Generation X: It's Always Darkest... part 2
Disclaimer: Gen X and X-Men belong to Marvel, anyone else is mine. Ha.
Author's Note: I decided to toss some X-Men in just to see what'd happen, and the answer is not much. Anyhow, I'm FINALLY gonna get Dawn and Gen X back together, but will she tell them about the Legacy Virus? And how will they react if and when she does?
I woke up in a Med Lab. AGAIN. This was getting slightly irritating--fainting and waking up somewhere else, that is. Anyway, it wasn't even the Academy's Med Lab this time, it was a far larger and more sophisticated room then that. To top it off, a huge, blue man stood next to my bedside, fiddling with something.
"Why hello, Dawn," he said when he noticed I was awake. He smiled, showing many long, sharp teeth. Of course, after being attacked by demons and going to other dimensions it was going to take more then that to scare me.
:Hi,: I sent. :Where am I?:
"The Xavier Institute for Higher Learning," he replied.
:Well, at least it's familiar ground,: I shrugged. :Who're you?:
"Dr. Henry McCoy, at your service," he replied. "But you may call me Hank." He looked at me with interest. She's not staring? he thought in mild surprise. Hmph. Is THIS what you've come to, Hank? So used to being outcast that you're surprised when someone DOESN'T stare?
:Should I?: I sent, then realized it was rude to have been eavesdropping on his thoughts in the first place.
Hank, thankfully, didn't see, to mind. "No, but I find it peculiar that you would not be surprised at my admittedly anthropoidic form."
I shrugged. :After what I'VE seen it'd take a lot to surprise YOU too.:
Hank looked thoughtful. "Just where HAVE you been? We got word from Sean that you were among the two new students they had received, and yet you are here, and dressed in a suspiciously familiar yet noticeably different costume that I have seen but for perhaps once before..." he brow furrowed as he tried to dig up the memory.
:The Askani,: I told him. He looked startled. :Yeah, I was a on little mission to save my friend, and I ended up time-tripping to get him a cure.: I looked around. :Um, what time is it?:
"About seven a.m.," he replied, digesting my words. "You've been unconscious for nearly six hours." He checked the chart that was on my bed. "The only thing *I* can find wrong with you is exhaustion, but perhaps you'd care to explain the burned back, broken jaw, near concussion on the back of your head, and numerous cuts and abrasions on your--ahem--wings?"
:Lemme see here... Oh yeah. Psionic blast...: I indicated my back, :...butt of a gun...: I tapped my head, :...brawl...: I pointed to my jaw, :... and demon attack,: I touched my wings.
"Impressive," Hank said. "You must have had quite an adventure."
:Well, it was eventful, if that's what you mean.:
"There is one other thing, though," Hank said, frowning. "I ran a few blood tests while you were out. Are you aware you are..."
:Infected by the Legacy Virus?: I sighed. :Yes. I learned it from Apocalypse and Rachel.:
Despite his concern Hank looked confused. "That WAS some adventure," he commented absently. "But back on track here, what would you like to do about it? We could admit you to--"
:I'll pass, thanks. I've got a good month or two 'till my number's up, and I'd like to make the best of it.:
"I understand." I felt a twang of old sorrow stir within him, and knew he had already had to face the consequences of the dread disease. "Would you like anything?"
:Breakfast would be good,: I sent. :Preferably something I wouldn't have to chew. Oh, and I'm supposed to tell Mrs. Summers something...:
"I'll get her, and her husband as well," Hank nodded. He left the room and I sank back into a troubled half sleep, thinking of Glenn. I was nearly asleep again when two people entered, a red headed woman and a brunette man with red sunglasses, Jean and Scott Summers.
"Hello, Dawn," Jean said. "How are you feeling?"
:Battered, bruised, scorched, some bleeding here and there, but otherwise fine. You?:
"Can't complain," Scott murmured. Jean elbowed him in the ribs and said, "But tell me, why did you want us? You mentioned Rachel..."
I dug into my pouch and pulled out the Phoenix pendent and presented it to her. :She said... it was something to remember her by,: I told her as I handed her the pendent. Jean took it in her hands and stroked it gently. She put it around her neck and said, "Thank you."
Hank entered the room, bearing a bowl of oatmeal. I think it was oatmeal, anyway. "Here we are," he said. "I would refrain from giving you anything to eat until you have completed your obviously emotionally stirring conversation with Mr. and Mrs. Summers, but seeing as how you are not using your mouth for talking in the first place I shall digress." He handed me the bowl, which I began to eat as fast as I could without being rude. I hadn't had anything to eat for nearly two days, I was starved.
"Why did Rachel bring you to the future?" Scott inquired.
:She offered me a trade,: I sent. :She had someone who could cure my friend, but they were imprisoned in Apocalypse's stronghold. She needed me to help her, and in return she'd provide a cure him.:
"And you accepted," Jean said.
:Obviously. But what else could I do? I COULDN'T let him die, let alone because of Sinister--:
"Sinister?!" Scott and Jean gasped at once. "What does HE have to do with this?"
:He... he's been manipulating my family for years. He killed my mother, father, cousin, and God knows how many more people to get to me...: I felt on the verge of tears again and had to stop to catch my breath. :Well... he poisoned Glenn trying to get to me, and what's REALLY ironic is that I'm going to DIE in two months, so he probably wouldn't have gotten that much out of me anyway!: I laughed harshly, on the verge of hysteria again. Jean quickly calmed me down before I could loose it completely, and I rubbed my jaw, which was a little sore from use. :Sorry,: I sent sheepishly. :I'm a little on edge.:
"Understandable," Scott said. "Few of us would be completely at ease with a life threatening disease."
I nodded hesitantly and sent, :Can... can I go home now? To the Academy?:
"Are you sure?" Hank asked. "You're still weak, maybe we should wait for another day or so."
:No. I want to see my friends, and I want to cure Glenn before it gets any worse. I'll teleport myself there if I have to, but I'm going to see him one way or another.:
"Hank," Jean said. "Let her go."
"Very well," Hank sighed. "Though it IS against my better judgement, mind you. As soon as you take care of your friend I'd like you to take a long, quiet nap, got that?"
:Yes,: I said with much relief. They helped me up and got me to their Blackbird, which was roomy enough to contain several dozen mutants with ease.
"May I see the serum?" inquired Hank.
:Here,: I said, handing it to him. :Be careful with it, please?:
"Certiantly," he replied, taking it over to analyze in a mini lab aboard the Blackbird. He extracted a single drop and ran it through a scanner of some sort. After about three minutes I fell asleep, my wings folded tightly against my sides so I could sit in comfort. I had decided to worry about them later; retracting them seemed more effort then it was worth at the moment.
I couldn't have slept more then fifteen, twenty minutes when we landed just outside the Academy. I ran out of the plane despite the protests of my healing back and straight to the Med Lab, closely followed by Hank, Jean and Scott. Sean had fallen asleep in a chair nearby and Emma was nowhere to be seen.
"This'll have to be administered like an IV," Hank said, rummaging through various drawers to find the necessary materials. Sean woke with a start, and beamed at me. "Lass! Ye're back!"
:More or less, yeah,: I said, smiling wanly. :Sorry I've gotta resort to telepathy, I kind of managed to break my jaw.:
"Got it!" Hank exclaimed as he found an IV bag. He unhooked Glenn's IV and attached the serum, sticking the needle into his arm. Glenn barely stirred, unaware of what was going on.
"It's good to see you again, Sean," Scott said, holding out a hand.
"Acch! 'Tis Mr. an' Mrs. Summers!" Sean exclaimed, shaking his hand heartily. "But why're ye here?"
:I got dropped off in a pocket dimension and kept falling short on the way to Massachusetts,: I sent. :I ended up practically on their doorstep.:
Sean grinned at me. "Seems t' me ye managed just fine, considerin' ye're new at this. Aside from the broken jaw, that is."
:Har har. I guess I needn't tell you about my back or head, either. I DID have a broken rib and fractured femur and a black eye or two, but I fixed them.:
"Are ye jokin', lass?"
:No, but I wish I was.: I still felt the occasional phantom pain of one of the injuries, so it was no joke. I glanced at Glenn, whose color had already seemed to improve. Then Sean got a good look at my wings.
"On me sainted mother's grave, lass, what are those?!" he exclaimed.
:Would you believe they're wings?:
"'Twould seem that way," Sean said. "Are ye perchance related t' Warren Worthington?"
:Not that *I* know of,: I replied.
Sean shook his head. "Acch, ye MUST tell me what ye were doing two thousand years from now," he said.
:Promise. But I've also gotta tell you about--:
At that moment Jubilee burst into the room, dressed in her nightgown, her hair mussed from sleep, and yet still wearing her bright yellow trench coat.
"I THOUGHT that was the Blackbird in the middle of the lawn!" she said, running up to Hank. "Whatcha doin' here, Hankster?"
"Merely administering young Mr. Keaton here with a serum that will mostly likely save his life," Hank replied, giving Jubilee a grin. "And what are YOU doing up before noon?"
"It's hard to sleep when a jet lands next to yer dorm," she said. "Whoa, Dawn, what's with the techno uniform? And what're those things on yer mouth?"
:They insisted I couldn't wear my jeans,: I told her. :And these are something to help heal my mouth.:
:Monet kicked me in the face. Kind of. Long story.:
Jubilee shrugged. "I know better then to try an' keep up with this future-yet-to-come crap," she said.
:Then you don't even want to KNOW about the parallel dimension I wound up in,: I said.
Just about then Glenn choose to wake up. I felt it over our psionic rapport, which had resurfaced after I had come home. Home... it sounded so good after my short jaunt to the future.
:What jaunt?: he thought to me, still a little groggy.
:Oh, nothin'. Just a trip to the future is all,: I assured him.
:I'll take yer word fer it,: he sent.
:Don't forget your accent,: I reminded him.
:What ever you say, "sugar-muffin.":
:Sure thing, "honey-bunny.": We both laughed a little, which confused the others.
"Nice uniform," he commented aloud, eyeing the Askani Clan outfit I still had on. I gave him a light slam on the back of the head and reached for my leather jacket, which had been hung on the back of a chair before I had left.
:Give me a second here,: I sent. I concentrated and managed to retract my wings without too much pain, and not nearly as much as had resultedfrom it last time. It was getting easier with practice, and I had a feeling I would eventually be able to fly for more then a few minutes at a time. I put on my jacket, observing how good the leather felt compared to the coarse material my clothes had generally been composed of for the last few days; I couldn't wait to put on some normal clothes.
"Looks like you won't need me to fly anymore, hmm?" Glenn said, not surprised.
:Oh, I've gone flying plenty of times without you,: I chided him, kissing him on the top of the head. :Just a matter of finding the right people, is all. But I think I'd better give THAT particular power a rest; I HAVE been overexerting myself a bit lately.:
"Which is why I would like you to get some rest, as I have previously stated," Hank reminded me.
:I'd really like to talk to Ms. Frost and Mr. Cassidy about--: I began, but then remembered Jubilee and Glenn were present.
"We'll handle it for now," Jean said. I sighed and went back to my room, promising Glenn I'd come down as soon as I could.
Halfway there I remembered I was covered with grime and decided it would be nice to have a shower too. I stopped off at my room and picked up some clean clothes and a towel or so along with shampoo and soap. As I undressed my hand ran across the side of my stomach and I discovered several welts on it. I wondered if I should ask Sean or Hank about it when I remembered something I had picked up from Hank's mind, namely that such welts often appeared on victims of the Legacy Virus. This wasn't news to me, but I was worried about what might happen if the others saw it. I decided to keep it a secret from the others until we decided what to do about it.
I washed my hair, grimacing as lots of God-knows-what and even more I-don't-want-to-know-what was washed out. I even swore I saw a bit of blood, but I wasn't sure if it was mine or someone else's. I got out after about twenty five minutes, dressed, and went straight to my waiting bed.
I woke up around six o'clock, just in time for dinner. I went down stairs to find the others had ordered no less then thirteen pizzas, and that Glenn was up with them. He still had an IV unit with him, but he was fully dressed and looked much better.
"Hey, gel," he said, smiling. "Up at last?"
"Mmm hmm," I said. I flexed my jaw carefully; it was still tender, but only the tiniest bit. I breathed a sigh of relief. "I am SO glad I can use my mouth for talking again," I said, removing the microchip-like devices from either side of my face and placing them carefully in my pocket. "Using telepathy is okay for a little while, but it gets old after a few days. Anybody order a cheese pizza?"
"Left of the sausage and underneath the pistachio, garlic, and anchovies," Everett told me.
"Who ordered THAT?" I asked. Paige pointed to Mondo, who was happily gulping it down. I'm sure I turned a noticeable shade of green, for Mondo smiled at me and said, "Try it. It is better then it sounds."
"Um, I'll pass, thanks," I said, taking a slice of cheese pizza out of the box.
"Where did you go, anyway?" Paige asked me as she had a slice of pepperoni pizza.
"Just a few thousand years in the future," I told her nonchalantly. "It was high tech, but pretty dirty, not to mention depressing."
"So the future is a garbage dump?" Angelo inquired, sipping a can of Jolt.
"In some parts, anyhow." I took another bite of pizza. "Lord, how I've missed grease."
The rest of dinner went on like that, until Sean and Emma came in. I guessed that the three X-Men must have left while I slept, for I hadn't seen them anywhere for a while.
"Lass, will ye come with us, please?" Sean asked. I nodded silently and got up, following them to the headmaster's office.
"So they told you?" I inquired after Sean had closed the door.
"Aye," Sean said. "We want t' know what YE would like t' do about it, though."
"And the options are..?"
"You could be admitted to the Muir Island Research Center," Emma said, "or a general hospital. Or you could remain with the team..."
"I'd rather stay here," I said immediately.
"Lass, in a hospital ye could--"
"Prolong something that's inevitable anyway, I know. Thanks, no, I'd rather spare myself the pain and false hope." I rubbed my arm nervously. "There IS no cure. Not right now, anyway, and I seriously doubt they'll find one in the next month or so. I figure I might as well try to do as much good as I can WHILE I can, right?"
"Ach, we're all insane," Sean said, shaking his head. "Ye fer nae doin' what's rational, an' I fer letting ye get away with it. I cannae fault yuir courage, though. As far as I'm concerned ye c'n stay. Emma, what do ye say?"
"I suppose," Emma sighed. "Though I'm probably going to regret it."
"An' now fer the next problem," Sean said, "Do ye want t' tell the other students about it?"
I thought for a few moments. "I... not now," I decided. "I don't think I could bear it if I were alienated from anyone. Maybe later..."
Sean and Emma nodded. "I c'n appreciate yuir reasons," he said. "All right, ye may go join the others. Tomorrow we willna have any classes, it'll be a free day for ye t' readjust. Ye may join the others now, if ye like."
"Thanks," I said, walking out the door and into the dark, empty hallway.
TEASER: A water fight, an argument, and the beginning of an enigma. Need I say more?