Fanfic Time: X-Wars, part 20

Continued from yesterday:

  “You like?”

  Scott nodded, trying to hook a piece of stray stringy cheese with his tongue. The little lizard girl giggled, and helped him along his way. Her hands were green and scaly, with webbing stretched between each digit. Claws the colour of blood brushed his chin, and she gasped as a thin trickle of blood followed in her wake.

  “Sorry, sorry mister,” she said, hurriedly trying to wipe it off and smearing it along his jawline instead. “Didn’t mean t’ hurt ya. Nightcrawler says my claws is too sharp, but I hates puttin’ ‘em in the special gloves he gots for me. makes the webbin’ all sweaty an’ horrible.”

  “It’s OK,” Scott told her, wincing as a droplet og grease slunk into the cut and stung. “Some of us just can’t help what our mutations do.”

  She paused. “Us? Your mew-tay-shun makes you hurt people, too?”

  He nodded. “See this visor? I wear it because I’m packing a bazooka behind each eyeball. One glance from my baby-blues and it’s bye-bye-birdy.”

  “I saw you on Tech’s computer. You gots what he called 'lasers’, an’ they make an *awful* mess.”

  “Hence, the visor to keep them in check.” He smiled thinly. “I don’t want to hurt anyone.”

  “Me neither.” The little girl sniffed and wiped at her nose with her wrist. “You gots a name?”


  “No, a *proper* name. Like Nightcrawler, he’s really called Kurt. An’ Spiral, she’s really called Rita, an’- ”

  “Oh,” Scott cut her off, wondering how the terrorist hierarchy would react to her spilling their 'secret’ identities so freely. “Scott. Scott Summers. Do you have a, uh, proper name?”

  She nodded, peacock blue feathers bouncing on the back of her head. “Didn’t used to, but Nightcrawler called me Daisy. You like it?”

  “Nice choice. Much nicer than Scott. Uh, you didn’t have a name before?”

  She shook her head, and scratched at her feathers. What looked like fleas ran for cover. “Nu-uh, my Pa never gave me no name. Called me Scaleface, an’ that was it. When I’m big an’ strong, I’m gonna pick another name, a *codename* jus’ like the others use. You only get codenames when yer big an’ strong.” She smiled widely, and Scott found it infectious.

  “Daisy.” A familiar blue form strode in, scooping her into his arms. “What have I told you, liebe? Leave the man alone, he’s not for talking to.” Her hands were inspected. “And where are your gloves? Run along to Analee, now. I’m sure she’s got a spare pair somewhere.”

  Nightcralwer set the child down, and she scuttled off with the tiniest of waves in Scott’s direction.


  Logan sniffed. That couldn’t be right. Children inherited their parent’s scent, to a point, and there was a five-year-old girl running around that smelled just like Silver Fox, but she’d died eight years ago. What was going on?


  In the pile of folders in Forge’s lair, there was one pertaining to experiments on the Weapon X mutants. In addition to all the other atrocities, they had gotten semen samples from the men and eggs from the women for insurance against the time when a new generation of mutants was needed.

  The children from the Weapon X project had all been housed near each other and had stuck near each other when they were moved. Thus it was by pure luck that Logan hadn’t sniffed out the child with his scent, or the slightly felinoid child that was quickly becoming the best friend of the former child.

  The little girl that could seemingly disappear at will would have been a little harder to spot. If he had seen the eight-year-old girl with blue fur, digrade legs, and a spaded tail, amoung other mutations, it would not have been long before he knew what was up. From the few times he’d had a chance to talk to Blue he knew the boy would not let a child of his that he knew about be taken from him in any circumstances.

  All had been born to the project, and knew absolutely nothing of life outside a cage. They were sticking together, and learning about what went on in the outside world together. Even in the cages they had been placed close enough together to comfort each other. They weren’t as scared as the others, because they knew that if one of them was attacked, the attacker would have to deal with all. 


  “Say 'ah’.”


  Hank rubbed the swab on the inside of the kid’s cheek, then placed it carefully in the sterile container and sealed it shut. “There we go. All done.”

  The kid - Abel? - looked doubtful. “That’s *it*?”

  “Mm-hm. That’s it.”

  “But the Bad Men, they use a knife an’ scrape skin off an’ poke in needles an’ take blood out.”

  “We’re not the Bad Men.” Hank gave Abel a candy. “Tell the others, won’t you?”

  Abel sped away. So far, genetic samples for searches were being collected on a volunteer basis. Any kid brave enough to want to know if their family was alive got a little sample taken.

  In the case of the babies, he obtained a pinprick’s worth of blood from their tiny heels, and used that to get a profile.

  And, in the case of Spyke, he had a donation of sorts, pried from the wall and sent away to a reliable lab.

  {Pinnnnnggg…} “You’ve got mail.”

  Hank opened the letter. The subject read, “Found one!”


  The bone sample was a dream to process, Hank. We got some very clear DNA and your troubled young man is related to (drumroll) Ororo “Storm” Munroe.

  I triple-checked. I even got a newbie technician to do it from scratch. At a hazard, I’d say he’s her nephew.


  Hank opened the attached picture and looked at the result. Clear bonding along matrilinial ties… It was undeniable.

  He exited his office to pass the information along. Spyke was extremely antisocial and routinely hid in his own, private ward. Attempts to decorate the place with trademarked cartoon animals had only resulted in him using them for target practice.

  He knocked on the door as he poked his head in. “I have some good news for you.”

  Spyke thrust out a hand. “Pills.”

  “Later,” said Hank. “I’ve found a family member of yours.”

  “Family’s *dead*.”

  “Not all of your family,” soothed Hank. “DNA testing has proven that Ororo Munroe - otherwise known as Storm - may be your *aunt*.”

  “*May* be,” said Spyke. “My family’s dead.”

  “Nonetheless, I will enquire further when the lady herself arrives with the next batch of survivors. Have you had lunch?”

  “I *WANT* the *PILLS*!”

  “Just asking…” Hank made his way to the pharmacy, and signed out another bottle of calcium tablets. Once the bottle was rattling in his pocket, he helped himself in the kitchens and produced a small, nutritionally balanced feast, which he bought back to the solitary boy.

  Spyke ate with his hands, rapidly, as if expecting the food to be taken away.

  “You don’t *have* to eat like that, you know,” said Hank. “I did bring you some utensils.”

  “Fuck you.”

  “I thought you’d enjoy the opportunity to *not* eat like the animal they treated you as.”

  Spyke paused, chewing rapidly and glaring at him. “Stop fuckin’ with my head.”

  “This is not the lab,” said Hank. “We want to help you. We want to place you in a good home… somewhere where you can regain your childhood and heal.”

  “Bull fuckin’ shit.”

  “Really?” said Hank. “So what do you think I want?”


  “I know you believe that, now,” he soothed. “In time, you’ll see that we just want you to be you.”

  “Fuck off.”

  “Until later, Spyke,” Hank waved him goodbye and got back to work.

  There was a small crowd of kids at his door.

  “Abel says you give out candy for lettin’ you stick a Q-tip in our mouths,” informed the impromptu leader.

  “It’s called a swab,” said Hank. “But it does *look* rather like a Q-tip…”


  Niota peeked around the wall. So far, the grownups were doing things with files. She leaped across the hall and into an empty office, then signalled the others that it was safe.

  Steven, William and Faith dashed over, heads low. Wendy, the little showoff, just went invisible and strolled across. Niota could still sense her, though.

  “Wendy, you’re on recon. Go out to the front and see what security measures they’ve got.”

  Wendy nodded once, went invisible, and padded into the building’s foyer.

  There was one man standing guard inside the door, but he shouldn’t be able to see–

  “Uh-uh-uh. Hold it right there, honey,” He reached down and accurately stopped Wendy in her tracks.

  _Oh *crap*,_ thought Niota.


  _Double crap…._ Niota cringed.

  “Oh, I can’t see anything at all,” the man lifted up his sunglasses and showed plain white orbs. “I’m blind. Invisible or not, I heard you comin’.”


  He laughed. “Fair or not, that’s a danger-door, sweetheart. Outside of that, we got something called 'traffic’. It can hurt ya if you don’t know what'cha doin’.”

  The rest of the team emerged, ready to do battle, just in case this man decided to hurt their youngest member.

  “Call me Bob,” said Bob. “These your friends?”

  “Wendy! Scout! 209170655! That’s all you get! Geneva Convention!”

  Niota cringed.

  “If you kids are Wendy’s friends, could you keep her away from this door? We don’t want *anybody* to get hurt in traffic, okay?”

  “Traffic?” said Steven.

  “Training videos, stupid,” said William, smacking his team-brother on the arm. “Remember? Cars and stuff.”

  “People go *moosh*,” said Wendy.

  “Exactly,” said Bob. “We don’t want any of you tykes to go moosh, okay? If you want to play, there’s a garden on the top floor of the next building over. Just take the elevator up three floors, cross the skyway to your left, and take the next building’s elevator up to the penthouse level.”

  “Thank you,” said Niota. She lead her team to the elevator and, after a few necessary acrobatics, got them to the top floor.

  Bob was true to his word. This *was* a garden. Not like the patch of grass and the few struggling flowers they’d seen through the lab windows. This was lush green and pretty and–

  “*Look* at that *tree*,” they chorused.

  “He’s called Edgar,” said a man. He was rigging up some lights. He sniffed. “Dunno why.” He sniffed again.

  Both William and Steven were sniffing.

  “What?” said Niota. “Is it a trap?”

  “He smells familliar,” said Steven. “Team. Pack.”

  The man walked right up to them and sniffed deep at Steven, who sniffed back.

  Man and boy said the same thing at once. “You smell - like *me*.”


  Spyke was well pleased with himself.

  They had thrown all they could at him, told him the usual speal of lies, and he had seen right through it all. He had survived. They had nothing on him. Nothing.

  Except the pills of course, but those were life necessities, take those away and all his bones would break, he’d die.

  Not that he gave a flying shit.

  Spyke made sure not to give a flying shit about anything.

  If he did they’d use it, they’d hurt him, they always hurt him.

  It was obvious what they got planned, obvious they were trying to make him weak, make him care, give him back hope. Then they could take it away, break him again, and again, and again.

  But he knew better than that, he saw through this farce, even if all the other children didn’t. He saw that beneath the sweets were drugs, beneath the colourful walls were bars, beneath the smiles were analytical gazes, in the bathroom dark, nasty things undoubtebly waited. Beneath the hope and promises of family was pain, despair and brainwashing.

  But Spyke was strong, he wouldn’t fall for any of that shit. Not any more. He had bones, a shell, to protect him from that pain. A shell around his heart, protecting him from all emotion.

  He had taken a small ward as his territory, had gobbled the food they had given him, but kept the knife and fork, he might use those later, perhaps as weapons.

  Now, at last, he decided to do some reconnaissance. Sticking to the shadows, avoiding adults and children alike (who knew how many of those kids were plants? Spies? Or brainwashed into submission already?)

  He slipped in and out of various rooms, checking each one, finding nothing much of interest. He wanted to find the labs, see if he could cause some damage, but they were all well guarded, and he decided it would be best to get a lay-out of his prison before attempting anything major.

  Eventually, however, he came to a place he could not walk past, a room that seemed to prove his undoing.

  It was a small room, and the door was locked, but not such a good lock that Spyke wasn’t able to pick it with a bone shard.

  When it opened he felt his breath catch in his throat. It was filled with toys, from top to bottom. Yet it was not the teddy bears, wooden blocks, train sets, or tin soldiers that attracted Spyke. The object of his attention stood leaning against the wall, shining in the dim light from the hallway.

  A skateboard.

  It was red… new… the wheels of steel, shining…

  Before he could stop it, Spyke’s hand came forward, touched the smooth surface, warm, fresh… just like the one he had…

  NO Nononono!

  Bad memmories, weakness, not happening. Bad Spyke, you’re making yourself weak, don’t remember, don’t! If you remember how it was, if you remember the good times they’ll use it against you, they’ll break you, hurt you… take it all away again. Don’t want the pain again. God no. Can’t stand it all again!

  But the skateboard… it was so new… so fresh.. just like when he was five, before Bad Times, before Pain, when he had played on it, when he had felt the wind in his hair, freedom, scating all day until his mother…

  Oh fuck, he was getting weak, chinks appearing in his armor, they’d break him if he wasn’t careful.

  He moved away from the skateboard as if it was a snake, a succubis, tempting him to damnation.

  But it was so beautiful… surly one ride… one little bit of happieness… just a few seconds…

  No one need know… perhaps he could hide it… perhaps…

  Of fuck, he was fucked, how was he gonna do this, how was he ever going to make himself strong again if he gave into this… he didn’t want pain again, he just wanted the pain to end, wanted to be strong…

  What was he going to do now?

  Oh fuck… 


  Niota had slid into hiding the moment the unknown man looked away from her. He moved like a predator. Currently a sated predator, but still dangerous. Will was way too trusting. He tended to look for the good in everyone and couldn’t even bring himself to dislike the lab men. He was extremely dangerous in a fight, but he hated hurting anything.

  She was the wild one and the leader. She moved into position to pounce, if such was necessary. Digrade legs would let her easily clear the distance, and once she was there…well, she wasn’t shy about using her cat claws or fangs. And people never even looked for the tail. Strangulation was easy enough with it, but it was the tip that was the clincher. It was spaded and razor sharp. This man would not hurt Will.

  The others saw Niota go on the defensive and prepared for trouble, just in case. Will could afford to be a little more naive. He could heal fast. But to hurt him, the man would have to take all of them on. And even the lab men knew that control collars and tranqs were needed for that to work. They were family, and family didn’t abandon each other. 


  The door opened.

  Spyke bristled, guiltily scooting away from the board. “Fuck off!”

  One of the grownups had found him. One of the women. “Aaaww… Spyke. You’re not supposed to play in the storerooms, honey. There could be an accident. You could hurt yourself and we’d never know…” She was a new one. Or at least, one he hadn’t seen. Asian. Wore funny, loose clothes. She bent oddly. “There’s someone here who wants to meet you.”

  “They can fuck off, too.”

  “Aren’t you the least bit curious?”


  “How about I take you to a safer room where some toys are? A room where you won’t hurt youself. Would you like that?”

  “Fuck you.”

  “I wasn’t asking for me, I was asking for you.” She was so *calm* it was eerie. Something about her made him want to run up to her and greet her as his mother. But his family was dead. “Don’t you want to be somewhere safe?”

  “Safe for me or safe for you?”

  She laughed, a funny sound. “Safe for *you*, of course. Come on, we can walk there together. How about it?”

  “And if I don’t wanna?”

  “Then I’ll stay here and make sure you’re safe.”

  This woman was fucking with his head. He could feel it. The less time she spent fucking with him, the better. He stood. “*Fine*.”

  The woman just smiled and escorted him from the storeroom. “My name’s Kaze, if you’d like to use it.”

  “Fuck you.”

  She just ignored that and calmly opened a door. “Here we are. One of our many play rooms. Make yourself at home.”

  He shot spikes at the cartoon characters. Fuck them. Fuck them all. He flomped onto a big pillow-chair and stared into a corner. Fuck them to *bits*.

  The woman was coming back. Talking to another grownup.

  “–thought he’d died in the accident with his parents,” said a stranger. “There wasn’t enough left to…”

  “I understand,” said the woman. “I think we’ll be hearing that story a lot from different people. He’s in here.” The door opened.

  Spyke bristled, shielding himself from everything outside.

  Warm, soft hands somehow got past his bone quills, and gently helped his face into view.

  “Oh Goddess…” whispered the white-haired stranger with mother’s features. “*Evan*?”

  _You stupid fucking bitch. You stupid *fucking* bitch._ Spyke took a deep breath. “YOU STUPID FUCKING *BITCH*! NOW THEY CAN *TAKE* IT!”

  The woman retreated, almost stumbling away. Afraid.


  “…he was such a gentle boy…” Now the stranger was crying. “…such a sweet soul… My poor nephew. What did they *do* to him?”

  “If he wants to talk about it, he will,” said the woman. “He’s been very disturbed, and as the only Group Zero–”

  Ha! He *knew* they’d make him a number.

  “Group *what*?”

  “A therapy classification,” informed the woman. “The lower the number, the more help they need. Group Six is ready for adoption and integration. Group One is scared of Norms. Group Zero - is scared of everything.”

  “FUCK YOU!” Spyke shot at them. To miss, of course, but he definitely wanted them the heck out of there. “I’m *NOT* scared! I don’t need *NOBODY*! You aren’t gonna *get* me! YOU AREN’T GONNA GET ME!”

  Both the woman and the stranger retreated.

  Spyke could care less what they said to each other. As long as he didn’t have to hear it.

  Fuck 'em.

  And nuke 'em while they were at it.

  He didn’t need anything or anyone and they couldn’t take that away. They couldn’t take it. It was *his*.


  Spyke was getting out. He knew what they would do to him if he didn’t. He’d quietly cased every exit, and found one that his guards had managed to miss. There was just enough room for a rather small child to crawl through the air vents, and one of them led to the outside. Of course, one also had to be strong enough to lift furniture a considerable distance, or in Spyke’s case, drive a ladder of spikes into the wall. All he had to do was kick it out and be free. But Spyke was smarter than that. H'ed prepare before he blew the joint.

  Spyke went back inside and got the most heavy-duty blanket he’d been given. He could tie it up so it doubled as a backpack. He’d seen where the guards got his pills from, so he went down and picked the lock. He grabbed every bottle of calcium he could find. After much thought, he went to get the red skateboard. He rationalized that it would help him get away faster.

  A few frantic minutes of crawling for freedom, and he was out. He got on the skateboard and rolled off. It had been so long since he had flown on four wheels. For a few minutes, he forgot everything else. He remembered when he heard a semi blowing its horn at him. He froze. There was no way he’d get away in time.


  Warren looked out the window and saw Spyke’s predicament. For a moment he wished Sandra hadn’t managed to get plexiglass windows installed. There was no way he’d get out in time to save Spyke. All he could do was watch.


  Kaze was coming into the institute when she saw Spyke and the semi. There was only one way she could get to him in time. She shed her loose jachet and the binding belt below it and took to the air. Even with all her speed she felt the breeze from the semi as she swept by. Spyke instinctively went porcupine, but Kaze held on the him. The moment she put him down Spyke fled back into the street to retrieve the skateboard. It was somehow undamaged, and he hugged it to his chest like he planned to never let go again.


  Warren saw Kaze. He couldn’t believe it. What were the chances that the very first worker he recruited would have wings like his? Sure, her fethers were a chocolate brown with minor black and gold barring, but what were the chances? His second thought was to realize how beautiful she was and wonder if she’d make the skies a little less lonely. His third thought was to wonder if Spyke was ok.


  Spyke couldn’t believe it. He’d lost. Everything he’d said about needing nothing was shattered the moment he set foot on the board. He needed nobody, but they were no going to take the skateboard from him so long as there was breath in his body. 


  Warren was stunned. Finding out that there was someone else with wings so close was enough of a shock, but watching her bring Spyke inside was an even bigger shock. Instead of the loudmouthed cynic everyone had grown to know, there was a little boy crying and hugging a skateboard to his chest like it was a safety blanket. He could only stand numbly as Kaze walked by, doing her best to comfort the boy. He still looked about ready to tear someone’s throat out, but the tears dampened the effect. And for once he wasn’t yelling at everyone. That was an improvement…wasn’t it?


  Jean was getting even more upset. Scott was supposed to come home this morning, and it was already afternoon. Why on earth did he have to visit Ben at a time like this.

  Rogue walked by with the mail. She never went so far as to open other peoples letters, but everything up to that was fair game. “Will ya look at that. Scott’s friend Ben was so sorry about bowing out on the overnight deal that he sent Scott a postcard from Hawaii.”

  Jean rushed over and nearly tackled Rogue for posession of said card. If Ben was in Hawaii, where was Scott?

  _Professor, I think we have a problem. Now Scott’s gone AWOL as well. We’ll have to search for him and Jamie._ 


  “Oh, Nightcrawler,” Meggan was crying. Those with an eye for detail would have noticed that her fur was clumpy and matted, her talons slightly twisted and her face more twisted and snarled. “He makes me feel so *ugly*…”

  And, of course, for a shapeshifting empath, feelings quickly become reality.

  Nightcrawler thought happy thoughts and held her gently. “It’s all right, liebe,” he soothed. “He’s only a sunsider… he doesn’t know how to judge the reality. He only looks at the surface. He can’t see the truly beautiful person you really are.”

  Meggan giggled and her looks improved with a magical twinkle. She almost looked beautiful in her own, uniquely animalistic way.


  “This can’t be real,” said the big man and William at the same time.   “Could you cut that out?” they chorused.

  The rest of the team stood coiled as the two circled each other. Then the big man made two fists and three claws per hand popped suddenly into sight. Then he knelt and sheathed them, turning his naked palms out to William.

  “Name’s Logan,” said the grownup. “Ain’t gonna hurt ya.”

  “Can *you* do that?” said Steven.

  “Nuh-uh,” said William.

  “They didn’t change ya[8],” said Logan. “They changed *me*. Put adamantium in my bones.” He smirked. “An’ I’ll use it against 'em if they try to do it to you.”

  “Smells true,” said William.

  “Uh-huh,” Steven nodded. “He’s okay.”

  Niota only relaxed by a degree. Wendy, only three, clambered up on the man’s shoulders and tugged his hair. Niota only relaxed when the burly man only *tickled* Wendy to make her giggle. She approached and instantly tugged at the fur on his cheeks.

  “Easy darlin’,” said Logan. “That’s stuck on fast.”


  Warren followed Kaze into a dimly-lit Quiet Room, where she held the softly sobbing Spyke in her arms. Her wings were out in the open, halfway towards cocooning them both.

  Warren remembered doing that, himself, when he was younger. Until his father caught him and chewed him out for having 'those things’ out in the open.

  “Everything okay?” he asked.

  Pale, graceful fingers brushed brown curly hair. “He has a lot of crying to catch up on, and needs someone to hold him while he does. I’m soft and warm and patient. I will suffice.”

  “Shouldn’t I get Ororo?” he asked. “She *is* Spyke’s aunt, isn’t she?”

  “True, but when the dam breaks, the river is angry,” Kaze smiled. “He won’t do any damage by resenting me.”

  “Ah.” He wanted to stay. Talk. Chat about flying. Hold them both and shelter her with his wings. “Will you need anything?”

  “Some milk, perhaps. And plenty of peace.”

  “Okay. I’ll come by with some milk later on,” he vowed. Warren was blushing all the way to the front desk, where he was needed to help collect names and details.


  Meanwhile, back at Xaviers, everything was in a state of chaos. Two X-men had gone missing in the same day, and one of them was the team leader. How much worse could things get? What kind of power did they have to get away with it so easily. Scott would be hard to take, and anyone who wanted to capture Jamie and remain unnoticed would have to capture all of him. What were they going up against, and would they survive?


  Scott figured he probably should try his first escape attempt soom, but right now he was having too much fun listening to the babble of the children. He knew he’d look like a fool to the rest of the planet, but it was worth it to hear this.


  Supplies to keep the foundation running smoothly were arriving, and Jamie was keeping everything moving. Every truck driver stared in amazement when it came time for his truck to be unloaded.

  “Who are you?”

  “Jamie. we’ll be unloading your truck.”

  “But there’s only one of you.”

  “Not for long. Will you please opent the truck door?”

  The truck driver would conply and turn just in time to see Jamie replicate himself several times. At this point most of the truck drivers would freeze. Two to five Jamies would jump into the truck to help unload it into the arms of willing Jamies below. The original stood off to the side creating new dupes.

  Many of the drivers later compared it to seeing a line of ants after a picnic. The only difference was when one of the Jamies stumbled and replicated himself.


  Jamie was sore all over and knew that it would be worse the next day, but he was helping. He couldn’t keep the biggest grin on the planed off his face, which only served to further freak out the truck drivers.