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The Specialist

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Summary: After one of her students is abducted by a vampire, Headmistress Frost decides to call in a specialist to help handle the matter.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Marvel Universe > X-Men > Fred/Illyria-Centered(Moderator)JoeHundredaireFR18921,73089832,07816 Dec 0824 Jan 09No

Chapter Seven

Joe's Note: Oh, just because I know someone else commented on the discrepancy last time around… yes, I know the fifth Cuckoo is supposed to be Mindee and not Ivette. When Grant Morrison designed them, however, he intended for their names to spell out S-P-I-C-E. Chuck Austen, however, decided not to reference his predecessor and so when he turned the then-unnamed fifth Cuckoo into his personal puppet for the arcs he wanted a Cuckoo for in his run on X-Men (vol. 2), she became Mindee. I opted to fix that.



     "Pajamas?"

     "Check."

     "Extra mattresses and blankets?"

     "Check."

     "Magazines?"

     "Check."

     "Snacks?"

     "Check, although I have to say I'm a little weirded out by the fact that the new girl is sprawled out on top of our ice cream." Danica straightened up a bit, peering at Illyria. "And that better not be my Phish Food stuffed between your thighs…"

     Illyria let out a low chuckle at that, still using the fake Texan teen persona she'd taken to using in public instead of the true face Marie had experienced at their first meeting. "If ya'll can think of a better way to keep ice cream cold until we decide to eat it, I'm all ears. Besides, what do you care? You'll probably melt the whole carton before you get to try your first spoonful."

     Snickering, Noriko reached over and gave Danica a gentle push on the shoulder. "Oh. You got told."

     "At least I'm allowed to eat… err, drink ice cream." Danica stuck her tongue out at Noriko before lowering her voice in a decent imitation of Professor McCoy. "Miss Ashida, your energy levels are already dangerously high as it is. You need to make a concerted effort to cut down on your excess sugar consumption."

     "Bite me, Zippo."

     "In your dreams, Sparky. Ask Rogue. I hear she goes for girls."

     They were certainly a motley crew, Marie mused. Out of the five of them, four of them had appeared to have physical signs of their mutation, although two of them got theirs from chemicals. Marie was the least of them, with her white-streaked brown hair. Illyria, on the other hand, was very obviously a mutant and came by her blue-tinged look naturally. Danica and Noriko both had inhuman colors of hair, stop sign red for the former and electric blue for the latter, but both got theirs from Manic Panic rather than their genes. And Petra was the most normal of them all; practically a poster child for Hitler's Aryan race. Although her blonde hair was accompanied by chocolate brown eyes instead of blue, and Marie was pretty sure that diamond-studded green headbands weren't standard issue for the Nazi youth.

     Then Danica's comment filtered through her thoughts and Marie's eyes widened. She raised her hands in surrender, shaking her hand emphatically. "Hey hey hey. Leave me out of this. And for the record, that one time with Ellie was because she thought she had a way around my mutation. Don't go planning my femullet and F-150 yet." That earned her laughs from the other girls and Marie looked around at the quartet of relative strangers. "So, not to be rude or anything, but why are you all here? I mean, apart from Illyria since this is her room. I know the other girls here have slumber parties sometimes, but Danica and Noriko, you share a room. Wouldn't it have been easier to bring Illyria to you and invite Petra instead of spending the night with Miss Death Touch?"

     The others looked at Illyria, who grinned and reached behind herself before emerging with a duffle bag that she threw with unerring accuracy. Marie snatched it out of the air, unzipping it and peering inside to find… green and black leather? She looked back up at Illyria but before her lips could form the question, the answer was already coming her way. "Team bonding night before we kick the New Mutants' asses tomorrow. Still wanna leave, Marie?"

     "What… when… how… why..?" Marie looked from Illyria to her new uniform, up at the other girls, down at her uniform again, and then up once more at Illyria. "Are you serious?"

     "No, I'm Illyria." There were groans all around at Illyria's bad joke before the group settled down and got back to business. "Yes, I'm serious. We were a team of four, while the other teams are made of five or six members. You weren't assigned to a team and I doubted any other team captain would pick you after you were tossed off the New Mutants. Besides, I figured it'd be sweet revenge on your part if you were part of the team that handed them their first defeat."

     Well yeah, that would be pretty cool. Especially considering Illyria was probably going to utterly humiliate her traitorous former teammates. Marie bit her lip as she thought about it. "I don't want to embarrass you guys or anything. I haven't been to any of the training sessions you had this week and… well, even if I had, my powers aren't anything to write home about. Piotr, Bobby, and Kitty can all make themselves immune to my powers; Piotr and Bobby through their other forms and Kitty by phasing. Paige Guthrie can do the same thing, now that I think about it. Sam can just fly up out of my reach. So the only real option, unless they knock one of you out and I absorb you, is Jubilee. And getting a face full of fireworks while trying to touch her doesn't sound very fun."

     Danica, Noriko, and Petra exchanged looks before bursting out laughing. "Training sessions? What training sessions?" Danica pointed over at their blue-tinged leader. "Illyria has been having us fitted for jumpsuits, or a skirt in her and my case. The only reason we could surprise you was because you were already measured for one right after Alkali Lake. But training? Zip. Zero. Zilch."

     "I've told you guys, don't worry about the New Mutants. All you three have to do is show up and look pretty. Which is why I made sure you got new outfits. Marie and I are going to do all the work. And don't worry about your powers, Marie. I have an idea that you and I can test later." Illyria's eyes lost that hint of human warmth and Marie shivered before nodding. Something demon-y that Illyria didn't want to reveal to the others, which also meant they were unaware of their leader's true nature and the god-king preferred it that way. Message received loud and clear.

     It would be awful nice to be accepted by someone, Marie mused as she fingered her new jumpsuit, even if it was just by virtue of being a friend of a friend to the three other girls. Who knew? Maybe someday they'd all be her friends too. "Do we at least have a cool team name? Or is this bout called 'New Mutants versus Girl Power' or something?"

     Danica shook her head and then pointed at herself. "Fire." She moved on to Petra, Noriko, and Illyria. "Earth, lightning, ice. Elementals all the way. Although I'm not sure how you fit into that…"

     "Death. Some cultures recognize it as an element. Death is her gift and it's time she recognizes it." Illyria got a few strange looks for that one before shaking herself and slipping back into her more bubbly persona. "So, now that we've settled that problem, what next?" Silence. "Alright… who thinks Marie needs a haircut?"

     Four hands went up and Marie gasped, reaching up to pat at her head. "What? I like my hair. If it's the streaks, no matter what people say, I can't help it. I've tried to dye them and it just refuses to take."

     Noriko zipped up from her spot on the floor to a place next to Marie on the bed, the cold metal fingers of her gauntlets brushing against Marie's scalp as the Asian mutant played with her hair. "Haircut. Nobody said dye, although I'm no stranger to it. But seriously, we could lose at least a foot here easy… maybe two. Something short and modern, maybe with white bangs instead of those two huge streaks?"

     "You're going to whine and beg until you talk me into this, aren't you?" The three mutant girls nodded and Marie sighed. "And here I thought friends would be a good idea. Alright, let's go grab a spare sheet or something to throw down in the bathroom so I'm not finding hair from now till next year…"



     Marie shivered a bit as Illyria's bare fingers rubbed against her scalp, ruffling her hair to send the already snipped strands fluttering to the floor before the architect of her makeover moved back in to continue work. "Danica?"

     "Hmm?"

     "I just want to say, I'm trying not to stare but it's kinda hard because they keep ending up in my face… but how on earth did you end up with a Star of David burned between your breasts?" The pale flesh in front of her face blushed darkly as Danica backed off, clapping a hand over the mark in question. "Erm, did I say something stupid? Is this some Jewish thing that you're not supposed to talk about?"

     Laughing, Noriko nudged Danica in the back, pushing her towards Marie again. "No, it's a stupid Danica thing. Go on. Tell her about it, Zippo." Danica shot the Asian speedster a foul look and Noriko's grin widened. "Or I can go get the DVD with the footage from the Danger Room…"

     Danica grumbled under her breath as she went back to work trimming Marie's bangs, but relented and began to speak. "Well, you know my powers revolve around heat. Kinda the exact opposite of your… whatever Bobby is… and Illyria. So I can heat the air around me, and since hot air rises…"

     "…you can fly." Marie peeked up, eyeing the neat burn mark nestled between Danica's breasts. It was too perfect, like the brands that went on cattle. "What does that have to do with your mark?"

     Snickering, Noriko reached over and fiddled with the necklace around Danica's neck. The pendant had been tucked down the back of the redhead's shirt, hidden out of the way to keep it from slapping Marie in the face as Danica moved around, but now it dropped into place… and Marie blinked. It matched the burn exactly. Did that mean..? "Einstein here decided to try her best Human Torch impression while wearing her necklace. Heated it up and even though her skin resists flame, that protection turns off as soon as she stops using her powers. Insert sizzling noise here."

     Marie winced and wrinkled her nose at the thought. Yuck. Danica batted at Noriko, grabbing her Star of David and hiding it away again. "Yeah, well, at least I'm not the one who tried to cheat and use my powers steal home during the Battle of the Sexes softball game, and then accelerated so suddenly that my clothes disintegrated."

     "Got ya'll beat, I think." Lounging against the wall, Illyria reached back and tapped her shoulder. "My pa had this old Chevy pickup and I used to lay out on the hood to get some sun. One day, I tried using my powers to cool down a little cuz I was feeling too lazy to go get a drink. And… well, anyone here ever lick a frozen pole in the winter?"

     Marie didn't really have much experience with winter, or rather she hadn't until her flight from home after her powers manifested. And… well, she'd never been stupid enough to try that. Danica likewise shook her head; the girl's powers probably kept her an even temperature no matter what season it was. Noriko nodded, though. "Ewwww. How much skin did you leave behind when they peeled you off the truck?"

     "None. My pa told me it was my own damn fault for being so lazy and made me stay there until the hood thawed and I could get up." Illyria frowned and stared down at her bare arms. "I was as red as a lobster by the time I made it inside. Well, red and purple."

     Even though she knew Illyria was lying through her teeth, Marie's lips quirked up. It was kinda funny sounding. Idly, she wondered if it was something that had happened to Bobby that Illyria had twisted to suit her supposed upbringing, or if it was pure fiction. Then again, did it really matter?

     A chunk of falling hair distracted Marie and her eyes dropped to the floor again. Wow. There was a lot of hair there…



     Standing in front of the mirror, Marie stared at herself in disbelief. Then her hand came up to touch her hair, just to see if it was real or if she was hallucinating the entire thing. "My hair. It's all gone."

     Danica sighed and reached forward, ruffling Marie's now-shortened locks before pulling off the gloves she'd been using to keep her safe from the Southern belle's powers for the duration of the haircut. "Please, you still have hair. It's not like I took the clipper to your scalp or anything. I think it looks cute."

     "Bobby has more hair than me now. What the hell, Danica?" Reaching up, Marie brushed at her bangs. They stood out even more now, the white contrasting starkly with both her skin and the rest of her hair. "Last time I let you anywhere near me with a pair of scissors. Never should have trusted a girl who got her hairstyle from watching cartoons…"

     Marie pushed past Danica on her way back into her bedroom, the redhead just shrugging at Marie's words and mood. "Hinata has perfectly adorable hair, thank you very much. And fine, even if everyone else thinks your hair sucks? Which isn't a guarantee, because I think you look great like that? Think of it this way. You'll be the freak with the weird hair instead of the freak with the death touch who scared off her boyfriend."

     So what? Was that Danica's idea of that whole 'cure a headache by kicking someone in the leg so they're not thinking about the pain in their head anymore' philosophy? Yeah, small problem with that. After a few minutes, you had a headache AND a pain in your leg. Or in her case… "Or I'm the freak with the horrible hair and a death touch who scared off her boyfriend."

     "…touché." Eyes flicking back and forth, Danica pasted on a nervous smile and bounced on her toes. "So… I think now would be an appropriate time to break out the chocolate."
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