I do not own the Gifted.
This is a shorter work and has a similar premise and theme to my Game of Thrones story, We the Fallen, but the idea wouldn't leave me alone. I already have it complete, finishing at the end of Season One.
The first time it happened was that day in the car.
Lauren could remember seeing the truck coming towards them, how bright and blinding the headlights were.
And then she wasn't her anymore.
Or rather, she was and she wasn't both at the same time.
It was like remembering something that never happened, or trying to look at something underwater through a cracked periscope. For just a moment, no longer than a split second, she was a younger girl wearing a black dress - she could even feel the rough black material – staring down the barrel of a gun.
And then she was her again.
Or rather, she was and she wasn't both at the same time.
But she knew what to do.
She knew what to do.
By an instinct she didn't know she had she threw up a shield and redirected the truck just enough that it missed them. Their mom pulled onto the shoulder and sat shaking at the wheel.
Lauren shook for a very different reason.
She sat in her room that night and tried to sketch out a picture of the memory, but she wasn't like Andy. She was no artist. At the back of her mind she could still see the hatred and loathing in the soldier's eyes, the fear on his face – and the American flag pin on his collar.
It only took a moment of googling to confirm her sudden brainwave.
The uniform the soldier had been wearing was from World War Two, the American army uniform from that era.
If he had pulled the trigger, she would never know.
She wasn't sure she wanted to know.
Except she would learn, barely a month later, when a thunderstorm hit and lightning flashed outside her window.
Because suddenly she wasn't her anymore.
She was sheltering in a cave, barely that, trying to stay huddled on the remaining patch of dry stone as rain hammered down inches away. Lightning flashed down so close she could have reached out and touched it. She wasn't alone; though she couldn't see the boy she knew he was there.
"Don't worry," he said. "They'll regret this. History will remember our names."
Then she was back in her room, sat in her chair, warm and dry and safe.
Lauren closed the curtains.
The third time she was at school, and her teacher had just shown a video of buildings collapsing in an earthquake.
Then, for the third time, Lauren was the girl.
And, for the first time, the girl was her.
She saw a building crumbling under some unseen power, except it wasn't crumbling, it simply… no longer was. Lauren wasn't sure how to describe it.
"This is the gift we bring," said the girl and the boy she now knew somehow was her brother, "this is what they deserve," and the voice was hers.
Her classmates gave her some very strange looks when she was looking at the video again.
She couldn't tell anyone.
She could never tell anyone.
Not about her mutant abilities, and certainly not about the memories that didn't belong to her.
She tried to research, but she couldn't really because she had no starting point, no names or landmarks, not even a description because she was the girl, she had never seen her. She didn't even definitively know the dates.
What she could do was practise.
She did it in her room with the curtains closed tight, or sometimes in the garage when only her mom was home and upstairs.
The problem was, the more she practised, the more she trained, the more she used her powers, the more she remembered. She threw up a shield and she saw a flashed image of one stopping bullets, she lifted a glass and she saw a flashed image of one holding a gun, she pushed herself to hold a shield and she saw an image of men being crushed against a wall, she formed a shield flat and had a flashed image of jumping to stand on one (which she did actually try, it was pretty cool). Bit by bit, piece by piece, more and more of her was becoming the girl and more and more of the girl was becoming her.
And it terrified her.
But she couldn't tell anyone.
Andy she dismissed off hand, her mom was terrified of mutants, her dad…
Her dad was always talking about how dangerous mutants were. He put people like her in jail.
Her friends wouldn't understand. Their problems… they all seemed so petty and small now, compared to her own, and especially compared to the girl's. Lauren smiled and laughed in all the right places because it was fun, but there was always part of her that had to keep control of her powers and another part that had to stop the girl from speaking when she spoke.
The first time she started really thinking about Andy was that day in the park.
Lauren would realise that, eventually, and then feel terrible for it, wondering how selfish she could be. But Andy had always been a bit of a loner, even when they played Police and Mutants as kids (she was always the police, oh the irony).
It had been a long time since they just enjoyed time together as a family. Her dad worked such long hours now, Andy shut himself away in his room, and since that only left her and mom… well, Lauren would often prefer to spend time training. So family time was at an all time low.
Then came that day.
There seemed no real harm in trying Andy's stupid trick. It couldn't be any more dangerous than her powers. Of course, if she fell she'd have to let herself fall (which was tricky these days, the girl wanted to just throw up a shield and catch herself) and probably get some bruises for the effort, but she should spend more time with her family, so she tried it.
Andy grabbed her hand.
And she was the girl again, stronger than ever this time, with her brother's hand in hers. Power sang in her blood and she could feel it singing in his, roaring between them. The world was nothing.
It left bruises, but Lauren had the feeling that Andy letting go out of surprise was the best outcome for literally everyone.
Because if she had been the girl, well and truly, that meant the girl was her, and she had come so close to turning that power on the entire park and the buildings around it and reducing them to nothing but ash. Their mom and dad, the others at the cookout, the innocent people in their homes.
They weren't mutants.
They hated them.
This world hated them.
The girl wanted them all dead.
Lauren rolled over and threw up.
Andy told their parents she was sick and their dad took her home early. Lauren crawled under her bed, curled up in a ball and sobbed at the prospect at what might have been.
That was where Andy found her three hours later when he got home.
He knocked on her door first. "How you feeling?"
Lauren still couldn't bring herself to answer.
"Can I come in?"
She didn't reply, so she guessed he took that as a yes and came in anyway. It took him a moment to find her, and then he laid down on the floor to look at her. "What are you doing?"
"Go away Andy," she rasped, and the voice was hers and the girl's at the same time.
"Are you okay?"
"I said go away."
"Do you need me to get mom or dad?"
"No. I need to be alone."
"Is this about what happened in the park?"
Lauren gazed at him. "You felt that too?"
She wet her lips. "Andy, do you ever… Do you ever remember things that never happened to you?"
"You mean like déjà vu?"
"No, I mean like having memories that aren't yours."
He stared at her. "In the park…" he started, and then stopped as though not sure how to finish.
"Yeah," she whispered.
They didn't say anything else.
They didn't need to.
And maybe somewhere deep inside him, he knew too.
That day seemed to trigger something, because she dreamt as the girl that night, destroying a theatre building with all those inside it. She threw up again when she woke and convinced her mom she was still sick and to let her stay home, but she dreamt as the girl the next night and the night after that.
Andrea, the boy, her brother, called her.
She had a name.
Putting 'Andrea' into google brought up millions of results. 'Andrea, mutant' brought up less, but still recent ones, mostly related to a mutant in South Carolina called Andrea who destroyed a parking garage with some sort of sonic ability. Lauren typed in 'Andrea, mutant, second world war' and found one result.
History will remember us indeed.
The result was an archived newspaper article from the nineteen fifties about the destruction of a cinema in France. Not just destruction though. The article said it was just… gone. Completely… gone. Along with everyone who had been inside it.
The authorities were attributing it to Andreas and Andrea Von Strucker, the mutant terrorist twins.
Lauren thought of that day in the park.
They could have destroyed… everything.
She had kinda wanted to.
She never told Andy, but she did make an effort to talk to him more and spend time with him. He never asked, but he seemed to accept her company. Lauren wondered if sometimes he felt sorry for her and what teenage year old girl spent her time hanging out with her baby brother anyway?
He was fifteen.
If he was a mutant…
He showed her his pictures sometimes. Earlier ones were often guns and knives and blood, but recently he seemed to have switched to wolves.
The biggest one was blazoned across the front of his sketchbook with the word 'FENRIS' in stylized letters above it. Lauren gazed at it as it lay on the kitchen table one day and traced the words with one finger.
"The wolf," Andy said quietly from behind her, but Lauren wasn't really seeing him or the picture, she was seeing a group of men crumble to dust in front of her eyes.
"We are Fenris," said the girl and the boy, and their voices were one. Andy frowned.
"Are you okay?"
Lauren snatched her hand from the sketchbook.
"Was that… like at the park?"
"None of your business," Lauren snapped and swept out.
Andy came to her later, which, to be frank, neither of them expected.
"We are," said the girl unhelpfully.
"You mean… what happened at the park? That feeling, the light?"
Lauren blinked and shook her head. "What? No- Well, yes. Sorry Andy, that wasn't me."
He frowned. "Then who was it?"
"Then uncomplicated it." He sat down on her stool. "Talk to me, please, or I'm going to tell mom what's been going on."
"What? No, Andy, you can't!"
"Then talk to me! Lauren, please! I'm worried about you! Talking about remembering things that never happened, now this about Fenris and the wolf- Lauren, you said we. If this involves me too then I have a right to know."
"Andy," she whispered, and then she stopped.
She'd dismissed Andy offhand.
She'd never thought about it.
But he cared!
Lauren closed her eyes. Keep your feet together and jump in, Andrea said to someone she couldn't quite see yet.
"Andy," she said again. "Does the name Andreas Von Strucker mean anything to you?"
The name meant nothing to Andy. Lauren told him about her dreams, carefully leaving out any mentions of mutanthood, though Andy did bring up the question anyway. It took another five months for everything to connect in her head. She dreamt of the girl every night. Sometimes Lauren was unsure which name to answer to. When she heard the name 'Andrea' shouted in the hallway at school she had to bite her tongue not to answer. More and more the girl spoke when she did. But she wasn't so much a girl now, or at least, not always. The memories were fuzzy, sometimes little more than misty images, torn pictures seen through a cracked screen, but bit by bit Lauren was piecing them together, sketching a rough timeline in her notebook. There was a child now in some of her dreams, a boy with dark hair like Andy and hazel eyes like their father. Otto, the boy, her brother, Andreas, called him.
Otto Von Strucker, Lauren wrote in her notebook when she woke, and then stared hard at the name. No. No. No. But it had to be, it was too close, too bold, to be a coincidence.
"Oh you stupid little boy," Andrea whispered, tracing Lauren's finger over the page. "What have you done?"