Migraines and blue grass
I'm not from this planet. My home planet was pillaged by war. I fought in that war for years. It was a home worth fighting for, worth dying for.
My parents didn't see it the same way. They gave up when battles were lost and left our home to ruin.
They took me with them, as a forced passenger, while they searched the galaxy for a new safe world.
Now our world is no longer ours.
We can never go back.
On Earth, we hide in plain sight. We live stolen lives with stolen names.
They want me to forget the past, but how can I when every day I'm reminded that I don't belong here.
"Quinn Fabray! For the last time, TAKE. OFF. THOSE. SUNGLASSES."The teacher looks pissed. She has this vein that pops out of her forehead that makes her look like she might explode in a very messy way. I can see the thing pulsing and it's like a ticking bomb.
I think I might be giving her a headache but I can guarantee that it's nowhere near as bad as mine. So I sit back and make no attempt to comply. After all, why would I take off the only things that are preventing my migraine from tearing my skull apart from the inside? My sunglasses are keeping me somewhat sane, as I sit in this pointless class, half listening to this incompetent teacher who really needs to learn how to pick her battles.
While yelling at me, the smartest person in the school I might add, some of my less bright classmates are playing Buckaroo with a sleeping Karofsky, sexting very unsubtly, eating McDonalds and just generally taking advantage of the distracted teacher, gossiping loudly that I'm hung-over and trying to guess where I was last night.
"I have a headache, Miss Swarbrick. So I'm going keep them on. Don't mind me, please continue." I reply coolly. If my brain wasn't currently pressing against the backs of my eye sockets so insistently, I probably would have put on a warming, regretful smile and charmed my way out of this. As it was, I was straining to remain civil. Ironically if I wasn't wearing sunglasses the teacher probably would have seen the warning in my eyes and dropped the subject.
Instead she drew her shoulders straight, reeling at my slightly condescending tone. She sucked in a short breath, I could see it coming. "Detention, Miss Fabray!" she snapped as she marched round her desk to scribble on a pink strip of paper. "For your disobedience, blatant disrespect for school rules that apply to everyone including you, your attitude," she straightened ripping off the pink slip from the pad. She strode down the aisle to my desk and slammed her hand and the slip onto the hard wood. I winced as the sound reverberated round my already throbbing head, "and for being HUNG-OVER in my classroom!"
"What!" I yelled standing abruptly and immediately regretting the action as my head protested violently. I felt dizzy and swayed slightly; this probably wasn't helping my case. "I'm not hung-over, I have a migraine."
"That's not what I'm hearing from your classmates." She gestured around the room at the now quiet, stunned students.
I guess you're not as oblivious as I gave you credit for.
"WHAT!" she yelled in my face. Oops I may have said that out loud.
"Principle's office now, Fabray. Get out of my classroom!" I feel so relieved to be able to leave the sweaty, noisy, brightly sunlit room and escape to the peaceful hallway, I almost wanted to hug her, almost.
I swiftly gathered my things and walked out the classroom feeling the eyes of the entire class on my back.
Stepping out to the cool, quiet hallway I took some steadying breaths. I relished the feeling of some of the pressure from my head starting fade slightly. Still feeling dizzy though, I leaned against some lockers, rested my head on the cool metal and closed my eyes. This is better.
Soft padding of footsteps down the hallway interrupted me from my bliss. The footsteps were short and slightly hurried definitely female, and probably a short female at that. The sound approached quickly, I kept my eyes closed and willed myself to blend into the lockers. I wish I had that power. Keep walking. Just ignore me. Please don't talk to me.
"Are you okay?" Damn it.
"I'm fine." I grit out not bothering to open my eyes. I just want this girl to believe my obvious lie and leave me be.
"I don't believe you. You are, after all, propped up against a locker in a deserted hallway during class, looking rather pale like you might pass out at any minute. You look far from the definition of fine so it would be remiss of me to walk by and not enquire upon the status of your health. Perhaps I could escort you to the school nurse, though I suspect any serious illnesses are beyond her expertise so I hope for your sake your ailment is not life threatening, she may be useful in allowing you to…lie down…and maybe calling your parents-"
I had reached out sloppily with one hand and eventually found the girl's head (she is shorter than I anticipated). I think I'm trying to find an off switch as I drag my hand down her face to the fast moving thing under her nose that is making a lot of sound. Though my hand is more in her mouth than covering it, it seems to do the trick of halting any further noise from the small person.
"Ssshhh, no more talking. Let's just be nice and quiet now." I can feel the confusion on her face. Her mouth opens to protest, and frankly I'm surprised she hasn't batted my hand away from her face yet. Taking advantage of her oversight, I clamp my hand more firmly over her face. "No, just no. My head hurts and you…you are very loud and…grating." I hear and feel a huff of air against my hand. "I appreciate your concern, but you can go now, please." I hadn't meant to sound so desperate as I said please, but it seemed to soften the hardened features on the girl's face. I felt a soft hand take mine and guide it away from her face but she didn't let go. Instead I felt her thumb caress my wrist soothingly. I was surprised to notice tingles travelling up my arm at the soft touch, then a wave of warmth follows the same path starting from the tips of my fingers travelling up my arm. The warmth is concentrated in the spot where her thumb is grazing gentle circles on my skin. Still not quite able to open my eyes or move my head, I heard some rustling then felt something being placed in my hand. Suddenly the caress on my wrist was gone and I immediately missed it, the warmth in my arm starts to fade.
"I hope you feel better soon, Quinn." Her voice was soft and gentle, and then her feet were padding away down the corridor.
She knows me? Confused that I hadn't recognised her voice I pry my eyes open to look down. A small bottle of water and some aspirin were sitting in my hand. I stared at the sweet gesture for a moment then lifted my head to look down the corridor to glimpse the retreating figure, but all I saw was a flash of long silky brown hair and argyle as she disappeared around the corner.
I frowned slightly, for some reason I felt like I had missed a significant moment of some kind. Shaking off the thought and my arm to dispel the lingering tingles, I figured I better head to the principles office.
Principle Figgins' office was tense and silent as the three of us, including Miss Swarbrick, sat waiting for my parents to arrive. This wasn't the first time I had been sent to Mr Figgins, unfortunately it had happened a lot in the past few weeks. Usually I just kept my head down in class and ploughed through the work, teachers would instinctively give me triple the work load of the other students because they knew I would finish it all before the others had even gotten the right books out if they didn't.
I was usually polite and charming and so the teachers didn't normally mind grading the extra assignments I requested. My arrogance is a new development. Lately my migraines are becoming more frequent and that in combination with being 1) irritable because of the pain, 2) bored because I am a genius surrounded by humans that could never hope to match my intelligence and 3) restless because my over active muscles were practically humming under my skin, desperate for a proper work out, all added up to a bad attitude and frequent trips to detention and eventually here and the call to the parents.
The office door opened with a flourish and Judy Fabray waltzed spectacularly into the room followed by the formidable form of my father Russell Fabray. They certainly liked to make an entrance. Well dressed, both with designer sunglasses attached to their faces you would think they just arrived at an awards ceremony, they were even sporting beaming smiles like this was the best news they had heard all day. Let the show begin.
"Quinnie sweetie, what is all this?" She said in her best motherly tone. Not letting anyone answer she grasped my jaw turning my head directly towards her, stroking my hair with her other hand. "Oh honey you look positively awful, doesn't she darling?" she was obviously asking my father but before he could reply she continued "Well first things first. Russell shut the blinds will you darling?" she commanded with a wave of her hand.
"Yes dear" were the first words out of my father's mouth. He moved swiftly round the room closing the blinds dimming the light in the room significantly. Suddenly all the tension in my body I didn't know I was holding drained away, I sighed in relief.
"There that's better isn't it poppet?" she said while caressing my cheek. I nod thankfully. Finally removing my sunglasses and running my hands over my tired eyes. They too removed their glasses and stood flanking my chair both placing protective hands on my shoulders. I was surprised by how comforted I was by that action.
"Now what seems to be the problem?" her voice was now stern but it wasn't directed at me. Mr Figgins and Miss Swarbrick, who was standing behind him previously glaring daggers at me, had hardly moved since my parent's entrance. The sight of Mr and Mrs Fabray standing over their daughter must have been an intimidating sight because they both swallowed visibly before Principle Figgins cleared his throat.
"Mr and Mrs Fabray," he acknowledged formally with a nod "please why don't you have a seat?"
"We are quite fine here thank you." My mother said abruptly.
"Yes…well, okay…to the point. We are concerned that Quinn has been in quite a lot of trouble lately, this is the third time she has been to my office this week and its only Tuesday." I try hard to suppress my smile but the comically dramatic look on his face as he leans across the table to glare at me tickles me.
"She may not be the most troublesome student at this school, but I've been seeing far too much of her in here for relatively minor offences…" he trails off as he turns to glare at Miss Swarbrick pointedly as she has been sending me in here practically every lesson, sometimes just for rolling my eyes at her. She huffs with her hands on her hips.
"It's her attitude!" Miss Swarbrick cuts in "She has been arrogant and disobedient and today I caught her hung-over in my classroom!" her voice had been rising in pitch until it was shrill. My head thrummed painfully at the unwelcome noise. I felt my mother's hand caress my head instinctively, it helped.
"Hung-over you say?" my mother's voice was considerably softer in comparison "You have proof of this? A blood or breath test perhaps? Could you smell alcohol on her?"
"Then how can you be so sure it was a hang-over?"
"She…well she refused to take her sunglasses off which are against school policy, she was practically swaying as she stood up-"
"So she was abnormally sensitive to light and dizzy? Did she complain of head pain?"
"Well she may have mentioned it, but that is clearly typical of a hang-"
"Migraine, wouldn't you say darling?" my mother filled in turning to her husband.
"Indeed" was the only thing he responded with. Judy reached into her purse and pulled out a slip of paper.
"A note from the doctor." She explained. It was forged I noted, I've never been to a doctor on this planet. "Poor Quinnie here has been suffering terrible migraines of late. Makes her a bit grumpy as you can probably imagine. She's normally such a sweet girl."
Miss Swarbrick was visibly flustered.
"If that will be all, Quinn why don't you apologize to your teacher and we will be heading on our way."
"I'm afraid, Mrs Fabray, that there have been numerous complaints from other teachers and I think we should discuss the situation in more detail." Mr Figgins stated before leaning down to speak into the intercom to his receptionist, "Could you send the other teachers in now please."
We all turned and saw five of my teachers file into the room.
"Well this is quite a crowd isn't it Quinn?" My mother was giving me a pointed look and I knew I would be in a lot of trouble later for drawing in this much attention.
An hour later we got home. After a discussion on varying topics, it was decided that I would be permitted to wear sunglasses pre or during a migraine. My 'punishment' as such, for my behaviour was to tutor other students during the day while only attending key classes because they all agreed that me being in every lesson was unnecessary as I was way ahead of the work load.
There were many suggestions that I should be moved up several grades and graduate early. After some warning looks towards me from my parents, my mother quickly batted their suggestions away claiming that they would rather I get the full high school social experience. This meant that they just wanted me to appear as normal as possible.
I shrug off my bag as I walk through the front door and head to the basement, my safe haven.
"Quinn." I roll my eyes but keep walking "We need to talk about this." My father's voice is firm but I'm in no mood to listen.
"Can we talk about it later dad? I know what you're going to say, but I really just want to be left alone right now, I'm exhausted."
"Then why don't you go to bed instead of that basement? What are you working on down there anyway?" I can feel him trying to peer over my shoulder as I open the basement door after a discrete probe scanned me for identification and the distinct sound of heavy metal unlocking was heard. I never let my parents down there; the door was activated by my own unique DNA so I knew they couldn't go snooping. It was agreed that if I was to live with them and play the doting daughter that I would have a place in the house to call my own, besides my bedroom. They agreed to the terms when I insisted that I would use the space to create things that would make our lives easier on Earth.
"Just some projects dad, you will know later when I'm finished."
"Quinnie!" my mother's voice carries down the hallway as she approached us. "If I have to explain to the neighbours again why a sonic shock wave emitted from our house broke their 1st floor windows or why our lawn looks decidedly more blue then green, I will not be happy. And this kind of thing is precisely what we need to discuss."
"And we will mum, but later please. I promise what I'm working on is low key… And by the way the blue grass was from a very minor radiation leak which wouldn't have happened if you hadn't insisted on putting spotlights under the coffee table, as per your spur of the moment interior design inspiration, and turning the electricity off to do so without warning me causing containment loss of one of my more…delicate projects before I could connect it to an alternate power supply. And I already apologized for the sonic shock wave, it was an accident…I got spaghetti sauce on a control panel, it won't happen again because I don't take any food down there anymore. Right now I'm really not feeling up to another lecture, so can we talk about today later?"
"Fine. Your dinners will be at 6 and 9pm sharp." Her tone is clipped but then softens as she takes in my tired features. "You need to eat more, sweetie, you look like you've barely had three meals today, it won't be helping your condition."
It wasn't but finding quiet spots to eat as often as I needed in a high school where I would probably be considered bulimic for scoffing down several meals in six hours everyday and not gaining a pound, was getting difficult. My previous favourite spot was the auditorium but apparently a new Glee club had been formed and they were annoyingly dedicated to their rehearsal time.
It was just another reason why I really didn't want to be putting up this charade of going to high school like a normal human teenager, I'm sure I could pass for eighteen if they let me modify the IDs. However, my parents liked to think about it as the ultimate social challenge, after all everyone in high school is just trying to fit in. If I could fit in to high school where the standards for accepted social protocol were so much higher than out in the real world, then I could fit in anywhere.
The thing is, I am actually am fitting in, surprisingly well. From what I've gathered success in high school is measured by levels of 'coolness', and because I'm apparently 'hot', rich, incredibly smart and athletic, without trying I already had a head start. But to top it off, because I really didn't care about any of that stuff and shrugged off any superficial friends that latched on to me, I was somehow cooler, mysterious and attractively unobtainable. High school was weird.
"I know mum, I can manage." I shrug off her concern and head into the dim light of the basement. I hear the pressurised seal of the door behind me as it locks into place. My movement triggers the lights as I descend the stairs and the room below is bathed in a low soothing ambiance of soft blue lighting. Gentle ripples of water are reflected on the white walls and the gentle bird song from home echoes through the room. It's all simulated but it comforts me and reminds me of home.
My experiments of varying sizes and constructs, line the borders of the room. In the centre is a large crescent shaped, white table and I slide into the office chair and scoot myself over to sit at the heart of the table. I tap the surface of the table and it lights up with various screens. Gracefully the screens begin to rise from horizontal 2D images to near vertical 3D projections. I scan through the screens with casual flicks of my hand and bring up my latest project. The screens melt away and I'm left with a life size holographic projection of my new design, lying across the length of the table.
It's a suit. Or rather, a second skin. I already have one that looks similar, but this one has a unique difference. This suit has a special power that I don't possess; it can manipulate the air around it. Air is, after all, just gas molecules circulating. The suit can control and coordinate those molecules like a beautiful symphony. When called for, it can create a cushion of air and that cushion can be accelerated, decelerated, steered as long as it is in contact with the suit. The theory is that I should be able to fly with this suit, or at least give the illusion of flight as I float on top of a cushion of air. But it may not stop there, the possibilities are endless, and I feel giddy with ideas that I could create force fields with this technology and use them either in defensive or offensive ways.
Of course this is all just theory until I can test my suit. Migraine be damned, I'm just too excited to wait to work on my design.
I reach into the projection and pull out the 'nervous system' for lack of a better term. The glimmering silver pathways with impulses and synapses will connect me with the suit and give me control with mere thought and the subtlest of movements. I start tinkering, always wary of the time and the wrath of my mother if I'm late to any of our dinners.
It's late, maybe 1am and I'm lying restless in bed. I've eaten and napped and managed dispel the worst of the migraine, despite the predictable lecture from my parents earlier. My muscles are still humming under my skin and I wonder how my parents can stand it, I already get more exercise than they do but I still want more, need more. I look out my bedroom window. It's a warm spring night and I've left the window open, a gentle breeze is dancing with the curtains and I can see the stars in the velvety black sky. That's it, I'm out of here.
I'm up and donning my older suit in no time. It moulds to my skin and is as easy to move in as if I was naked. I smooth down my hair and pull on the hood which covers my whole face except for a couple of rectangle shapes that allow me to see but keep my eyes hidden behind material that has the effect of one way glass.
The suit is dark green but has subtle shimmers of gold if caught in the right light. The gold traces the outlines of my muscles fibres and is best seen whenever I flex my muscles. It's all for show but I've found the effects can be quite intimidating, which is exactly what I want.
With a graceful leap I'm out the window and on the roof, perched on the edge like a cat, deciding where to go. I'm looking for action, so I figure where better than the more shady side of town. I crouch low coiled and ready, with a sudden burst of energy I bound off the roof into the night. I'm surprised by how high I leap and I feel as though I could touch the stars. The air is rushing past my face and I feel so beautifully free. I feel gravity get a hold of me as the energy from my leap dissipates and I start falling to the earth. I seek out my landing spot in a tree a block away; I brace my body for the impact. The outer branches whip past me and I absorb as much as the impact as I can with my body as I land on a firm branch. As testament to my efforts the branch doesn't so much as wobble or groan on my landing. I grin to myself, and prepare for another leap when an open window below me catches my eye.
I have no idea what, but something compels me to get a closer look. On my home planet I survived my trusting my instincts so I learned just to follow them without much question. I gracefully scale down to the lower branches of this great tree. Hidden by the night and the protection of the branches I cautiously peer in the room. My enhanced eyesight serves me well as I easily make out objects in the room.
I don't know what I was expecting to find, someone in danger, a psycho-killer's lair or a drug work shop perhaps; but it definitely wasn't a sweetly yellow and pink painted bedroom where everything looked still and quiet, other than a figure below the covers quietly breathing in sleep. Er…this is weird. And now I feel kind of pervy. What am I doing here? I should leave and pretend I didn't become a perv on my night out to fight crime and… other perverts.
Shaking my head I make to leave, when a sigh within the room grabs my attention, the figure has shifted slightly but is curled away from the window. Long brunette locks are splayed across the pillow, they look vaguely familiar but I can't place where. The figure sighs again and settles more comfortably into the bed, I feel my heart swell at the sight. I can't explain why and it scares me. I tear myself away and scale the branches again.
I continue my journey in leaps and bounds to the down town district of Lima. I figure beating up criminals will help me forget my slight detour tonight.
I only have to wait a matter of minutes until I pick up trouble. I hop across roof tops until I see a couple of men yelling angrily at (what I assume is) an exotic dancer near the back entrance to a strip club.
"Come on, Yasmin we're practically regulars. And you're holding out on us? I don't think your boss would be too happy to hear about that." The taller man sneered at the woman while staking ever closer to her.
"Yeah well I don't think Joey would be too happy to hear about you guys breaking the rules either. I did you guys a favour by not letting him know. So why don't you do me a favour and go home." The woman countered standing her ground. I was impressed by how she was handling it so I decided to sit and see how it played out.
"What rules did I break huh, Yasmin?" He sidled up close to her and whispered like a lover, "I could tell you enjoyed it, all the attention me and Ricky were giving you. So how about you give us a little attention?"
The woman swatted away his hands when he got a little too grabby, his gaze instantly hardened. "Like I wanted your grubby paws all over me. And you know what you're asking me isn't part of my job so I don't owe you jack."
"Yeah well I've got a fucking job for you!" He yelled while undoing his pants. Well crap. "At this point I'm still willing to let you keep our money from earlier if you do this right now for me and Ricky, otherwise we're gonna take what we want from you anyway and our money. Your choice, honey." The two men started backing her into a corner.
"LIKE HELL!" she yelled trying to push through them, but they both grabbed her and pushed her to the floor.
"Wrong choice, sweetie!" I chose this moment to jump down from my perch.
Now this would be the point where most superheroes you read about in comics would make some witty retort or some cliché redundant phrase like "Let her go". I'm more of a silent, let-actions-speak-louder-than-words superhero, so I just kick the crap out of them.
I grab them both by the backs of their collars and fling them backwards. They hit the ground hard and look shocked when they see me, understandably, but to their credit they both get over it quickly and charge at me. Oh good, this will be fun. I make it look as if I'm turning to run and they give chase, but I run up the wall in front of me and flip over their heads. Landing behind them, I use their forward momentum to slam them into the wall. Mr Grabby-hands turns quickly, shaking off his daze, and tries a swing at me, I lean back easily and follow it into a back flip, catching him under the chin with my foot as I do. He crumples to the floor. Meanwhile Ricky is waiting for his opening. He goes for a grab; I catch him inside his arms and force them out while I bring a knee up to his chest with great force. He doubles over and I bring my elbow down onto the back of his head. He falls to the ground face first, out cold.
I survey the unconscious bodies on the ground momentarily and can't help feel a little disappointment that there wasn't more fight in them. But I do feel a little more relaxed than I did earlier and a lot less twitchy. I turn back to the woman, who is still on the ground looking at me like I'm a crazy person. I slowly approach so I don't startle her and offer her my hand to help her stand. She looks at it, then me, her eyes narrow like she is assessing me, but I just keep holding out my hand willing her to see that I'm sincere. She finally cocks her head as she takes me in, her eyes soften slightly and she reaches for my hand. I pull her up gently; she is about as tall as me in her heels. She is trying to look me in the eyes, but I know all she can see is a weak reflection of herself.
Her expression changes again and she looks slightly bemused.
"Are you like a crazy person?" she asks half joking.
Probably. I shrug as a way of answer, it's the most honest thing I can do.
"Good answer." She nods, surveying the scene. She's shaking her head like she can't quite believe what's she is seeing but there is a faint smile there, I hand her her discarded purse. "So I'm gonna go now...?" she says hesitantly, like she is not sure what the protocol is after being saved from rape by a girl in a skin tight suit. I just nod assuredly and turn to leave.
"Uh thanks by the way." She adds quickly and I look back to her. She gestures meekly around her, "For…you know…Thank you." She says sincerely, I nod again and disappear into the darkness.