Declaration of war
A/N: Hey everyone, much later than I expected, but here is the next chap. Thanks for all the great feedback last chap. On with the story:
Chapter 18: Declarations of War
Remy shut Rogue’s door behind him, very happy with their evening together. He hadn’t just been agreeing with her – it was one of the best times he’d had on a date.
As he moved down the hall, he spotted Sarah’s door, open a crack, move shut quickly as he looked in that direction. He chuckled – she’d obviously been watching him and Rogue get back through the crack in the door.
He strode over, and opened the door suddenly, and she let out a startled squeak and fell back from the door and landed on her backside. Remy shook his head, chuckling, and helped her back up.
“Y’gonna need t’get better at spyin’ ‘round me if y’don’ wanna get caught, /petite/. What’re you doin’ still up? You got school tomorrow.”
Sarah blushed. “I couldn’t get to sleep. And then I heard you and Rouge getting back, so I looked out my door.” Sarah smiled. “Was this one a date?” She asked innocently.
Remy scooped her up, and carried her over to her bed. “/Oui, petite/,” he said, setting her down on her bed. “We had dinner an’ saw a movie.”
Remy pulled the covers up to her chin, tucking her into her bed. He then sat down next to her, leaning back against the headboard. “I’ll stay here ‘till you get t’sleep,” he said, reaching down to run his hand through her hair.
Sarah yawned, and her eyes drooped at the rhythmic stroking of her head, and he could tell it hadn’t been that she couldn’t get to sleep, but rather that she’d stayed up to see when he got back with Rogue.
“Okay, Remy,” she muttered. A few moments later she looked up at him sleepily. “Remy? Did you have fun? Is Rogue your girlfriend now?”
“Yeah, she is, Sarah,” he said softly.
Sarah smiled. “Good.” She whispered as she drifted to sleep.
“Ugh,” Jubilee groaned aloud the next morning as they left the classroom. They’d just left their Modern Physics class. It was mostly run on-line from the local community college, but Xavier had stepped in and begun lectures for them to help them through it.
“I can’t believe we’ve got a test on the Monday after our break.” She complained.
“I know,” Dani said. “At least the professor tried to convince them to change it. But it ‘wouldn’t be fair to the other online students’.” She said with a sigh.
“We should set up study sessions all this week,” Rogue suggested, her eyes lighting up. “That way we can do all that now, an’ not worry about it durin’ break next week.”
A smile grew on Jubilee’s face. “If we really focus on it this week, we’d only need to brush up on the day before. Good idea, chica.” She winked at Rogue. “I’ll go tell Kitty and the others so we can figure out a time to study together.” She said, giving them a short wave, and turning to walk in the other direction where Kitty, Piotr, Sam, and Bobby had gone.
Dani grabbed Rogue’s arm and pulled her closer so they were walking shoulder to shoulder. “So?” She whispered, “How’d it go?”
“Great,” Rogue said, a smile growing on her face. “Everythin’ was perfect. We went to a great restaurant, an’ he bought us dinner, an’ then we went t’see a movie.”
Dani smiled back as they finished climbing the stairs and reached their rooms. Rogue opened her door, and Dani followed her in, closing it behind her. “Sounds like fun. Sounds /romantic/.” She said, stressing the word. “So, dish – I assume you’ve kissed – he a good kisser?”
Rogue blushed. “We have, a few times,” she admitted. “And he’s wonderful kisser. Makes me feel like there’s nothin’ else goin’ on around us.”
Dani grinned broadly. “Good. I figured he would be, seemed like he was pretty experienced. How d’you get past your, you know, your powers and all that?”
Rogue sighed. “They’re a pain, but Ah’d been workin’ with him since the weekend after he came here on controllin’ mah powers, an’ we’ve gotten it so Ah can touch him for almost a minute an’ a half now. An’ then, Ah absorb his powers, an’ have a hard time controllin’ them, so he pretty pulls th’charge Ah have back into himself, an’ gets most of his energy back.” She shrugged. “It doesn’ seem t’bother him, an’ Ah’m just glad t’get that much at a time.”
Dani placed a hand on her shoulder, giving her a knowing look. “You’ll get the hang of it eventually, Rogue.”
Rogue shot her a grateful smile. “Ah know. Th’Professor thinks Ah’m already doin’ a lot better.”
Dani patted her back, and shot her a smile. “So, the other reason I wanted to talk, besides grilling you on your date, was I was wondering if you still wanted to go home with me on break.”
Rogue looked at her hesitantly. “Ah – Ah’d like to, it sounds fun, but Ah’m not sure what Remy’s plannin’.”
Dani’s forehead creased. “Remy?”
Rogue slapped a hand over her mouth, and then sighed. “Remy is Gambit’s real name. He doesn’ usually tell people it, but Ah’ve just got so used to it that Ah’m startin’ to use it all the time.”
Dani’s eyes widened, and she nodded with understanding. “Gotcha. Why don’t you ask him if he’s planning anything for you two, and if he isn’t, let me know and I’ll book you a ticket and let my parents know. I already talked to them and they said they’d be glad to have you over.”
Rogue smiled hesitantly. “Thanks, Dani.” She said, giving her a hug.
“You’re welcome,” she said. “Now, I’ve gotta get going – I’ll be downstairs in the living room. Rahne’s finishing up her history report, and she asked me to look it over for her.”
Rogue nodded. “Alright, have fun.” She said, smiling as Dani left. She thought it was rather cute how Dani had befriended the shy Scottish girl when she’d first arrived at the school, and had started a mentor-like relationship with her.
She knew Xavier, with the start of the new school year in several months – and the influx of students coming next fall, was planning to start a sort of mentorship/advisor program with the both faculty and older students becoming mentors for the younger kids, and she knew Dani would be insisting that Rahne be one of her advisees.
After Dani had left, Rogue’s next stop was to find Remy. She looked around the mansion, and eventually found him in the gym, finishing a set of crunches.
He smiled at her when he saw her enter, and pulled himself to his feet. His hair was sweaty, as was his shirt, and he wiped himself down quickly with a towel.
“Hey, /Chére/,” he said, walking up to her.
“Hi,” she greeted him, planting a kiss on his cheek.
“You lookin’ for me, or jus’ here to work out?” He asked her softly.
“Lookin’ for you, actually. Ah was talkin’ with Dani, about break next week. An’ Ah didn’ know if you were plannin’ anythin’, or…..” she trailed of questioningly.
Remy nodded. “You wanna know if you should go wit’ Dani to Colorado.”
Rogue smiled. “Yeah. Ah just, didn’ know if you wanted t’hang out here with me, or what.”
Remy dropped his towel so it hung around his shoulders. “Well, I didn’ really plan anythin’, /Chére/. Figure I’d like t’spend some time wit’ Stormy while we ain’ caught up in teachin’ classes. Y’should go wit’ Dani. I t’ink y’could use de time away from dis place.”
Rogue nodded, but frowned slightly. “Ah’d like t’spend time with you too, though.”
Remy grinned. “Ask Dani what all you’ll be doin’ an’ let me know, an’ I might come out dere for part of de week. I’m sure Sarah’d like to visit Colorado, maybe try skiing.”
Rogue’s face brightened. “Really?”
Remy nodded. “Yeah. Tell Dani not t’worry, I’ll take care of gettin’ a hotel room for me an’ Sarah an’ all dat.”
Rogue kissed his cheek. “Ah’ll let yah know what she says.”
Remy smiled and pulled her closer into a brief kiss. “You go do dat – I gotta take a shower.”
“So this is where you’re hiding out,” Annie said, walking up behind Ororo. Ororo had no classes to teach that morning, so she’d taken a walk outside, and was sitting on one of the benches near the edge of the forest, staring out into the trees.
Ororo turned her head and smiled. “Oh, Annie.” She said, a smile passing over her face. “Join me.”
Annie sat down on the bench next to her, and Ororo looked at her curiously. “How are you feeling?”
“Better.” Annie said. “Long as I keep up on the pain meds it doesn’t feel like I have a huge lump on my head.” Annie had ended up with a concussion, but thankfully nothing worse.
“So what’re you doing way out here?” Annie asked her friend.
Ororo sighed. “I like to come out here and think. I love all the plants, and being out here helps me relax.”
“And let me guess, you’re thinking about Logan, and about Jean, am I right?” Annie asked softly, her concern clearly written on her face.
Ororo sighed and looked away, back into the forest. “Yeah.” She admitted. “I don’t know how to feel. I’m so happy Jean’s still alive – she’s one of my closest friends. We practically grew up together from when we were teens and Charles took us in.”
“But… I feel awful, because a part of me wishes she hadn’t come back, right when it seemed like Logan and I might have some sort of chance together, and now it’s gone.”
Annie patted her leg. “Ororo, you don’t know that.”
Ororo shook her head. “No, Annie, he loves her. I know that. I’ve seen it.”
Annie gripped her shoulder, forcing her to turn and look at her. “He loves you too. That’s what I’ve seen since I’ve been here. You can’t just give it up because Jean ended up being alive. He’s going to have to choose, and it’ll be hard for him, but if you just give it up, you’re making that choice for him.”
Annie sighed and looked away. “He’s a good man, Ororo, a little gruff and not that good at showing emotions, but after what was done to him, who can blame him? But I know he has feelings for you. I wish I could meet someone I could say even that about.”
Ororo pulled her legs up, her knees to her chest, and wrapped her arms around them, staring silently into the forest.
They sat there silently, for at least several dozen minutes, before Ororo finally turned to look at Annie. She shot her a grateful smile, her eyes suspiciously wet. “Thanks, Annie.” She sighed. “You’re right. I can’t just give up. If it’s meant to happen between us it will.”
Annie smiled, glad that she’d at least started to pull her friend out of the funk she’d been in since they’d found Jean. “I think things’ll work out for you. Now, let’s go inside and get some lunch together before you have to teach.”
Ororo nodded, and stood, the skies which had been growing overcast all morning, unconsciously influenced by her mood, suddenly brightening as the clouds above them began to break up.
“Alright, y’all,” Remy said to the group of students gathered with him outside. They’d just gone through his roll sheet, and he was mentally filing away the names of each with an image of their faces.
Now that he was covering all the Shop and PhysEd classes, rather than a class here or there, this was the first time he’d taught this group. In age, they were in between the younger kids he’d taught, of which Sarah was now a part of, and the group that Rogue, Dani, and the others were part of. They were basically the high-school class, and he hadn’t really gotten to know any of them during his short time at the school.
“Today, we’re jus’ gonna have some fun.” Remy said, tipping over a large cloth bag he’d taken out with them. “Who here hasn’t played dodge ball before?” He asked. He glanced around and no hands went up, and he bent down to the dodgeballs he’d tipped out of the bag, and tossed them down on the ground.
“Alrigh’ I’ll let you guys pick teams. Phoebe, you’re de captain of one team,” he said, nodding to a blond girl who stood next to her other two identical triplets. “An’ Julian, you’re de other captain.” He said, pointing to a tall, black-haired teen.
Invariably, Phoebe picked one of her sisters, and Julian picked the other – Remy chuckled at that as the teams were quickly chosen – it would be harder as the girls on either side would know what the other was going to do, if Storms notes she’d given Remy on their powers were right, with the three girls possessing a sort of psychic “hive mind”.
Remy leaned back against a bench, watching them get into several rather intense games. Other than Mindee, Julian had chosen an all-boy team, and Phoebe had ended up with a team of mostly girls, all of whom, it seemed, wanted to take the cocky Julian down a notch or two.
Remy finally stood when the second match wound down as the ball hit Julian soundly on the foot. “Dat was a fair hit, Julian you’re out, Phoebe’s team wins again. Nice throw, Cessily.” He said, grinning at the silver-skinned girl who’d been the last person on her team, and she smiled shyly back – and he was pretty sure he saw a darkening of her metallic cheeks in a blush.
“Alright. I know I tol’ you to play, but you guys are goin’ bout it all wrong. Y’should be usin’ your powers, an’ having more fun wit’ de game.”
A brown-haired girl barely in her teens, with reddish markings almost like tattoos running in thin lines and designs across her body, raised her hand.
“Professor Gambit, you didn’t tell us we /could/. When Professor Summers always did PE class, he wouldn’t let us use our powers because we ended up destroying all the equipment.”
“Well, you’ll find I’m a lot diff’rent den Professor Summers. An’ if Professor Xavier complains ‘bout it bein’ too expensive, I’ll buy de gear m’self. You’re still young, an’ y’deserve t’have some fun. So let’s do it again. Jus’ don’ hurt each other when y’doin’ it. I don’ want Annie hollerin’ at me.”
Alani giggled behind her hand, and moved back to her side and got ready. Remy gave the signal to go, and they began playing once more. They still seemed a bit hesitant, as if they were wondering if he was simply testing them to see if they would actually use their powers when they really shouldn’t.
Finally, Santo – a large, hulking boy with rocklike skin – sent a ball whistling across the field toward Cessily. Remy saw her glance to him for a split second, before she literally melted into a puddle of liquid mercury, the ball flying well above her head and striking a tree in the distance. She shaped her arm like a catapult, picked up her own ball in it, and hurled it back at the other team.
It seemed to break the mood, and very quickly they all began to use their powers. Remy grinned with satisfaction. He could tell immediately that they were enjoying themselves much more than before. His attention was drawn away, when out of the corner of his eye he saw, around the corner of the mansion, a black sedan pulling up the driveway – he instantly recognized it as a government car.
He waved to the kids. “Keep on playin’, I’ll be right back. Don’ kill each other while I’m gone.”
‘/This could be interesting/,’ he thought to himself, as he jogged around the corner of the building. ‘/At least it ain’t S.H.I.E.L.D. here, pissed off about me impersonating an agent – if it was they’d be here with capture teams and helicopters/.’
Remy stopped at the front of the circular drive, fingering a deck of cards in his pocket, as the car pulled up. He instantly recognized the blue-furred man that stepped out, carrying a briefcase and a large duffel bag.
Remy nodded in greeting as the car slowly drove off. “/Bonjour/. Hank, wasn’t it?”
He nodded. “Hello again. Storm’s friend.” He looked thoughtfully at him for a moment. “Ah yes, Gambit.”
“Hank,” Xavier’s voice came from the front door as he wheeled out. “I sense you arriving. It’s good to see you again so soon. How are things faring at the White House?”
Hanks expression turned grim. “That’s actually what I’m here to talk about. Could you gather the X-men? I bring much news, and you all need to hear it.”
Xavier nodded – the stray thoughts coming from Hank were somewhat alarming. He closed his eyes and concentrated for several moments. He opened them again. “Come, Hank. I’ve called everyone, we’ll meet down in the mission room to talk.” He looked to Remy. “Gambit, if you’d join us-“
Remy nodded. “I’ll be down in a few. I gotta let my class know we’re done for de day.”
Xavier nodded, and Remy began to walk back around the mansion while Charles and Hank moved inside. As Remy rounded the corner, he found the game had dwindled down to the triplets: Phoebe and Celeste versus Mindee, and since they were using their powers, neither side seemed to be able to land a hit on the other as they already knew what was coming.
Remy cleared his throat. “Alrigh’, everyone. I’m lettin’ you off de hook early today. If y’all wanna keep playin’, go ahead. Jus’ put all de dodgeballs dat survive back by de door. Hope you all had fun today.”
“It was really fun,” Cessily said with a smile.
“Good. See y’all in shop class tomorrow.” Remy said, and left them to their game.
“Hank! I’m surprised to see you back so early,” Ororo said as she entered the room. Everyone else had gathered – Remy had entered the room in front of her, and she was the last one in.
She sat down next to Remy, who’d taken a seat next to Rogue at one of the last empty chairs. “I’d have expected you to still be in Washington.”
Hank cleared his throat. “Yes, well, that’s why I’m here. I’ve resigned from my position.” He held up his hand when Ororo looked at him in shock and opened her mouth to speak.
“Let me first explain. If you’ve listened to the news, there was an accident in a convoy of government vehicles several days ago. What they haven’t said was that it was Magneto. He attacked a convoy carrying Mystique and a number of other high-level mutant criminals.”
“During the course of the ‘rescue’, one of the guards shot Mystique with a tranquilizer gun equipped with darts containing the Cure. Apparently all of the guards were provided with these weapons. Magneto left her behind and we recovered her, but we know that he freed several of the prisoners.”
“Should’ve known it wouldn’t be long before the government got its hands on the Cure,” Kitty said.
“Indeed. And that was the main reason for my resignation. I was the Secretary of Mutant Affairs, and no one thought it sensible to tell me they’d turned the cure into a weapon. They were simply making major policy decisions without informing me, let alone getting my input on the reaction from the mutant community. This is going to escalate once word gets out, and I’m afraid Magneto will gain a much stronger backing for whatever private little war he wants to start.”
Logan shook his head in disgust at the whole situation, but he wasn’t extremely surprised. He knew firsthand the sort of things a part of the government could get up to without anyone else knowing about it.
Xavier cleared his throat. “Thank you, Hank, for letting us know all this. If you’d like to stay here, you are certainly welcome.”
Xavier looked around the room. “I’ve been meaning to call a meeting myself for several days now, but things have been quite hectic. When I was in Washington at the debates, I discovered some rather disturbing facts.”
“During the debate, I scanned the mind of Graydon Creed. I discovered that he is, in part, a major secret backer of the main anti-mutant groups out there: Friends of Humanity, Church of Humanity, pretty much any anti-mutant group you’ve heard of on the news. A childhood friend of his is the leader of the Purifiers.”
“I also ‘saw’ a conversation in which he hired the mercenaries that killed the mutants in the tunnels in New York.” He said grimly.
There were several moments of shocked silence. “How – how does no one know this? Wouldn’t the media or something find evidence of at least some of it?” Bobby asked, speaking up for the first time.
Xavier shook his head. “Apparently he runs much of his business through his assistant, and uses some very hidden money sources in dummy corporations to do the funding. From what I could tell he is pulling the strings on every group – they say what he wants them to say.”
“We have to let someone know. Everyone has to know that they’re voting for someone that killed all those mutants.” Piotr said.
Xavier spread his hands out in a placating gesture. “Therein lies the problem, Kitty. I can’t exactly tell people that I am a psychic mutant, who happened to put Creed under a mental scan without his knowledge. Quite simply, no one would believe me, and even worse, would say that being a mutant, I have a motive to lie about such a strong anti-mutant candidate to get him out of the running. We need to obtain actual, physical evidence of what he’s been doing.”
“How’d you know to look into this creeps mind like that?” Logan asked – something was missing, he just wasn’t sure what it was.
Xavier cleared his throat. “He was broadcasting-“
Remy, who’d been silently shuffling a deck of cards together, slammed it down on the table and looked up from his hands. “He knew because I knew, an’ I tol’ him about Creed bein’ behind de killings in New York, an’ he decided t’make sure.” He shook his head at Xavier. “Thanks, but it’s alright, Charles.”
Rogue’s eyes widened, knowing instantly what Remy was doing.
“How did you know Creed was behind that?” Kitty asked, her face scrunched up in confusion.
Remy took a deep breath, steeling himself for his confession. They all deserved to know, and maybe letting it out would help reduce the dreams he had about it, he thought.
“You all know I am, or ‘least was, a professional thief. I wasn’ just hired t’steal things – lots of times I got hired to case a place an’ tell dem how to get in – dat way dey don’ have to give me as big of a share. Creeds assistant – didn’ know who he was at de time – hired me to find de entrance to, an’ case dese tunnels beneath a big bank, so dey could blow a hole in de bottom of de vault an’ get away wit’ everythin’ inside.”
Remy sighed, and Rogue reached over, placing a hand on his arm, and squeezing it gently. “Dey asked me for a map, an’ I gave it to dem. When I went t’get my money, I heard Creed’s assistant talkin’ to someone on de phone, an’ I found out dey weren’t really after de bank – dey were after de mutants in dose tunnels.”
Remy clenched his fists on the table. “When I got dere, dey were almost finished. Far as I know, only Sally made it out on her own. I found Sarah down dere, scared as hell, about to be killed, an’ I think dose two were de only ones dat made it out alive. I was de one dat blew up de entrance to trap de bastards down dere. Dey tried to take me out later on to keep things quiet – dat’s how I got shot when I came here. Saw his assistant at a rally de other day an’ recognized him, an’ told Charles.”
He glanced around the room, and Ororo put an arm around his back from her seat next to him. “Figure it’s only right dat you know, bein’ on de same team.”
Logan sighed and rubbed at his temple with one hand. It explained why he hadn’t wanted to talk much about the job that had wound up getting him shot. He certainly didn’t hold anything against him – he knew what it was like to be used like that.
“Don’t beat yourself up over it, kid.” He said quietly. “You ain’t the first person that’s been fooled by someone like that. If y’think about it, if it weren’t for you, we wouldn’t even have a clue about Creed.”
Remy spread his hands out helplessly. “I know, but dat don’ exactly help me sleep at night.”
Logan grunted, and nodded in understanding. He slid his gaze across the room to Bobby who had surprisingly been quietly sitting there the entire time. He would have expected at least some sort of outburst from him at the confession – some sort of ‘told-you-so’.
Bobby, however, was simply staring at Rogue’s hand still on Remy’s arm. Logan was surprised to smell not jealousy coming off of him, but rather a sort of resignation toward the sight, and even a bit of – ‘/is that sympathy/?’ Logan wondered to himself. It certainly surprised him – perhaps Bobby could actually be more grown-up than what he’d shown in the past few weeks.
Xavier cleared his throat. “Thank you Gambit.” He could feel the thoughts coming from the others, and no one really held any blame against Remy, as far as he could tell, so he thought it was best to wrap up their conversation.
“What’re we gonna do about Creed, Professor?” Rogue asked quietly, drawing everyone’s attention from Remy.
“I managed to pull a few locations of Friends of Humanity groups, and more importantly one of the bases of the Purifiers. I think we may need to have several break-in missions, as much as I dislike the idea. We need to find something – somewhere that someone got careless and left evidence of Creed’s backing. I didn’t have the time to fully scan him without looking like I was spacing out at the debate, but from the deepest I went, I know that he’d up to a lot, and none of his projects with the groups are good news for mutants.”
“I’ll have Gambit and Logan look over some of the locations and get an idea of what we’ll need. Perhaps we will check one out this weekend.” He smiled at the younger X-men. “Or at least those of us that will not be vacationing.”
“I will call another meeting once we know more, but right now, I’m afraid Erik may be a bigger threat if he starts something over this weaponized cure.” He glanced over at Beast. “Hank, you’re welcome to stay here as long as you like. Ororo can show you to a room. I’d best be going – I have several private sessions with students this afternoon.”
With that, the meeting broke up. Piotr stood, and walked over to Remy. “Thank you for trusting us with your story, Gambit.” He said with a sympathetic smile. “I’m sure it wasn’t easy for you.”
Remy nodded back, grateful that no one had turned on him at the news. “Thanks.”
Rogue shot Remy a glance, and he smiled back weakly. “S’alright. Feels good to get it out in de open.” He sighed and stood. “I’m gonna see if my PhysEd class left any dodgeballs undamaged. Wanna join me?” He asked quietly.
Rogue nodded with a soft smile, and followed him out of the room. Hank’s gaze followed them out, before he turned it to Ororo. “He seems rather guilt-ridden over this.” He commented. “Much more than he should be.”
Ororo nodded sadly. “That’s the way he is. He doesn’t want to admit it, but I know he blames himself fully for each mutant that died, even though he didn’t know what was happening until it was too late.”
Hank nodded in understanding and then stood, proffering an arm to her, and she laced her own through his. “So, tell me what else is new around here while you show me to my room.”
Ororo smiled slightly. “Oh, there’s definitely a lot new around here.” She took a deep breath. “Hank, I have something to tell you. It’s about Jean.”
Sarah dashed happily out of Charles’ office at the end of their first session together working on her powers. The first thing she wanted to do was to find Remy.
Being with Sally again, someone she knew, had helped her enormously in adapting to the school, and she found that she really enjoyed being there, learning. Her favorite classes, of course, were the ones Remy taught, although Storm’s were a close second.
Sarah waved quickly to Sally and Rahne as she passed them in the hall. Sally and Rahne had become friends during their time at the school, and Sarah had quickly clicked with her as well. She also enjoyed listening to the shy girl’s funny accent as she talked.
All of the others her age were nice enough, but she hadn’t really gotten to know anyone else aside from Carter, who she started to get to know after Remy had invited Carter and his mom, Annie, to eat dinner with them several nights ago.
Carter, whose last name she couldn’t even pronounce, let alone spell, was funny, always trying to tell a new joke, or do something funny. He was nice – for a boy, that is, Sarah thought to herself.
Sarah finally spotted Remy coming out of his room, and raced over to him, grabbing him in a firm hug.
Remy staggered back as she ran into him at full speed. “Whoah dere, /petite/, what’s up? You’re sure in a good mood,” he said, tousling her hair. She loved it when he did that.
“Remy!” She said with a large smile. “Watch.”
Her eyes scrunched up in concentration, and suddenly the bony spikes covering her body extended themselves several inches, and then pulled back to their original state, and repeated the process several times.
She stopped, and looked back up at Remy, who grinned broadly down at her. “Dat’s great, /petite/. Did you learn dat wit’ de Professor?”
Sarah nodded happily. “Yeah. We just had our session, an’ we worked on controllin’ my powers, an’ I was able to make them grow like that, an’ the Professor said I was already doing really good, an’ he thinks that if I keep on practicing with it I’ll get even better, an’ it might not be long before I can get them to shrink an’ then I can make them come out only when I want them to, an’ we’re workin’ on my shooting them out of my hands too, but we couldn’t get it to work again yet.” Sarah said rapidly, before gasping in a large breath.
Remy laughed happily, and put a finger to her lips. “Whoah dere, /petite/, slow down. Y’need to breathe. Dat’s good news.” He leaned down and kissed her forehead. “I’m proud of you, Sarah.” He said, and she beamed happily, and hugged him again.
He reached down and picked her up, planting his forehead against hers as she settled into his arms. “We should celebrate, /petite/. How ‘bout tomorrow, when y’get out of class, Rogue an’ I give you y’first horse-ride?”
Sarah smiled widely. “Really?”
Remy nodded. “Really.”
Sarah threw her arms around his neck hugging him so tightly he began to feel a need for oxygen, and then she loosened her grip. “That’d be really fun, Remy. But can’t we go now?” She asked, giving him a cute pout.
Remy groaned. “Don’ you go makin’ dat bahbin at me, /petite/. It’s already getting’ dark out, an’ you’d only get a little bit of time on de horse if we did it now.”
Sarah wrinkled her nose. “What’s a ‘/bahbin/’?”
Remy chuckled and tapped her lower lip. “It’s dis expression you use when y’try t’get me to do somethin’ an’ I say I ain’ gonna. It’s a Cajun word.”
“Oh,” She said, nodding in understanding. She looked him in the eyes. “You promise we’ll go tomorrow?”
Remy smiled and kissed her on the nose. “I promise. Now, I was jus’ headin’ down to de livin’ room t’watch some TV wit’ Rogue. You wanna come wit’ me, or are you gonna keep poutin’ up here?
Sarah’s pout disappeared instantaneously, replaced with a smile. “Let’s go watch TV,” she said innocently.
He laughed, and set her down, taking her hand as he began to walk down the stairs. As they reached the living room, a large group had already gathered around the TV, from Ororo and Hank, who sat in the back of the room, to a number of the younger students.
Rogue had saved him a spot on the couch, and she waved to them when she caught sight of them. Remy moved forward, noting that the television was switched to CNN, which was holding election coverage. ‘/That’s right, the republican primary in Pennsylvania is tonight/.’ Remy thought to himself, as a large map appeared on the screen and was manipulated by John King – it showed the counties that had already begun to count the votes – the polls had closed just minutes before.
Remy sad down next to Rogue, and Sarah jumped up onto his lap. She smiled over to Rogue. “Rogue,” she said in an excited whisper, trying not to disturb those listening to the television. “Watch me.”
Sarah again focused, and caused the bone growths on her arm to gain nearly three inches in length before shrinking back down.
Rogue smiled. “That’s great, Sarah. You’re already getting’ th’hang of it.” She whispered back. She knew, both from having gotten to know her, and from their first meeting in which she absorbed a piece of her psyche, that even something as simple as being able to do that meant a lot to her.
Sarah smiled back, and nodded. “It’s a lot easier than I thought it would be,” she said.
Rogue nodded, and leaned closer. “Well, if you keep that up, you might just get it under control b’fore Ah do.”
A loud musical cue sounded from the television, pulling their attention back to it. On the screen, they showed that, with the exit polling, and the 30% of precincts already reporting, they were predicting a large win for Creed.
Remy shook his head in disgust, which seemed to be the mood in the whole room, although only a few of them knew Creed’s full story. They sat in the living room for close to fifteen more minutes, watching the numbers come in, almost as if hoping they’d come back saying that they had been mistaken, and that Creed hadn’t own, but as the votes come in his lead kept widening, now to nearly 62%.
The picture suddenly went back to the main studio to John King, who was reading a piece of paper that had been handed to him. He looked back up to the cameras. “ I apologize, but we’re going to take a break from our election coverage to cover a breaking news story. Half an hour ago, a number of clinics offering the mutant ‘Cure’ throughout the country were simultaneously attacked. Police are not yet commenting on who attacked, but shortly after the attacks, we received a video from the mutant terrorist Magneto, claiming responsibility for the attacks.”
“Here are some images from our sister stations in the areas of the attacks, and then we’ll show the video we received.”
Images flashed across the screen, showing clinic after clinic, some with raging fires being put out by firefighters, others showing a jumble of debris where the building had once stood.
Then the image went to a video – the banner underneath read ‘Magneto threat issued.’, and it showed Magneto, dressed in dark clothing in what almost looked like a cave.
“Today’s attacks were only our first salvo. As long as the cure exists, our war will rage. Your cities will not be safe, your streets will not be safe, you will not be safe. And to my fellow mutants, I make you this offer: join us, or stay out of our way. Enough mutant blood has been spilled already.”
The image moved back to John kind. “That’s about all the information we have at the moment. Several of our stations are reporting that the attacks took place during working hours, and that they do not believe any of the staff, or the mutants entering the building or in waiting rooms, survived these attacks. We could be looking at several hundred dead. We’ll stay on this story, and bring you the latest as we get more information”
Sarah looked up at Remy from her spot on his lap. “Why would he do that? He killed a bunch of mutants.” She asked.
Remy sighed, ignoring the nervous chatter that had picked up throughout the room at the news. “I don’ know. He thinks he’s sendin’ a message to de people dat want to give out de Cure, and de ones dat are takin’ it. Some people jus’ don’ care what happens, ‘long as dey think it’ll help dem.”
Sarah shivered, almost involuntarily, and gripped his arm, looking up at him with a scared expression. “Is he going to attack us too? I don’ wanna have that happen here like in the tunnels,” she whispered.
Remy traded a stricken glance with Rogue.
“No, honey, Ah don’ think he’ll attack us here,” Rogue said softly, brushing Sarah’s cheek with a gloved finger. “Ah think he’ll go after the people makin’ th’Cure, not us. He’d be hurtin’ his cause if he attacked a school full of kids.”
Remy nodded. “An’ if he does, I’ll be wit’ you dis time, an’ so will Rogue, an’ we’ll stop him, /hein/?”
Sarah took a deep breath, and finally nodded. “Okay.” She said, and then leaned forward, resting her head on Remy’s chest, her face buried in his shirt.
Remy swallowed, and wrapped his arms around her. Xavier had been right – perhaps right now Magneto was a bigger threat to mutants and the safety of the country than Creed was.
“Congratulations, Gray. This is just what we needed,” Maldrone said to Creed. They were in a large hotel room, getting ready for a short victory speech Creed was going to deliver to a group of his supporters.
He’d just basically sealed his nomination with the win in Pennsylvania. Even if his opponent didn’t conceded defeat – something they didn’t think would be the case – all that was left were a few states Creed already had leads in: either way, his nomination was basically a given.
Creed smiled, trying to straighten his tie, wishing his wife was there hat the moment to help him, but she was meeting them in twenty minutes down at the event. “It’s a relief. Now I can focus on campaigning against the other party while they try to figure out which of the three of them to pick.”
Creed frowned. “Unfortunately, we’ll probably need to keep up about the same schedule of campaigning, won’t we?”
Maldrone nodded. “Yeah. Why don’t you and Mikaela take a few days off after tonight and take a little break before we have to really get back into it?”
Creed grinned. “I was hoping you’d say that.” He said, finally giving up on the tie – Mikaela would probably straighten it anyway, the moment she saw him.
Creed glanced to the bodyguard standing near the door of the room, and gave him a questioning look. He held up the electronic surveillance sweeping device and gave him a thumbs-up, before letting himself out of the room.
“Alright, Ron. How are other things going? That artificial intelligence thing?”
“Quite well. We’ve got one of the lead developers right in our pocket. He’ll do anything we ask him to.”
Creed nodded. “And that rogue black project up in Montana?”
Ron smiled. “Even better. Apparently they have quite the grudge against mutants, and took to the Purifiers quite well – Eli is a pretty good negotiator. Bein’ able to throw lots of money at them didn’t hurt either.” He said, and Creed nodded: Eli Bard had been one of his closest friends growing up, and he’d secretly begun the Purifiers, and started attacks against mutants across the country.
“I’ll be visiting their base tomorrow while you’re off with Mikaela. Eli tells me they’ve got some pretty interesting things they’ve been cooking up there - can’t wait to see it myself.”
Creed nodded. “Good. We should start heading down. Don’t want to be late for the big speech. Oh, and Ron – tell Eli we need to respond in kind to Magneto. He wants a war, we’ll give it to him. It’ll only help us.”
A/N: Well, that’s the chapter. Little bit of a pause before the big showdown (which should be next chap if things go right). Lot’s of nods to the comics in this one. :). A few hints at the future of the fic from Creed here – go ahead and make your guesses – I ain’t talkin’
Sorry ‘bout the wait – this should have been out on Saturday, but last week I screwed up a landing on my bike and sprained my wrist pretty bad (skin on that arm got torn up pretty nasty too). So, I’ve been typing one-handed, which takes up all my time at work so I haven’t even had a chance to write some of the story on down-times. Anyway, wrist is feeling better, but I’m still hunt-and-pecking with one hand for the most part.
Hopefully next chap will be out by Sunday – likely a bit more Romy, and probably the big Alcatraz showdown. No Jean this chap, but probably a bit next chapter.