Josh

New Years Eve

December 31st, 2004

11:58PM

I had should be getting drunk right now. I mean that is the grand tradition of New Years isn’t it? Get wasted to celebrate the year ahead and than the next day swear you’re really going to drink a lot less in the New Year even though that isn’t going to happen.

Instead I’m standing in the middle of a park, not far from a tiny carter I had made over a week ago. To be fair that tradition of getting wasted and dealing with the hang over the day after ended last year for me. Instead I was almost beaten to death by Apocalypse and instead spent the new few days recovering from that. I was actually sort of drunk before being transported in the sewers. Mass murderer is a massive buzz kill.

I looked down at my watch, squinting in the dark to see. It was 11:59. A minute left, the countdown was starting. My heart immediately began to pound.

Everything was so different last year, my relationship with the others, the big looming threat of Apocalypse. In some ways it was so much simpler, which is weird considering.

Thirty seconds left until it happens.

It was at the end of the countdown to the New Year last year that I was transported in the Morlock Tunnels where I faced Apocalypse. That’s how the countdown ended last year, with a big surprise twist. I’m banking on the same this year.

But everything was so different last year. For one thing, I was a mutant. And now…

December 22nd, 2004

10 Days Before The New Year

The four of us were seated down in the medical room on four chairs which had been arranged in an a sort of cock-eyed square. None of us were talking. I was rubbing the bandage I had around my arm where my blood was taken, Cassie sat with her arms folded looking nervous and shaken, Cory was tipping his chair slightly looking at the ceiling and Lily was twirling her hair around her finger, her eyes filled with panic.

I don’t know what we could talk about right now. About forty minutes ago each of us had a power freak out which at the very end resulted in each of us losing our powers. Megan had teleported us all to the warehouse, including Connor who was with Lily when her powers went out of control. They two of them were waiting outside for us. I guess they wanted to leave us alone.

Without my powers I felt weak, exhausted, almost broken. It was like something was missing inside of me. No it wasn’t like that, it was that. I felt empty and cold. My hands were still cut up and bloody from pounding me fist into the ground and they would be this way as long as I didn’t have my healing factor. The pain in my hand seemed to go through my whole body and I wasn’t sure that pain would go away either. I couldn’t remember stinging pain like this before. I had never felt so empty, so abnormal.

I looked to Lily as she rubbed the large bandage on her forehead. Cassie was also looking at Lily, “What happened to you?”

Lily looked at Cassie surprised and than blushed slightly, “Well uh, my powers sort of made a pot smack me right in the forehead.”

Involuntarily I let out a laugh but quickly tried to cover it by coughing. I wasn’t alone as Cassie covered her mouth quickly so only a muffle laughed emerged while Cory laughed without reservation laughed pretty loud.

Lily shook her head and let out a little laugh despite herself, “It’s not funny.”

“Well,” I replied smirking.

“It really isn’t,” she tried to sound a bit more stern but could not stop smiling, “I was having a moment with Connor.”

“A moment?” Cassie raised her voice slightly as she tried to talk over Cory’s laughter.

“Well,” she scratched the back of her head and looked away, “We were going to kiss.”

“Slut!” Cory pointed at Lily.

“Hmm,” Josh nodded, “See what happens when you try and kiss another girl’s guy.”

“Shut up,” She rolled her eyes at me.

“Don’t worry you’re not the first slut who was smacked with a flying pan,” Cassie smirked.

“Karma is quite a bitch,” I added.

“I always wondered why Paris Hilton’s face looked like that,” Cassie put a finger to her chin, “But I guess she was attacked by the slut pot too.”

Cory was laughing so hard now that he was clutching his stomach.

“You guys suck,” Lily narrowed her eyes.

“Well just be glad you didn’t,” I retorted, “Who knows what would have smacked you in the face then.”

“Ew,” Lily laugh as she gave me a look of disgust. Cory meanwhile collapsed to the floor.

“Well a lesson learned right,” I wagged a finger at Lily, “If you don’t want any more cooking utensils attacking you, you’ll avoiding making out with other girl’s boyfriends.”

“I’m actually impressed,” Cassie looked at Lily with a face which matched her words, “I mean come on, you know he wants you and you want him. Who gives about his skanky girlfriend when we can have Lily instead.”

“Skanky Lily,” I added.

“Assertive Lily,” Cassie corrected me and I looked to Lily and nodded in agreement.

“I don’t even know why I was going to kiss him,” Lily shrugged, “I like where we are right now and a kiss would just complicated things. I guess I should be thankful for the pot.”

“Now you’re sounding like my brother.”

She laughed, we all did. For those few moments everything was okay. The past few months, hell the past hour, seemed to have disappeared from our minds. It was like everything was back to normal.

“The tests are back.” Ororo and Forge walked into the room

And like that a sudden coldness and tension filled the air as we all seemed to remember why we were here. Lily stopped smiling, Cory got back to his seat and Cassie sat up slightly, her arms folding tightly as she looked to Ororo. I felt my throat clench and I felt sick to my stomach. I knew the news wouldn’t be good. How could it be?

Ororo moved to the center of the room. If her face wasn’t a dead give away to the bad news coming I didn’t know what was. She seemed apprehensive to say anything and I could tell she was feeling stressed. She looked to Forge, who stood by her side a bit more composed, which I guess he would be given that our relationship didn’t go beyond that of a double O and their Q.

“Your test have come back,” he lifted up a manila folder and gave us all a sympathetic gaze, “I’m sorry but it looks like your all, for all intents and purposes, human.”

“Human?” Cassie looked at Forge confused, “Don’t you mean powerless? I mean even without our powers, we are still mutants right?”

“No,” Ororo looked at Cassie and shook her head sadly, “You’re not just powerless. You’re human. We have done the blood work, the DNA test, everything. You’re X-Factor gene is gone.”

I felt my body go even more numb that it already had become and I could feel the color leave my face. My head was almost spinning, it was getting harder to breathe and I felt like I was going to throw up. How could this be happening?

“So is that bad?” Cory asked confused, “What’s an X-Factor?”

“Seriously,” Cassie shook her head at him, “Did you pay attention to anything I’ve ever said to you?”

“Nope.”

“The X-Factor,” Ororo interjected, “is what we call the gene which grants you your power.”

“It’s what makes us mutants,” Cassie said in a patronizing tone.

“And it’s gone?” Lily looked as dumbfounded as I felt, “But that’s like impossible right? I mean the mutant gene just doesn’t magically disappear.”

“It’s not normal at all,” Forge looked down at his paper, “The thing is that what looks like what happened.”

“Magic?” I asked.

“Not magic no,” Forge shook his head, “But the x-gene, your X-Factor, is gone and there is nothing in your bodies that seem to indict what caused it. It seems to literally have just disappeared.”

I still couldn’t believe this, “But how?”

Cassie looked to me, “Isn’t it obvious? Who do we know who has a hard-on for playing with genetics?”

“Sinister.” I replied immediately feeling fury in the pit of my stomach.

Cassie nodded, “It has to be him doesn’t it?”

I couldn’t help but feel it doesn’t as a sudden realization came over me.

“It does seem like it is most likely him,” Ororo sighed, “But of course the man is practically impossible to find but I will alert Jean.”

I wasn’t really looking at Ororo or anyone anymore. I was looking at the ground feel like someone had just punched me in the gut.

“That mutant we fought,” Cassie continued, “The purple one with an emo kid’s obsession with cutting, you know the one we fought the other day the bank. He cut all of us, maybe if we find him-”

But it was me. I think it was me who did this. In my mind it sounded impossible but this whole thing was impossible. But after what happened between my friends and I, I just wanted to be normal, after being responsible for Cory’s brother death; I just to be….well human. My powers and who I was in general, had ruined Cory’s life and I wanted them gone. I knew I had the ability to manipulate molecular structures, though I had never actually used it myself except I think for today when my powers freaked out but what if I did it subconsciously. I think I had done it once before. Homecoming; the horsemen attacked and Megan was caught in the middle. I thought I would watch her die but her mutant powers emerged, coincidentally teleportation. I had never told anyone my suspicions about what I had done but what if I did it again only this time I took away mine and the others’ powers. I know it sounds crazy but maybe subconsciously because I somehow wished this on myself.

“Maybe it was you.”

I looked to Lily surprised at what she had just said. But she wasn’t looking at me.

“Me?” Cassie put a hand on her chest, “What in my secret laboratory where I’m plotting everyone’s demise.”

“Who isn’t surprised?” Cory put up a hand up.

“I don’t mean it like that,” Lily shook her head and brushed a piece of her hair behind her ears as she looked to the ground.

“Oh,” Cassie gave Lily an icy stare, “What do you mean?”

“Well,” Lily looked up and stared right back at her defiantly, “You broke the telepathic link right? What if that some how made us lose our powers?”

“You mean changed our genetic code?” Cassie laughed coldly, “God how kind of you to think I am capable of doing such Godly feats.”

“Well I wasn’t just to stroke your ego,” Lily sat back and folded her arms , “I’m just saying maybe this is the result of what you did. That you somehow affected all our powers and it somehow changed us.”

Somehow,” Cassie replied, “That doesn’t sound very likely. But hey if you are still harboring ill will because I broke our link just say so. Clearly Lily needs a new villain with her daddy gone.”

“It has nothing to do with that.”

“Oh of course not,” Cassie replied nastily.

“Why are you even arguing?” Coy looked at each of us confused, “This is a good thing. We’re cured.”

“Cured?” I snapped out of my train of thought and looking at Cory with disgust, “How can you we were cured? What do you think our powers were some sort of disease.”

“Well haven’t they been?” He glared angrily at me, “My brother is dead because of who you were and he isn’t the only one. Gaia, Tricia, Asher, Connor’s best friend, Professor Xavier and who knows who else. They are dead because they knew us, because they got caught in the middle of our mess.”

“We also saved lives,” I clenched my fist.

Cory’s face contorted with anger, “So I guess that makes all the lives we’ve ruined, including our own, okay?”

“Enough!” Ororo screamed, “This arguing is getting us no where. I think it is best if everyone just goes home. We will meet here first thing in the morning while Forge and I do more research on this matter. We will need actually silence not this immature bickering.”

With that Ororo stormed out of the room leaving us me feeling slightly ashamed. Megan came in with Connor a moment later.

“So,” she looked around the room, “Who goes first.”

“I’m staying here,” Cory muttered not looking at Megan, “I’ll go home with Ororo.”

“Right sure,” Megan nodded as Lily got up.

“Think you can take me to Connor’s? I sort of left his kitchen looking a war zone.”

Connor shook his head, “You don’t have to help-”

“I do,” Lily gave him a small smile.

Megan looked at Connor than back to Lily, “Well step right up then.”

Lily

Megan teleported Connor and I back to his house and I immediately made my way towards his kitchen. My stomach turned as I saw the mess I had made, much worst then I had even realized. Silverware, pots, pans, pieces of cabinets, and other tiny metal pieces were either scattered about on or in the floor. The refrigerator had been toppled over and the oven’s door and stoves had been ripped apart. The light fixture had crashed into the wall leaving a large hole and tons of glass scattered about.

Connor walked to my side, “I’ll tell my mom I had a party.”

I looked at him in disbelief, “With who; Iggy Pop?

He sighed and looked around his kitchen, “Well can you think of a better idea?”

I frowned but than smiled playfully at him, “Just tell her you stayed away from Iggy’s crack pipe.”

I made my way slowly to the center of the kitchen and bent down. My eyes traveled to small drops of blood which were scattered below. My blood from when the pot smacked me in the face. I couldn’t help but smile as I remembered what the others had joked about but when I reached down and grabbed and felt how wet the blood was and then saw it on my fingers that smile disappeared.

It now occurred to me that I was now human. It was so weird and I felt so wrong. In so many ways I couldn’t remember being human. It was hard to think I had a life before I discovered I was a mutant and then months later discovered who my father and mother really were. Back then I had no clue what this world was really like. I didn’t believe that anyone could be truly evil because I had never seen an evil act. And back then my friends and I were as close as can be. Nothing could have torn us about. That girl I was is gone now. She was a girl who was all filled with naïve hope for some sort of magical world and human or mutant, I knew that wasn’t the case anymore but at least with my powers I felt like I could make the world a little better, help people and even make up for what my father had done to others. Being a mutant was never a curse for me, it was a birthright, it was who I was. My powers were a connection to my mother, my brother and even my father I actually cherished. My powers were important to me as my heart, as much a part of what makes me work.

“Lily?”

I stood up and turned to Connor as he made his way over to me.

“I’m fine,” I could tell he was concerned so I just forced a smile as a lump was beginning to form in my throat, “I have a pounding headache but other than that everything is fan-freakin-tastic.” I felt a tear begin to fall down my cheek and quickly wiped it away. “And I was doing so good with the crying thing.”

He moved in front of me and moved one hand to my arm. I winched in pain, moving my arm away from his hand. His hand stayed frozen in place for a second as he looked at me as another tear came down my eye. I looked away but felt his hand move to the side of my face and wipe away my tear.

“Stop,” I closed my eyes as I took in the warmth of his skin.

“Lily,” he said softly, “I-”

“No,” I backed away a bit, “I can’t.”

“Why?” He moved towards me again and grabbed my hand, “I’m sorry for all the things I said to you and I know you might never forgive me-”

“That isn’t it it’s-”

“I love you.”

His words rang inside my head and made my heart swell. For a moment I didn’t care that I was human. I just wanted to hear those words again and again. They seemed to make my body vibrate.

“I love you too,” I stared into his beautiful green eyes, “But I can’t be with you.”

“Give me a reason why,” he whispered softly bringing his face close to mine, “I just want one.”

At that moment, looking at him I just wanted to kiss him. To feel not only his hands on my skin but his lips. But I just sighed and ran a hand over his cheek, “I like what we are right now, it’s sort of what I need right now. Sure it has it’s complications like me wanting to wanting to jump you,” he smiled, “But right I need a friend, a best friend even, who I can talk too about how my powers are gone and how many father is a mass murder and my friends are assholes.”

“You know I can do both,” he smirked, “Best friend and boyfriend all ruled in one awesome guy.”

“Yeah,” I nodded, “You do awesome guy pretty well but I’m not sure I can handle awesome right now and by that I mean, I’m not sure I can handle a boyfriend. There is just too much going on right now and I like were we are as friends. As for where I am right now by myself, I don’t know. I lost my friends and my powers all within the same month. I just need to figure a few things first.”

My nodded sadly and than let go of my hand. “I understand completely. And,” he took in a deep breath like he was trying to push past whatever he was feeling right now, “I’ll be there for you if you need me.”

“I know,” I smiled at him, “And you know I think this friend thing will be good. I can tell you about all the guys I think are hot.”

“Oh,” he nodded amused.

“There was this one guy I met last week,” I looked off in wax nostalgia, “He was so hot. And well one thing lead to another and we were having some pre-marital sex.”

“Yeah?” He continued nod, “How was it?”

“Eh,” I shook my hand around a bit, “But the guy that came in right after him was amazing.”

“Nice,” Connor nodded.

“Forgot to get his number though so I’ll need to find someone else,” I feigned disappointment.

“Don’t worry I’m sure you’ll got something from him.”

I laughed and than stared at him for a second. I couldn’t really take my eyes off his handsome face, his smile and his eyes. Again all I wanted to do was kiss him but instead I put out my hand.

“Friends?”

He grabbed it and I felt a spark one through my whole body. It took a lot for me to not just pull him towards me at that moment. We both smiled at each other and I could tell he was probably thinking the same thing.

“Friends.”

Cory

The others had all left so now it was just me, Ororo and Forge alone in the warehouse. Ororo and Forge had gone into another room. I’m guessing it’s too discuss the fact they we were all sort of human now.

I’m pretty okay with this. To be fair my powers have brought me nothing but grief. If I get to angry things catch on fire, if I get to horny I electrocute people, and it all just sucks. And the whole mutant thing in general has ruined my life. Because Josh was a mutant my brother died because I was a mutant Gaia and Tricia died. And that’s just people connected to me. I even lost my parents because they want nothing to do with a mutant kid.

It’s a blessing in my opinion. I can really start over now. My life won’t be in constant danger. I can do fun, sexy things. I can be me and not to have worry about anything. Sure I liked helping people I really did but it all to got to be too much and I lost too much. This is my chance to actually live the life I want, no parents, no friends, no powers. Brand New Cory is here! Plus I can still help people, just now it would be with my music. I’ll inspire them. I remember I told Cassie that when she asked me what I really wanted to do with my life and she laughed for like five minutes straight. I know she doesn’t think I’m very good and now I don’t even know to care. I’m Cory without his bad friends and I’m a human now too!

That isn’t to say it isn’t weird being human. It does feel like something is missing inside of me, that I lost something but I get that feeling a lot because I usually do lose stuff or forget where I put something. But I can also feel things now. Like before I couldn’t really get hot or cold , Cassie and Ororo said my body just adapted but now for the first time I realize it’s sort of chilly in the warehouse and I like it. I like feeling the cold and I can’t wait to go home and take a hot shower and feel the actual heat on me, the actual burn of it.

And of course there are stuff I want, other stuff I’ve been wanting to do but couldn’t do because of my powers. That would of course be sex. Yes I can finally have sex. Now I just need to find someone to do it with. I don’t care who as long as she’s decent looking.

A smirked formed on my face, I couldn’t help it. I got out of my chair that I had been sitting in and began to walk over to the Cerebro Room. I wanted to get out of her, I wanted to start my new life.

I made my way into the room with a bit more swagger than usually, “Hey Or-”

But I stopped short. Ororo was hugging Forge, her head buried in his shoulders as she let out audible sobs.

“Is everything okay?” I asked stupidly.

Ororo lifted her head from Forge’s shoulder and wiped her eyes, “No…it’s..a former student of mine has been…..” Ororo couldn’t seem to get the words out, “murdered.”

“Oh…”

“Cory,” Ororo moved towards me, “It’s someone you know.”

My heart dropped, “Who?”

A tear streamed down Ororo’s face as she put a hand on my shoulder, “It’s Kitty Pryde.”

My heart sank more. Kitty Pryde. I had met her Thanksgiving last year. She and I had a superhero team up and saved the day. She later invited me to her house for Thanksgiving. She was nice and superhot.

I moved forward and hugged Ororo trying my best to comfort her. I was pretty tall at 6’1 so Ororo didn’t really need to slouch at all when she put her head on my shoulders and began to cry.

It keeps happening. This world is dangerous. Last year I literally battled Death. According to her or him or it or whatever it was I was consumed by death. I had to overcome my fears of death which I think I did. I’m not afraid of death now but I sure as hell I feel like I know it. And I know that death seems to be way too closely associated with the mutant world. And I’m glad to be out it because I’m tired of losing people.

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