As it turns out, I'm a horrible person and accept your hate for the long unintentional hiatus. But I'm back now.
Sadly, I now revoke my promise of a chapter every two weeks, because school just started, and marching season started, and yeah. That doesn't mean I won't try to get chapters out to you as fast as I can, it just means you'll probably have to wait longer. Sorry. I know. I suck. I don't deserve your love.
I go through reading-writing phases. I'm in the middle of a reading phase, and I just discovered the beauty that is Sterek (Seriously, my OTP of all OTPs.) I'm not even kidding, I have read so many Teen Wolf Sterek fics when I should have been writing; it's making me worry. I have a problem. It's bad. But oh well, I'm back now. I killed my Writer's Block and I'm here to stay.
I love you all and please don't kill me.
I shuffle into the kitchen, half dead. I don't need a mirror to tell me my hair looks like crap. Strands keep falling from the lazy bun into my face. The sweats Ginger let me borrow are too long and drag on the floor. The sweater is huge, so I'm guessing it wasn't hers to begin with. The collar keeps falling off my shoulder no matter how many times I keep pulling it back up.
I've been cold a lot lately. It kinda worries me because some of the braver kids are still wearing shorts.
Claws is waiting, like he always is, and when I plop down at the counter, he sets a plate of food in front of me. It still smokes. Or steams. Whatever the hell food does when it's hot.
We don't say anything about my outburst from yesterday. He doesn't apologize and I don't demand an apology. Even though I totally should, that asshole. He doesn't mention how I didn't eat almost anything yesterday and I don't mention how looking at the food in front of me makes me want to puke.
Maybe I should, but I don't.
"Hey, Claws," I start, not looking up from the scrambled eggs and potatoes I poke at. He grunts, shows that he's listening. At least he isn't ignoring me like I thought he would. "I was wondering…" I trail off. He glances back at me, expression guarded. I clear my throat. Gawd, since when can I not talk to Claws? "Um, Ginger and X have mentioned…" He arches a brow at that. I glare at my breakfast, as if it's the reason I can't find my words.
"You feeling okay, Boots?" he demands gruffly. Huh. He still cares. Or maybe it's just because he feels the need to be a responsible adult. What a shocker that'd be.
"I'm fine," I snap. The answer is automatic, only a bit harsher than I intended. He stares at me for a second before setting down the pan he was washing. I glance up at him, watch him cross his arms before turning my attention back to my food.
"Alright, what's up?" he demands. "And it mus' be somethin' big if ya gone and lost your voice."
I shoot him a look. I don't know what I expected to see, bit it definitely isn't the concern that's staring back at me. I let out an annoyed huff. I can do this. I am a BAFM and I should be able to start a conversation with this stupid concerned eyed feral jerk.
"They mentioned that, um, that… you'relikeme." It comes out in a quiet rush. Claws frowns. "Er, that you were like me, I guess," I add as an afterthought. He looks confused. Good Gawd, do I have to fucking spell it out for him? I throw my hands up in the air. "Fuck it! They said that you lost your memories too," I snap angrily, my patience wearing thin. He goes tense and for a second I can't help but think I crossed some sort of line. Do they not talk about this stuff around him? Is it a touchy subject or something? I hope not.
I don't like not being able to talk to him.
Finally, after a five years and a day, he speaks. Okay, more like five seconds, but whatever.
"Yeah, oh." I look at him. His face is expressionless. I crinkle my nose and push my plate away. "Look, I was just wondering, I really don't care either way." It's a lie, and I'm pretty sure he knows. I wonder if he can smell lies, like they do in werewolf movies and books. Or hear them, like with the whole heartbeat thing.
I'll have to ask him later.
He sighs and steps up. He reaches up and pushed the plate back in front of me. "Eat your food, Boots. You didn't eat any yesterday."
I make a face, but start eating anyway. My stomach rolls. I wonder if I turn green.
Hehehe. I'll get you, my pretty. And your little dog too.
Where the balls did that come from?
"And yeah." I look up at Claws. He looks thoughtful. "I'm like you." I open my mouth to ask him about it, but he just raises his hand. I glare at him. He just gives a low warning growl. Jerk. "We'll talk 'bout it after your classes."
I drop my head, barely missing the plate. "I don't wanna go to class. Can't I just play sick? I look the part already." Claws just grunts as he goes back to finish the dishes. "Everyone stares at me," I add, picking up my head.
He snorts. The tard. "I wonder why?"
"Obviously they're all jealous of my ninja-like reflexes and kick ass skills," I deadpan. "Also they fear for their lives, which they should," I add with a grin.
"Eat your food, kid."
"And I am now eating my food."
He doesn't say anything, but I'm pretty sure I just saw a smirk.
"I see you and Logan are speaking again."
Hawthorne glances up at Professor Xavier; her face flushing red in what he can only guess is embarrassment. He offers her a soft smile. She throws herself back into the chair bringing her hands to her face.
"Gah, it was that obvious he pissed me off? It was, like, one day!"
Xavier chuckles quietly. "Would you like to talk about why you were upset with him?" The girl crinkles her nose and stays quiet for a moment. The Professor takes the time to study her. She doesn't look much better than when she first came in, and this worries him. She's small in the clothes borrowed from Jean and Scott, frail looking. It's almost impossible to believe that this was the girl who destroyed those training bots in the Danger Room. Any color she was regaining in her time at the school has faded, and the darkness under her eyes has returned, only more noticeable.
"Pardon my French, but he was being a bipolar asshole," she says hotly. "And I never really said I forgave him. I'm just tolerating him again. Because he's a dick and I hate him."
Xavier frowns at that and gives the girl a knowing look. "Do you really now?"
Hawthorne's look falters. Her eyes fall to her lap and she starts tracing her scars on her hands. She does that a lot, Xavier notices, when she doesn't want to talk about something, or if it's hard to get out.
Hawthorne lets out a frustrated huff. "Okay, so maybe it's just a strong dislike, but still, it doesn't matter either way. No offense, and I don't want to come off as a, a," she struggles to find the right word for her thoughts. "A user," she decides finally, "but as soon as I find out what the hell happened to me, I'm gone."
"Gone?" The Professor's tone is alarmed. If Hawthorne hears it, she doesn't point it out.
"Gone. Outta here, no longer a student," she elaborates. "There's no point in staying here, I'll just be taking up space. I know how to control my powers. I know how to take care of myself, how to protect myself. There isn't much the big bad world can throw at me that I can't handle, if my body is anything to go by." She pauses to breathe. "I don't belong here anyway."
"Kids here are scared of me. Rogue and Bobby don't look at me the same way anymore. Claws was pissed that I "showed off" my scars, and now everyone thinks I'm sort of psychopath, and I'm not sure if I can prove them wrong." Her voice shakes a bit. She looks angry with herself. "Do you really want someone here like that?"
"Hawthorne, you will always be welcome here." Xavier's tone is sure and strong, and the girl looks up in surprise. "You are not the first Mutant to come here thinking that, and unfortunately I feel that you will not be the last." He sighs. "That being said, if you do choose to leave, we can't do anything to make you stay. It is your choice, and your choice alone."
Hawthorne didn't look up at that. She stays quiet.
"Would you like to talk about something else now?" he asks softly. Hawthorne nods once.
Xavier nods, studying the girl. "How are you sleeping? You look rather tired."
Hawthorne scoffs, but Xavier catches how her hands clench into fists. "Tired. You can say that." She crinkles her nose. "I, uh, I have these dreams." Her hands start shaking and she clenches her jaw. "If you call them that."
"Dreams? For how long?"
"I've had them since I woke up the first time, but they've gotten worse after we started this," she says quietly. "And sometimes I can't remember what they are, but when I wake up I just know that they're important, that they can help me understand and it's just so frustrating!" She brings up a hand and tugs it through her hair. "It's, like, I'm drowning and I know what I need to know is just above the surface, but I just can't reach it and it's driving me crazy."
Her voice cracks and she takes a breath.
"And then sometimes I do remember them when I wake up, and all they do is drag me down further under the water. And I don't know if I really want to remember anymore."
"And what are these dreams that you remember, if you don't mind me asking?"
Hawthorne takes a breath. "People always get hurt." She lowers her voice and Xavier almost doesn't catch what she says. "And sometimes I'm the one hurting them."
She wakes to a soft voice and a hand playing with her hair. She opens her eyes to see a kind face looking down at her. She closes her eyes and just listens. She doesn't recognize the song, but then again, she never understands anything the boy does.
"Why are you here?" she finally asks. The boy pauses his singing and when she opens her eyes again, he's giving her a confused look.
"You collapsed in training," he says, and then suddenly he's angry. "Those idiots, how can they make you continue when you've been on the Field for three days?"
"It's expected," the girl says simply.
"You shouldn't say that." She pauses. "And you shouldn't be here. They won't be happy."
He looks down at her, scarred brow raised. "Do you want me to leave?"
She looks up at him, and if he catches the panic in her eyes, he doesn't say anything. Instead he offers a soft smile and goes back to playing with her hair. "What was that song?" she asks quietly.
"I can't remember," is the reply. "Just that it's by a band called Hawthorne Heights."* The girl hums, only to still at the boy's next words. "Do you ever want out of here?"
"You should shut up," she says sternly. "They'll get mad. Besides, what would I do out of here by myself?"
"You wouldn't be alone. I'd be with you. I can still remember it sometimes. I would take care of you."
The girl smirks. "You can barely take care of yourself."
"Shut up and listen to my beautiful voice."
And she did. Because she had him taking care of her.
I woke to a damp pillow, a racing heart, a blank mind, and an empty feeling in my gut. The room was still dark, so it had to be way to early to even think about getting up for classes. I wasn't going back to sleep anytime soon, which is why I am now standing at the kitchen door, staring at the sliver of light coming from under the door.
Fuck it. Worst thing that can happen is detention.
I push open the door and walk in, ignoring the figure sitting at the table. Instead I head straight for the island and sit at the stool, dropping my head in my arms.
"What're ya doin' down here?"
"Demands the teacher currently destroying a bottle of Jack on a school night," I deadpan, picking up my head and turning to see Claws glaring at me.
"I can't get drunk."
"Yet here you sit trying."
We stare at each other, neither of us admitting to being in the wrong. Something flashes in Claws's eyes for a split second before he closes them and breathes in through his nose.
Holy shit, is he actually scenting out the room?
His eyes snap open and he stares at me for a second.
"You were cryin'."
My hand automatically goes up to my face. It's dry. My mind wanders to my pillow.
"I think I had a dream." I drop my hand. "But I can't remember it."
"Does that happen a lot?"
"Enough to make me pissed as all fuck."
Claws lets out a low growl. "Language.
We stay quiet. Claws is the one who breaks the silence.
"When I woke up, there was a bullet at my feet, a dead girl on the ground not far from me, an idiot called Remy hovering over me, and everything in my head gone." I look up at him, realizing that he means when he lost his memories. He reaches up to his neck and pulls out a chain that was hiding under his shirt. He slides it off over his head and tosses it to me. I catch it in one hand, acting on reflex. I inspect it as he speaks again.
"That around my neck."
Dog tags. Old and dull, some of the numbers flattened out beyond recognition by the years. But the name is still clear. Or names. Whatever.
Logan – Wolverine.
I look up at him. "You were a soldier?"
He nods before taking a swig of the alcohol. "In more than one war." I give him a confused look. "Ya ain't the only one with dreams, Boots," he says. "And I've had Chuck to help. But there's still gaps."
I look back down at the tags, run my thumb against the raised surface.
"Were you scared?" I ask quietly, ignoring the feeling that I'm probably going to regret this. I look up at him. "When you woke?"
He looks thoughtful. "Not as much as I should have been. But then, I didn't wake alone."
Lucky him. I hold my hand out, the chain balled up in my fist. Claws stands and starts up to me. He holds out his hand for it and I hesitate.
I hate how my voice cracks. I hate how my throat feels like it's going to close. I hate how this is the one thing I can remember. I drop the chain in his hand. He quickly replaces it around his neck, but doesn't move. I don't look up at him. Can't.
"I woke alone in the middle of a field just outside of a small Kansas town called Burlingame in the middle of the night. There wasn't a moon and the light pollution killed off the stars. And then I saw my scars." I try to laugh, but it comes out choked and panicked. I close my eyes, try to fight off the fear creeping up on me. I should stop talking. I should really just stop talking.
"I woke alone knowing I was dangerous and that I could hurt people and that people would hate me." I clench my hands into fists to try and stop them from shaking. They disobey. A hand lands on my shoulder and I look up. I can't see much through the blur of unshed tears. I blink and they fall and I don't even bother to wipe them away. "And then I started having these dreams. I hurt people. And people hurt me. And there was a boy who always smiled and I wondered why he wasn't there when I woke. And then I dreamed and he was dead and I was alone."
It's getting hard to breathe. Shut up, Hawthorne. Stop talking. Stop bringing this back. Just stop.
"I woke, and I woke alone, and I was terrified."
I choke back a sob and next thing I know, Claws has his arms around me, pulling me to him and holding me tight. I hide my face in his chest and hold onto his shirt like a lifeline. He makes soft comforting noises, promises that everything will be okay, strokes my hair and rocks a bit. I let him.
For the first time since I woke, I let myself cry.
*Song was Decembers by Hawthorne Heights
So there's that angst fest. Any mistakes are mine and mine alone. Please don't hate me. You can, but I'd appreciate it if you didn't.