Thursday, April 22nd 2005
North Salem High School
I slammed the door to my locker as the 8th period bell rang. One more period and yet another school day would end and I’d be making my way to The Warehouse for some training before going to an SAT prep course. After that I’d be going home to do some homework then have dinner with Cassie, Josh and Cory before we do some more SAT prep(we being Josh, Cassie and I. Cory planned to just wing it with his SATs). Head back home, watch some TV then finally hit the hay, a term I never quite got. I find hay to be gross and smelly.
Of course that schedule was slated to change if any sort of mutant troubles popped out, as they tended to do at least once or twice a week nowadays but for the most part, my Thursday schedule was set.
That’s sort of how most of my days went with the occasional change up of hanging out with lesser friends, or my boyfriend Connor. I didn’t mind the consistency. I had my friends again and we were closer than ever before.
Oh and another big plus; we all have our powers again!
Almost four months have passed since we got our powers back and I never felt better. Before it was like I had lost a limb for each of my friends and lost another limb when I lost my powers. That’s basically every limb I got.
I opened my locker again with a flick of my wrist, my control over magnetism causing my lock to click open. I looked at the inside of my locker door to see a brand new picture of Josh, Cory, Cassie and myself at Cory’s birthday dinner last month. We had to go to his favorite restaurant, Hooters, and despite the fact that I was uncomfortable whenever our waitress with her big fake boobs came over to flirt with the boys for a good tip we had a good time.
“Reminiscing about Amber?”
I turned and smiled at Cassie as I closed my locker again, “You remember her name?”
“No,” she said as we began to walk down the hall. We had gym together for our last period, which really just meant we could relax on the bleachers and talk. My favorite subject! “But Amber seems to fit her fake boobs and bad dye job. Though maybe I’m being close-minded. She could be a Tiffany or an Ashley.”
“Cory liked her.”
“Yes well Cory likes fake boobs and bad dye jobs,” she replied.
I smiled then asked, “How’d your chemi test go?”
“It was embarrassingly simple,” She smiled smugly, “I can’t wait to get out of high school and be challenged.”
“Yes at Columbia,” I said stressing my last word, “One of the most prestigious Ivy League schools in the country which just so happens to be located right in New York City, which is less than an hour from here.”
She smirked at me, “We’ll see. Though are you really just going to aim for a state school” she looked disgusted at the very thought.
I shrugged, “I’m not really interested in going far.”
“No plans to follow Connor to Duke?”
I frowned at her. Connor had gotten a full scholarship to play baseball at Duke University in North Carolina. I really was happy for him and all, but North Carolina qualified as a long distance relationship and everyone knows how those turn out.
“I haven’t really decided where I intend to apply,” I went on, “My grades are good enough for any state school.”
“But not just in this state,” Cassie said pointedly.
“But I like this state,” I added, “But whatever. I’m just concentrating on one thing at a time. I don’t have to think about where I want to apply til after the SATs.”
“I’ve already made charts and statistical graphs,” Cassie replied.
I laughed as I wrapped my arm around hers, “You can’t leave me. You know if you go to Harvard you’ll end up rooming with some yuppie snob from Boston and murdering her. That will just get you expelled.”
“I’m a telepath, I can just get her to kill herself,” she replied way too casually.
We both laughed as we made our way down the stairs.
“So are you going to come out with us Friday night?” I asked her.
“You mean on yours and Connor’s double date with Josh and Megan?” she asked, “Yeah I don’t think I want to play fifth wheel.”
“Yeah but if Cory comes you can just pretend you are dating him, so it could be like a triple date.”
“Can’t I just pretend I’m an asexual amorphous blob who’s dating myself? It would be more romantic.”
I smiled and shook my head, “Oh there is nothing wrong with Cory. I’m sure he’d be the perfect gentleman.”
Cory belched as we moved down the halls.
“Anyway,” he said, “I just don’t wanna go out with you guys Friday night and even pretend to fake date Cassie. I can’t have people seeing that.”
“Why?” I asked, “Cassie’s hot.”
“Cassie is all sort of, you know, grrgh “ He said clawing the air around him, “People will think I’m her submissive pet.”
“What?” I said in a half laugh.
“I’m just saying they’ll think I’m whipped or something,” he said as he checked out a freshman girl passing us, “Girl’s like a strong man, a confident, in control man. They like men who order their dinner for them and make passive aggressive comments that play on their self esteem. Cassie would never let me do that.”
“The nerve,” I replied drily.
Cory thought that having sex one time had made him some sort of expert on women and how to woo them. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that maybe his ideas on women were why he’s only had sex that one time.
“It’s like you and Megan,” he continued on, “You still haven’t had sex with her.”
I sighed, half at Cory bringing this subject up yet again, half at the fact that I still hadn’t had sex with Megan, “No Cory. She said she isn’t ready yet.”
“Oh come on,” he shook his head, “Just go over her house one night when her parents aren’t home. Get a movie, say you want to watch in her room, cozy up on her bed and then, tell she looks pretty tonight” He slapped his hands together, “BANG you bang her.”
“That sounds special.”
“You don’t need special,” he rolled his eyes, “What are you Lily?”
“When she is ready, I’ll be ready,” I replied and then frowned, “Okay that’s a lie. I’m already ready, so when she’s ready, I’ll have my pants off.”
“That a boy,” Cory slapped me on the arm.
I rolled my eyes but smiled as we stopped in front of a door, “I gotta go hand in this essay,” I said, “Extra credit.”
“Uck,” Cory shook his head at me, “I’m disappointed in you.”
I watched Josh go inside the classroom, still shaking my head in disappointed. Dude stressed over school way too much nowadays. I guess he has reason to stress, he wants to go to college, which I have no interest in. Sure it’s filled with hot girls, willing to do anything in the name of exploring their sexuality, but it’s way too much work for me. I’ll have friends in college, so I’ll have all the benefits without having to do any of the work. That’s my kind of living.
I moved to a nearby locker and leaned against it. I sighed as I put my hands in my pocket and began to tap my feet to a song in my head that I hadn’t quite finished yet.
Music was going to be my thing. Writing, it performing it, getting tons of chicks because of it. That was going to be me. I didn’t need college for that. I was going to be a freaking rock star. There was no doubt in my mind about it.
“Don’t you have a class to get too?”
I straightened up immediately as Stryker moved in front of me. He smiled what was supposed to be a warm smile at me, but all it made me want to do was smack him right in the mouth.
“Oh uh,” I nodded too the door, “I’m waiting for Josh. He has to hand in extra credit.”
“Ah,” Stryker replied, “I see. He doesn’t have the wrong idea. Have you asked any of your teachers for extra credit?”
I shook my head, “Oh no, I’m fine with the credit I get.”
“Will you be coming too the camp this weekend?”
“Umm, I don’t think so,” I hadn’t been too Stryker’s so called camp in about two months.
This camp was actually a training guard for Stryker’s hater army. Of course he never said that. He said it was just a place for young men to come together to better themselves with like-minded peers. But since when did bettering one self includes weapons training?
The campgrounds were huge too, thanks to the fact that the government was sponsoring Stryker’s so called mission. Located in the Catskills, next to this incredibly large lake, the camp had everything. The government provided him with SHIELD agents to train the “campers”, men whose ages ranged from eighteen to about forty. I was one of the youngest person in the camp. I use to be able to play with the guns and such, until Stryker told me that because of my age I had to take a more sit back and watch approach, along with the other under eighteen years old. When that happened, that’s when I stopped going. I wasn’t invited to the secret meetings, I wasn’t invite to the weekday training sessions, I was clearly on the outside looking in and that wasn’t good for a spy.
The others had decided that it was getting too dangerous to stay, that if Stryker was distancing me from the secrets of the camp, he might suspect that I wasn’t what I seemed. But I doubted it. Stryker had recruited me because he thought I’d be some dumb idiot he could mold into some little mutant hater. At first I thought the guy saw that I might have actually had potential. So few people seemed to think I do. Even worse, I almost began to almost believe the stuff he said about mutants. I was a human then and angry and bitter. Cassie said that’s why he picked me.
The scary thing was, he had a lot of weak minds with him. We were trying to decide what we should do about the camp. Josh just wanted to go and destroy the place but Cassie said that it would be seen as an act of aggression and confirm all their worst fears. Storm agreed. But the army was growing. Something had to be done and soon.
“Have I done something to upset you?” Stryker asked, breaking me from my thoughts.
“Oh no,” I shook my head, “It’s just…I’m back with my friends and they occupy a lot of time. And well the SATs are coming up.”
“Yes of course,” Stryker nodded solemnly.
“And they aren’t exactly supportive of the camp,” I went on, “Lily and Josh like mutants, and obviously so does Cassie cause her dad is trying to pass that bill protecting them.”
“Unfortunately,” he said coldly.
“Plus Cassie says the camp is just filled homoeroticism,” I said with a shake of the head, “But I told her we never watched any gay porn at the camp, so I don’t get what she means.”
“I uh…” he looked at me like I had something strange and shook his head, “Right…”
“Well uh, “ I went on, “I don’t have a problem with you. We’re still chill.”
“Good,” he put a hand on my shoulder and gripped, “You know, one day I truly see you becoming a SHIELD agent.”
“Uh thanks,” I said fighting the urge to burn his hand right off.
“And do not let your friends pressure you,” he went on, “Think the way you want to think and do what you want to do. You are far better man than they give you credit for.”
“Thanks,” I said, seriously trying to make sure I didn’t catch on fire. He was wrong. I might have let him fool me into actually thinking that before but now I know. My friends respect and love me. I wasn’t going to let this douchebag turn me against them.
“I better be going,” he released his hand from my shoulder, “I would love if you could come see me after school today.”
“I’ll try but uh SAT stuff,” I gave him an apologetic smile, which he accepted and then walked away.
I watched him leave as whiffs of smoke puffed out from my fingers.
I waited as my teacher talked to another student, dancing on the balls of my feet impatiently.
I needed to salvage my grade point average which as of now hovered around a 2.3. I was hoping to get it at least to 3.0 by the Fall. College was coming up and with the SATs looming, my academic failure was a big black cloud hanging over me.
So far I had been doing lots of extra work in English, History, Spanish and Biology. That meant lots of extra essays. Add that into everything else I’m doing and I’ve been pretty busy. I put myself into this position, so it was my job to myself out of it.
My English teacher thanked me for the paper and headed back out to where Cory was talking to a tiny, sophomore girl.
“Yeah I mean when I’m playing my guitar it’s like these hands are magic,” he alternated showing the front and back of his hands multiple times, “You should feel them sometime.”
I shook my head, almost in dismay, as the girl suddenly realized she had an elsewhere to be and ran off.
“You know,” he said rejoining as we took off towards the gym, “I’m just trying to find a nice, normal girl who won’t try to kill me.”
“I think you might be trying too hard.”
“No, that’s not it,” he said genuinely bewildered why the lady’s weren’t falling for his “charm”.
As we made our ways down the stairs a sudden burning sensation came over my eyes.
“Ah crrrraaaap!” I said stopping in the middle of the stairway as the burning gave way to a cooling sensation and everything around me was suddenly coated with a strange pale blue tint. Cory looked to me, his own form bright blue, tiny round objects seemed to make up his whole body. They shimmered brightly as red surge moved throughout his body
This had been happening on and off since my powers came back and I had ingested that Terrigan Mist.. I could now see molecules which is helpful because as it sort of works as a mutant detector too. The red surge that traveled through Cory’s body meant that he was a mutant. Humans are surge-less.
“Oh dude you’re blueing again,” he wagged a finger at my eyes.
I closed my eyes quickly, my vision not changing one bit.
“This is disconcerting. I can still see you,” I frowned as he waved a hand in front of my closed eyes, remnants of his blue hand sticking in the air in blue streaks.
“So you can see me with your eyes closed?” He asked even though he knew the answer, “That’s so freaky.”
“Yeah,” I sighed.
“I can still your glow by the way,” he said poking my hands.
I reached into my backpack pulled out a dark pair of sunglasses and put them on.
“Better?” I asked, as my vision stayed the same yet again.
“A little glowly,” he frowned.
I fidgeted with my sunglasses and sighed, “What a useless power.”
“If we want to find mutants it can be helpful,” We began to make our way down the stairs again.
“Yeah but I’d need to learn how to control it,” I said.
So far this power was totally random. Its trigger had nothing to do with emotions or stress or even danger, it just happened. Last month when my eyes began to burn during a class presentation, I had to excuse myself and run out of the room, meaning these powers were dangerous too.
“Better than having no powers,” said Cory wisely.
I nodded, “You’re right Cory. Thanks.” For a moment I thought about how life had been back when I had no powers. I smiled at Cory, “Sometimes you really know what to say.” As we continued moving back down the hall, I adjusted my sunglasses and I frowned feeling very self aware, “I’m wearing my sunglasses in school. I must look like such a douche.”
“Oh don’t worry,” Cory said in a reassuring tone, “I’m the only one here so you only like look a douche to me.”
There was a flash of blue and just like that everything went back to normal, except now my vision had dark tint.
I sighed and took off my glasses, “And then you stuff like that.”
I was surrounded by girls in bras, some in panties, some in both. It was like being stuck in Cory’s wet dream. But in actuality, I was just stuck in a girl’s locker room and trust me, no one here was ‘living the dream’ of many a boy’s fantasy.
For a telepath like myself, the true face of a girl’s locker room was all but clear. It was basically ground zero for insecurity. Every girl checked out another, and in her found problems within in herself. Fat thighs, fat ass, fat belly, flat chest, flat ass, small hips, big hips, small waist, meaty arms, skinny arms, big boobs, short legs, fat legs, skinny legs, tall legs small boobs, uneven boobs, great body, poor body. Every time I walked into a girl’s locker room those were the words I’d hear. Every time. It came from all over the room. Everyone was basically emotionally transparent and no one was really too happy. Everyone felt they could be better than they were.
I’m getting to that point where I’m accepting I can be better too. I’m not talking about in terms of looks but just as a whole. I know I can be better person, friend, daughter, regular old mutant. I’m not perfect, not in the least and I’m getting to the point where I can accept that. It’s pretty big of me. Humble is the word anyone would use to describe me.
Sighing, I stretched out my neck. Still, as nice as it was to have my powers back, it would be nice if I was being bombarded with insecurities. It was comforting to know I wasn’t alone in being bombarded with girl emotions.
“Cassie,” Betsy Braddock waved as she moved into the locker room, “Lily,” she nodded at her as Lily threw on her shirt.
It was fun having another telepath in the locker-room with me. Betsy I would sometimes play the Insecurity Game where we’d guess whose insecure thoughts belonged to whom. Lily disapproved of course, but that wasn’t going to stop us especially since I was winning. Cheerleaders always feel they have fat thighs.
“How’s your family doing?” Lily asked turning to Betsy.
“We’re doing better thanks,” she replied with a smile, “I might be released from my punishment of no social life, no cell phone, no internet and no fun in a month or two for good behavior.”
“Aren’t they supposed to ask the victims of your crime if you’re worthy of being pardoned?” I frowned, “Because I don’t think you are.”
“Has your father made any headway in finding your brother?” Lily asked.
“None,” she said bitterly.
I gave her a sympathetic smile, “I’m sorry-”
I stopped as I was ‘blinded’ by a flash of white light signaled a vision pouring into my head.
I saw the back of a man in a red helmet. Magneto.
I saw a news report with the words “Breaking News”
I saw Lily with her hands raised.
I saw Magneto, surrounded by what looked like nuclear warheads.
I saw large explosion and a mushroom cloud.
I saw a woman with red hair standing below him. Amelia Vought.
My vision seemed to focus on Amelia as she turned her head to another woman, who I recognized as Frenzy.
“We have less than ten minutes before Gateway can open the portal to the waypoint.”
I was in that white room again, the one I see in my dream. I was wearing a clean white shirt and white sweat pants. I looked slightly ill, sweat pouring down my face. I was staring at Destiny, who was bleeding profusely from her stomach. My barefoot stepped into a pool of blood.
“Destiny,” she muttered reaching a hand out to me.
Betsy and Lily were staring at me. I felt shaky and a tad sick.
“I had a vision,” I said in a whisper.
“Oh ,” Betsy slammed her locker shut, “Well I am going to leave now. Cheers!”
With that she quickly made her way out of the gym, without even bothering to change into her gym clothes.
I turned to Lily, who looked a bit anxious. Not wasting anytime, I quickly explained what I had seen.
“Oh…” She was none too happy about her father being involved. “Do we know if this already happened or is in the future?” She tried and failed for an even tone.
“I don’t know. Both?” I sighed, “I never know how these visions work or when they take place. I just know they happened and I can’t seem to prevent them. Ever.”
She smiled at me, trying to be supportive, “Let’s go get the boys.”
The Boy’s Locker Room
I swung open the door to the boy’s locker room.
“Wait you want to go in there?” Lily said in a weak voice.
“Just avoid looking at the penises and I’m sure you won’t cry,” I said annoyed as I headed into the locker room.
“It happened one time!” She screamed following me.
I ignored her as Josh and Cory came around the corner.
“So you know where he is?” Josh asked getting right down to business.
“Not really, no,” I shook my head. I felt frustrated and incompetent. I hate that.
“So you think you find him with Cerebro?” He asked as Cory finally threw on a shirt.
“I…I might,” I said. “With Magneto’s helmet he’ll be impossible to track but he’ll be around other mutants.”
“Right I guess we won’t know until we try it,” Josh gave me a supportive smile, “You good for it?”
“No,” I shook my head as I remembered something.
“Oh,” he frowned, “Umm okay? Well,” he put a hand on my shoulder, looked me in the eyes and said in a very heartfelt tone, “I believe in you.”
I knocked his hand off as I shook my head, “No I mean, there was something else in my vision. I think it’s about to happen.”
I moved past a confused looking Josh and Cory and into an empty coach’s office.
I turned to a television in the corner. Small and black, it was the same television from my vision.
“I saw that,” I nodded towards the TV.
“Really? A TV?” Cory frowned, “That’s weird. Is it a,” he moved into close to me and whispered, “A mutant television?”
I glared at him and he shifted shamefully.
I grabbed the remote from the table and turned on the television to a random news station just as an image in the left hand corner of the screen said “BREAKING NEWS”.
“You had a vision of the news,” Josh nodded, “And now you’re watching the news. A little redundant isn’t it?”
“Shut up,” I rolled my eyes as I turned back to the TV as the female reporter began to speak.
“We have breaking news coming out of Cape Citadel-”
“Well there’s our location.” Josh said as the reporter began to speak about Magneto.
The reporter continued, “Officials are concerned that site’s nuclear weapons are Magneto’s target.”
“And there’s our problem,” I replied.