Summary: A feral gone wild is taken in by Mutant X. Can the team teach her to control her instincts?

Pairings: J/E and B/Danny

Note: This is my first fic, and I want reviews (praise and flames!) so I can get a feel for this writing thing. Also, all you B/S fans- TOO BAD! I am not putting any- I repeat- ANY!- B/S action in this story. I do not think they are meant to be and that is just that. Or have you forgotten that I am the author here?

Disclaimer: I own nothing but the clothes on my back and an idustrial strength weed-wacker. Sue me if you like- but then you'll be responsible for a fourteen year old writer pulling weeds in her front yard naked, and we really don't want that. Do we?

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In a forest, in a cave, a group of human figures slept, bodies dirty and tangled together, flies buzzing around their heads. They slept like animals, legs twitching as they chased imaginary prey, growls coming from some throats instead of snores. Some were inpossibly hairy, fur covering their faces; while some had sharp canine teeth or clawed fingers. Together in their cave, they looked like what they acted like: a pack of dirty, animal predators sleeping off a big meal.

But I sat apart from the others, unable to sleep as I stared out at the starred sky. My face was covered in grime, but fur free, and underneath all that dirt was the pretty young woman I had been. My dirty, torn clothing was covered in blood, but not my own. Sitting there, hugging my knees to my chest, I felt small and alone. A tear slipped from my dark eyes unchecked, and made a track through the dirt on my cheek to fall off my chin.

What have I done? I wondered, remembering the hunt, and the kill, remembering how I had enjoyed it, had enjoyed the feeling of dangerous freedom, my blood pumping wildly through my body as I had chased the prey with the others. But after the kill, while the others gorged, I had simply stared at the corpse in horror, not even noticing the blood that splattered me. A part of my mind remembered other hunts, other feasts where I had eaten along with the rest, and a part of me was glad that I was no longer so- so- primitive. Yes, that was the word. Primitive, primal. Animal-like. But another part wanted to feel that carefree feeling I had had, like a drug addict wants to be high again. So I sat as my mind battled with itself.

In the distance, a mountain lion called, and I answered unthinking, my voice perfectly mimicing the cougar's cry. "Stay away, night brother," my call said, "You aren't wanted here." Neither am I, I realized. But where else can I go? Not back home, where I was just a freak, unwelcome even to my family. I knew I would have to start all over again, but how? I couldn't just crawl into a town, looking like I did. Even if I washed myself off, got new clothes, there was still that part of me that craved the wildness. What if I lost control again? The thought of killing made me shudder now, but what if that changed? I couldn't answer that, so I sat as my mind battled with itself.

I finally slept just inside the cave entrance, curled up in an instinctive cat-like ball, the moon shining across my face and glinting off the tears.

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The pack woke up around noon, their meals disgested and their stomachs empty. Falco, the leader of the pack, announced a hunt with a series of high pitched yips, and the others followed him out of the cave, some on their feet and some on all fours.

Glad to be alone, I sat on my haunches in front of the cave, smelling the fresh green scent of the pine trees and wondering if I should feel guilty about letting the pack hunt, instead of trying to stop them. Probably not, I decided. I couldn't have stopped them anyways; I was stronger than most of them, but against all of them together, I didn't have a chance.

My musings were interrupted by the sound of footsteps not too far away. Not part of the pack; none of them wore shoes and these people had shoes on. Panicked, I wondered what I should do. I settled for scurrying into the cave, my lithe, slender body moving with the ease of a cat, even in panic. I held my breath and prayed that they wouldn't come into the cave, even put my hands over my ears so I wouldn't hear them in a childish attempt to make them dissapear.

But they didn't dissapear, and after a minute two heads ducked into the cave, one blond and one brunette. That was all I noted about them before I scrambled away from them, to press myself into the far corner as though I could melt into the wall. For the brunette was holding a handful of lightning and my feral self feared it terribly.

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We stared at each other for a moment, as I tried to control the frenzied fear the lightning was working up. Finally the blond reached out to nudge her friend's arm. "Turn it off, Bren," she said, her low voice washing over me and calming me the tiniest bit. "You're scaring her." She crouched and held out her hands to show that she wasn't going to attack.

The one with the lightning wasn't so trusting. "You've seen what they did to those people, Shal. She's a monster." I yelped and hid my face against the wall, shielding myself from his words. But they still stung, and I agreed with him: I was a monster.

"She probably couldn't help it, Brennan." The blond said, her tone irritated. I got the sense that they had had this arguement before. "Why if my dna mutates out of control, huh? What if I end up like her? Would you call me a monster?" Dimly my mind realized what she meant, that she was like me; well, like I had been before.

The man closed his fist and the lightning disappeared. I relaxed, and considered detaching myself from the wall, but he pointed a finger at me. "I can bring it back. So no funny business, got that?"

My lips quirked and threatened to smile as I sat back onto my heels. "If by funny business you mean attacking you, I wasn't going to. I'm not like that anymore." Remembering, I cast my eyes down.

"Not like the others?" The woman asked, keeping her voice soft and persuesive, like someone coaxing an animal out of a burrow.

I shook my head slightly. "No. If I was, I'd be with them right now, hunting." I shuddered.

"You mean killing." The man moved forward, and I cringed back, expecting a blow.

"Brennan," His friend said, kicking him in the leg. "Stop it. You're making things worse. She's-"

I interrupted. "Yes." I put my head in my hands. "Killing. They are." I sighed and slid down to a more comfortable seating position, expecting a discussion. I looked up to make eye contact with the woman, and got a sense of her animal self, hidden just behind her eyes. I decided to risk it. "I'm Danny."

She smiled and settled back on her heels. "Shalimar." She glanced up at her companion, who was towering over us. "He's Brennan. We're from Mutant X."

I frowned. "Mutant X?"

"We're a group of people who help New Mutants like you." She kept her voice the same, gentle and quiet. Still trying to coax me out of my proverbial burrow.

"People like me?" I stood up and turned my back, pacing a bit. "Phsyco people who sometimes sprout claws and run around on all fours? Maniacal killers who act and think like cats?"

She didn't move from her spot on the floor. "You're not a phsyco and you're not a maniacal killer. You're a feral."

I turned and tilted my head at the word. "Feral? As in wild cats?" My lips twitched at the comparison. It fit.

She grinned. "Yeah. But ferals can also be bear, or deer, or even fish."

I snorted. "Fish? Do they sprout gills and spawn upstream?"

"Don't laugh. How would you like it?" Shalimar's features had arranged themselves in a slight scowl. I sobered.

"What about him?" I gestured to the lightning man, not looking at him.

"He's an elemental. There are also psionics and moleculars. More about that later. Let's get you out of here." She stood and reached for my arm. I drew back.

"To where?" Where could I go that I didn't endanger myself or others?

"To Sanctuary. Adam can help you with your changes, maybe keep them from happening all together."

I shook my head. "I can't. I'll lose control and hurt someone, maybe even kill again. I can't let that happen."

For the first time, Brennan spoke almost kindly in my direction. "Adam can fix you so you don't lose control ever again."

"That's not exactly true, Bren," Shalimar said with a frown. "He can make it so that your dna isn't mutating so fast," she informed me, "So your human self can learn to control the changes. But learning control is hard work."

"I don't care," I said, grabbing the promise of control like a lifeline. "Whatever it takes. I don't want to kill another human being, ever."

She smiled at my vehemence. "Lets go see Adam, then."

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I followed them out of the cave, then stopped, smelling all-too-familiar scents not so far off. "Um, Shalimar?" I gulped, looking in the direction of the smells with my eyes glowing yellow.

"What?" she said, looking in the same direction. "I don't see anything."

I glanced at her, then pointed. "On the side of the mountain, coming towards us." When she still didn't react, I explained. "The others! They're coming!"

"Shit," Shalimar said, sincerely. "Jesse?" She spoke the name as though there was another person standing right there with us, prompting me to look around. But a new voice came, not from a new person, but from the silver ring on Shalimar's finger.

"Yeah, Shal?" The voice was masculine, slightly burred but pleasant enough.

"Uncloak the Helix and prep for takeoff."

A plane materialized out of thin air on the ridge nearby. Not your ordinary 747, though, this thing was slick, like something out of the sci-fi shows I used to watch all the time. The thought of TV made me crave Discovery Channel and Star Trek, but I shoved that aside. All in good time, my mind noted before returning to the present. I glanced from the plane to the approaching pack, then back again. I shook my head. "We won't make that in time." Then I amended that. "You two won't make it in time."

"Woah," Brennan said, a bit sarcastically. "Cocky, aren't we?"

I raised my eyebrows in his general direction, not really focusing on the conversation. "Not cocky." I grinned. "Just fast." My mind formulated a plan and I turned to the others.

"OK. You two," I pointed, just in case they thought I meant someone else. "Start running towards your plane-thingy and have your guy," I gestured to Shalimar's hand, "Take off and fly over to that ridge." I pointed to a rocky outcropping on the other side of the valley, higher than the one their plane currently rested on. "As soon as you two are on the plane, I'll run there and you can pick me up. Unless..." I turned to them. "You wouldn't have some kind of beam-me-up-scotty thing, would you?"

Brennan grinned. "Not beam-me-up-scotty, but close enough. We could have Jesse hover over," he gestured above his head, "And I could take one of you with me."

I looked from myself to Shalimar, who was looking amused at our brainstorming. She was cleaner than I was, I finally decided. Much cleaner. And I couldn't be sure that she could make that jump on her own, but I knew I could. "Take Shalimar." I glanced at the rocky wall that held the cave. It looked solid enough.

The plane, meanwhile, had flown over to hover a good thirty feet above us, as close as the cliffs and trees allowed. Brennan looped his arm around the blond and fired a blue streak directly at the ground, making him steadily rise. I waited until they were both safely inside the plane, noting the exact location of the door. Then, with one glance towards the pack, which I could see now, I jumped towards a spot halfway up on the cliff face, kicking off to grab the door of the plane. Using my powers had been a bad idea, I realized as I felt the animal rising up inside of me.

Calling upon my last stores of human strength, I heaved myself over and landed on my knees just inside the door, so close that it pushed me in when it closed. I fell forward onto my hands and breathed deeply, trying to slow my pulse down and fight the animal feeling. A hand reached out to touch my shoulder and I jerked away with a growl. "Don't," I gasped, pulling even farther away. "God," I groaned and folded into a fetal position, shaking as I tried to control my animal side. My fingernails dug into my arms as they formed claws, and I welcomed the pain as a deterrant to further changes.

"Adam," Shalimar's voice yelled. "She's changing."

A new voice came out of nowhere, though I didn't notice that at the time. "Nothing you can do, Shal. Just get her here."

My mouth was bleeding as razor sharp canines formed, and I opened my mouth to scream, but it came out a screech; a cat's pain filled yowls filled echoed through the plane. I felt like I was being dragged underneath the surface of a lake and couldn't swim. I was dimly aware of the thrum of the engines stopping and of someone picking me up: I tried to fend them off but couldn't move. Then I felt a sharp sting in my arm and everything went blissfully black.

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So, what do you think? Please review! As soon as I get... oh, say, ten reviews (from different people), I will post the next chapter. That includes flames, so let me know! Now if you will excuse me, I have yard work to do.