Chapter Two – Damaged upon Arrival II
They sat in the clearing surrounded by trees as the boy from another world spoke in melancholic voice of a place where mystical powers and talking animals were accepted facts of life. In their time as X-Men (or dating one, in Amanda's case) they had encountered a lot of strange things but if he was telling the truth Naruto was a whole new level of Naruto's mood was not lost on any of them the shonen fan manga fan among the three just couldn't help himself, "You're a ninja?" Kurt's golden eyes were wide as his inner anime fanboy took over, his previous fears forgotten"A real ninja?" His tail swishing back and forth clearly excited, a rubber pirate would've been cooler but Kurt was still pretty psyched.
The girls watched with raised eyebrows as the elf began pestering him various questions about ninja powers and weaponry. Naruto at first answering his questions reluctantly but relented quite easily, "Somebody has a new man crush." Kitty said in a sing song tone,
"Oh no," Amanda gasped dramatically, "who will break the news to Scott?" Kurt's admiration of the X-Men leader had a source of amusement for them and the subject lewd innuendo for others. The resulting giggle fit briefly caught the boys attention but they both seemed to talk it to something unrelated to them.
"We should step if Kurt doesn't wind down in a bit." Kitty said as she laid down on the blanket, she seemed to watching the clouds that drifted lazily overhead. One partially blocked out the sun casting a shadow over the clearing. Amanda noticed something similar happening to Kitty's demeanor, she hadn't been the same since the break up?"
"We're friends, right Kitty?" She kept her voice low as she scooted closer to Kitty,
"Yeah," She replied hoping this wasn't about what she was afraid it was, "Why?"
"What really happened between you and Lance?"
"Nothing!" The normally cheerful girl snapped, "I just finally figured what a total asshole he is!"
"Kurt told me the Professor had to beg your parents for you to be allowed back." Amanda said calmly while Kitty found herself very tempted to phase the elf's brain out of his skull,"I know Lance visited you during the summer, did...did he hit you?" She asked wondering if her parents found bruises or something. Lance had never been violent with her outside the battlefield but there was a first time for everything,
"No," she answered quietly, glancing over to the still sunny patch of the clearing she noticed Kurt was watching Naruto throw glowing plastic utensils into an oak tree. She looked back at her friend her eyes strangely guarded, "please don't tell anyone." She whispered,
"Of course," Amanda momentarily wondered what could have like this aside from abuse before her eyes went wide. She looked at Kitty's stomach,"Are you preg-"
"No!" Kitty hissed and took a quick glance at the boys who seemed oblivious. She looked back at Amanda
"Sorry, I figured you being sick was a cover for something." Kitty closed her eyes and hugged her knees close to her chest,
"I was sick,"She said quietly, "It just wasn't strep." Amanda put a hand over mouth as realization hit her and Pride's self-loathing became more apparent,
"Oh my God that pig! Kitty..." She started, "Kitty...are...you going to be okay" Amanda manged to finish,
"It was treatable," The brunette assured the other girl who let out a breath she didn't realize she had been holding, "I'm fine but my parents,"Her lower lip started quivering, "my parents are so mad," a few tears fell from her eyes,"and ashamed of me." She did manage to somewhat hold herself together as Amanda comforted her, "Everyone tried to tell me he was no good, God I was so stupid!"
Kurt had been practically bouncing around the ninja as he demonstrated more techniques. The ninja seemed to have become a little more willing to show off abilities to the eager teleporter. Naruto had started to make hand signs for one of his "jutsu" as he turned to call the girls when he noticed something was wrong. Kurt's eyes widened upon seeing Kitty wiping her eyes, "Kaztchen?" his voice filled worry yet barely above a whisper.
In a flash of smoke and brimstone he appeared by the girls, "Vhat's vrong vith her?" He asked Amanda,
"She's just not feeling good," His girlfriend said quickly, "let's just get her back to Institute." Kurt nodded and looked back at Naruto, the ninja just looked at Kitty with a blank expression, "Kurt," Amanda said getting his attention, "You can get her back to the institute faster, I'll stay and pick up the mess."Kurt nodded then turned to Kitty,
"Wait," Naruto said surprising them all, "go with your friends Amanda-san. I'll...I'll take care of this," He said gesturing to the remains of the picnic,
"Are you sure?" Amanda asked seeing what a mess it was, the ninja nodded before conjuring several copies of himself with a gesture and a phrase.
"I guess that settles it." Kurt said in a deadpan before teleporting them away leaving Naruto alone. His copies began to pick the trash while the ninja sat under a tree. He seen the tears and heard the pain in Kitty's voice but frighteningly enough it just...didn't bother him the way it once would have. Granted girls had always been hard for him to understand, mass murderers he could connect with just fine. It was however the virtual indifference he felt that was concerning but if this was all an illusion what was the point of caring?
"But what if this place is real?" He asked no one as he looked skyward, "If it's real I have no way to go home," Naruto said quietly, "If I can't get home," thoughts of Jiraiya, his parents, the Third, everyone who had given their lives for him or for Konoha. To give him a chance to create a world of peace "All that sacrifice would be in vain, completely...completely meaningless." Naruto buried his face in his hands, his breathing becoming erratic. After a moment he managed to calm down, raising his head up he seemed almost calm, "I'll talk to Kurama, we'll break the genjutsu and make it all right;" He said firmly, "we'll win the war, beat some sense into Sasuke. It won't have been for nothing, it...it can't have been for nothing."
The professor watched his prized student as she meticulously read through the files on Naruto. She had only returned this morning from her parents, Xavier hated having her do this instead of socializing with her friends. The slight widening of her eyes was the only outward indication of how strange or surprising she found the contents of that folder. It was somewhat more informative than the one he had given Scott to read but not the complete file. Besides him only Moria and Logan had access to that, and the rest of his unabridged archives that file belonged too.
He suspected Raven may have acquired her own partial copy of those records two years back during her brake in, it would explain how she had known of Wanda Maximoff. But now was not the time to ponder such things, "As you can no doubt tell the boy is lost in more ways than one," Xavier stated, "if possible I'd like you to handle Naruto's sessions from now on, to provide the guidance he needs." Jean's emotional control slipped this time,
"Me?" The redhead looked down at the files, "With all due respect sir I think I'd be out of my depth on this in more ways than one. I've taken a few courses in counseling but that's it, this is a case unlike an-" Jean stopped when Xavier raised his hand,
"You greatly underestimate your talent Jean," He then smiled cryptically, "and I have good reason to believe he'll be far more open to you than me." Seeing Jean still look hesitant the professor sighed, "Naruto resents me for keeping him confined to Muir Island, perhaps I should brought him to the Institute in the first place."
"Why didn't you sir?"
"I wanted to avoid adding culture shock to his many problems. His mind was fragile and Muir Island struck me as being a far more peaceful setting for catharsis than here." He gave a weary smile, "Even under the best of circumstances this place is seldom peaceful, added to which I found him just after the incident in New York." Jean nodded in understanding, the entire eastern seaboard had been in chaos in the wake of the "incident". The young woman closed the file and looked up at her mentor,
"I still think I'm under qualified but I'll try," She said uncertainly, her emerald eyes glanced down at the folder curiously, "The file mentioned that Naruto appears to have years worth of implanted memories?"
"Yes," Xavier said looking uncertain, "these memories are not unlike Rogue's personality fragments in terms of the damage they've done to the boy's mind." He said sadly, "I believe since the bulk of the these memories are of some manner of training I believe they may have been implanted for the purposes of increasing the lad's combat abilities with very little regard or understanding of the damage done." Jean started reading off the effects to herself,
"Weakened impulse control leading to emotional instability, erratic behavior, self-destructive tendencies, and paranoia... oh my god this poor boy." Jean said quietly,
"All this further exasperated by his other mental issues. This young man, Logan, and Rogue together represent an encyclopedia's worth of posthuman mental health problems." The professor as he maneuvered his chair to face the window of his study, "Given these and other issues I must forbid from entering the boy's mind. If for whatever reason you need to subdue him a simple psychic blast will suffice." Jean was a little confused by the cryptic order but didn't question it as she got up to leave.
In his cruelest, most cynical moments Erik couldn't help but wonder if it was almost fortunate that his beloved Magda had died giving birth to Pietro else she might have died of shame at the sight of the man he had become. Erik watched as his only son gossiped with the Acolytes like a school girl over the latest drama from Charles's apparently increasingly debauched school, "Sorry guys they're broken up for good this time," The white haired teen said excitedly, "Lance gave his little Kitty cat a working dose of throat clap." He paled momentarily dimming his gleeful expression, "that voice mail she left our machine was actually pretty freaky. I think she hangs out with Wolverine to much," He muttered before turning back to the others with his hand extended, "Anyways I won the bet, pay up!"
Watching his son and his elite Acolytes find both amusement and profit in the heartache of a young woman almost shook his faith in his belief of mutant superiority. Most of his follows were mercenaries rather than genuine followers of his ideology, should he come across younger recruits he would make a point of molding them the way Charles had with his followers. His old friend had created a cult of personality Joseph Stalin would've envied, he almost pitied the X-Men.
"Father?" Pietro's tone was respectful as he addressed his father, Eric's dark green eyes focused on the boy,
"Are you through gossiping?" He asked his son dryly, conveying some disappointment. The young speedster seemed a little embarrassed,
"Yes sir, sorry," Pietro said, "hearing about the X-Geek's love lives is really the only thing they have for entertainment. Do you ever think about getting cable or something?" Erik blinked,
"If it diverts them away from this disturbing fixation I will strongly consider it. I certainly hope you show far respect to the young women you are involved with then that imbecilic friend of yours."
"Yeah...totally." Pietro said not looking his old man in the eye, "So what's this about dad?" he asked eager to change the subject, without speaking Erik turned around and pushed a button on the console,
"Joanna? I need you to come here please."
"Yes sir." A strong female voice answered, Peitro raised a curious eyebrow,
"My son, I would strongly advise you to behave yourself." Before Pietro could respond the doors to main area opened and in walked a formidable looking nineteen year old African American woman. In the absence of an expression that clearly said "Don't fuck with me bitch" Pietro would have found her black leather clad well-toned figure very attractive. She looked at him clearly not impressed,
"This your boy sir?"
"Yes," Looking at "his boy" Erik said, "Pietro I'd like to introduce to Joanna Cargill who's mutant name is Frenzy. She will be providing your team much needed training," Eric mentally readied himself for the incoming hissy fit, "and leadership."
"WHAT!?" The speedster said sound simultaneously hurt and indignant, "What's wrong with the job I've doing."
"Everything!" His father's tone quelled any desire to voice further dissent, "Chief among them was failing to inform me of your sister's...relapse." Frenzy raised an eyebrow but said nothing, "Her defection to SHIELD's superhuman strike team is potentially disastrous for the entirety of our cause!" Pietro hung his head low so his father wouldn't see his tears; Wanda was probably one of the few people he truly cared about more than himself. The other continued to chew him out, "I've gave you command of the Brotherhood in the hopes you would learn a modicum of responsibility but you instead handled it with an ineptitude that shames me!" Eric sat quietly for a moment to compose himself before speaking again, "This isn't a game my son," His tone softer than before, "Apocalypse and the incident in New York have changed things. It is no longer Charles's overly pious children you risk provoking with such actions. Do you understand?"
"Yes father," Pietro said quietly, "I do."
"Good," He said and turned back towards the various monitors, "I will be sending Frenzy over in three days, I suggest you and your friends prepare yourselves. I have very good reason to believe the war will soon be upon us." Eric said as he pulled up a video of a man who looked to be in fifties who appeared to be giving a speech. With his combed back grey hair and charming smile the man had a grandfatherly look to him. Yet in his pale blue eyes Magneto saw a glimmer of madness he had not scene in decades, "Very soon."
AN: The next chapter will be mostly focus back on Naruto, in this I wanted to show what had been happening with the evo characters since Apocalypse. Oh and an imaginary cookie for the reviewer to figure out the identity of the man at the end there, please review and peace out!