Slavery, Deliverance and Faith 6/?? (Movieverse)
- (continued directly from last post, more of the same)
* * *
"Jonny. Jonny, wake up." Kyle's voice was a hoarse
whisper, accompanied by a rather hot, rank puff of
breath against Jonny's ear.
"Why?" Jonny mumbled, wrapping one arm around his
"New Subjects," Kyle hissed, still crouching
protectively over his friend. "'cross the hall."
Jonny blinked, and lifted his head, turning onto his
stomach so he could rest his chin on his arms. All he
could see was a bunch of guards moving around in the
cell. "That's new. How many?"
"Three." And then Kyle made a growling, grunting
noise that was pure disgust. "All girls."
That got Jonny to sit up, frowning. That was *bad*.
The guards weren't allowed near him or Kyle because...
not to put too fine a point on it... one of the things
the scientests liked to test were what they politely
called 'stool samples', and they got pissy if those
were 'compromised'. He had a nasty suspicion that
they wouldn't object at all except for that, which was
why it was very bad for there to be girls here.
Especially if they were young ones, like him and Kyle.
"I can't see."
Kyle nodded, and moved over to the bars, growling and
baring his teeth at the guards, who were standing
around and muttering to themselves. One of them
turned around, and brandished his night-stick
threateningly. "Shut up, dummy!" he snarled. Kyle
rumbled a bit more. They all thought he was a
halfwit, and Jonny knew he didn't like that.
"Come on," one of the other guards said, over the
growl, and he gave whatever was on the other side of
them a nervous look. "We don't wanna be in here when
that one wakes up."
"Yeah." The third nodded grimly. He gave Kyle a
hateful look. "She's probably just like the other
one. All claws and no brains."
Kyle snarled again, a bit louder, and kept it up until
the guards vanished down the corridor. Then he made a
satisfied noise. "Fuckwits," he muttered happily, and
he and Jonny both leaned up to the bars and peered
into the other cell.
They couldn't see many details, but they could see
enough to set *both* of them growling with helpless
fury. The one closest to the bars was, very clearly,
only a child, even if there were magenta markings on
her grimy, baby-round face and strands of magenta hair
spreading over the small body and tiny hands. There
was another girl, next to her, but she was facing away
from the bars, and all they could see was a mess of
blond curls and a pale, slightly pointed ear. A
third, older than either of them, was propped against
one of the walls, brown hair streaked with white
half-hiding her face, and her coverall - grey, like
all the others - undone halfway to her waist. The
guards had obviously sneaked a quick grope, if not
The only thing to say about THAT was at least they
hadn't tried it with the youngest girl.
Kyle, whose throat was obviously adapted for it, kept
up a quiet, steady growling noise as they settled down
next to the bars and waited for their fellow prisoners
to wake up. Jonny's was a bit raw from the initial
snarl, so he contented himself with muttering quiet
curses on the guards, the scientists, their parents,
and their progeny unto the tenth generation. He
thought about including pets, but decided not to. Just
in case THEY were the pets.
* * *
"Logan's definitely gone." Scott reported. "He's
obviously been through the maps in my filing cabinet,
and taken some."
Xavier rubbed his eyes wearily and sighed. "I
suspected as much." They'd spent most of the night
calming hysterical students - most of them had been
sure that the human hordes were coming to take them
all away to be experimented on, and since they weren't
sure that that was not, in some part, the case, the
teachers had had trouble being suitably comforting.
By the time they'd noticed the Corvette out the front,
Logan (and presumably Creed with him) had been long
gone. In Storm's Jeep, apparently.
"Can you find them with Cerebro?" Jean asked
Xavier shook his head. "I've already tried that, I'm
afraid," he said reluctantly. "I did find him, but I
could not tell where he was. He is so consumed by
fury at whoever did this that I could sense nothing
but rage and bloodlust, and I was forced to retreat
quickly lest I was drawn in myself."
"Better safe than sorry, Professor," Jean said,
touching the back of his hand gently. "Even if we
have no idea where they are."
For some reason, Ororo and Scott looked at each other
and shook their heads. Jean bristled a bit. "He
can't take that kind of risk!" she snapped. "Neither
could I, even if I had enough training. He could end
up in a fury identical to Wolverine's... and without
his focus." She didn't need to say that there would
be a risk not only to the teachers, but to the
students as well, if Xavier lost that much of his
"That isn't what we meant," Ororo said, lips quirking
a little. "Am I the only one who heard Scott say that
Logan stole some of his maps?"
"Yes, but..." Xavier trailed off, and smiled
ruefully. "Of course," he said wryly, looking at
Scott, who, even at five in the morning after a
sleepless night, was uncreased, unslumped, and had his
hair under perfect control. "You file your maps,
don't you? You know which ones are missing."
Scott nodded, looking a tiny bit smug. Xavier
couldn't blame him for that... Logan had probably
headed for Scott's office knowing that he'd be able to
find the right maps in moments, because they were all
perfectly filed as well as up to date and in perfect
condition. He would also have known that Scott would
know, after one look, which file had been burglarized.
A clue as to where they'd gone, obviously, since if
Logan *hadn't* wanted them to know where he was going,
he'd have simply gone and bought the maps he wanted on
the way to wherever he was going. "Which maps did he
take, Scott?" he asked hopefully.
Scott shrugged, face falling a little. "Oregon. All
of the maps I had."
Xavier squashed an urge to roll his eyes and sigh
theatrically. A clue, yes, but not a clear set of
directions. "At least it's a place to start, I
* * *
"What're you stopping for?" Logan growled, lifting
his head and looking around. He'd finally given up
the wheel around seven that morning, and he'd been
dozing in the passenger seat for... he checked the
clock... about three hours. Not sleeping, really -
not with Marie missing, and Creed close enough to pop
his head off like the top of a beer bottle without
even getting up - but dozing. Resting his body, if
not his mind.
"Get some petrol, get some food, and take a leak,"
Creed responded shortly, pulling into the small
service-station. It was a shabby little place, out in
the middle of nowhere, and that was good. Nobody to
notice them, or remember. "You need to?"
Logan nodded. He could hold it a long time if he had
to, but the faded 'Gents' sign was pretty welcome.
"Won't say no."
It was strange how easily they were falling into the
pattern of travelling together... they'd switched
seats easily that morning, without more than a word or
two, and now they didn't speak at all - they both made
use of the men's room, then Creed went to fill up the
tank while Logan picked out what food he could that
didn't stink of chemicals or smell half-rotten.
Without really thinking about it, he picked up a big
six-litre container of spring water, and added it to
the pile. Creed came in, grunted the price for the
petrol, and went looking for something up the back of
the store. Logan shrugged, watched the nervous kid
behind the counter add the petrol to the price of the
food and water, and tossed in a couple of packets of
beef jerky before he paid for it all.
He pocketed his wallet and looked around just in time
to spot Creed, holding another container of spring
water, reaching for the jerky. Logan looked at the
stuff on the counter. Creed looked at the stuff on
the counter. Giving Logan a very strange look, Creed
dumped the water he'd been carrying, and picked up his
share of the food to take it out to the car. Blinking
a bit, Logan followed him.
Neither of them commented - it's hard to find a macho
way of saying 'hey, you like the stuff *I* like'. But
they watched each other covertly for a while, and
Logan started noticing stuff. They were both
right-handed, but tended to eat and drink with the
left hand to keep the right one free, just in case.
They both kicked off their boots in the car to flex
their feet. They both liked to have food where they
could reach it, but rarely bothered about the water
unless they were thirsty. They both, if Creed's frowns
and shifts were anything to go by, tended to get a
stiff neck and a sore tailbone if they spent too long
sitting upright - one of the reasons Logan liked
motorbikes so much. He could hunch forward and let
his head drop a bit, which felt a lot better.
He was driving when he noticed that, and he jerked his
head towards the back seat. "You should sleep for a
couple hours," he suggested, in an unusually mild
tone. "Your turn again around midnight. Might as
well get some shuteye first."
Creed frowned, as if to protest, but then he nodded.
"Might as well," he agreed. He was too big and bulky
to just slide over the seat, but he moved fast enough
that Logan had hardly pulled over when the back door
slammed shut, and he could get back out on the road.
He glanced in the rearview mirror, and caught a
relieved expression on Creed's face as he sat sideways
on the seat, hiking his knees up a bit and resting
arms on knees, head on arms. His breathing smoothed
out almost immediately, and Logan's lips twitched into
a tiny smile as he put his eyes back in the road.
He'd had worse travelling companions, he conceded
privately. Better ones, too, but definitely some
That put him in mind of Marie, though... that nervous,
stubborn little look she'd had sitting beside him when
he'd first picked her up. It had been... what...
eight, nine months ago? Tail end of winter in the
mountains, spring everywhere else. Now winter was
coming again, and he couldn't shake off the image of
her standing alone in the snow, without him to stop
the trailer and beckon her over...
Creed listened to the soft growl and the shift in the
engine noise as the car sped up a bit, and grinned
into his folded arms.
* * *
It was a long time after they'd been dragged in that
the girls started to wake up, and it was the youngest
one who woke up first. She whimpered, sitting up and
scrubbing at her eyes with small lavender fists, and
then she looked around. She saw the cell, and the
other girls still sprawled where they'd been dropped,
the prison-grey coveralls and the bars.
Before she could do more than crumple up her face and
open her mouth to start crying, Jonny waved a hand to
get her attention. "Hello," he said softly.
The little girl sniffed, pushing tangled hair out of
her eyes. "Hi," she whispered.
Jonny smiled as reassuringly as he could. "I'm
Jonny," he said, and poked the sleeping
grey-and-blonde lump beside him. "And this is Kyle,
when he's awake. Don't be scared of him, even if 'e
does look a bit creepy."
Kyle grunted and sat up, looking like a caveman with
his long, lank hair and the beginnings of a beard.
"Hi," he said, sniffing at her scent.
For some bizarre reason, the little girl brightened
considerably when she got a look at Kyle. "I'm
Clarice," she said shyly. "And that's Annie..." she
pointed to the blonde girl, "and that's Marie over
Annie, having been poked a bit, seemed to wake up, and
made a heart-rendingly pitiful noise. "Oogh..."
Jonny shook his head, having heard that particular
noise before, and gestured at Clarice. "There's a hole
over there in the corner," he said urgently. "Get her
over to it before she pukes."
Clarice nodded, and moved surprisingly fast, grabbing
the shoulders of her friend's coverall and throwing
her small weight against the bigger girl's inertia.
They made it over to the hole just in time and - since
it was quite close to the third girl - the resulting
disgusting noises at least managed to get her to wake
up. "Wha... hey!" She slid pale hands up to yank the
front of her coverall shut, looking around with
startled suspicion. "What the... Clarice?" She
looked surprised to see the younger girl. "I thought
you and Annie were with Annie's dad."
"We were. Then someone shot some darts into us, and
then we were here." Clarice shrugged, and pointed
across the hallway at Kyle and Jonny. "Maybe they
know where here is."
"Not a clue, luv, sorry." Jonny shook his head.
"I've been here for... dunno. A while now. Kyle's
been here longer."
Kyle nodded, and gave Clarice and... what was the
other one's name? Mary? Marie?... a thoughtful look.
"Don't you feel sick?"
Marie shook her head. "Nope. I've got a little
headache, and I'm thirsty, but that's it." She was
pretty, Jonny noticed a bit wistfully, and had traces
of a soft Southern accent. Looked like she'd have a
nice smile, too.
Clarice patted Annie's back, and nodded. "I got a
headache, too, and I'm a bit dizzy, but I don't wanna
throw up," she agreed.
"If this is what a hangover's like, I hope I never
have one," the blonde girl moaned, still hanging over
the hole. "I never felt this sick before."
"Hit me the same way," Kyle volunteered. He shuffled a
bit closer to the bars.
Marie looked at him, and did a small doubletake. "I
can see why," she murmured.
Kyle frowned. "You can?"
Annie gurgled a bit and sat up. "You can?" She
turned around and looked at Kyle.
Yellow eyes met yellow eyes, and they both blinked a
bit. "Wow," Annie said mildly. "We look alike. Only
your face is bonier than mine."
From the tops of their blonde heads to the tips of
their clawed toes, there WAS certainly a startling
resemblance. Kyle was a bit bigger and bonier than
Annie, and Annie still had baby-round cheeks and the
disproportionately long limbs of a kid in the middle
of a growth spurt, but... yes. Definitely a likeness.
Jonny looked at them both for a while, then shrugged.
"Interesting. Not much help, but interesting."
Kyle and Annie both grinned fangy grins. "I dunno,"
Annie said modestly, inspecting her heavily clawed
fingers. "I figure the two of us could... AIGH! I've
Kyle looked mournfully at his own truncated claws.
"They do that."
Marie and Jonny's eyes met, and they both chuckled a
little. "They ARE a lot alike," the older girl said
ruefully, watching Annie shuffle off into a corner to
mourn over her abused fingers. "Do you... have you
guys thought up any way of getting outta here?"
Please, please don't say it's impossible, her eyes
begged. Because it's just starting to sink in that
we're prisoners here and I really don't want to stay a
Jonny blinked. "We... no, not really. I mean, the
plots you see on TV aren't likely t' work here, and
neither of us are secret agents or nothin'..."
Marie brightened a little. "Ah. Well, we have a bit
of an advantage there."
* * *
Creed grunted, squinting a bit as he traced the line
of the road with the very tip of one claw. "Y'think
this is the best one?" he asked dubiously. "Me, I'da
gone this way." He traced another route, more direct,
but also more obvious. He didn't say that one reason
he'd have taken the more obvious route was because it
was easier to see, with eyes better adapted to a far
off, moving target than a slip of printed paper right
up close, but he suspected that Logan guessed.
Logan wasn't getting all that close, either, and he
was squinting a tiny bit at the map as they held it
spread out on the hood of the Jeep.
"That way's faster, yeah... but they'd be more likely
to see us comin'." He shook his head. "And we don't
wanna be spotted. Not that I mind a good scrap," he
added hastily, as Creed's shaggy eyebrows went up a
bit, "but they might hurt the girls if they think
we're going to get to them."
Creed thought about that, and nodded. "Might just cut
their throats and be rid of all of us," he agreed.
Logan twitched in a way that wasn't quite a flinch.
Creed wasn't too happy with the idea, either. Annie
and - increasingly - Clarice, belonged to *him*. They
might get annoying sometimes, but they were *his*, and
anybody who messed with his stuff got their entrails
wrapped around their necks and lit on fire. Besides,
they were about the only two people in the world who
actually liked him, and that was sorta nice. "Back
way it is."
The runt gave him another one of his odd looks as they
folded up the map and slid back into the car. Creed
rolled his eyes a bit. He might be a psychopath, as
humans reckoned it - he hadn't thought of himself as
human in a long time, although he wasn't sure he
bought Magneto's Homo Superior crap, either - but this
was pretty much a job, a contract, and he knew how to
be professional when it was necessary. He might get a
bloodthirsty kick out of gutting and maiming, but he
didn't do it twenty-four-seven. And picking fights
with Logan... he was starting to think of the man by
name, now... wasn't going to get anyone anywhere.
He looked sideways, evaluating weary brown eyes, a
deeply lined face, and hair that was going oddly tufty
now that he wasn't bothering to comb it. He looked
tired. "You should sleep," Creed grunted. "Yer no
good to anyone if yer wiped out."
"In a bit."
Creed shrugged and nodded. He wasn't the man's
keeper. Even if they *were* getting along better than
he'd ever expected. It wasn't the chatty, cutesy,
let's-all-be-friends shit the X-Men seemed to expect,
mind you. Not Magneto's
either. More like... he searched his memory. More
like the few times he'd taken contracts that meant he
had to work with someone else, and the someone else
was a pro. He'd kind of liked those times - working
with someone else, yes, but someone who'd be where
they were supposed to be and knew how to fit the way
they worked around someone else's way, so everything
was smooth and easy. Logan was like that; he knew
what he was doing, and he knew that Creed knew what he
was doing, and even if they didn't have much to say to
each other, they'd get the job done all smooth and
There was a sort of satisfaction in that, Creed mused.
Maybe this wouldn't be so bad. Unless the runt
choked when it came to the killing. Then he'd
probably have to waste him too, otherwise he'd spook
back to the X-Men and they'd make trouble.
It'd be a shame to have to kill Logan, though. They
were getting along so well.
* * *
"I'm very disappointed, Professor Epstein," Nina
Allejandro said unhappily. "Not only did we not get
the two adults, we lost three of our operatives. And
the others are all refusing to go out again."
"Yes, well... I don't know why they're so upset."
Epstein scowled. "Just because they have never
suffered casualties until now is no reason to get all
pouty. What do they think I'm paying them so much for?
Snatching little girls out of parking lots?"
"No stomach," Nina said firmly. "You'll have to be
firm with them, Professor. Tell them that they can
either go out after the adults, or they can fill in
for them in our experiments." She smiled a bit
nastily. "Of course, the reason we needed the adults
with the healing factors is because they wouldn't
otherwise survive, but..."
Epstein brightened. "That's very good, Doctor
Allejandro," he said admiringly. "Incentive!"
"It's the key to enthusiasm in the workplace," Nina
Epstein looked at the chart. "At least they picked up
the power-duplicator and a spare one," he observed.
"And the one from Vancouver is being brought in today,
"This afternoon." Nina nodded. "He's older than the
others, which is good. We can use him for those
experiments which require specially designed
equipment." She made a little pouty face. "The ones
we have keep outgrowing it."
"The penalty of working with the young and resilient."
Professor Epstein smiled encouragingly, and took the
liberty of giving her a little pat on the shoulder.
"Never mind. Soon you'll have all the variety you
want in our little subjects."
Nina nodded, and returned the smile. "And there's so
much to study," she said happily. "We'll be so far
beyond the cutting edge we'll make the cutting edge
look like a butter knife." That was what she loved
about this job... she could study things nobody else
could, go places that nobody else dared go, all
because they were too chickenlivered realize that
scientific advancement counted for much more than
petty moral restrictions, and experiment on humans.
Well, mutants, technically, but it was the same thing,
* * *
"Hey, look... another one." Annie whispered, out of
consideration for Marie and Clarice, who were
Kyle nodded. He was leaned up against the bars, same
as she was, and they'd been playing
scissers-stones-paper to keep themselves amused. "Can
you see anything?" he asked, also in a whisper.
Jonny was asleep too, with his head on Kyle's leg.
Annie pushed her face up against the bars, and craned
to see. The newcomer was in a cell next to Jonny and
Kyle's... by himself, too. That was interesting.
"Not much," she whispered back. "He's definitely a
guy, though. Older than us, too, but not too much.
Marie's age, maybe."
Kyle brightened a bit. "I guess this is good," he
said hopefully. "I mean, they wouldn't bring in a
whole new batch of subjects if they were just going to
kill us all."
"True," Annie whispered back. "The question is, are
we going to wish they had?"
Neither of them said any more after that.
(end part six)
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