Disclaimer: Don't own.
Warnings: Cussing. I cuss. Too bad, so sad.
Reviews are greatly appreciated. Any comments or suggestions on improvement are welcomed. Also, thoughts on keeping or getting rid of Kurt's and if I actually do it, Rogue's accents are welcomed too.
Retrieval of Self
"Alright, this exercise is to test your abilities and teamwork in a normal setting."
"Ja, I walk through big, creepy forests all ze time on my way to school."
"Can it, Elf," Logan glared in Nightcrawler's direction before continuing on. "You never know when and where you might be attacked, and it ain't likely you'll be attacked in the Danger Room."
"But I thought, like, the Danger Room sessions were preparing us for battle," Kitty questioned as she brought her pink hooded pullover over her head. There was a weak afternoon sun and a cool, steady breeze blowing through the forest they were standing in, making it a bit chilly for her.
"The Danger Room does train you how to use your powers in certain situations, but last time I looked, the Danger Room wasn't a holodeck," Logan replied.
"Logan watches Star Trek?" An amused Jean whispered to Rogue.
"Blame it on Kurt and Evan," Rogue whispered back, "they like to watch the reruns in the Living Room." Rogue had to hide a smirk before continuing, "Logan claims to be reading the paper when it's on, but I once saw him holding the paper upside down."
"I bet he's just jealous he can't do ze Vulcan salute like I always can," Kurt demonstrated by raising his hand and turning on his Inducer. Jean and Rogue giggled, causing an irritated Scott Summers to turn in their direction.
"Pay attention, team." Scott tried to imitate Wolverine's glare, but considering he was Scott and not Wolverine, his effort only caused more stifled laughs.
Logan gave a slight growl, which did cause everyone to shut up and focus in on him. "Everyone now ready to get serious," Logan gave a significant look at Kurt who meekly nodded. "Good. Now you are all in your street clothes cause you aren't always gonna be in your uniform when attacked. You gotta learn how to adjust to the situation you're in. Means that you gotta pay attention not to let your jacket get grabbed on a branch or by the enemy or let your hair bother you in battle." Jean stopped trying to shove her hair blown by the breeze from her face. She jealously stole a glance towards Kitty. Kitty was lucky that she always wore her hair up, and Rogue never seemed to care if her hair was hanging in her face. She could feel a few pieces of hair annoyingly caught up in her mouth, but she wasn't going to remove them in front of the disgruntled Logan.
"Now here's how it's gonna go," Logan explained as a breeze kicked up the leaves at his feet, "the forest is gonna be your battleground, but don't go further than from what I can hear in this clearing. There's an old abandoned building over to the West," Logan pointed out. "You go in there and you'll be cleaning the X-jet for the next month." Logan added a glare to make sure his message got across. He didn't want to have to deal with students trapped in a collapsed building today. "The river where we parked the X-jet is the northern boundary -"
"Man, I wish he'd hurry up," Evan complained to Kitty while rubbing his arms. "If he doesn't finish soon all my spikes are goin' to be covered in ice."
"Maybe like, by the time he's finished, we can pretend we all got frozen in place and can't do his little exercise."
" – in pairs. Jean," Logan nodded to her, "you're opponent will be Kurt. Kitty, you fight Evan, and that leaves Rogue and Scott. The first to incapacitate the other wins, and remember, make good use of your surroundings." Logan glanced at each student as they just stood there looking at him as if expecting the voice of God to come out of his throat. "Well, go!" That got everyone darting off in different directions, except for Nightcrawler who turned off his Inducer and teleported away. "Pf, kids," Logan sighed as he shook his head.
Jean ran off to the east for a bit, then stopped and concentrated her thoughts. Kurt was always the easiest to find, all she had to do was look for the mind that thought in German. Too bad she didn't know German, otherwise she'd know what he was planning. With a quick grin, she continued east, trying to sniff out where he'd teleported, but the breeze was quickly whisking any scent away.
Kurt had teleported about 200 feet away from the clearing where Logan stood. He hid up in the trees, letting his ability to blend in the shadows take effect and he narrowly slit his eyes to make himself more scarce. He could see Jean making her way towards him now, her bright red hair like a brilliant arrow pointing towards his target for him. As soon as she went by his tree, he'd quietly jump down and take her by surprise, quick enough so she couldn't use her telepathy or telekinesis. Any second now, she'd be in prime tackling position. His muscles tightened in anticipation. "Ach!" Kurt let out a small cry of pain. Looking behind him, he could see a squirrel nibbling on the end of his tail. "Let go, you Nagetier." Kurt shook his tail free and watched the squirrel scamper into his hole. He turned around to ascertain where Jean was, hoping he hadn't missed his chance and was barely able to miss the branch that zoomed past his head.
Jean smugly smiled up at him and gave a small wave before levitating another branch off the forest floor. Kurt, his hiding position now compromised, bamfed away. Now he'd have to rethink his strategy, knowing that his sneak attack wouldn't work a second time as Jean would know to look up in the trees for him. He teleported a bit further this time, appearing on another tree branch. Before he moved any, though, he spotted a group of men dressed in some type of military uniform standing right below him.
" – these tranqs should knock them all out in one hit except the big burly man. He'll take a few more." One of the men, who was obviously the leader by his authoritative tone and fancier dress, cocked his gun. Kurt was barely able to hold in his gasp of shock as he observed the scene below him, and he made sure that every part of his body was still and that he was well hidden before continuing to listen.
"Here are your other targets." The leader bent down and grabbed a file that was open to a picture of Wolverine with his claws out, looking fierce at something off camera. The leader flipped the page and came upon some more photos. "This here is Scott Summers. He shoots a laser beam out of his eyes. We figured his unusual ruby glasses he never takes off even when raining must keep the beam from firing. He also seems to be the leader of the bunch. Take him out and the others will most likely easily follow."
Kurt was worried and relieved at the same time. The group had been spying on them for awhile. The photo was one of Scott from school firing a small burst at the door to his car to open it. Scott hadn't wanted the others to know that he had locked his keys in the car, but Evan, who was with him at the time, had told Kurt of the mishap of their fearless leader. They had shared a good laugh over the thought of perfectionist Scott being so careless and embarrassed. Though the men knew of Scott's powers, they had still underestimated them if they thought they'd be easy pickings if Scott went down.
" – doesn't disappears but rather fades and can reach into things. You'll have to hit her when she's solid. Next," a page turned, "is this beauty. As you can see here, the rock is floating on its own."
"So is she like a Jedi?" A green-looking trooper asked with a little wonder and jealousy in his voice.
"Yes," the leader rolled his eyes, "like a Jedi she can lift things with her mind."
"Can she do Jedi mind tricks too!" The same boy eagerly asked. "These are not the droids you're looking for." He imitated as he waved his hand in front of the others' eyes.
"No, not that we know of. Now stop joking around, shut up and listen," the leader barked. "Finally, this boy can form and shoot spikes from any part of his body. I want you to be extra careful with this one. I don't want to be dealing with any one of you staked through the heart." The surrounding group gave an audible gulp at the mention of that. The green recruit, ignorant of the reality of the danger, smiled at his thought of the boy hunting vampires in the night, but this time he kept his thoughts to himself.
"Now the only two we don't know about are this girl here and this boy." The leader pointed to the pictures of Rogue and an inducered Kurt. With a small grin to himself, Kurt felt a bit smug and justified that his porting spots near and at school were safe from prying eyes if these men hadn't discovered them. Scott had always worried and complained about Kurt sometimes porting to school. If Kurt was any lesser of a man he'd rub it in Scott's face, instead Kurt would be sure to just mention it every hour instead of every other minute. "All we know about them is that neither of them really touch anyone, so I recommend avoiding contact with either of them as a safety precaution. Shoot from a distance."
Kurt decided that the group was about to wrap up on their little powwow, and that he got all the information he needed, so he timed his teleport to cover its sound with when the man closed his folder. He ported several trees away, scanning the area frantically for Jean. He didn't want her to run into that bunch unprepared. There, his flashing red arrow.
Bamf. "What? Kurt – " Bamf.
Logan was enjoying his time to himself as the kids wandered off in the forest. He'd check on them in a bit, but right now he just wanted to enjoy his cigar. Yup, this was much better than the Danger Room sessions where he couldn't have a nice deserved break. All he needed was the cool breeze, the crisp smell of the fall leaves in the forest, and his cigar. Hmf, a cold one would be nice too. Next time he'd bring a six pack. Maybe a lawn chair. And a TV with a Star Trek DVD. Nah, wouldn't want the kids to know about that little secret. It'd ruin his reputation.
He pulled another drag from his stogie with a relaxed look on his face, daydreaming about his beer, but his look vanished as soon Kurt and Jean appeared right next to him. He wasn't surprised by their sudden appearance, no he was never taken by surprise. He was just a bit unprepared, that's all.
"What do you two think you're doing!" Logan demanded, he could feel any stress relieved from his small break coming back ten-fold. The smell of brimstone wasn't a very good mix with cigar smoke. His pleasant moment alone was ruined.
Jean was looking a little green from the side-along porting but she shrugged her shoulders in response, so Logan stared Kurt down for the answer.
"A group of military men are in ze forest!" Kurt anxiously waved his arms towards the east where the men gathered, his tail lashing back and forth behind him in agitation. "Zey know about us and have tranquillizers to knock us out!"
"Shit," Logan murmured as he dropped his cigar and rubbed it out under his foot. All traces of his relaxation disappearing as he prepared for battle. "How many were there?"
"Ze group zat was being briefed to attack vere about twenty men, but zere vere more around some black trucks."
"Zey know about all of our powers except me and Rogue, and Jean's telepathy," Kurt explained, he could feel the calm he forced himself in as he spied on the military men slowly ebb away as his panic and adrenalin rose.
Logan nodded and then turned to Jean, "Can you located the others?"
After a second, Jean pointed towards the southwest, "Kitty and Evan are that way," and then pointed west, "and Rogue and Scott are there."
"Alright, Elf, you go and bring the others back here asap." Before Kurt could port of, Logan grabbed his wrist and turned on his watch. "Better to keep 'em guessing."
With a nod, Kurt ported.
"Jean, can you get a read on where these goons are?"
Jean put a hand to her head, her eyes widening as she exclaimed, "They're closing in! They'll be here soon, we won't be able to make it back to the X-jet in time!"
"Not if I can help it," Logan growled and with a snikt he unleashed his claws.
"You can keep on throwing those spikes all you want, Evan," Kitty taunted as she let three more spikes phase through her stomach and thud into the tree behind her, "I'm just going to keep on phasing right through them!"
Evan scowled but held onto the remaining spike he had in his hand. "Well, I don't see you attacking. What are you going to do? Phase me to death?"
"It's called a surprise attack, Evan. I'll just phase through when you least expect it!" Kitty said as she phased through a tree, and disappeared from sight.
"It's not a surprise anymore if you tell me it!" Evan returned, but he had lost sight of Shadowcat for the moment. With her little taunting in his mind, he put himself on high alert for any nearby movements. Any second now, she'd make a go for it. He just had to be patient…he wasn't good at patience.
He tossed his spike up in the air, watched it flipped and caught it. Still no Kitty. Maybe if he whistled, she'd think he was off guard and then he'd -
There! To the right of him, he could see a pink pullover peeking out from behind a tree. He threw his spike and success! Kitty was now stuck to a tree by the spike through her pullover's hood.
"Ha! Logan did say to be aware of what we wear," Evan quipped as he sauntered over to Kitty.
"Yeah, and Logan also said to be aware of your surroundings." Kitty phased herself free as she smugly watched Evan trip over a log in his path. Right as she was going to launch herself at him, Kurt ported right in between them. "Kurt! What are you doing? I was about to beat Evan!"
"What?! More like I was about to kick your – "
"No time to explain, Katzchen, we have to get out of here," and with that Kurt grabbed onto both of them and teleported them to the clearing.
After letting them go, Kurt bamfed away again to get Rogue and Scott.
"What's, like, going on?" Kitty asked, a bit frightened to see Logan with his claws extended and a grimace on his face, and feeling a bit green from the port.
"We're being hunted like damn animals for who knows what," Logan spat on the ground. Logan had an idea in his mind why these men were after them with tranquillizers, but he didn't want to voice his thoughts and scare the teens so that they would be too worried to escape.
"Kurt better get back here soon. We'll be able to see them soon enough," Jean muttered.
"Kitty, Evan," Logan began but never got finish his sentence as Kurt reappeared with Rogue and Scott in hand and tail.
"What's going on?" Scott asked, leaves sticking out all over his hair and clinging to his clothes, and in a different situation, would've been ridiculed relentlessly. Rogue was in a similar state of disarray.
"Some men are after us, that's all you need to know," Logan began leading them away from the clearing. "Now that we're all here, let's hightail it back to the X-jet!" With that everyone starting running towards where they had parked the jet, with Logan lagging behind a bit to make sure everyone got away safely.
Suddenly, darts began to shoot past them, one so close Jean could feel where it had passed her hair. Kitty was able to phase herself and Rogue to prevent them from getting hit as they fell into a flat run. Holding tight onto Rogue's gloved hand, Kitty phased through fallen branches and trees, making a straight path to the X-jet.
"They must've heard us begin to run!" Scott yelled as he ran. Glancing back to get a look at who was after them, he grabbed onto Jean and threw them both to the ground as a volley of darts passed over where she had been running. "There's too many of them, we aren't going to make it!" Scott stood up and turned around, hand at his visor, ready to shoot at the enemy.
"No, Scott!" Jean yanked down Scott's arm and began to force him to run the other way. "If we fight, we'll be knocked out soon enough. If we run we have a chance." With a nod, Scott ran beside Jean, glancing back all the while to make sure the others were keeping up and ready to push Jean aside in case of another volley. Whoever these men were, they weren't going to get one of his teammates without a fight.
Kurt was running near Logan when the shooting first began. He had gotten down on all fours and began to run, figuring he'd be a harder target crouched low to the ground, jumping from time to time over a fallen branch and nearly once wiping out on a pile of slick leaves. Hanging back with Logan, he figured if anyone went down, he could teleport them to the X-jet and then quickly port back in case anyone else needed his skills. He couldn't take them all to the X-jet, not without passing out after having already done so many ports, particularly sidealong ports, today. He'd just save his energy for when someone needed it. He stole a glance at Logan to check on him and was startled to see a dart sticking out of his shoulder.
Logan looked askance at him, "Don't worry about it, Elf. It's gonna take more than one of these to bring me down."
"Ja, I know and so do those men behind us," Kurt worriedly said, but continued to run without breaking stride.
Logan could only grimace in reply, now even more worried if the hunters had gathered that much information on him.
Just up ahead, Evan was simultaneously running and throwing back spikes towards their assailants. Whenever he heard a cry of pain behind him, he'd pump his fist, and renew his efforts with vigor. Hopefully, his efforts would gain them some time and let them all get away. Right, now for the big guns. He flexed his right arm and extracted an extra big spike. With a devilish grin, he used his momentum to turn around and fling the spike back at the gunmen. The group running behind him all scattered, but his extra flamboyance caught the eye of the leader who was following Scott, hoping to take down the mutants' leader. With a brief pause, the leader changed aim towards Evan and fired. Evan, too busy celebrating his small victory and making another spike, was unaware of the danger.
"Fuck," Logan said as he saw Evan slow down to throw his spikes, knowing that Evan was setting himself up as an easy target. Fucking idiot kids. When he said run, he meant run and nothing else. He changed his course towards Evan, but knew he'd never make it in time. Luckily, Kurt also saw Evan's display and being faster than Logan, bounded over to Evan and was able to push him down just as the leader fired.
"Shit man," Evan shouted as he pushed himself out from underneath Nightcrawler, "what you'd do that for?"
"No," Evan's eyes widened as they spied the dart in Kurt's bicep, the dart meant for him. Evan tried shaking Kurt but to no avail. The tranq had quickly taken effect with the aid of Kurt's higher metabolism.
"Get going," Logan told Evan as he ran up to the pair. He knelt down next to Kurt, picking him up in his arms. Evan just stood there, still staring at the dart in Kurt's arm. "I said get going NOW!" Logan yelled at Evan as he began to run again at a slower pace with Kurt weighing him down.
"I gotta be able to help!" Evan could feel his previous elation on scaring the hunters give way to fear as he resumed running next to Logan.
"You can help by not getting captured, now move your ass and go!" Evan reluctantly started running faster, and after one final glance back, he took off after Kitty and Rogue who were the farthest ahead, not having to dodge the forest obstacles.
Logan, though, was having problems. He couldn't dodge well with Kurt in his arms but he'd be damned if he'd leave the kid behind. His broad back painted a wide target, and he felt two more darts strike. His vision was swimming now, and he had to focus all his concentration on putting one foot in front of the other and to holding onto Kurt. Dammit, he wasn't going to get captured again and he sure as hell wasn't going to let one of his students get captured.
Thud. Thud. Thud.
Three more darts, two on his thighs, and one in his butt. Great. He hope he wasn't allergic to these darts, he'd like to sit down without anyone questioning him on hemorrhoids.
Funny, the ground looked closer than he thought it was. It was spinning too. Really fast. He hoped he didn't throw up. He doubted if Kurt would really like to know what he ate for breakfast up close and personal. Fuck, he wasn't -.
The earth felt cool and refreshing on his face, though for some reason, his arm felt fuzzy and warm. Dammit, fuck. Oh, he was on top of Kurt, his arm lying across Kurt's. Everything seemed slow to him and then grey, and then black. He had failed. And then, nothing.
Rogue and Kitty burst throw the edge of the forest and made their way over to the X-jet, still holding tightly onto each other.
"Keys! We don't have keys!" Rogue turned to Kitty who was still keeping them both phased, but was obviously tiring.
"I'll just phase through."
"You could short somethang out!"
"I'll be extra careful. We don't have any other choice," Kitty let go of Rogue and went up to the side of the jet that she thought would have the least amount of important wiring, and with a sharp inhale, phased through.
Rogue impatiently waited outside, turning her head back and forth, watching the forest for the others and towards the jet, waiting for Kitty to open the door. She had no idea how the others were doing cause Kitty and her had made a flat dash to the X-jet, hoping to at least get it prepped for flight. A noise from the forest caught her attention, and she anxiously stared at the trees, her arms tightly crossed over her chest in anxiety.
From the forest Evan burst through, running at full speed towards Rogue. Relieved, Rogue waved him over, and just as he arrived the jet's door finally opened. With excitement and hope, Rogue and Evan quickly climbed up as Kitty revved up the engines. All they could do was wait for the others.
So they waited. Rogue tapped her foot and crossed her arms as she stood just inside the jet as her eyes scanned the forest. Next to her, Evan was nervously fiddling with a small spike in his hands as he kept his eyes trained on where he had exited the forest.
Then a figure came out of the forest. And then another and another.
"They're the men that are after us," Evan breathlessly said, hand clenching tightly on the spike. "What about the others?"
"Well, maybe they took a different route," Rouge clutched at the side of the jet, belying the calm in her voice. The men were almost upon them. "We have ta go."
"And leave the others! No way, man, that's just wrong."
"And get all captured together? If we leave now we can get them later," Rogue spun quickly into the cabin and told Kitty to take off immediately.
"Where's everyone else?" Kitty asked from the pilot's seat.
"We get them later." Rogue's voice broke a bit, but her resolve was firm. "Now close the door and get us outta here!"
Kitty flick a lever and the door swooshed closed. She then turned towards Rogue, "we aren't leaving."
"The men are right outside the jet. We can't even get out ourselves to go rescue the others!" Rogue wanted to strangle Kitty, wanted Kitty to see the reality she saw, but also wanted to rush out the door herself and take all the men down and get her friends back. If she had Pietro's speed, she could run out and touch each man and laugh as they collapsed at her feet.
"I get it! Like, I know we gotta get out of here, but I can't fly this, you can't fly it, and neither can Evan!" Kitty exclaimed. Everyone's worries were eating at each other, making them lose their cool and snap at each other. The thudding of tranqs, or maybe bullets this time, against the hull of the X-jet wasn't helping their nerves any. "In case you didn't notice, Kurt, Scott and Logan, the only three that know how to fly, aren't here!"
"Well why haven't you learned, Miss Know-It-All. Then maybe we could get outta here!" No, not strangle her, Rogue thought, no, rip her guts out and stomp on them.
"Miss Know-It-All!?" Kitty shrieked. "I'll tell you – "
"Whoa, whoa, guys," Evan placated, "this isn't helping us."
"Shut up, Evan." Both girls growled at him.
Normally, Evan would let them carry on, but right now was not a normal situation.
"No, you shut it, both of you!" Evan boomed. After making sure they were going to keep quite, Evan continued, "we're all stressed and worried, but arguing isn't going to solve our problems!" After a second, the girls backed down from each other.
"He's right," Rogue agreed. "Sorry, Kitty."
"Yeah, sorry Rogue."
"Good, know that we've all made up, what's the plan?" Evan asked.
"You were going so well there for a minute, Evan, what happened?" Rogue teased, trying to lighten the tension.
"Must've been channeling Scott there. I'm all out of my brilliant idea of the day."
"Well," Kitty went up to the cockpit and pressed a red button, "this should send a signal to Professor X, so he should be able to track our location."
"What about a radio? Shouldn't this jet have a radio?" Evan asked.
"That is the radio," Kitty replied. "As soon as the Professor hears the signal, he can make contact with us."
"Then we just sit tight and wait then," Rogue sighed as she collapsed back into one of the seats. The sound of bullets had stopped, but Rogue was sure those men were probably setting up camp for the night, not prepared to leave their prey. It was almost dinner time anyways and the men probably thought they could starve them out. Ha, she wasn't coming out even if there was a big juicy country fried steak outside with a side of mashed potatoes. Okay, no more thoughts of food.
"Yeah," Kitty answered, "just wait." She looked out the front window and could see the fires of the men, but all she could think about was what was happening with the rest of her friends.
Please review. Reviews are definitely motivators. Motivate me!
Notes: The Danger Room in the comics is pretty much like a holodeck, but it seemed in the show it was always the same room with gadgets flying at them. Maybe Xav's hadn't gotten around to modifying it yet.
Nagetier, which Kurt yells at the squirrel, means rodent.
I can't remember if Evan, Rogue or Kitty can fly the plane, but in this story they don't or haven't learned yet.
And I knew someone who didn't know what country fried steak was. All I can say is you are missing out, ya Yank (I jest!).