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L. Burke

Bears, Floods and Survivors 

DISCLAIMER: The characters belong to Marvel, and are
used without permission for entertainment purposes only.

(One hundred sixty three.) Scott Summers stewed silently as his head once again hit the roof of the SUV that Logan was driving. (One hundred sixty four) he counted again as once again the SUV hit another large pothole. Scott looked at the man driving in the seat next to him and glared. Logan just smiled sweetly in his direction and aimed for another pothole. Scott once again felt his head bounce off the SUV roof. Peter groaned and Kurt was starting to look a little irritated. Kitty Pryde was just sitting between the two men in the back seat, smiling, and giving Scott considering looks. Scott was starting to feel like a lab rat. The five of them had been trapped in this torture trap of a SUV for the last three days. They were heading to quote Logan "The best damned camping spot he'd ever been to." All Scott wanted to see was something that resembled a road.

(One hundred sixty five) Scott once again counted. He felt the muscle in the back of his jaw twitch. He couldn't feel where his head kept hitting the roof anymore. He supposed that was a blessing. He turned and glared at Logan again. Logan just smiled at him sweetly, put yet another smelly cigar in his mouth and lit it. Kurt glared at Logan from the back seat and rolled down a window. (He hits just ONE more pothole. I going to blast all the flesh off those bones of his and use him as a wind chime. I'll take my chances with Storm.)

Surprisingly it was Peter who snapped first. "Comrade if you hit just ONE more pothole. When we get to the campsite I am going to make you a smear on the ground. That's if I don't take your head off with the strap of your seat belt first. Do I make myself clear?" Scott decided at that moment. If Peter did go through with murdering Logan he'd help Peter hide the body. The professor would never know.

"Calm down Peter. We're almost there. Just a couple more hours." Logan smirked at Peter in the rearview mirror. Scott heard Kurt groan from the back seat. "So Kitten have you ever been to the Canadian Rockies before?" 

Kitty in response to his question just shook her head no. "Will Storm be joining us soon?" Kitty asked.

Logan once again looked in the rearview mirror to address Kitty's question "She should be. She had something's around the mansion to finish up. She's planning on flying up to join us." Kitty just gave him the widest smile. Scott suddenly felt very jaded and a little homesick for the times that Bobby had been around. "Trust me on one thing Kitten. When your camping with me you'll see things you've never seen before. Tell her Slim."

Scott forced himself to smile and responded "Oh yeah, you see things you've never seen before camping with Logan." (Like fires, floods, swarms of locus) Scott thought bitterly. "Every time we go camping it's a new experience." 

Kitty just shot him another wide innocent smile. "I'm so happy you decided to join us Cyclops. I am really looking forward to getting to know you better. You coming back to the team and all."

Scott tried to give Kitty a smile that wouldn't look forced "I'm happy to be here too." (Liar, Liar, pants on fire.) The evil little voice chanted through his head. (The only reason you came is because Charles forced you.) 

The real reason Scott had been drafted to come on this camping trip was because Charles Xavier did not have a sense of humor. Charles had called Scott in to his office to 'talk'. Scott with his years of experience dealing with Charles, should have known to get out of the state then. Well, the one-year anniversary of Jean suicide on the moon was coming up. Charles had wanted to know how Scott was going to 'approach' that anniversary. Charles had continued by saying that Hank had called. Hank was worried about him. After an hour of being cornered in Charles's office, Scott had announced dryly that he planned to go to Hammer Bay that night. Try his hand at binge drinking and pass out on a park bench. Scott had gone on to add. That ones life was never quite complete until you got thrown in the slammer for public drunkenness at least once. 

Charles Xavier did not have a sense of humor. Scott's real plan had been to scrub his shower down that night. The next morning Charles had decided that the whole team was going camping. It would be a 'bonding' experience Charles said. Scott would have refused if it hadn't been for Kitty. Their newest team member had started dancing around. Spouting off how much fun they were going to have. Scott had just about ready to refuse when he had looked in to Kitty's big brown eyes. All her sunshine and enthusiasm had just reminded him of Bobby and Scott found himself agreeing to go on this trip. 

(The only bonding that is going to take place during this camping trip is Kurt, Peter and I killing Logan together. Oh well, we might do some bonding looking for spots to hide the body. I wonder if they would be up for setting him on fire and roasting marshmallows over him?) Scott thought evilly. The spot on his head where he had kept hitting on the SUV roof started aching again. 

"Remember everyone, Ro put me in charge of this camping trip." Logan announced as he climbed out of the SUV. "We're stopping here because I have to pick up some last minute supplies" 

(Aka, I need more beer and cigars), Scott thought sourly to himself. Logan in charge, those had to be the scariest words in the English language. 

"You want anything while I'm in the store Kitten?" Logan asked.

Kitty gave him a thoughtful look "A soda would be great Logan."

(Well, I could use an air freshener, an icepack, and directions to the nearest Holiday Inn. Thanks for asking the rest of us Logan.) Scott thought bitterly. 

"Okay," Logan announced, "I'll be right back. Everyone stay in the car." Logan then walked in to the small store.

That's when Scott noticed the pay phone in front of the store. He had a call to make.

"Mr. Logan said we should all stay in the car and wait for him to come out." Kitty Pryde announced from where she was following a few steps back.

"Then why donít you do that Kitty?" Scott said quietly "I just want to make a quick phone call." 

"I'll wait outside the booth for you." Kitty stated. Scott just smiled sweetly to her and climbed in to the phone booth. He closed the booth door for a little privacy. He didn't want Kitty hearing what he was going to say to THIS person. He dialed a number and waited.

"Greeting you have reached the number of Dr. Henry McCoy. If you wish to contact me please leave your name and number after the beep. If it is an emergency you can reach me at my pager number of 712-555-5500. BEEP."

Scott just took a deep breath. "Hi Hank. YOU know who this is. I am blaming you for this mess. At this very moment I am in gun rack, name on the belt buckle, back wood, red neck HELL. All I need is an IHOP and some drunken redneck painting on a water tower to make the scene complete. I have been stuck in a car with Logan for three days. Yes I said LOGAN. I blame you for this. Charles told me you suggested a 'change of scenery' might be good for me.

So now I'm out here THREE days FROM nowhere, with his HELL bound Dommer party. Heading to Camp Werthahekahwee, being lead by Chief Goshdarnifino. Did I happen to mention that Storm put Logan in charge of this whole disaster? I know you're in your living room with Bobby right now. Pigging out on Pizza, having a good laugh at my expense. If I survive this trip, I'm warning you right now, I'LL GET YOU FOR THIS!

If I don't survive, I want it known that my last wishes are to be cremated, thrown in a rum bottle, and put on you mantle." Scott then slammed the receiver down. That had been very satisfying. 

When Scott turned around and opened the booth door Kitty was still waiting for him. "Did you reach who you needed to call?" She asked.

"No." Scott replied sweetly "By I left a message for them." Kitty just gave him another smile.

"So" Logan sneered from the doorway of the store. "Did you call your new lady friend?" Scott just scowled at him. Logan walked up to where he and Kitty were standing and handed Kitty her soda.

"If I did. That's none of your damned business." Scott retorted coldly.

"I ordered everyone to stay in the car and wait for me." Logan snarled at him.

Scott sneered right back at him and replied, "Since you never took mine all that seriously. I figured what the hell. I'd take my chances."

"Your not leading the X-men anymore Storm is and Storm left me in charge of this trip." Logan retorted.

Right then Kitty bolted between them and interrupting his and Logan's glaring match by stating, "That man coming towards us is leering at me. He's been watching me and he makes me really nervous."

That's out of the corner of his eyes Scott noticed him. He was about seven feet tall and about as wide. Had a long beard and hair. Scott could tell he hadn't bathed in a while because Scott could smell him coming. Kitty was right he was leering at her. He walked up to where Logan and he were glaring at each other and said "That a might pretty young thing you fellas have traveling with ya." He gave Kitty another very dirty leer. Kitty ducked a little closer to the two of them. 

Scott turned away from Logan and scowled at the mountain man. On his face was the scowl that Bobby Drake swore could freeze a crowd faster than even his power. "So?" Scott asked him coldly.

The mountain man wiped his mouth. "I might be interested in taking her off ya hands." He gave Kitty another leer. Kitty just swallowed hard. 

(I'm in the land that time forgot.) Scott thought amazed. He shot a cold glare at the mountain man and barked, "We're not interested Davie Crocket. Why don't you just crawl back to the refuse pile that spawned you pervert. If I were you I would check the calendar it's not the 1800's anymore. The girl is not for sale and she's staying with us." 

The mountain man just gave Scott a shocked look for a moment and then just smirked at him. "You and this hairy little runt are gonna stop me Skinny?"

Logan growled at him but Scott just shot the mountain man his sweetest smile and said with all seriousness. "Try us. Your not the hairy, smelly, mountain man I really want to trounce but you'll do."

"Mr. Summers" Kitty suddenly cut in "Maybe we should let Mr. Logan take care of him. We don't want anyone getting hurt."

"Yeah Skinny maybe you should let your short little friend handle it. We don't want anyone getting hurt do we?"

Scott just smiled at him and his eyes flashed behind his glasses "Why donít you try me and find out?"

"I can't take you anywhere. Ro ain't gonna be happy about this." Logan grumbled at Scott. It had only taken Scott about three seconds to drop the mountain man. "I believe that's your usual lines to me."

Scott raised an eyebrow at him "I believe Whoops or Up Yours is your usual come back."

"That was amazing." Kitty broke in "You took him down faster than even Mr. Logan. " She turned to Logan jumping up and down on "How did he do that? Can you show me?"

Logan just rolled his eyes and shook his head amused "Pressure points Kitten and yes I can show you them. That trick that Scott just demonstrated is all Scott's though." Logan turned to Scott "You should have hit him a couple of times."

Scott just shrugged "That would have been a total waste of effort. Besides I didn't want to hurt my hand. The points I used will give him a blinding headache for at least a week. Can we go now?"

"Yeah we better get going if we want to get there before sunset." Logan grumbled, "I still think you should have hit him a couple of times first." 

He was on the moon again. Jean was standing right in front of him tears running down her face. "I love you Scott. A part of me will always be with you" he heard her say. He felt the scream of "Jean, No Don't!" bubble out of his throat.

Scott bolted awake as his head once again hit the roof of the SUV. He looked glanced around trying to remember where exactly he was. He was in the SUV driving to a campsite.

Logan smirked at him "Have a nice nap?"

"No." Scott replied.

"It's true Peter." He heard Kitty voice from the back seat "Mr. Summer's just jabbed him here, here, and here. Then that huge man just dropped like a ton of bricks."

"I know Katya." He heard Peter say, "I have seen him do it before. It is always very impressive."

"Weíve all seen him do it Katzchen." He heard Kitty start giggling. Kurt must be doing his famous tickle torture. 

Right then Kitty must have noticed that he was awake. "Can you show me how to do that Mr. Summers? Where did you learn to do that trick? The professor went over pressure points with me and he never showed me you could do that. Could you show me please, pretty please?"

Scott just looked out the window. "Sure Kitty I can show you how to do it."

"Really! That would be so great of you." Scott could tell Kitty was bouncing up and down on her seat. "Where you learn to do it?"

Scott just sighed and continued to watch the scenery. "I learned the trick off of Jean. She was working with the professor, learning about bio rhymes and pressure points. She thought she had found a way to help me with the headaches that my mutant powers caused. She thought by using certain pressure points. She could make my headaches go away. " Scott sighed again "When she tried it I was out for six hours. I figured out how to repeat her discovery with a little practice later." Scott suddenly noticed the car had become deafly silent at the mention of Jean's name.

It was Kitty who broke the silence by asking, "So what's the name of the camp were going to?"

"Werthahekahwee" Scott responded dryly.

Kitty gave him a shocked look and then started giggling. "Everyone lied. You do have a sense of humor." Logan, Peter, and Kurt were just giving him strange looks. They didn't get it. Right at that moment Scott really missed Jean. She would have gotten the joke too.

"Ummm." Kitty broke in "Mr. Logan where's the restroom?" Scott was busy looking around their camping spot. It was an open clearing, with a breath taking view of the mountains. Logan was right it was a great spot. It had only taken two hours of hiking to get here. There were pine trees surrounding the clearing. Those trees just gave a slight whiff of pine to the air. (So this is pine scented, Hell) Scott thought dryly. He really hated camping; with Logan anyway. (Give me a city any day. Just call me Urban after this trip.)

"Rest room Kitten?" Logan asked.

Kitty nodded at him. "Where's the Porta Potty? All campsites have them." Scott almost laughed at the wide-eyed expression of horror Kitty gave Logan. When Logan handed her a trowel and pointed to the woods. Kitty just smiled at Logan sweetly "No really Sir. I really need to know. Where are the restrooms?"

"What are you reading Mr. Summers?" Scott jumped about a foot from the rock he had been sitting on. He had been so wrapped up his book he didn't hear her coming.

"Kitty don't do that. It's a very good way to get yourself killed." Scott barked a little more harshly than he meant to.

Kitty gave him an apologetic look. "Sorry Mr. Summers. I won't do it again. So what are you reading?"

Scott sighed apparently Kitty wasn't going to leave him alone. "I'm reading the complete works of Abraham Lincoln."

"Just wondering. You seem to prefer to stay up here and read than come down with the rest of us. So what are you reading now? His letters or his poetry?" 

Scott sighed decided Kitty couldn't take a hint and just started reading the passage out loud.

In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all,

and it often comes with bitter agony.

Perfect relief is not possible,

except with time.

You cannot now believe you will ever feel better.

But this is not true.

You are sure to be happy again.

Knowing this,

truly believing it,

will make you less miserable now.

I have had enough experience to make this statement.

Kitty didn't say anything for a couple of moments. "Thatís pretty in a really sad kind of way Mr. Summers. President Lincoln was right though time dulls a lot of grief and pain. I'm really sorry about what happen to Ms. Grey. I really would have like to have known her."

Scott was silent for a moment. "Thanks Kitty that means a lot. Can you do me one favor?"

"Sure." Kitty responded "I'd love too."

"Could you please quit calling me Mr. Summers. In the field it's Cyclops. Out here it's Scott. My whole life growing up I was know as only 'Mr. Summers" or 'Case number blah, blah. Besides you calling me Mr. Summers makes me feel old."

Kitty smiled at him "Okay Scott. Logan sent me to find you. Peter just put dinner on."

Scott nodded at her "Thanks. What are we having?"

Kitty made a face "Canned baked beans. Yuck."

Scott raised an eyebrow at her "You said Peter was cooking?" Kitty nodded yes to him. "Did Logan tell him to vent the cans before Peter put them in to the fire to heat up?"

Kitty gave him a considering look. "I don't think so why? Everybody knows you have to vent the cans or they'll blow up."

Scott jumped to his feet, and bolted towards the campsite.

"They tried to kill me." Kurt Wagner muttered still in a state of shock. Scott was looking at bean-covered remains of what had been Kurt's tent. The shrapnel from the cans had punched a bunch of holes right through the tent. It was a lucky break that Kurt had been teleporting out of his tent when the cans exploded. "We're going to die out here. I don't have any metal I.D. The only way anyone will know it's my remains is going to be by my tail. " 

"Excuse me sir's" Kitty tried to butt in.

"I'm so sorry Comrade. I have never done any cooking like this before. I didn't know." Peter said rather sheepishly.

"Calm down Kurt." Logan injected in "It was an accident. I forgot to tell Peter to vent the cans."

"Excuse me." Kitty butted in again a little more urgently. She tugged on Scott sleeve.

"What is it Kitty?" Scott asked turning his attention away from the scene with Kurt, Logan and Peter. He looked in the direction that Kitty was pointing. Coming out of the woods was a huge grizzly bear. 

"I think the smell of the food is drawing out the bears." Kitty stated to Scott very quietly. Scott had the distinct impression the bear heading towards what was left of Kurt's tent was no Gentle Ben.

"Kitty we're very calmly going to walk over and start climbing that tree." Scott announced in a tone not much louder than a whisper.

"I'm starting to believe this camping trip was not a very good idea." Kitty Pryde announced from above Scott. She was sitting up on the highest tree branch; right above Scott.

"We are going to die out here." Kurt groaned.

"We are not going to die out here." Logan retorted hotly "All we have to do is wait the bear out."

"I think Comrade, that you should have ordered Cyclops to blast it." Peter injected.

Logan glared down at Peter "I was not going to order Cyke to blast it. It's just doing what comes instinctively. She has a couple of hungry cubs she's trying to feed. Besides we're the intruders out here not her and her cubs." 

"She's eating my tent." Kurt retorted.

"Bears can't climb trees right?" Kitty asked.

"Well," Logan hedged "They can but all the foods down there. What would be the point for her to climb up here after us?"

"Fuzzy Elf roast perhaps?" Kurt snapped.

Scott sighed laid his head against the trunk of the tree dreaming of a Holiday Inn. Thatís when he noticed the storm clouds. It was going to rain tonight. Which meant Kurt was going to have to share a tent with someone. (This trip just gets better and better) Scott thought sourly.

Storm showed up about one hour after dark. Kitty went running up to greet her. Storm smiled down at Kitty and asked, "Did I miss anything?"

Kitty gave her the widest smile Scott had ever seen and responded "Scott dropped a mountain man that offered to buy me. Then a bear ate Kurt's tent. That's of course after Peter blew up dinner all over it. We had to climb a tree to get away from the bear." How Kitty had managed to say that in one breath Scott would never know.

Storm absorbed all that and said, "Well it looks like I arrived just in time."

"To starve off cannibalism." Kurt announced dryly.

Everything came to a head later that evening. They were sitting around the fire. Kitty was roasting marshmallows and making Smores. Scott watched in a horrified fascination as Kitty stuffed a whole Smore in to her mouth at once. (I thought that was Bobby's talent alone.) Scott thought truly amazed.

Out of the blue Storm just stated quietly "We lost her a year ago tomorrow."

Scott sighed, "Yeah, we did."

Logan glared at Scott from across the fire. What he said next shocked Scott. "Like you would care."

Scott narrowed his eyes, "What's that suppose to mean?"

Logan glared at him "Jean's not even dead a year. She wasn't even cold in her grave and you started running around with Lee Forster."

Scott felt his temper bubble up. That remark hurt. "Sorry Logan not all of us can go to the bar and drink themselves stupid every night. When they think no one is looking." Scott never saw Logan's fist coming. All he knew that he was laying on the ground seeing stars. Logan hadn't pulled that punch one bit.

"Up yours Summers." Logan snarled at him. Scott felt it starting to rain.

"Enough!" Storm roared at both of them. "What would Jean say if she saw the two of you right now? Scott has been an emotionless robot going through the motions for the last year. And you Logan have been secretly drinking yourself in to a stupor every night. For Jean's memories sake this has to stop. It's going to stop tonight." 

"What's the matter Storm?" Logan sneered "Afraid someone might notice you never go out to her grave. What's the matter Jeannie not good enough for your flowers?" It started pouring buckets. 

With that remark Storm went for Logan. She had her hands wrapped around his throat. She was trying to throttle him. "You should never have gone there little man." 

"Does anyone else here that rumbling sound?" Kurt shouted over the pouring rain. Everyone snapped his or her attention in Kurt's direction.

Kitty resembling a drowned rat blinked and said, "I think I do."

"Everyone head to the high ground right now!" Logan roared, "Don't bother trying to save your gear."

Right then Scott looked up to see the wall of water coming down the hills straight for them. 

They had just managed to pull Peter clear of the gully when the wall of water rushed by them. "Is everyone accounted for and all right?" Scott shouted over the rumbling of the flash flood. Everyone nodded.

"What kind of leader am I?" Storm whispered brokenly. "I lost my temper attacked a teammate and nearly killed us all."

"Ro." Logan started

Storm blinked at him through the driving rain. "Don't. This team is falling apart and it's my fault."

"This isn't your fault Storm." Scott stated quietly "In fact you calling on that storm to come sooner saved our lives."

Logan nodded in agreement "Yup if it had started pouring after everyone had gone to sleep we never would have made it clear in time."

"Storm this team has been the walking wounded for a year now." Scott added quietly "You just holding it together should tell you what type of leader you are."

"You know." Kurt whispered, "They say that the people that they bury after a suicide are the victims. They're wrong. It's the loved ones that are left behind wondering 'What did I miss?' 'Is their something more I could have done to stop them?' are the real victims. We all know that Jean destroyed herself to save the universe. That knowledge doesn't make it any easier." 

"She was my best friend." Storm whispered "And I'm still angry at her for what she did. I'm still angry that she took the choice away from us to try to help her."

"What's worse is no one wants to admit there angry." Logan whispered "At Jeannie, at themselves so we just bury it and pretend that life just goes on. Chuck won't even mention her name."

"Sometimes," Peter whispered "I think the Professor is still angry at us for losing that fight." Everyone looked at Peter and nodded.

"Sometimes." Logan added in quietly "I think your right Peter. Other times I wonder whose he's angrier at us or himself."

"I'm tried of seeing myself as a victim." Scott whispered. "I want to see myself as a survivor. I want to be able to remember the good times. I want to be able to mention her name without the room becoming quiet. When she turned that ray on herself, Jean took more than her life away from me. I let her take control of my life away from me. I want it back. I think we can show Kitty that the X-men aren't just survivors. We can show her that the X-men have the capacity to look tragedy straight in the eyes and tell it; you won't break us." 

Logan chuckled softly "Best lesson we could ever teach her Cyke."

"Indeed." Storm said nodding "We should start teaching that lesson tonight." Kurt and Peter just nodded.

"What are we going to do now?" Kitty asked, "The flooding washed all our gear away."

Storm nodded at her and looked at the rest of the team. " Suggestions anyone?"

"I want to go home." Kurt announced "I have had enough of nature for this Fuzzy Elf's life time."

"I think we should do something in Jeannie's memory." Logan added in.

"We're three days from Vegas." Scott said quietly. "If we book it out of here and drive straight through. Jean always wanted to go see the Flying Elvis's."

"That's a great idea!" Kitty added in excitedly bouncing up and down. "I'm really good at Rollet. I bet I could help you win enough to cover the trip." 

Logan looked at her interested "How good?"

Kitty bit her lip for a moment "I can't calculate the bounce all the time. I'm only right about ninety-five percent of the time. Maybe ninety-six if the wheel doesn't vary speeds." Logan gave Kitty a very interested considering glance.

"You are not bring Kitten in to a casino Logan." Storm announced. "All in favor of getting out of here and going to Las Vegas say aye."

"AYE!" Everyone announced.

Scott smirked evilly at all of his teammates "If you all are willing to cover my driving time. I can put a super glue and feather mail bomb together for Dr. Hank McCoy. He's the brilliant genius who gave Charles the idea for this camping trip."

His teammates gave him a considering glance for a moment before they all said with out hesitation, "Deal."

"So what was Ms. Grey like?" Kitty asked Scott. They were waiting in front of a car rental place waiting for Storm. Storm had insisted that as team leader it was her job to make sure they arrived in Vegas in style. Scott just blinked at Kitty.

"She always loved a good joke." Kurt stated before Scott could answer.

"Only if Scottie was the butt of it." Logan added in

Scott smirked at them "I remember one time I got her really angry with me. She rearranged my closet and scrambled all the colors. Then she felt guilty because I was mismatched for weeks."

"Yup, Jeannie lived up to that red hair of hers. Get that temper up and she would charge right in." Logan chuckled "I remember she was a closet smoker."

"And when Scott threw out the cigarettes she kept in her closet. She took his favorite brown suit and set it a blaze on the front lawn." Kurt added in gleefully.

"I still remember the look on Scott's face." Peter added in.

"It was completely priceless." Logan added in.

Scott rolled his eyes at them "Half the time, I didn't know whether I wanted to kiss her or kill her. She was fearless and was willing to try any thing once. She always told me it was her job to bring chaos to my nicely ordered life. Otherwise she would tell me I would get boring and predictable." 

Kitty just smiled at them "She sounds like she was one of a kind."

Logan chuckled "She was Kitten, she was."

Right then a horn blared and Storm came driving up in a red, fifty-seven convertible. She looked at them with a shy smile on her face "Well gentlemen what do you think? Did I do good?"

A smile broke across Logan's face. "You did really good Ro. That's defiantly driving in style."

"You're traveling with me. Itís the only way I go." Storm responded.

"I call the front seat." Kitty yelled.

Storm pulled something out of the back seat. She handed it to Scott. "I bought this for you. I remember when Jean came up for the weekends you would always play your six string for her. Since you gave yours to Hank. I bought you another one. We will need some travelling music."

Scott just blinked at her "Ro I'm really out of practice. I donít think you want me providing the traveling music."

"Just shut up. Tune the damned six string and get in the car. Don't play any of that modern crap you and Drake like to listen too." Logan announced as he jumped in to the front seat with Kitty and Storm.

Scott climbed in to the back seat with Kurt and Peter. When he tried it the six string was already in tune. "Any request?" Everyone shook his or her head no. Then a tune came in to Scott's mind. He started playing it.

"Perfect." Logan announced listening to Scott strum the tune.

"Well," Kitty added in "We're about thirteen hundred miles from Vegas. We have a full tank of gas. Logan has a half a pack of cigars. Scott's wearing sunglasses and it's going to be dark in six hours."

"We're on a mission from God." Kurt added in gleefully. Storm slide a pair of sunglasses on 

"Hit it." Everyone said at once.

Right then everyone's voice joined the tune that Scott was playing as they were pulling out. It was an old Eaglesí tune. 

"I'm running down the road.

Trying to loosen my load. 

I got seven women on my mind. 

Four that want to own me, two that want to stone me, 

One says she's a friend of mine. 

Take it easy, 

Take it easy,

Don't let the sound of your own wheels 

Drive you crazy."

Three days later a packaged was delivered to Hank McCoy's apartment. It was postmarked Las Vegas. The note attached to the package read "With our dearest thanks for the camping trip. The second team" A few moments later, Hank McCoy blinked in shock as super glue and feathers flew all over his apartment. Hank McCoy started laughing and didn't stop until his sides hurt.

One week later, a large padded envelope was delivered to Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. Inside were several rolls of pictures. Charles just chuckled as he shifted through them.

One was a picture of Logan and Kitty with a huge stack of chips at the Rollet table. Another one showed Storm throttling Logan outside the Casio and chips flying everywhere. The next picture showed Peter lying on the floor. When Charles flipped over. On the back it read, "Kitty finally learns Scott's nerve jab technique." The next picture showed an unconscious Peter dressed as the bride getting married to Kurt by an Elvis impersonator. Another picture showed Peter awake trying to throttle Kurt. There was a picture of the Flying Elvis's and many others. He would have to go through them later and see which ones he wanted to frame. It was a picture of his entire current student standing in front of the Las Vegas sign, smiling that caught his attention. On the back of the picture in Scott's distinctive handwriting was a note.

Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and when it comes, hold your head high, look it straight in the eye and say, "I will be bigger than you. You can not defeat me."

Ann Landers

Charles Xavier smirked at the picture and chuckled to himself. It always amazed him how much his students taught him. He turned to another picture on his desk and addressed it. "Well Jean, Apparently my students have finally remembered. Regardless of what tragedy they might face, what difficulties. Their greatest strengths are each other."


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