A/N: Okay, you got me - I left some major loose ends flapping in the breeze, didn't I? Okay, this ought to wrap nearly everything up. Some things you just can't tied into a neat little bow. It'll give you something to think about.
"Dean! Dean!" Adam's exuberant voice cut through the crowd. Dean spun around barely in time to catch the teen barreling his way. With a tight grip on his waist, Dean tried to peer through the others for Dad and Kate. When he noticed some nasty looks from the students who backed away as if a horrible monster headed their way, he figured Dad would be here shortly.
"Hey, kid." Dean returned the energetic hug. "Glad you made it."
"Where's Sam?" Adam lifted his head without releasing Dean. "I wanted to congratulate him too."
"He had to take Jess back to the room for a nap. She's wore out." Spotting Dad waving at him over student heads, Dean pointed out Libby. Dad waved again meaning they would meet there.
"Come on, you need to meet your new sister-in-law." Dean wrapped an arm around the kid's neck to half drag him along.
"I've met Libby," Adam protested.
"She doesn't know that. Didn't your mom tell you what happened?" Dean threaded their way through half the student body.
"Yeah," Adam sighed against his side. "I was hoping it wasn't as bad as she said."
"She has a real warped sense of humor now." Dean chuckled as he tugged his kid brother upright. "You're gonna love it." He kept an arm over Adam's shoulders as feelings of apprehension and an odd flavored fear leaked out. "She's really looking forward to meeting you."
"It's weird meeting somebody I already know for the first time," Adam protested as the strange flavored fear, tangy yet sour, grew.
"She's still Libby, she's just more Libby than she was before."
Adam stared up at him. "You do know that doesn't make any sense."
"It will." Dean grinned as sweet, warm creamy flavors overrode every other emotion around. Libby spun around in her simple dress, her red reading glasses hanging from her neck. He almost laughed when he saw her coming down the aisle wearing those, but she would not be Libby without her glasses.
"Here's Adam," he announced, giving the kid a shove toward her.
"Hello Adam!" Her pretty eyes lit up when she smiled, her arms opening for a welcome hug. To his credit, Adam stepped right in. "It's so wonderful to see you! Dean talks about you all the time."
Happy and sweet tasting emotions flowed freely around him, smiles on everyone's face. Dad gave Libby a hug and kiss on the cheek. Xavier, Summers, and Storm beamed as they conversed with the students. Even Logan managed a grin. A little one.
What a great day.
"How could he just stop leaking?" Scott asked, his question directed at both Professor Xavier and Hank. "Not that I'm complaining, mind you. It's actually nice to know that when people are irritated at me it's because of something I've done or said to them, not to him."
"Agreed," the Professor replied.
Most of the students left the party for bed a couple of hours ago. Shame Sam and his new wife could not stay to enjoy the party but it did seem to be more for Dean than his brother. A late evening breeze blew over the empty chairs and ruffled the streamers highlighting the wedding aisle.
He, Hank, the Professor and Logan sat along the back row, their chairs turned to face the school.
"Libby says emotions got flavor now," Logan declared. "Reckon that's him."
"Flavored emotions?" Hank asked, excitement creeping into his voice. "Really? As in food flavors?"
"No tests." Logan's cigar shifted to the other side of his mouth. "'specially Libby. I think she's startin' not ta like you, Hank."
"All I did was ask her to take a daily vitamin." Hank's furry head shook as he frowned. "You'd think I'd asked her to dance nude in front of the entire student body."
Scott wondered what Dean's reaction would have been to that statement. Libby had become more...colorful since her injury. Perhaps she allowed more of herself out now than she had before.
"No doubt she is quite tired of being treated like a patient, doctor," Xavier replied. "If the vitamins are not strictly necessary, perhaps you could rescind the request. Leave it up to her."
Sighing, Hank nodded.
"Do you think Libby tasting emotions, whatever that's supposed to mean, and Dean not leaking are related?" Scott focused on a lighted window upstairs. Jean's room. She was still up.
"Logan, does Dean taste emotions?" Hank asked, shifting to address Logan directly.
"Says 'is brat brother's 'bitchface' tastes like lemons and dirty motor oil." Logan took the cigar out of his mouth to point at Hank. "What do you think?"
"It reminds me of lemons and dirty motor oil," Scott observed. "Sam could learn to loosen up a little."
A strained silence fell over the group. Something he said?
"Perhaps," Hank replied, his voice tentative. "From Logan's description I'd hazard to make two guesses. First off, Dean tastes emotions in addition to feeling them. Second, Libby's ability to taste emotions are directly related to how Dean perceives them. Assuming those two guesses are accurate I would conclude that Dean has created a deep empathic bond with her, so strong the emotions which used to leak out into whomever happened to be near now flow directly into one specific person."
"I'm likin' that woman more alla time," Logan declared. "But movie night just ain't the same no more."
"What are you talking about?" Scott demanded, deeply insulted. "Movie night is great. And Dean promised to find Godzilla versus Mothra for next time, I haven't seen that one since I was twelve."
"Scott, who won your bet? With Dean?" Hank asked. "Because it sounds like you two may have starting liking each other."
"We called it off. I'm sick of him winning all my money."
John stood in the darkest shadow thrown by the Xavier Institute. He peered out into the night and for the first time in a very long time he did not fear tomorrow. Life actually seemed to trying to behave. For a change.
Sure there were still demons and fallen angels out there, all gunning for these mutants, but these kids had something really special to help them. They had his boys.
Grandfather. He was going to be a grandfather. Plus Sam called after taking Jess upstairs to announce his plans to switch majors and go to medical school. Something about better living quarters and finally understanding what Doctor McCoy said the first time.
With a feeling of pride in his boys he lit up a celebratory cigar.
Therefore, as usual, Life had to toss a live grenade at him. A whole column of folks dressed weird marched up the front drive. In the lead walked some guy wearing a red helmet and a purple cape. A cape. Here to see Xavier.
John slipped his cell out of his pocket to call Logan. He had a feeling Xavier would need a little backup.
Scott marched close beside Professor Xavier's chair as it floated a foot above the ground. With Logan on the far side and Hank bringing up the rear, he feel vastly outnumbered when he spotted the column of mutants following Magneto. Most he recognized either as former students or opponents in battle. Some were both.
Dean's father lurked in the shadows someplace but he would not be much help against these odds.
With a dramatic flourish, Magneto stopped at the front steps to the mansion and held up a hand to stop his people.
Hurrying to keep up, Scott had to take the front steps three at a time to match the Professor's pace to the front porch.
"Erik?" Professor Xavier's voice sounded calm and cool, as if they were not outnumbered ten to one. "To what do we owe the pleasure of this visit?"
Magneto removed his helmet revealing messy white hair and a tired face. "We saw the broadcast, Charles. We came to help."
Confusion wrinkled Xavier's brow as he stared out over the forty or fifty mutants following Magneto. Most of their uniforms were torn and stained. Most appeared half starved and like they had not slept in weeks.
"Uh, that was months ago," Scott pointed out. "What took you so long?"
"And where are the rest of your followers?" Professor Xavier motioned to the ragged band of mutants.
"Dead." Taking a deep breath, Magneto nodded to the troop behind him. "The ones you see here are the only survivors. The humans have found some strange weapon, Charles. It turns their eyes black and gives them mutant-like powers. This place seems immune to their attacks."
"Not immune," Professor Xavier insisted, "protected. And those attacks are not by humans. There is another threat to mutants, a much greater one. Perhaps I should have tried contacting you when we first learned of it." He sighed, shaking his head at the tattered remains of Magneto's army. "Yes, I should have. Come in, Erik. We have much to discuss. Your people will be safe if they remain on school grounds. Cyclops?"
"This way." Scott directed the others around the back of the school. There they kept a separate building for transient housing, questionable mutants the Professor did not want interacting with the students. Briefly he wondered if Dean would be offended if Scott suggested housing his father there next time. Either Dean would laugh or try to punch him in the face. However if the student walk-out actually happened he would insist upon it.
Perhaps this was what it took to band all mutants together - a common enemy. If only norms knew the truth too.