New Mutants Unlimited 51

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New Mutants Unlimited #51
Post by Amelia "Heaven" Chow on Mar 27, 2007, 1:39pm

New Mutants Unlimited #51

Cover: Amelia, holding her staff, looking nervous, in a dark alley. Shadows fall on her from the foreground.

Title: Heaven on Earth

Note: I apologize in advance…it's a little rough because I kept getting distracted in the middle of it by work and other rl related stuff.

Sometimes, I can’t really believe what my life has been like this last year or so. Leaving home, Salvation, Xavier’s school, Mike, the whole thing with Poseidon, Mike leaving, then being nominated for leader of the New Mutants, now Mike being in prison on some other planet…it all boggles the mind. Today is March 24, 2007, though, and I have something I need to do. Something that completely terrifies me in many ways. I have to go home.

I didn’t want to, not yet, and not by myself, then I got the letter from my parents. I’m somewhat glad they used Chinese to write it, because that meant Mike couldn’t read it. They want me back home tomorrow, and they’ll be very disappointed if I don’t go. They didn’t say that, but they might as well have. I knew that if I told Mike about that, he’d find some stupid way to be home, and maybe that would have been for the best, but I do know that if his teammates had been imprisoned without him, he wouldn’t have been very happy about it. And neither would I. Ever since the business with Ghost Rider, I’ve been much more focused on the team and what it means to me. It means a lot. These people…I should know them better. We’re a family, now. But…I do have a reason for pushing them away. William Stryker.

That’s what the leadership position reminds me of. Rapt said that I was Stryker’s favorite for a reason, and I always knew what that reason was. Sure, I always cloaked it in other things. I was one of the most powerful mutants there, potentially, which still strikes me as laughable. I was very vulnerable, so I took to the brainwashing easier. Heck, I even believed his stuff more than most of them typically did. But, there was something more. People listen to me. They want to. And so I led them into…that. I didn’t have a choice, I was manipulated, but still. It makes me nervous to adapt a similar role.

So, here I am at an airport. I could have gotten a lift, I suppose, in the jet. But I wanted this to be low key, so by airplane I go. Pretty funny, that was my main objection to space that I didn’t want to say…I’m terrified of being suspended in the air. Rogue flying us around, airplanes, they both make me really nervous. I can only imagine what being out in space with nothing but metal separating me from the vacuum of space. Well, at least airplanes are a little more…enclosed than Rogue flying, and less chance of getting a bug in your eye or shot at by Magneto. Still, it’s something I have to get over, I figure. I take an aisle seat and hope for the best. No turbulence, please.

I think of every possible outcome on the way there, some of the ludicrous “random supervillain with an axe to grind with the X-Men attacks my plane” variety, some of the more mundane “Alive” variety. What I’m not thinking about is the next few days. I realize that as we land, and it makes me think. For some reason, I’m more afraid of my parents than getting trapped in the Rockies and eating human flesh. Was I always like this? Ghost Rider said I was crazy, I suppose he was right. But Zephyr said I was just “scary,” and I don’t know what that means precisely, but I know it isn’t good. Speaking of Zephyr, I should get him something here. He’s a huge Jimi fan, and here I am, smack in the middle of Jimiville. Yes, there I go again. Anything to take my mind off home.

Well, I should see my father first, if I can. I hop a cab and head right down to the Space Needle. He should be here. It’s how he makes his living, sketching tourists visiting the one landmark we have. But he’s nowhere to be seen, and his spot is taken up by someone else. Then it strikes me: Professor Xavier made sure he didn’t have to do this anymore. Part of me, though, thought he still would do it, even if he didn’t have to, but I guess I was wrong. I’m tempted to sit for the guy who took his spot, but I don’t. Instead, I just stop at the gift shop and pick up a bunch of snowglobes. It sort of shows how little I know my teammates when I get them the most generic present in the history of generic presents. Speaking of which, I should get Marisol and Zephyr something special. I have no idea what, though.

Thinking about Zephyr, I eventually end up at the Greenwood Memorial Park, in Renton. Hendrix is buried here, and I figured I could…find something. I decide I’m going to make a rubbing of the original gravestone, now part of the half (or less) complete monument that shows no signs of ever being fully complete. Kind of like Jimi’s work, in a way. He had a lot more to do. I internally wonder if Zeph will comment on the stone, with the Strat being right-handed and all, but, I imagine he’ll like it anyway. There’s a lot of people here, and I’m uncomfortable obscuring the view while they’re all around, so I hang out for a few hours. After all, it’s not like my parents expect me before tomorrow, and I have nothing better to do. It’s sad how few roots I have here. It feels like my parents are the absolute only people I know. Well, I suppose there’s another person I know, but I’d rather not know him.

As I watch the mourners who, like me, probably weren’t even alive when he died, I consider that. I tend to talk a lot about this city, and the people from it who aren’t related to me. Heck, I even faked liking the Seahawks for a while. But there’s nothing here for me, really, is there? Was I trying to pretend that I had this rich life before Salvation? I had friends, I always had friends, but they never really meant much to me. I was always so self-absorbed that I never let anyone in, even before everything happened. Now, I truly have friends back in New York, and I realize how little is here. Just my parents, and a misplaced sense of self. A misplaced sense that I’m going to hold onto, though, because changing it now would be silly.

Finally, the crowd thins out, the sun starts to go down, and I get my rubbing for Zephyr. Unfortunately, it now strikes me that I have no idea where to spend the night. Sure, I could pay for a hotel with Xavier’s money, but I can’t really GET a hotel room, being fifteen and all. I could probably call them and have them call a hotel and have it all work out, but I don’t know that I want to do that. Plus, I’m not tired. I wander the city aimlessly, thinking of home. I’m not sure which coast is my home now, which is interesting.

That’s when I get jumped. I should have seen this coming. I look like a crappy tourist with my bag full of snowglobes. Four guys, boxing me in before I really realized what’s going on.

“This can be easy, or this can be really easy,” says one of them, raspily. He has a knife. Ha, a knife. “You can give us your money and we can leave and call it a night, or you could not give it to us, which’ll force us to take it.”

“You’re idiots, do you realize that?” I can’t resist. I set down the bag gently and form my staff. Ever since Ghost Rider, I’ve been trying to use less lethal means. I want to protect my innocence.

“Christ, she’s a mutie!” one of them yells. I hate that word now. I smack him in the face first, knocking him cold, and turning to the others. Apparently, they’re not any smarter, because they’re coming for me. Good. I need this right now.

As the guy with the knife closes in, I do my new trick of vaulting over him, coming down to hit him in the back of the head with the end of the staff. Two down. The other two come at me, one from each side, and I easily kick one in the solar plexus while extending the staff towards the other. Too easy.

Looking at the assembled thugs, I think about what Spider-Man would do. He’d make some kind of sign, web them from a lightpost. I can’t do that, but I want to. I’m a hero now. It excites me. A true hero. It’s what Mike wanted to be, but for some reason, it feels so good to me. I already am what he wants to be. I feel like I’ve eclipsed him, like he’s somehow…well, maybe he’ll be jealous, I think. He won’t act it, but I think he will. He’s so hard on himself, and this thing with his powers is just so ridiculous. Still, I guess, he did help me a lot, but so did Marisol and Zephyr. Maybe it would be for the best if he found someone more like him, I’m sure there are some in space. The last month, I’d been trying to be the perfect girlfriend for him, when I wasn’t trying to push him away, and you know what? That’s over. Now, I’m playing it down the middle. I’m being me. If he doesn’t like that, then he doesn’t like that and that’s that. I can’t keep just being what he wants. And I can’t keep hiding in my past. From now on, I won’t fear anything that happened in the past. What happened here, what happened at the farm, what happened with Poseidon. I have to be who I was meant to be, I know that now. It might be hard just to push it all aside, but I will. Tomorrow is going to be the hardest day of my life, but after it? I’ll be ready. I can be who I was meant to be…after tomorrow. I look at a watch one of the thugs was wearing. It is tomorrow. It’s just after midnight.

It’s not far from here, my parents’ place, and I know they didn’t move. My feet rapidly move over the familiar sidewalks, almost running home. I know I should be nervous about this, and an hour ago I was, before I realized that I’m just being a silly little girl about this, about everything. I need to get past it all if I’m to truly embrace my destiny and do what I’m capable of. I’ve listened to Professor Xavier, I’ve listened to Rogue. These things I can do, this ability to be a leader, it’s all for a reason, and I have a responsibility. I can be great. I will be great. There’s just one more stop on the way.

Then, I’m there. It’s a crappy apartment building, actually, calling it an apartment building is an insult to apartment buildings. It’s a house split up into small apartments…as a kid, I used to dream about how this house once must have been, back before the split. But now, that’s not important. I climb up the fire escape to the attic, our “front door” if you will. Although, honestly, it’s a window. But, being off the books, it’s where we could be. The latch is broken, it’s always been broken, but this area? Nothing worth stealing. I slide in immediately, and right there, in the cramped room, at the kitchen table, sits my father.

“<I knew you’d come>,” he says, in Cantonese.

“<Dad…I…I am so sorry.>” I move over and hug him. “<I am sorry for everything. What I did, and…>”

He shook his head slightly. “<The only thing to be sorry for is leaving. Everything else, you did the best you could. Even leaving has been for the best for you, now. And for us.>”

He stands and hugs me, crying slightly. I’ve never seen my father cry before, and I can’t help it. I cry too.

“<Dad, I love you. And mother too. I love you both. Thank you.>”

He takes a step back, and wipes my tears. “Amelia, <you know that we love you, and that we are here for you no matter what. No matter what happens, your mother and I love you. We are very thankful you came back, if only for the day.>”

I’m stunned. “<For the day? What do you mean?>”

He shakes his head and smiles slightly, through the tears. “<This is not the place for you anymore. I know that now, and I think I have known that for some time. You’ve found a place that can take care of you, and even take care of old lazy men like me. Charles Xavier has done much for us, and you. I barely recognize in this woman the little girl who used to follow her dad to work every day she could, who idolized me for most of her life. Ae Mei, you have changed, and I only wish I could have helped you realize this part of yourself, because it is wonderful. I can see it, you know. I told you about the artist’s trick.>”

I can’t help but cry. There’s nothing else to do. “<Dad, if not for you…I never would have…I could not have this inside me. You still…you inspire me, and I use the artist’s trick you taught me myself…I do art of my friends, in memory of you, and well, I wish it wasn’t something so little, but I do…I think of mom and you all the time.>”

He hugs me again. “<I had hoped so. But you say you use the skills I taught you, show them to me. Show me your new friends.>”

I sit down at the table, and start sketching. Marisol, Zephyr, Mike, Almond….those are easy. Ms. Rogue, Professor X, not too bad. Then…everyone else, until the page is populated with every person I know at the mansion. Sometime, while I was intently drawing, my mother came in. I smell something burning, and turn around.

“<Happy Birthday>,” she says, bearing a cake. “Amelia.”

This day was hard. It was hard, but everything worth doing is hard. After today, I can put everything behind me. It’s a new year for me. This year will be better than the last year, and next year will be better than that. Did I hit rock bottom sometime last year? Maybe. But now? Now, I am finally going to be the me that I should be.

“<Thank you, mom. I love you.>” I blow out the candles, all in one breath. I will get my wish. I will be a hero. And it will start now.

Re: New Mutants Unlimited #51
Post by Smasher on Mar 27, 2007, 1:45pm

Awesome work, Havy!! Really like it a lot!

Re: New Mutants Unlimited #51
Post by The Sacred Digits on Mar 27, 2007, 1:49pm


Just modified Cerebro to reflect this change. At least, the numeric part of it.

Re: New Mutants Unlimited #51
Post by Protoman on Mar 27, 2007, 2:02pm

Really good, I like it.

Re: New Mutants Unlimited #51
Post by Nephy "Lifebeat" Nephrahim on Mar 27, 2007, 2:06pm

Awesome read.

Re: New Mutants Unlimited #51
Post by Nadia "Osmosis Lass" Johansson on Mar 27, 2007, 4:53pm

Very good stuff. I really enjoyed it.

Re: New Mutants Unlimited #51
Post by Risk on Mar 27, 2007, 5:40pm

Great read.

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