If you've been reading from the start, you saw my commentary about the size of Sunnydale compared to its canon population, and how unrealistic I found it. I decided to do a bit of adjusting because of that. That change filters down into the student body size at Sunnydale High, along with the size of the varsity cheerleading squad. Oh, and while some of said varsity girls are drawn from other cheerleading-heavy properties, they're just winknods. This isn't going to become a massive multiple crossover. Finally, Marvel has increasingly been applying science to Homo sapiens superior
as the years go by and so Ivette's mutant 'facts' are indeed bits of canon, or at least were when last I touched the X-books. With how fast they retcon stuff, though, I make no guarantees of their current level of accuracy.
November 21, 2011
Sunnydale High School - Small Gym
…did she actually need to be here for this?
Cordelia did her best to stifle a yawn as she hopped up to sit on the balance beam that ran along one wall of the smaller of the school's two gymnasiums, joining her cousins - well, Anya was sitting on it while Tommy leaned against it next to her - and 'Phoebe'. Seriously, though, the varsity cheerleaders were all here. She'd done her job. She knew the information being shared. Couldn't she be… anywhere but here? Hell, she'd take quality time with Willow over this. Mostly because Willow was somewhere that wasn't here.
It was then that Cordelia noticed that she'd managed to assemble almost all of the varsity cheerleading squad for Ivette to lecture. For some reason, Gwen was mysteriously absent. Although perhaps 'mysteriously' wasn't the right word to use. While the blonde's attendance record made her absence noteworthy, it wasn't altogether surprising. According to the texts Cordelia had exchanged with Emma this morning, Betsy hadn't turned up at Casa Chase at any point nor had she returned to Willow's house. Given that the people and places Betsy knew in Sunnydale could be counted on one hand, it was pretty easy to guess where she'd ended up… and why Gwen was missing.
But Gwen's sex life was Gwen's problem, at least as long as she kept it out of the rumor mill. And so Cordelia turned her attention to… the tan leather beside her butt, prodding it with one finger. Because pondering why her school owned a balance beam when it didn't have a gymnastics team was infinitely more interesting than listening to a presentation on the math of mutation. The material was dry enough to put an average person to sleep under normal circumstances. At seven o'clock in the morning on a Monday? It was killer.
Unfortunately, the balance beam and the school's potential use for it could only hold her attention for so long, and Cordelia inevitably found herself being dragged back into Ivette's lecture. "…according to the 2010 census, Sunnydale's population was ninety-six thousand, two hundred and fifty, and roughly twenty percent of the population was under eighteen. I'd personally add two percent to that because there are some eighteen-year-olds in high school and so we need everyone under nineteen." Waving her hands, Ivette created a series of glowing blue numbers and equations floating over her head. Cordelia personally wasn't fond of it because she knew what it really was: Ivette projecting shit directly into her brain. The others seemed to find it cool, though, even if it was being used to show off math. "Multiply the population by that twenty-two percent and that's the total number of people under nineteen: twenty-one thousand, one hundred and seventy-five. Everybody still with me?"
There was a long moment of silence as the girls exchanged looks and then one of Cordelia's three fliers, a dark-haired girl named Heather, raised her hand hesitantly. And then pushed herself up onto her toes to ensure she was seen; being the shortest girl on the squad was a bitch sometimes. "I don't think I was ever with you."
"…high school upperclassmen and they can't handle simple math. God, it's like trying to teach class to a room full of Regan." Shaking her head, Ivette continued onward with her presentation. "Anyway, just accept that I'm telling the truth and there are twenty-one thousand or so people under the age of nineteen in the town. We're going to multiply that number by five-nineteenths, which represents the rough age range of high schoolers because you get everything from thirteen-year-olds starting young to people who are eighteen and a few months when they graduate. Since you can't have point three people, that rounds to five thousand, five hundred and seventy-two high schoolers in Sunnydale. Mutants, at least according to our best estimates, account for roughly three percent of the population. Granted that's both active and potential mutants but still… three percent. So what's three percent of five thousand, five hundred and seventy-two?"
Cordelia bit her lip to keep from laughing as her girls pulled out their cell phones in near-perfect synchronicity. Harmony - who Cordelia had invited despite her non-cheerleader status because she wanted all her friends tested along with her squadmates for safety's sake - managed to beat all the others to the punch, though, holding up her iPhone proudly. "What were the numbers again? My phone has a calculator app!"
Reaching up to pinch the bridge of her nose, Ivette let out a sigh of exasperation. "Good for it, Harmony. That was a rhetorical question. I ran all the numbers myself this way on the way over; the answer is a hundred and sixty-seven. There should be one hundred and sixty-seven X-positive high schoolers in Sunnydale right now. Sure, there are three high schools here in town, but even when you take that into consideration? There should be at least sixty mutants here at Sunnydale High School. Today. Right now. Cordelia, Michelle, Willow, Janet. That's four. Where are the other fifty-six?"
…and this was why she should have had Ivette run the entire speech past her and not just the 'salient points'. She hadn't mentioned anything about outing the rest of them. That was supposed to come at the end of the meeting, not at the beginning. Sighing, Cordelia pinched the bridge of her nose before sliding off the balance beam and clearing her throat loudly. "Yes, you heard right. Michelle's not the only mutant you know. I'm a mutant, Willow's a mutant, Janet's a mutant… we're a whole bunch of freaks. Don't ask what our powers are; that's a whole other speech and I don't have time to give it. As you heard from someone who knows more about mutants than me, though?" Here she paused, gesturing to Ivette. "There are more students in the school who are mutants, even if they don't know it yet. Some of them may be on this squad. Considering Willow had issues when her powers activated, I want to know who they are ASAP. So… anyone want to come out of the X-Closet before I start pulling hairs for her to DNA test? Twins? Kinda looking at you here…"
Carmella and Katherine were as easy to pick out of the crowd as Heather was hard, a pair of six foot tall Hispanic girls distinguishable only by the fact that Carmella tended to keep her hair short and full of product while Kate had a chin-length bob. It wasn't an entirely groundless accusation in Cordelia's mind: not only were the girls freakishly tall but strong as well, each capable of lifting a flier a piece while it took two girls working together to lift the third. Evidently the twins felt otherwise, though, letting out synchronized snorts. Carmella took a half-step forward, narrowly edging out her sister for the right to speak first. "Why, because we're ridiculously tall? Oh, fine, you caught us."
"We're both mutants. We share the amazing power of being able to reach stuff on the top shelf."
"Oh, and the way my hair defies gravity. I think that's a power too."
"That'd explain a lot, actually."
"I know, right?" After indulging in a shared snicker with her sister, Carmella turned her attention back to Cordelia. "We may be mutants, but not your kind of mutant. Sorry."
Cordelia grumbled softly under her breath for a few seconds before looking around at the assembled girls. "Anyone? I mean, we may be twenty girls out of two thousand students, but Ivette told me that mutants put out a 'low-level psionic field' that draws us towards each other. So if there are any other girl mutants in the school, there's a good chance that-"
And people wondered why Cordelia preferred to spend most of her time with the Cordettes. She had them trained to raise a hand or otherwise catch her attention when they wanted to speak. They didn't just go ahead and interrupt her, like Santana evidently felt the need to. "That actually might explain a few things. And don't worry, I'll explain it to Britt later so none of you have to try. As long as we're on the subject of mutants, though…" Twisting around in Brittany's arms - and what the hell was up with the two of them being so huggy lately? - Santana reached up and tugged the fluffy gold scrunchy out of the blonde's hair. "Show 'em your stuff, Britt-Britt."
Opening her mouth to say something, Cordelia was cut off again as Brittany held up a finger… and then the blonde's hair began to move. It stretched out in all directions at first, and then wound itself into long, thick blond tendrils that writhed around in the air for a few seconds before curling themselves around her shoulders. "You know how I keep talking about being great at hairography and all? Yeah, I cheat."
"…is there something past 'underwhelmed' for me to be? You know, even less whelmed than underwhelmed?" Second in height to only the twins, Kaitlyn was easy to pick out over the crowd as she eyed Brittany disdainfully. "I mean, am I the only one who realizes that she's one bad haircut away from being as normal as the rest of us? If I'm going to be part of the big bad evil mutant menace, I want it to be worth it, you know?"
Before Cordelia had a chance to address that - or Brittany's revelations - things were thrown even further off course as yet another person jumped into the conversation. "Um, speaking of the 'big bad evil mutant menace'?" Savannah actually brought her hands up so she could do the air quotes around the repeated words, making the others snicker. The words that followed, though, quickly sobered them. "Why don't I find you guys big, bad, evil, or menacing? I mean, I'm not freaking out at all about finding out that four of my squadmates are mutants. That's not normal, is it?"
Ivette's eyes met Cordelia's and the green-haired girl was hit with a wave of foreign curiosity. Since her ability to project her thoughts was about as well developed as Willow, Cordelia was forced to shrug as a response, leaving Ivette to turn back to Savannah curiously. "Four? Cordelia, Janet, now Brittany…"
"Santana. And I think her and Brittany are dating." Savannah's answer earned her a lot of odd looks and slack jaws, making her squirm uncomfortably. "What? I know I've fallen on a few heads over the years, but I didn't think I'd done that much damage. It's so obvious. Well, it is now. Before I thought they were just so skeezy that they touched each other when there wasn't anyone else around to mess around with. But… Santana says this whole 'mutants are drawn together' thing explains things. Britt turns out to be a mutant. Am I the only one here who can do two plus two and get four?"
Attention lingered on Savannah for a few seconds longer and then she slumped in relief as the gym was thrown into chaos, people first pairing off to chatter with their close friends about what she'd just pointed out before descending into bickering with nearby pairs of differing opinion. Watching the havoc, Cordelia found herself uncertain for the first time in many years, completely clueless as to how to regain control.
And then Hell froze over and Harmony of all people restored order with a sharp whistle. "You know, everyone says I'm the stupid one but even I know that nobody gets answers if everyone asks questions at once. So let's figure out which is more important and take turns harassing them. Show of hands, which is more important to you: mutant or lesbian? Who wants to hear Santana talk about her powers?" Cordelia's hand shot into the air followed closely by Ivette's. A smattering of other girls slowly raised their hands: Heather, Savannah, a redhead named Janae who was part of Brittany and Santana's skank clique and therefore probably knew all about their homance, and then the squad's third flier, a blonde named Claire. "And who wants to hear Santana explain why she's now trying to sleep with the entire school instead of just half?" The other fourteen girls in the gym raised their hands. "Right. So. Let's discuss Brittana."
Letting out a little squeal, Brittany bounced up and down, clapping her hands. "We have a 'ship name! That's so awesome! How come I never thought of that?" Cordelia looked around, glad to discover that all of the non-Harmony girls - Santana included - looked as confused by this turn of events as she felt. If it was something only Brittany and Harmony understood, she probably didn't want to know. Except evidently Brittany thought they should know. Fabulous. "Only Twihards are into that whole 'Team Edward', 'Team Jacob' thing. Most of the stuff I'm a fan of, we come up with cute names for our couples. Like in My Little Pony
, there's Twilestia and FlutterDash and RariJack…"
"Yeah, and Harry Potter
has 'Harmony' for Harry and Hermione. Which I'm cool with; they might be total rejects, but they're the stars so they can borrow my name if they want. And it makes so much more sense than Harry and Ginny because hello, Ginny totally looks like his mom. Gross much?" Harmony shuddered before wandering over to where Brittany and Santana were standing, pulling the two apart and forcing them to stand next to each other as she rested a hand on each girl's shoulder. "So anyway, yeah. One Brittany plus one Santana. Britt and Tana. Brittana. Get it?"
Cordelia sighed and, worried she might actually make a dent in her nose if she kept pinching it so hard, opted to bury her face in her hands instead. "I do. And I'm not sure I like what that says about me."
November 21, 2011
Sunnydale High School - Library
"So, the mouth of Hell is located in a high school library. I imagine a number of my students would take the opportunity to say 'I told you so' if they knew…"
Giles's brow furrowed at the unfamiliar voice and he marked his place in the book he was reading before setting it down on his desk, rising to his feet and poking his head out of his office. Standing just inside the library doors was a blonde who was easily the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen in person - a thought he felt vaguely guilty about given his budding relationship with Jenny - accompanied by a redheaded teen that was neither Willow nor Michelle. But while the outsiders' presence was disquieting enough, their words made it even more so. Who were they, how much did they know - or think they knew - and what did they want? Deciding to favor a diplomatic approach, at least until he knew more, Giles cleared his throat as he exited his office, drawing their attention to him. "May I help you? Miss..?"
The blonde chuckled softly at that as she left her young companion at the doors, looking around curiously as she wandered deeper into the library. "I haven't been 'Miss' in close to a decade now, Mister Giles. I'm surprised you have to ask, though, considering I had over two dozen students bother me for autographs in the time it took me to walk from the curb to the library. Emma Frost. Doctor Frost, if you feel that honorifics are necessary."
While Giles's knowledge of pop culture was sorely lacking and he knew it, even he could recognize that particular name. "Good Lord. Are you really?"
"Mmm. You know all about me, of course - you got a few extra books for background reading - and I'm in Modern Magical History
and The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts
and Great Wizarding Events of the Twentieth Century
." Emma stared at him for a few seconds before snorting and turning away, wandering over to one of the bookshelves and brushing her hand over the end. "It's from Harry Potter
, you philistine. The scene where Harry and Hermione first meet. Just out of curiosity, have you ever considered opening any of the books you lock yourself in here with all day?"
Giles sputtered for a few seconds before recognizing her jab for what it was and feeling extraordinarily stupid; unused to working with teenagers, he'd fallen for it far too many times over the past eight months. Buffy in particular had a fondness for derailing conversations as a way of seizing control of them. But while he still fell for the initial attack, he was getting better at defending against it. "Since I somehow doubt you're here to discuss children's literature with me, Doctor Frost, I'll ask you again… is there something I can help you with?"
Before Emma could answer, the doors burst open and Buffy came rushing into the library. "Giles! I think I figured out who wrecked Willy's! I was patrolling Angelus-Rosedale last night and ran into a dozen vampires. Which totally would have been a huge problem, except then this purple-haired mutant girl came out of nowhere and…" Trailing off, Buffy looked first at where Emma was standing near the stacks before glancing back over her shoulder at the still nameless redhead standing by the doors. "And I really suck at keeping a secret identity, don't I?"
"That you do, Elizabeth, although the information about how Miss Braddock spent her evening is appreciated." Emma waved her hand dismissively as Buffy opened her mouth to say something. "I'm quite aware that's not your real name. Your real name, however, is perfectly ridiculous and your mother should feel ashamed for giving it to you. Therefore, as far as I am concerned, your name is Elizabeth Summers and no amount of arguing will convince me otherwise."
Feeling a headache building, Giles sighed and removed his glasses. Tugging a handkerchief out of his pocket, he began polishing them as he stared in the general direction of the fuzzy white blob that was his visitor. "Doctor Frost, I must insist-"
"Yes, yes, to business." The white blob moved over to the table in the center of the library, and Giles slid his glasses back on just in time to watch Emma perch herself on the edge. She crossed one leg over the other, causing her white skirt to inch up her thighs and making Giles cough and blush faintly in response. "To be exceedingly blunt, Mister Giles? I know who you and Elizabeth are. What you are. What you do. I know what Sunnydale is. Before now, I haven't concerned myself with the supernatural. That is about to change."
"Um, no it's not." Scowling, Buffy stalked over to stand between Emma and Giles, looking back and forth between them. "Tell her, Giles. I'm the Slayer. I slay. It's my job. Hence the whole 'Slayer' thing."
While he would have found a way to put it that sounded more adult and less like a petulant teenager, Giles did have to agree. "While the Council has routinely employed outsiders for research and support, for millennia it has been the role of the Slayer alone to-"
A piercing whistle echoed through the library and then the forgotten redhead pushed off of the wall, making her way over to stand beside Emma. "I know you wanted to do this part, but you're too sophisticated. It'll sound weird." Turning to face Giles and Buffy, the girl waved cheerfully. "Hi. I'm Rachel." Spreading her arms wide, she looked from side to side. "This is the field where I grow my fucks. Behold how barren it is."
"…yes, because I've only been waiting weeks for a chance to use that somewhere my coworkers won't overhear it. Rotten child." Emma sighed and shook her head despondently before sobering and returning her attention to Giles. "She's essentially correct, though. The past doesn't concern me, Mister Giles, nor do the dictates of your archaic employers. What matters to me is having a world to wake up to each morning, and I refuse to entrust its security to a bottle blond Valley Girl bearing a name not fit for a poodle."
"I see." Giles could understand Emma's point; he too had been less than enamored with the Slayer he'd been given when they first met. But she'd acquitted herself remarkably well over the past few months, defeating the Master of the Order of Aurelius and surviving an encounter with William the Bloody on Parent-Teacher Night. Not wanting to give Buffy a chance to argue with the blonde, Giles quickly pushed onward. "Let's say for the sake of argument that we'd be amenable to some sort of… assistance… from you. What would you wish to do in Sunnydale?"
Emma just shrugged at that. "On a day-to-day basis? Nothing. Your Slayer seems to have things well in hand… except for when she doesn't. But alas, while I'd enjoy leaving Miss Braddock behind so she can continue helping, I doubt her headmaster would approve. No, I'm only interested in the big problems. The end of the world. As I said, I don't want one teenage girl standing between us and oblivion. There are at least five members of Homo sapiens superior
in Sunnydale; four of them attend this school and you're familiar with three of them even if you don't know it." Abruptly, Giles a series of images passing through his mind: Cordelia, Michelle, an Asian girl in a Sunnydale High cheerleading uniform, Willow with a pair of bone spikes jutting from her hand, and finally a buxom, green-haired woman in a purple dress. Cordelia's mother, presumably. "From now on, in the event of a crisis, you're to pick the mutant of your choice and contact them. After you brief them on the current threat, they'll pass the information on to me and I'll take appropriate action. Sending information, materiel, personnel… whatever's necessary to get the job done."
That… seemed simple enough. Quite logical. And quite useful as well. While Buffy had been revived and ultimately gone on to win the day, perhaps she wouldn't have died at all facing the Master if she'd had some decent backup. All the same, Giles wasn't ready to capitulate quite so easily. "And if we don't?"
One fine blond brow rose at that and then Emma's eyes began to glow blue. If Giles had been harboring any doubts regarding the earlier mental slideshow, they were destroyed as her voice was projected directly into his head. 'That was the carrot, while I make for a rather effective stick if I do say so myself. Tell me, dear Rupert, would you like to spend the rest of your life obsessed with the works of Francis Bacon? I mean, sexually?'
November 21, 2011
Sunnydale High School - Small Gym
Screwing a cap onto the vial marked 'Bennet, C', Michelle gave the blonde a grin as her free hand came to rest at the small of Claire's back. That earned her an exasperated look and then Claire rolled her eyes, gesturing for her to get on with it. Michelle obliged, sliding her hand down to give the blonde's ass a firm squeeze and then a slap to propel her into motion back toward where her friends were standing. The latter resulted in a loud squeak, earning Michelle a glare from Ivette to which she replied with her best innocent look.
And that made fifteen. Opening the white leather purse Emma had provided her with, Michelle slid the sample into the lefthand pocket and withdrew an empty vial from the right. Looking down at the label, she frowned. 'Ditchik, G'. According to Cordelia, Emma had been in contact with Betsy this morning. If Gwen was dead or something, surely that would have come up in conversation. So for now Michelle would focus on what she was doing. Maybe Gwen was just running late or something. If the blonde didn't turn up by the end of the day, she'd call her or text her or IM her or… something.
Michelle tucked Gwen's vial into her pocket to keep it out of the way before grabbing a new one and checking the label. 'Kendall, H'. Harmony was… standing with a few other girls who were watching Anya show off her powers, utterly enraptured by the display. Weaving her way through the different clumps of chatting girls, Michelle sidled up next to Harmony before realizing… hair was Serious Business to this girl. The last thing she needed was Harmony trying to beat the crap out of her for messing up her hair. Trying being the operative word; she knew she could take the girl. Still. It would be a complication she didn't need.
After a few seconds, Anya paused for applause between tricks and Michelle cleared her throat, waiting until Harmony looked over at her before tugging lightly on her own hair. It took Harmony a few seconds to catch on and then she frowned, patting her own hair several times before deciding on the perfect strand and tugging it free. She presented it to Michelle, who stuffed it into the vial and corked it. Before she could disengage, though, the former blonde decided to remind Michelle why she was the butt of most of their friends' jokes. "If I turn out to be a mutant, I hope I have your powers. I mean, think about it. If I was made of diamond, I could be my own best friend!"
"…wonderful. I think I just felt some of my brain cells commit suicide." Michelle managed to keep the disdainful look in place until she had her back to Harmony before grinning widely, and the first snicker didn't escape until she was a few steps away. One of the perks of being a supposed stranger? She didn't have to censor herself. Nobody was going to see 'Phoebe Frost' again. Who cared if everyone thought she was a snobby bitch? Or a pervert, who'd grabbed nine girls' asses in between tossing out seventeen double entendres and trying to pick up six different girls using lines about as subtle as an M1 Abrams? Well, apart from the real Phoebe… and Ivette… but Michelle didn't really care what they thought.
Tucking the vial of Harm's hair into her purse, Michelle fished out another empty vial. 'Pantone, M'. She looked around before spotting the brunette invading an uncomfortable-looking Tommy's personal space as she chatted him up. That was… kinda amusing, actually, considering Tommy had been trying to chat up her, Cordelia, and Ivette earlier. Simultaneously. She'd save Missy for last, she decided; leave Mister Suave to suffer for a while longer before swooping in to rescue him. Next vial was… 'Snyder, D'. Michelle looked back and forth before finally spotting the black-haired girl talking to Ivette. She snorted; surely Ivette could manage that sample, no? By simple process of elimination, that left her with…
Michelle looked around the gym before finding the pair standing off on their own in one corner. She found it rather surprising, given the many and varied revelations of the morning: they were mutants, they were lesbians, they were dating, they'd actually been monogamous for over a year and their reputation as sluts had been carefully fabricated by way of Santana's illusionary powers. Surely someone would still have questions for them… right? Evidently not. Then again, could she really complain given that it was about to make her job easier? Michelle took a step forward before pausing and glancing back down at the vials in her hand. Come to think of it, did she even have a job anymore? Brittany and Santana were mutants. Their powers were known. Was their a point to testing them anymore? 'They could be tiered mutants like my sisters and I, or just plain unaware of the full extent of their mutations.'
The sudden intrusion of Ivette's voice inside her head made Michelle jump before shooting a look over at the blonde, eyes narrowing. How long had her 'sister' been read- 'Long enough to know Phoebe will probably slap you if you ever meet and that you'll deserve it. Now make yourself useful and pull their hair anyway so Mother can test it. And yes, I can collect a hair from Deanne for you.' 'You can do it 'for me', huh? Never mind that the whole thing was your job to begin with and I'm just supposed to be helping you out…'
Michelle snorted as Ivette just rolled her eyes and went back to talking to Deanne. 'Fine. But when I meet Phoebe, I'm so going to point out that I only had a chance to give her a bad name because you were feeling lazy. See who she slaps then.'
Either her ability to project her thoughts was iffy or Ivette simply didn't care; after a few seconds ticked by without a response, Michelle shrugged and wandered over to where Brittany and Santana were standing. "Quite the exciting morning, eh? Finding out you attend Mutant High. Outing yourselves, in more ways than one. Still glad you moved here from… Ohio, was it?"
Turning to face Michelle, Brittany nodded enthusiastically. "Lima. And yeah. Seriously, the most 'interesting' part of our old high school?"
Santana snorted. "Please note the air quotes and extreme sarcasm."
"Oh, and they liked throwing slushies at each other for some reason. Do you know how much money we've saved on dry cleaning since we transferred out here?" Santana shook her head before leaning in to give Brittany a peck on the lips. "Weren't you saying you wanted to go watch what Anya was doing?" Brittany glanced over at Michelle before taking the hint and flouncing away. "Wow. I was afraid I'd have to be blunter. Guess I'm starting to rub off on her… in a way other than the obvious."
As tempted as she was, there wasn't any joy in scoring on an empty net. Michelle frowned as her gaze followed Brittany, thumb running over the vial in her hand. "Actually, I did need-"
"Hair? One step ahead of you." Santana lifted her hand to show off a long, golden blond strand. "You can have it - and one of my hairs - after we have a little chat." Michelle arched a temporarily blond brow at that. "You see, we went over the fact that I can create illusions. Stick things into your mind. But what I didn't mention was that it goes both ways. I can make them so real and lifelike… because I'm a telepath too. So not only do I know that you're not actually 'Phoebe Frost'?"
Michelle sucked in a breath as the air next to Santana wavered before solidifying into someone she hadn't seen in close to a month. Smirking, Xander gestured first at her and then down at himself. "I know who 'Michelle Flaherty' really is."