"You're getting out soon, huh? That's what we heard. Why are you so quiet, huh? Who was all mouth the other day when I confronted you in the showers? Lost my yard privileges 'cause of you."
A light shined in her eyes, blinding her. She had no choice but to trust the guard leading her that she wasn't about to walk into a wall, though his vision was likely worse than hers. It was pitch black in the alley, behind the cement building that'd "sheltered" her for the last two months. Her eyes narrowed to slits, trying let in as little light as possible. She wanted some distraction from the sharp sting in her split lip or the dull ache in her head, which the beam of did little to heal. A short, frazzled looking man trotted over, with two others shortly behind—one in a wheelchair, one with sideburns, the latter holding that damn flashlight.
Frazzled stuck his hand out, and upon realizing hers were restrained, awkwardly withdrew it.
"You zip tie the kids here?" Sideburns asked the guard, looking at the ties that held her hands behind her.
"There just a precaution—after last night, and all," the guard made no move to untie her. Ela looked at the ground, then at the people standing before her.
The short one spoke again. "Hi, Gabriella, I'm David, I work with Bill at Child Protective Services—"
She really didn't care. "Where's Eddie?"
"I'm—" He stared blankly at her.
"Where's Eddie? Do you know where he is?" she spoke quickly, wanting to get her point across.
"I don't know…"
"Where's Bill? Why isn't Bill here?"
"We'll have to talk about that later."
"I just—I don't understand why I can't talk to Eddie," she shifted her weight in annoyance.
"That's enough; I don't know what you're talking about. Gabriela, this is Charles Xavier. Charles, Gabriela," David dropped the subject before giving her a chance to explain. Her eyes shifted over to the man in the wheelchair, who looked kindly at her.
"Hello Gabriela. Or do you go by Gabby?"
Ela, but she wasn't going to tell him that.
"This is Logan—" he gestured towards the large man behind him.
She tuned out, not needing to hear the rest of the monologue she's heard countless times before. She's met plenty of foster families before. She's grown used to the fear and anxiety, the way you grow used to seeing your own nose. She barely notices it. But the strange circumstances in which she met her new guardians—late at night, zip ties constricting the circulation to her hands, and the way Logan seemed to be much larger than the average person—made her anxious. She knew this was about her ability, the way she'd healed herself, and she wondered what these men wanted with her. She raised her eyes from the ground to Logan while Mr. Xavier spoke with David. His eyes locked with hers and she could see him inhale through is nose, like he was sniffing something without realizing it. Maybe he has a cold.
Even without his nose twitching like a bunny, his expression wasn't harsh or cold. Mr. Xavier looked harmless as well—he was in a wheelchair, after all. She didn't like it. The people who seemed friendly were the ones who were hiding something. She was the type of person who wanted the bad news first; that way there was never any false hope. The shaken girl wanted the honesty that came with seeing people's true colors. She wasn't sure how much energy she had for lies and deceit.
Without fanfare, the hard grip of the guard's hands on her arms was replaced by Logan's more gentle hand on her back, leading her towards a dark SUV with clear windows. He opened the door for her before getting into the front passenger's seat. Somehow Mr. Xavier had gotten into the driver's seat, his wheelchair nowhere to be found.
"Buckle up, kid. We've got a long drive back to the Institute."
She did as she was told, without asking what the Institute was.
Logan opened the glove box, pulling out a pocket knife and turned backwards towards her. She pressed herself backwards in fear, though there wasn't much give to the seat.
"Take it easy, I'm just cutting the ties."
"Do you know why we've picked you up?" Mr. Xavier asked, starting the engine.
Without responding, she rubbed her wrists, trying to flake off the dried blood—the guard tied them too tight. She didn't know these people. And silence has always done her well.
"We have talents other people don't," he continued, not swayed by her lack on enthusiasm. "Have you ever done something out of the ordinary, something other people couldn't do?"
She said no. You know, like a liar.
"I think we both know that isn't true. You're talented, you can heal."
No, I destroy.
"Why haven't you healed your other cuts and bruises, why only the fatal wound?"
Her wrists hurt more than anything. They slid them on almost as soon as they pulled Daphne off of her, nearly two days ago. The tight plastic cut deep in some places.
Sideburns spoke up once more. "You're gonna have to talk eventually, might as well start now."
Not really. No one spoke for several minutes. Ela glanced around at the white interior to the car, eyelids heavy. She hasn't slept in nearly eighteen hours, and it was taking its toll.
She closed her eyes, trying to let sleep pull her downwards. However, she's always been an insomniac, and the stress of the night was doing little to help. At least if they thought she was sleeping they'd stop talking to her. She's learned feigning sleep was one of the quickest ways to gauge her new foster parent's motives. Most assumed she couldn't hear them, and muttered far more to each other than they would to her. The situation was different—she was open-minded, but the two men didn't exactly seem like lovers, and the Institute sounded more like a mental hospital than a home. Maybe they thought she was crazy. Maybe she was.
"I can smell the fear rolling off her—she doesn't trust us."
"All in good time, Wolverine."
No, she definitely was.
Sleep was eluding, as it always was, but exhaustion plagues everyone at some point. She always tried to think of something cheerful or carefree before sleep, as what she thought about in the seconds before sleep usually influenced her dreams—or better put, her nightmares. Thankfully her car ride snooze was dark and uneventful, sleep deprivation chasing away her demons.
She jumped at a hand on her knee, waking her. Logan was turned around in the parked car. "Welcome to the Institute."
The sun was just beginning to peak out over the horizon, and there were more shades of purple in the clouds than there was on her face. The white mansion before her stood tall, and looked nothing like what she expected—no bars on the windows, no electric fences, nothing to indicate the building held mentally ill patients. She strained to find similarities between this and the juvenile detention they'd placed her in, or the group homes she once stayed in. But she couldn't find any.
"You've been asleep several hours. It's morning," Mr. Xavier told her, as though the sky wasn't proof enough. The two in front exited the car while Ela stared at the building. The sixteen year old wasn't a fan of new things—change she could handle. She changed homes every other day. But they were always the same. This was different.
Logan swung open the car door. "You gonna come out or what?"
Scrambling out, she moved to follow Mr. Xavier up a ramp that ran along the impressive staircase leading to the doors. He likely expected her to say something first, to ask what this place was. It looked like he was going to be disappointed. Realizing this, or bothered by the silence, he tried to start the conversation himself.
"Most of the others will be up already, even though it's Sunday. They have an early training exercise with Storm."
She didn't bother dissected whatever the hell that last sentence meant. Instead, she tried to see the security code Mr. Xavier was punching in.
"Kitchen's that way." Nothing Logan said was very friendly, but that sentence was particularly harsh. Finally-some honesty.
He probably saw me.
She was greeting inside the kitchen by a sea of spandex. All but one of the six in the room had some form of a black jumpsuit, with little variation—a green triangle here, red shoulder pads there. Mr. Xavier came in behind her.
"Everyone, this is Gabriela. She's going to be staying with us from now on."
Now how many times have I heard that?
This place seemed to have the dynamics of a group home—maybe training was their posh way of saying therapy, so no ones psyche gets hurt by the idea of seeing a shrink.
"Cool! So like, what are your powers?"
"Do you want something for your wrists?"
"What happened to your face? Get into a fight?"
Ela wasn't sure who to answer first—Ponytail, Ginger or Blondie. "I don't…" Usually when foster families had kids, they say hi and move on, maybe give her a tour. And in group homes no one really gives a crap; she was kind of looking forward to that when they said "institute." But all eyes were locked on her, and she felt like she was under a microscope.
"My name's Scott—" Sunglasses stepped forward with his hand outstretched, and Ela jumped back on reflex. She could see his frown, even without seeing his eyes, and dropped her gaze to the ground. She didn't like sunglasses—you couldn't see where people were looking. "Where's the bathroom?"
Ginger gestured to a door next to her. "Down this hall, third door on the right."
She let the door shut behind her before pausing to listen to what her new housemates were saying.
"What's with her?" she thought the voice sounded like Blondies, but she hadn't head the third guy in there speak, and voices were muffled through the wood door.
"She's had a hard few days, give her time and space," Mr. Xavier told him.
Tears in her eyes forced her feet away from the door and down to the bathroom before she forgot Ginger's instructions.
Blue Hair had more food for a pre-training snack than they served in three meals in juvie. Ginger and Ponytail picked, Blondie spoke with mouthfuls of food, Mr. Xavier and Stripes ate normally, and Logan ate like a beast. One of her old roommates said you can tell when a kid was put in the system by their table manners. The worse they are, the younger they were. Judging by the way he perched on the counter, shoveling food into his face, Blue must've been put in stupid early.
"You should really join in ze exercise; we can see your powers—"
"Mouth closed, Kurt!"
"I don't have powers," she muttered. No one seemed to notice.
"Mr. Manners, over there, is Kurt," next to her, Stripes spoke quietly to Ela. Her accent reminded her of a foster mom she had once; a real Southern Belle. If Stripes was anything like her, this place was going to be hell. "Ma names Rogue. That's Jean, Evan," she pointed to each one, "Logan, Storm, the Professor," so it wasn't Mr. Xavier, "and Kitty.
"Jean, the Professor, Storm and Logan have been here longer than the rest of us. Kurt's from Germany-"no shit "-he came next. Kitty's from Deerfield joined a little later, Ah joined a little after Storm's nephew Evan—he's from the city. We're like you; we all have powers—"
"I don't have powers," she was starting to sound like a broken record.
"Now Ah know that's not true. If you don't have powers, than why doesn't any of this surprise you?" She waited for an answer. She didn't get one. "You're used to crazy."
Well Stripes, that's part of the system.
Sunglasses strolled into the kitchen, having left because he needed a different training uniform. Either "training" wasn't therapy or these people had weird forms of letting their anger out; either way seemed plausible. Everyone wants to throw a hit or two when they're angry.
"What about him?"
"What?" Scott frowned. He was one of those people who get a line between his eyebrows when he frowns—Eddie's eyebrows did that as well.
"Where'd you get him? 99 cents store? They have everything there."
He didn't seem amused.
Sensing the tension, Jean took it upon herself to smooth out Sunglasses ruffled feathers. "Scott joined about the same time I did," she offered.
Ela tuned in and out of the conversation. It was everyone introducing themselves and explaining what made them special, with an occasional chime from the adults. Really, not much different than any other group home.
The training room, however, what not what she expected. A gym wouldn't have surprised her. A room with big chairs in a circle. Maybe a big cross hanging from the ceiling to remind us that Jesus was always there. But no, this definitely wasn't for therapy.
She stayed in the sky box overlooking the other teenagers below. Her eyes darted to the first sign of movement—Storm walking over to her. "This is the Control Room. We simulate battle situations for the students to train. Down there," she gestured, "is the Danger Room."
"Danger room," she scoffed. This was starting to get too weird—even for her.
"We offer young mutants like you—"
"I'm not like you," she said, staring at German Smurf. Apparently he was blue and furry because, why the hell not.
"You are. Otherwise Cerebro wouldn't have been able to detect you using your powers. Later today, after you've rested, we'll run a simulation for you to test your abilities."
Outstanding. They were in for a rude awakening—she didn't use her powers. She knew she had them, of course, but she also knew the consequences of her actions when she used them. But if they wanted to send a giant rock at her, like they were at Kitty—through her was more like it—they could. They'd probably send Blue Boy in to teleport her out, or have Sunglasses blow it up, and then they'd get the hint. And most likely send her on her way, which was fine with her.
The silence hung in the room like a pleasant mist, marred only by the sound of keys tapping as Storm flung rocks and projectiles at the teens below. Each had pretty unique powers; to his credit, Scott wasn't wearing sunglasses inside just to be some posh asshole. He had bazookas for eyes. Miss Congeniality was a telepath—why couldn't Ela have gotten that power—and Smurf was a blue monkey who could teleport. She sighed, not knowing what else to do.
Storm must've taken this as a sign of communication, and tried talking again.
"The students all attend Bayville High—"
"Why do you call them all students?" she asked, curiosity breaking her vow of silence.
"You aren't a prisoner here, Gabriela. You can leave at any time."
Here or juvie—some choice.
"All the students attend Bayville High. That includes you. School starts at 7:30, and ends at 2:23. We don't have school buses, so most students walk. You understand no one can know about your powers, or any of ours?"
These people were good at stating the obvious.
"I'm not an idiot. No one wants can know you're all freaks. Got it."
At last, Ela had shut her up. Storm flashed a look, but said nothing, and the two continued the training exercise in a blissful silence.
She had to get to a phone and call Eddie, fast. As much as she wanted to brush off the whole Institute thing, she saw how hard they train the kids. She needed a clear head if she wanted to make it through her "test" in the Danger Room; there was no way she'd be able to do that without calling Eddie. She peaked around the doorframe—Evan had headphones in, oblivious to the girl behind him. Her target rested on the nightstand next to him. His computer illuminated his face, his eyes directed away from the door. Sunglasses was nowhere to be found. Now was her chance.
She hooked her hand around the polished wood frame, leaning in carefully to swipe at the phone on the table. It was a little out of her reach, and she strained to wrap her fingers around it. The second her hand had a good grip she swung back around, rushing down the hall. She knew she'd only have a few minutes to call, then to ditch the phone and get far away. She trusted that Evan seemed like the type of guy not to question why his phone was missing, and assume he himself had lost it. Even if she was wrong, if she got far enough away he'd never guess it was her. Well, probably not, but too late to go back now.
She tried dialing three times before getting all seven numbers right. "Hello?" Eddies voice—Eddie's beautiful voice.
"Hey—hey love it's me. I'm out, and I'm coming to get you. I just gotta find a way there," she couldn't get past hearing his voice, and wanted him to say more. It'd been so long since he'd heard from her; she hated that. She tried to get her phone privileges in juvie, but every time she got close they were snatched away—a fight with another kid, a UA for talking back to a guard.
"How are things—how's Sofia? Do you know anything?"
"I'm fine, everything's fine—"
"So that's where my phone went," Evan's hands grabbed the phone out of her hand, disconnecting the call before shoving the device in his pocket. Folding his arms, he leaned against the wall and stared at her, waiting for her to speak.
Damn it. Damn it.
C'est fini! Hope you enjoyed. Leave a review saying who you think Eddie is.
Hello new friends, my name is Maene, I am not a male, nor is my name pronounced mane. May-Ene. The E is stressed. Mothers should not be allowed to name children after two days of labor and a lot of epidural.
Once upon a time my Adv. Comp teacher gave us a strange assignment: Write the timeline out to the pilot of your favorite show. Check. Next day: Make it fit with a different universe altogether. I have to get this stupid plot out of my head or I won't be able to do anything.
The Fosters meets the X-Men
UPDATE a few chapters is: I wrote this a little offhandedly, just to get it out of my head, but I'm starting to really get in it and enjoy writing it. Thanks for the reviews!
I know OCs get a bad rep for being self insert characters, or Mary Sues, but that isn't what this is. I promise, and if I ever slip into writing a Mary Sue call me out (though I do reserve my right to disagree C:)
Peace out girl scouts