The fiasco at the pool broke down all the tensions that had been running rampant on the campus. The noise level of the numerous teens in the school returned to its usual buzz and everyone walked easier around each other. The Mezmerizer even began to teach a class on sign language with her husband. She also worked with Jean on developing long-range communication without needing Cerebro's amplification. The Future Tech Team had arrived as guests but now they were welcome guests. The only two who still danced around each other were Sara and Logan.
"Hey," Sara said, catching the Canadian completely off guard. He'd been standing in the courtyard watching Scott teach his class on mechanics. He whirled to face her, unconsciously tensing.
"Hey," he replied.
"I just wanted to let you know that Jean says that 'Rory's wrist is finally knitting the way it should be. We'll be leaving soon," she told him.
"That's good," he said, then quickly amended, "That her wrist is healing."
"Also, I just wanted you to know that I am sorry I used to get in here," Sara said softly, broaching the subject as gently as she could.
He grunted and started to turn away. "You did what you had to. Jean showed me those logs and I don't blame you for wanting to find that guy."
She put her hand on his shoulder and forced him to turn and face her. "I am sorry, Logan. I'm sorry that I lied, and that I hurt you, but you have to know that I wasn't lying when I said that you were my first kiss."
She swallowed and gathered her courage as he stared at her in open-eyed wonder, "And I'm not lying when I say that I hope you'll be my second kiss, and the third and forth…"
Sara never got to finish what she was saying. Logan took her in his arms, tilted her head back and kissed her. After what seemed like an endless amount of time, they finally broke the kiss, opened their eyes, and looked at each other. A small smile crept over her face, returned in his eyes.
Hooting, hollering, and catcalls sprang up from Scott's class. Logan never let go of Sara's waist as they turned and confronted the class of kids and their teacher.
"Would you mind taking that inside?" Scott called to them. "You're interrupting our work."
Glow heard the snikt of Logan extracting his claws and looked at him with mild alarm. She saw only a single middle claw up in the direction of the red-haired man. "Logan, there are kids over there!" She pushed his hand down and he retracted his claw, allowing himself to be pulled inside the foyer by her.
Something jingled, like the faint sound of metal on metal. The silver around Sara's neck caught his attention and he fingered the dog tags on the simple bead chain.
When he saw his own code name on the tags he asked, "Where did you get these?"
"Rogue gave them to me. She said it means I have to come back." Sara blushed and covered the tags with her hand. "Did you want them back?"
"Nah, keep them. Just make sure you do come back when your business is done." He leaned over her and kissed her again.
When they separated she leaned against his shoulder. "I'm horrible at goodbyes. Michael should be back any second now with the rented car. We're all headed up to Russell's home back in Maine where we grew up. I left the number with Storm, in case you ever feel like talking…"
She ran out of words, and so did he. Finally he managed a decent bluster, "Well, it's been days, but I can still smell New Jersey on me. I think I'll go take a shower."
"You do that," Sara said with a smile.
He looked at her suspiciously before he walked away.
Badlands showed up with the rental jeep sooner than anyone had expected. Everyone turned out to say good-bye to the Tech Team, except Logan who was in the shower, and oddly enough, Kitty and Bobby.
Xavier sat in his wheelchair at the entranceway to the mansion with his adult students surrounding him, the teenage ones flanking the driveway. Russell and Michael were already fighting outside the jeep over who got to drive, not noticing that The Mezmerizer sat behind the wheel with Whirlwind navigating in the front passenger's seat.
Glow stood before the X-Men, shaking Xavier's hand. "I want to thank you again for your help and hospitality. I also want to apologize again…"
"Enough with the apologies. You owe us none, although we certainly owe you many," Xavier said with an air of irony. "You have taught us many things about working together and responsibility that we didn't take as seriously before. You also seem to have, however unwittingly, organized some our younger pupils as well, and gotten them to work together better than they ever have before."
"I just want them to be able to have what I didn't," she said modestly. "That's all."
Before anyone could make a reply, Bobby Drake came skidding up the hallway to Glow. He handed her a camera.
"Here's the Polaroid you wanted. And it's full of film," he panted, trying to catch his breath.
"Good man!" Glow clapped him on the back. "Now, where's our reconnaissance officer?"
"Right here!" Kitty floated through the ceiling and lowered herself to the floor. "He's in the second story bathroom in the west wing hallway. I unlocked the door but didn't peek, I promise!"
"Good work team!" Glow called over her shoulder as she flew up the stairs and in the direction Kitty had indicated.
"What's she doing?" Jean asked.
"I believe it's called payback," Xavier said sounding amused.
The entire group heard Logan's outraged roar and Glow's wicked laughter.
"WHY YOU! GET BACK HERE WITH THOSE!" Logan hollered.
Glow came pelting down the stairs and took flight out the door with Logan hot on her heels, only his towel wrapped around his waist. He followed her out the door and into the courtyard, but it was too late. Glow was already in the back seat of the jeep, waving at him with a photo-stuffed hand as Mez speed down the driveway.
"Bye Logan! Remember to call!" Glow shouted. She turned and sat down in the jeep, her voice still carrying as she continued to tease her new romantic interest. "So how much do you think I can get for these on E-Bay?"
Logan conceded defeat. He turned around and ignored the snickers and laughter from the staff and students alike. Walking back into the mansion he stopped only to spear a stray photograph that Glow had dropped with a single claw, pulling it away from Jubilee. He grumbled all the way up the stairs and back to his shower.
When completely out of eyesight, Xavier who'd been controlling himself very well, burst into laughter that almost doubled him over.
"Professor?" Jean asked with a smile on her own face.
"I'll be fine, Jean." Xavier wiped the tears of laughter from his face. "I wasn't so sure that an alliance with the Future Tech Team would be a good thing, but I do have to admit, they've brought a life to us that we haven't had in a long time."
"I'm not so sure that an alliance with the Brotherhood of Mutants is such a good thing." Checkmate bathed a washcloth in warm water and placed it over the forehead of his leader, DreamWeb.
"Hush, David. We were ill prepared for the X-Men and for the reappearance of the Future Tech Team. We need to know more about these X-Men, and the best way of doing that is to get in good with Magneto," DreamWeb reassured him. "Our stay at his stronghold is only temporary. He needs me, my money, and my new associate-Dr. DeLeon."
She removed the cloth from her head and sat up, laying a reassuring hand on Checkmate's arm. "If Magneto hopes to rebuild what he lost at their hands and to continue his plan of unifying mutant kind, then he will need the machine that Dr. DeLeon is currently working on. It is most fortunate that even after that beast robbed you of your weapons belt, you still had the invisibility belt that Shield gave back to you. Without it we would not have been able to escape, and that places them in our debt further. They know they would not have lived without your intervention. You have done very well David. When we return to the headquarters of the New Realm you shall be rewarded."
Checkmate still looked uneasy. "I don't like this. I don't trust them, and I don't like how much stronger The Mezmerizer has gotten. Allying ourselves with the enemies of her friends may prove our undoing."
"You worry too much," DreamWeb said as she lay back down and motioned for him to freshen the cloth and put it back on. She still had a headache from using so much of her psychokinetic energy. "We are The New Realm, the only mafia controlled solely by mutants. We are more powerful and dangerous than Magneto's Brotherhood of Mutants. He's in this for a cause. We're in it for a cut of the action."
If he still had any doubts, David Devine -otherwise known as Checkmate - kept them to himself as he tended to his mistress. It did seem to him though; that the bare stonewalls of Magneto's stronghold resembled a prison more than a place where peace and money could be won. DreamWeb dozed and he stood guard over her, as always.
|« « BACK|