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FIC: Blackout (5/7)

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  • jmmadigan@webtv.net
    OK, in case you missed my warning at the beginning, my scientific knowledge can best be summed up in these classic lines from Roswell. Deal with it. LOL:
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 5, 2001
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      OK, in case you missed my warning at the beginning, my scientific
      knowledge can best be summed up in these classic lines from "Roswell."
      Deal with it. LOL:

      MARIA: So, how does electricity work?
      KYLE: Why are you lookin' at me? We were both in the same remedial
      science class for three years.
      :)

      Disclaimer, etc., in Prologue

      Previous parts can be found at
      http://www.geocities.com/panda_grrl2000/blackout.html

      ~*~*~*~*~

      Logan had to lead me out of the bar; my entire body felt numb. The
      bartender's words echoed in my head. "Your friend is dead."
      Yourfriendisdeadyourfriendisdeadyourfriendisdead. ... A part of my brain
      that still possessed some logic told me not to believe Ororo was dead
      until I could see her body, but that didn't help me feel any steadier.

      Logan dragged me to the diner, where we met Scott and Jean leaving. Jean
      was crying, and Scott had his arm around her. She looked at me. "They
      said ..."

      I reached out and took her hand in my gloved one. "I know."

      "I don't buy it," Logan said.

      "Me either," Scott agreed. "It doesn't feel right. And the professor
      said she was alive."

      "That's right," I remembered. "The bartender said she died two days ago,
      but Cerebro located her just this morning."

      "OK." Jean brushed tears off her face and nodded. "Let's think about
      this."

      "The bartender gave us directions to the sheriff's office, next town
      over," Logan said. "He would've investigated any ... death."

      "Right," Scott said. "Let's go." He hugged Jean close for a moment
      before heading for the SUV.

      Logan put his arm around me. "She's OK, kid."

      "You promise?"

      He just sighed and steered me toward the vehicle.

      ~*~*~*~*~

      Sheriff Rodney Jacobs' office was pretty deserted, too, and we had no
      problem getting in to see him, especially when Scott told him we were
      looking for information on a missing person. Logan and I sat in the tiny
      lobby across from the receptionist, while Jean and Scott talked to the
      sheriff.

      I picked up a 3-year-old copy of Redbook and pretended to look at it,
      while Logan shifted and fidgeted at his end of the ratty brown couch.

      The receptionist was staring at us suspiciously. I don't know what she
      thought we were going to do -- steal the ancient magazines or the truly
      ugly still life off the wall? I mustered a fake smile for her, rolled up
      the magazine and smacked Logan with it. "Settle down, Logan."

      "I hate waiting," he said, scowling.

      "They'll be done soon. You're worse than a toddler."

      "Hmmmph."

      I leafed through the magazine and silently prayed that Ororo was all
      right.

      "Whatcha doin'?"

      I sighed. "What does it look like I'm doing?"

      "Pretending to read that magazine."

      "Well, why don't you pretend to sit still and let me get back to my
      pretend reading." He started to say something else, but I cut him off.
      "Be still, or I'll have to give you a time-out."

      He sat back and sulked. A moment later, he started fidgeting again.

      Before I could say anything, the door to the sheriff's office opened,
      and Jean came out, smiling. I stood up, dropping the magazine. Logan
      stood next to me and grabbed my hand. I knew he wasn't naturally a
      touchy-feely kind of person, but he'd been doing things like that a lot
      since he'd come back. I tried not to put too much hope in that, but it
      wasn't easy.

      Jean came over, while Scott finished talking to the sheriff. "She's
      alive," she said breathlessly. "She's in the hospital, but she's alive."

      "But ... why did they tell us she was dead?" I wondered.

      Jean's smile changed to a frown. "A woman did die, but it wasn't Ororo."

      "Who was it?" Logan asked.

      "They don't know," she said. "The body was badly burned, and there was
      no way to identify it. Ororo was found in the same area. She had no
      identification, so they couldn't contact us."

      "But she's OK?" I asked.

      Jean sighed. "She's in a coma. They don't really know what's wrong with
      her. I've got to call Professor Xavier and arrange to bring her back
      with us."

      "Wouldn't she be safer in the hospital?" Logan asked.

      "Actually, the professor can probably help her more than they can," Jean
      said solemnly. "At least he can find out what's wrong with her."

      ~*~*~*~*~

      "OK," I said, tightening my ponytail. "I'm ready to -- oomph!" I found
      myself flat on my back, staring at the ceiling in the gym. "Well, that
      was uncalled for."

      "The enemy ain't gonna wait for you to fix your hair," Logan growled.

      "Duh," I said.

      Since we'd brought Storm back to the mansion two days before, Logan had
      been acting strangely. Faced with an enemy he couldn't identify, much
      less fight, he was on guard all the time, and he'd gotten it in his head
      to train the junior X-Men to fight. We were already being trained in
      martial arts, but Logan wanted to do things his way. Since he had a
      protective streak a mile wide when it came to me, I got the most of his
      attention. Lucky me.

      "Are you just gonna lay there all day?" he asked.

      "I'm resting."

      He sighed and offered me a hand. Using my hand and one foot, I flipped
      him back over my head and got to my feet. I twisted around, but he'd
      already gotten to his feet. "How did you --" He rushed me, and I jumped
      to the side.

      "Logan! Rogue!" Jean rushed into the gym. He turned to her, and I took
      that opportunity to tackle him. Sitting on his chest, I grinned down at
      him. "The enemy ain't gonna wait for you to stare at a beautiful woman."

      The other kids laughed, and Logan almost smiled. I stood up and stepped
      back, but I didn't offer to help him up.

      "What's up, Jeannie?" he asked.

      Jean beamed. "She's awake. She finally woke up."

      It was the best Christmas present we could've asked for.

      ~*~*~*~*~

      Ororo managed to tell the professor what happened, and a few days after
      Christmas she told the story to all of us. All the X-Men, including the
      trainees, met in the conference room to hear what she had to say.

      She had gone into a field and called up a thunderstorm. A few minutes
      later, she was joined by a woman named Erin Nabors, who worked at a
      school like Xavier's on the west coast. Erin had been tracking the same
      reports of electrical phenomena. She was certain the mutant was a
      teen-age girl from Cedar Hollow named Shana Howard. Erin believed the
      girl had the power to absorb electricity and turn it into lightning or
      transfer it to another source.

      Her gift could be turned into a powerful weapon, and the head of Erin's
      school feared the girl would be contacted by the Brotherhood. Ororo and
      Erin waited for hours, but Shana never showed up, and there was no other
      lightning activity in the area. They decided to try again the next
      night, and if that failed, go straight to the girl and her family.

      The second night, Shana was waiting for them. She attacked with bolts of
      lightning, and Erin was killed instantly. Ororo's mutation apparently
      protected her physically, but the shock of it overwhelmed her system and
      sent her into a coma. The professor was able to help her come out of it,
      but she was still weak.

      "We have to find her," Ororo said. "I think she attacked because she was
      afraid of us."

      The professor had uncovered information about Shana. She was 18 and
      living on her own. Her parents were killed when she was a child, and
      she'd grown up with an aunt and uncle. Apparently, they weren't close,
      and she'd been legally emancipated at age 16. I felt a wave of sympathy
      for her. I left home at 16 because my own parents didn't want me. I'd
      been lucky enough to find Logan and end up at Xavier's. Not everyone was
      as fortunate.

      "But how do we find this girl?" Remy asked.

      "I've located her in New York City," the professor said. "But she's
      moving around often, and I'm not sure how we can pin her down."

      We tossed around ideas of how to find her and what to do with her once
      we did, but nothing was really decided. The professor asked us to think
      about the situation overnight, and we would meet again the next day.

      Logan and I headed for the kitchen without really talking about it. I
      started to mix up the hot chocolate, and he grabbed the bag of
      marshmallows. It made me laugh.

      "What?" he said. "You can't have hot chocolate without the
      marshmallows."

      "So I've heard," I said. We were quiet for a few minutes. I could feel
      him staring at me, but I wasn't sure how to say what was on my mind.

      I poured the hot chocolate into two mugs, and we sat down at the kitchen
      table. "We've got to find this girl," I said. "I feel like ... well, she
      could be me. I mean, what would've happened to me if I hadn't found
      you?"

      "Hey," he scooted his chair closer to mine and brushed his hands over my
      hair, tilting my head up and looking me straight in the eyes. "You'd
      have been fine. But I'd have been lost without you."

      Coming from Logan, this was akin to a
      full-out-shout-it-from-the-rooftops declaration of love. I couldn't stop
      the tears that started to form. "Logan ..."

      "Hey," he said again, putting his arm around me and holding me close.
      "It's OK. You don't have to say anything. I mean, it's OK if you don't
      feel the same way. I just wanted you to know, so --"

      I gave a watery laugh. "Logan, you're babbling."

      He frowned. "I don't babble."

      "You were babbling," I repeated. He started to argue, but I interrupted.
      "You didn't give me a chance to tell you --"

      I sighed as the kitchen door burst open. It was impossible to get a
      moment alone in this place.

      "We found her," Jubilee said breathlessly. "Hurry."

      We followed her to the rec room, where the big screen TV showed a
      building in flames. It looked like it had been bombed.

      The reporter at the scene said the building, which housed several state
      governmental agencies, had been empty at the time of the explosion. The
      two night watchmen had been knocked out and dumped a mile from the site.
      Firefighters were trying to stop the blaze, but it looked like the
      building was a total loss. They'd be lucky to keep the fire from
      spreading to nearby buildings.

      The station switched back to the main anchor, who said new information
      revealed that a mutant calling herself Spark had claimed responsibility
      for the attack.

      "Spark?" Logan asked. "Who comes up with these names?"

      Scott shushed him, and Logan quieted. According to the news anchor,
      Spark had drained the electricity from the block and sent it back into
      the building, causing all the circuits to blow and much of the building
      to catch fire. A witness at the scene said he saw a woman flying off the
      building before it blew.

      Spark was demanding $10 million by noon December 31, or she would make
      sure the citizens of New York had a "very unhappy New Year."

      "She's doing it for MONEY?" Kitty asked. "How tacky."

      Her appalled tone set off laughter, however inappropriate, throughout
      the room.

      "So," Scott said once we'd all gotten under control. "What does she mean
      by a 'very unhappy New Year'?"

      "She has to be planning something on New Year's Eve," Jean said.
      "Someplace with a lot of power."

      "I know were I'd go if I wanted lots of power and people on New Year's
      Eve," Jubilee said. She and I were on the same wavelength. We looked at
      each other. "Times Square."

      TBC

      Jamie

      ~*~*~*~*~*~

      LOGAN: You gonna tell me to stay away from your girl?
      SCOTT: If I had to do that, she wouldn't be my girl.
      ~~ "X-Men"
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