Generation X: First Contact part 11
Disclaimer: Generation X and the Hellfire club are owned by Marvel, anyone else is probably mine.
Author's Note: Warning: some of this chapter boarders on silliness, just so you know. The end, however, is dead serious. The next chapter will not only be the last in First Contact, it will also be a cliff hanger. Fear not, I've got a sequel in the works, but it could be a while. Enjoy the levity while it lasts, folks.
I skidded down the hall to the infirmary quickly, generating a focused blast of air to dry my sopping hair and clothes. Of course, my "clothes" were the Academy's version of those stupid smocks hospitals make you wear, so it wouldn't've made much difference if they were ruined or not. I was so desperate to get back inside that I forgot to do a telepathic probe of the building to confirm that nobody was there. Thus, when I came barreling down the hall to the infirmary, I received quite a shock to discover Sean standing directly in front of the doorway.
Unfortunately, not only was I in it deep, I didn't QUITE manage to stop in time. The crash was fantastic, not to mention painful.
"Uh... Mr. Cassidy... um..." I was turning beet red and couldn't seem to form a coherent sentence. My ribs were sending little tendrils of pain through my side, but that hardly mattered at the moment.
"We'll talk about what ye were doin' out o' bed AFTER ye remove yuir foot from me pocket," Sean said, scowling as he tried to untangle my hair from the zipper of his jacket.
Naturally, Emma chose that moment to make her appearance.
"I WOULD ask what you two are doing," she said, "but is seems quite clear I DON'T want to know."
"Emma, save yuir wise quips an' help me get her up," Sean retorted.
"Um," I murmured, blushing furiously, "Mr. Cassidy, sir, um, my leg seems to be, uh, caught in this chair..."
After a few awkward moments of trial and error we finally managed to disengage ourselves.
"Now," Sean said, trying to regain his composure, "what were ye doin' out o' bed? And soakin' wet, might I add?"
"Well, I was kind of bored, and my ribs and arm don't hurt very much, so I went flying with Will and--"
:What ABOUT me?: Will asked, entering my mind.
"What do you MEAN what about you?" I asked. "YOU'RE the one who too me flying, remember?"
:No I didn't,: he replied. :I haven't seen you since yesterday.:
"But then how did I..." I started. I noticed Sean looking at me strangely and remembered I'd been talking aloud again. "One second," I told him. I pulled Will out of my mind so Sean and Emma could see and hear too. "Okay, where was I? Oh yeah. If YOU didn't do it, then who DID?"
"No idea," Will replied. "Maybe YOU did it."
"But I CAN'T do that kind of thing on my own," I protested.
"Well, *I* certainly wasn't there, so I wouldn't know, would I? Maybe you called someone else."
I considered this for a moment. Whenever I had called someone up thus far I not only felt their presence in my mind, I talked with their voices as well. Nothing like that had happened when I had talked with Everett, so maybe I HAD done it on my own. But how could that be possible? Emma's scan had only said something about "latent, specific metamorphic capabilities", not elemental powers. Hmm. Food for thought.
"It seems we've found another aspect of your powers," Emma noted, catching the stray thought.
"Whoopie," I said sarcastically. "Can I have breakfast now?"
"FIRST we're runnin' a diagnostic o' ye t' make sure ye didna hurt yuirself galivantin' 'round outside, an' if *I* decide ye're well enough, THEN ye'll get breakfast," Sean said firmly.
"Fine," I grumbled. "But make it quick--I'm starving.
"That I doubt," Sean said as he grabbed my arm and dragged me into the infirmary. He was a little gruff, but hey, wouldn't YOU be too if someone had run into YOU and you'd gotten teased by your colleague about it right after you had woken up? I know *I* would have been too.
Anyway, right about the time Sean started to analyze me with some sort of device that was basically a Shi'ar equivalent of an x-ray Glenn woke up. What startled me was that I could FEEL him on the edges of my consciousness, which was strange. In the past few days I'd spent as a mutant--or in all the years I'd spent with him, for that matter--I'd never been as finely attuned to his mind. I suppose it was our psionic rapport growing and it... all right, it felt good, I admit. Of all the voices that constantly crowded my mind, his was the clearest.
:You realize what's going on, don't you?: Will sent as he popped into my mind.
:Oh? And just what IS happening, O Great Master of the Mind?: I asked.
:You're really falling for him, if you haven't already.:
:Don't be naive, kiddo. Looks to me like you fell for him YEARS ago.:
:Will, I'm THIRTEEN. There's no possible way *I* could be in LOVE.:
:Then you got some real problems, kiddo.:
:Will you stop calling me "kiddo"? It's getting annoying.:
:You can joke all you want, Dawn, but I'm telling you, you're gonna have to face facts sometime. And a word of advice; don't wait to fall in, take a flying leap and get it over with. It always worked for me.:
:Yeah, and look where it got YOU.:
:Hey, pint-sized, watch the mouth.:
:Watch your OWN mouth, chump!:
:Testy testy, Dawny. What's WITH you this morning? Still bummed about your dad?:
:Among other things, yes. He... he actually BEAT me, Will. My own father BEAT me.:
:Dawn, don't let it get to you. Some people just can't see past their own ignorance and fear. It's not YOUR fault Uncle Peter was a bigot.:
:Yeah, but still--:
"Well, lass, ye check out fine," Sean announced, his good humor restored as he startled me out of my conversation with my cousin.
"Great," I said. "Can I put on some clothes now?"
"I supposed it'd be all right. Ye c'n get breakfast in the kitchen with the others, but I expect ye t' come right back here when ye're done."
"Yes sir, sir," I said quickly as I hopped off the cot. I zipped through the halls and stopped at my room for a second to change my clothes, then went right down to the kitchen where most of the others were already gathered. Thankfully, nobody mentioned yesterday's little "incident", and soon we were all involved in an argument over which show was better: Quantum Leap or X-Files. I was in the middle of explaining to Jubilee that they wouldn't kill off Scully because she was a main character and they never killed main characters unless the show was ending when Emma entered the room bearing an envelope. "THIS," she announced, indicating the envelope, "is an invitation to the Hellfire Club's annual gathering. It is tonight. Would anyone be interested in a trip to New York?"
"I though ya were quits with those losers after yer Hellions got fried," Jubilee scowled.
"I resigned as White Queen, that is true, but I AM still a member, and therefor entitled to go to any gatherings I so choose. There will be no coecerations about joining, I will PERSONALLY make sure of that, only a standard party. Now, for the second and LAST time, do you wish to attend or not?"
We all thought for a moment. Finally Paige said, "*I* think we could all use a break. And besides, it's been a while since any of us were at a formal gathering. Right, guys?" The nods she received were only slightly hesitant; we all wanted a night out.
"I'll tell them we're coming," Emma said. She left the room, presumably to find the phone.
"What time'll we be leavin'?" Jubilee called.
"Six," Emma replied from around the corner. "Dinner's on them."
"Phew," Everett sighed with relief.
"What?" I asked.
"It was Jubilee's turn to cook," he explained. The thought having chili dogs for dinner for the third night in a row was reason enough for me.
"M, you really don't HAVE to do this," I said to Monet as she rinsed my hair. "I mean, it's only a party."
"It's only hair, Dawn," Monet said, plopping some God knows what on said hair. "Besides, I LIKE to do this kind of thing." She grinned, she actually GRINNED at me. Monet had gone through some radical personality changes since I had freed her from Emplate's influence, such as becoming a little more... childish. For the hundredth time I began to wonder exactly WHAT her power WAS.
"Then how come ya never did anything like that for US?" asked Jubilee, who was battling a knot in her own hair.
"Three reasons come to mind," Monet said. "Perhaps I'll explain them to you sometime." She dragged me away from the sink and dried my hair. As she did this she fiddled with it, attaching pins and clips and whatever else she could find. What was kind of weird was that her hands were moving incredibly fast, making it impossible for me to see what she was doing, which made me a little nervous. She finished up by spraying SOMETHING on my hair, but I wasn't sure if it was mousse or something else. She pulled away and showed me my reflection.
"Wow," was all I could say. My hair was piled artfully atop my head; even my streak was neatly arranged. "Monet... where did you learn to do this?" I asked.
"One o' the perks of bein' royalty, probably," Jubilee said, her eyes wide despite herself.
"Just so," Monet agreed. She glanced at the wall clock. "Get dressed, we have to leave in half an hour."
I went to my room, a bit nervous. I mean, it wasn't a date or anything, right? He hadn't even asked me, it was just a little party at some ritzy joint, it wasn't a date. It wasn't. I put on the dress the others had had me buy and looked at myself in the mirror. Not too bad, especially with the make over Monet had given me. I took a deep breath and went downstairs.
Jubilee, Monet and Paige Met me on the landing. Jubilee wore a nice pink sweater and black slacks ("I wouldn't wear a dress to save the world! Again!") Paige wore a full length peach gown, and Monet wore a sleeveless green dress with gold shoes.
"Ready to go?" Paige asked. We all nodded and made our way to the front gate where a limousine the size of Rhode Island was waiting for us.
"Omigod," Jubilee muttered. "This thing's bigger then... then..."
"Your mouth?" Angelo prompted.
"Hey! I HEARD that!"
"Whatcha gonna DO, chica? Hit me with--"
*Sprakk! Fiztt! Zzzaptt!*
"Oh. Well, at least she didn't singe the suit..." Angelo said.
"Yeah, she found plenty of OTHER places to get," Everett snickered.
"Control yuirselves, children," Sean barked, stepping between Angelo and Jubilee and holding them at arm's length. "This is a party, not a competition." He went on to lecture us about "not revealin' yuir mutant abilities and causing trouble" and all that, but I kinda tuned out after the first five seconds. Hey, I'm a kid, I've got a short attention span. Well, that and the fact that I was staring at Glenn. I had never seen him in a tux before, and he looked really cute. He kept pushing his hand through his brown hair even though it was perfectly straight. I smiled at him privately. Here's a first: Will was right! I WAS falling for him, if I hadn't already, and I had no idea what to do.
We piled in the limo and drove for an hour or so, chatting about nothing in particular. The conversation was inevitably pulled towards Jubilee, who was just starting another "When I was with the X-Men" speech when we pulled into the Hellfire Club a little after seven, where we proceeded to gape at the immense building. Emma ushered us inside, and, as impossible as it seemed, it looked even bigger on the inside then it did outside! Chandeliers, carpets, and a buffet that would have fed THREE armies. We helped ourselves to chicken cordon bleu (which tastes better then it sounds) and plenty of appetizers and desserts. There was champagne, too, but Sean put his foot down on that one. We didn't really care, we had fun anyway. The high point of the evening, however, was probably when Jonothon FINALLY got the guts to ask Paige to dance! We had all been placing bets as to when the two would get together, and it looked like they were actually going to for once.
:Uh, ahem, um, Paige?: Jonothon stammered, looking extremely uncomfortable. :Would yer, um, uh...:
"What, Jono?" Paige said, seemingly oblivious.
"How much you wanna bet he chickens out?" Angelo whispered to Everett.
"Ten bucks says he doesn't," Everett replied.
"You're on," Angelo grinned.
:Umm, like ter dance?: Jonothon finished awkwardly.
Despite myself, I caught a thought from Paige. It was something along the lines of: YESSSSS! I snickered quietly as she nodded and the two stepped--a bit shyly--onto the dance floor.
"Ten bucks, amigo," Everett smiled, holding his hand out. "Pay up." Angelo shook his head and paid up, but he couldn't hide the smile on his face. I glanced back at the dance floor, watching the two slow dance. Jonothon was actually better at it then Paige, if you can believe it. The rest of us just mingled with the crowd for a while. Normally being that close to so many people would have ruptured my psi-shields, but the building had psionic inhibitors built in, which helped a lot.
After about half an hour I noticed Glenn staring at me, and decided to go for double or nothing. After all, if Paige and Jonothon could do it, so could we, right?
"Hi Glenn," I said, walking up to him. "Enjoying the party?"
"I guess," he replied, blushing a little at being caught in the act. "Um, you look... nice. Really nice, I mean."
"Thanks," I smiled, ignoring the little knot of nervousness that had decided to make its home in the pit of my stomach. "So do you." At that moment the band started to play again. A love song, naturally.
"Um, do you want to... um, yer know, dance?" Glenn turned a brilliant shade of crimson as he stammered the question and slipped into his accent.
I grinned. "Sure," I answered, taking his hands in mine. We started to dance slowly, and I could hear Jubilee and Everett whispering in the background. I shot them a sly look and Jubilee raised an eyebrow, then started to shake with suppressed mirth. I didn't care, it was all in good fun.
We must have danced for half an hour at least. Finally, during a particularly nice song, I whispered, "Well, what are you waiting for? Are you gonna kiss me or what?"
Glenn looked shocked at FIRST, but not displeased in the slightest. He leaned forward hesitantly, as if not quite knowing what to do. I helped him by bringing my own lips up to his and we kissed.
Jubilee guffawed, as did Angelo and Everett, while Monet and Mondo just smiled. Even Paige and Jonothon looked up from their own dance to watch. Emma made as if to stop us, but Sean held her back; not quite the reaction I'd expected from him, but I was grateful for it.
Shortly afterwards we left, and of course got a lecture from Emma about making a spectacle of ourselves. Sean, on the other hand, seemed rather amused by it all. I caught the name Moira MacTaggert running through his mind as we drove home and concluded he must be involved with someone, which would make him a little more sympathetic of our actions. Glenn and I both received several winks on the way back home, including one from Sean, which really DID surprise me.
:Didn't know you two were a couple,: Jubilee thought at me.
:Actually, *I* didn't know either,: I replied with a shrug. :Believe it or not, it was my cousin who set me straight.:
:THAT'S a new one,: Jubilee commented. :Well, hope you guys are in for one scorcher of a lecture when Frosty gets you alone, 'cause if there's anything she hates it's gettin' yer personal life mixed up with the hero biz.:
:I'm prepared to take that risk,: I sent, gazing at Glenn. Jubilee smiled and turned her attention back to making little swirling light shows with her powers.
Three hours later I stumbled out of Emma's office along with Glenn. Jubilee had been right; Emma HAD given us bloody hell for that little scene, and I don't think either of us was up to doing anything other then sleeping that night.
"Night Glenn," I called as we trudged off to our sperate dorms. "See you in the morning." He nodded and almost walked into a tree. I giggled and continued to head for my room.
I plopped down on my bed, not bothering to take off my clothes. I was in street clothes again, not having wanted to wear a dress for the rest of the night. All I wanted to do was go to sleep.
The minute I started to drift off I felt something I hadn't felt in days. A death trauma. And when I realized who it has come from my heart shattered.
TEASER: Next chapter is the last in First Contact, but the prologue to the Askani Wars. Dawn has to save what's left of her family, and the ending will surprise you. It's rather morbid, so if you don't enjoy that stuff, DON'T READ IT.