I don't own marvel or Harry potter, such a surprise.
thanks again go to Jessolt who does a fantastic beta job!
Chapter 3 A Wild Card Can Change Any Game
Harry looked at Xavier and then back at the black woman. "The goddess looks perfect, but I didn't know they came with their own chaperones and bodyguards in real life."
Xavier looked a little amused at being so ignored, while Logan grunted in ill humor, the trip by plane had not been fun at all, and this punk's cheekiness was getting on his nerves. More there was something off about him, his words seemed lackadaisical, but the punk had taken one look at the three of them, especially at him, and seemed to tense for a moment before going back to normal. If the kid was older, I'd say he was a veteran, a soldier but with his age…
Storm on the other hand, despite being almost as irritated by the need to take a commercial airline to California as Logan (she much preferred flying under her own power, so much nicer that way) but her surprise at the comment overrode that. "How did you know I was once worshiped as a goddess?"
Harry's eyebrows rose in surprise. "I didn't actually, was that anything like being called the Chosen One, where you're applauded for something you didn't do and blamed whenever you don't meet their expectations? And what is the name of the goddess, if I might ask?"
Storm smiled a little at that. "Much like the latter yes, and my name is Ororo Munroe. But the Chosen One… A title like that makes me think you need to immediately look around for the hidden strings around you. But where did the goddess comment come from then?"
Harry stared at her blankly, then let his eyes rove down her body and then back up to her now slightly flushed face. He smirked but before she could take umbrage, he tossed the graphic novel he had been reading to her. "From that actually, you might want to figure out who is using your image, they should really be paying you for the privilege you know."
Ororo reflexively caught the book the emerald eyed young man tossed her then blinked in shock at the image of the woman on the front. Besides the clothing, which she would never be caught dead in, and the markings on her forehead and cheeks, the woman was her to a T. "Ah! My Goddess?" She opened the book and began to read, and soon enough was smiling a little at the story within. It was an interesting mix between humor, romance, and magic, somewhat childish but still funny. Her lips quirked a little in amusement at finding out her lookalike went around calling herself the goddess of love and using potions on unsuspecting people.
Xavier coughed, trying to bring the conversation back to why he and his friends were here. "Yes, well Mr. Potter, we are not in fact here as chaperones for you and Ms. Munroe, but to speak to you." Though I am surprised at how easily the two fell into a conversation, regardless of how silly it was. "Tell me, have you noticed anything odd happening around you lately?"
Susan rolled her eyes at the perfect opening Xavier had given their young guest. Harry smirked, and with a bare wave of his hand changed the nearest seat to a stuffed leather chair, and he sat down looking across at the surprised faces of the three newcomers. "No, not really, why do you ask?"
Xavier froze in shock. That looked almost like the reality altering abilities of Wanda Maximoff, but she had been driven insane by her powers and committed to the Vault maximum security prison, the section devoted to the terminally insane and dangerous. Is he suffering under the same affliction? Cautiously he sent out a mental probe, but was shocked to find nothing there. It was as if his mind wasn't even there.
Harry frowned as he felt the mental probe wash over the outside of his invisibility cloak protected mind. The trick was something he had thought up as a unique form of occlumency, and it had given every legelimancer that ran into it fits. What he did was imagine his family's invisibility cloak, enlarge it, then cover his mind, which itself was organized like a house, with it. So far no one had been able to figure out how to get in, but that didn't mean he liked getting mind probed. "You have two seconds to stop trying to probe my mind before I get angry, old man." Ororo looked up at that in surprise then askance at Xavier, while Logan merely raised an eyebrow and went back to drinking his beer, but he was tensed for action.
Reed stiffened angrily. "Charles, what do you…"
"I apologize." Xavier responded quickly. "I have run into someone else with similar powers before, and she is almost utterly insane, a danger to herself and others around her. I merely wanted to make certain that you were in control of your faculties."
Harry and Reed both subsided. "You've met another magic user who was insane?"
"Magic, um, no… that is your…"
Reed interrupted. "Actually, Charles it is magic. He and our nanny, Agatha, are both magic users. I understand Harry's ability in transfiguration is rather unusually advanced, but Agatha assures us that it is indeed a magical power rather than a mutant power."
Xavier looked nonplussed and glanced at his old friend for confirmation and Reed nodded. Harry laughed. "Is that what you're here for? I assure you my magic has nothing to do with any strangeness in my genes. Well, it does, but not in the way you're thinking." he added judiciously. "Magic may be in my blood but not in my genes as you think of it. Indeed having a magical core where I come from is only the beginning. Magic users have to go to school for years to learn most of the spells I use." Or… something happens, what was it? Hmm, better think about that later, it could explain this insane magic user baldy mentioned.
Xavier recovered his poise and shook his head. The magic was interesting, and something he might pursue later to help young Wanda, but not right now. "Nevertheless, that isn't what I meant. We, my friends and I, have a computer which allows us to detect mutants throughout the world, and it alerted us to your presence. This magic ability notwithstanding, have you noticed anything else odd?"
Harry shook his head. "No sorry, I think you've got the wrong guy."
"Would you be able to tell if he was a mutant by a DNA scan?" Reed asked. He had, of course, scanned their newest ally when he moved in with them, just to check for any diseases or anything else. Harry had a surprisingly low amount of radiation after spending five years in the Negative Zone, but that was merely surprising, not something to be cause for alarm, especially given the abilities of his crisis suit.
"Yes, although we wouldn't be able to say what his powers are from something like that." Reed nodded and led Xavier to his lab to look over Harry's DNA scan.
Ororo, seeing everyone had calmed down, went back to what she was reading. Harry smirked. After a moment Hedwig came in, carrying the next graphic novel in the series.
She landed on the table and everyone looked at her. Ororo looked at the magnificent creature, then at the graphic novel it was holding carefully in its claws, and smiled. "Thank you, my dear." She raised a hand, and after the bird did not immediately move away, began to stroke the snowy owl's plumage gently. "You are truly beautiful. I take it you have something to do with Mr. Potter?"
The owl nodded imperiously nipping at her fingers for a moment as if saying 'He has something to do with me, get it right' before simply sitting there and enjoying the attention. Harry laughed. "Her name's Hedwig, and yes, she's my familiar, and yes, she is beautiful, and yes, she knows it too." Hedwig clacked her beak at him and Ororo chuckled.
Harry smiled surprisingly as Hedwig leaned into the black woman's fingers. "She likes you, she doesn't normally let other people touch her like that." Hedwig precked at him for a moment, then he went on. "She says you smell like wind, rain, and crisp morning air for some reason. Care to share with the class why that is?"
Ororo smirked a little. "I think I'll keep that a surprise for now, Mr. Potter. Every girl needs some secrets after all." Logan's eyebrows rose in surprise at the slightly flirtatious tone, but he went back to his beer quietly. If he was going to have to get back onto a commercial plane, by god, he was going to be buzzed before doing it.
At this point Reed and Xavier came back. "Well Mr. Potter, as I expected you do indeed carry the mutant gene, I can even show it to you on the scan if you like." Harry nodded at this. Reed and Xavier spent several minutes explaining the DNA scan to him and pointing out the relevant parts. After he understood that, yes something odd was there, Harry leaned back, looking at Xavier shrewdly. "Alright, now that we have ascertained that you actually do have a reason for being here, make your spiel, Professor Baldy."
Logan stirred angrily at that, and Ororo looked up from absently stroking Hedwig's chest and reading her graphic novel. "Hey kid, treat Chuck with respect, he's here to help you."
Harry was unmoved by this, his eyes and face remaining calm, emerald eyes as cool as the stone they resembled. "Respect is earned, and I've learned in my life to never give it blindly. So as I said, say your piece."
Xavier however, merely smiled. This young man may be opinionated, untrusting, and defensive, but there was no hint of malice in him. "Very well, Mr. Potter. Have you heard about the growing 'mutant problem'?" Harry nodded impatiently and Xavier went on. "More mutants are appearing all the time. Many people, both normal humans and mutants, think we are the next step in the evolution of our race. I really have no idea about that concept, but I want relations between mutants and humans to be peaceful, to protect both sides from the more antagonistic groups of the other. To that end, I lead a small group of young mutants who I have brought together train in their powers to help defend themselves, other mutants, and normal humans, if necessary, from those who would prey on them. I would like you to join us in our endeavor to ensure that peace between mutant kind and humanity comes about."
Harry smiled wryly. "The idea sounds nice and all, but how exactly do you do this? And how old are your child soldiers?"
That got through to Xavier who started angrily but Harry waved his anger away. "Don't bother, oh bald one, I don't really have a problem with child soldiers, I was one after all." That made all three of the guests look at him in surprise, although Logan merely looked at him, then nodded grimly, and looked away. The kid looked like a soldier and his eyes told the tale better than any words. Harry then briefly described his time in the magical world, and how he had led a counter terrorist team against a supremacist terrorist group.
Xavier smiled, though inside he was worried. This sounded perfect, Harry had experience in precisely the kind of cause they were fighting, but the methods he described, killing his enemies rather than capturing them… "Well then you know precisely what kind of cause the X-Men stand for, and my X-Men range from seventeen to nineteen."
Harry nodded. "Well, that makes them older than I was when I had to make a stand. Still, I don't know if I want to sign up full time with you, even if it does turn out I have a mutant power. I was the leader of my little group, so taking orders is something I'm not certain I ever want to do again. Then too, I have plans I want to follow on my own. I want to continue educating myself on the tech of this world and its history. I'm still looking into why there isn't any uniform magical government in this world and what that could mean in the long run, as well as recent world history."
"All of the X-men go to the local high school, Bayville High, and we could easily enroll you there to continue your education."
"Hell, no!" Harry growled holding his hands up in an X shape. "I had enough of schools at Hogwarts and before. Besides, when I was in school before going to Hogwarts, I always learned too quickly for main stream schooling to be much help anyway."
Charles sighed. His idea to foster friendships between Harry and his children through a shared curriculum wouldn't work, obviously. Ah well, at least he wasn't rejecting Xavier's dream outright. "Very well, you can stay with us in the mansion so long as you can do some work around the place to pay for lodging and food." If he wasn't going to school then Xavier would treat him like an adult.
Harry smirked and shared an amused glance with Reed, who knew about the monstrous amount of gold coins he had in his luggage. But for now he would wait and see if he could trust Xavier enough to tell him about that. Frankly, the bald guy is giving me a little too many Dumbledork vibes for me to be happy about it. Still, we'll see his methods and how his kids act before making any decisions about that. Idealists are fantastic, but not if they sacrifice their own people to those ideals, like 'don't kill the enemy who's trying to kill you'. Sometimes that isn't necessary, but sometimes it is, if he can tell the difference, or has trained his troops to do it, then I might join up in full.
Still for now he replied. "Well I could be a cook. I can cook pretty well, just ask Mr. and Mrs. Richards." Both of them nodded. Harry really was a good cook, and this made Ororo smile. She and Jean were the only ones who could cook in the mansion, although Jean was still learning. Kitty could only make cookies and was uninterested in learning how to do more, while their newest female addition, Rogue couldn't cook at all without nearly burning the house down. And as for her nephew and the other boys they were just hopeless. "I can also teach tactics and strategy. I assume the lovely Ms. Munroe and the hairy one are teachers?"
Ororo's lips twitched at the compliment and she nodded. "Yes, I teach history and languages. Every X-man needs to learn to speak a different language every year they stay with us."
Logan smirked at the boy. Most of his earlier irritation gone with the knowledge the punk had been in a war, which explained his attitude. "Phys-ed and hand to hand combat, green eyes, as well as maintenance on the mansion and the vehicles we use too. And my name's Logan, not hairy one."
Harry smirked at him, already seeing his next target for his pranks, but he would wait until he moved in to start up on that. "Well, when do you want to leave, if I do have a mutant power, I should learn what it is and how to control it as quickly as possible."
Xavier smiled. "Excellent, we have tickets home this evening." Logan and Ororo both groaned internally at the idea of getting back on the damn plane, but Harry nodded and left, with Hedwig on his shoulder, to go pack.
Susan followed him. She and Ben stood in the doorway, watching him pack the clothing she had gotten him into his trunk. "Are you sure about this Harry, I thought you said you didn't want to be a hero."
Harry nodded. "You gentlemen don't need my help here, but these kids of baldy's, they will need help, help to figure out this isn't a game and help surviving. I can teach them that, regardless if I have a mutant power or not." He smirked. "Besides both of those guys are just screaming 'prank me, prank me Harry' to my Marauder senses."
Ben guffawed and Susan rolled her eyes. "Fine, but you need to say goodbye to Wyatt, Johnny, and Franklin before you can leave. And you have to promise to stay in touch." Susan was going to miss the young man. His quirky sense of humor had lightened up the atmosphere considerably, as had his insistence on getting Reed out of his labs, something she was incredibly thankful for.
Harry twitched a little at the mention of Franklin. The little mite had really saved his bacon, albeit accidentally, and the two had become close friends. Saying goodbye was going to be a wrench but Harry felt this was something he just had to do. "Yeah, I'll do it. Oh and don't worry about Mr. Rubber-Band going back to his workaholic ways. The pranks I've placed in his labs won't disappear for months, well not unless… nah, won't jinx it."
Susan nodded and Ben gripped the younger man's shoulder. "I'll miss ya kid, you take the ego out of flame-head so well, ya saved Frankie, and ya gave my girl Alicia that amulet. Ain't no way I'll forget that."
Harry reached up and gripped the rocky man's arm. "Heh, don't worry about me Ben, I'm too tricky to kill. But if you ever need my help, don't hesitate to call, alright?"
Susan nodded and led the way to the baby's room, where Harry tried to explain to Franklin that he was going away. This caused a bit of blubbering but Agatha adroitly drew her charges attention to a few new toys before Franklin could really get going. Harry bussed her cheek in reply and left quickly.
Johnny and Wyatt had come home by that time and the three young men spent a few minutes talking over some beers while Ben and Logan did the same with some harder liqueur. After about an hour, though, Ororo came and got them both. With one last firm handshake with Wyatt and Johnny, and promising to call if he ever came upon a girl named Crystal in his travels, they parted.
Reed waited by the doorway with his old friend. The two of them and Ben had met a few years ago at a convention about the changing global economy and what it meant for world peace. He wasn't exactly happy with how Charles had tried to use his power on Harry, but after the situation with Wanda was explained to him, he understood. He also realized that Harry could do more good with the X-men than he could here with them. And if they ever needed his help, well, that was one of the things Reed was standing there to give him. "Harry, we'll all miss you but I think this is something you need to do. Yet before you go, I have a few going away presents for you."
He handed the young man a small laptop of his own design in a travel case, which included several things that wouldn't be out on the market to the general public for several months yet. Though, as he had helped with the programming, Tony Stark already had some of them. "First a laptop, I think you'll find it up to anything you want to do with a computer for a long time." Then he passed a strange looking card over to him. "And this is an emergency communication card. If we ever need your help, the corners of this will start glowing red, and the whole thing will start vibrating." Harry opened his mouth, looked at Ms. Munroe, and then shut it. Reed rolled his eyes. Thank goodness for small mercies. "If you ever need help, press the little sphere in the center and our own cards will react similarly."
Harry nodded and gripped the older man's hand firmly. "Thanks for everything, Mr. Richards. I'll keep in touch, don't worry, and I hope if you ever need my help you won't hesitate to call." Reed nodded, while Xavier, who still had only the vaguest idea of what Harry was capable of, raised an eyebrow in surprise.
With that the quartet was off. Logan looked at Hedwig, who was perched easily on Harry's shoulder. "You got a cage for your bird Harry?"
Hedwig hissed angrily, hunching forward, intent on launching herself at the hairy man and gauging his eyeballs out for that suggestion, but her Harry's fingers stilled her, gently stroking her plumage. "Sorry Logan, I don't ever put Hedwig into a cage if I've got a choice. I'll just let my lovely girl find her own way to wherever the hell we're going?" He ended the sentence as a question, eyebrow cocked inquiringly.
Xavier shrugged, wondering how intelligent the bird really was, and if it too had some magic powers to let it fly across the entire country. "We're going to upstate New York, near Bayville, if that means anything."
"It doesn't," Harry said happily, "but I'm certain Hedwig will find me there easily enough." Hedwig precked affirmatively and launched herself from his shoulder as they exited the Baxter Building. "Well that's that, shall we go?" Logan shrugged and led the way to their car.
The Fantastic Four was the world's first super hero team and were widely acclaimed as heroes throughout the world, but that didn't mean everyone in the American government or the United Nations trusted them. The fact was, they had powers and abilities that made them dangerous and as such they were under observation. The organization that was doing the observing had been created to deal with super-powered, extra dimensional, and extra solar dangers. While they were barely up and running yet, they had some of the best spies in the world already working for them. One of whom, Natasha Romanova, had been assigned to keep tabs on the Fantastic Four. She kept an alias in San Francisco of an upscale party girl living off her parent's money, just the kind of girl that could party with Johnny Storm and not raise any suspicions. As such, she was well aware of Harry Potter, but hadn't discovered anything unusual about him, except for his lack of interest in her and other party girls, his emerald green eyes, and that she had no clue where he came from or why he was so friendly so quickly with Johnny and the rest of the FF.
Now, however, she saw him leave the Baxter Building with two people she had read about and one she knew personally. Logan had been many things in his time; soldier and spy were among them. They had crossed paths more than once, before and after she defected from Russia. Xavier too was known as a psychologist who specialized in trying to diagnose and treat mental problems in super powered individuals. And Ororo Munroe, with her monstrously powerful mutant ability to control the weather, was known to SHIELD as well. So it stands to reason that Emerald Eyes is a mutant too. I wonder what his power is. Better radio this in. If they're going to that school of Xavier's, we'll need an operative in place to watch Mr. Potter, just in case.
However, the Russian native wasn't the only one watching them.
Mystique hated two things in her life. One was the fact she had her son stolen from her because of her association with her cause, that of mutant survival and supremacy. The second was failure, and in this mission she had failed to get close to the new mutant, failed to figure out what his power was, and she was now looking at a woman who reminded her of an earlier failure. She routinely took the form of a crow or pigeon on spy missions like this and she was perched on a rooftop two buildings away from where the target of her ire was standing in a window watching the entrance to the Baxter Building. She and Natasha had crossed paths before, when Mystique was trying to find where the mutant Omega Red was kept in suspended animation. Natasha had foiled her attempts though thankfully had never realized that Mystique was a mutant, but the loss to a normal homo sapien stuck in her craw.
More, her inability to figure out what this Harry Potter's power was irritated her. He never seemed to do anything odd outside the Baxter building (which was one of the few places in the world where her abilities could not gain her access, the security was programmed to recognize mutants) except maybe his ability to sober Johnny Storm up enough to get him home. There had also been one time where he seemed immune to the fire users power, but that could have been her imagination as it only lasted a second before Johnny powered down. And of course, there was his pet owl, who frankly was beyond bizarre, she was far too intelligent and quick to be a normal bird. The young man too, had insane reflexes and the eyes of a soldier; someone who had killed and been in life and death situations, but that was all she had been able to find out. It seems as if I'll have to let Charles do the leg work on this one. She briefly thought of doing something permanent to the Russian bitch, but after a moment decided not to. Instead she took to the sky and was nearly plucked out of the air by Hedwig, who flew right before her beak, her talons slashing at her.
Mystique cawed loudly in shock, banking away and into an alleyway below them. Hedwig circled for a moment then flew up into the air disappearing against the backdrop of the sun. Mystique changed forms first to her natural form and then to a nondescript businessman but stayed put watching the sky warily. Yes that bird is definitely strange, and very dangerous. That would have been embarrassing as hell, losing an eye to a bird! After a moment, she calmed down and made her way out of the alley to hail a passing taxi.
High above her, well out of a normal human's range of vision Hedwig circled lazily watching the strange shapeshifter below her. She hadn't really been aiming to kill the crow of course; crows did not make good eating and she had learned to never eat any bird that lived in a city; they were flying cesspits of disease. But she had noticed its odd behavior and wanted to see what would happen, though watching the creature transform into a blue two-leg was very odd. After the two leg got into one of those yellow moving things, she swooped away. Her Harry would want to know about this.
For Charles and the others, flying in an airliner was mundane and boring. For Harry, it was a new experience and one he enjoyed for the first hour or so, until the clouds closed in and they were no longer able to see the ground below them. After that he turned to his fellow travelers. "So tell me more about this school of yours and the students too. Oh, and don't worry about anyone listening in. I've used a notice-me-not spell to cover us all, nothing we say will register on anyone else's senses."
Charles, sitting across the aisle from him, raised an eyebrow at that ability, but gave him a brief description of the school facilities, going into more detail on the Danger Room. Harry listened intently, impressed by what technology could do, but not overly much. After all, the Danger Room sounded like a variation on the Room of Requirement, which he, Padma, and Luna had spent a month figuring out the spells and runic arrays for. "And the students, anything you want to tell me about them?"
Charles smiled a little mischievously. "Actually, I'd rather not tell you anything about them just yet. I'd like to see you using your magic powers against them in a match; that will give us an idea of your fighting skills. Then too, I think the kids have gotten a little too big for their britches lately. Fighting someone such as yourself would be good for them, win or lose."
Harry smirked at him. "Alright, I can do that, but how rough can I be on them?"
Logan answered him from where he was sitting next to Charles. He would have preferred to sit next to Ororo, but the girl snored and they were all going to sleep most of this flight, anyway. "As rough as you like Harry, just don't kill them. We've got a first rate med center and the Danger Room will 'mission kill' you, if you set it to do so, given specific stuff happening."
Harry nodded and leaned back. Ororo looked at him for a moment, then asked, "So what was life like in your home dimension?"
"Hmm, in a word old fashioned. The wizarding world was incredibly backward in many ways, and in others incredibly advanced, but they didn't do anything with their advancements. They had a room much like your danger room at the school I went to, yet, until my New Marauders came around, none of them even realized what it really was. And don't get me started on their government; an edifice that had no purpose any longer but to keep itself going. It was so horribly corrupt, none of them even realized the corruption was bad anymore, it was just the way of things."
Ororo winced. "That sounds horrible."
"You don't know the half of it. In my third year, the Minister of Magic, who really was more of a dictator than an elected official with checks and balances. 'Checks and balances', what are those, dangerous foreign ideas'. Anyway, a man escaped from their prison, which only had one security setting, maximum, and the idiot had the great idea of stationing its guards, soul sucking monsters, around the school. And while people complained about it, no one actually did anything, not even when a few students nearly lost their lives."
"So does that mean you believe in the existence of a soul?" Logan asked. He was pretty skeptical on the idea himself, he'd seen far too much to believe in any kind of eternal afterlife.
"I don't believe in much but the soul is real." Harry replied firmly. "The dementors sucked something out of their victims, something that they needed to live. Without it, the body simply wasted away. Wizards had also developed a spell which killed the soul, a vile thing that the Death Eaters, the group I was fighting, used very often. Just as often as other, even more terrible curses."
Seeing the thousand mile stare he had, Ororo paused in voicing her next question and changed the subject. The quartet talked for about an hour, with all three of the others noticing that Harry really seemed to be extremely spontaneous in what he said, never stopping to think about what was coming out of his mouth until after he said it. Eventually, all three from the institute decided to get some rest. Harry, however, pulled out the laptop Reed had given him and began to study this world's history again.
After a long flight and a barely shorter drive in an admittedly comfortable limo, the group arrived at a massive mansion. It looked to be three stories tall, with two wings and a main section. Harry could see an arboretum on the third floor in one of the wings as the limo entered the grounds. "So this is your institute, professor? Nice digs." Charles nodded, happy to be home, as Logan pulled up to the front and they all got out. He sent out a telepathic message to the youngsters, asking them to come down to the foyer. By the time they entered, the students were all there waiting for them.
Scott Summers, a fit, athletic looking teen with ruby tinted glasses over his eyes stepped forward. "Welcome back, Professor." Charles nodded at him but Harry was taking in this first glimpse of the kids that might be his new team. Behind them, the teenagers took in their first sight of this newcomer. Tall, whipcord thin, with the build of a martial artist or track star, and with the greenest eyes any of them had seen. A few of them looked between him and the redhead, trying to figure out if their eyes were the same color, eventually deciding that the newcomers were deeper and darker, more emerald than green.
They looked like normal kids for the most part, well except for the blue demon looking dude. The one who had greeted baldy looked as if he had a stick stuck up his ass but that could be rectified. The blue demon guy looked like a prankster, with mischievous eyes and a warm smile on his face. The last one, who he assumed was Evan, the nephew Ororo had mentioned, looked like a cross between a jock and a skater punk. The girls were a mixed group, too. One looked goth, dressed in black with black lipstick and gloves. The next one looked a little preppy, but her smile was just as welcoming as the pranksters. The last, however was striking. Fit body with C-cup breasts and magnificent legs hinting at what she would look like in a few years, with hair so red it matched the most magnificent sunset he'd ever seen. Eyes almost as green as Harry's own, and something else, something that Harry felt calling out to him. The one thing all the girls had in common was they were all beautiful. "Damn is being hot part of having the mutant gene?" All the girls blushed in various shades at the compliment from the handsome young man while Ororo rolled her eyes. "That's got to be the real reason why people are so worried about mutants. It's not that they're afraid of you, they're just jealous of your good looks."
Ororo shook her head as Kitty and Rogue both blushed further, though Jean had shrugged off her initial embarrassment quickly and was now studying the newcomer intently. "Must you say the first thing that comes into your head?"
"No, I don't, I didn't when we met after all. If I had, I would have told you that seeing you made me think of scented candles, oil, silk ties, and sex wilder than anything I have ever attempted."
He said it so matter-of-factly that it took a moment to register, but when it did Logan burst into laughter and the others all gaped at him, either in surprise or shock, while Spyke began to growl, moving forward angrily. Ororo's reaction however was the most telling. She first blushed rosily, then her eyes narrowed in anger and her hands crackled with lightning.
She turned but Harry was already gone, laughing as he ducked out the door. "You'll never take me alive!"
Ororo snarled and floated off the ground and after him. "I don't want you alive, I want you to fry you irritating man! Stand still and take your punishment!"
Evan blinked in shock as his normally calm and controlled aunt lost it completely. "A-auntie?"
Charles too blinked in surprise. "That was… unexpected."
"Oh please," Logan said, recovering from his laughing fit. "It's just more flirting done differently, the two have been doing it since they met."
Jean got over her shock at the younger man's blatant come on and shook her head. "Either he's got a death wish or he's just insane, which is it professor?"
Charles shrugged. "A bit of both perhaps, though I understand young Harry isn't quite used to being around people again just yet. More than that, you will learn later as it is his story to tell."
"And-er, is he a new recruit sir?" Scott asked. He was a little, okay a lot, leery of having someone that random and uncontrolled on the team.
"That is something that will be decided after a little three part match between all of you and Harry in the Danger Room. Why don't you all get ready. I'm certain that by the time you get your suits on, Ororo will be done with him one way or the other."
Something about that statement freaked Spyke out a little, but he nodded and following the others as they went upstairs to change. Scott paused for a moment before following them. "Can I ask what his powers are professor?"
Charles shook his head. "You all will have to find that out on your own, just as he will with you. Information wise, this is an even field, the better to see how he reacts to things."
Scott frowned, but nodded and walked off. Logan looked down at his boss grinning. "I got fifty bucks says Green Eyes will wipe the floor with them, three out of three, you in?"
Charles shook his head and moved off. "Your faith in our charges abilities is truly touching." Logan shrugged unrepentantly and followed him.
Outside, Harry was chuckling as he dodged around, ducking under gusts of wind and lightning blasts as above them the sky darkened and roiled. "Ah, so that's your power, Ororo!"
"Stay still you little rabbit!" Ororo growled from behind him, trying to get close enough to hit him, but failing miserably. Harry had all the speed and agility of a mongoose, and was just as hard to hit. Above her the air condensed, and suddenly she realized her emotions were affecting the local weather patterns. It was a distant thought, however, as right in front of her a massive lightning strike came down out of the clouds to slam into Harry. She gasped in horror; she hadn't actually been aiming to hit him, just scare him.
He stumbled, but twisted as he fell to the ground, hands automatically reaching out to Ororo's behind him and to her surprise he didn't seem injured, and she found herself stumbling forward into his chest, both of them falling to the ground.
They lay there for a moment, then Harry chuckled, sending a rumble through his chest where Ororo was leaning against it. "Well that was fun."
Ororo pushed her upper body off him, shaking her head and regaining control of her emotions. With a thought, she sent the clouds above them away, returning the area to its normal weather pattern. "You have a very odd idea of fun."
"Meh, you'll get used to it." Harry smirked, putting his hands behind his head. "So is that your power, flying and using lightning?"
"Quite a bit more actually. I can control all kinds of weather, which I use to fly, and the lightning blasts are my normal offensive weapon. I haven't met anyone else they didn't work on entirely like you, however. Is that from a spell you cast?" She looked up at the sky above them, making certain that the Ororo she had inadvertently called into being had dispersed.
Harry shook his head. "No, it's more of a family trait. My last name is Potter, you know, as in pottery. My family developed lightning attack spells and so developed an immunity to them at the same time. But having to watch your emotions like that must be bloody awful. Tell you what, I'll see if I can make a ward or something to cut that connection for you, that is, if you want me to?"
Ororo looked down at him, naked hope on her face for a moment. Ever since she had learned of the connection between her emotions and the weather around her, she had to control her emotions lest she create untold destruction. To not have to do that anymore was a dream come true. "That would be wonderful, thank you." Suddenly she realized the position they were in, and she blushed as she felt something stir beneath her. She was no virgin, she knew what was even now reacting to her presence on his lap, and it was both worrying and flattering at the same time. "W-we should get back."
Harry smiled, looking appreciatively up at her gorgeous face past the rise of her D cup breasts in her plain business suit, amazed at how firm they looked. "I don't know I rather like it here."
Ororo pushed down with her hands, getting off of his waist though not before taking a moment to feel his hard muscles appreciatively. "Are you always this forward?"
"No," Harry answered honestly. "I'm usually much less outgoing, but spending five years in the negative Zone, all alone, has removed most of my inhibitions. Don't worry though. If you don't like me flirting with you, just say so and I'll stop."
Ororo paused, looking at his mesmerizing emerald eyes and very decent body, as well as remembering how easily he could make her laugh, and then his offer to make her an amulet that would allow her to express her emotions more freely. Then too he was simply an interesting young man, who, though younger than her by several years had a hidden maturity behind his sense of fun that belied his age. "I wouldn't say I dislike your flirting, just please tone it down a little. Especially around the students please."
"Got it, no mentally scarring your students by treating you like an actual woman rather than a genderless teacher." Harry actually saluted and she laughed shaking her head.
"You are incorrigible, but yes please be careful, especially with my nephew's mind. I don't think Evan could handle that particular revelation." Harry nodded and the two walked back to the mansion, with Harry telling her some stories about the pranks he had played on the Fantastic Four, which had her nearly in stitches despite her habitual control as they reached the front door.
Inside the danger room the X-men were already preparing for this. Cyclops took charge as usual and directed them all into position around the cityscape the room had created. "Alright we don't know anything about this guy's powers, so we should prepare for everything. Hide around the center square and as soon as he's in the square, hit him hard."
Spyke nodded, cracking his knuckles, already bringing out his bone spikes, and moving into the ground level of one of the stores around the square. "I get first crack at him, no way can I let him get away with saying stuff like that to auntie O."
"Like, I don't think she needs your help to deal with that," Kitty said. "She seemed to have it well in hand."
Rogue smirked. "It was nice tah see miss calm and collected lose it like that though. Probably good for her too."
Jean smirked a little, but refused to be drawn into the conversation. Instead she took the lookout position, wondering why the older boy's eyes had been so compelling for some reason, before shaking it off.
Nightcrawler waited by Scott in another upper story.
Minutes passed, and they all heard the door to the Danger Room open, then nothing. After a few minutes Spyke growled out. "Where the hell is he?"
Jean looked around from her position on the roof of the tallest building in the simulation but didn't see anything. "I don't see him."
A voice by her ear made her jump. "My names Harry, Red, remember it."
Jean turned quickly lashing out with her power sending several kinetic blasts shaped like knives at where the voice had come from, but suddenly felt the concrete roof below her disappear. She fell forward, and suddenly a bright red light smacked into her forehead. "Stupefy!"
The redhead collapsed comatose and Harry nodded, then jumped off the roof to his next target.
Below Scott was already shouting orders. 'He's circled behind us and taken out Marvel Girl! Regroup on my position!"
This did not help Rogue, however. She had been in the building next to Jean and she found herself in sight of Harry but not close enough to use her own powers. "Sorry Goth chick. Bombarda!" Harry pointed a finger at the ground before her. It exploded, sending asphalt and concrete flying everywhere, smashing into her and flinging her away. Her limp body smashed against another building. Harry shot a Stupefy at her for good measure.
Spyke took this time to get in close, his arms bristling with bone spikes. He hurled several of them at Harry as he closed. Harry waved a hand at the approaching projectiles. "Wingardium Leviosa!" They shot upward and around him, catching Kurt as he teleported behind him. Kurt tried to teleport away, but the projectiles still hit him, slowing him down enough for Harry to grab him with an "Accio", and then hit him with a "Repulso", sending him flying into Spyke.
Scott made his appearance at this point, blasting away with his optic beams from his position at a window of a nearby building. Harry ducked, then ducked again, waving his hands at the buildings foundation. "Bombarda Maxima!" A massive explosion slammed into the building, disintegrating the first floor and tumbling the rest into a heap, taking Scott with it.
Kitty tried to make a stand at that point, but Harry turned to her, head cocked, taking in her see through, not quite there form. "Are you some kind of ghost?" He pointed a finger at her and a web of varicolored energy pinned her to the ground. "Ah, so that does work on you, huh?" Kitty growled but she couldn't escape or even move and was forced to watch as the new guy went around collecting her disabled friends' piling them up next to her before releasing her.
A few silent episkeys and two revivifies brought the kids back to life and a varied amount of health. Harry shook his head. "Alright kiddies, do I need to point out how many ways you fucked up here?"
Scott shook his head, looking a little grim and a lot chagrined. "I don't think that's necessary. We were cocky, we reacted too slowly, we were too spread out to begin with, and, once you attacked, we all reacted like individuals."
Harry smiled, inwardly groaning as the beam user missed the most glaring mistakes. "Those were some of your mistakes, yes, and we'll go over the others later. I was told to fight you lot three times, so let's see if you learned anything from this. You have ten minutes before I attack again." With that he faded away, causing Kitty to gasp and the others to look on in shock.
Scott rubbed his face in frustration through his mask. "Does anyone have any idea what his powers are?"
Rogue felt at her ribs for a moment wincing. "Well he can make stuff explode, that's what he did to me, and he can apparently go invisible."
Jean held her head in her hands. "I didn't get to see anything. He snuck up on me and took me out too fast. Kurt, Spyke, you two worked together any ideas?" Other than the fact he handled us with kid gloves the entire time, that's rather humiliating. He didn't even bother 'killing' us; just used this whole episode as a learning experience.
"I think he might be a telekinetic." Spyke said seriously, with Kurt nodding along with him. "That's the only way to explain all the things he can do. He grabbed all the spikes I threw at him and used them to pin Kurt in place, then grabbed him and threw him at me."
"I don't know any way a telekinetic could turn invisible or make things explode," Jean said dubiously.
"Maybe he learned how to bend light around him or something," Scott replied.
Kitty though was still skeptical. "Like, how do you explain the thing he hit me with then? And those sounded awfully like spells he was spouting."
Scott shook his head, taking control of the conversation. "We don't have time for flights of fancy. Alright, if he's a telekinetic, he'll want to keep us at range. This time we stick together, move around and roam the city, hunt him down rather than wait for him to come to us. Kitty, use your powers to pin him in place, Jean, Evan, and I will keep him occupied from range, then Kurt, you get Rogue close enough to use her powers to take him out. Jean, keep us all in contact with your telepathic powers as soon as we set out, that way, he won't know what we're planning." Everyone nodded, though Jean was still worried. For just a moment, she thought she saw something moving out of the corner of her eye, but when she turned to concentrate on it, it was gone. She shrugged and followed the others.
Harry shook his head, having observed the entire exchange. Not once had he said he wouldn't be around, they had just assumed it, like this was a game where he had to play by the rules or something. Now he waited on the kids, and that was what they were, just kids playing at heroes. They didn't have the experience or… it was hard to describe, but they didn't think in the right way, nor did they take enough time to do so. Still, at least their formation was decent enough.
Ahead of him the redhead once again turned as if she had noticed something and he made a mental note that notice-me-not and concealment spells didn't seem to work as well as they should on telepaths. So she's a telepath and telekinetic, that's a damn deadly combination if I give her time to get set. Let's not do that.
Harry waved at the front of their column, this time not bothering to verbalize the spells, and an explosion ripped the ground up in front of them. They reacted quickly, and this time as a group, but he concentrated and the debris from the explosions suddenly transformed into a pride of lions that immediately charged them. Another wave and a dozen more charged them from the other end.
"Wh-what the hell!" Spyke yelled in fright, letting loose with several bone spears, which sailed through the ones charging the back of their column. "Hey, these are fake!"
Scott blasted the first few with his eye beams, barking orders. They were just the wrong orders. "The ones at the front are the real threat, Jean with me, everyone else keep an eye out, this is almost certainly a feint. Watch out for him trying to collapse the buildings on us!"
Harry disguised himself as one of the lions and charged forward with the group that was illusory. Jean caught his movement out of the corner of his eye and somehow saw through his illusion but before she could shout a warning, he was right between her and Kitty. A hand lashed out letting loose with "Fulgur!" at the ghost girl, and she shrieked as the lightning struck her before she could phase.
His other hand waved "Repulso!" and Jean braced herself against the ground, not flying away as he had intended. So instead, he got in close, grabbing her arm, and turning her to use her as a shield against Scott's beams as the X-Man turned. Jean cried out in pain, unable to concentrate through the agony to use her powers. Harry raised a shield around them both which took the rest of the beams strength, then, almost gently, applied a choke hold to the redhead. "Sorry," he whispered, as she succumbed to unconsciousness once more.
That done, he let the shield in place but teleported away, then with an summoning spell, grabbed Scott's feet out from under him. He smashed down face first, followed swiftly by a stunner to keep him down.
That left Nightcrawler, Rogue, and Spyke. Harry created even more lions and sent them after Spike, who went down under the pile of them. He then teleported away again, playing tag with Nightcrawler who was carrying Rogue, still trying to stick to the original plan. Harry shook his head, then started to cast spells at the ground, first creating water, then freezing it. The ground became too slick for Nightcrawler to keep his feet the next time he bamfed in close, and Harry took the hesitation this caused to cast a reductor curse at his feet. The resultant blast knocked him off his feet and a follow up stunning spell, put him down for the count.
Rogue however, had jumped free just in time. Harry warded off her attempts to grab him as he set a small explosive spell off behind her, causing her to stumble and cry out in pain before a pointblank stun spell took her out of action, too. Harry sighed, looking around at the wreckage of the team of kids and shook his head. "I know you three are watching this, one more time then these kids are going back to school. This is just sad."
Logan growled from where he sat at the controls of the danger room. "I agree, that was just awful. Their ability to adapt and improvise is pure crap." Ororo didn't say anything, worried for her nephew and the others.
"I think you're being overly hard on them, Logan" Charles replied. "It's true they could be more flexible, but they have no idea about his abilities. With that limitation, I think they are doing remarkably well, and at the same time learning a valuable lesson about underestimating their opponents and their own pride impacting their decisions."
Logan shook his head. "Chuck, you're not getting it. He hasn't thrown anything at them that they couldn't overcome if they reacted as a team and tried to improvise, instead they try to stick to plans that are FUBARed from the moment they make contact. They're letting him dictate everything, all the momentum is his." Charles shrugged noncommittally.
After gathering the kids together, Harry went about healing them, starting with the one called Kitty, forcing a bit of healing potion between her lips. As she woke up, she started to spasm and whimper from the electric shock he had given her. A calm hand on her forehead, though, calmed her down. "Easy, curly one, you're alright, just wait a second, okay?" As she blearily opened her eyes, the pain began to fade slowly. She looked up and saw that the older boy was going around helping her other friends, starting with Spyke, followed by Rogue.
Scott was the next to wake up. Hearing Jean moan in pain, he looked over and saw her lying nearby bruised and battered. "Jean!" Ignoring his own wounds, he ran over to her, and was appalled to see that her chest, barely covered by the remnants of her uniform, was red and heavily blistered. "Okay that's it, this training exercise is over! We have injured people down here who need immediate medical attention!"
Rogue grunted irritably. She massaged her forehead while Harry worked on her back, using something to get rid of the cuts on her back. "And what are we chopped liver?" Not once had Scott looked away from Jean to see how the rest of his team was faring.
Harry finished healing her back and smirked a little. "Happens often, does it?"
"Ya got's no idea," The southerner muttered. "Scott always treats little miss perfect with kid gloves." She really did want to be angry with this guy for the butt kicking he was giving them, but at the moment she just didn't have enough energy to do it.
Logan's voice came from the ceiling in answer to Scott's announcement. "You don't get to say stuff like that in a real fight kid, if I was Harry I wouldn't be bothering healing you as much as he is, you lot have got one more round to go before you can quit."
"But…" Scott protested then was interrupted as Jean began to shake her head from where she was laying on the ground.
She waved off his hand and sat up, then looked down and covered herself with her hands, appalled by the amount of skin she was showing, and a little annoyed that Scott hadn't tried to cover her up, instead just standing there ogling her. "L-Logan's right, we were told to treat this as if it was real, we can't just back off when we get hurt."
A large, formless shirt fell out of nowhere onto her head, and she reflexively reached up to pull it off. "Well said Red, though I won't force you to go around without a shirt or anything like that. I'd recommend getting a tougher uniform or something in the future, though."
Jean eyebrow twitched at the nickname but she pulled the conjured shirt over her head, wincing as moving aggravated the burns on her chest. "Thank god for small mercies."
"Heh, well if you want to quit the hero business, I think baldy and the others would let you walk away, if you wished. But if you want to wear those, admittedly quite fetching", here he bowed toward the ladies, "uniforms then you should realize now that the people you face will play rough."
Jean and the other girls snorted at that but nodded along with the boys, understanding his point. Kitty, however, bounced up and down in place. "So, like, was I right, are you some kind of mage, all those weird powers were so totally cool!"
Harry nodded again, looking around at them. "Yes, I'm a wizard, though not like most on this planet I've discovered."
Scott shook his head, wondering how the hell they could make plans to match someone who seemed to bend reality to his whim. "No wonder we couldn't handle you."
Harry frowned. "Is that what you think?" He looked around at the others head cocked inquiringly. "Do you all think that way, that I'm steamrolling you because of my powers?"
All of them nodded their heads save the redhead, she merely looked thoughtful, as if she was thinking of something but couldn't quite put it in words. Harry shook his head. "It's not my powers that make me dangerous, One-eye. I'm dangerous because of my brain and my training, not just my magical power. Hell, I'll prove it right now, in the next match I won't use any magical power, just physical skills that any soldier could have. You lot have got ten minutes before we start again." With that Harry walked off down the street and out of sight.
Every one of them visibly perked up but Jean again, who remembered the way she had been handled. It hadn't been Scott's energy beam that knocked her out, she remembered the pain from it, but she also remembered a shield of some kind appearing and protecting the two of them before she was knocked out by a very professional choke hold. Why do I think we are going to get corncobbed here?
The others, however, ignored her for a moment, with Scott once more taking charge. "Alright, it's obvious he's the one underestimating us this time around. Kurt, I want you to be our scout for this one. Keep teleporting all around us as we start to search for him. Same general plan as before, I want to pin him in place and let Rogue touch him, so…"
Rogue spoke up then. "Ah don't know if that'll work, I was able ta get close but he fought me off without touchin' mah skin."
"Then we double team him!" Evan said enthusiastically. "He's been awful careful to take isolate us, take us out one by one, if we don't let him do that, we can hammer him under!"
Kitty was still euphoric about the fact magic was real to make any contribution to the discussion. "Like, I wonder what else can he do, like could he transform, or fly, or ohhhh…"
Rogue smacked her upside the head with a gloved hand. "Focus Kitty, fight now, interrogate later."
Kitty pouted but complied. "If he's promised to not use his powers, I bet he won't be able to fight my powers y'know."
Scott nodded firmly. "Then that's what we'll do. Kitty, go ghost mode as soon as we start moving, and the moment you see a chance to immobilize him, do it. I think that's all we should plan for now, let's play the rest by ear."
Jean groaned. Playing it by ear wasn't any of their strong points, well, except for Kurt, he was pretty good at that. Still, she knew that somehow this was going to go bad for them. A sneaking suspicion made itself known, and she reached out with her telepathic powers. "Professor, is that the point of this exercise? That we're just here to learn there's always a bigger fish?"
"Not the way I would put it my dear, but essentially yes," the older man's mental voice answered promptly. "I wanted to see for myself what skills Harry possesses, as well as getting you all to realize that your powers alone are not enough, it is how you use them. You all have started to slack off in your training and I felt a bit of a wake up was in order. And I'm sorry, but I want the others to realize this for themselves, so could you not tell them what you've realized?"
Jean sighed mentally, "Yes, professor though I'm not looking forward to being knocked out again."
"Don't worry my dear, we have an excellent medical facility as you well know."
Jean's lips pursed barely concealing a groan at that, but she followed along with the others. She wondered how Harry was going to attack them this time. And yes, she would remember his name like he asked, though if he called her Red again, there would be hell to pay. Now if I could only figure out what about him grabs my attention so much. There's just something about him, not just the eyes but something else that calls out to something in me.
Harry had retreated to the inside of a building, wondering anew at the technology this room represented. It was truly awesome, and he longed to get into its guts and figure out how it worked. Nanites, hard light holograms, both mixed together, or what? But for now he needed to concentrate on taking out these kids. "Hey Logan can this room create weapons too? I never said that I wouldn't use guns or stuff after all, just that I'd fight them as a normal soldier."
Logan's voice answered him promptly, coming from a small speaker set in the wall near him. "Sure kid, just tell it what ya want. But are ya sure you can take the kids out without using magic? I don't know what training you've had but that's a tall order."
"The only ones that will give me trouble are Red, the teleporter, and the ghost, her most of all. The others I can handle easily. And as for training, I was trained by a few Special Air Force members when I was younger, and I've kept up the training as much as I could, physically anyway." As Logan whistled, Harry asked the room for certain supplies and then went to work. Logan laughed at the list while Ororo shook her head in exasperation. "Oh and room, if I hit anyone with a few of these mission kill them, okay?" The watchers agreed and the program acknowledged the new orders.
About ten minutes later, he was on the roof of one of the buildings the room had created, looking through a sniper scope on a L115A3, with a sound suppressor on the end of the barrel. The ammo was a mixed bag, with rubber bullets that would hurt like hell, mixed with paint balls. He looked through his rifle, Following Kurt for a second then switched down to the streets for just a second to make certain the youngsters were following him, which they were. He sighed in irritation. Damn these guys are green; they just have no idea how to move in enemy territory, nor how to be sneaky. If I were them, I'd send the teleporter with little miss ghost shadowing him one way while I moved in an entirely different direction and tried to encircle me.
He watched for a few more minutes as they made their way through the cityscape coming into his range, breathing easily, calmly waiting until Nightcrawler stopped to shout down at the others, then took his shot.
"Kurt watch out!" The shot, a rubber bullet, was going too fast for Jean's warning to do anything. It smacked into his chest with bruising force, followed swiftly by another, this time a paint bullet that caught Kurt in his head as he clutched at his stomach.
"V-vhat the!" Kurt moaned.
Scott acted quickly, turning toward the way the bullet had to have come from and shooting out a full power blast from his eyes, demolishing the building. But Harry had already moved off as soon as the second bullet left the rifles snout, using a prepared rope to rappel to the next building over, then down.
Scott turned to look at Kurt, who Evan and Jean were helping to his feet. Suddenly the Danger room announced, "Subject Nightcrawler, mission kill."
The others looked confused but Logan answered their questions before they could voice them. "Sorry kids, since this is a normal human against you, Harry asked if he could take you out 'permanently', and we agreed. If this was real life Kurt, you would've just died, so for the rest of this exercise you're out."
Kurt groaned rubbing at his sore chest and the other bumps and bruises that hadn't fully healed from the previous to debacles. "I surely won't complain, I'll just sit here guys. Go get him for me, huh?"
Scott nodded. "He can't have gone far from the building he was hiding in. Keep together and let's go. Shout out if you see anything, and I mean anything, moving." The others nodded somberly, their earlier confidence having taken a nose dive at how Kurt had been taken out.
They moved forward now more seriously, With Jean trying to find their opponents mind with her powers, but yet again she seemingly couldn't find his mind at all. It was the strangest mental defense she had ever encountered. It was as if he had somehow made his mind disappear from her senses. She could tell it was there, barely anyway, but not its location, form, or anything about his thoughts.
As they neared the rubble of the building Scott had destroyed, they came under fire from another building. Cyclops and Jean both responded, one zapping the building at full power with his eye beams and the other by throwing several kinetic blasts at it. But the damage had already been done, with several canisters falling among the X-Men. A few started to let out a gray gas that quickly spread, making Spyke and Kitty both cough. Scott yelled, "Gas, everybody fall back!" The other things Harry had thrown, time delayed flashbangs, went off practically blinding everyone.
Jean and Rogue were able to fall back, but Harry had already rounded the corner from where he had jumped out of the building Scott and Jean had targeted. Harry came in, making for where he could see Scott doubled over and grabbing at his eyes through his mask. Harry didn't attack him though, he merely reached out when Scott brought his own hands away and ripped his visor off. Harry kept moving through the smoke and away as Scott lost control of his beams. They lashed out, catching Spyke and lifting him up to slam him hard against the wall, and nearly hitting a few of the others before Scott could close his eyes all the way again.
Kitty hadn't yet recovered from the gas, and was down on one knee coughing horribly. Harry really didn't have the heart to hurt her again as he had in the second match, so simply slapped her on the back of the neck with a deactivated shock stick. The Danger Room agreeably intoned, "Subject Shadowcat, mission kill. Subject Spyke, mission kill." Evidently the calculated damage Spyke had taken from Scott's eye beams had taken him out of the fight. Kitty groaned, and Harry took a second to ruffle her hair before moving off.
Harry faded back into a nearby alley, having done enough damage with this first ambush. However Jean and Rogue had a different idea. Jean blasted through the wall of the building next to him, letting Rogue jump forward in an attempt to grapple with him.
Harry swiftly threw another flashbang forward past Rogue's shoulder. Jean made the mistake of smacking it aside with her power, which merely made it go off quicker. She stumbled back blinking her eyes as Harry led Rogue further down the alleyway.
Rogue growled as she noticed that Harry had put on gloves and a long sleeve shirt, making it much harder for her to get skin to skin contact. They moved down the alleyway away from the others, while behind them Jean came out of the hole after them, still rubbing at her eyes with one hand, but still game.
Scott had again covered his eyes but now was stumbling around blind. He moved around on his hands and knees hoping to find his visor. He stumbled forward, tripping over something on the ground, something that felt strangely like a wire. "Was that a, oh cra-!" a loud boom sounded, and Scott was lifted into the air by a small explosion and found himself covered in paint. An instant later the Danger Room made its morbid announcement. "Well, fuck!"
He sat up gingerly, his whole body on fire with pain. He made certain to keep his eyes closed, as he shook his head very slowly in resignation, lest it fall off. "I think I know what the point of this exercise is now. We weren't supposed to win were we? Was this supposed to show us how much more we had to learn professor?"
"Partly, and partly because you all have been a little lackadaisical lately with your training. Ladies, do you understand now?"
Rogue and Jean, who were still fighting Harry backed off. Rogue answered with a scowl on her face. "Yeah, ahh guess, though if we were able tah continue this time at least we would've beaten him."
No sooner had she finished speaking that she flinched as a paintball smacked into her chest. She looked over in shock at harry, who was now holding a handgun. He turned, showing where it had been strapped to his back. "No you weren't. If Red over there hadn't recovered so bloody quickly from the flashbang, I would've ended you then and there but I didn't want to show my ace unless I could take you both out."
Jean twitched at the nickname again and smiled faux sweetly at the emerald eyed older boy. "Let's make a deal, you don't call me Red anymore and I don't use my powers to squish your head like a grape."
"Ooh, feisty, brilliant," Harry laughed. "But okay, I just thought Red was better than 'Marvel Girl'." He snickered and Jean groaned. She should have known that code name was going to come back and haunt her, but it had seemed like such a good idea at the time. Rogue laughed at her and the three of them made their way to the door to the danger room.
The rest of the X-Men slowly recovered and joined them as they exited the danger room, with Kitty already talking a mile a minute. "So, like can you fly? Are there other magic users? How did you learn magic, is it something you can teach anyone else? And like do you have to obey natural laws, like conservation of energy, or mass?"
Harry laughed, already seeing the girl as a younger, slightly more naive, and far more outgoing, Hermione. "Easy Curly, let me answer the first batch before you hit me with more. No, I can't fly under my own power; I can jump pretty far but that's it. I can use a broom to fly though and I know the runic array for that so I might create a broom or something else eventually, maybe a magic carpet. Yes, there are other magic users, though my magic is a little different from the magic people seem to use in this reality, so no, I couldn't teach you how to use my type of magic. And yes, I need to obey the conservation of energy and mass, although it's really tricky to see how the energy is conserved and where the mass comes from when you're using magic."
By that time the door had opened and the X-Men found their elders waiting for them. Ororo already had a medical bag ready and waiting, motioning her nephew Evan over to her immediately. It was a testament to how sore he was that he didn't even protest and went over to her willingly. As Ororo looked over her nephew, the rest of the X-Men moved to stand before Charles and Logan. Charles smiled, a little sadly, yet mostly kindly. "And what have you all learned from this experience?"
Jean answered crisply, "To always remember there is room for growth, and to never underestimate someone just because they don't have a mutant power. Scruffy over there..."
"Oh now you're just being mean.", Harry mock pouted. "I can't do anything about my hair. It's a family trait for it to be messy."
Jean pointedly ignored the interruption. "...took us apart slower but just as certainly when he wasn't using his powers but was using regular military equipment and was ready for us."
Scott nodded eager to show he understood the lesson, too. "We also were far too overconfident and went in assuming the enemy wouldn't have a plan of his own."
Harry spoke up again, his voice serious as he pointed at Kitty. "You also didn't listen to your teammates contributions. I'm not saying it would have made much of a difference, but you would have been a little better prepared to handle the surprises I sprang on you in the second match. A good leader doesn't make all the decisions himself without any input old boy, you have to learn to work with and take the advice of other people."
Scott frowned, feeling like he was under attack for a moment but nodded, slumping a little as he realized most of the problems they had run into he made through his assumptions. He vowed to get better while the others added their own opinions.
Charles smiled as they all seemed to have gotten the correct message. "Well in that case, I believe everyone has learned from this exercise. Now, once everyone has had some medical attention I believe we can introduce Harry to you all formally and vice versa." The youngsters nodded, marching off to the medical wing, with Ororo following helping Evan along.
Eventually, the medical programs determined that other than Kitty, Jean, and Evan none of the students had anything wrong with them that a few hours rest wouldn't cure. They'd be sore for a few days and taking oodles of pain killers, but there was nothing to be done about that. Kitty, despite still dealing with a bit of electricity in her system from the second round bounced around excitedly. "So what do you think of the new guy?"
Rogue shrugged. "Ah think he's powerful, but a little loopy. Ah wouldn't want tah fight him for real though, the way he took us apart in the second and third matches was kind of scary."
Scott shrugged. "I think if we had been able to have some more time to recover, we could have beaten him either time though I won't deny he's skilled and his magic is hard to counter."
Jean rolled her eyes, the bruises and burns on her chest and stomach bothering her more than she wanted anyone to know. She sat behind a partition so the others couldn't see her as Ororo put some burn cream on her stomach and chest. "I doubt it. He was basically toying with us the entire time. He could have taken us out easily at any point. And our team reactions sucked, every time we were surprised, we acted as individuals instead of a team. We'll need to work on that." Scott ignored the first half of what she said, but nodded firmly with the last part.
Once Evan was comfortable in the hospital rooms bed, the others followed Charles back out to the living room. Ororo opted to stay with her nephew for a bit. They found Logan and Harry there, sharing a beer. Well, Logan was drinking a beer, Harry was sipping from a glass of whiskey. Charles frowned at that. "I would prefer you not to drink in front of my charges, Harry, especially since you are so young yourself."
Harry waved away his concern. "I'm twenty one so I'm legal here in the colonies, old boy, and in Britain the legal age of drinking is 18."
Charles shook his head resignedly. "Well then, Harry, why don't you introduce yourself?"
Harry nodded and looked over at the others. He gave them a brief overview of his life, as well as explaining how he got into the Negative Zone, and back out.
Rogue and the others all gasped at his knowing the Fantastic Four, though the girls were more interested in Harry knowing the Invisible Woman than the others. "Do you think you could get us their autograph?" Rogue and Kitty stammered then Kitty elaborated. "Especially Susan Richards, she's like our idol, with how strong she is but also keeping her, y'know identity as a woman."
Harry laughed at that but refused to make any promises. After another hour of discussion as the kids introduced themselves and told their own stories about how they had found out about their powers, Harry had a good idea about all their personalities and how best to start teaching them tactics and strategy, as well as how best to use their powers. After a little longer, Charles clapped his hands. "Alright, as it is a Tuesday, it is a school night and as such the kids at least need to get to bed. Logan, could you show Harry to his room please?" Logan grunted an affirmative.
Harry nodded then looked seriously at the kids. "For your first assignment from me, I want an After Action Report from all of you detailing your mistakes and what you could have done differently in our matches. Get it to me by Friday, and we'll go over it individually on Saturday before a team exercise."
The kids groaned while Ororo and the other adults looked at him in surprise, but Harry merely shrugged. "What, did you think this would all be hands on learning? Part of getting better is analyzing your mistakes and AAR's are good for that. I won't assign them often, but I may have you do some reading, and a lot of studying about modern weaponry and tactics."
Charles smiled inwardly, more than happy with the way Harry was handling the students. "I agree, that sounds like an excellent idea." The kids grumbled but nodded and everyone dispersed for the evening.
Logan showed Harry his room on the third floor, which was designated the teacher's floor then entered his own room across the hall. Ororo's was down the hall at the end across from her large arboretum, and Charles had his own room by the stairs with its own elevator to accommodate his disability.
The room itself wasn't quite as large as his room at Potter Place, but was more than enough space for his needs. He set his laptop on the desk by the wall and lay down on the queen size bed, stretching luxuriantly. Charles scored a few points in the 'trust' column today, letting me smack those kids around a bit shows he cares about their training, and that he's alright with training to fight to kill if need be. The kids were a little arrogant at first, but a few more sessions like today's will hammer that right out of them. It'll be interesting to see if they all pick up on their most glaring weaknesses, but we'll see. I wonder about who they've been fighting though, certainly from the way they talked they weren't taking them seriously, so maybe it's just another group of kids? Oh well, I'll find out eventually. Have to figure out how to dump some gold soon though, I don't want to be dependent on Xavier no matter how much I agree with his dream for the future. That was his last thought before he turned his light off and fell asleep.
Before anyone gets irritated at me for Harry so easily curbstomping the X-men, remember that this is a Harry who is a trained hardened war vet, against a bunch of kids with fancy costumes and barely a year (I think) of training, less in most cases. Will they get a hell of a lot stronger yes, but in this fight, Harry had almost everything going for him.
As always read and review.