Disclaimer: I (the author) do not now, nor have I ever owned The Gifted or its affiliated works. All plot, theme, character and sets belong solely to Fox and its parent companies. Any work produced by this author is produced solely for the purpose of entertainment.
Furthermore, it is not intended to be taken for scientific, religious, or social correctness. The views expressed by characters in this work do NOT represent the opinions or views of Fox, or this author. They are purely for the purpose of entertainment.
(I.E.: "Thunderbird is an idiot." Neither I, nor Fox, thinks of Thunderbird as an idiot. But one of my CHARACTERS may.)
Author's Note: Feel free to copy and paste that legal disclaimer; insane what you have to say to avoid criticism. In any case, I had a lot of fun writing this and I promise it picks up soon. I wanted to set the stage for my OC and explain where in the timeline this story lays.
For that one guy (you know who you are) who has read any of my other works, there is no time travel and only on original character, which is new for me. NO, he is NOT from the COMICS. He's an OC, pure and simple. His abilities will be explained further on.
Any questions you have about the story will probably be answered later on, but feel free to message me or leave a comment.
Read on, and enjoy the show!
I never liked being a servant. It's funny, you think that'd be obvious. Who wants to live at the beck and call of someone night and day? But some people said that was just part of life. Some were servants, some were masters. But I never liked it; my mother always told me that I was born too early. That some, shining day, we'd live in a world where people all loved each other equally.
That slavery and oppression would be gone. Sickness and death healed like the bruises on my back. Funny, that it's been four hundred years, and that day still hasn't come.
The U.S. wasn't the best place to look for love and equality; I'll admit that. Especially with Mutant DNA in a country on the brink of a civil war. Mutants versus humans; the species war.
Amazing how quickly the old hatreds and biases vanished. Suddenly, there were no democrats and republicans; no black or white, Mexican or Asian. No gay or straight, no Muslim or Infidel. Suddenly, after one quick moment, it was all united. Human.
Of course, not all mutants were created equal. Some could fly or light themselves on fire; some just grew scales or a tail. Some looked totally human, and passed as human all their lives. I was in that category; despite being a full blooded mutant, no one had ever guessed my secret.
Some people I'd gotten close to over the years had come close; Vampire, immortal, demon, even angel. I kind of liked that last one; but it didn't fit. I was no messenger from Heaven, or a warrior from Hell. I was more of a... traveler.
But here I am, monologuing like that idiot from the Incredibles, and you don't know the first thing about me.
The name's Lucas Ekerton. I'm six foot one inch, skinny, black hair cut short and professionally styled from a time when I dated a stylist. Most importantly, I'm writing a journal to document my time here before the Last War. The war between humans and mutants. It was an interesting time, and anyone who still cares about that war might want to read this.
I'm no nature photographer, no biographer, no reporter. Just a traveler who's traveled his last mile. I've loved a few times in my life, but this is the story of the one I loved the most. I've fought many wars, but this one has been my last. My story is... too long and boring to be told. Not enough sex or adventure to make it to TV or the movies. But her story... the story of the girl I loved, that one deserves to be told.
So read on. Judge for yourself. Time will be the judge of us all.
"How much farther?" Her little voice still made Lucas smile, though that smile was growing painful as the days dragged on.
"Not much, baby girl. We're almost there." Lucas shifted her higher on his shoulder to ease his aching muscles and brushed a strand of blonde hair out of the little girl's eyes.
She was five years old, the daughter of a mutant who'd married a mutant, and an orphan to the world. Maybe I would have found someone to take her in the human's system, but I owed it to her mother to find someone who'd love her. Who'd protect her.
Who better to do that than the Mutant Underground?
She wore a pink and blue splotched rain coat, a pair of white tennis shoes, the smallest pair of jeans imaginable, and a tee shirt that said 'I love hugz'. The dots of blood around the hem make Lucas' heart sink every time he saw them.
"I can walk now if you're tired..." She said softly, leaning her head against Lucas' shoulder.
"That's alright, I don't mind."
The trees were beautiful this time of year; green didn't come close to describing it. They reminded Lucas of home; not that those memories were any better than the more current ones. Death followed him like Paparazzi followed celebrities. Being an immortal 18 year old had it's downsides.
"Will there be nice people where we're going?" The little girl, Deborah, asked quietly. She rubbed her eyes with a chubby fist, sniffing as the cool breeze blew past them.
"Of course there will be. I'll make sure of it." Lucas promised, faking a smile.
The last place he'd headed for with his precious bundle had been sealed off by yellow tape. Brass in the grass and boot prints next to the kiddie pool told him as much of the story as he needed to know. The off the books foster home for mutants was a no-go; he hoped silently that the Mutant Underground went better.
"Lucas, I'm scared!" Deborah suddenly cried, clinging to him tightly. A sudden wave of fear hit them both like a truck, making him pause.
The fear was definitely unnatural; it came out of no where and made his heart race against his ribs. Mutant powers?
"Don't be afraid, baby girl. That's just our new friends keeping out the bad guys. The bad guys get scared too." Lucas explained. He pressed on, hoping fervently that he'd guessed right. Sentinel Services certainly didn't have fear inducers on their perimeter; they must be getting close.
Around the next bend of trees and cracked pavement, the man who must have been causing their sudden terror stepped into sight holding a rifle. He reminded Lucas of an Orc out of Lord of the Rings, and the rifle made him clench his fists. He could take a bullet, but Deborah?
"We come in peace! Fellow mutants." Lucas called out.
Mr. Scary narrowed his eyes and nodded before pulling out a handheld radio. A few words Lucas didn't catch were spoken into it, and he waved them on.
Lucas nodded back, holding his child closely as they walked past a chain link fence and approached the run down building.
It had once been a bank, by the look of it, but the windows were blown out and the steps cracked from age. Grass grew sporadically, and a few cars were scattered here and there. It looked more like a drug dealer's hideout than a safe house for mutants.
Lucas stood outside the dilapidated bank, staring up at the doors expectantly. Was he supposed to just stroll on in?
As if on cue, a man walked out and waved, his long hair bouncing as he walked down the steps. He had a body-builder's physique, a Native American tan, and a giant tattoo of a bird on his left shoulder. Lucas got a 'military' vibe off of him, but by the haircut and the ratty clothes, he figured that had been a while ago.
"Hey. I'm Thunderbird." The man said by way of greeting.
"Makes sense." Lucas smiled.
"My name's Lucas. This is Deborah."
The stranger nodded and waved to the little girl, eyeing them both carefully.
"How'd you find us?" Thunderbird asked cautiously, folding his arms over his chest.
Lucas shrugged and chose his words carefully.
"Long story. Friend of a friend, basically. This is the Mutant Underground?"
T-Bird nodded sagely.
"Good. I uh... I need to find a place for Deborah. She's got the gene, like her parents. She's got no one left." The explanation had sounded better in his head, but now that he was actually standing in front of Mr. McMuscles, it sounded pretty weak.
"You're a mutant as well?"
Lucas shrugged again. "Kind of. I'm not human, but I can't exactly shoot lasers out of my eyes or stop a car with my fist."
T-Bird laughed and shook his head. "Yeah, neither can I. At least not the lasers. Come on inside; make yourself comfortable."
He led the way up the stairs, flicking his hair aside dramatically as he did so. Lucas suppressed a laugh and followed closely, Deborah still firmly in place.
The doors opened with a creak, and the murmur of people hit his ears. The inside of the building looked worse than the outside; giant holes in the floors and the smell of mold were concerning.
"It's not much, but it's home. We care for any mutant refugees that need a home here, and hopefully find a place for them to settle permanently. There's food, blankets and beds for everyone who needs them." T-Bird said seriously. He seemed proud, if not weary, of the little station.
"Do you have room for one more?" Lucas asked hesitantly. Despite the offer, he sure didn't see any vacancy signs. Weary and worn individuals from all walks of life stopped to stare at the newcomers. It looked like something out of a war movie; the prison camp where the poor peasants starve and shiver.
"One more? You're not staying?" T-Bird asked suddenly, again having to flick his hair out of his eyes.
Lucas shook his head and set the little girl down, right as another woman walked past. She was tall, blonde, and looked more like a mother than most women he'd seen. She lit up when she saw Deborah, who returned the smile and practically leapt into her arms.
"Hello there! And who's this?" The woman asked in a 'baby' voice. Lucas smiled and made the introductions.
"This is Deborah McCall. I'm Lucas." He started to offer a hand, but the woman was already busy playing with Deborah and didn't seem to interested in him any more.
"This is Caitlyn; she's part of one our families." T-Bird explained.
"I'm sorry to have to ask this, but is there anyone here who could take care of her? I can't just drop her off at social services, and I'm no father. I can't take care of her the way she needs." Lucas admitted quietly.
T-Bird nodded, but looked suspicious. He could tell there were a hundred questions going through his head.
"I'm sure someone will be willing to look after her. Come with me; let's talk in private." T-Bird led the way down a set of stairs, while Deborah babbled on about something to her friend.
The shout made him flinch and whirl around, right as the little girl held out a tiny hand with a look of horror.
"Where are you going?"
If someone had just hit him with a sledgehammer, he would have felt better than the way that voice made him feel.
"I'm uh... I'm just going away for a minute. I'll be right back, promise!" He said with the last of his reserve smiles. The girl saw right through it.
"Don't leave me..."
Caitlyn about came to tears herself as she picked the girl up and hugged her close. "Don't worry, he's coming back! We'll just have to find something to do in the mean time!" She cooed.
But those accusing eyes followed Lucas all the way to what must have been T-Bird's office. A woman in her thirties with short hair and a nerd complex spotted them coming and made herself scarce. Rows of computers and hard drives filled the walls, and a tiny desk was covered in paper and notes.
"So who are you, exactly?" T-Bird said as he shut the door. Lucas leaned against the desk and raised an eyebrow.
"Your name is Thunderbird and you live in an abandoned bank; 'Hi I'm Lucas' isn't good enough for you?"
A look of 'dang he's right' flashed across the man's eyes. "Fair enough. My name is John Proudstar; this the Mutant Undergrouond headquarters. Your turn."
Lucas nodded and returned the favor.
"My name is Lucas Ekerton and you already know Deborah. She's five years old, her parents are dead, and she has the X-gene. In about a decade she might grow claws instead of fingernails. I owed her parents... a lot." Lucas explained, purposely leaving out details. "Taking care of Deborah is the least I can do. Unfortunately, I'm not human myself and I'm a single man living in a crappy apartment. I can't leave her alone for nine hours at a time and hiring a babysitter seemed wrong. I'm here trying to find her a home."
John sighed and folded his arms again as he thought. "We normally take whole families or just teenagers; people who can make it on their own. I'm not sure we can find anyone who'll want to adopt a little girl right now."
Lucas raised an eyebrow and nodded to the woman who reminded him of Fred from Angel.
"How about her?"
John gave an annoyed look and lowered his voice.
"Her kids are mutants, but she's human. Her husband has been arrested by Sentinel Services and they made it here after being chased by Sentinel robots. They've been here less than a month and are showing signs of PTSD. Even if she volunteered, I'm not sure that's a good idea."
"I'm not asking for a 'Leave it to Beaver' family, I need someone who can feed and take care of her. If you don't want her here, I'll find somewhere else." Lucas shot back. The idea of coming here was starting to feel like more of a mistake than the foster home in the war zone.
"We don't turn people away." T-Bird assured him. "But I don't understand why you're not staying, too."
Lucas looked around at the scattered refugees and the MRE's being passed around before answering.
"I have a house, and food in my fridge. Money in the bank. And best of all, the good old SS has no clue I exist. If they come knocking, I can take care of myself. But throwing a five year old girl in the mix is a mistake for both of us. Find someone here, a mother, to take care of her, and I'll make it worth your while."
To prove his point, Lucas pulled an envelope out of his jacket and handed it to the man. There was close to two thousand dollars in twenties in there, carefully carried for just this purpose.
The obvious question finally came to John's lips as he looked inside the faded envelope.
"How old are you, man?"
"Older than I look."
There was an awkward silence as T-Bird waited for him to go on, but he stubbornly refused.
"Alright, let me talk to the other leaders here at the station. I'll ask Caitlyn what she thinks and we'll get back to you. For now, feel free to take a look around." With that, John walked out the door and left it open for his guest.
He walked purposely off in the direction of the grand staircase, meeting two women and a man on the landing. The man was Hispanic looking, tense, and seemed to be exhausted.
The first woman was small, Asian, with purple hair and green eyes that seemed fairly cat like. She reminded Lucas of that cool little sister he'd never had.
Finally, there was a woman that he couldn't help but stare at. She had long, almost pinkish-red hair, and warm eyes that seemed to smile all on their own. Lucas caught a breath in his throat as she caught his stare, making them both blush.
Someone walked past at the wrong moment, and he lost sight of her. By the time Lucas moved to see her again, he only saw them walking away into the crowd.
"Hey there. Are you new?"
Lucas turned to see who'd spoken, seeing yet another beautiful girl, though this one was much younger. She had dirty blonde hair and a friendly smile that he tended to get from girls.
"Me? The stranger you've never seen before? No, I've been here for years." Lucas said sarcastically, though it sounded meaner out loud.
The teen smiled and narrowed her eyes at him. "Right, sorry. I'm pretty new too. My name's Lauren."
Lucas shook her delicately offered hand, noticing the lack of callouses or scrapes. He got the distinct feeling that this girl was about as innocent as they came.
"Lucas. I am new, yeah. I'm not staying, though. Just came to drop off a friend."
Lauren looked suspicious of that, like it wasn't something that was said around there.
"You're... not on the run? I mean, you have a place to go besides here?" There was a pain in her voice that made him hate himself for being sarcastic before. This kid was homeless and probably hungry, even if she looked like another cheer leader heading to practice.
"Yeah. I uh... Like I said, I'm just dropping off a friend. A little girl I owe a favor too. A woman named Strucker was taking care of her a minute ago... I'm not sure where they went." Lucas realized, looking around for the duo.
Lauren's face lit up with curiosity. "Strucker? That's my name. You must mean my mom."
"Oh, makes sense. You look like her." Lucas said warmly. He tried to guess her age, wondering if he'd be in trouble for complementing her. "Same eyes."
Lauren blushed and looked down, playing with a strand of her long hair as she did. "Thanks. People say I look more like my dad."
The earlier mention of the Strucker family clicked into place; this was the girl who'd lost her dad to Sentinel.
"I heard about your dad; I'm sorry."
A tiny, almost unnoticeable tear formed in her eye, which she ignored as she answered. "Yeah, it's been a rough few days. My brother's taking it hard too." She looked to an awkward looking boy off in the crowd. He had that aurora of 'I'm misunderstood and bullied' about him, which contrasted sharply with the warrior princess vibe that Lauren was projecting.
"How do you spell your name?" Lucas asked suddenly, pulling out his phone.
By the look on her face, Lauren was expecting a cheesy pickup line. "Why...?"
"What about your dad's name?"
"Reed. Why?" The last 'why' was forceful enough to get a response as he finished typing.
"Well, I'm guessing the Wi-fi sucks around here. When I get back to my place, I'll look into it. Bring news when I come back. If that's what you want, I mean."
The girl softened noticeably and shot him a look like he'd just made her day. It was nice to get that kind of look, instead of the usual 'screw you'.
"That... would be amazing. Thank you!"
Lucas nodded, but didn't get the chance to say anything more.
"Hey, new guy? Lucas?"
The Hispanic man from the staircase led the group of rebel leaders this time, arms folded over his ratty shirt as he approached the two of them.
"Everyone is welcome here; especially Deborah. We'll take good care of her." He offered a hand to Lucas, which he gratefully shook. "And you're welcome anytime."
Lucas nodded respectfully. "I appreciate that. I've got to head back soon; thank you, for what you're doing."
The man nodded and looked embarrassed. "Thank you, for the money. We're not a charity, but we appreciate what you did."
Again, Lucas couldn't help but look to a man eating half a can of ancient soup in the corner. Lucas had been hungry before; that wasn't new. But these people lived with it night and day.
"You need it more than I do. I'll bring more, and anything else you need next time I come around."
The man raised an eyebrow in surprise and nodded again.
"I... don't know what to say. Thank you, I guess."
"I never got your name." Lucas noted, hoping it wasn't something out of a comic book.
"Eclipse. Friends call me Marcos."
They shook hands again, and Caitlyn Strucker appeared out of nowhere holding the smiling Deborah. When the girl spotted Lucas, she squealed and leapt to the ground to run to him.
Lucas grinned and knelt down to hug her, squeezing her a little tighter this time.
"Are we going to stay here forever?" She asked innocently, eyes wide as she stared up at him.
Lucas bit his lip until it bled and fought hard to keep his eyes dry. "I'm afraid not, baby girl. I have to go away for a while, but I'll be back. Promise." He squeezed her tiny hand as he spoke, praying for not to cry.
"But..." His hopes were shattered as tears started flowing out of the girls eyes. "But I don't want to stay here! I want to stay with you!"
"Hey hey hey, come on! You're alright. This place is going to be fun. They've got everything, baby girl. You'll be safe here. It'll be just like a really long sleepover. Before you know it, this'll be home."
Deborah sniffed hard, and Lauren gracefully scooped her up into her arms. The two of them walked off a short distance, and Lucas mouthed the words 'thank you'.
"We'll take care of her." Caitlyn said gently. The motherly aurora was so strong Lucas had to convince himself to leave as planned.
"Thank you, for what you're doing. She needs more than I can give her." Lucas shot one more look to the little girl, now accepting a tiny stuffed bear from the Strucker girl. The faintest trace of smile formed, and it gave him the strength to turn away.
"I'll be back soon."
With that, he walked up the stairs to the doors he'd come through, his breath hanging tight in his chest. People stopped to stare at him as he went, but he ignored them all. When sunlight his his face again, he took a deep breath.
"I'll be back soon."
The apartment was dark. Not a light could be seen for blocks; most of the neighbors were all asleep, or at least had the curtains drawn.
The kitchen was messy; dishes lay on the counter and the cabinets were open. Dinner lay on the table, having long grown cold. Meat loaf and mashed potatoes, green beans and a bottle of Coke. It reminded Lucas of home.
He was sitting in the kitchen chairs, feet firmly planted on the linoleum and hands folded in thought. Eyes closed, ears peeled, he waited for the sound of the key in the lock.
After two hours, he finally heard it. The tape was shoved aside, the door opened, and light streamed in. Now that the room was illuminated, the giant blood stain on the carpet beyond the kitchen was plainly obvious.
"Alright, you guys know the drill. Grab and bag it all..." The Sentinel man stopped cold as he spotted the man across from him.
"What...? Who are...?" The other four men stormed into the room, reaching for their sidearms as they went.
Lucas stood up, eyes burning and fists clenched.
"His name was Allen McCall. Her name was Sasha Ekerton. And they were my family."
The lead agent swallowed hard and reached for his weapon as sweat broke out on his forehead.
He never got the chance to fire.