"How far are we?" Logan asked from behind me. I looked up at him and smiled sweetly. "We're almost there. Just a few seconds" I told him.
"We have two signals approaching" Storm said curiously. "Coming in fast" she added. I looked at the radar. She was right, of course.
"Unidentified aircraft, you are ordered to descend to twenty thousand feet. Return with our escort to Hanscom Air Force base. You have 10 seconds to comply" a female voice ordered over the radio.
"Somebody's angry" Storm joked dryly.
"I wonder why?" Logan replied, looking pointedly at John.
"We are coming up alongside you to escort you to Hanscom Air Force base" the voice persisted. "Lower your altitude now" two planes flew alongside up. The pilot of the one to our left pointed down repeatedly, silently repeating the message.
"Repeat, lower your altitude to twenty thousand feet. This is your last warning"
I looked at Logan and Storm, worried. What are we going to do?
We had no choice. Storm lowered the plane in compliance. "This isn't over" I said quietly, so only those two heard me. "I know" Strom told me, continuing to do as ordered.
"They're falling back" Storm wondered as the planes did, indeed, fall back.
Suddenly, the radar went wild. "They're locking us" Storm realized. Crap.
"What?" Logan and I asked at the same time.
"They're gonna fire!" Storm called out to everybody. "Hang on!"
I turned on the jets, hoping we could out run them. I heard some thud and grunts from behind me, but didn't have time to turn around to check on Logan. I knew he'd be alright in the end.
"I gotta shake them" Storm warned before forcing the jet to roll over. "Please don't do that again" John begged flatly from behind me. I rolled my eyes at that boy's lack of priorities.
"I agree" Logan added. I laughed. "Wusses" I teased.
"Don't we have any weapons in this heat?" Logan asked loudly. Storm did her thing behind us, knocking down both of the other planes while I helped steer. Scoot had taught me while Logan was gone.
We all breathed a sigh of relief. But…
Beepbeepbeepbeep. The radar went off again. "Shit!" I cried. "Oh my God, there's two of them" Storm started to freak out. I closed my eyes and focused on one of them. I slowly disintegrated one of them. As I was doing so, I felt something. It was like a power boost, but taking down that one missile still took all the energy I had. Once it was gone, I slouched, trying to catch my breath.
"There's one more. Paige!" Storm said. I shook my head. "I. Can't" I tried to focus my mind, and I felt the power again, but it wasn't enough, I was too weak. I managed to deter it enough that there was minimal damage, but we still got hit.
We all screamed as the missile took some of the back of the jet with it. Rogue, to my horror, hadn't put her seatbelt on fully (Remember X-Men, where she told Logan to put on his seat-belt? What is it with these guys and plot references?) and flew out of the jet.
"Rogue! NO! Not my baby sister" I screamed as she disappeared.
Kurt then disappeared, only to return between me and Storm with my baby sister in his arms.
I tried to fix the back of the jet, though I knew it wasn't any use. It was taking all of my energy to stay awake at this point. We were falling fast, when the back of the jet started putting itself back together and our descent slowed down greatly.
"Paige?" Storm called. "It's…not…me" I managed to get out.
And then, we stopped. Standing in front of the jet, hand out, was Erik, Mystique by his side, as always.
Logan had to carry me out of the jet, not that he really minded. We were all sitting round a fire, talking about what was going on and what we needed to do. When I say all, I mean everybody but Bobby, John, Rogue, and Kurt.
Logan still had me I his arms, and I was having trouble staying awake. But the gravity of the situation was acting like caffeine for me.
"His name is Coronel William Stryker, and he invaded your mansion for one purpose. He wanted Cerebro" Erik told us. "Or enough of it to build one of his own"
"That doesn't make any sense" I told him. "Only a telepath can operate it, and only the Professor is strong enough" I told them, thinking about how Jean had barely made it after trying to use Cerebro.
"Which is probably the only reason my old friend is still alive" Erik replied. I sighed and let my forehead fall against Logan's huge arm.
"Oh my God" Storm seemed to be saying that a lot.
"What are you all so afraid of" Logan asked, watching us silently freak out over what we knew could happen.
"When Cerebro is working, Charles's mind is connected to every single living person on the planet. If he were forced to concentrate hard enough on a particular group, say, Mutants for example? He could kill us all" Erik told him without sympathy.
"Wait a minute. How would Stryker even know where to find Cerebro in the first place?" Storm wondered. It was a valid point. Only a few people knew about Cerebro, and everyone that knew where it was, for the most part, was here.
"Because I told him" Erik said reluctantly after a minute. I felt Logan growl and hushed him. "I'm sure he had no choice. Erik is all for mutant superiority, not human superiority like Stryker" I rationalized.
Erik nodded. "I helped Charles build it, remember? Mr. Stryker had powerful methods of persuasion. Even against a mutant as strong as Charles"
"So who is this Stryker, anyway?" Storm asked him after a moment.
"He's a military scientist. He spent his whole life trying to solve the 'mutant problem'. If you want a more intimate perspective, why don't you ask Wolverine? You don't remember, do you?" Erik continued as Logan looked as confused as we did. "William Stryker, the only other man I know that can manipulate adamantium" I gasped at this, "The metal on your bones" I knew what Erik was saying, and it broke my heart. "It carries his signature"
"But the Professor-"
"The Professor trusted you were smart enough to discover this on your own. He give you more credit than I do" I growled lightly at him, and Logan tightened his grip on me, and I stopped, only to yawn.
"Why do you need us" Storm asked him suspiciously.
"Mystique has discovered plans of a base that Stryker has been operating out of for decades. We know that's where he's building the second Cerebro, but we don't know where this base is. And we believe one of you might" Erik explained.
I knew what he was talking about. The professor had filled me in on sending Logan to Alkali Lake to try and piece together his past.
"The Professor already tried" Logan snapped.
"Once again, you think it's all about you" Erik said before looked up into the trees. Everyone followed his gaze the see Kurt, who I knew had been there almost the whole time. I had felt him materialize.
"Oh. Hello" he said nervously from his spot hanging upside-down in a tree above us. I smiled at how wise and yet hoe childish he was.
"Kurt, could you come down here please? We need to talk to you" I asked him gently, pulling on Logan's hands so he would let go of me. I had no time to sleep right now, I told myself, even as I yawned again.
Hey, I'm only human…mostly.
"I didn't mean to snoop" Kurt said, kinda sadly, moments later when he sat in front of me, the others behind me. I could feel Logan standing protectively behind me.
"Just try to relax" I had seen Jean do this countless times and remembered the Professor teaching me how to do it. We had discussed how, because my powers seemed to have no limit, that nature counter-acted that by making me weaker than normal mutants, so I could not reach the full extent of my powers, or even half that. We decided that was a good thing. But I could copy some telepathic powers, and this was one of the few tricks I could do.
The thoughts in his mind are a molecule puzzle. I just found the codes and copied them into my mind so I could see what he saw. But the memories were too painful for both of us, and I had to pull away quickly. "I'm sorry" I panted as he gasped in pain.
"Stryker's at Alkali Lake" I told them, more Logan that anyone else.
"That's where the professor sent me, there's nothing left" I would have been as confused as him, but I had seen it all.
We locked eyes.
"There's nothing left on the surface, Soldier, the base is underground"
We were at the jet and I found Logan pacing underneath. He looked at me and sighed. "Oh Soldier" I sighed, hugging his arm. He wrapped an arm around me and asked, "how're we doin'?"
"Not good. It looks about four or five hours before we can get it off the ground" I told him.
He chuckled slightly and hugged me tighter. "That's not what I meant"
I looked away from his eyes. "I'm worried about Jean, and Scott, and the kids. Oh God, the kids! Oh Logan, I love them all as if every single one was my own" I felt like I was about to cry, and I soaked up all the support Logan was giving me.
"I'm worried about you. That was some display of power up there" he told me, trying to distract me.
"I never did get to tell you mine and the Professor theory on my power, did I?" I said, more to myself than him. He smiled at me.
"Well, we think that because of the virtually limitless reach of my powers, Nature made me weaker than normal mutants so that I couldn't reach even half of my possible extent. What I can access is more than enough. Usually. I think when we were up in the air, Nature allowed me a power boost to save us just enough to get us to Erik, but no more. And I'm glad"
I looked up, deep into his eyes. "Logan, I'm scared of what all that power will do to me if I ever get full access to my powers. I'm scared of how it'll mess with my head"
"Oh Paige" he whispered, resting his forehead against mine, keeping eye-contact. "You'll be alright. And I'll be with you every step of the way" he promised. I smiled up at him.
"Logan" I whispered. "Hmm"
"I think I love you" I expected to find panic or even anger in his eyes at my words, but I only saw pure, unadulterated joy. "I love you too, Paige" he almost growled before pulling me up to hi roughly and kissing me like I was water and he was dying of thirst.
We knew we had to keep it tame, for now. So we took in as much as we could before pulling away, panting. "I should probably go help Storm finish fixing the jet" I panted slightly. Logan nodded. Yeah"
We didn't move for a minute, but eventually I pulled away and walked back into the jet, leaving the only man I've ever loved to his pacing.
I could practically see the shit-eating grin he had on his face right about now.
It probably looked a lot like the one of mine.