X-Men Evolution NEXT

Routine

The fall season begins like any other. The weather cools, the trees change color, and of course, school begins. For many of the Xavier Institute students, it seems the summer vacation didn't last long enough. And though it was somewhat of a wrestling match, the school board has granted the Xavier students permission to return to school, with certain restrictions. Many of which they were all willing to live with just to get their lives back on track. Though not welcomed back with open arms, the school year starts off no major problems. The students would hear the occasional anti mutant slur here and there, but have learned to ignore the ignorance. For Scott, Jean and Rogue, starting their first years at Bayville University is like starting all over again. On campus, they are just another new face and are usually judged by their appearance. Scott is seen as either the new mysterious guy hiding behind his slick sunglasses or the guy too cool to be approached behind those shades. Jean has already caught the eyes of the so called studs looking to romance underclassman girls on campus. Rogue on the other hand has been pegged as the lone Goth chick with a hidden sex appeal about her as she struts though the campus grounds. And though they have each met new faces and friends, the trio has found themselves sticking together between classes. Everyday, they would meet with Allan at a near by food court for lunch, and they would converse on the days events, the challenges of new classes, and what not. Its part of the day they all look forward to, seeing how they are curious about what Allan does with his time. With their class schedules and homework load the trio has very little time to devote as X-men. And they would constantly ask Allan if he has run into any trouble. Allan himself has been quite busy trying to balance his time as an instructor for the Xavier Institute, a freelance graphic artist and as the Vanguard. He would shrug his shoulders and tell them he has been working on projects left and right and that he stopped a purse snatching or a mugging, nothing trivial, as he would put it. Rogue especially would look forward to the daily lunches with Allan. It's a time she cherishes as she gets to spend time with him under normal circumstances rather a life threatening one. And for once in her life, she feels as though the world has accepted her.

With the holidays approaching, the food court becomes decorated in shiny ornaments. Scott, Jean, and Rogue seat themselves at one of the many food court tables and wait for Allan to show up for lunch. Looking at the decorations being hung, Scott asks, "So, what do you two want for Christmas this year?"

Jean and Rogue sit silent for a moment. Rogue replies, "Ah haven't given that much thought. Ah've been so busy."

Jean adds, "You said it. These core classes are worse than high school. I've never been so nervous about an English final before. Christmas was the last thing on my mind."

Scott chuckles and says, "So, gift cards then?"

Both Jean and Rogue shrug their shoulders with slight grins. Scott looks at his watch and says, "Man, where's Allan, he's running late."

Rogue turns in her seat to look around as she says, "Well, he's been busy too. May be he got caught up in his work. Allan does that a lot."

Jean mentions, "I heard he's doing all the ice sculptures for this years Christmas festival."

"All seven of them?" Scott asks, "He also designed all the Christmas banners all over campus. When does the guy sleep?"

As the three sit back waiting, they notice a few people passing them quickly. Scott sits up and hears one of the people say to another, "Come on we gotta check this out!"

The excitement level in the food court increases as another person says out loud, "It's a mutant, it's gotta be!"

Food court patrons quickly stand up and start heading towards the front entrance. Scott, Jean, and Rogue notice something peculiar, the people have smiles on their faces as they rush to the door. Scott calls out to one of the excited persons and asks, "Hey mister, what's going on?"

The gray haired man turns to him with an excited smile and says, "There's a bank robbery going on across the street. The cops showed up and were at a stand off until one of those mutant super guys showed up." he then turns and trots along with the crowd to the front.

Scott turns to Jean and Rogue and asks, "Mutant super guy?"

Then in unison, all three sigh out, "Allan."

They stand up quickly and follow the crowd to the front entrance. Pushing through the crowd, the trio makes their way to the front where they see a police line marking off the area. Police vehicles surround the front of the bank making a clearing. S.W.A.T. officers take up positions while police try to usher the crowded mass away from the scene. But the excitement level is too much for the police to contain as the scene includes two armed masked men standing across from Allan in his Vanguard uniform. One of the armed men holds a dark haired female hostage in front of him in a slight head lock holding a gun against her head. The other armed man fires his high powered rifle at Allan, yelling with each loud gun shot. The bullet slugs spark and flatten as they strike against Allan's chest and helmet. His flashy unique uniform shines in the sunlight making him appear heroic in the eyes of the crowd. Loud ricocheting shots echo all around as the armed man continues to fire his weapon at Allan. Appearing to look annoyed, Allan glances at the crowd, then at the police, then back at the crazed armed masked man. Finally the weapon runs out of ammunition, but the man continues to pull the trigger, clicking the weapon frantically. Allan speaks out with a frustrated tone, "Are you finished! You'd think you'd get a clue after the first few shots! I'm bullet proof, idiot!"

Scott glances at Jean and Rogue with a somewhat concerned expression. They return his concerned look as they hear some of the crowd chuckle and laugh at Allan's remark. Rogue mutters out, "What's he doin'?"

Jean answers with a nervous grin, "Stopping a bank robbery I guess."

Whispering to them, Scott remarks, "Let Allan handle this, he's a pro. Just be ready for action."

Both Jean and Rogue nod at him and turn to watch the situation unfold along with the crowd.

Allan walks up to the rifle baring masked man and quickly snatches the rifle out of his hand saying, "Give me that! Someone as stupid as you shouldn't play with guns."

Without effort, Allan snaps the rifle in half then drops it to the cement. Allan then starts to step and grind the rifle under his foot further obliterating the weapon. Sighing out, Allan stares at the man with a mean glare through the eye holes of his red face covering helmet. The man panic and screams as he draws back then swings his fist at Allan. The crowd gasps then flinches at the sound of the man's hand snapping and cracking as he shatters every bone in his hand against Allan's head. The man staggers back holding his now crippled limb panting in pain. He falls to his knees trying to cradle his broken hand as Allan looks down at him and remarks, "Oh…my…God. That was the stupidest thing I had ever seen. Gee, the gun didn't work, so let's punch him instead." he says in a sarcastic tone.

The other gun holding the hostage then speaks out, "Get back man! Step away from him, or I turn this ladies head into a canoe!" as he hold the gun firmly to the dark haired woman's temple.

Allan turns to face him then takes one step back. He stares at the scared hostage and asks, "You scared?"

She looks at Allan with a baffled and scared expression and lightly nods. Allan continues, "Not exactly what you had planned for the holidays, huh?"

The man yells out, "Shut up man! I'll blow her brains out, I swear to God!"

Allan sighs out, folds his arms and says, "Stop your yapping and pull the damn trigger already. I hate threats."

Scott, Jean and Rogue's eye widen as the crowd gasps. A police official speaks up through a bullhorn, "That's enough out of you, clear out!"

Allan glances back at the police barricade then looks at the gunman. The dark haired female hostage starts breathing heavily as she stares at Allan with fear in her eyes. Allan speaks out again, "I don't have all day, buddy! You keep threatening to shoot her, so do it! 'Cause you're really starting to piss me off!"

Scott gets ready to move in saying, "Has he lost his mind!"

Speaking to him telepathically, Jean tells him, 'Scott, wait! Everything is alright.'

He looks back at her, then at Rogue with baffled expression. Rogue says in a low tone, "Just watch Scott, Allan's got this."

He turns to look back at the scene. The gunman staggers back with the hostage in his arms as Allan continues to stand there. The man them tries to cock the hammer of the pistol back, but realizes he can't. Holding the gun against the woman's temple, the gunman struggles to pull the hammer back, but to no avail. He then points the gun at Allan and tries to pull the trigger, also to no end. The trigger seems stiff as will not budge. The man breathes heavily as Allan reaches over and slowly pulls the gun out of his hand saying, "News flash, I fused your gun solid the second you grabbed this woman. She was never in danger, you twerp."

Allan holds the gun up with two fingers and adds, "This little gun is now a fancy paper weight." as he looks at the hostage and adds, "Well, what're you waiting for?"

The dark haired woman's eyes widen as she grits her teeth and yells out at the masked gunman, "You jerk!" and thrusts her left elbow back into his gut.

The man grunts out and heaves forward grabbing his stomach letting her go. He drops to the cement holding his stomach in a fetal position as the woman starts kicking him repeatedly. Allan steps up to her and chuckles out, "Whoa, whoa! Take it easy miss. I meant it was safe for you to leave, not to beat the crap out of him."

She takes a deep breath and brushes her black hair back. With a smile she says, "Sorry."

Allan laughs lightly through his helmet and asks her, "Feel better?"

"Yes, thank you." She says as she blushes, "My name is Tessa by the way."

Allan nods and says, "Nice to meet you Tessa. Now if you please, step away from the dangerous gunman and get to safety."

She lightly steps up to him and kisses the face plate of his helmet then trots toward the police line where she is ushered to safety. Allan picks the gunmen up and tells them, "Do you two have any idea what a waste of time this was?"

He hands them to the police and steps back. The crowd around Scoot, Jean and Rogue begin cheering out a mixture of praises and whistles. Some chant out fearful remarks as the police approach him. Allan takes several steps back as a police official speaks out to him, "You're under arrest for interfering with police business!"

The crowd begins to boo the police, telling them to leave him alone. Allan just holds his hands up and shrugs his shoulders. Then in blink of an eye, he vanishes in burst of angelic light. Everyone in the area squint their eyes at the bright flash. Scott looks around and says, "Alright, let's get back to the food court."

As the trio walk back to their table in the food court, they hear the excitement from the crowd. Some make speculations about who the hero was, some make anti mutant remarks about how dangerous he was, and some pass it off as some kind of staged hoax. Scott, Jean and Rogue seat themselves while looking around. They spot Allan exiting the restroom archway adjusting his jeans. He looks up and smiles at them s he approaches their table. Allan pulls a chair up and sits at the table and grins at them. "So what's up?" he asks.

They all just look at him with concerned grins. Rogue speaks up, "Ah didn't think stoppin' bank robberies were part of the Vanguard's duties."

Allan smile and swallows replying, "You guys saw that huh?"

Scott remarks, "The professor told us to keep a low profile, Allan. What happened?"

Sitting back raising his eyebrows, Allan tells them, "I went to the bank to cash my check. I didn't know it was going to be held up."

Jean chuckles and asks, "Well then, why the big scene. I mean you were wearing your uniform."

"Because I'm wearing one of my favorite pair of jeans and this jacket is not cheap." as he gestures to his wool coat. "I transmuted my clothes into my uniform when the third guy decided to take me hostage and use me as body shield while he raided the vault."

Allan then slaps his forehead and remarks, "Damn it, I forgot about that third guy in the vault. I sealed him in after I clocked him. It's air tight, he probably has like five minutes of air left." Rolling his eyes he adds, "I forgot to cash my check too, geez."

Standing back up, Allan leans over to Rogue and kisses her cheek saying, "Let me take care of this, I'll see all you later."

The trio smile as they watch Allan walk back into the restroom archway with a frustrated strut. They all look at each other then start laughing.

Walking through a plush office building lobby, Emma casually makes her way to the elevators. She passes several yuppie business men who all do double takes as the platinum blonde walks by ignoring them. Her white outfit including a billowing soft cloak accents her dramatic posture as she waits for elevator to open. Emma's attention is caught by one of the flat screen televisions that hang off in the corners of the lobby. Stock market information rolls at the bottom of the screen while a news reel showing the bank robbery attempt down that was thwarted by a masked good Samaritan. Emma smiles as she recognizes Allan's uniform on the screen. Her smile is shorts lived as she looks at the dark haired female hostage. A cold frown washes over Emma's face as she turns her eyes back to the elevator. The elevator door opens and she steps in. She turns around to face out and sees two yuppie business men about to walk in. Emma darts out, "This car is taken, gentlemen. Please wait for the next one."

One yuppie tries to speak up, but Emma's beautiful cold glare keeps him silent as the door slowly slides shut. Emma slides in a special golden key into the panel, allowing her to access the penthouse office suites. It is a short ride as she bypasses the other floors. The doors slide open and she steps through with a cold expression on her face. The hallway from the elevator is dimly lit with old fashion gas powered candle like fixtures on the walls. She walks to the other end of the plush carpeted hall up to a thick double door. With a slight push, Emma walks though the opening doors. She is greeted tall charming blonde man who take her right hand and kisses it lightly saying, "Welcome back Emma."

She slightly smiles and replies, "Thank you, Donald."

Another man walks up to her and bows. A much older man in appearance with orange like hair and beard, he much less attractive than Donald with his over weight figure. He greets her, "The White Queen returns."

Emma remarks in a whimsical tone, "That remains to be seen, Harry."

Another voice speaks up saying, "It matters not how, but you have returned, Emma."

A tall dark haired man walks out from the shadows. His hair tied back into a pony tail as he straightens his old fashioned 19th century garments. Emma tilts her head and says, "Hello Sebastian."

He steps up to her taking her right hand and kisses it lightly saying, "I must say, you weren't expected today. Unless this is of a personal matter."

Emma slides her hand away from him and steps around Sebastian casually saying, "When I learned where you and the others were holding up, I had to see it for myself."

She walks around with a sarcastic smirk on her face as she looks at their surroundings then remarks, "Not the typical abode for such esteemed individuals."

Sebastian laughs and replies, "True, then what can one expect from a small city like Bayville?"

Emma grins and continues to glance around. Sebastian asks, "So, my dear, what brings you here?"

"A warning, Sebastian," Emma says, "to not challenge the powers of Allan Paran."

Sebastian replies, "A fair warning indeed. The boy is powerful. But the Society cannot ignore this."

Emma quickly turns around and sternly speaks, "You have not seen such power, Sebastian. Allan humbles himself, because he fears what he is. For beings like us to meddle with such forces is too sign away our souls!"

Smiling at her while approaching, Sebastian says, "Your opinion on the matter is noted, my dear. But the Society is unanimous on this decision."

Emma attempts to speak up but is politely interrupted by a soft voice, "Excuse my intrusion my lords."

Turning her gaze to the door, Emma sees a dark haired young woman elegantly walk in. Dressed in tight black leather with a billowing black cape that rivals the dramatic appearance of Emma's, the dark haired woman smiles at her and adds, "You look well Emma."

"As do you, Tessa." Emma replies.

Sebastian speaks up, "Tessa has taken her place as our new Black Queen."

Emma slightly grins at her and says, "Moving up, are we?"

Tessa returns her grin as Sebastian asks her, "So, I trust your reconnaissance mission went well, my dear?"

"Indeed," Tessa answers, "quite well."

Emma mentions, "So, that was you Allan saved from that bank robbery."

Smiling at Emma and nodding, Tessa replies, "Yes it was. It enabled me to get close enough ascertain my suspicions."

"And what suspicions did you have?" Emma asks.

"That Allan Paran, despite all his power, drops his guard at the sight of a beautiful face." Tessa answers as she smiles.

Emma sighs out and gives her a sarcastic stare saying, "If you are looking to seduce Allan with your charms, you will find the feat extremely difficult if not impossible." She turns to face Sebastian and adds, "I urge you to reconsider your decision. Do not cross Allan Paran, you will risk your existence."

He places his hands on her arms gently and continues, "Relax Emma, these things take time. I do not expect this to be easy, just successful. Now if you please, I have other matters to contend to. Donald, please escort our queen to the elevator."

Emma stares at Sebastian remarks softly, "I pity you."

Donald takes her hand and casually leads her through the double doors. Sebastian waits until she is out of sight. He takes a deep breath and glance over his left shoulder into the shadows of the room asking, "Do you think she detected you, my lord?"

Standing in the shadows behind Sebastian, and slightly echoing young man's voice speaks up, "I hope not. I was undressing her with my eyes the whole time."

Two yellow glowing eyes suddenly shine out of the dark shadows as the voice continues, "So, how close did you get Tessa?"

She smiles looking at the glowing eyes and says, "Close enough to see his red eyes, and to probe his mind without any resistance."

The glowing eyes appear to nod at her as Tessa grins. The voice then adds, "Then it is only a matter of time before we all get what we are seeking."

Harry steps forward and asks, "And, what is it you seek my lord?"

Taking a deep breath, the voice sighs out. The through the shadows, below the yellow glowing eyes, a four corner red star slowly shines brightly like a red sun. Tessa grins biting her lower lip as the voice casually echoes out, "Eternity, Harry, only eternity."

Late afternoon signifies the end of most people's days. For the some of the residence of the Xavier Institute, the day still goes on. Standing squared off in the Danger Room, Colossus stares back at Allan. Dressed in his unique uniform, Allan glares at the large metal Russian through the eyes holes of his helmet. The Danger Room sits silent as both of the young men stand squared off facing each other from opposite ends of the hi-tech chamber. Allan asks out, "You ready for this big guy?"

Colossus replies, "Quit stalling, let's get this over with."

With their hands to their sides, they shake and wiggle their fingers to loosen up. Allan speaks out, "Alright, go!"

With quick hand movements, both of them put their hand over their mouths and blow into long balloons. With determined expressions, they knot up the ends and frantically begin to manipulate the inflated fluorescent balloons. The sounds of squeaking rubber echo throughout the Danger Room as both men twist and turn their inflated novelty item. Then Allan steps up and holds his newly reconfigured balloon and says, "Dog!"

Colossus steps up and hold his up saying, "Octopus!"

Sliding off his helmet with his left hand, Allan approaches the large Russian with a baffled smile. He looks at his balloon and asks, "How in the hell did you manage to pull off an octopus?"

Shrugging his shoulders, Colossus simply says, "Just thought I'd give it a shot."

Allan then smiles big and adds, "That rocks! Man of steel, heart of an artist!"

He high fives Colossus as they both chuckle. Gambit stands off to the side and asks, "Balloon animals, Allan?"

Allan looks over at him and replies, "Yup, I'm showing Piotr that he can control his strength in his metal form." and gestures to the balloon octopus.

Breathing out, Piotr adds, "Not as easy as it looks, Remy."

Shaking his head, Remy says, "I take yo word for it, Pete. Now, if we done wit dis circus act, I'm grabbin' a bite."

Remy casually walks out of the Danger Room chamber shaking his head with a smile. Colossus reverts to his human flesh form and looks at his balloon creation as Allan remarks, "Control is the key, Piotr. One thing I was taught, no matter how strong you may think you are, there is always someone or something stronger. But with control over yourself, you can be unstoppable."

Piotr smiles at his balloon animal, then nods at Allan before turning to leave the chamber. Allan places his helmet on the floor and begins to stretch. With agile ease, he holds his right leg straight up balancing on his left. An effortless vertical split, Allan holds this position stretching his legs. Then with acrobatic ease, he swings his right around bringing himself into a circular somersaulting maneuver. Allan lands quietly into a fighting stance as he starts executing several martial art hand forms. His fists and opens palm strikes whip through the air loudly as he begins to close his eyes. It is a show of precision, accuracy and physical agility. Allan mixes up moves from many of the martial arts he has had to master, all of which has him traveling up and down the Danger Room chamber as he strikes, spins and dives about the room. Up in the command center above, Hank works tediously on the system panels while Logan stands on a stool working on the lighting above. Shifting his stare out into the chamber, Logan catches a glimpse of Allan executing one of his many spinning airborne kicks. Nodding his head, Logan remarks, "The kid knows his stuff."

Hank keeps his attention fixed on the open panel in front of him and responds, "I only wish he wouldn't push himself so hard. Ever since he nearly burned himself out a few months ago, he's become such a workaholic. He teaches three classes here, manages several freelance art projects downtown, plays lead vocal or guitar in two different local rock bands, and still goes out almost every other night facing down cosmic threats to our world."

Logan chuckles, "Well, it's not like the kid really needs to sleep."

"I'm worried about him, Logan." Hank remarks, "Physically he is more than capable to handle all those tasks. But what about psychologically, he still human."

Stepping off the stool, Logan replies, "Alright, Hank, I'll ask him to cut it back a bit. I'll get Ororo to handle one of his classes and ask him to cut back on the night life. And to put your mind at ease, may be we should ask him to come in from time to time for a physical."

Hank chuckles, "Allan will not be too receptive to those requests, Logan."

Looking out into the chamber again, Logan smiles and adds, "No problem Hank. Allan maybe tough and stubborn, but we got leverage."

Hank looks out the window as well and shares Logan's smile as they see Rogue enter the chamber below embracing Allan lovingly. They hold each other passionately as they lock lips in a deep kiss.

The Danger Room sits silent aside from the light sounds of smooching kisses. With her eyes closed, Rogue lets her moistened lips press and grind against Allan's. They both embrace each other tightly as they seemingly ignore the rest of the world. Their lips parts but their faces remain close as they both catch their breaths. Rogue breathlessly says, "Ah've been thinkin' about doin' that all day."

Allan replies with a wide eyed smile, "Wow! I can tell."

Rogue gazes into his eyes and says, "The semester is done for the holidays. And Ah thought you and Ah could spend some quality time together."

"What do you have in mind?" Allan asks.

"I dunno," Rogue replies in a soft tone, "what're ya doin' tonight?"

Allan grins at her and answers, "Oh, you know, saving the universe."

Rogue giggles at first, then her expression becomes baffled as she asks, "Are you serious?"

Simply nodding with a grin, Allan says, "Yup, wanna keep me company?"

Watching the young students scamper about the estate through his window, Eric begins to ponder his next roll in life. He thinks to himself, 'What is to become of me. I feel my cause for mutant prosperity is still just. But it seems my methods to convey my cause have proven only to be more destructive than I anticipate. Now I stand at a cross roads. What will my legacy be?'

Eric watches through his window as a taxi pulls up to the front of the house. Mystique walks down the steps with Kurt following just behind her. She carries a single bag slung over shoulder while Kurt lugs a larger piece of luggage down with her. They place the bags toward the back end of the taxi for the cabbie to place in the trunk. Much to Eric's surprise, Mystique and Kurt hug, like mother and son. Just then he notice Allan and Rogue walking down to them as well. The young couple are dressed in their uniforms when they come down to see Mystique. Eric then watches as Mystique hug Rogue, who is less then reluctant to hug her back but does so anyway. Just before turning to step into the cab, Mystique shakes Allan's hand with a smile of content. Eric sighs out as he continues watching them. Mystique waves as the taxi rolls away while the three youngsters wave back. As the cab leaves the driveway, Kurt begins to walk back in as Allan scoops Rogue up into his arms and flies off with her into the dusky sky. Eric thinks to himself again, 'Charles calls this house a place for new beginnings. Perhaps it is time I seek another path, a more, righteous path.'

Turning to look at himself in the mirror, Eric looks over his injuries. Despite the months that have past since his battle with Allan, his injuries still remain touchy at best. His neck is wrapped in a soft brace while his left arm is cradled in a cast. He supports himself up with the assistance of a cane due to the fact his right leg is strapped to a leg brace. Although Hank has told him he is healing up nicely, the extent of his injuries will probably keep him side lined for a while to come. In the past few months, Eric has made certain financial preparations for his two children, Pietro and Wanda. Although SHIELD has labeled him as a terrorist, they have been kind enough not to freeze any of his assets. That and the fact he survived a battle that should have obliterated every fiber of his body, has given Eric the sign that this is his second chance. So lost in his thoughts, Eric doesn't notice Charles entering his room. "How are you feeling this day, old friend?" Charles asks.

Eric's quickly turns his attention to him with a smile and replies, "In much less pain then I was in yesterday."

Adjusting his posture to face Charles a bit more, Eric adds, "I forgot how peaceful this house was. This time of recovery has shown me how consumed I was with hate, and all the blind actions I have taken."

Charles just nods and listens as Eric continues, "I should have died in that battle, Charles. I know that now. Allan risked so much, so that my children would not be fatherless. How does one show thanks for such a gift?"

Smiling at Eric, Charles replies, "You do so by taking this second chance he has given you, and embrace it for all its worth."

Sighing out lightly, Eric returns Charles's smile and mentions, "I recall, quite a few years ago, you once tried to tell me about your dream of peaceful co-existence between humans and mutants. Perhaps, I wasn't listening as closely as I should have been. If you would, my friend, allow me to share in your dream once more."

The evening sky blankets over Bayville and the temperature begins to drop several degrees. After a few days of overcast and snow, the skies are clear and sparkle with stars. Sitting on the edge on the tallest building in down town, Allan whistles the tune to Star Wars. His legs dangle off the edge while Rogue leans up against his back. Allan glances back at her and asks, "Are you cold?"

Rogue rests her head back on his right shoulder and replies, "Nope, but Ah should be."

Allan slides his red helmet partial up his head and smiles saying, "You're ok, I just increased the air friction around your body to make the air a bit more temperate and comfortable."

Rogue turns around and wraps her arms around him saying, "Ah thought it felt like your arms were around me."

Allan chuckles as he reciprocates her hug. Rogue asks, "So, is this what you've been doin' every other night for the past few months? Hangin' out on rooftops lookin' for trouble?"

"Pretty much," Allan says, "it's kind of like a stake out, not too glamorous, is it?"

Rogue stands up stretching her back saying, "Well, can't complain about the view. Have you run into much trouble?"

Allan replies, "Here and there, not much really. Some of those threats were just passing by. Maybe a handful wanted to actually duke it out, but nothing that couldn't be handled. They all have this thing about showing up at night, I can't figure it out."

Rogue looks at Allan with a baffled grin and asks, "You're talkin' about fightin' cosmic super guys like yourself, right?"

Nodding, Allan replies, "Yup, but not as often as you may be thinking."

"Let me get this straight," Rogue mentions, "you pretty much save the world, almost every other night, and you don't see this as a big deal?"

Allan shrugs his shoulders answering, "Nope, it's just my job, it's just who I am."

Rogue stares at Allan with a slight smile for a few seconds, then says, "God, Ah love you."

She walks back to him and sits in his lap straddling him intimately as she passionately kisses Allan. They sit on the edge of the tall office building holding each other in a loving embrace. Their kiss is long and deep while a small gust of cold wind blows by them. As their lips slowly part, Allan mutters out, "I can hear your stomach groaning. You hungry?"

Rogue smiles and lightly giggles as she replies, "Yeah, Ah am."

"Well," Allan adds, "there's a donut shop down at street level below us. I can grab us a dozen if you want."

"That sounds great." Rogue says cheerfully.

They both stand up as Allan slips his helmet back on and remarks, "I'll be quick."

He then swan dives backwards off the edge of the building. With a quick jolt, Allan flips as he swings his legs under him in a controlled descent to the street below. Rogue smiles and giggles watching him fly to the ground. She sighs out as she looks up at the star filled sky. With shining smile on her face, Rogue sits on the edge with her legs dangling off. She feels as though she has nothing to fear when ever she is with Allan. Her blissful thought are interrupted by the sounds of shuffling behind her. Rogue quickly gets to her feet and steps away from the edge looking to where the sound is coming from. Sitting casually against an air vent unit, Gambit shuffles a fresh deck of cards he had just opened. With a grin on his face, he says, "You do pick interestin' places to hang out, petit."

"What're ya doin' here, Remy?" Rogue inquires.

Gambit hops to his feet continuing to shuffle the cards from one hand to the other and says, "Well, first off, I be freezin' my butt off. Second, just enjoyin' de view. What 'bout you?" as he grins at her sly like.

Rogue smirks as she replies, "Ah was enjoyin' the view fine 'till you showed up."

Pocketing the cards, Gambit holds up his hands saying, "Easy, chere. We on de same team now. And, as yo team mate, I thought I'd let you in on somethin' I've noticed."

"Like Ah got any interest in what you got to say." Rogue replies sarcastically.

Gambit continues, "Ever wonder, how Allan was able to cure Spike, and not you?"

Rogue falls silent as her expression turns plain. Gambit adds, "Just a thought, but it looks to me he don't want anybody to touch you but him."

"Allan wouldn't do that, Remy." Rogue answers, "Ah know him better'n anybody."

"Maybe," Gambit says, "but it's somethin' to think 'bout, no?"

Rogue takes a deep breath as she glares at the Cajun.

Allan casually walks in to the donut shop carefully opening the jingling glass door. A handful of customers are seated in the tiny café like room. As Allan enters the shop, an old man speaks up saying, "Hey, it's motorcycle guy. Out for another ride, kid?"

Allan smiles from behind his helmet and says, "Just doing my rounds pops. You gentlemen staying warm?"

The all nod as another asks, "Aren't ya cold wearin' that motorcycle outfit all the time?"

Chuckling, Allan replies, "That's why I come here to bother you guys." He then turns to the clerk behind the counter and says, "I'm gonna need six glazed, three powered and three cinnamon. Oh, and two large hot chocolates."

Allan reaches in his uniform pockets and pulls out a small wad of cash waiting to pay for his donuts. Just then a soft voice speaks up behind him, "Well, well, fancy seeing you here."

Allan casually turns to look and sees a dark haired woman wearing a black furry trench coat standing by the doorway. She continues, "I never really got a chance to properly thank you for saving my life."

Turning all the way around, Allan tilts his head slightly and remarks, "Bank robbery, earlier, your name was Tessa, right?"

She smiles with a sexy grin as she replies, "I'm flattered, you remembered my name. The sign of a true gentleman."

Allan chuckles and says, "Look, I'm sorry if I scared you. But those idiots caught me on a bad day."

Tessa walks up to the counter and pays for Allan's order with one hundred dollar bill. Allan remarks, "That's not necessary miss."

She quickly says, "I insist. And please, call me Tessa."

She slowly turns to Allan and adds, "Now, is there anything else I can do to thank you?"

She gently runs her finger on his chest lightly tracing the shiny four corner star emblem. Allan's eye widen as he slowly grabs his donuts and tow hot chocolates saying, "Uh… no… thank you. I'll just take the donuts."

Allan shuffle back toward the door and says, "Well, I'm glad you're alright, and uh… thanks for the donuts. Bye." as he quickly turns and steps out of the establishment.

One of the old men playfully speaks up saying, "If you want, you can thank me."

Tessa glares at the elderly man and grins remarking, "Piss off." just before walking through the door.


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