Generation X: First Contact part 7
Disclaimer: Will, Dawn, and Glenn are my creations, everybody else are Marvel's problem. Any stupid or surreal plot twists are most likely mine also (but I make no guarantees).
Author's Note: Hello, it's me again (as if it would be anyone else!) It's... hmm, let's see... eight forty six (yes, I've taken to timing/dating my work because it's fun to look back on). Anyhow, my promised version of M's origin (which will be almost completely inaccurate most likely) will be in chapter 8; this is kind of a prelude. And for the record, yes, you CAN make a copy of this story of your own, (but if you try to make money off of it I'll be forced to kill you) or, if you can't find a part of it, e-mail me and I'll see what I can do. Many apologies that these chapters were so late, I've been having trouble with the system again and on top of that I've had three major reports to do this month. Also, I was sick today and spent four hours preparing an oral report (don't ask) and the only fun I've had all day was finishing up chapter eight. Well, that's my little rant for the day. Enjoy the story.
"Hey, Dawn," Glenn said, spotting me as I walked past the kitchen. "You meet Ms. Frost yet?"
"Unfortunately, yes," I replied, rubbing my head and wishing I'd been able to see how HIS training session had gone, which had been occurring during my 'interview'. "Gave me one heck of a migraine, too. How'd your interview go?"
Glenn raised an eyebrow. "Okay I guess. But what did she do to you?"
"Oh, she found me and thought I was a threat apparently," Will said, stepping in.
"Hi Will," Glenn said. Then he did a double take. "Will! What're YOU doing here?"
:You didn't tell him I DIED?: Will sent incredulously.
:Um... I seem to have neglected that little detail,: I sent.
:So, do we tell him?:
:Do you WANT to?:
:I think we'd better.: "Well Glenn, it's kind of a funny story, really..."
:I fail to see what's so funny about you DYING!: I sent sharply.
:Humor me, Dawny.:
:And don't call me Dawny! It sounds too much like a fabric softener.:
:Then don't call me Willie!:
"He-lloooo, I'm still here," Glenn interrupted.
"We haven't forgotten," Will said. "All right, here's the deal. I went to have a physical at the hospital, you see, and they didn't find anything wrong with me THEN, but a week or so afterwards I got pretty sick, and I, uh, kind of... uh..." I could tell he was having a real problem telling Glenn about it. They'd gotten pretty chummy after a while, and while they'd never been the best of friends I could imagine how difficult it would be to tell Glenn about his death.
So, naturally, I decided to help him out. "And then he died," I said.
Glenn raised an eyebrow, as if he thought he'd heard wrong.
"No, I really AM dead," Will confirmed. Glenn's jaw dropped. "But ye're... then 'ow... but ye're..." he stammered.
"You said that already," I put in after the second but ye're'. "Accent."
"Uhhhh..." Glenn said. "Right. Well... it's nice to... uh, see you again... are, sorry about you, uh, dieing and all..."
:That's enough, Glenn,: I sent. He flinched marginally and shut up.
"S'okay," Will smiled. "I got better, as you can see. Thanks to Dawn, anyway." he smiled at me.
"Aw, t'wern't nuthin'," I said with a grin. Than another thought crossed my mind. "Hey, do you want to tell my parents? Mom sounded pretty sad on the phone."
He hesitated. "Hmm. Good question. I'm not really alive anymore, and there IS an afterlife I go to when not 'on call' so to speak (remind me to tell you about it some time...) But neither am I dead. I'll have to think about it for a while."
I shrugged. "Whatever you want to do is fine with me," I said.
"Hey Dawn!" Jubilee called as she ran towards me, panting. "Where were ya? I was lookin' all over for ya! We're going to Boston now, are ya gonna come or not?"
"Sure!" I said, delighted. It'd been a while since I'd been shopping. "Uh, you guys are okay with that, right?" I asked my cousin and friend.
"I'm not a big fan of shopping anyway," Glenn admitted. He tuned to Will. "You?"
"Nah. I think I'll just faze out for a while."
"Who're you?" Jubilee asked.
I sighed. "Y'know, I've really gotta get around to introducing you sometime," I told Will. "Jubes, this is my cousin Will. Will, this is Jubilee."
"Hi," Jubilee said. "How'd you--?"
"Get here? Sigh. Let's just say being a ghost has it's advantages." He shook her hand. "Now if you'll excuse me, I've gt to talk to my parents."
"But your parents are dead," I pointed out.
"Exactly," he replied. I let my hold on him slip and he blinked out, saying, "See you later, all..."
Jubilee gaped. Will seemed to cause a lot of those kind of reactions. "Was he a..."
"Oh." She looked blank for a moment. Then she grinned again. "Well, what're ya waitin' for? Frost and the others are already in the car, let's get a move on it!"
Hmm. She never ceased to amaze me with her resiliency. I trotted out after her, feeling slightly drained at having to keep my cousin in this plane of existence for so long. We loaded into a Jeep, which, according to Jubilee, had been borrowed from Sean. Emma was in the driver's seat (as if she would be anywhere else) and I jumped into the back seat with Monet, Paige, and Jubilee. Emma still looked a little miffed (she probably wasn't used to being defied) and a spot of purple was appearing on her cheek; Will had really hit her hard. At the moment she was wearing tight (and I mean REALLY tight) white leather slacks, a white blouse, and a white jacket. I had no IDEA why she found such clothes comfortable, and I probably didn't WANT to.
It didn't take us too long to reach Boston, though it was slightly cramped in the Jeep, but I could take it. We parked in the mall's parking lot and Emma told us to meet by the food court in four hours. She also gave us her Platinum Card, which gave me the impression that she didn't really care about money as much as the power that came with it. Of course, if you're a telepath you aren't inclined to worry about your money since you can track it with a thought.
The four of us set out to do some serious shopping and we soon came upon a bookstore.
"Can I look in here please?" I asked. With the hair and leather jacket I didn't LOOK too much like a bookworm, but I was (besides, I would never have dyed my hair blue by choice.) Jubilee looked at me as if I had sprouted horns. "We've got about a bazzilion dollars to blow an' you wanna spend it on BOOKS?" she asked incredulously.
"Exactly," I nodded. "I haven't had a thing to read in days and my brain is starved!"
"And unlike you, Dawn did not grow up in a mall making a living off of being a walking generator for bio-nuclear pyrotechnic energy," Monet scoffed. Jubilee's eyes narrowed dangerously, but Monet just laughed. "Do you truly think you can hurt me?" she asked. "You can try... IF you dare. And believe me when I say that to one such as me you are NOTHING, little girl."
I could see Jubilee starting to generate a few, barely noticeable sparks forming around her fingertips as she advanced on her teammate. It seemed there was no love lost between these two, and while they tolerated each other, LIKING each other was something entirely different.
:Lee, stop it!: I sent. I could sense people getting curious and heads were turning. :Can't you two finish this later? And by the way, your power's starting to kick in; you might want to tone it down if you don't want to be chased out of here by angry mutaphobes.:
Jubilee glanced down at her hands and immediately cut out the fireworks. "We'll settle this later," she hissed at Monet.
"Of course." Monet smiled smugly and walked into the bookstore as if she owned the place.
I let the matter slip my mind as I cruised the bookstore, mostly the sci-fi section. I don't know why, but I've always been a fan of science fiction and/or fantasy. I was just looked over a new Piers Anthony book when I realized just how much my life was like a science fiction book. Just think about it; advanced, alien technology... (from the original Xavier's, I'm told) super human beings... y'know, the usual. Now I knew what the Twilight Zone must be like.
After getting a few books we were off in search of clothes again. We had stopped off at a few places and I had bought a dozen jeans or so, sweatshirts and regular shirts (not to mention a pair of shoes or three) when Jubilee spoke up. "Y'know, I noticed ya didn't get many--hmm, how to put this delicately?--REAL clothes."
"Huh?" I said intelligently.
"You know, REAL clothes. Ya don't have to be a tomboy ALL the time. The leather jacket's cool and all, but once in a while ya need somethin' you can party in."
"What Jubilee is TRYING to say," Paige put in, "is that you might need some formal wear sometime."
I wondered what we would need it for. I mean, what were we going to do? Go to a super hero ball?
"But I always look so stupid in a dress!" I protested. "Besides, doesn't having blue striped hair kind of ruin the 'belle of the ball' effect? I look like a punk even without the leather jacket."
Paige was thoughtful for a moment. "Well," she said slowly, "you do have a point, but maybe we can get around it."
'Get around it'? The only way I could think of would be to dye my hair or get a wig.
"Work with me here, okay?" Paige said.
"Oh, fine," I said, rolling my eyes and praying to God that I wouldn't end up in a bundle of lace. Ick!
"Good." Paige grinned. It was somewhat less then reassuring. "M, what do you suggest?"
Monet thought for all of half a second. "I'd suggest either blue or white," she said. She browsed the aisles for a minute or so, and with each passing moment I grew increasingly nervous. Finally she held out a dress with a low neck line, though not low enough to make me nervous. It was white with blue trim that matched my hair and more or less conservatively cut. She handed it to me and said, "Here, try this on and let us see it." She shoved me towards the nearest dressing room.
I stumbled through the door and wondered whether Monet was really aware of how strong she was. I held the dress up in front of me and sighed. Judging from Monet's standard attire I concluded she had at least SOME sense of style and decided to trust her judgment. I took a deep breath and shed my jeans, wondering why I was so paranoid about clothes shopping. I guess it's just that being a tomboy is so much easier then trying to be fashionable. The greatest thing about being a tomboy is that no one really cares WHAT you wear. I mean, you can dress in drag and no gives you a second thought, but if you try to dress up for a change people stare at you like you're an alien because you didn't wear the right shoes.
I straightened the dress out and looked in the mirror. To be honest, it looked MUCH better then I'd expected it to. The fit was perfect and the colors matched my hair nicely. I was beginning to wonder how Monet knew what size I was when Jubilee spoke up. "Are you gonna stay in there all day or what?" she called.
"Uh, I'll be right out," I replied. I took a deep breath and stepped out the door.
Jubilee nodded approvingly, as did Paige. "Not bad," Jubilee commented.
"Good job, Monet," Paige said.
"Of course," she replied. "Here, try this." She held out a necklace. It was an opal hanging from a gold chain.
"Oh!" I exclaimed softly, inspecting it, "I couldn't..."
"Of course you can," Monet said. She took it from me and fastened it around my neck. "There. Take a look."
I admired it in the mirror. It complimented the streak in my hair admirably. "Ms. Frost will NOT like that we've been spending her money on jewelry," I commented.
"Oh, but I'm not," Monet told me.
"What?" I said, wondering if I'd heard wrong. "You didn't--"
"Certianly not!" she laughed. "I used my OWN money."
"Oh, Monet, you shouldn't have..."
"Nonsense," she scoffed. "Is there a rule that says I can't do a good deed once and a while?"
Paige's mouth was hanging open and Jubilee sounded as if she had a small animal caught in her throat. I nudged Paige and she shut her mouth quickly. Monet smiled. She obviously liked taking her team mates by surprise. "Shall we find some matching shoes?" she inquired.
"Um, sure," I said. "And Monet?"
"You're quite welcome, Dawn." She inspected me closely. "Of course, I would have to style your hair and give you a--how would Jubilee put it?--a 'make over' to create the proper effect, but we can do that back at the Academy. Now, about those shoes..." I took off the dress (in the dressing room, of course!) And she paid for it. She then walked into a nearby shoe store and began to browse.
"Who was THAT?!" exclaimed Jubilee, eyes wide. "Is it like, just my imagination, or has M just been replaced by one of the Pod People?"
Paige considered this. "Probable, but highly unlikely," she concluded. "Maybe she was just trying to be nice..?"
"Hayseed, this is MONET we're talkin' about here," Jubilee said. "She's... she's... she's MONET! She's just not 'nice' and I doubt she ever will be."
"You guys don't know her very well, do you?" I said.
Jubilee raised an eyebrow. "And how well do YOU know her?" she asked.
That made me pause. I really DIDN'T know Monet any better then they did, but my empathy told me she honestly WAS trying to be nice. "She's, um..." I groped for an appropriate word. "She's just trying to, uh, make friends." I didn't sound terribly certain when I said it, but I was. It was the best way I could describe the feelings I was getting from her.
"MAKE FRIENDS'?!" Jubilee cried. "Miss Perfect is tryin' to make FRIENDS? Ha! Someone'd better tell her to go back to school, cause she sure needs another lesson!" Paige tried to keep a straight face, but a snicker or two escaped.
"She DOES have a point," Paige agreed in between giggles. "She's always been just a LITTLE anti-social."
"It's not intentional," I told them. "She can hardly help it, actually." I wondered whether saying what I had to say next was going to alienate them completely. "Her intellect is so superior to ours that she has trouble relating to us. And, while she's had a very privileged life, she's been isolated for most of it. She doesn't quite know how to cope with emotions like these, and as a result often acts aloof most of the time. In other words, while she DOES have feelings, she chooses not to let them show."
I felt a slight smile in my mind as I finished. It was Monet, using her own telepathy to contact me. :I couldn't have said it better myself,: she sent. :Nor would I have wanted to. Coming from me it would have sounded insincere, but from you they might at least consider it the truth.: She paused. :...Thank you.:
I was a little surprised, both at the fact that she'd actually said thank you, and at how awkward it sounded. Monet was cool and collected on the surface, but it was amazing how shy she sounded just then. :You're welcome,: I sent. She nodded from across the way and beckoned to me, holding up a pair of shoes.
I looked at Paige, and she seemed to be thinking about something. My telepathy (which was getting to be a little annoying at this point) informed me she was digesting what I'd said. Jubilee, on the other hand, was thinking something like: 'Superior intellect'? 'Who's she kidding?' I left it be. I didn't like the idea of someone sorting through my thoughts and neither did she, even if it wasn't intentional. Besides, thinking about someone isn't important, it's whether you ACT on it or not. While Jubilee could think of something rude, she probably wouldn't dare say it to Monet's face, even were she not a telepath. Finally I just shrugged and trotted over to the shoe store, where Monet and I found some shoes that went with the dress.
By then it was time for lunch, so we went to meet Emma by the food court. Emma looked as if she had either eaten already or intended to do so at home, for she was relaxing by the fountain and made no move to get up when we came into sight.
Of course the crowd played havoc with our psi-shields--this was by far the most crowded place in the mall--but by now I was used to the psychic back round noise, so I could take it in stride. The real problem was my empathy (the difference, by the way, is that telepathy is sensing thoughts while empathy deals with emotions). I just couldn't turn the stupid thing off. This, combined with my telepathy, was starting to get to me. I heard snatches of thoughts and conversations, and the emotions were confusing me to high heaven. I was so intent on tuning it all out I tripped and fell against Jubilee.
"Hey, what're ya--" she began. Then she saw that almost all the color had drained from my face and immediately switched gears from annoyance to concern. "Dawn, are you okay?" she asked.
"My head..." I moaned, rubbing my temples. It was getting worse, and I couldn't figure out why. At last I swallowed my pride and called for assistance. :Monet..?: I sent. I still wasn't terribly comfortable with Emma, and Monet was the only other psion in the group.
:Here, let me help,: she sent. I felt her helping me add onto the walls around my power, and I thanked her greatfully when she finished. Her mind-touch was strange, not fierce and indomitable like Emma's, but not compassionate (for lack of a better word) and emotional like Jonothon's either. It was like she had buried most of her emotions in the back of her mind, like she was dead inside. I could sense the scars of past trauma, but I didn't want to pry so I withdrew without comment.
"Are you all right?" Emma asked. A little emotion leaked through my shields, and I could sense she was (dare I say it?) concerned.
"Uh, yeah," I replied. "I'll be okay."
Emma nodded and said, "Well, eat some lunch and we'll go back to the Academy."
We split up and inspected the various stands until we each found something we liked. I got Chinese (orange chicken and fried rice) and a Coke while Monet got Italian, Jubilee bought some pizza, and Paige chose Mexican. We ate as quickly as we could because it was obvious Emma wanted to leave.
After about twenty minutes we left the mall, purchases in hand. As we neared the Academy I took a deep breath and slowly let it out. In less then 48 hours my parents would be arriving, and more likely than not would get messy.
TEASER: Next chapter Dawn discovers the secret of Monet's spells' when she confronts her in the Bio-Sphere. She takes a trip to the core of her teammate's psyche and does battle with... well, you'll have to wait and see, now won't you?