Summary: The war has begun, and it's time to take sides. Desperate to save her friend from an anti-mutant rally, 17 year-old Ayla Phoenix is saved by the Brotherhood, while her other friends are rescued by the X-Men. Both sides want her help; both sides know her past, even though she herself does not. Which side will she join? Or will her strange powers choose for her?
Disclaimer: Naturally, I do not own anything related to the X-Men franchise, only the characters I have created: Phoenix, Venom, Sienna, Ryan, Rissa, Blaez, etc.
Chapter One: The Dream
"The world is black and hearts are cold,
And there's no hope that's what we're told,
And we can't go back,
We won't be the same,
Forever changed by the things we've seen."
The World Is Black, Good Charlotte
People were crammed in through the gates, watched over carefully by soldiers in tan uniforms, all equipped with high-powered rifles in their hands, and pistols in their belts. The red armbands they all sported were the symbol of death for those being ushered inside the camp. How that symbol was hated amongst the prisoners... The camp was full, not just with people, but with the horrid smells of human waste, sweat, vomit, fear, and pain. They were no more than frightened, subdued animals, anxiously waiting for the time that another of their fellows would never return.
One of these prisoners was a young girl, no one seemed to see her, yet she saw them all. Her eyes were confused, and yet full of pain. She seemed to be made only of mist and shadow, nothing else, no light, no warmth, no comfort; not seen, just there. She watched the progression, wondering what was happening, why she was here to witness their pain. Then, her eyes widened in fear, her breath came faster, for she saw someone in the crowd: it was her. Fear welled up inside her, fear of pain, of death. But with it came another emotion: anger. An anger so vicious, so strong, it was a boiling surge beneath her skin, a thirst for revenge. But the problem was she didn't know whom she should strike out at. All she saw was the prisoners, the guards, and herself. She could touch none of them. Help none of them. Hurt none of them.
Before her eyes, her reflection in the crowd glared angrily up at one of the guards, whom noticed. He scowled back and nudged her shoulder roughly with the butt of his rifle. She swatted at it, earning herself a whack on the head by the angered guard. With a muttered curse upon the soldier, she moved forward. Then, the reflection saw something, something that shone like a beacon in the darkness of the future of her imprisonment: an escape. Part of the fence was ruined, she might be able to make it through...she just had to run... Waiting until the annoyed guard had turned his back, she slipped through the crowd to the edge, bumping up against a boy with his parents. They didn't notice. She continued to slide through, until she was at the edge. Her heartbeat sped up; escape was only a few feet away. She got close to the fence, and bolted. She squirmed through the jagged gap, scratching herself on the coarse wire. There were shouts, gun shots, the prisoners screamed and stampeded in fear; the girl continued to struggle, and the reflection of mist watched, still confused. Then, the girl in the fence was hit. Blood blossomed like a terrible flower from her chest. She fell to her knees, her lung and heart punctured by the bullet. She looked up at the guard, and spat at him. To their surprise, the guard fell down to his knees as well, and a hole appeared in his own chest. As the blood on her shirt vanished, blood appeared on his. He gasped, and fell completely to the ground, where he was trampled by the prisoners.
The girl of mist heard a voice, a horrid one, one that sent chills down her spine. She could not tell what it said, but it said enough to make her overrun with fear. She fled from the vision, floating through the swarm of prisoners, through the blood, through her own reflection, through the gate, through her dream...
And she woke up.
She gasped quietly for breath, sweat dotting her brow. Damn it, she grumbled to herself, I hate those dreams. She'd been having them for a while, a long while, but they never made any sense, not really. The year was 2010, and the seventeen year-old girl, young woman really, was in her bed at the apartment she shared with a few of her friends. She was not your average teen either. She'd grown up on her own, having no recollection of a family or home. She'd had barely any education, escaping from school when her last had burned to the ground. But that was not a hindrance. She could read, write, do math, all those things, she did not need school, any more than her friends did.
Her name was Ayla, but was more commonly known as Phoenix. Why? Well, that will come later.
Ayla tossed the thin sheets off of her and swung her legs over the edge of her bed. Glancing at her clock, she saw that it was three-thirty-three in the morning; the dream had been right on time, as usual. Shaking her head in annoyance, Ayla allowed herself to cool down by looking out the window on New York City. The scant moonlight showed a slim, but strong, girl with dark brown hair with the tips dyed red, pale skin, honey-brown eyes, a small, straight nose, and a mouth that was more often turned slightly in a smirk than not. She was dressed in a blue tank top with a pair of black gym shorts, allowing the two tattoos on her torso to show, along with a dog-tag necklace. The tattoo on her left shoulder blade was a black phoenix, flames rising around it; the tattoo on her right bicep was a circlet of flames and thorny vines.
Rubbing the back of her neck, Ayla eased the tense muscles there, thinking about the dream. It was the same as it had always been, but she'd noticed some other things, namely the boy whom her reflection had bumped into. His and her reflection's eyes had met, there was an understanding passed between them for a moment, but she—the real Ayla—had no idea what that understanding was. But why should she anyway? It was just a dream. With that comforting thought, she leaned back and fell asleep once more, this time without dreams.
"Phoenix! Hey Phoenix! Get up already!"
Said girl rolled over, stuffing her head under her pillow. "Don' wanna..." she moaned into the mattress.
"Phoenix! Come on, girl! I need to go to the mall!" The speaker sighed. "Blaez, would you get her outta bed already?"
"Just so you can go to the mall?" Blaez drawled. "How 'bout no?"
She sighed. "Fine, I'll get Venom. He'll help me."
"He's already gone off to work."
"Out with Rissa."
"You're on your own."
"Fine, I'll walk."
"Goodie for you."
When the door had opened and shut, Phoenix took her head out from under the pillow with a grin. "I think we got her," she said to the only other person in the room: Blaez.
The other teenage girl smiled in return. "I think we did." Blaez had dark brown skin and black hair that was tightly braided into fine strands with silver beads at each end. She wore silver eyeliner to accent her grey eyes, along with a cerulean blue shirt and a casual pair of jeans. She was sitting across the room on her own bed, a magazine in her lap. Her name was actually Kate, but Blaez fit her personality and... talents. "Have a good sleep?" she asked.
Phoenix shrugged. "Same as always."
"Nothing new? Pity."
She chuckled. "Up for the park t'day?"
Blaez thought about it. "Sure, why not? I'm pretty sure V will tag along if we ask."
"I thought he was at work," Phoenix said in confusion.
She shrugged. "He quit yesterday, right now he's actually in his room. Apparently Sienna just didn't remember."
Phoenix smirked. "Ah, our ever-forgetful little shadow." They both laughed at the small joke. Sienna was also known as Shadow, a fitting name for her considering the things she could do. "So, how about some breakfast?" she asked. "Personally, I'm starved."
"Make that a double," Blaez agreed, setting her magazine aside.
After Ayla got dressed and ready, the two of them went down to apartment 141, which was where V (short for Venom) and Ryan stayed. Phoenix knocked briskly on the door. "Hey V!" Blaez called.
The door opened soon after, revealing a young man with spiky black hair which was bleached on the tips. His green eyes were intense, very alert for someone who'd just woken up. Dressed in a rumpled white shirt and a pair of jeans, he rubbed his copper-skinned face tiredly. "Did you need something?" he asked, his cool voice holding no trace of his native tongue: Chinese.
"We were headed off for breakfast," Phoenix said, "Then to the park, we were wondering if you wanted to join us. Rissa and Ryan are out, and Sienna just left for the mall."
Venom glanced behind him at a clock, "Alright, give me a minute."
"We'll be counting," Blaez drawled, causing him to smile sleepily as he shut the door. He came back out a little before the minute was up, dressed in a new set of clothes exactly like the ones he'd been wearing earlier, save for the newly added leather jacket.
"You really need to get a more varied wardrobe," Phoenix told him as the three of them headed down to the parking lot.
"Nonsense," he replied, "It saves time."
"Oh really? How so?"
"There's no dilemma in the morning of what I should wear." Blaez and Phoenix rolled their eyes; guys.
From the parking lot, the three of them headed down the street to the nearest bagel shop, where they sat down to wake up with coffee and food while they talked. Simultaneously, however, they fell silent as the TV in the shop was turned up. The scene was of an anti-mutant rally, with people hoisting signs protesting against allowing mutants to live. There were pictures of normal people harmed by the 'monsters', their skin badly burnt, their legs crushed, and even several dead. The three teens watched the screen somberly, all too aware of the anger of the others around them. It seemed like everyone in the shop was now angry at mutants too; they could have joined the rally at any moment. They wouldn't have to go very far either, it seemed, for the screen switched scenes from the rally in D.C. to one in New York City, right on Wallstreet.
We should get out of here Phoenix mentally told her friends, Rissa, Ryan, and Sienna are all near there, I'll bet.
Venom gave the slightest of nods, while Blaez hesitated, still watching the screen. On display now was an announcement of the authorized imprisonment of mutants, should they resist being removed from a scene. The mutant-registration act was now in place too. Phoenix gave a slight shudder; if all mutants were forced to register, there'd be no stopping the people's cry for extermination. Silently, the three of them let the shop, doing their best to seem normal. It was increasingly hard as they neared Wallstreet; they could hear the protestors from three streets away. There were helicopters flying above them, newscasters were obviously recording the scene. Phoenix sent out a mental call for her friends. She found Rissa and Ryan just down the street in a music store, but couldn't locate Sienna.
"Have you guys heard about the rally?" Blaez whispered as they caught up to their other friends.
Ryan, a tall guy with curly blonde hair who always wore sunglasses, shook his head, worry creasing his brow. Rissa did the same.
"Anti-mutant," V explained softly, "We should get out of this part of town. But first we have to find Sienna."
"I'll keep looking for her," Ayla said as they headed out the door, "You guys keep a look out."
Frantically, but managing to stay calm, the group searched New York, staying close to the rally enough so that they could find Sienna, but far away enough that they wouldn't be swallowed by it. As they passed an electronic store, the TVs on display had the station on the rally. Phoenix's blood ran cold as the crowd parted, to circle a lone person: it was Sienna.