The Godless Among Them 7/7 [Movieverse fic]
- (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
"'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'
"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."
* * *
Scott finished counting to ten, and turned around to
snap at their unwelcome passenger. "Will you sit
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
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
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
"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
The fact that he really didn't like it didn't matter.
* * *
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
"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
"At LEAST four hundred," Annie insisted, holding her
"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
"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
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
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
"Here's. The. Plan," Scott gritted out. "You're going
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
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.
"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
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
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
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
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
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?
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,
"She's fine," Logan and Annie chorused. Rogue rolled
her eyes and grinned weakly.
Annie held out her hands to Cyclops. "Help me up,"
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
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
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.
"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
"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
"Yes," Annie said patiently. "If that'll make you
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
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
"'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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