31 Of Roses and Thorns

*The Next Day*

Devin woke up slowly and stared at the ceiling of his room. He knew that he had plenty of things to do today, but he wanted a few minutes to just lay back and relax. Yesterday was interesting and when the kids had come home he had questioned them on whether there was any change in the bullying situation. They had reported that they hadn't seen the bullies that day but there was always tomorrow. Devin had all this power now but the hardest obstacle he had encountered so far was a small group of bullies.


"Guess I should get up and take care of things before I meet Jennifer." Devin said as he stood up and began changing clothes. As he walked out of his room and down the hall Devin noticed that Izabela's door was slightly cracked open and everyone usually kept their doors closed. Devin stepped up to the door and heard voices from within.

"Mr. Price has been doing so much for all of us. He has been going out of his way to make us at home and happy, but we haven't really done much of anything in return except for cause him more problems. So we need to think of ways to try and repay him for what he has done." Isabela said behind the door. Devin could only guess that she was speaking to her siblings. The subject of their talk really put him at odds with himself. He wasn't doing all of this in return for something, he was doing it because he could.

"We could make him something!" the young voice of Henric sounded out enthusiastically. It was then that another feminine voice sounded in.

"We could but that still isn't enough. He has saved us from our problems and I owe him for saving me back at the hotel, but I kinda doubt that we will ever be able to repay what he has done for us." Yana said as her voice went from frustrated to sad. Devin thought that it was time for him to step in.

"You three dont need to worry about repaying me for any of this." Devin said as he leaned against the door frame with his arms folded across his chest. The sound of his voice caused all three siblings to jump and spin around in surprise. Soon looks of embarrassment were seen on their faces as they realized that they were caught red handed.

"Like I told Izabela back in Sokovia, I am not doing this for any ulterior motives. I am doing this because it is the right thing and I have the means to do so. So, while I appreciate the thought, I dont want you three going out of your way to do things for me out of some sense of obligation. Ok?" Devin said as he walked forward and looked ech of he siblings in the eye. Devin soon saw that each of the siblings relent and nod their heads.

"Good, now lets get some breakfast." Devin said as he turned to the door. He stopped when he heard one of the siblings speak up again.

"Mr. Price, Devin wait. I want to talk to you for a moment. Yana, Henric, go ahead and head downstairs and get breakkfast." Izabela said as she then turned and dismissed her siblings who then left. It was then that Izabela walked over and closed her bedroom door with a determined look.

"Bela, what's the matter?" Devin said as he became confused and worried that something was wrong.

'Was I too harsh or something?' Devin thought as he looked at Izabela and her serious gaze.

"Devin, do you really think so little of us?" Izabela asked as she slowly took a step forward.

"No, of course not!" Devin said as he looked at her like she just mentioned she was hideous or something.

"Then why wont you let us do something for you? Is it really that bad for us to do something meaningful to show how grateful we are?" Izabela countered as she took a few more steps towards Devin causing him to take a step back in surprise. Izabela continued to advance as Devin tried to reason with her while stepping back in retreat.

"Devin, here is what is gonna happen. We are gonna figure out something to show our gratitude and you will enjoy it. I will not take no as an answer. Do you hear me?" Izabela said as she backed him up till he was up against the wall and was now pressed right up against his chest with her own voluptuous one. as she glared into his eyes in defiance.

"Sure, but could you back up a bit?" Devin said as his face began to glow with slight embarrassment. It was then that Izabela realized her position and her own face became bright red with her own embarrassment causing her to turn away from Devin and cross her arms over her chest.

"Sorry." Izabela whispered over her shoulder.

"No, it's fine." Devin said as he smiled at her to show he was fine. It was then that Izabela surprised him again. As she turned around and planted a forcful kiss on his lips. The contact causing his eyes to shoot wide and his body to freeze. What felt like an eternity but was actually only a few seconds soon ended as Izabela pulled back and averted her eyes as she waited for Devins reaction. As his body soon returned under his control, Devin looked down at the young woman.

"Bela?" Devin said softly.

"I'm sorry!" Izabela said before she ran out of the room, leaving a confused and flushed Devin alone.

'What just happened?!' Devin asked as he gently touch his lips.


A Few Hours Later


Devin was driving down the road on his way to the restaurant where him and Jennifer were to meet to talk about the school. Devin had tried to look for Izabela after their kiss in her bedroom, but she was nowhere to be found. After speaking to Yana he found that Izabela had said she was going for a walk and ran out the door. Devin decided that he would speak with her when she was ready.

Pulling up to the restaurant Devin spotted Jennifer sitting on a bench infront wearing a grey pencil skirt with a matching jacket with a purple silk blouse underneath. Her hair was put up into a neat bun at the back of her head and a pair of low heeled dress shoes completed her outlook. Devin jumped out of his vehicle and strode over to her with a smile.

"Hey there. Hope you didn't wait long." Devin said as he stopped next to her.

"No, I just sat down after checking in." Jennifer said as she stood up and shook his hand again.

"Great, lets head in." Devin said as he held the door for her.

"Such a gentleman." Jennifer said with a smirk as she passed by.

"Of course, always for the fair and beautiful." Devin said as he waved his eyebrows with a cheesy grin on his face causing Jennifer to laugh. Soon the two were seated and their orders placed.

"So you told me that you were having some problems with a school that might require legal actions." Jennifer said as she pulled a legal pad out of her briefcase and placed her black rimmed glasses on her nose. Taking a quick sip of his water Devin nodded.

"Yeah, I have two younger charges living with me along with their older sister. The younger siblings have been getting bullied by some of their peers and when the older sister and I tried to speak with administration about it the principle said that he wasn't gonna offend the wealthier families over a couple foreign students. I believe that he is taking some bribes from those wealthy families and allowing the children of those families to get away with severe offenses." Devin explained as Jennifer is writing down details.

"So, we have descrimination and possible illegal activity. Have you got any proof yet?" Jennifer asked as she looked up over glasses.

"Other than their testimonies? Not yet though I told both kids that if they are bullied to record it on their phones. I also hired a private investigator to look into the principal." Devin said as their food arrived. Jennifer had ordered a salad and Devin had gotten a sandwich.

"Who did you hire to investigate the principal?" Jennifer asked as she ate a bite of her salad.

"Jessica Jones from Alias Investigations." Devin replied as Jennifers eyebrows rose in surprise.

"I take it you have heard of her?" Devin said as he swallowed a bite of his own lunch.

"Yeah, rumor has it that shes a P.I. on retainer for Hogarth and Associates. I've had some dealings with Jeri Hogarth through work though I've never met Jessica." Jennifer said. A chuckle from Devin peaked Jennifers interest which prompted her to ask what he found so funny.

"Just seems like it's a small world." Devin said as he took another bite. Soon it was time for Jennifer to return back to work and Devin to return home as a notification on his phone notified him that the electronics had arrived at home.

"Let me know if anything changes or happens." Jennifer said as she shook Devins hand again.

"Of course, we'll have to do this again soon." Devin said as he returned the handshake.

"Sure, I would love that." Jennifer replied as she entered her own car and drove off.

Devin simply watched as a sudden tightness in his gut warned of a coming storm.

'Guess getting sent here wasn't gonna be as easy as I thought.' Devin thought as he turned and headed home.


[Salem Center, New York]

Charles Xavier was rolling through the gardens followed by Wolverine and Storm as they discussed their plan now that Hank Mccoy was back.

"So, when are we heading out Chuck?" Wolverine asked as they saw a couple kids playing on the basketball court.

"Tomorrow Logan, I want to see if we can help these kids as well as meet this mysterious source." Professor X said as he turned a corner and continued.

"Alright, but I just want it known, I don't think Slim or Frost should go." Wolverine said as he comtinued to follow.

"Is there a problem Wolverine?" Storm asked as a frown raced her lips.

"I don't know, but I have the feeling that Frost is up to something. I mean you know that her history isn't the greatest, especially with her dealings with the Hellfire Club." Wolverine growled out as they passed one of the ornamental shrubs.

"She has been a great team member and has given us no reason to doubt her yet." Professor X said before Storm added on.

"Plus she could also say the same of yourself. Give her a chance as we all have." Storm said causing Wolverine to growl before releasing a groan in concedence.

"Fine, but when she stabs us in the back, expect me to say I told you so." Wolverine said as they turned the final corner to the garden.

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Elsewhere in the X Mansion

A platinum blonde woman was talking hushedly to a small oval device as she stood in her room that she shared with one Scott Summers.

"Everything is going according to plan. I have found several good new recruits for the club and we are leaving tomorrow to investigate this supposed mystery that Charles is so concerned about." Emma Frost said as she looked out her window at the three individuals walking the gardens.

"Good keep it up and soon we will have the power to make us invincible." a male voice said through the communicator.

"Remember our deal. I do this and you hand over my sister." Emma said as coldly as her last name.

"Of course, of course. Just rememeber betray me and it will be her end." the voice said as the oval device shut off. Soon the door to the room opened and Cyclops entered.

"Emma, you okay?" Scott asked as he entered.

"Of course." Emma said with her usual charm.

"Okay, Professor said that we will be all heading out tomorrow to meet the new mutants and investigate that disturbance so he said to be ready." Scott said as he then leaned down and kissed Emma.

"Yes, I'll be ready. And what a surprise this might turn out to be." Emma said as she turned in Scotts arms and looked out the window once more.

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