Categories > Cartoons > X-Men: Evolution > Sinister Soldiers

Coming Around

by slickboy444 0 Reviews

The Evo world is forever turned upside down when a man named Dr. Nathanial Essex begins a project known as Shadow Cell from which the lives of Scott, Jean, Vincent, Wanda, and X23 are changed forev...

Category: X-Men: Evolution - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, Romance, Sci-fi - Characters: Avalanche, Berzerker, Blob, Boom Boom, Cannonball, Colossus, Cyclops, Gambit, Iceman, Jean, Magma, Magneto, Mr. Sinister, Multiple, Mystique, Nightcrawler, Professor Xavier, Quicksilver, Rogue, Scarlet Witch, Shadowcat, Storm, Sunspot, Toad - Warnings: [?] [V] [X] - Published: 2007/01/13 - Updated: 2007/01/14 - 8052 words

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Sinister Soldiers
Chapter 57: Coming Around


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"Okay, so let me get this straight," said Betsy Braddock as she, Remy, Sam, Bobby, and Jubilee heard about the rather eventful trip to the mall from Kitty, Amara, and Tabitha, "You took those two shopping for a new wardrobe, ran into my ex boyfriend, and they made him whine like a little girl?"

"And they broke his hand," reminded Tabitha with a grin.

"Okay, that's it! These two have officially earned a second chance in my eyes!" proclaimed Betsy, who couldn't help but laugh at the thought of her jerk off ex boyfriend crying in a heap on the floor, "Anybody who can lay out Duncan Matthews DEFINITELY deserves at the benefit of the doubt!"

"Oh totally!" said Jubilee, still clutching her sides from laughter upon hearing some of the things Tabitha told them, "Oh what I wouldn't give to have been there myself!"

"Yeah, it was quite a sight," said Amara, finding it equally entertaining, "Jean and Wanda may be a little rough around the edges, but they're actually okay when you're not on the receiving end of their anger."

"Yeah, like, they may have a bit of a temper at times, but they're pretty cool for the most part," said Kitty in agreement, "They had a ton of cool war stories, although some were a bit disturbing to say the least."

"Hmm...Well either way, if dey can make assholes like Duncan Matthews cry like a baby, den I guess dey deserve a shot," said Remy, who clearly remembered some of the incidents concerning Duncan that had caused so many complications when he was still involved with Betsy, "But still...Don't y'all t'ink it's still a wee bit troublin' to see how quick dose femmes are to layin' some dude out just for hittin' on em?"

"Oh you're just saying that because you're a world class flirt, Remy," said Bobby in a joking tone.

"Hey, how many times do I have to tell ya ice boy...Remy don't flirt, he charms," he said with his distinctive cocky grin.

"Oh...Then why hasn't it worked on Rogue yet?" said Sam, earning him a disgruntled look from the young Cajun.

"Yeah shuffles, I haven't seen you doing your thing around Rogue ever since you got back from that base," said Tabitha, naturally taking Sam's side, "I thought she could touch now."

"She can touch...But dat don't mean dat dere are other factors," argued Remy, seriously not wanting to have this conversation, "Rogue's been havin' a rough time ever since Mystique moved in. And now ain't exactly de time to be thinkin' 'bout shit like dat when she and Kurt are still workin' out family issues."

"Oh please, now you're just making excuses," muttered Jubilee, rolling her eyes a bit at Remy's words.

"Yeah, that's what I said!" shot Betsy in response, "Seriously Remy, how much longer are you going to keep delaying something like this? I thought you were supposed to be confident one who never squandered a single chance when it came to women."

Remy now felt as though he was in the hot seat as all eyes were on him now. He had faced a similar situation like this with Betsy a few days ago, but this was definitely worse because now it was as if everybody was ganging up on him. They didn't seem to want to mind their own business and pretty much anything that came out of his mouth was just fuel for their argument. It was a real no-win situation for him and it was definitely starting to wear thin on the Cajun's nerves.

"I...Why in de hell are ya doin' dis to Remy?!" he spat, having heard enough of this for one day, "It's not like I comment on y'all's personal lives!"

"Because Remy...Contrary to what you may believe, we have noticed how you look at Rogue," said Sam logically, "We ain't stupid man."

"But dat don't give you no excuse to go pesterin' me about it!" he said as he shot up from where he was sitting and made his abrupt leave from the room, "Why can't ya just leave Remy be an' let him handle his shit on his own?"

There was a brief silence as they watched Remy make his leave. Nobody had much of a desire to follow him. It was only further proof to them that Remy was seriously stalling with Rogue when it came to making his move. Pretty much everybody knew first hand that those two had a thing for each other. It was abundantly clear from day one. And in their eyes, he was just being stubborn because now he couldn't make any more excuses when it came to actually pursuing something with Rogue.

But for some, they could tell that there was a bit more to it than that. There were definitely some deeper forces at work here. Anybody who even remotely knew Remy knew that he was never one to squander a good opportunity. And for that reason, there was plenty of cause for concern regarding his current situation with Rogue.

"Damn it guys! Why did you have to do that?" said Kitty as she got up to follow him.

"Oh come on, Kit!" exclaimed Jubilee, "How can we not? I mean just look at him...He's clearly stalling. Rogue can touch now and he's asleep at the wheel."

"Yeah, he's been flirting with her since he got here and it's getting pretty bloody annoying," added Betsy in agreement, "I mean, why don't they just stop fooling around and get it over with already? Didn't they learn ANYTHING from me and Warren?"

"Well did you, like, stop to really think that maybe he WASN'T making excuses? And maybe there is something more to it than you all think?" said Kitty, now standing in the doorway, "Honestly guys, I though were supposed to be the ones who didn't immediately judge what's on the surface. Isn't that what Xavier's always taught us? Or have you forgotten that too?"

Not sticking around for more excuses, Kitty quickly ran after the young Cajun, leaving the group of young mutants to think about what she had just said. In a ways, she had been right. But at the same time, it seemed rather odd that she empathized with Remy...Almost as if she was in a position similar to his.

"Well I think I speak for everybody when I say that this sure is going to end up messy," commented Bobby.

"Can't say it would surprise me if it did," shrugged Sam.

"Yeah, but I seriously hope that they come around soon," said Amara, "It really is getting old.

"No kidding," muttered Betsy as she turned back to Tabitha, "So...Tell me again how they made Duncan cry like a little girl!"

"Oh believe me, Bets...I don't care how long I live from this point on, but that story is never going to get old!" said Tabitha with another laugh as the tension around them quickly began to lift.

And as everybody once again clamored around Tabby and Amara for all the juicy details, Kitty managed to catch up with the young Cajun mutant, who was heading towards the garage with every intention to go out on a nice long bike ride to get away from all the bullshit. Everybody just wouldn't stop giving him a hard time about Rogue. They just wouldn't take a hint that maybe he wasn't exactly ready to take those kinds of steps with her...Maybe there were more forces at work here than simple lust. Kitty seemed to be the only one who understood that as she managed to catch the young man before he disappeared into the garage, hoping to let him know that he was not alone in this matter.

"Remy wait!" she said, causing him to stop just as he prepared to open the door.

"What is it, petite?" he said in an exasperated tone, "If ya came to rub salt in de wound, Remy ain't in the mood."

"No, like, believe me...That's the last thing I want to do," assured Kitty, her tone more sincere than joking for a change.

"Den what do ya want?" he asked, still skeptical at her intentions.

Kitty hesitated a bit before saying anything, for like Remy she had also found herself in an awkward position that made her feel paralyzed in many ways. Like Remy...She had another certain someone that she was deeply concerned about...Someone who she had also been rather close to ever since she arrived at the institute. It was not a situation she asked to be in, but damn it if it wasn't important to her and if anybody could understand such a predicament, it was Remy.

"Look...I just wanted you to know that I think they definitely went overboard putting you on the spot like that," said Kitty, hoping to sound sincere with this, "I know there's, like, more to it than that. I know there are probably a lot of other forces at work with whatever it is you're dealing with. But just know that...Well, I empathize with your situation."

Remy didn't seem to respond much at first, but he didn't doubt her intentions for a second. He believed her when she said she empathized, but at the same time, it was also a bit curious as to why she of all people would be the one to do something like this...Especially given her outgoing, upbeat nature.

"It's Kurt, ain't it?" he found himself saying, managing somewhat of a grin despite his mood.

That got Kitty to really blush more than she would've wanted to. Under normal circumstances, she would have denied it or at least tried to circumvent it...But given that this was Remy and he was in a situation not at all dissimilar to hers, she decided to save herself the trouble.

"Yeah...I had a feeling somebody would notice," she said, managing to return his smile.

That seemed to help them both feel a little bit better, for it was nice to know that they weren't alone in dealing with an issue like this. The others didn't understand in the slightest just how complicated these things were...It was all just so black and white to them.

"Well, den I guess we be in de same boat, eh petite?" he said, managing to break the awkward silence that had fallen over them.

"I guess so," sighed Kitty, "So what are we going to do about it? I mean, you've got Rogue and I've got Kurt."

"Don't forget Mystique."

"Oh yeah, how could I possibly forget her?" she muttered, thinking her presence sure wouldn't make it any easier, "But still, are we ever going to do anything about it?"

Remy simply found himself running his hand through his messy Cajun hair, feeling at wits end with this conflict. Sure, he really did want to let Rogue know that she really meant something to him, but at the same time things were just so complicated between them. They had always flirted, but because of her inability to touch, it kind of provided this unbreakable barrier between them that they kept using as an excuse to continue their little games. And now that the barrier was gone, where do they go from here?

Kitty was in a similar situation with Kurt. Only with her, it was more a matter of them being such close friends and putting that at risk by pursuing something more. Unlike Rogue and Remy, their friendship was a little rocky at first because Kitty had to adjust to his appearance. But even after they got past that, there were things like the Lance issue that got in the way and his brief, but unsuccessful pursuit of Amanda thanks in large part to bad advice he followed. But regardless, they really were at a crossroads now. It was actually a possibility, but could it really be done? Could she and Kurt really pursue something as well as Remy and Rogue?

"I...Still t'ink it's a bit early to tell," said Remy after giving it a little thought, "We got enough shit goin' on wit dem soldiers and Mystique bein' around, so it's probably best we not add any more to de mess."

"I guess that sounds logical," said Kitty, "But honestly Remy...Is that a reason or an excuse?"

"Honestly petite...It's a little o' both," said Remy, not having the energy to vehemently deny it at this point, "I t'ink ya just gotta wait for de right moment to come along. There are just certain t'ings dat ya don't rush...Dis bein' one of dem."

"Yeah, I know. But it sure doesn't make it any easier."

Remy simply laughed at that as he opened the door and made his way into the garage. Unlike Kitty, he had a lot more experience when it came to the opposite sex and he was well aware of the complications that so often came with it. And as they both were left to ponder just how they were going to go about their current situation with their respective love interests, Remy left the younger woman with one last little tidbit.

"Kitty...If there's one t'ing Remy's learned in all de time he's been around Rogue, it's dat nothing is ever easy when it comes to matters o' de heart."

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Down in sub levels of the institute, the danger room was once again reduced to a heap of scrap metal as Logan and X23 finally finished their multi-staged session after over several hours of non-stop action. It was a rather interesting experience for the both of them...Two former living weapons that both shared the same blood fighting alongside one another with all the intensity and heart that had come to define them. And even though they probably wouldn't have openly admitted it to anybody, it did feel kind of nice to be around somebody who was like real family.

"That was a hell of a session kid," said Logan as the mechanisms powered down and the computers began to run the repair programs to assess the damage that had been done.

"Yeah, it was...Fun," said X23, flashing a rare smile, although she wasn't quite sure why.

"Ya sure know how to handle those guns of yours," he commented as he saw her do a few gun slinging tricks to check the balance and wear on her weapons, "Did ya really make em yourself?"

"Yep! Every last piece," she said proudly, "My comrades and I spent a whole week making our guns, ensuring that ever part was absolutely perfect. They're pretty much like limbs to us...Almost as much as my claws."

"That tends to happen to things ya make with your own blood, sweat, and tears," said Logan as they walked through the main hatch and made their way over towards the elevator, "Sounds just like me and my Harley."

"You mean your motorcycle?" asked X23, not really one for brands.

"You bet!" he said with a wolfish grin, "But it's more than just a bike to me. It's a way of life. Whenever things get messed up for me, I just turn to my bike and let all my troubles fade."

"Yeah, I've always kind of had a thing for motorcycles as well," said X23, remembering back to some of the missions that required her to use bikes to get in and out of a jam, "I don't know what it is about them, but even when I'm not in combat, they just seem to have this...This affect over me. It's like when I feel the wind in my hair and the hum of the motor it's just...It's comforting in a strange way."

"Guess that's just another little bit you picked up from me," said Logan with a grin, "You do have my blood after all."

Upon hearing that, X23 fell silent again. Every time she was reminded of how she was related to this man, it made her feel so strange inside. And after this little session together, she really got an honestly idea of just how alike they truly were. The shared so many of the same reflexes and strengths from the way they wielded their claws to the way they growled like animals when facing their enemy. It really was a testament to just how similar to they were to one another and it was for that reason why X23 had been getting so conflicted every time she thought about it.

"Somethin' on your mind kid?" said Logan, noticing the sudden shift in her demeanor.

X23 was tempted to just deny it like always, but in this instance she decided against that. Logan had already shown that he could read her like a book. There just were just so many new things she had been feeling ever since she met this man...Things she didn't know how to make sense of. But regardless of how confusing it was, she couldn't deny its power. And it all seemed to revolve around one simple word...Family.

"Logan...Do you have a family?" she asked him.

Logan was definitely caught off guard by that one, for that was probably the last thing he expected her to bring up. But looking back at those conflicted eyes of hers, he could tell that she was serious about this...So he simply answered, not knowing where it was going to lead.

"Well...For the most part, no," he said as they found themselves stopping just at the elevator, "In terms of family like a mom, a dad, and relatives...No, I ain't got none. My memory was almost completely wiped because of Weapon X. I'm not even sure if Logan is my real name to tell ya the truth."

"So you're alone in the world too?" she asked, the look in her eyes not waning as they continued to have this strange affect on the usually stoic Wolverine.

"In terms of family, I guess I am," he said with a sigh, "But my friends here kind of help me with that. Xavier and the kids have kind of become like family to me over the years."

"Yeah...Kind of like me and my comrades. I've always looked at them as family."

"I figured..." said Logan, who was beginning to understand where this was going, "But it's not by blood."

X23 fell silent at that, still very much conflicted by this word that held so many different meanings to her. As close as she was to her comrades, that could only go so far. Logan could clearly see that and he knew exactly how she felt. Like her, he was a loner too...Doomed to hold so much of the rage and sorrow concerning his fragmented deep within him every waking moment. Sure there were people who really helped sooth such pain like Ororo, but it was still hard not having anybody who understood.

"Hey, I know how ya feel kid...Believe me, I know," he said, placing a gentle hand on her weary shoulder, "It's hard bein' so alone in this world...Not having something as basic as family to hold onto when the going gets rough. It leaves a hole in your soul that's pretty hard to fill."

"But why does it have to hurt so much?" she asked, sounding almost desperate after having dealt with this for so many years, "Why does something that doesn't feel like it should be that big a deal sting whenever I think about it?"

Logan let out a deep sigh, for he had been asking himself that same question for years now. But no matter how hard he fought or how much his life changed for the better, he really was no closer now than he had been that day he broke free from Weapon X. It was a struggle he had always been forced to deal with, but now it was a struggle he wasn't facing alone.

"Kid...I wish I had an answer for you. I honestly do. But I really don't know."

"So...It'll never go away?" said X23, a hint of deep sorrow in her voice, "I'll always feel this pain for as long as I live?"

"In some ways...Yeah, it'll always be there," admitted Logan, speaking from years of experience, "But it does get better with time. Just don't ever forget...You're not alone, kid. I've been in your shoes before and I've asked myself all the questions that I'm sure have been drivin' ya crazy for years now. I know what it's like to have that hole in your heart. And I can help you. I can help you so you don't have to go through the same shit I did. You're my own flesh and blood kid. You're my responsibility. And I promise I'm gonna be there for you every step of the way through this whole mess. You have my word."

It was a surreal moment for young X23. Here she was in front of a man she had tried to kill. But he was probably the one person on the face of the planet who understood the pain she was forced to live with. And to hear him promise her something like this after everything she put him through...It just hit her in a way she didn't expect.

She wasn't sure why, but a hard lump formed in her throat as she thought about his words. And looking back at the man whose blood flowed in her veins, she felt something else welling up inside her...Something that seemed to be dormant for so long. Logan seemed to sense it and he began to get a little concerned, but before he could say anything, X23 beat him to it.

"Logan...Would it be wrong if I asked you if...If I could call you...Family?"

Once again, Logan found himself caught off guard. He had definitely not expected that. Helping this girl was one thing, but being her family...Now that was a completely different story. He was a raging animal. He couldn't be family to a teenage girl...Could he? Looking back into those eyes...Those eerie, yet enchanting eyes that bore so much pain...It was hard for him not to feel something special.

Not only did he understand her, but she understood him as well. She understood what it was like to feel so lost and alone in the world. Like her, he had always had to contend with that hole in his heart that he thought could never be filled. But here they were...Finally having a chance to fill it after being so alone for so long. Could they really do it? Could they really be a family?

Logan wasn't sure if it was possible, but in looking back into the eyes of the young girl who was created in his image, he couldn't help but smile. The answer was clear to him and despite his uncertainties, this kid was still his responsibility. And he was going to see to it that she had everything she had been denied.

"Kid...I don't think there's anything wrong with it at all," he said with a smile, "And I would be honored...If I could be your family."

After that, the young soldier who had faced down death and annihilation so many times in the past, simply broke down. She threw her arms around him and pulled him into an embrace. She hated crying. She hated feeling so weak. But for some reason, this didn't make her feel weak. No, this made her feel strong instead. For she was not alone anymore...And if Logan had anything to say about it, she never would be again.

"Thank you, Logan," she said through her sobs as she felt his strong arms around her.

"Anytime kid," said Logan, feeling a bit strange at this feeling, but accepting it none the less, "Now come on...Let's make it official. Let's get you a real name."

With those words, she managed to cast him yet another rare smile as she followed him into the elevator and headed upstairs to make this new beginning official. She was still quite uncertain as to how she was going to do this, but as long as she had this man to guide her and the faith of her comrades, she was confident that she had all the strength and support she would ever need.

And apparently, Fury had been quite perceptive when it came to securing the right documents for Shadow Cell, for the ones concerning X23 didn't contain records. Instead, they contained adoption papers. It was something Logan couldn't help but chuckle at a bit, for it seemed that his old buddy had a knack for foresight. And in the end, this was exactly what they needed to make it official. This is exactly what they needed to forever bind them as family. Logan willingly signed the line on the paper entitled 'father,' a title he'd never thought he'd see himself as. But looking back at X23, he knew that this was something she needed...This was something that she deserved.

And after a long discussion of potential names, they eventually found one that the former living weapon liked. And when it was over, Logan had a new daughter and X23 had a new father. And from this day forward she decided that she would go by a new name and not some number. From this day forward, she would be known as Laura Logan.

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The card game between Scott, Vincent, Mystique, Rogue, and Kurt continued on for hours and hours. Still disconcerted by all the death glares they kept getting, Scott, Vincent, and Mystique chose to stay in the library for the most part despite several attempts by Kurt and Rogue to get them out. Nevertheless, they stayed there with them...If for anything to catch up with their mother. But at the same time, it did help shift their views somewhat of the two young men who were still very much the soldiers they had been trained to be.

For the most part, Kurt and Rogue were a bit weary at first, but after they came around, things began to ease for them and they even smuggled in snacks for dinner while the others ate in the dining room. It was from them that Scott and Vincent got their first real insight to a couple of students. They found Kurt to be fairly light and outgoing, which was a welcome change compared to the people they had been dealing with for the better part of their lives and they found Rogue to be sharp, witty, and a bit sassy at times. And thanks to some creative coaxing on Mystique's part, she opened up a bit and seemed to give the two young men a chance. And after a while, she was glad that she did, for Shadow Cell had plenty of interesting things to talk about.

"So then vhat happened?" asked Kurt, sounding half excited as he shoved another handful of chips in his mouth.

"Well once the noise 'died down' so to speak, the missile was about three minutes away from lift off," said Scott as he and Vincent proceeded to recall one of their many missions, "It was too late to diffuse it and if we blew it up, it could spread the virus all over the Columbian jungle and hit the low level wind torrents that could possibly take it all the way to Brazil where 130 million people could be at risk."

"So what did ya end up doin'?" asked Rogue, who seemed equally intent on hearing the end of their story.

"Well with only three minutes left, we kind of had to improvise," said Vincent, "And that meant me having to clear up the last bit of the resistance and catching up with the missile before it got too high. But since I couldn't destroy it, the only logical thing to do at this point is redirect it to the ocean where it wouldn't harm anybody."

"Vow...So you managed to reprogram a Russian ballistic missile in zhe span of only three minutes?" said Kurt with an amazed look on his face.

"That and knock out the secondary boosters so it didn't get too high," reminded Vincent, remembering that little ploy all too well, "But believe it or not, reprogramming a Russian missile isn't as hard as it seems. I've seen those systems and if you can operate an ipod, you're overqualified to handle it."

A round of laughter fell over the group after that one. Even Mystique found herself laughing at that, which was definitely a new sight to Kurt and Rogue, but it was quite welcome from her usual demeanor.

"Ah guess we'll keep that in mind in case we ever find ourselves up against an attack by Russian missiles," said Rogue as she too grabbed some chips from Kurt, who seemed to be hogging them all.

"Yeah well, regardless of our success, we still got yelled at by the Colonel for letting the damn thing launch," muttered Scott, remembering how hoarse his old superior got after that.

"Honestly, I don't see how you put up with that guy for eight years. He sounds almost as bad as Magneto," commented Mystique.

"Hey! Maybe zhey vere related!" said Kurt, ever the enthusiast.

"Hey, I can't say it would surprise me. Being an asshole does seem to have genetic roots," said Vincent, rolling his eyes a bit as he continued shuffling cards, "So you guys up for another round?"

"I don't know...We've been playing this game for hours," said Mystique as she stretched her limbs and got up from her seat, "I think I need to get out for a while..."

"Hey, I'll come vith you!" said Kurt as he got up, showing a bit more easiness around his mother after having spent the last four hours hanging out with her, "Vhy don't I show you my favorite fast food joint?"

"Oh, you meant the Gut Bomb?" said Mystique, wondering how her son could stand to eat shit like that.

"How did you know?"

"You're my son, Kurt. It's my job to know," she said, managing a smile.

The two former soldiers couldn't help but grin at seeing the look on Kurt's face from that. As rocky as things had been initially, it seemed as though Mystique was finally coming around for them to some extent. She still brought up her bitterness about their earlier actions towards her now and then, but that was to be expected given her nature. It would take time...But Scott and Vincent were definitely patient in that regard. After all, it sure was nice having someone around who did understand the life of a soldier to some extent.

"Well thanks for the game you two," said Mystique as she and Kurt prepared to make their leave, "I'm glad you forced me to play. I sure as hell needed it."

"Anytime Raven," said Scott, casting her a smile, "Thanks for giving us a chance."

"Yes well don't let it go to your heads too much," she said, reminding them that she still hadn't forgotten.

"Oh don't worry, Raven. We're not exactly the ignorant type," said Vincent, knowing she wouldn't forget anytime soon, but it was still a good step in the right direction.

"Can't say I would expect anything less," she said with one last grin before following her son out into the hall, where she hoped to have a little quality time with him.

After they were gone, Rogue still lingered a bit, gathering up some of the food that she and Kurt had brought in. It came as no surprise to any of them that Kurt had left a bit of a mess, but thankfully he wasn't eating anything too greasy. Maybe with Mystique at the mansion now, he could have somebody around to scold him for table manners. Although it was doubtful he would change even with that.

"Well, thanks for the chit chat guys, but Ah should probably be goin' as well. Ah'm on dish duty this week," she said with the bags and containers in hand.

"You're quite welcome, Rogue," said Vince with a smile as he continued shuffling cards with his super speed, "Thanks for not scowling at us for once..."

"Yeah, well...Like mah mamma said...Don't let it go to y'all's head," she said, casting them one last sassy grin before making her leave.

Once again, Scott and Vincent found themselves alone again...Although after many hours of actual conversation with people outside the unit, their spirits were definitely elevated somewhat. Sure it wasn't much, but it was a start.

"Well, that went well," said Scott as Vincent prepared to deal the cards again.

"About as well as it could have gone given the circumstances," added Vincent as he dealt himself and his friend a hand.

"True, but still...It's a good way to start," made Scott as he picked up his hand, "It sure beats the hell out of everybody giving us those death glares."

"Tell me about it," said Vincent with a slight chuckle, "But hey, maybe there is hope for us in this place after all."

The two men continued to finish their hand, still wanting to stick around for a little while longer before venturing out into what they came to see as no man's land. They weren't sure if the girls were still out and chances were X23 was still holding up in the danger room with Logan. And for the most part, that was okay with them since it was abundantly clear in their eyes that the two former living weapons shared some kind of special bond...But in regards to just what kind of bond it was remained uncertain. Yet Logan still seemed to have a positive influence on X23 and that was enough for them.

The two men continued playing cards for a few more hands, making a few comments here and there, until suddenly, they were brought out of their dazed state by two familiar figures.

"Hey guys. Still at it I see," said Jean from the doorway with Wanda by her side.

"Yeah, going on six hours now," laughed Scott as he folded his hand, "You two want to come in and..."

But before Scott could finish his sentence, he caught a glimpse of Jean in her new outfit. Vincent seemed to react in a similar manner, actually fumbling somewhat with the cards as he saw Wanda wearing some of the stuff she had bought from the mall. Their tight fitting denim pants, better fitting shirts that showed off their navel, and light makeup gave them both a new look that neither Scott nor Vincent had expected. And as a result of their reactions, Jean and Wanda couldn't help but smile, for it showed that maybe the girls had been right about this strange attire after all.

"I see you like my new look," said Jean with a grin as she made her way over to her lover, committing the look on his face to memory.

"Uh...Yeah, I...It's really something," said Scott at a loss for words.

"Indeed...I have to say, I'm...Impressed," said Vincent who didn't seem to be faring any better as Wanda took a seat next to him.

"Then I guess we succeeded in our little makeover mission," said Wanda, enjoying the reaction she was getting from Vincent.

"Meh...A mission is a mission, no matter what the context," shrugged Scott as Jean took a seat on his lap in a playful show of affection, "And I guess that's one thing Shadow Cell will always be best at."

"Amen to that!" said Jean in agreement, thinking she could definitely get used to a reaction like this.

*************************************************

The four young soldiers continued to play cards into the night with the girls telling the boys of the oh so eventful trip to Bayville Mall. Certain parts, like the one concerning the guy they decked for hitting on them, made them laugh while others still brought out a bit of confusion since they were still a bit sluggish when it came to certain civilian concepts.

Later on, X23, or Laura Logan as she was now called, came in to join them for the latter part of the night. She went on to tell them about the chat she had with Logan and how she had finally decided on a name for herself. And for the most part, her four comrades were very happy for her. After all, if anybody deserved a chance at a family, it was her. But at the same time, it made some of them feel a touch of sorrow, for it helped remind them that their family was gone and they wouldn't get the chance that Laura had now.

Eventually, long after many of the others went to bed, the five former mutants of Shadow Cell chose to turn in for the night. Naturally, Scott and Jean used this opportunity to take full advantage of their new look for a little 'private time' in their room, which came as a surprise to no one. The only conflict from that came from Laura, who just asked them to keep it down...Although they could make no promises for that.

In addition, Wanda chose to hang out in Vincent's room for a while, an act that was growing increasingly habitual over the course of the last few nights...Not that they complained, of course. They spent a little time going over some of the stuff that Wanda had bought him from the mall since she knew he was getting tired of wearing Remy's clothes. She didn't get much other than a few shirts and a change of pants, but now that she and Jean had more mall knowledge thanks to Kitty, Amara, and Tabitha, they would be able to make a little run of their own. And even though they weren't quite sure why, the thought of taking the boys to the mall seemed to have a certain appeal to the two girls. It sure would be interesting to see how they reacted to it, but for now...That was for another day.

"So what do you think, Vince?" asked Wanda as she watching him try on the last shirt she had bought him.

"I think you did a good job," he said with a smile as he looked at his appearance with the shirt on in the mirror, "This is definitely a step up from some of Remy's stuff...Some of which has sayings on it that I'd rather not bear."

"Yeah, well...I know you like to keep things...Simple."

"Yes...Simple."

Then, as he removed his shirt, Wanda couldn't help but blush a bit. No matter how many times she saw him like this, she could never quite get over the physical attraction she felt for Vincent. He really did have a great body and had filled out so nicely over the years partially from the enhancements from the bio mutagenic accelerator and partially from all his training. Every muscle in his body was so nicely ripped...So strong and manly.

Wanda forced herself to look away before her hormones got the better of her. But after holding them in for so long and managing a somewhat supped up sex drive as a result of their enhancements, it was beginning to get a lot more difficult. At Shadow Cell, the adrenaline from training and missions provided a good counter balance to these feelings, but now that things were out in the open, she had to admit, the thought of them being intimate seemed...Enticing.

"Is something wrong?" asked the shirtless Vincent Freeman, noticing the slight blush on her face.

"No...Of course not," she assured him.

"Yeah right," he said, making his way over towards her and snaking his arms around her waist, "Come on, you can tell me...Really."

The feeling of his warm skin touching hers wasn't helping matters. And the knowledge that Scott and Jean were already probably going at it didn't help much either. Ever since she had told him how she felt, Wanda could feel this...This need to be with him...To be close to him...To make love to him. Maybe it was all the years of suppressed feelings catching up to her or maybe it was something a lot more complicated than that. But either way, she couldn't deny it's power as she found herself gently running her hands along the warm flesh of his manly upper body.

"Vincent...After everything we've been through, did you ever think we would be ready for something like this?" she found herself asking.

"What...You mean, us? Well...If you asked me a few days ago, I probably would have said no."

"But what about now?" she went on, gently wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling him closer to her.

"Now..." he began, searching for the right words, "I don't know, but...Now it feels so...Different. My feelings for you were always there. I just never acted on them. And now that we're here all these years later it just...Wanda, I honestly never thought I'd have something like this. I never thought I'd feel this way about anybody. And I guess I'm still adjusting."

"Yeah...So am I," she said, gently running her hand down the side of his face, "But after all this time, I can't help but think we wasted so much of it when we could have been there for each other."

"I know, I know..." admitted Vincent in a solemn tone, "I...I guess I was just scared of growing close to anybody since every time that's happened to me, it's only led to so much heartache."

"Yeah, I know what you mean," said Wanda, her thoughts drifting towards her estranged father and how he had abandoned her, "But still...Should the past really matter at this point? Should this new life of ours really face the same problems as our old one? Because honestly Vincent...I don't want to hold back anymore. I'm sick and tired of being so...So..."

Wanda tried to finish, but she couldn't. But Vincent was there for her, gently caressing her chin with his hand and smiling warmly at her...Knowing all too well the conflict that she was feeling. And in many ways, he couldn't deny her words.

"It's okay, Wanda...It's okay," he told her softly, "I love you...Don't ever forget that. And new life or old, that will not change. We've come so close to losing each other so many times that I don't even want to count them all."

"They why do we keep wasting time?" she asked him with a wanting look in her eyes, "Why do we keep holding back?"

"Holding back? What...What are you..." he began, but Wanda quickly cut him off with a deep kiss.

Their lips met, their tongues danced, and the passion between them escalated as they soon both found themselves lying on Vincent's bed in a passionate embrace. Their hands began to roam and Vincent could feel Wanda start to work her frenzied touch down the exposed skin of his body. He could feel her want, her need, her desire to be close to him. It was an act that greatly surprised him, but it was one she seemed completely certain of.

"Vincent please...Make love to me," she begged him, wanting it so badly.

"Wanda, I..." he stammered, stumbling for the right words, "Are you sure? I mean, I don't have any...Protection."

"Vincent...Of course I'm sure," she said with a warm, sultry smile, "And do you really think protection matters with a girl who can control probability? Besides, I don't want to waste anymore time. I don't want to hold back. Please Vincent. I want you. I love you."

"Wanda..." he gasped, soon feeling just as taken by this burning desire as her, "Oh God."

Once their lips met again, there were no more words...Only gasps and moans of pleasure and bliss. One by one, they removed their clothing until they were fully nude and went on to make love to each other. So many years of pent up emotion and desire boiled over as they savored each wondrous sensation and feeling, pushing their bodies to the limits. They didn't know how long they dragged it out. All the passion, the pent up emotions, and even the effects of having enhanced bodies seemed to play a part in this enchanting experience that so deeply captivated their minds.

It was unlike anything they had ever felt before...The closeness, the passion, the pleasure. It was truly something special. The love they shared was strong and this powerful act proved it. The powerful of their bond was now solidified because of this...Binding them with a new sense of closeness that was sure to make way for an exciting future. And whatever they faced from this point on, they would make sure that they faced it together.

After making love well into the night, Vincent and Wanda felt the surge of one final mind blowing climax. And from that last act, the two lovers collapsed together on the bed, feeling so drained of energy, yet so content in every conceivable way. They had just made love. They had just given themselves to one another so completely and utterly. It was a truly wonderful experience...One that they both hoped to savor and relish for as long as the love that bound them remained strong and true.

"Wow...That was...Amazing," said Wanda, very short of breath and feeling very low on energy after all their exertion.

"Yes...Amazing," said Vincent, gently holding her in his arms as she rested atop his naked body, "Wanda...You're so wonderful."

"And so are you Vincent," she said, smiling warmly as she rested her head upon his chest, listing to the warm beat of her lover's heart, "Thank you."

"No...Thank you, Wanda," said Vincent, feeling so tired, yet so content for the first time in many years, "Thank you for filling the hole in my heart that I never thought would heal."

"Hey...Just returning the favor hotshot," replied Wanda with a smile, earning her one last kiss from her lover before their exhaustion caught up with them and they drifted off to sleep, "I just wish we did this sooner..."

"Well...Better late than never, I suppose," said Vincent in a warm tone, "Guess that means we've got a lot of catching up to do towards Scott and Jean."

"Mmm...Sounds good to me," she said, looking forward to doing just that now and a long time to come, "But for now...I need sleep."

"Yeah...Me too," said Vincent placing one last kiss upon her forehead, "I love you, Wanda..."

"I love you too, Vincent...Sweet dreams."

And with that, the two lovers finally drifted off to sleep...This time with no nightmares or haunting visions of the past. At long last they could sleep, for now that they were together, they finally had something to grant their tormented souls some much needed peace.

*************************************************

AN: Well, I guess things are finally starting to look up for Shadow Cell! And it's about time, wouldn't you say so? Even Mystique is coming around! X23 now has a name and Vincent and Wanda have taken the next step in their relationship. They really have come a long ways since the beginning and there's still a little ways to go, so stay tuned! And as always, I urge each and every one of you to REVIEW! Send them to me via email or post it on the fanfiction website! Thank you all very much for reading and I wish you all the best!

DO YOU SEE IT? CAN YOU CLICK IT? THE BUTTON ON THE BOTTOM! PRESS IT! REVIEW!!!
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