There was a time when I had a lot more sleepless nights. Back in the days of there only being a half-dozen X-Men, when I wasn't much more than a kid, the pressures of being field leader would keep me up a lot. Even though the others were my very close friends-- my best friends, in fact-- I was even less inclined to be expressive about worries and doubts than now. Sometimes, I'd hole up in the library to read, or catch up on the most mundane homework I had assigned, anything to get my mind off of the bigger things.
But the late-night busy work I turned to most was the one I'd found myself doing tonight. It was maybe three or four in the morning, and I was elbow-deep in the engine block of one of the Institute's SUVs. Nowadays, my shop classes took care of most of the repair and maintenance, but when I couldn't sleep, few things quieted the noise in my head better than something as ordinary as playing mechanic.
The radio was on, set to my usual classic rock station, and I was humming along to the CCR when I heard the low, ground-shaking growl of a motorcycle pulling up the drive. I recognized the sound of the motor without thinking: Logan's bike, the one I'd put together to keep him from constantly "borrowing" mine. He'd tinkered with it again to up the noise factor.
Shaking my head, I got out from under the Expedition's hood and toweled off my hands as Logan guided the bike into a free spot.
Before I could say anything, a news announcer broke into the broadcast.
"Sorry to interrupt, rock fans, but there's a breaking news story. After the events of what most people are calling 'M-Day', there's been a lot of debate over whether what happened was a good or a bad thing. Many protests have been seen in the streets of Rome, some former mutants wanting to know if God is punishing them, some thanking God for relieving them of their powers. In the middle of the latest clash between the sides on the city streets, we're getting reports of a mutant making some sort of announcement. Our Rome correspondent--
Yes, this mutant appeared in the skies not far from the Vatican, flying in a manner not unlike the Fantastic Four's Human Torch. The unidentified mutant swooped over the protestors, scattering them with bolts of fire--"
"Shiro?" I muttered, remembering Rogue's report of what was supposed to have happened to him in Japan. "How?"
"Still, well, on fire, whoever the mutant is, he's addressing the crowd!
'Mutants! Your birthright has been stolen! Your powers, taken from you by those who would rob you of that which makes you homo superior! I was as you were, and now I am whole again. If you wish to be yourselves once more, your chance is coming.'
The mutant-- my director is suggesting it may be the Japanese mutant known as Sunfire-- seems to be powering up, the flames getting white-hot... He's gone. What this means to the former mutant population, to the few remaining mutants, and truly, the world at large, we don't know. Time to--"
I switched it off, looking at Logan.
"Great. As if it couldn't get any worse."
((Open to Logan))