Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later, especially with the way things had been headed. First it was Sean and his drinking, and then it was Monet, running into the room (and interrupting a good episode of Iron Chef) to inform the team that Emma had been acting strangely.
Tell them something they didn't already know, M.
But things just seemed to spiral from there. It was when Monet mentioned that she was pretty sure the cop that Emma had mind-zapped in her office was really hurt, when she added that he'd been investigating just what had happened to Adrienne's money, that Jono had started thinking.
And later that evening, he found himself sitting on his bed cross-legged, staring again at the sheets of paper with Xavier letterhead, and trying to come to come to terms with what they said.
Leave it to Jubes to interrupt. With a kick to his door, no less, that sent Joni skittering wildly under the bed with a start.
"Wei!" And the requisite slamming of the door against the wall. "Jonothon Starsmore! I hear your kung fu is most strong!"
Jono turned to face her, wide eyed, as she struck a pose that he imagined she'd pulled straight out of some poorly translated Chinese import film.
//Whoa! Don't you ever knock?//
Really, in this place, Jono should have known better than to think that any of his classmates might. Jubilee and Angelo, particularly. And either of them ever minding their own business on top of that? Not bloody likely.
"Hey, I recognize that! That letterhead, it's from Xavier's!"
//Shut up, Jubilee!// Jono scrambled to gather up the pages from where they were spread out over his bed. If the girl yelled any louder, they'd have the whole bloody state in his room to investigate in no time.
"Relax, Jono. What's the problem? So someone at Xavier's sent you a letter. Big deal. Logan writes me sometimes." And with that, she flopped down on his bed, a smile on her face as she prepared to get doubly nosy. "So who's it from, anyway?"
//From Xavier himself, actually,// Jono mumbled, scooting over to the far side of the bed. He was met with what he could only speculate was some kind of kung fu fist smash to the side of the head for his efforts, and Jubilee snatching the papers from his hands while he was still reeling.
"Shut up! Xavier wrote to you? Lemmie read!" And somehow, as was the Jubilee way, she was making it especially difficult for Jonothon to get the letter back. It possibly had something to do with the hand she'd planted on his face, and the foot on the chest. Flexible one, that Lee. "Wow. Wow, Jono. I don't believe this. Hell yeah! Jono's gonna be an X-Man!" And then she was jumping on his bloody bed. "Jono's gonna be an X-Man! This is so cool!"
Jono was less than thrilled now, furrowing his eyebrows as he gathered up the pages of the letter, drifting to the floor as Jubilee mutilated his bed, and sent Joni scurrying back out from under it all over again.
At least the jumping only lasted a moment, and then Lee was sitting down again. The girl had keen enough powers of observation as well, at least.
"Hey what's wrong, man? You should be thrilled! I know I would be. What an honor!" Silence hung thick in the air between them as Jono closed his eyes, keeping his back to her while his grasp tightened on the paper again. "Hey Jono? Don't you wanna go?"
//Yes,// he admitted, after a moment. //I do.//
"Then what's the problem? You know, I did my time with the X-Men, and for the longest time I wanted to rejoin. I wanted it so bad. But now I know that even though I want other stuff now, being an X-Man is one of the coolest things ever! If you are feeling like you aren't ready, like you can't handle it or something, or guilty that they picked you and not Paige or M or something, don't. Xavier's a smart guy. He picked you for a reason." And now Jubilee was sticking a finger in Jono's face, hovering over his shoulder and talking loudly right into his ear. "So stop being a baby and just accept already, or I'll kick your butt, you hear?"
Silence again. And then the faintest pull of a smile around the corners of Jono's eyes.
//I already did, actually. I was just waiting for the right time to tell you all.//
The fake kung fu match that followed Jubilee's indignant shriek was one that would go down in Massachusetts Academy history, indeed.
The rest of the evening went about as well as could be expected. Once Jubilee got hold of news, all the other students got hold of it, and soon she was waving her arms about in the common area of the dorms, prattling on about real uniforms, and the groupies that hung out at the front gate.
What he didn't see coming was Paige throwing herself into a snit, pointing out a lot of major flaws in the way the Academy was currently running. Not the least of which was the fact that most of the team had been at the school for years, and even though Jono had found his way out, none of the rest of them were any closer to graduating. Assuming, of course, they ever would graduate.
And then Angelo pointed out the deteriorating freakshow with Emma and Sean. Monet was quick to back him up on that point, too. Conversation between the other students continued in a bit of a spiral, and before Jono knew it, he was watching his classmates talking about leaving, about breaking up the team. Paige wanted to head up North to help out with some protest against a clear-cutting oil corporation, or something of the sort. Monet wanted to head back home. Massachusetts life was too boring for the likes of her. Angelo and Jubilee would be heading to Los Angeles together, to sort out where they wanted to go with their respective lives.
The lot of them agreed to tell Emma and Sean together, as a group. After all, for as messed up as the headmaster and headmistress were, they at least deserved some sort of warning that all of their students were up and leaving them at once. Sean took the news well enough. He'd been expecting something like this for a while, in fact, and they parted on good enough terms. Hell, even Jono took part in the group hug. Emma, meanwhile...
Jubilee was good enough to ask Sean to tell Emma for them. Any Emma that would thoughtlessly lobotomise a cop was an Emma that none of the students really wanted to deal with.
And then that was that. Jonothon had a train to catch, and so he was the first one who was going to be leaving the school. And standing there, listening to the others talk about how hard it was going to be, all going their separate ways, he was even the one to solicit one final group hug. There were tearful farewells (from Paige) and promises to write (from himself), and then he was loading himself into the cab that would take him to the train station.
And Jono was about halfway there before he really let himself get to thinking. Thinking, and, in true Jono fashion, second-guessing everything that he was about to do.
He wasn't entirely certain what it was that convinced him to re-think his destination and to tell the cab driver to change his course. Maybe it was a handful of nightmare glances into his own future, seeing different fragments courtesy of Fandom that he just wasn't ready to fling himself into quite yet. Or maybe it was the spectacular failure of the final months of the Massachusetts Academy as a mutant training facility, leaving him with a bitter taste where his mouth would have otherwise been. Or maybe he just needed a break before throwing himself at it all.
Whatever it was, as the taxi pulled up to the airport, he pulled out his phone and sent a text message to a handful of his friends back on Fandom Island. Thank goodness, his phone from the island still managed to connect between now and wherever and whenever the Island had headed to.
Moving to London. Everything's fine. Just need some time to think before pulling on more tights.
There. That ought to do it. Now to see what sorts of flights they had available on standby, and to go back home.
[NFB for distance, and most of this was cribbed shamelessly from Generation X #75. Open for return texts while Jono waits in an airport, so that I can shamelessly toss him at some of his X-Men canon later! Whee!]
- Massachusetts Academy, Massachusetts