X-Men-First Class: Rise or Fall
Chapter Sixty One
Author's Word: Okay, so at the moment I am not feeling all too well. Not sure if it's a cold or just breathing problems, but it sounds unnatural. Please enjoy and review!
A spray of dust and stray roadside trash flew up as the silver and black motorcycle roared through. Mindful of his younger passenger, Alex kept a decent pace without going at his normal top speed since receiving his graduation present. Scott failed to notice, completely taken away into bliss by the sensational ride.
It all ended too soon for him as Alex pulled into the garage.
"Did you like it?" Alex asked after they parked.
"Loved it." Keeping his eyes shut, Scott removed his helmet and put back on his glasses. "Just too bad I couldn't see anything."
"It all would have blurred by you, anyway." Alex left his own helmet on the handlebar.
Scott spotted Frank and Joey coming through the main level. "Hey, Alex's bike is completely far out."
Joey glanced up at Alex. "Will you take me on a ride, too?"
"When you get up another couple inches," Alex promised.
Frank remarked humorously, "So pretty much never."
Alex poked him in the chest. "One more crack and you can forget about me ever taking you."
"Sooo?" Frank sneered. "I've been on my cousin's motorcycle before. If Erik had given that to me, I'd shred circles around you."
"If Erik had given it to you, it'd be totaled already," Alex countered, going upstairs.
When he made it to his bedroom, he stopped at the sight of the red and gold Westchester University flag, twin folders, binder, mug, pin, and sweater spread out across his top mattress. He walked in, picking up the sweater for closer examination.
"What do you think?" Alex glanced over to see Emma now in his doorway. "Too much?"
"No, no," he said, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. "This is really cool, Emma. I can't believe you did all this."
"I'd say the men have done more than enough to show their support," she said. "I thought I'd give you a little. So," Emma held up the red and gold handkerchief she had with her, "go Griffins."
Alex laughed, going over to hug her. "You're outta sight, lady."
"And you give me bragging rights." Emma tossed the handkerchief his way before walking off down the hall.
Unfolding the cloth square, Alex studied the sketch of a griffin. He looked back at the other items on his bed, smiling slowly again.
Erik passed by Charles in the hall and snagged one of the younger man's tea cookies as he asked, "Where are the kids?"
"No, Charles, the Jetsons' kids," Erik clarified dryly.
"Hm." Charles went into recollection. "Seanie is out with Maya for the evening."
"Of course," the two men said together.
"I meant the teeny tiny babes." Erik used his hand to indicate a space just a few feet above the floor.
"Ah, yes," Charles nodded. "They should be upstairs."
"Can't you use your mind to beckon them?"
"Can't you use your mouth?" Charles countered. "You're quite top notch at that."
Erik snagged another from his plate of cookies before going upstairs to the first landing. "Judy, Elroy, it's time for your classes!"
As Becky and Joey jogged down the former put forth, "You actually do look like Elroy."
"I do," Joey said in sudden realization.
Erik went all the way down, holding the door open for them. "Hurry or you'll be late."
"I had to fix my hair," Becky told him.
"Don't you have to do it again as soon as class is over?" Erik brought up.
"Papa," the girl said seriously, "it has to look good going in, too."
"Oh whatever was I thinking?" Erik backed up slightly as she began pawing through his jacket pockets. "Must you be grabby?"
"I need gum." Becky swiped two sticks of it from his left pocket.
"Well, I need a kiss." He knelt to her and she pecked his cheek. "There we are. Payment in full." He then ushered the two small ones forward then left out himself.
With every page he turned, Alex found himself more and more interested yet still ridiculously undecided. Though he had not made it anywhere near the end, he returned to the beginning of the course catalogue.
"This is nuts," he said, slapping a page. "How do you have eight different options for the music program alone? Don't get me started with art. Joe would love this."
"Hm," Raven hummed thoughtfully, completely engrossed in her own catalogue. "Pink or blue…"
Alex glanced at her. "You looking into a sorority already?" He then saw what held her attention so and snatched up the bridal magazine. "Raven!"
"Alex," she parroted. "School starts at the end of August and I'm getting married before the end of this month. Hello, priority settings."
"We are supposed to be suffering together," he reminded her. "Like a family."
"I am suffering." She held up the red and gold pen. "That's why I'm crossing things off with the brand new WU stationary Emma got me. Also, I'm considering what colors to coordinate my family into for my wedding."
"That reminds me, love," Charles spoke, entering the kitchen. "The Hamiltons want to attend your wedding."
"The Hamiltons?" Raven scrunched up her face. "Aren't they the really old people who used to bring us that peppermint chocolate candy at Christmas… they're still alive?"
"Apparently," Charles replied, his tone equally surprised. "That makes twelve RSVPs so far, most of which are couples."
"This is all your fault you know. You just had to put in that full page layout in the paper," Raven brought up.
"I most certainly did," Charles stated matter-of-factly. He came over, wrapping his arms around her from behind. "It's not every day my precious baby sister is proposed to by an intelligent distinguished doctor. That'll put Percy Kendall's sister Mercy to shame. Remember the fuss made over that law school graduate she married two years back?"
"Ugh, don't get me started," Raven said. "Would love to see her face, especially considering she's not getting anywhere near my bridal party."
"Percy and Mercy?" Alex repeated. "Rich people are weird."
"Be that as it may, I am fully prepared to make this the wedding of the season," Charles declared.
Raven moved her head a little to better view him. "You promised to let Erik pay for some stuff."
"Yes, yes," the telepath remembered grudgingly then turned to Alex. "Which reminds me. Erik and Hank have met with a delay at the tuxedo shop. Would you mind terribly picking the little ones up?"
Alex closed his catalogue. "Big bro to the rescue." He got up and walked out.
Raven took back her magazine. "Ya know, maybe we could go with a beast theme. Put a bunch of jungle plants everywhere, hire a lion. How do you feel about leopard print?"
Charles gave her a look before snatching the magazine away. "Get back to your curriculum list." He started out.
Raven gasped lightly and called after him, "Mad bride, sad bride… pouty bride!"
Scott peered into the studio from the doorway, watching the girls do another round of warm-ups.
As if able to detect him, Becky gazed over. "Scott." She stood from doing leg stretches and walked over to him. "What are you doing here?"
He smiled at her. "Alex went to go grab Joey real quick. I told him I'd stick around here and wait on you."
"Okay," she smiled back.
"Routine Four, ladies," Naomi instructed.
"I'll be back." Becky went to rejoin the others.
"I'll be waiting," Scott whispered.
For the next ten minutes, he stayed in quiet observance. Afterwards, Becky and the others went to their changing room. Becky returned quickly, in her sunflower themed shirt with matching yellow pants and she'd let her curls down.
"Ready to go," she told Scott.
"Hey, let me carry that." He took the dance bag from her and draped it over his own shoulder.
"Thanks, Scott," Becky said brightly.
"Well, you know, I figure you're tired from all your dancing." They started out together. "Alex isn't here yet. Want me to treat you to a soda at the place next door?"
"Sure, thanks." Becky paused when they got outside, fiddling with her bracelet. "Will you help me with this? The clasp is acting funny."
Before Scott couch reach over to fix it, a man barreled through and yanked the bracelet right from the little girl's grasp.
"No, stop!" Becky screamed after him. She tried to use her powers to force him into compliance but her shock prevented her from concentrating.
"Oh, I'll make him stop," Scott assured, plopping the dance bag down. He then dashed off after the man. "Hey, get back here! That's not yours!"
When they reached the edge of the block, Scott followed him around the corner of a building. Glancing around quickly, he lifted his shades up then released the teensiest optical blast that he could right at the man's hand. He yelled out, dropping the bracelet to touch his slightly burnt hand. Scott practically fell over, retrieving it.
"Scott!" Alex brought Erik's car to an immediate screech and leapt out of the driver's side. "Get the hell away from my brother!" Not wasting time with questions, the blonde shoved the unknown individual down to the pavement.
The stranger glanced back and forth between the two Summers before rushing to his feet running off again.
"Are you okay?" Alex pulled Scott up to his feet.
"Yeah, fine," Scott nodded hard, his heart pounding a little harder than usual.
"What happened?" Alex asked next.
"He stole Becky's bracelet. I had to get it back."
"Wait, you went after a guy that size by yourself?" Alex then thought of something. "How did you slow him down, anyway?" The moment his brother glanced down, Alex received his answer and became instantly livid. "Are you out of your damn mind?" He said nothing else as he grabbed the boy's hand and started smacking away.
"A- ahh!" Scott cried out. "Alex, stop!" He tried to take his hand back. "It hurts."
"Good," Alex said without remorse then pushed Scott towards the car. "You just wait until we get home."
Scott looked up, seeing Becky had just approached. Frozen surprise covered her features. Refusing to make eye contact with her, Scott simply climbed into the back.
Joey, thoroughly confused by the situation, turned to Alex when the teenager got back behind the wheel. "What's wrong? What happened?"
"Joe, not now," Alex said tightly.
Becky got in beside Scott.
When Alex began to drive, Scott quietly slipped the bracelet into Becky's hand. She looked at it in her palm then to him. Now, her face carried nothing but gratitude and traces of awe.
"I can't believe how stupid you can be, Scott."
"Don't talk to me, Alex!"
The shouts brought Emma downstairs and Charles out of his study and towards the front.
"Don't you tell me not to talk to you!" Alex yanked Scott's arm, spinning him around before he could charge upstairs. "Do you have any idea what you did back there?"
"Stop yelling at him, Alex," Becky demanded, stepping up with Joey in tow.
"Alex, what is the meaning of this?" Charles wanted to know.
Alex used a bold gesture to indicate Scott. "Some guy grabbed a bracelet or some crap of Becky's and this genius decides he wants to play hero. He ran after the guy and used his powers in public to stop him."
Charles turned to the boy in question. "Scott, is this true?"
"No one was around, Charles," Scott urged. "I swear. I looked."
"And it wasn't some crap," Becky insisted, going to stand between Scott and Alex. She faced the latter. "It was the bracelet Auntie Em got me for my birthday. Scott was just trying to help me."
"Alright, I think everyone needs to calm down," Emma attempted to soothe.
"Scott, I want you to go up to your room and wait for me," Charles told him.
Scott obeyed while Becky turned to the Professor disbelievingly. "But Uncle Charles, he didn't do anything wrong."
"Darling, come on." Emma guided her by the shoulders. "Let's go upstairs and talk."
Becky followed Emma but turned back to the males below. "My bracelet wouldn't have gotten stolen if you weren't late picking me up. I'm glad Scott's here now. He's ten times better than you'll ever be, Alex Summers."
"Rebecca," Charles reproached warningly.
Emma took Becky's hand and walked the rest of the way up with her.
Charles looked to the very wide-eyed Joey. "Little one, go in the kitchen and help Raven and Frank with supper, please."
"Yes, Daddy." Joey walked off down the hall, clearly wanting away from the yelling.
Charles walked up, pulling Alex into a hug. "Are you alright?"
"Yeah, thanks." The teen turned away, heading into the living room. "He knows better, Charles."
"That he does," the older man concurred. "What exactly happened?"
"I drove up, saw Scott on the ground with this guy over him. I ran out of the car and knocked him down then he just took off. Scott told me what happened, more or less, and I smacked his hand to teach him a lesson."
Charles took in the full story then nodded. "All things considered, it sounds to me like you handled the situation rather quickly but calmly."
Alex dropped into a chair. "Except I scared Joey, made Scott mad, and Becky wants my head."
"Being an elder brother is not always fun and ice cream cones," Charles said gently, patting the young man's shoulder. "Things will be alright again. For now, I think it's best I go up and look in on Scott."
"You gonna spank him?" Alex guessed.
"I wish I didn't have to. Do you object?"
Alex thought about it then answered, "No, sir."
Charles gave him a reassuring gaze before making his way upstairs.
When he got to Scott's room, he found the door open and figured the boy had been expecting an audience with him.
Scott looked up from where he had tried in vain to do a little studying at his desk. "He didn't have to yell at me and hit me right there in front of Becky."
"Young man," Charles walked in fully, closing the door, "you're very fortunate neither myself nor Erik was present for this misadventure."
Scott's anger quickly faded. "Do you think I was wrong, too?"
"I think you were reckless," Charles responded. "To a very dangerous degree, Scott. I expect much better judgment on your part."
His face fell entirely at that. "I'm sorry."
Charles crouched down by his chair. "I know your intentions were honorable." He tapped Scott's chin to get his eyes up. "But that thief could have had a weapon on him. Forget the bracelet, Scott. We could have lost you. And you are most irreplaceable."
"Yes, sir," the young boy whispered. "I understand that now. I just know how much that bracelet means to Becky and when that guy just came along and took it… I won't do anything like that again. I promise."
"I believe that, but I still have to correct today's error in judgment." Charles went over and took a seat on the bed. "Come here, please."
The child stood from his chair and came to stand at the man's feet. Charles undid his pants and pushed them down before lowering Scott across his knees. He took down the underwear then began to swat firmly over the small bare bottom. Scott grunted and wiggled his feet a little, but made no attempts to squirm away or plead for an end.
After ten swats on his behind and six to his thighs, Charles ended the punishment. He pulled the boy's clothes back up for him then picked him up to hold in his arms. Scott cried softly into his shoulder.
Charles patted his back. "There there, my good lad. It's over. It's all over. You're safe and sound here with me."
"I'm sorry, Charles," he said after a moment.
"I know you are, but I need you to be careful. I traveled a great distance to obtain you. I won't allow you to be taken from me so easily." Charles kissed him at the temple. "I love you very much, Scott."
"Thank you… I love you, too."
"Do you want me to go down and get a bit of supper for us? We could eat up here."
"Okay." Scott pulled off a little smile. "Thanks."
Emma rotated the white brace around Becky's wrist from where they sat together on the edge of Becky's bed. "But darling, I don't understand. I've gotten you several things since then. Why is this one bracelet so important to you?"
"Everything you give me is important, Auntie Em," Becky informed her. "When Uncle Charles gave me this from you, it meant that you were going to come back and you did. Now, Uncle Charles is really happy and Joey and me and everybody."
"Oh, sweetheart." Emma wrapped her arms around the little girl. "That bracelet could fade away at any time, but our tie will never sever. You and the others— you do more for me than all of the countless jewels I own."
Becky cuddled into her side. "You should have seen Scott today."
"He sounded most heroic," Emma had to admit.
"Yeah, until his dumb brother went and embarrassed him. Alex is always so annoying. He used to pick on Hank all the time." She let off a groan that came close to a growl. "He makes me so mad."
"I can see that, but he tries very hard to be a good brother." She stroked Becky's cheek gently. "Perhaps you could try to understand him just a little."
"Maybe," Becky gave in. Inwardly, she hoped her aunt was not reading her true thoughts.
When the next morning arrived, Alex came out of the bathroom and bumped into Scott. His younger brother mumbled a 'good morning' to him then continued on his way, but Alex could tell that things still were not a hundred percent between them.
The teenager smiled, holding his arms out for Joey. "Hey, buddy." He picked up the little boy. "You ready to eat?"
"Uh huh." Joey rested on Alex's chest as they started down together.
Alex put Joey back on his own feet when they reached the dining room. Inside, he found the rest of the household already seated for breakfast.
"Holy…" Raven quickly looked away.
"Gross!" Frank exclaimed, covering his eyes. "Dude, pants on! I'm going blind here."
"How a big a hurry were you in this morning?" Sean asked, trying not to laugh.
Alex wondered why they were all staring then he glanced down and jumped, seeing himself entirely nude.
"What the…" Nearly falling over, he immediately backed out of the room.
Frank laughed hard and despite himself, Scott joined in.
"Boys," Charles chided them.
"Yeah," Joey added. "Leave him alone."
Erik's gaze went right to Becky, who sat smirking quite contentedly. "You wouldn't happen to know how Alex somehow forgot to put on clothes this morning, hm?"
"He forgot how to dress himself," Becky put forth.
Charles gave her a look. "Or perhaps you wanted the rest of us to think he had. Rebecca, how could you play such a cruel joke?"
"Serves him right," she shrugged.
Erik stood from his chair and picked her up to carry over his shoulder. "I need to borrow you a moment."
Becky watched her arms dangle as he took her into his den. "It was just a joke, Papa. He wasn't really naked. I was just trying to get back at him for Scott."
Erik sat her on top of his desk so that they better faced each other. "I know this is about the fiasco from yesterday. You know well that Alex meant Scott no intentional harm. He only tried to discipline him the way an elder brother and future instructor should. What you did to Alex was out of spite."
"I don't care." Becky folded her arms sullenly. "I don't like him, anyway."
Erik gave her a sharp look. "I think someone's forgotten who's always the one to drive her back and forth to dance lessons. Who fixes your bicycle and other toys every time something happens to them? I spoke with him last night. He told me how thankful he was that nothing happened to you or Scott and he regretted arriving late for you."
Her face softened. "He did?"
"Yes, he did," Erik responded. "Your actions this morning were completely uncalled for, Anya, and I won't have you using your powers against other members of this family. I'm going to spank you then you can spend some time in here and think about what you've done."
"Yes, Papa," she whispered.
Trying to deflect from the lip quivering glance she gave him next, Erik picked her back up and went to the sofa with her. He placed the small girl over his knees and administered eight swats to her bottom.
He then swiftly lifted her up for a quick hug. "Is my little girl ready to behave now?"
"Mmhmm," she said into his neck, crying lightly. "I'm really sorry, Papa." She kissed his cheek.
He lowered her into a cradling position. "It's Alex who deserves to hear that."
"Do you want me to apologize?"
"Not if you don't mean it. Because then it's only a lie, yes?"
Becky considered that then nodded. "Yes."
Erik kissed her forehead. "I'll bring breakfast to you." He stood her and walked back over to his desk. "While you're in here, you might want to study this." He handed her his Torah. "Read some more on the later years of Esau and Jacob. It might help you to grasp about understanding and forgiveness towards one's brother." He rubbed her hair and headed out.
Becky turned the book to its English translation and began reading the suggested accounts.
Alex scrubbed at the handles of his motorcycle. He had just clean the machine two days before, but that mattered not as the act allowed his mind to drift away from the present troubles.
"Alex?" sounded Scott's voice timidly.
The teenager glanced over to see the boy and girl pair approaching. "Go upstairs, you two. I'm not in the mood."
Scott go of Becky's hand and stepped forward. "Alex, I'm really sorry about yesterday. You were right. I messed up."
Alex turned to him fully. "Maybe I shouldn't have blown up like that. All I could think about was you getting hurt." He looked past his brother to Becky. "Both of you."
The curly headed girl came up, holding a cupcake out to him. "This is for you."
"What'd you poison it with?" he half-joked but took it nonetheless.
"No." Becky shook her head seriously. "I wanted to say I'm sorry. And thanks for everything you do."
Alex put the cupcake on his motorcycle seat then lowered to her level. "I'm just glad you're okay, babes."
She smiled. "I liked it when you knocked that guy over."
"Yeah," Scott concurred. "That was great."
"Oh, he's lucky I was in a good mood." Alex took an arm to pull each of them over into a hug. "So," he looked at them again, "how about Scott helps me out in here and Becky, you can pass us sandwiches?"
"You wish, creep," Becky scoffed. She turned and skipped off out of the garage.
"That chick is something else," Alex commented.
"Yeah…" A wide smile came to Scott's face as he watched her go.
Alex let off a snort and returned to his motorcycle care.
Emma entered the parlor, bringing Charles a mug of tea. "Ready for a break, sugar?"
"Most certainly. Thank you, love." The male telepath took a long sip from the cup. "Something I can't help but wonder about yesterday is why on earth a full grown man should have any interest in a little girl's bracelet."
The blonde woman shrugged one shoulder. "Especially since the appraisal value is only five hundred dollars."
Charles nearly choked on the hot liquid. "You spent five hundred dollars on a bracelet for little eleven-year-old Rebecca?"
"Of course not," Emma responded, sitting on the arm of his chair. "With the engraving it was at least five-twenty."
He started to say something then saw Erik passing through. "What's that?"
Erik stopped and held up the plastic bag he had. "Just a model helicopter."
"For who?" Charles pressed.
"You're rewarding him!" Charles accused, getting to his feet.
"I am not rewarding anyone." Erik walked in. "I just thought it would help focus his attention; enrich his interest in aviation. Besides, don't stand there and try to pretend you are not the least bit proud of him."
"He was brave," Emma put forth. "Defending someone he cares so much about. That shows a great deal of potential in a young man."
Charles sighed. "It's true that he did display some level of courage, but his actions were still misguided."
"No one's denying that," Erik assured. "However, it also gave that criminal some incentive not to steal from the hands of little children. Had I been there, he would have lacked the ability to simply run off."
"Yes," Charles nodded. "I believe there's more to our newest pupil than he sees in himself."
"We should steal more," Emma smiled coyly.
Erik said, "Or patiently wait for Hank and Raven's inevitable brood."
Charles paled slightly and walked almost robotically towards the bar. "I need a drink."