Hello BeautifulStarted by John Allerdyce at Apr 06, 2020 2:23 AM
November 25, 2023
The day had been a beautiful one, perfect for the open road and reaching speeds probably not really advisable.
Within a couple of days, they’d promised his adopted Mum, reiterated it on the phone when he’d rung them the day before to double-check everything was still on schedule. Even told him this morning it’d be arriving at the mansion around lunchtime. Well, that was going on almost five hours ago now and the firebug was starting to get beyond impatient. He’d woken up with every intention of spending at least part of his time feeling the rush no one other than a fellow biker could ever understand. But no, the transport company had yet to turn up, and if he was still the type, they’d be met with a pretty intense amount of nonfigurative heat when they finally got here.
Walking out of the garage, now one of his most frequented areas of the Xavier Mansion, Pyro fiddled with the phone in his hands, glancing at it a few times in succession just to make sure he hadn’t missed a call. Nope. Nothing, the mechanic letting out a low groan of annoyance bordering on anger. There was only so much patience John Allerdyce could muster at the best of times, let alone when his most favourite possession was involved. He’d spent a lot of hours working to earn the money and thus the right to own such a glorious machine. Without it now for over three weeks, this waiting around on the day it was expected was absolutely killing him.
“That’s it!” he exclaimed, sneakered feet moving him down the driveway as he hit the redial on his mobile.
“Hello, Duition Transport Company, how can…”
“You can help me by delivering my damn bike when it was meant to be here five hours ago!” John interrupted.
“I’m sorry Sir, please tell me the name of the vehicle and where it is meant to be delivere…”
“I’ve been through this with Ike already. He said he’d be here at lunchtime today. Look out your window, you see that… it’s now getting dark and still, no bike,” he held off from swearing outright, wanting to say a lot more in his head.
“Ike Parima? Hang on, Sir, please let me put you through,” and with that, the female voice went silent and John was left with that horrible on-hold music businesses use when they couldn’t be bothered programming in something actually worth listening to.
“Yeah, Ike Parima speaking.”
“Where is she, Ike? Tell me you are nearly here with my bike or I swear I’m going to come looking for it.”
“Calm down, Mr Allerdyce, we’re coming up on the Graymalkin Lane now. I’m really sorry we are late, had a flat tire and got caught in damn traffic.”
“Was your phone still working?” John asked, sarcasm dripping.
“Just get her here,” John said, hanging up and quickening his pace.
Pyro watched the truck pull up, idling as he was opening the gate. Who he assumed was Ike wound down his window and asked, “You want us to drive all the way in.”
“Nah,” John answered. “Unload her here. I’m going out as soon as I make sure she’s in one piece.”
“I can assure you we take care of others vehicles as if they were our own, especially ones as perfect as that,” Ike told him, booted feet hitting gravel and moving around to the back of the truck.
“You better have…” John warned, the edge still present to his tone. “I’ve been waiting a long time to have it back again.”
“Take a look for yourself, Mr Allerdyce,” and he swung open one of the doors motioning to motorbike secured safely inside.
John’s eyes lit up, anger at the extended delay replaced with an overwhelming excitement he couldn’t explain even if he’d wanted to. Unable to wait any longer, he climbed into the back, fully intending to bring the bike out himself. Removing the pulley ties holding the Kawasaki Ninja in place, Pyro ran his hand over the side of the customised flames.
“Hello beautiful, did you miss me?”
John and his Motorcycle, the 10-year-old knew that he loved that thing a great deal. She could even dare say that his love for his bike was about equal to the amount of the love her adoptive mother had for her. The amount of love both had would be so immeasurable to the young 10-year-old. She could neither count, nor calculate the amount, so when she caught sight of her favorite uncle, with no bike, she knew he probably was not happy at all. Although she suspected he wouldn’t snap at her, she didn’t want to bother him when he wasn’t in the happy mood that she liked him being.
After playing a game she heard a noise from her window, which caused her to look out. She watched her Uncle come into view below. She could barely hear what he was saying on the phone, but she had a feeling she knew what was going on when he started heading up the driveway. She got up from where she was and ran out her door, hurried down the stairs to the first Floor then out the Foyer...
To the truck, where she heard the words, "Hello Beautiful, did you miss me?"
That’s when she knew his Motorcycle the coolest looking Motorcycle that she had ever seen was here.
She stood at the entrance now, feeling happy that now her uncle was feeling happy. Her eyes watched as John removed it from the ties that kept it in place. “Awesome! So it’s here now!” she said, moving back so that she wasn’t in the way when the Motorcycle was brought out.
"Huh, so it's finally arriving," Lawrence mused to himself, scratching his chin as he watched the delivery truck making its way along the road towards the entrance. Perched on one of the sturdier branches of one of the taller trees lining the driveway he had a good view, having been there the last hour or so, composing the latest chapter to his on-going fantasy saga, as yet unwritten of course. Since he wasn't having much inspiration at the moment and wanting to see what all the fuss was about, he reckoned he might as well go and see.
He'd heard about the bike of course, particularly during the last couple of days, almost as important an event as Crystal's arrival. Not that he was a biker himself, of course, his height and build and above all the structure of his legs would require a heavily modified or custom-built motorbike, and he'd not particularly felt the desire to learn. Though he could appreciate the craftsmanship, like the work he'd put into making chainmail or the like for his hobbies. Everyone had their own passion and evidently, this was Johns.
Lawrence dropped down from the tree, landing neatly on his feet and a grin split his muzzle as inspiration hit. Logan wouldn't be too happy with the defamation of his character, though he'd been known to pull such stunts in the past, and would doubtless take advantage of an opportunity should it present itself.
One thing Lawrence had forgotten, he didn't have his image inducer on him.
Sean had been heading to the garage when he saw John departing, smiling wryly as he watched the younger man hurrying, his 'baby' it would seem having finally come home. For him, owning a bike was a more recent occurrence and perhaps inevitably had lead to accusations of a mid-life crisis, which he'd neither confirm or deny. Though over the last couple of years, he'd found it increasingly enjoyable, almost as exhilarating in some ways as flying, though if anything slightly quieter.
Sean made his way over to the front driveway, keen hearing picking up on John's greeting and then spotting that he was within the truck getting ready to bring out the bike, and close by at the mansion entrance, Crystal was watching. Sean walked over to join her, after just a moment of hesitation.
It was foolish really, that feeling that he wasn't sure if John would welcome his presence sometimes when there might not even be any awkwardness over their mutual acquaintance. Certainly, John had never been a bad seed, just gone slightly astray but never over the edge and growing into a fine young man with the love of an adoptive family. No reason that they couldn't be friendly if maybe he took this first step.
"Hello Crystal, is she just as beautiful as we've all been picturing? Guess I'll see for myself now," he said to the little girl.
Sean paused, quirked a brow as he watched a tall furry form, sneaking out from amongst the trees and begin approaching the truck. He considered calling a warning if only to ask Leucrotta just what he thought he was playing at.
On bare padded feet, Lawrence made almost no sound as he circled his way around to keep out of direct line of sight to the truck, sniffing the air as he ascertained that John was within. He was tuning almost everything else out now, paying no heed to the fact there were witnesses, and potentially ones unused to the sight of a seven-foot hyena-man.
Judging he was close enough to be heard and not likely to be seen, he called out to John, using his vocal mimicry in a perfect reproduction of Logan's gravelly Canadian accent.
"Nice bike ya got there, bub. Reckon I ought ta borrow it fer a quick spin, but I promise I'll try not t'have a crash."
Blue eyes looked up at Crystal, what exactly she was only made more obvious by the extra shine the lights mounted on each side of the gate gave as the rebounded off his niece’s unique hair and skin. John glanced at the delivery driver, his demeanour changing slightly, ever ready to jump to her defence if need be. Would give him the perfect excuse to demonstrate his displeasure of being mucked around all afternoon too.
“Is she wearing some sort of costume, buddy?” Ike asked, gaze moving only briefly to take in the arrival of a much older man who was soon standing right beside her.
“Hey Crystal, yes, she’s finally here,” Pyro answered her first, then, “No mate, she’s a mutant. Got a problem with that?”
“Oh no… no, no that’s actually what I thought just wanted to make sure there wasn’t some sort of…” Ike’s words trailed off, eyes widening to saucer size and a fair bit of colour draining from his face.
“Nice bike ya got there, bub. Reckon I ought ta borrow it fer a quick spin, but I promise I'll try not t'have a crash," the look on the firebug’s face at the mere mention of anyone daring to ‘borrow’ his bike was enough but before he could react in any way he was soon distracted by the rather freaked out Ike. Crystal's appearance he could understand. Wolverine's, no, he just looked a bit shaggy around the edges and maybe, well, yeah, a little intimidating. Still… “The hell you’ll ever get your hands on my bike,” John addressed him.
“It’s… it’s…” Ike couldn’t help but move a little closer to the loading track he’d put in place so John could drive his motorcycle down whenever he was ready. “Mr Allerdyce, there is a giant wolf beside my truck. Please tell me you know him…” it was a very hopeful look all over the man's face.
“Wolf?” John asked. “Logan doesn’t look that bad.” John dismounted from his bike and, holding on to the inside of the truck, leant out the back to take a look at where he thought the Wolverine to be. He grinned. “Okay then,” he said, trying his best not to laugh outright. “No, that’s a hyena, Ike, there’s a difference.”
“There is?” Ike asked, calming down a little. “Let me guess, another mutant? Where exactly have you got me delivering your bike to?”
“Actually, a half hyena man is technically called a Gnoll,” John corrected, shaking his head at Leucrotta. “Uh, Lawrence, I think you might have forgotten something,” he informed him, chuckling. “Ike here is about to have a heart attack,” Pyro nodding a greeting at Sean as he pulled himself back into the truck and moved over to his bike again.
Taking a deep breath, the driver said, “Look, I have absolutely no problems with mutants, okay? I actually have a few in my family. Nothing as obvious, though. Still, a little warning next time would be good.”
John shrugged. “Didn’t know they were going to show up otherwise I would have,” he said, turning the key in the ignition and listening to the engine purr beneath him. “I suggest you move,” he warned, leaning forward and slowly bringing the bike forward, down and finally out of the delivery vehicle. He patted the area behind him, “Here, Shrap, take a seat, if you want?” he offered.
Ike handed him the paperwork to sign, again apologizing for the extreme delay. “Am I right in assuming you are a mutant too, Mr Allerdyce?”
Pyro took the lighter out of his pocket and flicked it open, the flame soon dancing in his hand. “Yeah, that’s right,” was all he said.
Crystal felt a great overwhelming amount of joy, that John’s bike was here, and she could see how happy he was to have it back. It was then she realized that the Driver guy was talking about her, and like the good uncle that he was, her favorite uncle stuck up for her. She chose not to make a comment since she wasn’t sure how to say that a costume didn’t look this cool. She was far more interested in the Motorcycle, and her uncle’s happiness.
A voice that sounded like Logan’s spoke up and she looked, only to see Lawrence? She knew for a fact that he wasn’t Logan, but so far no Logan was there. Did Lawrence change his voice somehow? She didn’t know he could do that. “Hi, Mister Lawrence” she greeted, then turned her head to listen to her Uncle’s interaction to the Driver. “Mr Lawrence is super nice!” she said. Of course, he was nice to her, she was a kid. Sean spoke to her and she smiled at the older man. “Yup! It’s the coolest bike in the whole world, perfect for my uncle!” she said excitedly.
Admittedly, there was only one Motorcycle she had seen and that was her uncles. She stepped back as he brought it out, and then her grin widened when he offered her a place upon his Motorcycle. No sooner had he made his offer, she was there, her hands wrapped around him, to be secure. The others would likely be shocked at how fast she had made it up, and how skillfully, but it should be no surprise, she had been around that motorcycle for almost 2 years now.
While he would have always made sure he was wearing his image inducer or at least had it on him when he was outside the mansion and its grounds, Lawrence hardly needed to bother with it here. If he hadn't been so curious about finally seeing John's bike and getting the idea for an admittedly somewhat foolish prank, he would have considered a delivery van would have a driver, one whom might not have much experience of mutants or worse harbour fear or prejudice. If he'd thought about that fact, Lawrence might have reconsidered.
Sean definitely was thinking about that, and about Crystal when he overheard the drivers remarks about whether she was wearing a costume. With his hearing and the general judgment of character, he didn't get anything from the man's tone suggesting more than surprise, maybe confusion not any real fear or hatred. John was there at her defence in any case, showing just how far he'd come over the years, more than just the 'cool uncle', just as much a big brother or maybe a father to Crystal.
"Aye, she's a sweet little girl," Sean said quietly, though his words were lost in Lawrence's admittedly perfect rendition of Logan, and the immediate reaction.
Lawrence flattened his ears back against his skull, tail momentarily tucked between his legs as he looked down to his wrist, remembering there was no image inducer there. Not only that but he'd only succeeded in frightening a delivery driver, maybe even provoking an incident should the man turn out to be prejudiced against mutants. As it is, he'd probably be getting a gentle chiding from Deirdre, or maybe a lecture from Charles Xavier.
"You didn't really think this through did ye lad," Sean called over, as Lawrence nodded somewhat ashamedly, ears twitching as he heard the conversation going on between the delivery driver and John, though he was impressed that already John was familiar with the definition of a gnoll. Crystal, he almost missed her calling to him, responded with a wave of his hand.
"Right, don't really want to frighten anyone," Lawrence said after John informed him about having a heart attack. "Not everyone knows yuir not half as fierce as ye look lad, but no harm done eh," Sean called over to him, as Lawrence nodded again. No harm had been done, though he'd apologise to Ike just as soon as he and John had finished the paperwork.
Sean was thinking over Crystal's words, wondering what she'd make of his own bike which probably wasn't half as fine as John's. He'd definitely have to warn him about Logan's tendencies, otherwise, that motorbike would probably be 'borrowed' sooner or later just like had been the case on occasion with other bikes, particularly if Logan didn't have overly much respect for their owners.
Sean and Lawrence both had to smile and to marvel at just how quickly Crystal made it to the motorbike and her confidence and ease as she took a seat on it with John. Evidently she was used to this, and she was holding onto John quite securely which went a little way to easing any concern that Sean might be facing.
As the bike was emerging down the ramp, and the paperwork was signed, Lawrence made his way over to Ike and spoke up to him in his normal tones, his northern English accent even a little hesitant as opposed to the gravelly growl when he'd mimicked Logan's tones.
"Sorry for startling you like that, my appearance I guess takes some getting used to, though I assure you, I don't bite humans," he gave Ike a reassuring smile which did show of his teeth.
It was on impulse, that he gave Ike a friendly bear hug, that did lift the delivery man off the ground, remembering enough not to make it too tight so it would feel the recipient's ribs were being crushed, though it could be a case he'd ended up yanking someone out of their boots again and Ike might be in danger of sneezing from the proximity of fur. Hopefully, the gesture was taken as warm and friendly, though he quickly set the hapless delivery man down gently with an apologetic shrug.
Yet, once Crystal and John were on the bike and Lawrence judged they were about to start up, he just knew he wasn't going to resist another impulse to show off his power of vocal mimicry. His repertoire, after all, included the roar of the Blackbird's jet engines and wouldn't that be amusing to produce just as John started up the engine of his ride.
Man, could that kid move when she wanted to! He could hardly blame her. One only had to look at his bike to understand the excitement surrounding it.
Along with his precious machine, John had made to sure his riding gear and all their helmets had been sent over too. While the headgear was in the saddlebags, his hanging on the handlebars, the rest of his stuff was in the orange and black sports bag still on the back of the truck.
"Here," he said to his niece, turning off the bike so he didn't have to shout to be heard. "You're not going anywhere without this," reaching around behind her to retrieve her helmet. He then went to mention something about getting his bag to Ike when he saw Lawrence apologizing to him.
The delivery driver tried so hard not to stare at the tall hyena man but he just couldn't help it, especially now that he was right there next to him. Eyebrows raised a little at his English accent, the last thing he'd been expecting. Was there such a thing as a gentleman, what did John call him, a knoll? So, would that make him a gentleknoll? Whatever his train of thought, Ike lost it completely when he suddenly felt furry arms giving him what he suspected to be a reassuring hug yet his natural instincts was to tense up. That only intensified when he felt his feet leave the ground, if only briefly.
Initially concerned, Pyro's worry was fast being replaced by the need to burst out laughing at the entire spectacle of it all. If he hadn't now been staying in a school for mutants for quite some time, even he would've found it hard to believe. When the man looked his way again, John asked, "You okay?"
"Yeah," Ike finally answered. "I think so," his gaze moving back to Leucrotta. "I... there's no need to apologize. It's no problem."
Pyro shook his head a little, grinning. "When you've recovered, don't forget my riding gear still in the truck."
"Oh, yes, sure. I'll get right on that," Ike very grateful for something else to focus on right now.
Looking around at those gathered, Pyro said, "I'm going to take Crystal for a short spin. Can't be out for too long now she's under the school's curfew..." inwardly, a part of John cringed at that. Since when did he ever care about anyone's curfews? What's happened to me? he thought, the answer obvious.
Responsibility. He now reeked of it and in all the best ways possible of course.
"When I get back I'll be going out for a lot longer on my own again. If anyone wants to come along, be ready," and with that he slipped on his helmet, once again letting his pride and joy purr.
Crystal was all smiles as she heard Sean speak, she knew before that the man was a good man, the fact he was a father was probably icing on the fact that he was a good man, at least to her he seemed to be. Sean had mentioned she was a sweet little girl and she nodded her head for good measure to confirm that she was indeed a little girl that’s sweet. She hoped that was acceptable, since she liked making her uncle, heck any adult pleased with her.
So now she was on the bike, and she didn’t think anything of her skill and speed in getting onto his motorcycle since she was so used to it. She looked up t her favored uncle when he shut off the bike and heard and saw him move around her to grab at her familiar helmet. She remembered when it had been brought home the first time. It had been a custom one so that it could fit her perfectly, of course, they will have to get a new one when she grows up enough needing one.
She looked through the visor where she could see Lawrence move to interact with the guy bringing her uncle’s motorcycle. Her eyes widened when she saw him get lifted and heard Pyro’s laughter since he found it amusing, she, on the other hand, was more worried that the poor guy would be very scared. Though with the next topic, she found her excitement grow when Pyro spoke of taking her for a ride but also mentioned the curfew she will have to deal with. She was used to curfews since her mother made her have one, and honestly, she loved it, since she could get enough sleep.
She held onto her uncle, completely secure as he got his helmet on and heard the familiar purr of his bike the grin that was plastered on her face widened as her excitement grew knowing soon the two of them would be going on an amazing ride, and she felt pure pleasure and gratitude that her uncle was letting her ride with him. Yes, no matter his past, she trusted him. She knew she wouldn’t be harmed by him and that this trust and respect was rewarded.
She felt it, the wind on her metallic skin, the breeze that ruffled her clothes and saw with her eyes the road they passed over, the power lines, and the buildings shooting passed them as if running from something they feared. She kept her hands where they were unable to be shifted even as her body jiggled from the force and pressure of the ride, and the random shifts in height when they passed on the road that might be only slightly higher than the others.
Her ears picked up the sounds of travel, the tires cruising through the road, things passing by, and also screaming, her screams of joy and excitement her giddiness showing that she was enjoying herself, not afraid, something her uncle would be concerned by. She loved this, being on the road riding a cool motorcycle, which of course was driven by her uncle. She had thought her uncle knew a lot about motorcycles a thought, an idea occurred to her, something for later.
Time saw her notice the gates of the school fast approaching which meant the ride would soon be over, and the good girl that she was, knew she couldn’t force him to continue to give her ride, it wouldn’t be right.
Lawrence had felt the tension, a natural reaction to unexpectedly being lifted off the ground however briefly and in the grasp of what was for all intents and purposes a large predator. An instinctive response, nothing that could be helped and there was no real harm done. This was the first time after all and well Ike would probably be making future deliveries, know better what to expect and a little shiny metal girl and an overgrown hyena wouldn't be nearly as startling. Perhaps though a gentle pat on the back would be a better move. Still, despite it all, he still felt a little embarrassed now, after his brief exuberance at providing accompaniment for the motorcycle starting up. In the end, he just nodded as Pyro mentioned taking his niece for a short ride.
Sean had also nodded, trusting John at his word and not feeling like he had a need to keep watch and knowing it would just be for a couple of blocks and then back. He thought though that he'd take the younger man up on his offer of accompanying him on a longer ride. Giving a wave to the pair, he looked over to Lawrence for a moment and decided that there probably wasn't much he could say at the moment, knowing when the lad got embarrassed like that sometimes he just had to be given a few minutes. So he just patted the hyena man on one furry forearm as he headed off to get his own bike ready.
Finally, with a shake of his head, Lawrence decided that he'd had enough brooding and with Sean having headed off he decided he'd perhaps better do something useful. Perhaps he could find Logan and appeal to his sense of honour and decency along with the moral imperative of not wanting to upset a sweet little girl like Crystal by doing something so despicable like borrowing her uncle's pride and joy without asking and knowing Logan getting it wrecked in the progress. That could be a difficult task unless he perhaps used some method of persuasion that even a feral mutant as formidable as Logan wouldn't be able to resist like maybe the threat of using his vocal mimicry to unleash the horrors of 'Barbie Girl' upon him.
As Lawrence saw Pyro and Crystal now returning from their short motorcycle ride and headed for the garage, he decided now was as good a time as any to track down his fellow feral. Otherwise sooner or later Logan would probably find himself unable to resist a bike that beautiful and so the gnoll on a mission made his departure.