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FIC: An Unexpected Visitor, (NC-17) 23/?

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  • Henrika
    Look for story information in part 1. *some violence in this chapter* Chapter 23 The party started as a success. All the students of the Xavier- institute had
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 24, 2003
      Look for story information in part 1.

      *some violence in this chapter*

      Chapter 23

      The party started as a success. All the students of the Xavier-
      institute had come, and everyone was having a great time.
      The professor and Magneto had come, like they promised, and Scott
      was there, plus Ororo. But Rogue noticed that Ororo looked like she
      had been crying her eyes out. She had tried her best to conceal the
      fact, with make up, powder, etc. She bravely tried to appear happy,
      but did not manage especially well.
      Rogue had wanted to go to her and ask what was wrong, but she
      didn't really find the courage to do so. Whatever it was, Storm must
      have her reasons to be sad, and she might not want to talk about it.
      Doctor Lecter arrived as well, a little later than the others,
      gliding like a cat in his dark silk suit. He politely greeted Erik
      and the professor, and then moved on to have a drink.
      The only one not there yet was Jean. But everyone recalled that she
      had said she might be a little late, because she had to stay in the
      med-lab and produce more of Rogue's serum.
      Almost everyone wanted to talk to Rogue and congratulate her, and
      some people also admired her new, exclusive look. They had never seen
      good old Marie like that before. She, who used to walk around in worn-
      out jeans and who never wore any make up.
      She danced with John two times in a row, after unsuccessfully
      trying to drag Logan out on the dance floor.
      - No, I don't dance, he had said, and actually sounded embarrassed.
      - Not even for me? Rogue asked and tried to look grumpy.
      - Honey, I do many things for you, but I don't dance.
      So Marie had to dance with John instead. He was in fact not a bad
      dancer, especially to the faster songs.
      After dancing with John for the third time, Rogue went to have a
      drink. She poured some Coke into a plastic mug, and drank everything
      in just a few gulps. All the dancing had made her thirsty.
      - Are you enjoying yourself? she suddenly heard a voice say behind
      her, and doctor Lecter slid forth, holding a glass of champagne.
      - Very, Rogue said, smiling. And you?
      - Yes, very much, the doctor said. But I am sorry that Ororo is so
      down. I had wished her to be happy at your party.
      - Do you know why she's sad? asked Rogue.
      - We had a little argument. She doesn't want me to leave, but I
      have to.
      - When are you leaving?
      - Tomorrow, probably.
      - You... eh... care much for Ororo, don't you?
      Doctor Lecter nodded. - Yes. I do. Very much. Do I get the honour
      to dance with you? he asked then, offering Rogue his hand.
      - I'd love to, she smiled and followed doctor Lecter out on the
      dance floor.
      He danced really well. You could almost believe that the doctor was
      a professional dancer. Rogue had a hard time keeping up with him,
      despite that she was young and he was old.
      He must be extremely fit, she thought, and was almost happy when
      the song ended.
      Charles and Erik sat in a corner by themselves, with their drinks,
      watching as the younger people danced and interacted. Charles sighed.
      - If only I could dance, he said and even looked a little nostalgic
      and melancholy. I used to think it was so fun before... well, you
      - Hmm, Erik said, sounding sympathetic. But we are too old for that
      now anyway. We will have to find other ways to amuse ourselves. If
      one were as fit as Hannibal Lecter! He is 63 years old, but he moves
      like a fit 20-year-old! You could almost believe he is a mutant!
      Charles' brows went up. - Are you certain that he isn't? he said,
      and suddenly sounded interested.
      Erik shrugged. - In case he is, he doesn't care. But that doesn't
      really matter, does it? He is leaving tomorrow, and you don't have to
      see him anymore after that.
      - I didn't mean that, Charles said. I just... schh, now I think we
      should drop this subject. Can we leave? I believe that this party was
      meant for the younger ones. We can go to our room, and... amuse
      ourselves. What do you say, Erik?
      Magneto smiled wryly, and placed his hand on Xavier's upper thigh
      and squeezed it through the fabric. Charles could not feel it, but
      still he thought he could feel the warmth and tenderness of Erik's
      - That was not a bad idea, Charles, he said knowingly, still with
      the same, wry smile. I believe we can find something that we both
      like, eh?
      Charles placed his hand atop Erik's, still resting on his thigh.
      - Come, he said and waited for Erik to get up.
      He manoeuvred his wheelchair toward the dining hall exit, and Erik
      was walking by his side.
      - Leaving already? Logan asked in surprise, when he walked past
      them, with a half-full beer can in his hand.
      - We are too old for parties like this, said Magneto. You will have
      to keep enjoying yourselves without us.
      - I think we can do that... Logan muttered as he saw them leave the
      dining hall, and the party, to "amuse themselves". Logan was pretty
      sure they were going to have sex. He could smell those things.

      Mystique was sitting in a car, driving toward Westchester. She looked
      resolute and she kept her eyes sternly focused on the road. Inside,
      her soul and mind were black with fury.
      He can't treat me like this, she repeated to herself. He can't
      treat me like shit. I won't allow it. I'll teach him that I won't
      take more of his bullshit! Who the hell does he think he is?! He's
      gonna pay for this. This time I'll really show you, my little Magneto!
      She wasn't sure what to do yet, to take vengeance upon Magneto, but
      she was thinking fervently.
      There was a party as Xavier's. Had Erik not told it was for Rogue?
      How the hell can a party be more important than I am? Mystique
      thought angrily. Or then the party was not the true reason why he
      chose to stay. Probably it was Xavier himself.
      Do you love him? she thought meanly while she drove, and thought
      about what she was going to say to Erik next time they met.
      She wanted to hurt him, like he had hurt her, but she knew that
      that couldn't be done by words alone. This required actions.
      Making him jealous would not work either. What if she seduced
      Xavier? No, she thought then. That would never work. Xavier would
      never fall for it - he was a telepath, after all - and Mystique
      realized that it wasn't anything she wanted to do either.
      The mere thought of him disgusted her. How was it really, to have
      sex with a paralysed man? Yuck! How could Erik do it?
      He did it for 25 years before he even met you, Mystique reminded
      herself. He is used to it, I guess.
      But that hardly made it any better. She got closer and closer to
      Westchester, and a plan was forming in her head.

      It was nine o'clock, and Charles and Erik had left. Jean had not
      showed up yet, and the party seemed to have calmed down a bit.
      Fewer people were up dancing, and many of those who had been
      dancing before, were instead sitting down, talking, as they ate
      sweets, popcorn, or drank some soda.
      Doctor Lecter was there, and seemed to enjoy himself. He had danced
      with Rogue once more, and surprised them all with his agile movement
      and quick steps. It was impossible to believe that he was already 63.
      Scott started to get annoyed. Where the hell was Jean? Had she not
      promised to come?
      Scott didn't like Hannibal Lecter. Surely it had been "noble" of
      him to help with the serum, but Cyclops refused to believe that he
      did it from kindness. There must be some other reason beneath.
      And he seemed to have caused Ororo grief. Scott had barely spoken
      with her during the evening, but it was still obvious that she *was*
      sad, since she kept to herself and shot sad, furtive looks at
      Hannibal Lecter every now and then.
      He should never have been allowed in here, Scott thought irritably.
      It seems like the Xavier-institute is more and more becoming a refuge
      for terrorists, and now also serial killers.
      Well, he could tolerate Magneto, but Hannibal Lecter was simply too
      much. It would be great too see him leaving tomorrow, as planned.
      Suddenly Scott saw Jean come walking toward him across the dining
      hall. She was smiling, and was clad in a pretty, white lace blouse,
      which one could almost see through, and tight blue jeans. Those were
      clothes he had never seen her wear before.
      - Hi, Scott, said Jean, still smiling, when she reached him.
      - Hi, Jean. Have you bought new clothes?
      Jean just shrugged her shoulders, without answering. Her smile
      became forced.
      - Was there much to do in the lab, since you're so late? Scott
      - The lab?
      - Yes, with Rogue's serum. Is it done now? You are coming from down
      there, right?
      - Yeah, right, she said and looked like she just thought of
      - Jean? Scott said, now sounding concerned. Are you alright? You
      seem a little... confused.
      Jean nodded. - Yeah, everything's fine. Scott, you don't happen to
      know where Charles and Erik are, do you?
      - They left over half an hour ago. Are you sure you're alright,
      - You know what...I'm not... I just thought of I forgot something
      down in the lab. I have to go down and fix it. See you later.
      She turned around to leave again, but Scott grabbed her by the arm.
      - Jean! You only just arrived! What's the matter?
      Jean tore loose. - Just one thing. I'm alright. I'll be right back.
      After saying those words, she ran away from Scott without even
      looking back at him.
      - Jean! he called after her, but received no reply. What's wrong
      with you?

      Mystique kept Jean Greys appearance until she was safe inside the
      elevator which would bring her down to the med-lab. She laughed at
      Cyclops while she was standing there, back in her true shape.
      He seemed quite stupid, but you never knew. Perhaps he had grown
      suspicious. Maybe she should have tried to be a little more... Jean?
      But she wasn't Jean. She was Raven Darkholme, and she was pissed.
      She now knew what to do. When she arrived, her plan was to sneak
      inside Xavier's bedroom and confront them in there, face to face. But
      that was not a good idea. This was.
      The subterranean floor was quiet and dark. Raven imagined hearing
      the pounding of the music from the dining hall above. She sneaked out
      of the elevator and headed for the med-lab.
      She knew where it was. She had been down here before. Then her plan
      had been to destroy Cerebro.
      Now it wasn't. The thought was tempting, but the med-lab was a
      better idea. It would affect Rogue, but so be it. She really had no
      part in this, but still she would be affected.
      Mystique stood in front of the entrance to the lab and morphed into
      Jean Grey again. When the retinal scanner scanned her eye, she was
      obviously going to get inside, since the doors slid apart and she was
      free to enter, she was told by a computer generated voice.
      Mystique smiled a triumphant smile to herself. Now she could
      finally start. And no one could stop her.

      Jean tried to correct her dress while she walked. She realized she
      was late, and she was sorry for it. Making the serum had taken longer
      than she could have imagined, since doctor Lecter hadn't been there
      to help her now.
      She threw a quick glance at her wristwatch. 9:15 P.M.
      Very well. Maybe she would at least have time to be in on
      After coming up from the lab, she had gone straight to her and
      Scott's room to shower and tidy herself. It had taken almost 30
      minutes. Now all nasty chemical smells were gone, and Jean was
      elegantly dressed in a tight, wine-red evening gown.
      When she arrived at the dining hall, Scott approached her at once.
      He seemed surprised at seeing her there.
      - Jean! he exclaimed. Back already? How about the thing you were
      going to fix? And you've changed clothes! How could you do all that
      in less than ten minutes?
      Jean looked like a live question mark.
      - But, she said confusedly, I just came up. What are you talking
      about, Scott? I haven't been here before. I just come here from my
      - What are *you* talking about? said Scott. You were just here ten
      minutes ago and said you had to go back down to the lab to fix
      something. Don't you remember? And now you've changed your clothes.
      How could you have time?
      Jean shook her head. - No, that's not right. I have was here ten
      minutes ago. Then I was in the shower!
      - But then who...-
      Jean closed her eyes and focused on reading Scott's mind to
      understand what he was talking about.
      She encountered a mental image of herself, wearing something she
      had never seen before, talking to Scott and incoherently explaining
      that she had "forgotten" something in the lab, and had to go down to
      fix it.
      The scene had taken place roughly ten minutes ago, like Scott said.
      Then Jean had been standing in the shower.
      Suddenly her eyes fluttered open and the telepathic connection was
      cut off at once.
      Jean wasn't sure, but it was the only way. She grabbed Scott's arm
      roughly and felt the panic ooze within her.
      - Scott, she said, trying to sound calm despite that she
      understood. That was not me. It was Mystique. I don't know how, or
      why, but she is going down to the med-lab.
      - Mystique! cried Scott. But how...-
      - Quiet! Get Logan and Ororo and go down there at once! Whatever
      she is planning, we have to stop her! I'll get Charles and Magneto.
      Jean released Scott's arm and turned around to run out again, but
      Scott, who hadn't yet quite realized, stopped her.
      - Jean! Wait! Are you sure? he said.
      - Stop her, before it's too late! Jean called and hurried out of
      the dining hall as quickly as she possibly could, wearing a long gown
      and high-heeled shoes.
      She ran toward Charles' room. She had the same thought in her head
      the whole time. Don't let her do any harm! Don't let her...
      Jean pulled open the door to Charles' bedroom, without either
      knocking or calling beforehand. Usually she hadn't even considered
      doing anything like that, but this wasn't any usual case. This was an
      - Charles! she called. Erik!
      Charles Xavier and Magneto lay in the bed, with their naked bodies
      entangled, and their mouths locked in a fervent and passionate kiss.
      Charles lay under Erik with his legs splayed, and his hands eagerly
      caressing his lover's body, as they moved in rhythm and had sex.
      But Jean's shrill and terrified voice made them stiffen. They broke
      the kiss and turned their heads in the direction of the door and
      Jean's voice. The expression on their faces could not be described by
      any words.
      - Charles, Erik... you have to come, Jean said with strain, and
      tried to ignore the fact that she was standing there, staring, as
      mentor and teacher had a very intimate moment with his lover.
      - Jean... Charles managed to say, like he still didn't quite
      believe she was actually standing there.
      - Mystique's here, Jean said. She has gone down to the med-lab.
      Come right away. She's going to destroy something.
      When Erik heard her mention Mystique's name, his facial expression
      changed. A wrinkle formed between his eyebrows and the look in his
      eyes became hard and determined.
      - I suspected this... he murmured. That she...
      He pulled out of Charles so quickly that a popping noise sounded
      from them, and then jumped out of bed and started looking for his
      clothes. Charles remained in the bed, confused and a bit shocked,
      with his paralysed legs still spread, since he couldn't close them by
      Erik looked at Jean. - Go down there. We'll come. Be careful. She
      is furious and frustrated. We'll be there as quickly as we can.
      - But... Jean began doubtfully.
      - Go, Erik said. It sounded like an order, and Jean couldn't other
      than obey. Magneto knew best how to tackle Mystique, and they needed
      him. Jean turned around and ran.

      Scott had managed to talk Logan and Ororo into going down to the lab
      and see what went on down there.
      Rogue had wanted to come too, but Logan didn't allow it.
      - You'll stay here, he said. If there's anything wrong, we can
      handle it.
      - But I can be useful! Rogue objected. I can fight!
      - I'm thinking about your safety, Logan said then. Stay here. I'll
      take care of Mystique!
      - But...
      Then suddenly Scott interfered. - Marie, stay here, he said with
      his so-professional-fearless-leader voice. This is your party. Stay
      here and take care of your guests.
      She had wanted to come with further objections, but she knew it
      would be useless. If Scott had decided something, she could not
      change it. But it annoyed her that everyone just kept on treating her
      like some small and helpless kid.
      Scott, Logan and Ororo hurried away. Rogue stayed, in her fancy
      evening gown, and elegant hairdo, to take care of the party. What
      party, anyway?
      As the three mutants stood in the elevator they tried to think of
      what they would do if it appeared to be Mystique.
      - Just hope Cerebro isn't her target again, Ororo said anxiously,
      and had seemed to forget how sad she was for the moment.
      - She said she was going to the med-lab, said Scott. But that might
      just have been something she said. We know nothing of what she really
      - Where did Jeannie go? Logan asked irritably. Shouldn't she be
      here helping us?
      - She was going to get the professor and Magneto, Scott explained.
      Then Logan just snorted. - Good luck... he muttered.
      When the elevator finally stopped and the doors were opened, Logan
      sniffed in the air and his look grew stern at once. Having superhuman
      senses might be an advantage. - She's been here, he hissed. I can
      smell her! I never forget that smell. Come one!
      He took the lead and started jogging along the dark, quiet
      corridor. Every now and then he sniffed in the air around him to feel
      if he could still catch Mystique's scent.
      - Getting anything? Scott asked.
      - This way, Logan said.
      Cerebro had not been Mystique's target this time. Logan followed
      the scent trail, and it was leading straight to the med-lab, just as
      they believed.
      Before they went in, Logan extracted his claws. //Snikt// The two
      other mutants saw them gleam in the faint illumination.
      They looked into each other's eyes before Cyclops nodded shortly at
      the other two, and they went in.
      The sight they were encountered by shocked them. Mystique had
      already managed to cause great devastation. When the three X-men,
      minus Jean, entered, she was breaking their X-ray machine with a fire-
      extinguisher. There was broken glass everywhere, chemicals were
      spread over the floor, and Jean's desk, with all its contents, had
      been smashed.
      Torn papers, together with other objects, were also on the floor,
      mixed with pieces of glass and chemicals.
      When she heard them come, she spun around and stared into their
      faces. The fire-extinguisher froze in her hands. She was in her true
      shape now, and her yellow, cat-like eyes seemed to glow in her blue
      - Drop the fire-extinguisher, Mystique, Scott said in an icily calm
      voice, as he brought his hand to his visor.
      Now she grinned contemptuously, and her teeth seemed to glow as
      - What else? What will you do, momma-boy? Blast me? she said.
      - Want to find out? Scott replied, sounding more threatening this
      time. Be wise, Mystique. Don't make it worse than it already is.
      - Tell that to that fucking cocksucker! cried Mystique in reply,
      seething with anger. This is all his fault! Right now he's probably
      fucking your dear professor through the mattress! Tell that to him!
      He's ruined my life!
      They all realized she was referring to Magneto, before she suddenly
      raised the fire-extinguisher and threw it right at them, followed by
      another furious cry.
      It hit Ororo's left shoulder, and she sank down, screaming, and
      then whining with pain.
      Logan reacted in a flash. He lunged at Mystique, with his right
      hand raised, and claws extracted, but she saw him come, and jumped
      over the smashed X-ray machine to avoid him.
      Logan slashed at her. He missed. His claws got stuck in the
      machine's screen, and it took him some time to get them out again. In
      the meantime Mystique had gotten beyond his reach.
      She realized that her plan had failed, and the smartest thing would
      be to run, so she headed for the exit. Logan ran after her
      immediately, but Mystique was fast, and they both realized that he
      would not get her that way.
      Scott intervened. He threw at her from the right and managed to
      knock her to the floor with his speed and body weight.
      Mystique wriggled and twisted like a snake underneath him, and she
      had great reflexes, despite that the fall had knocked her breath out.
      She drove her knee into Scott's stomach and pushed him off of
      herself, making him roll around several times on the floor.
      He moaned and coughed, and tried to hold his visor in place, so he
      wouldn't drop it and become helpless.
      Logan came. Before Mystique could get to her feet, he grabbed her
      by the ankle and pulled her back. She kicked him in the face with her
      other foot, but even though it hurt, Logan did not let go of her.
      With his other hand he grabbed her thigh and started pulling her
      Mystique screamed. Desperately her hands fumbled for something to
      grab a hold of, and she got the fire-extinguisher, which she had
      thrown at Storm before.
      Now she threw it at Logan instead. He tumbled backwards with a howl
      and heard his own nose break. Of course he lost his hold of Mystique,
      and she was back on her feet in no time.
      Storm had risen. She stood between Mystique and the exit, blocking
      up her way. Her shoulder hurt terribly, but that didn't stop her from
      being determined.
      For a moment the two women looked into each other's eyes. Mystique
      was taller than Storm, considerably stronger and a better fighter.
      There was not much weather for Ororo to manipulate in here now, so if
      she wanted to stop Mystique, she had to go into a hand-to-hand
      Storm gritted her teeth and was at least going to try, no matter
      - Move, bitch! hissed Mystique threateningly.
      - You'll have to do that! Ororo replied, raising her right fist,
      ready to strike.
      - I will!
      Mystique took one step towards Ororo, and Ororo swung her fist in
      order to hit her across the face, but Mystique was a lot faster. She
      grabbed Storm's wrist and forced her hand back down. Ororo screamed.
      - This is for you, you stupid bitch! snorted Mystique and punched
      Ororo in the face so hard she flew directly into the wall behind.
      Remarkably dizzy, she sank down, moaning, with a split lower lip.
      Mystique saw her chance and was about to run through the exit, but
      she didn't get any further.
      Suddenly she discovered that she couldn't move at all, and the next
      second she was lifted into the air, until she was floating about 6
      feet above the floor, incapable of doing anything but whining.
      Jean was fixating her with her gaze, and kept her suspended with
      the help of telekinesis. She let Mystique hover in the air for some
      more seconds, and tightened her grip so much that the other mutant
      could hardly even breathe.
      Then she sent her flying straight through the med-lab, into a wall,
      where she slammed violently, finally landing on the floor, directly
      onto a heap of glass splinters.
      They heard her scream, but she did not get up now, but simply
      wriggled and tried to crawl away from the splinters, which had
      penetrated into her hands, forearms, thighs and buttocks.
      Scott crawled up to his feet. He felt sore and beaten, but was not
      seriously hurt, except for a few bruises.
      Logan spat and grunted as he waited for his nose to heal up. He
      looked at the entrance and saw Jean standing there, in the doorway,
      still keeping her hand stretched out after throwing Mystique away.
      - Oh... Logan muttered. *Now* you're here? We had already needed
      you sooner, so where were you?
      - I... Jean began, but did not finish the sentence. She let her
      hand drop. Is everyone alright? she asked instead.
      - Yeah, I think so, Scott replied. All but her, will say, he added,
      nodding at Mystique who was still lying on the floor, groaning with
      pain. She wasn't trying to get up any longer, in the fear of another
      telepathic attack from Jean.
      - Good, Jean said blankly.
      - But she did quite a good job destroying the lab, Scott pointed
      Jean sighed and closed her eyes. Yes. She had. Really.
      Suddenly Logan got wild. He rushed to Jean and grabbed her roughly
      by the shoulders, shaking her. - The serum! he hissed. Where'd you
      keep it? Did you keep it here? Has it been destroyed?!
      - Yes, Jean replied. I kept it here, and now it has been destroyed.
      - No! Logan roared, and suddenly looked as though he was about the
      throw Jean across the room, like it was her fault.
      - Calm down, Logan, said Jean. It will be okay. I know that this
      production has been destroyed, but I have saved all our results on a
      CD, which I keep in my private computer, up in my room. As soon as we
      have replaced the equipment, I will be able to manufacture the serum
      - How soon?
      - I don't know. When we have gotten new equipment.
      - That's terrific! Logan snapped and released Jean. All fucking
      marvellous! I'll kill that blue bitch!
      - Now you calm down! hissed Jean and grabbed his arm. You are not
      doing anything before Charles and Erik get here!
      Logan just shrugged, but didn't say anything. He snorted in
      frustration, but had obviously decided not to kill Mystique anymore.
      Suddenly another person arrived. The others expected to see
      Magneto, but it was doctor Lecter. His eyes widened when he noticed
      the destruction in the lab.
      - Who did this? he asked in a low voice.
      - Please, go back up, Scott said impatiently. We don't need you
      here right now.
      But doctor Lecter did not go up, but when he saw Ororo, who sat
      slumped next to a wall, he rushed to her instead. Her face was white
      with pain, and she was holding her left arm spasmodically hard.
      - Ororo, Hannibal said and kneeled next to her. How are you?
      - My arm... Storm whispered. It...hurts. Could it be broken?
      - Let me have a look. I am a doctor.
      - Does the arm need to be put in plaster? Ororo asked in a
      trembling voice.
      - No, I don't think so, doctor Lecter replied before he had even
      brushed her. When he touched her shoulder she gave out a cry.
      He was quite sure of what was the problem was. The arm was not
      broken, anyway.
      - You don't need plaster at all, Ororo, he said. Your shoulder is
      only dislocated. If you let me put it back in place, it will feel
      better right away.
      Ororo looked hesitant. It hurt now, and it would hurt even more
      when he put the shoulder back into its socket. But it would feel much
      better afterwards.
      - Okay, he said faintly. But do you know how?
      - Yes. Of course I do. Don't worry. I have done this before. Clench
      your teeth, now, my dear.
      Doctor Lecter grabbed Ororo by the wrist with one hand, and put the
      other one against the bulge sticking up from her shoulder. Then he
      pulled her arm, as he simultaneously pressed against her shoulder,
      and a strange, crunching noise sounded.
      Ororo gave out a strangled cry.
      Everyone's eyes were suddenly focused on them. The others had
      almost forgotten Ororo, and not noticed that she was sitting by the
      wall, with a dislocated shoulder. Now they noticed her, and they also
      heard the sound of her shoulder being put back in place.
      Scott rushed toward them. - What the hell are you doing? he yelled
      at Hannibal, and nearly tore him off the floor, and away from Ororo.
      - Ororo's shoulder was dislocated, he replied with infinite
      calmness, without even looking at Cyclops. I only put it back right.
      - Ororo? Scott asked, still suspicious.
      - It... it feels much better now, Hannibal... she breathed. Thank
      you so much. It doesn't hurt at all now.
      - Can you stand up? Hannibal asked her.
      - Yes, I believe so...
      - Come, I'll help you. Lean against me.
      He put his arm around her shoulders and carefully helped her to her
      feet. She gratefully leaned against him, pulling long, deep breaths.
      Her face was still tense and strained, but the horrible pain in her
      shoulder was gone, at least.
      Hannibal had barely noticed that the laboratory was smashed, and he
      hadn't even seen Mystique's blue shape that lay in a heap next to one
      wall. The only thing he thought about was taking care of Ororo.

      Charles and Erik were the last to arrive. It had taken Charles some
      time to get dressed, in spite that Erik tried to help him as much as
      he could.
      Charles only wore a pair of pyjama trousers and a robe; no shirt,
      no underwear or even socks.
      Erik also wore a robe, and pyjama trousers, like Charles, but at
      least he'd taken the time to put on a pair socks and slippers. The
      floor could be cold when one was barefoot, but to Charles, who didn't
      have his feet in the ground, it didn't matter. The hastily
      interrupted intercourse, and the knowledge that Mystique was there,
      making trouble, had left him shaky.
      - Oh, God... he whispered when he arrived in his wheelchair, and
      saw what condition the med-lab was in. Oh, God...
      Erik came up behind him and put a soothing hand on his shoulder. He
      was regarding the others with a dead-serious expression. His pale
      blue eyes expressed cold anger.
      - Where is Raven? he asked calmly, but his voice could not conceal
      his true mood. Magneto was almost furious.
      - She's lying over there, Scott replied casually, and nodded at the
      wall in which Mystique had been thrown.
      Erik left Charles and started walking there, with long, resolute
      steps. Mystique lifted her head when she saw him approach. She looked
      up at him with her pained eyes and gasped.
      - Erik... she rattled and reached out a bloody hand in his
      Magneto pulled away as though she had been plague-stricken.
      - Do not touch me, he said coldly.
      - Erik... please... Take me out of here, she said miserably.
      - I didn't believe this about you, Raven. How could you go so low?
      he proceeded in the same, icy voice. Do you know what you have done?
      You have not only destroyed equipment for millions of dollars, but
      also my last respect and trust in you. Was that your intention, Raven?
      - But Erik... I did it for you... for us...
      - There is no "us". And there never will be. Not now, and not ever.
      Not in any way. You have made that clear.
      He kneeled next to her, grabbed a hold of her muddled, red hair
      with his hand, and pulled it so roughly that her scalp hurt.
      Mystique grimaced and tried to turn her face away, but Erik forced
      her to look into his eyes.
      - Look me in the eyes, he ordered, and she couldn't other than
      - Erik, I'm sorry... she snuffled.
      - Sorry? I think you should tell that to Rogue. It is primary her
      life that you have ruined with this little trick. You don't have to
      apologize to me. I don't ever want to see you again, he finished, and
      then released her, rising to his feet again.
      - What are you planning to do with her? he asked Jean.
      - I don't know. We'll have to do something about her injuries, and
      lock her into a hospital cell over the night, Jean replied. Or do you
      have a better idea?
      - Do as you wish. I don't care, Magneto said wearily and went back
      to Charles. The telepath still looked shocked, and was looking down
      at his hands, which were shaking. Erik took his face between his
      hands and turned it up against himself.
      - Darling? he said. Are you alright? I am so sorry, Charles. This
      is partly my fault.
      - No, it is not, Charles replied. You couldn't know. But all this
      equipment, and Rogue's serum... all is destroyed... How shall we be
      able to tell her?
      - It will be alright, Erik tried. We'll think of something, okay?
      - Of course. But it won't be easy.
      In the meantime Jean tried to approach Mystique in order to have a
      look at her injuries, but Mystique, being borderline hysterical, did
      not let Jean come near her.
      - No!! she cried, hitting and kicking around herself. Don't touch
      me, you fucking bitch! No! Don't come near me! Get away! You hear
      me?! Get away from me! Don't touch me!
      - You are hurt, let me help you, Jean tried, matter-of-factly, but
      for no use.
      - Get away, I said! Mystique howled. I don't need your help! Buzz
      - Then don't, Jean said irritably. We'll see if you can pull out
      all those splinters on your own, without my help. Go ahead and try.
      She went to bring her medicine kit, which had actually survived the
      catastrophe, and quickly took out a syringe containing sedative.
      - Logan, she said and nodded at him, knowingly. Help me hold her.
      When Mystique saw their intention, she started screaming again, and
      tried to crawl away, but Logan came there quickly and pressed her
      down, while Jean brought the needle into her throat and injected the
      Within a few seconds Mystique quietened and ceased wriggling.
      Logan lifted her into his arms and waited for Jean to tell him what
      to do next.
      - And what now? he said.
      Jean sighed. - We'll take her to a hospital cell, as I said. I'll
      have to do my best trying to take out all the splinters while she's
      sedated. Will that be alright? Erik? Charles?
      - Yes, sure, said Erik. Charles only nodded in reply, almost
      - I can help you, doctor Lecter offered. I am no expert on mutant
      physiology, but I think I might be useful in case she wakes up.
      - Sure, said Jean with a shrug. I think I might need all the help I
      can get.
      - But I will escort you up first, if you wish, Ororo, he said then,
      turning to Storm.
      - No, that is not necessary, Storm replied. I will be alright. Go
      and help Jean.
      - Sure?
      - Yeah. Thank you for fixing my arm, she said and tried to smile.
      He kissed her cheek. - Of course. Goodnight, then.
      Scott, Ororo, Charles and Erik headed back up. Jean, Logan and
      Hannibal Lecter stayed, together with an unconscious Mystique.
      They had a difficult task ahead of them.
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