Pairing: Julian Keller (Hellion)/Sofia Mantega (Wind Dancer), Julian Keller (Hellion)/Laura Kinney (X-23)
Timeline: post Second Coming (so, spoilers ahead!)
A/N: When I started this, it wasn't supposed to be more then 100-150 words, Sofia wasn't supposed to be angry, Pixie was only supposed to be mentioned, and it took way longer to get down because half-way, I suddenly had to inquire about how people see Keller (and that simple question ended up being a rant that took an hour to write).
Feedback: is a must!
Disclaimer: Not mine. I play with other people's toys.
First Posted: August 30, 2010

Sofia lay on her back and squinted unto the dark, unsure of what had disturbed her sleep. Since moving into her little apartment, she'd learned to sleep through almost anything, no matter how loud or obtrusive.

She felt, rather than saw, something fly across her room. When her eyes adjusted to the lack of light, she bit her lip to keep from crying out in surprise. Carefully, she reached under her pillow for the energy weapon Kaz gave her when the New Warriors disbanded.

Out of the corner of her eye, she could see a person moving in the dark. There was a girl, not much older then she, going through her dresser.

"You have awakened." The intruder said.

Immediately, Sofia sat up and scrambled backward until her back was against the wall. "Yes, I have." She pointed the phaser-like weapon at the other girl.

"Good." She moved toward the Venezuela national.

"Don't come any closer!"

"I am not here to hurt you." The girl who'd broken into her apartment took another step forward and the moonlight from outside fell across her face. She looked familiar, somehow.

"No? Just to rob me, then? Sorry, I've only got ten dollars and you aren't going to find anything to sell in my dresser. Or anywhere else, for that matter."

"I am not here to rob you, either."

Sofia snorted. "Sure."

"You are needed on Utopia." The girl's even-toned explanation caught her by surprise.

"I'm not a mutant."

The girl, who'd been emotionless until now, had something that looked like agony flicker across her face for a fraction of a second. "Ju- Hellion has been badly hurt."

Sofia's breath caught in her throat. "I'm not a doctor, either." She snapped, trying to shove her worry down.

Now the girl looked angry. "He has a doctor. Beast is very capable." She took a final step and reached toward Sofia's desk chair. The former mutant saw that her suitcase was open on the chair with various articles of clothing in neat pile inside.

"So, what, because Julian gets into trouble," Sofia began, incredulous, "I'm supposed to go to the other end of the United States to kiss it better?" She knew she sounded a little bitter, but she didn't care. When she'd lost her mutation, she felt weak and scared. "He'll get over it." In battle, Julian TK had always served just as well defensively as it did offensively. What's the worst that could have happened to him, he broke a few bones?

"I do not believe he will, and if he does, it will not be for a long time." Her uninvited guest sound sad when she said it.

"Even if you're right, how is it any of my business?" *oh, God, please don't let her be right.* Sofia prayed. "I haven't seen Julian in a long time. And who are you, anyways?"


"Emma Frost is giving you guys numbers instead of names now?" Sofia asked sarcastically, although she wouldn't have been all that surprised if Julian's mentor had. It sounded like something she would do.


"Then why-" Sofia shook her head. "It doesn't matter. I don't care." She put her weapon down and climbed off her bed so she was eye-to-eye with 'X-23'. "I don't care about any of it. The last time I spoke to Julian Keller, he made it very clear that I became less when I became an average human. He said those of us changed on M-Day did not belong at the school or with the mutants who retained their mutation." Sofia's voice rose with every word. "And even if none of that were true, it still would not excuse you breaking into my apartment, at any hour, to tell me about Julian or anything else!" She was standing just short of actually bumping into X-23, furious and yelling at the top of her lungs.

"Be quiet!" A neighbour yelled and banged on the wall.

The mutant was unfazed. "It is important." She said again, as though Sofia hadn't just released all the resentment she'd let simmer over the past few years. "You are needed on Utopia."

"Uh-huh." Sofia didn't back up but she did allow her arms to fall to her sides. "Why do you think that I would even be welcome there?"

She was surprised when X-23 broke eye contact first. "He asks for you." The strange X-Man said. "In his sleep. Whenever he is hurt." She sounded as though it hurt her to say.

Sofia had no idea how to respond. "What?" She whispered and stumbled backwards. When her legs hit her bed, she sat down heavily. "What happened?"

"We were attacked by Bastion. He created an impenetrable barrier around San Francisco," X-23 said, once again sounding completely detached, like she was giving a history report about something that happened before she was born, "including Asteroid M. Cyclops-"

"Stop." Sofia held up her hands. She was afraid to know, but not knowing was making her sick. "Just... what happened to Julian?"

"His hands were disintegrated."

"What?" She whispered, horrified. Her head was swimming. "He... oh no."


"And... you think I'll be able to help?"

"I do."

Sofia swallowed. "Okay." She carefully pushed herself back up. "I'll go." Numbly, she went to where X-23 had put her suitcase and forced it shut. "How are..." Sofia licked her lips. "How are we going to get there?"

"Teleportation." The mutant swiftly walked across the one-room apartment.

Sofia shouted when she noticed her door. "Hey!" Both chain links were cut and her deadbolt had a hole through it. "Do you realize how much that lock cost?"

"No." X-23 swung open the door. "Pixie!" She called even before she was in the hallway. This girl clearly didn't care that it was after midnight and everyone in the building was probably asleep.

Another girl stuck her head around the corner. "Hiya!"

"Megan Gwynn?" Sofia asked in shock. Without the bicycle helmet or pink war-paint, she looked very different.

"Yup!" Megan waved hyperly. "Hi Wind Dancer! I mean, Sofia. How are you? I haven't seen you in forever! There's so much-"

"We are leaving now." X-23 interrupted.

"Right!" Megan bounced inside and Laura closed the door. "I'm so happy you said you'd come!"

"You 'port now, Megan?" It was a stupid, irrelevant question, but Sofia was having a hard time accepting the reality of it all.

"Yup!" She chirped again. "Ready?"

*As ready as I ever will be.* "Yes, Megan." *I hope I am doing the right thing.*

"Sihal novarum chinoth!"