Thursday, December 3rd
I think everyone has a nightly ritual. You know that one thing they do before they go to sleep and if they don’t do that one thing all they do that night is toss and turn in their bed until the morning comes up and they feel agitated and tired. That’s a belief I have, I could be right, I could be wrong but come on, it is me.
I like to read every night before I go to sleep. Light reading like Paradise Lost, Sun Zu’s The Art of War, or The Prince by Machivaelli. It started when I was a little. My parents would read to me before bed every night and I asked them to stop reading me the drivel about trains and amazing tales of going potty. I wanted real books, so they read them to me and eventually I started to read it to them. They were so proud when I started to do that. So I would sleep, happy and fulfilled. And I still do that to this day and than wake up fully rested. It’s the best way to sleep.
Cassie says we have rituals before we sleep and I believe her. Every night before I go too sleep I like to listen to music. Nothing hardcore or anything, just nice, soft music. Not that I would ever listen to hardcore music. The screaming annoys me and I just don’t get why everyone is so angry. And what’s with all the piercings and tattoos. That scares me and it isn’t very attractive.
Mostly I listen to things like Matchbox 20, Sia, Snow Patrol and the Arcade Fire, which Cory recently turned me on too. It centers me. I close my eyes and just listen to the music and only think about that. I don’t think about my crazy mutant life or about my friends. I just let it all go and worry about in the morning. I fall asleep feeling safe and that all is right in the world. It’s a nice way to sleep.
I do things before I go to sleep that I am not allowed to tell Lily about it. She gets really freaked, I don’t now why. I tell her, her boyfriend or well ex-boyfriend, definitely does it, maybe not before he goes to sleep but he does it, especially since she was such a huge prude. That would just make her even more anger.
It’s just one of the many things I do before I go to sleep. It’s hard to shut off a mind like mine. After I’m done doing the thing I’m not allowed to talk to Lily about, I write. Not like stories or anything but music. It’s what I want to do with my life and I think I’m good at it. Cassie tells me that I make up words and that my spelling and handwriting is like that of a six year old but I think she digs it.
Well I obviously do the thing I’m not allowed to tell Lily about for fun but the second thing, the music writing, I do it because I’m good at least I think so. I do it because it’s something I actually feel proud of myself for doing. When I look down at a line I finished or maybe even a full song, I actually see a pretty bright future for myself. A future with lots of groupies. Than I get really good night’s sleep.
I have no rituals unless maybe you count lying down in my bed, thinking constantly, tons of nagging thoughts drilling into my brain until I finally fall asleep a night time ritual. I’m just not a good sleeper. I tried to read a book but either I can’t put it down, can’t get it through or just put it down and think about it and what’s going to happen in it, constantly. If I listen to music, I just think about my life and everything about it. If I hear a sappy song I think about something sappy or tragic in my life whether it be one of mine many tortures or just Xavier’s death or something. Lily says not to listen to rock or anything to heavy because it would just keep me up but I tried that and that just made me think of all the fights I’ve had and maybe even new moves I could do. Yeah it’s all a bit sad.
Cory’s thing, which he is forbidden to talk to Lily about and really I would prefer if he didn’t talk to me about it either, I mean I’ve done that….you know a lot I guess. I mean I’m a guy so-yeah. But that doesn’t help either. Nothing does. I just eventually pass out after a couple hours of thinking. I think about things like my friends, my powers, and what the hell is going on with the world. And usually I don’t get a very good night’s sleep.
My book tonight was the Inferno.
I lied down on my bed, my book open, the light next to my bed on. It was good book, but I wasn’t exactly loving it. It didn’t help that my head had been killing me around the same time every night right before bed. I closed the book as I finished a page and touched the side of my head.
 “Have you tried meditating?” Emma appeared at the end of my bed, “Or astral projecting?”
I sighed, “I meditated last night and astral project two nights ago. These headaches keep coming back every night.”
Emma looked to the book, “Maybe its book. Maybe you should try not reading the story of your afterlife.”
“My hell is here with you Emma,” I smirked at her and than waved my hand at the light next to my bed. It went off and my room was now dark save for the moonlight light which seemed to be shining right into my room tonight.
Emma walked up from my bed and into the middle of my room, the moonlight hitting her face and emitting her in an eerier yet beautiful goal.
“What does Jean say about your headaches?”
“Just that I’m keeping too much inside again,” I said I began to get under my covers, “I think she knows about my conversation with Destiny.”
“Why don’t you tell her?”
“What’s there to tell?” I looked to Emma as I fully got under my covers, “Destiny said something bad is coming but the thing is something bad is always coming so what’s new really?”
“The fact that Destiny will die,” Emma’s blue eyes were sparking in the moonlight but there was something about them that was wrong. I could feel it.
“What’s the point,” I said putting my head down and looking up at the ceiling, “Destiny will always just be one step ahead of us. If she doesn’t want our help-” I paused. I wanted to help Destiny, I wanted to save her from her supposed death but I didn’t know how. I knew I should tell Jean and the others but I’m afraid. I’m afraid that there really is no fighting it, that there is such a thing as fate and there is nothing I can do to prevent certain things from happening. I don’t know why but I fear it more than anything else, even Stryker and his Sentinels.
 “I need to sleep.”
I looked to Emma. Half her face and body was covered in a shadow.
“Something is coming,” She said to me, “You could feel it can’t you.”
“I just need to sleep,” I said, “Than no headache in the morning.”
I closed my eyes at Emma’s half shadowed face and began to fall into a deep sleep.
The last song I listened to before I went to sleep tonight was Cat Power’s The Greatest. I didn’t listen to it right away though as I got a call phone from Allie asking if I wanted to skiing with her family during this Christmas break. I told  herI probably wouldn’t be able too but I’d ask my dad. It wasn’t my dad that would stop just mostly my whole crazy life. I don’t think I’ve been on a genuine vacation since I went to California last Thanksgiving. And that wasn’t exactly a fun trip with the Professor dying and all.
This Thanksgiving it was just my dad and I, my brother didn’t. I invited Cory over but he didn’t come either. He had to stay with his parents. It was nice though, just my dad and I. I had a good time. Things have been kind of normal and quiet for me on the personal life front. Connor and I aren’t really talking or acknowledge each other’s existence but I’m surprisingly okay with it. Does it hurt? Maybe a little. Does I miss him? Yeah I guess but I’m doing okay. I have to move on. I haven’t heard a peep from my father since his video came out and I’ve been trying to keep him as far out of mind as possible, which is hard sometimes. But I have to do it. Like with Connor, I have to move on right?
I wish I had the others around me though, it would make it all easy but I feel like I’m taking it all on myself. I can’t tell Allie the whole truth about Connor, I can’t tell her anything about my father. So I just hold it all in. Sometimes Cassie talks about it with me, but that’s getting rarer and rarer. I just remember what that boy Seth said at the party, that it was high school and people do group apart. That isn’t us though. We’re best friends, through and through. It isn’t like we don’t see each other everyday but it just isn’t the same. Training and fighting evil together isn’t the same as being someone’s best friend. I miss them and no, I won’t move on. I’ll never move on from them.
I sighed and shook my head putting my headphone’s on and pressing play on my Ipod. Cat Power finally played and I put my head against the pillow and closed my eyes. The Greatest wasn’t the most uplifting song ever, in fact it was sort of down right depressing. But I thought it was beautiful, the lyrics, Cat Power’s voice, the music playing. It just seems to center me, makes me forget. Before I knew it the song ended but still resonated in my mind. I took my headphones off and put my ipod beside my bed closed my eye and drifted into a deep sleep.
After I was done with my first ritual I started to write a bit and got a few good things down. It was sort of angry and melodramatic but hey, after the thanksgiving I just had, it was expected.
Thanksgiving at my house are most certainly the suck. My grandparents came over, as do my uncle, aunt, and cousin who is way hot. Cousin or not, I’d do her. But other than her being hot, she really isn’t too cool. She, like the rest of my family, aren’t to thrilled with me or even with each other. They all just look at me like I’m some sort of weird thingy, like I’m a giant failure.
My grandmother, when she isn’t crying about my dead brother, talks about how I’m so much different than he was at my age, the age he died at. “Donald was an honor student and had so many little girlfriends,” she would say. They all thought Donnie was perfect and I was the exact opposite of it. But I guess compared to Donnie I was a big failure. Donnie was on every sports team, got straight A’s, had a hot girls hanging all over him, was popular and just the perfect son. My parents loved him, way more than they loved me, even then. At least I think they did. I can’t remember that much from when I was that young just little things, like things with Donnie. Not everything with him, I don’t remember when he died even though I was right there when he did. A mutant blew up and killed him in front of me and I can’t remember any of it. Cassie says it psychological but I thought that was only a woman’s problem.
But it’s okay that I don’t remember that, I rather not. It’s hard enough thinking of Donnie every time I see my mom look over at me, dead eyed and disappointed or have my dad ignore me. Donnie is around every corner in this house, he’s always here, I see him in my parents and my parents see him in me. Cassie says that’s our problem, that as long as we associate everything with Donnie our relationship would stay the same. But I think we have more problems than that.
The one weird thing that happened during Thanksgiving was when William Stryker came to my house. I was shocked. His wife and son are dead, so I guess he was all alone anyway. He was only there for like two minutes, said he was traveling through. He told my dad how smart of a boy I was, “strong and courageous” he also said, I was someone they should be proud. I could tell my dad was thinking “Yeah right.”  But it was nice having someone there for just two minutes who could actually look at me and not think “Waste of turkey”
I closed my notebook with all my songs in it and put my head on my pillow. I was ready for a good night’s sleep. Friday at school’s suck, school actually always sucks. I sighed and closed my eyes, falling into a deep sleep.
I couldn’t sleep, not at all, so I decided to take a shower. I was use to late night showers as being the youngest of four siblings, I was always the last that got the shower and by the time it became available I had to go to school. So I mostly took night showers and still do, even though Danny’s in college and the girls are in California.
I turned the water on hot and waited for it to cool down a bit before stepping in. As I took off my clothes, I could feel some of my muscles ache. Today two mutants caused big trouble in Little Italy. One was an eight foot, muscular guy who might give Strong Guy a run of his money and another was a fire thrower. I luckily got both smashed and burnt before we took those guys out.
I stepped into the shower and the water hit my bare stomach. I winched in pain as I move my hand over to the large black and blue bruise on the right side of my stomach. It had yet to heal because that’s exactly how my healing factor works. Never healed when I needed it too.
I ran a hand over the bruise on my stomach and looked down at it. Last year the horseman War cut a letter A into it, it took weeks to heal. I just wish I knew how it worked.
I moved my head under the water and put my put it down. I come feel the warm water going down my back. It bothered me not knowing how this power worked because it some ways it was an incredibly powerful and I had no control of it. But whether I liked it or not, it was had its uses My legs mending, while it hurt and was probably one of the worst experiences of my life, is incredibly useful. It saved me from being a cripple or worse dying and even though it makes me sick to think about it, I’m glad that it happened. But lately I’ve been thinking what happens if my healing factor begins to work like Wolverine’s, what if I just age really slowly. I didn’t want that. I didn’t want to live to be over a hundred and fifty years. I didn’t want to see people die but what if I do. What if my healing factor gets better as I get older, which bruises and cuts aside, it seems to do. I already feel isolated enough from humanity, aging really slowly and living until I’m 500 years old won’t help. I don’t want to become Larry King!
I turned off my shower and quickly went to my room, throwing on a pair of black sweats, a black t-shirt and black sneakers. I needed to know. I went over to my window and quickly opened it. I couldn’t exactly go out of the front door. My mom doesn’t approve of me going out late on school nights which is why it’s best my mom never knows I’m an X-Man.
I flew out my open window at top speed and arrived at my destination before I knew it. I looked around at the empty and dark street I was on. There was no one really out, save for a few passing cars who even if they saw me land probably just thought they were seeing things. I looked back up at the five story, white brick building. I moved over to the intercom system and pressed the last button and heard a buzzing sound.
Second later I heard a kind, but powerful woman’s voice say, “Hello?”
“Hi Ororo it’s me.” I paused for a seconds, “Josh.”
I heard static than, “Is something wrong? Let me buzz you in.”
I heard another, more prolonged buzzing sound and than heard a click. I opened the door to the apartment building and walked inside. I quickly made my way up the narrow staircase until I arrived at the fifth floor.
The door to Ororo’s was already open and she stood in a doorway wearing a long, silk white robe. She had her hair back in ponytail and as her blue eyes feel upon me, I could tell she was concerned.
“Oh nothing is wrong,” I shook my head quickly as I arrived at Ororo’s doorway, “I just-I need to talk to you.”
Ororo’s concerned didn’t leave her face and she motioned me. I nodded at her and tried not to look at her robe which was opening slightly. Cory would probably be staring with his mouth opened by now, he’s tactful like that.
Ororo’s apartment was sort of bare but nice. She had white walls and a nice hardwood floors which I only notice because my mom always said she wants that in our house. There were tons of plants and flowers of all kinds scattered around her house, which is what brought it alive most.
I went over to the small, black leather couch at the center of Ororo’s living room. There was a small coffee table in front with a glass of half empty glass of red wine on it, which was placed next to a bunch of papers with blue prints of-
“Sentinels,” I said picking up the paper and looking at the blue prints of a Sentinel. It looked like your run of the mill Sentinel, nothing exactly special about it but I was hoping there would be something on the paper that said something about a giant weakness but of course, no go. Just numbers and words like “Laser eyes” and stuff I knew already.
“Forge was able to obtain those for us,” Ororo said taking a seat next to me.
“Red wine and a little reading before bed,” I nodded slowly, “The life of a single gal.”
Ororo smiled at me, “Well I was going to go for a fly later tonight.”
Ororo smiled again and looked down at the paper, “They do not really tell us anything new except that they are building smaller Sentinels.”
“Well that’s good,” I looked at her with a hopeful smile, “Right?”
“No. They’ll be able to build them faster than before and because of their size, the actual Sentinels will be produced quicker.”
“Oh,” I sighed, “Well that stinks.”
“Yes,” Ororo nodded, “And the large ones will still be in production too.”
“You stop with all this good news you,” I said putting the paper down. I looked at another paper and saw a list of names, “What’s that?”
“When Forge was able to get the blue prints he was also able to get us this,” Ororo handed me the paper and I looked down at, “It’s a list of names of those associated with the Sentinel Project, whether it be weapon development or just beneficiary support.”
“Bolvair Trask, Senator Kelly,” I said reading one of the names at the top of the list, “No surprise there. Tons of other government stooges, CEOs, racist, Nick Fury!” I looked at Ororo, “I didn’t think Nick Fury would… I mean. He seemed cool.”
“We aren’t sure what Nick Fury’s involvement is,” Ororo took the paper from me, “There are multiple S.H.I.E.L.D. agents on that list, most of could never provide any real money like those men on those lists, so they have to be doing something us, gathering information maybe.” She handed me back the list and pointed.
“William Stryker!” I looked down at the name as Ororo removed her finger from it, “Cory said he drove some crap car, so yeah no financial support from him.” I continued to look at all the names which Ororo had labeled as S.H.I.E.L.D agents, “John Wraith. Seriously, do any of those S.H.I.E.L.D. agents have nice, happy names. Like Lottie Love or Jimmy Hugs. I guess Sharon Carter is a nice one.” I put the paper down, “What could they be gathering information about?”
Ororo looked down, “I don’t know. All the former S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who have official positions in the schools in this district are on this list, so maybe it is to gather the names for the Sentinels, I wish I knew. I have many theories, Josh. None I am pleased with.”
I looked down and put my hand my forehead, “This is all so great.”
 Ororo put her hand on my back, “What did you want to talk about?”
I took in a deep breath. I didn’t exactly know what to say and I didn’t want to sound like an idiot for bringing it up. I sat up and looked at Ororo.
“Where’s Wolverine right now?”
Ororo looked at me surprised, “He’s in Southeast Asia. He has gone a spiritual quest to find himself.”
“Why do you ask?”
“He’s old right?”
Ororo cracked a smile, “He would be classified as old.”
“How old?”
Ororo now looked very confused, “I do not know. No one really does.”
“Oh,” I looked down.
“Why do you ask?”
“Is that going to happen to me?” I began, “Will I become so old people won’t even know my age even though like physically I’d look like a forty year old hairy Canadian who has weird relationships with teenage girls?”
“What do you mean?”
I looked straight into Ororo’s eyes because I wanted her to look me in the eyes and tell me the truth, “Will my healing factor affect the way I age? Will I not age like my friends? When they’re old and wrinkle and on their death beds, will I still be healthy flying around, saving the world from evil. Am I going to age slowly, am I going to have to watch everyone around me die time and time again. Am I going to have to live another one hundred years and see bad Disney music take over the world and Angelia Jolie’s children and grandchildren become half the population. Is my healing factor going to make me, like, immortal?”
Ororo looked at me a bit taken aback. She opened her mouth to try and say something but nothing came out. She moved hand to the side of my face and gave me a sad smile, “I’m sorry Josh but I honestly do not know. You won’t be immortal. Wolverine isn’t immortal he’s just-”
“Takes forever to age,” I looked down and than got up from the couch, “I should go. If my mom peeks into my room, I’m dead.” I paused as that word seemed to make my stomach tighten, “Well you know what I mean.”
“Josh,” Ororo stood up, “We don’t understand your powers just yet-”
“But when we do,” I cut her off, “And I learn that I will age like Wolverine, what then?”
“You’re healing factor is not like Wolverine’s. We know this.”
“Not yet,” I muttered.
“I’m going to go,” I looked to Ororo and gave her a weak smile, “I guess none of those papers say where the Sentinel factories are huh?”
She shook her head, “That seems to be confidential to almost everyone.”
“Of course,” I sighed. “Well I’ll see you tomorrow I guess.”
Ororo moved forward as I began to walk to her door, “If you want to talk-”
“I know,” I said opening her door and looking back at her, “Thanks.”
I flew back into my window about a minute later. I throw off my shirt and shoes but didn’t bother to take my sweats off. I instead collapsed onto my bed and closed my eyes and tried to go to sleep.
Well that was fun. I didn’t know why I thought she would know. No one knows about my powers. Probably only Xavier did and probably Magneto but I wasn’t going to call that bastard anytime soon. Tons of recent mutant attacks are his fault. Unlike Lily, I’m not confused on how I feel about Magneto. He’s an evil bastard and I want to beat him up, or at least not get beaten up by him.
That seemed so long ago. So many others things have happened since then. I guess, if worse came to worse and I was two hundred years old I can find someone like that crazy evil Rogue to take my powers. Heck she did it two years ago almost killed me, maybe someone could do that again. But hey who am I kidding. All this talk about dying at a natural age, I could of forgot that my life is in danger on a weekly basis. I’m sure if an evil mutant tries hard enough they could kill me, maybe who knows. Yeah I’m being awfully morbid today.
I don’t know why I’m thinking about this. I guess all these thoughts about my healing factor, my powers and myself as a mutant is just making me question it all. But the stronger I get, the more powerful I get, I feel I become less human and dying, growing old, is the most human thing anyone could do.
Megan’s angry at me, she doesn’t get why I’m being like this. And I think she’s afraid because really these thoughts about losing my humanity just moves me one step closer to Magneto. But I don’t think I’m better than humans, maybe some of my human teenage friends but overall no, I don’t think I’m better. In fact, I think I’m starting to get a little jealous of them. I want that simple life they have.
Somehow between all these really happy, uplifting thoughts I started to grow tired. I stopped thinking and just slowly started drifting off into a deep sleep.
I was woken up by the morning light on my eyes. I could hear the birds chirruping. It was so bright that I could hardly open my eyes. Muttering I turned over in my bed and put my face in my pillow. Sighing I rolled myself out of bed. I expected to have my feet hit the floor but instead there was nothing but air and I began to fall. Literally.
I was falling quickly and all I saw was my bed hanging in the middle of the blue sky.

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