The Polaris Chronicles – Chapter 3 – salarta – X-Men (Comicverse) [Archive of Our Own]

Chapter 3:  A New Age

Summary:

A teenage Lorna Dane watches a fight between the X-Men and Magneto on TV and wonders: why can’t she be one of them?

Author’s Note: This chapter takes a tense shift from past to present tense. I realize this is generally a bad idea, but I think present tense works better for what I’m trying to do. Anyway, this is a ‘fanon’ chapter, and I explained its inspiration on AO3 if you wanna see what it is there.

She watches them on TV. These superhumans. These homo superior. These X-Men. Their faces play over and over on the screen in sheer radiant glory, blasting debris, icing roads, tossing boulders. One majestic mutant soars to heights under his own power that only an Angel could dream to reach. Each of the boys – and one girl, she reminds herself – take to action with a youthful rebellious zeal only teens could bring.

An apocalypse. A revolution. The dawning of a new age filled with awe and wonder. People call these strange times many things, but as she looks on, Lorna Dane asks herself one simple yet important question.

Why not me?

She hides herself in hair dye. Chestnut waves roll down her shoulders, obscuring the painful truth of an emerald lie teasing her with the idea of becoming something more, something different, something special and better than a meek girl sitting in her living room. She wonders why her hair couldn’t stand for more than a rare condition inherited from a father she couldn’t even remember. Just enough strangeness that people might mistake her for a mutant. Not enough to be one.

A pitched battle between good and evil rages on the tiny box in front of her. Lorna bears witness to a scowling man in red and purple as he lifts whole cars off the ground. She imitates his motions, dreaming of the power to make them sail skyward as he did. The thrum in her fingers dissipates when she sees the Angel weave between those cars. Darting up, dodging right, all with the grace and finesse of an avian god. His gloriously fluffy feathery white wings pin to his back as he spin-dives into his foe.

For a moment, this Magneto looks finished. He topples over, rolls backward, electricity sparking along his body. Another lad’s crimson optic blast rushes toward him at the speed of light. Blink of an eye. But then, Magneto recovers at the very last second. A wave of his arm sends the blast into Angel, knocking him out of the air.

In her mind’s eye, it’s her deflecting that blow. Her feet lifting off the ground. Her cape billowing in the wind. She sees green all around her, on her, inside her, rippling like a force of nature.

Then, her mind drifts to other thoughts. Kinder thoughts. Gentler thoughts. She wouldn’t have to use such a wonderful gift for fighting. She could build things. Create things. From the tallest skyscraper in the world to the most elegant statues of these mutant heroes she could imagine, Lorna could mold each scrap of metal into precisely what she imagined. She could show everyone what a boon these mutants were.

… If she had the parts. She doesn’t have the parts. Her hands shake because her heart can’t. Tears stream down her face. She doesn’t understand the hole buried in her chest. Why she can’t fill it. Why the images playing in front of her press upon that void but don’t quite fit, tapping at the edges, slipping at the corners.

In those moments, she thinks about the man in red and purple. An outcast among his own kind, she knows he wreaks havoc and causes trouble for his fellow mutants. The X-Men wouldn’t fight him if they had no reason. Yet, she can’t help seeing some part of herself in him. His defiance. His rage. His spirit, burning as if guided by some higher calling. He glows so brightly that she finds it hard to believe all those horrid things people call him on the news. Murderer. Monster. Despite them all, one insidious label sticks out most of all: Mutie.

That word. The M-word. The reason her parents insisted she hide her green to make herself look normal, mundane, ordinary, like everyone else. The reason she sits inside the house while bigots and haters march along city streets, denouncing the future.

Not her future, of course. Her little quirk of color means nothing. ‘Minor detail’. Even Dr. Moira said so.

But it doesn’t stop her from wishing, and dreaming, and thinking. Her eyes light up. What if she could be part of something greater? What if she had the power to set an example, to right the world’s wrongs, to become her best self while standing beside friends who saw her green hair and loved her for it? She reaches out to the screen… and pulls away when it crackles.

When it spits sparks. When the picture flickers in and out with fiendish abandon. She mentally chides herself for not remembering her mother’s warnings about how sensitive these so-called technological wonders truly were. One wrong touch or one hand in the wrong place set them off in a smoldering heap. Like a good girl, she leans back in her couch and waits for her chance to see her mutant heroes once again.

Wishing she could join them.

The Polaris Chronicles – Chapter 3 – salarta – X-Men (Comicverse) [Archive of Our Own]

The Polaris Chronicles – Chapter 2 – salarta – X-Men (Comicverse) [Archive of Our Own]

Chapter 2: 

Of Blood and Fire

Summary: Little Lorna Dane witnesses her parents fighting, leading to a very painful and traumatic mutant power awakening.

Author’s Note: This is a retelling of Lorna’s origin story told in X-Factor #243, only with more POV on Lorna and an attempt by me to add more gravity to what happens. Whether I succeeded or failed in the latter, I don’t know, but I tried. 😛


Rage and blood and fire. People expect these things in a world of heroes and villains. Grand battles on city skylines. Ripped up streets. Crushed cars. They never think of the smaller battles, like two parents arguing in the cockpit of a plane. Sharp words cutting through fragile hearts and sore egos.

Like Arnold and Suzanna Dane.

The two once-proud parents stare at each other. Hateful glares. Blue and green eyes set upon each other, deciding how best to let loose with whatever wicked barbs their minds could conjure in the throes of anger.

“Don’t be an idiot!”

“I don’t know why the hell I married you in the first place!”

“Well, you were never around, Arnold!”

“He said I was perfect! You never said I was perfect!”

Anything, everything, they dredged the deepest pits of their souls for weapons that could burn, twist, slice through to reach those most delicate and sensitive, human parts. Years of love unraveled in the blink of an eye. Two eyes, in fact. Two small, green, wet eyes that still shimmered like the pair of emeralds those same parents always said they were.

The eyes of little Lorna Dane.

In her light green turtleneck and her blue overalls, clutching her fuzzy monkey doll, Lorna rubbed the sleep away and listened to every word. Every. Word. Soaking them in like a tiny sponge. Sitting on the aisle floor, she watched as cruelty and her sadness shook the cockpit door. Its metal hummed. Crackled. Green bolts coursed around its frame, glowing brighter and brighter as her parents got worse.

“Well, excuse the hell out of me for being busy earning a living to support my wife and our – sorry, your – child!”

A sniffle. Little Lorna’s little nose burned as much of the corner of her eye. A tear. Shimmering and sad, it snuck out and slipped down her puffy cheek. Her vision blurred as she hugged her Jojo tighter. Its fur sparked. Not that she noticed. Her innocent young mind settled on one thing above all others.

“M… mommy… daddy…” she mumbled. Drowned out by a sky of insults whipping about her. Her fragile, innocent voice found volume in her despair. “Stop fighting!”

In her thoughts, in her wildest fantasies and dreams, the young girl imagined something better. She imagined a mother and father, rushing out to comfort their dear child. She imagined scowls and sneers and spit replaced with love and smiles, as they lifted her in their arms and showed her how much she meant to them.

She frowned as they dashed her frail hopes.

“Oh, great! You woke up Lorna!” Suzanna shouted.

“Hey, you were the one who was screaming!” Arnold bit back.

The small bundle of joy sobbed to herself. Again, her parents used her on each other. As a weapon. As a burden. A cross to bear. She buried her face in Jojo’s crown and suffered more verbal stings in her ears. Heart pounding, face flushed, Lorna let her tears soak through her doll’s soft felt. It was there. To hold. To touch. To hug. It accepted and heard her, one playful friend… and the only thing in the whole plane who cared about her feelings at all.

“Stop fighting! Stop fighting!!!” Lorna screamed.

“Will you shut that little brat of yours up!”

Footsteps pounded on the floor. The cockpit door flew open, banged against the restroom sign. When little Lorna looked up, her sight cleared just enough to see her mother. Once angelic. Once serene. Now twisted. Hard lines, narrowed glare, nostrils flared. This demon in the dark hunched toward her.

“Be quiet, Lorna! Just shut up and go back to-”

She couldn’t take it anymore. Lorna’s sorrow pulsed and sizzled on her skin. Green enveloped her, bright and shimmering all across her body. Emerald streaks stained through her brown hair, strand by strand.

“Oh my god!” Suzanna whispered. Not in rage. Not in love. Fear. Trembling. Lip quivering. She could feel it coming. Regret swelled in her chest, but… too late. Far too late.

“STOPPP FIIIIIGHTIIIIING!”

Tears and blood and fire. As windows cracked and the plane’s wings ripped free, little Lorna lost her fight. And so much more.

The Polaris Chronicles – Chapter 2 – salarta – X-Men (Comicverse) [Archive of Our Own]

The Polaris Chronicles – Chapter 1 – salarta – X-Men (Comicverse) [Archive of Our Own]

Chapters: 1/12
Fandom: X-Men (Comicverse), X-Men – All Media Types, Marvel (Comics)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Lorna Dane
Additional Tags: Childbirth, Mutants, Mutant Powers, Mutant Birth
Summary:

For the 50th anniversary of Polaris’ creation (October 1968), a chronological journey through her character history in the comics. Contains fanon and fan reimaginings of existing moments. One new chapter per month until end of the year.


First chapter text included after the “Read More” cut-off! Chapter title: 

Trick of the Lights (or, A Star is Born)


“Push, honey! Push!”

Suzanna’s screams did more than echo down the halls. Lights flickered. Tools rattled in the tray. Air crackled electric along the contrails of her voice. Every grunt, every groan, every breath carried with it a miasma of raw power emanating with bright and brilliant jade shimmers. If one truly knew what they saw, they might have recognized the glitz and glimmer of a very special mutant born to this harsh human world.

But this was a different time. A different place. Before the Brotherhood. Before the X-Men. Before the world came to know and fear ‘The Mutant Menace’ living next door. Sentinels, Senator Kelly, Dark Phoenix, Malice, Genosha, these and other historical footnotes and horrors had yet to come. The future lay ahead, uncharted, many paths open for the taking.

So blinded, proud Suzanna and Arnold understood only this: they had a baby on the way. Any minute now, their beautiful bundle of joy would emerge from her mother’s womb amid one of the wildest, most cataclysmic earthquakes to rock the good state of California in decades. Like all birthing mothers, Suzanna had the perfect words to answer her husband and mark this grand occasion.

“What the fuck do you think I’m doing?!”

Animal instinct taught Arnold not to touch the bed’s siderails. His hand still quivered from his last shock, not at all helped when his watch stuck fast to its metal for several seconds too long. His poor frazzled brain put no thought into why or how jolts coursed through his arm and down his leg. Just as it never bothered to grasp why bits of metal jumped free and floated of their own accord. It didn’t have the time. Or energy. Or basic tools. He was a husband and father, damnit, not a rocket scientist. Nine to fiver in the mills, not equipped for the majesty of his coming child… but trying all the same.

“Someone fix these damned lights,” shouted the couple’s doctor – perhaps better mannered than could be expected. Forceps out of reach. Power on the fritz. Despite his years, nothing prepared him for this kind of birth. Out of his depth.

“The baby’s crowning!” Nurse Annie excitedly proclaimed. First-timer, she bore witness from afar and silently wondered about the strange little aurora looping around Suzanna’s belly and thighs. Trick of the lights. Had to be. Nothing else explained the blinding green crescendo, all those lovely swirls and pulses of life beating to the tune of that baby’s heart.

Mesmerizing. Almost hypnotic. Suzanna’s pained cries and Arnold’s desperate quavering cascaded out of Annie’s amateur ears to the sight before her. She could lose herself in this moment. Simply lose herself. Slip away from all her bills, and her family dramas, and… and… and…

“Nurse! Forceps!”

Annie awoke with a few fierce blinks. Quietly apologetic, she handed the doctor his tools as demanded. Time bled and sped in a blur. Soon enough, the baby slid out. What happened next, she saw many times in movies and training segments, but watching the real deal would have felt bizarre under any context. It just so happened that this birth had an extra special kink to its wrinkles.

The doctor smacked the baby’s bottom.

Then.

The baby cried.

And with it came a boom. Loud and mighty, the entire building shuddered as if the earth itself rebelled at the doctor’s foolish act. It forced the doctor back on his ass in the closest seat while power flowed unseen from bulbs and sockets into the wailing newborn. While the doctor collected himself, the nurse took her place in these affairs. Cleaning the baby. Wrapping her. Presenting the glowing bundle to her parents.

“Congratulations,” Annie said. “It’s a girl.”

“Oh, my precious little star,” Suzanna gasped with joy, paying no mind to the matted tufts of hair fading from green to brown. Trick of the lights. Nothing more.

The Polaris Chronicles – Chapter 1 – salarta – X-Men (Comicverse) [Archive of Our Own]