Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. This fic probably makes more sense if you're familiar with the comic backgrounds of both characters but it's not that necessary. R/R.
She wakes up like she does every morning. Everything has its specific routine in Cessily Kincaid's world. Years of repeating cheerleading drills and dance routines have left her with a very scheduled sense of looking at the world. She rubs the sleep from her eyes and hears her father calling to her from downstairs. She's only a few minutes behind but her dad's already on her case about being late for morning practice.
"Okay, Dad, I'm up," calls down Cessily before she groggily makes her way to the bathroom. Her entire schedule is off by exactly one minute. It's nothing that will bring the entire world grinding to a halt. Yet it only takes the space of a second for Cessily's world to come crumbling down around her. She feels something inside her suddenly shift, as if God suddenly decides today is the day she can never go back. Her skin feels like it's on fire and it suddenly explodes. Liquid metal splatters across the room, turning her room into an imitation of a Jackson Pollock painting. She fumbles for purchase but she has no hands with which to grab something, no feet with which to stand, and no mouth with which to scream. She's nothing more than a writhing mass of goo sliding along the floor. She stretches a tentacle up to the sink to pull herself together and somehow she hears her father's voice.
"Cess, you okay in there?" No, she is very not okay. She's more frightened than she's ever been in her entire life because suddenly she's not human anymore. Suddenly she's some . . . some hideous blob of a thing and she can't . . . oh God she can't even move or talk or breathe. She can't eat or cry or walk or do back handsprings. Her father opens the door as she tries to recompose herself and fails miserably.
"Daddy," cries Cessily, "Please, Daddy, help me!" Her father only stares at her in horror.
Megan Gwynn's father doesn't come home again. Her mother picks her up from school one day and Megan notices something's wrong but doesn't say anything. This behavior is unusual for Megan because she's constantly talking about something. Her teachers say she's a real social butterfly, probably to a negative degree since it interferes with her schoolwork. Megan doesn't care though. She likes always having someone to talk to, always having friends around her to make her laugh. Today though, she doesn't say anything until she and her mother return home. She notices the television is switched to the news. She doesn't mind that she can't watch cartoons. The first thing she sees is a man on the television standing in front of the mine where her father works.
"Mom?" asks Megan quietly, "Are they talking about Dad?" Her mother doesn't say anything so Megan stares glumly at the television. She hears her father's name connected to words she doesn't fully understand. Support beam collapse, cave-in, fatalities, all of them are terms she doesn't quite get but she understands one. Dead. The man on the television lists off the confirmed deaths and her father's name is called. Her mother bursts into tears and Megan begins crying too. They wordlessly hug each other as the happy world they both once knew comes crashing down as carelessly and as quickly as the coal mine that buried Megan's father.
Cessily doesn't go to school anymore. She doesn't even step foot out of the house unless she absolutely has to. Ever since her . . . "accident", her parents have implemented some new rules. She's not to leave the house unless it's necessary. She can't go to school, can't see her friends, and she definitely can't date that football player who asked her out only a day before she discovered she was a mutant. Her life is now confined to the four walls of her parents' house and Cessily couldn't hate it more than she does. She used to be popular, used to have what many called the all-American life. Now she feels dirty, feels like some disgusting, diseased thing that her parents feel ashamed for producing. She looks at them for help and understanding but she sees only pity and revulsion in their eyes. They think if they hide her away she'll be forgotten but Cessily can't let that happen anymore. She feels like she might explode if she doesn't escape from her new prison. It's this longing for freedom that's made her pack a bag full of clothes and write what would be a tearful goodbye note except that she can't cry.
"I'm sorry," whispers Cessily before sliding the note under her parents' bedroom door and sneaking out of the house, "I promise I'll go somewhere where you don't have to be ashamed of me anymore."
Megan and her mother don't talk anymore. They used to have long conversations about anything and everything. Her mother used to read her stories before bed but now her mother can barely get out of bed at all. Megan's learned to take care of herself because her mother is so depressed after what happened that she can't take care of anything. Megan doesn't have the time for friends she once did. She has to clean the house, cook dinner, and do her homework. She does her best to make her life like it was before her father died but when Social Services deems her mother unfit to care for her, adoption is looming on the horizon like a dark cloud threatening to blot out the sun.
"It's for the best," assures the social worker, "Your mother's sick, Megan, and she can't take care of you anymore." Megan bites her quivering lip and nods silently, trying to blink away the tears.
"Will she be okay?" asks Megan hopefully.
"Maybe some day," admits the social worker, "Losing your father hurt her a lot." Megan nods furiously because it hurt her too. It still hurts because she can see the lasting damage his death has done to their family.
"I feel bad for doing this," admits Megan and she finally lets all the tears building up inside her pour out.
"I know," says the social worker as she hugs Megan, "It's okay." Megan hopes they find a nice family for her. She just wants her life to be normal again.
Cessily always wanted to see the world and travel to foreign countries. She thought she would get to do that in college but now college is a dream that will never be fulfilled. It doesn't matter though because traveling abroad isn't all it's cracked up to be, not when you don't have any money. She came to Genosha with the clothes on her back having sold the rest of them to get money for her boat. She heard it was better for mutants here and in some ways it is. She can walk down the street without anyone batting an eye at her appearance. She can be a human being instead of a freak. That's not the problem though. The problem is that living costs money, something she doesn't have at the moment. Though she doesn't need food or sleep, she still needs a roof over her head and a place to call home. It helps her feel normal in a world that is very abnormal. Roofs and walls cost money though but she's learned that being a puddle makes for being a very good thief. Of course that's until you pick the wrong mark, a mark that's the daughter of Genosha's lord and ruler.
"Please," pleads Cessily as two of Magneto's Acolytes force her down in front of the Scarlet Witch to face judgment, "I'm sorry I did it. I didn't know who you were. Please just let me go!" One of them, the green creature, grabs her head and pushes it down so she can't look at Wanda. If she could, she would be crying her eyes out. She's tried to resist but the one with the whips shocks her when she tries to escape their grip and she can't take the electricity.
"Let her up," orders Wanda, the compassion in her tone calming the nervousness Cessily feels. Her stomach would turn if she had one and she would likely throw up anything in it if that was possible.
"She stole from you, Lady Wanda," reminds Senyaka.
"I'm sorry," begs Cessily, "I came here with no money. I'll do whatever you want to make it up to you. I'll . . . I'll be anything you need me to be. I just needed a place to live. I just want to be normal." If she could see Wanda's face, she would see pity in the eyes of the Scarlet Witch.
"I said let her up," commands Wanda, "We do not execute our own kind in this country, no matter how heinous their offense." The two Acolytes immediately obey the order.
"Thank you," says Cessily, still kneeling because she doesn't feel emotionally fit enough to stand yet.
"You poor girl," says Wanda quietly, "Is that what they wanted for you, normalcy? They wanted to pour you into their mold and make you in their image?" Cessily only meekly nods and she sees something in Wanda's eyes that resembles familial concern as she touches her cheek.
"Please don't kill me," whispers Cessily, "Please."
"I think we can come to an arrangement," decides Wanda, "I believe I can find a lot of work for someone with your talents. In return you'll have any type of lodgings and comforts you desire. Do we have a deal?"
"Yes," agrees Cessily almost instantly, gratitude shining in her eyes, "Thank you. I promise I'll do a good job." Wanda simply nods and helps Cessily to her feet. The two Acolytes escort her towards the palace where her training will begin immediately.
Megan discovers two things while she's stuck in foster care. First she discovers she's not like the other kids when she wakes up one morning with butterfly wings sticking out of her back. Secondly, she discovers that her new foster parents aren't very kind to those who are different. She doesn't see the big deal about being a mutant. She thinks her wings are cool and she can fly now. How cool is it that she can fly? Very cool in Megan's mind but unfortunately her foster parents don't see it that way. They give her back after only a month of learning she's a mutant and once that gets into her file not many people want to adopt a mutant kid. Megan's starting to think she'll never live a normal life when she sees an advertisement on TV for Genosha. It looks like such a wonderful place, a place where being different is normal. She thinks she can make a lot of new friends there, friends who won't give her weird looks when they see her wings. She could be popular again. She could be normal for the first time in a long time.
"Does this boat take people to Genosha?" asks Megan.
"Only for a good price, little lady," replies the captain, "How much you got?" Megan frowns and digs the money out of her pocket. It's barely a hundred dollars but it's all the money she has in the world and her wings won't carry her to the island.
"It's all I have," explains Megan.
"Afraid that's not good enough," says the captain though he takes the stack of crumpled bills anyway, "You find a little more and maybe we'll be in business." Megan feels like crying but then the big man with the glass skin steps in. He narrows his eyes at the captain before pulling some money out of his pocket and wordlessly hands it to him.
"No, that's okay," says Megan, "You don't have to . . ."
"Take it," orders the glass-skinned man, "It's enough or I shatter you." The captain nods and pockets the money. He jerks his thumb to the boat and Megan squeals with glee before zipping into the air and onto the vessel. She's going to Genosha and everything will finally be normal again.
Cessily, though sometimes she actually prefers "Mercury", walks through the halls of the palace in Genosha. Everything is changing since the Sentinel attack. Wanda and Polaris have immediately taken charge and are making great efforts to help those wounded in the attack recover. Unfortunately, there are a lot of refugees without homes thanks to the Sentinels. The Acolytes, though no one calls them that anymore, are working on rebuilding homes but in the meantime those refugees are being relocated with the help of the royal family. That task brings Cessily into the hospital. Wanda said she had found a suitable roommate for Cessily, someone who would be staying with her for the foreseeable future until more permanent arrangements could be made. Cessily has always felt an attachment to Wanda since it's the Scarlet Witch she has to thank for her current employment. Cessily likes Wanda and thinks she'll make a good leader for this new country.
"Megan Gwynn?" asks Cessily after lightly knocking on the door. Megan looks at the newcomer and nods from her seat on the bed, her knees curled up against her chest with her chin resting on them. Cessily can see she's a little shaken up and she thinks she would be too if she was almost buried alive by falling debris.
"Who are you?" asks Megan. Her life's been a whirlwind since the attack. It was finally getting back on track when she came to Genosha but the Sentinels ruined it. During the attack, Megan was caught in an avalanche of falling debris. Her wings still hurt but the trauma was mostly psychological. She still remembers it when she closes her eyes to sleep. She remembers crying in the dark and wondering if that was the night she would see her father again. The doctors told her the incident aggravated her pent-up claustrophobia, a phobia she's probably had ever since that day she learned her father died in the mine.
"My name's Cessily Kincaid," explains Cessily while taking a seat on Megan's bed, "I heard you're in bad shape after the Sentinels."
"Yeah," admits Megan, "I don't have a place to live." Both girls look at each other and they can tell life hasn't been kind to either of them. Both of them just wanted their lives to be normal but being a mutant made that impossible for them no matter how hard they tried. Now they don't really know what they want.
"That's why I'm here," explains Cessily, "They're moving a cot into my quarters right now for you. You and I are going to be roommates for a little while. That okay with you?"
"Yeah, that sounds nice," decides Megan, her wings fluttering slightly and her face grimacing in pain from it.
"I like your wings," comments Cessily.
"Thanks," replies Megan with a smile, "I like your skin." Cessily grins and nods her thanks. It's been a long time since either of them had anything close to a friend, let alone a best friend who would understand them. Both of them know it's far from normal but for now it feels like the best thing in the world.