Part Five: Weekend
Disclaimer: All belongs to Marvel. etc, etc, etc.
Authors notes: This is an AU ending to Season 2 and the timeline begins during the first half of 'Hex Factor', with references to 'Operation Rebirth' - where events have been changed for the purposes of this story (and will be explained - don't worry! ).
Words in //slashes// indicate telepathic conversation.
It was Kurt who spotted them. He had been worried about Rogue and went to find her, but instead saw her, Erik and Wanda racing off in the direction of the park. Immediately Kurt went back to the gymnasium and told Scott… who reacted to the news with an annoyed growl.
"I thought we _told_ them…" he grumbled.
He was cut off by the arrival of Pietro who came in, grabbed Lance's arm and started gabbling about metal tentacles. That was enough for the X-Men… Within minutes Scott, Jean, Kurt, Kitty and Evan were in the park, looking down at a huge dark hole.
"Well, at least we know where they went," quipped Bobby.
"Yes," said Jean. "And…" she stopped and whirled around. "Bobby! Amara!
What are you doing here?"
"Helping," said Amara simply. "We saw you guys running off and figured that something was up, so we followed. Besides… Bobby kept stepping on my toes, I was GLAD to have an excuse to leave!"
"Hey, if you can't keep up…"
"Now is NOT the time!" Scott snapped. "We have to help Rogue… and Erik," he added.
"And Wanda," Toad hopped into view followed by the rest of the Brotherhood (Pietro being dragged along by Lance). "My poor sweetums must be scared stiff!"
"Oh no," said Scott. "We can handle this by _ourselves_."
"Forget it Summers," Lance snarled. "Wanda's one of OUR team mates, _we're_ going down there."
"GUYS!" Jean shouted. "I thought you just said that this wasn't the time! We can't afford pointless bickering right now. BOTH of our groups are missing teammates, and God only knows what's down there. We'll ALL go, but keep an eye out and don't let yourself get distracted by these arguments. Stay in pairs and keep your eyes peeled. Now everybody MOVE!"
"Yes mother," someone muttered. Jean glared around, trying to work out who it was, before everyone began entering the sewers.
"Ewwww..." Kitty moaned. "My new shoes. God, I hope I don't slip."
"Hang on to my arm, I'll catch you if you do," Lance offered.
Behind him, Blob and Bobby both made gagging noises.
"It's so dark," muttered Jean. "Did anyone bring a light?"
"Sure, that's what I bring to EVERY school dance I go to."
"Shut up Bobby. Anyone?"
There was a red glow as Amara invoked her powers.
"Can you go any brighter?" Toad asked.
"Not without slagging everything around me," she replied. "Not that I'd really care about _you_."
"Cut the chatter people, we don't know what's down here," Scott snapped. "Amara, you and I will take point."
They continued down in relative silence. The glow from Amara's power did little to dispel the heavy darkness surrounding them and everyone's skin crawled with nerves as time went on.
"How much further?" Evan hissed at one point. "It feels like we've been walking for hours."
"Perhaps we are descending into hell…" Kurt muttered and crossed himself.
Scott halted abruptly. "Amara, douse the light!" he whispered urgently.
She did so and they could all see a faint glow up ahead. Kitty gulped.
"I guess that's our destination," she whispered.
"You see anywhere else to go?" Pietro snarked. "This sucks!"
"Shh!" Jean hissed.
They all crept on, stepping as lightly as possible - although Blob's heavy tread made everyone wince more than once. As the light brightened they could see it was a doorway and Scott signalled that they should all flatten against the walls. Kitty and Jean made little whimpering noises as they pressed against the damp wall, but heroically resigned themselves to ruined dresses.
Scott shuffled forward and could soon look into the room the doorway led in to. He gaped at the size of the room, frowned at the odd cocoon structures lining the walls and finally focused on the metal dome in the centre and the tentacles rearing out of it. He clenched his fists when he saw the figures wrapped up in the tentacles, but relief flooded him when he noticed that they were moving and seemed relatively unharmed. However, before he could signal Rogue he heard the sugary voice coming from somewhere out of his line of sight.
"What the hell is THAT?" squeaked Toad as Nanny rolled into view and halted before Erik and the others.
"It looks like a French maid gone wrong," muttered Lance.
The robot halted, looking up at the captured mutants. "Do not worry. Nanny will look after you forever."
"Not good," Lance said. "Let's go!"
"Wait! Plan! Dammit!"
Rogue's head snapped around as a brave voice declaimed. "Get your tentacles off our friends!" She blinked.
Lance smirked. "Hey Roguey. Yeah, French maid doll, you heard me. Let em go now!"
"Oh," Kitty sighed quietly, stars in her eyes.
"SHUT UP BOBBY!"
Nanny whirled around to face the assembled X-Men and Brotherhood.
"Oohhh," she clasped her hands together. "_Another_ little sugarplum for my collection. And you brought friends. How sweet! Nanny is coming sweetums."
From the other doorways around the room came whirring sounds and several slightly smaller versions of Nanny rolled in to view.
"Oh crap," Pietro said.
"You said it," agreed Evan.
"Now don't be difficult children, or Nanny will have to discipline you."
"Discipline this!" Evan shouted, shooting some spikes out through his forearms and striking one of the Nanny clones. The spikes shattered on impact.
"Tut tut tut! What a bad little boy!" Nanny said cheerfully. "Now I will have to teach you a lesson."
The mini-Nanny's suddenly shuddered and produced a ridiculously large amount of weaponry. Gun barrels gleamed, blades flashed, and other strange-looking implements just looked scary.
"Fan out, take them down," Scott began to gave orders, then paused. "Oh hell, just shoot em!"
And battle was joined.
Rogue watched with alarm as complete chaos erupted. "Watch where you're shooting!" She yelled as one of Scott's eyebeams came rather close to her head. "HEY!"
Lance clenched his fists.
"NO!" Kitty grabbed him. "You'll bring the whole place down on top of us. I have a better idea, come with me." Clasping his hand, she phased them both through tentacles, leaving shorted circuitry and wires behind. "Stretch out your arms," she called. "We'll cover more space this way!"
"This is kinda cool," Lance said with a smile. "Head for the dome."
The two mutants sprinted through tentacles to the dome in the centre of the room.
Still cocooned and groggy, Erik watched them. "No," he murmured. "Don't, it's a trap."
"We got it!" Kitty shouted as she and Lance ran full tilt into the dome. And then screamed as electricity shocked through their bodies.
"Ahhh... not a good idea," said Lance, as he collapsed next to the now-solid Kitty.
However, their plan of attack had achieved one thing. Many of the tentacles were now disabled, and loosened enough of the grip on Erik and Rogue, that the two of them could slip free. After getting to their feet they both headed for Wanda, who was still unconscious. However, their rescue attempt was foiled by two Nanny clones who came at them, all guns blazing. Quickly, Rogue yanked the still-dazed Erik aside into one of the corridors leading away from the main room, desperately pushing the clones back with her powers.
Erik's head was pounding, but he slung an arm around Rogue and, leaning on her, turned to face the clones.
"What are you going to do?"
With a ghastly screeching sound, the two clones were ripped in half.
"That," said Erik.
"Oh," said Rogue.
"Uh," Erik stumbled back against the wall, one hand to his head where the cut was bleeding freely once more.
"You're hurt!" Rogue pushed him gently into a sitting position and examined his head. "Hang on a sec."
Taking a good grip on her skirt, she tore at it sharply, ripping strips of it free to bind around his head in a makeshift bandage.
As she leaned in to tie the ends together, Erik couldn't help but notice how little of her outfit had survived. *This is not good,* he thought to himself. *Not now.*
"We need to get back to the fight," Rogue said.
"Not without a plan," he said dryly.
"Do you have one?"
Back in the main room, the battle was not going well for the X-Men and the Brotherhood. Enough tentacles had managed to wrap around the Blob to actually pick him up, and they were attempting to squish Toad with his shouting teammate.
"Stop it!" Blob shouted.
"YOU stop it!" Toad yelled, hopping desperately up and around the room, including onto the cocoons. Splatting onto one of them, he stopped and stared. "Boom-Boom?"
Blob's incoming scream warned him to jump again. This time he recognised another figure.
"Aw man, if they got _him_ we're toast," he muttered, jumping off Wolverine's cocoon.
Meanwhile, Amara and Bobby had actually worked out a plan. He froze a clone, and then she melted it. The combination of both intense temperatures tended to result in total destruction. Unfortunately, it took time, and they still had to dodge other attacks.
Jean and Scott were holding their own. Kurt and Pietro had evacuated the unconscious Kitty and Lance, and had just returned to the fray, when the south wall burst apart, revealing Erik, one hand outflung, magnetic energy crackling around him.
"HOW DARE YOU DEFY MA..." he thundered in a dark and deep voice before pausing. "Uh, me?"
"Oh that’s wonderful," said Rogue sarcastically from behind him. "You're so commanding!"
The real Nanny turned to confront him. "Now, now, don't be a naughty
Erik ground his teeth. "Don't call me a boy!"
"Temper temper!" Nanny waggled a finger at him admonishingly.
Rogue poked him, "Remember the plan," she muttered as she slipped past him.
Erik ground his teeth even harder. Then he hung his head. "I'm sorry Nanny," he choked out. "I didn't mean to be bad."
"Oh, you poor little darling," Nanny gushed. "Does this mean you've learnt your lesson?"
"Yes," Erik said humbly. "I promise I'll be good. I'll never, ever, be bad again." *Someone is going to DIE for this!*
"So you're going to be a good little boy from now on?"
*GAAAHHHH!!!* "Yes… Nanny." Erik said through gritted teeth. *Dammit what is TAKING them so long?*
Rogue snuck round to Scott. "We need you to create a diversion!" She called to him.
"What do you think we're doing?" Scott snarled. "Playing around?"
"Don't be like that, Erik has a plan. Diversion! We need one now!"
"Gah… fine!" Scott reached for his shades. "You want a diversion..." he took off his shades and cut loose full power. "You GOT one!"
"WHAT?" Nanny turned around as Scott blasted everything in sight. Literally.
And Erik struck.
Taking a step to bring him directly behind Nanny, he concentrated all of his energy into immobilising her. She resisted fiercely, half-turning to face him.
"Rogue!" He shouted, sweat pouring down his face.
Rogue lunged across the room and yanked the apron off Nanny, then pulled down the metal panel that it revealed in her middle. Reaching a hand into the mess of circuits, she began pulling certain wires, muttering all the while. "Blue, green, black, red, purple... Purple?"
"Keep going and hurry up!" Erik said as one of Nanny's guns began to turn towards him. "She's too strong!"
"Orange, yellow, white, why the hell are there so many wires? Ummm..."
"Pink," Erik prompted.
Nanny weakened, but the remaining Nanny clones converged on Erik and Rogue, firing frantically. Only the combined effort of the remaining X-Men held them back.
"God I hate pink," Rogue muttered. "Pink, and finally..." She reached right in. "GRAY!"
With a vicious yank, she tore the last wire out and the light in Nanny's eyes blinked out. All around the room, the Nanny clones whirred to a halt and the tentacles stopped, falling to the ground.
Blob landed with a crunch on several of the frozen clones, and the unfortunate Toad, who'd managed to keep ahead all this time.
"That was amazing!" Scott said. "How did you know...?"
But neither Rogue nor Erik were listening. They were both removing the last tentacles from the now conscious Wanda.
"Get em off, get em off!" She shouted, her voice high in panic. Things began to tremble. Lights flickered.
"Wanda, calm down!" Rogue said. Biting her lip, she reached a bare hand
forward. Erik seized it in one of his own and the assembled mutants gawked
as he shook his head, apparently unaffected by Rogue's
"Wait, let me try," he said to Rogue.
"Wanda, Wanda... can you hear me?"
"YOU! FATHER! I'll KILL you!" Wanda screeched. Erik laid his hands on her shoulders and looked directly into her eyes.
"That's enough Wanda," he said in a firm tone. "It's over now. Calm down. Breathe deeply, and control yourself."
Wanda snarled at him and he shook her gently. "I mean it. Calm down. You're safe now. Your friends are here."
Wanda glared at him for a few more seconds and then closed her eyes, drawing in a deep, shuddering breath.
From the other side of the room, Pietro stared at Erik in horror as the full of implications of what he had just witnessed cudgelled his brain. ‘_Father_?’
But no one paid any attention to the speedster.
"Are you okay sweetums?"
She let all the air out in a huge sigh and turned to look at the somewhat flatter Toad. "Don't call me sweetums," she said in a dead-level voice. Then she turned back to Rogue and Erik. "Let's get the hell out of here."
Getting out of there took some time, as everyone had to combine to free all of the other people that Nanny had kidnapped, including an angry Wolverine and Beast. The loudest complaints of all came from Beast, who was most annoyed at being captured, and the goo in his fur. Boom-Boom collapsed rather gratefully on Amara, who hugged her friend tightly.
Scott stared at the mess of tentacles and wires. "I wonder who built this thing?" He said out loud. "And what it was here for?"
"Well," Kurt was looking at Nanny. "You know, her head reminds me of..." his voice trailed off.
"Magneto?" Erik suggested.
There was a long pause.
"Yes," said Jean. "But… obviously he had abandoned this plan, hadn't he?"
"Obviously," said Erik with a slight smile.
"So, I guess that Nanny had just gone rogue," Scott supplied.
"I guess so," said Erik. *She's not the only one.* He rubbed his head. "Uh, need to go home, lie down, take painkillers, and sleep."
"Add wash," Rogue said. "We all stink."
Jean looked rather mournfully at the wreck of her dress. "Oh well," she said. "At least it was on sale."
Rogue and Erik pushed through the bushes of the park, opting for the direct route home, rather than the scenic way around.
"Well, this was an interesting end to the charity ball," Rogue said.
"Yes," Erik agreed. "Another eventful evening."
"We do seem to be having a lot of those lately," Rogue said lightly.
Erik stumbled and Rogue moved in to support him. "Put your arm around my shoulders," she ordered. "You got quite a nasty knock on the head earlier," she said. "We should probably get it checked for concussion."
"Mmm..." said Erik. He looked down at her. "You know, I think that dress is quite ruined."
"Oh well," Rogue sighed. "I didn't like it that much anyway."
Laughing, they pushed through the last bush and stepped out onto the sidewalk.
"Way hey!" A loud and obnoxious voice sounded out. "Looks like SOMEBODY got lucky tonight after all!"
Both mutants paled. *Oh no. Please. Not that. ANYTHING but that.*
They turned to see Duncan Matthews grinning drunkenly at them.
"Nice outfit Rogue," he smirked.
Rogue blushed and tried to hide behind Erik.
"So big guy, I see you made the touchdown," Duncan laughed, punching Erik lightly in the shoulder. Erik stared coldly at him, and then swung his fist up in a classic haymaker. Duncan's eyes crossed, and without a word he crashed down onto the sidewalk, unconscious.
"Ah, that feels better," Erik said, shaking out his hand. "Kids today."
"What did you say?"
Rogue stared at him a moment. "You know," she said calmly. "It's funny how you knew the EXACT right combination of wires to pull."
Erik just looked at her. Then he straightened up and threw his shoulders back. "Yes, it was fortunate."
"OH MY GOD!!!!" Rogue shrieked. "You're Magneto again!"
"Technically I was Magneto the entire time, it's just that..."
"AH CAN'T BELIEVE THIS!" Rogue shouted. "Ah FINALLY meet someone Ah actually LIKE and..." she burst into tears. "... and you're… argh!!!" She ran off.
"Rogue! Wait! Rogue!" Erik called after her. "Damn."
Later that day, Erik entered the Professor's study.
"Charles," he returned, seating himself in one of the large leather chairs.
"I trust you slept well after last nights events?" Professor Xavier looked at him meaningfully.
"Yes, thank you," Erik calmly returned his gaze.
"And I imagine you're pleased to have your memories returned," Professor Xavier continued.
"It was helpful," Erik smirked faintly.
The two men stared at each other for a few minutes, before Xavier sighed. "Alright Erik, or should I be calling you Magnus? I recall that you preferred it when you were Magneto."
"Erik is fine, I've... grown used to it."
"Very well then, may I inquire as to your plans from now on?" Xavier raised an eyebrow. "To be honest, I'm surprised you returned last night."
"Mmmm," Erik regarded his clasped hands and reminded himself that Charles was far too polite to ever take a peek at his thoughts, no matter how curious he was. "I suppose because... I have no real desire to leave at the moment." He raised his eyes to the ceiling and regarded it casually. "This last week has been... very interesting."
Both of Xavier's eyebrows shot up. "Indeed. Does that mean that you've come around to my way of thinking?"
"That humans and mutants can live together in peace?" Erik snorted and returned his gaze to Xavier. "No. The blow to my head hasn't scrambled my thinking _that_ badly Charles."
Xavier stared at him coldly. "Then what purpose _do_ you have in mind? Why should I allow the single greatest threat to my vision of a united world to remain under this roof, to gather knowledge, power, and possibly corrupt my X-Men?"
Erik snorted again. "I am _not_ the greatest threat to your proposed 'vision' Charles, and you know it. Bigotry and hatred will go on with or without me. And if you and your X-Men truly believe that your way is the best, then they should be proof _against_ any 'corruptions' I might offer. They've turned me down before after all." He pursed his lips. "Nor do I have any designs on your 'secrets'. I assure you, I intend no harm to any under this roof. Why should I hurt my own kind? Hell, I'll even go out on your little 'missions'."
"Then why, why stay?" Xavier pressed.
Erik paused. "Because... it pleases me to do so."
Xavier regarded him and then carefully said, "She's... a little young for you Erik."
Erik mentally damned teenage hormones as his face turned bright red. "That's not it at all!" He protested hotly. "I simply have no desire to go back to my other plans at the moment."
Xavier's silence spoke volumes. "But you still haven't told me why I should allow you to stay?"
"Oh Charles," Erik sighed. "Don't pretend you don't realise the opportunity I'm giving you. I'll be _here_, where you can keep and eye on me and indoctrinate me in peace and love and harmony et cetera. Not to mention the fact that, while I am _here_, I am not out _there_, rubbing my hands together, cackling maniacally and plotting my evil revenge against all humanity and so on."
Professor Xavier's lips twitched in a half-smile. "I see. Well, how can I turn down such a generous offer?"
Now it was Erik's turn for his lips to twitch in a half-smile. "You can't."
"No, I can't." Professor Xavier nodded. "As you say, this is too great a chance not to take it." He paused. "But I'm not sure if the X-Men will like it."
"Don't tell them then," Erik said dismissively.
"You don't think they'll work it out?" Xavier asked.
Erik paused. "Some might," he admitted reluctantly. "Rogue already has."
"Ah. Very well then," Professor Xavier smiled. "In that case, we will allow Rogue to have the final say in whether you stay or not."
Erik looked surprised.
"You will go and explain to her that you wish to stay," Xavier said. "And if _she_ accepts your reasons for staying and desire for secrecy, then you may remain in the mansion."
Erik stared at him in something close to horror. Xavier hid a smirk. *Oh yes Erik,* he thought to himself. *And you'll have to give her slightly more convincing reasons than you have me.*
"Rogue is currently sitting in the rose gardens," he said, quickly scanning for the girl. "Off you go."
Erik headed for the door, his face pale.
"Oh, and Erik?" Xavier called innocently. "Good luck."
Rogue sat in the gardens, absently twirling a leaf between her fingers, trying to think through the tangled mess in her mind. Sleep had claimed her before she could do much thinking about Erik… no, Magneto’s revived memories, so it was only once she woke… only two hours ago… that the full impact hit her.
Sneaking out on to the balcony so as not to wake Kitty, Rogue had indulged herself in a very private and very uncharacteristic bout of tears. Erik might have been an arrogant pain in the butt most of the time, but he had managed to worm his way into her heart and after the kiss last night she had started to entertain some serious hopes about their relationship. She had forgotten who he really was and now she remembered the man who had kidnapped the X-Men in an effort to force them to obey his ideals… who had attacked her and Scott in the city… Whose memory she had stolen for a brief period.
She felt a touch on her shoulder and when she looked up Kitty had been standing there, a sympathetic look on her face. “I don’t know exactly why you’re crying,’ the younger girl said. ‘But I’m guessing it’s about Erik.’
Rogue was so surprised that she nodded and Kitty crouched down beside her. ‘Well…’ she said slowly. ‘Do you like him?’
Rogue nodded again.
‘Yeah,’ *But he’s MAGNETO! Our enemy…* Then Rogue had remembered who Kitty loved and felt a sudden rush of common feeling for her.
‘Then… whatever he’s done, maybe you should give him a chance to explain,’ Kitty suggested.
‘Ah… Ah’ll think about it,’ Rogue had said.
So here she was… thinking about it. To be perfectly honest, the age gap wasn’t the main thing on her mind. It was hard to see someone as decades older when they looked eighteen. What bothered Rogue most was the thought that he would leave and become an enemy again.
She looked up and her eyes widened to see him standing in front of her. His expression was neutral, his body language giving nothing away, but there was something in his eyes that caused her heart to do a little jump.
‘Yes, Er… Magneto?’
‘Erik is fine,’ he said.
‘What do ya want, Erik?’ she asked stiffly, getting to her feet and turning away from him. ‘Ah figured you’d be running off back to one of your bases and starting to plot the X-Men’s destruction or somethin’.”
“Actually, I have decided to stay.”
She whirled to look at him, her eyes narrowing with suspicion. “Why?” she asked. “So you can gather data against us? Recruit the New Mutants to your cause?”
A brief mental image of the New Mutants under his command flashed into Erik’s head and he mentally shuddered. “No,” he said. “I told Charles that I would like to stay…” he cleared his throat, Rogue’s scrutiny was rather unnerving. “I still don’t believe that his little dream will work… that one day he will be proved wrong… but I admit that I am curious to see how far he can get and if it might aid my fellow mutants then I am always ready to try something new.”
“So you’re only staying because you’re curious?” Rogue was disbelieving. “That ain’t gonna wash, Erik! Not when everyone else knows that ya have your memories back.”
“I was thinking of keeping that a secret for now,” he said with a cough. “Besides, Rogue… this gives Charles a golden opportunity to indoctrinate me in peace and love and harmony et cetera. Not to mention the fact that, while I am _here_, I am not out _there_, and he can keep an eye on me. How could any of you X-Men truly pass that up?"
“Crap,” said Rogue flatly. “There has to be more than that!” she turned away from him again and started stripping leaves from a rose bush. “Ah don’t believe that the great and powerful Magneto…” her voice dripped with sarcasm, “Is staying just to allow his former friend to convince him about the possibilities of Mutant/Human relations.”
There was a long pause and then his hand came up and rested on her shoulder. “You are correct. There is more to it, but I was hoping that you would accept my explanation,” he tugged her round to face him. His other hand came up and gently he ran a finger down her cheek. “Something else keeps me here… if I was wise I would resist it and leave… because I know that the ideas I am entertaining bring me perilously close to disaster.”
Rogue met his gaze steadily. “Ah would be upset if ya left and Ah had to fight you again,” she admitted.
“My age…” he began.
“Is rather irrelevant now,” she said, grinning. “Your body is young… and Ah happen to like older men anyway.”
“Well that’s good,” Erik felt a rush of relief flood through him. How she had become so important to him over the last week he couldn’t begin to understand, but he did know that he didn’t want to lose the feelings she stirred up in him. “Just remember that I am not convinced that Charles’ ideal is right…”
His eyes crinkled at the edges with amusement. “Hmm… it will be good to argue ideology with Charles again…”
Rogue rolled her eyes. “Oh boy…” an amusing thought struck her and she laughed. “Ya know… if you don’t want the others to figure you out then ya gonna have to keep going to school!”
Chagrin flickered across Erik’s face. “Oh damn… and I have several Saturday detentions too!”
Nanny’s remains and those of the other robots were later cleaned up by the X-Men, Professor Xavier made sure that the children who had been kidnapped all had ‘other’ memories of their time away. The reason why Nanny had started kidnapping people was made clear to Xavier after Erik quietly explained that she was designed to seek out people with mutant potential.
“Clearly I made her a little too good,” he said ruefully. “She took children whose mutant abilities were extremely latent.”
“There aren’t any more surprises down in those sewers is there, Erik?” Xavier asked and Erik shook his head.
“Not that I know of… I didn’t even build that space in the first place,” Erik smiled grimly. “Nanny must have done that on her own.”
“Ah... I see,” Xavier looked sternly at his old (but now young) friend. “Please refrain from making any super-powered robots while living here, Erik.”
“Oh, don’t worry... I’m not planning to repeat that again!”
And so, peace returned to Bayville.
"Erik! You did that on purpose!"
"I have no idea what you're talking about Scott," Erik said in an ever-so-slightly amused tone of voice. "Surely you noticed that the two chemical substances had been put in the wrong containers? It's hardly my fault that you didn't see Duncan make that mistake."
The now slightly singed duo of Duncan and Scott glared at him, and Erik turned back to his own experiment with a small smirk. School had never been THIS much fun when he was growing up. He leaned over to reach a test tube and squawked as his stool shifted out from underneath him, dumping him unceremoniously onto the floor. Trying to ignore the laughter from his classmates as he stood up, he shot a swift glare at Rogue, who was carefully not looking in his direction.
*Serves him right,* Rogue thought, trying to hide a smile of satisfaction. *He shouldn't pick on Scott, and he shouldn't have helped me get so much better with my magnetic powers.*
Next to her, Risty finished laughing at Erik and added the final chemical. "Oooooh," the two girls chorused as the mixture turned bright purple.
"Pretty," Rogue murmured.
"Very good Rogue and Risty," their teacher said, with some relief in his voice. "Top marks! I'm glad to see that _some_ of you young people are focused on your education." He shot a meaningful look at Erik and Rogue stuffed a hand into her mouth to stifle the giggles. Fortunately the bell rang just at that point, and in the scramble to get everything cleaned up the teacher neglected to assign homework, so it was in an excellent mood that Rogue exited class.
Erik ran up beside her. "Walk you to geography?" He offered casually.
"Oh, check out Casanova there," Wanda said acidly, falling into step on Rogue's other side. "Very smooth."
"Yeah, but it might have been better if he'd remembered that Rogue's in _my_ geography class, not his," Risty shoved in-between Rogue and Erik and seized Rogue's arm. "Later Wanda, later Snowy!"
"Snowy!" Erik spluttered as he halted in the corridor.
"See you at lunch!" Rogue called back over her shoulder. "Save us a table if you get there first!"
"Okay!" Wanda yelled. Then she turned and smiled evilly. "Bye Snowy."
Leaving Erik turning an interesting shade of red, she spotted her brother up ahead.
Pietro squeaked and tried to hide in his locker. Wanda sighed and ran over to him. "Lend me your maths book," she ordered.
Pietro turned it over reluctantly. "But Wanda, what am _I_ going to do without it in maths?" He whined.
"Don't worry about it," Wanda said, waving a hand and sealing his locker door shut, with him inside. "Bye bye!"
"It's not fair!" Pietro wailed through the slots. "Everyone blames me, Mystique is angry, and instead of him we now have Erik! I mean, what am I supposed to do now? It's not fair!"
Wanda paused and grinned wickedly. "I know, and how do I deal with the whole Rogue thing?"
Inside the locker, Pietro nodded also. "Yeah."
There was a pause.
"Wait a minute, WHAT ROGUE THING???!!!!"
Wanda walked off to class, laughing hysterically as Pietro continued to yell down the corridor.
"WANDA WAIT! What Rogue thing? Come back! Don't leave me in here!!!"
"I don't even want to know," Kurt said as he and Kitty walked past the screaming locker.
Kitty giggled. "Like, should we let him out?" she asked, remembering her own fear in the same position.
"Let who out?" Kurt said in a mock-bewildered tone, and then he grinned. "He's got his OWN teammates, let THEM get him out."
Kitty turned to see Lance, Todd, Tabitha (recently returned to the Brotherhood gang, if not their house) and Fred walk past Pietro's locker, apparently not even noticing the noise. "Ummm..."
Kurt turned to see. "Oh well. We'll let the teacher know when we get to class." He looked at Kitty piously. "After all, we're not supposed to randomly use our powers you know."
Kitty laughed all the way to class.
Erik shook his head irritably as he sprinted past the giggling Kitty and smirking Kurt. Goodness only knew what mischief they'd been up to, but he was sure he'd hear about it later. In the meantime, he was late for World History. Again. It was all such a damn _nuisance_.
But despite all of the trouble, confusion and daily disasters, he couldn't seem to stop smiling.
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