"No!" Scott's distressed voice pulls me from my sleep. "No! You can't take her!"
I sit up with a start. What's happening? My aching eyes dart around the room searching for the source of the issue - there's nothing here. I look down at Scott, who is lay beside me. He thrashes around under the restraint of the duvet and moans inaudible words. I shake his arm slightly.
"Scott! Wake up!" Although I cannot see his eyes below his glasses, I can tell from the creases in his forehead that they are still wrenched shut. "It's just a dream. Wake up!"
"Don't touch her!" He yells. Why won't he wake up? I'm scared now. The tears line my eyes. I shake him harder.
"Wake up, Scott! Please!" I hold back my sobs as I watch his so obvious pain and distress. He suddenly takes a sharp breath and darts up to sit. He is panting. "Scott?"
"Oh, Evelyn!" He hugs me tight, putting pressure on my already painful wound. His voice is a low, relieved whisper. "It was just a dream. You're okay."
He releases me and runs his hand through his sleep-mussed hair. I moan slightly at the pain in my side and retrieve the glass of water and pain meds from the nightstand beside me. Scott works on calming his rapid breathing, while I take the near dangerous amount of pain killers that I have been prescribed.
"Scott?" He looks up at me, his expression soft and loving. "What were you just dreaming about?"
"The dark haired man..." He swallows hard, like recalling it is near painful. "He came back. He was going to hurt you, going to kill you! I couldn't- I couldn't let him do it! I couldn't lose you again! I- I-"
"Shhh..." I kiss him soothingly. "That's not going to happen. Ever. How can it when I have you looking after me?"
"That's what I'm worried about! I'm new to this whole 'leadership' thing. What if I lead you guys to somewhere you'll be hurt?" His voice falls to a faint whisper. "Or worse?"
"Shut up." I order, a little too harshly. "You're not new to being a leader - you have always been a natural born leader, it's who you are. And you really think you could ever possibly do that with a team like us? I don't know about the others, but if you're making a stupid decision, I will definitely let you know about it!"
He laughs. "Yeah, there are rumors within the team that your new uniform possibly signifies your attitude towards us, a 'screw you, X-Men' sort of statement."
"No!" I giggle, lying back down in bed. "After the last week, you guys have become like family to me! My new uniform is more of a statement of..." I stop. What is it a statement of? "My independence, I guess. You guys mean a lot to me, but after Tuesday, maybe it’s best if we separate me from you guys when in public."
"But you're an X-Man," Scott looks confused.
"Yeah, but the public don't know that." I pull him down to lie next to me. "To them I'm just a terrifying monster."
"But we could show them that you're not, that you're trying to help!" He shuffles closer to me.
"There's no getting over what I did, Scott." I sigh. "I'll still be part of the X-Men - I'll always be part of the X-Men - I'll just use the darker uniform to distance myself from you guys a bit. Then you can have positive publicity that you three deserve!"
"So now that you have your own little sub-section of X-Men, including just you, does this mean you'll refuse to obey orders from me, Ardor?" His playful smile steals his lips, making him look more than gorgeous.
"I don't do as I'm told anyway, Cyclops." I bite my bottom lip, smiling. "I'm an independent woman."
"Oh really? Is this what the new Evelyn is going to be like? A rule breaker?" He raises his eyebrows, making me giggle.
"Depends what those rules are, Mr Summers." I answer innocently.
"Rule number one. You should kiss me, right now." We both laugh, but, of course, I obey. How could I ever resist? "Rule number two, you have to kiss me like that every single morning, or I'll be a moody jerk all day! Rule number three, no kissing any other team mates."
"Scott!" I moan, I'm feeling guilty enough already.
"I'm joking." He laughs and kisses my forehead before continuing. "Rule number four, what Scott says, goes."
"Did you just refer to yourself in the third person?" I stifle a laugh.
"Rule number five," he goes on, ignoring my question, his tone becoming more serious. "Never ever put yourself in danger for me, ever again."
"Okay, I'm totally going to break rules four and five." I reply casually. "'What Evelyn says, Evelyn will do' would be a good amendment to number four. And number five is completely stupid; I'll always come back for you, no matter how dangerous."
"No, you won't." He states. Why doesn't he get this?
"Yes, I will." He won't win this.
"What happened to 'what Scott says, goes'? Are you breaking rule number four already, Ardor?" He asks in a mocking threat.
"I might be." I giggle.
"Come here!" He commands laughing, before pulling me against his bare chest and kissing me passionately. Damn, I love Scott Summers!