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The Godless Among Them 6/7 [Movieverse fic]

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  • Dyce-Elihara
    (continued directly from last post) * * * ~*Logan!*~ ~Dammit, Prof, I told you not to do that!~ Logan snarled silently. He d jumped when the sudden shout had
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 4, 2000
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      (continued directly from last post)

      * * *

      ~*Logan!*~

      ~Dammit, Prof, I told you not to do that!~ Logan
      snarled silently. He'd jumped when the sudden shout
      had echoed in his skull, and now there was beer in his
      sleeve. ~I'm havin' a day off, remember?~

      ~*I know, Logan, and I'm sorry, but this is an
      emergency.*~ The deep, controlled tone of Xavier's
      thoughts was overlaid with near-frantic worry.
      ~*Rogue and Annie have disappeared.*~

      "WHAT?!" Logan roared. The other occupants of the bar
      gave him startled looks, but he ignored them, throwing
      a handful of bills on the bar and racing out the door.
      ~What the hell happened, Xavier?!~

      ~*We don't know. We're hoping you'll be able to tell
      us something.*~

      Thank god he'd stolen One-Eye's bike again. He'd be
      back in less than half an hour.

      "I'm sorry, Logan, I don't know what happened." Storm
      was waiting on the front steps, wringing her hands
      unhappily. "I looked out at them just a few minutes
      before, and they were just sitting under a tree,
      studying. Then the next thing I knew, John and Robert
      came running in, saying that they'd heard a scream..."

      Logan brushed past her with a curt nod. "Anyone got
      any idea what happened?" he demanded, storming through
      the foyer. "Anyone got one damn idea what happened to
      two kids you people are supposed to be *protecting*?!"

      "Logan..." Jean stopped his rant and his forward
      motion with one slim hand on his shoulder. "The
      Professor and I weren't here, and nobody seems to have
      seen anything. We're hoping that your hypersenses
      might give us some clues."

      They took him to the tree, and he sniffed around a bit
      self-consciously. He felt like a damn bloodhound...

      Yes, there it was. A faint whiff of the two boys,
      fast and panicked. The girls, a calm and relaxed
      scent overlaid with sudden fear, with a trace of blood
      and salt water. The intruders, nervous, wearing
      polyester and carrying guns.

      And another scent, sharper, and far more familiar...

      * * *

      "Owwhh..." Rogue groaned.

      "Are you okay?" Annie's voice asked. At least, it
      sounded like Annie's voice, through the ringing in
      Rogue's head.

      "I hurt," she discovered, trying to sit up and
      failing. She was lying on something cold and hard,
      her hands tied behind her, and when she managed to get
      her eyes open, it made no difference at all. Wherever
      they were, there was no light.

      "I figured. We fell out of the tree." There was a
      rustle somewhere to Rogue's left.

      "Don't move!" Rogue cried instantly, trying to locate
      the source of the sound. "You might touch me!" Her
      face was uncovered, and her arms above her long
      gloves, and her shirt had ridden up a little to expose
      the skin above the waistband of her jeans.

      "It's okay. I'm down here." Something... Annie's
      feet, she thought... nudged at the back of Rogue's
      knees. "I already felt around for you."

      "What happened?" After another couple of attempts,
      Rogue managed to sit up, and promptly bumped her head
      against a wall a few inches to her right. She
      scooched over and leaned against it, pulling her knees
      up to her chest. "Who grabbed us?" she asked, trying
      not to let her voice shake. "The Brotherhood again?"

      "No such luck." Annie sighed. "I'm sorry, Rogue.
      They grabbed you because you were with me."

      "Why?" Rogue asked softly.

      "Uh... you know that personal stuff that nobody wanted
      to tell you about me?" The high, sweet voice took on
      a penitent note. "It's because of that. Uh... get as
      comfortable as you can. It's kind of a long story."

      She told it, in a small, strained voice, and Rogue bit
      her lip until she tasted blood to keep from crying.
      Now was no time for tears. Later she could cry for
      the tragedy of the culled children, and offer Annie
      what comfort she could, but not now. "It's going to
      be okay," she said as comfortingly as she could
      manage. "They'll find us. Even if we're
      telepathically shielded so the Professor can't find
      us, Logan'll sniff us out."

      Annie gulped softly, making a noise that sounded
      suspiciously like 'uh-oh'. "Rogue? Say,
      hypothetically, that when Mr Logan sniffed around, he
      not only found traces of the guys who nabbed us,
      but... uhm... signs of Sabretooth as well? Who do you
      think he'd follow?"

      Rogue swallowed hard. "Sabretooth?" The huge blond
      man hadn't actually hurt her, but he'd been almost
      more terrifying than Magneto himself. "He was at the
      school?"

      "Yeah... but he didn't do anything," Annie reassured
      her quickly. "I was sleeping in my best tree, and he
      climbed up it, and he asked me some questions, and I
      asked him a lot of questions, and then he went away."
      Rogue smothered a rather hysterical laugh, at the idea
      of Annie bailing up the enormous villain and
      subjecting him to one of her bouts of curiosity. No
      wonder the man had 'gone away'. He'd probably RUN.
      "I'm positive he didn't have anything to do with this,
      though. He really didn't like what I told him about
      these people."

      "But he WAS there." Rogue rested her forehead against
      her knees.

      "Uh-huh."

      "In the big tree outside the girl's dorms."

      "Uh-huh."

      "And you're sure he had no idea about this?"

      "Definitely."

      "Crap." Rogue sighed, rubbing her face against her
      knees. "We're in trouble."

      * * *

      It didn't take long enough, Logan thought grimly as he
      stalked towards the small, shabby motel. Xavier had
      tracked Sabretooth easily with Cerebro and... with
      only slight reluctance... had agreed that Jean and
      Logan would go after him. Between them, they could
      handle one mangy kitty-cat with a bad attitude, Logan
      had insisted, and he knew he was right.

      But it hadn't taken long enough to find the bastard,
      and Logan hadn't had long enough to get a real
      murderous frenzy going.

      Oh well... blazing fury would have to do.

      He kicked the door open, and ducked the claws that
      lashed towards his face. "Where are they?" he roared,
      popping his claws and relishing the moment of searing
      pain. It just made him madder. "What did you do, you
      sick bastard?!"

      "What the hell..." Sabretooth shook his head like a
      lion with an itch, snarling, but with a puzzled look
      in his cold, mad eyes. "Who?"

      "The kids, asshole!" Wolverine growled. "You
      remember Marie, right? The kid you and yer friends
      nearly murdered?! What the hell did you do with her
      now?!! If you've hurt her or that other kid-"

      Faster than he would have thought possible, the
      massive hands snapped out and grabbed him by the
      throat. Foul breath puffed into his face as huge,
      sharp teeth snapped an inch from his nose. "What.
      Other. Kid?"

      "Her name's Annie," Jean said from the doorway.
      "Where is she?"

      "I *thought* she was with your lot," Creed snarled,
      dropping Logan unceremoniously on the floor. He
      sounded almost... aggrieved? "Ya can't keep an eye on
      one little kid?" There was nothing sarcastic in his
      tone.

      "Wait..." Jean's eyes narrowed, and Logan guessed she
      was reaching out with her rudimentary telepathy. "You
      know about her..." Then her eyes widened suddenly,
      and she stared at him in shock. "Oh my god... Logan,
      he had nothing to do with it."

      Logan stared at her, easing warily to his feet. "You
      can't seriously-"

      "Logan... Annie's his daughter."

      * * *

      "What on earth..." Scott swallowed the rest of the
      startled exclamation as he stared up at Sabretooth.
      "You brought him *here*!?"

      Jean nodded. "We had to. He's not involved... well,
      I mean he wasn't involved in the kidnapping. He IS
      involved in being very angry about it."

      Sabretooth growled, and Scott covered a fastidious
      wince at the smell. He wondered if the man had ever,
      in his entire life, bathed. "Why?"

      "Because of Annie." Before Scott could ask his
      fiancee what, exactly, this supervillain had to do
      with cute, if obnoxious, little Annie, she'd dragged
      him, Sabretooth, and Logan into the Professor's study.
      "Professor, we have a problem."

      Xavier lifted his head, and started the tiniest bit
      when he saw Sabretooth looming over him. He looked at
      Jean, and raised one eyebrow. "Indeed?"

      Jean nodded. Despite the seriousness of the
      situation, her lips twitched a little. Finally,
      finally, she just knew she was really going to perturb
      the Professor. "You know how we've always worried
      that one day we'd have to tell a parent that we
      somehow... uh... lost their child?" She pointed
      discreetly to Sabretooth. "Well... now we do."

      The Professor stared at her.

      Scott stared at her.

      Ororo, who'd come running at her summons and was now
      in the doorway, stared at her.

      Logan made a rude noise.

      "Parent?" Scott squeaked after a long moment.

      "Yes, parent." Jean folded her arms and gave
      Sabretooth a rather hostile look. "Or so he claims."

      Xavier's other eyebrow rose to join the first. "I....
      ah.... do assume that we're talking about Annie,
      not..." He trailed off, with a rather horrified
      expression. Logan made an outraged noise, glaring at
      him.

      "Yes, I mean Annie." Jean shook her head. "He wants
      to come with us to look for the girls, Professor. And
      *I* want him to submit to a mind-probe before we even
      let him out of this *room*."

      Xavier nodded slowly. "I dislike intruding on the
      minds of others, but I would prefer to know his
      motivations in this matter. Sabretooth?"

      The enormous supervillain nodded reluctantly. "If
      that's what it takes," he agreed unhappily.

      Xavier nodded, and closed his eyes. "Please, try to
      relax..." he murmured, steeling himself and slowly,
      tentatively, opening his mind.

      It was all he could do not to blink in surprise. He'd
      entered Sabretooth's mind just a few months ago, to
      rescue Rogue, and it had left him feeling jumpy and
      hostile for days afterwards. It had been all blood
      and anger and pain and singleminded obsession with the
      kill.

      Since then, though, there'd been some kind of paradigm
      shift in Sabretooth's thinking. Right at the top of
      his mind... and tinged with actual worry... were his
      brief memories of a little girl who looked almost -
      but not quite - like Annie. This child had bright
      golden eyes, and elongated canines, and heavy, dark
      claws on her small fingers and toes. This child slept
      in trees, admired wolf-furs, and had a tag around her
      left ankle.

      Xavier swallowed hard. He'd misjudged, and misjudged
      badly. He'd looked into innocent blue eyes and heard
      an innocent, childish voice, and assumed that she was
      'safe'. That she was what she appeared to be. God
      only knew what the girl had planned before she was
      kidnapped.... if she even had been. She might have-

      ~~"We came to look at the animals," the child
      explained, eyes bright. "It's fun." She frowned
      suddenly. "You're not gonna fight with Rogue and Mr
      Summers again, are you?"

      "Maybe. Why not?" Creed/Xavier shrugged.

      "Because I like them," she said, poking at the idea
      thoughtfully. "They're nice to me, and they play with
      me and tell me stuff."~~

      Xavier felt the baffled astonishment that Creed had
      experienced at that simple statement, and cringed
      silently. The man had never once considered, not
      once, that the child might actually be happy. That
      'normal' mutants with 'normal' lives would ever be
      other than cruel to any child of his getting.

      Tentatively, he reached deeper, and found a deep,
      confused fury at the world, a hating of all the smart,
      pretty people who did things he couldn't do and
      thought things he couldn't understand. The rage of
      the wounded beast combined with the intense,
      frustrated anger of someone unable to comprehend most
      of what went on around him, the baffled fury of
      someone who had the wrong instincts for his species,
      and who just wasn't intelligent enough to compensate.


      And who, in a small blonde child dangling from a
      treebranch, had finally, *finally*, found someone he
      could understand.

      Automatically, Xavier nudged the man's fascinated
      interest in the little girl, and was reassured. The
      focus was entirely parental, without any other taint.
      Like Logan - and Xavier HAD checked - Creed's sexual
      tastes were entirely confined to mature women....
      though both might feel genuine attachment to an
      adolescent or a teenager, there would be no
      inappropriate interest.

      He opened his eyes, pulling away from the contact.
      "You will take him with you," he said quietly.
      "Sabretooth I believe that... given our mutual
      interests... we may trust you not to cause trouble, at
      least until the girls are found and safe."

      Creed nodded again, his black eyes unreadable. "Until
      then," he agreed.

      Jean looked at Xavier, her eyes questioning.
      ~*Professor, are you sure this is a good idea? He has
      been our enemy...*~

      ~*I hope... I believe... that that may change. He can
      be helped, Jean, if we try...*~

      Jean looked sceptical. ~*Professor, even I can sense
      the rage that consumes him...*~

      ~*The rage of a headblind child raised in a world of
      telepaths, of a deaf child raised by those who cannot
      see.... for more years than even he knows, Jean,
      Sabretooth has been living among an entire race he
      can't understand. With time, it might be possible to
      teach him.*~ He smiled as reassuringly as he could,
      trying to project hopeful optimism. If Jean and the
      others had to work with him... and he was under no
      illusions as to how hard that would be... it might
      help them to see Sabretooth as a redeemable pawn of
      evil, rather than an irredeemable one.

      ~*If you say so, Professor,*~ she said doubtfully.
      ~*I'll explain to Scott, shall I?*~

      ~*Please do.*~ Xavier nodded, leaning back in his
      chair. For now, he kept Annie's shapeshifting
      abilities to himself; under no circumstances could the
      team's feelings about the girls be confused or
      divided. Focus was what they needed now, more than
      yet another worry about the child's 'true' nature - he
      himself had experienced a moment of horrified
      suspicion of Annie's motives, and as a telepath he
      *knew* she harboured no ill-will whatsoever towards
      the students or the X-Men. ~*And could you ask Storm
      to get me an aspirin?*~

      Jean nodded, smiling her sympathetic smile. "All
      right, Professor," she said aloud. "We'll be down in
      the War Room, planning our next move."

      He nodded, and they trooped out.

      * * *

      "Do you think they're ever going to come and get us?"
      Rogue asked.

      "Oh, not for a while. They're trying to wear us
      down." Annie paused. "Do you hear that?"

      "Hear what?"

      "That whirring noise."

      Rogue tilted her head, scrunching up her nose. "I
      don't hear anything..."

      "I do. Stay still."

      Rogue still couldn't see a thing, but she sensed
      movement just to her left. There was a soft rustling
      noise, a soft grunt, and a sudden screech of metal.
      "Air-circulation system," Annie explained, and
      something was pushed into Rogue's hands. "Pulled part
      of the grill off. The top edge is all jagged. It's
      not much of a weapon, but do what you can."

      Rogue clutched the jagged bit of metal, taking a deep
      breath. "We fight?"

      "We fight," Annie said grimly.

      Rogue swallowed hard. "I... don't know much about
      fighting," she said in a small voice.

      "I do," Annie said with a sigh. "I kind of wish I
      didn't, sometimes, but I do. Did you know it's
      possible to kill someone with a bag of marshmallows?"

      Rogue blinked. "It is?"

      Annie nodded. "Okay, you need some string too, but
      it's possible."

      Rogue decided that she really didn't need to know how
      to kill someone with string and marshmallows. But....
      if Annie did, and she'd been trained... did that
      mean.... "Have you ever..... uh...." she poked at the
      floor with her toe. "Have you ever killed anyone?"

      "Uh-huh. Have you?"

      Rogue shook her head, even if she knew Annie couldn't
      see it. "Almost, once. But I haven't."

      Annie sighed softly. "I don't like it much," she
      admitted.

      "Who WOULD?"

      "Well, there was this one guy I ran into while I was
      travelling who had these videotapes-"

      "EW!" Rogue cried in horror.

      "YEah, that's what I thought." Rogue could tell from
      Annie's voice that she was wrinkling her nose. "He
      tried to grab me, and I sorta pushed him out his
      apartment window."

      "Oh." Rogue bit her lip. Emotionally, she was
      horrified at her friend's casual dismissal of a human
      life... but intellectually, she understood exactly how
      Annie's rather sideways approach to life made what
      she'd done entirely reasonable. There was someone who
      liked to hurt people, who had tried to hurt her too,
      so she'd made sure he wouldn't be able to hurt anyone
      ever again. To Annie, this would have been a very
      moral act. And Rogue had to admit that she might have
      been tempted herself, under the same circumstances.

      "I didn't get gratuitous about it," Annie said,
      obviously meaning to be reassuring. "I mean, I didn't
      cut him into little bits first or anything. Just one
      little push. I don't really like doing it much, only
      sometimes I feel like I have to. When it's people who
      hurt little kids and stuff like that."

      Well, that was hard to argue with. "So... when they
      open the door, we rush them?"

      "Uh-huh. Just scream really loudly and hit everything
      you can reach as hard as you can. Try to act like a
      crazy person."

      "Does that help?"

      "Well, if a cute adolescent with no history of mental
      imbalance leaped out at YOU screaming like a maniac
      and waving a jagged piece of metal, wouldn't *you* be
      startled?"

      * * *

      Sabretooth scowled, leaning back and hearing the chair
      creak. War Room, huh? It looked more like a
      highly-priced dentist's surgery, all chrome and white.


      He shook his head slightly, and tried to think. It
      wasn't easy. The rage kept bubbling up inside him,
      the red haze bleeding across his vision, the hissing
      roar rising in his ears... For too long, he'd just
      given in to it. Let the world become a simple,
      blood-tinged place. Now, though, he needed to think,
      and it was hard.

      "I've tracked down a company that uses the logo Annie
      remembered," Cyclops was saying. "It's not identical,
      but it's just a stylistic variation... Annie's
      interpretation isn't exactly flawless yet."

      Creed raised a shaggy eyebrow as the too-pretty
      boy-scout brought up a map on one of the large video
      screens. A half-dozen lights blinked across the map,
      showing base locations. One in Canada, two in South
      America, the others all in the States....
      "Government?" he asked.

      "Who else?" Logan grunted.

      "Actually, it isn't." Cyclops made a puzzled face
      behind his visor. "It's an independent research
      company. I haven't been able to find the slightest
      hint of government involvement.. any government...
      beyond a little information exchange, mostly regarding
      chemical analysis."

      "Huh," Wolverine and Sabretooth said in unison, then
      scowled at each other.

      "Anyway, that doesn't matter now." Cyclops shook his
      head. "My guess is that the girls are in one of the
      two South American bases. Wolverine and Sabretooth
      are both too familiar with the Canadian terrain for
      that to be an option, and I believe they'd want to get
      as far away as possible-"

      "No." Creed shook his head, and jabbed a pointed
      finger at one of the lights. "Baltimore."

      They all stared at him. "Baltimore?" the white-haired
      woman asked disbelievingly. She was keeping her
      distance from him, he noticed. Pity. He couldn't
      blame her, though.

      "It's the closest," he rumbled.

      "Which is exactly why they wouldn't go there," the
      white-haired woman said, giving him the
      you're-such-an-idiot look. He growled at her, and she
      leaned back in her seat, eyes widening.

      "That's why they'll be there. It's the closest
      secured area they have." He shrugged, tapping his
      claws absently on the tabletop. "Look, you people
      know heroing, I know kidnapping. You grab two kids as
      powerful as those, you're not gonna screw around with
      dragging them right across the country. You're gonna
      head for the first secure cell you can find."

      "He's right," Wolverine agreed, sounding rather
      reluctant. "There's no way they could get those two
      very far, not without at least one of them escaping.
      They'd head for their nearest facility, banking on th'
      fact that we haven't come after 'em yet as meaning we
      don't know who they are."

      Cyclops frowned. "You agree with him?" he said
      uncertainly. The scrawny, dark-haired kid with the
      odd visor seemed... well... worried. And not just
      about Rogue, but about Annie, too. Genuinely, rather
      frantically worried. It made him feel... a bit odd.

      Wolverine nodded. "I've done some people-moving," he
      said, frowning. "At least, I think I have. He's
      right."

      "They have a point, Scott," the red-haired woman
      agreed. She'd be pretty if she wasn't so damn
      prissy-looking. "If you kidnapped Annie, especially
      knowing what she could do, wouldn't you take her
      someplace safe as fast as you could?"

      The boy-scout grinned a sudden, surprisingly humorous
      grin. "I'd jump in front of a bus before I'd even
      THINK about trying to kidnap Annie," he said wryly.
      "Baltimore it is."

      * * *

      (continued directly in next post)


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