Title: X-Book 2: Shadows and Steel - Chapter 12: Outside the Library
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
The night was cold and raining outside the Metropolitan Library of
Chicago. The few patrons wandering in and out of the large double
doors pulled coats and scarves tightly around themselves against the
unusually bitter March winds. Traffic was light as people made
their way out of the library's main parking garage and onto the
wet streets. The library itself seemed to glisten in the rain, its
black marble outer surface reflecting the many tiny lights that
shone along the city block.
Sitting patiently in an in descript van across the street, Mystique
watched each pedestrian with her cold yellow eyes. It was dark, and
she made no effort to disguise herself. Instead she focused on the
people exiting the library. She was searching for one particular
patron, one whose face she had memorized from the many documents
Erik had them study before they departed.
Their jet was secure, hidden in a small airfield outside the city.
The van, with all of its amenities had been prepared before the
women of the Brotherhood had returned from their first trip to the
windy city. Magneto and Deathstrike had taken a second car and
remained in communication with Mystique's team by their network
of small radios worn over their ears.
Mystique glanced back at her companions briefly, and then returned
her eyes to the street. Pyro sat next to her in the passenger seat
while Toad and Sabertooth, sat patiently in the back. They were
ready to move on her command and they only now needed to wait for
their target to appear.
The hour had passed slowly, as they waited for the large library to
close, and they mostly sat in silence. Mystique heard Pyro shifting
uncomfortably in his seat, a mixture of anxiety and boredom. He was
inexperienced, and had not developed the brooding fortitude of the
Toad was crouching behind the passenger seat, re-examining the Lady
Deathstrike's documents through a small portable computer. He
had been watching the old video again and again as they sat waiting.
His interest was wavering on obsession. The girl, the blonde woman
and the fire
Hitting pause, Toad clicked the video backward, one frame at a
time. The fireball enveloped in on itself in backward motion until
the red-haired girl was visible again. He stopped the film to a
single frame and stared at the image intently. He could not imprint
the faces of others into his mind the way Mystique could, but he had
studied every line of the girl's face for the past week. The one
feature that stayed clearly in his mind were her wide blue eyes, so
filled with rage in the moment before the footage ends that he could
almost feel the terror of their `cameraman.'
There was something more, however, that he could not explain as he
studied her closely. He was fascinated by her face and her
presence, and he felt a thrill in his chest every time he watched
the copy. He supposed he should have felt some apprehension as they
waited for the young woman who, according to the old footage, had
evaded a barrage of bullets and then apparently destroyed her
attackers in a blaze of fire.
But, he had been thrown out of an exploding train station, been
struck by lightning and lastly been knocked unconscious and nearly
drowned by his enemies
and he had survived. The risk of danger
now did not bother him in the least. Besides, they had a bit of a
safety net with them. Pyro may not have the ability to create fire,
but his power over the element was improving. Should they run into
a problem, he could prove very useful.
"How many times are you going to play that fucking thing?"
Sabertooth growled from behind the driver's seat.
Toad glanced up at him with a contemptible grin, "Sorry to bother
your beauty rest, mate. You may do better to pay attention to this
fucking thing. Bloody woman might be tougher to catch than you
Sabertooth growled again, wishing silently that he could crush
Toad's sneering face in his hands, but feared Magneto's wrath
at such violence among the Brothers. There was only one man in the
world Victor Creed held in any sort of esteem, and he would not go
against that man's orders.
"Enough," Mystique said firmly, "Stay focused, she'll
be out soon. The library closes in five minutes."
Pyro listened to the exchange of the three older mutants vaguely.
His heart was pounding in his chest as his watched the thinning
groups of people leave the library. This was the first time away
from the Island for him in months and he understood how much Magneto
expected of him in this venture. The idea of meeting another
pyretic had made him a little anxious but the excitement of the hunt
made him forget his worries.
Pyro glanced out the window toward the library and he thought of
fire, snapping his lighter open and closed. He spun the
lighter's wheel and watched the flame climb slowly higher from
his hand. He stared into the yellow light, into it and through it,
letting his mind close around its soothing heat. It was ecstasy to
be lost in that light and, as he watched and small window of fire
opened in the heart of the light and he saw a figure outlined in
flame. Who was it, he wondered as the outline became a form,
walking toward him through the fire.
He blinked in surprise and the vision faded as a large, clawed hand
painfully gripped his arm. Sabertooth was growling deeply again and
held the boy firmly.
"Cut it out, kid," he said viciously, shaking Pyro once
Pyro tried to pull away, "But I was
"I don't give a shit what you saw, I said
" he roared,
and then was interrupted.
"I said that's enough, Victor," Mystique shot from the
Sabertooth glared at the boy and released Pyro's arm with a quiet
Mystique turned towards the boy, "What did you see?"
Pyro glanced nervously at Sabertooth, and then back to Mystique.
"It was nothing
it was just
" he began, and then paused
staring over Mystique's shoulder toward the library, and
pointing, "It was her!"
They all turned in the direction of his outstretched hand, and
Mystique grinned. She touched the small send button on her ear
piece and spoke quickly.
target sighted. Beginning pursuit."
A muffled reply came over the communicator and Mystique looked over
at Pyro with a pleased smile.
"Good work," she said, and the simple comment made any trace
fear left from Sabertooth's ferocity melt away from Pyro's
face, replaced by a smug pride.
Their target walked across the street towards a dark car, bidding
farewell to other pedestrians. She was carrying a small burden, and
seemed rushed to get out of the rain.
Mystique started the van's engine, and waited until the woman had
driven off before following. Toad activated a tracking system
outlining the grid of city streets and monitored their target's
progress through the rainy night.