Holy shit, what the hell just happened? Yeah, I know I teased with bits in Chapter 3 and 15, but I bet none of you saw that coming. This chapter is part of another case of two-into-three, and will accordingly consist of a lot of new material. A good chunk of it will include characters that are either new, visiting from other works of mine, or being imported from the canon Marvel universe for the first time. See if you can find everyone…
November 20, 2011
Rosenberg Household - Living Room
"And fine, Rachel will say the same thing about Jean if I try to connect her to Emma. But! How do you explain the fact that Jean and Emma aren't sisters or cousins or anything? If there was only one family tree out there for each mutant power, they'd have to be related somehow. And they'd both be related to that Xavier guy. And Betsy and her parents."
Much to Michelle's surprise, Rachel threw her head back and laughed loudly at that one. "Oh Christ, now there's a frightening thought. Jean and Emma being related, that is. I might have come out with three eyes or something." And then, before Michelle could ask if that meant what she thought it meant, the redhead surged to her feet and shifted from flesh and blood to blood red crystal.
Shooting to her feet, Michelle… winced as Willow let out an indignant squawk and tipped over at the loss of support. The temporarily blond shapeshifter glanced back over her shoulder, offering Willow an apologetic smile as her friend grumbled and sorted herself out. "Erf, sorry. I forgot you were…" Willow's blue eyes narrowed and Michelle gulped. "I'm just gonna quit while I'm ahead, if you don't mind?"
Rachel's soft chuckle drew Michelle's attention back to her fellow red… wait, she was a blonde today. So technically Ivette would be a fellow blonde, leaving Rachel as the only redhead in the room. Whatever. Closing the distance between them, Michelle looked from Rachel to where Ivette was still scribbling away madly on her pad of paper. "Hey, Ivette, got a second?" The blonde telepath eyed her for a moment before shrugging and setting aside her work, rising to her feet beside Rachel when Michelle gestured for her to. "Can you shift into your diamond form for me? Err, please? I've seen your mom in a few pictures, but I want a better example to compare Rachel to." Letting out a soft 'ohh' of comprehension, Ivette nodded and then… changed. It wasn't quite instantaneous; now that she was prepared for it, Michelle could track the transformation's spread from the center of the blonde's chest as it blossomed outward to envelop the rest of her body. It had been rapid enough, though, and utterly silent.
Now that she had a good example of the 'classic' Frost transmorph to compare her to, Michelle could easily spot the differences between Rachel's form and that of her relations. There was the obvious difference, of course, in that she was red. Did diamonds come in that color, Michelle wondered, or did that mean Rachel was made of something else? Then again, had anyone ever tried to scrape off a piece of one of the other Frosts? Were they actually made of diamond or just something that looked a lot like it? Shaking her head, Michelle went back to her study of the two girls. While Ivette was perfectly transparent, Rachel's body was slightly occluded. Not enough to disrupt the view through her body, but noticeable enough when compared to her half-sister. Which meant there was nothing blocking Michelle's view of the fist-sized ball of roiling orange flame that resided in the middle of Rachel's chest. "What… what is that?"
"The nexus of all that is, was, and will be. Or at least a piece of it." Bringing one hand up, Rachel slowly waved it back and forth in front of her chest. "Do you mind? Even if they're made of corundum at the moment, they're still my breasts and it's kinda awkward to have you staring at them like that." Blushing at the rebuke, Michelle jerked her gaze upward to meet Rachel's eyes. She hadn't even thought of that. Awkward. "Now that I'm done shocking everyone but Ivette, does anyone mind if I turn back? This form blocks my telepathy and the quiet's starting to get to me…"
Clearing her throat excessively loudly, Cordelia waited until she was sure she had their attention before shaking her head. "Actually, I mind. I meant to do this when I got here but I got distracted." Leaning forward, she dropped her phone into her purse and began digging around. Despite being chastised only seconds before by Rachel for the exact same thing, Michelle couldn't keep her gaze from dipping so she could admire the amazing view straight dow- "Stop staring at my chest, Pervert Girl." God damn it. As Cordelia straightened back up, an M-shaped green… tiara, for lack of a better word… in her hand, her expression became contemplative. "You know, I've never really been sold on 'Ministique' as your post-human name. That'd make a good one."
Well aware of some of the other things the green-haired girl kept in her purse, Michelle limited herself to wandering over and cuffing Cordelia's shoulder gently as she watched her friend press the tiara against her forehead. "Pass. Although if you want me to stop staring at your chest, you could always try covering up a little more."
"Oh, sure, blame the victim. You're such a boy sometimes." Cordelia went back to digging in her bag as Michelle rolled her eyes. Girl had what was probably the biggest natural bust on the West Coast, and usually dressed to accentuate that fact. Of course people were going to look. It was human nature. While it had bothered her at first, Michelle had gotten over the attention her own - comparatively small - bust received. If Cordelia was genuinely annoyed by Michelle looking and not just picking on her for the sake of picking on her, then maybe she ought to- "Since I have Mom's tiara today, these are for you." Looking down, Michelle found Cordelia offering up a sextet of green barrettes. "They're a loan, not a gift. Lose one, and your grandchildren be working it off. I mean, I like you and all, but not enough to give you Wakandan vibranium as a present. Wear them until the telepaths leave town to keep them out of your brain. Then give them back."
"What am I supposed to do with-"
"…seriously? How hard did your head hit that wall last night?" Grumbling, Cordelia took hold of Michelle's wrist, yanking the smaller girl off the arm of her chair and forcing her to sit at her feet. Fingers began to comb through Michelle's blond hair absently as Cordelia turned her attention to Rachel. "You can shift back now if you want. Don't care if you go poking around in Willow's head, and there's evidently not much for you to find inside of Michelle's." Tilting her head back, Michelle blew a raspberry at Cordelia, and then squeaked as her attention was forcibly redirected. "Sit still, damn it. Now, Rachel. Jean's Mini-Me, but with a signature Frost power. On one hand, I found Emma and Jean curled up in bed together this morning. On the other, I'm pretty sure the tech to pull off a lesbian baby doesn't exist yet, and definitely didn't back in 19…95? You look like you're about our age. So… spill."
Returning to her normal form, Rachel waited for Ivette to do likewise before retaking her seat on the couch. "Really? Jean and Emma were…. you know, most kids might be freaked out by hearing something like that, but I'm totally going to 'squee!' at that one. Mostly because I was starting to get seriously worried. Sure, they've got three years to work with, but if they don't get their shit together then I'm going to end up not existing." Leaning forward, Rachel offered Michelle her hand. "I should probably reintroduce myself properly, now that the cat's tearing its way out of the bag hissing and clawing. My real name is Rachel Grey-Frost, and I'm from about nineteen years in the future."
Michelle opened her mouth to debate such an obviously ludicrous claim… and then closed it with an audible click. She'd been turned from a human boy into a blue mutant girl thanks to a magic spell. Cordelia had an aunt who could supposedly rewrite reality at will. Cordelia herself, along with Willow and evidently Janet… they weren't exactly normal themselves. Was the idea of time travel - or the time traveling daughter of two women - really that unbelievable? Leaning forward, she ignored Cordelia's soft growl as she shook Rachel's hand before leaning back so Cordelia could resume her work. "What's the future like? I mean, can you tell us?"
"Really? That's it?" Sulking, Rachel crossed her arms over her chest as she sat back, looking from Michelle to Cordelia to Willow and back again. "You're just going to accept something like that at face value? You people suck."
While Rachel's attention was currently directed towards Michelle, the question encompassed all of them and so Willow saw fit to offer her two cents. "Before a magic spell on Halloween, the girl who claims she's my cousin used to be a boy I had a crush on. Time traveling lesbian baby is weird, but I live with weirder."
Rachel contemplated that for a moment before shrugging. "Touché. Oh, and I've been doing my best to keep things on the right track, but I still managed to fuck the timeline up a little bit. Or a lot. Depends on whether you're concerned with your own problems or the long view. In the original story you guys told me about how you met the X-Men? Scott and Jean brought different kids to Sunnydale with them: Jubilation Lee and John Allerdyce. John's actually not at the school anymore for some reason. He disappeared right after I arrived but since I never even talked to him once, I don't see how it could possibly be my fault. And I don't know why they brought two different people instead of Jubilee and one not-John person. Mother's team is completely messed up; the Five-in-One sent Ivette instead of Sophie as a representative, Remy and Julian are supposed to be here in Sunnydale with Sophie instead of me and Betsy and Ivette, Jean should be back in Westchester by now… ugh. You know, the more I think about it, the more it pisses me off. What the hell's the point of knowing about the past if the past is going to change on you?"
"Retcons." Michelle blushed faintly as Rachel shot her an odd look. "It's what they call it in comics and TV and stuff. When the past mysteriously changes so it matches with where they want the plot to go next."
Rachel's odd look didn't abate at the explanation. "Did not know that. Did not need to know that. But now that we have a name for them… fuck retcons. Moving on to where I was going with that whole rant… I should probably fix a kink in the timeline before I forget. Willow, I need you to think about someone you don't like and wanting to kick them." Willow blinked a few times before furrowing her brow and making a kicking motion. A bony white spike erupted from her foot, making Willow squeak and recoil backward, tipping her chair over. "…and the timeline's back on track. Or close enough. You're welcome."
"Now that you're done scaring Willow with herself… why are you telling us about yourself?" Waiting until after Cordelia had finished her work and given her a pat on the head, Michelle moved to perch on the coffee table in front of Rachel. "I mean, I didn't even suspect it, Cordelia and Willow look surprised so I'm guessing they had no clue either. There was that babysitting comment last night, but I'd actually forgotten about it until just now…"
Much to Michelle's surprise, Rachel nodded in Ivette's direction. "She's the cat, so to speak. When we joined our minds with yours last night, she managed to sneak into my head and view a memory that blew my big secret wide open. While I trust her to keep it to herself… she's just a One in the Five-in-One. She's cut off from her sisters at the moment because of the Hellmouth, but once we head back towards the school? She'll link back up and they'll know what she knows. So I decided to release my secret on my terms, instead of ending up on damage control after her sister Esme blabbed it." Rachel paused, turning to eye the purple-haired girl beside her suspiciously. "Speaking of people finding out my secret, though… you're taking this awfully well."
Betsy just chuckled in response, bringing one hand up and pressing her fingertips against Rachel's face in a way that made Michelle giggle on the inside. A fellow Trekkie. Cool. There was a flare of violet light around Betsy's face, creating what almost looked like a pair of butterfly wings, and then Rachel jerked back. The redhead stared at her friend in surprise for a few seconds before scowling. "Constant vigilance." Turning back to Michelle, Betsy jerked a thumb in Rachel's direction. "She mentioned the red form cuts off her telepathy. Evidently it turns off her eyes, too, because she walked right past me in the locker room in that form once. So I knew the 'what' even if I didn't know the 'how'."
And now that she had a reasonable explanation, the aforementioned comment finally made sense to Michelle. "Coming back around to that whole babysitting thing… from your perspective, I've already babysat you even if it's years away for me and I hadn't met you before last night. Totally makes sense now." Pausing, she thought for a moment before amending her statement. "As much as time travel shenanigans ever make sense to anyone, that is."
"Yeah. And I'd totally forgotten I made that comment last night. I guess it's a good thing that Ivette got nosy, or else that might have made for some awkward conversation later when you remembered it. And by awkward conversation, I mean you saying something and me wiping your mind. Oh well. All's well that ends well, right?" Um, yeah, the 'just conversation' option was definitely better than the 'conversation followed by mindwipe' option in Michelle's book. " As for the other question you asked, do you want to know personal stuff or just general stuff?"
Before Michelle could answer, Betsy held up her hand. "Wait a minute, wait a minute. Whatever happened to preserving the timeline and all that rot? You haven't even told Jean that Emma's your other mother - or that you have two mothers instead of a mother or a father - because you supposedly didn't want to-"
Rachel snorted and grinned. "Been trolling you." As Betsy stared at her in disbelief, she elaborated. "Well, it's not a good idea to tell you guys anything because it'd make you sloppy. After all, if you think it'll happen to you no matter what? You won't work for what you're supposed to earn and then it probably won't happen. But that whole 'oh noes, I might destroy my future' thing? Totally been messing with you. I've been thinking about it and I'm pretty sure that my arrival caused the timeline to branch. So anything that happens here will create a new future, while mine will just sit there waiting for me to go back to it until I'm ready. I mean, I still remember John… an adult John who never left the mansion. If anything that happened while I was here actually mattered, wouldn't I have forgotten him? And the story these three told me about meeting him, and Willow ramming one of her foot claws into his crotch?"
"I'm surprised you haven't tried to forget that last one on purpose." Betsy shuddered before thrusting her hands out, giving Rachel a telekinetic shove that sent her sprawling across Ivette's lap. "And I can't believe you've been… I mean, I'm your best friend. You are such a bitch."
Untangling herself from the distinctly unamused Ivette, Rachel righted herself before affecting a startlingly good Boston accent, sniffing and staring down her nose at Betsy. "It's the breeding, darling. Top class breeding." Betsy rolled her eyes at that and swatted Rachel the good old-fashioned way, making the redhead chuckle before turning her attention back to the Sunnydale natives. "Let's keep things generic for now. If you're really curious, you can corner me later to ask whether or not you become a famous actress or win the lottery or anything. Big one in the near future that kinda matters to Michelle on account of her being 'lesbian' in this form… Obama wins a second term. Section 3 of DOMA's gonna get declared unconstitutional in summer of 2013, but Section 2's still hanging in there all the way out in 2030 because Congress still can't get anything accomplished. Puerto Rico and Baja become states. We eventually get ourselves out of Afghanistan. And… Justin Bieber admits her name is really Jessica, bringing an end to all those 'lesbians who look like' jokes because they're not really funny when it turns out-"
"Yeah, she grows her hair out and-"
"No, the part about Afghanistan. We've been there like, forever."
November 20, 2011
Starbucks on Columbus Avenue
New York, New York
November in New York was proving to be surprisingly nice this year, Wanda Lehnsherr mused as she sat at one of the umbrella-topped tables outside her favorite Manhattan Starbucks. It was cool enough that warm drinks like her beloved Signature Hot Chocolate wouldn't leave her sweating, but still warm enough out that she could walk around town comfortably in a dress. And her matching red cincher and vibranium tiara, both of which were attracting fewer looks than she was used to. Then again, Wanda reminded herself, she was in New York City. They were used to far, far weirder things here.
A young man who ran around the city in a red and blue, spider-themed spandex outfit, for instance.
Sipping her hot cocoa, Wanda stared off at the nearby intersection of Columbus Avenue and West 81st Street, watching pedestrians dodge slow-moving cars as they gave up on waiting for the signal to okay their passage. One person cut it a bit too close, making Wanda shake her head in amusement as the intersection exploded with a cacophony of horns and expletives. Eventually the pedestrian flipped off the car and continued on their way, and traffic resumed its normal slow crawl. New Yorkers were an insane bunch, Wanda concluded. She could manipulate reality to suit her whims, and even she wasn't keen on the idea of playing a game of human Frogger
Motion in the corner of her eye made Wanda look to her left and sigh. Sadly, while her powers allowed her to manipulate a great many things, her daughter's choice of attire was not one of them. "I swear, Anya, sometimes it feels like I've got twin sons instead of a son and a daughter. Would it kill you to wear something feminine once in a while?"
"I wear bras. If Tommy's wearing those, I don't want to know about it." Throwing herself into the seat opposite Wanda, Anya Lehnsherr tilted her plastic cup so the green straw pointed at her mother. "Besides, which of us had herself a Marilyn Monroe moment on the walk over here? In front of a bunch of Japanese tourists with cameras? I'll give you a hint: not the girl wearing pants."
Wanda rolled her eyes at that before flicking her finger at her daughter's cup, a red spark of energy leaping from her fingertip to land on Anya's straw. It wriggled a bit as the energy coursed up and down it before shifting from dark green to the same shade of red as Wanda's outfit, the stubby little bit protruding out of the plastic lid growing upward and twisting itself into an outlandishly complex crazy straw. "You're assuming I didn't know that was going to happen when I walked over that vent."
Pinching the bridge of her nose, Anya sighed. "Ugh. Why do you insist on saying things I can't unhear, Mom?" Wanda shrugged before leaning forward, only to be denied as Anya pulled her cup backward. "Nuh uh. We both know you hate the black tea lemonade here. I'm tired of you stealing some, making faces, and then 'tweaking the odds' that the barista gave me the wrong drink. You have your hot cocoa. Drink that."
On one hand, it was kind of mean of her to perpetually mess with her daughter's drinks. On the other hand, their little power-fueled tug of wars made for a great way of honing Anya's control of her abilities. Mehh. Wanda held her hands up in surrender before leaning back, grabbing her hot chocolate and taking a sip from it. There was no way she'd leave New York City before she'd had a chance to visit Barneys New York; that was a given. If she didn't torment Anya now, she might be - slightly - more receptive to a game of 'Copy That' when they popped over.
Speaking of attire… Wanda eyed the odd headband that her daughter was wearing: a strip of red cloth with a metal plate covered in arcane-looking symbols affixed to the front. Nothing as regal-looking as her vibranium tiara, sure, but it was definitely a step in the right direction in her mind. Assuming, of course, that this wasn't a sign that Tommy had managed to suck his sister into that ridiculous cartoon that he enjoyed watching. "So… interesting fashion accessory you've got today. Does it mean you're finally starting to put thought into your post-human name?"
Free hand coming up to brush against her headband, Anya nodded. "I was talking about it with some of my friends and we're thinking 'Wiccan'. I mean, I like your idea of keeping the magical theme going in the family, but I'm not going to be your 'Scarlet Apprentice' or something. That just sounds stupid, and I'd end up needing to change my name when I got older. Pass."
"Not bad, not bad." Wanda took another sip of her drink before frowning, feeding a bit of her power into the cup to reheat the contents… and then refilling it for good measure. It was delicious, sure, but that didn't mean she felt like getting up and waiting in line for more. "I like it much better than your original idea of patterning yourself after that supposed Norse goddess that keeps popping up around New York. And not just because you're imitating me, although it is a nice ego stroke."
"Mmm. 'Asgardian' sounds like a porn star who… surely you can see where I'm going with this."
"…I'd rather not, thanks." Groaning, Anya set down her drink before burying her face in her hands. "I swear to God, I'm going to run away in the middle of the night and go live with Aunt Lorna and Cordelia in Sunnydale. Vampires and demons have nothing on you."
Wanda perked up at that. She now ranked above vampires and other creatures of the night? Cool. This whole 'traumatizing your children' thing wasn't nearly as difficult as Lorna made it out to be. Let's see… what else could she bring up to embarrass Anya further? Oh! "Fine, fine, I'll be good." After a moment, she grinned and leaned forward. "Tell me more about this 'Teddy' you met at school."
Eyes narrowing, Anya stared at her mother suspiciously. "How do you know about Teddy?"
Most of the time, Anya was a miniature version of her. And yet there were certain moments where Wanda found it impossible to ignore that someone else had contributed their chromosomes to her daughter's creation. Like when she failed to think before opening her mouth, and something incredibly stupid slipped out. "Setting your posts on Facebook to Friends-only doesn't stop your mother from seeing them if you've got her friended. Just thought you should know." Eyes widening, Anya's hand shot down under the table as she wriggled in her seat, pulling out her smartphone and going to work on it. "So… Teddy…"
"Hang on, I'm defriending you." After poking at her phone a few more times, Anya looked up as she tucked it back into her pocket. "Okay, well, he… she… Teddy's kinda special. And green."
Wanda raised an eyebrow at her daughter's halting explanation. "Uh… huh. Let's double back to the possible gender confusion issue after you explain what 'green' is slang for these days."
That earned her a raised eyebrow in return - and God she hoped that Anya just sucked at imitating her and she didn't look anything like that when she did it - followed by Anya pointing at the store they were sitting in front of. "Um, I meant green as in the color. You know, like Aunt Lorna's hair? Teddy's green. All over."
Oh. Well. That was just… interesting. Then again, Mortimer had yellowish-green skin and Raven's was blue. Far be it from her to tell her daughter what color person she could date. Although it did make for great embarrassment fodder… "Now when you say 'all over'… how over have you seen all of?"
"What? It's a valid question."
November 20, 2011
Rosenberg Household - Living Room
Two hours later, Michelle had showered and thrown on a jean skirt and her pinstriped Yankees jersey that sported the number seventeen and 'FLAHERTY' on the back; Ivette had recommended it on the ground that it might help reinforce the connections she created in the Rosenbergs' minds about their fictional new relations. Just as she'd been emerging from the bathroom, Emma and Jean had finally arrived and the three Sunnydale residents had sat down with the telepathic quintet to review a complete list of the lies that would need to be implanted in Sheila and Ira Rosenberg's heads to ensure that what they 'remembered' about her matched up with the lies Michelle had already told people about her life before Sunnydale. Thankfully, most of it had been sound and only a few adjustments had been made, which Michelle promptly committed to memory for her own usage. With that done, the trio of teen telepaths decided to headed out for a bit, barely missing the first of the Cordettes as they began arriving in ones and twos. Harmony, as always, brought up the rear.
As Cordelia ushered the terminally tardy girl into the living room, she offered Michelle a nervous smile. After careful consideration, Willow had decided to join Cordelia in revealing the truth to the collected Cordettes while Emma was there to quash any negative blowback. Personally, Michelle thought they were worried over nothing; the girls had reacted positively enough to her and… did Cordelia seriously think it was going to be a surprise? She had green hair, for crying out loud. They probably all knew she was a mutant already, even if they were too polite to confront her on it. But… whatever. Cordelia felt the need to do things this way and so Michelle wasn't going to argue.
Moving to sit off to one side, Michelle gestured for Cordelia to get on with it. The green-haired girl rolled her eyes before moving to stand in front of the television with Willow. Conversation slowly petered out as the Cordettes noticed her presence, and Cordelia took a deep breath before smiling nervously. "Okay, so, I called you guys here because Willow and I have been hiding something important from the rest of you, and we think it's finally time to come clean. It… kinda has to do with Michelle, too. You see-"
"Oh! Oh!" Harmony bounced energetically on the couch, pointing at them wildly. "Lesbian threesome! I knew it! Gwen, you owe me twenty bucks!"