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FIC: X-Book 3: Within the Storm, PG-13, Chpt 18

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  • Kathleen
    Title: X-Book 3: Within the Storm - Chapter Eighteen: Aftershocks By: Kath713/Leen713 Rating: PG-13 (violence, language) Genre: Crossover, SPOILERS FOR X2
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 26, 2004
      Title: X-Book 3: Within the Storm - Chapter Eighteen: Aftershocks

      By: Kath713/Leen713

      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
      story.

      Reviews: Any feedback would be great and is appreciated!

      ***

      Chapter Eighteen:

      "Holy shit, did you feel that?" Gambit asked, directing the question
      to everyone around him. The entire compound had seemed to be
      rolling beneath their feet just moments before, and now a strange,
      very cold silence fell heavily in the dim passages.

      The first shudders had been little more than a hum, but had grown
      more intense after every wave, and those in the group who lacked the
      natural agility to stay on their feet grasped onto the walls for
      support.

      Gambit glanced first a Nightcrawler, who was standing easily in the
      middle of the hall, and the blue mutant nodded gravely. As Gambit
      glanced away, Nightcrawler crossed himself and said a mumbled prayer
      for protection.

      Rebecca was standing in front of the X-Men, keeping one hand on the
      wall, just in case another tremor began. Her eyes were wide and her
      face had drained of color, but the heat around her was what gave
      away her sudden fear. She was rubbing the inner part of her free
      arm against her hip absently, scratching the old scars there, which
      were hidden by the long sleeves of her shirt.

      Gambit empathized with each of them and tried to shake off his own
      terror. When the walls had begun to tremor, the sensation had not
      simply been a physical feeling. It had stirred memories in him, for
      no particular reason…bad memories. Remy LeBeau felt like those
      tremors had shaken him to the soul.

      From about twenty feet in front of them, Pyro also was also holding
      on to the wall for support. His lighter was gripped tightly in one
      hand and he was glancing around with quick, nervous jerks of his
      head.

      Toad was crouching low and instinctively had drawn into a dark
      shadow. When he heard Gambit speak, he glanced back over his
      shoulder and sneered. The expression was calming, familiar to his
      face, and his verbal retort drew them all back to reality.

      "No…" Toad said sarcastically, "We missed it...bloody X-Man…"

      He stood and inhaled deeply before glancing around at the others.
      Each was standing quietly stunned, recouping from the sudden burst
      of better-left-forgotten memories which the tremors in the wall had
      stirred in their minds.

      Whether fortunately or unfortunately, Toad had more practice than
      the rest at ignoring or fighting off the unwanted, painful thoughts…
      and voices…of his memory.

      "Let's keep movin'," he urged them on again.

      Rebecca was the first to take a hesitant step forward, and she met
      Toad's gaze firmly as she spoke. To his quiet relief, her voice was
      clear and did not sound afraid.

      "I think…that's a really good idea…" she said calmly, the air around
      her cooling considerably.

      After a few steps, she stood next to Pyro and gave him an
      encouraging grin. He returned it, and relaxed slightly, pointing
      ahead of them with his lighter.

      "It's this way…" Pyro said and they began to walk again.

      The younger member of the Brotherhood kept throwing nervous glances
      at the strange young woman with the fiery red hair. He had been
      shocked when his own fire was torn from his control, and through the
      orange light, Rebecca Malloy's anger had shone fiercely. Now,
      walking next to her, as she slightly shivered in her night clothes,
      she suddenly did not seem so frightening. She was just another
      person (no, another mutant, he corrected himself) and she had a gift
      just like his. Well, almost like his…



      Rebecca folded her arms over her chest and sighed audibly. She was
      cold and very tired of walking around these dark tunnels. She was
      unconsciously rubbing her inner arms together as she took quick
      steps forward, pacing Toad and Pyro, who were in front of her. From
      behind, she could hear the footsteps of the two X-Men.

      She was standing in between the two pairs of mutants, creating an
      unspoken barrier in their conflict. She hoped it would last until
      they found Sid and the Professor.

      <<Sid, where are you?>> she thought, `loudly,' hoping her brother
      would at least sense her approaching, the way twins sometimes can.

      Rebecca tried to focus on the simple task of walking forward, but
      her thoughts lingered on the memories that had surged violently
      before her eyes.



      <<...she is eleven and she is alone, walking down a sunny lane
      toward her home, past long stretches of swaying green corn...
      suddenly, two black cars pull past her, their tires squeal as they
      quickly stop in front of her...four men get out of each, she smiles
      at them because there is no reason not to...they smiled back, and
      they were still smiling as they put the ether-soaked cloth over her
      face...then, there was just the darkness and then later, there was
      the burning pain in her arms...then, there was the fire...>>



      Rebecca shivered again and walked faster.

      As she moved past Toad, he stared at her with dark curiosity. She
      was being very quiet, and was looking at the ground at her bare
      feet. The air around her had lost all of its warmth and she was not
      really paying attention to where she was going. She had been
      exchanging mindless banter with the Cajun since they had left the
      cell, even after she stopped the earlier battle, but now all of her
      good humor seemed to have disappeared. Toad decided he preferred
      her chatter (no matter how annoying it was) over this new
      temperament. At least she had seemed alert…charged, ready to spark
      if needed…

      Toad took quick steps forward to catch up with her, ignoring Pyro's
      own curious frown.

      When he finally reached her, he did not say anything, he simply
      walked along beside her. She did not make any indication that she
      noticed him, just continued to walk with her head down. About five
      minutes passed, everyone just walking in silence.

      Then, Rebecca lifted her head and brushed the loose pieces of hair
      from her braid behind her ears. The distance in her eyes was gone,
      and the spark of the flame around her had returned. She turned her
      head to the right, and did not look surprised to see Toad walking
      next to her. She gave him a small smile of reassurance and he
      nodded in return.

      Rebecca slowed her steps and fell back again to her original spot in
      between the Brotherhood and the X-Men. Gambit glanced over at her
      with concern after watching the exchange with the Brotherhood member
      carefully.

      "Are you alright, chere?" he asked, the question sincere, without
      his usual flirtatious grin.

      She glanced up at him as nodded, "Yeah, just…freaking out a little,
      I guess…"

      Nightcrawler was keeping pace with Gambit, and she noticed he
      carried a rosary, grasped as firmly in his two-fingered hand as Pyro
      with his lighter.

      "You don't have a spare one of those by any chance, do ya?" Rebecca
      asked with a shaky chuckle. Nightcrawler smiled but shook his head.

      "Nein," he replied, "Sorry…but be sure, I asked Him to watch over
      all of us this night…"

      Rebecca nodded, "Thanks…I think we'll need it."



      After another ten minutes, they came to a place where the hallway
      divided into two. Pyro stopped and turned backward, trying to
      visualize the way he and Sabertooth had come from.

      "This way…" he said, pointing to the right and began to walk when
      Toad grasped his upper arm.

      "Hang on…" he said, glaring at the light coming from the right-hand
      hall.

      Gambit and the others caught up with them, and the Cajun stared in
      same direction as Toad, with the same suspicion.

      "That light seems very familiar to me, ami," he said, primarily to
      Toad, who nodded.

      "So does the cold," Rebecca added, and then glanced at Pyro, "You
      sure that was the way?"

      Pyro nodded with a frown, not understanding their hesitation, "Yeah…
      yeah, definitely."

      Rebecca exchanged wary glances with Gambit and Toad. It was just
      like before, and the `right' way again seemed to feel like
      the `wrong' way.

      Pyro was standing at the entrance to the cold, lighted hall looking
      annoyed. He knew this was the way to the front hanger, and he
      thought their doubts were about his directions and not the odd white
      light at the other end. Pyro turned and glanced down toward the
      light. He squinted, and then frowned.

      From the other end, he could almost swear he saw someone walking
      toward them.

      Before he could mention the approaching figure to the others, a loud
      shriek echoed from behind them. It was not like the shriek from
      earlier, which had rattled them in their minds. This voice emanated
      from something physical. From one of the two mutants who had snuck
      up behind them…

      ***

      From the darkness behind them, two of Stryker's mutant weapons stood
      in silence. One was easily a foot shorter than the other, and he
      opened his mouth wide when he spotted the five wandering intruders.

      The cry that burst from his powerful lungs sent shockwaves down the
      hall, and if his voice had not been already in use, he would have
      laughed as the intruders fell to their knees. He was one of the Lot
      Program mutants, like the telekinetic twins. He had forgotten his
      last name decades ago, but the others called him Eddie.

      Standing next to him, the taller mutant watched with much less
      amusement. He was the only member of Stryker's team who was still
      wearing one of the strange caps that blocked telepathic
      interference. Not because he had not felt the pain when the
      compound shook, but because he was (always had been) paranoid of
      outsiders. His name, if anyone still cared, was Paul, and he
      specialized in `pushing' people to do what he wanted.

      After only a few seconds, Eddie fell silent again, though he was
      panting heavily from the effort. He glanced up at Paul and grinned
      proudly.

      Paul looked less than enthusiastic to approach the other mutants,
      but he had his orders, and he would follow them until he died.

      ***
      Archived at www.fanfiction.net/leen713
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