Return from Alcatraz
A/N: Hey everyone. Thanks for all of the great feedback last chapter. This chapter is a bit shorter, and is basically the “wrapping up” chapter, dealing with the aftermath of the Battle, and everything before their week break. Enjoy!
Chapter 20: Aftermath
Remy and the others sat in a cleared area off to the side from Magneto’s army, all under the watchful eye of several hundred soldiers. Almost immediately after they’d been ordered to stand down, the soldiers had rushed in with zip-tie PlastiCuffs and forced them to the ground, binding their hands behind their backs.
The commanding officer of those who had been there during the battle had vouched for the X-Men, and as a result they were held to the side separate from the rest, albeit still restrained. Remy chuckled to himself at how easily any of their little group could break free of their bonds, but they seemed to give the soldiers a bit of piece of mind do he didn’t really complain. Besides, even if one were to break loose, there were hundreds of weapons trained on the crowd of mutants.
Xavier had been in mental contact with them, keeping them calm and telling them to co-operate with the troops. Warren and himself were at the X-jet, still cloaked on the roof of the facility.
From Xavier’s own scans, and from what Remy could piece together, they were being held by the 79th Infantry Combat Team, a part of the Army National Guard based in California, and they were all waiting for further orders from D.C. before anyone was released or moved.
They’d been in ‘custody’ for nearly three hours now, and Remy could feel a bit of strain in his shoulders from a rather enthusiastic Private over-tightening his cuffs, and Remy tried to subtly move his arms to ease the strain.
Remy shot a glare over to where he stood, next to two others. The two held Cure guns, while the Private that tightened his cuffs cradled an M16 in his hands.
“Look at this. All these muties just sittin’ here. We should just Cure them and get it over with. We’d be taking out, what, two, three hundred of the most dangerous ones right here.” He muttered to his two companions, although loud enough for Remy and the others to hear – likely deliberate.
Rogue stiffened where she sat, legs crossed under her, next to Remy, and he glanced over, shooting her a soothing smile. She relaxed slightly, and shot him an affectionate look – one that made him want to just blow up the cuffs, walk over there, and kiss her silly.
He had a pretty good idea what was going through her head – all that she’d gone through to end up deciding against the cure, and this man talking about simply curing everyone there. He knew she was also probably struggling with being the one that had basically forced it on Magneto – who sat a few dozen feet away from them – and this prick wasn’t helping her.
“Cut the chatter, Private,” a gruff, shaven-headed man said, striding up behind the three soldiers. “Keep your mutant phobias to yourself. No one’s getting Cured today unless they try to escape – those are our orders.”
The man, his insignia showing him to be a Lieutenant Colonel, seemed to be in charge of the entire operation, as far as Remy had been able to tell from watching the troops move around the site.
The air was filled with a sudden, deafening, roar that cut off any further words from the Lt. Colonel or the privates. The Lt. Colonel looked up at something behind Remy and the others, and Remy started to crane his neck back to see, but the source of the noise revealed itself soon enough.
Dozens of military transport, as well as attack, helicopters swept through the air over their heads, surrounding the island, before beginning to settle down. As they landed, Remy could see men clad in black body armor pouring out of the helicopters, forming a perimeter around the National Guard troops.
One large helicopter, a matte black camouflaging covering its exterior, landed nearby in an area cleared of debris by the troops earlier. Remy could feel the backwash from the rotors blowing at them as it touched down.
The outer door opened, and more men exited, giving Remy a much clearer look at them. They were clad completely in black, wearing helmets with lightly glowing HUD visors in front of one eye, displaying information to them. They were clearly well armed, form the visible odd-looking sleek black assault rifles they carried, to the visible sidearms and grenade belts they had strapped to them.
Remy’s eyes shot to the side of the helicopter, and he could just make out a logo familiar quite familiar to him, painted on in a dull grey that blended well with the black of the rest of the helicopter.
The last person hopped from the helicopter and started to stride over to the Lt. Colonel. He was a tall African-American man, decked out in the same armor as the rest of the men, sans a helmet, which revealed his bald head, and a neatly trimmed goatee adorning his face. But the most distinguishing feature was a black eye-patch that covered his left eye.
The helicopter behind him began to power down, lowering the noise level dramatically as he approached.
“Sir,” the Lt. Colonel said, straightening to attention, snapping him a salute.
“At ease, Colonel,” the man said, his voice rich and deep. He pulled a sheaf of papers from a pocket and handed them to him, along with what Remy recognized as a Sectera Edge encrypted cell-phone.
“Your boys did good work. This is joint DoD-DHS jurisdiction now, and S.H.I.E.L.D. has been given jurisdiction. We’ll be taking these mutants into custody. The President is on the line there, to confirm your instructions.”
He stood patiently with his hands at his sides while the Lt. Colonel moved off to the side for to consult with the President through on the phone for several minutes. He finally thumbed the connection off, and handed it back to the man. “I relinquish the site to you, sir. They’re all yours.”
“Thank you son. We can still use your boys to keep the guard up until our transports get here.” He said, and the Lt. Colonel automatically followed in step with him as he strode closer to the X-Men.
“Some of them will be released by the President’s orders,” he said as he came up in front of Hank.
“Colonel Fury, what a pleasant surprise,” Hank said with a smile.
“Nice seeing you again, Hank.” He greeted him with a nod. He flipped open a pocketknife, and used it to cut away the PlastiCuffs on Hank’s wrists, and glanced back at the Lt. Colonel. “The President’s given instructions to release Doctor McCoy and anyone he vouches for. Without them, Magneto wouldn’t have been stopped in time.”
Hank straightened up, massaging lightly at his wrists. He nodded toward the X-Men. “These seven. Everyone else was part of the attack. Ah, and the boy, of course,” he said, nodding to the young boy that was the source of the cure – still garbed in his all-white clothes he’d been wearing in the facility – who had been seated near them.
Fury nodded. “The boy can be set free, but he’ll remain with me and my men. I’ve got standing orders to take him into S.H.I.E.L.D.’s protective custody for the time being. Although I’m sure I could put in a good word with the President and get him placed at a certain school in the long run,” he said, smiling to Hank.
Fury turned to the soldiers guarding them. “Release them,” he ordered, and they moved forward, and began cutting their restraints away.
Remy smirked as the Private who’d bound him reluctantly moved forward, and he charged his restraints, causing them to explode in a soft pop accompanied with a puff of smoke. He stood, straightening his arms, and rubbing at his own wrists.
“I sure hope y’all got better restraints than these for all dese guys. Any of us coulda broken out if we wanted to,” Remy said, laughing mentally when the Private backed up rapidly at his display of power.
Fury looked smoothly over to him, and gave him a brief nod. “They’ll be good enough in tandem with our own restraints,” he said, nodding over to where his men had moved forward to the huddled group of mutants. They’d set down the packs they’d carried, and were in the process of pulling out sleek metallic devices that looked like collars. “Nullifiers.” He stated in explanation as his men began, one-by-one, to snap them around the necks of the mutants.
Rogue gasped at the sight, and he grabbed her hand in his, realizing they must be similar to the one Carol’s father had forced her to wear. She looked up at him with haunted eyes, and he saw a glimmer of blue appear and then disappear a moment later, and she squeezed his hand tightly, forcing a slight smile on her face.
Logan, the last to be cut free by the men, stood, and looked at Fury. “We free to go?” He asked gruffly.
Fury nodded. “Yes, you’re all free to go… Logan.”
Logan stiffened in surprise, and his fists clenched, clearly a split second from releasing his adamantium claws. “We know each other?”
Fury frowned, and nodded. “We did. You were on a black-ops team that did some work with me in ‘Nam. But S.H.I.E.L.D.’s gone over some of Stryker’s old files, so I’m not too surprised you don’t remember.”
Logan’s fists relaxed, and Fury looked him in the eyes. “Maybe we could grab a beer sometime and I’ll tell you what I remember ‘bout working with you.”
Logan nodded tightly, and cleared his throat, trying to decide on a response. “Maybe I’ll take you up on that,” he settled for. “We should get going now.”
Fury nodded toward the roof. “I can have one of my choppers give you a ride to the mainland, or you can just get on your cloaked jet and take off in that.”
Logan clenched his jaw at that. “We’ll take our jet, ‘long as you make sure none of these guys get trigger-happy when they see it take off.”
“They won’t be a problem.” Fury glanced at all of them. “Thank you all for your service to your country today. Give my regards to Charles. Let him know I may have to stop by for a visit. I’ve got a rather unique business opportunity he may be interested in.”
Logan nodded, and started toward the lab building, and the others moved to follow.
“Oh,” Rogue said, as she passed Fury. “Cain Marko’s inside, in the main lab. Right now he’s phased halfway inta th’ground, an’ probably unconscious, but Ah’m not sure how long that’ll last.”
Fury’s eyebrows rose. “Thanks, miss. I’ll send a team in right away before he wakes up.” He said, and raised a hand to his ear, tapping the headset, and pulling the microphone closer to his mouth. “Jamie. Send a team of dupes into the lab once these folks leave. We have a possible Alpha-Threat inside, currently unconscious.” He spoke low into the mic, and nodded his thanks to Rogue as she grabbed onto Remy’s arm and continued on.
Kitty paused near the boy, Jimmy, who she and Rogue had rescued, and gave him a smile, patting a hand on his shoulder. “Don’t worry, Jimmy. Everything will be fine.” She whispered before she followed the others.
John was being groggily pulled to his feet, a power-suppression collar being slid around his neck, when they walked past. He sneered at Bobby. “So you’re actually here, Bobby. Too scared to fight me, had to send some nutjob in your place?” He asked, inclining his head toward Remy.
The two S.H.I.E.L.D. agents grabbed his arms fully, and started to pull him back.
Bobby just shook his head. “No, John, I just know when someone can kick your ass even better than I can.” He looked sadly at John, who tried to pull his arms from the agents’ grips. “Should have stayed, John. You chose the wrong side.”
Ororo set a hand on Bobby’s shoulder, and he pulled his gaze away from John. “Come now, Bobby. Like you said, he made his choice – now he gets to deal with its consequences.”
Fury watched them go, and then turned to a man standing to his left. “Quartermain, get this kid on a chopper and back to the ‘Carrier. He doesn’t need to see all this,” he said, nodding in the direction of his men clamping collars around the mutants.
Quartermain nodded, and stepped up to the boy. “C’mon, kid, let’s get you someplace safe. Ever been on a helicopter?”
The boy shook his head in the negative, and Quartermain smiled widely, putting an arm on his shoulder and leading him toward the helicopter they’d arrived in. “Well you are in for a treat, kid.” Fury heard him say as the helicopter’s engine started again, and the rotor began to spin slowly, in preparation for take-off.
As the X-Men entered the building, Fury saw one of the agents that had landed in another helicopter pull of his helmet, revealing a rather rugged looking man, with black hair and marble-blue eyes. He tossed the helmet to the side, and snapped his fingers several times. With each snap, another agent – completely identical in looks and dress – appeared next to him; he continued until he had twelve identical copies of himself, and they entered the building, acting as one.
Fury nodded to himself hoping Marko was still out of it – otherwise Jamie would have quite a time subduing him, although knowing Madrox, he’d probably prefer a good fight, he thought with a mental chuckle.
He shook his head. He’d managed to place Jamie – or rather one of his dupes – on the Army convoy with Mystique on the off-chance that Magneto would try to stage an attack, to get an inside man within Magneto’s “Brotherhood”. They’d faked a criminal history for him to help him in that.
Unfortunately, things had gone wrong almost instantly, with the tracking device on Jamie’s dupe going haywire from the close exposure to Magneto’s powers when he used them on the convoy truck. The dupe had no clue it had gone wrong, and continued his mission, gaining Magneto’s trust, and eventually being left at a camp to fool anyone gaining information about the Brotherhood’s location.
Now Fury, on top of dealing with this mess, had to obtain the release of that dupe. His tech-whizzes would be getting an earful over the failure of the tracking device, which they’d assured him should work around Magneto.
Fury raised two fingers to the headset again. “Miss Carter, where are my transports? We’re almost done restraining the prisoners.”
“On their way, Sir,” Sharon Carter’s soft voice crackled in over the earpiece. “ETA is one minute – you should be seeing them on the horizon now.”
Fury glanced out toward the bay, and could make out the shapes of several large aircraft, flying near the gap Magneto had created pulling out part of the Golden Gate Bridge. Each was a large VTOL personnel carrier, and they could each hold thirty or forty of the prisoners.
He heard a muted roar, and looked back at the facility, making out a glimmer of a shape as the cloaked X-jet took off. His earpiece crackled, and Jamie’s voice came over it. “Boss, we’ve got Marko in a suppression collar, but we’re going to need some cutting tools to get him out of the floor. Good thing we got here when we did – he was just starting to wake up.”
“Alright, Jamie. Leave a few of your dupes to watch him, and fly back to the ‘Carrier for the equipment you need.”
“Roger that, sir.”
Finally, Fury thought, things seemed to be going according to plan. First time in a long time.
Kitty stopped on the roof when she saw Warren Worthington Sr. walk past them, an unreadable expression on his face. Her gaze turned to the X-jet – still cloaked – where the ramp was now visible and lowered, and caught a glimpse of Warren disappearing up it.
She nudged Piotr with her elbow, and he looked over at her. “Pete - I think Warren’s dad just walked past us.”
Piotr looked at her with confusion, and then his eyes widened, as Warren’s name clicked in his head with the older man who he knew had funded the Cure. “No wonder he came to the Institute. How much worse could it get than your father not only creating the Cure, but also trying to cure you?” Piotr asked sadly, and Kitty nodded in agreement.
The X-jet settled on the landing pad in the Hangar Room with a final roar of engines, and there was a slight whine as the hydraulics began to lower the ramp.
Xavier turned around as Ororo finished shutting down the jet, and slid his gaze over the X-Men. “You all were exceptional today, and I must say I am very proud of you all. You took your training, and showed that you are truly X-Men,” he said, looking at Piotr, Kitty, and Bobby in particular at that.
“Usually we’d have a short debriefing, but since I was there, and since I think you all deserve a good rest after today, we’ll skip it this time. Go, get something to eat, get a shower, and get some rest.” He said gently. As they unbuckled their flight restraints, and began to file out of the jet, he nodded to Ororo. “You as well. I can handle the rest of the shutdown.”
As Remy stepped through the doorway of the hangar and into the main hallway, he was struck by a pinkish blur as Sarah launched herself into his arms, and he had to stagger back a few steps to avoid being knocked on his ass for the second time that day.
Sarah, who’d thrown her arms around his neck tightly, pulled back. Her eyes roamed across his face and then across his shoulders and arms, a worried look in her teary eyes. “Remy! Remy - are you hurt?” She asked, worry thick in her voice.
He shook his head, giving her a soft smile. “Just a few scrapes an’ bruises, Sarah.”
She let out a soft sob and buried her face in the crook of his neck, squeezing him tightly. He ran a hand up and down her back, and whispered into her ear. “It’s okay, /ma mignonne/. I’m back, an’ I’m okay. I ain’ leavin’ you.”
She eventually calmed, and shifted slightly in his arms, and looked over his shoulder. She stretched out a hand to touch Rogue’s shoulder. “Are you okay too, Rogue?” She asked softly.
Rogue moved closer, and gave her a reassuring grin. “Yeah, sweetie. Just a few bruises too. Not much c’n hurt me these days.”
Sarah sniffed, and swiped away a tear with the back of her hand. “Ev’ryone was watchin’ the whole thing on TV. They had news helicopters takin’ video from far out, and all you could see was a bunch of people fighting, and lights flashing, an’ I didn’t know if you were alright.”
Remy frowned to himself, wishing they hadn’t been televising the entire thing for Sarah to see. “Well, it’s all over now, /petite/, an’ we’re all okay. No one got hurt.”
Rogue placed a hand on his shoulder, wanting to give them some time alone together. “Ah’m gonna go take a shower, you two. Ah’ll see yah.”
Remy nodded, and Sarah looked at her. “See you, Rogue. I’m glad you’re not hurt.” She said, and Rogue hid a smile as she walked away.
Remy glanced down at Sarah, and reached out, running a finger over her cheek to wipe away a tear-track. “It’s really late, /petite/, let’s get you to bed.” He said softly – by the time they’d been released, plus the flight back, it was already close to midnight.
Sarah nodded, and wordlessly laid her head on his shoulder as he carried her to the elevator. As the elevator rose to the top floor, and they exited, Sarah turned her head. “Remy, can I sleep by you tonight?”
He looked down at her, and nodded gently. “Of course, /petite/. Let’s get you somethin’ t’wear.”
They stopped briefly in her room, grabbing a pair of pink pajamas, and then went to his room. He set her down on the bed, and gently pried her arms from his neck.
“Alrigh’, /petite/, I’m gonna take a quick shower an’ change clothes. You jus’ stay here, /hein/?”
She nodded, and sat on the bed, curling up onto his pillow.
Remy grabbed a pair of clothes and took them into the bathroom, setting them on the counter next to the sink. He gingerly removed his trenchcoat, avoiding brushing the area on his arm that had been slightly singed. He took a look at it – the hairs were much shorter, having been nearly completely burned off by John’s flame, and the skin was a very slight puffy pink, but nothing serious.
He swiftly undid the hidden catches on his armor, and peeled it off., tossing it to the side as he started up the water in the shower. He showered quickly, and was toweling off minutes later. He slipped on the jeans and t-shit he’d brought in, and opened the door to the bathroom.
He moved quietly around the corner, until he saw Sarah was still awake, in the same place she’d been when he entered. He smiled, and walked over to sit on the edge bed next to her.
“Why don’ you put your pajamas on, /petite/. I’m gonna go say g’night to Rogue, an’ den I’ll come back here an’ we can go to sleep.”
“Okay, Remy,” Sarah said, crawling to the edge of the bed to grab her pajamas, and then padding softly across the floor in her socks toward the bathroom.
Remy stood as the door clicked shut, and strode over to the door to the hallway. He walked down the hall, noting the heavy silence – not that unusual, given the events of the day.
He knocked softly on Rogue’s door. “Door’s open,” Rogue’s voice called from inside.
Remy turned the knob, and opened the door, entering, and then pushing it shut behind him. Rogue looked up at him with a smile from where she was sitting on her bed.
She’d changed clothes, into a loose t-shirt and a pair of pants, and her hair was still rather wet from her shower. She was sitting on her bed, her knees up toward her chest, with a large, open book resting on her lap.
Remy walked over to her, and sat down on the edge of the bed next to her. “Hey, /Chére/. Physics?” He asked, his eyes running over the open pages.
Rogue nodded, and set the book to the side, leaning over to kiss his cheek. “Yeah. Jus’ doin’ a little studyin’. Ah wanna spend as little time on it durin’ break as Ah can.”
Remy nodded, and then met her gaze with his own concerned one. He reached down and grabbed her hand in his, bringing it up to kiss the back of her hand. “You doin’ alrigh’, Rogue? Wit’ Magneto an’ all dat?”
Rogue sighed, and leaned back, letting him put his arms around her. “Yeah, Ah guess. Ah – Ah know that doin’ that was th’right thing t’do, an’ probably the only way t’really stop him. It’s just a little tough bein’ th’one who did it to him, but Ah’m dealin’ with it, Ah think.”
Remy nodded, running his fingers through her still damp hair. “I t’ink it was de only way he’d ever get stopped, an’ I don’ think dat we woulda made it outta dere wit’ no injuries if it hadn’ been for you. Y’fought really well, /Chére/, an’ you did what you had t’do.”
Rogue smiled slightly, blushing, and leaned her head back so that her cheek brushed his for a moment. “Thanks, Remy,” she whispered.
They sat like that, Remy holding her, stroking her hair, for several minutes, and Remy knew he’d have to break away soon and get back to his room.
Rogue suddenly looked up, back at him. “Remy? Ah’ve been thinkin’. Ah know Ah’m the one that asked you t’do it, but Ah hate this – this hidin’. Ah don’ care who knows ‘bout us anymore. Let’s jus’ do things nat’rally, an’ let everyone else figure it out for themselves. Ah wanna be able to hold your hand walkin’ down the halls, or kiss you at breakfast in front of other people. Ah wanna have things like this, an’ not hide it.”
Remy grinned broadly. “You won’ hear an’ argument from me. B’sides, I think everyone’s already got a pretty good idea dat we’re together. I certainly ain’ gonna pass up de chance to be wit’ you more often.”
Rogue shot him a sweet smile, and he leaned forward, kissing the corner of her mouth softly – the only part he could reach from the angle she was at. “I should get going, /ma Chére/,” he said softly, his lips brushing near her ear. “Sarah’s waitin’ for me to tuck her in.”
Rogue nodded, and reluctantly allowed him to pull away. “Say goodnight to her for me, okay?” She said.
“I will. An’ you should get to sleep soon too. Don’ stay up too late studyin’. It’s already pretty late.”
Rogue picked up her book once more, and set it back on her lap. “Ah won’t. Just a little bit more. Good night, Remy.”
“G’night, /Chére/,” he said softly, closing the door behind him.
Logan slowly pushed the door to Jean’s room open, and found her sitting on her bed, her arms wrapped around her knees. “Hey,” he said softly. “It’s over. Magneto’s done.”
She nodded, and looked over to him as he sat down next to her. “I know. She felt it when it ended,” she said, somewhat bitterly referring to Phoenix, leaning into Logan when he placed an arm around her shoulder.
“You still doin’ alright?”
She nodded shakily. “I am now. She can still sense other things coming in the future, but right now she’s pretty quiet. I- I saw in one of her visions what would have happened if I’d come with you.” Jean said with a shudder.
“Not good, huh?” Logan asked, a knowing look on his face.
She shook her head quickly. “No. So many people would have died. She would have broken loose. And you would have killed me.”
He looked at her in shock. “What? No, Jean. I couldn’t do something like that. Not to you.”
She smiled kindly at him, and reached up, placing a hand on his face. “You would if you saw what she was capable of. You would if I begged you to, to keep her from killing anyone else.” She shook her head. “But that’s passed, now. Things will be different now.”
He nodded numbly, running a hand up and down her back. “Jean. Do you want me to stay, or….” He trailed off when she looked at him with a raised eyebrow.
“Go to bed, Logan. I’m not ready for that……. temptation yet,” she said, wetting her lips with her tongue. “Not with Scott…” she broke off and shook her head. “I’m not sure when I’ll be ready. But I’ll let you know, if you’re still waiting when I am.”
Sarah had already changed, and was lying on the bed when Remy returned, under the covers, but still wide awake.
Remy moved to the bedside, and lifted the corner of the covers, sliding in underneath next to her, and she instantly leaned against him.
“Remy?” She asked softly, resting her chin on his chest. “Is Magneto gone?”
Remy leaned over, kissing her forehead. “Yeah, /petite/. He’s gone. He got Cured in de fight, an’ he’s getting’ locked up, an’ won’ be hurtin’ anyone else for a long time.”
Sarah seemed to relax against him, and he ran a hand up and down her back. She was quiet for some time, and he thought she’d fallen asleep, when she suddenly looked up at him, resting her chin on his chest again.
“Remy,” she said, a slight blush on her cheeks. “Did you- did you mean what you said before? You really love me?”
She wanted, so much, to believe it – Ororo had told her he did, and he had even said it, but it was also hard for her to truly believe it. She could still hear her father’s words as he drove the car, and later tossed her out the passenger’s door onto the streets of New York, telling her he couldn’t stand the sight of her, and no one could ever love a mutant.
Remy’s eyes widened, and he sat up, and grabbed her arms, pulling her up closer to him. He placed his hands on both of her cheeks, and looked into her troubled blue eyes.
“I really love you, Sarah. Always will. You mean so much to me, /petite/.”
She took in a shuddering breath, and a lone tear trailed down her cheek, and she darted forward, pressing several kisses against his cheek. “I love you too, Remy.” She said in a choked up voice. “I was so worried when you were out there. I was afraid I might never see you again.”
He pulled her close, resting his chin on the top of her head, ignoring the slight digging of her forehead spikes into his skin. “Sarah, I’ll do evry’thin’ I can to always be dere for you. I promise.”
The next morning, Remy woke up early, and ate breakfast with Sarah before she went to her first class with Charles. She’d woken up only once during the night from a nightmare, and as he’d been right next to her, she’d quickly fallen back to sleep.
She’d seemed much more upbeat this morning, and he had a feeling it had to do with their talk the previous night, and found himself wishing he’d told her much earlier, rather than hinted to her with his actions and words, how much she meant to him.
He’d just kissed her forehead, having walked with her to the outside of her classroom, and let her enter to go and sit at one of the desks. He turned from the door, and made his way back to the kitchen to finish cleaning up the dishes they’d used.
As he entered the kitchen, he spotted Rogue sitting at one of the tables, eating a bowl of cereal. He grabbed his and Sarah’s plates and cups, and placed them in the dishwasher, and then approached Rogue’s table.
He frowned slightly, observing her as he approached, and finally slid into a chair across from her. “Hey Carol,” he said softly.
Her head snapped up to him, her eyes wide, showing the now tell-tale blue tinge around her irises. “How -” She began quietly, clearly confused.
Remy chuckled. “Well, I know my Rogue, an’ you hold y’self differen’ than her. Diffren’ body language.”
She blushed. “First person I see, and they know instantly I’m not Rogue,” she muttered, shaking her head.
He grinned. “Well, I think you could probably pull it off wit’ anyone else, ‘long as y’could get the accent down.”
She smiled back, and looked down at her cereal bowl. “Rogue’s exhausted, so I’m taking care of things while she gets some rest.”
Remy’s forehead creased. “Does dat work? Wouldn’ her body still get tired?”
Carol shrugged. “We’re tryin’ to figure that out. I know that when I had my powers, it took a lot to exhaust me physically, but mentally I still needed a rest, and since Rogue’s got all my powers, I think it’ll work the same. I’m gonna take her first class this morning, and we’re going to see how it works out in that respect – if she’ll be able to remember the things her mind hears while I’m in control and she’s asleep.”
She looked at Remy. “Although, the whole reason we’re doing this is she didn’t listen to you and kept studying last night until almost three-thirty.” Carol said, sounding exasperated.
Remy sighed, and shook his head. “She can get pretty stubborn if she wants t’be.”
He played with the sleeve of his trenchcoat for a minute, and then looked curiously at Carol. “So how’re you doin’? De two of us have never really talked dat much.”
Carol shrugged. “I’m alright. It’s a little weird, being stuck in someone’s head, knowing you’re just a piece of someone else even though you feel like you’re the real thing. But I kinda like it. I get to see most of what Rogue sees, and being here is so completely different from my own life, it’s just….. new.”
Remy smiled kindly, and shook his head. “I was actually askin’ ‘bout how you’re doin’ after last night. Y’know, bein’ in de fight wit’ de Cure, an’ all dat.”
Her shoulders drooped slightly, and she sighed. “Alright. The Cure… my dad wanted me to take it, but I guess I wasn’t really worried about it last night, other than that one of you guys would get hit, because I don’t think any of those darts could have even penetrated her skin. But…. seeing those collars…. it just brought everything back, even worse than when we went to see my mom.” She said, shivering.
Remy nodded, and placed a hand over hers on the table. “You’re a strong girl, Carol.”
Carol blushed and shrugged. “Maybe. But I don’t think I could ever be as strong as Rogue. I don’t think I would be able to handle what she’s gone through with her powers.”
Remy sighed, and felt a surge of pride over Rogue. “I know. Speakin’ of dat, how’re things goin’ in her mind? She tol’ me you were helpin’ her heal it.”
Carol shrugged. “It’s going alright. That whole Phoenix thing didn’t exactly help her. We’ve got so much to do, and I can only help out when Rogue’s in there with me. The Professor seemed to think that what she did when the Phoenix first started to attack her mind was a good sign that she’s getting a lot more control.”
Remy smiled slightly at that. “Good. She needs some sorta good news like dat to keep her spirits up.”
Carol nodded. “I know,” she said, and then sighed, looking at the clock. “Well, I’ve gotta head off to Rogue’s class.” She said, standing and grabbing her now-empty bowl. “I’ll tell Rogue we talked when I get her to wake up. I know she wanted to spend a bit of time with you later this afternoon after she’s one packing, and before she heads off to the airport with Dani tonight.”
Remy nodded in thanks, and watched her leave, before standing from the table, deciding to head downstairs for a short workout. He was glad Rogue had someone like Carol in her head, helping her out, helping her heal in ways that he couldn’t.
“The young man in the back, with the black shirt,” Creed said, pointing to him.
One of his aides hurried over to the man with a microphone. They were in the middle of a town hall meeting, and thus far had been talking about health care and immigration, but Creed had now opened it up to other questions.
“Hi, Jim Whitefield.” The man said, leaning close to his microphone, causing it to boom loudly.
“Sorry,” he said and pulled back. “Jim Whitefield. Thank you for coming to our small town, today, Senator Creed, and taking the time to answer all of our questions. Now, my question is to ask for your thoughts on the incident on Alcatraz Island yesterday.”
Creed nodded, and lifted his own microphone to his mouth. “Thank you for having me, Jim, and thank you for your question. Now, as most of you know, the mutant terrorist Magneto led an assault on Worthington Labs’ research building based on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco. I’ve heard estimates of close to 300 mutants following him. The Golden Gate Bridge, a national symbol and historical relic, was destroyed by Magneto during the attack as well. They’re saying it will take at least several years to repair it.”
“Now, I mentioned this, about a week ago, in my debate, and I’ve mentioned it numerous other times in these town hall meetings and campaign speeches. This is the sort of terrorism I’ve been striving to fight against, by getting the Registration Act passed. When it’s passed, all mutants must register, and their powers be recorded, so that our police and our soldiers know exactly what they may be facing if another terrorist – another Magneto – shows up, with the power to destroy cities.”
“It was only the brave work of our men and women in uniform that stopped this man, and led to the surrender of his insurrectionist army, and I extend my thanks towards them, as well as my deepest sympathy for those brave men and women who put their lives on the line and paid the ultimate price in that fight. This Act, which I promise to get passed if I am elected, will greatly reduce the price our troops and defenders have to pay by knowing ahead of time what the next mutant terrorist is capable of.”
This was met with a loud roar of clapping and shouts of approval from the crowd, and he waited nearly a half-minute before he could speak again over the crowd. “Now it’s a woman’s turn. You, in the front, young miss with the pink blouse.”
She stepped forward and took the microphone. “I don’t want to tarnish our servicemen and servicewomen who defended our country yesterday, Senator, but isn’t it true that Magneto’s terrorism on Alcatraz was stopped largely by the actions of another mutant group that in the end took down Magneto and effected the surrender of his army – a group I believe is being called the ‘X-Men’? What would you say to them? Should they be forced to Register as a ‘reward’ for their help saving our troops’ lives?”
The briefest frown crossed over Creed’s face at the question – apparently they hadn’t screened quite well enough to weed out all of those that wouldn’t give him softball questions.
“Thank you for your question. As far as I am aware, such reports are thus far only /rumors/, and I have heard no credible reports or seen any video of this supposed mutant group. In any case, if they did assist our soldiers, I give them a hearty thanks. Nevertheless, in my opinion such an action smacks of vigilantism, and yes, I would want them to Register under the Act if it passes. If they’d like to work with the government as a sanctioned group, and assist us, that is fine. But what happens when the vigilante turns into an even worse criminal and threatens those they claim to protect?”
Another roar drowned out a response from the woman, and the aide jerked the microphone away, out of her hands before she could respond when the noise died down.
Creed smiled politely, and glanced at the teleprompter, which was showing a red light. “Alright, I can take one more question. Someone in the back.”
The microphone ended up in the hands of an elderly man who stood near the back. “Senator Creed, I’m grateful for you coming here and giving us answers to our questions. Now, I recently found out that my young grandson, who I love more than anything on this planet, is a mutant. I have a two part question for you. First, what will happen to my grandson if you become president and pass this Registration Act? And second, if you had a child, and discovered he or she was a mutant, would you get them to Register?”
Creed smiled kindly at the man as he sat back down. “Thank you, sir, for your questions. Let me address your second question first, because it has the simplest and shortest answer: yes, I would get my child to Register, in a heartbeat. Registering would maintain his own safety as well as that of others.”
“Now, for your first question, I want to be very clear about this. None of the things you may have heard from the pro-mutant lobbies are true. Your grandson will not be rounded up and put in an internment camp, your grandson will not be Registered in order to withhold medical insurance or treatment from, and your grandson will not be discriminated against, under this Act. This is all, quite simply, inflammatory rhetoric put forth by the liberal left to discredit the Act, and endanger our citizens and our police and soldiers.”
“The only thing that will happen, is he will be encouraged to register his name, and his mutant powers, and this information will be recorded to a database. He’ll receive a card showing he has registered, much like a driver’s license, or a firearms license. The information in the database will be used by police, just like all DMV records, and criminal history records. And that is all that will happen.”
Creed stepped back, and swept his gaze over the crowd. “Thank you, all, for coming here and asking your wonderful questions. I hope to see you all again in the future.”
Creed exited to loud applause, walking along a corridor already cleared by Secret Service agents, and his own bodyguards, pausing from time to time to warmly shake peoples’ hands as he passed them. He finally reached his limo, and gave a last wave, and entered the open door.
He and Mikaela had taken the past two days off, and he’d only scheduled this single rally/meeting for today – the rest of the weekend would also be taken off, given his opponent’s withdrawal early Wednesday morning. Now all he had to do was let the Democrats fight it out while firmly campaigning on his own as well as against both of them. Their infighting would only help him.
The door closed, and the car began to drive toward his hotel where Mikaela was waiting for him for an evening out. He swept the car for bugs, and then pulled out his secure cell phone, dialing up Ronald, who was still out in Montana.
The phone rang five times, before he picked up. “Gray! You’re out of your rally?”
“Yes, Ron. We’ll need to have a strategy meeting on getting better screening. I didn’t exactly like some of the questions I got. We need more plants to ask the hard questions in a more appealing way.” Creed said.
“Alright,” Ron said. “When I get back tomorrow, we’ll go over that with the staff.”
“Good. Now, how is Montana?”
“Excellent, Gray,” Ron replied. “This place they have is amazing. Absolutely astounding what they’re doing, what they’re creating here. And they’ve got to have at least fifty mutants, all used for testing. I’ve been talking to their leader, and he’s very sympathetic toward our cause, and he has even expressed interest in becoming an official member of the Purifiers. Right now what they have may take a few weeks to a month to be ready, but when it is, the mutants won’t know what hit them.”
Graydon smiled to himself. “Excellent. Now, I think this may be the time to start pushing our advantage. Magneto played right into our hands, and couldn’t have played his role any more perfectly. The whole Golden Gate Bridge thing was more than I could ever have asked for. We need to keep the groups striking while the metal is hot, while the anti-mutant sentiments are at their highest.”
He could almost hear Ron’s nod. “Exactly my thoughts Gray. Eli’s already planning a few attacks with some energy weapons they ‘acquired’. It should make them look like mutant attacks. We’ll need them to keep pressing the fake attacks now that Magneto’s not around to plan them.”
“Good,” Creed said. “We also need to push the artificial intelligence project. I want that going and with our programming inserted in as soon as they have their first full test run next week.”
“Will do, Gray. I’ll meet with our inside man on Sunday.”
“Alright, Ron. Enjoy yourself for the rest of your little break out there. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Creed said, and then snapped his phone shut, looking out the window to see his hotel already approaching. Now he could simply relax for most of the rest of the weekend, and spend some much needed time with his wife.
A/N: Hope you all enjoyed this chapter. Lots of nods to the comics (plenty of SHIELD agent mentions), and of course Sam Jacks-oops, I mean Nick Fury. A bit non-movie storyline of my own with Jamie Madrox (incidentally one of my more favored characters of the comics) – he may be popping up sometime in the future as well. ;-)
Next chapter will hopefully be out in about a week, but after that, with school starting, intervals between updates will be larger. :-( We’ve officially reached the halfway point in the story – that is, if it ends up being 40 chapters (could end up being a few shorter, but who knows).
Next chapter should have a bit of Remy/Ororo interaction, which I’ve realized there hasn’t been a whole lot of lately, and should cover all or most of their break, so look for some skiing antics . :) See you guys next weekend!