WORD COUNT: about 5868

WARNINGS: some language and violence

PAIRING: implied Rogue/Pyro

SUMMARY: "Look, Rogue, let me be honest with you," the woman speaks bluntly and Shelby can only barely swallow the pained sound, a yelp, trying to climb up her throat, "First of all, have you never ever wondered what the letter M stands for?"

PROMPT: 026 trauma


sequel to the question trilogy

A/N: Okay, um, I have a few things to say and therefore ---

1. I'm probably not the only one who felt The Question Trilogy needs a sequel - no? I thought so. Seriously speaking, I'd hate myself if I left the storyline hanging like that… although, really... that's just my lame excuse. In reality I adore Shelby too much not to write.

2. Special thanks to

· saint's hands (my X-Men Comics Consultant, honestly) who once again helped me with shit load of little details as well as the twists and plots. I haven't read the comics (only a few) and she has and therefore I sort of lean on her… a lot. She's the best, dude, and without her input I'd probably never get anything done. Ever.

· smartasschef14 (livejournal) for trying to do the impossible and correct my grammar. Again.

3. Emma Frost is a complete mystery to me - I'd never even heard of her before F mentioned her to me so in case she's all fucked and not even remotely like herself (well, as canon as she in this universe can be), then I'm sorry. Or, really, I'm not, but I can pretend if you want me to. Or if you pay. Oh and, I've taken liberties to mess around her abilities in case you were wondering.

4. This is supposed to be three parts (as in, three fics) long, much like the previous trilogy, but as it is me writing, you never know. Plus, I'm gonna post all the fics (because yeah, they're written as separate fics for a reason I cannot be bothered to explain - let's just say it's because they're written for a challenge, okay?) as one multi-chaptered fic.

5. I was somehow inspired by POETS OF THE FALL and especially by the song "sorry go 'round" - don't ask me why, though, because I have no idea.

6. It may not seem like Rogue/Pyro, but I assure you, it will. You didn't think Pyro would just watch from afar and let all this happen, did you?

AND: reviews make me glee.

DISCLAIMER: The characters you know from X-Men (both movieverse as well as the comics)? NOT MINE. The characters you don't recognize, at all? Guess whose?


Her last name is D'Ancanto and she damn well knows that. She's grown up with it so of course she does and she's even proud of that, of her name and her heritage, but sometimes, when no one's watching and she knows Mom isn't going to be home anytime soon… that's when she unleashes her imagination and plays mind games with another possibility. The kind that creates a mischievous smirk on her lips and at the same time, makes her skin crawl for no apparent reason. It's not like she'd change her name if given the opportunity, but come on, who doesn't like to dream and pretend every once in a while?

In that department Shelby D'Ancanto is just like every other 12 year old kid in the world. It's the part where she's a mutant with the gift of creating fire that sets her apart from the most crowd. Although, inside the walls of her school, she's one of the many and the ability to mess around with fire, it only makes her super cool.

Seriously, on a scale from 4-10, she totally scores 11. Sometimes she wonders how much cooler she'd be if they simply knew the whole truth. Perhaps she'd get 15 then, possibly even 16 - or at least she calculates so… and that simple calculation she bases solely, and sourly, on the memory of that stupid Amara Aquilla girl scoring 17 damn points last year just because she can generate and control lava. Who cares about stupid lava? No one.

But her secret?

For one, it totally explains why all her best friends went to Charles Xavier's school for Gifted Youngsters whereas she, despite the many arguments she had with her mother about it, did not.

Instead, she ended up into another academy much like Xavier's school. Only difference that she can think of is the fact hers goes by the name of House of M - so far it's actually been good. Being around other mutants; it feels like a consolation price of a sort, but one that she'll gladly accept when offered.

At school, they've all heard about him, heard the whispers of what he was and of what he became, and it kills her -every single day- that she can't even brag.

If only, for once in her life, she could take part in a conversation regarding him and tell them, everyone, that really, if her parents had got hitched like she wishes they had, her surname would actually be Allerdyce, not D'Ancanto.

Well, the good thing is, no one would probably even believe her... The downside is that she'd have the power to change their minds. With her ability she could totally prove it.

It's rather logical, at least to her it is, that the daughter of the infamous Pyro would possess the same natural talent of her father's and so they'd have to believe. Especially since her mother has no powers, at all, which makes her ordinary. Not that she minds, because no matter what, she loves her mother - more than anything in the whole wide world. More than the thought of him and that says a lot.

Though, the rumors which she's heard about ten hundred times and more, they say that he actually can't create fire, only manipulate it and she's not sure what to think of that.

On the other hand, that sucks a little because rumors like that kind of takes away from his magic. But then… on the other? It sort of makes her even cooler, doesn't it? Because she sure as hell can create it.

But if Dad knew about her and her power, he'd be damn proud and that's all the comfort she needs to get by.

She's heard about the Brotherhood, they've talked about its history and timeline vaguely at school a few times, but Shelby refuses to believe all the things they say about it. Besides, even if all the things the adults have said when they've been under the impression there are no kids around, even if all that was true, then so what? It was before - before he joined them.

And Mom always says that the past doesn't mean anything, but that it's the future that counts.

She doesn't always listen to her mother, especially when the conversation has something to do with bedtimes, vegetables or why shoplifting is bad and how it'll get her grounded every single time, but occasionally the woman does know what she's talking about and Shelby has no issues when it comes to admitting that.

"Honey?" Speak of the devil - it's the hollering voice of one Marie D'Ancanto coming from downstairs that shatters the moment radically. The piece of paper in Shelby's hands gets quickly thrown into the steely trashcan and only a second later, it flares up and then, burns to dust. The last thing she wants her mother to see is a postage filled with different variations of all the possible ways to write down Shelby D'Ancanto, Shelby Allerdyce and, of course, Shelby D'Ancanto-Allerdyce.

Because honestly, Shelby would rather shoplift and get caught red-handed, again, than let Marie know her daughter dug up the one and only secret she's been trying to protect since before the day she gave birth.

"Honey? You home?" The second time she hears her voice, this time colored with slight worry and uncertainty, the girl finally makes a move. "I'm coming!" She yells back, pushes her chair away from the desk while getting up and rushes off the room. She even gets half-way down the stairs before running into Marie.

A pair of arms close around her immediately, pulling her close and Shelby doesn't even consider protesting like many girls of her age would. Instead, she closes her eyes and inhales deeply, enjoying.

She's never figured out why, not that she'd even given it much thought, but just the smell of her mother has always been enough to calm her nerves down - no matter what the cause.

"Well, it's definitely the funkiest way to welcome one home," Marie speaks then, pushing the girl a little farther. With adoring look, she cups Shelby's face with both hands and gives her a pointed smile, adding, "but honey, think we could move off the stairs before I fall down and break my neck?"

"It figures," Shelby snorts dramatically, but with laughing eyes and a hint of smile tugging at her lips, "it's always your neck that matters."

The statement draws out a deep, rolling laughter from the older D'Ancanto and a malicious smirk from the younger. With a wide grin -and completely ignoring the damned images that familiar smirk on the child's lips arise-, Marie lands a kiss on the top of her daughter's head before shrugging nonchalantly and says, "I would argue, but we both know it indeed is the prettiest neck in the house."

"Only," Shelby starts, tilting her head, "because mine hasn't fully developed yet. Give it some time, Mom, 'cause I'll catch up with you for sure."

Marie smiles, but it's easy for Shelby to notice how there's something sad, protected about her smile when she replies softly, "Yeah, never doubted that one for a sec, dear."

They're not talking about her neck anymore, are they? It's the tone of her mother's voice and that smile -sad and longing-, both telling Shelby to damn all the possible consequences and just do it without thinking. It's obvious Marie is thinking about him, because he's the only one who can bring that hollowness into her eyes, and this would be such a perfect window to ask about him. Smoothly.

But before Shelby can come up with the most perfect way to be smooth about it, like she knows she has to be if she wants to succeed, the moment's gone and Marie's already turned around.

"I'm gonna order pizza," she says, sounding tired, and Shelby can tell it's simply her way of changing the course of the previous moment, "and I suspect you have no-"

"Nuh huh," Shelby assures right away, shaking her head, "no complaints from here."

"Good," Marie throws over her shoulder while descending the stairs, "'cause I cannot be bothered to cook today."

"Good," Shelby retorts somewhat automatically, the way she always does and follows her mother into the kitchen, "'cause I cannot be bothered to lie about its quality today."

It's not that her mother can't cook well… It's that she can't cook at all. That, however, has never bothered neither Marie or Shelby, but it is something she loves to throw at her mother's face just for meaningless fun.

"You're such a smart-ass, kiddo," Marie laughs, grabbing the phone from the wall and hitting speed-dial. It's always amused Shelby to no end - the fact they actually have all their favorite take-away places on speed-dial as if that was all they ate. It isn't, really, but it makes life in general a whole lot easier, according to Mom anyway and who is she to argue about the facts of life?

"Just like my father?" The question slips out so mischievously, and totally without Shelby's consent, and she's almost tempted to clap her hands on her mouth to keep it from saying anything else.

But Marie, unlike Shelby thought, doesn't seem bothered by it. The sad smile reappears hand in hand with amused glint, but that's about it and then, to Shelby's surprise, she nods and says, "Just like your father."

Shelby, she can't remember the last time they would've talked about her father. At all. No, wait, there's this one memory she's been holding onto for as long as she can tell, with them both here, in the kitchen, talking about him -fighting about him- but she can't remember any of the words exchanged. But she remembers, quite clearly, how upset Mom was afterwards and maybe that's why she promised herself she'd never ask about Dad again. Not from her, anyway.

She's tried asking Bobby - many, many times actually, but so far the man has proven to be of no use. Whenever Shelby even so much as thinks of asking, this sudden tension takes a hold of his features and silences her unspoken questions before they even get a chance to come out. She's not sure how he does it, but it freaks her out and-

Is that the doorbell?

Without wasting a look on her mother who's still on the phone, Shelby practically runs to the door. Well, there's only one person who would come to their door this late - and she's counting on that.

When the doorbell rings three times in a row before she gets to the door, she already knows she was right. The impatient ringing always gives it away.

Mom always says she should peek out from the window to see who it is, just in case because you never know what's out there, but if Mom isn't there standing behind her back, watching, Shelby never bothers to go through with the ritual. Instead, she usually pulls the door open and like now, with a delighted shriek, leaps against the guest in excitement.

Logan only smirks, lifting her better up into his arms and steps over the threshold like the owner of the house. She's not as light as she used to be, he can tell, but it's no issue and he figures, it never will.

"What ya up to, kiddo?" He asks and closes the door with the heel of his boot. Logan, he always calls her kiddo, much like Mom does and Shelby's convinced that's from where she picked it up.

"Besides bothering Mom?" She questions, pensive, "Nothing much."

The reply earns a chuckle from him - and a slight shake of head. He carries her to the kitchen and she wonders why he never ever has to ask where Mom is. How can he always know her exact spot no matter where she is? It's just as unnerving as the fact he seems to be able to smell her lies a mile away. Though, really, usually that's no problem and therefore she doesn't mind; Logan isn't the type to rat her out unless she's done something really, really bad.

Which she has, occasionally.

"Should've known you've been bad, firestarter," he returns, almost as if he had read her mind and she could go on with it, make funny comments all night, but she doesn't want to. She's too curious to know-

"Where you been, Logan?" She asks, "Mom kept asking around for like two weeks and you know how she gets when she's worried. It was hell on earth."

"Sorry," Logan says, but she knows he doesn't mean it.

Then, without him saying anything, giving no explanations, she is gently dropped on her own two feet. Marie's done with the phone call and is now cleaning the dinner table with a rag, but the moment she sees Logan, her face lights up and the cloth falls from her fingers. Shelby can't help but smile.

"Logan!" Then it's Marie's turn to hug him and Shelby simply watches the moment, happy. It's nice, the freeing effect he always seems to have on Marie and she hates to admit that the only way it could be better is if it was him instead. That particular train of thought makes her feel guilty every single time, though and so she usually tries to steer clear from it.

"Where the hell have you been?" Not knowing, Marie repeats the exact same question as her daughter, although with a bit harsher language. It brings a smirk to Shelby's face.

"Around," he says, shrugging, "here and there."

Yeah, sure, as if Mom would actually let that reply slide...

As expected, Marie takes a step back and crosses her arms. Oh, boy - Shelby knows what that look combined with that posture mean. Despite the fact Mom is damn happy to see her old friend, Logan is still in for a massive amount of trouble. Well, this time Shelby agrees with Mom, because yeah, he most definitely deserves it after vanishing without a word. You don't do that to your family and that's exactly what she considers him to be.

"Well, doesn't 'here and there' have any phones?" Marie prompts, eyes narrowing the way they always do when she's riled up, "You know I've been worried sick about you and the least you could've done is like, I dunno, call and let me know you're still in one piece." The comment makes Logan snort in obvious amusement and roll his eyes - and that in turn makes Shelby frown. What was so funny about that, huh?

"Kiddo, don't lecture an old man," Logan sighs then, but like Shelby, he too knows well enough to keep all signs of annoyance inside, "I've been around long enough to know I can take care of myself."

Marie shrugs, but now there's a weak smile hanging on her lips, "Still," she says, clearly giving up on anger, "We missed you."

"Well," Logan grunts back like a caveman would, "I'm here now, aren't I?"

Indeed, but, "For how long?" Shelby cuts in, growing suddenly worried. Sure, she loves to hear him tell lively stories about the journeys he's made, about the things he's seen, but it doesn't change the fact she never wants him to go.

"Don't plan on leaving any time soon," Logan replies, but something in the way he says it, in the tone used, tells Shelby it's nothing but a big fat lie. Whatever it is that's going on, it's something big.

And then? Her skin crawls unexpectedly, cold shivers traveling from her head to toes. That's when she notes the way his face suddenly changes and they watch him sniff the air like he often does and hear him say, "Something's up."

A moment goes by in utter silence but soon enough it's broken by the recurring sound of the doorbell.

Logan sniffs again, only stronger this time and then glances at Marie. "Are you expecting someone?"

"No," Shelby replies before Marie can say anything - is it just her imagination or did her mother just go completely pale? Well, anyway, "I mean, besides the pizza delivery guy, but there's no way he could've been this fast, because you know, he's always late and that's why we always get a discount and once he-"

"I got the point, kid," Logan interrupts her speeding rambling, "Simple no would've worked."

Right. Of course... But Shelby rarely goes for simple and he should've learnt that by now.

The doorbell rings again and when Marie still doesn't move, or even seem like she'll attempt to any time soon, Logan takes the lead. Which, really, doesn't surprise Shelby at all, because that's the way he is. Logan always takes the lead, even when Marie doesn't want him to and on most times, it leads into a verbal fight very similar to a small world war.

But it's not like Logan would take a hint and learn of his mistakes when it comes to macho male-stuff like that. At least that's what Mom once said.

"Stay here with her, kiddo," Logan orders and though she usually would, this time Shelby doesn't argue. For one, she isn't quite sure if the command was directed to her or Marie and either way, someone's gotta stay and take care of Mom... because seriously, she's gone about as ashen as her skunk stripes and that's never promising. On most cases it involves vomit.

What in the world is going on with her, huh?

Logan's already at the door and if she tries really, really hard, Shelby can almost hear the soft tones of a female voice. She can't make out the words, at all, but it's definitely a woman at their doorstep.


It's Logan, obviously, and this time his voice seems to snap the woman out of it - whatever it was. She blinks a few times and inhales sharply - almost as if she'd been without air since the first rang of the doorbell and who knows, perhaps she was. Wouldn't be a first.

Shelby doesn't speak, only watches how Marie swallows and wets her lips before clearing her throat. She's seen this act so many times before that she knows all the little gestures by heart. Mom, she's simply collecting herself, taking back the control of the lost moment.

And when she's done, she looks as normal as she always does and-

"Marie?" Logan calls out, impatient, and when she replies, there are no traces of the previous collapse in her voice, "In a minute!" she shouts her reply and then turns to Shelby, who's now sucking her bottom lip rather pensively.

"Stay here," Marie says firmly, echoing Logan's earlier command and Shelby shrugs, not bothering to come up with a retort. But come on... where the hell do they think she'd go, honestly?

And so she's left alone. Left into the kitchen, alone... left wondering what's going on and whether it was Dad that Mom pictured standing behind the door a moment ago.

It would've been kind of cool, huh? - Though that doesn't make any sense to her, at all. Because if she had; if Mom did think it was Dad making an appearance after all these years, then why did she look like she was about to be sent to Hell's Gates?

Must find out. And Shelby, she knows exactly how to attempt that.

Sure, she was ordered to stay put... but surely they didn't mean she can't walk around in her own home. What if she needs to go to the bathroom?

Still, careful not to make any avoidable sound, she forgets all about the command and sneaks through the kitchen door, towards the lobby and stops at the other end of the empty living-room, close enough to hear what is said in the space located on the other side of the wall.

The conversation seems to be heated, despite the fact it's spoken with low volume.

The first thing she clearly hears is Marie's voice, saying, "No, thank you, but I'm not interested." She sounds... cold. That's odd.

The stranger lets out a cynical laugh sounding just as cold; the kind meant to act only as an ice dagger thrown at Marie, meant to hurt. Yeah, the kind of laughter that would've only a few months ago undoubtedly made Shelby torch the sofa. Whoops. Lucky for, well, everyone in their neighborhood, for everyone in their lives, a few anger management lessons took care of that little problem pretty quickly.

"Oh, you aren't?" The baiting voice asks then and as a reflex Shelby, she sends out a short prayer, wishing Logan would do what he always does and smack the owner of that damn voice for being so damn annoying and mean. Preferably hard and a few times in a row.

Shelby actually expects Marie to speak up -no one talks like that to a D'Ancanto and gets away with it-, but surprisingly, it's the stranger who rambles on, "Why, I thought finding a different school would be your top priority," she continues almost immediately and Shelby can just tell it's not gonna be good, "considering you've without knowing put your daughter into a school run by the Brotherhood, I figured you might be. I always thought you X-Men were, well, how would I put? Above that?"

Shelby's mind draws a full-fledged blank. Huh? Her mother has put a what where?

Because for a moment there, as stupid as it is, it sounded like the woman had implied that Marie, her mother, had not only put her, Shelby, into a school run by the group she considers to be evil but that... she, her mother, would be part of X-Men.

Which in itself is totally ridiculous and so not possible, because in order for one to be an X-Man, you'd have to be a mutant and well, everyone knows that is something Marie D'Ancanto is not.

That chick, she's some looney who's lost her marbles.

"I have no idea what you're talking about," Marie denies then, after a small pause, but something in her tone creates a wrinkle on Shelby's forehead. What, she's lying? She does know, doesn't she?

The confusion comes in nearly suffocating waves and Shelby has no clue what statement to pick apart first. They all seem equally impossible, anyway.

"Look, Rogue, let me be honest with you," the woman speaks bluntly and Shelby can only barely swallow the pained sound, a yelp, trying to climb up her throat, "First of all, have you never ever wondered what the letter M stands for?"

That's when Logan's limits are finally met and Shelby can imagine, even without seeing it happen, how his face looks when he growls and grabs her arms to push her towards the still open door.

"That's enough, Frost," he drawls, angry and ready for a fight, "get out."

But unlike one would think, she's not that easy to get rid of, not at all.

He manages to get the petite blond out the door into the veranda, but that's when she decides to quit the games and put up a fight. Only, it's not a fight at all, because she seems to have no issues holding her ground against Logan. Like it was nothing, she grabs his arms and somehow -though Shelby can't understand it, because Logan is the strongest guy she's ever known- somehow the woman manages to stay rooted on the spot.

"No, seriously," she tells mockingly and clearly amused as her skin gains a weird kind of glow. It seems she's not a bit bothered by the fact Logan's still at her face, growling and trying to push her further from her shocked mother, "Think about that for a second, will you?"

Marie, then again, is standing there in the lobby like a stone statue and simply stares at the figure in her front yard trying to decide her next step - but it's decided for her, because at that point Shelby can no longer hold it in.

"Mom?" She shrieks, voice weak and trembling, "Mom?" She steps around the corner at the same time as Marie spins around on her heels.

Her mouth opens and closes and then opens again as if she was struggling with the words, like they refused to come out and-

"Yes, Rogue, honestly," Frost snickers, shoving Logan forcefully off her, "you might wanna tell her who and what her real parents are!"

Then, the one thing Shelby has never expected to see, happens. Frost, she shoves Logan one more time and this time he actually falls.

That's when it occurs to both Marie and Logan that something really has to be done, right now, or else-

"Marie," Logan growls, knuckles opening and claws appearing, "go!"

Shelby can only stare.

But this time her mother doesn't stay clueless - she comes to life and reacts. Perhaps the motherly instincts kick in, the will to survive and protect, Shelby doesn't know what it is, but a moment later she's being grabbed by the wrist and being dragged forward.

And all the young girl can see in front of her eyes; all she can think about, while being led towards the backdoor in the kitchen, is the image of Logan and the claws she just saw appear.

It's not that she's never seen anything like that happen before - she can create fire out of thin air, okay, so claws appearing out of nowhere is not that unusual.

But claws appearing out of Logan's knuckles, well, that most certainly is unusual.

Very much like her mother being called Rogue.

Because everyone knows who Rogue is and that's not her mother. It isn't.

The fingers wrapped around her wrist are gripping so tight it hurts, but it's nothing compared to the painful feeling of something squeezing her heart. The running, she realizes coming to, they're still running.

When did they get out through the backdoor, she has no idea, but there they are, in the middle of the streets, running.

"Come on, baby," Marie pleads in between breaths when Shelby's pace suddenly slows down, "you've got to run."

She has no idea why they have to run so hard, but the desperation in Marie's voice leaves no room for questioning. And so she tells her body to stop whining and runs, as fast as she possibly can and-

Marie is the first and only one to smack against something hard, but the collision flies her backwards and she pulls Shelby with her, on the ground.

She whimpers and Shelby doesn't know why and there's no time to ask, because Marie is already forcing them both up, telling her to stop crying and start running again, because baby, everything's gonna be okay-

"No, it isn't," a voice says and there's no doubts about to whom it belongs. Frost.

Shelby's fingers close around the hem of Marie's shirt while her head presses against Marie's back. She's shaking, shaking so damn hard that Marie can almost hear the rapid beating of her heart and smell the fear.

Everything, it's too much and Shelby can't watch, can't deal.

Which, Marie figures after fully registering the sight in front of her, is probably for the best considering her mental health. It's more or less at stake already, anyway.

The smirking mutant -oh yes, Marie's come to the conclusion it indeed is a mutant and a crazy one too- in which she slammed against, is bleeding all over her white outfit, deep red claw marks decorating her face and one can only wonder how she's still standing. Or where Logan is... no, can't go there, can't think about that, gotta focus on the moment-

And yet, despite the pain Marie is convinced the woman feels, there's a glorious smirk twisting the mutant's mouth as if there was no blood at all.

"What the fuck do you want?" Marie spits, furious, because if this is another stunt pulled by John than she's gonna murder that bitch and her boss and-

"Oh hush with that kind of language, darling," Frost barks and the thing that amazes Marie is the fact she sounds as if she was scolding a bad behaved kid, "And stop screaming like that, alright?"

Screaming like what?

"Blaming Pyro really isn't gonna get you out of this situation, now is it?"

A telepath, Marie realizes and just like that, all the hope she might have had buried somewhere deep within, vanishes to thin air. She's facing a damn telepath - great.

Where are his fucking gorillas when you need them?

"Oh," the bitch replies, the probably forever-malicious smirk still plastered on her face, "they're napping, sort of."

Of course. Trust John fucking Allerdyce to find the kind of idiots who can't even beat one damn telepath bitch.

It's amazing, really. How the Brotherhood has managed to survive this long, it's a damn miracle.

"I agree, it is. I wouldn't like him much right now, either," Frost responds, grimacing and the indifferent way she tosses a lock of blond hair over her shoulder makes Marie want to bounce her, "In fact, I don't like him, period."

Yes, well, join the fucking club.

"He's a fuck up, a failure and honestly, how you ever ended up in bed with that shithead is beyond my understanding... " her voice lingers there, but not for long, because naturally she's not done with the subtle insults yet, "but hey," she continues perkily, "to each her own, right?"

Okay, interestingly put. Could it be this whack-job in the sluttiest outfit Marie has ever laid eyes on, is actually one of Pyro's abandoned sluts in a war path towards revenge?

"Don't call me a slut!" Frost snaps angrily and Marie snorts (because seriously, who in their right mind wears a dress that revealing?) and tells her, "If you don't want people to think that, then maybe you should every once in a while glance a mirror on your way out."

"Hey," the mutant throws back, "you're the one he walked out on. Don't blame it on me."

Um, what? She hadn't-

"It sounded like you did," Frost supplies tonelessly.

"You," Marie stresses in obvious disbelief, "are fucking insane."

Whatever happened to the type of enemies that instead of chatting, prefer killing in silence? And well, is it weird Marie herself prefers those, because my gods, this skank is driving her insane. Been there, done that, no need for a repeat.

"Insane? Yes, that's what they keep telling me," Frost sighs like the drama queen she is, "It doesn't change the fact you're about to suffer, though..." And then, of all things, she chuckles happily to whatever thought it was that happened to cross her mind, "Or to think of it, maybe it is the reason you're going to suffer, I don't know, but if you'd only agreed to send the kid to one damn school, we wouldn't be here."

Well, it wasn't like she appeared on her doorstep and told her what to do - or else. No, not once during that short conversation of theirs, did she mention what would happen if Marie didn't agree to pull Shelby out of her current school and send to another, and honestly, what kind of idiot is she anyway?

"So you actually believed that I would, knowingly, ship my daughter off to some school founded by a gang of terrorists?" Marie snorts and this time it's her turn to make a mocking face, "Oh, yeah, how silly of me. Of course I'd do that."

The telepath snarls and it becomes clear to Marie that Frost, she loves icy comments, but only when they're coming from her.

"Sarcasm doesn't suit you," she says with a straight face and for a moment there Marie, as much as she hates it, is almost scared. Because you don't annoy a crazy person and survive - every one knows that… but when the said crazy person is attacking you and therefore a real threat to your only child, it's kind of hard not to bite back.

"How surprising," Marie retorts through gritted teeth, "because I sincerely thought I could talk myself out of this, but oh well-"

"Shut the fuck up!" Frost snaps and takes an irate step closer, eyes flashing dangerously and Marie can barely keep herself from backing up, which is exactly what every fiber of her being demands her to do. To run and get away, to get Shelby to safety... But to be realistic, what are the odds of that working out as planned? Even if she did try anything as risky as running, she'd most likely only end up knocking Shelby on the ground and well, Marie is somewhat sure the girl's suffered trauma huge enough for one day - no need to add the raw murder of her mother's into the list of traumas.

"You know what?" the blond mutant asks, grinning viciously and really, Marie does know, "I thought I could be nice. I thought I could simply take the kid and leave you to your pain 'cause it would've been painful, I know that for sure. But at least you would've been alive…" she pauses, but only for an effect, "now, however, I'm thinking I'd much rather kill you and-"

That's as far as she gets - all the sudden there's a bright light and it momentarily forces Marie to shield her eyes with her hand, blinding her sight at once. But her closed eyes, they don't make much of a difference; she hears the pained cry coming from Frost anyway and she can smell the familiar scent of fire.

Oh my god - Shelby!

Indeed, only then she realizes that Shelby isn't behind her anymore; her hands have left Marie's shirt and the strong chin is no longer digging into her backbone like it was a moment ago.

Her eyes snap open instantly, ignoring the light and the pain it might cause-

But it doesn't matter, doesn't hurt because the light is gone and all that it has left behind, is an image that will forever stay, be forever burned into Marie's consciousness.

Frost is on her kneels and Shelby... she's moved in front of her, both hands on her face and she's taking such strong, heaving breaths that you would think there's no air anywhere near.

But her mother knows better - it's not the lack of air that's making her gasp.

Because my gods, the horrified -drained- look on Frost's face; Marie recognizes it immediately and how could she not? She's seen it too many damn times in the past, but never like this, never as an outsider. Her shaking hands travel up to cover her mouth in shock.

It only takes a few seconds before the woman falls on the ground with a loud thud - unconscious or dead, Marie doesn't know nor care at that point, and a moment later the little girl follows.

But unlike the psychotic telepath, she's got someone there to grab her before she hits the dirt.