Chapter 1: Chapter One
Dark Is My Light
Amy had a migraine again. She kneaded her knuckles gently against her forehead, closing her eyes and trying to will it away. She couldn't remember the last time she had made it through the day without a painful ache swelling behind her eyes. She slumped lower in her desk, trying to block the light from the windows. The clock ticking on the wall seemed impossibly loud.
"What moment in The Wasteland is where everything comes together, do you think?" Mrs. Barry intoned from far away. It sounded like she was underwater.
The clock kept ticking. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.
Startled, Amy jerked up, causing a sharp pain to jolt through her head. She glanced around the room to find the entire class staring at her. Mrs. Barry, at the front, looked irritated. "I don't mean to interrupt your nap, Miss Reed, but if you would do us the honor of answering my question, we'd be much obliged," she said. She must have called her name several times before Amy had heard her.
"Er..." Amy sat up, squinting at the open English book in front of her. She could barely make out Eliot's name, and the words were swimming all over the page. She looked back up at Mrs. Barry. "Could I go to the nurse? I don't feel well."
"Not having done the work is hardly a reason to visit the nurse, Miss Reed. Go on, we'll wait." Mrs. Barry crossed her arms.
Amy had read the poem the night before, but she couldn't remember anything now. She flipped a page in her book, but she could still barely make out any of the words. She couldn't even think of what she was supposed to be looking for. Her head felt like it was going to split in two. "Um, I'm sorry, but what was the question again?"
Around her, her classmates burst into sniggers of laughter at her expense. She flushed as Mrs. Barry sighed. "Where, in your opinion, is the point in Eliot's poem where the entire premise comes together?"
Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.
Little whispers began flickering around the room. "What is wrong with her?"
"What a moron..."
"Mrs. Barry is such a bitch-"
Amy's head was feeling so sensitive, though, it was like the voices were right inside of her head, pounding against her skull. She instinctively covered her ears with her hands, tears springing into her eyes at the pain.
"IS SHE GOING TO BE SICK?"
"OH MY GOD, GET ME OUT OF HERE-"
"IS SHE REALLY CRYING IN THE MIDDLE OF ENGLISH CLASS?"
TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK.
"SHUT UP!" Amy screamed, squeezing her fingers into her ears. "SHUT UP!"
The only thing Amy could hear was her shallow breathing, and the blood pumping in her ears. The migraine was gone. She opened her eyes.
No one moved. No one spoke. Even Mrs. Barry stared at her unblinkingly, mouth open as though she were about to speak.
"What?" Amy whispered, horrified. Slowly, she stood up out of her desk, wiping her cheeks with the back of her hand. Still, no one moved. She reached hesitantly reached out to touch the boy who sat next to her. "Alex?" She gently pushed his shoulder, but he didn't even blink.
"What's going on in here?"
Amy spun around, her heart palpitating forcefully in her chest. It was Mrs. Rowland, from the classroom next door. For a moment, they stared at one another, and then Mrs. Rowland looked slowly around the room.
Amy reacted instantly. She grabbed the strap of her backpack off of the floor and ran from the room, knocking past Mrs. Rowland as she went. As she sprinted down the hall, more and more classroom doors began to open as Mrs. Rowland continued to scream. By now, she was yelling for help. Amy slammed into the double doors at the end of the hall, triggering the emergency exit alarm and bursting out into the sunshine. She stumbled on the sidewalk, and then kept running, past the school gate and down the road, leaving the classroom and its horrors far behind.
It didn't take long for Amy to make it home. She didn't live far from school. She crashed through the back door, panting and sweating, and turned the lock. She dropped her bag on the floor of the mud room and quickly made her way across the house to lock the front door. She leaned against it, breathing heavily.
"What the fuck are you doing here?"
Startled, Amy looked up and saw her father lounging on the living room couch. "Dad," she said. "I didn't know you were here."
He glanced lazily at the clock on the wall, which read 12:53. "You're supposed to be at school." Slowly, he got up off of the couch, swaying. He was drunk.
"I-I got sick, they sent me home," Amy stammered, avoiding looking at him.
He moved closer. "Are you lying to me?"
"No!" Amy said, pressing her back against the door. "I have a fever, they sent me home to get some sleep."
His hand flashed out and he struck Amy across the face, nearly knocking her to the ground. "You lying little bitch!" he yelled, leaning over her. He grabbed a fistful of her hair, dragging her away from the door. She cried out, her fingers scrabbling at his, trying to pry him loose.
"Dad!" she yelled, her feet slipping on the floor as she tried to stand fully upright. "Dad, stop it! You're hurting me!"
He gave her hair one last yank, and Amy managed to right herself and pull away, stumbling back. She put her hands up to block him as he started for her again. "Stop it!" He knocked her arms aside and hit her again, this time knocking her fully to the floor. He pulled his arm back again, and she blocked her face and closed her eyes. "Dad, no!"
Amy would never really understand what happened next. Even though her eyes were closed, they were seared through the cracks by a blinding white light. She couldn't feel the ground beneath her, and her father's blow never came. Her face was blasted with incredible heat, and her hair blew back off of her skin.
When she finally felt brave enough to open her eyes, she found herself floating in the air, at least ten feet from a massive crater beneath her. She was suddenly overwhelmed with nausea, and she could feel the blood drain from her face. As her eyes rolled back into her head, she saw the earth pitch up toward her, and she was unconscious before she hit the dirt below.
"Hi, welcome to Freddie's. My name is Evee, and I will be taking care of you ladies tonight. Tonight we have our Friday Fish Fry, all you can eat cod for only $15.99, and our soup of the day is clam chowder. Can I get you started with anything to drink?" The charismatic smile, sparkling eyes, and cheery disposition seemed genuine and sincere from the young, teenaged waitress, but anyone who really knew Evelyn Reed, and very few did, would see right through the rehearsed speech. Evee hated her mundane job at Freddie's Diner, where the manager was a sleaze, the clientele filled with punk teenagers and busybody socialites, and the food overpriced and mediocre. She especially hated Friday Fish Fry. Nonetheless, she needed the money and the tips were halfway decent.
"Oh, dear, I'll have an iced tea," one woman ordered. She glanced at the other, who asked for the same, but with a lemon and light on the ice. Evee smiled, as if she couldn't be happier doing anything other than fetching the women their iced tea and left the table, heading toward the server's station.
That's when the headache started. She took a deep breath, trying to shake it off as she grabbed two glasses off the shelf. Please not now, she silently begged. Just one day… For weeks, Evee had been having painful migraines…but that wasn't the worst of it. It started off as a headache, then her vision would blur and then…
She was running, panting. It was dark. Someone was chasing her…
Someone slammed her up against a wall, squeezing her arms tight. Pain at her back. Her shirtsleeve rips.
"Just look at me!"
She reaches out and scratches at flesh, skin and blood under her nails.
Evee gasped for air, hardly able to breathe. The diner was silent; it felt like an eternity.
"Nice one, freak!" She heard, followed by laughter. She recognized the voices and looked up, a group of guys from school. They didn't get along. What the hell are they laughin-
Evee looked down at the glass and tea on the floor. She didn't remember dropping the drinks.
"I-I…I'm sorry," she muttered, reaching for the mop. As she was cleaning up the mess, she was interrupted by dear Freddie, the owner of this hellhole.
"Evee, that's the second time this week! I'm going to have to dock this from your pay," he reprimanded. Evee fought the urge to roll her eyes. She could feel his eyes behind her, his gaze following her backside, to the edge of her deep red button-up dress, a pitiful excuse for a uniform.
"Hey, can we get some service over here!"
Evee's heart dropped, a bowling ball landing on her gut. She recognized that voice. It was Tyler Reynolds, football player and basketball star, ladies' man, man's man, teacher's pet.
It was also the voice from her vision.
"Well, come on, Evee, don't just sit there, you've got tables to wait on!" Freddie growled.
Evee shook her head, standing. "I'm sorry," she said, taking offer black apron. "I don't feel good, I have to leave."
"Leave? It's not even 4, your shift just started!"
"I think I'm going to be sick," she replied quietly.
"Aw, lay off her, Freddie. I'll take her tables. Could use the extra tips tonight, anyway. Go get some rest, doll." Jan, a waitress in her forties and the closest thing Evee had to a friend, winked at her and gestured with her head to get the heck outta dodge.
Evee silently thanked her and left without another word. She grabbed her bag from her cubicle and headed out the back door, used for employees and deliveries. She just needed to get out of there until this feeling in her gut had passed.
It was bright out, and Evee squinted. She reached into her bag and pulled out a pair of large, dark sunglasses. She could never explain it, but the sun, daytime in general, just gave her a yucky feeling. Her mom had often joked that she was allergic to sunlight. But that was before the headaches started.
Evee started walking, away from the slowly setting sun. There were still a couple hours until it would be dark out, but Evee knew of a few places the sun didn't seem to touch so much. The dark always seemed to help with the headaches.
As she was walking, she felt that gut-clenching feeling again. Someone was behind her.
"Evee, wait up!"
Evee immediately broke into a run, fear gripping her. She knew now what she had seen, and there was no way that she was going to allow that to happen. Fortunately she was a good runner, and quick. However, Tyler was a star running back, and she could feel him gaining on her. Evee pumped her arms, willing herself to move faster, to get away from him, to get away from her vision.
There was a dark warehouse coming up to her right. Without second thought, Evee sped around the corner, hoisted herself up on the dumpster and pulled herself through a broken window, dropping to the ground. She picked herself back up and kept moving. The warehouse was dark, most of the windows were blacked out, but Evee's eyes adjusted quickly. She could see a heavy door ahead of her and knew she would be able to hide in there. She heard the thump of Tyler climbing the dumpster; she was almost out of time. Evee started running again, her heart racing, hair raising on her arms, goosebumps covering her body. Fear emanating from her. She could feel him right behind her, but didn't dare look. "OH MY GOD, GET ME OUT OF HERE-"
"Will you just look at me?!"
Evee felt Tyler touch her arm and she whipped around. What happened next was… well, impossible. She slashed at him, but never touched him. The darkness somehow seemed to grow darker, deeper. It took over and she felt it…push the fear she felt into Tyler. Somehow, in all this darkness, Evee could see clear as day…actually, clearer then she could see in daylight. Tyler's eyes widened and he stepped back. His mouth opened slowly, and then all of a sudden he let out this bloodcurdling scream. He began tearing at himself, ripping his clothes, clawing at his skin, screaming with paralyzing fear. And then the darkness took over.
Chapter 2: Chapter Two
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She was in a hospital; that much was clear. For one, blissful moment, she couldn't think of why that might be. And then, it all came back. She sat up like a shot, much to the dismay of her aching body, her heart pounding in her chest. Her right hand jerked back, and she looked down to see it handcuffed to the rail of her hospital bed. She pulled on her arm again, but the chain just pulled taut.
Trying to quell the panic quickly rising in her chest, she looked around the room. It was small, with a window next to her bed and two large windows next to her door, with the curtains pulled in front of them. Through the thin white material, she could see two people standing in front of the windows outside of her door.
The door to her room opened, and an older nurse entered Amy's room. She paused for a moment, looking at Amy as though she were surprised to see her sitting upright. A dark look passed over her face before she smoothed it out again, and her eyes turned from Amy's face to the monitors she was connected to.
"Please," Amy said, watching her, "please tell me what's going on."
The nurse ignored her, lifting one of the IV bags before dropping it back down. It was as if she couldn't hear her, but Amy could see her stiffen with every word she said. Tears filled her eyes.
"Please, just... just tell me what's wrong with me?" she begged, beginning to cry.
Still, the nurse said nothing. She turned and walked toward the door, her back as stiff as a board. Amy sobbed. "PLEASE!" she yelled.
The nurse paused, and then turned. Amy recoiled at the look of blind anger and hatred on the woman's face. "As if you didn't know, mutant," she spat. Amy's sobs shuddered to a halt as she stared back at the nurse, who abruptly turned on her heel and jerked open the door of the room. She slammed it shut behind her, and the lock turned audibly.
Amy felt her chest constricting more and more tightly. Mutant? It wasn't possible. She had seen some of the reports on the news in the last few months. Reports of destruction and chaos from across the country. One girl had spontaneously erupted fireworks inside a mall on the east coast. Another used super speed to rob banks across the country. There were even tales of mutants who could impersonate other humans.
It wasn't possible... was it?
Outside of her window, Amy saw the nurse talking with the two men who had been standing beside her door. One of them gestured, and the nurse rushed off quickly, and she saw their silhouettes turn to glance at her window.
Frantically, Amy started yanking at the handcuffs again. She had to get out of here, she just had to, there was no telling what they were going to do to her after what she had done-
Suddenly, she cried out in pain. Her wrist was suddenly in searing pain, and she looked down at the handcuffs, which had begun to glow orange as though they had been heated over a fire. In the middle of the chain, the link glowed even brighter, until they were white. Molten metal dripped onto the hospital bed, and suddenly, her arm was free.
Her wrist still burning, Amy leapt out of the hospital bed and ran to the sink inside the adjoining bathroom, turning the cold faucet on full blast and sticking her arm beneath it. The silver cuff cooled quickly and dangled on her arm like a bracelet, rubbing uncomfortably against the now raised, shiny pink burn.
The men outside of her room seemed to have noticed the commotion inside, and she heard the sound of a key in the lock. Amy looked around the room, looking for anything she could use to defend herself. There were no surgical tools or easily wieldable objects within arms reach. There was nothing.
The door opened, and two men in dark suits burst in, guns drawn.
"Stand down!" one of them yelled, hoisting his gun meaningfully.
Amy put her hands up. "Please-"
"STAND DOWN!" the second man yelled.
Throwing her arms out in front of her, there was suddenly a blast, and the two men were knocked backward into the door and wall, and the windows of her room shattered. There were screams in the hallway of the hospital, and Amy saw nurses and doctors in scrubs diving for cover.
Dressed in only a paper gown that was tied down her side, Amy began to run. She jumped over the two groaning men in the doorway, and into the hallway, which had devolved into chaos. No one seemed to be paying any attention to her. She ran down the hall until she found the doors to the stairs. Shoving it open, she ran into the stairwell, a sign notating she was on the third floor.
Quickly, she made it to the first floor, crowded with nurses and doctors who looked like they were beginning to evacuate patients from the hospital. Keeping her head down, her hair shielding her face, Amy entered the melee. She needed to change; she couldn't go out into the world in only a paper gown.
After a few tries, Amy found the shift changing room, empty. Each tall, blue locker had a padlock on it. She had a thought. Slowly, she approached the nearest locker, and took the padlock into the palm of her hand. Closing her eyes, she concentrated really, really hard, imagining the lock melting like the handcuffs in her hospital bed had. After a moment, she opened her eyes. The padlock remained, shiny and whole, in her hand.
The noises in the hallway were getting louder. In the distance, she could hear police sirens. Amy closed her eyes again. "Please, please, please," she murmured, gripping the lock.
Nothing. The only heat in the lock was from her sweaty grip on it. Amy threw it down and turned, running her hands through her hair. She could have wept in frustration and anger. She turned back and slammed her fists into the lockers, trying to resist the urge to give up then and there.
Suddenly, the doors on the lockers began to swing open. The only things holding the doors onto the lockers at all were the padlocks closed around the handles; it appeared the hinges themselves had melted.
The sirens were closer, now. Amy didn't have time to wonder what had happened. In the first locker was a brown sports coat and a pair of khakis. In the next, a blouse and a pair of jeans that were much too big for her. However, in the third locker, Amy found a pretty floral sundress and a pair of flats that were fairly close to her size. Stripping out of the paper gown, Amy dressed quickly, shoving the gown in a trashcan.
There was a purse in the locker where she found the dress. Biting her lip, Amy reached for it, opening the wallet inside. She found twenty-three dollars. Tossing the ID back into the locker, Amy went through the rest that had opened, looking for anymore cash. She had seen enough cop shows to know to leave the credit cards behind. When she had finished, she had just a little over $100. It would have to do.
She saw her face, lip split, bruised cheek, in the mirrors next to the showers. Mutant. Cringing, she turned away.
She slipped from the locker room into the crowded halls of the hospital. There seemed to be a general flow of people moving toward the main doors, and she fell into step in the middle of the crowd. The police standing at either side of the doors didn't see her as she left.
Evee didn't know what to do, she just kept running. She couldn't explain what just happened, what took over her. She just remembered the fear she had felt… and the screaming, the blood. The darkness. But that hadn't been the worst part, the part that had Evee running for her life. It wasn't the sudden flashing lights or the piercing sirens, either, although she kept trying to convince herself that was why she was running. But deep down, she couldn't deny it. And that was what scared her more than anything.
She had enjoyed it.
The darkness, however she was controlling it…felt…good. It made her feel better than she had in a long time. She had felt power and control, something sparked in her, a click. Somehow…she turned something on.
Evee didn't understand it, and she wasn't sure she wanted to. She just wanted it to go away, just forget about it and go back to her boring, mundane life.
No, you don't.
She stopped running and put her head in her hands, catching her breath. She dropped her hands to her knees and leaned against an alley wall, trying to think of what to do. The sirens had quieted some, she knew that by now they would have found Tyler and taken him to the hospital, try to figure out what had happened to him.
Then they would be looking for her.
Or would they? Evee couldn't even fully remember what had happened let alone make sense of it. Maybe Tyler wouldn't be able to, either. Maybe she would be safe.
Evee shook her head again. She might be, but he wouldn't be. Ever again. Whatever happened, whatever she did to him, Tyler would never be the same. That much, Evee knew for certain.
"I have to get home," Evee said to herself. The sun was setting - it was starting to get dark. Evee pressed her lips together. Maybe not straight home.
A small smile formed on her lips as she started to walk. She buried the fear and worry, saving it for morning. She could face her problems with the rising sun. But right now, her headache was gone and her nerves were calming. She took the long way home, just enjoying the crisp autumn air.
Evee slid the key into the lock and turned it slowly, quietly entering the third floor, two-bedroom apartment. It was after two and she didn't want to wake her mother, who worked early mornings. She snuck in, closing the door behind her quietly. Evee stopped in the kitchen and opened the fridge. There was a plate with ham, mashed potatoes, and green beans. Not bothering to warm it up, Evee took the plate over to the dining room table. There was a note at the table where she normally sat.
There's a plate in the fridge. I'm going in early tomorrow morning and staying late, but I will be off Sunday and all next weekend.
Evee sighed and began to eat. Her mother rarely took a day off; it seemed she was working all the time. They both did. If Evee wasn't at school, she was at the diner, nights and weekends, except for when she had the headaches. She was sure Mom had thought she was getting some extra hours in at the diner.
Evee's stomach dropped. She couldn't bury it anymore. The hair on her arms prickled, goose bumps traveling up her arms and down her spine. She could feel it climbing up her throat. She could literally feel it. Evee jumped up and sprinted into the bathroom, throwing herself over the toilet as she started to retch. She gasped for air in between heaves.
Finally, she could sit back. She took a deep breath and wiped her mouth with a piece of toilet paper. The temporary cool her walk had given her was long gone and the horror of what had happened was staring her right in the face.
What did I do?
A few minutes later, Evee washed up and threw out the rest of her food. She quickly loaded and started the dishwasher, and then went into her room, closing the door behind her.
What did I do? she thought again, sitting on her bed. She stared down at her hands, trying to put together some sort of explanation. But she couldn't come up with much. Whatever she did, it wasn't good. Evee sighed and kicked off her shoes. Whatever it was, she would have to figure it out in the morning. For now, she needed to try to sleep. There was a lot to do in the morning.
Evee slept like crap. She woke up nauseous, feeling exhausted, and with another headache. You'd think by now I'd be used to this shit, she thought sullenly. She stretched and sat up pulling the hair out of her face. She squinted at the light, her curtains were open. She whipped them closed, blocking some of the sun. That's better.
Before worrying about anything, the first thing Evee did was head to the shower. There wasn't a window in the bathroom, so the shining sun wouldn't bother her. She didn't bother waiting for the water to warm up before getting in, the cold always helped her wake up.
Unfortunately it helped her wake up to what was going on. Evee didn't really want to think about it, but she had to. She did something, something awful. She dreaded seeing the news, but she had to know just how bad things were. She hoped that whatever had happened, it was temporary. But she had a feeling that it wasn't. The thoughts brought up an image, a high school boy tearing at his skin, the bloodcurdling screams… it was going to stay with her forever. It would be the first thing she saw every morning.
Evee turned off the shower, grabbed a towel and dried off. She quickly brushed her teeth and combed her hair, and then went to get dressed. She dropped the wet towel on her bedroom floor and pulled on a pair of old, dark blue jeans, a dark blue lace tank top, and a fitted black button-up. She threw her hair up in a loose ponytail and sat at her desk, her laptop in front of her. Evee closed her eyes and took a deep breath. A moment later, she lifted the screen and turned it on.
It didn't take long to find an article: Local Athlete Admitted to Hospital - Police Seeking Witnesses. Evee's stomach dropped and she could barely breathe as she read the article. Being a minor, Tyler's name was left out, but it was obvious who they were referring to. An anonymous caller had heard the screaming and called the police. They found him covered in self-inflicted wounds, his screaming uncontrollable. He could not be consoled and resisted the paramedics. Eventually he was sedated and brought into the hospital, where he is receiving specialized care and is under evaluation. The police believed the incident was drug-related.
"Are you fucking kidding me? Drugs did this?" she muttered, reading on. The police did not have any other leads at this time. They were urging anyone with any information to come forward.
Evee sat back in her chair. So that was it. Whatever she had done, put a kid in the hospital. She took a deep breath and leaned forward, scrolling down the page to read the comments on the article.
There were a lot. Worried parents, concerned citizens. And high school gossip. There were a lot of people defending the drug comments, and a lot in favor of them. Evee scrolled through them, skimming them, searching. She froze, breath caught in her throat. Much to her dismay, Evee found what she was looking for. It was posted anonymously, but it had to be from one of the guys on the football team, friend Tyler had been with at the diner: "last i saw tyler he was leaving freddies after that freak left".
Evee could barely breathe. This was it. If one jock could make that connection, it wouldn't be long before the police did. They could be knocking on the door today.
She couldn't sit still. Evee stood and began pacing the room, trying to catch her breath. Her heart was racing, her blood pumping. It was difficult to breathe and the room was spinning. What do I do, what do I do!? She felt panicked, scared. And then the headache started.
"No, not again!" she exclaimed breathlessly, as her vision blurred and was replaced by something unexplainable.
A blonde teenaged girl running, panting. She was scared.
An older man yelling, grabbing her hair. Anger, fear.
A blinding bright light exploding, wiping everything out.
Green and chrome, a hospital. Metal melting.
Police searching, guns drawn.
The girl running, hiding. She's scared, so scared. Her face…blonde hair, bright blue eyes.
Evee gasped, falling to the floor. She took a moment to catch her breath, and then sat back. "What the hell?" she said aloud to herself.
She thought back to her vision, the girl. She wasn't sure why she had seen her, but knew they were alike, that there was something similar about them.
I've got to find her. Evee went back to her laptop and started searching. She didn't really know what she was looking for, or where she should be looking. This girl could be halfway across the country for all she knew.
"Oh my god," she whispered. She had found something. There was a house in Oregon that had been wiped off the map during an explosion. A teenage girl had been found unconscious on site and taken to the hospital, where she was in custody for questioning. A more recent article had the girl's yearbook photo and claimed her a fugitive, saying that she fled the premises after attacking several police officers.
Her name was Amelia Reed, and as of six hours ago, she was on the run.
The articles said one more thing. She was a mutant.
Mutant. Evee sat back and thought about the word. That had to be it. They were mutants.
Everyone had heard about mutants. People that had a variation in their genes, in their DNA, that gave them unique abilities or disfigurations. They were in the news on a daily basis. Some reports of mutants fighting for equal rights. Most reports were of dangerous mutants, mutants who were hurting people, even killing people. Evee didn't personally know any mutants, not that she knew of. But it seemed every day there were more and more of them. Her mom had told her some stories about mutants who came into the hospital seeking medical attention for difficult mutations, or humans who visited for mutant-inflicted wounds, but not many. She seemed to prefer to leave her work at work, troubling though it may be.
And she was one of them.
I have to find her, Evee thought. It was crazy, but she didn't know what else to do. It wouldn't be long before the police were looking for her, and she didn't really have anywhere else to go.
It was settled. Evee saw no other choice. She emptied the backpack she used for school and started filling it with clothes, her toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant and her laptop and charging cord. She took a large tote from her mother's room and filled it with things too. She didn't need much but she knew she needed to be well-prepared. She didn't have any credit or debit cards, but took her bus pass and passport. She emptied her glass bank and took the money from under her mattress and counted it. All together she had over $4000. She had been planning on buying a car in the next couple weeks. Evee hid most of the money deep in her bags and opened a notebook, scribbling a half-assed apology to leave for her mom to find whenever she got home from work. She left her about $600 with the note, her cell phone, and her key. She knew she could never go back.
Without a second thought, Evee left the apartment. I can't believe I'm doing this, she thought, closing the door behind her. Here goes nothing.
Chapter 3: Chapter Three
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She had snuck in the gas station bathroom as someone was leaving it. She turned on the faucet and splashed water onto her face, careful to avoid putting too much pressure against the dark bruise on her cheek. She rubbed her damp hands around the back of her neck before reaching for a paper towel. She didn't know what she was going to do. She was alone in the city, a hunted fugitive, with nowhere to go or to turn. She gripped the edges of the sink and squeezed her eyes closed, trying to keep from crying again.
Suddenly, there was pounding at the door. "Hello?!" Startled, Amy knocked the bottle of hand soap off of the sink's edge, jerking around to face the door. There were two shadows underneath the door from where someone was standing on the other side. She heard keys jingling and scraping against the handle, and suddenly the door swung open, revealing an overweight man in a gas station attendant's vest. "You're not supposed to be in here, this is for customers only!" he snarled at her.
Amy put up her hands and started edging forward, meaning to slip around him. "I'm sorry, the door was open and I just wasn't feeling good," she said. "I'm going now, I'm sorry."
The man sidled over, blocking her exit. "I know you," he said slowly, "you're that mutant they're looking for on the news!"
"No, no, no, you must be mistaken, I-"
He reached out to grab her, but Amy dodged back. "Leave me alone," she said, "I don't want to hurt you."
The man laughed, as though the idea were ridiculous, and made to grab at her again. "Do you know what kind of reward they have on you?"
"Stop it!" Amy yelled, raising her hands defensively. A bright ball of white light suddenly erupted from her palm, about the size of a basketball. It rocketed forward, knocking Amy back into the wall and colliding with the man, burning through his shirt and knocking him several feet backward and onto the ground. Stunned, Amy stared at him for a second before bolting from the bathroom as he struggled to sit up.
"Help!" the man started to shout. "Help me! That mutant bitch attacked me!"
People filling up their cars turned to look at Amy as she sprinted through the gas station parking lot and onto the sidewalk. It wasn't long before she started to hear sirens behind her. She slid around a corner, nearly knocking a couple over as she started running down the next block. Her lungs began to burn, and her legs were tiring, but she kept pushing forward, trying to outrun the sirens that were screaming louder and louder behind her. As she ran through an intersection, she nearly stumbled and fell trying to stop as two squad cars, lights flashing, turned onto the street at the next block. She was trapped.
Fingers wrapped around the top of her arm, and pulled. Instinctively, Amy yanked back, raising a hand in defense. It was a woman, tall, with dark hair. "Come on, this way!" she said, pulling. "I'm here to help, let's go!"
Amy didn't have a choice. She followed the woman up the sidewalk until she turned suddenly down a side street. The sirens were impossibly loud now, the blue and red lights bouncing into the alleyway. Amy kept running, thinking to make it out to the end and keep going, but the woman stopped and yanked her arm back.
"Why are you stopping?" Amy shrieked, pulling out of the other woman's grasp. "They're coming!"
"And you think you can outrun police cars?" she answered sarcastically.
Amy ran her hands frantically through her hair. "Then what?!"
The other woman knelt down, digging her fingers into the edges of a manhole cover. "This."
"You want to go into the sewers?!"
"Do you have a better idea?" she asked, looking up at Amy.
"Who are you?" Amy demanded.
"In the hole. Now!"
The sirens were upon them. Quickly, Amy placed her foot at the top of the metal ladder cemented along the tunnel wall, and started descending. The other woman followed after, pausing only to pull the cover back over the hole, enclosing them in darkness.
The smell was overpowering. Finally, Amy stepped down and found concrete beneath her dropped down, and felt, rather than saw, the other woman step down beside her.
"I can't see anything," Amy said.
"I can," the other woman replied. "But I guess that doesn't really help you... Can't you do something about that?"
"It's not a switch, I can't just turn it on!" Amy said, exasperated. Now that she was alone with the stranger, who seemed to know a lot more than her, she was afraid. She slowly started to back away.
"I can see you, you know," the other woman said, sounding frustrated. Amy froze, and then she heard rustling, and all of a sudden, a small light clicked on. "Here," she said, handing Amy the small flashlight.
Amy took it in shaky hands. "Who-who are you?"
"My name's Evee. I came to help you." In the light, Amy could see her features much more clearly. Her hair was long, halfway down her back, and so dark it was almost black. She had almond shaped eyes, and a long neck. Even with the bags under her brown eyes, she was very pretty.
"How did you find me?"
The other woman smiled, like she was holding back laughter. "Well, it's not like it was hard. All I had to do was turn on the news to see where you had been sighted last."
Amy flinched, and Evee quickly softened her face. "Look, we're going to get through this, okay? I'm not going to hurt you, or turn you in. It's a long story, but I've sort of been... looking for you. I can explain more later, but for now, we should probably move. Okay?" She extended a hand.
Amy clutched the flashlight in both hands, and considered her options. She could run, and probably be stuck forever in the Portland sewer system, or she could have a companion that, for now, seemed to be interested in helping her. She could always try to make a break for it later. She didn't have much energy left to be on her own anymore. She reached forward. "O-okay."
Evee smiled, this time confidently. "Alright. Now, let's head this way."
The sewer was cold, dark, and it smelled. It kind of reminded Evee of New York. But New York wasn't something she wanted to think about, so she pressed forward, leading Amy on. She had no idea where they were going or what they would do once they got there, but Amy was terrified. Evee would get them through this, and keep her as safe as she could.
"Let's stop here for a minute," Evee said, swinging her bag off her shoulder and pulling something out. She opened up the map, trying to find where they were.
Amy stood near her, shining the flashlight on the map. "Where are we going?"
"Here," Evee pointed to the general area where she had been staying, a dive motel away from the city center. Paid in cash, separate outside entrance to the room, no cameras, and next to zero cars in the parking lot. She could easily sneak Amy back to the room without anyone seeing them, and plan their next move from there. She closed the map. "We've got a ways to go before we can go back to the surface, so we should get a move on. Let's go."
She hoisted the bag up onto her back and continued down the sewer, Amy following behind her. She could feel Amy's blue eyes on her, watching her inquisitively.
"Who are you? I mean... what are you? Are you like me? What do you do?"
Evee pressed her lips together. She knew the questions were coming, it was only inevitable, but she didn't really want to answer them. She couldn't really answer them. "Maybe...it's better if we don't talk."
She regretted the words as soon as they left her lips.
"Oh," Amy breathed softly. The silence between them was an uncomfortable one. A moment later, Evee sighed. Fine... She reminded herself that this young woman had been through a lot, and she was scared and confused. She needed to go a little easier on her.
"We're similar, but I'm not exactly like you. That... thing that you do, I can't do that. But I can do something else." She paused, allowing Amy to cut in. But she held her tongue, and waited for Evee to continue. Evee offered a small smile that was meant to be comforting before she continued. "I honestly don't really understand what it is that I do."
"Well, you can see in the dark," Amy said, almost unsure if she should say anything.
"Yeah, but it's way more than that..." Evee trailed off. She wasn't sure how to explain it, and she was worried if she showed her, she wouldn't be able to control it. What if she ended up like Tyler?
Amy spoke again, and this time Evee was glad she did. "You said you were looking for me... why?"
Well, sort of glad.
Evee shrugged, knowing that wasn't much of an answer at all. A moment later, she spoke. "I saw you... This is going to sound absolutely insane, you wouldn't believe me if I told you."
"Try me." She stopped, crossing her arms in front of her chest. Amy's voice carried a hint of harshness, and it took Evee aback. She smiled to herself. That's better.
"I could see you... but not on tv or the internet. I saw you... in my head. Like, the world around me stops, I cant breathe, I can't see, I can't hear. I can barely even think. And then I see things. Images, flashes. Sometimes it's like flipping through a picture book, or watching a movie on fast forward. Sometime I just see things about a person, or sometimes I see things that haven't happened yet." Evee paused, and took a deep breath. "The other day... I saw you. I saw what you did, and I saw you running. I saw that you needed help."
Evee took a chance and looked up at Amy. Her eyes were wide and her mouth hanging open. Great, I sound like a lunatic. "Look, I'm not crazy, okay?" she snapped, turning away.
"I didn't think you were," Amy said softly.
Evee froze. She slowly looked back at the young woman, searching her face. No, Amy didn't think she was crazy - at least, not completely crazy. What Evee saw in Amy's face was recognition. Recognition, because she knew exactly what Evee experienced, or something similar to it. "Do you see things, too?"
"No," Amy shook her head.
"But sometimes... I hear things. Voices. Thoughts, maybe?"
Evee nodded her head. "You get a headache, or a migraine, rather. Everything else just stops at random, and then it takes you over. You have no idea what happened, and you could never explain it to anyone without sounding crazy."
A moment of silence, and then Amy spoke. "I killed my father."
"I sent a boy to the hospital."
"I can't control it."
"Neither can I."
"I...I could hurt you, could burn you. Or worse."
"I could make you hurt yourself."
The two just stood there, watching each other. Neither said a word, neither needed to. They understood each other, and through that understanding, a bond was formed.
Evee gestured to the dark emptiness ahead of them. "We should keep moving. Don't want to spend all day in the sewers."
Amy nodded, and the two started walking again.
And then it hit her, a sudden onslaught of pain. "Aggh!" Evee cried out, dropping the map and throwing her hands to her head. Her vision blurred, and her hearing was replaced by a sharp, buzzing noise. She heard a scream and tried to find Amy, but she could barely move and fell forward. "Not now!" she whispered as the vision took over.
He was grotesque. Nose sunken in, large gaping black eyes. His skin was gray and scaly. He was grinning maliciously, hungrily.
Someone was gasping, struggling. A woman, claws clenched around her throat.
"No!" Evee gasped breathlessly. "Amy!"
She started to stand and a hand helped her up. She looked into Amy's scared, blue eyes. "We have to go. We have to go now!"
They didn't hesitate and the two broke into a run. Evee could see a crossroads coming up ahead. "Keep going straight!"
As they were passing the crossroads, Amy yelled "Watch out!"
Evee turned to look at Amy, and that's when it hit her. Something physically hit her and she went flying, hitting the tunnel wall and falling to ground. Her vision flickered, and her head started pounding.
"What are two pretty things like you doing in Morlock territory?" The voice was male and mocking.
"You mean this isn't Disneyland?" Evee shot back, holding the back of her head as she stood.
She heard a growl as her vision came back, and she found herself staring into the dark, slitted eyes from her vision. Her heart was racing and she glanced over at Amy. She kept her composure and tried to will her to run, but she was frozen. She turned back to the thing in front of her, preparing herself for the onslaught she was sure to face. "Word of advice? Breath mint."
Evee grimaced as this Morlock thing swung. As she fell, she gathered all of her strength and screamed in her mind, RUN!
It must have worked, Evee could hear Amy take off. Unfortunately, she could hear the disfigured mutant going after her. "What's the matter, blondie? Scared of big bad Gorge?"
Gorge? What the hell kind of name is that? Evee thought to herself, standing. She moved too fast, and a bout of dizziness took her. She put a hand up to her head. She was definitely bleeding this time. Gritting her teeth, Evee took off, running after Amy and Gorge.
It wasn't difficult to find them, they hadn't gotten far. Evee saw the scene from her vision playing out in front of her: Gorge pressing Amy into the tunnel wall, grabbing her by her throat. Her feet dangled in the air as she clawed at the tight grip. She couldn't breathe. Evee didn't know what to do, she couldn't fight something that big, she wasn't strong enough. Or was she? She closed her eyes, willing the darkness to come up and take over, like it had done in the warehouse.
Amy was fading fast; she had to do something.
"Won't you make a nice treat, blondie?"
What? We're into eating people? Evee stepped forward, feeling the darkness build up inside her. "Hey, tall, dark, and scaly!"
Gorge growled, and as soon as he turned to Evee, he was knocked back by some unseen force. He fell backward, enveloped in darkness, as if he was covered by a shadow. He began screaming and thrashing about. Evee immediately ran to Amy's side, putting an arm around her as she coughed and gasped for air. "Are you okay?"
"What did you do to him?"
"Nevermind, we have to move. Can you stand?"
"I, I think so," Amy replied.
Evee helped Amy stand, but they weren't fast enough. Four more mutants were coming straight for them on the other side of the tunnel, each more hideous and disfigured than the last. On their other side, Gorge was slowly getting to his feet.
"Let's go!" Amy yelled, but Evee grabbed her arm.
"There's nowhere to go, we have to fight!"
Amy didn't protest, but Evee could feel her growing fear. Evee grabbed her hand, giving it a reassuring squeeze. "You can do this."
The two women started to focus on building their power. Evee tried to let the darkness take over, as she felt her hand heat up. Just as the first of the mutant gang lunged at them, a red blast appeared out of nowhere and shot him down. A strong wind picked up, blowing another away.
"What's going on?" Amy yelled, as the remaining mutants ran off in the sewers. Gorge, for lack of a better word, seemed to slither off of the ground into the sewer water, disappearing beneath the surface.
Light and dark hair blew around, and Evee squinted. She could see two people, dressed in dark leather. A man in goggles, and a dark-skinned woman with bright white hair and white eyes. They had to be mutants, too.
"We are not here to harm you," the woman said.
The man held up his hands, "We're here to help. Come with us."
Evee could feel Amy squeeze her hand, which was getting hotter. Too hot.
"Amy, I think it's okay." Evee tried to pull her hand away, but Amy's grip was surprisingly strong. Evee's hand was sweating. "Amy, come on, it's okay. You're hurting me."
She looked up at Amy, who had her eyes shut and terror written over her face. She was losing control.
"Stay back!" Evee yelled at the two mutants that had helped them. Amy's hand grew blisteringly warm, and pain began to shoot up Evee's arm as it started to burn her.
"Please, please work," she muttered to herself. She wrapped an arm around Amy, whose skin was hot to the touch. She ignored the pain, closed her eyes, and tried to focus on the palpable fear that emanated from the other woman. She could push her own fear onto others, but maybe she could pull Amy's fear into herself, before Amy blew them all to smithereens. Evee focus on the fear, squeezing Amy in her arms. She could feel her hand burning, the searing pain tearing at her flesh. She imagined Amy's fear, pulling it into her own body. The skin prickled on her arms and the back of her neck. Goosebumps traveled across her skin. Her heart beat faster and faster, until it was pounding in her ears, blood rushing through her veins. She held on as long as she could, until finally, she couldn't take it anymore. She stumbled back, screaming. A flash of light and darkness filled Evee's eyes as she fell, eyes rolling back in her head.
Chapter 4: Chapter Four
Hello again, and welcome back!
So, we actually have something important to say this time, other than begging for your Kudos and and comments! Krystle and I are working on building a Photobucket account and a YouTube channel you guys can peruse! We've been working on this story for awhile now, and over the course of that time we've compiled a soundtrack for our story, as well as collected a series of comic scans, photo edits, and outfit compilations we use for inspiration! We plan on making these accounts available for you guys to look through as soon as they're up and running, so we'll keep you posted! Hopefully by the time we're publishing the next chapter, they'll be ready to go!
In the back of her mind, Amy heard indistinct whispers, a sea of voices that sounded like silk slipping against itself or the distant crashing of the ocean.
"Won't you make a nice treat?" Gorge lifted a claw and ran it down her cheek to her chin, forcing her to look into the sunken pits where his eyes should have been visible. She choked as he squeezed her neck tighter.
The voices grew louder, and started chanting in unison. Run. Run. RUN. RUN!
With a painful, strangled gasp, Amy say bolt upright, eyes open, heart pounding, palms sweaty, head silent. It took a moment for her eyes to focus on the bright room she found herself in. It looked like she was in a medical facility, all white cabinets and walls and chrome appliances. There was no one else around.
She looked down at herself. She had been laid out on a metal table, but she couldn't have been there long. She was still filthy, wounded, and in the clothes she had stolen from the hospital.
She remembered the strangers in the sewers, not the monsters, but the man and woman who had appeared just before Amy couldn't remember anything. She must have blacked out. She slid off of the table, standing shakily on her feet. The room wasn't very big, and it was obvious Evee wasn't there. It was a struggle to try to stay calm. She was alone, again.
There were large metal doors to her right, and Amy walked toward them. There were no handles, and no keypad on the wall. They did not open as she approached, and remained closed as she stood before them. She reached out and rested her hand against the seam between the two doors, but that didn't work either. In frustration, she banged her fist on the door.
Turning away, she ran her hands through her hair, pacing across the room. What was she going to do? There were no windows, the doors wouldn't open - she was trapped.
She needed a weapon, she decided. She couldn't count on herself to be able to fight whoever was inevitably coming, she needed something else. She was clearly in some sort of hospital or facility, there had to be something she could use to defend herself.
She began rummaging through the cabinets, pushing aside clear medical tubing, boxes of rubber gloves, and packages of cotton swabs. She was looking through the drawers when the doors slid open behind her. Whipping around, Amy lifted the pair of scissors she had just found in front of her in what she hoped was a threatening manner. Two people, a redheaded woman and a man in goggles, had come through the door. As the doors slid closed behind them, they both paused. The redheaded woman put her hands up.
"It's okay, Amy. You don't have to be scared."
Amy clenched the scalpel tightly in her hand. How could they possibly know her name? What did they want? She tried to listen to their thoughts, but she couldn't seem to grasp at any of her powers. Her heart beat faster in her chest.
"Just put the scissors down, okay? We're here to help you." They were slowly approaching her, and she was backing away, until her back was pressed against the wall. She held the scalpel in front of her, clenched in both hands.
From behind the two strangers, Evee appeared, followed by a white-haired women - the woman Amy faintly remembered from the sewers.
"Amy, stop," Evee said, standing in front of the other three and spreading her arms wide. "They're just trying to help. Look at me." Evee pushed aside the collar of her t-shirt, revealing a swath of bandages. She had two butterfly bandages on her eyebrow, and she looked like she had showered. "Just put it down, okay?"
Amy hesitated for a moment, looking at the faces of the people standing behind Evee, and then she slowly reached out and set the scissors on the countertop.
"Okay," Evee said, nodding. "Now, come sit so they can fix you up, alright?"
Amy wondered what exactly it was that had caused Evee to be so openly trusting of these strangers, but then again, back in the sewers, Amy had trusted her without thought. It felt right. So, she trusted her now. Feeling numb and suddenly exhausted, she allowed herself to be led back to the examining table she had woken up on, and she sat on the edge. The redheaded woman slowly approached her. "Amy," she said, "my name is Dr. Grey. This is Mr. Summers," she gestured to the man, "and this is Miss Munroe." The white-haired woman smiled. "I'm going to take a look at your face, okay?" Jean asked.
Amy dropped her eyes, but held her face forward, acquiescing. Jean dampened a washcloth in the sink, and stood in front of Amy, gently wiping away the dirt and grime from her face. Amy winced away from her touch as she brushed against the large bruise on her cheek. "Sorry," Dr. Grey said, pausing before continuing. "That looks bad. How did that happen?" she asked.
Amy dropped her eyes. She didn't want to talk about it. Or anything.
The doctor took the hint. She dropped the washcloth in the sink, and took Amy's hand in her own, studying the handcuff still dangling around her wrist. "This doesn't look good," she said, more to herself than Amy. She looked over her should. "Scott, could you...?"
The man in the goggles nodded, and stepped toward Amy. He looked down at her arm, and reached for a dial on the right side of his goggles.
He shot across the room in an instant, slamming against the wall before sliding down to his knees, coughing, trying to catch his breath.
"Scott!" Jean said, running to his side. The white-haired woman, Miss Munroe, and Evee turned to look at Amy, who shrank under their gaze.
"It's okay, Amy, it was an accident," the white-haired woman said soothingly. Across the room, Scott shakily got to his feet.
"It's okay, I'm fine," he said, seemingly more to the redhead than the rest of the room. They both approached Amy again. "It was just an accident, but I'm not going to hurt you, alright? We just need to get that off," he said, gesturing to the cuff around her wrist.
Slowly, Amy held out her wrist again, and Scott, slowly, lifted his hand to his goggles. There was a bright blast of red light, and then the cuff clattered to the floor. Amy stared, amazed.
"Now, let's get that cleaned up, shall we?"
Dr. Grey carefully wiped down the burn, which hurt more than the cuff had rubbing against it for the past week. She then did a short medical examination, shining a light in both of Amy's eyes, checking her temperature and blood pressure, and taking a blood sample.
When she was done, she handed Amy a pile of dark clothing, sweats and t-shirts, just like Evee wore, and a pile of bandages. "You'll have to put those on after you shower, okay? Evee can help you, I'm sure." Amy looked up at her, confusion apparent on her face. "I assume you'll want to shower?" she asked, with a smile. Amy looked away, down at the pile in her hands.
"I'll show you to your room," Miss Munroe said, resting a hand on Amy's shoulder. She flinched away.
"Come on, Amy, it's okay," Evee said.
Amy looked up at her, and then slid off of the table, holding the clothes close to her chest and refusing to look at anyone. She was too confused and too tired to fight anymore.
She followed everyone out of the infirmary, whose doors seemed to magically open for the others, and down the bright white hallway to elevator doors, also white and easy to look past if not for the seam between the doors. They all stood silently together in the elevator as it nearly silently glided upward for what seemed like an eternity. Amy tightened her arms around her bundle.
The doors opened, revealing a magnificent landing. High ceilings, beautiful chandeliers, wood paneling, expensive-looking furniture, massive area rugs, all laid out before a grand staircase leading up to who knows how many floors.
"Your room is on the second floor," Dr. Grey said, leading the way.
They weren't the only ones walking. Others, most looking like they couldn't be older than Amy and Evee, walked or ran past, talking and laughing. Some of them stopped to stare at them as they passed. A girl in a yellow coat, a boy with a lighter - Amy even saw one girl run through a wall. Very aware of her singed dress and bruised face, she shook her hair forward to shield herself from their gazes.
Amy almost didn't realize they had arrived when the group stopped before a door. "You two can share... I hope that's alright? Evee, your things are already here," Jean said, opening the door.
The two were ushered into a fairly large, airy room. There were two twin beds placed in an L shape, one against the window, one against the adjoining wall, feet to feet. There was an adjoining bathroom.
"I guess we'll leave you to it, then," Miss Munroe smiled at them. "Wash up, and get as much rest as you need. We'll check back later, alright?"
Evee nodded for both of them.
"Don't forget those bandages after you wash," Dr. Grey reminded Amy as she closed the door.
Then, "I've already been up here," Evee said, flopping onto the bed by the wall. "Shower's nice. I thought you'd like the bed by the window."
Amy stood there, still holding her clothes.
"So, not talking still, huh? Even to me?"
Barely, Amy shrugged. Evee sighed. "It's alright. But for the record, I like it here. I think they just want to help. It's a school, you know, for mutants. Storm explained it to me."
Amy glanced at her.
"Miss Munroe. White hair. They all have names like that. Like, the guy with the glasses is called Cyclops. It's weird." Exhaling, she rolled onto her stomach, resting her head on the pillow. "I'm going to get some sleep, I'm exhausted. You should take a shower, you reek."
Wordlessly, Amy shuffled into the bathroom, closing the door behind her and setting her pile of clothes onto the counter next to the sink, bandages on top. She peeled off her clothes, dropping all of them into the small trashcan next to the toilet without hesitation. Turning the water on as hot as she could stand it, she climbed in, pulling the glass door closed behind her, and let the water run over her head and down her body. Everything ached, even parts of her she hadn't injured. She was tired, emotionally, physically, and mentally. She was so tired, she couldn't think. She raised her hand and held it to her neck, feeling where that monster had grabbed her. Her throat tightened, and she started to cry. She bent over, hugging herself, and finally sank down, resting her forehead on her knees, great sobs racking through her body.
Finally, though, even that ended. She washed herself twice before toweling off with a soft, white towel hung over the towel bar. In the pile of clothes, she found a dark grey tank top and a black pair of panties. She pulled those on, leaving the towel on the bathroom floor.
Evee was stretched out and breathing heavily on her bed; she hadn't even bothered to get under the blanket. Amy slid under hers and pulled it over her head, almost immediately falling into a deep, dreamless sleep.
It had to be late afternoon when she finally woke up. She felt stiff and sticky from sweat. Cautiously, she pulled the covers down from her face.
"And the dead finally awakens," Evee said. She stood in front of the mirror of their bureau, applying eyeliner. "You've been asleep for almost a whole day."
Amy sat up, rubbing her face.
"It's not so bad. I slept for awhile too. Just woke up this morning." She tossed Amy a fresh towel and gestured to the bathroom. "We're going shopping." Amy must have made a face, because Evee added, "You don't have anything at all to your name, you didn't expect to have to walk around in sweatpants forever, did you?"
The two women from the days before, Dr. Grey and Storm, drove the two girls to a mall in town. The car ride was, for the most part, silent. Amy spent the entire time looking out the window at the passing buildings, wondering where in the world she had ended up.
"We know what it's like for mutants who had to leave home. That's why the Institute budgets for situations like these," Storm explained as they entered one of the mall's large corner department stores. "Don't go crazy, obviously, but we have enough for you two to pick out things you like."
Eventually, they paired off, Evee with Storm and Amy with Dr. Grey. Amy slowly found her way amongst pretty floral sundresses and patterned shorts, while Evee seemed more fond of dark, muted colors.
"Has she said anything to you?" Storm asked as Evee held up a loose, dark green tunic shirt.
"No. Not a word. She barely looks at me."
"Well, that's more than it seems anyone else gets."
"She went through a lot, alright?" Evee said defensively.
Storm paused. "Did you know Amy, before your manifestation?"
Evee paused, and then shook her head. "No."
"Why'd you cross the country looking for her, then?"
Evee eyed Storm appraisingly, then sighed, draping the shirt over her arm. "I saw her. In a vision. It sounds crazy, but it's like something wanted me to find her." She looked up at Storm. "I told her this was a safe place. I vouched for you. So if this turns out to be anything other than what I told her-"
"We're a school and a home for mutants who have no where else to go. We'll teach you, both of you, how to use your powers. All we want to do is give you two a safe home."
Evee arched an eyebrow. "We'll see."
"How was the shopping trip?" Scott asked as Jean and Ororo stepped into the infirmary with him.
"As well as could be expected," Jean said. She sat behind the computer near the x-ray scanner.
"Amy still isn't speaking, she's completely traumatized. And I can't blame her. Neither of them trust us yet," Ororo said.
"Guys, look at this," Jean said, cutting into their conversation. She pointed to the computer screen as Scott and Ororo bent behind her to look. "These are the blood samples I took from Amy and Evee. You see this line of dashes here, and then again here?" she asked, pointing.
"What about them?" Ororo asked.
"They indicate a similarity in genetic make-up, coming from common bloodlines."
"Meaning...?" Scott asked.
"Meaning they have the same parents. Amy and Evee are sisters."
Chapter 5: Chapter Five
Hey! Hi! Hello! We're terribly sorry about the impromptu hiatus we accidentally took the past few weeks. Krystle has been super busy with her daughter and going to school, and I recently was promoted to full time at my terrible job, which just saps all of my time and energy. Plus, YouTube has been a terrible pain in the ass, so our channel still isn't up and running. But, we do have a Photobucket full of image-inspiration! Our account name, like our FF and Ao3 name, is Ethirium, and the link to our photo library is here: here. Hopefully that works. And ideally, the YouTube channel with our playlist can be fixed and finished soon!
"So, that's what a shopping spree is like, huh? I kinda thought it would be a little more... Gilmore Girls." Amy looked up at Evee, her face blank. Evee pretended like she didn't notice and continued on, pulling clothes out of the bags one at a time and ripping the tags off. Amy began emptied her own bags, using a pair of scissors to cut the tags off a floral summer dress. Evee haphazardly folded her clothes and tossed them into her small dresser, leaving a couple items to be hung up and leaving some jewelry on top of the dresser, next to the pile of ripped off tags.
As the girls settled in, someone knocked at the door. Amy didn't even move, as if she didn't hear it. "Unless it's Thin Mints, go away," Evee said as she opened the door.
"Hey," a teenaged boy, about Evee's age, stood at the door. He had sandy-colored hair and bright blue eyes.
Evee leaned against the doorway. "Hey, yourself."
"I'm Bobby, Bobby Drake."
Evee gave her head a nod. "Evee." She gestured behind her, "That's Amy."
"I know," Bobby said, "The Professor sent me, he'd like to see you both. Come on, I'll show you the way."
"The Professor?" Evee asked, arching an eyebrow. When Bobby just nodded, she glanced back at Amy, who was watching the two, holding a blue cotton shirt. "Coming?"
Bobby stepped aside and let Evee and Amy through, then taking the lead down the hallway. "The Professor is cool, you'll like him," he said.
"And how do you know what I like?" Evee raised an eyebrow.
Bobby offered a smile, "Call it an instinct."
He's cute, Evee thought to herself. She glanced over at Amy. She could tell she was scared, and not just because of her mutant powers. Evee felt the urge to reach out to her, but wasn't entirely sure what to do. She figured starting a conversation in front of a stranger would be pointless, and probably just make her feel uncomfortable. For now, silence was best.
Bobby stopped in front of a large, intricate door, where Jean Grey was waiting. "Thank you, Bobby. Go on and head back to class."
Bobby nodded to Jean and turned to Evee and Amy, "I'll see you guys later,"
Evee gave him a slight wave and, along with Amy, followed the redheaded woman into the room. It was an office, a large, beautiful, and welcoming office. A man sat in a chair, turned around and facing out the window. Storm and Cyclops were in the room as well. Evee felt Amy tense beside her and instinctively took a step closer, on edge as if ready to jump in front of her. "The Professor, I presume?" Evee spoke. The man turned around in a wheel chair. Evee hid her surprise. He offered a kind, warm smile. His age showed on his face and he was completely without hair.
"Charles Xavier," he introduced himself with that warm, gentle smile. It was difficult for Evee to be suspicious of him, but she remained on guard. They were all mutants there; she had no idea what he could be capable of.
You don't need to be afraid, we are not here to hurt you. Evee was about to smirk when she realized the man's lips never moved, but she still heard his voice. Her eyes widened and she took a breath. Evee figured Amy heard it as well, as she pulled herself in, not welcoming the words in her head.
"How about we just talk out loud?" Evee said loudly.
The Professor raised his dark eyebrows and smiled in surprise. Out of the corner of her eye, Evee saw the others sharing looks among themselves. Apparently people didn't talk like that around here. Oh well.
"Very well," he said, smiling and gesturing for them to sit before his desk. "I wanted to introduce myself and officially welcome you to my school. Discuss our rules and your classes, which you will begin tomorrow. There are classes based on your age and level of education, as well as training sessions to focus and control your gifts."
Evee refrained from saying - or thinking - any sarcastic comments.
Professor Xavier, and the others, who would be some of their teachers at the school, discussed the rules. Priveleges, 10:00 curfew on weekdays, not using their powers on other students or engaging in fights, and so on and so forth. Jean gave the girls their class schedules: English, history, algebra, physics, and they would each begin with private sessions for focusing and controlling their powers, until they could control them enough to be used in a group setting. They were permitted to do these private sessions together.
"There is one more thing I would like to discuss before you are on your way," the Professor said, the tone in his voice changing noticeably. This time Evee tensed up.
Jean stepped forward, "When you came in, we took some blood samples from you, as we do for all mutants that come in."
This can't be good...
"We hope that the samples will give us insight into your mutant powers. While comparing the samples, we noticed a similarity in genetic makeup. Specifically, the samples showed that you come from a common bloodline."
"Okay, in English please?"
The Professor spoke this time, "What Jean is trying to say is that you are related."
"Related? You mean like second cousin, twice removed?"
"This kind of commonality would only be present like this if you were a little more closely related..." The Professor seemed to momentarily hesitate. "The two of you share paternal DNA. You're sisters."
The room was silent. Amy shrank into herself, drawing her knees up to her chest and hiding most of her face. Her eyes, though, were still visible, and it was clear to anyone her mind was rapidly turning over and dissecting this new information. Evee, meanwhile, pushed herself out of the armchair she had been sitting in and began to pace.
"We're sisters," she said bluntly, glancing at the Professor. He calmly folded his hands over the top of his desk, waiting. "We're sisters?!" Evee repeated, pointing between herself and Amy. She turned and looked back at Scott, Jean, and Storm, as though she were waiting for someone to be as disbelieving as she was. In frustration, she looked at Amy. "What, still got nothing to say?" she snapped. Amy winced, and Evee immediately regretted her tone.
"Evee," she said testily.
"Evee," the Professor acknowledged, "I understand how this may come as a shock, truly. We were just as surprised to discover the connection. But don't you also think that this particular revelation may also answer some of your questions?"
No, Evee wanted to answer, but she knew that wasn't completely true. it explained why she had had visions of Amy, someone she had never met or even seen, from the other side of the country. It explained her instinctive urge to protect the other girl.
"How?" she asked.
"I'm sorry?" the professor said.
"How are we sisters?"
Jean stepped forward. "We were hoping you might have some insight into that."
Evee threw up her arms. "How am I supposed to know?" Feeling suddenly tired, Evee sank back down into her chair, thinking, guiltily, of her mother for the first time since she had left home. Not her mother. But the woman who had raised her. Who she had no reason to doubt, until this very moment. She wondered if she should call her.
"This information puts us in a rather interesting situation," the professor started. "To be frank, the connection between the two of you, having never met so far as anyone can tell, seems nigh on impossible."
"What are you saying?" Evee said.
"Simply that it might be worthy of observation and, as control over your respective abilities grows, further investigation."
On the one hand, Evee wasn't sure what exactly that entailed. On the other, though, she certainly wanted to know how any of what had happened to her and Amy in the past few days had been at all possible. "Yeah. Okay."
The Professor turned his gaze to Amy, who offered a small nod. He smiled. "So, it's settled then. For now, it's almost time for supper, and I'm sure you'll be wanting to get your rest; tomorrow's going to be a big day."
With that, Evee got the the sense they were dismissed. She stood, and left the office, Amy following timidly behind her.
"Are you hungry?" she asked, looking at her over her should. Amy shook her head without making eye contact.
"Me neither. I guess we should finish putting away our things, then." She took the grand staircase two at a time, leaving Amy to follow behind at a more leisurely pace. When they got to their room, she shut the door behind them.
Amy went immediately over to her bed and began removing the remaining tags on her clothing. Evee watched as she meticulously folded every shirt and skirt, placing them carefully in the drawers of her dresser. Her dresses, of which she had several, all floral, went on hangers in her closet. Evee got the distinct impression Amy was doing everything in her power to distract herself, both from the news and the other girl in the room.
"So, what do you think about all of this?" Evee asked breezily, dropping down on her bed. Amy went into the bathroom to put away her toiletries. Evee could hear the plastic crack on the packaging of a new toothbrush. "You know, that we're sisters, and stuff."
Amy came back out and shrugged.
Amy shrugged again.
Evee sighed. "Look, I'm sorry I yelled at you. It was just... It was just a lot."
Amy paused at her dresser, where she was standing up a small, dainty bottle of perfume. Her fingers lingered on the cap, before she turned her face over her shoulder and offered Evee the smallest of smiles.
Evee smiled back. "Good. Now that that's settled, I'm going to take a shower," she said, stripping off her black tank top and dropping it on the floor as she went. She closed the door behind her, and a few moments later, Amy heard the water start.
Amy crawled into bed, still in the same sweats she had worn to the store that morning. She pulled the comforter over her head, leaving only a small gap for air. Early evening light poured through the window, and from afar, she could hear children playing basketball down on the grounds. She hugged her second pillow to her for comfort.
It wasn't possible, she decided. They simply could not be related. Amy's mother had died when she was much younger, and her father had never, not once, mentioned anything about her not behind his daughter. It should have, it would have, come up sometime during all the years of abuse, just another threat or insult to throw into her face. If Amy had been adopted, she would have known it, for how could her father not have?
She closed her eyes, and remembered the last time she had seen him. Recounting the memory alone was enough to make her cheek ache with pain. She could still taste the blood in her mouth, and she unconsciously ran her tongue over her bottom lip, feeling the cut that was healing.
She had felt like she was burning up, like she had been bursting with fever. It had hurt to try to contain that sort of energy, and so she had let it go, leveling, no, disintegrating everything around her, including her supposed father. She had let go, and with such reckless abandon that she had destroyed everything she had ever known.
She felt warm. She kicked off her sweatpants, and let the drop down beside her bed. As she pulled her arm back under the covers, she noticed little tendrils of bright light starting to flutter away from her palm and fingers. Amy squeezed her hand shut tightly, curling in on herself.
She heard the water in the bathroom shut off, and a minute later, the door opened. Amy pretended to be asleep, but she suspected Evee saw through her deception, because she said, "Good idea - we've got a long day tomorrow." Amy heard clothing rustle, and then Evee's bed creaked slightly as she climbed in. Then, quietly, she heard the faint sounds of music coming from Evee's headphones.
Finally, Amy closed her eyes, and slowly drifted off into an uneasy, but thankfully dreamless, sleep.
Chapter 6: Chapter Six
We'd just like to take a moment to wish our American readers a happy Thanksgiving! Similarly, we'd like to offer our sympathies to those of you who, like Kelli, have to work on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. From us to you, we'd like to say, that's bullshit, and you've earned yourself a Thanksgiving Bloody Mary.
A minute later, Amy's alarm, a more flowery, melodic tune, but no less abrupt, began to sound. It was a bit muffled by her comforter, but Evee could hear the sheets rustle, and then the alarm was turned off, and she heard Amy slowly moving. Shuffling across the room, Amy went into the bathroom, and Evee heard the water start before she drifted back off, knowing she had about twenty more minutes before she absolutely had to be out of bed for class.
She awoke again upon hearing Amy's side of the closet slide open. From the blankets, she watched Amy pick out the same pink floral sundress she had seen her pulling the tags off of yesterday, and then from her dresser retrieve a denim button up to wear over it.
"Ugh, fine, I'm getting up," she grumbled, rolling out of bed. Amy jumped, startled; she hadn't realized Evee was awake.
The two girls dressed silently, each brushing their teeth and tying shoes, Amy checking to make sure she had everything she needed in her schoolbag and Evee scrambling to find where ever she had shoved a package of pens she had meant to pack. Finally, they were ready.
"How do I look?" Evee asked, striking a pose and tossing her hair. She had dressed down for the day, certain of getting enough attention as it was, and wore dark jeans and flats with a forest green tunic top and a large black and gold ring. For her efforts, she was rewarded with a small smile from Amy, who nodded. "And you look great, too. Tres cute," Evee added.
Amy flushed and looked down, brushing nervously a her skirt and holding the strap of her bag in both hands.
"We both have physics first," Evee said, consulting both of their class schedules. "Kill me now, please." She looked back up at Amy. "I guess we should go."
The class was taught, surprisingly, by the Professor himself. Amy and Evee sat together near the back at a lab table where, thankfully, they were hardly acknowledged, let alone forced to stand up and introduce themselves. Both were relieved. Being in class was a comfort to both of them, and they were actually both feeling a sense of normalcy as they took notes, Amy in long, flowing cursive, Evee in precise, neat lettering. Upon the bell, however, it was time to go.
"I have English," Evee said, looking at her schedule as the other students moved to go. "Looks like it's on the second floor." Amy, meanwhile, had history. "You going to be okay?"
Amy hesitated, and then nodded. Evee smiled. "Alright, I'll see you later then."
Amy watched Evee go, sauntering up the grand staircase, and envied her blatant confidence. Already, she felt her chest compressing, her brain pounding, and her palms sweating. She could feel her temperature rising, and closing her eyes, she took a deep breath, willing herself to be calm. Please, please, please don't freak out. Not on my first day. Not on my first day. She couldn't help but think that, even here, people would think she was a freak, just like they had at her school at home. Panicking and melting part of the school certainly wasn't going to help her case any.
Thankfully, after a moment, she felt the comforting coolness against her forehead of her temperature dropping. Sighing in relief, and allowing herself a small smile of success, Amy made her way down the hall to her next class. Here, there were separate desks, and Amy found one for herself a few rows forward from the back, close enough to see, far enough away to not be expected to readily participate.
Amy had always struggled in math, so simply trying to follow the equations Scott put up on the board was enough work for her that she was able to keep her head down and avoid most interactions. Like the Professor, Scott simply acknowledged her with a smile and a nod.
English, a subject much more familiar to Amy, went much easier, with Miss Munroe's cheery and vibrant disposition actually putting Amy at ease. History, however, Amy's final class of the day, didn't go as smoothly as she had hoped it would.
"We have a new student with us today," Dr. Grey announced, smiling widely in Amy's direction. Flushing suddenly, Amy slid lower in her seat, shaking her hair forward to shield herself from the gazes of her classmates. "Everyone, say hello to Amy."
Murmurs of "Hi" and "Hello" echoed around the room. Embarrassed, Amy raised her hand to wave shakily before shrinking down even further in her seat. Jean offered her one more welcoming smile, and then turned to the board, beginning a lecture about Reconstruction after the Civil War.
Amy felt like eyes were on her all period. When class ended, she couldn't wait to escape back to the quiet and sort-of solitude of her room. Her bag was packed before the bell rang. Jean, however, called her name as the other students began to quickly exit. Once everyone had left, she approached her desk, where Amy sat fiddling with the strap on her bag.
"So how was your first day?" she asked, sitting on the desk in front of Amy's.
Amy was silent, her eyes hidden behind her blonde bangs.
Jean smiled. "Ah, still adjusting, I see. Don't worry - it'll get easier." She slid a packet of papers across Amy's desk. "Here's a list of all of the readings we've done in class so far this year. I don't expect you to read them all, but I thought you might like to see what we've gone over already in case there's anything you'd like to get more familiar with for the future."
Amy took the papers in her hand, and Jean stood. "You're free to go."
Amy immediately stood to leave the classroom. Hitching her bag higher on her shoulder, she dropped her eyes and started down the hallway, beginning to fumble with the zipper so that she could put away the papers Jean had given to her.
She turned right down the hall, intending to spend the rest of her evening upstairs in her room, away from the noise and bustle of the student body. Logically, she knew she had been spending too much time in her bed lately, and she certainly hadn't been eating enough, but physically and mentally, it was all the effort she felt she could muster.
She was so withdrawn she nearly ran into the person in front of her as she rounded the next corner. Startled, she stumbled back, gasping audibly in surprise. Looking up, she felt immediately intimidated by the boy who stood before her.
He was tall and broad-shouldered, with dark brown hair and even darker eyes. Amy, already of sleight build and height, felt even more diminutive before him. His skin was tanned, and he wore dark jeans, dark shoes, and a black button down with the sleeves rolled up.
"Whoa, watch yourself," he said irritably, turning and looking at her. Amy recognized him from the history class she had just left. Flushing pinker than she thought was even possible, Amy took two steps back, clutching her bag. She willed herself to try and apologize, but her voice caught in her throat.
The other boy paused. "You're that new girl, Amy." It wasn't a question, but a statement. "My name's Dean." He eyed her up and down appraisingly, his eyes lingering on her face. Amy made to move around him, but he blocked her path.
"What's the story here?" he said, gesturing to her face. Instinctively, she reached up to touch the large, tender bruise on her face, knowing it was still a multitude of purple and green hues.
A tiny wrinkle appeared between the his eyebrows, and suddenly, Dean reached out and caught her wrist, pulling her arm toward him.
"Aah!" Amy exclaimed, wincing as his fingers tightened around her burn. His eyes narrowed in concentration, and Amy's whole wrist suddenly went numb, and felt as though it were being shot through with ice. Instinctively, she tried to jerk free, but Dean's grip was like iron.
Finally, after several moments, he released her arm, which Amy pulled protectively into her chest. Before she had much of a chance to recover, Dean closed the gap between them, putting his hand against the side of her face. The feeling of numbness and cold was exponentially increased, and Amy dropped her bag, the contents spilling out on the floor. Her knees buckled, and she stumbled back against the wall. Dean moved with her, standing much too close to her, so close Amy's nose filled with the rich smell of his cologne.
Dimly, Amy thought she heard someone yell, "Hey!", but her head was overwhelmed with the sensation. Each agonizing moment seemed exponentially prolonged by the sharp bolts of iciness shooting through her head. It wasn't painful, per say, but nothing about what was happening felt right. Finally, though, it too ended. Dean removed his hand, taking a step back, and Amy breathed in sharply. She slumped back, bracing her arms against the wall to try and keep from collapsing entirely.
There was somebody else in the hallway, another boy. "Hey, what the hell are you doing?!" He exclaimed, coming into view. He had shaggy brown hair, and a backpack over his shoulder. He, too, had been in history. He looked in between them, trying to asses the situation.
Amy stared up at Dean, trying desperately to get her breath back, and he paused, meeting her eyes. Then, wordlessly, he turned and walked away, disappearing moments later up the stairs.
"Are you alright?" the second boy said, reaching out to help her stand up straight. Amy nodded, touching the side of her face. The boy kneeled, beginning to gather her things. "That guy's a creep," he said, standing again. "I'm John," he said, holding her bag out to her. "You're Amy, right? One of the new girls?"
Amy took her bag and took off, running toward the stairs, leaving the hallway behind her.
"Wait!" John called from behind her. "You forgot your book!" But she had disappeared up the stairs.
Cautiously, Amy opened the door to her room - empty. Thankfully, Evee hadn't returned yet. Amy darted inside, closing the door behind her, and quickly crossed the room to the dresser. Peering at herself in the mirror, she was shocked to see the bruise on her face had disappeared entirely. She held out her arm - the burn was gone too, completely healed save for a thin, white scar that circled her wrist.
Suddenly, she felt nauseous. Amy ran to the bathroom, barely making it to the toilet before throwing up. When she finished emptying the contents of her stomach, which, admittedly, wasn't much, she draped her arm over the seat and rested her head in the crook of her elbow. She felt weak and shaky. She wasn't sure if it was because of whatever Dean had done to her, or simply the overwhelming nature of the the entire encounter this afternoon.
A few minutes later, Amy heard footsteps in the hall. Reaching out she kicked the bathroom door closed just as her bedroom door started to open. She grabbed the edge of the sink, and pulled herself up just enough to turn on the faucet.
"Amy?" Evee asked, as she heard the bathroom sink turn on.
No answer. Of course.
"How was class?"
Just the sound of the faucet was heard. Ever dropped her bag on her bed and went to the dresser. She picked up Amy's bottle of perfume and, glancing at the bathroom door, quickly spritzed herself twice, once at the base of her neck, and once on one wrist.
"Are you hungry? That Bobby kid from yesterday invited us to go to dinner with him and his friends," she called, rubbing her wrists together.
Still just the faucet.
"I'll try to bring you a plate, okay?"
When Evee still got no answer, she sighed, cast one last worried glance at the bathroom door, and finally turned and left again, closing the door behind her.
When Amy was certain she wasn't coming back, Amy finally pulled herself up off of the bathroom floor and turned off the faucet. She felt completely drained. She collapsed into bed, pulling the covers over her head, still dressed in the day's clothes.
Chapter 7: Chapter Seven
"Hey, over here!" Bobby's cheerful voice interrupted Evee's thoughts. He was waiting for her at the bottom of the stairs with two others, a girl and boy about their age.
"This is Jubilee and John," Bobby introduced the pair. Jubilee had stark raven hair thrown up into a messy ponytail, and she wiggled her fingers at Evee in greeting. John had brown hair, and was short in stature compared to Bobby.
They breezed through the introductions and headed towards the school's dining hall. For the first time, Evee started to realize just how big this place was. There only seemed to be about a hundred or so students, but Evee guessed it could easily house double that, especially with what Bobby was saying about an elevator that went underground to an additional facility.
"There's even a jet," Bobby said excitedly as he was talking about the school.
Evee lifted an eyebrow. "You've got to be joking."
"Nope, completely serious, it's all underground."
Evee wasn't sure if she believed it, but Jubilee confirmed. Could they be pulling her leg?
"Let's just get something to eat," John interrupted. He didn't seem too interested in the conversation.
They entered the dining hall, and it seemed like they were one of the last ones to arrive, even though it was still considerably early. There were round and square tables with chairs scattered throughout the room and a variety of food choices. There was a salad bar, hot lunch line with both meat and vegetarian options, fountain drinks and teas. Evee grabbed a plate and loaded up on a green salad with cucumbers, peas, and carrot sticks, some french fries, and a slice of cheese pizza. She grabbed a raspberry tea. She joined the others at a table. Bobby was also having pizza, John's plate filled with a cheeseburger and fries, and Jubilee had a healthy variety of vegetables, some hummus, and a piece of salmon. Evee made a mental note to grab a variety of stuff to bring back to the room for Amy - she wasn't entirely sure what her sister would eat.
As the others discussed their homework and what happened in their class, Evee enjoyed her meal and looked around the room, taking the opportunity to observe the other students... the other mutants. Most of them looked like normal people and very few actually showed signs of having strange powers. There was one young boy who stuck out a dark colored tongue at another kid, and another girl about their age with electric purple skin.
"So when is your first Danger Room session?" Evee turned back to the conversation at Bobby's question.
Evee raised an eyebrow, "My what?"
"The Danger Room is a simulation room where we can practice and learn to control our powers. It's pretty neat," Jubilee replied.
"Oh of course, with a name like 'Danger Room', how could I not have guessed?" Evee replied sarcastically. "I don't know, didn't see that on the schedule."
Bobby nodded his head. "Jean normally runs the schedule, she might have wanted to give you two a couple more days to settle in. We can stop by her office after we eat if you want to ask her about it."
"No need," John gesturing with his head behind Evee. Evee turned to see Jean walking toward the table.
"Evee, glad I found you." Evee thought back to yesterday in the Professor's office where everyone seemed to be reading Evee's thoughts, and figured this wasn't a coincidence. "I wanted to schedule a diagnostic session with you and your sister for ten AM tomorrow morning. You can meet me at the Professor's office and we can get started from there."
Evee nodded. "Sure, I'll tell Amy."
Jean gave a quick scan, and said, almost as if she were disappointed, "Did she not come down to dinner?"
Evee became defensive and made up an excuse for Amy. "She wanted to finish unpacking her things and settling in. I'm going to bring something back for her."
Jean nodded her head and offered a smile. "I think you two will do well here. I'll see you tomorrow."
Evee took a bite from her pizza in response and Jean turned to leave the room.
"Well, I guess that answers your question," John said, mouth full of cheeseburger.
"So what exactly is a diagnostic session?" Evee asked, taking a sip of her tea.
"They mostly just want to see what you can do and what level of control you have, so that the teachers can help you learn to control and further develop your powers. For us to get stronger, but also to make sure we don't accidentally lose control or hurt someone," Jubilee responded.
Evee's thoughts flashed back to what happened to Tyler. She never wanted something like that to happen again.
"So what exactly can you guys do? Or is it rude to ask?"
"I'll show you," Bobby said, reaching out for her tea. A moment later, it began to freeze. Evee picked up the drink, frozen solid.
"Cool... guess I'm done with that."
"I can basically create fireworks with my hands," Jubilee said, waving her fingers. "It's... not exactly indoor friendly."
"Got it," Evee replied, making a mental note to convince Jubilee to show her later.. She gestured towards John, "And you?"
He leaned back in his chair and pulled a Zippo lighter out of his pocket. He flicked it open, sparking a small flame, which then leapt into his hand, swirling through his fingers. "I can manipulate fire," he stated.
The moving flame caught Evee's eye, there was something about it. Her vision narrowed, and everything darkened. Her breath caught in her throat and Evee realized she was about to have a vision. Her head started throbbing and felt like she had cotton balls in place of her brain. She squeezed her eyes shut and shook her head, trying to force the vision away. She was actually getting along with other people, she might even be able to make real friends for the first time in a long time, she didn't want to blow it by showing off how much of a freak she was.
"Evee, are you okay? Evee?"
Evee's eyes popped open and she gasped. Bobby was staring at her, looking concerned, his hand on her forearm. Evee looked around the table, the others were watching her as well, looking confused.
"Sorry, just a headache," she muttered, taking her arm back from Bobby and looking down at her salad.
Bobby sat back in his chair, clearly not convinced but not going to press the issue any further.
"So what is it that you do?" Jubilee asked nonchalantly.
Evee shrugged and answered simply, without going into any detail. "I'm not entirely sure...I don't really know how to explain it."
"Well, maybe after your diagnostic tomorrow with Jean, you'll have a better idea," Bobby said.
All of a sudden, Evee wasn't feeling too sure about tomorrow's diagnostic, thinking back to what happened to Tyler and down in the sewers with Amy. Amy is not going to like this, she thought to herself, remembering her sister's paralyzing fear. Even now, Evee felt this deep urge to protect her, to keep her safe. Maybe it was too soon, maybe she should talk to Jean about pushing the diagnostic back another week. Amy needed more time.
And she needed to eat. Evee looked down at her plate. She hadn't even eaten half her dinner, but she was no longer hungry. She stood from the table, "I'm going to pack up a couple things for Amy."
Bobby stood with her, picking up both their plates. "I can show you around some, let you get a feel for the place."
That was probably a good idea, the mansion was huge and Evee wasn't quite sure if she knew her way around enough yet. She nodded, "Sure, sounds good."
Evee turned and went to pile up some food for Amy. She grabbed a plate and looked at all the choices, unsure of what she would eat. Evee decided to get a little bit of everything and figure out what she likes later. She got a small salad with spinach, cucumbers, carrots, and cherry tomatoes, sprinkled with shredded cheese, a side of baked macaroni and cheese, some fries, a piece of cheese pizza, chicken fingers, and she topped it off with a bread roll. She balanced a fork on top of the plate. There was some saran wrap sitting out that Evee used to wrap the full plate. She grabbed a bottle of green tea out from a cooler, hoping that would suffice. She met Bobby by the door, and off they went.
Bobby showed her the rec room first, a large area that included a kitchenette, TV, some couches and chairs, and an air hockey table. He showed her how to get to the lower facility, where she would be going for the Danger Room sessions and where, conveniently, the Infirmary was also located, and the library. Evee decided to pick up a couple of books to bring to the room. She didn't know what Amy would read or if she even liked to read, but picked out a couple classics to bring with: some Jane Austen, Lord of the Rings, and, since it was on their reading list for English, Animal Farm.
Bobby walked Evee back to her room. "Tomorrow afternoon, some of us are going to catch a movie in town. Why don't you join us? And your sister, too, if she's up for it?"
Evee nodded. She didn't know how long the session would take tomorrow or how Amy would be feeling afterward, so she didn't want to commit to any plans. She couldn't keep going out and just leaving Amy alone in their room. "Yeah, sure, we'll see."
Bobby smiled, "Cool, see you later."
Evee turned towards the door and let her self into the room, closing the door behind her. It looked as if Amy hadn't moved the entire time she was gone.
"Hey. I brought you something to eat."
Amy slowly sat up, looking at Evee, but not saying anything. Evee set the plate and green tea down on the bedstand and put the books on the dresser. She told Amy about her day as she took off her jewelry.
"Bobby gave me a little tour. You wouldn't believe how huge this place is. The food's pretty good, and there's a rec room that's pretty neat. Got a TV and air hockey, all set to party it up!"
Evee paused and listened, as if Amy was actually participating in the conversation. She picked up a comb and started to comb out her hair. "Okay, so it'd be a pretty lame party, but everyone seems to enjoy it here. Met a couple of people from our classes. Bobby turned my drink into a giant ice cube and I guess we can plan on Jubilee to provide the entertainment for the Fourth of July."
Evee knew that Amy had no idea what she was talking about, she it appeared that Amy enjoyed the one-sided conversation. "There's this guy, John, too. He can literally play with fire."
Evee put down the comb and turned to Amy. She caught a look of recognition on her face. "Oh, you met John already? He didn't mention it..."
She walked over and sat on her bed across from Amy. She hadn't even touched the plate. "You gonna eat that?" Evee said gesturing towards the plate. Amy glanced down at her hands, her face flushed. But she reached over and pulled the saran wrap off the plate. Satisfied, Evee laid back on the bed, taking a deep breath. She gave Amy a moment and rolled over to one side, her long dark hair draping down the bedside.
"Jean stopped by while we were eating. We are supposed to have some sort of diagnostic session tomorrow at 10, I guess to show off whatever it is that we do so we can start learning to control it. The kids around here call it the "Danger Room". Evee immediately sensed the alarm Amy was feeling. She understood and shared the emotion. Evee took a deep, silent breath and continued as if Amy had made some sort of comment. "I know, I agree. Why couldn't they save it for Monday so we could cut class?"
Evee laid back in her bed. She didn't know if Amy was actually eating anything or not, but she figured staring her down wouldn't help her feel anymore comfortable.
"I'll make you a deal. We can check out this "Danger Room" thing in the morning, and if it's too weird, then when everyone goes to movies tomorrow, we'll cut out of here, just like that."
Giving Amy some space and time to think, Evee rolled of her bed, grabbed her iPod, and headed toward the bathroom, drawing herself a hot bath. She found some bubbles to pour in and turned off the main light, leaving just the dim light in the corner. Her eyes adjusted quickly, and she undressed, climbed into the tub, and slid in the earbuds.
Chapter 8: Chapter Eight
Today, you guys get a Christmas bonus - two chapters in one go! We divided them up for the sake of easy reading, but it didn't make much sense to only post one chapter at a time with how they're split. So, consider this our Christmas gift to you! We hope you had a lovely Christmas, and a very happy New Year.
"Ready?" she asked cheerfully, putting her hands on her hips. Amy and Evee glanced at each other, wordless.
"You don't have to be nervous at all, trust me," she smiled.
"You know it's called the Danger Room, right?" Evee asked.
Jean offered her a knowing smile, and turned away. "Downstairs we'll go, then!" she said, starting toward the nearby elevator.
Amy and Evee followed her inside, and the elevator doors slid closed. The elevator hummed downward, finally opening into the clinically white hallways Amy remembered from the first time she awoke at the Professor's school.
"This way," Jean said, leading them to the right. Amy remembered the infirmary lay in the opposite direction - she had never been down this way, not that it mattered; everything was the same stark, shiny white.
They rounded a corner, and Scott stood before them outside of a panel of rectangular doors. He looked over the girls appraisingly, and then rested his hand on a panel mounted to the right of the doors. A metallic sounding female voice sounded, "DNA signature recognized: Scott Summers." He raised his hand, and Amy saw the tip of his finger had been pricked.
"Follow me, please," he said gravely, turning and walking through the doorway as the metal doors slid open. Amy was quickly learning Scott wasn't one for smiles and banter. She, Evee, and Jean followed him into what could only be the Danger Room.
It was empty - just a big, empty, silver room, dome shaped and perhaps as wide as a large gymnasium field in any direction. Somehow, it was disappointing. Amy wasn't sure what she had expected - maybe an obstacle course, or mechanical machine that would whir to life that she'd have to defeat - but this wasn't it.
"This is the Danger Room," Scott announced, turning to stop them in the middle of the room, "an interactive chamber designed to challenge with users. We use it for teaching, training, and in your cases today, testing. We build simulations using hard light that can be manipulated into any shape."
As though responding to his voice, vibrant blue lines began flickering throughout the room. Building up from the floor, Amy, Evee, Jean, and Scott suddenly found themselves standing on a long, expansive beach, the ocean crashing along the shore.
"Whoa," Evee said, spinning in place, trying to see everything. She bent down and scooped up a handful of sand, letting it drain through her fingertips. "It feels real," she said, standing up and dusting off her hands.
"For all intents and purposes, it is," Scott replied. "Everything that happens to you in here - any damage you might sustain - doesn't fade when the simulation is over. If you get hit, you'll walk out of here bruised. If you break a bone in here, you're going to need a cast just as much as you would if you got into a car accident."
"Really?" Evee asked skeptically.
Scott raised his eyebrow at her, and bent, picking up a jagged piece of shell Amy was sure hadn't been there before. Opening his hand, he dragged the edge over his palm, drawing blood. As he tossed the shell aside, it faded back into blue fiber optics and then disappeared altogether before hitting the ground. Slowly, the beach receded as well, until the entire group stood in an empty room again - Scott's hand still bloody.
"Believe me now?" he said. Evee shrugged, and he went on. "We'll begin by testing you individually, Evee first, then Amy," he said, heading back toward the doors. "After you each run your individual simulations, we'll test you both together."
In the hallway outside, Jean stopped them. "Cyclops, Storm, the Professor, and I will be observing you from the observation deck. Each of you will wait your turns out here." She smiled at them. "No need to look so concerned, girls. If anything gets out of hand, we can halt the simulation immediately. Neither of you is going to get hurt."
"Tell that to shell man here," Evee said, jerking her thumb toward Scott. Scott frowned, but Jean smirked in spite of herself.
"You're up, Evee," she said, gesturing toward the open doors.
She exhaled, and bounced a few times on the balls of her feet. "Okay," she said, scooping her hair back into a ponytail. She turned, and saluted Amy with two fingers. "See you on the other side."
The doors slid closed behind Evee, and she strode to the center of the room. Overhead, she heard the Professor's voice echoing throughout the dome. "Initiate diagnostic sequence one."
Immediately, the same thin blue lines began appearing throughout the Danger Room. Evee turned slowly, following their movements. When they were done solidifying, she found herself standing in the middle of an intricate network of docks. Boats - maybe fishing vessels? - were tethered to most of the piers, and seagulls cawed overhead. To her left, numerous warehouse buildings stood as far as the eye could see. There wasn't another person in sight.
Squinting in the sunlight, Evee raised her hand to shade her eyes. Just what exactly did they expect her to do here, catch shrimp? "I-I'm sorry," she started to call out, "but I don't think I understand-"
Suddenly, a small metal sphere zoomed up, and hovered in front of her face. Startled, Evee took a step back, and yet the ball, about the size of a softball, remained. Tentatively, she reached out, and tapped the silver ball with her fingertip. Her fingernail pinged against the metal, but the sphere remained immobile.
She heard the near-inaudible buzzing just before pain bloomed in her calf. Yelping, she stumbled forward, turning her torso to see another sphere had zoomed up behind her. A small hole had appeared in its center and a tiny barrel was visible. "What the-"
She heard the buzzing again, and turned forward just in time to see a barrel emerge from the first sphere. She dived to the right, just barely avoiding the bright laser bolt from the sphere. She glanced behind her and saw the singe marks it had left on the pier, and noticed for the first time the hole in the back of her spandex leggings.
Suddenly, six more spheres shot up from below the pier, barrels glinting in the sun. Gritting her teeth, Evee pushed herself up from the pier, and began running. She could hear the air whistling around the spheres as they flew through air behind her to follow. She slipped a little as she rounded a corner, and she felt the heat from a laser narrowly miss her shoulder.
Quickly scanning the landscape, Evee spotted the nearest warehouse, and smirked to herself, making a beeline for it. She kicked the rusty door in, and threw it closed behind her. She heard several of the spheres thud heavily into the doors less than a second later, and she smiled to herself in satisfaction.
Looking around, she spotted stack of crates and shipping materials. She glanced up at the overhead lights. Dim, she thought, but still, darkness would be better. She stood up from leaning against the door, and closed her eyes. She had no idea what the extent of her powers were, as she had only really used them twice. And both times she was scared out of her mind. Evee took a deep breath, searching inside her, trying to summon… something. She began to feel a familiar sensation creeping up. Her blood began to rush, heartbeat quickening. There it was, the feeling of power. She couldn't deny how good it felt, and this time she didn't have to feel guilty about it.
As though of it's own accord, the shadows on the walls shimmered, almost like they were moving. Seconds later, she heard the quiet successive popping of each lightbulb overhead bursting, the glass tinkling to the floor. She opened her eyes to the relative darkness, and smiled. She could have fought out there - but she could fight better in here.
She found a discarded, rusty piece of rebar, and slid it through the handles of the door, pulling on one of them to test it. The doors remained closed. Brushing rust flakes off her palms, Evee moved further into the warehouse, observing her surroundings. Wooden crates with shipping labels, brands, and stamping on them were stacked all throughout the warehouse, seemingly at random. There was an office in the back corner of the warehouse, but it was empty as well. Still no one in sight.
Suddenly, behind her, she heard a crash, and the groaning of metal. Whipping around, she saw the spheres from before hovering across the warehouse, barrels exposed. For a moment, she stared them down. Then they shot forward, laser blasts illuminating the warehouse as they began fire at her.
Widening her stance, Evee instinctively put up her arms. She didn't even know if it would work, but she focused her eyes, staring intently. The air around two of the orbs wavered, and darkened. Suddenly, one of them began spinning on a tilt, and smashed into the second, sending them careening into the warehouse wall. She closed her eyes, and saw darkness shooting into the barrel of a third, and opened her eyes again in time to see it explode, taking a fourth with it.
"This is cake," she muttered to herself, smirking, relishing the feeling.
She spoke too soon. One of the lasers caught her in the shoulder, forcing her to stumble backward and almost knocking her over entirely. She retreated, diving behind one of the stacks of crates at the very back of the warehouse. She rubbed her shoulder until the burning sensation faded, and then flattened her back against the crates, peering over her shoulder and around the corner, looking for the spheres. They had disappeared. She leaned back, and took a breath.
The orbs burst through the crate over her head, raining wood splinters and packing material down on her head. She managed to knock one away with a swipe of her hand, the darkness that followed sent the orb careening across the warehouse. She ran from the remaining three, tossing attacks over her shoulder. She missed almost every time; her focus was gone and she felt rushed, panicked.
She skid on the concrete suddenly, momentarily losing her balance. Out of nowhere, the sphere she had knocked off course suddenly reappeared, connecting solidly with her stomach and propelling Evee off of her feet and into the air. She crashed backwards through the window behind her, splashing down into the water of the bay.
For a moment, Evee kicked furiously, attempting to make her way back up to the surface. The hit had knocked the breath out of her, and she hadn't managed to suck in any air before hitting the water. A second later, though, everything was fading away and she was lying on the floor of the Danger Room, sopping wet and coughing up water.
Overhead, she heard the professor. "That was a good effort, Evee, especially for your first time in the Danger Room."
She wiped her mouth, and yelled back, "Did you have to make it taste to realistic?!"
As though in response, the Danger Room's doors opened. Sighing, Evee dragged herself off of the floor, peeling of her sweatshirt and twisting the water out of it as she walked toward them.
Outside, she found Amy leaned up against the wall, idly tugging on a lock of her bright hair. When she saw Evee, her eyes widened, and her mouth formed a perfect little 'O' of surprise.
"What, this? I fancied myself a swim," Evee muttered drily, kicking off one of her tennis shoes and overturning it, letting the water inside pour out muddy onto the floor. Amy could faintly hear Evee's inner monologue inside her own head: "Fancied myself a goddamn swim in that salty, fishy, dirty ass water. Assholes."
Evee's outer voice startled Amy from her thoughts. She bit her lip, and then slowly walked past Evee into the room, only glancing behind her once before the doors slid closed behind her.
At first, nothing happened, Hesitantly, she walked further into the room, and in a matter of seconds found herself at the summit of a tall dune of golden sand, bright, cloudless sky overhead, nothing in sight but miles of desert all around. Grains of sand began trickling into her tennis shoes, and her hair hung limp against her back. She scooped it up in one, hand, idly wishing she had thought of bringing a ponytail and simultaneously enjoying the warm sun on the back of her neck. For a moment, she forgot why she was there, and felt more stable than she had in days.
Then, something hit her hard from behind, knocking Amy forward. She began tumbling down the dune, side over side, until she landing unceremoniously at the bottom. Immediately, she scrambled up, looking around frantically for what had attacked her. Squinting in the sun, she saw several black dots appear in the sky - dots that suddenly began hurtling toward her at great speed. As they moved out of the direct path of the sun, Amy saw that they weren't black dots at, but small silver spheres.
Amy cried out in pain as one of the beans the spheres suddenly began shooting hit her shoulder. She raised her arms, struggling to find the power she had been nearly unable to contain for days. But when she reached out, nothing reached back.
Stomach dropping, and panic beginning to ensue, Amy turned and began to ran. It was difficult work in the sand, and she couldn't run fast enough to avoid the blasts from the spheres. One caught her arm, another the back of her knee, causing her to stumble and fall flat in the sand. The spheres were only a few yards away now, and closing.
Amy rolled onto her back, staring in horror at what was coming. That's when, finally, she felt a familiar heat suddenly begin to course through her veins, and a familiar bright light began to illuminate her hands. She let lose three basketball sized shots - the first missed, but the other two found their marks, one clipping and causing three spheres to crash heavily in the sand, the other connecting wholly with a fourth and disintegrating it entirely.
Her body seemed to raise itself out of the sand of its own accord, and she hovered feet off of the ground. She wavered, trying to find her balance in midair while all too aware that four more spheres were approaching. She frantically raised her hands, flattening her palms toward the approaching spheres, but the light faded, and she realized she had lost power. Screaming, she threw her arms up to protect herself from the inevitable.
However, the inevitable didn't come. Slowly opening her eyes and lowering her arms, she realized the desert was fading away, and the Danger Room was reappearing, all steel and shine and emptiness. She could feel her body beginning to relax her muscles in relief - and then, she suddenly dropped onto the hard floor with an, "Oof!"
She was still laying there, regaining her breath, when the Danger Room doors opened, revealing Scott, Jean, Professors Xavier, Evee, and Miss Munroe on the other side.
Chapter 9: Chapter Nine
Danger Room session Part 2!
"You girls both did very well with your first session," the Professor said. "There will be one last diagnostic session with you together, and then we will release you to the rest of your day. The other teachers and I will discuss and review the sessions and meet with you again next week to talk about the sessions and continue training. Once you can develop more control over your gifts, you will join the others for group sessions with your peers, in addition to your individual sessions."
Evee nodded, watching Amy out of the corner of her eye, who shuffled her feet, not meeting anyone's gaze. Evee turned to the teachers, standing confidently, to show Amy she had nothing to worry about. "Well, let's get this show started."
Jean took the towel back from Evee and they left the two girls alone, going back into the control room. Evee turned to Amy. "We got this."
Digital blue lines began to create buildings and streets. A city, it appeared. Not a big one, like New York. One with brick apartment buildings and old streets. Once again, there were no people. The streets were empty.
Evee heard a soft whirring behind her and whipped around to see a silver ball. Before the barrel could open, she snatched it and threw it against a brick wall. More whirring, three more spheres had appeared in its place. Evee grabbed Amy's arm. "Run!"
The two broke into a run, the spheres following behind. Evee reached inside to muster up that power she felt early, but there was nothing. Her power lay dormant as the two girls ran. Evee noticed a small alley coming up to their right and turned sharply. She pulled Amy out of the way just in time for a red laser to breeze past her. She heard Amy gasp and squeezed her hand.
The spheres had passed them in the alley, but only for a moment. They spun back until they were right in front of them. Evee felt her blood rushing as that familiar sensation came back to her. She smirked. There it is. Three red lasers shot out, and Evee held up her arms again, just as she did earlier, pushing the power out away from her. One of the balls went careening off and hit a building, and another was hit by its own laser. Evee grabbed Amy's hand and they ran past the remaining sphere.
Evee clenched her jaw and grunted to herself as she felt a sharp pain in her back as the remaining sphere shot out at her. She wished she hadn't left her sweatshirt behind, but at the same time, she didn't need another piece of clothing singed. The whirring grew louder, but Evee didn't look back. She she felt two more sharp pinches, and gathered more spheres had arrived.
We have to get out of here, Evee thought to herself. She turned to the first door and slammed into it. Of course it opened, because in virtual realities no one locked their doors. She slammed the door shut behind them, hoping to buy a little time to catch their breath.
Evee fought to keep that feeling of power, she didn't want to lose it for when the spheres found them. But just in case, she looked around for a weapon. There was a hall closet on the other side of the living room they were standing in. If Evee was lucky, there would be something in there she could use.
"Hold on," she said quietly to Amy, releasing her hand. She crossed the living room, feeling vulnerable in front of the large glass windows, and flung open the closet. Some jackets, hangars, a vacuum, and... an umbrella.
"Jackpot," Evee turned and grinned at Amy, who had followed her across the room. The moment was short-lived however, as five spheres burst through the living room, shattering the glass, barrels drawn. Five red beams of light shot out, aimed straight for Amy. Amy held her arms over her face, but instead of getting singed by lasers, she was shoved over onto the ground. Evee had pushed her out of the way, just in time to get hit by four of the lasers, the fifth burning a small hole in the wall behind her.
Evee clenched her jaw in anger; she could definitely feel her power now. She balled her hands into fists, the blood rushing through her veins, heart racing. She felt strong and powerful, and a moment later had destroyed three of the spheres. A half dozen more appeared in their place, but Evee wasn't ready to give up. She closed her eyes, trying to focus her power. She imagined shooting tendrils out into the spheres. She heard two explode and opened her eyes to the remaining six.
As the lasers shot out towards her, Evee dove towards the closet, six tiny holes burned into the wall. She grabbed the umbrella, gripping it tightly. Three of the spheres came forward, going after Amy, who sat up and had scooted herself back. Evee could sense her fear, but also was aware of the concentration. She was building her own power, but Evee feared it wasn't fast enough. She launched herself forward, half-sprinting, half-leaping towards the attacking spheres. She swung ferociously with the umbrella, smashing the spheres against the door.
She offered Amy a hand and pulled up. "You okay?"
Amy nodded and her eyes widened. Evee spun around and pushed open the umbrella, just in time for three lasers to singe the black cloth. Evee dropped the umbrella and reached for Amy's hand again, immediately leaching the fear from her. They each held up their free hand and focused their concentration into an attack. Amy's bright, scalding light shot out, followed by dark, smoky tendrils, destroying the last three spheres.
The room began to dissolve away into blue lines, which faded away into a blank white room. "We did it," Evee said breathlessly, almost in disbelief. She then turned to grin at Amy, whose face held various emotions, relief being one of them. A moment later, the doors opened, and the Professor, Storm, Scott, and Jean entered the room.
"Congratulations, you beat the simulation," Storm said. "If not using the most... conventional of methods."
Evee shrugged. "I wouldn't say attacking teenage girls with a bunch of lasers is exactly conventional, either."
Jean smirked, Storm did not look amused. "We'll meet after your classes on Monday for our next session," the Professor informed the girls.
Evee took that as her leave and gave a casual salute as she led Amy out of the room. The white halls were easier to maneuver than she thought they would be. The two girls made their way back to their room. They had about two hours before they were supposed to meet the others for their outing. Evee turned to Amy. "I'm going to hit the shower, rinse this virtual ocean scum off. Then we'll need to find something cute to wear. And don't even think about giving me any of that sass, you're going and that's the end of the discussion."
Evee grinned, as if Amy had actually said anything. She turned to head into the bathroom, but was interrupted.
"No one's ever had my back before."
Evee stopped and turned, hiding her surprise at Amy's first words spoken in days. She smiled in return, glad to hear that Amy was doing better - literally. She was about to leave, but stopped, looking over her shoulder. "And don't think I haven't noticed your face," she said before heading into the bathroom.
She flipped on the light and closed the door behind her. Evee had noticed that Amy's wounds were suddenly gone. At first she thought that perhaps it was part of Amy's power, but thinking back, that simply didn't make any sense. She figured it was a possibility that certain mutants may possess healing powers - but Amy hadn't healed at all during their time together. When they first met, her wrist was burned and her face was pretty beat up. The run-in in the sewer had left some marks on her neck, too. The burns from the Danger Room were still there. So, someone else must have done it, Evee thought.
Evee took off her her wet clothes and stepped into the shower, turning on the faucet. Maybe one of the teachers healed her? she thought, as the warm water hit her skin. But that didn't make sense either. If any of the teachers had that ability, why wouldn't they have done it when the girls were in the hospital wing? Why wait? Maybe they wanted to make sure we were going to stick around? Or one of the other mutant students did it? Could shy, silent Amy have already made an actual friend?
Evee pulled her hair out of its ponytail, combing her fingers through it under the water. She figured she would let it go, for now. Since Amy seemed to be ready to start talking again, maybe she would tell her - in her own time, when she's ready. For now, Evee was going to make her shower a quick one so they could get ready to go out and have a chance to enjoy themselves.
Evee slipped on a black robe and wrapped her hair up in a white, fluffy towel. She quickly brushed her teeth and then rejoined Amy in their shared room. Amy was going through some of her clothes, deciding on what to wear.
"Shower's all yours," Evee said, crossing the room to her small dresser to start looking for something to wear. She noticed Amy had a couple of options laid out; some jeans, a dress, a couple shirts. Evee began looking through her clothes as she heard the shower turn on in the bathroom.
Chapter 10: Chapter Ten
Hello, friends! I know it's been a bit longer than usual since we last updated - sorry about that! We've been hammering out the next several chapters, and in addition, Krystle's mother, whom we're both very close with, was diagnosed with breast cancer. She recently had surgery, and her prognosis is very good, so we're starting to pick up where we left off and get back into the swing of this. So, without further ado, the next chapter!
She held up her arm, and ran her fingers over the slightly-raised scar on her wrist where her burn had previously been. Then, tentatively, she pushed her fingers against her cheekbone, and felt no pain. Despite the warmth of the shower, Amy found herself shuddering, remembering the sensation of that boy - Dean - when he had touched her. She wrapped her arms around herself, hoping with every hope he wasn't going to be a part of the excursion to the movies today.
Realizing she was probably taking too long, Amy rushed through the rest of the shower, stepping out and wrapping a towel around her body. She cracked the bathroom door to begin airing out some of the steam, and retrieved a hair dryer from underneath the sink.
"Hurry up!" Evee yelled over the noise from the bathroom. "We're going to be late if you don't get a move on!"
It took Amy about 15 more minutes to dry her hair completely. Urged on by Evee's admonishments about their lateness, she tossed her wavy hair over her shoulder and darted into the bedroom. Shimmying into her underwear under her towel, Amy slid on a pair of dark skinny jeans and an overlong fitted white button down. She eyed herself in the mirror, biting her lip. She looked like a therapist for drug-addicted housewives. Wringing her hands, she glanced over at her closet, and her eyes lighted on one of the scarves she had gotten earlier, cream colored with poppies printed on it. Looping it around her neck, she found a pair of dangly silver leaf-shaped earrings in her jewelry box. There. That was better.
"You're putting me to shame, dude," Evee said. Amy looked over her shoulder at her sister. She was wearing tall slouchy black boots, a short denim black mini skirt, a grey tank top with a fitted zipper sweater over it, and a silver choker with a crescent moon shaped charm around her throat.
"I think you look nice," Amy said shyly.
Evee smiled. "Well, that's all that matters, then." She glanced at her phone. "It's time; ready?"
Amy hesitated, and then reach for the perfume bottle on her dresser, spritzing her throat and one of her wrists, rubbing them together. She slid her feet into a pair of black and white flats from the closet, and reached for a small, cream colored purse. Looking to Evee, she nodded.
"Then let's go already!"
They were the first to arrive in the downstairs foyer.
"We're going to be late, she says," Amy said.
Evee arched an eyebrow at her. "Oh, so suddenly you have a sense of humor, is that it?" Amy flushed and smiled.
They weren't waiting long. "Hey, guys!"
They turned and saw Bobby, the boy who had first brought them to the Professor when they had arrived at the mansion, approaching them from a hallway to their left. He was followed by two others, a girl in a yellow jacket, and John. Tensing, Amy instinctively stepped behind Evee, shaking her hair forward to shield her eyes, but she knew he had seen her.
"Hey," Evee said, raising her hand in greeting. "I hope we're not late."
"No, actually, you guys are right on time." He looked past Evee to Amy. "I'm glad you could come," he said, offering her a smile. He turned to glance at the others. "This is Amy, Evee's sister. Amy, this is Jubilee-" he motioned to the dark-haired girl, "-and John," he said, gesturing to the boy.
Amy offered a tiny wave. "Nice to meet you," she said quietly.
Bobby smiled broadly, satisfied, and held up a set of car keys. "Ready to go?" Evee smiled and nodded.
"Great, come on!" Jubilee suddenly burst. She darted around Bobby and seized upon Amy, linking arms with her and beginning to walk her toward the front door. "It's so great to finally meet you! Everyone's been buzzing, wondering who you are, what you can do..." John, his hands in his pockets, began to follow behind.
Amy looked over her shoulder at Evee, silently asking for help, but Evee pointedly shrugged. "Not so funny now, are you?" she called.
"What's that?" Bobby asked, stepping closer to her.
Evee waved her hand. "Inside joke," she said. "Come on, I don't want to miss the previews, they're the best part."
They began walking together, following the others out the front door. "How did you get her to come? You didn't seem too optimistic last night," Bobby asked.
Evee shrugged. "I don't know, really. I really wanted her to get out of that room, and I thought it was going to be a struggle, but in the end she just sort of went along with it. I think she's finally starting to feel safe again."
"That's good. That's really good - I'm happy for you guys, really. I'm glad you guys are staying on." Bobby offered Evee another winning smile, and despite herself, she could feel just the slightest blush start to tinge her cheeks as they approached a disconnected garage.
"For now," she said, and internally, even she winced at the harshness of her tone. She changed the subject. "So, they let you guys keep cars?" she said, pointing to the garage. Jubilee had punched in a code on the numeric keypad mounted outside of one of the doors, and it began to open as Evee and Bobby joined the others.
"No, not really. But all the teachers have their own, and they keep some extra on hand for situations like this," he said.
"You mean play dates?"
Bobby laughed. "They like to call them pre-approved student excursions, but yeah, that's the gist." He pressed a button on the key fob in his hand, and a dark SUV near the back of the garage beeped and blinked its headlights.
"Oh yeah, they kept spare Escalades around my old school too. No biggie," Evee commented drily as they as began piling into the SUV.
Jubilee climbed into the back first as Bobby went around to the driver's side. Amy and John both started to step into the back seat at the same time, nearly bumping into each other.
"Oh, sorry - you go," John said, stepping back and gesturing for Amy to get into the SUV.
Amy hesitated, her mouth open as though she were about to speak, but no words came. Evee, quickly reading the situation, seized her sister's wrist. "Don't mind if we do," she said, pulling Amy into the back of the car behind her. She tried to give Amy an inquiring look, but Amy deftly avoided her gaze. John closed the door behind them, and climbed into the front seat beside Bobby as he started the car. "Next stop, downtown Westchester."
"You never told us, what are we seeing?" Evee asked, as the five of them got into line to buy their tickets at the movie theater.
"Transformers, obviously," Bobby said. He stepped forward with John as they each handed over cash to buy their tickets.
"Transformers?" Evee asked skeptically. "I'm supposed to willingly hand over good money to watch a bunch of oversized robots fight each other - a premise that's based entirely on a children's cartoon?"
"Not just any cartoon, the best cartoon of my childhood," Bobby countered. "And you're not handing anything over, we've got you covered." Indeed, Bobby handed Evee a movie ticket. "Just our way of welcoming you to the Institute."
Evee shrugged, and took the ticket. "Well, if you're buying. Does this little welcome include popcorn, too?" she teased as she, Bobby, and Jubilee moved away to the ticket booth and toward concessions. Amy moved to follow, but John stopped her.
"Here," he said, handing her a movie ticket. Hesitantly, she reached for it.
"Thank you," she said quietly, glancing up at him before looking away again.
"Look, I'm sorry if I did anything to, you know, upset you. The other day, I mean." John scrubbed a hand through his hair, looking uncomfortable. "I should have just left you alone, I-"
"No," Amy said, quickly and suddenly. John looked startled that she had even said anything at all. "No, I'm sorry. It's just, everything's been... This is all just... It's been a little overwhelming," she said. "Thank you."
John shrugged. "Yeah, yaeh, no problem," he said, looking relieved. "You're welcome."
"Are you two coming or what?" Jubilee called. Looking over, Amy saw them burdened with two buckets of popcorn, drinks, and candy, waiting for them expectantly.
"Come on, I don't want to miss the previews, they're my favorite," Amy said, starting to back toward the others.
John's brow furrowed as he started to follow her. "Really?"
"So you really like this stuff?" Evee had leaned over to whisper to Bobby. He glanced at her, the movie reflecting brightly off of his pale blue eyes.
"What's not to like?" he whispered back. "It's giant robots battling for the fate of the entire human race!"
Evee arched an eyebrow at him.
"Giant battling robots!" he reiterated. Next to him, Jubilee dug an elbow into his side, shushing him.
"It's totally unrealistic, though," Evee whispered again, after she was sure Jubilee was back to being absorbed by the action on screen.
"Obviously, but that's what so great about it! I mean, look at the lives we lead. It's nice to get a little unadulterated impossibility sometimes."
On the screen, one of the robots was rocketing down a highway when, changing direction, it ran through a bus, completely destroying it in a huge ball of flame and emerging from the other side completely covered in flames.
"Okay, that was kind of cool," Evee admitted.
"See?!" Bobby whispered back giddily.
From down the row, John leaned forward and threw a fistful of popcorn at them. "Drake, shut up!"
"Well, that was fun, right?" Evee asked, closing their bedroom door behind them. She flopped down on her bed, and starting trying to slide her boots off with her feet.
Amy nodded. "I really like those kinds of movies," she said. She starting taking on her earrings, placing them carefully in the jewelry box on her dress.
Evee propped herself up on her elbows, eyebrow arched. "Really? I would have pegged you more for the indie romance, foreign language type."
Amy smiled. "And I would have pegged you for more of the Saw franchise type."
"Ah, well," Evee said, finally getting her boots off and sitting up, "that's where you'd be right." She went into the bathroom, and rummaged around in one of the drawers until she found some makeup removal wipes. Opening the package, she began to carefully wipe away the eyeliner and mascara from one eye.
"So," she began casually, "what was all the weird stuff between you and John?"
In the bedroom, Amy went rigid - so rigid, Evee could sense her tension immediately without even trying. She knew there was something going on there, she just couldn't place what.
I knew there was something going on there. Amy heard Evee's voice in her head plain as day. Gasping, she dropped her purse, which she had been sliding off of her shoulder, onto the floor, and put a hand to her forehead, squeezing her eyes shut.
Evee, hearing the noise, poked her head out of the bathroom. "You okay?" she asked.
"Yeah," Amy said, "yeah, just a headache all of a sudden. It happens sometimes."
"I think there's some aspirin in my nightstand," Evee replied, ducking back into the bathroom to remove the second half of her makeup. She heard Amy cross the room, and the rattle of the pill bottle, and resumed her questioning. "Well?" she prodded.
Amy tossed back three of the small white pills, swallowing them dry. After a moment, she said, "It was nothing. I met him on the first day of classes, and I acted like a freak even though he was just trying to be nice."
Evee didn't need powers to be able to sense the partial truth, but decided to drop it. "So are you guys cool?"
"I guess. I don't really know what that means."
Evee laughed. "Of course you don't."
Evee was jostled roughly. She groaned, her eyes flickering open from dead asleep. "What?" she groaned, blinking and raising a hand to block the sunlight from the window next to Amy's bed. Amy stood over her.
"Get up, we have class," she said, turning away.
"What, it's Monday already?" Evee muttered, reaching for her phone on the nightstand. Sure enough, it was past 8 in the morning. Squinting, she looked back across the room, where Amy stood in front of the mirror, putting in a pair of large pearl earrings. She wore denim jeans and an oversized cable knit sweater that hung off one shoulder. "You realize you don't have to dress like a princess everyday, right?" she grumbled, swinging her legs over the side of her bed.
Amy looked over her shoulder, frowning. "I thought this was casual," she said, looking down at her sweater.
"Oh yeah," Evee said, waving her hand over her shoulder as she shuffled into the bathroom to try and make something of her hair before they had to leave, "super casual. If you're going skiing in the Swiss Alps."
Somehow, they were on time for class. Early, even. Again, Evee and Amy took desks beside each other near the back of the room.
"You really think I look too dressy?" Amy whispered. Evee rolled her eyes.
"No, I was just teasing, I'm sorry I said anything. You look fine," she said, waving her hand.
Amy bit her lip, and began pulling her physics notebook and a pen out of her satchel. This was exactly what had happened at her old school, everyone had made fun of the way she dressed, thought she was pretentious, trying to dress up and look wealthy even though they all knew exactly where she came from-
"Hey, guys. Mind if we sit?"
Startled from her thoughts, Amy looked up to see Bobby and John. She hadn't noticed they were in the same class last week - then again, there had been a lot going on.
"Hey," Evee smiled. "Pull up a chair, anything to distract me from physics, dear God."
Smiling, Bobby took the seat next to Evee, while John sat to Amy's left.
"Hey," he said as he sat down.
Amy instinctively shook her hair forward and tugged on her sleeves. "Hi," she said quietly, offering him a small smile.
"You look nice," John observed, glancing at her.
"O-oh," she said, actually turning to look at him. "Thanks."
He opened his mouth to reply, but just them the doors behind them opened, and the Professor wheeled in. "Good morning, class!" he said cheerfully, rolling to the front and turning to stop behind the wide mahogany desk there. He opened a heavy textbook on his desk, and turned to look at the chalkboard beside him, already laden with diagrams. "Now, who's ready to talk about anthropic principles?"
Evee rolled her eyes and dropped her head on her desk. Amy giggled.
They were about halfway through the class when Amy began to hear it.
What are you doing?
She sat up a little straighter in her chair, and looked around, eyes settling on the Professor. He was talking about weak and strong as terms that applied to physics out loud, but it had to be his voice that she heard in her head.
Where are you going?
She was starting to get a headache, like she did anytime she starting hearing people's thoughts, and for a moment she closed her eyes, willing it away. She rubbed her temples for a moment.
When she opened her eyes again, the Professor was looking right at her. It's alright, Amy. No need to be anxious.
Where are you going?
His voice started racing, layering over itself and growing louder, until Amy thought her head was going to burst from its momentum. Suddenly, the classroom doors banged open.
It was instinctual, what happened. An orb of light appeared in Amy's hand beneath her desk, about the size of a baseball.
"Hey, hey, whoa," John whispered, glancing around. Everyone else seemed preoccupied with the man, wild-haired and sweaty, that had appeared in the classroom.
He reached forward suddenly. No, don't! Amy wanted to scream, but she was lost for words. His hand closed over her fingers, forcing her to close her hand over the orb and extinguish it. When he pulled his hand away, she was stunned to see he hadn't been burned. She stared at him, even as everyone else began to stand and pack their bags. The Professor said something about homework.
"Are you alright?" John asked her, concern apparent in his eyes.
Her mouth worked wordlessly for a moment before she could stammer out, "Yeah, yeah. Fine."
Chapter 11: Chapter Eleven
Based on some feedback we've received on multiple sites, we'd just like to remind our readers that this story is meant to span the 4 movies, plus additional storylines we've created to supplement our character building and to incorporate characters or plots from both the comics and television adaptations. If you haven't been introduced to a character you've been looking forward to, or that we've promised, please be patient! They will all make appearances, never fear!
Also, today is another one of those lucky days where you get two chapters for the price of one. Enjoy!
The classroom door slammed shut, startling Evee. She looked back to see a disheveled man in a hoodie staring at the class, looking quite confused.
"Good morning, Logan," the Professor stated, as if he had expected the interruption. Evee traded glances with Bobby; he didn't appear to know who this Logan was either.
The Professor assigned the night's homework and released the class. "That will be all."
Evee scooped up her textbook, notebook, and pen, and dropped them into her bag, which she swung over her shoulder as she stood. They left the room without a word to meet another surprise standing in the hallway. Jean stood waiting for the class with a young girl, about their age. She wore a green hooded sweater that resembled a cloak, had pale skin, and long chestnut hair; she wore thick dark gloves. She looked scared.
"Hello, everyone, I would like you to meet Marie," Jean introduced the new girl.
"Um, you can call me Rogue," Marie said quietly.
Jean smiled. "Rogue, this is Bobby, John, Jubilee, Amy, and Evee. Amy and Evee are new here as well."
Rogue offered a small smile. Evee offered a halfhearted wave with her two fingers.
"Rogue already has been shown her room and given her schedule. Could you show her around, perhaps to her next class?"
"Of course," Bobby said.
Just then, Storm and Scott came into the hall, walking past the group and wordlessly entering the Professor's classroom.
"So what's with wild man in there?" Evee asked Jean, looking past Rogue as Jean opened the classroom doors.
Jean smirked. "You're going to be late," she said, firmly closing the door behind her.
Next was English with Storm, whom Evee figured would be late to class, which suited her just fine. She liked English, but she liked not having class even better.
They entered the classroom and started taking their seats. The classroom was bright and filled with plants, and instead of desks, they sat at long tables that fit three students each. Evee took a seat in the center of a table in the back, Jubilee sitting to her right and Bobby sitting to her left. Amy and John sat at the table in front of them, and Rogue took a seat at the table across from them.
Since Ororo wasn't going to be in class right away, Jubilee took the opportunity to whip out her headphones. Soon she was nodding her head, oblivious to what anyone else was doing or saying.
Evee looked over at Bobby, letting her thoughts drift for a moment. He was definitely cute, that was for sure. Evee had kind of dismissed him at first, because she was worried about Amy. She glanced up towards her sister, who was preparing her notebook for the class. She was still very reserved, but she had started talking, and Evee was starting to think that maybe she could be okay there, at least to stay for a while. Evee glanced over at Bobby, thinking that maybe she would be okay there for a while as well.
"So, this weekend was pretty fun," Evee spoke nonchalantly.
Bobby grinned, his blue eyes sparkling. "Yeah, it definitely was. I'm glad that you guys made it out."
Evee pressed her lips together, feeling her cheeks warm slightly. "We should do it again, sometime? Maybe this weekend?"
"Yeah, that'd be great. I'd like that."
"Cool." Oh my god, Evee, get over yourself, Evee thought to herself.
A moment later, however, Storm entered the room, apologizing for the delay. The room grew silent and Jubillee turned off the music, putting away her iPod.
She started the class by opening a discussion about the reading they were supposed to have done over the weekend. Evee had already read the book they were covering, Wuthering Heights, so she started to tune out. She noticed John whisper something to Amy, but she couldn't hear what was said. A moment later, however, he put his hands behind his back. Flipping his Zippo lighter open, he formed a small ball of fire in his hand. She frowned. What the hell is he doing with that?
Evee didn't get to find out, however, as Bobby held his hand out, sending a frigid breeze out from his fingers. The fireball turned into a ball of ice. Startled, John dropped it, smashing the ice - loudly - on the ground behind him. He and several others jumped in their seats.
Storm turned. "John," she scolded.
"Sorry," he mumbled.
Evee smirked, and turned to whisper something to Bobby. His concentration was on Rogue, however. Evee watched as he reached his hand out over the table where Rogue sat. A moment later he pulled his hand away, revealing a beautiful rose made out of ice.
"Welcome to Mutant High," he whispered. Evee pressed her lips together and turned away. I guess he's just nice to all the new girls, she thought sullenly to herself. She felt Bobby move back and turn to her, but she ignored him, suddenly very focused on Storm's lecture.
She didn't know why she was so upset. Bobby could make his own decisions, and it's not like they were dating or anything. Evee started tapping her pencil on the table. She couldn't wait for class to be over.
Finally, Storm set down her chalk. "Tonight, I would like everybody to read the next chapter and be prepared to have three talking points for tomorrow's discussion." With that, Storm released the class. Evee pushed her stuff back into her bag. She had math next with Bobby and Jubilee, and Amy and John would be heading off to history.
"So Rogue, what's your next class?" Bobby asked.
"Uh, math, it looks like."
"Great, so do we. You can sit with us."
Evee focused her attention during class. Jubilee sat on one side of her, Bobby on the other. Rogue sat on the other side of him. She halfheartedly wrote down equations, waiting for class to end.
Finally, it was time to pack up. Everyone picked up their things. "Ready for lunch?" Evee said to Bobby.
"You bet," he replided. He then turned to Rogue. "Why don't you come eat with us?"
"Okay," Rogue smiled at Bobby.
Evee felt her stomach sink, but brushed it off. Give it a rest, Evee. No reason to get your panties in a bunch. The group headed off to the cafeteria. Amy and John were already there waiting. Evee dropped her stuff off at the table and went to grab some food, Amy right behind them.
"So, how was history?" Evee asked.
"It was alright. How was math?"
Evee shrugged. "Wrote down some numbers. Stared out the window. The usual. What are you getting?"
"I heard that they've got chili cheese dogs today."
"Delish," Evee said. She couldn't help but think back to when she had brought Amy a plate of food the other day, unsure of what exactly her sister would have eaten. She wondered what else Amy liked. Forget about boys, how about you get to know your sister first?
Evee grabbed a plate and loaded up with a fruit salad, cheeseburger, and fries. She grabbed a green tea to drink, and soon everyone met back at their table.
"There is no pizza like New York pizza...Nothing else even comes close!" Evee argued.
"I don't know, I've had pizza from Chicago be-"
"Nope," Evee shook her head, interrupting Jubilee. "That crap doesn't even come close. New York pizza or bust."
Jubilee laughed, "Alright, alright, I'll take your word for it!"
Evee took a sip of her tea and grinned across the table.
Bobby turned to Rogue, "So where are you from?"
"I'm from Louisiana, but I've... done some travelling."
"I heard they found you in an accident with that guy," Jubilee said. Leave in to Jubilee to already be on top of all the whispers about the new girl.
"That's Logan. He was giving me a ride, and we crashed. There was this really creepy mutant after him, but Storm and Cyclops saved us," Rogue explained.
John sat back in his chair, fiddling with his lighter. "So what's with the gloves?"
Evee glared at John. Insensitive, much?
Rogue bit her lip and looked down at her hands. "When I touch people...something happens. I don't really know how to explain it, it's like I take some of their life force or something."
Evee wasn't really the touchy-feely type, but she couldn't imagine never being able to touch someone. Never hugging her mom or holding hands with someone. That must be rough.
Bobby offered Rogue a smile. "Well, why don't you come out with us this weekend? Evee wanted to see a movie, why don't you join us?"
Rogue smiled at Bobby and nodded, "Sure, I'd like that."
Evee raised an eyebrow. Bobby turned to her, "I mean, as long as you don't mind, Evee."
"No, of course not. It'd be great. We'd love to have you," Evee said, quickly schooling her face into enthusiasm. It wasn't exactly what she had been expecting for the weekend. She twisted the cap back on the bottle of tea and set it down on her lunch tray. Standing, she looked over at her sister.
"Hey, Amy, we have to get going for that thing," she said, wanting to get out of there. Amy stared at her blankly. "Well, come on."
"Oh, yeah," Amy said, grabbing her stuff and standing from the table. "I'll see you guys later."
Evee turned and left without another word, Amy following her. Once they were outside earshot, Amy asked, "What was up with that?"
Evee shrugged. "I just wanted to get out of there. One more class and then we're supposed to meet with the Professor to talk about our diagnostic session."
Chapter 12: Chapter Twelve
After class ended, Evee dropped her stuff off in her room and met Amy outside the Professor's office. "Ready?"
Amy shrugged. "Yeah, okay."
They entered the room together. The Professor, Scott, Jean, and Storm were already waiting.
"Ah, Amy, Evee, right on time," the Professor greeted. "How are your classes going?"
"They're alright, I guess," Evee said.
"You know, Evee, your classes are better when you look away from the window," Jean teased.
Oops, Evee thought to herself. "Now you're going to tell me that notebooks are for taking notes, not doodles!"
Beside her, Amy let out a small titter of laughter.
The Professor offered a warm smile. "Why don't you take a seat," he gestured to the chairs in front of his desk, "and we can begin discussing your diagnostic session."
Evee settled into her armchair. "So, did we ace it?"
The Professor did not respond. Evee dropped her smile, "Did we fail?"
"You both did very well during the diagnostic. Both of you possess very unique gifts. These sessions are designed to help you realize your fullest potential, but first you must learn to control your gifts."
Evee wasn't sure if she liked how that was sounded. Control was important, but what did he mean by fullest potential? Was the Professor hinting that they weren't strong enough?
"For today's exercise, I am going to split you two up for some individualized practice. I would like each of you to work on simply connecting with your gifts, drawing out your power, so that you can use it when you need it."
"Is this because I used an umbrella?" Evee asked warily.
"No, Evee. Your use of the umbrella was quite... resourceful. This is just an exercise in control," the Professor explained. "For today, Evee will be working with Jean and Scott. Amy, you will be working with Ororo and myself. But, before we get started, I would like to hear about your gifts in your own words."
Evee and Amy exchanged glances; neither were really sure how to reply.
"I'll go first," Evee said, taking a deep breath. "But I'm not entirely sure how to describe it."
"You have telekinesis," Jean replied. "Like me." She turned her concentration to the Professor's desk. A moment later, some of his pens and papers began to float in the air, moving around before returning to their place. "See?"
"Well..." Not really, Evee thought. "It isn't quite like that. I don't really know how to explain it."
Jean seemed confused. "Do you think you could show us?"
Evee shrugged, "I can try?" She closed her eyes, and tried to turn inside herself, trying to awake the dormant power inside her. But there was nothing. She sighed in frustration, opening her eyes. Why can't I make this damn thing work when I want it to? Where's the on-off switch?
A moment later, Amy stretched out her hand. Evee thought she was going to grab her hand, but instead, she felt a sharp pinch.
"Ouch!" The darkness shot out, flinging a coffee mug from the desk across the room, smashing against the wall.
"Oh, no, I'm so sorry!" Evee apologized, embarrassed.
"It's quite alright, Evee. These things happen quite often around here," the Professor responded calmly. Still, Evee felt a faint blush rise in her cheeks. She stuck her tongue out at Amy, who shrugged in response. "Why don't you tell me about what just happened?" he encouraged.
Evee looked up at him, then at the others in the room. She was confused. "You didn't see it?"
"See what, Evee?" Jean asked.
"We saw the cup move, that was it," Scott added.
Evee was stunned. She hadn't known that no one else could see it. She looked at her hands, trying to sort it out in her head. A moment later, she returned her gaze to the Professor. "I didn't move the cup. Not in the way that you think I did..." She trailed off, searching for the words to explain it. "You see...it's almost like I create...a shadow? Smoke, maybe? I don't really know, it's like this darkness that I release in order to move things or make things happen." She looked around the room. "I didn't know I was the only one that could see it."
The room was silent. Now you've done it, Evee, she thought to herself.
Just then the Professor spoke. "Evee, that is extraordinary. I have never come across anything like that before."
You really are a freak. Evee took a deep breath, figuring she might as well come clean. "There's more."
"Oh?" the Professor said inquisitively.
"And I don't really know how to explain the other things either. But I seem to have these...visions. It can come on suddenly or be set off by touching something or seeing something. My vision blurs and I can't breathe, and then my head is filled with all these images. It's actually how I found Amy..."
"The power of precognition," the Professor explained. "It makes sense that this power would lead you to find your sister."
"There's one more thing, and I think it kind of goes with the darkness thing. It was how I...I guess manifested is the word you use. I can project - or take away - fear..." Evee trailed off, unsure if she wanted to talk about it. Her thoughts drifted to that night in the warehouse, to what she did to Tyler. She glanced around the room, unsure of what the others were thinking. "I'm a freak, aren't I?" Evee said. "Go ahead and lay it on me, I can handle it."
"Evee, you possess extraordinary gifts. They are unique, but they do not make you a freak," Storm stepped forward.
"Although I do not have an explanation for you, Evee, I look forward to working with you to teach you control and to help you develop your gifts," the Professor said.
Evee felt that it was the end, for now. Perhaps the Professor would have some answers in the future. Evee turned to her sister, who hadn't said much yet. "Your turn."
"I-I'm not sure," Amy stammered. "I don't really know how mine works either. I can hear what people are thinking, and sometimes it's like they do what I say. I can move things, too, like Dr. Grey," she said, gesturing toward Jean. "And... I can't do it right now, but you've seen in, in that desert place. Everything gets hot, and the air gets heavy, until it's something solid in my hand, and I can shoot it, or throw it...It melts things, burns things..." Amy trailed off, thinking back to Oregon. "I'm pretty sure I blew up my house."
Evee was surprised to hear Amy mention what happened. Not that she had said a lot these past few days, but even so, her manifestation was something Amy didn't really talk about. It was the push Evee needed to admit what had happened, what she had done.
"I put a boy from school into a mental institution," she said, looking at Amy. Their eyes met and Evee instantly felt that connection to her sister. She offered a small smile, which Amy returned.
The Professor nodded, absorbing everything that had been said. Evee wondered briefly just how much he had known, remembering back to their first meeting, when he had read her thoughts.
"So, do you think you can help us?" Evee asked hesitantly.
The Professor nodded his head. "I am confident that you will learn understanding control through our sessions." He rolled out from behind his desk with a smile. "Perhaps we should take this outside."
"Just close your eyes. Allow your body and mind to relax. Begin to feel the power inside, tap into it."
Evee sat in the grass, a soft breeze brushing her hair back from her face. She turned deep inside, willing the power to release, letting Jean's voice guide her.
"You have to want it; embracing your gift is key to control," Scott added.
Evee nodded her head subtly. I have to want it, she told herself. She began to feel a release - a small one, but a release nonetheless. The dakness began to eke out. Evee slowly opened her eyes, focusing the black tendrils. In front of her lay five yellow discs, which she was supposed to try to lift one at a time, and then all together. She set her intention of the first disc, pushing the darkness towards it.
"Picture it in your mind, will it to happen," Jean encouraged.
Evee willed the darkness to envelop the yellow disc and imagined it slowly floating off the grass. It began to shake, and then was suddenly released, the power snapping back into Evee. The bright sun beat down on her and Evee groaned. "Well, that was just pathetic."
"It's not as easy when you aren't in danger, or scared," Scott said. "Our powers are often heightened when we feel fear or even anger."
Fear... Evee thought about it, giving herself an idea. If I can't will the darkness, maybe I can will the fear. She glanced upwards and squinted her eyes, the sun beaming, beating down on her. Evee sighed and returned her concentration to the task at hand.
"Can I try something?" Evee asked. "Give me your hand."
Scott and Jean exchanged glances, then Scott held out his hand. Evee put her hand on top of his and focused her concentration, beginning to search for what Scott may be afraid of. She felt kind of bad for not giving him any warning, but soon the guilt was replaced by a familiar sensation. She began to - gently - push the power out. She felt Scott's hand begin to feel clammy as he shifted around. A moment later, he pulled away clearing his throat.
"That must be the fear thing you were talking about earlier?" he asked, regaining his composure.
"At least you didn't go insane," Evee replied with a fake laugh.
"You're beginning to control it," Jean said.
Evee returned her focus to the small yellow discs, refusing to let go of the power. She began to send out the dark tendrils towards the first disc, enveloping it. She willed the darkness upwards, lifting the discs a couple of inches off the ground. She deepened her concentration, sending more darkness to cover the second disc, slowly lifting it off the grass. Evee smiled to herself, beginning to stretch the darkness to the third disc. However, it was too much too soon, and she began to lose it, the discs dropping to the ground. She groaned again, flopping back onto the lawn.
"Evee, that was great! I'm proud of your focus," Jean complimented, smiling. Evee returned the smile half-heartedly. "Now, sit up," Jean said. "We want to try something ourselves."
Evee looked at her quizzically. Just then, the sky began to darken. The sudden incoming clouds were almost black, blocking out the bright sun. Evee looked up and grinned, her eyes adjusting to the newfound darkness immediately. Storm...duh!
Evee turned back to the discs, tapping into her power with more ease. She pushed the darkness out to the first disc. beginning to lift it up. A moment later, she was able to lift the second and third discs as well. Evee tried not to let the excitement break her focus as she began to concentrate on the fourth disc. She took a slow deep breath, sending the darkness to cover the disc. With some effort, it too began to float. Not as high as the first three, but it was still floating.
Last one... Come on... Evee thought to herself. She began to push the darkness out to the last disc. The first ones began to waver and her heart quickened.
"You can do this," Scott encouraged.
Evee kept pushing, and eventually the darkness enveloped the last disc. She began to lift it up to join the others. She no longer struggled as she began to float all five discs higher in the hair. Three feet, five feet, almost eight feet before she purposely let them fall back to the ground.
Evee gasped, grinning to herself. She couldn't believe it. "I did it - I actually did it!"
Chapter 13: Chapter Thirteen
This chapter finally concludes some character building we've been trying to accomplish - the last two chapters saw the introduction of Logan and Rogue, and with the next chapter, we get back into the swing of things as they were in X1. Thanks for sticking with us!
Amy, fresh out of the shower, paused in the middle of towel drying her hair. "You know how it went," she said darkly.
"No, I saw how it ended," Evee said, her grin nearly too big to fit on her face.
"I don't want to talk about it."
"Them's not the rules."
Amy eyed her, and then sighed, tossing her towel at the hamper across the room. "Fine."
"The key to accessing your power, Amy, is to open yourself up to it. You can't be afraid of it, or let it cause you any anxiety. It's an extension of yourself, like your arm or your leg. It won't hurt you," the Professor said. He, Storm, and Amy were seated on a stone terrace outside in the garden. From a distance, she could hear some children at play on the basketball courts.
"But the only time I've been able to use it so far has been when I was afraid," Amy said doubtfully.
"That's instinctual," the Professor replied. "When you touch something hot, you don't have to tell yourself to remove your hand before you get burned, you do it automatically. Your abilities have acted in the same way for you until this point - as a defense mechanism."
Amy bit her lip. "What about the voices I keep hearing? It's never quiet anymore, I can hear what everyone is thinking, all the time!"
"That's why it's important to learn control," Storm cut in. She placed a hand on Amy's shoulder. "By learning to access your gifts at will, you will begin to take control of them. The voices will fade, and then you'll only hear them if you want to."
"So what do I do?" Amy asked.
The Professor smiled. "Close your eyes," he said.
Amy took a deep breath, and did as she was told. "Listen to what's happening around you. What do you hear?"
She listened. "I hear... kids playing on the basketball court. Wind chimes, from the garden. A motorcycle."
"That's the obvious. Focus. What do you really hear?"
A tiny furrow appeared on Amy's eyebrow. "A bird singing. No..." She paused, tilting her head slightly toward the sound. "Two birds."
The Professor and Storm glanced at each other, smiling.
Amy went on. "I hear the wind in the trees, rustling the leaves. And I hear your breathing, Professor."
She could also hear the smile in his voice when he next spoke. "Good. Tell me what you're feeling."
Amy lifted her face. "I feel the sun on my face. A breeze."
"Now," the Professor said, leaning forward, "concentrate. Look inside of yourself, search your mind. See what you find."
At first, Amy didn't know what he meant. She frowned, feeling stupid just sitting there. But then, there was something.
"What is it?" the Professor asked.
"I... I don't know," Amy said. She tightened her closed eyes, as though that would help her take a closer look. "It's... it's like a light... Or a glow..."
"That's it," the Professor encouraged. "Now, reach out. Touch it."
Amy tried, but it was like it flickered, and darted out of reach. "I can't!" she said.
"Yes, you can, Amy. Focus your mind. Concentrate."
Amy gritted her teeth, her knuckles whitening against her knees. In her mind's eye, she strained, reaching for the glow. Her palms began to sweat. Almost... almost...
"There!" Amy heard the Professor exclaim.
Startled, Amy opened her eyes. She held a large, glowing orb in her hand, the size of a basketball. "What...?" Amy breathed, in shock and excitement.
The orb suddenly flickered. "Don't lose hold of it, Amy. Not until you want to. You have to control it - don't let it control you."
Keeping her arm outstretched, the orb of white light brightened again, and this time, Amy was able to maintain it.
"Now, Amy," Storm said. "The voices. Do you still hear them?"
Amy nodded, still focused on the ball of light.
"Turn your attention to them," she instructed.
Amy did as she was told. Sweat began to bead at her brow.
"Pick them out, one by one. Close your mind off to them," the Professor said.
It was like each voice was a pinprick of light against the greater glow in the back of her mind. She would choose one, focus on it, and slowly, it would fade.
Her hands began to shake. "There's too many," she said, squeezing her eyes shut.
"Focus, Amy," Ororo said, putting her hand on her shoulder and squeezing. "You can do this."
"I can't!" she said. She gasped suddenly, and the lighted orb in her hand suddenly went out. Amy fell back against the chair, winded.
"I'm sorry, Professor. It was too much," she said.
He smiled at her. "Tell me again, Amy, what do you hear?"
Confused, she closed her eyes again. After a moment, her eyes snapped open.
"Th-they're gone!" Amy said, her mouth open in surprise. "All of them, it's quiet!"
The Professor smiled. "Losing your connection just now wasn't a failure on your part, Amy. You're learning. You should be very proud of what you just achieved."
Despite herself, Amy flushed with pride.
"But that's not the only lesson today," Storm said, standing from her chair. "We've got one more thing to teach you." Standing at the edge of the patio, Storm spread her arms wide, and Amy saw her eyes cloud over until they were fully milky white. "While your sister's gifts may not include telekinesis, we believe that yours do. And there's more to that than just moving so objects across a room." Open-mouthed, Amy then watched as Storm left the ground entirely, stopping about ten feet over their heads and hovering there. "How would you like to learn how to fly?" she called down with a smile.
"I - what?" Amy stuttered, standing in surprise. "No, I - I can't!"
"I think we've crossed over the threshold of what you thought you could accomplish already today, haven't we?" the Professor said, a wide smile on his face.
Amy wrung her hands. "What if I fall?"
"Even if that happens, it will be a short distance to the ground. We certainly won't be doing anything long distance today, and I will personally assure your safety" the Professor said reassuringly.
"Short distance to the ground..." Amy muttered under her breath. Aloud, though, she sighed, and straightened her back. "Okay. What should I do?"
"Concentrate again. Seek out the connection from earlier," Storm said as she dipped lower in the air. She hovered only a few feet above Amy now.
Closing her eyes, Amy reached for the glow at the back of her mind. Now that she knew it was there, it was almost impossible not to notice, but reaching out for it, touching it, was the tricky part. But slowly, she made the tenuous connection.
"Okay," she breathed, "now what?"
"Focus on your body." This time, the Professor spoke. "Focus on it just like you focused on the thoughts that had been clouding your mind. Make it do what you want it to do."
Amy grit her teeth, and felt her palms beginning to sweat again. He said it like it was so easy, she thought, it's not every day you just wake up inside a multi-million dollar mansion and head outside for some superhero training with a bunch of-
She opened her eyes, and suddenly found herself eye-level with Storm. Looking down, Amy yelped, and dropped several inches closer to the ground, over which she was floating. Storm caught her arms, holding her up while Amy righted herself. "Careful, you have to stay focused!" she said.
"Right, right. Short distance," she said. Slowly, Storm released her, and Amy was stunned to see she remained steady in the air.
"Now, when you become more experienced, this sort of thing will become like second nature. You'll only need to divert a small amount of energy and attention to keeping yourself in the air. But for now, try to stay focused," Storm said.
"No problem there," Amy said, trying to keep her eyes off of the ground.
"Good," Storm said. "Now, follow me." She turned, and drifted away, slow enough for Amy to begin following.
"Um..." Amy paused, wondering just how to do that. She took a deep breath, and then found herself moving forward, floating gently through the air, her body parallel to the ground below.
"Good, Amy, that's really good!" Storm said, looking back at her over her shoulder. "Now, try to gain a little speed."
Amy gritted her teeth, and strained to reach toward the glow. She started gaining speed, and suddenly, it became easy. Amy felt the sun on her face, felt the wind blowing through her hair. It was the most free and unburdened she had felt since that fateful afternoon in Oregon, which now seemed so long ago.
Suddenly, the air chilled, and the warmth vanished from her face. The glow, her power, at the back of her mind seemed to suddenly fade, and grow smaller. Looking up, Amy saw big dark storm clouds rolling in, blocking out the sun. She suddenly dropped several inches, and she became unsteady in the air. "What's happening?" she asked Storm, feeling panic suddenly swell in her chest.
Storm turned in the air, looking back at Amy. "It's a test, Amy, focus! You can maintain control," she said.
"It's too hard!" Amy said. "I can't"
Her connection disconnected entirely, and Amy began to fall. The pool was below her, as well as several students lounging around it. "Storm!" Amy yelled. She was only about fifteen feet in the air, but it was still going to hurt when she hit the ground. She threw her hands up in front of her face to protect it.
She connected solidly with a body, and stars erupted in front of her eyes. She was suddenly submerged in water, and dazed. She floated there, seeing nothing but the fluorescent blue of the bottom of the pool.
Someone seized her under her arms, and pulled. She emerged from the pool spluttering and coughing, and was dropped onto the concrete edge of the pool to regain her breath.
"Are you okay?" someone asked. Amy pushed her wet hair out of her face, and looked up.
Dean was kneeling over her, also soaking wet. His dark hair was flat against his head, and water dripped off the lapels of his leather jacket. She had knocked him into the pool with her, she realized.
"Yeah," she said quickly, starting to get up.
"Let me help," he said, catching her arm.
"No, it's okay-" She stepped back, and knocked into somebody else. Turning, she looked up to see the man who had interrupted her class earlier, although looking distinctly less sweaty and wild-haired. He caught her before she could fall.
"You alright there, half-pint?" he asked.
Before she could answer, they were interrupted by Storm. "Amy!" She landed on the pool's patio. "Are you alright?" she asked, quickly surveying the scene. Overhead the sky began clearing.
Amy nodded, rubbing her arms. "Can we be done for today?" she asked, starting to shiver.
Storm nodded. "Sure, go get cleaned up."
Amy whipped a pillow at Evee as she rolled onto her back on her bed, cackling. "It's not that funny!" Amy said, frowning.
Evee threw the pillow back. "You're right, it's hilarious." She sat up on her bed, wrapping her arms around her legs. "So, what am I thinking right now?"
Amy frowned. "I don't know..."
"Oh, come on, how hard could it be?"
Frowning, Amy sat up a little straighter, and narrowed her eyes at her sister. After a moment, a tony wrinkle appeared between her eyebrows. "It's not like a word, more like... a picture? Or, no, a color. Red? I'm just seeing red." Slowly, her features smoothed out. "Is, is your favorite color red?"
Evee smiled. "Yeah, and purple, but I was thinking of red." Amy beamed at her. "See, that wasn't so hard, was it? What's yours, then?"
"Oh. Um, I guess I like pastels, maybe? Bright off colors, like mint green, or aquamarine."
Evee smiled. "Movie?"
"Well, I can't pick just one, there's too many good ones!"
"Genres, then, give me some genres."
"I really like foreign films."
"Subtitles and everything?"
"I should have guessed. Those are so boring!"
"I think they're romantic."
"That can't be all you watch."
Amy flushed a little, and smiled. "Well, you know those really terrible summer blockbusters that always come out that always have a ton of explosions and fighting in them?"
Evee started laughing. "Tell me you don't-"
"I can't help it, they're super addicting! Transformers was so cool!" Amy said over Evee's giggles. "What, you don't have guilty pleasure movies?"
When the laughter subsided, Evee replied, "You have to promise not to tell anyone, it's embarrassing."
"I'm sure it can't be that bad."
Evee sighed. "I'm a total fantasy nut. Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Star Wars... You name it, I could probably quote it to you."
"Oh, that's not so bad, those are good movies!"
"Still, don't go advertising," Evee smiled. "Food?"
"Um, I don't know. I like Mexican a lot."
Evee blanched visibly. "Ugh, really?"
"What's wrong with Mexican?"
"You mean what's right with it," Evee replied. "No, no, no. Chinese take-out, that's where it's at. But I mean like, home-cooked. What was your favorite thing to eat at home? My mom makes these killer stuffed peppers. She seasons the meat herself, and cooks it all day in tomato juice in a crock pot, then when we'd both get home at night we'd eat it with Mexican rice and cheese. It was so good, dear God."
"I guess when I had time I liked making spaghetti and meatballs, but I'm not a very good cook. I don't know how to make a lot of things myself. There were a lot of 'cereal for dinner' nights in my house," Amy said.
"Well, what about family dinners?"
Amy shifted, and Evee sensed she had unwittingly made her uncomfortable. Sometimes, it was easy to forget that the two didn't really know much about each other's background, and that they had only really known each other for less than a week.
"My mom... I don't really..." Amy trailed off, hugging her arms, and then both girls were distracted by a sort of muffled grunting noise they could both only just faintly hear.
"Do you hear that?" Evee asked, climbing off of her bed. Amy nodded, following suit. Evee cracked the door to their bedroom, and stuck her head out in the hall, Amy listening at her back. "It's coming from upstairs," she said, looking back over her shoulder. Amy shrugged, and together they stepped out into the hall to follow the noises.
"This is where the teachers sleep, should we really be up here?" Amy whispered.
"Well, we're not the only ones," Evee said, pointing. The hem of a white night gown whipped around the corner up ahead. "Besides, the teachers sleep on the other side of the floor, these are the guest quarters, I think."
"That looked like Rogue, didn't it?" Amy said as the pair rounded the same corner. "That new girl?"
"Maybe," Evee replied. The paused at the beginning of the hall. It was dark, and there was no one to be seen. For a moment, the noises had quieted. They stood, listening. Then, they heard a yell and a scream.
"This way!" Evee said, and the two began sprinting down the hall.
"Help me..." somebody said from around the corner, "Somebody help!"
Amy and Evee slid to a stop outside of the only open door in the hallway and stood in shock, staring.
"Oh, my God," Amy said, covering her mouth.
It had been Rogue they had seen, and she was standing over the bed of the man who had appeared in their classroom that morning - Logan, Marie had said. His abilities, she thought, might have something to do with the three gaping, bloody holes that were slowly closing up on Rogue's back. She, meanwhile, seemed to be doing exactly what she had described to them earlier at lunch - absorbing the life force of the man before her, and somehow using it to heal herself.
There was a surge from behind them as other students from the school began to appear on the scene, pressing in to see what was happening. After a few moments that seemed to stretch on for eternity, Rogue pulled back her hand from Logan's face and he collapsed on the ground, spasming as though he were seizing. Her back, though, was smooth and unbroken. Then, the teachers arrived.
Scott and Jean rushed forward toward the man. "Scott, get a pillow," Jean said. Scott did as he was told, grabbing one from the bed and placing it beneath Logan's head. Meanwhile, Rogue turned to face Storm, her face a tangle of emotion.
"It was an accident," she said, clasping her hands together in front of her. Storm appeared speechless, and without waiting for a reply, Rogue brushed past her toward to door. Evee pulled Amy back with her as Rogue passed, keeping her eyes on the floor to avoid everyone else's gazes.
"Come on, let's go," Evee whispered to Amy as the crowd started to close again. Amy nodded, and together they slipped away, back downstairs to their room. Evee closed the door behind them with a thud, leaning against it.
"What the hell just happened?" she said after a moment, looking to Amy.
Amy had crawled back onto her bed, hugging her second pillow to her chest. "I don't know."
Suddenly, there was a soft knock on their door. Amy and Evee froze, staring at one another. Then, hesitantly, Evee turned, and opened the door a crack.
It was Bobby.
"Oh," Evee said, only opening the door a fraction further so Amy could see from the other side of the room. "It's just you."
"Yeah, I saw you guys upstairs, I just wanted to make sure you were alright," he said.
"We're fine," Evee said shortly. Amy nodded when Bobby's eyes cut to her.
"Oh... well, alright. You remember we have our team training session tomorrow morning?"
"Yep. 10 AM. Got it."
Bobby frowned a little, noticing Evee's tone. However, he chose to ignore it.
"I'll see you then, I guess."
Evee closed the door firmly.
"What was that about?" Amy asked, as Evee turned and dropped down onto her own bed.
"What was what?" she replied absently.
"Well, you weren't very nice to him, just then."
"I don't know what you're talking about."
Amy sighed, and reached over to turn off her bedside lamp. "Okay. Goodnight, then."
Chapter 14: Chapter Fourteen
When he opened his mouth, though, the rough reptilian voice that had so often haunted Amy's dreams lately didn't sound. Rather, it was the harsh, slurred voice of her father. "Useless," the monster spat at her. "Fucking useless!"
"Stop-" Amy tried to gasp, but it mostly sounded like thin wheezing.
"Waste of space. No one would miss you!"
Each phrase was accompanied with a tightening of fingers at her throat.
"Dad... please..." She couldn't breathe, she was going to die.
"Amy, wake up! Wake up!"
Amy's eyes snapped open with a gasp, and she suddenly dropped four feet onto her bed with a bounce. "What? What's happening?"
"You were dreaming. You did that," Evee said, pointing. Across the room, her lamp was in pieces.
"What?" She sat up, rubbing her face. She felt like she hadn't slept at all. "What time is it?"
Evee frowned. "It's 9:15, we've got that Danger Room session at 10, remember?"
"Right, right..." Amy ran a hand through her hair, and started getting out of bed. "Are you done in the bathroom?"
"Yeah..." Evee said, watching Amy shuffle across the room. She still seemed out of it. "Are you sure you're okay? We don't have to do the training session today, I'm sure the Professor would understand."
"No, no, I'm fine," Amy said, waving her arm. "I just need a shower to wake myself up."
45 minutes later, Evee and Amy were dressed in their workout clothes and stepping into the elevator. Amy still looked exhausted. Evee could sense the unrest emanating from her, but Amy seemed determined not to talk about it, so they rode the elevator down to the sub-basement in silence.
This time, they were the last to arrive. Four other students - Bobby, John, Jubilee, and a fourth Evee didn't recognize - stood waiting outside of the Danger Room doors with all four of the teachers.
"Are we late?" Amy asked.
"Just on time," Storm smiled. "Does everyone know each other?"
"I don't think we've met," the last boy said, looking at Evee. "Amy's sister, right?"
"Yeah, I'm Evee," she said, reaching forward to shake his hand.
"Dean," he said. As their hands touched, Evee felt all of the blood drain from her face, and sweat pop out under her hair. Gritting her teeth, she forced the oncoming vision to the back of her mind. What seemed like an eternity passed, but when she opened her eyes, it seemed like no one had noticed. Well, almost no one. Amy gave her a funny look, but Evee ignored her.
"Nice to meet you," Evee said, swallowing hard.
"Well, let's get started, shall we?" Storm said as the Danger Room doors opened. The six of them followed her inside.
Jubilee linked her arm through Evee's. "Did you hear about what happened last night, with Rogue?"
Evee nodded. "Amy and I saw it. Freaky." She gestured with her chin toward Storm. "Has she said anything about it?"
Jubilee shook her head. "No. I tried to ask, but they won't say anything about it."
Storm began the lesson before Evee could reply. "Our session today is going to focus on working as a team. We have some new members here," she said, glancing at Amy and Evee, "and it's imperative we get to know each other's strengths and weaknesses. If we can't trust each other here, if anything were happen out in the real world, we could all find ourselves in serious danger."
Around them, the blue fiber optics began to construct the landscape. When it was done, it was as thought it were dusk; the light had dimmed, and in the distance, there was a full moon slowing creeping up over the horizon. They were standing beside a ravine, with craggy cliffs and boulders in the distance. A few scrubby trees were the only other living things in sight.
Already feeling a little queasy, Amy felt even more drained by the lack of sunlight. She was beginning to suspect her powers might be affected by the time of day, and the lack of sunlight wasn't making her feel very confident or very strong. Maybe she should have skipped today's session, and tried to get some more sleep. A headache was started to push against her temples.
"Today, your goal is to protect one another," Storm went on. "How you choose to do that is up to you. There are six of you, and together, you have to get to the other side of this ravine." In the distance, Amy could just make out a red marker, indicating the finish line. "This is not a race. You are not being timed. Each of you has a special set of skills you're working to control; use these skills to try to get as many of your teammates across the ravine as possible. Once you're hit, though, you're out; no getting back up, no crossing the finish line."
"Hit by what?" Dean asked.
Storm only smiled in reply. She floated into the air, and spread her arms wide. "I'll be here, but only to observe. I'd suggest you take some cover." The students looked at each other warily, but before anyone could say anything, there was a crack of lightning overhead. "Begin!"
Amy didn't know exactly what she was supposed to do, but Bobby, John, and Jubilee, who undoubtedly had more experience in Danger Room simulations, took charge, herding them toward an outcropping of large rocks.
"Get down, get behind there," Bobby said, crouching low.
"Why don't we just make a break for it?" Evee asked. "The coast is clear, let's just book it."
"You're new here," John said, "It's never that easy." He took a Zippo lighter from his pocket, and a ball of fire pooled in his palm. "Watch." He suddenly projected a stream of fire into the air, angling it around the cliff face they were hiding against. Suddenly a machine, about the size of a soccer ball, zoomed out of nowhere, hovering in the air. Spinning on it's axis, Amy saw it had barrels not unlike the little spheres she and Evee had fought in the Danger Room during their first session, except this machine shot paintballs instead of tiny lasers, splattering the cliff with lime green paint.
"Drones. Should have guessed," Dean said.
"It's always drones," Bobby agreed.
"Get down!" Jubilee suddenly shouted, pushing Amy's head down. She heard the distinctive splattering of paint against stone, and was suddenly behind pulled to her feet.
"Come on, run!" Bobby yelled, pulling on her arm. Stumbling into a run, Amy hazarded a glance behind her. She saw Dean, but Evee, Jubilee, and Dean were nowhere to be found.
"They'll be fine, we'll find them. Just keep your head low, and power up!" Dean said.
Frowning in concentration, Amy tried to connect to her powers. A small orb, not particularly bright, flickered to life in her hand. Her head pulsed again in pain, and she gritted her teeth. A drone zoomed up suddenly in front of them, and she instinctually threw up her arm. The orb only grazed the side of the drone, but it was enough to send it careening to the ground. Pain throbbed in her head.
"Don't stop, keep moving!" Dean shouted. Together, the three of them rounded a rock formation, and skidded to a stop. They had lost track of the finishing point in the melee. The ground sloped down before them into the ravine itself, or, in the other direction, there were more cliffs in the distance. There was nothing to indicate where the others might be. Amy had no idea what direction they were supposed to go in, and Bobby and Dean couldn't seem to agree.
"I think it's that way," Bobby said, pointing to the right.
"There's no cover that way, we should go down into the ravine-"
"It goes in the opposite direction, and besides, what if there's no way out once we're down there?"
"We're mutants, it's not like we can't figure something out," Dean retorted.
Amy put a hand to her head. "Guys, I-"
A drone had appeared out of nowhere behind them. Dean seized Amy's arm and tried to yank her to the side, but she didn't react fast enough. There was a pain in her stomach as she was struck by a paintball, and between that and Dean she lost her balance, her foot slipping off of the edge of the hill. She dropped backwards, her head striking the ground before she rolled the rest of the way down into the ravine, landing with a thud on her back. Dazed, she lay there for a moment, blinking at the moon overhead, trying to clear her head.
"Amy! Amy, can you hear me?"
Bobby's blue eyes appeared over her, his brow creased in concern. "Can you hear me?"
"What? Yeah, yeah..."
Bobby and Dean each took one of her arms, and pulled her up off of the ground. Amy put a hand to the back of her head, blinking and trying to clear away the fuzziness that still encroached on her vision. Her head throbbed painfully.
"I can help-"
"No!" Amy jerked away from Dean, but the sudden movement was so painful it brought tears to her eyes. "No, I'm fine, just give me a minute-"
"I said I'm fine!" Amy yelled, shoving away the person who had touched her shoulder.
She opened her eyes, and saw Evee, who was ten feet away and sprawled on her back, Storm quickly dropping out of the sky to attend to her.
"Evee!" Bobby shouted, glancing over his shoulder at Amy before sprinting to her side. Everyone else stared open-mouthed at Amy, their bodies rigid.
"What... What did I..." She could see Evee's red sweatshirt was tattered and singed, and, as Storm pulled it away, angry red marks on the skin of Evee's stomach.
The fiber optics began to fall away, and the silver dome of the Danger Room appeared again. "I didn't mean... It was an accident..."
"You didn't do it on purpose, Amy," John said quickly, moving closer to her.
"Don't!" she shouted, swatting his arm away. Heart pounding in her chest, Amy turned and began running toward the doors.
"Amy, come back!" Jubilee shouted, but Amy didn't listen. She threw her arms out in front of her, and telepathically wrenched the Danger Room doors open, disappearing around the corner in the hall.
So that's what that actually feels like, Evee found herself thinking in a disconnected state, her back spasming from the pain that burned in her stomach, Jesus fuck, that hurts.
"Evee!" she heard Bobby say, but Storm's bright hair and concerned eyes filled her vision.
"Evee, are you alright?" she heard her say, her voice trembling. Evee couldn't string together the words to say that no, no, she definitely wasn't alright. She was pretty sure her guts were falling out. Darkness starting fizzing into her vision, a fine mist that threatened to send her into unconsciousness.
Suddenly, a thin, cold feeling washed over her, as though she had been dropped into oily, polluted water. All of the hair on her body started to stand on end, and she felt like she wanted to vomit.
Just when she felt like she couldn't bear it anymore without losing her dinner from the night before, the chilly feeling left her skin, and heat rushed back into her face so fast her head spun. But, after closing her eyes for a moment, Evee also realized the immense pain in her stomach had faded to a mere shadow of what it had been.
Grunting from the effort - she suddenly felt exhausted - she propped herself up on her elbows. The midriff of her sweatshirt and most of the tank top that been under it had been burned away by Amy, and her stomach was exposed. But where moments before there must have been a terrible wound, was only some slightly reddened skin. Bobby, Storm, and Dean knelt over her.
Evee looked to Dean. "Did you do this?"
His face seemed perpetually hardened, but he nodded. "Yeah."
Evee shivered. "It felt gross."
Dean's eyes narrowed, and he stood. "You're welcome," he said, waving his hand and starting toward the door. "Maybe next time your sister tries to melt your insides, I won't be around," he said casually as he left.
Evee's eyes widened, and she sat up suddenly. "Amy. Where's Amy?"
"She took off," John said, pointing to the demolished Danger Room entrance. "She did that on her way out."
"I have to go," Evee said, starting to stand.
"No, Bobby," she said, cutting him off. Storm, however, barred any further movement with her arm.
"You're not going anywhere until Jean can properly look that over," she said.
"I'm fine, look-"
"That's an order."
Evee scowled at her, but finally dropped her shoulders in acquiescence. "Fine."
Storm nodded. "This kind of thing happens all the time. It's probably best to give her some space now, anyway."
Evee didn't know how comforting that was supposed to be, but she hoped she was right.
Chapter 15: Chapter Fifteen
This is probably the shortest chapter we've ever posted, so sorry about that in advance! This chapter is mainly driven by dialogue. The next one will be much longer, promise!
"You need a CT scan so we know there is no internal damage," Jean said patiently, calibrating the machine. Evee wriggled uncomfortably on the slab, waiting to be pulled into the tube.
"What about Amy, has anyone found her?"
Jean and Storm shared a look, but they didn't say anything. The Professor wheeled himself forward. "We will find her and talk to her together, Evee, as soon as we're sure you're alright."
"This is a waste of time, I'm fine," Evee grumbled. "That Dean guy really did a number on me."
The Professor chuckled to himself. "Yes, it can be... unsettling, I've heard."
"That's putting it mildly." Evee twisted her neck to look at Bobby, John, and Jubilee standing in the corner. "Bobby," she said, beckoning him over.
"Could you go to our room and see if Amy's there? Please?"
He smiled comfortingly. "Sure, sure, I'll go see if she's alright."
"I'll go with," John chimed in.
"Thanks, guys. Let me know?"
"Sure thing," Bobby said.
Evee looked to Jubilee. "You know, you don't have to stay."
Jubilee crossed her arms and snorted. "Yeah, like you're going to get rid of me that easily."
Amy slammed her bedroom door closed behind her, throwing her back up against it, panting frantically. She ran across the room to her closet, wrenched the door open, and seized upon her floral canvas bag. She opened it on the bed, and started recklessly yanking clothes off of hangers and tossing them in the bag. She grabbed the last pair of jeans in the closet and shimmied into them, pulling an oversized sweater over her top.
She had to run, she realized. She had hurt not only another student, but her sister at that! She knew she shouldn't have stayed, she didn't belong here.
She pulled open some dresser drawers, packing underwear, tank tops, and socks. Lastly, she tossed her jewelry box and her perfume into the top of the bag. She closed the zipper, and just then, there was a knock on the door.
"Amy?" she heard Bobby call through the door. "Are you there?"
Heart palpitating her chest, Amy kneeled across her bed, and pushed open the window.
"Amy, are you there? Are you alright?" John was with him.
She found a piece of paper and a pen in her nightstand, and quickly scrawled on it. Dropping the note on the mattress, she grabbed the handles of her bag, and squeezing her eyes shut, propelled herself out of the window, trying to remember everything Storm had tried to teach her.
She didn't belong anywhere.
Evee was issued a clean bill of health nearly an hour later, and the first stop she made was to her bedroom. Bobby and John hadn't checked back in, so she wasn't at all prepared for what she found. It looked as though a tornado had blown through the room. The closet had been left open, hangers were askew, dresser drawers were pulled out, and the window was wide open, delicate lace curtains blowing gently in the breeze.
"What the hell?" Evee muttered in bewilderment, her mouth hanging open.
Everything was in such a state of disarray Evee almost missed the torn piece of notebook paper on the ground - it must have blown off of whatever surface it had been left on. One word was scribbled hastily across it: Sorry, in Amy's pink pen.
Anger swelled up in Evee so suddenly, it surprised even her. She crumpled up the note and hurled it across the room, but blackness enveloped it and shredded it into confetti before it could even hit the wall. The window and the closet slammed shut, and a large crack spidered across the mirror above the dresser.
How dare she? Evee thought furiously, slamming the bedroom door shut. After everything I've done for her! For her to just take off without any warning, just who the fuck did she think she was?
She was so angry, she couldn't stand still; she paced through the room furiously, growing angrier and angrier by the minute.
I risked everything to find her, Evee thought. I gave up my home, my mother, my safety, all to find her. She had even stopped herself from actively flirting and pursuing Bobby, all in the name of sisterly bonding and trying to create a safe space for Amy's recovery.
Fuck her, Evee finally decided, dropping down on her bed. If she wants to just bail, fuck her. I've done enough.
Amy had walked half a mile from the mansion when she saw movement ahead. A girl, it looked like, in a dark green jacket with the hood pulled up. When she glanced over her shoulder, Amy almost bolted - Rogue. But the other girl paused, as if waiting for her, and hesitantly, Amy approached her.
"What are you doing here?" Rogue asked her, when they were in within earshot.
"Leaving," Amy replied. "I... I messed up."
Both girls looked hesitantly to one another.
"Where are you headed?" Rogue finally asked.
"Train station. Or maybe the bus. Just... anywhere but here."
"Me too," Rogue replied. She hesitated. "Maybe we could go together? It's safer that way. At least, as far as the train."
Amy bit her lip, but saw the sense in the suggestion. "Yeah, okay."
Chapter 16: Chapter Sixteen
Her stomach rumbled with hunger, and she swung her legs off of the bed. She had missed lunch, so she'd just have to help herself to a snack in the kitchen. Pausing, she turned and firmly closed her bedroom door behind her, not wanting anyone to see the trashed and empty room until she had a chance to clean up a little.
She climbed down to the first floor quickly, and headed for the kitchen. Rounding a corner, she nearly ran into Bobby, his shoulder clipping hers roughly.
"Hey!" Evee exclaimed, turning. "Bobby?" He kept walking, but glanced over his shoulder at her. His face was nearly unrecognizable, hard, jaw set, eyebrows drawn. Without saying anything, he turned back, and rounded the corner she had just come from.
Turning back, Evee moved into the kitchen at a much slower pace, her stomach slowly clenching. She opened the fridge, and stood there, staring inside, her appetite gone.
"Damn it," she muttered, pushing the refrigerator door closed and turning on her heel.
The Professor wasn't in his office, or his classroom. She finally found him pouring over X-rays in the infirmary downstairs with Jean and Scott.
"Professor, I have to talk to you," she said. As the infirmary doors began to slide closed behind her, they opened again, and this time the strange man from yesterday, Logan, came through, followed by Storm.
"Where is she?" he demanded, his eyes cutting right to Professor Xavier.
"What's going on here?" Scott asked, raising his arms.
"It's the girls. Amy, and Rogue," the Professor said, looking pensive. "They're gone."
At this point, Evee wasn't sure why she was surprised. Of course the Professor knew. He seemed to know everything. She wasn't sure how she felt about that.
Suddenly, he looked up at her. "Follow me," he said with a comforting smile.
The Professor wheeled past them out into the hall, and everyone followed him. Around a corner, he rolled to a stop a few feet from a door that didn't look like any others Evee had seen in the sub-basement - it looked more like a vault than anything else.
A thin blue light beamed out from the door, and scanned the Professor's face. The metal panels spun against one another, and a cool, metallic voice suddenly said, "Welcome, Professor," as the door in front of them opened.
"Welcome to Cerebro," the Professor said, rolling inside. Evee and the others followed. The room was entirely circular, with only a long, narrow platform leading into the center. At the center, a silver tabletop was bolted to the platform, a helmet placed on top with long, curling wires attaching the helmet to the monitors on the desktop.
"This certainly is a big, round room," Logan said.
"The brainwaves of mutants are different from average human beings. This device amplifies my power, allowing me to locate mutants across great distances. That's how I intend to find the girls."
"Why don't you just use it to find Magneto?" the man asked.
"What's a Magneto?" Evee cut in. She was promptly ignored.
"I've been trying. But he seems to have found some way to shield himself from it," the Professor replied.
"How would he know how to do that?"
The Professor paused. "Because," he finally said, "he helped me build it." The Professor lifted the helmet from the tabletop, and began putting it over his head. "Now, if you'll excuse me."
Jean put a hand on Evee's shoulder, and nodded toward the doors. Reluctantly, Evee followed the group out, and the doors to Cerebro closed behind them.
"Have you ever..." Logan asked Jean gesturing toward Cerebro's doors.
"Used Cerebro?" she asked.
"No," she said, shaking her head. "It takes a degree of control, and for someone like me, it's... uh..."
"Dangerous," Scott finished.
"Will someone please tell me what's going on here? Who's Mangeto? Who even are you?" Evee demanded, rounding on the man who had spoken before.
He tilted his head, turning to look at her. "Aren't you a little young to be an X-Man?" he asked, arching an eyebrow.
"I'm not," Evee said hotly, "My sister and I live here, and she's missing too."
"Alright, everyone, let's take a breath," Jean said, coming between them.
"Magneto is a mutant," Storm said, "a very powerful one. Some of his... associates attacked Logan and Rogue, before they arrived here."
"So they're after you two. What about Amy? It can't be a coincidence that they disappeared at the same time!"
"I'm sure they're safe, Evee," Jean said. "The last day has been rough on both of them, they're just scared. I'm sure nothing is going to happen."
"Yeah, right. Just like you were all so sure we were ready for a group training session. And how did that turn out?" Evee said acidly.
The Cerebro doors opened, revealing the Professor. "They're at the train station. They're together."
"Where is it?" Evee and Logan asked at the same time.
"A few miles west of here," the Professor answered. Logan started to turn away, but the Professor stopped him. "Logan, you can't leave the mansion. It's just the opportunity Magneto needs."
"Listen, I'm the reason she took off," he replied.
"We had a deal," the Professor replied.
"Yeah, well, you and I never made that deal," Evee said, turning on her heel and starting up the hall.
"They're alright," Storm cut it. "They're just upset."
"Storm, Cyclops, find them. See if you can talk to them." The Professor sighed, and nodded toward Evee as she strode up the hallway. "And keep an eye on her."
"What, the kid can go?" Logan asked, as Storm and Scott started following Evee.
"For someone who insisted on coming along, you're awfully quiet," Scott observed. Storm used the rearview mirror to look into the backseat at Evee.
Evee frowned, looking further out of the window from the backseat of the Mazda. "I just want to get there, that's all."
They didn't reply, but their expectant silence was heavy.
"I knew she was gone more than four hours ago." She could see Scott and Storm share a look. "I knew she was gone, and it made me angry. I felt like she had abandoned me, after everything I had done to try and protect her. And now if anything happens to her, it's my fault."
"It's not, Evee. We're all human. And nothing is going to happen to Amy or Rogue," Storm said,
"Evee." She looked up, and met Scott's eyes in the rearview mirror. "We'll bring her home."
Chapter 17: Chapter Seventeen
We are slowly accumulating kudos - thank you all so much!
"Hey, kid." The voice, so sudden and so close, startled Amy. Turning her head, she was even more startled to see the Logan standing at the edge of their seats. He met her eyes, and recognition lighted his eyes. He inclined his head slightly. "Half pint." He stepped between their seats, and sat down beside Rogue. He looked at her, and sighed. "I'm sorry about last night."
For moment, Amy had almost completely forgotten about the stabbing she had seen the night before.
"Me too," Rogue replied, jarring Amy from her thoughts.
He glanced at Amy, and then looked back at Rogue. "So, you two running?"
Rogue looked away from him. "I heard the Professor was mad at me."
"Well, who told you that?"
"A boy at school."
Logan looked to Amy, waiting for her explanation.
Amy rested her head back against the seat. "I was in a training session this morning."
"I lost control and almost burned my sister from the inside out."
He arched an eyebrow. "Ah. That might explain a few things."
Amy frowned. "Why are you here?"
Logan glanced at Rogue, and she looked up at him. "You want us to go back," she said in realization.
"No," Logan said, "I think you should follow your instincts."
Rogue was on the verge of tears. "The first boy I ever kissed ended up in a coma for three weeks. I can still feel him, inside my head. And it's the same with you." Tears began to slip down her face, and Rogue struggled to rein them in. Hesitantly, Logan jerkily put his arm around her in an attempt to comfort her. Rogue dropped her head onto his shoulder, and Amy, uncomfortable, pulled her knees up to her chest and hugged them to her.
When Logan spoke, he looked directly at Amy. "There's not many people who will understand what you're going through," he said, "but I think this guy Xavier is one of them. He seems to genuinely want to help you. And that's a rare thing, for people like us."
Bells started to ring outside of the train, and with a sudden jerk, it slowly began to move forward, out of the station. Startled, Rogue sat up straight again.
"Okay, so what do you say? Give these geeks one more shot?" Logan asked.
Rogue and Amy looked to each other, hesitant. Logan nudged Rogue's arm. "Come on, I'll take care of you," he said with a small smile. He looked at Amy. "The both of you."
"Promise?" Rogue asked.
"Yeah," he said. "Yeah, I promise."
Amy and Rogue looked back at each other. "What do you think?" Rogue asked her.
Before Amy could answer, the train jerked to rough and sudden stop, screeching along the tracks. Several people screamed, knocked from their seats, and the lights overhead flickered before going out completely. Logan stood up in the aisle, looking around. Rogue reached for Amy's hand and pulled her forward into the seat beside hers.
Suddenly, there was a horrible shrieking, grating sound. Looking up over the back of her seat, Amy saw the back of the train began to tear itself apart before her disbelieving eyes, metal twisting and curling and groaning. Sparks rained down on the passengers near the back of the train, and even more people began screaming, diving out of their seats and scrambling over one another to get away. The back of the car began to split in two, each side being peeled back from the center until there was a large gaping hole. Through the smoke from the torn electrical wires, the figure of a man appeared, floating through the air, until he touched down inside the train. He wore dark clothes from head to toe, except for a crimson red cape fastened around his shoulders and a burnished red helmet over his head.
"Who is that?" Amy asked frantically, squeezing Rogue's hand.
"Magneto..." Logan muttered. He jerked his head to look at them. "Stay down, you two, stay down!" Looking back at the man who had just appeared, Logan tensed his arms, and suddenly three long, sharp metal claws extended from the knuckles of both of his hands. It seemed he could do more than just heal himself, Amy realized.
"You must be Wolverine," the older man - Magneto - said. He smiled, but it did not reach his eyes. Logan took a step forward, but Magneto raised his arm, and Logan froze in place. "That remarkable metal doesn't run through your entire body, does it?"
Metal, Amy realized, He's a mutant who controls metal!
Magneto suddenly raised his hand, and Logan's arms jerked up and out to his sides. Slowly, Magneto began to spread his fingers apart, and Amy could see the claws from Logan's hands slowly begin to spread further and further apart. Logan grunted in pain, and sweat began to bead on his forehead. The further Magneto spread his fingers, the further Logan's claws spread apart, and slowly, his body even lifted into the air.
Rogue began to sob. "Stop it, you're hurting him!" Amy yelled. "Stop it!"
Magneto's eyes darted from Logan to hers, and her frowned. "Hm. I wasn't expecting a third of Xavier's little pets."
"What... the hell... do you want... with me?" Logan said through gritted teeth.
Magneto smiled again. "You?" he chuckled. "My dear boy, whoever said I wanted you?"
Amy and Logan followed Magneto's eyes to Rogue, who whimpered and pushed herself back against her seat, terror etched across every feature.
Magneto pointed one finger, and suddenly Logan's entire body zoomed through the car, people ducking in their seats to avoid his claws. At the end, his head collided with the doorway to the next car, and he collapsed in a crumpled heap on the floor.
"Rogue, run!" Amy screamed, yanking on Rogue's arm. Rogue nearly tripped over Amy trying to get to the aisle, and Amy stood, blocking her from Magneto.
Magneto sighed. "Must we do this?"
Amy struggled to stay calm enough to connect to her power. A sphere illuminated in her hand, and she shot it at Magneto. He lazily raised his hand, and a panel from the back of the train flew in front of his body, deflecting Amy's attack into a nearby window, shattering it. With a flick of Magneto's wrist, the same panel rocketed forward. She couldn't react fast enough, though, and the panel slammed into her, knocking her over. Her solidly head connected with one of the train seat's armrests, and Amy dropped to the ground, unconscious.
When they finally arrived at the train station, Evee practically jumped out her seat, immediately heading toward the entrance. Once inside, they did a quick scan of the lobby, to no avail. They're probably long gone by now, Evee thought sullenly. She still couldn't believe that Amy had left her, after all they had been through, but she couldn't stay mad at her right now. She just had to find her.
"We should split up," Scott said.
Storm nodded. "You two look around. I'll check with the ticket agent."
Evee turned to leave the group. She figured she could check the bathrooms, since Amy and Rogue obviously weren't in the lobby.
"Let's check the train schedule," Scott said, turning to Evee. His tone said, Don't even think about it.
Evee sighed. I guess if we checked the train times, we could maybe get an idea of where they could be headed. She followed Scott to the digital train schedule mounted at the center of the lobby. There were numerous cities listed, and Evee had no way of knowing which one the two would have chosen. She thought about what she knew about Amy and running away, thinking back to Seattle. She probably wouldn't have thought much about the destination, just how to get out of there as fast as possible.
Glancing up at Scott, Evee had noticed that he was no longer wearing normal sunglasses, but instead wore some sort of special goggles that Evee assumed allowed him to use his power. She thought back to the sewers, remembering the flash of red light. Scott and Storm came prepared for a fight, Evee scoffed. What happened to, Amy will be fine, don't worry?
Suddenly, Evee heard a roar. She and Scott turned to see an oversized man confronting Storm at the ticket counter, looking more beast than man.
"What the hell is that?" Evee asked. Scott didn't respond, but obviously recognized the attacker, as he quickly started towards Ororo, pushing through the crowd that was fleeing from the scene. Evee went to follow him, but was stopped. Out of nowhere, something long, green, and slimy shot out toward Scott, knocking the goggles off of his face. Immediately, a large blast of burning red light shot out from Scott's eyes. Evee threw her arms up as the light erupted through the glass ceiling, leaving a vast, jagged hole. Scott threw his hands up to his face, and the civilians who hadn't been aware of the confrontation were now stampeding toward the exits, glass and debris falling around them.
Evee stood back up, spun around, and looked up to see a strange green man crouched high up on the wall. Another mutant. She clenched her fists, immediately beginning to call up on her power. If it was a fight they wanted, it was a fight they would get.
The sound of thunder echoed through the train station, several flashes of lightning lighting up the sky. Evee focused on a chunk of fallen debris, the darkness beginning to envelope it. A moment later, it flew off the ground, flying toward the strange mutant. He leaped to another wall, the debris smashing against the wall where he had been perched moments before.
Two more broken pieces of cement shot towards the mutant. The first one swung wide, but the second one was true to the target, until the mutant shot out a long green tongue, the movement sharp and concise, breaking the debris in half. What the hell?!
Evee focused her concentration, feeling the power begin to course through her veins. She briefly wondered if this mutant was after Rogue and Amy. "Not my sister, you freak," she muttered to herself, using the darkness to lift three more chunks of concrete, flinging them toward the hopping target. There's no way he would be able to escape all of them.
A bright white light, followed by a large, electric clap, filled the room, momentarily blinding Evee. She lost her focus, stepping backwards and tripping over a piece of the fallen ceiling. The large, gruff mutant flew across the room and Evee fell back with a grunt. The amphibious man dropped from the ceiling, hopping after his partner.
Evee pulled herself up, groaning, rubbing the back of her head. She glanced back at Scott and Storm. Scott was sightlessly searching for his goggles, and Storm was regaining her breath. Without a second thought, she began to run after the two mutants. They had left in a hurry, which meant they know exactly where to find what they were looking for. And if they were looking for Rogue, that meant they would find Amy. The last thing Amy needed was to be attacked by more freaky mutants.
Or to blow up the train station.
She climbed through the hole the large mutant made when he had crash landed, working to drawing on her power once more. She didn't know what she would do when she caught up with them, but she knew she had to find Amy. Maybe if they worked together, one of them would be able to control their powers enough to take them down.
It didn't take long for Evee to catch up. The larger one left a trail of destruction in his wake.
"Hey, Sasquatch!" Evee called as she caught up. The two mutants stopped. Evee heard the large one growl. She grounded her stance and clenched her fists as the two mutants turned around. The little green one looked amused. "You gonna let her talk to you like that, mate?"
Evee clenched her jaw and narrowed her eyes. She pushed away her fear and focused instead on her anger. The green one made the first move, shooting a mucousy glob out of his mouth. Evee crossed her arms in front of her, closing her eyes, pushing the darkness away, dissolving the glob. There wasn't much debris here, but Evee used what she could. She used the darkness to lift the smaller chunks, flinging them out toward the mutants. The smaller one was too quick; he flipped over Evee, landing behind her. Evee spun to face him, but she wasn't quick enough. He snapped his tongue at her, smacking her in the face. She stumbled back – right into the arms of the second mutant. Evee gasped as he picked her up by the neck with one hand. She pried at his fingertips, kicking her legs to no avail. The mutant growled at her before throwing her forcefully to the side.
Evee slammed into the wall with yelp, unleashing a small blast of darkness. She slid several feet down before hitting the ground with a thud. Pain washed over her as her vision blurred, and she watched the other mutants disappear as she struggled to remain conscious.
Chapter 18: Chapter Eighteen
On top of slowly racking up kudos, we got our first comment! Thanks so much to blackspooksville for taking the time to write us a little note. It really does mean a lot to us!
Scott sighed and press his lips together. "You shouldn't have gone after those mutants yourself," he said.
"You can scold me and my headache later," Evee replied. "Did you find Amy?"
Scott nodded. "We have Amy."
Evee felt a rush of relief.
"But they took Rogue."
Slightly less relief.
"What were you thinking, Evee? You could have been seriously injured," Jean scolded.
"Or worse. You could have been killed," Scott continued, standing at the back of the room with his arms crossed.
"Sometimes you have to do whatever it takes to protect those you care about," Evee said quietly, mostly to herself. She sat on a cold, metal table in the mansion's infirmary, trying not to wince as Jean treated her wounds.
"Well, it's nothing serious, just a bump on the head, and your burns from earlier have been irritated. You'll be sore, but fine." Jean said. Her tone softened, and she put a comforting hand on Evee's arm. "Try to take it easy for a few days."
"So no flying acrobatics?" Evee asked.
Jean smirked. "No, no acrobatics just now."
Evee hopped off the table and walked past Jean to her sister. Amy was still unconscious. Jean said she might be out for a couple of hours, and that she had had a rough night on the train. Evee clenched her fist. She couldn't believe she had allowed this to happen to her sister. If she had just gone to the Professor right away, none of this would have happened. Magneto and his gang never would have caught up with Amy and Rogue. It was all her fault.
Suddenly the doors opened, startled Evee out of her thoughts. Storm and Logan stormed in, dragging with them a half-conscious man. Evee looked at him quizzically. He looked familiar.
"Senator Kelly? What happened?" Jean helped lift him onto the table Evee was just on. The man sputtered before his eyes rolled back. Jean immediately began giving orders and the room was a flurry of activity.
"Scott, Logan, roll Amy to a separate room, I need the area clear."
"Evee, I'm sorry, but you need to leave right now. Amy will be fine, she's in excellent hands." Before Evee could protest, Scott ushered her out the door. The doors closed, leaving Evee alone in the hallway.
There were flashes. Amy saw the ocean, a tiny raft out in the distance, a man in the water. It went dark, and then another image, the same man, his face impossibly squeezing22 through iron bars. The man, sitting in a chair along a concrete path, illuminated by bright light.
Amy thought she recognized him. It look like the Congressman that had been on TV the last few weeks, calling for mutant registration. But that couldn't be right.
Everything went dark, and then Amy found herself standing on the same concrete walkway she had seen a moment ago. This time, though, the man who sat before her was different. Amy recognized him as he stood.
"Professor?" she whispered, her hands shaking. She seemed to have startled him. He turned, and stared at her. "Professor, where are we?" she asked, taking a step closer.
The Professor smiled at her, and extended his arm. "There's no need to be frightened, my dear. Come here." Amy walked toward him, and took his outstretched hand. "Watch," he said, turning his face forward.
Amy glanced behind her, and the chair the Professor had been sitting in was no longer empty. The man from before - she had been right, the Senator - was seated in it again, but his eyes were transfixed on a point far above their heads. Amy followed his gaze, and started, shrinking into the Professor.
"It's alright, Amy. They can't see you. You're safe," he said, patting her hair.
Before them stood a tall stone column, reinforced with shiny steel. A series of slowing, spinning rings was mounted on top, and on a pedestal inside knelt the man who had attacked the train - Magneto.
The pedestal began to lower itself, and Amy realized Magneto wasn't just kneeling on it - it rather seemed as though he didn't have the strength to stand. As the pedestal reached the ground, another person, obviously a mutant, what with her blue, scaly skin, approached Magneto, and helped him to his feet. He looked terribly weak. The woman practically had to carry him back down the walkway toward the building behind him. Neither he nor the woman looked at Amy or the Professor as they walked past, but Magneto paused beside the Senator's chair. He placed his hand on the Senator's shoulder.
"Welcome to the future... brother," he said. Then the blue woman helped Magneto inside the building.
"Time to go, Amy," the Professor said.
"Go where?" she asked, looking up at him.
He smiled. "Home, of course."
Everything went dark.
Amy woke up cold and alone, covered in a sheet on an examination table and clad only in her bra and underwear. There were three sensors stuck her chest, and she hastily pulled them off and sat up, wrapping the sheet around her.
"Hello?" she called. It looked like the infirmary of the mansion, except smaller, like an observation room. She put a hand to her head, struggling to think. The last thing she remembered was... the train. Logan, Rogue.
Her bag was on the next counter, and she quickly opened it, found a pair of denim cutoffs and a loose shirt, and tugged them on.
"Hello?" she called again.
Dimly, she heard a voice from the next room. "Is somebody there?"
Amy reached for the doorknob, and pulled the door open, stepping out into the larger infirmary she recognized from her first moments at the mansion. Across the room, there was a man laid out on another examination table, similarly covered and attached to sensors.
"Hello?" he called again.
"I-I'm here," Amy said hesitantly, stepping toward him. When she reached his bedside, she instantly recognized the man as the Senator she had seen on TV in the weeks past, the one constantly advocating against mutants, but for some reason, she wasn't at all surprised to see him.
He suddenly seized her hand, causing her to jump. "Please, don't leave me," he said, his breathing labored, "Don't... want to be alone."
The Senator looked terrible. His entire body was covered in a sheen of sweat, so much so his thin blonde hair was plastered to his head. Every vein on his body seemed to be straining, blue and thick, against his skin. Liquid was even collecting underneath his body, and dripping over the sides of the table onto the floor.
"Amy," a quiet voice said from behind. Amy looked over her shoulder, and saw Storm.
"Shh, shh, it's okay," she said. She looked down at the Senator. "Senator Kelly, please, let go-"
He tightened his grip on Amy's hand. "Do you... hate...normal people?"
"Storm-" Amy said anxiously, trying to tug her hand away, but Storm put her hand on Amy's shoulder, and answered.
"Sometimes," she said.
"Why?" he asked.
"I suppose... I'm afraid of them."
The Senator let out a little laugh, and looked away from them, up at the ceiling. "Well, I think you've got one less... person to-to... be afraid of."
"Storm!" Amy said, louder again.
"Okay, Amy, let go now-"
The Senator's body suddenly seized up, and he began to make gurgling noises as he gasped for air. His body suddenly began to expand, as though too much liquid were contained within it.
"Storm!" Amy screamed, now tugging hard on her hand, trying to break free of the Senator's grip. Suddenly, the Senator's hand seemed to burst, not unlike a water balloon, and Amy screamed again.
"Get back!" Storm shouted, putting her arm in front of Amy's chest and shoving her backwards. Seconds later, the Senator's body lost all color and became translucent, featureless, before dissolving completely as waves of water rolled off of the table and onto the floor.
Amy felt like she was going to be sick and faint, all at once. Storm held her up as she sobbed, holding her head to her chest and stroking her hair. "It's okay, baby, it's okay," she whispered. "Come on, let's go upstairs, come on, baby."
Chapter 19: Chapter Nineteen
Some nice fluff. Enjoy!
Someone knocked on her door. Amy lifted her head to look at it, and debated about whether or not to answer. Whoever it was knocked again, and she sighed.
"It's open," she called without moving.
The door opened partway, and surprisingly, it was John who poked his head into the room. "You're back," he said.
Amy scooted forward to the edge of her bed. "Whoever said I was gone?" she asked.
John smiled, and opened the door all the way, stepping into the room and leaning against the door frame. "Literally the entire school. You should have seen the way the teachers rushed out of here when they realized."
"Oh." She brought her feet up to rest on the bed frame, and wrapped her arms around her knees.
John seemed to sense he had said something wrong, and he quickly ran a hand through his hair. "Look, sorry. I just... I just meant that everyone was worried, you know?"
"I didn't mean to worry anyone," Amy said, resting her chin on her arms. "I just felt like I couldn't be here, after what happened. And then with what happened on the train..." She sighed. "I just can't seem to get the hang of this mutant thing. Or anything, really."
John straightened up. "Come on," he said.
Amy looked at him. "Come on where?"
He smiled. "Just come on. Trust me. And grab a blanket."
Evee wandered the halls of the mansion aimlessly, replaying the events from the night in her head. There were so many emotions running through her: anger, confusion, fear. Just a few weeks ago, she was a normal high school girl, waiting tables in the city. Well, at least, she was a high school girl waiting tables. Did things like this happen often in the mutant world? Ever since her manifestation, Evee found herself becoming more and more aware of mutants around her. It seemed like they were everywhere. Evee always thought that perhaps they were just misunderstood… but tonight, she saw first hand that some of them really are the monsters the media portrayed them as.
And now they had taken Rogue. They actually kidnapped another mutant. Why? Hell if I know, Evee thought to herself. She had wanted to join in on the mission to get her back and stop whatever catastrophe this Magneto was planning at the world summit. But after tonight's debacle, there was no chance Evee would be amongst the rescuers. She had lost control and had her ass handed to her. She wasn't strong enough.
Evee found herself in the basement, headed toward the gym. She figured that the best way to blow off some steam would be to work up a sweat and hit something - hard.
The room was empty, thankfully. Evee decided to warm up with the treadmill. There was a track outside that she would have usually preferred to run on, but all of the students were supposed to stay inside, and she thought it was in her best interest to behave. Evee stepped up onto the treadmill and pulled her iPod out from her pocket, glad that she had thought to bring it with her. She slid on the earbuds, put the iPod on shuffle, and choose a random 30 minute workout programmed into the treadmill, allowing her thoughts to wander.
She thought back on the day. Everything had seemed so normal - at least, the most normal day she had had at the mansion so far. Evee didn't even care that she had gotten hurt. She knew that Amy would never have intentionally hurt her.
Or so I thought, Evee thought to herself sullenly. She wasn't even mad that Amy had left, she just couldn't believe she had done it without her. All she had gotten was a trashed room and a half-heartedly scribbled Sorry. Sure, they had only known each other for about a week, but in that time, they had been through so much together. Evee had been willing to give up everything for her, and Amy had just left her.
Evee began to pick up speed. Her body ached, but she pushed through the pain. She thought about how it felt to pick up that note, but then Evee thought about what she had done next. Did she immediately go after her? No. She had thrown a fit and taken a nap. She had waited for four hours, and because of that, Amy had been hurt. Scott and Storm had been attacked, a hundred people had been scared out of minds. And Rogue had been kidnapped. If you hadn't been so goddamned selfish, none of this would have happened.
Evee hadn't even realized how long it had been when the treadmill shut off as the program finished. She stepped off and looked around the room. There were some free weights, a couple of weight lifting machines, and a punching bag. She tilted her head slightly in consideration. There was a bin that had a couple different sizes of leather weightlifting gloves. Evee pulled out a black set and slid her hands into them. She flexed and closed her hands, checking the fit. Satisfied, she stepped in front of the punching bag. She hadn't actually used one of these before, but the concept was pretty obvious. She balled her hands into fists, and punched, hitting the bag. It barely moved. Heavier than I thought. Evee hit the bag again, and again, and again. Her hits became more focused and stronger, and she lost herself within the music.
Song after song played, and Evee continued directing her emotions towards the punching bag with hits and kicks. She was so wrapped up, she didn't notice as someone else entered the room, nor did she hear when her name was called. As a hand reached out and touched Evee's shoulder, she spun around, immediately bringing her fist around with a grunt.
"Whoa there, Killer," Bobby said, catching Evee's punch with his hand. Startled, Evee stepped back and pulled the headphones from her ears.
"Bobby, I'm so sorry!" she apologized breathlessly.
Bobby grinned and held up his hands, "Hey, I'm fine." He dropped his hands. "I see you found one of my favorite places in the mansion."
"You like it down here? It seems like no one really comes to the basement."
"Not all the kids feel comfortable coming down here by themselves," Bobby said. "I myself like to come down here when John's being really irritating."
Evee smirked. "So, come here often, then?"
Bobby laughed. "John's a great guy, and I don't mind being his roommate, but he can be a bit... much, sometimes." Evee grinned, and Bobby took a deep breath, changing the topic. "I actually wanted to see how you were doing."
"I'm okay," Evee replied. She thought back to the group session earlier that day, and remembered how Bobby had been there for her, helping her up and carrying her to the infirmary. "Jean said I was healing nicely."
"Didn't she also say that you should take it easy for a few days?" Bobby asked, his blue eyes sparkling. "Don't forget, I was there when Jean checked you out this morning."
Evee shrugged. Of course she was in pain, and she was in even more pain now after tonight, but she was determined to push through it. "Adrenaline is actually a great pain reliever. Works better than Tylenol."
Bobby gave a small laugh. "Then what kind of gentleman would I be if I didn't help you with that?"
Evee had to work at pushing away the feelings she had felt earlier. She couldn't stay mad at him, not after he had helped her, and, frankly, Evee knew he hadn't really done anything wrong in the first place, but that didn't mean that she was going swoon every time he so much as looked at her. Bobby walked to the bin and pulled out a pair of gloves.
"What are you doing?" Evee asked, as he slid the gloves on.
"Providing some pain relief." He stretched his fingers, then walked around to the other side of the punching bag, steadying it. "Okay, go."
Evee looked at him quizzically for a moment but took a step closer. She held her fists up in front of her, and then punched her right arm across.
"You can hit harder than that. Come on," Bobby said.
Evee looked up at him, willing herself to ignore that stupidly cute smirk on his face, and focused her attention on her punch. The punching bag swayed a little, but Bobby's feet remained planted on the ground.
"That's more like it," Bobby smiled. "Keep going."
Evee raised an eyebrow. She directed her attention, focusing on sharp, concise movements. One, two, three, four, five.
"So, I heard about the train station."
Evee stopped mid-punch and glanced up at Bobby. So, he's really here about Rogue, Evee thought sullenly, finishing the hit.
"Is that why you're down here?" he asked.
Evee continued wordlessly striking the punching bag.
Bobby tried again. "You know, you can talk to me about it, instead of just hitting me."
Evee hesitated, but lowered her arms and looked up at Bobby. She sighed. "I just... I thought I could hold my own out there, but I couldn't make it one night on our own. I got my ass handed to me."
"There's no shame in needing help. You only just discovered your powers; it's going to take time to learn to control them and to use them."
"You know, you sound like the Professor." But, Evee knew that Bobby was right, and she offered him a small smile to tell him so. "But thanks. I'm not... great at asking for help."
Bobby returned the smile. "You'll never have to ask me." He nodded at the punching bag between them. "You want to learn control? Be able to fight with your power?" He focused his concentration for a moment, covering most of the punching bag in a thin sheet of ice. "We can work on that together."
Evee began to call up her power, knowing that the leather glove wasn't enough to prevent her from getting hurt if she hit the ice too hard. She made two fists and grinned at Bobby. "A real ice-breaker, huh?"
"I don't think we're supposed to be up here," Amy said uncertainly, hugging the blanket to her chest.
"Well, yeah, that's why they put a padlock on the door. Luckily for you, though, I was something of a hoodlum before Xavier plucked me from the gutter," John said, fiddling with the lock. Amy heard it unhinge, and John pushed up on the squeaky metal doors that opened out onto the roof. He climbed up the mounted stepladder, and then poked his head back down through the doorway. "What, you're not scared, are you?"
"No," Amy said quickly, looking up at him.
John smiled, and offered her his hand. "Good. Come on."
He helped her up, and swung the doors closed behind them. "We don't want to give it away that we're up here," he said with a knowing smirk.
Amy walked forward, to the edge of the roof. She stood at a gap between the spires, and peered out across the grounds. "Wow," she said softly.
"It's pretty impressive, right?" John said, coming to stand beside her.
"Yeah," Amy said.
"Come here, I want to show you something," John said, turning. "Put the blanket there."
Amy spread the blanket across the gravel, and John proceeded to lay on his back, folding his arms behind his head. He looked up at her expectantly. "Well?"
Amy laid down beside him, looked up, and caught her breath. The sky was covered in stars, as far as the eye could see.
"See, we're so far out in the country here, there's hardly any light pollution, so this is what we get," John said. "I found my way up here a few years ago. I like to come here when Bobby's being a pain in the ass, or something."
"It's beautiful," Amy said.
They laid in silence, just watching, enjoying the night air. After awhile, John asked, "Are you okay?"
Amy looked over at him, but he was still looking up at the sky. She sighed, turning her face back up as well. "I don't know. It's been a really bad week."
"It can't have been that bad."
"I blew up my house, became an escaped fugitive, got attacked by a sewer monster, almost burned a hole through my twin sister, who I didn't even know I had until two days ago, crashed into the pool, and I couldn't stop Rogue from getting kidnapped."
"Yeah, but to be fair, neither could the big guy with the hair. I place most of the blame solidly onto him," John teased. When Amy didn't laugh, he sighed. "I'm sorry. You're right, that sounds like a tough couple days."
"I killed my dad," Amy said, quieter this time, almost hoping her wouldn't hear. But John propped himself up on one arm, laying on his side to look at her. "When my powers manifested, or whatever, there was... some stuff happening, between me and him, and when the house went... poof. So did he."
"I'm sorry," John said again, more seriously this time.
Amy turned her head to look at him. "Are you afraid of me?"
John sat up, crossing his legs. Amy mimicked him. He took something shiny from the pocket of his pants - a lighter, she saw. Flicking the Zippo open, he turned the tiny wheel, and lit the flame. "Look," he said. Raising his hand, Amy watch as a stream of flame shot from the lighter into his other palm, until a large ball of it sat there, burning cheerily away, without burning him.
"Imagine what my manifestation was like," he said, looking into the fire.
Amy felt the glow - what was starting to become a much more familiar sensation - suddenly brighten. Even her body began to feel warmer. She slowly reached forward, as though propelled by an invisible force, until her hands were at either side of the ball of fire John held.
"Watch," she said. Slowly, tiny streams of light began to filter out from the fire into Amy's hands. She flattened her hands, palms facing up, and slowly two balls of her own were created, solely from the energy, light, and heat John was generating. Soon, they were each the same size as John's ball of fire.
"Whoa," John said, looking up at her. "How did you do that?"
"I don't know..." Amy said, smiling up at him. "But I think... I think I've always felt less powerful, less in control, in the dark. But when you lit that... I don't know, I felt... better."
They smiled at each other, and then they both heard a rumbling from over the side of the roof. John extinguished his fire, and Amy's orbs flickered out, and they both stood, walking quickly to the other end of the roof.
To Amy's shock, the basketball court seemed to be splitting in two, each side being reeled in to its furthest edge, leaving a gaping pit in the ground. From that pit rose a massive black jet. Once it cleared the edges of the court, it sped off, quickly disappearing out of sight.
"I'd say that's our cue to get back inside," John said.
"Yeah, I'd say so."
Chapter 20: Chapter Twenty
Evee laughed. "Yeah, sure thing."
They were heading back toward the elevator when Scott, Storm, and Logan rounded the corner ahead, sprinting past them. Bobby and Evee exchanged glances and ran after them. No way this was good.
They ran past the Danger Room, turned down the hall, and past the infirmary. The large, circular doors at the end of the hall opened to reveal the Professor lying crumpled on the ground and unconscious at the end of Cerebro's long walkway. Jean was kneeling over him. Evee skidded to a stop behind the other teachers, and gasped, covering her mouth in horror.
"What happened?" Logan demanded.
"Someone tampered with Cerebro," Jean replied, her face. Her hands were against his face. "Scott, I-" She looked up, tears in her eyes. "I can't sense him!"
Scott and Logan carried the Professor to the infirmary, lifting him up onto an examination table. Jean opened his shirt and started checking his vitals.
"Evee, slide that monitor over here," Jean instructed, pointing. There was a monitor she pointed to was on wheels with a variety of wires attached to it. Evee grabbed it, and wheeled it over. Jean started placing the wires on the Professor's head and chest. The machine whirred to life, monitoring blood pressure, heart rate, and brain activity.
"Is he going to be okay?" Bobby asked.
Jean nodded. "I think so, he just needs some time." But her voice wavered, and Evee couldn't help but notice how her hands shook, ever so slightly.
"Bobby, tell the other students that classes will be cancelled tomorrow, and that students are to remain indoors for the night," Storm instructed. Bobby nodded and headed out of the room, sharing one last look with Evee.
Evee just stood there, watching. She thought that perhaps, she should have gone with him, but she hadn't been able to move her feet from where they were planted on the floor in time.
The room was silent. A moment later, Evee heard Logan take a deep breath. "I'm sorry," he said, turning to leave.
"I'm going to look at Cerebro, someone must have tampered with the hardware," Jean said, leaving the room. Even, suddenly feeling sick, followed her out.
The metal doors slid open, and Jean strode purposely down the long walkway. She knealt down and opened a metal flap at the base of Cerebro. Inside lay some wires and a capsule filled with a thick, black liquid.
"What is that?" Evee asked, wrinkling her nose.
"Something that shouldn't be in there," Jean said, seemingly more to herself than in response to Evee. She pulled the capsule free from its housing, and, after studying it for a moment, detached a small metal device. She put the capsule back in place, pressed a couple of buttons and turned a couple of switches, and in moments the black goo was flushed out and replaced with a glowing blue liquid. Cerebra's backlights began to light up again. Jean nodded to herself. "That should do it," she said, offering Evee a reassuring smile. She replaced the flap and the two stood to leave the room, Evee first. When Jean's footsteps stopped, though, she turned. Jean was looking back at Cerebro.
Evee could guess what she was thinking. "Can you do it?" she asked.
"Sometimes you have to do whatever it takes to protect those you care about." She turned back to Cerebro, and walked hesitantly toward it. She lifted the helmet and put it on her head. The doors behind them started to close.
"Jean! Jean, no!"
Evee turned to see Scott sprinting toward the closing doors. Behind her, she heard Jean gasp and cry out in pain. Cerebro's doors closed, blocking Scott out.
"Jean!" Evee yelled. Her body shuddering violently, Jean pulled the helmet off and her body went limp. Evee dropped to her knees on Jean's left, putting an arm on her shoulders as she slumped to the ground. Cerebro's doors opened, and then Scott was there.
He took Jean from Evee, cupping Jean's face in his hand, turning her to look at him. "Jean," he said breathlessly. "Jean, answer me. Please."
"I know where Magneto's going," Jean replied weakly, her eyes fluttering.
When it was clear she wasn't going to lose consciousness, Scott helped Jean to stand, though she leaned heavily against him. "Come on."
Evee stood as well, following behind. Once outside of Cerebro, Scott turned to Evee. "You should have stopped her," Scott said harshly. Even physically blanched.
"It wasn't her fault, Scott."
Evee walked behind the two without answering. Soon, they were back in the infirmary, plying Jean with water. Evee tried to look everywhere except at the Professor's too-still form.
"We need to get everyone together. We don't have a lot of time," Jean said.
"Where are we going?" Scott asked.
"Liberty Island." Jean looked up, as though finally remembering Evee was there. "You should go back upstairs, with the rest of the students," she said firmly.
Evee thought briefly of asking to go with, but then thought of her bruises - and about what had happened on her last little field trip. She knew they would never allow it anyway. So, she nodded, and mutely did as she was told.
For awhile, she tried looking for Amy, but even she had to admit her efforts were half-hearted. Outside of their room, she wasn't sure where to begin looking for her sister anyway. She did, however, find Jubilee in the large rec room downstairs, sprawled out across the couch with a large pizza and looking as though she were contemplating a stack of DVDs. "Hey," she said, sitting up a little straighter. "Want to help me with this?" she asked, gesturing toward the pizza.
"You might live to regret that offer," Evee replied, feeling relieved to have someone give her something to do.
The mansion was quiet. Jean, Scott, Storm, and Logan had all left to go after Rogue, and most of the students, under the impression the Professor had simply retreated to his study, were quietly celebrating their surprise night off in various corners of the Mansion.
When Evee returned to her room after the movie, the light was on and she could hear the shower running. She flopped herself on the bed, exhausted from the night's activities and too full of pizza. From her perch, she studied their room. It was completely trashed. Evee noticed that the mirror was now covered, and it seemed like perhaps a couple of things had been picked up. Amy's bag was still sitting on her bed, though opened and partially unpacked, from the looks of it.
As Evee scanned the room, her gaze ended at her cell phone sitting on the nightstand. She took a deep breath, reaching for it.
She dialed the number, her heart thudding with each ring. A moment later, a familiar voice picked up. "Hello?"
Evee froze. What do I say?
"Hello? Is someone there?"
Evee considered hanging up.
"Evee…is that you?" Evee could hear the worry in her voice, and bit her lip. She felt nauseous.
"Hi, Mom," Evee replied quietly.
"Oh my God, Evee, where are you? Are you alright? What happened? I've been so worried."
"Mom, slow down. I'll explain everything."
Evee heard her mom take a deep breath. "Are you okay?"
Evee nodded her head slowly, even though she knew her mom couldn't see her. "I am, I'm safe. I'm actually at a school, believe it or not."
"You did not run away in the middle of the night to go to a school." Evee could hear the disbelief in her voice, and the undertones of anger, disappointment, worry, and fear. Especially the fear.
"Maybe I should start from the beginning."
Evee set the phone back on her nightstand just as the bathroom door opened, Amy stepping out with wet hair and dressed in her pajamas. When she saw Evee, she froze momentarily before moving to her bed.
"Hey, yourself," Evee muttered. For a minute, neither said a word, the tension weighing heavy in the air.
"I'm sorry," Amy said quietly, breaking the silence.
"Yeah, I got that," Evee snapped. She immediately regretted her outburst as Amy winced. She sighed, softening her tone. "Look, I'm sorry. I just…When I saw that you had left…" Evee didn't really know how to go on. "You left without me," she finally said.
"I hurt you," Amy said quietly. "I almost killed you."
"I don't care." Evee stood and joined Amy at her side of the room. Evee didn't have to be a mind-reader to know the guilt Amy was feeling. First, she killed her own father, and then, to see her sister lying on the ground like that? Evee was quickly learning Amy's first instinct was to run. She sighed exaggeratedly, and surveyed the room with her hands on her hips. "We should probably clean this place up some. It looks like a tornado went through here."
"I didn't realize I left it such a mess.
Evee went and pulled the sheet off of the cracked mirror. "You aren't the only one that loses control sometimes." She turned to Amy. "I'm not mad that I got hurt. And I'm not mad that you left. I'm mad that you didn't take me with you. After everything we've been through... you just left me." Amy looked down at her hands and Evee turned away. Neither spoke as they began to clean up the room. After a while, Evee stopped. "It's my fault you got hurt today." Evee didn't look at Amy, but she felt her eyes on her. "When I saw that you had left, I… I was so angry… If I hadn't waited so long to go to the Professor, we would have found you before Magneto did. No one would have gotten hurt, and Rogue would be safe, instead of with them."
Amy shrugged. "That wouldn't have solved anything. Rogue still would have been at the train station, and Magneto still would have gotten to her eventually."
"But you wouldn't have been hurt," Evee repeated.
Amy smiled at her, but it didn't reach her eyes. "Haven't you been taking notes? I'm always hurt."
The next morning, the mansion was abuzz. The X-Men had arrived home safe and sound with Rogue late the night before. Logan had been taken to the infirmary, but Jean said he would be back on his feet in a couple of days. The Professor was awake. Magneto was no longer a threat, and whatever terrible crisis he had planned had been averted. There was a lot of gossip going on about what all had happened the night before, much of which came from Jubilee.
Since classes had been cancelled for the rest of the week, everyone was either outside enjoying the day, or hanging out in the recreation room. Amy, Evee, John, Bobby, and Jubilee were watching a recap of the night's events on the news, wondering if they would catch a glimpse of any of their teachers on TV. Rogue came in, sporting some new hair. Jubilee also had a couple of theories as to how that had come about as well.
"Hey Rogue, welcome back," Bobby grinned. Amy waved, and Evee offered a smile. She figured that she had been unfair toward Rogue earlier, and that it wouldn't hurt to be nice to her. Nicer, anyway. Amy seemed to like her, so she couldn't all bad. Amy also likes Mexican food and foreign films, Evee thought to herself with a frown.
Rogue walked over to the foosball table and gestured for some of the group to join her. Bobby and Amy got up, John moving after them. Bobby chose Rogue's team, playing against John and Amy.
"Think you got what it takes, half-pint?" Rogue said gruffly.
Evee raised an eyebrow. Half-pint? She sounds like- Evee sat back on the couch, smirking to herself. You enjoy that, Bobby.
Evee flung herself down on her bed. It was getting late, and Evee had another full day of not having classes to enjoy tomorrow. Amy was just getting out of the shower, dressed in pajamas and her hair piled in a knot on top of her head.
"So," Evee started, sitting up. "Think you wanna stick around for a little while?"
She smiled. "I think so."
Evee nodded as she stood. "Me too."
She crossed the room, grabbing a pair of shorts and a tank top to sleep in from her dresser and heading to shower. She paused, turning back to look at Amy. "By the way, my mom's coming to visit this weekend."