All disclaimers and warnings listed previously still apply.
Hello once again boys and goils!
Here it is! The moment you've been waiting for! [cricket chirps] Hello? [tap-tap] Is this thing on? Anyway as I was saying this is the part of the story you've been anticipating! (Oh come on guys I know your there!) More revelations of Tony's abilities! (Oooooooh!)
Just to warn you: at the time I was editing this part I was stuck at home on St. Patties day drowning my sorrows in Smirnoff Triple Black after getting off work so please don't judge me too harshly if I missed a few spelling errors or if some words are bass-ackwards. [hic] Blame any SNAFUs on Mr. Alcohol not the author! *^_^
A big thanks to all you who have written so far. You guys keep me going. Oh and Angela if your reading this I'm glad you were finally able to get to the sight. Drop me a line and let me know you did!
As always please enjoy and I hope to hear what you think of the story so far. Contact info is at the bottom.
Rots of Ruv!
All the next morning was a roller-coaster of emotions for Tony who was having trouble concentrating on anything he tried to do. The scenes of what happened in the med bay and maintenance closet played over and over in his mind sending blood rushing from one head straight down to the other. He groaned and flushed in mortification, yet at the same time was thrilled at his behavior hardly believing it was him. That was something he had come to expect from Jon, not himself!
Then again he had noticed a difference in himself ever since Tony had healed his best friend when Jon had shown up unexpectedly, broken and bruised, at his home in Oklahoma. Stan and Gabe O'Dell, Jon's father and older brother, had beaten him half to death when the elder O'Dell had discovered the fact that his youngest son was bisexual. From that time on Tony found himself becoming bolder and more outgoing. Then there was that weird moment when he had put Jon's computer together by himself. Before then the only reason he would have touched one was to check his email or doing research for class. He was so not a computer person...at least he hadn't been until now! Deciding to test a theory he asked Jon if he could borrow his PC for a while.
"Have at it." Jon called from their small bathroom as he finished combing his dark auburn hair. "Me and Kurt are going to go out for a while. Only a few more days and other students will start showin' up and then," he stepped back into the main room and grimaced, "classes!" He sat on the edge of his bed to tie his shoes.
"About time!" Tony sat down and scooted the chair to the desk as he punched the power button. "I'm bored outta my freakin' mind!" Jon froze then straightened up slowly to give him a disgusted look.
"You are a sick, sick bastard you know that?" He shook his head and bent to finish what he was doing missing the face Tony threw his way. "You need a serious injection of fun, man. Either that or you need to get laid!" As he said this the gears started turning in his head and he raised up with an all too innocent look on his face.
"Ha-ha, horndog!" Tony said sarcastically then picked up on a trickle of emotion. He turned in his seat to watch his best friend and roommate do one last check in the mirror. "Whatever your planning, don't."
"What?" Jon turned from his reflection with a wide eyed 'who me?' expression and walked quickly to the door. "I don't know what your talking about. See ya!"
"Jon!" The door closed cutting Tony off. "Shit!" He sighed in resignation. Once Jon got an idea into his head there was no stopping him. Tony shook his head and concentrated on the monitor.
An hour later his fingers were flying over the keyboard like it was familiar territory though he had never messed with the program he was currently using. This was the fourth such program he had tested himself with, all with the same results. He leaned back wiping a hand over his face. Yet something else he needed to discuss with the Professor and Dr. McCoy. Was this another branch of his mutation? What had happened when he used his ability to heal? He recalled those odd moments of unsteadiness he had felt each time and made a decision.
*Professor?* He called mentally.
*Yes, Tony. How can I help you?*
*Would it be okay to talk with you and Dr. McCoy sometime today?*
There was a brief pause before he received an answer.
*We both seem to be free in about an hour. Meet us in my office at that time.*
*Thank you, sir.*
Needing some fresh air Tony shut down the computer and headed outside. He passed several people on the way waving to a few in greeting. For some odd reason he kept getting this off and on feeling of his skin crawling. As he made his way out the front door he slowed realizing something was...strange. Then it dawned on him what it was, every person he had come within less than a couple of feet from seemed to radiate some kind of energy field. As he took a closer look at those walking by he blinked and began to sweat a little. Not only that, they were vaguely glowing! Not like a light bulb or anything, just a faint shimmer like a halo surrounding their entire body. Beginning to freak a bit he stared hard at the ground as he walked along the front of the building avoiding coming too close to anyone. Rounding the corner he nearly ran full speed into Rogue and the small hairs all over his body stood at attention for a split second then calmed.
"Whoa! Hold on shugga!" She placed a steadying gloved hand on his shoulder where it began to tingle. She smiled up at him then noticed his distress. "Hey, you alright hon? Your lookin' kinda pale. Come sit down." She lead him to a nearby bench and they sat. "You okay?"
"I-I'm not sure." He leaned forward with his elbows on his knees, his hands dangling loosely between them. His eyes closed as he willed himself to settle down. Energy shivered over him as he felt the girl place her hand on his back but it felt comforting and familiar so he relaxed letting it calm him. "I think my mutation is expanding or something." He proceeded to tell her of his discoveries about the computer knowledge and what had happened on his way outside. He also told of the strange feelings after a session of healing.
"Wait," Rogue pulled her hand from his back waving him to a halt, "are you sure about what you just told me." Her heart rate picked up. Some of the things he had said sounded so familiar!
"As sure as I can be until I talk to the Professor and Dr. McCoy."
Rogue stared off into the distance for a moment then turned to look intensely into Tony's eyes. She placed a hand on his knee her face more serious than he had ever seen.
"Do you trust me?" Rogue's voice carried an edge of excitement.
"Sure." Tony looked at her perplexed. "Why?"
"Because I'm going to touch you."
"Your already touching me." He grinned at her and pointed at the hand on his knee.
"No," she raised her hand from him and used the other to carefully pull off her glove, "I mean touch you."
Tony swallowed hard. He had heard stories that this girl's touch could kill if she held on long enough. He stared at the pale soft-looking skin of her hand. Would it feel as soft as it looked? Would it be the last thing he felt as his life energy was drained from him? He looked deeply into her eyes and relaxed. Deep down in the depths of his soul he knew she would never hurt him. He took a calming breath.
"Okay, go ahead."
Trembling slightly Rogue lightly touched his cheek with barest brush of her fingers. There was prickling but as he concentrated it disappeared leaving behind just the warm satin smoothness of her fingertips. He heard her gasp and opened eyes he did not realize had closed. Her green ones were as wide as saucers. Using her teeth she pulled off her other glove, dropped it, then flattened both palms to his face. The odd crawling sensation did not return and her eyes filled with wonder and tears.
"Sweet mercy!" She sobbed and pulled him into a hug as her accent thickened with emotion. "I nevah thought I'd be able t' touch anothah person without mah gloves on evah again!" He returned her hug and she shouted with joy then planted a big kiss on his mouth. They both giggled as their lips parted and they hugged harder pressing as much bare skin together as they could.
"Dear God, Rogue, what are you doing?!" Jean's voice was panicked. She had rounded the corner and saw them. "You could kill him!" She was running at full tilt then slowed as she noticed Tony seemed unaffected. They both grinned at her like fools cackling giddily. "But...I don't...."
"I can touch him, Jean!" Rogue burst into full-out laughter as tears coursed down her cheeks. "Look!" She grabbed Tony's hand and stood up pulling him with her.
Other people had heard the commotion and came running. Scott slid to a halt with his mouth hanging open at the sight. Everyone began to crowd around but not close enough to accidentally get touched by Rogue since her gloves still lay on the ground.
Power crawled over Tony maddeningly, like thousands of invisible insects, as more and more people closed in on him. He may have been able to ignore it but at the same time his empathy flipped into overdrive absorbing all their heightened emotions like a sponge. Their feelings of excitement grew until he began to feel dizzy as he took in the sea of stunned faces surrounding him. His stomach flip-flopped and his vision began to swim. Swallowing a sudden surge of nausea, he closed his eyes. His pulse pounded in his mouth and his skin began to flush hot then cold as the surge became boiling waves. Voices seemed to be coming from a great distance and were only sound, not words.
I will not passout. I will not puke. Nope definantly not gonna do either of those things. No sir, not me. He chanted mentally as he took deep breaths and forced a smile, sweat popping out on his upper lip and his hand spasming around Rogue's. He heard his name called but was unable to answer as white-noise filled his head and he shuddered with the effort to stay standing. Reluctantly he opened his eyes. That was so not a good idea, he thought to himself as his ears buzzed. It was too much and suddenly he felt as if he were floating....
Noticing the squeeze Rogue glanced up seeing Tony had his eyes closed and was looking ill. She said his name but he did not seem to notice. She started to say it again when she felt energy prickle up her arm and he began to tremble. His eyes finally opened and turned to look at her as they seemed to bleed slowly to total blackness, his obviously faked smile melting away at the same time. Rogue threw Jean a frightened look. Jean had noticed the problem and called telepathically for Charles.
As his mind floated Tony felt his entire body crackle with power to answer that of all those around him. Like a button being pushed it was as if he were touching each person. That one had a wrist fracture. That one was fine but the person next to her had a blood vessel on the verge of bursting that would probably kill him if not treated. There were several more, all minor but then he came across another. Far in the back, that one was the worst. The boy's mutation was tearing his small body apart cell by cell. If the damage that had already happened could just be repaired his system would finally adapt and he could live a healthy life. His eyes moved from Rogue's green ones to look over the crowd. A sense of complete calm washed over him. He knew now that the glow around each person was their spirit energy or auras. He picked out the ones he had isolated as injured or ill by the way theirs had dimmed or, in the worst cases, began to flicker like the boy's in the back did. Something grew in him and he instantly knew what it was. Magic began to feed his own aura causing it to grow and pulse with his heartbeat. A line of energy flowed from the top of his head to his groin and back making him feel alive as never before! Blood pooled lightly in his sex causing it to swell to half-hardness, something that he noted with mild interest before he was distracted by the shiver of warmth that flowed to his extremities. Vaguely he heard Rogue exclaim and felt her drop his hand. He sensed panic rise in the crowd and something restrained within him was freed. With a true smile he sent waves of calmness through them and they visibly relaxed. He felt Charles approach.
*It's alright.* Tony sent to the powerful telepath as he felt the older man's concern.
*What do you mean, Tony?* Charles' tone was even but Tony sensed his growing uncertainty.
*You'll see. When I'm done have the boy in the red shirt with the white cap checked out.*
With a wave of his hand all those he had 'marked' as needing healing moved forward. The boy he described moved closer than the others. The magic built up steadily until it seemed to press at Tony's skin from the inside. His body seemed to almost swell with light and he looked at all the confused faces one last time before closing his eyes. Arms that hung loosely began to raise until they stood straight out to his sides with his fingers spread palms facing up. He began to breath open-mouthed and could see pulses even through his closed lids as supernatural winds caressed him and pulled teasingly at his black mane. Without warning the force within him peaked, bursting from him in a wave. The shock made him jerk and cry out.
Everyone watched in amazement as Tony began to glow and pulse. His eyes closed and he began to raise his arms. An unnatural warm breeze blew his unbound hair about his lanky frame as he stood still, his body moving only with his breaths. The light surrounding him grew and seemed to take the shape of a huge bird. Suddenly Tony's body jerked and with the piercing call not unlike that of an eagle the energy flowed from him and through the crowd. The people that had stepped forward caught the strongest wave and cried out in shock. For several seconds it was as if they were all linked by the same electrical charge.
As quickly as it had rushed out the energy came crashing back into Tony bringing him to his knees as he hugged his arms to himself and panted. Though mildly disoriented, Tony was pleasantly surprised to find he did not feel any weakness as his breath evened out. As a matter of fact he felt better than he had in a long time! The excess of energy he suddenly felt begged for an outlet and, not knowing what else to do, he turned his focus inward. Information on his own bodies functions became as clear as if he were reading it from a book. He was awed at the shear amount of knowledge he gained on his mutation, though somehow he knew he was not seeing all there was to know. As he came out of his self examination he did know one thing for sure, it was time he talked to the professor.
He opened eyes which had returned to their normal black-brown and stood. Everyone seemed to be doing well if feeling a bit dazed. The boy he had sensed dying looked up at him his grey eyes filled with awe. His sickly pallor was being replaced with the pink color of youthful health. The kid couldn't have been more than thirteen, and a small thirteen at that and thin as a rail. He stepped forward and threw himself into Tony's arms knocking his cap off.
"I don't know who you are what you did," his voice was muffle by tears and Tony's chest, "but thank you! Thank you!"
"No problem, kid." He ruffled the boys bright blonde hair and grin down at him. "My name is Tony. What's yours?"
"Jeremy." The kid pulled back wiping his eyes and scooped up his cap from the ground looking a little embarrassed from his display.
"Alright, Jeremy, I want you to go straight to the med bay and let Hank look you over. Okay?" The boy glanced over at Charles who nodded then took off at a near run. Tony smiled after the retreating figure then turned to Charles as Jean and Scott lead the other students away with the exception of Rogue.
"If you wanted to move up our meeting you could have just asked." Charles tried to joke but it fell a little flat. "Why don't you two come with me?"
"So what your saying," Dr. McCoy asked Tony after he had repeated the story he had just told Xavier, "is that when you heal someone you not only absorb their injury or illness but, like Rogue, their memories and, in the case of mutants, their power. Am I correct?"
"Mostly." Tony tried to explain further. "It isn't a total transfer of memories or powers but a partial one. It also seems to vary as to weather it will be abilities or just knowledge and/or memories when it comes to me healing a mutant. Think of it as an payment of services rendered. I loan my healing abilities and give a bit of my personal health to the person and in exchange I receive a....gift along with a bit of their life energy. The person I heal retains that part of themselves I'm gifted with and dosen't lose anything in the process. It's like a copy of a small portion of them is made and passed on to me. It is also permanent from what I have been able to find."
"But how do you know this?" Hank pressed.
"You mean about it being permanent?"
"I mean any of it! How do you suddenly know what is happening to you?" Hank made a waving gesture with one hand. "We have been studying your test results for days now and have not been able to discover any of this!"
"Well," Tony thought hard for a moment, "when I sent out my healing energy, when it was done doing it's job, what was left came back to me. When that happened it brought back a boost of energy with it that it had collected from the all those it had touched. That replenished what I had spent and gave me some extra. With that energy I was able to scan myself and you know the rest."
"Okay, that I guess I'm beginning to understand, but could you explain how were you and Rogue able to touch?"
"Thats simple. Our absorbing abilities canceled each other out!"
Hank sat doing some absorbing of his own in the classic 'Thinker' pose. Tony had to force himself not to snicker. Hank looked up and Tony quickly blanked his expression.
"Every time you answer a question I seem to discover another one I wish to ask," Hank's mouth curved up slightly, "but I'll try to contain myself. Let me pose this one though. You said that after the mass healing you just did you do not seem to have gained anything but a little extra energy. No memories or powers or anything like that." Tony nodded. "Why?"
"The only thing I can think of is that I was not actually in physical contact with them. That may be the reason why I didn't show any physical signs of injury as I normally do either." Tony shrugged.
"If that is the case," Hank quirked an eyebrow, "then why not do all your healing from a distance?"
"The only reason I was able to this time, and on such a scale, was because of the 'gift' I received from a friend named Dancing Cloud." Hank waited for the boy to continue. "When I was at home I went to see her and found out she had been injured the day before. I healed her and unknowingly absorbed some of her power in the process."
"Power?" Hank asked. "Is she a mutant also?" Tony shook his head no. "Then what kind of power could she have?"
"The oldest kind." Hank waited. "Magic."
"Magic?" Tony nodded and smiled at the big blue doctor's expression.
"Spirit magic to be precise."
"So your able to gain magical abilities as well?!" Hank was dumbfounded.
"Well," Tony leaned back with a thoughtful look linking his fingers together over his stomach, "I've been thinking on that and I don't believe I can do that with just anyone. When I was in contact with her in the Astral Plane she told me that I had a magic of my own that seemed to sympathize with or echo her own, as if we were the same in that respect. I suspect that is the only reason why what happened between us occurred in the first place. I also suspect that she and I are now linked in some way and that is the reason I was able to pull her into the A.P. with me like I did." Tony's mind wandered to a possibility he had not thought of. If he was now linked to Dancing Cloud because of the healing he performed was he also linked to everyone else he had touch-healed? It would explain why it was so much easier for him to pick up on Jon's and Kurt's thoughts and emotions. He would need to test his theory the next time he saw Abuelo. His attention came back to the Doctor when he spoke again.
"Astonishing! So this 'spirit magic' enabled you to heal from a distance but only this time?"
"It boosted my mutant abilities but in doing so it almost drained me completely. When I heal with contact I apparently absorb just enough of their energy to not feel the loss of my own. Though with repeated sessions I do loose too much to compensate completely for and become weak. As a matter of fact, the only reason why we are talking right now, after me expending such a massive amount of my personal energy, is because there were so many around me that I could siphon what I needed from. If not for that," Tony shrugged and shook his head, "it's possible I could have died. So you can see why, even though I know I could repeat the process, I would have to limit when I do that kind of thing."
"Could you do me a favor?" Tony asked suddenly looking concerned. Hank nodded a little distractedly. "Could you not tell grandpa that last part. He would totally freak!" Joseph had been called back to Oklahoma on a business emergency so Ororo had volunteered to fly him home. Tony was thankful the older man had not been around to witness what had happened or he would have worried himself sick.
Hank agreed but was caught off guard once again at how quickly this young man could move from talking as educatedly as he himself did to just as a boy his age should.
"There is one condition though." Hank gave him a stern look. "Don't ever attempt to do that again without proper guidance!"
"Yes, sir." Tony said sheepishly. He was suddenly caught by a jaw-popping yawn. "I think that energy boost is wearing off." He rubbed his eyes sleepily.
"Take yourself back to your room and rest Mr. Whitefeather." Hank helped the young man to his feet from the over-stuffed office chair he had been sitting in. "Doctor's orders. Nothing strenuous until I clear you, right? This time you'd better do as I say or I will tell Joseph exactly what happened! I'll hold off the rest of my questions until later."
Tony just nodded as he yawned again.
"No arguments there!" He waved as he left the room. The thought of laying down and not moving seemed like bliss. He reached his room and was out almost as soon as his head hit the pillow.
The following day a few hours before lunch he was called to Xavier's office. After a brief examination it was discovered Tony had broken through the barrier Charles erected previously. Tony didn't protest as it was re-built for safety. The Professor then gave him a crash course on how to block out the excess emotional energy that bled off people. This was so that he would be able to function in a crowd and not have an uncontrolled repeat of what happened the previous day.
"This is only a bandaid." Charles had said before dismissing the boy so he could go eat. "We will start formal training tomorrow and give you a firmer grasp on this technique before the other students begin to arrive next week." With that Tony left feeling almost drained from his efforts.
"Hey Tony!" Jon waved his friend over to the table he, Kurt, Alex, and Rogue were sitting at. Rogue's expression was a mixture of irritation and relief. "Thought the Prof was gonna keep you so long you'd miss eating. Grab a plate and cop a squat!"
Tony rolled his eyes shaking his head in exasperation. He ignored the looks that were thrown his way by others in the room. His skin seemed to vibrate with the energy swirling around him but he was able to push it into the background. Was it just him or did there seem to be more people around than usual? He shrugged it off and grabbed a plate. As he started for the table he noticed everyone had shifted so that the only space left was right next to Alex. The blonde grinned as he noticed Tony's face redden slightly while suppressing an obviously pleased smile. He patted the chair in invitation and Tony sat.
Knowing the others were waiting on pins and needles Tony deliberately began eating as slowly as possible, twirling his fork with extra care in his spaghetti then cutting a meatball precisely in half before taking a bite. The tension was almost a living thing you could caress and he struggled not to let his amusement show. Smoothing his face he looked up from his plate wide-eyed and innocent.
"Is something wrong?" He asked and fluttered his eyelashes as he looked at the faces of his friends.
"Vat de hell happened yesterday?! Rogue vont say." All the others shot Kurt irritated looks. "Vell its vat ve have been vanting to know, ja?"
"Yes! Please tell them so they'll leave me alone!" Rogue leaned back crossing her arms over her chest.
"Oh that!" Tony received several looks that promised bodily harm if he didn't spill. He couldn't hold back a chuckle. "Your faces are freakin' priceless! All right! All right!" He held up his hands in surrender then proceeded to tell his story for the third time in less than twenty-four hours.
"Holy shit!" Jon exclaimed when it ended.
"Ditto." Alex nodded seeming a bit upset. He wished he had not been sent into town for a car part by his brother Scott. It seemed like every time he left campus something would happen to Tony.
Sensing Alex's feelings Tony reached under the table and gave his thigh a comforting squeeze. Alex relaxed with a sigh and threw him a crooked grin.
"So," Jon leaned forward eagerly, "give us an example. What have you 'collected' so far?" He made a quotation gesture with his fingers.
"Well," Tony leaned back, "first off my heightened senses, agility, and speed are not naturally part of my mutation." They looked at him expectantly. "When my healing powers first manifested they were so raw that I absorbed more than I normally would have from my first uh-'patient' I guess you would say. That was my grandfather." He began ticking each one off on his hand. "Second was a friend of mine named Dancing Cloud. Don't ask, its too complicated. Lets just say it didn't kick in until yesterday. Third, well the next three times actually, was you, Jon."
"Me?" Jon's eyes bugged out.
"Yep. I had to heal you in three sessions because of all the different injuries you had that day."
"I'll tell you guys about it later." Jon seemed a little embarrassed and uncomfortable. "Okay, what did you get from me?" Jon relaxed as the attention moved back to Tony.
"Well there's the computer thing." Tony nodded as Jon's mouth formed an 'o' of understanding. "Then there has been a few personality changes I've been experiencing." He forced himself not to look at Alex as he felt heat creep up his neck. He cleared his throat. "Last was one of your abilities."
"Which one?" Jon asked. He was a manipulator of metal and could control some of the elements that influence metal and metal alloys. He could radiate heat as well as produce and control electrical currents and.....
"Magnetic fields." Tony concentrated on his spoon making it lift. He raised a hand and clenched his fist. Instantly the spoon crumpled in on itself then went back to normal as Tony opened his hand. Gracefully the spoon spun in the air then settled back down. "But mine aren't as strong as you can make yours. It's like an echo or low-grade re-production of the original."
"Wow!" It was a faint whisper but Tony's sensitive ears picked it up. He turned to see who it was and smiled.
"You look a lot better today, Jeremy." The kid stood holding a tray of food blushing furiously at getting caught watching. "Want to join us?" Everyone shifted again and Alex pulled up another chair so that the boy could sit on the other side of Tony.
"A-are you sure?" Jeremy's voice was quiet and shy.
"Of course!" Tony waved him over and took the tray from him placing it on the table.
"Yeah, shugga," Rogue finally spoke up giving Jeremy a gentle smile, "come sit with us. I've been wondrin' how you was doin' after yesterday. You feelin' better?"
"Yeah." Jeremy smiled back and sat down. "Dr. McCoy said I should be able to use my powers now without being hurt."
"Really? That's great!" Jeremy was pleased that someone seemed to sincerely care about his well-being. It filled him with confidence he had never known before.
"Why was your mutation hurting you?" Tony had been dying (no pun intended) to know ever since he had healed the damage done to the boy's body.
"Well, I can turn myself into pure energy." He smiled proudly at the impressed murmurs his statement caused. The smile faded a bit as he continued. "It shouldn't have been a problem for me but Dr. McCoy said I was so weak and sick as a little kid that something went wrong."
Tony felt pain radiating from the boy and ruffled his tawny hair which succeeded in brightening Jeremy's smile again. He promised himself to find out what exactly had happened to his new friend and also what would keep the cute dimpled expression on his face. The boy looked up at him with a look frightfully akin to worship. Before Tony could begin to feel self-conscious the conversation picked back up with a question he had been waiting for that was finally put to him by Jon.
"Okay so you were saying how you picked up something from each person you healed, right?" Tony nodded and finished the last bite of his pasta. "So what did you get from Kurt?" Tony raised an eyebrow. "Well you did help him with those tranqs we got pumped full of."
"Ja! Dat is right, you did!" Kurt blinked in surprise that he had forgotten.
"So," Jon asked impatiently when Tony remained silent, "what was it?!"
"You mean you can't guess?" Tony did his best 'I'm stunned' look as they answered in the negative then shook his head sadly as he stood pushing back his chair. "Well that spaghetti was great but I need something sweet. Would you like something, Jeremy?" The boy shook his head shyly. Tony pushed in his chair and gave Kurt a questioning look. "Wunschen Sie auch Nachtisch?" (Do you want dessert to?)
"Nien danke." (No thanks.) The blue mutant answered then gave Jon a startled look when the redhead practically blew soda out his nose as he choked in surprise.
"Gut!" (OK!) Tony grinned broadly and went to get some cake.
"I didn't know he spoke German!" Alex exclaimed as Kurt slapped a coughing Jon on the back. Jeremy looked at them all wide-eyed as Rogue nearly collapsed laughing and Alex looked at her confused. "What did I say this time?"
New York City (early that same evening)
Sunset painted the horizon in hazy shades of orange and crimson. Hazy due to the pollution of millions of people and almost as many cars, buses, and other such modes of transportation. People on the sidewalks bustled and shouted trying to make it home before full dark. With as much as the natural population had grown so had the preternatural. After dark had gotten scarier by the year ever since the 'outing' of the existence of the creatures that had, until recently, only been referred to as myth and nightmare.
Lycans (also known as were-animals) were treated as people with a highly infectious virus, like AIDS patients. You couldn't ask them about it or discriminate against them for it but it happened just the same. If you were a Lycan and cared for your job you tended to keep that little tid-bit of information about yourself secret. Turning furry once a month and liking your meat raw, bloody, and freshly killed could reek havoc on a budding carrier.
Vampires were legal citizens as of just a few years ago and were even going for the vote! Gone were the days when a vampire could be staked simply because they existed. If you did that now it was murder. The law wasn't lenient on the undead citizens of the good ol' USA though. A vampire who was caught causing harm in any way to an unwilling human was under an automatic death sentence. Sometimes it only took the accusation of one human for a 'blood-sucker' to find his or herself minus one head and heart.
Not everyone found this information comforting. There were plenty of unsolved murders still floating around as well as missing persons that were never found. These thoughts are what added speed the feet of those walking the city each night. Anxious eyes scanned the sky watching the last rays of sunlight bleed to moonlit darkness. Shoulders hunched as if to fight off the coming shadows and eyes began to turn to the person walking nearby searching for tell-tale signs of harmful intentions.
Even in all this commotion very few missed the limo as it pulled to a stop at the curb. The driver stepped out adjusting his collar to cover the odd double-puncture mark recently placed there. He hurried around the car to open the door for his passenger stepping back to tip his hat.
Long legs clad in silky hose swung out gracefully. The four-inch black heels made a sharp click on the pavement as their owner stood from the car. The black business dress she wore showed off her tight athletic figure, the skirt stopping just above the knee. Slender hands tipped in long manicured blood-red nails smoothed the fabric to her thighs and adjusted the tailored jacket to lay correctly as she straightened. Tinted glasses hid her steel grey eyes from view as she scanned the area. Seeming satisfied with something she took a moment to pat ginger colored hair in its perfect bun at the nap of her neck, accepted the briefcase the driver held for her, then stepped towards the door of the hotel before her.
The cool rush of air-conditioning met her as the automatic doors slid open. She had not even made it a few steps into the lobby when she was greeted by the hotel manager himself. She removed her sunglasses and placed them in the pocket of her suit jacket.
"Ms Hargrave so good to see you again." The older be-speckled gentleman said with a business-like smile. What was left of his snowy white hair was cut close to his scalp to frame a large bald spot. His sport coat, emblazoned with the hotel's crest, was immaculate on his slightly portly frame and his teeth shown bright white. He was about 5'7" and had to tilt his head upwards to meet her gaze as they shook hands.
"Mr. Calvert." Her voice was a pure alto and cool like her smile as their hands parted. "Is he ready to see me?"
"He will be as soon as the elevator reaches the penthouse." He escorted her to said elevator handing her the access key to the upper floor. "Simon called down to tell us 'he' wanted you to come up as soon as you got here." He looked out the windows and his smile broadened as darkness fell. "Ah, right on time as always." There was a soft ding and the doors slid open. "Have a nice evening madam."
She gave the man a brief nod then stepped inside. The doors slid shut silently after a few seconds. The key was placed in the security lock and turned then she pressed the button for the penthouse before placing the key in her breast pocket. As she waited excitement built in her though it did not show outwardly. The week she had been away had seemed like an eternity! With a practiced eye she checked her makeup in the shiny surface of the door and found it perfect, as always. The elevator chimed one last time as it finally halted.
She felt his presence long before the doors parted and her breathing picked up as her cheeks flushed. She stepped through and her breath caught at the sight of the man before her.
He stood slightly in profile to her looking out the windows that spanned the entire outward facing wall of the top floor rooms that served as his residence. He seemed to glow with an inner light his skin milky white and flawless. Full dark had fallen and he had raised the protective barriers that blocked out the sun during the daylight hours to watch as the city moved so far below while keeping the room dimly lit. He closed his eyes and sighed as he felt the rolling pulsing warmth of so much life. Hunger twisted his gut but he had business to deal with before he could feed. His piercing hazel eyes reopened as he turned to face his visitor fully. Blonde hair so pale it could almost be called white brushed the collar of his black silk shirt as he nodded seemingly to an empty corner.
As if from nowhere a tall muscle-man with skin the color of bitter chocolate that had faded slightly stepped forward. The black 3-piece suit he wore helped make him blend into the shadows. His bald head gleamed dully under the dim artificial lighting and his ebony eyes burned with suppressed hunger though the rest of his face was as smooth and emotionless as polished marble. With a small bow he turned to leave. He and the woman acknowledge each other with brief eye contact as they passed.
"Simon." The voice was smooth as well-aged brandy and caressed the woman like a giant hand causing her to shiver slightly. The dark man stopped and turned silently waiting. "Send him up in twenty minutes." With a nod he turned back to the closed metal doors and pressed the button. The elevator chimed as it took its new occupant down.
Hazel eyes locked onto grey and with a small sound she placed the briefcase on the floor and rushed forward dropping to one knee. She took the hand he presented to her and kissed it then rubbed her face to it like a cat with catnip. Her voice was a husky purr.
Ah, the first toe gets dipped into the word of the supernatural. Hope something big and nasty don't bite it off! Mwa-ha-ha tremble in delicious fear! Ahem, sorry that was the Smirnoff talking....
Well what did you think? Did I do okay or did I just confuse y'all more? Hope I didn't loose anyone in the process! See you next time kiddies.
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