Author's Note: After another leave of absence I present to you the next chapter. I've already started work on the chapter after this one, so I hope that this time you won't have to wait as long as you did. For those of you wondering why the fight scene isn't longer: Let's just say that Victor sometimes doesn't even understand himself. All will be revealed later!


Oh god, this feels so GOOD! Scott felt a rush unlike any other surge through his body as his second energy blast slammed Victor into the wall. That will put him down for a few mo… ments… Even with blood trickling on the ground, his opponent grimaced only once as he got up. In the silence that followed Scott could've sworn he heard the other mutant's bones snapping back into place. And, judging from the huge smile that appeared on Victor's face only moments later, he was completely healed within mere moments. That's… That's something I didn't factor in. But I should have. I should have! How else could he have recovered from that fight so quickly? I should have… Oh shit…

Scott saw Victor's nails extending. A feeling of dread filled his heart. He'd seen that gesture too many times before. No… No more playing around. His throat tightened. He's… He thinks… I'm a worthy adversary. Or at least enough of a nuisance to merit a 'real fight'. The memories of the brutal slaughters he'd seen time and again threatened to overwhelm him. NO! I can't let him beat me that way. I can't be afraid! I can't let him leave and go after… Sean. Or Emma… Just as before Scott's resolve hardened. I must stop him! I must. But how?

The beast-like mutant was stronger and faster than he was, he'd seen that before. Factor in the accelerated healing and how Victor had probably seen more combat than he could even imagine and Scott knew he was up against an enemy who would get the better of him sooner or later. As soon as I'm in range of those claws, I'm dead. A thin smile appeared on his face. So… I mustn't let him get close.

"You worthless piece of shit, why don't you just DIE!"

When Scott said the word 'die' he let loose another of his optic blasts. Victor tried to leap out of the way, but the beam caught his left arm and sent him spinning into the wall again. Please stay down, please stay down, please stay down… The childlike mantra didn't help. Victor seemed to struggle to regain his balance while getting up, but then he jumped to the left, around the corner and out of Scott's sight. SHIT! People shouldn't be able to move that fast! At least he's still at a distance… Scott strained his ears in hopes of picking up any sound that would tell him if the other mutant lay in wait or was making a run for it. It was no use, all he could hear was silence. How long must I wait before I go and look at the professor?

You don't... have to wait... Scott.

The professor's voice sounded faint, until Scott realized he was still subconsciously blocking him out. Xavier must be shouting for me to even hear that! He took down his barriers quickly.

Professor? Are you alright? And is he... gone?

Yes. He is gone. For now, I must add. I keep getting flashes from him that show me he's left the underground facility. I never dreamed he'd be this inventive. Mister Creed knows exactly where to go and how to hack through our systems. It makes me wonder... I think Hank will have to have a good look at our security. This clearly shows there's a lot of room for improvement.

But how about you? Are you okay?

I... My pride has been hurt. That's all. The physical wounds are nothing compared to the utter shame I must admit to. It seems I had too much faith in my own abilities and those of my neural inhibitor to consider the possibility of meeting someone who could best them.

"That could be a good thing, professor. It just... It makes you realize you have to be on your guard a bit more. Especially now that he knows where we are."

Scott turned around and walked over to Xavier to help him get to his feet.

"I wouldn't be too worried about that, Scott. Even though I didn't get as much useful information out of mister Creed as I would have liked, more than anything he seemed intrigued by the concept of this school. Besides, he knows we know about him now. And knowing your enemy is half the fight."

"I guess you're right about that. That's why I want to know everything you know about Victor Creed."

Scott's firm tone of voice surprised Charles. Together with the courage the young mutant had just showed when facing an enemy who could undoubtedly have taken him down if he'd so desired, Charles couldn't help but notice a change had taken place in Scott. Instead of an insecure teenager wrought with guild Charles looked up at a boy who was on the verge of becoming a young man. Perhaps onde day he'll be the leader I'm looking for after all.

"Scott... You are right. You deserve to know everything I know. You and your friends. But now, let's see to it that Eric gets some medical attention. That punch on the jaw knocked him out cold and I hope nothing's broken. Hank's on his way as we speak. I suggest you go to your friends and tell them about what has happened here. No point in me trying to bar you from doing that, since I have this uncanny feeling you won't listen to me anyway."

Scott smiled.

"Damn right, professor. Just let me know when we can talk about this. Oh, and before I forget: I will allow you to read my mind. But only if Emma's present when you do it. And... And I don't want Jean anywhere near me. I just... I can't remember what I saw exactly, but every time I think of Jean I'm happy... And I'm scared shitless at the same time. So if she could just stay out of my way, I'd appreciate that."

"I understand. Consider it done. Ah, there's Hank. Hank, Eric got hit on the chin pretty hard by our violent guest. See if you can help him. And on the chance of sounding like a broken record: I'll really talk to you later, Scott."

"Scott? Scott! Oh god, you're alright, you're okay! I was so worried about you!"

Emma ran up to him and hugged him with a vengeance. Scott hugged her back, smelling her hair and enjoying the scent of her perfume. Emma, I never would've though I miss you so much. I think... I think I'm love with you. That thought made Scott smile like a madman. Sean stood back and watched the pair, grinning sheepishly, until Scott noticed that his friend was feeling a bit embarrassed.
"Yeah, I was... ugh, please Emma, be careful, you're squashing me."

"Oh right, I was... I'm sorry, it's just that I missed you, you big jerk. Don't you ever scare Sean and me like that again!"

They let go of each other, but not before a look of understanding was shared between them. No words were necessary. They just knew how each felt about the other. How can this be? I never dreamed a girl like her would love someone like me. Their fingers caressed before they let go completely. The promise of a second meeting later tonight was made with that touch.

"Scott, come here pal, let me give you a manly hug!"

Both boys walked up to each other, slapped each other on the back pretty hard and stepped back again.

"Good to see you out and about after that red-haired freak got her hands on you."

Emma punched Sean and gave him a mean look.

"Sean! Don't call Jean a freak, she's only a mutant, just like us. She didn't do it on purpose, just like you didn't mean to scream like a banshee and rip through everyone's ear drums like you did."

"Hey! I'm NOT a banshee! I'm a... a..."

"You're a wee little piggy that screams like a girl! And then faints!"

"No fair! The professor did that, I just..."

Scott's snickering made Sean stop. Only then did the younger boy realize Emma was toying with him by pushing all his buttons. His eyes widened and he waved a finger in front of them.

"You... You're evil. Both of you. You are evil and you're teaming up on me. How's that fair? I just... No, no, don't say you're sorry, just let me leave with my dignity still intact."

The semi-serious tone and uptight body pose Sean used made it hard for Scott and Emma to keep their faces straight as Sean 'retreated' from the scene with a formal bow. Only after he was out of earshot did the both of them burst out laughing.

"Oh... My... God! That boy has got to be the best actor I've ever seen. Did you see that face he pulled? And that bow? He's... He's a little devil, that's what he is!"

Emma could only nod to show Scott she agreed with him. Her hearty laughter bounced around the corridor and accompanied them all the way to Scott's room. They stopped just outside his room. Once more their hands joined as they turned to face each other. Scott saw a faint blush on Emma's cheeks and he felt his cheeks redden in return. Suddenly they both felt shy and looked away, until Scott used his left hand to softly touch Emma's chin and turn her head to face him. He smiled. She smiled back. God, I could drown in those eyes.

"So..." Scott said, letting the unspoken question linger in the air between them.

"So..." Emma imitated, her smile growing bigger.

"Do you wanna... come... into my room?"

As Scott heard the words leave his mouth, his cheeks felt even hotter than before. Did I just say that? Emme didn't answer right away. Instead she grabbed both his hands and lifted them to her lips to kiss them ever so gently. The silence seemed to last forever until eventually Emma answered.

"I'd like that."

Her answer sent shivers down Scotts spine. He unlocked his door and let her enter his room first. Emma walked over to his bed and sat down. Scott locked the door before joining her. They sat there for a while, enjoying each other's company, each thinking about the events that led to this moment. Would she? Should I? Or shall I just... No, I mustn't think like that! She's my friend, a very special friend and I don't want her to think of me as a... a... But would she? Should I?

When Scott finally had the courage to look at her, Emma was already looking at him. Her smile told him all he needed to know. Again their hands found each other without looking and they both leaned into their first kiss. Another shiver ran down Scotts spine and settled in his abdomen, where it soon grew into physical lust. They grabbed hold of one another, pushed their bodies together and kissed fiercely, hungrily. Scotts thoughts raged inside his skull. Should I? Should we? Would she? He felt her body heat through her clothes and became aware of how hot his own body was. No, I... I can't. Not now. Not here. Not like this. I love her too much for this, I don't want to hurry.

At the exact same moment their fierce kisses and tight embrace changed into something more than physical attraction. Scott felt how Emma leaned her head against his chest and simply held him. He put his arms around her and enjoyed the feel of her body against his.


"Yes Em?"

"I just... Would you... I mean... Could I sleep with you tonight? Not like, you know... But just... Just lay beside you? And hold you?"

"I'd like that, Em. I'd like that very much. Maybe that way we both get to sleep without dreaming. I... I mean, it's not that I don't want to dream, dreaming about you would be nice, but it's... I want... I just..."

Emma kissed Scott's lips ever so lightly.

"Sshh, it's okay. I understand. What dreams may come, we won't have to face them alone."

She grabbed his hands and gave them a squeeze.

"Well, I'll be right back. I just have to get some things from my room. See you in a few minutes!"

The door closed and Scott was alone. However, this time the coming night didn't fill him with dread, but with joy. She's coming back and then we're gonna sleep together in my bed! I get to hold her all through the night and feel her and smell her and be with her! His eyes widened. Eh, but that also means she gets to smell ME! One quick sniff under his armpits told him enough. And I'm sure my breath isn't minty fresh anymore either. I have to shower and brush my teeth and I have to do it NOW!

When Emma returned to Scott's room she could barely restrain her laughter. She knew exactly why he was taking a shower, because she'd done the same thing. Silly boy. And I'm a silly girl. So she sat down on the bed and waited patiently for Scott to finish.