TitleThe Hope Within War

Author – Toreina-Mei a.k.a. Jenna

Chapter Two – P.P.: Plans and Problems


A beige folder plopped down onto the table, a couple photographs and documents slipping out of it. Pyro lifted his head to get a better look at it, but it was too blurry from a distance. He could only make out two people, one in a white lab coat and another in a hideous suit. Mystique held up a picture of a man with strawberry blond hair and big square glasses.

"This is Henry Girik, the man in charge of Federal Security, and now the Mutant Registration Agency too." She held up another picture of a man with gray hair and a small moustache. "And this is Dr. Trask. Pass around the folder and the pictures, get a good look at them."

"What's so special about them?" one man asked.

"They have been trying to officially start a mutant program for years now, which the president just finally approved. Girik is trying to protect mankind from mutants, either by controlling us or killing us. Whatever appeals to him," she sneered.

"I think we made an impression on them, my dear," said Magneto.

Mystique half-smiled and continued, "They have started building something called a 'Sentinal'. Actually, Dr. Trask has already built it and wants to build more, Girik is only funding the program."

"I've heard of Trask. He was in line to win the Nobel prize in chemistry, but then he won it for physics. He built the Sentinal thing to use as a military weapon, but the government wouldn't give him all the money he needed so he dropped the project," said one of the men.

"Sounds like a bad video game," Pyro said dully.

"Oh, I'm afraid not, my boy," said Magneto, deathly serious, "this is far worse than one of your silly video games. They already have a prototype that's been tested by the military, that they know works. Now all they have to do is test it against mutants, against us."

What was his deal with giving speeches? Pyro wondered.

Mystique held up a final photo that had been printed off of the computer.

"This is a Sentinal. If you look closely you'll see a small figure at the bottom standing in front of it. That's Dr. Trask. Not only is this thing big, but it has several built-in weapons, probably guns and small rockets, but I don't know for sure-"

"Something that big'll never move!" said Spit.

"Dr. Trask specializes in mechanics and robotics, it's been tested, so we know it can move," said Magneto, "but whether or not it will work has yet to be seen."

"And if it does work?" Pyro asked. Whatever it's supposed to do.

"Then we'll see what Mystique has to tell us about it when she returns."

--

There was a phone on a small round table near the front doors that Remy could use, an older one that didn't have any special features, not even a redial button. Scott had left, but the other furry man remained, propped against the wall and staring at him intently as if he were going to blow up the mansion with a simple touch.

"You got a problem?" Remy asked as he picked up the phone.

"Yeah, you're taking too long to get out."

The phone in Remy's hand grew bright and exploded. He jumped slightly in surprise and groaned when he realized what he had done – and seen that he had ruined his glove. A few broken bits pelted his chest, a few knocked under his chin, and clattered onto the floor. Then suddenly he was shoved against the wall, his coat collar held tightly, with three metal claws in front of his nose.

"Logan!"

The Professor rolled into the room in his wheelchair, Scott behind him. He dropped Remy, who pulled away and put on a show of fixing his duster.

"I'm sorry 'bout 'da phone, uh…"

"Xavier. Professor Charles Xavier. And it's quite all right," he said. His blue eyes stared at him, right into him. "Scott, show the young man to the garage. Your car needs gas, correct?"

"Uh… oui. How you know dat, monsieur?"

The Professor smiled. "We all have our own special gifts."

"You tryin' to tell Remy you can read his mind?" he chuckled, thinking it a joke.

"Yes, and I hope you will excuse my intrusion, but this is a rather difficult time for us now. We are all a bit weary, especially of visitors at this hour of night," said the Professor. "Your name is Remy, correct?" He quickly sobered and nodded. "Scott will show you to the garage and take you back to your car. Then perhaps you could come back here for a few minutes?"

"Sure, homme. I wouldn't want to be rude," he said.

Scott and Remy headed down the hall and, once they were around the corner, Logan stepped up next to the Professor. He looked down at him, frowning.

"You aren't going to invite him to stay here…" he said, asking without making it a question.

"We help all mutants, Logan, even the ones you don't like," said the Professor good-naturedly. "He doesn't have control over his powers and if he accidentally blows up something bigger than a telephone, he could be dangerous. We can teach him to control powers. After all, this is a school, even if everyone is leaving it temporarily."

"And why are you staying, Chuck?" Logan asked.

"Because someone must protect the lower levels. If the military were to get a hold of the jet… well, the technology is still a little advanced for the world."

"Yeah and we've already seen what happens when people get hold of Cerebro…"

"Yes, that too. That and I spent a lot of money to have this school built, I can't just leave it to be destroyed now, can I?" said the Professor.

He raised his brows. "Right."

--

The car was empty; there was nothing in the glove compartment, nothing in the trunk and nothing under the seats.

And there was no Gambit either. That bastard had led him halfway around the world, from New Orleans to France to New York, and now even when he had his car he didn't have him! Gambit was not making this easy on him, but he had made his job a little easier by getting into that little scuffle at the illegal casino-restaurant.

He looked at the dirt around the car. There were footsteps that led further down the road, but he couldn't see exactly how far in the dim moonlight. If Gambit knew he was following him then he couldn't go after him on foot, that was a good way to end up dead or lose his wallet to that thief. He hoped it was only paranoia making him think that Gambit was waiting behind a tree on a deserted road just for him. Gambit's car had probably broken down and he had walked away to look for a call box or a quick stop. Was that boy too stupid to carry a cell phone? Well, he didn't have one either.

He went back to his car and opened the door, then paused. The damned thief would go back to his pretty red corvette sometime, wouldn't he? So he pulled out his pocketknife and knelt down at the door, happily switched open the blade and hurried to do what he wanted to do.

Special Delivery for Monsieur Gambit from the Assassin's Guild. Singing telegram from Tophat: I want to kill you, his mind's voice tittered.

--

There was a few nice cars in the garage, very nice ones that he would have liked to hotwire and take a ride in… permanently. Remy followed Scott to the other corner where there were a few red canisters that reeked of gasoline, next to a table that had a few various tools spread out on it and a pair of sunglasses. The glasses looked identical to the ones pretty-boy had on and, since he was in need of a new pair, he nimbly plucked them from the table and slid them into his pocket. Scott picked up one of the canisters and handed it to him.

"Merci," he said.

"C'mon, I'll give you a lift back to your car," said Scott.

"Ah, merci again. It be jus' down de road. Not far," said Remy as he opened the door of the Mazda and slipped in.

Scott, who had had the car towed back to the mansion and replaced the ignition (which had had a strange hole in it), started the car and pulled out. A couple minutes later they were pulling up along the side of the road behind Remy's car. He got out and walked over to the driver's side, Scott waiting for him. He stopped when he saw the side of his vehicle.

Tophat was here.

And he had completely ruined the paint job of his convertible! Great, jus' great, Remy thought. Tophat wanted it back, but he had stolen it fair. Still, this meant he was being followed – automatically his eyes shifted back and forth and then he casually looked over his shoulder – which meant that he would have to leave soon if he liked to live, and he did.

"What's wrong?"

"Nothin', someone jus' didn't like mon car, is all," he said as he unscrewed the lid of the container and poured the gas into the tank.

"To-phat was here?" Scott read, confused.

"I t'ink it say Top-hat, mon ami," Remy chuckled.

"Oh. Right."

"Lead da way back," he said as he hopped into the driver's seat, already planning to speed by when Scott turned into the driveway. He no longer had time to waste.

"Heh. Hey, just to give you some warning, I think the Professor wants to ask you to stick around. Help you learn to control your powers."

"You mean stay at dat place?" Remy asked, slightly amused. He chose to let the unintentional insult roll off – he could control his powers just fine when there weren't uncivilized, hairy men growling at him.

"Actually, we're taking a, uh, vacation up in Boston for a couple weeks. You could come with us for a few days, see how you like it. See if the Professor can help you," Scott shrugged.

"Right, Remy t'ink about it, okay?"

And suddenly Remy had a solution that sounded much better than just taking off in his car, ditching it and borrowing another one. He had the chance for a free trip to Boston, surrounded by people – and not just any people, but mutants with powers and abilities. Tophat was probably somewhere close by, watching him now, waiting for the chance to get him alone. Even if that silly assassin followed him all the way to Boston, he couldn't come close to killing him with so many people, especially mutant people, around. Sounded perfect.

--

Rogue rolled over in bed and tugged at her hair, wanting to groan, scream, something! Tears rolled down her cheeks as she tried to make her thoughts stop their torrent, but they kept assailing her and wouldn't let her go to sleep. There were voices that weren't hers, thinking things that she normally never would, which had her on the edge of hysterics. There were memories of places and people that she didn't remember visiting or meeting. She wasn't sure that she even knew which memories belonged to her and which ones belonged to the people she had touched with her accursed skin. All these people, all these voices… they were incessant in whatever they had to think.

Finally she rolled out of bed, wiped her eyes and crept down to the kitchen slowly so as not to make any noise and wake anyone. When she got there, though, she found several others already there, sitting on the counter sipping sodas or whispering at the table. They were all still in their pajamas.

"Looks like we got another one that couldn't sleep," said Kitty Pryde, a tall girl with short-cropped blonde hair.

Rogue put on her best I-just-woke-up face and asked groggily, "Ugh, what time is it?"

"Almost two-fifteen," Kitty answered. She held out a package of cheese to her. "Want some?"

"No thanks," she said, feigning a yawn.

Rogue wished Bobby was there, but he wasn't, and suddenly she didn't want to be in the room any more. She poured herself a glass of water, so that it wouldn't look like she had come down for nothing, took a sip even though she wasn't thirsty, and decided she needed to take a walk. So she padded out and tried to ignore the ceaseless thoughts than ran through her head, but that only made them grow louder and incoherent. As she walked down the corridor, she started to imagine that she was being followed by uniformed men, all armed with guns, intending to kill her. But, when she turned around, there was only an empty hallway. She took another sip of her water.

Logan and the Professor were at the entrance and she turned to head back before either one of them noticed she was there, but Logan had already caught her scent.

"Hey, kid," he greeted.

"Hey," she said quietly, stepping our from behind the corner.

"Why ain't you in bed?" he asked.

"Couldn't sleep. You?"

"Waiting on some bozo," he growled.

"Huh?"

The door opened the then, Scott and another man coming in. Rogue eyed the stranger curiously, somewhat started – yet captivated – by his eyes.

"Ah, nice of you to come back," said the Professor.

"Oui," said Remy, who then turned to Rogue and smiled charmingly. "'Ello, mademoiselle."

She would have been content just to stare at his lips and listen to him talk, but when he reached for her ungloved hand, she instinctively jerked away. Logan put a hand on the man's shoulder.

"Don't touch her," he said threateningly.

"All I want to do is introduce myself to de joli fille," he said and bowed instead. "De name is Remy."

"Uh, Rogue."

He raised his brows. "Dat your real-" he began, but was cut off when Logan put himself between them.

"Why not go on back to bed, Rogue? Gonna be a busy day tomorrow," he said and, when he saw her trying to inconspicuously look around him, added, "C'mon, I'll take ya."

"'Evenin', cher," Remy called.

"G'night," she said without looking back.

"Well then, shall we talk now?" the Professor inquired politely.

"Sure, homme… just don' be doin' none of dat mind readin', alright?"

--

Author's Note – Does this chapter seem slow to anyone? It did to me at first.

Well, for those of you who are noticing, *ahem*, slight changes in certain characters from the way they were portrayed in the movie… I have several different influences that's making me tweak their personalities just slightly. The two main people to receive noticeable "tweaks" are Wolverine and Nightcrawler. Why? Because I rented the 'Legend of Wolverine' tape, which has a few of the original series on it that I love so much. And, I have also taken a liking to X-Men Evolution, even though it's a cheap ripoff/cross of the original series and the movies. *shrugs*

Just be glad I'm not influenced by the Evolution Pyro… or he would pick up this really neat Australian accent and call ya a "mate", mate. ^_^ Though, I quite like the accent in the show. *is quite nuts*

Gambit has influence from the original series, a few snippets from comics that I've seen and Freeverse (because I've recently read a couple of her fics). Evo Gambit sucks. Period. James Bradford has been cast to play Gambit in the 3rd movie, and let me tell you, he is a fiiine pick. Jared Leto would have also been a good pick. Yum.

Sentinal/Girik/Trask inspiration from original series. Yay. ^_^

Thank You's To – Rew (that sounds spiffy – Rew Rew!), cynical, Regus12, Steven (a roomful of mutants means to me that they don't want to be killed; a blue, fanged, demon-like creature trying to impale me with a knife means to me that someone wanted to kill me, and if he just waves at me I'm gonna think he's plotting something horrendously evil), Fei, and Eclavadra Abier for all your lovely reviews. I do welcome criticism, if anyone can find anything wrong. ^_^

Planned Update – Unknown. I got sidetracked from my main story, which is Another Life (a DBZ fic), and now I must get back to that. Don't worry, I'll keep working on this. Or, at the very least, putting in random, stupidity-filled filler chapters to let people know I'm alive. I'll estimate 6/20 for an update…?

Translations

oui – Yes/Yeah

monsieur – Mister/Sir

homme – Man

merci – Thank You/Thanks

mon – My

cher – Dear (In the comics, Gambit refers to Rogue as cher, and most girls as petite)

joli fille – Pretty girl