The following is a complete work of fiction.
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This is a story set in the Xmen2:Movie Universe. I am pulling from several Marvel (c) sources including the latest version of the New Mutants comic book. The first two movies are considered "history" for this story and the author assumes reader knowledge of the events, characters and relationships presented in the two movies.
As this story is being told completely first person by a student at Xavier's, there will be a lot of things the reader simply won't be privileged to know. This includes the thoughts and feelings of the other characters as our "hero" isn't a telepath.
As part of the background for this story, I would like to refer the reader to "X-Love" in the Gay-Celebrity archive on Nifty.org. This story has been written with the idea that chapters 1-5 of "X-Love" are a fact for Scott and Logan (Cyclops & Wolverine). I think X-Love is one of the best written slash for the Scott/Logan relationship I've ever read. Many kudos to Tony Ryan (email@example.com) for his wonderful writing.
Also, please note that the story is told in "flash backs" during what is a life and death struggle in the present time of the hero's life. As such, there is no opening for presenting scenes from another character's POV.
Resolutions - Chapter 1
Fire was boiling in my veins. I couldn't tell where I ended and the pain began. Struggling to hold onto consciousness I felt clawed fingers drag my face up. I struggled to meet the endless darkness of Evil's eyes. "Stupid child! Did you really think you would succeed where your superiors had failed?"
Evil's pale face pulled back and laughed at me. My eyes drifted, floating on the waves of pain and exhaustion that were carrying me. Aurik was on the floor, curled around himself like a child hiding from a nightmare. Rouge was struggling in vain against her bonds. She had been our secret weapon, but we'd fucked up. Iceman laid, eyes open, on the floor. I couldn't tell if he was breathing. Psynique was battered and bleeding. I could tell she was trying to break out of the psychic bonds the Bitch had locked her in.
My eyes were wrenched back to Evil's face. "You should have stayed home."
Home. I drifted back to the first time I'd seen it.
My reflection was as transparent as I felt as I looked out the window at the passing trees. Everything I'd believed seemed to be a crumbling as surely as the walls of my parent's home had five years before. I hadn't been back to the States since my parent's deaths and didn't want to be here now. The image the looked back at me was unremarkable. Red hair, buttermilk skin, freckles, the reflection held nothing of interest to anyone. Not that I had anyone to be interested in, so my looks weren't of any importance. Five years of living with my grandmother in the hills of Ireland had left me unpracticed in dealing with "normal folk." Of course, where I was going there weren't going to be any "normal" people anyway.
The train ride from New York to the Upstate was going to be several hours long. I let my forehead touch the glass and I closed my eyes. The memories of how it all began came back clearly.
Gram had smiled at me from her seat at the kitchen table. "I had a visit from an old friend the other day, Daniel." Her eyes were tired but happy and her voice carried a sense of relief and hope.
I couldn't remember anyone visiting the old house in over a week. "Who?"
"An old student, actually." That made sense. If one of Gram's students had visited, he or she wouldn't have necessarily been there physically.
"Cool." Taking another bit of cereal I realized that I hadn't felt the magic strong enough to be a long distance communication either. "Gram, I didn't feel anything of it."
She smiled. "Of course not, dear. Charles is a telepath, not a witch." That caught my interest.
"Really? A mutant?" It was odd that I thought a mutant to be a novelty considering I'd lived the past five years with a practicing and powerful witch. "I didn't know you knew any mutants!"
Gram's delighted laugh was interrupted by a short fit of coughing. I tried not to show how it scared me. Gram hadn't been sick the entire time I'd been living with her. She'd been coughing for weeks and it was getting worse. "Gram, why don't you see the doctor about that cough?"
She gave me one of her most disapproving looks. "Daniel, there is nothing a doctor can do for me that I can't do for myself."
"No buts and no doctors." Her jaw set in her typical 'this conversation is over' way. "And you are changing the subject."
I talked around another mouthful of cereal. "Nuh uh."
"Don't talk with your mouth full, dear." She began to butter another piece of toast as she continued. "He confirmed for me something that I had suspected a while back."
I raised my eyebrows in my 'oh really' manner as I chewed but didn't reply.
"Dear, you aren't a witch."
I think my spoon landed someplace behind my chair. I wasn't sure because I'd stood up and my chair had clattered to the floor. "WHAT?!?" I never had been good at containing my emotions.
Gram's hands were in the air and she was waving me to calm down. "Now, Daniel, don't act so gauche. Please sit down."
I yanked my hand up and the spoon spun back into my hand. The chair righted itself and I sat back down. "Gram, if I'm not a witch, how did I just do that?"
She sighed. "You're a mutant."
I couldn't think of anything to say.
I woke as the train came to a stop at the station. Several of the other passengers began gathering their belongings. I didn't want to get up. Why did I have to be a mutant? It took me a few moments to realize someone was standing on the platform opposite my seat; looking at me. The man was standing stiffly in a wide footed stance with his arms behind his back. He would have been handsome as hell if it weren't for a weird set of ruby sunglasses and a stupid baseball cap.
He smiled at me as I stepped onto the platform and he extended his hand. "Hi, Daniel. I'm Scott Summers." Ok, with the smile he was officially cute.
"Hi." The handshake was firm and thankfully brief. Gram had told me that my attraction to men was natural and I shouldn't be ashamed but that didn't make it feel any safer. I looked at his glasses and lied. "Cool glasses."
His smile widened and I admit I was dazzled. "Thanks."
I cocked my head and studied him for a moment. It almost seemed like there was a faint glow of red behind the confines of his lenses. "Are you one of the teachers?"
Scott nodded. "That's right. In class I'm, Mr. Summers, but out here you can call me, Scott." He noticed the porters and nodded towards the baggage carts. "Lets' get your things."
I grabbed what I could of my bags. Gram had packed me up so completely it had felt like I was moving away forever. No, it had felt like I was being shipped to Siberia 'for my own good.' If I'd been at home I'd have just enchanted the stuff to float and pushed it where I wanted it to go. I doubted 'Scott' would appreciate it if I did that. Paranormal displays were not well received, especially in the States.
The ride to my 'new home' was filled with questions and pleasant conversation that I didn't participate in much. I missed Ireland. That didn't stop Mr. Summers from trying to get to know one of the new students. "The Professor said that he and your Grandmother are old friends."
I shrugged noncommittally. "I guess."
"This must feel a bit weird."
I smirked. "I've been through a lot weirder things." He didn't respond to that one and I spent some time 'feeling' him out. I'd always been able to read auras. His wasn't the same as a normal person's but it wasn't magical either. Everything about him screamed power and self-control. 'Self-control,' that would be something I'd learn all about over the next several years.
My funk lifted a little when we pulled onto the estate. "Wow..." The place was huge and beautiful. The mansion looked more European than American in design. That alone made me feel more comfortable in spite of myself.
"Welcome to Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters."
I laughed sarcastically. "Mutant High."
I couldn't see his expression but Scott sounded a bit disappointed. "Not happy about that, huh?"
"Isn't one of the top ten songs on my hit parade." I looked out at the mansion as we pulled up. "But Gram said I should be here and it looks like a cool place. Life isn't exactly supposed to be all happiness and joy anyways." I could have sworn I saw Scott's reflection in the window flinch.
"No..." He shut off the engine and hopped out. I got out and looked at the trunks as he began unloading the SUV.
"Are we allowed to..." I wiggled my fingers significantly and hoped he'd catch the hint.
Scott straightened from setting down one of the trunks. "Yeah, but the Professor likes students to get checked out first. We want to establish what their level of control is."
I frowned and waved my hand. "Don't bother. I've been taught by the best." It wasn't like they could show me anything new anyways. The bags lifted at my summons and I started moving them around till they resembled a stacked luggage cart. Scott wasn't impressed but I didn't care. If I was going to be banished to a freak school, I could at least enjoy the reason why I was there. With a truly snotty smirk I put one finger against the pile and pushed it towards the door. Scott should have kicked my bratty-ass right then, it would probably have saved a lot of grief later.
We were met at the door by the Professor. Initially I wasn't impressed. An old bald guy in a wheel chair really doesn't inspire much from a sixteen year old. "Good evening, Daniel. I hope your flight was comfortable."
I shrugged. "Sure. First Class is cool."
His smile never wavered. I bet he has the perfect face for poker. I didn't think it would be any fun to play cards with a telepath. "It is nice to see you have such excellent control of your powers."
Scott stepped around the trunks and bags I had levitated. "Telekinetic, Professor?"
His smile shifted from the patient expression to enigmatic. "No, though his control of his abilities certainly allows him to seem like one."
"I'm a witch."
The Professor's expression didn't change but I didn't appreciate Scott's scoff.
I glared at him as I let the luggage sink to the floor. My thoughts sank into him and pushed. "Take a nap!" I was quite pleased with myself as his body shook and he slumped. My pleasure was short lived.
That is quite enough! My legs locked and I couldn't move. The Professor's mental voice was anything but pleased. You will refrain from further demonstrations like that, Mr. Jameson.
Scott was coming around by the time I was released from the Professor's hold. Scott shook his head and stood up. If I could have seen his eyes I'm sure the look would have killed. How much I had to learn about what was hidden behind those eyes. Oh well, I didn't intend to win friends and influence people. Little did I know that eventually that was exactly what I had to do.
The first week at the school was a total drag. Dr. McCoy put me through the ringer. I had to take aptitude exams and proficiency tests. I didn't know who my roommate was going to be. I had arrived about two weeks before the start of the semester and most of the students hadn't come back yet. The only good thing was I didn't have to attend any classes till the semester started.
Near the end of the week the Professor summoned me to one of the practice rooms. I must admit I wasn't thrilled to see Scott there, even if he did look pretty hot wearing sweats and a tight T-shirt. We hadn't really gotten past my stunt the first day. I didn't think I cared. Dr. McCoy was there as well. The last was a hot, muscular guy with odd hair and a perpetual case of badass.
"Dr. McCoy has good news, Daniel. He has isolated your mutant ability."
"Joy." My attitude hadn't improved. I still didn't want to accept that I was a mutant. What we want isn't always as important as what we have, but I didn't understand that at 16.
McCoy had found my attitude amusing at every exam and test. If he weren't 'the enemy,' I'd have liked him from the start. "You are an energy manipulator, Mr. Jameson." I think my look of total lack of comprehension clued him in that I was so not following him. "Specifically, you appear to have the ability to manipulate any form of energy. You can increase or decrease energy intensities, redirect it, even transmute it from one energy form to another..."
"Ok, ok, I get it. I'm a living transformer." I could see my future locked up in a power plant directing energy to the needy masses.
McCoy actually frowned. "Yes you could perform that task but I think you are missing the significance of what I'm saying." He took a breath. "You can manipulate or transmute -any- form of energy."
I shrugged; I still didn't get it. "So?"
He looked at the Professor for help. "Daniel, how does a witch cast a spell?" I saw Scott frown but Mr. Badass laughed. I was good and didn't hex him.
"Through the use of thought, action and word we shape magick for a specific purpose. A repeatable result from any combination of components is a spell."
"Ok. What if I were to say that instead of shaping magick you were reshaping one form of energy to another? Your ability to levitate objects is a good example. According to Hank's tests, you do this by diminishing the effects of gravity on an object."
"I just do it the way Gram taught me."
"But is it the way she did it?"
That threw me. I had to think about it. "No, Gram's spell of levitation was always different."
"I've asked you here to try something other than demonstrating what you know how to do. I want you to try something you couldn't possibly have been taught by your grandmother."
I wanted to hold onto my bad attitude, but that did sound interesting. "Ok."
The Professor nodded to Scott and he looked over at a steel target. He lifted his glasses a little and a narrow blast of ruby light smashed into the metal. I must have been caught off guard because I found I was on my ass.
"Looks like that got the kid's attention." Mr. Badass snorted and pulled out a cigar. He lit it and sent a puff of smoke in my direction. I probably deserved that.
The Professor smiled and his eyes fixed on the energy that was blasting the target. "I want you to redirect Scott's blast. You don't have to move it far."
I frowned. Gram hadn't taught me any spells to redirect an energy blast. I certainly wasn't going to let Mr. Badass or Scott know that. I stood up and brushed myself off and then I focused on the beam. What I'd thought was the 'feeling of magic' obviously wasn't. As I concentrated I could feel the energy. After a few moments I knew its essence and I reached out with my thoughts. I imagined my hands wrapped around the beam and I tried to bend it. I must have been trying too hard because the beam suddenly twisted and bent nearly sixty degrees. It slashed past the edge of the target and slammed into the wall beyond.
Scott dropped his glasses back in place, cutting off the energy. I almost stumbled as it felt like what'd I'd been supporting myself against had suddenly vanished. He looked at the Professor. "Suppose that answers that. He doesn't have much finesse though."
Much to my frustration, the Professor agreed with him. "The potential is there but he will need to rethink his perceptions if he's going to acquire control and finesse." I really didn't like be talked about as if I wasn't there at all!
"You must be the new guy."
I looked away from the electrical arc I was trying to redirect to different anodes. I was greeted by the friendliest smile I'd ever seen. The guy walking in literally took my breath away. It took me months to realize it was his energy signature more than his physical looks that did that to me. Not that his looks weren't enough. He was taller than me with wide shoulders, dark skin and black hair. His deep tan made his white teeth seem almost unreal.
When I didn't answer him, he turned around and smirked. "Please don't be mute. I don't think I'll survive a semester of only hearing myself talk."
"No, no I'm not mute." I sort of squeaked, and I was certain my cheeks were burning.
"I'm Jeff; Jeffrey Watkins." He put out his hand, and I took it. The energy play I felt from his touch almost had me seeing stars. "Daniel; Daniel Jameson." The shake lingered a moment, mostly because I was being a dork and not letting go.
Jeff nodded at the electrical set I had on my desk. "What's up with the torture box?"
"Practicing." I became aware that my head was actually throbbing a little from all the effort. I switched it off.
"They've already got you doing homework?" Jeff looked appalled. "Semester doesn't even start for two more days."
I stood up and stretched. "I've got a lot of remedial learning to do." I smirked but that was how it felt.
He laughed. "Hey, we were all there once." Jeff flopped onto his bed. I almost started drooling at how his shirt rose up and exposed his tight abs. They were sparsely dusted with soft hair and all I could think was how much more manly he was than me. He rolled to his side and propped up on his elbow. "So, what is it you can do?"
I shrugged. "Not sure."
He didn't buy that line. "Yeah, right."
"Ok, but don't kill the messenger." I took a breath. "Dr. McCoy says if I learn enough, I could do almost anything."
Jeff's jaw went slack. "You're shitting me, right?"
I shook my head. "Right now I can only do simple things. I'm supposed to keep extending myself and trying to see my abilities as they are instead of what I'd come to believe..." I just threw my hands up. "Like THAT makes any sense."
"Well, I can strengthen and extend my aura." He looked at my face and realized I didn't know what that meant. He focused on me and I felt as if someone was touching me. The sensation had me trembling. It felt so cool. Suddenly I floated into the air and I gasped with surprise. Jeff laughed. "See? I wrapped my aura about you and then strengthened it till I could lift you."
"That's cool," I whispered. I closed my eyes and just floated on the sensations. I could literally feel him around me. It was like being in a non-physical embrace. It felt so intimate I sighed.
Jeff set me back on the floor and my legs simply gave out. This time it was his actual arms that caught me. "Yo, Dan, you ok?"
It took me a moment to return to myself. It felt like I'd been pulled with him when he'd taken his aura back. "Yeah, yeah. That just felt so amazing."
He smirked. "Never flown before, huh?"
I was about to explain when I realized I would sound like a lovesick kid. I'd heard horror stories of what happens to guys when they tell other's they're gay. I was worse. I was a gay, mutant, witch; the triple threat. I just nodded and hoped he wouldn't question me further. After a moment I got back up and looked at the practice unit. "I think I've had enough practice for one day."
Jeff smiled. "Want to check out the campus?"
I'd already had nearly two weeks to explore, but the thought of spending more time with Jeff was very appealing. "Lead on, Watson."
I laughed. If we were going to be rooming together I was going to have to educate the boy on literature.
The first few weeks of the semester went pretty well. I realized early on that as my senses expanded I could actually sense how everyone's powers worked. I could tell the difference between a telekinetic and a telepath. I could feel the difference between someone moving fast by increased kinetic energy and someone who could stretch out time and do more actions in less linear time.
My aura sight had improved incredibly. The more time that passed, the more intense my senses became. I began to wonder if Gram's magick had been keeping my abilities in check over the time I'd lived with her. It had been weird when her letter arrived.
Jeff came in after class and smirked at me. "You live in the 'old country?'"
I looked up from my social studies homework and frowned. "What the hell does that mean?"
He floated a parchment envelope, sealed in wax, to me. I made sure to snatch the envelope out if his aura quickly. Just the touch of his aura was enough to make me blush. It was becoming a real problem.
I looked at Gram's seal and smiled. "My grandmother. She likes writing with a dip pen on 'real paper.'" I broke the seal and sparkles rose from the envelope. I should have known she would use magic to send it. The image of her sitting at her desk materialized above the envelope.
Jeff was right behind me before I could think of how to stop the spell. "That is SO cool!"
The image faded and I wiped away a tear. Guilt was flogging me pretty hard at that moment. It took me several sniffle filled breaths to realize that Jeff had leaned so close that our auras were syncing. The feeling was so incredible that it caused me to tremble. It didn't appear to have any affect on him.
"How'd she do that?" His voice was filled with awe.
Leaning away from him I turned and smirked. "Gram's one of the most power witches in Ireland. Be nice or I'll have her turn you to a toad." I was glad to be out of his aura or my voice wouldn't have been so solid.
Jeff pulled back and held up his hands in mock fear. "Oh no, not that!" We both laughed and then he looked at me seriously. "Is she, really?"
I nodded. "Witches have been around a lot longer than mutants."
"Wow." Jeff flopped down on his bed and put his arms behind his head. It was a position I particularly liked since he usually wore tank tops. "I didn't think witches were real. I'd kind of thought they were either folk-lore or maybe early mutants."
I smiled. "I can assure you that magick is a whole different thing to mutant abilities."
He looked at me skeptically. "So, you a witch too?"
I shrugged. I knew I could do actual magick. Now that my senses were expanding I could easily tell the difference between my shifting energies and my doing a spell. Magick was a lot harder than I'd originally thought. "Yeah, but I'm not very good at it."
He seemed really intrigued and he flipped over and propped himself up on his elbows, resting chin on his hands. All I could think of was how his arms bulged in that position. "What can you do? Love spells or summon ghosts?"
I laughed so hard I nearly fell of my chair. Jeff looked a little pissed when I finally calmed down. "Magick isn't like that. It's really very subtle and requires a lot of training. I can't do anything like Gram. She makes it look so easy."
"Yeah, so... what can you do?"
I thought about it. There was nothing I could do that I wanted to demonstrate. I gave him smile and tried to do a spooky voice. "I can make myself even uglier."
Jeff laughed. "Ugh, I couldn't imagine." I knew he'd meant it as a joke, but it still hurt.
Jeff tossed his shirt on the bed and scowled. Just watching his sweaty back was enough to make the humiliation of class worth it. He grabbed his towel and gave me an impatient look. "I can't believe you let him talk to you like that!"
I shrugged. A month ago I would have thrown a tantrum and done something showy in order to prove myself. I was getting better control of my emotions as well as a better control of my powers. The side effects were making it difficult to concentrate as my perceptions kept expanding faster than I could interpret all the information. Jeff always took my side in these things, and I think I started loving him because of it. It was going to be hard to be his roommate since I had so much I had to keep hidden.
"He's right you know. I just need to choose how I want to do it and just DO it. I've spent the last couple weeks studying how everyone else does it and using that as an excuse not to try."
Jeff snapped the towel at me. "What do you mean, not to try? I've seen you levitate off the bed while you were listening to music through your headphones."
I blushed. I'd quickly found that music was a way that I could get lost in myself. It really helped because I was having less and less time alone. I couldn't explain it to Jeff. How do you tell someone that you could sense where he was anywhere in the building? It was worse than that; I knew where -everyone- was at any moment of the day. Once I'd gotten over my belief that my abilities were "magick," my awareness expanded. I could recognize anyone I knew simply by sensing his or her energy signature. The problem was that I could sense all the energy flowing through or about the mansion and a significant ways onto the grounds.
Music was such a completely sensual experience that it let me focus all my attention on it and how it interacted with me. I could retreat from sensing the world around me and it would just be the music and me. I'd even convinced the Professor to let me switch my course load to include modern dance. I wasn't really all the keen on the idea of living up to the fag stereotype, but at least during class I had some relief from the rest of my senses.
When he snapped me the second time with his towel I redirected the kinetic force. "Ow, shit!" Jeff dropped his towel as he grabbed at his pec. The skin was already turning red.
"Serves you right, jackass." I pulled off my own sweaty shirt. I was an albino twig compared to gym-boy. Jeff hit the gym practically every day. At times I swore his mutant ability was to inspire wet dreams. "What has you in such an uproar anyway? Jean Paul Beaubier is always an asshole."
Jeff shrugged. "I don't know. Maybe I'm just using the way he treated you as an excuse to vent about my flying test grade from last week."
I tried not to smirk. "You did kind of wobble."
Jeff gave me a hurt look. "The way I have to fly is hard, ok?"
That was true enough. Jeff flew by extending his aura and pushing off the ground with it. This limited how high he could fly and how fast. It was one of the reasons I chose not to use his powers as a model for my method of flight. "Hey, flying isn't everything you know. You can do kick-ass-shit with your powers."
"Yeah, I suppose..."
I gave him a shove towards the shared bathroom. "Suppose nothing! You can punch things with like ten times the force of a regular person. You can deflect damage with an aura-shield. You can extend and control it so effortlessly that you can actually write without using your hands. Hell, I bet with time you'll be able to do multiple things at once." I smiled. "So get your sweaty ass in the shower, you stink!"
Jeff finally laughed. "You aren't exactly a rose garden." I had to work not to lick the drop of sweat that was trailing past his nipple. Boy did I have it bad.
"That's why I want you in and out of there fast. I'm offending myself!" The fact I wanted to hide how tight my pants were getting was another reason.
Professor Xavier showed up in history class on October 21. It's a day I would never forget. "Ms. Monroe, may I have a word with Daniel please?" I felt the energy of a telepathic exchange and for a brief moment Storm's face looked immensely sad.
"Of course, Professor." She nodded to me and I gathered my things.
Once we were in the hall, the Professor started towards his office. The fact that he didn't say anything began to worry me. He kept silent till we got inside. "Please, take a seat, Daniel." His voice didn't give away any hints but I was getting better at reading the energy signs from people. He wasn't happy, or maybe depressed-yet-tense was a better description. He wheeled behind the desk and looked at me, for the first time his eyes showed the sorrow he was feeling. "I just got a call from Ireland." He looked directly in my eyes and his next words crushed everything. "I'm sorry, Daniel, but your grandmother passed away last night."
At first I wanted to deny it and I wanted to call him a liar. I started to tremble trying to keep my emotions from tearing me apart. Just as I thought I had it under control something let lose. I felt as if I was everywhere at once. I could see, feel, taste, touch, and hear the whole mansion. I knew every person, every electrical impulse, and every movement of air. It was overwhelming, and I was too emotional to ignore it. With everything I had, I tried to make it all go away. For a moment, maybe I did.
The next couple of hours were a blur. I learned later that I'd disrupted just about every power system in the mansion for nearly ten minutes during my initial fit. What little control of my emotions I thought I had simply vanished. The Professor hadn't even been able to restrain me because I was disrupting psionic energy along with everything else. It wasn't till I'd collapsed from exhaustion that they were able to get me to my room. Jeff had come back to the room when he'd learned what caused the weirdness. The whole school knew what had happened or would know shortly.
I was simply curled up on the bed, crying. Everyone I'd ever loved was gone. I was in a strange place surrounded by virtual strangers. Even in my exhausted state my senses were feeding me everything going on in the school. I hadn't known true misery till that day.
Jeff climbed into bed and spooned around me. His aura was like a soft, warm veil between me and the rest of the world. I turned to him and sobbed. He just held me the rest of the afternoon and into the night while I cried. If I hadn't fallen for him already, he'd have won me over with that alone.
The next morning I saw the results of my tantrum. At least a third of the student body had been affected. Most students had simply had odd things happen. A few got hurt as electrical equipment went crazy. The worst injuries had happened to the kids who'd been flying or using active powers; their powers had failed. If I hadn't been so caught up with my own grief, I would have been guilty as well. That's one thing about guilt though; it waits around till you're ready to feel it.
Professor Xavier took me back to Ireland for the funeral. Scott and Ororo had come for protection. I was never so grateful to the Professor as when he gave Jeff permission to take time from school to accompany me. I knew I was leaning on Jeff's impulse to protect me but I felt so broken that I don't think I'd have survived otherwise.
The funeral and such took a week to get through. I had to meet with lawyers and magistrates. Me being a minor complicated things. When you have no adult relatives to take custody of you, it's like being adrift in a very small boat on a very rough sea. One of Gram's oldest friends was in charge of the estate till I turned twenty-one, but Professor Xavier had been given custody of me. It made me realize that Gram had known she was dying all along. I understood why she'd send me away, but it didn't make the loss any less painful.
Gram's friends had taken care of most everything. The house had gone on the market nearly as soon as I'd left. There were already buyers making inquires. It felt as if my home had been washed away with all the tears I'd cried the day after she died. Boxes were packed and items were prepared to be put into storage. Most of my stuff had gone with me to school so I only needed to pack the few of Gram's things I wanted with me. They were, of course, her few items of real magick that weren't promised to past students or surviving colleagues.
Jeff stayed with me the entire time. I wasn't surprised a few years later when he chose to take counseling in college. He helped me pack, held me when I needed it and let me cry on my own without a single word.
I was looking at the old house for the last time when Scott came over and put his hand on my shoulder. "You doing ok?" The tone in his voice carried so much understanding and compassion it surprised me.
"I'm glad she sent me to Xavier's." I looked away from the house and tried not to cry again. "I wouldn't have anywhere to go now if she hadn't." I bit my lip and looked into those ruby lenses. "I'm sorry I used my powers against you."
Scott regarded me a moment before he smiled. "I apologize for devaluing your beliefs. The Professor says your grandmother was an amazing woman."
I looked away and sniffled a bit. "Yeah, she was."
"If you ever need to talk, my door is always open." He gave my shoulder a squeeze.
"Thanks." He nodded and gave me some space. I let the tears fall and I made a promise to the old house. "I'll make you proud Gram. I swear I will."
The pain vaulted me back to the present. She was trying to drain me again. I locked down on my energy and forced it to remain within my body. The Bitch hissed and slapped me. "Still refusing to give me my due?" She grabbed my face and yanked me up. "It is only a matter of time, Daniel. I'll enjoy drinking you dry."
I tried to spit in her face but my mouth was too dry. I could sense the energies flowing through her. The pain was making it almost impossible to concentrate but her power was so close that it resonated in my brain. With a thrust of will, I disrupted the energy and I heard her scream. My reward was the pain of feeling an arm snap. The world began to spin to darkness again.
Returning to school hadn't helped with the feeling of loss. Most of the students began to shun me after the disruption incident. I tried to ignore the fact that I was being avoided. I had other things on my mind.
Being Wiccan, Halloween had as much significance to me as Christmas or Easter had to a Christian. There was a costume party that night. Jeff had tried to get me to go down but I wasn't interested.
"Come on, Dan." He looked so good in his Zorro outfit. It would have been worth going just to see him wandering around in those tight pants and Renaissance shirt.
"Thanks but I'm really not interested, Jeff." I tilted my head at the door. "Get down there and carve a few Zs into the hearts of your worshipers." He had already done so with me. It looked like he might actually choose to stay with me. I'd never have been able to do what I wanted if he stayed. "I'm not feeling sorry for myself. Samhain is a sacred holiday for me. I'd like to honor it the way Gram taught me."
That seemed to satisfy him. "Ok buddy." He squared his mask and put on his hat. "Wish me luck."
I laughed. "May your feet be swift enough to evade all the raging hormones you'll inspire." He actually blushed before he left.
I waited about fifteen minutes and then pulled out my book bag. I'd put what I'd needed in it earlier that afternoon. I slipped it over my shoulder and climbed out the window. Our room was on the second floor, and I scanned about quickly with my eyes. It was really a pointless thing to do; I already knew where everyone was for nearly a mile radius. Closing my eyes, I let the breeze flow across me. The sky was clear; the moon was a beautiful crescent; the air was brisk and carried my breath away in a soft white mist. It was a perfect night for magick.
Leaping from the ledge, I shifted the effect of gravity to glide gently to the ground. It wasn't exactly flying but it felt great. Once I hit the ground I bent the light around me. I couldn't go invisible but I could make myself a shadow in the night. It was only a short jog into the woods and away from the nonsense going on inside.
I got to the edge of the clearing in a few minutes and had everything set up when I felt him approach. There was no point in hiding or trying to make up excuses. I just continued with my preparations. When he was within earshot I spoke. "Hi, Scott."
He stepped into the clearing silently. If it hadn't been for my extra senses I'd never had known he was there. "That's impressive, Daniel. I was sure I'd kept my approach concealed."
"You did. I just know where people are at about a mile range."
Scott cocked his head at me as he came near. "You haven't mentioned that before."
I shrugged. "The Professor knows."
Scott looked about the clearing. "Cold night to be out here alone, Daniel."
I settled down on the blanket I'd brought. I could have kept my body heat from bleeding into the ground but I didn't want to use my powers tonight. "Once I raise the walls it will be fine."
Scott knelt down. "The Professor thought you should have someone out here tonight."
I really didn't want the company but if they weren't going to stop me I wasn't going to object. "Did he tell you why I'm out here?"
Scott shrugged. "No. He said you would be out here trying to resolve issues."
That was one way of looking at it. "I'm here to say goodbye."
"I could move to the edge of the clearing if you prefer."
"Nah, might as well be in the heart of it." I gave him a wry smile. "Believe it or not, I might show you something new."
Scott laughed. "Ok, Daniel. I'm game." I stood up and opened the blanket out wider so he could sit on something other than the cold ground.
I looked back at the moon; she was beautiful. "This is my religion, Scott. I don't care if you believe, but please don't belittle it."
Scott nodded. "You're our first Wiccan, Daniel. I may not understand your beliefs, but I can respect that you have them."
I smiled. "Well, I guess I should get started."
Scott crossed his legs and shut up.
There was enough magick in the night air that even with my limited skills I could bring forth the power. I ignored the audience and cast the circle. The power rose like a cool wind and I wrapped it into the celestial temple I needed. As I sat down to wait, I knew Scott wanted to ask a question.
I closed my eyes. "Talking won't ruin anything."
He didn't say anything for a while. Finally he asked, "Is there anything I should expect?"
I smiled. "Magick is all about subtle power. Never expect anything." I don't think he liked the answer.
Patience is the magick practitioner's greatest virtue. I had no sense of how long we waited but as the breeze swirled at my ear I realized we'd waited long enough. "Hi Gram." I couldn't see her, but her presence was so tangible I was surprised I that couldn't.
Scott must have been looking at me like I had two heads. I didn't care. I started to giggle. Gram had a tendency to speak her mind in life but in death she really had no problem saying things as they were.
"Is it normal for someone to giggle when waiting for a ghost?"
I shook my head. "No. It's normal to giggle when the ghost thinks your teacher is cute."
I know he was looking at me like an alien at that point. To his credit, he didn't try to refute my delusions.
Gram whispered to me and I smiled. I needed this time but I think Scott's presence actually gave me something more. My eyes went wide with what she told me. "Gram wants to tell you some things, Scott. But she wants to be sure you want to hear them."
I think that got Scott's attention. I doubt anyone had ever to spoken to him from the other side. "Ok."
I closed my eyes and just let her have me. "You should know that she knew before you did." I know my voice probably went a bit weird, but all I heard was Gram.
"She whose soul burned like fire and who vanished into the depths of water."
I could feel Scott tense beside me. I knew who Jean Grey was. She'd been one of the first students; a teacher, a telepath, and a hero. She'd died saving students and many of the teachers. I didn't know the details. I tried to stay out of Gram's way as she continued. Unfortunately, what she tried to say next tossed me for a loop, and I choked.
Scott reached over. "Daniel?"
I coughed on my own spit and gasped. "I'm ok. She just said something that threw me."
Scott looked at me. In the darkness his eyes really did give off a red glow behind those lenses. "What did she say?"
I actually had tears in my eyes. "She said that Jean would be happy that you and Mr. Logan have moved on."
Scott grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me. His fingers were biting into me, and I actually cried out in pain. "How did you know about that?" His voice was angry, but I could sense something more. He was scared.
I sobbed. "I didn't. Gram said it." When he didn't let go I whimpered. "You're hurting me."
He let go of me like he'd just been burned. He didn't get up, but his hands were shaking. I could see tears glinting on his cheeks. I felt like such a shit.
Gram whispered to me again. My gut twisted into knots, and I shook my head. She insisted but I refused to say it. I was crying so hard I thought my lungs would come out. She wouldn't relent. I looked at Scott and begged. "I'm sorry. She shouldn't have done that."
Where he got his composure from I couldn't say, but Scott Summers was the most controlled man I'd ever known. With no hint of anger in his voice he looked at me. "Why shouldn't she have?"
"She only told me because I'm so scared to let anyone know I'm gay." I closed my eyes, clenched my jaw, and waited for the inevitable. The inevitable never came.
When I finally opened my eyes, Scott was just looking at me. It was like he was seeing me differently but that it wasn't a bad thing. His hand cupped my face and his thumb rubbed the tears off my cheek. "You don't have to be scared, Daniel; at least not of me."
I lost it. He pulled me into a hug and rocked me through the release. Gram was all around us as my tears came to an end. I could feel her run her fingers through my hair and kiss my cheek as she left. I'd be ok.