Author's Note: I feel terrible
that in the last installment, I forgot to thank those people
who voted for both The Archetype Association and Will
Riley in the recent CBFFA Awards. I didn't even know that
Will was nominated for 'Best New Male Character' until I read
the Award Ceremony. I am both flattered and honored by your
And now, on with the story...
THE ARCHETYPE ASSOCIATION
Ororo woke up slowly, disengaging herself from the sheets
and stretching as she yawned softly. She rolled onto her side
to see Jean in the bed across from her, with her head still
buried in her pillow. A quick glance at the clock told her
that it was nearly ten-thirty in the morning.
What time did I go to sleep? she thought fuzzily.
I think we returned from the club sometime after three.
Jean and I talked for an hour or so, and then I had another
Tom Collins, and then... I have no idea. She shrugged
mentally. Oh well, I suppose that I couldn't have had that
much more to drink.
She pushed herself up into a sitting position, then moaned
and put her hands to her temples. Then again...
Bright Lady, she pleaded, I already know that it
was unwise to imbibe so much last night. There is no need
to hammer the point home... and even less need to use such
a bloody big hammer. Standing up in a manner which lacked
her usual grace, she made her way to the bathroom.
Had Jean been awake, she would have heard an interesting
sequence of sounds over the next few minutes: the patter of
falling rain, the crackle of a small lightning bolt, a muffled
curse, and the hiss of a shower being turned on.
Henry, who weighed nearly five times as much as Ororo, had
barely been affected by the wine that he had drunk, so when
he awoke at 10:45, he was in his traditional cheerful mood.
This, of course, encouraged him to perform his traditional
singing in the shower, which resulted in the traditional awakening
of Bobby, and the traditionally accompanying thoughts of homicide.
"You'd think that with graduate school, a Nobel Prize,
and a vocabulary that English teachers would kill for, he'd
have learned how to carry a tune by now." Bobby covered
his head with his pillow and prayed that he was simply having
a bad dream.
The snap of a towel across his rump a few minutes later convinced
It isn't generally discussed among the world of sorcerers,
magicians, and, enchanters, but being a night person tends
to be a prerequisite for the job. It's not that magic is,
by its nature, something that should be hidden.... it's just
that the type of person who compulsively gets up at five in
the morning to do calisthenics is not likely to be open to
the idea of spending hours staring into a cauldron. This is
the primary reason why magicians are prone to find ways to
turn lead into gold.... by the time they get up, the banks
are usually closed, so they can't even get ATM cards.
Strange awoke to the sounds of a scuffle in the room next
door, which indicated to him that both Henry and Bobby were
awake. "I wonder if Ororo would be upset if I shrink
those two down and put them inside separate bottles for the
rest of the trip," he thought out loud as he sat up and
got out of bed.
After a shower, shave, and his morning meditation, Strange
felt ready to face the world. He debated ordering himself
breakfast, but decided to wait until the others were ready.
He spent the next several minutes transforming his clothes
into various styles, trying to decide what would be appropriate
for the activities which they had planned for the day.
Will awoke very slowly, with visions of curves and shadows
dominating his thoughts. Once he became aware of his surroundings,
he found that Rogue still had her right arm wrapped around
him. Moving very carefully, he took a pinch of the sheet between
his index finger and thumb and gently took hold of her right
middle finger, lifting her arm off of him. After sliding off
the bed, he lowered her arm back onto the mattress. He gazed
at her for a few moments, and his eyes grew misty.
She is so beautiful, he thought to himself, and
I am such a lucky bastard. He took the sheet that he had
been wearing and draped it over her, covering her up to the
neck. Bending down, he kissed her covered shoulder, then hurried
into the bathroom before his bladder exploded.
After a very brief shower, he changed into a simple outfit
of black jeans, white dress shirt, and a grey denim vest.
After he put his gloves and shoes on, he walked over to the
bed and gently shook Rogue's shoulder. "Time to wake
up, sleepyhead," he said in a soft voice.
Rogue opened her eyes, yawned, then stretched lazily. "Morning,"
she said sleepily as she smiled up at him.
"Morning. The shower's all yours. I'm going to see who
else is up and see if I can round us all up for breakfast....
or brunch, given what time it is already."
"That sounds nice," she replied with a smile as
she rolled onto her side and cupped her chin in one hand.
He looked at her for a moment, his eyes soft and distant.
"I have got to buy a camera one of these days.
I keep seeing these images of you that deserve to be kept
Rogue raised one eyebrow. "Maybe we can come up with
a few shots for a private collection."
"For me or you?" he asked with a nearly identical
"We'll talk." She sat up, wrapping the sheet around
herself. "I should be ready in a few minutes. We can
decide on a place to eat after you've kicked everybody else
out of bed."
"I'm on it." He left the room taking the keycard
Five minutes later, Will had determined that Ororo was dressed
and ready to leave, Jean was nearly finished with her shower,
Strange was prepared for a day of walking, and Henry and Bobby
would pay him back whatever the hotel would charge him for
replacing the damaged pillows. He knocked before entering
his room again.
Rogue had finished dressing, and was brushing her hair. That
wasn't so unusual, but the fact that was doing so while floating
about three feet in the air, upside-down, would have turned
a few heads. Will simply tilted his head slightly. "Problem?"
"No, I'm fine. It's just easier to brush out the kinks
"If you say so."
Ten minutes later, everyone was in the lobby. "What
sounds better," Will asked, "a late breakfast or
an early lunch?"
"Why don't we just snack?" Bobby suggested. "I'll
probably get something at the ballpark, anyway."
"You'd better get going if you want to get a half-decent
seat," Jean advised him.
"Good idea. What do tickets run around here, Will?"
"I have no idea. I'm not a sports fan, remember? A Ben
Franklin should cover a ticket, food, and souvenirs, and leave
more than enough for your fare on the El."
"Where do you want to meet?"
"Let's make it the coffee shop at Union Station. That
way you can get a bite to eat if anybody's late. You have
your map, right?"
"Yep. Train schedule, too. See you guys later."
"Have fun," Jean called to him as he walked off.
"Shall we find a location at which we may partake of
the local culinary delicacies?" Henry asked.
"Translation: Let's eat," Will said. "You
have your choice of Chicago pizza, Chicago hot dogs, or an
Italian beef sandwich."
"Or since it's you we're talking about, Hank,"
Rogue said sweetly, "we have the option of choice 'D',
all of the above."
Henry shot her a look which mixed affection and annoyance.
"Thank you, dear. Please remind me to place my medical
instruments in the freezer the day before your next physical."
"Behave, children," Ororo said with a laugh.
"Why don't we just find a place on our way to the Institute?"
"Sensible," Will agreed. "We can either stop
somewhere or grab something from a vendor." He put on
his hat, then offered his arm to Rogue, who took it with a
smile. Strange offered the same service to Ororo, and they
all made their way down the street.
Once Will had paid for their admission to the Institute,
they agreed to meet one another at the entrance two hours
later. Ororo went straight to the African wing, while Strange
decided to look at the extensive collection of Indian art.
"Do you have anything in particular that you'd like
to see?" Will asked Rogue.
"Not really. How about you?"
"There's a collection of European arms and armor that
I like, and an original Rossetti in another wing. They have
the European art in chronological order, so we can just wander
"Okay." She looked at Jean and Henry. "Are
you two coming, or are you heading to another area?"
"I think we'll tag along," Jean said. "I've
never really been into art, so I may need an explanation or
two once in a while."
"Now that is a big sword," Rogue said, looking
at the massive, 1.25-meter blade.
"It was used to hunt boar," Will explained. "See
those things that look like fork tines? They were designed
to keep the boar from hurling itself all the way down the
length of the blade."
"What about this one with all the gears on the side
of the blade?" Jean asked.
"That was an early attempt at a hunting gun. They were
just starting to use gunpowder, and guns really weren't dependable
yet. The idea was that since you'd get only one shot, if you
were lucky, this setup would give you a traditional weapon
to fall back on."
Jean nodded, then turned her attention to a mace. "Hard
to believe that people would actually put work into making
these things look nice."
"Generally, none of these weapons were ever used. They
were ceremonial, or status symbols. If a person could afford
to pay for one, they were rich enough to get other people
to do the fighting for them."
"What would the average soldier wear?"
"If they were lucky, they got a helmet.... which was
usually made of boiled leather.... padded armor, a wooden
shield, and a spear. None of which would do you much good
against burning pitch, boiling oil, or molten lead."
"War is never pretty. A lot of the people who owned
these things forgot that." He sighed. "This is starting
to depress me. Let's move on."
Rogue looked at the medieval painting and frowned. "What's
with those freaky buildings in the background?"
"The idea of perspective hadn't been developed yet,"
"Oh." She looked around. "Where's Will?"
"I think he's a room or two ahead of us."
They found him a few moments later, gazing thoughtfully at
a painting. Looking at it, Rogue recognized the style instantly.
"Oh, you found the Rossetti."
He nodded. "Beata
Beatrix." He glanced at Jean, then back at the
painting. "Jean, could you stand over here for a second?
Good, now turn a little.... tilt your head up slightly....
close your eyes.... what do you two think?"
"Pretty close," Rogue admitted.
"The resemblance is astounding," Henry agreed.
Jean glanced at the painting. "You really think so?"
"You probably would have made good money as a model
back then," Will informed her. "Rossetti had a fondness
"Thanks," Jean said, flattered. "Peter kept
telling me that he wanted to do a painting of me, but he's
never gotten around to it."
"Didn't you say this morning that you were going to
start painting?" Rogue asked Will.
He nodded. "If my previous experience is any indication,
it'll be at least a few weeks until I get to be any good.
Sometimes it takes a while before the Chorus can hammer something
into my brain."
"But you do develop the skill eventually?" Henry
"Eventually. It took me the better part of three years
to become a decent swordsman."
"That's right," Jean said, "I forgot to tell
you. We're going to ask Charles to let you turn the old stables
into a workshop. Maybe you can also use it as a studio."
"How big are the stables?"
"Huge. You'll probably be able to set up a few different
areas for different things."
"Have you done anything artistic before?" Henry
"Well, I've done some metalwork.... forging swords and
such. I've also done pottery, woodwork, and I did some cabinetmaking
and repair work on my cabin."
"Maybe once you've developed the skill, you can do a
painting of me," Jean suggested.
"Maybe," Will agreed. "Actually, I'd like
to paint all of you ladies."
"Warren might have a problem with you painting Betsy,"
Henry pointed out.
"Why would he.... oh, I see. You think he might decide
that I have ulterior motives." He walked over to the
bench in the center of the room and sat down. "I keep
forgetting that other people don't categorize things the way
I do. Maybe it's because I'm a writer."
"You just lost me," Rogue confessed.
"I use certain words to describe specific qualities
when I'm talking about people. Those qualities can overlap,
and a single person can have many of them. Example: I can
say, without hesitation, that I think that you, Jean, Ororo,
and Betsy are all beautiful women. That does not mean
that I have romantic intentions towards all of you."
Henry thought for a moment. "So to you, the word 'beautiful'
implies physical beauty only."
"Not quite. I'd better run through all of them to be
"Beautiful means that the person has a quality
that moves me emotionally. I've met many old women, and some
little children, who were so beautiful that they moved me
to tears. It's a quality that mixes both the physical and
"Attractive means that the person affects me
on a more intellectual level. A person who I find attractive
may be extremely intelligent, have an interesting background,
be a talented artist or a stimulating conversationalist, or
simply have an exotic accent that I find intriguing.
"Pretty means that the person is physically pleasing
to the eye, but there isn't any emotional connection. The
person is more eye-candy than anything else. Most of the women
that I met in college fell into this category. Emma Frost
fits there, too, since while she's undeniably a woman who's
well put-together, she uses her qualities to intimidate and
control people, which I don't respond well to.
"Cute is a little harder to define. It means
that the person sort of tugs at your heartstrings, in an amusing
sort of way. Most little kids are in this group, although
I've met a few grown women who also rate the description.
They have that sort of grown-up pixie look."
"Freckles?" Henry asked. "Dimples? Laugh lines?
They look like teenagers into their mid-thirties? I know the
Will nodded. "I differentiate that from cutesy,
which is a commercialized, saccharine form of cute that's
cynically used to manipulate people.
"Last is sexy, which is a quality that aims straight
for your gonads. It's a quality that your body responds to,
rather than your mind."
Jean nodded. "It's more of a hormonal thing."
She considered that. "So you can say that in your eyes,
I'm beautiful, but not sexy."
"Right. Ororo is both beautiful and attractive in my
eyes, because of her physical qualities and the religious
views that I share with her."
"What about Betsy?" Rogue asked.
Will thought a moment. "Well, now that I think about
it, Betsy would be mostly pretty, because while I share a
link with her due to the fact that we're both X-Men, I haven't
bonded with her on any emotional level."
"But once you do, she'll become beautiful in your eyes."
"Once I get to know her well enough, yes."
"And what about me?" Rogue asked with a smile.
He smiled back. "My dear, you're the first person I've
met who fits into all five categories."
"Aw," she cooed, "that's sweet."
"All this stuff was part of an altar set?" Jean
asked, looking at the assortment of gold-plated goblets, crucifixes,
and candlesticks from Spain.
Will nodded. "I'm not sure, but I'd guess that it was
in a family chapel or something similar. I doubt that they'd
let the general public see this. They'd have had a revolution
within a week."
"I can see why. If I knew that the people I paid taxes
to had stuff like this when I barely had enough to eat, I'd
start feeling a little murderous myself."
"If you think this is bad, you should go to St.
Petersburg and see the stuff in the Hermitage. It sort of
makes you understand why communism got started."
"Has everyone had their fill of art for the day?"
Henry asked when they all met at the entrance.
"I enjoyed myself," Ororo said.
"So did I," Strange added. "I think I'll take
a day off when I get back to New York and spend some time
at the Metropolitan. I haven't taken advantage of the cultural
opportunities available to me in a long time."
"See, Stephen," Will said, "you did learn
something from this trip. Any arguments against hitting the
gift shop and then finding someplace for lunch?"
"None here," Jean told him.
Will selected a book on the Institute's medieval arms collection,
Strange bought a small fountain, Ororo chose a replica of
a statue from the African gallery, Henry purchased a poster
of the painting American Gothic, and Rogue decided
on both a scarf that showed a silkscreen of Seurat's A
Sunday Afternoon On the Island of La Grande Jatte and
a small bracelet made of Russian amber.
"So what's the consensus on lunch?" Will asked
as they left the Institute. "Do we find a restaurant
or go with the vendors?"
"I think I want to try one of those beefsteaks,"
"And I'm in the mood for pizza," Strange decided.
"The vendors it is, then." Ten minutes later, they
were all seated in front of a fountain, nibbling on their
Rogue's beefsteak was piled high with peppers and onions,
and she moaned in appreciation as she ate. "Can you make
one of these?" she asked Will.
He nodded. "I'll pick up a few containers of the beef
before we head back. It's almost impossible to find the real
thing on the East Coast." He was eating a plain beefsteak
with a large pile of cheese fries on the side.
"What's next?" Jean asked him.
"We walk a few blocks to catch the El, then head over
to Oak Park for the Wright tour."
"Okay. Any other shopping stops?"
"Not unless any of you see something that you just have
to look at."
They finished eating a few minutes later, and started out
for the train. After a while, however, Will made an abrupt
turn and started walking across the street. Rogue saw his
destination, and made a quick decision.
"Grab him, Hank!" She and Henry each took one arm
and dragged him back.
"No, Will," she said firmly.
"Why did you stop him?" Strange asked Rogue curiously.
"We'd never get him out of there."
Will gazed longingly at the storefront as they firmly led
him away. The lettering on the door, Godiva Chocolatier,
looked back mockingly at him as he turned a corner.
Ororo looked up and frowned. "Explain to me again how
the chains are holding up the building."
"Okay." Will pointed towards the ceiling of Frank
Lloyd Wright's studio. "Wright made the roof so high
that the stress on the walls would make them buckle out, so
he attached the chains to the load-bearing beams, and then
linked them all together with the ring of chain. The chain
takes all the stress, and there's no need for any external
Ororo mulled that over for a few seconds, then nodded. "Magneto
would love the idea. I'm surprised that he's never used it."
"I think that he'd be a bit more of a traditionalist.
Wright's work is an acquired taste. You either love him or
"Well, I love what I've seen so far. Hiding a grand
piano inside the wall was very clever. So were the
stained glass panels over the lights."
"I was surprised you weren't nervous while you were
in there, 'Roro," Rogue commented. "I was expecting
you to go a little claustro."
"I was astonished, too," Ororo admitted, "but
the feel of the house was so.... organic, I suppose.... that
I was absolutely comfortable."
"Well, our next stop on the tour, Unity Temple, is a
lot more open."
"Wright came up with a brilliant concept. Once he realized
that concrete and steel expand and contract in exactly the
same way in response to heat, he was able to use reinforced
concrete to construct the entire building. He pulled the load-bearing
columns of the building in a few feet from the walls. That
let him punch holes in the walls to let in light and make
the columns architectural features in themselves. He called
it 'destroying the box'."
"But he sometimes used the box as a theme," Henry
"In his early works, yes, but he moved on to triangles,
circles and spirals later as his work progressed."
"He designed the Guggenheim in New York, didn't he?"
"He did, but he argued constantly with his patrons about
that particular design. They kept trying to modify his designs,
and he felt that any changes defiled the spirit of the buildings."
"That sounds a little egotistical," Jean remarked.
Will laughed. "Jean, the man was once sworn in as a
witness for a trial. When he was asked to state his profession,
he described himself as.... and I quote.... 'America's greatest
living architect'. When the judge asked him why he used that
particular phrasing, Wright said that he was sworn to tell
"Humility was not part of his nature, I see," Ororo
"Not in the least. Let's move on, shall we?"
"Okay," Rogue said as she sat down on a bench,
"that's enough walking for me. Let's take a break."
"Are you all right?" Will asked as he sat down
"I'm fine. I think I'm going to start jogging a bit
more when we get back, though."
"We'll try to ease you into it," Henry said. "You're
still off-duty for the next month, remember."
Rogue was silent for a long moment. "Excuse me?"
she asked with a sweet voice and a steely gaze.
Henry, who was facing away from Rogue, failed to notice the
way her eyes narrowed. "I thought I told you about that."
"No, actually, you didn't," she informed him in
a frosty tone.
Will, who was looking at Rogue's eyes, sensed an impending
eruption similar in scale to Krakatoa on anabolic steroids,
and hastily stepped in. "We made that prognosis before
you began the massage therapy. If you keep improving the way
you have been, we might be able to shave some time off of
"That's right," Henry added, grabbing tight hold
of the straw that had just been placed within his reach. "Besides,
you might be able to spend the time helping Will build his
Nice save, Hank, Jean told him.
"Well, okay," Rogue grumbled. "I still don't
like it, though."
"We all have our burdens to bear, dear," Ororo
Will glanced at his watch. "Why don't we hit the antique
stores for a while, then head over to Union Station to meet
up with Bobby?"
"I like it," Jean said as she stood up. "Let's
They found an antique mall after asking around, and spent
the better part of two hours wandering among the furniture,
paintings, and other objects. Will purchased a Japanese katana,
after carefully studying the blade, removing the hilt, and
asking Rogue to translate the chop mark on the tang.
Jean, who had been eyeing an end table, pointed it out to
Will. "Do you think that would match the other furniture
that's in my place?"
Will thought about it a moment. "I think it may be a
little too dark. Your house has more of a country feel to
it." He leaned over close to her. "Besides,"
he whispered, "it won't fit in the van, and I don't think
that we want to tell the salesman how we're really
going to take it home, do we?"
"Good point," she admitted.
"If you like," he offered, "I can build
you something close to it. Or I could make a combination table,
high-back bench seat, and storage cabinet. Given how little
free space you have in your place, it's probably your best
"You can do that?" she asked.
"Sure. It's a pretty straightforward design. I'll draw
up the plans for you when we get back."
"Speaking of drawing things up," Ororo reminded
him, "didn't you say that you wanted to get started on
those documents today?"
"Oh, that's right. Thanks for reminding me. Just let
me make one purchase and take care of the shipping arrangements,
and we'll be set to go." He walked over to one of the
"What did he want to buy?" Jean asked Rogue.
"I'm not sure." They walked over to where Will
was making shipping arrangements with the salesperson.
"Okay, so you can just make the delivery charges C.O.D.?"
"No problem. You should have them in about a week."
"There's no rush. Send them out with your next big shipment
to New York, or make arrangements with somebody who's moving.
I probably won't need them for a month or so."
"Need what?" Rogue asked.
"Those," he said, pointing at five huge
rotary saw blades leaning against a wall.
"What in the hell do you want with those?" she
"The steel is perfect for making knife blades. I'll
have material to work with for years."
After over half an hour of wandering, they found a copy center,
where Will spent about twenty minutes writing up the contracts
for the X-Men. After he had finished typing, he motioned Rogue
over to his side. "I'm going to have the boys at the
Crypt set up an identity for you as May O'Hara. Why don't
you sign using that as your name?"
Rogue nodded. "No problem. You still need to find a
notary, don't you?"
"They've got one here, and the hotel can get your contracts
off to the airport tonight. They'll find a courier without
any hassle. Jeff should have them by noon tomorrow, Dublin
After everyone had signed, and the contracts had been notarized,
they found the nearest platform for the El and took the train
to Union Station. Will seemed to know his way around, and
they quickly found Bobby at the coffee shop, sipping his iced
"How was the game?" Henry asked.
"The Sox won, seven to four." He pulled a baseball
cap out of his bag and put it on. "Everybody set?"
"We're going to go check out," Jean informed him.
"Then Will's going to zap us back to Salem Center."
"Actually, we'll go to New York first," Will corrected
her. "Stephen was out guest, so it's only right to drop
him off at his place."
"That's not necessary," Strange protested.
"I'm in an accommodating mood, Stephen. Take advantage
of it. There's no telling how long it'll be before I'm back
to my usual cantankerous self. By the way, Jean, I do not
'zap' people. I transit them."
"That's right," Ororo said. "Zapping people
is my department."
"Sorry, Ororo," Jean said politely. "I'll
try to work on my terminology."
It took everyone about an hour to pack up everything and
put it in the van. The sheer volume of things that they had
purchased on the trip made closing the doors a bit of a problem,
and it took a combination of Rogue's strength and a few telekinetic
shoves to get everything into place.
Will made sure to leave generous tips on the pillows for
the maids, and rewarded himself for his generosity by taking
all of the chocolates that had been left out. A quick swipe
of his credit card at the front desk paid for everything,
and the van pulled out of its parking space five minutes later.
"Is there anyone nearby, Jean?" Will asked as they
started descending the ramp.
"No. No cameras, either."
"Good." A Door opened in front of the van, and
Henry drove right into it.
"Where are we?" Bobby asked.
"The service entrance for my sanctum," Strange
supplied. "Good aim, Will."
"Thanks. Need any help?"
"No need." He stepped out of the van, then waved
his hand. The bags containing his things floated out of their
storage places in the van and hovered around him. "Call
me in a few days, once you're settled in again and feel up
to getting back to your training."
Will nodded. "Thanks for all your help, Stephen. See
you again soon." He closed the door to the van. Another
Door opened in front of the van, and it drove on through.
Strange looked at the now empty spot for a few moments, then
opened the door and went inside.
"I'm back, Wong!" he declared.
"Hello, Master," the younger man replied, too used
to Strange's comings and goings by then to even blink. "Did
you enjoy your trip?"
"It was a nice, relaxing vacation. I do, however, have
some more questions about Mister Riley that need to be answered.
That can wait until tomorrow, though.
"Right now, I'm taking a nap."
After checking to make sure that Graymalkin Lane was devoid
of cars or pedestrians, Will motioned the van through. "Who
has their smart card?" he asked. "Mine's packed
"I've got it," Jean said, pressing her ID against
the identification plate. The gate opened with a click, and
they drove on through. "I just let Scott and Charles
know that we're back. Could you just drop me off at the house,
Hank? Scott's there right now."
"'Ask, and ye shall receive'." Henry made the turn
towards the lake, and they pulled up in front of the boathouse
a few minutes later.
Scott walked out the front door as Jean and the others stepped
out of the van. Without saying a word, he stepped up to Jean
and gave her a long, lingering kiss.
"Not bad," Will said when they were done. "I
would have given the two of you another fifteen seconds before
hypoxia set in." He pulled Jean's packages out from the
van and handed them to Scott. "I'd tell you to get some
sleep, Jean, but your husband looks like he has other ideas.
See you tomorrow." He started to get back in the van.
"Wait," Scott said before Will had shut the door.
Will turned around and looked at Scott steadily. "Yes?"
Scott took a deep breath. "I.... want to apologize.
"I had no right to say what I did to you. I was upset,
and angry, and I took advantage of the fact that you'd been
traumatized. I've had a lot of time to think since it happened,
and I realized that I haven't been fair to you since you got
here. That nearly got you killed when you went up against
Apocalypse, and almost got all the X-Men killed too.
"I can't make up for what I've already done to you.
All I can do is promise to start over, and try to work with
you without judging you, both as an X-Man, and as a member
of this family." He extended his right hand to Will.
Will looked at Scott for several long seconds before speaking.
"Emotionally, I've just been through the wringer. I'm
really not in any shape right now to make a decision like
this. I need to rest, and recover, and center myself again."
He stepped up into his seat and took hold of the door handle.
"Maybe tomorrow, I'll be willing to accept your apology."
He shut the door.
"But not today."
He was silent for the rest of the trip back to the mansion.
"Scott deserved what you said to him."
Will turned around to see Rogue in his doorway. "I thought
I was a little harsh, myself."
She shook her head. "He caused too much damage for a
simple apology to be enough. He needs to prove that he meant
what he said. You're done unpacking?"
"Almost. What did Henry say about your shoulder?"
"I'll be starting therapy for it in the morning. The
Professor said you can look at the stables tomorrow, if you
He nodded. "Well, I'm hitting the shower for a while,
then I'm going to bed. See you later?"
"Sure. Sleep yourself out, Will." She closed the
door behind her as she left.
Will was annoyed with himself as he showered, convinced that
he should have said something more to Rogue, although he couldn't
decide just what. He grimaced in exasperation, then rinsed
himself off and turned off the water. He dried himself off
quickly, then put on his robe and walked into the bedroom.
"You took longer than I expected."
He looked up at Rogue, who was wearing a flannel robe and
a bright red pair of silk, Chinese-style pajamas, complete
with socks and gloves, that buttoned up to her neck.
"I don't really feel like I'm home yet," she explained,
as she handed him a light pair of white cotton gloves. "I
don't want to spend the night alone."
He smiled. "Neither do I." He put on the gloves
and the pajamas that Strange had made for him, then shut off
the lights. They both burrowed underneath the covers, and
after he spent a minute rearranging the pillows, Rogue settled
her head against his chest.
"Now I feel like I'm home."
Continued in Chapter
Author's Notes: Now that we've
cast our votes on an actor to play Will, It's time for a contest!
All you budding artists and photomanipulators out there can
send me your vision of what Will Riley looks like! Just base
your work on what's already been said about Will in regards
to appearance, height, dress, etc., and send the scanned pic
to either me or
Aly. I'm interested
in what you, my readers, see in Will. My personal votes
for an 'established' artist to draw Will are Jim Lee (back
when he was drawing X-Men), Dave McKean, or Bill Sienkiewicz
during his New Mutants run. Please keep in mind that
Will's eyes glow silver when his power is active, but the
details of his eyes are still visible. I know that I'm dating
myself here, but think of the glowing eyes of the choirboys
in the video to the original cut of Total Eclipse of the
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