Less than Completely Honest
The ride back to the city was quiet. All of the women riding with Peter were lost in their own thoughts. Peter knew better than to fill the silence. He was very glad that he and June had already hired Mozzie to clear their respective homes of any bugs. Mozzie might be curious but his respect for June would keep him from planting bugs. When the females finally started talking, Peter wanted to be sure that the flood of information was not being recorded.
"So what's your mutation?" April asked as soon as the door to June's beautiful house shut behind them. June would have chided her, but she wanted the answers to questions that only impertinent teenagers could ask.
Peter smiled as he took off his jacket. "What makes you think that I have a mutation?"
"All of the teachers at the school have mutations. Xavier offered you a job, so you must have one too."
Peter looked at his wife first. "He didn't offer me a job, hon."
El reached out to grab his hand. "He offered both of us jobs, and pitched his offer to me."
"Did he go into your head?" Peter demanded with a dark voice.
"Only for privacy and after asking permission first," El said.
"I'm not distracted," April sing-songed. "What's your mutation, Peter?"
Peter shrugged. "It's a kind of radar. That little nagging feeling that trouble –not just bad trouble- is coming, but more advanced. I know the direction, physically and metaphorically."
"My house must ping on that radar constantly," June mused.
"Constantly," Peter agreed emphatically.
"It must be more than that," April protested. "Xavier wouldn't want you just for that."
Peter nodded with the logic. "People I am connected to, I can find anywhere. I could probably find El anywhere in the world."
Peter stared at the teen seriously as he answered. "Now? If I'm within a thousand miles, I probably could track him down."
"So the anklet's just for show." April sounded upset on the thief's behalf.
"That anklet is to keep Neal's head on straight," Peter argued and June could certainly understand the point of view and she sent her granddaughter a look that said so.
"Why didn't just say that you were a mutant in the beginning?" April asked. She wanted to find something wrong in Peter's actions. June almost understood the teenage mentality. April much preferred Neal to the federal agent, but Peter grew on a person.
"I didn't think you'd appreciate meeting someone like me, whose mutation protects him against being outted," Peter said easily.
And April couldn't argue with that.
It revealed something to June and since Peter was answering questions, she asked, "It keeps you under the radar, doesn't it? Even from telepaths?" June wondered how much of a shield the agent possessed.
Peter grinned at her. "Apparently. I hadn't tested it until today though."
"All this hiding from Neal," April grumbled. "He's probably a mutant too. All that charm, maybe a… broadcasting empath?" she suggested using terminology that they had learned at the school.
Peter shook his head. "Nope. He's not."
"How can you be sure?" April demanded.
June figured it out first. "Radar."
Peter shrugged but didn't deny it. "I try not to go snooping, there's just too much occurring at any one time to be effective, but if I had just met with you, April, instead of checking if any violent crimes had happened in your school, I would have known what the problem was."
"You checked violent crimes?" April asked.
"June was worried so she came to Neal and I and it was something we could do."
June was pleased that the agent managed not to mention searching the teen's room.
"Oh." April turned to El. "What's your mutation?" June hadn't considered the possibility. She had simply believed that Xavier had offered her a position to lure in Peter.
El was digging in her purse. "I can taste emotions." She pulled out a tin of cinnamon candies and offered them to April. "Surprise tastes like nutmeg, which can be overpowering by itself, but when blended with cinnamon, it's pleasant. I built my catering business on matching emotions –like at weddings- to specific foods."
April and the June accepted the candies. June paused before putting it into her mouth. "The coffee and appetizers," she realized.
"Chosen to comfort and clarify," El confessed. "I know how you like your coffee, but I could have done better with a choice of teas."
"You two could run long cons effortlessly," April said admiringly. "El would handle the mark and Peter would handle the law."
"Xavier offered me money for a storefront," El changed the subject.
"What does he want in exchange?" Peter was suspicious.
"He wants to be able to use it reconcile mutants with their families. He'd want me there to apply food and drink to the emotions and smooth the way. He'd do it in such a way that I could have a catering kitchen in the back."
"A tea house," June decided, "would be just the thing. Quiet, exclusive. I would invest in that. I could hire the managers to run it." She had wondered how to help families broken by a bad reaction the to the x-gene.
"I don't think I want to," El confessed.
Peter encouraged, "At least run some numbers with June. It'll be a good cover for when Neal goes snooping."
"Why aren't we telling Neal?" April demanded.
"We will," Peter promised, "but we all lose if we do it too soon." There was such a surety in his tone that the teen settled.
June wondered what the agent knew and how he knew it. Peter and El had shared too many secrets to not be holding some in reserve.