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FF: Empathy (C) PG-13

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  • Cherry
    Disclaimers, etc: See part A * As the gas filtered out of the room, Logan began to wake. Half remembered dreams slipped through his fingers, leaving him with
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 9, 2001
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      Disclaimers, etc: See part A

      *

      As the gas filtered out of the room, Logan began to wake. Half remembered
      dreams slipped through his fingers, leaving him with a sense of loss. He
      heard a light pattering of feet outside the door.

      *Aurora* he thought, reaching for her. He felt a light brush against his
      mind, cold and shocking. Then it was gone as the feet retreated, to be
      replaced by the heavier steps of two others and murmured conversation.
      They paused outside the door, still conversing. Logan stilled his body
      while his mind raced, stifling the growl that tried to rise up as he
      realized that he couldn't make out their words. He had no idea who would
      walk in through that door. It could be a member of the Brotherhood, though
      this didn't seem like their style.

      It could be some anti-mutant group, but they would have had no way of
      telling of his mutation.

      Plus, chances were that if it were a hate group, he'd be dead already.

      So he continued to pretend to sleep and waited for someone to come through
      the door. If only one of them entered, then he'd jump the man.

      But two people walked through the door. "You might as well get up," he was
      told. Logan just lay there as if in a drugged stupor. "It's of no use,
      you know. Mastermind sensed you wake."

      Giving up the act, Logan opened his eyes and swung to a sitting position on
      the hard bed. A slight man, the one referred to as Mastermind most likely,
      leaned against the wall by the door.

      The open door.

      "I'm sorry for the accomodations in which you find yourself," the other man
      continued, running a hand through his wavy black hair. Logan disliked him
      on the spot. "Your arrival was rather sudden you see, and we just had to
      be sure before we let you go wandering around the compound." Following
      Logan's gaze, he smiled. "You are free to leave at any time, of course,
      but I had hoped that you would stay and enjoy our hospitality." Logan
      could see the lie in the other man's eyes. He wanted to be rid of the
      mountain man as soon as possible.

      But he would let Logan go free. Feeling his stubbornness start to kick in,
      he leaned back on the bed, making himself comfortable.

      "Had to be sure of what, Bub?"

      "That you were you."

      "I'm pretty sure that I'm me. Doesn't explain why your guards kidnapped me
      and then proceeded to kick the living shit out of me when I was
      unconscious. I'd like an apology for that, by the way. And for your
      Mastermind taking control of my body and marching me right over to them."

      The dark haired man glanced over at his companion, who winced. "Mastermind
      acted rashly, and he is going to be suitably reprimanded. But you are
      going to have to forgive the guards."

      "And why would I want to do that, Bub?"

      The man took a deep breath and started to speak.

      Logan interrupted. "Better make this good, Bub."

      The man's eyes flashed, but the only other sign of his annoyance was a
      slight twitch in his cheek. "My name is Jack Frost. I would thank you to
      address me as such. I am the Black King of the Hell Fire Club, so if you
      must, you may call me by my title. I am one of the richest men in the
      world, controlling one of the most successful global shipping companies. I
      am not a man you want to make antagonize."

      "Whatever you say Bub." Logan didn't know what it was that drove him to
      aggravate the man. Something deep inside of him stirred, trying to dredge
      up the memories again. "But you sure had mean parents."

      "My name is not actually Jack, you..." Frost trailed off. "It is just
      common courtesy to address those you capture by the name that you go by in
      the underworld."

      "I'm sure that it strikes fear into the hearts of your enemies, but let's
      get down to business. What is it about big bad old job hunting me that
      scared your telepath so badly?"

      "It wasn't you precisely. It was who you'd been in contact with." Logan's
      mind started to race. How far would he go to protect Xavier, if it meant
      giving up the witch and Marie? "You see, my daughter is a mutant."

      Which one of the women that he'd left behind could have been this man's
      flesh and blood? He didn't bear as much as a passing resemblance to any of
      the ones that he'd spent any time with, but looks could be deceiving. Plus
      there were more people at that school than he'd gotten to know. Frost was
      still talking. "She's sick. She's even spent several years in an
      institution. She has a tendency to call people towards her. She can't see
      that I love her, and try to protect her." Frost's face didn't hold any of
      the characteristics of a man speaking of his beloved daughter, though. It
      looked more like he was talking about a sick dog. "She's been known to do
      something to people's heads, often without even realizing it. She'll leave
      fake memories of herself in those who have never even lain eyes on her.
      It's almost like she creates a web. Those who are ensnared are drawn
      steadily towards her, trapped in lies. They, however, see her as the one
      trapped and try to rescue her." He paused, glancing almost imperceptibly
      at Mastermind. "We've had some rather nasty confrontations with people of
      that ilk, and lost more than a few good guards. That's why they took it
      out on you, you see. They can't bring themselves to blame my daughter,
      because when she's not having a fit, she's a perfectly normal girl. If
      you'd gotten to her, I don't like to think of what the consequences would
      have been, for either of you." Frost continued to speak, but Logan began
      to tune him out. So this had nothing to do with Xavier.

      Aurora was Frost's daughter. She had to be. Were the dreams.....

      But Frost's story rang false. Logan didn't buy it. She may be his
      daughter, but he probably wasn't representing her right. At the back of
      his mind, something ticked. *Frost, at least a decade younger, counting
      out bills into Logan's palm. The hit had gone off smoothly. Turning
      around to leave and seeing the tail of a white nightgown disappear down the
      hall.* Logan shook himself. Dream, planted memory, something else? He
      wasn't going to take Frost at face value. Just look at the way he treated
      his own daughter. In all the time that he'd been talking of her, he hadn't
      even said her name. Almost as if she were a possession. One thing was for
      sure. He wasn't going to get the truth if he left.

      Something smelled here, and it wasn't just Mastermind's cologne.

      *

      Frost flashed his most debonair smile at Logan. The grizzled man just
      grunted as he flopped back onto the king sized bed, still wearing his
      boots. Frost continued smiling, feeling the sides of his face start to
      crack. Logan opened one eye a slit. "You still here?" Keeping the smile
      even then, Frost walked out of the room.

      Mastermind fell into step beside his employer. "Remind me again," Frost
      said, grinding to a halt, "Why, exactly, we're not just killing him."

      "Emma."

      "It's been long enough. She shouldn't suffer any negative impacts."

      "Jack, with all due respect, you have no idea how strong the bonds can be,
      especially when the telepath is in distress during their forming. It's not
      the sort of thing that just fades away. Never mind the fact that it was
      allowed to go unchecked for so long, or that they were formed when she was
      so young."

      "That was why we didn't kill him then. It's gotten old. Couldn't you try
      to cover it again?"

      "His mind has already been messed with so many times. The brain can only
      be manipulated so far. And keep in mind that with his proximity to your
      daughter, she'd likely feel it. The safest course of action is just to go
      along with him, allay his suspicions."

      "That's all well and good, but the first sign that he's causing a fuss,
      he's gone. This has been hanging over my head for almost three years now,
      and I'm sick of it."

      Logan, lying on the bed in one of the Mansion's myriad guest rooms, kept
      his breathing even. Mastermind had released his mental block on Logan's
      powers when Frost had made it clear that the short man was to be his guest.
      Logan's current expression didn't betray the fact that he'd heard his
      reluctant host's conversation. He had no doubt that someone was monitoring
      him from a control room within the complex.

      No sign passed across his face to indicate that he was left more confused
      than he'd started out. For the time frame that Frost was referring to, he
      had memories. And they didn't coincide with anything else the man said.
      He could just walk out of here whenever he wanted to. But then he'd never
      find out the truth about Aurora. About his part.

      *Emma*, he reminded himself. It seemed right.

      When he was sure that Mastermind and Frost were gone for the time being, he
      allowed himself to slip into sleep, hoping to find the answers there that
      eluded him in day.

      *

      He flicked a lighter and held it to the tip of the cigar. His last client
      had thrown the Cubans in as a bonus to his fee, a reward for pinning the
      hit on one of the client's not favourite people. The hotel was
      non-smoking, but with the rate he was paying for the rather spacious room,
      they'd better let it slide. The room was a rare indulgence for him. He
      preferred to keep his own company, smell the clean night air. He picked up
      the remote, flicking aimlessly through the seemingly endless progression of
      channels.

      "Use Yead's Lawn Fertiliser.......This is a public service announcement,
      brought.......But Bert, you promised me that you'd never drink
      again!.......And the fastest jumping video so far for the summer
      of.......Buffy, you can't really be thinking of going in there
      alone.......Look at that, Ladies and Gentlemen!"

      With a snort of disgust, he smacked the off button. Taking a deep drag of
      the cigar, he turned around.

      Aurora was crouched on his bed, her posture uneasy. As far as he could
      figure, she was about fourteen.

      In eight years, she hadn't spoken outloud to him, hadn't been this
      skittish.

      In eight years, she hadn't shown up when he was in a populated area.

      "What are you doing here?" Moving cautiously towards her, he slowed his
      pace. She started slightly at his approach. Tension radiated off of her.
      Sitting cautiously on the bed beside her, he watched her scamper away from
      him.

      "Hey, what's wrong, Aurora?" She looked ready to bolt. "Look, it's all
      right. I'm not going to hurt you." When she didn't respond, he took a
      deep breath. Her eyes were some undefinable mix of emotions, almost
      glowing in the low lights. She looked like a wraith, white clothes and
      hair, pale skin. She seemed to have lost weight, grown harder. Without
      any conscious effort on his part, his hands darted out, seizing her above
      the wrists.

      ::Fearpainresolvecan'ttakeitanymorewearinessending::

      Then she lashed out with her foot, catching him in the solar plexus in one
      smooth, practiced motion. The flow cut off as soon as their skin broke
      contact, but it echoed in Logan's head, bouncing back and forth amongst the
      pain.

      He expected her to be gone when he regained enough control of himself to
      look up, but she was still in the room, now standing with her back pressed
      against the door.

      She hadn't even tried the handle to see if the door was locked. Her hand
      made an abortive grab for the knob, but stopped before making contact.

      He watched as her eyes grew less wild, regained their focus. She started
      to move to his side, but pulled back. He watched as her face iced over,
      her posture stiffened. She fell into a traditional deep bow, the one that
      he'd taught her with the patterns she'd followed him as he went through.
      She looked deeply at him, her eyes resolute.

      He let his head fall into his hands, breathing fiercly. When he looked up,
      she was gone, leaving behind whispers of goodbye floating on the air.

      All of a sudden he straightened, feeling his side protest even as he
      started to move.

      She wouldn't.......

      He remembered the feelings floating off of her.

      Urgency started to flow through him, and something pulled at his body,
      calling him East.

      *

      Logan smoothed his bushy hair back once more. He'd woken from the nap
      feeling as if he hadn't slept at all.

      The suit that he had found hanging in his room chaffed at him. But he put
      up with it, because Frost obviously didn't want him to be at the social.
      He sipped at the glass of punch gingerly, grimacing at the overly sweet
      taste. Not even enough booze in it to compensate.

      The aristocrats flitting around him didn't pay him any attention, other
      than to raise an eyebrow. They filled the air with expensive perfume, and
      the smoke from imported cigars. He supposed most of them thought that he
      was some sort of security guard. Snagging a canape off of the plate of a
      passing waiter, he surveyed the room. Black, blue, and grey everywhere,
      with the occasional spot of red or emerald. His own attire didn't add any
      variety.

      Something caught his attention out of the corner of his eye. He turned his
      head just in time to catch a flash of white threading through the crowd.

      He headed towards where he had last seen it, pushing his way among the
      people. He received a few rude comments, but they didn't even catch his
      attention. His entire being was focussed on the glint of white. Through
      the thinning crowd, he saw someone disappear around a corner. He walked
      down the hall, turning the corner. The hall was deserted, but a door swung
      back and forth on its hinges at the end of the corridor.

      Steeling himself for anything, he reached for the handle and walked inside.



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