X-men: Bast Ch. 01byCrouching_Buddha©
Legal issues: Kia Jaeger(codename Bast) is an original character and belongs to me. All other characters and core X-men concepts are copyright Marvel, Stan Lee, and other creators. I do not own any of them, nor do I profit from them in any way.
Author Note: This story is based upon the story and setup in the comics and takes place at no particular point in them, but is instead treated as it's own events separate from many of the large happenings in the comics. Also, I am not fully aware of every significant event that has happened in the X-men's long history, so the information presented in this story and the information in the comics may not always 100% add up. Some characters who might even be dead as of the current X-men issues may be alive in this story.
The spacious halls of Prestonwood Academy were empty and abandoned with the exception for three people marching purposefully down their lengths, shoes clicking sharply on the polished marble floor. The halls stretched out, lengthy corridors kept immaculately clean and orderly. Old portraits depicted stern elderly men looking down upon the viewer, and class collages showed off the most recent graduating classmen. A case here and there held trophies and awards in various fields of excellence, mostly academic spotted with the occasional athletic achievement.
Like most high schools, lockers lined the walls. Unlike most, however, these lockers were quite large, almost two feet wide each and well spaced to avoid cramping a neighboring unit. They were handcrafted and stained, a rich and rather expensive looking mahogany. The lockers had built in combination locks and each was adorned with a brass nameplate, lavishly engraved to proudly display the name and class year of each student. The names of future lawyers, doctors, and CEO's. Only the best students came out of Prestonwood.
The trio stopped near the end of the hall at a classroom door. It too was a lovely dark wood, sturdy and solid and richly decorated. Rosettes were set in each corner of the doorframe. A frosted glass window glinted at eye-level, about the size of someone's head. It was decorated with swirls and pretty, looping lines that formed an orderly, symmetrical pattern. Just below the window was a brass plaque that read 'Room 113'. A matching plaque above the window stated, 'Miss Jaeger'.
The man in the middle of the trio wore an expensive looking gray suit, a tailored, orderly white shirt, and a subtle red tie. His hair was white with age and his face was pinched and clearly displeased. He was of unimpressive stature, and his shoulders hunched slightly despite his best efforts to keep them confidently thrown back. To his right stood a slightly younger man with black hair dotted with freshly turned grays. He wore glasses and a calm, neutral expression. His blue dress shirt was clean and formal, and looked like it had recently been pressed, with equally neat black wool pants.
On the other side of the old man stood a blonde woman with her hair cut short, falling at the level of her jaw. She wore a green dress blouse with short sleeves and a knee length black skirt, as well as a pair of very high high-heels. Red flowers were embroidered along the waistline of her skirt. Even with the heels she was shorter than both men.
"The parents still refuse to take responsibility for him?" the younger man asked.
"Yes," the older man answered. "They've apparently disowned him."
"When did they do that?" the woman asked.
The old man shook his head and his face took on an even more pronounced pinched look. "Today, when I called them and told them what we've discovered of their son."
"What are we going to do then, Principal Daniels?" the man asked.
The elderly Principal shook his head again. "I don't know yet. We have to see him first. The sooner we get this...thing out of here, the better."
The old man knocked on the door. Neither of the teachers standing beside him commented on the way his hand shook. A moment later the door opened and a young woman slipped into the hall. She closed the door behind her and firmly barred the way into the room.
She was slightly above average height for a woman at 5'9". Her dark brown hair was thick, wavy, and long. It fell in a dark curtain to the small of her back and curled upward at the ends. A movement sent the tumble of hair shifting this way and that, and the natural waviness of it caused it to ripple like a soft, undulating tide. She wore the sides of her thick mane pinned back, and lighter shaded wisped at her brow where several strands had come loose from their careful confinement. She wore a long sleeved soft purple shirt with a gray skirt and black flats. Her eyes matched the rich brown of her hair with a touch of rich green ringing the iris. She was gifted with a smooth, lovely face and a clear complexion. A small nose sat well with her facial features and was slightly upturned at the end, and her lips were a rosy pink, slightly plump and beautifully formed with a pronounced cupids bow. Her shirt hung loose around her waist and middle, mostly because the size of her bust stretched it outward from her body. Where her legs showed under her skirt, they were slender and long, and while not particularly athletic in appearance, they looked shapely and well-toned. Like the rest of her, they were pale, almost milky white.
The woman gazed at the two teachers and Principal with eyes cold enough to freeze over the entire city. "What do you want?"
"Is that...thing still in your classroom?" Principal Daniels asked.
"Yes, Robby is in my classroom," she answered.
"The whole room is probably a mess. No telling what kind of trouble he's been stirring in there," the younger man commented.
"I already picked up the three overturned desks," the woman replied. "Those two boys who attacked Robby did more damage than anyone." She gave the trio standing in front of her classroom a hard look. "Why didn't you bring some ice like I asked? Robby has a pretty bad black eye. I already told you that."
"Serves him right," the male teacher muttered.
The blonde woman wasn't so subtle. "Why should we waste the effort on a thing like him? He's an abomination! It's a complete disgrace for him to even be enrolled in Prestonwood High. This is a Christian school! His kind aren't welcome here...he's of the devil!"
The brunet woman glared at her coworker darkly. "I don't particularly recall the Bible ever stating that being a Mutant was against the Christian religion. You're being a fanatic. And besides, if the school has such a problem with having a Mutant student, they'd probably have issues with having a bisexual teacher too, don't you think?"
The Principal shot the blonde woman a sharp, outraged look.
"She's lying!" The blonde shrieked. "I could never do something like that! It's not right!"
The brunet teacher rolled her eyes. "Don't be such a bigot, Jessica, especially against yourself. I know you are, for a fact. They can check the birth mark on your right breast to prove it if they need to. It's shaped like a tea leaf."
The male teacher shook his head and stepped away from Jessica, a scandalized look on his face. "I can't believe this," he muttered.
"Don't get all high and mighty now, Nick," the brunet woman commented. "Just two weeks ago you tried to coax me into having an affair with you. If you ask me, that's a lot worse than being bisexual. Especially given your situation at home. Didn't your wife just enter her second trimester not too long ago?"
Nick blanched and fell silent.
The Principal glared at both the teachers. "She'd better be lying, or you're both gone. Gone!"
He cleared his throat and turned to face the teacher blocking the door. "I'm not liking your behavior here either, Kia. And I don't even want to start thinking about how you would know about a birthmark on Jessica. But first things first. We need to get that thing in your classroom out of here as quickly as possible. If word gets out, parents will start pulling their children out of this school! His parents told me they don't care what happens to him. I'm going to contact the department of Mutant Affairs to see if they can get rid of him. Can you keep him here?"
"No! I will not!" Kia exclaimed fiercely. "They will not haul him off like a criminal. He's done nothing wrong!"
"His existence is a crime against nature!" The Principal told her.
"He is a child!" she hissed. "Leave him alone and I'll take care of this myself."
"What is wrong with you?" Nick asked. "How can you support something like him? He's like...like a diseased animal!"
"I can send him to live with some of my old classmates up north," Kia replied, ignoring the mans words. "They're not quite so old fashioned there. He'll be out of here, and he'll be safe, and that'll take care of the whole thing."
"If you give the boy any aid, any aid at all, you're job here is done," Principal Daniels warned.
"Go to hell," Kia returned pleasantly and without hesitation. She opened the door and glanced back at the trio standing at the door. All three of them stared at her as if she were some demon spawned right in their midst.
Kia slipped back into the classroom, slamming the door behind her and bolting it shut. "Fucking humans," she muttered.
Robby sat on her desk, staring at her. One of his eyes shone with a mixture of fear and apprehension. The other was swollen shut and covered in an angry purple bruise. He had moppy brown hair and the thin, gangly look of a teen in the middle of a growth spurt. He was about fourteen. He cradled his bruised and tender left arm to his body and looked like he was trying to make himself as small and unnoticeable as possible.
"What's going on?" he asked.
"We need to leave, Robby," Kia answered. "I've been fired. And I'll probably be fired all over again once they find out you weren't the one who beat up your classmates."
"What's going to happen to me?" The teen asked in a cracking voice. He wiped the back of his hand along his nose and the dried blood cracked and flaked off.
Kia sat on the desk beside him and glanced at his face, wincing slightly at the swelling. "I'll take you to my place. We need to get you out of here."
"What...what about my parents?" he asked softly.
Kia took a long time answering. "They've...disowned you, Robby. I'm sorry."
Robby stated at the floor. After awhile he shrugged. "I guess I shouldn't be surprised. They told me they would if I was a Mutie."
"You're not a 'Mutie', Robby. You're a Mutant," Kia corrected gently. "So. They knew?"
"They suspected, I guess," Robby replied. "I tried to hide it. I didn't want to be a Mutant."
"I know," Kia said softly. She squeezed the teens hand and grabbed her things up. "Come on. I don't know what we're going to do, but I won't let you just live on the street. You can stay at my place until we figure something out."
"You'd take me in?" Robby asked hesitantly. "Even though I'm a Muti...a Mutant?"
"Being a Mutant doesn't make you any less of a person, Robby. It's not something to be ashamed of, and it's not a bad thing. It just means you're different."
"Different," Robby said bitterly as they stepped out of the classroom. The halls were mercifully empty now. Kia wagered silently that her now ex-coworkers were making some calls at just that moment that would prove detrimental to Robby's health. "Different like a freak, you mean," Robby sulked.
"Different like anyone is different, Robby," Kia replied as she led them out to her car. "Being a Mutant is the same as being black or white, or being a guy or a girl. It doesn't matter any more or any less."
Kia lived quite a distance from the school, out in the countryside. She valued her privacy and was willing to make an extra-long drive to keep it. Besides, the drive was worth it for the money the prestigious school was paying her. It was a good thing the job paid so very well, too; she wouldn't have worked with such narrow-minded people if it hadn't. Being a Christian was one thing, and Kia still considered herself to be one. But being ignorant was another, and Kia had hardly been able to stand the sheer volume of ignorant people in that rich little religious academy. She didn't regret being fired in the least.
Kia's home was small and modest. She lived alone and didn't have many personal effects; a bed, a couch, a kitchen, a table, a TV, a laptop, and a wide assortment of books. Her table was scattered with various papers and forms from her classes at the school. A few meager personal effects dotted her walls and table-top spaces, and she had a small file cabinet in the corner with her personal papers and information, including her diplomas.
She helped Robby to lie down on the couch and gave him some ice for his eye before helped him situate his arm and put it in a small sling.
The teen let out a long sigh. "My life is ruined."
"Nonsense," Kia returned. "But first, tell me, how did those stupid guys know you're a mutant?"
Robby's face turned a deep shade of red and he looked at the floor. "I don't wanna say."
"Come on," Kia told him. "It's okay. You're not going to scare me."
"I, uh...I have...scales. They saw when I was changing in the locker room earlier today. I thought I was alone."
He looked up at her, a haunted look in his one good eye. He had the look of a boy whose world was closing in on him. "It's getting worse! It's...it's spreading! And I...I tried to peel...to scrape them off, but it h-hurts so bad a-and they just come b-back!"
The boy was sobbing softly now. Kia sat beside him and put an arm around him, trying to comfort him in what little way she could. He cried softly, his frustration and fear and uncertainty flowing out of him in one massive burst.
"I don't wanna be a lizard," he muttered as he sat up and angrily brushed his tears aside.
"You need to stop messing with the scales, Robby," Kia softly advised. "Let them grow and do what they have to. It's a natural thing, for you, even if you don't think so. You're just hurting yourself."
"But what if I really do turn into a lizard?" Robby asked.
Kia paused. She looked around slowly, her eyes not seeming to focus on anything.
"Stay here," she said softly.
"What's going on?" Robby asked. He drew himself into a ball on the couch, looking at her with fresh fear in his eyes.
"Someone's come. I'm not sure why anyone would be here. You stay here, Robby, and stay quiet."
"Ms. Jaeger?" Robby whispered.
She gave him a soft smile and ruffled his hair. "I'll protect you."
Kia stretched her senses and followed the feel of the visitors. They were going to the back door. She walked to a window at the back door and cautiously peeked out the blinds. She glimpsed two people approaching, a small white man and a young black woman. The man was in a wheelchair and the woman was pushing him along. As they drew closer, Kia could make out more details about them.
The man was wearing a neat suit, appearing very businesslike and professional. He was clean and had an air of authority and confidence about him. A slight but warm smile was upon his face. His hands were folded in his lap and his eyes glanced left and right every few moments, as if taking everything in. His head was bald and his face smooth and clean shaved. His features were well defined and had a slightly downward angle. His brow and jaw were sharp with thin, tilted brows that should have made his face appear severe and hawkish, but somehow did not.
The woman was tall, a few inches taller than Kia even. She had deep black skin that appeared smooth and soft. Her hair was stark white, but one glance at the woman made it was obvious the white was not from age. It hung lustrous and full bodied, falling in a pale mass down to the woman's gently flaring hips. Her face was beautiful, breathtakingly so, and her eyes were a surprisingly clear and pale blue. She was long of limb and slender, though her figure curved generously at the bust and hip.
Kia swept her 'sixth sense' across them, focusing upon them and taking in the feel of them, searching their hearts and emotions to ascertain what kind of business brought the pair here. She sensed no negativity, no violence or anger in them, nor any deceptive feelings. They were a bit anxious, worried, even, but there was no fear in their hearts.
The woman knocked on the back door. Kia hesitated, then opened it halfway. "Hello?"
"Good afternoon," the man in the wheelchair greeted, smiling softly. His smile was disarming, even to her. "Sorry we didn't come to the front door, but as you can see I have some issues with steps."
"Uh, no problem," Kia nodded. "Can...I help you?"
"My name is Charles Xavier, and this is my friend and associate, Ororo Monroe."
After several long moments of silence, Kia finally said, "Kia. Jaeger."
"Hello, Ms. Jaeger. May we come in?"
"Why?" Kia asked, not bothering to keep the suspicion from her voice.
"We know this seems very strange," the woman, Ororo, spoke. Her voice was thick and rich, full of both strength and serenity. "We do not mean to disturb or frighten you, but we know that you have a young man in your house. A young Mutant."
Kia tensed visably.
"We mean him no harm" Xavier said quickly. "We are concerned for him. We...heard...about what happened to him at school today. We are worried that something worse may happen if he is not properly protected."
"Properly protected?" Kia echoed.
"Please, allow us to speak with him," Ororo asked gently. "We wish him no harm. It is good of you to take him in. Not many would. But he may need more help than you can provide."
Kia remained silent for a moment, stretching her senses across the pair. Then she nodded and opened the door fully. "Okay. He's not feeling well. You know about what happened at school."
Robby panicked at the sight of the strange pair. Kia grabbed his hand and nodded. "It's okay, they're Mutants too."
Charles gave Kia a sideways glance.
"You knew?" Ororo asked. "How?"
"Later," Kia replied. "What do you need with Robby, first?"
Charles faced Robby and smiled at him. He extended a hand toward the teen. "Nice to meet you, Robby. I am Charles Xavier."
"What do you want with me?" Robby asked nervously. He didn't take Charles' hand.
"To the point," Xavier smiled. "Very well. I know that you are a Mutant. I know what happened to you today. I also know you cannot go home now because your parents...your parents do not understand."
"They kicked me out," Robby said shakily. He looked ready to collapse in on himself.
"They are afraid, Robby," Xavier said softly. "They are afraid because they do not understand. They do not understand what you are. And it's not your fault."
"How did you know I'm a Mutant? How did you know where to find me?" Robby asked.
Xavier smiled and glanced at Ororo.
"As Ms. Jaeger said, we too are Mutants," she said smoothly.
"So? That doesn't explain how you know I'm one. Do all Mutants know who Mutants are or something?"
Xavier chuckled softly and leaned back in his wheelchair, steepling his long fingers together beneath his chin. "Not exactly. My Mutant power is that of telepathy," he explained. "Telepathy is the ability to communicate with someone through their mind, or, possibly, to manipulate and access someone's mind in various ways."
Robby tensed again. "So...you can control me?"
"I could," Xavier nodded honestly. "But I have sworn not to do such a thing. I know that such a power can be easily abused, and I never use my power in any such way."
"Are you...reading my thoughts?" Robby asked.
"No. Someone's thoughts are very private and personal. Sometimes...someone's thoughts can wander into my head, but I try to block them out. Unless it is an emergency, I do not let myself into anyone's thoughts unless I have their permission.