Hayley found the trio standing in the darkened room with very concerned looks on their faces, so she switched the lights on, “What is it?” She took the bracelet off watching Remy pace and noting Rayne’s ashen face. Justice’s face clearly told her there was a problem as well.


                Remy joined her side, “nothinta be worried about cher,” he kissed her forehead gently.


                Hayley pushed him away, “You’re NOT keeping me out, Remy,” she held the bracelet out to stress the point, “I don’t need anybody to tell me, but I’d rather hear it said.” As both men looked to Rayne she understood it was Rayne’s problem. She sighed, feeling a little defeated. Hayley looked straight to Rayne and bit her lip, “Rayne, what’s going on, let me help you too.”


                Rayne started to pace about nervously knowing that Hayley could easily get the information from their minds. She truly felt that it really wasn’t anyone’s business but her own to handle. She didn’t want anyone’s life in danger, and just the fact that Remy and Justice knew was troubling and embarrassing enough, “Ah don’t need any help,”  She looked at all three of them, “It really isn’t dat big a deal.”


                “Fine!” Hayley set her face in a dead pan stare with Rayne who returned it with a poker face.


                 Justice sighed deeply, rubbed his jaw and telepathically told Remy to try and calm Hayley and get her out of the room so he could try and talk some sense into Rayne.


                Remy stepped towards Hayley but she backed away from him and glared, “I’ll NOT be left out of this.” Remy wiped a lock of hair out of his eyes, “cher, your better off stay’n outta dis,” he realized he didn’t sound very convincing from the look Hayley gave him, “It’s not safe.”


                She folded her arms, “I supposed it’s safer not knowing?” She scoffed. “Your not getting into anything dangerous without me,” she pointed her finger at him, “and no argument.”


                “You jus’ can’t stand bein’ left outta Remy’s business can you?” Rayne scoffed.


               Remy turned to Rayne feeling trapped between them, “Petite, dat’s not it.” He stopped pacing and looked thoughtful, “Maybe she would be safer knowing. She’d be safe here with you and Justice.”


              Rayne narrowed her eyes, “What are you gettin’ at Rem?”


              Justice stood straighter, “You’re NOT taking this loon on alone.”


              “Nobody has any business goin’ but ME!” Rayne folded her arms.


              “He’s not leaving ME here while takes off after this guy,” Hayley protested.


               Remy spun and faced Hayley forgetting that she had taken off the bracelet. Justice cleared his throat and tapped his temple and Remy frowned. “Ah can’t believe your readin’ my mind.” He was noticeably hurt.


               “Better you’re upset with me now and never speak to me again than for you  and Rayne to be in danger somewhere,” Hayley frowned back and it was evident her anger was surfacing as the room started to get increasingly warmer.


               Hayl,” Justice reached for her and found she was too warm to touch.


               “Just, don’t tell me what to do!” Hayley snapped. She looked at Rayne, “I won’t see YOU chase this madman alone either,” she felt a small presence next to her and looked down to see Imp.


               “What’s wrong?” Imp looked to the adults with huge eyes. “What did Rayne do this time?”


                Justice knelt down, “Nothing, It’s ok.” He scooped her up and looked between them, “Nobody is going anywhere.” Justice looked pointedly at Rayne. “Give me time to handle this legally first, ok?” He reached his free hand to her, “trust me.”


   Rayne was taken back by Hayley’s desire to help her, but she wasn’t sure that it was because Hayley was concerned for Remy or her. She still didn’t trust Hayley but she did trust Justice.  “Ah trust you cher.”


               Justice pulled her into a hug as Jordan scrambled to get away from the Cajun girl her father now embraced.


              Remy watched his sister with measured caution because he didn’t buy her acquiescence. He knew full well that she would steal away the first chance she got. He reached for Hayley and found her still to hot to touch and gave her a lopsided grin, “Ah like my women hot cher, but not hot enough Ah can’t touch dem.” He winked at her.



              Hayley shook her head and turned on her heel and left them in the room to exchange exasperated looks.


              “Telepaths just can’t stand ta stay outta people’s heads,” Rayne sighed.


              Justice moaned pitifully, “I’m really crushed.”


               “Your all right cher, “ Rayne shrugged, “You didn’t mean ta do what you did back at your uncle’s.” Rayne tried to seem like things were all settled and calm now, but her eyes wandered to the window.  She couldn’t shake the feeling of being watched now. She knew Remy felt that way too because he wrapped a protective arm around her shoulders. A shudder ran through her as she thought how once again she had inadvertently put her brother’s life in danger.  Only now, Justice was involved too.








             Alex sat at the desk in the lab sorting papers for grading as she noticed Hank’s stare, “We do tend to get caught up in our work my dear.” He removed his glasses and watched her with a smile.


            Alex tilted her head, “I don’t mind.”


             “Perhaps, I do,” Beast exhaled deeply. “I would like to take you out tonight, Alex.”


             “Hank,” she frowned touching his light blue fur lightly, “I would rather not end up fighting our way home.”


            “Neither would I,” Beast smiled as he held up the device they had used to change their physical forms to enter Magneto’s liar. “Far, be it from me to not take my fiancé out.” He gasped theatrically, “People might think I am ashamed of you Alex.”


             Alex laughed catching on quickly, “All right then,” she gave in kissing him lightly, “I’ll get ready on one condition.”


             “What would that be?”


             “That you don’t resemble anybody we know,” she smiled at him thinking of the mess it would be if he looked like Gambit or her Uncle. A shiver passed through her.


             “You mean I can’t go as Wolverine?” He pretended to act shocked and hurt but they both chuckled.










             At a very different place the mood was much more somber and serious. Amber sat in the infirmary watching Wanda and Pietro talking. She sighed, looking at all the tasks Eric had put in front of her. Why had he given her paper work? Why was he trying to push her mind all of the sudden?


             Just then Eric burst into the room to see how his daughter was faring and he glanced over Amber’s shoulder.


             “I knew you would catch on to this,” Eric cooed pleased at Amber’s work.


            Amber lowered her brow reminding him all too much of Wolverine, “Why do you want me to do this?”


             “Because brute strength does not make a person a fierce fighter,” Eric looked in Sabretooth’s direction when he said that hoping it would make both of the mutants think.


            Amber looked exasperated at what wasn’t her favorite thing to do, “I can do this Eric but I just don’t like it.”


             “We all have to make sacrifices now and again, don’t we?”


              Deanna scowled working diligently, “it appears some have more than others.” She was none to happy finding out that the rat was still alive and on the loose. It would have to be caught and disposed of very soon before the last experiment on it manifested itself.


             “Yes,” Eric growled lightly, “some appear to do more thorough work too.”


             Deanna shook her head and looked back to the work laid before her. Without lifting her head she spoke to Eric, “So when is your next move going to be?” She had every intention of making sure it would fail.


             “I think if my son has fulfilled his task,” he glared at quicksilver who sat by his twin wearing simple jeans and a shirt. His son looked up at his father looking as immaculate as Eric himself did and the look he gave his father wavered, “then one of the triplets might be seeking us out.”


             They all seemed to see his son turn a slight shade of pink and they all began to wonder if the ‘task’ embarrassed him or if he had embarrassed himself.


             Wanda looked around hoping not to miss the obvious, “why not just go after those kids again?” They looked dubious but she continued on, “They should be easy prey.”


               A certain yellow eyed blue skinned lithe figure slithered into their sight, “especially Jordan Adams.” She quipped in showing she had kept up with the conversation. “Justice hasn’t hired any extra security and if my sources are correct we only have to worry about Storm and Justice to get her.”


             “Hello, that little girl of theirs has a powerful ability,” Quicksilver mocked her. “What about Allyson and Wolverine’s snips. He can’t be there all the time.”


              Eric sat there considering the possibilities, “I do not only want the whelps but revenge and retribution.”


              Amber narrowed her eyes. She felt like a pawn but what else could she do? She knew this was beginning to feel wrong but she wasn’t sure why. She knew that she should try to find out on her own soon. Her eyes traveled to Pietro and quickly back to her work. Why was she still among these mutants? She felt a hand on her shoulder and almost jumped lost in thought.


              “Is something amiss, Wolf?” Eric asked quietly.


              “No, of course not,” Amber said and returned to her work.










              Rogue smiled to herself because kissing Bobby was never second rate. They were sitting in his room on his bed. It wasn’t so long ago she had found him alone and playing sad music. How quickly that changed, she mused. She cleared her throat, “we should study, Bobby,” she chided in a little voice, “this is a study date.”


             “We’re studying,” Bobby insisted moving away from Rogue’s enticing lips. He caught her stern look and they both started laughing. “Ok, this is better than how I usually study.”


             Rogue laughed remembering how she had found him studying before with bags of chips, loud music and Dr. Pepper strewn about. She couldn’t imagine any real studying being done under those conditions.


              “Alex is pretty tough,” Bobby whistled looking at the work load.


             “Yeah, but she’s fair too,” Rogue stood from the bed and stretched her legs, “She makes it all very interesting.” She turned to face him with a smile, “I need a break.”


               When Bobby’s smile faded she knew that he had thought of more, “Now?”


                She nodded, “we can get a couple of sodas.” She pulled him to his feet.


               He came to his feet with a groan but smiled touching her hand and feeling the ice. She had absorbed his power when she kissed him, “need another glove?”


              She looked at him curiously, “What?” She looked down to see her gloved hands were iced up and giggled. “It is a good time for a break.” She pulled the door open to see none other than Professor Xavier staring at them and his look went immediately to her hands and the ice on them.


              Xavier raised an eyebrow, “Rogue, Mr. Drake.” They both nodded and he went on before they could escape, “we do have study halls and the library available for your use.”


              They both nodded looking guiltier by the minute but Rogue spoke up, “we won’t do it again, professor.”


              “Nothing happened.” Bobby shrugged.


              “I’m sure,” Xavier sighed, “but you must think about how it looks. Please remember this is a school.”


              “Yes, of course,” Rogue mumbled see Afterburn and Jason at the other end of the hall.


                Bobby nodded as the professor smiled and moved along.



                 Rogue smiled, “Robert Drake, you are always getting me into trouble!” She scolded and then ran down the hall with Bobby shaking his head following her slowly.





              Afterburn’s fiery eyes showed no emotion as Jason walked beside her. The advice she was giving him seemed logical but weird and he wasn’t so sure that she wasn’t making it all up.


              Jason saw Rogue coming up behind then and whirled around for clarification, “Is a guy really supposed to bring something for the girl’s family on the first date?”


             Rogue caught Afterburn’s quick nod, “well, um, yeah, sure.”


             “See?” Afterburn affirmed. “It’s like a dowry for a wedding. You have to bring something for her brother for letting you date her.


             “What else do I need to worry about?” Jason crinkled his face concerned at what he could mess up now.


             Afterburn smiled, “Worry not, I won’t let you or Rayne down.”


             Bobby caught up and looked at Rogue, “Those Dr. Peppers better be worth this.”


             Rogue laughed, “Afterburn, don’t forget to tell him how men spit in their hands before they shake them!”


             Bobby caught himself from almost snickering, “yeah, and your hair won’t jive with her brother so you might want to get a wig or some dye.” He couldn’t help but to chime in a little because they had to break Jason in.