Past Interlude #1
Westchester, New York - 1995



Every time they met, Chris Summers made Moira's hair stand on end. She'd be damned if the man wasn't an empath. She'd asked Charles to do a scan but the results were negative. Near the top of Moira's hit list were the swaggering stance, the devil-may-care grin, and the half-lidded eyes that carefully hid intelligence but, again, those were only the ones at the top of the list. She could name a thousand more reasons for her aversion but unfortunately, she didn't have a pen and paper handy.

Moira, attempt to be civil.

I'm always civil, Charles.

I meant mentally civil. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to maintain my composure when you're muttering in the background?

Moira only inclined her head neutrally as she opened the door to Charles' office. Chris Summers turned around from his study of the leather-bound volumes on the wall. That blasted grin popped onto his face.

"It's good to see you again, Captain Summers." Moira leaned forward slightly and the two shook hands.

"Same here, Professor." Chris shook Charles' hand as well. "Thanks so much for helping out with the tickets. I didn't want to leave the boys by themselves but with Scott's problem..." He wagged his head, hands fiddling for something to hold.

"It was an emergency and an understandable one," said Charles. "But the thanks must go to a friend who lent us the plane."

Chris whistled around a smile. "You got friends in high places, Professor."

The corner of Moira's mouth tipped up. "Charles is an expert at networking."

Charles only nodded in acknowledgement. "Well, then. Let's meet your boys. I'm sure they've had their fill from the kitchen and are chomping at the bit to explore the grounds."

"Something like that." Chris fell in step with Charles' wheelchair. Moira strolled at Charles' right, hands tucked into her cardigan. "I gotta tell ya, Professors, it's right exhausting looking after four boys. You'd think it gets easier after the second one but no, they come up with new brands of trouble every year."

Perhaps if you didn't feel the need to breed with every woman that crossed your path

Moira! Charles worked to keep his expression bland. "You have four sons now?"

"Yessir." He beamed. He honestly loved his kids; Moira had to give him that. "Scott and Remy are seventeen now, as you know. Alex is fourteen and Adam's seven."

Dear heavenly Father, does the man have super-charged Y chromosomes?

Moira, please.

What are the odds, Charles? Do you suppose there are three undiscovered daughters running about for every son? Imagine: an entire country single-handedly populated by this man.

"And how is Remy?" asked Charles, his desperation colouring nothing but his mental voice. "He is no longer having problems?"

"Problems? Hah!" Chris slapped his thigh. Moira's teeth clenched as she added "thigh-slapping" to her list of Annoying Summers Habits. "The things he can do with that gift of his. I heard he's been trying to cook things by charging it."

"Heard?" said Moira quietly. "Has he not shown it to ye himself?"

Chris's lips tightened and his face went cold. "He shows me experiments that work out, Ms. MacTaggart. If you're insinuating anything about how I raise my boys--"

"She is doing no such thing," said Charles, ever the peace-maker. "We are too used closely observing the majority of our students' progress, that's all."

"Of course," murmured Moira.

"Well, the boys are doing great," Chris bit out. "Remy's eyes don't bother him any more and neither does his power. As soon as you can give us me some exercises with Scott like you did with Remy, we'll be out of your hair."


Moira, your undue dislike for Capt. Summers is becoming too obvious.

Where does it say that I must like all the students' parents?

My dear no-one can claim to be a perfect parent.

The Summers brood sat uncharacteristically quiet in the patio. Sandwiches, lemonade, and brownies sat untouched on the low table beside the scroll-backed bench. The youngest-- a tow-headed moppet with big brown eyes-- curled just inches from a scrawny, dark-haired youth with a bandage knotted tightly around his eyes and fear stiffening his posture. Another boy, also dark-haired, pressed against the other side of the bench, his cigarette blowing ashes on a deck of cards. Standing farthest was another blond, this one just stepping out of childhood, his cheeks still rounded but with a sturdy frame and large hands.

At the adults' approach, the boy with the bandage angled his head slightly, searching.

"Hello, Scott," Xavier said. "Remy, Alex, it's good to see you again. And you must be Adam." The little one nodded, sitting up. "How did you like your plane-ride, Adam?"

"It wasn't as noisy as Daddy's plane," he answered. "But Daddy gots more jets on his plane and it goes lots faster but it don't gots any chairs like yours. Why do you have a funny chair?"

"Because my legs don't work," said Charles, delighted by the little one's candor.

"I bet you could if you really tried." He hopped off the bench. "I want to try it."

"Adam," Scott admonished. "Sir, I'm sorry. I'll keep a hold of him."

"It's nothing, Scott," Charles said. "However, I have a feeling that you would rather we get right down to business."

"If it wouldn't be too much trouble, sir."

Remy yanked at Alex's arm so they could get out of the way. He shrugged it off, walking to Chris' side by himself while Remy flicked his cigarette away and gathered the squirming Adam.

With everyone a safe ten feet away, Charles said, "Take off the bandage and we'll see what we can do."

Scott yanked the knot off. A swath of red streamed from his eyes and, within seconds, two north-eastern acres were cleared of all trees, bushes and lilting buildings.

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