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22 August 2006 @ 01:01 am
"That was close, Emma my dear. Are you sure you've covered your tracks?"

"Quite certain, Sebastian. Thank you ever so much for your faith in me," I answered coolly as I pulled my satin robe tighter around my frame. After Scott had left, I'd slept rather soundly and had actually enjoyed the few precious moments in bed, but I knew they wouldn't last long. Of course, I wasn't expecting the entire group to come barging into my bedroom demanding a full report, either.

I very politely told them all what a grand lover Scott was and that they could go to hell. Cassandra had told me I was already there.

She wasn't wrong, either. I took a sip of my morning tea and eyed them, plotting and planning the next move as I did the same thing myself. How the hell had I thought I could outmaneuver them all?

"Emma. You're quiet. Care to share your thoughts?"

I turned and looked squarely at the monstrosity that was Cassandra Nova. She was baiting me, I knew. Standing, I walked away from her and looked outside to where some of my Hellions were studying. This wasn't some game that I was playing for the benefit of my sex life. Lives were on the line, and they happened to be people I gave a damn about.

"I'm simply wondering what's to come of the children once this is all said and done." It wasn't a lie. She could scan my mind for the truth if she wished it and she would find that it wasn't a lie at all.

"Why should you care? I saved you from Genosha. I gave you more power. I helped make you 'redeemed' in the eyes of the X-Men, your former enemies. What does it matter what happens to a few small mutants along the way?"

Nonchalance was the key, I knew, but how could I stand there with an ice cold heart and pretend it didn't matter? Sighing, I replied, "Because they might be of use to us."

Apparently, that was the best answer to give, since they didn't pry any further. I was given an assignment regarding the rest of the team and sighed wearily. The game would be over soon, I felt. I couldn't keep this up forever. Not everything was an act with me any longer, and I'd realized it last night after I'd whispered to scott three words I never thought I would say to him.

"I love you."
Current Location: Emma & Scott's bedroom
Current Mood: coldcold
22 August 2006 @ 12:15 am
The early-morning jog around the grounds didn't help-- instead of warming me up and starting the day running, it just ended up reminding me just how tired I was and how little sleep I'd gotten. Chowing down breakfast hadn't helped, either. I'd come in at the tail end of service, and gotten the runny eggs and the sludge coffee, and the questions I'd gotten from the students were mostly not of the mundane, extra credit and report extension nature that I'd been hoping for. Instead, they were looking for reassurances that I hoped sounded sincere when I gave them.

My office, at least, I was guardedly optimistic about its providing me with a little pick-me-up. There, theoretically, I could bury myself in day-to-day paperwork, and the minutiae of running a small private school.

As usual, "theoretically" was a decidedly different thing from "actually".

An amber light flashed on the upper corner of my computer screen, letting me know that there was a message waiting for me. The fact that it wasn't a phone message implied that it was a teammate or some ally, rather than the morning's next irritated parent.

It was a parent, of sorts.

"Scott," the Professor's recorded image began, "I must say I'm surprised to not find you at your desk at this hour, but I do trust that your duties as Headmaster are keeping you on your toes at the moment. I can't begin to reiterate just how proud and impressed I am with the job you-- and Emma-- have done with the school."

Behind my visor, I rolled my eyes at the man, something I doubt even now I'd have been able to do in person. I wanted him to just get on with it.

"Unfortunately, there is nothing of great import to pass on to you from here in Genosha. Henry is having quite the time rummaging through the debris here, and assures you that although he is working as expediently as possible, he foresees a few more weeks' work, at least."

And, I thought.

"Scott, son, I understand that at the moment, my standing with you has ebbed quite low, and I cannot blame you in the least for that. Please rest assured that when I am able to return, I will make every effort to discuss this situation and find a compromise in everyone's best interests. Good luck, Scott. And thank you."

My finger hovered over the key that would start recording my reply. What to say to any of that, I wondered. And that really was the problem-- I had nothing to say because I had no idea just how I felt about any of it. No, that wasn't true. I felt angry and disappointed and more than a little betrayed. I clicked the button marked "DELETE" and let the message disappear.

I couldn't deal with it now. I didn't know when I'd be able... I just knew that time wasn't now.
Current Mood: gloomygloomy
14 August 2006 @ 10:26 pm
I jolted awake, gasping for air, my fingers digging into the bedsheets on either side of me. Early morning light filtered in through the curtains, but I kept my eyes wide open and trained on the ceiling overhead, trying to still my nerves. I was drenched in sweat, but I was shivering and I felt cold deep inside.

Bits and pieces of the nightmare came back to me as I forced myself into complete wakefulness. I tried not to focus on them, but the images were there, and I couldn't block them out.

It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to liveCollapse )

((Open to anyone who intercepts her))
03 August 2006 @ 08:56 pm
Got back to the mansion to find the others paired up and talking already. The couples. Great. We got important things to discuss and they’re feelin’ the need to get touchy-feely with each other.

Fine. I grabbed a six-pack out of the mini-fridge in my room and headed to the Danger Room.

Nobody had had a chance to clean up and start repairs, so it was still in shambles. Stepping inside, I was surprised I could actually feel the difference. I could feel Danger’s absence. Don’t know why I never realized it before, but with it gone now I knew that I had felt her presence here. There had been a vibe, a hint of life. I suppose I mistook it for the effect of such an advanced alien technology.

Now, though, the room felt dead. Cold metal walls and harsh lights.

I sat down, back against the wall next to the door… and thought about how to make this a training room again.
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
02 August 2006 @ 10:50 pm
I'd had lots of talks with teammates about things that had happened in the field. As a leader, I'd always thought it part of my job to address things that deserved noting, whether it was something that needed improvement or correcting, or something to be commended. Of course, it was always the former subject that most of those teammates remember.

I thought over the years that I'd gotten pretty good at those talks, though. People got better at what the X-Men needed them to, and I'd have to say that our track record speaks for the effectiveness of that.

None of which made it something I enjoyed, of course.

Since joining the X-Men, I've also had my share of difficult talks with lovers. Almost without exception, they were of the "difficult but necessary" kind, where as painful as a subject might have been, if it was kept quiet it would jus cause more and more trouble. I hadn't gotten any better at those talks.

As I climbed the stairs to the living quarters, I realized that this? This would be both of those talks.

The years of training and discipline spoke loudly and firmly in my head. The team had been in a hell of a fight against Danger, and like any other combat situation, we needed everyone on the team to be ready to be thrown in against the enemy. Emma had not been there, plain and simple. She'd walked out on the fight, only to reappear in the middle of it with no explanation worth repeating.

And as much as Scott didn't want to have to call his girlfriend to task for that, Cyclops knew it had to happen.

I found Emma sitting quietly in a chair, staring almost blankly out of the window. It had to happen, I told myself, and reassured myself that it would work out well.

"So what's the going rate for thoughts these days, Emma? Two pennies? Three?"

((Open to Emma))
Current Mood: pessimisticpessimistic
29 July 2006 @ 04:36 pm
The day had been long and horrendously exhausting, but as I leaned against Peter, with his arm around me, the headache that had been pounding through my head seemed to recede a bit. I wasn't sure if it was a result of his closeness or the double dose of aspirin or both, but either way I was glad for the relief.

"Are you doing ok?" he asked me.

I nodded and tried to work up a tired smile for him. "I'm fine," I told him. I thought back to my fight with Emma and was forced to realize how much it had taken out of me. She'd thrown me onto an emotional roller coaster, and after the battle at Genosha it was really the last thing I'd needed. "Just...a little tired," I admitted.

"Can I fix you something to eat?"

He looked so worried that I had to laugh a little, and put a hand on his face to soothe him. He really is the sweetest man. I've seen him smash through buildings and take down countless supervillains. He's been through death and torture and who knows what else, but none of it changes who he really is deep down.

Thank God.

"Nah, I'm not hungry," I repled. "Really," I added firmly, not sure he believed me. I guess he did, because he changed the subject.

"Scott has invited Rogue to be on team again," he said in a low voice.

"For real?" I raised my eyebrows and looked over at the woman we were talking about, who was currently engaged in conversation with Scott. "Good. That's good. I think that will help all of us."

I eyed the table in the corner, zeroing in on one of the chairs. Sleep was the foremost thing on my mind, but I wanted to talk to Peter a little more to erase the ugliness of the day. The last thing I needed was more nightmares.

"You know, you're right. I should eat something," I said, turning to him. "But I seriously need to sit down before I drop. Will you fix me something?"

((Open to Peter))
Current Location: Xavier Institute, kitchen
Current Mood: exhaustedexhausted
24 July 2006 @ 09:21 pm
Soon as we got back to the mansion, I headed inside, changed and left through the door closest to the forest. By the time I reached the trees I was in a full out run, and as I weaved between the thick trunks and through the heavy foliage, I let instinct take over, barely missin' large branches while still getting scratches and shallow cuts that I barely noticed. They instantly healed, of course, leavin' no marks. Just more things that faded into the past.

The next hour was little more than a blur of green and brown as I let my mind think of nothin' much at all.

I ended up crouched at the top of a big hill that afforded me a view of the mansion and finally started to think of what was to come. We'd go on, I knew that. We may have lost faith in the professor but we still believed in the dream. I wondered what Slim's plan was; would he tell the students that the professor wouldn't be coming back? They didn't need to know the whys but they should at least know that he was no longer a part of the school.

I stood and started back for the mansion. There was goin' be talkin' about how things were goin' to change or not change. Figured I should be in the room.
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
11 July 2006 @ 10:04 pm
The great thing about routines is that they don't involve a lot of thinking. You can be productive, get things done and not have to expend a lot of mental energy while doing it, either saving it up for later or using the time to think about something else. In the past, I'd gotten a lot of thinking done while elbows-deep in a car or plane engine or going for a run around the lake.

This time, though, as step by automatic step, I went through the post-flight checklist for our loaner jet, I opted for the other route-- not thinking much at all.

Unfortunately, every routine comes to an end. Engines get cool, batteries start recharging and hydraulic systems hiss to a stop. And once all that happened, I didn't feel any more at ease.

Emma wasn't in our room when I got there. The questions about her sudden absence during the fight in Genosha still turned over in the back of my mind, but simpler needs were more pressing, at least for the moment. I showered and changed, then, as so often happened after getting back from a mission, I finally realized just how hungry I'd gotten.

The halls were quiet, and I was grateful. There would be the inevitable tide of questions from teammates and students alike, and one hell of a big mess in the sub-basement to clean up. We'd have to think of alternate training methods and figure out when-- or maybe more importantly, if-- we would rebuild the Danger Room.

For now, I headed into the kitchen, where it seemed I wasn't the only one unsettled after getting home.

Current Location: Xavier Institute, kitchen
Current Mood: tiredtired
11 July 2006 @ 01:06 pm
More lies were sure to follow whatever the hell happened in Genosha. You didn't need to be a telepath to know that much.

As I stepped off the jet, part of me wished to talk to Scott, to repair any sort of damage that was done when I heard the accusing words of why I had "vanished"... why I had not been a part of the battle. What could I say, though? I was still shielding my own thoughts as strongly as I possibly could, but Cassandra was assisting as well.

The sight of her made my skin crawl.

They'd approached me before, though. Before the love of a damn boy scout had made me change my ways and had... softened me. It was far too late now to back out, as much as I wished it. There were plans in store for each member of our group, and when I'd informed Shaw that Hank had remained behind in Genosha he was quite displeased.

To hell with him.

Ignoring the problem won't make it vanishCollapse )

Current Mood: guiltyguilty
09 July 2006 @ 10:18 am
I know I shouldn't be surprised by what the Prof did. Of all of us, I sure as hell know what people, even the supposed "good guys," are capable of. You get to thinkin' that someone's above such deception and cruelty you're liable to get blind-sided when they finally show that they're just as fallible as the rest of humanity.

I knew the professor isn't a damn saint but I didn't let myself think he could do something like this. What bothers me most is that he thought that he was doing the right thing by keepin' Danger captive so that we'd have the edge in our trainin' that her technology brought. And to study her. Got my own pretty friggin' big problems with that, not to mention Pete's which are a whole lot fresher.

Japanese got a saying: Anzuru yori umu ga yasushi. Giving birth to a baby is easier than worrying about it. Meanin' fear is greater than the danger; the professor's fear of being prepared, of preparing us for the ongoin' hostilities between mutants and humans, was greater than the danger of us finding out what he'd done.

All of us here in this jet, and those back at the mansion, have dedicated ourselves to the simple but truest belief there is: We all crave and deserve freedom. Freedom to live, to become who we will. We all have to choose our paths, whether we will stand for good or evil or even remain neutral. Take that basic right away from any living being and you are no better than any of the numerous dictators who slaughtered millions in the name of racial purity.

The confines of the jet suddenly felt too limiting. I was anxious to get back on the ground, to take a long run through the forest.
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful