Edit: 10/17/08-More details, changed scenes :)
Edit: 5/21/09- More details
Disclaimer: ONE AND ONLY!!! I do not own X-Men. I do, however, own Jada and any other people you don't recognize.
Summary: After the death of her parents, Jada Hemmer becomes a student at Xavier's Institute. After a rocky start, she begins to adjust to her new life. With new friends and a new romance, she begins to think that perhaps being a mutant isn't so horrible after all. But as attack looms in the distance, perfection begins to slip away. Loyalties will be tested and decisions will have to be made as the mutant community teeters on the brink of war. Everything will change as Jada decides: Where will she stand?
A breeze whistled through the trees flanking the road as a sleek, black vehicle followed. The vehicle pulled through a chain-linked fence and gate and around a gravel driveway, stopping before a building of grey stone. Two grey-clad men-in-uniform stood with their hands behind their backs, eyes hidden behind dark shades, to meet the car. The vehicle door opened and two figures stepped out before making way for a third, wheelchair-bound figure.
The first figure to exit the vehicle was also the only female; shoulder length, white hair contrasted with chocolate skin. An air of grace hung about her as she adjusted her sunglasses. Next to exit was a male figure, his frequently-moving eyes also hidden by dark shades. The final figure was much older than the previous two, and left the two officers with a feeling of inferiority, unwavering as he held their stares. After the trio embarked from the vessel, the car pulled away, leaving the three standing a few feet from the officers, taking in their surroundings.
"The girl is here?" the woman said dubiously, shooting a wary glance at the barbed wire atop the high fences. "This isn't the place for any child, mutant or not."
"This place was deemed the safest place for Ms. Hemmer at the moment," replied the man in the wheelchair, wheeling toward the two officers. "Though they may fear more for their own safety than hers."
These people keep staring at me. I didn't do it on purpose. I've never done anything like that before. The horrible thing is…it felt good. Maybe I am a monster, like the officers say. The people on the news called it a gas leak. Just a cover so as not to cause a panic according to the woman assigned to my 'case'. She's trying to get rid of me. I've been here for over a week. I scare the people here. It's odd, having people scared of me. Of course, I've always intimidated people, but that's different. That's because I'm a champion, not because I can kill people.
The officers led the trio down a labyrinth of hallways, the grey-scale walls giving off an oppressive, ominous feeling. They came to a halt in front of a solid metal door. A woman in a navy skirt and blazer, a drawn, tired expression heavy on her features, greeted them.
"Professor Xavier, I presume?" she began cordially, extending her hand. "Thank you for making the time to see me today. I'm Dr. Sawyer."
"Thank you for your call, Doctor," the Professor replied, returning the handshake. "This is Scott Summers and Ororo Munroe. They are teachers at my school." He motioned to the two people on either side of him, each shaking hands with the woman before them.
"Nice to meet you," Dr. Sawyer returned, brushing a blonde hair out of her face. She pulled a key from her blazer pocket and turned to the door, inserting the key in a barely-visible slot. "Ms. Hemmer is being held here. Where she can be contained."
A metal table with six chairs was the only furniture in the solid metal room. The girl sat on the opposite side of the table from the door, in the middle chair. A sheet of auburn hair hid her downturned face from view. The Professor pulled his wheelchair up in place of the middle chair, removed by the chocolate-skinned woman, across the table from the silent teen. Ororo and Scott took their seats flanking the Professor. The girl didn't look up. Dr. Sawyer walked around the table and sat next to the girl.
"This is Jada Hemmer," Dr. Sawyer began, motioning to the still-hidden teen. "She is the reason I've invited you here today." A moment of silence passed. "Jada, aren't you going to say 'hello' to your visitors?" 'Jada,' as she was called, remained soundless. Dr. Sawyer sighed and returned her attention to Xavier. "I apologize for her behavior, Professor. She refuses to talk to anyone. We've tried to get her to talk to one of our counselors, but she won't."
"No need to apologize, Doctor," Professor Xavier returned, his gaze lingering on the still form beside Sawyer. "Sometimes, your mind is the only place you can go for comfort." A surge of images rushed through Xavier's mind in a blur. With a violent jolt, the images stopped. Jada was out of her chair, against the wall. Her breath was ragged and uneven, as though she'd just finished running a marathon.
"Jada! What—?" Dr. Sawyer began, her head turning between Jada and Xavier.
A pair of deep green eyes locked on the Professor's brown. "What was that?!" Jada demanded in a distinct Southern drawl the urbane Dr. Sawyer's voice lacked. Her voice was shaky, but not from fear. Curiosity mixed with anger was obvious in her stare.
Xavier turned his attention to an obviously confused Dr. Sawyer. "Dr. Sawyer, could we perhaps speak to Jada alone?"
"Oh…um, yes," Sawyer began, her eyes darting between the professor and the teen still clinging to the wall behind her. "I'll just be in my office, then." She stood and, with a final handshake and fleeting look at Jada, quickly left the room.
Xavier waited a moment, listening intently to the fading footsteps of the flustered Dr. Sawyer before speaking. "Ms. Hemmer, could you please sit down? It would be easier to speak to you if you weren't glued to the wall."
Jada remained against the wall, her eyes narrowed in suspicion.
"I am a telepath, Ms. Hemmer," Xavier began. "I possess the ability to read others' thoughts. I apologize; frightening you was not my intention."
Jada seemed hesitant, moving one foot and then pausing, her forehead creased in uncertainty. "Are you going to try to read my mind again?"
A small smile formed on Xavier's face. "Not if you do not wish me to."
Jada hesitated for a moment more before returning to the table, picking up the chair she'd knocked over in her haste to get away. She paused again, as though trying to decide if she really wanted to sit. After a long moment of indecision, she finally lowered herself into the chair. She fixed her gaze on Xavier, curiosity again gracing her features. "So…you're a—a—" She couldn't seem to make herself say the word.
"A mutant, yes," Xavier affirmed.
Jada's gaze shifted to the two silent adults at Xavier's sides. "And they—"
"Yes, Ms. Munroe and Mr. Summers are mutants as well." Xavier watched as Jada shifted uncomfortably at his casual use of the word she couldn't even bring herself to say. "They are teachers at my school."
Jada shifted in her seat. "School? What kind of school?"
"It's a school for people like us, like you."
"Like me?" Jada cut in, sliding down in her chair and crossing her arms over her chest. "You make it sound like I chose to be like this. I didn't get a choice in any of it. I don't want to be what I am. It just happened."
"Jada, being a mutant is not a curse, or a disease. It simply makes you unique," Xavier returned. Jada didn't respond. "A place is open for you at my school…Unless," Xavier threw pointed glances around the room. "You'd rather stay here?"
Jada sighed audibly. "Sounds like I don't have much of a choice."
"Ms. Hemmer, I don't force anyone to attend my school that doesn't want to. You'll be able to leave anytime you wish. You always have a choice."
A long moment passed as Jada thought about what she should do. Finally, she reached her decision.
"When do we leave?"
Jada jumped out of the car, glad to stretch her legs. After fifteen hours of sitting still, they were extremely cramped. She stood in front of a five-story brick mansion, shaped like an X. Grey, stone stairs led up to large, oak doors that reminded her painfully of home. The home you halfway destroyed, a voice in the back of her head interrupted. She shook it off and walked around to the trunk of the car as it flew open. She began pulling out the bags and boxes when another pair of hands reached into the spacious trunk.
"Let me give you a hand." It was the man with the sunglasses; Scott she thought was his name.
"I can get them myself," Jada snapped. She grabbed the handles to her leopard-print luggage bags and pulled them out. She started rolling them across the driveway, before she froze, looking up at the colossal estate that was to be her home, suddenly nervous. She steeled herself and began climbing the stairs. The door opened before she could touch it and she turned, unsure of whether or not to enter.
'Scott' held several of her boxes and was climbing the steps behind her, struggling slightly with the weight. Jada smirked and immediately felt guilty. These people had tried to be nice to her, and all she'd done was be difficult, leaving the heaviest boxes in the trunk after he'd offered to help her carry them. Scott caught her looking, and, mistaking her guilty look for uncertainty, gave her a nod to go in, adjusting the boxes in his arms with a reassuring smile. Jada scoffed, tossing her head as she strode through the door. She didn't want to be here, remember?
The entrance foyer was impressive, Jada had to admit. Oak paneling ran up the walls, and two staircases led towards the upper floors, with a balcony that overlooked the front door. She saw a couple people up on the balcony, but they quickly ran off before she could get a good look at them. Jada took a step, listening to the heels of her boots click on the tile as she turned a circle.
Jada turned as she heard the door click shut, followed by a soft thud. Her assortment of luggage had been deposited on the floor near her feet. Professor Xavier said something Jada didn't quite catch, and Ms. Munroe began ascending the stairs. Xavier then wheeled over to her. "Welcome to Xavier's Institute for Gifted Youngsters."
Jada was about to respond when she heard clicking heels that weren't hers. She turned to see Storm and another girl, at least she thought it was a girl, descending the stairs.
"Jada, this is Jubilee," Xavier informed. "She will be your roommate as well as your guide until you know your way around."
Jada looked at the girl in front of her. She was around her own age, with dark hair framing medium brown skin. She looks like a pack of highlighters exploded all over her, Jada thought bluntly. Her ensemble consisted of a hot pink shirt and a lime-green jacket, with her denim jeans decorated with brightly colored patches.
"Hi," Jubilee said, flashing Jada a smile. Jada put her tongue between her teeth, biting back the retort that was darting through her mind. "Welcome to Mutant High. I'm Jubilee, like you heard. Guess we'll be roommates. I'll help you with your stuff and you can get settled." She picked up some bags before turning and beginning to stride towards the stairs. Jada waited for a moment longer before picking up her remaining luggage and following Jubilee.
As they began climbing the stairs, Jubilee began to give Jada a brief overview of the Institute. "We're up on the third floor. Fifth floor is the Professor's office. Fourth floor is the boys' rooms, third is the girls', first and second floors are mostly classrooms, kitchens, rec rooms, the library, teachers' rooms, stuff like that. Other stuff is scattered everywhere else, but that's basically it."
Jubilee began climbing the second flight of stairs, after making sure Jada was still caught up, before continuing. "Classes start at nine and finish at five. Lunch is at noon, of course. Breakfast starts at six thirty, for people that like getting up early. Dinner starts at six. After classes and dinner, you're free to do whatever you want. Lights out at eleven. Simple enough, once you get the hang of it."
They were snaking along hallways, and Jada tried to multi-task, listening to the fluorescent girl guiding her while trying to memorize the labyrinth of hallways. Two rights, a left, a right… Jada lost track quickly, finally giving up and following Jubilee in silence. For a school, the halls were empty, and Jada didn't see anyone. After maneuvering the boxes in her arms to pull her phone out of her jeans pocket, which flashed 6:45, she assumed they were all at dinner.
Jubilee stopped in front of a plain, white door, fixed with a brass number 219. She dropped Jada's bags before fishing in the pocket of her jeans for the key to the room, finally turning the brass handle to open the door. "Here we are, my home sweet home," Jubilee said.
Jada froze, blinking rapidly as a flurry of colors rushed to meet her. Two double beds jutted out from one wall, a nightstand between them. One mattress sat bare, while the other was made up with a mixture of lime green, hot pink, blinding yellow, orange, and bright purple. Shelves lined the opposite wall above a desk covered in books and papers. The closet stood caddy-cornered in the corner adjacent to the door. Obviously a walk-in closet, the door stood open, showing clothes littering the floor and hanging from dresser drawers in more bright colors. Posters and pictures practically concealed the white walls, adding even more color to the area. The room had one window: a large, oriel-style bay window with a window seat that looked out over the school's circle driveway. Shelves climbed the walls on either side of the window as well.
Jada was stunned. She'd never seen so much color in one room before. She didn't think she could ever get used to it. She couldn't help but smile at what her mother would say if she could the colorful explosion her daughter would be sleeping in. For the time being, anyway. She walked over to the bare bed and set down her luggage. Then, she began opening boxes and pulling out her stuff. Jubilee walked over and set down the bags she carried before helping unpack. Jada ignored her, the slight smile fading as she set her mind to her task, forcing the thought of her parents to the back of her mind.
Jubilee sat on Jada's bed, organizing the thousand throw pillows against the headboard. Jada was traversing between the bed and the closet, hanging up her clothes. Jubilee was almost finished organizing the pillows when a voice came out of nowhere.
"Hey, Jubilee!" Pillows went everywhere. Jubilee turned at the sound of laughter. Kitty Pryde stood just behind her, bent over double in fits of laughter. More laughter came from the doorway, and Rogue walked in.
"Sorry, Jubilee," laughed Kitty. "I couldn't help it. You should've seen the look on your face!" Jubilee threw a pillow at the laughing teen, before picking up the fallen pillows and reorganizing them.
"So, I assume we have a new student?" Rogue inquired, reclining on Jubilee's bed.
"Yeah, she's in the closet unpacking. Name's Jada," Jubilee replied, moving the red and white pillows into place.
"Jada? What kind of codename is that?" Rogue asked, picking up a scrapbook from a box.
"It's not a codename," replied Jada, emerging from the closet.
Kitty bounded over to Jada, extending her hand. "Hi! I'm Kitty." She gestured toward Jubilee's bed. "And that's Rogue. We live next door."
"What kind of name is Rogue?" Jada returned, ignoring Kitty's proffered hand, which Kitty dropped awkwardly. She noticed the scrapbook in 'Rogue's' lap. "And I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't snoop through my stuff."
"Who are all these people?" Rogue asked, ignoring Jada's request and comment, flipping through the scrapbook. "They're all midgets."
"They're not 'midgets', they're gymnasts. They're my friends," Jada corrected, impatience slipping into her tone as she strode briskly between the bed and the chest-of-drawers in the back of the closet. "They were my team."
"So you're a gymnast?" Kitty asked.
"Placed first in Senior Nationals All Around last two years," Jada replied nonchalant, searching for a place to hang her favorite denim jacket amid the fluorescent shades of pink, green, yellow, and orange jumping out at her. Did this 'Jubilee" own any normal clothes?
Kitty was obviously impressed, but Rogue seemed to care less, absent-mindedly flipping the page. "And these are your parents?"
Jada hesitated in the closet doorway, her breath catching in her throat. "Yes. They were." She then quickly snatched up the last armful of clothes before returning to the closet, hoping none of them would notice her pause.
"So why are you here?" Rogue asked once Jada had exited the, thankfully, expansive closet.
Jada seemed to freeze, her expression turning abruptly from casual indifference to stone. "I don't want to talk about it," she finally said, grabbing a box of books and beginning to organize them on a shelf.
"Why not?" Rogue urged. "It can't be that bad."
"Because it's private!" Jada returned angrily, throwing an intense glare over her shoulder.
"Fine, then!" An offended tone seeped into Rogue's tone. "'Lee, I'm gonna go. Bobby's gonna be lookin' for me anyway." She threw a fiery glare at the back of Jada's head, a silent hint of her real reason for departure. "You comin', Kitty?" Kitty stood from her spot on Jubilee's bed and began to follow Rogue.
"Hold on, Rogue," Jubilee called as Rogue reached the door. She turned to Jada. "Jada, is it alright if I go with them? I'll stay if you need anything, but—"
"No, go ahead," Jada returned quickly. "Go. I was just gonna finish packing and go to bed." She turned to see Jubilee standing uncertainly. "Go! I'll be fine! I'm going to bed right now." She pointedly strode to the bed and climbed under the covers, reclining against the headboard. "See?"
"Well, alright," Jubilee finally said. "I'll be downstairs if you need anything." She gave Jada a smile and followed Rogue to the door.
"Wait!" Kitty insisted as Rogue opened the door. She turned to face Jada. "Hey, what's your power?"
Tension thickened the air in the room as three curious faces put Jada in the spotlight. Her expression had turned stony once more, hard and cold. She pulled her knees up tight against her chest, resting her arms on them and fixing her gaze on the wall. When she spoke, her voice, if it was possible, was even colder and harder than her expression, holding a piercing clarity that made the whisper it was seem like a scream.
"I don't have one."