You know, I didn't read every X-Men fic on this site to check, but I can't say I've ever seen Willow given the particular power set I've given her here. Buffy once or twice, Xander quite regularly - both in YAHFs and 'real family' fics - but Willow? Nope. Which means I've accomplished at least three different firsts in this story thus far - Willow's powers, a Xander YAHF involving Mystique, and Cordelia as a mutant - with more to come I'm sure.
November 19, 2011
Willow was officially having a blast. Thanks to the careful tutoring of Harmony and the other Cordettes - but mostly Harmony, who evidently still regarded her as something of a pet project - gone were the days of 'I can usually make a few vowel sounds, and then I have to go away'. She could actually talk to boys now… dance with them even! Julian Keller was charming, intelligent, above ninety-eight point six degrees Fahrenheit… everything girls not named Buffy looked for in a potential boyfriend. He was way out of her league, though, or would have been if she was at all interested in dating him. Which she wasn't, for some odd reason, and not just because she wasn't in the market for a boyfriend at the moment either. After a moment's contemplation, she shrugged it off; it'd taken her longer than most others to realize it, but she now understood that people couldn't control who they were attracted to… or not attracted to for that matter. Jesse's fixation on Cordelia and Xander's lack of interest in her, for instance. Oh well. Even if she didn't want to date him, Julian made for decent enough company for the evening.
As the song came to an end, Willow looked around uncertainly. Julian had claimed her out of the blue from where she'd been dancing with Harmony and Janet. Now what was she supposed to do? Go 'hey, that was fun, bye' and wander off? Stay until the music picked up again? Or..? "Hey, Poe, want to come meet my friends?"
Poe? Who was… was she 'Poe'? Willow thought back; he'd introduced himself before tugging her away from her friends, but had never asked her name. So logically he wouldn't know she was Willow… but why not ask? Eh, boys were weird. But seeing as how she didn't have a better plan - Harmony had yet to cover disengagement and retreat in her lessons - Willow decided to just go with it and see what happened next. "Sure. Lay on, MacDuff."
Julian grinned before taking her hand and leading her towards a table along the wall opposite Cordelia and Michelle's table, making Willow squeal inside. Not from the handholding; she was still failing to find a spark with Julian and pretty much giving up on that front. No, most people had to have it explained to them as to why it was 'lay on' and not 'lead on'. Julian hadn't. And he had opened his mouth before holding his tongue, like he wanted to say something about her misusing the quote the same way she always chided Michelle. Gosh, it was so nice to have finally found an intellectual equal! Maybe she could get his screen name before they parted ways…
As they approached the table, Willow got a better look at Julian's friends. One was a stunning - as in, prettier than Cordelia, Harmony and the others only wished they could look as good - girl with striking platinum blond hair, while the other was a boy with wavy, collar-length brown hair and… Willow blinked. His eyes had black pupils, burning red irises, and black scleras. A mutant, and a visible one at that. Did that mean that Julian and his blonde friend were..? "Poe, I want you to meet Ivette Frost and Remy Lebeau. Guys, this is Poe."
"Enchanté, ma chérie." Reaching out, Remy took her hand and raised it to his lips. Ooh. Hot accent. Much hotter than Spike's British accent or the Irish brogue Angel had slipped into while pacing in her room muttering about Ford. Then again, one had been trying to kill her and the other had been scary too, which probably colored her perceptions a bit. "Although I find it hard to believe a creature as beautiful as you was cursed with a name as unflattering as 'Poe'."
Ivette's eyes narrowed as Remy released Willow's hand, momentarily making the black-haired girl wonder if she was accidentally horning in on the blonde's territory. Or was being perceived as doing as much; just like with Julian, Willow couldn't manage to generate the faintest spark of interest in Remy. Sure, she appreciated him from an aesthetic point of view - the same way she was coming to appreciate a nice outfit or a good pair of shoes - and his accent was drool-worthy, but other than that… nothing. Then Ivette's eyes began to glow blue and Willow knew that she was meeting her fourth mutant to date… likely her fifth, since she doubted Julian was their group's token normal guy. After a few seconds, Ivette's eyes returned to normal and she smiled, reaching across the table to shake Willow's hand. "Her name isn't actually 'Poe', Remy. Julian was so slick, he forgot to ask her for her name and didn't want to make an ass out of himself by admitting it. He decided Poe was a fitting nickname because of her hair color: black, ravens, 'The Raven', Edgar Allan Poe, Poe. Her real name is Willow. Willow Rosenberg. And she can lead us to Cordelia Chase quite easily." Releasing Willow's hand, she gave Julian a strange little half smile that Willow couldn't quite divine the true meaning of. "Good job, Julian. I'd be a bit jealous that you succeeded where I failed, but I don't feel like ruining the good mood I got from my spa day."
Turning to look over at Julian, Willow glared. Suddenly, she was very glad there'd been no spark between her and either of the two cute guys she'd just met. They were just using her. Ugh. Even mutants from out of town wanted Cordelia more than girls like her. Wait. Mutants. Cordelia's grandfather was an infamous mutant terrorist and Michelle's new powers were connected to one of Magneto's followers. Did she really want to be involved with whatever they were here for? Um, probably not, no. On second thought, maybe it was better that they weren't actually interested in her…
It was then that Willow caught sight of a familiar green head of hair moving towards where she was sitting with a redhead trailing behind her. Oh yay. Because as much as she disliked Cordelia, Willow had to admit that the girl had some seriously scary mutant powers. Who better to hide behind if telepath girl, strange eye boy, and Scuzzy McScuzzball were up to no good?
Coming up behind Ivette, Cordelia brought her hand down hard on the blonde's shoulder, digging her fingernails in sharply enough to make the girl flinch. "So, just out of curiosity, who came up with this brilliant 'stalk Cordelia's friends instead of emailing her back like a normal person' plan of yours? Because seriously, it's not earning you any brownie points with me."
"Mmm, yes, because we need to earn points with the girl who wants a favor from us." Ivette turned to face Cordelia, only to freeze as she got a good look at the magnokine. "…well, as long as the Hellmouth is keeping Mother from using telepathy to spy on me and complain about 'unladylike language'? I think I'm going to go with my first thought here. What. The. Fuck?"
One hand rose to touch her hair instinctively, and then Cordelia rolled her eyes as she realized where Ivette's gaze was fixed. "Yeah, evidently that's a perk of attending good old Sunnydale High instead of Miss Frost's Super Secret School for Mutant Girls: the puberty fairy doesn't get lost trying to make deliveries. Not that yours are bad, mind you." Leaning forward, Cordelia hooked a finger in the neckline of her top, tugging it down a few inches. "Mine are just better."
Stepping between the two before the blonde could respond, Michelle pushed Ivette and Cordelia apart with a sigh. "Cordelia, stop insulting the daughter of the woman whose help we need. It's not her fault she's small-chested." Pausing, Michelle eyed Ivette for a moment before amending that statement. "Well, comparatively speaking. And… do you have a name or should I just call you 'Emma's daughter'?"
"Right, Ivette. The friend stalking thing is more than a little creepy. Especially since you had a legit way of getting ahold of us. Deal with it." Looking around the packed Bronze, Michelle frowned and then jerked a thumb back over her shoulder. "Now, before our friends get curious and start wandering over to see what's going on… what do you say we take this somewhere more appropriate? Willow, our house is still empty. Mind playing hostess? Figure it makes more sense than Cordelia's place, since they'll need to know where we live eventually anyway." Willow shrugged; she was too busy trying to figure out what the heck was going on to waste energy arguing. Cordelia knew these people? Knew that they were looking for her? Wanted them looking for her? And Michelle was in on it all? What?
Cordelia shot a look over at where Harmony and two other Cordettes were standing before nodding decisively. "Yeah. We need to do this now, but we're not doing it here. Let's go."
"Just a second." Ivette held up her hand, stilling Remy and Julian. "Just out of curiosity, do you have a name or should I just call you 'Cordelia's sidekick'?"
"Well, I prefer 'Cordelia's minion' personally…"
Snorting, Michelle cuffed Cordelia's shoulder gently before turning her attention to Ivette… and shifting into the blonde's twin sister. Or would that make her part of a set of sextuplets, Willow wondered. There were five Frost daughters, even if only one of them was- "Michelle. Michelle Frost." Willow bit her lip to keep from laughing at the dumbfounded expression on Ivette's face but Michelle wasn't nearly as nice, laughing loudly as she returned to normal. Or almost normal; for some reason, she opted to keep the platinum blond hair. "Not really, but I can fake it pretty well."
The three out-of-towners began to look around wildly, making Cordelia snort. "You honestly don't think she'd pull something like that out of the blue, do you? Michelle's been out of the X-Closet for a month or so. Everybody knows about her and no, nobody cares. Now stop making a scene, stand up, and follow me."
Waiting until after the others had risen, Willow slid off her seat and joined Michelle in bringing up the rear as Cordelia led them towards the door. Grr. So much for people wanting her. Still, she'd learned some very valuable lessons tonight. She could talk to boys! Even if he was sticking it out because he was on a mission, she'd actually managed to talk for once without feeling like the Socially Awkward Penguin. She could dance with them, too. And… Poe really did seem like a cool nickname. It fit the new, darker her. Maybe she'd ask Harmony about keeping it on Monday. Just pretend that she'd come up with it herself, rather than Julian giving it to her while chatting her up to find his way to Cordelia.
Yeah. That sounded like a plan.
"Where can I hide a dead body?"
"What kind of place are you looking for: dumps, swamps, mines, reservoirs, or metal foundries?"
"I'm thinking… dumps." As her iPhone began listing off the nearest landfills, Betsy grinned and tilted her phone so Rachel could see the screen. "Seriously, I think Apple made this thing with jealous girlfriends in mind. I mean, it tells me where to hide dead bodies, gives me directions to the spot, and I can pick different spots for different bodies. How cool is that? Let's see… yeah, leaving Julian with the rest of the trash sounds good. What about that black-haired skank he's dancing with? Eh, why waste the gas? Let's drop her at the dump too."
She'd known that she was talking loudly - being heard in a noisy club kinda required it - but Betsy hadn't realized how loudly until she heard a snort from off to her left, followed by an unfamiliar voice. "If you can get your boyfriend stolen by Rosenberg of all people, you deserve to lose him." Turning her head, Betsy pinned the unknown girl with a glare that made her take a step back before straightening up and sniffing. "What? It's Rosenberg. She's pretty much queen of the geeks. Or at least she used to be, before Halloween."
Betsy raised an eyebrow at that before shooting a pointed gaze at where Julian was sitting with 'Rosenberg' and… Remy and Ivette? Well, now she knew where to head as soon as this conversation was done. And the sooner she finished it, the sooner she could do so. "And yet now she's wearing leather pants and dancing with other people's boyfriends."
"Yeah, well, blame her cousin. Michelle showed up out of nowhere and within days, she's the BFF of the most popular girl at our school and you pick on Willow at your own risk." Shaking her head, the girl turned to her friend. "Still don't get that. I mean, her powers are cool and all but-"
Wait, what? Betsy reached forward and snapped her fingers, interrupting the girl and reclaiming her attention. "Powers? As in being a mutant or something?"
That earned her a wide-eyed look. "What, are you new to town or something? I mean, I figured you were from San Marcos or Dos Pueblos and just didn't keep track of politics over at Sunnydale High. Yeah, Michelle came out the day she transferred to our school. She's a shapeshifter. It was a little weird at first; you know, seeing people suddenly have a twin or triplet? But you get used to it fast. She's…" Looking out over the crowd, the unexpectedly helpful girl thrust her arm out, directing Betsy's attention to where a pair of girls was moving through the crowd. "There. The redhead with the green-haired girl. Michelle and Cordelia." Pausing, she eyed Betsy. "You should probably ask Cordelia who does her hair. It's a lot more vibrant than yours, and… well, your roots are showing, too."
As the girl and her friend wandered off, Betsy longed to reach out with her mind and do… something. Make the girl turn around and see her with 'fixed' hair. Alter her spatial perceptions so she walked into a wall or one of her peers. But she was supposed to be more mature than that. And even though she wasn't… Rachel would so rat her out if she did rise to such simple bait. Turning to the redhead, she nodded at where their classmates were congregated around a table with Cordelia, her shapeshifting friend, and the skank. "Should we go say hello?"
"Not yet. Mostly because I don't need you spooking Cordelia and her friends by driving a glowing violet blade through Julian's back or something." Betsy blew a raspberry at that, making Rachel laugh. "Seriously, though, let's just follow them for now and find out what's going on. If we're lucky, Cordelia will tell our wayward trio what she wants and they'll tell her why Emma took off with them. Then we turn around and let Mom know, and we get patted on the head without having to do any work at all. Well, beyond walking and listening."
Betsy nodded in agreement. Sounded sensible enough to her… and she should probably follow any plans or advice handed out by the girl who already knew how this was all going to go down. "Okay. So we wait till they leave… which is now, evidently… and follow them so we can listen in. And then I stab Julian for being all over that other girl."
"Yep. Although unless you want to float him all the way back, I recommend stabbing him somewhere near the Blackbird
. Or at least a road, so Mom and Professor Summers can come pick us up. Oh, and Betsy?"
"She was right. You do need to touch up your roots."
November 19, 2011
One of Sunnydale's Many Cemeteries
"I always feel like somebody's watching me…"
Raising an eyebrow at Cordelia's random, singsong remark, Michelle looked back over her shoulder. Sure enough, two figures were doing a pathetic job of trying to remain inconspicuous while following their sextet. Why they were even trying to be sneaky was a mystery to Michelle; the one's purple hair stuck out like a sore thumb in the light of the moon. "Hmm. It's not paranoia if they really are out to get you. What do you want to do?"
Cordelia pondered that for a moment before abruptly turning right and redirecting the group towards one of Sunnydale's many cemeteries. Reaching into her purse, she withdrew her fistful of jagged metal shards. "Let's see who it is, first of all. I've been spreading the word as best I can without actually saying 'hey, town full of vampires here'. I've got friends putting the word out at the other high schools, too. If they're fellow students, they'll break off when we enter the graveyard. If they're muggers or something… well, I won't feel too bad if they get bit or dismembered or something. And if they're vampires? Playtime."
"Could be other students from Xavier's." Michelle glanced over at the boy who had introduced himself as Remy, who shot her what he probably thought was a charming smile as he slid a deck of playing cards out of his sleeve and fanned them out with a flick of his wrist. Uh… huh. A used car salesman smile and a stupid card trick and what? She was supposed to melt and throw herself into his arms or something? Yeah, she'd pass on that.
His statement confused her, though. Michelle had seen Cordelia pen off two emails: one to Xavier's and one to Emma Frost and the Massachusetts Academy. If these people were with Emma - and she assumed Emma's own daughter would be - then what did Xavier's have to do with anything? 'Students from Xavier's', she would have understood… but 'other'? That implied Julian, Remy, and Ivette were students there too. Grr. More questions, still no answers.
Looking back over her shoulder again, Michelle discovered that their stalkers had been joined by two more people, these figures taller and wearing what looked like black leather catsuits. Interesting. That eliminated fellow students from the equation, unless they were out and about with their parents or older siblings… who had odd fashion sense. At the same time, they were a bit too well-dressed to be muggers. That left demons and vampires. Evidently Cordelia was going to get the 'playtime' she'd been hoping for.
A wave of Cordelia's hand had the heavy metal gates of the cemetery swinging open and the group slipped inside. Michelle knew the grounds fairly well and instantly knew where Cordelia was herding their guests: a stretch of crypts in the back where they could split up and hide, allowing their pursuers to wander into a trap. And she was proven right as they reached said crypts, Cordelia turning to walk backwards as she looked the three visitors over. "Michelle, take the boys and hang a right. Willow, Ivette, and I will go left. Wait for them to pass and then…"
"Yeah, I know. Go." Grabbing Remy and Julian by their wrists, Michelle hauled them into the shadows and then pressed herself against the wall of the crypt. Despite Cordelia's instructions, this wasn't the first time they'd done this and she knew her role. Keeping the two boys behind her, Michelle took a step forward, carefully peeking around the edge of the crypt. A warm body pressed against hers from behind, breath puffing against her ear, and she stiffened. "T-minus five seconds till someone loses a testicle."
There was a soft chuckle as the figure pulled away. "Relax, chérie. Just wanted to see what there was to see. We're all friends here, non?"
Michelle snorted. Oh yes, and that hard bulge he'd pressed against her ass just screamed 'friendship'. God, why couldn't she have a useful mutation like Cordelia? Her friend probably would have shoved a chunk of metal into Remy's brain for his presumption, and then stirred it around a bit just to be a bitch. Then their four stalkers entered the empty space between the two crypts and hormonal boys were shifted to the back burner.
Now that they were closer, Michelle was certain it was two adults and two teens. That impression was only reinforced when one, a brunet with a strange visor covering his eyes, called out to them. "Remy, Julian, Ivette, this is Professor Summers. Whatever Professor Frost brought you here for, we're not going to hold you accountable. You were just following a professor's directions. You've even helped us locate the person we came here to find. So why don't you bring Cordelia out so we can meet her, and then head back to the Blackbird
"Hang on, Scott." The older of the two redheads in the group stepped forward, eyes fluttering closed as she reached up to press two fingers to her temple. "There's someone else here with us. They're faint… hard to pin down. But I'm definitely detecting an extra mind." Opening her eyes, she looked directly over at the crypt that the group of three girls was hiding behind. "Miss Chase? Would you mind coming out so we can continue this somewhere a bit safer?"
Michelle bit back giggles both at Cordelia's response and the exasperated sigh that followed. "Please? You and I both know what comes out at night around here, and I for one don't want to be out here any longer than I have to be. We can go back to the Blackbird
, your house, somewhere neutral… whatever you'd like. But we really need to talk about your friend with the shielding problem, and I'd like to talk to Michelle a bit too."
Emerging from the shadows, Cordelia let out a bark of laughter. "You know, Jean, for a telepath with a doctorate? You're really not that bright. There's obviously something bigger going on here in Sunnydale - something that involves Emma Frost too - and you actually still think I emailed you because there's some poor mutant who needs your help?"
"There's no empath, is there?"
"Wow. And you didn't even need to look inside my mind to figure that one out."
Before Cordelia could dig them into a hole too deep to climb out of - especially considering they needed to secure help from either this woman or the still absent Emma Frost - Michelle stepped out of the shadows. "You're right, Doctor Grey, there's no empath. I'm the one who needs your help." All attention shifted to her and, taking a deep breath to steel herself, Michelle forced her body to relax and shift back towards the form she'd been avoiding since the first of November. Looking down, she watched her skin turn blue even as she felt her hair shortening, making sure not to alter her body shape so her clothes would still fit properly.
Looking up, Michelle saw a bright red light coming at her. Then there was pain and the sensation of flight.
Male or female, Xander or Michelle, best friend or cousin… despite the changes in both their lives over the past month, a single individual remained unchallenged for the title of most important person in Willow's life. Even as her life had expanded, with new friends and new interests broadening her horizons, that remained true. So when a bright red beam of energy shot out of Scott Summers's eyes and ripped across the graveyard before slamming Michelle back into a crypt, Willow did something completely and totally stupid.
Letting out an angry scream, she charged.
One of the teenage girls tried to stop her but Willow was having none of that. Reaching out, Willow grabbed a fistful of purple hair and reeled the girl in before delivering a Harmony-worthy bitch slap that she followed up with an equally brutal backhand. The girl stumbled backwards a few steps and then a gravestone swept her legs out from under her, dumping her onto her back on the grass. Reorienting herself, Willow resumed her charge towards the brunet, watching as he raised his hand to his visor again. Her eyes narrowed; she remembered seeing him do that right before he blasted Michelle. Hmm. Now what?
Without thinking, Willow balled her hands into fists, barely feeling as her flesh split and bony white claws exploded from between her first and third knuckles. The man's fingers brushed against a dial on the side of his visor but by the time a blast of red light erupted from it, there was nothing there but empty space.