FIC: X-Book 3: Within the Storm, PG-13, Chpt 9
- Title: X-Book 3: Within the Storm - Chapter Nine: Bitter Chill
Rating: PG-13 (violence, language)
Genre: Crossover, SPOILERS FOR X2
Summary: see prologue for book 3
Disclaimer: I own nothing in regards to the Marvel characters or
any character from a previously published source portrayed in this
Reviews: Any feedback would be great and is appreciated!
Toad stared at the dark wall and clenched his fists in frustration.
He was crouched in the shadows near the front door, trying to decide
what to do next. To his right, he could see the young woman sitting
cross-legged on the floor, leaning her chin in her palm and looking
tired. Her eyes shone out against her face, which was now partially
covered in soot from the burning blankets.
A part of him wished Rebecca would try to burn down this place, even
though he knew it was pointless. He was ready for something to
happen, he was ready to be confronted or attacked by guards at any
moment, that he knew how to handle. But the waiting was becoming
Toad stared at her with a dark frown. He was glad she did not look
scared, but she looked bored, content on waiting for someone to
rescue them or believing someone was bound to check up on them. Was
she so fucking naive? After what he had seen her do on that old
video, soldiers running through the trees, firing on her and her
mother, she should know what kind of humans held them here. She
should be angry, damn it. She should be fucking pissed...
So why wasn't she? All that power and she was just sitting
there, listening to that X-Man babble on about something. Toad
flexed his hands again and looked away from Rebecca voluntarily,
before something else in his mind forced him to. It was easier to
be angry, to hate both her and the Cajun for their apathy, instead
of resolving himself to the same fate.
"Maybe they're leaving us here to die," Gambit said with
exaggerated worry, but smirking, "Maybe they will leave us to
to death or suffocate."
I could speed that up for you, Toad thought, and then heard Rebecca
"I don't think so," she said, "They could have just
shot us and saved millions on that robot."
Gambit began to shuffle his cards again and sighed, "I wish I
could think of something to play with only half a deck. Something
to pass the time..."
"Well," Rebecca replied, "Split it up and we can play
really short games of WAR. Of course, things might get violent if
you don't let me win."
Gambit chuckled, "I just want to say, right now, that I am the
only one allowed to burn my cards."
"I guess that's out then," Rebecca replied with a sigh.
Gambit glanced between her and Toad wickedly.
"I could sing..." he suggested and was met by a resounding,
"NO," from both other parties.
The minutes ticked on slowly and Rebecca stared down at her bare
feet. She really was not thinking about her toes, but she did not
have anything else to stare at. Their passing conversations had
grown quiet. Gambit sat with his head leaning back against the wall
and his eyes closed.
Rebecca sighed heavily, and despite her even exterior, one needed
only look in her face to see the frustration there. It was not that
she was apathetic; it was simply that she was very good at
controlling her temperament. She had to be, when one overly
emotional moment could lead to an inferno.
She looked over toward Toad, who was still crouching motionless in
the corner. Unlike her new Cajun friend, he looked completely
alert, ready to pounce on anything that might step through the inert
Standing quickly, she walked over to Toad and sat down on the floor
near him. Not close, just near. He barely spared her a glance as
she settled against the wall.
"So, you work with Erik Lensherr," she said,
matter-of-factly, and then gestured toward Gambit, "And he works
with Charles Xavier..."
Toad turned his head to glare at her, waiting for her point.
"I'm a little slow..." Rebecca remarked sarcastically,
"But I just figured out why you two started attacking each other
my house. Xavier and Lensherr...causing trouble for each other since
way before the international conference at Liberty Island..."
"What'd you know about that?" Toad spat suddenly, an old
ache rising up in his jaw.
"Got a memo..." she replied simply, and then quoted in a
overly deep, pompous impersonation, "`Beware...dangerous
individuals...blah blah blah...exercise extreme caution...blah blah
blah...mutant activity suspected...blah blah blah...'"
Toad's expression did not change and Rebecca shrugged.
"The Council likes to be dramatic," she said, "Especially
when they don't really know the facts of said event."
Rebecca stared at him curiously, as if she expected him to start
describing the entire experience, but Toad just glared into the
shadows again silently. From their right, Gambit's even
breathing could be heard, and Rebecca marveled jealously about his
ability to nap in this situation.
"I wish they would at least heckle us or something," Rebecca
said impatiently, "You know, `Ha ha, mutants in a cage, ha
ha.' At least then we would know someone was out there. How do
they even know we're still here..."
Toad glanced over at her, and pointed toward the ceiling.
"Because we're bein' watched," he replied with no
small amount of anger, and then muttered, "Christ, don't you
pay attention at all..."
Rebecca looked up and noticed a small circular patch at the top of
the front wall. It was made of the same strange dark substance as
the door's control panel.
"That's not very smart," she said, "What if someone
was psychic or could manipulate perceptions...I've read about
who could do that over video..."
"Another memo?" Toad remarked mockingly, and Rebecca grinned.
"Nah...World Weekly News..." she replied.
Toad actually grinned, but it faded quickly back to anger as Gambit
chuckled from his cot.
"Thought you were asleep," Rebecca said and Gambit replied
"No, chere," he said, and then added dramatically, "A
good X-Man is like a good thief, we don't let our guard down."
"Thief?" Rebecca repeated and Gambit finally opened his eyes.
"Of hearts, chere," he answered a little too quickly,
"Good lot you've done us," Toad sneered, "Thief who
can't even break out of his cell..."
Gambit sighed, "I keep explaining to people...I am many
things...mais a magician, I am not..."
"You know what works better than magic?" Rebecca put in
quickly, trying to avoid another argument between the two, "Just
pissing people off..."
Rebecca stood and walked toward the place in the ceiling hiding the
For the next minute and half, Toad and Gambit stood in dumb wonder
as a stream of obscenities, that if recorded by Guinness would have
gone down in legend, poured from the young woman's mouth. In
those passing seconds, she insulted not only their captors, but the
captors' mothers, fathers, second cousins, ability to perform
certain unspeakable acts, variety of pets and finally their
manhood...assuming their captors were men...
The room grew slightly warmer as Rebecca's pent up frustration
was expelled by her creative swearing, but the look on her face was
more of amusement than real anger.
"...and you liked it!" she screamed with finality, and
breathed heavily in a few moments in silence.
Suddenly, the sound of slow, loud clapping echoed through the room.
Rebecca turned, looking slightly embarrassed, but very justified,
and Gambit grinned as he applauded.
"Beautiful, chere," he said, wiping an imaginary tear of
emotion, "Trés beaux...beyond words..."
Toad was still staring at her and frowning, but quickly began to
smirk as he looked up toward the camera.
"So..." Rebecca breathed heavily, "Who wants to go
Gambit shrugged, "I don't think I could beat that
performance...All I was going to say was `OPEN SESAME!'"
On Remy LeBeau's last word, the control panel next to the doorway
suddenly glowed to life, and a series of red lights changed to
green. There was a loud hiss, and something inside the door clanged
loudly, right before it moved inward slightly.
They were all gaping dumbly again. Rebecca and Toad exchanged
surprised stares and then turned to look at Gambit.
"Holy shit..." he said, and looked at his hands, "Maybe I
am a magician?"
Rebecca grinned with relief and then took a quick step toward the
doorway. Toad leapt from the corner with surprising speed and
stopped her in her tracks.
"Hang on!," he hissed, and stepped in front of her, "We
don't know what's out there..."
Rebecca stepped back reluctantly, and Toad slowly pulled the large
door open. The hall outside was dark, as dimly lit as the cell, and
seemed completely empty. Toad frowned and cautiously stepped out.
They were close to the end of the hall, in the first of a long row
of cells, and he had a suspicion that they were the first occupants.
Gambit moved past Rebecca and followed Toad. The green mutant
glared at him, but the Cajun simply stood and listened intently.
"There's no one else here," he said firmly.
"You don't know that," Toad growled at the other
man's certainty, but it was not arrogance in Remy's voice.
"I do know, ami," he replied, and then added quietly, "A
good thief also knows how to see in the dark..."
Rebecca finally stepped out after them. She shivered; the
temperature in the hall was much cooler than the warmth she had
created in the cell.
Toad walked over to the end of the hall, where he was met again with
another locked door. However, the control panel was alight and
active. He frowned and began to tap the flat screen
experimentally. A dead panel was a problem, an active one was
something he could work with.
"Who the hell opened the door?" Rebecca asked quietly, and
"Must have been from outside this hall," he replied, but then
added with a grin, "I don't think our enemies would have just
us out with no one here "
Suddenly, they both jumped as the hall door hissed opened.
Toad's expression changed to a satisfied, if still vicious, grin.
He was already in a ready position to attack, expecting surprised
guards to greet them on the other side. However, the next hall,
much wider than the first, was also empty.
Toad frowned again and peered out. It did not make any sense, a
heavily secured cell block just opens up for them and yet there is
not sign of any human resistance to their escape. Someone else was
in this base with them, either the Brotherhood or the X-Men, and if
that was true, someone in their little trio did have enemies setting
Rebecca walked toward the open hall door and felt the temperature
drop again. Her bare feet felt numb against the cold floor and she
folded her arms around her chest.
Toad glanced back at her once, "Let's go "
"You sure that's a good idea?" she asked, the strange
chill making her very nervous. The cold was menacing in the
"You wanna stay here?" Toad asked angrily, and continued
before anyone had a chance to reply, "Come on."
Gambit followed out last, listening carefully beyond their spoken
conversation. He could hear wind howling from far off, and the
strange clicks of the machinery surrounding them, but no living
Toad considered each direction in the hall and finally began walking
to the right. Gambit glanced at Rebecca and shrugged again, before
following the green mutant without argument. Right was as good as
left when you had not idea where the hell you were.
Rebecca took a few steps after them when she felt the bare skin of
her feet begin to stick to the icy floor.
"Wait a minute," she called to them, and the two men paused
and looked back at her. Both of the men had noticed the chill but
easily ignored it as they were equipped with heavy layers of
Gambit looked apologetically at her, "We could go back and try to
find a surviving blanket for you, chere "
Rebecca grinned and shook her head, "Don't need to "
She closed her eyes and they waited. After a few seconds, the
biting cold in the hall folded to a wave of heat. A small frown
creased her forehead as she focused, but then she grinned and opened
her eyes. The floor around her began to glow faintly as heat flowed
from her limbs.
Rebecca flexed her bare toes experimentally and shuttered as the
chill left her body.
She exhaled slowly, "That's better...Ok...let's
Rebecca marched passed both of the others confidently. Gambit was
grinning with amusement.
"The lady is ready," Gambit said to Toad, "So we can
Toad rolled his eyes and stalked away after her. Gambit could have
sworn the other mutant muttered something like "Bloody
woman." The Cajun chuckled and moved quickly after his
strolling almost casually away from their now unoccupied cell.
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