I got a comment that I kinda rushed through the OC characters last chapter, and for that I'm sorry. I was just trying to give you guys the characters straight up, a few glimpses of their characters before I went into more depth. If you guys have any qualms or questions concerning characters, feel free to let me know!
I hope you guys like it!
Chapter 4: Please Forgive Me
Jordan O'Hara flipped her hair over her shoulder, pushing the door open with her shoulder, as her hands were full with her numerous suitcases. Honestly, how big was this place, anyway? Her arms ached at the memory of lugging her bags up all those flights of stairs, and she shuddered to think of how much the mansion cost to keep running. The twenty-year-old assumed – she was too nervous to ask – that Mr. Xavier was some kind of millionaire, and wondered what it was that he did that allowed for such a hefty fortune.
Brown eyes flicked upwards, locking on the only other occupant of the room. There were two medium sized beds in the room, and by the one nearest to the window stood the other girl – Caitlyn, Jordan remembered the name as she stared at the young woman. Caitlyn was staring out the window, her face seemingly lost in thought as the breeze blew in through her hair. Jordan cleared her throat to dislodge the uncomfortable dryness in her chest, and Caitlyn jumped horribly at the sound. What a silly thing to be scared of…it was just a cough.
Jordan guessed that the girl before her was still quite young…in late high school, perhaps? The older girls hands tightened before she could help herself; jealousy was pulsing just under her thoughts, tempting her to be nasty. Jordan knew that she herself was decently attractive, but in the face of this new girl – who seemed to exemplify the typical California beauty: tall, with blonde hair, blue eyes, and tan skin – she felt her self-confidence dwindle just slightly. But she put on her good face, and smiled brightly at the blonde before moving to stand by the other bed.
Caitlyn hesitated, obviously uncomfortable with the silence that stretched between them, and moved to stand at the head of Jordan's bed.
"So…what do you think of all of this?" she whispered, as if afraid that someone was listening at the door. The door that was, now that Jordan paused to glance, wide-open. The brunette moved to close it, her leg muscles automatically flexing to twirl herself as she went. She loved ballet, and had taken classes for the past five years…determined to become skilled, rather than using her ability to simply mimic a professional.
"What do you mean?" Jordan responded from her position at the door, closing it with a crisp snap. Caitlyn cocked a hip, putting a small hand on it – Jordan had to forcibly fold her hands together to keep herself from mimicking the movement exactly – and giving Jordan a slightly exasperated look. Jordan raised her eyebrows in challenge, and Caitlyn threw up her hands.
"All of this!" the girl practically shrieked, gesturing to Jordan and to herself, and then to the room around them. "Mr. Xavier, Mr. Lensherr, the others…they're all like us, the first ones I've ever met. Aren't you at least a bit surprised that we, of all the mutants in the world – assuming that there are others like us – were chosen to come to this academy?"
Jordan sighed, leaning against the post. This girl was indeed young, and rather immature. It was clear that Jordan was going to have to treat this girl a little differently than expected. "Of course I'm surprised. But just because I'm excited doesn't mean that I'm going to freak out. We were obviously chosen for specific reasons, but I don't really care why they did what they did…all I want to do now is enjoy my time here."
Caitlyn frowned, but for some reason decided to not press. Her eyes lowered to her feet, and Jordan noticed that her legs – toned and long – were shaking slightly. Jordan's brow furrowed in worry, and she moved to peer into the girl's face.
"Hey, are you okay? Your legs are shaking–"
Caitlyn gave a shaky laugh, and forced her feet to stay still. "Y-Yeah, I'm fine. I've always been kinda twitchy. It's always worse when I'm nervous."
Jordan nodded, and searched for a topic that would distract the girl from her woe, glad to be off of the subject of doubting the mutants who brought them here. "So...you play any sports?" The blonde smiled wryly at that, as if enjoying a private joke with herself. Jordan frowned. "What's so funny?"
"I don't play sports."
"What? I totally thought you were a soccer player or something…you're so in shape!"
Caitlyn's smile widened, and Jordan was starting to get irritated. "What is so funny?" she demanded, and the blonde shook her head, turning away to start unpacking.
"Don't worry about it…it's nothing."
Jordan sighed, and shrugged in defeat. Then, suddenly, Caitlyn whipped around, her eyes bright.
"Oh my gosh, I can't believe that I didn't ask! What can you do, Jordan?" she asked, moving carefully to perch herself on the wooden post of her bed. Jordan blinked, shocked to see the sudden change to Caitlyn's nervous persona. This girl sure was full of surprises…
Jordan glanced at Caitlyn warily before standing and cracking her back leisurely. "I can do whatever I see. Say something, and I can say it back perfectly. Do something…and I can do it."
Caitlyn frowned, and then said, "Okay…um…My name is Caitlyn, and I love puppies."
Jordan felt her vocal chords shifting in response to the words, and let them spill forth. "My name is Caitlyn, and I love puppies." The words were in Caitlyn's voice, which sounded strange to Jordan's ears, but it wasn't something that she couldn't handle. Jordan wasn't about to publicize this, but now that she had mimicked Caitlyn's voice, her mind mentally clocked how to shift her voice, so if she ever needed to speak in Caitlyn's voice in the future…she would have that power at her disposal.
Her memory was flawless; even now, as a young adult, Jordan could perfectly recall and mimic her older brother, who had been kidnapped when she was only three years of age. She could remember the first time she discovered her power. When she was ten years old, she had been alone in her room, listening to a song on radio. She had been so entranced by the idea of singing that beautifully, and suddenly…she heard the voice from the radio, only it was coming from her own mouth. The shock had made her stop, and she had turned off the radio in fear. But childish curiosity pushed at her, and in an instant, she was singing once more, her voice perfectly executing both the words and the pitch.
It wasn't always a blessing. Jordan could remember every detail of every fight that she ever had. She remembered her parents in their fights before the divorce, every hateful word her mother screamed, every spiteful reminder her father supplied at the drop of a hat.
"At least I wasn't a goddamn whore! Have you told your daughter yet, Claudine? Have you told her that for a little bit of high-school spending money, you used to spread your legs and–"
At that point little six-year-old Jordan had covered her ears, and so the rest of her father's words hadn't been imprinted into her brain forever. Thank God for small miracles, or so she had thought. It had only taken puberty and the experience of middle school for Jordan to learn exactly what a whore was, and how cruel – and accurate – her father's description had been.
She could never forget anything. Ever.
The thought made her sad, but in order to distract her from that, Jordan set herself to learning – and memorizing – everything she could. She took all of the challenging classes and read dictionaries, atlases, and almanacs on a daily basis. She played soccer, softball, tennis, ice-hokey, karate, gymnastics, and finally ballet in order to occupy her mind thoroughly. Jordan was determined to show herself that her power wasn't a complete curse…it was a gift, it made her special, it made her better than everyone else.
Caitlyn was speaking to her, and Jordan put a false smile on her face in order to make it seem like she was listening.
Jordan stared, at a loss at what to say in response. Should she pretend that she knew that the question had been, or should she own up to her silent musing? Caitlyn was staring, waiting for an answer, and her brow was furrowing as the seconds ticked by.
Before Jordan could decide, the door opened, and the two girls turned to face the person responsible for the interruption.
Alex, surprisingly, was the first one to find Hank. The entire team had split up to search, and Alex had wandered aimlessly, not expecting to find the scientist in the house. Raven was freaking out, not that Alex could blame her, and he was glad to be away from the worried anxiety that surrounded the girl when she was upset. Erik and Charles were calm, preferring to let the others search while the two of them continued to make the new students feel at home.
The blonde didn't like the fact that those kids were here. How was Alex expected to help? He barely had a hold on his own power, how was he supposed to teach others to control their own powers? Charles could be a real thoughtless ass sometimes, Alex mused irritably, hands deep in his pockets as he half-heartedly searched the tower that housed Cerebro. The metal mesh kept Alex suspended nearly thirty feet above the ground, and the young mutant sighed as he leaned against the railing, his green eyes searching the ground below.
It was then that he heard the piteous sobs of a familiar mutant. The sounds were coming from inside the tower, and Alex felt the beginning stabs of panic as he contemplated whether to pretend as if he had heard nothing. But then, just as he was about to retreat down the stairs, he heard Hank's crying stop suddenly.
Well shit. With those enhanced senses of his, the spectacled scientist would know that Alex was here. There was no way to get out of there now without seeming like a complete – not the mention heartless – asshole.
The blonde put on a brave face, and pushed open the door of the circular room. For a moment, Hank was invisible, and then Alex found him, crouched against the wall like a wounded animal and struggling to hide his face. The blonde felt both disgust and pity, and tried to clear the awkward silence as he moved closer to the mutant. He and Hank had never been close – there was an unspoken animosity between them that had existed before Hank's misled experiment and had grown even more noticeable after the fact – but as a member of the search team Alex felt obliged to offer some support.
"Hey, Hank," Alex muttered, leaning casually against the wall and trying not to let his irritation show. Hank glared, and turned his head away childishly. Alex felt his anger build – he never did like that snooty way Hank ignored him – but forced it back.
"Everyone's worried sick about you, y'know," Alex continued through gritted teeth, and Hank sent him a furious growl.
"Why are you even here?" he hissed, and Alex let out a barely contained sigh. The blonde crossed his arms over his chest, and the two of them stared at each other. Hank was unusually obstinate, and Alex was surprised to find that he was the first to look away.
"I'm had to look for you cuz you taking off got everyone in a fucking hissy fit."
"Just get out of here, pretty boy," Hank snarled, and Alex's eyes snapped back to the mutant, surprised at his hateful tone. "I don't know what little insults you have under your sleeve, but I really, really don't want to hear them right now."
Alex snorted. "God, you sound like a fifteen-year-old girl who's just been dumped by her boyfriend…" Hank's shoulders stiffened at that, and Alex glared as he crouched down so he was level with Hank.
"I don't know if you noticed, but you're covered in bright blue fur." Hank's eyes swam at the statement, and Alex ignored the impeding hysteria, instead plugging on ahead. "You went ahead and did that stupid experiment because you were too goddamn insecure to be happy with the way you were born. You were a coward, and you paid the price. Now accept it. Stop clouding up in rain every time someone comments on the way you look! People will react a lot better to it if you man up and own it."
Hank stood so fast that Alex took an automatic step back. "Shut up, pretty boy! You talk like you know how it feels, but you have no idea what its like to be a monster! You with your perfect smile and your perfect hair and your perfect fucking face! Oh I'm so sorry, you must feel so humiliated to have girls falling all over you! I give you my condolences!"
Alex was nowhere near as imposing as Hank was in his animalistic form, but the icy glare he gave Hank was enough to make the golden-eyed mutant's face blank in shock. Alex took a step forward, so they were but inches apart. The blonde's anger was slow and deep, and his eyes were narrowed into insulted slits.
"How dare you say that I'm perfect! You're fucking blue, so what? Your power is containable, you can control when you rip into someone and tear their head off! I…I've killed people! I've killed innocent…"
Alex felt his throat tightening in anguish, and angrily wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. Hank was frozen, staring down at the young man who seemed close to breaking down and crying. Alex knew that he looked like a pansy, but the thought just didn't compute, because Alex was tired of people assuming he was perfect just because he was remarkably good-looking.
It had been like that even before he was arrested.
Alex was the popular kid at school, the one who always had a girl on his arm and the one who always smiled and made the first smart-ass comment to the substitute teacher. But that didn't mean he was without faults. He hated how when he did stupid stuff – like vandalize a teacher's car, or cruelly make fun of the nerdy girl in class – his high school peers didn't take it as seriously as they would someone else. They thought he was so cool that everything wrong just blew over their heads. It made Alex sick, and he hated it. How could they just assume that Alex didn't have crosses to bear like the rest of them.
That he often resorted to violence when he got angry, that he had the tendency to cry whenever something tragic happened in romantic movie…that he had the ability to shoot deadly red energy out of his body in a terrifying spiral of destruction.
Hank had crossed the final line in the blonde's self-control, and Alex felt his barriers crumbling as tears welled up in his eyes. Hank thought that he was the monster? God, what a pathetic fool Hank was. Oh what a stupid, ignorant fool.
Hank stood, frowning deeply at the sudden change in events. Alex turned sharply away from the other mutant, holding his arm against his mouth to stifle the racking sobs. Hank didn't move to comfort him, and for that Alex was grateful.
Alex spoke slowly, his voice cracking with the intensity of his guilt. "My little sister and I…we were kidnapped by these men. I don't know what they wanted, but I did catch that they were going to kill me when they stopped, because I was…too old to be of any use. We weren't the only ones, there were others in the van who had been kidnapped as well. They were all teenagers, girls my age. My sister and I were pushed out of the van, and the man walked up to me, lifting his gun to my head. I knew that if I didn't act then, I wouldn't be able to save my sister. I did the first thing that came to me…I used my power."
Alex grabbed his hair, looking almost deranged as he whispered. "I couldn't control it. It didn't just hit the man, it…it hit the van. I killed them, Hank. Ten innocent girls…gone just like that. It was only by sheer luck that I didn't hit my sister. I knew that I had killed them, and when the cops came and saw the van and the man dead on the floor…I took the blame without hesitation. I hated myself…I still hate myself for what I did."
"No, Hank," Alex hissed, turning to face him. "I didn't tell you so I could have your friendship, or your pity. I told you so you would grow the fuck up and stop thinking that you're the only one with problems. I would trade places with you any day."
Alex gave Hank one last red-rimmed glare, and rubbed his face furiously, striding toward the door. He opened it, and both young men squinted at the bright sunlight. Alex turned to look back at Hank, and his expression was solemn.
"They really care about you, Hank. Raven, Charles…they all really care. Just thought you should know."
And Alex left without another word, shutting the heavy door behind him.