Making a Home Disclaimer: Characters and setting are the property of Marvel, I'm just borrowing them for a little non-profit fun.

The early morning sunlight was reflected back off miles of white sand broken by the occasional cactus. A lonely jogger was the only sign of life. The rhythmic pounding of his feet on the sand was the only disruption to the stillness.

Scott paused for a moment to wipe the sweat from his face and to tie his sweatshirt around his waist. Even after several months in the desert he was still surprised by the cold nights and by how quickly things heated up once the sun returned.

He took a small sip from the water bottle attacked to his belt then resumed jogging. Mentally he reviewed the last few months.

The first four weeks after they left Bayville had been hell. If Destiny had been around Scott would have happily strangled her for her unique viewpoint that didn't distinguish between past, present and future. When Rogue relayed Destiny's vision to Scott he'd interpreted it to mean that if they waited for Matt to straighten things out legally Lance would die before they succeeded. But during those first few weeks after they'd broken Lance out of jail they'd all started to worry that Destiny had meant it was already too late to save him.

During the long drive out to California Lace had slipped into a trace state, awake but unaware, staring blankly at nothing and all they could do was wait and hope that the drug ran it's course before the last of Lance's strength gave out. For the group it was like holding their breath for four weeks. They're old life had been left behind, but they couldn't quite bring themselves to start the new one until they knew if Lance would be starting it with them or not.

Then one morning they'd woken up and Lance had been missing. Scott found him three hundred feet from the base, sprawled across the sand.

"Hey." Scott said.

Lance opened his eyes and looked up at Scott. He grinned.

Scott sat down beside Lance. "So what are you doing out here?"

"Just listening." Lance said. "I can feel the earth turning again."

"So you're okay?"

"Yeah, I'm okay. A little tired, pretty hungry, but okay. The world's real again. By the way, where the hell are we? That building I woke up in, it feels weird."

Scott chuckled. "California, the earthquake state. You should feel right at home."

"Oh. Is Kitty here?"

"No, she'll catch up. She told me to tell you to call her."

Lance pushed himself to his feet. "She's probably worried." He said. He swayed unsteadily as he started walking back.

Scott pulled Lance's arm over his shoulders. "She is, that' why I'm not complaining about this call. But if we keep calling back and forth we're going to get caught. You're supposed to be dead."

"Oh, how'd that happen?" Lance asked curiously.

"According to the police Duncan Matthews murdered you. Given your history with him and your blood in the trunk of the car he was driving the case was open and shut. He'll be in jail for a long time."

"Couldn't have happened to a nicer person." Lance replied. "Who else is here? I sort of remember Freddy."

"Yeah Fred's here along with Tabby, Forge and Logan. Gambit's out," Scott paused disapprovingly, "getting funds. I didn't think of that when I was planning this. Gambit says the sort of people he steals from don't call the police. I'm not exactly in a position to complain."

After that everyone got serious about making the base livable.

Several centuries under the desert had been more than the automated cleaning system had been able to stand. A thick layer of dust covered everything. The power conversion system was also failing so they were left with minimal power.

Forge happily bowed out of the cleaning and buried himself in the guts of the base's hardware. Tabby's ideas on how to cut corners were disasters waiting to happen and they usually didn't wait very long. Lance was still recovering. By default Scott, Fred and Logan were saddled with the bulk of the grunt work.

Gradually things shaped up. Familiarity began to erase the creepiness factor of the base; so did the touches everyone brought back from town when they went on supply runs.

Scott finished his jog and headed down into the base for a shower.

He came across Logan and Lance working out in shaded cannon. Since they still worried about Lance over-exerting himself Logan was taking things slowly. They were working on basic forms. Scott waved to them as he headed inside.

Fred intercepted him on the way to the showers. Scott noted the vaguely embarrassed look on the larger teen's face. "We're running low on food again?" Scott guessed.

"It's not all me." Fred protested. "You should see Tabby putting it away. I don't know where it goes in her. She's so little…" He trailed off into confusion.

Scott laughed. "Where do you think all her time bombs come from? Moira was theorizing about the different types of mutations. She says you've got physical mutation like you, Mr. McCoy or Todd, maybe Pietro too. Then there are psions like Jean and the Professor. Elementals, like Lance, Storm, Amara or Magneto, people who are directly tied into the basic aspects of nature. Channelers like me, Bobby and Roberto; we manipulate energy that already exists. Roberto and I change solar energy into something else; Bobby controls the concentration thermal energy. And then there are the true energy casters like Boom Boom, Jubilee, Gambit, Ray or Sam. Their bodies actually generate the energy that powers their explosion, so they all eat like it's going out of style. Their metabolism could keep up with Quickie's feet. Even so I'd rather not send Tabby into town, not after last time." Scott finished dryly. "The ATM card is on the shelf in my closet. Why don't you take care of it?"

"Okay." Fred replied easily.

"Get some classical music." A disembodied voice ordered. "Even if I can't drown out Forge's Disco maybe I can annoy him as much as he annoys me."

"Sure Cable." Fred said. "I'll get some more country too. You might not like it, but trust me, Forge will hate it more than you do."

"Good enough." Cable grumped. "At least Alvers only sings on occasion, Forge never shuts that noise off. There are days when I have to wonder if destroying Apocalypse is worth living with teenagers. It used to be quite here."

"What did you guys do to him?" Scott asked Fred quietly. "He's never Mr. Sunshine but…"

"Forge had an 'oops' while you were jogging." Fred explained.

Scott nodded. Cable knew Forge was his best hope for repairs but Forge's rather casual 'It'll work next time' attitude toward mishaps drove their ghost to distraction.

A few minutes after Fred had headed off to get ready for the trip into town. Tabby latched onto Scott's arm.

"No." Scott told her as he freed himself.

"I'm bored. Fred's already going into town why can't I go?" Tabby wheedled.

"Why didn't I just call the Professor and ask him to send the X-Copter to take you home?" Scott wondered.

"Because you want him to have deniability." Tabby reminded him. "Come on, I promise not to get into trouble."

"No." Scott repeated. "If you're bored why don't you do something useful? I'm sure there are dozens of rooms that haven't been swept or scrubbed yet."

"Well someone won't let me use my powers." Tabby complained as she glared p at the ceiling. "IT was just a little bomb. It would have burned the grime right off the walls if someone hadn't tried to electrocute me."

Cable made a smug, self-satisfied sound.

Scott rolled his eyes. "No powers." He ordered. "Use a broom and a mop."

"You are such a dictator." Tabby sulked.

"Grow-up Tabby." Scott said. "This isn't the Boarding House. We're not just trying to get by and have a little fun. Knocking over a couple of vending machines is not a sufficient contribution, it's not even a desired contribution. You made the choice to be here all by yourself. I told you to not to come; you did it anyway, so live with it."

Scott turned his back on the blonde girl and stalked off.

****** ****** ******

"You owe us Berserker." A woman's voice, roughened by the life she'd lived, stated flatly.

"Callisto." Ray exclaimed in surprise as he spotted the Morlock's battle scarred leader standing in the shadows. "How are you guys dealing?"

"Like we always have: On our own." Callisto replied defensively.

Ray's eyes flickered as he hid frustration with Callisto's stubborn pride. "You're right, I owe you. Is there anything I could do to repay the dept?"

"Come on." Callisto ordered.

Ray followed her down into the tunnels. "Watch yourself." Callisto said. "The water's poisoned."

Ray cringed back away from the murky goop flowing through the sewer. "We've got to tell someone." He said.

"It doesn't hurt them, just us." Callisto stated flatly. "Do you think that's an accident?"

Ray nodded. "I take it you've already got a plan?"

"Trace it to its source. Deal with whatever we find there." Callisto replied vaguely.

"The X-Men could help. This affects us too." Ray suggested.

Callisto sniffed. "Upworlders, you're soft, want to appease the humans."

"So why am I here?" Ray asked.

"Torpid had the chicken pox. I need someone to watch her while we hunt." Callisto replied.

"You want me to baby-sit?" Ray asked in disbelief. "Okay, fine. I'll take her up to the mansion…"

"No, you'll watch her here." Callisto snapped. "She's one of us. I won't have you carting her off to be some Upworlder Uncle Tom."

"Sure, fine." Ray sighed as he held up his hands in surrender. "Where's the squirt?"