Disclaimer: The concept of X-Men isn't mine; it belongs to Stan Lee and Marvel Comics. Erin isn't mine either; she belongs to Medie, and Medie created the beautiful dustjacket.

Author's Note: This was written during the Original Character Challenge OC Share.

She grips the handles, feeling the rumble of the motorcycle beneath her. Its speed rips through her every pore as greens and browns blend together on either side of her. Cold wind bites at her exposed hands, but she welcomes it. It comes along with the ride. The road flies by, a blue blur to the naked eye.

Freedom. That's what her bike means to her and Erin relishes in every moment of it. When she glides past the buildings, the houses, the countryside, she can leave behind the prejudice, the insecurity, and the frustration. On her motorcycle, she is no longer teacher, mentor, or mutant. She's simply Erin.

After the events surrounding the strange migraines felt around the world, Erin needs this moment of freedom. Suspicions surrounding mutants have increased and people stare at her more noticeable students with fear in their eyes. It bothers her. She doesn't want her students to face anymore hardship than they already have to. She wants them to be able to reach their full potential and make the world a better place. That's what any teacher wants for her students.

Then her thoughts turn to the one student no one could save. John Allerdyce. So much writing potential. He could have been a poet or a journalist. He once wrote an essay that brought Erin to tears. Oh, she tried to explain to him, tried to inspire him to continue down a writing path. But John had a chip on his shoulder and a need to prove he was better than the rest of the world. Magneto could apparently feed that need better than she could.

She grips the handles tighter, sadness building in her heart. She felt his betrayal as clearly as Bobby and Rogue had. She watched Bobby turn things to ice and throw them against John's side of the room. They broke on impact. She and Storm took turns trying to console Rogue. For a long time, Erin thought Rogue was hurt by the betrayal.

“No,” the teenager had told her. “John and I are too much alike, and I keep wondering if I could've made that same choice.”

At times, Erin wonders if she could've made that choice, too. In the end, she knows she couldn't. She couldn't imagine ever hurting anyone. And essentially, everyone is the same; mutants only have something a little extra.

Erin puts this and other thoughts to rest. She can't afford to dwell on the past. New students will be entering Xavier's soon, and she must be one of the driving forces to keep them from following John's path. So she looks at the open road stretched before her instead. So many turns and possibilities. Which path will the world take now? Which one will she?


© 2006 Crimson Idealist