AN: Hey guys. I started this chapter a while back and this is the fifth or sixth revision. Sorry for running so late on the update, but this one was trickier than I thought. The original bit for this chapter had me whooped. But I beat it now, so read on and tell me what you think in a review. Disclaimer: I don't own any of Marvel or its products nor do I pretend to. Sometimes I do pretend to own a large amount of sanity and cleverness. Chapter comes from one of the deepest songs I've ever listened to. Joe Budden and Royce da 5'9' are some amazing artists. No Love Lost was a great album.

Chapter 23

All In My Head

He overslept. Who could blame him? He'd been suspended for school for three days, so he had no reason to set his alarm for its normal time. There wasn't any scheduled team training for the morning, which was as surprising to the students as it was welcome. Wiping his eyes and stretching his muscles, Luke sleepily glanced at his alarm clock. 9:23. It was unreal how good it felt to sleep in for once. Luke blinked a few times as he sat up in bed and he remembered just why he was sleeping in so late. As he did, that good feeling drained out of him like water down a drain.

He was doomed. The Professor was gonna kill him. He got kicked out of school his first day back, then hid it while he went out partying last night, even if he hadn't gone for himself. The man was going to annihilate him whenever they got around to speaking. He might not have looked it, but Xavier was much worse than any fire and brimstone pastor in a church. Luke couldn't imagine a worse lecturing than what Xavier was going to eventually give him. And it was all his fault.

Sure his teacher was being an obnoxious, presumptuous, and stuck-up woman, but he was supposed to be the bigger person in that type of situation. Xavier would be disappointed. And the tongue lashing that would follow would be dreadful. And all Luke could do would be to sit there and take it, like an obedient child.

It made Luke wonder what having his father around would've been like. Would he be getting these kind of lectures from his own flesh and blood? Would his dad even care to try and chew him out? Would Luke have even done it if he had a father figure steering and chastening him as he grew up? Or would Luke even care what his dad had to say like he cared about what Xavier said?

The last question was the only one Luke felt he could answer, which was a firm no. He respected Xavier more than he did anyone else and no one else came to a close second. He doubted that if he'd of ever known his father growing up that it would change anything. Luke cut his musings short and slipped out of bed. He had things to do today after all.

Grabbing clothes to wear for the day, Luke headed to the shower and got ready. Stopping by his room to grab a few things, he headed down to the kitchen for breakfast. The normal wild and loud uproar that accompanied his usual breakfasts was absent and another unpleasant reminder of his situation. Fighting over seats at the table or the last of the eggs wasn't a problem for Luke today. Instead, the normal morning buffet of food had been cleared and he was moved to feed himself.

Since he wasn't a cook, cereal would be the source of his morning nutrition. He was pretty sure one of the younger kids had eaten all of his breakfast bars anyways. He opened the pantry and grabbed a box, not bothering to check the brand. Storm kept an active eye on the food supply of the mansion and that it met a certain nutritional value. Who'd of ever thought she was such a health freak? Luke then grabbed the rest of his utensils and milk, sitting down at the counter space. He poured his bowl at began to poke at it with his spoon, drowning all of the flakes of cereal in a childish habit.

He finished his series of corn flake drowning and got a spoonful just as he heard footsteps. Looking towards the door, he was surprised to see a rather familiar woman step through. She stopped, her hands falling into place on her hips in an ever so familiar habit of when she dealt with him before. Luke let his spoon slip out of his hand and deliberately swallowed the cereal. He sat and stared, mind slipping through a huge number of thoughts and not a single one of them making it to his unhinged mouth to speak. She noticed, and decided not to comment, instead addressing another matter.

"Xavier wants you to report to class with the other New Mutants. I'm supposed to warn you that for the next three days you'll be on probation to see if you should be enrolled here as a full student instead of letting you go back to high school."

Luke's mouth gapped even more, before he finally gained enough clearance to speak.

"What? Xavier wants to take me out of high school? Why? He can't think a single suspension is enough to warrant pulling me out of school! It's not even that big a deal!"

Rebecca Anderson simply held an amused expression and answered "That's between you and the Professor himself. But if you do good the next three days and I recommend it, he'll send you back to school. So I'd suggest you quit all of your childish bids for attention and straighten out your attitude for a little while. Lord knows the world would be a better place for it."

Luke sat in silence for a moment, the consequence of his actions sinking in for a moment before he shook the thoughts and asked "So what are you doing here? And why are you supposed to recommend me for school again in three days?"

Rebecca shifted some, revealing a new and prominent X mark on her shirt, the symbol of the X-men.

"I've moved back to the Institute to teach. I'm in charge of the new students, so I'll be taking care of you for the next few days as well. And since we already know each other so well, I'll be using you as my star example. Letting me down now, right when I'm just starting my classes, would be very bad. Do you understand?"

Luke fished for his spoon and took a bite of his now soggy cereal. Swallowing it and letting his dislike wrinkle his nose, he looked directly at his old teacher turned new and said "I understand. Do you? If you don't get me back in high school, I'll be here every day, back in your class being as disruptive and uncooperative as ever. Only this time, I'll have a whole group of other mutants to distract, annoy, and provoke while under your watch. We work together to get me back into my proper classes, or you might as well start buffing that resume of yours."

The flat look of unabashed disdain settled on her features. "You're trying to blackmail me with yourself? As if a juvenile and childish boy with unbelievably strong powers is enough to warrant me giving anything less than my honest opinion to my employer and a man that I personally hold in the highest of regards? You're deluding yourself, Luke."

Luke just let the smallest of smiles settle on his face as he shot back "You do realize what you just said, right? A childish super powered teenager with all the motive in the world to begin the most diabolical and sinister sting of pranks ever to be witnessed on the face of the planet. Yeah. You don't have any reason to worry."

Prophetess just flipped her hair in annoyance and turned, ready to leave the room when she threw over her shoulder "The first class starts in the library ten minutes from now. Don't be late."

Luke ignored her and returned to his cereal, now intensely disinterested in eating it. He finished it anyways, his mood settling lowly as he made his way to the library. He didn't grab his backpack for school. It wasn't like Mrs. Anderson would pick up right where Mrs. Barnes left off during her last lecture in English. And if he didn't have any paper or a pencil for any assignment she gave… Oh well.

He arrived with time to spare, but instead of going in, he stayed outside of the room and thought about what he was doing. What was he really doing?

'Proving a point? Or is it just my pride making me an ass? Do I really think I'm above all of the rules here and I can get what I want just cause I have power?' Luke wondered, deeply reflective. He was toeing the very stern lines that Xavier had drawn. The man had expressed long ago that he had wanted Luke to act responsibly as a reflection of his school, and thus himself. Grades weren't that hard to keep in check, but pulling stunts like what he'd done yesterday was overboard.

Did he even care if he disappointed the Professor? Sure, he cared about the man. Luke respected him more than any other person he knew. But did that really matter if it interfered with Luke doing what he wanted? Was he going to act like Scott and Jean, perfect models of students and exceptionally talented in everything they attempted?

'No. I'm not them and I don't want to be. The Professor knew who he was getting when he brought me here. He's a telepath, he knows better than anyone what I've done and how I am. I cut up in school, make good grades, and have fun having fun. He knows that I'd never directly harm the team or anyone here. That's all that matters, right?'

Intentions good or not, they didn't save him from the angry teacher that stormed out of the library and greeted him with a loud "Class! Now!"

Luke blinked a few times, but didn't even attempt to apologize. Too late for that. Looking around, he saw that a few of the tables consisting of library's layout had been rearranged to allow for a classroom setting. Luke spotted an empty seat amidst the horde of new students. Grabbing the seat and arranging it as far away as he could from where he presumed Rebecca would be teaching from, Luke was greeted by a tap on the shoulder.

Luke saw Jamie absorb back several bodies of himself as he turned his head to see Katie beside him, retracting her slim finger back to the table where it started tapping to an unheard beat. She had a questioning look on her face, but didn't dare speak. Rebecca had reentered the room and was trying to orchestrate the wayward Jamie clones into rejoining with the original futilely.

"Oh, I'm sitting in on her class to make sure she's up to snuff and all. I'll be monitoring her for the next three days. So just pretend that I'm a fellow classmate and if I ever cause any disruptions, go along with them. I'm testing to see how well she can handle this job under stressful conditions."

Katie's mouth gapped some in surprise, before looking to examine her teacher one more time, as if she'd changed. "Why does she need monitoring? Is something wrong?"

Luke knew he was wrong for lying, wrong for tricking the girl, but there was something about the believing look on her face, as if she was dying to trust someone that made him want to keep going. Katie soaked in every word as he gave her a surprised look, acting as if he was shocked by her lack of knowledge.

"You don't know? Katie, Mrs. Anderson was a patient at a mental hospital last year. The Professor got her out of there before anyone discovered her powers, but no one really knows if she ever recovered from her mental breakdown."

Katie's eyes were as wide as saucers, telling Luke with every detail on her face she believed him. It was bittersweet, watching her face slip from surprise to amazement, then dread as she glanced at her teacher, who was coming close to losing her temper with Jamie. Luke couldn't contain his mirth and let his head drop to the table as his body shook with barely contained laughter. Katie wondered what the teen's problem was, but when he raised his head, he didn't answer.

Rebecca finally straightened out Jamie and his clones with the help of Sam and Marley. Once the children were in order, she turned to address the class, smoothing out any invisible wrinkles in her clothes. Luke whistled loudly, but she promptly ignored him, even at the snickers of the other guys. Once that had settled down too, she smiled forcedly and said "Today, I'll be introducing you all to a few more complex bits of literature for us to discuss and digest. Yesterday we finished up the section of Frost, so today we'll turn to one of my personal favorites, Dublain. Now, can anyone remember why we've been taking these bits of literature and combing through them?"

A hand shot up, waving around in the air violently in a vie for the teacher's attention. Seeing it was the only hand up, Rebecca nodded her head at Marley, who was vibrating in her seat in anticipation. Marley nearly sprung out of her seat and she happily recited "We are using this to increase our focus as well as our ability to notice smaller details to help create a bigger picture! Right? I'm right, right? Of course I'm right!"

Prophetess forced another smile as she nodded her head and began to pass out papers. As she handed them out, she added to Marley's answer. "Many people are under the notion that poetry is simply words that rhyme and follow a certain pattern. But those with the proper focus can" She was cut off by the loud chiming of a phone.

Following the direction of the sound, Rebecca nearly let her professionalism fall apart when she saw it was Luke. The boy had the decency to blush and look embarrassed, but he quickly dug his phone out of his pocket and checked it. "Sorry Rebecca. I didn't realize I still had this on loud. I won't let it happen again!"

The woman didn't like the smile on his face, as she could tell the boy was planning something behind the polite façade. She finished handing out the poems to her students before making her way back towards him. Holding out her hand, she gestured for him to hand her the phone.

"Let's not risk it today Luke. I'm sure that your little girlfriend will understand. Let me have the phone and I'll tell her you're busy making up for your mistake."

Luke's face soured as he retracted the phone back towards himself. "Don't think so, teach. If she finds out that I'm letting other girls go through our messages, she'd get mad. And she's a lot more scary than you are, trust me!"

Honestly, he didn't care if Amanda would care, which she probably wouldn't, but he didn't want Rebecca to take his phone. He'd read the message she'd sent him, asking where he was and he was gonna text her back. He would've been bored otherwise, having to read the stupid poem instead. He knew Rebecca knew it was a bluff, but like hell he was gonna let her get his phone without a hassle.

She reached for the phone, but missed when Luke slapped aside her one hand and set the phone down on the table. His hand lingered, but Rebecca pried it off with little effort. The phone was another story. Luke simply smiled as the woman attempted to pick the phone up off of the table, only to fail and nearly knock herself off balance. She tried again with both hands but found the phone wouldn't budge. Looking up, she shot Luke a nasty glare and retreated back to the front of the table arrangement, trying to save face.

Luke grinned and just when she began to speak up to address the class again, his phone dutifully chimed. The perfect timing amused some of the students and Luke added to it saying "Just a moment. I never got the chance to silence it." Picking it up with obvious ease, Luke switched the phone to vibrate, but not before blatantly responding to the text. Rebecca chose not to say anything, instead beginning on with her lesson.

Luke continued his nuisances, laughing out loud in inappropriate situations, cracking jokes with other students, and using his powers to make subtle disruptions, like knocking over a stack of Rebecca's papers. Try as he might, the class actually went fairly well. The younger students all enjoyed Rebecca and even paid attention to her lecture on the short poem. It was astounding to Luke. He hated English lessons. But these kids were practically chomping at the bits for her to continue. She never caught that much attention back at his old school. Did she?

Luke decided to throw that in the back of his mind and focused back on the conversation between him and Amanda. She was worried that Terrence had really hurt him, since he wasn't at school. He'd had to explain to her what he'd done yesterday, get chewed out via text message, and now he owed her and was obligated to take her out again sometime in the near future. The last part he didn't really mind, but he didn't give any signs of that in his complaining response. He wasn't really sure how to feel about it. Was she interested in him and wanted another date? Or was he over reacting and she just wanted a free dinner with a friend? He couldn't dig it out of himself to man up and ask. Would he really be happy with either one of the answers?

While he tumbled the thoughts over in his mind, he couldn't help but notice that Katie seemed particularly interested in his phone. She was subtle with it, but she would lean back in her seat or arch her head to view the screen on his phone. He was a bit curious as to why, but didn't call her out on it. He'd pick on her later about when he figured out her motive.

The lesson wrapped up after Prophetess was satisfied that all of the students had drawn something deeper out of the literature asides the words written on the paper. They were all dismissed for lunch and were to report back to the danger room and suit up at 3 o'clock sharp. Rebecca gave a clear look to Luke when she said this, getting a laugh from the other students.

The kids all filed out of the classroom and Luke followed quickly, making sure Rebecca didn't have time to hold him back and lecture him on his behavior. Instead, he decided on something much more fun and a bit spontaneous. Tapping on her shoulder, Luke held his phone out wordlessly as Katie turned around. She looked at it briefly before her eyes darted up to his sheepishly. The New Mutants didn't seem to notice those two fall behind as Luke and Katie made awkward eye contact for a second, then broke off.

"So, I kinda noticed you were looking at my phone in class." Luke started, not sure where to go from there and wishing he would've never opened his mouth. Curse him and his spontaneity! Katie rubbed her arms nervously and tried to explain.

"I wasn't trying to pry or anything, but I just read what you two were saying. She seemed really mad at you for not being at school, especially when you told her why. Speaking of, why did you lie to me about you being in our class?" Hitting that subject, Katie could be angry, looking back into Luke's eyes firmly. After all, her prying was way better than his lying!

It was Luke's turn to be ashamed as he rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly. "Sorry about that. It was just funny to pull your leg a little. I never meant anything by it, promise."

She 'Hmph'ed in distaste, but let it slide. Instead she said "So are you taking her back out on a date?"

The words shocked Luke for a moment, as he wasn't expecting her to have seen that part of the conversation, but he recovered. "Well… I don't really know. She's been really weird lately. I can't tell if she's just happy to see me since I've been gone, or if things are different between us now. I don't want to make another rift between us, so I might blow her off this once and make it up later. It'll buy me time to see how things are between us."

"It won't work." Katie quipped unexpectedly. Even she seemed surprised by what she just said, but it was too late. "And why not? Luke pressed. He was talking to a girl after all. Maybe a feminine point of view would help him see things clearer? And she already knew the situation, mostly. Whether he liked it or not.

"Blowing her off is gonna hurt her, either way. As a mutual friend or something more, it won't matter. Are you really this clueless on how this kind of thing works?" Katie questioned incredulously. Surely a guy like Luke could figure out how that would work. It was a stupid idea.

Luke shrugged his shoulders. "Not really. I never had a friend like her before. That's why I want to be so careful, cause this kind of thing is new to me. Heck, I never really had any friends before I came here."

Katie's eyes widened, and instinctively her hand reached out and grabbed his, channeling her powers. Luke was surprised, but when the wave of happiness hit him, he was speechless. It was bliss, arguably one of the best feeling he'd ever had. It was like sharing a good laugh with Kurt or having fun with Amanda. Katie realized what she had done and tried to withdraw, only for Luke to grab hold of her hand, not wanting the feeling to end. Why would he? It felt great!

Luke's senses caught back up with him and hit him like a train, making his eyes snap open and him to jerk his hand back from hers. Face burning, both teens looked away from each other while mumbling out apologies. Eventually the two of them were capable of looking each other in the eye, which led to a short and terse silence between the two.

Katie shifted, fixing to leave and go to the kitchen, when Luke stopped her, blurting out "You wanna go out and get lunch with me?"

Katie turned back to him, blushing and looking him over to see he was incredibly nervous, as if he wanted to hit himself for saying what he just did. She narrowed her eyes, but managed to ask innocently enough "Why?"

Luke knocked any of the stammer out of his voice and spoke out "I was gonna go get some actual food and since I held you back from eating lunch with the others, I thought I should make it up to you. It'll be my treat and I'll even let you pick the restaurant so long as it isn't Chinese. Plus, I kinda need your advice on this since I'm so clueless."

Katie nodded slowly, "Well alright. You can drive?"

Luke bobbed his head yes, before leading the way to the garage. When he stopped at his motorcycle, he was met with a sudden vehement disagreement. "No!" Surprised, Luke turned to see Katie with her hands on her hips and standing firm. Her face didn't give any budge room, so Luke didn't even try. If he pushed the subject, she probably would've left anyways.

Deciding to get a new vehicle, he noticed the rather new car that had been added to the spacious garage. A maniacal feeling welled up in Luke as he concluded who's car it was. Grabbing the appropriate set of keys off of the peg board, Luke opened the door for Katie and ushered her inside. Getting in the driver's seat, he was met with the question "Are you sure it's alright to drive off the mansion grounds? Us new students aren't supposed to leave yet until we're cleared by the Professor."

"Or if you're escorted by a senior team member, which I happen to be. In fact, I'm extremely senior, as I've seen more combat than all of the other students. You'll be safe with me. I'll take care of you." With those reassuring words from Luke, they were off.

The two headed off into town, making small talk along the way to get to know each other. Katie decided on a local pizza parlor, so the two arrived and entered the near deserted diner while talking about school before arriving at the mansion.

"I lived in Virginia before I came here, so I was just in a regular public school, like the one here. Mrs. Anderson taught there. That's how we met. I acted terrible at that school, so we've never really gotten along. I bet you were never much of a trouble maker in school were you?"

Katie shook her head. "I was privately tutored. I didn't have much choice, so I behaved or else I was disciplined. That was how all the children were treated." That was a lie. Where she was before could hardly be considered a school. It was more of a prison. It was why she escaped and came to the Xavier's school.

The two were seated and after the waiter got their drinks and gave them menus, Luke picked back up, asking "So where did you live? What'd you do in your spare time? Did you have any hobbies or anything like that?"

Katie shook her head and never let her eyes rise above the menu she was holding, answering "I lived farther up north. I wasn't given much free time where I was. The program I was in had me doing school work nearly the entire day and the rest was spent doing extra assignments." More lies. She was kept in a solitary room until she was needed. Then she would be drug out, ordered to use her powers, or face consequences that she never wanted to speak of.

"Like, extra credit stuff? So are you a big scholarly girl, cause that's really cool. Smart people are underrated and I wish there were more of them."

Katie giggled at this, but didn't comment. The waiter popped back up, ready to take the orders after giving them their drinks. Katie went first and ordered a small plate of pasta, while Luke ordered a personal sized pizza. The waiter disappeared again, leaving the two alone with each other.

Katie decided to start the conversation back up, asking him "So what did you do before you came to the mansion?"

"I worked. I was by myself because I left my mother and sister and was on my own. The only problem was the fact that a young kid with developing mutant powers couldn't do much without attracting the wrong kind of attention. I worked as a freelance Network member. I wasn't the for real deal, but they gave me local jobs so I could stay fed and afford stuff like my motorcycle." Luke left out the part about his dad leaving him a large sum of money to withdraw from as he saw fit. He didn't want to come off as smug and wealthy to the girl.

Katie had missed every word he said after she heard 'Network'. It wasn't conscious, but the fear in her mind had broken through all her senses as it erupted. Her breath hitched, her arms tensed and only the barest bit of sensibility kept her from bolting out of the pizza parlor. The Network. She'd spent so much time trying to get away from them, watching her back, and then they found her again at the mansion.

Watching Marley get pushed out of the window scared her so much. It had brought back every bad memory she was trying to get away from and told her she wasn't getting away from them. When Ghost had grabbed her and was about to take her back, she'd never been more frightened in her life. It had been so horrible before, she would've rather died than to go back.

Luke didn't know what he'd done wrong, but when he saw Katie tense up, his hand reached out to grab hers. He didn't know why, but it was instinctive and his mind was too busy leaping through scenarios to question it. Was her power acting up? Was she sick? Did he need to get them back to the Professor? His hands wrapped around her smaller one and gripped it softly. The small gesture of comfort startled the girl even more and a flood of chemicals left her, rushing into Luke through her hand.

The feelings hit Luke like a bucket of cold water, only it settled in his lungs and stayed there. Cold, suffocating fear hit him, flowing over from the girl across the table. It was unreal, wrapping him up and making every hair on his body rise on it's end. He choked out short, raspy breaths until he finally ripped his hand from the suddenly strong grip Katie had. He'd never even noticed her clench her hand around his.

As the direct contact broke, so did the overbearing feeling of terror, snapping Luke out of his near panic attack. The teen took a few moments to recover, checking around him t make sure no one else noticed his weird sudden behavior. Katie calmed somewhat too, but she was still on edge and her eyes were fleeting. She didn't look directly at Luke, showing every sign of someone who just wanted to get out of there.

"I'm sorry. I don't know what that just was, or what it was all about, but I'm sorry. Are you okay?" Luke intoned slowly, keeping his hands out in the open on his side of the table ass a sign of peace. Katie noticed, but she couldn't focus on such a small detail. Her struggle to get her heart rate back down was more prevalent than an almost empty hand gesture.

"I-. Yeah I think so. I'm sorry. You said you-… You used to work for the Network?" Katie whispered, as if saying the name out loud would draw in an army of agents looking to kidnap her again. She was paranoid now, and no amount of controlled breathing exercises would calm her.

Luke slowly nodded his head, before explaining again, carefully. It was apparent now that the girl had issues with the criminal group, something he should've figured from how he had first met her anyways.

"Yes. I took solo jobs as a freelancer. I was never given a squad and never got sworn in. I didn't realize that you had past problems with them. I guess I should've considering what happened to you when we first met. Are you going to be okay? I promise you that I'd never try to take you like they did. I want you at the mansion, where you'll be safe with people who care about you."

Katie watched Luke's eyes as he spoke, staring deeply into them, making Luke uncomfortable as he spoke. He didn't waver though. He couldn't afford to, lest he frighten the girl and start a scene. That, and he felt obligated to calm her down after terrifying her so much in the first place, even if by accident.

"Give me your hand." Katie held out her own, holding it up and open for Luke to place his own in. Luke gave her a funny look, asking "Why the sudden interest in holding my hand? Last time we touched… wasn't exactly fun for me."

Katie wasn't deterred, instead coming out and stating her true agenda. "If you want me to trust you, give me your hand. I'll be able to know for sure then if you were lying to me." She had to be sure. This was something she couldn't risk. She'd never go back to where she was before. She couldn't.

Luke blinked a couple times at that. Really? She wanted to trust him, that was easy to see. But was it worth it to give her his hand and risk feeling so horrible again? The decision made itself as Luke's hand settled into hers lightly. Luke grimaced when she started to grip him tightly, but repeated what he said earlier.

He could feel her powers at work, strange feeling swimming around his head before something began to pick at the back of his brain when he finished talking. As soon as he noticed the prickling feeling, the migraine set in like a hurricane on his mind. His eyes formed tear up in the corners instantly from the sudden head mincing pain, and reflexively he tried to draw back and curl up in a ball. Katie's grip kept him from the fetal position as he heard her try to whisper something across the table, but he couldn't register it. His head was stuck in static, pain blocking out anything his ears, eyes, nose, or other senses picked up.

Luke was aware enough to know that he couldn't curl up enough to comfort himself and tried to free himself from the grip Katie had. When she didn't let go, Luke nearly pulled her across the table and into his lap. His eyes clenched shut, he couldn't see her try to calm him down and was too distracted to see her reach out with her free hand and grab him as best she could across the table. She began to undo her work, retracting the information in Luke's brain telling him he was in intense pain. The pain receptors in his brain calmed down, no longer under fire from the evoked pain she had made.

She drew back across the table to her side, straightening it out to make it look normal again. The waiter came out at that time, oblivious to what had just happened at the table. Luke had managed to maintain some semblance of normalcy, as the waiter didn't seem aware of any disturbance. Maybe the guy was just really dense? Either way, their food was placed in front of them and they were left on their own again as their eyes locked.

Katie picked up her fork, poking at a portion of her pasta and swirling it around the silverware, blowing at the bit of steam that rolled off of it. She did this a few more times, waiting for Luke to speak. Luke just watched her, his eyes still struggling to retain the excess liquid it had formed in the corners. He blinked back the tears, placed both hands down on the table, and exhaled slowly.

"Don't lie to me. Ever. If you ever even think of taking me back to them, or assisting them capture me in any way, that will be merciful compared to what pain you'd feel when I got my hands on you again. You understand?"

With that, she plopped a mouthful of pasta into her mouth and giggled a bit. "You know, I think this is my very first date. I picked a great spot! This is delicious. Try yours!"

"What the hell?" Luke fumed through clenched teeth. Seriously. What the hell? "You knew I was telling the truth, so you did that to warn me? As if I was really gonna try to go back to an organization that had already tried to kill me a dozen of times already? Where the hell do you get off thinking that you can do that to me, then just wave it off like I just didn't experience the worst headache I've ever felt in the blink of an eye? I have half a mind to leave right now and the other half wants me to try and repay you for the migraine by smashing your head around for a while."

Katie didn't seemed to be too bothered by his proclamation, instead focusing on spreading some of her own goodwill to him. Flooding the immediate area around her with pleasure, she noticed the effect it was having on Luke. His still tensed body calmed and unwound. He snorted once, before settling to eat his pizza before it cooled too much.

Katie smirked to herself, and before long, the two were back to their normal amount of conversation. Luke, for the life of him, couldn't figure out why he was suddenly so lenient to Katie's actions, but a good mood hit him and settled into his bones. A smile had wormed his way onto his face and he couldn't deny that he was having a good time eating lunch with Katie. Such a good time that it bugged him as being unnatural, but he couldn't figure out why.

The two finished lunch in quaint joviality, Luke paying as they left and drove back to the mansion. As he drove, Luke turned to face Katie for a moment, asking "So was going to lunch with me worth it? You trust me now, right? After what just happened, I really hope so."

"This is a start. Keep taking me out to places and we'll see, okay?" Katie replied. Luke just chuckled at that, still feeling unnaturally good, but not fighting it. Why would he? That headache felt miles away and he couldn't get enough of this warm feeling right now. The mansion came into view, breaking the good mood with the disturbing sight of the roof tearing. Luke speed up, barreling down the drive and slamming on the brakes when in the garage.

Cutting off the car and jumping out of the vehicle, the two were inside their home in seconds, where a crowd had gathered in the lobby. The younger students as well as the older ones had all assembled, with only Jean missing. Katie and Luke slipped in the crowd unnoticed and were soon caught up to speed on what was going on. Jean was losing control of her powers due to their sudden increase.

The older team was ordered to suit up and get ready to assist Jean, leaving the younger students behind. As the groups broke off, a tremor shook the house, making the heavy chandelier above creak and groan. Luke stopped and turned just in time to see the chain snap, causing it to plummet with several of the younger students beneath. Reaching out with his powers, Luke dropped to one knee and braced himself, as if he was about to catch the light fixture.

The younger students watched their demise slow, then stop before the huge fixture was set aside near the stairs. Rebecca noticed it was Luke who saved the children and bit her lip. Now was not the time. Luke pushed himself up wobbly and cupped his hands to his mouth. "Rebecca, get these kids down to the Danger Room and seal it up. That's the safest place inn the mansion right now. Hurry, before the elevator messes up. Marley! Whenever you see the walls begin to crack, fix it! Sam, keep everyone close together and smash up any rubble that falls on top of you guys, alright?"

The teens all yelled out in chorus at the orders, before grouping up and heading down the hall towards the elevator. Rebecca shot him a look before she followed after her students, but Luke didn't have time to figure out what it meant. Instead, he ran off after his old team and suited up. They needed him too, undoubtedly.

The team got ready and stormed into the room Jean was in. It looked as if a tornado had been birthed around the unconsciously floating Jean, as everything around was being drawn into the cyclone of wind and debris. The situation was made clear that someone needed to get through to Jean, something she could focus on. Scott elected to fill that role. Rouge volunteered too, suggesting to siphon off some of Jean's excess power. Luke personally didn't care how it got done, but he saw how hard it was going to be. Jean was pulling up everything, making it a hazard just to be there. Kurt proved that when he got whacked in the face by an empty pan.

Luke decided to change that, waving his hands about, using his powers to fight Jean's uncontrolled grip on loose objects and hold them against the walls. He caught more and more loose junk as the team began to help too. Cyclops shattered loose plaster, Spyke pinned down some, and Wolverine stood guard over the Professor, shredding whatever got too close with his claws. Kurt ported Rouge in close before being sucked away alongside her. Rouge caught onto a few loose wiring cords hanging from the ceiling, using them to swing closer to the redhead in need. Nightcrawler teleported himself back into safety in a jumbled heap, but unharmed.

Rouge made her way closer, fighting against Jean's monsoon of power. Luke tried to help ward some of the pressure off of her, letting her pull herself in a little steadier. Feeling the strain of using his powers too much for his muscles to handle, Luke let the loose junk free and focused solely on pushing aside Jean's telekinetic storm. It was hard to say if it helped Rouge any, as Luke wasn't even sure his powers could effect Jean's, but he tried anyways until his arms gave out. Rouge finally made contact, tapping Jean's face and getting a mutual cry from both of them as the power transferred.

Rouge was thrown back to the team by a shockwave of Jean's power, but Scott caught her easily, setting the Goth girl down by Kitty. He called out for Jean, desperate and pleading. Much more raw than Luke was expecting of the team leader, who was supposed to be in control of himself. Rouge answered, Jean's voice spilling out through her lips. Luke was surprised, but then again, Rouge's powers had probably taken away so much of Jean that her voice was likely to come along as well. Scott gripped on Rouge's shoulder's, giving some speech to the girl that Luke couldn't hear over the still raging winds from Jean's power surge.

This time the answer came only from Jean herself as Rouge groaned groggily in Cyclops arms. Another shockwave shook the room and Jean plummeted, landing on the table beneath. Scott jumped up, leaving behind a hurt Rouge as he ran over to her side. Her powers fully died down, returning to dormancy inside the girl's mind as Scott started telling her something. Luke couldn't make it out over the pain that was lacing up his arms as the limply hung by his sides.

By the time the muscle had regenerated enough for him to use them somewhat, the team was beginning to leave, all comforting Jean in smalls ways before leaving her to clear her head with the Professor. Luke and the man shared a brief moment of eye contact before he left, and surprisingly, the telepath didn't seem mad at him.

Luke smiled, wondering if Jean's power problems might've gotten him of the hook. Maybe? His luck hadn't been the best as of late but maybe this was a sign of things turning around in his favor. Rubbing his arms, Luke left the totaled room to go and check up on the New Mutants. Partially to make sure they were safe, and also in hopes that being around Katie some more would bring back that good feeling from earlier. He was starting to miss it.

The elevator was still working fine, so Luke went down to the Danger Room and entered, finding everyone still huddled up together and expecting the worse. When they saw him, some of the kids cheered and waved him over, taking his presence as a sign that everything was alright. Luke laughed at their excitement, telling them that everything was calm upstairs now and that Jean had recovered. Rebecca stood back in small amusement as Luke was mobbed by the New Mutants, all shouting and trying to get his attention so they could ask him all sorts of questions. Luke himself laughed, before answering everyone the best he could.

He didn't know the whole story, but what he could tell them satisfied everyone. "So that's what I know. And that just goes to show how things are at the mansion. Crazy, sometimes a little dangerous even. But everyone here is here to help each other. Take care of your friends and they'll take care of you."

Eventually after a bit more laughing and playing around, everyone made their way upstairs in an overcrowded elevator. Storm was waiting and borrowed Marley to fix the room Jean had trashed. The other kids tagged along to see just what Jean had done to make such a catastrophe. Most were amazed by what they saw, a few were scared. Luke just lorded over the group and told them "Yeah. And it would've been worse if I hadn't been here."

Marley worked her wonder to restore the room, leaving nothing to see asides the normal mansion décor that decorated the home. She joined back with the younger students and Luke decided that an actual celebration was in order. "Late-night pool party!"

The students scattered among shouts, cheers, and laughter as they all went to grab a swim-suit. Luke just laughed before going to get his own. He deserved to relax after all. He just helped keep Jean from destroying the mansion, saved the New Mutants from a chandelier, and earned Katie's trust somewhat. As he rambled through his room looking for swim trunks, he couldn't help but wonder why that last one mattered so much to him.

Shrugging, he changed and quickly made it out to the pool. The other kids had already gotten down there and were all having a blast. Luke was quick to join them, running up to the pool and jumping in with a bellowed "Cannonball!" The resulting splash was larger than it should've been, but Luke figured using his powers to cheat a little wouldn't hurt any. It was all in good fun.

Xavier sat in his chair on his office's balcony, watching his students below having fun. Prophetess stood beside him, giving her report on the day's events. Xavier listened, but his eyes never wandered from the scene below him. After she finished, he craned his neck to look at his youngest staff member. "Do you believe he's improved any?"

Rebecca didn't need to be a mind reader to know who Xavier was talking about and answered in kind. "His classroom etiquette certainly hasn't gotten any better. But seeing how he handled the accident today, I think he's shown a great deal of responsibility over the kids. He has their respect and he hasn't abused it…yet. I still need two more days to decide if he should go back to high school, but so far, he's been a boon to the younger students. It might be best to keep him here just to help them out."

Xavier nodded, before looking down and spotting the boy in particular. "Very well. You have two more days and we'll make a decision. After today, I might take Jean up on her offer to replace her role as their team leader with Luke. Do you think you could handle him if I put him in that position?"

"Of course. He's just a single brat. I'll keep him in line Professor."

Xavier wheeled his chair back around, heading inside as he commented "For someone who's only a brat, he seems to have gotten the upper hand on you on numerous occasions Rebecca. Perhaps you should think about this."

Rebecca said nothing as the man returned inside, choosing instead to stay on the balcony and watch over her charges. While the kids may have been out of control, Luke was done their making sure no one was hurt, using his powers when necessary. He even added to it, throwing a screeching Jamie up high for an incredible splash into the pool. A sliver of a smile slipped onto her face as she thought to herself 'Maybe I can use him after all.'


AN: Ok. Well guys… What to say? It's only been nearly three months, but damn. This chapter really got away from me. I redid it several times and nothing seemed to fit just right. I don't know why this one was so hard to finish. Katie was harder to portray than I thought, but here's the rundown. She is a nice girl, but she refuses to go back to the Network. So she does what she has to, using her powers to manipulate brain chemistry to get her way. I know that seems kinda dirty, and it is, but that's a real decision she makes with her powers. That's how she uses them. I hope my readers get what I'm going for here. Not everyone can be nice. Sorry about the long wait and hopefully the next update won't take as long. Until then, BigWillis, out!