Title: Home (part 1)
Chapter: Invitation to Return
Characters: Beast, Storm (with possible romantic
Summary: In the wake of the events of X3, old
friendships take on new importance.
WARNINGS: Spoilers for X-Men: The Last Stand
Disclaimer: Someone else's sandbox I just play here
because they have better toys.
Feedback: Please. The natives will dance in your
Archiving: Want, Take, Have. Just tell me so I can go
Authors Notes: This is only my second X-men fanfic,
and my first with these characters. I would appreciate
all comments you have, particularly since I have two
additional chapters planned
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She should have recognized him, but it had been so
long . . . and anymore the sight of a stranger in the
mansion was nothing but cause for panic. She had
neither the Professors ability to sense every
presence, nor Logans razor sharp sense of smell, so
really shed had no choice but to go chasing after
him. After all the safety of the children was her
It didnt make her feel any less ashamed.
At her sharp Excuse me! hed turned, unsurprised and
unconcerned, even though she could hear the crackle of
power in her voice. She should have know then, seen
him in the quirk of an eyebrow or the easy, charming
smile, such a welcome relief in a place where smiles
always seemed in short supply. His hair was the same
shade of rich chocolate, perhaps beginning to make a
strategic retreat from his forehead and certainly
newly streaked with gray, but still she had spent many
of her first nights here standing in the shadow of his
doorway, listening to the alternately turbulent and
soothing strains of the Rolling Stones juxtaposed
against Vivaldi, and watching that fine head of hair
for any sign that he knew of her presence, prepared to
slip away in an instant, to avoid being drawn into yet
another espousal of propaganda.
It hadnt been until the night hed left and his music
collection had materialized on her bed, that she
realized how many times shed been caught.
Yes, if shed noticed his hair or even taken a moment
to meet those shockingly blue eyes, she would have
known. But her attention wasnt on his face. Instead
her eyes were riveted on his hands, or more
specifically, what he held there.
Ororo had to curl her fist to keep from lashing out
then and there at the sight of Jimmys pale form in
his arms. Instead there was a simultaneous crack of
thunder and flash of lightening, illuminating the
hallway. Still, he remained unperturbed.
Im sorry, my dear, was there something you needed?
In the end it was the cultured voice that stopped her
cold, that marvelous, gentle but commanding
baritonethe one thing his mutation had spared, left
unchanged. Recognition seeping through thunderous
rage, Storm found herself grateful for the darkened
corridor and Hanks terrible eyesight.
Thankfully at that moment, Leech stirred slightly
drawing his knowing gaze away from her acute
embarrassment. Dr. McCoy?
Beast looked down at his young charge, his normally
leonine grin, now a disconcertingly, beautifully human
smile. Its alright son. I am afraid that we may have
inadvertently violated your curfew, but perhaps Ms.
Munroe will not hold it against us for too long?
Diplomatic to the end, he made it a question, leaving
the final say on a school matter to its headmistress,
though both of them knew what her answer would be.
She longed to retort with something snarky about
punishing Henry for his corrupting influence, to
engage in a bit of intelligent adult banter even with
someone whose sense of humor far outstripped her own,
but she was aware of Jimmys pleading eyes on her, the
slight flush of dread in his cheeks. The boy needed
this, needed her approval of this relationship.
Nothing, if not painfully aware of his own fragile
place in the mutant community, he needed to be told
that this one miraculous piece of good fortune was
truly what it seemed.
Yes, of course. She smiled down at Jimmy and leaned
in to whisper conspiratorially, But, Ill need your
promise not to brag. Not everyone can capture the
Ambassadors attention so completely.
Well, its not everyone who can show me how to reach
the end of Final Fantasy.
Jimmys face lit with the self-satisfied grin of a
child who has just taught an elder something. He was
Woefully behind the times, Hank amended.
This was obviously an old argument. Ororo intervened
before it escalated. Whatever you may or may not have
been, though Im certain Jimmys right and you were
stuck . . . This time she caught the wry, quirked
eyebrow. It is way past curfew, so get to bed or I
promise dire consequences for you both.
Jimmy, your first lesson in politics, diplomacy, and
survival, never refuse the command of a lady,
particularly not one as powerful and breathtaking as
your headmistress. With that Henry McCoy straightened
to his full, and still fairly impressive, height, and
clicking his heels together, managed an abbreviated
bow before turning to pad down the hallway to the
young mutants room.
It wasnt until it sunk in with her how silently he
moved, that Ororo looked down and glimpsed Hanks
bare-feet peaking out from the cuffs his well-cut
The sight made her smile.
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She was waiting by his car when he came down, the
smile on her face almost parental in its exasperated
amusement. Perhaps leaping turret to turret and
swinging off the ivy before somersaulting down to the
gravel was a bit showy, but it would be a long time
before he could indulge in such acrobatic pyrotechnics
again. Not exactly fitting behavior for an Ambassador
to the UN.
Besides Ororo was gracious in her amusement, clapping
softly as he landed. A nice change from his driver,
who hadnt even looked up from his paper, simply
extended the hand-crafted Italian shoes out the
window, by now immune to any overt displays of power
by his employer. It was, of course, one of the reasons
McCoy kept him, but every once in awhile it was nice
to have an appreciative audience.
Straightening, he still looked down, ostensibly to
brush at the cuffs of his now perfectly fitted suit,
but in truth, he found Ororos presence disconcerting.
It had been one thing in the shadowy hallway, with
young Jimmy to think about, all his focus trained on
maintaining the pretext of normality for his small
friend, on pretending that reverting to a purely human
form meant little to him one way or another. But now,
out here in the cloudless night, which might or might
not have been her doing, illuminated by the natural,
but uncomfortably radiant, full moon, he felt
unaccountably naked, laid bare before her majestic
Oh my dear you grow too like Charles with every
Was there something you truly needed, Ororo? The
question was brusque, a busy man with millions of
other things to think aboutout with it, and so forth.
Of course, it had little effect on a woman who had
once been worshiped as a goddess, and had seen him
dancing to the Stones in cutoffs and a Hawaiian shirt.
About Jimmy . . .
Yes, I am terribly sorry about that, I promise it
She stopped him with a gentle hand on his forearm.
He looked at her now, startled at the absolute
gratitude in those words. Ororo Munroe was not an easy
woman, patient to the extreme, but as slow to grant
praise or thanks, as she was to anger or chastise.
Now though as she looked up at him in the moonlight,
he didnt need his reading glasses to see the weight
of the burden shed shouldered or the toll it was
taking. Her usually calm façade, as undisturbed as
those blue skies she could call forth at will, was
tight, shadowed with the clouds of too many
As though newly aware of just how much the strain
shown through, she stepped away and turned to look up
at the moon, a habit he recognized from their school
days. They all seemed to turn a little inward, to seek
out their particular powers, and draw on those
strengths when the burden of simple human things grew
Jimmys situation is . . . She caste about for the
right word, something appropriately diplomatic he
supposed, but in the end Ororo always called a spade a
spade. Its difficult, Hank. Weve always used our
powers to teach the children, to help them learn
control . . .
And by his very nature, he deprives you of your best
Ororo let out a breath of relief. Exactly. Not only
that, but the other children, well, its difficult
enough to get used to having powers . . .
She didnt complete the sentence, but her meaning was
clear. Here, students learned to take their powers
inward, weave them into the very fabric of their
perception of the world. For many being around Jimmy,
would be like going suddenly blind. Even as he took
this in, his mind flicked back to the hallway, to
Ororo standing back at the very fringes of the boy's
range. Perhaps it was not only the children who were
having trouble adjusting to the new student.
Laying a hand on her shoulder, both in support, and
possibly absolution, he murmured, You have surmounted
greater obstacles, Ororo.
He didnt see the wan smile, as her hand moved to
cover his own. We have surmounted greater obstacles.
Im not sure he ever prepared any of us to stand
alone. The team was all to him. You know, he never
really forgave you for leaving.
There was no question as to who he was. The less
traveled road, my dear. Someone had to try it.
And has it made all the difference?
I dont really know, perhaps when one looks back at
the end. It was an old discussion, an argument hed
tread too many times. Did working from the inside make
it any better, or simply provide the dangerous
illusion of progress? He was so used to the curves
that he wasnt prepared for the detour.
I never really forgave you for leaving either. It
was a soft admission, probably not meant to truly be
heard, but his hearing had always been keener than she
gave him credit for. Her acquisition of his music
collection was testament to that.
They stood for a moment in the moonlight, the soft
spell of memory holding them prisoner in the shadow of
this place which had meant so many things to each, but
it had always been about more than the place for
either of them, and one by one they were losing those
connections, so if they clung a little tighter than
necessary to what, to who was left well was that
really all that surprising?
In the end, it was Ororo who reclaimed herself first.
Patting his hand in a gentle, but absolute dismissal,
she stepped away, and turned to smile at him, once
again, the beneficent, untouchable goddess. You
should come back more frequently. Were not so far
away from New York, you know. It would mean a lot . .
. to Jimmy.
Yes, well, the next time I know theres some time in
my schedule, Ill be sure to contact you. Lord, could
he sound like any more of a stuffed-shirt?
She laughed and stepping forward to the barrier
created by the open car door, reached up to tug
teasingly at his whiskers. Dont be ridiculous, this
is home. You dont need an appointment. The
affectionate gesture softened to a caress, as she
whispered, Just come home, Henry.
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Comments and Criticism always appreciated.
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