Author's Note: Well they went down well in A Little Complication so here's Jinx and Tommy striking out on their own. Just a little story (maybe two or three chapters?) about Jinx arriving at the mansion and how he and Tommy met and became friends. No romance… in this story anyway. I'm sure we'll see an appearance from our favourite pyrokinetic and the ice block he's friends with. But don't worry – you don't need to be into Pyro/Iceman stories for this – there's actually no slash in it at all. Sorry if that's your thing. Maybe next time…
Disclaimer: Don't own the x-men but I will stake my claim on the uber-cuteness that is Jinx and Tommy so paws off!
Professor Xavier slowly made his way down the corridors of his mansion, smiling at any students he passed. Finally he reached the room – and mutants – he was looking for.
"Scott, Jean," he gave the two a nod. "We're going to have a new student joining us. I'd like for you to go and collect him."
Jean Grey smiled although her boyfriend looked at the professor sceptically.
"What's wrong with him?"
"Scott, don't be so cynical," Jean chastised. Summers just turned to look at her.
"Well as a rule the ones we have to go and collect are runaways and tearaways and troublemakers…"
"Ignore him," Jean waved a hand dismissively. "He's just testy because of the fire alarm this morning."
"This morning? It was the middle of the night," the veteran x-man scowled. "And we know who was behind it," he gave a slight scoff. "That was another one we collected."
Jean shook her head and turned to Xavier.
"We're happy to go and get him," she smiled. Xavier gave a small nod.
"We've looked at him before, last year," he handed Jean a folder. "A kid in North Carolina. His power is a kinetic one although I'm not sure of the exact details. Things seem to explode around him."
Jean's expression grew solemn.
"Of course. This was the accident last year – a little boy died."
"His younger brother," Xavier nodded.
"What? He killed his brother?" Scott looked from Jean to the professor. "And you're suggesting we take him here?"
"It was an accident Scott," Xavier said calmly. "His parents put him into care. Unfortunately there's been numerous… incidents at the care homes where he has been staying. He's been moved all over the country already," the professor paused as Scott rolled his eyes. "He needs our help Scott. I'm sure you remember what it was like to be afraid of hurting people with your powers."
The male set his jaw but did not argue, giving a relenting bow of the head. Jean gave a definite nod, closing the folder she had quickly skimmed through.
"We'll go get him now," she smiled, making her way to the door. Scott sighed heavily but followed never-the-less. Xavier gave both a smile as they departed, wheeling himself over to the window and looking out over the grounds thoughtfully. He understood Scott's apprehension. This was not going to be an easy addition to the school.
x-x-x x-x-x x-x-x
Jean's stomach fluttered instinctively as she and Scott walked up to the run down children's home. She always hated places like this. A faint smile pulled at her lips as Scott took her hand reassuringly, reaching out with his other to ring the doorbell.
It took a few moments before the door opened, an elderly lady smiling at them albeit tiredly.
"How can I help?"
"Hi, I'm Jean Grey, this is Scott Summers," Jean returned the smile. "We're here to collect Cayden Poole."
"Ah, of course," the woman sighed wearily. "Come on in."
The two mutants followed the woman into the home. Again Jean's stomach fluttered with a kind of maternal unease as children of all ages wandered past them but there was not the same… buzz as there was at the mansion.
"Please excuse the chaos," she turned to the two and smiled as they walked towards the stairs. "Dinner is just passed."
"Sorry, have we come at a bad time?" Jean frowned apologetically.
"No, no, it's fine. Cayden will be up in his room. He hasn't eaten downstairs with the rest of the kids since…well the since the latest accident."
"Latest accident?" Scott arched an eyebrow.
"There have been several small incidents before, but no one got hurt," the woman sighed quietly. "But this last accident…"
"How bad was it?" Scott asked, ignoring the harsh look from Jean.
"The other child suffered third degree burns."
"There was fire involved?" Scott rolled his eyes, looking at Jean with a most unimpressed look.
"A computer console exploded, along with the controller the child was holding. There was a small fire as a result."
Jean nodded before Scott could comment further.
"How is Cayden?"
"Quiet," the woman stopped outside one of the bedrooms. "Truth be told he was never the most social child – and to be fair the other children have never made him feel welcome – but he is not malicious. He just…" she sighed quietly. "I can't keep the other children at risk."
Jean nodded understandingly, shooting Scott a look of warning to stay quiet.
"We'll look after him," she said reassuringly. The woman smiled and gave a nod.
"Well, let's go tell him you're here, he should be all packed," she turned and knocked on the door. "Cayden? Can I come in?"
After a brief pause the door opened, the youngster within immediately turning his back on the group. Jean and Scott followed the care home assistant into the room, finding the teenager they were looking for now sitting on the one bed in the room, his knees pulled up to his chest. His head was bowed, his bright purple, floppy hair falling over his eyes. Scott rolled his eyes scornfully at the young mutant's attire – dark, baggy jeans and a T-shirt with a design he couldn't quite make out but he was sure it was offensive. Wrist bands adorned the teenager's arms and two big silver rings were just visible on his clenched hands.
"Cayden, this is Ms Grey and Mr Summers. They're from the school we talked about," the woman sighed as the youngster just stared at the floor. Jean gave her a reassuring smile.
"Can we have a moment alone with him?" she smiled gratefully as the woman nodded and turned to leave. Once the door was safely shut, she walked forward, kneeling down in front of Cayden to try and meet his eye. "Cayden? My name is Jean, this is Scott. You understand why we're here don't you?"
Cayden screwed up his face.
"Because I'm too dangerous to stay here," he muttered. Jean frowned concernedly.
"You're not dangerous Cayden," she said gently. "I know it must feel like that just now but we can help you."
The youngster scoffed.
"I doubt it," he reached across his bed and grabbed up a magazine. His eyes widened as the magazine slipped from his fingers, hovering across the room to Jean who took a hold of it, eyebrow arched pointedly.
"You know, when we say School for Gifted Youngsters, we really do mean gifted," she smiled reassuringly. "It's not just a euphemism for troublemakers."
Cayden frowned heavily.
"So…what…you have a whole school filled with freaks?"
"We prefer not to use the term freaks," Jean smiled, handing the youngster a brochure for the school. "And as you can see it's a rather nice establishment."
Cayden shrugged but Jean saw his eyes light up a little as he looked through the leaflet in his hand.
"It looks ok…" he lowered the leaflet. "Do I have to go?"
"No one's here to force you," Jean shook her head. "But you will be moved from this facility regardless," she offered him an encouraging smile. "If you choose to come with us you will have your own room, excellent teaching facilities, top health care," the telekinetic arched an eyebrow. "And access to a room that you can do whatever you want in. It's indestructible. We can help you understand these power surges you have Cayden, help you control them."
The teenager frowned thoughtfully, bowing his head again, fidgeting with one of the rings on his finger. Scott sighed quietly.
"I thought you'd already discussed this with the supervisors here," he stated, shrugging slightly as Jean shot him a scornful look. Cayden ignored Scott and looked back up at Jean.
"Can I take Lily?"
"Lily?" Jean frowned slightly. Cayden pointed at the tank on the nearby table. Jean stood, making her way towards the tank, jumping back with a startled cry as she saw the large black spider hiding behind a small log. "Oh! Lily's a spider."
"You have a spider called Lily?" Scott arched an eyebrow. Cayden scowled defensively, standing up and making his way over to the tank.
"She's a Brazilian Black tarantula, and I called her Lily cause of the silver streak on her back – you know, like Lily Munster – look," he pointed at the silver patch, smiling faintly at Jean. "Don't worry – she's friendly."
"Friendly?" Jean laughed nervously. She hadn't been one who considered herself scared of spiders before but this wasn't your average little house spider. "She's big."
"She's not fully grown yet I don't think. She's only about four inches, they can grow up to about six."
Jean arched an eyebrow.
"How long have you had her?"
"Just a couple of years. I got her just before…" the teenager's smile faded. "Just before I left home."
Jean nodded understandingly.
"You can take Lily."
"He can?" Scott frowned. Jean looked at him with a shrug.
"Students are allowed small animals that can be kept within cages in their bedroom."
"This tank is no bigger than some of the hamster or gerbil cages some of the students have," Jean stated matter-of-factly before turning to Cayden with a smile on her lips. "Just reassure me there's no chance of her getting out of that tank."
Cayden shook his head.
"She's never escaped. The tanks secure."
"I hope so," she looked at the youngster expectantly. "Are you all packed?"
Cayden nodded and pointed to the medium sized holdall and the pretty empty looking rucksack at the end of the bed.
"The holdall's mine, the rucksack's Lily's," he managed to crack a faint smile. Jean frowned slightly at how little luggage the boy had.
"Lily has her own luggage?" Scott arched his eyebrow dubiously. Cayden scowled.
"Does this wonder school of yours have a supply of gut-loaded crickets?" he muttered. Jean held up a hand to stop the quarrelling.
"Scott, can you get the bags please?" she smiled sweetly at her boyfriend. "Cayden, you can take Lily. Now come on. The professor is waiting for us."
"Actually…" Cayden screwed up his face a little. "I prefer to be called Jinx. My… eh…" he bowed his head again and fidgeted with his rings. "My little brother came up with it."
"Very well, Jinx. Grab Lily and let's get going."
x-x-x x-x-x x-x-x
"Well, here we are," Jean looked over her shoulder into the backseat at Cayden as Scott drove slowly up the mansion's long driveway. The teenager looked out the car window with an arched eyebrow.
"It's big…" he muttered, as much to himself as to anyone else. Jean smiled softly.
"You'll find your way about easily enough," she said reassuringly, glancing at her watch as Scott drew the car into the large garage. "It's quite late now so I'll just take you to your room and let you get settled in. I'll show you around in the morning if that's ok?"
"Fine," Cayden shrugged. Scott rolled his eyes at the youngster's nonchalant attitude but kept quiet to save himself from one of his girlfriend's stern looks. With the car safely parked up the three clambered from the car, Cayden still cradling the spider tank he had held on his lap the whole journey, covered with an old, dark towel. Rounding the car to the trunk, he balanced the tank with one arm as he pulled out his rucksack and flung it over his shoulder. He reached to pick up the holdall but Jean stopped him.
"I'll take that," she picked up the bag before Cayden could argue, arching an eyebrow at him with an amused smile. "You just carry that tank with both hands thank you."
Cayden managed a meek smile in return, giving a small nod as he obediently took a firmer hold of the tank. Bowing his head slightly he followed Scott and Jean from the garage into the mansion, unable to keep the apprehensive look from his face as they wandered down the grand hallways. The place was… huge…
"I'll go and do the curfew run," Scott said quietly to Jean as they reached the stairway. Jean nodded and gestured for Cayden to follow her up the stairs.
"Here you go," she said, turning to offer the teenager a smile as she opened one of the numerous doors in one of the seemingly never-ending corridors. Cayden took a deep, apprehensive breath and followed Jean into the room. He couldn't help but give a surprised blink. The room was spacious but still cosy. The furniture looked to be of the highest quality, as did the bedding. He was so used to battered old furniture and threadbare bedcovers...
"Thanks…" Cayden gave Jean a small, appreciative smile as she gently laid the bag she had carried at the foot of the bed. The teenager glanced around the room before making his way over to the chest of drawers, taking the towel from the top of the tank and laying it on the top of the chest before resting the tank on the towel. Dropping the rucksack down in front of him, he unzipped it quickly and pulled out a small plastic box. Jean couldn't help but squirm as the youngster pulled out a worm, quickly opening the tank and dropping it in front of the log at the side. She laughed softly to cover the gasp that escaped her lips as suddenly large, hairy legs appeared from under the log. Cayden smirked as he glanced at the teacher and saw she had looked away.
"I'm sorry, I'll admit I'm not good with small creatures," Jean admitted. "Especially ones with eight legs."
"I assure you, she's harmless," Cayden returned his attention to the tank. Jean too looked back round but kept her gaze fixed on the teenager and well away from the tank.
"I'll come back in the morning and show you round. We can go and meet with Professor Xavier; he's in charge around here. Will you be alright?"
"Yeah, I'm pretty tired, I think I'll just go to bed," Cayden nodded.
"Well, have a good sleep and I'll see you in the morning," Jean offered him one last smile and made her way towards the door, shutting it gently behind her. Cayden glanced at the door before looking back at the spider tank. The faintest of smiles pulled on his lips as he watched Lily crawl slowly back under her log into her dark hiding place in the corner of the tank. Cayden gave a wry smile and glanced around his new bedroom. If only he had a dark corner he could hide in. his smile faded as his pet spider disappeared into the darkness. He'd wanted to pick her up but as much as he did not want to admit it he knew he felt a bit anxious and he did not want to spook her. The last thing he needed was to lose her on his first night. She could be fast when she wanted…
The sound of voices out in the corridor tore Cayden's attention away from Lily's tank. Against his better judgement the teenager crossed the floor to the door, listening as the voices past his room but seemed to pause a little down the corridor.
"Did you see the new kid?"
"Yeah – Summers and Dr Grey picked him up in person. You know what that means…"
"That he's trouble."
"I wonder what he can do?"
"Must be bad if he got his own room."
"Just what we need… another freak…"
Cayden inhaled a sharp breath and turned away from the door, blinking rapidly against the hot sensation suddenly burning at his eyes. Of course the words hadn't bothered him. They were the same words he heard all the time when he was taken somewhere new – or mostly the same. He hadn't thought it would be any different just because of a few kind words from that red-headed woman…