A/N: Had to re-upload due to the fact that the document that I uploaded originally was glitching like crazy, and replacing my story with lines of meaningless code. Grrr! Anyway, I hope you enjoy now that I've finally got it up - read, review, you know the drill!

No one ever said to me that being a mutant was going to be easy.

But then again, no one talked about being a mutant at all.

It wasn't a topic of discussion one could easily spark amongst friends, or with parents across the dining table. Hey, mum, check it out, I'm officially a freak of nature! And the stories only made it worse, rumours whispered at night when eyes were closed and ears wide open of people who weren't really people at all, but monsters clothed in human skin and walking among us, just waiting to strike. And the more it looked like something big was going to kick off between the Americans and the Russians, the more horrific the stories became, as if people needed some sort of supernatural force beyond their tiny comprehension to ladle all their fear and mindless rage upon, a distant force that they could blame without any sort of recompense for their actions.

To me, the stories meant something different. They were tales of hope and excitement that reminded me that there were others out there just like me, people with whom I felt this instant, irresistible affinity though our shared gifts, our mutations. As the stories spread, so did my mental network; in my mind, a golden mesh of threads was stretched in a glorious tangle over the world, a filigree of strings as delicate as our own twisted DNA that one day we could follow, hauling ourselves hand over hand until we collided with others who understood, fellow beings alongside which we might finally feel safe in a world that simply wasn't constructed for us to inhabit.

Hope comes hand in hand with fear, as did the stories with the single thing that scared me most, drove me to tears in the middle of the night, was the single look of disgust and fear and revulsion in people's eyes, like we were something wrong that should be exterminated with the moral ease of rats or weeds. Remove the roots so they don't come back. A look that I was forced to replicate behind my own eyes so as to blend in as seamlessly as possible. It took me years to understand why we warranted such hatred when in essence we were the same, until it finally dawned on me one day through my own fear of eventual discovery, that it was their own terror of the unknown and unpredictable that drove them to such lengths.

You heard whispers that gathered in the corners of the playground, kids swapping tales about mutants who had been found, and taken away by the police never to return. Once, the word in school was that a body had been found in the early hours of the morning, mutilated beyond recognition, but clearly with scales instead of skin. I put it down to silly fantasies conjured in the minds of bored children that had inflated beyond their control, but whenever the word mutant could be heard, it sent a chill down my spine, as bad news was sure to follow suit.

I was one of the lucky ones. My mutation was invisible, and I took full advantage to conceal it from the world as soon as I knew how, and why. The sooner I learned to control it, the better, and thankfully I was a fast learner. But even now I could still lose control on odd occasions; I was all too aware of how volatile I was, a ticking time bomb just waiting to erupt, made all the more potent by so many years of dormancy. And losing my head now would be far worse - the older I grew, the more powerful I became, and the last thing I needed was to be unveiled as a freak in the midst of a society hungry for blood.

So naturally, that's exactly what happened.