movie fic: Fall from grace (series: "X-Men: Academy", Episode V)
- View Sourcehere it is, my x2-fic... Belongs to my x-man canon (only movieverse) on http://www.catbull.com/adora/fanfxmen.html (always have to mention it since on the page you find the stories with pics, makes it so much nicer), but you'll understand it if you saw the movie ;). Have fun ;). And kill me fast, if you have to ;). By the way, you got any idea how hard it is to keep Jean and Logan together if you write moviebased only? LOOOL Thank god Scott didn't kiss her once in the movie :p Well, enough, babble, here goes ;)
Series: X-Men: Academy
Title: FALL FROM GRACE
author: myself ;)
language: English, but that's not my native language, so please forgive me my mistakes.
Disclaimer: All X-Men and other Marvel characters belong to Marvel, 20 Century Fox and else. Not mine ;). Except for Flash, and since she's me, guess I own her enough :p
Universe: Only based on the storyline of the movies 'X-Men' and 'X-Men 2'
Timeline: within the second movie
Romance: Jean/Logan, Scott/Flash, Rogue/Bobby
Summary: there are doubts that you'll never lose .. not even if you doubt the man you love. And sometimes it takes a great loss to learn that you're wrong.
Feedback: I'd very much appreciate it ;)
Rating: hm... R?
"Scott, are you there?" Storm entered her friend's flat. It was completely dark, except for a little light on his desk. That was where he sat, with his back to her. Again he corrected some pupils homework instead of being in the living room with the others.
"'Ro..." He nodded at her shortly and turned back at once.
"Am I intruding?" she asked, carefully.
"Since you're asking... Yes, actually. What is it? Jubilee having her music too loud again?"
"No. The place next to me on the sofa being too empty." She placed a hand on his shoulder. "Scott, we're missing you."
"I can't just sit down there as if nothing happened, ,Ro. Would just make me remember that we're not complete all the time. This is distracting me, at least." He marked an error in Marie's math exercise with a big, lightly annoyed slash. Ororo had to admit that it really was a quite silly one. "Rogue should flirt less with Bobby and concentrate on school more. Or there'll be no college for her."
"She's doing the same you do. She's distracting herself", Storm mentioned. "Bobby makes her forget her problems. We should be glad about that."
"For how long? Till he wants to kiss her for the first time?" Cyclops asked, angrily. "Cause that's when the depressions will come. At the latest. Besides they don't suit each other."
"That's a real macho", she grinned. "Come on, enough work for one evening. Let's go out. It's Saturday night. What are you doing here, anyway? Is Cat working for Emma even on the weekends now?" It should have been funny.
He didn't laugh. "If you insist..." He closed the book. "Knowing you, you won't give up till I come along, anyway. Katja is babysitting. Emma's got an important meeting. She hates leaving her pupils all alone."
"Then we'll go to the disco", Storm decided spontaneously. "Gotta take Jean out, too. She'll go nuts if she'll just wait for Logan in here all the time. Change your clothes. It's time for you to get out of here, you look like you've just left your tomb."
"Did I mention that you're importunate?" he grinned while pulling off his shirt, looking for a new one in the wardrobe. "Disco? You sure? They don't use to play ABBA and the New Kids in Discos anymore, you know."
"Techno is pretty much okey-dokey, isn't it?" Storm sighed quietly, seeing the left part of the wardrobe quite empty, still. Scott still hadn't come over Flash leaving, though nearly half a year had gone. "What's that?" she suddenly asked, frowning. The light was bad, but her eyesight was sharp. There were several pale scars on Scott's back. "Did you fall into my roses?"
"'Ro, sometimes you're nothing but sweet." He turned, grinning, and raised a hand, showed a fast scratching movement. "Meow."
She arched an eyebrow. "So hurting each other is an integrated part of your foreplay."
"Explain that to you next time", he laughed. "Let's leave. Now you got me impatient. Come with me on the bike?"
"Thank you very much." She shook her head. "That's Cat's place, and if she finds out... Unlike you I don't dig pain. Jean and I will take the Rover. Guess, Bobby and Rogue will come along."
"You're helplessly pig-headed. I offered. No dancing course tonight?"
Storm explained her meetings with Avery with a Latin course. A course they even did, after all. She knew that Scott would have freaked out if he'd got to know the truth about it. "Tuesday", she answered, lightly absent-minded. Ave had called her just a few minutes ago and cancelled their rendezvous. He had sounded nervous, frantic, somehow troubled. He had quit the call quit fast, that wasn't like him at all. She'd have to talk to him. "Let's go."
Flash tried not to roll her eyes too much. Gregory was quite nice, and he was a good bodyguard... But his attempts to flirt with her were getting on her nerves. She saved her work on her laptop and stood up. "If it's Emma yet again, tell her to..."
"Not Emma. Someone named Logan." Gregory grinned.
"Logan?" About two split seconds later Cat had the mobile phone in her hand. "Fuck, where are you?"
,On my way home.' Much static, the familiar noise of a well-used highway. For his second trip to Alkali Lake Scott had given Wolverine his motorbike voluntarily. It just was the fastest one. ,Just wanted to tell you that I'm getting a room for the night. I'll be there for lunch tomorrow.'
Cat felt a forgotten believed rage coming back. "So why do you call me? Forgot that I'm not living with Xavier anymore?"
,Keep your claws, I got my own.' It should have sounded harsh, but even through the phone Cat could hear that he was tired. ,Jean has her mobile switched off, and the Professor would try telling me off about not calling people while driving. So tell the others, will you? Are you alright? Made Emma cry today yet?'
She had to grin. "Not yet. But there's some time left. I'll be there tomorrow. I want to hear what you found out this time."
,Found out?' His typical cynicism came back. ,Next time Chuck wants to get rid of me for some days, he better just tells me. This journey was just as useless as the first one. Seeya tomorrow, Cat.' He quit.
Which made the first clanger dropped tonight. "Missed you too", Flash murmured, lightly insulted. Somehow, everybody was in a bad mood at present. Well, and who shouldn't? So much had happened. Just six months ago she'd have sworn that the world was upside down, but compared to now, this time seemed actually calm now.
After the fifth try to take her prisoner, Magneto had been caught and brought to jail again. After the first escape, his penalty had been prolonged to ,probably forever'. Xavier had never talked about it, but his wards supposed that he had given the police hints to imprison Erik. That probably had been anything but easy for him. Cat had realized what he had wanted to tell her with it. It was: I didn't forget you.
But she had stayed with Emma, anyway. They all remembered Erik's first escape that had happened so easily. But nothing happened. The location of the prison was top secret. Probably not even the Brotherhood knew. Besides, Mystique was quite busy with being her senator. Sabretooth had vanished, Toad had disappeared. And the Liquidator hadn't been seen for ages. Again Katja had had to make a decision, and again she it had been negative for Xavier. Only time would show if it had been right or not.
The Team Elemental had vanished as fast as it had been built. An explosion in Angelica's flat had destroyed nearly all the equipment. Shortly after this, Angie's father had become very ill. She had moved to him, head over heels, and continued her college courses in his city now. With that not only flirting with Avery was done but also the beginning relationship with Bobby, who had - since there was no other way - moved back into the mansion. He had acted impossible for weeks, depressed and sad, till Rogue had told him off. A deep friendship had resulted from this talk, which had become more soon. Cat remembered a time when Marie had told Bobby to piss off more than once, but apparently she had changed her mind. She fell in love, and both of them were happy.
Well, Gambit wasn't. He had lost the game. Charles had found a trainee job in a big engineer company for him. Though everyone had warned him, he had moved into an own flat shortly after. ,If I have to watch them for a while longer, I'll puke', he had explained. Nobody had had to ask who 'they' were. With that he had left. He visited them everyday to train his abilities with Jean and the Professor, but losing Rogue had hit him harder than anyone would have thought. He was fed up with the X-Team for now. At least the Brotherhood apparently had lost interest in him, for the time being. Since Magneto was imprisoned again, the danger of the artificial mutation was over.
And then McKoy. The doctor, who had helped the X-Men in two very dangerous situations, had vanished all at once. Even Spiderman had lost contact to him..
Within weeks everything had changed, and it still did. That was why Cat couldn't and wouldn't follow Scott's question to come back to Xavier. She wanted to finish her training with Emma and do the most important exams at college., at least. And she wanted to be sure that she wouldn't be bothered by the Brotherhood anymore, if she returned to the X-Team. Things had to clear up. But on the contrary it seemed that everything got more complicated everyday... And in spite of the engagement ring that she wore on her left ring finger, the relationship to Scott didn't get any easier with the distance.
Something had to happen, and fast.
Logan's called to tell that he'd be there in the early evening only, so Cat drove to the museum next morning. Scott had mentioned that Storm wanted to teach a big group of pupils there. Quite a risky thing, so the whole team would be there. So she got her motorcycle - for her birthday, Scott had given her one of his, though actually he didn't like it if she drove herself - and left off to the city.
It didn't take her long to find Jean and Cyclops. They stood in a hall, away from the others. Jean with her bright red hair was easy to spot. Katja wanted to go there- and stopped still.
"I feel that something terrible is about to happen." Her friend spoke very quietly, but Cat could hear her, anyway.
For a moment she thought that Scott really was going to kiss Jean, but then he just hugged her tightly. "I won't let anything happen to you."
Jean was crying. And Scott looked like he had just understood that he had made a big mistake. But perhaps Cat only thought so. This was the first time for her to see the two of them in such an intimate pose since they had parted, after all. She just was completely shocked. She blinked. Once. Again. It didn't help. If Storm wouldn't have joined, she'd still have stood there when they'd have been gone. Ororo brought her back to reality. She put herself together and left for the exit. Apparently she was of no use here, anyway.
"Flash?" That was Ororo. "Flash, wait!"
She shortly raised her hand, to show that she had heard it but didn't stop. She had to get out of here.
When she mounted her Harley, Scott caught up with her. "Katja! What the hell is up with you?" He sounded irritated.
"Forget it." She put on her helmet. "Seeya in the evening. I promised Logan to be there." When he put a hand on hers she had to hold back from just pulling it away. "Let it be, Scott."
"Katja, Jean isn't feeling too well, to say the least, just in case you didn't realize. You're acting ridiculous right now... and not very fair. Jean and Storm are my family, the only one except for you that I have." Again this look on his face, the same like when he had hugged his ex-girlfriend. Taken aback, nearly frightened. Unbelievable helpless.
Cat's resistance faded. "Should I understand you I want to be understood", she said quietly. "You were a couple for seven years. Don't expect me to forget that."
"I love you, Katja." That sounded honest and it was meant honest.
"I know." She started her motorcycle, fighting tears. "And I love you. I just hope that this will be enough. Not only Jean knows that something terrible is about to happen. Later, Scott."
Cat wasn't asked to join when the others discussed the situation, and she sure didn't feel like just entering the Professor's office. She wasn't part of the team. Not right now. Besides, there were some more nice things to do in the mansion, next to saving the world. Talking to Kitty and Jubilee for example, who welcomed Katja cheering when she stopped in the parking space.
"Finally! Where you been all the time?" Jubes laughed. "Ey, cool shirt!"
Cat arched an eyebrow. Actually the plain black shirt with the simple inscription 'Frost Lmt.' should just express her 'Fuck off'-mood. But that was quite okay, just a little Jubes-ism. A nice refreshment after the no-future-talk in the morning and Emma's hard training. "Thanks. Cool pants." She pointed at the hot pants, the other girl was wearing. "But I bet, if you really try you'll find one that shows even more of your ass."
"Tell me if you find one. Something to drink?" They went into the kitchen.
"Always." Through the opened living room door Cat could see Bobby and Rogue fooling around.
"You're dead! You're so dead!"
"No, you're dead!"
They were laughing their heads off while Cat somehow seemed to miss the joke about it. At the same time she was annoyed about herself. She had to take care of not to take over Emma's 'I-made-bitterness-a-principle'-attitude would completely. She waved to Colossus shortly and followed the girls into the common kitchen then. "Now, tell me." She shortly puffed Kitty in the side. "How are you and Peter doing?"
Katherine blushed deeply immediately. "There is no 'me and Peter'."
"Yeah. Right. Jubes, I do remember where the fridge is, thank you very much." Katja got herself a coke and sat down on the kitchen table, just to annoy the Professor a bit. "Where is everyone?"
"Tennis, basketball, swimming, riding... Everyone out as usual when there's an x-meeting. Should remember that too. By the way, you don't speak Russian, by chance?"
"Russian. German I could offer. Why? Is Peter too much in love to remember how to speak English?" Again she grinned at Kitty who blushed yet again.
"Nej. Illyana arrived this week. She's the one who's got problems with English. We're more talking sign language than with words at present."
"Illyana Rasputina? Magik?" Katja was honestly surprised.
Yana should better stay with Emma. Though she had hated Frost - for no reason, really - so much in the beginning, by now Katja had realized it clearly: There was no good psychic teacher in Xavier's house. Jean just had too less time. And Yana, who got lost in her own illusions so much that she didn't find out from time to time could have learned much from the White Queen. So far Illyana hadn't been sure if and where to move, but apparently Peter wanted to have his sister to live with him, after all.
Kitty wanted to say something when outside something in black with white streaks in her hair passed by, fast enough to nearly knock over two vases in the hall. "Oops! What's up, Marie?" Katherine shouted, without getting an answer.
Cat smiled when she heard the noise of a motor outside. By now she knew how Scott's favourite bike sounded. "Logan's back."
"Babysitting? You gotta be joking!" Cat folded her arms.
"I didn't expect you to protest more than Logan", the Professor answered, amused. "I wouldn't ask you if it wasn't important. The crisis has begun, you know that. We've got to find that mutant."
"Got nothing better to do. No problem. I just was surprised that you actually trust me to do something like that. Usually you're just telling me to grow up." Cat turned to the door.
"You're still angry", Xavier remarked. "Who is it you want to punish? Me? Yourself? I'll take back that you're acting childish. Right now you're just a beast."
"You sent me to Emma, Professor." She tried not to sound too aggressive. It didn't work. "She becoming my teacher was your idea, and you advised me to stay with her. And now you're complaining because her arrogance is rubbing off on me. So who of us is a beast?" She closed the door, quiet, even. Half and half she expected him to contact her by telepathy, but he had given up that by now.
Logan stood on the other side of the hall, looking out of the window. When he heard her, he turned around. "So we'll stay awake together tonight?"
For such a grin she'd have taken care off a bunch of nurslings. A deep friendship had developed between Logan and herself. Being praised by him was the biggest award. "If you won't have to be with Marie all the time", she smiled back.
"Unlikely. Too busy with Bobby." He grimaced shortly. Was he jealous? "What about an old-fashioned movie night? I seem to remember you like scary movies. You'll bring the popcorn and I'll bring the beer, what do you say?"
"Hell, is that by any chance an invitation?" She winked at him, of course ridiculously overplayed, throwing her hair back. "Damn, that would be my first rendezvous in years!"
They both had to laugh. Outside, the X-Flyer left the mansion with a loud growling. Nearly at the same time the Rover left the garage, tires squealing. Scott never drove reasonably, not even if he drove the Professor. "Did you...?" Logan started and broke off. "Flash?"
She startled. For a moment she had looked through him. "Emma..." She shook her head, puzzled. Frost had never made a telepathic contact to her so far. What were mobile phones for? Besides, Cat had strictly refused to tolerate it. She didn't like anyone messing around in her head. Something unexpected and unforeseen had happened. "I'm afraid, there'll be no babysitting for me. I have to go home at once. Emma needs me."
"Without wanting to doubt your abilities, Cat, the White Queen needs you about as much as a job in the drive in", Logan remarked dryly. "So if it's just for a woman talk..."
"You don't understand." Cat passed him by, shoving him aside, and opened the window. "Emma would never call me if it wasn't really urgent. Got my mobile phone with me, if something happens." Before Logan could answer, she jumped outside and headed down in a breakneck speed.
Wolverine, who had never seen her flying before, arched an eyebrow, kinda impressed. "Have a nice evening, milady."
Later it turned out that Stryker had gotten the allowance for the attack on Emma's mansion along with the one for the attack on the Xavier institute. Two in one, so to speak.
But since Emma was at home when the first troopers arrived per helicopter, she had no problems to defend her home. When Cat reached the mansion, everything was as good as over. The remaining soldiers were laying in the garden, unconscious. When they would wake up they'd either believe to be at the wrong address or think to be mailman till they'd come home. The White Queen was a very imaginative illusionist.
Still the children were afraid and haggard, and that was why Emma needed Cat that much. Flash had only begun her counsellor education, but she already was a familiar contact person for the teens who lived with Frost. It was an emergency.
It took long till there was a kind of order back. Only in the early morning Emma and Katja meet for a gin - to settle the nerves - in the kitchen. Cat had hers with a little coke, Emma drank hers pure- an idea which would give even someone who had not had such a fucked up night the creeps...
"What the hell was that?" Katja asked when her mentor closed the door behind them. "You think they did because of the assassination...?"
"Probably." Frost leaned against the fridge door and emptied her glass with three long gulps. "And when I'll find the one who betrayed me, he'll die a slow and painful death. Since it can be only Charles, Banshee or Magneto, the search won't take long."
"Perhaps we first should..." Cat's mobile phone rang. It was five o'clock a.m.. Meaning it either was her Mom from Germany... or the emergencies weren't over yet. The number looked like a substation from Xavier, but she didn't know it. "Mental hospital, how can I help you?" she asked, tiredly.
"Cat? Are you okay?'
The sound of Peter's voice let her stand up at once. She more ran than walked to the door though she knew that she frightened the kids who didn't sleep again. "Colossus? What happened?"
'We just saw on TV that you got attacked too! Are you...?'
"Too? Oh god, Peter, is everyone alright? I'm on my way!" Cat headed outside, for her motorcycle, shortly damning the fact that Emma and her hadn't turned on the TV so far, just out of stubbornness, actually. They had thought that the bad news would come soon enough... Well, they sure had.
'No! Don't come here on any account! Try to find the flyer! Jean and Storm should still be in Boston! We're fine, we're hiding in the secondary dugout till things calm down. You've got to help the others! Magneto escaped from prison...'
"Slowly, Peter, slowly, we had our own party here. I need a detailed report. Cat moved to mount the machine, but a heavy hand on her shoulder stopped her. A terrible kind of déjà vu entered her mind, she let herself fall fast, rolling away, all instinctively. She knew this hand.
This time it hadn't burned a whole into her shoulder, though. "No panic, Pussycat. I'm here to join the final fight only." The Liquidator stood in front of her. Before he could continue, a mental influence got him to his knees. "Goddamn..."
"Don't move, baby face." The White Queen had followed Katja. "I don't think you're welcome here. Go, Flash. Help your people. I'll take care of that guy by myself."
"Wait a moment. You too, Peter." Katja lowered the phone. "Okay, you got a minute. What do you want? I got better things to do right now than dealing with some nuts retiree."
"Join the club. I heard about the attack in the news. I want to help you. I can show you where Storm and Jean are. And I can help you fight the people who're responsible for all this."
"Why should you want that?" Katja shortly nodded at Emma so she'd release the enemy from her psychic grip. She kept her eyes on him firmly, though, and on the storm cloud right above him. She didn't doubt that she'd be able to fight him if this was a trap, but she had no time, none at all.
He took a deep breath, raised his hand and took off his mask. "Because I love one of you with all of my heart. And I think, you're the only one who knows."
"Avery..." The shock made her speechless, her voice not more than a whisper. It had been Avery all the time. And Storm didn't know...
"I'll tell her later." He put on the mask again. "It's time to stop this lie. I think that very much will change after today. It's time for those, who're different to stand together. As hard as it might be." He clenched his teeth, and she knew he thought of Scott. "You got no reason to trust me, but do it, anyway. There'll be plenty of time to fight for us later. So, let's fly off? You can continue your call, and I'll show you the way. I just talked to Ororo, I know where they are."
"Flying? Very flattering, but I'm no bodybuilder. I can't carry you." She seized him, still mistrustful.
"I don't think he was speaking of that, Cat", Emma remarked, lightly amused. "He's a mutant."
"I hate you telepathy-guys", Avery growled. He took his cloud-shape for a moment, changing his molecules to a gaseous shape. "Clear now?"
"Acid, hm?" Cat shortly looked at the ugly scar on her right shoulder. "Don't you dare coming close to me again."
"Don't worry." His arrogance returned. "I wouldn't even put my hands with pincers on something that Summers touched. Come on now. We don't have time all day." Again he changed. A dark cloud headed upwards, to the sky.
"Keep me updated", Emma asked Cat. "If you need me, I'll be there."
"I know." Her pupil watched Avery leave, hesitatingly. She hadn't planned to take this way.
"Flash, this is not the time to doubt your abilities." Emma knew how unsure Katja still was if it was for flying. "I trust you, and they also do. Go."
"You're right." It took only the intensity of her fear for the school to create a wind strong enough to get into the air. For a moment Cat thought that someone who'd see her fly over New York like this - black leather trousers, black shoestring shirt, black long leather coat, snow white skin - would probably be quite shocked. Angrily she suppressed the thought. This night had shown that the mutants had been patient for much too long. The war had begun.
"They're taking us in their sight!" Storm's voice that had sounded relieved just a few seconds ago, suddenly showed panic.
"What?" Logan clenched his fists. This day was turning into a never-ending nightmare, worse than those who were tormenting him at night.
"They'll fire! Seatbelts!" Storm didn't have time to look if they followed the order. She wished that Scott would have come with them to Boston. It had always been him to fly the plane if there was a crisis. No matter. Now it was for saving the others. From the corner of her eye he realized an x-communicator signal on the view screen. She couldn't mind that, either. Besides she thought to know who it was, anyway. "Get lost, Flash", she growled between clenched teeth. Then she concentrated on the twisters that would be necessary to defend themselves. Logan's lightly sarcastic question for weapons she ignored completely. She was the weapon.
"They're shooting!" Cat didn't know if Avery could hear her in his cloud-shape, and she didn't care, either. She saw the missiles that were shot on the flyer and knew, she had to go there.
'Flash, for heaven's sake, stay where you are!' Again Emma's voice in her head. It was horrible to hear her that way, like being caressed with a slimy snake. 'Did you lose your mind?'
"What would you propose?" The panic overwhelmed Cat, she didn't even realize that she spoke aloud.
'Wait. Storm and Jean will make it.'
They didn't make it. The first missile exploded in the air - Cat couldn't see if that had been Avery or not - but the second one hit. Now Flash just ignored the voice behind her forehead. She headed for the plane, not knowing what to do once she'd be there. Bringing them out one by one where they'd die from the fall cause she was much too weak to carry any of them? Take her place in the plane and die with them? She didn't need to make the decision. Shortly before she reached the flyer - which was falling so unsteady that it probably would have wiped her out of the sky - a stinging, tearing pain in all her body held her back. Pain that came from her engagement ring as well as from five very fresh piercings. That could mean only one thing...
"Flash! Down here!" Avery had spotted Magneto long before Katja had and had landed next to him, taking his human shape.
She spared herself a snappy comment. The flyer slowed down, stopped with a jerk. Close, much too close to the ground. But Magneto held the plane safely. He said something to Mystique, both of them laughed. Cat also landed now, staying on a safe distance. The pain was gone. Erik had just wanted to protect her from a very dangerous crash.
"Funny how often we meet lately."
While he put the jet down, more or less careful, Magneto winked at her. He knew exactly what was bothering her. "I thought you learned better than that, by the way." He raised his other hand.
Again this uncomfortable pull on her piercings. She had felt too save because Erik had been imprisoned. She hadn't thought of this danger at all. "You want trouble?" Katja hissed, ready to throw a few flashes at him, like in the last fight.
"Not right now." He lowered his hand and went to the X-Flyer to welcome the others. Apparently they all agreed about working together without many words. Internal fights were unimportant right now.
"May I?" Storm entered Katja's tent that her friend hat vanished into immediately after the conference. The weak glint of a candle showed that her friend was the quite only one in the camp who was still awake. That made the second night for her to be awake, and with the fight coming tomorrow, the team couldn't afford that. "What are you doing?" Ororo sighed. "Lay down. You won't help Scott that way."
Katja was silently crying on her mattress, staring into to light of the little candle that Kurt had given her ("A comfort. I know you're worrying about your boyfriend.") and never looked up. She doubted that she could talk to Storm before Avery had shown her his real face. But the Liquidator was sitting in Magneto's tent with the rest of the Brotherhood. "Let me alone. Please."
"No chance." Ororo sat down in front of her, gently caressed her arm. "Don't let yourself go that much. We can start soon, then we'll get Scott out of there. Don't worry. He's strong. He'll make it."
"But I won't make it anymore." Katja raised her hand, showing her engagement ring. "Did you know? Did he tell you?"
"Not forthright. But we all thought so. The preparations for the wedding already started, after all." She smiled shortly. "He's crazy for you, you know."
"No... That's not true. I think we just fooled ourselves." Suddenly the wall broke, Katja began to sob loudly. Crying, she told 'Ro of the talk between Logan and Jean that she had watched. "Wolverine felt it too. When he came home already. Jean still loves Scott. And he loves her."
"Of course they love each other. They're like sister and brother. Katja, wake up!" Ororo summoned her last strength this day to help her best personal pupil. Actually she was much too tired to catch anybody this day, but tomorrow they'd need everybody in the team. Besides she knew that those thoughts that were on Katja's and apparently also on Logan's mind were nothing but phantasm. "Scott loves you rather too much than too less, trust me. Jean never was able to handle love problems easily. That Logan left for Canada so fast again, again without really saying goodbye, that hurt her much. Their relationship will only last if they're strong. Jean isn't that strong right now. But that doesn't mean she wants Scott back. He isn't the kind of man she needs, even if she would never admit so."
"I have the feeling that I'm standing between them", Katja explained.
"You always had. Part of you will always feel guilty, I guess. But right now you don't help any of you with it. Jean and Logan will make it alone. No one's able to help them without catching a claw. But Scott will need you when we'll free him and the Professor tomorrow. That he wasn't able to protect Xavier will destroy him." She shortly ran her hand over Cat's hair. "I know that he's missing you just like you miss him. So stop bitching and sleep now."
"I'll try." It didn't sound too convinced.
Storm wasn't surprised that just minutes later she saw Logan enter Katja's tent. This fight was a physical and mental burden for all of them. If Wolverine and Cat, who actually were like day and night, could help each other at least, then perhaps that wasn't too bad after all. She went into her own accommodation and fell into a restless sleep.
"Want to do that movie night after all?" Cat grinned weakly when Wolverine sat down next to her on the mattress. "Or just be irrational together and stay up?"
He shortly ran over his face. "Mystique just visited me. I don't feel like sleeping anymore. I wouldn't be surprised if she tried to rape me if I did. By the way, it's not nice to eavesdrop."
"I was standing near." He didn't expect an excuse so she didn't give him any. "Did you talk to Jean once more?"
"No. She's asleep." Wolverine lit a cigar. "She's having nightmares but I can't wake her up. I think she's even more afraid of the abilities that she suddenly had today than all of us." He took a deep drag. "The thing is, I can't help her. Not at all."
"Do I get one?" Cat blew out the candle that was nearly all burned down anyway. It didn't give any more light than the cigar.
"Hm?" Logan arched an eyebrow.
"A cigar. I think that's just what I need right now." Now she could only see his silhouette, but that was okay. Logan was okay. Their friendship was based on a deep mutual respect, and perhaps that was enough. She wanted to hug him but didn't quite dare to. Only Marie could do things like that.
"If you insist... If you're getting sick, it's not my fault." Wolverine lit the cigar for her. Or tried at least. His hand shook too much.
Finally she guided him till the cigar was burning. "Thanks. Adrenaline?" She grinned, taking a deep drag, starting to cough at once. "Damn..."
"Fear." He didn't let go of her hand. "I can't remember when last I was scared so much. If you tell anybody, I'll kill you."
"I won't." She tried to pull away from him. It didn't work. The lighter also kept on burning, showing him in a frightening, flickering light. She saw his dark green eyes, the pale skin, nearly as white as her own, his wild hair... and realized, frightened, that she was wondering how this hair would feel if she touched it. She wanted to ask him to leave before everything that had happened lately would overwhelm them, before they'd do something that they'd regret later, without knowing how it ever had come to it. She opened her mouth- and felt his hot lips on hers before she knew what was happening. The cigars landed on the floor, went out. It became deep dark in the tent. An atmosphere that helped them both to keep up the illusion they had, an illusion that turned the one, they were holding into the partner, they really wanted by their side.
'What are you doing?' a shrill voice in Cat's head screamed. This time it was her own, but it sounded just as far as Emma's voice in the afternoon. 'You know that you're just cheating on your fiancé, right?' She knew. But somehow this knowledge seemed to be very far away these seconds. Wolverine and her needed warmth. Comfort. If this was the only way... Perhaps also the only way to bring back what had been between Scott and Jean... These thoughts were there, but only short, like flashes in her head. Right now it was much more interesting how Logan felt. This strong, sinewy body right over hers... A body that would always give protection. One that would fight for her, die for her... and take her breath away with concern. She ran her hands over his broad back, enjoying the heat that was coming off him. She wasn't the least surprised when he took her wrists and pressed them again the mattress they were laying on. This was part of the game, a game that she knew and loved. She pressed her body against Logan, feeling the differences between him and Scott with every muscle. Wolverine was smaller and Cyclops was slimmer. If Scott growled into her ear, it didn't sound like he was about to bite her throat artery, either. Vaguely, she realised that she was close to explode, that she would explode when he'd touch her, really touch her...
And then, suddenly, he was gone. Jumped up and bent down to creep out of the tent. His claws were extracted.
Probably only the tears in her voice let him stop. "I nearly would have killed you, Cat. It wouldn't have been anything special, just part of the game. Don't ever touch me again. And run if I should touch you. That's healthier for both of us and everyone else." With that, he was gone.
Again Flash started to cry. "Damn, Scott, where are you?"
"Will you make it alone?" Storm looked at Jean, worried. In spite of the temporal cooperation she hated to leave her friend alone with Magneto and Mystique.
"Sure." The doctress nodded though she wasn't looking convinced at all herself.
"She won't be alone." Flash joined them. "Let's go."
"Logan..." Storm took a look around. "Damn, where's Logan?"
"He's gone." Jean looked at the communicator that her boyfriend had left behind, like being temporarily hypnotized. She looked like she had suddenly quit every contact to reality and was working on standby now.
Flash lowered her head. She had really been wrong. This wasn't for Scott. This was about Jean only. She was terribly afraid. Logan had been right: He couldn't help her. Probably nobody could. Nevertheless Katja tried when they were going to Cerebro, following Mystique and Erik. "What was that in the flyer today?" she asked. "The missile."
"I don't know." Her friend's voice was flat, empty. "Storm already asked me as well, but I can't tell. Suddenly I just knew what to do. Right now I have the feeling that I could destroy this whole building with just my thoughts. That's a dangerous feeling. I wish the Professor would be here. I'm afraid to use my powers..." She stopped, held up her head, like Logan did it if he sensed something.
"What...?" Cat began, but Jean stopped her with a short movement of her hand.
"Quiet." And after a short break. "I'm hearing something."
That sounded like from a bad horror flick, but Katja got a goose-flesh. This wasn't about telepathy anymore, this was clairvoyance. A better one than the one on the fair. And Jean didn't look like the vision in the globe had been too good. She kept on looking around, becoming restless more and more.
Magneto and Mystique didn't talk, kept on looking at each other, just as restless. All of them felt that something was about to happen. Something...
Jean gasped for air and pushed both arms forward. Erik and Mystique got thrown to the floor. A laser ray was shot barely above their backs.
They shouted something, meaningless words. Now Flash was the one who was completely absent-minded. Scott... He was shooting at her. He was attacking her... Vaguely she remembered what Magneto had said about Striker's persuading methods, but this explanation seemed far away right now. Only that he was fighting her counted. That he tried to kill her. This had to be a nightmare. Sure, only a nightmare, nothing more...
"Get out of here, Flash!" Jean pulled her away on her arm. "On the floor we're no match for him." She pushed Cat through the new hole in the wall. Again a laser ray, this time over their backs.
The hole was leading into emptiness, but they only realized when the fell, both of them, down onto a very hard floor. Katja reacted out of instinct, for the first time depending on her powers only, catching herself with one of her winds. Jean deformed a steel pole under her so she could catch hold on it. From there she jumped down safely. "Okay, what's next?" Scott would be there in a few seconds. Their only advantage were their air abilities.
"Can you reach him?" Katja touched her forehead shortly.
"No. His mind is completely clouded. Stryker projected just one thought into his head... killing." Jean kept her eyes on the whole. Where was he? "We have to try to talk to him, anyway. We have to stop him somehow. This isn't only about us. Stay close to me. Perhaps it helps if he sees you."
"Somehow I doubt that." She just couldn't hold herself back.
Jean suddenly looked angrier than Cat had ever seen her. "That's hardly the time for jealousy! Don't you understand...?" The unmistakable sound of a laser ray stopped her. Without thinking she stretched her arms, knowing that only her abilities could save Katja and her now. It was unbelievable hard. In spite of her new powers she needed all her strength to fight the attack. Scott had turned his VISOR to full power. She leaned all her body against the energy, somehow made it to push it back a bit. The heat was extreme. She felt - her mind suddenly saw for her, did the job of her because of the effort tightly shut eyes - Cat's presence right next to her, much too close to the danger zone. 'Away!' she screamed without knowing if Cat would hear her at all. Her strength was fading. She had to do something, something different... That was when SHE came back. The other SHE who had visited her in the plane already. The presence, that she had thought to be a hallucination - created by her overstretched nerves - before. If someone had told Jean about the spooky fire that was burning in her eyes at that moment, she wouldn't have been surprised a bit. She felt that something was taking her over, using her abilities, working through her. Giving her the strength to throw back Scott's laser rays at himself, releasing so much power with it that the whole building was shaking. Jean got thrown back, against a column. An angry pain in her leg- and the world turned black.
The impact and the short unconsciousness had brought Scott back. For a moment he was completely disorientated- then he remembered everything. Jean... Jean had been there... And he had shoot her! He jumped up and ran through the room, to the place where she lay, unconscious like him just seconds ago, completely sprained. Her left leg looked like it had gotten a new joint. "Jean!" Frightened he turned her.
She sat up fast, her eyes full of fear. She was panic.
And he was the reason. He had done this. "Jean! Easy! It's me!" Fast he hugged her, holding her tight.
"Scott!" She cried. "Oh, thank god! I thought I had lost you."
"I'm so sorry." He couldn't stop tears himself. "I could see you, but I couldn't stop myself."
"I love you, Scott", she said quietly. It was the first time that she told him ever since they had quit, since they had ended their relationship at the dawning of this one day.
That had been months ago... But he still knew how this sentence was meant. It was something that Katja didn't understand and that he just couldn't explain to her right: He loved Storm and Jean, both of them, and he'd die for both of them, not any less than he'd die for Cat. And now he had nearly killed Jean... "I love you." He kissed her neck softly. "Come on." He helped her stand up, supported her when he felt the twitch in her body.
"My leg..." She clenched her teeth.
"It's okay." He put his arm around her, helped her to walk. The fight wasn't over yet. They had to hurry.
Jean turned her head, expecting to see Flash behind them... and frightened. Cat hadn't followed the order to leave. "Wait! Where's Flash?"
She saw the naked horror on his face and understood that he hadn't realized. He hadn't known that Katja had been there too. She let go of him, propping up on a iron railing, following a terrible intuition, looking down. One floor below she lay. The pressure that Jean had created had blown her from the platform. "Oh my god!" Using the same trick like before, Jean jumped down, ignoring the pain in her leg. "Cat, wake up! Damn, if she'd just listen to me, just for once..." Then she saw that her friend was awake. And she had heard the talk between Scott and Jean. The pain in her eyes said everything. "Katja... no." For the first time since she Flash had come to Xavier, Jean used her real name. She took her hand. "You know better. Don't think..."
"It's okay." Flash could hardly talk. "I won't be in your way any longer." She tensed up, gasping for air... The she got unconscious.
"Damn!" Jean's voice cracked. She shortly checked her friend, trying to suppress the feelings that threatened to cloud her rational thinking. This wouldn't get them anywhere right now.
Scott, who had taken the long way, emerged behind her. She was glad that he hadn't heard the short talk. "Jean, what is it? Something bad?"
"Don't think so. She's quite stable. Perhaps a light inner bleeding from the fall, but it's surely not deadly. I think I can carry her with my powers if you help me."
"Of course." They couldn't go exactly fast, but somehow it worked.
Jean watched Scott from the side while they were dragging themselves forward, asking herself if he had heard the conversation between Cat and her after all. He looked like he had seen a ghost. She didn't need a mirror to tell that she herself didn't look any better. Now at least she knew that the whole x-team was bound for hell, cause they'd have done their time in hell once this everything was over.
Avery had helped Storm and Kurt to free the children that Stryker had kidnapped during the attack. There hadn't been any time to talk to Ororo alone so far. He hoped that he could do it now. It wasn't the best opportunity, but if this lunatic who was hanging around here somewhere would succeed with his plan, Ave would soon be in the same trouble as the other mutants. It was better if she knew before... Too late.
'Cerebro.' Storm heard Jean's voice in her head, for the first time since she knew her. She supposed that her friend wasn't consciously talking to the her. Apparently talking to all the other X-Men too- Nightcrawler had heard it too, looked at Storm puzzled and haggardly. Some rescue that they had brought him into. Unlike him she understood the meaning of the short message at once. 'We're too late.' She looked from Kurt to Jubilee, their eyes meet- then the pain began. Just for a second she thought of the Liquidator next to them and that they were quite screwed up if he had fooled them after all. Right now she'd have no chance in a battle against him. She turned her head to him... and knew that she didn't have to fear him. He was dying. Like all of them. She collapsed. Charles, the man she loved so much, her mentor, her liberator... He killed her. Without knowing. Probably he'd never know. She began to scream.
'Cerebro. We're too late.' Logan also understood the meaning of these sentences without any psychic abilities. For a moment he had the crazy idea that his healing factor would save him from death. That Charles couldn't harm him... This illusion faded when the pain began. Oh, Wolverine knew pain. There had been times when pain was the only thing to keep him alive. To keep him awake. But this kind of pain was new to him. Why had he run off? Why wasn't he with Jean in these last minutes? Logan began to scream too. But unlike Ororo's voice his showed pure rage, not sadness. If he had been in Cerebro now, he had killed the Professor without any thinking.
Mystique was the first one to get up when Magneto had stopped Cerebro. She knew that Erik needed her now. They hadn't talked about it, but she knew what Magneto was up to next. And she knew how hard it would be for him to sacrifice Charles, in spite of everything. Very shortly she thought of Kurt while changing to Stryker, ready to give the world the deathblow that it deserved. Should she try to save him? From this very hopeless situation? From the life with Xavier that was awaiting him, even if they made it to come out of the building somehow? She suppressed the thought and began to speak. It wasn't like Kurt was counting.
"What's next?" Nightcrawler looked at Storm, with fear in his dark eyes.
"Go on." She stood up, placing her arm around Jubilee again. "Come on. Fast." Shortly she seized the Liquidator. "A human, are you?"
"Just like all of you." Out of habit he pushed his mask back into its right place. Then he realized what he was doing and just removed it. "Aren't we all humans, 'Ro?"
"You!" Her voice broke. "How... How could you do this to me?"
He saw the hate in her eyes. She was ready to kill him. Fast he went on. "Let's discuss this later, shall we?"
After a second of hesitation she followed him. "You're dead, Anderson", she hissed, quietly enough so only he would hear.
"Perhaps." He didn't even turn. "But the months with you were worth it, 'Ro." He knew how angry she was. He wasn't a bit surprised that she never even thought of his powers when they reached Cerebro. He'd have had no problem breaking through the wall. He could have said it, but for once there was this Nightcrawler... And then he wasn't that much in a hurry with saving the world. Storm's hate had hurt him more than he would admit. Not even Summers who stood right next to him when Ororo vanished with Kurt could annoy him. Suddenly he wished that Xavier really would have killed him. What was he doing here? Without thinking it over he took the mask that he hadn't put back on after the big revelation and gave it to a completely stunned Scott. "Give that to Ororo." Before someone could react, he turned to his cloud shape and left fast.
"That's the last that we see of him for some time", Jean remarked.
Cyclops didn't answer. He should be relieved that whatever had been between Storm and Avery was over. But he wasn't. Ororo had been happy lately. After all these years of hate, Avery Anderson had learned to love again.
Kurt appeared next to them, bringing out first Storm, then the Professor. "Get out of here! Now! Everything collapses!"
The Professor's surprised, frightened voice was the first thing that Flash heard when she awoke in the plane. She was in the front part of the flyer, bound to the floor with straps. When she lifted her head, she could see the open door of the plane... and Jean, who left it. "What... is happening?"
Kurt placed a hand on her shoulder. "The base is collapsing. We have to get out of here fast."
Just then the hatch began to close. This time Cat didn't mind the panic in Scott's voice. She felt the same panic. With trembling hands she opened the straps over her chest and her legs, pushing Kurt away who wanted to stop her. "Leave me alone! I have to go to her!" She tried to sat up.
"Don't be ridiculous", the Professor said sharply. "You can't even walk."
"I can fly. That's enough", she shouted, excited. "Storm, can you open the roof hatch?"
"No chance. She's blocking everything." Ororo was just as despaired as the others.
"Kurt, get her!" Scott ordered.
But the other man shook his head. "She's stopping me."
"Can you bring me out?" Cat asked. That was the last chance. Storm had to fly the jet.
"No. She's keeping me inside the flyer." Nightcrawler's hand was firmly holding the cross around his neck. He was praying.
The flyer started. Storm could just sit in front of the controls, helplessly, and watched Jean killing herself. They all were helpless, completely helpless.
Stunned, Cat listened to the short talk that Jean sent through the Professor. Realizing how powerful her friend had become so suddenly. Now she could even control Xavier, who supposedly was the most powerful telepath on the planet.
Then it was over. The flyer was safe. Below them they could hear the water, killing one of the team. Now there was nothing to do left except for mourning. Waiting for an absolution that would never come.
In the end it was Wolverine, who supported Scott. Storm had to fly the plane, and Cat who should have done it... Cat was just watching. She didn't cry at this moment. The tears came later. At this moment she just looked at the fragments of her life, asking herself how to breathe on.
"Katja, are you awake?"
She didn't even look up, keeping her eyes closed. The pain in her chest hadn't become any better, but not worse, either. Just bad enough to keep her from drifting back to unconsciousness. She didn't look at him, anyway. She wasn't sure if she'd ever be able to look at him again.
"Katja, please..." Again he cried. A hand around hers. A hand that had given comfort and near so often. "I won't make this without you. Don't leave me alone now. I need you."
She didn't answer, kept on pretending to be blacked out. Later they could talk about it. Perhaps. Perhaps tomorrow when she'd drive to the airport, before she'd go back to Germany. Home.
He bent forward, believing that she was asleep, and kissed her forehead gently. "You'll be alright soon, baby. We're home in no time." He let go of her hand. Through the glove he hadn't felt it but now that he stood up something fell on the floor. Something that she had given him. There was blood on the skin on her left ring finger. Magneto had deformed her engagement ring so much that she had hurt herself pulling it off. He remained on the floor of the plane, in the very darkest corner. No one put it up. Scott had understood.
When they finally broadcasted the president's speech on every single channel, Cat put off the TV. She had heard it live, that was enough. It had been good, very good for the mutants. But she didn't think that she'd ever be able to watch this speed without crying. She thought of her short conversation with the Professor. He had asked her to stay for at least a few days longer, to think her decision to leave America over. Probably he knew that at the bottom of her heart she didn't want to leave. That had just been the first reaction to everything. There was nothing to do for her in Germany. The X-Men were her job, New York her life. Emma had already begun to bring her things here. She had to rejoin the team.
'We need you', Xavier had said, and probably that was also true, even with Nightcrawler staying here to join the team. He was much too unexercised to start off with full power at once. But Xavier had said something else, and she couldn't believe that one so easily. 'You hurt Scott very much today, Cat. For once you weren't there when you were the only one who could have given him comfort. Besides you blamed him for faking the love that he shows you with every breath he's taking. And nevertheless he's in his room now, waiting for you to join him. Because you're his everything. You should think about that.'
Could it be? She wept. For Jean, for Scott, for herself. First she hadn't been able to cry. The shock had been like a dentist's novacoin shot. Only when they had come home from Washington, when they had entered the mansion, when Cat had realized that she was living here again, that never she'd go back to Emma... Then the pain that had been waiting under the surface had come. She had expected it to be intensive, and it hadn't disappointed her in any way, by god.
"Hey." Storm sat down next to her on the sofa. They were the last ones to be awake. They had needed all day to establish order in the house. Everyone was spent. "Cat... I... You..." Now even she was out of ideas how to help.
"Look." Katja gave her Avery's mask. "He said, you should have this."
Storm got pale. She stared at the thin metal, stunned. "He said that, did he?" She shortly ran over her eyes. It didn't help.
"What will you do?" Katja asked quietly.
"I don't know. I don't even know if I want to think about it. He isn't worth it. Everything was a lie. From the start."
Flash thought of Avery's face when he had asked her to trust him. Asked. Her. The girlfriend, the fiancée of the man that he hated more than anything. He had had the possibility to kill her, to kill Scott. Reaching out his hand would have been enough. He hadn't done it. "He loves you, 'Ro. Somewhere in his ill mind he loves you."
"He just left. He's running from me." Storm started to cry.
"I don't think so." Cat pointed at the mask. "Perhaps he wants to tell you that the hiding is over. I think, his biggest fear is that you won't love him anymore. He left, but he didn't go back to Magneto. Call him."
"Do you really think so?" Storm tried to smile.
"I do. You could drive there, too. Everything's under control here right now. We'll make it without you for some hours."
"You will?" Storm looked at her till Cat had to lower her eyes. "Does that mean that you're back?"
"Well..." She tried to laugh. It sounded pitifully. "I didn't leave you alone back then when I arrived here. No reason to do it now. But the Professor expects too much. I can't replace her. No one can..." Her voice broke. It was much too fresh. You couldn't talk about it. You couldn't think about it, either.
"No one will ask you to." Ororo placed her arm around her. "You're only supposed to come back and take your place in the team. In the family." She paused shortly. "I guess you have to find out yourself where this place is." "You still think that Scott..." Katja stopped.
"I don't think so, I know. But I already told you all I have to say about that." Storm stood up. "I'll drive to the city, if someone's searching for me. You can stay in my room for now, if you want."
"Take care." Still Katja couldn't trust Avery. But it was true, he hadn't killed them when he had had the chance to. This night had changed everything, just like he had thought it would. "Ororo..."
"Hm?" Her friend put on her long white coat. It wasn't cold outside. Long sleeves, wide clothes, that was all that she was wearing since the thing with Sabretooth had happened. She still was branded.
"I think I love you." Cat bent her knees, resting her head on it, looking at her friend from below from big, red eyes. "I don't know you long enough to love you but I do, anyway. And I loved her."
"I know. And I love you. You saved my life." Storm came back, hugging her. "But you also love him. Don't shake your head now, you know you do. We're you're friends, your family, but he's the man of your life. If you ever trusted me, trust me now. I don't need no telepathy to hear him cry in his room right now. He's not only crying for Jean, Cat."
"It's so hard..." Katja hung her head on Ororo's shoulder.
"Of course. It's never easy to find back once you're that lost in your illusions. Just go to him. If you make it through this, you'll make it through it all." Ororo softly kissed her cheek. "Now go. I have to go too. I know enough about Avery to be worried. He's not afraid of dying, and he has not much reason to live. Now he has one less."
"Tell him that we'll start in the same lecture next week." Katja stood up with her. "Tell him that next to me there'll be a place for him. We can't be enemies any longer." She went to the stairs. She wasn't too surprised that there was no motor noise. There was no reason to hide anymore. Besides the air way was faster. She watched Storm leave through the hall window. It was just the window that Logan had stood at a few days ago.
Logan who now was in his room just like Scott, probably crying. He had been crying in the plane, too. He had loved her, just like Scott and probably even more. Katja shortly stopped at his door but then she went on. There was nothing she could do for Wolverine right now.
Then she was standing at the door of the flat. She could hear him inside. They had told Katja that a man wasn't supposed to cry. Not that way, at least. Now she knew that nothing was wrong with this crying except for the fact that Scott was alone. She opened the door without waiting any moment longer. The photo of herself, placed on the mattress right in front of him, wasn't even necessary. Just seeing his face when he turned to her was enough. How could she ever have doubted him? "I'm sorry", she whispered. She ignored the pain completely when he hugged her tightly. Two ribs were broken. Nothing bad. The bad concussion was a little extra, of course, but inside her head nothing was like it was supposed to be anymore, anyway. Couldn't get any worse up there. "I'm so sorry", she repeated.
He just shook his head on her shoulder, caressing her back. The crying was shaking him, just like her.
"I can't stop thinking of the last thing I told her", Cat sobbed. "I taunted her with her wanting you back again. I was angry, I was hurt... And she knew. I couldn't even tell her how much I loved her."
"She knew." His voice was very quiet. She nearly killed you with her powers. She never could have coped with that. She loved you too. This team, this family was her everything. That was the reason for her... Goddamn, what kind of fucking shit is this?"
In this night, they both cried until they were asleep. But at least they did it together.
The shadow that had fallen on the mansion should remain there for a long time.
MORE EPISODES COMING UP SOON...
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