I stretch my arms over my head, letting the sun's warmth wash over me. 'Mmmm, Summer's finally here!'
"Anima! Get down from there!" Storm calls up to me from next to the pool. The other students stop their fooling around in the water to watch what I'm up to.
"I am, don't worry!" I call down from the roof with a smile. I pull my long, brown and blonde hair out of its tie so it hangs down to my middle back. My red, white, and black two-piece bathing suit almost glows with the light from the sun. Squinting my green eyes to judge the distance, I back up a few steps before sprinting towards the roof's edge.
Ignoring Ororo's call, I leap from the ledge. With one front-flip, I dive into the deep end of the humongous pool with perfect form. When I resurface, most of the other students are applauding my little display, Bobby, Rogue, Kitty, and Pete clapping the loudest. I smile innocently up at Storm, who towers over me at the edge of the pool. "What? I got down, just like you said!"
She sighs, "Do you enjoy making me insane?"
"Psh, you don't need my help with that," I say jokingly, knowing she's only half-serious.
"Anissa!" Bobby calls, waving me over.
With one last cheesy smile at Storm, I go under and kick off the side, propelling myself towards the group of four. I pop back up right next to Kitty, who's grinning at me.
"That was an awesome jump, Ani!" she praises.
"I try, I try," I say with mock conceit, all the while fighting with myself to avoid openly staring at Pete. He's practically reflective from the combination of sunlight and the water on his skin, not to mention how toned he is from all the working out.
Kitty nudges me with a smirk on her face, already aware of my monstrous crush.
I just roll my eyes, not wanting to think about it right now. Instead, I glance over at where Jean and Scott are floating on a big inflatable raft. A sneaky smirk sliding across my face, I turn to the others and point at the two, then wink slyly and go back under. Using my powers, I grow gills on either side of my neck, allowing me to breathe. I nearly gag on the chlorine, but suck it up knowing it can't hurt me. Next comes the fin-like webbing between my fingers and toes, as well as sections of scaly fin on my wrists/lower arms and ankles.
Satisfied with the enhancements, I silently swim across the pool and under the large raft. Smirking, I put my hands on one side of it and push upwards with all my might. To my amusement, the plan works, and Scott and Jean go tumbling into the water. I quickly swim back towards the others to avoid Jean's wrath, vaguely hearing them resurface and spit out water, Scott probably having inhaled some.
Popping out next to Pete this time, I join in laughing at the two across the water.
"Nice one," Bobby compliments, high-fiving me.
"Anima!" Jean yells at me, Scott helping her onto the side. I imagine he's glaring at me behind his shades.
My fins, webbing, and gills now gone, I feign fear. "Oh no! She's gonna eat me!" I exaggerate dramatically. I then duck behind Pete, "Save me!"
He laughs at my antics, showing off his amazing smile.
Before I can take the joke any further, I'm lifted out of the water completely and into the air. "Hey! That's cheating, Jean!" She levitates me over the shallower side.
"I wonder how loud the 'slap' will be if I drop you on your back from here..." she taunts.
Without warning, I start to fall back towards the water, heading to land flat on my back. I scream, ready to feel the burning pain from the "smack" of the water. Instead, I hear splashing, and then I'm not falling anymore, but instead find myself in a strong pair of arms. I open my eyes and find Pete smirking down at me.
I let out a breath of relief, even though I'm about ready to have a freak-out at how close we are. "Nice catch," is about all I can manage.
He flashes me a grin, then drops me in the water.
I come back up, sputtering a little, to find Bobby, Kitty, and Rogue laughing at me from the deep end. I glare up at Pete, who's also laughing at my expense. As a small revenge, I spit a stream of water in his face, making it my turn to laugh with the others.
"Alright, truce!" he pleads, covering his face with his hands.
I stop the waterworks, sticking my tongue out at him.
Bobby, finally done laughing at the two of us, swims over with the two girls and asks, "You guys up for a game of chicken?"
"Ah, not really. I kinda suck at chicken," I admit.
"Oh come on, Anissa. It's just for fun," Bobby points out.
"Yeah, and if you team up with Pete there, you won't even touch the water!" Kitty teases.
Rogue laughs. "If it's gonna be against Ani and Piotr, count me out," she states, treading over to the side.
"I never said I was playing!" I try.
"Oh yes you are," Bobby says, pointing in my direction, but towards the water.
I yelp as I'm lifted once again, but this time I'm on Pete's shoulders. The blush that works its way to my face is twice as bright as when he caught me before.
He holds onto my legs firmly, a hint of a smirk on his face. "What's wrong, Ani? Afraid I'll drop you?"
"No, I'm afraid you'll throw me. You've already done it once," I remind him, trying to find my balance.
Bobby hoists Kitty onto his shoulders and grins at us. "C'mon guys!" He treads closer, Kitty wobbling a little as he moves.
I sigh, deciding it'll be easier to just go with it. Readying myself, I smirk down at Pete. "You good?"
"Yep. Let's see what you're made of, Anima." He steadies himself as Bobby and Kitty stop in front of us.
Kitty, grinning like mad, reaches for me.
I meet her hands halfway, grabbing her hands and trying to push her back. For such a tiny girl, she's pretty strong.
Bobby starts freezing the water around him to keep him in place.
Pete calls him on it. "Breaking the rules, Iceman?"
"Nah, I like to call it being creative," he defends.
I let go of one of Kitty's hands and reach over, tickling her. As expected, she flinches away, giving me an opening. With her off-guard, I push her backwards by the shoulder, sending her flailing into the water.
"Yes!" I cheer, throwing my arms over my head. "Cheaters never win, Bobby!"
He rolls his eyes and helps Kitty, who's still laughing hysterically, stand up.
I notice that Piotr still has a hold of my legs. "So do I get to come down now?"
Pete pretends to think about it for a second, then shakes his head with an unbelievably straight face.
"Okay. Just figured I'd ask," I reply nonchalantly. A small "eep" sound escapes me when he starts towards the deep end again. "Hey Pete? ...What'cha doin'?"
He chuckles, a deep sound I can practically feel. "What are you worried about? You could turn into a mermaid if you wanted to."
"But not having legs feels weird..." I pout, causing him to chuckle again.
He stops where the deep water starts. "Well whatever you're gonna do, you better do it fast."
Catching his meaning, I grow gills again, as well as the same fins and scaly spots as before, and just in time.
Pete jumps into the deeper water with me still on his shoulders. Once we're under completely, I slip from his hold and swim under him.
Grinning up at his face, I wink and turn to swim away, only to be caught and pulled back.
Piotr holds my wrist in one hand, eying the scales with what looks like intrigue.
I nearly shiver when he runs his thumb over the scaly part of my skin, not used to the feeling.
Out of nowhere, he grabs me by the waist and pulls me up to the surface with him. Once we've emerged, he sucks in a breath of air, while I barely react (probably because I'm still being held flush against his chest).
I catch a glimpse of Bobby, Rogue, and Kitty staring over at us with broad smiles.
Before I can even yell out to them, Storm calls to everyone, "Come on guys! It's getting late!"
I sigh, looking up at Pete to find that he doesn't seem happy. "Pete? What's up?"
In a heartbeat, he's smiling down at me again. "Nothing. Let's go, before Storm gets mad. Or worse, Jean does."
Eyes wide, my response is, "Race ya!" as I pry myself from his hold and swim away.
His laughter follows me to the edge of the pool, where I pull myself out. After I eighty-six the fins and whatnot, I grab a towel and wait for the other four to catch up.
Kitty gets out first and grins at me. "I saw all that, you know!" she teases in a hushed voice.
"You saw nothing," I whisper back, handing her a towel to wrap herself in.
Still, she persists. "He's definitely into you, Anissa. You guys were together the entire time we were in the water!"
I see Bobby about to meet us and tell her, "Later."
Said mutant joins us on solid ground, followed by Piotr and Rogue. Once we've all got towels and are relatively dry, we start to head inside.
Bobby walks at my side while Rogue and Kitty walk with Pete a little ahead of us. Smiling, he asks lowly, "So, you and Pete, huh?"
I sigh, glancing at the others to make sure they're not listening. "No, Bobby."
"Well it sure looked like it back in the pool..." he trails off.
"Whatever you say, Frosty," I mock, using my nickname for him. Thankfully, he settles for a quiet laugh at my expense and drops the discussion. I take a quick look over my shoulder, deciding to come back to the pool later for a late-night swim. I start devising a plan to sneak out when everyone's asleep.
After putting on my swimsuit again and throwing on a black cover-up, I tip-toe over to the window and open it up. Listening for any stirring nearby in the mansion, I creep out onto the small ledge that goes around the outside wall and shut the window behind me. Then, taking on the form of a black cat, I pad along the ledge past windows, planning to go along this way until I get to the back where the pool is. I stop, though, when a light turns on, forcing me to dart backwards out of the light.
Adrenaline pumping through me, I all but leap past the window and continue on my way. It takes me all of about a minute to reach the pool. When I do, I jump off the wall, transforming into a robin and flying down to the grass. Finally back in a human body, I stretch to make sure my bones are all where they're supposed to be, then silently shed my cover-up and place it on a lawn chair.
"Anissa? Is that you?" someone whispers.
I whirl around, about ready to scream. Only when I see Pete's tall, built figure in front of me do I calm down. "Jeez, Pete, you nearly gave me a heart-attack!" I whisper-yell at him. "What are you doing out here?"
He nods towards one of the other lawn chairs. "I left my shirt behind." Upon turning my head, I see said article of clothing. "What about you? Couldn't resist a midnight swim all alone?"
"You know me too well," I say with a small smile. "...You want to join me?"
He smirks, eying me. "You really need to ask?"
I shrug, sitting down at the edge and slowly lowering myself into the shallow end, being careful not to make too much noise.
Pete follows my lead, copying my actions.
I wait for the initial chill to pass before doing anything; the water's definitely not as warm as it was earlier. Once I'm adjusted, I glide through the water to warm up a little.
He watches me with an almost unnoticeable smirk, then silently follows along.
I lead him to the deep end, stopping when I take hold of the ledge to keep myself up.
I turn to face him. "Hm?"
"What you did before, with the scales on your arms... Can you do it again?" he whispers curiously, joining me at the edge.
Though I tilt my head, confused as to why he'd ask, I nod. In all of a second and a half, the same pale blue scales coat the tops of my wrists. "Like this?"
He nods, staring at the spots intently.
"Why did you want to see it?"
Instead of answering right away, he gently takes one of my wrists in his hand and runs his fingers over the scales. "When you only take certain parts of animals... I like seeing how each one changes you..." he explains in a quiet tone.
I can feel the heat rushing to my face as he says this. Trying to sound calm, I go along with it. "Changes me how?"
He continues eying the rough patch on my wrist. "Like the scales here. You get them whenever you take parts of a fish."
I watch his hands, not knowing where this conversation will go. "Oh... Is there one in particular that you like?"
He nods, finally looking at my face with a smile. "The cat ears and tail are my favorite," he answers with a quiet laugh.
I laugh with him for a second or two, then regain my gills, but no fins. I smile coyly, keeping eye contact with him as I allow myself to fall into the deep water.
He takes a deep breath and follows me down, his grip sliding from my wrist to my hand.
I reach the bottom, suspended face-up, with him hovering over me. I can't help but stare at him, illuminated by the underwater lights.
Piotr tugs me closer by the hand he still holds, his fingers locking with mine.
The way he's looking at me makes me feel a little... bolder. Still smiling, I reach my other hand up and extend my pointer finger, then use it to "draw" a heart in the space between us.
Something flickers in his eyes, recognition maybe, as his lips form a happy smile. Much like he had earlier, he pulls me to him, letting go of my hand to hold me around my middle. He swims back up, probably short of breath by now. He manages, though, to resurface slowly so there isn't a loud sound. That smile still on his face, Pete maneuvers back to the edge, putting me between him and the pool's wall.
He lets go of me to rest both hands on the ledge, leaving me with nowhere to go. He's so close that I don't have room to kick my legs, so I have to hold onto his shoulders to keep from going under. "Did you mean that?" he asks quietly.
I bite my lip, finding it impossible to look away from him. "If I did?"
"No ifs here, Anissa." He moves even closer, whispering in my ear, "Yes or no?"
Fighting back a shiver, I mumble a quiet, "Yes."
He looks me in the again, but only for a second. By the next second, our eyes are closed and our lips are connected.
I wrap my arms around his shoulders completely now, getting as close to him as possible.
Pete responds by pressing me against the edge, his tongue running over my lip.
More than happy to comply, I part my lips enough to let him in, bringing my tongue to meet his. As the kiss intensifies, I'm snapped back to my senses by the sound of approaching footsteps. More than a little disappointed and unwilling, I press a hand to his chest, forcing myself to break away. "Someone's coming," I whisper, a little out of breath.
Looking around for a second, Pete nods and helps me climb out of the water, following suit. He grabs both his shirts while I hurriedly snatch my cover-up. We make a break for it, sneaking around to where he'd come outside from. We stop in the hallway at the door to his room.
He smiles down at me. "Is it safe to say we're dating now?"
Biting back a laugh, I nod. "I'll see you tomorrow, okay?"
"Sure." He leans down and presses his lips to mine in a brief kiss. "Good-night."
I find myself unable to stop smiling. "Night, Pete." With that, I hurry down the hall back to my own room, changing quickly before succumbing to sleep.
I sit at the kitchen counter with a mug of hot-chocolate, trying to get from half-conscious to awake.
I turn in my seat and find Bobby and Piotr walking into the kitchen. Bobby looks ready for the day, whereas Pete looks about ready to fall asleep again.
As Pete takes a seat next to me, Bobby takes notice. "Rough night, Pete? You look ready to pass out."
"I wouldn't exactly call it a rough night," Logan interrupts, grabbing a cup of coffee.
Exchanging a glance with Pete, I watch Logan suspiciously. "What are you talking about?"
"Don't play dumb, kiddo. I know what you and Tin-Man there were up to last night." He says this like it's no big deal. "I saw you two in the pool right before you ran off back inside. You better be thankful it was me who saw you and not Jean or Scott." With that and a victorious smirk, he leaves with his coffee. "Crazy kids..."
Bobby, who'd started cracking up at the word "pool", is about to fall off his chair from laughing so hard.
I slap a hand to my forehead, "Oh my god..."
"What's so funny?" Rogue asks, seeing my and Piotr's bright red faces and her boyfriend laughing hysterically.
Pete sighs, "Long story."
"But," I interrupt, "long story short, Logan's a voyeur."
That only makes Bobby laugh harder.