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Resolutions - Chapter 8
The Professor was going to be gone for two weeks from the middle through the end of October. There was an International Conference on Mutant Concerns going on in Paris and he needed to be there. Things always got a little hectic with the Professor away. Add that to both Gram's death and Halloween, and I was not the happiest of boys. Fortunately, he'd given permission for me to be out after curfew for both nights.
The guys were so attentive on "the Anniversary" that it was almost laughable. Hell, I did end up laughing. Somehow they had coordinated it so that I would not have a moment alone all day even between classes. You could almost see the "over to you" being said as I was handed off from Kate to Rogue, Rogue to Jeff, Jeff to Bobby, etc. By the time dinner was over, I felt like a basket ball.
They tried to keep me occupied late, but around eight o'clock I begged off. Jeff kept on my heels all the way back to the room. He just leaned against the dresser and watched as I pulled out my "black bag" and started double checking my supplies.
"You're actually going out?"
I looked at him. "Yeah; the Professor gave me permission before he left."
Scuffing his feet a little, he looked down. "Can I come?"
He missed the big grin that I gave him; he was trying so hard not to look at me. I tried to sound neutral. "Sure."
That had him looking up. "Really?"
I couldn't stop the smile that crept onto my face. "I was hoping you'd ask." Crossing the room I gave him a big hug. "I want to introduce you to Gram."
He swallowed a little. Yeah; little witches can still make good Christian boys breakout in a cold sweat. "That still kind of creeps me out, Dan."
I laughed. "It won't be like 'Night of the Living Dead' or anything. You probably won't even see or hear anything more than a change in the breeze or possibly a temperature change." I smirked at him devilishly as I retrieved my bag. "And since I could do either of those things with my mutant powers, how are you going to be able to tell the difference?"
That had him smiling. "You're an asshole; you know that?"
Opening the window, I wiggled my butt at him. "Yeah. That's all you want me for: my ass."
Something about "sneaking out the window" at night is just plain fun. I went out first and Jeff flew behind me as we dipped low over the playing field and shot for the woods. I maneuvered fine but it didn't occur to me that Jeff really didn't have extra senses. It became apparent when I heard the first, "oomph," and thud as he sideswiped a tree.
I landed beside him as he was getting up and brushing off. "You ok?"
He frowned at me. "Only bruised my ego." Looking about, he sighed. "It isn't fair you can see in the dark."
I laughed and took his hand. "Come on, I'll guide you."
We flew out to the clearing without further incident, and I set up the sacred space. I felt him just as I had the candles ready to be lit. He was a lot better than Scott at moving undetected. If it hadn't been for the fact there was no other being I'd met with adamantium coated bones, I probably wouldn't have noticed his approach at all. I turned around and crossed my arms to wait.
Jeff thought that was a bit odd. "Uh, why'd you stop?"
I smirked. "Chaperone."
Logan didn't even bother to try to hide when he saw me pointing at him as he moved silently through the undergrowth. He stood up, brushed off and stepped into the clearing. "You're getting too fucking good at that, kid."
He wandered up to the perimeter of the circle and stopped. "So, do I get fried if I cross the chalk?"
"Not at the moment; I haven't called up the walls yet."
He cocked his head. "And after that?"
"Normally, no; but in your case, I'll come up with something." I couldn't stop the shit eating grin that settled on my lips.
He huffed and stepped over the line. He looked at Jeff accusingly. "How many hot attitude injections have you been giving him?"
Jeff actually blushed. I'm not sure Logan could see it in the light of the crescent moon, but I could feel it. "Uh..."
Logan laughed. "Actually, kid, don't tell me. I've never been into jail-bait stories anyway." He pulled out a cigar and raised an eyebrow at me. "Mind?"
I shrugged. "If Gram doesn't like it, she'll let us know."
"That should be interesting." Logan was fishing for his lighter when I ignited his cigar. "Thanks."
"No prob." I eyed him as he took a puff and blew out a ring. I wondered how Gram would react to Logan. Instead of worrying, me I found the idea amusing. I smirked. "You plan to stand or sit? Once I close the circle I'll need you to be comfortably still."
Logan shrugged and then hunkered down onto his knees settling into an almost meditative posture. That wasn't what I'd expected. He acted as if he'd done this a thousand times and this was one more "ghost summoning".
I walked the circle, calling to the guardians, and raised the celestial temple. It still amazed me that reality beyond the circle seemed to diffuse to so many of my senses. Yeah, magick was real; it was subtle, but I was beginning to appreciate the understated strength in it. Being a witch was so cool.
As with all true summonings, once the call was sent all we could do was wait. Yeah, there are some practitioners who -compel- the spirits and even a few who do bindings or worse, but I was calling family. They always answer.
I noticed Logan's pulse shift subtly as the breeze around us swirled. He could feel it; the air had an almost imperceptible tingle to it. I sighed in resignation as I felt Gram's fingers run through my hair. Hell, even ghosts couldn't resist doing it.
I smiled as Gram surveyed my companions, and started giggling as she commented on Jeff. Jeff looked at me like I was a loon, but Logan was straining to figure out what his senses were telling him. I smiled at Jeff. "Gram wanted to know if all gay guys are as cute as you."
Jeff frowned. "Did not."
I blinked. "Did so!" I cocked my head for a moment and smirked. "She says that if you don't behave she'll just tell me about what you're planning for Halloween."
He blinked at me. "Hey! That's not fair..." Pausing, he swallowed. "You're not kidding are you?"
Logan growled. "He ain't kidding; there's something here." Suddenly, his cigar flopped out of his the corner of his mouth and hit the ground. He grunted, picked it up and popped it back in. A few moments later, it popped out again. Glaring at me, Logan snatched up the cigar again. "Damn it, kid."
I shrugged. "Wasn't me; I said Gram would let us know if she didn't like the cigar."
Logan frowned and snuffed out the cigar in the dirt. "She could have asked."
"She did, you just didn't hear her." A grunt was all I got for a response to that.
I sat there, talking to the air while they watched, and told Gram all about the last year. I got teary eyed when I told her about how Jeff took care of me and how much I loved him. I knew she was happy. I must have rambled like an idiot for a half hour or more. When I finally lulled into silence, Gram started telling me things.
A lot of it was about her plans for me after graduation. She told me where to find a list of contacts for magickal training and that I would be accepted at Oxford no matter what major I chose. That had me stunned. I knew she'd prepared for my future, but I had no idea it had been that extensively planned. As the time approached for her to leave, she whispered a few more things, and I stared at Logan. Her presence faded as she kissed me and touched Jeff's cheek, which he did feel.
Logan frowned as he felt her go. I knew he'd had questions and though I didn't know what they were I had answers. "Logan?"
He looked at me, his disposition going quickly from patient to irritated. "What?"
"Gram says the answer to your first question is 'Yes'; the answer to your second is 'No'; and the answer to your third is 'Department H'." I shrugged. "That help?"
His brows furrowed and he chewed on the unlit cigar. After a moment he grunted. "Yeah; thanks, kid."
I thanked the guardians and broke the circle. Jeff shivered as the walls came down and the chill of the real world flooded in. "Damn."
I smiled. "Told you; subtle."
Logan stretched and looked at me as I gathered up my things. "Need help, kid?"
I smiled. "Nah, we'll be back at the dorms in a few."
He nodded. "You've got fifteen. After that, I'll hunt your asses down."
The days following "the Anniversary" were hectic. Between mid-terms, trying to put my research with the athletes into some form of intelligent discourse for Hank, and the preparations for the Halloween Celebration, I had had no time to grill Jeff about the "plans" Gram had mentioned. I had postponed any more "studies" with the athletes till I had my notes and discourse finished. This meant they all had to return to the gym. I was surprised by how many of them were bummed by that, and I promised to reopen "Dan's Gym" the first week of November.
I stared at the laptop in disgust. I just didn't know enough to put the observations I had been making in my study into anything intelligent. It had originally just been an excuse to spend more time with Jeff and let him enjoy his workouts. Now I had to make something out of the research to prove I was actually learning something. I felt I was. I knew so much more about kinetic forces, biochemical reactions, and muscular functions than when I started. I just had no real way to tie it all together into a report. I wished Jeff was back from his workout; I needed a hug and a break.
That made me double check the clock; it was a useless exercise because I always knew exactly what time it was. Jeff should have been back by now. I actively tried not to keep track of Jeff most of the time. I thought it was rude to always know exactly where he was. I let myself "know". My gut twisted as the information came to me. Jeff was still in the gym, but something was wrong. His aura was acting weird; it wasn't that he was "using" it but more like he was "trying" to use it and it wasn't working. He wasn't alone and I knew instantly who else was in the room. I was out the window before I was even aware that I was flying.
The weight room was in the athletic building which was only attached to the main school by a breezeway. As I descended toward it, I sensed someone outside the building hidden in the bushes. It was "Ferret". Tina, though I thought of her as Ms. "more piercings than a jewelry store", was nearly as sensitive as Logan with her feral perceptions. She was also one of Jas's lackeys; no one knew why.
I really didn't have anything against her, but I had to get to Jeff. I remembered the "spell" I'd used on Scott my first day at school and decided it was my best option. I focused on her, letting go of my flight, and pushed. She shuddered and slumped before I could crash, and I was able to bring myself to a safe landing at the door. The damn thing was barred from the inside. I scanned the building. A couple of the court windows had been left open. I made it through one and got to the weight room. What I saw stopped me in my tracks.
Jeff was bent over one of the weight benches with his shorts pulled completely off and his legs spread. Jas was thrusting three of his fingers roughing into Jeff's ass. Jeff was moaning and his cock was hard and dripping. From all appearances, he was loving it. If I didn't have so many other perceptions it would have looked consensual. It wasn't.
Jas's power was hooking into Jeff like wires. Somehow he was hooked into Jeff's nervous system and was controlling everything. Well, everything nerves can control. Jeff's heartbeat was of someone in fight or flight mode. He was fighting but had no way to counter what was being done to him. His aura was flaring randomly. He was trying to strike back but Jas had enough control that Jeff couldn't make his aura do anything.
"You know you want this, faggot." Jas jammed in again, like trying to stab a knife. Instead of wincing, Jeff moaned "Yeah, rape my queer ass." I was shocked, and then I noticed Jas's lips moving in unison with Jeff's.
Before I could do anything, Jas's watch beeped and he laughed. "Oops, time for a 'flash back'."
The other guy in the room was a lumbering ox, Derek. "Flashback" got his nickname because he had the power to rewind a person's memory about five minutes. Most of us thought it was a useless power; what good could erasing only five minutes of short term memory do? He chuckled and bent over, waving in Jeff's face. "Rewind!"
Jeff shuddered and looked at Derek in confusion. "What the hell's going on?"
For an answer, Jas shoved his hand back in, making Jeff scream. "What's it feel like, faggot? You're getting what you deserve."
Jeff's aura flared and then sputtered out. Jas kept him still but was now letting him talk on his own. "I'll kill you, Jas," he spat through clenched teeth. Tears were rolling down his face and I was dying. I just couldn't do anything; I was frozen by the brutal horror of what was being done.
"Yeah, right. You're loving this, faggot. Look at how you're dripping all over the place."
Jeff looked down and he was confused as well as and frightened. He had no memories of how he'd gotten there, but his dick was throbbing and drooling. He couldn't know that Jas was controlling his body's responses. Jas was mind raping him even worse than he was physically. Jeff's voice cracked. "Please... don't."
That snapped me out of the spell. The complete dismay and broken shame in his voice tore me apart. I screamed; the sound wasn't human. It came from somewhere inside me so primal that it had no conscious thought. My power thrust through the doors. I didn't just throw them open... the doors and part of the walls blew inward.
Jas and Derek were thrown to the ground as cement pelted the room. I reached out at Derek first. If he had a chance, he'd erase Jeff's memory again. He flew across the room at a thought and smashed against the far wall. I felt bones breaking and I really didn't give a shit if I'd killed him. All I knew was rage. Jas was trying to stagger to his feet as I got to him. I could feel his fear; I tasted it, smelled it, and heard it, but that only acted like blood in the water to a shark. I let loose.
To be honest, I have no idea what the hell I did. The lights in the place flickered on and off and there was the smell of ozone in the air. Jas was screaming and writhing. I didn't hear Jeff telling me to stop; I wasn't thinking. I was a force of nature, and my victim would know what it was to face me. Suddenly, everything swirled as my senses were overloaded. I felt Jeff's arms about me, and he was crying in my ear. "Stop, Dan, please stop."
I came back. We sank to the floor, and I hugged him while crying. I didn't even notice when the others got to us. I was clinging to Jeff, and I wasn't letting go.
I sat in the infirmary, glaring at the two bodies on the beds across the room. Hank had dealt with Jas's and Derek's injuries first. They didn't deserve it. They should have been dead. When he finally got to Jeff I couldn't help crying. Jeff had been torn pretty badly. Jas may have controlled his nervous system but he couldn't change the simple fact that muscles have only so much elasticity. If Scott hadn't been right there with me, Jas wouldn't have survived another minute.
He and Logan dragged me off to another room while I screamed all sorts of threats and curses. I was so angry. I wanted to destroy something. The lights were flickering in response to my anger.
"Get a grip, Dan! Jeff is OK. He'll heal!" Scott was trying to restrain me.
I glared at him. "Being brain fucked and having your ass torn open is OK?!?"
Scott stepped back. "I didn't mean that."
Logan growled. "You can't go in there and kill them, kid."
I spun. "Oh? And what the fuck would you be doing right now if you'd found Scott bent over and someone was raping his ass bloody?"
He bared his teeth. "That's not the point."
"I know what would have happened: You'd have cut them to shreds and drunk their blood before anyone could get there." My tears were blurring my vision, and I looked at the floor. "I just wasn't fucking fast enough."
Logan came over and lifted my chin. "You wouldn't have been able to live with yourself, kid. You aren't a killer. You love people too much."
I wanted to spit in his face and tell him I could kill any time I wanted. Instead, I clutched to him and wept. I felt so helpless. I was probably the most powerful mutant ever, and I couldn't even protect the people I loved. Eventually, I let go and had to sit down. The anger had given way to grief and that had left me feeling drained and empty.
Scott knelt down beside me. "You two are strong, Dan. You'll survive; so will Jeff."
I nodded absently.
I didn't sense Elizabeth come in till she was kneeling next to me and lifting my face. Her eyes were red and her cheeks were streaked with tear tracks. She looked hollow. "I'm so sorry, Dan. We thought I could keep track of everything as well as Charles." Her voice cracked as the tears started flowing again. "I couldn't."
I hugged her. An hour ago I hated her. I hated the Professor. I needed to blame someone. But when I looked in her eyes, I just couldn't. Logan was right; I was weak; I loved people too much. We cried together for a while before she pulled back. I looked at her in the eyes. "I don't hate you."
She flashed me a wobbly smile. "Thanks, Dan. I needed that."
I nodded and saw Jeff standing at the door, leaning against the door frame. He looked exhausted in more than body. When I got up, he extended his hand to me and said, "Let's get some sleep."
I didn't let go of his hand even after we were back in the room. He finally smirked at me. "We'll need to let go if we're going to get out of these stinking clothes." He was still in the clothes he'd been wearing at the gym. I let go. "I need a shower."
I nodded and sat down on the bed to wait. After he'd pulled off his shoes, socks and shirt, he looked at me. He looked like a lost little boy. "Will you help me?" The pleading whisper nearly killed me.
I didn't track how long we stood under the shower. His body was almost limp by the time we were done, and he was crying. No matter what we did, he just didn't feel clean. I had to stop him from scrubbing his skin raw. I couldn't imagine what he was feeling. All I could do was stop him from doing himself harm and hold him. I made sure we were dry and had on boxers before we crawled into bed. This time I was the one against the wall, and he was curled in a ball with me spooned against him. He lapsed into an exhausted sleep not too long after we got into bed. I didn't sleep at all.
The Professor arrived by mid-morning the following day. On the outside he looked totally calm and in control. I realized that if anyone was more controlled than Scott, it was Charles Xavier. Even so, I could sense the changes. I didn't have to blame him; he already blamed himself. The first thing he did was come to our room.
We hadn't gone to classes that morning. No one knew what had actually happened; at least I don't think they did, but they knew something had happened at the gym that involved Jas, Derek, Jeff, Tina and I. They certainly couldn't have missed the destruction and I'm sure no one slept through the emergency alarms that went off when I'd attacked.
The Professor just sat with us for a while. I knew he was using his powers but I didn't care. I needed the solace they provided almost as much as Jeff did. Finally, Jeff looked at the Professor and asked, "Was that the only time?"
The Professor looked at him for a moment then closed his eyes. I felt him probing softly, trying to sort through the wrinkles of memory caused by Flashback's powers. After a few agonizingly slow minutes, he opened his eyes. "Yes, Jeff. That was the only time."
I squeezed his hand as he nodded. He tried to keep the tears back. That must have been the hardest part: not knowing what else had been done to him and if he'd been victimized before.
"I need you to do something, Jeff: for yourself and for Dan." We looked at him and he continued. "There will be nightmares, and possibly daymares that will hit you while you're mind tries to heal itself from this. Don't keep them hidden. Talk to someone; Dan would be best and if not him, Elizabeth or myself. If you don't let the damage heal, it will only hurt you worse later."
Jeff nodded. He was trying to put on a strong front, for me probably. I squeezed his hand again and turned his face to mine. Jeff never was good at hiding what he felt. He pulled me to him and buried his face in my neck and cried again, whispering "I'm sorry," over and over. I looked at the Professor helplessly as I held him, my heart was breaking.
Stay with him, Dan. When you're ready, please find me. He turned quietly and wheeled out of our room.
I wasn't ready for quite a while. We skipped class for the rest of the week and avoided almost everyone. Naturally, our core friends wouldn't have any of that. When they weren't in classes, they were in our room. We didn't hide anything from them. Tyler actually got sick when we told them what happened. Rogue was in shock. Bobby went silent and gripped Rogues hand.
Kate was more than angry; she nearly became an avenging angel. She'd stormed from the room and we later learned she had tried to get into the infirmary. If it hadn't been for the fact that the infirmary was in the high tech levels, she might have gotten through. She did damage the doors pretty badly before they were able to quiet her down. It was almost laughable that the Professor ended up putting teachers on rotation to guard the infirmary. Apparently more than one person was prepared to finish what I'd started.
Derek and Jas weren't healed enough to leave for almost a month. They were expelled right before Thanksgiving break. Jeff and I made sure we were at the doors when Jas was leaving. Jas glared at us with pure hate as he came out. Before descending the steps, he gestured his porters on and turned to face us. "I'll crush you for this."
Jeff tensed but my gaze bore into his. "You already tried. I know what you can do now, Jas, and I'll know if you ever do anything to us or any of our friends."
He snorted. "You aren't so fucking powerful, faggot."
Jeff must have sensed me about to do something stupid. His aura wrapped about me, soft but determined.
I kept my composure and didn't break his gaze. "You're lucky Jeff stopped me, bigot. There wouldn't have been enough of you left to make DNA evidence if he hadn't."
"Yeah, but he did. His queer ass was mine, and he knows it."
He was trying to make us lose it. It almost worked. The Professor's thoughts came to us before we did anything we'd regret. Come see me Daniel, Jeffery.
I held my temper and looked at him for what I hoped would be the last time in my life. "Get lost, Jas and let's hope that you never cross my path again." I took Jeff's hand, and we left.
The Professor was waiting for us in his office. We entered and he motioned us to the chairs. I pulled mine over beside Jeff's, and we held hands after we sat down.
"I want you to know that Jonathan will not be able to use his powers on anyone again. He knows it and blames you for it."
I was surprised. I hadn't thought I'd done that much damage to him. The Professor must have picked up my thoughts. "No Daniel, you didn't do it. I did." I blinked as he continued. "I have placed psychic blocks on both Jonathan and Derek. Unless removed by another telepath, and that is quite unlikely, they will never be able to access their powers again."
Wow, I hadn't known the Professor could do such things.
"Please know we've done everything we can to keep them from ever using their powers to victimize anyone else. I will also monitor them regularly to make certain they don't find a way around the blocks."
Jeff squeezed my hand. "Thanks, Professor. We know you've done everything you could."
I had to ask. "Sir, did they hurt anyone else?"
For a brief moment the Professor's eyes looked extremely sad. He covered it quickly and nodded. "Yes, Daniel. They hurt several others while I was away. I underestimated Mr. Stein's obsession with control and power."
I nodded. My anger with the Professor had diffused weeks ago. I just wanted to move on. So did Jeff. We apparently had the same thought because we rose at the same time. "Thanks for explaining, Professor." He nodded, and we left.
We wandered somewhat aimlessly on the grounds after Jas was beyond my range. I'd been tempted to blow up his car just as he got to my sensory limit, but after knowing what the Professor had done, I let him go. I had Jeff, and we would be ok.
Jeff hugged me as we stood staring at the lake. "I'm so lucky, Dan."
"I never think anyone can hurt me. I keep getting proved wrong and just don't seem to learn." He held me tighter and brought his chin to my shoulder. "You've been there to save me each time. I don't know what I'd do without you."
I blinked back my tears. "I don't ever want you to find out."
Tyler's power supply dwindled. Evil was burned, bloodied, and pissed. I watched in horror as she descended upon him. I'd promised that no one I loved would be hurt if I had breath left. I was still breathing; Tyler was mine to protect.
The Bitch's flight came to a sudden halt and she slammed into the floor as I redirected her inertia. I refused to let the energy dissipate. She was nearly immortal and, in the end, the floor was weaker than she was. The floor gave way in a cacophony of splintered wood, tumbling stone and baleful curses. As the chaos died, I could feel she was still alive and still dangerous several levels below us. She would be back quickly.
Tyler staggered around the hole and got to me. "I thought you were dead."
I tried to talk but my throat could hardly make sound. I focused and amplified myself. "Soon, but not yet." Gods that sounded weird; I didn't even sound human.
By the way he was moving, his leg was broken, but the tech was working around it. He was trying not to cry. "What do I do?" His voice was so scared and unsure.
"The blackbird still work?"
He nodded nervously.
I eyed the wall in the direction of the blackbird. He had to get out. He had to take everyone with him. I'd been warned if I ever tried to do too many things at once I might burn out something. Hell, I was dying; what did it matter if I died with a fully functioning brain or not? Holding the bitch a few levels below us, I split my attention to shatter the wall. It wasn't hard. I just willed all the components of the stones apart and they obeyed.
Tyler gasped as wall after wall blew apart in a line to the jet. "Shit..."
I focused on my friends. They were all still alive. They could get to safety. It's amazing how calm you get when you know for certain you're going to die. Their bodies lifted from where they'd fallen and I nudged them close together. I floated them toward the jet. It was getting harder to focus; it wasn't an issue of fighting any longer, but simply a matter of making every moment count.
I didn't have time to say goodbye to them. I'd never wanted Jeff to know what it was like to be alone. Recent horrors aside, he'd lived a blessed life. If I could, I'd visit after I was gone. At least he'd live.
"Ty, it's time to go."