Scald-Crow 2: Chapter 2 - Ring, Ring It's Recess

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Scald-Crow 2:
Under Pressure!
A Whateley Academy Tale
ShadowedSin & Branwen

When Grainne made a deal to bond her soul to the dying Faerie Spirit, Morgan, she never thought her life would be turned upside down. Now possessing a body she's always desired the girl was nearly driven from her home to learn about her growing powers. Chased by a headless witch and even darker powers. Grainne must attend the eponymous Whateley Academy where new challenges await her.

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Chapter 2 - Ring, Ring It’s Recess

Early Morning, November 11th, 2007 - Whateley Campus, NH


"BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!" the loud dissonant cry of the alarm signaled my time to wake up. Promptly, I rolled over at the pain of interrupted unconsciousness. Some kids awaken with a jolt as their mind snaps into action. Me, no this wasn't happening today. I drifted toward the top and tore my way through the fog of REM sleep. Unlocking itself I felt a pang of agony wash through my skull and my eyes were overwhelmed by the bright light above me.

"DAMMIT LEXI!" I cried out in frustration as my roommate let out a demonstrative sigh. Suddenly, the light above me was turned off as I slowly rolled out of bed with a thump as my behind collided with the ground. Wincing, I gave my ass a gentle rub through my tight boyshorts and jumped to my feet. My chest and arse gave the prerequisite wiggle and I leaned back over my bed to begin straightening out.

"Rose," I heard from behind me as I glanced over my shoulder toward the curly-haired girl addressing me.

"Marguerite?" I shot back at her.

"We talked about you yelling in the morning!' she sat down across from me as I padded over to my armoire. Today was Sunday, and I was already late, or at least I felt like I was late. It didn't help that my body was still having issues adapting to the new timezone. Less than three days in and I had yet to adapt. A light growl escaped from my throat as I realized Lexi was already dressed for breakfast.

"You aren't going in your uniform?" Lexi, codenamed Shipwright chirped.

"No I am, its cold out so I'm going to wear the wool leggings mom sent me," I smiled as I dragged out the black leggings. Hell yeah, I was going to wear a skirt without worrying about my legs getting cold. After shimmying into the leggings I stepped into my skirt and zipped it up around my waist. That's when I realize I should have put my blouse on first. A small line of curses came under my breath as I gently unzipped the skirt and pulled a freshly ironed shirt from my armoire. By all the Gods above, why did women's buttons have to be the reverse of MEN!?
What insane witchcraft was this that they made me deal with it.

I just had to wish of being a girl.

"Ye did, lass, sa in the ancient words o' our people - 'Quit yer bitchin'." Morgan's wit and sharp tongue were getting worse by the day. If I wasn't entirely sure I'd say she was getting better each day we were on the Whateley Campus. Perhaps it had something to do with the "heart of the forest" she felt the other day when we arrived. I was unsure really. Morgan was appearing more readily in mirrors as of late. A caveat, however, as she appeared to be only capable of doing it once a day and only for no longer than a minute.

"The Dullahan slew Sinead terribly, an' until now I had barely any memory of their horrible headless form." That was most definitely new. Immediately, I froze as a memory was shown to me. A strange figure in a reflection, and a sudden burst of pain in my chest. I gasped loud enough that Alexis gave me a worried look just as she was gathering her things. Alexis Marguerite Dunn was a short girl with just enough curves to be cute. She wasn't an Exemplar, but when it came to a Gadgeteer she easily rated a five or higher. The page boy cut she was sporting had nicely cut bangs, and easily one of the cutest of the Underdogs.

"You okay?" she asked while packing her notes for all I could guess was another research session. Lexi was pretty much B'elanna Torres and Data from Star Trek smashed together. Minus the Klingon anger and the android's lack of people skills. If there was anything she could achieve even if it seemed like a pipe dream I was sure she would eventually invent it.

"Yeah," I shook my head as I gathered my own notebook and a packet of mechanical pencils. In between my upcoming classes I wanted to get a little writing done and maybe some sketching. I wasn't an artist like Sloan, my little sister, who was already designing her own comics and taking up oil painting. Even my skill at the violin wasn't the best, but at least I wasn't half bad at writing. Or at least, that's what one of my
English teachers told me.

"You looked like something was hurting you," she said as she finished pulling on her backpack. I refitted my skirt and smoothed out my blouse and the skirt. The small heels I wore fit quite nicely. A quick shake of my hips reminded me of the nice swish the skirt gave. Just as Lexi opened the door I finally was able to put things into words.

"Now and then, Morgan shares some of her dreams or memories of them," I said.

"Like how? Is she passing information to you or are you just getting images?" her eyes zeroed in on me with laser focus.

"Just images and feelings. Morgan's told me repeatedly she can't actually pass me the fullness of anything." I shrugged on my backpack and held the door open before closing it behind us.

Down the stairs and out through the common room, I caught sight of raven black hair and tan skin. I froze and watched the tall curved form of a girl who was obviously becoming my crush. Her legs peeked out from under the fringe of her skirt and were completely hairless. A bright red flush came to my face and all I could do was stutter.

"Gráinne, you're staring," Lexi remarked.

"Oh goddess," I said in embarrassment.

"You haven't heard about her have you?" Lexi asked carefully.

"No why?" I asked. Lexi shook her head as our talking easily drew Envy's attention and I was suddenly reminded that I had to get to breakfast.
The walk to Schuster and the Crystal Hall was uneventful. Most students gave me a wide berth with my white Ultra Violent armband on. There were a few kids who seemed to be psyching themselves up to come to talk to me, but most of the time I just gave them a glare and they backed off. While I felt no small shame in power, I was careful in using it. More than a few of them could easily take me and I'd likely find it hard to walk for a while.

As always I found myself eyeing the Crystal Hall dome and I smiled. Its really kind of sappy, but seeing a pretty building that I knew had enough food to feed me gave me a positive spring in my step. Brushing past the greater entrance of Schuster I was soon looking for Sophia.
Where was she? Crystal Hall features multiple levels with most of the upperclassmen on the top and middle levels. One group of kids including a very loudly dress black teen seemed to just be off in their own world. Among them was a rather impressive naga girl (yes, I find snakes beautiful) who was absolutely gorgeous. A second or two of my little random teen minds before I noticed what appeared to be a large raptor signing at the boy.

Did I mention that this school was utterly the best thing ever! Nope? Dammit, I need to be more consistent.

Lexi made a beeline for the Underdog table, or what I was told was the Underdog table. I followed after her a few of them watched me as I sat down by her. One particular boy was looking my way I didn't know his name, but his eyes widened as soon as he saw my Ultra Violent armband.

"Alley-Oop’s kind of a perv," Lexi said as one of his friends stared at me before deciding I wasn't worth the trouble.

"Can we sit with your Lab friends next time," I suggested as I felt my breathing increase.

"Yeah, they're more likely to get your rager issue," she said with a sigh.

"All I can do is a punch hard thing, I can't invent a warp drive," I giggled.

"No," Lexi rolled her eyes before snorting, "But, you and a few of the Diedricks kids will get each other. And, I'm not working on a warp drive! I'm developing a system to prevent human flesh from being liquified during high g burns! It's to get us to Mars in less than a year!"

"Yup, shared trauma of our brains being the feckin' worst," I trilled. Most of that went over my head, but I could parse out the basics from something I read from Dune. I knew Lexi was a Gadgeteer Five, to say the least, but sometimes I wondered if she was downplaying her rating to me.

"STAY OUTSIDE TWO FEET," I snapped at one of the boys who immediately jumped backward.

"Yeah, let's get food and change tables," Lexi said as she gave me a careful yank. Already, as I glanced my way at a few of the kids I saw the solid grey of Twain Cottage or at least that's what I thought their stupid tie color was. Great, the GSD cottage would soon know about the crazy redhead of Poe! I considered adding an extra snarl before just following after Lexi toward the actual lunch line. Already, it was pretty long and as I waited I noticed Sophia walking towards me.

Unlike me, Sophia was already looking the part of the perfect school girl. Her tie was immaculate and as she broke away talking to one rather rough-looking girl she joined me and Lexi in line.

"Hey you two," the native girl said. She was wearing a pair of simple silver earrings in each ear. Those were new, I gave her a look and she smiled.

"So who was the girl you parted ways with, the one sporting the solid metal bodkin," I asked.

"Oh, that's Haruko, she's my roommate," Sophia added without saying else.

"Isn't she one of the Bad Seeds?" Lexi piped up.

"The what?" I asked. This was new to me. I mean, I had been on campus for a while, but most of my time had been spent setting up my room and trying to figure out how to not look like a hot mess in my uniform. Plus, there was extra powers testing they'd run me through the day after I arrived. Something about the DPA backed test back in Washington not being accurate enough. Whatever that meant.

"They're the kids of A to B list villains," Lexi explained to them, "one of the girls from Poe, Envy, she's the daughter of the Strega."

"I know, she told me," Gráinne replied calmly, "you know the saying, sins of the father, it's a bunch of shite."
Lexi and Sophia both shrugged.

"Just trying to make sure you're careful," Lexi commented.

"She's not wrong Gráinne, you attract bad luck like honey to bees," replied my best friend and surrogate mom.

"Yeah," I sighed. Maybe, I was being irrational, but there was something about Envy I couldn't quite put my finger on. I let the thought wander for a bit as I piled food onto my plate. Enough bacon to fill up my stomach twice over, and a good amount of hash for the extra sugar. Promptly we found a place near the Lab kids table as Lexi fell into talking to one of the other Gadgeteers.

"Lex, did you say there was a kid here who was a master of brewing?" I asked out of the blue.

"Yup!, Shine, he's basically an alcohol devisor," Shipwright commented. Sophia's eyes widened at that and she shook her head. I understood why it bothered her. There were still stories of people getting Lummi's drunk and using their inebriation to sign away land. I'm not kidding, an entire fucking family on Lummi Island has basically spent years doing such a thing. You know when you get that utterly sick feeling to be related in any way to a group of people. That's how I felt when I saw her face.

"Mortals and Spirits are like in that ye always have tat one arse who has to ruin it all fer everyone else." Morgan's rumbling growl at my memory brought me back to the present. I rose from my seat and walked my tray over to the busing bins nearby and stacked it with the rest. Sophia was already stretching as I returned and Alexis was once again discussing starship design with the new devisor freshmen.

"I need ta go off ta da offices," I slurred. My accent shifted as I felt my emotions wavering and preparing to run into a wild mood swing.

"I"ll see ye later back here for lunch then?" Lexi asked. Shipwright was a nice girl, and she seemed to have a bee in her bonnet to keep an eye on me. Likely it was Miss Horton, our House Mother's word in her ear. Sophia herself walked over before mumbling a question for a hug and I acquiesced. As my best friend, she was one of the few who could just hug me without permission, but still, she respected my space. I could almost feel her depression kicking up and I whispered a few small words of encouragement.

"K. I'll see y'all here after my therapy today," I heard the usual acknowledgments before I picked up my bag and skipped out past the door.

"WATCH IT!" I heard just as I nearly collided with a girl a few inches taller than me. "Damn lass, didn'a expect ye ta get all fay before I was stronger." Another tall blonde and a single look deliver the same results of what I was coming to call the Exemplar Girl Package. Or to put in mutable terms, a curvy tall woman with a body most models would kill for. She even had the stereotypical blue or grey eyes. Honestly, I wasn't looking at her eyes as she thrust her puffed out chest to me. Oh shit, I noticed the other two girls flanking her. One was the required brunette and another had dark hair which I assumed was black. It was hard to tell as I knew enough of what I was dealing with.

"Um, hi," I waved and flashed my Ultraviolent Armband. The white one which declared I would hulk out and attack most people who angered me.

"Stupid Frosh! Like, can you watch where the heck you are going?!" one of the girls at the blonde's side said.

"Um okay," I said as the Queen Bee shoved past me and gave me the usual shoulder shove. Except when she tried to do it I didn't really move.

"I'm an exemplar four," I mumbled as she glanced at me, and her eyes widened just the smallest fraction. Cheerleader Queen rolled her eyes as all teenage girls do and made a hasty retreat.

"Royal arse bitch she is, bout as bad as Queen Elizabeth! Though not as bad as her feckin shite of an Uncle!" That was new, I blinked as Morgan coughed up a few facts about her knowledge of the world. My spirit was still keeping a lot of her past close to her chest. I kept walking to put as much distance between me and Queen Bee as possible. The grand opening hall of Schuster met my gaze as I did my best to power walk through it. Again, as was becoming my usual treatment the kids in front of me evenly split aside to let me pass.

"Freak," someone yelled at me. Welp, at least my entire life hadn't changed too much. I caught the purple of Melville, and I let out a loud growl to make them walk away faster. I was through the doorway to the offices and quickly located the desk of the registrar. The office worker behind the desk a woman who looked a little worse for wear told me that once again I would be speaking to Assistant Headmistress, Amelia Hartford.

Why do they keep sending me to a woman that everyone in Poe seemed to lovingly name Miss Hardass? I hoped she was less judging of my uniform as the first day I met her and I soon found myself wanting as I padded over to her desk.

"Ah, Miss O'Callaghan, seems you are once again under my purview," she adjusted her glasses in what I could only be reminded as the classic anime style. You know when the smarmy asshole silently flips you the bird? No? Well, go watch a fucking anime then!

"Miss O'Callaghan, I would remind you that you should pay attention to when -I- speak." Those words ripped me from the little world my brain went to.

"Sorry, Miss Hartford," I murmured.

"Now, as Miss Carson is busy dealing with a few recent developments," she began and took a pile of paper and tapped it lightly on the top of her desk to align it. I did what years of authority figures ingrained into me - I shut up and put my hands in my lap to listen.

"Ah yes, shall we continue," I noted the lack of a question there. "Your schedule required a bit of discussion among the current faculty. There were a few protestations, to say the least mostly because while you show potential in magic, your well seems almost stagnated in it's status."

"Oh is that bad?" she asked slowly.

"No, you will be taking Magic basics with Miss Grimes, you'll just not be doing any spells any time soon, from what I'm told," she adjusted her glasses another time. Hartford gave me a few minutes to download all the information.

1400-1500: Therapy with Dr. Otto Octavius Jr., PsyD
0900-1200: Assigned Weekly Tutoring Period
Weekday Schedule:
Optional 1: Orchestra
Breakfast: Free Period
Period 1: BMA
Period 2: English 1
Period 3: World History
Lunch: Free Period
Period 5: Powers Theory
Period 6: Avatar 1
Period 7: Algebra 1
Optional 2: Biology 1
Optional 3: Intro to Magical Arts
Dinner: Free Period

I looked over the assigned periods exceeding ten classes a day. Of course, I let out a groan and covered my face as I imagined how I was going to keep up with all this.

"No whining Miss O'Callaghan, it's not professional, at least make an attempt to hide your contempt," Hartford chided me. Sitting up straight I gave her a sharp nod before taking the piece of paper in hand.

"Sorry, ma'am," I sighed as I took a few minutes to put myself together. I still had a lot of my Sunday to burn up, but I had a sinking feeling that very soon my day was about to get a lot more complicated than I wanted.

Breakfast, November 11th, 2007 - Whateley Campus

"Yo! Envy!”

Fina blinked as Haruko snapped her fingers in front of her face. She gave the Japanese girl an icy look like the background noise of lunchroom chatter faded back into her awareness. “What?”

Stheno giggled, her hair snakes hiding behind her back. “You looked like you were a million miles away,” Haruko said, smirking. “You ok?”

"I’m fine,” Fina answered, going back to eating the small pile of food on her plate.

"Well, yeah, but are you ok?”

Fina rolled her eyes. She couldn’t get a bead on Haruko’s sexuality but there had been a number of otherwise heterosexual girls who had hit on her lately. It was getting hard to tell friendliness and sexual interest apart. “I am ok,” she stated firmly, “I’ve got therapy this afternoon, so I’m a little distracted.”

Haruko made a face. “Gah, headshrinkers.”

"Do all the Bad Seeds have therapy?” Stheno asked. Despite the name and her gorgon looks, she wasn’t a Bad Seed or even a prospective villain to Fina’s knowledge. It seemed that she and Haruko just clicked for some reason.

"Nope,” Haruko answered, “not that they don’t try. Sometimes we get sent to a therapist if we get caught doing something antisocial but it’s usually a waste of time. They just want to talk about our parents, probably snooping. It’s harassment!”

"Ooooh, what did you do, Envy?” Stheno asked, leaning forward to listen.

Haruko winced and gave Fina an apologetic glance. “I got kidnapped by one of my Mother’s old enemies, who stole one of my eggs while I was unconscious and had to fight my own way out with lethal force,” Fina said matter-of-factly. “I’m not in trouble, the doctors want to keep an eye on me in case I have PTSD.”

"Oh,” Stheno said, looking guilty. “Uh, I’m sorry.”

Fina shrugged. “It’s ok, we found and destroyed the egg.”

Something about Fina’s blase attitude seemed to shock Stheno. Haruko leaned over to whisper to her, “It’s ok, Bad Seeds are used to some crazy shit hanging around our parents. You get used to it.”

Fina sensed the interloper approaching before the other two. He wasn’t subtle about his gaze as he approached her from eight o’clock, listing to his left to see if he could peer around her shoulder to sneak a peek at the curve of her breast. Haruko noticed him a moment later, Fina could see her shift her stance to a defensive position, instinctive for someone well trained. Stheno noticed him last, though her snakes glared at him suspiciously.

"Uh, hi Envy,” he greeted her, forcing a wide smile to hide his nerves.

Slowly turning, Fina took in his skinny form, plain boyish face with a prominent pimple on his forehead and dirty blonde hair and immediately took him for an Underdog. She felt a pang of pity and guilt in the pit of her stomach as she desperately hoped he wasn’t here to try what she thought he was. Kicking puppies wasn’t her thing.

Like a train wreck, he continued interminably into a disaster. “Hey, babe, I’ve got my hands on some free movie tickets for tomorrow night…”

And like that her sympathy evaporated. “Who are you?” Fina asked, interrupting his pitch.

He blinked, put on the back foot. “Uh, I’m Alley-Oop, the star player for the freshman basketball team, you’ve probably seen me play.” He waggled his eyebrows at her, though the line of his gaze was below her chin.

"That’s a fancy way of saying you prematurely ejaculate spanking the monkey in an alleyway,” she said, “I’d rather you take your dribbling balls somewhere else, you’re spoiling my meal.”

Stheno’s jaw dropped. The corners of Haruko’s lips twitched as she fought against her mirth. Alley-Oop eyes were wide as he paled in shock, slowly turning to walk away zombie-like from the scene, merging back into the crowd without a word.

"Damn, Envy,” Haruko chortled. “You really are the ice queen. Jadis needs to watch out, you’ll steal her name.”

"You could have left him a little bit of dignity,” Stheno whispered, scandalized. “Poor boy.”

"No, I couldn’t,” Fina disagreed. “Guys like that will keep trying if you give them so much as a drop of sympathy. Underdog or not, he’s a contemptible snot that sees people as tools to be used to climb the social ladder. To him, I’m a trophy, nothing more.”

"You could say he’s driven by envy,” Haruko quipped, innocently drawing circles on the table with the condensation on the base of her drink.
Fina rolled her eyes. “Seriously, you think the therapists here are really being used to harass the Bad Seeds?”

"The faculty’s getting more and more hostile to us,” she answered, sobering. “Security’s snooping around our operations, it’s getting harder for us to operate as fixers and do business. Faction Three and other operations aren’t feeling the same pinch, though. Something’s going down.”

"I’ll ask Mom to make a few calls,” Fina said.

"Is there a lot of cloak-and-dagger stuff between the Bad Seeds and the Capes?” Stheno asked.

"Not usually,” Fina answered. “Capes don’t do cloak and dagger as a rule. Frankly, though, the cliques are kinda bullshit.”

"How so?”

"Well, take the Bad Seeds. Our philosophy and attitudes are supposed to be defined solely by our parents? That’s a load of crap, villains are possibly the most diverse community in the world and we are equally diverse in attitudes. The Capes aren’t all good guys, some just want to get famous and ride the gravy train. Faction Three identify themselves through their perceived disability, Underdogs for strength in numbers… None of that tells you anything about who someone is as a person. There are Underdogs that are better people than most Capes.”

"Just not Alley-Oop,” Setheno snickered.

"Definitely not Alley-Oop,” Haruko agreed.

Feeling someone else’s eyes on her, Fina shifted to glance across the room from the corner of her eye. To her surprise, it was Gráinne, red hair fiery as it caught the light from the crystal dome just right. She was being subtle about it, pretending to listen as her friend talked, but she was interested in a lot more than Fina’s breasts. Fina recognized the girl Gráinne was sitting with as her roommate, Shipwright. She had a serious look on her face and kept glancing towards Fina’s table without actually looking.

Fina was tempted to read her mind but forced herself to look away instead. “I better go, therapy in ten minutes,” she said, getting up as they gave each other their farewells.

A half-hour later, Fina was glad to have something else to focus on other than herself as she found herself sitting across from a stout balding doctor who gave her a fatherly smile. “Afternoon, Seraphina,” Dr. Otto greeted her, “you’re looking well.”

"I’m an exemplar, doctor, we always look well,” Fina sighed.

He looked sympathetic. “I’m hearing in your voice that you’re feeling some stress.”

I smiled, understanding the probing technique he was using. “I’m used to getting blowback because of my mother but dealing with it every day is tiring. But I’m not used to getting hit on by boys or having capes warn people around me not to become my friend.”

"So you’ve got two problems you’re not used to handling.”

"I think I’ve got the boys under control, it helps that I can be intimidating when I want to. You have to give them a solid bop on the nose and they’ll leave you alone.”

"But you don’t feel you can stop people from talking about you behind your back.”

"Not without mind control… That was a joke.”

He smiled. “I know. Do you have any ideas what you can do about it?”

I rubbed my forehead. “Not really. I can feel people’s jealousy and fear. There are times when people talk to me and I can feel this kind of gulf between us. I get that they aren’t used to random kidnappings and people dying, I mean they’re kids.”

"And you’re not?”

"I am but I’ve got a lot more life experience than they do. I’m more grown-up, I think. Or more damaged, one of the two. I’ve had to take control of my own fate, I’m alone here, I can’t call on Mom or the faculty or anyone when I’m outside this office. I can only hope that my actions speak louder than gossip.”

"Do the Bad Seeds still have their support networks?”

"Yeah but I’m not going to use them. Associating with the Bad Seeds more than I do will just put me square in the sights of the capes and some of my peers in Poe will inevitably rush for them. I want to stay out of it.”

"Have you considered joining the capes? Not that I’m suggesting that course of action, just curious about your opinion.”
Sitting up, I shook my head. “Considered? Yes. But I rejected the idea. There’s a lot wrong with my mother, I don’t agree with her methods, but
I believe in her agenda and I’m loyal to her.”

"You’ve told me that she’s manipulated you.”

"Yes, but let’s face it, you’re a therapist doctor. At least half of your job is about manipulating people into self-examination and tricking them into helping themselves. You’re manipulating me, I manipulate the boys who hit on me, those people who think I’m dangerous try to manipulate others into abandoning me. Society is a manipulative dance, influence can be used to good ends too.”

"So you believe your mother manipulated you for your best interests?”

"From her perspective. She’s not always right, that’s why I disagree with her methods. I’m aware that being mean to the boys that hit on me might bite me in the ass but it’s the only practical way of getting them to leave me alone without doing much worse. And I can’t do anything about the people judging me and soiling my name without being the villain they say I am.”

Fina paused, taking a deep breath and going through her meditative rituals. Once she was calm, she continued. “Thirteen years of martial arts training, one of the most powerful mutants in school, and I’m helpless, impotent, powerless in the face of gossip and public opinion. That’s why I’m stressed, doc. When I came here I hoped I’d be able to hang around with people like me, make friends, start over. But I’m getting isolated yet again.”

"Is there some way you can talk to people? Reassure them that you don’t want to hurt anyone?”

"Despite how I look, I’m not exactly the extroverted type and I’m not great at being reassuring. I haven’t had a lot of interactions with people my own age and I tend to panic,” Fina admitted, blushing. “Stupid, really.”

Dr. Otto smiled brightly. “It’s not stupid, you know your weaknesses, that’s a good thing. Now that we’ve identified a problem, we can work on it. Right?”

Fina smiled. “Right.”

An Hour Later, November 11th, 2007 - Room 236

Leaving Schuster I sped across Campus while making my way back to Poe. I needed a few moments of respite before being plunged into a forced therapy session. Upon entering my Room at 236 I flopped down on the bed across from Shipwright. Lexi sat cross-legged on her bed, a small thin custom laptop perch across both knees. Her usual brushed hair was quite frazzled hinting at her previously lying position. I didn't bother looking at the screen since that was a bit too obviously rude for me to accomplish. But in her hand was a small note pad and she was furious scribbling in it.

"Sorry to interrupt what I'm going to assume are some calculations," I said just as I sat up and leaned against my pillows. "I need a clearer low down of what this place is like. Half of the traditional cliques aren't even here. For fuck sakes, I've seen what can only be called the Next Generation of the Justice League!"

That last one drew a small smile from Alexis as she set down her notepad and pushed her laptop aside before gently closing it. She started off simply, "Whateley has changed a bit since last year. The top clique, the Alphas had a falling out with its old leader a real perv named Don Sebastian."

Who the hell names their kid like that? Lexi then proceeded to lay out the general order of the lunchroom in her, what I was coming to understand, usual clinical style. Most of Whateley's biggest "cliques" were either school clubs such as the Literary Club or the Euro-Promotional League or training teams made up the student social groups. Instead of a clear popular kids table, many of the team and club leads were part of the Alpha Council.

"Team Kimba is one of the teams located here almost exclusively at Poe," in the back of my head I began to organize the tables of Crystal Hall in my mind. It kind of made sense with the Lab Kids and The Underdogs.

"So...I mean this all sort of makes sense in a weirdly X-Men sort of way," I laughed.

"Not really, we have I guess what you can call a danger room, but we don't have kids actually fight in it," she snerked.

"Yeah, I did always find it weird that Charles had basically a team of Child Soldiers," I remarked as we went into heavy topic territory.

"Gráinne, has anyone told you how dark your mind is?" Lexi replied.

"Wouldn't be the first I heard of it." I replied as I decided to change the subject, "So...why did that Alley-Oop boy keep staring at me with his creepy little friend?"

"Who? Pythia?" she asked and I mentally re-attached the name to the snake skinned GSD girl.

"No, she's cute," I replied flashing a small smile as Lexi giggled.

"Oop possesses a slight fixation on Envy and Exemplar girls like her," I nodded. Honestly, I couldn't fault the guy, as an Exemplar woman I was already feeling the beat of my hormones. If Envy's hair wasn't so damn luxurious I wouldn't stare at it so much. Just the idea of running my hand through it gave me goosebumps.

"Great, so I need to be aware of a little monster who could make me rage out during lunch," I sighed.

"Nah, we'll sit with my friends at the Lab table," Lexi countered.

"I love Science and Scifi Lexi, but it's not exactly my thing," I said.

"Well, maybe Sophia can help you there," Lexi twisted her hand outward to me in an offering gesture. Just as I gave a smile and prepared a reply, it was when Morgan spoke up.

"Look at the clock lass." On cue, I shot a glance at the digital clock fitted to the wall above our desks. It clearly read 2:03 PM and I found myself leaping from my bed backpack in hand.

"See ya," I waved just as I was out the door. A green-haired elf girl was nearly in my way before I swung around her leaving me dizzy.

"Watch it!" she yelled at me as I swept down the stairs and off to meet my shrink.

Ten Past Two PM, November 11th, 2007 - Doyle Medical Complex

"Óró sé do bheatha abhaile!" I sang the words aloud in Irish as I sped along across the main space that separated Doyle from Melville and Poe Cottages. While running Morgan had said the first line and I repeated it back aloud. The lines flowed from my lips and my tongue danced to let the trilling syllables free. A girl named Gráinne, my namesake was imprisoned for a crime. Morgan's story wove as she didn't tell me, but let her thoughts dance along with the music. An image of a woman defiantly standing before old Dublin Castle.

"Óró sé do bheatha abhaile!" the words sprang for a forth time and I was nearly upon the entrance of Doyle as I sang, "anois ar theatch an tsamraidh."

I pushed open a glass framed entrance door and let the woosh of air created by the cold temperature outside press over my face. Scents of disinfectant and much more.

"Sing with me lass, focus on the song, banish your anxiety focus with me." On and off in my dreams and in between Morgan was doing her best to teach me, Irish. Not the standard form they wrote on documents in Ireland, but the form spoken by the people of Galway.

"Sé do bheatha, a bhean ba léammhar." I mouthed the words in time to the music she played for me. 'Welcome, oh woman, who was afflicted'. Gaelic music was dour at times, but much of the depression in it was defiant in the face of adversity.

"I use ta sing this wit Sinead when she was young." Morgan's words were braced with sorrow and were upheld in a deep grief I was still coming to understand. We both were traumatized by the events of our lives. Morgan's was far older and ran deeper, but trauma was trauma. I can't compare myself to an ancient spirit, because I'm not her. I stopped just inside as I read through a small directory of offices and found where I was to meet Doctor Otto.

The next line came to mind, "Do b'é ár gcreach thú bheith i ngéibheann."

"Your fine land in the possession of the thieves!" Morgan sang the reply in English this time as I smiled.

"And you sold to the foreigners," I sighed as I stood in front of the open door.

"That was quite beautiful, Gráinne," said a kind fatherly voice from within the room. It didn't make me calm right away. In fact, immediately I bared my teeth and crossed my arms defiantly. A man sat on a wooden reclining chair situated in the corner of the room. Atop a table in the middle of the room was a small hotplate with a pot of water sat on it heating up as the smell of mint tea greeted me. Defensively, I scanned the room slowly to take it all in. The table was parallel to a brown plush couch. I crept over to the couch and drew my knees up to my chest and hugged them.

"Doctor Otto?" I asked as I stared at the man whose mustache was carefully tailored to run along his lips. A small beard complimented the look and along with his short brunette hair.

"Yes, that is me," he said. Worry lines were worn hard into the man's face and as I tried to get a read on him Morgan spoke up.

"This man cares for his craft." 

"Gráinne, do you know why you were assigned to my care?" he asked slowly.

"I was raped," I replied. Well, that wasn't the exact truth. There was never any penetration, just groping and painful abuse at the hand of those fucking bastards. My rage seeped from that ripped open scar and I let out a hard demonstrative sigh to expel it.

"Yes, no matter the extent of the abuse you faced," his words weren't exactly encouraging, "you survived a trauma. And, in a movement of pure courage, you fought back."

"I almost killed one of them," I said louder than I wished.

"It was self-defense," he replied.

"I was almost sent to jail for it," I sighed.

"You are not responsible for their actions, and for what happened to you," he sat there with a laptop in his lap.

"Why do they do it? Why did they attack me?! I didn't do a thing to them!" I shouted.

"Gráinne, I would like you to take a deep breath," he finished writing something on his computer and offered some tea, "Would you like some mint tea to calm yourself?"

"Ye - yes," I relented.

"This one is very patient, respect his words, my heart." Morgan's words came just as Dr. Otto picked up a strange looking chart from an end table by his chair. About two feet white, the thing was laminated. A range of colors from light green to the far left to dark red on the far right. He set it down and his laptop as well as he rose on his feet to retrieve a teacup from a nearby cupboard. Pouring the tea I kept my eyes on him the entire time, any sound too loud resulted in a visible flinch from me. Why was I so damn scared of my own therapist?

"You are showing the hyper-reaction and awareness often associated with rape survivors," he spoke to me after handing me the cup.

"...They are?" I asked. So I wasn't just going mad out of my gourd?

"Yes," Otto replied, "you're likely suffering from a form of PTSD. The Flashbacks listed in your file indicate a serious trauma."

"But they didn't rape me!" I protested.

"Gráinne, they abused you. Took away your agency and hurt you." His words were kind, and they bit deep into my sulking defenses. He was right, they had hurt me. Sure, the bastards hadn’t sexually penetrated me, but they'd physically assaulted me and talked of raping me.

"I - uh," I tried not to stutter in front of the man as he poured me another cup of tea. I sipped at the mint and let it settle my slowly nauseating stomach.

"I'm going to be expanding our sessions to two hours from now on. We'll be doing some basic discussion of your life and some means to help you regain control of your life." I nodded in return. Dr. Otto went on to explain that lifestream integration would mean I'd need to recount my experiences for the past year. This included my two encounters with Brad Finkbonner and his band of chimps. As we reached the early period of my manifestation I found myself gripping the edge of the couch cushions hard enough to tear a large chunk from them.

The level of disassociation I felt between what Dr. Otto was saying and how I felt was purely nauseating. I should feel a greater level of pain than I did right? These men violated me and all I'd done the second time was protest. Was I really a survivor if I did nothing? But...if I gave into my anger I'd likely kill again. What was I supposed to do?

"There be no comparison of pain and agony lass. The trauma I felt in war is no greater than what you experienced in abuse. You are a good person for accepting that ending the bastard's life wasn't necessary. But it was his fault he showed up and tried to shoot your family with his minions." Morgan's telepathic voice waned between the careful trill of her brough and between like the one I used every day.

I didn't realize, but Dr. Otto had ceased speaking and was pouring my third cup of tea. The mint calmed me enough that he waited for me to regain my focus and I gave a blush of embarrassment.

"Gráinne, our time's about up. If you do need to talk or are just needing a friendly message here is my number so you can send me a text." He handed me his card and kept his distance as he easily read the unease on my face. Staring at the card in my hand I noted the number and added him as a contact on my gizmatic phone.

"There is one thing I'm going to ask you Gráinne," he said to me as I was gathering my things and I gave him a small glance.

"Yes, Doctor?" I asked a little warily.

"I'm sending you an email to your school account. It's a form I'd like you to fill out. Just in case something bad happens. I want you to send it back to me before our next session," he never failed to speak in that calm and even voice.

"Yes, I will try my best Doctor," I said and gave him a wave before walking out the door.

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Doc Ock as her therapist, now

Doc Ock as her therapist, now that's funny he could have used one himself.

Well, it made sense in a lot

ShadowedSin's picture

Well, it made sense in a lot of ways since he's helped with Sara and Envy.

"I like to be creative in a fight. It gets my juices going."
-Xena Warrior-Princess of Amphibolis

Thank you

Thank you for continuing this story.

Of course, I adore Grainne

ShadowedSin's picture

Of course, I adore Grainne and I will never cease working with her if I can!

"I like to be creative in a fight. It gets my juices going."
-Xena Warrior-Princess of Amphibolis

Several problems all at once

Jamie Lee's picture

Not only do these students have to deal with their changing ages, but that they manifested, how they've been treated since their change, controlling their new abilities, and the most confusing one, relationships.

With everything heaped onto them, it's a wonder any of them haven't completely lost their minds.

And with people like Grainne, who coupled with a spirit, there is an added pressure of dealing with that joining.

Life can be complicated enough without having manifest, and many learn how to deal with that. But throw manifestation into the mix and life becomes more than just complicated.

Others have feelings too.

Yeah, when I first started

ShadowedSin's picture

Yeah, when I first started working on this story I wanted Grainne to realize how even if the school has mutants its a similar environment. Kids are cruel.

"I like to be creative in a fight. It gets my juices going."
-Xena Warrior-Princess of Amphibolis

A good therapist

Wendy Jean's picture

Can be a lifesaver, mine was.