Valentine

NC-17 Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters

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Xavier's School

for Gifted Youngsters

 

 

"My name is Charles Xavier. I am a mutant. And once upon a time I had a dream... of a world where all Earth's children,

both mutant and baseline human, might live together in peace. This isn't it. This is today's reality."

- Charles Francis Xavier

 

 

 

March 15th, 2012.

 

The early morning sun shone brightly, but barely touched the floor of the old, well-lived in room. Guarded from it's rays by a closed blind. A figure stirred in the bed, disturbed by what little light struggled to come through. The bedside table held a small clock radio which read '7:59am'. There was peace for a short while, but as the clock turned to 8am, it switched the radio on.
"--waiting to be left at the roadside, but no longer. Isn't that nice?" The radio DJ listened as his guest replied and a blue-skinned hand fumbled to switch off the radio, but accidentally knocked it off the table. It hung from its cable over the side, swinging as the DJ continued, undisturbed by the attempt to turn him off.

 

"-- anyway, so up next is a familiar tune from a familiar name, enjoy." As the

came on, the seeking hand gave up, letting out a low groan before turning over in bed. But before he could adjust to the intrusion on his sleep, his door opened with a bang and a girl with mousy brown hair ran in. She was no older than fourteen, with freckles just below her dark brown eyes.
"Wake up Alan, wake up!" She leapt onto the boy's bed and started jumping on it.

"Ooooh, whyyyyy..." Alan replied, pulling the covers over his head. After a few seconds he pulled them back down and looked up at her standing on his bed. Alan Darkholme, unlike his friend Kate Simmons, was not a normal-looking human.

He had been born with what can only be described as a mutation. His skin, or rather his fur, as that was what it technically was (though you couldn't tell just from looking at) was a dark blue. His eyes were a solid, glowing yellow. His ears were elf-like, elongated with sharp points and he had an extremely long prehensile tail that ended in a triangle tip like a devil's. He whipped his tail around and swept her legs out from under her, which made her laugh as her bottom hit the sheets unceremoniously.
"It's so early..." He groaned, brushing a thick mop of long, black hair out of his face. Aside from his unusual appearance, Alan was slim in build and an average height for his age. Which as it happened, had just turned fourteen.

 

"Happy Birthday!" Kate yelled, punching his covers and laughing.

"UuuuUUUUGH!!" Alan groaned, and then kicked all his covers off like a baby having a tantrum. He pulled himself up in bed and straightened his pyjamas. "Fine. I'm up." He muttered, yawning and revealing an unusually long set of canines. "What?" He asked, when he saw her looking at him playfully. "I am!!" He said assuredly.
"Okay." She replied, and from behind her, pulled out a small present. It was a little green box with yellow ribbon wrapped around it with a matching bow. "Are you going to open it?" She asked, excitedly.
"Are you going to give me a chance?" He replied, raising an eyebrow.

 

As he took the present in his hands, he stared at it curiously. Presents were rare for Alan, it wasn't like he got many, with looking the way he did. Mutants didn't exactly make for the most adoptable children, and it wasn't like he could hide his mutation the way some could. He didn't like the way he looked, the way people looked at him. It made him nervous and self-conscious. But Kate always made him feel safe, like he could be himself around her. He looked down at the present waiting to be opened and finally pulled aside the ribbon and opened the lid, pulling out the contents and staring at it for a moment.

A small silver oval-shaped pendant on a thick chain. He examined it curiously for a few seconds and then smiled, "It's lovely, Kate. Thank you." He stared at it, and thought about putting it on right now when she leant over and he froze up, unsure what was happening. She looked down at the pendant and clicked it open and then leant back. He visibly relaxed and let out his breath. "Okay..." He mouthed, and then turned his attention back to the pendant.

Opening it slowly, there were two pictures inside. Photographs of a person on either side of the interior of the pendant. When he saw what he was looking at, he grabbed the radio and turned it off. The two people he was staring at were entirely unfamiliar to him. He didn't know them, didn't recognize them. They should have been nobody to him. But as he had been staring at the picture on the right hand side, his face had fallen in disbelief. The woman on the left hand side had long black hair like him, and had a similar nose to his, but it was the man that was of immediate interest to him. His skin was blue, just like his! His eyes glowed, just like his! This had to have been his father and mother.
"H-h..." He started, unable to get any more out.

"How?" She smiled, "I snuck into Miss Jackson's office, didn't I?" She replied triumphantly. Miss Eleanor Jackson was the matron of the orphanage, and a harder woman you couldn't imagine. She was cruel and manipulative and she had a particular dislike for Alan and his 'unusual' nature. She had never allowed Alan knowledge of his parents, had always claimed it didn't exist. But here was proof, staring back at him.

"W-w..." He tried again, failing to find the words.

"Their names were Kurt and Marie. I think you were supposed to be named 'Wagner' but according to your file it said that your grandmother had given you her surname instead. Dunno why." Kate watched as Alan's face slowly began to light up as a fire burnt inside him, when he finally met her eyes, they were alight with joy.
"This is amazing, Kate! Thank you so much!" He laughed and looked back down at the pendant.
"You have a kind heart Alan, a kind spirit. Thank you for being my friend." She replied.

He looked up to say something but as he did, he saw her face directly in front of him and before he could think her lips touched his and his eyes closed instinctively. A thousand explosions in his head. He was weightless, wind rushing past his ears, through his hair. Hair? Something was off. Alan opened his eyes and reluctantly pulled away from the kiss. He and Kate looked around and as one, they screamed. They were both plummeting towards the ground, the ocean stretched out ahead of them, but they were going to hit concrete. He had no idea what was happening, he was yelling and Kate was screaming at the top of her lungs as they fell. He panicked, he had no idea what to do, or what had happened. He frantically tried to grab Kate, to stop her from spinning in the air, to do something. He had to do something, but he didn't know what. The ground was almost upon them.

 

Alan scrunched up his eyes, waiting for the sickening crunch before death as he held onto Kate. But as he felt the ground rushing up to meet him, he had a strange sensation as a loud explosion echoed in his ears once again. Bamf! The sound of air rushing into an empty space. Freezing cold water all around them, he almost inhaled instinctively but resisted the urge and swam to the surface of the water. As he breached, so too did Kate, and they could already see a group of spectators taking photos from them in front of a large building. She looked at him, a true look of terror etched on her face, and unable to look at her, he turned to the spectators and then his eyes followed the building up and up, up the rippling metal edges until he saw a woman looking back at him. The statue of liberty. They had somehow travelled halfway across the city. After that day, the orphanage released him from their care and he never saw Kate again.

 

August 18th, 2014.

 

A man in a trench coat with a baseball cap and sunglasses walked down an old corridor. It smelled of mould and the wallpaper was peeling away, slowly but surely. He tried to hide his face as best he could, and if he had passed you on the street at night, you might not have noticed, but his skin was a deep, dark blue. He unlocked the door to his apartment and shut the door behind him, locking it quickly and then pulling a bolt across for added security. It had been two years since he had been kicked out of the orphanage but Alan Darkholme had survived. It hadn't been easy, looking the way he did, but he had survived. 

He lived in a bad neighbourhood in New York City, making money where he could, and that had been enough for him. It wasn't easy being sixteen and having to take care of yourself, but he'd managed. He'd had to grow up, and quickly, or he wouldn't have been able to last long. He put a few groceries on the kitchen counter and took his large trench coat off, underneath it a belt held his tail firmly in place. He unclasped it and his tail immediately unwrapped itself several times from around his torso and he stretched it with a sigh, enjoying the freedom for a moment. But he had barely begun to unpack his groceries when he heard a noise.

 

Knock. Knock.

 

Groceries went untended as he hurriedly tried to think of all the things it could be, but then it came to him - had he paid up last month's rent? He was sure he had, hadn't he? He frantically looked around, trying to find his wallet. What if he hadn't paid? What if he was going to be kicked out.

 

Knock. Knock. Knock.

 

The landlord had a key, he could hear the lock being turned, it would be open any moment. A sort of serenity overcame him and he resigned himself to his fate. Alan watched as the lock turned, the door shuddered and then he remembered. He'd put the bolt across the door. The landlord couldn't get in! He felt like jumping for joy but then without warning, the bolt jumped open and he froze, his eyes staring at the door in disbelief as it creaked open, revealing the three figures behind it.

For a couple of seconds nothing happened, Alan stared at each of them in turn. One was a young boy, around 17 years old, with short silver hair and a strong jaw, he oozed charisma and he strode into the room without an invitation, "What a dump..." He muttered, then saw Alan and grinned back at the other two, "Well we got the right apartment, huh?" He chuckled, and passed Alan without a second look.

"W-wh--" Alan began, raising a hand to object, but unsure what to say.
The second person into a room was a young girl, perhaps no older than 16, with fiery red wavy hair that came down to her chest, "Erik!" She chided the silver-haired boy, "Manners!" But then she too followed the boy in. They both began making themselves at home, she sat down in his armchair while Erik began routing through his groceries.

"That's quite alright, Jean." Came a calm, even-toned voice. "Sorry to barge in on you like this, Mr. Darkholme." The man added, and his hand pressed down on a joystick which quietly brought his wheelchair to life, finally entering the room. The door closed behind him without being touched and Alan's expression went from disbelief to unashamed surprise. He pointed at the door, his mouth moving but no sound coming out. 
"We've been looking for you for some time, Alan." The man added, pressing his joystick again so that the wheelchair turned around to face him and then he settled his hands on his lap and waited for Alan to speak. It took a few moments but when he finally composed himself it came out faster than he could imagine.
"What are you doing in here I didn't how did you find me whats going on I dont when..." Alan's voice trailed off into silence.

"You must be very confused by our presence here, I apologise. I am Charles Xavier." The man replied. Alan looked him up and down. Aside from the obvious fact that the man was paralysed, he was bald, and had a stern face, yet with kind eyes. He held a certain authority and class to the way he spoke and presented himself, and he was dressed in a fine dark brown suit. 

 

"W-why were you looking for me...? I haven't done anything wrong!" Alan shouted defensively, going to his groceries and taking the can of corned beef out of Erik's hands, who grinned wildly at the blue-skinned boy.
"We've come to get you." Erik replied for the bald-headed man.

"Erik..." Charles Xavier smiled at the boy, "Apologies, young Erik here has a mind of his own and sense of humour to match." He paused and nodded to the red-headed girl, "Alan Darkholme, this is Jean Grey--" and he then nodded to the silver-haired boy, "-- and Erik Lehnsherr. Both students of mine. I'm the headmaster of a school - a school for mutants."
"Okay..." Alan muttered, lowering the can of corned beef which he had only just realised he'd been holding as if getting ready to pitch at one of the intruders, "What does that have to do with me?" 

 

"Really?" Erik replied, raising an eyebrow to match his grin, "Reeeeally?" He repeated, lifting Alan's tail and bobbing it for a moment before letting it go, he then crossed the room and sat on the arm of the chair that Jean had taken root to. 

"We'd like you to join, Alan." Charles continued, "It's a safe place, for young mutants, like yourself, to learn and grow - to come to understand and strengthen your powers and learn how to use them for the good of all. Mutants and humans alike."
"It's safe?" Alan asked, looking at each of them.
"Yes, it's safe!" Jean replied, smiling pleasantly. "Everyone is a mutant there, including us." She nodded to each of them.

"Not like me..." Alan muttered.
"I dunno. I think it's kind of cool." Erik replied, crossing his arms. "Wish I had a tail." He chuckled.

"Introduction and dorm registration begins August the 23rd. I would very much like you to be there, Alan. It could be a fresh start for you," Charles smiled, "A home, with a family."
"A family...?" Alan repeated the word almost silently.

 

August 23rd, 2014.

 

Holding up a small pamphlet, Alan looked at it in silence, appreciating it without really understanding it. Alan was unable to read, though he wouldn't let anyone know this. The orphanage and in particular, Miss Jackson had seen to that. He was never paid any more attention than was absolutely necessary. Nevertheless, while he was unable to read the pamphlet, he knew that today new students of the school would be meeting for the first time, and they would be paired up with another new student to share a dorm room. The idea of girls and boys sharing rooms wasn't unusual to Alan, he'd done it his whole life in the orphanage, but he was a kid back then. He could imagine there being some teething problems with teens doing it, but he shrugged this off when he saw the wall in front of him. A plaque said something, but it meant nothing to him, but he knew this was the school.

 

Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. The school was the same in the picture in his pamphlet, as it was right in front of him. A high wall surrounded the school's grounds, with a large iron gate at the front which was open at the moment, new students were pouring in. Teenagers of all shapes and sizes - and colours and creatures, it seemed. Alan's face contorted into a lop-sided grin as he walked up the path to the main school. A large old manor house that looked as though it could house hundreds of students. He knew there was a large pool behind it, but couldn't see it through the trees that surrounded the sides of the lawn, but he did notice a large basketball court amongst other things.

A group of boys and girls were playing right now and Alan jogged up to the fence and leant in to watch. The two teams were evenly matched until all of a sudden a young boy with off-green skin suddenly leapt into the air like his legs were made of super-charged pogo sticks and slam-dunked the ball, while still hanging from the ring.
"Oh yeah, who's da man?! Morty's da man!!" He laughed, as he hopped down from the ring.
"Aww come on, Mortimer, no powers!!" One of the other boys whined, and the game continued. Alan grinned and then turned his attention back to the school. This was going to be his new home, apparently. Whatever was in store for him, he knew it was going to be anything but ordinary. 

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Nathan Bellamy walked past the boy with the strange blue skin, not stopping to speak to him as he made his way into the grounds of the mansion. He walked quickly, his shoulders hunched uncomfortably like he was in a constant state of recoil. He was dressed in black boots with metal buckles and leather straps that made a soft clink as he walked. He wore black skinny jeans that emphasized just how skinny he was, not to mention tall. Standing over six foot he was hard to miss, but lacking any imposing amounts of definition. His shoulder length black hair was limp and a little greasy, with flashes of red dye around his fringe. His hair hung over his face hiding his skinny features and the various pieces of metal on his face, specifically three bar piercings in his right eyebrow, a pair of spiked snakebite studs on his bottom lip, and a series of hoops and studs in both of his ears, as well as a black plug in his left earlobe. 

 

Headphone were tucked under his hair, sitting neatly in his ears, allowing him to drown out the noise of the outside world with

. He also wore a black leather jacket with a popular brand Ramones t-shirt underneath, carrying a rucksack over his shoulder. He was careful to avoid the gaze of the other young people around him. He had no interest in getting to know them. If he had been given the power, he would have happily turned himself invisible. However his gaze could not help but survey the large plot of land around the manor. He had never been to a place like this. He had spent the last few years in a rehabilitation facility for youngsters involved in traumatic events. Before that, well, he didn't want to think about that. 

 

As he shuffled quickly past the basketball court he noticed a few of the students having fun, but quickly averted his attention ahead of himself. If he hadn't been listening to his music so loudly he would have probably heard one of the kids call for him to watch out. Instead he didn't react to the basketball soaring for his head. It smacked him hard against the side of the face, the force knocking him to the ground with a crash, his ear buds falling out of his ears. He blinked slowly, trying to adjust to the pain and the annoying ringing in his ears. He felt something grab his arm and hoist him back on to his feet and he looked at the young man who had helped him. He had strange sickly green skin that made him look ill. 

 

"Sorry about that." The boy said earnestly, "Are you alright? The ball kinda got away from us." Nathan looked over to the court, and the other kids who were looking at him expectantly. It was only then that he realised he wasn't wearing his earbuds. He could feel the voices creeping inside his head, echoing in and out of existence like ghostly whispers. 

 

"Whoa! He took that right to the face!"

 

"Morty you idiot! Poor kid looks pissed!"

 

"That idiot should watch where he's going. We did warn him. Weirdo."

 

He turned to look back at the green-skinned teen. He didn't say anything to Nathan, and yet still his voice echoed through his mind. 

 

"What's he staring at? How hard did he get hit?" 

 

Nathan shook his head, as if trying to physically throw the voices out of his head. "Fuck off!" he bit back at Morty, before storming off into the school. He walked off down the hall at double the pace, a mixture of bitterness and embarrassment washing over him. He was already beginning to regret coming to this school. It didn't matter if they were mutants, people were all the same. Everyone looked at him the same way, judging him before they knew him. Not to mention his telepathy always told him what people really thought of him. He continued walking down the corridor when he felt a strong grip on his shoulder, and before he knew it he was being physically turned around. 

 

The young man in front of him was a sight. He looked to be about the same age as Nathan, but he was actually a little taller than Nathan, not something many people could claim. He was a completely different build, however, with bulky, well defined muscle. No wonder he was so strong. However this kid seemed to have matured young, he had dark blonde hair that was long and scruffy, with shaggy sideburns and a bushy goatee. The young man gave him a wide grin and revealed that his lower canines were elongated and hanging over his top teeth. "Hey." The young man said, "Are you alright? Those guys didn't mean it you know. They tried to warn you."

 

"Just leave me alone." Nathan said with a sigh, but as he went to turn away he found that the boy was holding him in place. 

"Look, you're new here, right?" the boy asked, but he didn't wait for an answer. "I'm Victor Creed. People just call me Creed though."

Nathan eyed Creed for a moment, trying to figure out just what he wanted. The guy looked like the type to steal people's lunch money in high school. He was dressed in old, torn blue jeans and scuffed up sneakers, with a plain black t-shirt. Nathan looked to Creed's head and tried to listen.

 

"I hope he's alright." the voice echoed in his mind. 

 

"Um...Nathan." he replied finally, pulling his hair away from his face with his hand. "Nathan Bellamy."

"Dude, nice metal!" Creed replied, admiring the piercings on Nathan's face. "Just don't piss off Erik, haha!"

"Who's Erik?" Nathan asked. 
"Nevermind that, all in due time." Creed said, shaking his head to dismiss the issue. "Come on I'll show you around. I'm sure Professor X is rollin' around here somewhere, hehe!"

"Um...okay" Nathan said hesitantly, following Creeds lead down the hall. 

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Aug 20th 2014

 

Crystal snapped awake, a cold sweat clinging to her skin. Peering around the dark room Crystal saw that she was alone. Passing her hands over her ankles and wrists the young girl reassured that there were no ropes cutting into her skin. Heavy pants passed her lips as she tried to calm her nerves. She was alone; she wished she could attribute her abrupt awakening to a bad dream but sadly that was not the case. Dark torturous memories scattered through her mind. A few moments passed by while she struggled to calm herself. A slender hand reached out in the darkness, patting around in search for her headphones.  They had managed to come off in the middle of the night. She must have dozed off. Staying awake was growing harder each night, even blasting her music in her ears wasn’t working like it used to.

 

A loud pounding caused her to jump, her clouded blue eyes darting over to the door. Timidly she called out afraid to his voice. A sigh of relief was blown out when she heard her father’s voice. That relief however did not last long when she heard the frustration in his voice. When he spoke he remained outside her closed door. Sadly Crystal remembered it was probably safer for him too but that did nothing to prevent a tear sliding down her cheek.

 

 â€œCrys, darling; you cannot keep this up. It’s really beginning to affect your mother. Now I’ve made a call to a school, a special school for your type of people. They will be here tomorrow to speak with you. Now try to get some rest.â€

 

Crystal just grimaced to herself and placed her headphones over her ears blasting the loud electronic music. Rising up from her bed the young girl decided a change of location would be better. Shimmying into a pair of thick sweats and a hoodie Crystal propped her large bay window open and snaked out, swinging onto the rooftop and moving to her normal spot next to the chimney stack. Settling into routine she switched the music to a harder rock, leaned against the cold brick and stared up at the moon. She couldn’t harm anyone up here. This was her space, her slice of sanctuary and depending on this school her parents found this may be the last chance she got to stare up and dream.

 

Morning came too soon and the soft glow of the sunrise warmed her face. Today was the day, she would meet some head master explain her problems to them, get treated strangly then explain to her parents why the school didn’t want her. Dread filed her body and she watched her parents drive off. She was going to be out and about, go figure they didn’t want to be around. Shrugging Crystal ingored the tug she felt at her heart and decided she might as well get ready. Crawling back inside Crystal headed straight for the shower, wondering if perhaps drowning would just be easier. Figuring it wouldn’t be she quickly finished up her shower and pulled her clothes on dejectedly. Shuffling down to the kitchen Crystal grabbed an apple from the fruit bowl and took a hard bite when the doorbell rang. Breathing out a huff of anxiety Crystal perked up with a dazzling smile and opened the front door. 

 

“Welcome please do come in. My father said you would be coming. Make yourself comfortable.â€

"Thank you, Crystal." Charles Xavier smiled and then pressed forwards on the joystick of his wheelchair and entered the room.

Crystal couldn’t help but study the man before her. He wasn’t quite what she expected. How could he be of any help to her.  Refusing to let that ruin this chance of something better Crystal poured a glass of water out of courtesy. A trait her mother had taught her. Handing him the glass Crystal cleared her throat voicing her thoughts. “Forgive me, I don’t mean to be rude or doubtful, but I’m not sure my father went into great detail about my problem. What makes you think you can help me?â€

 

"To be frank, Crystal, I can't promise you anything. The mind is a complex thing - there could be any number of reasons you have difficulty controlling your powers. But I will do everything I can to help you." Professor Xavier took a sip of the water and smiled again, his eyes softening his otherwise stern expression, "You have a choice to make, I think. But I hope you will join us."

 

Crystal’s eyebrows rose slightly, but said nothing for the moment, remembering how her past year went. The struggles she dealt with, hiding from everyone even her parents. Keeping her doubt and curiosity out of her voice Crystal continued her questioning. “How is this school any different or special? I’ve already been to several schools and doctors, all saying they could fix me. Yet I stay the same. Even more so I’ve threatened others. People fear me. What I guess I’m trying to say is what makes you think I won’t hurt anyone in your school?â€

 

"I can assure you that we're different from other schools and doctors, Crystal." Charles Xavier put his glass of water to one side and placed his hands on his lap, smiled and then suddenly he was speaking again. But no words left his mouth, his lips were quite still. The voice she heard was in her mind. Quite different, he added.

Shocked, Crystal blinked a few times, her mouth opening and quickly closing. She heard him but he didn’t speak. She could only utter four words. “How do I join?â€

 

Aug 23 2014

 

Crystal popped a rather large bubble from her gum, catching the tip of her nose. Rubbing it with the back of her hand Crystal surveyed the area around her. She was on the grounds of Xavier’s school for Gifted Youngsters. The amount of people she saw made her heart pound faster as if it would rattle out of her ribcage. How was she supposed to keep her cool here?

 

Sliding her bright headphones over her ears Crystal blasted one of her favorite upbeat songs. It was a bit childish but it calmed her nerves the quickest. Taking a deep breath Crystal squared her shoulders and made her way towards the large building. Catching another new kid from the corner of her eye Crystal turned to see who it was and noticed the blue color of his skin. Rather than being concerned Crystal just shot the kid a wink and bright smile before turning to see another kid get nailed with a ball. Covering her gaping mouth with her hand Crystal noticed the guys playing. They seemed a little different as well but that didn’t stop them from acting like normal students. Maybe this place could help her. Resuming her peppy stride Crystal made her way inside the building curious as to what else she would see.

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Mutant foster care, it was a first for Melanthe, but she found it interesting how these guardians differed from normal humans, they took steps to shelter her and yet in the same breath to show her the world through different lights. When she was much younger she had been adopted by mutants who disliked normal humans, but the mutants who were taking her into their home were not so hateful. They knew all about her life story and it made her immensely uncomfortable, made her bite her cheek when they spoke about her like she was an object. The checks from her birth parents still came, she had signed up for a P.O. Box since she kept changing addresses, but they refused to take custody of her even after social workers had visited and practically begged them to take her. 

 

Melanthe appeared delicate and beautiful, dressed in dark lolita dresses that made her seem younger than she was, she was like an eerie living doll. A black lacy parasol guarded her pale skin from the bright sun as she walked with her current foster parents toward a restaurant. They knew she received money from her parents, but due to a forged letter could not force her to put the money away or even take it from her to pay for her care, so she did with it as she pleased, which was mostly put towards her clothing and education, and that was probably why they didn't push harder. Chunky black mary jane shoes with rubber soles made soft 'clunks' with each step, she made walking in them appear gentle somehow. Even on this late June day where it was still warm she covered most of her body, long sleeves, stockings and bloomers that occasionally peaked out from the end of her skirt to cover her limbs, over her hands were lacy fingerless gloves covering elegant fingers, with painted black nails protruding from the end.

 

At the door her foster paternal figure opened the door for Melanthe and her maternal figure, if nothing else Melanthe had manners and thanked him appropriately before heading in. They had a reserved table which Melanthe found strange at this time of day and given the restaurant was far from packed. They followed the waitress and headed straight out the other side in their out door eating section, which was completely empty and Melanthe got the strange impression that was intentional. At their seats Melanthe counted the glasses of water twice, there were four present. 

 

A slight hum caught her attention and she looked to the entrance back to the restaurant which was currently being held open by two waiters. Both of her guardians look at her with an almost sheepish look as Xavier maneuvers his wheel chair outside and around the tables to stop just before Melanthe. "Professor, this is Melanthe and Melanthe this is Professor Xavier with Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters." Melanthe tilts her parasol down, shielding her eyes, to cover the annoyed look that would cross them.

 

"Good evening, Miss Heartstrom. It's good to meet you at last." The Professor smiled at her and waited patiently for her to respond.
 
Her manners demanded her speak up even though she didn't trust her voice not to express her discomfort and desire to snap at those around her. With her parasol still shielding most of her face, she spoke gently, disguising her discomfort, "Hello, Professor Xavier," She even gave a slight curtsy.
 
Charles Xavier paused for a moment, as though examining her and eventually took a deep breath and smiled at Melanthe's foster parents, "Would you excuse us for a moment?" He asked politely.
 
Her two guardians nod and politely excuse themselves, slipping around the two of them and back into the restaurant. Melanthe watches them go, but her eyes quickly dart back to Xavier once they're fully out of sight. She sets the parasol back so the wooden bar rests on her shoulder, exposing her face and eyeing him with a level of arrogance she would have otherwise hid.
 
Smiling, Xavier leaned back in his chair and visibly relaxed. "So..." He began, "I take it from your expression that you were not expecting my visit, Miss Heartstrom?" Charles Xavier paused, assessing her, "Do you know why i'm here?" He asked her, raising one of his dark, bushy eyebrows.
 
She gives pause to his change in demeanor, "Given my foster guardians felt the need to point out that you're with a school, I think I can guess. What I don't understand is why. I've been paying for my own education for years." Well her birth parents were, but that was where she choose to direct the money.
 
"I see." Xavier replied, allowing a small grin to crease the corners of his lips. "Well, I do not represent a normal school. I am the headmaster of a school... for people like you, and I." He put his fingers together at the tips and waited.
 
Her lovely violet eyes visibly darkened with his words. She never openly discussed what she was and she disliked new people being aware of her special traits that she had not choosen to tell. Even with her eyes expressing her darkening attitude, she retained her manners when speaking; "People like you and I? The only reason you've been brought here is because I keep putting my classmates in the nurses office, and I don't know what makes anyone think that will change just because I'm surrounded by more freaks." Her tone grew more and more harsh as she spoke, though she never raised her voice.
 
"Is that what you consider yourself, Miss Heartstrom? A freak?" Xavier's voice was even but there was an almost imperceptible tone of something else mixed with it, sadness perhaps. "What you have is a gift, Melanthe. The problem with our gifts is that it often takes someone else for us to realize them, or what is a gift, is often misunderstood as a curse. I can help you focus your powers. Control them."
 
"Control them?" She laughed in a malicious way, "I can't share drinks with people because they get sick. The first boy I kissed ended up in a hospital. I always wonder if I breath to hard into someones face if they'll choke on my personal breed of venom. I don't know that what I have could ever be considered a gift. Maybe some mutants get lucky with their capabilities, mine seems pretty useless other than causing trauma." She softened and she realized she was starting to lose her temper, a no-no for her ingrained manners. 
 
Charles Xavier nodded solemnly, it was true that she had a power that could make her life problematic at best, for the rest of her life, but she also had a gift, of that he was also equally sure. "Consider what your powers are, and what you are capable of doing with them. I can't promise an easy life for you, Miss Heartstrom, but what if scientists had chosen not to study poisonous snakes, or toxic plants? We wouldn't have many of the cures and medicines we have today. For all we know, there could be the cure to cancer lying dormant somewhere in your power. Do you really want to cast that aside?" His smile was sincere and open and he pulled back on his joystick, ready to leave.
 
Her heart stuttered and she fumbled with words for once in her life unsure of what to say at the idea of her personal 'breed of venom' being somehow useful. She didn't really believe it, but could she really just toss the opportunity away and just go on as she was? To be around other mutants who at the very least knew what it felt like to be looked at like a bane. "Okay..." She softly whispered, staring at her toes, very unaccustomed to folding for any reason. If nothing else, she could escape the foster care sling shot, being thrown from one home to another.
 
 
August 23rd
 
Melanthe had woken early a bag already packed with clothing and various necessities to get her through a few days before more of her belongings could arrive. Dressed in one of her favorite black lolita dress, the skirt layered in ruffles and lace, and the bodice coming up just under her bust where it mimicked suspenders that crossed over her back, her undershirt was a dark purple with poofy sleeves that cuffed at the wrists. Today she wore leather boots that had a slight kitten heel which clacked on hard floors, lacing up to the middle of her shin. She had gone through her encounter with Professor Xavier a hundred times and she was eager to meet other mutants, deathly curious if she would encounter someone 'immune' to her effects. 
 
Her foster parents drove her to the school and wished her well, in her eyes their eagerness came off as desperation to be rid of her, but she brushed the foul thought away. Stepping out of the car she adjusted her skirts and then pulled out her black luggage bag, setting it on the ground and extending it's handle to roll it behind her. The bag was of a worn leather, rectangular and shaped like a normal suit case but the layers of leather were folded in such a way to look like wrinkles and an eyelid that perched over a disturbingly realistic looking red eye, reptilian in nature. 
 
The excitement was getting to her as she looked around at the student body, so many oddities to behold! Many of the mutants passed for normal and she could not determine their interesting quirks but other's had bright blue or green skin, other's were openly displaying their powers, some had odd color eyes or hair. Her own violet eyes made her stand out among humans, but not so much that they would instantly scream mutant, some of her fellow students though had much more unique eyes. 
 
She walked through the open courtyard, some students obviously eyeing her dark and queer attire, other's gazing at her before swiftly looking away. People had always been too busy shunning her for being a mutant that her clothes had never come into play, even though she was well aware that she dressed much differently she was suddenly feeling a little shy at her attention-grabbing clothes. 

 

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The tenants in the apartment above hers were arguing again. It shouldn't come as a surprise; almost every day, around 8am, they started a screaming match, and the walls and floors in her 'apartment' block were paper thin. She wasn't even too sure what they fought about, but he left with a slamming of the door, and she was left behind to sulk. During the day was likely the quietest time, but that was usually when Alexis wasn't even there. Still, at least she had a roof over her head, even if it was a crappy roof, and that morning, August 23rd, might be the last time she woke up there. 

 

A school for 'gifted' youngsters, such as herself, seemed too good to be true, but that hadn't stopped her applying. The letter in reply, informing her of her acceptance, was more reassuring, but she wouldn't believe it until she saw it. Her life so far had been nothing but a disappointment, so why would that change now? She'd already learnt that you really couldn't get your hopes up about things, because you were always disappointed. Her mother, for example, while completely useless as a parent, had never given any indication that she'd want her gone. But then, when her latest boyfriend came along, suddenly their apartment was too small for all of them, and her room was needed for her boyfriend's son. Moving in together was often a sign of a deep commitment in a relationship, but Alexis knew it was unlikely to cause that relationship to last any longer. She'd been gone for almost six months, and the biggest surprise would be if they were still together. She'd never move back now, though.

 

The shower was the only place she got any peace from the yelling, and shouting was her music as she got dressed for the day. All her important possessions fit into a duffel bag, unsure if and when she'd be coming back. It was supposedly a boarding school, but what if it was all a hoax? Was she really placing so much faith in something which might turn out to be nothing? At least she'd have a shit hole of an apartment to come back to.

 

"It's worth a shot."

 

She muttered the words at her reflection, looking at the girl staring back at her. Old faded black jeans, a white tank top, and a worn leather jacket, which one of her mother's nicer boyfriend's had given her, completed her attire. Her dreadlocks were loose, a pair of aviator sunglasses partially keeping them on place on top of her head. Nothing special, just a not-so-average 17 year old on her first day of school. 

 

The location of said school wasn't near her apartment, so she had to jump on a bus, fidgeting slightly as nerves twisted uncomfortably in her stomach. What would the other students be like? Did they all have 'gifts' like her? All this time, she'd thought she was some kind of freak, and this might prove her fears wrong. Might. 

 

She was glad to get off the stuffy bus, looking down the street and noticing the influx of typical student looking teenagers heading in one direction. One or two had even got off with her, knowing the way, and she followed, lighting a cigarette, hoping they were actually going to Xavier's school, and not somewhere completely different. For once, being a sheep paid off, and she was walking through the large gates before she even realised it. The place took her by surprise, although she didn't know what she'd been expecting. It actually existed, for one, which set her fears down to a simmer, and it was posh; very posh. Like a proper mansion, set on nice grounds, with a basketball court and everything. It had mentioned something similar in the letter she'd received, along with a swimming pool, if she remembered correctly. It definitely looked like a nice place, if nothing else. 

 

Taking one last drag of her cigarette, she flicked it away, looking around her at all her fellow students. She needn't have worried about fitting in. At least her 'gift' didn't change her physical appearance, with the exception of her eyes, as she noticed certain attributes of those swarming past her. One guy was even blue all over, which must have made his life fun, and after she stopped her quick observation, she adjusted the bag on her shoulder, and wondered where she was supposed to go. Luck was on her side, again, and she heard a couple of guys mention a meeting for new students in the main hall. She had no idea where that was, but it was a start, and she joined the crowd entering the large building. 

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The school was bustling with activity, students were everywhere. Alan tried to get a handle on what he should be doing, but he had no idea. For a moment he stood beside the basketball court, looking at the passing students. He found it surprising how few people as much as glanced at him. One girl winked at him, but that was it. He visibly relaxed and as he did so, he heard a familiar voice behind him.

"Hey there, fuzzy." Erik called, running up to Alan.
"Oh, h-hi." Alan replied, taking a step back, surprised at seeing the confident, silver-haired boy who'd first met him back at his apartment. "Uh..."
"Erik." He reminded Alan, "Erik Lehnsherr, remember? I was at your apartment." He grinned.
"Oh yeah, no I know." Alan replied, feeling embarrassed. "The school is really big." Alan added, then felt stupid for having pointed out the obvious.

"Yeah, haha." Erik slung his arm around Alan's shoulder and started guiding him up the path towards the mansion's main doors.

 

"So what do you think?" Erik asked, watching Alan's face contort with a mixture of emotions.

"Oh, its... nice." He replied finally, smiling back at Erik, his grin was infectious.
"Yeah it's pretty cool. Sometimes it's a bore though. Professor Drake - he teaches mathematics - he can be really stiff, like, no fun at all sometimes." Erik groaned to enforce his distaste of maths and then quickly changed the subject, "So, seen any girls you like yet?"
"N-no." Alan replied, laughing.
"Well, when you do, and you will, if you need any help, just talk to me, right? Cus i'm great with the girls." Erik winked at him.

 

"Of course you are, Erik. You get all the girls." Another voice chimed in. This voice was deeper, more level than Erik's. It was calmer, and more controlled too. It belonged to a tall boy, maybe a year older than Erik. He had short brown hair and wore a brown leather jacket. This boy was handsome, well built, almost like he'd imagined a jock would be in those teen highschool dramas he sometimes saw on TV. The only remarkable thing about him though, was he wore a pair of crimson-tinted shades. "Don't you?" The boy added.
Erik's demeanour immediately changed, he took his arm off Alan's shoulder and puffed out his chest, his jaw tightened and the two boys looked at one another for a few seconds longer and then the other boy walked off.

"Jerk..." Erik muttered.
"Who was that?" Alan asked, frowning at the boy's uncalled for behaviour.

"Scott Summers." Erik replied, moodily. "That guy is a jerk, Alan. Don't be like him." He added, putting extra emphasis on 'him'. Clearly, Erik and Scott didn't like one another, and though Alan was about to ask why, the answer quickly became obvious. Coming up the path was the girl that had accompanied Erik and Professor Xavier. Alan remembered her name, though. Jean Grey. The girl with the long, fiery red hair. 
"Mornin' boys," She waved at them with a winning smile, but as she opened her mouth to start chatting there was a whistle from behind them, and all three turned to look at the source.
"You comin', Jean?!" Scott yelled over, flashing a wide grin and holding out his hands.
"Yeah!" She called back, pausing to look at Erik, "I'll see you." She muttered, and ran up to Scott. The pair of them began talking and laughing as Scott put his arm around her shoulder, and Erik's mood visibly darkened. 

"Listen, Alan..." He said, after a long silence, "Uhm... you should probably get inside. There's a meeting for all the new students, okay?" Erik turned and tried to give him a smile and then walked off without another word. Alan bit his bottom lip nervously, it seemed that wherever he went there was always drama, life was never so simple, but at least maybe here, he wouldn't be persecuted for how he looked. 

 

"Good morning, students." Professor Xavier called out, watching as the last few took their seats inside the main hall. The hall itself was just the main entrance to the school. Behind the Professor, stood a row of teachers of varying sizes and shapes. Their smiling faces looking back at the new students, even as the older students quickly and quietly weaved past the seated crowd, on their way to their dorm rooms. "Let me welcome you all, on behalf of the teaching staff of the school. You will spend your next few years here learning the skills you will need to survive in the outside world, after which, you can choose to rejoin society as an important member of the community, or perhaps if you're as crazy as us, you might take on a position as a teacher." Charles Xavier grinned as there was a mild murmur amongst the new students to the effect of 'as if'. "Now then," He continued, "We have very few rules here, but they should be obeyed or else there will be dire consequences."

Charles paused for a few moments to let his words sink in, "You are to be kind and courteous to one another, and you will not intentionally use your powers to hurt anyone. Mutant or human, student, staff or otherwise. This is our primary rule, and if you break it, you risk being expelled." He paused again, letting the silence do his work, "The rest of the school's rules are common sense, and i'm sure you will figure these out on your own." He nodded and then held up a small board, "This is your dorm room selection. Students will be sorted into wings, where they will have access to anything you could want for day to day living, including a common room. And you will also be given individual rooms in that wing." Xavier's face cracked with a smile, "We might not be Hogwarts, but you can look forward to a year full of magic nonetheless. Welcome to the school for Gifted Youngsters." The other teachers began clapping, and the students followed, including the few older students who had been watching from the second floor at the top of the flight of stairs. 

Looking around for familiar faces, Alan saw none. He was sure that Jean and Erik must have already been older students, so it looked as though he was going to be making some new friends. Hopefully, anyway. He walked up to the Professor who clocked him immediately.
"Oh good morning, Alan." The Professor smiled, "I'm glad to see you. Are you wanting a dorm room, I take it?" 
"Yes please, Professor." Alan nodded sheepishly.
"Alright, then I will assign you to the... East wing. You'll have a number of other students with you there, so i'm sure you'll have plenty of opportunities to make friends." He smiled at Alan as he wrote his name down on the chart and then looked up to meet Alan's glowing yellow gaze. "Crystal Mondess, Nathan Bellamy, Melanthe Heartstrom and Alexis Moore." The Professor checked the chart a final time, "Yes. That's everyone in your corridor. There will be other groups in the East wing of course, you'll be sharing with around 19 other students in all." He smiled, "I hope you enjoy your time here."

"T-thank you, Professor." Alan replied, watching as Charles Xavier rolled forwards and began discussing dorm arrangements with the other students. Alan waited for a few moments, still unsure of what to do, but then he decided that maybe the best thing to do would be to get settled in his dorm and meet the other students he would be staying with. He walked up the stairs onto the second floor and followed the bronze plaque that directed him to the East wing of the mansion. He wandered down a series of corridors, noticing that each of the doors also had a small bronze plaque that had each student's name engraved on it. He was almost at the end of the corridor when he noticed the common room. 

Walking into it, he saw a number of other students milling around, chatting and laughing, reading and generally relaxing. There was a large fireplace at one end, with a number of comfortable looking sofas and armchairs scattered around it in a wide arc. There was also a large television on the wall opposite the fireplace with a further scattering of chairs and sofas. There was a variety of tables for indoor activities, such as foosball, ping-pong and pool. There was an entire wall of the common room taken up by shelf after shelf of books. Alan's head was swimming from how well-cared for the students were. There was even a small kitchen you could walk directly into from the main common room, for preparation of food and snacks, and there were all the amenities one could ask for if staying in an apartment. He turned his attention to finding his own room then.

Walking back the way he'd come, he checked the last few doors and noticed his name on the plaque of the last door on the right before you enter the common room, "Alan Darkholme." Alan smiled as he read his name aloud and then opened the door and his jaw dropped. The room was beautiful, it was old but well-cared for, maybe not a young person's style but nevertheless, it was definitely stylish. The bed was huge, with four large posters that held up some kind of a roof-like thing, Alan didn't know the name of it, but he imagined that Kings and Queens could have slept in beds like those. He walked in, leaving his door wide open and threw his bag onto his bed and walked up to the window. Outside, he could see the basketball court, a group of boys and girls still playing on it, and an influx of more students arriving. Likely the older students now. The school was so much larger than he'd realised. He'd spent his life being separated from others, being isolated, and he'd had no idea that there were so many mutants. As he stood there watching more and more students arriving, quietly observing the comings and goings, he heard a knock at the door behind him. 

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Following the mob of people she headed down the corridors into a main hall, it was magnificent and massive. Melanthe weaved her way to the front row as was custom for her, and as usual people had left seats open in the front for reasons beyond her understanding. She sat down delicately, swooping her bell skirt forward, it spread around her so it covered most of the chair, poofing up a bit due to the petticoat, knees together ankles apart to either leg of the chair and her hands clasped gently in her lap, her rolling backpack sitting just in front of her. Her raven locks curled around her shoulders, dancing around her bust, in one lock a plant was wrapped around the tendril, disappearing into the mass of her curls, but another leaf could be spotted by her collar, and a glimpse of a vine exposed briefly before sliding under the sleeve of her blouse. 

 

Professor Xavier spoke, briefly going over the rules and then on instructions on how to find your dorm. The students around her hurried off, eager to find their new beds, and while Melanthe was excited, she hated being cramped in crowds and so she waited patiently for the crowd to calm. Xavier spotted her and smiled brightly, calling her by name, which she nodded respectfully. He directed her to her dorm, to the east wing, and she thanked and curtsied to him. Perhaps she should have been more social to make a better impression on Professor Xavier, but she was buzzing with excitement and barely managed to give a proper curtsy without bouncing off, it took everything in her body not to skip down the hall. She managed though, keeping her reserved and proper, almost snobbish attitude, her bag rolling behind her. 

 

There were a handful of other students and as she was walking down the hall and reading off the names she saw another student doing the same as she down the hall with striking blue skin. She stared watching him until he went into his designated room. Melanthe silently scolded herself for her rude behavior even if she hadn't been caught staring, she was just still amazed to see so many mutants with such obvious traits, would it become a problem that her's weren't so obvious? The thought sounded ridiculous, but a wave of worry made her hurry into her own dorm to escape the eyes of the lingering students. 

 

Her eyes racked over the room, it was aged but it had an obvious Victorian Gothic feel to it, so beautiful. She ran her hands over the plush blankets across the canopy bed and fingered the chiffon hanging around it as a shield. She fit right in, this room was her's and she practically matched it. She placed her bag beside the bed to be unpacked later and went around opening and closing doors and drawers, pleased to see an armoire, not just a conventional closet, a vanity done in wrought iron, and candle holders attached to the walls to match. To her utter delight there was an attached bathroom, one of her secret fears about going to a school like this was she worried she'd be sharing bathrooms. It was done in a similar fashion, of black and an emerald green. 

 

Pleased with her accommodations she decided she'd go brave the common room and perhaps... mingle. The very word gave her a shiver of discomfort, but as with any school she had to be around other students so she always pushed herself to at least try and be social. There was a television that a few students were watching, and Melanthe decided to join them, taking one of the single arm chairs. They glanced at her but their attention quickly moved back to the program. Melanthe didn't usually watch television and had no idea what she was looking at. There was a book shelf along one wall that was almost filled, she'd check that out later, that was more her style.  

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Bright blue eyes opened wide as Crystal took in the grandness of the school. She could hardly believe that this was a school. The only indication of it being a school was the massive amount of students walking around. If she wasn’t careful she would get lost quite easily. Noticing some of the students being herded into a particular direction, Crystal assumed that they were new students as well and that they knew where they were supposed to be going. Deciding to follow the group Crystal continued to gaze around her glancing into the faces of old and new students alike. This proved to be a bad idea however as Crystal began to feel the anxiety creeping up her spine; a plethora of emotions bombarded her thoughts: Happiness, relief, anxiety, anticipation. Not wanting to risk another incident especially on her first day Crystal cranked up her music, shutting out the surrounding world and leaving only the sound of the female crooner in her ears. The shadows in the corners subsided, leaving her mind clear to enjoy her first day for now.

 

Crystal took her seat, her music blasting in her ears, her eyes focus on the Headmaster: Professor Xavier. She couldn’t actually head a word he was saying but she understood him regardless. In the past year she had become rather good at reading lips. When her power started to be affected by students around her at her old school Crystal learned she could shut them out with music, but this of course came with the downfall of she couldn’t hear her instructor’s lectures. She really had no choice but to learn to read lips if she planned on keeping the people around her safe.

 

With her headphones safely blocking the surrounding emotions Crystal was able to completely focus of the Professor. His lecture was as she figured it would be; the general spiel about how to behave. The only main concern was not to intentionally hurt anyone with their powers.  Grimacing slightly inside she looked around at the mob of students hoping that she could follow that rule. Her own fear gripped at her throat but she swallowed it down as she caught the end of the lecture. Nodding in acknowledge meant Crystal noticed Professor Xavier speaking with the blue kid from earlier and while she didn’t mean to really eavesdrop, she saw that her name was being mentioned. She was in the same wing as this kid, same corridor as well. Smiling Crystal grabbed her bag and rushed to her dorm, following the large crowd of kids. A select few stopped in the commons area chatting away, but Crystal was more concerned where she would spend most of her free time. Spotting her name emblazoned on the golden plague, she eagerly pushed open the door and took in the sight.

 

Her jaw dropped at the sight of her room. There off to the side was a rather large bed but that wasn’t what truly caught her attention. What caught her attention was the huge window. She could already imagine herself staring out that window late into the night. A soft sigh escaped past her lips, she was home, she would be able to call this place home. Now all that was left to do was see who else would be sharing her home. Plopping her suitcase on the bed to be dealt with later she hurried out and went to meet who was in the next room.

 

The golden plaque displayed the name Alan Darkholme. Only one way to find out what kind of person he would be. Knocking gently Crystal called to the person in the room. “Knock knock. Anyone home?†"O-oh, hello..." Alan smiled nervously at the young woman. Well wasn’t this a nice surprise. It was the blue kid from earlier. “Oh hey, what’s up? The name’s Crystal but please call me Crys. I’m in the room next to you.†Realizing she must have looked rude she pointed to her headphone still blasting music. “Sorry about the headphones, can’t take them off though. It’s better that way. Nice digs huh?â€

 

“Oh, sure..." Alan replied quietly, "... better than my last place." He chuckled, "A-are you a new student too?" Crystal nodded, sending him a quick wink and a wide grin. “Yeah, I’m new. Pretty excited too. So what brings you here other than the wicked coloring of your skin?†"Oh..." Alan crossed his arms, "Mm..." He lifted his tail and swung it around so she could see it clearly and then he muttered, "A-and I can... teleport." Her smile grew wider at the sight of his tail, almost missing what he was telling her. “Oh my god, are you serious?! Sweetness, tail’s kinda cute too. Wish my power was that cool.†Alan was silent for a moment but eventually spoke up, "W-what's your power?" He asked, looking curious. 

 

“Oh…um…†She was silent for a second before speaking up softly. “It’s more like a curse, but I can conjure up a person’s greatest fear or darkest desire. That’s why I wear the headphones. They distract me so I don’t feel another person’s emotions and launch them into a horrible nightmare come to life…Lame I know.†Not wanting to put him in an awkward situation Crystal quickly changed the subject. “So, got a schedule yet?†"N-no." Alan climbed onto the end of his bed and crossed his legs as he sat down, "I don't really know what I'm doing here..." He muttered. She sent him another wink before remarking.†Being a cool kid obviously, so is it ok for me to say we’re friends now?†She waited for his response before grinning again. “Well anyway I still have to meet the other kids and make more friends. See ya later huh?†"Y-yeah." Alan nodded, watching her go. He seemed really sweet.  And with that she slipped out his door happy to have made a friend already. After saying her byes Crystal made her way to the commons area. She still had people to meet and friends to make.

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Alexis wasn't sure she was going to fit in here. It all seemed very posh and organised, two things which were on the completely opposite side of the spectrum to the life she was used to. The idea of being surrounded by people who understood what it was like to be 'different' might be nice, but at the same time, she enjoyed her own company. She'd soon learnt that the only person she could depend on was herself, and she hadn't really come here to make friends. She wouldn't turn away any that came along, but she wasn't particularly fussed about which way her future lay. 

 

The mansion was nice though. She'd stayed completely silent after the meeting, watching others making attempts to mingle, and she showed little to no interest in anyone else as she found out where her room was. East Wing, very fancy. The doors better have locks. Knowing not to steal was common sense, and fell under a common sense rule they would all know, as Xavier had said, but she still trusted no one. 

 

A bronze plague directed her to the East Wing, and with each step, it felt more and more like she was staying at a fancy hotel, instead of a school. A school for 'gifted' students, sure, but it still screamed of wealth. Were all bordering schools like this? Alexis hadn't really been a good student at school. She'd dropped out when her mother had told her to leave, so she could get a full time job, but her attendance record before that had always been poor. She couldn't promise that would change here, but she would give it a shot, regardless. At least she could say she'd tried.

 

In the East Wing, she looked for her room, reading the names on every door she passed. Knowing her luck, she'd be right at the end of the corridor, stuck on the back of the wing with the furtherest to walk anywhere. Although, it could offer more privacy, which was a comforting thought. A thought which was interrupted by a conversation she could hear, coming from one of the nearby rooms.

 

"What's up with the blue skin, man?"

 

"W-what?" Alan replied, crossing his arms and smiling nervously.

 

"I mean, even for a 'gifted' youngster, it's pretty weird. Were you born like it?"

 

"I..." Alan looked around and shrugged, "Yeah... I mean..." He swallowed, "Is it really weird?" He asked.

 

"Yeah dude, it's well out there! Do chicks like it?"

 

"I-I... don't really..." Alan's voice trailed off and he shook his head.

 

Alexis had heard enough. She'd slowed down, somehow drawn in by the conversation, and now she could see into the room. She saw the guy with blue skin she'd noticed earlier, but the other guy was unfamiliar. He was quite tall, with dark hair, and his mouth was pulled into a smirk. Clearly he found his interrogation amusing, despite the discomfort of his companion, and while she had a nasty temper herself, she hated bullying. Most of the kids had come here to get away from that, surely? From the constant judgement and enquiries, and this guy, with blue skin, had likely suffered more than enough already.

 

"Hey, leave him alone."

 

Her bag was still on her shoulder, but as he turned to look at her with a smile, she slid it down her arm and dropped it to lean against the door frame. She didn't like this guy, and he hadn't even spoken a single word to her yet.

 

"We're just chatting, don't get your panties in a bunch."

 

"Yeah, looks like you're the best of friends already."

 

"Seriously, you need to chill. I was just asking about his skin, because it's weird, yeah?"

 

"It's not weird."

 

She was quickly losing patience. If she punched him, did it count as using her power? She didn't really want to get expelled before she'd even started.

 

"Look-"

 

He made the mistake of placing a hand on her shoulder.

 

"I'm not trying to insult him. Just sayin', because you don't see many blue people walking about, do you?"

 

She slowly looked down at his hand, eyes trailing up his arm back to his face. He was tall, and she had no idea what powers he possessed, but that was a risk she was willing to take,

 

"Take it off, before I break it off."

 

It was the laugh that did it, and in a flash she'd grabbed his hand, squeezing it in her own. The laughter quickly changed to a yell of pain.

 

"My hand, you've broken my fucking hand!"

 

She released it, and immediately he was clutching it to his chest, still moaning in pain.

 

"It'll bruise, that's it. But it won't be as bruised as your pride if people find out you got beaten by a girl, right? So keep your mouth shut. Get out."

 

He didn't hesitate after that, fleeing out of the room, and she finally got a good look at the person she could only really call 'the boy with blue skin', until she found out his name. Which, with one look at the plaque on his door, she found out was Alan.

 

"You okay?"

 

"Yeah..." Alan muttered, "I'm fine." He sighed, looking down at the ground, not wanting to meet her gaze.

 

"Okay, well, I'm gonna find my room. I'm Alexis, by the way."

 

"Oh..." Alan nodded and fell silent for a moment, then realised he was being rude and quickly spoke up, "A-Alan." He added, "I'm Alan."

 

"Yeah, I know, I read it on your door."

 

She smiled at him, picking up her bag again and slinging it on her shoulder. 

 

"Guess I'll see you around."

 

Pushing a stray dreadlock off her face, she gave him another small smile, and carried on down the corridor.

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Alan watched as the girl left his room, sighing quietly. It seemed even here, people would pick out those that were different. And yet still, there were those who didn't care, those who could accept him for a person, for who he was, not what he was. He looked down at his blue-skinned hands, turning them over to stare at the black claws that replaced normal fingernails. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad here after all, he smiled to himself. Alan picked up his bag and opened the bedside drawer, shoving his clothes in before lying down on the bed and sighing once again, though this time he did it for feeling content. He lay on the bed for a few minutes longer but eventually grew impatient and sat up, wondering what he could do today. He knew that classes would begin on Monday but it was only Saturday today. The start of the weekend. Alan decided he'd go for a walk, get some fresh air.

As he went to leave his room, he reached for his coat and paused. He didn't need it any more, did he? He didn't need to hide who he was now. Or tie his tail around his waist. He blinked, thinking to himself for a moment, and then walked over to his drawer and got changed into some fresh clothes. A pair of plain loose-fit black jeans and a slim-fitting white t-shirt. As he pulled on the jeans he had to find the hole he'd made in them so his tail would fit through and then fastened them on. He didn't like wearing shoes as it limited his ability to move and explore, so he walked out in bare feet. 

 

Walking down the corridor, Alan saw the other students getting settled in, he smiled sheepishly to a boy walking past who was momentarily distracted by Alan's appearance and then ignored him, walking into his own room. As he came to the end of the corridor he walked down the long flight of stairs that led to the main foyer and up to the large double-doors that seemed to be left open at this time of day. He walked through and took in a breath of fresh air, he felt exhilarated. Suddenly he felt something enter his space, he whirled around and threw out his hands as something hard hit his palms, making them sting.
"Wh-hoah!!" A man cried out in a deep voice, "Did you see that?!" He called back to the others as he ran up to Alan, "Kid, that was something else." He muttered, staring at the football in Alan's hands. Alan raised his eyebrows in surprise and stared down at the ball with a confused look.
"O-oh!" He handed the large man the ball and nodded, "I-I'm sorry." He said, under his breath. He looked up to see that this man was built like a Mr. Universe contestant, he was rippling with muscle and stood over a foot taller than Alan.

"Hey, i'm a teacher here - I'm Professor Rasputin, but..." He leant over to Alan, and whispered, "... between you and me, outside of class, you can call me Piotr."

"A-alright." Alan replied, smiling and nodding at the man. Piotr brushed some short black hair out of his face and looked back at the others, "I teach physical education - want a lesson?" He asked, a sly grin on his face.
"Uh..." Alan followed Piotr's gaze to see a number of other students waiting, "... I guess..." He muttered. 
"Great!" He patted Alan on the back, almost knocking him over in the process, and the two walked back to join the rest of the group. 
"Okay guys!" Piotr held the ball between his hands and pointed at Alan with it, "This is... uh..." He looked over at him.

"Alan." 
"Right, Alan! Alan... this is Emma, Erik, Angel and Frederick." Piotr pointed at each of them in turn, Alan smiled and nodded as their names were called out. Emma was a slim girl with long blonde hair and she had an air of superiority about her. It was like everything was taking too long, and she had no patience for it. She stared back at Alan with a mild interest. Erik he had met before, the silver-haired boy. Angel was a young girl with ebony skin and curly black hair, a pair of fairy-like wings sprouted from her back. She seemed to have an excess of energy and while Piotr was introducing everyone she ran over and snatched the football from his hands and started throwing it up in the air. Frederick, the last to be introduced to Alan, was the largest. He was even bigger than Piotr, who was already larger than most men. Frederick looked as though he could have weighed over 500lbs, a mass of fat and muscle. Despite the boy's size however, he was a gentle soul. He waved back at Alan with a smile.

 

"So, introductions out of the way, let's play some ball!!" Piotr clapped his hands together and the group ran back onto the field, not far from the basketball court. The game began and immediately Alan was thrown into the action, as the ball flew into his hands. For a moment he panicked but quickly pulled himself together and started running. He immediately side-stepped Emma who lost her temper immediately and gave chase. It was Piotr, Alan and Erik against Frederick, Emma and Angel. He'd already bypassed Emma, so now he just had to get past Angel and Frederick. He was quickly out-running Emma and the other people on his team but as he thought he had a touchdown in sight, Frederick began bearing down on him. Every time Alan moved to try and find an opening, Frederick was on top of him. He was a lot faster than he looked.

In a last ditch effort, Alan swerved to one side and managed to get past Frederick, but the larger boy was on him in a flash. It was between him and Frederick now and he could see his goal just a stone's throw away. He surged forwards, trying to make it to the end zone. But he could feel Frederick was right behind him. Alan looked back just in time to see Frederick diving for him, arms outstretched. He wasn't going to make the line, but as Frederick came at him, he realised he was in danger. He panicked, closing his eyes and braced himself. A loud pop as air rushed to fill a miniature vacuum, drifted across the field and Frederick stared at the ground in front of him. Alan had vanished.

"What the heck?!" Frederick barked, pulling himself up.
"No powers!!" Emma yelled, and then closed her eyes and focused for a moment, sensing the boy's whereabouts immediately using her psychic gift, "Hey!!" She turned around, yelling at a nearby tree. "What are you doing?!" She asked angrily, tapping her foot and looking into the branches.

"S-sorry." Alan called out, pulling a branch out of his face. He was hanging upside down from his tail. "I didn't mean to..." He muttered. After a moment's pause, he uncoiled his tail and fell to the floor, flipping around mid-air to land gracefully, before walking up to join the others. "I..." He started and then stopped himself but then gathered his courage and spoke, "I can't really... control it... very well. It just sort of... happens." He added.

"Well we all know what that feels like," Piotr began, putting his hand on Frederick's back, "Right, Emma?" He pressed the young girl who rolled her eyes and walked away. Piotr sighed and laughed, "Well, never mind then..." He shrugged and walked up to Alan, "Anyway, I think--" As Piotr began to speak, the tannoy system crackled and came to life.
"Good afternoon, Students." Professor Xavier's voice came through the various speakers placed around the school, "In an hour, we will be holding extra-curricular try-outs for the 'X' program with Professor Logan, if you wish to take part, please come by the gymnasium at 4pm. Thank you." The tannoy fell quiet.
"What's that?" Alan asked.
Piotr grinned, "It's an after-school club. You should go, Alan. It's a good way to exercise your powers."
"I don't like my powers..." Alan muttered.
"Well, maybe if you learn to control them..." Piotr smiled and then checked his watch, "Well, I better get going, lot's to do for school on monday. See you soon, Alan."
"Bye." Alan replied, waving. He thought on Professor Xavier's announcement, on the 'X' program. Would it really help him control his powers? Whether it did or not, he had to find out, if it meant taking back some kind of control on his life. Yes. He was sure of it. He had to go. 

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