Chapter 15

Mikhail Rasputin had a death-grip on the edges of his seat. No matter how much he begged Alice to drive faster, it still seemed they were going to the mansion and a snails-pace. It was taking all of his will not to go ballistic and take out his worry and frustration on her. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, they slowed in front of wrought iron gates and waited until they opened.

Mikhail all but exploded out of the car door, all but forgetting to say 'goodbye' to his girlfriend before racing up the steps and thrusting open the large wood doors. Nobody was in the hallway, but he heard the sounds of a tv in the adjoining room. Kurt was sitting on the large, plush sofa, staring blankly at an infomercial for a "Thigh-Master." Mikhail walked up in front of Kurt, and stood there. The younger mutant looked frazzled. His eyes were red, from lack of sleep. "Where..." Mikhail managed to croak out. He was surprised to find his voice very weak.

Kurt stood up and put a hand on his shoulder reassuringly. He started to lead his friend through the mansion, both of them completely silent. Mikhail was taking in deep breaths. He was more worried than he had ever been in his life. Even more than his first mission into space.

As they neared the end of the hallway, Piotr walked out of the double-doors. A blanket was wrapped tightly about him. Mikhail looked imploringly at his brother, but the younger Russian didn't notice. He just walked silently, and almost angrily, past Kurt and Mikhail without acknowledging either of them. Mikhail didn't say anything, but looked extremely hurt and Kurt could see an onset of anger behind his eyes.

His pace quickening, Mikhail opened the doors and rushed into the room. Without really knowing where he was going, he immediately found his way to Illyana's bedside. He looked down at her, his hand hovering mere inches from her cheek. It then curled into a fist and he turned away, trying unsuccessfully to keep the tears back.

Feeling he needed to be alone, Kurt wandered towards the adjoining office. He was surprised to find Kitty already there. Her face was red and puffy. She had been crying. "Katzchen?" He inquired, surprised by the low volume he used. He had meant to sound reassuring, but Kurt feared he sounded afraid. He didn't have much time to worry about this small discrepancy, as Kitty collapsed into him, heaving fresh sobs. But she quickly stopped, much to Kurt's relief. He was starting to feel very uncomfortable.

Kitty wiped her eyes, but they remained red. "Sorry, Kurt. It's just this whole thing is just..." she made a dramatic and frustrated gesture to get her meaning across. "I needed a shoulder to cry on for a minute there."

Kurt bit his lip, "What about Peter?" His companion's eyes suddenly became very cold.

"I haven't seen him today."

Recalling the incident in the hallway naught but two minutes ago, Kurt knew she was lying, but he decided it would be against his better judgement to press the subject further. And at that moment a very frazzled Hank McCoy walked in from his office.

"Ah, elder Rasputin has come." The doctor mused, as he noticed Mikhail standing near his sister's bedside. He paused to study a monitor which was emitting blinking lights and the occasional beep. He wrote a few things down on a clip board he was carrying, then left, meeting Mikhail in the middle of the adjoining room.

Kitty and Kurt could see them through the glass windows. McCoy was talking slowly and comfortingly, trying not to either dash or raise the Russian's hopes, who was nodding slightly at each statement. "It's horrible," Kitty finally said somberly, "Their parents were brutally murdered by a madman, they left their family home and country, and now their sister might die due to the same madman..."

Kurt leaned against the wall, his arms crossed. "Yeah. Do you remember when our lives consisted merely of fighting off the brotherhood while trying to study for our midterms?"

She tried to smile, but couldn't. Biting her lip thoughtfully she added, "Did you know that I had never seen a dead body before?" Kurt looked at her, not knowing what to say. But Kitty continued, "The only funeral I had even been to was a closed-casket affair. And even so... they were MURDERED, lying in a bloody heap on the kitchen floor, with their eyes still open. I never want to see one again..." She shivered, fighting back a new bought of tears as she thought about Illyana.

"I'm sorry, Katzchen." Kurt put a friendly and reassuring hand on her shoulder. "Death is a natural part of life. We all encounter it at one time or another."

She shrugged. "But she's a KID. How far is Magneto going to go to "punish" Peter? Is his pride that wounded? And what if she survives? Is he going to come after her then?" Kitty was speaking progressively faster and more panicked. "Is he going to try and kill Mikhail? Or Peter himself? Are they going to have to hide in Peru and become goat farmers in order to get away from him?"

Kurt blinked, processing all that she said. "I'm not sure I have any answers to your questions. But I do know this: No matter what happens they'll always have their friends, you and me, to support them."

She gave him a glimmer of a smile. Kitty hoped that it would convince Kurt that his words had helped reassure her, but recalling her last conversation with Piotr, she wasn't sure that he would accept their help and support. Something was going on inside his mind, and she was afraid.

"But Professor..." Piotr loudly exclaimed, his voice laced with anger. Charles Xavier put up his hand in a silent interruption.

"No, Piotr. We cannot directly attack Magneto. That would put everyone in unnecessary danger. Unfortunately, he's much too strong and too smart for such forthright aggression. Also, we would have no idea where to find him. He obviously wouldn't stay in the stronghold you had known, where we could easily locate and attack him." The Professor's voice had started out firm, but had become softer, trying not to break the young man's hope. "I think the best thing to do at the moment would be to focus on defense, so this wouldn't happen again."

Piotr sank down in a chair in front of Xavier's desk. He rested his elbows on his knees and ran his hands through his hair. Piotr's mind was muddled with a million thoughts, but all of his common-sense told him that the Professor was right. However, he had to do something. He couldn't just sit around and wait for Magneto to kill the rest of his family. He had to do something...

Doctor McCoy looked down at his charts again. He had been monitoring Illyana Rasputin's vital signs all night, doing all that was in his power to better her situation. An all-consuming desire to save her life had pushed back and masked the fatigue he would normally be feeling after days and nights without rest. But little by little, it was slowly catching up to him.

He rubbed his eyes, and re-focused on the paper before him. After looking back at the various monitors, a small smile twitched across his face. He double-checked, just to make sure, then walked briskly out into the hallway.

She was going to live.

Mikhail was out in the hallway, his hand being held by Alice, who had joined him that morning. The boys eyes were red, and he hadn't shaved. He lifted his head as he heard the doctor approach. Hank just smiled.

"Really?" The man asked, his eyes shining.

"Yes," he said kindly, "I think that she's going to be all right."

Mikhail swiftly kissed his girlfriend (which left the young blonde extremely flabbergasted) and rushed into the med-lab, to be at his sister's side once more.

But then it was Hank's turn to be surprised, as he suddenly found himself being ferociously embraced by the young woman. "Thank you," she said, "You have no idea how much this means to him."

"I'm a doctor. This is what I do best," He smiled. "And now I think it would be best if I informed the rest of the household of this recent joyous development."

"Piotr!" Kitty exclaimed, bursting through the door. She found him sitting on his bed, staring at the floor. She threw her arms about his neck. "Your sister! She's going to be ok! Doctor McCoy just told me."

He took her hand in his own, and stared into her eyes. "Honestly?"

Nodding fervently, Kitty smiled. "He said she'll have to be confined to bed for a while, and may need a wheelchair for a couple months, but she's going to live!"

Piotr drooped his head and a tear trickled down his cheek. "I'm so happy to hear that." He gave her hand a slight squeeze then got up, wiping his eye. He took a deep breath, knowing what he had to do next. He went to the closet then brought out a large duffle bag. It was the same one he had brought when he first arrived at the mansion. He opened it, then began stuffing his belongings into it.

"Peter..." Kitty's smile was fading. Soon she could begin to feel her hands start to shake. "W-what are you doing?"

He didn't look at her. "I'm leaving, Katya." His voice was devoid of any feeling.

She grabbed at her throat, not really processing what she was hearing. "What?"

"I'm leaving," he repeated. "I'm going back to Magneto and the Acolytes.


Well, as you can tell, I'm not dead and I haven't given up on "Shiny." I just got... sidetracked is all. I encountered an insane bout of writers block... but in a fit of boredom I started working on this again, and I think I got a little more wind in my sails. I bet you're all just tickled pink. Now that I've chased all my readers away with this extended... absence.

So, yeah. I happily included a lot of Mikhail in this chapter, because I LOVE him. And I couldn't have made Illyana DIE, so she didn't. But Piotr... man, he's wacko, eh? We'll just have to see what's coming up!

I'm leaving for college next week, so I thought I would write this before things got... insane with packing, and then insane with... college. Man... there are so many HOT guys up in Ft. Collins! But I severely intend to finish this before May. That's my goal.

It's great to be back!


Leafee LeBeau– Don't worry, I have a perverted mind too. I snickered every time my history teacher talked about something that happened in 1869. I'm so glad you added me to your favorite author list! That's so awesome. I was so tickled to get all of your reviews!

B– Yeah, I like doing really sweet moments, then gut-wrenchingly make them horrible. I'm twisted like that.

Lia Fail- I actually was REALLY happy with the Kitty/Piotr conversation. And I'm rarely happy with anything I write. I have the WORST time with dialogue, making it sound natural but not... stupid. And, obviously Piotr wasn't listening to Kitty because he's leaving now. ACK! I can't believe I'm making him do that. Or maybe not... I'm really writing this story by the seat of my pants.

Darkstorm5000- Yeah, I'm actually... contented with my Rogue/Remy bits in this story. They aren't angsty which is a MUST when writing them. Angst is something Rogue really shouldn't have. She's a strong Southern woman and should be written as such.

randommarvelfan- Hee hee. Thank you for your review. I've always been fond of the idea of Logan and Ororo being together. I think it all started with the comic "What If" (number 12, I think) Where they were married with children. It's so cute. Maybe I'll write a story revolving solely around them.

And thanks to blue-fuzzy, Bant, ValthRaema, The Uncanny R-Man, Kitrazzle Fayn, and all the other reviewers! Your reviews are what made me pick this back up!)