It had been a little problematic to convince Willow to board the jet with them while most of her things stayed behind. She was more than reluctant to part with the only belongings she had, however damaged or unfitting they were. But there was simply not enough space in the X-jet to bring even half of it along. With the promise that they could return at a later date to collect the rest, Willow chose four of her favourite books, two stuffed animals - Logan was a little surprised that she liked the plushy things when she was so scared of the living ones - and some of the more fitting clothes.
Secretly Ororo hoped they wouldn't have to come back to get the rest of Willow's stuff. All the things the redhead had gathered over the years were old, used and often broken. They could only serve to remind the young woman of the loneliness she had to endure for far too long. The weather controlling mutant wanted this to be a new and better beginning for Willow. With clothes that hadn't been worn until they tore and actually fit the slender frame. With books that weren't missing any pages or covered in multiple stains. And an actual place to call home with people that understood her and accepted her the way she was. The white haired woman was determined to make sure this all came true for Willow.
The actual flight had been, simply put, amusing. Green eyes had been wide open during the whole time, shining with absolute wonder. It was particularly funny when Willow began to partially climb over Ororo and Logan, in turns, to catch a better glimpse out of the small windows at their sides. As soon as the first rush of excitement was gone though, she would realize the far too close position she had put herself and the other party in, then she would blush a deep red, stutter a very embarrassed apology and scramble back to her seat. Only to be caught in the exact same predicament not even ten minutes later.
While Ororo had offered to trade places with Willow, which the redhead had vehemently refused as then she would be "too close to the sky that is moving far too fast and that would make me super nervous", Logan enjoyed her bounds of curiosity immensely.
Having her petite form crawl all over him, steadying her delicate hands on his chest, pressing her porcelain face close to his to look out of the little window... If only the flight was longer. He did notice though that Willow hurried herself a lot more to get off him than she did with Ororo. She was in general very skittish around him. He sighed. It was probably because of his comment regarding her scent. He may not be as knowledgeable as Jean on the subject of psychology, but understanding Willow's current reaction wasn't really all that difficult.
He had told her that it was most likely her scent that attracted animals to her and that it was probably the reason why Sabretooth had been after her as well. And as he himself hadn't really held back in the way he described her scent, it was only logical for Willow to kind of group him in with Sabretooth and the animals. And although he didn't appreciate the comparison, he could admit, even if only to himself, that it wasn't so far off.
He was so very deeply attracted to her scent that he had already declared it as his property, before even knowing it came from Willow. This primal need to be as close to her scent as possible had grown in him from the very moment he detected it after stepping off of the jet. The fact that her delicious scent came in an equally delicious package was a happy, and more than welcome coincidence, but Logan knew that right now, that was all that was drawing him to Willow.
The Canadian was no stranger to physical attraction, of course. It had been part of the reason why he had flirted with Jean so much in the beginning. The other part had been because it had pissed her boy toy off so much and everyone knew how he delighted in doing that.
He had known from the start though, that physical attraction was all it was ever going to be with Jean. For one, she was far too in love with nancy boy to ever see another man like that. And for another, if he was being really honest with himself, - which was surprisingly easy at the moment - his attempts at pursuing her had been fuelled more by his ego than possible feelings for Jean.
She was an attractive woman, the very first in his line of sight after some time and right after he had woken up in the examination room at the mansion. It wasn't hard to fall in lust with her and seeing that she didn't share the wish to jump into bed with him, well... that had kind of hurt his pride.
It was petty and immature, but it had been the initial reason for him to continue flirting with the telepath, trying to entice her into giving in to carnal desires, and with that, acknowledging that he was "the better man."
Logan had to halt in his thoughts momentarily, when soft, nimble fingers once more [slayed splayed] over his chest and shining, light red hair came into his vision, as Willow curiously looked out of his window again. As subtly as he could, he deeply inhaled her scent once more. Of course, by now it permeated the whole interior of the jet, but it was still the best up close.
He thought about all the concessions he had just made to himself and wondered if his sudden ability to analyze his previous actions and thoughts so honestly had something to do with Willow's closeness.
He wasn't normally the soul searching type. He didn't question his motives or try to find a reason for his feelings and actions. Yet, it came so very naturally to him while in his Nymph's presence. It couldn't only be her scent that had awoken this introspective side in him. It was somehow... her. Her very essence. Her soul, if one wanted to believe in such.
Right now this was one more thing, just like his very recent behaviour and thoughts, that didn't make much sense. But he knew that, now that Willow was going to live with them, and if he made the effort to actually get to know her beyond her wonderful scent, in time, he would understand. He grinned at that thought.~I'm looking forward to it.~
After landing in the underground hangar beneath the school, Willow's amazement hadn't ceased any while being led through the halls and corridors of the big mansion.
Jean and Ororo delighted in answering the inquisitive redhead’s many questions about what classes were taught here, how many rooms the mansion held, and was there a cafeteria and was it like the one in this book about a teenaged romance she had read? How many students were there and how old were they?
Laughing a little, Jean explained to their excited friend that she couldn't recall every students name and age on the spot, but that she shouldn't worry since she would get to meet them soon enough.
That made the little redhead very nervous again and she fiddled her thumbs for awhile, until a picture hanging on the wall caught her interest and she went back to asking questions again.
The other four though were very aware of Willow's continued fear of meeting the other students. It was a warm and sunny day today, after a long period of clouded skies and rain, which was why most of the mansions younger inhabitants were outside, soaking up the warm rays. Still, the occasional student would walk along the halls, either heading to their room or outside, and exchange greetings with Logan and the teaching staff. And every time that happened, Willow made herself as small as possible and slightly hid behind either of the other two women. She wasn't all that comfortable around the men, especially the one with the wicked looking claws.
Ororo worried a little over Willow's obvious skittishness at first, but then shook her head, told herself that it wasn't much of a surprise considering the young woman’s past, and that it would most probably get better after a little while.
It didn't take them long to reach the professors office and Willow began to nervously wring her hands when Jean knocked on the door and Professor Xavier’s voice granted them entrance. Jean had used her mental link with her mentor to inform him about the situation with Willow and she was sure that the gentle, old man would find the right words to make the younger redhead feel welcomed and hopefully, more at ease.
The group stepped inside the bright and nicely decorated room, the professor smiling at each of them in welcome, until his eyes settled on the very nervous and scared looking woman standing in between Jean and Ororo. Warmth entered his eyes as he addressed her.
"Hello Willow. My name is Charles Xavier. Welcome to our school."
Magneto paced furiously about the dark room that had served as his office for the last few weeks. Mystique and Toad, who was once again picking the skin from his appendages, stood to one side of the room, waiting for their leader to say something after the news they had brought him.
Across from them was Sabretooth, who seemed to be in a very unusual mood ever since he had gotten back. The volatile mutant had simply delivered his report on the search, no swearing, no stories about the chaos and mayhem he had caused while away, no violent threats demanding some time for him to go out and 'play' with 'little Wolverine'.
Instead Sabretooth had chosen a spot in a corner of the room, quietly simmering and contemplating things that probably not even Mystique wanted to think about, and waited patiently for Magneto to come to some kind of a decision.
Said Mutant stopped in his pacing and once again leveled an angry stare at his companions.
They just shook their heads, with the exception of Sabretooth, who simply did nothing. Magneto frowned in disgust of the current situation.
How could the journal not have been in any of those places? Had he missed something?
Was there a fourth option?
It couldn't be!
Had Ivan left his belongings, including his precious notebook, with a family member? A close friend perhaps?
No, that couldn't be. The man's parents had already been deceased when he first made Ivan's acquaintance and his only remaining blood relative, a little sister, had succumbed to some kind of heart disease only some years ago.
Ivan had never married, too much in love with his research to spent enough time away from his desk for socializing. No affairs, no close friends, no living relatives... in short, no one the bright man would have entrusted with the safekeeping of his most treasured work.
Magneto's pace increased furiously. He needed this book! All his plans, the future of all mutants, relied on this one piece of knowledge!
Just where could it be?
With a heavy sigh, Professor Xavier looked at Scott, Ororo and Logan. The three had remained in his office to give him a more detailed report on their mission and encounter with Willow, after Jean had convinced the other redhead to let her give her a small medical examination, just to make sure everything was alright, and maybe run some tests.
Jean was very excited about Willow's healing ability and wanted to know more about it.
With the right words and gentle tone of voice, the professor had managed to gradually make the young woman more relaxed in his presence, but he could easily see the damage that hatred, abandonment and years of isolation had done to the plant controlling mutant.
He was in fact a little surprised that Willow's fear and nervousness wasn't more severe. He suspected that the young redhead had held on fiercely to her memories of the 10 years she had lived in the village, and the various reading materials Willow had gone through for all those years, most probably had something to do with her better than suspected social behaviour.
“I was really hoping I was just being overly cautious in telling you to not arouse any suspicion about your mutant abilities, but I fear we are still too far away from the acceptance I have been wishing for, for years.”
Scott crossed his arms over his chest.
“You should have heard what that little boy told us about the things parents there teach their children. Like we were creatures out of some kind of Horror story. Monsters that eat little kids.”
The tall leader of the X-Men was still disgusted with that kind of mind frame.
Ororo beside him nodded sadly.
“Willow believed as much herself to be a monster. She had trouble with the idea that having mutant abilities doesn’t automatically make her evil. As well as the fact that we weren’t out to hurt her.”
The professor looked gravely down at his desk. He had gathered much about the plant wielding mutant in his short conversation with her. Her deep rooted fear of being the monster the people in her past had made her out to be only one of them.
He hoped that her time here would help Willow to find her real self, instead of what other’s fear and ignorance had made her believe she was.
Logan’s next words brought them out of their sombre mood.
“What about Sabretooth? Do you think he was there for Willow? That Magneto wants something from her?”
The professor thought it over, then slowly shook his head.
“I can’t think of any reason why Magneto would be interested in Willow, especially as there is close to no chance for him to even have known of her existence.
The inhabitants of Saint Sebastian probably tried to keep the mutant living in their forest as much a secret as possible.
No, Sabretooth must have stumbled upon her while on his assignment from Magneto. I really don’t think Eric has any plans involving Willow, but just in case, it would be wise to keep an eye on her.” He turned to Logan “And if what you said about her scent is true, then we will also need to be wary of Sabretooth coming after her again.”
This comment didn’t do anything to brighten the Canadian’s mood.
He gritted his teeth, nearly growling in irritation. He would ‘not’ let that fucking son of a bitch get anywhere near his Nymph!
The professor was about to get their discussion back to the unresolved matter of Magneto’s newest scheme, when suddenly his eyes opened wide, an expression taking over his face that the three others had seen often enough in the past. He was telepathically connecting with Jean. And something was wrong.
“We need to get to the infirmary immediately. It’s Willow.”