FIC: Number Thirteen (1/1) R
- Title: Number Thirteen
Email: cschoolgirl70 at yahoo dot com
Summary: Rogue's nightmares lead to some disturbing
Disclaimer: Blah, blah, blah, not mine.
Feedback: Doesn't everyone want it?
Author's Notes: Thanks to DD, Jamie, and Jules for
all the help and advice. Dedicated to Marrie for
telling me to keep working on it and for the title.
This story was inspired by a few short paragraphs from
the novelization of the movie, but the story is set in
She still had the memories of the trucker swirling
around in her head. She had a clear picture of what
he had planned on doing to her. It disgusted her.
But the realization that he was planning on killing
her, just as he had done to two other girls, scared
her even more. She hadn't been this terrified since
she had run away from home.
She knew what he had done to those girls, where their
bodies were buried. Now she wished she had held the
bastard longer, drained everything from him, so there
would be no chance of him ever recovering. Just as
his victims had not been given a chance.
Just as he hadn't been planning on giving her a
There truly were some animals in this world, human
animals, and she knew she was going to have to learn
to deal with that if she stayed on the run.
X-MEN -a novelization by Kristine Kathryn Rusch and
Dean Wesley Smith
If she could just stay immobile a little longer, he
would think she was dead. Hopefully, when he left she
could dig her way out.
She fought to hold her breath as the dirt fell on her
face. Just a little longer she told herself, it
didn't matter that she was freezing and most of her
body had already gone numb.
She screamed when the third shovelful of dirt was
thrown in her face. She struggled to sit up, his
maniacal laughter ringing in her ears.
"Shh...I got ya."
She tried to blink the silt from her eyes, tasting the
grit that filled her mouth. She wanted to break the
tight grip that was trying to pull her down. She
could beat death's embrace, Logan had taught her how
to fight, to never give up.
"It's okay, Marie. You're safe."
Light penetrated the darkness, bringing with it
"She's fine, Jeannie, go back to bed."
"You'll call if..."
"Yeah, now go before Cyke comes looking for you."
Home. She was home and Logan was holding her. She
felt his hand, encased in warm leather, brush the damp
hair away from her face. The tension slowly drained
from her; Logan would take care of everything. She
opened her eyes to see the concern on his features.
He gave her a reassuring smile, wiping at the tears
that gathered at the corner of her eyes.
"Sorry, kid. You shouldn't have to fight my demons."
She tried to respond, but found that her mouth was
dry, her throat raw. He placed a glass to her lips
and she let the cool water clear away the last
remnants of the dream.
"Not yours," came her hoarse whisper. "All mine."
He gave her a weak smile, one she thought was meant to
appease her. She nodded but saw the guilt in his
eyes. Guilt for not being able to protect her from
Magneto, the source he believed, of her latest
nightmares. In a way she wished she had his or
Magneto's nightmares, at least those she could
distance herself from. Even in sleep she knew they
weren't hers, and over time they had become nothing
more than bad dreams, which rarely woke her.
These new ones, though, he shouldn't feel guilty
about. He had taken her in before that trucker made
it a reality. She shivered at the thought of what the
trucker had planned for her, what he did to those
other girls. He had been a low-level telepath, he had
known about her mutation and his plans had been set
Logan shifted next to her, pulling the covers tighter
around her when she shivered. "Will you stay? Just
"Only if you don't hog the bed."
She let him get comfortable, rearranging the blankets,
before snuggling next to him. "Did I wake you up?"
"No, darlin'. I was still awake."
She lay motionless, letting his breathing, heartbeat
and warmth lull her towards sleep. "Logan, did I ever
thank you for saving my life in Canada?" He gave a
soft grunt of acknowledgment. "I'd be dead now if it
weren't for you."
A few minutes passed before he responded. "Me too,
darlin'. Me, too."
"I can't keep giving you sleeping pills. After this,
when you ask, expect a full medical check up." Jean
felt Rogue's uneasiness at the prospect, but she had
already given the girl quite a few sleeping pills this
month. "Are the nightmares still interfering with
Rogue straightened from where she had been leaning
over the desk, her nervousness starting to give Jean a
headache. "Yeah...you won't tell Logan will you?"
"No, Rogue. That's for you to do. However, Professor
Xavier could help you work through any problems you're
Rogue fidgeted with the top of one of her gloves,
creasing and re-creasing it. "I know. I just want to
do this on my own. Besides, from what I hear he will
have his hands full with this year's incoming
students, not to mention the recent turn in politics."
Jean sighed inwardly. Rogue's life had not been easy
since her mutation manifested and only recently gained
some equilibrium. Jean watched her walk through the
med-lab towards the corridor and called after her.
"I'm always here if you need to talk."
Rogue turned and smiled. "Thanks, I'll think about
She had waited for the perfect time. Logan was off
helping an old friend and would be gone a couple of
weeks at least. The teaching staff was busy preparing
for the new school year. Xavier and Jean were pulling
late nights, readying themselves for the next Senate
hearing set two weeks after classes began. With her
friends away, few people would question her leaving.
She had arranged her 'trip' with the Professor
earlier. She felt bad for lying to him. Actually, it
had been easier than she expected. His attention was
already drawn in several directions and she knew he
required greater concentration to read her when she
Which she had been, overly so, and if he sensed the
truth behind her story he didn't say. She told him
that she wanted to get away from the students, letting
him believe that she was uncomfortable throwing
herself into the mix.
That last part was true, to a degree. Returning
students would be aware of her mutation, but newer
students wouldn't be. In a way she really did hold
some apprehension toward them.
She quietly slipped away on a hectic Friday morning
the week before school started. She packed the back
of the sedan the Professor let her borrow and drove
her way west. It would take her under a week to reach
the truck stop outside Edmonton. The same truck stop
Mac had picked her up at a year ago. The exact same
place he had picked the other two up. Her research
showed that he stopped there twice a month on his runs
to Northern Alberta.
The month before Kitty left for college, she'd helped
Rogue investigate the life of Mac the truck driver.
Kitty had been eager to show off her computer skills
and didn't ask any questions after Rogue told her that
he was a relative she wanted to contact. Together
they discovered his home address, current employer and
route. The trucking company's gas card receipts
indicated where he filled his tanks and when, which
made him ridculously easy to track.
The drive west would give her plenty of time to think
over her plan. She still needed a battle strategy.
When the nightmares had first surfaced a couple months
earlier, she had searched through the memories of the
three males residing in her head, trying to figure out
who they belonged to. It surprised her to discover
that the dream was the product of none of them.
They belonged to the trucker that gave her the lift to
Laughlin City. He had picked her up at a busy truck
stop in Canada. The ride had been uneventful until
that brief touch as she jumped down from the rig.
By the time Logan sat down at the bar she had
processed Mac's plans for her and knew she needed to
find a different ride. Compared to Mac, Logan seemed
like a safe alternative, seeing what it took the other
fighter to provoke him into violence.
Then with the accident and the events that followed
the next couple of days, Mac was pushed to the back
and forgotten. It wasn't until over a year later,
when her life took on something resembling normalcy,
that his memories crept back into her subconscious.
She considered going to the Professor, but she was
afraid he would want her to go to the authorities.
That in and of itself wouldn't be a problem, until
they started asking questions.
After all she knew how the girls were killed down to
every last detail. She also knew exactly where they
were buried. That gave her reason to pause and then
wonder how many others there had been in the year
she'd been at Xavier's. How many more would there be
before someone discovered him?
She desperately wanted to seek Logan's advice, but
knew his first instinct would be to protect her. That
meant he would rather spend endless, sleepless nights
helping her work through nightmares than expose her to
any accusations or ridicule.
She reached Edmonton four days later with a plan of
attack formulated. It was simple: hang out at the
truck stop during the week, trying to look scared and
alone. That wouldn't be too hard; even at eighteen
she still looked younger than her peers, and hiding in
her cloak would only foster the impression of a
She spent a restless night in the motel next to the
truck stop before she began her daily vigil. The next
morning she shouldered her bag and made her way across
the parking lot to stake out a place by the diesel
pumps. The day passed slowly as rig after rig
re-fueled and pulled out onto the highway. Several
times she was offered a ride, but told them she was
waiting for someone.
Waking up before daylight the second morning, she gave
up trying to fall back asleep and made her way to the
pumps again. After noon she bought a soda and used
Looking over the pumps as she resumed her post, she
eyed a rig that belonged to the company Mac drove for.
It must have pulled up while she was inside. This
was what she'd been waiting for.
Grabbing her pack, she headed for the furthermost pump
where the rig was fueling. On closer inspection she
didn't see a driver in the cab or out by the trailer.
Walking around to the far side, a man appeared from
between the tractor and trailer, startling her. He
jumped down, pulling greasy gloves from his hands.
Looking up, she noticed a broad smile break across his
"Rogue!" He said her name like he was greeting a long
She shifted her bag nervously, nodding in
Logan took his time at the gas pump. This would be
his last stop for some time and he wanted to take full
advantage of it.
He was eager to get back to the mansion. He had spent
less than a week at Joe's before he was overwhelmed
with the need to leave. A nagging feeling lingered
at the back of his mind.
He had called the mansion and was reassured that
everything was fine. However, that feeling wouldn't
go away, so he was headed back to see for himself.
Checking the bike one last time, he noticed a car in
the motel parking lot not fifty feet away. He felt
the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. It looked
like one of Xavier's cars, but what would it be doing
Walking over to the sedan, he eyed the license plate,
which identified it as being from New York. Peering
inside, nothing seemed amiss; not even a map was left
on the front seat. The car had been there at least a
couple of days by the smell of it. There was nothing
fresh, but something was familiar, something that made
him want to know more about the car and its driver.
Twenty minutes later, after checking at the motel and
the truck stop, he called the mansion.
Scott's voice greeted him in the usual manner.
Wasting no time, he cut him off. "What's Rogue doing
He heard others as Scott talked to someone nearby.
"She took a sort of vacation before school started.
"I found one of the school's cars parked outside of a
truck stop in Edmonton. She's been hanging around the
diesel pumps for the last two days. Someone thought
they saw her hitch a ride with a trucker."
There was more talking in the background, followed by
a seeming endless moment of silence. "Cyke! What's
"She just contacted the Professor. We're on our way."
Scott quickly gave him what information he could
about her location.
In a flash, Logan was on the bike and headed north.
He was only too glad that he had once again borrowed
Scott's bike as he hit the speed button.
They traveled for the better part of two hours before
Mac broke the silence. "Hope you don't mind, we ain't
heading to Laughlin City. I don't want to chance
losing you this time. I got great plans for us."
He leered at her. She caught a glint in his
eye...confidence? He'd gained a lot of confidence.
Instantly, she knew she was in over her head. Her
plan to drop him once they reached the graves wasn't
going to work. She could fight, but he had always had
the advantage of size and now he had the advantage of
even more experience. Way too much experience.
She began to panic. Frantically she scanned the cab
for something, anything that would help. It was then
that she noticed that there were no handles or knobs
on her door.
If she tried to bail it would only be after
successfully breaking the glass and squeezing through
the window. She cursed her stupidity for not having
the foresight to even pack a weapon in her bag.
In her visual search, she noticed a bundle of rope and
a roll of duct tape on top of a shovel behind the
seats. Unlike her, Mac had learned to be prepared to
carry out his plans.
Fear bunched her stomach into a tight knot. "How
many?" She was surprised at how calm her voice
A huge grin of delight spread across his rotund face.
"Twelve, you'll make thirteen."
He began laughing at a joke she obviously wasn't
privileged to. "Get it. Mac Baker. You make a
baker's dozen." He continued to laugh uncontrollably,
shifting gears as the semi climbed a steep grade.
She almost gagged on the bile that had risen in her
throat. What had she been thinking? Her mutation
didn't make her invincible. She was such a fool.
It was hard to think straight with her mind racing in
a million different directions. If only she could
reach the Professor, he would be able to help her.
She let her mind seek him out, sending images that she
hoped relayed her fear.
~Oh god, Professor. I've~
His thoughts quickly cut her off. ~The team is on
their way. Right now I need you to concentrate on
keeping me updated with your location.~
She knew that the last bit was more for her benefit
~He's a mutant, Professor.~
~Yes, he has some telepathic ability. I am having a
hard time communicating with him. I will be able to
make contact once I reach Cerebro.~
She began actively seeking out landmarks along the
roadway as darkness began to over take the daylight.
Mac's comment broke into the observations she was
relaying to the Professor.
"He didn't scar you, did he?" At her blank expression
he continued. "I saw those knives come out of his
hands. He didn't use 'em to cut you? 'Cause I would
hate to have to work around scars he left." She was
horrified at his suggestion. Although Logan had been
modified to kill, he would only do so when pushed.
Mac, however, took delight in such a grim task.
He didn't seem to notice her lack of an answer and
continued on with his one-sided conversation. "Your
pale white skin will look beautiful with all my
wonderful red designs traced into it. Just like
strawberries and cream."
"See," he said reaching into his boot, "I had this
knife specially made. Isn't the red coral inlayed
into the ivory nice? It cuts so smooth, leaving thin
lines behind. I haven't had a chance to use it yet."
He tilted the blade slightly so that it glinted in the
dying sunlight. He unnerved her further with his
smile. She watched in silence as he slipped the knife
back into his boot.
He reached to pat her gloved hand and she flinched
away. She had no desire to even chance having his
visions of death fill her mind. She remembered the
first two. His telepathy allowed him to see and feel
their fear. His favorite fantasies a year ago had
been of their last horror filled moments replayed in
his mind. She didn't want to know what new terrors
got him off these days.
The semi slowed, pulling off the main highway to
follow barely visible ruts. Rolling to a stop, Mac
gave a happy sigh. "Good to be back. I need to start
coming here more often. They get lonely."
He reached behind the seat pulling out his supplies.
Uncoiling the rope, he began to mumble to himself.
She found it extremely unnerving; it was as if he was
having a disagreement with someone.
She scanned the cab again, looking for anything that
might help her. Rogue considered slamming the door
when he jumped out. Then she could hole up in the
semi until help arrived.
He smiled at her. "Don't bother. There aren't any
locks on the doors."
Jean answered instead. ~Hold on Rogue. We're only
minutes away. The Professor is trying to communicate
with Mac right now.~
~Jean, don't leave me alone. Please!~
~I'll stay as long as I'm able.~
Jean's presence in her mind helped her remain calm as
she sorted through possible escape routes with the
Meanwhile, Mac bound her hands in front of her before
climbing down out of the rig, mumbling the entire
time. He looked back up and offered her a hand down.
She didn't even want to think about accepting.
Hand still out, he looked around wildly, then abruptly
slammed his fist against the open door. "No! Stop it!
Quit telling me what to do."
He began shaking his head as if to clear it. "She
needs my help, nobody else wants her. They keep
throwing her away."
Jean's voice cut through the confusion. ~Do it now,
Kicking out hard, her foot caught Mac on the chin,
snapping his head back and laying him out on the
ground. As he struggled to figure out what happened,
Rogue scrambled down. She began a frantic charge for
a small grove of trees that stood out against the
She found it hard to navigate the uneven terrain. Her
bound hands made the dash even harder. Only half way
to the trees, she fell. Gaining her footing, she felt
the slow trickle of blood begin from scrapes on her
elbows and knees.
Crouching and taking a moment to control her
breathing, she listened for any sound of pursuit. Mac
could be heard in the distance, still arguing with
Xavier, as he picked his way toward her.
The landscape was now totally immersed in darkness.
She couldn't make out the expanse of land between her
and the trees. Even though she had a good lead on
Mac, she felt the need to make a blind run. Trying to
stay low, she started for the trees.
Within a few feet she stepped onto a large mound of
loose earth. Reacting too slowly, she lost her
balance and stumbled forward. She felt her body
sliding head first into a vast emptiness. Twisting at
the last moment, she landed hard on her back.
She stared up at the stars, attempting to catch her
breath. Her view was limited, and she realized that
she had fallen into one of Mac's pre-dug graves.
Maneuvering to her feet, she began hoisting herself up
to the level ground. After struggling for what seemed
like hours, she was able to swing a leg over the
almost shoulder-high side of the hole. Rolling over,
she lay still for a moment to gain her bearings.
She could no longer hear Mac, only a low rumbling like
thunder in the distance. Feeling the need to move,
she pushed herself into a sitting position. That same
instant a boot scraped the ground and the night
exploded with light.
She knew that staying still was not going to fool him
into thinking she was dead. This was not one of her
nightmares that she would wake up from. This was real
and Mac was working quickly to fill her grave with
She frantically struggled with the ropes that bound
her hands. It was difficult with the weight of the
dirt bearing down on her. It had already filtered
into her ears and nose. She didn't dare breath
through her mouth, for fear that the dirt would fill
When the next shovelful of dirt hit her face, she
screamed. She struggled to sit up, the sound of metal
on metal ringing in her ears.
Suddenly she was not alone in her burial plot.
Backing into a corner, she barely made out the words.
"Shh...I got ya."
Mac was a telepath, she told herself, he must know
about her nightmares. He was using them against her,
because this wasn't the mansion, so that couldn't be
She tried to blink the silt from her eyes, tasting the
grit that filled her mouth. She fought the tight grip
pulling at her body. Logan had taught her how to
fight, to never give up.
"It's okay, Marie. You're safe."
Light penetrated her darkness as a gentle hand brushed
matted hair and dirt from her face. She heard another
voice from above.
"I got her, Jeannie."
"Do you need help getting her up?"
"Yeah, and get Cyke to..."
"He's already taking care of the trucker."
Logan. He was holding her. She opened her eyes to
see the determination and fear on his features. He
gave her a shaky smile. It was only then that she let
the tears flow as the tension slowly drained from her.
She rested her head on Logan's shoulder, letting him
take care of everything.
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