Disclaimer: This is a fan work created at no profit and for entertainment purposes only. The author acknowledges that Teen Titans and related characters are property of Warner Entertainment.
X-men RE; Book 1: REset
Chapter 1: Welcome to the Institute
"The Institute was founded ten years ago by Charles Xavier, his wife Moira and their colleague, Erik Lensherr." The dark haired woman leading the orientation tour continued on, gesturing in an animated fashion and speaking in a tone better suited to describing roller coasters or pristine hiking trails instead of a stuffy old mansion-turned-campus.
Cessily Kincaid did her best not to look bored for the woman's sake, but her mind was starting to wonder. Wasn't this all in the brochure?
"Unfortunately, Moira passed away two years ago, and Professor Xavier felt it best to step back from running the school after that. Luckily for the student body, he is still on staff as a guidance counselor and we still have Headmaster Lensherr with us. And this year, we have a new director of student life, Miss Emma Frost."
Cessily zoned out entirely. Yes, this was all in the brochure. Now feeling no obligation to listen, she started studying her surroundings. One of the advantage she'd come to accept about her particular mutation was that if she didn't move her head, it was impossible to tell where her eyes were looking.
But she would never admit that. No matter what amazing things she could do now, she could only fixate on how she used to be a pretty girl, a cheerleader with a real shot at making head cheerleader this school year. Instead, just before the JV finals, she woke up and turned into a blob of liquid metal. A blob which, most of the time was shaped like a pretty cheerleader and inexplicably kept her red hair, but she focused more on the 'blob' than the 'pretty'.
She wasn't dwelling on that now though. Despite the surroundings being stuffy, her fellow students weren't. There was a kid standing beside her on her right that looked like a seven foot tall rock pile. Every time he moved, it was accompanied by the sound of gravel grinding and small tendrils of grit trickling from his joints. Just in front of her, there was a girl with pink hair and honest to god fairy wings whispering back and forth with a humanoid porcupine.
Not everyone had an obvious mutation. There was one really cute guy standing off to the side with his arms folded as if to say he wasn't actually part of the group. Nice clothes, slick hair and he was definitely rocking the bad boy routine. She almost turned her head to get a better look.
She glanced back at the tour guide as she led them across the courtyard to the residence hall. Yep, still reciting from the brochure. Why even bother printing them if they were going to be repeated verbatim? It was a shame, really; Cessily had been hoping that the tour would be lead by one of the world famous X-men, like Wolverine or Storm, or Shadowcat instead of this Katherine Pryde woman, who was so dull that dishwater would change the channel when she was on.
Suppressing a giggle at her own joke had the unfortunate side effect of making her snort, which thanks to her metallic biology came out and a quick, shrill flute noise. Mortified, she cringed as a few of the other students looked in her direction.
It was a tense couple of seconds, but she sighed with relief when it seemed that everyone chose to ignore it.
"Did you do that?"
Everyone except the giant rock guy, whose attempt at whispering failed so spectacularly that Cessily expected an explosion. The explosion would have been quieter.
She cringed anew and nodded. "Yeah, sorry." Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Ms. Pryde eying them. Probably labeling them as trouble makers for the rest of the year.
Someone snickered and Cessily looked to find a brown haired girl pointing at her while whispering to a slightly older boy with white hair.
They distracted Ms. Pryde from Cessily. "Wanda, Pietro, you two know the grounds already, why are you even on the tour?"
"What?" The boy asked, talking fast and with a hint of an accent, "We're technically first years and this tour's for first years, right? So I say we should be part of the tour. But more important, Teach, Lorna's never been and we're not about to let her wander around her alone on her first day. She's our baby sister after all."
He jerked his thumb at a girl with green hair who was standing far enough away from them that she might as well have been alone. She shrank at the attention as if I physically burned her. Green bangs fell to hide her face as she became suddenly interested in the ground.
Ms. Pryde sighed. "Be that as if may, we only have a little bit of the tour left, so if we can all refrain from being rude just a little longer, that would be great. Somewhere in that 'all', Cessily thought the teacher looked directly at her. Maybe she wasn't as saved as she thought.
As the tour started up again, Cessily looked around the courtyard. Some of the other students, those who were already enrolled, were out and about. A boy a little younger than her, probably fourteen or fifteen, was playing guitar under a tree with his bright, red wings fluffed out behind him. He'd gathered a small audience, mostly of girls, one of whom was wearing a burqua.
Further away, a blonde woman and three girls were making their way up from the parking lot. All three were carrying shopping bags and the three girls, all blondes themselves and of the same height, were strung out behind the woman like duckling following their mother.
There was also a Frisbee game in progress, but she couldn't see anything clearly different in the players beyond one of them being enormous both in height and girth.
And to think, just two weeks ago, she'd never met another mutant in person. She wished her parents could see it. Maybe then they'd understand that it wasn't such a rare and terrible thing. If only they had come with instead of helping her pack and putting her in a cab to the airport.
The procession of new students arrived at the residence hall. According to Ms. Pride, by way of the brochure, it was the original Xavier mansion, before the semi-attached academic wing and powers training center were constructed. It looked the part; a stately three story affair with a stone patio that took up most of the front. A ramp ran up to the tall double doors with stairs on either side, decorated with planters exhibiting a riot of colorful flowers.
At the top of the ramp were two figures; a bald man in wheelchair and another man in a suit that looked too larger for him. As the group drew closer, Cessily saw why: the second man was wearing articulated metal armor underneath the suit that left only his head and hands uncovered.
She didn't even need to recall the brochure to know that these were Professor Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr, better known to the world at large as the founders and leaders of the X-men: Professor X and Magneto.
Ms. Pryde smiled brightly up at them and bought the group to a halt just up the stairs. She stepped aside and gestured grandly to the two men. "Before you all get to see your new rooms, I'd like you all to meet the men that made this all possible" Professor Charles Xavier and Dr. Erik Lensherr."
Cessily didn't remember him being a 'doctor' before, but her understanding of the Institute and the X-men were limited to the brochure and what was said in the media—and the media wasn't in favor of either.
"Good afternoon, everyone." Professor Xavier began. He looked good for being in his seventies and was in better shape then she expected a wheelchair bound geriatric to be. "It's good to see you all here, the newest generation to take part in my dream of a better world for all mutants. I understand that many of you have not lived the most happy or comfortable lives,"
Behind Cessily, someone huffed petulantly. She pretended to adjust her stance on the stairs to see who and found another girl with pink hair, a hotter shade than the butterfly girl's. Shards of bone poked through the skin around the orbit of her left eye and from her forehead. She had the look of someone who wasn't exactly there on their own volition and gave Cessily an evil glare when she caught her staring.
Cessily quickly looked away and paid attention to the Professor again.
"...and I understand that you may have been hurt, exploited or abandoned in your short, but difficult lives."
Close enough, Cessily thought. She tried not to be bitter. All in all, her parents becoming more distant from her was better than them kicking her out of the house or outright attacking her like she heard happened to other young mutants. That didn't make it hurt less. She caught her shoulders dropping, which for her meant that they were starting to ooze out of her sleeves and mustered her will to square them again. Things were changing. Life would be better here.
"But I want you to know that now that you are part of this school, I will personally do everything in my power not only to protect you from those who seek to do you harm, but to teach you how to have an active hand in changing out world into one where baseline humans and those of us who harbor the X-gene can live side by side in peace, prosperity and brotherhood."
"Indeed." Where the Professor's voice was kind and mild, Dr. Lensherr's was deep, rich and powerful; untouched by his advanced age. Some of the students actually flinched when he broke in. His expression at that was one of controlled satisfaction.
"Ah, forgive my appearance children. Certain health concerns have recently necessitated that I do something to reduce strain on my joints and bones. Luckily, my powers provide me with a unique means of effecting this: the armor that you see is an exoskeleton, held together by my command of magnetism. It allows me to use my mutant abilities rather than the waning strength of my muscle and bones to support myself and to move."
There was a noise like a generator surging and Dr. Lensherr levitated into the air three feet. "As you can see, it comes with some fringe benefits as well. In addition to normal school subject and our unique social program which Charles alluded to, you will also learn to harness your powers in new and amazing ways, much like I have." He lowered himself to the patio again. "Do not think that name 'homo superior' is something you are. It is something you earn. This place will teach you how."
Professor Xavier chuckled uncomfortably. "Though we prefer not to use that term." He cleared his throat. "In any event, welcome to the Xavier Institute of Higher Learning. We will not detain you any longer, as once you are settled in your rooms, we will have time to properly introduce you to the school as part of the orientation assembly at three o'clock."
He rolled his chair to the side so as to allow everyone entry into the building. "I look forward to getting to know you all much better during your stay here."
"Thank you Professor, Dr. Lensherr." said Ms. Pryde. "Come along everyone. Your RA's are just inside with your room assignments."
AN: X-men RE is a re-imagining of the X-men series from the top down, following in the spirit of X-men: Evolution. The first book, REset is a primer on the new universe that puts all of the various plans in motion and the players on the field. I've messed with ages, origins and in some cases, even powers to keep the spirit of the series alive while opening up chances to surprise the audience. I hope everyone enjoys it.
A lot of people are going to be wondering what this is and why I haven't started on my What Grows in Deception sequel (a Teen Titans fic). This is something that came to me out of nowhere that I think will be quite good if I manage to maintain it.
Finally, for anyone who enjoys my work, I also write an original superhero websrial: The Descendants, linked in my profile.