I know this has been done more than a few times before, but I figured that I'd try my hand at it, see what I could come up with. This will definitely be a running series, just like my other two stories Black Ice and Doctor What-did-you-say? So I hope I'm not biting off more than I can chew here.
But I'll do my best! Should be fun :)
Cookies for reviews, double chocolate chip!
He was a wild-eyed little boy, a feral who would become more than he was ever expected to be and was different from the very beginning. As Scott walked him and his brother into the mansion, the boy wasn't listening to his descriptions or instructions at all...he didn't need to know where to go. He could smell his way around. Instead of following Scott, his eyes were trained on the carvings that adorned the banister, the intricate mosaic embedded beneath his feet, the tapestries and paintings and Victorian-era wallpaper, silently absorbing every inch. His brother was a sarcastic individual with an off-base sense of humor that honestly worried Scott a little, but the younger boy was an entirely different story altogether. James was a quiet, introspective child who kept his emotions to himself and seemed to be depressed most of the time. That was what Summers had thought in the beginning, at least. Charles had warned him that the child might be a bit tense upon their first meeting, but Scott had expected much more drastic behaviour than that which he was greeted by. Especially since he'd been told that both of the boys were ferals. James had fit his expectations perfectly in the beginning-sniffing at him in a very obvious manner, refusing to get too close, all of that-and Victor had seemed to be the more human of the two. But after a while it became obvious that the older brother simply had more experience with acting normal and wasn't really the more empathetic one in the equation. James was jumpy and erratic in his motions, certainly-and that made Scott worry about what his reaction would be to Xavier's school-but he was much more polite in all other aspects. He always spoke to 'Mr. Summers' with respect whenever the older man spoke to him, and he wasn't vulgar in the least; Victor was the one with a sailor's tongue. It was a surprise to Scott, because his first impression of James was one of an untamed nature. He couldn't figure it out.
But he'd soon decided that he'd been wrong in his assumptions about James' mental state. The boy wasn't depressed, he was in shock, and the quieter the eight-year-old was the more certain of this Cyclops became. Victor didn't seem to notice; either he was just acting normal to cheer his brother up, or he really was oblivious enough not to see the younger boy's predicament. Scott guessed that it was the former-no matter what Victor was otherwise, he wasn't an idiot-but whatever the case was, James seemed to appreciate Victor's company in his own way. The older boy even managed to get his younger sibling to smile, even though it seemed that every time Jimmy got close to laughing tears would threaten and he would jerk his gaze back to the window as if he'd been shocked.
Scott had not been told the details of the boys' situation, and the reason for their apparently orphaned state was a mystery to him. He tried bringing it up once on the drive back to the mansion. But Victor had looked at James with wary, questioning eyes and Jimmy had been staring at Scott with eyes as round as saucers, as if the teacher had just threatened his life. He made a choking sound in the back of his throat and quickly dropped his gaze to the floor. Victor had then bared his teeth in his brother's defense.
"We don't know."
He spoke with a growl, and Cyclops didn't push the matter any further. He would get the details from the Professor later. The drive had proceeded in silence for a few miles more, and then Scott had broken the ice with a conversation starter and found that Victor was quite a chatty little fellow. Summers tried to bring James into their cheerful banter several times after that, but the boy seemed to enjoy watching the road more than he enjoyed the other mutants' small talk, and after a while Scott let that go, too.
When they arrived at Xavier's, Scott led the two ferals to the room that they would be sharing for an indefinite number of years, probably until each of them had turned eighteen but possibly through college if either of the boys chose that path. Scott had already made a prediction that neither of the boys would be too interested in a higher education, but he of all people knew how unpredictable children's opinions and personalities were as they grew up. He immediately refused to allow himself to make any predictions of that sort and just concentrated on leading the boys inside.
"I got this bunk, you got that one."
Jimmy began to snarl but abruptly cut himself off, grinding his teeth together instead. He was angry, furious even, but he wouldn't act like Victor wanted him to. He wouldn't let Victor get under his skin. The older boy chuckled at his younger brother and turned away to shove his suitcase into the closet; James heard him laugh but wasn't paying enough attention to care. He was busy wiggling one of his eye teeth back an forth with his tongue, wondering why it felt so loose. It definitely seemed like it was coming out, but it didn't hurt any more than any other tooth he'd lost. He wondered if this was what a cavity felt like-he'd never had one-but decided that it couldn't be anything that bad. Cavities had people screaming in pain-he'd seen them, on television-but he wasn't doing anything of the sort, so it couldn't be a cavity. James smiled a little at himself, proud of his reasoning. Father would be proud, too.
The boy couldn't contain the soft whimper that pearled its way up his throat; Victor turned sharply to look at him, tawny eyes cold.
"Don't you be thinkin' 'bout John now, boy."
James quickly swallowed the lump in his throat, instinctively tensing at the angry edge to Victor's scent. "He's sir to you, Victor," he replied in his quiet voice. "And my name's not boy. It's James."
Victor raised an eyebrow and grinned, fangs barely visible against his lips. "Well well well." He took a quick step forward-almost a jump-at Jimmy, the beginnings of a crouch showing in his tense muscles. "I struck a nerve there!"
James jerked back from Victor's unexpected approach, falling quickly into a crouch himself, a growl tickling his throat. He felt like he ought to be coughing at the unfamiliar sensation, but strangely the reflex didn't feel necessary. It would take a while for him to get used to that. "Victor, don't," he muttered warily in the older boy's direction.
"What, you don't want a fight? S'right, you don't. 'Cause I'd beat your skinny little ass six ways 'till Sunday."
Jimmy was suddenly up against the wall, choking against his brother's clawed hands. Victor snarled, baring his teeth. "Why the fuck won't you fight? You scared, boy? You scared, Logan? Huh?"
James let out a yell and started punching Victor, kicking him, hitting him in any place he could reach. The older boy just grinned wider and leaned harder against Jimmy's throat, cutting off his air completely. James' head pounded with blood and he gasped, scrabbling against Victor's grasp.
"Where're the claws, Logan? Hey, Logan, you gonna fight for real or is this a game to you?"
"Shut up! Shut up, Victor, shut up!" James couldn't hold back the anger any longer. The bones came out of the back of his hands and he shoved them into Victor's ribcage, raking down with a vicious scrape. Victor gasped and backed off, curling over his stomach, but Jimmy kept coming. He was punching Victor with his claws unsheathed now, driving the bones into his older brother's body as he cursed at Victor at the top of his lungs.
Victor let out a hiss every time his brother's claws dug into him, his breath leaving his now-punctured lungs like deflating balloons. He had to do something to make Jimmy stop. At least he had to try, even though he knew that once the boy got started he didn't quit until your heart stopped beating-or his did. But neither of them could die-at least, he didn't think they could-so he'd have to do something else. He at least had to keep Jimmy from using those claws of his; the smell of Victor's own blood was infuriating to the older boy.
Victor snarled and stood, reaching behind himself and hauling Jimmy off by one flailing limb. He dug his claws into Jimmy's flesh and flung him through the door with all his might, the hinges giving way before the wood could do the same.
James hit their dorm's door with the side of his face and his shoulder, spinning through the air, his back slamming against the wall opposite their room with a loud thawump. His ears had caught the muffled sounds of bones breaking and as he slid to the floor he realized that both his jaw and shoulder were shattered from the impact. He whimpered at the pain, like nothing he'd ever felt before, but was surprised to feel the tingle of heat first in his jaw and then his arm. He was healing? He touched his cheek tenderly; his eyes widened as the bones moved beneath the flesh. I'm healing from that? Jimmy rolled slowly to his feet just as several other students came out of their rooms...and Victor slammed into him again.
James hesitated for a fraction of a second before he drove his claws into his brother's chest, grabbing the older boy's shirt front, then lifting his own feet off the ground. Jimmy's weight was supported by Victor, but Victor wasn't prepared for the sudden addition of more than just a few extra pounds and he tumbled down on top of James, clawing the smaller boy's face as they fell.
Jimmy hadn't expected that his brother would fall down like that and crush him; he had the breath knocked clean out of him as a hundred plus pounds landed on his ribcage, and he gasped for breath. He pulled his claws back into his forearms and pushed against Victor, scrabbling and punching at the older boy and doing everything in his power to free himself. Finally James gathered his strength and kicked Victor in the gut as hard as he could, sending the older feral tumbling down the hall.
"Oh my goddess!" Ororo gasped. She'd heard the ruckus all the way down in the teacher's lounge and had come upstairs to see what was the matter. The boys weren't exactly trying to be silent, what with all their snarling and the damage they were inflicting on the mansion, and Storm had been bracing herself for the worst.
She most certainly got what she'd expected.
Both boys were dripping with blood-their own, but Ororo couldn't and didn't discern that upon first sight-and both looked like living nightmares, snarls and bared teeth making them appear much more violent than the adolescents they really were. As Storm watched, Victor rolled to his feet with leonine grace and turned back towards his brother, a sadistic smile making his lips twitch. Jimmy took a step forwards to attack again, claws already fully extended from between his fingers, when he took a breath...and paused.
There were others here, watching him. There were teens. There were children. And there was an adult.
Watching him. Judging him. He couldn't fight here; he wasn't in the wild any more.
But Victor leapt at him anyways, with a snarl that made the onlookers take a step back, and James had no choice but to respond. He growled softly at his older brother, tensing for impact, his motions all instinct and physical power that was well beyond his years. Victor went to grab for his throat but James shifted to the side and drove his claws into Victor's back as the older boy ran past, unbalancing him with the heart-stopping pain. He pushed the older feral to the floor with his own dead weight and dug his heels into Victor's kidneys on landing, then sheathed his claws and pushed off of his brother's back. He landed in a crouch three feet away, standing and spinning to face the others even as Victor moved to get up, spitting blood.
None of the other students moved. Ororo stared at the boys, shocked, as Victor kneeled on the floor and James stared back. His tawny eyes were wide, and he watched them for one thunderstruck moment before he turned and fled silently down the hall.
"Get your ass back here," Victor growled, now standing. "I ain't done with you yet!"
"Oh yes you are," Ororo scolded furiously. "You are coming with me right now, young man!"
And on that note, she herded him downstairs into Xavier's office and quickly shut the door.