March 20, 2010

Just something I thought was interesting.

A humorous look at a typical (or not so?) day at the School for Gifted Youngsters, sometime after Apocalypse has been defeated, and after X23 joins the X-Men.

Notes: This is a little different from what I usually write, I think, but I hope it's all right. There's a bit of psychology thrown in, just 'cause I'm cool like that. And because I've been reading background on the characters and decided it'd be interesting to incorporate somewhere.

I have no idea how in- or out-of-character this will be, and I don't know that I care at this point. It's just something to get my creativity going again.

1. Questions

Kitty didn't know which was funnier, how red Roberto got after Rahne kissed him on the cheek, or how pale Logan got after Laura (X-23, who had moved in a couple weeks ago) asked him what her 'time of the month' was.

--From PureWolfWarrior's "Insights" (story id 5590401)

It was your typical summer day at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters.

The sun was shining, students were swimming, and the adults were sitting around the pool trying not to get too wet while keeping some semblance of order.

That, of course, is difficult to do when one teaches teenagers of any kind, let alone the Mutant variety, but they were doing their best.

At least Logan wasn't threatening to shish kabob anyone. …Yet.

Over the sounds of splashing and laughing came a howl, high pitched and drawn-out, before the resident wolf sped into view and leaped gracefully into the cool blue water.

This earned Rahne an earful of protests from her teammates, the most significant from Jamie, whom she had crashed into in her haste. Said crash had resulted in Jamie multiplying, which meant even more noise, not to mention a little less space in the pool for the other Mutants.

"Jay-mee!" came a chorus of protests from the outraged teenagers, along with the –snikt- of adamantium claws popping through skin. The sound was accompanied by a snarl and a "Stupid kid; can't control his powers…"

"Laura," Logan warned the newest recruit, glaring a very fatherly glare at the girl, his own fists clenched.

"Sorry," she mumbled (less than apologetically), pulling herself out of the water and grabbing her towel before trudging into the mansion to change. She was still working on controlling her temper, and she really was doing a good job at it. Most of the time. She just slipped sometimes… Like now.

Kitty and Amara followed the former assassin's lead soon after, muttering something about a bathroom break, and Kurt 'ported himself onto a chair near Ororo and Professor X, leaving Wolfsbane, Roberto, and Multiple in the pool to splash—a comical affair, to be sure.

Comical, that is, until the Jamies ganged up on Wolfsbane, splashing from all directions. Wolfsbane subsequently backed herself into a corner, whimpering as unwanted memories surfaced, rushing from the depths of her unconscious mind up into her conscious one.

Jamie didn't seem to realize the havoc his fun was wreaking on his friend, though he did grow curious as Wolfsbane struggled to crawl out of the pool, tears streaming down her cheeks as life before The Institute flashed before her panicked eyes.

Pulling himself out of the pool to dry off, Roberto noticed the shift in the adults' expressions and body language, as well as their gazes, and turned to see what held their attention.

His jaw dropped and his smile became a frown as he realized what Rahne was feeling, and at the hands of the most un-informed of their friends.

Dropping his towel, Roberto raced to the edge of the pool and wrapped his arms around the crying canine, pulling her out of the pool and stroking her fur gently, desperately trying to reassure Rahne she wasn't in that place anymore, that she was safe and with friends, that Jamie was just playing.

A tap on the shoulder pulled Roberto out of his one-sided conversation. Glancing up, his eyes full of tears for his friend's plight, Roberto could just make out Logan's form as the man reached down and lifted Wolfsbane into his arms, heading for the mansion.

Roberto followed quickly, stopped by Ororo's hand on his arm and the Professor's gentle nudge: Jamie means well. I'll speak with him later. She'll be all right, Roberto. She's strong.

He barely acknowledged the thought, nodding slightly and sprinting to the house to make sure Rahne was all right.

Flinging the door open, he stopped short at the scene that greeted him.

Wolfsbane looked so much more fragile than usual, curled up on the living room floor.

Logan stood a few feet away, leaning on the doorjamb and looking grim as ever as he mentioned, "That's the problem with us mutants: we come from broken homes, bitter pasts. Some of us get over it easily enough, but some of us struggle for a long time to let go of the pain, the fear, the anger."

He studied the claws of his right hand thoughtfully as he continued, "We bond here, kid. We're a family, and we help each other overcome the past. Some of us can relate to each other—that helps the process. Sometimes all it takes is one person."

With that, the older mutant turned, sniffing the air and grunting the grunt that Roberto had come to discover meant the wolverine was fond of someone. There were only a few people he made that particular noise around, and Roberto didn't have to wait long to determine which of the girls Logan had scented.

Kitty came phasing into the room (through the ceiling, uncharacteristically) moments later, landing on the couch as Roberto sank down next to Rahne, pulling the wolf's head onto his lap and absently stroking the fur behind her ears.

Logan smiled that half-smile everyone at the School had learned not to mention (after watching Bobby dodge a snarling Wolverine last week) and sure enough, Laura traipsed into the room, followed by a giggling Amara. The girls sat down on the couch opposite Kitty and began a quiet conversation occasionally punctuated by gasps and giggles.

There was a glint in Magma's eye that set Wolverine on edge, but he ignored it as a shifting of position reached his ears. He glanced over at Roberto to find Rahne human again, and confused at that, her eyes wide and a blush rising to her cheeks as she registered her position—namely, in Roberto's lap.

"Um, what happened?" she asked, Scottish brogue intensifying as she scooted a bit farther from Roberto.

"You…had a flashback," Roberto informed her, the explanation sounding almost lame. "Jamie was splashing you in the pool and you…"

"You lost it, kid," Logan supplied, never one for euphemisms. "Shaking, crying, the whole nine yards. Sunny there saved you from practically drowning."

Rahne blinked first at Logan, then at Roberto as she processed the gruff teacher's statement. Finally, understanding dawned on her and the lycanthrope's gaze softened. Slowly, she scooted back to Roberto's side, green eyes locking on his confused gaze. Ever-so-gently, Rahne brushed her lips against her teammate's cheek, whispering a "thank you" before morphing back to wolf form and bounding out the door.

Roberto was too stunned to move, let alone speak, and Kitty couldn't help but grin.

'Bout time, she mused, fighting the urge to laugh as Roberto's cheeks turned bright red.

"Hey, Logan?" Laura asked, apparently confused by something Amara was trying to explain, and Kitty looked back over at the almost-twins.

"Yeah?" Logan replied, distracted by Roberto's reddening face.

"What's 'that time of month' mean?"

Logan opened to his mouth to reply but got no further than "It" before his expression changed and he sputtered, "Wha-What?"

Amara and Laura exchanged grins that only Kitty picked up on, that subtle girl-thing when a plan has succeeded.

Logan, unfortunately, did not notice said grins, and all the blood drained from his face as he formulated an answer.

Amara and Laura looked at Kitty, their expressions clear: He's actually going to explain it to us?

It was hard to keep from laughing, not to mention subsequently avoiding being shish kabob'ed for embarrassing Wolverine, but Kitty managed to keep a straight face as Logan explained haltingly, "It's…uh…Well, it lasts for around a week and is as annoying as heck, that's for sure. Basically, it means a girl is moody and…er, potentially ready to have kids?"

He launched into an opinion the girls got a good giggle out of, something about not having kids in the first place because they're expensive and a hassle and there's nothing rewarding about raising a child, and lumbered off to a destination unknown—presumably the Danger Room or his motorcycle to clear his head.

Amara and Laura burst into giggles, Laura asking, "Did you see his face? That was priceless!"

"And his answer!" Amara grinned, holding her hand out for Laura to high-five. "Nice job. At least now we know his definition…"

Still smiling, Kitty rose from the couch, grasped the still-unmoving Roberto's shoulders, and phased him through the house to his bedroom, where she gently laid him on the bed so that he'd be more comfortable when he finally woke from his trance.

And wake he did, with a start as his alarm clock went off.

Sitting up, Roberto stared at his hands for a moment, muttering, "What a weird dream…and it felt so real, too…"

Shrugging and sighing, the boy got out of bed and wandered down to the kitchen, where Kitty sat typing away at her laptop (Probably an email to Opa or something, he figured). Logan was leaning against the counter, a cup of coffee in one hand and the newspaper in the other.

"Morning," Roberto declared sleepily, rubbing his eyes and flopping into the chair next to Kitty.

Kitty waved absently at him and Logan just grunted that "whatever" grunt everyone tended to ignore, sipping his coffee without a care in the world.

Moments later, Amara and Laura practically skipped into the room, happy as could be.

Laura stabbed an apple from the countertop and swiped a few slices of orange from Logan's plate, earning her only a slight warning growl that she ignored as Amara dragged her to the living room.

Roberto sighed, his head in his hands, and Logan actually looked up at him, a mixture of annoyance and curiosity on his face.

"Something wrong, Bub?"

"Yeah, Roberto, are you sick or something?" Kitty asked, her fingers halting their typing.

"No," he grumbled. "Just had a weird dream that Jamie was splashing Rahne and she was hyperventilating or something."

He looked up at Logan, continuing, "You brought her into the house and said something about broken pasts when I caught up to you."

He turned to Kitty then, frowning. "You phased through the ceiling, and Amara and Laura were sitting near you laughing about something, and Rahne woke up and—"

His gaze swung back to Logan here, "—you told her I saved her from drowning, and she got this weird look on her face and…and…and…"

The blush rose to his face as Kitty prodded, "And what?"

"She…kissed me," Roberto whispered, turning a deeper shade of red.

Kitty and Logan exchanged looks, Logan raising an eyebrow and Kitty shrugging slightly.

"What?" Roberto asked, confused. "Did I say something funny?"

"I don't know how to break this to you, Bub," Logan began, but his explanation was cut short by a stampede of Mutant children, all babbling about how nice it was outside and how much they wanted to swim again.

"A…again?" Roberto questioned, frowning. "But, we didn't swim yesterday…"

The group looked at him strangely for a moment before resuming their chatter and heading outside, breakfasts in hand.

"Right?" Roberto asked, turning to Kitty for help.

"Actually, we did go swimming yesterday," Kitty confirmed slowly, fighting a grin when Roberto's face paled with recognition.

"So that means…"

"She kissed you," Wolverine barked, obviously glad to have the explanation over and done with.

Roberto's jaw dropped as he realized his dream hadn't been a dream—unfortunate timing, since Rahne chose that moment to enter the kitchen. At Roberto's stunned expression, her face turned pink, and the redhead sped out of the room.

Logan walked over to the table and unsheathed a claw, hoping the sound would wake Roberto from yet another trance.

It did.

Sunspot jumped about a foot, shaking his head and staring fearfully at Logan.

"Um, thanks, I think," he mumbled, standing up on shaking legs.

"If I were you, I'd catch the wolf before somebody else does," Logan replied gruffly as one corner of his mouth turned upward.

"Y…yes, sir, Wolverine," Roberto stuttered, racing out the door.

That done, Logan let his claw slide back into its hiding place and leaned against Kitty's chair with a sigh.

"Well, Half-pint, whaddaya say? About time, wasn't it?"

Kitty smiled at the nickname and acknowledged, "Yeah, it sure was…"

Note (part deux): I had trouble starting this, but I kinda knew where I wanted it to go. It evolved from my original inspiration, but it works, I think. It's much longer than I was originally intending, but I kind of like it.

Influences, Borrowed Ideas, and Other Random Crap:

-snikt- is used in several Laura-centric pieces that I've read. Works for me.

Rahne isn't technically a lycanthrope, but what she does is similar. (Wikipedia)

"Half-pint" is used in the episode where Kurt and Kitty accidentally end up with Logan in Canada. And possibly other eps, too.

"Laura" is the name several FF authors use for X23. I've seen others, but I prefer "Laura."

Roberto liking Rahne is referenced in "Retreat" slightly. If you think about it hard enough.

Rahne panicking and flashing back is a reference to abuse at the hands of Reverend Craig, and later the angry mob essentially running her out of Scotland. (Wikipedia, comics) This was my psychological reference. PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The loudness, the multiple Jamies splashing her… It was a trigger, brought back the memories and feelings of being abused and such. I don't know if Rev. Craig's abuse was physical or just mental/emotional, but either way, he went about instilling religion the wrong way.

I'm relatively sure I saw Logan unsheathe just one claw at some point in the series. If that was a hallucination, I apologize.

"It's about time" is a phrase echoed in many fics, as well as in novels and movies and real life; I didn't coin it.

I know that Jamie enjoyed Wolfsbane's company in…an episode I can't be bothered to find the title of at the moment (beginning of Season Three or Four, maybe?); I can see him being playful with her in a sibling-ly way. He seems to be a very curious, playful guy. He's the little brother of the group—in fact, I think he's the youngest in Evo. He also seems to be a little less-aware of things, but that could just be me. He's super-cute, though! =)

Logan has a soft, fatherly side. We don't see quite enough of it for my liking, but oh well. That's what fanfiction's for, right? Lol. Even though this is only my second XME fic… Whatever.

Kitty's the observer, Rahne the shy one who rarely speaks, and Roberto is…well, Roberto. The over-achiever. I don't know how well I did with him, but oh well.

The whole Amara/Laura twin thing? I thought Amara was X23 the first time I saw her, or the other way around. That's what I get for watching out of order, lol.

And the incorporation of the "time of the month" bit was weird, but I used it! Maybe Laura was nearing hers—or maybe she's just perpetually in a PMS mood because of HYDRA and all. Who knows? She could've been dealing with PMS and decided to ask Logan what he knew about it, or she could've been crabby and Amara helped her get over it by devising a joke. Or both. Take your pick. (Btw, this was used in a Kitty/Kurt story about insomnia and hot chocolate. I forget the title and author, but I know it's there somewhere.)

I don't know where the rest of the cast are. Honestly, I don't really care. They might've gone home or to Hawaii with Scott and Alex or were hanging out with friends or something. Make something up.

Word count: 2003. (Gee, how fitting! =P)

Time: Uh, over the span of two-ish days. Started the 20th and posted the 21st. Read Insights on the 18th, maybe? Within a few days of posting.

Other: I C&P'ed several of the "Insights" pieces that I thought were funny or cute or that made me think. They may be up eventually, depending on if I get inspiration or not. And if I do, they'll be in this story as a collection of one-shots, probably.

I might continue Rahne/Roberto fics. If I'm inspired. I don't know. They're not used a whole lot in the series, so it's kinda hard to get a feel for how their personalities would mesh and all, but with the little we do see, there's definitely a little something there.