Fanfic time: Misfits part 29

Continued from yesterday:

  Rogue, after a pint of Ben and Jerry’s best concoctions, retreated to snatch a few more hours’ sleep while Sara finished putting the kitchen in order. She’d asked a few almost-rude questions, which Sara had answered with her usual skewed logic, leaving the Goth more confused than when she’d started. 

  And now it was only a few minutes until dawn. 

  Sara crept back to the room she shared with Jean, divesting herself of her clothing to greet the morning sun. 

  Dr McCoy’s lotion helped her dead skin peel faster, so dressing was going to be a logistical problem. 

  Sara got to the sing sing sings when Jean nailed her with a pillow. 

  “Shut *uuu-uuup*…" 

  "I *was* quiet,” said Sara, figuring out how to get back into her knickers. 

  Jean retrieved the pillow by telekinesis and rammed it over her head. She moaned like she had a hangover and whimpered, “How can you be so goddamn *bright* in the morning? You’re worse than *Kurt*…" 

  "Oh? What does he do?" 

  "He’s the Institute’s alarm clock,” Jean growled. 

  Sara laughed as she threaded herself into some pants. “Sounds like a pity to miss the spectacle… but breakfast calls." 

  ”…jstfkff…“ muttered Jean. 

  Sara won the fight with a shirt and skipped lightly back into the kitchen. Too many people for her usual omelettes. Scrambled eggs was always a good mainstay. And porridge… a recipe Dad bought back from Germany with some rather silly tales. 

  She set a pot of coffee percolating while she assembled the ingredients for a veritable morning feast. Porridge, scrambled eggs, bacon… Ooh… They had muffin mixes. Always good for a snack in a hurry… Maybe some flapjacks, too. 

  She was still peeling the apples when Ororo made her way into the kitchen. "I thought Logan was up. He usually makes coffee…” She helped herself to a cup’s worth and woke up the rest of the way. “What are you up to?" 

  "Porridge,” said Sara. “Dad bought the recipe home from Germany.” She chopped up the peeled apples into smallish pieces and dumped them into the warming pot. “It makes excellent comfort food." 

  Ororo automatically began on the muffins. "You’re a morning person,” she said. “Jean must be annoyed." 

  "Twice so,” said Sara. “Night owl *and* morning person.” She bound some cloves together with some string she’d found, and placed the garland in the pot with the apples. The water was beading already. Sara loved induction cooktops[1]. She mixed up the flapjack batter. “I annoy everyone with that." 

  "Oh. You only need a little sleep,” said Ororo, pouring muffin batter into trays. “I’ve heard of that happening, but I’ve never met anyone with a lessened need for sleep." 

  "Hi,” said Sara, offering her hand. “Sara Louise Adrien, bane of night-time security measures." 

  Ororo chuckled. "I know you’re going to be the bane of a few diets, around here,” she said. “Not that that’s such a bad thing, I never approved of the girls starving themselves." 

  "Mother always said I needed to put meat on my bones,” Sara said, with just a flicker in her eye. “Alas, it only put bone on my bones.” She poured the first flapjack and stirred the apples. Ah, stewing nicely. She added a large portion of rolled oats, then went seeking a spatula for the flapjacks. 

  “Second drawer, in the middle." 


  "Have you had anything to drink, yet?" 

  "Not yet, mother hen,” Sara smirked. “I did have a good soak in the tub, and that seems to have helped with my eternal thirst." 

  "Drink something anyway." 

  Sara sidestepped to retrieve a glass of water. She flipped the flapjack while she drank, then set the empty glass down to add spices to the porridge. 

  Ororo, having set all the muffins to baking, set up a large hotplate and began frying both eggs and bacon. "I love the sound of sizzling in the morning,” she sighed. “Thanks for helping with breakfast." 

  "Oh, I just love cooking. You’ll have to install something to *stop* me,” she said. 

  {Bamf!} “I thought I smelled porridge!" 

  "It’s not ready yet.” Sara brandished a ladle. “Raus." 

  "Back to work, then,” said Kurt. {Bamf!} 

  Upstairs, someone began screaming at him to get the hell out of their room. 

  Morning had definitely broken. 

 [1] Xavier’s rich enough to have ‘em installed. They’re way cool.


  Hot water soothed a lot of aches and pains, even some that were psychosomatic. This was one of the many reasons why Professor Xavier had an industrial-sized hot-water boiler in one of his many basements. 

  The other one was that teenagers and mutants both hog the hot water. 

  Jean finally stepped out of her morning shower and dried herself off. She almost felt *human* again. At least, she could stand herself, now. 

  Blow-drying didn’t count as a hundred strokes. That was just brushing to redistribute the water. No, she had to take care of herself. Keep up appearances. Be the best there was. She had to. 

  Jean remembered being eight, shortly after Annie died[1]. She was staying with the Professor in his newly-minted Institute and going to a local grade-school for proper classes. At least, after she had some decent shields. She always remembered the jeers of her peers, asking what was so gifted about her. 

  So she’d proved it. 

  Throwing herself against her grades until she became perfectly perfect had helped. Physical aptitude, thanks to Logan, had almost come naturally. Confidence made her popular, and she developed a set of coping stratagems to make sure that nobody, ever, could possibly hate her. 

  She didn’t even know that her current roomie was suffering because of that. 

  All the time she was developing her “don’t hate me 'cause I’m bright and talented” persona, Mrs Adrien was rubbing Sara’s face in it. 

  And now they had to get along. Because they were roomies. 

  That was hardly *Jean’s* fault. 

  She checked her last stitch of clothing, that every hair was in place and her makeup was perfect, then put on her sunny smile. She was prepared to face the world. 

  She was *not* prepared to face Professor Xavier, who had obviously been waiting for her. 

  “Jean,” he said. Implications hung in the air, suspended on the points of his index fingers, which tapped together while the rest of his fingers interlocked. 

  “I couldn’t even *start* the shields with her mental babble,” she defended. Of course this was what this was about. She was already in trouble for everything else. “Do you have any idea what it’s like in her head?" 

  "Yes. I had to go in to help her." 

  _Shit. Fuck._ "I tried. I really did,” she pleaded. “But she’s like listening to forty different stations at once and at least *three* of them play nothing but those oldies you want to *shoot*…" 

  The index fingers stopped tapping and brushed his lips. "And yet you insisted on telling her to regulate *her* thoughts. Something that, by human nature, is improbable at best." 

  "What *else* was I supposed to do?" 

  "Think harder,” he said. “You remember the super-walls…" 

  Click. God, she hadn’t done any of those since… Yipe. Since that episode in the mall, when she freaked out from hearing what everyone was thinking about her. "But being inside those is like having your head stuffed with cotton,” she objected. “What if someone needed me?" 

  "There *are* two telepaths in this house, Jean." 

  "What if it was *you*?" 

  "And what if a comet struck the Earth and wiped out every 'normal’ human?” Xavier shook his head. “Don’t hide behind the what-if game, Jean." 

  "I just - don’t like them any more,” she confessed. 

  “Some evils are necessary. Others aren’t - like using a combat-grade psychic stun-bolt on your roommate?" 

  "I’m on parole, aren’t I?" 

  "Physical labour is not going to improve the situation, Jean. Starting - this afternoon… you and I will be involved in intense psychic training." 

  "But Professor…" 

  "I’m not very happy about you 'gleaning’ information from your tutors, either. Therefore, we will also be covering ethics.” His usual amenable demeanor slipped, revealing a simmering ire. “You *will* be missing that pop quiz." 


  "And I expect you to complete the task I gave you the previous evening." 

  Jean couldn’t raise her focus from her feet. She felt like she was eleven all over again. "Yessir." 


  Logan was the next to enter the kitchen, a nasty bruise over half his face slowly maturing and fading as Sara watched. 

  "Do you need anything?” she said. 

  “Too late for advance warning, Tallwater.” He took a bottle of water from the fridge and slugged down half of it. “What in hell were you playin’ up on that balcony?" 

  Great. Now two men had seen her naked. She blushed. "Um. Sunbathing?” Sara felt her face fly into a desperate rictus. _Please don’t say anything nasty. Pleasedon'tsay*anything*…_ “What - did you see?" 

  "Nuttin’ I ain’t seen before,” he said. “Just got a shock." 

  And while he was staring, he ran into something solid. Judging by the bark scraps on his exercise gear, it was a tree. "Did the tree fare as well?" 

  He glared at her. "It’s *fine*. I just wanna know one thing." 

  Sara cringed in the depths of her mortification. 

  "Is it a regular thing?" 


  "Right. I’m changin’ m’ joggin’ path." 

  That was it? No ascerbic comments? No threats? No blackmail? ”…huh?“ Sara managed. 

  "We all got our weird li'l habits,” Logan shrugged. “Yours is almost normal." 

  Sara’s personal mental imagery slipped a gear. 

  "Wait 'till you find the Elf asleep on a fan. Or Halfpint dozing halfway through a couch." 

  "Or Scott counting his Tic-Tacs,” said Ororo. “Everything that happens in the Institute *stays* in the Institute. You can relax." 

  Sara backed into a corner in order to ride out an episode of twitches. "D-don’t mind me,” she stammered. “Always happ-p-p-pens when I mmmmm-miss a near d-d-d-d-disaster…” Her body jumped and yawped in a major spasm. “At least… lllll-lately it d-d-does." 

  Ororo and Logan carried on as if all were normal. "Just relax and let it happen. Everything will be all right." 

  Somehow, she believed it. 

 [1] Reference to Comic Continuity. Annie was Jean’s childhood friend who died by stepping out onto a blind curve at the wrong time. The trauma triggered an early onset of Jean’s telepathic ability and she actually spent some time *inside* Annie as she was dying. Deep stuph.


  "The fuck you wanna know about Essel for?" 

  Jean tried not to growl. This had been the fifth time in as many interviews she’d been asked that question. "Background check,” she lied. “What do you *know* about he– him?" 

  "Oh, he’s a transie, for sure,” said Graydon, one of Duncan’s cronies. “Fuckin’ *sick* is what it is. Carrying around jumbo tampons? Euw. I disinfect my fists every time I hit it." 

  Similar to the rest of Duncan’s little band. Ugh. "But do you actually *know* anything?" 

  "Uh… It eats rats?" 

  "How do *you* know?" 

  "Lunch in its locker every morning. Duh.” Graydon sloped off. 

  Someone slapped her bottom. “Heeeyyy… baybee…” Duncan preened. “Miss me?" 

  Jean smiled. "Would you mind answering a few questions?" 

  "I’ll take the personal ones, first,” he leered. 

  Okay. He’d asked for it. “What’s this I hear about you keeping three other girls on the side?" 

  Clipboard - $1.50. Note paper - $2.00. Pen - $5.00. The look on your boyfriend’s face when you catch him out - *priceless*. 

  Jean drank in the moment, preserving it in her head for later dissection and admiration. She’d need it if the rest of today was going to be like this morning.


  Todd had made himself comfortable whilst leaning against the wall opposite Sara’s locker. He’d been there since just after the school gates opened, and he was going to stay there until he found out which particular bastard was responsible for the daily dead rat. 

  And when he found out who that was? He was going to make their very existance turn into pain. He was going to devote his every spare minute to making sure the fucktard responsible never *had* a free minute - ever again - to deliver any dead rats to a certain locker. 

  Or he’d just slime-weld them to the rat, the locker, and a nice portion of wall, and see what happened next. 

  He was easy. You know. Whatever. 

  It had been a long, unpleasant morning - made less unpleasant by Hank McCoy’s magical mystery skin goo - and it promised to be even longer. 

  So far, no bastard. 

  Todd exchanged the foot he was leaning against the wall with the foot on the floor, and tried not to blink too long. 

  _Hurry the fuck up,_ he thought. _I wanna wreak my revenge already…_ 

  And then someone scragged him by the neck of his shirt and hauled him down the hall and into the space under a stairwell. They did it so quickly that Todd’s startled noise resembled something from Jerry Lewis. 

  His mystery attacker let him go and blocked his exit. 

  "All *right*,” said Jean Grey. “Let’s get this the hell over with." 

  "The fuck are you on, Grey?” Todd demanded. “I was *busy*, yo!" 

  "Just keep it down, answer the questions, and I’ll let you get back to falling asleep against the wall." 

  "I wasn’t asleep,” he protested. “I was… watching." 

  Jean did her 'whatever’ face. "Okay. How the hell did you get to know Ess– damn. Sara?" 

  "She was bleedin’ in the office,” he said. “I helped her out. 'Cept I didn’t know she was a 'she’ until a bit later…” he blushed. “And she did that thing wit’ her skin, yo. She needed me." 

  "So… *you* were helping someone out?" 

  "Like it’s a shocker?” He tried to catch a glimpse of Sara’s locker, but Jean wouldn’t let him. “She was covered in blood, yo. That kinda thing… it gets to me.” Vivid, dark red against pale skin… he shook. Was it only a few of days ago? It felt like forever. “And… well… she’s *likable*, and… y'know… if people didn’t spend so much time talkin’ about her, and more time talkin’ *to* her… she’d be better off.” He looked down. “An’ if they did that, she’d have no time for me, I guess." 

  "And you’ve known each other - what? Three days?" 

  "Three days,” he said. “Nearly four.” That wasn’t enough, so he had to elaborate. “She packs information, yo. Sara can put a spin on 'dear’ to mean anythin’ from I-love-you to fuck-off-and-die. She *makes* stuff. She makes people’s lives better 'n’ yo’ can’t get 'er to take a compliment if you wrap it fo’ Christmas 'n’ everyone says she’s ugly or she looks like a guy, but she’s really pretty an’–” he stopped, an epiphany bloomed in his head like a miracle. “All she ever needed was someone to believe in her first. Guess I’m fuckin’ lucky it was me." 

  Jean was writing quickly, not listening, but taking the words down. She read over what she’d written. "Whoah…” She stared at him. “You really love her." 

  Todd blushed and looked down at his feet. "Don’ really deserve a gal who’s all dat,” he muttered. “So I’m real grateful fo’ what I can get… fo’ as long as I got it. Carpe Diem, y'know?" 

  Jean let him go back to his patch of wall, sort of following along the same path. "She has a friend, doesn’t she? Uh… Wiltshire?" 

  "Janine I-got-a-fuckin’-big-mouth Wiltshire. Yeah. Just look fo’ a dumpy chick with copper hair like one o’ them metal scourers gone to seed. Or follow the gossip. Whatever.” Wait. Was that someone closing Sara’s locker? _*FUCK*!_ He picked up speed, trying to dodge through the crowd to find the fiend. 

  By the time he got there, the crowd had moved on. _Thanks a fuckin’ *lot*, Jean,_ he thought in her general direction. _Now I’m'a have to do this tomorrow._ 

  Janine Wiltshire was sort of inspecting the general area. “Hey,” she said to Todd. “You theen Thara, Thara plain an’ tall?" 

  _One of these days, I’m'a fuck her up…_ "Yo. Brillo-bitch. Plain girls only need makeup to look fabulous. You? You’ll always look like a diseased cow." 

  Jean, taking a position in the background for a change, mouthed, "Brillo bitch?” at him. 

  Janine choked on her own indignance for a full thirty seconds. It was beautiful to watch. “Jutht you wait,” she lisped. “You’re going *down*." 

  "Not on you,” he said. “Already got me a girlfriend." 

  "Excuse me,” said Jean, breaking up the bitch-fight. “I’m trying to find out some things about Sara Adrien? I gather you know her…" 

Janine forgot entirely about Todd. "Let me tell you about *Thara*…” she began. 

  _God, she’s going to be at it for *hours*,_ Todd rolled his eyes and decided to find a quiet place to rest his head for a few minutes.