April 9, 2006: This is an Author's Note to explain the premise of this story. They will be much shorter after this one - no, really, lol! ;)
'Smashing Through the Looking Glass' is my own, twisted version of the Marvel Universe and the characters therein. I earn no monies by writing this and post it on FFN strictly for the hec of it. :) The rating is 'T' for some violence, the odd swear word and "minor suggestive adult themes". There is nothing racy or explicit here.
I have no idea if I should be submitting this to the X-Men Movie thread or the X-Men Comic thread. I'll go with the Comics for now. Perhaps someone will let me know if I should move it - though I have no clue how I'd actually do such a thing, lol!
'Smashing Through' actually started off as a writing exercise in August of 2004. I've always been a fan of the X-Men comics and have boxes of them in my basement, so I began a stream-of-consciousness, first person adventure that grew and this is the first instalment. I set some random rules for myself as part of the exercise: All the chapters were originally twelve pages long and each chapter title had to be used in the context of that chapter. I've cut the first chapter roughly in half as it's very long otherwise. The other chapters might not have such a natural stopping point, but I'll deal with that bridge when I build it. ;)
I stopped writing after Chapter Nine. I have no clear recollection why I stopped, as I had a lot of fun with the exercise and enjoyed the direction the story was taking. I've recently re-read the story so far and thought I'd share it.
This is officially a Work In Progress once more. :)
Be warned: I have taken liberties. It is set after the second X-Men movie with modifications from certain aspects of the comics. I haven't read the comics since about the mid-nineties, so that might give you a concept of which team or teams I'm likely to write about. Certain characters I also like might just not be there yet. If you aren't fond of stories that fiddle with a favourite continuity, this might not be for you. I have used a strong supporting cast of original characters as well as versions of familiar faces so some of these folks you won't know at all.
Be Warned: This has not been Betaed. I have a super Beta for my 'Dark Angel' fiction but I'm not going to ask her to deal with this bizarre version of the X-Men as well. She might smack me. ;)
Smashing Through the Looking Glass
Chapter One: Part One
August 5, 2004, 2:17 PM
The air conditioning seized about half an hour ago and already my room is a toaster oven: the joys of living on the top floor of the southwest side of the mansion. Great view, and access to a really awesome place on the roof, but in summer, it just sucks the big one.
Dr. McCoy immediately announced over the intercom that the situation was under control, and then proceeded to inform us a few minutes later that the backup generator for the mansion's CAC wasn't automatically taking over so it might be a bit longer than he previous estimated. He used more complicated words that had me eyeing my thesaurus, but that was the basic message.
I have another whopper of a headache and downed some extra-strength Tylenol in desperation about an hour ago. When it starts working, I hope I can tell the difference. Right now, I feel like I'm trapped inside a steel drum, which is being dropped repeatedly from a cliff.
Great. Just freakin' great. As if concentration isn't difficult enough, I think my asthma might be kicking in, too. I breathe deeply and suppress my panic, which I know is one of the triggers. Sweat is pooling at the base of my spine as I sit in this reject chair in front of my computer - which needs more RAM, thank you very much, Professor - trying to complete my history assignment by five o'clock. If I don't, Mr. Summers just might chew me up and spit me out. I won't blame him if he does. We're not walking on eggshells but we're careful. You can tell he's under stress.
I can't think about him without thinking about her. God, I miss Dr. Grey. She was smart and beautiful and funny and - well, I wanted to be just like her. If I had any questions about my homework or just needed to talk, she was always there and understood. Sometimes when she looked at me, her expression seemed sad. It was fleeting but I saw it. Once, I asked her what was wrong. She told me I reminded her of someone, a friend from when she was younger: someone named Annie. I didn't have to ask to know that her friend was dead.
Dr. Grey gave me a pendant on my sixteenth birthday - a smooth chunk of amber wrapped in a silver setting with a tiny leaf trapped inside. It hangs on my dresser mirror. When I look at it, I see fire.
I see her.
I look away from the pendant and practice my breathing technique. My nightmares haven't left me alone. In fact, they've gotten worse. Now when I'm being chased by soldiers, the halls of Xavier's are covered in mirrors and eyes follow me as I run. Then it's so hot and I can't find the door - and I'm consumed by flames.
I don't know how Mr. Summers does it. The pain must be unbearable. They were soul mates. Cerebro has been working overtime, if you can say that about a computer. The Professor can't find any trace of her mind. They did a search with all kinds of technological marvels on the Blackbird but couldn't even find the body under that new lake, for crying out loud. It's as if she never existed. It sucks.
I have to focus. I wasn't going to think about her today 'cause it just makes it hard to swallow and see the screen, and if I don't get this assignment on his desk in the next two hours and forty-three minutes -
Great. Just freakin' great. Someone is pinging me. The sound can join the bongo drums in my head and have a party. Why did I leave MSN on my task bar? I'd chatted earlier with Matsushima Takashi, my pen pal-now-e-mail-junkie from Japan, who is so infatuated with finally getting her own Internet connection that she's become an unstoppable force of nature. I popped on and said 'Hey' to some of the graduate students at MIT. No one was pestering me to help them with their homework and Sparky wasn't on-line so I'd gotten back to my thesis, which had sounded like such a good idea at the time: 'The Impact of Gunpowder on the Development of the Modern World'. I just liked the way it rolled trippingly off the tongue. I actually still do, but I know I can do a better job than the one I'm pulling now.
Thank you, God, for high-speed Internet connections.
While I'm at it, thank you for that typing tutorial. Oh, and my brain: my most beautiful feature. Snort.
Oh, for crying out loud. Who is it, anyway?
Ugh. I shoulda known.
I sigh and deal with the inevitable, keeping a search going on one minimized window while I continue typing some of my scrambled thoughts on another, hoping it'll read well when I'm done.
Firecracker says: GR8! DNT DISAPR ON ME! WHER THE HELL R U?
Ghost says: Don't shout, you freak. And freakin' spell correctly, okay? I can't stand it when you do that.
Firecracker says: Sorry. Better?
Ghost says: Peachy. Look, I'm kinda busy right now so unless this is real important, I'll see you at dinner.
Firecracker says: Can't wait 'til dinner.
Ghost says: I have to hand in an assignment to Mr. Summers by five today and I'm still typing the stupid thing.
I glance at the search program and sigh, taking a moment to massage my temples. No point trying to dig myself any deeper. I should've started sooner. I should've done more research. Sigh. I should've done a lot of things but I've been hitting a few personal hurdles lately. God, I miss Dr. Grey. Sometimes I can see her when I'm awake, looking back at me like a ghost in the dresser mirror. I chuckle. Perhaps I'm losing my mind. A plea of insanity won't get me out of this assignment, though. I close the window, deciding to work with what I have and hoping the lecture I'm anticipating from Mr. Summers doesn't mean I miss dinner, too.
I ignore the summons and finish my thought, deciding it sounds pretty good as the summary suddenly enters my head, full blown, and I have to get it out before it disappears.
Ghost says: Leave me alone!
Firecracker says: Look out your window!
Ghost says: I don't mean to be rude, Jubes, but piss off!
Firecracker says: Your loss, babe.
I keep typing and five minutes later, I'm done. Not the whole essay, but I'm getting closer. I re-read the page and a half I've just composed while I grab another Vanilla Coke from the cooler and run it over my forehead. It's brilliant: what I've just typed and the cold aluminium on my skin. Maybe the Tylenol is having some effect. I sigh again and shake my head as I pop the tab and take a quick swig -
And nearly choke when Siryn screeches into the room, banging the door open without so much as a knock or a 'Kitty, are you busy?' My headache spikes like a needle jamming into my skull. I manage to slam the can down without spilling anything and put my hands over my ears. Doesn't help much, but my "Siryn! Shut up!" reaches her, and she shuts up.
Firecracker says: Now that I've got your undivided attention… :smirk:
I glare at Siryn, who's too young to care and old enough to shrug as an apology.
Firecracker says: Look out your damn window!
"Hi, Kitty," Siryn finally says, pushing my drapes aside to find the cord and raise the Venetian blinds. Shit, we aren't even in Venice and they get called that. "Jubilee says she canna reach you on the IM thingy and really thinks you want to look out your window."
"Really? Fancy that."
She smiles, all red hair and freckles and I feel rotten just sitting there and not being a sport. The blinds go up and the sun pours in. Ow. I save my document for the third time - can't be too careful around here - and push the chair back. It rolls over the edge of the plastic floor protector and falls off, sounding loud in the hot room. I come to stand beside her at the window, wondering idly if I was ever that young, and stare down at the side parking lot and basketball court.
Hmm, maybe I should open the window and see if I can catch a breeze. Brilliant, Pryde. I flick the lock and crank the handle. One of the four window panels swings open and the screen allows air slightly cooler than the room to breathe in.
"Okay, what was so freakin' important that…"
Beside me, Siryn sighs. No, I was never that young.
Jubilee enters my room and perches on the windowsill beside me, looking smug.
"Like the view?"
I clear my throat. "How'd you know they were here?"
She blows a bubble and cracks it loudly in my ear. I hate it when she does that.
"Oh, I was in the kitchen, being a good girl and helping Sam get the pork chops marinated for the barbeque tonight -"
That must've been a chore, I say - in my mind. I know other stuff she'd like to help Sam out with, but if he's lucky, he'll burn for the sky before she can catch him.
" - and I happened to notice the shuttle bus arrive from the airport and I thought you'd like to know and - voila!"
Jubilee gestures grandly, her right hand hitting the screen before she expected it to and slightly ruining the effect.
"New students. We knew they were coming. Whoop-dee-doodle."
"Kitty!" Siryn sounds scandalized, her eyes large. No, I couldn't be that young. Ever. "How can you say that? Some of them came all the way from Europe!" I can hear their voices but not what's actually being said, so I can't make out any accents. Mr. Summers is doing most of the talking, anyway.
"Oh my god! They'll have jetlag! How exciting!" I mimic, and then I'm sorry and put my arm around Siryn's shoulders, giving her a quick squeeze. "Sorry, hun. I know you miss your home. I'm sure they'll be real neat to meet and have peachy keen powers." I realize she is wearing a tank top that shows her belly button and hope she hasn't discovered Britney Spears when I wasn't looking. A part of my mind wonders when I became such a den mother. Another part knows the answer. I shut it out. "Is this yours?" I ask casually, tugging at the top.
"Jubilee gave it to me. Isn't it grand?"
Beside me, I can see the culprit in question give me a shit-eating grin.
I give Siryn a wan smile. God, my head hurts. "It's… very pink."
"I love pink."
"Well, that's a relief."
Siryn and I look at Jubilee's finger, straining against the screen to point at the court, where a bunch of young people are walking around, staring at the net and the fencing and stuff as if it were the lost city of Atlantis or something. Oh, they look like a super bright group, I say - in my mind. There are eight of them - and Mr. Summers, who is standing at parade rest in his J. Crew casuals, red glasses in place, pointing to the stables, which are visible across the lawn. Maybe if I hurry, I can get the essay done and on his desk before four o'clock.
I look askance at Jubilee, who raises an eyebrow and says, "You're not really looking at them, are you, babe?"
"Should I be?"
Siryn sighs again, and leans out of my sticky embrace to put her elbows on the windowsill, head in hands, nose pressed against the screen.
"Isn't he dreamy?"
"Am I in a Sandra Dee flick or something?" I ask no one in particular. Movies from the fifties are playing on the local station at one in the morning when I can't sleep. I doubt either of my friends will know the reference.
"What the hec was all that noise about, sugah?"
Great. Just freakin' great. The Southern Belle of the X-Men. She's not much older than I am and she's got a uniform. Me-ow. I don't turn around, but Jubilee does and she smiles. They're friends, believe it or not. Don't know if it's the 'Hoop Earring Club' or the 'I'm Cool with Logan Club'. Right now, I don't even care. She comes to stand beside Jubilee - it's a double window, plenty of room - and gazes down, pushing a stray piece of hair behind her ear with a black-gloved hand.
God, she must be hot. Thank you for not blessing me with a power that means I can't touch anybody, and not having to deal with the wardrobe that goes with it. I decide to smile. I don't know her very well, after all. She hangs out with Bobby and Jubilee and a few of the others and lately, I never seem to be around when they do something together like go to the mall or take in a movie…
When she isn't hanging out with Logan, that is…
Don't go there, Pryde.
"Hey, Rogue," I say and she turns her head and smiles.
"Hey, Kitty. What's goin' on?"
"Apparently I have the front row seat to view the new students," I say lightly. "Not that I have an assignment to finish by five o'clock today or anything." The last bit I direct at Jubilee, who just grins.
"Why was Siryn screamin'?"
Jubilee could take up being a tour guide; she has that word down pat.
"Isn't he dreamy?" Siryn coos.
I'd leave right now, but this is my room, damn it, and I refuse.
"Who?" Rogue asks.
It's like Lassie. If she points enough, Jubilee figures she can compel everyone to do her bidding. What is it, girl? Is Timmy in the well? Jubilee: Look!
I stare out the window, deciding to get this over with and note that there are five females and three males. More girls than boys. Whoo-hoo! Less shower time for me. Maybe selecting people for soccer just got better, though, if I get first choice over Peter. One guy is quite tall and lean and looks fit. Don't know if he's into sports but it sure looks like he can run from the strength evident in his legs. His shorts leave little to the imagination, really. I take in the olive complexion and curly dark hair and cut-off t-shirt showing the muscular arms and -
Okay, maybe it is worth looking out my window.
"Ah see what'ch'a mean," Rogue says quietly. Dating Bobby but not dead yet. Good to know the girl's got brains.
Suddenly the group turns as Mr. Summers gestures toward the mansion. The large, dark eyes of the curly-haired boy seem to stare right at us. As one, we pull back from the window and I hope like hell no one below noticed us.
"I have to sort my cds," Siryn squeaks and flees down the hall. At least she isn't screaming.
"See ya'll at the barbeque," Rogue says and disappears in the opposite direction. Heading for the stairs, I note.
Jubilee takes a cautious look at the group again, staying back from the window, and blows another bubble.
"I wish you wouldn't do that," I say, turning back to my computer. I take the elastic from my wrist and drag my fingers through my hair until the reflection in the monitor looks half decent and the ponytail is secure. I sit down and wriggle the chair back onto the floor protector. One hand grabs the Vanilla Coke, and the other jiggles the mouse until my dragon screen saver is replaced with my homework.
"You're crabby today."
"I have an essay to do! Geez! Haven't you been paying attention?"
"Oh, yeah," she says, her eyes following the group as they move across the lawn. I can hear their voices getting fainter. Must be going to check out the horses, and the lake, and the rock garden Logan is building. Not that I've been invited to see it or help out or anything. "I'm paying attention, alright."
I sigh. "You're drooling."
"Ugh. Go away."
I focus on my essay and crack my knuckles.
"I wish you wouldn't do that," Jubilee says.
I flex my fingers once more and start to type again, vaguely aware that she's moved to stand behind me, reading as I work. I ignore her. I try not to think about anything else distracting. Dr. Grey, Rogue having a uniform, Siryn dressing like a pop star, for crying out loud. That hot looking boy on the basketball court -
"Okay, okay, I'm going."
And she actually does. Thank you once more, God, for hearing my humble plea.
"Your attention, please," the Ivy League voice says over the intercom. "Although we were experiencing technical difficulties with the generator regarding the current lack of fresh, cool, moving air through the mansion, I believe Mr. Wagner and myself have been successful in reviving it and you should be comfortable shortly. Thank you for your patience and don't forget: today a group of new students has arrived at our school and will be joining us for the barbeque. I expect everyone to make them feel welcome."
Please move your seats to the upright position and buckle your belts, 'cause we're coming in for a bumpy landing, I say - in my mind. Why he can't just say, "The air conditioning is back on. Have a nice day." is beyond me.
I smile, despite my headache, thinking of Dr. McCoy and Mr. Wagner, rummaging in the mechanical room, flinging tools to one another like a circus juggling act. Never fear! The Blue Brigade is on the job.
I return to the gunpowder. Briefly I think of punning as I hand it in: "Here it is, Mr. Summers. Hope you get a bang out of it."
Ugh. I need help.