Chris shrugged. 'I'm not sure, but all I know is that you're not angry.'
'Should I be?'
'Usually in a situation like that, the girl would immediately--may I emphasize on the "immediately"--glare at the guy and say, "I thought you said it was your own design" or something like that. You obviously know more than you care to share.'
They were in the master bedroom, which just happened to be Chris's room [hey, he owned the house, okay]. Alix had a wry grin on her face. 'You don't feel it?'
Chris raised a perfect eyebrow. 'Feel what?'
'Drew,' Alix replied. 'He's hiding something from us. I just get bits and pieces off him, but I know enough that he obviously knows me very well in the future. You too,' she quickly added. 'He knows both of us in the future. He knows us very well. The bits I get from him, they're...' she hesitated, unsure of how to say it. 'Complex. It's all full of love and hope, it's so touching.
'I know,' Chris said. 'For my part, I don't get as much from him. He gives me an impression of being cocky, but understanding. I get love and admiration from him. Not as much hope, more admiration. Besides,' he thought about it. 'He reminds me of you.'
'Oh, now that's droll,' Alix had to laugh. 'I was just going to say that he reminds me of you. I mean, the same red hair, cockiness...' her voice trailed away. 'He couldn't be, could he?'
Chris had caught on. He was unsure. 'I don't know,' he said finally. 'Should we confront him?'
Both of them didn't even bother to look at the door. They knew who it was.
'Come in,' Chris invited. Drew entered and sat down on the bed. 'Alix, I...' Mommy, his inner voice said again. It felt weird calling Mom by her name. 'I...I'm sorry,' he blurted out, like a little kid. The way he spoke it made him sound extremely childlike, but Mom...Alix--he berated himself. Alix! Not Mom--seemed amused by it. It had been so long since he saw her smile like that.
'It's okay,' Alix replied softly. She had been looking out the window. Now she turned to him, and over him, to Chris. They exchanged looks. Should we ask him now?
Not yet, Chris decided. Let's wait a while. I want to know what he's up to.
Drew looked up. He knew that they were having their secret pow-wow thingy above his head. He respected that. 'So,' he said to break the silence. 'Do you know what you're going to do?'
Alix was silent. 'Do you?'
The young man inhaled sharply. How could she have known? How could they? He have guarded his mind fiercely, set up protective shields all around him, just like Mom and Dad taught him. How could they have known?
Then it hit him.
Just like Mom and Dad taught him.
Stupid, stupid Drew, he chided himself angrily.
As though she'd read hid thoughts, Alix spoke again. 'You do realize that it is easy for me to tear down a mind shield that I have taught you to do,' she faced him now. 'Don't you?'
Drew was silent a moment. 'How much do you know?' he said quietly.
'Not much,' Chris answered this question. 'But we know enough. Why did you come back to the past?'
'To save someone I loved very much,' Drew said bitterly, knowing it is useless to lie. 'Someone that passed on when I was fifteen.'
He felt a hand on his shoulder. It was Chris. Drew's mind flew backwards, back to his past, the day his mom died....
'Mom!' Leo screamed, running into the room. His elder brother Barry was right behind him. Alix smiled at the sight. 'What's going on?'
'Leo's being mean,' Barry said sourly, pushing his red hair behind his ears. 'He took my stuff and he wouldn't give it back!'
Alix knelt down in front of her younger son. 'Leo, what did you take?'
'My baseball cards,' Barry supplied, surly. 'He took my baseball cards.'
'Leo,' Alix chided gently, her blue eyes turning just the slightest hint of black. Return the cards to your brother, Leo.
Her younger son looked back at her. But, Mom, I just wanted to play with them for a while. Is that even wrong?
Sighing, Alix stood up, took the cards and placed them on the book shelf. 'Come,' she told both boys, leading them into the kitchen. Her sons exchanged bemused looks as their mother opened the fridge and took out an assorted bag of nuts, a large slab of cooking chocolate and a bag of really chocolatey choco chips. Dumping them unceremoniously on the counter, Alix reached for a bag of flour and a jar of sugar on the shelf nearby. She looked at the boys. 'Both of you obviously need a lesson in sharing and caring. So let the lesson begin.'
And so it did. Turned out Alix was making choco chip cookies, and having her hands full between that and making dinner, she roped the boys in to help her. Of course, nothing could go on in the Ashford household without the other kids knowing about it. Sure enough, Drew and Lexa entered the kitchen, inhaling the sweet aroma of choco chip cookies. Soon, all the four kids were helping with dinner, and they were prepared for the Grand Event.
Lexa and Leo's eighth birthday party.
Drew remembered what happened. They were in the middle of dinner when they were attacked, the windows exploding along with the soft popping of bullets. Immediately Barry encased the family with a force field, but to his shock, his parents were unprotected. 'Mom!' he had yelled.
Alix let out a loud snarl as she sent the men flying with a wave of her hand. That's when she turned back to Drew. 'Get them out,' she had said, both verbally and telepathically, sending a wave of love towards her children. Then Chris grabbed his wife and kids and led them out the back way, leading them to the Horizon, their VTOL plane. He bundled the kids inside while Alix tapped furiously at the controls. The door of the Horizon shut behind them as the kids realized that their parents weren't going with them.
'Mommy!' Lexa screamed, holding her little brother. 'Daddy!' Tears fell from her eyes as the twins started sobbing hysterically. Barry was pounding at the door, but to no avail. Drew turned back, and locked gazes with his mom. Bring them out, he heard Alix's voice in his head. Bring your brothers and sister to the X-Mansion, Andrew.
Her son choked. She only called him Andrew when the situation was serious. Alix continued. Take care of the kids, ok? Love your brothers and sister, just like I loved mine.
Chris looked at his son. No matter what happens, don't let go, son. No matter what happens, don't let go.
'I won't, Dad,' Drew promised. He saw a smile on his father's face, a smile he'd never seen before but always wanted to see. His father was proud of his son. Stay safe, he said again, just as he pressed the button that started the Horizon. They had already set the coordinates, so all Drew had to do was drive the craft. 'Come on,' he urged his siblings, taking his place at the pilot's seat. He revved up the engines and nudged the craft forward as the hangar opened. He then took one last look at his parents, but he later came to regret it.
His parents were dying. Alix had been stabbed first; Chris then threw the guy away but he was immediately shot by another of the thugs. Drew watched as the first guy who stabbed his mom got up, and looked at the plane.
That's when Drew got his first good look at him, and he gasped.
It was Eddie Thomas, the mutant who was also known as Ed-Ray.
But that wasn't the main reason why Drew gasped.
It was because Eddie had been his mother's friend since forever, and because he was supposedly dead after a fight with the Brotherhood ten months ago.