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fic: alive

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  • Peachy
    next in seasons change series by peachy...as usual feel free to archive..just tell me and if you want the rest of my stories just let me know.... Title: Alive
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 3, 2000
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      next in seasons change series by peachy...as usual feel free to
      archive..just tell me and if you want the rest of my stories just let
      me know....


      Title: Alive
      By: Peachy
      Teaser: finally the X-men confront Magneto
      Rating: R
      Genre: action, drama

      Finally after a few weeks of watching the police had to trim back on
      their already limited resources. Xavier even had to narrow their own
      monitoring efforts down to the most likely targets. He knew Magneto
      was just waiting for the opportunity for them to drop their guard and
      then make his move. He didn't want to give Erik the slightest
      chance. He wasn't sure even how Magneto planned to carry out his
      objectives or if he was even capable of such things. The police did
      random drive-bys but that was it. Many of the business executives
      also got upset over the ordeal. Nothing had happened so far and they
      thought nothing ever would. It was a waist of their money that they
      put towards security and the police and Xavier made them worry and
      fear for nothing.

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

      One weekend Gambit finally got the courage to take Felix's advise and
      asked Jubilee out on a real date. Just him and her. She just
      giggled when he finally asked and it made him feel really stupid. He
      got embarrassed and turned to walk away when she stopped him.

      "Wait, I'm sorry."
      "For bashing in my feelings?"
      "Yes…and… I'd love too."
      "Really?" his eyes perked up thinking he didn't stand a chance with
      her.
      "I just wondered why you didn't ask me sooner," Jubilee smiled and
      took Gambits hand as they walked outside to join the rest of the
      group for basketball.

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

      Later that night Gambit was allowed to borrow the old beat-up,
      student test-drive Saturn car and drove Jubilee out to this
      restaurant then a movie. Finally they'd hit an arcade to play games
      all night. They both loved arcades and computer games of the sort.
      The best place to go was in this more ritzy area of town outside the
      city.

      When they drive by Jubilee just looking at all the gorgeous houses
      when a large shadow moves in the background. She would have thought
      nothing of it but it looked like it was carrying a dead body in a
      satchel. Not a common sight for this area but maybe,

      "Ghetto LA!" Jubilee shouted.

      Then Jubilee instructed Gambit to pull over and they snooped out what
      was going on.
      These two are just a combination of trouble and putting them together
      is like a powder keg waiting for the right match.

      They finally got close enough to make out the big hairy shaped man,
      Sabertooth. He didn't exactly fit in around here.
      They didn't know what to do so ran back to the car to call Jean on
      the cell phone.

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

      "What?!" Jean was surprised and shocked.
      Apparently Magneto was making his first move now.
      "Listen, I want you to stay right there and don't move. Don't let
      them see you! Got it!"
      "Yeah," Jubilee replied.
      "We'll be right there." She assured the two.
      "We'll be waiting."

      Jean hung up and called in everyone to the meeting room.
      By the time everyone showed up Jean was fussing over piles of
      addresses and maps.

      "We haven't much time to waist here." Scott took over the meeting.
      "What's going on?" Logan questioned.
      "Gambit and Jubilee spotted Sabertooth and some other guys in
      Manhasset area. Stuck out like a sore thumb. My guess is Magneto is
      making his first move. There are five people on this list that live
      in that neighborhood." Jean explained.
      "I suggest we suit up and find out what they are up to, now." Scott
      added.

      The rest agreed. They couldn't just sit here and let Magneto's plan
      go into action.

      "You guys up to it?" Scott looks at Bobby, Rogue and St. John as they
      went off to suit up. He got three resonant yeses.

      The plane took off as Xavier prayed for their safe return. The
      younger kids, always fascinated by the X-men ran to the window and
      saw the plane roar off into the sky above.

      As they flew Logan sat next to Rogue near the back. She had her head
      down and hands shaking, rubbing them to hide it.
      He saw and leaned over to talk to her.

      "Are you sure you're ok?"
      "Yeah, just nervous I guess. I just hope Gambit and Jubes are ok."
      "They are. I got you're back you know, don't worry." He gave her his
      hand and she took it, smiling.

      She gazed at her hand. It was so small in his. He had been there
      for her for every nightmare, helping get over Shadow would have been
      impossible but his arms and knowing he was there, checking up on her
      while she slept (she caught him one night) was reassuring. She felt
      stronger knowing he was right beside her. Strength filled her and
      she was determined not to let Magneto use other people like he tried
      to use her.

      "Let's kick some ass!" Marie said loud enough for everyone to hear.

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

      "Where are you going?" Jubilee shouted.
      "To follow them, we can't let 'em get out of our sights."
      "Jean said to stay here."
      "Stay here and we loose them. Then what? We've got nothing. Bring
      the phone with us. We can keep in touch that way."
      Jubilee looked very doubtful.
      "I don't like this!"
      "We'll stay back far enough not to be spotted." Gambit tried to
      reassure her.
      "Just stay downwind of beastman, then I'll agree."
      "Sure, let's go before we loose them."

      The two slithered from house to house until they came upon the two
      strangers and watched. Sabertooth was there with Vamp. They had
      this guy wrapped in a blanket of sorts, flung over his shoulder.
      Finally they stopped in these woods out back and dumped the guy. He
      was still alive, gagged and tied up. Finally Vamp went over and
      drained him of all his memories. Good thing he was gagged or else
      his screams would have been heard. Finally he slumped over limp.

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

      "My, my… Mr. Karringer, you were a bad boy. No wonder your wife
      left
      you." Vamp smiled at the memories he'd share with the new Paul
      Karringer.
      "Now what do we do with him?" Sabertooth growled.
      "I don't care, bury him."
      "He's still alive."
      "So break his neck, just get rid of the body."

      And Sabertooth took the man, who wiggled in his arms like a worm
      before you put it on the fishing hook, and crushed his neck.

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

      Jubilee couldn't watch and at that moment Jubilee could hear the bone
      break and almost screamed but Gambit covered her mouth.
      They stood there not able to do nothing but watch.

      Jubilee couldn't believe what those goons just did, she saw someone
      get killed and she could do nothing. She started a silent cry as her
      eyes watered.

      Gambit was sick to his stomach at the site. He was furious. He
      couldn't believe they'd take a life so easily without second though.

      They both knew they couldn't have done anything and they were no
      match for these two but…they should have been able to do
      something!

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

      Sabertooth buried the body and they went off on their way to a sport
      utility vehicle parked on the side of the road. They got in and sped
      off.

      Gambit and Jubilee had to drive to follow them, but stayed back not
      being obvious. He handed the phone to Jubilee who got in touch with
      Storm. She took it, hands just as shaky as her voice.

      "Where are you guys?" Jubilee asked very impatiently.
      "We're almost there. Are you two alright?"
      "Yes but we were following them, they killed this man…" Jubilee
      then
      started to ramble on and on "…the big hairy guy just crushed his
      other guy's neck and buried him like he was nothing, just a rag doll
      instead of a human being and then they took off and were following
      them, I don't want them to see us, Gambit slow down! I don't know
      where they're going."
      "It will be ok. Jubilee, take a deep breath and try to relax. It
      wasn't your fault. You couldn't have done anything ok."
      It made her feel better knowing Storm didn't think they did anything
      wrong.
      "Just be careful and don't get caught you two, you hear me. Stay
      back."
      "Trust me, we will."
      "I'll call you back shortly," and Storm hung up.
      "Well?" Gambit wanted to know.
      "We're on our own for now."
      "Great!" They weren't exactly excited about this.

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

      "What happened?" Jean shouted like a concerned mother.
      "There fine, relax." Storm tried to calm her fears.

      Jean turned to Xavier who was back at the mansion. She sent him a
      message to see if he could follow them via Cerebrum and let her know
      where they are.

      Rogue eyed over to St. John and Bobby. They were worried for their
      friends.

      Storm explained what Jubilee had told her so far. Scott was getting
      furious. He wanted to land and end this for once.

      Finally Xavier replied and they changed direction to follow Jubilee
      and Gambit. They were headed towards Massachusetts.

      "Whoa…what do we have here???"

      Scott picked up a signal on their radar. A helicopter, it was them.
      Jean felt it. Scott had to hold back. He locked on to that signal
      and set down near the abandoned airstrip the helicopter took off from
      to pick up their two cloak and dagger spies and they were off again.

      Rogue gave then each a hug, thankful they were ok.

      Jubilee had calmed down a great deal and Gambit held her hand as they
      flew following the signal.

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

      The X-men arrived off the coat of Massachusetts and set down. The
      youngsters were in the back and Scott and Felix lead the way.

      "Ssssssshhhhhh!" and they all ducked down as the group reached, what
      they believed to be Magneto's hideout.
      There was Sabertooth and Vamp shutting down the helicopter and moving
      towards another building that seemed to jut out from the cliff
      dwelling below. They were greeted by Mystique, Toad and Plasma
      coming out of the complex.

      "So what's our move Buck Rogers?" Logan turned to Scott, claws ready
      for a fight.

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

      Inside Erik had been expecting them and discovered they were back as
      he heard the chopper land.

      "There are others." Karringer, his clone creation responded.
      He used his telepathy and found one or two more minds beside their
      two expected arrivals. If there were others with them, they blocked
      him from seeing them.
      "Others?"
      "Several."

      Erik felt it could only be one thing, the X-men. The idiots messed
      this up and lead them hear. Erik didn't know how but there was
      nothing he could do now. It was time to finally end this game once
      and for all.

      He promptly sent out Mystique, Toad and Plasma to join them.
      Karringer followed as well. He would not let Xavier stop him this
      time.

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

      "We should split up. Myself, Jean, Logan, Rogue and Bobby will
      follow them inside and the rest of you check out the rest of the
      compound and secure the parameter."

      Unfortunately there was no time to implement this plan of his.

      "We've been caught." Logan stated.
      "What are you talking about?"
      "I don't think the welcome wagon just walked out that door."
      "Logan's right." Felix said.

      As Parks uttered the words Plasma turned in their general direction
      and plasma shots were fired and all hell broke loose.

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

      Plasma and Bobby got into a rumble and Plasma flared up heat and
      fired towards him.
      Bobby retaliated with frozen ice, blocking many attempts by Plasma to
      literally melt him.
      He was not quick enough once and a heat blast hit Bobby on his wrist,
      melting his watch into his skin. He cried out in pain but didn't
      stop focusing on the enemy at hand. He froze his hand to numb the
      pain. First it was a shock but then the pain dulled and went away.
      Finally after a few hits and misses he got in one ice blast to
      Plasma's arm in retaliation and the guy ran off.

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

      Toad slithered into the trees for better hiding coverage and
      advantage.
      Felix and St. John would have none of that and followed him. Felix
      used his stretching arms to swing himself into the trees and to
      follow Toad, avoiding the slime that was spit at him.
      St. John on the other hand, tried one or two of his own fireballs to
      knock him out of the trees. Didn't work and almost got Felix in the
      mix.
      Finally, with a swift kick, Toad flew to the grounds and St. John hit
      him and gave Toad a burn mark he wouldn't forget.
      Unfortunately, St. John didn't see the slime come and hit him square
      in the face, blocking off all air. Toad ran off and Felix grabbed a
      knife from his belt to help St. John breathe.

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

      Logan dealt with the oversized gorilla called Sabertooth. He hated
      this guy. They were equals in strength and animal reflexes and
      moves. He had it in for him and they went at it. Both getting in one
      or two big slices. Logan healed and Sabertooth as well. Logan didn't
      know if there would ever be an end to this fight or if either one
      could really gain the upper hand. Their fists kept on flying at each
      other.

      Finally he smelled it. So faint in the sweat, blood and just plain
      body odor of Sabertooth but as Logan was flung against a wall he
      smelled it, faintly, Shadow. Since they got here he had been looking
      for it and hunting it out. He wanted revenge for what he did to
      Marie. He wouldn't live if Logan had his way.

      He got in one more good bout with Sabertooth knocking him down with a
      gash or two that hopefully take a while to heal and turned to find
      his new prey. He wanted Sabertooth dead but it would have to wait,
      Shadow was his.

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

      Rogue was flow back from a force she couldn't see right into a tree.
      As she was getting up a shape transformed before her, leaving her
      paralyzed. It was Shadow, the man who attacked her. Her body
      wouldn't move as he approached her. She tried to hit him, scream,
      run, anything. Instead she was frozen.

      He smiled at her docile reaction to him, the power he held over her,
      and ran his hand through her white streaks, "miss me?"

      She felt him on her face and feal his breath on her ear and neck.
      All her fear returned covering her body again, she couldn't breathe
      and in her mind he was all over her.

      She closed her eyes holding back tears, then felt a stinging pain as
      his protected hand flung across her face and then a knee in her
      stomach and then thrown to the ground. She took another kick and
      wasn't able to get up. She stared at him and he hit her again.

      He just watched as she tried to get to her knees to crawl away. He
      studied her in her leather suit and eyes on her ass.

      "I like it when they're on their knees." He then laughed.

      Rogue thought she was going to be sick.

      "This is so easy." He grinned and kicked her again.

      She staggered and finally something SNAPED! She gained control. She
      felt anger, fear, and terror and hate flow through her. She was not
      longer scared. She wouldn't take this from him any more. No one was
      there to fight for her, help her…if she wanted to win she'd have
      to
      do this on her own. This was her fight; no one could help her but
      herself.

      She let him get close and swung her leg around and kicking him,
      hitting him in the groin, her intended target.

      She turned and kicked knocking him down. Finally she gained the
      upper hand in this fight. She used her flight ability and hours of
      training in fighting. She used every once of practice and energy she
      had against him and was winning. Finally he was down and she stood
      back watching him.

      "More?" she asked in a grin.

      He got furious and attacked. He wouldn't take this from that…
      "Bitch!"

      They were both taking blows and blocking.

      Finally Rogue saw out of the corner of her eye a figure behind
      Shadow. She smiled gave one more kick, sending the man into Logan
      and he finally sunk his claws in deep. Shadow could only do one
      thing at feeling the pain, gasping for air and seeing Logan's eyes
      ready to kill, he dissipated back into air and fled before he was too
      weak. He was bleeding badly but he wouldn't die, if he got help.
      Logan was satisfied to get his claws in even if he vaporized and
      fled. He wished he could have done more damage but look already like
      Rogue did enough. He went over to a half-beaten Rogue.

      "You ok," and he held her head in his hand. He supported her weight
      as she faltered a bit on her feet.

      "Yeah," smiled a the warm eyes that cared about her
      "Come on we got other fish to fry."
      And a scream was heard from Jean.

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

      Sabertooth shook off Logan's attack and tried to follow him. He ran
      into Storm and Gambit. He ripped the two apart.

      Gambit flared his cards at the beast but he dodged them or shook them
      off too quickly.

      Jubilee came in and got a one-two punch with her fireworks. Those
      stung his a lot more.

      Storm on the other hand flew up and was brewing up some lighting for
      her strikes.

      Finally Sabertooth flung at Jubilee flying her over twenty feet into
      a tree and she screamed, as her shoulder popped and became
      dislocated. Gambit attacked in retaliation and Storm flared in a
      lightning bolt or two sending the big bulge flying back himself and
      eventually he ran off.

      Gambit rushed to Jubilee's side trying to dull or lessen the pain as
      her shoulder looked completely messed up and she was in pain. He
      could see it in her face even though she didn't scream or say a
      word. She wasn't moving a muscle. He was able to calm her and went
      to find Jean to help.

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

      Storm found Toad and sent high winds to knock him out of the trees,
      which he returned to for camouflage. Finally he was blown back by
      St. John's fireball and he ran off again.

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

      Scott and Jean had to deal with Mystique's fighting skills and
      Karringer's super strength. They were getting their asses kicked in
      this fight. Karringer was too strong for either of them.

      Jean used her telekinesis to control his movements but he retaliated
      by screaming into her mind and she couldn't block it. It was
      excruciating. He got in one or two hits pulverizing Jean.

      Then Scott raged out at him only to be stooped by Mystique. She took
      Jean's shape. Scott knew it was Mystique but still found it
      difficult to lash out a face that he loved. Wolverine on the other
      hand would have no problems with it.

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

      Logan came in after he heard Jean's scream as she was thrown into
      metal wall and skidded onto a gravel road. Logan lashed out and
      matched Karringer's blows and got in one or two strikes.

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

      Rogue gave Scott a break and took over where he left off with
      Mystique.
      Mystique just grinned and licked her lips.
      Rogue's body ached and took another beating. She spit up blood as
      another fist hit her in the face.

      Mystique was good, even as Rogue was able to fly and maneuver; she
      wasn't quiet as flexible and limber as Mystique. Then she thrashed
      out at Rogue again, taking Logan's body shape and claws. Rogue had
      to dodge the new claws that slashed out at her.

      Finally Mystique pinned her down. She couldn't fly away or move very
      much at all. She was trapped. The only thing she could do was touch
      Mystique. She was scared, she knew how it felt, the pain and having
      to deal with the force influx of memories and emotions. She didn't
      think she could take it. Her throat was being crushed and she
      couldn't breathe. She had no other choice. She pushed her glove off
      and grabbed on to Mystique.

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

      Logan was at wits end and then finally caught a break catching the
      clone off guard and driving in two jabs with his claws into
      Karringer's stomach and chest. That should have stopped him but with
      super strength his adrenaline was pumping.

      Finally Logan looked up and he kept coming. Scott blasted him with
      full force, square in the chest and the clone fell, dead. Cyclopes
      and Wolverine exchanged glances, no words. A mutual thanks.

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

      Rogue felt pain surge through her body and Mystique screamed. They
      both fell to the ground and Rogue's body too weak to control the new
      mutation she transformed into Mystique. She looked down at her blue
      skin and was stunned. She changed back to her self and back into
      Mystique again. Changes were more painful then anyone knew. Your
      body restructuring itself, molecules ripping apart and slamming back
      together again. How did Mystique make it look so easy and painless?
      Her body changed again and she screamed.

      Mystique was drained of her energy and lay nearly lifeless but with
      the help of Toad, he got her out of there in a hurry.

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

      Logan ran to the screams of Marie. He saw her and then Mystique and
      then Kelley, Storm and himself with claws lashing out and Bobby and
      Mystique and finally Rogue returned She laid on the floor crumpled
      up, still screaming.

      He didn't know what to do, "Jean!"

      It ended finally and she was just herself, her body so worn out. In
      Logan's arm. She let the blackness over take her body and retreated
      inward, safe in Logan's arms and she collapsed.

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

      Bobby and St. John saw Vamp and Plasma fled inside the building and
      they followed with Storm and Felix. There were so many twists and
      turns inside this lab. They weren't sure where to go so they split
      up, Bobby and Felix in one direction and Storm and St. John in the
      other.

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

      Felix and Bobby entered into some research lab area and found Vamp
      and Plasma as fire shots rang by their face. Bobby's arm still stung
      and he knew didn't want any more. He flared his ice mutation to
      freeze what was in front of them. Plasma got out of the way but Vamp
      was just one step to slow. He was stung dead-on with ice, freezing
      his chest down to the core of his heart, stopping him cold and he
      crumpled to the ground, dead. Plasma ran from the room.

      Bobby was to shocked to follow. He killed a man. Didn't know how he
      felt about it. Didn't like it but had no choice. Felt his own
      insides go numb with disbelief that the man on the ground was his
      fault.

      Felix came down and placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder. "There
      was nothing else you could have done."
      "I know, but it shouldn't have been."
      "I know," was Felix reply.

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

      Storm and St. John found Magneto fleeing his new home and his look
      was pure rage and anger. He flew up his hands and sent Storm and St.
      John flying; pinned to the wall, trapped by metal. He moves up to
      Storm and glares at her.

      "Tell Xavier, he can't stop me. And hope is truly gone, especially if
      mutants can never unite together. I feel sorry for his illusions."
      He turned and walked out. He got away.

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

      Finally dust settled and Scott and Jean went inside with the rest.
      Jean sensed that Magneto and the rest had all fled the scene. They
      found Storm and St. John still clinging to the wall with Bobby and
      Felix who couldn't do anything to get them free. Logan entered the
      room and could barely move, so he left with the help of Felix. Scott
      set them free with his eyes cutting away the restraints.

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

      They came upon the lab and two more clones seemed to almost be
      ready. St. John was going to blast them but Bobby stepped in.

      "They are human being and deserve to live. They don't know who
      created them but they aren't evil."

      "Magneto hasn't taught them to hate or twisted them to his idea of
      reality." Storm added.

      He told them they should call someone to help them. Not kill them.

      Jean agreed, "Let them live."

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

      The flight back was short and wounds needed addressing. No one but
      Logan came home unmarked.

      Jubilee's shoulder was popped back into place with a loud scream.
      Gambit's scratched, black and blue face would heal.

      Bobby was still jittery over the idea he took a life. Jean sat and
      talked with him about what happened. He felt better, she eased his
      mind and took away fear but he understood what happened. He was
      given no choice but he should always carry this sadness and regret,
      that is what makes one better then another who finds it so easy to
      kill.

      Scott had a busted nose from one of Mystique's kicks.

      Rogue had bruised ribs, split lip, bettered face that matched a few
      other team members, a concussion and a lot to deal with inside. She
      conquered her fear of Shadow. But Mystique had left a mark and took
      in her memories. She saw the comparison with Erik's life and what
      drew her to him. Scary how many lives out there could fit that
      profile and how his group could grow.
      Her body still passed out on the ride home, safe in arms she loved.
      After arriving home, he carried her down to the med lab with everyone
      else to be checked out.

      The next day, Rogue finally came too. With Jean's permission, she
      was starving and ate something and went to find Logan. Jean told her
      he was with her all night until she forced him to go to bed himself
      and rest, despite being such a fast healer.

      Rogue wanted to talk to someone and he was always there to listen,
      she wanted to tell him about Shadow and her overcoming her fear and
      about Mystique, plus all the emotional baggage that came with her.
      She had stories Rogue knew would keep her up at night. Talking about
      them helped.

      Logan sat and listened to every word. He held her and called her the
      bravest, kick ass girl he'd ever known. She smiled and they finally
      went down to eat dinner. She ate everything on her plate despite
      having eaten just two hours ago.

      Logan knew after this they needed to get into the danger room this
      summer and get practicing. Magneto was still out there and part of
      his horde was alive and ticking.
      Alive… at least they all came home alive. Bruises heal. Cuts
      heal.

      Jubilee hated her cast but she got everyone to sign it and draw on
      it. St. John's prediction about Bobby's watch came true from New
      Years. That sent Katherine into hysterics. Scott was forced to
      listen to her ramble in paranoia about New Years predictions St. John
      told about her about having some horrible accident. Scott forced St.
      John to say a thousand times it wasn't true all just made up off the
      top of his head.
      She still wouldn't believe it.

      Scott was glad over the outcome. Oh, sure things could have gone
      better but everyone held their own. As a leader he was proud of
      them. Magneto got away and so did a few others but they stopped
      him. Stopped him before any more people had to die for his mixed up
      cause. His team all of them made it home alive. He feared the day
      one wouldn't return. As leader and mentor, that was the only thing
      that could give him nightmares. But for now, they were all alive and
      well…
      Title: Alive
      By: Peachy
      Teaser: finally the X-men confront Magneto
      Rating: R
      Genre: action, drama

      Finally after a few weeks of watching the police had to trim back on
      their already limited resources. Xavier even had to narrow their own
      monitoring efforts down to the most likely targets. He knew Magneto
      was just waiting for the opportunity for them to drop their guard and
      then make his move. He didn't want to give Erik the slightest
      chance. He wasn't sure even how Magneto planned to carry out his
      objectives or if he was even capable of such things. The police did
      random drive-bys but that was it. Many of the business executives
      also got upset over the ordeal. Nothing had happened so far and they
      thought nothing ever would. It was a waist of their money that they
      put towards security and the police and Xavier made them worry and
      fear for nothing.

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

      One weekend Gambit finally got the courage to take Felix's advise and
      asked Jubilee out on a real date. Just him and her. She just
      giggled when he finally asked and it made him feel really stupid. He
      got embarrassed and turned to walk away when she stopped him.

      "Wait, I'm sorry."
      "For bashing in my feelings?"
      "Yes…and… I'd love too."
      "Really?" his eyes perked up thinking he didn't stand a chance with
      her.
      "I just wondered why you didn't ask me sooner," Jubilee smiled and
      took Gambits hand as they walked outside to join the rest of the
      group for basketball.

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

      Later that night Gambit was allowed to borrow the old beat-up,
      student test-drive Saturn car and drove Jubilee out to this
      restaurant then a movie. Finally they'd hit an arcade to play games
      all night. They both loved arcades and computer games of the sort.
      The best place to go was in this more ritzy area of town outside the
      city.

      When they drive by Jubilee just looking at all the gorgeous houses
      when a large shadow moves in the background. She would have thought
      nothing of it but it looked like it was carrying a dead body in a
      satchel. Not a common sight for this area but maybe,

      "Ghetto LA!" Jubilee shouted.

      Then Jubilee instructed Gambit to pull over and they snooped out what
      was going on.
      These two are just a combination of trouble and putting them together
      is like a powder keg waiting for the right match.

      They finally got close enough to make out the big hairy shaped man,
      Sabertooth. He didn't exactly fit in around here.
      They didn't know what to do so ran back to the car to call Jean on
      the cell phone.

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

      "What?!" Jean was surprised and shocked.
      Apparently Magneto was making his first move now.
      "Listen, I want you to stay right there and don't move. Don't let
      them see you! Got it!"
      "Yeah," Jubilee replied.
      "We'll be right there." She assured the two.
      "We'll be waiting."

      Jean hung up and called in everyone to the meeting room.
      By the time everyone showed up Jean was fussing over piles of
      addresses and maps.

      "We haven't much time to waist here." Scott took over the meeting.
      "What's going on?" Logan questioned.
      "Gambit and Jubilee spotted Sabertooth and some other guys in
      Manhasset area. Stuck out like a sore thumb. My guess is Magneto is
      making his first move. There are five people on this list that live
      in that neighborhood." Jean explained.
      "I suggest we suit up and find out what they are up to, now." Scott
      added.

      The rest agreed. They couldn't just sit here and let Magneto's plan
      go into action.

      "You guys up to it?" Scott looks at Bobby, Rogue and St. John as they
      went off to suit up. He got three resonant yeses.

      The plane took off as Xavier prayed for their safe return. The
      younger kids, always fascinated by the X-men ran to the window and
      saw the plane roar off into the sky above.

      As they flew Logan sat next to Rogue near the back. She had her head
      down and hands shaking, rubbing them to hide it.
      He saw and leaned over to talk to her.

      "Are you sure you're ok?"
      "Yeah, just nervous I guess. I just hope Gambit and Jubes are ok."
      "They are. I got you're back you know, don't worry." He gave her his
      hand and she took it, smiling.

      She gazed at her hand. It was so small in his. He had been there
      for her for every nightmare, helping get over Shadow would have been
      impossible but his arms and knowing he was there, checking up on her
      while she slept (she caught him one night) was reassuring. She felt
      stronger knowing he was right beside her. Strength filled her and
      she was determined not to let Magneto use other people like he tried
      to use her.

      "Let's kick some ass!" Marie said loud enough for everyone to hear.

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

      "Where are you going?" Jubilee shouted.
      "To follow them, we can't let 'em get out of our sights."
      "Jean said to stay here."
      "Stay here and we loose them. Then what? We've got nothing. Bring
      the phone with us. We can keep in touch that way."
      Jubilee looked very doubtful.
      "I don't like this!"
      "We'll stay back far enough not to be spotted." Gambit tried to
      reassure her.
      "Just stay downwind of beastman, then I'll agree."
      "Sure, let's go before we loose them."

      The two slithered from house to house until they came upon the two
      strangers and watched. Sabertooth was there with Vamp. They had
      this guy wrapped in a blanket of sorts, flung over his shoulder.
      Finally they stopped in these woods out back and dumped the guy. He
      was still alive, gagged and tied up. Finally Vamp went over and
      drained him of all his memories. Good thing he was gagged or else
      his screams would have been heard. Finally he slumped over limp.

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

      "My, my… Mr. Karringer, you were a bad boy. No wonder your wife
      left
      you." Vamp smiled at the memories he'd share with the new Paul
      Karringer.
      "Now what do we do with him?" Sabertooth growled.
      "I don't care, bury him."
      "He's still alive."
      "So break his neck, just get rid of the body."

      And Sabertooth took the man, who wiggled in his arms like a worm
      before you put it on the fishing hook, and crushed his neck.

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

      Jubilee couldn't watch and at that moment Jubilee could hear the bone
      break and almost screamed but Gambit covered her mouth.
      They stood there not able to do nothing but watch.

      Jubilee couldn't believe what those goons just did, she saw someone
      get killed and she could do nothing. She started a silent cry as her
      eyes watered.

      Gambit was sick to his stomach at the site. He was furious. He
      couldn't believe they'd take a life so easily without second though.

      They both knew they couldn't have done anything and they were no
      match for these two but…they should have been able to do
      something!

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

      Sabertooth buried the body and they went off on their way to a sport
      utility vehicle parked on the side of the road. They got in and sped
      off.

      Gambit and Jubilee had to drive to follow them, but stayed back not
      being obvious. He handed the phone to Jubilee who got in touch with
      Storm. She took it, hands just as shaky as her voice.

      "Where are you guys?" Jubilee asked very impatiently.
      "We're almost there. Are you two alright?"
      "Yes but we were following them, they killed this man…" Jubilee
      then
      started to ramble on and on "…the big hairy guy just crushed his
      other guy's neck and buried him like he was nothing, just a rag doll
      instead of a human being and then they took off and were following
      them, I don't want them to see us, Gambit slow down! I don't know
      where they're going."
      "It will be ok. Jubilee, take a deep breath and try to relax. It
      wasn't your fault. You couldn't have done anything ok."
      It made her feel better knowing Storm didn't think they did anything
      wrong.
      "Just be careful and don't get caught you two, you hear me. Stay
      back."
      "Trust me, we will."
      "I'll call you back shortly," and Storm hung up.
      "Well?" Gambit wanted to know.
      "We're on our own for now."
      "Great!" They weren't exactly excited about this.

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

      "What happened?" Jean shouted like a concerned mother.
      "There fine, relax." Storm tried to calm her fears.

      Jean turned to Xavier who was back at the mansion. She sent him a
      message to see if he could follow them via Cerebrum and let her know
      where they are.

      Rogue eyed over to St. John and Bobby. They were worried for their
      friends.

      Storm explained what Jubilee had told her so far. Scott was getting
      furious. He wanted to land and end this for once.

      Finally Xavier replied and they changed direction to follow Jubilee
      and Gambit. They were headed towards Massachusetts.

      "Whoa…what do we have here???"

      Scott picked up a signal on their radar. A helicopter, it was them.
      Jean felt it. Scott had to hold back. He locked on to that signal
      and set down near the abandoned airstrip the helicopter took off from
      to pick up their two cloak and dagger spies and they were off again.

      Rogue gave then each a hug, thankful they were ok.

      Jubilee had calmed down a great deal and Gambit held her hand as they
      flew following the signal.

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

      The X-men arrived off the coat of Massachusetts and set down. The
      youngsters were in the back and Scott and Felix lead the way.

      "Ssssssshhhhhh!" and they all ducked down as the group reached, what
      they believed to be Magneto's hideout.
      There was Sabertooth and Vamp shutting down the helicopter and moving
      towards another building that seemed to jut out from the cliff
      dwelling below. They were greeted by Mystique, Toad and Plasma
      coming out of the complex.

      "So what's our move Buck Rogers?" Logan turned to Scott, claws ready
      for a fight.

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

      Inside Erik had been expecting them and discovered they were back as
      he heard the chopper land.

      "There are others." Karringer, his clone creation responded.
      He used his telepathy and found one or two more minds beside their
      two expected arrivals. If there were others with them, they blocked
      him from seeing them.
      "Others?"
      "Several."

      Erik felt it could only be one thing, the X-men. The idiots messed
      this up and lead them hear. Erik didn't know how but there was
      nothing he could do now. It was time to finally end this game once
      and for all.

      He promptly sent out Mystique, Toad and Plasma to join them.
      Karringer followed as well. He would not let Xavier stop him this
      time.

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

      "We should split up. Myself, Jean, Logan, Rogue and Bobby will
      follow them inside and the rest of you check out the rest of the
      compound and secure the parameter."

      Unfortunately there was no time to implement this plan of his.

      "We've been caught." Logan stated.
      "What are you talking about?"
      "I don't think the welcome wagon just walked out that door."
      "Logan's right." Felix said.

      As Parks uttered the words Plasma turned in their general direction
      and plasma shots were fired and all hell broke loose.

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

      Plasma and Bobby got into a rumble and Plasma flared up heat and
      fired towards him.
      Bobby retaliated with frozen ice, blocking many attempts by Plasma to
      literally melt him.
      He was not quick enough once and a heat blast hit Bobby on his wrist,
      melting his watch into his skin. He cried out in pain but didn't
      stop focusing on the enemy at hand. He froze his hand to numb the
      pain. First it was a shock but then the pain dulled and went away.
      Finally after a few hits and misses he got in one ice blast to
      Plasma's arm in retaliation and the guy ran off.

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

      Toad slithered into the trees for better hiding coverage and
      advantage.
      Felix and St. John would have none of that and followed him. Felix
      used his stretching arms to swing himself into the trees and to
      follow Toad, avoiding the slime that was spit at him.
      St. John on the other hand, tried one or two of his own fireballs to
      knock him out of the trees. Didn't work and almost got Felix in the
      mix.
      Finally, with a swift kick, Toad flew to the grounds and St. John hit
      him and gave Toad a burn mark he wouldn't forget.
      Unfortunately, St. John didn't see the slime come and hit him square
      in the face, blocking off all air. Toad ran off and Felix grabbed a
      knife from his belt to help St. John breathe.

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

      Logan dealt with the oversized gorilla called Sabertooth. He hated
      this guy. They were equals in strength and animal reflexes and
      moves. He had it in for him and they went at it. Both getting in one
      or two big slices. Logan healed and Sabertooth as well. Logan didn't
      know if there would ever be an end to this fight or if either one
      could really gain the upper hand. Their fists kept on flying at each
      other.

      Finally he smelled it. So faint in the sweat, blood and just plain
      body odor of Sabertooth but as Logan was flung against a wall he
      smelled it, faintly, Shadow. Since they got here he had been looking
      for it and hunting it out. He wanted revenge for what he did to
      Marie. He wouldn't live if Logan had his way.

      He got in one more good bout with Sabertooth knocking him down with a
      gash or two that hopefully take a while to heal and turned to find
      his new prey. He wanted Sabertooth dead but it would have to wait,
      Shadow was his.

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

      Rogue was flow back from a force she couldn't see right into a tree.
      As she was getting up a shape transformed before her, leaving her
      paralyzed. It was Shadow, the man who attacked her. Her body
      wouldn't move as he approached her. She tried to hit him, scream,
      run, anything. Instead she was frozen.

      He smiled at her docile reaction to him, the power he held over her,
      and ran his hand through her white streaks, "miss me?"

      She felt him on her face and feal his breath on her ear and neck.
      All her fear returned covering her body again, she couldn't breathe
      and in her mind he was all over her.

      She closed her eyes holding back tears, then felt a stinging pain as
      his protected hand flung across her face and then a knee in her
      stomach and then thrown to the ground. She took another kick and
      wasn't able to get up. She stared at him and he hit her again.

      He just watched as she tried to get to her knees to crawl away. He
      studied her in her leather suit and eyes on her ass.

      "I like it when they're on their knees." He then laughed.

      Rogue thought she was going to be sick.

      "This is so easy." He grinned and kicked her again.

      She staggered and finally something SNAPED! She gained control. She
      felt anger, fear, and terror and hate flow through her. She was not
      longer scared. She wouldn't take this from him any more. No one was
      there to fight for her, help her…if she wanted to win she'd have
      to
      do this on her own. This was her fight; no one could help her but
      herself.

      She let him get close and swung her leg around and kicking him,
      hitting him in the groin, her intended target.

      She turned and kicked knocking him down. Finally she gained the
      upper hand in this fight. She used her flight ability and hours of
      training in fighting. She used every once of practice and energy she
      had against him and was winning. Finally he was down and she stood
      back watching him.

      "More?" she asked in a grin.

      He got furious and attacked. He wouldn't take this from that…
      "Bitch!"

      They were both taking blows and blocking.

      Finally Rogue saw out of the corner of her eye a figure behind
      Shadow. She smiled gave one more kick, sending the man into Logan
      and he finally sunk his claws in deep. Shadow could only do one
      thing at feeling the pain, gasping for air and seeing Logan's eyes
      ready to kill, he dissipated back into air and fled before he was too
      weak. He was bleeding badly but he wouldn't die, if he got help.
      Logan was satisfied to get his claws in even if he vaporized and
      fled. He wished he could have done more damage but look already like
      Rogue did enough. He went over to a half-beaten Rogue.

      "You ok," and he held her head in his hand. He supported her weight
      as she faltered a bit on her feet.

      "Yeah," smiled a the warm eyes that cared about her
      "Come on we got other fish to fry."
      And a scream was heard from Jean.

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

      Sabertooth shook off Logan's attack and tried to follow him. He ran
      into Storm and Gambit. He ripped the two apart.

      Gambit flared his cards at the beast but he dodged them or shook them
      off too quickly.

      Jubilee came in and got a one-two punch with her fireworks. Those
      stung his a lot more.

      Storm on the other hand flew up and was brewing up some lighting for
      her strikes.

      Finally Sabertooth flung at Jubilee flying her over twenty feet into
      a tree and she screamed, as her shoulder popped and became
      dislocated. Gambit attacked in retaliation and Storm flared in a
      lightning bolt or two sending the big bulge flying back himself and
      eventually he ran off.

      Gambit rushed to Jubilee's side trying to dull or lessen the pain as
      her shoulder looked completely messed up and she was in pain. He
      could see it in her face even though she didn't scream or say a
      word. She wasn't moving a muscle. He was able to calm her and went
      to find Jean to help.

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

      Storm found Toad and sent high winds to knock him out of the trees,
      which he returned to for camouflage. Finally he was blown back by
      St. John's fireball and he ran off again.

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

      Scott and Jean had to deal with Mystique's fighting skills and
      Karringer's super strength. They were getting their asses kicked in
      this fight. Karringer was too strong for either of them.

      Jean used her telekinesis to control his movements but he retaliated
      by screaming into her mind and she couldn't block it. It was
      excruciating. He got in one or two hits pulverizing Jean.

      Then Scott raged out at him only to be stooped by Mystique. She took
      Jean's shape. Scott knew it was Mystique but still found it
      difficult to lash out a face that he loved. Wolverine on the other
      hand would have no problems with it.

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

      Logan came in after he heard Jean's scream as she was thrown into
      metal wall and skidded onto a gravel road. Logan lashed out and
      matched Karringer's blows and got in one or two strikes.

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

      Rogue gave Scott a break and took over where he left off with
      Mystique.
      Mystique just grinned and licked her lips.
      Rogue's body ached and took another beating. She spit up blood as
      another fist hit her in the face.

      Mystique was good, even as Rogue was able to fly and maneuver; she
      wasn't quiet as flexible and limber as Mystique. Then she thrashed
      out at Rogue again, taking Logan's body shape and claws. Rogue had
      to dodge the new claws that slashed out at her.

      Finally Mystique pinned her down. She couldn't fly away or move very
      much at all. She was trapped. The only thing she could do was touch
      Mystique. She was scared, she knew how it felt, the pain and having
      to deal with the force influx of memories and emotions. She didn't
      think she could take it. Her throat was being crushed and she
      couldn't breathe. She had no other choice. She pushed her glove off
      and grabbed on to Mystique.

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

      Logan was at wits end and then finally caught a break catching the
      clone off guard and driving in two jabs with his claws into
      Karringer's stomach and chest. That should have stopped him but with
      super strength his adrenaline was pumping.

      Finally Logan looked up and he kept coming. Scott blasted him with
      full force, square in the chest and the clone fell, dead. Cyclopes
      and Wolverine exchanged glances, no words. A mutual thanks.

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

      Rogue felt pain surge through her body and Mystique screamed. They
      both fell to the ground and Rogue's body too weak to control the new
      mutation she transformed into Mystique. She looked down at her blue
      skin and was stunned. She changed back to her self and back into
      Mystique again. Changes were more painful then anyone knew. Your
      body restructuring itself, molecules ripping apart and slamming back
      together again. How did Mystique make it look so easy and painless?
      Her body changed again and she screamed.

      Mystique was drained of her energy and lay nearly lifeless but with
      the help of Toad, he got her out of there in a hurry.

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

      Logan ran to the screams of Marie. He saw her and then Mystique and
      then Kelley, Storm and himself with claws lashing out and Bobby and
      Mystique and finally Rogue returned She laid on the floor crumpled
      up, still screaming.

      He didn't know what to do, "Jean!"

      It ended finally and she was just herself, her body so worn out. In
      Logan's arm. She let the blackness over take her body and retreated
      inward, safe in Logan's arms and she collapsed.

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

      Bobby and St. John saw Vamp and Plasma fled inside the building and
      they followed with Storm and Felix. There were so many twists and
      turns inside this lab. They weren't sure where to go so they split
      up, Bobby and Felix in one direction and Storm and St. John in the
      other.

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

      Felix and Bobby entered into some research lab area and found Vamp
      and Plasma as fire shots rang by their face. Bobby's arm still stung
      and he knew didn't want any more. He flared his ice mutation to
      freeze what was in front of them. Plasma got out of the way but Vamp
      was just one step to slow. He was stung dead-on with ice, freezing
      his chest down to the core of his heart, stopping him cold and he
      crumpled to the ground, dead. Plasma ran from the room.

      Bobby was to shocked to follow. He killed a man. Didn't know how he
      felt about it. Didn't like it but had no choice. Felt his own
      insides go numb with disbelief that the man on the ground was his
      fault.

      Felix came down and placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder. "There
      was nothing else you could have done."
      "I know, but it shouldn't have been."
      "I know," was Felix reply.

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

      Storm and St. John found Magneto fleeing his new home and his look
      was pure rage and anger. He flew up his hands and sent Storm and St.
      John flying; pinned to the wall, trapped by metal. He moves up to
      Storm and glares at her.

      "Tell Xavier, he can't stop me. And hope is truly gone, especially if
      mutants can never unite together. I feel sorry for his illusions."
      He turned and walked out. He got away.

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

      Finally dust settled and Scott and Jean went inside with the rest.
      Jean sensed that Magneto and the rest had all fled the scene. They
      found Storm and St. John still clinging to the wall with Bobby and
      Felix who couldn't do anything to get them free. Logan entered the
      room and could barely move, so he left with the help of Felix. Scott
      set them free with his eyes cutting away the restraints.

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

      They came upon the lab and two more clones seemed to almost be
      ready. St. John was going to blast them but Bobby stepped in.

      "They are human being and deserve to live. They don't know who
      created them but they aren't evil."

      "Magneto hasn't taught them to hate or twisted them to his idea of
      reality." Storm added.

      He told them they should call someone to help them. Not kill them.

      Jean agreed, "Let them live."

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

      The flight back was short and wounds needed addressing. No one but
      Logan came home unmarked.

      Jubilee's shoulder was popped back into place with a loud scream.
      Gambit's scratched, black and blue face would heal.

      Bobby was still jittery over the idea he took a life. Jean sat and
      talked with him about what happened. He felt better, she eased his
      mind and took away fear but he understood what happened. He was
      given no choice but he should always carry this sadness and regret,
      that is what makes one better then another who finds it so easy to
      kill.

      Scott had a busted nose from one of Mystique's kicks.

      Rogue had bruised ribs, split lip, bettered face that matched a few
      other team members, a concussion and a lot to deal with inside. She
      conquered her fear of Shadow. But Mystique had left a mark and took
      in her memories. She saw the comparison with Erik's life and what
      drew her to him. Scary how many lives out there could fit that
      profile and how his group could grow.
      Her body still passed out on the ride home, safe in arms she loved.
      After arriving home, he carried her down to the med lab with everyone
      else to be checked out.

      The next day, Rogue finally came too. With Jean's permission, she
      was starving and ate something and went to find Logan. Jean told her
      he was with her all night until she forced him to go to bed himself
      and rest, despite being such a fast healer.

      Rogue wanted to talk to someone and he was always there to listen,
      she wanted to tell him about Shadow and her overcoming her fear and
      about Mystique, plus all the emotional baggage that came with her.
      She had stories Rogue knew would keep her up at night. Talking about
      them helped.

      Logan sat and listened to every word. He held her and called her the
      bravest, kick ass girl he'd ever known. She smiled and they finally
      went down to eat dinner. She ate everything on her plate despite
      having eaten just two hours ago.

      Logan knew after this they needed to get into the danger room this
      summer and get practicing. Magneto was still out there and part of
      his horde was alive and ticking.
      Alive… at least they all came home alive. Bruises heal. Cuts
      heal.

      Jubilee hated her cast but she got everyone to sign it and draw on
      it. St. John's prediction about Bobby's watch came true from New
      Years. That sent Katherine into hysterics. Scott was forced to
      listen to her ramble in paranoia about New Years predictions St. John
      told about her about having some horrible accident. Scott forced St.
      John to say a thousand times it wasn't true all just made up off the
      top of his head.
      She still wouldn't believe it.

      Scott was glad over the outcome. Oh, sure things could have gone
      better but everyone held their own. As a leader he was proud of
      them. Magneto got away and so did a few others but they stopped
      him. Stopped him before any more people had to die for his mixed up
      cause. His team all of them made it home alive. He feared the day
      one wouldn't return. As leader and mentor, that was the only thing
      that could give him nightmares. But for now, they were all alive and
      well…
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