A/N: Hey everyone, took a bit longer than expected to get this out, but it’s nice and long, so that should make up for the wait. :) Thanks for all the feedback last chap, and all the get-well wishes. The wrist is doing a lot better, at least at typing, but it still sorta cramps up when I type for too long in one sitting. Anyway, here’s the chapter – enjoy:
Chapter 19: Alcatraz
Remy quietly closed the door to Sarah’s room, taking one last glance at where she lay sleeping on her side. He’d stayed again with her until she fell asleep, and as he left the room he had the feeling she might be coming to his room later that night. He could tell that seeing the sites of the attacks on the Cure clinics had really shaken her and brought up memories of the tunnels, and he figured her dreams would again be returning.
Remy sighed, and began to walk toward his room. As he did, he glimpsed a light coming underneath Rogue’s door. He smiled – after they’d spent some time together with Sarah in the living room, Dani had dragged Rogue off to talk about something about study sessions, and it looked like she was still up after it.
He knocked softly on the door, and Rogue answered half a minute later. She’d clearly recently taken a shower, her hair still dark and damp.
“Remy,” she said with a smile, but it seemed a bit distracted.
“Hey, /Chére/. Jus’ got Sarah t’get to sleep, an’ I saw your light on an’ thought I’d say goodnight.” He said, leaning forward to give kiss her softly on the lips.
Rogue smiled, deepened the kiss before pulling away, letting Remy touch her arm to pull his energy back. “Thanks, Remy.” Her forehead crinkled. “Speakin’ of Sarah, how’s she doin’? Ah think that her first session with th’Professor’s got her pretty happy.”
Remy smiled, somewhat sheepishly. “I know. An’, I was wonderin’ if you’d to help me give her horse-ridin’ lessons tomorrow. I kind of promised her we would t’celebrate her gettin’ dat control, but if you’re busy wit’ dat studyin’ –”
Rogue placed a finger on his lips. “Ah’d love to, Remy. It’s been a bit since Ah’ve been to the stables for more’n a few minutes with all that’s been happenin’. Ah even know a horse that’d be perfect for her.”
“Thanks, /Chére/. I know she’d like it even more if my ‘Horse Lady’ was helping teach her,” Remy said with a teasing grin, kissing her on the forehead.
Rogue giggled. “Ah remember that. So, Ah’ll be free after classes as long as it isn’t after supper.”
Remy shook his head. “I tol’ her we’d do it after she gets out of class, so knowin’ her she’ll be runnin’ outta de room de moment dey’re done.” Remy said with a slight grin.
Rogue nodded, and looked curiously to him. “So, she sleepin’ okay?”
Remy shrugged helplessly. “Okay so far, but I think I’ll be gettin’ a wake up in a few hours. I think it wasn’ so much de hearin’ ‘bout it, but de seein’ de videos dat got to her.”
When Rogue nodded, and seemed to look distantly over his shoulder for a moment, he frowned – he’d caught her looking like this, like something was bothering her, since they’d seen the story on the cure clinic attacks.
“An’ I don’ think she’s de only one,” he murmured softly, and placed his hands on her shoulders. “What’s botherin’ you, Rogue?”
She seemed to snap out of it, and look at him with a hint of surprise. “W-What?”
“I ain’ blind, Chére. Somethin’ is botherin’ you. Talk t’me.”
She seemed ready to protest for a moment, but looking up into his determined eyes, she visibly deflated and sighed softly. “It’s this whole Magneto thing. Last time Ah saw him, at Alkali Lake, it wasn’t so bad – he was at least tryin’ t’help us even if it was for his own purposes. Now…. seein’ what he’s doin’, it reminds me of how he was when Ah first met him….” She trailed off.
“You not have a good history wit’ him?” Remy asked gently, and waited several minutes before she answered.
She gave a slight nod. “It was when Ah first came to th’Institute with Logan. Ah was – people found out ‘bout what mah power was, an’ Ah ended up runnin’ away. Magneto kidnapped me from a train station. Y’know the whole thing that went on at th’Statue of Liberty a while back?” Rogue asked him.
Remy nodded. “Dat was Magneto?”
“Yeah. He made some sort of machine that was s’posed t’make normal humans into mutants. There were a bunch of world leaders on Ellis Island, an’ he was goin’ t’use it on them. That’s why he needed me – he could power th’machine, but he didn’ want it t’kill him. So he….. he forced me t’absorb him an’ power it for him.” She shivered.
“Logan an’ th’others stopped it, but Ah was dyin’ from the strain of doin’ it, ‘till Logan let me absorb his healin’ powers.” She reached up and fingered a lock of the white streak in her hair. “What Magneto did there is what gave me this.”
She let out a shuddering sigh. “Jus’ seein’ him talkin’ like he was, an’ the bombings, reminded me of how he was, an’ Ah’ve been havin’ flashbacks of that day. Doesn’ help havin’ him here in mah head, but Carol’s been shovin’ him back an’ shuttin’ him up at least,” she said with a shaky smile.
“/Dieu/,” Remy breathed, running his hands up and down the sides of her arms, trying to hide his anger over finding out what Magneto had done to her. “I didn’ know any of dat, /Chére/. Sorry for makin’ you bring it up.”
Rogue shook her head, and moved closer to him, shyly putting her arms around him. She looked up into his eyes. “No, it’s okay, Remy. Ah was already thinkin’ bout it anyway.” She bit her lip, looking hesitantly up. “An’ besides, Ah don’ wan’ things like this t’be secret b’tween us, or somethin’ we never talk about.”
He pulled her closer and rested his chin on the top of her head. “Me neither, Rogue.” He whispered into her ear. “I’m gonna hafta buy Logan a beer sometime. Or maybe a few dozen, for savin’ you.” He said.
Rogue pulled back with a slight smile. “Only a few dozen?”
Remy grinned. “You’re right. Maybe a lifetime supply. An’ I’ll have to ask him t’marry me for bein’ such a wonderful guy.”
Rogue swatted his chest, and laughed, her mood now broken. “He’ll hafta settle for th’first – Ah don’ share,” she said with a slight blush.
Remy smiled, and ran a finger along her jawline. “Good,” he said softly, “Neither do I, /Chére/.”
He leaned forward and kissed her once more, and looked down at her seriously. “You have bad dreams, you can wake me up, /Chére/. I don’ mind.”
Rogue smiled and finally pulled back. “Ah’ll remember that. Ah better get t’sleep, an’ so should you, if you’re plannin’ on both me an’ Sarah wakin’ you up,” she said teasingly.
Remy laughed softly, and grabbed her hand, bending gallantly over it to press a kiss on the back of her glove. “/Bonne nuit, mah Chére/,” he said, before turning to leave her room.
“/Bonne nuit/, swamp rat,” Rogue called after him, grinning happily, shaking her head in wonder at him. It never failed: no matter what sort of bad mood or feelings she might be having, he somehow could effortlessly pull her out of it.
“Hey Kitty,” Piotr said softly as he walked up next to her, as they descended the stairs.
Kitty smiled and looked over at him. “Hi Pete,” she said.
“Are you going to lunch?” Piotr asked.
Kitty nodded, and reached out to grip the banister as the rounded one flight of stairs to the final set that led to the main floor. “Yeah. Wanna join me?”
Piotr felt a slight blush come to his cheeks. “Sure,” he said. Despite what had happened – finding out Bobby had kissed her, and that it seemed like they would try dating one another – nothing had changed in his own attraction to her, and the way she was keeping Bobby at a distance, at least for the moment, gave him the slightest glimmer of hope.
When they reached the kitchen, Piotr began to build a large sandwich using deli meats, vegetables, and basically anything else he could find. Kitty stood next to him, rinsing lettuce in the sink for the salad she nearly always ate for lunch.
“So, you going back home for break?” Kitty asked him over the noise of the faucet.
Piotr nodded. “Yeah. My father is picking me up at O’Hare, and we are driving back home.”
Kitty’s eyes lit up. “Oh, that’s right, you’re from the Chicago area too.”
Piotr smiled, and nodded. “Yes, we live in Joliet.”
Kitty nodded. “My parents live more to the north, in the actual city.”
“Are you going home too?” Piotr asked.
“Yeah,” she said. “My flight is on Friday, after classes.”
Piotr’s eyes widened. “You’re not flying the 3:30 United, are you?”
Kitty laughed. “I actually am. You’re on that one too?” Piotr nodded. “Wow, what are the odds of that?” She asked, shaking her head as she sliced up part of an onion onto her salad.
Piotr nodded, and glanced over at her. “If you’d like to share a taxi to the airport….”
Kitty smiled up at him, and reached over to pat him on the arm. “That would be great, if you really don’t mind. The fare to the airport is such a killer.”
“I don’t mind,” Piotr said quickly.
As he put the top on his sandwich, Kitty looked over to him again. “Hey, I don’t know what all you have planned, but maybe we could meet up and do something in the city. I’m sure my parents would like to meet you and your family – other than knowing a few of our neighbors pretty well, they don’t really get out much, and I think they’d love to get to know someone else in the area.”
Piotr looked at her, pleased surprise on his face. “Well, I didn’t really plan much. I have to go to an award’s ceremony at my sister’s school on the Thursday, but other than that I should be free. I’ll ask my family, but it sounds fun.”
Kitty nodded, smiling. This was, really, one of the rare few times she’d talked to Piotr in the last month, and she found herself wondering why she didn’t talk with him more. She rinsed off the knife she’d used, and set it in the sink.
“You have a sister? I didn’t know that. What’s her name? How old is she?” Kitty asked.
Piotr nodded. “Her name is Illyana. She’s 17, and she’s graduating high school at the end of the month.” He smiled fondly. “She’s very smart, and I think she could get into any college she wants, but I have a feeling she will want to come here when the Professor opens the school up this next school year.”
“Little sis wanting to be like her big brother?” She asked, grinning.
Piotr laughed, and nodded. “Something like that.” He glanced down. “Knowing her, she’ll want to join the X-men as well, which is the only reason I wouldn’t want her to come.” He shook his head. “But she’s too headstrong, so I know there would be no stopping her.”
Kitty nodded in understanding, and smiled over at him, picking up her bowl. “Well, I’d like to meet her,” she said, as Piotr picked up his own plate and they began walking across the kitchen. A number of tables were occupied by a groups of younger students, so they walked further toward the back.
Piotr slowed, and nudged Kitty with his elbow. “Who’s that?” He asked softly, nodding to a blond-haired young man wearing a large overcoat, eating in the corner by himself. He’d never seen him before, and he looked like he was Piotr’s age or even a bit older.
Kitty bit her lip. “I’m not sure. He showed up here earlier today, and I saw him talking with the Professor. He looks lonely, though – wanna see if he wants some company?”
Piotr nodded, and they walked to the corner where he was sitting.
“Hi!” Kitty said brightly, causing him to look up from his plate. “Mind if we join you?”
The blond-haired man shook his head. “No, I don’t mind.” He said, looking between the two of them.
Piotr set his plate down, and reached out a hand. “I’m Piotr, and this is Kitty.”
He smiled at the two of them, and shook Piotr’s hand. “I’m –“ he seemed to pause for a moment. “I’m Warren.”
“Nice to meet you, Warren,” Kitty said. “So what brings you to the Institute?”
“I had heard that this was a safe place for mutants. My….. father – he’s not what you’d call a mutant-lover. He tried to get me to take the cure, but I chose not to, and left, and now I need a place to stay.”
Kitty nodded. “Well you definitely came to the right place.”
Warren smiled. “I think I did. Your headmaster here – Xavier – he seems like a great man. Very generous. He’s told me I can stay as long as I want.”
Piotr smiled as well. “He is. Kitty’s right, you came to the right place.”
“So you two… go to school here?” Warren asked.
Kitty nodded. “We do online courses with the community college in town. I just started this year – Pete’s a year or two ahead of me in most classes.”
Piotr blushed. “Well, I am two years older than most of you.”
Kitty looked over to Warren. “What about you? Are you still in college?”
Warren shook his head. “No. I graduated three years ago.” He glanced around the room, and lowered his voice. “What about this ‘X-men’ group? I’d heard they were somehow affiliated with the school.”
Kitty giggled. “You don’t hafta whisper – it isn’t exactly a big secret around here. Pete and I are actually X-men. We do our best to help out mutants that can’t fight for themselves, as well as those that need a place to stay.”
Warren smiled sheepishly, and finished his sandwich. “I’d heard that,” he said. “It’s sort of what I’d like to do with my own powers – help people.”
Piotr smiled. “You should talk to the Professor then. I’m sure he’d be glad to give you a chance with the team.”
Warren nodded, and then stood, grabbing his empty plate. “Thanks for the company. I think I’ll go ask him about it now, if he’s not busy.”
Kitty gave him a small wave. “See ya around, Warren.” she called as he walked toward the sink.
Rogue grinned when she saw Sarah rushing down the stairs. Classes were done for the day, and it looked like she’d quickly changed into an outfit for horse-riding.
“Rogue!” She called breathlessly when she saw her, and ran up, stopping dead in front of her.
“Hey Sarah, what’s up?”
“I’m lookin’ for Remy. Have you seen him?”
“Yes, Ah have,” Rogue said, trying to keep a straight face.
Sarah looked at her expectantly, but Rogue didn’t say anything else. “Well? Aren’t you going to tell me where he is?”
Rogue’s grin broke out. “That isn’t what yah asked me,” she said.
“Roooogue…..” Sarah groaned in exasperation.
Rogue laughed, and reached out to grab Sarah’s hand. “C’mon, Ah’ll take yah to him.” She said, leading her down the hall and toward the exit to the back near the kitchen.
She glanced down at Sarah. “This’s your first time ridin’ a horse, huh?” Rogue asked.
Sarah looked up at her in surprise. “Yeah. Did Remy tell ya?”
Rogue nodded. “Ah’m ‘bout the only person that spends a lot of time with our horses, so Ah’m gonna be helpin’ Remy teach yah.”
Sarah smiled brightly at her as they walked across the lawn. “That’s great!” She glanced around as they walked near the basketball hoops. “So where’s Remy?”
Rogue smiled. “He’s gettin’ your horse ready. All saddled up an’ all that.” Rogue said, nodding at the distant stables.
Sarah nodded happily, and let Rogue lead her on. She glanced up innocently. “Didya like your date with Remy?” She asked her.
Rogue nearly missed a step, stumbling over her feet for a moment before pulling Sarah to a stop. “How’d yah –” She stopped, realizing how she knew. “Did Remy tell yah?”
Sarah nodded. “Yeah. So how was it?”
Rogue felt a hint of a blush come to her cheeks. “It was great.” She looked at Sarah hesitantly. “Are yah…. are yah okay with Remy an’ me datin’?”
Sarah nodded brightly. “Of course, silly. I thought y’were datin’ back when you picked me up.” Sarah said, smiling.
Rogue let out an inaudible sigh. “Good. Ah jus’ didn’ know what you thought ‘bout it.”
“I like it.” Sarah shrugged. “I like you, Rogue. You’re one of my only friends,” she said, blushing slightly. “You make Remy really happy, an’ I want him to be happy. He likes you a bunch, you know.”
Rogue nodded, smiling at Sarah. “Ah know. Ah like him ‘a bunch’, too.” She tugged Sarah’s hand. “C’mon, sweetie. Remy’s probably wonderin’ why you’re not runnin’ to th’stable yet.”
They reached the stables a minute later, and Rogue pushed open the doors. They walked through, toward the back set of doors which were unlatched and open. Sarah gazed at stall after stall, each empty.
“Where are all the horses?” She asked, confused.
Rogue smiled. “They’ve got a big fenced in area out back by the lake where we let them run an’ graze when it’s nice outside like today.” She nodded toward the open doors in the back. “Remy should be out back here.”
Sarah started to move forward, catching a glimpse of Remy’s coat past one of the doors, and Rogue squeezed her hand. “Let’s go out there slowly, sweetie. Y’can’t run when you’re near a horse – y’might frighten them.”
Sarah nodded, and slowed to match Rogue’s pace.
Outside, Remy was talking softly to a small pure-black horse – just barely over the height at which it could be considered a pony. Remy had already saddled him, and had him tethered to a guide-line.
Remy glanced over to them, and smiled, gesturing for them to come closer. Sarah approached next to Rogue, now with a bit of trepidation – she’d seen pictures of horses plenty of times, but never seen one up close. It was so big, she thought to herself.
“Sarah, this here’s Ol’ Black Jack.” Rogue said. “He’s our oldest horse ‘round here, an’ he’s a total sweetheart with younger riders like you.”
Sarah moved up next to Remy, and smiled when Black Jack looked curiously at her. “Can I pet him?” She asked softly.
Remy nodded. “Let me show y’how, /petite/. It’s a bit diff’rent than pettin’ a dog or a cat.”
Remy moved to stand directly behind her, and grasped the wrist of her right hand. “Alrigh’, first, you hold out your hand, an’ let him sniff you – get t’know you, so you ain’ some stranger touching him.” Remy said, turning her wrist so it was palm-up, and moving it closer to the horse.
Black Jack lowered his nose, and snuffled at her palm for several moments, and she giggled softly at the feeling as he snorted out a breath into her hand.
“Alrigh, now, you jus’ keep talking softly to him, and use dis same hand, and slowly move it up on his neck like dis.” Remy said, moving her hand along. “Den when you get to about here, by de base, near de back, you can pat him. Be gentle though.”
He let her wrist go as she patted the horse near the withers. The muscles a little further up on his neck twitched slightly, and Remy pointed at it. “Dat usually means he’s got an itch, an’ since he don’ have hands like us, it’s hard for him to scratch ‘round dere. Best way to get to be good pals wit’ him is to take care of his itches for him, so go ‘head.”
Sarah nodded, fascinated by the silky-black hair, and moved her fingers forward to scratch at his neck. She grinned up at Remy and Rogue when he snorted softly, and his neck muscles seemed to relax. “He’s such a nice horse,” she said.
Rogue nodded. “I told yah. Ready to try your first ride, now that he’s used to yah?”
Sarah nodded, and Remy reached over to a small bench that had been set up outside the stables, and grabbed a small helmet. “Alrigh’, petite/, let’s get dis on you. Don’ wan’ you hurtin’ y’self if you fall. An’ /everyone falls ‘least once when they're learnin’ to ride.”
Sarah stood still as Remy secured the helmet firmly on her head, and snapped the strap under her chin.
Rogue placed a palm on Black Jack’s neck to make sure he was calmed, and Remy lifted Sarah in his arms, and eased her onto the saddle, making sure she didn’t accidentally kick the horse as she got on.
Once she was on, and had placed her feet in the stirrups, Rogue moved to her side, and got her adjusted into the correct posture for riding which, as always for a first-time rider, took a bit of doing.
“Alrigh’, /petite/. I figured we can get a bit more into th’controllin’ later on, an’ for now we’ll jus’ take him on a lead-rope so you can get used t’bein’ on him.”
Sarah nodded, and let her hands settle near the saddle as Rogue had showed her, in the position she’d be gripping the reins. She softly patted Blackjack once, and cooed something quietly to him, and then looked up at Remy. “Okay, I’m ready.”
Remy untied the line, and they slowly began to walk, starting first in a small circle near the stable, and then slowly moving out into the more open riding area. Remy kept him at a four-beat gait – a walk – and they moved around the lawn.
Eventually he relinquished the lead-rope to Rogue, and stood back, leaning back against a fence post watching the three of them. He sighed happily at the broad grin plastered to Sarah’s face as Rogue led Black Jack to pick up speed slightly into a very slow trot/jog.
Time flew by, and Remy soon realized they’d been out there for nearly two hours, as Rogue led them back toward the stables.
She turned Black Jack around to face the woods once again, and tied the lead-rope to the post. Remy reached up, and helped Sarah climb off. She threw her arms around his neck, and kissed him on the cheek.
“That was so much fun, Remy!” She said, squeezing him.
Remy laughed. “It sure looks like it was, /petite/,” he said, looking at the excited pink glow in her cheeks.
He set her down, and helped her remove her helmet, tossing it to the side, as Rogue loosened the girth on Black Jack, and removed his saddle. Remy grabbed a bucket and wetted a sponge, handing another to Sarah. “Now let’s show y’how to rub down a horse,” he said, nodding to the sweaty saddle-marks on the horse’s back.
Rogue tried to stifle a yawn as Remy kissed her on the cheek. She reached back to open the door to her room, and reached up with her other hand to rub her bleary eyes.
“G’night,” she muttered sleepily.
Remy chuckled. “Good night, /Chére/. Maybe tonight you’ll jus’ be havin’ bad dreams ‘bout physics problems.” He said – she’d just left an exhausting study session with the others in her class, and it was well after midnight.
She groaned. “If Ah see another free-body-diagram, Ah’ll poke mah eyes out.”
Remy looked at her sympathetically, and touched her cheek. “Well, if y’need help wit’ your physics stuff, let me know, an’ I’ll try to dig out what I learned when I took it,” he said, giving her a small grin.
She smiled back. “Ah might hafta tak y’up on that. Now Ah gotta get in bed b’fore Ah fall asleep on mah feet.”
Remy closed the door behind her, and turned down the hall. Only to see Bobby standing further down the hall, watching him, his hands in his pockets, standing near Remy’s door.
Remy sighed mentally and walked over toward his door, and Bobby.
Bobby nodded slightly to him, an unreadable expression on his face. He sighed heavily and looked at Remy as he neared. “Gambit.” He said softly.
“Yeah?” Remy said, raising an eyebrow. He crossed his arms across his chest.
“I’ve been doing a lot of thinking the last few days. Everyone’s been giving me the cold shoulder and I guess everything’s finally starting to sink in, and I wanted to say I was…. that I’m sorry for being an ass that day when Rogue was missing. For blaming what happened on you.” He ran a hand across his face. “I was just trying to handle what had happened, and didn’t do it very well.”
Remy nodded, tight-lipped, and Bobby continued. “I’m sure you know I’ve never trusted you,” he said, pausing at Remy’s amused snort. “I probably still wouldn’t if you hadn’t told us what happened with the tunnels, but maybe I was wrong and I’ll try giving you a chance.” Bobby shrugged. “So, I guess that’s what I wanted to say. I’m sorry.”
Remy nodded, and scrutinized Bobby for several moments. “I ain’ th’person you should be apologizin’ to. It’s Rogue dat deserves this. She tries to not let it bother her, but I c’n tell dat what you did is gonna stay wit’ her, ‘least ‘till she gets control of her powers, always wonderin’ deep down if de next person is gonna do what you did b’cause they can’t deal wit’ her powers.”
Bobby sighed, and frowned. “I know. When she’s ready to talk to me, I’ll try to apologize to her. Right now, I’m under threat of impalement by Logan to leave her alone until she wants to talk.” He said, and then looked back up with an intense expression.
“You and Rogue. You’re together aren’t you?” He asked, a resigned tone in his voice.
Remy nodded tightly. “Yeah, we are now. Thanks to you, partly.”
Bobby nodded glumly, and shoved his hands back into his pockets. “I thought so. I’ve never seen her like that before, even when things were good between us when we started dating.” He shook his head, and started to turn away. “If you could… you know – hint that I want to talk, and try to… settle things?”
Remy nodded slightly. “If it comes up. She’ll prob’ly be ready to deal wit’ it after break anyway.”
Bobby nodded once again, and turned, walking along the hall toward his own room.
Remy shook his head, and opened his door, wondering if hell was currently freezing over. If there was one thing that he’d thought would never happen, it’d been Bobby actually being… /decent. Civil/. Perhaps there actually could be a hint of hope for him, Remy thought, tossing his clothes into a pile next to the bed before clambering in under his sheets.
Logan slowly opened Jean’s door the next afternoon when she didn’t answer his knock. She hadn’t come down the entire day, and he was carrying a plate with a sandwich for her to eat. His gaze ran over her bed, which was neatly made, and around the room until he stopped at her standing on her balcony.
He set down the sandwich and moved toward her. She was gripping the railing tightly, her entire body trembling, her eyes closed.
“Jean?” Logan asked, concerned.
Her eyes snapped open, and she let out a gasp of breath, throwing her arms tightly around him, still shaking.
“Logan,” she gasped, “Something’s happening. Something big.”
He froze, his hands on her back. “Is it – is she trying to take over again? Should I get-“
She shook her head. “No, I have her under control, but she can feel something. It’s distant, but it’s big. Like….. like war. Death.” She shuddered. “She thirsts for it, wants to break free and feed on all the emotions there.”
Jean closed her eyes, and gasped suddenly. “We need to tell the Professor. I think she’s sensing Magneto. Sensing another attack,” Jean said.
Logan touched her cheek, and she leaned into his hand. “Okay, Jean. Let’s talk to him.” He let go of her, placing an arm around her shoulders as they walked toward the door to her room. “Are you sure you’re alright?”
Jean sighed. “As alright as I can be.”
The elevator opened into the hall on the main floor, and Xavier exited, a grim look on his face. The others had gathered around Jean and Logan, and they all looked expectantly Xavier.
“You were right, Jean. My sweep with Cerebro showed an unusually large grouping of mutants – nearly two hundred. I did a surface scan, and it seems they are following Magneto. They’re somewhere in San Francisco.”
“Oh no,” Hank breathed, as he realized the target for their attack. “Charles – San Francisco – they’re going to Alcatraz Island. That’s where Worthington Labs’ Cure facility is located. They’re going to try to destroy it at its source.”
Charles sighed. “They were moving in that direction.”
“Charles, the source of the cure - it’s a boy. A young mutant. We met several days ago when I went to examine the facility.” Hank said grimly.
Charles closed his eyes and rubbed at his forehead.
“We hafta stop them,” Rogue said suddenly. “We know Magneto isn’t 'gainst sacrificing a single mutant if it gets him what he wants. He’ll kill the boy.”
Logan looked at her sadly, realizing she was referring to her own near-death at the hands of Magneto. He looked over to Xavier, who’d opened his eyes once again, and nodded. “I’ll prep the jet.”
He squeezed Jean’s shoulder. “Jean…”
She looked up and shook her head. “I’m staying here. I can feel that what would happen if I went wouldn’t be good.”
Xavier looked at the others. “Suit up. I fear we may need to get there as quickly as possible.”
Warren, who’d come come closer as Xavier came out of the elevator, spoke up. “Could I come? My – father will probably be there.”
Charles looked at him knowingly. “Come along, Warren. Just remember – they are trained for this – you aren’t.”
Charles pressed the button to call the elevator, and he, Logan, Hank, and Warren stepped in. “We’ll meet you all downstairs,” Charles said.
Remy started moving down the hall, and the others quickly followed. He stopped suddenly, and pulled the door to the kitchen open, resulting in a tumble of bodies caught off-balance.
He shook his head, chuckling, seeing Dani, Jubilee, and Sam lying in a tangle of limbs – it was quite obvious they’d been eavesdropping on them.
“We’re comin’ with you,” Sam said, a determined look on his face as he struggled to his feet.
Ororo shook her head. “No, you aren’t. You aren’t ready for something like this.”
“C’mon, Storm, we want to help.” Jubilee pleaded.
Remy cleared his throat, drawing their gazes. “You will be. Someone needs to stay here and watch the younger kids. You three are it. If dis goes bad… we need someone here to protect de school. You’ll be helpin’ more den you know.”
Ororo shot him a grateful smile. “Gambit is right. You three, and Jean, are in charge. If anything happens, leave through the tunnels like last time, and keep everyone safe.”
Dani nodded, and shot the other two a look. “We won’t let you down.”
Sam groaned, but he and Jubilee nodded as well.
Remy, Ororo, and Rogue had been the only ones that stopped – the others continuing down the hall – and they hurried down after them. As they reached the basement stairs, Sarah stepped down the main stairs, and smiled, seeing the three of them. Her smile faded, and she stopped dead in her tracks, seeing the looks on their faces.
Remy moved over to her, and placed a hand on her shoulder. “Sarah-” he began.
“You’re goin’ somewhere aren’t you? Is it Magneto?” She asked, worriedly.
“Yeah, /petite/. Over in San Francisco, he’s attackin’ a bunch of people, an’ we hafta stop them.” He pointed over to where Dani, Jubilee, and Sam still stood in the hall. “Dose three are in charge while we’re gone. You stay close to Sally an’ dem, an’ you’ll be fine, /hein/?”
Sarah nodded, her lower lip trembling slightly. “Be careful,” she said, looking at Rogue and Ororo as well as Remy.
She threw her arms around Remy’s neck, and hugged him tightly.
He hugged her back. “It’ll be alrigh’, Sarah. I love you.” He whispered in her ear.
Tears flooded her eyes at hearing it directly from him for the first time, not from others telling her he loved her, and she sniffled, hugging him tighter. “I love you too, Remy. Please don’t get hurt.” She whispered back.
He reluctantly pulled back, kissing her on the cheek. “I’ll try not to, /petite/. We gotta go now.” He said sadly.
She nodded, and let go of him, and he backed slowly away, following Rogue and Ororo down the stairs.
Downstairs, the others were already emerging from the locker rooms, dressed in their leather body-suits, and Rogue and Ororo hurriedly grabbed theirs and entered the locker room.
Remy shrugged off his trenchcoat where he stood, and pulled open a drawer he’d put his personal body armor in. He stripped off his shirt, and began putting the armor on, piece by piece, ensuring it was firmly in place. He pulled his shirt, then his trenchcoat back on, and swiftly ran his hands over each pocket, ensuring everything was still in place.
By that time, Rogue and Ororo emerged, dressed in their own uniforms, and Remy found himself having tear his gaze away from Rogue’s as they left the room, meeting up with the others at the X-jet.
Ororo hurried up the ramp, and took her seat at the front of the plane, finishing the warm-up sequence Logan had begun for her. Xavier helped her – the co-pilot’s chair had been folded down into a compartment in the floor, and his wheelchair had been locked to the floor in its place.
Finally, she raised the ramp as everyone strapped in, and turned to look to Charles.
He gave her a strained smile, and turned around to face everyone. “Today we will be facing a large number of opponents. Most of them will be untrained, and that is where you will have your greatest advantage. I know you are ready for this – you’ve trained for this, and surpassed my own expectations. There will be several powerful mutants there, however: Magneto being only one of them. John, whom many of you personally know, is there with him.”
Xavier closed his eyes for a moment, seemingly struggling with something. He opened his eyes again and gazed at all of them, sighing heavily. “Perhaps your biggest threat is a man who it appears Magneto freed from prison. His name is Cain Marko, and he is physically unstoppable if he gains any sort of momentum. He’s a dangerous man – one I’d thought was safely contained in prison years ago, before I’d even formed the X-men.”
“I won’t lie – this will test you to your limits, but I believe you all can succeed. We can stop Magneto and safeguard the lives of those in the facility.”
Xavier touched each of their mind briefly, sensing their fears and doubts, but also their pride at his confidence in them. Charles turned back, and nodded to Ororo who opened the hangar doors above them, and started up the engines of the Jet.
The flight across the country was relatively fast – Ororo pushed the engines for all they were worth, and they sped along high above the countryside below.
They slowed as they neared the city of San Francisco, and Ororo pulled them into a curve that took them out over the Bay. The sight that greeted them was shocking, to say the least.
It looked as if an entire section of the Golden Gate Bridge had been torn out, and used by Magneto to ferry his ‘army’ across the bay, and it was now resting on the edge of Alcatraz. They could see flashes of light in the dying evening sunlight, and it appeared the fighting between the troops stationed there, and Magneto’s recruits, was well underway.
“Oh, my Stars and Garters,” Hank muttered, from behind Remy.
“Switching us over to stealth mode,” Ororo said, punching a control on the console. The light around the outside of the Jet started to shimmer as they circled in closer, eventually landing on the roof of the large building.
Ororo stood, and Xavier turned to face them once again. “I’ll remain here with the Jet. I’ll try to keep them disorganized and confused as long as I can. Good luck”
The ramp lowered, and the entire group quickly moved out. Ororo’s eyes glowed as she called up the wind to whirl around her, lifting her in the air. Enormous flashes of lightning crashed down from the sky, slamming to the earth in front of the large mutant army, between them and the soldiers trying to defend the base.
Rogue offered Remy a hand, and pulled him into the air, wobbling momentarily as she got used to the extra weight, and flew him down to the ground below in the area Ororo had cleared, as the others descended in their own ways.
Kitty popped up out of the ground next to her, holding onto Bobby, and Logan landed nimbly on the other side.
“Spread out,” Logan shouted. “Form a line. Don’t let them get past.”
“Who’re you?” one of the soldiers closest to them, and still blinking from the lightning strike, demanded.
“We’re de X-men. We’re probably de only hope you’ve got to save your asses, an’ stop dese guys,” Remy said.
Hank, nearby, glanced over to Logan with a small smile. “The delivery needs some work, but his heart’s in the right place. Well said, /mon frère/, well said.”
“Get ready,” Logan warned, as the others recovered and regrouped, beginning another charge at the soldiers, and now the team.
Remy caught sight of several figures up on the edge of the bridge Magneto had dropped in, and he noted their location as he pulled out his bo-staff.
And then they were on top of them, and he found himself striking blow after blow to a seemingly endless charge of mutants. Remy whirled his staff in one hand as Rogue literally threw off two attackers, sending them hurtling through the crowd, knocking over nearly a dozen others.
His hand dipped into his pocket, and came out with a deck of cards, already glowing with his kinetic charge. He swept his hand out, snapping his wrist forward, sending each card out at the feet of the charging mutants. The cards erupted in muffled explosions, tossing numerous opponents off their feet.
Remy saw a moving shape, and reflexively snapped his head to the side, and heard a whistling sound as an object flew past his ear. His gaze tracked its trajectory, and landed on a tall, African American man several dozen feet away. Remy froze when he saw the bone growths emerge from his wrists – the sight so similar to Sarah’s powers that he was shocked into inaction.
Two more projectiles were already whistling toward him, and he snapped out of it and began to move, only to find Rogue suddenly in front of him. She grunted slightly, and they were suddenly showered by little shards of bone as the projectiles shattered against her chest.
“Thanks,” Remy said over the noise of the battle. “I’ll take him.”
Rogue nodded. “Mah pleasure, swamp rat.” She said, moving to the side.
Remy vaulted himself over the growing pile of unconscious bodies using his bo-staff, and dashed toward the mutant, who was preparing two more spikes. To his left, Remy felt the earth shudder as someone charged through the crowds, mowing down anyone that got in his way. He blew past the line of soldiers and punched through the wall, running into the building at top speed.
“We have to protect the kid,” Logan shouted.
“I’m on it,” Kitty called, running toward the building.
Rogue grabbed her arm, and ran along next to her. “Ah’m comin’ too,” she said.
Kitty nodded, and her eyes focused as she phased them through the first wall.
Remy leapt to the side over one of the spikes, and his adamantium staff slapped the other out of its path, and the next moment he was face to face with the mutant.
The man extended a long spike, and held it out like his own staff, whirling one end at Remy. Remy easily blocked it with his own, and swept a leg out in a low kick, but the man was able to jump over it.
As the man began to strike more rapidly, Remy quickly recognized he had received a bit of training in a European form of quarterstaff fighting. ‘/Too bad you didn’t keep studying, /’ Remy thought with a smirk as he pressed his own attack, quickly showing the man’s inexperience, and disarming him with a stinging strike to the hand.
Remy spun, using the momentum to swing his staff, and it connected with the man’s head, knocking him out almost instantly. His gaze ran over to where Logan was fighting a man that seemed to be able to instantly grow his limbs back as Logan sliced them off, and he grinned when Logan connected a kick to his groin, sending the man to the ground instantly.
Remy knocked out two more inexperienced fighters rather absently – his attention instead drawn to Hank, who was moving around surprisingly fast and nimbly for someone his size as he pounced on one person after another, beating them down with brute force.
Remy shook his head in amazement, and his gaze moved once more to the figures standing on the bridge, now only two people.
Warren Worthington the Third swept above the battleground, soaring over it all with slow, hard strokes from his feathered wings. He would try his best to keep Xavier’s advice in mind, knowing that he was no fighter, not like any of the people below him.
His keen eyes focused on a struggle on a balcony near the rooftop. He moved toward it, seeing his father being shoved against the railing by two female mutants, and a young male mutant, who seemed to be taunting him.
He couldn’t blame them for their feelings toward his father – he’d felt them himself since his father had discovered he was a mutants, and set about developing the Cure. But the man was still his father, and even though he’d acted ashamed of Warren, he’d wanted what he thought was best for him – but not necessarily the thing that Warren thought was best for himself.
The mutants suddenly shoved his father over the balcony, and Warren swept his wings back into a dive, and caught the falling man, before spreading his wings, and pulling out of the dive.
His father looked at him, amazement clear on his face, as well as gratitude. “Warren?” He whispered.
Warren silently nodded, focusing on climbing to a higher altitude, so he could circle around, and land them on the roof, next to the jet they’d arrived in.
After phasing through three walls, they caught up with the man that had charged past – the one, Rogue guessed, Xavier seemed to know in some way.
Kitty let go of her and leapt forward, grabbing onto the man, and phasing him down through the floor until he was halfway in, and then letting go, leaving him stuck in the solid ground.
Kitty phased up, and grabbed Rogue’s hand, and they began running once again.
“Do you know who I am?” The man shouted after them, and as they phased through the next wall, they could barely make out his words. “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!”
The next moment they heard a rumbling crack, an several moments later a loud crash as the wall behind them broke open, Marko seemingly not affected at all by being phased into the ground.
They ran faster, keeping at least one wall ahead of them, and then when they were two walls ahead, Rogue pulled Kitty into the air, up to the tall ceiling, and Marko burst from the wall below them, running on without realizing they’d stopped.
Rogue pointed wordlessly to a sign that read ‘Main Lab’, and Kitty nodded, leading them in the direction it pointed.
Kitty phased them through several more rooms, and finally they reached a rather bare, sterile-looking room with white walls, where a young boy no older then twelve or thirteen, his head shaved completely, sat huddled in a corner.
He looked up, startled at their entrance, slightly afraid as they ran over to him.
“No, don’t worry, we’re here to help. We gotta get you out of here” Kitty said, bending down in front of him, and grabbing his hand.
Rogue grabbed the other, and Kitty pressed her hand against the wall, staring in shock when it refused to phase through. “What’s going on?” She asked, confused.
“Your powers won’t work with me,” he said.
Rogue and Kitty exchanged glances, both panting from their run.
“How far does it extend?” Rogue asked him, hearing Marko breaking through walls again, getting nearer.
“Only a few feet.”
She nodded. “Alright, stay here, and don’t move. We’ll protect you.”
Rogue peeled off a glove, and moved to the other side of the room, Kitty following her. “You phase him, I drain him.” She said, and Kitty gave her a nod as the smashing grew closer.
Marko burst through their wall a moment later, and the debris bounced off Rogue, and through Kitty. He started to move toward the boy, but Kitty had already grabbed him, phasing him down through the floor up to his chest.
“Didn’t you just try this?” He asked mockingly as he began to rock back and forth, the floor around him beginning to crack.
“Not this,” Kitty said, as Rogue reached down behind him and placed a hand on his bare arm.
He kept rocking, but suddenly gasped as he felt his energy begin to drain out of his body, and into Rogue.
Rogue finally let go, and his head drooped weakly to the side. Rogue staggered slightly, bringing her hand up to her head, as Carol began to help her fight the psyche of Marko back into the pile of other psyche’s in her mind.
“You okay?” Kitty asked.
Rogue shook her head to clear it. “Yeah. This guy’s full of energy. It’s like a 24/7 sugah rush.” Rogue said, testing her limbs for a moment.
She looked over to Kitty and the boy. “Let’s go. We can get out right through the holes he made.”
Outside, it was raining flaming cars.
Remy and the others had taken cover as the fiery automobiles crashed down around their heads. One of the figures had moved closer, and Remy could see flames emerging from his hands, and shooting up to catch on the cars Magneto was hurling their direction.
Remy saw Logan gazing at something on the ground, and he looked, to see a cartridge of what looked like tranquilizer darts, clearly made to fit in a gun, and Remy realized it must have been from one of the Cure weapons Hank had told them about.
They all exchanged a glance, collectively deciding it was what needed to be done. Remy pulled out of his crouch. “I’ll take care of de flamer.” He said, pulling out one of his decks of cards.
He ran forward, charging it, and hurled it into the air. It exploded against an incoming car, robbing it of its momentum, and causing it to fall right where it was. Remy stalked forward, as the young man’s attention was drawn to him.
The man, John, as Remy had discovered from Rogue on the flight in, glanced back at Magneto, and received a nod, and made his way toward Remy.
As he neared, he looked over Remy appraisingly. “Never seen you before. Hire you to replace me?” He asked mockingly.
“Sorry, Flamer. I ain’ nobody’s replacement,” Remy said, snapping his wrist forward, a dozen glowing cards flying from his hand.
Remy heard the sound of flint striking, and his thief’s eyes were drawn to John’s wrist where he had some sort of contraption set up, which sparked into flame. John moved his hands forward, and the flame shot out, spiraling through the incoming cards, causing them to explode prematurely as the physical material was incinerated.
Remy hid a smirk. ‘/I know your secret, Flame-head. You gotta have existing fire to be able to control it. Can’t make your own/,’ Remy thought to himself.
He hurled two more handfuls of cards, before John seemed to get tired of the game, and formed the flames into a wolf-like shape and sent it toward Remy, snapping its jaws as it neared him.
Remy dove to the side, the figure barely missing him – its jaws close enough to singe the hairs on the back of his right arm, and he decided that he, too, was done with this.
Remy turned his dive into a roll, keeping well beneath the flames, and then pushed up off of one hand, now directly in front of John. He snapped his hand forward before John could react, and gripped the ignition mechanism, giving it a hard yank. It pulled from underneath his sleeve, and snapped off. Remy tossed it to the side as John now tried desperately to bring the still-burning flames back in their direction, to envelop Remy.
Remy gave him a smirk, grabbed either side of his face, and pulled his face down into his knee, which he’d begun moving upward. The flames behind them, only feet away, sputtered and died as John was knocked out.
Back near where they’d taken cover, Ororo had created a thick bank of fog around Magneto, and Bobby knelt with his hand against the ground, sending out a sheet of ice to blanket it, surrounding Erik.
“Let’s make this one a grand slam,” Logan said, extending his claws. Piotr shifted into his metal form, and grabbed Logan by the back of his outfit, and spun around twice before shot-putting him through the air toward Magneto.
Erik quickly saw him, and stretched out a hand, manipulating the metal coating every bone in Logan’s body, to yank him down hard to the ground, letting his momentum and the frictionless ice cause him to slide up to Magneto’s feet.
He twisted his hand, spreading Logan’s arms out, and flipped him face up. “You never learn,” he said, a distasteful look on his face.
Logan, catching his breath from the impact, looked up at him. “Actually, I do.”
Behind Erik, Hank leapt down, the cure darts firmly clutched in his hands.
Erik smirked, and several bands of metal shot out, wrapping around Hank’s torso, and lifting him in the air to hover above Logan. “No, you don’t.” Erik said mockingly.
His gaze was caught by the darts in Hank’s hand, and his eyes widened in anger. “Well, well, trying to ‘cure’ me. How ‘voluntary’.” He spat, casually lifting his hand to snag an incoming Bobby with another band of metal.
His gaze snapped up to where Rogue emerged from the building with Kitty and a young boy, and spotted them. She ran forward several steps, and then leapt into the air, soaring toward Erik at high speed.
“You’re just full of surprises, aren’t you my dear?” he muttered.
As Rogue neared, enormous sheets of metal suddenly leapt into the air in her path, mashing together to form a single thick sheet. Rogue, both from her own powers, as well as the fading boost she’d received from Marko, punched through the four-inch thick wall of metal like it was tissue paper, and shoved a shocked Magneto backwards.
And explosion behind him then buffeted him forward, and he lost his concentration, letting the still-bound Hank fall to the ground. Remy appeared out of the smoke of his explosion, and swung a fist at Magneto, but he’d already recovered, manipulating the metal in Remy’s armor to shove him back.
“Rogue!” Hank shouted, tossing the cartridge into the air as best he could from his bound position on the ground.
Rogue snagged them out of the air, and ran forward, punching effortlessly through several defensive walls Magneto desperately threw up in front of her. She reached him, and grabbed his arm, firmly shoving the tips of the darts into his skin.
Erik staggered back as she released him, staring disbelievingly at his chest where the darts protruded. He fell back, his hands trembling as he pulled them from his chest. “I’m…. I’m….”
“’Cured’?” Rogue supplied. “Yeah, deal with it.”
“How did- how did you do that?” He said, his entire body shaking as the cure began to remove his mutant abilities.
Rogue ignored him, and hurried over to Remy’s side, helping him up. On the other side of Erik, she saw Logan slicing through the metal bindings on Hank and Bobby, and Ororo lowered herself on the wind next to them
“You okay?” Rogue asked Remy as she pulled him to his feet.
“Yeah,” he said. “Just a bruised ass. Wanna kiss it an’ make it better?” He asked, grinning.
“Maybe later,” she murmered absently, her attention on Kitty and Piotr hurrying over with the young mutant that the entire fight had been about. Her gaze snapped suddenly back to Remy as she realized what she’d said, her entire face turning scarlet. “Remy!” She said, sounding scandalized.
He chuckled. “I might hafta take you up on dat,” he teased, leaning on her a moment more for support before straightening up painfully.
He nodded to the mutants that still remained, closer to the facility. “Looks like without their leader, dey’re givin’ up.” He said, moving with Rogue next to the others, walking past the fallen Erik.
She followed his gaze, and saw it was true – the remaining mutants – the ones not moaning in pain on the ground and trying to get back to their feet, were standing in place, looking at the small team of X-men with trepidation.
“It actually went alright,” Rogue commented. “This was our first real mission for some of us, an Ah don’ think it could have gone any better,” she said.
Remy nodded, looking around the others in relief, seeing only minor injuries – scrapes and bruises – marring their appearance. He’d been worried it might end up more dire than that, and was pleasantly surprised.
A sudden sound of boots on the ground, and the clicking off of safeties of hundreds of weapons filled the air all around them and the still-conscious members of Magneto’s ‘army’. “Freeze!” a voice shouted behind them.
Remy sighed and raised his hands over his head, turning slowly as everyone else quickly followed suit. Behind them, several hundred American soldiers surrounded them on all sides except for the area facing the labs. They held guns ranging from automatic weapons, to high-tech looking weapons Remy assumed were the ‘Cure’ Guns Hank had mentioned.
“You just had to go an’ jinx it, didn’ you /Chére/?” He muttered softly, placing his hands on the back of his head at the next command barked out by the voice that had told them to freeze.
A/N: Well, that’s it for this chapter. Nice bit of Romy, and Remy/Sarah/Rogue, a little nod to Kitty/Piotr (possibly more coming in the future;)), and finally the big showdown at Alcatraz (With Magneto being a bit more competent than in the movie, although no match for Rogue’s unexpected powers), which was the most challenging part of the chapter for me to write.
Next chapter will wrap up the events of the movie, and after that we’re in uncharted territory as far as what you guys will know. :) Plenty of stuff still to come, more Creed, and perhaps a few more hints to his plans and how they’ll affect everyone possibly coming next chapter.
My wrist is feeling a LOT better the last few days, so here’s hoping the next chapter will be out on Sunday for real this time. School starts up next week for me, so updating schedule will soon be changing. Likely you’ve got this Sunday and the next Sunday (only have classes 3 days fortunately) for updates, and then it’s back to a 2-3 week (unfortunately sometimes even longer) gap between chapters. See you all later. Let me know what you thought of the chapter!