Save for the Grace: Part 10

by Wallace

Girl 2.

            Yeah, I know that in the X-Men my name is a byword for blunt and tactless, but Iˇ¦ve learned enough from partnering the Wolverine to know that sometimes the direct method isnˇ¦t the best. Iˇ¦m certain that Matt was consulting with the Black Widow. I want to know why. Iˇ¦d go through his stuff, but itˇ¦ll all be in Braille, so thatˇ¦s out. Asking him or Foggy would be awkward, ˇ¦cause like I said not everyone knows what Natasha Romanov looks like up close. And after our last meeting Wolvie told me he didnˇ¦t really keep up with Natasha. That doesnˇ¦t leave too many options ˇ¦Iˇ¦m not exactly gonna ask Emma to scan my new employer (I mean, sheˇ¦s probably just waiting for an excuse anyway. Mattˇ¦s too cool to have the White Queen rampaging through his psyche), and anyhow last I heard things were picking up at the Mansion in a Soap Opera style. Something about the Profˇ¦s long-lost twin sister, or something.

            So I guess I gotta ask the lady herself. For which I need to visit the Avengerˇ¦s Mansion. I go at seven in the morning. Without security clearance.

            One of these days Iˇ¦ve gotta look up Gambit and say thanks for the training. And ask him if he ever hears the ˇ¦Mission Impossibleˇ¦ theme tune in his head while heˇ¦s on a job, or if itˇ¦s just me.

            Between them a super-agile thief and a ninja assassin can teach a teenaged Olympic gymnast and petty criminal a lot of useful tricks. When said criminal has the ability to fry security systems with little more than a thought, the result is surprisingly competent. Okay, so I probably trigger eleven different alarms on the way in, but nothing that can actually stop me.

            Their communications suite is a lot like the one in the mansion, if slightly less Shiˇ¦ar-influenced. I lock the door and go through the computer files, looking for the Black Widowˇ¦s cell number ˇ¦surprisingly easy to find. I guess they had to design the system so a guy who was a block of ice until ten years ago could work it.

            Speaking of whom, youˇ¦ll never guess who it is bursts in just after Iˇ¦ve got the digits memorised.



Girl 1.



            Like I said, lunch. You know when youˇ¦ve just started at a new school, and you walk in to the lunchroom and go to collect your tray and look for somewhere to sit and youˇ¦re convinced that everyone in the place is staring right at you? Well, I knew they were all staring at me. Some of them with more than just eyes.

            ˇ¦Ready to leave?ˇ¦ Frost in my head. By this point it doesnˇ¦t even make me jump.

            ˇ¦Fuck you.ˇ¦ I mutter under my breath, and I think she goes away.

            I take my food to an empty table, sit down, and stare at it. Iˇ¦ve been eating a lot more since I came off the junk, but today Iˇ¦ve got no appetite whatsoever.

            ˇ¦Mind if I sit here?ˇ¦ The voice is a surprise. This kind of thing doesnˇ¦t happen in real life. Real life teenagers are vicious, and scared of the unknown, and will alienate anyone different. Kind people coming over to help the new kid (who used to be a hooker, but of course this person is cool with that) is a fairy tale. I gave up on those before I gave up on gym, even.

            ˇ¦Why the fuck should I?ˇ¦ I reply, looking up. Iˇ¦m used to the freak show, so I simply blink at the sight.

            Sheˇ¦s about my age, and about the same build. Dark-skinned Hispanic (we ethnic minorities would have to stick together if I wasnˇ¦t the only non-mutant in the place. Fuck her), slim, pretty, but with a hard edge to her face. Oh yeah, and wings. Fine, insect-like wings, like a fly would have. There are four of them, which makes them even more fly-like. Sheˇ¦s answering.

            ˇ¦ˇ¦Cause I puke on everything before I eat it.ˇ¦ She grins, and plonks her tray down. ˇ¦Iˇ¦m Angel.ˇ¦ She holds out a hand. ˇ¦Jubilee, right?ˇ¦

            ˇ¦One of them.ˇ¦ I almost snarl.

            ˇ¦Right.ˇ¦ She says. ˇ¦Hey, I got raped by my mommaˇ¦s boyfriend, and then a bunch of freaks tried to cut me apart for science. Get over yourself, okay?ˇ¦

            What the fuck is it with this place? Everyoneˇ¦s got a sob story.

            ˇ¦That would be because they are mutants.ˇ¦ Frostˇ¦s back in my head again.

            ˇ¦Fuck you, Frost.ˇ¦ I snarl again.

            ˇ¦Yeah, she can be a bitch, canˇ¦t she?ˇ¦ Angel says, sitting beside me. ˇ¦And watch the Stepford Cuckoos. Theyˇ¦re all gunning to be Mini-Me. Or Mini-Her. Or something.ˇ¦ She turns to her food. ˇ¦You might not want to watch this part.ˇ¦

            ˇ¦The Stepford Cuckoos are those five...ˇ¦ Iˇ¦m kinda struck dumb when she pukes over her food.

            ˇ¦Yeah.ˇ¦ She says, looking up. ˇ¦Cold bitches. Every guy in the school wants in to their pants. And major gossips. I did say you should look away.ˇ¦ Her gaze suddenly focuses past me. ˇ¦Oh, crap. Here comes the Beak. Donˇ¦t let him ask me out.ˇ¦



Girl 2.



            You know how, whenever you see him on TV, Captain America always looks absolutely massive? Well, heˇ¦s bigger up close. Iˇ¦m talking seriously, massively, makes Bishop look tiny-ly, big. He just looms, even when heˇ¦s not trying.

            And then he smiles, and thereˇ¦s this big, buff, guy, who you know is definitively good, smiling at you, and suddenly you feel better.

            ˇ¦Jubilee?ˇ¦ He says in surprise. He has, I kid you not, a great voice. ˇ¦It is Jubilee, right?ˇ¦ Oh, my God. Of all the superheroes to remember my name, itˇ¦s Captain America! ˇ¦Are you here with the X-Men?ˇ¦

            Keep your cool, keep your cool, this is the most famous hero on the continent and he could break you with one hand, and he knows my name! He knows my name!

            ˇ¦Nah. Flying solo on this one. I was just leaving.ˇ¦ He gives me a puzzled look. ˇ¦I needed to use your ˇ¦phone directory. The one at the mansion went down this morning. It, uh, got Twinkie crumbs in it. While Beast was trying to fix it.ˇ¦ That did actually happen once.

            ˇ¦Hank does have his faults.ˇ¦ He says, and now heˇ¦s smiling. ˇ¦Why didnˇ¦t you just knock on the door?ˇ¦

            ˇ¦Uhˇ¦ Iˇ¦ve been training with Gambit, and I wanted to check if I was as good as I think I am.ˇ¦ I gesture to one of the security monitors, which is still flashing the ˇ¦Intruder Alertˇ¦ signal. ˇ¦Guess Iˇ¦m not.ˇ¦ He nods.

            ˇ¦Have you had breakfast?ˇ¦ He asks me, and suddenly my entire train of making-up-excuses-as-I-go-along collapses. Breakfast with Captain America?

            ˇ¦Whereˇ¦s the catch?ˇ¦ I hear myself saying.

            ˇ¦You have to tell me the real reason you broke in here, and what you looked up on the computer. I can get Vision to check, but Iˇ¦d rather hear it from you.ˇ¦

            Did I mention that Captain America can be scary?