Ten

From three thousand feet up even a small explosion is a beautiful thing to watch-however the demolition of the large chunk of Nevada desert known as Area 51 was anything but a small explosion.  Several of the freed captives pressed their noses against the Blackbird's windows to get a better view of the fireworks.  "You know," the large blue mutant known as Beast set himself next to the girl introduced as 'Ghost', "I'd be most interested in what exactly you used to make such an explosive."

A smirk appeared on her face as she shook her head slowly at the former High School chemistry teacher, "I'd love to tell you but it's an old family recipe."

"The Manson family?" Cyclops muttered under his breath in an attempt to stave off his own interest in the devices the girl had made-the only person Scott could think of to match that skill was Forge.

 "Close enough," Wolverine growled and sat across from the girl, "Chuck's asking for you One-Eye."

Taking the not so subtle hint to leave Scott rose from his seat with one last pained look at Ghost before searching out the Professor and his favourite red headed telepath.  Ghost watched the other teen depart with a neutral expression on her face but her eyes were all for the feral man staring straight at her.  "Yes?"

Moving lighting fast Wolverine snaked a hand out and caught her right arm, twisting it around and pulling her sleeve up roughly.  Hank McCoy-Beast's alter ego-watched his colleague with disbelieving eyes as Wolverine bared the girl's arm to show the winding 'A' tattooed there.  "Really Logan is there a need for this?"

Satisfied Wolverine released her arm and sat back studying her face for tells, "You're awfully young to be blooded.  What Guild you from Sweetheart?  I know Gumbo's from New Orleans…but you don't have the accent and the Assassins hate the Thieves there even if the two of you seem cosy."

"Not that it's any of your business," She pulled her arm back and glared at Wolverine, "Originally, I come from Dublin.  I live in New Orleans now and Gambit is my friend."

"Where'd Mystique find the pair of you? The want ads?" the stocky man lifted one bushy eye brow but didn't attempt to move closer to the girl. Logan had known less threatening looking members of her guild that had tested the limits of his healing ability.

"Nah," The burred Mississippi twang of Rogue's voice interrupted Wolverine's tirade and she came to stand near her friend, "She put up a poster at the high school Kurt and I go to.  You're a bigger pain in the ass than I remember Badger. They're friends of ours who wanted to help, so back off."

Anger rolled off the Canadian in waves drawing the attention of Charles Xavier and Jean Grey…and everyone else in the small jet-you didn't need to be telepathic to tell he was pissed.  "Listen here Stripes, that attitude might fly with Mystique…"

"Yeah and you might tell your X-Geeks what to do…" she began in tandem.

"…But even she taught you to respect your elders…" Wolverine stood and moved to face the diminutive Southerner.

Rogue frowned but didn't stop speaking, getting right into Wolverine's face; "…But I don't ask 'how high?' just because some furry can opener tells me to jump!" 

"…So sit down and shut up 'cause I've got a bone to pick with the crowd Mommy dearest over there is lettin'…"

"Enough!" a hoarse female voice roared from the corner of the jet where Remy had just settled the bedraggled dark haired girl they had found at the facility-a blue glow surrounded her body and many small objects about the plane began to rattle.  The Cajun thief jumped away from her as quickly as he could given the close quarters.

Professor Xavier's attention was tugged away from the confrontation between his right hand man and the Southern teen as he realized just who the girl was, "Wanda…please calm yourself…"

"Wanda?" Mystique shot a glare towards the paraplegic telepath as the dots connected themselves-only Logan heard her muttered 'Maximoff'.

Taking a cue from Professor X, Jean Grey moved towards the girl her hands open using the soft voice that works well with spooked animals and small children, "It's okay Wanda…no one here is going to hurt you."

The blue light intensified as the girl's powers quickly escaped her control.  The very bolts holding the plane together began to shake; leaving Gambit to glance at Mystique questioningly as he edged himself closer to the blue shape shifter, "What be de petite's powers?"

"She affects probability…"  Mystique bit her lip feeling the structure of the plane breaking up around them, "Makes the impossible possible."

"Wanda…" Professor X tried once more to reach the nearly catatonic girl, "You're quite safe now…there's no need…"

The X-men watched in horror as the girl began to shake and levitate slightly from the build up of energy she was subconsciously gathering.  Wanda's eyes rolled back in her head-spitting blue fire while everyone stood stock still afraid to startle her further.  A mechanical beeping sounded from the cockpit of the jet and Ororo Monroe's voice followed noticeably shaken, "The jet can't take it…structure has been compromised…if we don't stop her we'll crash."

A puff of brimstone filled the cargo area as Nightcrawler teleported with Ghost to the small space just behind Wanda.  Before the unstable girl could turn, Ghost moved her right hand to the side of Wanda's neck and pressed with two fingers.  The blue glow faded as Wanda's eyes closed and her body slumped against the smaller girl.  The blue boy behind the girls helped steady them so they didn't topple over.  Relief flooded through the minds of all, "It's stopped. The jet's structure has righted itself." Ororo called from the controls as she silently thanked the Goddess for their rescue.

Peering forward concern lit Xavier's face as he spoke to the two teenagers-a quick scan of Wanda's mind showed her to be in a deep sleep, "Is she alright?"

"You didn't kill her did you?"  Scott barely concealed his sneer as he looked straight at Ghost.

"No," The girl pushed her hood away from her face and glared at the X-man-Xavier and Jean cringed as she projected the image of garrotting the boy with his small intestine, "It's a pressure point used to make some one unconscious.  She'll wake up in a few hours with a nasty headache but otherwise fine."

Mystique nodded at her son and the young Assassin; profoundly glad Rogue and Gambit had convinced her to bring the other girl along, "Nice to see someone here can think under pressure."

"The Professor and Jean were trying to help," Scott lashed out verbally at the blue woman only to be stopped by a pair of iced over emerald eyes and one very angry Gothic Belle.

The Rogue was not impressed.  She had had enough of Scott Summers and his self righteous stick up the ass attitude-more than enough really.  That combined with the grief Wolverine had given her; acting like he was her father or something-it was infuriating.  Now Cyclops had not only treated her mother with disrespect, that was one strike. Strike two was that he had done nothing but insult Mickey since the girl had stepped off the plane in Bayville.  Rogue wasn't the sort of girl to give out a third strike.  There was only so much bullshit a liberated, free thinking girl like Rogue could take. 

Lifting one eyebrow she locked her gaze on him and knew that under his visor he had eyes for no one else but her, "And how was that 'xactly? By asking the girl nicely not to kill us all?  I hate to tell you Scooter but you can't always reason with people til they come 'round to your way of thinkin'…maybe that's why we had to come all the way up here and pull your asses out of the fire."

"Calling you in was all Avalanche's idea, not mine." Scott spit out not wanting to let this girl get the better of him.

Rogue snorted distastefully and put one hand on her hip while cocking her head slightly to the side.  Logan cringed at the look on her face-it was the same one he knew he wore when  deriding the team on their Danger Room performances.  But it warned Wolverine to the cockles of his heart to see the girl standing up to old One-Eye-Summers needed someone to put him back in his place once and a while-remind the kid he was human after all.  "Good to know one of you was thinking instead of wringing his hands together like a little old lady!" Rogue's voice cut through Logan's reverie.

"Well we can't all have terrorist friends at our beck and call!" Scott pushed his way towards Rogue glaring daggers at her-wishing looks could kill even through his ruby quartz visor.

Unwilling or unable to back down from the challenge being presented to her on a silver platter Rogue also stepped forward, invading Cyclops' personal space as much as she dared.  "You know what…if this is how you show your gratitude for us savin' your friends' lives then we can turn this tub 'round now and give you all back to the assholes who just wanted to cut you open to see what colour your insides are!  If you don't need the help of 'terrorists' then you should get out fine on your own!"

Growling in a passable imitation of his self defence instructor Scott lifted one hand to the controls of his visor.  A small black object whizzed by his hand and pinned his arm against the interior of the jet, "Dat's not how you treat de femmes mon ami."

Scott swung his attention to Gambit; the Cajun had a metal cylinder in one hand while the other rested on Ghost's shoulder, the girl had a small black throwing knife in her hand.  Twisting to get a better view of his impediment Scott realized it was the mate of the weapon in the Assassin's hand, "You almost hit me!"

Ghost's smile was as cold and unforgiving as the Artic-only Gambit seemed immune to it, "If I had wanted to hit you I would have."

"I think," Professor Xavier broke in, happy at least that Gambit and Ghost had prevented Rogue and Cyclops from killing each other.  Optic blasts in confined spaces three thousand feet up where never a good thing.  "That it would be best for us to land and discuss how best to proceed from here.  Obviously, none of us can return to Bayville without the authorities reclaiming us.  There is much to discuss…why don't we let it wait until we're on solid ground."

Scott Summers reached back and pulled the throwing knife from the sleeve of his uniform with a bit of effort before sitting down next to Jean with his arms crossed over his chest.  He really hated it when the Professor had a point.

"I can't believe you just let her take off with that freak!" Julien Boudreaux stomped his feet like a spoiled child while he paced in front of his father's implacable gaze, "Mickey isn't allowed to leave the city unless it's on official business."

Sighing Marius watched his eldest child with thinly veiled distaste-he would have thought by now that Julien would outgrow his possessive nature concerning his belongings.  "It is official business.  The contract called for a Thief and an Assassin.  Lebeau provided his son and Mickey volunteered to go-since there would be a fair amount of demolition involved. She's the best bomber we have."

"That's awfully convenient isn't it?" Julien snarled and threw himself into the chair across from his father.  His whole life Julien had been the golden boy-given everything thing his heart ever desired; toys, games, then cars, women, weapons.  He had thought he had gotten Mickey, despite her vow that she would rather sleep with her own father than Julien himself. But even though she possessed the two carat diamond that had been his mother's engagement ring-Mickey still wasn't his-and it infuriated Julien to no end.

"You would do well, Mon fils," Julien's head jerked back up to meet his father's cool blue eyes-there was anger simmering just below the surface, "To remember who you are talking to.  I agreed to the contract.  My word is final."

Marius' expression softened ever so slightly, "Besides, if you take that attitude-questioning her skills and ability to take contract once the two of you are wed-you might not live long enough to enjoy the honeymoon."

"She wouldn't dare," Julien snorted trying to hide the resentment his father's warning caused, "If Mickey killed me the Guild would have her head."

It was as Patriarch of the New Orleans Assassin's Guild that Marius Boudreaux shook his head-the father in him would like to heartily agree with his son's assessment of his fiancé-but experience told a much different story.  "There are many things Michaela fears Julien, death is not one of them.  It would be wise to remember that."

Julien watched as his father stood and left the room without another word. 

"It'd probably be best if we split up," Logan half growled as he chewed on the emergency cigar he had stowed away in the jet's first aid kit.

Taking the Professor's suggestion to heart Storm had landed the plane in a remote area of desert somewhere in New Mexico to allow the mutants to discuss what would happen next.  So far the only thing that had been decided was that Rogue and Cyclops hated each other and Ghost wanted to wear the young X-Man's head as a hat.  Logan wanted to think the purple haired teen was joking-hell he was hoping she was or One-Eye was in a shit load of trouble. 

"I agree with Wolverine." Mystique spoke up from her seat between her two children on a rock, "They'll be looking for you to stay in the large group-for safety reasons.  They never expect the sheep to spilt."

Many of the X-men frowned at being likened to sheep by the blue metamorph-even though she had a point.  Another round of angry murmurs had just begun when the Professor lifted a hand, "If we break into small groups and scatter across the globe perhaps it will be harder for them to find us and allow us to track down any other incarcerated mutants and free them."

"It be easier for de small groups to fit in," Gambit shrugged offering his two cents, "Mais, where everybody gonna go?"

Having seen this coming the Professor templed his hands below his chin, "Perhaps a few can return with your team Mystique.  I can take a group to Muir Island to stay with Moria Mctaggart…"

"Some may take shelter in my home village," Storm spoke softly, "And the farm Piotr's family runs is quite isolated."

Mystique frowned looking Xavier straight in the eye, "I'll take care of the Brotherhood since Magneto won't. They wouldn't be welcome amongst your students anyway."

"Well I'm going where ever Lance goes…" Betsy snapped pushing herself closer to her rock tumbling boyfriend.

Tabby rolled her eyes and opened her mouth to speak but the restraining hand of her own partner stopped her-Brian hated it when she and his sister fought.  "Goldie's sticking with me too."

"Scott and I will stay with the Professor," Jean added knowing that her shaded friend would appreciate the gesture.

The large blue furry shoulders of Hank McCoy squared, "Then perhaps I will chaperone Piotr, Kitty and a few of the new recruits in Siberia…"

"The winter shouldn't be too bad," Bobby Drake-the boy known as Iceman snickered, "You've already got a fur coat."

The former high school chemistry teacher levelled his blue eyes on the boy a smile tugging at his lips, "Indeed and your abilities make you impervious to the cold.  I'm sure you and I will have plenty of fun."

The preteen groaned while his friends laughed at him for his lack of foresight.  The adults continued splitting the teams up-Storm would take Spyke, Sunspot, and Magma; Xavier had Wolfsbane, Multiple, and Jubilee as well as his first students.  While Berserker, Cannonball and the winged man-Warren Worthington-would travel to Russia with Hank.  Mystique knew someone who might help Wanda control her powers so it was decided the girl would go with the Brotherhood.  Things where almost set when Wolverine interrupted, "I'm going to New Orleans to keep an eye on things."

Mystique frowned and glared at her former lover, "I can handle eight teenagers without your help."

"I'm sure you can darling," Logan decided to be nice-nothing pissed Raven off more than nice, "But two of those are my kids and everyone else only has five.  Besides you've got twelve kids."

"Gambit take care of hisself," the Cajun broke in with a shake of his head.

"Same here." Ghost frowned slightly.

There was something about the red eyed boy's grin that Logan didn't like-almost as much as he didn't like the Cajun's attempts to get closer to Rogue.  Pushing down the primal the urge to gut Gumbo, Logan chewed his cigar a little more; "You're stuck with me.  Got a problem with that Bub?"

Gambit's face broke into a wide smile as the boy gave the hardened warrior a through once over if Logan hadn't known better he would have said the little bastard was flirting with him.  When those strange demonic eyes reached Logan's face once more they were glowing ever so slightly, "Not yet mon ami."

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Whew! It's done! At long….and I mean LONG last. Geez, 2, 944 words later!  It's my longest chapter to date. 

So tell me…I messed that up big time didn't I?  Did I get all the New Mutants?  Ummm? Errr…oh well…I haven't slept in a few days so I attribute all errors to that.  Stay tuned for next time when the Brotherhood (plus the Braddock Twins and Wolverine) head back to the Big Easy.  Yes there's something resembling a plot happening now Boys and ghouls.

And the responses to my faithful reviewers.

Star of Chaos – Wow…that's your longest review ever. Are you gonna start sending me novels like Ishy?  YaY! It's from a Dennis Leary comedy special…he talks about Nyquil getting you drunk…it's funny as hell.  Yep, Wolvie and Smurfette did not part on good terms...muhahahahaha! He is going to be her father…but Rogue doesn't know yet…but she'll find out.  I can't see Rogue with Scott…he's too straight and narrow for her…and her and Logan is just icky…and I'm not going to start on her and Bobby….the movies really do need some Gambit.  In my head there was a bit of an attraction between Rogue and Lance but nothing ever came of it because she was in Bayville only briefly.  Yes, Mickey's hobby just happens to be high explosives. 

Spectra2 – I suck at fight scenes.  I hate writing them.  I avoid them at all costs…plus I liked Scott getting his way with no blood shed.  My hints about Mystique and Logan have reached anvil proportions here.

Kitrazzle Fayn – You know I used to watch 'Highlander' and my thought was always 'Where the hell did they hide that sword?'  I liked having the chance to use that.  More Scooter and Ghost…all the bonding was for naught.  Oh yes it's a very interesting backstory…muhahahahaha!  In the comic Fagan's mob was the group of underage pickpockets loosely affiliated with the Guild who ran the streets of New Orleans.  The name comes from the pickpocket master in Charles Dickens's 'Oliver Twist'. 

Ishy – Yep I love redneck names.  They're so mono syllabic. Mmmmm…Much Music George…..mmmmmmmmmmmm….Can I have a bucket for my drool?  That's because Canadians ROCK! Oh yeah! Nothing beats Canada…except maybe sexy Aussies in leather.  Where's that damn bucket???? Poor Scooter got more than just scoffed this time out…but I couldn't help it he's such a jerk and I'm starting to be nice to him in the Cypher series.  See we're going back to New Orleans now…and to our favourite sociopath.  I knew you've love the grope. It makes up for the lack of interaction in this chapter.  Yeah we really need our purple paisley suspenders if we're going to break in anywhere…I think I have Bedazzler somewhere so we can add rhinestones.  Yep Kitty may seem innocent but she's got a dirty mind. 

Peace215 – You love me huh.  Does this love come with any perks like say a clock radio? Or a sports flip phone?  You have no idea how much I giggle while I write…my roommate is thinking of committing me.  Yep, Rogue's a chip off the Adimantium block…just don't tell her yet.  EWWWW…no this isn't Rogan! I swear! More like watch out New Orleans...and Wanda too…the city won't know what hit it.  Mickey's a girl of many talents…and just because they had a fluffy moment doesn't mean she won't use old One-Eye as target practice.  I laughed out loud for ten minutes when I wrote that line…maybe that's why everyone here thinks I'm crazy.  I hope you're a happy camper.

SickmindedSucker – As I've assured Ishy…I have a plan about the Wedding.  There will be a good reason.  And it will be in the next chapter never fear.  I've got my lion tamer's outfit ready…the Romy will be in fits and bursts for a bit…and I still have to get the man that replaces Remy in Bella's eyes to New Orleans…but once I do…yeehaw!

Lonewolf – I didn't mention it yet…I have now.  Everyone but Rogue knows really. 

Roguesheart – Club Soda has soooo many wonderful uses.  I like cliffies….just ask Ish. I had her twitching like mad waiting to find out if Rogue died in my Cypher Arc ( I'm not telling you in hopes you'll read it while waiting for the next chapter of this story) .  I'm a sadist…so appealing to my kindness isn't the way to get me to write more.  Right now my muse is at the mercy of my job…damn the fact that I have to earn a real living! I'm already in my dark place.  BACK EVIL LAWN GNOMES!

Rogue Demon – Yay for deciding to review…I get a little insecure about my work…I think it all sucks.  Yes, Rogue and Mickey together isn't a good thing for Remy…and once we get Wanda stable it'll be worse.  Grin You like my OC…yippie.  I always worry that they're a bit MarySueish…but that's me.  Yep, Scott keeps his stick. There'll be violence later trust me.

Snowee – Okay here you go.

Rogue Warrior Spirit – Love the name.  I know the feeling…sometimes life has to butt its ugly head into our fun. Maybe we should hit it with big sticks till it goes away?

Lady Farevay – Blushing  Wow…I guess you really like it huh?  Man I love British slang.  Thanks for all the praise it means a lot…I'm not a professional writer but I'm working on it…so far I have one wall of my bathroom pasted with rejection notices.  Oh there will be ROMY…no worries…I just don't like making things too easy. They're going to work on being friends first.