A/N:

Okay, I got inspired to write this after rewatching Day of Reckoning pt 2. I couldn't help but wonder what was going on inside Scott's head when the Brotherhood and Avalanche undermined him and Mystique posing as Professor X essentially questioned his leadership and talked down to him. Let me know what you think in the reviews!


I don't know how long I sat out there on the cliff overlooking Bayville . . . all I knew was that I needed my head clear.

After the ridiculous Danger Room session that morning, of the professor pushing us and the New Mutants over the limit we could go to, I felt frustrated and drained, physically and mentally.

Another thing I couldn't understand was why the professor would have us work with the Brotherhood, of all people we had to team up with.

The Brotherhood of Mutants represented everything that we were against as X-Men. We represented peace while they represented anarchy and war. It was how I always saw it . . . as if that were not unnerving enough, having Lance Alvers, Avalanche, question my ability to lead . . . I'd had enough. Enough was enough.

Lately, it seemed as though things with Professor X just were not the same. He was pushing all of us harder than we were ready for, and today, he'd put me on the spot and essentially degraded my leadership in front of the whole team. The whole situation made my blood boil. He was additionally pushing Jean a lot harder too by forcing her to use Cerebro . . . Jean's telepathy wasn't nearly strong enough to handle that computer. None of us were ready yet for any of this . . . and the fact that he knew that . . . and that he essentially made that clear to all of us. Bringing in the Brotherhood essentially made it all worse. There was no shot in hell that I was going to work with those guys especially Avalanche. After all the problems Alvers, Toad, Quicksilver and the Blob had caused us . . . why would the professor do that?

Sitting there, I still felt the embarrassment from Alvers questioning my leadership decisions . . . the professor knew better than to do something like that to me in front of the team. He knew that my ego was as sensitive as Logan's was . . . he knew that if he had a problem with me and my leadership tactics to pull me aside and talk about it in private . . . not in front of Jean . . . not in front of Storm . . . not in front of anybody, because he knew that if he did that, that that would make me look incompetent in front of the others. He knew how insecure I felt when it came to things like that. It was an insecurity that I carried with me after being a street kid . . . after being used for a total of two years by my former foster dad, Jack, with Jack telling me every time that I screwed up, I wasn't good enough, I had developed a lacking of self-worth. It was the professor, Ororo and Logan who had helped me build back up the self-esteem I had lost throughout those years . . . they had groomed Jean and me to lead the X-Men since we were thirteen years old and in seventh grade.

I continued to sit there, thinking over what the hell had just happened. Taking a deep breath, I shook my head. Something was definitely wrong . . . I just couldn't quite put my finger on it. What was it? Was it my intuition that was telling me something was wrong? I felt I shouldn't have stormed off, but, if I didn't feel confident, no way I would be able to be competent enough to lead the team while we were out there . . . especially if Magneto was going to be there and we needed to be ready.

Magneto . . . the man that had screwed around with me and Alex . . . who took our brains, stuck something else in there, and played. He essentially made both me and my brother feel . . . unmade. It was a time I would never forget for years and years to come. If Jean hadn't gotten through to my brother and me . . . we could have . . . I could have hurt Jean . . . Rogue . . . the professor . . . no . . . I couldn't afford to think like that. I rubbed my hand over my face, continuing to sit there, hoping and praying that Jean, Rogue, Evan, Kurt, Kitty, Ororo and Hank were all okay.

Suddenly, that was when I heard a car pull up . . . it was a jeep Tabitha was in, and she had Amara with her. I looked up at both girls . . . Amara especially . . . the little sister who could do no wrong to me or Jean. Both girls looked startled by something . . . then I remembered . . . Tabitha wasn't old enough to drive and didn't own a car . . . that crazy kid . . .

"Scott! We've been looking all over for you!" Amara shouted to me.

As upset as I was with the professor berating me in front of the students and my teammates . . . if the New Mutants were in trouble, I'd do anything for those kids . . . because my uncertainties meant nothing if Bobby, Sam, Ray, Roberto, Amara, Tabitha, Jubilee, Rahne and Jaime needed help.

"The mansion's gone nuts!" Tabitha added to me, the worry evident in her voice. "It's locked up tight, and there's weapon's firing everywhere!"

I stood up, realizing what Tabitha was talking about. "Defcon four," I whispered out loud. If the mansion went into Defcon four . . . essentially self-destruct mode . . . then nothing good could come out of that, especially if the New Mutants were trapped inside there. I shook my head and jumped inside the driver's seat of my convertible. "The both of you, get in . . . we're heading back over there." I knew that if the other New Mutants were in trouble I needed to get there. Tabitha got into the passenger's side while Amara jumped into the back. I turned towards Boom-Boom.

"What exactly happened . . . do you know what did this?" I asked calmly. Even though Tabitha had left us to live in the Brotherhood house, she was loyal to Amara. The two were best friends . . . never far apart from each other at all . . .

"I don't know what happened," Tabitha told me with honesty and concern in her tone. "I was on my way to the mansion to talk to Professor X about Mystique!"

"Whoa! What about Mystique?" I demanded her.

"She's running the show again!" Tabitha said, her voice dripping in worry. "She's the reason Lance and the Brainless Boys attacked you guys at the mall!"

"That was her?" I asked. "But –" I paused and thought about it for a minute. "Whoa, whoa this just isn't adding up. Mystique's back but the Brotherhood is helping us? And now, suddenly, the mansion goes into Defcon four! There's something very wrong here . . ."

"I know that's why I was headed over there to warn you guys!" Tabitha said.

"I know, thank you, Tabitha . . . you did good," I said to her.

"If the mansion's under lock and key how do we get inside?" Amara asked in worry.

"We'll figure it all out once we get there," I told them, keeping myself calm and collected. I knew that if I started to panic it would just cause Amara and Tabitha to worry more. "There's a side entrance we can use if nobody can get inside through the front. What we need to do is get to the control room and access the security cameras to find out if anyone tampered with anything that shouldn't be touched."

"Something tells me Bobby's already down there!" Amara said.

"He's smarter than we all thought," I said as I continued to drive. I drove us towards a secluded area covered by rock overlooking the lake. The girls jumped out and I swapped my ruby quartz glasses for my Cyclops visor, just in case.

"Are you sure?" asked Tabitha, as if she were uncertain about this whole thing.

"Trust me . . . it's the only way in," I said to them. I proceeded to try and climb up the rock, knowing that if I could just get into the entrance where the X-Jet left from . . . I would be able to get us inside. However, my foot slipped and I found myself tumbling right onto my ass. God, what I would give for Jean to be here right now. She would be able to get herself in there just fine . . . her telekinetic powers have grown stronger after her last power surge, to the point where she could lift much heavier objects.

"Splat," Tabitha said. "I so I guess it's a no-go, huh?"

"Unless one of you recently developed telekinesis, we're gonna have to go through down here," I said. God Jean . . . I'll never take you for granted ever again, I thought to myself.

"Alright, back it up . . . time for a little bada-bing-bada-boom!" Tabitha said, proceeding to make her little tiny bombs, getting ready to blow up the rock on the side.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, how about we avoid the rock slide scenario?" I suggested to her. I turned to Amara asking her, "Amara?" I knew that Jean had recently been training her . . . I hoped Jean's sessions with the girl would pay off and get us inside the building.

"Okay," Amara said confidently. "I can do this." She proceeded to turn herself into her full-on form of lava and melted the rock away using her powers. The three of us proceeded to walk inside our make-shift entrance.

"Wow, so what do you call this, the X-Cave?" Tabitha asked.

I rolled my eyes at her Batman reference, now wasn't the time.

Amara proceeded to try and access the elevator, but that didn't work at all. "Elevator's not working," she said, frustrated.

I quickly ran over to a door that led to the staircase that would for sure get us to the planning room. The two girls quickly followed me, and the three of us proceeded to work together, taking out the century guns that were firing at us.

"Okay, come on let's go!" I said to them, leading the way. Thank God Tabitha and Amara got to me when they did.

I got us to the doorway that led us to the planning room, and we all heard the sound system say, "The institute will self-destruct in seven minutes and thirty seconds." I led Boom-Boom and Magma down the hallways, and we all proceeded to take the guns out using our powers. It wasn't long until we were hearing that the institute was going to self-destruct in one minute. I could hear Bobby inside trying to disarm the security system.

"It's no good!" Bobby said. "I can't get it to disarm!"

"Out of the way . . . I'm gonna fry this turkey!" I heard Ray cry out the minute we all walked into the planning room.

"Wait!" I called out to Berserker. "Do that and it's all over and I don't mean in a good way!" I walked calmly over to the computers to see if I could access the security cameras. "Does anyone know who did this?"

"We have no idea!" Sam told me, and from the little bit of playback I saw on the security cameras, I felt my blood boil . . . Mystique! She had been impersonating the professor and had infiltrated our ranks, outsmarting us all. How . . . why? How could anybody do something like this? Jamie was eleven fucking years old and in the eyes of many, still a little boy!Bobby and Jubilee were only fifteen, about to be sixteen! Rahne was thirteen and still in the seventh grade! Sam, Roberto and Ray were all fifteen! Amara was only fourteen years old and so pure and lovable no one could even imagine her in a fight despite her fiery temperament. They were kids, for crying out loud!

"Never mind, I just got my answer," I said, keeping my voice calm, but I was so angry that when I saw Mystique later, I was so going to give that sick, twisted bitch a piece of my mind for putting the New Mutant's lives in jeopardy like this. The New Mutants and the X-Men had been the family I had built for myself over the years . . . if anything happened to any of these kids . . .

"Who cares?" Ray said, scared out of his mind . . . I noticed Rahne and Jamie were both shaking in fear. "Just get us out whatever way you came in!"

"There's no time!" I said to him. "Only fifteen seconds left," I added.

"Well, what do we do, Scott?" Amara asked, all the kids turning to me.

"Yeah, what's the plan?" Bobby asked, having lost his level of confidence and not knowing what to do.

"Scott?" asked Amara again.

I kept myself as calm as possible, even though inside my blood was boiling in anger and rage towards Mystique for attempting to kill these kids who had their whole lives ahead of them. I heard the computer saying that there was only ten seconds left until demolition.

"Follow me!" I told them. I knew that the safest place was the Cerebro room, knowing it could contain the blast and keep us safe for the time being. I led all the New Mutants out of there, my insecurities from earlier suddenly meaning nothing. I needed to protect these kids . . . I needed to get them to safety as soon as possible. If anything happened to them I would never forgive myself for it. All of us ran towards Cerebro, locking ourselves inside, just as we heard the shaking outside, knowing that the mansion had just exploded. That was the moment the blast hit quite a few of us. I shielded Jamie, Amara and Jubilee with my body in an attempt to keep them from getting injured the worst, but, a piece of rock hit Jamie hard over the head, causing a bloody gash on the back of his head. I knew he'd have a concussion, no doubt, if he ended up passing out now. I noticed that Rahne was completely knocked out as several of us started coughing. I quickly made my way over to the werewolf-shape-shifting mutant and checked her over for injuries. I noticed she had a concussion at this point and would not wake for another few hours. I bent down and lifted her up, carrying her as Sam and Tabitha cleared an entrance for us through the fallen debris. I led the kids out of the mess and over to the secluded, wooded area, knowing we were all safest there until Jean, Kurt, Kitty and the others got back. I laid Rahne down on the ground and tended to her and Jamie the best that I could . . . without medical supplies or Hank there, there wasn't much that I could do except apply pressure to their head wounds with whatever clothing was left from my torn shirt.

"Is everyone else okay?" I asked.

Sam and Ray weakly gave me the thumbs up as they sat against some nearby trees. Amara went over and threw herself onto me, her arms around my neck as I felt her tears hitting my skin. I wrapped my arm around her waist and hugged her firmly as I applied pressure against Jamie's head wound.

"Thank you for coming back," I heard Amara whisper to me, her voice shaking in gratitude.

"I wasn't about to let myself lose another family," I told her softly, pressing a kiss against the side of her head. I wasn't typically open with affection . . . I mostly showed it to Jean or Kurt, but Amara . . . I could just tell she was in need of comfort from someone, and with Jean not here to provide it, I was the one that they were turning to. After ensuring I had stopped the bleeding from Jamie I moved onto Rahne who got hit pretty badly. As I tended to her, I noticed Bobby was trembling in fear . . . all of them must've been petrified out of their minds. I noticed he had tears falling from his eyes as I held my arm out to him and he clung onto me, his arms around my waist, crying. I had another thing to stimulate me to kick the crap out of Mystique once she got back here. She had frightened these kids shitless in the one place that they were supposed to be safe. I massaged my hand against Bobby's back to try and calm him down as he silently sobbed against my chest, his tears hitting my skin exposed from my ripped up shirt. I noticed that Jubilee was still shaking all over as she made her way over to us.

"I-I thought we were gonna die," Jubilee told me, tears filling her eyes. Her body was trembling.

"I swear on my parents' graves . . . on the life of my brother, I'll never let that happen," I told her fiercely, feeling a surge of protectiveness over these kids.

Jubilee nodded, the tears still shining in her eyes. "I-I just don't u-understand why," she said.

I nodded along with her . . . I didn't understand what Mystique's agenda was exactly with this, but, we were going to find out. "I don't know why either, but, we're going to find out," I said.

Bobby continued crying against my chest as I repeated to him softly, "Shhhh . . . its okay . . . its okay . . . it's gonna be okay you're all right . . . you're safe it's all right now."

"I w-was so scared," Bobby whimpered to me.

"I know . . . I know," I said quietly.

"God where's Jean when you need her?" asked Roberto as he looked up at the sky.

I nodded in agreement too . . . I needed Jean now by my side, suddenly. She helped keep me sane in situations like this and helped me keep my head up when I had my doubts. She was my best friend . . . God only knew what was happening out there. After what felt like a good couple of hours, all of us could hear the X-jets returning. Rahne slowly stirred and Sam and I helped her to her feet. Bobby and Amara unlatched themselves from me, and we all proceeded to head over to the X-Men just as I heard Jean's voice screaming, "Bobby! Amara!"

"Over here," Bobby replied to Jean's worried voice weakly. "We're all right," he added.

As soon as Jean saw me, relief seemed to wash over her as she ran over to me; saying, "Scott," and she flung her arms around me. I caught her in a brief hug, squeezing her tight for a couple seconds before making my way over to the "professor."

"What happened? How did you all survive this?" Jean asked.

"Scott got us into the Cerebro room just in time. It held up, barely," Sam said, giving Jean the explanation.

I stalked over to the "professor," who just sat there in his wheelchair stoically. I felt so angry . . .

"It was you!" I shouted, grabbing Mystique by the shirt and throwing her out of the professor's chair. "You did this!"

Before I could even lunge forward to go for Mystique again, I felt Bobby and Kurt grabbing hold of me, holding me back.

"Yes, I did do it," Mystique said as she just simply laughed. She stood up from the ground and transformed back into her blue self. "And now things are about to get much worse . . ."