Disclaimer; Everything is mine. (technically, it will be on Wednsday when my legions of Happiness and Light take over the galaxy, but let's make it easy and just say that everything is mine.) Oh, and a biiiig thank-you to Indigo for playing beta-reader and answering questions.
Chandra scowled as she was shoved in the corridor on her way to her next class. She whirled angrily as she felt someone’s hand touch her chest in passing. ‘Arrogant bastards.’ Unable to find the guilty person, she sped up her pace, hoping she’d get to the gym before the teacher so she could find a nice place on the seats where - hopefully - she wouldn’t be teased for never doing gym. Aware that she was getting some strange looks - and why not? It was September, still hot. Everyone else was going around wearing T-shirts and tank tops. She was the only freak with a heavy jacket on. It wasn’t even a school one, which she might - possibly... with a lot of luck - have gotten away with... but it wouldn’t have hidden her. Sometimes she wished for a power like one of the X-Men, something easy to hide, like... telepathy, or claws, or strength, or invulnerability... but no, wishing never did her any good. She should be thankful for what she had - and thankful that they’d been able to move to America...
Her father had been good to her, bringing her over, when the temple had offered to pay so much money for her, saying that she was sent from the gods - money that her mother had accepted. They’d had to flee at night, unable to take anything with them... her mother probably planned to use the money as dowry for her younger sister - no one would have wanted to marry her.
Her father had brought her to a town not far from his birthplace - they hadn’t gone there, hadn’t gone to his parents, because they were so mutaphobic. What would they think if they knew their little Chandra was a mutant? They already disapproved of her because her mother was Hindu... oh no! She was late! The hallways had emptied while she was musing, and now the teacher was sure to have some scathing comment about why she couldn’t do Gym this week...
‘Damn.’ It was worse than she thought. Most of the others had already gone to change, the teacher was taking a note from a boy in her class (she didn’t recall his name) and turning to look at her.
"Chandra Hughes! And what brilliant excuse do you have to offer for not doing Gym today? Did you break a fingernail? Have you got a sniffle? Perhaps you couldn’t find any clean clothes?"
Her face colouring slightly, Chandra made her way to the seats and selected a place as far away as possible from the other three - two girls and a boy - and took out her book.
"What marvellous piece of literature are we reading today, Chandra? More of your fantasy rubbish?"
The teacher had followed her. With a swift movement, she grabbed Chandra’s bag and tipped out the contents.
As well as a half-eaten candy bar, a hair brush, a swimsuit, a math book with various sketches on the cover and a pencil, out fell a t-shirt, a pair of shorts, and sneakers.
"Chandra Hughes? I want you to get in there right now and get ready for Gym."
Chandra opened her mouth to reply but the teacher repeated "NOW, Hughes."
Calmly holding back her anger at the teacher’s unfairness, Chandra closed her eyes and counted to ten. "Yes, Ms. Wilson." Gathering up her clothing and shoes, she stalked away towards the changing rooms, threading her way in between the girls exiting, already changed.
Chandra suppressed a pang of envy as she looked to the girl - about the only one that had been nice to her since her arrival, and the only one that knew her secret - that had called to her. She would so have loved Rachel’s power... to breathe underwater would be so much better than hers... "Yes, Ray?"
"You’re really going to do it?" the girl’s dark blue gaze lingered on her face, waiting for some sign that Chandra would call it off or play sick.
The room was empty by the time Chandra began to get ready. She was thankful for that - the last thing she wanted was someone spoiling her surprise early.
Pulling off her jacket, Chandra stretched comfortably, glad to have her somewhat protesting limbs free of their confinement. Picking up her favourite T-shirt, the one that was a little tight but had the right parts cut out, she pulled it on, easing her extra limbs through the added openings. She then removed her jeans and pulled on the blue-black shorts she always wore when she and Ray did almost anything athletic - except swimming - before finishing with her favourite sneakers. Throwing her unused clothing into the locker she’d been assigned and so far not used, Chandra slammed the door and walked towards the exit.
"Huh, would’ve thought she had more up there-" the boy stopped his review of Chandra’s assets as he noticed something different about the girl. "Hey! She’s- she’s- she’s got-"
His squeaky shout alerted most of the other kids. They took one look at Chandra and started to back away.
Chandra grinned. Mutant or freak were better than Kali and Devourer, some of the names she had been called in New Delhi before they’d been forced to make a sudden departure.
Ms. Wilson was just staring at her, muttering what, if Chandra’s eyes read her lips correctly, was a prayer. She then seemed to take control of herself again and demanded "WHY is there a mutant freak in my class?"
"Because I was put in here." Rachel said, enjoying the look of surprise that crossed the teacher’s face, followed by a look of hatred.
"You... you’re one of them too..."
"What, you think this is dyed?" Rachel tugged on the long blue strand of hair that mixed with the ebony of the rest of her hair. Her eyes had an ominous blue glow to them as she looked at her frozen classmates, some of them her supposed best friends - ones that had immediately been hostile to Chandra because they thought she was ‘different’. ‘How’s this for different, then?’ she thought sardonically.
"Damn. And I wanted to be the first to tell."
Chandra looked to the only boy who hadn’t backed away with a shock. He was one of those athletic types, the sort that always had a heap of girls... like the cheerleaders... following them around. Sorta cute, with that dark hair and brown eyes. He was one of the few guys that had just left her alone, after his initial gestures of friendship had been rebuffed. She felt slightly guilty for that, but she’d had an awful day, been teased just too much for her slight accent, for her clumsiness that had plagued her since she’d gotten used to having four arms and then been unable to use the second set in public when she’d arrived in the town. She thought his name was... Bryce? No, Bruce. That was it. Bruce was surrounded by a bluish light, almost a glow...
Ms. Wilson was now making strangled noises, as if she was unable to believe that three of her class, two of them amongst the best athletes in the school, were mutants.
"Sorry, Bruce. Opportunity knocked, y’know..." Rachel didn’t even sound slightly apologetic.
With an evil grin, Chandra raised all four of her hands. Her eyes glowing red, she voiced a sharp scream as she lunged towards the teacher and her classmates.
It took them maybe ten seconds to clear the gym, leaving behind three very amused mutants.
"Wow, bummer... I think Gym’s been cancelled today." Rachel said when they’d finally stopped laughing.
"You sound SO disappointed, Ray..."
"So... um... what are we going to do? I don’t think we should wait here for anyone to come back..."
"It’s lunch next... Mickey D’s is just up the street."
"Why, Bruce! Are you suggesting that we be evil, wicked, bad little mutants and cut class to go eat bad stuff at a fast-food restaurant?" asked Rachel in a shocked voice.
"Oh. Okay then."
"Not to spoil the moment, children," Chandra began, "But how are we going to get out of here?"
"Oh, relax. Who’s gonna stop the evil mutants?" Rachel winked.
"Hah. Fine." Chandra shrugged, an interesting sight, considering she had four arms, before she crossed the smaller pair on her chest and started off to collect her jacket. "Let’s get our stuff and go."
Ten minutes later, while the Gym teacher was having hysterics in the Principal’s office and the school counsellor was filling her schedule for the next few weeks, the three self-dubbed ‘evil mutants’ were enjoying hamburgers, fries and drinks, without a single guilty feeling in their hearts.
"Y’know... I don’t think we’re gonna be too popular at school this afternoon. Maybe we should just stay away ‘til tomorrow." Rachel suggested, not at all put out by the fact that she’d probably gone from one of the most popular girls in ninth grade to one of the so-called weirdos.
"’kay." Bruce nodded his assent, busy on keeping the illusion going that Chandra had the normal amount of arms and they all looked a few years older.
"Agreed." Chandra picked up her milkshake in the one hand not busy with either her burger, her fries or her happy meal toy, and took a sip. "Y’know, today was kinda fun."
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