"Hey Darmer! Pay attention," Professor Wade snapped. The entire class craned their necks to stare at Ashley who was sitting there looking bored out of her mind, her head lazily leaning on her hand. She didn't even notice that everyone was looking at her until one of them let out a smug snigger, causing her to snap her head up with a start.

"Oh," she mumbled awkwardly, sitting up straight. "I…sorry." Professor Wade frowned and those buried lines deepening further in his forehead.

"Is everything alright?" he asked carefully. All eyes fell on Ashley again and she felt the cynical stares practically bore into her soul, causing her skin to feel prickly hot. She began to sweat but had to keep her composure before she absolutely lost her cool and started to see silver.

That was the last thing she wanted this close to the exams. She was so close.

"I'm fine, sir. I'm sorry, I must've just drifted off…" she apologised, raising her hands in assurance. "S-so, what were-" Suddenly, the harsh sound of the school bell went off, rudely interrupting her words. The class were already rushing to pack everything away, chatting to each other in the process, but swiftly stopped as Professor Wade gave a loud impatient 'ahem'.

They all froze in their tracks.

"Remember the homework," were his only stern words.

"Yes Professor Wade," they all chanted back unenthusiastically. But Ashley said nothing at all - other things were playing too heavily on her mind and she was far too distracted to focus on pointless homework. She didn't even want to be around these kids. She wanted to be with the other guys, where she actually belonged.

"Off you go then. Er, Ashley - may I have a quick word with you, please?" Professor Wade requested with a risen hand. Ashley rolled her eyes and shrugged whilst everyone else gave her pitiful looks as they bustled outside.

"I'll wait for you out there," Rogue hissed as she swept past her and out of the classroom. Once the room was finally empty, Professor Wade slowly sat back behind his desk and fiddled with a pen, his eyes locked firmly on Ashley. She quickly finished packing her stuff away and stood up hesitantly whilst slinging the bag onto her right shoulder.

"Come here, Ashley," Professor Wade spoke quietly. She walked over to the desk obediently and narrowly avoiding his eye contact. "What's going on with you? You were not present at all today - and even more so than usual."

"I'm sorry," Ashley apologised again, this time more blandly than before. "I didn't mean to be-"

"What happened? Is something wrong? You can always talk to me, you know," Professor Wade pressed on, clearly refusing to drop the conversation that easily. Immediately, Ashley felt her heart pound and her stomach churn, making it extremely difficult for her to keep her composure in return.

What a stupid statement for him to make - why, out of all people, would she speak to him?

"Nothing's wrong. Nothing in particular, I mean," she hummed distantly, staring intently at the floor beneath her.

"Are you nervous about doing well in the end of year exams tomorrow?"

"Huh?"

"The exams? I know you have your future of the X Men riding on them…" Ashley internally rolled her eyes and ran her fingers through her deep red waves stressfully. It was quickly dawning on her that until she gave a firm answer, he wasn't about to let this go.

"Yes, yes that's exactly the problem," she nodded a little over enthusiastically.

"I knew it. You mustn't stress - you've worked so hard this year for the most part," Professor Wade pointed out. Ashley raised an eyebrow at his particular choice of words, but said nothing. "But you shouldn't let it worry you…we all have faith that you'll do well."

"Yeah you're right. I shouldn't be concerned - thanks Professor! I feel so much better already!" Ashley beamed, trying to look 100 times perkier than she did before. But as she turned around to leave, she found herself interrupted.

"I'm going to refer you to Professor Xavier. I think you should talk to him." Ashley spun back around at the speed of lightening and her face immediately dropped.

"You're going to…what? Why?!"

"You're not in trouble," Professor Wade sighed with a shake of his head, "if that's what you think."

"No, I didn't think I was in trouble," Ashley muttered back. "I just don't think that's necessarily the solution to whatever is going on."

"I'd argue that it was, Ashley. I really don't want you to panic. It could potentially ruin your performance-"

"It won't, I swear, I'm fine - so could you please not tell him? He doesn't need to know every single thing that's going on with me. If I wanted him to, I would've let him in my head years ago," Ashley begged, rubbing her fingers against her palm and gradually feeling it get warm under her touch. "Can I go now? I'm genuinely hungry." Professor Wade finally gave a short nod, implying she was dismissed. So Ashley rushed out of the classroom - just to accidentally run straight into Rogue, who was still waiting. Rogue absolutely adored her and Ashley saw her as a great friend - but she just needed some time to cool off a little.

"How was it? What did he want? Did you get in trouble?" All the questions rushed out at once as Rogue grabbed Ashley's arm and they walked down the mansion's hallway.

"He wants to refer me to Dad," Ashley grumbled miserably. "He thinks I'm anxious about the examination period."

"Well…are you?" Rogue frowned.

"No! I wasn't until he mentioned it! It's like…it was like he was desperate to squeeze something out of me, and with enough persistence, he did exactly that," Ashley shrugged carelessly. Rogue sighed. There was only so much she could get out of Ashley at a time, and she could tell that today wasn't going to be a successful one.

"Look I've gotta go meet Bobby," she told her apologetically. "Tell me how that chat goes with your pops, I'll see you later, okay Ash?" Ashley nodded and gave Rogue a quick hug before watching her rush down the corridor - then she went the opposite direction to the staff room where all the teachers were relaxing. They were all chilling together, sipping beers and chatting away as the sun streamed through the tall windows.

"Hey, no students allowed!" Scott joked as soon as Ashley walked in. The rest of them chuckled to themselves as she shut the wooden door behind her and let her deep red locks cascade loosely down her back, instead of that tight messy ponytail she usually wore.

"Ha ha," she rolled her eyes dryly, leaning over the counter. Storm slid her a chilled bottle of water and Ashley caught it with a thankful smile.

"So, how was class?" Storm asked playfully. Ashley raised a sceptical eyebrow and hopped up to sit on the counter surface.

"Is that a serious question?"

"I still find it hilarious that they made you take a class with a bunch of teens and pass the exams before you can come on missions with us," Scott continued to laugh, fully cracking up at this point. But Ashley reached over and swiftly whacked him over the back of his head, cutting his laughter off.

"Shut up! It's seriously not even funny," she snapped irritably as Scott winced and rubbed his head.

"It's not, you're right Ash. I, for one, think it's a great idea," Storm told her, nudging Scott with her elbow sharply. She cleared her throat and delivered a little smile to Ashley. "You're just polishing up what you already know, right? Think of it as… a refresher class."

"Yeah! I just hope you don't get called to the Principal's Office," Scott hummed quietly. As soon as the words left his mouth, Logan strode into the room carrying yet another pack of beers, dressed in his classic dark jeans and tight white top.

"Oh there you are, Red," he frowned once he noticed Ashley sitting there. "Your dad wants to see you." Scott couldn't hold it in - he burst out laughing again immediately, throwing his head back as if he had never experienced anything funnier in his life.

"Are you serious? I thought- Scott, shut up! I thought I told him not to bother," Ashley grumbled as she shoved herself off the counter.

"You told who not to bother?" Storm blinked.

"Professor Wade! He's adamant that I go and see him because he thinks I'm nervous about these stupid exams," Ashley explained with a muffled voice.

"Aren't they tomorrow?" Logan raised an eyebrow, pulling one of the beers from the pack.

"Yeah," Ashley confirmed. "And now I've got to go before the guy comes to find me himself."

"Good luck, kid," Scott smirked.

"Scott, I really don't like you," Ashley hissed as she got up and swept out of the room in a rush.

"Oh c'mon Ashley, we all know THAT'S not true!" Scott called back before launching into another amused laugh.

She knocked on the office door, her stomach twisting and turning as she waited anxiously for a response. Her breath hitched slightly in her throat and she had to squeeze her eyes shut so that she could calm herself down.

Before she knew it, he had called her in.

Ashley opened the door and peered her head round to see Professor X sat behind the desk, writing something out with a frown plastered on his face. He glanced up at the presence in the room, and when he saw that it was Ashley, he put his pen down carefully. "Ashley, please come in and take a seat." Ashley did as she was told and sat on the swivel chair in front of the desk, patiently waiting for him to speak. "Thank you for coming to talk to me," he finally began, pushing the paper aside.

"Well I didn't particularly want to, but you're welcome?" Ashley answered begrudgingly with her eyes focussed on the desk in front of her. Professor X studied her for a few more silent seconds before speaking again.

"Are you hungry? Thirsty? Would you like a drink of some sort?" he offered politely. But Ashley just shook her head, nibbling her plump bottom lip.

"No, thank you. In fact, I would rather we keep this conversation as short and to the point as possible. You know…small talk makes me anxious." Professor X nodded in understanding.

"Yes. Well, I called you in here to talk to you about tomorrow," he explained, getting straight to the point. Ashley's heart plummeted into the pits of her stomach.

"Tomorrow?" she repeated weakly. Professor X leaned back slightly.

"The exams?"

"Look, I know Wade told you that I was anxious and whatnot but I'm not, I promise! I feel fine-"

"I'm not here to talk about your nerves. Professor Wade's words had no effect on me and I don't know why you thought they would. If I thought that you needed help, I would've given it to you a while ago when there was still time to do so. But no, that's not why you're here now." Ashley didn't say anything, she just sat there and awaited further instructions. "I'm here to discuss control."

"Control?"

"Control."

"Control as in...?"

"Ashley you know full well that you are the biggest threat here. If anything goes wrong, you could potentially kill us all before going berserk and letting loose into the rest of the world. The sooner you learn how to control your power the better, and I do think that you can do it." Ashley felt her throat go as dry as a desert. She tried to clear it over and over again - but it wasn't working.

"Actually," she coughed hoarsely, "I w-will take that glass of water p-p-please." Professor X raised an eyebrow and, as if he knew that she was going to ask for it, pulled a chilled glass of water from the cubby hole in his desk and placed it on the surface. He watched his daughter grab the glass and gulp it down within seconds. So he simply poured more water into the glass, the trickle being the only thing to disrupt the tense silence.

"This shouldn't be difficult for you, Ashley," he suddenly attempted to console her.

But that was never his best asset, so it certainly didn't faze Ashley's nerves.

"I can't control anything!" she hissed, picking up the glass again.

"Then perhaps doing the exam tomorrow isn't in your best interest after all," Professor X began carefully. "If we-"

"What, so that I can sit here twiddling my thumbs whilst the rest of my friends go on missions together? Not a chance. You made me sit through this class for a year, never mind the age difference between the students and I. I sat, I learned and I listened. I'm doing the exam tomorrow, whether it's 'in my best interest' or not - it's not like you ever cared about whether it was or wasn't in the first damn place," Ashley practically spat the words out in a rush before slamming the glass back on the desk and leaving in a hurry.

Her father simply sighed as he picked up the freezing cold glass and studied the contents of it. His sad eyes fluttered shut once he spotted the glinting solid block of ice where the water once was.

...

welcome to my newest wild ride! i cannot wait for you guys to join me on this journey - particularly if you were an assassin in asgard reader!