Epic X-Men #9: Something Worth More Than Money
*Xavier Institute for Higher Learning; a month since Hank McCoy’s enrollment*
”My students. I would like for you all to meet me in my study, if you please”, Xavier‘s voice said in their heads. Doing as he requested, Jean, Hank, Scott, and Emma gathered into his office. “It seems that I have attained an invitation for a banquet being held by the Worthington family and I wanted see if one of you would like to accompany to this gathering this weekend.”
”The Worthington family?”, Jean inquired.
”They are a prestigious family much like the Frost family, having different companies and investments in other companies to their name. Aka, very rich. All hugh class”, Emma explained.
”Hmm, as much as I would love to partake of their extravagant banquet’s culinary cuisine’s and imagine the lifestyle of an entrepreneur, I unfortunately have plans. Jean and I plan on going to the theatre to see the ever classical production, Cats.”
”Really? You and Hank, Jean?”, Scott asked suddenly.
”Yeah. Hank said he new a guy who could get us tickets and I hadn’t seen it. My dad always said he loved it, so I figured why not”, Jean said nonchalantly.
”Oh, you will love it, dear!”, Moira said suddenly coming in. “I loved it when Charles took me to see them once upon time, but tickets are just so expensive these days. I just wouldn’t have it for Charles to pay those prices.”
”Honestly, Moira, if he obliged to take you, who are you to say no?”, Emma says.
”I will tell you who, dear. I am the one who says no and goes on her merry way, that’s who”, Moira said with her arms crossed.
”Oh yes. True show of feminism. Rejecting an expensive invitation to somewhere you’d love to go and that a man wants to take you. I am sure all the girls will rally around you with a resounding, huzzah!”, Emma mocked.
”Alright, Emma, that’s enough”, Xavier said, not wishing for and conflict to arise.
“What brought this discussion about theatre tickets and all that anyways? You planning a field trip, Charles?”, Moira asked to the headmaster.
“Charles was kind enough to offer us students a chance to attend an expensive banquet by the ever wealthy Worthington family. Jean and Henry have made plans to see Cats. As for myself, I too have acquired an invitation through connections with Mr. Worthington’s son, Warren Worthington III. So, I am afraid me and Charles both have a problem of acquiring dates to this little event”, Emma explained as she scrolled through her phone casually.
”Well, why don’t you take Scott, Emma, and the Professor take Moira?”, Jean asked. “You don’t have any plans this weekend, so you Scott? Moira?”
”Uh-well, I, uh, was hoping to go with you guys, but since Moira explained about the ticket pricing, I suppose that means I’m free this weekend”, Scott said as he blushed.
”Aye, and I have nothing better to do this weekend either. So, why not? If it’s alright with you, Charles”, Moira answered the young red-head thoughtfully.
”That would be quite acceptable, Moira, thank you. I do have an ulterior motive for going to this little event”, Xavier said. “The son that Emma had mentioned. Word has it that he is a mutant, with him wearing bulky clothing since he was thirteen.”
”Pardon me, for doubting your detective skills, Professor, but what exactly does bulky clothing have to do with determining someone a mutant”, Hank asked confused.
”Well, I wasn’t finished, Mr. McCoy. To add to Mr. Worthington’s questionable wardrobe change, it has been reported that there were found feathers around the areas Warren spent the most time, despite Mrs. Worthington’s allergy to feather’s”, the professor explained further.
”He is a mutant”, Emma revealed suddenly. “Worthington and I are close friends and he revealed to me he was a mutant when his father and mine had met up for business. I was upfront with my telepathy and how I knew of his secret, which quite honestly wasn’t all that subtle. You can hardly blame the guy though. It’s hard to hide a mutation like his, but when you see him in action, you can tell there was nothing he loved more than being his real self”, Emma said as she reminisced about him.
”What is his power?”, Scott asked.
”Its not so much as a power. It’s something similar to Henry’s case. As a child, dear Warren grew wings. Yes, where you pre-pubescent young men were worried about growing hair‘s in questionable places, Warren dealt with literal bird wings growing on his backside”, Emma said.
”Like an Angel’s wings?”, Jean said in awe.
”My dear, when you see the sight of that pretty face with no shirt and wings out in the shining sun, it is every bit as angelic as you would ever witness”, Emma said with a smirk to Jean.
“Okay, I think that’s enough. We Me and Moira are going with you and Emma to meet this Warren guy to....”, Scott said in a bid to change the subject.
”I‘d think it would be rather obvious Scott”, Xavier said amused.
”Right. Get the guy to join our school”, Scott said exasperated. “If you excuse me guys, I have a suit to find.”
”Perhaps you will allow me to assist you on that, Mr. Summers. I know a good tailor who can help with fitting you nice tux, my treat of course”, Xavier said following Scott out of the study as they made plans.
”Hmmm, me thinks our pal, Scott, is having a problem self-consciously with himself”, Hank observed.
”Oh, leave the poor lad alone. He’s a good boy who just needs a little bit more confidence, which can only be nurtured with time and help from the lot of you. You’re all he’s got after all. Meanwhile, I have to find a dress to wear to this function”, Moira says.
”I think I will tag along with you, Moira. It has been a good while since I dressed myself in something new and expensive and I think my savings account can afford to take a hit for this special occasion”, Emma said as she followed Moira.
Leaving Hank and Jean alone, Hank noticed Jean looking out the window dreamingly at the sky.
”Penny for your thoughts, my exquisite red-headed compatriot?”, Beast said as he leaped from his spot to her side.
”I was just imagining what it would be like to have wings of a bird. To spread them out and soar in the sky with all the other flying creatures in the heaven’s above”, Jean sighed.
”A query if I may: You have the extraordinary ability of telekinesis, which grants you the ability to move objects freely with your mind’s power and I have seen you move objects as heavy as that statue to the fountain that Charles had put up not to long ago. Could you not levitate yourself the way you do with various objects of much heavier weights?”
”Theoretically, I could. I can levitate just fine. But my movement is so.....stiff. I’m thinking of something more freeing, wild, yet graceful. As good as I am with my telekinesis, I still have ways to go with my movement beyond throwing things and maneuvering them side-to-side slowly”, Jean admitted.
”You are an incredibly powerful young woman Jean and incredibly intelligent. Tied for second most intelligent in our class”, Hank said holding two fingers up.
”Hank, I‘m tied with second in a class of four people”, Jean said deadpanned.
”My point still stands. Jean you can and will master your telekinesis and be up in the sky leaving us all in the dust at incredible speeds. I know it!”, Hank said confidently.
”Thanks, Hank. I am real glad you joined the school”, Jean said hugging Hank.
”And I am delighted to have met you all, as well, Ms. Grey”, Hank said affectionately to his friend.
*Xavier Institute before the banquet*
“My, my, Mr. Summers, you clean up nicely”, Emma said appreciatively as she admired him in his tux with a matching white bow tie. “The professor has taste. A real shock to me too, Moira.”
”Oh, you should have seen Charles back in the day. He was quite the looker. A true ladies man he was. Even looking at him now though, I can definitely see flicks coming his way”, Moira said as she admired Xavier himself.
”Not with an exquisite maiden such as yourself by my side, Moira”, Xavier said smoothly.
“Wow, you guys look like you really fit the part of the high class”, Jean says walking in with Hank. Without realizing it, Scott stared after the dressed up red-head walking arm-in-arm with her friend.
“You look pretty....amazing, too, Jean”, Scott said dazedly.
”Thanks, Scott. See ya when you get back?”, Jean asked casually, enjoying the attention he was giving.
”Yeah, sure”, Scott answered, still not quite completely aware of what he was doing, but aware of the girl in front of him.
”Alright, see you guys”, Jean and Hank waved as they took off to their show.
”Alright, on that note, I believe we should all be heading out. Shall we get a move on then?”, Xavier said a little louder than usual to snap Scott out of his daze. With no further objection, the four leave for the party that night.
At the banquet, the four separate to find their seatings. Given Emma’s familiarity to the Worthington‘s son, she and Scott seat at a table nearest to the Worthington’s.
“Well, well, look who has come to visit an old friend, but doesn't have enough time to respond to her father’s messages”, a gravelly pompous voice came from across the circular table. Emma almost groaned vocally as she realized when she saw that it came from none other than Winston Frost. She could have smacked herself for her not accounting for her family arriving at the same banquet.
”What’s with that face, Emma, love? Surely you didn’t think you were the only friend the Worthington’s had in our family, did you?”, Adrienne said with a mischievous smile.
“Of course not. I just...figured that father would be busy closing deals and you would be out sticking your nose into potential competition”, Emma said with fake smile plastered on her face.
“You forgot another important part of the business, Emma. To rub elbows and network with other potential clients. Being a partner with our company in multiple projects, the Worthington’s is an absolute no-brained of a choice for not only talking business, but meeting others willing to do business”, her father explained proudly.
”Right. How silly of me to forget”, Emma said before looking around for a reason to leave the table.
”Whose might this nice young man be, Emma dear?”, her mother asked sweetly.
”Oh, yes, um”, Emma said as she gathered herself. “Yes, this is Scott Summers. He was a good friend of mind who was gracious enough to be my plus one.”
”Friend, huh?”, Adrienne said with a smirk as she watched Scott, who looked away, uncomfortable with the tension.
”Yes, Adrienne. Just a friend, who is not interested in b- Ahem, ‘beautiful’ girls like you”, Emma said.
“Ooooh, that kind of friend”, Adrienne said. “Good for him then.”
”Emma, did you just imply-“, Scott started in his head.
”Just go with it Scott, dear. It’s better for everyone involved”, Emma telepathically communicated. Emma took Scott’s silence as an affirmation.
Turning around, Emma gave a genuine large smile as she grabbed Scott pulled him with her, almost knocking the chair over he stumbled out of.
“Warren, darling, it’s been too, too long!”, Emma said before pulling him into a big hug.
”Wow, this is probably the most hearty greeting you’ve given to me ever”, Warren said with chuckle. ”The family driving ya crazy?”
”Sweetheart, you don’t know the half of it. Two minutes in and I already wanted to rip their hair out”, Emma said.
”So, not your hair, but their hair?”, Warren repeated with a laugh.
“Why would I make myself ugly when I can make them hideous?”, Emma said.
”How’s ‘Delia?”, Warren asked.
”Split. After realizing that moving out of the house was a thing she can do, she found the furthest apartment she can find and the first friend who would agree to be her roommate and just plain left. The girl is a lot smarter than I was, that is for sure”, Emma says jokingly.
“So, who’s this fella?”, Warren asked finally noticing Scott behind Emma.
“Oh, this is Scott Summers. He is a classmate and good friend of mine”, Emma introduced.
”Hi. Emma’s told me a lot about you”, Scott said offering his hand.
”Really? Okay, how much do I pay ya to keep quiet”, Warren said taking out his wallet before putting it back and taking Scott’s hand to shake. The act left Emma laughing harder than Scott had ever heard her do so. Honestly, Scott was amazed that this side of Emma existed. She was so guarded usually behind a mask of incredible confidence and beauty, but put her in front of family or good friend and her tunes change in totally different ways that Scott never knew someone to do. And looking at the interaction for just a few solid moments between herself and her family, Scott finally got the sense of what Charles and Moira has meant by things being hard on Emma, despite the riches at her disposal.
“So, Emma, you want head out to catch up a little”, Warren asked suddenly as Emma collected herself.
”What about your party?”, Scott asked perplexed.
”You mean my parents party? Yawn”, Warren said with fake yawn. ”Come on, Emma, let’s head out.”
Emma followed Warren, with Scott still in hand, to an elevator. When they made it to the top floor, Scott was awestruck at the giant penthouse this place provided for the Worthington’s.
”Another penthouse? Didn’t your father swear that he was gonna cut down on them last year?”, Emma asked as if this was something people did regularly. Scott supposed for people in her family, it probably was a regular thing.
“He is. This is a rental”, Warren said casually as he headed to a terrace area to look out to the city.
Emma followed to his side and looked out with him, saying absolutely nothing alongside him. Scott stood there watching the two in companionable silence and wondered what kind of conversation they had in their heads. Could any of them be about Scott and how out of his element he was? Does Emma ever miss this atmosphere of extravagance? Did she and Warren ever......?
”Same old, Scott. Never change”, Emma said demurely turning to the awkward teen standing in the middle of the living room area.
”What’s on his mind?”, Warren asked Emma.
”I would tell you, but I have been conditioned to follow a rule“, Emma said while chuckling.
“You following the rules? Bad b*tch, Emma?”, Warren said with a mixture of disbelief and humor.
“Oh god, I haven’t heard that nickname in so long”, Emma laughed. “Yes. I am totally serious. Xavier found me to be a bit of a wild spirit to handle and he wasn’t willing to step over any lines to keep me in line.”
”Xavier?”, Warren asked.
”Charles Francis Xavier. Mutant Researcher and Headmaster of his new Xavier Institute for Higher Learning”, Emma said with a certain mocking pizzazz.
“I heard rumors about some mutant researcher guy opening a school for people like us. So, their true? And you are apart of their student body?”, Warren asked.
”Yup. Emma Grace Frost is an official student of the student body of the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning”, Emma said in a louder tone, as if she were announcing it to an audience instead of two boys. “He has a rule for telepaths not read minds without permission.”
”I suppose that went over well?”, Warren said good-naturely.
”Naturally. To bring compromise to our sides, Xavier has made it a point to allow me to freely read minds as I see fit, so long as I don’t go revealing their thoughts to anyone without explicit permission to do so and only surface thoughts instead of the juicy stuff deep down”, Emma explained further to the young heir.
”Wow. Someone finally took down the great Emma Frost”, Warren joked.
”I prefer to think of it as a temporary cease fire”, Emma said.
”So long as they all behave themselves, my lips are sealed”, Emma said with a smirk.
”Hey, Emma?”, Scott finally intervened after waiting for a break in their banter. “Remember that we still have to-“
”Oh, right!”, Emma said suddenly remembering why Scott and Xavier came to begin with. She turned to Warren and began, “Warren, I am not just here to visit old friends.”
“Are you here for any kind of pleasure?”, Warren said while raising his eyebrows up and down.
”Nights still young, darling”, Emma joked along. “But that’s not the real reason I am here.”
”Gee, your serious? This oughta be good”, Warren said as he leaned on the railing.
”Warren, me and Scott, representing in Charles place, would like to offer you to come to the school“, Emma said grabbing Warrens hand with both of her own.
”Wait, you want me to go to a boarding school? Have you been talking to mom?”, Warren said in camaraderie.
“No, Warren. I am serious about this. It’s a place Xavier is building for people like us. A place where we can freely be ourselves and learn to use our powers out in the open”, Emma Frost said to Warren intimately as one would to a close friend. As this interaction went on, Scott knew that there were more sides to Emma than the high and mighty Emma Frost. This one showed vulnerability to someone she trusted, who she knew wouldn’t let her down.
“Emma, I....I don’t know. My dad-“
”Doesn’t have to have a say in this. It’s your body. Your wings! They are beautiful Warren and should be shown off to the world. Until that day though, just a few of us will do...that is if you would come?”, Emma said tenderly.
As Warren was gonna give his answer, a tiny spherical object was shot onto the terrace, spilling out a gas quickly before any could get an idea of what they were looking at. Sleep gas. With Warren carrying an unconscious Emma over to Scott, they dove behind the couch as people wearing black clothing and gas masks started pouring into the room.
“Warren, I will take care of these guys. You blow the smoke back with your wings before it enters into the room”, Scott directed Warren.
“How are you gonna-“
Before Warren could finish his question, Scott started blasting every single one of the intruders.
”GO!”, Scott yelled. Warren shook his head to snap out of his amazement and took off his jacket and shirt, exposing the wings hidden under them that were held in place by leather suspenders. Taking the suspenders off, the wings extended fully, causing a distraction to the invaders that allowed Scott to take them out.
With a couple of flaps from his wings, Warren blows away the smoke in the area as he covers his airways so he does not inhale any of the gas.
Warren surveyed the area looking for signs of any more of these thugs, looking on the surrounding buildings and inside the main building through the windows. All was normal from what it appears. The penthouse was the target, giving the impression that Warren was the one they wanted. Seeing nothing else to do, Warren returned to the penthouse to check up on Emma.
”Ugh, my head. You seriously couldn’t have set me onto the bed in the other room?”, Emma complained as she woke.
”Sorry, Em’. We had unexpected company arrive and not enough time to bring out the complimentary appetizers”, Warren laughed.
“Are you hurt anywhere, Emma?”, Scott asked concerned.
”No. Why? Are you gonna kiss all my boo boos?”, Emma said, causing Scott to blush and clear his throat awkwardly.
“Yup, she’s good. I checked the surrounding area everywhere. No further sign of more of these idiots”, Warren explained to the two mutants.
”I’m afraid their minds aren’t giving much either”, Emma said thoughtfully. “With what little knowledge they had in the trash bin they call a brain, they were hired by an unknown contact under a fake name called ‘Max Eisenhardt’.”
”Huh”, Warren said as he began to dread the idea of the many guards that would have to accompany him everywhere from here on out.
”I alerted the professor earlier, Em. He has alerted security and plans on redistributing their memories into believing they handled a break in, but we gotta scram now”, Scott said with haste urged in his voice.
”Hop on”, Warren said opening his arms.
”Oh hell yeah”, Emma said excitedly.
”What?”, Scott asked confused.
“I have two arms for two passengers. We are out of here via ‘Air Warren’, buddy!”, Warren said.
“Professor did order us to get out quickly”, Emma said smugly.
With a sigh in defeat, Scott grabbed hold of Warren and they took off into the night.
*Later that evening*
After getting Warren a big coat to hide his wings with, the three mutants got a ride back to the venue just in time for guests to be leaving. Finding the Professor and Moira coming out from the front, the three met up before they could get into the car.
”Professor, I‘d like you to meet, Warren Worthington III”, Emma introduced to her mentor.
”Salutations, young man. I have heard so much about you and have been in talks with your parents about the benefits of you attending my school, but I wanted to speak with you myself to get your decision on the matter”, Xavier said kindly.
“Thank you. Emma told me a lot about your school, sir”, Warren said in greeting.
”All good things, I presume”, Xavier said turning to Emma with a suspicious look.
”Yes, sir. All good things”, Warren assured the Professor.
”Warren”, called Warren Worthington Jr., the father of the young mutant. “Your mother and I were worried sick about you! We thought those criminals had gotten ahold of you!”
“Where have you been?”, Katheryn Worthington asked worriedly.
”I went out with some friends. Why? What happened?”, Warren asked, acting like he had not been there when they infiltrated the penthouse.
“You don’t know?” Mr. Worthington Jr asked his son. When Warren shook his head, his father sighed and merely said”, Then it’s nothing for you to worry about. We have been in discussion with Charles Xavier about your special gifts and after tonight, your mother and I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for you, son.”
”Really? Well, Emma goes to the same school to and says it’s pretty cool, so....”, Warren said as if he were thinking it over. But in Warrens mind, he knew that his decision was made before they even asked, “I accept, sir.”
”Well, then. Warren Kenneth Worthington III, I welcome you to the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning”, Xavier said shaking hands with Warren.