New Beginings: Unforeseen
Title: New Beginnings: Unforeseen
Content: Weird stuff, m/m and f/m relations
Distribution: If you want it, please let me know where its going.
Disclaimer: I don’t own a butt cheek of these guys, Marvel does and Joss owns BTVS.
Spoilers: Wouldn’t know since I don't read the comics and the movies are not really going to be mentioned though X2 or at least Strikers attack with a couple of changes will be referred to. X-men evolution and X-men the cartoon will be used as reference but nothing concrete. Basically making my own x-men universe out of all the bits and pieces I know. BTVS is up to and including that Series Finale.
Summary: An unexpected e-mail from a long forgotten friend changes the direction Xander’s life was heading…. but will he be in time to save his friend from himself? Will he find a new purpose in his own life away from his own demons?
Subject: Long time
It’s been a while since we last exchanged pleasantries and a lot has happened. I sometimes wonder if your life has taken as many twisted turns as my own. I wouldn’t wish my life on anyone but…its feels good to know that someone out there understands and yet… isn’t part of the groups of people I work with. They are family and I love them, even if I don't tell them that but sometimes I can’t really talk to them.
I’m not really sure what prompted me to write you but its been nagging me for the last little while. We the X-men are firm believers in following our instincts so here I am writing you for the first time in almost two years. It really doesn’t feel like its been so long but it has and I regret the fact that we didn’t correspond in such a long time. I can picture you smirking at my vocabulary and I want you to know to knock it off, hopefully by now you’ve expanded your own.
I wasn’t really surprised to hear the your hometown had turned into a giant crater, in fact I have an inkling suspicion that you and yours had something to do with that. Everyone here thought Avalanche had decided to level a town for fun or at Magneto’s command at any rate. They were surprised to find that it was a natural disaster since most catastrophes of that magnitude usually have something to do with our kind. Needless to say many were if you can believe, it disappointed about that, they had obviously been looking forward to fighting the evil villains. The action on my side of things has been quiet lately, something I’m glad for though not many share my sentiments. Then again not many have all my responsibilities.
Look at me going on and on about how shitty I’ve made my life when yours I’m sure hasn’t been a picnic either. Why did we sign up for this life? I’ve always wanted to ask but I don’t think the answer I would get would help me figure out my own. How sad and pathetic would be if I signed up because it would be cool, or because everyone else I knew did it? It feels like my reasons aren’t holding me to my principles anymore, I’ve taken to using Scott as my conscience. When I’m fighting or doing anything that involves taking a decision be it moral, ethical or otherwise I just do whatever he would do, its worked so far but…the spooks have noticed. It took them a bit but since everything’s been quiet lately they’ve picked up on it and I was asked to see the Professor.
I’ve known the man for a long time, half of my life really but he still has the power to make me squirm with just a look. I was summoned to his office and we talked…or what goes for talking with the most powerful telepath in the world anyway. The funny thing is we didn’t talk about my Scott conscience problem, but about the school. After our chat I felt better and except for him telling me that it was time for me to find my own conscience again because I couldn't keep borrowing Scott’s, which I’m sure your agreeing with, I told him I would try. He nodded and sent me on my way, making me feel as if I had just done really well on a test and he was proud of me. It’s the strangest thing really, to be reduced to that, every time he’s in a room with me outside socializing.
While we talked he brought up the fact that we needed a full time handy man around the mansion because if it wasn’t our enemies attacking, it was the government, or one of our students powers going berserk. I agreed and he asked me to look into it, I immediately thought of you. The second reason why it I felt it was time to get in touch with you again. Now the thing that I was wondering after my conversation with the professor was if he knew about you from reading my mind, or if it was just a coincidence for me to get the assignment… Somehow I think it was a little bit of both and none at all, if that makes any sense.
I don’t know where you are, or even if you still have the same e-mail as before but I’m hoping you do. I’ve taken the liberty of arranging for you to be able to pick up a ticket to New York from any airport in California. I don’t think you would ever leave the state, but if you have write back and let me know what airport you are located by and I’ll make arrangements. I know it seems awfully presumptuous of me to arrange things before even really asking you if you would like to work at a school for gifted youngsters…but I have hopes you will agree. I’m also trying to take into account that you save the world on a regular basis and have therefore shied away from extending my invitation on any spiritual holidays and other arcane ones as well.
Hope I don't catch you in the middle of a world saving thing since I tried my best not to do just that. Don’t think I’m just extending this offer on the fact that you once mentioned briefly you worked in construction. I did my homework and found that had you not dropped off the map 6 months ago you would be well on your way to becoming a promising architect? I’m not sure what you would call it, I have the report here somewhere but I’m not in a hurry to get up at the moment. So the reason I’m extending the job offer is because not only are you good, but you also know else goes one here. The fact that you hold no prejudice against us and have more than an inkling of the responsibility we bear on a regular basis doesn’t hurt either. Simple put you’re the best-qualified person, you’re also a friend and I selfishly want to see you again, it’s been too long.
Don't I sound maudlin…anyway even if you don't take the job keep in touch. Maybe you can visit instead or I will if you prefer. Write back and let me know what you think.
P.S. I really hope you’ll say yes.
Xander read the e-mail again wondering if maybe he’d been hit one the head one to many times or something. Warren, his long lost buddy, had out of the blue just offered him a job and asked him to move to the other side of the world all in one go. He shook his head trying to make sense of what had been written. It was just like the rich stuck up brat to do something like this and expect him to say yes. He wondered idly if he should take offense but he really couldn’t, as the guy seemed to have had his share of rock bottom, if he'd read between the lines correctly. He sighed toying with a strand of his now shoulder length hair.
“What to do? What to do?” He asked himself as he hit the reply button. He was currently not doing much of anything for the world saving thing at any rate. He’d spent the last four months on vacation in the Savannah, so it wasn’t like he had a prior engagement. He really was at loose ends, and Willow, Giles, and Buffy had the Council well in hand. There really wasn’t a reason why he couldn't leave the “things that go bump in the night” scene for a while, try something new. Who knows maybe he’d enjoy the break. Of course he’d be trading the preternatural scene for the supernatural scene but every soldier needed a cause; he’d done his tour of duty for one of them already maybe it was time to sign up for another?
Xander nodded to himself; decision reached. He wasted no time in replying.
Subject: Re: Long time, too long
You would spring something like that over e-mail and expect a prompt reply to boot. Brat! Still haven't figured out the world don't revolve around you no matter what your girlfriends tell you. Alas, I was on vacation…go me! I’m in Africa, Cairo to be exact. Spent lots of time in the Savannah though before heading back towards civilization, decided it was time to go home and on a whim checked my e-mail. Color me surprised when I saw whom my e-mail was from, the one, the only, the notorious Birdman…. Sorry I meant Angel, really I did….
Anyway thought about it…for all of five minutes, you know me and decided sure why not. You got yourself a handy man, and don't worry about the transportation I got my own. Just make sure none of you superhero types get carried away and try to harm me when I show up. We’ll go over the particulars and such when I get there. Anyway I have to go since my ride just showed up.
See ya soon Birdie,
P.S. I’m gonna arrive at noon tomorrow your time, if any one of your friends hurts me for that, I’m gonna take great enjoyment in plucking you bald, birdman…
Warren laughed out loud at the threat. He knew the other man wasn’t kidding but it was funny anyway, he was the only person that had never pretended to be anything other than what he was. He didn’t expect him to act in any particular way either, which he found refreshing. He wondered just how much Xander had changed since the last time they had seen each other about three years ago. He would have sat and contemplated more about that except that the Mansions defenses alerted them to an intruder.
The alarms blared and that same mechanical disembodied voice, that had alerted them so many times before, was once again heard throughout the different levels of the mansion.
Warren winced, he looked at his watch and sighed noon on the dot. He knew he was in trouble not only with Xander but with the team as well. Scott was going to chew him out and deliver one of his famous lectures. He wasted no time paying attention to his com just opened the window and flew out. He headed towards the front door as fast as he could, hoping to beat any of the others especially Wolverine.
Xander had briefly stopped by Cleveland, checking in with everyone telling them where he would be if they needed him. He put heavy emphasis on only contacting him in case of emergency, making sure everyone knew that just showing up out of the blue would not be welcomed. He’d privately talked with the original Scoobies and told them that he was hanging up the supernatural gig since they had it so well in hand and taking up something closer to home in a way. They were saddened and angry and a little bit awed that a witch doctor had been able to give him back his eye.
He hadn’t told them why the man had done it because they wouldn’t have approved but in the end they had backed off. He gave no specifics on why he was leaving but they understood and after packing all his tuff, saying his goodbyes he asked Willow to transport him to Xavier’s School for gifted youngsters in Westchester. He didn’t want to linger because he knew he would change his mind, after all change was a scary thing. So he’d stuck to his plan and via Willow magic he was transported to the schools entrance at exactly noon as he’d planned.
What he hadn't planned for was sirens; he knew what that meant. He’d immediately backed away from the mansion steps and put his hands up, wanting whoever came out first to see him as non-threatening as possible. He was going to pluck Warren bald for this, after he punched the little shit for not preventing this in the first place. He felt the hairs at the nape of his neck stand up and knew that someone was behind him. Why couldn’t anyone be obvious and use the front door for once? Was that too much to ask?
He slowly started to turn not wanting to startle whoever was behind him. He rather not end up in the hospital if at all possible. He kept his hands visible at all times but he distinctly heard a “snick” anyway. Damn, he wondered what kind of mutant he would be facing. He felt more than saw himself being surrounded since he was currently trying to see whoever was hiding in the bushes. These people were not playing and he knew just what kind of powers they possessed and he rather not have any directed at him.
“Who the hell are you bub?” Came the growled question from a rustling bush, he knew of course that the person who had asked wasn’t there any longer but answered looking tin the direction of the rustling bush anyway. He also had the feeling that if he looked up there would be others too, and he hoped to God that one of them was Birdie.
He searched around for answer that wouldn’t get him killed and finally settled on. “I’m Xander.”
“He’s lying.” The growly voice told no one in particular that he could see but he knew there were others around.
“I am not.” He said indignantly. “Its not my fault you asked a vague question Mister. Anyway, I am Xander. Well, my name is Alexander Harris but I go by Xander. I’m also going to be the handy man around here and I’m a Sagittarius. I’m also male and 22 years old.” He got a growl in response and he thought he’d heard a snicker coming from somewhere to his left but it could have been the wind.
Xander figured they weren't going to attack him and put down his hands slowly and went to turn around again to see who was behind him. Well, he would have anyway had a red laser thingie not targeted the ground right in front of his feet causing a small explosion scaring him enough to yelp and fall on his ass. He scrambled backyards and stopped when he heard a rumbling growl. Damn, he was not enjoying this and his temper was starting to get the best of him. He growled back his eyes flashing an eerie green gold color as he moved to crouch in a smooth move likely surprised everyone who had been watching him.
Xander snapped himself out of it before he could attack though. “I’m not here to cause anyone harm…well except one person but he deserves it.” He whined knowing it would at least stop whoever wanted to attack momentarily. He saw a shadow of a winged man coming across the ground towards him and sighed in relief. “Warren Worthington the Third I am so gonna pluck your ass bald!” He screamed shaking his fist at the flying figure that was laughing uproariously.
Warren knew that the teams response time was a minute and half, being situated at the other end of the mansion and unable to just fly straight up and over the mansion he had to fly around the structure. His response time was just under two minutes, which put him seconds behind everyone else, it gave Xander a few seconds to see his team in action. He knew the younger man would be terribly put out but he couldn't the stop the grin or the laughter as he flew closer.
He knew the team was surprised at the eerie green gold glow of Xander's eyes. The easy way the other man went from harmless to battle ready and back to harmless in seconds kept Xander from being knocked out since the X-men didn’t kill. He flew low and fast, heading straight for his friend who was already standing perfectly even while ranting at him. He laughed with the sheer joy of someone who knew he had done something wicked but was having too much fun to care. He snatched Xander from the ground and flew him straight up into air past a startled Rogue and Storm. Wolverine and Cyclops were both trying to figure out what the hell had just happened and why.
“Xander, it wasn’t my fault, I just finished reading your e-mail about three minutes ago.” He talked into the other mans ear as he gave Xander an aerial tour of the place.
“Uh huh, yeah right, it wasn’t your ass being targeted by the death ray guy was it? I should start plucking you now, so I don’t have to bother with it later. Oh yeah I almost forgot…you're blue?” Warren knew Xander felt him tense up at the statement question, but before he could answer the younger man was already going on. “Of course now I can call you Blue Jay instead of Birdie which is cool. You’re the only person on this planet who could be turned blue and still be a damn chick magnet. I really hate you all of a sudden.”
Warren laughed; only Xander could make him do that even with the reminders of Apocalypse. “I’m glad you’re here.” He told the Xander as he flew them back towards the front of the mansion. Hoping that by now his teammates had gotten their maim and capture tendency’s under control. “Sorry about not checking my e-mail earlier but I was busy.”
“Liar. You were brooding. I know all the signs of brooding Mister. I spent four years with the king of brood so don't even try to deny it.” Warren could never fool him, not even when they had first met. He knew Angel was an asshole, a big one but behind all that was a surprisingly mushy individual who’d learn to hide from the world. Whatever had gone on since last they wrote to each other had seriously fucked with his friend; it was painfully obvious. Warren reminded him of Spike when he’d gone all soul having and was living in the basement of the high school…except for him not being a raving loony but the sense of shame and hurt was palpable, well to him at any rate.
Xander had enjoyed flying, which was why Warren had given him the impromptu lift, that and to better his mood no doubt. What Mr. Warren Worthington the Third didn’t know was that he wasn’t going to get away with almost getting him maimed that easily. They were now heading back towards were everyone was gathered, waiting for explanations and such from them both. Warren made a surprisingly gentle landing so unlike the ones he remembered; then again they’d been playing around back then; like the children they had never been able to be.
The bald man in the wheelchair was about Giles age except he was less old looking and obviously bald. He had that Giles air about him too, down to the refined dignity, though the British stuffiness wasn’t there. The aura of leader and power was also very visible; he could see why Warren was reduced to squirming adolescent in the principles office. Hell, he was fighting his own urge to fidget, under the man’s stare, of course the others suspicious, and angry glances weren't helping that urge.
“You must be our new handy man.” The voice was surprisingly friendly and not at all what he’d been expecting.
“Yeah, that would be me. Excuse me for just a sec would you?” The Professor nodded and gave him a knowing smile, meaning he must have picked up on what he was about to do. Xander turned around; seemingly looking for something, which put his hand right next to Warren wings, before the other man even noticed what he was about he, had plucked a handful of feather. He gave everyone a satisfied smile as he turned back to them. He smirked at the accompanying yelps and curses that came spewing from that refined mouth. Angel was glaring at him rubbing his wing; he bet that hurt like a bitch too. “Be glad I’m not plucking you bald.”
“It was an oversight I didn’t do it on purpose you know, granted it was funny to see you growl at the resident feral…”
He gave Angel the finger. “Bastard.” He hissed but not anger just in exasperation more than anything. He turned back to group, only to be met by these strange looks. “What? I didn’t say anything no one has thought of in reference to Birdman. Well except for maybe death ray, and fangs but other than that, I’m pretty sure everyone present has thought it. You might not tell him to his face but its there.” He could feel Warren smirking at his words, the bastard like keeping everyone including friends guessing and springing Xander on them obviously did that in spades.
He didn’t bother to say anything else, he’d come to expect the looks, since he’d found most everyone excluding the Scoobies found him strange. The bald one had a perplexed expression on his face and looked to Warren for clarification of what he had just uttered.
Warren smirked. “He meant Scott and Hank.”
“Why do you say they wouldn’t have those thought about Warren?” Xander laughed at the fact that the professor hadn't denied anyone else having them. He looked curious as to how had come to that conclusion though.
Xander shrugged. “Blue Jay told me about them. Death ray is a total boy scout, wouldn’t even dream of thinking such a thing of a dear and trusted friend. Fangs, I’m told is like the nicest person on earth not to mention smartest, so he sees through blue jays bullshit and ignores it.” He shrugged again.
“Interesting.” The Professor said quietly. “I’d like to apologize for the way in which you were received. We are not use to peaceful visitors showing up out of the blue.” Xander wondered if that last was meant to be a joke or not. The guy was hard to read so he couldn't decide. He also took it as a cue to explain how he got here out of the blue.
“My friend she gave me a lift, she can do the teleporting bit like that student you got here….Pinkie was it?” Before anyone could answer he went on. “Well, my friend isn’t pink, or she is but only when she's embarrassed or really angry. She's a redhead you know.” He said that as if it explained everything, which to most of the men on the team it did, they had two redheads on the team. “So yeah I asked her if I could bum a ride and she said yes. You would not believe the amount of begging I had to do. She kept going on and on about abusing her power…and you don't really care about all this so I’ll just shut-up now.” Xander looked around found Warren smirking and flicked him of again.
“My goodness, is by any chance your mutation expanded lung capacity?” Fangs asked that, making Xander smile.
“Nah, I’m not a mutant.” He saw their disbelieving gazes and sighed knowing they might be offended. “Not that I think being a mutant is bad or anything cause personally I think it would be really cool. Except knowing my luck I’d get stuck with a lame mutation like pointed ears or funny colored skin.” And again he was getting looks. “Not that those are bad, because they are not, just you know being able to blow shit up would be a lot more interesting than being green. Of course I know how to blow shit up now but it would be easier with powers…or maybe not since I would have to learn to control them. I suck at school; Wills always told me being a slacker would hurt me in the end.”
“Xander, please stop.” Warren interrupted before he could stick his foot further in his mouth.
“Sorry.” He said sheepishly. “So now you're probably all wondering just how I now how to blow shit up huh?” There were nods all around, with slightly glazed looks; he’d learned he had that effect on many people. “I guess now would be the time to tell you not to let my boyish good looks, and joking façade fool you, because I am one multi-talented hombre.” Again with those disbelieving glances and some were downright disbelieving and derisive. “Come on Blue Jay tell them.”
“He is one multi-talented hombre.”
He chose ignore the other mans monotone mimic. “Not only do I wield a mean hammer, but I can also cook circles around most women.” That seemed to snap everyone out of their starring and the professor gave him a look, that clearly stated he had not forgotten about his blowing up things comment and they would talk about that later. He tilted his head in acknowledgement; the man was obviously not going to be taken in by his boyish good looks and joker façade, mores the pity. Cujo didn’t seem to be buying what he was selling either by the knowing and suspicious glances being sent his way.
Maybe he’d underestimated them, then again one was a telepath and the other could probably smell deception or something equally sensory or whatever.
“Well, since Xander has graciously offered to make lunch, lets continue this inside.” The professor turned and headed back in obviously expecting everyone to comply, which they did. Xander was left spluttering, while Warren tried his best not to laugh in his friends face though he was failing miserably.
“Hey! When did Xander volunteer for that? I was with Xander the whole time and I don't remember any volunteering.” He heard everyone laugh at his expense after all it wasn’t everyday someone like him came to their little corner of the world. He was glad that he had finally gotten a laugh out of the bunch, even if it was at his expense. He was starting to think he’d be good company around here and not necessarily just for Birdie.
“I wouldn’t bother arguing Xander, the professor is a force of nature.” Warren had come up behind him squeezing his shoulder in silent affection.
“Yeah? Well I can do stubborn too.”
“Xander, the man can make you think you're a six year old girl…complete with braided hair and dresses… I don't think its smart to go against his wishes…do you?”
“Me be stubborn? No of course not. I'm happy to be making lunch. Lets go then would want to keep him waiting or anything.” Xander handed his two duffels to Warren and picked up the box that had his personal knick-knacks and headed for the open mansion doorway. Warren led him to the second floor, he liked the décor rich but not snobby. It warm and loving atmosphere he could definitely get to like it here. He was shown to a room that was more of suite complete with sitting room and bathroom. He really didn’t spend much time looking at it just set his stuff down; he’d explore it later when the threat of being unmanned wasn’t foremost in his mind.
“Right then kitchen please, I rather not have to braid my hair.” Warren the bastard only laughed and led him back downstairs pointing out the rooms they passed on their way to the kitchen were everyone was obviously gathered.
“Tell me Xander what with the hair and Africa?” Warren had been dieing to ask about that. His friend was much the same on the surface but there were more shadows in his eyes and a look that only comes from looking death in eye and surviving but loosing something in the process. There were worry lines that hadn't been on his features before, he could see that Xander had lost someone dear to him, knowing the type of life he led it was probably more than one someone.
“The hair just happened. I was in the Savannah for four months roughing it so it wasn’t like there was anywhere to go to cut it. After I got to civilization I decided not to cut it. I went to Africa because I’ve always wanted to, that and I wanted to find out more about hyenas and what better way then to travel to a place where they inhabit.” Xander’s voice had stopped previous conversation in the kitchen where everyone was waiting for them. The telepaths picked up that there was more to the reasons than he told but as whole he wasn’t lying.
“Again why?” Warren knew there was more to it than that.
“Probably has something to do with his mutation.” Wolverine offered that tidbit tapping his nose. “Smells of earth, hyena if I had a guess.” Warren looked a bit pained that his friend had turned hyena on him and he hadn't even known but sat with the rest of the team now occupying the kitchen table.
Xander stopped in the middle of the kitchen and just looked at Wolverine wondering if he should take offense or not. He didn’t bother to sit as he would be the one doing the cooking. He didn’t mind it been a long time since he’d prepared anything that wasn’t camp grub. “Rude much? Hasn’t anyone told you that going around sniffing people is not a nice thing to do?”
“Never claimed to be nice, Stripes.” Came the grumbled growl reply.
“Oh Yeah?” Xander challenged with a lift of an eyebrow.
Wolverine raised his own. “Yeah.”
“Good for you old chum.” He said cheerily. “Hate to break this to you man but I was studying spotted hyenas. I wouldn’t even call what I did studying either since I just kind of hanged out with one of the local tribes and observed them from a distance.” Xander shrugged.
“You're not denying being a mutant then?” This from death ray, man the guy had a one track mind.
“I’m not in denial, I’m really not a mutant. My glow-y eye thing isn't mutation related. If you put me beneath a microscope it'll tell you I’m Joe average thought my parents referred to me as a little mutant many a time…I don't think they meant it in the genetic sense.” He saw the look Fangs was sporting and cut off that train of thought before he could keep forming it. “And no my mutation isn’t appearing Joe average under a microscope. Man, you guys are tenacious.”
“We have time.” Wolverine spoke to the not mutant kid who he liked despite his tendency to hate everyone one.
“Indeed.” Hank added wanting to get to the bottom of this mystery, he’d never seen anyone who wasn’t genetically altered in some way have powers that came from the having the mutant genome.
Xander threw his hands up in the air and headed for the refrigerator. “Fine. Make me tell all my secrets in one go. The whole hyena thing is mystical in nature as in magic.” Xander looked at the ingredients available and decided on beef stir-fry, it was a nice simple dish to make and it would give them time to play twenty questions.
“Mystical?” Warren asked, he knew of course that Xander dealt with that side of thing but he could of swore Xander told him he didn’t have an ounce of magic in him.
“Yeah, shit happened when you make a pact with the devil. Well, not the devil exactly but close probably like a hairsbreadth away from it actually.” He shrugged again, moving around the kitchen opening drawers and cabinets looking for all the stuff he would need. “Witness my culinary genius.” He got the peanut butter and jelly, searched around for the bread, set them down in the counter where everyone was gathered around and made himself a sandwich. He carefully sliced his sandwich into a star and smaller triangles.
Warren laughed. “I can see the culinary genius involved in that, and you’re right none of the women here could do that. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not.” He wondered how Xander had developed the habit of saying something serious and then diffusing it with something silly or inane.
Xander laughed at their obvious disappointment in his choice of lunch food. “That was just my snack, I’m a bottomless pit and needed something to tie me over until I got finished cooking. The sandwich shapes are my best friends fault, she wouldn’t eat peanut butter and jelly an other way.”
“So back to the mystical pact with the devil thing?” This time it was the woman with a streak of white in her brown hair. She had a strong southern accent like something out of gone with the wind.
“Sure Scarlet, I’ll tell you how ended with the glow-y eyes and smelling like a hyena according to Cujo there.” There was muffled snorts of laughter and chokes at the reference to Wolverine and a growl from the man, he just shrugged and smiled innocently. “Err…there was a fight and I lost my eye. Everything I thought I knew up until that point in my life was lost, suddenly fighting the good fight wasn’t as important as having depth perception…so sue me I got a bit selfish. I stuck it out thought till the bitter end. Lost the closest thing I had to a fiancé and a lot of friends but in the end we won and life went on. Except I still wasn’t sure the struggle was worth me losing my eye. Decided I needed a break, three months after all this stuff went down I took off to visit Africa.” He was steadily working on his beef stir-fry. He was currently cutting and seasoning the beef getting ready to start cooking.
“I got there had no idea what the hell I was doing there in the first place but figured it was one of those sink or swim situations. Err… how many of you have really fast metabolisms or whatever? Cause I have to know if I’m dealing with like decent average portions per person so I can plan accordingly.” He waited for everyone to switch gears from one thing to another before he got his answers from the second redhead, probably death rays wife the other spook.
“Logan, Rogue, Bobby, Hank, and Scott can and will eat three times the normal amount if they enjoy the dish enough. Ororo, Warren, the professor and myself eat normally. I normally cook for 15-20 people its usually enough.” Xander nodded not missing the looks the others had exchanged when she mentioned cooking.
“Right then Red, I’ll just make enough to feed an army then.” He had a feeling these people were starved for food since whatever they had been getting only resembled the word and was not edible. Probably explained all the cereal and power bars he had found in the pantry. “Anyway to make a long story short, I was offered a deal by the resident witch doctor of the tribe I had fallen in with. He told me he would be able to give me back my sight if I did him a favor. I agreed turns out the favor was not what I had been expecting. Now I’m stuck with a hyena spirit, kind of like having split personalities except I’m always in control…unless I’m not which was usually the time the little Bushmen headed for the hills….” He smiled at the recollection of that particular time.
“Fascinating.” Fangs breathed already forming the thousands of questions he no doubt wanted to ask. No one really commented on the fact that he’d heavily edited the account. They were also very fascinated by the skill he showed in using a cutting knife. Most had only seen that degree of control on cooking shows and for Scott and Wolverine it stank of training, heavy emphasis on military.
He made short work of all the vegetables and wondered who was going to break the silence that had descended. Warren had that brooding look back in his eyes, which prompted him to grab a wooden spoon and smack him with it. If the hit was a little harder than he normally would have made it…well he had every right, after all he’d almost been death rayed.
“Hey!” Warren cried out surprised rubbing his should and glaring at his friend. He was starting to think that maybe inviting Xander here hadn't been the best idea then again the smell of that stir-fry was definitely divine.
“No brooding Blue Jay, not on my watch. That goes for every single on of you. I hate brooders; my motto is “if you fucked up deal with it and move on”. Stewing about it changes absolutely nothing and just pisses everyone off. I don't want anyone to come crying to the professor when I go around smacking the brooders, you were warned.” He laughed at their disbelieving looks. The professor had a pleased gleam in his eyes that was at odds with his serious expression.
“Jesus Christ, Xander what happened to the shy kid I met out in butt fuck California?” Warren had to ask, the change was so surprising, it didn’t bother him in fact he found it amusing as hell but he couldn't let on.
Xander smirked. “He’s still here, which was why I didn't personally point out the brooders….” He laughed along with Warren at that. He knew a lot about the people on this team, Angel had imparted a lot of knowledge. “Lets see if I can pick them out. Broodiest person in this family would have to go to Death Ray closely followed by Cujo and first runner up goes to Blue Jay.” Warren flicked him off and he returned the gesture. “I don't why you’ll are acting surprised, even if Warren hadn't told me a bit about you before I met you, the three of you are the leaders of this here family and the responsibility usually produces brooding as a side effect. Warrens thing come from being in charge or Worthington Enterprises…”
“You are most observant, I find you're statement completely accurate.” Hank was starting to think the new addition to their family would be a success. The young man was a great mix between Bobby and Logan not that he would never tell the others that.
“You know you could have just said I agree, big long winded explanations tend to confuse me. As do the use of four syllable words and…I have the attention span of a two year old. Err…I believe my teachers all said something about ADD but again I wasn’t paying attention so I could have just been in math class and remember the teacher talking to me about adding or something.” He shrugged good-naturedly.
“I sincerely doubt that but I wont contradict you for now.” This time it was the professor who said that which meant the man had picked up on his flair for subterfuge and making everyone underestimate. Oh well he knew it be hard to hide that fact with spooks around anyway. He threw in all the nicely cut vegetables and mixed them with the beef. It smelled divine and he couldn't wait to actually sit down and have some.
“I would suggest setting the table lunch will be ready in about five minutes.” No sooner had he said that than plates, silverware, napkins and glasses where floating out of their cupboards and drawers. A happy looking sandy haired guy who he knew was Bobby filled the glasses with ice. “Now that is damn cool.” He said it easily not at all put out by the use of their talents; it was actually cool as hell to watch.
“I’m glad you approve some people are fine with our gifts in theory but tend to freak out when they actually see them.” Scott explained since the surprised and grateful looks coming from everyone at the table where pretty obvious.
“So what is everyone's mutation anyway? Or is it like a social no no to ask? Introductions would really go over well cause I’m gonna end up nicknaming everyone and lets face it I’m not all that goof at it.” He was eagerly awaiting their answers, and they could all see the excitement in him at the prospect.
“I’m Charles Xavier and I’m a telepath.” The professor nodded for Scott to go next.
“Scott Summers, codename Cyclops, I shoot optic blasts from my eyes.”
“Yeah, noticed that.” Xander said with a lopsided grin as he placed lunch on the table with a flourish. He made sure that Scott caught the smile he wanted the man to know he didn’t hold the previous actions against him.
“Jean Grey-Summers, codename Phoenix, My primary mutation is telekinesis but I’m also a telepath.” Xander sat down between Warren and Rogue, figured it was a good place to sit for now.
“Cool, you have the double whammy thing going on.” That simple comment was enough to make Jean smile, shed never thought of her powers as something so simple.
“Robert Drake, though please just call me Bobby.” Bobby was too focused on the divine stir-fry he was currently eating to bother with social niceties. In fact it seemed most of the team was currently going in paroxysms of joy at the taste of what they were eating.
Xander noticed the other man’s dilemma and decided to help him out. “I’m gonna go out a limb here and say you manipulate ice in all its properties, codename Iceman.”
Bobby looked up from his plate at that, looking a bit confused but an elbow from fang cleared that right up. “What? Oh yeah, manipulate ice, Iceman…” Everyone smiled at that, Xander laughing outright having found someone who shared his view when it came to eating.
“Henry McCoy, please just call me Hank, codename Beast, I have enhanced strength, agility, enhanced senses, and fur.” The last was a self-depreciating joke.
“It’s all right, blue’s my favorite color and on the bright side I bet it keeps you warm in the winter.”
“That it does my friend, that it does.” Hank smiled and had Xander been anyone he would have been scared of the fang filled toothy gin but as it was he just smiled back.
“Ororo Monroe, codename Storm, I’m am the mistress of the elements.”
Xander immediately thought of a goddess as she spoke. He could feel himself drawn to her queenly air but not in a bad way just to bask in her complete and total acceptance of life, it was something few could ever achieve. “Pleasure to meet you.” That was the understatement of the hour he thought happily.
“My names Rogue, just think of me as supergirl without the x-ray, and heat vision. I can also absorb power and memories through contact with my skin, how long I hold on determines whether I absorb someone’s power permanently or just temporarily.” She wanted to make sure the fragile human boy she was coming to like as much as his cooking was aware of the danger in accidentally having any skin-to-skin contact with her.
Xander was quick on the uptake. “Touching is a no no, got it.”
“Logan, codename Wolverine, I have enhanced senses, and claws. Pretty much invulnerable to harm.”
Xander looked over at the short growl-y man’s hands, that where currently, even blissfully, or what Xander considered was blissful for Logan, eating his stir-fry but he didn’t see any claws. So he raised an eyebrow in question. Logan responded by popping out three very impressive metal claws from each hand. “Ah…bet those come in handy when you need to open something.” Xander didn't’ say more just went back to making a dent in his own stir-fry.
Logan was surprised at the kid’s ability to take strange and downright
weird in stride. He could smell the apprehension the kids felt but it was tempered by the curiosity that burned brightly in those brown eyes. The kid had turned out to be a surprisingly good cook, maybe there was finally something about Wings he could come to respect, his taste in friends. “What does having a mystical hyena do for you kid?”
Xander looked surprised for a second before laughing. “You mean other than the glow-y eye thing and the occasional growling….”Logan nodded. “Not much more than that, I heal faster than the average Joe but not by much. I can sense danger but its nothing accurate and it could be just my own instincts…its easier to think of it as my animal spirit because that’s essentially what it is. Then again this is a recent development so surprises might pop up but the witch doctor assured me that would be the extent of the side effects.”
There was grunt that Xander suppose was a form of communication Logan used by the nods that followed his grunt. He’d have to pay close attention in order to decipher those; he was better at interpreting with growls.
“Anyway, I was wondering where the students are? I was given to understand you run a school?” Xander directed to the question to professor Xavier.
“Our school is run just like any others except for obvious of course. Those whose parents are fine with them being mutants are spending their summer vacation at home. The others are at a summer camp run by a friend of mine, they’ll be arriving in two weeks for the start of term.”
“Cool. So you guys have any questions because so far the information swapping seems terribly one sided.” He liked these people and felt he owed them whatever answers they wanted. The fact that he would have to trust them with his life and they, to some degree with theirs played no small role.
Scott asked the question that had been nagging him since the young man in front of him had alluded to it. “Explosives?”
Xander wasn’t terribly surprised but he winced anyway. “Yeah…about that…well its sort of like…”He trailed off again much to everyone's amusement. “Ok…well, my last team you could say everyone had a niche, something they excelled at or a talent unique to themselves. Mine was being the normal one, as in no enhanced anything but it was obvious that I needed to be able to do more than be normal at least for my own self esteem. I found my niche, you could say after a rather bizarre Halloween. All of a sudden explosives and anything to do with the human side of fighting like guns, grenades, and so forth became second knowledge to me. I made it a point to keep abreast the latest developments in the field more specifically explosives, I don't really like guns or knives but anything that causes explosions I can handle.”
“Can you disarm bombs as well?” This was something Scott was interested in since only Rogue had any true know how on bombs and that was limited to what she had learn being a terrorist.
“Sure, anything short of a nuclear bomb, I can disarm.” Xander shrugged he was sure if he had enough time beforehand he could figure out a nuclear bomb but that was iffy.
“You have training.” The growled statement came from Logan and he didn’t miss the rage that simmered behind it.
“Yeah, but its not like I joined the army or anything like that. That bizarre Halloween was when I got dressed up as a soldier, turns out this chaos mage did some mojo and everyone morphed into what they had dressed up as. I ended up as the CO of a navy seal team; he’d died in combat, jungle in Peru somewhere. His knowledge and any and all his learned skills stayed with me for a while after, I took what he had learned made sure to go over it so I would know it and kept practicing adding to the knowledge.”
“Interesting, you will have to tell about the mystical aspects of your previous life. I have never run across someone knowledgeable in that are and find myself curious to see how far it reaches.” Hank had that Willow learning gleam in his eye that made Xander smile.
“Sure thing, kind of surprised no one here is doubting the existence of the mystical side of things.”
“We’ve had our own run-ins with it but nothing as in depth as what you have probably lived with.” Professor Xavier didn’t add that he could read the truth in Xander’s thoughts, as he had no shields to speak of.
“Indeed, though our Cajun friend would know more about it.”
“Cajun?” Xander asked, he didn’t think the world could be this small but for some reason he had the prickling sensation that it was the same Cajun he had met about six months ago. “He wouldn’t happen to be about 6”2, with long red-hair, glasses, and always seen in battered brown trench coat by any chance would he?”
“Why yes he would be that Cajun.” Hank answered surprised.
“Damn, my friends hired him to retrieve some dangerous artifacts from museums around the world about six months ago. Nice guy, thick accent though. It really is a surprisingly small world, then again someone with his skills is hard to come by.”
“His skills?” Rogue murmured unhappily, there was something off there Xander decided but didn’t comment.
“We should have kept in touch better Xander, how’d you hear about Gambit?” Warren asked curious and relived that the sharp tang of resentment and hate he felt towards Remy had dimmed in the past few months the man had been gone. The fact that Xander had called him a good guy played no small part since as far as he knew his friend was a great judge of character; maybe his grievances against the thief would soon be put to rest.
“Internet. You can find almost anything on the Internet, even a master thief. So where is Louisiana anyway…he likes my cooking too. Well after he tasted Buffy’s there was really no contest.”
“He’s on a mission with Jubilee and Sam, they are scooping out a college campus that had reported three students missing in a time span of two months. We believed the three students were mutants; so far two others have gone missing both, still no leads though.” Scott found himself telling Xander X-men business as if he had known the man for longer than a few hours, which not only surprised him but everyone else as well.
“You might want to tell them to keep a close eye on the frat houses. You should also tell Louisiana to check for hidden entrances to underground complexes at the frat locations and any really big sewer entrances on campus as well.” He’d had experience with disappearing people, well vampires in his experience, but if it was government related they would probably stick to the established routine they had developed.
“How do ya figure kid?” Logan asked surprised at the confident way the boy gave his suggestion. It was more than a wild stab in the dark.
“The way I see it either those kids are being either A) recruited by something or someone which is highly unlikely, B) where casualties of the KKK version of mutant haters, or C) have been kidnapped by some top secret private or government run project. My best guess would be choice number three, for the simple reason that mutants would undoubtedly make the best research subjects because they are genetically different from humans. No doubt the government is up to their sick goals of making a super soldier again since their last attempt failed miserably and cost them dearly.”
Wolverine growled angrily at the simple way the kid went on about government projects involving super soldiers. This was more than someone just shooting their mouth off; it smacked of familiarity and contempt something he was very in tune with. The “snick” of Logan’s claws making an appearance brought Xander’s gaze to his, they flashed briefly with something akin to understanding.
“I had a run in with a government run project a few years back. Project was called Initiative and they decided to try and harness the demonic population in my hometown to build the ultimate soldier. The doctor heading the project was a real nut job, experimented on the demons they captured, behavior modification chips were put into vampires, the soldiers under her command were drugged to make them more aggressive, stronger, and who knows what else. Anyway they tried to fuse demon parts with a human shell and essentially wired it together by technology. Body parts of demons as we found out are inherently evil the whole ADAM project was a disaster, they brought it online and it killed humans making his own twisted creations. We shut them down but not before all hell broke loose, many people died that day both soldier and demon alike.”
“You’re going to fit right in. You’re life’s already chock full of weird shit.” Bobby told Xander enthusiastically, he had a feeling they were going to get on like white on rice but first he had a question. “What do you think about Twinkies?”
The others groaned as the tense atmosphere was shattered. Xander blinked before his gaze turned blissfully and sighed. “They are a major food group, along with donuts and chocolate.”
Bobby couldn't have expected a better answer. “Welcome to the team Xander, were going to get on famously.” There were heartfelt groans and snickers coming from everyone else though Hank seemed to be rather pleased by his answer as well.
“Thanks, would have mentioned Twinkies earlier if it would have garnered this response.”
“Don't worry Xander, we would have welcomed you anyway just based on your cooking.” Jean added impishly making everyone laugh but the enthusiastic nods were plain to see.
“Anyhoo the whole group of undercover military guys involved in the project were undercover at the local college. They all lived in a frat house that had secret access to the underground compound; there was also that sewer entrance I mentioned. I’m not saying they couldn't be like three states away from the college or anything but if its government run they usually stick to shit that’s worked in the past. This particular scenario worked, the only reason the project was scrapped was because ADAM didn’t turn out correctly and plausible deniability was out of the question for them.”
“I’ll let them know to look into it. If all else fails it will keep them distracted from the tedium of passing themselves off as college students.” Scot assured Xander since he had given a sound suggestion and it had basis in fact. He was worried about Logan's response to this but it seemed the older man had gotten over his instinctive reaction to government and project used in the same sentence.
“Glad I could help. However don’t think my helpfulness extends to cleaning up after myself…”Xander grinned looking back at the pile of unwashed cooking utensil not to mention their lunch plates and stuff.
“That’s all right Xander, I believe Bobby and I have dish duty today.” Jean answered good-naturedly. “It’s the least we can do for such a wonderful meal.”
“Warren? Why don't you show Xander around the mansion? Help him get his bearings.”
“Of course Professor.”
“Xander why don’t you take a few days get to know your surroundings? We’ll talk about duties after you’ve settled in.”
“Cool, even more vacation time.” Xander said happily nodding in everyone's direction as he headed out of the kitchen with Warren.
Warren didn’t bother with the tour knowing Xander didn’t much care about it either. He led them to Xander's room where the other man would no doubt like to unpack. He threw himself on the king sized bed on his stomach so it wouldn’t hurt his wings, watching Xander explore the room with ill concealed enjoyment. “You’ve lead and eventful life these past few years, I’m sorry I wasn’t there to offer support.”
“Warren…you had your own shit to go through. The fact that we are still friends still, is more important to me than the lack of communication during the past few years. Anyway I could have written you but I too got caught up things that were beyond my immediate control.”
“I know logically anyway but I still feel like a shit knowing you could have used my help and I was not there.”
“The same could be said for me. The point is I’m here now, you’ve given me a new start in life and well catch up. You can tell me all your dirty little secrets and finish with the reason your blue…”
Warren winced. “Xander…”
“You don’t have to tell me now or ever really but know I’m here if you need me. I will of course also tell you everything I left out downstairs. Entertain you with the new batch of women that I dated…”
Warren laughed knowing by the expression on Xander's face that they hadn't gotten much better from the ones that he heard try to kill him. “Come,” Warren patted the space next to him. “Tell me all about it.”
Xander laughed and left his unpacking for later. He figured he’d forego the bed in favor of laying on Angel himself. He changed his mind and just straddled Warren’s but lightly jumping up and down enjoying the exaggerated grunts he got in return. He leaned forward and studied the wings, something he’d never done. He gently stroked the feathers under his hand; they felt smooth like silk but fragile in a very obvious way. He decided to massage the tension out of Warren, since the man had obviously been feeling stressed for a very long time if the knots he could feel under his fingers where any indication. He was pretty sure Warren was appreciating his efforts; they also talked about all things they’d missed since the last time they’d spoken. The experience was strangely cathartic to both of them for different reasons. Xander had a feeling that life had just taken a turn for the better.
In his office Charles Xavier smiled, pleased with the new addition to their family. Xander would breath life back into the weary souls that have been though so much in such a short time. He would also be a great asset to X-men in their efforts, he had a brilliant mind and knew how deal with all the different personalities he had gathered under one roof. Warren would not be the only one to benefit from his help; he hoped the others would as well. One thing was for certain the level of culinary arts had just risen several degrees; edible food had just become something that would at least happen one meal a day. He also figured his X-men would be trading their own cooking days with Xander’s cleaning days in order to keep him cooking. Only time would tell how well he would integrate to their lifestyle and them to his but he had great hope in the fact that they would integrate.
Sequel is planned just don't know when I’ll get around to it.