Baited breath:

 

 

 

As he thought of the eighteen-year-old who was now his wife. He laughed at the past memory and hoped Storm didn't pick up on his mood as he drove the jeep. He glanced at her, he knew she was trying not to notice him. That probably meant he was grinning like a schoolboy while he had been remembering how he fell for Ally.

Storm finally chuckled a little, "You seem much happier since Ally has been in your life."

"Yeah?" He asked as if this was news to him. "So, what's on your mind?" He asked quickly hoping to change the subject.

"I was hoping to speak to you about Justice."

Logan laughed, "You like that kid?"

Storm laughed, "He is my age, Logan"

He gave her a grin, "What do you want from me?"

"Well, you know him better than I do." She was a little embarrassed over this. "What can you tell me?"

"He had a wife and kid and they died." He inhaled deeply on his cigar. He didn't like to get into the middle of someone else's business. "Why don't you talk to Justice?"

"He shut me out"

"Sounds like him"

She sighed, "I haven't been attracted to anyone in a long time."

"Give him some time," he slowed the jeep down as he took the turn. "Hayley used to give a scent it attracted men. She still does this smell, maybe it's part of her natural mutation. She has done it ever since I can remember." He grinned as he accelerated the jeep again. "Ally said Justice has been giving off a smell now too."

"Oh," she said somewhat surprised. Although she was sure she hadn't noticed a smell.

"He does a lot of charity?" she smiled at Logan. 'If it was a smell that had attracted her, why did she think about him now?'

"Yeah, so do his sisters," he glanced at Storm, "Justice is a good guy. He is crazy but fair" Logan found a parking space and put his stogie out the ashtray. "Just give him some time."

They noticed a small group of kids all dressed alike in hip-hop style with their hats on backwards by the gate.

Storm found herself smiling at the children. "They must be part of the dance troupe."

Logan grunted, "Justice can't be far behind then."

 

 

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Justice felt his muscles tighten involuntarily and his pulse quickened. He glanced at Hayley, she looked on the edge. Alex looked frightened of their father, just as she had been growing up.

Their father swayed up and they felt the pressure in their minds and they only hoped their father would get little or nothing from them.

"I can feel Allyson," he began with his faint British accent, "But, I don't see her here." Despite the heat, he had and expensive black suit on. His bald head gleamed slightly in the sun.

"She's here." Justice found his voice.

"I knew she wasn't gone." He smiled a crocked smile at them.

"You don't seem surprised to see us." Hayley crossed her arms as Alex tossed her a worried glance, in hopes Hayley would stay calm.

"You seem to be mutating still." He rubbed his jaw, a gesture much like one Justice had. "I take it the experiments did heighten you." He tried to speak pleasantly but Oliver Adams couldn't wait to know exactly what his children could do. The weakest link had to be Alex, so Oliver looked at her dead on. "What other abilities did you get Alex? Ice or water?" he gave his daughter a calculated grin.

Alex opened her mouth to speak but nothing came out, so Justice jumped in. "We were thinking about working in the lab again." Justice said quickly and their father looked at him surprised. "We could use help developing our talents and I am sure you could use some able bodied techs."

Their father looked somewhat pleased at the suggestion, " I can feel that your telepathy has heightened and I would like to work with that," Adams rubbed his jaw thoughtfully again, "Perhaps developing your talents would be a fine idea." Then his eye fell on Hayley with a disapproving stare.

Hayley was losing her temper already, "What?" she finally said as her look went to Justice then back to Oliver.

Justice knew their father wouldn't appreciate Hayley's noise, "He has a point Hayl," Justice said quickly. Justice knew their father like to be right and wanted Oliver to feel he was in control.

"Why don't you stick around for the benefit," Alex finally found her voice in time to pick up Justice's cue.

Justices smiled at Alex and hoped she would stay strong, "Sure, we can talk after," Justice kept an eye on Oliver.

"I may stay," Oliver said slowly as he presence lingered and he kept watching his children. He knew they were hiding things but he hadn't probed their minds deeply enough to know what.

Justice could see the techs and volunteers gesturing to them, it was getting late. "Well, we have to get the benefit up and running right now, so please look around." Justice gestured around diplomatically.

Oliver nodded and moved on thoughtfully but the look in Adam's eyes made Justice worry.

 

 

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Ally was talking to some of the other dancers for the benefit behind the stage. One had even told her how much she looked like her sister. She heard a tech say he needed help and climbed the structure and separated from the perfect-bodied people. Armed with tools tucked into her socks, pockets and other odd places Ally began to climb up to help the tech. Before long she and the tech were working side by side on the speakers and the connections overlooking the entire park.

By the time she was almost through she found she was doing a good majority of the work while he watched over her shoulder. She felt a slight pressure in her mind and looked around instinctively. She could see Alex, Hayley and Justice talking to their father and she held her breath. Oliver had a short conversation with them but Ally could see even at this height, he had gotten to Alex. She was hoping Logan wouldn't show after seeing how badly they had looked after their talk with him. Who knew how Logan would react once he remembered the man who had changed his life.

"Hey," she could hear the male tech call from behind her.

"Sorry," she mumbled as she now worked with new speed at the sight of her father.

Finally she hopped down from her perch and began quickly toward her siblings. She could hear a 'thanks' from behind in the direction the tech was. She waved over her shoulder as she hurried off, but she was cut off by the familiar intense stare and shiny head of her father and stood to face him.

"Allyson," Her father smiled. "Why blonde? Afraid of the media?" He taunted her lightly.

Allyson didn't take the bait and remained calm and not let her anger take over. "I just don't need the complications today." She took a deep breath trying to stay calm.

He eyed her curiously, "I hear that you may want to come back to work and in return you would have help with your new abilities as they evolve."

She nodded and tried to stay calm and rooted to her spot as he began walked around her with a fixed stare. He began to circle around her like a shark waiting on its prey.

He began to touch his jaw lightly, "I am not sure if I want Hayley, but I am sure I want you back in the lab.

She held up a hand as if to stop his thought, "We are an all or nothing deal." Another person was gesturing for her to check something out.

"Why can't I touch your mind as easily as your siblings?" He hissed at her.

"I don't know," she bluffed. "There has to be a reason."

He came face to face with her but continued to circle her as he talked, "I know you are excelling with your telepathy and you are growing stronger than you may even know." He gave her an evil smile.

Allyson still kept her cool as she met his stare. She knew she could almost match his telepathy now and refused to let him scare her.

 

As Logan stood among the crowd of people at the gate, he saw Adams and he tried to keep calm. Storm watched Logan as she could see the bald man who had his attention. She watched Logan carefully hoping she could stop him if he did something rash.

Logan felt his hands turn to fists as he watched Adams talking to his friends. Justice seemed to take control of the conversation Adams was having with his three children but they looked very uncomfortable and Alex looked terrified. He looked around quick for Ally. 'Why would she separate from her brother and sisters?' He became concerned as he watched Hayley, he knew she was a step away from attacking him, her balled up fists at her side were a good clue.

Storm watched the exchange closely between her friends and the enemy. She saw the body language and knew things seemed strained. She knew the least she could do was keep Logan in check. She touched his arm lightly and he flinched slightly. "You should not let him see you," she advised him as he finally looked at her quickly. "You can help them win this."

He pushed his mouth together tightly as he turned his attention back to the Adams. Finally Oliver walked away and he exhaled quickly, he hadn't even been aware he had been holding his breath. A bright falling color caught his attention as Logan spied a nimble blonde jumping down from a tall platform where the speakers for the P.A. system sat just by the stage. There was no denying that it was Ally, Oliver must have seen her jump down too because he started a quick stride towards his daughter. Logan felt the growl leave his throat but hadn't been entirely aware he had made the noise. He broke Storm's light hold and pushed towards his wife as Adams began to make a conversation with Ally.

Logan almost fell over Xavier and Jean as they stood purposely in front of him. He began to cut around them but Jean's sad look stopped him short. 'How was it Jean could still get to him? Was it that she reminded him so much like Ally?'

Xavier looked like he had been injured. He looked at Logan with eyes that seemed to hold a painful secret. "Logan," he said slowly as if it took effort to speak, "If you believe in what Allyson is fighting for you will let her and the others fight for their cause. Or would you rather destroy what they believe in?" He talked very quietly and Logan had to strain to hear him and it seemed to make Xavier's words more effective.

Logan grunted lightly not completely convinced but Jean gave him a pleading look. "We are here for back-up and we will do all we can to help." She met his eye hoping to reach him. "We won't let anything happen to them." She reassured.

Logan stopped trying to push past them and just watched as Adams as he continued to move around his wife as if he would attack her. He wanted to rip his head off but he watched Ally and knew she kept her calm. He knew Ally wanted to stop her father badly and if she could hold her hands from him in anger and play along, he had to respect that. He kept rooted to the spot as he watched helplessly from a distance.

 

 

Ally was a little agitated as she watched her father's malicious stare.

His mouth turned up into a grin, "The world thinks you are dead." He raised an eyebrow at her. "You are also identical to Alex. Were you hiding from me? Or did you believe you would become an ominous being with no identity."

Ally felt herself begin to anger at her father's arrogance and she was almost at the point she wanted to knock the smirk from his face.

"Look out" The call came from above them from the platform where the speakers sat.

They both looked up in time to see the speaker that was flying down towards them.

Ally moved quickly as she jumped towards her father and threw her shoulder into him, knocking him clear of the speaker. Ally wasn't so lucky as the speaker caught her ankle, she pulled it back to her instinctively.

Justice came running over to his sister as he eyed her for further injury. "Hey, you all right." Justice said lightly and he kneeled down to her. As their father sat up from his place in the grass, Justice seemed to just notice his presence. Justice turned his attention back to Ally, he pulled her hand away lightly and peered at it through her bloody hands. 'Would she still be able to dance? She might need a trip to get this sewn up.'

Adams pulled himself up and dusted himself off as he watched his children still on the ground. He touched his jaw thoughtfully.

Justice grabbed his cell and began to call for help until he felt Ally's hand on his. He noticed her gaze at her ankle and the stopped bleeding. Justice watched in amazement as the cut began to close and heal in front of his eyes. It quickly turned to a scratch and he smiled happy for Logan's healing factor. Then he felt the panic as he felt Oliver's gaze on them. Professor Adams raised an eyebrow as Ally's body repaired itself. 'Had he seen? How could he have missed it from his view?'

Justice knew they had to cover the best they could and grabbed Ally's hand in offer to help her stand. He let a sigh of relief. "I am glad it just grazed you." He bluffed as the crowd started to form to see what had happened.

Ally jump to her feet with her brother's help and looked nervously at her clothing, "Yeah me too." She mumbled as she began to brush herself off. She heard her father chuckle lightly and the patronizing sound made her muscles turn to knots.

The tech she had been working with earlier came stumbling down to greet her. "I am so sorry" his sweaty face apologized.

She tried to relax a little, "Hey it's okay."

"Everyone is all right," Justice said quickly as he began to move the speaker to the stage. Another volunteer tossed him a rope to help rig up a pulley system to get the speaker to the platform. Justice began to move quickly as he thought of the how behind schedule this put the benefit.

Adams walked up to Ally very close as he spoke in her ear, " I will be back for you, princess" It had meant to be an invitation but the chill his voice carried made it far more threatening than he had intended. He turned up a corner of his mouth as he glided away.

Ally exhaled as she watched him leave and she exchanged a worried look as Justice watched her carefully.

As Ally started to leave, a young volunteer cut her off again this time. He was holding something slung over his shoulder. "I am looking for Justice Adams." He smiled dumbly at her. Ally returned his smile and pointed at Justice who was grunting with some other guys to get the giant speaker up. The young man went to his side, "Mr. Adams?" he asked quickly.

"Yeah?" Justice said without turning to meet his face as he continued to work with the speaker.

"I have some clothing for the beginning dancers." He said to Justice's back.

As the men above Justice grabbed onto the speaker freeing Justice's hand, he turned and he wiped sweat from his forehead. He took a deep breath as his met the young man's face, "Then you probably want to see her." He pointed at Ally who was staring at the crowd of people now forming at the gates.

"Here you are then," they man handed Ally the black hip hop outfit and the others that were under it.

Once the volunteer was gone she faced Justice, "I wasn't aware we would be an in costume event."

Justice smiled uncomfortably, "Well, I just found out today but it seems that," he took a deep breath. "They want to change the dances around to honor Allyson Adams because she used to be such a strong advocate for the charities."

"What?" Ally blinked. Had she heard him right? Not only would she match Alex's identity but she would be dancing in a tribute to her own death?

Justice had a smile playing on his lips as he tried to keep from laughing. "Sorry" he mouthed to her.

Ally stared back at the clothing in her hands. "You have got to be kidding?"

 

Charles and his small group had watched the scene with baited breath as they wondered and worried when to become available. Logan exhaled sharply and the noise of the air helped them to relax a little more.

Jean sighed too, "Maybe we should hide a little better so Professor Adams doesn't see us?"

"I assume it went well, Logan," Charles called to his friend over his shoulder and when he looked up he noticed Logan was gone.

"We should put a bell on him," Jean joked.

Charles looked far away as he search the park for Logan. "I fear that his presence may get somebody hurt."

"I am sure Logan won't act rash, " Storm said evenly, "but we will find him."

 

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