FIC: X-Book 3: Within the Storm, PG-13, Chpt 18
- Title: X-Book 3: Within the Storm - Chapter Eighteen: Aftershocks
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!
"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
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
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
Paul looked less than enthusiastic to approach the other mutants,
but he had his orders, and he would follow them until he died.
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