by Nancy Lorenz.
Rating: PG-13. Some violent, disturbing themes.
Archive: XMMFF, WRFA. All else, all ya gotta do is ask.
Classification: General, Character Death, slight L/R UST, S/J
Series: Manus Mortiferum
Spoilers: The Movie.
Synopsis: Continues on after the movie. The Mutant Situation is
and is compounded by the escape of Eric Lenscherr from prison.
Disclaimer: All characters copyright Marvel and Fox.
Feedback: Enjoyed, responded to, adored and worshiped. Respond
to the email above :)
Author's Note: This is beta read, but not to the fullest extent
that it can be. Some comma and
semi-colon confusion occurs. Does that really bother you? I
figure it's only fan-fic, and I have
a comic to ink so I don't have the energy to break my back over
this thing. But I did get rid of
the spelling mistakes and the grammar mistakes. Most of them
anyways :) Very big thank you
to my Betas - JennyEdu, Jennifer Hallmark, Shaz Nolan, and I
swear there must be someone else.
I can't remember right now. E-mail me, smack me up the side of
the head and I'll rectify it in the
second chapter posting. Love ya's alls mate! Oh - and I know
some of you may have read this
part, but I'm releasing a chapter a day. Unless you want more,
that is ;)
Dedication: To the WRGrrls. You've been around for over a year,
and the fandom is still going.
That's majorly cool. Without your support, your enthusiasm and
love, I'd be nowhere. This
tenacity and companionship has helped me improve the crafts that
I want to take into a career.
For that, I thank you and love you always. Thank you girls.
Hell is other people.
- Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)
"Life began as the simplest of accidents. In the primordial
ooze that covered the earth, it may have been only one pungent
bubbling pool of it that had the specific ingredients that
triggered the formation of one of the most important compounds to
life kind. DeoxyriboNucleic Acid. It existed before life had
begun. It was a chemical, merely a chemical that through a
miracle became something more.
"That miracle was mutation.
"For some reason we may never understand, which scientists
believe they are getting a grasp on now, something changed. In
that pool of grunge and muck, amongst the acrid smell of volcanic
expulsions, life was born through a change. It is ironic,
isn't it, that man fears the one thing that brought him into
"Man fears many things, although it is seemingly the most
powerful being on the face of the earth. Our faith in our
mobility and ability to construct things is probably the only
thing that keeps us from proving whether other animals are indeed
intelligent enough to rival us. Such a possibility is a terrible
thing to us. We make animals and the world they live in our
slaves. Everything was constructed, everything tamed, everything
reined and controlled for our own comfort, our own peace of mind,
our own survival.
"And again, like that calm pool... something changed. And
again... it was mutation.
"Mutation is a word that is thrown about, and one has to wonder
whether any of the media that use it, the scientists, if anyone,
understands the true nature of evolution.
"Evolution is not a one-generation event, but something that is
borne through years and years of slow, gradual change. This
reason alone is why so many were shocked by the recent cases of
'mutated' human beings. They displayed traits often referred to
as 'powers' that seemed out of the blue, impossible to occur. I
don't believe this is something that could happen in such a way.
My dear reader, I suggest that perhaps this is the first
noticeable sign of change in a shift that has been occurring for
possibly thousands of years.
"How long has mankind been living differently from animal kind?
How long has he not needed the spectacular musculature that the
Orang Utan possesses, or the ragged teeth of the canine?
Indeed, in many examples of evolutionary paths, a misused well of
energy and growth is put to different use. When the penguin no
longer wanted to fly, evolution set to fattening it up, and
sleeking it down. And upon losing its flight, it earned fins
"So may man have, in giving up a more active lifestyle, inherited
a more cerebral one? How diverse is man right now... and how
more diverse shall he become? Perhaps we all contain the
critical genome that makes one a 'Mutant.' Maybe we were lucky
in the moment of conception, lucky enough to not have that genome
triggered. Or possibly we are all made of exactly the same stuff
as Homo Superior. Maybe we ourselves *are* Homo Superior, and
like the elephants species with too much fur, or a short trunk or
the wrong sized ears, our kind shall breed into something new,
rather than die out, in a fate similar to that of the Neanderthal
men of long ago.
"How many steps away are any of us to the point where we are no
longer Homo Sapiens, and become Homo Superior? Perhaps our
answer lies not in highlighting the differences of 'sapiens' and
"But in looking into our similarities," finished Logan, letting
the newspaper fall between his fingers. He glanced to the girl
sitting cross legged on the bed in the centre of the room,
scribbling down in a booklet, "So that was ... 'From
Sapien to Superior', by Senator Kelly. Miraculous turn around."
He dropped the paper on the bed, shaking his head.
The girl tipped her head aside, looking to the headlining article
in the Editorial of the paper that lay exposed on the bed. She
frowned at it. "People have no idea," she said softly, "That
he's gone. You'd think they could tell or somethin'."
Wolverine looked back at her, a steady firmness in his lips,
"People only see what they want to see."
The girl rolled her eyes and sighed, "Yeah maybe."
He couldn't help but smile a little. She had that effect on him,
making him smile when he was supposed to be a tough mother on an
(often-borrowed) motorcycle. It was rather embarrassing,
really. He didn't even realise until too late that this routine
had begun. She'd sat in his room doing homework while he was
gone, because it was the only quiet place where she could be
alone. The dormitories were fit to burst with other kids.
Somehow he knew why she occasionally chose not to be amongst
Kid. She didn't look like a kid. In those dark eyes resounded a
soul that had a pain that echoed within him. He could see in her
eyes a desperate longing. It killed him to see that in her. He
understood it, although why so well, he wasn't sure. He felt
like a miserable bastard however, being the inverted man. She
ached for contact so badly it broke her soul. And he, with his
rugged exterior and gruff nature, actively shunned it. He
didn't want it; she couldn't have it.
Ah crap, Logan, he thought, the world just sucks.
His melancholy haze lifted as he glanced up, catching her
repositioning herself onto her stomach, her legs free to swing
back and forth in the air behind her, the pen she was using
wedged in her teeth like a cigar. He frowned with a smile.
"Rogue... what are you doing?"
She blinked at him, smiling incredulously, "Bein' girly."
"Oh," he shrugged and nodded, "Fair enough."
It was a silent shock to walk into his room after his sabbatical
at the abandoned military base to find the young girl settled at
his desk, quietly working away. Even more disturbing was the
warm rush of relief and affection that went through him as he
realised whom it was. That cherubic face would nudge a smile
from him again, and he felt like hiding and berating himself in
the Danger Room for a while (oh how he adored the Danger Room).
Of course, he just smiled and said 'Hi honey, I'm home', and
disturbed himself even more in how nice it felt saying that.
Rogue had turned, grin lighting up her face and she ran to him,
hugging him tightly.
"Logan!" she cried, "How was it? Did you learn anythin'?
Cyclops is so gonna kill you for takin' his bike!"
He gave a hint of a smile and lifted his hands up to calm the
babbling girl, "It sucked, I learnt jack, and Cyclops can kiss my
ass for all I care," he said.
She rolled her eyes, sinking down onto the bed, "It's been so
borin' without you here."
"Yeah," he said, rather as a statement that a question, "Um - why
are you in here?"
Uncertainty splashed onto her face and she glanced around
herself, "Oh shoot, I hope you don't mind... it's just the study
hall is always so full and everyone's just bein' loud annoyin'
jerks in the dorm all the time-"
He smiled again, throwing his leather jacket down onto the bed
beside her, "It's okay."
That had been the beginning of it. Since that day she took the
liberty of taking solace in his room every afternoon to do her
homework. He'd barely noticed it as a beginning, but as time
went on its significance grew. This girl was growing on him more
than she already had. And seeing as that was enough to have him
risk his neck for her repeatedly, this 'more'ness was damn nigh
worrying. He twitched, looking to her scratching away with a pen
at her notebook. Curiosity niggled within him.
"What are you writing?"
She glanced up, fear suddenly in her eyes, "Um... nothin' it's
just- poem for school."
Poetry. He hated the stuff. He angled his head to look at the
words, but shaking gloved hands pulled the booklet away, a blush
rising in her cheeks. Part of him felt a slow embarrassment,
realising it probably had something to do with him. Another part
that rebelled increased his heart rate, made him feel a little
"You don't have to show it to me if you don't want to," he
drawled, shrugging and looking to the wall across from him, "It's
up to you."
Her eyes widened a little, and she glanced aside, dipping her
head a little in embarrassment. She looked to her book that was
cradled against her chest.
"I just - I'm still workin' on it... I'm not very good with
He nodded, pursing his lips thinly, "Has it got Latin in it?"
She glared at him, "Huh?"
"Some poets, they put Latin in their stuff," he said, leaning to
her just slightly, "So they feel better about themselves cause
they think Latin is something special and hifalutin'."
Her face fell, shoulders shrugging, her lips shuddering as she
said, "It has Latin in it."
He gave a sidewards twitch of his head. Damn it all he felt like
a real asshole now, "Latin is okay."
"Yeah well..." she looked away, blushing.
He gave a slight smile, "You going to read it to me or not?"
She smiled with that disbelief in her eyes, "You wanna hear it?"
"As long as it isn't mushy stuff," he said, propping his arms on
firmly set apart legs, his arms rippling; exposed from the simple
grey t-shirt he wore. He felt a slight hotness run over him as
Rogue briefly glanced at them, her eyes fixed on his hands
running over each other, rubbing the knuckles. He did that
sometimes. They itched, as scarred skin was wont to do.
"Um," she blinked, looking down, "It's um... the title is
Latin... I call it - Noli Me Tangere."
The words struck him. Touch me not...
She cleared her throat, tilting her head and pulling a lock of
platinum hair behind her ear, "Um... Noli Me Tangere.
Alone in my ability,
Yearning in my heart.
Lost all my faith in things.
Few knew or understood.
Father cries for nine one one.
Mother wails for calm.
I'm the one there shaking.
The boy the one there nearly gone.
All I see are the footfalls I make.
The damning sound of heel on ground.
And the world moved me along, drifting and
shattering, soft and cold.
"He came and threw back the isolation," She gave a slow blink,
her voice wavering slightly as her hands shook,
"Destroyed the fear with a withered smile.
All along my mind knows, though...
Noli Me Tangere, my friend,
Noli Me Tangere."
He couldn't say anything. Obviously the poem was... well
amazing. It hit him like one of Storm's light jolts, and he
struggled to keep his hands from shaking at the eloquent words.
"You wrote that..." he breathed softly.
Rogue blushed and shrugged, doodling on the edge of the pad, "I
like English studies."
"I'll bet," he said, "That last bit-"
She looked away, her hand covering her face idly, "Yes."
He closed his mouth, the words he was about to utter dying
there. All that he could feel was a growing swell of - well the
only way he could describe it was the opposite of heartbreak.
His heart, in pieces for so many years, had shifted a little
closer to becoming whole again. She'd written that last bit
"So, did it suck?"
He looked up at her from his hands, shock on his features, "No,
not at all. I was just thinking - it was um - it was good."
"Oh," she nodded, pulling closed the book, "Good."
He nodded back at her, pursing his lips idly as his hazel eyes
glanced around the room. From the corner of them, he could see
her gather pens and pencils off his bedspread and into her pencil
case. He tried to pretend that he wasn't watching her young,
slowly curving body rise up off of the bed with the bounce of
confidence he suddenly realised was delightful to encourage in
her. However, closing his legs slightly and rolling his lips, it
was clear to him that no matter how mutated he was, he was still
a slave to his hormones. He looked to her as she pulled her
bag onto her shoulder, a short smile on her face.
"I better go, Jubilee is expecting me at the workout area."
Logan frowned, "Who?"
Rogue moved from foot to foot with a small frown of her own, "You
know, Jubilee... she's in the same class as me." Logan's face
was blank. "Tch! Never mind," she said, her accent drawling,
"She's really weird, I like her. Has a penchant for blowin' shit
up, you'd like her too."
Logan blinked at her, "What?"
"Stuff, I meant stuff," blushed the young girl, "It's all your
fault you know! Ever since Ah sucked you dry I been swearin'
like a sailor. Even if Jean thinks it's all worn off. Ah think
I jus' learned to control it some. Anyway - what was I sayin'?"
Logan let a smile tinge his eyes but not shift his mouth,
"Oh yeah... I think Bobby has a serious crush on her," Rogue
mumbled, glancing out the window. Logan now smiled freely.
"I thought he had a crush on you."
Rogue rolled her eyes, "So did I. Oh well, I better go."
As she strode to the door, her gloved hand grabbed his and
squeezed, a sweet smile on her features, "See ya round, Logan."
"Later," he called back at her as she disappeared out the door.
He sighed, lying back on his bed. His stomach yawned a little.
His bed smelt of the strong scent of girl's deodorant and
strawberries. Such a power in her movements, such energy in her
gaze. He closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. Get real Logan,
he thought, she's probably young enough to be your daughter.
His soul had always seemed to slip, slide and stagger wildly, his
heart raging with anger at what he was, at what he should have
been. Suddenly, like the calming hand of a matriarch against the
edge of a rocking cradle, she calmed him. All it took was a wide
look of her dark eyes, an upward twitch of her cupid-bow lips.
They probably tasted of strawberries too.
Just as she had predicted, the teenager was pissed. She
clutched her notebook to her chest, her brows tilting up in
contrition. The Eurasian simply shook her head, her short
cropped hair bouncing a little as she did so, the thick
smoky-rimmed sunglasses on her face shielding the large brown
eyes that she knew to sweep up attractively. The full lips,
gleaming with fruit-scented lip-gloss, twisted, a dark brow
"Where the hell where you? No- no wait," A derisive grin grew on
the young woman, "Havin' some quality time with the Wolfman."
Rogue frowned, "His name is Wolverine - wolverines aren't dogs at
"Sure, they're weasels," snickered Jubilee, shifting in a bright
yellow fuzzy jacket, "You're late, and we're never going to get
time on the treadmills now. No playing 'Romy and Michelle'
Rogue rolled her eyes, smiling, "Well that's okay."
"No way," said Jubilee, pulling Rogue along, "If Crysta hogs that
machine one more time I'm going to zap her ass so hard she'll be
spitting sparklies for a week."
Rogue sniggered, "You're nuts."
Jean Grey sighed at the wall of televisions, shaking her head
darkly. Sometimes she hated this job, watching the television
stations to keep a tab on the events in the city with Professor
Xavier by her side. Not that she minded time with Xavier (that
was always beneficial); she just hated the level of journalism
that seemed to exist. Sensationalist in nature, the reporters
were sniveling and like vultures wheeling arcs in the air, just
waiting for the next big bang to happen. It made her sick. What
made her even sicker was that lately, more and more, the Mutants
were that very next big bang. She'd seen her face on television
a few times now, and not for her doctoral efforts.
Today, the scream of fear and object of many flashy clip-art
images pasted behind dour looking scientists, was the recent
'Genome Race.' Yes... the tempest of wildly clinking test-tubes
and number-crunching computers easily out-did the almost archaic
mechanical efforts that men put forward to send themselves to the
moon. This... this was far more dangerous than anything that
could have possibly have come of the Space Race. A dull looking
sheep was often flashed upon the screen, and it stirred worry in
A man on the screen excitedly (but also with a tint of menace)
blathered on about how the little kinks that had occurred in the
first ever cloning of a mammal, (like premature aging and
decaying systems) had finally been ironed out. There was no
holding back now, as it seemed the science of cloning had gotten
to its feet. With the specialists of the world in the final
stages of mapping the human genome (with much rushing and
competition, thus its status as a race), apparently the
newscaster decided that this meant certain disaster. Jean wished
that she could, with all certainty and security, disagree.
With a cold clench of anxiety in her throat, she knew that in all
honesty - she could not.
Turning from the screens, she muted their volumes with a mental
nudge whilst walking over to her now cold coffee and taking a
swift sip. "There is such a thing as too much television,
Professor Xavier sat at the briefing table; hands folded
together, lips drawn in a line. He had been watching the news
with her, and the feathery touch of his mind at hers told him all
he needed to know of her concerns.
He smiled, "Perhaps I should just go spend some time in
"I think that'd be preferable. My eyes are turning to squares."
The professor wheeled himself over to his own coffee, taking a
sip. "I've only had the younger students today - tell me - how
is Jubilee fairing?"
Aaah... Jubilee. She'd just had her 18th birthday and had gotten
herself totally smashed beyond reproach on vodka. Lord knows
*where* she got it from, but then again the girl had lived in the
muck of the alleys surrounding the city malls, and had supported
herself via the art of shoplifting. She could barely be
surprised if the girl had lifted it from the school's
well-stocked alcohol cabinet.
Jean Grey shrugged, "Well, I think she regrets last weekend... I
hope. Somehow I think it'll just wear off as she forgets about
it and she'll be smuggling herself to Lily's Tavern on a regular
"Hmmm." Xavier placed down his mug, worry etched in his brow,
"She is essentially a responsible young woman, she just has a
need to assert her own independence. It's something she's
nurtured, it's kept her alive and it makes her who she is."
Jean sighed again, weariness splashed on her elegant high-boned
features, "I know, I know. I swear, that girl has given me more
grey hairs than I care to think about, and I have three long
years to go."
Xavier gave a twitch of a smile, "Now you know how I felt,
looking over you and Scott those years ago."
This caused Jean to smile, nodding, "Point taken."
"Is Logan adjusting to his new duties well enough?"
Jean rolled her eyes, "Yeah, but... oh man, he and Scott. I'm so
sick of seeing those two prance about like two prize bulls on
Xavier frowned, "Really? I hadn't sensed anything too adrift in
Jean gave a light snort, "Are you kidding? I'm worried there's
gonna be bloodshed the next time!"
Xavier just smiled knowingly, "Perhaps you're just mistaking
boyish banter for something more serious?"
Jean sighed, hanging her head back wearily. "Maybe... All I
know is that it's driving me insane!"
Professor Xavier glanced to the doorway, his face looking
suddenly worried. Jean knew what this meant, someone was coming,
and they weren't happy at all. She turned to the door just in
time to see it swing open wildly, the face of her lover, Scott,
"The news - look," he said, racing in and over to a television
screen, flicking the channel and turning the volume up. Jean's
heart seized, and she could see Xavier's face grow hard as the
events on the television flashed before them. The high-grade
military installation that guarded Magneto whirled on the screen,
shadows of other helicopters buzzing over the scene like bees
around a hive, the little figures on the ground racing about the
place, blasting open walls, ripping apart bodies and dominating
any battle that presented itself. Mutants, about ten of them,
swarmed the complex.
"Cyclops - gather a team. Take Wolverine, Storm and Jean."
Cyclops nodded, "Yes sir. Uh, that new guy that turned up about
a month ago, the hairy brainiac-"
Jean frowned, "Beast?"
"Yeah," said Scott, "He's pretty strong, and he's old enough-"
"Yes, take him too," said Xavier. "Take care."
"We always do," Jean smiled grimly as Scott nodded determinedly,
charging out the door.
"Watch Wolverine," he said, "You know his rages, and I don't
think he'll be too content controlling them if you have to face
"Scott'll have him on a leash!" called back Jean from the
Xavier cocked a brow. He knew that Wolverine would just rip it
off and spit in Scott's face. Xavier knew all too well the
effect the encounter with Magneto had had on young Logan.
However old Logan's body was, his mind felt strangely young to
Xavier, and he knew this also frustrated Logan. Here was a man
who looked as a man, talked as a man, yet he had barely a grasp
of life to fuel him. To compound this, the control he had over
his own behaviours was shaky at best. His relationship with
Rogue had quite a positive effect on him, but due to the troubles
with Magneto, it had also left him deep scars. He could sense a
lot of guilt and blame that Logan directed on himself. Indeed,
it seemed to be a life goal of Logan that Rogue came to no
harm. Xavier knew too well that Magneto had seen Logan's
devotion, had toyed with it, thrown it to the winds and shown
that against a man of magnetism, a man of metal was useless.
The effects of this on Logan's mind were rather worrying.
Xavier was sure that's why the young man had been absent in
Alkali for so long.
The Professor rubbed his chin, feeling for Wolverine in the
building. He felt the concentration that the burly man often let
envelope him during a stiff workout, but there was something
else, something battling within him. Arousal? The school was
full of girls of different ages, and a few rather attractive
young women. Who could he be- it suddenly became clear. Ah...
thus the battling. He couldn't help but be a little relieved
when the arousal was quickly laid to rest - Cyclops had reached
him, to take him on the mission.
He would have to have a talk to Wolverine later. Very carefully,
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