Mending Chapter 1: First Contact
It was ironic really, staying in a Catholic church for the night when my father had cast me out condemning me to be the very demons his faith warned against. All irony aside I didn't really care, the church, while beautiful in its architecture and stained glass windows, also had the added benefit of being warm and providing shelter from the snow that had begun to fall outside. Poking into the nooks and crannies of the place, I managed to find a ladies room down a narrow little hallway. Letting out a sigh, I set about cleaning myself up as best I could with what I had. Finishing up I made my way back into the main chapel area and found a secluded corner to settle down for the night so that no one would see me if they were to come check on the church. I heard them just as I was about to dose off.
"Jean are you sure that this is the right place? There's no one here." A woman asked, peeking out just enough to see who it was I caught a glimpse of white hair, black leather, and…was that a cape?
"Yes, I'm sure. This is the address the professor gave and someone is here I can sense them." Her companion said, a tall willowy red head also in a black leather.
"Den vere is this girl dat the professor spoke of?" I bit back a gasp upon seeing the next questioner, standing on the balls of his feet rather than flat footed, was a dark blue…something. Looking around the chapel I caught a glimpse of what looked like a tail when he turned to address the red head.
Not wanting to wait around to see if I was the supposed "girl" that they were looking for I gathered my stuff as quietly as possible and slipped my backpack on. Bracing myself, I knew that I would have to run out in front of them, giving away my hiding spot, to the emergency exit that was unfortunately located on the opposite side of the church from me. Crouching down I was just about to run for it when I heard a small, BAMF!, behind me followed by the slight smell of sulfur. Turning slightly, my stomach dropped at what I saw.
"Guten tag, fraulein" the blue man greeted me with a smile revealing his very pointed teeth.
Letting out a very undignified shriek at his sudden appearance, I scrambled to get up and towards the exit.
"Wait! We don't mean you any harm, we just want to talk with you!" one of the women called out.
Yeah like I haven't heard that before, I thought. I was almost to the exit when I heard that same damned BAMF! again and that blue guy suddenly appeared in front of me with a little smoke. Skidding to a halt so I wouldn't run into him, I made to duck under and around him, unfortunately he managed to hook an arm around my waist and prevent me from going any further.
"Let me go, let me go, let me go, what the hell do you want, what in the fucking hell do you want?" I demanded panicking at the thought of what might happen if he were to touch my skin.
"Please calm down, we just want to talk with you, and possibly help you" said the red headed woman.
"Yeah right, you just want to prophet off my ability, you're all the same." Struggling, I had almost managed to escape the blue guy when his hand accidently grazed my side which had been left exposed by shirt which had ridden up during my struggling. I felt the familiar pull of my power as it started to heal whatever was wrong with him and the next thing I knew I was bleeding from hundreds of intricate designs that had opened up on my skin. Letting out a screech loud enough to wake the dead, I broke loose from blue boy and had almost made it out the door when I was suddenly yanked back and suspended in mid air.
"Oh my god, are you alright, don't worry we're taking you back to the institute for medical attention right now." said the red head.
"I don't need medical attention; I'm fine, put me down god damnit all, put me down!" Ignoring my yelling, the trio jogged outside with me in tow to a clearing that was across from the church. To my amazement, or at least enough to shut me up for a minute, behind the tree line was a huge black jet waiting to be boarded. Realizing that they would be taking me on that thing I renewed my screeching at them but it went unanswered.
"Please stop yelling, we are only trying to help you." Pleaded the woman with the white hair and cape.
"If you would listen to me you would know I don't need any help." By this time we had boarded the plane and I had been strapped into one of the seats while the redhead and white haired women went up to the controls. Squinting, I tried giving them my best glare through the blood that was dripping into my eyes.
"Do not vorry fraulein, de professor is a very nice person" said the blue man. I briefly considered cussing him out in German, but decided against it, besides, I think it's kinda cool the way he looks. Although, it makes me wonder what was wrong with him that caused me to bleed this much, maybe he had some sort of blood disease, oh joy for me.
The jet took off, with almost no sound at all. Whether it had to do with the speed at which the jet traveled or this place was just really close by, we arrive shortly to what appeared as a mansion surrounded by woods. The redhead set the plan down on what looked like a basketball court of all places to land a jet, I received another surprise when the jet started being swallowed up by the ground. Once the jet had stopped moving in some sort of underground cavern the white haired woman turned to address me.
"We really are trying to help you, I wish you would understand that. Once you're fixed up you can leave whenever you want, but the professor can really help you. Now will you please just come with us and talk, I promise Jean won't use her powers on you." She said gesturing towards the redhead.
Weighing my oppositions for a moment I gave her the smallest of nods to indicate my consent. She smiled in reply and let the ramp down to let us off. Following behind her as we exited, I saw two men coming to greet us, one wearing red sunglasses and the other—god help me in wheelchair!
"Holy fucking shit!" I freaked "You lied to me, to all lied to me! This is some kind of entrapment to get me to heal him!"
"Miss Warren, please calm down, no one tricked you into anything." Stated the man in the wheelchair as he rolled closer toward me.
"You stay right there Wheelie! Don't come any closer! Why the hell should I believe you? Ever since I escaped my crap ass worthy parents all that anyone has ever tried to do is force me into using my powers for their own personal gain!" by this time I had gotten so caught up in the heat of the moment that I was yelling into his face.
"Hey kid, back off." A gruff voice, almost a snarl, demanded of me. A calloused hand reached out to grab mine, having had enough of being touched for one day, I instinctively pulled back but this person was too fast for me and latched on.
"Let go of me!" I demanded for the millionth time, panicking, I twisted to strike at the man who held me captive but he intercepted my blow before it could land. Frightened blue eyes meant fierce, scowling brown ones.
"No! Please let go! You'll—" pure shock stopped me dead in my tracks as I realized that my hands weren't glowing symbolizing my healing ability, nor did I feel the familiar pull of my power being taken into another person.
My shock must have shown on my face for he asked, "Hey kid, are you alright?"
"You, you're, you're touching me." I explained so eloquently.
"Well when you put it that way…" he trailed off suggestively, a smirk playing at the corners of his mouth.
My glare returned full force, "Get your hands off me you dirty old man." That wiped the smirk off his face and his scowl returned. We stood there glaring at each other, my wrists still engulfed in his hands. He might be an ass, but I was secretly elated that, for once, in how many years I could touch someone without automatically healing them.
Wheelie cleared his throat causing us to break our staring contest and the man to release me.
"India, we mean you no harm, you are safe here. All we wish is to offer to help you. Storm will help you clean up after Jean gives you medical attention, then bring you to my office so we can talk." He said in a quiet, yet persuasive tone that didn't really leave any room for argument.
Sighing I surrendered to the inevitable, "Ok, fine. But I don't need medical attention if everyone would just listen." Using one of my sleeves I cleared away some of the blood on my arms and face revealing the unmarred skin underneath, eliciting gasps from the group present. "See? Everything already healed."
The ass man look dumbfounded and made to move as if to touch my face which I instinctively flinched back from.
"I ain't gonna hurtcha kid." He said in that gruff voice of his.
"Nothing personal, just instinct and I am not a child, I'm a woman, you dirty old man." I retorted to which he made to respond but was cut off by Wheelie.
"Logan. India go get cleaned up and then come to my office, Storm will help you." With that he, ass-I mean Logan, the dude in the sun glasses, Jean and Blue Boy all turned and headed towards an open elevator.
"Come with me." Said the woman that Wheelie had addressed as Storm. I followed her out of the airplane hanger and down a hallway into what looked like a locker room. Going to one of the lockers she opened it and pulled out a pair of sweat pants, a t-shirt, a zip up hoodie and a pair of flip flops. Going to a cabinet she pulled out the necessities needed for showering. Turning she handed everything to me.
"Here you go, these should all fit. The showers are right through there; take as much time as you need, I'll be waiting here for you when you get out." She directed me with a smile. Walking into the shower area I set my things on the counter that lined one wall with a mirror above it and stripped. Taking the towel, shampoo, conditioner, soap, and razor I had been given I stepped into one of the shower stalls. Setting my things down on the little bench inside and throwing my towel over the door, I turned the knob to get the water flowing. Making sure that I wasn't going to burn myself or get an ice bath, I stepped under the spray and just stood there with my forehead resting on the wall relishing in the feeling of being able to get clean for a very long time. After at least 20 minutes of just standing there, I let out a groan and set about clean myself up. The water had washed away most of the blood and the rest was taken care of no problem, I then set about my hair, releasing it from its braid. The shampoo made short work of the grim and grit that had accumulated making it seem as though I was an early grayer, and revealed the midnight raven locks underneath. After conditioning I lathered my skin with soap, clearing away the last of the blood to expose creamy mocha skin underneath making me seem to have a permanent tan, which I had inherited from my mother. I made quick work of shaving my legs, turned off the water and toweled dried. Stepping out of the shower stall I slipped on the clothes that I had been given along with the flip flops. Drying my hair as best I could with the towel I assessed my appearance in the mirror. My hair, while naturally had slight waves in it, was now forming loose ringlets framing my face due to the moisture. My skin was clear and unblemished. I had my mother's high cheek bones, full lips, hair and skin color; my eyes and nose where entirely my father's.
Exiting the shower room I spotted Storm sitting on one of the benches in the locker room.
"Feel better?" she asked.
For once I gave her a genuine smile, "Yes, much better, erm, thank you."
She smiled back at me like I had just had her a check for a thousand dollars "I'm glad to hear it. Come on, I'll take you to the professor's office now."
Following her, she lead me to the elevator that I had seen the other's use before and pushed the bottom to go up. When the door opened it revealed that we were in a carpeted hallway with wood paneling going half way up the walls, walking down a little ways we came to an area that had floor to ceiling windows. As we made our way to the professor's office we passed by several children all different ages who gave me curious looks and shy smiles which I returned with confused ones of my own.
"Where am I exactly?" I asked Storm.
"Westchester, New York. Don't worry the professor will explain." She replied while opening an oak paneled door to reveal everyone from before.
"Ah, India, welcome, why don't you have a seat" greeted the same guy in the wheelchair as before, he gestured toward a couch across from the desk he was behind which, unfortunately, also contained Logan from before. Being too tired to really care at this point I flopped down beside him.
Wheelie came out from behind his desk before he started speaking, "My name is Charles Xavier and you are at my school for gifted youngsters."
"Gifted?" I asked.
"Mutants such as yourself, everyone here has their own unique ability. Ororo is also called Storm because she can control the weather, Jean is a telepath as is myself, Kurt also called Nightcrawler is a teleporter, Scott also known as Cyclopes shoots a high powered leaser from his eyes." The professor explained.
"And what's your power then?" I asked Logan. Clenching his hand into a fist three very long and sharp blades came out with a skit, from between his knuckles. Glancing at me and looking a little disappointed that I hadn't jumped he pulled the blades back in, the skin that they had pierced quickly mended itself looking like nothing had ever happened to it.
"I heal." Was all he said.
Blinking, I said, almost to myself "Well that explains a few things." To which he gave me a curious look.
"What does that explain India?" Xavier asked.
Sighing I set about explaining, "Why I'm able to touch Logan without anything happening. You see I'm a healer as well, except for the fact that I can also heal other people as well, but there's a catch. If I come into contact with somebody, skin on skin, I automatically start healing them, I can't help it. And whatever is wrong with them I take on to myself and then my powers heal my body but for that brief moment I have whatever was wrong with the person I'm healing, whether it be a small cut or a broken bone. But if Logan is a healer himself then his power and my power cancel each other out and I don't end up healing him. It's also why I was covered in blood, whatever was wrong with blue—I mean Kurt, is fine now."
Everyone turned to look at Kurt who hunched his shoulders at the attention. "Nothingz vas wrong. Mine scares are gone." At this statement his friends crowed around to confirm it, once they were satisfied they turned back to me.
"Ah, I see, how interesting. India here at this school we help teach our students control over their powers, I can help you so that you can choose when you heal someone. That's why we were trying to talk to you, in order to offer you a place here at this school. We're aware that you have no place to go but here you can have a home." The professor explained.
Staring at him for a minute with my heart in my throat I wanted to scream yes at the top of a mountain, instead I took a deep breath and let out a long sigh, "Thank you very much for the offer, but I'm afraid that I can't except. You see, because of my ability there are a lot of people after me so that they can use it for themselves. Governments and major companies have been after me for profit. That's what I thought you were doing when you brought me here. I mean no offense but it's also why I don't want to come into contact with you, there are limits to what I can heal, and if the injury or sickness is too far gone I risk either or permanently damaging or killing myself."
"Do not worry, I understand. And India, even if you had no one after you would you stay here?"
"Yes, yes I would, I'm sick and tired, so tired, of running and always looking over my shoulder, but I could never put you or your school at risk. You've done enough—"
"India, India, you are staying here, we have the means to protect you, and to shield you so that no one bothers you. Do not worry, you are safe here and are more than welcome to stay." The professor interrupted me.
"Seriously? Really? I can stay? Knowing everything you know I can still stay?" I questioned him.
He smiled, "Yes, I'm serious and yes you can really stay, welcome home. Now, we need to get you settled in. Seeing as how you two share a similar ability I will be assigning Logan to help you get your feet under you."
"What? I'm ain't gonna be stuck with some brat!"
"I'm not a brat you dirty old man!"
"Stop calling me a dirty old man you twerp!"
"I will if you stop calling me kid or anything else that is condescending to my age, I'm 22 thank you very much!"
We sat there glaring at each other until Professor Xavier interrupted, "Well, I'll leave you two to it then. Logan why don't you show India to the spare room in the teachers wing? India I shall see you at dinner. Good day everyone." Thoroughly dismissed everyone filed out of the professors office. Once outside Logan grunted,
"This way runt." And set off down the hall.
"Dirty old man." I muttered under my breath while following him
"What was that?" he demanded.
"What was what?" I countered blinking innocently up at him to which he grunted in response. We walked on a ways before he asked,
"So you're a healer, does that effect your ageing process at all?"
Not really expecting the question I replied "Um, yes, I a little bit I think at least. I might be 22 be people still mistake me for a freshman in high school."
He huffed, "Sure that doesn't have anything to do with your maturity level?"
Instead of snapping back at him I focused my gaze straight ahead, very quietly I replied, "I've seen too much to be innocent." It was silent for a beat, I glanced up at him. He was looking back at me with understanding in his eyes. Then he had to go and ruin the moment by ruffling my hair, which I still flinched at but it was nice to be able to do little things like that without having to worry about my powers.
"Well, here we are." He said stopping in front of a door, one of several in this wing of the mansion. Pushing the door open for me, he let me discover my new home on my own. After taking in the bed, night stand with lamp and alarm clock, dresser, vanity, closet, attached bathroom, and plush carpet under foot, I turned back to him.
"My room is next door if you need anything. Dinner's at 7." With that he turned and went off down the hall closing the door behind him. Standing there a moment listening to his almost silent retreating footsteps I then turned, kicked off my flip flops and flopped down on the bed, ecstatic and its comfort. Crawling under the covers I settled down and abandoned myself to sweet sleep.