My fanfiction and other random ramblings

Srebrna, Skald Arkadii (and thoughts on writing)

Archive for the ‘x-men’ Category

Regaining Herself: Moira, Luck

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Regaining Herself: Pictures in the Wind

Moira, Luck

She saw the mansion on her way to the car garage her friend suggested. Supposedly the man there weren’t dismissive of “dizzy ladies” like most other mechanics. She knew there was something wrong with her “girly” small car – the engine was not supposed to make noises like this – but nobody wanted to have a look at it. She needed to get it checked before it broke down in some inconvenient place.
She was driving past a very nice neighbourhood, counting numbers, when a sight simply ambushed her.
A huge satellite dish.
Her head turned of its own volition and she saw it.
The square-ish, castle-like stone and mortar mansion.
She squeezed the wheel so hard she felt her gloves rip.
Someone stepped from between the parked cars and she kicked the brake, stopping awkwardly at an angle in the middle of the lane.
She breathed a few times, trying to calm herself and make the ringing in her ears go away. When another driver honked their horn just behind her she jumped in her seat and started the car again. She focused on finding a parking space now. She simply had to take a moment and process what had just happened.
She managed to find a slot just for her tiny car just in time, seconds before the flood of memories hit her, accompanied with an ensemble of migraine symptoms, from ear-ringing, to a stomach ache, to a blinding flash of pain behind her eyes.
Waking up she noticed the sun had moved significantly. Also, she hadn’t turned off the lights so they were now slightly yellow and she probably had next to no chance of starting the car.
She sipped some tea from her travel flask and did a few breathing exercises she learned in her agent training. Nobody probably ever expected them to be used after a sudden memory flood shuts down one’s brain, but they worked all the same.
She opened the car door, picked up her handbag, locked the car securely and started the short trek across carefully manicured lawn and towards the main gate.
The freshly reopened corner of her mind served her with a crystal clear memory of the lamest pick-up line she had ever heard. She succumbed to a minute – or two – of giggling, as she leaned on the gatepost, but the front door opened and the now familiar, thin and pale face of Alex Summers emerged to regard her in utter surprise.

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Written by Srebrna

2014/06/14 at 01:41

Posted in Regaining Herself

Regaining Herself: Charles, Exhaustion

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Regaining Herself: Pictures in the Wind

Charles, Exhaustion

Charles was tired most of the time. Tired enough to space out in the middle of a conversation.
He tried to hide it, as much as he could. He didn’t want Hank to notice his lack of attention to the school security project lately, but apparently Beast had much better human reading skills than Hank used to sport. Probably heightened sense of smell helped, or at least that was what he told himself. The option that his state was becoming desperate he tried to avoid admitting as a possibility.
Hank knew better, and his human reading skill had, in fact, progressed significantly. However it was mostly the Professor’s wandering attention that tipped him to the fact that his friend wasn’t in the best condition.
That was why at some point, one busy summer day the Professor found himself gently, but firmly, wheeled out of his office, down the corridor, past his room and out to the terrace. A table was placed next to him and a pot of tea served by someone from the school staff. A blanket, a book and a plate of toast later he was left alone in the open with the stern order from his doctor-cum-engineer to not come back inside until he had read at least a third of the book.
At least they gave him something good to read. He had always loved Greek mythology.
When Hank appeared with the sunset, Charles was soundly asleep. The book had fallen from his lap, the tea was cold and the last piece of toast had curled up, cold and dry in the evening air. Beast popped it in his mouth, crunching on the crust as he pushed the wheelchair back towards his friend’s private apartment.
Charles woke up in his bed and with no memory of having ever moved from the terrace.
He never questioned Hank about that evening and Hank never mentioned it himself.
He tried cutting down the hours spent in the office, but failed miserably. He tried skipping some meetings and reviews, but he felt he was required.
He never even tried reducing his lesson hours.
The migraines were back in three days and the evening was forgotten, barring the occasional stirring of need for a quiet nap in cold air.
There were seven meetings on his calendar that particular fall Tuesday. With the school year just starting, they had known they should expect a wave of parents coming. Younger talents usually manifested in stressful situations, and start of school was one of the main reasons for early breakthroughs.
Each meeting was with a pair of parents and a child, each demanding his full attention and focus, each making his teeth grind harder as the parents demanded explanation, tried just to leave the child and run away as fast as they could, outright accused him of making their kid ‘so’ and threatened with FBI, CIA and several other nasty acronyms if he didn’t fix the kid, right here, right now.
After the last child was successfully admitted and the parents left, somehow astounded by his terse manner, he slumped over his desk and squeezed his aching eyes shut. Two tiny tears run down his face as he tried to control his breathing.
A door banged open somewhere in the house.
The bolt of white pain through his temples made him dry-heave and his body curl in a spasm.
In panic, he could only think about avoiding hitting the edge of the desk with his forehead. He didn’t need a brain injury added to the whole situation.
He threw his head back in an attempt to loosen the muscles and was rewarded by returning to slightly more upright position. He managed to pull himself closer to the desk, pushed the button to Hank’s office and slowly rested his cheek on the cold glassy surface.
Hank arrived before he could ever pick up the phone, as he had already been on his way when the students started going pale and nauseous.
He picked up his friend and mentor and carried him to his bed, worried about this being something he, for once, couldn’t fix.

Written by Srebrna

2014/06/07 at 01:40

Posted in Regaining Herself

Regaining Herself: 5. Moira, Everyday

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Regaining Herself: Pictures in the Wind

Moira, Everyday

Moira knew her absentmindedness had been noticed.
The girls never bothered to stop their gossiping anymore. When she passed by them, they just watched her carefully and yapped happily about whatever current office scandal cropped up. The men left more and more documents queued at her desk, which forced her to introduce a document counting and tracking system with the usage of some hanging folders in her bigger locker drawer and generous application of paperclips.
Even when the director came visiting, she managed to maintain her pose and affect a lack of concern.
Every day she typed, brewed coffee, typed some more and then ran, as fast as they could, away from the oppressive feeling of someone being right there, just behind her, and watching her every move.
She didn’t know if one could get infected with paranoia, but she had the feeling that Charles’ fear of discovery might have left some traces in her mind. She changed the way she dressed, almost immediately after returning to work. Gray, beige, olive green ruled in her wardrobe now, all things purple, yellow and otherwise colourful packed away. She was as boring as could be. Her hair was tied away, her makeup nonexistent, jewellery left at home.
It had all failed anyway. Someone was observing her and she couldn’t shake the feeling that all her efforts to blend in with the walls might have given them even more reason to be wary of her.
More typing. An inconsequential meeting, or two. Some filing. Even more filing, after she found out somebody had mislabelled a huge box of evidence. More typing.
Going home in her tiny, slightly beat-up car she tried tracking other vehicles around her, looking for the one potentially tailing her. She never found it, but the pricking of skin on the back of her neck never went away.
She had to take a day off, now and then, due to the memories flooding her and the blinding headaches that accompanied them. Fortunately for her, no CIA doctor could reasonably argue against the idea that the telepath messing up with her brain had actually broken something, so the headaches were, albeit reluctantly, treated as a work-related injury and so, under the agency’s regulations (very, very obscure ones she dug up with a lot of effort) she was entitled to a half or full day off for medical reasons, as needed. This affected her pay, but she preferred less money to sitting in the din of the office with the needles of pain striking her eyes every time she moved.
Usually the “pain days” would be spaced out, on average one or two a week, out of which only every fifth or sixth required her to avoid society. A few times she was hit with a two-day ramp-up and a crowning, vomit-inducing pain at the end. Considering that one of these occurred on a office “outing event” and everyone saw her avoiding alcohol, nobody dared to suggest hangover, which helped her public image a bit.
However, in the long run, it wasn’t actually helping her. Had these been hangovers, she would have at least been able to avoid the alcohol, but things being what they were she simply didn’t know what to avoid. Considering however that each of these left her with at least a tiny piece of new-old memories, she put them in the category of “it’s an ill wind that blows no good” and learned to organise her life around them.
What she was most worried about was that someone would put together the facts, plus whoever was tailing her finally would break into her flat and she would be forced to admit that her memory loss was, in fact, not that permanent after all.
She really didn’t want CIA to find where Charles’ school was.
She even less wanted to be the one to betray this fact to them, but that was what her mind-mapping project on the wall pronounced to anyone who would have been able to see it.
CIA would have been very, very surprised to find the hideout of mutants in Westchester.

Written by Srebrna

2014/05/29 at 10:00

Posted in Regaining Herself

Regaining Herself: Moira, Everyday

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Regaining Herself: Pictures in the Wind

Moira, Everyday

Moira knew her absentmindedness had been noticed.
The girls never bothered to stop their gossiping anymore. When she passed by them, they just watched her carefully and yapped happily about whatever current office scandal cropped up. The men left more and more documents queued at her desk, which forced her to introduce a document counting and tracking system with the usage of some hanging folders in her bigger locker drawer and generous application of paperclips.
Even when the director came visiting, she managed to maintain her pose and affect a lack of concern.
Every day she typed, brewed coffee, typed some more and then ran, as fast as they could, away from the oppressive feeling of someone being right there, just behind her, and watching her every move.
She didn’t know if one could get infected with paranoia, but she had the feeling that Charles’ fear of discovery might have left some traces in her mind. She changed the way she dressed, almost immediately after returning to work. Gray, beige, olive green ruled in her wardrobe now, all things purple, yellow and otherwise colourful packed away. She was as boring as could be. Her hair was tied away, her makeup nonexistent, jewellery left at home.
It had all failed anyway. Someone was observing her and she couldn’t shake the feeling that all her efforts to blend in with the walls might have given them even more reason to be wary of her.
More typing. An inconsequential meeting, or two. Some filing. Even more filing, after she found out somebody had mislabelled a huge box of evidence. More typing.
Going home in her tiny, slightly beat-up car she tried tracking other vehicles around her, looking for the one potentially tailing her. She never found it, but the pricking of skin on the back of her neck never went away.
She had to take a day off, now and then, due to the memories flooding her and the blinding headaches that accompanied them. Fortunately for her, no CIA doctor could reasonably argue against the idea that the telepath messing up with her brain had actually broken something, so the headaches were, albeit reluctantly, treated as a work-related injury and so, under the agency’s regulations (very, very obscure ones she dug up with a lot of effort) she was entitled to a half or full day off for medical reasons, as needed. This affected her pay, but she preferred less money to sitting in the din of the office with the needles of pain striking her eyes every time she moved.
Usually the “pain days” would be spaced out, on average one or two a week, out of which only every fifth or sixth required her to avoid society. A few times she was hit with a two-day ramp-up and a crowning, vomit-inducing pain at the end. Considering that one of these occurred on a office “outing event” and everyone saw her avoiding alcohol, nobody dared to suggest hangover, which helped her public image a bit.
However, in the long run, it wasn’t actually helping her. Had these been hangovers, she would have at least been able to avoid the alcohol, but things being what they were she simply didn’t know what to avoid. Considering however that each of these left her with at least a tiny piece of new-old memories, she put them in the category of “it’s an ill wind that blows no good” and learned to organise her life around them.
What she was most worried about was that someone would put together the facts, plus whoever was tailing her finally would break into her flat and she would be forced to admit that her memory loss was, in fact, not that permanent after all.
She really didn’t want CIA to find where Charles’ school was.
She even less wanted to be the one to betray this fact to them, but that was what her mind-mapping project on the wall pronounced to anyone who would have been able to see it.
CIA would have been very, very surprised to find the hideout of mutants in Westchester.

Written by Srebrna

2014/05/29 at 01:37

Posted in Regaining Herself

Regaining Herself: 4. Charles, School

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Regaining Herself: Pictures in the Wind

Charles, School

Charles’ hair fell now down to his shoulders – and into his eyes – so he took to tying it back with random pieces of string or ribbon. Having finally settled on black silk, he felt a bit like an aristocrat from days long gone. At least the cut of his clothes was much more comfortable than those poor guys had had to wear.
He half-heartedly attempted to keep up appearances even though it wasn’t that easy to look elegant on the wheelchair. Also, sometimes he just couldn’t make himself care enough. With no Erik or Moira, he had nobody around with the seniority required to push him to behave. If he thought too hard about the last time he actually dressed in something nice and felt it to be important, he had to shut himself in his office just to regain his balance and superficial calm.
Every day he woke around dawn, managed his bath – using the bars installed by Hank and Sean – got dressed and started his day way before everyone else was up. His private kitchen was set up in such way that he could put together a reasonable meal by himself if he wanted to eat before the teachers’ breakfast was served.
He was in his office before anyone else could come knocking, up to his ears in papers – reviewing the applications, checking the documents and writing essays on the mutations of eye-related DNA.
Meetings with students, meetings with parents, group lessons, individual lessons, students homesick, students just simply sick (not every mutation was beneficial to one’s health). Each day full to the brim, each almost the same. Only sometimes, when the headache came, he allowed himself to postpone a lesson or two, retire to his private rooms and cut himself off from the entire world.
The migraines came in waves – sometimes nothing for a time, sometimes three days in a row. When he got a week of lull, he knew well enough to fear for his own sanity during the next attack waiting around the corner to ambush him.
The school grew around him. He managed, through network of trustworthy contacts, to recruit more teachers, or at least grown-up mutants with relatively interesting talents and potential to teach. He already had a surfeit of P.E. teachers and coaches, but couldn’t find even one person willing to work as a simple administrator. Literature was also a problem, and he very much wished to provide the students with as good an education as possible, giving them the option to go to university or at least function in human society in relative peace.
In a flash of inspiration he appointed Alex as the night duty coordinator, which gave him an hour or so sleep more as he handed over the evening review and stations assignment to the younger man.
Hank, apart from doing his own research, was conducting maths and physics classes, occasionally taking the most promising pupils to his lab and giving them some part of the research to follow.
Placing Sean was his last great problem. Kid wasn’t old enough yet to be a teacher, but he couldn’t fit into a class with even the eldest form. The solution would have been two years at normal human university, if only Sean’s face hadn’t been printed and pinned at every police station as ‘wanted’.
He would have happily delegated this painful task to someone else. But with nobody available he simply hunched his shoulders more, pushed the wheelchair onwards and hoped to survive the next big crisis the world was going to throw at them.

Written by Srebrna

2014/05/20 at 10:00

Posted in Regaining Herself

Regaining Herself: 3. Moira, Office

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Regaining Herself: Pictures in the Wind

Moira, Office

Moira had gotten used to the glances.
She had been allowed to stay in CIA – the agency didn’t like to simply fire any people who knew way too much for the bosses’ comfort. Allowed to stay didn’t mean however staying on as a field agent, or anything even remotely as interesting. She was back to the typing pool, just like a threat from her past had predicted.
Outcast from both groups.
Other typists, secretaries and assistants gave her wide berth. She was the one that had tried to be better. She had been promoted. She had jumped out of the line. She had tried to be something more. They shunned her as a traitor to the female department.
The field agents, now a solely male contingent, avoided her as scrupulously, as if the failed promotion was some kind of disease she could pass on to them. The cloud of bad luck was about her and nobody wanted to be caught talking to the “girl who forgot everything”. Even the ones that admitted she probably did some good work during “the missile crisis” assiduously limited any interaction to “please, three copies, Miss MacTaggert” and “thank you for delivering this, Miss MacTaggert”.
Being stuck as neither fish nor fowl she should have probably left the agency on her own.
She didn’t care enough, though. It was a job, it paid for food and rent, and it was so uncomplicated it left her with a lot of time and brainpower to process her memories. She knew her way around the office and she never actually paid attention to anyone except for her direct boss. So she kept her focus on her memories, on her daily tasks and on being as unnoticed as someone of her – albeit local – fame ever could.
For all the tasks – typing, correcting and taking notes – she used only small part of her brain. She had years of training in this and a particular ability to double-task effectively. Major portion of her consciousness was used to recover, collect and combine the splinters of memories that kept surfacing from time to time.
During lunch she was usually left safely alone, so she ate the unappetizing special of the day slowly, but quietly and went back to her desk, retyping someone’s report in four copies. She always said she was ideal notes taker – everything went from ears or eyes directly to the hands, no need to involve brain on the way. This way she could run the personal analysis and map the connections – which sometimes felt like putting together a giant, mixed up, imaginary jigsaw puzzle – when at the same time earning her living by transferring someone’s stakeout notes to proper form and correct tenses.
People here really need to brush up on their grammar and spelling.
She corrected a ‘hole nite’ to a ‘whole night’ and went back to her puzzle pieces.
Charles Xavier was most definitely lying low somewhere nearby. Otherwise he wouldn’t have needed to make her forget.
He must have others with him. He would be hiding them. She must have seen them. He was keeping them safe by keeping her away.
She bit her lip.
If he hadn’t cared about her, he could have gotten rid of her in many different ways. Instead he made her forget, made her safe, both for their and her sake, and from any side of the conflict. CIA understood she could give them nothing and if any other mutants got their hands on her, they wouldn’t be able to pull anything meaningful from her memories either. Not that it would have saved her from the most inspired of them, but still it was something.
What she could actually remember were flashes, sometimes single words or strings or incomprehensible technical explanations. There was the man who looked, but only sometimes, like a blue furry beast. Mostly he looked like a scrawny teenager, but both pictures overlapped.
She could remember genetic theories, explained in that cultured voice and dreamy accent, words full of passion and fascination. Charles. She was sure it had been him, even though most of the memories of him even from before the attack on HQ were blurred.
She could remember the other voice, much colder, black turtleneck and thin body, always almost shivering with hatred towards the world. Quite sure it was Eric, but as most of her focus had always been on Charles, the complete (or even partly usable) scenes with him were not that many, and the face was a somewhat hazy case.
But what she remembered in full, in the greatest detail possible, was the very last moment she had with Charles. The day she recovered it, she cried in her bed from the soaring happiness that hurt so much.
She remembered the glorious sweetness of their kiss, the sudden closeness and her little gasp the second their lips touched. He was so careful, she had thought at the moment, yet she felt he knew exactly what he was doing. She wanted to deepen the contact, maybe to reach and caress his tired, worried face when she felt his hand rise and she hoped he would be the one to touch her. Instead she felt the earth fall from under her feet and she her own body collapsing right there and then nothing.
Moira liked recalling this part, because even though it was the exact end of their relationship – right before it could start – she knew, for sure, he must have cared for her. She remembered his “I know”, laced with such sadness and sorrow. She was quite assured the separation he enforced couldn’t have been easy for him either.
Also, it gave her fury enough food to keep her going and force her to complete her investigation of her own brain. She just couldn’t give up before letting him know what she thought about him.
She sighed quietly, trying not to draw anyone’s attention. Work was finished for today, papers stacked, out-boxes filled, in-boxes mostly empty. Girls were leaving, filing one after another in the unconscious order of seniority the group had created internally. The order she used to be a part of, until she tried not to be.
She picked up her things and put on the beige coat that made her blend with the crowd. Waiting for the last of her co-workers to leave, she was the one to turn off the lights and so had to wait for the elevator and ride down by herself.
Outside the menacing building, in the stream of humanity hurrying to their different goals, she walked alone and alienated in her ultimate objective of regaining the control over her own mind and showing Charles Xavier that he would not get rid of her that easily.
She licked her lips, hoping for some stray sensation to wake up, for a taste or smell of that day to come back.
Not yet. But soon she would have the whole corner of her picture build and would move to the next big part.

Written by Srebrna

2014/05/12 at 10:00

Posted in Regaining Herself

Regaining Herself: 2. Charles, Migraines

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Regaining Herself: Pictures in the Wind

Charles, Migraines

Charles Xavier really hated migraines.
Not only were they affecting his ability to read others, but they also tended to leak and put a general dampener on everyone’s moods. At the same time they affected his shields and made him very suspectible to whatever others were thinking and feeling. In total, very bad combination for a thirty-something old man living in a house full of hormonal and very volatile teenagers. Even the drugs developed by Hank weren’t helping, or at least they weren’t helping with everything.
He was lying down on the blanket covering his bed and he didn’t have even enough energy to roll himself under the covers and try to sleep it off. Instead he stared at the ceiling, focusing on his breathing and the throbbing in his head.
Each breath, new, tiny stab of pain.
Each breath, his eyes felt like stuck with needles.
He probably deserved it.
After all he used his brilliant, gifted mind to take away a part of someone’s life. Not an enemy. Not an attacker. Not even a stranger. A woman who trusted him and probably more.
He took away a part of her life and he deserved to feel lousy because of it.
Sometimes he actually stared into direct sunlight on purpose, to feel himself punished properly. He knew he would never forgive himself, but when he did these things, he somehow felt better knowing that she isn’t the only one suffering.
He never said it made any sense.
Sometimes he toyed with the idea of contacting her. Maybe just touching the surface, making sure she was ok.
He never dared. He was afraid of finding out… Anything. He would not be happy if she was happy – it would mean she was happy without him. On the other hand, he would be devastated if she was unhappy, because anything that made Moira MacTaggert unhappy was hell to Charles Xavier.
In this case, it was him. So he punished himself.
When he wanted to deliver a particularly strong reminder of his faults, he recalled the kiss.
She trusted him and she never even expected.
She tasted of tea and vanilla cookies, her lips the softest thing he had ever kissed, her hair tickling his cheek. He touched a strand, raising his hand to his temple, and when the impulse from his brain travelled to hers, blocking everything, she was still kissing him, some tiny portion of her consciousness keeping control over that last action.
He tasted his tears on her lips and that was when she lost her balance and slowly sunk down, her head on his knees, her cheek on his palm, her eyes staring into nothingness as she slipped into the trance he put her in.
He drew a shivery breath and wiped his eyes.
Then he picked up the cane that fell next to the sofa and pulled his wheelchair closer so he could sit in it and again become the headmaster.
Not even Alex dared to comment on his disappearance.

Written by Srebrna

2014/05/05 at 08:01

Posted in Regaining Herself

Regaining Herself: 1. Moira, Memories

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Regaining Herself: Pictures in the Wind

Moira, Memories

Moira MacTaggert sat in front of an enormous sheet of paper and tried to catch the memory that was floating, teasingly, just on the outskirts of her brain.
Moira MacTaggert was quite ready to choke Charles Xavier to death with her bare hands. Or kiss him and then kill him. Or just…
She inhaled carefully.
Her head throbbed, threats of later sickness quite clear. The picture slowly regained focus.
It was a beach. She was sitting on the sand, looking up at someone in a weirdly shaped helmet. He was talking, but she didn’t hear the words. There was the feeling of someone else being asked for reaction.
She grabbed a pencil and quickly drafted the picture, before it disappeared from her mind.

Whatever else Charles Xavier – damn him to eternal pain – had done, he apparently must have triggered some until now unused part of her brain, resulting in a handy new talent of Moira’s. Drawing was really useful when your memories came and went in waves, mostly static pictures of people, places and objects.

She rose and surveyed the paper nailed to her bedroom wall carefully.
Beach. That means probably Cuba, so it goes together with missiles and broken radio.
She pinned the newest picture next to one she called ‘sky of weapons’ and short description of the feeling of dread she had coming whenever she thought of a radio failing.
The sheet was covered with time markings, main milestones and arrows linking elements together. It was her memory. External one. The memory which Charles Xavier – she was quite sure it had been him, insufferable man – had taken away from her.

Just thinking about it gave her headache, but she decided to sit down and wait it out today instead of escaping into morphine she had quietly stored for such occasions. She hoped, deep down, that whenever she hurts, he does, too. Even deeper down she actually didn’t wish it. She wished to snog his stupid round face so soundly he would be left speechless.
These wishes were dangerous. They made her lose her control and balance.
This time, however, Moira dived into it, reveled in the fleeting sensation of his lips on hers, the slight, unnatural movement of his body on… on a wheelchair?!
Her eyes snapped open.
He was on a wheelchair. It all suddenly made sense. The sitting in the sand – she must have been holding him, lying down. Hurt? Wounded? Him being much shorter than he was supposed to be. He must have been sitting in the wheelchair in most of these scenes.
Slowly she drew a wheelchair and a man’s figure in it, slightly slouching. With careful strokes she gave him the right profile, the nose, slightly longish hair, round eyes. She bit her lip and drew herself at the handles.
Pinning the picture at the end of her timeline she surveyed the whole. It wasn’t everything, it wasn’t even half. But it was enough to track all that happened in the “white period” of her memory. She knew what happened around the beach from recordings the navy made. She could extrapolate and patch together what wasn’t in the recordings – exact dealings between people.
Erik, Raven, Angel. The red-skinned teleporter. The tornado one.
Charles, Hank, Banshee, Havok. She wasn’t exactly sure which were names and which were nicknames, but she would finally get it, or she wasn’t Moira MacTaggert.

Written by Srebrna

2014/04/27 at 10:00

Posted in Regaining Herself