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Fic: X-V(2/3) OC(Joe), Jean, Kitty, Erik [R]

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  • pphillips914
    Happy Halloween! Title: X-V Author: Pat Phillips Summary: In this very dark AU, a powerful conspiracy is not merely persecuting mutants -- it s slaughtering
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 31, 2003
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      Happy Halloween!

      Title: X-V

      Author: Pat Phillips

      Summary: In this very dark AU, a powerful
      conspiracy is not merely persecuting
      mutants -- it's slaughtering them.
      Normal humans are being treated almost
      as badly.

      Rating & characters:
      Rated R,
      Jean, OC(Joe), Raven, Erik

      With the exception of Joe Keene, I don't
      own any of these characters. Instead,
      they are the property of Marvel Comics.

      As a firm believer in property rights,
      it's only reasonable that I specify that
      my use of these characters should in no
      way be interpreted as a threat to Marvel's
      ownership of them.

      All of my fan fiction, including this story,
      is a not-for-profit venture. After all, when
      you get down to it, who would pay for this
      stuff?

      Joe threw his backpack onto the bed. It landed with an inviting
      bounce.

      "I hope you like your room," said Jean.

      "Heck, it's bigger than my room back home," chuckled Joe in a tired
      voice. He still looked like a mess. His clothing was torn --
      especially his shirt -- and was crusty with dried blood. His face
      and and hands were also spotted with dried blood.

      The room was fairly spartan, but not uncomfortable. A bed, dresser,
      desk and chair were the only furniture. They were all new. A closet
      door stood open, giving him a view of a clothing rod and a few
      hangers. There was a fresh coat of paint on the walls, new carpet on
      the floor, and recently-pressed drapes covering the sole window.

      "There's a shower down at the end of the hallway. It has a sign.
      You share it with several other students."

      A shower. Joe sighed in relief. Most of the dried blood had flaked
      from his skin by now. But this would be a chance to wash off the
      rest and finally get out of his torn and blood-soaked clothes.

      "We have a lot to talk about, Joe. But I really think you need to
      get a night's sleep first," said Jean.

      Joe nodded. A shower and then he'd go to bed. Considering the fact
      he had been planning on sleeping outdoors tonight, this was actually
      working out pretty well

      That is, if you could ignore the murder attempt by three complete
      strangers. And that echo in the back of Joe's head where screams
      suddenly changed from merely desperate to utterly agonized as the
      gunman he had grabbed felt his bones begin to break...

      Joe shook his head, trying to drive away the memory. Jean looked at
      the young man closely. He was clearly running on empty. But the
      exhaustion wasn't so much physical as emotional. Everything from the
      actual act of running away from home, to the fight on the Interstate,
      to killing a man in bloody hand-to-hand combat, to the non-stop
      exposure to the new and the strange here at the school, were all
      taking their toll on Joe. It would be best to let him get some rest.

      "Good night, Joe," Jean said softly.

      "'Night."

      Jean left. Joe pulled a clean set of clothes and a towel from his
      pack. Then he took off his shirt, boots, and socks. Wearing only
      his jeans, he headed down the hallway towards the bathroom.

      It never occurred to him to knock, for the simple reason that it
      hadn't occurred to him that there might be girl students at the
      school.

      A sudden scream and a thrown shampoo bottle introduced him to reality.

      **********

      Kitty wrapped a dozen ice-cubes into a small towel and then gave it
      to Joe. He put it over the black eye that was now blossoming on his
      face. Kitty hovered over him, obviously upset.

      "Geeze, I'm sorry," she said for the fifth time.

      "That's OK, Kitty," said Joe, his voice partially muffled by the
      towel pressed against his face. "I should have been thinking that
      there might be somebody else in the bathroom. I guess I was just too
      tired."

      "I don't normally shower this early," explained Kitty, "but I was
      having problems sleeping and I figured that I'd get a jump on things
      and spend some time in the computer lab."

      "You've got a computer lab here?" Joe was clearly interested.
      Computers were a bit of a novelty where he came from.

      "Yeah. Great equipment, too. I hate to think what our internet
      hookup costs all the way out here."

      The tea-kettle started whistling and Kitty ran off to tend it. They
      were both sitting in the kitchen. Once Kitty had determined that the
      boy she had knocked flat wasn't out to molest her, she had brought
      Joe down there for some improvised first aid.

      Kitty put a cup of tea in front of Joe. Normally, he didn't touch
      the stuff, but just about anything drinkable would do right now. He
      picked it up and drank half of it in one swallow.

      Kitty was wearing a big white fluffy robe and had her chestnut hair
      wrapped up in a towel. Joe reflected that while, indeed, the world
      had sort of sucked lately, at least he was meeting a lot of cute
      girls.

      "How long have you been here, Kitty?"

      "About six months. My parents sent me."

      "Hmm, how'd your folks find out about this school? Hell, I live here
      in Wyoming and I had no clue that this place was in business!"

      Kitty made a helpless looking gesture, "I'm not sure. My dad said it
      was somebody he knew that told him about the school. He has a lot of
      connections."

      Joe absorbed that.

      "So you're a mutant, too?" he finally asked.

      She nodded. "Watch."

      The girl laid her hand on the table and concentrated -- and suddenly
      pushed her hand directly through the table's wooden surface. For
      several long seconds, she held her hand in that position, and then
      pulled it loose.

      "I can turn desolid. I can walk through walls," she said.

      "Holy cow!" breathed Joe, staring at the girl in surprise.

      "What do you do?" Kitty asked.

      Joe frowned, "That's kind of hard to explain."

      Kitty shrugged, "Try me."

      "I... talk to spirits. And they give me power."

      Kitty blinked in surprise, "I don't understand."

      Joe was clearly struggling to explain himself, "The earth has spirits
      within it. If I can touch the earth -- the real soil or rock of a
      place -- then the spirits hear me. And they make me one of them for
      a little while."

      Kitty sipped from her own cup of tea, obviously confused by what Joe
      was saying, "I think you'll have to show me that someday."

      "OK."

      **********

      The Professor was waiting for Jean. He caught her as she was
      returning to her room.

      "We have to talk," he said simply, gesturing towards the library.
      Jean nodded.

      The library looked more like something more appropriate to the home
      of a wealthy bibliophile than a school. Actually it filled both
      roles. At one of the study tables, Professor Lensherr courteously
      held a heavy wooden chair for Jean as she sat down. Then he took a
      seat in another chair across from her.

      "Are you angry at me, sir?" Jean asked. Of course, she already knew
      the answer to that question, but she had discovered that people were
      much more comfortable with going through certain rituals.

      "Yes and no," the Professor answered truthfully.

      "I messed up, sir. When I saw Joe and realized that those ghouls had
      spotted him, I thought I could get him safely out of their without
      drawing attention. It never occured to me that they would act so
      aggressively."

      The Professor frowned, "I must admit that their actions surprise me
      as well. But this is not the only case we've seen lately of our
      enemies violating their precious Masquerade."

      Then the Professor looked Jean directly in the eyes, "Jean, I respect
      your sentiments. But there is only so much we can accomplish. And
      it is vitally important that you and Raven be careful. We can
      neither draw too much attention to ourselves or suffer any
      unnecessary losses. Our margin for error is very small and we simply
      cannot lose either of our most effective agents."

      "Yes, sir. But I think I may have found us another potential
      operative."

      The older man leaned back in his chair, his eyes narrowing, "Joseph
      is far too young."

      "Yes, sir. And I agree that now is not the time. But Joe is very
      powerful And he didn't panic or run when we got into trouble."

      Professor Lensherr nodded, "And he killed that ghoul very
      efficiently. Yes, he is a remarkable young man in ways other than
      his mutant abilities. The potential is clearly there."

      Jean opened her mouth to speak, paused for a second, then plunged
      onwards, "I'm requesting your permission to take him on a
      reconnaisance operation tommorrow evening."

      "Where do you plan on going?"

      "The Barn."

      His ice cold blue eyes bore into her as the Professor considered
      Jean's request.

      "If anyone else but you were making this request..." he half-
      whispered.

      "We don't have time, sir. We have to bring Joe in as quickly as
      possible. That means we have to banish all of his doubts and answer
      all of his questions. And we have to do that immediately. Not over
      a period of weeks or months. But right now."

      The old man heaved a sign, "Very well. But you will give him the
      option of going with you or not. And you will tell him that it is
      dangerous."

      Jean nodded, "Yes, sir. Thank you, sir."

      "And there's one more thing."

      "Yes, sir?"

      "I need your word on something before I will allow you to do this."

      "Yes, sir?"

      The old man's eyes were suddenly colder than interstellar space, "You
      are to operate under this fundametal understanding: if things go
      badly, your number one priority is to return safely and with our
      secrets intact -- Joseph is expendable."

      "Sir... I..."

      "Your word. Give it to me."

      Jean leaned back in her chair and took a deep breath, "Yes, sir. You
      have my word."

      **********

      Kitty finally let him go after she was sure that she hadn't seriously
      hurt Joe.

      He almost fell asleep standing in the shower.

      Finally, he snapped out of his daze and stumbled back to his room.

      Joe didn't even remember getting into the bed. Surprisingly, he had
      no nightmares, but that wasn't just a matter of luck.

      **********

      It was getting close to noon when Joe awoke. He was still buttoning
      his shirt when he left his room. Several young people noticed him in
      the hallway.

      "Howdy, I'm looking for a lady named Jean Grey," said Joe to the
      students.

      There was a long, uncomfortable moment while the others seemed to
      examine him minutely. Joe felt his temper begin to rise. Finally,
      one of them -- a boy a year or so younger than Joe -- responded.

      "She's not in classes right now, so she's probably in her office.
      It's just next to the lobby, in the main hallway. You can't miss it,
      it has her name on the door."

      "Thanks," said Joe briefly.

      The main hallway was easy to find. He'd been in it several times
      last night. Near the end of it, he found Jean's office. He noticed
      a list of classes and times that were posted next to her door. Joe
      thought about that for a second. He knew this school was more than a
      little unusual, given the fact that the students were all supposed to
      be. But how many schools had a CIA agent as an instructor in
      Algebra, Biology, Chemistry, and Gym?

      He knocked politely, reflecting with a wry smile that Kitty had
      perhaps taught him a lesson last night.

      "Come in, Joe!" she called.

      Joe opened the door and entered, thinking that he would probably
      someday get used to the fact that Jean was a telepath, but it wasn't
      going to be happening anytime soon.

      Jean looked up from some paperwork and frowned, "What happened to
      you?"

      He carefully touched his black eye, "Kitty beat me up."

      Jean cocked her head to one side, then burst out laughing.

      "Does Kitty realize that she now has no womanly secrets where you are
      concerned?"

      "I'm not sure if she realizes just how good of a look I got. But I
      don't think I better tell her."

      "Good decision," chuckled Jean.

      Looking around Jean's office, Joe noticed a framed photo next to
      Jean's computer. It held a portrait of a handsome, serious-looking
      man in uniform. He was wearing an odd pair of heavy, red-lensed,
      sunglasses.

      "Who's that?" asked Joe, gesturing towards the photo.

      "My fiancee. His name is Scott."

      Joe smiled, "Damn. And here I was hoping that you were available."

      Her smile grew wider -- mostly in relief that Joe was bouncing back
      so quickly from the trauma of the day before, "Sorry, Joe. But even
      if we ignored the difference in our ages, I gave Scott my word that I
      would wait for him until he got home."

      "So where is he? Iraq or Afghanistan?"

      Jean pursed her lips and nodded approvingly, "Afghanistan. That's
      very good, Joe. Did you guess that just from the fact that he's in
      the Army?"

      "That and the fact that he's Special Forces -- I recognized the green
      beret. As I understand it, those guys are pretty busy right now, and
      we don't have a lot of them to spare."

      Then Joe suddenly turned serious, "We're due for a talk, Jean. The
      day I left home, three guys popped up out of nowhere and tried to
      kill you and me both. It looked like a cop was helping them. I
      figure it's time I knew what the heck is going on."

      "Yes. But I'm going to give you a choice that we don't give most of
      the students here. I can try to explain it to you, like we do to
      everyone else. Or I can show it to you. Which do you want?"

      Joe looked a little wary, "What's the difference?"

      "The truth is... bizarre. And frightening. And ugly. A lot of
      people don't want to believe it. But seeing the truth with your own
      eyes will prove to you exactly what's going on. And the better you
      understand what we're fighting, the more likely you are to survive."

      Joe seemed to be thinking it over, "You said that you don't usually
      give people this choice. Why are you doing that for me?"

      "You're a pretty powerful mutant, Joe. I'm hoping you'll be more
      than just a student here. If you're willing, you could be very
      valuable to us. That means you have to brought up to speed as
      quickly as possible."

      Joe looked at Jean, trying to judge both her and her words.

      "OK," he finally said. "Let's go take a look."

      "Before you decide, Joe, I want you to listen to me very carefully.
      We're taking a chance if we do this. It's not a crazy chance, but
      it's a chance none-the-less. Do you understand?"

      Joe nodded.

      "I'm going to tell you some important things. Things that you have
      to keep in mind at all times. If you get any of them wrong, we could
      die."

      "OK," said Joe warily.

      "You're going to see some terrible things. But it's very important
      that you don't show fear or weakness. Where we are going, that sort
      of thing is an invitation to be attacked."

      Joe nodded.

      "Some of the... people that we're dealing with can detect mutants.
      That's how you were spotted at the truckstop. I can use telepathy to
      hide us. But I can only do that if you're nearby. So once we get to
      where we're going, never get more than an arm's length away from me."

      Joe nodded again, this time very slowly.

      "Don't say anything if you can possibly avoid it. And if I tell you
      to do something, you do it. No hesitations or questions."

      Joe held his head slightly canted to one side, his eyes studying
      Jean's face closely.

      "Repeat all that back to me," ordered Jean.

      Carefully, taking his time, Joe did as she asked. He got it all
      right. Jean was impressed. The normal pattern with untrained people
      was that they remembered only the first or last parts accurately, and
      almost always forgot something in the middle.

      "Do you still want to go? I'm not kidding when I say that it's
      dangerous."

      "Hell, Jean, as near as I can tell just standing around at a
      truckstop is dangerous for people like you and me."

      "OK. Report back to my office at four o'clock, we'll leave then."
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