"Allison Blaire, you say? Hm… someone in a high profile, such as her, could really help the public's perception of mutants." He stroked his chin thoughtfully. "Do you think that there is a way that you could arrange a meeting-"
"No," Logan said, flatly but decidedly. "Did you not listen to the rest of the story? She's tied up with Hydra somehow. I guarantee you that if we pursue her, we're only going to be inviting more attacks from Omega Red and whatever other operatives may be mad about the death of Viper."
"I heard you, Logan. There is nothing that suggests that she still has dealings with Hydra, however. In fact, you said yourself that she helped to drive him away."
"… or get away."
Xavier locked eyes with his pacing friend. "Are you certain that was her intention?"
"That's not the point! Whatever Allison is, she shouldn't be invited here. She has some of the same connections I have, and that's just not safe to have around. I put the kids in danger, Chuck. Again. I'm starting to think hanging around here isn't such a good idea anymore. I mean, I can handle Sabretooth, but I can't be responsible for anything Hydra may do…"
"Logan, you should know we don't hold you responsible. You have a home here, and you're safer-"
"But you're not! I just, I can't let anyone else get hurt. We're looking at hostage situations, mindless slayings… I don't know! I don't know what these people are capable of, and I don't know what they want from me. I can't predict when they're next going to attack, and I can't prepare the kids for anything that big! I can't expect them to face anything like this, and they shouldn't have to."
Charles Xavier hung his head. He had to admit, when one did think of the situation rationally and objectively, this man was more of a liability than an asset. Then again, he had proved himself to be a caring man, and he was part of the family at the Xavier Institute. The students all loved him… or, they did when he wasn't in the middle of teaching them a lesson in the Danger Room.
Sighing, Xavier spoke up again. "I can't force you to stay, Logan. I can, however, tell you that if you were to leave, you would be deeply missed. I also must say that I'm surprised that you would consider abandoning the children when we are about to face the biggest challenge of our lives. Apocalypse is still out there, preparing to make his move. When the time comes to fight, I always assumed you'd be standing in our ranks, as one of the X-Men. We need you for that."
Logan snorted disdainfully. "For that, yeah." Shaking his head, he stomped out of the room, stopping at the door. "I stay until this Apocalypse thing is dealt with, then I'm out of here. I have to finish this business on my own."
Xavier sighed again, while nodding his head. "Fair enough. Just… know that you're always welcome here. We're a family, and family accepts whatever baggage you may have, no matter how dangerous."
"Right," Logan muttered on the way out the door. "Tell that to Rhane's parents."
Sam walked into his and Bobby's room, consciously slamming the door behind him in an attempt to attract Bobby's attention. The other boy, though, was at work on his computer, feverishly typing away and clicking with his mouse. Sam cleared his throat loudly, but it too was to no avail, and so he sighed heavily and collapsed onto his bed.
"Oh, hey Sam," Bobby said off-handedly, finally noticing his friend's presence.
"Hi," Sam replied, but his voice was muffled by the pillow that he had his face firmly pressed into.
A few minutes passed with Bobby still madly clicking and typing, and Sam lying on his bed in a defeat he hoped was apparent to his friend, but Bobby never even looked his way to register the despair.
Finally, groaning, Sam rolled over, propping himself up on his elbows. Watching his roommate for a few seconds, he finally spoke up. "Bobby, the hell you doin'?"
Bobby painfully tore his eyes away from the screen and turned to Sam. "Sirens' research, what else? I know I can figure out who they are if I just-"
"Geez, Bobby. Give it up already!" Sam said, shaking his head and laughing in a condescending manner. "I don't know why you're so obsessed with these girls anyway. I mean, at the concert… I thought you had a thing for Amara."
Bobby had turned back to his computer and replied, off-handedly. "She's cute. I wouldn't really call it a thing, but I'm thinking about asking her out."
"Oh?" Sam could barely hide his disappointment.
"Yeah. I mean, I can't just sit around here and wait for Jubilee's parents to let her come back to the Institute. Besides, we were more friends than anything else. I miss having someone to flirt with, and Amara… I mean, she's fun."
"Yeah, I know," Sam said, fighting the urge to hang his head. "Fun."
"Hey!" Bobby exclaimed, spinning around away from his computer. "If you and Tabby got together, we could totally do double dates!"
Sam cocked his eyebrow confusedly. "Tabby? But she's… well, you know. Insane."
Bobby considered this for only a moment before agreeing. "Yeah, she's insane. But, the fun kind of insane. And double dates, man."
"I don' know, Bobby. Tabby an' I… we would never work out. I mean, not only is she insane, but I get the feeling I'm just not enough man for her."
Bobby rolled his eyes. "Who said anything about working out? Dating is supposed to be about fun, remember? Not commitment. I mean, we're still high schoolers! And Tabby… there's someone fun."
Sam didn't know what to think. He couldn't help the way he felt… and it wasn't warm and fuzzy toward Tabitha. "… and Amara?"
Bobby shrugged his shoulders. "Like I told you, it's about having fun. She's cute, and luckily I'm fun enough for the both of us."
"Right…" Sam said, standing and getting ready to leave. He felt like he'd just learned something about his roommate that he wished he hadn't. "I'm gonna go find Ray or something. Have fun with your research…" Bobby shrugged and complied with Sam's suggestion, and Sam left his room feeling even more confused than when he first entered.
He felt angry and sad at the same time. If Bobby had his eyes on Amara, what kind of chance did he stand? But then, how could Bobby think that he could just play with Amara and then drop her when he was tired of her? The girl deserved so much more than that… she was so pretty, so genuine, so kind. She deserved a guy that realized all that and wanted to treat her like the princess she was. She deserved-
"Hey, Sam, want to do your best girl-friend a favor?!" Tabitha hollered from the second floor landing. Sam was at the bottom of the stairs, making his way to the rec room to see if there was anyone to hang out with in there.
"What kind of favor?" he drawled, trying not to admit to himself that Tabitha was one of the few people who he had hoped not to run into.
"I'm late for work, and I need a ride. I can walk home, I just need a ride there, and I can't drive myself or I'll get a stern talking to from Xavier."
"Yeah, sure," Sam conceded, knowing that he had nothing better to do.
Sitting in the car, most of the short drive was spent in silence.
"I hate this job…" Tabby said, trying to make conversation as she watched Sam's dejected face with interest. "I would quit if it weren't for the fact that I need the money to pay the rent at Xavier's. Putting up with this for a few hours every week is worth a home."
"Yeah" Sam agreed half-heartedly. A few more seconds of silence passed before he spoke up. "Thanks, Tabby."
"Not telling anyone else about… the club." Sam felt embarrassed about the whole thing now. What could have possessed them to start a club that was so stupid? So incredibly juvenile? But it didn't matter now… they wouldn't be meeting anymore.
"Sam, like I said earlier, you didn't have anything to worry about. I'll make fun of you myself, but you guys are mine to make fun of. I mean, sure, if the moment was really opportune I might have spilled the beans…" Tabby looked away at this, musing, before snapping back to reality. "But I didn't. We all do stupid stuff sometimes. I mean, look at me! I run away to the Brotherhood, only to get kicked out when their ringleader showed back up. And you don't want to know where I was living before Xavier talked me into coming back."
Sam nodded. She wasn't a student at Xavier's anymore, technically, but was living there on the condition that she match the hours the others put into training at her work. Xavier had tried to talk her into coming back on as a member of the younger team, but Tabitha was not ready to commit herself to anything like that again. Maybe someday, but for now she was just a roommate to Amara and a house mate to the others.
"Well, here we are," Sam announced, pulling up to the grocery where Tabby worked. "You can give me a call if you want a ride home."
"Thanks, cutie!" Tabby said, hopping out. "You're a sweetie." She leaned in through the open window of the passenger door which she had just closed and ruffled his hair playfully. "I'll try to get Amara to realize it." At that, she turned and went into work, leaving Sam a little stunned.
She had noticed? How? He hadn't thought he was being that obvious, but maybe he had been after all. Thinking back, he realized how obvious he must have been to everybody except himself (and hopefully Amara). But Bobby didn't realize…
Sam shook his head. None of it was worth it. There was a killer mutant out there who had taken down all the X-Men with one clap of his hands. This was no time to be thinking of love or like or anything. A war was coming…
A/N: all done! (finally...) Be sure to read Jamie and the Argonauts!!
P.S. This is the updated version of the chapter. I had written this a LONG long time before I posted it, and some of the character moves were just bad (as you will note from the comment I got). Not quite as bad as I portrayed Scott in "Tacky Tuesday" (he can be a mean sex-driven jerk, right?) but still bad.