so good use pronouns. Me just uses names mostly. Ze! Like letter! That am easy remember. Me am like clothes and fashion! What clothes you am like? Me like frillies and jeans."

"Pfff. I have an easier time explaining my gender identity rather than my fashion sense." Rasa rolls hir eyes and shakes hir head. "I like stuff that fits my mood. And lots of color. I wear things that cover up my skin, as my skin reacts to touching people. I like stuff that fits my bodies, but I don't really stay the same much. So half the time, I wear clothes that I won't be sad if they tear - or if they tear easily, or clothes that are very loose. I'm supposed to learn how to make my own clothes, but I am... really not good at that yet. At this point, I just paint my skin colors and I really don't like the idea of walking around naked - so I don't really try." Ze takes a deep breath and exhales. "When i go out in public... I wear burqas and hijabs."

"That are shame. You am fun look at. Those clothes cover up all that. You have art in you shape." Nom streeeeetches, though, seeming suddenly quite pleased with herself. "Me am wear wetsuit under things. So if change and end up without clothes, still mostly not-naked. Me am not ever make clothes. Me only change in big ways. Not tiny ways. Make more mouths. Fix things." She gives a thumbs up, then says,"You figure everything out one day. Me know it."

"Some people use teeth for protection. Other people - they try to just not be seen." Rasa gets to hir feet, handing the wrapper to hir twinkie back to Nom carefully, trying to avoid inadvertent skin contact. "But I appreciate the compliments." Ze stretches hir arms over hir head when ze is done, yawning a little. "I have to apologize. I really need to finish my run before breakfast. Maybe I'll see you in there?" Ze gestures back to the school building with hir thumb.

"You not apologize. You am fun talk to, too. You go inside. Me maybe be in there sometime. Me be here while longer." She takes the wrapper, stuffing it in her mouth and chewing in a sort of thoughtful manner. After swallowing, she gestures to the opening,"Have good run. Thank you am stop by and talk." She reaches for her album and flips it open, apparently considering it done.

"I'll stop by again, if you're still here, or see you elsewhere later." Rasa nods and heads out the door at a run, leaping from the tree house to the tree itself and then bounding down, heading not for the open area around the lake, but for all the obstacles on the playground.