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Resolutions - Chapter 5

Why was it that planes could never arrive on time? Kate's flight was supposed to come in at 11am. I watched with growing impatience as the 737 taxied to the gate at 11:40am. The bad part about having absolute time sense was that I couldn't fool myself by resetting a clock or pretending something was slow. Jeff was as calm and easy going about the delay as he was about nearly everything else, except me. That was another clue I'd missed back when I was trying to hide my feelings from him. Jeff only got upset or emotional about things involving me, all other times he simply took things in stride.

Nora had laughed at the way Jeff moped when he thought I was mad at him for the second time since we'd arrived. Jeff had no sense of time and we were going to be late picking up Kate. Nora had just kissed me on the cheek and said, "It has to be love; no one else can take him from miserable to elated as fast as you." It had been silly of me to get mad at him, especially since the plane was late anyway.

I squeezed his hand as the first passengers started coming off. "Sorry I was a brat, Jeff."

He beamed at me and squeezed back. "I'm forgiven?"

I laughed. "You were forgiven the moment we got in the car." I shrugged. "My birthday, I can be a brat if I want."

He gave me a mock glare. "You let me feel guilty for nearly two hours because you -felt- like it?"

I smirked. "Like you didn't figure it out when we played footsy at the coffee shop when the delay was announced."

His smile always had a beeline to my heart. Maybe it wasn't as perfect as Scott's, but it was meant for me, and that made all the difference. "That was a pretty good clue."

"DAN! JEFF!" I spun to see Kate practically dancing off the ramp to get to us. Behind her was a slightly taller woman who was obviously her sister. The resemblance was uncanny. The three of us nearly collided in a tangle of arms as the group hug ensued.

Kate stepped back after giving us each enthusiastic kisses on the cheek. She looked at me and laughed. "You don't tan!" It definitely wasn't a question. I blushed and looked for a place to hide but Kate would have none of it. She turned and introduced us to Cynthia, her older sister.

Cynthia was twenty-three and in graduate school at Berkley. She was studying to become a Psychologist. Cynthia had taken the summer off to spend time with her siblings and was Kate's official chaperone. We were assured that though she would be certain Kate didn't do anything stupid, Cynthia had no objection to her kid sister having a good time. What was it about ministers' daughters that made them so determined to exercise their independence? The week was going to be fun.

We kept to mundane conversations till we got into the car. Once Jeff had gotten us safely out of the airport, Kate beamed.

"Ok, Guys. Cynthia knows all about 'gifted students'." She laughed. "Can you believe she went to Xavier's too?"

"No way!" I gave Kate a dark look. "You didn't mention a thing!"

Cynthia came to her sister's defense. "She didn't know." When she saw my curious look, she smiled. "Dad didn't want to scare Kate and Anthony when my powers manifested. Back then the mutant bashing was different and a lot scarier than today. Mutants weren't officially acknowledged to exist when I went to Xavier's."

I smiled. "So, what can you do?"

She laughed. "Not much, really; nothing as dramatic as Kate. I'm a clairvoyant. I can project my senses to other locations."

"That is -so- cool!"

She gave me a wicked smile. "It made cheating on tests pretty easy, and I was the only girl who got to see what went on in the boy's locker room." We all cracked up.

Jeff kept his eyes on the road but kept up with the conversation all the same. "Well, do me a favor and don't peek around my bedroom, ok?"

Kate laughed. "Yeah, like she'd want to watch when Dan sneaks in after everyone is asleep."

I scowled at her. "I do NOT!"

She gave me a superior look. "I saw you two holding hands when I came up the ramp. Didn't see anyone but each other till I yelled."

Jeff smiled and gave me an evil wink. "Dan doesn't have to sneak. My parents let him move in with me after the first week." I smiled back but my cheeks were still burning.

"No way!" Kate and Cynthia sounded like rivaling echoes.

I laughed. "Yeah, Mr. Honest outed us after a week of trying to sneak about. I don't think he could take the stress."

"-I- couldn't take the stress? I don't remember being the one jumping at every shadow thinking my mom would catch us!"

Kate just laughed. "So they know you two are an item and know we're mutants?"

Jeff nodded. "Well, they know Dan and I are and that you go to Xavier's too. They wouldn't know about Cynthia so we can keep that a secret if you like."

Cynthia nodded. "I don't mind you guys knowing but let's keep it amongst the student body."

Kate, never one to let conversations drag, changed the subject. "So, Dan, what are we doing for your birthday?"

I smiled. "I thought an afternoon on the beach would be cool. Then Jeff promised to take us to Matrix. They have alcohol free teen nights till 11pm." I wiggled my eyebrows. "If I can't get his ass on the dance floor at least I'll have someone I know to get up there with me."

Kate smirked. "We do that and no one else will be left when we're done."

"That a promise?"


When Kate stepped out of her room wearing her new purple bikini, Jeff and I both stared appreciatively. Kate was hot enough that if I had any inclination to switch teams, she'd be the one to recruit me. She smirked at us for a moment and then laughed. "Oh come on guys. It isn't like you're wearing any more than I am." She eyed our Speedo's appreciatively.

Jeff was the first one to recover the ability to speak. "We just don't wear ours to the same effect."

Kate walked up and hitched over onto one hip. Contemplating us with a finger to her chin, she tilted and got a look at my backside. "I don't know, Jeff, Dan's got a pretty great ass. I've had my hands on it enough to know, but damn; for a white boy, it's pretty fine." I was turning the color of my hair again as she slapped Jeff on the stomach. "And I don't want to hear word one about you not causing the same effect. I'm sure there are hundreds of hearts breaking, up and down the beach, knowing you're taken."

Jeff smiled and then eyed my posterior. "Yeah, Dan does have dancer-ass."

I was spared any further embarrassment as Cynthia came out in a more conservative, but by no means unflattering, one piece. "Enough of the mutual admiration, kids. This old lady wants to see some hot male flesh in the Florida sun."

"Yes, ma'am!" Jeff and I saluted and jogged down the stairs to gather our things.

Kate laughed as they descended behind us. "I trained them well."

"Not bad, little sister, not bad at all."

Kate was a force of nature on the beach. If I hadn't known better I'd have thought her mutant ability was to cause men whiplash when she walked by. Her mere presence brought us invitations to play volleyball, Frisbee and even windsurfing. Jeff, Cynthia and I skipped the windsurfing but we were happy to watch as more than a couple hot men jockeyed for the chance to give Kate lessons.

"That sister of mine is a piece of work." Cynthia was shaking her head and looking over her glasses with a bemused smile on her face. "Like she's going to give any of those boys a chance." She laughed and slid her sunglasses back up her nose.

Looking over my shoulder, I smiled. "I don't know, that Jerome is pretty hot."

Cynthia tilted her head. "Yeah, but he's too old for her. Kate needs someone in her age bracket."

I laughed. "What's too old? He's what, twenty or twenty-one? She's seventeen. She'll be eighteen in January." Yes, in addition to being beautiful, talented, charming and powerful, Kate was older than us by a half year.

Cynthia shrugged and laid back to get some sun. "He's got youthful good looks, but he's older than me. Twenty-four, graduate student at MIT, and his birthday is October 14th."

Jeff eyed her suspiciously. "How the hell do you know that?"

A mischievous smirk curled her lips. "I scanned the wallet in his bag. It's about fifty feet up the beach, under a towel, near their surf boards." She raised her eyebrows suggestively. "Did I mention when I project I can see in the dark?"

Jeff groaned. "We're doomed!"

"Honey, I'm the best chaperone anyone could ever have. You can't run, you can't hide and Cynthia knows all!" She snuggled down against the sand. "Remember, boys, I'm always right." We laughed, but I was just a little nervous.

The sun felt great against my skin as we waited for Kate to get tired of the attention. I didn't mind. Just being out, having fun with my friends and knowing I was safe were all the birthday presents I needed. I had almost dozed off when I felt Jeff's hand resting lightly on my back just above my suit. He felt warm and his fingers were doing very soft, circular motions that seemed to resonate right down to my crotch. I smirked at him. "You know, even if you leave it there all day, there won't be a tan outline of your hand." We'd seen a guy who'd fallen asleep with his hand draped across his belly. The result looked like someone had claimed possession of him across his abs.

Jeff didn't say anything but I felt the most subtle tingling sensation trailing down from his fingers. It spread slowly, achingly, down and under the back of my suit. It wandered like small lapping waves across my butt-cheeks and I almost groaned. I tried to stay still since Cynthia was laying only a couple feet away. I think he knew he had me when my glutes began to flex involuntarily. God it felt so good.

My eyes flew open as the sensation crept down between my cheeks. To all outward appearances, Jeff was just laying on his side gently swirling his fingers on my low back. What he was really doing to me was driving me insane. I'd never felt anything so incredibly erotic. I felt vulnerable yet looking in Jeff's eyes I knew I was safe. I closed my eyes, tried to keep quiet and flexed my hands on the sand. I wasn't certain if I could take much more.

That sensation felt like it thickened as it began to flow slowly up and down my crack, brushing against my virginity. I had to bite my thumb to keep from jerking right off the blanket. It never tried to press in, the sensation just kept stroking back and forth, back and forth. My breathing mimicked the rhythm of what he was doing. There was the most exquisite pain between the sand and me as I realized I was trying to bore a hole to China. I hissed softly as I felt his energy flick just a little ways in. I realized I wanted this so bad I as going to explode.

I gasped at Jeff, desperately. "Don't, please." I was squirming.

Jeff pulled his hand away and I let out a low sigh, which caught Cynthia's attention. She just chuckled. "I think you need to take that boy out and cool him off, Jeff. If any more heat were coming off his body we could roast marshmallows."

Was it possible to die of embarrassment? I was certain it was possible to die of blue balls; mine felt like they were going to implode.

Suddenly I was swept off the blanket and curled into Jeff's arms. I pressed myself tight, hoping no one would see the bulge and dampness of my suit. "What are you doing?" Admittedly I wasn't putting up a fight but I didn't really feel like I was being saved by a lifeguard.

"Just following orders." Jeff laughed as he jogged into the surf. "Never argue with a woman." He waded out to a sandbar, holding me against him the entire way. I know he had to have extended his aura down to keep us from sinking while crossing somewhere in the middle. My feet pressed safely against sand when he set me down. "I have another birthday present for you, if you want it?"

The heat in his eyes could have boiled water. I was actually trembling. "Jeff, we can't. The rules..."

My protest was cut off as he kissed me lightly and his hands trailed down to squeeze my ass. He drew back but kept his hands in place. "I followed George's advice and negotiated new terms."

That peaked my curiosity. "Oh?"

He smiled. "I pointed out to Dad that if he kept us horny and frustrated the entire summer, by the time we got back to school we'd be unreasonable. What would be the point of driving us so nuts that the moment we broke free we'd do all the things he wanted us not to?"

I swallowed. There were a lot of things I'd wanted to do. "Makes sense. So, how did it go?"

He pulled me tight against him and I felt that torturously hard shaft of his pressing against mine through our suits. "If we can promise not to, uh." He actually looked nervous. "Fuck" He looked away for a moment and then back into my eyes. "Till we graduate, dad can live with, how did he put it, 'Natural horny-teen explorations'." He smirked. "Apparently when George heard about the 'rules' he gave Dad the low down of the things he'd done at our age without them knowing. That opened Dad's eyes just a little." Jeff ran his lips around the edge of my ear. "I didn't get the details, but according to George, we're tame prudes compared to him."

I laughed. "More like nervous nellies." Jeff cut off any more smart remarks by squeezing my ass hard and causing me to rub against him. Our rods were dueling like mad.

"So, is that ok with you?"

I really was having a hard time processing it all. I'd gone from being desperately frustrated believing Jeff was straight, to being in love but sexually restricted, to being told if I were to wait for the "big stuff" I could have everything else, all in less than a month. I croaked a little when I could find my voice. "I'd break any rule if you asked, Jeff. You know that."

He kissed me again, and I felt his aura sliding down me. It filled my suit, and I felt the fabric pull away from my skin. My rod sprung up and smacked against his own, freed shaft. I gasped and kept fixed on his eyes as our suits slid down and off. He smirked as he held them in his hand. "George did mention that one of his best experiences was skinny dipping in the ocean."

He slipped his suit over his head and wore it like a neckpiece. I thought it looked kind of funny but let him pull mine over my head. "The last piece of advice he gave me was to make sure we put these around our necks."

I laughed through my nervousness and sexual anticipation. "Why?"

He leaned against me, grinding us together as he breathed into my ear. "Because our hands will be occupied with more important things." With that I felt his hand slip around from my butt and he encircled our engorged rods. The sensation of rubbing against him and having his hand slowly stroke us together had me crying out and gripping onto him.

"Oh, gods..." My moan was as taught and drawn out as my nerves.

His hand stopped and he looked at me. "Do you want me to stop?" His voice was strained. I don't really think he could have stopped but he was giving me an out.

I pressed myself so hard to him that you'd think I was trying to fuse us together. Biting at his ear I gasped. "Only if you're wanting to die an early death." My eyes rolled as he squeezed my shaft again.

He took one of my trembling hands from around his neck and guided it to our throbbing cocks. His voice was pleading. "Touch me, Dan. Please."

I didn't have to be asked twice. I'd never touched another guy before. Though I couldn't see us in the rolling surf, my senses didn't leave much to the imagination. He wasn't quite as long as I was, but he was at least twice as thick and uncut. Rolling the foreskin back and forth had him sucking in his breath with his eyes clenched shut. We weren't using powers. This was exactly the same as any other guys exploring would do. I was kind of glad our agreement would postpone my opening myself to the thick meat in my hands; the idea actually scared me. I wouldn't have refused him but I definitely wasn't ready.

The juxtaposition of the soft, cool water and our hard, hot bodies was quickly producing a kind of sensory explosion. His hand was slowly torturing me while mine was doing similar things to him. When I pushed his skin all the way back and twisted my hand around his shaft just under his flared knob, Jeff cried out and sank his teeth into my shoulder as his hand tried to crush my pulsing rod. His release erupted between us and my senses went wild. Normal people may experience something of their partner's orgasm, but I was living it. His aura flaring, the excited transmissions through his nerves, the heat and kinetic force that pulsed as his cum shot from the quivering rod all inundated my senses.

I don't know how he could keep pumping me with his fist. His orgasm had frozen me in awe but not for long. It took only a few more jerky strokes to send me over the edge. I bet they could have heard me from shore as I cried out his name. We were lucky we didn't drown because none of our limbs were working as we returned from wherever it was our orgasms had sent us. We were bobbing in the waves, holding onto each other through the shivering aftershocks.

Jeff turned me around and wrapped his arms about me. His semi-hard tool brushed against me with each passing wave. We floated for a while, not needing to say a word. Finally he brought his lips to my ear and whispered. "Happy Birthday, Dan."

Birthdays; I wasn't going to see another one. My head jerked up as I spasmed back to the present. We'd followed the rules. We'd made love with our hands, our mouths and our powers. Heck, we even made love with our words, looks and smiles. But we hadn't crossed the final line. We were both still "virgins." Tears filled my already blurred vision as I realized that was the way we'd die.

Rogue was putting up a good fight. The Bitch had broken free but the abilities Rogue had absorbed allowed her to give Evil a really good beating. Unfortunately, it wouldn't last. Rogue had held on for thirty seconds, a minute at most. If she was lucky, she could maintain her temporary powers for three to five minutes.

Maybe that would be enough to make the difference. Maybe it would give one of the others time to strike. I wouldn't be seeing if it did. My vision went dark, again.

Matrix was so techno-chic that it actually made some of the Mansion's lower levels look primitive. Rhythmic beat throbbed through the club's dim light like the heart beat of a raging bull. It was loud, crowded, and totally cool. Any intimidation I'd felt when we'd entered had evaporated when Kate pulled me onto the dance floor. Like me, music was her drug of choice, and we were addicts in need of a serious fix.

Jeff and Cynthia didn't even have a chance to coordinate a spot to meet with us as the music drew us in like rats to the Pied Piper. The dance floor wasn't crowded yet. The evening was young and most of the other teens hadn't had a chance to smoke, snort, shoot, drop or drink what they needed to release their inhibitions. All I needed was the music; the rest of that shit would have gotten in the way.

There was nothing sexual about our movements on the floor. What we were was sensual, vital, and uninhibited. The one place I knew for certain I could match Kate, move for move, energy to energy, and passion for passion was on the dance floor. What made it even more intense was that the DJ was good. No, he was more than good; he was a divine gift. He adjusted his mix as the environment changed, doing his own dance with the mood and energy of the club. When we hit the floor, he was our third partner. I think by the time we went for our first break, he was in love.

I led Kate from the floor after 30 solid minutes of dancing, and spotted Jeff at one of the tables on a raised area with a good view of the dancing. He was watching us with a smile on his face. Kate was still bubbling when we got to the table.

"That DJ is HOT!" She shook her booty with enthusiasm and slapped her hands on the table. "I need, like, a gallon of water."

Jeff let his eyes drift significantly to the pitcher sitting on the table near him. "Yes, ma'am. I know my purpose here tonight is to be water boy."

Kate laughed and grabbed a glass. "Where's the old lady?"

Jeff nodded toward the bar. Cynthia was sitting at the far end chatting comfortably with one of the handsome bartenders in the black sleeveless shirts. "Making friends and influencing people."

I pulled one of the chairs closer to Jeff and dropped in it before grabbing my own glass of water. "I hope you plan to join us out there."

Jeff laughed. "I have two left feet, Dan. I'm happy just sitting here, listening to the grooves, and enjoying the view." He pulled me closer by my chin and he nuzzled my ear. "Especially when the hottest guy on the dance floor is returning to me for his breaks."

"You two are so cute it should be illegal." Kate finished her glass and frowned at me. "Why do gay boys always corrupt the best looking hunks?"

I smiled. "Oh, like you have anything to complain about, Ms. 'I don't know how to wind-surf.' If you had any more hot guys worshipping you today we'd have to open a temple."

Jeff laughed and ran his hand down to squeeze my butt. "She's just jealous because I got to you first."

"Hah." Kate grabbed for the pitcher. "Like I'd want a skinny white boy with red hair, even if he does have a great ass." She winked at me. "Honey, if you ever decide to swing my direction you'd better put some meat on them bones because I'm not spending my time riding a broomstick!"

Jeff and I looked at her for a few moments in stunned silence; then we cracked up. Cynthia came over after a few minutes and leaned onto the table.

"You two looked pretty good out there, sis. I can see why you say Dan's the only white boy you'd dance with." She gave me a "thumbs up". "I saw at least a half dozen hearts break when you plopped your butt down next to Jeff and let him grope you."

I laughed and looked at Kate. "Yeah, like any girl would want to ride a red bristled broomstick."

Kate shrugged and looked indifferent as she sipped her water. "Some guys like Twiggy. I don't get it, but they do. So you've got to be someone's type."

"Yeah, mine." Jeff pulled me out of my chair, aided rather subtly by his auric powers, and deposited me on his lap where he proceeded to wrap his arms about me possessively. "My boyfriend and I don't want to hear another negative word about him."

You just had to love Jeff when he got possessive. I could tell that he wanted to be the person on the dance floor with me but I don't think he felt he measured up. I pushed my foot toward Kate under the table and looked down significantly. This had been our sign in school for covert conversations. She took the hint and extended her leg casually till we touched.

What's up? Her telepathic voice was very curious.

Jeff's feeling left out.

Just got around to noticing that huh?

Yeah, yeah Ms. Know-it-all, how do we deal with this situation. I don't want my boyfriend moping while I'm having a good time.

Kate smiled but tried not to look at me. You don't know how happy I am you guys finally hooked up. It's been torture biting my tongue for the last few months while Rogue and I watched you two pine for each other. She stuck her tongue out at us, which I'm sure confused Jeff. See? I still have the scars!

I'm sure when you pick a guy as your own personal slave, he will appreciate the added texture. I sent her an image of what I'd want to do to Jeff and she gave me a disgusted look.

Gay boys are SO gross. She grabbed for her glass and took another drink while Jeff tried to get my full attention by nuzzling the back of my neck. So, what's the plan, broomstick?

I tried not to transmit the groan I was restraining. Think you can work your charms on the DJ to give us a slow-dance mix?

At a club like this? You must be dropping something.

Only my head in this guys lap if we don't find a way to get him on the dance floor.

Oh god, don't send me the image again. Her face scrunched up and she set her glass down. Fine, I'll –cheat- but you owe me big.

Fine, have him put C.A.'s 'Infatuated' in and then some other good rhythm latin beats. He won't want to dance them all and then you and I can funk-up some classic steps.

You got it. Give me five and then get his ass down stairs. Kate stood up and smirked. "I'm going to visit the BR before we hit the floor again. See me down there?"

"Yeah, in a few." I snuggled myself against Jeff and smiled. "I'm busy."

"Well, don't keep me waiting or I'll find a better partner." She sent us one of her patented 'the queen has spoken' looks.

I laughed. "Not bloody likely, but if you do, I'll just have to corrupt him too."

"Keep your hands off my slaves, gay boy! You have enough to handle in your own court." She laughed and vanished into the crowd to complete her mission.

Jeff leaned forward and put his head on my shoulder. "Already looking for a replacement, huh? I knew I shouldn't have let you loose in public."

I laughed as I got off his lap and pulled him up with me. "Only trying to replace the 'queen of the universe'. And let's face it, there isn't anyone who could replace her."

Cynthia settled down at the table to save the space. "You got that right. See if you can get Jeff's hot butt out on that dance floor. Even if all he does is stand still and look hunky, you can always use him as a May Pole." That got me thinking of other fertility sticks I'd like to be dancing around.

I managed to get Jeff out on the dance floor a couple times before we left. I decided that Christina Aguilera's song, "Infatuated," was going to be -our- song. It fit too perfectly into how I felt about a certain, part-Latin man of my acquaintance. When he loosened up, Jeff had a natural rhythm. Like everything else about him, when he was comfortable he just exuded sensual energy. I made a note to myself to get him some Latin step lessons. With just a little effort he could take me tripping the limelight any time he wanted.

We were parked in a garage several blocks from the club. As we got to the 2nd level, I got a sudden sense of something moving in very fast. I didn't even have time to react when a bottle smashed into the back of Jeff's head. In an explosion of glass and beer, Jeff toppled forward.

"JEFF!" I slipped down and stopped his forward momentum long enough to get my arms around him. He slumped to the ground as I picked up the signatures of at least twelve guys.

Mr. Attitude sneered at us. "Oh, what a shame. Big guy taking a breather?"

He was right; Jeff was out like a light. The one problem with powers that required activation is if someone gets a drop on you, you're done. Of course, Jeff wasn't the only dangerous member of our little group.

"Who the hell are you, scumbag?" Cynthia was trying to moderate Kate's response but Kate wasn't going to back down. "What's so tough about throwing a bottle at the back of a guy's head?"

"You can just shut your black mouth, bitch, or I'll give you something to use it on." He thrust his pelvis at her. Maybe that would have intimidated a normal girl, but Kate knew she could tear that boy a new asshole and feed him his balls.

"Sorry, honey, but you have nothing sizeable enough to keep my mouth busy. Maybe you should go back to the girls who take money for it, at least they'll -act- like it's doing something."

Kate ducked as he swung at her with the back of his hand. Her own fingers gripped him just below the belt and I felt her touch telekinesis flare. I think I actually heard the fleshy, squashing sound just before the guy began screaming as he doubled over in pain and fell to the ground.

Kate spun. "Come on boys, I'm only one little black fag-hag."

I took a head count and sensed their energy fields. A couple guys had guns, most had knives, blackjacks or something equivalent on them. Mr. Attitude must have seen us at, or tracked us to, the club and had planned a little revenge scene. In hand-to-hand combat I'm sure Kate could have taken them, but she wasn't bullet proof. I looked at Cynthia. She had moved behind me and it was obvious that she wasn't at all versed in any form of combat training. That left it to Kate and me.

Another asshole went down as he tried to take Kate out with a blackjack. She actually caught it with her hand and twisted it, using her touch telekinesis to flip him onto his ass. "Daniel, you can get involved any time you like. This isn't a solo performance." Her words were flippant but her tone was anything but. She expected me to end this for her.

How was I supposed to do that without hurting anyone? Something Nightcrawler had mentioned to me during one of the training sessions had been, "It isn't what you can do to your opponent, but what your opponent thinks you can do that scares him most." Gram had once said "The most difficult part of ritual is to instill the proper amount of respect and awe in the participants, the magick part is usually pretty simple."

With a determined thrust of my will I sucked all the light out of the area, pulling it to one point in front of me and letting it radiate back out from there. My voice was strong and forceful as I began spitting forth nonsensical words in Gaelic. What I said wasn't important. It was only important that it sounded scary and arcane. I pulled in light from outside the building and had it appear to leap from my central sphere to form a six foot pentacle of pure white light about two feet off the floor.

Everyone was stunned at the sudden manifestation of such a recognizable symbol of power. I let my voice rise as I stood up and outstretch my arms dramatically. "Lord of Darkness, Bringer of pain, lend me thy power to claim. Master of Death and lord of Strife, stretch out thy hands and claim my enemy's life!" I manufactured a blast of thunder as I augmented the clap of my hands as I brought them together in front of me.

Suffice to say, ten would-be bashers ran into the night as fast as their feet could carry them. Many were screaming "witch", "demons", and "devil worshippers". It appeared my goal to keep our activities as appearing as anything but mutant powers had worked pretty well. I held the darkness and pentacle till I could feel they had fled beyond the confines of the garage.

As it dropped, Jeff started to come around. He was bleeding and groaned as he tried to get up. Cynthia dropped to one knee and cautioned him to take it slow. I stalked past Kate. She looked astonished at what had just happened but I didn't care. I wanted blood of my own.

Mr. Attitude was trying to crawl away as I got to him. His body was contorted in pain and I sneered at him. "Poor little closet case, did someone touch the family jewels?"

He whimpered something at me about not hurting him. I didn't listen. I bent down and lifted him off the ground without any effort; releasing gravity lets a guy do things like that. "How do you want to die? Just pound you to death? Rip out your soul? Maybe I should sacrifice you to my pagan gods; they haven't had a good blood bath in a while." He was sobbing and wetting himself. I think he defecated himself too. I brought my face really close to his. "What my boyfriend did to you on the beach will be a picnic compared to what I'll do to you if he's been hurt. I can find you, anywhere, and I'll make certain you know what hell is because I'll take you there personally." I imitated what Scott's eyes looked like with my own.

He began to scream as the light leapt from my eyes and flooded into his. I dropped him and walked away as he was clawing at his face, crying, "Make it stop."

Cynthia looked at me in horror. "What are you doing to him?"

I frowned at her as I knelt down and lifted Jeff into my arms. "Let's just say that he's getting a good look at hell's fire right now. I'll let him go once we're safely on the road." I looked back at the other thug who was trying to creep away and shot him an evil glare. He took off, hobbling frantically into the dark. I looked back at Cynthia. "Think you can drive us home?"

She nodded. "Sure."

"Good, Gram never got around to teaching me how to drive." I held Jeff close. He was mine and no one was going to take him away.

We returned to the house in almost complete silence. When we got there, Nora had been waiting up and went into emergency mode when Jeff stumbled in with Kate under one arm and me under the other.

"Oh Mother of God, what happened?" She looked up and called out. "JACK!"

Nora got a towel from the kitchen as we got Jeff to the couch. Jack came stumbling down the stairs. "What?" He saw Jeff on the couch as I was putting a moist dishtowel under Jeff's head. "Oh, Jesus."

The questions started coming fast and furious and I found I couldn't concentrate. I wanted to be sure Jeff was ok. I put my hand up and amplified my voice several decibels. "SHUT UP!" As everyone went silent, I focused my senses on Jeff. I could tell the energetic signature of nearly any material and I wanted to be sure he didn't have glass imbedded somewhere. After some searching, I found some. "Kate, how good are you with your TK?"

She swallowed. "Pretty good. I can't stop bleeding or anything like that, Dan."

I waved her over to me and I put her hand at the back of Jeff's neck. "Take the image from my mind." I felt her sync with my perceptions.

"That's... glass?"

"Yeah, can you get all the pieces out?"

Her brows creased and she concentrated. "Sure, as long as you keep track of them." I did and after a couple minutes we had all the fragments out of his skin. She pulled her hand back and looked at the seven bloody fragments in her palm. "Damn."

"We should get him to the doctor." Jack was grabbing his keys.

Cynthia looked at him, dead in the eyes, and stopped him cold. "And what are we going to tell the police? You know the emergency room techs will have to call when they see this was an assault injury. You want to have to answer how we got away? How Dan summoned the 'powers of hell' out of the night and drove off our attackers? Even if they don't figure out we're mutants, there will be a lot of questions."

He was trembling. "I can't just leave my son on the couch!"

I looked up at Jack with total sincerity. "I'll take care of him." Jack looked at me doubtfully and I continued. "I could feel if he was bleeding someplace we can't see. I could sense if something important was cut or damage. He's hurt and may have a concussion but since we got out the glass, I think I can help him heal." My eyes were begging. "Please."

The next morning Jeff woke and wanted to move about, but we all informed him he was staying in bed till further notice. Nora sat me down after we were sure that Jeff was mending and didn't let me leave the table till I told her, blow by blow, what had happened. When I was done, she gave me a hug and said she was glad Jeff had fallen in love with someone who could take care of him.

I went back to the room and sat next to Jeff while he snoozed. He had been taking care of me since we met. It was weird to think he might need me at times as well. I was still engrossed in my thoughts when Kate slipped in to check on us.

"How's he doing?"

"Pretty good. He'll be tired for a day or two. I called Hank and he'll be down here this evening to give Jeff a checkup."

"That was good thinking." She looked out the window and fingered the blinds. "You know the Professor will want to know what happened." She turned back to me with a scared look on her face. "How do I tell him you did 'black magick'?"

I laughed, which woke Jeff up. "I didn't do magick! Damn, Kate, all I did was a light show with sound effects for dramatic effect."

She looked at me doubtfully. "Everyone knows you grew up a witch, Dan. I thought..."

"You thought wrong. All I did was bend light and amplify sound. I changed gravity to make dickwad float and I bent light to fill his eyes even with his eyelids closed so he'd think he was being burned in hell." I shrugged. "Nothing more than tricks, Kate."

I could see her tension ease away. Apparently her good Christian upbringing was causing her some problems with what I'd done last night. "You promise?"

"Yeah, Kate. You can read me if you need to."

She shook her head. "Nah, but I'd better fill in Cynthia before she chews off her nails worrying about our going to hell."

"I'd appreciate that."

She came over and kissed me on the cheek then went over and kissed Jeff on his head. "It wouldn't matter though. I'd go to hell if it meant saving you guys."

What was it about women that made them so much meaner than men? If you have never seen two women going at each other in a fight to the death, be thankful. I have witnessed the fury and it was a terrifying thing. The Bitch exchanged volley after volley of attacks with Rogue. Physical, psionic, energetic, any form of attack but personal contact. The Bitch was evil incarnate but she wasn't stupid. Rogue intended to take her down. Ravenous hunger pitted in battle against a woman protecting those she loved. You couldn't get more primal than that.

The biggest, strongest, toughest men I've met have all succumbed to self-pity and childishness when sick. Women never did. They would bitch and complain but in the end they'd have to be completely kicked in the ass to give in. I'd seen it first hand. I loved Jeff more than anything else in the world, but Mr. Muscle was one puddle of self-pitying goop when he was sick.

As terrifying as he was, Wolverine could not strike the levels of awe and fear that witnessing this battle of female archetypes had produced in me. I had never thought I'd see something as frightening as Wolverine with battle rage. Now I knew that it would have been worse if Wolverine had been a woman.