(Ava's POV)

Today was December 25. Which meant that after all those long days, weeks, and months of waiting, it was finally Christmas morning. Hurray for me! So not. I'd ended up with a bad sprained ankle after I tripped over—wait for it—my ice skates. I'd tossed them carelessly on the floor of our dorm before my shower. After showering, I forgot and had opened the door, tripping over them instantly. I meat to land cleanly, but because of my slippery feet, I fell awkwardly, twisting my ankle in the process before crashing on the floor. I'd clutched my ankle for dear life, screaming loudly and where I then cried my eyes out (yes, strong Ava cried like a baby).
Anyway, we all were gathered in the huge decorated living room and, not only did I ache from the slight pain my ankle still produced whenever I stood too long, but I had to suffer through what felt like an eternity of carols. Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, Silent Night, Drummer Boy, and Twelve Days of Christmas (the one song everyone pretty much screwed up on). There were more songs sung, but I wasn't in the mood and honestly? I'd rather focus on my ankle than the four to ten year old kids butchering Twelve Days of Christmas to death.
Professor spoke a bit then thanked everyone for attending—something I couldn't understand having a thanks for since everyone lived here in the first place. Once he added a bit more on how being grateful to have those around us healthy, safe, and happy, he announced the gift-giving. And boy, did his small speech on "Giving is better than getting" go straight down the drain.
All the young mutants practically trampled over each other as they raced to the highly decorated Christmas tree that had mounds of presents underneath it. Professor and the other teachers simply laughed as they joined the hyper active and aggressive (yes, there was a power fight over whose Ranger Danger toy was whose) students. All and all, I knew one way or another that Molly was just about ready to beat Stephan up if he didn't hand over the Plasma Gun he purposefully kept shooting green ooze in her neatly styled curly hair.
As the teachers assessed them, and the other fights that would flair here and there, I spotted Zin with Quentin whose face was aflame. He'd been crushing on her for what seemed like ages and he was taking too long to admit that he did have feeling for her.
But not for long.
Grinning, I stood from the chair I'd been sitting in, slowly making my way over to them. Until I yelped quietly as a flair of pain shot up my ankle. I started to fall sideways before an arm looped around my waist, steadying me.
I smiled. "Hey jerk," I replied fondly to my boyfriend.
John smirked. "Hey Hottie." he pecked my cheek. "So how did you think of the songs?"
I gave him a look as we came to Zin and Quentin. "They sounded like dying fish."
John burst out laughing. "So cold. So horribly cold!"
Zin lightly punched me. "Ava, be nice. Especially since I was singing also."
"Yeah, with the tweens. You know, the ones who didn't butcher a song?"
"Technically speaking, Twelve Days of Christmas is one of the most messed up carols during the holidays." Quentin stated like he was freaking Einstein.
I rolled my eyes. "Thanks for making me feel dumb."
Quentin shrugged, smirking as he said, "Doesn't take much. You pretty much do it on your own."
Zin gasped in mock horror as John lunged, but I pulled him back. "Relax. It's only an attempt to get you in trouble." I stated. "He wants you gone to get to me."
Quentin blew out air. "As if. You're not the prettiest girl here."
"Oh?" I questioned with an arched brow, literally having to shove John back as he still tried to get to the know-it-all teen after his insult directed at me. "Then who is?"
"Can't say."
"How come?" asked Zin, completely oblivious of what I was conspiring.
Quentin rubbed the back of his neck. "Well, she won't like me back."
I nudged John hard and, after a couple of winks and beckons from my head toward the two friends, he finally got the drift. He grinned, eyes shining in mischievousness. "You won't know if she likes your or not if you don't ask her out." he stated.
Wow, John was diving straight into the chemistry. I was simply hoping for a puppy-love confession. Quentin shifted his weight, unsure of what to say. I smiled softly, placing a hand on his shoulder. "What does she look like? Act like?"
Quentin blushed like a fanboy. "She's super pretty with mostly dark blond hair with white streaks. Her eyes are navy grey with tinted white. She's pale but short. She's super smart, kind, friendly, and just… just… amazing!" he sighed blissfully.
I glanced at Zin who was smiling. I nudged her. "Well?"
She gave me a quizzing look. "What?"
Did she really just… UGH! I grabbed her shoulders. "You Zin!"
She stared at me, then realization snapped into her blank face. "Oh! OH!" she blushed. "Oh, he was talking about me."
John and I smacked our foreheads in sync.
Zin then tapped Quentin who was beat-red in the face. "I like you too cutie." she then pecked his cheek, causing him to instantly pass out.
We all laughed.
I stopped seconds later though as a harsh and forceful wave of danger washed over me. If not for John, grabbing me when he did, I certainly would've fell. Grasping half of my bearings, I shoved John back and fled out the room. "Bathroom!" I hollered at them over my shoulder.
Coming to the front door, I burst threw into the wintery air. I heard footsteps behind me. Turning, I saw Zin come up to my side. "What's wrong?"
"I thought I told you to—" I screamed as bunch of snow plowed into my back, sending me sprawling down the cement stairs as a sickening crack erupted. On my hands and knees, I fell into fetal position, clutching my knee that I knew was fractured horribly bad. First my ankle, now my knee. Could this get any worse?
A pair before arms grabbed me out of nowhere. A hand holding a cloth laced with sleeping gas covered my mouth. I couldn't do anything. Literally, with my reinjured ankle and twisted knee, I couldn't even land a kick—not that I'd dare to because of the heart lurching pain I'd be in.
Hating myself for not being able to keep Zin safe, I felt an overwhelming sense of tiredness fall over me. As my eyes slowly started to close I heard Stryker's evil voice in my ear.
"I have you. Now for your little sister."
A permanent curtain fell over me and everything went black.

(Zin's POV)

I watched as Ava shoved John away from her and headed towards the door
"Bathroom" She called over her shoulder; however she went left not right. John called out after her "Hey Ava! It's the other way!"
However, Ava did not reply and so, as I gave John a careful hug (I wasn't sure what Ava was worried about, but if she was like this, there was something wrong), I also whispered to Quentin who was still passed out on the floor "I love you". Then I gave him a kiss on the cheek and ran after Ava, who, thankfully, was only at the front doors.
She turned and faced me, and as I was puffing I managed to ask "What's wrong?" she looked at me, worried, and replied "I thought I told you to-".
My face was paralyzed as Stryker came up behind her, kicking her with ice cold boots to make her fall. She screamed as a cloth was placed over her face and I unfroze myself and screamed loudly. Stryker bent down and whispered something in her ear, but I just screamed even louder as Ava's eyelids glued themselves shut.
I heard the pounding feet of the X-Men behind me but my rage over-whelmed me and flames made their way out of mouth. Stryker was only a few feet away and when I looked back at him, his nose looked very shiny and his hair was singed. Walking forwards, I didn't even notice when I stepped over Ava's unconscious form, I reached out my hand, ready to hold Stryker until he died. Ready to feel his life ebb away. However before I could get there, I was knocked off my feet by a strong gust of wind. Growling, I knew exactly what- more likely who, did it, and I yelled over my shoulder while battling the wind
"Back it off Storm! I'm only giving this guy what he's always deserved, what he has done to so many other MUTANTS!"
My anger surged and I breathed out, surprised at the power I had driven myself to. I heard a scream next to me as the storm calmed down, and I laughed (ok, maybe I was going slightly insane, but this man had ruined my best friend's life).
I heard a voice inside my head and scowled "Zinaida this is not right. This is not you; you do not fix something by killing someone." I screamed out in anger and yelled back "Professor, try telling that to Stryker."
Even angrier, I breathed out one more time and found a power within me that I had never had before. The flames whispered in my ears as the spiraled let us go master, we shall destroy everything master. No! I told them do not harm the mutants, I only wish to harm the MRD and STRYKER! But master- NO! I cut them off I control you! I WILL control you! Do as I say, and rise!
The flames danced around me, licking my legs as the wind swayed beside them. I rose into the air with the power of the flames helping me to be steady. I sighted Stryker and moved slowly towards him, the flames obeying my every wish. As I came closer I called out to him "Turn around Stryker and face me! I am here for every single mutant you have ever tortured and killed!"
He turned around, but something about the smile on his face put despair in my heart. He had a young boy in his grasp – a knife at the boy's throat, and coming up beside him was a teenage boy that I had only seen in photo's; he was who I believed to be Thomas. The very same Thomas who Ava struggled against Stryker with, but this Thomas was dragging Ava along like a rag-doll, and he had a crazed look on his face that told me he had been brainwashed.
Stryker called back to me and I was vaguely aware with the X-Men coming back up on my right, and Ava opening her eyes, slowly but surely.
"Oh, dear sweet, Zinaida; I have been waiting a long time to meet you! But you know what is even better? You're going to come with me, back to my sweet little home."
I frowned and dropped to the ground, holding a leash on the flames and keeping them swirling above my head.
"In your dreams Stryker, why would I ever come with you?!"
He grinned, his eyes holding a crazed look, holding the knife even tighter against the boy's throat.
"Why you would come with me? I'll tell you why!" He motioned at the boy whose life was on the line "Unless you and your big sister Ava come with me, this boy will die. I am sure that neither of you two want that to happen."
Beside him, Ava stirred and looked up at the person holding her
"Thomas! Thomas is that really you?" Brainwashed Thomas kicked her in the head but the blood only lingered for a few moments before a scab formed and the wound healed – courtesy of her fast healing – and asked brainwashed Thomas "What are you doing Thomas? You're supposed to be a good guy."
Then Ava looked directly at me, her drugged state only slightly better,
"You know what we have to do Zin, and you know the consequences. We would never allow a young boy – let alone a mutant – to be killed if we had the choice to save them, step forward Zin and we can save him."
I nodded, sad for Ava that this was happening. But I was also sad for the boy, especially for what was about to happen. I reached out my mind and searched for his, that man who had taught us to be ourselves and not be afraid. The man who; as much as he was limited physically, could hold so many people to admire him. At this very moment I hoped he was listening as I mentally relayed over what was going to happen.
Tightening my grip on the flames still swirling in the wind, my nervousness, tiredness, anger, and every other emotion got caught in my words
"NOW!"