Claire hesitantly knocked on the door to Professor Xavier's office, then clasped her hands behind her back.
Claire soundlessly opened the door and stepped inside the office. Professor Xavier sat across his desk from her, and gestured for her to sit down. She complied.
"Professor…" Claire began.
"It's all right, Claire," he interrupted. "I know why you're here."
"And you're okay with it?" she asked uncertainly.
"Certainly," replied Xavier. "You've completed your education here, and you have the choice to do what you like with your life. We could have used you as a staff member, but as I said, the choice is yours."
"Thanks, Professor," Claire said in relief. "I want to prove we're just as good as everyone else, and I think this is the way to do it. I've talked with Philip, and he's okay with it too. He said joining the Air Force would be good for me. According to him, I have a 'discipline problem'." She smiled, remembering her brother's smirk.
The Professor smiled too. "Well, you have been known to disregard the rules—more than once," he pointed out.
"Don't I know it." Claire's grin widened as she recalled the various times she had snuck into the mansion past curfew. After she got caught once by Wolverine, Claire had decided she'd had enough sneaking out. Wolverine was unforgiving to curfew-breakers, and she had been assigned extra Danger Room sessions for two weeks.
"Well, Claire, I'll arrange for your departure in about an hour. Is that all right?" the Professor asked.
"Yes, that's fine. I'll just say goodbye to Philip one last time, then," she said.
"Very well," he replied, nodding. It was a clear dismissal. Claire rose and left the office.
When Claire returned to her room, she was unsurprised to see her brother Philip sitting on the bed, his black feathered wings splayed out behind him.
"Well? What did he say?" he questioned her.
"He said I'm leaving in an hour."
"Whoa. I was expecting at least a day to say goodbye." He was silent for a moment. "I guess I won't be seeing you for a while, then."
"Don't worry; I'll visit when I get time off," Claire assured him.
"I know you will," Philip replied confidently. "So, are you all packed? I would hate to have to give your stuff away." He smirked sarcastically.
Claire returned the smile. "I'm sure you would," she replied with equal sarcasm. "And to answer your actual question, yes, I am packed."
Suddenly Philip was serious again. "I'll miss you," he told her in a low voice.
"I'll miss you too, Philip." Claire hugged him, careful not to squash his wings. "Now let go, I want to get a picture of you." He released her and she stepped back. Philip smiled, and Claire imprinted the image in her memory. Now she could always have a piece of home with her, no matter where she was.
There was a small knock, and Claire turned to see Storm in the doorway.
"Ready to go?" the black woman asked.
"Yes, I'm coming." Claire picked up her duffel bag, took a last glance at her brother, and followed Storm out the door.