Disclaimer: Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy all of the recognizable Buffy characters and places and Marvel owns all of the recognizable X-Men characters and the concept of Cerebro and Dark Cerebro. I'm just borrowing them for the time being with no intention of making any money.
Author's Note: Some time ago a sorta challenge was posted but then retracted for the time being regarding the additional scenes in the novelization of X-Men 2 where Dark Cerebro didn't just cause mutants pain but actually caused many latent mutants to begin developing their powers. I've actually come up with several ideas in response to that challenge which are in the works. This is a bit of a one off that came to me though it may eventually become the start of a longer story.
Feedback always appreciated.
Children of the Hellmouth
Xavier's Institute For Gifted Children
Charles Xavier looked around at the people gathered in his office. Thanks to William Stryker and Magneto they had all lost something in this latest engagement with those who were trying to start a war between humans and mutants. Be it a friend, a student, a loved one, a link to the past, or in the case of the two youngest their innocence. All in all things had changed a great deal. Not just for them but for the world, which was why he had gathered them together today.
"I know we are all still trying to cope with the events at Alkali Lake, as indeed is the world. Unfortunately a planet-wide migraine was the least of the effects that William Stryker and then Magneto's actions had." Charles stopped at Scott's choked off bitter laugh. The others glanced at Scott as well but it was Logan who spoke.
"We already know what other *effects* they had," he practically snarled.
"No, you don't," Charles countered gently. "I too was dealing with Jean's loss so I did not fully consider or perhaps even comprehend just how much of an effect that Cerebro used at that level of concentration would have on the world at large. I told you once, Logan, that if I concentrated hard enough on a single person I could kill them. That is true. If I concentrate hard enough on a group of people I could kill them as well. In this case I was stopped before too many people were injured. However I was not stopped before many of them were irrevocably changed."
"Changed how?" Ororo asked.
"Before Alkali Lake the world's mutant population was roughly 3 to 4 million people. A relatively small drop in the bucket when compared to the complete population of 6.5 billion people."
"And after Alkali Lake?" Logan demanded suspecting where this was going.
"The mutant population is now probably closer to 10 million people. It has more than doubled."
"But how?" Rogue asked.
"Apparently by concentrating on mutants as a whole, rather than just a few individuals, I unintentionally activated everyone who was a latent mutant. Everyone whose abilities had not become active at puberty are now active."
"How do you expect us to help them all?" Ororo's voice was awed and a little scared.
"I'm not sure, but we must do something." Charles paused and looked towards the office door. "Come in, Kitty."
There was a pause and then a teenage girl walked thru the door itself before becoming solid again. "I'm sorry to interrupt, Professor."
"It's alright. What can I do for you?"
"I have a cousin in California. He knows I'm a mutant and that this is a school for mutants." She twisted her hands together nervously. "Things have been real intense in his town since the day of World-Migraine. He didn't even think to call at first or he would have sooner."
"Why did your cousin call, Kitty," Charles prompted.
"There were no mutants in his town, at least none that anybody knew about, but after the Migraine... Everyone in the High School, including my cousin, are mutants now."
"You mean several of the students have displayed mutant abilities?" Ororo asked.
Kitty shook her head. "No, I mean *all* of the students are mutants now. And Jon says it's not just that they've displayed some sort of ability but...but they all *look* like mutants. Like, like Nightcrawler or Mystique or...or..."
"I think we get the idea, Kitty. Your cousin was certain that *all* of the high school students had been affected?"
"Yes, Professor. Jon said he's got an extra set of arms now and is much stronger than he used to be. The entire swim team developed gills and webbing between their fingers and toes. Apparently the Swim Coach is ecstatic but other schools are making noise about them competing. But it's all the students. There's a girl who's skin turned to diamond all the time. He says there's even a girl whose hair has become flames though it doesn't seem to burn anything. And..."
"Thank you, Kitty. What town in California is this?"
Buffy Summers, Willow Rosenberg, and Xander Harris were sitting on one of the benches in the school courtyard eating their lunches. It was a typical Southern California day. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping. For the teens of Sunnydale High nothing would ever be typical again. Which was saying something when your high school was sitting on top of a Hellmouth.
Almost a week ago now every student in the high school had been irrevocably changed during the World-Migraine. Giles didn't know why none of the adults in the school had been affected. He had figured out that students, like Buffy, Willow, Xander, and apparently the swim team, who had more than a fleeting brush with the supernatural had been changed in accordance with that encounter. Giles had had a rather interesting conversation with the swim coach regarding the team's development of gills and webbed fingers and toes.
Buffy, being the Slayer, was enhanced more than changed. She'd gained some muscle mass though, thankfully to her mind, not enough to make her look like one of those freaky weight-lifting women. She could bench-press a small car now without thinking about it. She could also run faster, her healing ability was almost instantaneous, and she could sense vampires from further away than before. Thankfully her mom had been very supportive of the sudden physical changes in her daughter. Buffy had even been considering telling her mother about being the Slayer.
All in all she knew she had gotten off lightly compared to her friends. Willow's most visible change was her hair which was now living flame though it didn't burn anything unless she wanted it to. Eldritch Fire Giles called it. Her magic potential had also increased ten-fold making her shine like a small sun to anyone with the ability to sense such things, again according to Giles. She still needed to learn the spells and control like any other witch, but one day she would be a truly powerful witch. Perhaps even a Goddess in her own right, though Giles didn't tell her that. No sense in burdening her even further.
Her parents were in Washington D.C. attending yet another conference and were on a subway when it happened. Her father had been killed instantly and her mother had been injured badly enough that she couldn't be moved from the hospital she was in for the next 3-4 months. Buffy's mom, Joyce, had gladly taken Willow in. Just as she did when Xander's parents kicked him out.
In some ways Xander seemed to have come out the best and the worst from the whole incident. Physically he too had gained some muscle mass. Strong powerful shoulders and a long lean body. Some might call it a swimmers build but it was clear he was built for endurance and power. He was now at roughly the same level Buffy had been before the World-Migraine. His hair that had only brushed his collar was now more than halfway down his back and had developed a pattern of light colored spots. His canine teeth had developed into slightly pronounced fangs. Nothing like a vampires but still noticeably fangs. His eyes had also changed, becoming almost cat-like with a vertically slit pupil and they glowed green. Other changes had been made internally as well. He had great night-vision, seeing almost in infra-red, and his senses of smell and hearing had been heightened as well. Xander wasn't too thrilled with his new preference for raw or bloody meat, but he was grateful that the Hyena Spirit hadn't returned wanting him to eat people or hurt his friends. The other big change had been the return of all of the Soldier memories. Apparently Soldier-guy hadn't been a Private, despite what he'd told Willow at the time. He had been a Special Forces Major and Xander now knew more things about the military than anyone his age ever should, and some not so pleasant nightmares to go along with it. But, hey, he could disassemble, clean, and reassemble an MP5 in 45 seconds while blindfolded. It also meant he was a lot more mature than he had been, more subdued. Then again everyone was these days.
This was all pretty good in Xander's book until his parents finally came to pick him up from school that day. After all of the students were so radically changed the Troll, aka Principal Snyder, actually acted with the students best interest in mind and called all parents to come in and pick up their children. This way they would see that it hadn't been just *their* child who had been affected. It also meant that if any parents weren't willing to accept what had happened Child Protective Services was there to help them find somewhere to stay at least temporarily. Amazingly only about six students found themselves homeless. Xander was one of them. That had been bad enough but he really could have done without his father calling him a pansy-assed mutant freak fag in front of half the school and parents. He'd never been so grateful for Giles and Mrs Summers that day as Giles stood toe-to-toe with his dad letting his inner Ripper out and Mrs Summers immediately insisted Xander was coming home with her, Buffy and Willow and would never set foot in the Harris household again if she had anything to say about it. Which meant he was living at the Summers house sleeping on the couch. Giles was working on switching his lease to a two bedroom instead of a one bedroom so that Xander could come live with him permanently. As much as Xander loved his girls there was only so much a teenage boy should know about teenage girls.
So now here they were eating their lunches as if nothing had ever happened. One of the counselors at the new daily morning assembly had called them Tomorrow's Children. Buffy, Willow, and Xander had unanimously agreed they were simply the Children of the Hellmouth.