X-Men Evolution NEXT

All In Good Time

Utility vehicles are parked on both sides of the street as workers busy themselves around what resembles a disaster area. Mounds of rubble surround a gaping hole in the street exposing the sewer below. Police line tape keep onlookers and passer by' s from venturing too close. Although majority of the curious crowd had diminished during the course of the morning, the grim scene still attracts a good sized audience. Whispers and inquiries about what has happened or believed happened, echo among them, including the workers, who are baffled on how the damage was created in the first place.

A little further up the street from the scene, Scott and Jean seat themselves in a corner coffee shop. They take one of the window seats as Scott peers through the window looking back down the street. Jean smiles at him and says, "Scott, you can't see anything from here."

Scott replies, "I know, I'm just looking out for the others."

Jean reaches across the table and holds his hand saying, "Trust them, Scott, they know what they are doing."

Jean has known Scott for a long time, and despite not being able to see his eyes behind ruby quartz sunglasses, she can see his deep concern. She focuses her mind to his as she telepathically remarks, 'We all know you worry about us, Scott.'

The echoing voice in his head gets his full attention as he turns his gaze back to Jean. He smiles at her as he replies, "Sorry about that, Jean." As he holds her hand, "I've been thinking a lot lately. We've had so many close calls, Apocalypse being the closest. And every time, I had this feeling of helplessness. Then seeing Logan and Ororo in the condition they were in last night, I started getting that helpless feeling again."

Jean squeezes his hand saying, "You are not helpless, Scott. You are the most capable person I've ever known. It's always been your confidence that has given me strength through those rough times."

Scott smiles at her as he sighs out, "Well, now that we have that settled," he says chuckling, "if you would, check on the others, Miss Grey?"

Jean gives him a playful grin and replies, "Why certainly, Mr. Summers."

She closes her eyes and focuses her telepathic mind at her three friends wandering the nearby area, 'Kitty, Rogue, Kurt, what's your status?'

Jean's mind focuses over to the damaged scene. Her mind takes her to the alley way where another taped off area lay. As workers walk by the spot and turn the corner, Kitty, in ghostly manner walk through the neighboring brick wall. Her mutant ability to pass through solid objects, or phase, has allowed her to get close to the scene than any of her team mates. Hearing Jeans voice in her head, Kitty focuses her thoughts so that Jean can hear her, 'Things are clear here. Just a lot of rubble and workers. Looks like forensics got everything.'

Jean's mind then focuses into the building Kitty just phased out from. Inside, Kurt teleports into a dark corner, and quickly looks around. He raises his left wrist and turns on his image inducer. The device forms a short field around him bending light and creating holographic image over his blue furry body disguising him a young white male.

He responds to Jean's focused thoughts, 'Ja, it's dead in here too. This place is nothing but vacant office spaces.'

Jean's mind focuses outside, towards the gathered crowd. She can hear all their thoughts, but focuses in one particular one. Off in the back, just listening to conversations of the workers that pass her by, Rogue responds, 'Nobody' s really talkin'. Even the cops have no clue what did this. We're waistin' our time.'

Jean telepathically says to all of them, 'Alright, just finish up then meat at Scott's car in five minutes. We're going to grab a bite before heading back to the Institute.'

Rogue starts backing out of the crowd as she thinks to her self, 'Great, we get to watch those two 'gush' all over each other again. Whoa, I hope she didn't hear that.'

She starts to make her way up the street trying not have to much contact with as she maneuvers through the crowd. Although her body is pretty well cover in 'gothic' attire, the slightest skin to skin contact with any of these people would render them unconscious as she would absorb their memories as well as their energy, thus revealing her mutant ability on a crowded street. It was either this or sit around with Scott and Jean. Rogue decide to cross the street and walk around the crowd. Much to her surprise as she crosses the street, she spots the motorcyclist doing the same thing but keeping his gaze on the crowd. Though not wearing the colorful leather outfit from before, she recognized his sunglasses and jet black hair. Today he is decked out in just a white t-shirts that lightly follows the contours of his athletic build, and a pair of boot cut blue jeans that hang over a pair heavy sounding steal toe boots. Rogue stops abruptly and spurts out, "Hey you, with the shades."

He quickly turns his heads to her and stops in his tracks. She adds, " I wanna talk ta you." as she points at him.

He straightens his posture and says, "I'm all ears."

Rogue walks up to him with a serious if not her typical mean expression on her face.

"What're you doin' here?" she asks.

He responds, "Probably the same reason you're here, just curious."

She looks at him sarcastically saying, "Yeah right. Did you have anything to do with that last night?" as she points over to the scene.

He pulls his sun glasses down the bridge of his nose and glances at her, "Do you think I did?"

She grunts out, "I wouldn't ask if I knew."

He thumbs his sun glasses back up and ask, "What if I said yes?"

Rogue responds in a low tone, "Then you and I might have a problem."

He smirks at her with his hand up and says, "Well, we wouldn't want that, so I guess my answer is no." as he starts to walk by her casually.

She gets all flustered as she adds, "Ya know, this cool guy routine may have worked on Tabitha, but with me, you better drop it."

He continues walking down the side walk with Rogue following. He remarks, "Are you talking about that cute blonde chick? Not my type. And I don't have a routine, what you see, is what you get."

Rogue rolls her eyes saying, "Whatever. Oh, and what's up with that drawing of me anyway? Are you like some kind perverted stalker or somethin'?"

He stops and turns around, "What, you didn't like it? I thought I captured your likeness perfectly."

She adds, "Well, why'd you draw me? It's not like Ah asked ya to."

He looks at her with a baffled expression, "Do I need to ask the trees and sky if they would like to be drawn? I draw what I see, helps me pass the time. Sorry if it offended you. What's your name anyway?"

Rogue slightly cracks a smile and says, "You can call me Rogue. And Ah wasn't offended, just took me by surprise."

He gives her a curious smile, "Rogue? Some kind of nick name or something?" he asks as Rogue shrugs her shoulders, "Hey it's you name, that' s cool."

She gestures to him, "And you are?"

He says with a smile, "How rude of me. I'm Allan, Allan Paran."

She shares his smile as he adds, "I'd like to continue this, and I do mean that. But I have things to do."

He turns and starts walking again. Rogue continues to follow saying, "Wait a minute, there some friends of mine that want to meet you."

Glancing at her he responds, "I'm sure they do, but I've got some pressing matters."

Rogue persists, "Like what? Where'y goin'?"

He spurts out, "I'm going to Walmart to buy new socks and underwear. Why, you want to come?" as they turn into another alley.

Suddenly a rough deep voice responds, "Sure, we'll come with ya."

Rogue and Allan both stop and look into the alley. Standing next to Allan's sleek motorcycle, a slim gentleman stands squared off from them, flipping a deck of cards from one hand to the other. Just above him, another figure perches himself ina crouched position on the fire escape looking down, much larger than the slim fellow, and beastlike in nature. Rogue steps up next to Allan saying, "That's Gambit and Sabertooth. They're bad news, Allan."

Allan looks confused, "They're who and what?"

Rogue replies, "Just trust me and get out of here."

"And leave you here alone, no way." Allan sternly says.

The slim guy leans up on Allan's bike saying, "And ta answer your who's and what's, Mon Ami, I be Gambit, dat up dere be Sabertooth. Now, answer dis, is dis yo ride?"

Gambit asks while patting the bike.

Allan grins at him and says, "What if I said yes?"

Rogue gently elbows Allan's arm whispering, "Don't start that."

Gambit glances at Rogue, "Dis yo new boyfriend, chere? Gambit must admit, you do work fast." He says grinning at her.

Allan glimpse at Rogue and sees her sneering at Gambit and speaks up, "Hey, there's no need to be rude, Mardi Gras. If you got beef with me, then come over and take a bite, but leave her out of it."

Rogue mutters to Allan, "They must have heard Tabitha talkin' about you."

Allan looks back at Rogue, "The blondie? Well, it figures." Rolling his eyes he adds, "Glad I didn't kiss her."

Allan step ups and continues, "Hey look, if one of you is her boyfriend, keep your cool, nothing happened. I just gave her a ride home."

Gambit remarks, "Nothin' like dat boyo. Our boss would like to meet ya."

"No thanks, bud." Allan replies.

Rogue says with urgency, "Allan, just run."

Letting out a deep growl, Saberetooth adds, "It ain't like we're given' you a choice here, boy. But if ya wanna run, I could use a good chase." He says with a grin.

Allan glares up at Sabertooth, "I wasn't aware I was at a disadvantage here, 'dad'." He says sarcastically.

Rogue looks at Allan with surprise as he adds, "Tell your boss, who ever he is, that if he wants to talk to me, then come to personally. And don't send boys to do a man's job." He says chuckling.

Gambit, shakes his head and says, "Don' be an idiot boyo."

Sabertooth growls out, "The boss says, if he don't come quietly, then don't come at all!"

As she dives off the fire escape lunging his claw fingered hands at Allan.

In one full fluent motion, Allan pushes Rogue to the ground and leaps into the air onto Sabertooth's back. Continuing the motion he rolls off Sabertooth's back and lands back his feet then quickly ducks as Gambit swings his staff across. Sabertooth tucks and rolls from his lunge landing on his feet. Allan quickly spins while ducking Gambits staff swing and sweeps his leg out at the Cajun. Gambit leaps and somersaults over Allan's sweep. Allan continues his circular motion from his sweep bring his other leg up in inward crescent kick knocking Gambit's staff out of his hands then thrusting his sweeping leg in a backward kick knocking Gambit back against the brick wall of the alley. Sabertooth lunges again ferociously swing his claws at Allan like a wild animal.

Allan bobs and weavs then spins while ducking Sabertooth's swinging claws and drops a reverse elbow deep into his abdomen causing Sabertooth to nearly puke. The Allan grabs Sabertooth in an over the shoulder headlock and throws him into stack of trash cans. Allan turns towards Gambit, who is quickly on his feet. Gambit holds up three cards as he grins at Allan saying, "Game over boyo." as the cards in his hands start glowing.

Then with quick reflexes he throws the energy charge cards at the young man. Allan shuffles back kicking Gambit's staff up off the ground. He grabs hold of the staff and spins the weapon in a butterfly like motion deflecting two the energy cards away and at the downed Sabertooth. Both cards explode knocking Sabertooth through a near by window as he grunts and yells out in pain. Allan stops his weapons motions and catches the third cards with his left hand and quickly tosses it back behind Gambit just before exploding. The force of the explosion knocks Gambit towards Allan who spins the staff around and clothes lines Gambit across his chest rather hard knocking the wind out him. Allan takes the staff and impales Gambit's trench coat into the pavement pinning him down. Rogue watches, her eyes wide in amazement as Allan quickly straddles his motorcycle and pulls up to her holding out his hand, "Come on, let's go!" he yells to her.

She immediately gets to her feet and jumps on as Allan revs his bike loud. Rogue straddles the seat behind Allan and tightly hugs his waist as he throttles the bike. She feels a sudden jolt as they peel out the alley loudly and speed up the street like a rocket.

Gambit rolls to his side while laying on the ground. He grins and says, "Well, dat went better than I thought."

In the distance he hears Sabertooth groan out, a sound that almost brings him to laughter.

Kurt and Kitty walk up to Scott's car where Scott and Jean await them. Scott glance behind them and asks, "Where's Rogue?"

Kurt and Kitty look at each other baffled. Kitty says, "We thought she'd be here before us."

Scott sighs out, "Jean, could you find her please. She probably stopped by a music store on the way."

Jean closes her eyes and concentrates her thoughts over the immediate area. She opens her eyes and looks at Scott saying, "I can't sense her anywhere Scott. It's like she's not even in the city."

Kitty grows concerned, "Well, what do we do? We can't leave without her."

Scott nods his head, "I know. Damn, I knew we shouldn't split up."

"Calm down, Scott. You can't blame yourself." Jean says to him.

Kurt speaks up, "How do we find her without splitting up?"

Jeans replies, "Well if she is being cloaked or out of my telepathic range, I'm sure Cerebro can find her. We better get back to the Institute fast."

They all nod and jump into Scott's convertible and speed off home.

Just a little north of Bayville, at a rest stop off the main interstate, Allan hands Rogue a soda from one of the many machines. She says, "Thanks." As she pops it open and takes a sip.

Allan replies, "Well I knew you'd be a bit thirsty and all. I mean, you were kind of sucking up the wind back there while I pulled 150 up the highway."

She smiles and asks, "Why'd you drive us this far up?"

"Just wanted to make sure we weren't being followed. Those two were kind of psycho."

He adds, "Don't get any wrong ideas, I don't work that fast either."

Rogue chuckles as she takes a another sip of her soda. She looks at Allan, who shares her gaze and asks him, "So, you're a mutant too?"

Allan smiles at her as her leans up on his bike, "I don't know. If a mutant is anything like the people where I'm from, then maybe."

She looks him over and asks, "Where're you from, originally?"

Allan looks up at the sky and sighs out, "Out west, California to be exact."

Rogue smirks and says, "I kind of thought that."

He silently chuckles and adds, "And you…South Carolina, Alabama?"

She grins at him, "Try Mississippi, tough guy."

"I was getting there." Allan playfully says.

He looks at Rogue and asks, "Are you sure you didn't get hurt back there?"

Rogue gives him a smart ass look, "You didn't give me a chance to get into the action. You got all "Jet Li" on both of them." as she laughs.

Allan shrugs his shoulders out of embaresment. Rogue continues, "Where'd you learn to fight like that anyway? Those two are usually tough to take on like that."

Allan gesture with his hands, "Here and there. I've had plenty of, well, I guess masters that taught me a thing or two. You didn't seem too afraid of them."

She responds, "Ah was more worried about you actually. Silly of me."

Allan raises his eyebrows and smiles at her saying, "Well, I appreciate your concern, Rogue. And maybe next time, I'll let you take on the psychopathic muggers for me."

They both laugh as they both watch the sun slowly go down. Allan looks Rogue up and down and speaks up, " Mind if I ask."

Rogue says, "Ask me what?"

Allan gesture his hands at her, "Why do you cover your self up like that. I mean gloves and all. I can understand if it's some kind of goth thing, or is it something else?"

She falls silent as Allan quickly says, "Oh look I'm sorry if I…"

Rogue cuts him off, "No it's ok, I don't usually talk about it out in the open like this."

Allan replies, " I can understand, I was just curious." As he looks down.

Rogues adds, "I can't touch anyone. If anyone touches my skin directly, they get hurt.

I drain their energy, memories, and powers if any."

Allan sighs out, "Kind of a bummer."

Rogue replies, "Yeah."

She looks at Allan again and asks, "Why did you really draw me at the mall?"

He just laughs and says, "You really want to know?" As Rogue nods.

"You looked unique, in a very good way. And I like unique." He adds.

Rogue blushes and says, "I'd better get home, the others are probably worried."

Allan says, "Let's rock." As they both straddle his bike.

In the living room area at the Xavier Institute, the students talk about the disappearance of Rogue like it is some kind of television show making speculations and heightening the hysteria. Charles rolls into the room on his wheel chiar and Scott and Jean stand up. Scott ask, "Any luck Professor?"

Charles says, "Not really, I know she is close by though."

Kurt speaks up, "Maybe I should looking for her. I can cover more ground than any of you."

Charles adds, "No Kurt, I do not want risk anyone else going missing too."

Kitty says, "Well, didn't you say Sabertooth was spotted earlier? Maybe we should, like, give Magneto a visit."

"I do not think that will be necessary Kitty," Charles closes his eyes, " Because I believe Rogue is just right out side."

Kurt surprisingly says, "VHAT?"

Charles responds, "Yes, quite strange, I felt her presence just moment before she pulled in." he says with concern.

All the students rush out the front door and suddenly go silent as they see Rogue climb of the back of Allan's motorcycle. She looks up and glances back at Allan with a troubled look. She says, "Thanks for the ride. Would you like to come up? They'd like to meet you."

Allan looks past her at the others. Charles looks at him with concern as Allan nods at him. Then Allan glance at Jean, who suddenly glares at him. Allan cracks a slight grin then turns his gaze at Rogue saying, "Not today, Rogue. May be some other time. I just wanted to get you here safely."

She responds, "But they were after you."

Allan says, "It's no big deal, I doubt they'll be back any time soon."

He revs his bike up and closes the visor on his helmet. Then with a turbine sound, he speeds out of the drive, and through the opening gates. Rogue watches as he rides of into the evening. She slowly turns around to face her friends who share mixed feeling about her sudden appearance. "Sorry guys," she says, "We kind of ran into some trouble. Then kind of lost track of time." As she smiles and blushes.

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