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The Godless Among Them 7/7 [Movieverse fic]

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  • Dyce-Elihara
    (continued directly from last post) * * * When the door opened, Rogue barely even saw her friend move. Annie launched herself off the back wall of their cell
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 4, 2000
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      (continued directly from last post)

      * * *

      When the door opened, Rogue barely even saw her friend
      move. Annie launched herself off the back wall of
      their cell and bodily tackled the two guards, all
      three of them crashing to the concrete floor with a
      loud crunch of bone. One of the guards whimpered and
      stayed down. The other one did at least make an
      attempt to fight back, but a savage kick to the
      stomach followed up with a blow to the head knocked
      him into the wall, and into unconsciousness.

      "See? They'll both live, if they get medical
      attention." Annie looked proud of herself. Rogue
      didn't have the heart to tell her off for excessive
      violence. After all, they'd been in that cell,
      without food, water, or light, for eighteen hours and
      twenty-seven minutes, according to Annie's fairly
      reliable timesense. Rogue wasn't feeling merciful.

      Instead, she dragged herself to her feet, and hobbled
      out of the cell. Her knees were stiff and sore from
      hours of sitting. "What do we do now?" she asked,
      looking around. "Escape, sabotage, or looking for
      whoever's in charge?"

      "I was thinking we should find the tea-room," Annie
      said thoughtfully, bouncing on her heels. She was a
      little grubby and.... Rogue blinked, realizing that
      Annie was wearing a dull grey jumpsuit with a bright
      red number front and back. And that she looked....
      different. Her eyes had gone from blue to bright
      yellow, and there were heavy, dark claws on the small
      hands. She was a tiny bit taller and stockier, too...
      Rogue gulped, fighting down a wave of panic. This was
      *Annie*. She was the same cute little girl she'd
      always been, just.... better armed. And she was
      staring at Rogue with puzzled yellow eyes. "What?"

      Rogue gulped and looked down at herself. "How come
      they changed your clothes and not mine?" she said
      lamely.

      "'Cause nothing bad happens to people when they take
      MY clothes off... well, not if I'm unconscious."
      Annie grinned a rather nasty grin. "If they try it
      when I'm awake, LOTS of bad things happen."

      Rogue couldn't help giggling a little at THAT image,
      even if it was a rather gory joke. Yep, that was
      definitely still Annie. "Okay, okay.... but why th'
      tearoom?"

      "I'm thirsty."

      "So'm I," Rogue agreed. "But.... aren't we going to
      fight the bad guys?"

      "Drink first. Then fighting," Annie said practically.
      "I mean, unless we actually run into people, then
      we'll have to fight them. But I'd rather have a drink
      and eat something first, wouldn't you?"

      Put like that, it certainly sounded logical... "Any
      idea where the tearoom is?"

      "Sure. Someplace close to the elevator. Always is."
      Annie lifted her head and sniffed. "Anyway, I think I
      smell old Office Coffee."

      * * *

      *mutter*

      *scrunch*

      *squirm*

      *grumble*

      Scott finished counting to ten, and turned around to
      snap at their unwelcome passenger. "Will you sit
      still?!"

      Creed glared at him. "Damn seat's too small," he
      muttered. It was, unfortunately... the massive
      shoulders were hunched forward, his knees were pressed
      against the seat in front of him, and he kept
      involuntarily feeling Jean up with his elbow.

      Logan was looking quite unhappy about that.

      Scott sighed, and counted to ten again, in German this
      time. "I know it's too small, but Jean is trying to
      concentrate." And Storm and Logan both refused to sit
      next to you, so Jean got stuck with you.

      Sabretooth grumbled, trying to pull his shoulders in.
      At least his ears weren't going to get cold, he
      thought resentfully. He HATED being crammed in like
      this. It made him want to scream and kick and fight
      and kill things until he got clear, until he could
      breath again....

      Jean gritted her teeth, screwed up her courage, and
      patted the large elbow that had slid into her lap
      again. "It won't be long," she murmured. "We're
      almost there, right, Scott?"

      "Right." Scott rolled his eyes behind his visor.
      ~*Jean, you're touching Sabretooth. Voluntarily.*~

      ~*And it's giving me the creeps, but I'd rather pat
      him on the elbow than have him panic and tear my
      throat out.*~ Jean sent a rueful smile through the
      link. ~*Don't worry, love, I'm not enjoying it.
      He... well..... smells.*~

      Scott supressed a snicker.

      Storm kept glancing nervously over her shoulder.
      Scott couldn't blame her. "About another ten
      minutes," he said softly, reassuringly.

      Storm nodded. "I do not like this," she fretted
      quietly. "We are hinging our entire strategy on
      nothing more than a guess."

      "An informed guess."

      "But still a guess." Storm bit her lip. "If we're
      wrong.... the kidnappers will know we are after them,
      and they may make the association between us and the
      school."

      Scott smiled humourlessly. Sometimes he hated the way
      his mind worked. "That's why we're sending Sabretooth
      in first. Hopefully it'll look like we're after him,
      not the scientists."

      Ororo gave him a sharp, horrified look. "But he
      will-"

      "I know he will." Scott sighed, and engaged the
      plane's stealth mode. "We'll be right behind him, and
      I'll try to convince him to hold back, but our
      priority is rescuing the girls." Expidency. For the
      sake of the students still at the school, it had to
      seem as if the X-Men were in pursuit of Sabretooth.
      It had to be that way. He didn't dare assume that,
      given the slightest connection, these people wouldn't
      figure it all out. They'd been too clever, for too
      long, for him to take that kind of risk. Even if he
      knew... and he did... that Sabretooth was going to
      kill people.

      The fact that he really didn't like it didn't matter.

      * * *

      *whoopwhoopwhoopwhoop*

      Rogue jumped, almost spilling her tea.

      Annie looked up from her third stale muffin. "Oh,
      yeah. They know we're gone now."

      Rogue put her cup down. "Shouldn't we hide?"

      Annie reached over to pat her shoulder gently. "We
      ARE hiding. We're in the tea-room. Who's gonna look
      in here?"

      "Well.... we should move anyway. They'll probably
      look in every room on this floor."

      "If you say so." Annie tucked another muffin into her
      pocket for later, and stuck her head around the door.
      "Nobody down this end yet. Elevator?"

      "No." Rogue had seen enough action movies to feel
      secure on this point. "They'll either cut off the
      power and strand us, or they'll be waiting when we get
      out. We're taking the stairs."

      "Right. This way, then."

      Ten minutes later, they'd found the laundry-room, the
      kitchen, a dozen empty rooms, and five bathrooms, all
      very, very obviously intended for male use.

      "Oh, god," Rogue gagged, leaning against the wall,
      covering her mouth with one hand. "It smells like
      three hundred tom cats lived and died in that one
      room...."

      "At LEAST four hundred," Annie insisted, holding her
      nose.

      "How can guys stay in there long enough to go?!"

      Annie shuddered. "My eyes started watering..."

      "Mine too." Rogue buried her nose in her scarf,
      inhaling the lingering scent of the perfume she'd put
      on.... yesterday, it was now. "We are NOT hiding in
      there."

      "I'd rather die," Annie said firmly.

      "Right." Rogue nodded.

      Annie brightened. "Hey, let's go find the central
      computer core and smash it into tiny bits."

      Rogue looked doubtful. "Won't they be expecting that?"

      "Well, yes, probably. But it's theirs. And it's
      important. So I want it to be very, extremely dead,"
      Annie said flatly, a feral light in her eyes.

      Well, when she put it that way... Annie had been held
      prisoner, if not by these people, then by this
      organization, for all but a few months of her life.
      If she wanted to take some of that out on the
      computer, Rogue wasn't going to be the one to tell her
      she couldn't. "Okay," she said simply. "How?"

      * * *

      Sabretooth bounced a little on his toes, sniffing the
      air. "Not too many of them," he reported, eyes
      narrowed a little. He looked more than a little
      relieved to be out of that plane, and even more so
      that he was back doing something that he presumably
      understood. "I'm only gettin' maybe two dozen
      scents... I'm guessin' this isn't one of their bigger
      complexes. No test subjects, just guards and a few
      drones."

      Wolverine nodded, tugging at the collar of his
      uniform. Even though he had his own, now, made
      especially for him, it still felt too tight around the
      neck. "Good nose," he admitted grudgingly. There was
      something oddly.... familiar, about the bigger man.
      It hadn't really registered before, because they'd
      been too busy trying to gut each other, but standing
      here like this.... side by side, sniffing the air....
      it felt eerily familiar. "I'd put it at twenty-twenty
      five of them all up. Maybe ten of them completely
      unarmed."

      All five of them had made it without mishap,
      regrouping in a small shed full of shovels and ropes
      and other occasionally useful things that tended to
      accumulate in a place like this. Security had been a
      joke... or maybe not. Logan had gotten a creepy
      feeling that the reason it was so easy to get in was
      because the security was all geared towards preventing
      people from getting *out*.

      "Good," Scott said quietly. "Here's the plan."

      "Plan?" Sabretooth demanded. "What makes you think
      I'm gonna-"

      "Here's. The. Plan," Scott gritted out. "You're going
      in first."

      Sabretooth blinked.

      Logan blinked.

      Scott sighed. "If it's at all possible, we don't want
      these people to associate the X-Men with the school,"
      he said, in his 'leader' voice. Calm, rational,
      disassociated. "You, Sabretooth, are going in first,
      and I want everyone to know about it. Make as much
      noise and confusion as you can, all right? We'll wait
      a couple of minutes, then come in behind you, as if
      it's you we're after. Now you'll have to keep moving
      if we want that to work, so don't worry about taking
      all the guards down before you move on. We'll be
      right behind you. Just move as fast as you can, and
      try to find the girls." He paused, and his voice got
      a little tighter, though no less dry. "I'd...
      appreciate it if you kept the casualties to a
      minimum," he said stiffly. He did NOT say 'don't kill
      anyone'.

      Logan wasn't sure if it was because it would have been
      pointless anyway, or if it was because it'd screw up
      the plan if Sabretooth was too obviously out of
      character. Either way, he was grudgingly impressed by
      Cyke's grip on reality.

      Sabretooth nodded slowly. "Right," he said in a
      neutral tone. "I move fast, you pick up the pieces.
      Works." He grinned a cruel, feline grin and stood up.
      "Come after me in about three minutes."

      * * *

      Annie peeked around a corner. "We're in luck," she
      whispered. "Only one tech, and he's nice and close.
      I'll bet to him before he can hit any alarms."

      "What if another one comes in?" Rogue asked dubiously,
      pressing a little closer against the cold metal wall.
      "Or more than one?"

      "So they come in. We'll manage," Annie said
      confidently. Before Rogue could argue that that was
      hardly what she, Rogue, called a plan, Annie had
      disappeared around the corner. There was a faint
      scuffle of bare feet on hard floor, a noise like
      someone hitting a watermelon not *quite* hard enough
      to break it, and Rogue peeked around the corner in
      time to see the tech fold up quietly.

      "Not bad," she said judiciously, slipping into the
      room. It was average-sized, neither big nore small,
      with a row of computer terminals backing onto a large,
      square something that Rogue assumed contained the main
      computer's.... well, whatever a computer core actually
      was. Now that she thought about it, she wasn't sure.
      "So now what? We each take a chair and start smashing
      stuff?" That idea had a certain appeal. She'd been
      kidnapped, shot, bruised, starved, and intimidated,
      and she wanted revenge.

      "In a minute." Annie pointed. The terminal at the end
      was active. "He was working when I snuck up on him."

      "Sneaked," Rogue corrected absently.

      "Snuck," Annie contested, chin sticking out ominously.
      "Anyway... wanna see what's inside?"

      She wavered between wanting desperately to just
      escape, wanting to destroy the entire complex with her
      bare hands... and wanting to know, once and for all,
      just what was going on.

      She sighed. "Did you ever hear the saying 'Curiosity
      killed the cat'?" she asked rhetorically, picking the
      chair up from where Annie's sneak attack had left it.


      "Yeah." Annie sat down at the computer and flexed her
      fingers. "It doesn't seem to say *how*, though."

      * * *

      Storm swallowed hard, as yet another door opened on
      yet another cluster of sprawled bodies in various
      stages of 'broken'. It felt as though she'd seen far
      more than the fifteen they'd counted so far. Only a
      few had been conscious. Only one had been the
      slightest threat, and then only because he'd managed
      to get a grip on his gun with two fingers broken.
      He'd fired wide, of course.

      Sabretooth was being very... efficient.

      He'd also been surprisingly restrained. There were
      multiple broken limbs, deep, slashing cuts, and a
      couple.... when there'd only been one and he'd been
      able to take his time.... that looked like rags of raw
      meat. But Jean had announced, with some surprise,
      that if they got medical attention, all but two would
      probably live. At least a half dozen would survive
      even if attention was delayed.

      She shuddered, pulling the wings of her costume around
      her. Sabretooth frightened her, terrified her... and
      she was permitting him to do the same to others.
      Humans. People whose only defenses were guns... and
      against Sabretooth, those were no defenses at all.

      ~For the children,~ she told herself yet again,
      looking away from an unconscious body with legs that
      should never have bent that way. ~For the children.
      They are the only innocents here. We must save them.
      We must.~

      "Pickin' up two more scents," Logan said, scowling.
      "Two who don't go outside. From th' smell of cola and
      fast food, I'm guessing they're the equivalent of
      computer-geeks. Shouldn't be a problem."

      "Good." Scott fiddled with his visor. "Is it just
      me, or is this place just a little too unguarded?"

      "It's just you," Logan grunted. "See this? This is
      what it's like when the attack is actually a surprise.
      It ain't ever gonna be this easy again."

      "Logan's right," Jean agreed, frowning a little. "I'm
      sensing a lot of surprise... well, from the ones
      who're still conscious. These bases have never been
      attacked before, and they were completely unprepared."

      "Oh." Scott thought about it for a moment. "Lucky
      us."

      Ororo nodded, but.... as they rounded the corner to
      find an intersection and yet another sprawled body,
      this one definitely dead, she couldn't bring herself
      to agree.

      Logan lifted his head sharply. "Bingo," he said with
      an almost-smile. "Both girls... loose, too." Then he
      frowned. "They criss cross a lot, though. Not sure
      which one's the most recent."

      "Which way did Sabretooth go?" Scott asked.

      "That way." Logan pointed. "One o' two or three ways
      they coulda gone."

      "We might as well follow him, then," Scott said with a
      sigh. "And hope there aren't too many... more."

      Nobody had to ask what he meant.

      * * *

      Rogue dragged her eyes away from the screen, and
      stared blindly at her hands.

      Annie's mouth was a thin, flat line, and her eyes were
      like little pebbles of topaz. Rogue sneaked a
      nervous look at her, and bit her lip. Annie was only
      thirteen. She shouldn't be seeing things like this.

      Shouldn't be seeing the plans that had called for the
      eradication of her siblings. That would, within the
      year, have cut the 'test groups' from 942 'units' down
      to 326. Six hundred and sixteen lives, snuffed
      out..... and that, on top of the three thousand, five
      hundred, and seventy-eight already culled.

      It was too many.

      "What are we going to do?" she asked softly, when
      Annie, for once, didn't speak.

      Annie glared at the screen. "We're going to make them
      stop," she said in a tight, precise little voice.
      "All of them."

      Rogue reached out to touch the small shoulder
      awkwardly. It was twitched away, and she returned the
      hand to her lap with a sigh. "You can't fight all of
      them," she said softly. "Nobody could."

      "I'm not going to have to," Annie said with a small,
      tight smile. Somehow, that smile on Annie's sweet,
      round-cheeked little face was far more terrifying than
      it had ever looked when Magneto wore it.

      "What're you going to do?" Rogue asked in alarm. Her
      friend didn't respond, just started typing, hitting
      the keys with hard little jabs. "Annie, what're you-"

      "Get in here! We can hole up in-" Pounding feet
      sounded behind them, and both girls spun around to see
      two... no, three guards skid through the door. Too
      late, both realized that they'd forgotten to lock it.

      "You two!" one of them hissed, raising his gun. "This
      is all your fault-"

      "No, Andros, we need them alive-"

      Rogue heard the gun go off at what seemed like the
      same instant that pain blossomed just under her ribs.

      She felt her knees buckle, and she crumpled to the
      floor. She was distantly aware of a furious soprano
      roar, and a small figure flashing over her towards the
      door. Somewhere there was another shot, and a sudden
      shriek, but they weren't important. The only thing
      that mattered was the pain.

      This wasn't the same as last time, when Logan's claws
      had slid through her lungs. This was worse, and there
      were no brown eyes gazing into hers, no hands reaching
      helplessly towards her... she whimpered softly,
      curling around the pain in her abdomen, feeling her
      own blood well up through her fingers.

      The noise stopped, and she was being gently turned
      over. "Oh," Annie said quietly. "I'm sorry, Rogue.
      If I hadn't been so overconfident..."

      "H'rts..." Rogue whimpered.

      "I know. Don't worry." A small hand reached for her
      temple. "It'll be okay in a second..."

      Yes. Annie had a healing factor. The pain would go
      away in just a minute... Rogue gritted her teeth,
      riding out the painful jolt of energy that surged
      through her. She'd thought Magneto was powerful, but
      this..... the sheer vitality of Annie's life force was
      so strong it was like being burned...

      Then the soft little hand lifted away, and Rogue
      sobbed softly as Annie wailed.

      It hadn't worked!

      * * *

      Creed heard the shots, and cursed. He'd taken the
      wrong trail twice, and now, when he was on the right
      one, it sounded like he wasn't the only one.

      He skidded through the door, to see his daughter
      kneeling over the skunk-hair's sprawled body. Annie
      was wailing loudly, the girl was making little
      whimpering noises, and he could smell blood. Add in
      the shots he'd heard, and it didn't take a rocket
      scientist to figure out what must have happened.

      He crouched beside them. Gut shot... nasty. Pain had
      to be terrible, and... yep, it'd hit an artery. At
      least it wouldn't take long.

      Annie looked up at him with big, teary golden eyes and
      made a wordless little noise, pointing at her friend.

      "Yeah, I know, kid." He patted her shoulder gently.
      "Look, the doc's gonna be here in a minute and-" He
      took in the pleading quality of the look and the
      insistency of the point. "Oh, no. No way."

      Annie's lip quivered pleadingly. "No," he said
      flatly. "Not a chance."

      She scowled. "You OWE her," she choked, giving him a
      reproachful look. "You *chained* her into a
      *machine*."

      And that was that, right there. It was the one thing
      she knew he almost felt bad about... and that they
      were both terrified enough of that she could hold it
      against him. Anyway.... she was crying. He didn't
      like that. Reluctantly, he reached out, pressing
      calloused fingers against the semi-conscious girl's
      jaw.

      As the drain set in, and his eyes unfocused and he
      wavered, he saw Annie's small hand settle over his,
      fingers lacing through his to touch Rogue's cold skin.

      * * *

      Logan had heard the shots too.

      For the first time since the Statue of Liberty, he
      prayed desperately, racing down the corridors, leaving
      the other X-Men far behind. ~Please let her be okay
      please let her be okay please let her be okay please
      let her be okay~ he prayed desperately. ~I said I'd
      look after her, that I'd never let anything happen to
      her, I promised, she's just a kid, these things
      shouldn't happen to her...~

      He smelled her blood before he got to the door, and
      smothered a howl of rage. He would kill them, he
      would kill them all, they-

      -they were already dead.

      It had to have been fast, faster even than he could
      have done it. The three of them were still close
      together, surprised looks plastered on their cooling
      faces.

      He looked past them, and this time he did howl.
      Sabretooth was lying on the floor next to Marie, with
      Annie half sprawled across him, clawed hands
      intertwined and pressed against Marie's face. They'd
      probably been trying to help her. He didn't care, he
      just kicked the hands away from her face and picked
      her up, holding her tightly against him. "Marie?
      Marie!"

      She whimpered weakly. "Lo'an?"

      "Yeah, kid, it's me," he said softly, scanning those
      sweet brown eyes for signs of the blood-madness he'd
      seen in Sabretooth. "You okay?"

      She smiled a little. "Yeah.... thin' so. Got Annie
      'n my head."

      "Are you okay?" he asked anxiously.

      She nodded weakly. "'s not bad. 'cept I wanna....
      pounce on stuff."

      Annie made a little soprano growl, and sat up. "My
      head hurts," she said petulantly. Then she blinked,
      and looked at Rogue. "Did it work?"

      Rogue nodded and patted her stomach. "'m fine..."

      The X-Men made a belated - and thunderous - entrance,
      skidding to a more or less unanimous halt. "Rogue,
      are you-"

      "She's fine," Logan and Annie chorused. Rogue rolled
      her eyes and grinned weakly.

      Annie held out her hands to Cyclops. "Help me up,"
      she demanded.

      All eyes swivelled to her. They took in the bright
      yellow eyes, the thicker, paler hair, and the heavy
      claws. Cyclops gave her a suspicious look. "Rodin,
      Picasso, Homer, and the Third Law Of Thermodynamics."

      "Good, sucks, boring but accurate, and only for those
      who permit themselves to be limited by physics," she
      said cheerfully.

      He grinned that lopsided little grin he did sometimes,
      and hauled her to her feet. "Oh, good. It is you."

      Annie wavered a little, but grinned the old gamine
      grin. "What would you have said if I said I liked
      Picasso?"

      He gave her a serious look, the corner of his mouth
      twitching. "I would have had to kill you."

      Annie giggled. "Oh, good. We're both positively
      identified, then." She let go of his hands, and
      wavered determinedly over to the computer terminal.
      "Jus' a second, and we can go."

      "Go?" Scott said a bit blankly.

      Annie tapped a few keys, then straightened up. "Yup.
      Let's go."

      "That's it?" Cyclops gave her a puzzled look, quite a
      feat for him. "No bloodthirsty revenge? Campaigns of
      terror? You don't want to take anything with you on
      disk?"

      "Nah. Dumped it all to a web-thingy. Several of
      them, actually. I can get it later." Annie smiled
      brightly. "Let's wake my dad up and go."

      Everyone stared at her.

      She sighed. "I'm *going* to get revenge, honest. I'm
      just too wobbly on my feet to do it right now." They
      continued to stare. "I promise, I'm seething with
      bloodthirsty rage. Really. Angry on the inside."

      Storm and Cyclops looked at each other, and snickered
      quietly. It was terribly anticlimactic, but....
      well.... "That's very mature of you, Annie," Storm
      said gravely, her lips twitching. "We'll hunt them
      down later, shall we? When you're back up to full
      strength."

      "Yes," Annie said patiently. "If that'll make you
      happy."

      Rogue laughed weakly. "She's ser'ous," she managed,
      still looking rather woozy. "Annie thinks weird."

      "I do not," Annie said mildly. "For a feline, I'm
      perfectly normal. Is it my fault the rest of you are
      all simians?"

      Logan found himself half-grinning as he stood up,
      Marie cradled protectively in his arms. They'd fought
      their way in, found the girls... and now they were
      going to go home. It was obviously wrong, in some
      deep and fundamental way, but the idea of getting home
      without bleeding all over the plane did have a certain
      charm. "Suits me." He looked down at Sabretooth, and
      scowled again. "So why'd he do it?"

      Annie gave him a puzzled look, wobbling back over to
      the group. "Why'd he do what?" Cyclops put a gentle
      arm around her shoulders, and she leaned against him
      with a grateful smile.

      "Give Marie his powers," Logan asked a little
      irritably. He didn't like the idea of that.... that
      beast being in his little girl's head. She didn't
      deserve that.

      "'cause he owed her for the thing with Magneto," Annie
      said mildly. "His little way of not apologizing."
      She got another round of blank looks, and rolled her
      eyes. "Okay, I did the Dewy Bambi Eyes. It works on
      Mr Summers, I figured it might work on him too."

      When Sabretooth groaned and sat up, everyone was still
      staring at him.

      * * *

      (epilogue still to come!)

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