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Resolutions - Chapter 10
We broke the news to Jack and Nora the next day. Jack was skeptical but supportive. Nora was beside herself with joy. When she saw the rings, you would have thought they were the Holy Grail. The rings, at least, got Jack's attention. He scrutinized them and tried to figure out what they were. The man knew his materials, and he'd never seen the stuff I'd made the rings of.
"What the hell is this stuff?"
Jeff smiled, and I couldn't help but grin. "It's called 'adamantium'."
He shrugged. "Never heard of it."
"It's supposed to be indestructible."
Jack laughed. "Nothing is indestructible."
I smiled. "My love for Jeff is. That's why I made them."
Jeff squeezed my hand while Jack gaped at me. "You -made- them?"
I nodded. "Yeah, part of that whole 'do you have any idea what that means' aspect of my powers. To put it simply, 'yes I know exactly what that means'."
Jack was practically shaking as he stared at the rings again. "Not just transmuted? You created them out of pure energy?" His voice trembled in awe.
I laughed. "Don't freak out on me, Jack. You and Nora are the only people other than Jeff I've told. The Professor doesn't want this out, but I just couldn't hide this stuff from you guys."
"Are they really indestructible?" He handed back the rings.
"Let's find out." I floated my ring into the air. "Jeff, could you hold it up?"
Jeff' aura lightly pinched the ring, and it floated above the table.
"How much power do you want me to pump into this, Jack?"
It was so funny to look at Jack's face. He looked like a kid with a golden ticket to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. "Don't blow the breakers."
I smiled. "Ok, well I know it will survive that." I stared at the rings and brought my hands to either side of it. "How about arc welding? That can do a pretty good job on metals, right?"
I summoned the power from the power outlets and carried the electricity through the air to the ring. It looked like a small thunderstorm between my hands as power blasted against the ring. When I was done, I pulled out a coffee mug, filled it with water, and had Jeff drop the ring in.
The water boiled as the ring hit. I kept the cup from shattering from the heat, and, after a few moments, the whole thing began to cool. Lifting the ring out of the mug, I held it back out to Jack. "Convinced?"
He studied the ring in amazement. "It isn't even smudged."
I nodded. "Close enough to indestructible for me."
Later that day, Jack caught up with me while Jeff was doing last minute gift wrapping with his mom. "Dan, about what you said earlier?"
I looked at him. "Which thing I said?"
"About your love for Jeff being indestructible." He was looking at me as if trying to figure me out.
"You really meant that, didn't you?"
I nodded. "Yeah. I really do." I had tears in my eyes as I looked away. "When he was holding me after what 'they' did to him, I knew I couldn't survive without him." I smiled at Jack weakly. "I just couldn't."
Jack pulled me into a hug and held me for the longest time. When he let go, he had tears in his eyes. "Thanks for loving him so much."
I couldn't think of anything to say to that.
I had thought Christmas the previous year was the best Christmas of my life. Christmas at the Watkin's was absolutely incredible. Janet went nuts over the news about Jeff's engagement. George just smiled and congratulated us on "losing out on so many opportunities."
As soon as Christmas was over, Janet stole us away for the "after Christmas sales" and Nora began her campaign as "mother of the grooms". She was determined we would be married in a church. Jeff whined, and I implored Jack to dissuade her, but he just laughed and said, "Nothing will stop her from seeing 'her boys' married properly."
Secretly, I was thrilled. Jack just started calling me "son" and Nora was so much a "mom" that it was impossible not to think of her as mine. We finally just sat back and accepted our fate with goofy smiles on our faces. George started making threats about "giving us one last taste of bachelorhood" before he left for New Year's week. I think the prospect of a "bachelor party by George" was far more terrifying than anything Nora would do to us for the wedding.
Jeff couldn't stop smiling. If I'd known proposing would have such an influence on him, I'd have done it before. To be honest, I don't' think I'd stopped smiling for days either.
We'd entrusted the rings to Mom's safe keeping. We knew Dad wouldn't be able to resist experimenting with them. She laughed when I told her of my concerns and promised that after all their years together she still had places she could hide things from him.
By the 30th, Jeff was getting antsy. "What do you want to do for New Year's Eve?"
I smirked. "Ok, Mr. Romantic, since this is our first 'New Year's together' what do you want to do?"
"Spend it with you."
"Ha, ha. You will be you goof." I punched him in the arm. "Do you want to just sit around and make goo goo eyes all night?"
"Mom and Dad have a party they're going to, Janet is going to be spending it in New York with Rob, and George will be doing some sort of orgy thing I bet." He rolled his eyes. Jeff loved his brother but at times George seemed a lot younger than we were. "We could spend it here, or..." He smirked. "We could high tail it out as soon as it gets dark and spend it someplace like Key West."
I blinked at him. "Uh, Jeff that's a pretty long drive, even from Miami."
"Yeah, but between the two of us I bet we could get there in less than an hour."
I frowned. "You want to FLY down there?"
"Sure. We put on some black clothes, take changes with us in our book bags, and blast down there just after sunset."
I couldn't believe he was suggesting we use our powers so blatantly. "Come on, Jeff. You -know- we'll get caught."
He smirked. "Yeah right. Who's going to catch the dynamic duo if we don't want to be caught? Our powers aren't visible, and we're too small to be picked up on radar if we fly low."
I had to admit that the idea was exciting. "We'll get in so much trouble."
"Only if we're caught." He started pouting and gave me his best puppy dog eyes. "Please?"
I sighed. He knew I'd do anything for him. "Ok, let's make sure we have the right clothes with us. If we don't, you're buying."
His grin made me laugh. "Deal."
The ocean rolled beneath us like some erotic dance of air and water. Jeff had me wrapped in his arms, and his aura was wrapped about us like a spearhead. I provided the actual power of flight while Jeff kept us safe within his shield.
Jeff was a little put out that I didn't think he could do it all himself, but I pointed out that his fastest flight speed was only about 45 miles an hour and my fastest flight speed was over three times his, and I had to stay that slow because I didn't have any protection from the wind.
"Ok, Dan, time to show me your stuff!" Jeff may not have liked the fact that I flew better than he did, but that didn't stop him from enjoying a good ride.
"You asked for it. Hold tight." He really didn't even need to hold me at all. My powers didn't work that way. I simply enjoyed being held by the man I loved, and if I had an excuse to feel all those muscles pressed against me, I was going to use it.
We suddenly dove for the ocean and I pulled us up to cruise only a few feet above the surface. I felt Jeff exhale after a moment. He apparently had held his breath during our sudden descent. We sped up, and I began focusing on sensing our surrounds to be sure we didn't hit a boat on the way. After we got past the primarily populated areas, I sped us up further, and Jeff looked back. We had a tail of water over ten feet high spraying in our wake.
"Holy shit, Dan. How fast are we going?"
That took me a moment to figure out. I'd never really tried to calculate the velocity of something before. "Uhm... maybe 350 miles an hour?"
"This as fast as we're going to go?"
I smirked. "Nope. Just getting my bearings."
I looked at the GPS we'd picked up. "Ok. Here we go."
Jeff was about to say something when I just "accelerated" us. I'd never been able to really cut loose before. It felt so great. After a few minutes, I noticed Jeff was squeezing me tighter as our speed increased. "Uh, Dan. This is getting to be a strain." His voice sounded tight.
We slowed immediately; so fast, in fact, our own "boom" caught up with us. We shuddered as the concussion wave rocked the shield.
Jeff started laughing. "That was totally awesome!"
I looked at the GPS. "I suppose it's a good thing you said something."
I smirked. "We nearly overshot Key West."
We were still laughing as we landed on a dark spot along the beach and changed our clothes. Before Jeff got his shirt back on I pulled him down to the sand and began nuzzling his chest. I was rewarded by an appreciative moan. We hadn't really done anything intimate since October, and, though I knew he needed a lot more time before we could do much, I wanted to give him a reminder of what we were trying to get back to. I stroked and kissed his chest before latching onto his nipples, one with my mouth and the other with my fingers. He was whimpering and shuddering; he gasped when I released his hard nubs and I came up to look him in the eyes.
He was aroused, but I could see the fear. He was afraid we'd go further than he was ready for. It wasn't that he didn't want to. I think he wasn't sure if he could. I kissed him softly before giving him my bravest smile. "I just wanted to remind you that when you're ready, I'm available."
Jeff's eyes flooded and he reached for my face. He kissed me long and hard. "God, I love you, Dan. I'll get there; I promise!"
I rested my cheek against his chest. "I know, Jeff. I'm not getting impatient, and I will wait for you forever if I have to."
"It won't be forever, Dan. I'd die from frustration long before that."
I laughed. "Well, sir, next June you will officially be able to do something with my ass other than grab it and stare at it."
Jeff gulped. "Dan... I don't know if I'll..."
I put my fingers to his mouth. "Jeff. I love you. I will wait till you're ready. Whether that's in June or June years from now, I'll wait." I put my head back down on his chest. "Want to know something?"
He stroked my shoulder and nodded into my hair. "Sure."
"I used to be scared of it." I stroked his chest absently. "I used to look at how big you were and wonder 'how the hell am I going to take that'?" I pulled back up and looked him in the eyes. "Now all I can think of is I want to be with you in any way I can. I know that as long as it's you, I'll be fine."
"I know." He squeezed his eyes shut and tried to stop the tears. "I'm more scared of not being able to do it, or that I'll freak out, than I am of the act itself." He sighed and hugged me. "As long as I've got you, I know I'll get there."
I smiled. "Ok, enough mushy stuff. Let's find a party!"
Jeff's eyes sparkled. "This is going to be the best New Year's ever!"
New Year's Eve was an experience I would never forget. We had a great time, but life had ways of throwing us curves. The first one came at us while we were at a party at a gay oriented resort. There were so many men grinding with each other that it was infectious. Jeff and I danced away for over an hour before we conceded we needed a break and about two gallons of water.
"I'll get the water. You find a safe spot." Jeff waded through the crowd as I spotted a nice open spot near a palm. I had just leaned against the tree to wait when I felt Jeff's aura flare. I was running through the crowd before I realized what I was doing.
Jeff was at the bar, shaking, with two larger men beside him. My eyes dropped to see one of the guys had his hands on Jeff's ass; he was trying to stroke the fabric of Jeff's pants between his cheeks. Jeff could have knocked the guy senseless with a thought but he looked like he was caught in a wake-mare. His eyes were squeeze shut and he was whimpering, "Please... stop."
I almost lost it. I could see him again, on his knees, being torn by Jas as he screamed. I grabbed the man's wrist and had him slammed to the ground before anyone even knew I was there. I snarled as his face scraped the cement. "Stop means STOP, you bastard!" It took everything I had not to do something worse than stand there, holding the man in an arm lock, pressing my foot against the back of his neck, and informing him of what the word "no" meant in language that Logan would have been proud of.
I released the bastard to the care of his friends as I pulled Jeff into my arms. He clung to me, crying and whispering, "I'm sorry... I ruined everything... I'm sorry."
Someone yelled as the guy I'd taken down lunged at me. I hadn't needed the warning. Even in Jeff's arms I had enough perception to feel him coming. I turned, brought up my hand and "caught" his fist. He stopped cold as I diffused all the inertia in his punch. I just held on as he tried to pull his fist back. That hand wasn't going to move unless God willed it. By the time I was done, the guy was on his knees, begging me to let go. I didn't hurt him, hell my grip was really pretty loose, but the fact some skinny kid could immobilize him seemed to unglue the guy. Letting go of his hand, I watched him slump to the ground and try to crawl away.
I got us out of there before anything could get worse. We made our way to a dark section of beach and sat down. Jeff hung his head between his knees and wrapped his fingers behind his head. I waited as he took slow, deep breaths.
Finally, he sat up and rested his chin on his knees. "I'm sorry, Dan." I wanted to hold him, but I was scared. After a moment he looked at me with tears in his eyes. He knew what I was thinking. "It's ok, I really need the hug."
I held him and kissed him and cried. He was blaming himself for something he couldn't have controlled. It hurt so much to feel him breaking. "You don't have anything to apologize for." I pulled his face up and looked him in the eyes. "They touched you without consent, Jeff. Maybe it was just aggressive flirtation but that doesn't matter." I tried not to let my voice crack. "Anyone could see you didn't want the attention. You were shaking and crying and the guy just kept pressing forward saying 'You know you want it'."
Jeff trembled. Yeah, I heard everything as soon as I had oriented on Jeff's aura. I think it was the combination of the touch, aggression and specific words that triggered Jeff's wake-mare. I told him so and he nodded before wiping away his tears.
"Sort of killed the evening, didn't it?"
I smiled. "Only if we let it. I don't care if we party or just sit and look at the stars till midnight. I just want to spend the start of the New Year with you."
After a moment, he took my hand and stood up. "Let's just get lost in Key West and find ourselves at the Docks by midnight. We can watch the fireworks from there."
That's exactly what we did.
Jeff was bubbling with enthusiasm over the pyrotechnics as we wandered through the streets on our way back to a point where we could change. "Those were SO awesome! I've never seen colors like that before."
I smiled as we turned into an alley to cut over toward the beach we'd landed at. "Yeah, well, you've never watched 'fireworks by Dan' before."
Pulling up short, Jeff smirked. "You didn't."
I laughed. "Of course I did. I wanted this to be the best New Year of your life."
Jeff pulled me into his arms, smiling. "You're the best boyfriend anyone could ever have."
I smirked. 'FiancÚ, Mr. Engaged."
"Oh yeah," he whispered as he pulled me into a wonderful kiss.
"Ah, young love." The voice came from somewhere behind us. We turned to see an old man in immaculately tailored clothes, white hair and a caring but powerful face. "It is so very touching to know that love is not lost on the younger generation."
Jeff frowned. "We better go."
"Come now. I have no intentions of doing you harm." That's when I felt it. The man wasn't human; he was a mutant. "You are a curious pair, and I wanted only to meet you."
Something about the energy about him made me think. Then I realized who it was. I looked at Jeff. "Magneto."
Jeff stiffened. He stepped between Magneto, and I as his aura expanded. "Leave us alone!"
I expanded my senses. From everything I'd heard about Magneto, I knew he would not be alone. There was a pressure in the air that I couldn't isolate. It felt like a slowly building aura of psionic power. Somewhere nearby had to be a telepath or psionic working with him. I leaned against Jeff's back. "Bubble, make a bubble."
His aura flowed out from us and became bubble of protection about eight feet in diameter. I focused on the shield and enhanced it. Between the two of us, we'd be able to hold off any type of attack.
Magneto cocked his head to the side and smiled. "Impressive. I can hardly see the distortion."
I snarled past him. "Tell your telepath to back off."
Magneto's eyebrow's raised. "Well, well. You are more versatile than I'd thought. What are your names?"
"Nothing you need to know." Jeff was fuming. This was my 'white knight'. When it came to protecting me, Jeff was all hero.
"His name is Jeffery; his nick name is 'Aurik'. He can energize his aura." The guy talking was a lean, wolfish looking teen with dark hair and angry eyes. He was playing with a lighter as he smiled jauntily at us. "Hey, Jeff."
Jeff gritted his teeth. "Hey Jon, or do you just go by Pyro these days?"
Pyro smiled and he flicked his lighter. A ball of flame formed above his palm and the light from it made his features look almost fiendish. "Pyro, thanks."
Enhancing Jeff's aura took very little effort or concentration. With a satisfied smirk I snuffed out Pyro's little display. "I'm not impressed."
Pyro scowled. "Who the fuck are you, carrot top?"
I couldn't stop Jeff as his aura lashed out and smashed Pyro against the wall. "Don't ever talk to him, Pyro. EVER." He increased the pressure and Pyro began to choke.
"Gentlemen, this is totally unnecessary." We had enough metal on us that Magneto's power could toss us around like gnats. I felt him wrap it about us, but I was able to fend it off before he could do more than make us wobble. He looked at me and his lips turned to a smile that chilled me. "Yes, quite versatile. I will keep my eye on you." He gestured to the air. "Come." Magneto turned, and Pyro was yanked from Jeff's hold by Magneto's will.
Pyro glared at us. "I'll see you again."
Jeff laughed. "We'll be waiting."
I kept my senses open till I knew they were a good distance away. "We've got to get out of here."
The run to the bags took only a few minutes. We were both scared. Jeff plucked the bags from the fronds of the palm and handed me mine. "We've got to get home."
I shook my head. "We've got to get back to school."
Jeff blinked at me. "Why?"
"Does Pyro know where you live?"
Jeff shrugged. "No, I don't think he ever knew my last name. We didn't hang out."
"Then we don't want them to know." I pulled out my black sweats.
"What do you mean?"
"Come off it, Jeff. Catch a clue!" I pulled off my shirt and grabbed my sweat top. "That was Magneto, the guy who opposes Xavier's dream?"
"Do you think just -anyone- could do that? The guy probably has resources we can't even imagine. He had at least two other mutants with him. Not to mention, a telepath someplace. I bet he could track us to where ever we go."
Jeff stopped as he finished pulling on his pants. "Mom and Dad..."
"Exactly. We can't go back; not right now." I pulled on my own pants and stuffed my clothes in the bag. Jeff took the bags and slung one over each shoulder.
"How are we going to get to school?"
He sighed. "I guess this wasn't such a good idea."
I shrugged. "How the hell were we supposed to know that Magneto vacations in Florida?"
Jeff looked at me seriously. "You aren't mad?"
I leaned over and kissed him briefly. "No, I'm pissed." He blinked. I touched his cheek as I pulled on my other shoe. "I'm pissed that some megalomaniac hatemonger had to ruin the rest of our vacation."
He smiled. "Good, I know that wouldn't be me."
"No, you're my 'white knight'." I smiled as he pulled on his other shoe. "I was really proud of you back there. It was a great feeling to know you'd still protect me."
Jeff blinked. "I won't let anyone hurt you, Dan. Ever."
How I'd tried to keep that promise. Sometimes there are promises you just can't keep. I watched as the Jet's VTOL system ignited and the Blackbird lifted into the sky. I hadn't been able to keep him safe, but at least he would live. He'd have our friends and family to help him after I was gone. A part of me hoped he wouldn't hurt as much as I would if the situation were reversed. I knew, deep down, a part of him would die with me. I prayed that he'd survive it.
Evil was rising. My power pulled back as I tried to extend my remaining strength. The howling rage erupted from the floor in a shower of splinters and gravel. She hovered above the hole; darkness rolling about her like a ravenous beast. She could feel me dying. Her lips curled into a fanged smile. "Now, my little morsel, you're mine."