Chapter One: Extraordinary Machine

Rated: T (for language and suggestive themes)

Summary: The Brotherhood discuss the "cure" for being a mutant; couples gets some alone time; the Frost sisters do their thing; more Brotherhood members show themselves.

Disclaimer: I don't own them. Marvel, Fox, and others do.

Author's Note: Thank you to all that reviewed.

The Brotherhood was surrounded in mystery. No one knew where the Brotherhood was located or how many members there actually where. There was a ceratin aura about them, and that was the way they liked it. If anyone had ever bothered looking around a bit, they would have learned the location and members.

The Brotherhood's main base was a mansion in upper Washington state; there were currently thirty-seven members, though only a hand full was ever at the mansion at one time.

Sitting at her desk, the woman called Mystique quietly looked over several files that had just been handed to her by two of the Brotherhood's field agents.

"If I said I was unimpressed, I'd be a liar." Mystique said coolly. With movements that could only be described as "refined," the blue woman put the folders down onto her desk. "Though, if I said I was impressed, I'd also be lying."

"Oh, come on! That's . . . those files were hard as hell to get." The dark-haired man in front of Mystique pouted. "We risked our damn necks for those files, and they aren't any good?"

Mystique waved a dismissive hand. "Oh, come now. The files will be helpful, but they aren't all I need. " She sighed deeply. "I'll have these looked at by Erik later. Meanwhile, I have a new mission for you two."

The duo in front of Mystique exchanged a glance. They didn't want to go on another mission. They were tired, they smelt, they wanted a good meal and a long night's sleep.

"If you don't want to . . . " Mystique trailed off, letting the veiled threat hang in the air.

For the first time since entering the office, the girl spoke. "What would you want us to do, Mystique?"

With a wide smile, she answered: "All I want you two to do, is simply get into Nick Fury's office and steal any and all files marked: 'Mutant 'X' gene'." Smiling sweetly, Mystique went on, "Do you think you can do that, Avalanche?" Silently, Avalanche nodded. He knew when he was defeated and he wasn't about to press the issue. "Shadowcat?"

Shadowcat swallowed hard. "Avalanche and I are a team. If he's in, I'm in."

"Good. Now get out, before I throw you out. I want you two back here in three days. Got that? Three days." Mystique smiled sweetly. "Or I send the big kitties after you two."

And that, Avalanche knew was no idol threat.

Ever the picture of cool, Jamie casually sat in the largest chair, in the living room of the Brotherhood mansion. A large book on the history of Russia was in his hands, but it wasn't the book that his mind was on.

No, he was much more interested in other things at the moment.

Across the room, Marie-Ange sat on the sofa, leaning into the coffee table, her beloved Tarot cards in her pale hands. She was fascinating, as were her powers.

Off in the corner, sitting silently in another chair and staring off into space was Jono. Now that guy, Jamie mused, was emo to the extreme. Jono needed to get laid, like last week. Of course, he wasn't likely to get laid with that hole in his chest.

"Okay, can we all try and be normal for a second?" Jamie asked, as he tossed his book onto the floor. Marie-Ange glanced up from her cards, frowned, then when back to the cards. "Come on,

Sweetheart. Jono?" Jono just glared Jamie's way, but did not speak. "I'm not asking for a kidney, people. I'm asking for a moment."

"Wot?" Jono asked, still glaring.

"Chill, Brit. We're all against the mutant cure, right? They've got no right to try and force Us to take it. But . . . what if we weren't against? What if it were a choice. Would either of you take the cure?"

Jono had to admit to himself that he was a little taken aback by Jamie's sudden seriousness. In the three years that Jono had known the older man, Jamie had never been completely serious, about anything. Jono was impressed. "Though, I don't see why you would take it, Half-a-face. You'd still have a huge hole in your chest. No decent girl would fuck you."

Or not.

With a scowl, Jono stood from his seat and stalked off. Calling out, "Fuck off." As he left the room.

Jamie looked after Jono, a smirk playing on his face. Slowly, he turned back to Marie-Ange; she was back to her cards, again. "Marie-Ange." Jamie whispered in a singsong voice. "Angel face . . . "

With a small frown, Marie-Ange looked up at Jamie. "You shouldn't tease, Jono. No one will ever love him, because he no longer loves himself. You've hurt him, Jamie."

"So punish me, baby." Jamie's smirk grew wider. For her part, Marie-Ange did not seem interested. "Sorry. I'm sorry, okay?" The young woman nodded slightly, apparently forgiving him. Leaning back into his chair, Jamie re-asked his earlier question: "So, would you . . . take the cure? You know, if it were just a choice."

She never even missed a beat. "No."

Interested, Jamie leaned forward. His eyes locked onto her intense blue eyes. "Why not? 'Cause you'd betray your people? 'Cause you wouldn't be you anymore?"

Marie-Ange shook her head. "No. It's because I'd get lonely. I don't like being alone, Jamie." She glanced lovingly down at her cards for a brief moment. "If the cards were gone . . . I would not have anyone. And, there will come a time, when things get so awful, that I will need their comfort."

Oh yeah, she was weird. But, in some twisted way that only she got, Marie-Ange had a point.

Jamie chewed on his lower lip, sighed softly, and flopped back against his chair. "Huh." He chuckled lightly to himself. "You are so weird, Angel face."

Marie-Ange's sad and intense eyes stared at him for a long moment. "I do not wish to be. Perhaps the cure for our mutations would cure me of my weirdness. But then, I would be without my cards. I would have no friends and truly be alone."

"No." Jamie pushed himself out of his chair. Quietly, he moved across the room and sat down beside Marie-Ange. He did not look at her nor did he touch her, because he knew it was better this way. "No." His voice had gone low and soft, almost as if he were trying to comfort a small child. "You're not alone. You have the Brotherhood, don't you?"

There was a pregnant silence, before: "It won't last forever. Nothing ever does."

In that one moment, Marie-Ange looked so pathetic, that Jamie was sure it would be all right if he comforted her. Wordlessly, he put an arm around her petite shoulders and pulled her small body into his.

"Don't let the Boss hear you talking like that, Sweetheart. Woman's capable of anything, and I don't think she'd be happy if she heard you saying things like that about the Brotherhood." He paused for a moment, silent in thought. "Marie-Ange, were you just being you or did your cards tell you the end was near for the Brotherhood?"

Marie-Ange smiled softly to herself. "Isn't it the same thing?"

Jamie had to laugh at that. "Don't be a smart-ass."

"The cards didn't tell me anything. I just . . . have a feeling things will not end well, if we keep pursuing our current activities."

Again, Jamie laughed. "So, what else is new?"

Staying close to Jamie, Marie-Ange leaned toward the coffee table and turned one of her beloved Tarot cards over. "Tomorrow's going to be a bad day."

Looking down at the cards, Jamie couldn't really argue with Marie-Ange's logic. Well, at least today had been a good day. And, Jamie supposed, it could only get better.

His long fingers played in her thick hair, curling and uncurling themselves in her locks. She was tired - drained really - though he couldn't figure out why. She had done nothing, except take his powers. Oh, and set a couple of buildings on fire. Still, he was the one that should have been tired, not her.

Marie's head rested on his shoulder, and she sighed contentedly. "Today was a good day."

Softly, John kissed the top of her head. "Yeah." He let that hang in the air for a moment, bore casually adding, "It could get better, you know."

Marie rolled her eyes, quietly wondering if John ever thought about anything besides sex. "No." She glanced up at him, her face stern. "I am not doing that."

John chuckled lightly. "You don't even . . . you really are a good Southern Catholic girl, aren't ya?" He didn't wait for Marie to respond, instead he offered her a quick kiss on the lips. Slowly, he guided her down onto his bed, and began unzipping his jeans. "Here." Quickly, he took one of Marie's gloved hands into his. "Just . . . " John moved Marie's hand onto his penis. "Just get me off, yeah?"

Looking up at him, Marie couldn't help but smile to herself. "Give me a quick kiss?"

Never one to disappoint, John did as he was asked.

Emma had a way of making Erik angry. It hadn't anything to do with who Emma was as a person, but rather to do with Emma's views on certain things, including the Brotherhood's certain situation. Oh, and then there were their marriage issues.

"I can't talk right now, darling." Emma unzipped her boots, and tossed them into her and Erik's closet. "Raven wants my sisters and me to try and find where the cure is being kept."

His arms folded over his chest, Erik watched his wife closely. With a nod toward the closet, the doors closed. "Emma. I'm only asking for a moment."

"Darling," Emma sighed softly. "we have a lifetime. Our issues can wait, can't they? It isn't as if I'm going anywhere." With an amused shake of her head, Emma stood from her bed. "Erik, everything will be all right."

When Emma kissed Erik's check, her lips felt warm and alive. When she left the room, Erik couldn't help but feel like a complete idiot.

If there was one that Jono hated, it was coming to the Brotherhood mansion. He didn't mind working for Mystique or most of the ideas behind the Brotherhood, but he certainly hated the people. Well, maybe just Jamie. But, Jamie was enough. With his stupid jokes and his . . . stupid good looks. At least Jono could take satisfaction in the small fact that Jamie would never get what he really wanted.

"You still here? Thought you'd be half way back to Los Angeles by now."

He had been so lost in his own bitter thoughts that Jono hadn't even noticed that Erik was standing a little way down the hall. "Wot's it t' you?"

Erik rolled his eyes. Kids. "Let me guess, Jamie's pissed you off again. Look, the guy's my best friend - though I'm not sure why - but I get how he could piss someone off. The guy's a macho ass."

"Yeah, he is." Jono leaned against a wall. "I'm just hanging about, cause I was asked to. Boss lady's got someone comin' or somethin'."

Erik leaned against the wall with Jono, and nodded knowing. "I get it. She wants something from this person. Old girl's using the old 'Look, we may kill people, but aren't we a happy family?' approach." Erik chuckled lightly under his breath. "Like that one works. Mutants join the Brotherhood for two reasons: they hate flat scans or they got nowhere else to go. They don't join 'cause we look cheerful."

"That why you joined, mate?" Jono glanced over at Erik. A knowing look in his eyes. "You hate normal folk or you had nowhere to go?"

"Jono...I'm here because it's the best place for me. Besides, I can't leave my wife." Erik sighed softly. "And Emma would never leave her sisters. Well," he chuckled to himself. "not Cordelia."

"Which means you're staying."

"And you? Why did you join our merry dysfunctional family? Don't tell me it was the dental plan." Erik raised an eyebrow. "Or were you just really emo and pissed the day Mystique approached you?"

Jono paused in thought for a moment. He had his reasons for becoming a member of the Brotherhood. Reasons he was sure Erik would never understand. So, he simply stated: "I had nothing better to do that day, mate."

Erik gave Jono a short nod. "You're an awful liar. You're here for a very simple reason: you were pissed off at the world the day Mystique approached you. And you were pissed because of a girl. Every guy in this damn place is here either because of a woman or because they were once in love with a woman that broke his heart."

Jono knew that rant all too well. Erik and Emma were having issues in their marriage, and that meant that Erik was trying to make every woman seem evil.

"Don't drag me into your domestic, Erik." With a shake of the head, Jono started back down the hall way. "Just don't. This isn't bloody Eastenders."

It wasn't that she didn't want to spend time with her husband. It was just that she had more important things to do. The cure was very important, as was finding out where it was being made and kept. The thing was, marriage came second when it came to the Brotherhood. It wasn't that Emma wanted marriage to come second. It just did.

At the same moment that Erik was venting to Jono, Emma was on her way to meet her sisters. Cordelia, the youngest of the Frost girls, was currently living in a tiny room in the west wing of the mansion. Poor girl, she really had been having some troubles lately. They really should have never left her alone with that Victor Creed.

With a small sigh, Emma knocked politely on Cordelia's bedroom door. "Cordelia? It's Emma, dear." Emma waited, but Cordelia did not answer her door. "Adrienne will be here soon. You know she hates to be kept waiting. So, let me in." Still, nothing. "Cordelia! You're . . . "

Slowly, the large wooden door opened. A pixie of a woman stood, nearly hid behind the door. "No . . . no touching, okay?" She nervously smoothed out her short brown hair. "I can't do that, any more."

Emma smiled lovingly at her younger sister. "It's okay, dear. No one's asking to touch you. You just . . . " she watched as Cordelia moved back to the large chair in the room. The young woman curled herself up in the chair, picked up a large book, and quietly began reading. "Perhaps when this is over, we could go on a trip? You, Adrienne, and myself. Would you like that?"

"No." Cordelia answered simply, not even bothering looking up from her book. "Adrienne's behind you."

Emma turned around, to find herself face to face with her older sister. In Adrienne's hands were several files. Breezing past Emma, Adrienne entered the bedroom.

"I suppose we should get to work, ladies. I do have things to do." Adrienne gave Cordelia the once over. "Dear God, is she still having her issues? So the big cat did a few things . . . at least, it wasn't that little man." She shivered. "He's just creepy."

Emma shot her older sister an icy glare. Now really was not the time. "Could we just get on with this, please? Some of us do have lives." Nodding toward Adrienne, she went on. "You do your thing, I'll do mine, and then Cordelia can. . . . "

"Do nothing?" Adrienne suggested with a smirk. "Of course, darling Emma." Looking rather annoyed, Adrienne tossed the files onto Cordelia's large bed. The picture of boredom, Adrienne touched each file, one at a time.

Fascinated, Emma watched Adrienne; Cordelia seemed engrossed in her book.

After several moments of silence, Adrienne coughed lightly. She held out a hand, waiting. With a groan of annoyance, Emma stood and grabbed a pen and pad from Cordelia's desk. Gratefully, Adrienne took the offered items. A minute later, she handed them back to her younger sister, who looked the pad over with interest.

Henry McCoy was dead. Charles Xavier was of little interest to the Brotherhood, at least at the moment. Nick Fury would be taken care of by others. Oh, the first person to touch the files was very interesting indeed: Jean Grey.

Jean Grey - Doctor Jean Grey - had been a student of Xavier's years before. She had even been a member of the X-Men, once upon a time. Now, she was scientist researching the cause of the mutant gene. It seemed, at least according to the files, that Jean had been a party to the mutant cure. Or rather, she had started things off. Truly, a traitor to the mutant race.

"Now, why do you suppose little Dr. Grey wanted to make a cure for mutants?" Emma wondered, more to herself than to her sisters.

"Because she's terrified of her powers." Adrienne explained, bored again. "Besides, she's one of those people. Always trying to explain every little thing about us." Waving a dismissive hand, she went on: "Jean Grey knows where they first started making the cure, but not where it is at the moment. She's really of no use to us, is she?"

Emma laughed coincidently. "Adrienne, really. If she helped start research of the cure, then she knows all about it. I believe Mystique would think that's very useful information. Now, the only question is: how do we get the information out of little Jeanie?" Both Emma and Adrienne turned their attention to Cordelia.

She never even bothered looking up from her book. "No."

Adrienne grinned. "Even if Mystique says that you have to?"


Adrienne's grin just grew wider. "Even if she threatens to take the yarn from the big kitty? You know he's just dying to play with you instead of that yarn." She chuckled to herself, even as Emma glared at her.

"Adrienne, stop it!" Emma moved over to her younger sister. "It's all right. You may be a very powerful empath, but Jean could see through you. No, I think it might be best to send in another telepath, a powerful one."

"Like you?"

"No. We need someone in there, to learn as much about the cure as they can, before getting rid of Grey. We need someone to get to her; someone she'd tell all her little secrets to."

Adrienne rolled her eyes. "You want us to go to Mystique and tell her that we need to send in a guy to seduce Jean Grey, so she'll spill all about the first stages of the cure? Three words little sister: waste of time."

"Well . . . "

"It wouldn't work."

Both Emma and Adrienne glanced to Cordelia, who was finally looking at them.

"What?" Emma asked in disbelief. "Why?"

"Jean Grey likes girls, not boys."

Adrienne's forehead knotted in confusion. "How in the hell do you know that?"

Cordelia shrugged. "It was in the paper. She broke up with her girlfriend, a pop singer, last month. If you really think it's worth it, to send someone in to learn about the origins of the cure, it'll have to be a girl."

Neither Emma nor Adrienne had seen that one coming.

"Well, maybe it's not even worth pursuing." Emma suggested.

"Mystique does what everything on the cure, no matter how slight." Adrienne countered. "And, you are the Brotherhood's most powerful telepath, Emma dear."


"A telepath would be a bad idea." Cordelia spoke up. "She would be able to sense it, right? Adrienne would be better for this. And since you're already a lesbian . . . you wouldn't feel uncomfortable."

Emma laughed, while Adrienne shot Cordelia death glare: "Victor Creed is coming back." Cordelia gulped loudly, and hid her face behind her book.

"Adrienne, stop that!"

There was something deep inside him that he couldn't get rid of, no matter how hard he tried. The others called it 'magic' and 'voodoo'. But, Remy wasn't so sure those were the right words for it. He was seventeen, not an idiot. Remy was a mutant, and he knew it. It was why he had begged his father to take a meeting with the mysterious group called the Brotherhood. The news painted them as some kind of mutant terrorist group, but Remy was so sure that they were more than that.

Remy had arrived at the home of Irene Adler late in the evening. He was greeted at the door by an angry looking man, with white hair.

"Aren't you early?"

"I'm here to see a Mystique." Remy quickly stated, moving forward. "She's gonna help me wit' my powers."

"Yeah?" Erik raised a white eyebrow. "That's super, kid." He moved away from the door. "She's in her office, down the hall third door to the left."

"Uh . . . " Remy was about to ask another question, when he was distracted by two people. A young man, and a young girl; they were walking down the large staircase, whispering to one another, their arms wrapped around each other in an almost protective way. "Who are they?"

Erik glanced behind him, then back to Remy. Remy, who looked like he had just fallen into lust. Though, Erik couldn't tell with whom Remy had fallen in lust. Either way, it wouldn't end well for the young man. "That is John and Marie. They do not want to sleep with you, so don't even bother thinking about it."

"I wasn't . . ." Remy trailed off, his eyes firmly on the young couple.

John nodded to Erik and Remy. "So, you wear your sunglasses at night? Accident waiting to happen, man."

Marie offered the two men a small, polite smile. "Hi. Don't pay any mind to John."

"Remy, hello!" Everyone in the hall turned to the sound of Mystique's voice. "I see you've met some of the Brotherhood. I hope they've been treating you well." She eyed the members of the Brotherhood; pausing to glare at John, whose right hand was currently on the lower back of Marie. "If you'll come to my office, we'll discuss things." She didn't even wait for an answer, she just turned on her heels and started back the way she had come.

Remy waited a beat before following.

John watched Remy leave for a moment before laughing. "Seriously, are we just taking anyone with powers now?"

"John, cut it out." Marie scowled lightly. "Mystique knows what she's doing."

Erik looked after Remy, sighed, then turned back to the younger duo. "Yeah . . . but why bring in someone new now?"

Now that was a very good question.

The office that Mystique had brought Remy to was large and filled with furniture that looked as if it had cost more than everything Remy owned. There were no personal items in the room, save two pictures on the desk: one of a blond woman with short hair, the other of Mystique, the blond woman, the girl from earlier, and a man that looked like huge blue elf.

"Hmm." Mystique cleared her throat. "Remy, if you're quite ready."


"Yes." Mystique paused a moment, seemingly just trying to make Remy sweat a little. "You come from the Thieves Guild, and you're a mutant. That makes you very useful to me, young man. How would you feel about an exchange of sorts? I help you with your powers, but first I want you to steal something for me." Remy leaned forward in his chair, clearly interested. "What I want you to steal is . . . a tiny tube of what the government is calling 'the cure to mutations'."

"I thought you wanted it destroyed?"

"I do, Remy. But, this tube is very special. I want the source of the cure gone, but this tube is for someone that cannot cope with their gift. Now," she slid a file over the desk and to Remy. "I would like you to steal from . . . "

Remy opened the file, looked at the picture of whom he was stealing from, then back up at Mystique. Fucking hell.

"You have to be kidding. He's got a tube of the mutant cure?"

Mystique smiled tightly. "I'm afraid so."

Oh yeah, Remy just knew he was going to die.