Mystique peers through a pair of binoculars sitting in the passenger seat of Sean's brown sedan. She adjust the focus level and keeps her eyes on the Xavier Institute entrance while Sean sits back in her chair yawning and checking his watch. He leans his head on the glass window saying, "Those gates haven't moved since they got home. What do you hope to see from here?"
Mystique remains silent as she places the binoculars down and picks up Sean lap top looking at images from his hidden cameras in the institute grounds. Sean continues, "Look, I know how you must feel. I don't know how I'd react if my daughter came back home knocked up. But you know, kids, they make mistakes. And you can't stay angry at them forever. Your Rogue is what, eighteen, nineteen? She is pretty much capable of making those decisions herself and…"
Mystique turns and glares at him in silence as Sean adds, "…and I'll shut up now." as he grins and turns away. She turns her eyes to the lap top and continues her surveillance not saying a word.
Allan shuffles through the garage cabinets as the late morning arrives. He pulls out an old tool box and places it on the floor, opening it carefully. He checks the fairly used tools inside nodding head and then closes it shut. He stands back up adjusting his cargo shorts and tank top as he takes a deep breath with a wide smile. Leaning over, Allan picks up the rusty looking tool box and starts to head out of the main garage door. Just as he exits the garage, Rogue walks around the corner holding a book and asks, "Hey, where're ya headed?"
"Just into town," Allan replies, "I won't be gone any longer than an hour."
Looking at the rusty tool box in his hand, Rogue inquires with a smile, "So what's with the tool box?"
Allan holds the tool box up and replies, "These are Mr. Logan's. He's letting me borrow them for a little while."
"Ok, what for, Allan?" Rogue continues, "And why're you headin' into town?"
Allan sighs out, "I gotta find my jeep, or what's left of it. Juggernaut used it on me like a baseball bat when we fought. I want to at least salvage what I can from it."
"It's just a car, Allan," Rogue remarks, "not like ya really need one."
Allan stops and stares at her with a smiling baffled glare replying, "Oh babe, that's blasphemy. Just a car? We're talking about a vintage 1982 Renegade Jeep. Complete with the original rims, struts, roll bar, the works. Do you know how hard it is to find a working chassis like that where I'm from?"
Rogue gives him a sarcastic smirk and says, "Don't you mean when you're from?"
"Oh come on," Allan replies, "don't start that up. Trying to explain that whole mess to you guys gives me such a head ache."
Shrugging her shoulders, Rogue adds, "Well, you are like, from the future or something, right?"
Allan droops his head and shoulders sighing out, "Alright, this is the last time. And I swear, you bring this up again, I will tickle you until you faint."
Rogue giggles as she stares at him grinning. Allan continues, "I'm not from 'the' future, I'm from 'a' future. And it's not even 'a' future at that. The world I'm from is parallel to this one with a slight dimensional flux that keeps both worlds connected. Don't ask me how it works, it just does. The world I happen to be from, is yes, a few decades a head of yours. Happy?"
"A few decades, Allan?" Rogue asks sarcastically, "Try a whole century. Remember I've been in your dirty mind, tough guy."
Allan rolls his eyes and smiles saying, "Decades, centuries, what's the difference."
Rogue chuckles and mentions, "It's quite a difference, Allan."
"Whatever you say." Allan says, "The world I'm from isn't much different from this one. Well, with the exception of technology, wild life, slang, television programs, weather, and education, I don't really see a difference."
Holding back her laugh, Rogue says, "You know how stupid that sounds?"
"Yeah, well, home is where you hang your hat, or helmet, if you happen to be me." Allan remarks with a grin.
Rogue laughs and adds, "Let me keep you company."
"Are you sure?" Allan asks as he holds up the tool box, "This is kind of a guy thing."
"Ah'm pretty sure it is," Rogue adds, "but Ah don't like bein' cooped up on a nice day like this."
Allan holds out his right hand to her. Rogue takes off her left glove and gently grabs hold of his hand as they start walking toward the front of the house.
Jubilee and Amara stare at each other in frustration as the faint sound of a ringing bell gets their attention. "There he goes again!" Amara darts out.
Both girls storm up the stairs and down the hall with stern expressions on their faces. They approach Bobby's door and swing it open angrily. Inside, Bobby lies in his bed with an icepack sitting on his head and small silver bell in his left hand. Amara states to him, "Bobby, we gave that bell just in case you needed something. Not to pester us."
"Yeah, what is it now?" Jubilee adds.
Bobby slightly grins then groans out, "I wanted to ask one of you, if you could change out the CD in my stereo. The other album is done."
The girls expressions goes from surprised to enragement as Jubilee spurts out, "That's it! That's it! You constantly ring that stupid bell for a glass of water, open your shades, fluff your pillow, and now to change out a CD?"
Bobby lets out a fake groan saying, "I'd do it myself, but Mr. McCoy says for me to stay in bed for at least a day. He says if I get up and move around too much, I could make my condition worse."
Amara takes a deep breath and says, "Worse! You're talking about worse! Let's see if your condition gets any worse when I set your sheets on fire, Mr. Iceman!"
Amara's hands ignite into bright balls of flame as she starts to approach his bedside. Bobby's eyes widen in fear as he ducks under his sheets holding the icepack firmly on his head. Just as Amara raises her flaming hands above her head, Hank's voice speaks out from out in the hall, "I must say, it is very nice to see you two girls helping out with the others." as he slowly lumbers into the doorway.
Amara quickly turns around to face him hiding her hands behind her back. She rubs her hands together putting out the hot flames as she smiles at Hanks innocently. Jubilee remarks as she playfully giggles, "Oh, we love helping out, Mr. McCoy. Isn't that right, Amara?"
Sharing the same playful giggle, Amara replies, "Sure, we're like, one big happy family." as she turns her smile at Bobby and grins at him.
Bobby peeks over his sheets looking at Amara's sadistic grin and lightly replies, "Yup, happy."
Hank glance down at Bobby asking, "Are you feeling alright, Bobby? You look a bit shaken."
Bobby quickly replies from under his sheets, "No I'm cool. I just need more rest, that's all."
"Very well then," Hank remarks, "girls, let's leave Mr. Drake here so he can get some rest. And again, thank you for all your help."
As Hank walks out of Bobby's room, Amara and Jubilee slowly follow but stop short in the doorway look back at Bobby. They both give him evil grins as Jubilee says, "You heard Mr. McCoy, Bobby. Get some rest. And if you need anything, just ring the little bell."
Bobby continues to hide under his sheets with only his eyes peeking over as Amara ignites her fist in a bright glowing flame glaring at him just before closing the door behind them.
Charles watches as Amara and Jubilee storm by him with angered frowns on their faces. As they pass him in the hall, Charles approaches Hank asking, "So, I take it the X-men are beginning to feel better?"
Hank grins and replies, "For the most part, as you can see. They will however be in the same condition Ororo and Logan were in the first time they encountered one of those creatures."
Nodding, Charles adds, "Yes, slight nervous system shock and muscle fatigue. They will have a rough few weeks ahead to a full recovery."
"It may be longer, I 'm afraid." Hank remarks, "Unlike the creature Logan and Ororo encountered before, Sauron's draining attack was directed towards them. So the effects were more severe, and prominent. They will have to remain inactive as far as missions are concerned. At least until I am sure the effects on their nervous systems have subsided."
Charles raises his eyebrows adding, "Then we best make sure they comply for their sakes. I feel they are becoming restless already."
"Professor, we may have to enact the contingency plan Allan proposed." Hank remarks.
Charles replies, "Yes, creating a back up team of X-men. I have been considering that actually."
Just as Charles finishes his sentence, both he and Hank hear a 'poofing' sound above them. They both look up and see Kurt materializing in a puff of smoke, then falls down to them. Hank quickly steps under Kurt with his large arms out and catches him before he hits the floor. With a stern voice, Hank says, "Kurt, what the blazes are you doing!"
Kurt looks up at him with a weary look replying, "I vas trying to get to the kitchen, I'm starving. But I only made it this far."
"Not only are you up and about," Hank states, "you are also using your powers. Am I going to be forced to threaten you with the prospect of sedation as well?"
Looking back at Hank with a confused expression, Kurt replies, "Huh?"
Hank shakes his head and says, "Never mind. Now listen, you are not to get out of bed until tomorrow unless it is an emergency, like using the bathroom. You are also not to use your powers at anytime during these recovery days. If I see otherwise, you will find yourself cleaning out the Danger Room with only a toothbrush. Am I making myself clear on this matter?"
Lightly nodding his head, Kurt mutters out, "Yes sir."
Hank turns to Charles with a frustrated expression, then turns and carries Kurt back to his room.
Borrowing Scott's red sports convertible, Allan and Rogue pull off to the side of the road near a police taped off damaged area. They both exit the car and approach the taped off area carefully. Allan holds the toolbox under his arm like a football while Rogue follows closely behind him trying not to stumble on some scattered debris. Allan stops and takes quick glances around trying to spot any signs of police activity. Rogue steps up next to him and surveys the area before them. It looks as though a small tornado ripped through this part of town. Several telephone poles lay in the street along with smashed cars. The sides of building looked cracked and caved in as well as the surrounding pavement. It is a trail of destruction as Rogue's eyes gaze over the near desolate scene. "The both of ya'll did all this?" she asks.
Allan tilts his head and nods saying, "Well…yeah, I was trying to avoid this."
Rogue sarcastically grins at him remarking, "How hard were ya tryin'?"
Replying with a light chuckle, Allan says, "Yeah I know, it doesn't look like I was. Honestly, I was trying to throw him clear of the city limits. But every time I thought I was in the clear to try, he'd throw a car or something big at me. I mean, it was really a stupid fight."
Nodding with a smirk, Rogue adds, "Well you're right 'bout that. You totaled one of my favorite thrift shops." as she points to one of the heavily damaged buildings in the area.
Allan shrugs his shoulders saying, "Oh no that wasn't me…um…entirely. I think I was thrown through that building…twice."
Rogue just shakes her head keeping her eyes on the building as she sighs out. Allan clears his throat and mutters out, "Sorry about that."
Rolling her eyes at him, Rogue gives Allan a slight grin saying, "You must say 'sorry' a lot in your line of work."
Allan nods and sighs out, "You have no clue, babe."
They smile at each other, then crawl under the police tape barrier proceeding into the damage zone. Sliding down a slight hill into a back lot, Allan and Rogue step lightly trying not to be heard at the same time avoiding the damaged and trouble areas that riddle the space around them. Rogue glances around at the dismal scene and whispers out, "It's hard to believe nobody was killed through out this."
Allan whispers back as he continues trudging forward, "What's that suppose to mean?"
"Look at this place," Rogue adds, "it's like a war zone. Ah thought you cosmic super guys were wise 'bout pickin' fights?"
Allan suddenly stops causing Rogue to lightly bump into him. He looks at her with a sarcastic stare saying, "Hey, we 'cosmic super guys' aren't perfect, alright? We're still bound by the same rules as everyone else, to a degree."
Rogue asks, "Like what rules?"
"Like gravity and stupidity." Allan replies.
Gesturing to the damage around them, Rogue inquires, "And what does this fall under, gravity or stupidity?"
Allan grins and says, "I'd say an even mixture of both."
Rogue keeps her lips tight as she giggles. Smiling at her, Allan remarks, "Come on we're not far."
"How can you be sure your jeep is 'round here," Rogue asks, "Ah can't even tell what direction we're headin'."
Allan sighs out, "Because, I remember the last time Juggernaut threw it at me, it ricocheted off my head like tennis ball in this direction. And I have small lump on my head to prove it." as he rubs the right side of his head.
Rogue looks at Allan with a sarcastic smile replying, "Poor baby."
They both peek around corners of damaged buildings checking to see if the coast is clear. Several small businesses have managed to remain open up the street despite all the damage. Police road blocks keep pedestrians from venturing into the more severely damaged areas. Rogue and Allan quickly shuffle into an alleyway. Loose bricks riddle the alley street as they quickly walk through. Large scrapping marks and impact holes dig into a once burgundy side of a wall. Allan smiles and remarks, "There she is, right where I left her."
Rogue glances over at the sight, and shakes her head saying, "It's totaled Allan."
Allan walks up to the heap of metal that was once his jeep and replies, "It's not a total loss like I thought. The frame held together, just needs a little pounding out."
To Rogue, the jeep now resembled a crushed soda can. And Allan's comment only brings out voice of frustration as she says, "You're kiddin' right? You can't be serious."
Allan smiles laying the tool box on the ground. He grips the frame of the battered jeep and pulls into the middle of the alley saying, "It's been through worse. Just keep an eye out for me, Rogue. I'll have us out of here in less than an hour." as he proceeds to work.
Rogue replies rolling her eyes, "Whatever." as she seats herself on a pile of pallet crates.
Using his ability to redirect energies, Allan slowly bends the jeep's mangle form back into recognizable shape. Then using the various tools, he tightens bolts and screws into place. Unbeknownst to both Allan and Rogue, high above the alley, Mystique watches from the roof. Peering down from a height of eight stories, Mystique keeps a close watch on the casual moment. She barely hears anything from them, but would occasionally hear some laughing and the sounds of working tools. Mystique's expression becomes confused as she looks down at Allan as he would divide his time fixing his jeep to entertain Rogue as she sits waiting for him to finish. She watches as Allan plays a joke causing Rogue to chase him a little ways down the alley. Then he quickly turns embracing her as they kiss in silence. Mystique watches how Rogue hugs Allan. Very passionate, very vulnerable, reciprocating the affection she receives from Allan. Stepping away from the edge, Mystique closes hers eyes as she turns away from the alley. Taking deep breaths, she looks at the arsenal she brought with her to the roof top. A high powered rifle with explosive rounds mounted on a tri-pod, a backpack pull of concussion grenades, and several remote detonating mines stuffed into a duffle bag. Mystique preps the rifle setting it up on the edge of the roof, trying to tune out whatever laughter she hears from the alley down below.
Scott sits up in his bed reading through a sports magazine. He sips a small juice box as he reads the articles carefully. Scott suddenly looks up as a rapid knock on his door gets his attention. Without his permission, his door opens and a blonde tanned boy pokes his head through cheering out, "What's up big bro!"
Scott expression changes from confusion to ecstatic as he smiles big replying, "Alex? Wow, oh man, what're you doing here?"
The long haired blonde young man casually walks into Scott's room wearing tie dyed t-shirt with olive drab cargo shorts. With a large smile on his face, Alex says, "Hey, do I need an invitation to visit my big brother?"
Scott staggers to his feet and walks over to Alex giving him a brotherly hug. "Man it's good to see you. Why didn't you call and let me know you were coming?"
Alex grins and replies, "I asked the Professor to keep a secret. I wanted to surprise ya. So, you surprised?"
Scott grabs him in playful headlock saying, "What do you think, twerp. So what's up?"
Sliding out of Scotts embrace, Alex remarks, "Well, it looks like my powers took a turn for the powerful. It started getting tough to point at stuff and not blast a hole through it."
"So, you're here to get that under control?" Scott asks.
Alex replies, "It's only for a couple of months. My foster parents are pretty cool with this arrangement. And if it pans out, I might stick out longer. Besides, I just heard your team is sidelined for the season, looks like you could use the help."
Scott smiles and asks, "You looking to join the X-men, Alex?"
"Maybe," Alex says with a grin, "might even resurrect the name 'Havok' while I'm at it. It could be cool fighting the forces of evil side by side with my big bro." as he playfully acts out karate moves.
Scott smiles shaking his head as Alex walks up to the window saying, "I can't complain about the scenery here either. The chicks here are righteous, dude."
Hobbling to the window, Scott looks out to where Alex stares and sees Amara, Tabitha and Jubilee, gawking over Allison's and Elizabeth's newly design uniforms. Scott pats Alex on the shoulder saying, "Just watch yourself, some of those 'chicks' can get you into a lot of trouble." as he grins at him.
Alex returns his grin replying, "Those are the best kind, big bro."
Mystique braces the high powered rifle firmly against her shoulder as she squints her eyes glaring through the sniper scope. She carefully moves the cross hairs over to Allan's back, then up to his head. She gently brushed her finger on the trigger as she adjusts her posture. She feels her cell phone vibrate as an incoming call buzzes her. With her hands free head gear on, Mystique reach to side and presses the receive button and responds in a very low tone, "What."
Sean's voice digitally crackles on the other end, "So you're really gonna go through with it? I don't have to be Irene to tell you the outcome of this bad idea, Mystique. That boy is practically indestructible. Your little firecrackers are just gonna tick him off."
Replying in her low tone, Mystique keeps her cross hairs on Allan and tells Sean, "I know I can't kill him like this. But maybe, I can keep them apart." as she moves the cross hairs over to Allan's jeep.
Sean adds, "I guess you'd rather see Rogue miserable for the rest of her life than dead, huh?"
Mystique hears Sean's last comment and glances down saying, "She'll be alive, that's all that matters to me."
"Sure, alive, unhappy, hateful, and alone. Is that how you want her to live? Like you?" Sean remarks.
Mystique's eyes blink rapidly as she glares again. Taking a deep breath, she says, "Stay out of this Sean. You can't possibly understand."
Sean replies, "I have a daughter too. I'd rather be dead than see her unhappy. But then again, that's just me."
Mystique's phone lightly beeps as Sean's call ends.
Allan runs his hands over the ripped tire slowly. Using his phenomenal powers, he redirects the energy that created the damage to the tire and rebuilds it. The tire reassembles under his hands back into the large treaded trial tires that now matches the three he had recently repaired in the same manner. With a content grin on his face, Allan shuffle up to his now gleaming clean jeep and starts to re-insert the left rear tire back in place. He tediously starts twisting the lugs on the wheel locking the newly repaired tire on the vehicle. Allan takes the lug wrench from the tool box and gently tightens the lugs as Rogue approaches from the alley opening. "Ah got ya somthin' to drink." she mentions.
Allan stands up wiping his hand off with loose rag and smiles at her. She hands him a large covered soft drink with a long straw protruding off the top of it. Allan takes a quick swig and swallows as he quickly says with a smile, "Mmm, chocolate on chocolate, my favorite."
Rogue sips hers and replies, "The Shake Shack was just a little up the street. And Ah remembered how much ya love chocolate."
Allan grins at her while taking another swig of his shake. Rogue glances over at his jeep saying, "Wow, nice work. It looks great."
Shrugging his shoulders, Allan replies, "Still needs work. There are some dings and dents I missed, and the engine needs a little tuning. But it'll run."
Rogue walks over to the front of the cobalt blue jeep and places her hands on the hood remarking, "It almost looks brand new. Is there anythin' ya can't do?"
Allan hops into the driver's seat replying, "Well, I can't tap dance, can't play the violin, can't keep my finances straight, can never find a good parking spot, and I can't speak French."
Rogue hops into the passenger seat and leans toward Allan adding, "Ah think Ah can help ya with the last part."
She reaches over pulling his face to hers and kisses deeply. Allan raises his eyebrows as he feels her tongue dart into his mouth slowly. Peering through her sniper scope, Mystique watches as Rogue and Allan intimately embrace. She bites her lip keeping her finger hovering over the trigger. She aims the rifle at the hood of Allan's jeep and prepares to shoot. A well placed shot to his engine block would definitely hamper his plans for the day. Mystique thinks to herself, 'To what end?'
She turns the scope back on Allan and Rogue to watch them again. She sees them smiling into each others eyes as they hold each other close. Mystique blinks her eyes and braces the rifle again firmly on her shoulder taking aim. Then as she slowly moves the cross hairs over the to jeeps' hood, Mystique catches a glimpse of the smile on Rogue's face, a smile so bright and free, as though she is living for the moment. She had never seen Rogue smile in that manner. Mystique removes her finger from the trigger as she gazes on Rogue's expression. Rogue's smile is not forced or fake, instead it is content and full of hope. Something Mystique could never give her. "She is happy." She mumbles out.
Gritting her teeth, Mystique flips a locking switch on the tri-pod releasing the rifle. She pulls the rifle away from the edge and drops to her knees, clutching the rifle close to her chest. Single tear runs down her blue cheek as she takes deep breaths. Mystique closes her eyes and mutters to herself, "I've lost her."
She listens in the distance as she hears Allan's jeep rev up and peel out with Rogue's voice yelling in excitement, cheering as they speed out of the alley.