This story contains some marvel characters and ideas that are all theirs, any I have made up are all mine. None of what is written in any way reflects the views or ideas of Marvel or its affiliates or the actors who portray those characters. This is pure fiction. It also contains some delightful man loving, (regrettably not in this chapter L) if any of that stuff offends you, or if it is illegal were you are, then you may kindly exit the page! For all others please enjoy!

To whom it may concern,

I apologize for the extended delay of this story but when life happens, it happens, and fucks up everything in its way. Honestly I just forgot that I was writing this when I found out that my mom was sick. But now she is better and I hope that I will be able to post with some regularity over the next few months.

Thank you all so much for your patience.


Jinn: A beyond the X-Men Story

() = thoughts

Ch. 2

40 minutes after my arrival I had Po tucked back into his stall happily munching on his morning feed, leaving me just enough time to swing through a drive through for breakfast before heading to school. Got to be honest though I prefer to cook my meals at home, forking out $23.50 just for a quick meal is not my idea of responsible spending. It does make me wonder why no one has ever mentioned the fact that mutations all seem to have a drawback equal to or greater than their bonus. i.e. my super strength and healing give me an extremely fast metabolism; which means that I have to consume between 4-6 thousand calories a day or I will collapse from what is in essence a form of starvation. I think it would be more accurate to say it is like your car running out of gas, just through some more in and presto, you never even know it happened.

Anyway, 3 mc griddles with hashbrowns, 2 apple pies, and a large coke later I was capable of surviving until lunch. The last bite of pie #2 was just disappearing into my black hole of a stomach when I got to the turn-off for my high school. Depressingly my ride with Po this morning meant that I would be one of the last people in the student parking lot, and would probably have to run if I wanted to get into class on time. Well I guess it would be more of a trot for me but Tom has assured me that it looks just like running for a normal person. Luckily I was able to find a spot quickly and got over to the building just in time for the 1st bell to ring. Wincing at the sound I ducked through the crowd and headed to class.

The slower moving heard of students gave me time to kind of turn my senses down to an almost normal range, and believe me if you have any form of heightened senses then you would work very hard at doing the same thing. Especially if you were going into a school, or a mall for that matter. I can testify from some VERY!!!! personal experience that having these senses in high school is not the sunshine and daisies that TV makes it out to be. If the bells don't kill your hearing then all the screaming teenagers, shouting teachers, and slamming of objects will. And you don't even want to think about the smells. I mean really! It's like someone punched you in the face with fear and BO, while the acid stench of all those perfumes and body sprays burn their way through your sinuses to sear a direct path to your olfactory glands. It literally makes my brain hurt, and thanks to the wonder of super healing every breath hurts just as much as the first one. Let's hear it folks, three big cheers for mutant powers in high school!

And incase all that wasn't enough to give you a headache, you occasionally get to focus on the teachers long enough to realize that they are still trying to teach you the same shit form 5th grade. Ah the wonders of a modern education. If Tom hadn't threatened to fire me for dropping out I don't think there is any way I would still be in school. Although admittedly without this tortuous hell hole I would never have gained enough control over my senses to dull them the way I can now. But then that's life then isn't it? Getting your ass handed to you for a consolation prize.

By the end of my third period I had completed the homework for the first two and was more than ready for a break. My school has two lunch periods the first one during 4th period for the freshmen and sophomores and the second during 5th for juniors and seniors. Despite my being 15 I am in mostly senior classes with only lunch and PE as freshmen classes which run back to back, before I go to study hall/ free period at the end of the day. And so it was that I headed through the lunch line, being ignored by just about everyone, except the lunch ladies who are amazed at the amount that I eat, before heading out side to eat on the front steps in blessed privacy. Being so far ahead of my year mates had made me something of a social pariah to the sophomores and a freak to the seniors leaving the majority of my free time in high school surrounded by a glorious bubble of solitude. After all, my "stuff your face" diet plan would be a lot harder to hide if I actually had any friends. Not that I've always felt this way, I mean what 10-12 year old actually wants to be without any friends their own age? And I did used to be attracted to some of the more popular boys on the sports teams, but let's just say that the overlying, prescient sent of fear on literally pouring off of the guy you like tends to be a major turn off. Tom likes to joke that my animal half if just waiting to find a more dominant male in prime health to mate with, like a predatory mammal or something. I laugh when he says it, because I can tell that he is joking, but sometimes I do wonder if he isn't right after all.

That wonderful passed through my mind as I finished half the food on my tray, and began the never ending internal debate of how many third world countries I could feed with what I eat in a week, when I heard a car pulling up. Instinctually I paused eating and scanned the area for potential threats, just another good reason why I like to eat outside. Coming towards me was one of those large black SUVs that just scream "Look at me! I'm a rich person!" I was trying to remember which one of the privileged snobs this particular shiny black monster belonged to when the doors behind me opened sending a blast of sounds and scents that have never failed to fill me with dread.

"Oh, my, gosh! Maddie! It is just like, so cool how your mom got us excused like this!" (Dear God, If there was ever a moment when you thought about adding to my problems or teaching me some fundamental life meaning with invisibility, now would be a particularly good moment to do so. I might even start to pray for real. Sincerely yours James Slone.) "You must be, like, the luckiest girl alive! You know?! Like this is so AWESOME!!!" (P.S. Any time now...Seriously!)

"Well Clare this may be `awesome' for you, but the best part for me is the new BMW Daddy promised me so that I can get my license." (P.P.S. Fine, no invisibility, I see how it is.) "I totally saw it this morning hidden in the back of-" sound: deranged Barbie chuckle, sent: revulsion, fear, anger, and snob. Yes snob dose have a smell, somewhere on the tangier side of narcissism. "Well, well. If it isn't our little fairy freak.

Against my will my eyes moved over to look at the she-demon. Maddison Cartwright. Your stereotypical Barbie doll princess, complete with bleached hair, nose job, and ridiculously tall heals. Secretly I wonder if her feet stay in that position when she takes her shoes off, just like a real Barbie. It is inevitable that everyone who looks at her starts to think of her in terms of Barbie commercials. Today was Barbie's Fall Day Adventure! And if you are fortunate enough to need more descriptors than that to know what she is wearing they you are one lucky ducky!

"Ah, look Maddie! He put on his costume already!" My eyes moved further over to Clare Jones, the shorter, pudgier, and dumber version of Barbie with brown hair. Though they aren't related the resemblance between the truly striking. They even giggle in unison. "What are you supposed to be? A cowboy reject?"

"What's the matter freak? Did your mommy forget to tell you that Halloween is next week? Oops, Clare! I forgot! His mommy left him." Another round of we are oh so hysterical, laughter as the Barbie Bitches walked over to the SUV. Just before they reached it I heard Maddie say, "God he is so pathetic! I mean really! Doesn't he own a mirror in that nasty trailer?" Then Clare chimed in.

"And did you see his food tray? Is this, like, the only meal he gets today or what?" Thankfully they reached the SUV at that point and stopped talking. Total relief didn't sink in until they were almost out of sight. Sometimes I really hate those two. I don't even really know why they bother me so much. After all they have been throwing the same insults at me since I entered 5th grade the only time they got inventive is when they noticed I was gay in the 6th grade. Thinking about those early years I lost track of time, my anger at them, and myself, growing into a raw kind-of heat just below my skin. Slowly the scent of burning food, paper, and plastic drew my attention down to the tray at my side. Fire. (My lunch is on fire.)

"What the...? Oh Shit!" leaping up I whipped off my jacket and used it to smother the flames on the tray. That done I simply stood there and stared at the scorched remains of my lunch, mind blank, eyes wide. Absently I wondered if I was going into shock...RRRRRRIIIIINNNNNGGGGG. "Aaahhhh!" Shrieking, I jumped a little and looked around until I remembered that the sound was the school bell. "Holy shit." I gasped and tried to relax some, shaking out my shoulders, and registering the taste of blood in my mouth. (Great, just fucking great.) Being careful to keep my mouth closed, didn't want to explain blood on my shirt, I ran my tongue over my teeth and the inside of my lips. (P.P.P.S. ok then. I ask for invisibility to avoid people and you give me fangs. Just fucking perfect. BTW, you suck at wish granting.) Sighing I rescued my jacket, which now has a kind of weathered look to it, and through away the remains of my lunch before heading back inside for gym.

I was almost at the door to the locker room when the meaning behind what the Barbie bitches had been saying sunk in. There could be only one reason Maddison's mom would pull her and a friend out of school early. Today had to be Oct. 22nd. Today was her god dame birthday! And mine. (P.P.P.P.S. What. The. Fuck! Was tormenting me just not enough anymore! That's it dude, final straw. From now on I'm going to tell people I'm a Buddhist. So there!) Rolling my eyes at my own folly, I continued through the door to the only class I have ever enjoyed. Being so far ahead of my year mates had meant that for the last 5 years I have been coming up to the high school at the end of the day for some classes, which somehow always included PE. I could not participate in most of the activities being that I was so much smaller than the rest of the kids in the class, so Mr. Holland, a bald middle aged 6 foot martial arts guru with blue eyes, decided that he would teach me tai chi to keep me out of the way and busy while the others learned such joys as duck, get your face out of the way, and (my personal favorite) run the other way! Now that I'm in high school, he has me practice tai chi 3 days of the week and participate in class the other two. Being Wednesday, and a chi day, I simply changed into my gym clothes and moved into the coroner of the room to begin the slow meditative movements of my first pattern, and let my mind drift. After 5 years I no longer needed to think about the movements, they just happened. Leaving me plenty of mental space to contemplate just how much of a cruel bitch Fate must be to give me and my tormentor the same birthday. Those happy thought entertained me until PE was done and I was heading back out to my car.

Ah the glory of being ahead! There were no more annoying `electives' that I had to take which meant that after gym and study hall, the school had nowhere else to put me so I got to leave early. And since study hall is run by a librarian of which the class has never seen, I believe they scheduled us during her lunch, so naturally half the class never shows. Though I did still have some trig problems left to finish for 3rd period. (Maybe Tom will let me stay for dinner tonight, then I can get him to help me.) Plan in place I hopped in to my jeep and headed back to the ranch.

I was just doing a final check on the straps of the tack for all the horses I would need today, double checking the groups info as I did. I novice female rider, two female advanced english, and one male advanced english. I had Sheik, an Arabian bay stallion, ready for the man, Ruby and Emerald, both chestnut Arabian mares ready for the girls and Lapis Lazuli done up in western. Lapis is a black Arabian mare so dark that her coat had blue highlights, hence the name. The final check was done and I started to gather the rains on the mares to lead them out, when I heard Tom and another man walking over to me.

Glancing over I smiled at the sight of them, Tom the lanky weather beaten scarecrow was strolling along with a man so pressed and put together that if the man's hair had not been blond I would have said that they were a before and after of a homeless man make-over. But there was something familiar about that man, a Maddie like quality about him. As if her were the Ken doll to her Barbie. As he steeped closer I got a suspicious feeling in my stomach. (He smells like her. Shit.) At least he smells like she is related to him under the burning of his cologne. Do people not know that less is more in that respect?

"Mr. Cartwright, this is my instructor and trail guide, James Slone. Slone, meet Mr. Cartwright, you'll be taking him and his family out on the East Hill trail. Now I know that Slone here looks kinda young, but I assure you Mr. Cartwright, he is my best rider and he'll take very good care of you and your family today." Tom graced us with a rare full mouth smile, bobbing and swaying like a scarecrow in the wind, before he turned and walked away. "Just holler if you need me Slone." I wanted to laugh at him for the way he behaves during what we call `the speech'. Every new customer gets the same speech, with mild changes for names and locations. How any of them ever believe him is beyond me.

"Well, Slone is it?" I nodded and tried to look happy about this meeting. "Well, you see, it's my daughter's birthday today-"

"Maddison." He started at hearing me say her name. (Guess he doesn't get many surprises in his day job.) "We go to school together, and she mentioned that today was special to her." (Wonder what he would do if he knew about the rest of what she said. Probably nothing.) "So unless you are planning any kind of surprise on this outing were ready to go. I've got the horses all saddled up here. The only thing I need from you is to know which one of the ladies going out is the new rider." Look at me being all polite and everything!

"Well! That's a time saver." (Oh god! Dose he begin every sentience with `Well'?) "It's my wife who can't ride. She's been around horses before but this is the first time I've talked her into getting on one. The girls are over in the car, should we meet you here or somewhere else?" He grinned the whole time he spoke, like we were sharing a joke or something.

"You see the mounting block over there?" I pointed out past the cross ties to a sandy patch of ground near the paddock we used to cushion people who tended to fall off their horses, and the little steps to nowhere at the center. "If you guys could gather there that would be perfect."

"Well, alright then." And he was off. Ken doll on a grand quest. Turning back to the horses I grabbed the last set of rains for the girls and lead them over to the block. Dropping their rains when we were at the edge of the sand, I turned back around and got Sheik, leaving him some space between himself and the mares. Not that I was too worried, none of them were in heat, but Sheik had been known to get frisky sometimes. That done I went to the paddock and whistled for Po. I had put him in earlier, with his saddle lose and no bridle he was fine to wander around for a while. I grabbed his hackamore and slid it over his head when he came to the gate before I opened it up for him, if I try to get it on after he is out then he'll just run around making me chase him. He can be such a goof some times. I could hear Barbie and company coming closer as I put Po's rains over his head attaching them to the saddle horn, and tightened his girth. There was no point in trying to ground Po, he just follows me around like a dog once the bridals on. As I went back to the mares Po seemed to get anxious, sometimes I think he is afraid that I'm going to climb onto one of the other horses and leave him behind. Almost as if he wanted to prove my point, his head came down to rest over my shoulder, gazing out at the people walking over with me.

"Hey, you don't really think I'd leave you now do you?" I asked, pushing my affection for him over towards him. It was something like imagining that I was opening a door in my mind, letting out just enough light to shine on him behind me. I kept it up for a moment until I could feel him relax against me. "You know Po, one of these days someone is going to notice that your angry volcano god act is just a mask to hide your cotton candy nature." He snorted, a horse laugh, and shook his head gently, as if to say `Yah right.'

"Well now that is quite the horse there Slone. Is he yours?" Po and I booth turned our heads to him at the same time, we had been so focused on each other that his voice had startled us.

"Yes sir, he's all mine." I said after a small pause where we collected ourselves. "This is Pompeii."

"I don't think I could have ever imagined you on such a big horse. What breed is he?" Mr. Cartwright extended a hand towards Po for him to sniff, but Po just ignored him.

"He's a Gypse Vanna, though admittedly he is quite large for the breed, so we think there might be something else in there too." Ken doll tried again to get Po to greet him, but although my boy has long since stopped trying to ravage everyone in sight he is far from friendly. As we spoke a woman about my height approached, smelling very nervous. I almost asked if she was looking for someone before she slid an arm around Ken-doll's waist. She was just so ordinary. Cropped brown hair, coco brown eyes, and a face so plan as to be almost forgettable. Ken-doll's standing in my mind rose significantly if this proved to be his wife. "Hello! I'm Slone, your trail guide." She gave me a wobbly smile and looked even more nervously over at Po.

"I'm not going to have to ride that one am I?" I couldn't help it, she was just so nervous that I had to laugh.

"Oh no." I said when I was done laughing. "Po is a one man kinda horse. He won't even greet other people. See?" I pointed at her husband's arm. "Mr. Cartwright has been trying to get him to say hi since he got here and Po just ignores him. No the horse you're going to be on is over there." I moved over and grabbed Lapis rains. "This little girl here is Lapis Lazuli, she is our youngest at 6, but is without a doubt the sweetest of all the horses that have ever been here." True to her nature Lapis reached out and begin to sniff the pair of them all over, focusing briefly on Ken's hair where she lipped, trying to eat it.

"Hey now I'm not made of hay!" The woman's head tipped back as she laughed, most of her anxiety gone for the moment as Lapis drooped. The picture of horse dejection and repentance. "You see Katie dear? There's nothing to be worried about." She smiled at him and spoke again.

"If you say so Ken." I froze for a moment fighting down laughter. (Holy crap! His name really is Ken! That is just too perfect!) I got all three of them over by the block, with Po trailing behind. Katie was just getting comfortable with Lapis, petting her nose and trying to keep her form licking every bit of available skin. Crazy horse goes nuts for some salt. At which point Maddison and Co. finally caught up with us, I would have wondered what they were doing if I hadn't heard the buzzing of a mobile phone in use the whole time they were paused.

"What do you think you're doing here loser? Shouldn't you be in, like, class or something?" Maddie snarked, flipping her hair and striking a pose with Clare right next to her.

"MADDISON MARIE CARTWRIGHT! You are not going to be rude to this young man!" Good God a MOM roar! Didn't think quiet Katie had it in her. She even had enough good sense to keep petting Lapis while she spoke keeping the young mare calm. "If I hear one more comment like that one out of you today, birthday or no, I will take away your new car and you can take the bus! Now apologize at once!" The scents of anger and humiliation practically pored of Maddie, while Clare seemed to smell glad or satisfied.

"Yes mother. I'm sorry for the way I acted Slone." OMG Best fucking birthday ever. (P.P.P.P.P.S. I take it all back man. We are so good right now. I don't even mind the retractable fang thing!) I smiled real big and said.

"No problem." Then turned back to Katie in time to see Ken hide a smile. "Now why don't we get you up on that horse Katie." She paled a bit at the thought of mounting, but by the time she was settled in the saddle she looked solid enough. Just in case she freaked out later I thought it would be good to get Ken up on Sheik next. That done, a confident Ken nudged Sheik over to Lapis and Katie. "When we head out Ken I want you to lead Sheik past Lapis on her right side and say `Pony' as you pass, that will keep Lapis to your left about a foot or two behind. The paths on the trail were going on are wide enough that you won't have any problem riding two across the whole way. You still doing good over there Katie?" She smiled and waved a little.

"We're ok!" That settled I turned back to Maddie and Clare.

"Alright who's next?" Unsurprisingly Maddie stepped forward with an imperious little wave like she was dismissing a servant. (So it's going to be like that? That's fine, two play this game well.) I grinned and brought Ruby to the block. Ruby was Tom's first Arabian, another rescue like Po, temperamental in the beginning, though not nearly so violent. She has a mouth of steal, and the stubbornness of a truly contrary mule. As an added bonus, she was not too happy about losing her day of laze in the pasture. I had planned to ride next to who ever got her, but I was thinking Maddie would be just fine on her own. Hell is she was as experienced as she claimed to be on paper she might even keep up with the group. Might. I couldn't help but smile through the whole process of getting Maddie on and watching her coax Ruby to her mom and dad by the fence. It was going to be a glorious day. I even hummed a little as I brought Emerald Dreams to the block, and introduced her to Clare. "Emm, here is a little shy sometimes but if your gentle on the rains and know your leg cues you two should do great."

"That's good." Clare said, almost shy now that we were almost alone. "I'm more into dressage than cross county anyway so I tend not to use the rains." She paused, her scent telling me she was feeling ashamed, almost guilty. "Slone...I...I just...I'm sorry. About the things I say to you. That I say about you...It's just that, her dad is sponsoring my scholarship to Berkley, because of our friendship. I just have to keep her happy till the end of the year and then I won't have to behave like that anymore. I swear Slone if there is any way I can make it up you I-" By that point she was almost in tears and smelled so strongly of sorrow I thought I would never get the scent out of my head.

"Clare stop." She froze. "I don't really care about the things you say. You aren't the one who brings up my mother every chance you get, and I know it's not your handwriting on my locker ok. I know. Now will you please get on the horse? I have homework." My mention of homework seemed to puzzle her for a moment.

"How could you possibly still have homework Slone? You're like, half a semester ahead of your class mates. At your rate you'll be graduated by December." I smiled.

"Ah life without school! What an amazing thought! Now on the HORSE!" I startled a laugh out of her and got her to mount, then watcher as she and Emm glided over to the group. Chuckling darkly inside, I compared the mental images of Clare's glide to Maddie's jerking, halting, swearing plod. Yes indeed. A Glorious day! I extended my left hand in front of me and gave Po's low whistle. He perked up, and ambled over from where he had been sulking at the edge of the mounting area, continuing forward until his nose bumped my hand.

"Hey do you need help mounting that monster? The block doesn't even reach his knees!" Ken's laughing voice reached me over the sounds of the other horses as I moved to Po's side.

"Nah." I said. "We do this all the time." I tapped his knee, which is below the block thank you so much, and mounted when Po knelt. Up we went, ah the glory of being a good two feet taller than everyone around you! "Ok everyone! I'll be leading, Ken and Katie behind me, Clare and Maddison behind them. We are going to pass some trail heads and turnoffs during this first part so be sure you don't wander off. Once we're past all that I'll move up and down the line to cheek on everyone as we move. So let's begin."

I spent the bulk of the hour long ride with Clare discussing classes, and keeping an eye on the ever lagging Maddie. I think we literally got further ahead of her with every step. And I know it infuriated her every time I stopped the group for her to keep up. By the time we made it back to the ranch Ken was saying things like "How is she going to handle an expensive car, when she can't even handle a horse after she's been in lessons for years?" Then, to top off the matter Maddie refused to cool down and groom Ruby when her father said that they should all care for their mounts. With that in the mix Katie was talking about getting Maddie a cheaper used car until they were sure of her driving skills and responsibility, all to the back ground noise of Maddie's shrieking outrage. Like I said a glorious day.

I was done with Po and Ruby long before the others and helped Katie with Lapis's grooming, showing her the correct way to do everything. I thought that maybe after today that Katie would come back for lesions, or at the least go to her daughters training lessons to learn herself. With this thought in mind, and the Cartwright family driving away, I headed towards the office to see if I could fit any lessons into my schedule. I don't normally take any during the school year so that I have more time to study; but for Katie I might make an exception. After all I will need a bigger client base after graduation. I was just outside the office passing through the tile quarantine pen for sick horses, we don't like to use hard floors in most of the stalls but after Tom lost a filly to the same illness that one of the border horses had brought in he decided to not take any chances. It happened before I came to the ranch guess someone didn't clean out the sick horses stall well enough to get rid of the disease, so now any new or sick horses live in the quarantine pen which can be bleached from floor to ceiling.

Tom's head suddenly popped around the door to his office. I expected him to scold me for going through the pen, there are ways around it, and he doesn't like anyone to form the habit of going through when there might be a sick animal inside it. I opened my mouth to tell him that I always know when the stall is empty or occupied but the look on his face stopped me. I sucked in a breath, suddenly afraid that I could not smell him when my brain reminded me that the pen had a separate ventilation system, another precaution.

"Jay Bird." I wanted to run. The only other time he called me that was when something awful had happened. A dead foal, the time he was sick, when he thought he was going to lose the ranch. He had stepped forward while my mind raced, I only noticed when his arm went around my shoulders. "You need to go home now Jay Bird. There is a lawyer at your house says he's your mothers attorney." I just stared at him now. He smelled like grief, like pain, and sorrow and other horrible things that people feel when someone dies. "Jay-, Hun, he said...the man said she died."

"No." I blinked, gasping, (where was the air? Why can't I breathe?) "NO!" Tom's eyes went wide, he stepped away, and a small part of me began to catalog his movements. (Mommy?) "How...How could she do this? She already left me! SHE LEFT!" (MOMMY COME BACK!) "I-I don't understand..." Suddenly I was sitting. (Did I fall? Tom will tell me...Tom?) I looked around at the fuzzy room searching. "Tom?" my voice was quiet, distant. "Tom?" My mind began to drift. Daddy crying...Mommy shouting...Door slamming...Why...Why didn't she love me anymore? Why did she leave again...

"Haaahhh!" I sputtered. Cold water soaking me. Where the hell did it come from? I turned and looked behind me, the room was back in focus, and Tom was behind me holding an empty bucket by the door. It took a second for my brain to shake off the last of my stupor and connect the bucket with my current soggy state. "What the FUCK! Tomas!"

"Oh good. Your back. Had me worried there for a second Jay."

"Back? I didn't go anywhere Tom!" I climbed to my feet and glared at him. "Way to be sensitive douchebag!" He only smiled his scarecrow eye smile and shrugged.

"Well its better than you burning my barn down. Or hadn't you noticed that your hair was on fire?" My hand shot up to my head, and where my beanie had been there was now only rapidly drying hair. I dragged some of my mane forward for inspection. Tom laughed. "Don't worry kiddo, your locks are still there. But that shirts a goner." I looked down. Yep the shirt was dead. Wait where is? I looked around on the floor and found the remains of a black leather jacket. (Shit! I just bought that.)

"I'm sorry Tom. I don't know what's happening to me anymore." Tom came forward and wrapped me in a hug. Letting me breathe his straw, and field smell. Sometimes I wonder if he isn't actually a scarecrow. Wonderful man that he is, there wasn't even a hint of fear on him now that the fire was out.

"It's alright now Jay Bird. I'm always here for you." For a while he just held me, letting me calm down the rest of the way. Then he stepped back and looked down at me. "Why don't we get you something to wear home so there aren't any questions? Yah?" I smiled and nodded, staying put while he ducked into the office and brought back the old hoodie that someone had left behind last year. I stripped off the burnt remains of my shirt, and put on the sweater, before helping Tom clean up the rest of the mess I had made of my jacket. "You going to be ok now kiddo?" Concern laced his scent as he walked me to my car.

"I'm ok now Tom. It's just that...Well I never thought I would her from her, or about her ever again. Guess it was just a shock." He chuckled and gave me another scarecrow smile, all eyes and good humor, before saying good bye and wandering back into the building. There are moments like these ones where I wonder what must have happened to Tom to make him such an understanding person. I mean, I just literally spontaneously combusted in the man's barn, and his only concern is whether or not I'm going to be alright. He barely even batted an eyelash at my being a mutant, and was acutely the one who explained to me that I was gay! Is it any wonder that I love that man more than anyone else? Except maybe Po. In fact I think they are about tied in my affections but for different reasons...Wait a minute...When did I get home? Huh. Guess I drive to work in the morning enough times without actually focusing that I could drive home that way too.

Looking around I noticed what might be a gray Mercedes parked curb side to the trailer. Never have been much good with cars. Taking a deep breath I stepped outside and walked to the door.

Questions, comments, or constructive criticism may be directed to mrgood447 at gmail dot com

I hope I haven't annoyed anyone with Slone's mental letter to God, and all its p.s. ing. But honestly how would you pray if no one had taught you? Thank you all again for your patience.