Announcement Everyone!!! Yes, I have changed my pen name. Please don't throw things at me. But I wanted to tell y'all so you'd know it was still me. :D
rogue4eva: I'm glad you reviewed so soon after the last chapter! And thank you, I like having descriptive stories, and that you think it is so is a great complement!
Lady Queria: You have no idea how wonderful is is to know that you like this story so much. I hope that you will continue to read it, and I'd bet the very plot of my stories that you COULD do something just as great if you put your mind to it! so start writing! I expect to read some great things from you!
Rycr: I hope to get to the explanation of her powers in the next chappy. I think you're going to like it.
allenterrill: Hey !! You better get the next chapter to your story up soon or I'm goning to die. And if I can get mine up, then you can too. :) I'm glad Cassey is cool. It means I'm doing my job reasonably well. :) Glad you liked the cliff hanger, there will be many more to come. -evil laugh-
Livinlikeawolf: I think you will also like what I've done with Cassey's abilities. I don't like it when characters have way to many super gifts either, but I've made Cassey's VERY unique. I think it might surprise you. I'm glad you like her name too. :) Cassandra is one of my favorite names
Jinx Author: Yeah!! You reviewed! I hope since I took so long you don't get mad or bored and decide not to review or read again. I think that would bring me to tears. -sniff- And I hope you don't mind long chapters, because this one is HUGE! I couldn't find a place to cut it off to make it shorter! Please review again!
Thanks to everyone that reviewed! And please read the note at the bottom when you're done with the story! I hope I haven't made anyone one so mad that they won't read anymore, I just haven't been able to find the muse to write on this until now. I hope the long chapter makes up for it some.
I surprised him with that little statement. He cocked his head to the side slightly. His brows arched and his eyes widened, giving him the look of a shocked bobble-head doll. When I thought that, I almost laughed. I think I would have if I hadn't been so stunned myself.
He leaned forward a bit, eyes glinting with amazement.
"You remember that?" His voice was as surprised as the rest of his features.
"Yeah, I mean, you almost blew up my brain." I said, a little bit of a sarcastic edge to my voice. How could he think I wouldn't remember such a small, insignificant detail as that?
I regretted saying that the moment it left my lips. His eyes filled with sadness and repentance the likes of which I don't even want to think about ever again. As if my bringing up that single thing had caused him to remember some painful burden. He reached out and placed a kind hand on my knee, and said in a tired voice,
"And for that Cassandra, I am so much more than sorry. When I first became aware of you and reached out, I was surprised when you did the same." He paused for a moment, and I thought I might have seen a flickering of shame in his eyes. "So surprised in fact, that I put up mental blocks around my mind, trying to shield myself from what I thought might be some sort of an attack by another powerful mutant." He sighed softly, "But as the backlash from my blocks flew outward, and you did not defend yourself, I realized my mistake.
You weren't some malevolent individual, but an untrained child. It was too late for me to stop what was happening, and then I lost your signal. I sent out some of my best associates to locate you, though I did not expect them to recover you alive. You would not believe my shock and relief when they contacted me on their return, informing me of your status."
He stopped after that, and I was pretty sure he meant it. Something about the way he was still looking at me.
I placed my hand over the top of his, giving it a slight squeeze. Any anger I might have been feeling, had left the moment he apologized.
"It's ok sir. I know you didn't mean for what happened to happen." I thought back to that afternoon and said. "I think I knew it then too. Ever since, whatever it was that happened with us, I've felt like I can trust you." I looked at him really hard then, the logical part of my mind still telling me to find a reason not to rely on anything he said. But I promptly shoved that back where it came from.
Most of me was just so sick and tired of not having any faith in people.
"I am glad that you harbor no ill feelings toward me for the pain you went through Cassandra. I was worried that, should you find out about it, you would come to fear us. And as I said before, I want nothing more than to help you through this transitioning period."
It was about then that what he had been saying filtered into my brain.
"So that means you're a mutant too?" I said. I knew that I had been in the company of mutants, but it hadn't really sunk in until now. "Dr. McCoy and Ms. Munroe said that this was a school for mutants. I guess that means they are mutants, and the others who helped me too? If you were able to contact me from New York that means you'd have to be one. Right? And wait a minute! How did you know my name when you first came down here? I only just told the others a few moments ago!" I knew I was rambling. But I was starting to get nervous with all these new facts clamoring for front row attention in my brain.
He held up his hands in mock surrender, a small chuckle escaping his lips.
"Slow down Cassandra. I am happy to answer all your questions. But you must slow down for me to be able to do so.
I knew your name because Dr. McCoy contacted me using the sick-bay com-unit a short while after you had awoken. I had asked him to do so, so that I might meet you and explain some of what must be very frightening circumstances for you.
Yes I am a mutant. I have an ability called telepathy. It allows me to read other people's thoughts and, though I rarely do so, to control their minds. I can also reach out with my mind and find other mutants. With the aid of a machine we call Cerebro, I can 'look' almost anywhere in the world.
And yes, the people who helped you, along with Storm and Beast, are mutants. They are teachers here, and members of a group called the…."
"X-Men." I finished for him. The name was the one most repeated in my brain. Every time I saw a picture of something, or someone, that name was overlaid along with it.
"Yes Cassandra, the X-Men." He nodded affirmatively at me. Again he seemed a little surprised that I had known it. I felt like I needed to clarify how I did, the images that just talking to him were bringing up were painful, but fascinating. And I wanted to know more.
"That name keeps coming up in my head. I keep seeing faces of people that I've never met before, and with some of them, the name 'X-Men' just seems to pop up." I said, rubbing my temples as I felt another streak of pain shoot through me.
I felt Dr. McCoy's hand on my arm and I looked up to smile reassuringly at him.
"I'm ok; it's not as bad as the other times." I said, and he nodded. "But Professor," I said, turning back to him "what exactly are the X-Men?"
He his fingers formed a steeple in front of his face as his eyes took on a faraway look.
"The X-Men are a group of mutants that, like you, were once lost in the discovery of their powers, when I found them and asked if they wished to join me here. I created this school as a safe haven for mutants. That was before people actually knew about us. But I knew that when we were discovered, there would be many people who were very afraid of us. And I wanted to be able to help them without the fear of others' hostility.
I believe that both humans and mutants can live in this world peacefully, together. But there are those that do not." His eyes clouded over as he said that, and I had a feeling he knew someone closely that was in that category.
"So, I trained these young students in the use of their powers, and after a time, some of them formed the team they affectionately called the 'X-men'. The goal is that we may be an example for both mutants and humans in this world; to show them that we can all indeed live as one."
I could tell that he really believed in what he was telling me, even if I was a bit skeptic. Now don't get me wrong, I think it is a wonderful concept. I would more than love to live in a world that wasn't hate-filled. It's an amazing and humbling thought. But I had seen the way mutants were treated on the news. The way they were talked about and made fun of a school; the way my own aunt had treated me. And I really couldn't see us all coming together in one great big group hug of loviness.
But that might just have been me.
I didn't tell him any of this though, and I REALLY hoped that he wasn't reading my mind.
"Wow." Yeah I know, not the most intelligent of exclamations, but I was still in surprise mode. "It sounds really amazing."
He smiled at me then, and his dimples appearing on either cheek. He continued,
"That is why I'd like to offer you a place here, amongst others like you. Other mutants. You will receive the best training I or any other teacher here can give you in the use of your powers; as well as a full education and place to live. I want to offer you a place where you can belong."
It was everything I had ever wanted, or could ever want. A place where I'd not only fit in with others, but where I was wanted as well. Even before I knew I was a mutant I wanted what he was now offering me. But some part of me just kept whispering that it couldn't be true. It was too wonderful a gift to have been given to me after all I'd been through. I didn't know how I could accept it.
I sat there for several minutes, just thinking; trying to form some conclusion from the medley of thoughts rampaging through my mind. There didn't seem to be any impatience coming from the Professor, but I knew I couldn't keep him sitting there forever.
Beast and Storm had backed off a bit during our conversation. But I caught them looking at me, and I thought I saw a flash of hope in each of their eyes. As if they too, wanted me to say yes.
But why? I asked myself. Why would they care what happened to me? I had really only just met them.
But for some reason they did.
Even though I didn't know if I believed in what the Professor said they stood for, I really couldn't help admiring them. For some reason, a few of them had been willing to risk their lives to come help me. I think that was the thing that made the decision final in my mind.
My eyes met those of the Professor again, and with a small sigh I gave him the only answer I could. It was the complete and honest truth, and I didn't have any other way to say it.
"Well sir. I've always wanted to find a place where I fit in. And after what y'all have done for me, I guess this is the best place I can be right now."
His smile grew to encompass his whole face, as if a light had been switched on behind his eyes. I saw answering grins on those of the other two people in the room.
"I am glad that you feel that way Cassandra. I am very pleased that you will stay." His tone held a lot of warmth in it, and I nodded. But another thought crossed my mind, and I knew I had to voice it,
"But I can leave if I want to, right? I mean, you won't make me stay here. Will you?" I tried to keep the trepidation out of my voice, but I don't think I did very well.
His features took on an immediately serious look, and he replied,
"I would never try and force you to stay where you did not feel comfortable. If at any time you wish to go home, or to leave, neither I, nor the people here will try and stop you."
He meant it. I didn't think anyone could lie so convincingly. So I decided to believe him.
"I have one more question." I said, as another flash of strange memories passed behind my eyes.
He nodded his head encouragingly.
"After what happened in the woods, I've been having these memories." I paused as I tried to think of a way to describe them. But I came up empty.
"They're, well…" I sighed, frustrated. "They're not mine. Like I was saying before, I'm seeing all these places and people that I've never seen or even heard of before. And what's worse is that they hurt every time I go through them!"
His eyes took on a thoughtful look, and he was quiet for a moment. When he next spoke, it was with a great deal of care, as if he was worried about how I might take whatever it was that he was about to say.
"Cassandra. It is entirely possible that after our encounter in the woods, you might have taken on some of my memories." He said gently.
I only barely caught myself as my mouth dropped open, so I hoped I didn't look like too much of an idiot. But I really couldn't believe it, even though, as I thought about it, it did make sense.
"Does that mean you have some of my memories now to?" I asked him. He shook his head,
"No. I have mental shields that keep me from being overwhelmed by another's memories when I enter their minds. Normally it would have also kept you from entering my mind, but I was trying to reach out to you, and as I said, you surprised me when you too, reached out to me."
Ok, still really, really weird. My brain was on overload trying to process all this stuff. I let out a loud sigh,
"I don't think I'll ever get use to all of this sir." I said sadly. He chuckled softly, and I looked up as him as he patted my hand.
"I've been in the middle of this for over twenty years my dear, and I have as of yet been able to get use to it."
I sighed again, but that did make me feel a little better.
"I promise you I will do everything in my power to help you. It is possible that I might be able to remove these images and memories from your mind if you wish it. But I would rather wait until you are stronger in both body and mind before I try anything of that nature."
That wasn't exactly what I wanted to hear, these headaches were pretty painful. But you don't argue with the people who know what they're talking about.
"So what happens now?" I asked. "If I'm going to be staying here, what am I suppose to do? I don't have anything here with me, no clothes or anything like that."
"You do not need to worry about that. Everything you need will be provided for you, at my expense." Xavier answered me.
I didn't really feel comfortable with that. I mean, I'd been taught that you don't ever, EVER, accept things from people you don't know. And mine was a proud family. I'd always been told that the only reason you ever accept charity from others is if you're starving, or someone in your family needed help and you couldn't give it yourself.
But it wasn't like I had the most choices at the moment. I couldn't walk around in a hospital gown, and if these people were at all smart they would have burned my ruined pajamas before I even woke up. So though reluctantly, I nodded in consent.
"Professor, what I'd really like to know is what am I suppose to do about my powers? I mean, I know you said you would help me with them, but I'm not even really sure I know what they are!" I have to admit, I was feeling a little frustrated about that.
"Ah yes, I was just about to bring that up to you." He said. "I would like to have Hank here test your abilities in a controlled environment, so that we may be able to answer some of your questions."
Great, just great. As much as I wanted to know about my powers, I wasn't thrilled about words like 'test' and 'controlled environment'. Those didn't sound at all pleasing, or fun. But like I said, I was curious, and I knew I couldn't ignore what I could do. And I was a little excited about doing what I'd done in the woods again.
"Is it alright if I get something to wear first?" I said. "I don't think I can really focus on anything while I'm wearing this." Honesty: the best, and yet most embarrassing medicine.
"Of course." This time is was Storm who answered me. "I believe that several of the other girls here are very close, if not the same size as you. I'm sure that they would not mind lending you something to wear until we can get you some things of you own."
I smiled gratefully at her. "Thanks."
"Do not mention it." She replied, smiling back at me. Then, with a nod to both the Professor and the doctor, she left the room.
I was a little surprised to see the large door open and then close behind her. It looked like it was almost a foot thick, yet it opened and closed really quickly. It reminded me of those sci-fi movies you see where they're being led into a prison or something like that. I shivered slightly at that thought, though I hoped neither of the men here would notice.
The Professor suddenly lifted his head, his eyes taking on an unclear, unfocused look. He stared into space, a frown slowly covering his features. He placed a hand to his temple, and seemed to be concentrating hard on something. I guessed that he was probably talking to someone with his mind, like he said he could. I noticed that Hank was looking at him worriedly, and I had this strange feeling of foreboding pass through me.
After a moment, the look of concentration passed, but the frown remained.
He turned his chair quickly toward Dr. McCoy and said,
"Hank, Remy just reported that he has returned I must go discuss a few matters with him. Please see that our guest here is taken care of and is comfortable." He then turned back to me, and I could tell he was trying to hide his worry behind the smile he gave me.
"I have a few matters I must attend to with a member of my team Cassandra. I do not believe that it will take me long. When I return, and if you feel up to it, we can begin studying your abilities. Until then, Hank or Ororo will see to it that you get anything you may need. "
I nodded, and with a final smile, he turned his chair around, and exited the same way Ms. Munroe had.
I turned toward Dr. McCoy, hoping that he might tell me what he thought was wrong. He was still watching the door with an apprehensive gaze, but when he caught me looking at him, he put on a somewhat forced smile and said in a reassuring voice,
"I am quite sure that everything is absolutely satisfactory. The Professor is most likely just going to greet one of the team members that have just arrived. I'm sure that everything is in perfect order." He began to shuffle some papers on his desk; I guess he wanted to look busy, like he wanted me to think everything was fine.
I wasn't buying it.
"You do know you're a terrible liar right?" I said softly.
He glanced up at me in surprise. He was about to say something when the doors opened once again.
It was my turn to look surprised as Storm re-entered the room, a small bundle of clothes in her long, delicate arms. She was followed a second later by the blue-eyed Asian girl I remembered from the woods. The name her face seemed to match was Jubilee, but I wasn't sure this time. She too was carrying a stack of clothes. Hers was a lot bigger than Storm's, and I could barely see her through all the different colors and fabrics.
Storm set her pile gently at the foot of my bed; the girl practically threw hers to get out from under it. Storm smiled at her, and then turned to me.
"Cassandra, there is someone I'd like you to meet. You might remember her from the ones who brought you here. She was among them." The girl took a step toward me, a bright grin on her face.
"Hi! The name's Jubilation Lee. But everyone around here calls me Jubilee. I'm glad to see that you're doing ok; you didn't look very well when we brought you in here. Are you feeling better? It must have been quite a shock, waking up here I mean. I know I was really surprised when I first came here."
She had to stop for breath then, and I was glad. My head was spinning and I wasn't sure which of her questions to answer first. She reminded me so much of my little brother. He had talked like that, really fast and excited. He would barely be still long enough for you to answer whatever it was he was talking to you about.
Storm and Beast shared a little smile, and I had the feeling they were use to this.
"Jubilee," Beast said in a firm voice. "give Cassandra a little time to contemplate. She's had a problematical time, and your expeditious questions might tire her!" She seemed a little put off by that, and her smile faded slightly. I was reminded again of Andrew, and I looked over at Beast.
"It's okay Dr. McCoy. I'm fine." I looked back and her and smile, offering my hand for her to shake. "Hello. I'm Cassey. I was really surprised when I first woke up, but I'm not going to go into shock or anything. And thanks for asking, I'm feeling quite a bit better now." Her smile came back, and she shook my hand vigorously.
"I'm glad you are. I hate being sick more than anything." She motioned toward the pile of clothing. "We brought you some things. Most of them are mine, but I wasn't sure if we were the same size, so I got a few things from a couple of the others."
"Thanks, I wasn't looking forward to going around in a nightgown." We both smiled at that. "I really do appreciate it."
"No problem." She said cheerily.
I knew I had made a friend. And that, more than anything else, was the comfort I had needed.
I saw Beast and Storm smiling at us as I let go of Jubilee's hand and leaned forward to look through the clothes they'd brought me. I smiled back, feeling lighter in spirit than I had in a long time. My little passenger seemed to know this, because he began purring happily under my ear.
"I didn't know what type of stuff you'd like to wear, so I grabbed a bunch of different things." Jubilee said. That was a complete and total understatement. It looked like she had raided a clothing store. There had to be at least one of every color in the universe sitting there in front of me.
That wouldn't have been worth mentioning, except for the fact that nothing matched! Taking a glance at my new friends fashion style, I think I knew the reason for that.
She was wearing a pair of blue-jeans that had yellow, blue, and purple explosion designs covering the legs and pockets, the knees had large holes in them. Her shirt was a yellow tank-top that showed just a little of her midriff when she lifted her arms, with the words 'Shoot to Kill' printed in pretty cursive letters across the front. Her short black hair stood out in all directions, a purple and yellow headband keeping it out of her eyes. The outfit was completed with a pair of yellow flip-flops and yellow dangle earrings. All in all, guess what her favorite color was? I think I already had a pretty good idea.
Her clothes spoke of a wild personality, and a free spirit. I liked that.
I slowly started going through the different things, hoping she wouldn't be offended if I picked out a less… entertaining, outfit.
I chose a pair of black jeans that looked like they might fit me, and a bright blue t-shirt that looked comfortable, if not a little big. I was trying to take my time because I wasn't sure how to ask if there was a place I could go to change. I didn't like the idea of changing into these with other's watching me. The very thought made me shudder.
She must have caught me glancing in the adults' direction one too many times because Jubilee turned to them and said,
"Hey guys! Can you give us a bit of privacy here? I seriously doubt that Cassey wants people watching her getting dressed." They nodded and I tried to cover the fact that I was now blushing three shades of red as they left. I was a private person; I hated having attention called to me.
"Thanks." I said really softly as soon as the door had closed behind them.
"Don't mention it." She said with a grin. "You want me to wait outside too?"
"You don't have to, just don't look."I said, and she nodded seriously, and I couldn't help but laugh.
I stood up to get and a wave of dizziness crashed over the top of me. My vision blurred and I would have fallen if Jubilee hadn't grabbed a hold of my arm to steady me.
"Are you okay? You want me to call back Dr. McCoy?" She said worriedly.
The feeling began to pass and I shook my head slowly. She let me go, just keeping a hand lightly on my arm as I tested my own feet on the floor.
"No, I'm fine. It's just a little bit of dizziness. I just need to move slower for now." I said.
"Yeah, I'm really fine."
"Ok, but if you need help, I'll be right here." She said as she went to sit on the bed next to mine facing the other direction.
I slowly slipped the nightgown up and off of my head, carefully keeping my balance. Bending over to put a pair of underwear and the jeans on was harder, but I managed. I found that if I just moved slowly, I could do it ok. Just like with my trip from the woods.
Jubilee kept up a steady stream of conversation while I was getting dressed. Telling me about her own mutation, and what she'd been doing before she came here. Apparently, she can create fireworks like explosives from her hands. She's been trying to learn how to make a force-field around herself with them, but the going on that was slow.
She talked a little about her parents and how they had been murdered. How she had been sent to juvi, and how she'd run away three years ago and found herself living in a mall.
That I had a hard time even fathoming; as hard as the accident had been, at least my parents hadn't been killed like that. And the thought of living alone in a mall was a daunting one; though from the way she talked about it, it sounded kind of fun.
"Weren't you lonely staying there all by yourself; with no one to talk to?" I said as I pulled the shirt over my head and moved to sit next to her.
She moved over a little to give me room, her eyes holding a thoughtful look. "Yeah, I suppose it was. I mean, I guess I didn't really have time to think about it much. I was so busy trying to stay one step ahead of the security guards and such. But sometimes I'd watch the people, groups of other girls, or just families walking around together. Smiling and laughing with each other. Then I was at my loneliest."
We sat there for a moment, each of us lost in our own thoughts. Thinking about the lives we both lived. I wondered if there was something wrong with me. I mean, even when I had a family, a loving one, with my parents and my brother. I had felt lonely; as if there was something missing. Some need for something that I was never able to find the filling to.
"So what about you?" Jubilee's voice startled me out of my thoughts.
"What about me?" I asked dumbly, not quite sure of what she was referring to.
"Well, I've been telling you all about myself. What about you? Where is your family? And why were you out in the middle of the woods by yourself bleeding? Not to mention the question of how did you save Jean from whatever those things were?"
I winced. I knew I'd have to answer these things soon enough, but I wasn't really ready to. "It's a long, long story." Was all I said.
"So? It can't be any longer than mine. We've got time."
I knew I couldn't argue with that.
"My family…" I couldn't say it. Tears pushed on my eyes and I had to blink rapidly to clear them away. I wasn't ready to talk about it. As much as I liked this girl so far, I wasn't ready to tell her about that.
"I live, or should I say lived, with my aunt Gertrude." From the look she gave me I knew she could tell that I had meant to say something else, but I was grateful that she didn't push it.
"I don't know how I did what I did in the woods. I guess it has something to do with my…mutation. I'm hoping that the Professor can tell me about it when he gets back from whatever he's doing.
As to why I was out there. Are you sure you want to know?" She nodded.
"Let's just say that when Aunt Gertrude found out I was a mutant, she didn't take too kindly to it." I stared straight ahead as I spoke. I didn't want Jubilee to see the angry, pained tears that had begun to fall down my cheeks. "She caught me using my powers, I turn pink when I use them I guess, and she freaked out. When I tried to get her to calm down, she grabbed a knife and cut at me. I blocked it with my arm so she wouldn't get my face. Then she clobbered me with a frying pan."
Jubilee placed an arm over my shoulders, hugging me gently so that he wouldn't hurt my injured shoulder. I let out a loud sigh.
"After that she called the police, and I knew I had to get out of there. So I ran." I forced a smile and turned back to her. "And that's when I ran into you guys."
She smiled at me, but behind it she looked angry.
"I'm sorry that you had to go through all that. And if you ask me, your aunt isn't worth your thinking about her for another moment." She muttered something under her breath that I'd prefer not to put down here. But it made me laugh; it was nice to know you have someone out there on your side.
"Thanks Jubilee." I said, and I meant it with all my heart.
My stomach chose that time to let out a growl worthy of a gravel grinder. We both looked up at each other and started laughing. She had a very sweet laugh, higher pitched then her voice was, with a little bit of a burr to it that was interesting to listen too.
But I wasn't thinking of that at the time. What had happened wasn't that funny really. I guess it's just the way people act when they are relieved about something. For me, it felt like something had fallen into place. I wasn't sure what. But I knew it was there.
"I guess that means I'm hungry." I said, though I hadn't realized it until that moment. I was really starving!
"Yeah, I guess so." She answered, still grinning. "Come on, I'll show you the kitchen. I missed breakfast earlier, and I'm starved too!"
She helped me off the edge of the bed, steadying me in case I had another dizzy spell. But I didn't, and I hoped that meant I was getting better.
"What about the clothes?" I asked. I didn't like leaving things lying around, I liked things in order most of the time, and it didn't feel right to leave them on the bed in a pile like that.
"Don't worry about it. I'll come down later and get them. It's not that big a deal."
I nodded reluctantly. I would have argued, but my stomach protested any wait whatsoever, and I was inclined to agree with it in this situation.
The door opened and we stepped out into a large hallway. I stopped in surprise as I looked around me.
The ceiling was very tall, at least twelve feet in height. From the door where we stood, to the opposite wall looked close to eight feet wide. All the walls were made of metal, and there were quite a few other doors to both the left and right.
Needless to say, I was a bit overwhelmed. Then I noticed something; there weren't any windows, anywhere. I thought that was a little strange.
Beast and Storm where standing a few feet outside the door; talking quietly to one another. When the door opened and shut and we walked out they turned toward us, smiling. But I had caught the look of worry that had been there a moment before, and I wondered if it had anything to do with the Professor's abrupt exit earlier.
"I'm glad to see that you found things that fit you Cassandra." Storm said gently.
"Yes, thank you again Ms. Munroe, I really appreciate it." I said with as much gratitude as I could.
"I'm taking Cassey upstairs to get something to eat. We're both starving!" Jubilee said, I wondered if she'd seen the look too. Her tone didn't indicate it, and I wondered if I'd imagined it.
"That's a wonderful idea Jubilee." Beast said. "The Professor has asked that Storm and I come to his office, and if you would show Ms. Cassandra around, I would be very grateful."
"Sure, I was thinking I'd do that anyway, I don't have any classes today." She said, giving me a happy grin.
"Good, then its settled." Storm said, smiling indulgently at Jubilee's excitement. Turning to me she said, "You could not be in more capable hands Cassey. I hope you do not mind."
"Not at all." It was my turn to smile at her "It sounds like fun."
"Come on, the elevators is this way." Jubilee said in a cheerful voice, turning and heading to the right. I waved toward the two teachers, and with a chuckle they headed in the opposite direction.
"Elevator?" I said, following after her and still pondering the looked I'd seen. The metal floor was cold on my bare feet, and I wished I had a pair of shoes to wear, or at least some socks.
"Yeah, the one that leads up to the ground floor. That's where the kitchen is." She said, not a care in the world. We had reached a junction where several halls met. Jubilee walked up to a large door and pressed a button on the wall that I don't think I would have been able to find if I hadn't seen her push it. It opened into a large elevator.
Up? "Ground floor? Are we upstairs?"
"You mean they didn't tell you?" She said, her grin widening as if she were happy to be able to tell me some interesting secret. "This whole thing is a level underground. We have to go up to the ground floor to get to the living areas." The doors closed with a soft –whoosh-'.
My mouth fell open. "Underground?" I said in surprise.
"Yep, the Professor had the medical bay and the more technologically advanced areas built under the school. So it wouldn't attract a lot of attention." She continued to grin at me as the elevator doors opened again. It moved a lot faster than any elevator I'd been in before.
We stepped out and I found myself staring in wonder at the architecture around us. The elevator opened from a wall next to a staircase. The oak banister post and the rails going upward were carved in intricate curves, its dark, smooth wood polished to a brilliant shine. The carpet was a deep red going up the steps, but the rest of the floor around me was walnut colored wood.
I don't know how many of you have seen the old style Victorian houses. But if you have, than you might be able to picture what I was seeing. All of it gave off a feeling of antique beauty that was so unlike the metallic wonders I'd seen below, that it was incredible.
Toward what I thought was the front of the house, there was a set of huge mahogany doors with beveled glass windows set in them. Sunlight was streaming through them to land on the wood floor, casting dancing rainbows over its surface. Spreading out to either side of the door were windows that looked out onto a lush lawn, and then out a little further, a driveway that disappeared off to my left.
I wished I could go out there and see more, it looked like such a beautiful day outside. But right now, I knew I had more pressing matters. But I couldn't wait to be able to explore this place. It looked like what I'd always thought old houses in mystery novels would look like, and I wondered what types of fantastic secrets and stories I might find here.
"It's amazing isn't it?" Jubilee's words broke through my train of thought. I turned back to look at her.
"Yes, way beyond amazing actually." I said my voice holding a bit of wonder.
"I never can get used to it." She said. "No matter how many years I live here, it's always beautiful. I smiled at her, nodding. I had a feeling it would be the same with me if I stayed for any length of time.
I followed her around the stairs and down a hall to the left. We didn't go far before we came to an open door on the right and she went in.
I don't know if I was expecting to walk into an old fashion kitchen or not. I knew that it would be impractical, but somehow the light blue and white linoleum and brand new appliances seemed out of place in such a grand old house. The walls where painted a calmingly pastel green with a fruit border around the top.
There were three large refrigerators, two microwaves, one huge industrial oven, and two regular sized ovens. Not to mention the four toasters, three blenders, and two coffee pots that lined the blue tile counter tops.
And with all that space there was still room to have an island big enough to fit four stools on one side comfortably. There were several windows, one of which had a pretty window seat that was almost big enough to be called a couch. It was made with a light green fabric that matched the walls, and had several comfortable-looking pillows on it. I noticed a regular sized white door that led off the side of the kitchen, but I didn't pay it much attention.
All in all, the kitchen was humongous.
But after the other things I'd seen, I was able to keep my mouth closed, and the amazement to a manageable level.
There wasn't anyone else in the kitchen, so Jubilee motioned me to one of the island seats and I sat down.
"What would you like to eat?" She said, walking over to one of the refrigerators.
"Anything is fine with me right now; I'm not a picky eater." I answered.
"Good, how does a sandwich sound?" She said as she opened the door and looked in.
"Like something heaven sent."
"Ham or turkey is all I see in here." She said as she rummaged around.
"Ham is great. I've lived off of ham, cheddar and provolone cheese sandwiches for most of my life." I said as seriously as I could.
We both laughed, and she said. "Well that's good because that's one of my favorites too."
I watched in amusement as she bent over in the fridge, mumbling to herself as she looked for something. Her head pop up a few times and she tossed a couple of packages onto the counter behind her, hardly looking at all where she threw them. I guessed that she was used to doing this.
When she had gotten everything she needed, she made two of the largest sandwiches I'd ever seen.
I grinned. "I'm glad you made them that big for both of us. I was worried about making myself look like a pig by eating a whole animal by myself."
She nodded. "Finally another girl my age who actually has an appetite!" She raised her fist in mock triumph. "I wonder how some of the other students here live on the bird-sized amounts they eat!"
She pulled a bag of chips from a cabinet and dumped some on our plates. Then she poured us each a tall glass of water and pushed my plate and glass toward me.
"You want to eat outside?" She said, and I nodded yes quickly.
She grabbed her stuff and walked to the door I'd noticed, with little difficulty, she maneuvered everything until she could turn the doorknob.
The door led to a large, open patio that had a couple of wooden tables and chairs. It was shaded by a bunch of trees that leaned in over it from either side. The effect was lovely and peaceful, I was really glad Jubilee had mentioned this.
She plopped down at the nearest table, and I took the seat opposite her so we could look at each other as we talked.
"Well, actually, I've never been a big eater." I said truthfully, continuing the conversation from inside, as I grabbed a chip, crunching thoughtfully on it. "But after my powers showed up, it's like I can't get enough."
"Ummm… You better tell that to the doc or Professor X at some point. Your mutation might have something to do with your metabolism; there are a few other students here that have gifts like that." She said, taking a bit of her sandwich. "By the way, what is your mutation anyway?"
"I'm not sure." I said between bites. "That's what I hope the Professor and Dr. McCoy can tell me. So far, I realized that I can hear things that are a long way off if I focus really hard. And somehow, like in the woods, I can go to certain places with my mind."
As I said it, it seemed a lot stranger than before.
"What about those vine things Jean said you pulled off of her? I couldn't see anything on her while we were in the woods, but she looked like she was suffocating before you showed up."
"I don't know how I did that. It was just like some part of me knew what to do. And it felt like I was talking to it somehow. But I don't even know what it was." I said with a sigh.
A thought occurred to me. "You said you can create fireworks, right?" When she nodded I said, "Can you show me?"
She grinned and a mischievous twinkle played in her eyes. Slowly, she lifted her hands up in front of her, pushing her chair back slightly so there was a bit more room between us. Then all of a sudden, a burst of colorful light shot out from her fingers in a tiny explosion. As the first one faded another one popped up to take its place.
I watched in wonder as her little light show when on for a few moments. To my further surprise, the little guy around my neck vibrated. Then he slowly began to slide down my shoulder, and out onto the table. He kept the lower part of his body wrapped around my wrist, but he rose up and stared at Jubilee, his little head twisted to one side like it had been this morning with Storm.
Jubilee was as fascinated as I was by his interest, her eyes getting big and shocked when he made his appearance. Her light show faded out slowly as she continued to look at him.
Careful not to accidentally smack him, I clapped a few times.
"That was amazing Jubilee! And I don't think I'm the only one that thinks so." I said, my voice filled with awe.
"Ummm… what is that thing?" Her voice was as filled with amazement as mine.
I looked down at him, not sure what to say. I didn't want her to be afraid of him if I told her he was the thing that had attacked her team mate. But I wasn't going to lie about this.
"You know the thing that attacked Mrs. Summers in the woods?" I said, not meeting her eyes.
"Are you saying that it's one of them?" She said, sounding surprised, but not frightened or angry. I looked up.
"Yeah, but he's not dangerous. I think the reason he attacked her was he thought she was trying to hurt him. At least that's the feeling I got from him. But he hasn't tried to hurt anyone again unless he thinks their trying to hurt me. I don't know how he came with me when I left the woods that first time, but somehow, he did."
We sat there in silence for a moment, both of us watching the little odd creature. Then all of the sudden, with a little smile Jubilee asked me,
"Can I touch him?"
I let out a sigh of relief I hadn't know I was holding. "Sure, just move really slowly. And don't look threatening." I said.
So she reached out slowly and carefully until her hand was just an inch from him. Then she gently touched the top of his little head. I tried to feel for any of the feelings of fear that I'd felt from him before. But I couldn't detect anything other than curiosity coming from him, which I took to be a good thing.
"He's soft, kind of like silk." She said. I ran my hand down the length of his back.
"You're right. I hadn't thought of it that way, but that's what he feels like." I replied.
"What's his name?" Jubilee asked, and I looked up at her.
"I haven't named him yet. I didn't really have time to think about one, with everything that's been going on."
She nodded in understanding.
"Well you'll have to come up with one soon." She stroked his head with a smile. "No one should go long without a name."
To my surprise he stood up a little further, and rubbed against her fingertips. We both giggled.
I started eating on my sandwich one-handed, no matter how interesting he was; I was still starving. As I was taking a bite of my sandwich, I watched as Jubilee took one of her chips and offer it to him. I wondered why I hadn't thought of that. I didn't even know if he actually ate anything at all.
He stared at the strange object for a moment, and then his little head turned to look at me. I felt an uncertainty playing at the back of my mind, though I had no idea why I would feel that. Then I realized it wasn't my emotion. He kept looking at me, or at least I think he was looking at me. It's hard to tell with a creature that doesn't have eyes. And then I knew that he was asking me something.
I don't know how or why I came to that conclusion, but it was like something in the back of my mind told me that was what it was. His head went from pointing at me to the chip, back and forth, back and forth.
Ok, I said to myself. How does this work? I nodded my head at him, saying softly, "Go ahead, it's alright." All the while trying to send him affirmative thoughts. He must have caught on to what I was thinking, I still don't know today if he was responding to my thoughts, my words, or both. But he turned back to the chip at hand (get the pun?) and gently took a bite.
Now, I didn't actually see his mouth open. That's the weird thing. It was like part of the chip just touched his mouth and dissolved. I didn't see him open it, or take a bite. All either of us knew was that, part of the chip had been there, and then it wasn't.
"Man that is so cool!" Jubilee said as she held out the chip for him. "Did you see it just disappear?"
"Yeah. I didn't even know he could eat!" I said excitedly.
I think anyone looking at us at that moment, would have stared in concern at two girls getting that excited about a snake taking a bite out of a chip. But hey, we were weird. Still are actually. So sue us.
"I wonder if he'll eat anything else." I thought aloud. We glanced at each other and started taking apart what little bit we each still had of our sandwiches.
He seemed to like the bread, and he loved both kinds of cheeses. He didn't seem fond of the lettuce though; he tasted it and then backed up slightly closer to me. And it was quite obvious that he hated the tomato by the way he took one look at it and then promptly hid under my hand.
Neither of us could stop laughing at that. I wished I'd had a camera.
I couldn't remember a time when I'd felt so happy and light. As if nothing in the world could bother me. When our little pink friend seemed to have had enough, he slid slowly up my arm and curled around my neck again. The last thing I heard or felt from him for a while was a soft and contented vibration. Almost like a little sigh.
Jubilee and I sat there and finished our lunch as the afternoon wore on. We talked about different things, our favorite music, food, movies, and guys; everything that normal teenagers would talk about. I was surprised at myself for falling into something so normal, so quickly. But I was glad I had.
"Anyway, I still don't see what you see in Richard Dean Anderson." Jubilee said with a snort. "I don't see anything impressive about him."
"I feel sorry for you. How could anyone look at him and not see perfection? He is the reason they invented the word!" I said seriously, trying to keep from laughing. "Go ahead and look it up in the dictionary. In the synonym section under the word 'perfect' is his name in big letters. And right below that is Ben Browder."
We both sighed longingly at that.
"Come on." She said suddenly.
"Where?" I said in surprise.
"Well, don't you want to see the rest of the mansion?" She said, one perfectly arched eyebrow rising slightly.
"I thought you'd never ask!" I said excitedly. I wanted so much to see more of the place I'd agreed to stay in.
'Ok, let's go! Do you want to see inside or outside first?"
I looked up at the bright sunny sky, the lush lawns. The slight breeze blowing through my hair felt really good.
"Outside." I said without hesitation. And I got up to follow her.
My gosh! 22 pages people! 22 pages! I swear I haven't written that much in a month in my entire life!
But I hope it will make up for the fact that I haven't been keeping up with this story. I had a period I was going through where I couldn't even look at it without drawing a blank.
In case you want to know, I based my little pink creation's food preferences after my youngest brother. Nobody tell him that though! I don't think he would appreciate the humor in it.
Again, I'm sorry that it took me so long. I'd forgotten how much I loved this story.
So, I'm not quite sure where I'm going with this story yet, I have some plans for it, but if anyone has any good ideas, please send them to me. And if anyone has a favorite character they think would make a good romantic interest for Cassey, I'm taking a vote on that.
One more thing and I'll let you go,
I WANT MORE REVIEWS!!!
If no one wants to read this story, I might as well not post it here anymore. So, take a moment to type in a little message. Like I've said before, I like constructive criticism too, so bring it on!
Hopefully, I'll talk to you soon!
-Psy over and out.