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Resolutions - Chapter 7

I was surprised at how wonderful it felt to be back at school. Devin and a couple other friends had graduated but most of my friends were all seniors. Much to Jeff's displeasure, I wore the Hawaiian shirt and Bermuda shorts on our return trip. It was worth all the unhappy looks to see Rogue's face when we got to the mansion. I don't think she stopped laughing for a good five minutes; which was great, because I knew I could make Jeff happy by burning the ugly shit at the first opportunity.

I wanted to say "hi" to all the teachers as soon as we got our stuff to the room. Jeff agreed only if I changed out of the horror I was wearing. I happily agreed. The Professor was the easiest to find, and we just waved as he greeted new students. Hank was happy to see me and already had my textbooks for my internship; the stack was at least 18" high. Oh gods, I was doomed. Ororo was directing the preparations for the new student "Meet & Greet" social that night. We didn't get out of there till she managed to rope us into helping.

We found Scott and Logan in a verbal sparring match out near the gardens. To anyone who didn't know the signs, you'd have thought they were just arguing rivals. I could see the occasional smirks that were quickly shifted to adversarial expressions. I think they must have had some form of "argument code" they used to talk. Logan gave me a withering glance as we approached; a typical Wolverine "get lost you little fuck" expression.

I had to laugh as we got close. "Sorry to interrupt."

"Not as sorry as you will be, kid." Logan was about to take a puff from his cigar when I snuffed it out with a thought. He growled. "Don't fuck'n play with me, kid."

"Ok." I wrapped my arms around his neck and gave him a hug before he could react. When I let go, he looked bewildered. Scott was trying not to laugh. "Thanks for the 'practical gift'. I look forward to my lessons." I pulled out the buck knife and floated into the air. I'd actually been practicing with it. It was a good tool to master inertial and kinetic forces with.

"Cute trick, kid." I eyed his cigar and it lit again. He took a puff. "Thanks."

Smirking, I sent the knife down to the dirt at his feet and focused. The blunt end went in and the knife danced about till the dirt spelled. "Thank you, you old softy!" I let it stay there a moment and then the knife swashed back and forth, erasing what I'd written. I think I was smiling like a Cheshire Cat as the knife returned to my hand.

Smoke curled from Logan's nostrils menacingly. It made it look like he was about to blow a gasket. Luckily, his pulse and temperature told me otherwise. "You're getting ballsy."

"Yeah, mind-blowing sex is a great attitude adjuster."

Jeff had his hand over my mouth and was backing me up with him before I could say another thing. "Too much sun. You know these fare skinned guys can't take the heat."

Scott lost it. He was laughing so hard he had to hold his glasses on. Logan was snarling at me like I was the next rodent he was going to take down; it was all show, I think he actually thought it was funny.

Just before Jeff could drag me around the corner, Logan called out, "Hey, muscle boy!" Jeff stopped up short and looked at him. "Whatever you're doing to him, keep doing it. He needs all the help he can get!"

I was still laughing as we got back to the room. Jeff was practically shooting daggers at me with his looks. "What happened to 'keep everything private'?"

I looked at him for a moment. He really did look pissed. That sobered me instantly. "I'm sorry, Jeff. Scott and Logan know I'm gay, and they knew I was pining for someone; I never told them who. I just wanted to let them know I was happy." I looked down. "And I guess I wanted to show you off." After a moment I added. "I didn't think about the fact I'd be 'outing' you."

Jeff didn't answer me for a moment and when I looked up, he was grinning. "You wanted to show me off, huh?"

I grinned back. "Yeah, I do." I shrugged and tried not to look too uncomfortable. "I guess spending a couple months just being able to be open about how I feel changed how I feel about being 'out'. We survived gay bashers, coming out to your parents, and 'Disney with George'; I don't want to wear rainbows and get all faggy, but maybe we can just be 'us'?"

Jeff's grin went to a full fledge smile, and his aura scooped me off the bed and into his arms before I could say anything. As usual, his kiss had me melting. I think the boy's saliva must have a brain-numbing agent in it; all my higher brain functions shut down when he did that.

We didn't pull out of our lip lock till Kate broke us from our little world. "Get a room, guys!"

Rogue was behind her staring wide-eyed and trying not to gape. She was cool about our being gay, but I don't think she'd really ever seen two guys lip locked before. Kate shot her a bemused smirk. "It was horrible; they could barely keep their hands off each other the whole week I was down there."

I was turning red as a beet, but Jeff just hugged me closer. "Oh, and who was it on the beach every day with a throng of nearly naked men salivating over her, Ms. Brown?"

Kate's hand came up. "Hey, talk to the hand, homo. I didn't do the tongue tango with any of them."

I started to giggle. "Not according to Cynthia."

Kate glared at me. "Oh no, that bitch didn't!"

Jeff and I nodded in unison; our expressions the epitome of virginal innocence.

"She is going to die!" Kate fumed and stomped out.

Rogue couldn't seem to make up her mind whether to follow Kate or hang.

"You'll see her later, Rogue. You two are rooming this semester, right?"

She nodded. "Yeah, if there is anyone other than you who isn't afraid of me, it's Kate." She shrugged. "Bobby loves me, but my powers still scare him." She shuddered. "They still scare me too."

I slipped out of Jeff's arms so I wouldn't be craning my neck to see her. "How's that going?"

Rogue dropped down on the bed. "With Bobby?"

"With your powers." Jeff sat down in one of the desk chairs behind me and patted his lap. I sat down and let him put his arms about me. "You stayed over the summer; any progress?"

She shrugged. "When I'm really calm I can keep contact for a very long time. But I can't stay calm that long in real life. I am able to hold onto powers longer though. That's progress, right?"

"Of course it is." I could tell Rogue was holding something back. "You want to talk in private?" Jeff knew that Rogue and I talked about things we couldn't share with others. I think it was my putting my life in her hands before Thanksgiving. When someone trusts you with his life, it makes it easier to be open about other stuff.

Rogue looked like she was about to cry. She held it back though and nodded.

I slipped off Jeff's lap and he stretched. "I think I'm going to check out the gym. The ride up left me a bit stiff." He rummaged around and pulled out some exercise clothes. "Should take me at least an hour."

Rogue gave him a wobbly smile. "Thanks, Jeff."

He smiled. "Just don't make any moves on my boyfriend while I'm gone"

She laughed. "No offense, but Dan really isn't my type."

I shot them both an "eat shit and die" look. I wasted a perfectly good look, because they just ignored it.

I was going to be late for dance class, again. It was some cruel trick of fate that made my favorite class the furthest possible distance from the class that was always running over. I made it out the side door and launched. There was no way I'd get there without cheating.

"Hey, Dan!" Denise was soaring past in the other direction.

"Hey, 'Nise." I didn't have time to chat but I waved before reorienting on the dance room. It took less than a minute for me to get across campus. Yeah, I was really beginning to love flying. I tapped at the window as Kate finished lacing her shoes. She touched the wall and the latch opened.

"Dan, you know you aren't supposed to be flying outside." Kate sounded like a broken record. This was the third time in two weeks she'd had to let me in.

"You're only jealous because you can't fly."

Kate frowned at me. "Sure, Dan, rub it in."

I laughed. "Get off it, Kate! You have some of the coolest powers ever. Less than a third of the students can fly."

She sighed. "I'd still love to do it."

We looked up as two new people came into the room. I looked at Kate but she just shrugged. Her foot touched me as I tied my laces. Who are they?

I have no idea.

She sighed again. Honeymoon is over.

I smirked as she turned and smiled at our new classmates. "You guys here for advanced dance?"

"Yeah, basic dance was for losers." Blond hair, smooth complexion, tall lean physique; the only problem with the guy was his holier-than-thou attitude and how he looked at the world down his nose. He smelled of blue blood and money. I think it was hate at first sight.

The new girl shrugged, which did some interesting things to her purple spiked Mohawk. She had so much metal piercing her skin that I could have played her like a marionette if I were Magneto. That had me wondering if I could do it at all. Bad Dan, bad Dan! "Whatever."

Undisturbed, Kate crossed the room and extended her hand. "I'm Kate."

The blond looked at her hand like it was a venomous snake. "You're a telepath."

She raised an eyebrow. "Yeah, so?"

"I'm not fond of telepaths."

I frowned. "Damn, must make it tough dealing with the Professor."

Blondie glared at me, and I felt energy flare. Just the mention of the Professor sent his temperature rising. I didn't have a chance to wonder at his reaction. He was a psionic of some nature and his response was coming right at me.

I deflected whatever he was doing and frowned. "That's fucking rude!"

Blondie blinked. Most psionics are surprised by the fact they can't affect me if I don't let them. "What the hell are you?"

"Someone who will kick your psionic ass if you do something like that again." I glared at him, replicated the feeling of the power he'd been pushing, and thrust it back at him.

He staggered back and snarled. "How, DARE you!" He definitely put the "C" in conceit. I couldn't figure out what his power did, but it obviously interacted with the nervous system.

The scene was about to get ugly when JPB strode into the room. Though he was by no means my favorite teacher, his disapproval of me had waned when I showed up in his level 2 flight class and aced all the pop quizzes. JPB may have been a total ass but he was an intelligent, perceptive ass. "Mr. Stein, I understand you and Ms. Reiner will be joining our class."

Blondie glared at me for a moment, then turned to JPB and nodded. "Yes, sir."

"There is no use of powers in this class. I expect you to do all the work. Do we have an understanding?"

Blondie frowned. "Yes, sir."

"Then let's begin."

So much for fun dance class that year.

Clinical Internship proved to be a lot tougher than I imagined. The actual clinic time was usually easy. I spent my hours in clinic either studying or helping out with injuries from power practices, flight class or sports. It was the overwhelming volume of information I had to absorb that took almost all my free time and brain space. It wasn't just human biological and physiological information, but also unpublished studies on mutant powers, psionic abilities, and mutant genetics.

It became standard practice for Jeff to wake up about two a.m., tell me I was asleep at the desk, and pull me into bed. We didn't fool around much. Sure, we were horny, but just having his arms around me at night let me sleep better than any other times in my life. The bed was cramped with the two of us. We'd gotten used to a queen size over the summer and trying to squeeze into a twin was tough.

Of course, we weren't supposed to be sleeping in the same bed at all. Scott let us know, in no uncertain terms, that our idea of putting the twins together to make a king would not fly. Jeff usually just wedged himself in with his back against the wall, and I would spoon up against him and let him hold me through the night. Other than "International Politics," we didn't share any classes Fall Semester, which sucked. Jeff's method of flight wasn't good enough to let him take Flight - Level 2. I thought that was a bum deal but I really didn't have any say in it. He replaced it with, my heart nearly burst, basic dance! Gods I loved him.

I was never so pleased by his choice to take dance than Harvest Dance. Juniors and Seniors from Xavier's were given the opportunity to interact with "normal kids" from the other large private school in the area, Madison Hall. Jeff wanted to go, I think he wanted to show off how much he was learning, but I wasn't sure. I finally bit the bullet and got some advice.

"Enter," was the response to my tentative knocking at the Professor's office door. Scott was leaning against the wall, arms crossed and looking out the window as I came in. The Professor was in his wheel chair near another window. Apparently, I had interrupted a discussion.

"I'm sorry, Professor; I can come back."

I was about to step out, but he just smiled and gestured for me to continue in. "That's quite alright, Daniel. Come in."

I closed the door, crossed the room and settled into one of the comfy chairs he had at his desk. "It really isn't important, but I wanted to ask about the Harvest Dance."

A knowing smile flickered on Scott's face and he looked at the Professor. Professor Xavier smiled as well. Apparently, this was not an unexpected situation. "I am not policing our heterosexual couples, Daniel. I have no intention of doing so with our same-sex couples."

I felt some of my tension fade away, but I wasn't convinced. "I know you wouldn't do that, sir, but I'm concerned about what it would say about the school."

The Professor arched an eyebrow. "So am I." My heart sank. "How can we strive for tolerance and equality for mutants if we hamper or limit people of other creeds, faiths or orientations?" He turned his wheel chair to more directly face me. "If you and Jeffrey would like to attend as a couple, you have my full support. I can't say it will make things any easier, but it will make things interesting."

I wanted to whoop for joy but I contained myself. "We'll try not to be overly demonstrative."

"I appreciate that, Daniel. It is always best, when trying to open doors, not to purposefully shock the people on the other side."

I beamed. "Thanks, Professor."

"Actually, Daniel, I should be thanking you and Jeffery."

That had me looking at him in bewilderment. We'd caused more than a couple ripples when it became public knowledge we were "a couple". The student body seemed pretty much divided on the issue. I couldn't imagine that was something to be "thanked" for.

He probably felt my sense of dread and confusion. I don't have a poker face so there was no need to read my thoughts. "Yes, Daniel, you've created quite a stir. It has, however, brought to light that in focusing strictly on mutant rights our instruction has been lacking in the more general needs for acceptance and understanding." He smiled. "I have had more students come to me in the last month, concerned or confused over their own sexualities, than I've had my entire previous years as headmaster of this school."

Wow, was all I could think at that revelation. I'd thought I was the only gay mutant. Ok, so I wasn't; Jeff had proved that. But it had never occurred to me that there would be others at school. Ok, that was probably a really stupid assumption for me. JPB was the world's first "out" superhero when he was a member of Canada's "Alpha Flight".

"We will be offering an elective course, starting the Saturday after the dance, entitled 'Human Relations and Sexuality'. It is completely elective, but is a full credit course." He raised an eyebrow at me. "I hope you will consider attending. It isn't a course 'for gays', but a course for students to become more familiar with all the various types of relationships. I believe that removing the mystery will also remove the fear."

I nodded. "I'll talk with Jeff, sir. You can count on me being there." I smirked. "Gram was cool, but we really didn't go into details about 'it'."

Scott laughed. "I thought Wicca had the whole 'May Pole' and 'Beltane Fires'."

I nodded. "Oh, we do and I did attend; but kids are the -result- of the celebration, not the participants." I gave him an icky face. "Ugh, you just had to make me visualize my Gram at the fires after I went to bed!"

He laughed again. "Don't blame me for what goes on inside that head of yours. I didn't say a word." He headed for the door, mussing my hair as he went past. WHY, why did my hair inspire that?

"See you in training tonight?"

I nodded. Logan had promised to teach me some knife-fighting maneuvers during this session.

"Scott." He looked back at the Professor before he stepped out. "Remind Logan that Daniel does not have regeneration?"

Scott laughed. "I'll be sure to do that."

For some reason, that made me nervous.

I dropped the "happy news" on Jeff when I caught up with the group for lunch. Rogue, Bobby, Kate, Tyler, Jeff and I tried to spend as much time out doors as possible. We usually ate lunch under one of the large oaks near the games field. Tyler was the newest and youngest addition to our group. He was only thirteen, but he was smarter than all of us combined. The guy never slept. He was a weird mutation that was best described as "Cyberpath". He could interface with and control any computer or device using microchip technology. He was a cute kid, and fun to be around even if he did have an IQ of 250.

To say Jeff was happy to learn we could go to the dance as a couple would be an understatement. He whooped and hefted me into the air with a hug. You'd have thought I'd just told him we'd won the lottery. I smiled self-consciously as he set me back on the ground and gave me a quick kiss. Yeah I was out, and I had the greatest guy in the world, but I still had the fear of thrown stones.

"That is so cool!" Jeff was practically tap dancing with excitement. Though it was fun to watch, I couldn't get as worked up about it.

"Jeff, you know we're going to get stares and nasty remarks, right?"

"Yeah, so?" He plopped back down on the grass and grabbed his sandwich. "We've dealt with gay bashers before."

Kate cringed. "Oh, wouldn't that just make the dance." She lifted her hands wiggled her fingers menacingly. "Dan, spreading a pentacle on the floor and summoning Asmodeus to consume the souls of anyone stupid enough to gay bash at a school function."

Jeff frowned. "You want us to bow out?"

Kate looked offended. "No way! You guys don't come and my dance options drop to a couple twinkle-toe boys and 'Blonde Bigot'." We all cringed. Jonathan Allen Stein was Jas to his friends and "Blonde Bigot" to the rest of us.

"How could you even think of that?" I chewed on my sandwich and swallowed hard. "It's bad enough you have to touch him during advanced dance."

She nodded while swallowing her own bite of PBnJ. "Yeah, that's true enough."

"Can we stitch subjects? That guy gives me the creeps, and I'm not even going to the dance." Tyler was no more impressed by Jas than the rest of us.

I laughed. "Ok, how about this tidbit of news: We're being offered a new elective called 'Human Relations and Sexuality'."

Tyler's mouth must have dropped to his knees. I could see every detail of what his sandwich was composed of. Kate lifted his chin and closed his mouth for him. "Thanks for the visual Ty."

He blushed. "Sorry, but you're joking, right?"

I shook my head. "Nope; heard it from the Professor himself."

Kate smiled. "You can count me in for that class. I'm sure it will be a hell of a lot better than 'sex ed.'."

Rogue laughed and smiled at Bobby, who blushed. "Me too. All 'sex ed.' ever did for me was give me the biology and left out the practical information."

Jeff shrugged. "Sounds cool; if you guys are going, I'll be there too."

I smiled. "Well, even if no one else shows up, we'll have a great class!"

That got nods all around.

The Gymnasium at Madison Hall was enormous. It was large enough to hold two complete basketball courts and had retractable bleachers. Neither Madison nor Xavier's had a very large student body but between the two we had enough juniors and seniors to make a respectable dance. A total of thirty-seven students had come from Xavier's to the dance; fifteen couples, seven individuals. To my knowledge, we were the only gay guys there. I could smell disaster in the air.

I looked at Scott as he talked with Elizabeth, his date for the night. Logan had staunchly refused to chaperone. He made it quite clear that he wasn't anyone's babysitter. I think he was lying through his fangs. I think he just didn't want to see Scott with a "date", and he would probably have bit through his cigar if he'd had to watch Scott dance with someone else. Scott took it all in stride. Did I mention Scott is one of the most controlled people I know? Yeah, probably a thousand times at least.

I felt more than a little self-conscious. Jeff and Kate had fought with me over clothing choices for two days. I wanted to wear something basic and comfortable. That, apparently, wasn't an option. I was there, standing beside my "bronze god" boyfriend, wearing painted on, black stretch jeans and an emerald green silk shirt with peasant sleeves. I looked like something out of "Lord of the Dance."

Of course, I had to admit that Jeff looked like he'd stepped off of the pages of International Male. His dark chocolate, butt hugging chinos embraced his thighs in ways that made your eyes water. The antique gold, stretch velvet club shirt was even more distracting; you could see every curve and ripple of his muscles and I swear it was molded to his nipples. I was glad we'd decided on sharing the shower before we got dressed. If I hadn't already bathed him in my appreciation, I'd have spilled it down my jeans during the dance. Did I mention we were still horny young lovers who didn't get much opportunity for fun? Life's a bitch that way.

Madison Hall was probably the most conservative place I had ever set foot in. Old school, old money, and so right wing you had to get out binoculars to see them from the middle. Yeah, we got the looks and there were more than a few giggles and side comments from the Madison students. Looking at it objectively, Jeff and I didn't get any more of a reaction than the punk haircuts and unusual clothing choices of some of our fellow students.

Kate, of course, was a goddess. Her love for purple extended further than her bikini from the beach. The dress she wore was simple, elegant and made of plum velvet that moved like a second skin. Top it with a couple of amethyst earrings and a pink pearl necklace and you had the black equivalent of Cinderella. She was one of our seven "singles" and it became obvious that she wouldn't be in want of partners. She shot me an "I'm that good" look as the best looking guy from Madison, probably a Quarterback or something, was the first student to ask for a dance from one of us.

All in all, the night went amazingly well. The Headmistress of Madison had held the Professor in a tense conversation shortly after she'd seen Jeff and I slow dance; but it didn't last long. I didn't really listen. Ok so maybe I did; Jeff was right about my being able to hear any conversation in a building if I wanted to.

"I cannot believe you allowed those young men to attend, Charles."

"I don't see what the problem is, Amanda; they are two of my best students."

"That isn't the point. It's too controversial. When the parents get wind of this, and trust me they will, it will be a fire storm."

"Don't over dramatize the situation. They aren't Madison students. The worst that will happen is you will be forced to issue a formal complaint to me, and we may have to cancel a couple social gatherings till the situation calms." He looked at us briefly and caught me watching them. He probably knew I was listening from across the room but if he did, he didn't show it. "You lodged the same complaint when my punk-haired and pierced students attended functions a few years ago. As I remember, none of your students rebelled and broke dress code."

She sighed. "You're right, Charles. I still don't like it."

He laughed. "This is the 21st Century, Amanda. Madison will have to enter it soon no matter how hard the governors of the institution kick and scream against it."

Smirking, she put her hand on his shoulder and looked back out at the students. "You certainly do like to keep me on my toes."

"Keeps you young, Amanda. You'd waste away from stagnation if I didn't."

Her smile deepened. "My hero."

I was amazed at how many students signed up for the new class. It was only available to the high school level students and we still had fifty-six students enroll. I knew that only a few were there because they were gay, which made it even more amazing that so many students really wanted to understand.

By the end of September I'd had been the recipient of two "confessions" from students who thought they were gay but were "unsure." I'm not a people person; I never was. I got them with Jeff and I think he helped a lot. That boy was going to make a great counselor some day.

October rolled around and I began getting nervous. I would be facing the first anniversary of Gram's death. I worried it would be a difficult month. That school year, Blonde Bigot not withstanding, had been nothing but great. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. It was only the first week of the month when I got the first glimpse of where it would drop from.

Jeff snarled as he tossed his shirt into the hamper. I'd seldom seen him pissed when it didn't involve me. It was not a good sign.

"What's wrong? You usually love your workouts."

Jeff grunted. "Yeah I do, when I don't have to spend my time with the 'Blonde Bigot'."

I rolled my eyes. Yes, the murderer of any joy to dancing also spent his time ruining the gym. "What'd he do now?"

"Oh, nothing much." Jeff grumbled as he flopped onto his bed. If he weren't so mad I would have enjoyed the view of his hot, sweaty body. "Just the usual comments about wondering if I enjoyed barbells in 'special ways', and shit like that." Jas and I had started out as adversaries and it had quickly extended to full hatred when he learned that I was no only gay, but happily gay with a boyfriend. Jeff became his secondary target when I wasn't available.

"He's just a dick, Jeff." From what little I knew of "Emperor Stein", he came from a very rich, old money family in New England. No one quite knew what his mutant powers were, other than he shied away from dealing with telepaths. He'd never used them around me after our first meeting; so I was curious, but not so much so as to hunt for clues.

Jeff sighed. "I know. I don't give a shit what trash he talks, Dan. I just hate the fact that I can't even enjoy a good pump in peace."

He yelped as I levitated him off his bed and floated him over to me. He looked so good squirming in the air, trying to twist away without success. I wasn't keeping him immobile, but trying to "push against air" is pretty tough. I ran my hand down his sweaty chest as he snarled at me. "Not funny, Dan."

Smirking, I bent over and licked his sweaty nipple. That shut him up. Straddling his floating body, I leaned down on his chest, propping my chin up on my hands while my elbows pressed into the hard slabs of his pecs. "You know, you don't need a gym."

He eyed me suspiciously. "You want me to wimp out?"

"Nope, but weight sets are so 'old fashion'. I bet if we put our heads together, we could set you up to workout anywhere. You simply have no appreciation of the fact you have a boyfriend who can control forces."

Jeff smiled. "I suppose it wouldn't hurt you to fine tune your powers, huh?"

"That too."

That solved Jeff's problem about working out with the Blonde Bigot. We were able get a good weight bar without the weights and a couple reinforced ankle straps. It took some coordinating but by the end of the weekend I was able to replicate all his workout methods. I was even able to get use of one of the labs to do our combined work. When I explained to Hank what I was trying to do, and how it would help me learn the kinesiology of human anatomy, we got to move it to a main lab and put it as a science credit.

I think that pissed Jas off even further. By mid-month, I had a small group of highly dedicated, super strength athletes working in my independent study. Though I only had eyes for Jeff, I had to admit I didn't mind spending time with some of the best physical specimens on the campus.

I should have known that Jas would find some way to tear it all apart.

I was jarred back to reality by screaming. As I tried to focus, I saw something that looked like some form of automaton trading blows with the Bitch. I didn't recognize it, but it was short, maybe 5'6", and not the most adept at combat. It took me a few moments to realize who it was.

Tyler. Oh Goddess, don't let that be Tyler. He'd flown the jet. None of the rest of us could do it. I'd made him swear to stay in the jet and have it ready to leave. He was only 14. He was just a kid. I wanted to scream at him. I wanted to order him to leave. My voice wasn't working. All I managed to do was spit blood and cough as I struggled against my restraints.

Evil was tossing him around like a hacky sack. That he didn't break the first time he was thrown against a wall was amazing. The fact that he kept coming back after the third and fourth times was unbelievable. Some how he'd wrapped himself in electronic components, power supplies, and other things. Honestly, he looked like a piecemeal Borg. When she leapt at him as he was struggling to get up again, he blew her across the room with a blast that would have sent him flying if he hadn't been against a wall already.

He kept screaming as he unloaded into her. It wasn't a language. It was the sound you make when someone does something so horrible to someone you love that you can do nothing but lash out. I knew that sound; I could remember when I'd made it myself.