Guardian Angel

Wendy talked a good game, really she did. She complained through all the danger room sessions. She looked down her nose at John Grey. She snickered up her sleeve at Ettie McCoy, and just plain ignored Bobbi Drake. They were, you see, all beneath her. She was Wendy Worthington, daughter of Warren Worthington the second, and she was too good to hang with the likes of them.

Except for one little thing.

The pair of wings that grew from her back, turning the angelic-faced debutante into the high-flying Angel, member of Xavier's little crew of mutant freedom fighters. Not like she needed them. Or they, her; what was she? A pretty centerpiece, a figurehead? She didn't need to worry about equality for mutants. She had enough money, by far, to rule her own world.

Her own world, such that it was. A Daddy who ignored her. A Mother who insisted that well-bred young ladies didn't galavant in costume.

Sometimes she felt like a caged bird.

And that's why she occasionally left the house to fly.

Training, she thought. Training. For what? I could fight and win battles in the boardroom with my lawyers better than what Xavier wants!

The others wouldn't understand. Bobbi was from an idyllic little house on Long Island. Ettie had been a star gymnast. John had been the beloved son of his family. Summers? She was *happy* toiling under Xavier's vision.

What do you want, Wendy? What do you WANT? Being the head, in name only, of Daddy's corporations won't make you happy. Being one of a team -- where you're not only not the leader, but a decorative transport isn't what you want either.

Her thoughts chased her around inside her head until she reached her destination. It was a little house in Tuxedo Junction -- a tiny town of the "sleepy hamlet variety," so small, so insignificant, that the police station quite *literally* closed at 10 pm on weeknights and was closed *all day Sunday.*

Still though, she did a quick fly-through, the training she'd had drilled into her kicking in automatically to make certain all was well. As she had expected -- although, perhaps, not secretly hoped -- the town was quiet. Peaceful.

The evening birds chittered a little in the trees, as if recognizing the presence of another of their kind.

Finally Wendy alighted on the roof of the house she sought. The balcony doors were left open, linen curtains with Sesame Street characters fluttering in the cool autumn breeze.

Soon it'll be too cold to visit Elizabeth and Margaret, Wendy thought with a pang of sadness. The twins had become like little sisters to her. And they, somehow, took away that empty longing for a while -- the longing that didn't know whether she wanted to be a masked mutant heroine, or simply a rich woman.

She spread her wings and alighted on the terrace, in the dark.

"ANGEL!" two tiny voices chorused, joyously.

She walked in and found both of them grinning at her. Margaret had lost her front teeth, so the twins matched again.

Her heart got that glow of warmth every time she saw these two. They didn't want anything from her but to come and visit once in a while and read them a story.

To them -- she had saved Margaret from a nasty fall out of their big brother's treehouse.

"What shall I read tonight, girls?" Wendy asked softly, blue eyes dancing.

"I thaw it All on Mulberry Thtreet!" Margaret lisped through the gap in her teeth.

"Nonono, Put me in the Thooo!" Elizabeth lisped back.

Wendy laughed and picked up Peter Pan instead. It had been her favourite.

Edward, the twins' father heard the voices from his daughters' room and poked his head in. "Good evening, Angel," he said politely, and backed out again with a smile. He had witnessed Wendy rescuing his daughter. To him, she was a hero, and a guardian angel to his daughters. He was content she was willing to come here and visit. That was enough, since they had no mother.

The girls went to sleep, and Wendy slipped out of their room, making her customary visit to Edward's study to tell him they were asleep and that he could close the terrace doors once she was gone.

Flying back from Tuxedo Junction toward Salem Center, two thoughts occurred to her.

One: she couldn't let the girls keep the terrace door open once it got cold. She'd have to make snow angels for them to let them know she still visited.

Two: She'd have to talk with Carolyn. She wouldn't be able to do this hero thing touching children and their sweet English Teacher daddies forever. But this whole costume thing...? Was that really the way to go?

She circled twice over the house, then veered south toward home.

To them -- she was just a pretty guardian angel.