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Resolutions - Chapter 3

It was the first week of the Winter Semester when I was called into the Professor's office. I had no idea why I was there and, frankly, I was nervous as hell. I wondered if he'd heard about what I was doing with Rogue and Bobby. We'd agreed that it was probably best to keep it a secret till we knew the extent of how much I could help her control her powers. Then I realized it might have been what I'd done for Scott.

Scott and Logan actually took me out for a trip to New York to go shopping on Christmas Eve. Logan wasn't a shopper but he did get us through some of the insane lines by looking menacing. They didn't display any open affection the entire day we were in the city, but I would catch an occasional look between them when the banter wasn't happening. To be honest, I was jealous as hell. Not that I wanted either of them; I wanted what they had. All in all, it was one of the best days of my life. I was able to buy presents for my friends and spend the day with two gorgeous hunks.

Perceptive as usual, Professor Xavier assuaged my fears. "You aren't in any trouble, Daniel. I have asked you here to determine if you would be able to help me with a small problem."

That had my attention. I'd never heard of the Professor asking a student for anything. "Uh, sure, if I can."

"Do you remember what happened right after you learned of your grandmother's death?"

I swallowed. "I freaked out and disrupted everything on the grounds." I knew he wasn't chastising me but I still felt guilty.

"When you did that, you also disrupted my ability to telepathically reach you."

I nodded.

"I want to try an experiment, Daniel. I want to try to read your thoughts and I want you to prevent me."

I nodded again and felt the psychic energy touching my brain. It was soft and gentle. It was obvious the Professor wasn't trying to find anything. He was just seeing if I could stop it. I focused on the flow of psychic energy and deflected it.

The professor smiled. "That was very good."

I smiled and was about to respond when I felt a stronger force pressing against the front of my head. I immediately willed the energy away. I was actually surprised how easy it was.

"Excellent." The Professor opened a manila folder on his desk and pulled a picture from it. He passed it to me and I looked at it. It was a photo of a black girl. She looked in her mid to late teens and was absolutely beautiful. Her hair was long black silk. The smile on her face was genuine and natural. What really struck me was that she had lavender eyes. "This is Katherine Brown. She is a mid-year addition to the student body."

"Wow." Though I wasn't interested in girls, I had to admit that she could probably have any guy she wanted.

"She is a 'touch telepath' and a very powerful one. Unfortunately, her mutant abilities just emerged last month and she is having a very difficult time dealing with them. At present she can not shut off her ability to read thoughts at a touch and picks up the mental noise from anyone within about seven feet." He looked up at me and smiled. "I have made certain most of her classes are with myself or Elisabeth for the semester."

Elisabeth Braddock, aka Psylock, was probably the most powerful telepath on campus next to the Professor. I'd been on the receiving end of her abilities during a few of my additional training sessions. She taught language and literature. I was certain more than a few students had wet dreams over her. "You and Ms. Braddock will be helping her maintain control?"

"Precisely, Daniel. The problem is that neither of us can give Katherine exclusive attention. I wanted to know if you would be willing to adjust your schedule so that you could help her during the times Elisabeth and I are unavailable."

I almost leapt from my chair. I'd promised Gram I would make her proud. Anything I could do would be a blessing. "Sure!"

He opened my schedule and looked at hers. "I will see what I can do to keep your schedule as close to your desired course load as possible." He scanned my list and smiled. "Fortunately, you two have very similar interests." He looked up at me. "How would you like to be moved from 'Modern Dance' to 'Advanced Dance Techniques?'"

I looked at him questioningly. "Uh, there isn't an 'Advanced Dance Techniques' class, sir."

"If you're interested, there will be. Both you and Ms. Brown appear to have an interest in dance. I think we could find a way to reward you for your efforts and make it easier to do your job at the same time."

I smiled. "I would love it, sir."

I arrived in the studio just as the bell rang. Though I'd agreed to the changes in my schedule, it appeared no one had considered that I was suddenly forced to make it completely across campus and change in the five minutes between periods. Katherine was already stretching out using the ballet bar when I dashed in.

The moment her eyes met mine I felt the surge of telepathic contact. I immediately pushed the psychic energy aside and forced myself to smile. "Hi, you must be Katherine." I extended my hand as I dropped my book bag. "I'm Daniel Jameson. My friends call me, Dan."

She looked at my hand tentatively and then took it. I made sure she wouldn't make contact deeper than physical. She looked at me with such shock and relief that I almost laughed. "Call me, Kate."

I could see the questions burning in her eyes. "The Professor thought you'd be more comfortable in class with someone you can't read."

She nodded and tears filled her eyes. "It's been horrible. I thought I was going crazy." She wiped her eyes. "You're a telepath, too?"

I shook my head and fished out my dance shoes. "No. My abilities are weird, but one of the advantages is I can block telepaths and such." I smirked. "Think of me as your set of psychic earmuffs."

She looked a bit sad. "I'm sorry you got stuck doing this."

"I'm not." I sat down and started peeling off my sneakers. "How many guys get nearly private dance lessons with the prettiest girl in school?"

At that moment, Mr. Beaubier entered the room and gave me a withering look. "Tardiness will not be tolerated, Mr. Jameson. I suggest you discover a way to get changed before class starts."

I sighed. It was just my luck that JPB would be my instructor in two classes that year. "Yes, sir. I will."

"I will be you instructor for the first third of the semester. Our goal will be the refinement of classical techniques, the improvement of limberness and stamina, and the development of a sense of rhythm." He looked at Kate. "I have no doubt, Ms. Brown, you will excel." I could feel the weight of his disapproval as he looked back at me. "I am not so certain of your own ability, Mr. Jameson. I expect you to put forth more effort in this than you did in my previous class."

I sighed. "Yes, sir." I doubt he ever forgave me for not picking a specific method of flight during my first semester.

Kate and I became almost fixtures after that. As long as she had someone to help her keep her psychic powers under control, Kate was fun and easy going. She got along with Jeff almost immediately. It took a little longer for Rogue and Bobby to warm up to her.

Advanced Dance Techniques became a lot more fun after JPB. Kate worked to the point of exhaustion every day trying to get control of her powers. I had to admire her because I think I would have cracked in the same situation. By mid-semester, she really didn't need my help except when she was tired.

Rogue wasn't so lucky. We'd been able to get her to a point that she could remain in contact with someone for minutes before she would drain enough of their energy to be noticeable. That was, if she was calm. The moment she got upset, excited, or scared her powers would kick in full force. She and Bobby did have fun blowing mist rings at each other during practice sessions.

I was grateful for the release from my duties with Kate as my own senses were beginning to give me headaches. Kate pointed out that maybe it was time I accepted some help from others instead of being the giver.

"I bet I could help you with it." Kate was stretching out after dance class and I was trying not to show that I'd had a headache for the past three days.

I sighed. "What do you suggest?"

"Meditation and hypnosis. That's how they got me through all the mental static." She smiled. "With your help in the interim, of course."

"Ok, Kate; you win." I was dragging since I really hadn't slept more than in short spurts for weeks. "Lets go see the Professor."

Dr. McCoy and the Professor determined that my problem was due to my having about 25 senses I was trying to cram into 5 sense pathways. The consensus was that my Grandmother's suppression of my abilities till she sent me to Xavier's must have also suppressed my brain's natural ability to adapt to the senses I gained with my mutation. As a result, I was going through the transition I should have gone through at age 11 but with age 16 power levels and abilities. Hank had laughed and said I was going through a second puberty. Somehow I couldn't find it so amusing.

It was harder to concentrate during power training. The headaches were getting so distracting that I even had trouble controlling Scott's blasts which I used to be able to do without any effort at all. Scott had noticed, of course, but waited for me to bring it up.

At the end of a session where I practically got fried because I couldn't distinguish between an energy blast and the movement of air, Scott cornered me. "You want to talk about it?"

I was panting and trying not to show the pain that was pounding behind my eyes. Why was I trying to hide it from Scott? The answer was easy. I wanted to prove I was as controlled as he was. I dropped my head. I wasn't. "I'm beginning to know what it must feel like to not see the world like everyone else." The tears in my eyes were both from the throbbing between my ears and a true sense of self pity. "I can't even see people anymore. All I see are pulses, heat patterns, electrical charges, chemical reactions and more. How do you say someone is beautiful when you can see more of his neural pathways and the movement of blood than his face?"

Scott put his hand on my shoulder. "The Professor says you should get your regular senses back as soon as you adapt."

I began to sob, and he pulled me into a hug. "What if I never get to see normal things again?"

He hugged me hard. "You hold onto everything you saw when you could." He let go and lifted my chin. "What ever happens, Dan, remember it." His voice cracked a little. "You gave me a second chance at making memories, Dan. They are images I will never forget."

I lifted my chin and tried to follow his example. "Thanks, Scott."

He roughed my hair again. I think that must have been a side mutation; irresistibly molest-able hair. "No, Dan. Thank you."

Jeff was still my 'true north.' Even though we didn't share many classes, we got together to study or just goof around whenever we could, and it was always the high point of any week. Things got a bit more difficult while I was learning to filter out all the information my senses were giving me. It was during one especially bad episode that Jeff finally cornered me.

"What is wrong with you?" He looked concerned, or at least I think he did. Since I was seeing everything from him including the kinetic force of his blood pulsing through is veins it was hard to distinguish things as subtle as expressions.

"Just a headache. The Professor's working on it."

Kate gave me a disgusted look and decided she'd had enough. "His senses are overloading him. Music helps but he can't live in a boom box. What we need is a way to isolate him but he's too much a tough guy to do that."

I was about to snap at her but the additional thumping in my head caused me to tip over. Jeff had me before I'd gotten half way to the floor. That boy really could move fast when he wanted to. The moment his arms went around me everything dulled. I could feel his pulse and mine, our auras, radiant heat and the like, but the intensity of everything outside faded. I think I let out an audible sigh.

Kate gave Jeff a significant look. "You're aura extended?"

"Yeah, I wanted to be sure he didn't bump anything, why?"

"Look at him." She nodded at me. "Looks like someone just put a dampener on the noise."

Jeff looked down at me and I smiled weakly. "That actually help?"

I was too tired to deny it. "Yeah, it does."

Jeff ended up being around me as often as he could. When we were in the room he'd have his aura extended almost constantly. He had no idea of what the side effects of this were on me. I found myself horny as hell. I beat off at least 3 times a day hoping not to throw a bone the next time his aura touched me.

After about three weeks of that exquisite torture, I finally managed to gain control of my enhanced perceptions. When I was sure I could handle it, I thanked Jeff as sincerely as I could while still being torn about losing the constant feeling of being with him.

"I really can handle it now. You don't have to keep giving up other activities just to be sure I'm ok."

He shrugged and fidgeted with the pendant I'd given him for Christmas. I'd seen a "friendship pendant" while we'd been shopping and fell in love with it. It was a swirled two-part pendant of silver that interlocked. I knew it was probably way too sentimental but I bought it anyway after Scott assured me that jewelry was ok as long as it meant what I intended. The pattern reminded me of how our aura's melded whenever he held me. Was I crazy? Probably.

"If you're sure."

"Yeah; and I promise to tell you if I start having problems." We both knew I probably wouldn't but at least it was a token of good faith.

While I spent a lot of spare time in dance studio, Jeff spent his spare time in the gym. The boy loved his weights. The fact that with his aural abilities he could bench over half a ton was probably an incentive. I didn't mind seeing the results every morning when he went to take his shower.

Jeff was occupying more and more of my thoughts. I realized it was getting to be a problem when I woke up frequently with damp briefs after dreaming of him. I began to try to fill my thoughts with anything else. I started studying like a fiend.

It was early spring when I had a weird thought. We'd been studying 'surface tension' of fluids in Chemistry and it gave me an idea I had to try. I went to the pool after my last class and studied the water. I could feel the energetic bonds of the surface of the pool. I wondered if I could change it.

I reached out and held onto the bonds and willed them to strengthen. I took out a coin from my pocket and tossed it in the pool. It landed on the surface and dipped down but didn't sink. Encouraged, I focused harder and then stood up. I closed my eyes and took a step. The surface of the pool flexed under my weight but it held. I took one tentative step after another setting my goal on the far edge of the pool. I made it about halfway.

"I know you're the next best thing to sliced bread, Dan, but I think walking on water is a bit much."

I spun to see Kate leaning on the fence smirking at me. With my concentration broken, I splashed into the water like a duck shot by a hunter. She was laughing when I broke surface and sputtered, "KATE!"

She gave me her hand when I got to the edge of the pool. She lifted me out like I was nothing. "Whoah. Since when did you get mighty muscles?"

She beamed at me. "Didn't. I'm a full-fledged 'touch psionic'. Once I got control of my telepathy, the professor noticed I might have more potential. That was telekinesis."

"You didn't tell me!" I was elated but a little hurt too. We'd become such good friends that I'd expected to be the first to know.

"Oh please; like I'm the only person around here who keeps secrets!" She set me down. "We'd better get you in some dry clothes before you catch cold."

I flicked some water at her. "What was that supposed to mean?"

"That you're all wet!" She laughed and danced out of the range of my droplets.

"No, before the clothes thing."

She shrugged. "Jeff is upset because this is the third time this week you've bugged out on a get together." She looked at me significantly. "He thinks you're mad at him."

I sighed. "I'm not. I just have a lot going on."

"Don't lie to me, Dan. I'm the telepath of our little group of friends."

"You wouldn't dare!" I raised my senses to be sure she couldn't sneak a peek.

"I didn't need to. You practically scream 'I love you Jeff' every time he walks in to the room."

My face fell. "You didn't tell him did you?"

"No, but I think you should."

I shook my head. "It's better this way. Why ruin a friendship over hormones?"

She sighed. "Gay boys are such drama queens." She shrugged her shoulders. "Your choice. What is the worst that could happen?"

"He could hate me." I started walking towards the dorms.

"He's your best friend, Dan. Even if it makes him uncomfortable, he'll get over it."

I wasn't so sure he would.

The first warm day in months was not to be wasted. Everyone found excuses to be outside. The winter had been particularly harsh. I was sitting, watching Jeff and some guys play 'Power Frisbee' when Rogue sat down beside me. "Hey, Dan."

"Hey, yourself." I expected to see Bobby with her, but he was heading out to the grass to join the PF game. "Not going to play?"

"Nah, honey, my powers don't lend to that game. Why aren't you out there?"

I shrugged. "Too easy. I'd feel like I was cheating." It was true. After so many sessions with the X-teams, batting around energy bolts was something like smacking mosquitoes. It was more a distraction than effort.

She eyed me suspiciously. "Who's ego are you trying to protect?"

I laughed. "I scared everyone once. I don't want to do it again." My attention was drawn to the energy ball that was arching our way. I was about to dissolve it when Jeff launched himself our way and batted the ball back. His landing wasn't very graceful. "You ok?"

Jeff laughed. "Yeah, thanks!" He jogged back into the game and my eyes just followed his perfect ass.

I didn't realize I'd been staring so long till a gloved hand blocked my view. "Earth to Dan!"

I laughed. "Sorry, got distracted."

Rogue's eyes wandered to the game. "You going to tell him?"

I gaped at her. "Tell who what?"

"Tell Jeff you think he's hotter than a New Orleans' Mardi Gras." I must have blushed ten different colors because Rogue just laughed. "Come on, sugah. You lose all ability to talk when he's near. Anyone with eyes could figure it out."

I swallowed. "God I hope not." I looked back at the game. The last thing I wanted was to freak Jeff out. He'd been dating pretty steadily since the start of the semester. It was obvious he was into girls.

She smiled and kissed me on the cheek. There was the tingle of exchange but I'd gotten so practiced at shutting it down that I think I could do it in my sleep. "Ok, to anyone who knows you're gay."

I smiled. "I'm safe then, huh?"

"Yeah, my lips are sealed."

I looked up to see everyone on the team was staring at us. I nudged Rogue and we looked around. Finally, I looked at the guys. "What?"

Jeff spoke up. "She kissed you!"

I shrugged. "So?"

Devin pulled at his shirt nervously. "But you're still awake!"

"So? Has anyone missed the fact that she and Bobby kiss and hold hands too?" Rogue was turning red and I could see Bobby was looking uncomfortable. It took me a moment to realize we'd never actually explained how that worked to anyone. The consensus amongst the students was that Bobby must have been building up a slow resistance. I looked at Rogue. "Maybe we should tell, the Professor."

She nodded and I called out to Bobby. "Coming?"

He caught up with us at the doors. "Think the Professor will be pissed?"

I laughed defensively. "About what?"

"That we didn't tell him?"

"Oh..." I looked at the floor as we got to his office. "No, he'll just be disappointed we didn't do this under supervision."

Rogue took Bobby's hand and he squeezed it. I wished I could have that connection with someone.

It was only a few weeks before summer term and everyone was enjoying the chance to let off steam before exams. Most of the better fliers were playing tag. I'd finally chosen my method of flight and was really quite good at it. We were soaring about and doing loops and turns and having a blast. Jeff had just evaded getting tagged but had done a face first into the dirt. Though I knew he was probably ok, he had hit pretty hard so I wasn't paying attention to the game. My attention leaped back when I heard Kate yell. "DAN, LOOK OUT!"

George was one of the fastest fliers in our class. He had just tried to get away from Denise, who was "it" and had spun completely out of control. When my senses kicked back in, he was only a second or two from plowing right into me. Unlike most of the fliers who had some form of defense or resistance when flying, I was as fragile as any normal person. All I could think to do was yell, "STOP!"

The weird thing was everything did. The sensation was totally bazaar. Everyone on the field had stopped moving including myself. Well, we were still moving actually. Some how I'd unconsciously chosen to match everything's inertia with that of the movement of the earth. We were, for the lack of a better term, in geosynchronous orbit with the planet. I realized all too quickly that we were all lucky as shit. If I had actually stopped all our inertia, we'd all have shot off the planet in a couple seconds, assuming we didn't smash into something on the way. The thought was horrifying and I released everything.

More than a few of us hit the ground. I was so stunned by what had just happened that I didn't even try to protect myself. I hit hard and passed out.

I woke up in the infirmary. Dr. McCoy just shook his head at me. "I thought you had enough sense to keep from falling on your head."

My head was throbbing and I groaned. "Why? It's the only part of me too thick to get hurt."

He smiled. "Ok, if you can come up with witty repartee, you must be alright." He put his hand on my shoulder. "I want you to take it easy and get rest. You've got a concussion."

I smiled weakly. "Is the Professor pissed?"

Hank shook his head. "No. He says it shows marked improvement that you only stopped everyone's movement over shorting everything out."

"Anyone else get hurt?"

Hank nodded. "Yes, but nothing as serious as your face flop to the field."

For that I was thankful, or at least I thought I was.

Jeff was all over me when I got back to the room. "What the hell were you doing, counting grass blades?"

The pain killers had worked but they didn't do a thing for guilt and embarrassment. "I thought you were hurt."

He threw his hands up in the air. "Jesus, Dan! I could stand and take a car smashing into me at a hundred miles an hour, at least! You think a little face full of dirt would hurt me?"

I got really pissed. He made it sound like it was a bad thing to care about what happened to him. "I'm sorry I'm such a fucking pansy, Jeff! I'm not the big muscle stud you are who can bench a ton and simply flex a pec to knock over a tree. I still think people can get hurt when they smack face first into the dirt!"

He actually gave me a rough hug that probably would have hurt if it weren't for the drugs. "I was scared you'd broken your neck, you freak!" He held me for a while and I started washing away in the sensations of his aura. When he looked back at me it was all I could do not to grab his face and try to suck his tonsils out. "I thought I'd lost my best friend."

I couldn't take it any more.

"Why the hell did you ask for another roommate next semester?" Jeff was really pissed. I'd gone to the Professor without telling him. Jeff was waiving his hands about and throwing his clothes at his suitcase. "First you turn down my parent's invitation to spend summer semester with us. Now you decided to change rooms without talking to me about it!" He spun on me and I could see his eyes were moist. "What did I do?"

I almost cried. I just couldn't take being near him any more. I dreamed of him every night. I couldn't bear the closeness any longer. At least if we weren't roommates I wouldn't be in danger of fucking up our friendship. Rogue and Kate had chastised me almost daily about keeping my feelings secret, but I wouldn't listen. I looked at Jeff and set my jaw. "You didn't do anything, Jeff. It's me. I'm the problem."

"Oh, jeez." He tossed the socks he'd been balling over his shoulder and implored to the ceiling. "Why can't I ever get a straight answer out of you?"

I was so frustrated. I stood up off the bed and walked to him. "You really want to know?"

"Yeah, I do!"

I took my hand and pressed it against his chest. Closing my eyes I reached into his aura and stirred it. I'd analyzed the effect his aura had on mine so often that I could easily replicate it in his. Jeff gasped and trembled as I lifted him off the floor the same way he'd done to me the first day we met. I didn't realize how far I'd gone till he groaned. My eyes snapped open and I dropped him on the bed.

Jeff just stared at me as he gasped for breath. I could see he'd tented his shorts, and he apparently hadn't noticed or didn't care. "What the hell was that?" Color was rising in his cheeks.

I looked down. "That's what you do to me every time we're too close to each other." I looked back at him. "Do you think I want to go through that every day? I can't even fucking think straight any longer. All I do every day is think, eat and breath for the chance to get close enough again." My cheeks were burning and I bit my lip. There was nothing left to lose. "I'm Gay, Jeff. I just didn't want to do something that would ruin our friendship. But you didn't trust that I might have a good reason!" I threw open the door. "Now you know! Happy?" I didn't wait for a response.

I found my way to the dance studio. In the back of my head I had felt Jeff leave our room a few minutes after I had. I didn't want to know where he was going. I tossed in the "diva mix" Kate and I used for high energy-dance and turned up all the speakers. I wanted to lose myself in the music. I wanted to throw another tantrum; but that wouldn't solve anything. I just let the music merge with me and I let go. Kate told me when I lost myself in music I went into some sort of ecstatic dance. Rogue had watched me do it once. She'd said it was one of the most amazing things she had ever seen. I lost myself to Madonna and Janet. I'd made the CD so there would be no pauses between songs. I didn't know how long I'd danced before I realized I wasn't alone.

I opened my eyes to see Jeff watching me from just inside the door. The best I could describe his face was thoughtful. He waited for me to turn down the volume before he spoke. "Rogue said you might come here if you were really upset."

Why did he have to find me? I couldn't take my eyes from him. "Music. It helps me stop feeling the whole fucking world."

Jeff looked at his feet. "It looked incredible. You looked so free."

I smiled in spite of myself. "The only time I can just let go."

Jeff looked back at me. "Can I ask you a question?"

I sighed and looked out the window. "Sure, shoot."

"How long have you felt that way?"

I choked and squeezed my eyes shut. God it hurt. "Almost since the first day. I was sure after Gram's death."

I felt his aura touch mine and I jumped. I spun on him. "Don't DO that!"

He looked like I'd just slapped him. "I thought..."

"Thought what?" I was spitting I was so mad. "You could make the fag happy by a little energetic play?" I tried to get through the door but he grabbed my wrist.

"No!" He had tears running down his face. "I don't want to lose my best friend."

I couldn't look at him. "Don't do this, Jeff. I'm confused enough as is."


I finally looked at him. "But what? I don't want you to say things you don't mean. I'm not trying to trick you or make you feel bad. You've never shown any interest in guys."

His aura started flowing down my arm from where he was holding me. I started to tremble and tried to pull away. He held tight and grit his teeth. "Don't!" He spread his aura over us and I was shaking. "Push back, Dan." His voice was a whisper and it almost sounded like he was crying.

I pushed back; shifting his aura like his was shifting mine. He gasped and trembled. If his aura hadn't been holding me up I'd have collapsed. He looked into my eyes with such intensity I couldn't look away. "You're my best friend, Dan. I'm not giving up without a fight."

I wanted to fight him. I wanted to break away and run. I just couldn't. His aura pulled us a bit closer and I closed my eyes. This wasn't happening. His lips brushed mine and I unhinged. My hands broke from his and I knotted my fingers in his hair. "Please..." I didn't get any further. His lips mashed against mine and I gave up.

I realized I was in bed, and Jeff was spooned behind me. We were still wearing the clothes we'd had on in the dance room. I couldn't remember how we'd gotten back to the room. My underwear was completely fused to me. When I tried to get out of bed Jeff pulled me tighter against him. I whimpered. "I've got to go pee." Jeff let me go so fast I felt like a watermelon seed at a picnic. I scrambled to the bathroom and struggled to get my briefs peeled down. Finally I just took a soaked washrag and melted myself free. When I was done I wrapped a towel around myself and looked in the mirror. I was scared to go back in the room, but there really wasn't anything else I could do.

Jeff was sitting on my bed when I came in. He was fingering the friendship pendant and looked more than a little uncomfortable. I turned and straightened out the stuff on the dresser. "I'm sorry, Jeff. I shouldn't have told you." When I ventured a glance at him, Jeff's face was so filled of hurt my heart broke.

"What do you mean?"

"You didn't have to do that to keep my friendship."

His eyes flared with so much anger if he'd been Scott I'd have been dead. He stood up and stormed past. "Just shut the fuck up!" He slammed the bathroom door. I threw myself on my bed and buried my face in the sheets. How could I have been so stupid? The shower turned on and I cried into the pillow

I didn't have to look up when he came in. He stood in the doorway and waited but I didn't turn over. I tried to keep my voice from cracking. "Please, Jeff. Please don't hate me."

He moved about his side of the room grabbing his things and tossing them in his suitcase. After a few minutes he stopped and let out a heavy sigh. He came over to the bed and stood there for a moment. "Shove over asshole." I did and he lay down behind me. When I didn't move he put is arm around me and pulled me up against him. "I don't hate you, Dan. But if you don't stop acting like a little girl I'm going to hurt you."

I tried to stop sniffling. "Sorry..."

"And stop saying you're sorry." His aura spread over us again. This time it was faint and felt like I was being hugged from head to toe. "What do I have to do?" He gripped me tighter and his voice cracked. "I'm not giving up on us."

I melted against him and tried not to cry any more. "I don't want you to."

I jerked awake as I felt Aurik scream. I watched helplessly as the Bitch sucked out another year of life. I couldn't reach out fast enough to stop her, but I could make sure she didn't get anything from it. As she moaned in ecstasy, I wrapped my will around the life force that hadn't been absorbed and transmuted it.

The Bitch screamed as her body erupted in electricity. She stumbled away from Aurik and launched herself at me. I grit my teeth and reversed the direction of her kinetic force. She flew backwards howling in frustration. "I'll drain you like a blood bag!"

My eyes were fogging again.