Title: X-Book 2: Shadows and Steel - Chapter 10: Interlude X
Rating: PG-13 (violence, language)
Genre: Crossover, SPOILERS FOR X2
Summary: See Chpt 1
Disclaimer: I own nothing in regards to the Marvel characters or
any character from a previously published source portrayed in this
Time for our work to begin...
Mary awoke with a start in her dark bedroom, gasping heavily and
gripping her blankets to her chin. She looked around the room in
sudden panic, until she remembered why she did not recognized the
room right away.
Xavier's, she thought, taking long controlled breaths, I'm at
Xavier's school. Just shy of two weeks tomorrow...or I guess
it's today now...
She took a moment to gather herself from the dream, and collapsed
back onto her pillows.
The dream had been strange. She had been in a large stone room,
lined with silver pillars stretching up past her field of vision.
At the center sat a man, dressed in a long maroon cape and helmet.
Whomever he was speaking to remained unseen, and his words were
impossible to hear. What startled Mary out of her dream had been a
sudden wreath of fire that appeared behind the man's head. It
spread along the walls and floor, and began to creep up along his
desk before she screamed. His last words ran ominously, but she did
not know why.
Time for our work to begin...
What work he was talking about, she did not know. However, the fire
around him had been destructive, burning down everything around him,
though he did not realize the truth. A force he seemed to think he
Mary shook her head, and sighed. Was it a vision or just a dream?
She did not know that either. It was a lot easier when the visions
came during the day. Sometimes she could not tell the difference
between the true sight of the future and some fiction her
subconscious had invented.
But, she would not worry about that now. It was late, and she
wanted to be alert for her visit to the Danger Room tomorrow. She
would not be participating in the training, but she was curious to
see how other mutants learned to use their powers.
So far, no other major visions had come to her, and that made any
attempts at learning to predict or control them pretty much
pointless. Not that she wanted to have another spell or seizure-
like attack, it was just annoying that now, when she was finally
somewhere where they might be able to help her, the voices in her
head had fallen silent.
Mary was really not surprised. She had guess a long time ago that
whoever chose when to send her visions had a twisted sense of
humor. It would happen when she was driving a lot more often then
when she was sitting and meditating.
Other than the nonappearance of her abilities, the past couple of
weeks at the school had actually been more enjoyable than she could
have ever hoped. The tone of the school was so animated, so
hopeful, so much different than her sleepy little town in Arizona.
Everyone here was interested in her gifts. They actually asked her
questions about it, offered her their own opinions about it, and
usually would joke (real, laugh out loud joking) about their own
powers. She saw that was how many of them coped with being
different, by making those differences into something that was
nothing out of the ordinary.
However, she did not entirely escape the influence of her family.
The first thing her Nana had been sure to ask her about was church,
reminding her to go every week without fail, which Mary did without
protest. She actually found the atmosphere of silent study and
prayer a welcome change from the boisterous and busy school.
Luckily, she had also found another person at the school who never
failed to miss a day.
Kurt had been happy to tell her all about the congregation at the
local Catholic church he attended, rosary in hand, every Sunday
without fail. The mass was quite different than what Mary was used
to. Her church had drawn from the many cultural influences of her
area, and had been much less reserved than the large, quiet
cathedral in Westchester County. She supposed that also had to do
with the fact that the population the church served was much larger
here than in her town. So, it was nice to find someone to attend
with, she hoped his diligence would help keep her attendance up as
Kurt had been a little leery at first, more for her sake than his,
but Mary made it quickly clear she could not give less of a crap how
the blue mutant looked. It was church, for God's sake (no pun
intended), and she could not imagine her own pastor at home refusing
someone entrance to the church just because he did not look like
Between he and Rogue and the others, Mary had begun to make
friendships surprisingly quickly. The houseful of strangers had
taken her in like a long lost relative, simple yet complete
acceptance into their community without prejudice or judgment. It
was a comfort to know such warmth still existed in a world that was
becoming colder to mutants every day.
Mary yawned and closed her eyes. She had no doubt Storm expected
her up early tomorrow. She was like the world's nicest drill
sergeant when it came to her classes and their trainings, always
friendly but also stern and commanding.
She chuckled once before she fell back to sleep. On their way back
home from church the previous Sunday, Kurt had been speaking about
Storm and the training sessions for most of the trip with a strange
blush on his blue face. She thought his attentions to Storm were
very sweet, and wondered if he would ever decide to act on his
Her last thought was again on her dream...what could it have meant?
Time for our work to begin...
The next morning, very early as she had predicted, Mary stood with
Professor Xavier and Rogue in the observation area overlooking the
Danger Room. Mary's eyes were wide as she glanced around the
chamber through the thick pane of glass.
Down below, Cyclops was talking quickly to the small group...Storm,
Nightcrawler, Iceman, and a very annoyed looking Remy LeBeau. The
others had taken more to calling him `Gambit,' especially
during his training sessions and it was how Cyclops addressed him
"Gambit..." he continued, "You will take the left flank.
Take out the machines if you can. You'll be clearing a way for
others following behind you."
Gambit nodded, and suppressed the sudden insane need to shout at the
I know, I know, he thought with agitation, Same as the last five
times we were in here...
Gambit was wearing his long coat over the uniform Storm had given
him. It had many deep pockets, which were now full of small metal
disks. After several trials with different shaped objects, they had
finally settled on the small two-inch wide circles. However, Gambit
still had trouble getting them to hit their intended targets. It
was like playing darts with really tiny arrows which he could never
quite get the proper grip on. And, when it came to the moving
obstacles in the Danger Room, he felt pretty much useless.
And, why all the drills? He thought, reflecting back on the question
that had bothered him since his first day in the Room, What...are we
going into battle or something?
Gambit reached into one outer pocket and felt the deck of cards
hidden within the folds of his jacket. They were almost like a good
luck charm, and he ran his thumb along one corner of the deck as
Cyclops gave the order to begin.
In the room above, there was a quiet hiss at one of the outer doors
opened. Xavier glanced to the right and smiled as Logan stepped
inside. Rogue grinned as he walked up next to her and she pointed
through the glass.
"They're just startin'," she said, "Bobby's
got the front run this
Logan nudged her teasingly, "Don't sound so impressed
already...make the boy work for that..."
Rogue laughed, and Logan spared Mary and friendly glance.
"How've you been feeling, kid?" he asked and Mary
"Ok," she replied, "Nothing new. I can't say I'm
entirely glad about that but...I'm not going to complain
Logan nodded, and glanced out the large window.
"How's Gumby been doin'?" he asked sarcastically and
Rogue smirked, mocking annoyance.
"It's Gambit," she pronounced slowly, "And, he's
been doing better. Storm hopes those metal disks'll be easier for
him to aim."
"Hope so," Logan said, "Nearly took blue boy's tail
off last time..."
"Nightcrawler," Rogue corrected him firmly, "They're
in uniform, Logan."
The broad man met her gaze and nodded, quietly accepting his error
from Rogue, who in that moment looked as serious as a general. The
expression on her face had been so cool and militaristic; Logan
caught himself wondering if she picked up that little piece of
personality from when she touched him...or Magneto.
The lights in the observation area grew dim then, and the machines
in the Danger Room roared to life.
"To your left!" Gambit heard Cyclops shout to Iceman as a
large mechanical arm swung dangerously close to the younger man's
With quick skill, Bobby formed a defensive wall of ice to block the
Gambit exhaled a breath he had not realized he had been holding, and
looked over to the other side of the room. He had to turn his head
back and forth to watch the acrobatic Nightcrawler, disappear and
reappear around the room, avoiding every attack the computer threw
at him. Storm was standing behind him, waiting readily for their
window of opportunity to present itself.
With a quick shift of attack, the mechanical attackers allowed a
corner of the room unguarded, and Storm spoke quickly to Gambit.
"Now!" she said, "Let's move!"
Gambit took his place in front of her and ran towards the open
corner swiftly. He held onto several of the metal disks, but they
felt heavy and awkward in his hands. Their smooth surfaces slipped
from his grasp, and he focused on reaching the far wall before the
machines noticed them.
Unfortunately, Gambit suddenly found himself barreling towards a
reaching claw and forced himself to a halt. The pinching arm
snapped a few times as it approached and Storm spoke again to him.
"Watch that attack!" she called, "Focus and use your
Gambit ground his teeth together angrily, and held one metal disk
between his fingers. It glowed to life, and his spun it towards the
target. With a small explosion, the disk impacted the wall beyond
the clawed arm and Gambit cursed with frustration.
Instead of reaching for another disk, he dodged the arm before it
could grab him and he moved around the room towards the others. He
heard the howling of wind as Storm rose into the air over the
machines and glided above his head.
"Try again, Gambit!" she called, "You won't learn by
Gambit glared up at her and reached in his pocket again. The disk
slipped against his gloved hand and he was able to retrieve one just
as another machine swung toward him. He concentrated and threw the
charged disk toward the arm, but it had not absorbed enough energy
to do any damage.
Merde, he thought, This is pointless...what the hell am I learning
here? How to toss mini disks at tinker toys? I just wanted to be
able to play a little poker or blackjack again without having to
worry about the fucking cards blowing up...
The arm jerked to a stop as a stream of ice coated the base. Iceman
appeared by his side and urged him onward.
"Come on!" he said to the aggravated Cajun, and Gambit followed
him towards where Cyclops was standing off against four attackers.
Before they could reach him, Iceman was hit by surprise by a blow
from the left and fell to the floor hard. Gambit jumped back,
avoiding a second swing by a padded arm.
"Bobby!" he said with concern when the boy did not move and
ran toward him quickly. He once again fumbled in his pockets for
one of the silver disks and crouched next to his fallen teammate.
Gambit heard the machine heading back toward them, and glanced up
with an angry glare. He had no idea how being bludgeoned by a human
wrecking ball was supposed to be productive and decided he had had
about enough of these training sessions.
Gambit drew an object from his pocket and held it in front of his
face. His eyes flashed a deep red and he stared at the ace of
spades for a brief moment before it began to glow with power.
The fucking cards blow up... he thought again.
With a quick, learned flick of his wrist, the playing card flew
across the room. It was an action he had done a thousand times,
dealing hands for thousands of opponents in New Orleans. The motion
seemed completely natural, and the ace hit the machine dead on.
A flash and explosion filled the room, and Gambit stood in gaping
surprise as the arm crumbled to his feet. Iceman was slowly sitting
up, and coughed.
"Another..." was all he managed, pointing past the other man
Gambit spun around, and pulled another card easily from his pocket.
He held it in front of his eyes and saw the queen of diamonds
looking coyly at him.
What are you waiting for, you silly petit?, her expression said to
him, and Gambit tossed her away to explode noisily against another
There was a soft bampf from behind him, and saw Nightcrawler
crouching by Iceman. The blue mutant nodded to Gambit quickly
before grabbing onto Iceman's shoulders, both then disappearing.
"Yeah, don't worry about me!" Gambit announced with
annoyed sarcasm, "I'll handle it from here!"
He looked back and forth quickly, grasping his next card and
glancing at it sadly. He hated to keep destroying his deck but it
was better than getting his Cajun butt kicked by Xavier's
Ah, well, LeBeau, he thought and grinned, They always said you were
a few short of a full deck anyway...
Suddenly, Storm was beside him, looking at him with approval. She
motioned him on, and he followed her to the other side of the room.
After a few more minor attacks, the room fell silent and the lights
Cyclops stood at the front of the room and waited for them to fall
into line. Iceman was walking quickly again, now that he had caught
his breath, and Nightcrawler appeared next to him in a cloud of blue
smoke. Storm and Gambit soon followed, and the Cajun was still
grasping a card in his hand protectively.
"Good session today," Cyclops commended them, "You've
all shown improvement...same time tomorrow?"
They all agreed and began to head out of the Danger Room. Bobby ran
up next to Remy and grinned.
"Hey, that was great," he said, "Thanks for covering me
"Not a problem, mon ami," Remy said smugly, but
appreciatively, "I'm glad to know I can finally do more than
Bobby chuckled as they headed up the stairs towards the observation