Disclaimers, etc. in part one.
Marie stared blankly at the security cameras, looking for all the
world like a recently-lobotomized patient in her boredom. She'd given
up all semblance of concentration hours ago, allowing her thoughts to
wander. It was the only way to make it through the night with her
What had she done to deserve guard duty on a Friday night? Well,
nothing actually. It was just her turn. Mr. Summers was incredibly
uptight about the school's security. Despite the fact that nothing
ever happened, he'd doomed the training X-Men and high school seniors
to guard duty, and they rotated through the weeks.
This night was always the worst. Friday night in the bowels of the
mansion watching nothing but the occasional blowing leaves pass
before the cameras was an endless, unchanging hell.
That was until Jubes and Kitty showed up.
"Rogue, babe, we've come to rescue you," Jubilee said, entering the
cramped room with Cheetos, soda, and other snacks piled in her arms.
It took Marie a second to shake off her stupor, and in that time, she
saw Kitty enter as well with a CD player in hand.
"Mr. Summers'll kill me if he finds you here. I'm supposed to be on
guard duty," she protested weakly.
"So, keep guarding," Jubes retorted. "All you're doing is watching a
bunch of monitors. You can still do that while munching on snacks and
listening to tunes."
"Yeah," Kitty concurred. "Besides, the whole system's automated. No
one could get through the security to make it onto the surveillance
"C'mon, Rogue, live a little."
Marie reached out and snatched the bag of potato chips Jubilee
proffered. "Well... I guess as long as I keep my eyes on the screens,
They had gotten through the play-by-play of Jubilee's latest date
with Remy and were now in the middle of "Why Rogue Needs a
Boyfriend," when Marie caught something unusual out of the corner of
her eye. It was just a hint of black on black, a strangely familiar
movement that was gone before she could focus on the screen.
"Did you see that?"
"What?" Jubilee asked, caught mid-sentence in her rant.
"I thought I saw something moving out there." Marie said, fingers
dancing across the panel to adjust the camera controls and aim the
lens in a new direction. She could see nothing out of the ordinary.
"Don't change the subject, Rogue. We were just getting to the root of
why you break off relationships at the second or third date," Jubilee
Marie ignored her, checking the other monitors and sensors for
"It's probably just a squirrel or a bird or something," Kitty assured
"No, it was bigger than that," Marie responded, completely engrossed
in her search.
A minute later, she sat back and sighed. All the sensors were green,
all the monitors were clear, no intruders detected. However, in her
gut she knew there was something out there.
"I'm going to check it out," Marie said, dragging on her coat and
"C'mon, Rogue. There's nothing out there," Kitty said.
"Yeah," Jubes added. "We'll quit teasing ya about your love life.
Don't run off."
"I'll be back in a few minutes. Keep an eye on the monitors for me?"
"Ok, but be back soon, or Jubes'll finish off all the Cheetos without
you," Kitty warned in a mock-serious tone.
Rogue cringed in feigned terror and then made a dramatic exit.
He prowled along the edge of the woods on the large estate, the trees
providing more than enough concealing shadows. There were two
targets, both human, both residing in the large mansion which lay
before him across an open, green field. He would have to leave the
cover of the trees to reach his objective.
Lurking in the shadows, he heard a mechanical whirring. Looking up,
he saw a camera perched a hundred yards ahead of him, hidden in the
tree line. He hadn't known it was there.
There had been a number of unexpected surprises tonight. A sensor net
along the stone fence surrounding the property and a web of laser
beams just yards onto the property had been the first of several. If
he hadn't possessed such keen senses, he would have been easily
caught. As it was, he'd had to enter the property through the woods.
It left him miles away from the mansion, but the animals living there
made most security systems ineffective.
As he'd hiked to the mansion, he wondered at his disturbing lack of
information. Even with the emptiness of his past, on a mission he
always knew exactly what he needed. Now there were several worrying
gaps. These people had much more expensive and extensive security
than he'd been programmed to know. They had to be protecting
something very important.
Now at the edge of the open yard, he paced back and forth in the
shadows at a loss for how to proceed. The camera he'd recently found
was trained on the lawn, sure to detect his presence immediately. He
couldn't succeed, but he had to succeed. The mission was everything.
He was startled out of his thoughts by the sound of the school's
front door opening. A young woman emerged into the dark night and
started across the grass towards his general direction as if she knew
he was there.
He set his previous dilemma aside for the moment, knowing exactly
what to do in this new situation. The primary objective of the
mission was to kill Xavier and Dr. Summers. The secondary objective
had three parts and was just as, if not more, important than the
first: to avoid detection, eliminate any witnesses, and return to the
Marie felt silly walking out onto the deserted grounds of the school
in the early morning hours. If there wasn't anyone out here, she
would be teased mercilessly by Jubes and Kitty. If there was, then
she was acting like a stupid, B-movie victim, walking right into the
clutches of the slime beast or whatever the hell was waiting for her.
Back in the monitor room, she'd wanted to discount her sighting,
chalking it up to exhaustion after hours of guard duty, but she
couldn't. She just knew she'd seen something, and she had to find out
what it was. Two years ago, Logan had told her to trust her
instincts, and ever since, she'd followed that advice. His presence
had faded in her mind to a faint whisper over the years, but she
still thought of him almost every day.
She dated, boys at the mansion and guys at college, but she'd never
felt the connection with anyone that she'd felt so quickly with
Logan. She'd stopped wearing his tags around her neck, but they were
never far. She kept them on her key chain and would find herself
fingering them every so often, wondering when he would keep his
promise and return. Lost in thoughts of Logan, she failed to see the
dark figure step out of the shadows behind her until it was too late.
A hand with a grip like steel grabbed her neck and forced her to the
ground. Using all the wrestling moves she'd learned in X-Men
training, she fought to free herself from her attacker's grasp. She
succeeded in turning over to face him and got in a few good kicks and
punches before he sat down on her torso, pinning her arms to her
sides with his legs and resuming his grip on her throat. She tried to
push up, tried to kick, but he was heavier than his frame would
indicate and she couldn't get enough leverage.
Her skin was covered except for her face, but the hands gripping her
neck were protected by black leather gloves so that wasn't an option
to defend herself. She was trapped and she couldn't breathe. She
could feel the darkness seeping into the edges of her vision, but
before she lost consciousness completely, she caught sight of her
attacker's face in the moonlight.
It was Logan. His hair cropped short in a crew-cut and his face
cleanly shaven, he looked different than he had when they'd first
met. The biggest difference, however, was in his eyes. Before, she'd
seen passion, depth, caring, and concern. Now she saw a cold,
unfeeling emptiness. She saw her death in those eyes.
See part three.