Attention: Generation X and their villains, as well as any other mutant mentioned in this story, is property of Marvel Comics. The character Richard Cale is named after family relations. Any other reference to anything copyrighted is a chance happening.
Chapter 5: Breakthrough
Some time had passed since Penance had last seen Richard Cale in the Biosphere. She was aware that sunset was happening, and that everyone would be at the party to welcome Richard to the school. She would have attended, but she wasn't comfortable around the large group. That would also make her powers stay active, and she might accidentally hurt someone.
She did, however, decide to add her own little touch to the festivities. After all the time that she had been in this state, she had learned to do things that required a delicate touch. She used that skill to cut a few roses from a grove. She also kept them close together, and delivered them, intact, to the front door of the hall. That had been the time consuming part. Now she had to make sure they went to the right person.
She leapt into a nearby shrubbery, and threw a rock at the door. After the rock had hit the door, it remained closed. She was about to throw another rock, when it opened. She watched with delight as Richard looked around, and then saw the roses. She watched as he knelt down and picked them up. As he stood, she stood up as well, and they both smiled. For a moment, she knew the unspoken message passed between them. She could even swear he was blushing, and she wondered if she was blushing as well. She then bounded off, back to the Biosphere, and wished that time would move quickly. She couldn't wait for him to arrive.
Jubilee watched as Richard opened the door. She thought she had heard something, but dismissed it because everyone was in the hall. The moment when he reached down to pick something up, she started to wonder. She walked over to the door just as he was closing it. "So what was at the door?"
At that moment, she was surprised to see he was starting to blush. When he finally closed the door, and turned to face her, she was surprised to see he was holding a bunch or roses. She also realized that the whole party seemed to have stopped. After a moment, the silence was broken when Richard calmly said, "And to think, I always had the worst luck when it came to love."
After a moment, the silence broke, and it seemed Sean came to the most obvious conclusion. She saw his gaze focus on the two practical jokers of the school. "Angelo, Everett, is this one of your 'welcome to the school' jokes for Richard?"
Just from the look the two gave one another, she could tell what the answer was going to be. Everett was the first to respond. "This is definitely not one of our jokes." She could tell he was serious about that.
Angelo then followed up. "We would not mess with someone's feelings. That's heartless and cruel. Our jokes have an element of humor in it." Even he seemed aghast at the idea, and she realized that the flowers were left by someone for only one reason.
She took a glance at Richard, and was quietly laughing. He was getting a giggle out of it, and she realized why. He knew who had left the flowers, and that made Jubilee start to wonder about the possibilities. Could he have set this up to prank the pranksters? Or did he have a secret admirer that he had discovered leaving the flowers.
For a moment, she was not surprised when Monet came over to her. Already, her classmate had that knowing look on her face, like she had already figured out the answer. For a moment, she thought Monet was going to brag about it, but she was surprised when she arrived, and whispered, "I do believe I know who left him the flowers."
Jubilee looked at Monet, and the look on Monet's face wasn't smug. It was a happy look. She then softly said, "Alright, Monet. Who do you think left the roses?" She didn't think Everett would have done it as a joke, and she didn't think it was someone at the school.
Monet just gave her a knowing smile. "Who did Richard first really get through to here?" Jubilee thought about it for a moment. She remembered that Sean said he had latched on to his power, and he had her power for a moment. She knew it wasn't her, and it was definitely not Sean.
All of a sudden, it came to her. The meeting in the assembly hall earlier, and the one person whose power overwhelmed him for a moment. That moment must have done more than introduce the two. She looked at Monet, and while she didn't say a word, Monet nodded, confirming her unspoken statement.
She looked at Richard, and said, "Penance left you those." Again, all talk in the hall stopped, and she felt everyone's eyes on her. From the looks on their faces, she could tell that some believed her, and some doubted her. Personally, if she hadn't thought about it first, she would have doubted it too.
One person who did doubt her glared at her. She almost cringed as Emma Frost looked at her, and sternly said, "Jubilation, if this is an attempt to hide your guilt, it is very poorly done." In that brief moment, she thought Emma was about to do a mind probe on her. In fact, she could have sworn that a slight glow was starting in her eyes.
Luckily, at that point, Richard just smiled and said, "I doubt it was a joke, since I saw her out there, and she motioned that she dropped them off." Jubilee felt a smug look appear on her face, and she would have given her teacher an 'I told you so', but Richard continued to speak. "Honestly, I think she didn't want to come in with everyone here. Possibly she didn't want the risk of hurting someone." She then watched as he looked at the stems. "Remarkable that she was able to even cut the thorns off, but I think a vase is needed at the moment."
Paige walked over to Richard at that moment, and took the roses. "Ah'll take care of them. Just the way you two interacted in the Biosphere makes me think yur the best thing to happen to her in a long time." She didn't know that there had been another encounter, but since the Biosphere was going to be seen today by the new student, she should have realized it.
She walked over to Richard and put a hand on his shoulder, and for a brief moment, she had the feeling his power was latching onto hers. It wasn't something she could actually feel, but the thought made her understand what was going on in her silent friends head. "Ya know, Richard, I think you are a blessing to Penny. You can communicate with her in ways we can't, making you the first person she can really communicate with. But, honestly, could it really be love?"
Again, she saw him blush, and she knew what he was going to say. "Well, if the feeling is mutual, regardless of what brings the feeling about, it must be. Besides, she has a beauty all her own." As he said that, she saw a wistful smile cross his face.
She thought about that for a moment. No one here had ever seen Penny totally relaxed. She was always tensed up, in those restraints she had on. What ever they were, her powers couldn't cut them, and no one dared get close enough to remove them. How different would she look from how she looks now, and had Richard's own power given him an insight to what she really looked like.
Her thoughts were broken when he looked around and smiled. "Now, this is supposed to be a party. Isn't there supposed to be music?" She heard everyone agree, and wondered what the music choice would be.
It was Jonothan who approached the stereo, and went through the CD's there. "What's your preference, Richard'" She noticed him pause for a moment, and then say "or do you prefer Rich?" She saw Richard give a motion like either name was fine. "Anyhow, we have Green Day, REM, Rocky..." She tried to look innocent when Jonothan looked at her. "Seriously, Jubilee. You think he'd want to listen to that now?"
Jubilee was ready to defend the music from one of her most favorite movies of all time, but before she could, Richard just laughed. "Put that one in, Jono. I'm in a giddy mood, and some music from there would fit the bill."
Jubilee gave a whoop of victory, and punched the air. "Yes, it's time to do the Time Warp. Crank it up, Jono." She saw him shake his head, and she moved to the center of the room.
She saw Richard join her, and he asked her, "Has anyone else here seen the movie?" When she shook her head, he chuckled. "Odd, given Miss Frost's attire, I would have thought her a fan."
She heard a sound of disgust come from Emma, as her teacher responded. "Be careful, Richard. I'm not a person you want to get on the bad side of." Jubilee had known that to be a fact. At one time, she was the White Queen of the Hellfire Club, and an enemy of the X-Men. Being in charge of Generation X was her start to redemption for her past.
She was surprised when Richard turned, gave a slight bow, and said, "My apologies, Miss Frost, or since it is a party, shall I call you Emma. It is my first day, and since this party is to be a joyous occasion, I thought a little good natured ribbing would be alright. If it makes you feel better, I've seen people go to the theater for that movie who would say you are way over-dressed." For a brief moment, she saw Emma chuckle, but not for long. However, the comment had the desired effect. Emma had relaxed.
After that, the music started, and everything went well. She could see Richard was feeling more comfortable at the school, and apart from a few initial quirks, he was getting along with everyone. She then though about the most amazing thing. He had been able to talk with Penny, and if that got her out of her shell, it would have been like having two new students. That would be the best thing to happen at the school. She then hoped the good times would last.
Richard was almost sad when the party ended. It had been nice when the music had begun, with just him and Jubilee doing the Time Warp, but as the night progressed, everyone was dancing and talking. He had enjoyed that a bit, but the person he really wanted to talk with had not been at the party. It was that prior commitment that made him keep going, even though the festivities took a toll on him.
So, while the others headed off to their dorm rooms, he made his way to the Biosphere. His reason was the lovely redhead he had just met earlier that day. He had said they could talk later, after the party, and to his pleasant surprise, she had delivered flowers to him during the party. Now he wanted to see her more than ever.
He entered the Biosphere when he reached it, and looked around. While he knew it was safe, the atmosphere of night time did make him move slowly. He was sure he would be more comfortable when Yvette arrived, but something deep down told him that there might be more in the night than what he could see and hear.
He almost froze when he heard a rustling in a near by shrub, but he contained the natural fear, and walked towards it. Soon, he saw Yvette emerge, and he got closer, letting his power lock onto hers. His skin tensed up, mimicking her powers. When that happened, he heard her ask, "Did you like the roses?"
He smiled at her, and remembered all that had happened when everyone saw them. "I did like them. It was the sweetest gesture, and the reactions from everyone was priceless."
He had started to giggle, and noticed she was doing so as well. "I can only imagine what was happening. I've heard others mention that some of them are practical jokers. But, did anyone think they were from me?"
He nodded, and wondered if more than two had figured it out, since when Paige put the roses in a vase, she didn't seem surprised. "I'm certain that Jubilee and Monet had figured it out. As I think back, I think Paige figured it out as well, since she saw our earlier interaction."
For a moment, he thought Yvette was blushing, but with her power, it was hard to tell. "The way you said that, you make it sound like we shouldn't be even talking. I hope they don't think badly of you now."
He smiled at her, and then took her hands. "I'm certain, that with the way they have talked, that they think I'm the best thing that has happened to you. In fact, they seem surprised at how well we seem to be getting along, given our first encounter today."
She started to giggle when she spoke again. "I guess I did overwhelm you, but something in me made me think you were safe to be around."
He had had the same feeling as well, like she was familiar from long ago. However, he knew one thing he had wanted to talk to her about, and he hoped it would not be a mistake. "Well, let's get the unpleasant stuff over with. What can you tell me about Him."He felt like a heel for mentioning it, but he wanted to know more about the foe that he was sure he would meet.
He watched as Yvette nodded, and then motioned for him to sit down. "You better sit down, since this could take some time. I don't like talking about this, but I know you should know about this."
He quietly sat down, and something in him made him think he should hold her hand as she spoke. Thankfully, she didn't protest, but just began. "It began shortly after my parents died. It happened during the war going on in my homeland. After they had died, I fled from my hometown. My power was only starting to manifest, so I had to rely more on my wits. Eventually He found me and offered to take me in."
For a moment, he noticed she was hesitating, like there was something she was unsure of telling. After a bit, she continued. "In the beginning, he didn't sup on me, but he had shown me the mouths on his hands, warning me that if I showed any disloyalty, I would feel their bite. Eventually, I decided I had to flee, but I got caught. After that, he had me put in these restraints, and he supped on me every day."
He gasped at that point, horrified. He then took another look at her, and noticed the black restraints were still on her to this day. In his mind, he could not fathom it was still the same outfit, but he had to ask. "You mean to say that what you have on now is the same outfit?"
He was slightly thankful when she shook her head, but what she said still worried him. "No. His servant, the Little Man, as I refer to him, changed them from time to time. I tried to fight, but the more He fed off me, the more control he seemed to have on me. My free will was almost gone when the bearded man rescued me."
Something about that brought something forward in his memory. After the incident that made him leave the college, the suggestion to come to this school had been made by a bearded man. He looked at Yvette for a moment, and finally asked the question. "Yvette, was this bearded man on the short side, dark skinned, and had a long white beard?"The look on her face told him that it was the same person. He then continued with why he had asked."He had been the one to suggest I come here. I don't know where he came from, but he just said the name of this place, when I was trying to decided were to go. Maybe he wanted me to help you communicate with the others."
He watched as she seemed to think it over. "It could be. I had tried from time to time, but He still had some control over me. Sometimes the attempts caused me to lapse into a coma as I tried to fight off His mental control. It only ended after His last attack on the school, and I managed to break free and hurt him."After a moment, he felt her gaze more on him, and felt her holding his hand tightly. "I'm glad to be free of Him, and I truly hope he doesn't try to control you. I don't want to lose you to him."
For a moment, Richard felt all choked up inside. He could never have expected to share these kinds of feeling so shortly after meeting a girl, but it was happening. Just the deepness of the emotions almost made it impossible for him to say his next words. "I don't want to lose you to Him either. I'm sorry this is so hard for me to say, but I've never had much luck with love. Almost hard to belief I have a girlfriend."
He saw a wry little smile cross her face. It was cute and it made his heart skip a beat for a moment. "That's alright. I've never had a boyfriend before. So this is hard to believe as well."
They both smiled at each other for a moment, and part of him wanted to do more than just smile at her. He then brought himself back to the moment, and motioned to the ground. "We can see how our relationship goes as time passes. Right now, let's start with your English lessons."He saw her nod in agreement, and they started. She was very attentive, and by the time they called it a night, it was past midnight, but she had a good start.