Work Header

Back to School

Work Text:

Peter Nelson stepped out of the limousine that had picked him up from Stewart International Airport to bring him to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. The surprising part was that no one from the school had been there, just a hired driver. It had been a while since he’d been there and they could just be busy on a mission.

Unknown to most of the world, Xavier’s was the secret base of operations for the mutant X-Men, as well as for a younger crop of students called the New Mutants. Peter had declined to be part of either group, not that he had been in any shape to be of use to them. He had remained in Japan with Clan Yashida considerably longer than expected. He hadn’t expected to develop a relationship with Eiko Osama. It had been fun, but then very strange, so Peter decided to leave.

The ride to the mansion was on the tedious side. It was a little over an hour to get to the school. The driver tried to talk to Peter but he wasn't very receptive. What would he talk about? How his grandfather was a criminal mastermind who had made him engage in abhorrent behavior? How his parents had been murdered and his siblings gone missing? The way he'd turned into a prostitute and drug addict by the age of 15? No, these weren't topics to discuss with this man, nevermind that he probably didn’t know that the school housed the X-Men and other mutants.

As he mused over these things it suddenly occurred to Peter that he was going to have to do things differently. It was one thing to stay clean while in a secluded environment in Japan. Peter knew well enough that the school wouldn't stop him, something apparent when he disappeared after he learned about his parents. That was a shit show that he didn't want to repeat.

Eventually, the limousine pulled up to the school, dropping him off at the front door. Peter grabbed his bags and thanked the driver before heading to the door. Briefly he thought of knocking or ringing the doorbell but then decided it was unnecessary if this was going to be his home. It should recognize him.

The knob didn't turn, meaning it was no longer keyed to his DNA and therefore remained locked. Peter didn't see this as an impediment, reaching out with magnetics and disabling the locking mechanism. This was no simple lock, since it had electronic security in place. He was able to get past them but not without tripping an alarm. He didn't care, though, since not many could be said to match him in power.

Stepping inside, several mutants came rushing at him. He didn't recognize all of them. Not a surprise given his extended departure. One of them was familiar. Quicksilver. He was more high profile due to his association with the Avengers. There was one more connection to him, though he doubted the other knew of it.

Acting as though he was not about to be attacked, Peter dropped his bags on the ground. He had erected a barrier around himself as Quicksilver zoomed up and slammed into it, knocking him down. Others also attempted but it was a dark-skinned man who drained the shield and took a swing at Peter, connecting with his jaw.

That proved to be a mistake because Peter's automatic response was to lash out, flooring the mutants before him, rebuilding his shield in the process. Well, almost all of them. One of them had an aura of heat around him that effectively caused the magnetic force to dissipate.

“Peter Nelson,” the other said.

He was quite handsome. Blonde hair, blue eyes, slim but well defined. Peter inadvertently licked his lips. The other didn't miss it and smiled in response. He knew full well how attractive he was.

“That's right,” Peter finally responded. “Who are you?”

“Welcoming committee.”

“Does the committee have a name?”

This caused another grin.

“Justin. Gardner. Or Starboy in some circles.”


Justin had a look of contemplation and shrugged his shoulders.

“Not exactly my style. Independent studies.”

“Must be going quite well. Not many can counter my abilities.”

“Forewarned is forearmed.”

“Why all the drama if you knew I was coming?”

“People ring doorbells rather than breaking in. At least if they don't want to be considered thieves or murderers.”

“Fair point.”

Peter walked over to some of the fallen and helped them up, particularly Quicksilver. The hidden connection between one another made him care more.

“Apologies,” Peter said to her. “Professor Xavier knew I was coming but must've forgotten to let you know. Or I could have rung the bell.”

“I read your file,” he replied. “When you left you were strung out and they had to detox you before sending you away. Couldn't trust you were in your right mind since you broke in.”

“Valid. Have you joined the X-Men?”

“Hardly. Do you think Quicksilver would join this rag-tag assortment?”

“Is that the royal 'we’,” Peter asked. “My understanding is that you are no longer welcome on Attilan.”

Quicksilver narrowed his eyes and walked off.

“A punch in the face freaks you out, eh,” Justin commented. “Some have considered you to be a Superman in the making. Didn't think you'd go down so easily.”

“For all my power I'm only human.” Then, with another look to his lips, he added. “I've gone down more often than you'd think.”

Justin smirked at the comment. Then he picked up one of the bags and indicated Peter should follow. Peter grabbed the other and followed.

“The Professor was expecting you a few months ago.”

“I had a girlfriend. Didn't want to leave her. Then she started getting weird when I talked about coming back here. Very strange, not just upset. I decided I needed to leave immediately.”

“Let's drop your bags in your room. The Professor will want to see you.”

“I was surprised to have a random driver pick me up at the airport. Thought Xavier would have been there himself.”

“A lot’s going on right now, both with the X-Men and some of his friends. The others you knocked down will be fine. The Professor checked in on them.”

Peter nodded but wondered why he hadn't reached out to him.

Justin walked off but Peter received a telepathic summons to the med lab. Professor Xavier was next to a bed where the dark-skinned man with a curious 'M’ tattoo over his right eye, was laying. He looked to be restless.

“You can let me out, Professor,” he said. “I'm fine.”

“I apologize,” Peter said to the man.

“I'm fine,” he said. “Don't worry. It takes more than that to put me down for the count.”

The man got himself off of the examination table. Peter found him to be attractive but already had his eye elsewhere.

“Peter,” Professor Xavier said. “I'm glad you're back but I was expecting you months ago. Wolverine said you were already recovered.”

“I had a girlfriend.”

“Then what brought you back.”

“She started acting weird and I wanted to get out of there.”

“I thought you were interested in men. Or was that simply what you did to buy drugs.”

“No, I like men. No need to exclude anyone based on gender.”

Professor X nodded. He hadn't been sure because everything he'd heard involving Peter having sex with men always had drugs involved.

“Now, on to the current situation,” Xavier began. “Was there something wrong with the doorbell?”

“I was trying to be clever,” Peter responded.

“That was dangerous. You could have been hurt. There are X-Men here you've never encountered. You don't know their capabilities.”

Peter shrugged his shoulders. He knew he'd all but won that battle until Justin involved himself in the mix. Still, the Professor was correct. These were unknowns to him, particularly the man who had just left. Peter was sure Sinister had never catalogued him.

“Who's the one that stopped me? Justin something?”

“Looking to apologize?”

“He's cute.”

A stern look crossed the Professor's face. “The purpose of this school is not to date.”

“It's to learn to use our powers for offensive and defensive purposes, protect others from harm, keep us from going out of control and have a safe place to live.”

“Yes. Then why do you believe yourself prepared for a relationship while training to use your powers?”

“Eh. My grandfather taught me how to use my powers, to control them. I did some fine-tuning…” Peter paused. “ Japan as part of my recovery and I'm not really afraid of anyone. I just want to live a normal life. No costumes, no secret life. Thing is, I'm not in a position to make that happen just yet. I'm 19 and have spent the last six years entirely off the grid. I have more work to do before that can happen. Justin seems to feel the same since he told me he was doing 'independent studies’.”

“Justin is a genius.”

“Even better. Don't know that I'm in his class but I know a lot more about genetics and technology than your average person.”

Professor Xavier sighed. Even in his previous state, his ego was apparent, believing he could control any situation. That had failed but once he recovered it came back. To some extent, that ego was well-deserved, but he hardly wanted to encourage Peter along those lines.

“Your old room is available if you'd like to settle in.”

“Thanks. I'll drop my bag. I think Justin took the other one.”

When Peter arrived at his room, Justin was standing there, looking out the window. He tilted his head slightly to the side as a sign of acknowledgement but made no further move.

Peter walked up directly behind Justin, leaned forward and whispered into his ear. “You're hot as fuck. I loved the way you took out my shield. Power, and knowing how to use it, turns me on. I’d love to fuck you right here and now.”

“What makes you think you'd be the one doing the fucking,” Justin asked.

Chills ran through him. “Love a man who's my match, who can take control.”

Justin finally turned around and stared right into Peter's eyes. He had a playful smirk on his face.

“Drop those pants and I'll show you some domination.”

With a flick of his hand, the bedroom door slammed shut.

“Don't make promises you can't keep.”

Justin leaned forward and kissed Peter, tongue going right into his mouth. Then he pulled away.

“Before we go on,” Justin began. “I've heard about you, why you went to Japan.”

“You heard Logan found me getting fucked by two guys?”

Justin snorted, finding that amusing. He hadn't heard any such thing, nor was Wolverine likely to have divulged that information to even Professor Xavier.

“Unfortunately, Wolverine isn't one to gossip. It's the other stuff. Are you clean?”

“That's right. About ten months.”

“You were sequestered away in Japan in a private compound where they made sure you never got your hands on anything. How do I know you won't go right back to it?”

“Are we dating or fucking? One of those requires an answer and the other doesn't. All I can tell you is I'm clean right now.”

“Acceptable...right now.”

Peter dropped to his knees, unzipping Justin's blue jeans. He yanked them down in one swift move.”

“Freeballing, eh?”

Peter grabbed hold of the already stiffening cock before him. He licked the head, swirling his tongue in and out of the foreskin.

Rubbing his hand along the shaft for a few strokes, Peter went for broke and swallowed the whole thing. It was long and decently wide but he'd had years of practice doing this. Justin reacted with a moan of appreciation, which only enticed Peter to continue. He pulled all the way off and then quickly engulfed him again.

Peter brought Justin to the brink several times before breaking away. He wiped the spit off of his mouth.

“That was fucking amazing,” Justin said. “I don't remember getting a blow job like that before. Let me return the favor.”

“Nah. You owe me a fuck. Let's get to it.”

Peter stood and removed his clothes, dragging it out between each piece until he was naked.

“We need lube. Two minutes and I'll be back.”

Justin did up his pants and rushed out the door. He returned in under two minutes. His cock hadn't lost even a bit of his erection. Justin removed his clothes with haste. Then he turned Peter around and shoved him onto the bed.

Before using the lube, Justin went to work on Peter's ass, putting his face in there, tongue flicking in and out of the hole. Peter gave out a low moan and began to squirm, pushing his ass back into Justin's face. Justin didn't miss a beat, going deeper with his tongue.

Finally, Justin pulled away and grabbed the lube, dabbing a little onto a finger. He teased the hole a little before putting it inside. It brought a response from Peter.

“Fuck. Haven't had anything in there in ages.”

Justin continued on, inserting another finger. Once the third figure slid in and out easily, he pulled them out. He tore open a condom wrapper and put it on with practiced ease. Lubing it up, Justin shoved it right in, none too gently.

Peter reacted, but not in pain. He arched his back, wanting more. Justin pounded away, showing no mercy. In and out, over and over. His stamina was incredible. The only time he stopped was to turn Peter over so he could look him in the eyes.

All Peter showed on his face was ecstasy. He went for his own cock but Justin slapped it away.

“Not yet.”

That was even more of a turn on, his eyes dilating as though he were drugged, though no illicit substances we're in his body.

“Fuuuck,” Peter said with an groan.

That impish glint appeared in Justin's eyes. He could be gentle when it was called for, but this was quick and dirty, nothing more than lust at its finest. Still, Justin always wanted to please both his partner and himself, having no doubt this was exactly what Peter was seeking.

After at least fifteen minutes, if not longer, Justin gave a slight nod toward Peter. That meant he could finally start jerking his cock. He was moving fast and furious, having been waiting to get to it, though being denied was erotic in itself.

Finally, Peter came, a huge load that shot way past his head and splattering his chest and even his face. Justin pulled out, whipped off the condom and shot his own load all over Peter.

Justin bent over, lapping up the cum covering Peter's chest. He traced a trail of cum upward until he reached Peter's mouth and kissed him deep and passionately. Then he pulled away, an almost sheepish look on his face.

“Welcome back.”

Peter took a deep breath. “That was… I think the best sex I've ever had. I'm not joking.”

“We'll have to try it again.”

“Soon. Very soon.”

“Let's take a shower. We're a mess. Well, mostly you.”

Peter grinned. “Also might need to change the sheets.”

“Don't think I've ever seen anyone shoot that much or that far. You celibate the whole time you were in Japan?”

“Had a girlfriend. It's why I stayed so long. Then it ended and I came back.”

Justin stood up and yanked Peter off the bed. One more kiss.


Peter looked down at himself. “Definitely.”

“And clean off the headboard.”

Peter opened one of bags and pulled out a pair of skimpy shorts. Before he put them on he wiped off his chest and cock. The shower would take out whatever was in his hair.

Going for some more toiletries, Justin stopped him. “I’ve got anything you need. Put on those shorts and let's get cleaned up.”

Both of them put on bottoms and headed out the door and down the hall to the bathroom. They passed Jean Grey along the way, who showed signs of surprise. Peter gave her a wink and continued on.

The bathroom was as spacious as he remembered and the shower stall had more than enough room for the both of them to fit. Shucking their clothes, Justin turned on the water. The plumbing was excellent and it was immediately the perfect temperature.

They stepped inside the stall and took turns getting wet. It was Justin who took the initiative to start kissing again. Then he took the soap and began sliding it across Peter's chest, heading down toward an already engorged cock.

“I'm going to repay the favor.”

“You already did. Shit, I don't think I've ever cum that hard.”

Justin slid down to his knees, the water cascading over his head. He grabbed Peter's cock and took it into his mouth. Peter was a little thicker than Justin but not unmanageable. He went at it with wild abandon. There was no thought here to prolong things since lingering in the shower wasn't something they wanted to do. After a few minutes, Peter let loose a moaning growl and came in Justin's mouth. It wasn't nearly as much as before but still a decent load.

Wiping his lips, Justin rose up and kissed Peter, spitting some of the cum into his mouth. They both swallowed and smiled at one another. They knew there was going to be more of this in the future.

“Let's hurry up with the shower,” Justin said. “I have a lecture with Dr. Richards and the Professor will definitely want to speak to you about your plans for the future.”


Once sufficiently reorganized, Peter went down to scrounge for food in the kitchen. He was hungry, not surprising given the last hour. There was a lot available but he pulled out fruit and vegetables, making a hearty sandwich with a side of fruit.

By the time he was finished, Professor Xavier gave him a mental summons to meet in his study. Peter quickly cleaned up and headed to meet his teacher.

“Take a seat, Peter,” said Xavier.

Peter took the chair in front of the desk. He was quiet, waiting to hear why he was there.

Xavier intertwined his fingers, elbows on the desktop.

“What are your plans,” he finally said.

“I'm going to find my grandfather and kill him.”

Not even a hint of hesitation.

“X-Men don't kill.”

Peter rolled his eyes. Wolverine had killed plenty and there were no illusions about it.

“Logan is a special case.”

“Right. He gets a pass because he was doing that before he came here. I'm not exactly an angel myself.”

“You were... incapable of making good choices.”

“Killing Sinister is a good choice. You can't take him to the authorities, you can't hold him, you can't beat him into submission. Killing him is the best option and I have ideas about how to do that. Inside information.”

Xavier sighed. “We don't know where to find him. He abandoned his Australian base. There was also one in New York that is empty.”

Peter shrugged his shoulders. “He has a lot of bases.”

“Why don't you let the X-Men search for him and see what happens.”

“Fine,” Peter said, though his tone suggested that he had not agreed.

“Your grandfather aside, what would you like to do? Perhaps join the X-Men? You have considerable power.”

“Inherited from my great-grandfather.”

Xavier gave him a confused look.

“My grandmother is the daughter of Magneto.”

“Who is your grandmother?”

“Anya Eisenhardt.”

“Anya? Eisenhardt? Magneto always said her death was what had set him on a darker path. He also said his name was Magnus.”

“It’s Max Eisenhardt. I don't know how she ended up with Sinister but she seems to be with him willingly. I'd characterize her as evil, even though she sometimes pretended to be on my side against Sinister. She was as much willing to kill her own daughter as my grandfather.”

“This information is something I wish I'd known before.”

“I wasn't exactly in prime condition last time I was here.”

“Indeed. One last thing. What are your intentions with Justin?”

“Haven't given it much thought. Sex, but more than that I can't say.”

“Some of us here are more... sensitive to intense emotion.”

Peter stared at Xavier for a moment and gave a slight shrug. At that moment, his mind became closed to the Professor. No thoughts and no emotions.


Xavier looked surprised.

“How did you do that,” Professor Xavier asked.

“Magnetic shielding. Psychics can't break through it, at least not without some difficulty. I'm sure you could if you were interested.”

“I don't casually enter the minds of others, especially my students, but I do like to maintain awareness should you run into any difficulties.”

“Fine with me but no guarantees that I'll remember to put those shields back in place. Things were… intense with Justin. Thought maybe he had a bit of telepathy. Gives it an extra 'oomph’, if you know what I mean.”

Xavier sighed again, seeing that this was likely a losing battle. However, he did note that the shields came down and that he could once again sense Peter's mind.

“I'll tell you what. I'll see if we can't work it out to just between the two of us. We'll talk about it, at least as long as we're doing it.”

“I suppose that's all I can ask. Heaven forfend you should show some discretion.”

Peter appraised Xavier. He felt offended with what he was hearing.

“Scott and Jean are married. Kitty and Peter dated for a long time. I'm sure there were others. Are you trying to say it's okay for them to have sex here but not me? I find that offensive.”

Professor Xavier gave Peter a stern look. He didn't care for being called out.

“Those are committed relationships.”

“So, what, that makes it less awkward to sense when they're having sex? I promise you that Justin and I are both very experienced. There is no doubt after this romp.”

“Please try to be more sensitive.”

“Mr. Sensitive right here. At least as much as Starboy. Anything else you need to discuss?”

“Classes. Though you were not at your best last time you were here, I had the sense that you were substantially more advanced in at least some areas, such as the sciences and knowledge of medical technology and other areas.”

“What can I say? As much as I hated him and everything my grandfather stood for, he did teach me well.”

“Indeed. I would like to test you in a variety of areas, including your physical, mental and emotional states. I do still have some concerns about your emotional state. I want to make sure you aren't replacing drug addiction with sex.”

Peter nodded his head. He hadn't considered that but also couldn't deny that he'd jumped into a relationship pretty quickly in Japan and had bedded Justin as soon as he got back.

“I don't… like it, but maybe it's worth knowing if I'm using people. I don't want to be anything like my grandfather. If… if it's true that I am… you might have to help me with Justin.”

“I'm glad you're so willing to take a deeper look at yourself. I would like to do a standard evaluation as well as a mental scan.”

“Now or tomorrow?”

“Meet me here at 9:00 tomorrow morning and we'll begin. In the meantime, perhaps it would best to refrain from any other sexual behavior.”

“Alright.” That was not a happy sound coming out of his mouth.


A little later, Peter went looking for Justin. He was sitting in the living room reading a book. Justin looked up when Peter entered, a sly grin on his face.

“Anything I can do for you,” Justin asked.

Peter sat down next to Justin, his face just a tad more serious than expected.

“I need to talk to you.”

“Uh oh. That's never good. Did the Prof tell you it was too soon to jump into bed with me?”

“In a way,” Peter responded. “He wants to make sure I'm not replacing addiction with sex. I'm not sure if he's right or not. I detoxed, went to Japan, got a girlfriend almost right away, left her to come back here and fell right into bed with you.”

“Come a little closer.”

Peter obeyed, at which point Justin placed his his fingertips on his temples. He concentrated for a few moments before withdrawing.

“What's the verdict?”

“You thought I was hot and wanted to fuck. To be fair, I actually instigated it by staying in your room to wait.”

“That means what the Professor said isn't true.”

“Yes, but I maintained a low-level connection with you before, during and after sex. I didn't get any sense that this was anything other than fun. I had the same concerns as Professor Xavier. I told you as much.”

“What about my drug addiction?”

“Go to NA. Do what they tell you to do. But for God's sake don't stop having sex.”

“He said the telepaths were sensitive to what we were doing.”

Justin raised an eyebrow, surely considering all the things Peter had mentioned to Xavier.

“I think… I could make it a one-on-one connection while you put a magnetic barrier around you. I could probably even share the connection… if you wanted. It would make it so much more intense for the both of us.”

“He said he likes to maintain a connection with all of his students.”

“Can't say he doesn't like feeling our emotions but then doesn't like when it's shut out.”


“I say we test it out. Now.”

A smirk crossed Peter's face. It didn't take much prodding for him to agree. If Xavier were so concerned about Peter he was surely keeping a closer eye on him. And at this moment he didn't give a damn.

The boys headed up to Justin's room. Peter put up the barrier keeping the telepaths out while Justin established the connection between them. He could already feel the excitement building inside of Justin. He was just as eager to do this as Peter. Only this time he was releasing control to Peter. Give and take was the way to go.


In the morning, Peter woke up next to Justin. That hadn't been planned but they'd worn themselves out with all the sex, especially when they had to do it while using their powers. Fortunately, he hadn't overslept; it was 8:35 and he had time for a quick shower before meeting with Xavier.

With five minutes to spare, Peter arrived in Professor Xavier's study. There was something of an exacerbated look on his face. Peter took a seat but said nothing. He realized he didn't really care what Xavier thought about his sex life.

“You just can't stop yourself, can you,” Xavier said.

“Did you sense something unusual,” Peter asked by way of an answer.

“It's what I didn't sense that concerned me. The thoughts of yourself and Justin disappeared, at least until this morning.”

That devilish grin crossed Peter's face.

“I've been having sex since I was 13, long before I started whoring myself out for money and drugs. Fact is, I like sex. Sinister didn’t in any way inhibit it. Thought it could be useful at times.”

“He taught you to have sex?”

“No, not exactly. Showed me videos so I'd understand it all better. Also things about the art of seduction.”

“Is that what you did with Justin?”

“First time the seduction was entirely mutual. Second time it was all him. I was telling him I was going to stop and he told me he'd seen enough of my mind to know I wasn't replacing drug addiction with sex. And he told me to go to NA.”

“Justin isn't the telepath I am.”

Peter nodded his head, not arguing the point.

“Then let's get on with this. Give me the psych tests and then dig into my mind. I'm not afraid of my past but it might be difficult for you.”

Xavier proceeded to give the test. There was a lot of writing in this, answering questions ranging from behavior to math to attitude and to principles. It was thorough. At the end, Xavier told Peter to put down his pencil.

“What's next,” Peter asked.

“I'm going into your mind.”

“Have at it.”

Xavier spent a considerable about of time in Peter's mind, at least fifteen minutes. The longer he was in the more concern showed on his face. Finally, he withdrew and looked directly at Peter. It wasn't what he expected.

“Peter, I never knew how badly you had it in life,” the Professor began. “A happy childhood ruined by Sinister, being forced to serve him, running when it became too unbearable…”

“Then you saw,” said Peter. “I knew what would happen if I ran but I couldn't go on doing… that.”

“I don't blame you. There was no good solution. None at all. Either felt like damning your soul. I understand why you ran, came here, did what was necessary to survive. It had never been your choice to use drugs. Others did it to control you.”

Tears started to well up in Peter's eyes.

“When Storm found you in that... crackhouse, and we learned you were a mutant, we had to help you. Then when your parents died and your siblings went missing… you wanted to find a way out, blaming yourself, not thinking you deserved to be helped.

“I want you to know, Peter, that you are deserving. I don't know how we'll find Sinister. He'll resurface eventually but I don't want you to be consumed by vengeance.”

Tears were streaming down Peter's cheeks. It had been so long since anyone had just cared about him as a person rather than what they could get out of him. That's part of why he spent the night with Justin.

“I just want someone to care about me. Is that too much to ask? Can't I spend time with someone who doesn't have an agenda. I know I've only known Justin for a day but last night he made this mind link between us so we could share what each other was feeling. We were just... enjoying each other’s company. I hadn't meant to fall asleep with him but... having someone next to me, an arm over my chest… that was something I've never experienced. I don't know what's going to happen with us. It might not be going anywhere. That mind link gave me some insight to him and I liked what I saw.”

Professor Xavier sighed, but no longer in frustration. He looked at the tests before him.

“If you're willing, I'd like Jean to scan you. It won't be as thorough as the one from me but it will ensure any biases I might have aren't clouding my judgement.”

Peter took a deep breath and nodded his head.

“When do we do it?”

“Let me contact Jean to see when she's available.”

Xavier zoned out while in contact with Jean before turning his attention back to Peter.

“She's going to be teaching a psychic defense class in an hour. She will be available afterward. Perhaps you might join the class.”

Peter shrugged his shoulders. He doubted it was necessary but didn't have anything better to do.

“Sure, why not?”


Peter headed to the kitchen to make himself breakfast. Eggs. Oatmeal. Blueberries. Coffee with almond milk. That helped him get through the hour until class.

When he arrived, he was surprised to see some younger students. Young enough that they might have recently discovered their mutant abilities. Peter idly wondered if they were going to get costumes and such, like Kitty Pryde and the New Mutants - or even Justin, since he called himself Starboy.

“Class, I'd like you to meet Peter. He'll be joining us today.”

“Hi, Peter,” a few of then said.

Peter smiled and gave them all a wave.

What interested Peter was Jean's comment about him joining the class “today”. She must have known he didn't need much in the way of schooling in this area.

The class was decent enough. Peter didn't have much to add since his particular powers were what kept him safe rather than mental discipline. It probably couldn't hurt to have some of that but right now he was focused on his psyche being analyzed.

Once class was over, Peter followed Jean to Xavier's study, which had been vacated for their use.

“Tell me, Peter,” Jean began. “How do you feel about yourself? Do you feel uncomfortable in your skin? Are you looking for other outlets to distract you from your addiction?”

“I don't think so,” Peter responded. “Justin was in my mind twice last night and he thought I was fine. The Professor… well, I'd caution you about probing too deeply. He was disturbed when he got a good look at my past.”

“He said as much but didn't give me details. I had never intended to do a deep scan, just get a sense of whether or not Charles and I are in agreement.”

“Okay. Do what you have to do.”

Jean closed her eyes and reached out with her mind to connect to with Peter's. She spent only a few minutes doing so before opening her eyes.

“You say Justin believed you were addiction free?”

“He said I should go to NA but that it didn't seem to him like I was using sex to act out.”

Jean nodded her head. “I agree with Justin's assessment. There's anger inside of you but that's to be expected given what you've been through.”

“Does that clear me to be with Justin?”

“That's up to the Professor but I would ask that you not broadcast your emotions so strongly. Honestly, Justin knows better.”

“Does he? The Professor said he wanted to maintain a low-level connection to all of his students and if I used my magnetics to keep my emotions from escaping he'd lose that contact. Seems like a lose-lose situation for me.”

“Maybe not. My psychic defense class could help but Justin is competent enough to teach you himself. He's very intelligent and gifted. However, if he were to teach you it would be best to tamp down your emotions. Could you do that with Justin?”

“Sure. He's hot, and the sex was great, but it's not like I'm in love with him or anything.”

“Then work with him, assuming the Professor agrees.”

There was a smirk on Peter's face and a glint in his eyes that told Jean he was going this route regardless.

“I see no problems, Peter. I'll inform Charles of my findings.”

Peter thanked her and left the study. He went back to his room, slipping on those tight running shorts of his, a t-shirt and running shoes.

When he reached the front door, Justin approached him.

“Going somewhere?”

“For a run. This body doesn't maintain itself.”

“What about the Danger Room?”

“Eventually, but I like this. Less structured and more freeing. I don't plan to put on a costume and play super-hero.”

“I'll have to join you sometime.”

Peter smiled, then opened the door and went outside for his run.


After a shower, Peter went downstairs. There were some people milling about and someone was preparing dinner. She was Asian and he didn't know who she was.

“Need any help,” Peter asked.

“Could you test the potatoes to see if they're ready. If so, remove them and put them on a serving dish.”

Peter was surprised at the crisp British accent.

Peter stuck a fork in each of the potatoes. It went in easily, telling him they were done. Rather than find a potholder, Peter used his powers to bring the pan out and set it on the counter. Tongs came to his hand and he used them to place them on the serving plate.

“Handy powers you have there. Telekinesis?”


“I see. Thank you for taking them out. Please put them on the table, Peter.”

That caused an eyebrow raise from Peter.

“Your voice and demeanor are Asian of some sort but your voice is pure British.”

“Yes. I've gone through some physical changes.”

Peter didn't ask further. He wasn't overly concerned but she would explain or not.

In short order, dinner was on the table. A few showed up - Jean, Cyclops, Beast without a doubt. Storm. He wondered how often they did this sort of thing.

Storm and Cyclops he knew but Jean made introductions to the others. The Asian woman was Betsy Braddock, called Psylocke.

Sitting down for dinner… such a normal thing and it felt like an eternity since he'd last been able to do this. His life had been hard for him once his grandfather took him away. He had long since thought no one cared about him. Storm and Wolverine, without a doubt, but that was recent.

“Peter,” said Storm. “Is everything alright? You seem distracted.”

“I'm okay… maybe for the first time in a long time.”

She smiled at him. More than most, Storm had seen how low he had been brought, finding him in that crackhouse.

Storm placed a hand over top of Peter's. “Welcome home.”


The next day, Peter began classes. He was exceptional in math and science and ended up in some of the same independent studies as Justin. He wasn't nearly as smart as the other boy but he had knowledge unknown to most.

“What does independent studies even mean,” Peter asked.

“Research. Making discoveries, inventing things, and using kick-ass Shi’ar tech to do it.”


“Aliens. From space. Their leader is banging the Professor or something.”

Peter gave Justin a dubious look.

“No, really. More like princess in exile. She runs with space pirates, who happen to be led by Cyclops’s father. Hard to believe, I know.”

“Right. Let’s get to this. How does this… alien tech work?”

As soon as he said it he looked lost in thought.

“What is it?”

“I was thinking,” said Peter. “The technology Sinister had. He may have been around for a century or so but it doesn’t make him able to exceed known tech, at least not by much. Where could have gotten it?”

“The Professor at least had some of this stuff before encountering the Shi’ar but, yeah, it increased dramatically after Lilandra came to Earth.”

“Is that the Shi’ar leader?”


“Something else. Something different I want to talk about.”

“What’s that,” Justin asked.

“Jean said I could learn to keep my emotions in check. Said she could do it… but so could you, so long as I wasn’t emotionally attached.”

“I hope you aren’t after just having sex with me, no matter how great it was.”

“I do like you. We could be friends… with benefits.”

Justin laughed, not at all opposed to the suggestion.

“Okay, so I’ll teach you. I was making a point to the Professor about offering you impossible choices. I knew you were addiction free. I could feel it. He chose to ignore it, assuming I’m not a strong enough telepath. I’m also a precog. I can see probable paths.”

“What do you see for me?” There was a glint in his eyes as he said it.


His eyebrow rose.

“I ended up here after Jean, Scott and Ororo found me dancing in a club. Fake ID, only sixteen, but dancing the night away. They were looking for me.”

“And now that you're eighteen you want to go back?”

“Yep. Interested?”

“I am, but how do we manage that?”

A sly grin crossed Justin's face. “Let me worry about that.”


“I told him that I wanted to confer with Reed Richards about a project I'm working on. Said you could learn something by going. So what's going to happen is that you're going to your first NA meeting while I visit Dr. Richards.”

“Seriously,” asked Peter. “Fine, whatever.”

“There's an 8pm meeting on 28th and 9th. You go there. Try and find a sponsor.”

“Yes, mum.”

“I'm trying to look out for you. Plus, it might make it easier to go clubbing afterward if you have a bit of the 12 steps under you belt.”


Peter found himself standing before a church. It wasn't anyplace he wanted to be and so was hesitant to enter.

“Coming in,” said a handsome man. He was older but not nearly as much as the men who fucked him for money.

Nodding his head, Peter followed. The other man waited and shook his hand.

“I'm Adam,” he told Peter.


“First time?”

“Yeah. Not sure how I feel about this. Been clean for ten months.”

“But can you stay clean without help?”

“Maybe. I never intended for this to happen. At least not the first time. I'd barely finished detoxing before some news sent me looking for more.”

Adam nodded. The circumstances didn't matter. He'd certainly heard enough similar stories.

Inside, the meeting started with a prayer. That already irked him since he was, at best, an agnostic. Still, he stayed. He heard someone tell his story and began to identify. After that, they passed around a basket, something about being self-supporting and needing to pay for expenses. Peter threw in a few dollars.

Next, they asked if anyone was new or at their first meeting. Adam nudged him and Peter reluctantly raised his hand.

“I'm Peter. This is my first time here.”

“Are you an addict or have a desire to stop using?”

“I don't want to use, that's for damn sure.”

After the meeting a few men approached him. They mostly wanted his phone number, which seemed peculiar to him. Adam sensed the hesitation and told him that was so they could reach out to one another for help or to help others.

“Thanks for that,” Peter said to Adam. “The whole thing seems so strange.”

“You get used to it.”

Peter nodded, still unsure about it.

“You should get a Big Book. And a sponsor.”

“So I've been told.”

“I can be your sponsor. Buy a Big Book and we can get started.”

“I don't have a place to store it. I'm not going home right now and I'm sure not bringing it where I'm going.”

“Which is where?”

“Dancing with a friend.”

“Do you think that's a good idea? You might be offered drugs.”

“I wouldn't even be here if I wasn't going dancing with a friend. He wanted me to come to the meeting while he took care of other things. I think he'd kick anyone's ass who tried to give me anything, and mine if I did.”

“You can't rely on other people to keep you clean.”

“Don't intend to. I'm simply saying that to put your mind at ease.”

“Let's exchange phone numbers,” Adam said. “Call me before you do anything. Get a Big Book tomorrow and start reading it.”


Adam and Peter walked out together. Justin was leaned up against a street lamp. He moved from it and walked up to Peter.

“Just friends,” Adam questioned.

“Eh. Fuck buddies is probably a better description.”

“How old are you?”

“He's nineteen,” Justin responded. “I’m eighteen.”

Adam shook his head. “This is dangerous territory, probably for both of you. Also, illegal. And I'd seriously suggest you focus on staying clean rather than having sex.”

Peter and Justin looked at one another, amused.

“He seduced me,” Peter said.

Justin snorted.

“Is that how you're spinning it? At best, it was mutual.”

“I'll take it under consideration,” Peter said to Adam. “And I'll call you in the morning.”

“You think you'll be up in the morning?”

“Most likely. I'm a morning person. Light breakfast, a run, lifting on alternate days, classes. No time to sleep in.”

Adam sighed. There was no trust between them just yet and it wasn't even his decision to come to NA. He just hoped Peter could stay clean for the night and called him in the morning.


They arrived at Limelight before long; it was only about eight blocks away. The line to get in was considerable but Justin gestured for him to come to the side of the building. The line there was much shorter and, as became apparent, was mainly composed of gay men. It turned out there was a section of the club strictly for gay men. They could go anywhere in the club but only those with these special wristbands could move between sections at will.

When it was their turn at the bouncer, he looked dubiously at the ID’s presented to him. They placed them at just a few years older.

“This is you,” he asked.

“It's me,” Justin responded. “I look young for my age. Excellent genes.”

The bouncer looked unimpressed but nevertheless gave them wristbands and let them in.

“You are young,” Peter said into Justin's ear, nibbling for a moment before pulling away.

Justin gave a brilliant smile and grabbed Peter's hand, guiding him through the club. There were some dark hallways but they didn't explore them. Instead, they headed for the main dance floor.

It didn't take long to get into the groove. Peter hadn't really had much chance to dance in his life between the homelessness and the drugs. He was a quick learner, watching the way Justin and other men moved.

Justin liked to get dirty, grinding into Peter at times. This led to some making out on the dance floor, but nothing too serious.

Things changed when they saw a hot guy dancing solo. Peter gave a nod his way. Nothing was entirely clear about his sexuality, but the boys still found their way over to him. The began to dance near him, blatantly checking him out. The man began to smile at the both of them, dancing along with him. Then they noticed the band around his wrist. Definitely came through the 'gay’ door.

Justin nodded his head in the direction of the closed off area and the three of them headed that way. Those dark halls seemed very appealing right about now.

“Got to take a piss,” said Peter. “Don't go too far.”

Justin grinned, pushing the other man against the wall and kissing him. Peter could see tongue going down that throat as he entered the men's room. Though he did take a piss, there was another motivation for going in there. There was a condom dispenser and he wanted what was in there.

“Looking for a good time,” a man inside said.


“Why don't you unbutton those pants. I already got a glimpse of what's inside of them.”

“I've got two blokes out there waiting for me but I won't turn down one more.”

Peter winked, nodded his head in the direction of the door and walked out. It was up to the other man to decide what he wanted to do.

Justin and the first man hadn't gone too far. They were still kissing, but hands were at each others’ crotches, feeling the hardness. Peter came up behind Justin, kissing his neck, and slipped one of the condoms into his pocket. This was no prearranged thing but he decided they were necessary.

Justin turned and kissed Peter as the second man exited the restroom and headed their way.
Peter glanced at him.

“We've got a fourth.”

::Thanks for the condom but I'm not bottoming for either of these two, or even you in this place.::

::We fuck them. Quite alright with me.::

Peter unzipped Justin's pants and pulled his cock out. It was long and uncut but not quite as thick as Peter's. Justin returned that favor and Peter was hard in an instant.

“Wow,” said the first one. “I want to suck on that.”

The second man pushed the first aside.

“I saw his cock in the men's room. I want to suck… both of them.”

“There's enough to go round,” said Peter.

The man from the restroom got down on his knees in front of Peter but he wasn't as skilled as Justin. It was adequate but he knew he was going to have to fuck him if he wanted to get off.

Peter pulled the man up and undid his pants, pulling down both them and his underwear. He then turned the man around and put on the condom.

“Whoa whoa,” the man objected. “I don't get fucked.”

“You do tonight,” Peter said.

He spit in his hand and began to insert fingers until he was reasonably sure he could take his cock. He wasn't quite as tight as he would have been if this was his first time. Using more spit on his hand to lube himself up, Peter slowly began to enter the man. The man had to take some deep breaths but eventually took all of Peter's cock. That's when Peter gave up on being so gentle.

Looking over at Justin, he saw the dance floor guy was taking his cock. He was also pushing in and out like a bull but the other man wasn't easily taking it. Peter thought he was a sissy since he had handled that cock like a pro. Then again, he had been a pro at one time, at least in some respects.

Peter leaned over and started kissing Justin. These two guys were meaningless to them. They were actually more interested in one another.

When Peter was about ready to cum, he pulled out, ripped off the condom and shoved his cock into the mouth of the man Justin was fucking. He came inside of his mouth and dance floor guy swallowed it all. Then he pulled up his jeans and buttoned them up.

Justin then pulled out and took off the condom. Restroom guy didn't want to be left out and swallowed Justin's cum. Then Justin zipped up his jeans and gave Peter a kiss.

“Can I get your number,” restroom guy asked.

“Maybe some other time,” Justin said as the pair walked away.

When they had gotten outside, Peter bust out laughing, with Justin following.

“What did we just do, mate?”

“Slipping back into Australian colloquialisms?”

Peter rolled his eyes but then laughed some more.

“Let's get out of here. Think we pushed things as it is.”

“Yeah,” Justin decided. “It was worth it.”

“The whole thing was hot but… sex with you was so much better.”

“Yeah. I mean, I'd do this sort of thing again because convincing strangers to do this is in a relatively public setting was fun.”


“No more than you.”

Before heading to the train, a device in his head told him that something, no someone - someones, actually, were nearby. If he knew they were here, the opposite was also true with them. No time to ponder it now and it wasn't something he was prepared to deal with.


They were home in a couple of hours but not all was quiet inside when they arrived. Professor Xavier was waiting. He could have called out to them telepathically but wanted a face-to-face-discussion. He did not look happy.

“Where have you been?”

“The City,” Justin said, though the words trailed off as he spoke them.

“The City. I spoke to Dr. Richards two hours ago. He said you'd left his lab hours earlier. He also said Peter was never there.”

“It's true I didn't go,” Peter responded. “I went to a Crystal Meth Anonymous meeting. Related to the people and a man there said he'd be my sponsor.”

Xavier gave an angry sigh.

“How do you intend to explain your path to addiction and recovery without discussing your grandfather or the X-men? As I understand it, complete honesty is a requirement.”

Peter lowered his head and cast a glance at Justin.

“It was my idea, sir,” said Justin. “I didn't think through the implications.”

“That's been a common theme lately. For the both of you. However, at best, that meeting lasted not more than an hour or so. Where were you in the time afterward?”

Neither boy said anything, both heads hung low.

“Tell me. Now. I can find out but I'd rather you said on your own.”

“We went to a club to go dancing,” Justin replied.

“A club. How did you get in?”

“Fake ID. Like the one I had when Jean and Ororo found me.”

“You went to this club to dance? Did you do anything else there?”

“We didn't drink or use any drugs,” Peter said.

“That was not my question. Did you do anything there besides dancing?”

Justin and Peter looked directly at one another but it was obvious they weren't getting out of this.

“We, uh, had sex with two guys we met there.”

“You had sex?” Xavier looked more than a little upset, though he'd suspected as much.

“We used condoms!”

“You had sex in a public place. That's illegal.”

“Not any more than anything that goes on around here,” Peter mumbled under his breath.

“What goes on here is entirely different. We're protecting those in need. What the two of you did was reckless and had the potential to cause you and the other men to be arrested.”

“Shit. I didn't think about that.”

“No, you didn't. You only thought about… about getting off.”

“To be fair,” Justin responded. “That wasn't the plan. We only meant to go dancing. Then things sort of... happened.”

“You accidentally had sex with two strange men?”

“This is bullshit,” Peter said. “I was a God damned prostitute. Did Wolverine ever tell you what I was doing when he found me? Two men had their cocks in my ass! I'm no boy! Stop treating me like one! Too much has happened in my life for me to have the luxury of getting to be a boy. I grew up… in the most terrible way possible.”


“Screw this! I'm out. The streets are better than being treated like some ten year old!”

Justin had that look on his face that told him that while he was shocked he didn't at all disagree.

“Peter, be reasonable.”

“Professor,” Justin began. “You know our stories. For better or worse, our lives made us grow up fast. I can tell you from being connected to him that he has trust issues and right now he doesn't trust you. He'll leave.”

The Professor looked exasperated.

“Do you think I want you to leave? I want you to think! It is far more dangerous out there then you realize. Magneto and his Acolytes. Apocalypse. You grandfather. They are always on the lookout for new recruits. Telling them no means you become their enemy, especially when you live here.”

“What do you want us to do,” Peter. “I understand what you're saying but I'm not going to hide for the rest of my life. I'm not even going to put on a costume. I just want to have a life. And kill my grandfather.”

Justin snorted. “I'll drink to that.”

Peter gave him a look.

“Even if my great-grandfather does come after me, he won't take me so easily. I've learned some tricks…”

“He won't be alone,” Professor Xavier stressed.

“What makes you think I will be?”

Professor Xavier looked at Justin in askance but the boy shrugged his shoulders.

“Who do you expect to help you?”

“You think I was the only kid Sinister forced into service? I'm not. They'll come if I call. Vivian. Judy. Chase. They're all very powerful and they're all connected to the the X-Men in one way or another.”

“Why did you never say anything?”

“They don't want any part of this, just like me. They're not far away so they'd be there if needed them. I could easily start my own faction. Those three are my friends but there are more, always more. I have tech that can spot them, but I don't use it because it will alert Sinister. With enough people on my side I'd take the risk.”

“You keep holding back, Peter, continuing not to trust me. Did you consider I might be able to help if you let me in? You managed to keep this from me even with a deep scan. What else are you hiding?”

“Think about this,” Justin interjected. “Imagine a life where you couldn't trust anyone. Everyone around you was a potential spy, might stab you in the back. Finally, it's too much and you run away. You do some of the worst things imaginable just to stay off the radar and it leads you down a very dark path. It crushes your life and it all seems hopeless - it is hopeless. Finally, by chance, someone finds you who is able to help. She takes you someplace where he might get help. Problem is that him fleeing the enemy led to the very consequences he'd been told would happen. Filled with guilt he goes right back to where he was. One person finds him, doesn't tell anyone what he saw, and sent him someplace safe to recover. When he's done he comes back and is immediately treated like an idiot.

“How would you feel? He knows he made a mistake but you didn't exactly make sure he was expected. And don't tell me you didn't realize who it was before the attack started, yet you did nothing to stop it. Let him make the mistake. I wouldn't even be surprised if it was meant to put him under your thumb.”

“Do you think so little of me?”

Justin looked away. This wasn't a exactly how he would have expected any potential confrontation to go.

“No, but I know you like to be in control of your students, even the adult X-Men, almost half of them being here since they were teenagers. It's kind of weird that they put up with it. They did fine in Australia and the others in X-Factor.

“I get why they look up to you. You took them in, showed them you cared, trained them to face challenges from those who hate us, as well as what we know is coming. It's why I came here. I don't want to go, either. I believe in what you stand for. I just need some latitude here.”

“I hear your concerns,” Professor Xavier replied. “It's late but perhaps we can revisit this in the next few days. Perhaps we can work some things out, make certain allowances. I can't have you running off and lying about where you're going and what you're doing.”

“I need something called a Big Book,” Peter said. “I can handle a sponsor. There's nothing I have to tell him that needs details. Ran away from a bad situation, sold myself, got hooked on drugs, parents were killed, went back to drugs, got the opportunity to get clean for the last ten months and now I'm here.”

“Let's discuss this in the morning.”

The boys went upstairs. Before they went to their rooms, Peter gave a glance at Justin.

“I was angry about being cornered,” said Peter. “But I think I need to apologize. He's trying to help, even if it feels uncomfortable. I've been so long without anyone telling me how to behave. If I'd… stayed with my family, things would be different. They'd never let me get away with anything like this. I want to control things as much as anything else.”

“You were in a bad situation.”

“Maybe, but I could have come here before I ended up a drug addict. I chose not to. At the least, I could acknowledge it, and how grateful I am that he took me in when I was living in a crackhouse.”

“Maybe me, too. I was a little harsh but between the two of us we can take care of most any threat.”


Next morning came and Peter made a call to Adam. He didn't want to but he decided it probably made sense. Worst case, he could drop out if it became problematic.

“Hello,” came the voice on the other end.

“Hey, Adam,” Peter said. “This is Peter from last night.”

“Good morning. I wasn't sure if you would call. Glad you did.”

“Yeah. Listen, I didn't get a chance to buy a Big Book and I don't even know where to look.”

“There are probably AA or NA meetings in your area that sell them.”

“Okay. I'll see what I can find. Maybe I'll try to find one and pick it up on my run.”

“So,” Adam said. “How was your night dancing?”

“It was fun but we didn't do that much dancing.”

“What were you doing?”

“Justin and I hooked up with these two guys. I don't have to go into details do I?”

“No. Did you use?”


“Did you use condoms?”

“Yes. I spent enough time with guys who were paying me who didn't want to use them. It's some miracle, between that and needle sharing, that I never caught any sexually transmitted diseases.”

“That's good to hear but there are some other things we should discuss.”


“Sex with strangers, especially in public places. You can put them in jeopardy, or yourself. Some guys out there might be dangerous.”

“I just had to go through all of this last night with a teacher. Justin and I are in this school but in some kind of independent studies. It's sort of advanced courses. We have a lot of latitude, though we might have overstepped. It's going to be discussed today to sort out what is and isn't acceptable and transparency.”

“Do you hook up with men a lot? Or with Justin?”

“I only met Justin on Monday. We've only been having sex with each other until last night. There wasn't a plan. We met this one guy and them another joined in.

“I can tell you we're capable of handling ourselves. Not so much when I was using but before and after that time period. I exercise, eat healthy - largely vegetarian - and have training in martial arts. Justin is similar.”

“Is he your boyfriend? You said you'd only met him five days ago.”

“Nah. Just got out of a relationship with a girl in Japan. Not all that ready to date so soon.”

“You're bisexual?”

“If I find a person attractive, I don't give it much thought. That's how it worked last night. I'm not particular about the gender of the other person.”

“That makes it doubly difficult to stop acting out with sex.”

Peter was silent. He didn't want to have this argument again. Once he could handle but this was getting ridiculous.

“Why are you so quiet?”

“Look, mate, I'm probably not going to stop having sex. I could be smarter about it.”

“Get that Big Book. Read it. Keep calling me.”

“You bet. Talk to you soon.”

Peter hung up the phone. He wasn't sure this was going to work. He has no idea what he was supposed to do in a 12-Step program. Twelve steps, obviously, but what did that entail?

A quick breakfast and then out for a run. Before leaving, he checked the phone book and found a number for AA. That was the best he could do right now since there were no NA meetings this early and CMA wasn't around at all.

The meeting wasn't too far and he timed things so he could arrive slightly early. He was sweaty but not too hung up about it. At least he'd have the book.

People saw right off that he was young and new. Unlike the CMA meeting, this one wasn't full of gay men. Most of them were a lot older than him.

Inside, Peter saw a literature table with someone sitting behind it.

“Welcome,” said the man. “Are you knew?”

“First meeting was yesterday in Manhattan. My sponsor told me I needed a Big Book but I'm not sure what that is?”

“None available at that meeting?”

“Couldn't carry it around where I was going but he told me to get one straight away. I made a call and found this one. Worked it into my morning run.”

“Where do you live?”

“Not too far. A place called Xavier's.”

“That special school? You know, I've been rude with all these questions. My name is Dave.”

“Hello, Dave. I'm Peter.”

They shook hands.

“How old are you?”

“Nineteen. I got clean about a year ago - ten months - but I was sequestered and didn't have access to anything even if I wanted. I had a girlfriend there, and maybe that helped, but then I moved here.”

“Rehab girlfriend?”

“Not sure what that is but I wasn't in a rehab. I was in a secluded place in Japan. She's not an addict.”

“Well, I'm glad you're here. This is the Big Book,” he said, pointing to three blue-covered books, with the word 'Alcoholics Anonymous’ stamped on the front cover. It was barely noticeable unless you were looking for it.

“What's the difference in sizes mean?”

“The big one is large print and contains numerous stories of alcoholics. The next one is normal print, also with the stories. The small one only has one story, that of the co-founder of AA.”

“How about the little one? I don't have much room to carry anything bigger.”

“I could give you a ride.”

For whatever reason, that made Peter uncomfortable. As he'd told everyone, he could handle himself. He also didn't feel as though Dave had any ulterior motive. Still, he decided he'd rather not.

“I have to finish my run after the meeting, but thanks for the offer.”

“Are you sure?”

“Positive. Won't stay fit riding in cars.”

“Sometimes you have to--”

“But not this time,” Peter finished. “Really, I'm fine. I run six miles every morning after breakfast.”

“Isn't it bad to run on a full stomach?”

Peter shrugged his shoulders. “I eat light, go heavy on lunch and medium on dinner. No dessert.”

“Some regimen you've got there.”

Peter flexed an arm.

“Running, lifting, crunches, light martial arts, some other things.”

“No time for relationships.”

“I was dating in a girl in Japan the past several months. Now I'm just screwing around.”

“Pretty girl?”

“Eiko? Sure, but a bit on the loony side, something I found out in the last month.”

“I meant the one you're 'screwing around’ with.”

“He's hot, that's for damn sure. We're not dating but the sex is phenomenal.”



“Eiko is a man?”

“Don't be daft. Eiko is a girl. Justin is a boy. You have a problem with that? I'm equal opportunity when it comes to dating and sex. I'm not sure why it's an issue.”

“A lot of people would say you're a closeted homosexual.”

“A lot of people haven't fucked as many men or women as I have.”

“At nineteen?”

“Comes with being a prostitute on the streets. As the meeting is about to stop I'll take a seat and get the book afterward.”


Later, Peter was sitting down with Jean and Ororo. He wasn't quite happy.

“I'm starting to feel like a piece of meat. These people check me out, seem to want my number, to get me in their cars… I don't know if it's serious or sexual. Don't have enough handle on things.”

“You are an attractive young man,” said Ororo. “You also like wear clothing that shows off your body.”

“I put a lot of work into this body.”

“Of course,” said Jean. “We understand you've worked hard and you want people to appreciate you. Then you don't like it when they do.”

“Not everyone.”

“Justin, of course, but he's too attractive for you to feel disturbed.”

“There were these guys at the Limelight last night.”

“You went clubbing,” asked Jean. “How did the Professor feel about that?”

“He didn't love it but we're going to discuss limits and transparency. Not just me but Justin as well. On that note, I should go talk to him. It's going to be one-on-ones and then the three of us together.”

“Good luck,” Jean said with a concerned look. She'd practically been raised by the man and knew he could sometimes be stern.

When Peter got to Xavier’s office he shut the door behind him and sat down.

“Hello, Peter,” Xavier said. “I hope we can have a more productive discussion this afternoon than we did last night.”

“Can't get much worse.”

He could see Professor Xavier cringe at those words.

“No, I suppose not. Let's talk, not like when I did your psych evaluation but really talk. I want to know your goals, beyond dealing with Sinister. You've said you don't want to dress up in a costume. What do you want?”

“First things first,” Peter said. “What did you find from my tests yesterday? Jean thought I was fine. She said Justin was capable of teaching me psychic defense if I wanted. Justin and I are both okay with it.”

Xavier sighed. “I wish Jean would consult with me before telling you these things.”

“It's my life. No reason to keep secrets from me. I've had enough of that from my grandfather. Not looking for that here.”

“Noted. I concur with Jean's analysis. You're angry, something we both understand, but that emotion left unchecked could be dangerous if you let it out.”

Peter nodded. He always thought the time would come when he'd encounter Sinister and his anger would manifest to destroy the man. Or so he hoped.

“I know,” Peter acknowledged. “It's not just that he… he murdered my parents. He has Robbie and Izzy! How am I supposed to let him keep my little brother and sister? They're not even mutants. God, I can't even think about what he might be doing to them. No, I have to rescue them.”

“I didn't know the severity of the situation.”

“I'm sorry I've been keeping so many secrets. It's been so long since I've been honest. Even with Eiko. Using people to get what I wanted, or being used.”

“Assuming we find your siblings what do you, Peter Nelson, want out of life?”

Peter was silent. He had difficulty thinking that way. A real future seemed so impossible.

“I want to settle down, get married, have a family, a job, a house. All the things I used to have. Live and love, friends and family, freedom from my past. That's what I want.”

“Laudable goals, though I fear a mutant war is coming and that you'll he caught in the middle no matter what you want.”

“I know. Something is changing. I don't know what. This shouldn't even be happening. Mutants ought to be banding together. Events have been set in motion to pit us against one another. It sounds like something Apocalypse would do. He'd want to cull the weak so only the strongest survive. That would make sense but I don't know how he accomplished it.”

“First things first. We have to find your siblings. However, if you spend all of your time seeking pleasure it could serve as a distraction. So I'll say this. I understand that you were forced you to grow up far too soon and are trying to make to it in some ways by seeking pleasure. You have to decide what is most important to you.”


Peter lay on his bed, thinking. This was one of the hardest things to decide. He had to find them but he also wanted to have a life.

A knock came at the door.

“Come in,” Peter responded.

The door opened and Justin entered, shutting it behind him. He lay on the bed next to Peter, just being present and asking nothing of him. A friend who could wait until Peter was ready.

“I don't know what to do,” he finally said. “I need to find Izzy and Robbie but I don't even know where to begin.”

“I've been thinking about that,” Justin replied. “We've got all the fancy alien tech. You say your sibs aren't mutants, but do you really know that's true? Were they even old enough to have manifested mutant abilities? Why else would Sinister want them?”

Peter paused before responding.

“What are you suggesting?”

“We take Cerebro and upgrade it with Shi’ar tech. Then we use you as a baseline to find them. Sound reasonable?”

Peter nodded his head.

“Now we know our next project.”

Justin rolled over and gave Peter a hug. Peter held him there. They still hadn't known each other for long but there was a kind of comfort in having a close friendship.

“Listen,” Justin said. “We should be working on your psychic defenses but, honestly, I'm not sure you really need it. One thing I have noticed is that you have this tiny part of your brain locked off. The scans by the Professor and Jean might not pick it up but I'm in there more than them. I don't know what's there and I'm not going to ask. Just realize I'm aware of it and, if you need to, I can help you keep it under wraps.”

Peter looked at Justin with a newfound respect. Not that he didn't already think highly of him, but the fact that he knew there was a secret and was willing to help him keep it meant a lot.

“Reminds me of Chase,” Peter said. “He helped all of make our thoughts seem transparent while layers underneath hid our real thoughts. I miss him.”

“Was there something between you two?”

“No. We were all just… stuck with Sinister. It made us close.”

Justin nodded. True or not, Justin didn't really care but he didn't think Peter had lied to him at any point.

“I… might talk to you about what's hidden. It's hard. I promise there's nothing more.”

“Okay. I trust you and don't believe you'd do anything to hurt us.”

Peter gave Justin a brief kiss and then they got to work on beefing up his defenses a little more.

“It's nice to have someone I can trust,” said Peter. “I thought maybe the Professor but… I don't so. He's going to have to work hard to change things between us.”

“Don't worry about it. We're going to find Robbie and Izzy and then do what we have to with Sinister. I've got your back.”

Peter smiled at Justin because he knew it was true. It had been a long since since he fully trusted anyone, and that had been his family. There was, at least hope, which was all he could ask for.