Disclaimer – once more, of the following only the plot is mine, Marvel owns everything else.

Chapter the Fourth

Inhumane

The room was dark, and it remained so even after the door opened. Lorna frowned, but she knew better than to reach for the light. Instead she waited, her mind contemplating the intelligence behind coming alone – unless one counted Avalanche ambling down the hallway in her direction. A small smile flitted onto her face as she realized he had more than likely been sent by Pyro. It was childish of her to believe that Pyro cared for her – he had made it well known what he had thought of her upon their first meeting. Of course that hadn't stopped Lorna from worming her way into his life – she was rather good at that if her own father was any indication. When danger had reared its ugly head Magneto had done the overprotective thing of sending Lorna away, though she couldn't honestly say that the mission she had been sent on had been any safer than the battle on Alcatraz Island, nor that she alone had been spared that battle's fate. Both Pietro and Wanda had been sent elsewhere as well.

The green haired teen brought herself out of her reverie by clearing her throat to make the formal announcement someone was standing in the doorway. The occupant of the room was already aware of this, but since travelling stateside with Lorna it had become an unspoken agreement to act as though the other didn't have unworldly senses. Silence reigned for three more minutes before Lorna broke it with an impatient outburst.

"For Christ sakes, Laura, would it kill you to say something?" demanded the teen in an impertinent manner.

A growl cam in reply, followed by a voice that was none too pleased to be speaking. "I told you not to call me that."

"It's your name, isn't it?"

"I didn't choose it."

"No shit, but you sure as hell didn't choose X-23 either, so why should I call you that?"

"You get brattier every time we speak."

Lorna raised any eyebrow, glad it was still too dark to see. "Says the one hiding out in a bedroom all the livelong day." She waited another moment for a reply, but none came. "You wanted to see me – so what gives?"

"I'm restless."

"That's it. You called me here because you're restless? What would you like me to do about it, buy you a ball of yarn?" Oh, Lorna had a feeling her words were dangerously close to stepping on thin ice here, but that hardly mattered to her in the long run. She had spent countless hours with Caliban at her side searching the cold lake shore of Alkali for this particular mutant, and rather than be pleased by what she had found Lorna was actually rather disappointed. Magneto had been positive that X-23 would be an asset to the team, but as far as Lorna could tell X-23 was never going to work with the team. Since arriving back in the states with the highly sought after creature, X-23 had stayed hidden away in a room, never saying a word, though she had pulled out her adamantium claws more than enough times to spread the word that she was not one to be trifled with.

The fact of the matter was that Lorna knew very little about the woman in the dark room. All Caliban had been willing to share was that she was very similar to the mutant Wolverine. That much wasn't hard to see considering X-23 had the same adamantium claws in her hands … but she seemed to have a bit more claws hidden around on her body as well, something that differed with her male counterpart. Lorna herself didn't know a lot of the history behind Wolverine; no one did. As far as she could deduce Wolverine had been a government project of sorts … almost like X-23 had been. When Lorna had finally come across the woman she had been half wild with rage, her clothing nothing more than ragged remains. It had taken a great deal of concentration to stop the mutant from trying to tear Lorna and Caliban apart then and there, but she had done it and somehow or another Caliban had convinced X-23 that they were not the ones she wanted to kill. After that … well, X-23 had subsided into a quiet, dangerous sulk and traveled to New York and the Brotherhood of Mutants.

From the darkness came a flicker of light. Lorna had to shield her eyes for a moment as the curtains of the room were drawn to reveal sunlight. The moment her eyes had adjusted the green haired teen was finally able to see the woman she called Laura Kinney, her back turned on Lorna as the woman gazed out the window.

"I want to see him," stated Laura. "I want him to know that I have come searching for him."

Lorna didn't need to be a genius to know who it was that Laura was talking about. "It's likely he doesn't know of your existence. What does it matter to the Wolverine that there is another mutant like him? He took out Lady Deathstrike without a problem, and she had adamantium in her too."

"I'm different." Laura finally turned, her eyes glinting with a hint of malice in them. She was eager to be out of the room and out of the apartment building. Her time in self imposed exile to her room had finally gotten the best of her – she wanted to be free.

"If you want out you'll have to talk to Pietro and Wanda," said Lorna after a moment, her words spoken in a begrudging manner. "Seeking a fight with the X-Men isn't quite on the agenda yet … though you have every right to hunt them down." She couldn't come out and say that any form of fighting would need to stay on the backburner until the ranks of the Brotherhood were a tad bit bigger than they currently were. Loran wasn't as dumb as she appeared to those around her; when the teen actually put her mind to it she could be just as devious as the rest of her family.

Laura snorted. "I take orders from no one – so I shall follow no one's rules."

"Then why the hell bother telling me anything if you're going to go out and do whatever the hell you want?" demanded the teen sharply.

"You really are young, aren't you?" Laura shook her head with a sense of disappointment. "I'm going to help you out, kid, so listen closely. I'm going out to find him – nothing more. I want to scout out that mansion of his and see what I would be going up against in the future. To your precious siblings I'm nothing more than a scout following your orders to keep an eye on the enemy. I saw your little show on the news yesterday, you need all the help you can get if you're going to stand a chance running this circus act you guys have going here. Me, I only want Wolverine – it's his fault I even exist, but I'm going to make it look like I'm following your every word like some sort of lapdog. Do you get it?"

Pursing her lips together Lorna was silent as she studied the woman in front of her. She couldn't deny that there might be some form of logic in Laura's words, but she honestly couldn't decipher the other mutant's reasoning for them. What was she up to? "Why help me? I'm hardly worth it, even I know that."

"Caliban thinks highly of you."

"I see you've been talking to him then."

"You might take more care to listen to him when he speaks," pointed out Laura sagely. "He has great plans for you and all mutant kind."

"I don't get why."

"You aren't meant to. Play along though, pretend. It'll help you out in the end. In the meantime I'm going to go play the guise of your faithful scout. I'll check in with you in the next day or two. Don't get yourself killed in the meantime. You might have powers of a god, but you don't have a fucking clue how to use them correctly." A wry smile of sorts on her lips was all Lorna was able to see before Laura crossed the room and out the door, leaving the teen to stand in silent wonder. Everyone but her seemed to have some sort of an idea what was going on here, and she was getting rather tired of being in the dark.

Lorna turned on her heel and stalked out of the room, her face set with determination as she brushed past Nic. She was going to find her answers with the very source that seemed to be setting up her life. Upon reaching the stairs Lorna took the ones leading up, her feet moving quickly as she heard Nic ambling along behind her. She had half a mind to tell him to buzz off, but she figured it wouldn't hurt to let him follow Pyro's orders to the very core. What harm could it possibly come to other than annoying her that she couldn't wander around the damn apartment building without some sort of bodyguard-slash-spy?

On the next floor Lorna moved down the hallway and over to one door in particular, throwing it open rather than waiting around to knock. The teen girl moved into the open area of the apartment, her eyes narrowing at the sight of two mutants sitting there calmly, their eyes on her as though she had been expected.

The male mutant was Caliban, his pale form clearly visible without the hood over his gaunt-like face. There was only the merest hint of hair atop his head, all a wispy blonde-white color that made his blue eyes stand out against his pallid features. Beside him sat a woman with red hair cut to her chin, a pair of black sunglasses over her eyes and a walking cane at the ready in her right hand.

"Running doesn't become you, child," murmured the woman in sunglasses.

"I should have known you'd be here," muttered Lorna darkly. "Whenever things begin to change you're always there."

"You come seeking answers."

Lorna scowled. She was being treated like a child, spoken to in a condescending manner – something she barely tolerated from her father and siblings, but with the mutant woman in front of her the teen knew she would have to bit her tongue and let it slide. It wasn't as though she had much of a choice at this point in time. "It wouldn't kill you two to let me in on some of these plans. Laura just told me she's going off to scout for me. What is it I'm having her scout out?"

Caliban turned his gaze away from Lorna, his eyes going to Nic in the doorway of the apartment, though the pale mutant didn't seem to be giving the maker of avalanches much heed either. His eyes were seeing something else in the distance … or possibly his mind was elsewhere sensing endless possibilities of mutants for the recruiting. Lorna hadn't quite figured out what the deal behind Caliban was yet, but whatever it was she was pretty damn sure the man had a plan, and one that included using her. She had been rather honored by his sticking to her side as though she were the only one worthy of his words, but within a month Lorna had come to the conclusion there might be more going on, that she might be nothing more than a pawn in his hand, and that of the woman known as Destiny beside him. All Lorna needed, or even wanted, was a small sign that she was not a pawn, but very much worthy of such attention from so talented a mutant.

After a moment Caliban spoke. "There is someone we must find."

"Isn't there always?" shot back Lorna acerbically.

"This mutant is quite powerful and will be of great use for you. You want to prove you are worthy to be a Lensherr, do you not?"

Lorna was silent, her eyes studying the two mutants before her. Whether or not she was nothing more than a pawn she couldn't help but feel she needed to listen to them if she were to ever prove what she felt she knew: that she was not weak. "Where will I find this mutant?"

"They will find you."

"And yet that doesn't make me feel any better."

Destiny spoke. "Have faith, child. The future will be yours before you know it."

"How do I know you aren't just using me for some sick plan of your own?"

"You don't."

Her lips twitched as though Lorna might burst from the inner turmoil within. She disliked this cryptic tone; the teen did better when she knew what was going on in the world she occupied, and this hardly constituted knowing anything at all. "You're really starting to piss me off."

"Know this, there is something coming that will change the tides of fate, including your own."

"And what exactly does that mean for me?"

"Given some time you can lead a great army of mutants and change the world for the better."

Rolling her eyes Lorna said, "Oh joy, my life is finally complete knowing this piece of information."

"What is done can be undone. What is gone is not always gone." This time it was Caliban that spoke, and three sets of eyes turned to peer at him. He locked eyes with Nic who shifted his feet, uncomfortable under the albino's gaze. "Do not underestimate yourselves. You have the potential. You all have the potential."

What potential that was, was left unsaid.

--

Downstairs Pyro was standing beside a window, his eyes trained on Pietro as the taller mutant paced back and forth in front of him. The fiery teen had just mentioned that he wanted Lorna to work with him in order to keep an eye on her, as well as keep Caliban from up and leaving the Brotherhood. It had already happened once before directly after the battle on Alcatraz Island; Caliban had vanished before showing up again at the damn hearing the day before. Pyro had been rather surprised to see him there, though Lorna had looked unconcerned about it. He had a feeling the girl kept some form of communication open with the seeker that no one yet knew about. It was almost disheartening.

"I don't like it; it's giving the kid more responsibility than I feel comfortable giving her," stated Pietro.

"Responsibility?" scoffed Pyro. "All you're doing is letting her tag along with me as I scout out some of the old hangouts some of the guys used to hideout in. That's not responsibility, that's just a mission."

"To Lorna it might be seen differently," pointed out Wanda.

"Oh come on, she's eighteen, not ten – the girl does have a brain sometimes. She might surprise you if you guys give her a chance."

"It sounds to me like you might be giving her more chances than anyone else here. Don't think we didn't hear where you stayed the night, Pyro. The walls aren't very thin here, and rumors fly pretty quickly when it has to do with a certain green haired girl." Pietro paused in his pacing to stare at Pyro, receiving the merest of shrugs in return.

"I'm still a guy, Speedy, just the same as anyone else. It isn't my fault you guys aren't recruiting very many pretty faces to fool around with on our off hours."

"Leave him be, Pietro," advised Wanda after a moment. "It's hardly worth fighting over. If he wants to play around with Lorna he can. What we should really be talking about is the future of the Brotherhood. Magneto hasn't been heard from in months now; the old gang from Alcatraz is back … more or less. We have Jamie and Sabertooth, and for some of our members that's a good sign. We're showing that we're returning to the root of our cause again. Now it's all a matter of what to do next. We need to recruit, yes, but after that … we need to start digging into the government again and see what they're up to. I don't like the silence we're getting from them outside the press release that escaped mutant terrorists will be caught and punished according to the law."

Pietro nodded. "We need to get some eyes into the government then."

"It's a shame we don't have Mystique around." Pyro's voice carried a bit of a wistful sentiment about it as the Maximoff twins allowed the words to settle in their heads.

"She's vanished as well," replied Wanda after a moment. "And she's human. It's a bit of a waste to wish for what we don't have."

"What I'm saying is it might be nice to have Caliban start seeking another shape shifter." Pyro moved away from the window, his arms in front of his chest. "They're always useful, and if we want eyes in the government that's the only way we're going to get it. In case you guys haven't noticed, our ranks have only ever been filled with people on the edge of the law – we don't have any respectable members of society hiding who they are so they can blend in with humans. That was the X-Men's job, not ours. We've only ever been about keeping the world aware of us."

"Well since you're so cozy with our sister, why don't you ask her to get Caliban working on that little mission?" snapped back Pietro.

"Maybe because she'd only tell you to go screw yourself." Lorna's voice was disdainful as she entered the apartment, her eyes narrowing at the sight of her older brother standing in front of Pyro as though he were looking for a bit of a fight.

"Our meeting started quite a while ago, Lorna. Where the hell have you been?" questioned Wanda.

"Here and there, though I was mostly asking X-23 to go scout out the X-Men for us to see what they've got going on. I figure McCoy's been in touch with them, so it might just be easier to keep an eye on the government via the X-Men … if that's what you were trying to do, figure out what the government has planned, otherwise you're obviously not trying hard enough."

Wanda tapped her cheek thoughtfully, her face void of emotion before speaking again. "I suppose that will do for now. I wish you would have talked this over with us before letting X-23 go out on her own. She's too damn wild for my liking."

"This is exactly why she's not under your orders, Wanda. I wouldn't worry about her though. X-23 is a weapon, isn't that right, Nicky? She knows what she's doing." Lorna glanced back at the doorway where Nic ambled through, an unsettled look upon his face.

"She's fucking crazy," he stated.

"I can't argue there – she tried goring me three different times in the same night. I wouldn't recommend hitting on her while drunk. Did you find the others for the meeting too?" asked Pietro.

"Jamie said something about needing to stock up at the bank and a few other places today. I think he's planning on a nine-way robbery at the same time just to get back into the thick of things. Cain refused to wake up, and there's no way in hell I'm asking Sabertooth to show up here. That guy's worse than X-23. He'll kill for no reason at all."

Sighing, Wanda said, "I suppose we shouldn't be surprised. Everyone here with the exception of Lorna is independent."

"Fuck you." Lorna scowled and probably would have said more if Pyro hadn't silenced her with a dark look and shake of his head.

"So long as Jamie doesn't get himself arrested again it's not a big deal. Sending either Juggernaut or Sabertooth out to recruit isn't exactly subtle – they stick out like store thumbs," murmured the male teen.

"At this point we all stick out like sore thumbs," agreed Wanda. "None of us were very subtle yesterday, and as you already said, the half of us comes with criminal records already known to the police. Being unobtrusive is our best bet for a few days while we get the word out about our regrouping. We don't want to get the authorities too excited over our return; otherwise we'll simply be running from one hideout to another."

Pietro nodded. "We'll have to send those mutants out that can pass for humans. Avalanche can go with Berzerker; Boom-Boom and Wither; Mimic and Tarot –" He cut himself short, his gaze going towards his twin. "We shouldn't send too many out, especially those that might cause a ruckus downtown."

Lorna tapped her chin thoughtfully, her eyes focused out the window she had gone to stand by as her siblings began to murmur in low voices about who they trusted to recruit new members. She barely noticed as Pyro came to stand beside her, his own eyes trained on the slightly troubled form of Avalanche.

"You want to tell me what's got our one man natural disaster down? He was fine when I sent him after you."

"You really shouldn't have done that, Py. I'm a big girl; I can take care of myself."

"Don't make me laugh, Princess."

"Nicky is fine. He's just got some adjusting to do."

"Spill it, kid."

Turning to face the pyromaniac, Lorna gave him a patronizing smile. "You wouldn't begin to understand the half of what I know, Johnny. What you should really concern yourself with is the fact that I have a lead on a new mutant."

Pyro scoffed. "Is that your answer to everything? I heard you got some recruits while I was in jail, all thanks to Caliban of course."

"Mmm."

A moment of silence between the pair passed. Pyro gave a quick glance in the direction of the Maximoff's, one of which was giving him a dark look though Wanda was making a point not to say anything aloud, her attention still half focused on her brother who was speaking a mile a minute. "Are you going to keep this piece of information all to yourself, or are you going to share?"

With a smirk Lorna moved forward, her words spoken loud enough for all to hear. "I hear tell father isn't the only mutant leader with a bastard child gifted as he."

At this both Wanda and Pietro focused their attention on Lorna, a glimmer of recognition in their eyes at her words. Pietro spoke first. "That's impossible."

"You know it isn't," replied Lorna shortly.

"And how would you like to go about suggesting we recruit him? Even father wouldn't dare touch him."

"That's because father didn't know what I know."

"And what exactly do you know, Lorna?"

"Death is only the beginning."

--

Her eyes observed the world around her. Somehow it had become different, strange. In the past the world had seemed nothing more than a mere annoyance, background noise of sorts. Now, however, it was as though she were looking at the world around her for the very first time.

And now she was seeing things exactly for what they were.

Change was not permanent. It never had been and it never would be.

She flicked her eyes upwards as a man walked past her, her body stiffening on the bench she was seated on. It was almost natural to do so; she only trusted those in which she had shared a part of her past. Strangers had been second nature once before, but now she wanted as little to do with them as possible. It was understandable, but at the same time it was unacceptable. That seemed to be a cross she would bear for all time, the ultimate form of a contradiction. Perhaps that would be the one thing that would never change.

Another person passed before her and she merely crossed her right leg over that of her left. Now that she had time to think things over she had come to the conclusion that could she go back and do things again she wouldn't change a single factor of her life. All that she had done had been done for a particular reason, no more and no less. She had been a servant in both forms and now she was seemingly free of all that she had been asked to do. Yet without those orders, those pleas, she was restless and unable to find contentment with her life.

She missed the days of yore.

Now came a third person, this one taking a seat beside her. She sighed, her eyes going out across the park she had come to know so well in the past few weeks. Only after two days had she come to understand the pattern that the park seemed to live by; only after three did she realize that there was only one thing left for her to do, and so here she sat, waiting.

A throat cleared. Then there was silence. Minutes passed, and then there were words. "The time is now."

"Hasn't it always been?"

"Then you know what you must do?"

"I've never asked questions in the past, and now you think I have doubts? I said I would do it. I always keep my word."

"I'm afraid that tells me very little."

"Then I'm afraid you'll just have to live like that."

From the west came a soft breeze, picking up the silence that seemed ready to settle. Then, "We know you will do the right thing."

"Naturally."

In the distance a dog barked, and then she stood up, her eyes gazing down at her companion with a hooded look about them. "I'll be in touch."

"Of course. It's been nice doing business with you, Ms. Darkholme."

"I wish the same could be said for you, Mr. Shaw."

--

"And this is the kitchen. Generally you can just open the fridge whenever you want and eat something if you're hungry, even at three in the morning. Just be careful that Logan doesn't catch you – he's gotten pickier about when people decide to sleepwalk. I'm not sure why since he's a bad example for being up at all hours night and day, but if he catches you out just start bawling and you'll get a freebie." Kitty offered a lopsided grin as she spoke, her words startling the fair skinned boy beside her.

"Really, you can do that here? At the lab we had scheduled hours for eating." James Baker, normally known as Jimmy, glanced up at Kitty with a bit of confusion in his eyes. It was all so new to him being at the mansion. Today wasn't his first day, but it was the first time someone had finally taken time out of their own day to give him an actual tour of the mansion. For the past few months the boy had been spending quite a bit of time following his roommate downstairs whenever a bell sounded in hopes that he was going in the right direction.

"Well, we have designated hours too I suppose, but since there seems to be so many of us wandering around at the same time it's been easier to just eat whenever you feel like it, and when there doesn't seem to be an actual food fight going on in the cafeteria. Not that very many of those happen." Seeing the look upon Jimmy's face had caused the petite female to hurry onwards so as to reassure him that they weren't really as wild as she was likely making the students of the mansion out to be.

Truth be told this was the first time Kitty had actually ever given someone else a tour of the mansion. Usually someone else did that, someone with a little more people skills under their belt. On her first day at the mansion Kitty had been led around by Piotr and Bobby with John roaming around the in the background. It had been slightly overwhelming as the teen could be shy on first impression. After she had gotten used to the mansion she had been offered the chance to show others around but Kitty had never been quite brave enough to take up the feat. Her homesickness had been more than enough to tell her she really wasn't the best person to welcome semi-permanent residents to the mansion. Instead the job had been doled out to others. Bobby had given Marie the tour when Marie had arrived; Piotr had shown Warren around; Marie had shown Paige and Danielle around; Logan had shown Remy around; and Storm generally showed around parents of students that supported their child.

Somehow or another Jimmy's first day had been something like chaos for the younger boy hadn't quite been shown around properly until now. Kitty had only discovered this upon coming across her little friend standing in the middle of the hall with a slightly confused look on his face. As soon as she had coaxed it out of him that he hadn't figured out where everything was Kitty had decided to give Jimmy the grand tour. She was rather proud of herself about it too.

"So what do you think?" she asked.

"I think I finally figured out where the library was," admitted Jimmy with a small grin of his own. "Thanks."

"It's not a big deal. I feel bad no one gave you this tour before now. Bobby does it better than I do, and Rogue usually gives a really neat story along with each room."

"I thought you did a good job."

Kitty merely shrugged, not used to taking compliments even from friends. "I know the place can be pretty intimidating at times. I was pretty freaked out when I first got here too. It took ages to figure out where everything was."

"It is big," agreed Jimmy. "But I do like it here, a lot better than Worthington Labs."

"I bet. All that white couldn't really have been good for you."

"I guess not."

Allowing herself a small chuckle Kitty reached out and ruffled the light brown hair that had finally begun to grow atop Jimmy's head. Since his arrival the boy had learned to loosen up, as well as begun to look a bit healthier. He wasn't as pale as he was in the past, and hair had finally begun to grow where once it had been bald. It made the teen girl feel better about all that had transpired on Alcatraz Island. Since then she had felt more like a real member of the team, and a member of the family at the mansion.

The duo glanced up as the door to the kitchen swung open and Remy stepped inside, a strained look on his face. "Mon dieu," he said upon seeing them, "be prepared for some fireworks."

"Is Jubilee putting on another show?" asked Jimmy with a bright look on his face.

"Not quite."

Almost as though on cue the door opened yet again and Marie walked into the room with Bobby hot on her heels, neither one looking as though they were in a good mood. Bobby seemed to be the one speaking at the moment. "I don't know why you didn't talk to me about it first, Marie! Applying to college in California is a big deal!"

"I already told you I wanted to go there, Bobby. I want to see other things than this side of the country – I've always thought California would be nice. Stanford is a good college!"

"But it's on the other side of the country!"

Marie stopped short on her heels, whirling around to face her boyfriend. "All I did was apply; it's entirely possible they might not accept me. Nothing's written in stone yet. Bobby, I can't spend my entire life at the mansion. In case you've forgotten, I'm cured. This isn't my home anymore!"

The words echoed in the kitchen, causing silence to reign. Kitty shifted feet uncomfortably as Jimmy scooted against the counter. The only one seemingly unperturbed was Remy who was now peeling a banana as though he might actually be hungry. Bobby and Marie continued to eye one another apprehensively until Bobby looked away. Hurt flashed across Marie's face as she recognized the look of defeat upon her boyfriend's face.

"Fine," he said. "Do what you want." He turned around, not bothering to eye the rest of the group as he exited the kitchen. Kitty glanced over Marie with wide eyes in time to see the other girl frozen to her spot, tears forming in her eyes. Anyone could see the relationship was growing worse rather than better. It had been slowly doing so ever since Marie had returned from getting the cure all those months ago. Unsure whether she should try and be a friend to Marie and offer a shoulder to cry on or something, Kitty was saved from having to make a further decision by the sound of the doorbell ringing. Her eyes followed Jimmy as the younger boy skirted out of the kitchen while Remy let out a sigh and followed him out, leaving Kitty and Marie alone.

There was silence for a while before Marie spoke. "You probably think I'm a horrible person."

"Huh?" Kitty turned to the southern girl quizzically. "Oh, no. No, I don't. I think ... I … I don't really know what to think to tell you the truth. I didn't know very many people in relationships back in my old high school, so I don't really know how they work."

"Neither do I," murmured Marie. "Everything was supposed to get better, easier even. But it's all just gone so wrong. He blames himself for it you know, my getting the cure. He doesn't want to see that I'm happier now, that this has always been what I've wanted. I didn't ask to have powers. I didn't ask to have my world turned upside like it was. I only wanted to fit in with everyone else at school. I had plans back then, of traveling the world, falling in love, going to college; getting married … they all vanished in the blink of an eye – with a single kiss. And now … now I might finally have a chance to get all that back, but now … it's all just a mess."

Kitty found herself taken aback by Marie's candor. She knew so little about the other brunette in front of her other than what she had heard. Even the white streak in her hair was nothing more than a story the younger teen had heard from others at the mansion; before now Kitty had barely spoken more than two words to Marie, something she hadn't wanted to do after the time she had gone ice skating with Bobby. "I …"

"I can't do this anymore. I can't." The words didn't seem particularly directed towards Kitty, though Marie did speak them aloud. "I can't," she whispered one last time, her head shaking no of its own accord. Before Kitty could think of something to say, Marie too was gone, the kitchen door swinging closed as the other girl walked back through them.

Letting out a breath, Kitty groaned. "Oh, Bobby."

--

"Are those all the leads the police have?" questioned Ororo as she rubbed her temples wearily. Any hope she had once had of getting some relief in the matters of the breakouts seemed dimmer than ever now. Sitting on the couch before her was an officer of the New York Police Department.

Lucas Bishop nodded his head, his eyes glancing between Ororo and Logan who sat on the edge of the desk listening to all that had been taking place. For the former X-Man it was difficult to return to the mansion to find his former classmate now in charge of the school they had both attended. The loss of Charles Xavier was still being felt by all that had known the man, and it likely wouldn't change for time to come. "We've asked questions and those are the only answers we've gotten. We've spoken to the adoptive parents and ex-boyfriend, and they all say the same thing."

"How do we know these people can be trusted?" demanded Logan.

"The Danes are good people. The adoption is as legal as they come, or was. There are no records of the birth mother, other than that she was a pretty woman that dropped Lorna off at the orphanage when she was barely a year old. From then on Lorna was supposedly raised to be the perfect daughter, but you know how the rich are – spoiled, manipulative, and selfish. It's a bad combination for the girl, especially when she claims to be linked to the Lensherr name. The ex-boyfriend says the same thing. Lorna dated Alexander Masters for close to three years before he claims she snapped, her powers coming out into the open."

"And it's true she killed someone?" Ororo turned in a slow circle, her hand rubbing the back of her neck.

"So it seems. The reports put it down as an accident, but you know the papers will spin it otherwise. She's got all the cards stacked against her at this moment, and all because she made the slip and gave her name to another person," replied Lucas with a shrug of his shoulders.

Logan shook his head. "It wasn't a slip. She did it on purpose. She wants us to know who she is."

"To what purpose, Logan?" Ororo extended her hands to emphasize her point. "Even without the name the powers would have been something of a dead giveaway."

"She's the only name we've got, 'Ro. Those others didn't give a name, which means they aren't as important as this pipsqueak with the green hair."

"Or it means the others are more important and Lorna is only the poster child for the new Brotherhood," pointed out Lucas sagely.

"Either way doesn't bode well for us," muttered Ororo after a moment. "The papers are going to spin it just as you say, Luke. Lorna and Pyro are making front page news everywhere. They're the new face of the Brotherhood, and for better or for worse the media's got them pinned as a duo to be reckoned with."

Snorting, Logan got up from his seat and made his way over to the window, his own senses on edge. He crossed his arms, his mind ignoring whatever it was that Lucas was saying in turn to soothe Ororo. The Canadian wasn't of the belief that things would be getting better. There was a reason the Brotherhood had waited until now to strike, and whatever that reason was Logan was fairly sure it meant trouble was on the horizon. He hadn't believed along with the rest of his teammates that things would calm down after Alcatraz Island. It hadn't felt right, and for as long as Logan could remember his senses had never been wrong.

Yet it was more than that this time around. There was something else that bothered Logan, something out there that was making him restless. He had been that way since Alkali Lake when he had left Colonel William Stryker behind to die in the collapse of the dam. It was like a memory had been triggered with the man's words, though which ones they had been he hadn't been able to remember until now.

As he gazed out the window, his eyes searching for whatever it was that he felt watching him, it came to him, but it did very little to ease his mind. If anything it made him more anxious for whatever was to come and it was for this that he began to murmur under his breath.

Ororo eyed her friend and teammate carefully as she repeated his name a third time. "Logan?"

"I'm not the only one," he repeated once more. "I'm not the only one."

-End Chapter the Fourth-

A/N – apology for the long space between updates; last semester kicked my butt and I'm currently studying abroad, so it's been rather hard finding time to write something that wasn't in Spanish.