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FIC: Capture and Release, PG-13, Chapter 5

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  • crisiskris
    Note: for intro and info, please see Teaser *** Scott and Hank led the last of the prisoners back to the mouth of the tunnel, where they found Rogue and
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 2, 2004
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      Note: for intro and info, please see Teaser


      Scott and Hank led the last of the prisoners back to the mouth of
      the tunnel, where they found Rogue and Jubilee waiting for them. "I
      ran into Mr. Wagner and Rogue in the hallway," Jubilee
      explained. "He told us to stay here to wait for you. He's bringing
      all the people we found back to the other building."

      "Good, my thoughts exactly," Scott replied. "Hank, you and the
      girls take the rest of these folks back as well. I'm going back to
      help Logan."

      "Right." Hank gestured at Rogue and Jubilee to lead the way,
      following once all the prisoners were in the tunnel. He paused at
      the entrance and looked back. "Scott," he said quietly, "be


      "Put him down," Logan growled, his eyes fixed on Bobby's thrashing
      form. The young man was running out of air and Logan knew it.

      "Make me," Sabretooth replied. He held Bobby between himself and
      Logan like a shield. No matter which way Logan tried to approach
      the other man, Bobby ended up in the way.

      Behind him, Kitty was crying softly, still kneeling on the ground
      where she had fallen. "I'm so sorry," she whispered. "I didn't
      realize the wall was so thick. It took so much effort to get us
      both through…oh god, we were only trying to help…"

      The sound of her weeping coupled with Bobby gasping for breath
      overpowered Logan's hearing. He could smell their fear; he could
      practically taste it. These were children in his care and they were
      terrified and in danger, and he had to do something to protect
      them. Unbidden, Logan felt a deep rage stirring in his belly. "Put
      him down," he reiterated through clenched teeth. Sabretooth only

      With a roar, Wolverine launched himself at the other man, ducking
      low at the last instant and swiping between Bobby's dangling legs at
      Sabretooth's knees. The large man went down with a roar, dropping
      Bobby in the process. Wolverine picked the boy up by his jacket and
      threw him backwards towards Kitty. His claws were already red with
      his enemy's blood. Cold-eyed, he advanced on the wounded man.
      Sabretooth was struggling to get to his feet; his left knee torn to
      shreds and unable to support his weight. Snarling, the big cat
      lashed out at Wolverine, drawing blood of his own. The smaller man
      ignored it; he could barely even feel the pain. Letting loose
      another roar, he leapt upon Sabretooth, his claws bearing down with
      impossible speed, again and again and again…

      At last, Logan sat back, panting. He gradually became aware of his
      surroundings, hearing once more Kitty's soft cries. He stumbled
      back from the body of his enemy, now limp and lifeless, and sat down
      hard on the cement floor. Bringing his hands in front of him, he
      stared at the silver claws, dripping with blood, that protruded from
      his hands.

      "Is – is he dead?" Bobby asked, voice quavering. This was the
      second time that Bobby had seen Logan in full rage mode. When
      Stryker's soldiers had attacked the school, he'd been petrified of
      Logan's reaction, despite the fact that the older man had saved his
      life. It wasn't any easier to accept this time around.

      Logan's head snapped back at the sound of the younger man's voice.
      He stared soullessly at the two teens for a moment before his eyes
      showed any hint that he'd understood what Bobby was asking. Moving
      in slow motion, he retracted his claws and stood up, leaning over
      the body.

      Well, leaning over what was left of the body. Sabretooth was little
      more than a mass of blood and fur now, hacked to pieces, practically
      unrecognizable. Logan used his body to shield the children from the
      sight. "Yeah," he replied in a low voice. "He's dead." He turned,
      still careful to stay between the kids and the dead man. "Let's
      go." He ushered Kitty and Bobby out before him.

      In the doorway, he paused and took one last glance
      back. `Sabretooth isn't getting up from this fight', he thought
      grimly. For a moment, he contemplated thinking about the
      implications of that – the knowledge that Sabretooth had taken to
      his death – but it was too much. Grimacing, he turned away for


      Scott caught up to them as they rounded a corner. "Is everything
      all right?" he asked, a bit breathless.

      "It's fine," Logan replied shortly, not even slowing down. "Where's

      "Hank, Rogue, and Jubilee took the last of the prisoners down –
      there's a tunnel that connects to another building. It's secure."

      "You found Rogue and Jubilee?" Logan sounded relieved.

      "Well… more like they found us. Long story. What are Kitty and
      Bobby doing here?"

      "I don't know. Why don't you ask them?" Without a backward glance,
      Logan stalked off in the direction Scott had indicated. Kitty and
      Bobby trailed in his wake.

      "Hold it." Scott's voice brooked no argument. "What the hell
      happened here? What are you doing here?" Kitty looked at the
      floor, her face pale, and refused to speak. "That isn't a
      rhetorical question," Scott continued angrily.

      Finally Bobby spoke up. "We came to help. We came to find Rogue."

      "You're trying to tell me that Professor Xavier just let you come
      out here?"

      "The Professor thinks I'm driving Kitty to Boston." Bobby shrugged
      at Scott's bewildered look. "Apparently there's some investigation
      by the Ministry of Education because of the big scene at the mall."
      He gestured vaguely at the girl beside him. "People saw Kitty walk
      through walls, so she has to hide at the church where Mr. Wagner
      used to live until it's all figured out. Rogue, Jubilee and Logan
      have to go, too."

      Scott stared at Bobby wordlessly, his mind racing. Something had
      obviously happened with Logan and he probably needed to get back to
      the mansion, where he would be safe. And these people needed help.
      But if the school was under investigation, it was the last place a
      man with laser eyes, a furry blue doctor and a teleporter with a
      tail should be showing up, especially with thirty-odd freed mutant
      prisoners in tow.

      "We're all going to Boston," he decided out loud. "We've got to
      stay as far away from the school as possible. Let's go."


      Charles Xavier suddenly looked up from his tea, his eyes somewhat

      "What is it? Is it Logan?" Storm half stood from her seat, her eyes
      locked on the man across from her.

      "No," he replied and she sat back down disappointed. "It's the
      Ministry of Education. They're on their way."


      Storm smoothed her skirt across her knees nervously. In the thirty-
      five minutes that had passed between the moment Charles had first
      sensed the Ministry investigators on their way and now, she'd been
      caught in a whirlwind of activity. First, she'd had to find a safe
      place for all the students whose mutations couldn't be hidden. Then
      there was the matter of ensuring that the Danger Room, the jet
      hangar and Cerebro were inaccessible to even the most snoopy of
      visitors. Additionally, she'd done a sweep of every room in the
      house to make sure no one had left anything incriminating lying
      about. Finally, she'd lectured the kids one last time on the
      importance of acting normally.

      Now she was sitting in the staff room pretending to read a magazine,
      her cup of coffee sitting untouched on the table beside her. Storm
      sighed. She'd grown up in a small African village, where once her
      power had manifested she'd been worshipped as a goddess. When she
      came to America, she'd been homeless, living as a thief, until
      Charles had found her. Then she became a mutant student, and then
      an X Man. What did she know about being normal? She straightened
      her skirt again. How could she possibly pull this off?

      Storm was so lost in her own fears and worries that the doorbell
      made her jump. Above the sound of her heart suddenly pounding, she
      heard one of the students get up to answer it. Muted voices
      exchanged words in the foyer and William appeared at the staff room
      doorway, saying, "Ms. Munroe? Some people from the Ministry of
      Education are here."

      "Thank you, William," she replied, standing up and smoothing her
      skirt down one last time. She walked toward the main entrance as
      though on automatic. William had sounded so natural. He hadn't
      slipped up and said `they're here' as though the investigators had
      been expected. He hadn't looked frightened or nervous at all.
      Storm, on the other hand, felt as though she might faint or throw up
      at any moment.

      Turning the corner and entering the foyer, she plastered a smile on
      her face. "Good afternoon," she said, injecting her voice with as
      much surprised pleasantness as she could muster. "My name is Ororo
      Munroe. I'm the History teacher here at Xavier's School for the
      Gifted. How can I help you?"


      The first half of the visit seemed to go very well. Storm
      introduced the four solemn Ministry investigators to the students
      who were lounging in the recreation room, sending William off to get
      Professor Xavier while she made small talk about the mansion's
      history and architecture. Charles arrived in record time,
      apologizing that their other teachers were absent. "They've taken a
      few of the older students to Boston for the day," he explained as he
      wheeled in front of the small group, taking over as tour guide. "We
      do try to give our students as many opportunities as possible for
      unique educational experiences."

      Together, Storm and Charles showed the investigators the different
      classrooms, describing the curriculum and assessments they
      used. "Everything is state approved, of course," Storm added as
      they left her classroom, "but we do adapt the assessment tools. We
      give the students a bit more freedom to write essays and the like
      instead of responding to standardized tests. Because we have so few
      students, we find the extra marking isn't a burden to us."

      The students were as good as you please, polite and out of the way.
      One of the investigators wandered away from the group and back to
      recreation room, where she began chatting informally with the
      students gathered there. Charles listened in with his telepathic
      powers and was pleased to hear his children acting like regular
      children – they were happy, chatty and enthusiastic, but not
      abnormal. He listened as one girl, Claire, gushed about going to
      see the movie Troy, and how, yeah, sure it was cool to see because
      of the story but also did you see Brad Pitt? He was wearing
      practically nothing the whole time! The Ministry investigator
      laughed genuinely, and Charles smiled. Beside him, Storm noticed
      his smile and visibly relaxed.

      After the tour and the informal interviews with the students, the
      investigators retired with Charles to his office, where he reviewed
      the school policies and financial situation with them. They emerged
      half an hour later looking generally satisfied. "Professors," one
      of them said, shaking their hands one after the other, "thank you
      for your time. We are greatly impressed with your facilities, and I
      have no doubt that our report will lay to rest any questions that
      the Ministry might have."

      "Thank you very much for coming," Charles responded in kind.

      They were almost clear, with no accidents, and they would have made
      it, too, if Candace, one of the students, hadn't chosen that exact
      moment to come running down the stairs shouting, "Ms. Munroe! Ms.
      Munroe! Ryan said that he was going to put frogs in my gym clothes
      and he meant it…" her rant trailed off into a wordless shriek as the
      girl lost her footing and went tumbling down the stairs.

      Storm felt as though she might shriek also. Her gasp of shock at
      the possibility of a student falling and cracking her head open was
      replaced by a sudden stillness as Candace thrust her arms out to her
      sides, flipped over the in the air and hovered for a moment before
      gracefully floating to the bottom of the stairs. Just as she was
      putting her feet back on the ground, she looked up – and met the
      eyes of one of the investigators. He cocked his head to one side
      and looked pointedly at the six inches of empty space between
      Candace's feet and the ground.

      Storm felt her heart pounding as the moment of stillness ended and
      the reality of what she'd just witnessed came crashing into her. It
      was over, oh God, it was all over. They knew that they were all
      mutants – how could they not, after such a display? They'd shut down
      the school for sure. Beside her, she felt Charles stiffen, and she
      could tell that he was debating whether to use his telepathic powers
      to manipulate the man into believing he hadn't seen what Candace had
      done. Candace herself looked as though she was going to cry. She
      slowly set herself down and stared at her now firmly planted feet.

      Storm looked anxiously up at the man, who had turned from Candace to
      regard the teachers with that same piercing stare. Just as she was
      about to open her mouth to plead, he winked at her.

      "Well," he said, "gifted or not, it sounds like boys will be boys."
      He looked back to Candace and smiled conspiratorially. "You know, I
      bet if Ryan ever found frogs in his gym shorts, he'd never, ever do
      it again." Candace looked up at him in shock, barely able to
      smile. He winked at her, too, then raised a hand in farewell as he
      hurried to catch up with his work colleagues, who had already exited
      the building. Just as he was slipping through the door, his lifted
      hand began to shimmer. It turned a pearly white color for just a
      moment, and then disappeared. It was as though his hand never
      existed. After a moment, it rematerialized, settling back into its
      natural color as he lowered it and left the building, catching up to
      the others as they approached the car.

      Everyone in the room sighed and visibly relaxed. Storm hurried over
      to Candace's side and engulfed her in a big hug, too relieved to
      even think about scolding her. "That was a lucky break!" she
      exclaimed to no one in particular.

      "Does that mean everything's okay, then, Ms. Munroe?" Candace asked
      as the teacher released her.

      "Yes, I think things will be all right," she replied, smiling.

      "So that means that Logan and the others can come home now?"

      Storm's smile faded. She looked over at Charles and saw him shaking
      his head mournfully.

      "No," he replied softly. "It's far too dangerous. We might have
      passed the inspection, but I have no doubt that the Ministry of
      Education will keep us under closer scrutiny than we have had to
      endure before. We simply can't risk them being spotted by anyone."

      A low protest rose around the room, as the students voiced their
      opinion about how unfair the situation was. Storm raised a hand to
      silence them. "I know, I know," she sympathized, "but this is the
      safest way. It's only temporary." That seemed to pacify the
      students, and they gradually drifted off to their own affairs. When
      the room had cleared, Storm looked over at Charles, anxiety obvious
      in her face. "It will be temporary, right? This anti-mutant
      sentiment will die down again?"

      Charles didn't smile reassuringly at her, which was troubling. "I
      hope so," he replied in his soft tone. "I pray it's so."

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