January 17: "What is seen through open windows"

- Weirdo Among Misfits -

Lia Madrox rested her chin in her hand as she stared at the school grounds below. The late spring breeze drifted through her window and cooled her cheeks. She hated that. As she rested her temple against the window frame she debated just shutting the thing. Shutting the whole world out.

She wasn't an orphan. She wasn't abandoned, shunned, disowned. In fact, as far as she knew, most people liked her. Her father loved her. He was so impossibly protective of her she was literally rarely alone. She didn't belong on this estate. The Haven was for children that had nowhere else to go. She had a home. She had a neighborhood; a community. She had a place where she belonged, or at least could pass as belonging. Here she never felt she did.

The other kids watched her, questioning. Sure, she was treated well, and seemed to have a lot of friends. She even found herself becoming a sort of mother-figure to the other students. Still, she felt their stares. She had family. She was an outsider because she had what they didn't.

Ironically, that was the same reason why she was there. At home she also had something others didn't. She had a glitch in her DNA, and that alone defined her. Her father feared what that would mean for Lia's future should they stay. Yet he was also a "Glitch," and didn't fear their neighbors. Lia just couldn't comprehend why they had to run. To come here.

A few students ran by below Lia's second story dorm room. They laughed as they played tag. Advanced tag. There were some acrobatics involved. Cartwheels, flips, one-handed springs, so on and so forth. Lia yearned to join them, but was afraid to go down and ask. There was another reason why they stared. Another reason why her family made her different. Another thing she had that they didn't. Her mother's stupid statue.

After the woman's sacrifice, a statue of her in an aggressively powerful stance was erected on the grounds. What's worse was that Lia was practically a clone of her mother. It intimidated the other students to see that statue every day, only to see a flesh-and-blood version later walk the hallways. Add to that intimidation the assumption that Lia could be just as commanding. No one said it, but Lia knew that everyone held her to her mother's standards. It was no wonder she became "Mom" of her schoolmates. Everyone took for granted that, much like her mother, Lia would have courage, wisdom, strength, strategy, power, and a cool head.

It just made it all the worse that Lia actually didn't possess any of her mother's renowned traits. She was only fifteen. She was scared, unsure, weak, and filled with self-doubt. She just barely learned how to control the most basic of her powers, and her nervousness made even that control harder. Her mother unknowingly set this impossibly high bar for Lia to reach, and the girl felt like she was planted in the ground.

"How am I ever going to belong here?" she sighed as she rested her jaw on the soft wood of her window sill.

"Watch out!" Instinctively, Lia sprung away from the window, and pressed her back hard against the adjoining wall. A Frisbee whizzed past her ear. It skipped across her bed before dropping to her floor. Lia ventured her head around the corner of the window frame. In the yard below, Chayse LeBeau blushed up at her as he sheepishly ran his fingers through his shoulder-length brunette hair. With his free hand he waved.

"Sorry," he called up. "I was trying out something new and it got away from me. Didn't hit you, did it?"

Lia shook her head. She fetched the Frisbee and tossed it back down to him. She fought back the urge to melt onto the window sill to continue to watch him play.

"What are you doing up there anyway? It's gorgeous out here." Chayse rested the center of the Frisbee on his index finger and began to spin the disc like a top. Once it had some momentum, he began passing the spinning Frisbee from finger to finger without breaking eye contact with Lia.

She bit her lip, looked away, and shrugged. Her fingernail found a small scratch in the window sill's paint, and she used it to chip some off. White flakes embedded under her thumbnail as more dusted the palm of her hand.

"Well," Chayse replied, "come on down here before I have to come up and fetch you." His laugh was as warm and bubbly as a volcano fixing to release some pressure.

Almost a quarter-inch line of paint was flaked off the underside of Lia's window. Her free hand reached to the orange-dyed bottom layer of her long, straight, brunette hair. She hooked a tangerine-colored strand and twirled it around her index finger.

Chayse stopped laughing, and just stared up at her. His lime-green eyes were beacons that shone even through the bright afternoon sun. A smile crept up the right side of his face. With a flick, the spinning Frisbee bounced into the air where he casually snatched it and tucked it under his arm. Lia still hadn't moved, aside from trying to spin her hair into yarn, so he brought his right hand up to chin-level and beckoned her one last time with a simple wave towards his shoulder.

Like a dog call, it shocked her into submission. She smiled back and nodded. As she exited her room, she rethought her disdain for The Haven. Perhaps she'd fit in after all.

**A/N: This is actually the first thing I wrote starring Lia in nearly a year. It was nice to write her again. Also, sorry to my Hubby, I'll forever be a Lia/Chayse shipper and a Willow/Devon shipper. It will be hard to not have them stay together in "Glitches."

As for the names? Well, they're still subject to change. As of right now Lia and Chayse have their X-future last names, which is still a reference to their Marvel X-Men fathers Jamie "Multiple Man" Madrox and Remy "Gambit" LeBeau. Also, I don't like the name "The Haven" for the orphanage-turned-boarding-school for Glitches. It's a bit on the nose. X-Men was a bit more subtle with "Charles Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters." I need to come up with a name like that... Stupid naming things...**