You should know how this goes by now....
Earlier chapters can be read here:
or at my webpage.
The group lead by Cecilia and Ororo flew around a corner and came up on the X-mens cell, flying past other cells on their way. All the prisoners were awake, many standing at the shields holding them in as they tried to figure out what the noise was, fighting back the hope that it could mean their freedom.
As they stopped before the X-mens cell they saw that they also were on their feet but as with all the slaves, the force shields were on and caged them in. Ororo landed first and then sat Cecelia down beside her. She sat Gabrielle down on the floor but let Xavier stay a few millimeters in the air, as it was easier to protect him like that instead of having him on the floor. There was so little air between Xaviers feet and the floor that one had to know he wasnt walking to see it.
Ororo cast a look behind her and saw Black Thunder coming up on them, Philip still held at gunpoint before him like a shield even as he flew to catch up with her. She nodded at him and with a thought let the wind holding up BTs captive fade slowly. BT sank to the floor with him and they landed safely. Philip sensed an opportunity and made a motion as if to make a run for it but BT was on him at once, his gun pointing straight at him. With a sigh Philip stood still, forced to accept that he was still a prisoner. Black Thunder drew Philip with him into the shadows of the darkened hallway, finding it safer to stay out of the X-mens direct line of view until they were finished greeting Ororo, though he saw he had little reason for concern. All the caged X-mens eyes went to Ororo; shock but happiness painted on their faces as they all went to stand by the shield to be sure it was really her.
"Ororo!" Jean said happily as she saw her friend, longing to hug her. Tears of happiness threatened to fall from her eyes; it was really her.
"Stormy," Remy cried happily and only at the last moment he remembered the shield that separated him from the woman he cared so deeply for.
alive," Scott commented unnecessarily, confused but clearly as happy as the rest. He had felt responsible for her sufferings and her death; seeing her now made him relieved beyond words though the guilt for her pain remained as he noticed scars on her body and saw her shortened hair.
"I am," Ororo said gently and smiled shortly at Scott as if she knew the guilt his burden of responsibility brought him. Then her eyes went to Remy and her look softened. "Im sorry, my dear friend. I would have told you if I could."
"Youre here now. Thats all that matters," the young man answered with a smile, his voice warm and intense.
"John!" Cecilia yelled as she spotted her younger lover. She went to the fence beside Ororo and people made room so John could come forth. He smiled happily at her, longing to hold her in his arms again.
"Cecilia. You alright?" he whispered and she nodded.
"Alright, stand back," Black Thunder said, feeling suddenly left out and deserted by all these warm greetings. A brief second he wished he was back in his room with Ororo; at least then his place and everything around him had been known. From now on he was on very uncertain ground with no allies to back him up. Ignoring the more or less hated looks he got from the occupants of the cell he opened the force shield, hoping that if one of Ororos friends should go for him shell stand up for him. Though he had her support now, he wasnt sure he could count on if they did get out of here. He forced those thoughts from his mind for now; one thing at a time. First they needed to get out of here and it probably wouldnt be all that easy.
Finally freed, Remy went into Ororos arms just as John drew Cecilia into a warm embrace. Logan went to stand before Black Thunder, his eyes filled with anger. His look was drawn to the soldier Black Thunder held at gunpoint before him, his gun pressing towards the mans temple.
"What are you doing here and who the fuck is he?" Logan demanded to know as he pointed at the soldier.
"Your ticket out of here. Lean close," Black Thunder demanded, his voice harsh. Logans eyes narrowed suspiciously and he was about to comment when Cecilia broke in.
"Will you just do it," Cecilia snapped impatiently as she drew back from John. She could understand his reluctance to trust Black Thunder but they didnt have time for this.
"Keep your cool, Doc" Logan said irritated but leaned closer all the same. From what the others had told him she was a woman they could trust. BT pressed his gun hard against the mans forehead and with shaking fingers Philip touched Logans collar and it fell to the floor.
"Finally. Lets kill these bastards!" Logan said satisfied as he made claws appear from his hands and eyed BT with a dangerous glance. BT returned his look unafraid but Philip who remained his shield made a fearful noise at seeing the large mans rage.
"Logan," Ororo began but Scott interrupted her.
"Logan, we dont have time for this," he yelled impatiently. Logan looked ready to snap at him but before he could say anything Scott continued. "You can always kill him later. Lets first get out of here." Xavier looked disapproving at him but didnt say anything. Logan withdrew his claws but waved a warning finger at BT.
"You just got lucky, bub."
"I make my own luck," BT replied calmly ad their eyes met and locked.
"Logan, guard the left side. We dont want soldiers to surprise us," Scott continued and broke off their staring match. Logan went to guard the left side of the group and Black Thunder dragged Philip with him to undo Scotts collar.
"Wait. Do the others first. I dont have my glasses anymore," Scott asked of him and drew back. Black Thunder nodded and made Philip undo Jeans, then Rogues, Johns, Bobbys and then finally Jubilees collars. All smiled happily as they got their powers back. Bobby made some ice appear in his hand just to be sure it was working and got to tease Jubilee a little by making it snow down on the small firework she had made appear in her hand.
"Soldiers coming," Charles warned, a hand on his temple as he felt the approaching humans.
"From all sides," Jean added, having also taken a hand to her temple to better concentrate.
"Undo my collar," Scott asked urgently of BT. "Form a circle, stand together," he ordered and the X-men did as bid, Ororo making sure their strongest offence people were standing in the first line.
"There you are," Black Thunder said as Philip had undone his collar. Scott had closed his eyes tightly shut as he saw Philip reach out to touch him. Now the pain in his head intensified as his optic beams powered up. But he forgot all about the pain as his link with Jean came back full force and he could feel her love through their bond.
* Jean, be my eyes. Guide me, * Scott asked through their link.
* Always, love. Always* Jean replied gently as soldiers appeared. Their leader yelled a command and the soldiers attacked from a both sides. They had a wall behind them and their cell in front of them but soldiers began to fill the hallway and from left and right shooting began as at least 40 soldiers attacked from each side.
"John, stay with me," Cecilia asked and made a protective force shield around them. Cecelia handed John a lighter she had stolen and hidden in her pocket, hoping to be able to use it to bargain with the soldiers who gave food, medicine or other smaller things in return for whatever the prisoners might offer them. Now it came in good use as John began to throw fire after their attackers. Cecilia tried to expand the shield to include all the X-men but she couldnt. She had used so much power to make a shield earlier that there were only enough for her and John.
"Gabrielle, stand still. Ill not let them hurt you," Charles tried to calm the frightened woman as she wanted to flee. He let a telepathic shield appear around her to calm her down and hold her close. She finally relaxed, hiding her head against his shoulder and shutting out the world as she had before.
* Gabrielle, dont go too deep. I dont want to lose you* Xavier spoke in her mind, worry clear in his voice.
* When the bad men are gone, Ill be back. I love you, * Gabrielles words formed in her mind and he picked them up easily.
"Rogue, stay back," Logan yelled as he placed himself before her, popping his claws. He was torn between wanting to stand as her shield as Peter did with Kitty or jump their attackers.
"Go. Ah can take care of myself," Rogue said and Logan nodded, giving her clothed arm a gentle squeeze now that they had lost the opportunity of real touch, before jumping the guards. He fought wildly and used his claws to stab and slice his enemies to pieces.
"Now, Scott," Jean said as she was sure he was facing the right way and had a clear shot of their attackers. A beam of red energy left Scotts eyes, killing his opponents with a stare.
"Ororo, create a wind, knock them out," Black Thunder said and fired at their attackers with one hand, holding Philip before him as a shield with the other. The guards fired and Philip was hit again and again. Black Thunder let the dead man fall to the floor and drew his other gun and began to fire at them with both hands, killing a few. He swore as he took a hit in his left leg. He quickly glanced at it; it wasnt too bad but it hurt like hell. At times like this it would be nice to have some more active and useful mutant abilities, he thought darkly as he dodged a few bullets with his name on them.
"Right," Ororo created winds and lighting, throwing it at their attackers. Together with many of the others she still couldnt bring herself to kill their opponents. Black Thunder, Remy, Scott and Logan didnt have that problem and killed as many guards as they could. Their anger and hate for these men were for different reasons, but the desire to kill ran deep in them all.
Remy picked up small stones and gravel from the hallway, formed at ball in his hand, energized it and threw it at their attackers. His homemade bomb exploded on impact, killing any guard who was unfortunate enough to be standing to close to where he had aimed. Remy took his eyes off his opponents to check on his friends and saw that several of his friends had gotten hurt; Scott bled from a wound in the shoulder, Logan in the leg, Ororo had caught a close call to her temple, Black Thunder had been hurt in his right leg and as he looked he caught one in his shoulder as well. Bobby had pushed Jubilee out of the way and caught a bullet in his arm for his effect.
There were still soldiers running to the sight of battle, outnumbering them horribly and almost as strongly as in New York. Remy saw a gun being raised at Rogue, who still stood in the middle between the others. Her power of absorption wasnt much good in a fight as she was as affected by it as the men she absorbed. Besides, Logan did his utmost to stop anyone from coming near her, slashing away at the guards. Though this time Logan hadnt seen the danger, as he was busy killing some other soldiers who had also been pointing their weapons towards her general area. Looking from the solider to Rogue, Remy threw one of his homemade bombs at the soldier and killed him but not before he had succeeded in firing his weapon. Without thinking of the consequences Remy ran to Rogue and pushed her out of the line of fire; his only thought that Rogue had to be safe.
" Noooooooooo," he yelled as he pushed Rogue away, knocking her to the floor. He felt a burning pain in his chest and as he fell to the floor as well. His breath came in pained grasps and with a shaking hand he touched his chest. It came away sticking with blood, making him fight tears. He couldnt be dying. He was too young to die. Its couldnt be happening.
"Remy?" Scott asked concerned over the noise of battle, having heard his yell but couldnt see if he was alright. Through his bond with her, Jean had told him Remy had been hurt but the general confusing of the battle made her unable to say anything more.
"Remy! You alright, child?" Ororo asked worried, having also heard his cry. She flew above Black Thunder, shooting lighting at their attackers and could only spare him a quick glance. He was on the floor but she couldnt see if he was hurt.
fine," he rasped and closed his eyes. Caught up in severe battle Scott and Ororo took his word for the truth and returned all their attention to the fight at hand.
That had been a stupid thing to do, Remy thought as he grimaced in pain. He could feel his life leaving him, could feel himself grew weaker by the minute.
"Remy??" Rogue asked softly and went to him and sat by him, careful not to touch him now that she had her powers back. Remy smiled strained at her, blood running from his mouth.
" He began pained, making more blood run out his mouth.
"Oh, God! Youre wounded," Rogue said shocked and looked around for help but all the Xmen were busy, fighting for their lives against the greater force. She looked helplessly at him; she couldnt even touch him.
I want to
.tell you something," he rasped and tears came to her eyes and ran freely down her cheeks. He had done this for her. He was dying for her.
"Why?" she whispered brokenly. Why do this for me? She couldnt understand it.
I love you. I always have," he admitted and choked up more blood. " Tell
I love her. She was
The words were simple enough but they felt her speechless. He loved her?! Why hadnt he said anything? Or maybe he had but she hadnt been listening.
"You tell her that yourself. Remy, you will live. You got to love. Ah wont lose you," Rogue cried, having to fold her hands in her lap to keep from touching him.
dont lie to me now. I know Im dying. Rogue
.tell me now
.did I ever stand a chance? Did you ever love me?" his eyes held such love and such anguish that her heart broke. She wanted to lie for him, to say what he wanted to hear.
.Ah love you," Rogue said tear filled and she saw in Remys eyes that he knew it was a lie but now he didnt mind. He wanted to believe; needed to believe. He needed to believe that he was dying for something, wanted to believe it hadnt all been in vain.
me?" he asked weakly as he was fading fast. Rogue had torn a piece of clothing off and was pressing on his wound with it but blood kept bobbling up.
"Anything," she vowed and prayed she could keep it.
"Kiss me," he asked softly, something he had wanted to ask her for years. It was such a small thing, such a simple request. Yet they both knew what that would mean. He saw the instant denial in her eyes. "Please, let me touch you
this one last time. Let me live
Tears ran freely down her cheeks now and blurred her vision and she sobbed. She wiped her tears away with the back of her hand, creating trails of his blood on her face. Then she bent over him.
"Ah love you, Remy," she whispered and this time he knew it was true. Shell always belong to Logan, shell always love Logan but for this moment, this brief flicker of time, she was all his and he smiled. It had been worth it. It had all been worth it.
"I love you too. Remember me," he asked, a hint of desperation to his voice. His lips were inches from hers, so close he could feel her breath on his face.
"Always, lov. Always," Rogue promised and placed her lips over his. Tears fell from her eyes as she let the kiss last forever. Images and memories invaded her brain. Feelings of love so strong it never broke even in death for her and for Ororo. Images of pain and loneliness from a hard childhood. She saw it all and felt it all. For a moment she was Remy and felt all he had felt, sensed all he had sensed. Finally she drew back from Remys lips. Tears dripped from her cheeks onto his now still face. She withdrew her hands from his wound and closed his dead eyes, creating trails of blood down his face like tears. She let a finger softly brush his lips, which seemed to be curved by a smile. She stroked his cheek with her knuckles and whispered,
"I WILL remember. Always."
A shot whistled over her head and she stood up, tears and fury in her eyes. They had done this. They had killed Remy! Without thinking she picked up some gravel, formed a ball, energized it and threw it at their opponents. It exploded on impact, killing or wounding several guards.
"We have to do something. We are losing," Cecilia yelled as more soldiers appeared.
"Attack!" they heard a voice say. A familiar voice. " Kill them all and take our brothers and sisters to the ship."
"Eric!" Charles said happily. He had come for him. His long time friend had searched for him until he had found him. It made him smile and feel warm inside to know Eric still cared that much.
Suddenly the roof of the building was shot clean off by blasts that sounded very familiar to Scott. Could it be
? Had his brother made it and found them? Suddenly Scott wished more than ever that he had his glasses back.
The falling debris from the roof was lifted up in the air and thrown aside by Lorna as it contained metal. The sudden turn of events had everyone holding their fire in surprise, shock and for some of the guards; also fear.
*Its your brother, * Jean spoke in Scotts mind, confirming his suspicions.
"Alex!" Scott cried in joy. His brother had come for them. He had made it. Scott felt proud and happy at the thought.
An older man appeared from the now open sky above them. He flew down towards them and with him was several other flying mutants. A young green haired woman held Alex in her magnetic field, making it appear as if he was flying. He spotted his brother and smiled as he waved at him, then stopped as he noticed his closed eyes.
*Alex is waving at you. Hes coming this way, * Jean spoke warmly through the bond, unable to contain her happiness. Scott smiled widely and waved in the direction of the sounds, assuming it was where Alex was coming from.
"Charles!" Eric cried as he saw him, relief and happiness clear in his voice. He quickly flew down to him and landed beside his old friend. Without hesitation the two men embraced. If any more words were spoken they were said in the minds or hearts of the two long time friends.
"Scott!" Alex yelled happily, eager to go to him. Lorna landed with him next to him and Jean. When they had landed Alex looked a bit uncertain at Scott, not sure what to do now that he had finally after all this time found what he was looking for.
*Hes standing right before you. Do something, * Jean urged her husband. Scotts smile didnt lessen; on the contrary, as he spread out his arms and Alex went into his older brothers embrace. Scott closed his arms around his brother in a warm and emotional hug; both too caught up in the moment and their feelings to say anything. Lorna and Jean smiled at each other as they looked at the men in their lives. Then they also embraced warmly.
"I hate to be the party pooper here, but can we get moving?" A young Chinese woman said as she landed beside her missing teammates. Some of the guards had fled in fear of so many free mutants, but some had stayed and seemed to come out of their shock. She let some of her psychic knifes fly at their opponents and let such a knife cut down a soldier which had his eyes set on Angel; making them fall to the floor dead. Alex drew back from his brother and all the other hugs and embraces were dissolved as well.
"Yes, Betsy. We have to leave. Now! They are calling in reinforcements," Alex explained to his brother as he looked questionably at him for his urgent tone.
"Right. Lets go," Scott agreed, a hint of surprise at the sure command in Alexs voice. He really had grown to the challenge. Ororo turned around as most of the guards she had been keeping an eye on were either dead or wounded. She was about to get ready to fly off when her heart stopped a beat by the sight before her.
"Remy! By the Goddess," Ororos voice was devastated and tears ran down her cheeks as she saw Remy lying dead on the floor. She ran to him and cradled him in her arms, crying almost hysterically. She should have taken better care of him. It was all her fault. He shouldnt have died. He shouldnt have, was all she could think of.
"We dont have time for this," Emma said harshly as she landed beside her missing teammates and saw Ororo cradling Remys dead body. She had liked Remy but it was better to lose one than all.
"All who can fly, take at least one person with you and fly to the ship; just fly in a straight line due North from here and you cant miss it. We sail when all are on board," Alex demanded, taking command as he had before, not noticing Scotts proud look as he heard his younger brother speak.
His team nodded understanding and started to follow his orders. Angel flew down and took hold of Jubilee and flew away with her. Betsy picked up Bobby.
"See you at the ship," she yelled at the others as she flew off.
"Ororo, we need to go," Black Thunder said as Jean flew with Scott, letting him fly by her power. He laid one hand on Ororos shoulder, in the other holding his weapon ready should any guards appear. He understood her pain for the boy because he had lost many friends and comrades over the years but they didnt have time for grief; it would have to wait.
"I cant leave him," she whispered brokenly. Not now, BT thought desperately. She needed to move or shell be recaptured; they both would. Both of their survival depended on her and suddenly he realized just how much power he had given her over him without even knowing it. I must love her to be that stupid, he thought darkly, shifting between eyeing Ororo and the hallways.
Charles flew with Gabrielle by Erics power who also took Cecilia with him. He stayed right next to Charles to make sure he wasnt hurt on the flight from the compound to the ship. Kurt appeared and took John with him and with a "boom" they were gone.
"Then well take him with us. We need to go, Wind Rider. Now!" BTs tone was urgent and as if to amplify his point shots whistled through the air as the promised reinforcements began to arrive.
"This party is getting too hot even for me," Emma said as she killed a few guards. She noticed Rogue who kept shooting at the guards; her cheeks wet with tears and her eyes seemed empty and far away. "Time to go, sweetcheeks," Emma mumbled as she grabbed Rogue with her telekinesis and began to fly away with her. To her surprise Rogue began to say something to her in a harsh, sad voice in French. She didnt know Rogue knew French.
"I know," Ororo replied to BTs plea. She wiped her tears away with the back of her hand and tried to smile at him but failed.
"Come, love," Black Thunder urged and helped her to her feet before he lifted Remy up in his arms, his eyes fixed on her. Tears still in her eyes Ororo created a wind and they flew away.
"Rogue?" Logan questioned as he spotted her being taken away by Emma.
"Shes safe. Now come," Lorna urged and took Logan and Alex with her in magnetic field and flew towards the ship. They caught up with Ororo and BT and flew beside them. As they were on their way away Alex turned around and pointed his hands at the compound.
"The western wing. Its the soldiers quarters and itll destroy the force field to the other cells," Black Thunder yelled at him and Alex did so. Plasma blasts exited his hands and the western wing explored. When they were over the town Black Thunder could see mutants running from the compound, some even flying away. The mutants from the hospital who he had told how to undo the collars most have helped some of the others get their collars off or they had figured it out themselves.
"All here?" Alex asked as he as the last one landed on the deck with Lorna. Logan eyed Rogue who looked very sad and helpless. He hurried to her and hugged her.
"All counted for," Hank answered.
"Then lets leave this God forsaken place. Lets go home!" he ordered and Hank nodded. With Angel he started the ship and they sail away; finally on their way home.
"What about the other mutant slaves?" Charles asked as they felt safer, having come some miles away from shore. He sat a little apart from the others with Gabrielle, she having come a little out of her withdrawal.
"Were only students, not Gods. The resistance was too great. But Im sure we freed quite a lot. On our way to the compound we destroyed most of the town and while we attacked the compound in our search for you we also freed some mutants there," Angel said as Hank speeded up and they began to leave the island behind.
All the wounded had been put on the deck and Cecilia was at work with Jean, taking out bullets and cleaning wounds. Many of the uninjured or lighter wounded helped the two doctors though not Ororo. She sat off to one side and rocked Remys body in her arms, tears falling from her eyes. BT looked out of place and lost among the X-men who had known each other for so long. Now split in two groups; those who had been captured and those who had been rescuers BT realized he fitted into neither the captive nor rescuer category and wondered if there even was a place for him among these people. His eyes caught Cecilias as she cleaned and bandaged his wounds and found understanding in them. She too felt out of place here, giving them a common bond. John seemed to notice the looks between them because he called Cecilia to him to aid him with a patient, giving BT a warning look over her head which he choose to ignore. He looked around to find Ororo and saw her sorrow as she held her friend in her embrace. He was among the lucky ones; he had survived. Anything else could wait; for now he would enjoy the moment and not wonder about all the things that could go wrong in the future. He was free! For the first time in many years he was truly free. He went over and stood beside Ororo, his joy at being free and alive overshadowing the sadness he felt for her loss.
"It will be alright now," he tried to comfort but she didnt seem to register his words or his presence; her eyes remained fixed on Remys face as tears fell from her eyes. Knowing there really was no comfort to offer the living who wished the impossible; to bring back the dead, he added the only thing he could think of that might cheer her up: "We are free. We are truly free." His voice was a whisper of wonder as he finally allowed himself to feel the miracle of it
She remained focused on her sorrow and BT found it best to let her have the time and space she needed to mourn. He laid a hand on her shoulder, giving her the only comfort he had left to offer. The world he was going to would be totally new to him and while he had guided her in his dark world he knew he would now need her guidance in her bright world.
The ship sailed away from Genosha and towards the American coast. Towards a new life. A life in freedom. They were all going home.
Authors notes: Thanks so much to Cathain for great beta and for being a wonderful friend.