A/N: Sometimes I just can't write…and my X-Menness has worn off. Also, things are really hectic right now in my life. I really like this fic but I have the advantage of already knowing the ending…but, since you don't I will not abandon my readers like that! Sorry for the spazzyness. This fic may take even longer. Also…I did not even check for spelling mistakes so….let's see what fun typos I make today!

Chapter 18

Nature was not Pyro's best friend- on many levels. One, he was fire. Forest and fire have never been a good mix unless you're some kind of arsonist. John was not an arsonist, although his display back at the Drake's house could lead someone to wonder. The second reason was that John had never gotten to experience the "bonding" time of a father-son camping trip, unlike Bobby who was staring wistfully up at the trees.

The boys were supposed to be collecting firewood.

The mutants had been on the ground for a couple of hours already. Rogue still seemed to be in shock, as anyone would almost falling to their death, the others like Logan and Jean were too busy eyeing Magneto and Mystique than dwell on their near-death experience. Besides, Jean didn't really want to talk about her random failure of power.

John kicked a pile of rotting leaves up into the air. Bobby, who apparently was a little more high-strung than usual suddenly snapped, "John, stop your messing around and get to work!"

John shrugged, sending Bobby an unfriendly hand gesture over his shoulder. He didn't have enough energy to fire back a witty remark to his icy companion. Besides, Bobby had stopped collecting sticks a few trees ago. He had no reason to be bitching and making accusations.

With a few sticks in hand, John began walking back to the temporary camp that the others had been setting up. On his mind was Mary. He hadn't seen her get off the plane. He'd rushed out quickly only because he was about to be sick. That wouldn't have been the most romantic greeting for them.

'Why am I so worried about her all the time?' he asked himself. This "love" thing was a weakness John still wasn't sure he was ready to accept. Frustrated by his thoughts, John kicked up a few more leaves.

"John…" came a quiet voice.

The pyro turned around. It was Bobby again, but the boy's expression had changed. He looked…broken, ragged, weak.

Pyro felt a bit uncomfortable. He wasn't used to seeing Bobby like this. Pyro even forgot to take advantage of the situation by making a snarky comment. Pyro was stunned and caught off guard, so he answered in a mildly concerned tone. "Yeah?"

Bobby approached John very slowly. He opened his mouth. John waited, raising his eyebrows slightly. But Bobby didn't say another word, instead, he sent an icy stream of frosty air at Pyro, then stormed of with his armful of sticks.

Pyro swore loudly. He'd let his guard down. He'd tried to be caring and it'd only backfired on him. Bobby would pay for that; someday. Pyro thought about Mary again. Would she ever do this to him, after all the effort he made trying to get over himself and show her love? This was the reason he stayed away from people. Pyro decided to dawdle around the forest a bit more before returning to the camp. Setting his collected sticks on the ground, Pyro took out his lighter…

Meanwhile, back at the camp there was one particular blue-haired mutant who hadn't yet come off the plane.

The scene had played over and over in her mind. She felt weightless and surreal. The feeling of utter helplessness and impending death did not come often to Mary.

When Magneto had gently set their jet to Earth, everyone had trailed out; some more shaken than others. Rogue hadn't let go of Kurt and Bobby had stomped off. Pyro also had disappeared quite quickly, probably not wishing for anyone to see him in his shakey-limbed state. The older mutants had rushed out to see what Magneto was up to, but Mary had stayed put in her seat, staring blankly at the back of the seat in front of her.

A half hour later, Storm had popped in and offered the girl some encouragement.

"Doing okay, hun?"

Mary began to shake her head, but stopped and nodded instead.

"Some of us are going to start setting up camp…you know, until the jet is fully functional." Ororo paused and gave warm smile that almost made the girl feel somewhat safe. But Ororo didn't know what words to say and so giving Mary a quick hug, she left the jet.

Mary sighed. That'd been hours ago, or so it seemed. She wondered what everyone was now doing.

"Mary," said a voice all of a sudden. She might have noticed the figure approach if she'd been paying any attention though. Mary turned her head slightly and saw that it was now Logan walking towards her with an armful of tarps and other tent-like equipment. She wondered how long he'd been standing there and whether he'd been watching her agitated movements.

"What?" she asked slowly.

"Are you hungry?" asked Wolverine, a bit uncertain with himself. He was supposed to be a guide and example for these kids, and what had he done so far? All he'd really shown off was violence…sometimes he figured that was all he was good for. Logan didn't know how to handle the situation and knew that whatever the case Mary was definitely not like Rogue.

Mary had time to think about it before answering. "A little."

"They've started up a campfire, and are going to be…cooking some of the emergency food stock."

Mary nodded.

Logan sighed and left the jet quickly. Mary wanted to follow. She needed a new environment and suddenly missed her friends, Kitty and Jubilee. Where were they? Mary shivered, she'd almost forgotten about the whole invasion that was the cause of all these current problems. She'd blocked it out, but it couldn't remain hidden forever.

Mary was staring concernedly at the ceiling when two strong arms picked her up. She exclaimed loudly as anyone would, but it was only Logan again. He lifted her out of her seat and began walking her off the plane. "No more moping, kid," he said in a gruff voice.

Mary sighed in defeat, but was a little happy that someone had finally taken initiative. So stopping her squirming, she let herself be carried off the jet.

to be continued…..eventually