Slowly Tara came too, and quickly realised how lonely she was. She couldn’t feel anyone near her, or at least, no one’s emotions. She could feel something on the edge of her consciousness, almost like the one time she had read her mother’s thoughts. Tara tried to grab at the ghost of a person, only for it to shift like mist away before forming again.
A few seconds later she managed to open her eyes and turned her head to look around. She was on a metal table, surrounded by what seemed like a futuristic hospital. Tara quickly swung her legs off the table and stretched a little as she looking around. The doors slid open after a few seconds revealing a large blue monster. She tilted her head slightly, not feeling anything from him. He stared at her at the same time and it came to a stand still between the two of them as to who would look away first. Tara knew she needed to get out of here quickly and find somebody to protect her from this thing.
The door slid open again, as a bald man in a wheelchair came in smiling warmly. “Good morning, Miss,” he said warmly. The blue creature looked away to look down at the man. “I see you met Henry,” the man gestured to the monster with a tilt of his head.
The blue creature, who she assumed was Henry held out a paw to her. She took it gently and shook it, suddenly feeling his emotions. She pulled her hand away as if burnt.
“What happened?” she said, looking at her hand, “I... I can’t feel you two, but when I touched him, I felt ....” she shook her head as her words trailed off.
The bald man nodded. “I gave you some mental blocks on your power. They will dissolve with time, but this will give you a chance to master your abilities,” he explained.
Tara nodded, grinning brightly. “Th-thank you so much,” she stuttered, resisting the urge to hug the man who reminded her so much of her grandfather, “where am I?”
The man smiled. “This is the Xavier Institute. It is a mansion in Westchester, where people like us can learn to use our powers. I am Professor Charles Xavier. I’d like to extend an invite to you, to join us here,” Tara went to say something but he cut her off, “It will be free of charge, and before you make your decision, I’d like you to have a look around.”
Tara bit her lip, thinking it over. She couldn’t go home, not after this morning and so she nodded after a few seconds. The Professor smiled widely, before turning to the door. In walked a boy in an overly large t-shirt and black jeans, his black hair messy and unruly, flopping in front of his eyes.
“Hey, Professor, you called?” he said, rubbing the back of his neck and stretching.
The professor shook his head at the boy. “William, this is Tara Maclay. She’s a potential new student. I thought you could show her around,” Professor Xavier introduced the pair with a smile. The boy grinned and nodded, holding his hand out for Tara to shake. Tara shook it quickly, pulling her hand away as soon as she felt his emotions, for fear of absorbing them into herself.
The boy looked confused and then shrugged. “Call me Billy,” he said kindly, gesturing towards the door. Tara slowly walked with him towards where Billy was. “So ... Bobby told me you’re an empath,” Billy said trying to start off a conversation.
Tara looked confused. “B-bobby?” she asked, rubbing her arm whilst looking down.
Billy nodded, “He’s the icy one. Him and Jean picked you up?” Recognition came over Tara’s face as she remembered him. “He’s my roommate. You’re the talk of the school,” Billy finished.
Tara blushed as they got into the elevator. “I... I’m not worth so much attention,” she said quietly, blushing.
After looking her up and down, Billy begged to disagree. “From what I heard from Bobby, you were affecting the emotions of an entire town, and had managed to create a loop to give you the energy to keep affecting the town. Sorry girl, but that’s worth attention,” Billy told her.
Tara didn’t reply, instead walking out of the elevator into the brightly lit room. She blinked a few times and looked around. Billy followed her with a smile, gesturing around. “Okay, this is the main hall, and through here is...” Tara quickly followed Billy who started to speed up showing her room after room. She didn’t speak much, but she was slowly getting more and more comfortable.
Suddenly a bell went off in the distance, and doors started opening and spilling out students. Tara froze for a second, expecting the emotions to come pouring down on her, but quickly realized that it wouldn’t happen. Something had happened to her power; something was blocking it, or at least weakening it. Billy came and stood next to her as she looked around in wonderment. “What’s wrong?”
Tara smiled. “It’s just been forever since I have been in a school,” she said happily, ignoring a few of the weird looks she was getting for being so excited. Finally three blonde girls walked past and cocked their heads at her. Tara stared back for a second, before taking a step backward. “Erm, Hi?”
The girls bit their lip in unison, before turning away and starting to walk away leaving Billy and Tara behind. Tara looked questioningly at Billy who shrugged. All of a sudden, a large green man that reminded Tara of the news stories about the Hulk came up behind Billy. Her hand flew to her mouth and she took a step back. Billy looked confused for a second and all of a sudden the green man had his arms around Billy, grinning. “Hey Hon,” he muttered quietly into Billy’s ear.
Tara blinked a few times, before it clicked that this guy wasn’t hurting Billy. She blushed at the display of affection, looking away a little and shifting from foot to foot. Billy seemed to be in his own little world with the guy, so she started to look around at the other students who were walking toward other lessons or outside. A couple almost came over to say hello, but their friends would come over and snatch them away, looking over their shoulders and whispering.
Finally, another green person came and stood next to her watching the display with his arms crossed. After a few moments he sighed. “You know, there are people other than your boyfriend here, Billy,” Billy mumbled something as he nuzzled his boyfriend’s neck, “aren’t you suppose to be showing the girl around?” the boy tried to reason.
Billy finally pulled himself away from his boyfriend. “You need a boyfriend,” he muttered darkly, as if the other boy was the evilest thing to crawl out of the ground for dragging him away from his boyfriend, “Tara meet Victor, he’s a student here. And this is Teddy, he’s my boyfriend.”
Tara smiled nervously and waved. “H-hi, I’m new,” she said unnecessarily. Victor turned to her and smiled, offering his hand, she took it nervously, wondering why he offered his left hand, until she looked down and realized why. His other hand was.... well, it was a green, scaly claw, which looked like it was made of the same material as the top of his head. It was.... weird. She didn’t pull away though, as her power kicked in and she could feel his emotions crash into her. She could feel his happiness, and his slight apprehension about her, but underneath all that he seemed really lonely.
For a few seconds she stayed there, before she realized what she was doing. It wasn’t right for her to pry like this, and she quickly pulled her hand away. “I... I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to,” she said quickly, making the other three look at her. They all looked confused at each other before turning back
“Mean to do what Tara?” Billy asked gently, taking a step forward to put a hand on her shoulder. She quickly took a step back. “Is it... something to do with your power, Tara?” he tried, and smiled when he got a shaky nod, “its okay, nobody who comes here can control it at first... Or at least can control it completely,” she looked at him like she expected him to shout at her, “why don’t we do sit down?” he offered.
All four of them started walking towards the stairs, and quickly found their way to Billy’s bedroom. Billy and Teddy were sat on the bed, whilst Tara sat on a chair and Victor sat on the floor. Everyone was silent for a moment before Teddy talked. “So... tell us about yourself?” he asked.
Tara bit her lip. “Err, well, I’m Tara Maclay. I’m 16, and I’m a mutant. I lived in California until recently with my mum, dad brother and sister. What else do you want to know?”
The three of them looked at each other. “Well, do you know what you can do?” Billy asked, quietly.
Tara grew nervous, remembering what she had done with her power. “I ... I can sense people’s emotions, and affect people’s emotions,” she said quietly, expecting them to get mad at her for intruding on their privacy. Instead they nodded in understanding. “I ... since I got here, my power... isn’t working. Only when I touch people, I think somebody did something to it, the red headed lady said she’d dampen it... so ... I dunno.”
Billy smiled, “So that’s why you got so worried when you touched us?” Tara nodded, “oh, come on, there are people here who can read your thoughts without being in the same room. Reading emotions is not such a big deal.”
Tara grinned. “So, what can you all do?” she asked gaining some confidence.
Billy grinned. “Well... I can alter reality. All I need to do is here my chants, but I’m working my way off the chanting, so I can do it wordlessly.”
Teddy stood up next and smiled. “I can show you if you prefer?” she nodded, and suddenly, a mirror image of her was stood in front of her. Then, split seconds later, a blonde boy with bright blue eyes was stood in front of her, before quickly flicking through several celebrities, “I can change my shape at will. I also have super strength in all my forms... and I’m not a mutant”
Victor rolled his eyes. “And I have the super strong arm, the sticking to walls, the camouflage and the being green,” all of a sudden his tongue flicked out and wrapping around a pencil on the desk across the room before flicking back to him, “ah awso have a weally wong tongue,” he managed to slur around his tongue. Tara covered her mouth, to try and hold in the giggles.
Teddy went to say something else, when the door to the bedroom slammed open. Tara swung round to see the guy who had saved her walk in muttering darkly. He had just stripped off his shirt which had drawn appreciative looks from the three guys and one loud squeak from Tara, when he realized he wasn’t alone. “Oh .... Hi,” he said belatedly.
Tara blushed and looked away, finding her shoes very interesting and muttering a quiet hey. Victor on the other hand sprung to his feet and did a back flip before attaching himself to the wall. “Hey Bobby.”
Bobby grunted in response as he quickly threw on a new shirt and left, whilst Victor seemed to physically deflate. Billy and Teddy shared a look, before settling on either side of Victor. Then as one they started singing ‘Anole and Iceman sitting in a tree, doing something they shouldn’t be’ at the top of their voices making Victor and Tara blush.
Suddenly she heard a voice in her head give off a light cough. She jumped to her feet and looked around, for the source of the noise, when the voice spoke. “I am sorry to intrude, this is Professor Xavier. I have to depart from the mansion for a small while, but I was wondering if you had an answer yet?”
Tara blinked for a minute as she got her bearings. “Err, Yes. Wait, do I answer you out loud or...” “Either is acceptable; most find it easier to speak out loud. Anyway, I will have someone start writing up the papers to enrol you, and get someone to allocate you a room,”
the Professor went quiet for a few seconds, before appearing again, speaking calmly, but with an undertone of happiness, “Oh, and welcome to the family.”