Disclaimer: I don't own X-Men, Angel, or any of their characters. Nor do I own Gwen. She belongs to the great Joss Whedon. This is just a random idea that popped into my crazy brain one day.
Check out my profile for the link to my Photobucket to see Gwen and the others!
Chapter 1: Another Beginning
I'm not like most people. I'm different. Not special though, I'm cursed. From the moment I was born, I've killed everything that's touched my skin. Well, killed or put in a permanent coma. My own parents are afraid of me! So afraid, in fact, that they've decided to send me to some school for gifted kids: 1407 Graymalkin Lane. Salem Center. Westchester County, New York City. Yay me.
I live in Wisconsin, and I love it here. It's quiet, peaceful, and not overly crowded. Then again, it's considered hell on earth by most people…and Kevin Smith, apparently. Dogma, case in point. But I like it here, it's home. The people are stupid, myself excluded. Most people stay away from me, so they never suspect me when their wallets or watches go missing. Easy money. New York though, that's tougher territory. If I try to pickpocket there, I'll probably wind up getting shot or stabbed or something.
"Gwen, time to go!"
Sybil is my mother. She's never really been a mom to me though, being that she's so scared of me, so she doesn't get the titled of "Mom". That's a special word, one that she doesn't deserve. My father is Chuck. Well, actually, it's Charles, but everyone calls him Chuck. He also is undeserving of the title of "Dad". Although, he's not as bad as Sybil. Chuck actually gave me something to help me with my curse: elbow length opera gloves, black. His grandmother's.
"Gwen, now, sweetie!" Sybil called.
She's trying to be sweet, make things easier on herself. She's been doing this since her and Chuck decided to send me away. Both of them have been trying to justify what their doing so they don't feel bad about handing their only child over to total strangers…again.
Two plane rides and a three-hour drive in a crappy rental car later, we arrive at my orphanage – I'm sorry, "school". This whole state looks and smells differently than Wisconsin. I miss the fresh air already. I'll take that over this smog any day.
"Mr. and Mrs. Raiden, welcome to our school for gifted youngsters." 'Youngsters', what the hell does that mean? I'm thirteen, a teenager, not some prepubescent idiot. 'Youngsters', hmph!
"Thank you, Mr. Xavier, Mr. Lensherr," Chuck says, shaking both men's hands. Both men are old, very old, prehistoric old. Great, my jailers are old arthritic fogies. Just great.
"Hello, Gwen. My name is Charles, and this is my good friend Erik."
"Say "hello", Gwen," Sybil coaxes quietly.
"Hi," I greet reluctantly, looking between the old men with uncertainty. How could they possibly take care of me?
"Would you, perhaps, like to get settled and meet the other children?" the bald guy asks kindly.
"Are you sure that's a good idea?" Chuck asks and, for once, I agree with him. "I mean, her condition…"
"There's absolutely nothing wrong with your daughter, Mr. Raiden," Lensherr states firmly. I think I love this man. "She's a very bright child. A bit problematic at her previous school, I understand, but what child isn't at her age?" he reasons with a gracious smile.
Yes, I definitely love this man. Sybil and Chuck nod and I just stand there, in my usual attire: the gloves, long jeans, a long sleeved sweater with a jean jacket over that, black sneakers, and my hair tied back to rest under a hood. I'm also wearing a thick scarf around my neck, made by my only living grandparent – Chuck's mother. She made it for me a while after the accident, and my clothing earned me some strange looks in the airport.
Still, the accident. Mr. Lensherr brought up my previous school, and I can't help but remember it.
When I was nine, Sybil and Chuck tried to send me to public school for the first time. Our white Mercedes drove past a sign reading Thorpe's Academy. I stood there on the gravel of the drive in my red snowsuit and mittens, even though it was the middle of summer. I'd gotten used to the heat that came with the suit since I was always dressed in it. I looked like a walking stop sign back then, which was probably a good thing in retrospect. An early warning, I guess, for others to stay away.
Behind me, Sybil and Chuck get out of the car and come to stand a few steps behind me. They're so afraid that they can't even stand next to me, or even within a foot of me. A woman dressed in businesslike attire stepped forward, her blonde hair tied back in a strict bun.
"Mr. and Mrs. Raiden, welcome to the academy. I'm Lydia Thorpe," she greets. I guessed she was the proprietor of the school.
"We can't thank you enough," Sybil said in relief. "After all we've been through…" After all you've been through? I don't remember you get struck by lightning or killing the tutors, nannies, maids, or butlers!
"Honestly, I should be thanking you. Your gift to the school was quite generous," she replied with a smile. Yes, my parents basically bribed a school into taking me. I still wonder how much it was, but it was definitely around six figures. "We've already invested a portion of it into the accommodations for Gwen's…special needs," she said cautiously.
"When should we come back?" Chuck asked.
"Classes end June 3rd," Lydia replied. I didn't turn to look at them, but I knew both of them were exchanging looks. They were probably hoping they wouldn't have to come back to get me at all.
"Well, here you go, Gwen," Chuck said to me, trying to sound enthusiastic. "You're finally going to school. Exciting, isn't it?"
"You be a good girl now. You hear me?" Right, like I'm going to look at the mother whose abandoning me. "Be good and, remember, we love you," Sybil said, though it wasn't all that convincing.
"Thanks again. We'll see you in June," Chuck said to Lydia, who just nodded. "June, all right, Gwen?" I didn't answer him, I never anymore. Instead, I walked slowly towards Lydia. My parents, as far as I was concerned at this point, were dead.
"Hello, Gwen. I'm Ms. Thorpe. I'm going to take you up to class now. You must stay away from the other children, of course, but I'm confident you will learn my other rules very quickly," Lydia said to me, all while smiling, and we walked towards the academy. I was the leper of the 20th century.
I had stopped suddenly and turned back to look at Sybil and Chuck. They had simply turned away from watching me to leave. Ignoring my parents, I turned back to Lydia and reached out a gloved hand to her. I had hoped that, since she was taking me in, she would treat me like any other child: normally. But Lydia batted my hand away and pointed a finger at me.
"No, Gwen," she scolded, and we continued up the drive, in silence and two feet apart.
Three months had passed without incident, thankfully. I was given my own room, far from the other kids, but I still had to where my suit. Even though I was by myself, I could still hurt things. One day, the kids were scattered outside, playing in the sunshine behind the academy while I sat under a tree a little ways off, watching.
I wish so badly that I could play with them, make friends with them, even talk to them. But I wasn't allowed. It was against the rules. If I did, Lydia probably would've hit my hands with a ruler or something. After my momentary sulking, I turned to my lunch. I couldn't manage to grasp the plastic spoon for my pudding – I used to love Snack Packs – so I pulled off my right glove.
Looking back, I should have realized that it was dumb of me to take off my mitten, but it was hard to eat with it on! I was distracted from my lunch though as a boy – Greg, I think – about my age "drove" over to me, carrying a little toy in his hands, stopping in front of me while making the sound of screeching brakes.
"Are you a freak?" he asked curiously, staring at me. Like all the kids, he was curious about me but he was the only one to talk to me. The only one besides Sybil, Chuck, and Lydia.
"I don't know," I answered with uncertainty.
"I guess you don't look like one," he said.
"Thanks," I replied with a smile. All I could think was, 'He likes me, he actually likes me! I made a friend!' God, I was so happy! That was when the bell rang.
"Okay, kids, inside! Inside now," Lydia called from the academy, clapping her hands. As all the other kids started to run up to her, I struggled to stand up. As soon as I did, Greg offered me the car he had been playing with.
"You can hold on to this, if you want," he said, and I couldn't help but smile. He smiled back as I reached for the car with my ungloved hand. God, I was so stupid.
"GWEN!" Lightning arced from my hand and into Greg as soon as I touched the toy. The strike threw him backwards, about ten feet away from me. "NO," Lydia cried out.
All I could think to do was back away from the smoking, melted toy car lying on the ground. It had fallen from Greg's hand as he flew way. As Lydia ran to Greg, lying in a lifeless heap on the ground, all the other kids ran inside, screaming and crying. Sybil and Chuck came the next day to take me home. That was in Gills Rock, just four hours from my house. October 28, 1985.
I'll never forget that day, never.
P.S.: Four pages total.