Surprise Me

By TheLostMaximoff

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. I'm not really sure where this came from but I thought it was interesting. R/R.

She stares across the street at what looks to be an abandoned warehouse on the outside. She knows better than that. The constant thump of music and the hum of activity tell her there's a rave going on inside the building. She doesn't have her powers anymore but Jessica Vale can still predict what's going on in there. The place is alive with dancing and color but Jessie knows it's full of something else. Raves are great places to score all kinds of drugs.

Jessie Vale used to have a lot of things. She used to have the power to see the future. She used to have a big sister. She used to have squad-mates and a home at Xavier's. Now, all Jessie Vale possesses is a desire, a desire for things to return to that semblance of normalcy they once had. She wants to be bored with life again. She doesn't want to live in a world of surprises, in a world full of risks and uncertain futures. Most of all, Jessie wants her sister back because Sarah was always the responsible one and the reasonable one even if she was a brat sometimes and their parents always liked her best. Some days, Jessie just wants to hide or run away from the world.

"I wouldn't do that." Jessie's still getting used to surprises. Sometimes, she really wishes she could have the visions again. That need almost makes her walk into the building but the voice stops her. She turns to see a little girl sitting on the curb. Her blond hair is done up in three ponytails and she's wearing a t-shirt with a simple stencil of a butterfly on it along with jean-shorts that come down to her knees.

"You're not my mom," states Jessie as she looks at the girl who can't be more than twelve years old at the most. Jessie wonders what a girl this young is doing here in what used to be Mutant Town but now there aren't that many mutants left. Jessie only wonders about it for a second before she feels the tug. She's thought about taking drugs before. She's thought about how good it would feel to see things again, to live in the realm of possibilities. Jessie Vale is a paradox because she simultaneously loves and hates surprises. She remembers as a little kid she could correctly guess all her Christmas and birthday presents before opening them. She knew exactly what college she would get into. She knew exactly what her future husband looked like. Jessie knew everything and while it made life boring it also made it safe and comfortable.

"No, I'm not," agrees the girl, "I just think it'd be safer out here." Jessie inwardly laughs at this notion of safety and security. She and her sister had both thought Xavier's was safe, safer than the world outside who would hate and fear them. Now Sarah is dead and Jessie . . . Jessie had ran away from it all.

Before M-Day, Jessie had received the last vision she would ever have. She had seen her sister die along with many of her friends. After they both lost their powers, Jessie had begged Sarah not to get on the bus. They could've asked for their parents to pick them up or they could've simply ran away together. Jessie knew what would've happened to that bus. She knew that she would've died so in the end she ran away to avoid the cruel fate she had seen in her vision. Her sister wasn't so lucky.

"It's not safe anywhere," assures Jessie harshly, "Who are you?"

"Layla Miller," replies the girl casually, "I know stuff."

"What kind of stuff?" asks Jessie with a raised eyebrow and a smirk in Layla's direction.

"Pretty much everything," answers Layla with a shrug, "I know you shouldn't go in there." Jessie wonders just how exactly this girl got to be so arrogant at such a young age. It's then that she realizes she was the same way.

"What'll happen if I go in there?" asks Jessie.

"Stuff you really don't wanna know," replies Layla, "I know stuff like you used to, Jessie."

"Then maybe you know that I'd like my power back," says Jessie bitterly, "Do you have any clue what it's like to live in a world full of random chance? It sucks."

"I don't mind chaos," assures Layla, "Life is all about random chance. It makes it fun."

"I don't think it's very fun," counters Jessie, not really believing that she's having a conversation about this with someone so young. Yet Layla doesn't look so young when Jessie stares into the girl's eyes. She sees an old soul behind those young eyes and it scares her a little bit.

"So are you like me?" asks Jessie finally, "I mean do you have visions too?"

"I just know stuff," replies Layla, "Makes life kinda dull I guess."

"Yeah," admits Jessie, "It's weird that I would want it back now that it's gone."

"Grass is always greener," states Layla, "Maybe God likes you."

"You don't seem like the religious type," replies Jessie.

"I didn't say I was," reminds Layla as she casually pulls out a pack of gum, "Want some?" Jessie shrugs and takes a stick of gum from the pack.

"So bad things will happen to me if I go in there huh?" asks Jessie.

"Yep," replies Layla.

"Is that why you're keeping me out here?" questions Jessie.

"I'm not keeping you here," replies Layla, "You can go in there if you want, Jessie, but in about two minutes a girl in there is going to get some drugs from a dealer and she's going to overdose on them. The 911 call will alert the cops to what's going on and they'll be over here pretty fast because lots of bad stuff's been happening here lately. Most of the people in there will go to jail. I can tell you about what'll happen to them while they're in jail if you want me to."

"What does all that have to do with me?" asks Jessie skeptically.

"If you had gone in there, you would've been the one who got those drugs," explains Layla, "You would be the one who wound up dead instead of that other girl."

"So you're saving my life then?" asks Jessie, "I don't need your charity."

"Gimme back that gum then," counters Layla as she holds out her hand, "Boy, you try to be nice to people and save them from screwing up their lives and they give you no appreciation."

"They never listen to you," continues Jessie, her eyes wide in amazement. That's what had happened to her. She had tried to warn her sister about the vision. She had begged Sarah not to get on that bus but Sarah had blithely ignored her. The future wasn't written in stone. That's what Sarah had told her and that's what everyone had been telling her since the day she had first discovered her power. The future wasn't written in stone.

"You're lucky," says Layla as she pops her gum, "You get to live in a world of darkness. You get to live in a world of limited comprehension where you don't know any more than you're supposed to. You get to wake up in the morning and appreciate it because you never know which morning will be your last."

"You just watch it all," says Jessie, "You just sit there and watch the entire world move by, knowing where every thing and every person will end up going. You can't just be a mutant. No mutant is that powerful. What are you?"

"I'm a butterfly," replies Layla as she stands up and turns away, "I'm a butterfly who flaps her wings." Jessie turns back and sees the chaos at the rave. There are people fleeing as police round them up. Jessie sees a couple people from what must be X-Factor Investigations as they help make sure no one escapes. If she had gone in there, Jessie Vale would've spent a good portion of her life in jail. Jessie considers the other option, the one Layla said would happen to her. She might very well be dead by now. The future isn't written in stone and without her visions she has no guarantees of what could happen.

"What do I do?" calls out Jessie as she turns to catch up with Layla.

"Enjoy it," replies Layla simply as she turns a corner and vanishes from Jessie's sight. Jessie Vale is left alone to contemplate the mysteries of the universe. She never cared to do that before because she thought she knew all there was to know. She realizes now that she knows absolutely nothing. There's a big, wide world of possibilities out there, so staggeringly complex that she wonders if she understood it all even back when she could see the future. There's a big, wide world out in front of her and the only real thing Jessie Vale can do is stagger towards the future like a blind woman as she tries to make sense of it all and find her place in it.