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FIC: Capture and Release, PG-13, Chapter 3

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  • crisiskris
    Note: For intro and info, please see Teaser Also, if I posted this chapter twice, please accept my apologies (my computer crashed). *** Scott pulled the car up
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 2, 2004
      Note: For intro and info, please see Teaser
      Also, if I posted this chapter twice, please accept my apologies (my
      computer crashed).


      Scott pulled the car up onto a side road about half a mile from the
      location that Charles had pinpointed using Cerebro. They had no
      idea what they were heading into, and they needed a plan.

      "Kurt, can you do a little reconnaissance for us?" Scott spoke in a
      hushed tone, as though he was afraid someone would overhear, even
      from this distance. Taking his cue from their leader, Kurt nodded
      silently and padded away. Scott and Hank checked their surroundings
      and made sure that there was no one on the perimeter, before
      relaxing against the car.

      After a moment, Hank picked up on their prior conversation. "I
      appreciate that you see a difference between my research and Colonel
      Stryker's. As a scientist, I have always believed in the primacy of
      objective knowledge, based on rigorous experimentation. The subject
      of that experimentation has never been a concern of mine before.
      However, I am beginning to see that the experiences of experimental
      subjects might in and of themselves be an important area of
      consideration." He sighed. "I would very much like to turn my
      attention toward helping people such as Logan recover from the
      traumas they've suffered."

      Scott looked at the other man, a bit surprised. Hank was the newest
      addition to the team, and he'd been quite reserved thus far. He was
      unfailingly polite, an excellent doctor, and a passable – if a *bit*
      boring – teacher, but the depth of emotion the bestial man could
      feel suggested that there was much more to this man than his self-
      identification as a scientist would imply. "I think that's an
      incredible idea, Hank," Scott replied finally. "God knows there's a
      need for it." Hank offered him a smile.

      They sat in silence for a moment more, and then Kurt appeared at
      their side in a halo of blue smoke. "There is a warehouse, just
      over that rise," he said, indicating the direction with his
      hand. "It has some very sophisticated technology, but it appears to
      be abandoned."

      "Abandoned?" Scott was surprised. Why would they go to the trouble
      of taking Rogue and Jubilee all the way out here, only to
      leave? "Well, let's check it out anyway. We might be able to find
      something. Kurt – do you think you could get inside?" Kurt had
      been practicing teleporting into spaces that he had not seen, trying
      to hone his natural sixth sense for spaces. He thought for a
      moment, and then nodded. "Okay," Scott said, straightening
      up. "Let's go – Hank and I will keep a lookout while you try to
      infiltrate the building. Hopefully, you can find a way to bypass
      their security and we can get some clues as to what's going on
      here." The others nodded in agreement, and they headed out.


      Rogue would definitely not be her first pick for a driving
      instructor, Jubilee decided, watching the other girl racing down the
      highway, but you had to admit she was determined. Jubilee still
      wasn't convinced that heading back towards a military base where
      people had threatened to kill them was a good idea, but she could
      understand why Rogue would want to be a part of the action. It was
      a lot better than sitting around the school wondering if everyone
      was going to come home in one piece.

      She looked out the window as the trees whipped past them, thinking
      back to five months ago, when the Brotherhood had attempted to
      attack the school. Professor Xavier had asked all the students to
      go to the gymnasium and stay there until one of the teachers came
      and told them otherwise. They'd sat and waited, bored and
      confused, for almost two hours before Storm appeared to tell them
      they could go back to their dorm rooms. None of the teachers were
      anywhere to be seen; they, and Rogue and Bobby with them, were all
      down in the medical lab. A couple of the students had tried to get
      in there, but Storm had quickly ushered them out. After a while,
      Logan had come out, looking a little more grim than usual. Jubilee
      really liked the older man, but she was a bit afraid of him; she
      hadn't approached, and he'd disappeared toward the garage without
      saying a word.

      After that, well… Professor Xavier only let as much information
      trickle down to the students as he thought they needed to know.
      They were told that Logan had run into some trouble, and the X-Men
      were going to help him out. They were told that Professor Xavier
      needed to concentrate in Cerebro and that he was not to be
      disturbed. And, of course, they were told to behave themselves.
      But no one had told them what had happened – Jubilee had resorted to
      grilling Rogue for details later, after they'd all returned. She
      had to admit she had been more than a little bit jealous – she'd
      wanted to be an X-Man ever since she'd arrived at the Institute.
      But now that she was actually *doing* it – actually going into some
      messed up situation to help save somebody – she wasn't so sure she
      was up to it.

      "So let's go over this one more time, okay?" she asked
      anxiously. "We're going to drive back to the warehouse, and we're
      going to do what?"

      "We're going to help Scott." Rogue kept her eyes on the road as the
      wound around a somewhat sharp curve.

      Beside her, Jubilee nodded in understanding. "Right – and what if
      Scott's not there anymore?"

      "Uh…" to tell the truth, Rogue really didn't have a plan. She had
      courage and, after a few missions, enough confidence to believe that
      she could hold her own, but she'd always left the strategizing to
      the older members. Part of her agreed with Jubilee that they should
      have stuck to the original idea and gotten back to the mansion as
      quickly as possible. But another part of her was burning with fury
      at the thought of Logan in the hands of the military. When he had
      given her his healing powers, some of his memories had also been
      transferred. She'd seen clearly what lay just beneath his
      consciousness. The things he could only access in dreams, the
      fleeting images that haunted him, she had seen in living color. The
      thought of him facing something like that again filled her with a
      rage she couldn't explain.

      "Uh, Rogue?" a small voice shook her from her thoughts. She spared
      a glance for the young woman beside her. Jubilee's face had gone a
      little green. "Could we please just slow down, just a little?"
      Rogue glanced down at the speedometer, surprised. Without knowing
      it, she'd been stamping down on the gas pedal, lost in thought.

      "Sorry," she backed off, willing herself to calm down. ~You can't
      help Logan if you kill yourself in a car crash, ~ she reminded
      herself sternly, surreptitiously checking to make sure Jubilee was
      wearing her seatbelt. She took a deep breath, and planted her eyes
      back on the road.


      Logan had plenty of experience with pain. Despite not having any
      recollection of his previous life, however long that had been, he
      was pretty sure he'd been in pain more than the average guy was –
      and definitely more than anyone should have been. He'd been
      stabbed, shot, poisoned… but nothing was quite like what he was
      experiencing now. He gasped for air, feeling like he might get sick
      at any moment. Sabretooth watched him impassively from across the

      After what seemed like an eternity, Logan found the strength to lift
      his head. "What – what's happening to me?" he whispered
      hoarsely. "What are they doing?" The soldiers had returned to
      their cell very briefly, and had injected something into Logan's
      spinal column. At first it hadn't really done anything, and then
      suddenly it felt like he was burning from the inside out.

      The other man's eyes glittered dangerously. "They are hoping to
      salvage some scrap metal," he replied.

      "What the hell does that mean?"

      "The metal on your bones, Logan," Sabretooth spoke slowly, as if to
      a child. "They want it back. Since they can't remove it in its
      solid state, they're trying to return it to its liquid form. "

      Logan gasped against the pain, which did, indeed, seem to radiate
      through his muscles from his skeleton. "Why?" He ground the word
      out, hoping that talking with Sabretooth would help keep him from
      focusing too much on what was happening in his body.

      "Because Adamantium is incredibly difficult to collect," Sabretooth
      replied. "They want Adamantium, and the largest known source, now
      that the Alkali Lake base is underwater, is you."

      Logan panted, twisting in his chains in agony. "But why - why take
      it from me? I thought I was their weapon."

      Sabretooth laughed loudly. "You were," he replied. "But did you
      really think you were Stryker's only weapon? Ha. You were the
      first one. After the experiment with you failed, Stryker decided
      not to try putting Adamantium into anyone for a little while. He
      conducted other experiments instead." There was a creaking noise
      and the large man shifted in his chains. "Obviously, someone has
      decided that it's time to bring the team back together."

      "What team?" Logan's vision was blurring. He felt something dripping
      down from his hands and he looked up, fully expecting to see blood
      seeping through his skin. He was shocked to find that the fluid
      seeping out of him, sliding out from under his fingernails, was
      silver. He hissed in pain.

      Sabretooth quirked an eyebrow. "Looks like it's working."


      Charles looked at the expectant young faces surrounding him and felt
      a wave of sadness. He sometimes forgot that these were just
      children; they loved and trusted their teachers in the innocent way
      that children do. There was no fear on the faces before him, no
      recognition – except in Kitty's eyes – of how serious their
      situation might be. There was only trust that whatever it was,
      Professor Xavier would make it all right. He would keep them safe.
      Charles cleared his throat. "I realize that you are confused about
      why I called us all together like this," he started, half-surprised
      at the calm, steady voice that came out of his mouth. "I hope that
      I will be able to answer all your questions." He picked his way
      through the day's events carefully, not telling the children any
      more than they needed to know. He could not, however, avoid
      telling them that Logan, Rogue, and Jubilee had been apprehended,
      and that they were likely now in prison.

      "We have to go get them!" Bobby exclaimed from the back, standing
      up. "We can't just leave them there!" His agitation poured off him
      like sweat. Charles stayed quiet a moment as he sorted through the
      jumble of emotions the younger man was projecting – fear, anger and
      love – as he thought about Rogue in the hands of the military.

      Charles held up a hand for calm. "Scott, Kurt, and Hank are already
      on their way to find the girls," he replied. "This is a very
      dangerous situation, Bobby, and it's important that we all stay
      calm. Please believe me, I will not let them come to harm."

      "What about Professor Logan?" A young voice piped up from the front
      row. Charles shifted to look down on William, the young boy who
      never slept. "He's – he's been in a military prison before. They
      weren't very nice to him."

      Charles was surprised. "Did Logan tell you that?" he asked. He'd
      had no idea that Logan had been forthcoming with any of the children
      about his past.

      William nodded. "Yeah, when I asked him why he had so many
      nightmares. We're not going to leave him there, are we? He'll get
      scared." William's words were echoed by a number of other voices.

      Charles shook his head. "We're not going to leave anybody behind,"
      he replied, "But getting our friends back is only one part of what
      we need to do." He sighed, scanning the room. There were nearly
      forty children at the mansion now. Was he about to ask the
      impossible? "Because of what happened at the mall today, the
      Ministry of Education has decided that they need to do an inspection
      of the school. Now, I know we have always told you that this is a
      safe place to use your powers, but just for this visit, I need each
      and every one of you to be very careful and not use your powers at
      all while the Ministry officials are here."

      Puzzled faces met his. "But why?" asked one student. "You always
      told us that mutants shouldn't have to hide who they are from other

      "Yeah, but sometimes you have to be careful," another student
      answered before Charles could even open his mouth.

      "Well, that's not fair!" A third one exclaimed, and suddenly the
      room filled with noise as the students bickered back and forth with
      each other.

      "Children, please," Charles said, but they took no notice of
      him. "Children." He sighed. "Be quiet!" he finally exclaimed, and
      the room quieted immediately. No one there could ever recall a time
      when Professor Xavier had raised his voice before. They looked at
      him, a little shocked. "I'm sorry," he apologized, "but these are
      very special circumstances. You must do as I tell you, and not ask
      questions. You must not use your powers while the Ministry
      officials are here. You must not tell them that Logan is a teacher
      here. If they ask about him, say that he only stayed for a few
      days, when he dropped Rogue off. If they ask about Rogue, Jubilee
      or Kitty, you must tell them that you didn't know they were
      mutants. You thought they were merely gifted students like
      yourselves. It is very important. Do you understand?"

      "Yes, Professor," meek voices rang out around the room, and Charles
      saw that all the students were nodding back at him. All but one,
      that is. Bobby was glaring at him, and if he'd had the ability to
      freeze people simply with his eyes, Charles was certain he'd be a
      block of ice by now.

      "Then you're dismissed," he told the rest of the room. As he
      expected, Bobby stayed behind as the other children filtered out and
      once the last was gone, the young man strode up to the professor,
      his hands clenched at his side.

      "Your plan sucks," he seethed. Charles said nothing, letting the
      young man speak his piece. "Basically, you're letting the
      government know that Rogue is a mutant. You're selling her out!"

      Charles gazed at him steadily, his eyes full of compassion. "Bobby,
      I'm very sorry," he said quietly. "But at this point, I do not
      believe that Rogue was able to evade capture. If she's been taken
      then they already know that she's a mutant."

      "But we should be protecting her!" Bobby's voice wavered between a
      shout and a wail. "And that's another thing, am I an X-Man or not?
      Because you act like I am, but then when there's trouble, everyone
      else gets sent off, and you leave me here like one of the kids.
      What's up with that?" His face betrayed his emotions, tinged red
      with anger.

      Charles took a moment to consider the boy's comments. He hadn't
      even considered contacting Bobby when he realized something had gone
      wrong at the mall – he'd just operated out of habit, working with
      Storm and Scott and letting them coordinate the team. "You're
      right" he apologized. Bobby looked surprised. "I should have let
      you know. I'm not saying that you would have necessarily gone on
      this mission, but you had the right to be made aware of what was
      happening. I won't do it again."

      "Thanks," Mollified, Bobby sat down. "So… now what do we do?"

      Charles thought about it a moment. "Well, as a matter of fact,
      there is something that I need done, and you may be just the man to
      do it…"


      Kurt took a deep breath, concentrating. He had successfully
      teleported into rooms he couldn't see a few times, back at the
      mansion, but they'd always been places he'd at least seen before,
      which made it easier. This time, however, he had nothing to go on
      but his instincts. He tried to visualize what the inside of the
      warehouse must look like. It was a fairly large building, so he
      guessed it must have a main room of substantial size. Picturing
      other warehouses he had seen, he created the image of a warehouse
      floor in his mind. "Okay, I'm going in," he whispered into the
      microphone he wore.

      "Good luck." Scott's voice came back to him, tinny over the radio.

      Kurt closed his eyes, muttered a quick prayer, and teleported.

      Bamf! He reappeared in the middle of a large room, all right – but
      about six feet off the floor! With a strangled cry, he crashed to
      the ground. Before he had a chance to get to his feet again, he
      found himself face to face with the barrel of an automatic
      weapon. "Get up!" A voice demanded, and Kurt looked up to see two
      soldiers with their guns trained on him. It was the nearer of the
      two that had spoken.

      Kurt nodded, holding his hands up disarmingly. "Lord, help me," he
      intoned in quiet, prayer-like fashion, hoping Scott would

      "What the hell is this?" the soldier exclaimed at nearly the same
      time, ripping the microphone away from Kurt's head. The blue mutant
      blanched. This was not going to be good…

      Just then there was the sound of wrenching metal. "Someone's
      breached the perimeter fence!" Kurt looked up to see a third soldier
      stationed behind a series of video screens. In grainy black and
      white, Kurt could see Scott and Hank hurrying through a hole Scott
      had obviously just blasted through the fence. Then there was a loud
      crashing sound, and one of the exterior walls came tumbling down.
      Kurt scrambled to get out of the way as debris flew all around him.

      "Scott, look out! There are guards…" Kurt's cry of warning was cut
      off as one of the soldiers grabbed him, jamming the barrel of his
      gun against Kurt's head.

      "You move and I'll kill the elf," he growled. Scott, who had
      stormed through the hole he'd created, ready to blast the hell out
      of everything and everyone, stopped dead in his tracks. Hank pulled
      up short behind him.

      "Okay, take it easy," Scott help up his hands. The soldier who held
      Kurt nodded to his compatriots and they trained their weapons on the
      other two mutants.

      "Let's put them in the holding cell, come on," one of them indicated
      the way with a sharp nod. The others agreed.

      "Move," Kurt's captor ordered, tapping his weapon against Kurt's
      temple for emphasis. Kurt started walking, trying to determine
      whether he could teleport fast enough to disarm both the guard
      watching Scott and the one watching Hank before either of them could
      pull off a shot. He'd done such a thing in the White House, when
      Stryker had been controlling him, but he'd never pulled something
      like that off on his own power. He prayed silently for a sign.

      Just then, screeching tires announced the arrival of a vehicle, and
      seconds later, an army jeep careened into the building through the
      hole Scott had created. Jubilee jumped out of the passenger side,
      sparks flying from her fingers.

      "Argh!" The man holding Scott cried out, throwing his hands up to
      his face. Jubilee had skidded to a stop only a few feet away from
      him, and he'd been blinded. Kurt saw his opportunity and took it.
      He teleported quickly to Hank's side, knocking the soldier guarding
      the blue man aside with his tail, even as Scott raised his hand to
      his visor and took out the man that had been guarding Kurt. The
      blinded soldier had already been dispatched by Jubilee, who'd
      followed her pyrotechnic display with a well-aimed kick to the

      "Ta-da!" she announced, grinning, when it was all over. Kurt
      grinned back.

      Scott scowled. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" he
      shouted. Jubilee's smile disappeared and she took a step back,
      uncertain. "You could have been killed! This is a dangerous

      "It was my idea," Rogue had stepped out of the jeep and now stood
      beside her friend. "I couldn't just drive home and hide like a
      little girl, when Logan needs my help."

      "That's precisely what you should have done," Scott countered, still
      flushed with anger. "When you act impulsively like that, you're a
      liability to the whole team." Jubilee's lip was trembling now, and
      even Rogue looked a little uncertain. They'd never seen Scott so
      mad before.

      "Why don't you take a walk, my friend," Kurt suggested, coming over
      to diffuse the situation. "It is done now. Besides, while it may
      have been impulsive, Ms. Jubilee here may have saved our lives."

      Scott took a deep breath. "You're right. I'm sorry." He nodded
      his head at the two girls and walked away. Hank drifted over to his

      Kurt turned his attention back to the two girls. "It's all right.
      You did well. Scott's just worried about Logan. It's his job to
      protect all of us; he's the team leader." Rogue nodded in
      understanding, and Jubilee offered him a little smile.

      "Hey, what's that?" she asked, looking over his shoulder. He turned
      to see that she was pointing at the video screens the third guard
      had been watching.

      "It's a security station," he replied.

      Jubilee tsked at him. "I know that, doofus," she replied. "I mean,
      what's that?" She jabbed one finger at the screen furthest on the
      left. "I wonder where that tunnel goes."

      Kurt regarded it thoughtfully. "Indeed," he replied. "Scott?
      Hank?" The other two men came and joined them, and soon all five of
      them were contemplating the image.

      "I don't know," Hank finally said. "It's just a tunnel."

      Scott nodded absently. "Yes. But here we have a warehouse – where
      we know Rogue and Jubilee taken – that seems to have very little in
      it, aside from this station and a holding cell. So where is the
      military base that these guys operate out of?"

      "At the end of that tunnel," Kurt replied, catching on.

      "Exactly. How much do you want to bet that wherever that goes is
      where they've got Logan?"

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