Disclaimer: I do not own X-Men or any particular Marvel properties. Damn you, Marvel. Damn you!
Oh well. Here we go.
Chapter 1: That Escalated Quickly
Have you ever felt like you could fix or change something that you didn't like, if only you had the chance? That you could make something better, whether it was something for yourself, someone you cared about, or just people at-large?
See, I always thought that if I worked hard enough and learned enough, I could help make some kind of difference. God knows I had the support.
Sorry. I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me start at the beginning.
My name is Bellamy Marcher, humble high school sophomore, or at least I was when this all started.
I was never what one would necessarily call a go-getter. Sure, I could get things done, but I was of the philosophy that if I didn't have to do something, or even move for that matter, I wouldn't. Does that count as being lazy?
Anyway, needless to say, I wasn't a morning person. Until one day, all of a sudden, I was.
It was odd.
I remember. I woke up that morning feeling good. Great even.
At the crack of dawn, the moment enough sunlight peeked through my room, I was up and couldn't get back to sleep, even though I still had two hours before I had to get to school.
It was strange, and annoying. I liked sleep, and I was definitely not a morning person. Either way, my body had deigned that I would not be gettting anymore sleep that day and forced me up to prepare to head out to school.
I didn't even need much time to warm up and adjust to being awake. By the time my feet hit the floor, I was ready to go, and I only felt more energetic as the day went on.
The moment I left my house and closed the door behind I felt a rush of energy jolt through me. I felt wired, like I was on gallons of caffeine, and all I'd done was step into the daylight. That feeling didn't necessarily go away either, even though I'd had gym class as my first of the day. We ran the mile that day, and I'd burned through it in myfastest time to date.
My legs pumped harder and faster, easier than they ever had. I even lapped most of the other kids, then went inside and played basketball for another 45 minutes, and still nothing.
That was just the beginning.
I was still full of energy, even near the end of the day. More than ever before. I could hardly sit still, and it only got worse as time went on.
By my last class, I had to take to drumming my fingers on the table and tapping my toes to occupy myself without going crazy, focusing on the rhythm to give myself some peace of mind. The final bell was the most merciful sound I'd ever heard in his life.
I didn't run out of the classroom so much as I cut a mad dash to the outdoors. I ran down the sidewalk on the route I normally took home. It felt good, even when I was forced to go uphill.
There was definitely something wrong. My heart should have been pounding in the back of my throat because of how fast I'd been running and for how long. But I just felt the need to keep going for as long as I could, which felt like it would be a while.
Or at least it would have been, had I not been stupid enough to run out in the street and nearly get clipped by a city bus.
I dodged it, but I fell down in the middle of the road, right in the way of an incoming cable car. Aren't I just so coordinated?
I was moments away from being a story on the evening news for getting killed by public transportation. Ironically, the way I saved myself probably ended up as a story on the evening news as well.
I put my hands up in some useless attempt to fend off the gigantic metal contraption rolling at me, and it actually worked.
A blast of some kind of light flew out of my hands and blew the cable car off of its rigging, knocking the whole thing over onto its side. It fell on a car, caused other accidents all over the road. It was just a big mess all around.
All I could do was sit there, wondering if it had really been me who had done such a thing. I was scared to death. People didn't shoot blasts of…whatever the hell that was, out of their hands. At least, most of them didn't.
"What was that?"
"It was that kid! I saw him!"
"He blew up the cable car!"
First of all, I didn't blow up anything. I knocked it over. There was a difference. As I noticed more people pointing, staring, and speculating, I did the only thing that made sense. I got up and took off running again.
I was scared. Scared of what I had just done and scared of how people would react.
It was easy to be afraid. For them and for me. I was a mutant.
People suck. I wasn't fully aware of this just yet, or I wasn't aware to what degree they could suck. Not all people, mind you. But enough of them to where letting too many of them know that you were a mutant was a problem.
Yes, I was aware of the whole Genosha thing (it was much more than a 'thing', don't think I'm being insensitive or downplaying it at all). I didn't watch much news, but I wasn't totally ignorant. People weren't exactly enamored with the idea of superpowered plebs with little to no control over dangerous abilities running around. Hell, the power didn't even have to be dangerous. They could just look different. A lot of people simply didn't like the fact that there were others born that much different than they were living among them.
My powers were definitely dangerous though.
"Fuck," I muttered to myself, sitting in the park and looking at the news feed on my phone. All of the news stations that covered San Francisco had me blowing a cable car off of the tracks as the top story, "Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!"
They had my name and my picture. Awesome. At least they had the good grace not to give everyone my parents' address.
I turned my phone completely off. I didn't want to look at it anymore.
I still felt stir-crazy, but I didn't know what else to do. I'd walked around the park time and time again. It had been hours and it was getting dark, but I still wasn't tired. At this point I was trying to see just what made me shoot that blast from my hands. I looked at my hands and focused on my palms. Beneath the skin, I could see a glow if I thought hard enough about it.
At least there was that. I didn't want to fire at anything else anytime soon, I had scared enough people for the time being, but I was glad it didn't seem too complex to conjure.
I pointed one of my hands into the air and squinted my eyes tightly, as if I risked blowing myself up. I focused on my palm and tensed up my entire arm to brace for the shot.
A yellow shot of light flew high into the air before vanishing somewhere in the night sky. For the first time in hours, I smiled. Whatever bad came of this, I felt that overall it was a win for me.
I had powers. Legit superpowers.
Just to make sure it was all real, I took five more shots, just because. Why not? It was fun. It was novel. It cheered me up.
Unfortunately, it also gave anyone who may have been looking for me at the time a big bright beacon telling them exactly where to start searching. But until there was a reason, until it actually happened, who would think that there would be someone out hunting for them? Let alone a group of armed people.
I was lucky. I saw them coming before they were close enough to shoot me. The look in my eye must have emboldened them further, because they started talking instead of just taking me out. I couldn't dodge bullets or survive a shotgun blast to the chest.
"Well look at this," One of the men said. They were all dressed like they were ready for real combat, not just for a night out terrorizing anyone too different from them to be tolerated. I wasn't lucky enough for this to be some good old-fashioned racist harassment, "Another little mutant shit thinks just because he has powers, the world is his playground."
I was not about to be a victim. Not that night.
Their guns weren't pointed at me just yet. They were likely waiting for me to say something try and casually persuade them against violence. Screw that. I put my hands up, the glow visible behind my palms, "I shoot blasts of light outta my hands," I told them, "You might have guns, but I've got enough of a buzz to make this really hard on all of you. You want some? Come get some."
All I needed to see was a twitch from one of them. I fired and hit two of them right in the chest. They didn't explode, and I didn't put a hole in either of them. Weird. You would have figured that if I could knock a cable car off of its rigging, a blast from me would be quite fatal.
The third gunman dropped his gun in fright at the sudden counterattack. When he scrambled to pick it back up, I blasted him before he could get his hands on it and stand up straight. In the face. He didn't move again.
This was now the most terrifying thing that had ever happened to me. I was scared that I'd been attacked so callously, in public. I was scared that I might have killed someone.
"I know how you must be feeling right now, but don't be alarmed, Mr. Marcher."
And to top it off, I was scared because I had a voice in my head that didn't belong to my own thoughts. My opinion of myself was pretty healthy, but it hadn't gotten to the point where I referred to myself as 'mister'.
"I'm afraid you'll have to wait until later to have your existential crisis. You're in danger."
Yes, magic lady in my head. I had been aware of that already. The two guys with guns I blew halfway across the park and the third one that will probably need a facelift after what I did were good indicators of that..
"Oh you poor, ignorant thing. You have no idea. We can help you."
"You're a voice in my head. How can you help me?" I asked out loud in the complete silence of the outdoors, "Wait a minute. Why am I talking to you? I should probably be running."
Maybe because I wanted to believe that this was a real person, someone who could help me. Even if I wasn't in danger at the moment the way this lady was saying, it was coming. If not today, it would happen later. And it would likely involve my family.
"Seems like you've answered your own question, darling," The fact that my own sense of desperation seemed to amuse this woman aside, it didn't seem like she was getting out of my head anytime soon, "And to answer your next one to keep from wasting more time, my name is Emma Frost, and we are the X-Men."
The X-Men. Like, the superhero team made up of mutants.
Well why didn't she just lead with that?
"What do you want me to do?"
"First of all, don't fire another shot. After all the trouble we went through to find you, we'd hate to have to clean up what's left of you once the FoH swarm on you."
Gross, blunt, and morbid as it was, the message was received.
"Good boy. Now, do you think you can get yourself out without getting into another fight? You stick out like a sore thumb when you use your powers."
It couldn't have been that bad. I just got these kickass powers and was starting to feel good about them. Now I couldn't use them again? Admittedly, I wasn't sure how well they would work for a quiet getaway though. I hadn't had a reason to make a habit out of that sort of thing in the past. I could try though.
"Outstanding. Just give yourself a good headstart. Get out of there and head due north. That would be to your current left, in case you were wondering."
All I needed to hear. If there was a God, I hoped he or she was with me right then. With a little prayer, I took off running. Right after the racket from my powers, I heard orders and directions being barked. No doubt the voices belonged to friends of the armed creeps that had meant to make an example out of me. Before I could turn my head to see what did it, I got an earful inside of my head.
"No. Go. Listen to every word I say. Do what I say when I say it, don't stop for anything, and you'll be fine."
Angry yells and cut rate military jargon got my attention and I took off down the street.
"Left. Cut through that parking lot. To your right. Clear that wall, and mind your step on the other side. It's a tad steep."
The voice seemed to know when I was coming up on any particular intersection, side street, or a driveway with a fence at the back I could hop to put more distance between me and whoever was after me.
The streets were empty enough that when I heard the sound of a powerful engine getting closer and closer to me, my heart leapt into my throat.
"Calm down. Keep running," No problems there, "Between those two houses. Cut down that alley."
I had no idea why. It wasn't small enough to keep a vehicle from getting through, and within a matter of seconds a set of high beams were shining on my back.
I could hear, feel the massive truck getting closer. I didn't have time to react. I put my hands up, prepared to try and blast it. I hadn't fired a shot as powerful as the one that damaged the cable car since I'd first done it. That moment would have been a good time for it though.
Otherwise, I would have been roadkill.
And then, just like that, there was no need.
Something dropped down from the roof of one of the homes onto the roof of the truck. Whatever it was, it had three wicked-looking claws in each hand.
Those claws didn't so much as cut through the top of that truck as they outright shredded it. Then it was time for the people inside. Jeez. Those screams. Those guys never had much of a chance.
I mean, they were trying to kill me and everything, so screw them. But I didn't need to see or hear most of what I did that night. The high beams from the vehicle never went off, so I saw limbs fly and blood splatter on the walls and the ground.
I got a good look at that and decided, yeah, I definitely wasn't the badass I thought I was when this confrontation started. Getting shot at in the first place brought my ego down a few notches, and then watching a clawed tornado tear them apart like pinatas knocked me down a few more for good measure.
Having powers didn't mean crap.
Whatever was ripping apart those guys, I didn't want any part of it. As if I needed another reason to run faster.
"Nope. Nope. Nope," I repeated to myself to give something that wasn't dismember-ey to focus on as I turned to run again, "Frost, get me out of here before that thing tears my head off!"
"No, he's… ugh. Well, at least you're a decent enough listener. I did say not to stop for anything. You certainly are moving faster now."
She couldn't have been telling me - without telling me - that thing was on my side.
"That 'thing' is called Wolverine, and yes he is, Mr. Marcher. Take a right at that intersection."
Whatever. I still wasn't going to turn around and say hi. Mostly because of the not-so-stray bullets that went through a mailbox as I rounded a corner on-command. I turned my head and saw a small group of guys toting assault weapons.
I didn't need to be told again. My dive over the trunk of the nearest car wasn't as graceful as I would have liked. I tore up the skin on one of my arms on the ground after I fell off of the other side, but better to get a nasty scrape than a bullet in the ass.
From a staging point across the street they opened fire on me, and it was all I could do to stay flat on the ground as the sounds of gunshots and bullets flying through my cover rang in my ears. They had to have been being cautious as they didn't know what I could do. Otherwise they would have rushed the car and filled me with lead.
"Keep your head down and wait. Help is coming."
That sounded all well and good, but I had a hard time sitting still and doing nothing. There was a much better chance of something going wrong if I left it up to someone else, at least in my own mind.
Now don't get me wrong. I wasn't about to get up and challenge the guys with guns to a fair-and-square duel in the middle of one of San Francisco's residential areas - I liked not getting shot in the face for being stupid, thank you. But waiting for things to happen instead of being proactive made me fidgety, even if I didn't know what exactly I could do to help make anything better.
I guess it was a part of me that liked having control of my own destiny and being responsible for myself. If matters involving me were in my hands, I felt like I had a better chance than if I left them to someone else who wouldn't have been nearly as invested.
Bullets kept flying my way, but fortunately, I didn't have to get up and put myself in danger for what I wanted to do. With my powers, I peeked over the car and held one of my hands out, firing a blast that knocked the car they were taking cover behind right into their faces.
Getting punched in the face by a car wasn't pleasant, I would imagine. While they were shaking off the cobwebs, that gave me plenty of time to make a play.
The gunfire stopped long enough for me to screw with the lock to get myself inside and hotwire the thing. They hadn't turned the engine to swiss cheese, even if they'd done so to the chassis, and that was enough of a break for me to get out of there. Thirty good seconds.
So maybe I could barely put up a fight to protect myself, but I wasn't exactly a sitting duck either. If there was a detection system for smugness, it would have been going off inside of that car because of me. I could feel how large the grin on my face was. It was short-lived.
"Take a left."
"Holy shit!" The scary guy from before that had turned the soldiers in the alley to mincemeat had somehow gotten into the backseat of the borrowed car without me noticing, "Where did you come from?"
He wore a yellow and blue outfit with an interesting mask design on his face. The patterns were stained red with the blood of his… our enemies, "That's a longer story than we've got time for, kid. Left."
Whatever. I wasn't going to argue with someone who shredded through a hummer like it was a tin can. I sagged down in my seat and tried to focus my swimming vision. After the whole adrenaline dump of that chase, I was spent, and what I wanted, almost as much as getting out of there was figuring out what was happening.
"Okay, what was all of that?"
"Really not the time right now. We're still being chased, kid."
"Come on, throw me a bone. It's not like I'm gonna wreck while you're explaining."
The universe, spot on with its timing, saw fit to try and prove me wrong by sending another hummer. This one plowed directly into the side of our car.
In the end, I was still right. I didn't wreck while he was explaining. We didn't even get that far into the conversation.
My first thought, waking up flat on my back in an unfamiliar place, was to ask myself if I had died. What a lame way to go out, in a car crash.
Granted, it was a car crash that came after an evening of running from my life from mutant-hunters, but it was still a car crash. Not exactly riveting stuff when you're swapping stories with other people in eternity.
No, I wasn't dead. I wasn't in heaven, because it was way too dark. If I had been in hell, I doubt my wakeup wouldn't have been so uneventful.
I started moving around, unable to see anything, and once again, to chalk one up to my amazing coordination, I fell right out of the bed I was in.
My head hurt like hell. I couldn't see my own nose in front of my face. On the plus side, I didn't feel overloaded and hyper anymore. Now I just felt tired and in pain. Apparently me clamoring around in the dark was all I needed to get someone's attention.
The door opened and the lights came on, blinding me for a moment as my eyes adjusted.
"Good morning, Mr. Marcher. Or should I say good afternoon?"
"Kinda weird that everyone knows my name without me telling them," I said as I tried to pull myself up on the bed. A sharp pain shot through my torso, forcing me to stop halfway and flop face-first on the mattress, "Oh, man," I gasped.
A large, furry, blue paw set itself on my shoulder, easing me up into a more relaxed, seated position. I looked up into the face of a gigantic cat-beast-man smiling down at me, "Easy now, my boy. You had quite the evening."
"I think you can extend that a little further than just the evening," I told him, not so subtly alluding to the fact that I was being looked over by… whatever he was? I was trying to figure out what kind of animals his mutation had mixed in for him. I gave up pretty quickly, "Hi. I'm Bellamy," I said, extending my hand.
No reason not to at least try and be well-mannered. I was probably staring at him, so at best, introducing myself first would just break me even on the politeness/rudeness scale.
He regarded me with a smile. Yes, points for me. Way to break the ice, Bel.
"Dr. Henry McCoy," He reached out and shook my hand, allowing my second impression to come across significantly better than my first, "It's very fortunate we heard of your situation on the news and went to retrieve you when we did. You're a little banged up now, but I shudder to think of what may have happened if the Friends of Humanity had confronted you alone."
He began seeing to the average tests that were normally done to deal with a person who had suffered a concussion; impact tests and all that. In the meantime, I tried to make conversation to try and learn more about what had happened after I crashed. The X-Men had gotten me out, but that much was obvious.
"I'm guessing those were the psychos with guns," I ventured to ask, "I'm pretty sure they shot up a good part of that park. I hope they don't blame that on me," I muttered.
My parents were probably going to catch hell as it was for me tipping over that cable car. Oh man, I didn't even want to think about how pissed off they probably were. I didn't call them or pick up my phone after I had my little breakdown. I didn't look forward to that conversation, or to them coming here to get me.
…Where was here?
"I was informed of your powers from the X-Men. Logan even got a demonstration," Dr. McCoy said, as though I were supposed to recognize who that was. He realized I was confused and tried to change his method of identification, "Wolverine," Still nothing, "The angry one with the claws," There we go. That rang a bell, "In so many words, your body is capable of absorbing light and storing it. You can then convert into energy that you can use to temporarily enhance your physical attributes, or the pure blasts of concussive force that you used to try and fight back against your attackers."
That wasn't 'in so many words'. Even so, hearing someone else tell me what I could do sounded awesome. He sounded interested. That was a nice change of pace. Positive reinforcement I could live with. Someone else who thought my powers were cool, instead of someone who wanted to kick my ass because of them.
"These powers are so sick," I said, drawing upon the glow behind the skin of my palms. It was considerably harder to do than it had been yesterday, but I made it happen, "Getting shot at aside, so far they're great."
"I'm glad you think so. It's not all positive though, I'm afraid."
"I shoot light from my hands and do other stuff. What's not to love about that?"
"Not light. It was a byproduct of your body processing light," Dr. McCoy corrected, "You absorb all light – be it from the bulbs in your lamp, the fluorescent lights in your schools, the television, the sun especially – and you have no control over your intake. You are always absorbing light as long as it is on you. You're doing it right now."
True enough, I felt significantly better than I did when I'd first awoken, "Not seeing a downside yet, doctor."
"You can only hold so much," Dr. McCoy said, shaking his head as he continued gravely, "If you absorb more light than your body can handle, you will do yourself harm. You may even kill yourself, in quite the… explosive manner, if we're correct."
"Really?" I asked incredulously. Everything had to come with a catch, didn't it?
"We had to bring you here in a light-proof container, just to make sure you wouldn't overload without our knowledge," He told me, adjusting the glasses on his face, "It's also why we kept you here in the dark. You were dangerously overcharged when you were retrieved from San Francisco. Thankfully, your body used up most of the extra energy healing you overnight."
"Wow," I said, at a loss for words, "…That sucks."
"Don't be afraid. It is manageable. It will be difficult for you to deal with for some time, though."
"But it's not like I can go home," I argued, "You just told me that there's a good chance I'll blow up on a sunny day."
Despite my circumstances, he didn't seem too concerned, which did wonders for my nerves, "My advice would be to use as much energy as you safely can before you go to sleep, preferably in a pitch-dark environment. In the meantime, I'll see what we can do about finding a technological solution for you."
I opened his mouth to respond, but didn't have anything pressing on the tip of my tongue to say. All I could do was relay my gratitude, "Thank you," I said, eyes cast down at my lap. It was the only thing I could do.
Had it not been for them, I would have likely been killed. Only a complete ingrate would just brush something like that off.
"Think nothing of it, my boy," Dr. McCoy checked his clipboard over to make sure everything about me was in order, "Well this Institute is a place where young mutants like yourself can come and learn to understand and control their gifts. If I weren't asking and answering questions to try and help you find a better way to do so, I wouldn't be seeing to my responsibilities very well, now would I?"
He meant it in a supportive way, and it was a nice approach to take with people who probably had a tougher time with their powers than I had with mine. A good number of mutants probably didn't think their powers were as cool as I thought mine were.
Wait. Institute? Like a school? Was I at a school or something?
"The potential your power holds is great, if you can learn how to safely harness it," The good, blue doctor continued, "I believe that with enough fine-tuning, you could find a number of practical uses for your ability."
He was being very flattering in speculating on my powers, but my ego didn't need the stroke, even if it did enjoy it. My brain needed information more, "Wait, wait, wait," I felt like a jerk for cutting him off, but I felt like he was going to go on for a while if I didn't, "I'm sorry, the Institute? Where am I exactly?"
Dr. McCoy seemed embarrassed at somehow leaving out that important bit the entire time we'd been speaking, "My apologies, Mr. Marcher. I'm afraid I got ahead of myself after hearing you talk about your gifts," Fair enough. My powers were admittedly awesome, "This is a school for young mutants like yourself, situated in upstate New York."
From doing the math in my head, that didn't make a lot of sense. A regular flight across the country would have taken at least six hours. I had been comfortable when I'd woken up, which meant I'd been there a while. Getting knocked out wouldn't have put me under for longer than six hours unless it was a head injury serious enough that I wouldn't be sitting up and talking to my doctor.
"How long was I out?"
"Not as long as you're probably thinking," Dr. McCoy must have figured out my train of thought easily from the chuckle it got out of him, "I must say, you're taking this a lot better than most others do, me running your checkup, I mean."
We had been speaking for quite some time, most of it done with him checking over what was left of my wounds from the car crash, and other than the initial surprise from seeing someone like him standing over me, I'd basically gone with the flow. First meetings or whenever new people showed up to this… 'Institute' in the manner I did must have usually been more hectic.
"I think it's because all of this just keeps on moving," I replied, wincing as he drew blood from my neck with some strange device, "If I get a good hour or two to myself to stop and think, I might wind up having a nervous breakdown. I had one in park before you guys found me."
A big paw/hand set itself on my shoulder in an effort to reassure me, "Well try to remain calm, and just remember, most things that you may see during your stay here are fairly normal," I got the feeling he was trying to warn me that I was about to see a lot of weird shit. Good to know, "Seven staples in your head and bruised ribs are all that remain of what were much more catastrophic injuries from last night. You'll be sore for a while, but you should be right as rain before long. Just take it easy."
He gave me a mirror to look myself over. The first thing I noticed were the stitches in my head. With how short I normally kept my hair that would probably leave a visible scar for little while. The next was that my eyes weren't brown like they were supposed to be. They were kind of yellow.
Fuck it. The color of my eyes was the least of my worries right then.
I gingerly stood up and tested how well I could walk without jostling my injuries, "I'm not so good with new places on my own, but I'll try. Thanks doctor."
Dr. McCoy escorted me through some kind of state of the art medical hallway outside of my room. Sure, this was a school. A school from the future, maybe, "Welcome to the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, but if you don't feel like staying, I understand," He said as I walked alongside him, "Your parents have been informed that you are in our care for the time being. They said they'll be taking a flight to New York to bring you home tomorrow."
The relief I felt at that moment was the inexplicable feeling that came with the thought that your parents were coming to help you. No matter what the issue was, they would be able to solve the problem.
But reality set in a moment later and I thought to myself, how exactly would they solve this? A group of guys attacked me out of the blue and had chased me blocks and blocks through a major city. As far as I know, they had gotten away with it once, and it had taken superhero intervention to bail me out of trouble.
My parents were anything but super.
"…Would those guys come back?" I asked, "The Friends of Humanity. Would they come back?"
The way I said it was enough to give Dr. McCoy pause, even if the subject matter had been grave enough as well or not, "It's hard to say, Mr. Marcher," He said, probably trying to think of a way to word things delicately, "They are quite adamant in their beliefs that mutants are evil, and they're willing to act on that belief. With a power like yours, especially after what you've already done, it's not likely they would let that notion go, especially if they knew just where to find you all over again."
Going home would have been great. The thought of a familiar setting with the same, old boring routine seemed like just the ticket after everything that had been happening. Some normalcy.
Did I even want that? Was it even possible? Not without moving far, far away, which sort of defeated the purpose of wanting to go home in the first place.
"Can I make a phone call, please?"
"I don't like this, Bellamy," I knew how this conversation was going to go before it even started, for the most part, so I was prepared, "Why don't you just come home? Everything will be alright. Nothing like this will happen again."
My dad was easier to convince than my mom was. He made his bones through movies. The man dedicated himself to them, all his life, straight through college, so much so that he got his own theater. He didn't just show what was new, he showed what he liked. If there was anyone that could understand going off on your own adventure, it would have been him.
Granted, this wasn't some epic hero's tale. But it was my own little journey. Maybe he thought I'd figure out something about myself that I never would at home? For better or for worse, he figured it was something I had to see through until the end.
My mom took it all much harder. I believe that if I hadn't taken the time to come up with good enough responses to things she might say to me, she would have been on the first flight to New York to drag my sorry ass back to San Francisco.
"Yes it will," There wasn't any way to convince me that it wasn't, "Mom, I thought it was something that would blow over. It won't."
"I don't care about your powers. Your dad doesn't either. You know that."
"Other people do, and that's what I'm afraid of. What if more mobs come? What if they don't get me when I'm alone the next time? What if you guys are there too?" I didn't want to find out how well my middle-aged parents dodged bullets.
"I don't want to lose you."
"You'll always have me," I rolled my eyes at saying something so cheesy right after I said it, "It's just, I think going home would cause more problems than it would solve. The staff here offered me a place in the school, so it's not like I'll miss out on classes or anything. And it's not like I can't come back to see you guys. There's school breaks and summer vacations. I can come back whenever you want, I think."
"I am too. But I'm not scared of something happening to me here. I'm scared of what might happen to you guys if I hang around."
The biggest reason I wasn't going home was because I wouldn't be able to stop people like the Friends of Humanity from doing the exact same thing they'd already tried to do to me again, or worse. This was a good chance to smooth out some of the rough edges of being a mutant.
If I was going to stay here, I had to take advantage of it somehow, in more ways than just the protection the X-Men were offering. That would only do me so much good, especially if I planned on having a life as a functioning adult in society without being taken out the first time something bad happened.
If I was going to be a target, at the very least I wanted to be the hardest target anyone had ever tried to take aim at. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
There was also a certain amount of self-interest involved as well, I'll admit. It involved superheroing. Who didn't want to give that a shot at least once in their life? The thought of it was enough to motivate me to get up and get moving.
But I was calm, cool, and rational about it. I made it sound like I had spent plenty of time thinking all of this through. I was glad that I could be so persuasive, but I was also glad that she was so willing to listen. Right up until she started to cry on the other end of the line. It was like a punch to the stomach, but how much conviction could a person say they had if that were enough to change their mind in a matter of seconds? I went into this conversation knowing that there was a good chance that this would happen.
Fortunately, dad came to my rescue and replaced my mom on the phone, "Hey, it's me again, Bel."
"Hey dad," I didn't know what to say at that point. Even though I knew there was a chance it was coming, it still rattled me. I had a heart, after all, "…I didn't mean to make her cry."
"Oh, don't sweat it. The same thing was going to happen when you went to college. You just moved it up a few years." My old man tried to joke, but even he couldn't muster much humor, given the circumstances, "…Do you know what you're doing?"
I'm not lying to that man. Not about this. My cards were all on the table here. I had no clue what I was getting myself into, but then again, I didn't when I got my powers either. I didn't have a choice in dealing with those. It was going to happen whether I went to the Institute or not, so it was better if I approached things as bluntly as I could.
"Good. If you were enough of a dumbass to say yes to that, you'd be coming home with us tomorrow. If this is what you want, I'm not going to stop you. Hell, at this point, you're probably better suited to deal with danger than either of us are."
I wasn't so sure. I would be soon enough though, if I had my way about it.
"I'll come back to pack my stuff and get everything straight at home," I assured him. I wasn't just going to stay there and never go back. I'm pretty sure there are laws that would keep me from doing that, anyway, "We can talk about it more then, but I want to go to Xavier's, dad."
My first day wasn't particularly action-packed, what with the comparison of the insanity that was my recruitment process. Though, I did get one significant takeaway that stayed with me for the remainder of my time there.
The school was gigantic.
When I came back from seeing my family and moved in, I got to experience what it was like to get lost in a place. That had never happened before at any school I'd ever gone to.
I got a map on my dorm's bed. I lost it like five minutes after I got everything into my room. I couldn't find where to go to get another one, and I didn't have anyone responsible for showing me around.
Because it was already weeks into the semester, there was no orientation for me. No older student to show me around and give me a crash course in where things were. I was on my own to figure everything out for myself.
It also was too much trouble to stick me with a roommate so late in the game. The company would have been nice, but the fact that I had that much privacy was all the better for me. Still, a roommate could have showed me around too, if we didn't hate each other right after meeting. But eh, rhetorical situations.
The point was, it was a Tuesday morning. I was lost. I was late. The halls were empty, and I didn't understand the building codes on my class schedule.
"All of these goddamn buildings look the goddamn same, inside and out," I said louder than I needed to as I passed through a hall that I knew had classes going. I hoped that a teacher would hear me curse and come out to tell me off so I could ask for some help without looking too stupid.
Even if it was a mutant school where I was going to learn how to use superpowers, it was still a school. You wanted to make as good an impression as possible on the people you were going to spending the bulk of your time with for the next few years.
Especially when they were teenagers. There was no age group in existence inherently crueler than teenagers.
The bell rang, letting students out of class and I just fumed inside my head as I fell in-step with the crowd. There was certainly a unique mix of people going here.
Tall kids, small kids, kids with paws. Kids made of metal, and with alligator jaws.
Goddamn you, Dr. Seuss. You evil, catchy rhyme-having son of a bitch.
I was close enough to my dorm room to make an executive decision to head back and spend a few more minutes digging around for my map. It was in there somewhere, mocking me. I knew this to be true. I wanted to find it, if only for the pleasure of setting it on fire later.
When I reached the door however, I found someone standing there waiting patiently. A girl with black hair wearing a blue dress covered with a purple shawl. The most striking thing about her though was the blindfold she had wrapped around her eyes.
Huh. Weird, but still, whatever.
What happened next was not so easy to brush off.
"Hi," I said, figuring that since she was in front of my room she was there for me.
She turned in my direction with a little smile on her face, "Pardon. It's nice to see you again, Bellamy," It was the kind of smile that someone would have when they knew something that you didn't.
The first thing I thought was wondering if everyone was going to know my name before I even introduced myself, "Uh… do I know you?" Were they actually giving me a guide? It was the only way I could figure she knew anything about me.
"No. But we were introduced. Yes, a few times, before I met you later," There went that theory. And what the hell did she just say? "Sorry."
How were you supposed to respond to that? "I have no idea what you just said, but yeah, totally. Nice to meet you?" I put my hand out for her to shake when I figured that she must have been wearing the blindfold for a reason, and that I was an idiot. But before I could take my hand back, she reached out and shook it, "Cool. And you are?"
"Yes. She is Ruth. Sorry."
"It's not a big deal," She was nice enough from the little bit I'd gotten from her. Pretty odd, but everything around there was. Dr. McCoy basically told me to keep an open mind, "What's your next class? Let me take you. I need to figure out where I'm going around here anyway."
So I walked her to her class. No problem, but how the hell did she know where she was going? Was that blindfold see-through? Could she see without seeing, Jedi-style? How much of a dick would I have been to start asking those questions?
"This place is like a prep school or something," I said, in an effort to make some kind of conversation, "I can't believe I don't have to pay to go here. It's crazy."
For some reason, she wasn't very conversational. It just seemed like she was happy to be around me. For her, it wasn't awkward to walk with me at all, even without talking, like she knew me already.
Honestly, it was pretty calming, after I got over the initial weirdness factor.
Eventually we wound up reaching her class, and being the upstanding, chivalrous gentleman that I am (also because she was blind), I escorted her the rest of the way to wherever she was supposed to sit.
"She is looking forward to being teammates, Bellamy. Yes, thank you."
Once again, I didn't understand some of what she was talking about, but she was so polite. I wasn't used to a polite teenager, "…You are the nicest person I've met in forever."
We were going to be friends if I had anything to say about it. Absolutely. Ruth was weird and confusing, but I could handle weird and confusing so long as the person was cool. This girl was good people.
A freezing cold hand set itself on my shoulder, getting my attention and turning me around. Holy shit, walking snowman. Actually, the man in question seemed to be solid ice instead of snow, "Uh, hi."
I was starting to get uncomfortable. My shoulder was going numb.
"You're definitely not in this class," The living ice sculpture said to me, "Sorry, but you've gotta go before the next bell rings. Professionalism and all that."
A teacher! Finally, an excuse to talk to one so I could ask how to get around!
"Hey, really quick. This is my first day. I don't know where I'm going," I rattled off before I could be gently nudged out of the classroom, "What do all of these mean, and where am I supposed to be next?"
He took a moment to look my schedule over and hummed in thought, "Intro to Hardware Engineering with Miss Pryde. You're in luck. First floor of the north wing. You can't miss it, trust me," A big grin then affixed itself to his face, "You'll have to book it if you want to make it since you've got about… 90 seconds."
I turned and ran as fast as I could in the direction that the teacher pointed. He must have been one of the cooler ones in the school (ha), because his response was to laugh at how fast I tore ass out of the room instead of telling me no running in the halls. Was it that hard to believe that I didn't want to miss any of my classes? The variety the school had was much better than my last one.
True to his instructions, I found where I needed to be, and quickly. Finally! I made it to a class!
The bell rang just as the door to the classroom was in sight, and just like that, the dream died. That was the fourth class that I'd either missed or been late for today. It sank in that until that point, I'd missed every single one altogether, "Fuck!" I snapped at the top of my lungs, "Fuck! Fuck! Fuckity-fuck!"
I stopped and turned to look at a brunette woman's head and torso sticking out of the wall of the classroom. She looked upset at my stream of vulgarity, my disturbing the peace, or both.
"First of all, watch your mouth," She started out, stepping the rest of the way through the wall to confront me. A little young to be a teacher, wasn't she? "Second of all, there's class going on."
"I'm supposed to be in this class," I said lamely, "This is the only class I even made it to today, and I was still fu-… friggin' late."
This was a school. I was a student. Students didn't get to drop f-bombs in front of teachers and get away with it. Even if I was miffed at the way my first day had turned out, it wasn't enough to risk getting my butt chewed out any more than I was going to already.
The lady stared at me for a few seconds before raising an eyebrow at me curiously, "Bellamy Marcher, I presume?"
"Why does everyone know my name?" I asked rhetorically under my breath. It was an integral part of introducing yourself, telling the other person your name, and I was starting to realize how annoying it was to meet new people without doing that part.
It wasn't said quietly enough to keep from being heard, "I had a new name on my roster this morning that I didn't recognize. After you said you were supposed to be here, I presumed you were it. Come on in," With that, she pulled herself back through the wall.
Meeting so many new people in such a short period of time, I was starting to notice a pattern. I was downright awful at making good first impressions. In a place where everyone had superpowers and the ability to hurt me badly, it would have been in my best interests to try and find a way to fix that, as everyone wouldn't be a teacher.
Someone who didn't have that kind of responsibility might try to bloody my nose or set me on fire sooner or later.
Eh, whatever. I had superpowers. Everything would be fine.
Oh, man. What the eff am I doing? Trying a new fandom and a new writing perspective. Why? For the fun of it! For the f'n fun!
Good old fashioned American fun!
…Yeah, so I hope you enjoyed. More will come in time if that is indeed the case.
If it fails? Well, I tried.