Whooa sorry for the wait guys! It's been a busy week!
Thank you to Scarlett Burns again for beta-ing, so awesome :D
And thanks for your wonderful reviews! Please enjoy!
Creed was not gunna lie, spending the rest of this short week at this school was like shoving your fist down a meat grinder. Okay, it wasn't that intense, but still, their was an awkwardness to the air and everyone seemed on edge.
He had a feeling (actually he was positive) that it was his presence that caused this.
Scott managed to stay a healthy ten feet away from him whenever they were in the same room; his hands twitching suspiciously towards his sunglasses, always having some form of a glare to shoot at his direction. Creed had to laugh though, because Scott's supposed 'cold shoulder' didn't affect him as much as Scott probably hoped it did. Creed has dealt with some cold shoulders in his life time, and nothing was worse than a Jimmy-fied cold shoulder.
Speaking of which, where was Jimmy? Creed had hardly seen any of his brother during his stay. Storm had explained that Jimmy was in the Danger Room, whatever the hell that is, for the majority of his free time or out on missions. His little brother's evasive antics were confusing Creed.
Ever since Creed and Jimmy were children, Jimmy was the one with questions and Creed was the one with answers. That was just how it was. Questions like: 'But why are we running away?' or 'Why are we enlisting in the war?' or said famously, 'Why are we killing?' The wave of nostalgia made Creed's stomach drop. All of that was gone. Erased. Creed had no idea how Jimmy managed to get his memory erased, but it felt like he'd lost his brother all over again.
Back when Creed told him that they were going to pretty much obliterate Stryker, that was it. Jimmy said no more. He simply looked at him like he was considering it, something else flickered in his face for a moment, then he just left. Nothing said, no questions asked. Questions that Creed honestly wouldn't mind listening to right now.
Despite Scott acting like he had a stick up his ass and Jimmy acting like Carmen Sandiego, Jean and Storm were pretty darned nice to him, always asking him if he needed anything, how he was liking New York… it was nice to have some people on your side
Heaving a sigh, Creed crawled out of the bed he was lying in. He was rather surprised when Xavier offered him a room and some new clothes; a luxury Creed hasn't been able to enjoy for a long time. Although it was a bit awkward trying to get used to the new mattress, he certainly wasn't going to complain; this beat his piece-of-crap bed any day.
The sun was flickering in through the windows, and he was briefly reminded of his days back in Oregon. Today he'd have to corner Jimmy somewhere and get him to agree to help him fight Stryker. After all, Jimmy had never given him a straight 'no'.
After throwing on some blue jeans and a loose white T-shirt, he left his room and headed to his favorite place in this school: the kitchen.
Although this school offered most of Creed's necessities: shower, food, clothes, shelter, and sweet, glorious cornbread muffins, there was one thing that was a constant thorn in his side: the children.
They were everywhere! Big, small, some really small, some really big. Not only were there countless children here, they were children with abilities. The could do twice the damage. Horror. Pure, god-awful horror.
Walking down the hall, he wanted to get to the kitchen as fast as he could without running into a little runt. The last thing he wanted to do was make small talk with one. Walking into the kitchen, he made a bee-line towards the fridge. When he opened it, he was satisfied to find that it was full of a delicious varieties of food.
Grabbing the carton of chocolate milk and the bag of cornbread muffins someone had made, he carried his treasures to the counter. He snatched up chocolate milk, looked left and right, then chugged down straight from the carton.
"Y'know you should probably get a glass." A voice said out of nowhere. Creed choked on the milk, and it splattered everywhere. He looked up to see a teenager, maybe around fifteen or sixteen, walk in donning boxers and a baggy T-shirt. The boy's brown hair was all dishelved from sleep.
The teen reached up in the cupboard, grabbing a glass, and handing it to Creed. "One time Professor Munroe caught me doin' that. She made me buy like, eight more cartons. Kind of ridiculous, really."
"Oh… Storm, if that's how she introduced herself to you."
"Ah." Creed nodded his head, filling up the glass with chocolate milk. "Thanks for this, by the way."
"No problem. I'm Bobby. Bobby Drake." The teen extended his hand, and while Creed gripped it, it felt oddly cold.
"So you're the one making Professor Summers all… I think the best word is, crazy."
Creed snorted. "Crazy?"
"Yeah, " Bobby laughed. "He's muttering about how he should've done more damage to you, whatever that means."
Creed, not in the mood to reminisce about how his shoulder got blasted off, chuckled along. "Ah well, he'll come around."
"I hope so,' said Bobby.
The two remained in comfortable silence, which was odd because Creed didn't really warm up to strangers this fast. Bobby was currently eating cottage cheese right out of the tub, while Creed mercilessly devoured five cornbread muffins.
The whole mansion was quiet, aside from Creed's chomping and Bobby's chewing. It was only around 6 AM, so children were expected to wake soon, which made Creed internally wince. The silence, however, was disrupted. Well, maybe not for Bobby, but for Creed it was, because his hearing was twenty times better.
"I gotta run into town today on the bike," said Scott Summers, who was currently upstairs.
"What's wrong with the Honda?" asked a voice; sounded a lot like Jean.
"Ah, something is wrong with it! Engine won't start. I called the mechanic but he can't look at it until tomorrow."
"Well, you better hurry up before Logan steals the bike, you know how he is."
"I will. Actually I should go right now. I've got a lot of errands to run," Scott explained. There was some low mumbling, what sounded like a smooch, and then the footsteps of Scott walking down the hall.
Huh. The engine won't start. Not to be egotistical or anything, but Creed knew he'd probably be able to fix that Honda pretty damn quick.
Scott's loud footsteps echoed throughout the quiet mansion as he descended from the stairs and, like Creed, made a beeline into the kitchen. Upon entering, he was unaware of Creed, but noticed Bobby.
"What're you doin' up so early?" Scott asked as he opened the fridge.
"I fell asleep pretty early last night," Bobby explained as he popped the lid back onto the cottage cheese.
"I see… hey, where are all those cornbread muffins?" Scott asked as he rummaged through the fridge. Creed choked on the one he was currently chewing (which just happened to be the last one), quickly swallowed it and shoved the empty bag into his pocket. Scott glanced up, finally seeing Creed, and visibly stiffened.
The awkward silence in the air was so thick that Creed could've gagged on it. Scott's gaze quickly transformed into a glare. "I'm not hungry anymore," he announced, and quickly exited the kitchen.
Creed sighed, knowing that he'd have to earn Scott's trust somehow. Maybe if I fix his stupid car or something.
"You're a mechanic?" asked Jean as she entered the kitchen. Bobby glanced up in confusion, while Creed's eyebrows furrowed.
"So you are a telepath."
"Yes," she said with a warm smile. "It'd be great if you could fix the Honda for us. I don't like the mechanic in town, he's kind of… overpriced."
Creed nodded in understanding. It was the least he could do, for how hospitable Jean was being, and it might make Scott a little less uptight. Jean smiled.
"Thank you so much. I really appreciate it," Jean said.
Creed smiled. "No problem."
Creed had been in the auto mechanic business for at least ten years. He likes fixing cars; it's something he's good at. Although to clarify, he likes fixing cars alone. Not with five kids, ranging from ten to eleven years old, watching him intently. The sad part was, they didn't look bored or intimidated at all. They actually looked happy, and weren't afraid to get close to Creed.
Now, Creed knew he'd gone to the good side, but still… it ruins a tough guy's ego when a little girl is offering him fruit roll-ups and asking him what his favorite Hannah Montana episode is. How Jimmy could tolerate this, he may never know.
When Jimmy entered his thoughts, his stomach dropped again. He'd have to get Jimmy to agree to fight Stryker. God knows what kind of havoc Stryker is planning on doing. Despite the fact Creed literally went across the country to find him, it was like he hasn't even found him yet. If he left soon, maybe he could catch him before he went on a mission or into the Danger Room.
"So what's that big thing right here?" a little boy asked, tearing Creed out of his depressing thoughts.
"The engine," Victor deadpanned.
The boy nodded, and pointed a chubby finger towards a nozzle sticking out. "And that?" Creed's eye twitched.
"The oil tank," he ground out. Two of the boys walked right up to the car to get a closer look. Creed, on the verge of spontaneously combusting, decided that if he wanted to get this job done any faster, these kids would have to freakin' leave. Trying to put on the scariest face he could muster, he barred his fangs. The effect he had on them could probably be compared to the effect of a teddy bear being shown to a little kid. The little girl giggled.
"You look like my dog when you do that," she said, still giggling.
Creed smacked his face in defeat, grabbed a screwdriver, and decided that it'd be best if he ignored them., which he quickly figured out was an impossible task, because then all five of them circled around the front of the car, right next to Creed, and watched intently, like this was some importantly lesson they had to know. The oldest mutant groaned, and continued on with his work.
This went on for twenty minutes, with the kids asking random questions that had absolutely no relevance to cars. Like, what his favorite color was, how old was he, why he had failed to clip his nails, and was he part cat? The scary part was, Creed was answering them which much less annoyance than he originally felt.
This actually terrified him.
"What're you kids doin' in here?" asked a familiar, gruff voice. All six heads turned to see Jimmy standing there, his arms folded across his chest with a look of amusement on his face.
"Hiya Logan! Mister Creed was showing us how to fix a car," the chubby boy answered. Creed grimaced, because he seriously had unintentionally showed them how. Crazy, manipulative kids, he thought bitterly.
Jimmy snorted at the look on Creed's face. "Well, it's lunch time now. Jean has sandwich makin's in the kitchen," he explained.
All five kids grinned, and in unison shouted, "Thank you, Mister Creed!" The little girl ran and hugged Creed around the waist, which shattered his dignity right there. All of them filed out while Jimmy's once friendly face was now one of seriousness.
"Hey uh… I need to talk to ya," Jimmy said, looking rather vulnerable. Creed, silently thanking the Gods, nodded his head, indicating to Jimmy to continue.
"When ya told me you were my brother, I thought you were full of shit. Especially when ya told me we were gunna fight this 'Stryker'. I thought you were just confused or somethin'. But when I fell asleep that night… I had this weird dream. I was in this green-tinged room… and for some reason I was in a tank. I remember jumpin' out and tryin' to escape.. and I heard someone shout, 'Stryker!'," Jimmy explained, and carefully watched Creed's expression. Seeing as it hadn't changed, he continued on.
"When I woke up I thought it was just some dream, but after a while I got to thinkin'. Maybe it wasn't a dream…it just seemed too real. When I realized it was a memory, I tried to remember more. I've been in the Danger Room, it helps me concentrate. Anyways, I had another memory…real blurry in my mind…but I just remember feelin' so betrayed by Stryker, and anger I haven't felt in a long time," Jimmy continued, examining his knuckles.
"So I wanted to say, I have a feelin' he did somethin' bad, and I think you're right; he's gunna do somethin' again. So I'm takin' ya up on your offer, we should destroy 'im," Jimmy finished.
Creed could've exploded with joy. "Really?" Creed asked, setting down the screwdriver and twisting the oil cap back on.
"Yeah," Jimmy half-smiled. Creed felt like this was the closest thing to his brother he'd seen in a long time.
Jimmy, obviously wanting to get rid of the silence, said, "So when are we gunna kill this bastard?"
"Well, we can ask Professor Xavier to find him for us, and then we'll have to do some planning, but I'd say pretty soon," Creed explained as he closed the hood of Scott's car, finished. Jimmy nodded, glancing at Creed's now healed shoulder, then to the blue Honda Civic.
"There's no way in Hell Scott asked you to fix his car," Jimmy snorted.
Creed grinned, light glinting off of his fangs. "He didn't, Jean asked me." Something flashed in Jimmy's face, which looked an awful lot like jealousy, but his expression quickly sobered up. Something must be going on between them, Creed thought.
Not wanting his brother to harbor any ill-will towards him, he quickly said, "Uh, well, it was the least I could do, and uh… y'know, I didn't want Scott to shoot off my other shoulder. This may cool him down a bit." Jimmy seemed pleased with this.
"It might. C'mon, let's go ask Chuck where this rat-bastard is," Jimmy said, turning to leave. Creed tossed the screwdriver back into the toolbox next to him and followed.
"I'm afraid I can't tell you where he is," Xavier said as he closed the book he was currently reading: The Once and Future King.
"Why not?" Jimmy asked with a little too much aggressiveness.
"Logan, I don't think you understand… nor do you, Victor. Stryker hasn't done anything for years, and the public sees him as a hero. They don't really know his true intentions. You know how everyone sees mutants these days; if we kill a public figure, they'll take it personally. They'll think what we want a war… and they'll give us one if we ask," Xavier explained, looking at both of them.
Creed gave a noise of disagreement while Jimmy folded his arms across his chest. Xavier gave an exasperated sigh.
"I suggest you wait for him to make the first move. If he does anything drastic, I'll look for him for you both."
Creed was okay with that, because that was how America usually operated when it came to wars. He was used to it, but Jimmy, thanks to memory-loss, was not.
"So you're just gunna let him kill innocent mutants while we sit around and wait?" Jimmy snapped. Creed groaned, wishing Jimmy could just accept things, but then again, that was how Jimmy always was.
"Logan, we'll lose a lot more mutants if there is a war. It's all about patience," Xavier explained, opening his book again, obviously showing that there was no room for argument.
Jimmy growled loudly before turning on his heel and walking out. Creed shook his head.
"Sorry 'bout that, Professor."
"It's quite alright, Victor. I'm just glad to see that you two are on speaking terms. Although, I do have a question… does he know about your past with Stryker?" Xavier asked, looking up with curiosity.
Creed glanced down shamefully. "Considerin' how he reacted to barely remembering Stryker, I think it's best if I keep my past a secret."
"You'll have to tell him sooner or later," Xavier said with a knowing tone.
"I know," Creed sighed. "I know."