miggy: (Default)
miggy ([personal profile] miggy) wrote2011-09-15 11:13 am

Fic: "Special" (Chapter 4/?)

Title: Special
Character(s): Ensemble. Seriously. It covers pretty much everyone, plus some Marvel Universe characters.
Rating: R across everything, to be safe.
Word Count: 4900
Spoilers: Through S2
Full-Series Warnings: Violence, potential character death, and other elements common to comics
Summary: Being a part of something special makes you special. (Also, having superpowers.)
Notes: Time to zoom in the character focus for a more detailed power examination before I pull back out to everyone next week. Speaking of the weeks to come: next week will be Rachel's POV as she pushes them toward being a real team, and Mercedes comes in the chapter to follow when there is an examination of feelings and relationships across characters.

And then everything is set up for them to go kick some ass.

As a heads-up, there was some detailed discussion in the comment section last time. This thread goes into the somewhat perplexing bigotry that Marvel civilians canonically have toward one particular subset of the superpowered population. (As we've seen from both fictional sources this story draws upon, trying to be serious about one particular topic can be sort of head-scratching when the world remains determinedly fantastic around it.) This will get more examination down the road, but not with some of the detail I mention there. Also, this thread has some recommendations for getting started reading inside the Marvel Universe if you are totally overwhelmed by your options. It sidesteps the biggest names and suggests some newer books to get your feet wet.







"You know, we drove some other people there," Finn pointed out as Kurt's SUV rumbled down the road.

"Artie and Rachel can drive anyone who needs to go home in the meantime," Kurt said, distracted. "You shouldn't talk."

"Uh. What?"

"During dinner," Kurt said as he realized with concern that they would have to make it through an entire family meal without Finn saying anything suspiciously knowledgeable. "What happens if you don't notice that Dad thought something about our summer jobs instead of actually saying it, but respond to it anyway?"

"Oh," Finn realized. He stayed quiet for a while as Kurt focused on the road. "Yeah, good point. I'll shut up." For a while there was only the sound of traffic. "I wish I got Puck's powers instead of this stupid thing."

"People will stop making jokes about it. And I'm sorry that I thought, well, you know."

"It's not that." Finn reconsidered his words. "It's not only that. He gets to be fast and strong, like all the guys I had posters of when I was little. No one cares about brain powers and they just mean you're the guy that the strong guys save. This sucks."

"Tell me about it," Kurt said almost wryly. Finn flashed him a smile at the reminder of his illusory abilities. "This wasn't supposed to be what my summer was like. Any of our summers. And," he finished with a hollow laugh, "as you so accurately pointed out, the two of us have to deal with all this stress and worry over brain powers. The ones that still leave you very, very vulnerable to being thrown around. My only consolation is that illusions are better than control over clothing."

"It'll be okay," Finn said. Now that Kurt was so distraught over yet another mark being made against him, the comforting role seemed to have passed to the other boy. "I mean, I'm disappointed that I'm not like Puck, but that doesn't mean this has to actually be bad. We'll figure out what to do."

"I guess. This was a hard year," Kurt said quietly as they turned onto their street. "I don't know if I could handle another one."

Finn winced sympathetically. "It'll really be okay. Just... it'll work out. Want me to sing that Gaga song again?"

That actually made him laugh, though it was short and hollow. "No. But thanks." They pulled up in front of the house and, after some consideration, Kurt parked on the street near Finn's truck instead of on the spare space in the driveway. "We're going to need to sneak out," he explained. "And that means starting up the engine further away from the house."

"Good thinking," Finn said. "Uh, but before we go inside: it'd be a bad idea to just tell them, right? Like we talked about doing when it was just me? There's some reason we're not doing that?"

Kurt stared at him flatly. It was like the last few hours had totally fled his mind. "Yes, when it was just you maybe being a mutant. Something normal that a family could hide. Not an entire flock of us out of absolutely nowhere, and with one house already as a near-casualty. Do you want to be hauled to a doctor who might feed all our files to Washington? Get shipped off to that school in New York for our own good? I don't know about you, but I don't think I'm up for another transfer."

"Point taken. Stealth mode: engaged." Finn gave him one last big, encouraging grin before adding, "And you know, Rachel pointed out that people can have more than one thing. Maybe we'll find something more awesome for us, you know? We're planning to test stuff out tonight, right?"

"We can only hope," Kurt agreed. Indeed, he had to hope to find something that would let him stand up to any abuse he took because of the powers, rather than running away. And he could only hope to not look the hideous part in the process. At least if—god forbid—something happened, he could illusion himself back to normality.

"What's puce?" Finn asked as he headed up the front walk.

Kurt shot him a dirty look. "No mindreading at the house when they're around! If you get into that habit then you'll slip up at a bad time."

"Sorry," Finn mumbled. His key slipped into the lock, turned it, and they were greeted by the heavy smell of meat and potatoes. Two unimpressed parental faces also loomed. "Hi?" Finn asked sheepishly, as it was clearly obvious that they were in trouble.

"Are you not very hungry? I might have made too much food." Carole asked. "Because you made a sandwich with a lot of Burt's favorite cuts and left it on the table to go bad."

Burt cleared his throat. "Maybe they were in a hurry to get to Rachel's big party that they'd never told us about before now."

Oh, crap, Kurt heard and nearly swallowed his tongue when he realized Finn had spoken into his mind. They both froze for long enough that their parents picked up on it, and prompted an answer from them impatiently. "It was really spur of the moment," Kurt said in a rush. Finn still looked stunned over the discovery that his power transmitted as well as received. "Rachel originally called everyone over to manage her, uh, EGOT collectibles."

"Her what collectibles?" Carole wondered.

"She bugged everyone until we went over there to make her stop calling," Kurt said. "It was just getting really annoying. You know, Rachel Berry on a mission." The words themselves were fine; he knew that his face, though, was a dead giveaway of anxiety. He had that huge, nervous smile he got when he knew he was dead in the water with his father and was hoping desperately to get out of it. If only he could stop reacting like that; it was like a big flashing sign every time.

Burt studied him thoughtfully, and then eventually nodded. "Okay, so she sprung it on you. But you two don't take off without leaving a note, and you don't waste food like that. Put it back in the fridge."

"Will do," Kurt said in a tone that was climbing a bit too high to go with the gently exasperated expression he now realized he'd made as an illusion. "Um, we'll just go put our stuff away and be right back down for dinner?"

"What stuff?" Carole asked in confusion. Kurt froze; he'd just wanted an excuse to talk to Finn alone and had said the first thing that came to mind. He'd forgotten that they hadn't grabbed their bags when they ran out of the house.

"Hey," Burt said as he brushed the curtain aside and peered at the front yard. "Kurt, why'd you park on the street?"

Finn stared helplessly at him. Kurt felt his brain churn in search of a possible answer. With any traitorous expressions safely masked, it was easier to focus on the words themselves. "I noticed some oil in the parking lot today when I backed out. I think it was probably from the car there before me, but I don't want to stain the driveway if I have a leak."

"You keep an eye on that," Burt said with concern.

"Absolutely," Kurt agreed. "I'll check under it tomorrow and if there's anything, I'll take it in. Now Finn and I are going upstairs to, um...."

"We have to pee," Finn announced.

Burt and Carole stared at them in silence. "Okay," Carole eventually said. "You go do that."

"We have to pee?" Kurt hissed at him when they were upstairs. "We, plural?"

"Well, maybe instead we could go put away the stuff that we weren't carrying," Finn shot back and Kurt huffed in annoyance.

"Fine. I just wanted to come up here to remind you to just... not talk. If you have to talk, talk about football practice. Talk about the big game."

"What big game?" Finn asked.

Kurt rolled his eyes. "I don't know! Whatever game is big right now, talk about that one. Talk about movies and food and boring safe topics if you are absolutely forced into conversation, and nothing else. Forget my earlier ban on mindreading, but only for me. If you need to say anything, say it into my brain unless it's an answer to one of their questions. It will be a nice, normal night in which they go to bed at nine-thirty and at ten forty-five we will be on our way out the front door."

"Okay," Finn said after a deep breath. "We can do this."

"We can do this," Kurt confirmed and they returned downstairs to find the table already set for dinner.

Carole looked up from where she was adjusting a tray of roasted potatoes. "Kurt, did you change clothes just for dinner? That's really not necessary."

His eyes widened and he looked down at himself. The suede jacket he'd supposedly walked in wearing was gone, replaced by a thin olive green sweater with an elaborate design across the shoulders. Burberry Prorsum, this time. On the upside, he'd never have to pass up a piece of clothing over its price tag again.

That thing is ugly, Finn's voice said in his head.

Shut it. Kurt smiled winningly at Carole and tried to keep his attention firmly focused on that sweater in the hopes of avoiding a wardrobe change in the middle of dinner. "Anything is an occasion for new statements through fashion, including meals. Everything looks wonderful. Let's eat."

It was thankfully easy to keep Finn quiet during dinner, as he kept shoveling food into his mouth and grunting his approval of everything he tasted. Kurt was the one who found himself being drawn into conversations when he only picked at his meal. "No, it tastes great," he assured Carole. "It turns out I'm just not very hungry. I'm sorry, I'll reheat some later."

"He's probably trying to fit into something again," Burt said with a mostly-affectionate roll of his eyes.

"You know me," Kurt said and giggled nervously.

Burt eyed him as he chewed and swallowed another mouthful, and then asked, "So, you have plans this weekend? I know you said Blaine would be busy at... something for a lot of the summer."

"Theme park," Kurt supplied. "He sings."

"Uh, great," Burt said with what he probably meant to be acceptance. "Figured you'd try to squeeze in time before your summer jobs really take off. Finn, same for you. The weeks'll go by fast before you're really learning the ropes at the garage. Don't waste them."

"You know, that all completely slipped my mind," Kurt said with total honesty. "Um. Well. Dalton goes for another week, so he's in the middle of finals. I'll just send encouraging texts and tell him to get offline if I see him spending too much time on Facebook." And, Kurt added to himself, avoid him until he figured out how to explain to Blaine that he was dating a complete freak that might turn some hideous color, sprout a tail, and grow a foot in height.

He realized Finn was staring at him and sighed internally. It really is unlikely to happen, Finn. I'm just wallowing. Relax. Keep eating.

Finn let out a whine as he shoveled more food into his mouth and shook his head when Carole asked if something was wrong. "No," Finn said through a mouthful of potatoes. "I, um, just...." He saw Kurt glaring at him. "I was thinking about the big game."

"Which game?" Burt asked in confusion.

"...The big one. We had practice today. And so I was thinking about the big game." Finn smiled nervously. Kurt barely restrained himself from stabbing Finn with his fork.

"Oh," Burt said. "She's already got you thinking ahead to the first big game of the season, huh? You know, she really seems like a good coach."

"She's very tough on them," Carole agreed, "but I've never seen Finn more excited about his sports than he's been with her."

We might actually make it out of this alive, Kurt thought with relief and saw Finn smile at him. And we can prepare more before next Friday's dinner. That smile vanished. "Well!" Kurt announced when he'd picked at as much food as his anxiety-ridden stomach could hold. "That was wonderful. Carole, do you mind if I tuck some away for leftovers before Finn devours everything in front of him?" It was a perfect ruse; he was actually excused early from a family dinner in order to start protecting his future meals from Finn's appetite. Just keep eating and don't talk, he thought as he left the table and was gratified to hear Burt and Carole take entirely over the conversation.

"Finn's going to show me some video games," Kurt said at the end of the meal, after he'd lingered in the kitchen to scrub the counters and all of the dinner dishes. "He thinks it will help me bond. With, you know. The guys. The guys in Glee club, the jocks, the guys."

"Good plan," Burt said sincerely. "Finn, nice to see you pulling him in. Just...." He trailed off, leaned in, and murmured something quietly to Finn, who stammered a response. "Okay, you boys head on up, we won't bother you." With a chuckle, he added, "I think you might have your work cut out for you trying to teach Kurt how to play those."

Finn and Kurt shot one last overly-cheerful grin to their parents, and then nearly undid all their good work by bolting for the stairs. "You were so good at lying on your feet. Well, most of the time. Maybe that's one of your powers!" Finn suggested, grinning.

"I really was," Kurt marveled. "I mean, I could use some improvement, but I was actually rather good at... espionage, I suppose."

"Yeah, way better than usual."

Kurt glared at him, let himself into Finn's room, and closed the door behind both of them. "What did Dad whisper to you?"

Finn actually snickered. "He asked if I could try to make you be friends with anyone but Puck, because he doesn't trust 'that mohawk kid.'"

Even after the tension and life-altering discoveries of the day, that made Kurt laugh. It passed and he was once again left fretting over what that night might turn up for them all, and what the far-reaching future might hold. "And now we wait."

* * *


Just as expected, their parents went to bed at 9:30. The television still echoed through the door, but it was on a timer. It turned off at 10 when some old sitcom episode had lulled them to sleep.

"Do you think we're supposed to be superheroes?" Finn asked quietly as they watched the clock inch toward the appointed hour, well after that. "Is that why we can do this stuff? I know I freaked out earlier, but if we can all do this amazing stuff... maybe I was wrong."

Kurt looked up from staring sadly at Blaine’s texts. He’d sent a few vague replies of encouragement over his finals, reminders to focus, and hadn’t been able to manage anything more. Seriously, how was he supposed to add one more thing onto the pile of what they had to deal with? What would he even say? ‘Hey! You know that awesome school in Salem Center with the kids made out of, like, rocks? You think they’re sexy, right?’

“Hello?” Finn said, snapping his fingers.

Refocusing, Kurt shook his head. “No. We're not supposed to be anything. We’re going to figure out exactly what’s happened to us so we know how to manage things, and that is all. I'm going to do nothing for a while, graduate, and then go to school after graduation and pretend none of this ever happened. And if everyone else is smart, they'll do the same thing." Kurt looked exasperated when Finn gasped. "Look, the big villains are all off in big cities, already being faced down by the big heroes with big health insurance policies. And it seems like everywhere else doesn't need superheroes. Do you ever hear about superheroes in...." He picked the least likely city that came to mind. "Milwaukee?"

"Yes," Finn said. "They have the flat guy and the fat lady and they used to have a girl who looked like a squirrel."

Kurt stared at him until he realized Finn was serious, and then gave up and crept down the hallway again to make sure he could hear his father snoring. He nodded, crept stealthily back, and then eased Finn's door shut. "We're good. You go first. Wait by my car. Do not turn it on."

"Why me first?"

"Because if they catch you, it'll be easy to make up a story about how you heard something and thought you were big, strong, and foolhardy enough to take it on your own." Kurt allowed, "Granted, they'll be worried. They'll tell you that you shouldn't have done that. We won't be able to meet everyone... but we won't be in trouble. If we both leave together, there's no possible excuse."

"Okay," Finn said. "I'll sneak out and be quiet." He nodded when Kurt said to wait on the far side of the car, away from the house, and then stepped out into the dark hallway and moved slowly toward the stairs.

Kurt forced himself to relax. He'd never done anything like this before. Yes, he'd had a short session of breaking and entering in New York, but that was only risking the NYPD. This risked upsetting his father. He could hear Finn descending the stairs. He was so loud, even when he was trying to be quiet. He was just too big and too heavy.

The light snapped on in the hallway. Kurt's eyes flew wide open. He heard the rushing of water in the wall pipes; someone was using the master bathroom. And now someone was fumbling for the bathroom door in the hallway. Their parents were both up and one of them was in the hallway right by their bedroom doors, Kurt realized with concern.

It was at that precise moment that Finn shut the front door without easing it shut like Kurt had demonstrated.

"Hello?" Carole asked. She vanished, and Kurt soon heard two pairs of footsteps return. No. Dammit! He knew they could deal with failure if they were forced to, but he wanted to meet with everyone and figure out their futures sooner rather than later. He had to know. He had to know what they were all up against in their lives. He had to get back control when it had been yanked away from him yet again. With a sudden fierce determination, Kurt got up and decided to do whatever he had to in order to get those two back in the master bedroom and asleep.

"I'll go look," Burt said. "If you're worried, check on the boys."

Invisible, Kurt thought as he stepped out into the hallway in full view of both parents. I'm invisible. Invisible, invisible, invisible. Neither looked at him. It worked. He held his breath and plastered himself against the wall as Burt walked past him, waited to see which way Carole would go, and silently hurried to beat her to the nearest door: his room. I'm in the bed, Kurt thought with all his might and hoped he could manage more than one illusion at a time. It worked; he could see himself—or at least, a fair approximation of the back of his head—on the bed when he got to the doorway just behind Carole. This was so far beyond strange.

Then, horror of horrors, she made a move to enter the room. "Kurt?" she asked softly.

Kurt rolled his eyes in frustration, somehow contorted himself around Carole without brushing against her, and darted for his bed in absolute silence. His feet barely felt like they were touching the carpet. Adrenaline was granting him fortunate stealth, it seemed; he didn't seem to be able to mask anything but visuals and couldn't afford to make a sound. Invisible, he reminded himself as he approached 'himself' in bed. I'm in bed and I'm invisible. I'm in bed and I'm invisible. The headache looming between his eyes showed the risks of trying to manage two distinct illusions at once, but for now they both held. At least the pain eased as the two illusions approached each other and he could merge them into one. If his superpower was all about controlling illusions, he thought through the low-level headache that remained, then his superpower was pretty easy to overload.

When Carole reached down to brush against his cheek, he was there to feel it. Presumably satisfied that Kurt was still breathing, she then backed out and asked for Finn in the same quiet voice as she began to move down the hall.

"You have gotta be kidding me," Kurt mourned to himself in a tiny whisper as he slipped out of bed and raced to beat her there. Finn's in bed. Finn's in bed and I'm invisible. He once again squeezed himself through the tiny space between Carole and the doorframe, slid into bed, and hoped that she wouldn't notice that the cheek she lightly touched didn't match its appearance.

It seemed to work. She whispered for him to sleep tight, patted him on the shoulder, and left the room. Kurt relaxed, only to hear her protest when his father said that the front door was locked, there were no signs of entry, and she'd probably just imagined things. "Burt, I swear I heard the front door open."

They went downstairs and Kurt followed them carefully there. Invisible. Invisible invisible invisible. "Just relax," Burt said and flipped open a panel that Kurt thought contained a thermostat or exterior lighting controls for their new house. It definitely wasn't a thermostat or lighting controls, whatever it was. "No one's going to come in through the second story windows, so we'll just turn on the security system for the bottom floor, all right?"

Kurt stared in dull horror as the numbers were punched in, shielded by his father's body. A mechanical voice said that the system was now armed. He beat his head very gently against the wall.

"Okay, back to bed?" Burt suggested, and Carole grumbled and nodded. Kurt skittered out of their way to let them pass, wiped away a tiny trickle of blood from his nose that seemed to accompany his yet-lingering headache, and grudgingly followed them up the stairs.

So much for that, then, Kurt thought with a grumble as he sank onto his bed. As soon as he lay down, though, he sat right back up. Finn was outside. If Finn tried to come inside when he got tired of waiting, he would set off the security system and would have no explanation for why he was out there. He tried thinking at Finn but got no response. And when Kurt sent him a text to warn him, he heard the tinny ringtone through the wall; Finn had forgotten to grab his phone. Well. Of course he had.

"Right," he said with careful consideration as he thought about his options. Kurt then stood, took a deep breath, and popped his window screen out of its frame. The window wasn't tiny, but he couldn't imagine that he'd be able to push his body through it and land on the roof beyond with anything like grace. Still, he'd committed this much to what they were doing. And leaving Finn out there, clueless and bored, dressed to leave, and with an armed security system between them, just begged for trouble. Kurt pulled an ottoman over to the window, tried to figure out how to gain a secure foothold on the roof once he was through, and then went for it.

With one smooth motion he flung himself up and through the empty space, did a flip in midair, and landed on the roof.

Kurt froze. He looked at his feet and then back to the window.

That hadn't been in his plan.

No. He had to focus. Very carefully he inched back to his window, leaned in, and propped the screen loosely against the frame. It wouldn't be obviously askew if Burt or Carole glanced in. Of course, they just had to look at his empty bed to realize he was gone. Perhaps he should have arranged some pillows, but no, there was no time. He had to get to Finn before Finn impatiently opened the door and set off the alarm.

"Careful," Kurt whispered to himself as he began moving across the roof. At the end was a tree with an overhanging branch that would serve as a perfect ladder... he hoped. His first step felt secure, as did his second. He frowned and then tried taking a longer step like he was walking comfortably across flat ground. His foot landed securely. His balance felt like some impossibly accurate internal gyroscope was maintaining it.

He'd used his illusions to sneak up on Santana out of nowhere, and had contorted himself around Carole without brushing a single fiber of her clothing. He'd glided across the floor in the next best thing to flying. He'd flipped himself through his window and landed like some Olympic gymnast. And during all of those, he hadn't made a sound.

Kurt grinned impishly at the tree at the far end of the roof. This might be stupid. This might be very, very stupid, but he was suddenly sure he could do it. Energy coursed through his limbs. He took a deep breath, began running across the slanted roof, and launched himself at the overhanging branch when it came within distance. He rotated once around it like a high bar, flipped himself into the air at the far side of the turn, and landed like a cat on his feet.

Finn was right: they had more powers. He wasn't just an illusionist. He was some sort of badass ninja with psychic illusions as his smoke screens. Maybe his powers weren't for running and hiding, after all. Or if they were... they were for people who would never see him coming.

Though his joy started small and reluctant, it grew by the second. Kurt hurried to the car with a fresh smile on his face and saw Finn looking beyond annoyed. "Where have you been?"

"Parents woke up, checked the beds when they heard you leave, and then turned on a security alarm that I didn't know we had," Kurt said. "But I convinced Carole that both of us were asleep in bed." He wiggled his fingers. "You know: illusions. They went back to sleep, I climbed out the window, and... and I'm not sure how you're going to get back inside, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. I'm a ninja."

"What?" Finn summarized.

"Come on!" Kurt giggled and hopped into the driver's seat. "We need to hurry, they'll be waiting."

"Since when are you a ninja?" Finn asked as they drove into the darkness. "Did you, like, find weapons or something?"

Just as surely as he'd known he could make that jump, Kurt suddenly knew that he could handle weapons. "No," he said with enthusiasm, "but now I really need some." He was going to be able to fight back if someone tried to make him suffer. His future suddenly looked very different than it had before that night. He wasn't weak. He hadn’t just become a bigger target. He was strong.

Grumpy and not afraid to show it, Finn slouched against the door and watched the streetlights pass over them. "I wish I could kick ass with weapons instead of just being able to read people's minds."

"I ran across the roof at top speed, too," Kurt added giddily.

They left behind the streetlights and headed for farmland. Finn kept grumbling. "Shut up."

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