"Help is bright green" [7/13]
- "help is bright green" by Sascha
d i s c l a i m e r: All characters (sans the Corner people) belong
to Marvel Comics and who-ever-made-the-movie.
t h a n k s: To everyone at the Corner, especially River, Lise, Jono,
KG and Mel. Merci beaucoup, people!
d e d i c a t e d _ t o: River and Lise.
s p e c i a l _ n o t e: This chapter is dedicated to Minisinoo and
c h a p t e r _ s e v e n
The next day I went to see Kitty. I didn't really want to, since I'd
had more than enough of people to last me a life time at that point,
but I'd said I would, so...
Like Miss Munroe has said, she was well considering the
circumstances, but the circumstances were not good. They were bad.
Very bad. While the school has been under attack, Kitty had phased.
For much, much long than she was used to, and when the dust cleared
(so to speak), she found herself unable to unphase again.
To put it simply, she was currently a ghost.
And sitting crosslegged inside a glass-cube-thingy, looking miserable.
I tapped on the glass to get her attention. "Hey."
"Alex!" Her face lit up a little.
"Is me," I smiled. "I came to see how you are. And, no, don't bother
explaining. Dr. Reyes did all that before she let me come in."
She grinned. "She's very thorough."
"Yeah. And scary." I shuddered exaggeratedly at the memory of those
dark, serene, scary eyes.
"She's not so bad when you get to know her." Kitty's voice lowered to
a conspiratory whisper. "I've even heard her laugh. Once."
I stared at her in amazement. "You're kidding?"
"Nope. Cross my heart."
Kitty nodded. The smile faded from her face and she looked down.
"Hey. Are you all right?" I put my hand on the glass by her
head. "Okay, stupid question considering, but--"
"Yana's dead," she interrupted. "She was just a little kid and now
she's dead! Who would - who _could_ - do such a thing? She was only
seven years old!"
My jaw dropped. Apparently this attack had been far more severe than
I'd imagined. Dead? Hurt maybe, but dead? Hadn't even crossed my
"Yes!" Tears welled up in her eyes. "Yana, and Johnny, and Marie-
Ange, and Clarice... They're all dead!"
"Oh my god..."
Her lips quivered. "And... And... I couldn't help them. I couldn't do
"I'm so sorry, Kit. I'm so sorry." I had no idea what to do. Or what
to say. Kitty didn't seem to notice. She just kept talking, with
tears running down her face. I listened with a sense of incredulity.
"Kit, love, stop crying, yeah?"
I jumped slightly at the sound of Pete Wisdom's voice. I'd been so
caught up in what Kitty was telling me, I hadn't even noticed his
arrival. Kids killed. And hurt and disappeared. That was bad, right?
I mean, of course it was, but it was a bit unreal at the same time.
Things like this happened on movies or to other people. Not to people
I noticed him now. He looked concerned. And looked like he either
hadn't slept in days or slept in his clothes. I didn't need to be a
genius to figure out why.
Pete patted the glass around Kitty's head. "Please, love? I can't
stand seeing you cry."
"Well, I've a bloody good reason, now don't I?" Kitty sniffled
angrily, brushing a tear away from her chin.
Pete opened his mouth then shut it again. Seemed like he wasn't any
better with tears and stuff than I was. I really wish he would have
"Alex, come here." Pete nodded towards a medical thingamajig a bit
away from Kitty's glass.
I gave him a puzzled frown, looked at Kitty and followed him. What
did he want to talk to me about? As far as I knew, Pete didn't even
like me very much. Of course he didn't like _anybody_ very much...
"Miss Munroe wants to talk to you."
Ah. "All right..."
"She's in the waiting room."
I nodded. I started walking towards the waiting room, then hesitated
and turned to look at Pete. "Can I ask you something?"
"Sure. I might not answer, but sure, ask away."
"Do you know who Remy is... sleeping with?"
He narrowed his eyes at me. "Why do you want to know?"
"Curiousity. And I know. Was wondering if you did."
"Yeah. I know. Now get yer Chevy Chase away from me, a'right? Remy's
me best china, he is." He glared at me. "And I don't like gossiping
about me mates."
I frowned at him, then headed off in direction of the waiting room,
translating what he'd said in my head. Chevy Chase, face. China,
china plate, mate. Heh. And it had been ages since the last time I
was in London too.
* * * *
"Don't you forget about me. Don't. Don't you forget about me. As you
walk on by, will you call my name? Will you walk away? Will you walk
"Alex! Shut the fuck up, would you?"
I elegantly ignored Rick and kept yowling along with Simple Minds,
and two seconds later, Bon Jovi. I like mp3s. It's a wonderful
invention. I can get all of my favorite songs on one CD now.
Rick groaned, clasped his hands firmly over his ears and sank down on
the floor, giving Mai Lee a desperate look.
"I just can't believe... It was all a lie..." I sang happily,
whirling around the room.
Mai Lee grinned widely at Rick, jumped up on her feet and joined
in. "No man in the moon, just a big light in the sky."
Rick looked horrified. "I'm in hell."
"Say it isn't so," sang Mai Lee and I.
Rick twisted around and hit the off button on the stereo.
"It's for the best of mankind," Rick explained solemnly. "The world
is just not ready for you and Mai Lee singing Bon Jovi." He
paused. "And I think the neighbours were gearing up to start banging
on the walls and ceiling."
The doorbell rang.
I look sheepishly in that direction. "You might have a point."
"I'm not here," said Mai Lee and looked innocent. "If they say
something about hearing two voices, say it's Rick. They'll believe
you. He's a reputation for singing."
"I do? Since when?"
"I just can't help falling in love with you," said Mai Lee.
Rick looked stunned. "How did you... Izzy."
I went to get the door before Rick could figure out who'd been a most
eager partner in crime when it came to spreading that particular tape.
I opened the door and looked down at Jana's puzzled face. "You're
"So it would appear. Want to tell me why I had to rush right over
here without even having dinner first? It was lasagne. I might even
have eaten it."
"I need your advice on something."
Jana regarded me mutely for a while, blinking at me, then she made
her way into my apartment and the livingroom. She looked at Rick and
Mai Lee, then pointed towards me. "He," she said. "Has gone off on
the deep end. He's bonkers. Gone. The lights are on, but noone's
home, if you know what I saying. He just told me he needed _my_
advice on something."
Rick and Mai Lee gave identical mock-gasps and stared at me.
"Oh ha ha ha," I said.
Jana grinned and dropped down into the couch. "So what did you want
my advice on?"
"I'll tell you when Iz gets here."
"That could take a while," Rick warned me, glancing at the clock on
top of the tv. "He's out on a job."
"Yeah, I know. I caught him on the cell. He says he reckons it won't
take long. Something about a hostile interview object."
"You can have those?"
"Yeah, sure. I mean like OJ probably wasn't all that crazy about
being interviewed during the trial, but all the journalists wanted to
interview him and so," Rick trailed off. "Well, you get the point."
Jana just shook her head and muttered something about lasagna.
Ten minutes later, Iz walked into the livingroom, waving a
bag. "Heyah, Alex. I got Black Adder 4, House on Haunted Hill and
Oliver Twist -- Oh hi Rick..."
Rick paled and had a look of utter betrayal on his face. "Et tu, Iz?
How could you?"
"Oliver Twist," Rick said, heartbroken. "I never thought you'd do
such a thing."
"I didn't know you'd be here," Iz said helplessly, putting the bag
down on the table and his camera on the floor next to a pile of
Robert Jordan books.
"And that's supposed to make it okay?"
Oh yes. Rick has a very big issue with his last name. And
consequently that poor, starving orphan he was forced to play in his
Mai Lee looked at Rick and Iz with a mix of worry and amusement on
her face. "They going to be all right?"
I nodded. "Sure. After Izzy's groweled a bit. Or extensivly."
Jana rolled her eyes. "Can we get on with it? Please? I have a dinner
to get back to."
"Hey, Iz, Rick, want to stop arguing and listen for a second?"
Iz dropped down in the closest chair, moved in it until he was
comfortably sprawled and nodded towards me. "Talk."
Rick folded his arms over his chest and sulked.
Jana quieted with her musings of lasagna and Mai Lee stopped
fingering my CDs.
"The school's offered me a job as the school counsellor."
Everybody was quiet for a while, then...
"What?" Rick said slowly.
"Cool," said Izzy and stretched. "Go with it."
"But Alex... You don't have any education in that direction," Mai Lee
"And you love your job," Jana said, looking puzzled. "You love being
a graphic designer."
"What Jana said. And you'd have to be in constant contact with people
if you took that job, have you thought about that?" Rick leaned
forth. "You _can't_ take that job."
"Yeah, I've thought about all that, but Ororo, she said that I've
already been helping. With Jubilee and Remy and..."
"Well, fine, go on helping like that, just don't. Don't take that
job, Alex. You'll regret it."
"I think I'll have to agree with Rick," Mai Lee said.
"Hey, if the guy wants to accept that job, we shouldn't stand in his
way." Izzy frowned. "Why he'd want to, is beyond me, but."
"But don't you think I owe them to help?" I said helplessly. "I mean,
with my powers, I should..."
All four of them stared at me.
"Alex, sweets, love of my life, all around nummy treat, what the hell
are you talking about?" Iz straightened up.
"Ororo said... I have a duty to..."
"Oh fuck that!" Rick exploded, jumping out on his feet. "You don't
have a duty to do anything at all! What? You think I have a sacred
duty to live in the Sahara desert and make water for the poor?"
I was taken aback. "No. Not exactly."
"I can't picture you in Africa as a Red Cross person," Jana said
"But if I was doing what was for the best of mankind, and not what
was best for me, that's exactly what I'd be doing!"
"Well, you can't really make _that_ much water," Izzy pointed out.
Rick glared at him.
"Forget I said anything."
"Ignoring Rick for a second. For the record, you all think I
_shouldn't_ take the job?" I looked around for confirmation, feeling
relieved. I never really wanted that job in the first place, but
Ororo had reasoned it all so... reasonably.
Talk logic to me and I'll follow you to hell and back. Until I've
figured out what the heck it was you said.
The four of them looked at me again.
"Your life is all yours to fuck up," Izzy said and leaned back in the
chair again, admiring the ceiling. The guy has a thing for ceilings,
"What Iz said, " Jana said. "Plus, no, I don't think you should take
"You'd hate it," Mai Lee noted, her attention caught by the action
figures in my book shelf. "When did you get those? Oooh! You have
Birds of Prey!"
"Which part of 'hell, no!' are you having problems with?" Rick
dropped back down on the floor.
I nodded, frowning. Okay. I liked this. They didn't think I was a
selfish bastard for not taking the job as counseller for a bunch of
angsty teens, in fact, they were telling me I'd be an idiot to do it.
Well, except Iz, but Iz rarely said anything pro or against anything.
I decided I wouldn't take the job. Now... How did I tell Ororo that?
I grinned slowly and eyed my friends. Izzy... No. Not after that show
he put up yesterday. Jana... Too young. Rick or Mai Lee then. "So..."
I said, grinning brightly at Rick and Mai Lee. "Which one of you want
to come with me to the school tomorrow as I inform them that I've
decided not to take the job?"
"I have a... a... deadline!" Mai Lee said, giving me an equally
bright grin in return. She put my Birds of Pray action figures back
in my shelf and looked innocent. Pah. She so didn't have a deadline.
She had the comicstrips drawn three months in advance. I know. I was
watching her draw them.
"I... have..." Rick paused, then looked resigned which was his way of
saying that 1, he couldn't be arsed to come up with anything after
the Oliver Twist trauma Iz had given him, and 2, he was curious about
the school. See, I speak 'rickian' very well. "Nothing at all to do."
"Can we watch Black Adder now?" Izzy said hopefully.
"Lasagna," said Jana and walked zombie-like out of the livingroom.
The frontdoor smacked shut seconds later.
* * * *
A pretty, darkhaired girl stepped out of a taxi just as Rick drove up
in front of the school's main building. She was wearing a red t-shirt
and blue jeans and looking searchingly around. Her eyes landed on
Remy who was just coming out of the gym, followed by Evan and Angelo.
Her face lit up like a christmas tree. "Remy!"
Remy stopped and glanced in her direction. First he frowned in
puzzlement, but then his face cleared and he was running towards
her. "Jake!" He stopped in front of her. "It's you, isn't it?"
She grinned. "Of course it's me, you moron."
Remy picked her up and whirled her around, laughing.
"Put me down! Put me down, or else I swear you're going to wake up
missing a few bodyparts...!" Judging from the way she was laughing I
don't think she meant it very seriously. Remy finally put her down
and she straightened her t-shirt. "I hate you, you know."
Remy grinned. I don't think I'd ever seen him that happy before. "I
know you do. So. What are you doing here? And looking like this?"
Rick tugged at the sleeve of my coat. "Try and curb your voyouristic
tendencies long enough for us to tell what's her name of your
"Shh," I said, wondering who the girl was. Remy'd called her Jake...
Short for Jacqueline, maybe. Or Jacobine.
Jake rolled her eyes. "Oh it's dad's idea. You know how he gets.
Anyhow, I'm going to be attending this school for a year or so. Dad
wants me to take those... eh... special courses they provide."
Remy arched his eyebrows. "Looking like that?"
"Yes," Jake said darkly.
"What in the world did you do to deserve that?"
Rick started pulling me towards the door. "We're going now."
I sighed regretfully, knowing I couldn't escape the inevitable
forever, and let Rick push me in through the door. Just before I was
out of earshot, I heard Remy introducing Jake to Evan Starsmore and
"Guys, this is Jak--"
"Jackie," Jake, I mean, Jackie interrupted. "I've known this guy
since we were both in diapers. I have _tons_ of embarrassing stories
to tell. Have he told you about that time he tried to nick Mastiff
the fence's jewelry and got caught by Mastiff's two year old daughter
who developed the biggest crush on him yet?"
* * * *
Insultingly enough, Ororo didn't seem devastated by me telling her I
wasn't going to join the school staff. In fact, if I wasn't
completely mistaken, she had already contacted an empath named Mickey
Canté and offered him the job. She didn't exactly say that but she
implied it heavily. Very heavily. Sort of the same way as Logan
implied things and that was a hair away from being hit over the head
with a two by four.
About two weeks later, it turned out I'd been right (I rather like
that), as yet another taxi drove up in front of the school building.
Or, um, what was left of it. They were still in the process of
rebuilding it after the attack. Some of those who were hurt in the
attack were already bouncing about the place, but Kitty was still
locked up in that glass-thingy. She had people to talk to though. A
skinny Russian kid I had somehow been roped into taking to visit
Declan, Penn and Louise as soon as Dr. Grey and Dr. McCoy finished
their testing. Apparently the kid was an aspiring artist himself. And
of course, Pete was down there with her as much as he could.
I finally got to meet the legendary Dr. Grey, by the way. Beautiful
(most of the people at the school were, for some odd reason. I was
starting to get used to it), and in a hurry. Dr. McCoy was... well.
Pretty much like a really smart cookie monster with constant munchies
actually. Kitty told me Bobby used to sneak down and drag Dr. McCoy
with him for midnight Twinkie runs. Whatever the heck that was.
Out of the taxi stepped one of the tallest people I've ever seen. I
mean, I was staring out of the window on second floor, and I could
already tell that he was damn high. How he looked... Try to imagine a
Native American with red Irish colouring and you're close. Shoulder-
lenght bright red hair (More carrot than Dr. Grey if you know what I
mean), pale blue eyes, eagle nose, freckles and a penchant for
No, I didn't know that as I watched him get out of the taxi. I found
out about it later when Mickey came to 'bond with the other empath on
campus'. I tried pointing out that I wasn't an empath exactly and
discovered that Mickey had an amazing ability to ignore whatever I
was saying on behalf of what ever idea was in his head at the moment.
Iz and Mickey hated each other on sight. Of course, Mickey chose to
tag along to the Corner with me in the middle of Iz' flamer-phase (He
gets them occasionally when he feels guilty about not being 'gay
enough'. I love the guy to bits, but he's just down right weird at
times) and his own Sioux-Mystic-phase (Which is basically him being
guilty for not being 'Sioux enough'), so perhaps it shouldn't come as
a great big shock.
I think they saw their own (presumed) inadequacies in the other, or
Mickey's the shrink, okay? Not me. Anyway. Iz hated Mickey's guts.
Rick was at that time too busy with fixing the mess his assisstants
had managed to create during his sabbatical, and probably wouldn't
have cared if Mickey was the new leader of the FOH (Friends of
Humanity. Bunch of postering jerks I'd cross the street to avoid).
Mai Lee met him maybe twice and Jana resented him for having redder
hair than she had.
That one trip to the Corner was enough for Mickey. The place just
I think, maybe, he was looking for a friend in me, but I just
couldn't be that friend. We didn't share any interests and our
personalities didn't click at all. We became really good colleagues,
Mickey was an empath. And the new school shrink. Two things that
together spelled, in my opinion, utter madness. Granted, unlike me,
he could actually control his powers and stay shielded from people,
but, come on! This was Xavier's! Where the secrets were many and the
angst level hit the ceiling!
Mickey shrugged when I pointed it out to him. "Yeah, but I'm really
good at keeping my shields up at all times."
I gave him a disbelieving look. "Ignoring for a moment that you sound
like the Enterprise personified, are you trying to tell me you've got
emotional shields of adamantium or something?"
Mickey grinned at the comparison. "Something like that. Hey, you ever
tried to shield out secrets?"
I frowned at him. "What do you mean?"
"Like, have you ever tried to touch someone and block out the secrets
they give you?"
"Oh. Kind of like with you and feelings?" I shook my head. "No,
doesn't work. I mean, I've tried, but the only thing that stops it is
familiarity. I can touch Iz just fine as long as he doesn't aquire
some new deep, dark secret. Same goes for Rick and Mai Lee."
Mickey looked thoughtful. "Huh. Maybe I could help..."
"I don't think so." I frowned again. "Or I guess you could. But we
don't have the same power, remember? You can tell _how_ people feel,
while I'm more on the _why_ side of things."
"Yes, true. I think I'm going to have a talk with Professor Xavier
and see what he can tell me about your mutation and then maybe I can
create some sort of training program for helping you create some sort
of shielding..." Mickey was deeply into his own brilliant planning.
I sighed. Mai Lee and Kitty. They were normal. Why couldn't I have
lunch with them every day instead? "Mickey... Mickey!"
Mickey gave me a surprised look. "What?"
"You don't have to do all that. I've had 13 years to get used to
this, you know. And you're here to help the kidlets, not me," I
reminded him. Also, rigorous training programs really isn't my thing,
but I figured mentioning it to Mickey probably wouldn't help. I
strongly suspected he's one third Irish, one third Sioux and one
"Don't you want me to help?" Mickey looked hurt.
"It's not that, exactly... It's just... Like I said, I've had my
powers for 13 years now. I know how they work." I grinned
wryly. "Yeah, okay, the headaches, but I'm used to them too, and
they're usually not that bad."
"Oh yeah, that reminds me, I've been thinking about it and I think
the headaches have a psychological origin, and not actually necessary
for your powers to work."
I blinked at him. "Huh?"
"I think I might be able to get rid of your headaches..." Mickey said
I looked incredulously and hopefully over at him. I might be used to
the headaches but that didn't mean I liked them particulary
much. "You think?"
"I think," Mickey nodded. He looked up at the clock. "Oh damn. I'm
going to be late for my appointment." He got up from his chair and
grabbed his coffee. "I'll talk to you later, okay?"
Later turned out being two days later, which gave me plenty of time
to fret. And accidentally overhear an arguement.
"...I would, but it's not up to me!"
"No, it's up to her, isn't it? For chrissake, Remy, why won't you be
honest with me and tell me--"
"Johnny, shut up." Pause. Sigh. "You're just going to have to trust
"I'm fucking trying, but I'm telling you, it's not easy when she's
all over you all the bloody time."
Dry chuckle. "Believe me, Johnny, Jackie has absolutely no interest
in me what so ever. She just likes to make me uncomfortable."
"Yeah, you looked real uncomfortable yesterday in the cantina..."
Bewildered. "Yesterday in the cantina? ...Oh. With the banana...
Yeah, well. Jack's got a very odd sense of humour."
"I can't tell you... I mean, Jackie would kill me if I did, so I
can't, but if you want to. To. You know. Be a couple, like. I guess I
could. If you want..." Remy trailed off awkwardly.
"I... I want," St. John said so quietly I almost couldn't hear
him. "But. I don't think I can. Not yet, anyway."
"Yeah. I understand. I just thought."
I oh so subtly slinked away as John and Remy closed in on my position
around the corner. They both might be aware of that they couldn't
hide anything from me, but I really didn't see any point in letting
them know I'd been eavesdropping on them. Unintentional as it
When I walked into the cantina, Mickey was sitting at our regular
table, downing a jug of coffee and waiting impatiently. "Where have
I blinked at him and sat down. "'Scuse me?"
"I wanted to talk to you about your headaches, remember? I have..."
He glanced over at the watch on the wall. "About fifteen minutes.
Talk here or at my office? Makes no difference to me."
"I'm hungry. Here," I said decisivly. I still didn't think there was
anything he could do to get rid of the headaches, but I figured it
wouldn't hurt to listen to him. As Rick said, what's the harm? I
won't repeat what Izzy said.
Mickey nodded. "Okay. Here, have a..." He paused and looked down at
his plate. "...I'm not entirely sure what it is, actually, but it
doesn't taste all that bad. It's probably not poisonous, even if I
don't think that colour can be found in nature."
I grabbed the plate, avoided looking at the food and focused on
Mickey instead. I liked his nose. "Ta, mate."
He gave me a 'you're weird' look, then launched into his explaination
of the hows and whys of my headaches.
It all boiled down to, I found out, after patiently asking Mickey to
rephrase in English a few times, that I didn't really _want_ to know
other people's secrets and therefor resisted when my powers kicked
in. Apparently this messed my head up and I got headaches.
Made an odd kind of sense, actually.
But I didn't see how it helped all that much. Wasn't like I was
suddenly going to embrace knowing the secrets of all that came in
contact with me. I told him as much.
He gave me an exasperated look. I got the hint. I wasn't fully
appreciating his brilliance. Shame on me.
"Not that I don't appreciate you going through all this trouble to
figure it out and all, but I really don't understand how it'll help
me to know _why_ I get the headaches when I can't get rid of 'em
"Well, I'm still working on that."
I finished Mickey's lunch and went back to the computer room while
shaking my head. Mickey was a bit too... enthusiastic sometimes.
I'd see it before I believed it, in other words.