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Resolutions - Chapter 2

Scott walked me back to the dorms. It was past 1am. I'd never gotten over how time can become so subjective during magickal rites. When I used my mutant powers, time was something I was keenly aware of. When I'd done magick, which was rare since my powers were so much easier, it always seemed like I had stepped somehow out of sync with the normal world.

He gripped my shoulder before I started up the stairs. "You going to be alright?"

I smiled weakly. I was embarrassed and uncomfortable knowing a secret about him. In truth, I felt better than I had in weeks. "Yeah, I am." Before he let me go, I looked at him. "Scott?"

He looked at me with determination. "Yeah?"

"Are you ok with this? I feel like I blackmailed you or something." I still had that feeling in my gut that I was going to be scorned or rebuffed. A total lack of self-worth was a real pain at times.

His lips formed in a sincere smile and he ruffed my hair. What about my hair made people want to do that? "Yeah, Daniel. I'm cool with it. I think I understand you a bit better and that usually makes things ok." He set his jaw. "I meant what I said: If you need to talk, any time, you can always come to me."

I tried not to get emotional again. "Thanks."

"That isn't going to get you out of your homework."

I laughed. "I know. I've still got two papers to write to catch up on my week away."

"And you still have practice in the danger room. We can't have you losing control like you did..." He trailed off probably thinking he'd just said something that hurt.

I smiled. "I'll get there. I promise." I didn't add I wanted to be in control like he was. I think it showed on my face.

"I know you will." He pushed me toward the stairs. "You're out after curfew, Mr. Jameson. You better get to your room before 'a teacher' catches you."

I scrambled up the stairs trying not to laugh. Any impulse at laughing came crashing down when I walked in the room. Jeff was sitting on his bed, just wearing his boxers, and looking ready to spit nails. I swallowed, shut the door and set my bag down before he opened his mouth.

"Where the FUCK have you been?" I was amazed at the force of his words. He didn't yell. He hadn't even raised his voice. It was controlled, hard and angry. "I get back from the party and all I see is an open window!"

I looked at the floor. "I had some things I needed to do."

"Like what? Go dance naked under the moon?"

That pissed me off. I knew that Jeff was Catholic but he'd never said anything negative about my faith before. I shoved my bag under the bed. "Yeah, as a matter of fact I did."

"Why couldn't you just do that down stairs?"

I glared at him. "Because I don't put my faith on display for people!" That shut him up. He instinctively touched the cross he always wore. "You want to know? I went out and summoned my grandmother's spirit so I could say goodbye. I don't know how -Catholics- feel about it, but Wiccan's believe that spiritual loss is a personal thing!" I pulled off my shirt. I'd sweat through it even though it'd been cold. "If you want, I'll gather a few pagans and come down to your mass on Christmas Eve and put on a silly costume and have a party at the back of the church. See how solemn it will make your religious worship feel!"

Jeff actually broke eye contact with that one. "I didn't mean it that way." He shrugged and flopped back on the bed. "I thought you'd run away."

I looked at him and admitted it made sense. Without any family and having made it pretty clear I wasn't all that fond of being a mutant, why would he think I would stay? "Sorry. I should have left a note." I sank onto the bed. The night had simply been too draining; I didn't have the energy to put up much of a fight.

He seemed to study the texture of the ceiling for a minute. "You know I'd miss you, right?"

I choked. All I wanted to do was tell him how bad I'd miss him but he'd meant it as a friend. "Yeah." I had to say something or my heart was going to tear in two. "You're the best friend I've ever had, Jeff.'

He smiled but didn't look at me. "Yeah, I'm pretty fond of your freckled face too, freak."

We were ok. I could sleep on that.

I hadn't made an effort to make friends before, and it seemed my chance had passed. No one would come near me but the teachers, and Jeff. I'd finally come out of my shell and found out quickly what loneliness really was. It wasn't being alone. Being alone was easy. It was hard being in a crowd of people and having no connection with any of them and no apparent way to establish one. I admit I didn't try very hard. I had enough on my plate just getting caught up on course work and adding two sessions a week in the danger room with teachers in an attempt to gain control over my powers.

Jeff was always with me outside of class. We had lunch together and studied together; he even coaxed me to the gym a few times to spot for him. His excuse being that my ability to shut off gravity was the best spotting available since if he pushed too hard I could just make the weights as light as a feather. I actually did, once, but not for him. Devin, Jeff's normal workout partner, hadn't set his stance correctly before trying a fairly heavy lift. To most people, the sight of 500lbs of iron being hoist into the air by a seventeen-year-old black guy was an amazing sight. It was a daily occurrence at Xavier's.

It was the "oh shit" that caught my attention as Devin started to topple backwards. I didn't even think about it, I just released gravity and both Devin and the weights began floating slowly under the inertia of his fall. When he let go of the weights, I released Devin and left the barbell floating. Everyone in the room stared.

"You ok?"

Devin grunted and looked at the slowly drifting barbell. "That is so unfair!"

Jeff laughed. "What, that a skinny redhead can effortlessly move what your fat ass struggles to lift?"

Devin shot him an "eat shit and die" look. "Some of us have to work for our stuff. We don't get personal classes and training time because we're 'special'."

The weights slammed down right in front of his feet. "What the hell does that mean?" I was shocked.

He gave me a dark look. "You know exactly what it means, Mr. Special-Geek. You show up, and suddenly you have the top trainers working with you in private sessions. You throw a tantrum and the school turns on its end to calm you down. You haven't had to work for shit since you got here, and you have the faculty bending over backwards."

My temper was flaring. "How the fuck do you know what I go through? Your mutant powers are EASY. You're strong, fast and can take damage like a living tank. What special training does -that- require? The teachers don't want me 'throwing tantrums' because they don't want anyone hurt because of my lack of control! When you have a -real problem- to deal with, come and see me; till then, shut the fuck up!"

I felt him leaping at me even before I could see his body move. I knew he would never make it to me. Total perception of forces really was useful at times. Jeff was about to intercede when Devin just froze.

"Hi, Professor." I said without looking at the door. Devin was released a moment later and he scowled at me.

"I hope everything is under control in here. It felt like things were getting out of hand." Scott was standing next to Xavier with his arms crossed. I wasn't sure if his frown was for me Devin or me.

"Yes, sir. Devin slipped and I over extended trying to help. I probably should have left well enough alone." I knew it wasn't my fault that Devin didn't like me. I could have refrained from flaunting my powers and just made sure he wasn't hurt when hit the floor. The more I thought about it, Devin probably wouldn't have been hurt at all considering his amazing resistance to physical harm. I looked at Devin. "Sorry."

He looked at me for a moment and then shrugged. "I was done anyway. Thanks for keeping the weights from damaging anything."

"Don't you have someplace you're supposed to be, Mr. Jameson?" Scott looked at his watch and back at me.

I sighed. I'm sure they'd heard enough of the argument that the whole "special training" thing was becoming an issue. That didn't mean they were going to let me slack off. "Yes, sir. I'm coming."

Devin was talking with Jeff when I got back to the room. I was tired and cranky. They'd matched me up against Gambit. It was easy when I worked with Cyclops, his energy beams were second nature for me. Gambit's powers were different. Energizing matter and tossing the charged items with uncanny accuracy was a lot harder to keep track of. He'd send volleys of two, three, as many as eight different items and from all different angles as he would fly about me with such agility it made me think of Nightcrawler.

I kept getting caught by my indecision on whether to deplete the charges, stop the movement of the thrown matter, or transmute the energy before he could use it. My clothes were charred and I had more than a few bruises.

"What happened to you?" Devin was obviously shocked.

"Special Training," I said in a dry tone.

Devin looked at Jeff. "He always look like that after training?"

Jeff shrugged. "Not always. They obviously put him up against something new."

I nodded. "Yeah, and those energized playing cards hurt like hell when they hit you."

Devin's mouth dropped. "They have you training with Gambit?"

I shrugged. "Every other lesson I have to work with someone or something new or different. The idea is that I have to be able to control my reactions under any situation. It's more to teach me how not to freak." I sighed. "Like I did last month and fucked with the whole school."

Devin looked at his hands. "Look, Dan. I shouldn't have gone off on you. I guess I'm just jealous because I'm coming up on graduation this year and I've never had any special treatment. I'm just a big, dumb strong guy to everyone."

I smiled. "Not according to what I hear. You really ace your SATs?"

Devin's face brightened. "Actually, yeah."

"Then you're a lot more than a dumb-mutant-jock." I decided it was safe enough to try a little humor. "We all know your real power is being ugly as a stump anyway."

"HEY!" He saw the smile on my face and broke out laughing. He looked back at Jeff. "You're right; he really is kind of cool, isn't he?"

Jeff nodded, a big dopey smile creeping onto his face. "And being able to make weights float in the air isn't bad, either."

Devin smirked. "From now on just don't float my black ass in the air with the weights. That is so creepy feeling." He gave an exaggerated shiver.

I laughed. "I promise." I looked at my hands and laced my fingers together nervously. "I'm really not special, Devin. My powers are just so unpredictable when I lose control. The whole point of being here is to learn how not to be a danger to ourselves and others, right?"

Devin actually smiled at me and extended his hand. "Ok, Dan. I think I can deal with not being special if it means looking like someone dropped me in a dumpster every other day."

I took his hand and gave him a grateful smile. "The physical shit is easy. It's when they send in the telepaths; those bruises hurt in ways you can't imagine."

Devin's jaw actually dropped. "They do that to you?"

I nodded. "It isn't all that bad. I only wake up screaming once or twice a week." I smirked and raised my eyebrows. "Usually because I have to look at Jeff's hairy ass every morning."

Jeff shot me an evil glare, but Devin just busted out laughing.

"You sure you won't come? My family would be happy to have you down." Jeff had been sincere in his invitation but I really wasn't feeling up to being around someone else's family during a holiday week.

"I'm not a big 'Thanksgiving' lad. I'm more a St. Pattie's day laddie!" He'd laughed at my slide into Irish brogue.

"Well, don't get all depressed on me and stay stuck in the room for a week."

I laughed. "Not likely. Mr. Summers thinks this will be a good time for intensive training." I smirked. "As well as I can get my course work finally caught up"

Jeff groaned. "You get so much special training you'd think you're an atomic bomb waiting to explode."

I didn't look at him, but at times, that was exactly how I felt.

The week really didn't go too bad. Thanksgiving -really- didn't mean anything to me. Spending a third of my life in Ireland had left me without a sense of the holiday. It was Wednesday and I was sitting outside, looking at the first blanket of snow, when I had my first real encounter with Rogue.

"Bobby, just stop it. I can't!" Rogue was crying, and it looked like Bobby was on the verge of tears himself. "Just leave me alone!" She stomped off into the woods, and I could see Bobby watch her go. Anyone at school knew what that argument must have been about. There were bets placed on how long it would take before Rogue hurt Bobby accidentally. He obviously didn't care about the danger. After a few minutes, he turned and sulked back into the mansion.

I could feel Rogue in the woods. Even if she were trying to hide I could have found her easily. I remembered what it felt like the few times I'd sensed her affect on Bobby when they'd touched. It made me wonder if there was something I could do. I got up from my spot and followed her into the woods.

She heard me approach and didn't turn around. Her arms were crossed in front of her and she was crying. "Bobby, I'm sorry..."

I felt like a shit. "Not Bobby, sorry."

She turned around and looked at me. "Oh... Hi, Daniel." She wiped away the tears.

I kicked at the snow. How do you offer to help someone you don't really know? "I saw you arguing and wanted to be sure everything's ok."

She gave me a wry smile. "Sure, considering I can't even kiss my boyfriend."

"Yeah..." I looked about uncomfortably. "Rogue?"

She looked at me. "Yeah?"

"I think I could help." She laughed at me. It was so bitter a sound I was stunned.

"What could you do?"

I shrugged. "I don't know. I control energy. Life force is a form of energy. I just thought if I could get a good enough feel of what happens with your touch, I might be able to stop it."

She eyed me suspiciously. "You disrupted everything at the mansion last month."

I nodded and looked away. "Lost control. I hope it didn't affect you..." I swallowed. "I know some people got hurt."

She shook her head. "No, I didn't get hurt."

I looked right in her eyes. "I want to try and do this. If I can't, then no harm done. If I can, then maybe I can use my powers to help other mutants control their abilities."

Her eyes were doubtful, but she also seemed at the end of her endurance. "You know what happens."

I nodded. "Yeah. If you touch me, I could lose my powers and possibly die if you hold on too long."

"And you still want to try?"

I swallowed. "Rogue, I haven't been able to do anything useful since I got here. I want to be able to do something good, you know?"

She seemed to think about it for a long time. Then she nodded. "Ok, we'll try once. But if you can't stop it, I don't want to keep trying."

"One shot deal, huh?"

"That's all I can take." She looked about. "When do you want to try?"

I shrugged. "Anytime. I'd prefer to be inside where it's warm and comfortable, though."

"Your roommate here?"

I shook my head. "Jeff is home for Thanksgiving."

"We can use your room." She started back towards the mansion. "Let's do this before I chicken out." I wasn't sure what I'd gotten myself into, but I wasn't going to back out. We got back to the room and sat down in the desk chairs. Rogue began pulling off her glove. "Last chance."

"Just do it slow." I swallowed and opened every sense I had. Her hand slowly approached my face, and I could feel a pull as she entered my aura. I focused on my aura and smoothed it. I flinched when her fingers touched me. I felt my energy rushing through the contact and up her arm. I focused on it and tried to grip it. At first it just slipped around me and I got light headed. I could tell she was about to pull away, and I grit my teeth and commanded the energy to stop. Amazingly, it did.

Rogues eyes went wide but she didn't take her hand away from my cheek. "It stopped."

I didn't respond. It was taking every ounce of concentration I had to keep the energy from flowing. The exchange had been more than one form of energy and I'd never tried to consciously control more than one effect at a time. After a few minutes of having her just stare at me, I reached up and pulled her hand from my face. Rogue had tears running down her cheeks. "I guess it worked."

She nodded. "What do we do now?"

I didn't know for sure, but I knew it'd be easier to do if I weren't the person being drained. "It will take me a while to be able to do that regularly. I almost couldn't do it."

"But you did." I could see something like awe in her eyes.

"Think Bobby would be willing to help?"

She practically leapt from the chair. "You'd do that?" She stopped and looked at me. " I thought..."

"I wanted to replace him?" She nodded. I looked down and decided if I was willing to gamble with my life being scared of rejection was kind of silly. "I'm gay, Rogue. I really only want to help."

She regarded me for a moment. "That must be rough in addition to being a mutant." I shrugged.

"At least being gay is something guys have been dealing with for ages." I smiled at her. "Just wait till the next gay-mutant pride march! I'll be the drag queen leading the parade!" She laughed.

"Can I get him now?" She looked like a kid who just got her first present from Santa. I had to laugh.

"Sure, but lets keep the gay thing private, ok?"

Gram always said that you get back what you put out. By the end of the holiday week, I'd managed to isolate exactly how to stop Rogue from draining Bobby when they touched. I had to be nearby. They also had to keep in continuous contact. If they broke hold, I would have to struggle to stop the energy when they touched again. Just knowing I could do something that wasn't 'about me' gave me a whole better outlook. Maybe I could make a difference.

Though I hadn't asked for anything, Bobby put out the word that "Daniel is cool." That coupled by the fact that Devin had started to help me with my physics studies brought me to the attention of the other students. It wasn't long before I had more than a few invitations to various practice and study groups. Jeff was happy to see I'd finally started coming out of my shell. I hadn't thought about it, but he'd spent nearly every free moment with me since Gram's death. I should have realized he was sacrificing his other friendships to help. How could I not love a guy who'd do all that without asking anything in return? It really sucked that he was straight.

It was when Jeff left the Friday before Winter Break that I got the idea. He was smiling at me after I'd made some goofy remark about how Christians had just moved Christ's birth from July to December to blot out the rebirth of the Sun-God at Yule. He told me to shut up and open my present, which he pushed into my hands before I could say anything. I looked at it in shock and then looked up into his eyes for a few moments. Those moments extended out to an eternity. I hadn't gotten him anything. But his eyes were so sincere and so hopeful, I just melted.

My senses had expanded so much that I could no longer just see "visible" light. Everything was a kaleidoscope of color, heat, sound, radiation, auras, and more. Some times it was like tasting colors, seeing sounds and hearing motion. I had to focus hard to just look at his eyes. They were warm, brown, caring, and still the most beautiful eyes I'd ever seen.

He probably thought I'd sat down to open the present. It had really been the result of my knees going weak. I tore open the paper and looked in the box. Within was a clear plaque with a picture of us back in September during Flight Class. We were making Goofy faces and trying to look cool as we wobbled in the air. Written with a marker-pen across the bottom were the words, "Best Friends." I almost cried.

I looked up and could see he was nervous. "Thanks, Jeff." I couldn't trust myself to say anything else.

He ruffed up my hair and smiled. "You're weird, but I've got to admit you've been the best friend I've made since I got here." Jeff had been at Xavier's since he was 13. He had tons of friends and was very popular. That he put me as his best friend, or at least one of his best, made my stomach do flip-flops.

"I don't have anything for you." I really felt ashamed at my lack of preparation. I really wasn't very good at all the social customs that having a group of friends entailed.

Jeff laughed. "Well, you've got two weeks to find something. I expect it to be really cool!" He winked at me and grabbed his bags.

It was that evening in the danger room that I realized I might be able to give Scott a present that no one else could. I was already beginning to miss what it was like to "just see things like a normal person," I wondered if Scott missed it as well. After all the support and hard work he'd done for me, I really wanted to give something back. It was near the end of our session. I'd just bent his blast into a Celtic knot pattern around me with the look of "this is so easy" on my face when he shut off his visor.

"I think I can honestly say, Dan, you've impressed me." He went over and picked up his towel.

Even though it had been easy, I'd still exerted a lot of energy in our session and came over for my water. I looked at him curiously.

"Have you ever been able to look someone in the eyes?"

Scott looked at me in shock for a few moments. His face looked really sad and I almost felt like taking the question back. "Not since I was a kid. Until I met the professor, I couldn't even open my eyes. I had to keep them shut with a blindfold to prevent myself from hurting anyone." His voice was tired.

"Would you like to?"

He looked at me almost angry. "Of course I would, but that doesn't change anything."

He started toward the door and I floated him into the air.

"Daniel, this isn't funny!"

"I'm not joking." I walked around in front of him and asked again. "Would you like to?"

I think the sincerity on my face made him realize I wasn't screwing with him. Almost like he was defeated, he nodded. I let him back down. "I dream about it, Dan. I can't see colors you know. Everything is a shade of red."

"Take them off."

He looked at me like I'd just asked him to cut off his left arm. "NO!"

I pleaded. "Please; just look away and take them off. If I can't do it, I won't ask again. I think I can."

He just stood there and for a moment I didn't think he'd do it. He then looked away and pulled off his visor. After a deep breath, he opened his eyes.

The moment his visor went off I'd reached out. I could feel the energy right behind his eyelids. I concentrated really hard and put everything into keeping the energy there.

The look of astonishment on his face was worth everything. He looked back at me. I could see the energy right at the edge of his eyes, waiting to burst through if I slipped. He trembled when I stepped closer and put my hands on the sides of his face. I pushed harder and the light receded. He had the prettiest blue eyes.

"You've got great eyes," was all I could manage before he pulled his face out of my hands and slapped on the visor.

"Ok, Daniel. Stop it." His voice was so torn I nearly cried.

I looked at my feet. "I wanted to give you something for all you've done." I looked back up at his back. "Will you think about it? I'd like to give you one day of living without the glasses." I started for the door and stopped. "I know if I had someone, I'd want to look them in the eyes just once."

I think he was crying when I left.

I didn't see Scott at all Saturday or Sunday. I wondered if I'd really fucked up. I was so caught up with the idea I could do it that I never stopped to wonder if I should. Winter Break was turning out to be as depressing as the grey sky that had been blanketing the school for the past week. I felt Logan's approach before he got around the corner.

He came up and looked at me with a frown. "You're a piece of work, kid."

I looked down. "I didn't mean to hurt anyone." I looked back up. "I thought he'd want it."

Logan crossed his arms, his frown deepening. His stance was restrained but I suspected he'd have cut me to ribbons if I gave him an excuse. I remembered the combat session from a few weeks back. I'd been put into a full team combat simulation as a determination of how good my control was getting. It was Wolverine, Cyclops and Beast against ShadowCat, Nightcrawler and myself. I was nervous as hell. The training went really well till I got careless. Scott had sent a blast at Nightcrawler, which he would have teleported away from, but I batted it back. I didn't think about what direction. It traveled right back and blew Scott across the room. I was so stunned that I didn't even hear Wolverine's growl as he took me down. It was only Scott screaming "LOGAN, NO!" that kept me alive. His claws sank straight into the floor beside my head. The look of complete fury and then fear that flashed across his face was terrifying. I remember the brief look Logan gave Scott as Logan helped him off the floor. They might put on a show for everyone that they were the most bitter of rivals, but for that moment the need in Logan's eyes was raw and gut wrenching.

I looked down. "I don't have any other way of saying thank you."

"Words work, kid."

"I know."

He sat down beside me without looking at me. "I've been talking with Rogue. She thinks you're a good guy."

I nodded. "I like her and Bobby."

"She told me what you've been doing." I swallowed. We'd decided to keep our sessions a secret for fear the adults might make us stop. "She doesn't think you'd fuck with someone like it appears you are with One-Eye."

I knew from Rogue that Logan could sense if you were lying just by smelling it. I looked right at him. "I'm not fucking with Scott. If you really think I am then you can finish what you tried to do in the danger room."

The muscles in his jaw tightened and he looked at me hard. He sniffed a couple times. "You aren't lying, kid. And I'm sorry about the danger room. I was way off base."

"No you weren't. It wasn't the first time I hurt him out of carelessness."

His eyes went really dark. "He hadn't mentioned any other times."

I closed my eyes and swallowed. "My first day here I got mad at him and lashed out. I knocked him out before the Professor could stop me." I looked back at Logan and flinched. The raw anger in his face made me feel like a deer in headlights. "All I want to do is something worthwhile. I promised my grandmother I'd make her proud." I shrugged and looked away. "Since I doubt he'd want to go dancing, using my powers is the only other skill I have that's worth anything."

"He told me about that Halloween thing. You spooked him, kid." He grunted. "Hell, it spooked me."

I choked. I felt a tear sliding down my face and I wiped it away. "At least he can tell the person he loves that he loves him."

"He said that?" Logan looked shocked.

"No, but it's real obvious once you know what you're looking at." I shrugged again; I knew his secrets, why not give him the same ammo. "I'm in love with someone I can't have." I smirked. "And no, it isn't one of my teachers."

His lips curled into a feral smile. "Good, I wouldn't want to have to kill a student."

I gulped. "Can we cut out the threats? I'm the angsting gay-teen here. If you keep this up I'm going to wet myself."

He actually laughed. He laughed for a good two or thee minutes before catching his breath and looking at me again. "You can really do it? Let him see without glasses?"

I nodded. "Yeah, I did it briefly on Friday. He'd have to stay within my ability to sense him and I'd need breaks and I couldn't keep it up if I fell asleep."

"How far is your range?" I was getting my hopes up.

"At this point I can sense to just beyond the property line of the school. As long as he's on the grounds, I think I can maintain it. I'd need to keep pretty much to myself and not get too involved in anything, but I could safely do it for at least 5-6 hours."

"So, give me one good reason why I should believe you're doing this without some hidden agenda."

I swallowed again and tried to look him in the eyes. "I want to learn how to help other mutants with their powers. I'm going to sign up for clinic internship next year. There are some useful side effects to my powers." I raised an eyebrow. "I can sense exactly how any mutant powers work. They tell you that?"

Logan smirked. "Nah, I don't ask many questions about students."

"And I really think Scott should be able to look into the eyes of someone he loves. It's the only thing I can do with the guy I want and Scott doesn't even have that." I looked right at Logan as sincere as I could. "Scott's got really pretty blue eyes. I'd think you'd want to see them for yourself."

At first I thought he was going to hit me. Instead he stood up and said, "Ok, kid. I'll talk to him."


He glanced back at me and I could see an almost haunted look in his eyes. "If you can do this, kid, then thank you."

Scott was waiting outside my door the next morning. He looked exhausted and tense. I really wanted to apologize. Instead I stepped into the hall and gave him a weak smile. "Hi."

"Hi." He seemed to be having a hard time looking at my face.

"You want..." I shrugged. "you know?"

He looked up at me at that point. He did actually have tear tracks on his face. I couldn't believe I'd done something that had hurt him this much. "If your offer still stands, yeah."

I nearly collapsed with relief. I looked up and down the hall. Suddenly I was nervous as hell. "Now?"

He nodded again, closed his eyes and pulled off his glasses.

I reached out and pushed against the power that was sitting just beyond those eyelids. "Ok."

It took an amazing amount of trust, I think, for him to open his eyes right into my face. I pushed harder and again watched his eyes go from glowing red to cornflower blue. I smiled. "Done."

He looked at me again and laughed. "I thought I'd see something other than red!"

I blushed. "HEY, my hair is red!" I stuck out my tongue. "What's the color of my shirt, asshole."

He paused and looked at me again. "Green." His voice was a portrait of wonder I would never forget. He looked back into my eyes. "So are your eyes."

I was the one crying now. "Logan tell you the rules?"

He nodded. "Stay on the grounds and give you a couple breaks. I'll need to put the glasses back on before you go to bed."

I smiled. "And don't get me all emotional. I might slip."

He laughed. "Ok, no hallmark moments."

I was wiping my eyes. They were definitely tears of joy. "Get out of here. There has to be something better to look at than my ugly face!"

He headed for the stairs. Stopping once he looked back and smiled the same smile that had nearly turned my knees weak the first day I arrived. "Thanks, Dan."

It was going to be a great Christmas.

My thoughts came back to the present as Psynique tried to fight back against the Bitch's psychic onslaught. Kate was tough; she was tougher than any of the rest of us. She may have looked like a diva but I knew from experience she packed a punch physically and mentally.

Why did Evil always liked to toy with its victims? Was it some sick need to exhibit dominance? It took some effort but as Kate struck back I enhanced the force of her blast. I felt like I was leaking away somewhere but it didn't matter. These were my best friends the Bitch was killing.

The Bitch screamed and threw Kate across the room. Evil clutched her head and I actually saw blood drip from her nose. All I could think as things went dark was "Go Kate!"