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Prodigals #14a: Cradling the Cactus Tree 1/1 [Scott, Remy, Marie]

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  • Katt S.
    Title: Cradling the Csctus Tree Author: Katt Characters: Scott, Remy, Marie, and a few other mentioned in passing Rating: R for language and PG-13 for sexual
    Message 1 of 1 , May 29 10:47 AM
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      Title: Cradling the Csctus Tree
      Author: Katt
      Characters: Scott, Remy, Marie, and a few other mentioned in passing
      Rating: R for language and PG-13 for sexual situation. Would that make it
      Summary: The consequences of Marie's condition are explored
      Archive: my own site, Katt's Aerie as well as LeBeau Library,, Down Home
      Charm, and Heart of a Hero. Anyone else, please ask.
      Disclaimers & Author's notes: None of the characters you can recognize
      belong to me. They're Marvel's Fox's, Brian Singers, David Hayter's, a whole
      lot of other peoples'... except me. I'm making no profit from this
      (puh-lease!). This is purely for entertainment. Thanks bunches to the
      Faeries for idea bouncng, critques, and betas. Special mention to Terri for
      helping out in the aforementioned PG-13 sexual situation and Elf for coming
      up with the title.


      Cradling the Cactus Tree

      I can't stand to watch CNN

      It's such a bullshit channel; a joke really. I'm more likely to believe
      Extra or Entertainment Tonight than anything on CNN. At least they're honest
      about their tabloid quality. They don't try to pass it off as truth.

      Muir Island Academy, like Xavier�s, had a news room. A dozen or so TV
      monitors displayed different news channels from different countries, cycling
      every fifteen minutes if you don't stop it manually. I focused on five: two
      US channels, two BBC, and one Canadian. The rest, though pertinent, weren�t
      in English. I didn't have the patience to read the subtitles.

      I didn�t even know why I was here. I'm about as useful as a fish's bicycle.
      I should be back in Westchester getting ready for the next school year-- ten
      new students and those are only the ones who've pre-registered. Without me
      or the Professor, Jean, Ro, and Hank should be able to hold the fort well
      enough. Not perfectly, but well enough.

      That should have bugged me more. The past fifty-two hours had a way of
      wiping things like that from your head though.


      You have just entered "The Danger Grotto"
      caf�_freak has entered the room
      SuperPunk7 has entered the room
      caf�_freak: boo
      SuperPunk7: Hey, Remy
      caf�_freak: why superpunk7?
      SuperPunk7: I dunno, it just seemed appropriate
      caf�_freak: I'll bite.
      caf�_freak: not rogue?
      SuperPunk7: Nah. The leather name stays in the Danger Room.
      caf�-freak: leather name. Sounds kinky.
      SuperPunk7: I've got to introduce you to one of my roommates. You'd either
      be best friends or worst enemies.
      caf�_freak: yeah?
      SuperPunk7: either way, it'll be tons of fun to watch.
      caf�_freak: glad I can make your life more entertaining.
      SuperPunk7: always
      SuperPunk7: hello?
      caf�_freak: sorry. doing something else at the same time
      caf�_freak: laundry. trying to fold stuff and it's just not cooperating.
      SuperPunk7: OK
      SuperPunk7: Did you want to go?
      caf�_freak: I'm good if you're good.
      caf�_freak: what are you doing?
      SuperPunk7: Writing a paper.
      caf�_freak: during your summer vacation?
      SuperPunk7: Yep. On my handy-dandy notebook computer. It�s to help me get
      ahead next year. I want to qualify for a sort of honours program where I get
      to live and work in a French-speaking city.
      caf�_freak: what�s it about?
      SuperPunk7: The essay? French Around the World. Y'know, the different types
      of French in France, Luxembourg, Canada, even Creole.
      caf�_freak: really? you choose that?
      SuperPunk7: Sure. It's really interesting. *LOL* I'm getting to be such a
      word freak.
      caf�_freak: what do you mean?
      SuperPunk7: Nothing. I just get into long rhetorical tangents about words
      and origin of words and all that. It drives all my roomies nuts.
      caf�_freak: *grin* well, I could of told you that.
      SuperPunk7: It's actually supposed to be an intro paper but I asked if I
      could integrate historical roots and cite literature from those places
      instead of just reporting and the instructor wrote me down as an
      caf�_freak: good for you. That was good, right?
      SuperPunk7: *LOL* yeah, it was good. Especially if I make the grade. I'm
      just having trouble concentrating.
      caf�_freak: I should go then.
      caf�_freak: let you write in peace.
      SuperPunk7: You don�t have to. I want you to stick around while I write.
      caf�_freak: you missed me, sher?
      SuperPunk7: *snorts*
      caf�_freak: you did! you missed me. aw shucks
      SuperPunk7: Kinda like a big, ugly mole in the middle of my nose. I can�t
      wait to get it removed but my nose feels funny without it.
      caf�_freak: that was beautiful. you should go into poetry. I didn�t miss you
      a bit
      SuperPunk7: Thanks a bundle!
      caf�_freak: you didn�t let me finish. I didn�t miss you a bit except for the
      times when I was breathing
      SuperPunk7: Remy! That�s so sweet!
      caf�_freak: you think so? I was gonna use it next time I went to the bar.
      SuperPunk7: You�re hopeless.
      SuperPunk7: is on idle
      caf�_freak: is on idle
      SuperPunk7: You still there, Remy?
      caf�_freak: yep
      SuperPunk7: I�ve gotta go now. Thanks for sticking around.
      caf�_freak: not a problem. see you, river rat
      SuperPunk7: Ciao, swamp rat
      caf�_freak: has left the room
      SuperPunk7 has left the room


      The Professor was in his element. He and MIA's resident telepath, Elisabeth
      Braddock, have been working on Marie. Or rather, Carol-Danvers-in-Marie. How
      convenient that Marie would absorb a cheesed-off reporter. It was just what
      we needed to slam another nail in the rapidly deteriorating human-mutant

      I growled at myself and banished the thought. It was an accident. A
      completely and utter accident. Nobody's fault except whoever started the
      damned riot. Still... CNN was having a field day about it all.

      The professor and Braddock were exchanging psychic lingo, most of which went
      straight over my head. I think the gist of it was that the Professor had the
      power to help contain all the conflicting mental fingerprints in Marie�s
      head. However, since she'd touched him before, he would interfere with his
      own residual imprint in Marie's head and perhaps make the problem worse.
      Braddock had never touched Marie but neither did she have the power or the
      training to do something as delicate as this.

      Using Jono, Marie�s outed friend, wasn't even a possibility. The poor kid
      wasn't dealing with his manifestation very well. Having your chest and half
      your face blown out by a psi-surge could do that. And then having your best
      friend go schizophrenic on top of it all? I didn't even want to know how he
      was still alive; I had a feeling it involved a very tenuous miracle. If we
      asked too many questions, it might implode.

      The professor needed someone who knew Marie intimately but had never touched
      her. Talk about your oxymorons.


      You have just entered "The Danger Grotto"
      SuperPunk7 has entered the room
      caf�_freak has entered the room
      SuperPunk7: Hey, stranger
      caf�_freak: stop reminding me of my new addiction. to think I used to leave
      my room before you showed me this IM thing.
      SuperPunk7: I didn�t hold a gun to your head.
      caf�_freak: sure you didn�t. done that paper yet?
      SuperPunk7: *groan* I wish.
      caf�_freak: poor river rat.
      SuperPunk7: yeah. Makes me want to go back to Xaviers'.
      SuperPunk7: what are you up to today?
      caf�_freak: bought me a TV. Watching a football game.
      SuperPunk7: cool. Who's winning?
      caf�_freak: not my team. That's the only important information
      SuperPunk7: You should see how ballistic the people in England are about
      SuperPunk7: It's torn families apart, I swear
      caf�_freak: as is only right.
      SuperPunk7: What else did you do?
      caf�_freak: nothing really. Ate, slept, ate some more, jogged, ate.
      SuperPunk7: Whoa, better take it easy, tiger.
      SuperPunk7: That Type A lifestyle's going to get you into an early grave.
      caf�_freak: You know me. All work and no play.
      SuperPunk7: *snorts*
      SuperPunk7: What *do* you do all day?
      caf�_freak: what do you mean?
      SuperPunk7: Well, do you teach at Xaviers' still?
      caf�_freak: No I'm not cut out to be a teacher
      SuperPunk7: So what do you do? How're you paying for the apartment and all?
      caf�_freak: I got me a sugar momma
      caf�_freak: I'd tell you who she is but I'd have to kill you
      SuperPunk7: If you don't want me to know, just say so.
      SuperPunk7: Hello?
      SuperPunk7: Remy?
      SuperPunk7: Reeeeeeeeeemmmmmmmmmmyyyyyyyy!!
      caf�_freak: I'm here.
      caf�_freak: I'm an independent consultant.
      SuperPunk7: Consulting what?
      caf�_freak: whatever needs to be consulted.
      SuperPunk7: Fine. Whatever.
      SuperPunk7: I guess I'll just work on the paper now.
      SuperPunk7 has left the room
      caf�_freak: has left the room


      I took a sip of tea; I�d been warned that Dr. MacTaggert�s coffee was fatal.
      The way they brewed tea up here didn�t have much difference from coffee as
      far as I could tell. The bitterness was okay. I needed it to help swallow
      the shit that I had to watch on TV.

      This is how a rock riot gets produced.

      Take one mosh pit. Add alcohol, marijuana, and a healthy dose of
      testosterone poisoning. Maybe a few drops of acid or E for variety. Mix

      In any of that-- anywhere at all -- was �mutant� an ingredient? I grew up
      with mosh pits. Drugs weren�t always a factor; it could be all music,
      hormones, and awesome guitar licks that drive people to purposefully run
      into each other at high speeds. Most of the time, the people in the centre,
      in the actual mosh pit, are the only ones who get hurt. Tramplings only
      happen in rare, extreme cases when the venue is too small or the crowd too
      hyper for security.

      From what Marie�s roommates were able to tell me, they were on the fringes
      of the concert. Marie didn�t want to risk being jostled even though she�d
      been covered from the neck down. She�d encouraged two of them-- Mira and
      Josh-- to go up closer though, which they did somewhat reluctantly after a
      few minutes. They�d been jumping along for a few songs when someone threw a
      flaming bottle in the middle of the audience.

      The next thing they knew, there was fire everywhere. In front of the stage,
      behind the speakers, and way in the back where Jono and Marie were standing.
      And the crowd was sweeping them back like a giant broom. Josh and Mira held
      hands to keep from getting separated. It didn�t work. Mira only found Josh
      later near the bleachers where he was trying to keep a hysterical Jono safe
      from an equally hysterical batch of firemen determined to put out the �fire�
      that was Jono�s chest.

      Or course, that�s what the CNN reporters would focus on. Not �Drunken
      Fuckwit Throws Molotov Cocktail� or �Heroic Teens Try to Stem Panic� or even
      �Riot Over in Under an Hour.� No, they had to assume that because Jono was
      �making� fire in his chest, he *must* have started it. After all, he
      obviously had a dangerous mutation.

      Besides, people didn�t want the news to hear about stuff like that. They
      wanted to hear about big, bad mutants wrecking the world. Even better: big,
      bad, teenage mutants wrecking the world. *That* got ratings. It was easier
      to come up with segways. Hell, it could even become a syndicated cartoon.

      The �hundreds injured� included people who�d hurt themselves in the mosh pit
      way before the riot. �Injured� meant everything from grass-stained pants to
      a broken arm. Those considered �critically injured� went off in an ambulance
      to get their concussion checked over. �Mutant Terrorists� meant two scared
      kids who�d gotten separated.

      At least they got their goddamned ratings.


      You have just entered "The Danger Grotto"
      SuperPunk7 has entered the room
      caf�_freak has entered the room
      caf�_freak: hey stranger
      SuperPunk7: Hey, sugar. What's up?
      caf�_freak: Are you gonna throw a tantrum again if I tell you it's none of
      your business?
      SuperPunk7: I didn't throw a tantrum!
      SuperPunk7: I had paper to write.
      caf�_freak: bullshit
      SuperPunk7: I did!
      SuperPunk7: Maybe that was why I seemed a bit tetchy.
      caf�_freak: I really can't tell you what I do
      SuperPunk7: Is it wise to do it then?
      caf�_freak: fuck no but at least I'm getting paid right?
      SuperPunk7: *sigh* dangit, Remy, be careful, OK?
      caf�_freak: aw shucks maam I didn't know you cared
      SuperPunk7: Sure I do
      SuperPunk7: It would break Jubilee's heart if you were hurt
      caf�_freak: tell her I appreciate the thought
      SuperPunk7: I will
      caf�_freak: gotta go duty calls
      SuperPunk7: *KOTC* later then
      caf�_freak: what's KOTC?
      SuperPunk7 has left the room
      caf�_freak: has left the room


      �Mr. Summers?�

      I turned my head. Mira stood a few feet away with her father�s arm around
      her shoulders and someone I assumed was her boyfriend holding her hand. Her
      eyes and nose were still red from crying.

      �Papa�s taking me home now,� she said. �I� I visited Marie but she still��
      Her lip trembled hard. She pushed her palm against her diaphragm and took a
      calming breath. �She still didn�t recognize me.�

      I tried to smile but it probably turned out like a grimace. �We�re working
      on it, Mira.�

      She nodded. Her dad pulled her back a bit but she hurried to ask, �Do you
      think I could see Jono, too?�

      Shaking my head, I said, �Sorry. He�s still in containment.�

      Mira�s nose wrinkled at the word.

      �I don�t like it either,� I added. �But it�s for his own good. If he leaves
      that room now, it�ll be like a thousand voices screaming at him and he can�t
      turn it off. I hear it�s painful. I promise as soon as he can leave, I�ll
      let you know.�

      �Thanks.� She lunged over to hug me. I wasn�t used to that, to spontaneous
      gestures of affection. She must have been another reason why Marie grew
      lenient with her personal space. I patted Mira�s back, murmuring something
      like �It�s gonna be all right,� until her boyfriend took her away again.

      Her dad stepped closer. �I just wanted to thank you for taking care of Mira
      while I was overseas. I can�t believe I wasn�t--� He dragged a trembling
      hand through his hair after giving me a firm shake. �It was hellish getting
      a flight here from the States. You know how they are with customs nowadays.�

      �Especially for the nations under the Mutant Rights Agreement.� He looked
      somewhat abashed so I tried for another smile. �It�s okay to say it. We
      should know more than anyone about it.�

      �I suppose you do.� He clasped my hand again, using both hands and lots of
      emotion. Now I know there Mira got the touchy-feelies. �If there�s anything
      I can do at all-- medical bills, some place to stay-- just let me know. I�d
      be more than happy to--"

      There was some sort of commotion at the main entrance. I could hear
      over-excited British voices hissing; the sort of hissing that happens when
      you want to shout but weren�t allowed to.

      �--through the gates! If you don�t stop right now, sir, I�ll be forced to
      take extreme measures.�

      �How fuckin� extreme could y�get wit� half y�fuckin� face missin�, hommes?�

      I arrived in time to keep Remy from exploding Brian Braddock�s arm. That
      would have made it extremely difficult to keep his sister�s cooperation.

      (continued in part 14b)

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