Prologue: Dream A Little Dream
It hasn't been easy to readjust since the Apocalypse incident. Though his students are slowly making the adjustment back to what they call normalcy, Professor Charles Xavier, the most powerful psychic in the world, has been finding it very difficult to sleep. Every night since that battle, his mind would drift. This would normally not bother him, for he usually can control where his mind wanders. But this was now different, not nightmarish in any sense, but disconcerting knowing he cannot control his minds destination in this dream, if it was indeed a dream. The visions seem to get slightly stronger every night, as though who ever is showing him this is gradually building up the suspense. And in every vision, he can barely make out a single figure baring a star on its chest. Charles feels as though the figure is judging him, and yet he can sense nothing from it. Every night he tries to make out the star symbol on the chest. But as his eyes gaze upon the star, it suddenly flashes bright nearly blinding him.
Charles opens his eyes casually realizing it is now morning. His other senses slowly catch up as he hears the light chiming his antique grandfather clock. He lies still staring at the old clock as it chimes. 'It is morning' he thinks to himself. Charles closes his eyes and expands his mind over his vast estate to check on his students under his care. Some are just waking and some are already active. Charles smiles as he feels their happiness and anticipation of the days activities. He thinks to himself again 'Remarkable! Despite the troubles they face outside these walls being mutants, and the possible Armageddon we faced a few weeks ago, they are still dedicated.' Smiling again, Charles's mind drifts for a slight moment as he hears a whispering voice in his mind, "Are they ready?"
His smile wanes, as his antique clock chimes again.
Several levels beneath the estate, in a chamber known only to a few as the Danger Room, Charles Xavier's students engage themselves in mock combat. It is here in this chamber do they test their superhuman gifts. The Danger Room is capable of simulating any terrain they wish to train on using the latest in holographic and solid light projection technology. Hanging above the main chamber high in the center is the command center. This is the room where the brains and higher functions of the Danger Room lay. Computer screens and monitors watch every action the students take with absolute detail. And keeping a watchful eye over everything is one of Xavier's School's toughest instructors, Logan. A bit rough around the edges, but a good instructor none the less. He's been at this "hero game" for quite some time, so he knows what these kids will go up against. Out in the field he goes by the name Wolverine. It's the only name he remembers from his past. He tries to think back, but everything besides his name comes up as a haze. Logan holds up his right hand and lightly grips a fist. Out between his knuckles come three shiny, sharp blades. A painful sensation as the "claws" cut and tear through his skin. A sensation he has learned to live with, and another mystery of his past that seems to always elude him. He retracts the blades back into his forearm and watches his remarkable healing ability close the three wounds as though it never happened. Logan has seen a lot in his time. And from what he and Charles Xavier have been able to piece together from him jumbled memory, it's been a long, long time. As he watches the young mutants below in the Danger Room, he thinks to himself, 'God I hope they never have to see or face what I have.' Their safety is his priority, so he pushes them hard, sometimes beyond their limits. But this day he decides to tone it back a bit in light of recent events.
His students, however, continue to push it. One of whom he considers the best and brightest of the bunch, Scott Summers. Ordinarily, Logan wouldn't mind seeing his students push the envelope, but he sets the rules for every Danger Room session. And Scott can be somewhat of an over achiever. So he sneers a bit and decides to remind them.
Logan toggles the external speaker system, "Cyclops, I said we're taking it easy today."
A young mutant looks up at the command center and responds," What's the deal Logan! This is suppose to be an survival obstacle course. Not a playground!"
Logan thumbs the main kill switch deactivating the Danger Room simulation quickly.
He looks out into the room and sees the four students catching their breathes. All except one, Scott, who looks up at him in from the ground floor with a confused gaze.
Logan says, "Look kid, we just got this room up and runnin'. Your team hadn't seen any action since Apocalypse, so I know you're all rusty. So I wanted gradually get you back into it."
Despite the fact that Scotts eyes are completely cover by a visor, Logan can see his frustration. The visor gives Scott the look of having one eye, hence his call sign, Cyclops.
Scott's visor also contains his one power and weakness, a powerful concussive optic beam generated by his eyes. A power Scott can neither stop or control without his visor.
Logan knows it's been tough for him, and sees why Scott is the most disciplined student among his others. But Scott's impatience has started to wear thin on his fellow students and friends. And they begin to look at him with disappointment. Logan makes his way down to the main chamber as the other students start fussing at Scott.
"Dude, vhy did you have to go and tick Logan off like dat?" One of them asks.
Scott turns to his blue furred friend, "Kurt, look I didn't mean to, I mean…"
Another student steps between them quickly. She brushes her short white striped brown hair back as she says, "Well you did. And now we ain't gonna hear the end of it all day."
Kurt steps back sighing and glaring his yellow eyes at Scott, "Man, I swear, it's like you have this need to be the best at everything!"
Scott answers back, "That's not true Kurt, and you know that." He looks at the girl between them and continues, "Rogue, you know I have this teams' best interest in mind at all times."
She looks back him then turns to look at her other classmates and says, "You're trying a bit too hard Scott."
Scott starts to speak out but is cut off by another, "Scott, it's Mr. Logan that set the rules for these sessions, and you're like, going overboard and stuff."
Scott looks down in frustration in response to what she said and responds, " Kitty, I'm not trying to go over board, I just know we can be better."
They all sigh and groan out towards Scott as the main door opens. Logan walks though with a smirk on his face as he says, "Alright break it up and cool off! And that means you too elf." as he points at Kurt.
Logan sighs out as he folds his arms, "I think we should call it today."
Scott steps forward, "What? Logan, why? We were just getting warmed up."
Logan nods his head, "None of you are in the right mind set. Maybe it was too soon to try to get you back in the saddle. We'll continue this tomorrow."
"Whoa, Logan, what's wrong?" Scott inquires.
Rogue steps up, " Scott, he said we'll do this tomorrow. Just listen to him."
The others fell silent as Scott hung his head in frustration with his hands on his waist.
He finally mumbled out, "Fine."
Kurt, Kitty, and Rogue make their way out of the Danger Room leaving Scott and Logan standing there in silence. Logan looks over at Scott, who just about to mope about.
"Scott, I'm just trying to look out for you guys. You've all been through the ringer. Let's face it, these ain't your average teenage problems."
Scott nods his head, " You're right Logan, sorry about that."
Logan notices Scott's depression. "So, how's Jean doing?"
Hearing her name changed Scott's posture a bit as he replies, "Ok I guess. She says she is getting better, but…"
"Is she still having those nightmares?" Logan asks.
Scott sighs out, "I don't know, I do know she hasn't had much sleep lately."
Logan pats him on the shoulder, "Look kid, you all were very close to dying a few weeks ago. It's not something that's easy to sleep to. Give it time. Or you'll end up like me."
Logan grins at Scott, and manages to get the young man to finally crack a smile.
After getting cleaned up from their Danger Room session, Kurt, Kitty and Rogue step out of the elevator and make their way to the kitchen for breakfast. Kurt brushes his velvet like fur on his arms, "Man, I hate these humid days, it makes my fur sticky."
Kitty replies, "Well Mr. McCoy is still working on the new environmental controls."
Shaking her hair, Rogue adds, "Ah hope he fixes it soon. It's hard tryin' to read a book let alone relax when you're sweatin' up a storm."
Kitty smirks at Rogue looking her up and down, "And this is like coming from someone who covers herself up with more clothes than a fireman."
Rogue sneers at Kitty, who just giggles and walks a bit faster. Kurt looks behind him as they walk to the kitchen, "Hey, vhat is Scotts deal? I kind of enjoyed that light Danger Room session Logan put us through."
Kitty adds, "I know, they're usually brutal."
Rolling her eyes, Rogue adds, "It's about Jean y'all. The guy can't think straight when she's not around."
Kitty smirks at Rogue again saying, "Someone still crushing over Scott?"
Rogue lightly pushes Kitty ahead replying, "Knock it off Kitty, Ah'm over that, ok?"
Kurt looks at Rogue baffled, "Wow, really Rogue? You have thing for Scott?"
She answers back sharply, "Ah'm done with that y'all. And step brother or not, Kurt, you tell anyone, Ah'll duck tape yer fur off."
Kurt playfully grins at Rogue, " Hey sis, mums the vord." As he disappears in his trade mark blue smoke. The two girls lightly cough and wave their hands clearing the air around them. "Ah wish he'd warn us before teleportin' 'round like that." Rogue says.
As they arrive in the kitchen, they see Kurt already raiding the fridge. Kitty grabs a bowl and cereal while Rogue and Kurt help themselves to a cup of chocolate milk. Kurt finishes his cup and let's out a slight burp grossing out the other two. He just smiles as he asks, "So, vhen do you think they'll let us back in school?"
Kitty and Rogue glance over at Kurt and shrug their shoulders. Kitty says, "Think the Professor is working that out with the school board or something."
Rogue sarcastically adds, "Whenever that'll be."
Kurt leaps his extremely agile body over to them, " Vell, in that case, let's take advantage of the free time and hang out!"
Kitty perks up and adds, "You're right Kurt, like moping around here is getting lame."
Rogue stands up, "Sure why not, couldn't hurt getting' some fresh air."
Kitty hops off her kitchen bench, "Kurt go see if anyone else wants to come along."
Kurt shoots her a salute saying, "On it!" As he vanishes again in puff of blue smoke leaving the girls coughing again.
Scott makes his way to his room after cleaning up from this mornings Danger Room session. His thoughts wander as he walks up the stairs. He can't seem to focus, and when he does, he becomes over bearing. And it's been getting worse. He thinks to himself, 'What's wrong with me? I should be setting an example.' He clears his head as he carefully removes his visor keeping his eyes shut and replacing them with his ruby red sunglasses. As he walks down the hall towards his room, he passes by Jean's door and hears what he thinks is humming. He quietly approaches and puts his ear against her door. To his surprise, Jean is awake, and she is singing. Scott recalls in the last few weeks, Jean has been nearly bed ridden with head aches and lack of sleep. To hear her up and about is quite surprising. Suddenly a echoing voice travels through Scotts mind, 'You can come in Scott, the door is unlocked.' Scott smiles as he opens the door to see Jean sitting up on her bed still in her pajamas. She smiles back him saying, "Sensed you coming up the stairs."
He replies, " I guess that means you're feeling better?"
Jean nods, "Much better, like those headaches never happened."
Scott looks over on Jeans lap and sees a large drawing pad and an assortment of colored pencils. He glances at her drawing and says, "Wow, that's pretty cool. I didn't think you were into Sci-Fi stuff."
Jean smiles at him again and looks at her drawing, "Well, I guess it's kind of . McCoy thought drawing out my dreams may help me relax and understand what they are about."
Scott sits himself down, "Has it been working?"
She responds with a smile, "Yes, I mean I think so."
They both glance at art again as Scott remarks, "That looks like a bird right there, and what's with the dude figure with the star on him?"
Jeans just playfully smirks at him and says, "Well Scott, people see what they want to see."
He chuckles and adds, "I just thought it might make a cool album cover or something."
They both share a laugh as Kurt suddenly appears beside them in a cloud of blue smoke.
"Ooops! Sorry about that, I heard you in here and thought I'd drop by."
Scott clears the air waving his hands, " It's cool Kurt. Hey, sorry about this morning."
Kurt grins at his friend, "Don't sweat it my friend. Tell you vhat, if you feel you the need to make it up to me, then how about hanging out today. A couple of us are heading into town, and it vould be cool to hitch a ride in your chick magnet mobile."
Scott turns to Jean as she speaks up, "Sure we'll go."
Scott asks, "Are you sure Jean, why don't we…"
She cuts him off, " Scott, if I don't at least get out of here for a couple of hours, I may actually slip into coma. Besides, I feel a shopping spree coming on."
Kurt back flips and says, "You two rock! See you down stairs in an hour." As vanishes again teleporting in a puff of blue smoke.
Jeans playfully grins at Scott, "Ahem, 'chick magnet mobile'?"
Scott smiles back, " His words, not mine."