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FF: The Splintering Touch (4/7)

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  • Melissa Flores
    TITLE: The Splintering Touch AUTHOR : Melissa Flores EMAIL: mistiec_flores@yahoo.com GENRE: X-Men: The Movie, Wolverine/Rogue, ensemble RATING: R for violence
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 1, 2000
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      TITLE: The Splintering Touch
      AUTHOR : Melissa Flores
      EMAIL: mistiec_flores@...
      GENRE: X-Men: The Movie, Wolverine/Rogue, ensemble
      RATING: R for violence and language, and sensuality
      SUMMARY: While Rogue attempts to bring her desperation under control,
      the X-men launch a rescue mission to find their missing colleague,
      unaware that another group is looking for her as well, with very
      different intentions in mind.


      CHAPTER FOUR ~ IN WHICH THE GAMES BEGIN

      She wasn't sure when she had fallen asleep.

      All she knew was that seconds after he had welcomed her to his world,
      she had suddenly lost track of time, and before she knew it she had
      been carried gently in his arms into what looked like a suite.

      Her eyes had jolted open, the feel of his rough cheek against her own
      as he set her gently down. With a gasp, she felt her heartbeat suddenly
      race, and she pushed away from him.

      He smirked slightly, and then motioned with his hand. "Your room."

      It looked exactly how she expected it to look.

      She wasn't even sure she was expecting her suite to look like it did
      until she walked in, and the canopy covered bed met hers. The wine and
      fruit at the table made her own stomach betray her, as the smells of
      the exotic foods invaded her nose.

      She paused, breathing in, turned around the large room, and then froze
      when she felt the soft hands at her bare shoulders.

      Her breath sucked in and she immediately moved away, but Augustus
      merely chuckled, a low, velvety rumble that seemed to accompany the
      smile perfectly.

      "Don't be afraid, dear girl," he whispered, coming forward, sliding his
      arms gently around her waist. "You don't have to be afraid here."

      "Funny, Ah seem to think the exactly opposite," she whispered heatedly,
      feeling the anger that must have been Logan's flare up inside of her at
      the exactly same time her body shuddered from the heated caress. With a
      swallow, she grabbed his arms and pushed them roughly away. "Keep your
      hands off of me."

      He raised an eyebrow, and his beautiful violet eyes bore into her for
      one long minute. She found herself looking away before he did.

      "You want to learn, don't you?"

      "Yes," she whispered, her jaw clenching. "But that isn't an excuse to
      be pawin' me anytahm you like. We're not-"

      "Oh, but we are." He again came forward, but he didn't touch her,
      merely sat down next to her, his weight making the bed creak. "Can't
      you see that Rogue?"

      "No."

      He was quiet for a minute, and then smiled gently. "It's him, isn't it?
      In your head? He's making you feel guilty."

      She closed her eyes, and then they opened with a flash.

      Two seconds later his head was whipped with a powerful slap that had
      come from her own stinging hand.

      There was absolute silence, that she filled in willingly, "Don't you
      dare mention him. Ah don�t' know how you know about him, but you keep
      him out of this."

      He reached up, gently rubbing at the spot she marked, and then put his
      hand down, craning his neck slightly. "I would like nothing more. But
      it's not me that's keeping him here. It's you."

      "Get out."

      He paused for a second, and then suddenly chuckled, the laughter
      bursting from his tight frame with a shake of his head, as if he was in
      on some private joke that only he knew. He got up, buttoning his suit,
      and then turned, planting a soft kiss on her temple.

      At the brush of the lips against her head, she found herself closing
      her eyes, leaning against it slightly, and then the anger flared up and
      her eyes snapped open and she narrowed her eyes, sliding away from him.

      He was quiet for a moment, and then just shook his head.

      "No one's done that for you, have they?"

      She didn't answer, and he smiled softly.

      "I'm your first." With a cluck he walked towards the doorway, pausing
      once to look at her slightly. "Oh, my dear girl. We'll remedy that
      confusion right out of you. There's only so much room in that head of
      yours. We'll see if we can't free some of that up."

      Her eyes widened as he shut the door behind her, and suddenly the
      tension that had been building in her body, the conflicted anger, the
      desire, and dammit... the LUST suddenly spilt from her as she grabbed a
      glass from the table and threw it, forcing it to shatter against the
      door.

      God, Logan....

      She found herself gasping for breath, sagging against the bed, her
      fingers reaching up to slide across her forehead. Where he had kissed
      her. Where he had touched her.

      Her heart belonged to Logan. She knew that. He knew that.

      But what the hell was her destiny? Why was she so damn confused? Why
      had she let herself get talked into this?

      Why the hell was she so damn scared?

      Marie, suddenly feeling so young, and so old, and so lonely, and so
      incredibly confused, pulled her legs up on the huge bed, and let her
      cheek rub against the satin sheet.

      It smelled sweet. It smell of lilacs and spice and cologne.

      It didn't smell like Logan.

      And she hated it.

      But her hand still slid across the satin, and her body still felt the
      shudders of the touches of Augustus.

      Oh God. She was so scared.

      ~*~

      It had been an extremely tiring week. He was exhausted. The lenses hid
      the haggard eyes, but the tight line of his mouth, the hard jaw, gave
      away the simple frustration in his face.

      And he was stuck with research. Fearless leader, who was so pivotal in
      all the missions, when his friends were gone and his teammate missing,
      was for the moment useful in only one purpose.

      Research.

      Scott had never been a computer person. He wasn't sure why. It wasn't
      that he was scared of the machines, that wasn't it in the slightest,
      and by average standards he was really quite good at ... doing whatever
      needed to be done.

      But for what he considered an art on these dreaded things, and doing
      it fast, he needed someone a bit more experienced... and a bit more
      reliable.

      Well... he'd settle for experienced.

      The door resounded with a loud knock, and he turned, calling in the
      younger man.

      Bobby poked his head in, and Scott took the moment to study his face
      lightly.

      The young face was drawn, and for a moment, Scott was astounded with
      the realization that while Rogue was considered as much a teammate, a
      colleague as the old timers Jean, Ororo and himself, these adults,
      Kitty, Jubilee, Bobby... were still thought of as children. Teenagers.

      So no one thought twice about them, about what they meant to Rogue, her
      old classmates, her old friends her first friends.... When she had
      disappeared about all they had cared about were themselves. How Logan
      felt, how Jean felt... how Scott felt.

      And these younger X-men, who were every part as much of the team as
      they were, had been her friends first, had taken her in and made her
      feel wanted and loved, had been forced to suffer in silence, not even
      told what had happened.

      And from the look on Bobby's face, the lack of knowledge was slowly
      searing them apart.

      "Bobb-... Iceman." he corrected himself, calling him by his given
      codename. "How are you?"

      Bobby gave him an incredulous look. "With all due respect sir, how do
      you think I am?"

      Scott could only imagine.

      Dammit Scott. Some leader you turned out to be.

      He took in a breath, and nodded slightly, sitting up and crossing his
      arms. "I'm sorry, Bobby. I know we've been less than ... informative
      about what's been going on."

      "Considerably, sir."

      He sucked in his breath, closing his eyes, and then focusing them on
      Bobby's angry face. "You want it straight, Bobby? Rogue's gone. You
      know that. She almost killed Logan. You know that. We can't find her.
      You must have guessed that. Logan took off after her."

      Bobby's eyes widened, and he stiffened.

      Scott narrowed his eyes. "You didn't know that." He pursed his lips,
      and continued. "All right. Yes, Iceman. Logan is gone. Along with Remy
      Lebeau and Storm."

      "What? Miss Munro-... Storm?!"

      "Yes. As in Absent Without Leave." Scott gave a soft sigh of
      frustration, reaching up to rub at his eyes gently. "Luckily, Jean had
      managed to tweak Cerebro along with Xavier to communicate
      telepathically with Storm, and she has agreed to help us. We're going
      to do this a little differently than we've ever done. And we need
      you're help."

      Bobby was silent, swallowing once, before sinking down into a chair.
      "To find Rogue?"

      "Yes. We're going to find her." Scott took a breath and then turned to
      the screen sitting before him. "You're a whiz at these, if I recall."

      Bobby nodded absently, his eyes darkened. "Rogue's in trouble, isn't
      she?"

      Scott froze, his fingers on the keyboard. His shoulders were bunched,
      so tight he didn't even realize it until he let a long breath out,
      relaxing them slowly.

      "Yes," he answered after a minute. "We really think so." He swallowed,
      and then turned to Bobby. "But she won't be for long. Because we're
      going to find her. Right?"

      Bobby's eyes bore into his, and there was a clarity in Rogue's best
      friend's face that made Scott almost smile.

      "Yeah. Yeah we are. Lemme at this." he shoved Scott gently away from
      the monitor, forcing the X-men leader to get up, move around him as
      Bobby's fingers began to fly rapidly over the keys.

      "So what am I doing exactly?"

      "News archives," Scott answered immediately, the screen images
      flickering against his lenses. "Anything about someone that would have
      some sorta of characteristics like Rogue. Incidents, that sorta thing."


      "Got it." Bobby's fingers tapped on the keys rapidly, his iris' moving
      down the screen, as he searched the browser. "Mutant, comas,.... let's
      see if we can narrow it down." Scott placed a hand on his shoulder as
      Bobby grinned when suddenly the articles on the screen were narrowed
      down to three hits.

      "Let's see what we got," Scott breathed.

      Bobby clicked on a link, and then read outloud. "Old town....
      Midwest... coma.... mutant..."

      "And a bar." Scott narrowed his eyes. "Sounds like Rogue."

      "Rogue hates to go bar hopping."

      "She's got Logan in her head, remember?"

      "Oh, right." Bobby pursed his lips and kept typing. "Let's see what
      else we can find."

      ~*~

      It was amazing, how different she felt.

      She swallowed, staring at herself in the mirror, her hands gently
      running up her naked arms, to her naked shoulders, meeting the thin
      spaghetti strap that seemed barely there. Her breath came out lightly,
      fogging the mirror and she reached forward, wiping it off, feeling the
      condensation on her fingertips as she turned to the side, her hands now
      running down the shimmering fabric.

      It was a gorgeous gown, she had never seen anything like it. The straps
      slid down into a deep vline, the top of her cleavage peeking through in
      such a way that she had never allowed before. The dress slid down,
      caressing her skin with it's fine touch like a lover, clinging to every
      curve, draping down her hips, slitting open to reveal a large portion
      of her thigh.

      The hair had been done up, twisted up into an intricate knot that left
      her neckline completely bare. The woman who had done it had worn
      gloves, but more for Rogue's benefit than her own, since Rogue didn't
      want to change touching anyone at all.

      But it hadn't bothered the servant, who tended her and then adorned
      her, and now, an hour and a half later, she stood in front of the
      mirror waiting, and completely astounded at the stranger that looked
      back.

      She looked like a woman. A sexy, beautiful woman, the streak of white
      gently entangled with the ringlets in her hair, cascading down over the
      nape of her neck, the diamonds that hung from her neck and wrists and
      ears sparkling.

      She took in a shaky breath, but was unable to tear her eyes from the
      form before her. There was so much skin... and it was allowed... it was
      encouraged.

      It was confusing and frightening, and terribly exhilarating. For a
      brief moment, she closed her eyes, imagining what Logan would do if he
      saw he like this. Dressed in something equally stunning perhaps? A dark
      suit, his hair slick, dark, and yet still wild as his eyes, those
      beautifully intense, dark eyes that would narrow, and growl at the
      sight of her.

      And he would growl, "Marie" in the way only he could, low and gentle,
      and she would smile, watching his reaction in the mirror as he came up
      behind her, sliding his hands around her waist.

      And she would feel the pressure of his hands, and the fact that her
      skin was lethal would be forgotten as she would lean against his well
      muscled chest, breathing in his scent, the glorious masculine scent
      that permeated through her, as she would sigh, hands gently sliding up
      to tangle her fingers in the nape of his neck.

      And he would hold her, just like that, whispering soft words of love
      into her ear, murmuring about affection and beautiful imagery, and
      growls that sent her body shaking and spread a heat from her toes to
      her body.

      Her eyes would close, sighing. And in her awareness of his, she would
      barely feel the pressure of his lips on her hair, but would arch
      against him when his hot lips would descend just below her ear, his
      tongue flicking out ever so gently, the moistness suddenly turning cold
      as the air hit the spot as he moved below.

      And she could feel it, could feel the arms, could almost taste the
      embrace as the lips continued to movie, to her shoulder, making her
      moan. Her fingers slid through the strands, and they were silkier than
      she remembered.

      They slid down the surprisingly smooth neck, down the lean arms, to the
      fingers, where he held her, and they were long, thin, strong, but...
      not Logan's.

      Her eyes snapped open, shocked out of her daydream, finding her
      reflection was not alone.

      Her chest suddenly heaved, but the arms tightened around her, as
      Augustus gently placed one more gentle kiss on her bare shoulder,
      before straightening up.

      "That was quite a reception."

      And her body shuddered, and the heat spread and she swallowed down her
      fury, disgust filling her as she realized she WANTED him...

      GOD.... she wanted him.

      Rogue turned in his arms, the confliction in her face well masked as
      she smiled, sliding her hand down, lower, below the belt, watching
      Augustus' smirk widen into a dark, sexy smile.

      But his hand was quick, stopping her seconds before she hit him where
      she wanted most to hurt.

      "Now, now, Rogue. It wasn't as if you pushed me away."

      "Stay. Out. of . Mah. Head," she whispered, her voice barely a growl.
      "I'll kill you."

      "If you had wanted to do that you would have done so by now," he
      whispered, his faced inches from her. She swallowed, felt her heart
      heave, and then looked away, feeling more than hearing him as he
      paused, taking her hands and spreading them out, as if putting her on
      display. "You are perfection, my dear," he whispered admiringly.

      The words melted through her, and Rogue felt the fire begin, sighing
      raggedly, closing her eyes against the words, almost as if in pain.

      When her eyes opened, they were moist, sparkling. "What are you doing
      to me?" she whispered softly.

      And there was a gentle smile that slid across his face as he lifted a
      hand to her cheek, caressing it softly. "Nothing that you don't want,
      Rogue."

      "Ah don't-"

      "You do," he repeated, a bit firmer. "You just don't know it yet." He
      took her hand and pressed his lips firmly against the digits,
      inspecting the bare hand and then reaching into his pocket. "A
      promise," he whispered. The fingers slowly came out of his pocket.
      "Whatever you think of me, whatever you do to me, I will never give up
      on you. On our destiny. We're entwined, my beautiful girl... my
      beautiful woman. You've never quite felt like you've belonged. Neither
      have I. But together, we make sense. We make the most glorious sense in
      the world. We make unity." The finger holding her shaking palm was
      lifted up to her eye level, and Rogue's eyes darkened as she felt the
      cool band of metal slide onto her third finger. Her eyes widened, and
      she was about to jerk away, but he merely shook his head. "It's not
      what you think it is, my dear. It's a promise ring. You and I will
      never be married, but we will be closer than lovers... closer than man
      and woman. That I promise you."

      He released her hand, and then turned, snapping his fingers, while she
      could do nothing but look down at the shining gold band on her finger.

      "Dinner, and then dancing, then?" He smiled, his hands behind his
      waist, as he turned, looking down at her. "And remember, beautiful
      darling. Our time is yours. It's up to you to decide when to feel the
      peace. I cannot force you, I can only prod you. And I promise, I'll do
      my damnedest to make this choice as painless as possible."

      There was something so terribly ominous about the way he said it, she
      felt herself shudder involuntarily.

      When she was a couple years younger, she had had a particularly
      harrowing week. She had spent the week aimless, in her room in
      solitude, sullen and snappy and generally, well... a bitch. She had
      pushed even her closest friends away and when she was finally summoned
      to Xavier she had expected a lecture or at least a brain drain, but he
      had only asked her one simple question.

      "What do you want?"

      She had been shocked by the question, had whispered angrily that she
      had no idea what the hell he was talking about, but he had repeated
      himself so distinctly.

      "Rogue, What do you WANT?"

      She had been quiet, knocked out of her answer, and the first thing that
      had come to her mind was the first thing she had said, "I want to
      belong. I just want to belong."

      That was the day she had become an X-men, and the longing had
      alleviated somewhat. The desire had blazed inside of her for something
      more, some more tangible, proof that she really did belong, deep inside
      of her.

      It was what drove her, what made her sane, and here he was offering it
      to her, and GOD, something in her believed it, believed it so strongly.

      And Logan inside of her bristled, called her Marie, told her to hold
      on, and it kept her from going after Augustus, from pressing her skin
      against his and telling him she wanted it so badly.

      It was Logan that made her eyes blaze, as she called out his name,
      "Augustus." When he turned, her chin lifted upwards, her eyes
      narrowed, and the question was hoarsely said. "What do you want?"

      The man's eyes bore into hers, and then a smile that was neither gentle
      nor comforting slid across his elegant features and he answered in a
      calm, tender tone. "Why my dear. I thought you knew. It's quite simple.
      I only want to belong."

      The trembling in her body that had been barely perceptible now slid
      through her in such a torrid rate that she knew he could see it. But
      she didn't care.

      She was suddenly terrified, because she no longer wanted to believe
      him. She completely believed him. This man with eyes of violet and a
      soul that was as dark and mysterious as those orbs, had wormed his way
      into her mind, and she feared, because she knew, that his destiny had
      become entwined with hers.

      And Logan. God Logan. Was he a figment, a piece of her mind that she
      could ignore, WOULD ignore?

      And the memories of his body, of his gruff words of love, of days,
      merely DAYS of knowing him and loving him because of it. Was it truly
      love?

      Marie... the word rang inside of her, pleading to a voice of reason, of
      memory, of longing. Was she searching for what she already had?

      How could she be so sure when the voices inside her were ripping her
      apart?

      Oh, God.

      She felt her eyes tear and suddenly the man who was causing the
      confliction had her in his arms and pulled her close, and she was
      disgusted and delighted and lustful and self despising because her arms
      wrapped around him and she began to sob.

      And he held her close, and his fingers slid across her skin, sending
      shivers of ecstasy through her, and her face buried into his suit and
      she cried for a future she did not know, for a past she could not face.


      And Logan screamed inside her, and her heart was torn, as Marie reached
      blindly for one conclusion, one resolve that she vowed never to break,
      even as Augustus held her, even as he pulled her closer.

      She would find his secrets, she would avoid his destiny. She would not
      give in.

      She had to hold on to Logan, to her one semblance of sanity, because in
      this man's arms were chaos.

      And her destiny be damned, handling such a bitter seduction would kill
      her mind, somehow she felt it.

      Because it had already killed her heart.

      ~*~

      "I still don't get it, Storm," Logan mumbled, looking over to the woman
      as the bikes slid to a stop. "This place seems as bad as any to start
      looking for her."

      Ororo waited a moment, knowing she didn't need the warm of Gambit's
      back, felt herself pressing against it anyways, sitting on his bike,
      her thigh's pressed against his. This was really getting completely out
      of hand. A crush was one thing. Developing actual feelings was
      something else completely.

      Storm had known from the beginning she was attracted to the Cajun
      thief. But she had pushed it away, as she always had, knowing she was
      never one to involve herself in trivial flirtations, a past time he had
      seemed to enjoy. She had brushed off his advances immediately, knowing
      she was no different than the others, and he had taken the rebuff with
      a smile and a kiss on the hand. He wasn't devastated, particularly
      because at that moment, a mutant with a streak of white in her hair and
      a Southern drawl had sat down next to them and completely captured his
      fascination and his heart.

      It was never Rogue's fault that Ororo felt a slight clamoring inside of
      her when she saw Gambit's attraction deepen into something more. It was
      what most of the young men on the campus did sooner or later. Ororo had
      remembered a particularly memorable movie Scott had picked, watched as
      a group bonding exercise by the X-men, a raunchy comedy that, despite
      her better judgment, she had enjoyed, entitled, "There's Something
      About Mary."

      Watching Gambit, Bobby, and a few other not as serious crushes vie for
      the "Tragic" Marie's attentions had made her think of a sequel of
      something akin to "There's Something About Marie."

      And Storm had shaken her head, smiled, and continued her life.

      But right here, with her arms around his waist and his cologne sliding
      into her nose, her face half buried in his trench coat, she had to
      wonder if there was something else to these irritating emotions.

      And God, what a time to be thinking about them.

      She sucked in her breath, anger at herself sliding through her, making
      her eyes cloud slightly and the skies above her darken and she swung
      her legs over the bike, getting off and away from her contact with the
      disconcerting thief.

      "Believe me, Logan. She passed through here. The trucker I spoke to was
      sure of it." She was getting quite good at the lying, falling back into
      the pattern that had allowed her to survive when she was taken from her
      village so long ago. It was a lie, blatantly. Jean had contacted her,
      and her news, the article about a situation in the bar involving one
      mutant and a young man named Dakota, had tipped them off, since they
      had been heading this way already.

      Even now she wasn't sure what would happen if the two renegades
      discovered that she was a double agent.

      Gambit merely shrugged, turning off the ignition and looking over the
      small town. "Ain't much," he said indifferently. "But it's not like we
      had a plan before dis, beastie."

      Logan narrowed an eyebrow and said nothing, turning his head away.

      The urge to panic, to claw and to hurt was running so rampant within
      him, and for that, he was thankful for Storm's presence. Had it not
      been for her calming state of mind, Gambit and he would have most
      likely gone completely crazy at the now abandoned building where Rogue
      was last seen.

      He could feel her, and he was never sure how he could, but deep in his
      mind he kept trying to will her to hold on, to resist...

      Against what, he never knew, but somehow there was a feeling that Rogue
      was in deep trouble, a battle of some sorts, maybe her mind, hell he
      didn't know.

      But she was losing control, and fast.

      "I'm going to the hospital to check on Dakota," Storm announced,
      turning around and nodding to what seemed to be the only bar in town.

      "Yeah, we got the bar," he grumbled, huddling further into his jacket
      and sliding off the motorcycle, motioning to his trench coated
      companion. "Meet ya back there if you got anything."

      "Good. Buy me a beer, please," she threw over the back of her shoulder.
      "I think I'll need one. Oh and boys?" she turned, gazing at them both
      with a tolerant expression. "Try not to tear the place up too bad."

      Logan rolled his eyes, but caught Gambit grinning. "What're you
      grinning so idiotic like for?" Logan snapped, marching through the snow
      to the opening.

      "That's one hell of woman, that Storm." There was a small, amused
      chuckle, that Remy let out, before he added. "She's just a bundle of
      surprises."

      Oh like, Logan gave a damn. He sucked in his breath in an effort to
      keep his irritation in check, using his energy to swing open the doors.


      Damn. He felt like he had just stepped into one of those country
      western saloons.

      The play, laughter, chatter, and drinking immediately stopped, as all
      eyes settled on them. Gambit came up behind him, eyeing the scene, and
      whistled low under his breath. "Tough crowd, eh?"

      Logan didn't given any of the peeping idiots a second glance. "Come
      on," he grumbled, walking straight to where the bartender was standing
      frozen, open mouthed.

      Logan leaned against the bar, nodding. "Hey there. We're lookin' for a
      girl-"

      "You're mutants, aren�t you?" The word was spitted out with so much
      contempt that for a second all Logan could do was stare at him. He shot
      a glance to Gambit but the red-eyed man only pursed his lips, leaning
      against the bar with one arm and sizing up the barrel chested owner.

      "Dis is true," he responded. "Any particular reason you ask?"

      "We don't cater to no mutants," the bartender said, his eyes narrowing.


      "You don't cater to no mutants," Logan mimicked, glaring at the man.
      "Look, as much fun as this kinda ignorant trash talking is, I could
      give a rats ass if you cater to me or not. All I need is information."

      "And all dey want is a peep show," Gambit commented to the eight burly
      men that surrounded him. He smiled, tossing aside a lapel of his coat.
      "Hellooo. Cards?"

      "Gambit, not now," Logan growled, and without warning he reached
      forward, grabbing the bartender from over the counter and pulling him
      roughly to his side. People shrieked, the men jumped, but Gambit only
      grinned as he kept his gaze on the eight that surrounded them, letting
      Logan do his work on the bartender.

      "Now you listen to me, you ignorant hick," Logan whispered fiercely. "I
      promised a real good friend of mine I wouldn't tear your place apart,
      so I'm going to warn you real nice. I'm looking for my girl. I'm going
      to FIND my girl. Now..." he raised a fist and a claw slid out, making
      the bartender's eyes suddenly bug out and a grown man appear to cry.

      "I wouldn't be reachin' for that phone, Cherie," Gambit said to a woman
      with a smile and a wink. "Let's keep dis nice and civil, no?"

      "You call this civil?" the bartender croaked, struggling in Logan's
      grasp.

      "It's as civil as I'm going to get," Logan growled, eyes narrowing.
      "Now. I'm looking for a girl, medium height. Gorgeous. Streak of white
      in her hair, and a Southern accent. Have you seen her?"

      "I've seen her," a voice piped up, and a balding man with a beer belly.
      He looked ready to soil his underwear. "She came in here 'bout two and
      a half weeks ago."

      "Know where she went to?" Gambit asked, turning his gaze to the man.

      "No. Not at all."

      "You sure?" Gambit indicated to the bartender, who still seemed to have
      Logan's claw affixed to his throat.

      "Yeah! She just put our friend in that coma and left! I swear!"

      Logan and Gambit exchanged glances, and Logan took a deep breath
      pulling away from the man, the claw retreating. "Sorry for the nerves,"
      he grumbled, stepping back, patting him awkwardly on the shoulder. He
      turned his head and faced Gambit. "Come on, let's find Ororo and get
      out of here. At least we're on the right trail."

      "You're wasting your time," called out another person. "I'm betting the
      Feds already got her. One of them agents came in here last week."

      Logan froze, turning back. "What?"

      "Fella with purple eyes," he commented, shuddering slightly. "Creepy
      lookin'."

      "Name?" Gambit demanded.

      "Don't remember his name. One of them Roman names. Ceaser or Brutus or
      somethin'."

      Logan swallowed, and reached into his pocket, pulling out a wad of
      bills. "Thanks, pal. I owe you one." He tossed the wad into the man's
      hands, and fingering the bills, the man ignored the comments about
      "mutie money" and simply beamed.

      "Any time."

      Logan nodded to Gambit, and they both turned, glaring at the eight men
      who stood in front of them.

      "No one roughs up Harry, like that."

      Logan raised an eyebrow. Damn he was itching for a good fight. He
      really wanted to just pound into a guy. Eight didn't seem to be enough.
      But there was no time.

      He needed to save that energy for the lashing he was going to give
      Marie once he found out where she was.

      "Listen, Dopey," he began. "I don't have time for this-"

      The guy leaned forward and pushed him. Actually PUSHED HIM.

      Gambit seemed amused by it. "Hey, Dopey. You got a fuckin' death wish?"


      He was immediately given the same treatment.

      Harry, the bartender, looked incredibly smug as the eight men closed in
      on the two. "I hope that mutant bitch fries."

      The room descended into utter silence then. Logan and Gambit suddenly
      grabbed the man who had been doing the pushing and with a strength that
      shocked everyone, sent him careening into a wall.

      Then their attention was focused on the bartender. The look in their
      faces made his eyes bug out, and step back.

      "Now the little slurs about muties I could take. The hickness of this
      place I could take. The little threatening remarks? I can take."
      Logan's eyes narrowed, and his voice was a dangerous growl when he
      spoke. "But NO ONE says a word about my Marie."

      Gambit's voice was just as hard as he stepped up next to Logan, and
      tossed a card in the air. "Hey bartender. Catch."

      ~*~

      She stepped out of the small hospital, her head shaking as she walked
      down the snowy street to the bar.

      The nurse had liked to talk, and despite the little hushed, "mutant"
      word that Storm had to bite her lip from responding too, she had
      actually seemed to help.

      It didn't seem to matter that Storm was a mutant, because she obviously
      wasn't one of "those kind", and since Storm hadn't said a word, except
      a little fib about coming to try and keep other mutants from hurting
      men like Dakota (which again, was a half truth. Those things were damn
      handy) the nurse had filled her in.

      She had been at the bar when things had taken place, and her
      description of what happened, served only to make Storm more frightened
      for her friend than ever. Rogue was in very bad shape to deliberately
      harm a human.

      And even more disturbing was the mystery man, "Auggie", the lady had
      called him, who had come in spouting Bibles and mutant end of days
      prophecies and had apparently the most striking eyes she had ever seen.
      "Handsome too," she had said. "It wasn't for the fact I damn near
      fainted when he almost looked at me, I would have asked him to buy me a
      beer."

      And he was looking for Rogue.

      She bit her lip, for some reason something about the violet eyes
      striking some chord deep with in her haze. Where had she seen violet
      eyes before?

      Shaking her head, she looked at the bar, quiet, and sighed, thanking
      the higher powers for Logan and Gambit's self control.

      She opened the door, fully prepared to congratulate her men when her
      eyes widened and her mouth clamped.

      It appeared, that a tornado had hit the room.

      Tables had been over turned, a very scared group of people were huddled
      into a corner amidst bottles of broken glass and chairs, and there were
      what appeared to be about... eight or so men in various states of pain
      on the floor.

      A heavyset man was hanging by his underwear from a pair of antlers on
      the wall, and right smack in the middle of all of this, Logan and
      Gambit sat calmly at the one table that had not been overturned,
      drinking a beer.

      Gambit smiled at her, raising his glass. Logan just shrugged.

      Resignation filled her, and all she could do was place her hands on her
      hip and drolly reply, "Well. This isn't going to be good for
      mutant/human relations." Her eyes narrowed, and she thumbed towards the
      door. "Let's go."

      Gambit looked slightly confused. "No lecture, Goddess?"

      She only rolled her eyes. Logan ambled up, and Gambit followed as Storm
      walked to the man hanging from the antlers. "That looks uncomfortable."

      "LOOKS?! I've got a wedgie the size of freaking Canada?"

      Ororo raised an eyebrow. "That man who was in here before. What was his
      name?"

      "I don't remember-"

      "Then try," she interrupted. "And we'll let you down. Come on. It was
      Auggie- something or other."

      "Augustus?" Gambit queried, coming up behind her.

      She shot him a surprised look.

      "Greek, Goddess," he responded. "Roman emperor. Name was Augustus."

      The bartender bobbed his head up and down. "That's it."

      "You sure?"

      "Yes. Let me down."

      She quirked an eyebrow to Logan, who rolled his eyes, but did as she
      bid. Sliding one claw out, he sliced through the antlers, making the
      bartender crash to the ground.

      "We'll send a check for the damage," she said, walking away, the two
      men behind her. She heard a muttering about "mutant bitches all being
      the same", and suddenly there was another crash, and a swear. She
      winced, and then turned to see Gambit holding the man up against the
      wall.

      "You don't talk to de Goddess like that, EVER," he growled.

      "Remy," she sighed, coming forward, pulling him gently away, taking his
      hand.

      She was surprised when he didn't let go. "I can fight my own fights,"
      she informed him.

      His red eyes were still dark in anger, but he swallowed it down,
      squeezing the palm gently, bringing it up to his lips and kissing them
      absently before retreating back to Logan.

      Storm turned to the shaking man, and slowly shook her head. "You really
      should know when to shut up," she informed him quietly, as her eyes
      turned a milky white, and thunder could be heard cracking so near to
      the bar that people jumped. A huge gust of wind burst into the room and
      Storm guided it to the center, letting it wreak havoc.

      When the small tornado left, the bartender was without pants at all.

      She smiled, and nodded. "Let's go."

      Logan and Gambit had watched the whole scene open mouthed, and as she
      passed Remy, she didn't bother to dwell on the look he gave her, the
      darkening orbs smiling at her as if he was seeing her differently.

      There wasn't time for that. Now she had a name. And it was a race
      against the clock.

      ~*~



      =====
      Melissa Flores aka Misty
      ~*~*~
      Reality is Nothing But a Collective Hunch -
      http://www.geocities.com/mistiec_reality/

      Founding member of PETS:
      People for the Ethical Treatment of Scott

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