"Old Friend New Son" Danielle Moonstar, Hank McCoy, and Joshua Foley.There was a real bite to the air now; winter was finally coming. Danielle Moonstar paused after loading another bag into her jeep to simply enjoy the breeze as it blew across her exposed skin and long raven black braids. It would snow soon and the mansion would take on a whole new kind of beauty. Memories of her first winter here as a student, and of her first winter here as a teacher played through the Cheyenne woman’s mind and it made her smile. Xavier’s was her home and normally she’d be sticking around for the winter break, but not this year. This year she had other plans.
“Are you sure you won’t stay?”Dani looked up into the tree near the front door and smiled. It was still funny to her to see the large furry blue man dangling from a tree branch upside down, even after all these years. “I’m only going to be gone for a month, Hank.”
“But you’ll miss Christmas.” The blue doctor replied as he flipped out of the tree. He landed with grace beside her, taking the last of her bags for her.
“Don’t worry old friend,” She teased as she stood there watching him put her and Josh’s things in the jeep. “I left your present with Wanda with strict rules that you’re not allowed to open it until Christmas, and no shaking it.”
In one large leap Hank was once again at the young woman’s side. “Still won’t be the same without you here.”
That warmed her heart in ways she’d never be able to describe. “I know, it’ll be strange not being here for the holidays, it’s been a long time since I’ve been on the reservation so that’s going to be odd, but I really want to do this with Josh.”
Hank nodded in understanding.“I want to show him where I’m from and what it all means.” She explained. “I’ve wanted to share this with him for awhile now, and having his adoption finalized just seemed like the right time.”
When Dani had first met Josh Foley she’d been working as a student recruiter for the Professor. Josh had been hiding from who he was by joining a mutant hate group. When Dani and Shan, along with the other kids DanI had recruited, went looking for the mutant the Professor and cerebra had detected they’d been attacked by the group; Josh among them. When one of the attackers was hurt, Dani watched as Josh healed him and she knew instantly that he’d been the one they’d been sent for. Dani made Josh the offer of coming to the school, but he was still refusing to believe he was a mutant.
A few weeks later a badly beaten Josh showed up at the front gates. His friends had turned on him, his family threw him out and cut all ties with him. The boy was lost and alone, and without hesitation Dani stepped in. She became not only his advisor, but also his legal guardian. Recently she’d taken it to the next step and legally adopted the boy who had become in every sense of the word, her son.
“I can completely understand that,” Hank said with his naturally warm and caring smile. “It would seem that my very high tech minded eleven year old took instantly to the gypsy way of life. Taking her to the village at the foot of Mt. Wundagore in Transia has helped Cory to reconnect to her mother and adjust to her powers in a way that I swear Wanda brought home a different child.”
Dani couldn’t help but laugh. “I noticed. This last week in class Cory’s been an angel. I have to admit Hank, she was becoming a bit of a brat.”
Hank laughed as well. “Yes, so I’ve been told by some of the others and believe me, Wanda and I had noticed as well. Spending time alone with her mother and learning more about her powers has helped. I only hope the change is permanent. According to Wanda and what she and her coven was able to decipher, Cory’s magic comes from within and is linked to the mystical energies of nature, as apposed to being based in Chaos like Wanda’s.”
“Sounds very shamanistic in a way” Dani mused as she thought over what her friend was saying. “That could be a road of difficult study for someone so young.”
“The mastery of powers is difficult for all children in one way or another.” Hank replied with a knowing smile. “I remember several fear based illusions running a muck when a certain young Native American mutant first arrived.”
Dani actually blushed a little. “You have to admit, it was worth it if only for the fact that we learned Scott was chased in his nightmares by marshmallow peeps and bunnies.” She joined her friend in laughing since she was fairly sure he was experiencing the same memory. Then she became a little more serious as she said, “I was lucky to have the Professor and Jean around to help me with my telepathy.”
Hank nodded. “Wanda and Billy will be Cory’s primary teachers in regards to her powers, but Ororo has also offered her help. She has a mystical connection to the Earth because of her powers and can help Cory to learn focus and such.”
“I’m not really a shaman but my beliefs are very grounded in nature and the Earth, if I can be of any help just let me know.” Dani offered with a caring smile. Despite having a warrior’s spirit DanI’s greatest pleasure in life came from teaching. She loved the children she taught and mentored and wouldn’t give up what she did for anything. “I know she’s still in the lower school with Shan as an advisor, but let her know I’m always around to talk if she wants.”
“I will,” Hank said brightly. “I’m sure she’ll need someone other then her brothers and myself to complain to about her mother too.”
Dani laughed, “Yeah, I’m sure. Josh has said the same thing.”“I say the same thing about what?” Asked a boy of about sixteen with bright gold skin and short messy blonde hair who was coming out the front door with a duffle bag over his shoulder.
Dani laughed, her eyes taking on a softness that was reserved solely for this young man. “That you need someone other then me to talk too.”
Josh grinned and nodded. “Well, yeah. I mean you’re my advisor, and my teacher, and my mom. I can’t moan about you to you. That’s why I go to Mr. LeBeau. He’s great about listening and giving advice when you having trouble with your women.”
Teasingly Dani crossed her arms and gave Josh a look. “So now I’m one of your women?”
The boy blushed which made his golden skin glow. “I.. no.. I mean.. I didn’t….”
Dani laughed as she put an arm around the boy’s shoulder. “Breath Josh.”He took a deep breath and then said sheepishly. “You know what I meant. He’s got like all kinds of women in his life; Mrs. LeBeau, Mrs. Lynley, Ms. Darkholm, and now the little one. He’s an expert.”
“You sure you can go a whole month without running to him to tell him how horrid your new mom is?” Dani asked. It had taken a long time to built a foundation of trust with Josh, but all the hard work was well worth it. He was more open with her now, willing to talk about how he was feeling and what was going on in his life. He even came to her with his hopes and fears and dreams and that meant so very much to her.
Josh smirked, “Sure, besides I have his comm. number. I can unload from a distance.” He smirked for a moment and then thought of something. “Wait, we can use comms. at this place right?”
Dani laughed. “Yes Josh. My house on the rez is pretty simple but I do have a comm. system.”
“Cool.” He replied. “What about a computer system?”“What do you think runs the comm.?” She asked as she ruffed his hair. “I’m not throwing you back into the stone age, Josh. Though we will have to cook our food and don’t expect any holodecks or transporters.”
“Right,” The boy said. He was actually looking forward to this, but he still managed to grab a few must need items. Music player, hand held gaming device, and his New Mutant squad uniform. “Real food, fresh air, and lots of walking. Got it.”
“You know Mr. Foley,” Hank said in his best teacher’s voice. “If by chance you get bored you could always do a paper for me on tribal healing techniques.”
Josh looked up at his science teacher and blinked before turning to look at Dani. “Is he for real?”
Dani laughed, “It’s Hank, what do you think?” “I think I’m not going to get bored.” Josh answered.Hank laughed a full body laugh that made his fur shake. “Ahh the youth of today.” Leaning in a little he gave Dani a hug. “Enjoy yourself, Dani.” Then he smiled. “Enjoy your time with your son.”
“I will. Thanks Hank.” She waved at the man as he bounced back into his tree. Looking over at Josh to ask if he were ready to go, she noticed a particular look on his face that she’d never seen before. “You alright Josh?”
The boy nodded and then smiled shyly. “I like that.” “Like what?” She asked as they headed down towards her jeep. “Being called your son.” He admitted with a blush.Dani actually felt the sting of tears in her eyes. “I like being called your mom too. Guess that means we’re stuck with each other huh kid?”
Josh smiled as he climbed into the jeep. “Me and you against the world, right?”
She nodded as she climbed into the drives see. “You and me kid.”