A mission gone horribly wrong leads Scott Summers to make the ultimate sacrifice to save his friends. But is he really dead? Or something more sinsiter going on? Scott/Jean, Kurt/Kitty, minor hints...
Chapter 12: Bayville High
In the month that followed Scott's death, things didn't get any easier for the X-men and the friends that still mourned him. However, slowly but surely, things began to return to a sense of normalcy. They returned to school, participated in danger room sessions again, and began to move on knowing that no amount of grief was ever going to bring Scott back.
Jean, however, was slower to recover than others. She had been the one to take Scott's death the hardest and she was still bearing a perpetual look of gloom on her face that seemed as though it would never leave her. The adults tried to help her, but she kept pushing them away...Not wanting anybody to tell her the same things over and over again about how he was gone and never coming back. She already knew this and as much as that hurt...That wasn't what was disturbing her so much. The one thing that hurt most other than the grief was the dreams that accompanied them. Since it happened, Jean hadn't been able to get a decent night sleep because of them. But what was strange was that the dreams weren't simply replays of what had happened...They were something else. They included fuzzy images of Scott being engulfed in this strange, asphyxiating liquid environment and strange feelings that resembled being burned from the inside out. But what disturbed her most were these horrifying red eyes that kept leering over and taunting him...And that was when she usually woke up.
The lack of sleep only compounded Jean's grim situation. The Professor tried with all his power to help her rest with mental blocks. But for some reason...He couldn't stop the dreams from happening even though Jean wouldn't give him the full details. Hank tried to prescribe sleep aids to her...But she refused to take them. The longer Jean went on struggling with sleep and the longer she went on feeling paralyzed by her grief, the more worried everyone became. She had tried spending time with her parents, but that didn't help as much as they had hoped...Especially when they suggested the awful notion of setting her up with someone else. The others tried to be extra friendly to her and that did help break her out of her shell somewhat, but it only took one look into her emerald green eyes to see clearly that she was still in pain. Whatever was haunting her seemed to go beyond grief...No, this was something else...Something even she couldn't put her finger on. But the longer it went on, the more troubling it felt for her.
Others beside Jean faired better, but still harbored deep feelings of loss. Kurt was among the worst in this category, for he still blamed himself for not having the strength to get Scott out of there in time. Even as he tried to distract himself with his normal routine, he was still never the same. Thankfully, Kitty had taken the time to be around him and help him through the rather harsh guilt that ate away at his fragile soul. For hours on end, she would just sit with him and listen to him vent his grief on himself while she took the time to reassure him that it wasn't his fault and that Scott wouldn't want him to keep kicking himself like this. It was a hard task for her and everybody else that tried to help him, but he was slowly coming around. This in turn also helped Kitty somewhat deal with the grief she felt as well. Now, she and Kurt had become somewhat close in wake of this tragedy and spent a lot more time together...Helping one another fight through this horrible ordeal.
Bobby, who also blamed himself for Scott's death, had also been slow to recover. Despite the help of the Professor and the others, he still couldn't fight his feelings of guilt. He had been talking to the Professor constantly, trying to pull himself out of this rut of depression and remorse. Concerned friends, like his long time love interest Jubilee, helped to make certain things easier for him...But he still didn't return to his old, goofy, playful self. At one point, he took a break from the institute and returned home to his parents for a week or so...And that did help, but he was still far from his old self and he wasn't sure he ever would return to that innocence ever again.
In the weeks that followed, Rogue was also having a hard time dealing with the tragedy. She could handle being deceived by her mother and living a life without being able to touch...But she found this to be one of the hardest things to deal with in her seemingly cursed life. Scott had always been somewhat more than a friend to her since she joined the institute. He was the moral anchor and role model for many of the younger students to aspire to and he was one of the few who understood the feeling of being forever cursed by a mutant power. Losing him was just such a traumatic experience that it made nearly all others pale in comparison. Learning about the harsh life he had lived did little to help her feel better...But it did put many things in perspective for her. Now she knew why he did what he did...Now she understood some of the feelings she had absorbed from him. Gradually, it helped her accept it...But it didn't make it any less painful.
Many of the other new recruits managed to heal faster than the others since they had not been there to witness the horrible tragedy directly. Many of them had to contend with helping those who were there and hearing each one of their grim stories about how it happened and how much it hurt. In the end Ray, Amara, Tabitha, Jubilee, Roberto, Rhane, and Jamie were left with trying to cheer their distraught friends. While they didn't always go about it in the best way...They did serve to help the others through these tough times.
The teachers of the institute also slowly began to mend the wound that Scott's death had caused over the course of the month that would forever hang strong over their minds. Logan had been tearing up the danger room on a regular basis and Ororo found herself spending more time in her garden...Growing rare plants and flower for the others to leave at Scott's grave. Hank had also chosen to busy himself with work and often spent time cooped up in his lab or organizing activities with some of the new recruits. For Professor Charles Xavier, accepting the death of his first student had been a hard pill to swallow...But the desire to continue to help his students and carry on what Scott would have wanted him to, helped him get through each day. While he remained greatly concerned for Jean...He was sensing that for the most part, his students were starting to cope with the idea that they were never going to see their fallen leader and friend ever again.
"I'm headin' out y'all!" shouted Rogue from the main hall as she prepared to leave for school in one of the Professor's many cars, "If ya wanna ride, this is the last call!"
Bobby, Jubilee, Kurt, and Kitty were quick to heed Rogue's warning. Since Scott and Jean had graduated, Rogue had found herself the principal means of transportation to and from school. Kurt had his license now and Kitty would soon have hers, but they didn't have cars so it was up to her now.
"Hold on! Don't leave yet Rogue!" urged Kurt as he struggled to zip up his backpack in his room before teleporting down to the garage where everybody else was already waiting.
"Is that everybody?" she asked as she started the car, "We're already five minutes late."
"I think that's everybody," said Kitty as she took a seat between Jubilee and Kurt in the back while Bobby sat up front.
"Good...Cause we can't be late again. Ya know how that dang principal is," she said as she pulled out of the driveway, "He's got no sympathy for anybody."
"At least he's better than Kelly," said Bobby as he let out a sigh and sank into his seat.
As they pulled out of the garage, some waved goodbye to Logan...But like he had so many times before in wake of Scott's death, he had chosen to busy himself with work on his motorcycle. He remained somewhat irritable, but they had come to expect that from the feral mutant by now.
As Rogue pulled out of the driveway and adjusted her mirror, she caught a brief glimpse of Jean setting by a window...Staring out at the clear sky with her usual dazed expression. Every time she or anybody else saw that heartbreaking look, it served as a grim reminder just how hard Scott's death had been on everybody. Many had tried to help cheer her up, but there was just...Something...About the look in her face that they could not understand or empathize with. It seemed to go beyond grief and extended to some other feeling that nobody could yet understand.
Rogue forced herself too look away, but not before the others had a chance to see her expression.
"Jean hasn't been getting much better has she?" said Bobby, in a tone that made his words sound more like a statement than a question.
"Nope...Whatever's hurtin' her...It ain't gettin' any easier for her," said Rogue as she concentrated on the road.
"Well this past month has been hardest on her," said Kitty, "I've tried talking to her, but...She just seems to have retreated into her own world now."
"On top of that, it looks like she hasn't slept in weeks," added Jubilee.
"Vell, who can blame her?" said Kurt, "I still have nightmares about it too."
"We all do Kurt," said Bobby, "I guess her dreams are just more intense."
"I wouldn't be surprised..." said Kitty, "She really did love Scott...I can't imagine what a toll this must be taking on her."
The car fell deathly silent as everybody was once again forced to think about the horrible effects that Scott's death had brought over the institute. As much as it hurt them, it hurt Jean the worst. No matter how much she talked about it...There remained this strange sense of reluctance to accept the fact that he was gone. Nobody knew why she continued to torture herself with such a notion, but there was little that they could do to change her mind.
"Do you think she'll get any better?" asked Jubilee.
"I don't know..." said Rogue with a sigh, "I guess that's still somethin' up in the air."
"I hope she does...I honestly can't stand seeing her like this," said Kitty, trying hard not to let her emotions get the better of her in thinking about the current state of one of her closest friends.
"I hear that the Professor may resort to psychotherapy if she becomes any more withdrawn," said Bobby grimly as he rested his tired head on his hand.
"Let's hope it doesn't get that bad..." said Kurt, shuttering at the notion of Jean being forced to confront something she was not yet able to deal with, "It's bad enough we lost one friend...I don't think I could handle losing another."
It was a grim outlook...But there seemed little more that they could do other than wait and hope for the best. School had always provided a good distraction, but in the early days of their return, some people didn't make it any easier for them as word of Scott's death spread. While there were some that came forward and offered their sympathies...Other mean jerks simply scoffed at their loss and chalked it up to having one less 'freak' to deal with. At one point, Kurt had nearly lashed out at one of the guys that had said that...But Kitty managed to hold him back. After all, there was no need to make their situation worse than it already was.
Back at the institute, Jean was still stuck in her dazed state. She had watched the others ride off to school, choosing to move on with their lives despite the pain of their loss. While so many others were accepting the fact that Scott was dead and gone, Jean still had troubles processing the whole tragedy. A part of her knew he was dead, but she just couldn't accept it. As much as she wanted this pain to go away and move on...A part of her just wouldn't allow that to happen.
'What's wrong with me?' she thought with a tear in her eye, 'Why does it still hurt so much? Why can't I accept the fact that he's...Gone?'
Her lack of sleep was doing little to help her situation. Every night, she was plagued by dreams and feelings of that horrible mission that went so terribly wrong. Only...They seemed like more than just dreams to her. They were so vivid...So real...And displayed thoughts and feelings that just ate away at her heart and soul. She didn't want to tell anybody what she was dreaming...For she didn't want them to think she was going crazy. Not only was she dreaming the whole ordeal over and over again...But there was more after it that she didn't understand. Images of being immersed in a strange liquid prison...Feeling trapped and confined as a horrible sensation shot through the body like a white hot fire...And those menacing leering eyes made it almost too hard for her too even think about sleeping.
Jean truly thought that maybe she was going crazy...That maybe part of her sanity had died with Scott. In all the years that she had known him, he had been her rock...Her stability in life. Now that he was gone, everything seemed so chaotic. These thoughts...These sensations...These dreams...Nobody could understand them and she found it too hard to talk to anybody about it.
But the worst part of all was the knowledge that she didn't know where these dreams were coming from. In her head late at night...She would feel these alien sensations in her mind. The Professor had not sensed them...They only seemed linked to her and nobody else. What did it mean? Why was it haunting her so much? Was this some sort of punishment for not being with him when he died? Was this some sort of sign that she did not yet understand? So many questions...Yet there were no answers in sight. Nobody could understand...Nobody could possibly know...But Jean Grey was determined to fight this. As hard as life was without her soul mate there with her...She knew he would have wanted her to find the strength to move on.
Back at the Brotherhood house, Blake was getting ready for everybody to depart for school. Everybody was up now, except for Pietro. He had learned from Lance that the speed demon liked to sleep in until there wasn't much time left before class since he could simply use his super speed to get himself there on time. Blake, knowing it was his job to protect him, tried to wake him up...But the speedster's stubborn nature remained strong.
For the most part, he spent the morning learning from the others the logistics of Bayville High. Even though he was not taking any classes, he would have to know the territory in order to best carry out the duties that Magneto had given him. He also used the opportunity in the morning to become friendlier with the Brotherhood boys. He managed to placate Freddy's anger about the arm wrestling match last night with freshly cooked pancakes and even got on Lance's good side when helped make a quick repair on his jeep. When the time finally came to go, Blake turned to the stairs in order to make one last call for Pietro.
"Hey Pietro!" he yelled up the stairs, "Wake up! You're going to have to come with us today!"
As he expected, he didn't get a response. But before he could call again, he suddenly felt a gust of wind pass by him. Then, in a strange blur, Pietro suddenly appeared before the door fully ready for school with a cocky grin on his face.
"Sorry leader boy...But I choose to get to school on the express route," he said in his usual hurried tone.
"Pietro, I can't look after you if you aren't around!" said Blake, trying to keep his words from being too authoritative, knowing that will just motivate the speedster to disobey them even more.
"Hey, I've told you before 'Blaze.' I don't need anyone's protection!"
"You say that now, but trust me...You'll be putting yourself and many others in a lot more danger with that attitude of yours," quipped Blake, "Like I've said before...There's a good reason why your father sent me here to protect you and the Brotherhood."
"Oh please..." said Pietro cynically, "Wanda and I work to save his sorry ass from Apocalypse and he just up and disappears on us! Yeah...He's REAL concerned for our well being. He had his chance...And he betrayed us all. Don't think I'm stupid enough to believe that you're just some noble minded lackey of his looking out for us when I know my dad stopped caring a LONG time ago!"
Then, before Blake could respond, Pietro was out the door and already halfway to school. With an exasperated sigh, he turned back towards the kitchen to rally the others, for he would have to deal with Pietro when they got to school. But as he turned around, he saw Wanda standing there near the doorway with a sympathetic look on her face.
"He didn't mean all of that you know..." she told him, feeling irked by her brother's impolite behavior ever since Blake's arrival, "He and I have just gotten into the habit of assuming the worst when it comes to our 'father.'"
"Then why do you seem to trust me when I can't even get him to listen for more than a few nanoseconds?" asked Blake.
"Because you're not trying to control us and instead you're trying to be a friend...That much I can see," she responded, "I don't trust Magneto in the slightest...But I do trust Mystique. And if she says you're okay...Then I guess that's good enough for me."
"Thanks..." he said gratefully, "I'm glad you feel that way. It should make my job a lot easier, but I still have to protect your brother."
"Well don't worry about that..." said Lance as he, Todd, and Freddy stepped into the hall with his backpack ready to go, "We'll knock some sense into him eventually. He's just being more stubborn than usual."
"Ha! I don't know if that's even possible yo!" laughed Todd.
"With my brother...I'm sure it is," said Wanda as she rolled her eyes in annoyance.
"Well be that as it may..." said Blake, still not daunted by this development, "He'll soon find out that I can be just as stubborn when it comes to challenges I'm assigned."
As the rest of the Brotherhood piled into Lance's jeep, Wanda went over her schedule with Blake. Like Mystique had said, it had been slightly altered so that she would share a few classes with Pietro so he could look after the both of them. Even though he wasn't partaking in any classes himself, he would have to make himself blend in. And for a tall guy with a large built, dread locks, and tattoos who hung out with the Brotherhood, that was definitely going to be easier said than done.
"Okay, at lunch, remember to avoid the big jock and cheerleader table near the doorways," said Lance as he filled in some of the blanks that Wanda left out, "They always like to start fights with mutants...Believe me, I almost got suspended over it."
"Well I'm not a student there...I don't think they can 'suspend' me," said Blake as they passed a green light and neared the turn off for the school.
"If that's the case...Then do you mind breaking a few heads for me why you're here?" asked Todd, "Some of those assholes just don't know how to leave us alone yo."
"Sorry...But a low profile is my top concern Todd," said Blake, "But if they pick on you...I can give them a fair 'warning' if you know what I mean."
"Hey! That's good enough for me!" grinned Todd, causing the rest of the car to roll their eyes in annoyance over his playful interpretation of the situation.
"Just remember, I can't always be there," said Blake, "But if you want...I'll teach you some of the self defense moves that Mystique taught me while I'm here."
"You'd do that?" said Todd, looking surprised.
"Sure...As long as I'm with the Brotherhood, I might as well make myself useful," he said as Bayville came into view.
"Wait...If Mystique knows how to fight, then how come she never taught us?" asked Freddy as they pulled into the parking lot.
"Probably because you didn't ask," reasoned Blake with a humored smirk.
"Whatever," said Lance, "And one more thing...Whatever you do, try to avoid the X-men at all costs. They're nothing but bad luck."
"Why is that?" asked Blake, noticing a rater bitter tone in Lance's voice as he mentioned the X-men.
"Just trust me on this one..." he said, still sounding a bit more disgruntled about the subject than he was letting one, "The less you're involved with the X-men, the better..."
Upon finishing those last words he slammed the door shut and grabbed his backpack. He was still obviously embittered upon mentioning the subject, but he didn't say anything else about it...Much to Blake's curiosity.
"I'll see you in third period Wanda..." said Lance as he headed off on his own into the school.
Upon seeing the look on his face, Blake turned to ask the others what was with his attitude when it came to the X-men.
"What's with him?" he inquired as he looked back towards Freddy, Todd, and Wanda.
"Among many personal issues?" laughed Todd, "A lot of things yo. But he's just been extra grumpy for the last few months. It's been driving everybody crazy."
"Well to be fair..." said Wanda, feeling that Blake probably wanted something more specific than Todd's mundane observation, "Lance broke up with a rather serious girlfriend a while back and he's been taking it pretty hard."
"Yeah, she was that little valley girl that could walk through things, Kitty," said Fred, remembering all too well the seemingly endless phone conversations Lance had with that girl.
"And on top of that...She's an X-man," said Wanda, "And after several rather major fights...She broke up with him in a rather major spectacle that still has my ears ringing."
"Ha! That's puttin' it lightly!" said Todd as he and the others began making their way up to the front entrance, "I don't know what they ever saw in each other to begin with. All they ever did was fight and disagree over shit."
"But if they were together for as long as you say they were, they must have had something," reasoned Blake.
"Yeah, they probably did," said Wanda, "It's probably why he's been so bitter about it. Add to that, rumor has it that Kitty's been getting heavily involved with someone else...Another X-man to be precise."
"Oh...No wonder he's so disgruntled about them," said Blake, now seeing why Lance would have such a strong distaste for the X-men.
"Although I honestly don't get it...I mean, the X-men haven't been causing us any trouble ever since that whole Apocalypse ordeal," said Wanda, "And I've talked to Kitty. She's a nice girl, but Lance just won't get over it."
"Yeah, he still tries to talk to her, but every time she's with that Nightcrawler guy," said Freddy, "And that just makes him angrier!"
"And we have the repair bills back home to prove it..." muttered Todd.
It made a little more sense now to Blake why Lance wouldn't like the X-men. Although Magneto hadn't told him a great deal about them, he did say that they were not a threat and that they had proven themselves to be likely allies should the going get tough with Sinister. However, he was still urged NOT to get them involved in this. He knew Magneto took this conflict very personally along with Mystique and didn't want to get anyone else involved in their mess.
"So do you think I should still avoid the X-men?" asked Blake as he stopped near the locker areas so that they others could get their books.
"Normally, it wouldn't matter," said Wanda, "But after what happened to that friend of theirs a month ago, I would say don't get involved. They all have been in a pretty deep rut ever since."
"Friend? What do you mean?" asked Blake.
"What? You never heard?" asked Todd, "About a month ago they went on some mission and one of the X-men died in the process."
"Yeah, it was the guy with the visor...Scott Summers," said Wanda, remembering what she could.
"Scott Summers..." said Blake, the name sounding a little strange to him.
For a moment, Blake found himself saying that name over and over again...Wondering why it felt so...Weird for lack of a better word. When Wanda had said that name, it had somehow triggered his recollection of the nightmares he had been having off and on for the past few weeks. Memories of being in a strange fire, hearing frantic screams, and being engulfed by this strange, choking green liquid that made him fell as though he was being torn apart from the inside out were almost too strange to count of as normal dreams. They were obscure, yet vivid in terms of feeling and realness. And the more he thought about them, the stranger they felt.
"Yo Blaze, you still with us?" said Todd, waving his hand in front of his face.
Blake quickly snapped himself back to reality as he managed to regain his composure.
"Uh yeah...Sorry," he said as he shook off the strange thoughts that had occurred as a result of the name Wanda had mentioned, "I must have just spaced. Well...I guess this is where we part. I have to go to the office and get a pass. Come on Wanda, this shouldn't take long."
"Sure thing yo!" said Todd as he and Freddy walked away, "Stay cool man!"
As Blake and Wanda made their way towards the office, the X-men entered the front entrance they had just come through and walked towards them. Blake then saw them and Wanda quickly identified them.
"That's the X-men," she said in a voice low enough so that they couldn't hear, "Don't worry, as long as Lance isn't around they won't start anything."
Blake just nodded in response as he stood fixated on the image of the five seemingly normal looking teens. His mind told him that he had never seen these people before...Then suddenly, he felt the dream again. And for a brief moment, he found himself no longer in the halls of Bayville high...But back in the fire, hearing the frantic screams echo around him as every wall around him came collapsing down on him.
"Blake!" shouted Wanda, breaking him out of his daze once again.
"What? Oh...Sorry," said Blake as he rubbed the temples of his head, "I'm spacing left and right today for some reason."
"Are you sure you'll alright?" asked Wanda skeptically, knowing from personal experience the signs of mental strain.
"Yeah...I'll be fine," he said as he shook it off once again, "Come on...Let's go before I make you late to your first class."
As Blake and Wanda entered first period class, Pietro was already there lazily waiting for them as if he had been there for some time now...Which neither of them doubted. Blake had told Wanda that they would have to sit near him so that he could best keep a watchful eye over the both of them, which didn't really enthrall her too much. They had enough conflict at home as it is, but given the choices they had she would simply suck it up and hopefully manage to spite the speedster in the process as any good sibling should.
"You're both late..." grinned Pietro as Wanda took a seat next to him and Blake took a seat behind them.
"I'm really not in the mood now Pietro..." groaned Wanda as she took out her textbook and decided to busy herself with reading.
"See...I told you I could make it here without a body guard," said Pietro as he turned towards Blake.
"This time..." replied the older mutant, "But you may not always be so lucky."
"It has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with skill punk boy..." said Pietro in his usual hurried tone, "I'm so fast that nobody in the right mind would even think of trying to catch me."
"You're right...Nobody in the right mind would," said Blake with a slight grin, "But what if someone came after you that wasn't exactly in the 'right mind' to begin with?"
Pietro just looked back at the strange expression on his face and rolled his eyes in annoyance. He wasn't looking forward to having some guy he barely knew looking over his shoulder for any amount of time at all. While Wanda and the others seemed to find him to be okay, Pietro remained stubborn in his views...Still not seeing what made this guy so special.
As the teacher entered the class nearly five minutes late, Pietro was already half asleep with boredom. Because of his speed, he could do every assignment within the span of 10 minutes. His mind was just too fast and the pace of this simple math class was just too slow for a guy like him.
"Okay class, now I know you all had SO much fun on the homework last night," said the teacher over a wave of groans, "So let's go over some of the advanced problems I got so many emails on."
Blake looked over at Pietro as the teacher began writing a rather large, complicated problem on the blackboard. He already looked bored as he had all the assignments, probably extending months ahead, neatly in his notebook. Wanda, despite her inherent distaste of math, was already taking notes. Twins or not, they seemed to have quite a bit of difference between them and he hoped that it wouldn't interfere too much with his task of protecting them.
"Okay now class..." said the teacher as everybody looked at the imposing problem before them, "Now who can tell me the first step in solving this and don't be afraid of saying something you may think is wrong. Part of math is trial and error. Anyone?"
Much of the class stayed silent, too afraid to tackle something that looked so difficult. But as Blake looked at the problem on the board...Somehow, it ran through his brain like a computer and suddenly, he found himself blurt out the answer.
"Three pi over ten..."
The teacher turned towards where the voice had come from and began talking before his answer could be fully processed.
"No, first we have to..." then it hit him, "Wait...What did you say?"
"The answer..." said Blake as he looked back up at the board, "Three pi over ten. Isn't that it?"
The flabbergasted teacher looked down at the answer key and then looked back at the young man with a bewildered look.
"Why yes but...How did you know?"
Everybody turned to face him and Blake couldn't help but feel a little uncomfortable. Even Pietro looked shocked.
"I just...Know math," he said simply.
As everybody else was trying to digest this intriguing development, Kurt and Rogue...Who had chosen to sit in the back a safe distance from the Maximoff twins and everybody else...Turned towards each other as they took in the sight of the young man that their eyes had not seen before.
"Rogue...Have you ever seen that guy here before?" asked Kurt under his breath.
"Nein..." he responded, "I haven't seen him in this class until today. But who is he?"
"I don't know Kurt...But anybody who can solve THAT problem so quickly has to be more than human in my opinion."
After the awkwardness of first period, Blake had chosen to stay completely silent for the rest of the morning. His little escapade in math class had caused more of a stir than he wanted. Luckily, it was lunchtime now and it was nice to have a little break. Pietro had tried to ditch him several times throughout the day, making his task of keeping an eye on him and his sister all the more difficult. But luckily, Wanda seemed fairly comfortable around him and was in his opinion the easiest person to have a decent conversation with.
As he, Pietro, and Wanda got their lunches in the cafeteria, he followed them both outside towards a more secluded place under a tree where Freddy, Todd, and Lance already were. Usually, the cafeteria left more opportunities for people to start something with them since they were known mutants and the further they were away from the crowd, the better.
"Hey guys! Over here!" said Freddy as he sat before a tray piled with mounds of food.
Lance's lunch was more modest and Todd was busy jumping around the area trying to catch a rather elusive fly.
"Hey, how'd classes go?" asked Lance as Blake sat down in the grass next to him along with Wanda while Pietro chose to sit closer to the tree, away from the guy who just wouldn't keep his eye off of him for more than a second.
"Okay for the most part..." said Blake, choosing not to tell him about the math mishap.
Todd then jumped between them, still trying to catch the pesky fly and nearly stumbling over them in the process.
"Ow!" said Lance as he shoved Todd off him, "If you're gonna eat bugs...Do it where I can't see it Toad boy!"
"Sorry Lance...But this sucker's a tricky one!" he said as he continued to chase it.
"Ugh..." said Wanda as she turned away from Todd's little hunt and began eating her sandwich.
Blake couldn't help but laugh at some of Todd's antics. As much as everybody seemed to pick on him, he had to admit he was an interesting guy to be around. Ever since this day began, he had been making mental notes of everybody in the Brotherhood. He noted Freddy's overall tough guy, don't-mess-with-me nature that he probably developed from being shunned most of his life, but had already found he was friendly simply if you were friendly back. Lance, as bad a time as this was for him, was an okay guy and probably one of the most level headed members of the Brotherhood. He scoffs at certain ideas he doesn't find important, but he has a concept of right and wrong and as long hopefully more of that side to him will show as he gradually gets over young Kitty Pryde. Wanda had been one of the easiest parts to handle through all this thus far. Despite her distaste from her father, she was a genuinely nice person to be around and he was glad that she was starting to see him as more of a friend than just a body guard.
Pietro was still an issue though. As he looked over at the speed demon, he could tell that he wasn't going to earn his trust easily. He knew about his history here with the Brotherhood and he suspected that part of his attitude stems from it. Magneto had told him that Pietro had been betrayed many times in his life, mainly by him, and he was very untrusting as a result of that. But like it or not, he would have to work through such difficulties in order to do his job while Magneto and Mystique did theirs.
Suddenly, a loud yell that echoed from back towards the cafeteria interrupted Blake from his thoughts.
"Hey, leave me alone!" yelled a very angry Kitty Pryde as several jocks held her backpack high over her head so she couldn't reach it.
The rest of the Brotherhood saw this going on as well, but didn't look inclined to do much about it. Lance in particular was definitely distasteful at the sight of this. But it wasn't because of the fact that it was Kitty being picked on...It was the sight of Kurt beside her trying to protect her.
"Get away from her!" yelled Kurt as one of the football players shoved him away while focusing back on Kitty.
"Yeah...Make me mutie!" said one of the jocks, "Use your powers...I dare you! You'll be out of here so fast that not even that dorky Professor could get you back in!"
Blake saw as the two unfortunate mutant teens, whom he recognized as X-men from earlier, continued to struggle against them. It was a hard to watch and Blake didn't want to see any more of it. One of the things that Magneto had taught him was that ignorant people will often pick on those that they don't understand simply because they have the ability to do so and such actions often go unanswered. But for this...Blake didn't want to let this continue as he stood up.
"Hey, what are you doin' yo?" asked Todd.
"What do you think? I'm going to stop this..." he said sternly.
"Don't bother..." scoffed Lance, still not wanting to see his ex all buddy like with Kurt, "This kind of thing happens all the time. And if it's not towards them...It's towards us. This is high school dude...And we're mutants. It's simple logic."
"Yeah, don't try to be a hero..." said Pietro, not seeming to really care either way, "It never does any good in the long run."
"Well if you guys won't...Then I will," he said as he ignored their statements and began walking over towards the scene much to the Brotherhood's surprise.
Wanda was about to get up and follow him, but Lance then turned to her and shook his head...Knowing that the fewer people involved in this, the better. But still, Wanda and the others soon found themselves watching with intent as a rather angry looking Blake neared the taunting jocks.
"Keep away! Keep away! Keep away!" they taunted as Kitty grew increasingly frustrated and felt tempted to use the self defense skills she had learned from Logan to lay these assholes out.
Kurt was about to blow his lid and turn off his watch in a ploy to scare them away...When suddenly, a loud voice stopped him.
"Hey!" said Blake as he walked over towards them with a stern, imposing look of anger on his face, "Lay off..."
The four jocks turned to face the angry young man. At first they didn't look threatened, but as he got closer and his size became clearer...They did get somewhat nervous. The short blonde, dread lock hair and the tattoos that showed on his left arm made him look somewhat dangerous compared to the two other young mutants they had been picking on.
"Hey, mind your business pal!" said one of the jocks.
But the stern look didn't change on Blake's face as he walked up to the lead jock and looked down on him with intent.
"Don't make this any harder..." he said in a calm, yet stern tone, "Just leave them alone...Walk away. And it'll be over."
Kitty and Kurt looked back that the strange young man with bewilderment as he stood before the four jocks unafraid and undaunted. They both took a step back, feeling as though this could erupt into a fight at any moment.
"And just who are you?" said the lead jock, not threatened by his imposing appearance.
Suddenly, Blake's hand shot forwards and grabbed the ill mannered jock by the throat much to his shock as well as his friends and lifted him off the ground with great ease. The others were about to respond when suddenly, Blake's body began to glow a ruby red color...Prompting them to step back.
"A mutant..." answered Blake, "One who doesn't like seeing others being picked on. Now I'm not a violent guy...But if you don't apologize to them...I may reconsider that and make a special exception in this case."
Blake had no intention of causing bodily harm to the misguided youths, but he made it sound as though he would with a stern tone and all four jocks seemed to believe it...Just as Blake wanted to. He had to admit, this little technique that Mystique had taught him was working quite well. She was right when she described certain psychological traits that people who persecute share.
"You know you're going to get in trouble for this!" struggled the jock still in Blake's firm grip while the others watched with anxiety.
"I got news for you," said Blake with a grin, "I'm not a student...I'm a bodyguard. And even if I was...Does it look like I'm worried about that?"
Neither of the jocks responded as looks of fear replaced looks of doubt. Both Kurt and Kitty watched with amazement at how this stranger handled himself. Seeing that strange body glow trick that he pulled hinted that he was a mutant...But if he was, why hadn't they ever seen him before?
"Now are you going to apologize and leave them alone?" asked Blake, as he squeezed a little tighter.
"Okay! Okay!" said the jock as he felt his strong grip.
Then, Blake simply dropped him on the ground as the three others ran away while he simply limped off with only his pride being the biggest injury. Blake then proceeded to pick up Kitty's backpack and hand it back to her as she and Kurt remained somewhat dazed at what they had just seen from this total stranger.
"Here you go..." said Blake.
"Uh...Thanks," she said, not knowing what else to say.
He turned to walk away, but Kurt quickly stopped him...For he felt the urge to know more. Such actions from anybody were not typical here at Bayville and he knew it.
"Vait...Who are you?" he asked, causing the young man to turn and face them once more.
Blake hesitated briefly, unsure of what to tell them. He couldn't get the X-men too involved, for Magneto had stipulated keeping them out of the conflict. Sinister was a personal problem...And he didn't want to bring the wrath of that madman on those who didn't deserve it and Blake knew all too well personally just how much Sinister could take.
"Blake Hellstrom..." he answered simply as he walked back over to a very surprised Brotherhood, not wanting to give any more information than he had to.
Back at the institute, Professor Xavier was in his study...Trying to use his work to help him forget his worries for Jean. He was intent on not sending her to a psychotherapist or a doctor...But he couldn't stand seeing her like so sad and distraught all the time. It had been a month since Scott's death and she was still unable to move on from it. While it had taken quite a while for him to accept it himself, it seemed all the harder for Jean...And he truly didn't want to see one of his children suffer. He had already lost one...He didn't want to lose anymore.
The tired, wheelchair bound man let out a sigh as he closed his book and rubbed the temples of his head. While Ororo had told him that Jean had made some progress, there was still a ways to go. He just hope nothing came along to exacerbate the situation.
"Professor?" said a voice from outside his closed door.
Upon recognizing the voice as belonging to Kitty, Xavier quickly snapped out of his state and responded.
"Come in Kitty..."
As the young girl walked in, she could tell from the look in his face he was still anxious about something. And knowing first hand how things had devolved around the mansion since Scott's death, she had a pretty good idea what it was.
"I just came to tell you..." she said, "Something came up at school that I thought you should know about."
"And what might that be?" he asked, sensing some anxiety coming from her mind.
"It's the Brotherhood..." said Kitty, "I know they haven't been caused any problems for months now...But today, we found out that they have a new member."
"A new member?" he said curiously, "That's strange...If there was another mutant at Bayville, Cerebro should have picked it up."
"You mean it didn't?" asked Kitty, now sounding somewhat perplexed.
"No...Not to my knowledge," said the Professor.
"But...I saw the guy," she said, "And so did Kurt. He said his name was Blake Hellstrom. He was hanging around the Brotherhood all day and we saw for ourselves that he was a mutant."
Professor Xavier's curiosity grew as he considered this development. A new mutant had come about in plain sight for everyone to see, his students included. But Cerebro kept a close watch on the area around Bayville, particularly the school. This was in large part to ensure the safety of his students and it didn't sound logical for something to slip under its scope of detection.
"Are you sure you didn't detect anything?" said Kitty.
"I'm certain Kitty..." said Xavier as he wheeled himself from behind his desk, "Thank you for reporting this to me. And I promise, I'll look into it. If the Brotherhood has a new mutant, I think it would be best to know who he is exactly...And why I couldn't detect him sooner."
AN: To be continued for now! Things are definitely getting more complicated now that Xavier and the X-men know Blake/Scott is with the Brotherhood! And from the looks of it, amnesia is still taking its toll. And don't forget about Sinister! He's still out there and he's still dangerous! Don't think this is over yet because there's still plenty to come! So what do you all think so far? Please tell me! Send me your reviews via email or post them on the fanfiction website! I'd love to know! Well, thanks for reading everybody and I wish you all the best!
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