Four Strands of Hair

BY : Nefi
Category: X-Men - Animated Series (all) > AU - Alternate Universe
Dragon prints: 2059
Disclaimer: This is a piece of fan-faction that I make no profit from. The characters from the show belong to Marvel.

Disclaimer: I own none of the X-men and their surroundings. This is because I have yet to perfect the technology that will allow me to bring Kitty to RL and keep her as my slave. Stan Lee won’t let me in on his secret the dirty old man.

Name: James Mathews
Age: 17 (3800)
Powers: Shadow generation/manipulation (Lv 24), Regeneration (Lv 85), Empathy (Lv 18)
Jean’s notes;
• Came to the institute after living with the Brotherhood as an inactive member.
• Wanda grew attached to him and is reluctant to harm him in anyway.
• The boy’s powers are completely unique in the way they coexist in the boy’s body and in their near unlimited potential.
• Deep probing of the boy’s mind reveals that the boy has lived 3800 years (aprox) but may only recall memories from the centenary he lives in at the time.

Name: John Parker
Age: 17 (3800)
Powers: Regeneration (Lv 92), Super Strength (Lv 32)
Jean’s notes;
• Came to the institute with two other boys, Ray Heston and Curtis Maxwell.
• Skilled in many arts of combat.
• Addicted to violence on any level.
• Very attentive in historical lectures about war and civil strife.
• Has strong mental blocks that he refuses to lower.

Name: Ray Heston
Age: 17 (3800)
Powers: Regeneration (Lv 95), Afflictions (Lv 29)
Jean’s notes;
• A very unpleasant human being.
• Delights in giving people illnesses despite the fact that he can take them away at a whim.
• He wears a mask to hide the festering sores that cover his face. The mask covers his entire face and is completely blank.

Name: Curtis Maxwell
Age: 17 (3800)
Powers: Regeneration (Lv 79), Power over the essence of the human body (Lv 21)
Jean’s notes;
• His true power is still weak so he may only take fat out of the body of those he chooses.
• He has a good heart but follows John Parker’s every command.
• Although he is often seen with Parker and Maxwell he is sometimes spotted with James Mathews, a good sign.

Professor Xavier looked over the reports once more for each of the boys in his office. John Parker was sat in the comfortable chair just in front of his desk with Ray Heston standing beside the reclining teen like a bodyguard. James Mathews was stood silently in front of the desk, some distance away from John and Ray. Curtis Maxwell was stood behind both parties of teenagers, slightly closer to John and Ray.
They were a sorry looking bunch. John was quite obviously a goth; his face was adorned with silver studs. Three studs went through his left eyebrow while no less than sixteen weighed down his right ear. He also had a tongue stud that was only visible when he spoke. He wore a black, leather, jacket that was adorned with silver spikes and paper clips along with a pair of black trousers with many hundreds of rips in them. Perhaps most striking about the boy was his black and red hair. It was spiked up haphazardly with gel and made him look even more threatening.
Ray’s face was hidden behind the filthy white mask that he wore to hide his face’s true form, letting only his yellow eyes scan the room through the thin slits. He was a tall boy, easily six foot six, but he was bulky enough to inspire fear without his height. He was dressed in a leather jacket, identical to John’s, with a pair of faded jeans. Another feature copied from John was his dyed hair, although Ray sported green in place of the flame red.
Curt was dressed plainly in a Slipknot shirt and grey jeans. The professor had never heard of ‘Slipknot’ before but Jean had seen fit to mention that they weren’t exactly ideal role models. It was probably why the boy liked them. Oddly, he too wore his hair haphazardly gelled but with blue in place of John’s red and Ray’s green.
James was dressed in such a way that when the professor first saw him he thought that he was the new maths tutor for the younger mutants. He wore a pair of light brown trousers and a white shirt, possibly made from linen. His expression always seemed to be withdrawn and quiet and this impression was capped by the black overcoat that he wore over the shirt and trousers. His mature dress was somewhat offset by his hair. By the time the professor began examining James he knew the basics of what he would find. Sure enough… gelled hair that was black with white streaks. The professor arched his fingers in front of his face,
“I assume you all know why you were called here from you guest rooms.” He said softly. All four teenagers nodded, “You’re here because you want to join the X-men. And this is your hearing.”
The teens all stared at the old man intently but he was already looking at a different set of reports,
“And it appears that Logan has already given you the simple power test in the danger room.” He looked up at the teens with a grim expression. Their faces fell. He smiled suddenly, “And on his reports I am pleased to welcome you to the team.”
John, Ray and Curt all whooped in delight and even James smiled at the news. The professor nodded,
“There is but one final test but it’s more of an exhibition for your team-mates. Report to the danger room and Logan will tell you about the test.” The meeting was over.

The four new X-men now stood in the centre of the danger room in a neat little line, watching Logan as he paced up and down in front of them. The observation platform was crowded with the other students in the institute, so much so that the protective glass screen had been removed to allow the students out onto the small balcony to watch the initiation. Logan growled at them to get their attention back,
“Y’d bett’r be lookin’ at me now or else I’l make ya look.” He growled threateningly. Ray and Curt stiffened to attention but neither James nor John took a blind bit of notice of the threat. Logan growled, “A’right then. Parker, Mathews. Team leaders. Choose yer partner for the test.”
John took three steps forwards before turning on his heel with a cocky grin,
“I’ll take Ray.” He said and slapped the other teen on the back as he walked over to him. James patted Curt on the shoulder,
“Looks like we have ourselves a partnership.” He said lightly before walking away to the side of the danger room to sit down on a bench. John did the same and they nodded politely to each other. Curt and Ray stood with Logan in the centre of the danger room. They stared at each other, neither of them backing down. Logan pushed them roughly apart,
“A’right, break it up. Run urban situation! Tag match! The loser is the one who can’t get to their feet by the ten count!” as he was shouting the rules out the danger room’s holograms formed around the three. Suddenly they were no longer in the middle of an empty metal room. Now there were skyscrapers rising upwards and cars parked next to them at the sides of a road that hadn’t been a few moments ago. Logan took a deep breath, “BEGIN!”
Ray began immediately, his body moving before Logan had finished pronouncing the word ‘begin’. He grabbed hold of Curt by the shoulders and mercilessly slammed his right knee into the other teen’s gut repeatedly. The crowd chorused, ‘ooohhh’ and ‘aaah!’ as blow after blow connected with Curt’s midsection. Ray suddenly let go of Curt’s shoulders and the other boy fell to the floor, clutching at his gut in agony. Ray let out a laugh and raised his hands to the crowd.
There were a couple of muffled, ‘he’s behind you!’s from the watching students but the warning came too late to help Ray. Curt span on his hands on the ground, spinning so that his feet slammed into Ray’s, knocking the taller boy to the floor. Next Curt got to his feet and kicked Ray in the side of the chest. While Ray was still out of breath from the kick Curt sat on top of the other teen’s chest and began to unload on Ray, landing punch after punch on his opponent. Just as it seemed Ray was about to black out he suddenly lurched forwards and his forehead met Curt’s nose with a spray of blood.
Curt stumbled backwards off of Ray, his nose bleeding profusely. Ray got to his feet as well and went after Curt, punching him in the ribs as he danced playfully around the other boy. Curt ducked under one of Ray’s shots and landed and punch of his own before going for another. Ray dodged Curt’s second punch and punched back. This was nothing more than a slug fest now. Curt suddenly changed tact and kicked Ray in the gut savagely. The taller teen clutched his stomach and leaned forwards instinctively, right into Curt’s fist. Ray tumbled over backwards onto his back. Curt turned and picked up a rock from the floor. John stood up and called out to Curt before he could do anything more,
“Fall down Curt. Lose the match.” He ordered the other teen. Curt paused for only a second before nodding. He dropped the rock and fell onto his back. Ray climbed to his feet and did nothing to stop the other boy being counted out. When Logan shouted ten Ray helped Curt to his feet and waited for James to walk out onto the street. James shook his head as he walked past Curt on his way to Ray. Logan nodded and a bell sounded within the danger room.
Ray came out James with a simple right hand. James side stepped the attack and grabbed Ray by the arm. He heaved and succeeded in flipping Ray over his shoulder and onto the ground. The crowd cheered; obviously Ray wasn’t very popular after the way he won the first round. He managed to get to his feet however and charged at James this time. James ducked under the attack and lifted Ray onto his shoulders. He walked over to one of the cars with Ray trashing around on his shoulder before throwing the taller teen onto the bonnet of the car with authority.
Another huge cheer and Ray slid off of the car and onto the floor. He didn’t stir even when the numbers leading up to ten were shouted out. Once he was counted out Logan pulled the unconscious teen onto his back and took him over to a waiting stretcher. John casually walked over to James. He smirked,
“You should throw in the towel now James. We both know I’ll win.” He stated confidently. James grinned and patted the other boy on the shoulder,
“You’re a weakling John. It’ll be over quick.” He goaded. John snapped easily at James’ favourite taunt. He grabbed James roughly by the arm before punching the other boy in the gut was outstanding ferocity. Blood flew from James’ mouth as John continued to pummel him, laughing crazily,
“Ha ha! Weakling huh?!” he taunted before swinging James round like a rag doll by his arm. Finally John released James and the overcoat flew off the other boy as he crashed through the wall of one of the sky scrapers. Holograms feel damn real in the danger room. John held his hands up for the crowd, “A winner already!”
A small pebble hit John on the back of the head and he turned round, irritated. James was standing in the hole in the wall he’d been put through. His white shirt was torn and bloodied in places but all of it was covered in dust and debris. He grinned,
“Winner? I thought there had to be a loser for there to be a winner.” He said with a chuckle. John smirked back,
“Want to be put through another wall James? I’ll let you pick the wall this ti-“he was cut off as his shadow detached itself from his body and surrounded his throat. The crowd was shocked and looked on in horror as James commanded John’s own shadow to strangle him. James walked over to John, smiling as his opponent fell to his knees through loss of air,
“You’ve lost John.” He stated, imitating John’s smirk perfectly. John mirrored the smirk and picked up a rock from the ground,
“But now… you decide…” he grunted. James frowned, “Win the match… or save the… pretty girl… you were looking at… in the first row…”
John threw the rock with all of his super powered strength and the stone flew true, heading dead for the girl with the brown ponytail. James reacted instantly. John’s shadow fell to the floor again and a new shadow appeared in front of the girl. The rock smashed harmlessly against the black barrier and James let out a sigh, an action that was mirrored by the crowd. John smirked and he slammed the rock in his other hand into the back of James’ head. James crumpled to the floor and John stood over him as the darkness closed in around him,
“Nighty night James. I’ll be with the popular crowd for winning this match. See you then boyo.”

James woke up a few minutes later but by that time it was already too late to salvage the match. He groaned and tried to sit up, only to have someone’s hand push him back down onto the ground. He groaned but wasn’t inclined to argue, the ground had become incredibly soft and comfy… he was in the infirmary. His eyes snapped open and he sat bolt upright in his bed. He scanned the room quickly. There were three girls seated around his bed. He jumped slightly and tried to crawl backwards off of the bed when his head connected sharply with the wall.
As he rubbed his head he became aware that the girls were giggling. Great. Giggling girls. The worst type. He thought as he looked at them properly for the first time. One of the girls was a goth girl with brown and white hair. She was wearing gloves and no part of his skin was showing except for her face.
Rouge, he thought to himself dreamily. He’d been warned about her powers. Apparently she’d learnt how to control them recently but he’d been instructed to be cautious none the less.
Another of the girls was sat at the end of the bed, her arms crossed and her face deadpan. She had obviously not been one of the girls to giggle. She was tanned and had long, light brown hair. She was dressed in a black leather getup that reminded him of a biker’s outfit. She was tapping her fingers, obviously annoyed.
The final girl was the girl James had been looking at before the tag match had started. Her face was soft and gently and the brown ponytail framed it perfectly. She smiled at him warmly,
“So… how was, like, your sleep?” she asked with a giggle. James noticed that neither the biker chick nor the goth giggled. Made sense. The pony-tailed girl continued talking, “So, how do you, like, know that psycho anyway?”
James shook his head slowly until realisation dawned,
“Oh… you mean John, the err… one who hit me on the head.” He frowned slightly, “To be honest I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know John.”
That seemed to be answer enough for the hyper active girl and she moved onto another subject with lightening speed,
“So what’s your name? We were, like, told to expect new students but, like, Jean wouldn’t give us your names.” She said, in the space of about two seconds. James blinked a couple of times as he deciphered what she’d said,
“My name’s James Mathews.” He said pleasantly enough, “I hope you don’t mind me asking but… who the hell are you three?”
The girl with the pony tail was about to answer when the goth girl cut her off,
“We the girls that dragged your sorry ass up to tha infirmary.” She scolded him. James nodded slowly,
“Terribly sorry, I realise that was quite rude but with all due respect… I don’t need an infirmary.” He said firmly. The goth girl scoffed, the biker chick gave him a passing glance and the pony tailed girl’s interest suddenly peaked,
“Really? You’ve got a healing factor like Mr Logan?!” she demanded of him at an annoyingly high volume. James nodded,
“Yeah. Although Logan said that mine was slightly faster than his…” he said sheepishly, suddenly aware that he was being interrogated by three girls he’d never met before. The biker chick looked at him for once,
“Prove it.” She demanded sternly. James shrugged and dug the fingernails of his right hand into his left arm. Blood escaped and he dragged his fingers across his arm, drawing four red lines of blood on his skin. As he finished the start of the cuts healed over until the entire arm was completely normal again,
“Satisfied?” he asked the biker chick. She turned away from him and went back to being silent. The pony tailed girl got even louder,
“That is, like, so cool!” she screeched, her voice reaching such a high pitch that James was sure his ears would start to bleed. He nodded slowly,
“Err… yeah… I guess. But you still haven’t answered me… who are you people?” he asked quietly. The girl with the pony tail giggled again,
“My name’s Kitty. The freaky goth girl-“she got a punch from the goth, “is Rouge. And the scary leather girl is… well… we just call her 23.”
James smiled at them each in turn and nodded slowly,
“Well thank you for the company girls.” He said with a slightly groan as he swung his legs out over the edge of the infirmary’s bed. As the cover came away he closed his eyes and his cheeks went red, “Please tell me this is a dream.”
Kitty giggled and blushed hard, looking away. Rouge coughed, went red and looked way. 23 didn’t even try to hide her probing gaze. James sighed,
“Anyone know why I’m naked when the worst I could’ve had was a concussion?” he asked faintly as he ran around the room gathering his clothes. Kitty giggled,
“Jean, like, took the opportunity to, like, give you your physical.” She explained before bursting into hysterics again. James, slightly annoyed with Kitty, threw his shirt in her face as he pulled his trousers on quickly. She pulled the shirt away and got her first real look at James’ muscular frame,
“Like, wow…” she said quietly. Rouge glared at her across the bed, her face not visible to James. 23 shrugged,
“I’ve seen better.” She said coldly. Kitty looked shocked, Rouge raised an eyebrow and James frowned, quite offended,
“So my body isn’t good enough to comment on? Thanks. It took a long time to get this body and when I do no one thinks it’s worth it.” He commented with a hint of sarcasm. 23 held up a finger,
“I said it wasn’t the best. I didn’t say it wasn’t nice.” She corrected him without even glancing at him. James frowned,
“Thanks. I think.” He said, slightly confused. Kitty raised an eyebrow,
“You think? Are girls, like, not you thing?” she asked carefully. James placed a hand on his hip, leaned to his left and waved at her camply with his other hand,
“Well it took you long enough darling.” He said in an exaggerated gay voice, dripping with sarcasm. Kitty nodded and held her hands up in defeat,
“Alright, alright. So I was wrong, no need to rub it in my face.” She said, pouting as she turned away from him. James pretended to pout as well,
“Aww… did I play too hard with the kitty cat?” he asked again before sticking his tongue out at her. She tried to resist it but eventually giggled. James stopped for a moment. Kitty looked at him and she was quickly followed by 23 and Rouge, “Can I have my shirt back? It’s starting to feel weird being shirtless with a group of girls and not being covered in sweat and other juices.”
Rouge and Kitty laughed at the joke and threw things at him. Kitty threw him his shirt as well as some other things and he quickly slipped it on. He gave the torn shirt a withering look before looking back up at the girls,
“Does anyone know anyone who has a sowing machine that they know how to use?” he asked as he put his fingers through one of the cuts. Kitty nodded,
“Yeah. She’s, like, in this room now. 23 is great with a sowing machine.” She informed him. James looked at 23 again; she still looked like a biker chick,
“You know how to sow?” he asked, not hiding his surprise. 23 nodded,
“Yes. But why do you want that shirt repaired? You could have the professor buy you one just like it.” She commented impartially. James shook his head,
“This shirt’s been through a lot with me. Call me sentimental.” He said slowly. Kitty and Rouge looked at 23 expectantly. She sighed,
“Fine. My room’s on the second floor. I’ll be there in a second.” She said and watched as James walked out of the infirmary. As soon as he was out of ear shot she turned on Kitty, “What was that about? Why’d you push me like that?”
Kitty giggled and nudged 23 in the ribs,
“Because you desperately need to get laid.” She said, smiling wickedly. 23 stared at her for a few seconds before sighing,
“I hate it when you do things like this to me Kitty.” She concluded before walking out. Kitty giggled and called after her,
“If you could get some pictures that would be great! Rouge needs some new material!” she said with a giggle. The giggle was cut short as Rouge punched Kitty on the arm.

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