Author's Note: I should be ashamed that I haven't updated for so long. It's a bad habit and a serious case of writer's block. Sorry. Hope you like the chapter.
No diseased human was going to touch my grandson, not now, not ever! After washing the child, rubbing medicated ointment on his navel, and dressing him. I lifted the child and held him close to me. He smelled like heaven.
Cradling the baby in my arms, I crept out the room, roughly kicking aside the nurse slowly coming to. I sneered down at the blond as she groaned and passed out again. She was the one who'd brought the child in from the emergency room where Rogue was. Taking her form, I took the long route through the hospital, dodging other nurses busy at work, jumped onto the service elevator, then exited into the parking lot. By now, Nurse Anne had faded, replaced with the image of an average citizen. Keeping the infant concealed underneath my coat, I selected a black Chevy Tahoe, which to my great fortune had a baby seat inside.
Apparently, some dear, loving couple was planning to take their child home. "Well, not today," I cooed, carefully placing him in the car seat. "There you are, nice and cozy." I grinned in delight as he yawned and looked up at me with dazzling blue eyes. "You are you're father's child." Lightly, I ran my hand over his brownish blond hair, and noticed a tiny, white strand popping out from the root. "Hmm, a piece of mommy too."
Starting the engine, I reversed, just in time to see Logan and Storm hurry into hospital. "Always late," I cackled, grinning maliciously, and drove away.
After a good distance, I abandoned the car in a local parking lot, then stopped in a nearby pharmacy to pick up diapers, wipes, infant formula, and all manner of items needed for newborns. Hailing a cab, I gave the driver five hundred dollars if he was willing to take me to Maine. I was in a third disguise by then, and in this economy, he was more than willing to line his pockets.
My grandson squirmed and whimpered. I knew what he was desiring as I shifted him onto my lap and fed him the nutritious supplement that would help him grow healthy and strong. "What a wonder you are," I marveled, staring deep into his eyes. "If you're mother wasn't so stubborn, she could be doing this the natural way," she whispered. I could imagine what Rogue and the X-Men were going through, yet frankly, I didn't want to. There were other reasons why I had taken my grandson away from them. Reasons that had to do with a bastard son by the name of Graydon Creed.
Closing my eyes, I eventually drifted off to sleep. Several hours later, my grandson and I found ourselves in the Maine. I'd forgotten how beautiful the state was this time of year, the flowers were blooming, the air smelled crisp, and the sparkling water of the bay lapped and sloshed on the shore. Finding a phone booth, I held the baby close, while dialing a number I swore I'd never dial again.
I waited, impatiently, but I waited. I stole a look at my grandson, grinning to see his little head was resting comfortably on my shoulder. "Yes," said a imperious voice on the other end.
"Well," I grinned. "Good day to you too."
"Who else do you think it is Erik? I don't have much time, so if you would kindly send a boat to pick me up, I would appreciate it."
"You're in Maine?"
I shifted the baby, he fidgeted then fell asleep. "Where else could I go? They're still looking for me you know." And after what I've done, the X-Men would be hot on my ass. "I have something I want to show you."
"If it's worth my time. I do have other matters to conduct." He said, pompously.
"I think it's more than worth you're time."
"Very well, the boat will be there within the hour or so. While you're on the main land, pick me up a bottle of red wine, you know the kind I like."
I slammed the phone down, startling the baby. I hugged him to me, lightly patting him on the back. Erik always treated me as though I were his personal slave and sex toy. I never seemed to mind. Every action and mission was for the good of mutant kind, till he abandoned me in the back of an armored truck bound of a secret government controlled penitentiary. Seemed strange that I was now seeking his aid, but it was to protect Tristan.
It was the name I'd given my grandson. Why? Because I never met a man named Tristan before.
Walking up and down the peer, passing shops and candy stores, I purchased food in a nearby café. After two hours of walking mindlessly throughout the bay area, arms aching from my burdens, I heard my cellphone ring. "Hello?"
"You sent for a boat."
I was stunned by the deep growl on the other end. "Sabretooth?"
Instead of a response, there was a guttural sound, and the line went dead. I stared at the phone in surprise. What was this? Old allies resurrecting; an ex-lover returning to the service of a man leaves his followers for dead in a heartbeat, rather than lend a helping hand. Things were getting interesting. Hurrying to a discreet location known only to members of the Brotherhood, I saw Sabretooth tying off the line to the boat. He looked slightly different. Dressed in dark clothing, a heavy black trench added to his massive bulk. His hair was cut shorter but could still be pulled into a ponytail. His shaggy beard was gone. He could almost pass for a human being, if it weren't for his oversized claws, which would kill an ordinary man in one swipe.
He sniffed out my presence and whirled around. He looked at me with menacing, black eyes. Walking to him, I morphed into my natural form, and cocked his head. "Mystique." His voice was so low, I didn't think I heard him.
"I thought you died," I said, standing on the wooded dock.
He released a rude snort, looking me over, glowering. "That little shit Summers couldn't kill a fucking fly."
"He toasted you good."
He roared and lowered his black eyes. "Got knocked up I see? What's this the third spawn you've unleashed into the world."
"Got to hell," I simmered angrily. "Just help me in the boat." I held Tristan out to him. He stared at my grandson then me as if I lost my mind.
"Just hold him so I get into the boat."
He took the baby, holding the boy in outstretched arms. "He's a baby, not a bag of dirty diapers." I remarked critically, taking my grandson away from him, before the brute accidentally dropped him the water. Sabretooth, to my astonishment, set to work in loading the boat with all the baby's goods, then cast off the line. I sat at the back, reclining, allowing the sun to warm my body. The large brute then took his position at the helm and started the boat. The engine roared and the boat started pull away from the dock.
During the whole venture to the island, he asked me no questions, questions I had no desire to answer. It was nearly sunset when we reached the island. A massive fortress chiseled out of rock and stone towered out the earthly foundation. Within the thick layers were girded walls of metal and steel; testimony to Magneto's power. I was shocked to see Multiple Man as he came prancing of the gloomy interior, alongside, another face I couldn't recall. I noted a few other mutants patrolling the grounds, one holding a shot gun, another scaling the a palm tree to gather coconuts.
Like rats abandoning the sinking ship, every mutant had scattered Alcatraz after the fall of Magneto. Now, news of mutants regaining their powers, mutations stronger than ever, it appeared they were seeking out this forbidden fortress. A chance for vengeance, glory, fulfillment of prophetic words of mutant domination, whatever sparked this culmination of mutants, I had to say, Erik had these nitwits eating out his hands. I, for one, would not easily be swayed again.
"Hey blue," Multiple Man grinned a Cheshire cat smile. "Fancy seeing you again. Word around the campfire is that you got de-powered some while back. Left you high and dry in the back of a truck."
I contorted my lips, gleaming yellow eyes at him. "Multiple, how unpleasant to see you. I see Erik is still yanking you're chain."
"Ah, you're not still pissed at him about that are you?"
"Would I be here if I was." I climbed out the boat, cradling Tristan close.
Multiple looked down to spy the baby in my arms, arching a brow. "What's with the kid?"
"That's for me to know and for you never to find out."
"Bitch!" He headed and down towards the shore.
I directed my eyes to Sabretooth. "Be a dear and bring my things inside," I said sweetly, and strutted towards the entrance, not without hearing him bellow out a low roar. I entered, greeted by a familiar chill, and walked down the hall to Erik's private chambers.
"Mystique," he said with a false air of surprise, as I entered the spacious chamber. A fire roaring in a massive fireplace to best away the cold seeping into the fortress.
"Don't act like you didn't know I was coming."
"I didn't think you would." He reclined in his chair and engaged me with inquisitive eyes. "You're grandson I see."
"You brought him here."
I shifted the babe. "Yes."
"I have a problem…a problem that involves for us all."
"Young Creed stirring up trouble I see," I countered, watching the grimness set in Mystique's vibrant yellow eyes. With my forefinger, I circled the head of my wineglass, before gripping the chalice, lifting it to my lips. I breathed in the aroma, sipping the fine wine.
"Did you think I would bring Tristan here by other means? I hold you in no respect Erik," Mystique glowered. "But whatever he's planning can not be good for mutants, not to mention, he has designs on the presidency."
"Yes, I've heard the rumors." I eased out of my chair and crossed over to the fireplace, dashing the remaining droplets of wine into the blaze. I turned, monitoring the blue skinned mutant, who was still astonishingly beautiful, and absolutely lethal. I knew I could use her talents, but to gain her trust would not be easy. "Explain to me again how you discovered you daughter, Rogue, was going into labor."
"The cure has it perks." She said adjusting herself on the couch, stroking Tristan's cheeks as he lay bundled on the couch next to her. Starting at the beginning, Mystique related to me the alias she'd conjured. Pretending to be Risty Wilde in order become a student at Xavier's School for the Gifted, just to stay close to her daughter, and how one Wolverine had been unable to sniff out her presence.
I couldn't help but laugh at the fact.
Mystique cocked her head, looking at me questionably. "Please, continue." Playing her part, she stumbled into a conversation Storm was having the Secretary of Mutants, Hank McCoy, and had taken flight to the hospital they had spoken about. "You can shape shift into birds!"
"There are things I could now that will blow you're mind," she purred, stretching like a cat.
I stared mesmerized then blinked, shaking my head. "Come now," I snide. "You're daughter wasn't the only reason why you broke into the mansion, you were trying to steal into Xavier's computer. He's always kept tabs on every mutant hater who might become a possible threat to his precious children. He probably had something on your son."
"There was nothing I could use," she sighed. "Graydon's last known whereabouts is at least five years old. The only clue I have is Friends of Humanity, I believe he's behind the organization causing these terrorist acts against mutants." She rose, pacing my private chamber, throwing a glance my direction. "I know I don't deserve the mother of the year award. Graydon's hatred has everything to do with how I simply abandoned him…and Rogue…but, Erik, he has something up his sleeve, something planned."
"So," I asked. "What do want with me?"
She paused, narrowing her eyes. "Do you have to ask?"
"I bet you're thinking I should've been home already," I said, "and you're right." Sighing, I stroked John Doe 43789's head, streaming my fingers into his luxurious dark hair. The strands were wavy and felt like silk. "You won't believe the day I've had…got trapped into working another shift…extra pay, huh? Yeah! This one woman, she almost lost her baby, her boyfriend, John…Ha…like you... he was going crazy, but thank goodness it worked out okay." I looked at the unresponsive figure and let out a breath. "I wish you could talk back." I took his hand and held it. "I know you will."
A hand fell on my shoulder and I turned in fright. I lifted my gaze to a striking brunette; recognizing her, I smiled, and rose. "Dr. McTaggert, I wasn't expecting you and you're staff till tomorrow."
"We caught an earlier flight." She shifted her focus to the man trapped in a coma for four years. "How is he?"
"The same," I admitted with great displeasure. "Unfortunately."
Dr. McTaggert turned my way. "He's lasted this long. Don't give up hope?"
"You make it sound as if I'm in love with he man."
She tipped her head. "Are you?"
"And violate the standards and codes we nurses live by," I quipped, nervously. "It would cost me my career." Nodding her head in understanding, I stood aside to allow the good doctor to examine the comatose patient. I watched as she fanned a light in his eyes, wrote down her findings in a chart, and scrutinized the machine.
"Have they been rotating his body?"
"Every hour on the hour."
"What about vitals?"
Dr. McTaggert scratched her head. "I don't understand. He's almost as healthy as you and I and yet…" Her pager beeped and she plucked it from her waist, reading the numbers. "Will you excuse me? I have to make a call."
I reclaimed my place at John Doe's side, took his hand and held it gently, but was slightly shaken by her words. Love him? Outrageous! How could I possibly love a man who barely knew of my existence? The thought sent a pain to move inside my chest and I felt the sting of tears. I collected myself when Moira returned, wiping away tears that had built up underneath my lashes.
Moira continued to examine the patient. We talked for a while, she was willing to disclose her prognosis, when out of nowhere an intake of breath ensnared our attention. "H-Hello…M-Moira?"
The Doctor gasped and I could hardly contain my horror. Blue eyes fluttered open to stare us in the face. I withdrew, clamping a hand over my mouth, frightened, excited, awed, completely at a lost for words all at the same time.
"Charles." Dr. McTaggert cried.