Gotta Go Fast
It was Field Day at Xavier’s Institute for Gifted Children. That meant fun, supervised games mostly held outside on the beautifully manicured grounds of the school. No lessons were taught today in favor of letting the children have a healthy day off where they could get some fresh air and sunshine. They could play tug-of-war, freeze tag, hide and seek, Frisbee, even some sports like baseball and soccer. There was one activity the students didn’t really participate in so much as gleefully observe.
The teachers challenged each other to various games and for the students it was like gladiator matches. With their icy, sugary slushies and popcorn it was very reminiscent of the Roman Bread-And-Circuses Days. There was arm wrestling contests between Professor Logan and Professor Rasputin. One classic for some was the obstacle course run between Professor Pryde and Professor Wagner. The paintball competition between Red Team (Wanda, Pietro, Kitty, Rogue, Logan, Jean, and Scott) and Blue Team (Darcy, Jane, Bobby, Kurt, Hank, Storm, and Peter) was a favorite amongst them all because of the merciless tenacity their favorite teachers displayed. Afterwards, Bobby always had to cool everyone off with a mini winter wonderland that they all thoroughly enjoyed. This year, though, there was a new contest that the student spectators were dying to witness.
This year a student had cast the gauntlet. Coach Maximoff was challenged to a race against a mutant with the ability to outrun the Blackbird. Now, Coach Pietro Maximoff taught track at the school so he generally knew the layout of everyone’s physical abilities. The new kid, though, - Pietro didn’t even know his name yet, he was that new that he hadn’t been in his gym class yet – was a mystery. They knew he was gifted, but he had kept his abilities on the down low while he was at school. It didn’t matter though, because Coach Pietro was cocky and he was confident in his abilities to outrun anybody. He doubted the kid could at lightspeed. So, without a second thought to it, he agreed.
With the challenge now set, it was decided that they would run the entire layout of the school grounds starting at the gated entrance and ending on the patio where the winner would be crowned with the ceremonial laurels. One botanist mutant was very proud that she could grow those in time for the Teacher Olympics and Student Field Day.
At the starting point, Pietro was in his goggle, chatting up Jane. “I’m not sure this is a good idea, Silv.” She looked a little worried, but pretty all the same. Her beauty was more than distracting to not only Pietro but the other younger students gathered around to bear witness – somewhat.
“Are you doubting me, Janie baby?” Pietro smiled at her to belay his words but feigned hurt all the same. When he gave her a pout she sighed and put her hands on her hips. He broke off the pout in favor for a laugh. Around them a few of the children giggled and the older ones dreamily sighed themselves.
Once Pietro stopped his laughing, Jane spoke again, “I mean, what if you hurt his feelings, Pietro? He’s just a kid.” She gestured to the boy in question. The boy really was just a kid. His hair was spiked up with gel, stiff to the touch, and he had clunky white sneakers that looked like hand-me-downs. His blue t-shirt and khaki shorts were unremarkable, though his thick glasses gave him a nerdy appearance. Oddly enough, he had white gloves and plastic, gold-colored arm bangles around his arms and legs. Perhaps it wasn’t so odd given he was a mutant. Since the X-Men became heroes, many younger mutants were inspired to make super-hero costumes or clothes in general that could withstand their abilities. Besides, Pietro was all dressed up in his silver jacket anyway.
Pietro was unperturbed and unconcerned. “I’ll give him a sporting chance, but it’ll be fun. No one knows what his powers are anyway, so this will be a cool chance for him to show them off to everyone.”
“Not if he loses,” Jane argued. She gave Pietro a piercing green stare before she continued, “I’m not sure if you’re looking at this for his chance to show off or if it’s your own chance to show off.” Crossing her arms in front of her chest with a hip cocked out and an eyebrow raised, Jane pinned Pietro’s motivations down neatly.
“What? Nah…” Pietro shifted uneasily under her stare. He was young for a teacher, only 20, and the kid looked to be 12. Quicksilver was itching for competition and excitement, and showing off this way was one opportunity for him to do so. “Okay maybe.” Before she could open her mouth to berate him, he quickly blathered on, “Come on, Janie baby, it’s too late for me to back out now. I’ll look like a chicken otherwise.”
“Fine, then let him win.”
“Jane, that will just make him feel bad if he knew I did that.”
“Then don’t let him know.”
“He knows I have the speed of sound and everyone else will know I’m deliberately throwing the race when I don’t use it. We’re recording this anyway so we can playback the tape.”
Jane groaned and then pressed her silver fingernails to her forehead. There was silence for only a few seconds.
“I’m sorry, Jane.”
Looking up at Pietro’s contrite expression, Jane easily forgave him. “It’s fine, just don’t do something like this again. It’s unfair and not fun for anybody involved.”
“You’re right, Jane.”
“Mhm.” They heard Storm loudly calling for attention, stating the race was about to begin. “I’d wish you luck, but I doubt you need it.”
“Thank you, anyway.” Jane stepped away to go stand beside the other onlookers, but Pietro caught her arm. “I love you, Janie baby.”
Turning over her shoulder to look at him, she twisted until her hand could interlock their fingers together. With a squeeze she called back to him, “I love you, too, Silvie.” Mutually letting go, he let her walk away.
Facing his opponent, they both respectfully shook the others’ hand before getting into their starting positions. Really, they both crouched but not too dramatically. It was casual pose for them both. Storm raised her arms and a hush fell over the crowd. “Ready,” the moment was tense. “Set,” she was stretching this out for suspense, she had to be. “Go!”
At the utterance of the word, Pietro forgot the conversation he had with Jane completely and just ran. It was an easy run for him, his surroundings melting into a blur as he followed the path they laid out for the race. In no time at all he was at the patio and crossing the finish line, not even out of breath. He stopped, slowing down to normal speed, and raised his arms for praise, but they were already screaming before they saw them. Confused, he glanced to his right and saw his opponent was already decorated with the traditional victory laurels looking smug. He couldn’t believe he lost.
Jane jogged up to his side, and shouted in his ear amidst the roar of the crowd, “Did you let him win?”
Pietro didn’t shout back but just shook his head in reply. He was too much in shock to speak. Staring hard at the boy he had underestimated, he waited until Storm let the boy speak. Storm asked the victor, “What’s your power? That was fantastic!”
A spike of jealously went through Pietro until he heard the boy proudly boast, “I can go at supersonic speed!”
“What’s your mutant name?” asked someone from the crowd.
Eagerly the boy informed them, “Would you believe me if I said ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’?”
The crowd laughed, and as Pietro processed the words he laughed, too. He had to concede defeat, and he didn’t mind it in the least if it was to Sonic. He felt an arm wrap around his shoulders, and he turned to face Jane who was standing so close her nose was nearly pressed into his cheek. Pushing his long silver hair aside, she whispered in his ear while the crowd started chanting the Sonic theme song, “You’re always number one.” Kissing him quickly to the point that now Pietro was out of breath, she finished her earlier statement, “To me anyway.” Pietro smiled all the same, his lesson learned, and then clapped the boy on the shoulder, congratulated him on the win and the excellent race.