parts 3 and 4
“Jamaica?” Charles arched one eyebrow, a smile trying to spread across his lips.
Kendra nodded, crossing her arms to do a quick inspection of her arms and shoulders for any particular pains. She couldn’t remember landing, and it was possible that she could have picked up additional injuries. “I suspect it might not be Jamaica of dis world. The portal was supposed to open into another dimension, a horrible one.”
“Horrible?” Charles pursed his lips, glancing around the room. “Some of the neighbors are a bit unfriendly, but I hadn’t considered this place horrible since my step-father died.”
“Everyt’ing we could find said that if the portal opened, it would lead to a hell dimension. Everyt’ing.” Kendra paused, and glanced at the room, and then out the window at the lovely green lawn, with trees and the faint shimmer of water in the distance. “But looking here, either something interfered and made things change, or the information was not accurate. This does not look like hell.”
“Not enough fire?” Charles asked, eyes sparkling with humor.
Kendra nodded, and then asked, “Would you tell me more about these… mutants?”
Charles nodded, “Of course. Mutants are people, born to ordinary families, who possess a special difference. I believe the explanation will be found in the genes, but I’m still trying to find proof. These special individuals have abilities beyond those of ordinary humans, beyond those of their parents.”
Kendra considered his words, and thought about what little she knew of ordinary people. She knew a great deal more about demons, but… “Are the ordinary people afraid of mutants?”
“Unfortunately, some of them are,” Charles admitted.
“Are there many mutants? What is being done about the people’s fears?” Kendra could feel her confusion growing, and something was nagging at her memory about the time… something about the situation of the world half a century ago that was important…
“As far as I know, there aren’t a great many mutants, and there is rather limited public knowledge. So far, most seem to be keeping a low public profile.” Charles sighed, and tugged a blanket towards her. “You should really rest. There will be plenty of time to discuss things when you aren’t ready to fall over from a stomach wound. I’m amazed that you haven’t torn it open again by sitting up.”
“I will rest, but… is there perhaps something that I could read for a while, a newspaper?” Kendra settled a little more comfortably in the bed. He was right that she needed her rest, though her wound wasn’t quite as fragile as he seemed to think. “Maybe something light to eat…”
“Of course. You be sure to get some rest, Kendra,” Charles smiled, and started back towards the doorway. “I have the feeling that we’re going to have a very interesting discussion once you’re feeling better.”
Some fragments of history from the fifties floated into Kendra’s mind, and she sighed. Civil rights protests and movements. De-segregation of American schools. Changes in laws. Things that were in the past for her, now in either the present or the future. If she was very lucky, there wouldn’t be quite as many demons and vampires as she was used to fighting…
Kendra had the feeling that her life was going to be confusing and interesting in the near future. She was used to ‘interesting’, it was often just another way to say dangerous. But the whole situation would be different, and the people that she would be dealing with wouldn’t see her as Kendra, the Vampire Slayer, but… they would see her as just another young woman with dark skin. She had the feeling that things would be rather frustrating for Kendra, young woman with dark skin.
End part 3.
Kendra had a nice breakfast, complete with some wonderful tea. Charles stayed while she ate, and they spoke blandly about the weather, with Kendra asking him what sort of things she should expect from the weather for this time of year. After all, she’d never been to the state of New York before. Eventually, he left, leaving her with a copy of the daily newspaper to read, and the soft caution ‘not to try to push yourself to recover too quickly, lest she hurt herself further.’
Charles Xavier had no idea what she was capable of doing.
Kendra began to read the paper, skimming over sections about sports, paying a bit more attention to the weather. She ignored the stock market reports, and glanced over the business section, more to get an idea of the names and companies than any deeper interest in the pursuit of money. Then she started in on the sections about the current politics and events.
Before she could finish the paper, she’d grown so angry at the short sighted idiocy of Americans that she’d crumpled the whole thing into a ball and flung it away from her. It sailed out the open door, bouncing on the wall, and she could hear it rolling down the hallway, before rattling down a flight of stairs. “What sort of fool t’inks that having darker skin makes a person less capable?”
Muttering curses against blind fools, she slid out of the bed, feeling the wooden floor beneath her bare toes. Moving slowly, she made her way out of the room, and followed the path of the crumpled paper, seeking a way to get a bit of fresh air. If she stepped outside, it might calm her. There was some pain from her stomach, of course, but mostly she just felt so stiff, as if she hadn’t moved in a long time… Of course, she really hadn’t.
The stairs were polished stone, cool against her feet. So was the floor below, of an imposing entry hall designed to awe anyone who set foot inside. It didn’t awe or humble Kendra, though she had to admit that it was a lovely bit of architecture. The double doors were unlocked, and she carefully opened one, not wanting to tug too much at her healing stomach.
The grounds outside were beautiful, in a way that was completely different that her home. The trees were thick and green, none of them the familiar palms, and the air was cooler, with different smells. Flowers grew in carefully organized beds, everything neat and organized to precision. Mr. Zabuto would have approved, though she thought the effect was a bit stiff.
There was a long driveway, gently curving towards a brick wall with ornate gates. The overall effect was more ornamental and property defining than an actual barrier, the wall was no more than ten feet high, and the top was a smooth platform. While curving upwards to a few feet higher, the gates were also ornamental, though only a woman or child would have been able to slip between the bars. Deciding that she had nothing better to do than take a closer look at the gate and wall, Kendra started to jog towards it.
As she’d suspected, the gate was mostly ornamental. The bars were sturdy enough that an ordinary human wouldn’t be able to bend them, though she would be able to if she wanted, and it certainly wouldn’t keep a determined person out. A slender person could slip underneath the gate, or between some of the bars, while any other healthy individual could simply climb over the top.
Kendra jogged back, deciding that she might as well make a few laps of to the gate and back to the mansion for exercise. Her stomach probably wouldn’t be up to any of her fighting patterns today, and she didn’t know if Charles had a room set aside and furnished with exercise machines or not. With a bit more healing, she might consider swimming in the lake that she’d seen, though she lacked any swimwear. Kendra hated the vulnerable feeling of swimming naked, without even a place to fasten a stake or a knife. To do so in a place where she really didn’t know any people or the area… the idea was much too risky.
“Kendra? Are you… are you sure it’s wise for you to be doing that?” Charles sounded shocked.
“I am only jogging,” Kendra smiled. The worry was actually nice, making her feel like maybe he cared if she lived or died. “I did tell you that I heal faster than most. Perhaps there is a room where you exercise?”
“Ahhh, yes, but… You looked like you’d been stabbed. How can you be up and moving around as if everything’s just fine?” Charles walked closer, rubbing the back of his head.
“If nothing were wrong, I could run faster,” Kendra muttered. “This may be what you are used to as fine, but not for me.”
Charles blinked, and looked at her, his eyes taking in the defined muscles. “You mentioned being stronger. How much stronger?”
“If I did not t’ink you might like the gate the way it is, I could break it down. I could bend the bars of it. Would it not be a poor repayment for helping me, I could lift you over me head and throw you a good distance away,” Kendra offered, unsure how to explain her abilities to one who knew nothing of the supernatural.
Charles was clearly unable to find words. His mouth opened and closed several times, and he looked from her to the gate and back again. Finally, he managed, “Your injury?”
With a small shrug, she replied, “It would be painful to need to do either one today, but I could manage. Would you help me take the bandaging off?”
“Inside would be better for that,” he murmured.
Kendra nodded, and followed Charles inside, and into a small room with medical books and some first aide supplies. It was hardly the equal to a real medical clinic, but it was easily as good as what Mr. Zabuto had been able to assemble. Charles carefully removed the bandaging, goggling at the fact that her wound was closed over. It wasn’t a raw scab, or simply no longer bleeding, but a pale pink of tender new skin, slightly rougher and raised from the rest of her.
Using a mirror to get a better look at the healing wound, Kendra sighed, “I wonder if it will leave a scar or if it will heal away? I have not had one quite so bad before.”
Charles shook his head, and uttered a soft, amazed “Astonishing.”
End part 4.