The heart monitor beeped continuously as Alex sat by her father's side for what felt like days. How many times has she sat by his side and waited for him to stir? She heaved a big sigh as she ran her hand through her hair for the countless time, only to get tangled in a messy knot at the base of her skull. She yanked her hand out and bit her tongue from the curse word she knew was going to come out because of the pain. As she rubbed the sore spot, her storm colored eyes landed on the wall clock, and knew it was almost time to leave.
"I'm scared." Alex turned her head to face him. "My powers seem to be growing faster than what I'm able to control, and I'm scared I'll end up like Jean." Her eyes burned at the sensation of tears that threatened to fall, and forced them back with great effort. "You always did say that I would be able to do more. I just hoped you would be there…I just sort of wish you would say something." A weak chuckle left her lips as she rubbed her sleep-deprived eyes with the back of her hand.
"I suppose we all wish Chuck would say something." Alex didn't have to turn around to know who was behind her; she would know that voice anywhere. A large hand landed on her shoulder, and gave a weak squeeze of comfort. She tried to smile at Logan, but it failed to reach her eyes. "It's time to go kid." Turning back around, she gave her father a gentle kiss on his forehead, begging him to open his blue eyes. When nothing happened, both conscious mutants walked out of the infirmary as Alex grabbed Logan's arm and leaned her head on his shoulder. Once they both boarded the elevator to bring them to the main levels of the mansion, Logan asked the question that everyone wondered. "Any reading on him kid?"
"Not yet Logan. No matter how long or how hard I try, I can't get past whatever barrier he created."
'Main Floor.' The elevator doors opened to show students walking around the main corridor of the mansion and a few stopped to stare at both X-Men members as they walked towards her office. As Alex opened the door, she motioned for Logan to enter first and noticed the clock on the wall to indicate that the time was seven thirty in the morning. 'Looks like I won't be getting any sleep any time soon.' Closing the door behind her, she turned to look at Logan.
"From what you and Ororo told me of that day, Jean used her telekinesis to create psionic blasts, probably to get rid of anything she deemed a threat." Walking towards her desk, Alex began to grab any last minute things she would need for the trip. She made extra sure to grab the book on the Anti-Establishment Movement she found in the library for Steve, and stuffed it into the duffle bag she was taking.
"To create what?"
"Remember a few days after I came back and you brought me lunch? You got this major blast to the mind? Well that was a psionic blast, its able to overloaded the brain with pain, among other things. In her out of control state, Jean was able to use a large amount of power to use her abilities to not only disintegrate everything that comes into contact particle by particle, but also able to mentally attack people she deems a threat. Much with what happened on Alcatraz Island when you tried to stop her." Hearing a disgruntle noise, Alex looked up to see that Logan was extremely pissed off.
"Was that all over the news or what?"
"No, actually. I was able to get a clear picture of what happened with memories from the team. But getting back to the point, my dad was able to push Jean back enough where his body didn't combust entirely, since he was in the direct line of fire. He knew that Jean would stop when the threat was gone, so he mentally checked out of his own body. Once he was gone, Jean stopped. It looked as if he died because there was no subconscious in the physical body."
"Didn't know Chuck could do that."
"My dad is able to do a lot of things, like being able to move his subconscious to another comatose body. Getting back is the problem, I've been trying to reach him and bring him back, like a homing beacon; but it doesn't seem to be working." Grabbing her duffel bag, she started walking towards the door, but Logan stopped her.
"Which means he's lost?"
"Which means he's lost." Logan ran a hand through his hair, and walked towards the window. Knowing that something was wrong, Alex dropped her bag near the door and sat in one of the armchairs that was close by. She waited patiently, knowing that Logan needed to talk about what happened.
"So he knew Jean would go berserk and try to kill everyone?" Alex saw his grip tighten, and a deep sense of resentment filled her. But none of it was targeted at her personally.
"You cared for Jean." It wasn't a question, but she knew the answer already. "And yet, you said that too casually for someone who felt a lot towards her."
"I've got a history with bad relationships half pint, I just added that one to the list." All the resentment and remorse that Alex was feeling went away, in fact, it was if she couldn't feel Logan at all. 'Guess I don't know Logan as well as I thought I did.' She got up from the armchair, and went to stand by Logan's side.
"My father and I knew that something was unstable with Jean, and I almost didn't leave because of it. But she convinced me to go, told me that I needed to be able to grow without being mother henned by Scott."
"C'mon kid, I know the one-eyed Boy Scout was harsh, but to the point that he made you leave?"
"I technically 'joined' the team at sixteen, but Scott would never let me out into the field no matter what my father told him. He saw me as someone that wasn't capable to defend themself, and at the time, the only real power that I could use was my telepathy. And my empathy didn't manifest itself until my nineteenth birthday. A year later, I left for Mexico and dealt with whatever new powers I got by myself."
"Now you got that force field crap at the ripe age of twenty-two, go figure. Reminds me of that Storm girl."
"They kind of are like Sue's actually. I even called her to compare notes, but while she's able to create shields around herself and others, I'm able to actually throw them. Sue says that she's been trying to do the same thing, but she thinks since I was born with my powers I'm able to advance more quickly. Which I think is a load of bull since I just got them a few months ago, but whatever. She's the scientist." Alex turned around and returned to her previous position on the love seat.
"Which begs the question, what else can that brain of yours do?" Logan was watching her with such intensity, that Alex felt like prey for a moment. She had the sudden urge to curl into a ball and shy away from him, but she forced herself not to. She wasn't an enemy, and there was no reason to be afraid of the man that she had come to think of as a brother.
"I found out in Mexico that I can slightly manipulate a person's memory, but it's not something I like to do so I tend not to practice it. And as you already know, psionic blasts are also not a specialty of mine, considering the fact that I almost filleted your brain three months ago." Logan snorted, glad that his healing factor kicked in when it did. The headache afterwards would've been actual hell if it hadn't.
"You don't like to use that either, huh kid?" She regarded him warily, something that Logan realized that the half pint did a lot. Especially to people whom asked really invasive questions, just like the one he just asked her. Logan felt his heartache when she smiled sadly, her eyes showed nothing but afflicted feelings.
"Only if I absolutely have to. But I can't control it like I want to, and I can't ask the one man who can help me." It was Logan's turn to regard Alex warily, expecting her to burst into tears with the amount of emotions that swam in her eyes. But she didn't, instead she surprised him when she blinked and her grey eyes seemed to clear like the sky after a storm. He would know, because Ororo liked to do it on days he had an itch to go riding.
"We'll finish this conversation later. Right now we need to be air born in thirteen minutes, so get your shit and lets move. Gambit says he'll fly us to the coordinates that were in the packet that Fury left." With that, he saw her beam that affectionate smile she seemed to only reserve for Ro and the fur ball. But considering the talk they had the other day about where their relationship stood, he understood that he was one of those people she would smile at now. And that made him soft, but damn if people, especially the kid, found that out.
"And just so we're clear, we'll be in the presence of official government agents Logan, please watch your mouth when we get to our destination."
"Don't hold your breath. Besides, your mouth should be the one watched." And with that, Logan strutted out the door without a care in the world, as Alex continued to smile warmly towards the feral mutant. As she was about to do a final sweep of her office for anything she needed, a soft knock was heard from the doorway.
"Wow." Alex couldn't help the surprise in her voice as she turned to the only person in the world who ever called her Andy. "I haven't heard that name in a long time. What's up Oreo?"
"Talk about unused nick names." The silver haired mutant walked into the office with her arms behind her back, and Alex noticed the far away look in her friend's eyes. "I wanted to talk to you before you left, and I guess I'm cutting it pretty close. But last night, I was thinking about the past few years that you've been gone." Alex couldn't help the unladylike groan that passed through her lips, and especially the eye roll when Ororo started laughing.
"Ro, not this again. This is nothing like last time."
"I know it isn't, mostly because last time you didn't have an official X-Men uniform to come back in." In shock, Alex stared at the duffle bag that Ororo kept hidden behind her back. With unsteady hands, she gripped the strap of the bag and brought it closer to her. With her mouth still open, she stared at her long time friend in disbelief. Ororo quickly motioned her to open it, and Alex couldn't help but gently put the bag on her desk. Gripping the zipper, she practically yanked the bag open.
Inside, Alex quickly noticed a pair of low-heeled black boots that were perfect for running long periods of time and wouldn't hinder her in the slightest if she were to suddenly perform parkour in the battlefield. A zipper came up the entire side of the inner boot with a buckle and strap around the ankle, calf, and just below the knee where the boot ended. Underneath the boots, she could clearly see the standard full body black uniform that every member received, but this one was designed especially for her. The Kevlar material felt heavy in her arms, but was surprisingly light and easy to move around in. Sewn into the right shoulder was the standard yellow X-Men symbol, and a picture of a navy blue shield was embroidered into the left with words across the top in yellow. Upon closer inspection, Alex realized that it read Aegis. At the bottom of the bag, were two thick straps that were black and navy blue accordingly. The thick black strap was the belt that came along with the uniform with the yellow 'X' as a buckle that would wrap around her waist. The blue straps was more like a harness that wrapped around her back and click together on her chest that would look like a giant 'X' around her entire upper body. At the very bottom of the bag, Alex almost didn't see the black fingerless gloves that were reinforced with navy blue stitches. Full of emotion, Alex wrapped Ororo in a tight hug, whispering her gratitude continuously in her ear.
"But why now?"
"Well, we haven't had an actual mission in the past few months that you've been back, considering that it's been very quiet since Alcatraz. And we've never actually discussed your team name since you've been busy with Steve. Plus, what kind of team leader would you be if you were the only one that didn't have a uniform? "
"So I guess Aegis was the unanimous decision?"
"Well, the team have unofficially named you Fearless, but that's not an accurate description of who you are, especially with your fear of clowns. So Hank and I have decided on something different; something that goes well with your extra powers." Alex could feel the emotion bubbling up in her chest, and coughed to force the feelings back.
"Guess that's not a secret anymore?" She gave Ororo a guilty smile as she clutched the handle of the duffle bag tightly and looked away.
"Why you thought that they could be hidden in the first place is beyond me Andy."
"I didn't disengage the cameras in the Danger Room huh?"
"No, you didn't." A fond smile made a home on Ororo's face as she tucked a stray hand of hair behind Alex's ear.
"I knew I was forgetting something." Both women began to laugh as Ororo hugged her tightly.
"Good luck…Aegis." Alex broke the hug slowly, as she stood with her back straight and shoulders set.
"I guess I have to live up to the name now, don't I?"
"Don't worry, you will. Now hurry up before Logan leaves without you."
"He wouldn't dare." Laughter followed her as she made her way to the jet.
"About time kid." As the ramp closed behind her, Alex strapped both of her bags to the nearest compartment. She couldn't help but nudge Logan's shoulder as she walked past him.
"Sorry, Ororo wanted to give me something."
"So she finally gave it to you huh?" She turned to look at him in shock.
"There aren't any secrets in the mansion for long kid. You should know that by now."
The X-Jet was a spacious aircraft with plenty of room to have multiple seats and walking room to move around when the jet was stable in the air. It was equipped with state of the art technology, courtesy of Hank himself. However, none of it could compare to Stark Industries, the blue mutant made sure to tell anyone every chance he got. Currently, Gambit was having the time of his life flying and Alex knew he was itching to try the upgraded thrusters.
'Don't even try it Remy.' She saw his hand snap back to the steering controls and sent her a smirk over his shoulder.
'Remy thinks you're no fun Mon chere.' Sending her own smirk back at the Cajun, she decided not to respond to that comment. Instead, she focused all her attention on the feral mutant beside her and realized that his knuckles were white from how tightly his hand was clenched. His eyes were closed ever since they had hit a bit of turbulence when they left the mansion and his breathing was a bit irregular. Concentrating, Alex could feel the nervousness and dread coming off of Logan in waves. Reaching her hand out, she gently wrapped her hand around his and squeezed.
"I'm completely afraid of clowns. My dad thought it would be a good idea to have a clown at my sixth birthday party, but he was the creepiest person you'll ever meet. If you ever read the book 'It' by Stephen King, then you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. He tried to give me a hug, but I accidentally gave him a massive migraine when he got a bit too close to my liking. Not to mention the inappropriate thoughts that he was thinking. Let's just say, dad made Hank throw him out not so nicely." She could hear Logan chuckling next to her, and the feeling of nervousness went away briefly. It wasn't until the jet made a slight turn did Logan's grip tightened on her hand, did she continue talking. "What I'm trying to say is, fears aren't something to be ashamed of. If flying makes you nervous, then it's completely normal. Even for the big bad Wolverine." The entire time Alex spoke, she kept her gaze even with the opposite side of the jet. Not once looking at Logan to see how he would react. After a while, se felt him squeeze her hand back, and slowly started to exude a calm presence to help him relax.
"You worried kid?"
"What do you mean Logan?"
"I can feel something's not right. Feel it in my bones."
"Considering that your bones are coated in adamantium, I'm surprised that you can feel anything at all."
"I thought so. But whatever happens, we've got each other. I won't let anything happen to you, and you won't let anything happen to me."
"I'm pretty sure the Boy Scout won't let anything happen to you either." Alex huffed, but still smiled at the thought of Steve and Logan working together. Well, more bickering than teamwork if she had to be honest.
"It's a good thing he doesn't have a say in what I do. Captain or not, he doesn't have the authority to give me orders." Logan smirked as he shook his head in humor. But he quickly sobered up, and turned to Alex with a serious face.
"Speaking of the Cap, has he ever mentioned me?" Alex's eyebrows furrowed in confusion, a thoughtful expression on her face.
"In what way?"
"As if we knew each other." The confusion slowly melted away from Alex's face.
"Well, he did once. Steve said that he knew someone that looked like you that saved his life. Said his name was James and he was a paratrooper during WWII. Why?"
"No reason kid. Just had a feeling." She was a about to ask more when she felt the jet slow down and began to tremble slightly as it landed to what she assumed was their destination.
"A'right. Here we are kiddies. Remy says don' get into too much trouble now, ya hear."
"No promises Rem, it's all part of the job. Occupational hazard and all that."
"Remy knows it is, Mon chere. All Remy is asking is to be careful." Remy squeezed Alex's shoulder in worry, coming to see the young mutant as a little sister over the past few months.
"Relax bub, I got the kid's safety as a first priority." Walking towards the holding bay, Logan grabbed both their bags and pushed a button to open the hanger doors.
"No, your first priority is the mission." Alex crossed her arms over her chest in annoyance, and rolled her eyes in response to see her bags in Logan's hand. "And I can carry those."
"Keep walking kid." She kept eye contact with Logan until she felt herself falling towards the right. Her limbs flew out in all directions to try to keep her equilibrium upright. When she succeeded, she turned towards Remy to see him a few seconds away from laughing out loud. Alex glared at him and only intensified when she saw Logan smirking. Rolling her eyes so hard to show them that she wasn't actually mad but only slightly annoyed, she turned on her heel to head down the ramp.
"Whatever. You guys are lame." Halfway down the ramp, she heard Remy's raucous laughter.
"Be good, ya hear!"
Walking down the rest of the ramp, Alex felt Logan by her side as they were met with a red haired woman with amazing green eyes. Her heart began to beat faster and she suddenly became shy as if she was a child in a new school. She could tell that Logan was confused and gave her a weird look, but she didn't really care.
"Hello, my name is Natasha Romanov. I'm here to escort you both along with Dr. Banner to the control room."
"Hi. I'm Alex Xavier." Alex smiled, completely forgetting where she was and the reason why it was so important to be here. She was drowning in the green irises of this beautiful woman, with the strong jaw line and sharp eyebrows. Overall, she confirmed that this Natasha person was aesthetically pleasing and she wouldn't mind staring at her all day. But there was a faint thought at the back of Alex's mind that Steve's eyes were much more expressive than hers. Hearing a cough behind her, she felt a soft nudge on her lower spine and that was when Alex remembered the large man behind her. "Oh! I'm sorry. This is- uh- this is Logan. He's my-uh well not my- what I mean to say is- no wait-" She couldn't help but physically face palm herself while she could feel her face burn with embarrassment.
"The name's Logan, the half pint's bodyguard." From under her hand, Alex could see Natasha smirk in humor as if what Logan said was hilarious.
"Didn't know that the leader of a mutant team would need a bodyguard." Flailing like a newborn calf, she managed to push Logan behind her and turned to face Natasha with wide eyes.
"I don't! I mean, I don't exactly need one. It's just a precaution. In case something…happens. You know, as a…precaution." Alex couldn't help but buried her face in her hands out of embarrassment again. Logan and Natasha just gave each other amused smirks, but he was the one that actually laughed out loud. Another jet was about to land that gained Natasha's attention, and Alex was glad that she wasn't the main focus anymore.
"It was nice to meet you. Logan," Natasha nodded. "Alex," she smiled. Alex's face resembled that of a tomato by this point and made it a point not to look her in the eye directly. "Excuse me." Alex could feel Logan's stare, and it made her squirm.
"What?!" Logan just looked amused.
"Never pegged you for the type."
"Type of what?" Now that Natasha wasn't in the near vicinity, Alex could feel her face cooling down as the embarrassment of what just happened began to go away.
"The type to be a nervous cub." Alex's blush returned with a dangerous vengeance that made Logan laugh again.
"You know what?"
"Shut up before I make it so that you think of yourself as a six year old girl with pigtails."
"Funny, Chuck threatened to do the same thing once."
"What can I say? I am my father's daughter."
"Listen kid, I gotta say this. All foolishness aside, if you want to lead the X-men with efficiency and help these yahoos, then you gotta exert yourself as the top dog. Because once you get your head on straight, then the fighting comes second nature."
"Wow Logan, that was strangely profound."
"Yeah well, I have my moments." Logan gave a toothy grin. They both saw Steve and another agent walk out of the other jet. They decided to walk over. "Besides, don't get too caught up with the read head. Cap doesn't seem like the type to share." Alex just gaped like a fish.
"We are just friends Logan. Nothing more, I can assure you."
"Sure kid. Gambit and I already started a pool. Even got Wade in on it."
"What?! Wait, Logan!...Who the hell is Wade?!" Logan walked away chuckling, and Alex couldn't help but watch in disbelief. A betting pool? With Steve? The thought in and of itself seemed ridiculous to her, the Captain had been nothing but kind and humble since they had met. Steve never gave the impression that he was into her in any romantic way, only getting the vibe of friendship in their few weeks together. And isn't that what she wanted in the beginning? I said I would be his friend, and damn it, that's what I'll be. Screw the others. It wasn't as if a man and a woman weren't good friends before. All though, Steve is the literal definition of an Adonis.Feeling the familiar heat creeping up her neck and warming her cheeks, Alex shook her head furiously and walked after Logan; all the while pushing those thoughts away as deep as possible.
"Captain Rogers, I would like to formally present the helicarrier." As the ramp of the quinjet descended, Steve couldn't help but feel a bit of nostalgia hit him as he saw agents running in formation past the plane. He took careful but deliberate steps down the ramp, so as not to fall in front of people he's never met before. Because Captain America can't be seen falling down on his first day. The wiry thought couldn't help but slip through, as his grip tightened on the small bag he decided to bring with the essentials. He was brought out of his musings when he saw a familiar red head, her name escaping him as the slippery spy that he assumed her to be. It wasn't until she was standing right in from of him did he manage to catch her name.
"Agent Romanoff, nice to see you again." Offering his hand in greeting, the agent didn't even acknowledge the extended limb and instead gave a nod in greeting. Feeling a bit embarrassed, but not brushed off, Steve lowered his arm until it was back beside him.
"Captain Rogers." That time Steve received a little uptick of the mouth, to what he considered to be a smile. As she turned to the older agent beside him, he noticed a small scar near the base of her skull near the hairline that was almost impossible to see. Steve wondered how it could have happened. "They need you on the bridge, Coulson."
"Right, well it was very nice to meet you Captain Rogers. Romanoff, see you both there." And with that, he quickly disappeared behind a door not too far away.
"I didn't say this the last time we met, but there was quite the buzz around here, finding you in the ice. Thought Coulson was gonna swoon." Smiling at the familiar word, Steve couldn't help but feel a bit self-conscious that anyone would swoon for him.
"To be honest, I wasn't in the best of moods the last time we met."
"I'm breathing aren't I?" Natasha couldn't help but smirk at the retort, completely giddy to know that the famous soldier wasn't such a stuck in the mud as she originally thought. Keeping her face as neutral as possible, she decided to see how far he'd go before the goody two shoes persona kicked in.
"Coulson is a big fan of yours Rogers, did he ask you to sign his Captain America trading cards yet?" If anything, Natasha would have so much fun getting the blonde to blush seeing how it was so easy.
"Trading cards? No, I can't say that he did."
"They're vintage, he's very proud." Natasha watched in amusement as the blush traveled down his neck to below the white shirt he was wearing underneath the nicely pressed button down that was tucked into tan trousers. Well at least he has a leather jacket. Turning her head away, she was met with the skittish profile of the good doctor she was assigned to retrieve. "Dr. Banner, glad to know you made it in one piece."
"Agent Romanoff, nice to see you again. I'm Bruce Banner, and you must be…."
"Steve Rogers, sir. They informed me you'd be coming to help track the cube. Word is you can find it." Steve couldn't help but notice the handshake he received from Banner was a bit tense. In fact, he looked as if he was ready to jump of the ship and swim as far away as possible. He had to admit; Steve was thinking about doing the same thing if his sense of duty wasn't blaring loudly in his ear.
"Is that the only word on me?" The hint of green in Banner's eyes didn't deter Steve from giving the good doctor a crooked smile, no matter how nervous he felt when the color faded.
"Only word I care about."
"Must be strange for you, seeing all of this." Bruce gave a vague motion to indicate the atmosphere around them, the helicarrier so advanced that the super soldier could be a bit over whelmed.
"Well, this is actually kind of familiar." Before Bruce could reply that that wasn't what he meant, a female voiced interrupted whatever he was about to say.
"A humongous ship in the middle of the ocean equipped with state of the art technology is familiar to you? You can't even work a DVD player without braking it Steve." Steve whirled around to the familiar voice and couldn't help but be surprised that both Alex and Logan were standing right behind him. That resplendent smile plastered all over her face every time she managed to give him a sarcastic or witty retort.
"The Cap broke the player? Didn't you tell me it was Bobby?" Alex shrugged her shoulders innocently.
"Well, Bobby was in the room when it happened. So it's technically not a complete lie." Steve couldn't help but smile at Logan in apology when Alex sent him a conspiring wink. Trying to get off the topic of the broken player, he instead wanted to know why the two mutants were here.
"What are you two doing here?"
"Fury personally invited me to this little shindig. Logan happens to be my plus one." Alex smiled as if nothing was wrong.
"And like hell we we're going to let the kid come by herself." Probably for what felt like the hundredth time that day, she rolled her eyes at the babysitter comment.
"I'm not a child Logan, I don't need a babysitter." About to argue that statement, Logan was cut off with what he was going to say by the red haired agent standing not too far away.
"Gentleman, Alex, you may wanna step inside in a minute. It's gonna get a little hard to breath soon."
"You head her, shut your yap kid and start walking." She knew that she should feel a bit annoyed with how Logan was treating her, but she couldn't help but smile fondly at how much he was teasing her. A long way from how he treated her when they first met. Turning around, she came face to chin with the blonde super soldier. Steve looked deeply troubled and Alex softly touched his bicep to get his attention.
"You ok Steve?"
"I promised myself you wouldn't get involved with this."
"Eventually, you had to know that we would get involved Steve."
"I know, I just hoped it wouldn't be this soon."
"Really? They want me in a submerged pressurized metal container?" Vibrations started going through the whole helicarrier, enough to make Alex lose her equilibrium yet again. A strong hand grabbed her arm gently, keeping her up and stable. Thinking that the hand belonged to Logan, she was a bit surprised to see Steve instead. She sent a grateful smile his way as she saw Banner move towards the edge of the carrier out of the corner of her eye. Thinking that the helicarrier would start to sink, she started to move towards the doorway that she saw Natasha move through but was stopped short with Steve's hand still on her arm. About to say something, she felt the familiar feeling of being weightless as the helicarrier began to rise. To all their surprise, they were speechless. "Oh, no. This is much worse."
"Does this still seem familiar Steve?" She heard Steve laugh behind her.
So it's been more than a year since I last updated and we're barely getting into the Avengers arc. Wow, am I trash or what? I am not giving up this story because I have been obsessed with this for years and damn if I give it up now.
Although, I have to say that I am now in the last three months of University to getting my bachelors degree, so I'll write when I can. But for sure more updates after June!