Disclaimer: To be honest I dunno if I need one with this. There's no Marvel characters, although the premise of 'mutants' is a Marvel thang so if you wanna sue me for that then get in line… Feedback would be greatly appreciated – bless your little cotton socks – and (constructive) criticism is always a useful thing.

Double Trouble

It's difficult to explain; it's impossible to experience for yourself unless you've been born like that and if you haven't, then you never can…

Sometimes it's random and at other times it's inherited through the genes of the parents, it might even skip a generation or two but it always rears its head.

From the first moment you become conscious of things around you and you begin to understand the roles that they will play in your, gradually emerging, life. It becomes clear that this is the most important part you will ever know.

Some children have imaginary friends while they grow up, people that are always around and always there to either fight with or fight for, someone who knows them better than they know themselves. Theirs was only imaginary, but I had a real flesh-and-bone one.

You just can't understand what it's like to be a twin.

Oh yeah, and I'm the eldest…

I was with him - Richard that is - when he first manifested his mutant powers and, in the process, saved my life. We were thirteen and, like any other pair of puberty-hitting teenagers, our mother could only take so much before she would reach the end of her tether and shoo us down to the park at the end of our street for some 'fresh air'.

Across the playing fields and through a few fences – clearly signed 'Keep Out' – there was a river that was well known by our circle of friends and it was here where we would all meet up and cough our way through a cigarette in a futile attempt to impress the girls. This time, however, there was no one else there. We were all alone.

Someone, certainly none of the people that I knew, had managed to climb up a giant old oak tree and tied a swing on one of the branches that crossed from one side of the river, to the other. The big thing at the time was to swing on the rope as hard as you could and then jump off onto the other side of the river; I hated it.

I didn't like heights and there wasn't a chance in hell that I'd try, what I considered to be, an accident waiting to happen. Richard, on the other hand, enjoyed it quite a bit and every time he did it, he scared the shit out of me. I'm certain he only did it to piss me off…

So Dick (as I affectionately refer to him) was goading me with this fact that day, swinging to and fro over the river with reckless abandon.

***

"Come on you big girl have a go, it's perfectly safe!" Richard shouted while swinging over the river, pushing as hard as he could every time he hit the near side and swinging out again. His brother sat by the edge, refusing to watch and searching the ground for flat stones to skim across the water.

Mark didn't even glance over to look, "No way are you getting me on that thing, I'd sooner smell your sock drawer."

"Ah, you know you want to really."

"I wouldn't hold your breath, actually thinking about it…"

Tired from the pushing, Richard jumped off the swing and landed on the ground next to his brother. "I'll give you two weeks of pocket money if you get to the other side."

"No."

"Three weeks?"

"Sod off."

"Aw, come on! It's easy, you can ride a bike yeah?"

"Better than you…"

"Well it's as easy as that!"

Mark just ignored him and went to get up and resume his search, thoroughly bored with the whole conversation, What in the world, he thought, Could he possibly offer me?

"I'll do two weeks worth of washing up?" Came a desperate offer from behind.

Mark hesitated, he truly hated heights but he absolutely detested washing up.

"…"

"Mark?"

"Ok, but three weeks or no deal."

"Three weeks?! You're not the only one that hates it you know."

"Take it or leave it."

By now the two boys were standing face-to-face, both unwilling to budge an inch but Richard, knowing that he was the on wrong side, eventually gave in. "Two and a half, no more."

Mark smiled, "Done!" He would have happily done it for just the two but it seemed almost par for the course to squeeze as much as he could out of his brother.

With the negotiations sorted Richard moved to one side and motioned theatrically with his arm towards the object in question. Mark strolled up to the swing with as much confidence as he could muster and, not willing to blindly trust the robustness of the swing just yet, grabbed hold of either side of the branch and pushed out softly with his legs. It easily held his weight and he could feel a sigh of relief escape him as he drifted back towards the near edge.

"See, it's not that hard after all!" Richard called out to him smugly while getting a grip on the trunk of the tree, hauling himself on to the lowest branch and clambering up to his favoured position higher up in the foliage.

Mark would usually chastise his brother for being in the right but he was too glad to be back on solid ground to get into another pointlessly abusive debate about who was the biggest idiot. "Yeah, yeah, fine." He replied grudgingly, a slight smile betraying his enjoyment of the adrenalin rush. "Well I've done it now so that's three weeks of washing up you owe me."

"Not for that sad attempt," Richard replied matter-of-factly, swinging his legs to and fro from the branch above. "This agreement was for you reaching the other side of the river, not making some namby-pamby effort like that."

Mark had to give him that. But he didn't feel too bad about it, his first go had actually been quite fun – apart from the initial, spoil your underpants, moment, and his, usually dormant, adventurous side was secretly looking forward to finding out what he had been missing out on for all of this time. "You wanna see how it's really done eh?" He asked mockingly, grabbing hold of the swing again and hurling himself across the river at an almighty pace, the only thing wrong was his timing. Letting go of the swing far too early, Mark only realised his mistake when he heard his brother shouting at him and the edge of the river bank flashing past in a blur, before he fell into the swollen river beneath him and hit the bottom hard, knocking himself unconscious.

Richard could only shout out a warning as he watched his brother tumble from the swing and splash heavily into the waiting water below. Without thinking, he tried to get down from his position in the tree too fast, lost his footing and tumbled through the branches towards the ground. He attempted to roll with the impact but landed heavily on his ankle and fell to the floor, crying out in pain.

Nursing his injured foot, Richard searched the river for his brother and spotted him floating away on his back, not moving at all. "Mark!" He shouted out, trying to get to his feet but failing miserably. Falling back down to the ground and watching with anguish as his unconscious brother was carried further away from him Richard did the only thing he could do. He reached out with his mind.

Suddenly, he could feel himself pulling at Mark's body, seemingly willing it to move towards him with his thoughts. The entire sensation was like nothing he had ever felt before, as though something in his brain had suddenly 'switched on' giving him abilities he had never dreamt of. Richard gritted his teeth against the rising pain in his head and ankle, concentrated as much as he could on that feeling and saw his brother gradually lift out of the water and float back to him on the shore.

"Mark!" Richard shouted as the comatose figure landed beside him, not wanting to think about what had just happened until he knew his brother was all right. "MARK! Come on, wake up!" He repeated desperately, tilting his head back and opening his mouth to check for anything blocking his airways.

Mark suddenly opened his eyes and sat up with a jolt, coughing and wheezing the water out of his lungs.

"OH Jesus, what the hell happened?" Mark spluttered out, pausing to dry retch one last time. "One moment I'm falling through the air and the next thing I know, I'm waking up beside the river." He said, gradually getting his bearings and taking a moment to take in the speed of the current in the river. "You must have had one hell of a time pulling me out."

"Oh, not really." Richard replied, nursing his injured ankle, pain apparent in his voice.

"Rich?" Mark said, turning to face his brother and seeing him holding his foot, "You alright?"

An, almost, maniacal laugh escaped from him before he could stop himself. "Well, apart from thinking you were going to die, the fact that I pulled you out of the river without touching or being anywhere near you and that I think I've seriously buggered up my ankle, I'm just peachy cheers."

"What do you mean pulled me out of the water without touching me?" Mark asked his curiosity piqued. "That's impossible."

Richard hesitated, "I don't know… Look, I've had about enough of this place," He replied, trying to change the subject. He started to rise, but put too much weight on his injured leg and fell to the floor with a curse. He gave his brother a wry smile, "What say you give me a hand getting home and we can get this ankle sorted out?"

Mark stopped him with a hand on his shoulder and looked into his twin brother's eyes, surprised when Richard refused to meet them. "Don't give me that crap Rich, what the hell happened?"

What had happened? The question raced through Richard's mind as he sat by his brother. A feeling of utter incomprehension took over as he tried to reason with the logical part of his mind that was screaming at him that what had just happened wasn't possible.

"I-I just couldn't get to you," He finally stammered out, not really addressing anyone with the words, as if he was speaking to himself as much as his brother. "I could see you floating down the river in God knows what kind of condition but I couldn't get to you, couldn't get to you…"

A sudden blow to Richard's arm brought him back to reality with a bang. "Hey!" Mark said forcefully, becoming increasingly both annoyed and concerned enough to start the familiar feelings of wanting to give his twin a sound beating. "Earth to Dick, let's not space out on me any more eh? You're starting to worry me here, well you already have me worried with this whole 'saving my arse by not touching it' thing going on but now this is getting downright weird."

Richard looked at his brother and gave a weary smile. "Do you know how funny you are when you start babbling like that?" He said, trying to inject a little light-hearted relief in the unbearably tense conversation.

Mark returned the smile, "Yeah well, at least it's only when I babble and not when I speak generally."

"You're just jealous that I can sweet talk all the girls while you have to rely on your, admittedly lousy, looks."

The friendly/abusive banter was easy for the two brothers to move into, having been the major form of communication between them for most of their lives. Mark used the opportunity to move closer to Richard and force his elder brother to face him. Whatever Rich was feeling, he was trying hard to hide behind an expression of nonchalance but Mark knew his brother too well and could see the traces of inner turmoil raging behind his eyes.

"Tell me." He said softly, refusing to let his brother break away from eye contact.

For what seemed like an eternity, David couldn't speak, couldn't find the words to describe what he had done, what he had felt, what he had become.

"I fell on my ankle and couldn't get up, couldn't reach you." He said slowly, forcing himself to talk, anything but the silence… "And then something happened, I felt your body in my mind - like I could hold it in some imaginary, giant hand - and I lifted you out of the water and back onto the shore. I know, it's sounds mad," He continued, "But that's what happened, I-I can't explain it." Richard turned towards his brother to see a mixture of concern and questioning on his face. "What?" He asked hesitantly.

There was a long silence, as Mark seemed to consider his thoughts. "Telekinesis." He said softly.

"W-what do you mean?"

"That's what you did, telekinesis, to move things with the power of the mind."

"Is this another one of those Internet things again?"

"You know what I mean," Mark replied, annoyed at his brother's attempts to change the subject again. "Their all over the TV, mostly in America I think but there's people like that here as well."

"People like what? Do you mean a, mu, mut.."

"Mutant."

It's amazing how one word can break down the barriers of denial.

"… I'm a mutant," Richard said despondently, hanging his head in disbelief at the thought. "I can't believe it, a fucking mutant…" He whispered, almost to himself.

Richard faced his brother nervously, expecting to find an expression of rage and revulsion; all he got for his troubles was a face full of compassion and understanding.

"And?" Mark asked, picking up on his brother's thoughts and giving him a reassuring smile, "You're my brother, you saved my life, at the moment I'm really quite grateful that you're a mutant, you pillock." He added teasingly.

Richard visibly relaxed, "But what are we gonna do? What are we gonna tell Mum? What will everyone think?" He said nervously as he shuddered at the thought of what some people might think of it. Although he was in no way as interested in that stuff as his twin, he had heard plenty of news reports of violence towards *us* mutants and didn't want to be involved in anything like that if he could avoid it.

"We do nothing." Mark replied calmly. "We tell no-one. God knows what some people might do if they found out," He continued. "We'll just say to Mum that you fell while chasing me in the park or something, won't be that hard, it's not as if it'll be the first time we have to lie about where we picked up a knock."

"But what if it happens again when someone else is about?" Richard replied, very keen on the whole 'don't tell anyone' idea but unsure as to how likely it was going to be to keep something like this a secret for too long.

Mark thought for a moment. "Well, there maybe something on the Internet we can use somewhere, can you do anything now?" He said looking around for something to use for the experiment. He spotted a log, not far away, that looked like an ideal candidate. "See if you can move that log over there."

Richard swallowed nervously, "O-ok no time like the present eh?" He said and focused on the branch, trying to bring back the particular feeling in his mind. Nothing.

Mark waited for something to happen, secretly fascinated at seeing what his brother could do, and watched as Richard screwed his face up into one of intense concentration but nothing happened for a good while and impatience got the better of him. "Rich?"

"Nothing's happening," He replied, agitated.

"Maybe it's like meditating," Mark ventured. "Try to relax, just let it flow."

Rich nodded. "Alright, I'll try." He said and took a few deep breaths, trying to slow down his heart a little, which was currently threatening to explode out of his chest. Feeling himself settle down a bit, he returned his attention to the log and tried again, but still nothing happened. "Shit," He muttered, "I can't do it."

"You don't feel anything at all?" Mark asked.

"No, not like what I felt when I picked you up."

"Maybe that's the problem," Mark thought aloud. "Maybe you need to be scared, or worried, or pissed off to get it to work."

"Oh that's useful," Richard replied snappily, not taking his eyes off of the log but feeling increasingly frustrated at his inability to perform the feat again.

Mark raised an eyebrow at his brother's reaction and a thought occurred to him. "Well, I can't help you if you're not even going to help yourself." He said, trying to provoke a response in his twin.

Richard's eyes widened in shock and anger at the accusation and began to retort.

"Sod off you bas..."

He was interrupted when the log suddenly leapt up into the air beside them and hovered in the air as they both watched on; mesmerized by a flying stick.

"Bloody 'ell," Mark whispered, "That's pretty fucking cool."

Richard smiled at the comment and began to feel just slightly less mortified at the thought that he was causing this to happen. The pain in his head was beginning to rise but he was too concerned with keeping the log aloft to worry about that. He closed his eyes and immediately saw the log in his mind; losing himself in the rich mixture of sensations he was experiencing. He could feel the thickness of it, the surface of the wood, it's imperfections and it's weaknesses.

Concentrating on one of the larger weak spots he attempted to increase the pressure surrounding it and break the log.

"R-Rich?" Mark called out hesitantly; watching from the sidelines, as his brother seemed to fall into a kind of trance and the branch became bathed in a silver-bluish glow. It began to rock about, gently at first but gradually more violently until the whole thing blew apart and showered the two in fragments of wood.

"Jesus!" He exclaimed, raising an arm to protect him as the splinters rained down on him. "What the hell was that?"

Richard opened his eyes with a shudder, seeing the log in pieces all around him he looked up slowly towards Mark, a mixture of awe and fear in his expression. "Whoa," He said softly, a wry smile betraying his sense of wonder at what he had just done.

Mark brushed himself off and returned his brother's smile. "Well, that's pretty fucked up isn't it really?" He said sarcastically, getting to his feet and wiping the remaining pieces of wood off of his trousers. He put his hands on his hips and looked down at the, still sitting, Richard, "If you've had quite enough fun scaring the shit out of me," He carried on in the same sardonic manner, "I think I'd quite like to go home and have my heart attack in peace thank you very much."

Richard just sat there and stared into space, not seeming to make any reaction to his brother's remark's until he finally muttered an agreement and silently followed his brother towards their home, lost in his own thoughts.

Good? Bad? What the hell am I doing subjecting you to such a tirade of bollocks? Let me know!