FIC: X-Book 3: Within the Storm, PG-13, Chpt 19
- Title: X-Book 3: Within the Storm - Chapter Nineteen: The Pusher and
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!
Nightcrawler was on his feet first, crouching in a ready position to
face the source of the noise. For a moment, he had the wild thought
that the children from the mansion had somehow been brought to this
place, and that he would see Siryn's bright Irish eyes greeting him
from the corridor.
However, when he saw the two figures approaching, he knew they were
not students of Xavier. The shorter could have been confused as a
child, but their movements were threatening.
The others were slowly standing and taking their hands from their
ears. A harsh giggle rang through the air, and the sound felt
heavy, like it could be touched instead of simply heard.
The taller mutant stepped forward. He looked at each of them in
turn, and finally settled on Nightcrawler. The mutant, named Paul
when he was a boy, narrowed his eyes slightly.
A strange sensation came over the blue mutant, one he recognized
from his past. Like someone else was taking control of his body his
mind like when he had involuntarily attacked the President of the
He ground his sharp teeth together and fought against the `pusher's'
control on his mind.
Paul felt him fighting and grinned wickedly. Despite his earlier
reservations, he always enjoyed making people do what he wanted them
"Leave " Paul's voice echoed with a deep vibrato, "Just go away "
Then, he pointed to Gambit, because of his similar uniform, "And
take him with you...go into the cold "
Nightcrawler closed his eyes tightly, trying not to listen to the
attacking mutant's powerful commands.
"No " he said and then disappeared. The others looked at the fading
smoke in surprise, and Gambit drew a card from his pocket. It
charged quickly, and he threw it towards the new mutants. Eddie
opened his mouth and screamed again. The card slowed in mid-air, as
if it had impacted something soft, and grew blindingly bright right
before it exploded.
All the mutants were again thrown off their feet, except Toad who
leapt toward the ceiling.
Paul fell backward and hit the ground hard. As he did, the strange
cap fell from his head. He stood quickly, and this time grabbed
Pyro with his mind. The boy, unprepared for such an assault, was
"Kill them " Paul's voice commanded and Pyro fought with his right
hand to keep it from opening his lighter. Paul gave a guttural
grunt of effort and forced the boy to do what he wanted. His head
pounded with pain, but he ignored it.
Pyro panicked as the flame appeared in his hand, and he held it
toward Gambit. He had done this earlier when he was fighting as
part of the Brotherhood, but now, he struggled to keep the fire
under his own control.
The flames leapt toward the Cajun, who dodged them easily. He did
not counter Pyro's attack, but turned again toward the two unknown
Paul raised one hand toward Pyro and then the other at Gambit, who
froze in his tracks. The strain of controlling two people at once
caused white stars of pain to dance before his eyes.
When Eddie stepped up beside him, Paul focused again on Pyro.
"Kill her " he said, nodding his head toward Rebecca. Pyro glanced
at her, and their eyes locked. A smiled crossed Pyro's face and he
allowed his fight with the `pushing' mutant to ease.
Flames once again shot from his hand, but Rebecca stepped into them
instead of away. The fire swirled around her like orange and yellow
ribbon, and she held her hands out. The heat began to draw into her
palms, and she closed her eyes serenely. After the fire was
absorbed, she stepped toward the two new mutants.
The power was all around her now, the air shimmering with heat, and
she grinned as the flames burst to life at her feet.
The fire began to trace a direct path toward Paul and Eddie. The
smaller mutant's eyes widened considerably at her unexpected display
of power, and then his mouth opened wider. The resulting shout
knocked Rebecca to the side and she stumbled against the wall. The
fire approaching them disappeared and the hall once again became
Paul heard a soft sound behind him, and yelped in surprise as
Nightcrawler gripped his shoulders. There was a second soft sound,
and they both disappeared. Gambit and Pyro felt the mental hold on
them disappear as well.
Eddie gaped at them and inhaled deeply for another shriek, when he
was hit in the face with a sticky green substance. Toad leapt down
from the ceiling and watched the small mutant try to tear the
substance from his face. In one hand, Toad was carrying the strange
cap the taller mutant had been wearing.
At the same moment, Nightcrawler reappeared with the
terrified `pusher' in tow. Paul collapsed to his knees, now on the
other side of the crossing halls, and his mind spun from the
sudden `jump.' His focus was lost, and he held his head in pain.
Toad was crouching next to the shrieker, watching him reel in terror
with quiet amusement. He heard a footstep behind him, and Rebecca
"What did you do to him?" she asked, and when she saw Eddie could
not breathe, she spoke again, "He's choking! How do you "
Toad ignored her and began to speak directly to the small mutant
"Right " he began, feeling Rebecca's angry glare without having to
look back, "Now, you listen, and you nod if you understand me. This
shit I spit on you ain't goin' nowhere unless you do what I tell
you, got it?"
The small mutant was staring up at him with terror, and only
continued to tear unsuccessfully at the substance filling his mouth
Toad's face became vicious as he glared down, "You better nod before
you suffocate "
The small mutant began to nod vehemently, his face losing color as
the remaining oxygen in his lungs was spent.
"Now, I'm gonna take that shit off of your face if you'll stop the
screamin' got it?"
Eddie nodded again urgently, the void in his chest becoming painful,
screaming on its own for air. Toad looked satisfied, and then spit
in Eddie's face again.
Rebecca began to protest, before she realized it was not more of the
green viscous stuff, only ordinary saliva. Almost at once, the
solid mass began to get soft, and Toad had to spit one more time
before the small mutant was able to spit the green substance out of
his own mouth.
Eddie breathed in great gasps of air, and never took his frightened
eyes off of Toad.
"Okay," Toad began again, "You just sit right there for now don't
talk, just nod or shake your head when someone asks you somethin',
He could tell the small mutant desperately wanted to speak, but he
just nodded again and sagged against the wall, defeated.
"Good," Toad said, leaning forward slightly so the mutant would
cringe, "But, one sound one bloody peep and you're done in either by
me, or Pyro there will char-broiled you "
"No, he won't," a very strong voice said, and Toad stood and glared
Her face was livid with fury and she met his vicious gaze without
flinching. This time, he did grab her arm again, and drug her to
the side toward where Gambit and Pyro were standing. Nightcrawler
was keeping close watch on the `pusher' only a few feet away.
"This," Toad said, gesturing to the two mutants, " is the only
resistance we've found since escaping that fucking cell. I doubt
they're the only one's here, and I doubt there the ones in charge.
They fucking attacked us "
"I don't care," Rebecca interrupted him, "We're not going to kill
"What the hell is wrong with you?" Toad hissed at her, "D'you think
this is a game "
"Maybe," she said with slow emphasis, "Maybe it's all a game!
Fucking killer robots fucking good guys and bad guys fucking cold,
haunted hallways that change and "
"Enough," Nightcrawler said strongly, actually sounding angry
himself. Rebecca and Toad, as well as Gambit and Pyro, stared at
him for a moment in surprise. Nightcrawler was helping the
fallen `pusher' sit up, handing him a small white cloth to sop the
blood from his nose and face.
"Fighting with words will get us no farther than fighting with our
gifts," the blue mutant continued, his voice returning to its
typically soft tone. Toad was glaring at him viciously, and turned
it on Rebecca once more before turning with a disgusted scoff. He
walked over toward the small mutant again and ordered him to go sit
by the taller one.
Eddie moved without protest, looking more like a child than ever,
and curled up closely next to Paul. His bleeding nose was ebbing,
but he knew the headache would last at least a few more hours.
"You are ill," Nightcrawler said to him, and the `pusher' shook his
"No," he said, glancing up at the blue mutant, "I'm pretty sure
"Who are you?" Rebecca asked, kneeling down close by. There was
something eerily familiar about them, but she did not know why.
"My name is Paul, and I'm a mutant," he said, announcing it like he
was at a support meeting, "This is Eddie, and he's a mutant, too."
"Yeah, we figured that out ourselves," Gambit chimed in with a
strained grin. These two did indeed look like they were dying maybe
they even looked worse.
"Beyond that " Paul continued, "We're nothing."
He looked up at Pyro with an almost nostalgic grin, "For a minute, I
thought maybe you were a firestarter but you've got a lighter, so
you're just a pyretic, huh?"
The tone was almost mocking and Pyro glared at him.
"Doesn't make me any less dangerous, asshole," Pyro said and Paul
began to laugh.
"Oh, yes, it does " he said, and then added in a diminishing
voice, "Believe me it does "
"Then, maybe you should be more nervous about me," Rebecca said,
suddenly disliking this mutant a little. Paul glanced toward her
"Just because of that little show you put on please," he shot back,
and then sneered, "There's only ever been one Stryker said so "
Nightcrawler recoiled, "Stryker? Colonel Stryker?"
Paul laughed again, "No General Stryker as it's been for nearly six
Nightcrawler fell into silent thought, and Rebecca spoke again.
"Charlene McGee," Rebecca said and Paul winced as if he was struck.
"How did you know that?" he said in a nasty tone.
Rebecca frowned and held one hand toward his face. Behind her, she
did not see Toad grin as the flames leapt from her palm. Eddie
broke his vow of silence by yelping in shock, but Toad decided with
inner amusement to overlook that slip of the tongue so to speak.
"She's my mother," Rebecca said coolly, a stark contrast to the
burning mass in her hand.
Paul did not flinch, but his eyes widened with wonder at this new,
unexpected fact. His gaze shifted from the flame, to the young
woman's shining blue eyes.
"Charlie's your mom " Paul breathed softly, and then something
changed in his face. What was it? Excitement anticipation a sudden
peace washing away his wicked glare.
"He'd seen it coming," he continued softly, "Our seer did you should
meet him he said there'd be two Charlie'll have two and that's when "
Paul's mouth dropped and a desperate fear filled his eyes. He
grabbed onto Rebecca's flaming hand, which she quickly extinguished
as she fell backward in surprise.
"You have to leave here," the older mutant said quickly, "All of you
but you, firestarter, have to leave most of all "
Before he could say another word, Toad landed solidly beside them
and ripped the `pusher' away from Rebecca.
"Keep your bloody hands off her," he growled, thinking Paul's sudden
movement had been an attack.
Paul was nodding but did not move his eyes from Rebecca, "Fine
fine. Just get out! For your mother's sake "
Rebecca frowned in confusion, and got to her knees again.
"How do you know her?" she asked, and Paul began to shake his head.
"No no time no time you have to get out "
Toad stood up and pulled her with him reluctantly. Gambit was
standing to their left and took a step forward.
"Becca?" he asked with concern. Her eyes had not left the `pushing'
mutant, and Gambit wanted to make sure Mr. Tall was not using his
power on her.
Rebecca glanced at him and nodded before returning to gaze to the
two fallen subjects of the Lot Program.
"What about you two?" she asked, "Why don't you "
"No," Paul said firmly, "I told you we're dying but none of you have
to die, too "
"We can't just leave you here," Rebecca said with honest concern.
"Yes, we can," Toad said, glaring at the pair viciously, and Rebecca
shot him a fiery look before he continued, "But we won't "
Toad reached down and hauled the `pusher' to his feet. The small
mutant jumped up without having to be asked.
"You're gonna stay right where we can see you," he said, "If you're
dying, then it doesn't matter if its here or a hundred feet down the
The younger Brotherhood member step forward, knowing what Toad was
going to ask.
"I still say it's this way," Pyro said, pointing to the right, "But
now that light's gone "
Gambit inspected the newly darkened hall cautiously. It felt
warmer, safer now somehow. Rebecca appeared at his side and nodded
"I think you were right before," Rebecca said to Pyro, "And I think
you're right now."
Toad made the two mutants walk in front of him so he could keep an
eye on them and the other's fell into their previous marching
pattern as they headed down the final stretch of tunnel that lead to
the outer hanger.
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