see disclaimer chapter 1
As soon as she left the solace of the Professor's office, the weight of her problems seemed to come crashing down on her again. The children were in class and as she walked down the silent hallway Sonja couldn't stop herself from staring at the paper in her hands, especially the picture of George Hays.
What am I going to do about this guy? It's not like I can ignore him, not now, she thought. Sonja got back to her room and decided that if there was one thing that would help her clear her mind, it was to go for a ride. She quickly shed the clean khaki top and replaced it with an old denim work shirt then headed out the door.
It was far past dark when Sonja gently pushed the handle of the large door at the entrance of the school. It opened smoothly, without making a sound and Sonja was careful to shut it quietly. She had stayed out with Maverick much longer than she had planned and it was well past the 9:00 curfew, but Sonja hadn't been able to drag herself back in any earlier. The school grounds were absolutely gorgeous and Sonja, if only for a couple of hours, was able to push aside all of her problems and just enjoy being in the saddle, surrounded by nature.
It only took her a moment to get back to her room. Luckily, no one else had seen her sneaking in and she collapsed on the bed, absolutely exhausted from the day's events. One second later, Sonja's stomach let out a ferocious growl and she laughed at the loud noise. It had completely escaped her mind that she hadn't really had a decent meal in quite a while. Hadn't Jean said something about kitchen raids? Sonja wasn't sure she would be able to wait until morning to get something to eat, and besides, she could do with a little exploration of the mansion.
This is as good a time as any for me to see if they lock the kitchen at night, she thought as she kicked off her boots and changed out of her riding clothes. She put on the pair of shorts and tank top that the school had provided and snuck out into the hallway barefoot.
Sonja looked up and down the hallway to make sure no one would catch her, then quickly dashed around the corner. There were only a few more turns she would have to take before getting to the kitchen but Sonja stopped right in her tracks when she heard other muffled voices coming from around the corner. Slowly she crept forward until she could see a girl and a boy standing in the hallway, shifting their feet impatiently. Sonja studied them for a second. They were obviously students, but seemed to be older, teenagers maybe. The boy was probably taller than she was.
Another girl emerged from a room off to the left and all three quickly started walking in the same direction that Sonja had planned on going. Sonja could tell that the children were doing something they weren't supposed to because the two girls were stifling mischievous giggles while the boy kept turning around and putting his finger to his lips, indicating for them to be quite. Sonja could barely make out their whispered words.
"Marie, Kitty, knock it off or well get caught!" he said with frustration.
"Oh please Bobby, just relax," said the girl with short brown hair. The three were still creeping down the hallway silently when Sonja snuck up behind them.
"Are you guys going to the kitchen?" she asked in a hushed high-pitched voice, trying to imitate the voice of a child. Sonja had been convincing.
"You betcha," Kitty said as she turned around. As soon as she saw that it was an adult and not another student, Kitty instantly cut off her words and stopped dead in her tracks.
"I mean, ahh,.." Kitty was at a loss for words. Her stammering caused Marie and Bobby to turn around too and both were instantly frozen with fear.
"We were just, umm...," Bobby said, obviously trying to get out of the situation. Sonja stepped back from the three and gave them a big smile.
"Don't worry, I won't turn you in," she said folding her arms across her chest. All three of the children had been holding their breath and they exhaled with a great whoosh.
"Thanks a lot, I've already gotten three demerits this month," the boy said with a great look of relief on his face.
"That could have been avoided if you hadn't gotten so mad playing video games and frozen the tv," Kitty said accusingly. She turned back to Sonja. "We had to wait six hours for the it to thaw out again. I missed my favorite soap opera." Sonja gave her a pitying look while Bobby made a face at her.
"I'm Kitty," the girl said, sticking her hand out for Sonja to shake.
"I'm Bobby," said the boy, doing the same. Sonja shook hands with both of them.
"Ah'm Marie," said the other girl with a light southern accent, also offering her hand. Sonja shook it gently and wondered why the girl was wearing gloves at this time of night.
"So are you guys really going to the kitchen?" Sonja asked. All of them nodded their heads.
"I won't tell anybody about this if you don't. I'm absolutely starved," Sonja said, walking past their beaming faces and down the hallway. The three kids were more than happy to follow her, very relieved that their escapade hadn't ended in punishment only moments after it had started.
They turned one more corner and came to the doors of the dining hall, which swung open easily.
"So far so good," Sonja said, quickly moving through the dining hall and heading for where she assumed the kitchen was, the kids following her.
"Damn, locked," she said disappointedly when she gave the second set of doors a tug.
"Of course it's locked," Kitty said matter-of-factly. She stepped up to the doors and in one quick motion had disappeared right through them. Sonja gasped and stepped back, her hand over her mouth. Bobby and Marie laughed at her.
"That's Kitty's gift," Marie said timidly. "She can walk through walls." Sonja just blinked a few times, not really coming to grips with what she just saw. A few seconds passed and Bobby moved up to the door.
"C'mon Kitty! Don't leave us out here!" he said, knocking on the door. A second later there was a few clicking sounds as the locks were turned, and then the door was swung open. Kitty stood there, a happy look on her face and a candy bar in her left hand.
"Welcome to Kitty's all you can eat buffet!" she said, moving to the side and bowing down in a grand gesture.
Everyone moved into the kitchen and Kitty and Bobby searched the cabinets while Marie encouraged Sonja to sit down on one of the stools by the island counter.
"You can be our guest tonight, our little way of saying thanks for not turning us over to the authorities," Marie said shyly, then turned to help Bobby pull some lunchmeat out of the fridge. An image flashed through her mind and Sonja recognized Marie as the girl in Logan's memory, because of the highly contrastive white streak in her hair highlighted by the bright lights in the kitchen. She could see everything clearly, but what did this girl have to do with Logan? What had happened? Oh well, I guess I'll find out later, she thought.
Sonja sat at the counter, fascinated with what was going on. A week ago she never would have guessed that she would be raiding a kitchen in the middle of the night at a school for mutants. She shook her head with wonder and watched as the children piled the counter with all sorts of delicious looking food and a stack of plates and silverware. Within a few moments the kids looked happy with what they had acquired and each sat on a stool around the counter.
"Dig in, ladies!" Bobby said enthusiastically as he grabbed a loaf of bread and some cheese. For the next few moments the party was silent as everyone reached for what they wanted and piled their plates high with all sorts of food. Sonja made herself a sandwich and grabbed a piece of fruit. She had just started eating it when Kitty looked over at her with a wide glare.
"Is that all you're gonna eat? With all this good stuff?" she asked, waving her hand over a couple cartons of ice cream and a plate of brownies. Sonja gave her a big smile and swallowed her mouthful of sandwich.
"Sugar sort of gets me hyper," Sonja told her, "if I eat that stuff now I'll never be able to get to sleep."
"I didn't think we had planned on sleeping tonight," Bobby said around a mouthful of ice cream. "I could just stay here and eat until morning."
"Probably you could," Marie said to him. She turned to Sonja, "I swear, this boy has a hollow leg." Sonja laughed a little when Marie said that and laughed even more as Bobby nodded his head in agreement. He nosily swallowed a bite of his sandwich and looked up at Sonja.
"So, what kind of powers do you have?" he said bluntly.
"Bobby!" Marie said. "I can't believe you said that!" Bobby's face turned slightly red and he looked at Sonja sheepishly.
"I'll tell you what I can do," Sonja said "if you guys tell me what you can do, and how long youve been here." She was more than a little interested in knowing what sorts of powers these other mutants had and what the school was doing for them. Kitty was the first to speak up.
"I can move through pretty much any solid object, as you've already seen. The Professor is teaching me how to control it and use it in different ways," Kitty volunteered. "I came here just after my eleventh birthday, so about two years." She finished talking and promptly took another bite out of the candy bar. Bobby was the next to talk.
"I can freeze things just by touching them," he said. "Here, I'll show you" With that, he reached out to the quickly melting ice cream and waved his hand over it. A thin, bluish white beam came out of his hands and instantly the dessert was frozen solid again.
"Wow, that's pretty good," Sonja said, impressed with the range of talents these children possessed.
"Yeah, I've been training really hard and I can control it fairly well now," he said. "I came here when I was thirteen."
"How old are you now?" Sonja asked. Bobby stood up a bit straighter and pushed his chest out.
"I'm fifteen." Sonja just nodded again. It was fascinating to see how proud of themselves these kids were. Sonja had always hidden her powers like they were some sort of disease. She turned to Marie.
"How about you?" she asked. Marie ducked her head and a blush flashed across her cheeks.
"Ah'm fourteen and ah've only been here about a year," she said shyly, the southern accent coming through with her nervousness. Marie seemed really uncomfortable talking about herself in front of everyone.
"You don't have to say anything if you don't want to," Sonja said softly. She was curious, but she didn't want to make the children uncomfortable.
"Naw, its ahright," she said quickly. "If people touch my skin, I sorta hurt em, absorb their power, life force or somethin like that."
Sonja nodded again and gave the girl a big smile. The gloves and long gown made sense now. Marie probably didn't want to hurt anyone by accidentally touching them. It also made a few of Logan's memories of the girl a little easier to understand. Sonja felt a stab of loneliness for the girl, how would she feel if she couldn't touch anyone, or feel Maverick's soft nose? It must be tough on her.
"Your turn!" Bobby said anxiously. Kitty shot him another glare for being so pushy. "We know you can heal people because of the papers, but what else can you do?" Kitty flung her arm out and smacked Bobby hard on the shoulder. Sonja felt nauseated at being reminded of her plight, but it's not like she could blame these kids for reading the paper. She just never would get used to so many people knowing about her.
"Let's see," Sonja began. How could she possibly explain her powers to them? She had never really tried to tell anyone the details of what she could do and it was only because of her extensive medical background that she understood it herself at all. But she couldn't very well ignore the question; she had made a deal with them. She looked around the room, hoping for something to demonstrate on.
"Here, I'll show you," she said, moving over to the herb garden sitting in the sill of the window over the sink. She picked up one of the pots of mint and brought it over to the counter. The children stared at her. "Watch closely," she said, closing her eyes and concentrating. After a few seconds she ran her hands over the plant a few times. It responded instantly, growing three or four inches in every direction and sprouting a few extra stems. When she opened her eyes she saw the childrens faces glowing.
"That's neat!" Kitty said, touching a few of the leaves.
"Yeah, cool," Bobby said, picking one of the extra stems off the plant and popping it into his mouth. "Tastes pretty good, too."
"Thanks," Sonja said as she placed the pot back on the sill. "I've always fancied myself a gardener." The children laughed a little at her joke. Sonja felt something inside of her twinge. She hadn't thought of it until now, but this was the first time she had so openly displayed her powers for anyone on purpose, and these kids thought she was cool? It felt very strange, but she was fairly sure that it was a good kind of strange.
"And I," she said as she took her seat again, "have only been here one day."
"Have you met the Professor?" Marie asked casually. Sonja nodded.
"What did you talk about?" Bobby said. Sonja wasn't that surprised at his blunt question; he seemed like a courageous type of kid.
"Don't they teach you manners here?" Sonja asked jokingly. "What the Professor and I talked about is between him and I, buddy."
"They teach us manners, it's just that Bobby is no good at them," Kitty said righteously. Bobby ignored the chastising and stood from his chair, puffing out his chest.
"Kitty, didn't I warn you against speaking out in class last week? You haven't been learning bad manners from Bobby, have you?" he said sternly in a perfect imitation of Scott, wagging his finger in Kitty's face.
"Thats great!" Kitty howled. Sonja couldn't help but laugh at Bobby's ability to imitate the stiff movements of the obviously conservative older man.
"And what do you think you're doing in here, stuffing you faces? Don't you know that curfew is at nine o'clock sharp?" he said, pacing around the kitchen. His mockery of their teacher made the girls explode into laughter and Sonja could just imagine Scott acting that way. Kitty jumped out of her seat.
"Oh, my darling, don't be so hard on them" Kitty said, rushing to Bobby's side and gazing up at him adoringly, batting her eyelashes.
"That's got to be Ms. Grey!" Marie announced gaily, joining in the game. Kitty pretended to swoon and Bobby caught her in his arms and dipped her back, pretending to smother kisses all over her face, but right in the middle of it he dropped Kitty to the ground because he was laughing too hard to hold her up anymore.
"Ouch!" she yelped indignantly as her bottom hit the kitchen floor, but she quickly bounced back up and, still laughing, slid back onto her chair.
"Sorry, Kitty," Bobby said as he also sat back down. "It was just too funny, imagining Mr. Sommers and Ms. Grey making out. Yuck!"
"Oh, I think its romantic," Marie said as she swirled her spoon around in her ice cream.
"Why don't you try doing Logan?" Sonja asked, interested in seeing what they thought of the man. "What do you think he would say if he caught you in here?" Bobby's face went blank for a moment before he spoke up.
"I don't really know, he doesnt talk to us much, but..."
Suddenly, Sonja felt all the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. Bobby's face went pale and his mouth gaped open. Marie and Kitty seemed equally as stunned.
Logan had been standing just outside the door for a while now, waiting for the perfect time to make his appearance. He had heard young voices laughing and knew that some of the children had probably snuck their way into the kitchen. He figured that he'd give them a good scare before sending them back to their rooms. But what he hadn't counted on was getting to the kitchen and hearing a voice different than that of the children. It took him a moment to place it, and then he felt his entire mind set shift when he recognized it as the woman that had threatened him yesterday.
"But what?" came a forceful voice from behind her. Sonja recognized the tone and knew that the man she had just asked about was now standing right behind her. He had must have heard them and come to investigate.
"B...b...but n-nothing," Bobby stammered. Marie and Kitty just sat there, staring down at their plates and not moving a muscle. Logan grabbed the stool next to Sonja and sat down right beside to her, only inches separating their bodies. Sonja knew that he was sitting that close just to make her uncomfortable, but she refused to be intimidated by him and decided to speak for the children.
"They were just saying," she said coolly, turning to look him in the eye, "that you wouldn't care at all if they were raiding the kitchen at," she glanced down at her watch, "10:00 at night." She was very satisfied with herself for not letting on that his presence made her nerves stand on edge. She looked him directly in the eye and gave him a bright smile, acting like everything she said was true and that they were innocent; not on the verge of mocking the gruff man.
"Oh, did they?" he said sardonically. He couldn't stand looking the woman in the eye when she was smiling like that, so he looked around the table. Bobby and Kitty looked away but Marie stared back at him placidly.
"We were jus' having a little fun, yo' not gonna get us in trouble, ah you?" Marie asked softly. Sonja was amazed that the quiet girl had so much courage to speak up to the crass man, but then Sonja saw Logan's entire countenance change when Marie spoke to him. For the first time Sonja thought that Logan might not be as brutish as he wanted everyone to think, and maybe Marie knew that.
"Nah, of course not," Logan said. He suppressed a grin when he heard Bobby and Kitty exhale with relief. "I wont tell anybody as long as you get back to bed right now."
"Ohh" Kitty moaned. The children's faces fell and Sonja couldn't help but feel sorry for them. The fun had just been beginning.
"Would you rather I go get One-eye to take care of this?" Logan threatened, knowing that the children would rather jump out the window then get a tongue lashing from Sommers. Usually Logans euphemisms of their teacher made the children giggle, but this time all it managed to do was spur them into action.
All three of them jumped out of their seats nervously and shoved a few things in their pockets, then headed out of the kitchen. Logan turned in his seat to watch them leave.
"Aren't you forgetting something?" he said just as they were walking out the door. He meant that they had forgotten to clean up the mess and indicated so. Begrudgingly, the children turned back around, but Sonja stood and stopped them from coming back in to the kitchen.
"It's alright, I'll clean up," she said brightly. "Thanks for everything guys, it was great meeting you." Sonja shook their hands again and, turning her back to Logan so he couldn't see her, winked at them encouragingly. All three beamed at her then quickly left and Sonja watched them walk away, happy that it had been so easy to befriend a few of the students.
As soon as they got out of the dinning room she heard them explode with giggles. Sonja smiled and shook her head, then turned back around to start tackling the mess on the counter. But instead she almost ran smack into Logan, who had stood up right behind her. Her breath caught for a second before she could think of anything to say.