A new mutant arises in New York that reveals a secret about Jean Grey and her family that will change her life forever. And it all centers around a familiar looking girl named Madelyn Pryor.
Chapter 4: Awkwardness
The next day, Madelyn's things were set to arrive. She kept in constant contact with her parents, who were eager to meet Professor Xavier and talk to him about their daughter attending the institute. Her transfer to NYU was in the works as well, but that would take a little longer. Until then, she had plenty of adjusting to do.
She started off early with a checkup from Hank. Having just come from a hospital, the Professor wanted to make sure she was in good health. Telepathy and telekinesis were always tricky powers to control, but with the support of her sister and Xavier's experience she wasn't too worried.
After nearly an hour of tests, Madelyn got off the examining table and stretched her limbs, glad to finally get this out of the way. Ever since her powers had started forming, she had endured enough hospital visits for one lifetime.
"So what's the verdict Mr. McCoy?" she asked, leaning against the table.
"Other than the abnormal brainwaves distinctive of all telepaths, you are one hundred percent healthy Madelyn," said Hank with a smile.
"Glad to hear," said the redhead, "My folks have been worried about all the seizures I've been having. And honestly, I was starting to get a little scared to."
"Well I assure you, Madelyn, they're nothing to be concerned about anymore," said Xavier, standing by Hank as he looked over the test results, "Psychic abilities are a complicated phenomenon. I've learned that first hand in dealing with Jean."
"Yeah, that's another thing," pondered Madelyn, "If we're both identical twins, how come her powers manifested so much earlier? Sure, I've had a spell here and there, but how come my powers are showing now of all times?"
Xavier exchanged a look with Hank, debating whether or not they should tell her. But since it involved her sister, she deserved an explanation.
"Mutant powers are a fickle force, my dear," explained Hank, "Some manifest early, some do so later. But I suspect that you and Jean differ in ways in which your powers were activated based on environmental factors."
"Tell me...did Jean ever tell you about what happened with a girl named Annie?" asked the Professor carefully.
Madelyn's expression fell. She knew that was a touchy subject, especially with Jean. She remembered how she nearly broke into tears last night when she told her about it. And despite being a twin sister, she never could have known what it was like, holding a dear friend in her arms as she died.
"Exactly," affirmed the Professor with a sigh, "External stimulus plays a big role in mutation. Oftentimes, powers manifest when the individual endures a traumatic or stressful experience that kick starts the X-gene. But in your case, you had no such experience so your powers came in gradually over time. Jean, however, wasn't so lucky."
"I can't imagine how hard it must have been for her," said Madelyn in a distant tone.
"It was. Learning psychic powers is hard enough, but learning them at such a young age is even more trying. But Jean pulled through and I am confident that you will too."
"Thanks Professor," smiled Madelyn, "So does that mean I'll be an X-man?"
"One step at a time, my dear," said Xavier, returning her gesture, "We'll start on some daily sessions. Perhaps after lunch I'll show you the basics and from there, we'll work on refining your abilities."
"Sounds like a plan. Will Jean be there?"
"I can think of few forces that would keep her away."
That got Madelyn to laugh. She and Jean were taking to this whole twin deal so quickly. It was remarkable given how sudden it was, but she liked what it was doing for her. Growing up as an only child, there were plenty of times she wouldn't have minded a sister to talk to. Now she had her wish.
"Thanks Professor," said Madelyn, giving him an unexpected hug, "Really, I'd hate to think of how I'd be dealing with this if I didn't have your help."
"You're very welcome my dear," said Xavier warmly.
With the checkup out of the way, Madelyn made her leave. It was almost noon and she was ready for some lunch. She thought about finding Jean and going out, but with her folks coming in later it was probably better if she stuck around. This was a pretty big transition, making family support all the more important.
As she walked towards the elevator, wondering what she was going to do for lunch, she was suddenly stopped as two powerful arms snaked around her waist. Startled at first, she quickly surmised who they belonged to and before she could say anything, a husky voice made its presence known.
"Hey babe," said Scott, pulling her into a close embrace, "Thought you were still upstairs getting ready for Madelyn's folks."
Madelyn tried to keep herself from laughing. This was just too much. Here she was with her sister's boyfriend and he didn't know he had the wrong girl. It showed just how much she and Jean were alike. But despite this knowledge, she played along.
"I was," she said, smiling playfully, "But I just had to come down for those oh so sweet gestures of yours."
"I do what I can," said Scott warmly.
Turning around in his arm, Madelyn slipped her arms around his neck as Jean would. As wrong as it was, having a cute guy hold her like this was nothing to complain about. And even though he was still in the dark, she couldn't help but mess with him.
"So what are you doing for lunch?" asked Scott, holding her close.
"Oh I don't know. I was just thinking about raiding the fridge."
"That all? Since the weather is so nice, I was thinking a nice picnic up at the gazebo would be fun."
"A picnic? Aren't you the romantic," she said softly, tracing a hand down his chest.
"I try," shrugged Scott, his face inching closer, "So what do you say?"
He was about to kiss her. And this was where Madelyn knew she had to cut it off, although at this rate it would have been hard anyways because she couldn't contain her laughter any longer.
"I'd say...I'll have to ask Jean when I see her."
Scott froze where he stood, a look of dread formed on his face. It was utterly priceless to Madelyn and once she mastered her telepathy, she just had to show this to Jean.
"Madelyn?!" he exclaimed.
"Bingo," she grinned, "You have strong arms."
"I uh..." he stammered, abruptly separating from her.
Rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly, his face flushed nearly the same color as his visor. Madelyn was laughing hysterically. Being a twin sister had brought many changes, but she had no idea they could be this entertaining.
"Sorry Scott! I just couldn't resist!" she grinned, grasping her sides.
"Oh boy," he muttered, "I am in SO much trouble if Jean finds out."
"Don't worry," assured Madelyn, "We're identical twins. It was bound to happen sooner or later."
"Hope Jean's that understanding. You won't tell her, will you?"
"You're asking a psychic in training to tell another experienced psychic who also happens to be my sister NOT to talk about something this hilarious?"
Scott inwardly groaned. This was going to take some getting used to. It had only been a few days and already they were messing with him. And after this little ordeal, he wouldn't be hearing the end of it anytime soon.
"Don't worry, Slim," assured Madelyn, "You're my sister's boyfriend. You've got nothing to worry about."
"Thanks," he said, managing a smile, "You really are something else, Maddie...both you and Jean."
"And that's why we're twins," she said proudly, "Besides, you're so sweet when you're romantic. Jean's a lucky girl."
That helped Scott feel better as he watched Madelyn walk off towards the elevator. But before she made her way up to the kitchen, she had one last comment.
"By the way, Scott, when do I get a cool uniform like that?" she asked.
"Eventually," answered Scott with a grin, "But one step at a time, okay?"
"Fine," she sighed, "Oh well. Time to raid the fridge."
And with that, Scott turned around and made his way back to the locker room. He had a feeling he and Jean would be discussing this later on, but one thing was for certain...the institute would be a lot more interesting with these twin redheads running around..
Ascending to the ground floor, Madelyn passed through the foyer and into the kitchen where Kitty and Rogue were already eating. And upon seeing her, they couldn't help but make the same mistake as Scott.
"Hey Jean! Taking a break already?" said Kitty in her usual chipper tone.
"Wrong redhead, Kitty," laughed Madelyn, "It's me, Madelyn."
"Madelyn? Oh uh...sorry," she said awkwardly.
"Don't be," replied the redhead, shaking her head in amusement, "You're not the first one to make that mistake."
"I'll bet," said Rogue, rolling her eyes.
Madelyn ignored the southern Goth's tone and sifted through the cabinets for something to eat. Grabbing some break, she began putting together a sandwich. She could still feel Kitty's eyes on her. It was hard getting over how Jean had a long lost twin. But in their line of work, strange things were fairly commonplace.
"So what do you think about the institute so far?" asked Kitty, finishing up her veggie burger.
"So far, I really like it," said Madelyn with a smile, "Aside from all the weird looks I keep getting, it's a nice place. Definitely a shift from the crowded bustle of Boston."
"Yeah, I felt the same after I left Chicago. But you get used to it. After a while, this place really starts to feel like home."
"I can understand that," said Maddie as she joined the two girls at the table, "I've seen how tough it is for mutants out there. But I never really gave it much thought. Growing up, my only concerns were grades, shopping, and the Boston Red Sox. Guess that has to change now."
"Yeah, just wait till yer in yer first riot and everybody's demandin' ya be exterminated with the rest of yer kind," said Rogue, leaning back in her chair.
Madelyn's expression fell. Remembering back to the news reports she so often ignored, it was scary to think that she'd be caught up in this from now on. As a mutant, she couldn't hide from the stigma. It was all coming at her so fast, but Kitty didn't let her get too down about it.
"Hey, it's not always like that," said Kitty with a reassuring smile, "There are plenty of people out there who don't hate mutants. Part of our jobs as X-men is to make good relationships with those people. Sure, there will always be the arrogant jerks. But you can't let that get you down."
"Sounds like a hell of a challenge," said Madelyn, sounding more optimistic, "But I'm game. Ever since I started college, I've wondered how I'm going to leave my mark in this world. Now that I'm here, maybe I can really make a difference."
"That's the spirit! You are SO Jean's sister," said Kitty in a giddy tone.
"Damn straight," grinned Madelyn.
"Oh joy," muttered Rogue.
Turning towards the disgruntled Goth, Madelyn flashed her an annoyed glance. She just got here and already somebody didn't like her. Even if the revelation had been shocking to everybody, that didn't make catching flack any less frustrating.
"Jeez, what's your problem Ms..." began Madelyn, stopping when she realized she didn't know her name.
"Rogue," she finished for her.
"Rogue? That's your name?" said Madelyn with a surprised look.
"Yep. Why? Ya don't like it?" quipped the goth sarcastically.
"I never said I did!" said Madelyn, growing increasingly irked, "I just met you for crying out loud! Why do you already seem to hate me?"
Letting out a deep sigh, Rogue got up and threw her plate in the sink.
"Ah don't hate ya, okay?" she said honestly, "It's just that havin' two Jean Grey's to deal with is a touchy thing for meh."
"Oh...so you don't get along with my sister?" surmised Madelyn.
"It's not that," sighed Rogue, "It's just that now Ah've got two people that make meh think about everythin' Ah can't experience."
Before Madelyn could ask any more questions, Rogue made her leave. She wasn't sure what to make of this girl, but clearly she had issues. And living under the same roof as her was certainly going to be interesting.
"What the hell was she talking about, Kitty?" she asked, still digesting what she said.
"It's...complicated," she replied with a conflicted tone, "Believe me, it has nothing to do with you, Madelyn. Rogue and Jean have always been distant. Even though they still, like, respect each other. They're from totally different worlds."
"Well for one, Rogue can't touch."
"Can't touch?" said Madelyn with a curious look.
"Yeah, her powers are, like, really messed up. Every time she touches someone, she drains their life energy. That means no intimacy, no kissing, not even a simple handshake. It really does isolate her."
"That's terrible," said Madelyn, now feeling bad for snapping at her, "But why does that make her feel so strongly about Jean?"
"Probably because she represents everything she can't have," shrugged Kitty, "Jean's got perfect grades, a loving family, a great boyfriend...I guess it's hard to see that all the time and not feel left out and alone."
It was a sobering though, learning that there was someone whose mutant powers really were a curse. Being so isolated from the rest of the world would make anybody jaded. And when Madelyn looked at it, she couldn't blame her.
"I see what you mean," said Madelyn, her tone shifting, "I can't imagine how hard it must be for her."
"Me neither," mused Kitty, "Plus, it also doesn't help that she used to have a crush on Scott."
"Really?" said Madelyn, her face lighting up with curiosity, "Please, tell me more."
"Oh it's a long story, girlfriend," said Kitty with a laugh.
"I've got some time to kill while I wait for my folks to arrive," shrugged Madelyn.
"Well in that case, it goes like this..."
And with a kitchen full of snakes at their aid, Madelyn sat and learned of some of the fascinating history that surrounded the institute. And if that drama involved her sister and boyfriend, then she was all ears. She had a lot to catch up on, but if Kitty's enthusiasm was any indication it was going to be a hell of a ride.
For the rest of the day, Scott helped Jean prepare her sister's room for her stay. Madelyn's parents were on their way and warned that she had a knack for traveling heavy. And while Madelyn was given the grand tour, they prepared for the coming job ahead of them.
After a while, Jean left to join her sister as Kitty showed her the lower levels. This left Scott to finish up, but thankfully he got some help from Remy. Even though Scott had harbored plenty of mixed feelings about the Cajun, things were easier since he had done a lot to show that he wanted a better life.
In addition, he had a way of making Rogue happy and that was enough for Scott.
"So we got another hot headed redhead who loves to accessorize ready to join," mused Remy as he and Scott adjusted the dresser so it was in the corner, "Boy dere ain't ever a dull moment in dis place."
"I'll say," sighed Scott, "It's been a lot to take in. But Jean's really taken to being a twin sister with remarkable ease."
"Well it's easier for twins, ya know?" said Remy as he and Scott took a break.
"Easier? What do you mean?"
"Think of it dis way," explained the Cajun, "Jean's always been insecure, non?"
"Yeah, I'd say so," conceded Scott.
"And she's always been anxious about holdin' herself together and not lettin' it all go to hell, is Remy right so far?"
"I'm waiting to hear your point," said Scott, rolling his eyes.
"Well now it makes sense," said Remy in a logical tone, "Think about it...Jean and Maddie were separated at birth. Add to dat, dey're also psychic. So dat leaves dem feelin' incomplete their whole lives. And when dey finally do meet, it's like findin' the last piece of a huge puzzle. And when it all comes together, dey get that balance, know what I mean?"
It was an odd way to interpret this, even for Remy. But as Scott pondered his words, they did make a lot of sense. Having known Jean for years, he was very familiar with her insecurities. It was one of the major things he helped her with. And ever since she learned about Madelyn, her demeanor had changed a great deal. Only now it made sense.
"I think I understand," said Scott, nodding at the Cajun's point, "Since when did you become an expert on the psychology of twins."
"Remy knew a few," he shrugged with a cocky grin, "And let me tell you somethin' right now homme...hot twin femmes opens de door to a lot of fun possibilities. And since Jean and Maddie are both redheads, ya know what dat means."
Scott's face flushed almost the same color as his glasses. The subtext of Remy's words was unmistakable, but he didn't want to think about that. Having a psychic girlfriend who he was deeply linked to, those were thoughts he'd rather not project.
Although on some levels, it was a tantalizing fantasy.
"Don't go there, Remy," he said, trying to get that idea out of his mind, "A lot has happened over the past couple of days. I'd rather not think about that, especially when both my girlfriend and her sister can pick up on it."
"Suit yourself, Scottie boy," shrugged Remy as he stepped out, "Just remember, twins have a way of makin' things interesting. So be ready for it, homme."
"I'll keep that in mind," said Scott with a sigh.
Looking over at the clock, he saw that the time was drawing near. But before then, a little snack couldn't hurt. He just hoped that Jean and Madelyn were too busy to pick up on his thoughts.
'Oh man, two beautiful twin redheads...I think my life is going to get a lot more interesting.'
Several hours later, Jean and Kitty finished the tour for Madelyn. Along the way, they stopped and talked to a few of the residents. Madelyn was particularly fond of Ororo and her gentle aura. Kurt had a nice way of making her laugh. And Piotr was very polite, although she spent most of the time giggling at how Kitty made him blush with her playful flirting.
Many of the other residents took well to her. The New Mutants were just bursting with questions. It was just so amazing to them that their friend had a twin sister. It was overwhelming to her in some ways, but they had a good sense of humor about it and were generally welcoming to her presence at the institute.
And of course, she attracted plenty of attention from the boys. Given that she was Jean's identical twin who wasn't completely smitten with Scott Summers, it left the door open for plenty of boys to make their availability known. Ray, Sam, Roberto, and even Bobby couldn't help but test the waters. It was really entertaining to see them swoon at the sight of a hot redhead. Although some of the other girls weren't amused.
During the tour, she also learned about the Danger Room and the sessions that she would face as an X-man. Logan showed her most of it, but Madelyn was more interested in learning about him, given that Jean called him a man of mystery. But he kept to himself, leaving the young redhead to speculate while she learned everything she could about her new home.
"Well Maddie, you've seen pretty much everything there is to see?" said Jean as she and Kitty led them out of the Danger Room, "So what do you think, sis?"
"Jeez, where do I begin?" said Madelyn, still amazed at how such an advanced facility could exist under a school, "This place is really something."
"Well we X-men have to be prepared!" said Kitty proudly, "You like, never know when someone like Apocalypse or Magneto will show up and start blowing stuff up."
"And from what I've seen, I'd say you're ready," grinned Madelyn, "It must be cool though. Hell, you guys are practically superheroes!"
"Hardly," said Jean, rolling her eyes, "Superheroes don't have most of humanity out to get them. Superheroes don't have to live in constant fear that one day they'll lose control over their powers and go crazy."
It was a sobering thought, but Kitty didn't leave it at that.
"But that doesn't mean we still can't make a difference!" she chirped with enthusiasm, "As long as we have these powers, we might as well use them for something. There's a lot of good you can do and a lot of bad as well. And it's up to us to help humanity see that so they don't fear us so much.
"That sounds like a lot to hope for, Kitty," mused Madelyn.
"It is," she conceded, "But it's something I think is worth fighting for."
Madelyn fell silent upon hearing that. Thinking about where she was now and how much her life had changed, she had a lot to consider now. Sure, she may learn how to control her powers from the Professor, but what then? What else would she do with her life now that she was a mutant in a world that hated and feared them.
Jean picked up on her sister's conflict, sensing it had her really torn. But being the good twin she was, she smiled warmly and stood close in a show of sibling support.
"So...do you think I'd make a good X-man?" asked Madelyn, still sounding conflicted.
"Madelyn," said Jean, placing a comforting hand on her sister's shoulder, "I have a feeling you'd be a great addition to the team. But before you jump into this crazy world, I suggest you talk to your parents about it."
"Oh I will, Jean," said Madelyn, smiling at Jean's supportive words, "Guess that means I have some serious thinking to do."
As evening set in, Madelyn's parents arrived in an SUV packed with her stuff. And while Scott, Jean, Piotr, and Logan took to unloading it, the Pryors sat down to have a nice long chat with Xavier. They had a lot to discuss after everything that had transpired. And if Madelyn was to have a place here, they had to make it official.
In addition, Madelyn spent the rest of the day thinking about what Jean had told her about being an X-man. And as she sat in between her adopted parents, she nervously awaited the time when she would tell them her decision.
"You certainly have quite a place here, Professor Xavier," said Mr. Pryor as he sat with his wife and daughter in his office.
"Thank you," said the Professor kindly, "We have many resources at our disposal, all of which are dedicated to helping young mutants such as Madelyn control their abilities and use them for the greater good. And since you took the time to make the trip here, I wish to lay whatever lingering fears you may have to rest concerning your daughter."
"Yes, I'd be lying if I said I didn't have mixed feelings about this," said Mrs. Pryor in a conflicted tone, "I've seen the kind of hardships mutants face. And if I recall, this institute was blown up at one point."
"Indeed it was, but no students were hurt in the blast," reminded Xavier, "Such troubles are unfortunate byproducts of the conflicts that we face. And there will always be a chance that such terrible acts will transpire."
"But that's a chance I'm willing to take, Professor," said Madelyn with a confident tone, "I know the risks. And believe me, I've thought about them. And I think this is the best place for me to be."
"Madelyn sweetie..." coaxed her mother, "I know you feel strongly about being near your sister, but..."
"It's not just that, mom," said Madelyn, addressing her parents with a serious tone, "All my life I've been wondering what I'm going to do with myself. I've always been the rich girl who never had anything to worry about and could do whatever she wanted. But now that I'm here, I feel this is it. This it where I can make a difference in this crazy world."
"But it's dangerous out there, Maddie," advised Mr. Pryor, "I know you want to do something meaningful with your life. But this isn't some Saturday morning cartoon show or a superhero comic. This is real life and there are real consequences to face if you choose this path."
Madelyn looked back at the Professor and then at her dad. Thinking back to all the stories Jean had told her about being an X-man, there really was no way around the hardships. It wasn't all find the bad guy and beat him to death. This was a complicated world dealing with complicated forces.
But after seeing this amazing place and getting a taste of the world of the X-men, her decision was sealed.
"Mom...Dad...I want to do this," she told them, leaving no room for uncertainty, "I know you're worried. I am too. You know as well as I do that I'll never have a normal life again. But I have these amazing powers and I can do a lot of good with them. Do you understand?"
Exchanging weary looks, the Pryors took a moment to digest their daughter's words. She looked so certain and determined, pretty much everything that defined who she was. They had taken this girl in as an infant and even though it had been done through lies, they loved her all the same.
And as they saw that glimmer of hope in her eyes, they couldn't help but smile.
"Maddie, as long as you're sure, then you have our complete support," said Mr. Pryor, giving her daughter a loving hug.
"Thank you, Daddy," she said, fighting back her sobs, "I can't tell you how much this means to me."
"You're our daughter, sweetheart," said Mrs. Pryor as she hugged her as well, "We love you and if this is what you want, then we'll be behind you every step of the way."
Madelyn tried not to get too emotional, but this was a big moment and it was hard not to be taken by it. Professor Xavier couldn't help but smile as he saw such a touching moment. This was not a decision that could be taken lightly, but based on what he saw there was much potential in this young woman.
It was amazing to think that a few days ago, her life had been normal. Yet here she was, faced with such a difficult change, and she took to it with a drive that could only come from the twin sister of Jean Grey. And for Professor Charles Xavier, she would be a fine addition to his school.
"Well Professor, I don't think we have anything more to discuss," said Mr. Pryor with a smile.
"Very well then," said Xavier as he extended his hand as a token of good will, "And rest assured, your daughter is in good hands."
"Thank you, Professor," said Mrs. Pryor with a warm smile, "Thank you for everything."
Smiling back, Xavier then turned to Madelyn, who couldn't help but smile as her life took what was sure to be a profound new turn.
"Well then Ms Madelyn Pryor, let me be the first to welcome you to the Xavier Institute for Gifted Youngsters."
"Thank you, Professor Xavier. I promise you, I won't let you down." she said, shaking his hand to seal the deal, "And besides, as long as my sister is here, I'm sure life here will be very exciting."
TWIN REDHEADED PSYCHICS! WHAT'S NOT TO LIKE? PLEASE REVIEW!