Generation X: First Contact part 9
Disclaimer: Sleepy, Sneezy, Dopey, Doc-- oops! Wrong disclaimer (*blush*)! All right, let's try this again. Every one in Generation X belongs to Marvel, everybody else is mine.
Author's Note: WoOoOoOoOo... Tell me, folks, how many people can swallow a Sudafed without choking? And how many of you don't act kind of weird after you do? I've been stuck at home all day watching the dog (Chakoda, stop eating Brian's boomerang or I'll feed you to Amara!) who happened to throw up four times in the space of seven seconds. Aside from the dog pulling a Linda Blair on me, however, the day has been pretty mild aside from this stupid cold I caught from my mom, who caught it from her students. Sorry, I'll probably be over it by tomorrow. I hope. Sorry for the mindless prattle, but I tend to act a little strange when I'm sick. But as for the story, it has a prime example of bigotry and it ain't too pretty. It has some mild violence in it, so be forewarned. If it seems kinda mushy at first it's not your imagination, it's me. It's kinda supposed to be, so don't sue or anything. On a more irrelevant note, I've written another fanfic called 'Dawn's Last Threnody' based in the AOA and starring Dawn herself, now called Threnody since the real one doesn't exist. If you want it and it hasn't been posted by Hawk yet e me and I'll see what I can do about it. Oh, by the way... I attend the Gen X rumor mill (though rather sporadically, I admit; usually at around 6:40 a.m. or 3:10 p.m.) so feel free to join in if you can; I'd love the company (it's awful lonely before the sun comes up!).
The next morning after breakfast I stood in front of the school with Glenn, Sean, and Emma, waiting for my parents to arrive. I was wearing a hat so not to freak my parents out right away with the new do, but I still felt nervous. Apparently Glenn thought I would faint or something, because he had insisted on waiting with me.
He was probably right to do it.
"Dawn, are you okay?" he asked.
"Yeah, why?" I snapped, a little more harshly then I meant to. It's hard to be nice when you feel like you're going to throw up.
"'Cause you're hyperventilating."
"I am NOT!"
"Listen to yourself breathe and THEN try to deny it."
Sure enough, my breath was coming in ragged gasps and I WAS feeling a little dizzy. I hate it when he's right. "I'm FINE," I insisted.
Just then a cab pulled into the drive and I nearly fainted. Fortunately Glenn caught me before I embarrassed myself further and propped me back on my feet, saying, "C'mon, Dawn, how bad could it be?"
"Famous last words," I muttered.
The cab pulled in and my mother jumped out of it immediately. She ran over to me as Dad unloaded the bags hastily.
"Dawn!" she cried as she hugged me tightly.
"Hi Mom," I gasped. "Sorry I didn't leave a note or something, but there wasn't any time..." I wondered if it would spoil the moment if I told her I couldn't breathe.
"It's okay, honey, we're just glad you're--" Mom stopped in mid sentence and stared into my eyes. After a pause she said, "...I know I haven't seen you in a few days, but aren't you're eyes brown?"
"So was my hair," I nodded.
"'Was'?" Mom said, cocking an eyebrow.
I took a deep breath and pulled my hat off, thinking, Hoo boy, here it comes...
I heard Mom gasp a little, then recover her composure. She ran a hand through my hair and said, "It's a nice color on you, dear." She smiled teasingly.
"Isn't it though?" I snickered.
My father looked a little rattled, but otherwise fine. He walked over cautiously, as if I were a sleeping lion. I was getting indecision, caution, and a bit of fear from him, too. Feeling what HE was feeling was kind of strange, even though I'd had enough practice with OTHER people's emotions lately, but it's never been as finely tuned as what I was getting from my folks. I recalled a snippet of information Monet had mentioned, something about mutant powers being much more or much less effective on immediate family (things like telepathy and empathy being more and things like energy blasts being less). I decided to ease his fears right off the bat.
"Hello Daddy," I chirped, quite chipper for someone who spent most of the night fighting a super villain in a teammate's mind. "You've met Glenn before, right?"
"Um, yes," he replied, rather shocked at my cheerfulness. I giggled privately.
Glenn held out his hand and said, "It's nice to see you again, Mr. Embers." Dad looked at the hand as if trying to decide whether it was safe to touch.
"Don't worry, mutants don't bite," I assured him, grinning.
"With a few notable exceptions," Emma murmured, smiling wickedly. Sean poked her in the ribs with his elbow and she shut up. Dad shook Glenn's hand and sighed a bit.
"Time fer formally introductions, aye?" Sean said with a smile. "I'm Sean Cassidy, the headmaster, an' this is Emma Frost, the headmistress." Sean was wearing a sensible outfit of jeans and a sweatshirt with an X stamped in one corner, but Emma was wearing leather pants, a bustier, high heels, and west (all pure white, naturally). Dad did a double take and Mom looked doubtful. Emma, however, was as cool and collected as always (not to mention probably used to that kind of reaction) and smiled politely. "Ye may call me Sean," Sean told them. "Mr. Cassidy makes me feel old."
"You may call ME Ms. Frost," Emma said.
"Er, yes," Mom said.
"Would ye like t' see the campus?" Sean continued, changing the subject. Dad shut his mouth and nodded. Sean led my parents on a little tour (which Glenn and I had already taken when we first arrived) and my friend and I tagged along.
Of course, I was taking this opportunity to discuss some important issues with Glenn and Will via telepathy, so it wasn't a total loss. I must admit, being a human Ouija board is kind of weird sometimes, but it comes in handy once in a while.
:Do you want to tell them now?: I asked Will.
:C'mon, you're gonna have to make up your mind sometime!:
:Kid, this ain't Casper, you know that. It might upset them too much.:
:What're you worried about?: I asked. :Being disowned? You're already dead, they can't do much to you now.:
:They could hate me.:
:They don't hate me, and I'm as much a mutant as you are, er, were, er... never mind.:
:You're their daughter, they CAN'T hate you.:
:An' besides,: Glenn added, :yer'd ave t' be crazy NOT t' love YOU.:
:'Huh' what?: Glenn said.
:What'd you just say?:
:I didn't say anything.:
He wasn't lying, he really HADN'T said anything. I had picked up a background thought, and it CERTAINLY hadn't meant to be part of the conversation. I stopped walking and Glenn almost collided with me.
"Dawn?" he said. "You okay?"
"Uh, yeah, sure," I replied. "I just, um, thought of something." THAT wasn't a lie, either, I HAD just thought of something. Why hadn't I seen it before? How on EARTH could I have so totally MISSED something so OBVIOUS, ESPECIALLY with the growing mind link between us? Glenn LOVED me, and he had for a long time.
All right, I admit I was in a state of total shock; I couldn't believe what I was FEELING from Glenn. It was like a door had just been opened and I couldn't get it closed. To be brutally honest, I wasn't sure I even WANTED to. It was a pleasant feeling, and there was so MUCH of it. Glenn was pretty well hung up on me, I could tell, but the question was: Why? Why me? Surely there were plenty of OTHER girls who he would be much happier with. Of course, I couldn't ask him without giving away the fact that I'd been in his mind and found out, so I was basically stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place. That being the case, I just let is slide.
For the moment.
Meanwhile, Sean was continuing his Welcome to Xavier's' speech, and Emma seemed to have disappeared. "In addition t' learnin' t' control their mutant powers--" Dad winced at the word mutant' ever so slightly, "--the students also receive academic classes as well. Any credits they earn here will go towards college if they choose to attend out of school classes. We have an excellent foreign language program as well as access t' certain facilities that e'en a professional hacker couldna enter. Room an' board are free, the school doesna earn money that way. Books an' supplies are courtesy o' Frost Enterprises an' the Xavier Institute, so ye needn't worry bout that."
"It sounds wonderful," Mom commented as we passed the Bio-Sphere. "This is a lovely place."
"Thank ye, Mrs. Embers."
"Please, call me Jane."
"Very well, Jane. Would ye care t' meet the rest o' the student body?"
"That would be nice," Mom smiled. Dad was silent, observing the campus with a wary eye.
"Now, some o' them might seem a bit... strange... but remember that they're all normal teenagers," Sean said as we walked over to the Rec-Cottage. He opened the door to discover Jubilee and Angelo bickering over the remote control.
"Give that BACK!" yelled Jubilee, smacking Angelo with a pillow.
"No can do, chica," he replied, blocking the pillow. "Ain't no way I'm gonna watch 'Freakazoid'!"
"You got a better idea? I know, we can watch 'America's Most Wanted'! Didn't I see you on it last time? Maybe someone'd better call the cops with an anonymous tip!" She hit Angelo with the pillow again. I pitied the pillow.
"See what I mean?" Sean said, rolling his eyes. Then, in a voice which contained the barest hint of his sonic scream, "Jubilee! Angelo! Break it up, both o' ye!"
They both looked up with a start, Jubilee still clutching the pillow. She looked at it, then at my parents, and quickly hid said pillow behind her back.
"Um, hi," she said. "You're Dawn's parents, right?"
"Aye, they are," Sean said. "An' if I may remind ye, this was supposed t' be a PEACEFUL visit, NAE a guided tour o' World War III!"
"Yes sir, sir," Angelo and Jubilee squeaked.
"Good." He turned to my parents. "Please excuse the interruption, Jane. These are Angelo Espanosa, Jubilation Lee, Monet St. Croix, Paige Guthrie, Jonothon Starsmore, Everett Thomas, Mondo, Artie Maddicks, and, er, Leech." He pointed to each of the others as they named them, and they nodded in turn. "A few o' them have worked with other divisions o' the school, and a few are from other countries."
"Hello Mr. and Mrs. Embers," Monet said, rising from the couch. She seemed to have recovered from last night's little incident all right, and was in full 'superior' mode. "I would like to tell you that your daughter has helped me greatly, and that you should consider her gifts as a blessing and not a curse." She gazed directly at my father and said, "Most mutants aren't out to usurp humanity, they would just as soon be left in peace. I'm not saying that a few megalomaniacs have not and will not continue to try, only that you should not hold the deeds of the few against the deeds of the many. We here at the Academy believe in the theory of co-existence between mutants and humans and intend to join our predecessors the X-Men to fight for the dream when we achieve full control over our powers. We are in no way attempting or planning to wipe out the human race, so you may relax around us."
Dad seemed shocked. It looked like Monet's little speech had hit home. It had been a pretty good one, too. I had a feeling she'd been listening to her father when he was doing his job as an ambassador. Of course, it could have been the uncanny intelligence she possessed, but either way it had the same results. Dad said nothing, but he nodded. He had been awfully quiet today, and he was getting even more nervous. Maybe pulling a know-it-all act wasn't Monet's greatest idea, but only time would tell.
"I'm glad we understand each other," Monet said crisply as she returned to her seat on the couch.
"C'mon, Dad," I said, "I'll show you my room." I grabbed his hand and pulled him out of there. He came willingly enough, but Glenn started to follow me. I gave him a small mental cue to get lost (at least for the moment) because I intended to spend a little 'quality time' with my father.
Once we got to my room he closed the door behind us and sat down on the bed with me.
"Honey, I'm not very comfortable with you staying with these... these..." he trailed off.
"Freaks?" I prompted him, reading his mind. My eyes narrowed and began to flash angrily (and literally). He still didn't understand. He was still a bigot at heart.
"Dawn, that's not what I--"
"Meant? You can't lie to me, 'Daddy'. I KNOW what you mean."
"Listen, you're not--"
"Being fair? I think I'm being PLENTY fair, thank you. YOU'RE the one who isn't being fair. These are my FRIENDS, NOT carnival freaks were talking about here. There is NOTHING wrong with being a mutant, it's a natural condition, NOT a cosmic accident."
"But they're so--"
"Different, yes? Well, they ARE different. They're among the few people I know who aren't burdened by the petty prejudices most people have. AND they're nice people, too. So what if they have special talents? They're just normal people, like us."
"THEY ARE *NOT NORMAL*!" my father exploded. "They're filthy, motherless freaks, and there is NO WAY I am going to let you stay here with them!"
"You never had ANY intention of letting me stay here, did you?" I demanded. "This whole visit was just a pretext to take me home! Well, I've got news for you, 'Daddy', I am NOT leaving! I LIKE it here! These are good people, a lot more so then YOU'LL ever be!"
"You're coming with us whether you want to or not!" Dad grabbed my arm and started to pull me towards the door.
"Let GO of me!" I screamed. I struggled to squirm loose from his grasp, but all I got for my trouble was a jolt of pain that heralded the presence of a dislocated shoulder. I cried out in pain, but he ignored me. :WILL!!!: I shrieked mentally. :WHERE EVER YOU ARE, HELP ME!!!!:
My cousin imediatly erupted from the confines of my mind and stared at Dad. "Uncle PETER?!?!" he exclaimed.
"William?!" my father gasped. In his amazement he let go of my arm, which I clutched, trying to ease the pain.
"Forgot about my other power, didn't you, 'Dad'?" I said. "I'm a medium, too!"
"Dawn, will you please tell me what's going on?!" Will demanded.
Before I could answer my father turned around and kicked me in the side. I felt something shatter in my rib cage and screamed in agony. My father was howling at me as he kicked me. "How DARE you do this to me!! You're just like THEM! A FREAK! An ANIMAL! I should have reported this to the Friends of Humanity when I got the call, but I didn't because I thought it was a trick! I swore I'd bring you back, that I'd kill every mutant in this place just to get you back, and you BETRAY me!" He kept on kicking me, but I managed to choke out, "Why..? Why do you... hate us so..?"
"You're freaks! You're out to kill us all! But I won't LET you! I'll kill you all FIRST!"
"STOP IT!" cried Will. He hauled back and punched my father right in the stomach, trying to end the fight without killing him.
My father, of course, had other ideas.
"YOU DARE?!!" he howled. He grabbed Will by the throat and started to strangle him. It didn't work, of course. Will was already dead, he didn't need to breathe. He concentrated and a burst of pure energy surged through his body and into Dad's. It hadn't been powerful enough to kill him, just put him out for a while.
Unfortunately, Dad was tougher then Will had anticipated. He got up almost immediatly and kicked Will in the gut, half of me was appalled, but the other half was amazed. I had had no idea Dad could fight like that (I also wished I hadn't been the one he'd demonstrated on) and that he could have gone so crazy so quickly.
Then the others burst into the room, led by Glenn and Monet. "That will be MORE then enough!" Emma declared. My father froze in his tracks; Emma had seized control of his thoughts.
"Oh NO!" Mom cried as she ran to my side. I was banged up pretty bad, with a cracked rib or so and a LOT of bruises, but otherwise none the worse for wear. "Dawn, Dawn, speak to me!" Mom had reached an incredibly high level of stress by this time.
:I'm okay... Mom,: I sent haltingly. I couldn't speak because my mouth was so sore, but my telepathy still worked. :I'm gonna have... a lot of bruises... in the morning, though.:
Mom smiled with relief. She turned to Sean and Emma. "I'm SO sorry," she apologized, tears in her eyes. "Peter... he gets like this sometimes... he means well, but... oh God, he's NEVER beaten ANYONE like this before! I KNEW we shouldn't have come, but I wanted so badly to see Dawn..." She was crying uncontrollably now. Sean put his hand on her shoulder to comfort her and said, "We understand, Jane. Tis sadly typical o' regular humans to fear what they dinna understand. Tis people like this that make it impossible fer Xavier's dream t' become a reality. I'm just sorry Dawn had t' take the brunt o' if by herself."
:Will... helped,: I sent. I gestured with my one good arm to point at him. He stood ridged beside Dad, his hands clenched so tightly that the knuckles were turning white.
"William?" Mom gasped. "How did you..."
"Long story," he said shortly. "I'll tell you later, but right now we'd better get Dawn to the infirmary."
Mondo and Everett arrived with a stretcher, which they loaded me onto. Then a question sprung into my mind.
:What about Dad?:
"I'll hold him until a cab comes," Emma replied. "Then I'll erase his memory of this incident so he can't report us to the FOH."
"Yes," Mom sighed. "That would be for the best." She stroked my hair gently. "I'm sorry, honey... I'm so sorry..." She began to cry again, but I couldn't hug her, so I just sent, :S'okay, Mom, it wasn't... your fault. I just hoped that... Dad'd changed... that he'd accept me...:
"I had hoped that too, Dawn," Mom wept. "I had hoped that too..."
TEASER: Next chapter is pretty much a filler with a few snippets of information mixed in about Dawn and Glenn's powers. Plus, Dawn does a little night flying and she and Synch watch the sunrise. Is it romance? Maybe--maybe not. You'll see in due time.
"Seeing past their differences, humans and mutants share a common, unbreakable bond. No amount of words--of derision, distrust, or disinformation--can change the truth that each of us... man, woman, black, Hispanic, Jew, Asian, Native American, homosexual, mutant, everyone... underneath all the 'words'... we are all related. We are all family."