Not So Different: I've been compared to her for most of my life, and I'm tired of it. Now, she's dead and I'm here, practically taking her place amongst old friends. But, now I'm left wondering what was so different about us after all.

Disclaimer: I do not claim nor hope to have any ownership over the X-Men or any other hereto mentioned Marvel characters. I do, however, have claim over Mackenzie Benton, Aubrey Howell, Bernadette Benton, and any other original characters found within this work of fanfiction. Don't bother suing me – I'm poor and you couldn't squeeze anything out of me if you tried.

Rating: This story is rated T for language, pathos, and brief nudity and sexual content.

"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in." - Robert Frost


I grimaced as their eyes raked over me viciously, taking in my appearance brutally. I could hear their murmurs, sense their apprehension and distrust even as I clenched my hands together in my lap. It felt as though I had been thrown to the dogs, and yet I could do nothing more than calmly sit there and wait for it to end.

"You will have to excuse my associates and students, Mackenzie." Kind gray-blue eyes met mine as I met the gaze of none other than the founder and Headmaster of the Xavier Institute. Dressed in bold and manly colors, he sat in front of the gathered mass of people, hands folded delicately in his lap. "We are still... struggling."

I can tell, I murmured to him telepathically, ignoring the faint smile that crossed his lips. Shoulders rim-rod straight, I let my eyes trail over the gathered group of people, taking in their faces pointedly. Several of them looked familiar, as I had met with Henry McCoy and Ororo Munroe when I had first interviewed with Xavier regarding the position. They hadn't changed much since our time together as students. The others, however, were all fairly new and left me feeling slightly uncomfortable.

"I understand, Mr. Xavier," I assured him quietly, nodding in his direction as I crossed my legs. "As you have my resume, and you've done a complete background check as well as your personal knowledge of my past, I can only hope that you, your associates, and your students will give me the benefit of the doubt when I claim that I am exceptionally trustworthy. However, I am willing to undergo any necessary examinations that you deem necessary."

"She ain't hidin' nothin', Chuck," a voice muttered from the rear of the room, drawing my gaze to where a man leaned against the open doorway. The gathered group of people seemed to nod in agreement after his statement, causing me to send the man a silent thanks even as his gaze met mine for an instant. "You already know how I feel 'bout havin' another 'path around, but I ain't complainin' 'bout no more."

Logan is quite leery about telepaths, my dear, Xavier's voice was warm and comforting in my mind as I glanced over and met his gaze. He spared me a soft smile before lifting a hand and pressing the toggle of his wheelchair, causing him to spin in a short circle and face the gathered group of people. However, I must admit that your striking similarities with Jean will no doubt make this transition more difficult than necessary. If you feel as though it is too much...

I'll be fine, I assured him, swallowing thickly. Perspiration beaded my upper lip and my brow despite the comfortable temperature in the room. A combination of nerves and an empty stomach left me feeling slightly off balance even as Xavier sent calming sensations over me with a mere thought. I need this, Xavier. I need this opportunity.

"Unless there are any outright objections to Miss Benton's presence here in the Institute, I am fully prepared to offer her the position as our new physician and upper mathematics teacher," he spoke calmly, his voice billowing through the room with a force behind it that came only to those that had reined over someone for a very long time. "Anyone?"

The room was silent for a long moment before the man known as Charles Xavier clapped his hands together, eliciting a grunt of approval as I rose from the comfortable chair to stand at his side. The crowd parted on either side of us as he led me from his study, the sound of his wheelchair only slightly louder then the sounds of the faint whispers behind us.

"Welcome home, yet again, Mackenzie."

I promise I'll try not to let you down.