FIC: X-Book 3: Within the Storm, PG-13, Chpt 23
- Title: X-Book 3: Within the Storm - Chapter Twenty-Three: Shifting
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!
The sudden change in temperature as Rogue ran through the hanger
doors made her gasp in surprise, the icy cold around her becoming a
cloud of heat and fire. She took deep, almost painful breaths as
her lungs adjusted to the warmer air. Mary was at her side, but she
Mary looked around at the chaotic scene, and wondered if she might
still be unconscious. This could not be real; it was something she
had only seen in her nightmares.
The center of the room was engulfed in flames and she could see the
silhouettes of two figures against the orange light. When she
glanced to the left, she saw the familiar forms of the X-Men and
shook on Rogue's shoulder anxiously.
"There's the Professor..." she shouted over the din, and pulled
Rogue after her as she ran. Rogue's eyes remained fixed on the
brutal exchange of power, sensing one figure growing stronger, while
the other was growing weaker.
Another scream echoed in the hanger as Rebecca Malloy struggled
against Cody's power.
Mary ran breathlessly up to Xavier and the others. She was about to
speak, when she noticed the uniformed man walking stealthily around
toward the fire. He was passing behind the Brotherhood, trying to
reach the powerful mutant who was gathering the flames. As if he
felt her gaze, Stryker turned and glared at her.
Mary inhaled sharply. In between herself and Stryker stood the tall
man in the crimson cape, the mutant of metal. She looked at them
both now, and the memory of her vision rang in her mind.
"The man in crimson..." she said softly, "And the General...oh,
She spun around, and knew what she would see next.
Rogue, who had followed a few steps behind her, had not joined the
other X-Men. Instead she was walking to the torrent of fire. The
mutant in white was standing in an ecstasy of power, as he faced a
young woman, the source of the flames.
His back was to Rogue, and she stalked forward with fury. This
mutant was taking...he was stealing...and she would not allow him to
kill for what he wanted...
Logan noticed Rogue heading near the dangerous mutant, and would
have stopped her, but Mary grabbed his arm. Even against his
adamantium bones, Mary's hand had strength he would never have
"Don't..." she said in a quiet but clear voice, "This is what she
has to do..."
Rogue's fists were clenched as she stepped up behind Cody. He was a
few inches taller than she was, his grown body holding the mind of a
greedy child. She felt that greed, she had felt it before. The
exhilaration, the hunger, and she understood the temptation of
drawing in so much power...but she would be damned if she would
tolerate this mutant thief.
Slowly, she pulled her long gloves down her arms and off her hands.
She let them fall to the floor, forgotten; her mind was entirely
focused on the mutant in front of her.
She held her arms up, and outstretched her open palms toward his
head. His face would have exposed skin...the easiest to reach
Stryker suddenly appeared between Rogue and the X-Men. Logan
spotted him first, saw the General quickly draw the gun from his
belt and level it at Rogue's head.
With super-natural speed, Logan leapt forward and grabbed the
General by the arms. Stryker struggled against Logan's powerful
hold, as Rogue's hands touched Cody's face from behind. His weapon
was knocked from his grasp and he gave one final cry.
"NO!" the fallen General shouted, his voice drowned out by new
screams, this time coming from Cody's throat.
Rogue's dark eyes became wide with shock, as Cody's power, as well
as all the powers he had taken from all the others, rushed into her
violently. Cody arched backward slightly, as if she had been
pulling physically on his head, and his screams became shrieks of
Oh, please...Rogue thought, tears running down her face, Oh,
please...stop...I'm so sorry...I'm so sorry...
With all of Cody's power, also came his memories. An entire life,
knowing nothing but darkness and pain. The one man who showed him
affection, killed by the flame. A firestarter...THE
firestarter...not the young woman on the floor in front of him, but
one who was older, more powerful...the one who took Cody in her arms
when he was a child, and tried to free him from what he was...
A long sad history played before Rogue's eyes...and she wept.
Rebecca collapsed to the ground as the force ripping the fire from
her body disappeared. She could feel the cold floor underneath her
hands, and she could hear the foreign screams, but every sensation
felt so far away. As the fire returned to her, so did an accidental
glimpse of the memories Rogue was drawing from the pale mutant. She
saw a face, her mother's face, Cody had known Charlie McGee's name
long before he had met her in person...
She felt strong arms wrap around her, and Sid's voice drew her back
from those lost thoughts. They looked at each other for a moment,
and then embraced. Rebecca started crying as she stared over at
Cody and Rogue, and held onto her brother fiercely.
That could have been us, she thought staring at Cody as he weakened,
That could have been me if mom hadn't destroyed the ones who took me
that day near the cornfield we would have been two more wasted lives
like those men those boys
The seconds ticked on in eternity, until Rogue was able to release
Cody from her grasp. The boy/man fell to the ground in a heap,
curling his knees to his chest in fear. His vacant eyes were alive,
rolling around in his head as he looked at all the strangers around
Rogue stumbled backward a few steps, and felt her legs giving way
beneath her. Someone grabbed her and kept her from hitting the
floor. She glanced up, and saw Gambit's red eyes filled with
"Chere!" he said, "Rogue! Parlez! Say something!"
Rogue's head swam and she frowned at him with amusement.
"Good catch, Cajun," she said with a dizzy laugh, "Guess you are
pretty good with your hands "
Gambit almost burst into relieved laughter but Rogue lost
consciousness. He lifted her easily, before walking toward Cyclops
and the Professor.
Rebecca took a few long breaths as Sid helped her to her feet.
Pyro was gaping at her with a strange expression of either awe or
fear. He was shaken back to himself as Toad gripped his shoulder
and motioned to where Magneto stood. The Brotherhood's leader gave
them a meaningful and pleased nod, and motioned for them to keep
The Malloy twins looked at each other for a moment, unspoken words
understood, and walked slowly over to the fallen mutant Cody
Weinberg. Paul followed them, motioning for Eddie, Jack and Max to
stay put. He spotted Andrew standing alone near the circle of
soldiers, before kneeling down next to his `brother.'
Cody was covering his face with his hands, and jerked away as Paul
touched his shoulder. Rebecca and Sid also crouched down next to
him, and Cody looked at them with fear.
"P Paul?" he said in the small voice of a child, "Paul where where "
The older mutant put a comforting hand on Cody's head as he began to
"It's ok, Cody," he said, trying to sound strong for
his `brother,' "It's ok we're all right here "
"I saw Charlie, Paul " he said, sobbing, "I saw her she was here "
The sound of the last word was stretched out piteously, and Rebecca
fought back her own tears again. She reached over, and Paul grabbed
her wrist. She met his fierce gaze with sad eyes.
"I won't hurt him " she said, and then looked down at Cody before
continuing, "He he knew our mother?"
Paul nodded, "Of course we all did I think she tried to help him
before but we never saw her again she never came back "
The fallen look on the other mutant's face echoed so many emotions
the twins themselves had felt, that Rebecca and Sid unconsciously
grasped each other's hands as Paul continued to sooth Cody.
"Don't worry," Paul said to his brother, "This'll be over soon it'll
all be over soon "
"You're right " another said, with a cruel laugh. Stryker glared at
them with disgust. Logan wrapped one hand around the General's
throat to stifle his amused voice.
"You better shut your fucking face, bub," he growled in Stryker's
ear, but the General just grinned broadly.
Without the heat of the flames, the room had become significantly
colder, but Stryker knew there was more to the cold than just the
snowy wind from outside. He shifted his eyes as far as they could
go towards the upper tiers above the hanger. Then he returned them
to Logan, and choked words through his collapsing throat.
"The stranger's coming back..."
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