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--Wake up--

Coffee scent wafted up to my nose. I twitched, rolled my face into the pillow, and tried to return to my dream. It had something to do with Colin Farrell. You just can't stop a dream with Colin Farrell in it.

"Hello, Xavier's School for the Gifted. Scott Summers speaking."

"Mr. Summers, this is Detective Sergeant Troy of Scotland Yard."

"Scotland-- Yes, sir? How can I help you?"

"Do you know someone named Marie Coltrane?"

Slamming the alarm clock off, I tried to snuggle deeper under the covers. They were downy on my skin. Worn fleece is the only thing to sleep in. I could feel the heat from Michael's body behind me, his leg draped over mine. For a lightweight, he had a heavy leg.

"Marie? Is she all right? Can I talk to her?"

He grumbled when I pushed him away. It took several tries before I could escape. Sleep crusts still in my eyes, I stumbled into the bathroom. The cold floor always gets me; I kept forgetting how cold the floor was in comparison to back home.

"In a minute, sir. We just want to confirm that you know her."

"She was a student here at Xavier's. She just graduated last year and got a scholarship for Cambridge. She just went back three weeks ago to start her second year."

I stretched. One fist hit the shower bar. I swore vividly then swore at the sound of my swearing. I hated it when my accent came through. After I finished nursing my bruised knuckles, I ran my hands through my newly cut hair. It was a change but it was a good change. Strong, independent, capable of marvels. That's what the haircut said.

"Mr. Summers, I'm going to ask you to be completely truthful to me, right?"

"Of course, Detective."

"Is Marie a mutant?"

Michael came up behind me as I was washing my face.

"Morning, Ace."

"Morning, Goose."

His hands crept up north. "So, what's the plan for today?"


"We're in Scotland, land of the romantics. Shouldn't we be, I dunno, rolling in the heather and bracken or something?"


"I read it somewhere."

"You? Reading? Alert the press!"

"Ha, ha, very funny."

"Detective, I'm afraid I can't answer your questions without further proof of your identity. Maybe if you can fax over--"

"Mr. Summers, have you turned on the news in the last two or three hours?"

"I'm sorry?"

"Turn on the television. I think you'll find it proof enough."

The conference I needed to write about wouldn't be for another five hours. I had time to spare. When I was on working holiday, especially if I'm with Michael, I liked to put the emphasis on holiday.

We walked through the little shops in the village, "ooohing" and "ahhhing" over the cobblestones and the brickwork and trying our damnedest to understand the locals. It was almost a different type of English on this side of the pond. A bunch of kids offered to take our pictures.

"Mr. Summers, are you still there?"

"I'm here, Detective, but I'm afraid I still don't understand."

"So, how long have y'all been here?" asked one of the girls.

"Another American, thank God!" I laughed. "We've been here a week."

"Less than," Michael corrected.

I smiled and squeezed his hand. "Almost a week. We're going back down south afterwards. And you?"

"I go to school here," she said. Nodding to the other three, she added. "Those are my roommates. Unfortunately."

She didn't sound regretful. I remembered my college years-- God, why did it seem so long ago? You just didn't get friends like those in college.

She snapped our picture several times, even posing us once beside a table full of breads. "Well, I hope you have fun," she said as she handed the camera back to me.

"You too," Mike and I chorused. Uh-oh, stereo-speaking. We were getting serious, weren't we?

"We're not quite such who instigated it, but a concert got out of hand."

--Wake up--

My roommate was ramming his bloody hand through the door.

"We're going to be late, you bloody git!"

"I'm up, I'm up! Keep your feckin' shorts on."

I rolled out of bed and onto the floor. Trousers, shirt, socks, and shoes all in a pile beside me. Who says being a slob made things difficult?

"I saw the news report, Detective. I want to know what this has to do with Marie."

The drive up took forever. I used my old fag to light a new one up and threw it out the window.

"Shit, don't you know about pollution?"

"Bugger that. This country invented pollution. I say, let's keep it up."

He shook his head and turned the volume up on the radio. The reporter was going on and on about the effect mutants had in society. I rolled my eyes and ignored it. It was the Middle East yesterday, mutants today, and the royal family tomorrow. Anything to get ratings.

"Miss Coltrane was at the concert--"

"So I gathered, Detective."

"Mr. Summers, are you going to be difficult about this?"

"No. Sorry, I'm just worried. Go on, please."

Even though we were three hours early, there was already a block-long queue at the gates. I swore as colourfully as I knew how.

"That's not going to help up get in."

"Oh, bugger off."

"Like I said, we're still investigating the cause of the riot. As you saw from the report, it was chaos."

"Detective, I have a feeling I already know what you're going to say."

"Do you now?"

--Wake up--

There's nothing like waking up to the sound of completely nothing. Kind of rams it back into your throat that this was the country. No cars, no trains, no one screaming at the top of their lungs. Why in God's name the band decided this place to have a concert, no one would ever know.

Like that movie said, if you build it, they will come.

"Inspector, it's very important that no one touches Marie until we get a representative there."

"So, she is a mutant?"

"Can you guarantee that no one will touch her in anyway?"

We started setting up as soon as the sun joined us for the morning. The tea they gave us was strong enough to clean out all three tour buses. Just the way I liked it.

"To be honest, Mr Summers, we learned that the hard way."


"I couldn't have said it better myself."

Just after noon, the first few die-hards came down, hanging on trees and climbing fences to watch us set up. If they wanted to catch a glimpse of the band, they were out of luck. Those boys didn't get up until half an hour before the show hit.


"I heard, Scott. I've already alerted Moira. She'll be able to get there fastest."

"I was wondering if some of us could go there ourselves."

--Wake up--

Benny was drinking again. The goddamned bastard was still hungover from last night and he was drinking again as soon as I opened my eyes. God, I wanted to kill him. If it wasn't for the kids, I would.

"I'm not sure I can spare you, Scott."

"Sir, I know Rogue the best of all of us here. It's either me or Jean and I know you definitely can't spare Jean."

--Wake up--

I'd never been so excited in my life! This was going to be the best day ever. I danced out of bed and hopped into the shower singing. It wasn't every day a girl lost her virginity to a sex god.

"Where is she?"

"You are?"

"Scott Summers. I'm here to see Marie Coltrane. A Detective Troy should have cleared me."

--Wake up--

I groped around the bed and found Carol gone. She was never one to cuddle. Always shot forward and got what she wanted, no small talk. That was one of the reasons I was attracted to her.

"Right this way, Mr. Summers."

"How many people touched her?"

"I'm sorry?"

--Wake up--

We followed the college kids to a huge field. By the set up, the tangy scent of pot, and the number of people wearing really ugly clothes, I'd say there was a rock concert.

"How many people touched Marie? Had skin-to-skin contact?"

--Wake up--

My first concert, wow! I hope Mum and Da don't come around; it would be so embarrassing to have them following me.

"I don't know, sir."

--Wake up--

The fifth time to see this show and I still wasn't sick of it. It wasn't just the music, although that was spiritual in itself. It was the atmostphere, the energy of thousands of people crammed into a small space all in tune with each other. It was like an anarchic symphony.

"You don't know? How hard can it be to figure out?"

--Wake up--

Last chance to party before I had to face the doldrums of adulthood. Sometimes, I wish I never had to grow up. I patted my swelling belly. This kid was going to be worth it though. I'd make sure of it.

"Miss Coltrane was in the middle of a concert riot, sir. Anywhere from ten to a hundred people could have touched her and we would have no way of knowing."

--Wake up--

I pulled Michael closer to the concert. He was reluctant.

"You know I don't like those things."

"I just want to see." I batted my eyes. "Please? Pretty please?"

"Do you have any information on anyone that she's touch for sure?"

"Well... there were three nurses and a doctor here. And when she was found, she was beside a certain... um... Carol Danvers. We've taken her in as well. She appears to be in a coma."

--Wake up--

I snuck in through the gates, my packet of chemical goodies burning a hole through my jacket. It was getting harder and harder for a guy to make a living nowadays.

"Rogue? Hey, Rogue... Marie, it's Scott. Mr. Summers. Can you hear me in there?"

--Wake up--

Coffee scent wafted up to my nose. I twitched, rolled my face into the pillow, and tried to return to my dream. It had something to do with Colin Farrell. You just can't stop a dream with Colin Farrell in it.