Not For Sale: Safety Huddle

Summary:
October 26, 2014: An Xavier Institute field trip goes horribly wrong.

Museum of Natural History

<Location Description>


Characters

NPCs

  • Xavier Institute students
  • Sparky
  • Ghost
  • Hex
  • Emits from Invisible Woman

Mood Music:
[*<http://insert.video.or.music.link.here>]


It's midmorning, and the sun reflects brilliantly through the windows at the Museum of Natural History. Exhibits upon exhibits of fossils demonstrate the long hailed process of evolution, and biological difference across both time and space. Even snails look magnificent encased in rock thanks to the brilliant colours of many trilobites and their mineral deposits.

The exhibit heralds row upon row of dinosaur bones, species, and, the occasional species approximation, and even has one of three species of dinosaurs found with imprints of features. While scales had always been assumed, feathered imprints found in the badlands of Drumheller only present new evidence. There's a lesson there, somewhere about certainty.

The space itself is quite busy. Civilians of various ages, social statuses and ethnicities mill about the area. Many linger in front of Rex — a loan from the Royal Canadian Museum of Palaeontology ironically featured in Night at the Museum (which takes place in the Museum of Natural History — a place where the dino doesn't usually reside).

Rex is massive. Despite what most think, the actual fossil isn't on display. Well, not entirely, anyways thanks to weight.

She is regal, undeniably. Ridiculously tall — at least the height of seven very tall men, and ludicrously long thanks to her long tail and massive build.

One gentleman leans against Rex's signage (all of those descriptors of where she was found, what she's made of now, and who discovered her), seemingly staring intently at what would've been a formidable beast way back when. But his gaze is through the dino, at the world across the bones and other patrons of the museum.

-

"Mr. Summers!"

Dee Anthony, a young mutant girl in the fourth grade, tugs at the cuff of her teacher's duster. "Mr. Summers!!"

Scott is midway through instructing his students on the nature of evolution, when he's distracted by one of his students. Dee is among those mutants who can't easily hide in public, given the spikes that form a ridge upon her scalp that easily peek through blond locks. Her mutation has an ugly side effect; a heightened metabolism that has her in constant need of sustenance, and a continual urge to use the bathroom.

"Mr. Summers, I…"

"It's alright, Dee." He reaches out to fold his hand around hers, then casts a glance toward Elizabeth. "Ms. Braddock will take anyone who needs to use the restroom." He smiles beneath the ruby glasses that cover his eyes, an apologetic look. This accounts for the fifth time that he's asked Betsy to accompany the young girl to the ladies room.

"As for the rest of us, there's a particularly interesting exhibit that is on loan, and we're going to have a look at it before breaking for a snack. His name is Rex, and he's nothing to be trifled with! Now, everyone take your partner's hand, and let's move."

-

*BBbZZZZTTT!*

A horrid smell wafts to the back of the line as Elizabeth immediately reaches a gloved hand upward to hold upon her nose. "Blimey.." She hisses beneath her breath, the children who were in the back right along with her begin to giggle and snicker, along with a little girl who sings out.. "Ewwww! Billy faaaaarted!"

Great. Mr. Summers was very lucky that he was good looking and convincing enough for her to pull her weight with the children, while she'd rather be wined and dined with expensive caviar and shopping sprees topped with the finest wine that money could by.

Cheapskate.

"One of you rotten buggers are going to get a -right- talking to when we get back to the school." She hisses, violet eyes flitting towards each child as Little Dee, adorable sort, tugs upon her pant leg. "Mr. Summers says that you have to take me to the bathroom again!"

A turn of her head and a roll of her eyes was given out of sight, and soon, Elizabeth lowers herself to eye level of the young girl. "Oy? We're going to be young women about this. We will no longer use the term bathroom, but instead, we'll say.. 'I'm going to go powder my nose.'" Dee giggles a little, both hands covering her mouth as she begins to subtly dance to keep herself busy.

"Go on, try it my darling. Say it with me." As they both sing the words aloud, Elizabeth pops right up, tiny hand in tow as she gestures towards the rest of the kidlets. "C'mon you lot, time to fix our hair and powder our noses!"

Sparing a slightly annoyed glance towards Scott, she forms the line with Dee at the helm and holding her hand, skipping along and singing the song.. 'We're going to fix our hair and powder our noses..' repeatedly, boys and girls included.

-

A woman lingers behind them, presumably enjoying the many creatures, and possibly eavesdropping on the lecture (as many do during museum tours of any kind). Her neck cranes and grey-blue eyes seek out the gentleman that had been staring at Rex at length. There's a small curve of her lips and a tilt of her head. Pale fingers comb through dark hair and she tugs each of those nearly-black locks into a loose ponytail.

Her head ticks to the side, prompting the man across the way to straighten. He gives a tug to his very nondescript peacoat — and his gaze follows to where she'd motioned.

Dark eyes fall on Dee and he nods once towards the woman. The long line of kids treading to the washroom has him trailing away from Rex and his hands retreating into his pockets.

He clears his throat and then murmurs softly, "I think we have a target. Need back-up. Fourth floor. Fossil room. Sparky is on it already. Surveilling and waiting for doers."

He nods meaningfully as if listening to a voice and then offers back, "Understood. Will subdue as required, sir."

The woman, for her part, arches a wry eyebrow as she follows theline of children towards the washroom. She mutters quietly, presumably into her own comlink, "You know I hate that nickname."

-

Well aware that Scott is going to owe Elizabeth for all of this, he simply looks on for a few moments with a smug grin upon his face. He definitely had a way with the children; one might have said that she lacked such talent, but in truth, he was happy to see them laughing. He nods his head toward Elizabeth as she departs with those who seek to use the washroom, then diverts his attention to the seven students who desire to stay with him. "Rex," he begins, "is on loan to the museum from the Royal Canadian Museum of Paleontology. Who can tell me where Canada is?"

A third grader, Seth Wilson, raises his hand.

"Mr. Wilson?"

"It's a big country north of the USA!"

"Very good," answers Scott. "Now, extra points for the first one who can repeat the definition of 'Paleontology'." He stops in front of Rex, and folds his arms while studying the students, most of whom are now staring slack jawed at the exhibit. "I guess 'extra credit' isn't that interesting any more?" he asks with a smirk.

Bets, if you're listening to this, I -do- owe you for this. Big time.

-

"Ms. Braddock.. I don't want to go into the womens bathroom!" Billy whined.

"No love, we're going into the family restroom. One at a time, yes? Keep that lineformed, Ms. Dee first."

She parts the door and looks inside first, peering to and fro as she allows the girl inside after the lightswitch is flipped.

You certainly do, and not a word of this to the others.

Why? It was Betsy's sing along time.

"My darlings, Halloween is coming up, do you know what you want to be?"

Jacqueline raises her hand almost immediately. "I want to be a witch!" Even though she's spoken out of turn, Elizabeth found that adorable.

"A witch you say? Well, I remember my mother singing me a song nearly every night to the days leading up to Halloween. Would you like to hear it?"

The children nod eagerly, and a smile crosses her face. "Well then."

"Old Mrs. Witch, Old Mrs. Witch,

Tell me how you fly.. tell me how you fly.."

-

A small crowd drifts behind the students, with the occasional patron interrupting the group and walking between them — the museum seems to be getting busier by the minute. But nothing really seems out of place, not for a public museum in New York. People dress casual enough.

A young fellow, no older than twenty, bumps into one of the many bodies and trips right behind where Scott lectures his students, possibly on his own shoelaces. But then, it's a busy place filled with things to look at; consequently, it's easy to be distracted by something and not watch where one is going.

The woman, also known as Sparky, lines up behind the others at the family washroom and manages a soft smile towards the children and then Elizabeth in turn. Evidently she's needing this bathroom. Her eyebrows draw together and she steps out of the line, walking a bit away from it while rifling through the messenger bag-like purse that hangs over her shoulder like she lost something to the bottom of her bag.

Meanwhile, the fellow that had stood behind Rex has move around the dino and treaded towards the gathering group. He strides right up to Elizabeth and directs his gaze to her, "Ma'am, are all of these your children?" there's a measure of skepticism in his voice.

-

One of the Class Leaders, a sixth grader named Kwaku, raises his hand. Scott lifts his chin a bit and gestures with an open hand toward the Class Leader.

"Paleontology is a science. And it deals with life before the, uh… the Holocene Epoch!"

"Very good, Kwaku, and what exactly is the Holocene Epoch?"

What answer may have been given, it's suddenly lost amidst laughter erupting from three of the seven students accompanying Scott. These three point at the man who had tripped behind Scott, who draws his attention toward the young man. A disapproving look is flashed back toward those three, before he turns back toward the young fellow. "Are you alright?" he asks, and offers a hand to help the young man up. Lead by example, he has always said, and this is a prime time to show those three in particular that it's not appropriate to laugh at a man who just tripped over his own shoelaces.

It'll be our own secret. You enjoy sushi?

-

The little song she sings the children dies down as she stands upright. With Dee finishing up in the restroom, she presses an ear to the door to hear the water run, silently glad that she doesn't have to tell it to her twice. Washing your hands prevents the spread of germs, children! Amirite?

Of course, I lo-..

The mental words were cut off at the interruption of the man, her brows knitting into a slight curve downward, along with a little step forward to place herself in between the man and the children. Protectively. She would do well with the mothering thing, of course. Possessiveness, jealousy, yeah. She'd make a great mother, for these kids were hers as soon as they stepped foot off of the compound.

"Yes. These children belong to me. I am their maths teacher, and we are here as a group to study Natural History." Her head tilts a little to the side, whatever smile she had upon her face, waning.

"And might I ask what concern it is, that these children belong to me or no?"

Scott..

-

The young man flashes Scott a self-deprecating smile and slowly peels himself from the floor. The hand is accepted. "I'm fine," he manages with a lopsided grin. "Just a little clumsy, it seems — " A glance is given to the laughing children and his eyebrows arch upwards at the small group. "Busy place," he offers with a faint shrug of his shoulders.

The man at the bathroom watches Betsy carefully at the response. "Ah," he states with feigned understanding. "Class trip then?" he asks as his hands cross over his chest. His eyes narrow at the question, "Just running security, ma'am." But he isn't uniformed. That doesn't seem quite right.

Sparky, for her part, glances at the stairs and her eyebrows tick upwards in anticipation. "I have my exit decided, gentleman. Ghost, keep her busy," she murmurs quietly. "Hex? Try to be clumsier. I'll watch for the girl's exit. Remember your roles." She shoots one a passerby a warm smile.

The young man near Scott gets bumped from behind literally moments after straightening, prompting him to tumble to the floor again.

-

Scott grins right back at the young man called 'Hex'. "Be more careful next time," he suggests, before turning back to his students. "Daniel, Franklin, Tabitha." He speaks their names sternly. "Front of the group, right now." Odds are, the school teacher with an odd choice for indoor eyewear is about to scold them for laughing at a passerby.

However, while the three shuffle up front, Scott seems momentarily distracted.

Bets? Everything alright? His head turns, and beneath the glasses, eyes are roaming in search of the restrooms, where Elizabeth had taken the rest of the class. However, a collective gasp from his students and the sound of Hex tumbling to the ground has his attention split. He's a bit slow on the uptake, which is why the sixth grader, Kwaku, rushes out of the group and kneels down by Hex. "Mister, are you okay?"

There was something about the way Elizabeth's telepathic message felt. As if she was concerned. Scott keeps his attention fixated upon Kwaku for a moment, before taking a step back so that he can view both of them and the other six students gathered in a cluster close by. "Are you lost?" he asks, though there's an unspoken undertone to his voice. They're in the city; there's a chance the twenty-something is on drugs, and that's the last thing he wants his students exposed to. "Do you need me to call for help?"

-

Elizabeth doesn't answer right away. Her attention was focused upon the man until the bathroom door opens and Dee appears with wet hands. "Ms. Braddock, see! I washed them!"

Good girl, good.. good girl." Elizabeth murmured, her smile suddenly growing as she attempts to hold the mans attention. "Yes. A class trip." She begins to poke and prod, add a suggestion. The tiniest one that he should walk away, that everything is safe. The children were in good hands and they were just simply brilliant.

"And what a fine job of it you are doing my darling. One could appreciate that you care for the children so much to see to it that they are safe. Perhaps you should direction your focus elsewhere.." Suggestion. ".. the children are in safe hands.." Part suggestion, all truth. "..And we should get back to our other classmates and teacher."

-

"Right," the man replies towards Elizabeth. "Right. Of course the children are safe with you — " Ghost takes a single step backwards, the suggestion seemingly having some power as he moves.

"What are you doing?" Sparky deadpans quietly as he begins to move away from Elizabeth. "Don't break the plan — " but he takes another step away. It's a slow move, mostly because his own will fights against the suggestion.

Her gaze moves back to Hex, who also seems to be failing a bit at his distraction efforts.

"Uh…" Hex begins towards Scott. "Lost is an understatement," he answers with another twitch of his lips, this time in exasperation rather than a smile. "I'm so turned around — " which almost sounds high. He turns back to the kid that poses him a question, "I'll be okay, kid. Just… gotta sit for a minute. Two left feet. No luck." His eyebrows arch upwards expectantly. "What about you?"

The question about help merits his eyes to squint, "Help might be good…"

Sparky curses under her breath and presses a palm to the wall. The lights flicker several times and her eyes shift to the skylight. There's no way the room can be easily darkened, but she can, at least, create her own distraction if needed.

The lights flicker again, on and off once over.

Sparky's eyes drift closed and she inhales a slow breath. The lights brighten this time. Very slowly. Even in the exhibits behind glass the lights get brighter such that heat generates off each.

POP

CLINK

A light overhead bursts with its excess energy.

Several civilians back up, pausing around the shattered glass that lines the remains of a single lightbulb. Others gasp in surprise, and one even shrieks with the spray of glass that seems to catch her face.

"I'll get the munchkin myself," she mutters into the link. "She better have dried her hands."

-

This is not exactly a lesson Scott had intended for his students to learn. Then again, any time they are taken into the city, it's possible. "Well, I can muster one of the security guards if you'd like." His words still seem distracted, though he has the wherewithal to look directly at the Class Leader. "Kwaku."

Kwaku rises to his feet. "Yes, Mr. Summers," he answers, and rejoins the other students.

Elizabeth's silence has Scott spooked. A frown forms upon his face, and he looks away from Hex to address the others. "Alright, young men and women, I think it's time we had our snack break. Let's go and find Miss Braddock. Everyone, take your partners hand…"

When the lights begin to do odd things, the bad feeling in the pit of Scott's stomach rises to become a knot in his throat. He glances about, sharing attention with his surroundings while keeping tabs on the seven students under his charge. It isn't until the lights begin to pop that he grows truly alarmed. "Kwaku, everyone. Safety huddle!"

Kwaku, the oldest one, begins helping to usher the students into a huddle. They put their arms around each other and stay put, while Scott begins to circle around them, keeping them in view while searching for Betsy.

Bets, what's going on?

-

"MOVE." Betsy intones towards the man, the intention was clear to send him running if his resistance wasn't too high for that suggestion.

"Darlings, on me!" She barks out, her arms stretching wide enough to encompass at least three little ones, her eyes glancing to and fro as the lights begin to flicker.

All she needed to do was wait.

"What's going on?" Little Dee cried out, nestled against Betsy's side, obviously terrified. The other children began to whimper, which in reality, pissed Betsy off. It wasn't their whimpering that did it, it was what had caused it. "We're going home my darlings. Keep your hands on me and close your eyes. It'll be over soon."

Keep the children safe, my darling. There was really no time to explain. She had to get them out of there, and fast.

"Ms. Braddock, I'm scared.." Billy whined out, and was soon hugged against her as her eyes close. "I have you Billy, I have all of you. There is no need to worry, you all /will/ be safe and sound.."

The cut of her last words queued the darkness; it also hid the way her face had began to change. The red dagger formed upon her eye as she focused her energies, her minds eye towards the gymnasium of Xavier's, the darkness as her aid as the thicker shadows pooled beneath them.

I'll return for the others, Scott. Keep. Them. Safe.

And he could possibly feel it, the absence of Betsy within his mind for those split moments as the darkened door opens beneath them, and swallows the lot of them whole.

-

"And now you've stepped in it," Hex mutters back into his comlink. "You put them all on alert, how about the plan?" things are very quickly falling off the rails.

The intone from Betsy makes Ghost MOVE, as directed, eyes flickering back towards Sparky as he treads away. But even as he moves something in his mind reminds him of the importance of his mission; the importance of success. He no longer is on Betsy, he's moving back towards Rex and the gathering there, even as the lights brighten further.

"Get yourself together," comes a very different hiss through the comlink.

POP

CLINK

Electricity surges through

Sparky, for her part, curses as the children get away. "You both need to do your parts. Get the tranqs. I've given you what you need. Do it now before the operation is blown entirely. You are soldiers in this war. Do your jobs."

She focuses again, taking a long, deep breath, her eyes drift closed and she can feel electrical energy building around her. The force. Static electricity is still electricity, and she's increasingly thankful for the purposeful dryness of the museum. She pads forward, milling through the bodies, and quite purposefully brushing against each. The charge she feels edges her lips upwards. When she gets close to the group, and the encircling Scott, she reaches out a palm and uses all of that charge to give him a zap. It's only static electricity, but there's quite a bit of it.

Meanwhile, Hex, tries to catch Kwaku's gaze, "Kid. I feel… dizzy…"

And Ghost? Well. He's watching through the dino once more.

An alarm goes off in the museum.

-

Tabitha O'Connor. Her tears are acidic, and everyone knows about it. Thus, when the fear gets to her, she tries very hard to stifle the tears, but it's no use. "Tabby's gonna cry!" blurts out Daniel, and without warning, the Safety Huddle is broken, the students scampering away. Even as Tabitha's first tears hit the ground and begin chewing away at the marble flooring, two of them become lost in the commotion, their voices crying out amongst adults far taller than them. Tabitha's tears may not affect her own body, the mutant genetics giving her a unique resilience to similar caustic substances, but it's dangerous to everyone else, and they know it.

Teeth borne in a worried wince, Scott instinctively reaches into his jacket, where his tactical visor is hidden. He can feel the absence of Elizabeth's presence, not by any sort of telepathic prowess, for he has none. No, it is a favor of her own doing, a signal that for the next few moments, he's alone. His fingers curl around the visor, but he doesn't pull it out. He hesitates, for the last thing he wants to do is making an already troubling situation that much worse by injecting optic blasts into the mix.

Scott draws his hand free, and a plan is starting to form. However, before he can form words, a shock courses through him, dropping him to his knees. "Augh!" he cries out, sensation draining from his frame as he finds himself momentarily stunned, unable to move his jellied limbs.

"Mr. Summers!" the voices come from the two who were separated.

Kwaku turns his eyes from Tabitha to Hex, the back to Scott. "Mr. Summers?" he asks, before looking back at Hex. The sixth grader's eyes are wide, and for a moment he seems transfixed, unsure of what to do.

"Grrrrrhh!" growls Scott, but he's only able to drag his left leg around to put it beneath him. "Kwaku!" he calls out. "Safety Huddle!"

-

XAVIER'S INSTITUTE:

"Ms. Braddock, don't leave!" The children nearly cried.

"No worries love, I'll return. Here.." She slips the jacket that she wore from her shoulders and onto one of the childrens, a smile with a bit of a twinkle in her eye is seen.

"Ms. Braddock, your face.."

"It's alright. I'll return with the rest of the children, Billy, go find Hank."

She rushes off towards the corner of the gymnasium, only to disappear behind the stands…

MUSEUM:

..and appears right back into the middle of a mayhem.

Scott, the children!

The red scar that damages her face becomes even deeper as she takes off into a run, silently cursing herself as heels weren't as a practical thing to combat in, let alone run. Yet she still did, not running into Scott's direction but for Tabitha O'Connor, while she was as cute as a button, she was the more dangerous of the lot. And sadly? Scott was on his own for now.

-

The tranquilizers are quick. Ghost shoots the first dart to Tabitha, causing the crying girl to cease crying and collapse to the ground. The drugs are quick. While Elizabeth runs for her, so does Ghost — through the dinosaur. He rematerializes on the other side, palm reaching for the child and going immaterial, causing both to drop through the ground.

With the sixth grader's eyes on him, Hex slips to the ground again. He reaches out a single hand, "Help me up, Kid?" his tranquilizer isn't a dart so much as a ring that can puncture skin easily enough.

Sparky, however, doesn't move from her position, instead walking around Scott like a cat stalking her prey. This wasn't how the operation was supposed to go, but Sparky works in reality, not the theoretical. She kicks off both of her shoes, the rubber grounding more than she needs for this moment and she holds up both of her palms. Electricity begins for form around her again, now permitted to to draw through the lighting along the floor. While she can't create electricity, she can act as a conduit, and a conduit she is. Her palms face one another and sparks BZZT between them, accumulating as she watches Summers and allows her comrades to do their jobs.

-

"Kwaku, no!"

Scott virtually demands that the Class Leader listen to him, but Kwaku believes in the good of helping others, and is too damned young to know when to turn away. He takes Hex's hand, and slumps over within two blinks, the tranquilizer working quickly.

Beneath the glasses, Scott's eyes turn upon Sparky. She won't be able to see the look in his eyes, but the scowl of his face is not pretty. He's not a man given to violence, and has tended to approach confrontation from a very methodical place. But this, the threatening of his students, it draws something from deep within, an emotion he has spent years mastering. It only takes a few moments for viciousness and savagery to work its way from that hidden cell and into his being, so it's probably a good thing that he simply cannot move. Not nearly fast enough, at least.

"Bring her back," he snarls toward Sparky. "I swear to God, you bring her back or I'll show you the definition if hell." No, this does not sound at all like Scott Summers.

With sensation's gradual return, he starts the painstaking process of moving his hand back toward his duster's inside pocket, where his tactical visor is hidden. If he could just get it on in time…

-

"Tabitha!" Elizabeth shrieks, she even goes so far as to leap within the air and attempt to slide to grasp her, but she reaches nothing.

Nothing.

The other children have long scattered and possibly hidden away, she couldn't see them, she was a little too frantic and angry to find them, which was good for their sakes.

Hearing Scott shout Kwaku's name causes her to watch the scene unfold entirely too late, and as the little boy slumps into Hex's arms, her eyes widen and hand strikes out towards the three.

"PUT. HIM. DOWN!" The barked order carried as much psychic influence as she could, pushed out towards the two with the intentions of her words carrying weight. Little did Elizabeth know, was that something else toyed at her fingertips; a sharp and sudden telekinetic wave that just may lay all four of them upon the flat of their behinds. She didn't care, however. Not at a time like this, for she scrambles to her feet and slips a touch due to heel and staggers forth with the intention to do harm, fingers curling into fists as purple, psionic daggers form with a flick of wrists.

-

The spark between her palms is redirected, and both of Sparky's palms face towards Scott. She uses all of that accumulated energy and pushes a bolt towards Scott — not enough for real damage, but possibly for another stun. Her palms face one another again only to be thrown backwards thanks to the telekinetic energy that flies towards her.

THUD

She groans loudly, her body stiffening against the impact of the tile on her body.

THUD

THUD

Both Kwaku and Hex fall backwards. "Yeah… no," the man murmurs from his spot on the floor. And everything deadens. Everything.

Sparky touches the ground to call on electricity, and nothing happens. Not a single thing. She can't even sense it. But then, that is Hex's charm. The can null abilities. Never entirely, and never perfectly, but his skill is very much there.

Hex peels himself from the floor and flings the kid over his shoulder. It's not the most elegant movement thanks to bruising and swelling from the psychic slam.

-

Scott is pummeled by the static discharge and the unexpected telekinetic blast, throwing him to the ground. His glasses scatter across the floor, but he's too slow to close his eyes. For a second, he stares at those tiles in defeat, but there is no red glow, no impending destruction. Instead, he stares owlishly at the floor, brown eyes exposed beneath thick, hide-like eyelids. He knows he should take action; try to move his limbs, try to do something.

But all he can do is stare at the floor, with nothing separating him from it. No visor, no red lenses, and no destructive power. Even the sense of loss and anger is briefly taken from him when he realizes what's happened, but it only lasts so long.

"No." Scott turns, pushes his palms onto the floor, and growls ferociously. His legs come up beneath him, and he pushes with all of his might until he's upon hand and knee. Broken, stunned, moving far too slow to be of any real help. All he can do is call out in the hopes that whomever is left might hear his voice.

"S… Safety Huddle!"

But there is no response. The children under his guard, all six of them not counting Kwaku, they're gone. Ghostedaway, or lost in the mayhem. Though he strains about, looking for them with unguarded eyes, they're nowhere to be seen.

-

There was a moment, that moment where she would have screamed for Scott to close his eyes, but there was no need. From where she stood, she could see that his eyes were open. Wide open in fact. And it was the first time she caught at least a sideways glimpse of what would be his true color. Nevermind that now. The closer she stalked towards the three, the more she felt herself fading; the purple daggers that formed in her hand slowly melted away as the voices that constantly interrupt her own way of thinking (unashamed) left her with only once voice. The realization hits all too late that she had nothing.. no powers, no psionics, nothing to defend the children with…

But nail, tooth, and skill.

She didn't care, she was determined to reach Kwaku, her pace picking up a little bit more, hand reaching out in attempts to grab the boys shirt to yank him right off of the mans shoulder. She should have kicked.. but no. She would have hurt Kwaku, that was for certain.

-

Sparky rolls on the tile. She presses herself up to a stand and pushes her fingers to her ears. Her eyes flit towards her now-moving comrade with a target in tow, only to smirk. "Aye, sir," she answers with an easier smile. "You heard him Hex. We got more than enough specimens. Time to leave."

She turns on her heel, and disappears further into the exhibit, to the sound of the alarm, exiting patrons, and general mayhem surrounding the exits.

Orders are orders, and while he worked hard for this kid, Hex relinquishes him easily enough, allowing him to slide of this shoulder as he moves into a run. The further he gets away from Scott and Betsy, the more their abilities seem to return.

-

Scott finally finds his footing, though he's still too stunned to move. Taking a single step almost topples him over, so he stands there and watches as Elizabeth goes after Kwaku. He stares for a long moment, until his vision begins to redden. A red-orange glow forms in his irises, but with a gasp, he clamps his eyes shut again before it's too late, before the energy can truly seep out. Face scrunched up, he stands there like a cripple, blind and too shocked to react.

"Mr. Summers?"

The voice comes from Franklin Edwards, a third grader who heard Scott's call for a safety huddle. The boy scoops up Scott's glasses and tucks them into his teacher's hand. "Mr. Summers, I'm a-scared."

Shaken from shock, Scott curls his fingers around the glasses and fixes them to his face once more, paired with a sharp inhalation of air through his nose. He turns to Franklin and puts both hands on the boy's shoulders. "It's alright, Franklin. You're safe now. Everything's gonna be okay." The words are soothing, but not as heartfelt as they usually would be. You see,a bit of Scott Summers' soul was ripped away today, and it won't come back until all seven of his students are back home, where they belong.

-

There was no more fight left; Kwaku was safe in her arms and cradled like a sleeping babe against her bosom. Her eyes remain upon the back of his head until he departs, her gaze soon turning towards Scott and Franklin, approaching the two with slow steps and a slight wobble from a newly broken heel.

There were no words to be shared for this moment, only a close proximity of the two were needed to bring the four together into a circle. Her intention, to take the three back home as she continues to search unaided and unaccompanied.

"Hold on to me Franklin, we're going home." She quietly murmurs, fingers clutching upon the arm of Scott as the boy takes the wrist that holds tight to Kwaku. The darkness pools at their feet.. and as before.. they vanish through.


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