Professor Charles Xavier and the X-men fight for peace in a fearful world that doesn’t understand them. As mutants, they wield extraordinary powers that inspire awe in some and distain from others. Some like the Brotherhood of Mutants, run by Xavier’s old friend Magneto, believe they should seek their place through force and violence. Recently, he and his team have been challenging the X-men head on, fighting for the hearts and minds of a weary mutant population. Some have caused a major backlash, like the fight in Detroit that led Lance Alvers to the Brotherhood. Some have even caused rifts in families like Rogue and Mystique continue to cause problems.
But despite these rising tensions, the X-men still manage to find time for an off night. Most went out to enjoy a taste of normal life apart from their not-so-normal routine. Couples like Jean and Logan as well as Bobby and his internet flame, Lorna, use the opportunity to go on a date and enjoy some alone time. Scott and Rogue have also gone out to get away from it all and have continued to grow closer. Even Hank has taken a break from his constant studying, spending the night with his current flame Ororo Munroe.
But not everyone is respecting the X-men’s night off. Sabretooth, a shady figure with connections to Logan and Weapon X, continues to stalk his old rival for reasons unknown. And just as things were looking their best for Bobby and Lorna, they receive an unexpected visit from Wanda and Pietro Maximoff of the Brotherhood. Their intentions are clear. They want Lorna and they will not let Bobby stand in their way.
“Run Lorna! Get out of here!” exclaimed Bobby as he readied himself for battle.
“But…” the bewildered young woman began.
“Don’t worry, I can take these two goons! Just get out of here as fast as you can!”
“Bold words from a little boy with none of his friends around to help,” taunted Pietro.
“Want me to back them up? Fine! Here’s a trick I call the shriveler!” said Bobby in a determined tone.
Bobby Drake was in a tight spot. In front of him was Pietro Maximoff, a speed demon from the Brotherhood who could literally run circles around anybody. Behind him was his twin sister Wanda Maximoff, who had the power to manipulate probabilities and cast destructive hex bolts. They also happened to be Magneto’s offspring. Together they were a formidable force. They already made their presence known. Wanda used her hexing powers to blow out every lamp around them and Pietro used his speed to make a whirlwind to disorient them. Now they set their sights on Lorna and he was not going to let it happen.
Taking a deep breath, Iceman collected the moisture around him and created a dense cloud around his hands. Then with a hard grunt, he unleashed a fury of wind, snow, and cold right at Pietro. The speedster didn’t try and take it. He quickly ran off to his right to avoid the blast, but Bobby showed some resilience in his ability to direct his power and was able to blow him off course a bit. Soon he wasn’t moving so fast anymore. He had to slow down to shield his eyes from the blinding cold. But he kept moving, knowing he couldn’t afford to stay frozen.
“I-I-Is that the b-b-best you can d-d-do?!” bellowed Pietro through the storm.
“You want colder? You got it!”
Bobby stepped up his assault, guiding his power in a wide arc so he could keep Pietro from running out of range. During his attack, Wanda came to her brother’s aid. She attempted to attack while his back was turned, throwing a hex at him to stunt his powers. But Bobby knew she was still behind him and formed a block of ice around his back that took the blunt end of the blow.
“Not this time Miss Scarlet Skank!” said Iceman, “I learned my lesson in Detroit! I’m not playing your odds this time!”
“This doesn’t involve you or the X-men! This is a personal affair!” barked Wanda, her hands still glowing, “You’re just in the way!”
“And here I was thinking you Brotherhood goons were tougher!” taunted the young X-man, “I’m not just an obstacle! I’m a pissed off boyfriend! Let’s see you re-work those odds!”
The young Iceman pushed himself harder than he usually did. This wasn’t just a mission. This was him protecting his new girlfriend. To make sure Wanda didn’t try that hexing trick of hers again he shot a round of icicles from his shoulders that forced Wanda to back off.
“Augh! The boy’s been training,” mused Wanda, “He must really like this girl.”
She was about to attack Bobby again when she saw Lorna running full speed away from the chaos. Apparently she took her new boyfriend’s advice and didn’t stick around for the fight. But she wouldn’t get far. Rather than let their petty rivalry with the X-men slow her down, Wanda stuck to the plan.
“Oh no you don’t! You’re not getting out of this that easily!” said the Scarlet Witch in a determined tone.
“Lorna! Don’t look back!” Bobby called out, “Keep running! I’ll protect you!”
“You think playing hero is going to impress her? You’re pathetic!” scoffed Quicksilver as he ran back around and got in closer to obstruct Iceman’s aim, “If you have any sense you’ll leave Lorna to her proper role!”
“Lucky for you, I’m a C-student!” grunted Iceman as he tried to redirect his blast, “But whatever her role is, it sure as hell isn’t with you two!”
“If you know anything about her you already know how wrong you are!”
Their taunting gave the Scarlet Witch the window she needed. With Pietro still keeping Iceman occupied she went after Lorna. She was wearing boots while her target was wearing sandals. She had equipment and stamina on her side. There was no way she could get away. Lorna was definitely no X-man. She was a scared teenage girl caught up in something she didn’t understand. But there was no escaping. Her fate was tied to theirs whether she liked it or not.
For Lorna, it was all happening so fast. She hesitated at first, but listened to Bobby and ran. She remembered him telling her about these people. They were part of the Brotherhood of Mutants. They had a very aggressive worldview on mutants and their place in society and it was a view she wanted no part of. But what really concerned her wasn’t that they called her out. It was that they mentioned her mother. She couldn’t allow her to get involved. She couldn’t allow these people to take her away.
‘I was afraid of this! Why does this have to happen now?! Why couldn’t they just leave me alone?! I don’t want to be part of this fight! I can’t…I won’t!’
While Wanda ran after Lorna, Bobby was struggling to keep his blizzard up. Pietro wouldn’t hold still and the only way to keep him from using his speed to overwhelm him was to keep the winds blowing. But he couldn’t keep it up forever. His power had limits and Pietro wasn’t showing any signs of fatigue. He needed help and he needed it fast. So while keeping the blizzard up with one hand he hit the emergency signal button on his belt. Hopefully Warren was still close by and could get here before things got ugly.
Westside Sports Bar – Westchester
Jean and Logan’s date continued going well as the night progressed. After a drink and a light snack, they left the Westside Sports Bar having had their fill of food for the evening. Jean just had some chips while Logan gulped down a couple of beers. He promised to go easy on the liquor, but with a healing factor and untold years of experience he couldn’t help but sneak in a few extra sips. Jean made it clear she wasn’t much of a drinker. She only did so on occasion and she chose not to for tonight. That was just fine with Logan though. At least one of them had to stay sober.
As they walked back out onto the streets of Westchester, they noticed the crowds and traffic dying down a bit. It was getting late and they had to start thinking about when they were going to turn in. Logan didn’t seem like he was slowing down. He was never much for sleep anyways. But Jean didn’t want to get too tired. So long as Logan was her boyfriend, she had to keep up with him and that meant pushing herself a little. So to keep things active, she talked about some of her experiences around the area. There were many stories to tell and a few caught Logan’s attention.
“So you come here often with the others?” he asked as they began making their way back to the parking lot.
“Once in a while,” she shrugged, “We don’t come to this place in particular, but since I know you have a thing for pubs and sports bars I figured this would be better.”
“You know me well,” he grinned.
“I’ve been in your head. I have a feel for your tastes,” quipped Jean coyly, “The owner here knows us and doesn’t have a problem with mutants so long as we don’t visibly use our powers. But as you can imagine, that’s easier said than done.”
“I’ll bet. Sucks for a guy like Warren. It ain’t like he can just tuck those wings of his away. And I know Iceboy can’t help himself sometimes,” he snickered.
“We can only try,” she sighed, “Although lately, we haven’t been able to go out as a group that much. Between class, training, and missions there just isn’t enough time. Guess that’s the price you pay for being an X-man.”
“But is it worth it?”
“Definitely,” said Jean without hesitation.
Logan smiled in approval. Even with all the trouble and sacrifices that came with doing what the X-men do, Jean Grey didn’t shy away from it. She knew the risks, she knew what she was getting into, and she still did it. That showed toughness and dedication. It was something she shared with all the X-men. He had seen a lot of it since he arrived and only recently was he really starting to understand it.
“You’re a bold girl, Jeannie.”
“Don’t I have to be to date a guy like you?” she smirked as she leaned closer.
“Nah, but it sure helps. Bet the other guys you dated couldn’t measure up.”
“You’d be surprised. I have a way of getting through to tough, powerful men,” said Jean seductively.
“Can’t say I’m surprised,” said the feral mutant with a dirty grin, “Being in the X-men, I bet you’ve had your share, eh?”
“You would think that, but you would be wrong,” sighed Jean, “Relationships are hard. Relationships when you’re an X-man are damn near impossible. To be honest I haven’t had many worth mentioning.”
“A girl as beautiful as you? I find that hard to believe,” said Logan.
“I appreciate the flattery, but it’s true. Most of my teen years were spent just catching up on all the time I missed when I was practically living out of mental wards. In fact, I’ve only had one other serious relationship before I met you.”
“Just one? That’s it?”
“That’s it,” she affirmed.
Logan seemed curious. Jean had a feeling this would come up eventually. She wasn’t going to hide it. Logan deserved to know. But it was a fairly complicated subject, one that she wasn’t comfortable talking about this early in their relationship. Yet that didn’t stop him from seeking additional details.
“Was it pretty hot and heavy?” Logan probed.
“I’d say so,” said Jean with another coy grin, “But that’s another story and I don’t think you want to hear me tell stories about my ex. Not unless you want to start talking about your old girlfriends.”
“Hey, if my memory wasn’t so screwed up I’d fill you in,” grinned Logan, “I still find it hard to believe you’ve only had one other guy. I took you for a girl not afraid to put herself out there.”
“I’m not. I just never felt the need to get into serious relationships. I live in a house with a bunch of guys. I get all the male companionship I can handle.”
“Do you mean all the companionship?” he asked with a lecherous grin.
“Get your head out of the gutter. I’m not that kind of girl,” she scolded as she gave him a playful swat, “But it’s true. I don’t really seek out relationships. The one I did have found me. The rest of the time I made due hanging out with the others. They always appreciated my company.”
“They damn well ought to. But I still ain’t convinced you didn’t feel the least bit lonely for more intimate company if ya know what I mean.”
Jean blushed at the subtext of his words, but shrugged it off.
“Believe it or not, I just never had that problem. My friends gave me all the company I needed. And if I ever wanted to really talk or something, Scott was always there for me. He’s the one who makes time when no one else can. That’s part of why we’re such close friends.”
“Close friends…right,” he muttered.
Logan shifted at the mention of Scott. It seemed whenever Jean talked about him it didn’t sit right. They still didn’t get along. Scott still shot him a dirty look every now and then, especially when Jean was around. It was annoying, but he could care less what he thought. It was when Jean talked about him with that look in her eye that he really didn’t like him. She always brushed it off, but it still bugged him.
“Oh don’t give me that look,” said Jean, who noticed his demeanor, “Honestly, do I have to get the third degree from you every time Scott enters the conversation?”
“I didn’t bring him up. You did,” Logan argued as they stopped halfway into the parking lot.
“Yet you always tense whenever I talk about him. I know you two don’t get along, but should that affect us?”
“I don’t know, should it?”
“I can’t help it. It bothers the shit out of me,” he said in a crass tone, “Every time you talk about you and Scott bein’ such good friends I get a little annoyed. From what you’ve told me it sounds like you were really dating the guy or something.”
“It was never like that!” said Jean defensively.
“You sure? I ain’t psychic, but I’m pretty good at reading people. I’ve seen how you are when you’re around Cyke and I gotta tell ya I’m not linkin’ what I see.”
Jean fell silent. Logan clearly must be seeing something because the look on his face was too serious to ignore. They had this conversation before. Early on in their relationship Logan called her out on her friendship with Scott. He asked her how deep it was and she answered the same way she answered everybody who brought it up. She and Scott were just friends. There were many who doubted her. Sometimes she even doubted herself. But she convinced herself that friendship was as far as it went. Convincing others, however, wasn’t as easy.
“Please Logan…I don’t want to argue about this,” she said sincerely, “I’m with you. I’m not going to throw myself at someone else, best friend or no best friend. That’s not who I am. Don’t you believe me?”
Logan signed and muttered a slight curse. That look in her eyes had a way of working him over.
“Of course I believe you, Jeannie. It’s just hard as hell to ignore sometimes.”
“I wish it wasn’t. It’s just…complicated. Scott and I have a history together and it’s not something I can just up and ignore. All I can say is I’ll try to make it easier as much as I can. But only if you try as well,” she said.
“I already am trying.”
“So we’ll try harder. I don’t want to complicate things between us any more than you do. But if we want to keep what we have, we have to do our part,” said Jean as she moved in closer.
There was a deep sincerity in her tone. His hard expression shifted as she slipped her arms around his neck and sank into his grasp. He inhaled her heavenly scent that gave him such a warm feeling inside. He wasn’t used to feeling such things, but he grew to enjoy them. They weren’t going to solve the whole her and Scott issue no matter how much it bothered him so for now he set that aside. If Jeannie was going to try than so was he. He owed her as such.
“You know how to work a man over, darlin’,” he said in a low tone.
“It’s what I do,” she said playfully, “Now are we going to kiss and make up?”
“You even gotta ask?”
They leaned in to kiss, hoping to put this little argument behind them. It seemed petty, getting worked up about Jean being so close to Scott. They both wanted this relationship. If it took some extra effort to make it work, so be it.
Jean’s lips were about to touch his when suddenly Logan caught a familiar scent. And before Jean could react he shifted into full battle mode, protectively jumping out in front of her and drawing his adamantium claws.
“Get back!” he ordered as he began frantically scanning the parking lot.
“Huh? Logan what’s gotten into…”
“He’s here! I know that smell anywhere!” growled the Wolverine.
“Who’s here? I don’t sense anything,” argued Jean, annoyed that he was going off like this at such a meaningful moment.
“Trust me, he’s here! Sabretooth’s here and he’s close! And he’s not getting away this time!”
The former living weapon shifted into full predatory mode. Sniffing the air again, Logan followed it towards the west end of the parking lot. He leapt atop cars and speed full speed towards the source of the scent. He was operating on pure instinct. Few scents could set him off like this, but this was definitely one of them. He remembered it vividly from the frozen forests of Canada. He pursued him there and led him right into a trap. And if he was near again that could only mean he was here to finish what he started. Only this time, Logan wasn’t going to let that happen.
“Logan! Logan, get back here!” yelled Jean as she began running after him.
But he wouldn’t listen. Wolverine was long gone and out for blood. Jean stumbled a bit at first, but quickly ran to catch up with him before he did something foolish.
“Damn heels! So much for a quiet off night!”
The young woman grunted in frustration as she pursued her ill-tempered boyfriend. She stopped for a moment to remove her heels, which were not equipped for running. She didn’t understand why it would happen now of all times. Just when it seemed like she and Logan were making some headway into a few major issues, this came up. Either he was trying to avoid it or something really wrong was going down. She didn’t sense any hostile thoughts, but Logan must be sensing something else. Whatever it was, it better be serious because he would get some serious scolding on her part if he let something minor get in the way of their date.
Good Times Nightclub
While everyone else was out on dates or building new relationships, Warren Worthington III chose a simpler way to spend an off night. At the behest of the Professor, he did what he figured normal people did on their off night. He drove downtown to a high end nightclub, one where it cost a lot just to get in and even more to get a halfway decent drink. It wasn’t too exclusive, but still decent in terms of ambience. It also didn’t have a whole lot of thugs or shady figures, making it a nice change of pace.
Warren was still wary of going out. For someone with money and looks, he hardly fit the role of a billionaire playboy. He usually wasn’t inclined to go out before to make friends, meet girls, and what not. He had some major personal reasons for doing so, but even without those reasons his mutation was always an obstacle. The others, especially Bobby and Jean, encouraged him to put himself out there. It was never easy. Some people just couldn’t handle him being a mutant. Others weren’t turned off, but were so intrigued by it they didn’t bother getting to know him. It was a hard way to make relationships, but at clubs like this money went a long ways towards respect. So long as his father didn’t cut off his bank accounts he might as well use it.
He was sitting at the bar looking out over the dance floor as several dozen people moved and grooved to the music. They were all in trendy clothes with elaborate moves. He was in a dress shirt and genes with wings sticking out his back. Needless to day he felt a little left out. When a couple a few men passed him they shot him a dirty look, indicating they didn’t approve of his presence here. But he just smiled and rose his glass to them and kept to himself.
“Friendly place,” he mused dryly, “You’d think a hundred dollar cover charge would buy some manners around here.”
Warren leaned back against the bar and scanned the dance floor. A couple of women caught his attention. One was an attractive brunette who had been dancing with a couple of macho-looking guys. The other was a cute looking Asian girl with dyed blonde hair and a very athletic-looking figure. He watched them say something to one another over the music, hinting they were friends or something. Then they both slipped out from the dance floor and approached him.
“Hey,” said the brunette casually.
“Hey,” Warren replied casually, flashing her a winning smile.
“Are those real wings?” she asked him.
“Depends…is purple you’re real eye color?”
“If I said no would you tell me the truth?”
“No, I would have told you the truth either way. I just wanted to toy with you,” said Warren dryly.
The two girls laughed, which was a good sign.
“Yes, they’re real,” he told them, “Go ahead and see for yourself.”
The two girls eagerly reached out and felt around his feathers. They were a bit careful at first, but they quickly grew more intrigued. Warren even flapped them a bit to prove his point.
“Wow! I knew it! Told you,” the brunette told her girlfriend.
“Big deal,” said the cute Asian begrudgingly, “So does that mean you’re one of those mutants?”
“That depends…” said Warren mischievously.
“On what? Are you toying with us again?” she said in a bemused tone.
“No, I’m serious. If I said yes would you run away screaming and yelling, calling for the nearest bouncer to beat the pulp out of me even though I’ve done absolutely nothing to threaten or offend you?”
The girls were silent for a moment. Warren really baited them with that, but it was a valid concern. He already got enough nasty looks since he walked in. He had to be sure this wasn’t just a ploy, even if it meant being a little harsh with introductions.
“No, we wouldn’t run,” assured the cute Asian, “We just never met a real mutant before and you’re nothing like the ones we see on TV.”
“The mutants they show on TV aren’t mutants. They’re just psychos who happen to be mutants,” said Warren, “Most mutants like myself are pretty normal. We just have a few extra talents.”
“Do those talents include flying?” said the brunette as she touched his feathers again, “I’ve always fantasized about being able to fly like a bird.”
“Well sit back and have a drink with me and I might tell you what it’s like. I can say first hand that it’s everything you’ve fantasized about, only a hundred times better.”
That got a big smile from both girls. They didn’t even know his name and already they were interested. And they weren’t just interested, they were open. Professor Xavier always taught how change begins with one person at a time. It just so happened that these minds belonged to two attractive women.
“Deal!” said the brunette, “You’re alright for a mutant.”
“Yeah…cute too,” said the Asian, who leaned in closer to him, “So what’s your name?”
Warren grinned, enjoying the presence of having two beautiful women so close to him. This little night out was panning out pretty well so far. If he could keep these girls interested it might turn out even better. He was still noticeably awkward though. Something about this still felt off. It always did, even when women were drawn to him. It was another part of those same reasons why he didn’t go out much, but for the sake of trying to be normal he set it aside.
He was about to tell them his name. Then the emergency communicator on his belt went off.
“What’s that?” said the brunette in a started tone, “Is that another one of your mutant powers?”
“No, it’s just my phone,” he said begrudgingly, “Hold on girls, I have to take this.”
Warren groaned to himself as he got up and moved to a more quiet part of the club. He was afraid something like this would happen. He finds himself between two beautiful women willing to get to know him and something comes up. But seeing as how it was on the emergency line, he couldn’t afford to ignore it. As much as he wanted to have a good time tonight, his X-men duties still came first.
“An X-man’s work is never done,” he sighed, “Somebody better be dying or in serious trouble,”
“Come on, Iceman! I could do this all night!” yelled Pietro through the icy blizzard.
“I’m just getting warmed up, Quicksilver!” shot Bobby, who had been going at it full strength for nearly ten minutes.
“Childish puns won’t make your aim any better!”
“Acting all Magneto-lite won’t help you either!”
The middle of Central Park was fast becoming a winter wonderland as Iceman continued to fight off Quicksilver. The speedy mutant just wouldn’t leave him alone and kept taunting and harassing him while Wanda ran after Lorna. Bobby knew he had to get to her, but Quicksilver was not about to let him through. He was too fast for him to hit and too agile to freeze. He attempted to freeze the ground to make him slip, but he wisely avoided paved surfaces and flat areas. The grass was his best ally, allowing him to get good traction even in deep snow. And the more Bobby kept up his assault, the more he exhausted himself.
“Gotta…take him…out!” he grunted.
He was nearing his limits. The young mutant was breathing hard and his hands were shaking. But Pietro showed no signs of slowing down. He could sense the force of his blasts waning. The wind and snow wasn’t coming at him as quickly and he wasn’t able to follow the speedy mutant as easily. He eventually had to stop his assault and start firing in short bursts. This gave Pietro the window he needed. He stopped running around in circles and started moving into attack. Bobby started backing away, still trying to maintain a high rate of fire. But it wasn’t enough.
Finally, Quicksilver reached him. He tried getting off one last icy shot, but he was able to run up behind him and put him in a choke hold. This kid had resolve. He used a lot more power than he expected in trying to protect this girl. But it wasn’t enough.
“That’s quite enough from you, Iceboy,” taunted Pietro as he held the younger mutant in a tight grip.
“It’s Iceman you lame excuse for a daddy’s boy!” quipped Bobby.
“I suggest you calm down! This issue is of no concern to you or the X-men!”
“If it involves Lorna, it concerns me! What the hell do you want with her anyways?”
Pietro scoffed. This kid really was a fool.
“Isn’t it obvious? Oh wait I forgot who I was talking to!”
Now Bobby was really angry. Not only wouldn’t he give him some answers, but he was flat out insulting him. This was supposed to be a beautiful night for him and Lorna. The Brotherhood was ruining it, but he refused to let them come between him and his girl. And if they wouldn’t give him answers, then he would just have to do without them.
He continually struggled to break free from Pietro’s grip. He may not have been as strong as Blob, but he knew how to keep him in a bind. For once, Bobby wished he hadn’t skipped out on weight training. But if he could handle training sessions with Wolverine he could handle this.
“You’re just making it harder on yourself!” said the speedster, “Relax a little while longer until Wanda finishes up with Lorna.”
“Now what kind of boyfriend would I be if I did that?” smirked Bobby.
Shaking one of his arms free, Iceman elbowed Quicksilver right in the gut. The speedster let out a pained grunt and fell back. Then Bobby went in for an attack of his own, throwing a three punch combo and an uppercut to knock him to the snowy ground. He may have skipped the weight room, but he didn’t skip combat training. Now on the ground, the speedster was vulnerable. Bobby charged up for an ice blast to freeze him. But Pietro quickly recovered.
“Augh! Little punk!” he said as she shot up.
Just as Bobby released the ice blast, he dashed out of the way at breakneck speeds. He then swirled back around and charged Bobby at full speed. If he wouldn’t cooperate he would just have to take him out.
“This ends now!” shouted Pietro.
“Couldn’t agree more,” said Bobby.
Quicksilver moved in for the knock-out punch, but just before he did Bobby formed a large ice shield on his arm and held it up right in the path of the oncoming mutant. Even Pietro didn’t have time to react. He threw his punch only to have his fist come in contact with rock hard ice. The sickening cracking sound of bones breaking stopped him in his tracks and he grabbed his hand in agony.
“Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! My hand!” howled Quicksilver.
“Wow, that looks bad. Better put some ice on it!”
With a crystal clear shot, Bobby fired an ice beam right at the speedster. It hit him right in the chest and knocked him back against a tree, freezing him right to it and effectively immobilizing him. Now the pain in his hand was the least of his concerns. Iceman clearly got the better of him and now nothing stood in his way from going after Lorna.
“Just chill out for a moment. I gotta go save my girl!” said Bobby with renewed determination.
“Stop! You don’t know what you’re getting into! Lorna is our responsibility! She can’t be with you! You hear me?!” exclaimed Pietro as he fought to break free from the ice.
“When people start to whine my ears go offline,” retorted Iceman, “Lorna’s my girl! You’re not keeping her from me!”
Ignoring Pietro’s eccentric warnings, Bobby formed an ice slide and rode it in the direction Lorna ran off to. He had to move fast because there was no telling what kind of lies and trickery they would try to pull on her. He refused to lose Lorna to the Brotherhood. He didn’t care what kind of connection she had to Magneto and the Brotherhood. He was his girlfriend and he had to save her.
While Bobby’s fight with Pietro was just ending, Lorna’s fight was still going strong. She quickly found out that she couldn’t outrun Wanda. The older woman was trained better and grew up chasing after a hyperactive twin brother so she had to improvise. Lorna quickly veered off the paved sidewalks and took cover in the trees. But Central Park was no heavily wooded forest. There weren’t many places she could hide and Wanda was never far behind.
“You’re just making this harder on yourself, Lorna!” Wanda called out, “Come on out and we can get this over with. I don’t want to hurt you, but I will if you force me to.”
“Leave me alone! I don’t want to hear anything you people have to say!” she exclaimed.
“Trust me, you want to hear this. You can’t afford not to.”
“Trust you? I don’t even know you!”
“But we know you…better than you think!” said the Scarlet Witch ominously.
Everything about this girl didn’t sit well with Lorna. But at the same time she couldn’t help but wonder what this message was. They clearly weren’t here to kidnap her or hurt her. But they weren’t afraid to show a little force. Bobby told her about how the Brotherhood of Mutants worked and so far they were doing everything he described. They were using force to show they were serious and not letting anything get in their way. She even saw Wanda brush aside a few unlucky figures who passed her by with hex bolts. She also shattered a few more street lamps. There was just no stopping her.
Lorna eventually ran up over a hill and took cover behind a tree. She could still hear Wanda coming, but she needed to catch her breath. It seemed like the only way to get away from her now was to fight back. She had no training and no fighting experience. Her mother always told her to avoid fighting at all costs even though her powers put her at an advantage. But this was one instance where avoidance would do her no good.
“Stop hiding, Lorna. I can uproot this whole park if I have to,” threatened the Scarlet Witch.
She sounded serious. Hiding behind a tree wouldn’t offer her much protection one way or another so she scanned the area for options. Her eyes quickly fell upon a bench with metal frames and a couple lamp posts. It wasn’t much, but it would have to do.
“Here goes nothing,” she said, taking a deep breath.
Wanda was suddenly startled by the sound of metal being warped and bent by an unseen force. She looked over to see a bench and a street lamp speeding towards her. It was just like an assault her father would do, only with much less force behind it. She avoided it by jumping out of the way of the bench and using her hex bolts to stop the lamp post in mid flight. When Lorna felt this, her face contorted in discomfort. She never had to face resistance like this when she moved metal and Wanda was much more experienced.
“Nice try! But the Brotherhood always comes prepared!” grunted the Scarlet Witch.
“Ahhh!” cried Lorna, falling to the ground and exposing her position.
With the younger girl in her sights, Wanda then stepped it up. Using her hexing powers she systematically disassembling the lamp post piece-by-piece until it was a pile of warped scrap. Then she rose up the bench that Lorna flung at her and tore it apart as well. She went on to warp the metal frame into a claw-like shape and then threw it over towards Lorna.
When Lorna saw it she immediately shot up and tried to run away, but it was moving too fast. She barely took two steps before it wrapped itself around her body and pulled her back towards Wanda. And in order to make sure she didn’t run again, it pinned her to a nearby tree. She tried to push it off with her magnetic powers, but Wanda’s hexing abilities were too strong. Now at her mercy, Wanda approached with a serious look on her face. Nothing was going to stop her now.
“That’s better. Now let’s get this over with,” said Wanda.
“Let me go!” she demanded as she struggled, “I told you I don’t want to hear it!”
“You don’t get a say in the matter. I know that sounds harsh, but that’s how we do things.”
“Couldn’t you just send me an email or leave me a letter? Why do you have to do this to me?!”
“This is too serious a matter. Our leader, who also happens to be my father, told me specifically to deliver a message. Once you hear what I have to say you’ll have a choice to make. And if I were you I’d take it seriously!”
“A choice? What kind of a choice?” said Lorna as she continued to struggle.
“An important choice,” answered Wanda, “But first, here’s the message. You’re mother will be soon giving you some very bad news.”
“Bad news? About what?!”
“That I can’t tell you. All I can say is that the news will leave the both of you with few options…none of which are pleasant. And my father has no desire to see that. So on his behalf I’m giving you a way out. Leave this all behind and come with us. We can give you what no one else will. We can save you and your mother even in your darkest hour.”
Lorna wasn’t sure what to make of it. The older woman was very careful to be cryptic with her words. It was as if she was trying not to reveal something. But what stood out most was the mention of her mother. What kind of news would be so devastating that it would leave them so vulnerable? And moreover, how did they know? Her mother didn’t keep secrets from her. She had to be leading her on.
“And why should I believe you?” she said harshly, “You come here, interrupt my date, and chain me to a tree and expect me to take your seriously?”
“Look, it wasn’t my idea to do it like this. I’m just doing what my father tells me,” said Wanda impatiently.
“Your father sounds like an asshole!”
Wanda suppressed a light chuckle. There were times she thought that too, but now was not the time to dwell on that issue.
“Maybe to you, but he does everything for a reason,” Wanda defended, “Consider this little intrusion as proof that the X-men can’t protect you. Getting close to any of them, especially romantically, would be a mistake. Their days are numbered and Magneto has no desire to see you caught in the crossfire.”
“But why me?!”
“Oh don’t tell me you haven’t figured it out! It’s because-ahhhhhhh!”
Suddenly she was cut off. While focused intently on Lorna, something grabbed her by the shoulders and lifted her high up into the air at great speed. The next thing she knew she was flying high over the cityscape of New York. She was so high up it made her dizzy. Then she looked above her to see what happened. Warren Worthington III, better known as Angel, had just swooped in and grabbed her. It not only cut her off at a pivotal moment, but annoyed her to no end.
“You!” she exclaimed as she started struggling, “Let me go you feathered fool! Let me go!”
“I’d be more than happy to, Wanda. But I wouldn’t recommend it. We’re pretty high up and concrete is pretty hard last I checked.”
Wanda looked down and realized he was right. Letting her go this high up was probably not the smartest thing to demand. She was powerful, but even she couldn’t suspend the law of gravity.
“I’d also keep those hex bolts to yourself,” added Warren, “Unless, of course, you want me to drop you. And this time I may not be so inclined to swoop down and save you.”
“I hate you,” muttered Wanda.
“Join the club. We’ve got our own hats and T-shirts,” he quipped.
While Warren kept Wanda and her hexing powers away from the fight, Lorna freed herself from her metal confines with a quick magnetic burst. She was reeling from the chase and the cryptic message the mysterious girl delivered. Even though Bobby warned her that the Brotherhood was notoriously deceptive, there was something in this girl’s eyes that seemed sincere. She seriously meant what she said, but that still wasn’t proof that any of it was true.
That didn’t stop Lorna from wondering. What if there really was something her mother was keeping from her? She didn’t want to believe it, but she wasn’t so naïve to think that parents weren’t above lying to their kids. Her mother was no saint. She admitted that constantly. But what could be so devastating that these people would show up in the middle of her date and press her with something like this? She couldn’t help but wonder.
As Lorna leaned against a nearby tree, Bobby came riding in on an ice slide. When he saw her he leapt down and approached her, de-icing in the process. He didn’t see Wanda around, but he remained vigilant.
“Lorna! Lorna, are you okay?” he asked, running up and embracing her.
“I…I’m fine, Bobby,” she told him in a shaky tone.
“Where’s Wanda? Did she hurt you?”
“No, she just trapped me and told me all this stuff about my mom and how I shouldn’t trust you. Then some guy with wings came down and just scooped her up.”
“That would be Warren. Always keen on timing,” said Bobby, smiling in relief, “Then it’s over now. You’re safe.”
He hugged her tightly and she hugged back. She felt a lot better now that he was here, but at the same time she was anxious. Something told her this wasn’t the end.
“What exactly did they want from you? Did she say why?” asked Bobby intently.
“No, but…” she began.
Then she was cut off by a sharp gust of wind that blew by along with a white blur. It didn’t take much for Bobby to realize it was Quicksilver again. Apparently he didn’t freeze him enough.
“Don’t tell me you don’t know the answer to that, Iceman! Magneto never passes up a chance to rough you guys on a mission!” taunted the speedster, “Keeps you on your toes.”
“Back off, Quicksilver! You’re not taking her!” shot Bobby as he protectively stood in front of Lorna.
“Who said anything about taking her? She’s coming to us voluntarily, isn’t that right?”
“I think that block of ice froze your frontal lobe, Quicksilver! You must be brain damaged or something!” spat Bobby.
“It’s true!” said the speedster ominously, “She got the message from Wanda! She knows she’s telling the truth! I can see it in her eyes! You know the choice you have to make, Lorna! So choose! Come with us!”
Bobby turned to Lorna with a bewildered look. He couldn’t have just heard right. What could they say to her that would possibly make her go to them voluntarily?
The speedy mutant stared down Lorna with an ominous look in his eye. He figured Wanda had gotten to her and told her what Magneto said to tell her. It looked like she was conflicted. She looked at Bobby and then back at him. A lot was clearly going through her head. But in the end she stayed behind Bobby.
“No…I won’t,” said Lorna sternly.
Bobby breathed a sigh of relief while Pietro groaned.
“Figures,” sighed Quicksilver.
“See Pie-brain? She’s not going to fall for your tricks. She’s got more brain cells than your typical Brotherhood recruits so you can go tell Magneto where to stick that bucket of his!”
“Don’t be so sure, Iceman. Father had a feeling this would happen. Seeing as how you’ve had time to sink your claws into her, I shouldn’t be surprised. But this isn’t the end.”
“What the hell are you talking about?” asked Bobby in confusion.
Pietro was about to retort with another cryptic taunt, but then Warren flew back down with Wanda in hand. It took some intense persuasion, but she got him to fly her back. She looked a little dizzy. Flying at high altitudes at high speeds will do that. But she was still focused on the mission and she heard enough of the conversation coming in to know that she had to intervene.
“Whatever you’re doing Pietro, don’t say another word!” ordered Wanda, “We’ve done enough. The mission is complete. Let’s go home.”
“Already? But Lorna hasn’t even…”
“Not another word!” she reiterated, “Understand?”
Pietro was forced to hold his tongue. Looking at Lorna and the two X-men standing beside her, it was probably wise not to drop anymore hints. If they got too suspicious, Magneto’s plans may be in trouble. They were just here to deliver a message and reinforce their point to their adversaries. They had done that now. As much as he wanted to continue taunting Bobby, he left it at that.
“Fine,” sighed the speedster.
“Being bossed around by your sister? Wow, you’re a real tough guy Quicksilver,” commented Bobby with a snide grin.
Pietro was about to respond, but Wanda held him back.
“Grow up, Iceman. And Lorna…think about what I said.”
Lorna shifted anxiously as the Maximoff twins walked away, leaving a mix of confusion and annoyance in their wake. Bobby was steamed that they interrupted his date with Lorna. This was supposed to be their special night. Now she would remember it for all the wrong reasons. It felt like total bust and there was nothing he could do about it.
For Lorna, however, the date wasn’t as much concern as the words of Wanda’s cryptic message. She made it out to be just the beginning of something much more profound. It felt like a warning of sorts. They knew something she didn’t and once the truth was revealed, it would shatter her world. The thought of what it could be didn’t sit well. All she could do is wonder what kind of choice she would have to face.
“I’m sorry, Lorna. I guess this officially ruins our date,” said Bobby in a morose tone.
“Don’t say that, Bobby. It wasn’t your fault,” she said, reaching up to caress his face, “They obvious planned this. It was going to go wrong one way or another.”
“I wonder why,” mused Warren, “What could they be up to?”
“Beats me. But forget about that,” said Bobby, maintaining his focus on Lorna, “I don’t know what they told you, but you can’t let them pull you in. The Brotherhood will say anything to further their agenda and they don’t care who gets hurt in the process. And I don’t want that to happen to you.”
“I know. I don’t want it to happen to me either,” said Lorna distantly, “But…I just don’t know what to make of all this.”
“What did they tell you anyways?” asked Warren.
Lorna bit her lip. It was still too fresh in her mind and with so many conflicting thoughts going through her head, she wasn’t ready to get into it.
“I’d rather not talk about it,” she said.
“We’ll save it for another time then,” said Bobby, pulling her into an embrace, “But as for the rest of our date, I understand if you want me to take you home.”
Lorna thought about it for a moment. She was emotionally exhausted. Being home with her mother sounded very inviting right about now. But looking back at Bobby, she couldn’t let this one incident ruin this chance. She liked this boy and no message or cryptic threat would change that. Tonight showed just how determined he was to be with her. That more than anything showed her that Bobby Drake was special.
“No…let’s stay out a little longer. There’s still time to salvage everything.”
“Are you sure?” he asked nervously.
Lorna answered with a warm smile and then leaned in to plant a soft kiss on his lips. It caught Bobby totally off guard. He blushed bright red and Warren had to cover his mouth to keep himself from laughing.
“I’m sure,” she told him.
“Um…okay,” he said awkwardly.
“Wow, speechless already?” commented Warren.
“Shut up, Warren. Go back to your club hopping. I’ll call you when we need a pickup.”
“Whatever man,” shrugged the winged mutant, “But take your time. I’ve got some major business to get back to.”
Bobby smirked at his choice of words. He knew that was just code for flying around aimlessly through the night. It was all the business he ever did outside the X-men. It was a shame too. Being with Lorna gave him a new appreciation for female company. And as Warren flew off, he linked arms with his girl and walked off. He liked to think they faced their first challenge together tonight. He was still curious about what they told Lorna, but for now he was content to just be by her side. It felt like she needed him now and if he was to be her boyfriend it was his job to be there. If nothing else this night proved he could support her. That was a good first step towards building a relationship.
The Wolverine was on the hunt. Sabretooth’s scent was getting stronger with each corner he turned. It was just like when he woke up in Canada, only this time he had an urban jungle full of other scents to sift through. But he wouldn’t let that slow him down. This time he was going to find that fur ball and make him talk. He was clearly there and on the move. After picking up the scent in the parking lot, he followed it through a couple of alleys and across several streets. At times he had to shove people out of the way, leaving Jean to apologize to them so they didn’t cause a scene.
“Sorry! So sorry!” she said nervously to the people he knocked over, “Just running late, that’s all!”
Jean was getting increasingly frustrated. Logan picked a hell of a time to go on a warpath. He said he smelled Sabretooth, but she couldn’t sense a trace of him. She kept scanning and re-scanning, hoping to find something so she wouldn’t have to yell at her boyfriend for interrupting their date like this. But nothing was there.
Logan cut into another back alley and stopped to sniff the air. The scent was still strong, but the path was getting wider. It was a classic diversion trick. Now he knew he was closing in on Sabretooth because he was resorting to scattering his trail to keep away from him. But his acute sense of smell kept him hot on the trail. However, his momentary stoppage allowed Jean to catch up with him.
“Logan! Logan, slow down already!” she grunted, her feet stinging from having to run barefoot through the street.
“No time for that, Jeannie. He’s close! I can feel it!” growled Logan with his claws fully drawn.
“How can he be close? I’m still not picking up any thoughts!”
“How can you not?! He’s right here, damn it!”
“I’m telling you there’s nothing…”
But Logan didn’t give her a chance to finish. He was back on the move, having narrowed the trail of the scent. It led up this time. Sabretooth must have scaled the wall through a gutter pipe or something. Wolverine followed it up, using his claws to dig into the brick and climb up to the roof. Once there, he sniffed some more and followed it to the next building. Using his feral agility, he leapt across the narrow gab between buildings and followed his nose to the scent. It was still on the move, but he was closing in. He could feel it.
But as he chased the scent, it started conjuring up blurry memories. Many people say that scent is the strongest sense tied to memory and for Wolverine, that was especially true. Only these memories weren’t clear or vivid. They were flashes of him and Sabretooth from a time in the past. For a moment he was transported back to a cold, snowy woods at night. He recalled dogs barking and masked men with guns in jeeps surrounding them with heavy armaments. Beside him was Sabretooth and he could still make out his gruff voice in the back of his mind.
“You messed up big time, ol’ buddy. Of all the nut jobs you could have jumped in bed with, you just had to pick the worst didn’t you?”
“Can it, Creed! You think I planned this?”
“I don’t know, Logan, did you? They wanted both of us. There’s gotta be a reason, but shit if I know what it is.”
“I don’t give a damn what the reason is! I ain’t goin’ nowhere with them! Especially not with you!”
“Ha! You always were good company, Wolverine.”
It all went blank after that. He remembered talking to Creed, but not as an ally or a friend. But he wasn’t an enemy either. There was something else going on. And he had a feeling Sabretooth knew what it was. Why else would he have been with Weapon X when they abducted him in Canada? He must be working for them. But if his memories were accurate that didn’t make a lot of sense. Why would he help them if they attacked the both of them? There had to be a reason. The only way to find out was find him and beat the truth out of him among other things.
From building to building, he leapt. The Wolverine had his scent, but just when he thought he was closing in it started to fade. He sniffed more intently and ran faster, shimming up a drainage pipe and leaping atop a small water tower to get a better view of the landscape.
“Where are you?!” he shouted into the night.
He scanned every direction, his acute eyesight looking for any trace of his wayward rival. He saw nothing so he turned to his nose, but the scent kept fading. At first he thought it was going northwest, but then the wind came in and blew it to the east. He tried to compensate, but then it faded even more. He leapt down from the water tower and ran to the edge of the building, trying to zoom in on the scent. But it was no use. He couldn’t pick it up again. It was as if it just disappeared. The frustration brought back even more memories. This time they were of him and Sabretooth in a jungle-like area fighting off soldiers bearing more Weapon X emblems.
“Creed! Creed, you son-of-a-bitch, you sold me out!”
“What did you expect, Logan? You betrayed me! You left me for dead!”
“I didn’t leave you for anything you overgrown fur ball! You brought it all on yourself!”
“No! It was all you, Wolverine! It was always about you! And if I go down this time I’m taking you with me!”
The flashbacks stopped and Logan was left with nothing but a fading scent. He kept sniffing the air, but it was no use. Sabretooth’s scent was gone. It just disappeared as if it were never there. It didn’t make any sense. He knew what he smelled. Could his mind be playing tricks on him? He wasn’t the most mentally stable person in the world, but he wasn’t crazy. Other forces must have been at work and they got the better of him. All he could do now was growl in frustration.
“Damn it! I know you’re out there, Sabretooth! Stop running and face me! I’m right here!”
But as he bellowed his threats into the empty night sky, Jean rose up from the building via telekinetic flight. She saw the intense look in his eyes. He wasn’t quite in berserker mode, but he was close. She had to calm him down.
“Logan please! Stop this madness!” she exclaimed.
“He was here! I know he was!” he growled, his claws still drawn, “His scent was strong, but then it just…”
Wolverine trailed off as he finally caught up to himself. He was still breathing hard, the adrenaline flowing through his veins at full steam. But he managed to calm himself down using the techniques Professor Xavier and Jean had taught him. Eventually he withdrew his claws and leaned against the ledge of the roof. Jean floated down next to him and he felt her scolding eyes on him. She was clearly a little upset he ran off.
“Don’t look at me like that. I know what I smelled!” said Logan strongly.
“I believe you. But did you have to be so hot-headed and run off on me?” she scolded.
“Sorry Jeannie, but when I got a whiff of Sabretooth a lot of bad memories came rushing back! And these aren’t the kind of memories you can just brush off!”
“That’s an excuse! Not a reason!”
“Maybe not to you, but it is to me!” roared Logan.
“Is it reason enough to run away from everything the X-men have been helping you with?” Jean retorted.
“It’s Sabretooth, damn it! What more do you need?”
“Then I guess it’s reason enough to run away from me as well!”
Logan froze at her harsh words, which had a touch of hurt in her tone. He finally found himself settling, fighting off the raging thoughts and memories that were associated with Sabretooth. Looking at his upset girlfriend, he realized just how foolish he had been. This woman had gone out of her way to help and he was making it look as though it was all for nothing. This girl deserved better than that.
A few tense moments passed as Logan calmed down. Jean still looked pretty mad. That scold of hers didn’t fade. Normally Logan couldn’t care less what other people thought of his actions. But Jean was different. She was his girlfriend. He couldn’t just brush it off.
“Shit…I’m sorry, Jeannie,” he muttered, “Does that help?”
“It’s a start.”
“So how long are you gonna be mad at me?” he asked.
“That depends,” replied Jean, folding her arms in annoyance, “Are you going to explain yourself?”
“I’m tellin’ you he was there! I know that stench anywhere! We never finished what we started in Canada! He knows something and he’s tryin’ to draw me out, knowin’ I’ll fight him for answers! This must be his way of messing with me!”
“Well I guess it worked like a charm,” retorted Jean.
Logan fell silent and so did Jean. This was just the kind of baggage Logan warned her about when they first hooked up. She expected moments like this to come up, but hoped he would do his part to keep it from interrupting them when they were having a moment. But old habits die hard. Logan was still very much driven by his quest for answers. One scent was all it took to put him back in that state of mind.
Logan kept staring out into the distance, knowing somewhere out there Sabretooth was there probably taunting him. Jean sighed, her angry look fading as she moved in closer to him. She took his hand in hers, which helped calm him down a bit more. He was well aware of what he did. He was just more stubborn about it than she hoped he would be.
“Look, I’m sorry if this ruins our date, Jean,” said Logan in a calmer tone, “But ya can’t expect me to just up and ignore something like this when it comes along.”
“I know. You’re only human,” she sighed.
“Mostly, at least,” he added.
“No, not just mostly…completely,” said Jean strongly, “I know you think Weapon X robbed you of everything, but you still have a lot to hold onto. Your past is important, but so is the present. I just worry that you’ll forget everything you’ve gained in the time you’ve been with us…me included.”
“Ah come on, Jeannie. You know I won’t let that happen.”
She was serious and so was he, but she needed him to prove that he wouldn’t forget what he had. So he gave her the proof she wanted in the form of a kiss. Not being good with words, he let his actions do the talking. And it got the point across. Jean kissed back passionately, expressing to him her own desire to hold onto this relationship. When they parted, her angry look was gone and Logan had finally calmed down.
“How’s that for proof?” said Logan.
“It’ll do,” smiled Jean.
“So are you still mad at me?”
“Not as much, no. But you’ll still have to make it up to me.”
“And how the hell am I gonna do that?” he said with a smirk.
“I could think of a few ways, but they involve things not appropriate for open rooftops.”
Logan grinned huskily at her seductive undertone. He had his work cut out for him. If he was going to get back on his girlfriend’s good side he better give her the night of her life when they got home. It was a task he was more than willing to take on. Jean may have had a playful side, but she was serious when it came to the intimacy. She was intent on showing him there were many parts of his new life with the X-men worth hanging onto and so far she was doing a hell of a job.
But even as they returned to the street and made their way back to the parking lot, Logan couldn’t help but wonder why Sabretooth would just drop in and disappear. There had to be a reason. But for now he had run away like a coward. The next time he caught his scent he would be ready and just for good measure he would kick his ass even more for screwing up his off night with Jean.
Xavier Institute – Later that Night
Professor Xavier stretched his arms and yawned as he wheeled out towards foyer. It was late and he fell asleep in his office watching TV. He planned on going to bed soon, but first he went downstairs for a quick snack. Along the way he wheeled past the living room where Hank and Ororo were still cuddled up on the couch. Whatever movie they had been watching was long over and they were now fast asleep with Ororo curled up on Hank’s chest with his arm draped over her. He was glad to see she got him out of his lab. As much as he admired Hank for his dedication to science, even he needed a night to unwind and it looked like Ororo was becoming a good influence on him.
As he wheeled into the main foyer he came across Scott and Rogue, who were standing at the base of the stairs. It looked as though they had just gotten back. Judging from the smiles on their faces, it had gone well. He hadn’t seen Rogue with a smile that big since she arrived. Scott must have really reached her. That boded well for the both of them.
“Night Scott,” said Rogue in a tired voice, “Thanks for takin’ meh out tonight. Ah enjoyed it.”
“Me too,” said Scott, “And if you want we could…you know, do it again sometimes?”
“It’s a date, sugah!”
Then to his surprise, Rogue placed her gloved hand over his mouth and kissed it. It wasn’t as intimate as a real kiss, but it was the closest she could manage at the moment. But it was more than enough for Scott. He stood there in a daze as he watched Rogue ascend the stairs. She hadn’t been with the X-men long, but he was already quite smitten with her. Professor Xavier wheeled up to him and grinned at Scott’s predicament.
“I take it your night went well,” he commented.
“Yeah…I’d say so,” said Scott, still in a daze, “What about you, Professor?”
“I can’t complain,” shrugged the professor, “It felt good to watch something other than the news on TV. Although I have to say the quality of certain shows has gone down considerably in recent years.”
“Welcome to the age of reality TV, sir. I’m sorry to say there’s no end in sight.”
They shared a good laugh at Scott’s sense of melodrama. It was a relief they could joke about such trivial matters given the serious affairs the X-men were involved with. But this was still a school. There would always be room for the lighter side of life.
Scott joined his mentor in the kitchen for a snack. He told him a bit about what happened with Rogue on their little outing. He was reluctant to call it a date, but it had all the makings of one. Charles didn’t probe too deeply. In his experience it was better not to get involve with the personal lives of his students. He found that out the hard way long ago and swore never to get caught up in it again. It sounded like Scott was genuinely attracted to Rogue and she was attracted to him. That was good for the both of them, especially Scott. He worried about the way he had been lamenting over Jean and Logan. And even though Rogue’s powers stood in the way of real intimacy, he was confident that would change down the line.
After talking for a while, Professor Xavier heard the front door open and he looked out to see Bobby and Warren. Warren looked beat. Whatever he had been doing all night it must have been exhausting, but his spirits seemed high. He also projected a few lurid thoughts that helped explain why, but Xavier quickly dispensed with them. There were some things about his students’ personal lives that he would rather not know. Bobby, however, looked a little distant.
“Hey guys,” Scott greeted, “How’d your night go?”
“Oh the usual…went on a date, the Brotherhood dropped in, and still salvaged the night,” said Bobby.
“The Brotherhood? What happened? Was there another incident?” said Xavier urgently.
“You could say that. But with all due respect Professor, I’d rather not talk about it,” he replied in a tired tone.
Professor Xavier was deeply intrigued, but Bobby looked in no condition to talk. He ran up the stairs to his room before he could ask another question. Warren lingered though, seeing the intrigued look on their faces. He seemed to know something to, but was in just as tired a state as his friend.
“It’s a long story,” said the winged mutant.
“We’ll discuss it in the morning then,” said the Professor.
“Fine by me. Goodnight Professor. You too Scott.”
As Warren ascended the stairs, Xavier was left to ponder this new development. Anytime the Brotherhood dropped in it usually meant trouble. Especially recently with all their activity, he worried a great deal. It felt as though everything was getting out of control and confrontation was inevitable.
“What do you think that’s about?” asked Scott.
“I don’t know, my boy,” replied Xavier, “But something tells me we have a busy road ahead of us.”
They were ominous words, but they were usually right more often than not. A storm was definitely brewing. Weapon X and the Brotherhood each presented difficult challenges and the X-men would eventually have to face them head on. There was no telling how much time they would have. All they could do was hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
Weapon X Research Facility – Northern Canada
Victor Creed had himself a pretty good time night. A smile never left his face after his little test run against Logan and that redheaded bimbo he was with. Everything went perfectly. Not only was he able to lead Logan on a chase that he eventually won, he messed with his head and pissed off his girlfriend. What more could he ask for? It would have been nice if he got to rough him up a bit, but Weapon X wouldn’t let him. They specifically told him not to confront him. The objective was to see if new stealth tactics could evade his senses and the powers of his psychic girlfriend. At this point it was safe to call the mission a success.
Now well outside the city limits, Sabretooth took out his phone and called General Wraith with a report.
“This is Sabretooth reporting in. The mission was a success. The rodent and his bitch didn’t catch me.”
“Excellent. So those accessories Dr. Cornelius provided worked?”
“You mean these anti-psychic ear buds? Yep! Like a charm!”
“What about the scent dispersal spray?”
“That worked too. Not like I needed it. I could outrun that runt any day of the week!”
“I’m sure, Victor. And you’ll get your chance. I’ll make sure of it.”
“You better!” growled Sabretooth, “I still hate every one of you assholes to the bone. But keep your end of the deal and you’ll never hear from me again.”
“Yes, we’re all looking forward to that, Victor. In the meantime, return to base. The final stage of the plan is at hand. I suggest you be ready.”
“Oh I’m ready. I’ve been ready for a long time!” snarled the feral mutant.
He ended the call on that note. The less he had to talk to these people the better. Then he took out the metal earpieces they gave him that kept Jean Grey from reading his thoughts. No doubt every Weapon X soldier from this day forward would wear these. Xavier and his pack of freaks didn’t stand a chance. And the sooner they got this over with the better. He was close to finally leave these sons of bitches behind. Weapon X had a lot of blood on its hands, some of which was his. He hated every last one of them, but before he could leave it all behind he had unfinished business with his old comrade Wolverine.
Next Issue: Revenge of Weapon X
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