Katteree Fengari – Yes, everything will be explained eventually. Quite soon, actually, probably the very next chapter, should I decided to make this one of my mainstream fics rather than the tester/side fic it is now.
Chaos – *bows* Thanks for the compliments! I'll do my best to deliver! Even if I don't decide to carry on this one, I have some other EVO fic ideas rolling around in my lil blonde brain…
Violet Star, Girl number 1 – Glad you like and thanks for the reviews!
Turning of the Tables
by Makura Koneko
Why was she sitting in a pile of garbage and goodness knew what else? In an alleyway? Ok, she knew why she was in an alleyway- she had a job to do. But why was she sitting in the garbage? Scowling, she pulled herself up and out of the refuse, dusting herself off.
Something wasn't right.
Rogue's frown and scowl deepened- in hindsight, she would blame the beginnings of that's night's trouble on the single moment of hesitation that brief, alien thought cost her. For if she hadn't paused ever so briefly, just before she was fully encased in the shadows cast by the nook she dived into, she was convinced a certain red and black eyed someone would never have seen her.
Something wasn't right.
There it was again! Rogue's frown deepened even further as a headache began pounding in her temples, accompanied with an image, a flash of memory…something fleeting…something barely beyond her grasp… She felt the distinct sensation that she should be running to…someplace. Someplace with friends… Worry. She was supposed to be worried for someone… No, several someones… A shadow, a cat… A crawler of the night… Red on black eyes…
"Snap outta it, girl!" She snarled at herself. She shook herself. Probably just the remains of some dream she'd had. She hadn't slept all that well last night.
But, something wasn't right!
Rogue firmly ignored the increasing urgency in the annoying idea of something not being right that kept popping to mind. As it was, as she dismissed the notion as the belayed arrival of her conscious, she wouldn't know for quite some time how the streak of white amidst black had caught the attention of someone whom was startled to find her creeping among the shadows, a bag under her arm, and he ducked into the alley to follow.
Rogue fished a card from her pocket. Bent and worn, but it would do. She wedged it between the door and doorframe that was sheltered by the nook she hid in. Tongue in cheek, she set to work.
Fire flared around the red on black pupils of the man in the shadows. He grinned. But his europhia soon faded as the man with the eyes of a demon frowned deeply as he watched the young woman work at breaking into a tattooing and piercing parlor that, as far as he knew, had been shut down and empty for weeks. What was Rogue doing breaking into it? And what was she wearing?
Gone was her X-Men uniform. Instead, she was clad in tight black pants that were low enough on her hips to make even Britney Spears raise an eyebrow. Her top was remniscent of her favorite outfit to wear around the Institute- black tube top with transparent, long-sleeved green top. Only this, too, like the tube top, went no farther than the underside of her breasts. And the make-up was even worse- darker and heavier and no taste at all.
Come to think of it, he was dressed differently, too. Black turtleneck, jeans, leather jacket- no duster. No cards. No bo-staff. He was not pleased, to say the least.
"Rogue, amour du miens, what 'as 'appened to you?" He murmured, watching her as she finally got the lock undone and slipped inside. He glanced up at the sky, at the second, smaller moon beside the first one. "What 'as 'appened t'e'eryting?"
Rogue continued to wiggle the card down and around. When it began to take longer than she considered safe, she began muttering curses under her breath to alleviate her rising impatience.
"By the Emperatriz…" she muttered, then froze, glancing around nervously. To be caught using the name of the Emperatriz in a disrespectful manner would render a far harsher punishment than any breaking and entering could land her.
She kept at it, until at last she heard a click. Saving her triumph for later, she dropped the card and slipped inside, silent- she never noticed the shadow detaching itself from its hiding place to follow after her, just as silent as she.
The darkness within was absolute, and Rogue fished out from her pocket a scratched and worn mini key-chain flashlight. She twisted it on, and a small halo of light encircled her, giving her just enough illumination to navigate by. Surrounding her were the giveaway equipment of a tattooing and piercing parlor.
Out of the small bag over her shoulder she pulled out a pair of gloves, and wiggled her hands into them, mini flash light held in her teeth. She then set to snatching various items, the bare necessities of the duo trades the parlor hosted. Rogue was unable to stop herself from filching a few pretty earrings and belly rings and eyebrow rings and such from a twirl stand on the counter.
Bounty in her sack, she pulled the strings tight and slung it over her head and under one arm, letting it rest at the small of her back, the strap going diagonally across her ample chest.
"Now for the fun part," she murmured, already thinking of the hefty wad of cash that would be in her hands later that night after she delivered the sack –minus the rings- to her employer-of-the-day, a jock who wanted revenge for a poorly done tattoo. Rogue herself didn't have much of a qualm about doing the job, for she, too, had a bone to pick with the owner, manager, and 'artist' who did everything. The man kept his tools in poor condition, and as a result Rogue had nearly lost an a few years back, as well as retaining a nasty scar at her bellybutton.
Rogue jerked a signed baseball bat off the wall, tested its weight gleefully, and began to swing away, smashing counters, chairs, mirrors, gouging crumbling holes into the walls, shattering display cases, scattering cards bearing samples, and just generally wrecking havoc. When the baseball bat shattered, she picked p a shard of glass in her gloved hand, and, holding it carefully so as not to cut herself, she dug deep gouges in the dirty linoleum floor. She was tempted to write a rude message, but didn't want to take a chance of her hand writing being filed. She may be an amateur, but she wasn't that stupid.
It was when she dropped the glass, one hand on her hip and the other swaying the small light across the room, that the dim light fell across twin glossy black orbs with piercing bright red pupils. Rogue barely stifled a scream as she dropped the little flashlight and stumbled back, unconsciously heading for the front door.
"We 'ave anger issues, eh?" Even in the near solid blackness she could practically hear how the owner of the voice raised an eyebrow.
"Somethin' like tha'," She replied automatically, still inching towards the door. "'ow did y'get in 'ere?"
"'Twas all to easy, amour," The little spot of light on the floor was lifted, and she realized he had all too silently moved forward to pick it up. Raised, the light now revealed his face to be not only sinfully breathtaking, but devilishly mischievous to match as he held up a battered card she recognized. "'specially after y'lef' de door unlocked f'me, non?"
"B-but-!" Rogue sputtered, something that only increased her annoyance. "He said th'door was sah'posed t'lock behand meh…" Distantly, she heard sirens and cursed, whirling and making a dash for the door.
She had barely taken a step when she came face to face once more with those red-on-black eyes. She whirled and made a dash for the back door, the door she had come in through. Again, she found herself coming up short lest she ran smack into a chest clothed in a knitted black turtleneck.
"Y'believ'd somet'ing dat y'employer told y'bout de job you were goin' t'be doing?" He asked, raising an eyebrow, either ignoring or not noticing her utter disbelief- how the hell did he move so fast? "Either y'Xfriends were more selective in y'trainin' den I tought b'fore I joined you, or whatever is going on be more fancy den even I tought."
"What y'yappin' about?" She growled, taking a step back.
He tilted his head, regarding her with glittering demonic eyes. "Y'really don remember me, do you?" Something flickered in his eyes as she started with surprise. Not giving her a chance to recover, he continued. "Even so, you be new at dis, is m'guess." He was clearly amused.
"Outta mah way, rat," she hissed, darting past him. At once she found herself yanked back by a firm grip on her wrist. She came crashing back into him, but he didn't even budge as she regained her footing, glaring up at him.
"You really be new at dis!" His eyes danced.
"What's it t'yah?" She snarled. "Lemme go!"
He clucked his tongue. "Temper, temper." He tilted his head. "Didin' Scooter or Dogs eva teach you dat y'never leave d'same way y'come in?"
"Whats it mattah, s'long as y'get out?!" She growled. "An' who th'hell is Scootah?" The man's eyes widened, then narrowed. Using this to her advantage, with a speed and deftness that surprised herself, Rogue brought her leg up and around, catching him in the side of his knee. He stumbled, she skirted backwards, and dashed to the door just as three men bearing matching guns, most definitely loaded, came barreling in.
In the split moment of chaos that followed, she felt warm air next to her right ear, a pair of lips ever so faintly brush her earlobe, and a soft voice, laughing and regretful at the same time. "Mebbe next time you listen t'me, non? Don worry, I find you and de others."
Then, somehow, as she whirled around, he was gone, and she was alone with three very pissed law enforcement officers. Which normally wouldn't have bothered her- then Rogue took a look around the room at the wreckage she had caused and groaned.
"Kurt!" Kitty screamed, and barreled into the fuzzy blue figure just as he turned in time to catch her.
"Kitty?" Kurt's bewildered, concerned voice asked, sinking to his knees with her in his arms onto the grass out front of the Xavier Institute. The tiny brunette's entire form shuddered as she gasped and sobbed all at once.
"K-Kurt…" She gasped.
"Hush, Kätzchen, just catch your breath," he told her, his accent thicker than usual with worry. She nodded and concentrated on pulling in precious oxygen into her lungs. When at last her muscles had fresh oxygen replenishing their energy, she managed to pull herself up, though Kurt still supported her as they rose to their feet, on arm on her waist, the other gripping her upper arm.
"Vhat happened?" He asked, searching her red and blurry eyes and tear-streaked face.
"Y-you saw it, didn't you?" she pleaded, gripping his the vest like garment of his uniform. "I'm not going crazy? That melting? That darkness?"
"Nein, you're not going crazy," he said darkly. "Come on, let's get inside- ve need to contact ze Professor and de others."
Nodding and sniffling, still clinging to her friend, Kitty followed the elfin-one into the mansion and down to the lower levels, underground. In the control room, Kurt guided Kitty to a chair. With a concerned sweep of his three-fingered hand over her hair and under her eyes, wiping away residual tears, he moved to the communications station, and set to work trying to get ahold of the adults of their team.
Kurt heard a slight whimper, and looked over his shoulder to where Kitty had become completely non-solid, and had sunk through the chair to the floor.
"Kitty, c'mon, knirps, talk to me."
"I should have found them…I shouldn't have run," she whispered, hugging her transparent self. "But she told me to run…"
"Kätzchen, talk to me," Kurt said, still configuring the communications controls to the best of his limited knowledge. He hoped the use of the nickname, one he rarely used, would bring her back. "Vhat happened vith you?"
"I-I saw…I saw a golden woman…" Kitty whispered. "In the warehouse…she…she knew we were there…" She drew in a shuddering breath. "Then the melting started… Rogue… Rogue told me to run, Kurt. Gambit said to get back to the mansion, to get ahold of the Professor and Scott and Jean and Storm…and everyone else, if we could…" Her voice trailed off.
Kurt scrambled for something to keep her talking.
"And 'ho is everyone else, Kit? Name everyone. And deir powers and codenames. C'mon, I need help, here. Vhere do you dink dey are?" He prayed she took the bait in her shocked state.
"Scott, he's Cyclops," she began. "He can shoot lasers out of his eyes… He's in Hawaii visiting his brother Alex. Storm –She's Ms. Munroe, and can control the weather- she's in Japan with Scott's girlfriend Jean… She doesn't have a codename." She giggled. "Isn't that, like, funny? She doesn't have a codename…"
"Ja, dat is funny," Kurt grinned- it was a old joke, all of them teasing Jean for her reluctance to choose a codename.
"The Professor is with them, too," she went on, starting to catch on to what her friend was doing as awareness seeped into her voice. "He's a telepath- probably, like, the most powerful in the world. They're in Japan checking out a group like ours that might want to become our allies. Then Logan left this morning to chase down Tabitha and Amara who skipped school to go to a party. Logan is Wolverine, Tabitha is BoomBoom, and Amara is Magma."
She took a deep breath before continuing.
"And then there's Bobby, Iceman, he and Evan –Spyke- and Sam won a trip to a concert in LA. Jubilee is at her grandmother's funeral…somewhere. I forgot what state…" She took another shuddering breath, trying to force her sobs into submission. "You, me, Gambit, and Rogue were left here to look after things. Gambit got word of a potential anti-human group gathering in an abandoned warehouse, and we went to take a look."
She paused, and Kurt glanced at her to see her eyes were closed, her face relaxed, almost forcibly so, it looked like, and she was breathing deeply and evenly, purposefully. She opened her eyes.
"Okay," she said after a moment. "I'm good. Thanks, Kurt."
Kurt threw her a smile over his shoulder as he finished up the controls. "No problem, mein freund."
She wrinkled her nose.
"Would you, like, quit with the German?" She said, scowling at him, her face contorted in a rather cute pout. "It's totally confusing when I have no idea what you're saying."
"One of these days, Kätzchen, I vill have to teach you d'basics." He laughed. Kitty rose to her feet, scowling as one foot sank through the floor.
"Whatever," she grumbled, but a pleasant flush adorned her cheeks as she made her way over to him. "Now, have we found them yet? The Professor will know what's going on, right?"
Kurt pushed a button. "Ve're about to vind out," he said, and looked to the screen that showed the pending results of the communications scan, searching the planet for their friends. Kitty sniffled a bit as they waited, staring at the screen.
At last, a red light on the console panel beeped, and they cheered, jumping into each other's arms- except Kitty went right through him.
"Oops," she said, but he waved it off as he opened a channel, and the Professor's voice came through.
"Gambit? Rogue?" The worry was tangible. "Kurt, Kitty?"
"It's us, Professor," Kitty blurted out. "Professor, what's going on?" The tears were back.
"Katherine, calm down," The Professor's voice, while worried as well, was soothing and her she bit her lip, biting back further tears. "Kurt, what has happened over there?"
"Gambit got word ov a stir-up ov human-haters do'nto'n, herr Professor," Kurt told his teacher. "Ve vent to check it out, and Kitty says she saw a 'golden voman.'"
"She knew we were there!" Kitty interjected. "I think she was a telepath!"
"And den dere was dis… Everyding started to melt, Professor!" Kurt continued.
"Yes, it was the same for us here in Japan," They could almost see the Professor nodding thoughtfully. "Have you come across anyone else you knew, but whom didn't recognize you?"
"No, Professor, I just ran all the way here, I didn't stop," Kitty said, fidgeting.
"And I 'ported," Kurt answered.
"I see." A pause. "Don't be surprised if you consult people you know whom act as if they don't know you. Similarly, if you meet any of our fellow X-Men, they may seem to not remember you or the Institute at all."
"What?" Kitty voiced, confused. "What do you mean?"
"I mean, after the blackness that followed the 'melting' Scott and Ororo and Logan were gone," The Professor told them. Kitty stifled a shocked screech as Kurt's jaw dropped. The telepath continued. "Similarly, the Senshi we were meeting with disappeared as well, and when we found them not too long ago, they had no memory of us or their crime-fighting nightlives, either."
"So, are you saying we're in some sort of alternate reality?" Kitty asked shakily. "Where some of us are X-Men and others aren't? Does that mean there are people we don't know who know us and think they're X-Men? What about Mystique? Magneto? The Brotherhood?"
"I don't know, Kitty, I don't know," the Professor sighed. "Try and locate as many of the known X-Men as you can without leaving Bayville. We will do the same on our way home. If they don't remember you, don't push, but keep tabs on their location, understand?"
"Ja, herr Professor," Kurt nodded even though he knew the Professor couldn't see him.
"Good. Jean is still with me, and has kept her memories, as have I. This may have something to do with the fact we are telepaths. And you say you were phasing the whole time during the melting, Kitty?"
"Uh-huh," Kitty wiped at her tears.
"And Kurt, you were teleporting?"
"Not during ze 'hole melting." Kurt paused. "But I vas vighting vith a telepathic voman, d'ough. She vas trying to get control ov my mind to get me to teleport her somevhere."
"I see," the Professor paused. "I believe I may have a theory, but I will need to test it before we can act upon it. Kitty, remain phased as long as you can. When you need to take a rest, take it inside Cerebro. Both of you, remember what I said about locating as many of the others as you can. And stay away from that warehouse. Put the Institute in Systematic Lockdown until we arrive."
"Yes sir," Kitty wiped away a final tear, squaring her shoulders.
"Look out for each other, you two," the Professor's voice was laden with both worry and affection. "We'll see you soon. Xavier out."
The connection went dead, and Kurt flicked a switch so that even the static that followed was cut off. There was a moment of silence, shattered by Kitty drawing in a long breath and letting it out slowly.
"All right," she said. "You heard the Prof. Let's get the Institute Lockdowned and then lets go out and look for the others."
"Dat sounds good t'me," a voice, slightly out of breath, caused Kurt and Kitty to whirl with duil cries of delight at the sight of the Cajun thief. He came over, limping ever so slightly, and ruffled the top of Kurt's fuzzy head. "What did de Professor say?" He asked. Kitty filled him in quickly, and he nodded.
"I've already foun' Rogue," he told them. His face was fixed in a deep frown.
"Is she ok?" Kitty blurted out, eyes wide. Kurt slapped his tri-tiered hand to his forehead.
"Here we go again," he muttered under his breath as Kitty fired off question after question.
"Where is she? Does she remember? What was she doing? Is she ok? Did they catch her? Why isn't she here?"
"Kitty!" Remy held up his hand as if to ward off her rapid-fire inquisitions. She bit her lip, visibly holding herself back. She swallowed, and said no more, but looked up at him with big, begging imploring eyes.
"Non, our Roguey does not 'member us," Remy said with a sigh. "Remy foun' 'er r'nsacking a tattooin' an' piercin' parlor."
"What?" Kitty yelped in surprise. Kurt rubbed his ear. Kitty threw him an apology before rounding on Remy again. Remy sighed. Oh, the wrath of female best friends…
"The Professor said it vas d'same vith d'others," Kurt nodded. "Dey vemember not'ing of deir powers nor any doings vith us. I gather Rogue did not remember you at all, ja?"
Remy nodded. "I don dink sh'even 'member 'er powers, neider," he sighed. "She didn' 'ave 'er usual cautiousness when c'ming near someone."
"So…" Kurt said after a moment of stunned silence. "Vhat are we going to do?"
"We're gonna do what the Professor told us to do." Kitty said flatly. They looked at her in slight surprise- her expression was stony, her eyes glinting like razor sharp glass, her lips pursed in thin, straight, white-rimmed rose colored line. She rounded on Remy.
"Gambit, you go find Rogue again, then report back here." She ignored his raised eyebrow and turned to Kurt. "You go with him," she said. "Keep your eyes out for anyone we know. Discreetly find out if they remember us and what's new about this world."
"And you vill be doing…?" Kurt prompted. He noted, with a slight twinge of worry, that the 'valley girl' lilt to her voice had vanished.
Kitty went to the console, making the pads of her fingertips just barely solid enough for her to begin taping away at various controls and keys.
"I'll work on scanning for everyone, whose overseas or out of town," she said. "With luck, maybe one of the others managed to escape whatever brainwashing thing has effected everyone else."
"Let us 'ope d'Lady Luck be in a good mood, mon amis," Remy muttered, adjusting the headband that was part of his costume, keeping his hair out of his eyes. "Let's go, 'Crawler."
Kurt waved to Kitty, to which she replied with a distracted flip of her hand, and the two X-Men left as the smaller girl continued to search for their friends.
To Be Continued(maybe)…
Alrightie, decided to give you this one since I know the prologue was only a wif of the actual story. Hope this gives you a better idea.
Now, unless I get a decent response from this, I'm not going to bother continuing. I say this not because I'm a review-hog (though they are nice) but because I want to know if a notable number of people are at all interested in this. If not, then I have other stories that deserve more attention. Though really, I'm quite disappointed with the lack of response for the prologue- I thought it was a good idea! Oh well. Guess I got spoiled when my very first fic ever hit over 800 reviews. ^_^
Well, hope those of you that did read enjoyed regardless. Adieu!
Hope Makes the Universe Shine,
*ALL STANDARD DISCLAIMERS APPLY*