Disclaimer: NM and GenX members belong to Marvel Comics, Dawn belongs to me.
Author's Note: Ahem. I must remember to *thank* Jelpy for her *concern* when I was bloody well crippled by the doctor (They didn't sterilize the needle! I swear!) but I have recovered enough to finish this chapter. It's kind of weird, but heck, they all are. Next time I'm gonna devote at least half a chapter to the GenX kids, and YES, Angelo will wake up, finally. Any requests for guest-stars? I've already got the Hellions slated, so don't fret there. Anything else may or may not be used, depending on how well I know the character, or if I feel like using it. Sorry, 'tis *my* story, y'know. ;) Now if y'all don't mind, I'm going to make an extremely weird and blatant teaser. (See what happens when ya give me a Snickers bar before bed?)
"Ms. Friedlander, may I have a word with you for a moment?" Magnus said as Sam and Jonothon began to talk things out. Sharon nodded slightly, and the two left the Med Lab quietly.
"Sharon, it is *not* my responsibility to take in amnesic mutants," Magnus insisted as he pulled the nurse aside in the hallway. "It is a threat to the school, and a threat to the students. I cannot risk the security of this facility simply because four youngsters have landed on our doorstep!"
"Magnus, this school is all about taking in children in need," Sharon retorted, glaring at him. "These kids have no identification, no memories, and no way for us to contact their parents, guardians, or whatever. What are we supposed to do--just let them run about the city, without a home, without identities?! Best case scenario they get picked up the police, put in a foster home or a shelter. The worst case--the worst case I don't even want to *think* about. What would you propose we *do*?"
Magnus was silent for a moment, face closed and unreadable. Then, at last, he sighed. "You... are right. I fear I have let my past experiences cloud my judgement somewhat. Charles trusted me to keep these children safe, yet time and again I feel as if I've lost all control over them..."
"They're teenagers, Magnus," Sharon said, rolling her eyes. "You can't be in control of them, they won't *let* you. The most you can hope to do is keep up with them, and do your best to guide them in the right direction."
Magnus considered her words. "I... will try, Sharon. Perhaps I haven't been looking at this in the right light."
"Perhaps not," Sharon said, "but just bear in mind that these kids are individuals. You're not running the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants anymore, you know."
"Oh, don't worry about *that*." Magnus rolled his eyes heavenward. "The Brotherhood wasn't nearly this chaotic."
Sharon raised an amused eyebrow. "Magnus, did you just make a *joke*?" she inquired with a small smile.
Magnus cleared his throat. "A momentary lapse, I assure you," he answered dryly. "Now, back to the problem at hand..?"
"Ah, yes. Would you like me to wake the other students?"
"Hmm. What would you advise?"
Sharon thought this over for a moment. "I'd advise handling one mess at a time--unless the words "total anarchy" sound good to you, that is..."
"Not an appealing notion in this school..." Magnus sighed. "Wait--where the devil is Mirage?"
"I *did* tell her to take the telepath somewhere quiet," Sharon shrugged, unconcerned. "Why? Do you think something has happened?"
"No... no. I just thought it would be best if she was here when we formally invited these... visitors... to stay."
"Oh, no you don't," Sharon said firmly.
"I beg your pardon?"
"You are *not* pushing this off on anyone else. Now get your majestic magnetic behind in there or I start placing calls to Lee Forester."
Magnus needed no further urge, he merely strode back into the infirmary, dripping a great deal of wounded dignity.
"You know, I would *love* to know how Magneto's going to explain all of this," Dani said as she curried Brightwind.
"How do you mean?" Dawn asked from her spot on a stack of hay bales, leaning against the barn wall as she watched the other girl groom her mount.
"Well, you guys will probably end up staying with us," Dani replied absently. "I bet the others are going to want to pump you for information, which you're not going to have, since you've all got amnesia. This won't be too much of a problem here at Xavier's, but we've got a dance scheduled in a few days, and *that* could be a problem. Toss me the hoof pick, willya?"
Dawn spared a moment to rummage around in the grooming kit, then tossed the blunt metal pick to Dani. "Your school holds dances?" she said skeptically.
"No, but we get invited to a few once in a while," Dani said, lifting one of Brightwind's hooves and scraping all the gunk out of it. "Geez, you wouldn't think a flying horse would get so much muck in his feet..."
"And you think your teacher would let *us* go?" she said, plucking a stalk of grass to chew on.
"Do you think he'd let you stay here unsupervised?" Dani asked with a wink.
"Hmm. Guess not." She withdrew the grass from her mouth and looked at it like it had come from another planet. "Huh. No taste." She threw it away in disgust.
"You chew grass for the *taste*?" Dani snickered.
"Doesn't everyone?" Dawn grinned. "Anyway, let me check on my friends..." She leaned back for a moment and shut her eyes, concentrating. Dani watched with mild admiration as a flare of blue and white psionic energy emanated from her forehead, most resembling a wave crashing continually against the rocks.
The only other psi I've seen with a visual manifestation of their psi powers is Rachel, and her's is like fire, Dani thought as she absently brushed her hand against Brightwind's neck. The Prof borders into the visual range, but only when he's really pressing. Ray says Psylocke has a kind of pinkish, butterfly-like aura to her psi powers, but she's not focused enough to manifest in reality.
Then another thought struck her. Does this mean Dawn's stronger than the Prof?! He says the stronger the psi the more apparent their psi-signature. I've seen some of the records of the first Phoenix working in the Danger Room, and *that* was pretty spectacular. She was also a threat to reality--does that mean Ray might be too? Nasty thought. She considered some of the Professor's past lessons on psychic abilities. Wait--the Prof said all psionics have their own, individual psi-signatures, but usually only other telepaths can see them. Shan's was red, I remember him saying that, and mine is rose, like when my spirit-forms manifest. He thought someday *I* might be able to pick out individual psi-signatures, if I hone my powers enough. I wonder, does seeing her signature mean I'm maturing enough to pick out a strong one? Damn, this is getting too confusing. I think I need a non-psi's opinion on this.
:Dani?: came a sleepy voice in the back of her head. :Wha's goin' on?:
:Hey, furtop!: Dani exclaimed happily. :You've been asleep long enough, Rahne! You missed all the excitement.:
:Excitement?: Dani felt her friend becoming more awake by the moment. :What d'you mean, Dani?:
:We have four new students,: Dani grinned. :By the way, what did you do? Go to sleep in wolf-form?:
:Well, aye,: Rahne admitted. :'Twas just so comfortable...:
:Hey, it's all right, I was just curious. Anyway, if you'd like to meet one of them we're both out by the stables with Brightwind. Want to join us?:
:Occh, I dinna know...:
:Aw, c'mon, Rahney. She's nice, I promise.:
:Well... I guess it wouldna hurt. I'll be right down.:
:Good. I'll warn her.: Dani turned back to Dawn, who was just opening her eyes.
"You were right, Dani," Dawn said, taking off her jacket. "Your teacher just invited Ev and Jono to stay. I think your nurse was behind it, too."
"Wouldn't surprise me," Dani smiled. "Oh, one of my teammates is going to come and join us in a minu--"
Dani was interrupted by the appearance of Rahne Sinclair, currently in full-wolf form. Dawn yelped and fell off the hay bale as the young Highlander bounded up to Dani, tail wagging enthusiastically.
"Morning, Rahne," Dani laughed, hugging her best friend. Rahne gave her a wolfish grin and metamorphosed into her human form, wearing her black and yellow uniform. Dani craned her neck around the Scots werewolf and searched for Dawn. "Hey, are you all right?" she called when the girl didn't immediately reappear.
"I--I think so," came the hesitant reply from behind the hay.
"You *think* so?"
"Well, I'm assuming." There was the sound of cloth scraping wood, and Dawn stood up. Dani, to her credit, managed not to gape at the two huge white wings that now towered a good two feet about the girl's head. Dawn twisted her head around to look at them, more puzzled than concerned.
"This is *really* getting weird," she commented absently, as Dani stared and Rahne gaped openly.
"I'll say," Dani managed at last. "Did that... hurt?"
"Not really," Dawn replied. "Your friend just surprised me, and--well, bang." She seemed to notice Rahne for the first time. "Um, hi," she said. "I'm Dawn."
"I'm Rahne," Rahne said, finally getting her mouth to move again. "I'm sorry for startling you..."
Dawn shrugged it off. "Really, it's okay, I just didn't expect you. And you probably did me a favor, too--I wonder if I can actually *use* these things. What's your power? Lycanthropy?"
"Aye," Rahne nodded, looking surprised. "You're no' scared, then?"
Dawn spread her hands. "After what I've seen *myself* capable of, I don't think I'm in the position to be anymore," she shrugged.
Rahne smiled shyly, and Dani could see she was already warming to the stranger. Rahne's always so hurt when people are afraid of her, she thought, smiling slightly. This must be a nice change of pace for her. She's so afraid she's damned for being what she is--she's gotten a little better over time, but I still think whatever that Reverend Craig creep told her scarred her for life. Maybe this will do some good for her, too.
"You don't mind if I change shape, do you?" Rahne inquired. "I... I'd like tae see somethin'."
"Whatever's comfortable, I guess," Dawn said. "I really don't mind." She stretched her wings, examining their span as Rahne went back to her wolf-form.
:Dani--somethin's wrong here!: Rahne exclaimed as she sniffed the air.
:What?: Dani thought. :How so, Rahne?:
:The girl--she's got no scent! I can smell her clothes, but nothin' else! It's as if she doesna exist!:
:What the--?! That's impossible!:
"Does anyone mind if I try these things out?" Dawn inquired. "I'd like to see if they work."
"Um, sure," Dani said, momentarily caught off-guard. "Be my guest."
Dawn smiled, and pumped her wings a few times. She proceeded to leap gracefully off the ground, then soar high above the school, reminiscent of a falcon with very strange coloration. Brightwind, seeing this, snorted and looked at Dani hopefully. The Cheyenne rolled her eyes and shook her head. "Oh, fine, you big ham," Dani sighed. "You can go and play--just try not to run her over!"
Brightwind gave her an innocent look, then took off at a crisp trot. With a few powerful downstrokes, the stallion launched himself into the air, following in the girl's wake.
"Funny, he seems to like her an awful lot," Dani said, feeling a little miffed that her mount was taking an interest in the stranger. "He's *never* done that before."
"Maybe he's just never had anyone tae fly with before," Rahne suggested, shifting back to her original form. "But Dani--it makes me nervous. Her no' havin' a scent, I mean. She doesna make my skin crawl, like she was evil, but it just... feels wrong."
"That's really odd," Dani said, shaking her head. "I know what you're talking about, Rahne--she's not threatening, but she feels... different, somehow. Maybe that's what Brightwind is picking up on."
Before they could discuss anything else there was a familiar flash of light behind them and Illyana Rasputin appeared, wearing black biker shorts and a pink tank-top.
"What the heck is Brightwind doing up there?" she asked, frowning. "He keeps buzzing my wind--oh!"
Dawn and Brightwind all but fell out of the sky, almost landing on top of the surprised blonde. Dawn didn't even look winded, and Brightwind tossed his head playfully, jerking his nose towards the others. Dawn snickered, as if engaged in some private conversation, and looked at the three bewildered girls.
"They work," she grinned. "And I'm going up for some more air. Tell your headmaster not to wait up!" She pivoted, spread her wings, and leapt into the sky. Brightwind whuffled, looked after her for a moment, then turned back to Dani, burying his soft muzzle in her chest, as if to say, "I like her, but *you're* still my favorite." Dani laughed and stroked his snowy hide, smiling broadly.
"Looks like Brightwind's got a new playmate," Illyana commented. She narrowed her eyes, then widened them in surprise. "Uh, Chief, who *was* that?"
"Her name's Dawn," Dani informed her, pushing Brightwind away gently as she saw the expression on her friend's face. "She and three other mutants appeared in our kitchen this morning. Why, is something wrong?"
"Maybe," Illyana nodded. "I'll have to check in Limbo, though. Wanna come with?"
"Might as well," Dani agreed reluctantly. "Rahne?"
"I... dinna have tae, do I?" she inquired nervously.
"No, you don't," Illyana said, taking pity on her younger teammate. "C'mon, Dani, I'd like to check this out *now*. Brace yourself..."
Without another word, Illyana summoned a stepping disc bellow herself and Dani, and, faster than the eye could follow, they had both disappeared into the sorcerous realm known as Limbo.