A/N: Here's the prequel to my other story, A Song for Someone Special. It's about Gwen's life; from birth to the time Kurt began living at the mansion. I'd describe more, but you could also just read it. Yay! Hope you like it!
Disclaimer: Don't own the X-Men. I never will. Get over it.
Star from the Start
With the lightest flick of cloth on Ray Noveau's skin, she'd wake up. She'd never been a deep sleeper. She had to draw her curtains tight at night, shut her bedroom door completely closed, and block any light that may escape into her dreams, be it from a crack in the skylight or the moon itself, just to get some rest. But it never was much.
Tonight, though, she had let the cool summer breeze permeate through her slightly open window. It whipped the ends of her drapes gently.
Ray only did that because she knew she wouldn't get any sleep that night. An unborn baby's feet were stomping too hard on the inside of her belly.
At fifteen, she knew she was way too young to be experiencing that sort of thing. But it would be over in a couple of months, when the little girl (she was sure of it) came, and the dad – who had started out as her history professor at her stupid prep school – was given custody. Then she'd move to New York, and she and her family would forget all about it.
At least, that's what her father had decided. She had no say. She was A Minor.
In the midst of her reverie, the intense kicking suddenly stopped, and she breathed a sigh of relief, letting her tense body relax into her mattress. At that exact moment of peace, the thumping began again, and she swore she could hear the baby laughing at her.
Ray growled uncomfortably and gave herself a hard rap on the stomach where she had felt the last jolt.
"Damn it," she moaned. Every part of her was sore and tired. Her throat, usually clear and ready for her voice lessons, raked against her words. Even her legs, her best asset, had become swollen and raw.
Sighing, she sat up straight, staring at the blinding white crescent in the sky. Suddenly, Ray realized it was probably the most beautiful thing she'd seen for a long, long time. She wanted to touch it, or maybe even grab it for herself.
Desiree Ishiyu Noveau was the daughter of a French photographer and his native Japanese wife. However, she had been raised in America for as long as she could remember. They never stayed in one place for too long, though, because of her dad's work. She had lived in Boston since the beginning of tenth grade, for almost a year.
It had started with an innocent crush on her history teacher, Sigfried Wagner. His pale skin shared such a good contrast with his dark curls, and his accent was - as her friends described - adorable. Ray had decided to get his attention by asking for extra help on the curricular. What could possibly be the harm of a little one-on-one time?
It turned out quite a bit. They had liked each other so much, maybe even began to love, before she figured out that she had gotten pregnant. It was most likely during January (while they were "studying" the Roman empire). For a while, no one had really noticed. It looked like she might have gained a couple pounds, but it was nothing more grave than the superficialities of high school.
Ray's mom soon recognized a few of the signs, after three months. "You sick," she said, struggling through her imperfect English. "Who do this to you?"
Try as she might to cover it up, everything soon slipped out. Her dad had been angrier than she had ever seen when he was told. It was scary as hell. But the worst happened when Sigfried was summoned to court.
The jury had convicted him of statutory rape, despite Ray's testimony, and he had been sentenced to sixteen months in jail. They weren't allowed to see each other. Sometimes it made her cry at night, which was odd. She was always the brave girl.
Ray stood up and wobbled over to her window, her eyes still on the moon. It was a spectacular night.
The baby kicked again, almost as if in agreement. "Hey, kiddo," Ray murmured affectionately, letting her breath puff onto the glass.
It wasn't fair, she thought. God, she wanted her baby. She'd hold her when she cried; she'd wake up to feed her. Screw every dream she had. Ray would rather have her daughter. Like anyone cared. "How're you doing?"
The response wasn't a stomp of a baby's foot, but instead a horrible stabbing pain that came in from every side. Ray felt her face contort in surprise agony.
"Ow. Ow!" she cried, clutching her inflated stomach and doubling over as far as she could. Now what terrible thing was happening?
"Mom! Dad! Help!" Ray screamed as loudly as she could.
St. Cloud's Hospital, Emergency Room
Ray shook her dark brown hair out of her face as she felt a nurse's hand grab her shoulders to try and push her struggling frame down onto the stretcher.
"No!" she screamed, trying to punch the doctor down by her legs. It didn't come close to him at all.
"Desiree, you have to relax," he told her through his surgical mask, fixing his rubber gloves.
"Don't do ANYTHING to me!" Ray shouted, managing to sit back up. Another sharp pain racked through her entire body. She moaned. "Don't call me Desiree, either! Tell me what's happening!"
"We're going to perform a Caesarean section on you. I've explained it to you already."
"It's too soon, though. She's not coming for another two months!"
"No," the nurse holding her said, in a manner that would have calmed anyone else down. Ray angrily turned to face her. "The baby's coming now. If you lie down, I can give you the anesthesia."
"I don't want it. Get off me." Ray started to shake her off, looking around the room in fear. It was filled with men and women in surgical gowns, all of them getting ready to operate on her. She wished she could see their faces, but the mandatory visors covered them.
One of them, with wire-frame glasses, rolled over a tiny table. It was covered with scalpels, all varying in size.
Looking back on it, Ray guessed that that was probably when she heard the first voice. She was gripped with terror, unable to cry or make any sound, when she noticed that someone was speaking something slightly different than the medical lingo surrounding her.
"I know these types of girls. They usually don't end up in the delivery room, if you know what I mean. At least this one will learn." Ray looked around, trying to see who was talking. No one's mouth was moving, except for the doctor who was still trying to get her to calm down.
"Hey-" she sputtered, as the nurse caught her off guard and pressed her back down. "What the hell?"
"Idiot girl." This time the words were in the same tone as the woman's, but Ray was staring her right in the face and she knew she hadn't spoken.
Suddenly she realized that the doctor was trying to figure out which of the smaller knives to use on her, and that the man coming towards them with a strange pump-like device had followed her court case and thought she was spoiled, and only person besides her that wasn't a surgeon was an old man that was having a heart attack at that very moment.
"I can hear-" she gasped, but was cut off when something hard and plastic was pushed over her face.
"Count backwards from ten," the nurse said, and this time Ray could see her lips move beneath her mask.
She was completely out five seconds later.
Two Days Later
Ray stared through the plastic box, trying to make sense of everything that happened since she had been watching the moon that night. It was the worst time of her life, she had decided.
She was standing in the incubator room of the hospital, alone for the first time in almost three days. Since she had gone there, the doctors had cut her open, drugged her, refused to let her leave her bed, argued with her father, listened to her mother wail, and put her daughter in a warm box, designed to keep premature babies alive. There was a hole in it just large enough for Ray's hand to fit through, so she could touch her. She hadn't done it yet.
After several fights, the nurses had agreed to let her see the baby. It had drained almost all of Ray's willpower to win. But now that she was there, something was missing.
The empty space was filled, however, with the sound of the door opening and closing, followed by heavy footsteps. Ray turned around, feeling herself grin for the first time in what felt like ages.
"Hey, Fred," she said.
Sigfried had finally come, albeit in hand- and anklecuffs. A guard was with him. He waddled over to her, looking apologetic.
"Hello," he replied, glancing down at her. He hadn't shaved in a while. "Sorry for the chains. It was the only way they would let me come." Sigfried frowned. "You look sick."
"Yeah, I know." Ray broke his stare and went back to the baby. "There she is," she announced with as much cheer as she could muster. He studied her for the longest time.
"Our child. Amazing," he stated at last.
Ray sighed. "It is, isn't it?"
Everything about their daughter was tiny. Her fingers, her toes, even her nose. Her threadlike blue veins showed through her pale, paper-thin skin. She looked limp as she lay on her back, her limbs carefully positioned by the people that took care of the babies. Her eyes were shut from the simple exhaustion of being alive. The best feature, however, was the few stubborn little black curls that were scattered over her scalp.
"Poor kid looks like hell right now," she muttered. Sigfried pursed his lips in disagreement.
"I think she's wonderful. She looks like you." Now he was looking back at Ray, who was confused by his last statement.
"No, she doesn't."
"Ja. She does. Look at her nose." This time, she could her a smile in his voice.
"Thanks," she murmured, reaching out for his hand. The guard grabbed it before she could, though.
"No touching," he said in a low growl. Ray pulled her arm back from him roughly, and heard Sigfried whisper something in German that she knew wasn't complimentary.
"Do you want to leave?" the guard snapped. Sigfried focused on his daughter, glowering.
What a dickhead, Ray mused. She considered telling Sigfried about hearing everyone's thoughts in the emergency room, but something told her not to.
Instead, she said: "I think you're allowed to touch her." She faced the guard. "Is he?" Ray asked in a voice she knew sounded bratty. Sigfried didn't wait for a response. He followed her suggestion and stroked the little girl's cheek, holding both hands up to the hole.
"My mother's going to watch her until I can leave the prison," he informed Ray.
"I don't want to talk about this right now," she told him quickly. He scowled sympathetically.
"Lieb, we need to."
"I wish I didn't have to leave." Ray felt her voice catch slightly, and turned away.
"So do I. But it's going to happen." He breathed out slowly. "What do you want to name her?"
Ray had been thinking about this for the past few days, and she was ready with a response. "I want her first name to be Gwen, or Gwendolyn. Whatever. It means 'fair.' And her middle name should be Pixie, because she's so small. Her last name is Wagner, I guess."
She didn't see him, but she knew Sigfried was nodding. "All right. It's a good name."
"Thanks." Ray felt tears beginning to sting the inside of her nose. "You'll tell her about me, right?"
"Yes." He sniffed, and she knew he was in the same state as she was. "Are you going to touch her?"
"Yeah. Yeah, move your hand."
Little Gwen's skin had the same texture as warm milk. Ray felt a tear slip out from her eye. She wiped it away before Sigfried could see.
When she reflected back on it later in life, she would still remember that moment as being the saddest of her life. Sometimes, during a hot, sleepless night, like the one where Gwen had made her first appearance, Ray would feel the phantom silk of her daughter's skin, and be reminded of the only time they had ever spent together.