Disclaimer: The NM and GenX kids belong to Marvel, Dawn is mine, and I'm not getting paid. Author's Note: I'm FREEEEEE!!!!! I've been in Ohio for a week with family , and we're back!!! Imagine--a week with insane relatives and only a crappy lap-top for company, and all the disks with all my stuff incompatible. Arrrrr..! But on the lighter side--I just got a new modem (the current one is 14 KB *shudder*) an--*gasp*--a real honest-to-God SCANNER!!!! YES! O'course I'll have to pay for it, but heck, I'll have my fun while it lasts ! (Doesn't take that much to make me happy, does it?;)
:Does this seem weird ter anyone else?: Jonothon asked as he and Everett entered the Boys' Dorm.
"Actually, no," Everett replied as he glanced around the warm surroundings. "Why?"
:That was my point, actually,: Jonothon remarked as Tom stopped in front of two rooms with closed doors. :*Shouldn't* something like this feel weird, 'speciall y since we just landed in--what, a kitchen?:
"Well, here's your rooms, kids," Tom said, gesturing towards the two doors. "Kind of generic, but you can pick out extra furniture later."
"You'll call us when Angelo wakes up?" Everett asked.
"Of course," Tom replied. "May not be for a while, though. Sharon finally figured out that he'd gone and concussed himself on the counter top or something, so he might be out for quite awhile." Tom brushed a flyaway strand of dark hair behind his ear and shrugged. "Until then, make yourselves at home here. I'm sure his Magnetic Majesty will be around sooner or later to talk to you both about the school."
"Funny, it feels like deja vu all over again for me," Everett commented as Tom made his retreat. "Well, let's see what we get to live in for... however long we're staying." He and Jonothon opened the doors to their rooms almost as one.
"Could be worse, I guess," Everett said as he sized up the rather blank room, which consisted of a bed, a nightstand, closet, desk and chair.
:Not much 'f a "personal" feel to it, eh?: Jonothon asked from his room. :Hope we get ter pick out the "accessories" ourselves.:
"Why do I get the feeling you're going to end up painting it black and lighting candles to worship some unearthly being at night?" Everett murmured, grinning.
:I *heard* that, mate. ...And what's wrong with black?:
"Ermm... Hey, where did Dawn go?"
:Way ter change the subject, Ev. But I don't kn--:
:I'm right here.:
At his friend's mind-voice, Everett craned his neck around to face the door, then felt slightly foolish, seeing no one.
:Of course you don't. I'm outside.:
Everett blinked, then, dubiously, turned to look out the window. I don't see anything, he thought, scanning the lawn below.
There was an exasperated mental sigh. :Look *up*, Everett!: Everett did. And gulped.
"When did *you* get wings?!" he exclaimed, mouth hanging open as Dawn swept close to his window, actually brushing the panes with her pinfeathers.
:About half an hour ago,: she replied, winking at him. :Angelo awake yet?:
"Not yet." Everett finally managed to put his eyes back in their sockets and rubbed his forehead. "Have you talked to their headmaster yet? Magneto?"
:Not... politely, no,: Dawn confessed, turning to hover before her friend's window. :Think maybe I should?:
"Couldn't hurt," Everett shrugged.
Dawn glanced over his shoulder and into the room. :So we're to be staying here for awhile? Huh. Dani was right.:
:The girl who took me outside. You should see her horse, by the way! How're you two getting along?:
"Fairly well, actually. Sam's all right, and Roberto... well, he hasn't quite woken up enough to judge, but he seems okay so far." He raised his voice slightly, knowing his friend was listening in. "Any complaints, Jono?"
:Not really,: came the reply.
Dawn didn't seem to mind the "eavesdropping." :Well, I met three of the female students in the pasture. One of them is a werewolf...: She sounded more intrigued at the concept than anything else. :Speaking of which, have you figured out what your power is?:
"Not yet," Everett admitted, shaking his head.
:Hmm. Well, it'll probably turn up sometime.:
"You sound a little... distracted," Everett noted. "Is anything wrong?"
:It's probably nothing,: Dawn replied, waving his concern off. :Just check on Ange for me, all right? I've gotta go think about something.: Without another word she twirled around and stroked upwards and out of Everett's sight.
"That was a little sudden," he thought aloud. He turned to the right, feeling a little foolish talking to a wall. "You've been awfully quiet over there, Jono. Do you think something's wrong?"
:Can't say for sure,: Jonothon responded, and Everett could almost feel the boy shrug. :Still--:
The intercom on the wall buzzed loudly, interrupting whatever Jonothon had been about to say. With a sigh Everett walked over to it and pressed a button, wondering if it was the right one.
"Um, hello?" he said tentatively.
"Everett, this is Sharon," came the voice from the other end. "I thought you and Jonothon would like to know that your friend is finally regaining consciousness. Can you find your way back to the infirmary yourselves, or should I have Tom escort you..?"
"We can manage fine, thanks," Everett said, raising his eyebrows. "He's not..."
"Hurt badly? No. He's got a royal goose-egg, but otherwise he's fine. He is, however, insisting on seeing you two--but he's not sure why."
"Tell him we'll be right down," Everett said. He released the button and turned back to the wall. "Hear that, Jono?"
:Loud 'n clear, Ev. Let's go.:
Angelo looked a bit shaky by the time they arrived, but he *was* conscious. While he greeted the two with glances of vague recognition, he didn't shed any light on their problem. Needless to say, Jonothon and Everett were beginning to worry.
"We were in their *kitchen*?" Angelo repeated incredulously as the two tried to explain what was going on.
:S' far as we can tell, yeah,: Jonothon nodded, ruffling his red-brown hair with a hand.
"There's a girl with us, too," Everett added. "Her name's Dawn. She's... uh... flying right now."
Angelo blinked for a moment, then shrugged. "To each his own, I guess. What're *we* going to do?"
"I suggest you all relax and wait for your friend to come back," Sharon put in from somewhere beneath a cabinet as she sorted some supplies. "Magneto will definitely want to talk to you all together--to give you the rules and suchlike." She chuckled.
"You might want to take notes; it's a *long* list."
"Oh, great," Angelo snorted, rolling his eyes. Sharon's head peeked up and she gave him a Look. Angelo looked a little startled, then stunned, and Everett snickered. Between the staff, the other students, and themselves, this little stay was starting to look interesting.
Illyana and Dani appeared in an unusually peaceful corner of Limbo--meaning that there were no demons to greet them when they arrived. Dani raised her head and stared at the chunks of land floating overhead in a sickly maroon sky like clouds and felt her stomach twist with vertigo. She looked around for demons only to find none--a pleasant surprise from the recent assaults.
"Illyana, where..?" Dani inquired, glancing over at her teammate.
Illyana was staring out across the land surrounding them, brow furrowed in oncentration.
"A part of Limbo I don't use too often," she replied as she turned back to Dani, her blonde hair moving gently in the stuffy wind, which carried just the faintest hint of sulfur. "It's away from my mountain of power, and S'ym's too. I put wards around here for delicate work, and I *don't* want S'ym looking over my shoulder if this turns out how I think it will." She gestured, and her scrying glass rose from the rocky earth, supported by a giant claw-like appendage. She crouched down beside the glass and stretched a hand towards it, eyes closed in concentration.
"What d'you know about your Valkyrie gift?" Illyana asked as she wove her fingers in graceful patterns before the glass. Dani blinked, startled, but answered truthfully enough.
"Not all that much, really," she admitted, crouching down beside the sorceress. "We werein Asgard, I found Brightwind tangled in barbed wire and mud, pulled him out--and I met Mist and her sisters, where I got the gift of death-sight. I'm not really sure *how* I got it."
Illyana nodded. "Didn't think so. Well, I'll tell you something. You and Brightwind have an certain aura--not like a lifeforce or anything, but a mystical one." She spread her hands, and an image of Dani and her winged stallion appeared. She made a motion, and a pale, pearly grey light surrounded them, illuminating their figures against the stark grey backdrop.
"See?" Illyana pointed. "There's your aura. I've got one too..." Another gesture, and the figure of Illyana appeared next to the others. She made a brushing motion, and a blot of ugly black, like tar, engulfed the image. Illyana opened her eyes and sat back on her heels, tucking a flyaway strand of hair behind her ear.
"You see?" she said, looking up at Dani. "Color indicates the kind. Mine's black--I wield the dark magicks. White would be--well, white. Your pearl-color means neutral-neither good nor evil, just somewhere in between."
Dani chewed on a strand of her hair. "Okay. So how does this relate to Dawn?"
Illyana sighed and closed her eyes again. "Let me show you." She murmured an incantation and the glass cleared for a moment, then the mist-background condensed into what appeared to be an instant replay of Illyana's first encounter with Dawn.
"Normal vision," Illyana remarked as she stared into it. "This is what *you* saw. Now look at what I *felt*." She touched the scrying glass and the image distorted, then suddenly sharpened again, the auras now apparent. Dani was about to ask Illyana what was so important until she did a double take. And then another.
"What the *hell*--?!?!" she exclaimed, eyes widening with shock as she looked at the...shape... before them in the glass. Where Dawn *should* have stood there was only a bright, vaguely human-shaped streak of blue light, white at the core. The figure moved--even made a gesture or two--before it leapt into the sky and soared away. The oddest and perhaps most disturbing revelation yet, however, was the thin, semi-transparent strands of black and grey running from Dani and Illyana into Dawn's "body."
"What... what *is* she?" Dani stammered intelligently. Illyana dispelled the image and sat back on her heels, apparently thinking.
"Well, she's not a demon, if that's what you're worried about," she said absently. "I'm having some trouble with this myself." She propped her chin on the heel of her hand and gazed intently into the glass. "Actually, despite looks, she's not really doing all that much to us. She's not *taking* anything from us. It's kind of... well, think of your body as a kind of lamp, and your aura the light. Strip away all the razzle-dazzle and--ta da!--she's really just 'basking' in our mystical radiance. *We're* not loosing any bit of our power, she's just soaking up the extra. I'll bet it's not even a conscious effort."
Well, *that* was a relief. "What about Dawn?" Dani asked. "Is *she* magick?"
Illyana giggled. "Magick? Darklords save us! If she *were* magick, then every critter with a mind to use her would be down on us in a flash! Nope, she's not magick--or at least, not *mostly* magick--just..." Illyana trailed off and looked again into the viewing glass. "Oh... oh, wait a minute."
"What? What's wrong?"
"It just hit me--if she's not magick, what *is* she? I don't know how to classify her."
Oh, great. Dani sighed inwardly. "Well, what *do* you know about her?"
"That she's energy," Illyana replied immediately. "Pure energy. You'll notice she doesn't have an aura--because she *is* an aura." The sorceress squinted. "There *is* some magick woven in there... really faint, but really old. Nasty stuff."
My head hurts. "Are you saying *she's* some kind of sorceress too? "Dani asked, floundering to understand what her friend was talking about.
"What? No, I mean... I mean..." Illyana frowned, struggling to explain the rules and regulations of magick. "This kind of stuff isn't the kind of power you can use for spells. It's some kind of weird hereditary trait, I guess you can call it. You can't use the magick, but it's a part of you anyway. Like... like the demons here. They can't cast spells without a grimoire or talisman unless they've got a mountain of power, like me or--or S'ym. They don't use magick, they *are* magick."
Dani chewed her lower lip pensively. "And like Brightwind. I think I see what you're getting at. So. If some of her form is made of magick, what's the rest?"
"Not a clue," Illyana shrugged. "My forte is mystical stuff, and this stuff ain't. I think we should ask Magneto."
Dani was about to say something, but Illyana suddenly whipped her head around to look behind them. She abruptly stood up and beckoned for Dani to do the same.
"S'ym's looking for me," she said, looking frustrated and disgusted. "We'd better get out of here before he finds this place. It's one of my last safe-havens in Limbo, and I *don't* want it discovered." Illyana waved a hand, and the scrying glass plunged back into the dry ground. Then, before the chunks of debris from its passing had even hit the ground, Illyana teleported both of them out of Limbo just as the first of a horde of demons topped a nearby hill.