With the very future of the world threatened the X-Men will have to fight the bigotry aimed at them as well as their own prejudices. A continuation of X2.
Patricia Tilby wrapped her arm around his and rested her cheek against his shoulder. "I think it went great, Mr. McCoy. I was able to get all the dirt on Graydon Creed. Now if I could just get Robert Kelly to sit down with me I'd have all the important presidential hopefuls-"
Hank stopped abruptly in the parking lot. He shot the woman snuggling into the arm of his wool jacket a sidelong glance as his glasses shifted down his nose. He cleared his throat.
"What?" she asked. Her wine stained lips crooked into a frown.
"Mr. McCoy?" He raised an eyebrow.
Trish laughed and shoved him playfully. "How could I forget? Dr. McCoy, you are such a monkey!"
"Monkey?" Hank placed a hand over his heart, wounded. "Tiger, yes, or perhaps stallion, but monkey? My lady, you have grievously injured my ego."
Trish rolled her eyes, but couldn't scowl over her smile. She stood on tip-toes and planted a kiss on his cheek. "If you ask really nicely," she murmured. "I might let you take me out for coffee tonight."
Hank reached up and tucked a lock of her sleek black hair behind her ears. "I'll have to take a rain check on the coffee." He gave her an impish grin. "I've already made reservations for two at a rather expensive sushi place. If you're interested."
Trish kissed his other cheek in reply.
"Will you wear that dress?" Hank requested.
"Don't push your luck." She smirked. "Now, walk me to my car."
The two walked hand in hand through the parking lot until they located Trish's car. As she sat in the driver's seat of the red Honda Prelude, Hank bent forward and gave her a brisk kiss on the lips.
"I'll pick you up at 7:00?" he asked.
"That'll be fine." She shot him a coy smile. "See you later, tiger."
Hank shut the car door and watched his girlfriend drive off. With a quick glance at his watch, he strolled out of the parking lot, whistling.
Scott Summers stuffed the last of his bags in the trunk of his car. With the Professor and a handful of the current students watching him as he prepared to leave Charles Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, he felt like he was supposed to put on a show. Instead, he concentrated on shutting the trunk door.
Scott walked towards the driver's side of the car and looked back at the mansion hesitantly. He adjusted his ruby quartz glasses more out of habit than necessity. He had spent so many years of his young life calling the mansion before him "home" and now he had to say goodbye. It was strange to think that one horrible memory could sour the fond recollections he had of living within the relative safety of 1407 Graymalkin Lane.
It was time to move on. There was nothing left for the man once known as "Cyclops." The group standing before him shuffled forward haphazardly to make their reluctant farewells. The young girl known only as Rogue was one of the first that crept forward. She dry washed her gloved hands nervously before pinning them behind her back.
"Hey," she mumbled. "Ah hear that you're going to a Dazzler concert."
As Scott looked at her, the girl's ears turned pink. At the height of her insecure teenage years, Rogue's absorption ability had kicked in. Not being able to touch anyone without sucking the life from them had transformed the already awkward teen to a societal recluse.
"That's the plan," he replied.
"Would ya mind getting me an autograph, if you could?" she requested. Her brown eyes glittered with a shy hope.
"Sure thing," Scott promised.
Rogue beamed as she brushed her prematurely gray streak of hair from her face. She scampered off to join her boyfriend, Bobby Drake and other classmates.
Professor Xavier rolled over to Scott next. The irony of the world's strongest mind being trapped in such a weak body had always intrigued Scott, but at that moment it made him bitter. Life wasn't fair.
"Scott, you do realize that if you ever need anything, we'll be here for you," the older man said.
"You'll always be welcome here," Professor Xavier continued. "You know, with Ororo in Cairo on business, the school staff is rather limited. I may have to give Logan a teaching position."
Scott forced a smile to his lips. "Are you trying to convince me to stay, Professor?"
Charles Xavier shook his head. "Not at all. You need this vacation."
"Thank you," Scott murmured.
Nobody else made a move. Scott had expected as much. The children were already talking quietly amongst themselves. He had already made peace with Logan, who was leaned against the brick building fingering a cigar, so they had nothing else to discuss.
Scott climbed into his car, took a deep breath and turned the key in the ignition. He pulled out of Xavier's property and headed west on Graymalkin Lane towards Titicus Road. From there he'd be able to reach NY-116 and get out of Westchester once and for all.
He'd be generous and get Dazzler's autograph for Rogue, if he bothered to go to the pop sensation's concert. Scott had the sinking feeling that being so close to LaGuardia Airport in Queens he'd be in no mood to see the singing tartlet. He'd probably board the first plane out of New York to escape his former life.
At a red light he flipped on the radio to try to drown out his own morose thoughts.
"The upcoming presidential election has taken a surprising turn, hasn't it?" radio personality, Andre Merito boomed from the speakers. "Who would've thought that mutant rights would take center stage? Presidential hopeful, Graydon Creed is an avid supporter of the Mutant Registration Act which he says is for the safety of humans and mutants alike. Senator Robert Kelly, however-"
Scott turned the radio off. The one thing he didn't need at that moment was to listen to nonsense about the mutant problem, or as Andre Merito so eloquently put it, "mutant rights." Besides, the radio couldn't shut out his thoughts, it merely made them scream louder in his head to compete with the outside racket.
The light turned green, but there weren't any cars behind him so Scott took a moment to try and gather his jumbled thoughts. Sure, they had a nice memorial service for her, Christ, he couldn't even say her name anymore, but what was supposed to happen afterwards? Were they supposed to push her from their minds and move on like nothing happened? He couldn't do it. Especially if he was expected to don that black leather uniform once again and lead other people to their possible deaths.
Professor Xavier understood. He smiled and offered no argument. He even fixed the ignition in Scott's car after Logan, Wolverine, whatever the man wanted to call himself hotwired it with an adamantium claw.
Scott looked up at the street light. It was red again. He shook his head and chuckled to himself bitterly.
Suddenly, a brilliant flash of red and orange exploded in front of him. Scott was too caught off guard to offer anything more than a gasp as he covered his face. The front of his car lurched under the weight of a body crashing headlong into it.
Scott threw open his car door and rushed out. The hood of his car was dented where the girl had hit it. She had to have been a mutant; that was the only explanation for the colorful blast. He had to act quickly, otherwise a crowd might form and who knew then what would happen to her or him. Buzzed red hair was the only thing he could see as she was a crumpled heap, facedown on the ground before him. The girl was very still.
He rolled her over and found himself face to face with the scarred and tattooed visage of a child that couldn't have been more than twenty. A pair of vacant pale green eyes stared out at nothing. Scott closed her eyes with his first and middle fingers and checked for a pulse. It was faint, but existent.
"So much for the Dazzler concert," he muttered as he gathered the injured girl into his arms.