After David is caught at the wrong place at the wrong time, his entire life changes in ways he never could have expected. This is a fan fiction taking place in the Whateley Universe.
This was the first time that I’d ever ridden on a train, but it hadn’t taken me long to decide that traveling like this was way better than going by car. Sure, it was still long and boring, but at least I could get up to stretch my legs, go to the bathroom, and even get something to eat in the dining car. And to my delight, they even served espresso. The only real downside was that I had to keep wearing my sunglasses whenever I was outside of our private compartment.
I was sitting in the dining area with Jackie and Emily, finishing off my caramel mocha and seriously thinking about ordering another one. I also would have liked to order another meal, but unfortunately, Jackie and I had to hold back so we wouldn’t make anyone suspicious. Instead, a normal meal was almost like a snack to us and we’d have to rely on the energy bars that Emily brought in order to finish satisfying our appetites.
“The downside of being an energizer,” Jackie said with a sigh, knowing exactly what I was thinking. Her eyes kept going towards other people’s food.
“At least it won’t be a problem at Whateley,” Emily pointed out.
“That’s right,” Jackie agreed with a grin. She licked her lips in an exaggerated manner, then told me, “The cafeteria is all you can eat…every meal. And since they’re all used to odd appetites, no one cares of you go back for seconds…”
“Or eighths,” Emily added with a faint smirk while looking at Jackie.
Just then, a man came and stood next to our table and announced, “Hello ladies.” He smiled pleasantly, though his eyes remained locked on Jackie. Emily frowned while a look of jealousy and annoyance passed through her eyes. I had to stifle a giggle as I knew what was about to come.
“I’m sorry, but we’re in a middle of a private conversation,” Jackie said politely.
The man suddenly deflated as he lost all of his self-confidence and suddenly became painfully shy. “Sorry for bothering you,” he said meekly before he hurried away. Once he was gone, all three of us burst into giggles.
“That was number three,” Jackie said, referring to the other two men who’d previously tried to hit on her. Actually, one of them had been giving me a bit more attention than I was comfortable with as well, but Emily had taken care of all three of them in much the same way.
I nodded and slowly looked around at the other people in the dining car with us. Whenever the people at other tables took just a little too much interest in us, they’d quickly become bored and apathetic, courtesy of Emily. This trip was doing wonders to convince me of just how useful her abilities could actually be.
“Can I try that?” I asked Emily hopefully.
Emily considered that for a moment before shaking her head. “It wouldn’t be a good idea here. It takes a lot of practice to project the emotion you want and sustain it. It would be too easy to accidentally start a fight or make everyone burst into tears, and that kind of attention wouldn’t be good right now.”
“Okay,” I responded with a sigh, feeling a little disappointed.
Then Emily smiled faintly and added, “But maybe when we switch trains in Berlin.”
After that, Jackie and I grabbed a few snacks and hurried back to our compartment where we could eat in peace. We just barely made it there when Jackie’s cell phone began to ring. This was a cheap disposable phone that she’d picked up while we’d been staying with her parents, so there were only a couple people who actually had the number.
“Hello,” Jackie said as she answered the phone. She talked for about two minutes, though it was hard making out much of anything just from listening to her side of the call. When she was done, she turned to me and Emily and grinned. “That was Gary. It turns out my little brother is a low level avatar.”
Emily gave her a look of surprise. “But I thought Gary was a baseline.”
“We did too,” Jackie responded, gesturing to me. “Until our power mimic pointed out otherwise. But Gary hasn’t bonded with a spirit yet, which is why we never knew he was a mutant.”
“An avatar,” I said, having heard the term before.
I’d never watched very many episodes of that MCO TV show since I wasn’t into crime dramas, but I had watched a few. In one of the episodes I’d seen, the MCO agents were chasing after a mutant who was an avatar, and who according to that show, had been possessed by the spirit of Jack the Ripper and was now continuing his work. The show made avatars sound dangerous and sort of scary, but I’d since learned that most of that show was propaganda and BS.
“I don’t know much about avatars,” I said carefully.
“It’s a kind of power that lets you host a spirit,” Emily explained. “They can form a sort of…symbiotic relationship. I’m not sure what all the spirit gains from it, but the avatar gets to use the spirit’s powers.”
“Champion is an avatar,” Jackie told me, naming the world famous super hero…or line of super heroes. By now, I think there had been like six or seven different Champions. “And so is Lady Astarte.”
We spent the rest of that train ride talking about avatars, with Jackie and Emily telling me about the different kinds of spirits that they’ve seen avatars have. I burst out laughing and had a hard time stopping when they told me a girl they’d gone to school with whose code name was Bunny. Apparently, she’d had some kind of rabbit spirit and it made her grow a pair of rabbit ears out of the top of her head and a fluffy bunny tail, leaving her looking like some kind of Playboy bunny.
“I kind of have mixed feelings about Gary,” Jackie admitted. “He is my little brother so I kind of hope he gets a decent spirit with some nice powers…but on the other hand…he’s my little brother. If he gets something really silly or embarrassing, it will give me some great new material to tease him with…”
When we arrived at Berlin New Hampshire, we got off the train so we could switch over to another one that was heading to Dunwich, right outside of Whateley. But while we were in the Berlin train station, Emily silently held out her hand and let me copy her powers. And though my empathic abilities weren’t nearly as strong as hers, I did have some fun trying them out briefly.
The rest of the ride to Dunwich was relatively short and painless, and though I kept expecting the MCO or Liberty League to board the train, the trip was completely uneventful. When we finally got off in Dunwich and unloaded my luggage, I let out a long sigh of relief. We were finally in the home stretch.
“We’re a couple days later than planned,” Jackie told me as we gathered my luggage. “Otherwise, they’d probably have someone out here to meet you. As it is, I think we’ll need to find a car.”
“Not again,” I complained with a roll of my eyes. I didn’t think that stealing a car from the local town would be a good start at my new school.
Emily smirked at that, then said, “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of the car.”
“Let me guess,” I said carefully. “You’re going to make someone suddenly feel really generous…?”
“No,” she responded with an amused smile. “I’m going to rent a car from that place across the street. Now come on you two, we don’t have all day.”
“Maybe you should have let her drive me to Whateley,” I teased Jackie. “Think of all the trouble we could have avoided.”
“Bite me,” she responded with a grin.
A short time later, we were driving up a scenic road until we finally came to a stop at the front gates of Whateley Academy. The large iron gates were pretty impressive looking, almost exactly what I would have expected at the front of some prestigious private school. That just made me feel a little out of place since I’d never thought of myself as the kind of person to attend an expensive private school. I was more of a public school kind of guy…girl.
Security stopped us there and confirmed that we were expected, then they had us wait until a tall Asian woman arrived. She introduced herself as Mrs. Shugendo, the Dean of Students.
“Dana Martin,” Mrs. Shugendo greeted me professionally. “We were expecting you two days ago.”
I noticed that Mrs. Shugendo called me by Jackie’s last name, which made me glace to Jackie. Of course, I knew that they’d enrolled me under that name, but they’d also told them who I really was. I just wasn’t sure how many people knew that detail.
“I’m afraid that there were some unexpected delays,” Jackie told her.
“Yes,” Mrs. Shugendo responded with a wry look. “Security informed me of the nature of these delays.” Jackie suddenly looked a little chagrinned. Then Mrs. Shugendo turned back to me and said, “You have been assigned to Poe Cottage, so we’ll get you over there so you can settle in.” Jackie and Emily grinned and silently gave each other a fist bump.
“There’s no need to show her the way to Poe,” Emily told Mrs. Shugendo politely. “The two of us are quite familiar with where it’s located.”
“Then I will leave you to it,” Mrs. Shugendo said, giving me a faint nod and saying, “Welcome to Whateley.”
Jackie and Emily showed me the way to Poe Cottage while I brought all my luggage with me. There was actually a surprising amount of clothing and other things, especially since I hadn’t been a girl for all that long. However, this was largely thanks to Emily returning my lost luggage to me after I’d already bought some replacements, not to mention the fact that I’d also been given some of Jackie’s ‘hand-me-downs’. Fortunately, I didn’t have to carry all this luggage by hand since I’d formed a force field bubble around it all, and now it was floating a short distance behind me, following me almost like a pet.
We walked past one girl, who gave me sphere a curious look. I couldn’t resist smiling and saying, “This is my pet bubble. I named her bubbles.”
The girl paused, then said, “I don’t think I’ve seen you around before…”
“I’m new,” I explained, gesturing to my luggage. “I just got here a few minutes ago.”
“Cool,” she responded, then asked, “So, where are they putting you?”
I just gave her a friendly smile, thankful that she wasn’t freaking out over my being a mutant. Then again, since she was a student here, she was obviously a mutant as well. After a moment, I told her, “We’re on our way to Poe.”
The girl nodded at that, suddenly giving me a smile that was just a little forced. “Figures,” she said, before politely backing off.
I blinked in confusion, wondering if I’d just broken some rule in the girl code. After all, I’d already broken the first and most important rule in the guy code, which is, ‘be a guy’. “Did I do something wrong?” I asked Jackie, feeling a little worried.
“No,” Jackie assured me, putting an arm around my shoulder. “But you see, most of the students think that Poe is the dorm where they put the students with...”
“Issues,” Emily finished for her. “Mental issues.”
“What?” I asked in surprise. “You mean, she thought I was crazy.”
“Aren’t you?” Jackie asked me with a faint smirk. “I mean, you did run away with a wanted bank robber…”
Emily chuckled at that, then pointed out, “I still don’t understand why the students believe that story. After all, if it was where they housed the people with mental issues, then half the student population would be there.”
“Just great,” I muttered with an exaggerated sigh. “Now people are going to think I’m a loonie…”
“We prefer the term poesie,” Jackie responded cheerfully.
Poe Cottage was a large brick building, which looked pretty much like the other dorms I could see in the distance. When we got to the main entrance, I was met by a matronly looking woman who had a look in her eyes that told me she wasn’t someone to be messed with.
“Hello,” she greeted me pleasantly. “You must be Miss Martin, our new resident. Mrs. Shugendo told you were on your way here. I am Mrs. Horton, the house mother here at Poe Cottage.” Then she turned to look at Jackie and Emily, smiling faintly as she did so. “It’s nice to see you two again.”
“I never expected to be back here,” Emily admitted pleasantly. “But it is nice to see you again too.”
“I just wanted to make sure my little sister got settled in all right,” Jackie said, putting a hand on my shoulder.
Mrs. Horton nodded at that and turned her attention to me. “As your sister may already have told you, Poe Cottage is here as a sanctuary for students with various gender issues or alternate sexualities. For the safety and privacy of the students who live here, this is a closely guarded secret that is NOT to be shared with your fellow students.”
“Yes, ma’am,” I responded, making an effort to be polite and respectful to make a good first impression. I was pretty sure that I’d have plenty of chances to be a pain in her butt, but this obviously wasn’t the time.
“I recently received a call from a former resident of Poe,” Mrs. Horton told me. “She requested that I pass on a message to you.”
“What?” I asked in confusion, glancing to Jackie and Emily. They were the only people I knew who’d gone to Whateley. “Who in the world would want to give me a message?”
“That would be Twist,” Mrs. Horton told me with a faintly amused look.
“Twist?” Jackie and I blurted out at once.
“Twist is a changeling, like you,” Mrs. Horton explained. “She’s a fairly recent graduate and some of our seniors and juniors will undoubtedly remember her.” Mrs. Horton let that sink in a little, then continued, “She asked me to tell you welcome to Whateley, and that she hopes you stay out of trouble.”
I just stood there, feeling a little stunned that Twist, my Liberty League opponent, was actually a changeling like me. I turned to Jackie and explained, “She let me go after that fight. I thought it was just because she was more interested in catching you, but now…” I shook my head, remembering her reaction when I told her who I was.
“Back to the matter at hand,” Mrs. Horton said, getting my attention again. “Let’s get you situated in a room.”
Mrs. Horton led us inside and down a hall, stopping in front of a closed door. Without a word, she unlocked the door and then handed me the key.
“I wonder who has our old room,” Jackie commented, gesturing down the hallway.
“We usually prefer to pair changelings together as roommates,” Mrs. Horton told me. “But all of our other changelings are currently paired up, and since we don’t want to leave two singles, you’ll be sharing with Jinx for the time being.”
“Jinx?” I asked.
“She’s a nice young woman,” Mrs. Horton said with a faint smile. “I hope the two of you will get along. When she gets back, I’ll ask her to explain the cottage rules and show you around campus.”
With that, Mrs. Horton turned and left. I hesitated a moment, then pushed open the door and went into my new dorm room. It was obviously already occupied, as the stuffed animals on one bed demonstrated.
“At least she has good taste,” I mused, staring at a poster on the wall of a beautiful model who was dressed only in scanty lingerie.
Since this was Poe Cottage and my new roommate was not a changeling, then that meant she was either a normal transgendered girl, or she was a lesbian. From the poster, I was thinking the latter. I couldn’t help but grinning at that. I just hoped she was cute.
“Not bad,” Jackie commented as she and Emily helped bring my luggage into the room. “It definitely brings back memories though.”
“It certainly does,” Emily agreed.
Jackie and Emily helped me unpack and load my clothes into the empty dresser and closet, then they both stood there a little awkwardly. I felt a little sad, knowing that they were about to leave. I was about to be left here at a strange new school, not knowing anyone else on campus.
“Before we go, I have something for you,” Jackie told me.
She handed me an envelope, and when I opened it up, I was startled to see that it was filled with money. There were twenties, fifties, and even some hundred dollar bills. There had to be a thousand dollars there.
“For school uniforms and other expenses,” she explained.
“Holy shit,” I blurted out in surprise. Then I gave her a suspicious look and said, “I thought you told me you didn’t have the money to buy a replacement car…”
“I lied,” she responded with a cheerful smile, not showing the least bit of guilt. “I rob banks for a living, so what did you expect?”
“See,” Emily told me with a roll of her eyes. “This is what I have to put up with.”
I giggled at that, though my mood quickly sank. “I’m gonna miss you,” I told Jackie, then looked to Emily to let her know that she was included in that. Overall, I hadn’t known them for very long, but they’d both become my new family and I cared for them a great deal.
“Hey, I’m not going to just dump you off here and then forget about you,” Jackie told me, giving me a hug. “You’re my sister now and that means I’ll keep in contact.”
“You didn’t keep in touch with Gary,” I pointed out a little petulantly.
“And you have no idea how much I regret that,” she told me quietly. Then she stared at me for a moment before smiling gently. “Actually, I guess you do.”
“It’s not like you’ll never see us again,” Emily said with an amused look. “We’ll e-mail you, maybe visit occasionally, and if you haven’t resolved things with your parents by summer vacation, you are MORE than welcome to stay with us.”
Jackie nodded at that, then said, “Actually, I’d prefer it. There are a few things I wanted to do with my new sister that we haven’t had time for.”
“I’m looking forward to it,” I told them, starting to cry.
We said our goodbyes for another ten minutes, hugging a few more times before Jackie and Emily left. Once they were gone, I sat down on my new bed and wiped the tears from my eyes. It wasn’t right to start off at my new school by crying about it.
A short time later, there was a hesitant knocking on the door, then it opened and a girl came in. She was a little shorter than me, with shoulder length blonde hair, and she was very pretty, but not quite in an exemplar way. As soon as I saw her, I stood up and stared, my mouth dropping open.
“Mrs. Horton said you’re my new roommate,” she said with a nervous smile. “Hi. I’m Jinx…because I’m a probability warper. You know, I can manipulate luck and stuff…at least most of the time. I sometimes have really weird luck though…and odd coincidences happen around me.”
“I’m Dana,” I said, my voice shaking as I stared at her. “But I’m called Sphere because…” I held out my hand and formed a force field bubble to demonstrate.
My new roommate stared back at me, turning a little red. “I guess I should tell you my real name,” she exclaimed in a rush. “I’m…”
“Amanda,” I blurted out, hardly able to believe it. “Amanda Conner.”
All I could do was stare at Amanda, the girl I went to school with…who I’d been friends with…who I’d even had a big crush on. After she’d been outed as a mutant and had moved away, I’d been sure I’d never see her again.
“How do you know my name?” she asked in surprise. Then she gave me a suspicious look and asked, “Are you a telepath?”
“I’m sorry about what happened with Kimberly,” I quietly told her, making her gasp again.
After she’d moved away, I’d promised that if I ever saw her again, I’d apologize for how poorly I’d taken the revelation that she was a mutant. I hadn’t yelled at her or called her a monster like some of our classmates had, but I had thought poorly of her. Instead of trying to understand her, at least at first, I’d just felt betrayed. The truth was, she was the one who’d been betrayed, not only by Kimberly, but by all of her friends who’d failed to stand beside her. Myself included.
“That was really crappy of her,” I continued. “You really didn’t deserve that. You didn’t deserve the way that anyone in class treated you.”
“How do you know that?” Amanda demanded, this time a little more forcefully.
I hesitated a moment before answering, “Because I was there.” I stared down at the floor, unable to meet her eyes. “I think this is one of those weird coincidences you mentioned…”
Amanda stared at me for a moment, looking surprised and even a little confused before cautiously asking, “Who are you?”
“I’m Dana Martin now,” I told her, giving her a nervous smile though I was incredibly embarrassed. “But I used to be David Michaels.”
“DAVID?” Amanda exclaimed, staring at me in stunned disbelief.
“As you can see,” I joked with a bit of a grin, gesturing down at myself in the process. “I kind of had a makeover.”
“No way,” she gasped. “Oh my God…” She continued staring at me for several more long seconds before finally asking, “How…?”
“It’s a long story,” I admitted wryly.
Amanda giggled at that, then pointed out, “We’re roommates now. We have plenty of time for it.”
“Good point,” I agreed with a nervous chuckle.
“And all this,” I said, gesturing around the room. “I had no idea where you went after you disappeared. I never thought I’d see you again. I mean, here I am waiting to meet my new roommate and then you walk in…”
“I warned you I have weird luck,” she told me, looking almost proud of that fact. Then she suddenly turned self-conscious and said, “When you asked me out before and I kind of freaked out on you… Well, I guess by now you know I’m into girls.”
“I kind of figured that part out,” I responded wryly, gesturing to the poster on the wall, which made her blush more.
The girl I used to have a huge crush on had turned me down for a date because she was interested in girls rather than guys. Now here I was, not only having turned into a hot looking girl, but also ending up as her roommate. In a weird and twisted way, this was sort of like a dream come true.
“Well,” Amanda said awkwardly, giving me a look that seemed appreciative. “I did promise Mrs. Horton that I’d show you around campus. We can catch up while we walk.”
“That sounds good to me,” I told her with a nervous grin of my own.
“Then we can stop off at Crystal Hall for dinner,” she continued, which immediately caught my attention. I was already feeling hungry, and Jackie had told me that Whateley’s cafeteria was set up to handle appetites like mine.
“That sounds great,” I agreed happily. “And do you know if they serve espresso…?”
With that, Amanda and I left our room to begin my tour of the school campus. I was still a little nervous about going to school here, but with a start like this, life at Whateley was definitely bound to be interesting.
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