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"Where do we start?" Andrew asked nervously.
"I'd like to start by trying to open a portal from here to another point in the mansion." Hank said speculatively.
"I don't know how to do that." Andrew said timidly.
"That is what Kurt is here for, if your ability works the way I suspect, when Kurt teleports himself somewhere, you should be able to open a vortex and follow him." Hank answered looking back and forth between Kurt and Andrew.
"You ready?" Kurt asked.
"After you." Andrew said and, for the first time, reached within himself and drew the power up and out.
But instead of a black mist floating in the air where Kurt had been, there was a swirling gold tunnel of mist about eight inches around.
"Do you think you can open the vortex wider Andrew?" Hank asked while taking readings.
"Yeah, lemme try." Andrew said as he focused more of his energy on the opening.
A few seconds later the swirling mist began to grow and within a minute was six feet across.
"What now?" Andrew asked.
"How do you feel?" Hank asked curiously, noting that Andrew didn't seem to be concentrating or expending energy to maintain the vortex.
"Really good. I felt like I was in control of the power." Andrew said happily.
"Was? You mean you aren't controlling it now?" Hank asked with worry.
"No, it's doing it by itself now. I can close it by drawing the power back, I've done that once before. But I want to see where this leads first." Andrew said with a smile.
Andrew and Scott entered the vortex and in one step they were standing in the kitchen watching Kurt pour a glass of milk.
Scott and Andrew looked back at the vortex they had just passed through. They could just make out the hazy form of Hank looking back at them.
"Ready to go back and tell Hank that it worked?" Andrew asked.
"Let's take some cookies back with us, kind of a celebration. Kurt, will you grab the milk and I'll grab three more glasses." Scott said, walking to the cupboard and handing Andrew the cookies.
"Yah." Kurt answered and went back to the refrigerator.
"We ready to go back?" Andrew asked while standing in front of the vortex with the bag of cookies.
"Yeah." Scott answered and walked into the vortex. Andrew walked through next and finally Kurt.
"We brought you cookies." Andrew said with a smile.
"I take it you traveled to the kitchen." Hank said with his own smile.
"Yeah, do you want to try it? It's just like walking across the room." Scott said, happy that the first test had worked so well.
"I would indeed." Hank said with a smile and walked into the vortex.
A moment later Hank walked back into the room through the vortex carrying a box of Twinkies.
"Twinkies are the perfect complement to cookies when celebrating." Hank said with a guilty smile.
"Are you ready to close it?" Hank asked Andrew as he opened the box.
"Sure." Andrew said and raised his arms. He felt the power pour back into himself and turned back to look at the others.
"Zat looked easy." Kurt commented around a mouthful of cookie.
"It was. What do we do next?" Andrew said, getting a handful of cookies from Scott.
"As nice as it is to have a shortcut to the kitchen, I think our next step should be covering a little more distance." Hank said, then took a bite of a Twinkie. The look of bliss on his face was a thing to behold.
"How can I do that? I mean, with Kurt targeting for me, I can go pretty much anywhere he can but I'm thinking that you want me to be able to target for myself... and I don't know how." Andrew said seriously as he poured a glass of milk.
"How did you follow my teleport?" Kurt asked and accepted a glass of milk from Andrew and passed it to Scott.
"I don't know, it's like, I pulled my power up, and it was ready, then you teleported and there was this twist, right in front of me, so I pushed the power into it and it became a vortex." Andrew tried to explain.
"Und vat did the twist look like to you?" Kurt asked as he motioned to Scott that he wanted more cookies.
"Look isn't exactly right, it's more like felt... but that isn't it either." Andrew said, trying to pinpoint the sensation.
Kurt sat down his cookies and milk and walked to the center of the room. He closed his eyes and turned slowly. "Zere, focus in zat direction, was ist das?"
Andrew looked where Kurt was pointing and didn't see anything, but then something occurred to him and he let just a little flux of his power loose, allowing him to see the unseen and looked at the same spot. And there it was, another twist, just a slight one but it was there. "I can see it, where does it lead?" Andrew asked in awe.
"Vy don't you try to follow it und find out?" Kurt asked, amazed at the golden glow of Andrew's eyes.
Andrew cast his awareness upon the twist and rode it to its destination. Suddenly he could see a bedroom, not his own but one in the mansion.
"It's a bedroom." He said quietly.
"Yah, my room. Zat is where I came from when I first met you." Kurt said, happy that Andrew was learning this without difficulty.
"Andrew, I think your room is just above Kurt's, see if you can find it." Scott suggested and Hank nodded in approval.
Andrew nodded his head slowly and unlinked his awareness from the teleport trail. He drifted up and up and through the ceiling until he was in a bedroom. But not his.
"I did it but it's not my room." Andrew said carefully as he concentrated.
"What do you see?" Scott asked, trying to figure out where he was.
"Blue scarves, lots of plants and an open window." Andrew said, trying to figure out where he was.
"It sounds like Ororo's room, yours is next door, the dresser is against the wall you share with her." Scott said carefully, trying not to break Andrew's concentration.
Andrew drifted through the wall and saw the familiar room that he had slept in the previous night.
"I'm there, I'm going to try to open my own portal there." Andrew said in concentration.
He poured his power like before but instead of pouring it on the existing portal, he poured it on the point where he wanted the portal... and nothing happened.
"It didn't work." Andrew said in defeat.
"I believe you were just working on one end." Kurt said as carefully as Scott had.
"Can you see what I'm doing?" Andrew asked and let his concentration fluctuate a little.
"No, I do not see as you do. I can only go to a place where I have been, und must be familiar with zee room. But I could not see you trying to form a door in zis room. You must make a door here und zere. Zen pull zem together." Kurt said, hoping that Andrew could make it work.
Andrew focused again and followed Kurt's instructions. He poured his power into a point in his room, then into another point here, and finally pulled the two points together.
He had expected the pulling together to be difficult, but the creation of the entry and exit had been the hard part. They came together like they were drawn to each other.
"Great, now just make the opening big enough for us to go through and you'll have it." Scott said with excitement for Andrew's achievement.
In the space of a heartbeat Andrew opened the vortex until it was six feet across and exactly level with the ground on both sides.
"Looks like you're getting the hang of this." Scott said and patted Andrew on the back in congratulations.
"With teachers like you guys, how could I go wrong?" Andrew said and walked through the vortex.
* * * * *
Once all four of them were in Andrew's room, Hank asked, "You feel up to trying another one?"
"Sure, just let me close this one first." Andrew said and with a glance, the vortex was gone.
"I'll leave the destination up to you. Just someplace where no one will see the vortex formed. We need to be discreet. I would like to see if you are limited by distance as Kurt is." Hank said seriously.
"Distance... Let's see what I can do." Andrew had a thought and then let his mind fly. He stayed deep in concentration for five full minutes before Scott asked Kurt, "What's he doing?"
"He is far beyond my sight, but he is in control und looking for something." Kurt said quietly.
About a minute later Andrew's eyes opened and were glowing golden again. He raised his hands and a vortex opened before him. Once it was fully formed, he lowered his hands, closed his eyes and slumped a little.
//Scott, I don't know what Andrew just did but his power spiked out of the Alpha range and into the high Omega range. Proceed carefully.// The professor's voice sounded with worry in Scott's head.
"Andrew, what did you do?" Scott asked quietly.
"Walk through and find out." Andrew said with a weak smile.
"You coming?" Scott asked.
"I'm right beside you." Andrew said and they walked as one through the vortex.
* * * * *
Scott's ears popped when he emerged from the vortex and it took him a moment to orient himself. He looked around in amazement at the dingy little motel room.
"Phoenix? You made a vortex that ported us from Upstate New York to Arizona?"
"Yeah, Hank wanted me to try for distance so I thought I would come back here... I forgot to check out of the room, and it's paid up for two more days." Andrew said with a smile.
"Are you okay? This had to take a lot out of you." Scott asked with worry.
"Well, I don't think I could go any farther than this, I was pushing my limits creating the vortex. But now that it's made, I'm fine." Andrew said with a tired smile.
Hank and Kurt emerged from the vortex and each grabbed their ears.
"Yeah, the difference in air pressure messes with you, doesn't it?" Andrew asked and sat on the bed.
"Where are we?" Hank asked, looking out the window.
"Phoenix, Arizona." Scott answered in a neutral tone.
"My word." Hank responded with wide eyes.
"Zer is a note for you here Andrew." Kurt said and picked up a note from in front of the door.
Andrew took the note from Kurt and slowly read it.
Scott became concerned by the look of despair that came over Andrew's face.
"Andrew?" Scott asked but got no response.
"Andrew, is it something I can help with?" Scott asked, feeling a tremble of fear on his friend's behalf.
Andrew only responded by handing the letter to Scott.
Scott read the letter and rather than become fearful, he became angry... beyond angry. How dare ANYONE speak to this kind, gentle man like this!
"Scott, what's the matter?" Hank asked, aware of the drastic shifts in the two men's moods.
"May I read it to Hank and Kurt?" Scott asked Andrew who was sitting, staring at the wall.
"Sure. Doesn't matter now." Andrew said with a trembling voice.
I don't know where you stranded
us, but we'll be back at eight
tonight and you'd better be here
to send us back.
In case you aren't here, Willow is
working up an enchantment to
hunt you down and bring you
back to us.
Either way, once we're back
home, she's going to strip your
magic to make sure that you
never do anything stupid like this
to us again.
"And she can do it. Willow is one of the most powerful witches in the world... my world. She nearly destroyed the entire Earth last year." Andrew said on the verge of crying.
Scott looked at the clock on the dresser to be sure of the local time and turned to Andrew.
"Andrew, do you remember what your first words were when you saw Kurt?"
"I think I called him a demon... why?" Andrew looked up at Scott through tearful eyes filled with confusion.
"You said, 'Scott. It's a demon. Get out of here.' and started to fight him." Scott said, trying to make a point.
"Yeah? So?" Andrew asked, more confused.
"Why did you react that way? It's important that you understand." Scott said in a completely serious tone.
"I was going to protect you. You're my friend and I didn't want you to be hurt." Andrew said timidly, glancing at Hank and Kurt.
"You were defending me. Risking your own life to protect mine... Right?" Scott asked.
"Hank would do the same for me... or for you... and so would Kurt. And I can say without a doubt that Bobby, Marie, Piotr, Ororo, and the professor himself would defend either of us the same way you defended me."
Andrew thought about that for a moment and decided that it was true. He could see evidence of it in each and every person who lived at the mansion. Even Logan.
After a few moments of thought Andrew nodded in agreement.
"Do you know what that means?" Scott asked, hoping that this would make Andrew understand.
Andrew shook his head and turned his gaze on Scott.
"That you are one of us. You belong with us and we will fight along-side you to defend you for the same reason that you defended me earlier today. Andrew, welcome to the X-Men." Scott said and indicated for them to go back through the vortex.