Bree awoke to a weird beeping noise she'd never heard before. Opening her eyes, she saw a ceiling. It was kinda yellow. Her whole body seemed to ache. She closed her eyes to take in the situation. She seemed to be indoors then. Memories, unwelcome ones, flashed before her mind's eye. How could she hurt someone like that?!? Her own grandfather no less!!! But... he had crossed the line with Charlene. Wait- where was Charlene?!?
Sitting bolt upright in the bed she'd been lying in, Bree gasped as a wave of nausea hit her and she nearly blacked out from all the blood rushing from her head to the pit of her stomach.
"Whoa, easy there, kid!" Bree distantly heard a low rumbly voice caution her. Her mind, conditioned from over 2 months running wild through a cold world of hardship, told her to get awake, alert, and be on guard around strange men, any man in fact. But her empathic ability to tune in to the emotions around her sensed that this was a very calm, gentle, self-assured character by her bedside, at least, for the moment anyway.
Taking as deep a breath as possible, for it was surprisingly painful and gurgling, now that she noticed, she tried to ask, but it came out an embarrassing croak. A rim of cool glass was held to her lips, and without hesitation she sipped greedily at the sweet water. Later her mind screamed at her for being so accepting of this altogether strange situation. But she really was in too much pain, now as her fingers and toes felt as though they were a beginner's practice voodoo doll, to spurn any benefactor, whatever their motives may be later.
Bree tried again, "Charlene. Where's Charlene?" At the bemused expression, she clarified, "A white duck? Please tell me what's happened to her," doing her best to make beseeching eyes at him. The him in question was a large blue furred...gorilla in a black speedo? Well, Bree wasn't exactly in a position to judge. Besides he seemed to have an incredible grasp of the human language and had very carefully held the water glass for her to drink from. And his emotions were quite humanly complex. She could feel relief, trepidation, pride, fear, worry, expectancy, amusement, and a general aura of intelligence and goodwill underscored by a raw animalistic awareness as well. Something she'd love to study, when she wasn't feeling like she'd been hit by a tank and trampled over.
The gorilla-man seemed about to answer when a door slid open and a bald man in a wheelchair rolled in.
"Ah, you're awake. I must say, you gave us quite a scare. How are you feeling?" he asked in a kind, concerned tone of voice, looking between Bree on the bed and the blue guy. He suddenly seemed very pleased about something. If Bree were less worried herself and not feeling so sick, she'd be more inclined to decipher why. She knew emotions but the motives and thoughts for causing them weren't very clear at all.
Suddenly, Bree felt like spilling her guts to the man, who seemed so kind and warm hearted and welcoming, even to a monstrous creature like herself. She hadn't seen such a look directed at her like that in... in, well, never, actually!
But..."I'm worried about Charlene. My white Peking duck," she hastily clarified, seeing a second confused look in as many minutes.
"Ah! Yes, I suspected she may be your pet. She's been well looked after; she kept up with Hank McCoy when he brought you here from the woods," the bald man said, indicating the gorilla-man.
"Oh! Is your name Hank, then? I'd like to thank you for all that you've done for me" Bree gave him as honest a smile as she could muster just then.
The bald man then gave her a keen, penetrating look. "If you don't mind my saying so, you don't seem very bothered by Dr. McCoy's … appearance. Might I ask why?" he seemed very intent on her answer, they both did, in fact, like it was a test or something. Bree grew nervous at their eager anticipation.
"Um, well, it takes all sorts to make a world, right? And he seems nice enough, right? If he's not freaked out by me, I guess I'm not freaked out by him, or something I suppose," Bree said this all very quickly, fixing them with a weak grin, and hoping they wouldn't continue this absurd line of questioning. It could get really uncomfortable and she really sucked at lying. "Um, I'm guessing you guys know what happened, like why I'm here? Cause, I don't," she tried changing the conversation's subject. She really would like to know what happened, actually.
"As Professor Xavier had mentioned, I'd found you in the woods, covered in snow and nearly dead from hypothermia. I brought you back to Xavier's Institute for Gifted Youngsters and you've been recovering here in the infirmary for 3 days. We're all of us here, glad that you're finally well on your way to a full recovery," the gentle blue giant smiled. "You've seemed to have caught a fairly mild case of bronchitis, though, so it'd be best if you stayed in bed a while longer before meeting anyone else."
"I'm afraid we've had a little trouble contacting your parents," the Professor grew concerned as the girl turned a funny shade of gray. "Because we couldn't find any ID with your possessions. Have you been running away very long?"
"How did you-?! Oh...um, guess I smelled like a bum...sorry," Bree now turned a bright beet red. "I-I don't really have folks anymore – they'd probably kill me if I ever turned up again," she told the blankets very quickly. "I'm sorry to be such a burden, I'll make up for it somehow, I promise!" Bree looked up with earnest wide eyes.
"Oh, there's no need for that, my dear girl!" the Professor chuckled. "You just get some more rest now, and I'll let the students know you'll be alright. I'm sure some will try to visit with you soon. If they get too troublesome, feel free to let them know you need your rest. I'll visit again later. Sleep well," and he rolled away.
Bree was hit by an immense wave of tiredness then, but she managed to sleepily inform the good Dr. McCoy, "My name's Bree, by the way..."
Bree fuzzily came awake in the dimness of the infirmary. There were voices arguing, though she could not quite make them out. The voices seemed to notice her all of a sudden, "Aw, now see? You've gone and woke her up!" a southern drawl growled.
"Whoa, I, like, totally didn't mean to? Besides, it's all Kurt's fault, anyway, he, like, just doesn't know when to quit sometimes, you know?"
"That's right, blame it all on the fuzzy dude! Hey, keep it down, ja? We don't want to – ah! Good Morning!" Kurt had noticed the new girl was now obviously awake and watching them curiously.
"Oh, like, hi!" Kitty said, joyfully elbowing Kurt aside. "We heard from Dr. McCoy that you were awake and wanted to be the first to welcome you to Mutant High! I'm Kitty and this is Kurt, and that grumpy one is Rogue, but don't mind her cause she's always like that. So, how're you feeling?" as Kitty paused for breath, she definitely tried avoiding the death glares sent in her direction.
Bree smiled happily in the face of all this enthusiasm, "Hi, I'm Bree. I'm very pleased to meet you all. How kind of you to welcome me to your... high school, was it? I'm feeling much better already, thank you."
"Hey, is that your duck that's been hanging around?" Kurt asked her.
"Yes, her name's Charlene. I've had her since she was a little baby."
"Well, that's good, cause right now she's been living in Evan's room. Who knew he had such an affinity for poultry?" the gothic one, Rogue, quipped.
"Yeah, only cause you, like, snuck her in there this morning!"
"Ah didn't see you stoppin' me!" Rogue looked eager for a quarrel.
Which is probably why Dr. McCoy stepped in there, "Alright, that's enough excitement for one day you three. Bree needs her rest if she's to get better sooner rather than later."
With a few guilty looks and some token grumbling the teens left. Beast gave Bree some medicine and she slept.
The next morning, Bree broke her contemplation of the ceiling to see Rogue standing at the foot of the bed.
"Ah thought you might lahk to try on some of these clothes and come out of this room for a bit."
She was answered by a brilliant smile, "It's like you read my mind!"
"Oh, no, that's not whut Ah do. That's just Jean and the Professor. Ah'll jus' wait over here while you get dressed." Rogue turned around before she could see Bree's inquiring look.
As Rogue was giving the grand tour of all the important places, study, bathrooms, kitchen, Bree finally asked her about something that'd been bothering her awhile, "What did Kitty mean about 'Mutant High' exactly?"
"Oh!" Rogue gave her a weird look. "She meant that, well, since this is a school where we mutants can learn to control our powers, the kids here like to call it 'Mutant High'."
After Bree assured Rogue that she was sure she'd be fine to go outside to enjoy the snow crisp fresh air, Bree asked her, "So, what's a mutant?"
Rogue turned a rather flabbergasted look of shock on her, "Y-you're kiddin', right? You don't actually mean to say that you dunno what a mutant is?!?" Just then the new recruits' snowball fight, as it usually does, turned from a 'no powers' match to an all out snow-war. "We're mutants."
"Oh! Sorry, I guess I should've known that. My, uh, folks just mostly called em monsters and freaks, and I'd never met any before to see for myself, " Bree informed her apologetically.
Rogue wasn't sure of how to really respond to that, so when an errant energy ray exploded a decorative urn nearby causing shrapnel to pepper them, she gladly took it as an excuse to change the subject as it were, "Hey!! Ya'll watch where you're shootin' or Ah'll come over there and teach ya how t' aim!"
Rogue was about to charge off after the culprit, when Bree grabbed at her sleeve, "Hang on a sec! You're bleeding!"
"Eh, it's fine, just a scratch. Leggo, Ah'm gonna get those punks!"
"Just a sec, here..." Bree concentrated briefly on the small cut and it quickly closed over with nary a scar to show.
"Whoa, how'd you do that?!" Rogue gasped, wide-eyed.
"Oh, um, I – I thought that since everyone else..."
"Oh, it's OK, Ah was just a little startled, Ah mean, Logan can heal himself, Ah just never thought you could heal someone else like that!"
"Yeah, I've been able to do that sort of thing since I could remember being really little."
"Hey, that's cool. You feel up to beating those kids at their own game?"
Bree felt Rogue's competitive spirits rising and returned a devilish grin of her own. "Let's get 'em!"