Rogue watches Allan continue his tedious yard work. Pretty much spending the rest of the day being a lumberjack, Allan shreds the downed trees from his accidental shockwave. Rogue watches with amazed wide eyes as he effortlessly rips thick tree trunks in half then grinds them with his bare hand into tiny wood chips. She can't help but marvel at his physique. Out in the blaring late afternoon sun, and he hasn't even broken a single sweat. Rogue watches his muscles flex as he continues his labors while humming a few songs. She sits under one of the few trees that remain standing and asks, "Do ever get tired?"
Allan looks back at her and replies, "Not really, maybe a few times, but those were very extreme situations."
Rogue sits up and says, "Describe one."
Dropping the tree he started shredding, Allan sits on the trunk facing Rogue and remarks, "Well I'm not sure if you saw this in my mind when we were linked, but there was this time when I first took on the role of the new Vanguard, where I actually held back two large moons from colliding."
Rogue's eyes widen as she says, "Whoa, you're that strong?"
Allan raises his hands and replies, "Trust me, I was just as surprised as you are. And this is before I completely learned that whole energy re-arranging thing I do, because it would have helped out a lot that day."
Rogue starts chuckling as Allan continues, "Anyways, it took a couple of days, but I managed to slow down their trajectories, to an almost snails pace. But me being a dumb ass, I forgot that moons have their own gravitational pull and they began attracting each other."
"So, what'd you do?" Rogue inquires.
Allan gives her an embarrassing smile and says, "Well, at the last second I put myself between them and physically held them apart. I had my feet on one surface and my back on the other surface. And I stayed in a crouched fetal position for a good part of the day."
Rogue laughs as Allan nods and adds, "Like I said, I wasn't really that bright my first few times out. At the time, I figured I could just kick them apart, but I really couldn't move. Lucky me, I wasn't claustrophobic, those moons were massive, and very, very heavy. And I have to tell you, it really sucks to feel gravity pull you in every direction. I mean there were rocks, dirt and dust hitting me in every known and unknown part of my body. But that's not what sucked the most. Two hours before I went out to stop these moons from colliding, I drank a whole pitcher of lemonade with my lunch. Hey, I was thirsty and it's good with a roast beef sub. And, remember how you're supposed to use the bathroom before taking long trips? Well, it just slipped my mind. So here I am now, trying to keep these two large dense pieces of rock from colliding in this fetal position, with a full bladder."
Rogue squint as she smiles saying, "Tell me you didn't piss yourself."
Allan adds, "Luckily no, but when you gotta go, you got to go. And thankfully my cosmic uniform comes with a zipper. But as I was trying to reach down to undo my zipper, the moon on my back became unbalanced and started rolling off to my right. So I quickly shuffled with it, taking quick baby steps in my fetal position trying to stay under it. It turns out there was a third moon that was passing fairly close, and its gravitational pull was attracting the moon on my back. It gave me enough leverage to kick the two moons apart from each other."
Smiling, Rogue inquires, "And then what?"
"And then, the moons moved into their own separate orbits, and we all peed happily ever after." Allan replies with a big goofy smile.
"That's really gross, Allan." Rogue remarks smiling back at him, "You mean to tell me, that it takes that much to really tire you out. Do you know how ridiculous that sounds?"
Rogue gives him a sarcastic smirk as Allan adds, "Hey, you absorb memories and powers, your step brother teleports place to place, and one of your instructors controls the weather. What's so ridiculous?"
"Alright, fair enough." Rogue replies, "so how tired were you after that?"
Allan shrugs his shoulders saying, "As soon as I got home, I slept for a day and half. I missed a job interview, a lunch date and all my movie rentals were a day late too. Not to mention, every muscle on body was sore from the brain down."
Rogue smiles at Allan as she tries to imagine his predicament. The visual of Allan stuck between two moons in a crouched fetal position, unable to move, and dying to use the bathroom. She can imagine his ranting, and complaining as he is literally stuck between a rock and a hard place. Rogue lets her laugh slip out as she covers her face. Allan nods and smiles at her saying, "Ok, laugh at me. But my duty as the Vanguard isn't all that glamorous. I mean, you'd be amazed how crowded it is out there."
Rogue catches her breath from her laugh and chuckles out, "Ah'll have to take your word for it, Allan."
Kurt suddenly appears in a puff of smoke as he teleports in. He glances around with a concerned look and spots Rogue. He reaches down with his three fingered hand and picks her up by her arm saying, "Sorry to break up a tender moment. Ve have to go, now, everyone is waiting."
Rogue stands up and pulls her arm back darting, "Hold on, what's the deal, Kurt?"
"Cerebro has detected some mutant activity further up state, we think it may involve Evan." Kurt replies, "Logan is assembling the team, we have to get geared up."
Rogue glances at Allan as he steps up asking, "Do you guys need help?"
Kurt looks up at Allan saying, "It's probably nothing, Allan. Besides, Logan wants you and Mr. McCoy to stay here and watch the younger students."
Allan nods replying, "Alright, you guys be safe."
Rogue quickly steps to Allan and lightly kisses him as she says, "Ah'll see ya later."
Kurt watches with his yellow eyes widened as Rogue turns around placing her hand on his shoulder. He looks at Allan with a friendly smile and holds a thumbs up just before teleporting away with Rogue. Allan waves his hand clearing the air of Kurt's teleporting smoke. He then focuses his mind and projects his thoughts, 'Professor, is everything alright?'
Charles responds, 'Not worry, Allan. The X-men are escorting Ororo up state. Cerebro detected her nephew Evan and some of his fellow Morlocks. The X-men are just going there to find out why they are so far out. There may be some trouble, but that is why Logan and the X-men are going with her. They will be fine, Allan. I need you and Hank to remain here to watch over the other students. Speaking of which, I am sending the Brotherhood out to help you with the yard work. They can use some fresh air and your tutelage."
Allan smiles and looks up to see the Brotherhood making their way to him from across the property. He mutters to himself, "My tutelage, huh."
Mystique sits in front of her lap top viewing images sent from Sean via e-mail. She sneers at the image of Allan and Rogue sharing an intimate embrace behind a wood chip pile. She holds her cell phone firmly to her ear as she says, "There are several images of this nature, Sean. Why are you sending me these?"
Sean's voice digitally crackles through her phone, "Just thought you should see this."
"I know how close they are getting, Sean." Mystique darts out, "I don't need to be reminded about that."
"I've done a thorough background check on the guy, Mystique," Sean adds, "aside from the last three years, there is no information about his past. No school records, dental records, or overdue library books. It's like he came out of nowhere. Despite that he's clean. For the last three years he's crossed the country at least three times, gone around the world once, and played in three different rock bands in New York and Los Angeles."
Mystique sighs out, "What's your point?"
Sean replies, "Just thought you should reconsider your target. As powerful as the boy may seem, he's harmless. And from the looks of it, he's good to your adopted daughter."
"Then need I remind you that it is Allan Paran who will murder my adopted daughter in cold blood in the near future?" Mystique mutters out.
"I don't understand, Mystique," Sean continues, "where do you get this information? How do you know it's him who does this?"
"Never you mind," Mystique says, "my source is very reliable. Just do your job and let us know when Allan Paran is in clear. Then we make our move."
Sean sighs out, "Well, I hope you got a plan, because the three of us are no match for him."
Mystique smiles and says, "Relax Sean, my plan is in transit."
She sits back in her chair as she shuts off her cell phone. She looks out toward the balcony where Emma stands casually with her eyes closed. She leans on the railing facing downtown Bayville from one of Mystique's private high rise condos. Both women were unwilling to stay at her house seeing the condition it was in. Also she didn't want to alert anyone to her presence back in town. Mystique calls out, "Are we on schedule, Emma?"
With her eyes closed, Emma replies, "Indeed, Mr. Marko has just crossed the state border untouched. I am telepathically masking him from detection, just as you asked."
"Excellent," Mystique adds as she holds up a large dome like metal maroon colored helmet, "and with out this, he'll be easier to control this time."
The X-jet darts across the sky heading up state. Cyclops mans the controls while Wolverine sits in the co-pilots seat. He looks peers out the cockpit wind then glances back at Ororo asking, "So, any idea why Evan would be this far up state?"
She looks back at him and replies, "I do not know, Wolverine. But if he brought some of the Morlocks with him, then he must be expecting trouble."
Shadowcat inquires, "Like, why wouldn't he ask us for help?"
Wolverine glances at her saying, "He's on a mission, half pint. He's watchin' after his own. Let's just hope that's the only thing that brought him out this far."
Ororo closes her eyes as she sighs out. She mutters out, "He refused to come home, but he is willing to risk his safety in broad day late. For what?"
Cyclops takes a quick glance behind him saying, "Everything is going to alright, Storm. Evan is still an X-man, he knows how to keep his cool."
Sitting in the back, Rogue adjusts her uniform underneath the seat belt. She lightly bites her power lip trying to focus on the task ahead, but all her thoughts are back at the Institute. Closing her eyes, Rogue lightly cracks a smile at the thought of coming home to a dashing smile and the warmth of deep unbridled hug without gloves. It brings her to a light giggle as the thought of finally throwing caution in the wind to give and receive a passionate kiss from someone she really cares about, as though a great weight has been lifted off her chest. Iceman looks at her from his seat with a very baffled stare saying, "Alright, that's just weird."
Rogue returns his stare saying, "What?"
Iceman tries emulating her voice and accent as he says, "'What?' smirking at her.
He continues, "What are you so giddy about? I've never seen you smile during a mission before. You coming down with something?"
Kurt adds, "More like coming up, her head is in the clouds, man." as he smiles at her.
"Drop it, Kurt." Rogue replies rolling her eyes.
"You're talking about Allan aren't you Kurt?" Iceman asks with a wide smile.
Rogue glares at them saying, "Ah said drop it! That's none of your business, Ah mean it." as she points at Iceman.
Both Iceman and Nightcrawler slightly lean away from her with grins on their faces as Cyclops remarks, "Settle down back there, we're almost at the co ordinance."
The X-jet flies over several open fields before slowing to a hover. Cyclops stares out the window saying, "This has to be place." as he notices a small crowd gathering to one end of the nearby field.
The others un strap themselves and look out the window as well. Shadowcat squints and mentions, "Looks like some kind of ho down, or something."
Wolverine glare in the direction and adds, "That ain't no party down there kid."
"Looks like they're standing around a sink hole or pit in the field." Iceman says.
"That ain't a sink hole," Wolverine remarks, "it's a crater."
Cyclops carefully brings the jet down to a gentle landing using the VTOL thrusters. Dust and grass get kicked up covering the jet's landing in a cloud. Nightcrawler asks, "Vhy'd you land so far away. Ve're like four hundred yards away."
Cyclops replies, "We may not be expecting action Kurt, but that doesn't mean we drop our guard. Remember the objective, we locate Evan first."
Ororo adds as she stands up from her seat, "Cyclops is right, remain on your guard."
The jet's lower hatch opens and the ramp slowly swings down. Wolverine is the first to step down followed by Cyclops. Ever vigilant, Cyclops keeps his finger on his visor trigger, waiting to release his concussive optical blast should anything occur. Wolverine aims his nose up sniffing the air with his sharp sense of smell. He sneers saying, "I wanna get a good look at that crater."
Nodding at him, Cyclops says, "Alright X-men, standard approach, Wolverine has point. Since Jean isn't here, Storm will have to be our air cover. Take no action unless really necessary, keep in mind this just might be a crowd of UFO fanatics."
Wolverine grins at them remarking, "Let's go."
Storm lifts herself off the ground in a gust of wind carrying her over the group as they begin marching a 'V' pattern with Wolverine out front.
Standing on the front steps of the mansion, Hank watches from afar as Allan coaches the Brotherhood in the use of their powers. He smiles as he sees Allan cheering each one of them on. Hank sighs out with a smile as he feels the late afternoon sun shine down him. Allison steps with him and seats herself on the steps across from him asking, "So, how does somebody like you tan? Or do you just get bluer?"
Hank looks at her in amusement replying, "That is a good question, Allison. But I am not all sure I want to find out."
Allison chuckles and looks out over to Allan. She shakes her head saying, "How could I screw something like that up? I must be as blonde as I look."
"Forgive me for being the nosey one here," Hank mentions, "but it is apparent that you and Allan were once a couple. Am I correct?"
Shrugging her shoulders, Allison responds, "Once, for a very short time. Boy did I blow it."
"If I may ask, what happened?" Hank inquires.
Allison raises her eyebrows saying, "Well, I uh, I stood him up for a record deal that went sour later on. Allan had a big plan for me that night and I blew him off. Things got really heated between us for a while. But we stayed friends. God I was such an idiot." as she rubs her forehead.
"Do not be so hard on yourself Allison," Hank remarks, "We have all made mistakes that mold us into who we are now. My apparent mutation is a result of one of those mistakes."
Allison smiles at Hank saying, "You don't look that bad, Mr. McCoy. If anything, you look dark and mysterious, kind of sexy if you ask me."
"Ahem, thank you, I guess," Hank replies with a embarrassed grin, "So, what will you do now? You cannot dwell on your mistakes forever."
Tilting her head, Allison says, "Well, I'll cry myself to sleep for the next few nights. Then I'll get over the fact that Allan wants Rogue instead of me. It's a bummer, but that's life, right" as she continues smiling.
Her eyes start to slowly tear up as Hank places his hand on her shoulder. They both look out to where Allan and the Brotherhood are and start to lightly laugh as they watch.
Allan watches Pietro form a mini vortex as he spins in place. The gust of wind he creates sucks up the leaves, twig and loose dirt cleaning up the immediate area. "Good, keep up the speed, Pietro. Concentrate on you endurance, and let Wanda guide your direction."
Standing near Allan, Wanda gestures with her hands at Pietro's vortex. She focuses her hex probability power to the areas that need the most cleaning up. She moves his vortex over the those parts controlling random debris from falling onto clean areas. Wanda smiles at the thought of controlling her brother, but resists the urge of sending him into a near by pond. Allan walks over to Fred, who has taken up the duty of crushing the downed trees into wood chips. Allan pats him on the back saying, "Remember Fred, small chips, smaller than the tip of my pinky finger. It's not about obliterating, it's about refining. Plus, it's a healthier way to vent frustration."
Allan looks up at the wood chip pile and sees Todd sitting at the top. Using his adhesive long tongue, Todd snatches a few creeping crawling bugs hiding in the wood chips. Allan smiles at him as Todd says, "Yo check it out, I'm on sanitation detail. Makin' sure these wood chips are critter free, nowhatI'msayin'?"
Allan nods his head with smile and replies, "Sure Todd, good work, just remember to brush your teeth when we finish, please."
Walking to Lance, Allan glances around to the warped lawn caused by his hand. Lance asks, "So you want me to level those too?"
Allan replies, "Yes, but let's try something new, bud."
Lance asks, "Like what?"
Pointing to the warped mounds of grass, Allan says, "My shockwave caused the solid sediments underneath the soil to rise rapidly. It would take weeks for landscapers to even figure our how to level that. And in order to do so, they would have to dig up the ground.
I'm gonna teach you how to localize your shockwave to very small areas."
Lance's eyes widen, "I never really tried that, I don't know if I can."
Allan stares at him with intensity remarking, "You have to think and focus small. Kind of like shooting a gun, aim small, miss small. Hold out your fingers and act like you're pinching the ground."
Lance holds his right fingers and acts out pinching the lawn just in front of him. Allan adds, "Now slowly focus your shock wave to that area you see in between your fingers. Don't give it any juice until you something solid under the soil."
Breathing out, Lance focuses his shockwave. The ground lightly rumbles as Lance suddenly says, "There, I feel it, now what?"
Allan mutters out, "That's the solid rock that's warping the lawn. Can you feel all of it?"
Lance replies, "I think so."
"Grind it with your fingers, dude." Allan says.
Pinching his fingers together, Lance focuses his shockwave crushing the rock underneath the solid to fine grains out sand. The lawn flattens out as Allan says, "Now to clean up. Take your fingers, focusing you shockwave, and mold that lawn back into place."
Lance squints his eyes holding his finger at the lawn, and acts out mold the lawn that way he would if he were molding clay. The lawn rumbles a bit but eventually smoothens out. Allan cheers out, "Right on, Lance! Work it like a piece of art, couldn't have done it better myself." as he lightly slaps his back.
Allan looks around the immediate yard and sees it in order. The trees are grinded, the mess to the side, and the lawn looking smoother than before. "Excellent work people! You should start your own landscaping business. Let's call it a day!"
The Brotherhood all high five each other as they walk back to the main house. Allan catches up to Lance and Wanda and asks them, "So how do you guys feel?"
Wanda says, "I feel pretty cool actually. I never thought of my powers like a yoyo before."
Allan replies, "Well your powers seem a bit random at times, like a yoyo. Not completely under your control, but at the same time very manageable. All you have to do is maintain a bit of concentration, adjust your posture and you rock and roll."
Wanda giggles and blushes a bit as Allan turns to Lance. Sighing out, Lance says, "I never imagined my powers could be used for anything except for destroying stuff. For the first time in a while, I feel like I'm moving forward."
Allan quickly steps ahead of them and turns around walking backwards saying, "This is why I love teaching. Doesn't this feel good?"
Wanda and Lance smile as Allan continues, "Hey you all still need to get your stuff from your old house, right?"
Both Wanda and Lance nod at him. Allan adds, "Cool, we'll stop for burgers on the way back, my treat."
Lance mentions, "But we thought you were low on cash."
Allan replies with a big grin, "I am, but the burger joint next to the Shake Shack owes me a few favors. And with Fred coming along, it looks like I'll be collecting on all those favors."
Cyclops and Wolverine work their way through the small crowd while the other X-men wait not so far. They approach the crater the crowd has gathered around and look carefully. Wolverine says, "Some kind of meteorite. Been here a couple of weeks it looks like."
Evan's voice speaks up suddenly, "There was a meteor shower a few weeks back. This piece made it to ground."
Cyclops looks at him in surprise and realizes Evan's exo-skeletal shell is gone. Even appears normal looking just as the day he first met him. Cyclops asks with a smile, "Evan, you look normal. How'd you do it?"
Storm rushes through the crowd straight to Evan. Her eyes in tears as she hugs him lovingly. Even hugs her back as she asks, "Look at you, how is this possible?"
Evan smiles at her and points through the crowd. The huddle mass slowly back away as a tall lanky man walk forth saying in an echoing tone, "It was I who blessed him with this miracle. As with all the others who have gathered to seek truth."
Wolverine steps up to him sneering, "And who're you bub?"
The man steps back holding his arms out to his side. With a sudden flap, skin like wings form under his arms, his skin turns a jungle green and his head elongates to a bird like feature. His voice echoes again as his eyes glow brightly, "I am Sauron, bringer of salvation for all those who seek redemption."