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So Show Me Family

Chapter Text

Billy sat on the floor outside the doorway with his arms around his knees as his parents finished talking to the lawyer inside.

He honestly didn’t mean to hurt Kesler bad enough to send him to the hospital in critical care. Billy just wanted him to stop bullying that other boy. Shooting out bolts of electricity was 100% wholly unplanned on Billy’s part.

He always looked up to the Scarlet Witch and liked the X-Men, but he never really expected that he would be a mutant. He couldn’t believe he was special in any way.

This whole situation made him think back to the single conversation he had with the Scarlet Witch, where she said being a mutant only invited more punches. Well, he hadn’t been punched more lately, but Billy sure was in a hell of a lot more trouble than ever before.

The door opening stopped his swirling thoughts, and Billy stretched and stood up. His parents looked subdued. Rebecca Kaplan put her arms around her son’s shoulders, and the three quietly walked out of the office building.

“The short version is: the lawyer says that things like these, sudden X-Gene manifestations in, uh, violent ways, have happened enough that most districts have some sort of rule to deal with them.” His dad began before making a face. “Mainly in place so the school or school district doesn’t get in trouble, not to help the kid deal with their unexpectedly changing body, but there’s a precedent.”

“Unfortunately, that means the Kesler’s can sue us directly. And they could probably win, considering John is in the hospital with electrical burns.” Billy’s mom was caring and was always been there for Billy, but she wasn’t one to mince words. Her arms tightened around his shoulders as she noticed Billy’s mood drop at that sentence. “But, usually courts tend to be more willing to let these cases go if there’s proof that it was the first time the mutant ability was used, and….”

Here she trailed off and looked at Billy sadly. She stopped in her tracks and turned to give Billy a real hug.

Billy was incredibly alarmed now.

“What’s the other thing? Am I gonna have to go to jail?”

Rebecca laughed slightly and let him go. “No, no, nothing like that. I am usually all for allowing a healthy sense of independence to grow in a child, and don’t like smothering too much, but the mother in me feels like smothering is the best option.”

Seeing that Billy was still confused, Jeff continued the explanation. “Courts usually let these cases go if it’s shown that the mutant is willing to transfer to the Xavier’s School for Higher Learning to help control their abilities. Now, Billy, you don’t have to suddenly switch schools if you don’t want to, we don’t mind fighting this case for you.”

But Billy had been a superhero fan his entire life. Maybe he always preferred the Avengers over the X-Men, but the minute he heard ‘Xavier’s School,’ his eyes went huge and his mind was made up.

-x-x-x-

Billy was totally calm. Totally. Completely.

The only reason he wasn’t called out on that complete lie was because Emma Frost had left the tour earlier to talk to his parents privately, and now it was only Cyclops showing him around.

Cyclops. As in the leader of the X-Men. How cool was that?

“…And that’s the function of the Danger Room.” Scott explained, as they stood in the observation deck watching six students fight through a maze challenge. “It’s there to help home in your powers for potentially dangerous situations. It is also there to help you learn to use your powers in a group dynamic.”

Cyclops started walking and Billy tore his eyes away from the awesome scene below to hastily follow the X-Man.

“Now, you won’t be in a squad this semester, so you probably won’t see the danger room for a while yet. There’s only been a few other mid-semester transfer students, so we are planning to wait until Spring to put together more squads. When you are put in one, your squad will be eligible to participate in the field day exercises and potentially win an award at the end of the year.”

Billy listened with rapt attention as he followed Cyclops through the halls. All this was so surreal to him. It was both terrifying and exhilarating just being in the X-Men’s headquarters-turned-school. When Scott stopped outside a door, Billy tried to school his expression into something less dorky than pure awe.

If Scott’s small smile was something to go by, he didn’t fully succeed. “This is your dorm. I don’t know if your roommate is in right now, but you two should get along fine. If you have any other questions, you can always ask Jay, your roommate, or you can find me or another teacher. I hope you enjoy your time here, Billy.”

“Thank you, Mr. Summers,” Billy stuttered out as Cyclops walked back to wherever his office was.

Billy took a deep breath and opened his door. His roommate was indeed inside, and Billy had barely taken a step in the room before he stopped in his tracks. The first thing he saw was a pair of brilliant bright red wings, which wow, amazing. There was also gentle guitar strumming, as a voice that sounded like the sky on a slow, summer day sang along to the tune. It was beautiful. And as the boy turned around to see who opened the door, Billy noted the face seemed to match the wings and voice.

Oh man, Billy was loving this school.

The other boy smiled. “Hey there. I’m Jay Guthrie, nice to meet you.”

He had the slightest southern accent which didn’t make Billy’s wonder go down any. “Uh, hey! I’m Billy Kaplan. I’m your roommate. Buuut, you probably already guessed that. Or were told. So, it’s probably pretty stupid of me to add the roommate part on. You know, I’ll just shut up now before this blabbering really incriminates me.”

Jay snorted, but still had a slight smile on his face. “Feel free to blabber all you want, it’s your room too.”

Billy dumped his backpack on the empty bed, and noted that his suitcase was already in the room. His side was bare, of course, only a bed, a desk, and a dresser. There were a few posters up on Jay’s side, and a few picture frames too, but Jay seemed to keep his room on the more simple and cleanly side.

He began to unpack, unsure of how to continue the conversation after the basic pleasantries, as Jay went back to strumming his guitar. Clothes were put away, school given blankets swapped out for ones from home, and school supplies put into the desk. With the basics done, Billy began to put up some posters he brought from home.

Jay watched in amusement as Billy finished taping his poster featuring the original five Avengers to the wall. “So, you’re a big superhero fan, I’m guessing?”

Billy blushed. “Maybe just a bit. Okay, a lot a bit.”

The redhead laughed. “I should introduce you to my older brother and sister then. They’re both X-Men.”

“Seriously?”

“Yup. Cannonball and Husk.”

“Dude. That is so cool!”

Jay grinned good naturedly, but the way his wings shuffled belied a more uncomfortable feeling. “When you look at it one way, sure.”

Billy saw a topic changing moment, and took it before things could get really awkward. “So, you have wings. That’s pretty cool. What’s it like to fly?”

“Amazing. No feeling like it.” Jay’s wings drooped down in relief, as the superhero topic went away. “I also get a healing factor from the wings, and my vocal cords can mimic all sorts of sounds. It’s kind of a bird-like mutation. What about you?”

Billy nodded impressed. “Cool. I have sort of, electricity powers. I’d show but, uh…”

“Kind of dangerous indoors, I know.”

Now, it was Billy whose mood dropped. “I’m here because they’re ‘kind of dangerous.’ I accidentally sent someone to the hospital when they manifested. He was a jerk, sure, but I didn’t mean to hurt him.”

There was the sound of bed springs, and then Billy felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked up to see Jay smiling sympathetically. “Hey, man, it’s alright. Most of us have stories like that. We all have someone we hurt.”

Jay took his hand of Billy’s shoulder and turned slightly to look at some photo on his dresser. Billy couldn’t see which one since a pair of giant wings obscured his view, but he knew that Jay was talking from the heart, no matter the picture.

“But, hey,” Jay’s voice was slightly cheerier. “I can introduce to one of my squad mates, Noriko. She also has electricity powers, maybe you two could swap notes.”

-x-x-x-

Billy, as he sat at the lunch table with the so called “New Mutants,” was for once reveling in the now. For possibly the first time in his life, he felt like he belonged somewhere. Who knew that all it would take would be electrocuting a bully and being forced to go to a school for mutants?

When he and Jay sat down, and Jay introduced him as his roommate, he was immediately welcomed. Sofia sent sweet words his way, Laurie gave a quick smile, Nori was eating and only waved, while David and Josh were arguing over something, but both took the time to give a quick hi. The conversation moved quickly, but the friend group always tried to bring Billy in to the conversation.

Nori smirked. “You have electricity powers? Sweet. Can you run at super speed too?”

Billy swallowed a bite of food. “I don’t think so. Seems limited to electricity, and maybe other energy.”

“Still sweet,” Josh added. “Cooler than healing.”

“Hey, every well-balanced team needs a healer, or else the party will have a way harder time making it through their quest.”

Billy regret saying that as soon as he finished the sentence and the table burst into giggles.

Josh exaggeratedly rolled his eyes. “Great. Another nerd. Just what we needed.”

The group teased him and David until the lunch bell rang and everyone began to head off to their afternoon classes. Billy didn’t have any that day as to acclimate and say goodbye to his parents, so he went back to his dorm to wait for a text from his parents informing him they were getting ready to leave.

As he lay on his bed waiting for the notice, Billy really couldn’t believe how lucky it was that going to Xavier’s let him off the hook for hurting Kesler. If the rest of the days at this school were even a third as amazing as that morning, then this might be the best thing to ever happen to him.

Chapter Text

Tommy sat on the floor outside the doorway with his arms around his knees as his mother finished talking to the police inside.

He had screwed up many, many times in his life. He was sent to juvie for the first time at eleven years old after he had stolen his neighbor’s antique watch that was worth big money. He was there briefly, out, then back in only two few years later. Even in elementary school Tommy was written off as a ‘lost cause.’

But this, this was different. This wasn’t stealing for the thrill of it, or evading arrest, or violating parole. He was here, hunkered down on some cold ass tile staring at peeling paint on the opposite wall, for the crime of being a mutant.

Okay, being a mutant wasn’t a crime (yet), but Tommy had a frankly violent manifestation of his X-Gene, so it might have well as been a criminal sentence. With his long record, and with what he did… Tommy would be lucky to land in juvie again, and not be sent to actual jail.

Tommy really didn’t mean to blow up his school. He was in detention (as usual), and the teacher in charge of the class made a remark so callous, that hit one of Tommy’s few sensitive spots, and he went blind with fury. He lashed out, hitting a table, but didn’t notice that his hand went right through. The explosion of the table brought him back, but he felt so disorientated. Everything seemed so slow, then too fast, then back to molasses.

Detention was, unfortunately, held in a science classroom that had chemicals stored in a small room in the back. The teacher ushered everyone out, while the fire alarm going off got the few teachers still at school out. Even Tommy, who the teacher had left behind, managed to stagger out as his worldview shifted to overdrive.

No one died in the explosion, but the school was irreversibly damaged. And Tommy was probably fucked.

The door opened and his mom walked right by him, heading towards the entrance. It was alright though, Tommy had speed now. By the time she opened the buildings door he was already in the car, assuming that since no one had addressed him, it was alright for him to leave.

Mary Shepherd was stunned for a second, but her expression hardened quickly as she opened the driver’s side door. “What did we say about using that freak ability of yours in public?”

“No one saw. Chill.”

“God, it is a good thing that there is nothing that can be done for you. You’ll be having a trial, again, and the policeman said you’ll most likely get sent to a hall for mutie delinquents like you. You get one day at home, then you’re being put in holding and I don’t have to see your face again.”

Tommy’s mouth twitched as he bodily turned to stare out the window. They were driving, but to him it looked like they were standing still. “Whoop-de-fuckin’-do. Glad to not see you again either.”

She stared at him. “Did you dye your hair before all this? When’d it go white?”

“Dunno. Probably when the whole mutant thing kicked in. Never dyed it.”

“Well, just more confirmation you’re a freak. You never looked like anyone in the family anyways.”

-x-x-x-

What he got sent to was not juvie. It was Hell.

It seemed normal enough at first, but that façade was erased as quickly as Tommy could run.

They did all sorts of… tests, if they could be called that. He was never afraid of needles before, but now, just seeing one made him start thrashing about. And if he thought the disorientation from when his powers had activated was bad, he was now living in a constant state of confusion worse than before. He was continually being taken in and out of range of power dampeners, and his body and mind were not liking the switch. Tommy was sure they were doing even more terrible stuff to him, but he sure as hell couldn’t remember it in his sluggish state.

Fortunately, all the torture ended in only two weeks.

One morning he was brought from his cell, given a good breakfast and good clothing to wear. Tommy was naturally incredibly suspicious, but none of the orderlies ever talked. He was pretty sure they were robots.

He was even more confused when he was given a backpack and marched into a room that held two bona fide X-Men. Cyclops tried to give a reassuring smile, which really didn’t help things.

Emma Frost and Scott Summers ushered him out of the juvie, all the while saying things to him that didn’t make any sense. He eventually planted his feet on the ground and glared at them.

“Seriously, what the actual hell is going on? Why the fuck are you two here?”

Cyclops seemed confused. “We’ve been negotiating with the legal system here to let you come to the Xavier School instead of sitting in juvie.”

He explained it slowly, as if to a child. This infuriated Tommy more. He was beginning to get over his sluggishness from the dampeners, and slow was the last thing he wanted.

Emma touched Cyclops’ arm. “Scott, let me handle this.”

A sudden barrage of images and moments were thrown into his mind. Apparently, over the past two weeks, the X-Men had caught wind of his case, learned it was an accidental manifestation, and had their lawyer arguing that it would be safer for him and everyone else to enroll Tommy at their freak school. The state eventually relented and here they were.

“What the fuck.”

Tommy was even more pissed than before. His mom hadn’t mentioned that; none of the doctors had, none of the policemen had.

<Thomas, please don’t run off and try to kill someone. That would go terribly for all involved, trust me.>

He clutched his head and glared at Emma who looked unrepentant about using telepathy on someone not expecting it. “What the fuck,” he repeated.

Her eyes narrowed and Tommy stood still like she wanted, but he was still pissed off. “Don’t worry. I’ve already gone through your mind and catalogued everything they’ve done. Once we get back to the school, there will most definitely be a... faculty meeting, to decide what to do about this place. I’ll even inform you of what transpires, if you so wish.”

Cyclops still looked extremely confused, but Emma still didn’t address him. “For now, what we are all going to do is get on the Blackbird, fly away from this horrid smelling state, and get you settled in at school. When you are there, you are going to finally act like a civilized member of society, learn about that super speed of yours and how to control it, and hopefully also learn to deal with the myriad of parental issues that everyone else on that campus likewise has.

“Now, come along Thomas. We have a schedule to keep.”

She gracefully turned around and walked up the steps attached to a sleek black plane Tommy somehow completely failed to notice.

Well, damn. Mark Tommy down as impressed.

“Thank you, dear. Everyone is.”

-x-x-x-

Tommy, to most people’s surprise, actually followed what Emma said to do.

He, with minimal sarcasm, went to the mutie school. He tolerated the tour, smirked that he got a room to himself, and even went to his classes on the first day. He didn’t even talk back too much when he got a personal scolding from Northstar for being late to his super speed class.

Some rich boy named Julian tried to approach him during lunch on that first day, but Tommy turned away joining his little clique with a scoff. He didn’t want to get with some goody-two-shoes gang pretending to be bad. Brotherhood or bust, he’d said, smirking at the other kid. Rich boy had stormed off angrily, as Tommy dispassionately watched from under a tree.

Tommy would stay at the school and behave as well as he could, he owed that to Emma and Cyclops for getting him out of his previous Hell. But he didn’t have to be cooperative, or be well-liked by the students and teachers. And even when the next semester rolled around, and he was put in some stupid ass squad, he would make it known to them exactly how little he cared about it.

Chapter Text

It all started off simple enough.

Billy became fast friends with the New Mutants squad, and since Josh was a huge gossip (even if he denied being one), he always knew when some new kid arrived.

“His name’s like, Tim, or something. Has white hair and superspeed.” Josh told everyone as he ate his sandwich.

After that, no one paid much attention to the new kid. He seemed to be the loner type, and Billy didn’t have any classes with him, so he didn’t spare a single thought.

Several weeks went by, nothing exploded, and at the end of every week, Billy would send a long rambling e-mail to his parents about what went on in the week. The e-mail about how his powers seemed to be a bit more than what it first seemed was a doozy.

Billy thought it was just lightning, but he seemed to shoot a more generic energy every so often when he was at target practice. He was then sent to Dr. McCoy and put through all sorts of tests. Eventually Billy grew fed up with being in the lab and wished aloud for all the testing to be over. His eyes glowed blue, and Beast proceeded to tell him he could leave, to the astonishment of the nurse.

His parents fretted in their e-mail back to him, but Billy wasn’t worried, and was in fact happy to know his powers better and get back to his classes.

I’m a mutant with weird energy wishing powers, yet I still have to study for tests. It is surreal that that is my normal now, he mused one night as he ignored reading his math textbook.

(In hindsight, he really shouldn’t have thought that. It’s always when you think things are normal, that situations start turning weird. And Billy liked to consider himself genre savvy. Shows what he knew.)

Closing time came, and Billy was shooed out of the library by Ms. Manh. As he walked back to his dorm, he was run over by a harried looking Victor.

“Woah! Sorry, Tommy—no, wait, you’re Billy. Wow.”

Billy rubbed at the arm which received the brunt of scaly impact and began to pick up his scattered books. Victor scrambled around to help him, apologizing some more.

“Sorry, again. Julian’s made me late for curfew the last three nights and I’m trying to get to my dorm before he finds me.”

“It’s fine, Vic, I’m sore but not bruised. Although, if I die in my sleep from internal hemorrhaging, I’ll be sure to write that it was your fault.” He smiled for a second at the green boy who suddenly turned greener. “Joking. Why’d you call me Tommy though.”

Victor blinked and shook his head. “It’s crazy, you two have completely different hair colors, but I could’ve sworn I was looking right at him when I fell on you. You guys have, like, the same nose and face shape.”

“Tommy’s that speedster guy, right? He was new a few weeks back?”

“Yeah, he’s sort of a lone wolf, but Julian likes to go and bug him every so often, so I’ve seen him a few times.” Victor took a second to get close and stare intently at Billy’s face, while Billy fought the urge to blush. Victor wasn’t exactly normal looking, but who cared about that, green was a nice color…. “Seriously creepy. You’ll have to meet him sometime, because I swear you two would look like twins standing next to each other.”

Billy raised an eyebrow, but a bell began to ring, signaling ten minutes to curfew and both boys took off to their respective dorms.

By the next morning, Billy had forgotten the entire exchange.

Near the end of the fall semester, he got a summons from Cyclops. After his final class, Billy headed to the Co-Headmaster’s office, curious as to why he needed to. There was already two other people when he got there, and two more filed in after him, as Billy began to think that he was finally being put on a team.

Cyclops confirmed that hunch readily.

“We’ve finally gotten all the previously enrolled students of age into teams, and we’re beginning to sort the newer students. You six will be on a squad headed by Colossus. He’s on a mission right now, but when he’s back, he and you all will go over things like codenames, uniforms, rules, and anything else he deems important.”

Mr. Summers didn’t seem too happy when he then dismissed them, but that was probably because their sixth member failed to show up. Billy, however, was beyond excited as he chatted with his new teammates. He had classes with two of them, Andrea and Huan, but the other two, Willow and Jakub, were slightly younger kids.

The mysterious sixth member showed up as they reached the end of the hallway, and Billy stopped short.

With a burst of wind, a white-haired boy appeared in front of them with his arms crossed.

It was then Billy was suddenly struck by the memory of Victor saying he looked like the speedster new kid named Tommy.

“Did I really miss the stupid meeting? Damn, I just came from detention and I’ll probably get it again because Cyclops has a stick up his ass.”

All Billy could do was stare because… Tommy was him. They had different hair colors, sure, but the face, the shape of the eyes, the slope of his nose, even his body type… Billy saw it all before when he looked in the mirror that morning.

Tommy was still babbling about being late, his eyes moving quickly over all his teammates, and he sneered at Billy. “What’re you looking at?”

“Me,” Billy said before he could stop himself.

Tommy looked confused, and suddenly the other boy was right in front of Billy.

Billy yelped at the sudden appearance and jerked backwards, but Tommy’s arm caught him and forced him to stand still. The two were nose to nose now, looking each other in the eyes. Billy dimly heard a gasp from one of his new squad mates, but he was too busy being weirded out by how this other boy was almost identical to him to see who did it.

Apparently, Tommy felt the same way. He staggered back this time, eyes wide. “Dude. What the Hell.”

Billy felt much the same. “Vic mentioned we looked alike once, but, what the Hell, this is—this is creepy!”

“It’s fucked up is what it is. What the fuck.” Tommy hadn’t moved yet, which seemed surprising for a speedster.

A door opened behind them.

“If I’m hearing things right, then Tommy seems to have finally—”

Scott broke off as the group of kids turned to him, all with a look of panic or shock in their eyes. The part of Billy that never stopped being a hero fanboy full of trivia (even when panicking) mused that the similarities between Billy and Tommy must be even more pronounced to Cyclops, since he only saw in shades of red and probably missed smaller nuances given by color.

Tommy seemed to finally get out of the shock that made him stand still and zipped up to Cyclops.

“Dude, you know all about this freaky mutant crap. So, what gives?”

Cyclops stared down at him, then sighed and put a hand to his forehead. “Why can’t I go one day without something ridiculous happening?”

Chapter Text

“So, what exactly is going on, Hank?”

Beast adjusted the glasses on his furry face, looking troubled. “Truly, Scott? I think we may be out of the realm of science here.”

With the cowl and visor masking the upper half of his face there was no way to easily tell, but you could practically feel Scott raising his eyebrow. Hank held up several sheets of paper in exasperation and shook his head.

“These results… simply don’t make sense. Not to mention, I look at them and am worryingly reminded of another set of twins.” He abruptly turned away from Scott and looked through the clear plastic window that separated the two X-Men from the two boys under observation. “You may not recall as it was during our X-Factor phase and we were nominally incognito, I know from Simon who was involved in the whole affair, but Wanda, her boys….”

Hank shook his head and stopped that train of thought. “I’m sure it has nothing to do with that. I’m sure with some more tests we will be able to fully understand this atypical phenomenon.”

-x-x-x-

“God, I hate this.”

Tommy said it unthinkingly, as his eyes darted all around the room and his knee bounced up and down fast enough to be a blur.

Billy quirked an eyebrow up. “The waiting or the MediLab?”

“Both suck.”

He continued to look everywhere, his shoulders stiff and his leg vibrating. Billy stared at him, waiting for an explanation of his statement.

It only took a moment for Tommy to realize that, but in speedster time, a moment would be equivalent to several minutes. He gave Billy a nasty side eye. “Just because we’re in some freaky clone shit doesn’t mean I have to talk to you.”

“Oh, yeah, because sitting in silence is way less boring.”

“Better than talking about feelings or whatever stuff geeks like you talk about.”

“You are really playing up that bad boy persona, huh? That sentence sounds like something the jock antagonist of an 80s, coming of age teen movie would say.”

“Well, if I’m going to play that role right, when we bail from here let me go shove you into a locker.”

“Uh, not gonna work.” Billy wiggled his fingers in Tommy’s face letting some small blue sparks fly. “I’m apparently magic. I can zap you to Timbuktu.”

“And then I’ll run back here and shove your head into a toilet.”

“Try me, b—”

Their argument was interrupted by the door opening, and Beast shuffling in.

Tommy jumped to his feet. “Great, Big Blue’s here. So, what the hell is up, doc?”

Beast gave him an exasperated look but answered patiently anyways. “The first test I did, comparing blood samples, marked you as identical twins, which raises many questions. The second test, run from blood from the same sample, declares that you two are completely unrelated in any way. That raises quite a few more questions. The third is still ongoing in the diagnosis, but I don’t believe it will be especially helpful. More tests will probably have to be done.”

He raised his voice on the last sentence as the two boys groaned at the thought of having to spend any more time in the MediLab.

“I shall let you two depart for today, but after classes finish tomorrow, scurry down here so we can start this amusing bonding experience all over again.”

At that, the two boys nodded and hurriedly grabbed their stuff to leave, both glad to finally be free.

Billy looked at Tommy as they walked out. “So. Identical twins, huh? A bit different than ‘freaky clone shit.’”

“Or not,” Tommy countered. “You heard the blue guy. Two different results.”

“I’m just saying, if we’re twins, I get exclusive rights to force you to talk about geek feelings then, right?”

“Oh, fuck off.”

With that, Tommy finally used his superspeed and was gone in a small gust of wind, leaving a smirking Billy behind.

There was a bark of laughter behind him, then he heard Sofia’s chastising voice. “It is not very nice to bother people like that, Billy.”

Billy turned and saw the New Mutants squad coming down one of the hallway intersections. “You haven’t had to put up with him for the last four hours, Sofia.”

She let out a giggle at that and shrugged lightly. “Fair enough.”

“Man, I can’t believe what those kids were saying was true, though. You two are seriously, like, identical, except for the hair.” Josh butted in. “Kinda creepy, not gonna lie, dude.”

“Seriously? There’s already rumors about this?”

“Hey, what else do we have to gossip about around here? I mean, besides the superheroes. You’re not really at that level, but it’s still interesting to talk about.”

Billy rolled his eyes. “Thanks. You’re so supportive, Josh.”

Laurie pushed some hair out of her face. “But, really, what’s going on here. Do you know why you two look so alike?”

Billy suddenly felt tired and his shoulder slumped forward slightly. A lot had happened today, and there were far more questions than answers. “Nope. Don’t have a single clue.”

“If it makes you feel better, neither Cyclops or Beast seem to know what’s going on either.” David added. “I’m not getting any knowledge about the situation from them at all.”

“So, they know nothing. What great teachers.” Noriko rolled her eyes.

Billy held back a yawn, his tiredness starting to get to him now that the initial chaos was winding down. He really did have an exhausting day. Jay, thankfully, seemed to notice this.

“Why don’t we all go back to our dorms now. It’s almost curfew, and some people might be a bit tired after a long day.”

The others seemed to get the obvious hint, and the group began the stroll back to the dorms. Billy was quiet as the girls said their goodbyes and left for their dormitory.

He really had no idea what to make of what happened in the past few hours. Was Tommy his twin? But how? His parents didn’t seem the kind of people who would secretly give up a kid for adoption. And he knew they were his birth parents, as Billy had unfortunately stumbled upon an incredibly scarring video of his actual birth at one point.

But, nothing else he could think of made any sense. Cloning? Why would someone clone him? Genetic experimentation? Possible, but again, why? Billy knew the sort of world he lived in, one filled to the brim with the impossible, but he couldn’t understand how he possibly fit into that category. His family was completely ordinary, what interest could anyone have in doing weird science to him.

Billy would have to look through all his superhero memorabilia and trivia cards tomorrow. Maybe he could glean something from there to help solve this mystery.

-x-x-x-

Magneto stared pensively at the picture he had been faxed.

He no longer resided at the school, but he was still sent occasional updates on the happenings with the students and faculty. New students, new developments, the biggest pieces of gossip, those sorts of things. Erik might not be there physically, but he still cared about the future generations of mutantkind and wanted to see them prosper.

He wasn’t sure what to make of the most recent news he was given. Two boys who had never known each other and weren’t adopted seemed to be identical twins. One had white hair, and the other dark hair. One had superspeed, and the other could wish things into being true. His brow furrowed more as he ruminated on how that seemed eerily familiar.

Erik skimmed the letter that was sent with it again. Tommy and Billy. Nicknames for Thomas Shepherd and William Kaplan. The hair, the powers, the names—it was all too much to be a coincidence. But how could it possibly be?

He waved his hand and a safe built into a wall opened. Getting up from his chair, Erik floated over to the safe and picked up two photographs before he headed back to his desk.

The first photo he had selected from the safe was old. It was in color, but beginning to fade to a washed out, sepia look from age. Comparing it to the newest photo, one on regular paper and coming from a printer that was seemingly almost out of ink, it looked even older than it was. The second photo from the safe was only a few years old, still colorful and free of signs of aging but slightly bent.

More similar was the subjects of the photos, all of which featured two subjects staring into the camera.

Erik traced the outline of Wanda’s face as a young girl, then looked at the picture of Tommy and Billy. They had her eyes, and softer features. He could see a hint of similarity in the wispy-ness of their hair in Pietro’s.

He brought himself to study the photo of little Thomas and William and tried to see if he could find any resemblance between the toddlers and the teenagers. The features of babies weren’t as clear as the features of adults, but if Erik tried he could imagine the two images were of the same boys at different points in their lives.

Thomas and William.

Wanda had named her sons that. The ones she had with the Vision. The ones that died due to mystical reasons, with no bodies left behind.

No bodies, but souls… that could be a different story.

Tommy and Billy.

Magneto may need to make a reappearance at the Xavier school.

Chapter Text

Naturally, Billy and Tommy were the talk of the school the next morning.

Unfortunately for snooping students, the two didn’t have any classes together or any friends in common, and Tommy having super speed meant he wasn’t seen anywhere he didn’t want to be. This meant next to no one saw them together, despite the overwhelming student body desire to see if they really were long lost twins, or whatever.

The fact that no one could confirm the rumors in person, that two days later Rogue made out with Gambit on national television during a big fight with a giant robot, and that the school soon broke up for winter break led to most people losing interest quickly and giving up on finding proof.

Billy was immensely glad for that, he felt miserable being the center of attention of the whole school. And getting to go home for winter break was an even better respite from the unwanted attention.

That’s not to say that Billy didn’t see the school or Tommy at all over break. He saw him over those three weeks more than he had in the several previous months they had been at the school together. Dr. McCoy was insistent on them continuing to be his lab rats.

The blue scientist hadn’t found anything conclusive about Billy and Tommy. He’d get one test saying they were genetically identical like paternal twins, and the next would read that they didn’t have any relatives in common. This made Dr. McCoy seem even more eager to solve the mystery, and he kept making more appointments to both boy’s annoyance.

Seriously, if Billy had to listen to Tommy complain for another three hours straight, he was going to strangle someone. Or really see if he could teleport with his powers. Literally anywhere would be better than being poked with needles while listening to Tommy grumble.

Billy sighed heavily as he let himself down into the chair in the library.

Josh, taking any excuse not to study for tests, leaned back and grinned. “From that look, I’m guessing you’re still Schrodinger’s twin?”

“You know about Schrodinger’s cat?”

“Shut up, David.”

“We still know nothing,” Billy said before the two roommates could get into another argument. “Another useless session.”

Sofia patted the back of his hand in sympathy. “I’m sure soon it will all become clear what is going on.”

“Probably not.” Noriko didn’t even look up from her phone. “It’s been weeks and nothing new’s come about. Probably will be some riddle of the ages.”

“Nori! Don’t say things like that.” Sofia gave her a chastising look. “It just needs more time.”

Billy put his chin on the table. “Nah, Nori’s probably right. Gonna be Schrodinger’s twin for the rest of my life.”

He had broached the subject of Tommy to his parents when he had visited them for winter break. They had been just as baffled as everyone else involved. His mom had been very insistent that she had only given birth to one child at that point, and his dad offered to get out the birth video to prove it.

Luckily, he didn’t, but they weren’t any closer to figuring out what was going on. Billy had asked Tommy if he could ask his parents, see if they knew something, but Tommy had glared and told him that he was staying at school over break.

He had felt bad about that. Billy knew that most people didn’t have a great relationship with their parents after they went to Xavier’s, but he had been wallowing so much in his own situation that he hadn’t even thought to ask what Tommy’s life was like. He tried again, to get to know anything about Tommy, but the walls had slammed shut after that and Tommy refused to talk to him.

That had been at the last meeting before the break, and Tommy was still acting chilly towards him. It made the doctor appointments even more unbearable—at least the first few had been fun when Tommy would banter with him. Now all he did was sulk and grumble.

But that was enough misery over that situation tonight. He had an English test the next morning, and he was behind in his reading for Twelfth Night.

-x-x-x-

The library was closing as he checked out the next book he needed for English, plus a few personal books to read for fun while he was in Dr. McCoy’s lab.

Xi’an Coy Manh smiled at him as she scanned his books. “I hope you don’t think it invasive of me to say something, but I overheard you and your friends talking earlier.”

Billy blushed slightly in embarrassment. Nothing embarrassing had been said, but it was always awkward to be overheard. “Oh.”

“I have heard how you are having a…twin problem, so to say.”

“Sort of. We may or may not be twins. It’s complicated.”

Ms. Coy Manh smiled. “It always is when you’re a mutant, right?”

Billy laughed at that. “It seems like it is. Definitely way more complicated than anything from before I found out I was a mutant.”

She laughed alongside him, before growing serious. “I just want to say, that someday you will know the truth of what’s behind all this. And I am not saying that in some whimsical, fancy way.” She sighed. “Being surrounded by the X-Men, I can say that Noriko is most likely wrong and there will be a someday. Nothing like this is ever a mystery for long around here.”

Now she looked into Billy’s eyes, completely serious and earnest. “You will learn the truth, but I can’t say if it will be something good or not. The truth might be something horrible, or lead to something horrible happening. These mysteries frequently go that way. But you and Tommy should be united on how to act when that time comes. You two are obviously connected, whatever that connection is, and if you drift apart when trouble hits—”

Xi’an broke off and looked down. Billy got the feeling there were a number of immensely personal things she wasn’t saying, and he felt sad for Ms. Coy Manh. She was too nice to deserve anything she was implying.

She gathered herself again and pat his hand. “Being a twin, or something similar enough, is not always this bad, dramatic thing, you know. The X-Men just like being theatrical. Get to know Tommy outside of Hank’s lab. I think he needs a friend anyways, someone to be on his side when everything comes to a head. And it will be good for the both of you, too.”

She smiled again as she finished checking out his books, and Billy smiled back hesitantly.

He didn’t know exactly what Ms. Coy Manh was referring to, but obviously she had some experience in the twin department. A bad experience too, to want him and Tommy to get along.

He’d talk to Tommy in the morning, Billy decided resolutely. Ms. Coy Manh had been a New Mutant and had been doing this superhero thing for ages. It would be smart to take her advice. And he did want to bridge that gap Tommy had put between them, if only to make Dr. McCoy’s appointments less boring.

Tomorrow then, he decided when going into his dorm. Tomorrow during lunch Billy would find Tommy and try to get to know him, no matter what.

-x-x-x-

It was midnight when a figure floated onto school grounds. It didn’t set off any alarms.

The figure drifted to one spot outside the school, paused, then drifted to another. Two figures, one human shaped and the other a sphere of energy, left the grounds.

When Billy woke up the next morning, he was startled to see he was not in his dorm anymore. He pushed himself into a sitting position and looked around. A rather clinical looking room, with metallic looking walls and only the barest amount of furniture. Then, Billy’s eyes caught on the one big splash of color in the room.

Sitting on a table, several feet away, was Magneto’s helmet.

Chapter Text

Billy stared at the helmet. Then stared some more.

He was in a metal room, staring at Magento’s helmet. This seemed bad. This seemed very bad. There weren’t enough words out there to explain how bad it was to wake up in a strange room next to Magneto’s helmet.

He tried to get his bearings further. He was on a couch, and seemed to be in a living room area. Amazing. Magento leaves his helmet in his living room, Billy couldn’t help but think as he tried to tear his eyes away from the helmet. There was a small gust of wind and suddenly Tommy was in front of him.

“So, you’re awake now. I’ll take it you noticed the helmet? Even a snail like you could’ve noticed that by now, so I’ll say yes. Do you know what the hell is going on?”

Billy only got about half of that, Tommy was talking so fast. The white-haired delinquent seemed almost nervous.

“I am going to guess that we are both totally clueless then to what’s happening. Is that really Magento’s helmet?”

Billy leaned forward to touch it when the helmet suddenly rose. Both boys went still.

“I would prefer if you didn’t do that,” a deep voice rumbled behind them.

Billy turned around slowly. Behind the couch was an older man. His white hair was slicked back and he wore a bright red cape draped dramatically over his shoulders. Billy was terrified out of his mind, but he had to admit that cape looked as awesome and suitably dramatic up close as it did on television.

“My name is Erik Lehnsherr, and I mean you two no harm. You are here as my guests.”

Tommy raised an eyebrow. “Really? Because I’m pretty sure we were just kidnapped and put into a building with no doors or windows.”

“Except for the ones he can make.” Tommy looked at Billy. “You know, because the walls are metal? And he’s the only one here who can manipulate metal.”

Magneto shook his head. “That is true, but you two are my guests. You have free roam of my entire base.”

“But we can’t leave? Yeah, I’ll pass on this Hotel California business.” Billy got up to stand next to Tommy. “I’d like to leave now, thanks.”

Magneto’s face hardened. “No. Until I can figure out if my hypothesis is true, you two will be my guests. Or if you continue to be stubborn, my prisoners. I’m not picky on which. Now, be good.”

He waved his hand to open a new doorway, and left in a dramatic swish of that cool red cape.

-x-x-x-

“Hey, have you seen Billy today?” David asked Jay as they sat down to eat lunch.

Jay raised an eyebrow. “You haven’t? Don’t you have like three classes together?”

“And he wasn’t in any of them.” David adjusted his glasses. “I wouldn’t put it passed him to skip, but I was a bit worried since he missed our English test.”

“I… actually haven’t seen him either.” Jay frowned. “He was gone when I woke up, but I didn’t see his backpack, so I assumed he had left while I was sleeping.”

“But doesn’t Billy hate to wake up early? He’s late half the time to our first period because he ignores his alarm.”

“Yeah. I don’t think I’ve ever woken up after him.” Jay’s wings twitched anxiously. “Now that I think about it, his desk was a mess. I mean, it’s usually a mess, but more like his window had been opened and the wind blew everything around this time. I think there was even a leaf or two.”

David also began to frown. He had an uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach, the kind that said there was something bad about to happen. He turned to the blonde girl who sat down next to him, going on a hunch. “Hey, Laurie, have you seen Tommy today?” Laurie was the only one of them who had any classes with the speedster.

Laurie shook her head, puzzled. “No? But it’s always about 50-50 whether he comes to class. Why do you want to know?”

Jay was beginning to get a bad feeling too. “Billy wasn’t in any of his classes today and his side of the room was a mess.”

David was back to looking at Jay, his natural drive to figure out problems and find solutions making his thoughts race a mile a minute. He stood up from the table, and Jay stood up a split second after.

“Laurie, when the rest of the team get here, tell them to meet us in Jay and Billy’s room. I have a feeling something bad has happened to Billy and Tommy.”

-x-x-x-

Hank and Emma were silent as Jarvis led to them to the Scarlet Witch’s room in Avengers mansion. It was good luck she was in the first place the X-Men had looked to find her—she had been injured in the Avenger’s last mission and was staying at the mansion while she recovered.

Jarvis knocked on the door. “You have visitors from the X-Men, Ms. Maximoff.”

The door banged open to display Pietro standing in the doorway, glaring at them. Hank stifled a sigh. Of course Pietro would be there.

Pietro crossed his arms. “What do you two want? My sister is injured and shouldn’t have to deal with unruly guests.”

A sigh came from inside the room. “Pietro, please. Let whoever it is come in, I’m fine.”

Pietro gave another glare, but obliged his sister and sped back into the room.

“Anything else?” Jarvis asked.

“We’re fine,” Emma said as she waltzed by him, Hank right behind her.

Wanda barely covered the definition of fine. She didn’t seem to have any broke bones, but one of her arms was a giant bruise and the other seemed to be covered in burn marks. Her curly hair was pulled from her face revealing an impressive black eye. Whoever she had been fighting had given her a thorough beatdown.

She gave the other mutants a gentle smile. “Hank, Emma, a bit odd to see you both, but I’ll take any visitor after spending the last week with Pietro hovering.”

Everyone ignored Pietro’s harrumph. Hank twiddled with his thumbs before sitting on the edge of the bed.

“Wanda, I am unsure how to explain this to you without being extraordinarily forthright. We have a problem that potentially involves your… family.”

Both Wanda and Pietro straightened. “Magneto?” Wanda asked, looking serious, her friendliness from before dropped.

Hank and Emma exchanged glances.

“Not quite, dear. Though all evidence does point to him recently deciding to involve himself.” Emma told her.

“Recently?” Pietro glared at her. “Don’t you guys monitor him at all times? If he’s been causing trouble—”

“He hasn’t.” Emma glared back. “At least, not until he snuck in last night and kidnapped two of our students.”

“Why would he do that?”

Hank cleared his throat. “We think it has to do with a certain theory I have about those two students.”

Pietro rolled his eyes. “Let me guess, they’re both super powerful and Magneto wants to use them as a weapon in his grand schemes to destroy all humans and bring mutants to the forefront of society?”

“Well, both are fairly powerful, but no. That isn’t why we think he did it.”

“And if you would stop interrupting,” Emma glared at Pietro and Wanda who had both opened their mouths to reply to Hank. “We would gladly explain to you this hypothesis.”

The pair of twins looked at each other and came to a silent understanding. Wanda nodded. “Alright, we won’t speak while you explain.”

Emma started off, talking about how last fall semester they had taken in two new, young mutants who had come into their powers around the same time. The two had done adequately at the school, hadn’t caused much trouble until the end of the semester when they met each other for the first time.

“They appeared to be mirror images of each other, indistinguishable if it had not been for their differently hued locks. But when we ran examinations to ascertain if they had been separated at birth, or something in that area, each test had a differing outcome. One result would say twins, the next would declare them completely unrelated.” Hank took his glasses off and rubbed the lens against his shirt, nervous on how to word the next part. “And then there were their names, which stirred an old memory of mine, something Simon had told me years ago. It led me to wonder something quite outlandish and unscientific. I would wager Magneto has come to a similar conclusion, though I don’t understand how he did.”

“What are their names?” Wanda asked softly, wondering why the two had avoided naming the boys the whole time they talked. Dread and nostalgia and something that was both hopeful and horrible began to build inside her, though she couldn’t say why.

Hank was silent, still rubbing his glasses lens, so Emma spoke up. “Their names are William and Thomas. I’ve been told that might jog a memory for you too?”