X-Men Evolution NEXT

Housekeeping

Pulling into the circular drive of the estate, Charles and Eric stare out the limo windows and see the young students participating in various yard works. Any evidence of damage to the estate is pretty much absent as though a battle never took place. Charles smiles to see that Logan is using every moment for training purposes while Ororo takes advantage to rearrange the gardens. It had nearly been two weeks before Charles and Eric could secure flights back to the United States. For Charles, it is a refreshing sight to see his school, especially on this bright sunny weekend. He had been updated on a near daily basis about the current opposition they face, and yet he finds his young students all in good spirits. As both men exit the plush vehicle, they are greeted by cheerful calls and waves. Logan signals the students to take a break and approaches Charles along with Ororo. Logan shakes hands with both Eric and Charles welcoming them home while Ororo welcomes them with hugs. With slight gesture of his hand, Eric uses his mastery of magnetism and floats their luggage to the top of the entrance steps. He then excuses himself from the other three to join Wanda and Pietro out by the gardens. Charles remarks, "Well Ororo, Logan, it seems you two have everything under control."

Logan grins and replies, "I'll tell ya Charles, it was dicey at first. But things have been pretty quiet for the past few days."

"The students seem to be holding up well, despite the mutant community suffering bad press lately." Charles adds.

Ororo mentions, "Well, we've had to limit their time outside the Institute for their safety. Not only do they have to worry about anti-mutant sentiments, but that Seth person is also out there."

"He's layin' low though," Logan says, "Allan's been out every other night keepin' an eye on things. Emma and the new girl, Tessa, have been workin' Hank and Forge tryin' to help Allan track down Seth. Right now, Allan's workin' with Scott and Jean in the Danger Room."

Letting out a deep breath, Cyclops takes careful aim at his target across the Danger Room. The slit of his visor glows brightly as he releases a straight concussive beam at the solid block of titanium. The blast strikes the target, but only pushes the block a few inches back leaving friction scorch mark on the flat broad side. Cyclops huffs out in frustration as Allan steps up next to him saying, "Try it again, Cyclops."

Staring back at Allan, Cyclops remarks, "Allan, I've never tried focusing my optic blast into a narrow beam. I don't know if you've noticed, but I can't control the flow of energy coming out of my eyes."

Allan quickly adds, "Wrong, you just lack the ability to contain the energy, that's why it releases on its' own. But you can control the level of output on how its' released. Wearing that visor is only the first step."

Cyclops breathes out glancing down. Allan steps up and placing his right on Cyclops's left should and says, "Scott, I know it's frustrating. I just want you to see the same untapped potential that I see in you."

Nodding, Cyclops smiles as Allan adds, "We'll continue this on Monday."

They both hear an echoing and vibrating sound from above and look. Cyclops asks Allan,

"So, what exactly is Jean doing up there?"

Looking up above them, Allan replies, "Learning a bit of patients, control and humility."

Floating twenty feet above their heads, Jean holds out her hands to her sides while pyrokinetic flames dance around her and the object she concentrates on. Shards of metal and various components float about connecting in different manners forming a singular humanoid figure just in front of her. The components come together finalizing the body. Cyclops's expression becomes concerned as he speaks up, "Allan, that thing Jean is assembling, it looks like that Air Walker robot."

Allan chuckles and says, "Artificial life form to be exact, Cyclops. It took a while to find all of his parts. Don't worry, everything is under control. Right, Jean?"

Opening her eyes to reveal a bright glowing glare, Jean replies in an echoing tone, "Of course, Allan. Relax, Scott, this is just a little exercise."

With the flames fading away, Jean gently descends and lightly touches down in front of Cyclops and Allan. She slightly gestures with her hands floating the mechanical body to the floor. The seemingly lifeless humanoid body stands balanced on the Danger Room floor as Allan approaches to inspect it. Walking around the reformed body, Allan nods with a slight grin. He looks over at Jean and says, "Nice work, I think Gabriel looks sharper than he did before."

Jean stands with her arms crossed in a confident manner as Allan asks with a smile, "I see you took some creative freedoms with his design."

Jean's eyes dim to regular human eyes as she replies with a grin of her own, "Nothing wrong with a little fashion statement."

Allan glances back at Scott as they both chuckle at Jean's statement. Allan nods and says, "Very true. Ok, bring Gabriel online."

Jean approaches the Gabriel's metal body and places her left hand upon his plated chest. With jolt of psionic energy emanating from her palm, she envelopes the mannequin like figure with a glowing halo of bright white flames. Gabriel's body slightly twitches at first with various indicating lights flashing on throughout his form. Then he his eyes come on as they begin to glow with energy. Cyclops steps back in defense as he watches Jean revive the advanced machine. Jean drops her hand and steps back allowing Gabriel to regain his bearings. Allan steps up to him and asks, "How're you feeling Gabriel?"

Glancing at Allan in a cold robotic manner, Gabriel replies, "How I feel is irrelevant. However, my systems seem to be functioning at a nominal rate."

He then looks over at Jean and says, "You have my gratitude, star child."

Jean stands in silence with a confident smile. Allan looks at both Jean and Scott saying, "We'll start up again on Monday. Good work, both of you." he then ushers Gabriel out the chamber.

As Gabriel and Allan leave the Danger Room closing the main door behind them, Scott smiles and approaches Jean remarking, "That was amazing Jean, how did you know how put that guy back together?"

Jean returns his smile and says, "It wasn't too difficult. Air Walker's body wasn't completely destroyed. I was able to find his consciousness and read through his schematics. I let the energies guide me and do the rest."

Scott smiles at her as he remarks, "Your new powers are very cool. Come on, let's get cleaned up."

They walk their way to the main door. Scott approaches the main panel and starts to key in the security lock downs just before he exits. Jean then speaks up, "If anything, Scott, if Gabriel the Air Walker ever attacks me again, I'll know how to destroy him, indefinitely." as she grins contently at Scott.

Scott slightly grins back watching her walk out the chamber door. His expression turns to a bit of confusion, not knowing how to think about what she had just said.

Assisting in the yard work, Rogue and Kitty help cleanup and re-arrange the area around the pool. Kitty sweeps the loose leaves away from the pool while Rogue carefully runs the pool net across the water sifting out any floating debris. Utilizing her phasing ability, Kitty is able to sweep in between the tight fit spaces. She looks over across the pool at Rogue and notice an annoyed sneer as she cleans out the pool. "Wanna trade chores, Rogue?" Kitty asks, "I don't mind cleaning out the pool."

Rogue looks up and quickly replies, "What? No, Ah'm doin' fine."

Kitty gives her a curious look and asks, "Then what's with the sour look?"

"Ah don't have sour look," Rogue states, "Ah'm just mindin' my own business."

Grinning in silence at first, Kitty gives Rogue a coy smile and starts chuckling, "Wait a minute, I know why you're like, all flustered. You're still mad about Allan's posting online."

Rogue's eyes slightly widen as she stare into the pool. Looking up at Kitty she stutters,

"How… Ah mean… what 're you talkin' about, Kitty?"

Giving her a sarcastic smirk, Kitty answers, "Oh please, Rogue. Allan posted his 'Cosmic Soup' blog on one of the most popular forums in Bayville. I would know, I'm online almost all the time."

Rogue blow her hair away from her face in frustration as she breathes out, "Terrific. That's just dandy."

Kitty giggle and says, "It's not like Allan knew any better, Rogue. He tried posting his subject in an obscured section. Unfortunately, people like reading the obscured stuff."

"Like you?" Rogue inquires with a plain raised eyebrow expression.

Shrugging her shoulders, Kitty smiles and says, "Well, yeah. I mean, I have a couple of postings on the forums, it's a good way to vent. And it was kind of hard to miss Allan's posting when he uses Vanguard69 as his online name."

Rogue rolls her eyes as Kitty adds, "Actually, I thought it was kind of sweet about what he said about you."

"Like what? It's embarrassing, Kitty," Rogue mentions.

Kitty looks at Rogue asking, "Well, didn't you read the whole posting."

"No," Rogue answers, "Ah stopped at the part where he said 'YEEHAW! I'm Happy!'. Ah skipped all the way to the comments just so Ah could give him a piece of my mind."

Kitty lightly bites her lower lip then says, "Oh yeah, that part. Well, maybe you should go back and read the rest."

"Ah'll think Ah'll pass, Kitty. There's no tellin' who else read his post." Rogue remarks with a grin, "Besides, it's kinda nice havin' a guy grovel at your feet for forgiveness."

Kitty smirks and adds, "That's just mean, Rogue. I really think you should read the rest of his post."

Rolling her eyes again with coy grin, Rogue replies, "Whatever." as she places the pool net back on the hanging rack.

Both girls look over across the back yard and see Allan walking with Gabriel the Air Walker to an open grassy area. They seem to be having a discussion way out of ear shot of both Kitty and Rogue, but the two girls nonetheless try to eavesdrop. But as they try to get closer, they spot the Professor wheeling up to the two cosmic individuals. From their point of view, Kitty and Rogue see that Gabriel and the Professor share a brief and hand shake. Then Gabriel steps back and leaps straight up into the sky. A deep thundering sound indicates he had achieved super sonic speeds as he disappears into clear blue sky, leaving Allan and the Professor conversing alone.

Carefully peeking around a nearby tree, both Kitty and Rogue manage to get a bit closer, but only catch the Professor saying in a pleading tone, "Allan, I certainly hope with all my heart that is does not come down to that."

The two girls watch in silence as the Professor navigates his wheelchair back towards the main house, and notice his slightly saddened expression. With concern in their eyes, Rogue and Kitty turn their gaze back to Allan. He stands in silence with his face looking away and downward in a depressed manner. Kitty and Rogue quietly shuffle back behind the tree and glance at each other. Kitty whispers, "What was that about?"

Rogue shrugs her shoulder and whispers back, "AH dunno."

They both look around the tree once more. Much to their surprise, they find Allan gone. Both girls glance around to where he may have walked off too, but then, Allan's voice whispers behind them, "Who're we spying on?"

Rogue and Kitty gasp at the same time while quickly turning to look. With surprised expressions on their faces, Rogue and Kitty see Allan hunched down behind them with a wide smile. He asks, "Did I scare you two?"

Kitty breathes out, "No, we were… just… um… you know…" as she glances at Rogue to back her up.

Rogue gives her a blank stair. Kitty nervously chuckles and says, "Well, I guess… everything is like, ok. So I'll see you two later."

Kitty then phases through the thick tree trunk and scampers off. Rogue breathes out as she looks up at Allan's smiling face and says, "We weren't spyin' on ya. We just saw you walkin' with that Air Walker robot guy, and just got a little curious. No big deal."

She smiles and starts to shuffle away. Allan calls out to her, "Hey, you're not still mad at me about my blog, are you? I must've said I'm sorry around a hundred times now. And I meant it every time."

Rogue smiles and turns around replying, "No, Ah'm not mad anymore. Actually I was more embarrassed 'bout the whole thing."

Allan gives her gentle smile and says, "Well, sorry about that. I was just following your suggestion about putting my thoughts into words."

Rogue chuckles out, "Ah didn't mean to post it online for everyone to see."

She then turns and head back to the pool area while Allan follows closely behind her. Taking a deep breath, Allan remarks, "I can't help it if I feel the need to tell the world how much of wonderful person you are."

Rogue roll her eyes at Allan with sarcastic smirk replying, "Now you're tryin' to kiss my butt."

Allan grins and playfully asks, "Is it working?"

"A little," she answers with coy grin. "But Ah think this'll work better."

Rogue then shoves Allan back making him lose his balance as falls backwards into the pool. Out of reaction, Allan reaches up and grabs her by the right wrist and accidentally pulls her with him. Rogue yipes out realizing she is about to join Allan in the pool. Allan quickly gets his bearing a halts his downward motion bringing him to a stop, hovering flat on his backinches above the clear pool water. Rogue flops on top and grabs hold around his waist trying to balance herself on his body. Allan darts her a sarcastic smirk saying, "Nice try, I almost 'fell' for it."

With her face against his chest, Rogue shuffles and looks up with an embarrassed smile replying, "Well, it was gonna look funny."

Allan gives her a conniving grin and adds, "Funny, huh? How's this for funny?"

Remaining hovering over the water horizontally, Allan slowly turns over bringing Rogue closer to the water. She struggles as she holds tightly with her arms and wrapping her legs around Allan's waist. She playfully grins and mutters out, "Allan, no, no, please! Ah was just jokin'!"

Allan holds his arms out to his side floating a few feet above the pool water with Rogue wrapped around almost dangling under him. He smiles and giggles, "No, this was a prank." as he turns his smile into another playful conniving grin.

Rogue innocently smiles and pleads, "Allan, baby, don't drop in the water! Please?"

Allan starts to laugh and tells her, "I'm not going to drop you. I'm not giving something else to be mad at me for."

Smiling, Rogue pulls herself up to his face and kisses Allan lovingly. Allan returns her affection and they kiss suspended over the water. But as they embrace, their private moment of playful passion is interrupted by the sound of Sam and Alex's voices calling out, "YEEHAW!"

Allan and Rogue's eyes immediately open wide at the sound. Out of complete nervousness, Allan loses concentration and drops both he and Rogue into the deep end of the pool. A loud splash and rush of cool water overwhelms them both as they plunge in together. Quickly they both swim to the surface and gasp out of surprise. Alex and Sam break out into laughter at the sight Rogue and Allan falling into the pool. Allan spits up some pool water and grins at them. Rogue's expression is less than amused as she spits up water and screams out at them, "YA JERKS! Ya better be gone when AH get outta this pool!"

Alex and Sam start scampering away while calling out, "Giddy up cowgirl! YEEHAW!"

Rogue slowly turns her angry wet glare at Allan. With an innocent wet smile, Allan lightly remarks, "Oops, I, uh… guess they read it too."

Rogue turns her angered glare into a tight lipped smile, then starts to splash water at Allan's face.

Staring out the back window, Jean watches Allan and Rogue playfully wrestle in the pool. Scott steps up next to her and smiles at the joyous sight. He remarks, "It's nice to see some laughter after all what we've been through."

"Yes, it is nice." Jean replies with a content smile, "I'm very happy for Rogue."

Pouring a glass of fruit punch, Scott asks, "So, how do you think your training excercise went today?"

Jean turns toward the kitchen counter to pour herself aglass of juice and replies, "Ok, I guess. I just wonder why Allan has me doing these minor tasks."

Scott gulps back his juice and remarks, "Well, maybe Allan is just taking things slow. I mean, this was kind of dropped on you pretty abrupt."

"But it's happened, Scott." Jean lightly darts out, "So why beat around the bush? My power has fully manifested, I should be doing more than just simple chores."

"Whoa, easy there Jean," Scott speaks up with a smile, "I'm sure he has his reasons. Besides, you know Allan, he's only trying to help."

Sighing out, Jean nods with a content smile and replies, "I'm sorry Scott. You're right, I'm being a bit impatient about this whole thing."

Scott chuckles and takes another gulp of his juice as Jean adds, "Hey, Allan's drummer from the Cubicle called earlier, I think they have a gig tonight. Want to check it out? I don't think any of us has actually heard Allan play yet, accept for Rogue. And she says he's pretty good."

"I don't know Jean." Scott replies, "We still have that looming threat of that Seth guy or even the possibility of being attacked by more of those cosmic things. I doubt the Professor will allow us to go. I mean, he may not let Allan go."

Jean shrugs her shoulders and says, "True, but according to Allan, Seth took a big chance showing his face the last time when he attacked them at the mall. With the other cosmics out there gunning for him, Seth is going to lay low for a while."

"I see your point," Scott adds, "but we still need to run this by the Professor, just to be safe."

"Oh come on," Jean quickly interupts, "Scott, I really need to get out of the house for a bit. We've been couped up in the Institute for days with very little contact from the outside world because of that jerk Seth. Getting us paranoid is probably what he wanted. I say we cut loose for once, and hang out like we used to."

Scott is hesitant to answer at first, but then smiles and says, "Sure why not. It could be fun."

Rolling his wheelchair into the Cerebro room, Charles is caught off guard by the busy scene he has literally come face to face with. As soon as the chamber door slides open, several bundles of wires and cables immediately obscure his vision. He reaches up and shuffles the wire bundles off to the side as he calls out, "Hello? Perhaps this is a bad time."

Hank clears his path shifting wires and components away replying, "Not at all Professor. Please forgive the disorganization, we are currently trying to boost Cerebro's power."

"I see." Charles returns, "Yes I was informed you all were down here working on a way to track this Seth the Enigma person. How are things coming along?"

Forge crawls out from under a component crowed console and stands upright answering,

"Well, we should be reorganized and up and running by this evening. I'm just want to double check all the systems to make sure Cerebro won't lose any of its' primary functions during the scan."

Charles glances around at all the various intricate components and remarks, "I guess my main question is, how is it possible you will be able to find Seth? From what I understand, he has managed to hide himself, even from Allan."

"It will be difficult, Professor, but not impossible." Emma speaks up as she and Tessa enter the room.

Glancing back at the two women, Charles smiles and remarks, "Hello again, Emma."

Emma lightly nods her head to acknowledge Charles and says, "And I believe you remember Tessa?"

Charles smiles and replies, "Yes, of course. A pleasure to see you well, Tessa."

Hank tilts his head asking, "You know Ms. Tessa, Professor?"

"He does indeed, Mr. McCoy." Tessa speaks up, "He reached out to me telepathically when I was younger. However in my youthful arrogance, I turned down his invitation to join the Xavier Institute. One of my many regrets I'm afraid."

"As well as mine." Emma adds with an embarrassed grin.

Charles smile contently, "Such regrets are in the past, ladies. The events in your lives have led you here. And I thank you for helping my students in their hour of need."

Emma nods again and smiles mentioning, "Well, that hour is not quite over yet. Seth remains a very prominent threat to all of us. But his most recent excursion against us put him in danger against the other cosmic entities, which led him to lay very low. He has managed to mask his power from Allan and hide his scent from Logan."

"And you theorize the modifications to Cerebro will pin point his location?" Charles inquires.

Tessa lightly shrugs her shoulders replying, "May be not pin point, but localize. Seth's thought patterns may be just as unique as Allan's, but he doesn't hide them due to his… weakness."

Charles raises his eyebrows and asks, "Weakness?"

Emma grins and answers, "Yes Professor. Seth enjoys preying upon the weakness of those around him. It is how he manipulates things in his favor. Tessa and I will turn his weakness against him."

Forge asks out curiosity, "And what's Seth's weakness?"

Charles smiles while nodding and answers for the ladies, "His arrogance."

Both Emma and Tessa politely nod at Charles.

Outside, the gardens teem with an uneasy family silence. Eric uses his mutant gift shifting the garden tools ahead for Wanda and Pietro. The sound of magnetic manipulation surrounds the metals tools as they float to their next flower bed. They had barely spoken since his return and had only acknowledged each others presences with simple nods and shorts 'hellos'. For Eric, a feeling of content warms his heart just being near his children. But for Pietro and Wanda, the obviousness of their awkward feelings become apparent as they slowly distance themselves from him. Eric understands their feeling of gradually accepting him back into their lives and decides to strike up conversation with them. "So, how is your training coming along? I mean, how are your classes?" he asks with a smile.

Wanda and Pietro glance at each other then over at Eric. "Um… fine, I guess. Right Wanda?" Pietro answers as he looks over to his sister.

Wanda cracks an uneasy smile and replies, "Oh… yeah, it's been great."

Above them, Ororo commands the weather creating isolated soft rain showers over parts of the garden they had finished working on. Eric smiles as he steps back. Wanda and Pietro continue with their chore with nervous expressions. Sighing out with content smile, Eric says, "Well, I have to finish unpacking. Perhaps we can talk later?"

Wanda look up and crack another uneasy smile while Pietro simply says, "Sure, ok , sounds good."

Taking a deep breath, Eric smiles and turns toward the house walking his way to the front door. Wanda and Pietro glance at him then at each other and breathe out. "That was weird." Wanda remarks.

"You said it." Pietro says in agreement.

They turn their attention back to their chores. But just as they begin to get back into their work rhythm, Allan voice speaks up from behind them, "If you don't mind, I really think you two should give him chance."

Wanda and Pietro look back and see Allan watching them work. Pietro stands up dusting off his hands as says, "We're not trying to ignore him, Allan. We… just… don't know what to say."

"We know he's trying, but it's kind of tough, you know?" Wanda adds.

Allan nods and replies, "I understand, trust me, we have more in common than you may think. I mean, my mother died giving birth to me, and my father was a career Marine. He wasn't the perfect dad, but he did his best to be there for me. And I took that for granted. I didn't realize how much he cared for me, how much it hurt him that he missed my first homerun in little league baseball, how he blamed himself for missing the silver medal I won during my first high school track meet because he was on duty. I wanted so badly to be mad at him. But as I got older, I realized he traded one dream for another. And I still don't know how to thank him for that."

Both Pietro and Wanda glance down almost out of shame as Allan quickly adds, "Look, I'm not trying to sugar coat your situation. My first impression of him wasn't all great. But things worked out. I just don't want you two regretting the man he was, instead appreciate the father he is trying to be."

Allan grins at them as his words brings smiles to both of their faces. Wanda then looks Allan up and down slowly and tilts her head asking with a smile, "Um… Allan, why are you soaking wet?"

Looking down at his drenched cargo shorts and olive drab t-shirt, Allan chuckles while brushing his right hand through his wet jet black hair. Playfully shrugging his shoulders, he replies, "Oh, I was helping Rogue clean the pool."

Pietro and Wanda glance over by the pool in the distance and spot Rogue standing poolside trying to dry herself off squeezing the water from her drenched shirt. Allan also glances back at her with a conniving grin and holds up left hand towards Rogue. Gesturing his hands and playfully squinting at her, Allan pretends to thump the air with his pointy finger. All of a sudden Rogue is lightly shoved by an invisible force causing her to lose her balance yelling out, "Wha… HEY!" as she falls back into the pool.

Both Wanda and Pietro break out into laughter at the sight of Rogue falling and flailing into the pool water. Rogue quickly pulls herself out water screaming, "Dang it Allan! You've had it tough guy! Get over here!"

Allan giggles and scampers off quickly, smiling at Wanda and Pietro as he runs off toward the house. Rogue runs by them in her drenched clothes yelling out, "Ah hate runnin' in wet clothes, Allan!"

The sight of Rogue dripping and flopping by them in soaked clothing brings Pietro and Wanda to more laughter as they watch her trying to catch up with Allan.

With the yard work now finished, the students and faculty of the Xavier Institute take advantage of the rest of the sunny weekend. Some lounge out by the newly cleaned pool, others participate in some outdoor sports. Logan walks around the property inspecting the finished chores. He casually passes the garage and notices a peculiar sight. In on the of the opened garage ports wear Allan would normally park his jeep, a large blue tarp covers what looks like another vehicle. He turns and walks up to it and tries to peek under the concealing drape. But as starts to pull the tarp up for a quick peek, Evan's voice calls out, "Whoa, whoa! Hold Logan!"

Logan quickly straightens up and looks back at Evan as he rolls up on his skateboard. "You know what this is kid?" Logan inquires.

"Yeah, it's a surprise for Rogue, from Allan." Evan mentions with a smile.

Logan's face becomes curious as he looks large tarp covered object. Evan adds, "It's something he and I have been working on for months. We just finished it a few days ago. Allan flew it in earlier this morning before everyone was awake."

Just as Evan finishes his statement, Allan comes into the garage carefully leading a blindfolded Rogue. Logan smiles as he watches Allan play more jokes with her allowing Rogue to gently bump into obstacles. She speaks out, "You better stop foolin' Allan. Show me what this stupid surprise is, or Ah'm gonna rip this blind fold off. And ya better not dunk me in the pool again, we just dried off."

Allan takes her right hand and guides her saying, "No pool, trust me. You're gonna love this."

Allan looks over to where the tarp is and sees Logan standing next to it with Evan. Smiling wide, Evan flashes a thumbs up to Allan and skates off out of the garage. Rogue tilts her head asking, "That sounds like a skateboard. Was that Evan?"

"Yes it was, but he left. Now stand right there and don't move." Allan tells her.

Rogue sighs out with a smirk, "Ah hope you're not gonna throw water balloons at me, or something gross."

Allan laughs out, "Would you relax."

Logan smiles and asks, "Is it ok for me to be here, Allan?"

"Sure, why not." Allan replies with friendly grin.

Rogue asks out as she stands blindfolded, "Logan, is that you? What're you doing here?"

Logan chuckles and says, "Just watchin' kid."

Allan shuffles around the tarp covering trying to loosen it, but then decides to simply rip it off in one tug. He then quickly dart over to Rogue and stand behind her readying to pull off her blindfold. Logan looks at the object that was covered and says in a impressed low tone, "Nice…"

Allan asks Rogue, "You ready?"

"Dang it, Allan," Rogue smiles and huffs out, "you're drivin' me nuts. Yes Ah'm ready."

A light tug from Allan and the blind fold gently falls off giving Rogue her full field of vision. But as she looks out in front of her, her eyes are drawn to a shiny black vehicle parked in the garage port. She blinks her eyes realizing it is newly restore 1968 Camaro. Rogue's eyes widen as she looks the shiny vehicle over. Shiny chrome rims with small 'X's' in the centers, dark tinted windows complimenting the shiny black paint finish, sparkling silver chrome trimming to compliment the silver chrome side exhaust pipes. Logan also notices front ground effects and the forward flip opening grill headlights. He nods his head remarking, "Nice set of wheels."

Rogue is somewhat speechless as she looks back at Allan with wide eye confusion. Allan gestures to the car with a big smile on his face and remarks, "Babe, it's yours."

Her mouth almost drops as her expression widens. Logan nods his head smiling at Allan remarking, "Very, very nice, kid. A car this good lookin' can make a guy go blind lookin' at it too long." as he lightly chuckles and walks out the garage.

Rogue slowly walks around the shiny black hotrod, gently placing her gloved hands on the seamless like hood. She looks up at Allan again asking, "Are ya serious? This is a joke, right?"

Allan continues to smile as he starts speak, "Now before I go off on a tangent, there are some details I have to let you know about. First of all Evan and Forge help me put this baby together. Evan did most of the chrome molding and finishing. I'm telling you, that kid has got a knack for this hotrod stuff. Forge help me reconfigure the engine a bit. We based the fuel system on my jeep and installed a distilled water fuel filter and compressor. So this sucker runs on water, and still puts out 350 horsepower."

Rogue walks around the car as Allan continues, "The stereo is new. It's one of those ten disc changers complete with four speakers and subwoofers built under the back passenger seats."

But before Allan can get out another word, Rogue leaps into his arms kissing him passionately. She embraces him tightly pressing herself against him wrapping her arms around his head as they lock lips. Their mouths slowly part in silence as Allan lightly mutters out, "So, you like it?"

Rogue holds onto Allan closely and mutters back, "Ah love you."

Allan smiles at her and asks, "Wanna take it for a spin?" as he holds up the keys.

She reaches up and gently takes the keys, smiling into Allan's loving gaze.

Charles sifts through the pile of information he and Eric had gathered during their time at the Genosha research facility. He smiles at the abundance of information that could aid in the mutant community being understood by the rest of the world. He looks up and glances out his office window and sees Eric casually walking with Pietro and Wanda. It appears they are having a pretty enjoyable conversation as they stroll through one of the many walk ways in the property. Charles smiles contently at the sight and shifts his eyes to some of his other students who have started up an outdoor game of Frisbee. An innocent start that he knows all too well will escalate into a young mutant power shoving match. Which will more likely create more yard work for each them considering the usual property scarring aftermath. A thought that still brings a smile to Charles's face. But just he beginning to settle down with content emotions, Charles feels a cool tingly sensation in the back of his mind. He slightly glances behind him and speaks out in a stern tone, "I am aware of your presense. You may be able to mask yourself from my students, but you will find very difficult with me."

He turns his wheel chair to faceinward and sees a humanoid figure begin to materialize in front of his wide desk. The figure takes full shape of an elderly man wearing long trenchcoat and wide hatshadowing the top of his face. Charles stares at the man and says, "You are the entityAllan has called N, yes?"

"Correct." the shady man replies plainly.

"What is it you want now? Allan had said you would remain neutral to all affairs on this world." Charles remarks.

N lightly nods his covered facestating, " original intention on this world was to aid the Vanguard in his quest to restore balance to order and chaos."

Holding his hand in front of his face finger tip to finger tip, Charles tells him, "Your methods, however, are quite dubious at best. Why have you revealed yourself to me?"

"You are aware of the Vanguard's intentions pertaining to the star child?" N inquires.

" I am." Charles answers.

N starts to pace as he adds, "Then you are aware of the consequences of either such action."

"If are remaining nuetral, N, then why sudden interest in our fates." Charles decides to ask.

N turns to face Charles as he answers, "Your fate, including the fates of your young charges, are now intertwined with the Vanguard's. The fate of this universe has now become cloudy to my foresight. Should Allan fail in his quest, it will fall to you and your decisions will decide the destiny of this world. And I will remain, to bear witness to whatever outcome."

Charles takes a deep breath and says, "We all choose our own path. And not all paths are meant to be easy. Allan had chosen the path less traveled. He chooses mortallity."

With that said Charles hears the deep rumbling of a hotrod engine. He glances out his window and sees both Rogue and Allan speeding out the driveway in her newly restored black 68 Camaro. Charles smiles at thier happiness as he tells N, "He chooses to live among us. So you see, N, it is not our fates intertwined with Allan's, it is his fate intertwined with ours. Whatever destiny we face, he chooses to face it with us."

N nodsat Charles's statement and begins to slowly fade out of sight. Charles them asks out, "N, you have yet to acknowledge Seth's presence on our world. May I ask why?"

As he dissappears from Charles's office, N's voice echoes out, "There is nothing to acknowledge."

Charles raises his eyebrows with a curious expression as his office falls silent.

Driving through town traffic had never been so carefree as Rogue and Allan laugh and cheer weaving through streets. They take the long way to certain destinations just so Rogue can get used to her new toy. As the late afternoon approaches, they find themselves parked by the coast and sitting on the back of the hotrod watching sailboats slowly float by in the bay. Rogue and Allan share a small tub of chocolate ice cream as they speak. "You know, Piotr enrolled in art school. He says you inspired him." Rogue mentions.

Allan chuckles, "Well, let's just hope he's smarter than I was. Because there's not much money in that business unless you kiss butt and hussle."

Rogue swallows a spoon full of ice cream and asks, "So why'd you get into art if you can't make a lot of money?"

Shrugging his shoulder and spooning more ice cream, Allan replies, "I guess I love it that much. It's not that I can't make money, I'm not opposed to a little hussle, I just don't kiss butt."

Smiling while swallowing some ice cream, Rogue chuckles and glances at her new car saying, "You must've really hussled to pull this off. It's beautiful, Allan."

Allan smiles and digs out another spoonful ice cream. Rogue rest her head against Allan's left shoulder as they continue watching the sail boats glide by on the sparkling bay. Allan clears his throat and remarks, "If you don't mind me mentioning, we never really talked about the dream you had a few months back. The vision you were trapped in when slipped into a coma? You never really said anything to me about it. I mean if you don't feel comfortable talking about it, I"ll understand. I was just curious about what you saw."

Rogue lifts her head and glances at him saying, "It's not that Ah'm uncomfortable about talkin' about it. Considerin' what happened after, it kinda hurts thinkin' about just didn't wanna bother you with it, or scare you off."

"Well try me," Allan says with a smile, "you know I'm a pretty openminded guy."

Taking a deep breath, Rogue straightens her posture and begins, "Ok, um... to be honest, it wasn't really a dream. It was more like a memory, well, that's what it feel like mean,Ah was kinda livin' that life. Anyways, it's complicated, but in the 'dream', we were... um... were kinda married."

Allan grins and chuckles, "How many kinds of married are there, Anna? We either were or we weren't."

"Ok, ok," Rogue bashfully smiles and says, "we were married and livin' at that futuristic city you're from."

Grinning, Allan asks, "Were we rich?" as he shakes his eyebrows up and down.

Rogue slaps his arm saying, "Are ya gonna let me tell you this or not?"

"Ouch, ok, sorry, go on." Allan replies playfully.

"We weren't rich," Rogue mentions, "we were doin' alright,Ah guess. You had a gallery, and I wrote novels. And not sex novels you pervert."

Allan grins remarking, "I didn't say anything."

"Well Ah know how you think, tough guy." Rogue says as she point his chest.

She continues, "Anyways, we just got finished celebratin' our anniversery." as she blushes.

Allan straightens his posture as he continues to listen to Rogue, "The last night, we were holdin' a showcase at the gallery. And this is where it gets a bit emotional. Because that's when the Professor found me and brought me back. But before that was gonna happen, Ah had a secret to tell you. It was suppose to be a surprise, but Ah never got a chance to to tell you in the 'dream'."

Rogue falla silent looking down. Allan tilts his head at her and says, "You can tell me, it's ok."

Taking a breath and sighing out, Rogue swallows and mutters out, "Like Ah said, in that 'dream', it felt like you and Ah were married for years. So it wasn't like it wouldn't have happened."

"Anna," Allanassures her"you can tell me."

HearingAllan use her real name relaxes Rogue as she smiles and says, "Ah was pregnant."

Allan raises his eyebrows and falls silent. Rogue bites her lower lip as she watches his expression go from slight shock to a content logical stare. He nods and says, "Well... that is interesting. Not what I was acspecting, but... wow."

"Ah know," Rogue adds as she glances at him, "the real heart wrencher was, when the Professor finally woke me up, Ah still thoughtAh was pregnant. And that vision sits in my head like a distant memory. That includes all the emotions that came with it."

Continuing to nod, Allan slightly grins. Rogue readjusts her posture out or nervouness and glances at Allan. Looking up at the sky then out over the bay, Allan seems to be lost in thought. Rogue, swallows and asks, "So, what'd you think?"

Allan thinks for a bit before answering, then takes a breath saying, "You say, this was more like a vision then a dream, right?"

Rogue nods as Allan continues, "Then, could you tell me, what side of the bed did you sleep on in that vision? Because you tend to snore loud laying your right side and I would like to get leg up on this because your snoring is driving me nuts at night." as he smiles at her.

Rogue stares at Allan with a blank expression, then smiles wide as she shoves him playfully saying, "Dang it! Ah thought Ah wierded you out for second there!"

Allan speaks in jokingly manner, "Well I figure, if are married that long, we must have corrected our sleeping habits by then. Otherwise we'd drive each other insane."

They both share a laugh as Rogue hugs Allan lovingly. Sighing out, Rogue asks in a light tone, "Do you think you and Ah would make it that far."

Allan stares down at the small tub of chocolate ice cream and spoons out the last scoop. He carefully feeds it to Rogue and replies with gentle smile, "If I can share a tub of my favorite flavor of ice cream with you and not complain, then I know for a fact, anything is possible."

They both smile and lean in closer kissing. Rogue smiles and blushes as she straightens her posture again. She slides off the back of her car saying, "You gotta gig tonight. Ah better get you back so we can get ready."

Allan smiles and slides off the back as well and walks to the passenger side. Rogue returns his smile as she hops int the driver's seat. Just before open the passenger door, Allan glances down at his right jean pocket and shuffles out a small plush box with his right hand. He pulls it out slightly and smiles with comfortable ease before he quickly conceals it back into his pocket. The he opens the passenger door and flops himself into the seat grinning at Rogue. She grins back asking, "What?"

Allan chuckles and replies, "Just thinking, this car is so you."

Rogue smiles as she revs the engine loud and throws the gear into drive. The sleek black Camaro squeals out of the beachside parking lot and speeds back to the Institute.


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