Todd had his own suspicions as to what had actually happened that day. Mainly because his own recollecting was somewhat off…He remembered something about the ceiling falling down, and Duncan Matthews saving him…but he was certain it had to have been his imagination, because when the hallway by the gym had crumbled (bad foundation, you know) he'd been walking home, after having left the dance when the fire-alarm had been pulled. And anyway, why would Duncan Matthews save him? And hadn't Duncan Matthews been home nursing his rash? (Todd snickered.)
He also thought that he'd found Scott Summers' shades, but for that to have happened, Summers and his girlfriend would have to have come to the dance, and he knew for a fact that they didn't. Witnesses had seen them at McDonalds, dressed to the nines, making some big to-do out of eating the cheese-burgers there. And anyway, didn't Summers have a killer stare or something? If Todd had found the shades, then something horrible and destructive would have happened…wait…wasn't that what happened? Maybe Todd was remembering it wrong…
He glanced over at Jean Grey, and she looked at him, narrowing her eyes…he felt the weirdest sensation run through his brain…
Todd shook his head. He'd lost his train of thought…glancing up, he saw Jean Grey smiling at him. Nothing unusual. She smiled at everyone. He had the weirdest feeling that she owed him one, though…weird. He shook his head again, shrugging it off. Maybe he was just having an off day. He went into the hallway, headed for his first class of the day.
Upon passing one Derrick Daniel Drake (called 3D by anyone who didn't have a death wish) Todd felt a surge of de-ja-vu. He turned around to glance again at the boy, and was surprised to see that 3D had also turned. The two boys looked at each other. Was it possible that they were thinking the same thing?
At the same time, Todd and 3D grinned, and turned away from each other, separating to go their own ways. Neither realized they were both thinking the same thing. 'Naw...couldn't be….'
Duncan Matthews didn't get it. It just didn't make sense. Today had been the weirdest day. First, the football team's early morning practice had been started off to an abrupt resignation by most of the senior players – they said that upon thinking things over, they really felt that time spent on their academics would serve them better than competing for an athletic scholarship, and that their girlfriends had been nagging them about the amount of time that they spent playing, talking about, thinking about, or practicing football.
If that wasn't weird enough, Jean Grey had stopped giving him the cold shoulder all of a sudden. He knew girls were fickle creatures, but this was ridiculous. He wasn't one to look a gift horse in the mouth, though, and had asked her to eat lunch with him. She's said no, but she'd said she'd think about it. Whoever had changed her mind about him had his thanks. If he could remember them.
He had the weirdest feeling that something big had happened…but he couldn't remember what it was for the life of him. He felt like he was on the verge of knowing some big secret, but at the last second, he'd forgotten what it was. It was annoying, is what it was. He also harbored a fiercely intense rivalry with Scott Summers. He wasn't sure about that, either, but again, he didn't question it. It was a guy thing.
All in all, it had been a pretty productive day. With all the seniors gone, he'd probably have a chance at varsity. And unlike his senior fellows, he had no problem competing for an athletic scholarship. And was it just him, or was that wart, Toad Tolansky being better behaved towards him? He swore then and there that he'd never get poison ivy again. It completely threw his life for a loop.
Between them, Scott and Jean had managed to put the real story more or less together, though it had been difficult, upon realizing that the Professor had wiped everyone's minds of the event in question. Harder, was having to go to school like nothing had happened; both teens were sufficiently bruised and beaten past normal injury; Scott had gotten a concussion, he knew, as well as a broken arm, and Jean had had a perpetual headache since that night; a souvenir, she teased, from being linked with Scott's mind for so long.
The Professor had fixed everything to the best of his ability, between praising them shamelessly for the way they had each handled the situation; Jean had managed to protect her classmates from harm – no small task, considering her powers had been running on autopilot for much of the situation – Scott, when his glasses had fallen off, had immediately closed his eyes to stop further damage – an act that had proved to put himself in danger when he was trapped by all of the collapsing detritus because he couldn't see it to block against it.
The Professor was also very impressed with the actions of Paul, though the poor boy could never know of it. He had followed his instincts, pulled the fire alarm, and his actions had been entirely for the aid of Jean and Scott; in being inside Paul's mind to augment the memories, the Professor had seemed to take to the boy, and he urged Scott to cultivate that friendship, because, he said, it wasn't often you find a mind that cares for humanity as much as Paul's did.
"It's weird, though, isn't it?" Jean mused to him at lunch that day. Paul was tied up in the lunch line because no one wanted to brave the non-pizza side that day, not even Scott, hungry though he was. Paul had offered to stand in line for all of them and buy extra slices; a plan that had been heartily agreed on by all as Jean forked over a few bucks for the extra food and trouble he was going through.
"What's weird?" Scott asked, stretching the fingers on his right arm. It hadn't been healed generically, but instead psychically, courtesy of Jean and the Professor, but it felt strange, if nothing else and he found himself favoring his "uninjured" left arm.
"The Professor harps on about the ethics of using your powers, and he turns around and changes everyone's memories? Just to keep his secret a little longer?" Jean wordlessly put her hand out, taking his fingers as he stretched them, in a subtle reminder that his arm was fine.
"I think it's more of a matter of safety. I don't think everyone's ready to know about the existence of mutants, Jean."
Jean made a face at him. "Now who sounds like a walking textbook?"
Scott grinned. "You know what I heard 'Ro talking about though?"
Jean rolled her eyes at the obvious dismissal of her taunt, but humored his subject-change anyway. "What did you hear 'Ro talking about?"
"We're going to have more students here. She was talking to the Professor about her nephew, saying that she was sure he was a mutant, only hiding his powers from everyone. Won't it be weird, having other mutants at the mansion?"
Jean's eyes widened. "Seriously? Why didn't he tell us?"
"Maybe he forgot. He's kind of a spaz when it comes to stuff like that; he's too wrapped up in his computer."
"How many mutants do you think he's found, anyway?"
"At least one more. I couldn't hear it all, because they were walking away, but they mentioned the name 'Kurt.'"
Jean grinned. "Great. Another guy. I hope all the mutants aren't guys. Are you sure 'Ro didn't mention a niece?"
"Can't handle a little testosterone?" Scott teased.
Jean flushed a little at his choice of words. It only brought back the memories of the thoughts that had bombarded her mind that night, few of which had been very tasteful.
"Scott…what do you think the Professor did to those seniors? He said he made everyone think we hadn't gone to the dance at all, right?" Jean mused.
"Yeah…" Scott followed, taking on the train of thought.
"So…I don't know how the Professor would have handled it… but I'll tell you what I would have done," Scott said determinedly.
"Besides beat them up?" Jean asked sardonically.
"I might have changed their thought processes a little. Let them see the errors of their ways. Maybe convinced them that football wasn't the way to go."
"Neither is changing a memory, if you think about it."
Paul came to the table then, and the conversation steered away from mutant-related topics. Jean, though, let her mind wander while Paul engaged Scott in some tale or other involving a place called the Wanderer's Haven Inn and a grand chase that had allegedly went down there the other night.
Above the rest of her thoughts, there drifted the issue of Duncan Matthews. Jean was pointedly remembering the Professor's words earlier that morning. How he'd admitted he'd been wrong about Paul, and it was only after touching his mind to augment the memories that he knew what kind of a person Paul was.
I could have sworn I had Duncan's personality pegged though, her inner voice chided ferociously. And Scott hates him! But there was the fact that he'd inarguably saved Todd Tolansky's life, even if he didn't remember doing it anymore.
At that moment, Scott glanced at her fleetingly; just a half-second's glance as he spoke with Paul; he smiled at her, and then turned his attention back to Paul.
If I'd have based my opinion of Scott on my first impression of him, I'd be out the best friend I've had since Annie, she thought suddenly. She flushed as she remembered her first thoughts about him. Too pale, too skinny, probably in need of as much washing as his clothes, were some specifics.
Maybe I should give Duncan another chance.
The Hawks were spectacular for the whole season, even though a select few of their players never came to the Homecoming Game because of a mysterious rash they'd all gotten. As they neared the playoffs, Jean's eye for photography and her in with the team through one Duncan Matthews got her a lot of free tickets to the game for her friends, Scott and Paul, should they choose to come.
The first-string seniors, though, after an amazing Homecoming game, all quit, so as to spend more game-nights with their academics and with their girlfriends. Duncan Matthews, though he was only a junior, became the star of the team, and he carried his team to victory when he became the first-string quarterback.
Scott never did get why Jean suddenly stopped her Duncan-hating. It confused him to no end, and actually became the source of a lot of the fights he had with Jean that year. They'd always apologize to one another, though, and watch Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy throughout the night, even after new students were recruited to Xavier's school. Jean just had to keep a bubble around them so as not to disturb anyone.
One Kurt Wagner made his way successfully through his appeal, and was able to plead his case (In perfect German and English) spectacularly. His Mutti helped. He packed his bags for his trip to America, and 3 trains, a plane with 2 layovers, and then another 2 trains later, he was in New York, where, luckily, the Professor was waiting to pick him up, even after some startlingly familiar events took place at the game before the playoffs, where he had to help his students as Scott found himself accidentally setting the whole of the home bleachers aflame.
Logan, who had always had a knack of knowing when to be somewhere, arrived the same day Kurt did, and he now keeps the new recruits in line.
Paul always had a strange feeling that there was more to Scott and Jean than met the eye, and he found himself wondering why he knew 3D's real name.
Derrick Daniel Drake, more commonly known as 3D, had to transfer to a school in California when his father remarried. Mitch Mattis, more commonly known as Match, ran into him a few years later, after his mother's health had declined and she'd decided to retire early. They became quick friends with Joseph Skinner, who liked to be called Skinhead, and a demanding guy by the name of Beauford Tannen, more commonly called Biff. They terrorize the halls of their local high school even today.
Todd never let go of his grudge for Duncan, nor did he stop picking pockets when his cash ran short. It was ultimately a lonely affair, being the only recruit for Mystique, even as Xavier seemed to recruit more students every day. With each new recruit Mystique procured, Todd grew more confident, though, that the way he'd been recruited was by far the most interesting story.
A U T H O R S N O T E
(Glances around furtively)
I can't believe I've finally set this monster to rest. 100 pages, 3 million edits, and 20 chapters later…sheesh. This story has, like, 100 reviews, and I'm sure it will only get more…and that makes me smile.
As for the rest of the plotholes? What the deal with the killer curling iron? Did Jean ever pick a field name? Does Michael J. Fox come into this story anywhere?
We can only draw our own conclusions, and hope for the best when the sequel comes out.
Much thanks to those of you who've stuck with me through all my sporadic updates and incorrect knowledge of the Cyclopes legend…
Much credit due to Broken Sword of the Morning, as well as Balrog Roike for helping me with my German, and to Slickboy444 for helping me with my story flow. To mi-chan17 for helping me with the x-universe accuracy, and to Abbs of the faeries for her awesome fangirl-worshipping of this humble authoress.
To CosmicPhoenix and Wen1, as well as asitiswhenitwas and Boleyn for reviewing fairly constantly, bugging me for updates and not giving up hope that I'd ever finish!
As for the rest of you? (for there are many…) Stick with me! I'll keep your x-men needs abated with random one-shots until I can bring another monster to life…Until then? It's been a pleasure!
Ayaia of the Moon