Fanfic Time: X-Wars, part 26

Continued from yesterday:

  Nightcrawler surveyed the winged man for a moment, looking for any sign of deceit in his angelic features, but finding none.

  “Thank you.” He said finally.

  “No problem.” Warren smiled.

  “Now…if you could find that coat?”

  “You’re just gonna leave?” Warren was flabbergasted. “What about the others? Logan? Niota? JEAN?”

  Nightcrawler arched a brow at the way he emphasised her name.

  “What about them?” He queried.

  “Your friend… your daughter… your… well… whatever the hell Jean is to you.” Warren fisted his hands on his hips. “You’re just gonna take off without even saying goodbye?”

  Nightcrawler glared at him, then he lowered his head sadly. “It would be better for them all if I just disappeared…”

  “Better for them… or better for you?” Warren asked in a low, almost threatening voice. “And I thought I had a fear of commitment.”

  Warren hadn’t intended to strike a nerve, but he found he had well and truly struck one for he suddenly had a snarling demon in his face.

  “The last time I committed myself to someone she ended up dead and it almost destroyed me!” He growled. “I will not see that happen again.”

  He released him and disappeared, leaving the provisions behind.

  “Shit…” Warren hung his head.


  “Still haven’t found any sign of ‘em Boss-lady,” said Filch.

  “Don’t call me that,” said Spiral. “Don’t you *dare* call me that. He’s not *dead*. He’s *NOT*.”

  Meggan gingerly laid a talon on her top shoulder. “You at least have to take charge while he’s gone,” she murmured. “And everyone’s looking to you.”

  A pair of Spiral’s arms tightened around the shoulderpads, one hand stroking the red-painted armour. “I can’t. I can’t do it. He–” her face crumpled, and tears fell.

  Meggan wept, too. “I know. He was everything.”

  “I just wish I had one more chance.”

  “Cheer up, fraulein. Where there’s life, there’s hope.”

  Just about everyone’s face fell wide open as he emerged from the shadows, apparently none the worse for wear.

  Spiral stood, still clutching the armour piece like a babe. “…kurt…”

  “Rumours of my death have been,” he smirked, “somewhat exaggerated, ja?”

  {SMACK!} Spiral’s had had moved faster and harder than anyone had ever thought possible. Nightcrawler had had to dig his toes into the ground in order to stay upright.

  “What was *that* for?” he demanded.

  Eyes tainted with madness, she gripped him by the collar of his shirt and shook him. “Don’t you *EVER* do that to me again or I’ll fucking *KILL YOU*!”


  It was sunset once again, the crimson light from the setting sun, tinted through pollution-weighted clouds, made gory the neat, office room.

  Graydon Creed held a glass of whisky in his hands, he sipped from it occasionally, swilling the burning liquid in his mouth, considering its scent.

  He knew she was there with him now, in the shadows. But he did not turn to her, he could not bear to, so instead he kept his eyes fixed on his awsome view of the city, painted red for him.

  'Well,’ he said at last, 'why have you come?’

  'A favour.’

  Her voice sounded weaker than usual, a trifle husky[9]. His heart skipped a beat, perhaps now as the time? When she was weak? No… now, it could well be feigned, or due to something else entiely. Besides, he still needed her.

  As she needed him, it seemed.

  'What do you want of me?’

  'McAlister… you have heard of his arrest?’

  'Of course.’

  'You intend to bail him out once again?’



  'Excuse me?’

  'Don’t. I do not wish you too. He has interests in certain individuals whom… I find useful. I do not want him to to persue his interests in these individuals and so I ask that the government does not interfere with his trial.’

  Creed paused, he took another sip of the whisky and swilled it round in his mouth for a bit, as if trying to decide his answer.

  'It could be difficult,’ he said at last, 'I’m not so powerful as I have all that much voice in the government yet… not yet…’

  'But I am arranging otherwise, yes?’

  'I should hope so…’

  'And so, in repayment of that, I now ask you to do this for me. You can do this, I know you can.’

  There was no encouragement or assurance in her words, merely statement, fact. A blatant order.

  Creed bit back a snarl of defiance and took another gulp of his drink.

  'Fine,’ he rasped, 'I’ll do what I can but I do wonder…’


  'I can guess this is something about his involvement with the Genetic Experiments on those mutants, correct? Tell me… how do you think that one freak-spawn… Judit? Josephine? Juliet… ah, yes, Juliet, got out? How did she escape from such a high security base?’

  'I do not know everything, boy.’


  There was blatant accusation in his voice now, and for the first time he turned away from the window, turned to glare into the darkness and the two, golden eyes that glowed from within it.

  'Really,’ repeated the husky, female voice.

  'Why should I trust you any more?’ asked Creed, his grip on his whisky glass tightening, his brow furrowing, anger blazing in his eyes.

  'Because I made you,’ said the soft voice, and slowly the slender, sinuous form of Mystique emerged from the shadows, her gait as graceful and lethal as a hunting cat. 'Because, if I so wished, I could destroy you, too. I gave birth to you, Graydon, I brought you into this world, raised to greatness, but I can cast you down too, I can kill you, and you know it!’

  For a second it looked like the politician would argue, that he would snap back some retort, but he did not. The whisky glass hung limp in his hands.

  'Yes mother,’ he murmured, and turned away again, turned to stare into the embers of the falling sun.


 [1] As opposed to Octy the Morlock

 [2] It’s zucchini, in case you’re wondering what the *hell* a courgette is.

 [3] From 'Nutter’s fic, Red Dye 366, under Plot? What plot?

 [4] Sorry, just couldn’t resist. 

 [5] Telepaths find out all *sorts* of things when the mind is -ahem- otherwise engaged ;)

 [6] Spidey black cat and DD! a mental image bugging me for weeks make of it what you will! :D

 [7]The Department of Extranormal Operations, kudos if you know what it’s from.

 [8] Since most of the kids grew up in a lab, they’re unfamiliar with what gender-specific clothes are.

 [9] she’s probably a little weak from the electricution of the nano bugs inside of her.

::Chapter:_:Four: Surprises

[An indeterminate amount of time has passed since Episode 3. Jean is now back at the Institute.]

  For the umpteenth time, Scott glanced at Jean as she pored over her medical journals. For the umpteenth time, he wished telepathy worked in reverse. What he wouldn’t give for a peek at her thoughts…

  Jean sighed and leaned back, stretching her arms out to either side. She looked at Scott on the pretense of getting some kinks out of her neck, saw on his face what she felt in his mind, and asked, “Can I help you with something?”

  “Damnit, Jean,” Scott ran a hand through his hair. “Since you came back, you’ve been so… weird. What *happened* down there?”

  The telepath closed her eyes and rolled her shoulders. “Things,” she replied vaguely.

  “No.” Scott rose from his chair and swiveled Jean’s around, forcing her to face him. “Answer me.”

  He was rewarded with a sad stare. Jean reached out to hold his wrists with her small hands. “Scott,” she said, “I… There are some things I’d just like to keep to myself. Please don’t…”

  “If our friendship means anything at all to you, then at least let me try to help.” He knelt, bringing himself more comfortably to Jean’s eye-level.

  Jean sighed again, her face creasing into a frown. “When the tunnels flooded, Kurt - Nightcrawler - rescued me. Or I rescued him.” She paused. “We rescued each other.”

  Scott’s hands tightened on the sides of her chair, and she felt the vague dislike for the Legion leader and his oddball ethos rolling off him. It stung her on some deeper level, and she scowled.

  “Now this is why I didn’t want to tell you!” She jerked sideways, tears beginning to gather in the corners of eyes she studiously averted; though why she was crying escaped her. Impulsively, she shovelled Scott aside.

  Both were on their feet now, the space between them as uncrossable as if Jean had erected a telekinetic barrier.

  “Why are you so defensive all the time?” Jean almost shouted. “We’re both alive! Isn’t that enough?”

  “Couldn’t have just left him?” Scott said ruefully. “Damn your altruism.”

  Indefinable rage welled up in Jean’s chest. “Kurt is a good man!” she burst out. “And you know what? We laid together. Consensually,” she interrupted as Scott’s mouth started to open. “And we were happy! Screw the politics, we had something good. But it can’t work, and I regret it.” Her head dropped, her green eyes sliding across the dull floor tiles.

  “Oh, Jean.” Scott stepped forward, reaching out for her like the big brother he so didn’t want to be. “It’ll be all right. Tell me what I can-”

  Jean’s head snapped up, and she pushed him away physically, strength exploding from somewhere in her thin frame. “I didn’t do it for you!” She pummeled his chest; Scott defending only weakly out of surprise. “And I didn’t do it for him! I did it for ME! Because sometimes I want things too!”

  And with a loudly projected, “Selfish MEN!”, she flung him telekinetically against the wall and stormed out of the room. 


  He was an expert in the darkness… he had spent much of his life in it, after all. He watched Scott and Jean’s quarrel from the darkness now, and his strange, inhuman eyes narrowed with susspicion.

  It was time to go to church.


  It wasn’t the biggest or grandest of places, but it served his needs. The dwarf preist was welcoming and friendly, he listened to his confession and passed a kindly judgement.

  Now he sat in front of the alter. He seemed the only worshiper today, the priest had retired to his own private rooms. The candlelight flickered off the polished oak arches of the cieling, the whisperings of his prayors were magified tenfold in the echoing silence.

  Then the worshiper caught it, a slight sound behind him… the sound he’d been waiting for. *He* had arrived.

  A rogueish grin upon the worshiper’s face, he stood up, spun on his heel and somersaulted forward. In a quick flurry of acrobatic movement he tumbling towards the other man, his target.

  The other man gasped and reached to his side, reached inside the long, voluminous robes he wore which hid every part of his body. For once he was too slow.

  With a sharp, slithering sound the robed man found the end of a boe-staff.

  'Bonjoir, chien,’ greeted Gambit, 'crawled out of the sewers, I see?’

  The cloaked man cast back his hood to reveal a blue, fuzzy face.

  'Hund!’ He swore, 'how *dare* you bring weapons into the house of God!’

  'I could ask de same of you.’

  Nightcrawler drew his robes back, revealings him in all his armored glory, 'I didn’t,’ he snapped, and it was true for the leather sheathes that usually held his swords were empty. 'If I had,’ he added, 'then you’d be dead by now.’

  Gambit shifted uncomfortably, both unsettled that, if anything, he was in the wrong here, and the idea that Nightcrawler might be right. There were few who could match the acrobatic and swashbuckling prowess of Remy LeBeau, but in Nightcrawler he half-feared he had met his match.

  'Well then,’ he said at last, trying to sound as laid back as ever, 'how’s this, I put away my staff, you promise to hang around long enough for us to have a little chat, oui?’

  Kurt considered for a moment, fiddling with the charms and crosses strung about the ratty necklace he always wore, then nodded, 'there shall be no conflict in the house of God.’

  Remy shrugged and collapsed his staff again, slipping it back by his side.

  'I never guessed you for a Christian,’ sneered Nightcrawler when the staff was gone. 'How did you know where to find me, anyway?’

  'You aren’t the only one who’s worked in the underground,’ scoffed Remy, 'and yes, I’m a Christian, a Catholic if you must know.’

  'Then we share something in common.’

  'I know, makes you want to convert to Satanism, doesn’t it? But to de point, we share something else in common.’


  'A love of a certain red haired fille.’

  Nightcrawler’s golden eyes narrowed, 'I don’t know what you mean,’ he growled.

  'I heard her and Scott taking about it,’ continued Remy unabated, 'I know what you did to her.’

  'I did nothing to her,’ interjected Nightcrawler sharply, 'with her, ja, but not to her!’ Then he smiled, his fangs making him seem all the more demonic, 'I see,’ he hissed, 'that burns you up, doesn’t it? That I had her and you didn’t? I wonder if she even knows that her upstanding teammate drools over her at night?’

  Gambit’s eyes blazed like demon fire, his hand strayed back to his weapon, but he stopped himself. Nightcrawler was pushing his buttons, he knew that, and he’d be damned if he was going to give in.

  'Listen, you little merde, what Jean does is her bidness, I won’t interfere, but if you hurt her…’

  'Then you’ll what? That time… it was a moment of passion. A mistake. Neither of us regret it, but we do not wish to repeat it. Our relationship is over!’

  Gambit blinked, he had not been expecting this. 'Over?’ he repeated.

  'Ja, over. But don’t get your hopes up, I don’t think she goes for your type, she doesn’t tend to like sneaky little cut-throats.’

  'What was she doin’ wit’ you then?’

  Nightcrawler’s fingers twitched, and the two mutants stood staring at each other, a strange battle of wills taking place.

  Remy was first to look away.

  'Personally,’ he said, 'I don’t care about how you feel for her, but if you hurt her… hurt her at all, I’ll hunt you and all the Legion down, this Remy LeBeau promises.’

  Then, without a further word, the Cajun stalked out of the church, leaving Nightcrawler feeling strangely uncomfortable.


  For one who, in his early life was powerless, he was a man accustomed to power, it marked his every movement, measured and careful, his bearing, regal, his voice deep and compelling.

  He is a large man, well built, and his eyes are like chips of ice…. he thinks his devices hide him from me… but still I See him. In many ways more clearly so than others.

  “Woman, what do you See?”

  It has almost become a ritual between us, a king going to see the Oracle of Delphi, - to his mind, but too often, I See us as King Saul and the Witch of Endor….

  “Woman, what do you See?”

  He asks, waits and asks again, I tell him what I see - at least the things I see that make sense - ten years ago, after I told him of a knight in armour and a man with spider’s blood … he asked if they were mutants, I said no, and he deemed them irrelevant.

  It was at the edge of the age of Heroes - I often wonder what he thought of that vision in subsequent visits, but my gift does not grant me omniscience….

  “What do you See?”

  “Many things…”

  “Tell me”

  Above the streets of the city a mother and a son try to wrest power from each other, at this moment, the mother is victorious, yet if certain things are not dealt with, I perceive a change, a danger to both… and my heart aches at the choice that must be made.

  “Creed is on the move again, for the moment, do not restrain him - what he does is needful”

  In another building in the same city the child of the child-of-my-heart is being lulled to sleep with her companions by a story told by an angel, other children are being sent to bed by their carers after a long and eventful day, while elsewhere in the building a boy stares out of a window and prays for his little sister.

  “The humane foundation should remain untouched, the children will be safe for now… and I See many other mutants joining … in all the things you do, a sanctuary is necessary for the frightened and weak.”

  “And a mole…?”

  “Inadvisable, if a mole would enter he would either join their cause or be discovered by the Wolverine”

  He is silent for a moment, I decide to anticipate the next question.   “Charles Xavier,” I feel a small thrill as he starts, my mask of passivity slips for a moment. “He and his children will experience a great change soon. I see a point of discovery, a great divergence, this will either draw them together, make them strong, send them on a different fate than what I originally envisioned or…”

  He leans forward in anticipation.

  “Or they will shatter, shards flying off in different directions, shards that may be gathered if one is discreet….”

  “Can the outcome be influenced?”

  “There is a small window of time, where influence may be extended - but I advise caution, they know you and your capabilities, an intermediary is best employed - one connected to yourself yet still independent”

  He reclines again, hands steepled before his face, remote, considering, I see many paths before him, but as moments pass some atrophy and vanish, those remaining, some stronger than others, more likely, and yet they could be overturned by a moment’s decision.

  “The Legion of the Unwanted…”

  “Cannot be turned to the Cause”

  He blinks momentarily, surprised, the regal facade slips a moment and I see beneath a man of ice and iron. It does not last, the mask slides easily into place, years of practice holding it well.

  “And its leader? The Nightcrawler? What of him?”

  I hesitate - two paths lie before me, I see one vibrant, pulsing with life, one dark and stained with grief, and yet… ghostlike i see a third timeline weaving itself….

  “Whatever you do, go carefully with him, he is a nexus point, and not to be trifled with, force will not tame him, and he has the wit to see through words and facades - it is the heart that marks him, it is the heart that must be touched, and a man such as yourself would not appeal to his heart…”

  And there, I have sent us rocketing along the third timeline, a complete unknown, I shall have to consider events carefully - ah Raven, the things we do for our children …

  He grunts an acknowlegement, making a face at the prospect of yet another difficult conquest. - He may not confront the Nightcrawler directly, but through another.

  “And the project?”

  My back stiffens. Ah his precious project! Where would we be without it! At home I imagine, or in New York, with the child of the child-of-my-heart sitting on my lap, listening to one of my stories ….

  “At this point in time I do not see anyone who will interfere with your project,” … may it rot … “But events are inclined to change, beware of the Doctor, he knows but will not interfere. - Yet.”

  He sighs, a relieved smile on his face, leaning back in his chair for a moment, before gathering his cane and suitcase, the trappings of a civilised man.

  “I do so enjoy our little conversations my dear, I find we have such fascinating things to discuss, but unfortunately I only have so much time in which to do these things, I do hope you will excuse me.”

  “Of course.”

  He brings my hand to his lips briefly in a courtly gesture, there is no warmth.

  “Good Day Irene.”

  “Good Day Erik.”

  Always so civilized, always externally so humane… but as i sit in my featureless room, kept from those I love, institutionalized, deemed mad… I remember agian that there are many reasons why I could hate him.

  Yet he is my only physical link with the outside world, and at this point in time I cannot act against him, without those I love being hurt or worse.

  So I sit, and stare sightlessly at bare white walls, a mad old blind woman whose medication cannot stop her mutation.





  “Aw, come on. It’s just for a little while - ”


  Ororo looked up, startled, as a handful of figures bustled through the door to the kitchen. One of them swiftly went to stand behind her chair, putting both it and her between him and the rest of the group.

  The forerunner of the mob pouted. “You’re no fun,” Jubilee said in an exasperated voice.

  Ororo raised an eyebrow. She’d been about to head off to Warren’s place after her coffee, but this caught her interest, and she swivelled around in her chair. “Would any of you mind telling me what is going on?”

  Sam scowled, remaining where he was. “They wanna cut mah hair,” was all he said.

  “It needs a trim.” Tabby stepped forward, scissors snapping happily in one hand and bubblegum bouncing off her teeth. “Badly.”

  Sam swept his fringe out of his eyes, sandy blonde hair leaking over the sides of his hand. “Does not,” he shot back.

  “Does so!”

  “Does not!”

  “Does so!”

  “Does - ”

  “Will you belt up, a'ready?” Rahne broke in, setting herself between them and resting her hands on the tabletop.

  Ororo stood up, with the result that Sam shrank further behind her vacated chair, like he was going to use it to fend off the rest of the group. She allowed herself a small smile, assorted bracelets and rungs clinking merrily on her way over to the sink.

  “Ororo, help,” was the pitiful whine. It hadn’t been so very long ago she was a part of their little sector of the institute, until her skin colouring and 'press-worthy’ past nabbed her a spot on the X-Men proper. Sam was obviously trying to use that in his own favour, and she chuckled vaguely under her breath.

  “She can’t save you now, Sammy boy,” Jubilee said with an almost feral grin. Grabbing the scissors from Tabby, she held the point in a closed fist, and proceeded to leapfrog over the table in a thoroughly gymnastic movement.

  Sam yelped, and dived for the door. He shot through just before Bobby slammed it closed, and gained a few precious seconds on his pursuers as they took the time to open it again and thunder after him.

  “Quick, we can corner him on the staircase,” someone yelled.

  “No, he’s going the other - gah!” A thump, and the sound of muffled giggles. “S'not funny! Hurt my butt.”

  “There he goes!”

  “After 'im!”


  “…and in other news, Christmas shoppers are entering into a *frenzy* over the new 'Nicecrawler’ doll. The plush toy, modelled after the mysterious and enigmatic leader of the Legion of the Unwanted–”

  “*STACY*!” Kurt roared. “Stacy, where the hell are you?” He stalked out of his chamber, but no-one was anywhere near.

  No doubt, they’d cleared off when they heard his first astonished howl of outrage.

  “…oh, *yes*… ah, mein Herr…”

  “Rita?” Kurt followed the low, hushed sounds of quiet pleasure to her private chambers and pushed aside the curtain that served as a door.

  Having seen what was within, he quickly shoved it back and hid on the public side. Then he checked his hair to see if it had gone white.

  “Verdammt… why do women always want to play with me?” he muttered.


  At the Foundation Jamie was carefully explaining to the kids what Christmas was. Considering their past, he wasn’t really sure if he should tell them about Santa, so he left that out for now. He’d thought it would be fairly easy, but the only things they were familiar with that helped were candy, toys, and cookies. Their eyes widened as he explained Christmas trees, decorations, presents, and more.

  An hour later Kaze found half a dozen kids using the spagetti they’d had for dinner as tinsel for their Christmans tree, Edgar. He was the only tree most of them had ever soon, so they didn’t quite understand that a Japanese Maple wasn’t exactly a proper Christmas tree. She thought about what she should do, idly noticing how confident they were now of getting enough food, even using some to decorate. She settled back to watch for a moment longer before going to fix what they were doing.

  Logan saw an unusually bright hallway and walked over to investigate. He saw several of the kids that could make the light shows discussing just what Christmas lights should look like. Current favorites were a nebula-like cloud of lights, bits than looked like timy explosions, and threads of light along the floor.

  Warren walked down a hallway, stopping when he noticed someone had painted the wall again. This time they all looked simular, like maple trees with spots of color on them and a star on top. What was going on now?


  'Hack into the city computers they say,’ grumbled Tech, tapping away on one of the Legion’s ramshackle computers, 'find the plans for the factory, he orders, does he realise how many damn blocks they have on their system? Shit!’

  Once again he was thwarted. He tried again.

  'And he wants it done before tomorrow, ha! Like to see him do this! Like to see anyone do this! Be lucky if I finish this before Christ-’


  Tech jumped at the shrill noise, before realizing it’s source. He grinned widely and stretched in his chair.

  'Oh yeah,’ he muttered, 'I’m good. I’m good.’

  There was a clink of armor behind him and he knew Nightcrawler was there.

  'Sehr Gut,’ he congratulated, 'these are the plans?’

  'Yep, that new toy factory for those dolls they’ve set up. And there’s a access tunnel right… here. See?’ Tech pointed to the appropriate place on the screen, 'with a bit of work we can be in and out no problem.’

  'And it ist in a warehouse district,’ added Nightcrawler, 'gut, I don’t want any casulties.’

  Tech nodded and sighed, he was going to have to ask The Question.

  'Um… Boss…’


  'Look, don’t take this the wrong way but… why are we doing this? I mean, we burned up the last factory and they just put up another one. Why go through it all over again?’

  'Because I will not have effigies of me being thrown around the city as toys for children! I will not put up with that humiliation!’

  He sounded angry, and Tech could have kicked himself for what he said next.

  'Yeah but isn’t that a little… vain?’

  Nightcrawler gave him a look which implied death in a number of very interesting and painful ways. Then he blinked and shook his head, as if clearing his thoughts. For a moment Tech though he saw something else shift in his leaders eyes, doubt, perhaps?

  'Get back to work, Tech,’ he growled, 'I want you to try and hack into the accounts of the toy company which is selling those dolls, see what chaos we can spread in their systems, ja?’

  'Sure boss,’ replied Tech, though without any enthusiaism.

  Nightcrawler stalked away, leaving Tech to work and think.

  Ever since the tunnel flooding he’d been particually snappy and harsh. Most people put this down to the flooding itself, had not the entire Legion come within a hairs-breath of death and, indeed, would have been washed away if it hadn’t been for the actions of Jean Grey.

  That kind of near death experience, of choas and loss was bound to make a protective leader a little more snappish than usual, but Tech was beginning to wonder if there was something else in the mix here. Was Nightcrawler… and this felt almost too absurd, was Nightcrawler facing a chrisis of faith over the Legion?

  Tech sighed, shook his head and rubbed his eyes. He was thinking rubbish, and treasonal rubbish. He was just Tech, after all, he messed with computers, he didn’t think further than that. Still… it would be good to sound his theory out with someone, someone neautral. Perhaps he’d talk to SB girl about it tonight…