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Disclaimer:
Not mine. Marvel's. Life sucks.

Note:
I know. You guys hate me for taking so long. So I made it a lengthy chapter. Thank you for your patience! What the #$&% happened to the 3-parter I wanted to write with this plot?? ;)

Vicki Lew | July 2003

Part 15

"Shoulda known he'd screw this up," The stocky man groused as he leaned against the doorframe. "Anythin' with a pretty face, tits and a skirt and the punk ceases ta function...He-"

"Logan, please. Shut. Up." The redhead working on Remy LeBeau's gun wound said dryly and rolled her eyes.
The less-than-happy Acadian sneered and mentioned something about a pot calling the kettle black. Logan ignored him and chewed on his unlit cigar, deep in thought.

"Just sayin' I should've gone. I know first-hand what it's like, after all,"

Ororo Munroe appeared from the cockpit looking quite unhappy as well. She put her hand on her waist and glared at Remy. "We will be landing soon. Remy's car has stopped moving. Let us hope she is still alive,"

With that, she slid back into the cockpit.

As Jean Grey finished bandaging Remy's thigh, she couldn't help but say, "Whatever possessed you to bring her to the Thieve's Guild, Remy? You know you were supposed to convince her to come to the Mansion,"

"No hanky panky at the Mansion, that's why," Logan muttered.

Ignoring the little man, Remy rubbed the back of his neck and shrugged. "Didn't t'ink she 'ppreciate jumpin' from one hot pan t'nother, I guess."

"So ya decided to make the decisions for her, eh?" Logan looked at him darkly. "You just made things more difficult for her. She's not gonna be happy- that is, if she's still breathin',"

"Why don't we find out?" Jean added as she glanced out of the window to see the Blackbird preparing to land.


I was the first off the aircraft with Gumbo, the idiot struggling with a crutch, not far behind me.

The Arizona desert was dusty; it wreaked havoc on my sensitive sense of smell. Despite that, I could smell the rusty tang of blood, both old and new.

The Firebird was looking a bit worse for wear, having run off the asphalt and into a sandy ditch. The bonnet looked like an accordion, and the windscreen was barely holding together.

"Rogue?" I said, and stuck my head through the passenger window.

The girl was slumped over the steering wheel, a nasty gash pumping a steady stream of blood down her temple- a fresh addition to her other wounds.

I flexed my forearms, a trigger that caused deadly claws of shiny metal to slide out from between my knuckles. I got to work on the stuck metal with the blades, carefully freeing up the space around Rogue.

As I got round to the last of the metal, I heard the all too familiar sound of a gun cocking. I couldn't help but grin as the word 'feisty' went through my head.

Looking up, I met a pair of bleary green ones, struggling to stay open. I let my eyes inch down slightly and caught sight of the bloodied gun barrel aiming at my gut.

I looked at her wryly and said, "I'm tryin' to save yer life here, ya know,"

"Well, ah don't know that for sure, do ah?" She replied saucily, despite being on the verge of passing out yet again. "Back off."

"Rogue?" The Cajun called out as he stuck his head from behind my shoulder. "Put de gun down, femme,"

Silence.

What, no sassy remark? I realised that she was out cold again, not that I'm complaining.

"Come on Gumbo, let's get her patched up."


Lights.

Too bright.

Head.

Splitting in two.

Lungs tried to take a deep breath, only to succeed in shooting a sharp, stabbing pain through the broken ribs that enclosed them.

Sabine whimpered softly as her brain, her nerve endings and senses began to clear. The pain that seemed to affect each and every inch of her battered body flared and it was truly unpleasant.

Sadly, she ought to be used to waking up from injuries like these, but she wasn't. Physical pain just wasn't one of those things a person could ever get used to.

Her eyes snapped open as it dawned on her that she was in an unfamiliar environment. Her training kicking into full gear, the ex-assassin groped around for any available weaponry but came up empty.

As fast as she could, she hoisted herself up into a sitting position, muscles and wounds protesting all the way. Her footing fumbled when she slid off the bed, but only for a split-second.

Escape and evade- that's your priority now, Sabby. Screw the pain, ya can bitch 'bout it later.

Sabine removed the IV needles from her arms hastily and took a good look at her surroundings. A sinking feeling began in her stomach.

No windows, no air vents, no apparent means of escape.

All she had were the bed that was bolted to the floor, the IV drip, the usual facilities and a wall mirror; she was guessing that it was made of plastic.

Limping her way to the door, her fingers sought a gap or a groove so that she could perhaps pry the door open, but she found none.

There was one more option.

With a jerk, she tore the IV tube from the bag. Winding each end of the tube around her hands, she formed a crude garrotte. Then she stood with her back against the wall, next to the door, and simply waited. It was probably an hour later that she heard footsteps approaching. Flexing the tube in her hands, she prepared herself for the attack.

The door slid open and she pounced on the intruder. The tube looped easily over the man's head and with skilled precision, she twisted the makeshift weapon, cutting off his air supply. A glint of silver caught her eye, but before she could react, her victim had sliced through the tube with the jack knife, escaping with lightning speed.

Immediately, she threw a punch at the man, who countered the blow smoothly.

"Thinkin' of goin' somewhere?," The man said suddenly.

Sabine stopped mid-kick to get a good look at her opponent. She dropped her stance slowly and let what was left of the IV tube fall to the floor.

Remy LeBeau limped through the doorway and into the cell, glaring at her all the while. Despite her best efforts, her heart surged with joy at the sight of him.

"You're lucky ta have amazin' reflexes, LeBeau."

She hid her surprise well; he'd give her that. She had hardly reacted emotionally to his sudden appearance. She did, however, glance at his wounded thigh, but said nothing.

Following her gaze, he said a little too quietly and calmly, "Remy will heal jus' fine, don't ya worry." He couldn't help but inject some venom into his words. "But I doubt ya'd lose any sleep if'n ya did cripple me back there in Arizona, eh chere?"

"Ah gave ya fair warning." Sabine said, narrowing her eyes. "You were askin' fo--"

Her voice trailed off as she caught sight of the wall mirror next to him.

The reflection was a sight to behold.

Her face was covered with scrapes and bruises, her mouth nursed a nasty split lip. Her right eye was almost swollen shut. Looking down the front of her thin medical gown, she found scattered stitches adorning her torso.

And those were just the ones she could see.

Then there was that particular row of sutures that spanned 3 inches across her belly. It was the shrapnel wound that had nearly bled her to death. The young woman stared at the sutures, then at the many gauze bandages that held her battered body together.

"Ah should be dead," She blurted out to herself, almost angrily.

The Cajun moved to stand by her side. "Oui, ya were close t'dat." Gently, he fingered a wild curl of her hair, smoothing it between his fingers. "Too close."

Getting over the shock of the shape she was in, she blinked.

Suddenly, she could feel the warmth of his breath on the nape of her neck, his body almost touching hers. She pulled away as if burnt.

"So…" Her voice, huskier than usual from things remembered, dispersed the awkward moment. "Where am ah exactly?"

"Xavier's Institute for the Gifted."


A school.

He brought me , a wanted woman, to a school of all places. Ah looked at him like he had gone stark ravin' mad, but ah held my tongue.

Instead ah pressed for more information. "Gifted as in?"

Shruggin', Remy gave a very casual "Gifted as in mutants. Like moi."

Ah didn't like where this was going, so I feigned total ignorance. "And how do ah fit in this pretty picture?"

He leaned against the wall, crossed his arms over his chest and narrowed his eyes jus' the slightest bit.

"Don' play coy with me, Rogue." He drawled lazily and nodded towards the mirror. "You take 'nother good look at y'self in dat mirror dere an' tell me ya never suspected dat ya were somethin' special."

Frankly speakin', ah never thought of myself as bein' a mutant, just lucky…And really healthy.

"Like y'said, ya should be dead. But ya ain't."

"So what if ah'm a mutant? Ah can take lotsa damage and ah heal fast. Don't need no schoolin' for lame-ass powers like that."

He took out a device from his coat pocket and held it up for me to see. On the small screen ah saw video images of a chocolate-skinned woman with white hair flyin' through the sky, lightning bolts flashin' from her fingertips. Then a man, with weird looking sunglasses firing ruby-red laser blasts from his eyes.

My eyes darted from the screen ta Remy's hands. The playing cards he held were glowing with energy. He was reminding me of what he could do.

Ah knew whatever ah saw on-screen was real. They weren't some fancy computer graphic effects, those lightning bolts and laser blasts.

Hard ta believe, but if Remy could do what he does with those cards…Somehow ah was convinced.

"Dey're just some of de X-men, a group of mutants dat help dose in trouble. I'm part of dat group too," Remy said.

Ah sat myself down on the bed.

So ah'm a mutant. Remy too. And he's part of some mutant band of superheroes.

One and one make two, Sabby.


Forget about pain.

All she felt right now was rage. It burned as strongly as the throbbing headache that was surfacing in her head.
He could see it in her eyes, and the tension in her body. When this girl got angry, she really got angry; her temper had flared up in less than two seconds flat.

She was almost snarling, her Mississippi accent thick with anger. "Ah see it now, LeBeau. Ya've been casin' me from Day One, tryin' ta recruit me into this X-men shit. Takin' care o'me, so that the merchandise don't get too badly damaged??"

"I took care of ya 'cos I cared, not 'cos of de X-men thing." Remy stated simply.

The vein in her left temple ticked and pulsed; her head felt like it was being jackhammered. Twisting the sheet in her fists, she spat, "Ya really expect me ta believe that? Who the fuck would risk his neck like that jus' cos he liked a girl he just met?"

"We wanted t'get you away from Portman, Rogue, ta help you be free from dem. Ya don't realise it, but de Organisation ain't even workin' for de government, dey be workin' against it!" He snapped back. "I was s'posed ta talk ya into comin' back wit' me, but I took ya to N'Orleans instead cos I wanted t'be de one t'get to know ya, take care o'ya and…"

"Fuck me?" She offered.

Remy winced.

"Ah'm nothin' but a piece o'meat ta all o'ya!" She smashed a fist into the headboard of the metal bed, leaving a prominent dent in it. "Ah'm sick of it, y'hear? Sick of it!"

Rogue screamed and punched the bed again.

The headboard gave in with a wail and her fist shot through, leaving a gaping hole in it. The Cajun stared a touch dumbfoundedly, as she got to her feet and ripped the entire bed free of its bolts and flung it straight at him.

Barely making it, Remy dove aside for his life; the crib crashed against the wall. It was crushed beyond recognition.

"Somethin's happenin' with her powers! Gimme some backup!" Remy yelled into his communicator just before the enraged woman pitched the IV stand his way.

Rogue clutched her head and folded to the ground. "What did you do to me?" She screamed in agony.

"Y'true powers, girl…Dey surfacin'!" Remy shouted back as he dodged more projectiles. "Don' fight it!"

"You bastard!" She roared as she launched herself at him.

Merde! He thought. She gotten too close!

In a shriek of anger, fear and pain, Rogue grabbed him by the throat and thrust him against the wall, concrete cracking under the assault. Just as suddenly as she had grabbed him, she let go and crumpled to the ground. He fell unceremoniously to the floor, massaging his bruised throat and choking.

Looking past the huge tranquilliser dart in the fallen woman's back, Remy saw his comrade, Jean Grey, a disapproving look on her face.

"I warned you against coming here alone, Gambit." She snapped at the panting man as she bent down to take note of Rogue's pulse. "You endangered yourself and Rogue,"

Face tight with a mix of regret and irritation, Remy dragged himself up from the floor and gritted out, "Save it f'someone who gives a shit 'bout what ya say, Jean."

With that, he stormed out of the cell.


It was her, right down to the single last detail.

If this was the fruit of five sleepless days and nights, imagine what could be done in the near future.

He gave the room one last satisfied glance, then turned the lights off.


Rogue awoke to find herself 'pleasantly' bound to the bed she was lying on. Testing the metal bonds, she found herself unable to break free despite her best efforts.

"They're adamantium shackles; so don'cha bother."

Her eyes darted to the direction of the gruff voice and found a rather scruffy and stocky-looking man lounging in the chair at the foot of her bed.

"You." She said, recognising him as the man who had tried to get her out of the car wreckage. "You a mutant too?"

"Name's Logan." Bringing his right arm up into view, he let the claws spring lose from his forearm. "Other than these toys, I got accelerated healin' and get pretty hard ta kill."

Rogue stared at the shiny, dangerous-looking blades.

"So yeah, I'm a mutant too."

"So what's in it for ya, being part of the X-men?" She asked.

Logan shrugged and said, "Somethin' to do, I guess."

Rogue narrowed her eyes. "Ah find that hard ta believe, Logan. Ah just left the Organization; ah am not getting' myself trapped in another bullshit gig. The X-men will never get me on the team…Ah'd rather die!"

Retracting his claws, the older man put a hand on her shoulder. She tried to shrug it off, but her bonds didn't allow it.

"Listen, Rogue. I know you're pissed at what's happened, but darlin', I know what you're goin' through, every single bit of it."

She frowned.

"I wasn't always part of the X-men. I used ta be on your team."

"My team?" She repeated after him in confusion.

"Yeah. The Organization…I was a Class 5 Operative." He confessed.

She furrowed her brows, but her eyes widened as his words fell into place. "You're the Wolverine?"

Logan allowed himself the tiniest smile at her response, and at the mention of his old codename. "Wolverine? Ain't heard that in a long while, girl. But yeah, that was me, but my op days are long over."

Putting her guard back up, she muttered, "Why should ah believe ya?"

The stocky man shrugged. "I don't really give a fuck."

"Then why are ya here…Logan?" She emphasized on his name.

Logan suddenly bristled, and put his snarling face right up to her own. "I'm here 'cos I'll be fuckin' damned if those goons take another field day in--"

That's quite enough, Logan. The voice in the man's head cut him short; he held his tongue and leaned back against the chair.

Sorry, Prof. Logan projected back.

Rogue narrowed her eyes. Something had happened, but she didn't know what.

"Ain't ya gonna finish that sentence, sugar?" She asked. "Ya couldn't possibly leave me hangin' like this,"

"Look, just believe me if ya want, or don't." Logan snapped and went back to chewing his unlit cigar irritably.

There was an awkward silence after that.

Logan was brooding; Rogue was thinking.

She finally broke the silence and confessed. "So maybe ah believe ya. They tried ta keep your escape hush-hush, but one o'the older operatives told me about ya- the only one that got away. Ya gave me hope that someday ah'd be able t'break free too,"

"It wasn't easy. The only reason why they stopped comin' after me was 'cos I fuckin' killed whatever they threw at me, and managed to survive the whole she-bang. Healin' factor comes in real handy when people are tryin' ta gut you." Logan said.

Plus, I was fortunate enough ta bump into Professor Xavier. I joined the X-men and gained their protection. The Organization knows not to go up against mutants, 'cos we'd kick their asses in a second. They wouldn't be able ta trace my location if they tried anyways."

"Why not?" Rogue questioned.

Logan blinked, like there was something going on in his head. He smiled a little smile, then got up to leave.

"Q and A's over fer today, darlin'." He said simply, then stalked off towards the door.

"Dammit, just tell me! What am ah, what's wrong with me?" Rogue hollered and struggled against her bonds. "Don't ya dare leave me like this!"

She was furious, but the four walls in the infirmary didn't really care.


To be continued...