X-Men Evolution NEXT

Prodding

The chilly winter air blows over the roof tops of down town Bayville. The clear night sky blankets the quaint city with stars as the lights from the building windows complete the picturesque scenery in a classical urban skyline. The streets below handle its' typical volume of vehicle and people traffic, oblivious to the drama that takes place on the roof tops above. An occasional flash of colored light would appear over the tall buildings. Pedestrians below would pass it off as some kind of fancy light show for one of those expensive high rise department stores. Curious onlookers with a perceptive eye find the dancing flashes of light intriguing or even concerning, leading them to dial the authorities on their cell phones.

Tucking into a roll from a fifteen foot drop, Cyclops quickly slides back onto his feet and drops back into a defensive position. Keeping his right finger prepped on his visor release trigger, he slowly turns his head left to right with an intent glare. The red glow emanating from the slit of his visor reveals the potential destructive power his eyes release as he prepares for an attack. Then with an echoing tone vibrating in his head, Jean's voice calls out, 'Behind you, Scott!'

Without hesitation, Cyclops dives forward into another roll. Carefully dropping onto his right shoulder while rolling, Cyclops aims his visor at the target charging from behind and releases his concussive optic blast. The bright red beam darts out and slams dead on. The target roars out as the beam blasts a hole through it's' chest. Cyclops spins around back onto his feet and watches the brown claylike looking creature spasm in shock at the gapping hole in its upper torso. Then with a final twitch, the creature collapses in a heap of wet mud like substance. In a stern calm tone, Cyclops calls out, "Clear."

Taking a deep breath, Cyclops places his hands on his waists. Gently dropping from the sky, Jean floats to him with a grin on her face. In a playful tone, she remarks, "Nice shootin' cowboy."

Returning her grin, Cyclops replies in a playful tone, "Thanks for the assist, pretty lady."

They both look down at the simmering mass of mud that was once an animated golem of sort. Cyclops mentions, "Well, that takes care of the group we came after. Where are Nightcrawler, Shadowcat and Iceman?"

Jean shuts her eyes as she focuses her mind. After a few seconds, she opens them and looks at Cyclops saying, "They're mopping up over by the parking deck. They'll be with us in a minute."

Cyclops smiles at her and asks, "What about team two, how are they doing?"

Focusing her mind once more, Jean grins slightly and says, "Well, it seems that Colossus, Gambit and Wolverine have their hands full with more sludge golems. Not that any of them are complaining. And it looks like Rogue and Vanguard are chasing the main culprit."

Opening her eyes at Cyclops, Jean adds, "Looks like everything is under control."

Gambit grunts out as he gets slammed to his back. He looks up to see his sludge golem opponent bear down on him. Kicking up with both legs, Gambit takes the golem by surprise by grabbing its' head with his feet, then throwing him over and forward into the broadside of an air condition generator. The impact partially splatters the creature mud like body against the generator leaving an indention on the metal paneling. Gambit quickly kicks off his back onto his feet. He holds out his metal quarter staff and spins around. He smirks as he realizes he is surrounded my more sludge golems. Glancing around for his other teams mates, Gambit spots Colossus wrestling seven golems. The sight is almost humorous as the large metal Russian seems unaffected by the golem's assaults and attempts to knock him down. Gambit then quickly turns to spot Wolverine, who seems to thrive in the fact they are outnumbered as he slashes out with his sharp metal claws cutting several golems in half with one swipe. Reaching into his trench coat pocket, Gambit pulls out a fresh deck of playing cards and begins to slowly charge them up. He glances around at the golems and notices more coming out of the shadows. Gambit grins and stands back into a defensive posture and says out loud to his team mates, "When did we start losin' control of dis fight, boyos?"

Wolverine spins and dives with his claws out as he cuts a swath through the horde of massing golems. He grunts out, "We ain't lost nothin', gumbo! Just keep fightin'!"

Colossus shakes off the four golems on his back and says, "Remember, friend, these things are not really alive!" as he stomps and splatters another under his heavy right foot.

Slashing another golem in half, Wolverine states, "That's right, don't hold back, and cut loose! We need to buy Vanguard and Rogue enough time to take out the main guy!"

Gambit smiles and says, "Sounds like plan, mon ami!" as he quickly tosses out the entire deck of energized cards at the massing golems. Each card embeds into various parts of each nearby golem, and then explodes violently splattering mud like matter in all directions. Wolverine and Colossus cover their faces as the smoke clears. Several golems are knocked off their feet by the explosions. The trio regroups as Gambit says with a grin, "Dat enough time for ya, Mr. Logan?"

Looking around at the results of Gambit's counter attack, Wolverine nods and says, "Now that's what I'm talkin' about."

Colossus sighs and points out, "Indeed, but it's too bad you don't play Uno, my friend."

Gambit and Wolverine look to see what Colossus is pointing at, and see more sludge golems sliding out of the shadows surrounding them. The trio stands back to back readying their defense. Wolverine sneers and grins remarking, "Good, I hate to go through all that work for a first round knock out."

Shifting his eyes from one monitor screen to the another, Hank takes in all the information the main computer gives him. He continuously keeps updating all archives of the situation for further study if necessary while reaching off to his left to carefully grab his large coffee mug. Hank sips the simmering beverage, not taking his eyes off the screens for a second. One monitor shows a digital diagram of brain activity while the other shows a detailed digital overview of the city, tracking power signatures of the ensuing battle. Entering the main computer room, Emma smiles at the sight of Hank's busy intelligence. She asks, "Sorry to intrude, but is the situation going well?"

Hank glances back at her with slight smile and replies, "As well as things can be I suppose. Allan and Rogue will be bringing closure to things here quite soon it seems."

"Who or what is this creature they are chasing? I was sort of lost during the mission briefing." Emma says.

Glancing back again at Emma, Hank slightly grins remarking, "I thought you looked rather bored."

Emma smiles at Hanks comment as he continues, "According to Allan, the creature's name is Nung. He or it was the living essence of a dying world. Now it's a free moving sentient life form of pure energy, capable of animating, manipulating, and possessing any form of inanimate matter."

"Ahem," Emma remarks, "what does all that mean?"

Raising his eyebrows while staring at the monitor, Hank replies, "Well, to put it plainly, Nung is very difficult to fight."

Emma adds, "And that is why the X-men are out there as well."

"Yes indeed," Hank says.

Looking up at the brain scan monitor with a baffled expression, Emma inquires, "Who's brain are you scanning, Hank?"

Turning his attention to the same screen, Hank replies, "I'm just monitoring Allan's brain activity. It took a little convincing on Rogue's part, but Allan finally allowed me to attach two wireless nodes to his temple while he is on this outing."

"Well, why the fuss?" Emma asks.

Updating more information into his archives, Hank turns to face Emma as he explains, "It's primarily to monitor the stress levels in Allan's mind. Ever since he joined us, Allan has been holding back a considerable level of his power by shear will. He was afraid of attracting other beings like himself. Then he nearly burned himself out a few months back. That put a great deal of physical stress on him, but we were never sure of the mental stress. And now, I feel he has been overworking himself, dealing with his many freelance art projects, teaching classes here at the institute, and dealing with extraterrestrial threats to our world."

Emma steps up next to him looking at the monitor as it updates Allan's brain activity scans. She sighs out and asks, "And you believe you may be able to help him if he shows any sign of dangerous stress levels?"

Hank shrugs his shoulders replying, "Honestly, I do not know. But I would like to think I may be ahead should something arise. Despite his cosmic nature, Allan is still in all aspects, only human."

"Yes," Emma adds in a low tone, "only."

'And prone to many human weaknesses.' As she thinks of the words spoken by Sebastian from her earlier conversations with him. Emma's expression grows concerned as she falls silent. But as her thoughts begin to dwell on her secret, Hank's excited voice speaks up, "Fascinating!"

Emma returns her attention to the monitor and asks, "What is it Hank?"

Glancing back at her for a moment, then turning his eyes back to the monitor, Hank replies with an excited tone, "Allan's brain activity, the indicators are showing usage of every part of his mind when ever he accesses his powers at a certain high level. I surmise this allows him to have higher if not sharper perspective of how to use what ever power he possesses. The activity level spiked so high, his body must be searing with adrenaline right now."

Emma watches Hank as he quickly grabs a communication head set and slips it over his head. He calls out, "Allan, I mean Vanguard, is everything alright?"

Replying back with a bit of static crackling, Vanguard says, "Whoa, check the volume control on your end, Mr. McCoy. I may have tough ear drums, but loud is loud."

Hank quickly adjusts his volume and remarks, "My apologies. But is everything alright?"

"I'll know in about two minutes. Right now, Rogue and I are trying to save the world." Vanguard adds, "We'll update you if we're not dead."

Hank glances back at Emma behind with a concerned look. Emma shares his expression as they both stare up at the digital overview of the city on the other monitor.

Sliding to a sudden stop, Rogue quickly spins around to face what is behind her. With a determined glare, she holds out both of her hands out in front of her. A warm, tingling sensation emanates from her lower arms to her finger tips as her arms and hands glow with a intense red flare. Rogue lets out a deep breathe as bright beam of red energy streams from her hands obliterating a horde of smudge golems to steaming masses of cracked mud. She takes a quick look around her for more golems buts finds her immediate area clear. Rogue then looks up at a higher point of the building top she stands on to see Vanguard charging towards hulking mud like mass that is Nung. Swinging its large hulking and melted like arm, Nung flings a barrage of mud globs toward Vanguard. The globs quickly solidify as the careen into him smashing loudly and violently against his super dense body. Halting his charge, Vanguard braces against the solid barrage Nung unleashes on him. Rogue rushes below to get a clear shot. She keeps glancing up at the battle above her trying to get her bearings. Stepping into a ready stance, Rogue breathes out again radiating her hands in red energy by her side, then holds them out and up towards Nung releasing a bright blast of streaming red energy. The red beam broad sides Nung hard causing it to grunt out loudly as it digs into its mud like body knocking it onto its side. Odor emanating steam fizzles from Nung's body where Rogue struck him. Vanguard slowly approaches the breathing smoldering mass of Nung looking down at it. He then quickly glances down at Rogue who stands ever ready at the lower level. He nods at her and gives her a thumbs up. Rogue holds up her two index fingers like pistols and blows on them like a gunslinger while grinning up at Vanguard. Glaring down at the mud like creature, Vanguard speaks out, "You're done here, Nung. I don't know you decided to attack me or this world, but this is as far as I'm allowing you to go. Now leave."

In a gurgling deep tone, Nung looks up at Vanguard and replies, "Departure only possible with my promised demise."

Peering through the eye holes of his red helmet, Vanguard expression grows baffled as he asks, "Promised?"

Nung continues as it adjusts its posture, "The Vanguard will make demise possible."

In a shuddering manner, the heavy building material underneath Vanguards feet shift and mold. Looking down quickly, Vanguard watches as brick, metal and mortar bend and mold around him into a large hand that wraps its fingers around his waist. The grip is sudden and crushing as Vanguard grunts out. Nung speaks out in a gurgling tone, "Mine is the power around you. Simple feat to inhabit little world and crush all life. No choice but to promise demise."

With his left arm free from the grip, Vanguard glares at Nung, then swings his left fist down on the large gripping hand. The impact from the blow shatters the building material molded hand into a cloud of dust and tiny particles. Vanguard quickly darts through the dust reaching down to grab Nung. He grips his hand into the muck like form and holds the hulking mass of Nung off the ground. In a some what satisfied tone, Nung remarks, "Be done with this existence."

Glaring through his now dust riddled helmet, Vanguard sternly states, "I'm not going to be your executioner, Nung. So quit asking."

Struggling in Vanguard's mighty grip, Nung mutters out, "If not by you, then by another."

In a decaying manner, Nung's mud like body dries up and cracks into dust. Vanguard steps back away from the powdery dust as Nung seemingly disappears. Dusting off his uniform and hands, Vanguard shakes his head out of frustration. He takes glances around for Nung but is unable to locate the creature. Vanguard then looks down off the ledge and sees Rogue pulling and climbing her way up to him. He reaches down taking her hand and pulls her up. She looks around quickly and asks, "Where'd Nung go?"

Sighing out, Vanguard replies, "He's gone."

"Did ya kill 'em?" Rogue asks with surprise.

"No, I didn't kill him." He replies in a sad tone.

Looking Vanguard with a curious expression, Rogue continues, "Well, why not? What happened, Allan?"

Allan removes his helmet and holds it under his right arm. Taking a deep breath, he looks at Rogue saying, "Nung is not evil, Rogue. He's just a bit, lost, that's all. Ordinarily, Nung is pretty harmless."

Rogue glances around at the damage and says, "Ya call all this harmless? What's his deal?"

Dusting off his helmet, Allan replies, "Being the living essence of a world, Nung has seen his share of life and death. I guess he reached his peak when he had to watch the last living creature die cradled in his soil. It's kind of a touchy subject, and it's made him very reclusive, until now. Something drew him out."

Shrugging her shoulders, Rogue asks, "So, what now? We keep after him?"

Putting his helmet back on, Allan answers, "We should regroup with the others first."

Looking at with a curious stare, Allan inquires, "So, how did you like the new power?"

Rogue smiles as she looks at her hands and replies, "Kinda cool. Bit of a rush whenever Ah used 'em. But Ah'll be honest, babe, blasting things with my hands don't feel like me."

Allan steps closer to her gently taking her hands with his and says, "Well, you said you needed some fire power. Just thought I'd give you a taste of my power for once."

Holding Rogue's hands, Allan draws back in the power he had allowed her to borrow. Both their hands glow in a red halo as the power travels back into Allan's body. Looking into her eyes, Allan adds, "Next, we'll find something that suits you."

Rogue smiles as Allan picks her up into his arms and flies them to where they last saw the other X-men.

Materializing on top of a near by office building, Nightcrawler teleports both Shadowcat and Iceman clear of the parking deck. Each one showing signs of a skirmish with the smudge golems as they are smeared with dirt and mud like matter. Nightcrawler looks around and says, "Looks like the coast is clear guys."

"I guess Vanguard and Rogue beat that Nung guy." Iceman remarks.

Shadowcat brushes off a piece of muddy like gunk from her shoulder and adds, "Let's hope so, those things smelled like a sewer. Talk about gross."

Nightcrawler chuckles as he tells her, "Still, it vas kind of nice to get out into the action. Ever since school started, ve haven't had much time to do this any more. Not like ve use to."

Just then, Jean slowly floats herself and Cyclops down using her telekinesis. The young trio watch as the couple gently touches down before them. Straightening his uniform, Cyclops approaches them and asks, "Have you guys seen any more creatures?"

Iceman speaks up saying, "No dude, I think we're all clear."

Both Nightcrawler and Shadowcat nod at his answer. Cyclops also nods with a smile and adds, "Then let's catch up with Wolverine and the others, and call it a night, team."

Jean's smile slowly turns to a look of concern as she begins to rub her forehead. Cyclops notices her mood change and posture asking, "Jean, are you alright?"

Looking up at Cyclops with a look of dread, Jean mutters out, "Something is wrong, Scott. I'm feeling… something… here… sadness, despair, and anger."

Cyclops steps up to her and sees she is starting to shake. He quickly grabs hold of her shoulders to steady her as he asks, "Take it easy, where is it coming from?"

Jean grits her teeth while she holds her hands firmly to her head. Slowly glancing around with her eyes, she whispers out, "All around us."

Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, and Iceman begin to look around them immediate area for trouble, each one readying themselves for a anything. Cyclops focuses on Jean, trying to calm her as Nightcrawler speaks out, "Ve don't see anyone or anything."

Cyclops remarks, "If Jean is sensing something, team, then something is coming. Stay sharp."

Jean's eyes suddenly widen as she gasps. Cyclops turns to her saying, "Jean?"

In a soft whispering tone, she mutters out, "Get… clear."

With a baffled expression on his face, Cyclops asks, "What? Jean, what are saying?"

Looking straight at him, Jean starts to breathe heavily. Suddenly, her voice seems to echo loudly into the air as she says, "GET CLEAR!"

In a concussive burst of invisible telekinetic force, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Shadowcat and Iceman are knocked away from her. They each grunt out as they are hit by what seems like a bubble bursting out at them. As they get knocked clear from Jean, the building top they were standing on comes alive shuddering and shift. Cyclops, Shadowcat, and Iceman land on their backs grunting out. All accept for Nightcrawler, who manages to recover quickly into a back flip then landing into a sliding crouching stance. They all watch as the see the ground they were once standing on begin jutting out large spike made of the building material. Jean back away slowly finding herself getting cut off from the rest of the team. The spikes jut out some more shaking the building top. A mixture of metal and cement shards of spikes form a large thick bush like barrier separating Jean from the others. Ominously twisting out of the spike barrier, a humanoid torso looking form takes shape made of the same industrial material as the spikes. Jean stumbles back in fear as the eyes of the ominous form open to reveal featureless eye sockets. The sounds of cracking cement, bending metal and crushing glass are heard as the form slowly stretches out towards her. Cyclops and the other young X-men get to their feet quickly and begin to slowly approach the spike barrier. "Jean, are you alright!" Cyclops cries out.

Shadowcat starts to run forward as she begins top phase through sharp barrier of spikes. Cyclops orders out, "Iceman, let's get its attention. Nightcrawler, support Shadowcat, and get Jean out of there!"

Nightcrawler teleports beyond the barrier to catch up with Shadowcat as Iceman and Cyclops begin to attack the formed torso in a barrage of concussive optic blasts and ice. Shadowcat runs up to Jean but finds her nearly entranced looking up at the humanoid form above them. She approaches Jean grabbing her by the shoulders to shake her a bit yelling, "Jean, snap out of it!"

Sprinkles of cement and glass spark off of the humanoid torso as Cyclops slams several direct hits to its back with destructive optic beams. Iceman does his best trying to immobilize the creature's visible arms. Nightcrawler dives towards Shadowcat and Jean grabbing both of them knocking them to the ground to avoid the creature's counter attack. The spike barrier juts out even further s it grows in all direction, ripping more building material out. Laying on the ground after pulling them away from the spikes, Nightcrawler teleports all three of them back to Iceman and Cyclops's position. Both of whom continue their attack, despite sustaining minor cuts and lacerations from the spiked counter attack. The humanoid torso turns to face the team, seemingly unaffected by the relentless barrage of optic blast impacts. Shadowcat gets a look at Jean again and still finds her entranced, just staring up at the creature bearing down on them. In a harsh husky tone, the creature speaks out, "Bring about promised demise, and all shall be spared."

Jean suddenly gasps out as she seems to come out of her trance. She looks at Cyclops and sees his determination despite his injuries. She watches in horror as the large spike barrier grows outward again catching both Iceman and Cyclops off guard. The sharp ends of the spikes slightly cut into their legs and arms forcing them to fall back. Iceman grips a deep cut in his right arm drawing back as quickly as he can away from the spikes. Cyclops suffers several cuts to his upper thighs. The sudden sharp pain buckles his legs and he falls to the ground grabbing his wounds. The humanoid torso turns to face them as it speaks again gesturing to itself, "End this existence," as it then gestures to Cyclops and continues, "or this one suffers."

Jean's mind if flooded with a backlash of emotions she feels radiating from the hulking form before her. The feeling of absolute despair, loss, and guilt bring tears to her eyes as she closes her eyes tightly trying to block it out. Jean begins to feel the sudden thoughts and emotions of her friends. A mixture of confusion, fear, and hope is felt from each of their minds. Jean grits her teeth and in tone tells the creature, "Leave… him… alone."

The creature's relentless nature continues to bear down towards Cyclops bringing the spikes ever closer to the injured X-man. Bracing for cover, Cyclops covers his head in an attempt to protect himself from more harm. Jean's expression becomes angered as she opens her eyes revealing a bright glowing glare. Her eyes shine like two white stars as her voice reverberates in the air, "I said… LEAVE HIM ALONE!"

A stunning flash of angelic light radiates from her entire body out toward the hulking mass of the creature. The brightness of Jean's lashing out catches the creature by surprise causing it to draw away covering its perpetual face. The bright light turns into a wave of white fire as it begins to burn the creatures metal and cement form. In a hideous sound of utter agony, the creature yells out trying to douse the flames from its body. Then in a spontaneous manner, its body explodes in a burst of white flames sending shards of rock, metal and glass in all directions. Shadowcat darts ahead diving to Cyclops and manages to grab his left arm phasing both of them through the violent explosion while Nightcrawler quickly teleports both he and Iceman behind a protective neighboring wall. Smoke and debris are scattered through the immediate area with the sound of steaming air gently hissing around them. As the air slowly clears with the winter breeze blowing through, the X-men see Jean standing in place with a shocked and baffled expression on her face. She seems shocked and tattered by the blast, but unharmed. Her uniform appears burned and tattered revealing various parts of her fair skinned body. Both steam and smoke slowly emanate from her person as she stands in silence among the aftermath. Cyclops shuffles on the ground to look at her then calls out, "Jean, are you ok?"

Jean remains silent while Shadowcat helps Cyclops to his feet. Nightcrawler and Iceman walk around the wall the took cover behind and approach the rest of the team. Shadowcat asks, "Um, Jean, is everything…"

Cutting her off in a soft tone, Jean quickly replies, "I'm fine, Kitty."

They fall silent as they look around at the damage that surrounds them. Just then Wolverine's voice calls out, "Hey, everybody alright over there!"

The young heroes look to see Wolverine running towards them with Gambit and Colossus following close behind him. "We saw the explosion, what happened?" Wolverine asks.

Cyclops leans on Shadowcat's shoulder and answers, "Well, we're not quite sure."

Jean quickly adds, "Nung attacked us, now he's gone."

Wolverine glances at all of them with a baffled expression as Nightcrawler says, "Jean beat him, I guess."

Responding to Nightcrawler's comment, Jean slightly smiles and says, "Not really, guys. I'm not sure what I did."

As Wolverine is about to inquire more of what happened, Vanguard and Rogue fly in and approach the gathered team. Jean looks over at Vanguard in silence with a nervous expression. Gazing around at the apparent damage from the fight, Vanguard sighs out, "Nung was here, wasn't he?"

They look to Jean as she nods in response to his question. Vanguard shakes his head and says, "He said he would find another way if didn't kill him."

Jean quickly says, "I didn't mean to kill him, Allan. He just… wouldn't stop."

"He's not dead, Jean." Vanguard remarks, "At least not yet. And it looks like you weakened him enough to where he won't be bothering anyone for while."

Wolverine asks, "So, he's still out there?"

"Yup," Vanguard says, "in a lot of pain and probably sulking in his self pity right now."

Gambit steps up and asks, "So now what?"

Pulling off Gambit's trench coat off his back, Wolverine drapes it around Jean to cover her up and says, "Mission accomplished. Now we go home, right?" as he glance over at Vanguard.

Vanguard nods and replies, "Right."

The team scatters across the roof tops away from the approaching sound sirens and helicopters.

Flashing red and blue lights illuminate the distant scene as sirens and bullhorns echo throughout the evening adding more excitement to Bayville's nightlife. A few blocks away, atop another flat top office building, a steaming mound of debris shifts and slides with a groaning grind. The mass of mixed material slowly takes shape into a humanoid form and lays face down moaning in pain. In a grinding deep tone, it mutters out, "P… pain… must end pain. Failed… to… to do so."

Tucked away in the shadows of the roof top, another ominous figure makes his presence known as two yellow glowing eyes shine out of the darkness along with a glowing red four corner star shines underneath. Remaining in the shadows, the figure steps up to the humanoid figure saying, "Nonsense, Nung, my morbid friend. You did exactly what cannon fodder is supposed to do. Now, go, lick your wounds and make yourself scarce."

Nung struggles on the ground muttering, "Demise… was promised."

The shadowy figure kneels down to Nung. Distant light manages to partially reflect off the figures outfit revealing dark blue faceplate with two eyes holes glaring at the groaning creature. "Yes," the figure says as he nods, "I did promise. But I never promised it would happen today. Now go."

Nung groans a bit just before vanishing into the shadows. The figure stands back up looking out towards all the flashing police and rescue lights. He sighs out, "Very interesting night. Don't you think?"

Walking out of the shadows from behind, Tessa clutches her black cloak around her as she approaches. She looks out towards the flashing red and blues lights with a coy smile, then glances mback at the shadowy figure remarking, "Interesting, yes. But what exactly did that battle serve, accept prove the X-men's resilience?"

"Just testing the waters," the figure replies, "can't dive in when the water is too shallow."

Tessa grins at his comment and turns approaching the figure. She reaches up with her left hand to touch his face but feels the seamless feature of a face plate. Tessa sighs out as she whispers, "When will you let me see your face?"

The figure chuckles as he clutches her left hand with right gloved hand and says, "I thought you enjoyed making love to a masked man?"

She looks up at him with a grin as he adds, "In do time, babe. For now, let the mystery arouse you."

"And the X-men?" Tessa inquires.

"Let them take a breather, for now. When the time comes, we squeeze." The figure replies.

After cleaning up and having his wounds mended, Scott wanders his way into the Danger Room command center. The deep cuts he sustained in tonight's battle are now non existent thanks to Allan's remarkable healing ability and now he walks freely without a limp. More importantly, he is glad everybody else on the team was able to walk away from that fight. Now his only concern is for Jean. Her sudden show of power surprised even her, and she has been withdrawn for the whole night after. As Scott walks into the command room, he looks out into the chamber to see Allan still in his uniform talking with Jean. His holds his red helmet under his right arm as he partially paces back and forth. Jean looks a bit nervous but manages to crack a grin as the talk. Scott is unable to hear the conversation, but can tell she is not being scolded or lectured. She does a lot of nodding and shoulder shrugging as Allan seems to ask a lot of questions. Then occasionally, they would break into laughter. Scott sighs out with a smile, relieved at the sight, especially after tonight's skirmish. But now, he can't help but feel a bit left out, and his smile slowly wanes. Scott watches as Allan turns to walk out. Holding up his right hand flat out in front of Jean, Allan nods as she playfully jabs a punch to the palm of his hand. Allan grins and casually walks out of the Danger Room leaving Jean alone. Scott looks down at her in silence. Then, much to his surprise, Jean looks up at him with a big smile. It almost startles him, but he smiles back and waves.

Walking into the main computer room, Allan brushes his left hand through his jet black hair taking a deep breath. Leaning up against the main console next to Hank, Rogue smiles playfully remarking, "Ha! You got hat hair."

Allan returns her smile as he chuckles and places his helmet over her head saying, "Enjoy the smell, babe."

Rogue quickly pulls off the red seamless helmet and says, "Funny thing is, it don't smell bad."

Allan replies at her with wierded out expression, "You kidding? Nung had me sweating up a storm in that."

Sniff the inside of his helmet once more, Rogue mentions, "You don't stink. Must be nice bein' cosmic."

Hank smiles as they have their winding down banter. But he decides to politely interrupt by asking, "So, how is Jean, Allan?"

Raising his eyebrows, Allan answers, "Well, all in all, she's alright. A bit shocked about tonight, but that's natural."

"She looked more freaked out than shocked, Allan." Rogue says.

Allan nods and adds, "Her power hasn't fully manifested yet. And I'd like to keep it that way. It has to be gradual, not spontaneous like mine. Tonight is a testimony to that."

Hank scratches his nose and stands up saying, "With Ororo the dealing family issues in Africa and the Professor and Magneto visiting a newly formed colony off the coast of South Africa, that leaves you to work with Jean to get a handle on this, Allan."

Allan nods and replies, "I know, and I've told her already so we need to make new schedules for her and Scott. I'm going to need them together on this. Now if we're done, I'm gonna take a shower." As he smiles and turns to walkout.

Hank quickly speaks up while scratching his nose, "Oh Allan, I need to discuss some issues about your brain scans tonight."

Allan stops and turns back to him saying, "Yeah, about that," as he peels off the tiny nodes from his temples and hands them to Hank, "I appreciate you concerns, Hank. But I feel fine."

"We need to discuss this information," Hank adds, "your brain activity was off the charts."

Rubbing his nose and sniffing, Hank points to the monitor adding, "Your physiology is very unique, Allan. I just want to be sure there are no side affect from your burn out."

Allan smiles as he glances at Rogue. He then looks back at hank saying, "I'm nowhere near burning out this time, Hank. I mean I feel great. But, to alleviate your worries, I'll come in for a physical tomorrow."

Hank smiles and squints as he scratches his nose. Rogue asks, "Are you catchin' a cold or somethin' Mr. McCoy?"

Sniffing again while rubbing his nose, Hank replies with a smile, "No, I think its just allergies. Oh Allan, don't forget, with Ororo gone you'll be working with her class as well as the Brother Hood in the morning."

Allan sighs out with a slight grin, "Great, talk about total carnage. Sure no problem."

Rogue and Hank chuckle at Allan's comment. Clearing his throat, Allan says, "So, if we're done, I'd like to wash tonight's grime off me."

Hank rubs his nose again and nods as Allan walks out with Rogue following. As the door slides shut, Hank sits back rubbing his nose. He then takes an slight sniff as he realizes, his nose no longer itches. He smiles and remarks, "Hmm, curious." and returns his attention back onto the information on the main monitors.


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