Chapter 9 - And then there was a dance.
AN: Finally this chapter is done! I'm so sorry it took me this long to update this one for you all. What really got me with this one is I got stuck on the first episode with Mesmero and no matter what I did I couldn't find a way of implementing it that didn't end up throwing a major wrench in the works for the future. So outside of the first initial scene with Bobby still being kinda thick that episode is more just alluded to before I had to move on. I mean I know that that episode is important and all for future development in canon but ack! You know what I mean? So any major X-Men enthusiasts out there please don't jump down my throat about almost entirely skipping it because it was just so... Ack! Yep, 'ack' pretty much sums it up.
AN: As always I don't promise perfection in my editing or timelines (which I find myself more than happy to screw with to get my way from time to time anyway ^^) or, for that matter, anything else really. Never the less I hope you all enjoy it and I wish you a happy reading!
“No Bobby! And that’s final!” Amara said with the volume of her voice increasing ever so slightly due to the fact that one Bobby Drake just did not want to listen.
“Why not Amara? It’ll be fun I promise!” Bobby pleaded as he tried to convince his friend that instead of going outside to help look for a missing Jean Grey they should go have a ‘session’ in the danger room, without proper supervision.
“Come on Bobby man think for a minute would ya?” Ray (Berzerker) asked. “You remember what happened last time you, Amara, and Jamie did something like this without permission? You guys all could’ve gotten really hurt and then you blamed it on Lance and I know just as well as anyone that a few people including Logan and Mr. Harris still haven’t forgiven you for that mess. Not to mention you guys lost your licenses for what three months? No thanks!” At Berzerker’s words Bobby found himself shutting up. When his friend then mentioned Mr. Harris and Wolverine (who were very much still giving him the stink eye from time to time) Bobby and Amara winced right alongside each other. And when Berzerker mentioned their destroyed licenses Bobby cringed while Amara’s eyes widened at the reminder right before she rounded on the original instigator of the entire mentioned ordeal.
“That’s right!” Amara said loudly. She still hadn’t quite forgiven Bobby yet for convincing her to go along on that doomed little joy ride. Yes she knew that she was just as much to blame because she actually agreed to go but if he hadn’t ever brought it up she wouldn’t be in the mess she was with her parents and she would still have her license. “We’ve only got about a month left until we’ll be allowed to retest for our driver’s licenses! There’s no way in hell I’m gonna go and screw that up just because you’re bored! You know what? Forget this I’m gonna go help look for Jean.” And with that Amara gave her friends a ‘look’ before storming back into her room to go get changed into something she could wear outside.
“Yeah man I’m with her. Later Bobby.” Ray said as he went to go back down the hall they had all come from, waving to his now thoroughly disappointed friend as he went. Bobby for his part just looked at his feet for a second wondering about just what was so wrong with going into the Danger Room on their own? Then it clicked that it probably had something to do with the whole ‘without permission’ thing. But what was up with Jamie? Jamie had just shaken his head and walked off saying that he had homework or something to do before he could say anything. And then it hit him…
‘Wait?’ Bobby thought morosely. ‘Am I really that obvious?’
Xander couldn’t help being worried. After all there wasn’t anything like a vague approximation of oncoming doom to raise a guy’s hackles as it were. He was with the others when they confronted Mesmero and when the mad hypnotist uttered his final words to them and then just up and disappeared Xander had felt his ‘Ah Crap’ instincts start to ping something fierce. That and it wasn’t help that Logan kept giving him funny looks ever since he came back from the night he’d spent asleep with Raven on her couch. Could he smell her on him or something?
Nah… The two of them had been in close proximity to one another on a semi regular basis since they had first started hanging out in their down time and Logan (and his nose) had never noticed anything before now (which was weird considering that he almost seemed to be able to actually smell emotions from time to time). And Xander knew that Logan was blunt enough at the best of times that he would have come out and said something by now. So no it couldn’t be that he could outright smell Raven on him. Which was lucky because from what he’d been able to gather Wolverine and Mystique were pretty far from friendly. So maybe she had such control of her powers that she could control her own scent along with her appearance? Maybe, he would have to ask her the next time they found some time off together.
Shaking his head free of these thoughts Xander brought himself back to the present. He had been called into the main house down to the room that Forge had claimed for his lab, something or another about Nightcrawler’s teleportation ability Xander wasn’t exactly given all the details when Xavier had called him up on the extension in his workshop. After a few more minutes of walking through the mansion, greeting many of the students on his way, he finally came to the open door leading to Forge’s own workshop/lab and, after giving a quick knock to let them know he was there, he walked over to where everyone was huddled around a table.
“Hey Xan, it’s this just the coolest?” Kurt asked excitedly from his place next to Forge. He had been nervous about it all at first but after everything had been explained to him he had quickly of come that particular feeling with excitement.
“Um… Sure, though to be fair it would probably be better if I actually knew what ‘this’ was yeah?” Xander said with a small smile for the blue and fuzzy teenager.
“It’s a…” Kurt started before he was interrupted by an even more excited Forge,
“It’s a device I made after a theorized that Kurt’s powers worked by making him travel through a different dimension/reality that is just beneath the surface of our own. What this device does is slow down his rate of travel through whatever sub-place he goes through to get to other places and by doing so extend his possible traveling distance by a great deal. Essentially given enough time in the other place and as long as he knew exactly where he was going he could get anywhere on the planet if not further.” Apparently Forge had already explained all of this to everyone else because Xander noticed that they were either nodding along or had bored looks on their faces.
“See? It’s cool right?” Kurt asked as he practically bobbed up and down in his happiness. Kurt, like many of the others at the institute, was always happy when something came along that made them an even beiger asset, with a bigger ability to help out as a result, as a whole when it came to the X-Men.
“Look,” Xander started. He didn’t want to inadvertently stomp on his younger friends enthusiasm but his ‘Hellmouthy’ meter was starting to spike so Xander figured that it was probably better to play the devil’s advocate here. Better safe than sorry after all, especially with this crowd. “I’m not saying it’s an outright bad idea or anything but doesn’t this seem a bit like trying to fix something that isn’t broken. I mean, ok it’s neat and all but you guys are messing with things you don’t really understand yet. And I don’t know about you lot but in my experience that always ends badly.”
When he finished speaking Xander noticed that at least Logan was nodding along with what he was saying while Kurt and Forge had somewhat downcast looks. And he was just about to open up his mouth again when Charles beat him to it from where he sat at the other side of the table.
“I understand what you’re saying Xander but this could make it possible for Kurt to have an even easier time with powers as well as settle some of the burning curiosity he and Forge seem to have on the subject of his teleportation.” Charles said calmly as he gave Xander an appraising look. It was as if he was trying to say ‘I know where you’re coming from but I think that this is for the best’.
“Look I get that but can’t we send a probe or something first? You know just in case there’s something big and nasty on the other side that could eat him?” Xander asked imploringly. He honestly cared for Kurt and his instinct were currently telling him ‘Danger Will Robinson, danger! …Listen to me damn it!’ and he honestly didn’t want to see the younger teen hurt.
“Would such a thing be possible?” Xavier asked Forge after a moment’s thought as he thought over Xander’s question. Forge for his part just shook his head in the negative before replying,
“No, all the device does is extend Kurt’s teleportation at a certain stage of the process. Past that though it relies completely on Kurt actually initiating said process, and that in and of itself isn’t something I know how to replicate sorry.” Forge said apologetically now understanding the need for such a measure and mildly upset with himself for not thinking of it first, it was his invention after all.
“That is unfortunate.” Charles said as he put his fingers together as he thought everything over. “Never the less, Kurt having now heard both sides do you still want to go through with this?” Kurt just looked a little lost for a couple seconds (he wasn’t used to the members of the faculty being so obviously at odds even if it was all rather civil) he honestly didn’t to disappoint Xander or the professor but in the end they both left it up to him and he honestly wanted to be more useful than he was. So after a moment he just nodded his head and said,
“Ja professor, I’d still like to do this.” At this Forge immediately brightened up as he realized that his latest invention wouldn’t just end up a complete wash because no one wanted to use it.
“Don’t worry everybody, everything will be fine. I’ll only set the extension time to a few seconds. In and out, nowhere near long enough for anything to go wrong. Trust me everything will be fine.” Forge said and Xander winced while swearing loudly in his head. Damn it he just had to say it, didn’t he?
Xander was back in his workshop sharpening his axe and listening to his stereo (the initial tests with Kurt and Forge’s new toy had been completed a couple of days ago and after he and Wolverine almost got eaten Kurt had pretty much sworn off teleporting) when he heard a knock at the door. Reaching over to turn down the music thrumming throughout his little sanctuary he said,
“Um, Xander could I ask you about something?” It was Kurt asked tentatively as he poked his head in.
“Sure. What do you need Kurt?” Xander asked as he motioned the younger blue mutant to a stool.
“Well you see, there’s a dance coming up and…” Kurt said awkwardly as he sat down.
“And let me guess there’s a girl that comes into the equation at some point?” Xander asked just as awkwardly. Ah crap, someone who needed dating advice and they were going to try and get it from him? With his history on the subject? Yeah right…
“Ja.” Kurt replied with a smile and a nod, happy that he didn’t have to spell it out for the older teen.
“Well Kurt I gotta tell you man my track record for that sort of thing isn’t exactly stellar…” Xander said leadingly, hoping that they could avoid the conversation as a whole. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to help Kurt with his problem it was just that he wasn’t all that sure he was the best person for the job was all.
“So? You know more than I do and that’s all that matters right now!” Kurt pleaded with his friend.
“Wow,” Xander said after a moment, “I guess you ^really^ like this girl huh?” Kurt only nodded before taking this a signal that Xander would hear him out so he decided to get to the root of the problem.
“It’s just that she doesn’t know that I’m a mutant. And it’s not exactly something I can hide what with actually dancing and all. I mean she’s bound to feel my fuzziness. And with the whole only having three fingers thing? Kind of hard to miss ya know?”
“Yeah I got you.” Xander said calmly as he made a placating motion towards the increasingly nervous teen. “Look I can’t claim I know everything that dating and all involves but I do know this. If you really like this girl and would like to make it work from the get go the key is honesty. You don’t want to try and pretend that you’re someone else and then when the truth comes out have everything fall apart. So if you think you can do it you’ll have to try and show her who you are under that hologram.”
“But what if she freaks out or something? What if she hates me when she gets a look at me?” Kurt asked sadly. This was pretty much the same thing Scott had told him earlier at school before he suggested maybe talking to one of the adults.
“Well if that happens do you really think she’s worth being around?” Xander asked while trying to catch the blue teen’s eye.
“No, I guess not.” Kurt replied morosely. Then he suddenly seemed to get even more nervous as another thought struck him. “But what if she says yes?”
“Well the first thing you need to keep in mind if she goes and says yes is one single word. Respect. Just give her respect dude and you’ll be fine.” Xander said as started sharpening his axe again.
“Respect? But I already respect her.” Kurt said slightly puzzled as he scratched his head.
“Well that’s good but what I’m really talking about is doing the stuff like holding doors open for her and pulling out her chair for her, stuff like that.” Xander said with a smile. Those last suggestions were more things he wished he had done a lot more often than he did when he was in school and he just hoped that Kurt followed his advice.
“Ah, I see.” Kurt replied, eagerly nodding his head in understanding. The two of them talked like about such things for a few hours after that before Kurt had to go nod off around 10 p.m. And to think Xander was only a few years older than a good many of the teens that regularly sought him out for advice of some variety… Bah, it could be a few years or a few decades for all he was concerned, it all still made him feel old.
2 Day Later:
Xander honestly didn’t know how he had gotten wrangled into this. One moment he was just picking up some of the kids from the school and the next thing he knew the high school principal had talked him into helping chaperone their Sadie Hawkins dance. So there he was dressed in a suit that he hadn’t owned two days prior (thankfully working at the institute paid well or he would have probably had to try and borrow something from someone), drinking punch, and watching as both Jean and Rogue made eyes at Scott while Scott’s date hung all over him and Kurt trying to make excuses to his date for wearing gloves because he had chickened out and not come straight out and told her about his not so inner fuzziness.
In fact the only two of the kids he knew that looked like they were having a good time were Kitty and Lance. For his part Xander was just glad that Kitty had gotten over her hesitation and asked the often sullen young man to go with her. If anything they reminded him a bit of him and Cordy, well before the whole ‘Fluke’ thing anyway.
Suddenly as he was he stood there over by the snacks table sipping at some punch a bright light started to shine in the middle of the dance floor and the only thing that cropped up in Xander’s mind at that moment was,
‘See! I knew it! I just freakin’ knew it!’ Pulling out the small battle axe that he had strapped to his back because of him waiting for the other shoe of Forge’s experiment to drop Xander charged at the dino-demon thing that was approaching Rogue and the friend she had been hanging out all night with.
“Xander!” Rogue screamed as he plowed into the beasty nearest her before stabbing it in the neck. Stopping to make sure that whatever it was was actually dead she continued with, “Are you insane that thing could have eaten you or something!”
“What this?” Xander asked as he looked down at the now corpse at his feet. “Ah, this is nothing! You should see the type of things we have in my home town!”
“What the…” Rogue started to ask (Just what kind of place did her friend come from?) before she was cut off by the sound of Xander’s cell phone going off. Quickly flipping it open and putting it next to his ear he said,
“Talk to me.”
“Xander? Logan. Look there’s some kind of dino things coming through Kurt’s portals…” Xander heard Logan’s voice say before he interrupted him,
“Yeah I know, I just killed one.”
“Good. Now Forge has some other gizmo that’ll send ‘em all packing but we need you to keep them all from harming the students until we get there. We’ll be there in a few minutes.” Logan said with the sound of squealing tired going on in the background.
“Cool, well I got a plan then. Meet me in the parking lot.” Xander said quickly as he noticed how all the ^other^ dino-demon things had noticed how he had one of their own dead at his feet.
“See you in a little bit.” Logan replied tersely before the line went dead.
“Xander what are you gonna do?” Rogue asked nervously as she also too took notice of all the hungry looking beasties slowly approach them.
“Don’t worry about that right now. What I need you to do is get everybody together and help all the other students out of here. And tell Lance to make his way out to the parking lot.” Xander said as he eyeballed the oncoming hoard of mean looking things with big teeth.
“Ok, I can do that. But what’re you gonna do?” Rogue asked as she prepped herself to run, her so far silent friend do the same thing beside her.
‘That’s funny I could almost swear I could smell Raven around here somewhere…’ Xander thought randomly (and to think if he wasn’t so distracted by the possibility of getting eaten he would have realized that she was standing almost right next to him) before,
“Well, have you ever heard of rabbit to the hound?” Xander asked rhetorically as he picked up the corpse at his feet up and slung it over his shoulder.
“Um…” Rogue started and Xander could have sworn he saw her friend’s eyes harden a bit as she realized just what it was he was going to do.
“You should probably run now!” Xander exclaimed almost flippantly as he tried to remain calm in front of them. So they did, and the last thing they heard was Xander making lamb like sounds as he started moving. And the last thing they heard him actually say before they were out of earshot was,
“Come on, this is Grade A prime American beef! You know you want some of this! Come on! Come on damn you! …Oh shit!”
10 Minutes Later:
“So where’s Xander? I thought you said he had a plan.” Forge asked Logan who was merely standing there scanning their surroundings. They were all just standing in a parking lot that was empty of everyone except the X Men/Brotherhood members and Kurt’s new girlfriend (who had already known about him from the get go). Rogue’s friend Risty had left to her own devices, against Rogue’s warnings, before they finish rounding up the others.
“Don’t worry he is coming.” Professor Xavier said having felt the panic a little while before they could all actually hear the screaming.
And there he was, Alexander Harris, rounding a corner and running like the very gates of Hell had been opened up behind him (which in many eyes that was how it would look) with the thing that he had killed earlier still very much slung over his shoulder covering him head to toe in God only knows what. So given the situation as he as he ran with the things-with-the-teeth nipping at his heels no one could really blame him for screaming shrilly at the top of his lungs…
“AHHH!!! LANCE, CATCH THEM ALL IN ONE PLACE!” Xander yelled, which was quickly followed up with even more screaming and a barely intelligible, “KILL ‘EM KILL ‘EM KILL ‘EM!”
So just as Xander started running past them Lance used his abilities to bring some earth up around his angry pursuers making it just that much easier to get zapped back to where they came from.
30 Minutes Later:
“Hey Charles?” Xander asked as everyone trekked up the mansion’s main steps.
“Yes Xander?” Professor Xavier asked as Jean helped him up the steps with her telekinesis so he wouldn’t have to bother going through the garage or some such place to get in.
“If you don’t have any problems with it I think I’m just gonna go ahead and take tomorrow off. So unless there’s some kind of emergency that just can’t wait please don’t bother me.” Xander dragged out tiredly now that his adrenaline rush had completely worn off. It probably wasn’t helping anything that whatever that thing was that had bled all over him earlier was starting to harden and making it harder for him to move. “As is I think I just wanna be lazy and sleep in tomorrow.”
“I think that’s perfectly understandable considering the circumstances.” Charles replied with a chuckle as everyone else finished heading inside. Yeah, Xander didn’t think that he was going to be getting out of bed all that much tomorrow…
AN: So what did you all think? Please review it makes my day ^^!
AN: Also I know kind of just glossed over the whole Wolverine should probably be able to smell Mystique on Xander thing (It's not like they're having sex or anything. They're still very much just friends after all. Filthy minds lol) but I have plans for ^that^ particularly big reveal so I'm not quite ready for that yet. Please be patient with me. Anyway, here's to hoping I see you all next time. Cheers! ~Semet
AN: P.S. Ok... It's just over 1 a.m. now so I'm going to bed now... Nighty night...