Tara let out a scream as she woke up, her hands clasping the sides of her head as if she still felt the pain which resonated through her dreams. For a second she looked around expecting to see someone there but saw her room was empty except for herself. Tara gave a sigh. She was in the Mansion. Running a hand through her hair she looked up startled when a girl literally ran through the door. She looked around, before letting out a sigh of relief.
“Are you okay?” she asked worriedly. Tara nodded, unable to speak for a few seconds.
“I- It was just a nightmare,” she mumbled after a few seconds, as she gently felt her head to make sure that there were no holes and breathing a sigh or relief when she found none, “I-I’m sorry I disturbed you,” she said, biting her lip. The girl shook her head with a small smile.
“Nah, I’m okay,” she said, before sitting down on the edge of the bed, “are you sure you’re okay?” she repeated while looking at Tara with concern. Tara nodded slightly before shuffling in her bed a little to sit more comfortably.
“Who are you? I-I mean, if you don’t m-mind, I just d-don’t really know who you are,” Tara stuttered at the kind looking girl who wore simple pyjama shorts and a matching top.
“I’m Kitty; I have the room next to yours,” she explained, smiling slightly at the nervousness, “are you sure that you’re okay?”
Tara smiled slightly, blushing a little at the attention as the girl in front of fixed her with an almost critical gaze.
“I-I’ll be fine. Thank you,” Tara said smiling.
“So, like, are you new?” she questioned while crossing her legs beneath her and flicking her hair over her shoulder. Tara blinked before nodding.
“Y-yeah, I arrived this morning. Billy was showing me around, with Victor and Teddy,” Tara answered quietly.
“That’s cool,” she said before sitting up straighter and smiling, “what landed you here in our little freak show?”
“I can ...feel people’s emotions, and sometimes I can also manipulate emotions,” Tara said after a moments thought.
“That’s cool, it sounds pretty useful,” she smiled widely showing off perfect teeth, “I can make myself intangible which means I can go through things.”
Tara nodded, realizing that was how she had managed to walk through the door.
“Oh- I-I’m sorry, am I-I keeping you up?” Tara stuttered out realising it was nearly 3 in the morning.
“No, I’m fine, it’s morning now anyway, and we’ll want to get you ready for class,” Kitty shook her head.
“Y-you don’t have t-to be nice to me,” Tara blinked a few times at the girl in front of her.
“I know,” said Kitty slowly, “I was thinking we could be friends.”
“Why would you want to be friends with me? Y-you hardly know me,” Tara stated while confusion ran through her mind.
“I know, but you seem a little lonely. You can always do with more friends. Besides, we’re all at this school together, it’s not often you get new people around here,” Kitty explained with a gentle smile. Tara gave a hesitant smile back.
A few hours’ later Tara and Kitty left Tara’s room and made their way downstairs. Tara was pretty much following Kitty and trying to keep up with her breakneck talking speed. Though the babble was strangely comforting- especially when not having to feel all the emotions too. Finally, they ended up outside an office.
Kitty grabbed Tara’s hand and after knocking pulled Tara through the wood and into the office. Tara gave a huge gasp feeling light and airy from the experience. Tara looked around the office and saw a serious, yet gentle, looking man who gave them a small smile.
“Good morning girls, can I help you with something?” he asked- his voice smooth yet rough at the edges,
“Hey Scott,” Kitty grinned, “Tara arrived last night, and she accepted the Professor’s offer, so she needs a schedule and stuff.”
“I’m Scott Summers, it’s nice to meet you,” he said smiling and shaking her hand before he turned away towards the computer, “well, first we would need the records from your old school...”
“I.... I didn’t stay in high school very long. My powers were.... I got kicked out,” Tara whispered feeling shame nag at her.
Scott nodded, frowning slightly as he looked back at the screen- his fingers flying over the keyboard.
“Then it may take a little longer,” he said, trying to sound reassuring, “we’ll put you into the core classes and once you’re up to date in those then we can put you into some optional classes.”
Tara nodded looking relieved that her lack of education wouldn’t hurt her chances in the school.
“Give me a moment, and I’ll write you a note to get you into some of the lessons. If the teacher thinks that the lesson is too advanced, they will ask you if you would prefer to wait,” Scott explained as he wrote of a pad in a messy yet legible scrawl, “just stick with Kitty and you’ll be fine, but if it gets too much you can hide in your room.”
“Thank you, thank you so much,” she said profusely taking the note off him.
“I’m right here if you need me, call in anytime,” Scott said with a smile.
“Coolio, so, we’ll head off to lessons,” Kitty smiled happily while taking hold of Tara’s arm and pulling her out of the room, “I have English first, but with that letter you could go to whichever one you like. Oh, here come your white knights.”
Tara turned to see Billy and Victor walking towards her with smiles on their faces. Billy wrapped an arm around her as he reached her.
“Hey, Tara, what are you up to today?” Billy asked while watching the shy girl blush.
“Apparently, I can sit in on any class I like. What are you in first?” Tara replied while willing her blush away.
“English with Kitty and Victor, do you want to sit in on this one with us?” Billy answered with a grin.
“Sure, it might be fun.” She said happily before her arms were linked with Billy and Kitty who were grinning widely, “lead on.”
English was pretty horrific, and left Tara feeling as though she was completely left out. She didn’t know any of the work and all her friends were sat together, but there weren’t enough seats at the table. She had had to sit on her own at the back. She couldn’t answer any of the questions, and half of what the teacher said sounded like it wasn’t English.
Tara knew the teacher from somewhere, but couldn’t work out where from. She was still trying to figure out who she was when the bell rang shrilly. She left the class, feeling pretty stupid, and stood waiting for Billy and the rest of her friends. The teacher came out, and seeing Tara, smiled. She walked over and held out a hand.
“Hi, I’m Jean. I’m one of the people who came to.... collect you,” Tara noticed that the woman had side stepped saying rescued. It was probably because she didn’t want to bring up how they found her. She put on a fake smile, moving her sleeve down ion her top to cover her hand, before shaking the woman’s hand.
“I-I’m Tara. S-sorry about the sleeve thing, since I got here my power is only working through physical touch,” Tara whispered shyly. Jean nodded, her red hair falling over her shoulders in a wave of warmth. Tara smiled slightly back at the woman- this time it wasn’t as fake as before.
“I know, the Professor and I placed a few mental blocks on your powers. It is only until you learn to control them of course, but we had to make sure you weren’t projecting to the school, or that the school weren’t affecting you,” Jean tried to explain.
“Right,” she replied shortly, her dream making a lot more sense, “so, you decided to mess around with my mind?”
“No, all we did was put in a few blocks; we never looked at your memories or interfered with anything else,” Jean could feel the anger seeping out from around the blocks, “you need to calm down, Tara, you’re projecting again.”
“I thought you put in blocks to stop me?” she took a deep breath trying to calm down. It felt like she had been violated. Her mind was just that – her mind. Nobody should go in there, it wasn’t ... right. She understood though, after what had happened in her home town, where she had turned them all into an angry mob. Imagine what would happen if she did that here. It would be a blood bath. The anger quickly disappeared, leaving Tara feeling foolish.
“No, we put in a few blocks to limit your power but if you put in enough effort you can work around them,” feeling the anger slowly subside, Jean put on a smile, “I was wondering, if you would like to sit in on a psionics class. It’s a class for people with mental powers, such as yours and mine. I teach it, and it might let you learn to control your power.”
“I-I guess so.... but only if you promise never to go into my mind again without permission,” she said firmly.
“Of course,” Jean waved her hand, “come on, I can’t be late, after all, and I’m the teacher.”
Jean smiled as they walked down the hallway and gave the girl beside her a reassuring smile.
“I think you’ll fit in fine,” Jean whispered to the girl.
When they arrived at the room, it was already pretty full, although strangely silent. Tara looked questioningly at Jean who was rubbing her head as though she had a headache.
“Settle down,” she said loudly, as though talking over something.
“W-what’s going on?” Tara asked in confusion, looking from Jean to the rest of the class.
“They were having a rather loud telepathic conversation, now, go and find a seat, okay?” Jean shook her head.
Tara nodded and tried to find a seat, that wasn’t next to the blonde girls who were staring at her, or the dark haired boy who as grinning lecherously at her while patting the seat next to him. Finally, she found a seat more or less on her own toward the back of the class.
“So, can anyone tell me what powers count at psionics?” Jean had already been talking for a few minutes at this point and Tara listened to the question and watched in slight amazement as the room filled with activity.
Immediately the room was filled with obvious answers. Telepathy, Telekinesis. As soon as those two were given, people seemed to take a few moments to come up with them, and started coming up with things like psychometry and astral projection, as well as empathy. Finally, Tara raised her hand shyly.
“Yes, Tara?” Jean smiled
“C-Could the a-ability to read someone’s aura be c-counted as psionics?” she managed to stutter out, before some guy at the front let out a little laugh.
“Oh, please, auras don’t exist,” he sneered turning in his seat, hair flicking over his shoulder.
Tara frowned, but shrunk down in her seat, just letting out a little “oh” noise. She shouldn’t have brought it up, now people would think that she was crazy.
“How do you know, Josh?” Jean frowned at the boy and crossed her arms.
“Well, there has been no proof. Even if it did exist, it is likely that it would just be light telepathy, psychometry and empathy through a visual medium,” Josh said slowly as if he were explaining to a child.
Jean thought for a second before speaking. “Wouldn’t the ability to see what people were thinking, feeling, as well as working out the history and abilities, count as a psionic power?” the boy couldn’t answer that, and Jean turned back to Tara, “It was an interesting idea, how did you think of it?”
“I- I can.... see them... sometimes... if I concentrate,” Tara blushed, ducking her head a little.
“Good,” she quickly turned her attention to the class, “now, who can tell me the main problems associated with empathy?”
Again, Josh was quick to voice his opinion.
“Is it that you can get overwhelmed by people’s feelings?” he brushed the hair of his eyes, smiling widely as he knew that he had gotten the answer correct.
Jean rolled her eyes but nodded. “Yes Josh. Now, what is the most destructive element of an empath?” she said, looking pointedly at Tara.
“I-Is it the ability to make loops?” she coughed, “I mean, where you force your emotions on somebody, and then absorb what they are feeling before projecting it back out again?”
Jean nodded, smiling at Tara.
“Yes, that could be considered to be one of the main destructive elements, for both sides of the loop,” Jean quickly turned her attention to the whole class, “I want you all to pair up, one person will try to breach the others mental defence, whilst the other will try to stop them, using whatever psionic ability you possess.”
Tara looked up worriedly, as several people started making their way toward her. She knew that they were probably expecting her to be a push over, and make them look better. It was probably true.
“Hi, I’m Josh, want to work with me?” Suddenly the Josh from early was at her side, smiling and holding out a hand.
Tara nodded gratefully.
“I’m Tara.” She mumbled, as the two of them pulled two chairs to face each other.
Josh looked her up and down, and suddenly Tara felt a tickling sensation in her mind. He smiled, as he realized that there were no mental barriers, and was about to breach the basic mental defence that everybody had when he realized that something was wrong. Somehow, without realizing he had projected his consciousness into her.
Suddenly the scene started to change, and he found himself in a construction yard. High in the air above was a giant globe of energy, that if he had to guess, would be her actual mind, with this just being the defence. Shrugging to himself, he slowly walked toward a large tower complex that lead up to the globe.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” said a redhead, who was lying in a pile of building supplies.
Josh cocked his head, not used to seeing anybody that was alive inside somebody’s mind. “Why not?”
He redhead smiled, and cocked her head. “Because then we’ll have to stop you.”
“Stop me?” Josh asked, before shaking his head, and trying to walk up the stairs. For a second his foot hovered in mid air above the stairs, before he was catapulted backward. Rubbing his back he stood up, glaring at the woman, before dismissing her. The woman’s image wavered for a second before disappearing. He tried to stand on the step again, and this time found he could do it easily. On the next floor, he found Tara waiting in front of the ladder. She didn’t stay and fight though, instead running straight up the ladder, and higher and higher, until she got to the top.
Josh quickly followed her, glaring at the effort he was having to put in. When he reached the very top, he found Tara standing on the end of the podium. “You’re not getting in here,” she said angrily.
He rolled his eyes and walked forward. If he had stopped for a second, he would have seen the image of the woman standing next to Tara. The two of them suddenly grabbed each other’s hands and spoke.
“Not again,” their voices echoed loudly.
Josh blinked before he was hit with a gigantic telekinetic force that slammed him backward, off the tower before pushing him out of the mindscape.
In the class room, Josh’s head suddenly snapped backward as if he had been punched, and his nose started bleeding as he and his seat flew backward before cracking into the wall. His eyes opened for a second and met Tara’s before both of them fell of the chair, unconscious.