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6043FIC: Capture and Release, PG-13, Chapter 2

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  • crisiskris
    Nov 2, 2004
      Note: for intro and info, see Teaser.


      Storm drove as quickly as she dared, Kitty slouching in the seat
      beside her, and fortunately they arrived at the Xavier Institute
      without incident. Charles met them at the door. "We may have a
      serious problem," he said by way of greeting.

      Storm quirked an eyebrow at him. "You mean, beyond the fact that
      Logan has been captured by people who obviously mean him harm –
      again?" She replied. Charles didn't even grant her a ghost of a
      smile, and she immediately sobered up. "What's happened?"

      "Do you remember the incident at Bobby Drake's home in Boston?"

      "Of course. Pyro blew up four police cars. How could I forget?"

      "Well, unfortunately, there were other consequences aside from the
      loss of vehicles that day. When the police questioned Bobby's
      parents, they said that he'd identified Logan as a teacher at this
      school. Somehow some reporter got wind of this, and after what
      happened in the mall today, he put two and two together…" Charles'
      voice trailed away at the implication.

      Storm's hand flew to her mouth. "Oh my god. What's going to happen
      to the school?"

      Charles looked at her somberly. "I've just received a phone call
      from the Ministry of Education. They will be conducting a thorough
      investigation. Storm – if they find out what kind of school this
      *really* is… they could do a lot worse than shut us down."

      Kitty had been observing the conversation quietly, but at the last
      statement she finally spoke up. "What? How could they? There's no
      law against having a school for mutants!" Her face flushed with

      "No," Storm replied gently. "But there is a law against harboring
      criminals. And in the eyes of the officials, that's exactly what
      Logan is."

      Kitty swallowed against the heavy realization. "And me," she
      replied, her eyes wide.

      Storm's eyes filled with compassion, but she wouldn't deny the
      truth. "And you," she affirmed.


      "I think that we've lost them. You can probably slow down now,"
      Jubilee commented after quite some time had passed. Wherever they
      had been, they were now back on the highway, rushing back toward
      Westchester at breakneck speed.

      "We have to get back to the professor," Rogue replied distractedly,
      her eyes on the road. "Logan is in serious trouble."

      "He seems to have a knack for it," Jubilee replied. Rogue looked at
      her sharply.

      "He saved my life!" she exclaimed. "And he was there for *everyone*
      after Dr. Grey died, and he helped rebuild the school. He's only
      gotten into trouble once where he needed help. He's even doing
      better than you."

      Jubilee flushed, both angry and guilty. Although it had been nearly
      a year, she still clearly remembered the helplessness and fear that
      had overwhelmed her when Stryker's men had kidnapped her and five
      other children, taking them to Alkali Lake and imprisoning them deep
      beneath the dam. "I'm sorry," she replied after a moment.

      "Me too." Rogue spared her a quick smile before returning her eyes
      to the highway. A glint of metal caught her eye, speeding past them
      in the other direction. "Hey," she said, sitting up a little
      straighter, and even risking a quick glance behind her. "Wasn't
      that Scott's car?"


      Scott, Hank and Kurt headed down the highway, operating on the best
      information they had. Charles had managed to get a lock on Rogue
      and Jubilee, and pinpointed their location. They had driven east
      for nearly 100 miles and then stopped briefly, before turning
      directly around and driving back west. They had no idea what was
      going on, but they figured that whatever the soldier had planned,
      they had to have stopped for something. The three men were
      therefore heading toward the location where the girls had turned

      Scott glanced over at his fellow X-Men. Kurt had fallen asleep in
      the back seat, as he always did. Car travel seemed to do that to
      him. Hank was awake, but he had been sitting very quietly for the
      duration of the ride. "What's on your mind?" he asked.

      Hank started, as though he'd forgotten he wasn't alone. "Oh!" he
      exclaimed, placing one hand to his heart. "I was lost in thought."

      "I see that. What were you thinking about?"

      "Scientific experiments." Hank's voice was very soft, and tinged
      with remorse. Scott took a longer look at his friend.

      "Hank?" he queried. The big man sighed.

      "Before I came to the school, I was a scientist," he
      said. "Primarily, I was engaged in the study of human genes. I
      wanted to understand how mutations worked – why is it that there are
      so many mutants, but such little repetition of mutant abilities?
      Nature works by repetition, generally. Every cell contains all of
      our DNA. Our genetic make up is thus repeated over and over again,
      thousands of cells, exactly the same. But how many other big furry
      blue beasts do you know? Or men who shoot death rays out of their

      "It's a puzzling question," Scott agreed, not entirely sure where
      the conversation was going.

      "But that's precisely the point – I approach it as a puzzle,
      something to figure out. How am I any different from the men who
      experimented on Logan?"

      Scott was shocked. "How could you even compare yourself to them?"
      he exclaimed. "They – they were butchers. They cut him up and
      tried to turn him into a machine. That's not science, Hank. It's

      "But I would have done the same, if Kurt had not pointed out to me
      that Logan was uncomfortable with the idea. Before I came to the
      Institute, I never even thought twice about the consequences of my

      "The Institute has that effect on people," Kurt offered from the
      back seat. He sat up, yawning, having woken up from his doze when
      he heard his name.

      Hank twisted to look back at the blue man. "What do you mean?"

      Kurt shrugged. "Before I came to the Institute, it never occurred
      to me that I shouldn't spend my whole life hiding away from all
      people. Now I couldn't imagine living without my friends, but only
      a few short years ago I believed I needed no one." He gazed out the
      window, lost in thought. "It is a place that changes you, my
      friend – huh?"

      "What is it?" Scott had been nodding along with Kurt's commentary,
      but kept his eyes on the road.

      "I must be more tired than I realized," Kurt replied. "I could have
      sworn I just saw young Rogue drive by us in an army jeep."


      Finally his hands had been released, but Logan only had a brief
      respite in which to restore his circulation before the soldiers were
      securing them against the wall by his sides and he was trussed up
      just like Sabretooth. The other mutant snarled at him from a few
      feet away. "Should have figured they'd catch you, runt. You're too
      short to get away."

      "Yeah, well, obviously your height advantage was counterbalanced by
      your stupidity, Bub," Logan shot back.

      Sabretooth pulled his lips back in a snarl, revealing his fang-like
      teeth. "They caught me by surprise," he defended, eyes narrowed.

      Logan just shook his head. There was just something about
      Sabretooth that made his blood boil, but he couldn't put his finger
      on it, and he couldn't afford to lose his temper. Right now,
      Sabretooth was the closest thing to an ally that he had, and he had
      to get out of wherever they were so he could make sure the girls
      were safe. Logan took a deep breath to calm himself, and then
      asked, "How long have you been here?"

      Sabretooth regarded him suspiciously. "Why do you want to know?"

      Logan bit his tongue to keep from lashing out. "I'm only trying to
      find out what you know about this place, so we can start figurin' a
      way outta here."

      The other man let out a short, mirthless laugh. "Ha! Don't you
      think that if there was a way out of here, I'd have found it

      Logan sighed. "I'm just saying that maybe between the two of us,
      we'll be able to figure it out." Sabretooth offered no
      reply. "Look, Bub," Logan finally snapped, "*I* will be leaving,
      and you can either help – and come – or stay chained to this wall
      until they decide how they want to kill you."

      There was silence from the other end of the room, and then
      Sabretooth replied, very quietly, "That's not what they're planning
      to do, Logan."

      Logan felt a sudden chill wash over him. "What do you mean?"

      "You really don't remember." It was a statement, not a question.

      The words hit Logan like sledgehammers. "What are you talking
      about?" Logan twisted in his bonds, trying to get a better look at
      Sabretooth's face, desperate for information. "What do you know
      about me?"

      Sabretooth let out a dark little laugh. "More than you could


      Storm sank into a chair in the staff room, feeling wrung out. Kitty
      had gone up to her room to rest and Charles had suggested a cup of
      tea, but Storm's mug sat unattended in front of her. "Charles."
      She picked up her tea, stared at it mindlessly and put it back down
      again. "What are we going to do? You know as well as I do what
      will happen if they send someone out here to investigate. Mutant
      schools might not be against the law, but they're hardly going to
      tolerate it. Once they know what we're doing here, they'll use any
      excuse to shut us down!"

      Charles had regained some of his usual calm, but his eyes were
      fiercely determined. "Then we will have to ensure that we give them
      absolutely no reason to find our establishment suspect," he replied.

      "But what about Logan?" She exclaimed. "Just his presence makes us

      "I'm aware of that, Ororo."

      The use of her given name gave Storm pause. She looked up at
      Charles with shocked eyes as the implication of his statement sunk
      in. "You're suggesting we kick Logan out of the mansion? He has
      nowhere to go. We'd be condemning him to the life of a fugitive."

      "I'm merely saying that it is important that it appear that Logan
      never taught here – indeed, that he only stayed here for a very
      short while, when Rogue first joined us. I believe that the
      incident at Bobby's house can be smoothed over, especially if he is
      willing to say that he lied to his parents about Logan's status at
      the school."

      "And what about the girls?" Storm pressed. She didn't like the
      direction this was going at all.

      Charles sighed. "Rogue and Jubilee are out of our hands now. If by
      some grace they are returned to us, then hopefully they have not
      revealed their powers, and we can convince the authorities that they
      were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Kitty, however…"
      he trailed off.

      "They saw her walk through walls," Storm finished grimly. "We can't
      just send her on her way, Charles. Logan can take care of himself;
      he's done it for years. But Kitty's just a girl!"

      "We won't be sending anyone on their way, Storm. I promise you
      that. But we do need to consider how we are going to handle this
      inspection visit. We have to be very careful. And Kitty is going
      to have to go somewhere else – somewhere safe – until we are no
      longer under suspicion."

      "But where?"

      "I think I know a place. First things first, though – you and I are
      currently the only teachers here, and we need to have a school
      meeting." Charles rolled toward the door. Storm squared her
      shoulders and followed.


      Rogue and Jubilee managed to get about eight miles further along
      before Rogue suddenly pulled over to the side of the road, slamming
      on the brakes. "Uh, everything okay?" Jubilee asked, eyeing the
      other girl as though she'd grown a new head.

      Rogue threw her hands up in frustration. "No!" she exclaimed. "No,
      everything is not okay! Logan is there, with those soldiers, going
      through God-knows-what because he thinks that we're in danger – and
      we're not! And I swear that was Scott speeding past us… heading
      right to where we just got out of!"

      Jubilee nodded. "Uh-huh. And?"

      "And?!" Rogue's voice jumped a notch and Jubilee winced. "They're
      headed that way because they're looking for us! Professor Xavier
      must have been able to locate us using Cerebro. But we're not there

      "Um… but the Professor would know that, Rogue. You said we had to
      get back to the mansion."

      Jubilee's logic only stopped Rogue for a moment. "Well, it doesn't
      matter. The point is that Logan's in trouble, and he needs our
      help. We're going back there." She wrenched the jeep around
      furiously, laying rubber as she sped across the lanes over to the
      other side of the highway. Jubilee clutched at the armrest and
      tried not to fly into the dashboard.

      "Umm… do I get a say in this?" she asked. Rogue whipped around her
      in her seat to glare at the other girl with a ferocity Jubilee had
      never seen in her friend. At the same time, the jeep weaved
      dangerously in the lane. "Never mind," she finished in a small
      voice. "Just please – watch the road."