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A few of the security guards had considered intervening but it hadn't taken more than a glance at the combatants for them to abandon any such thoughts. Cable and Bishop were tearing into each other like animals, both of them seeming to have long forgotten exactly why they were fighting.
The street outside had been cleared, giving the X-Jet a perfect landing place. Wolverine, Storm and Gambit hurried down the ramp into the building. "Stop this!"Storm shouted at the pair. Both of them ignored her.
"Looks like we're gonna have to do this the hard way,"Wolverine commented.
"Cable has fought the entire X-Men team single-handed in the past,"Gambit reminded him.
Wolverine shrugged. "Maybe he's tired." With a bellow, he flew through the air, kicking Cable away from Bishop.
Cable rolled over and got to his feet. "Logan,"he spat, his voice a mixture of disappointment and disbelief. "Why are you getting in my way?"
"Dunno. Guess I'm getting all respectable in my old age."
"I will tear that interloper limb from limb."
"Not really the image we go in for." Wolverine extended his claws.
Behind him, Bishop was facing Storm and Gambit. "You're the X-Men,"he realised. "I've heard of you, tried to emulate you."
"Should we be flattered?"Gambit wondered.
"If that's what you are doing, then you're doing it the wrong way,"Storm observed.
Bishop looked at her in confusion. "I don't understand. I stopped the Brotherhood."
"Fighting evil mutants is only part of what we do,"Storm told him. "We're protecting innocent lives. You're putting them in danger."
"Then you are not who I thought you are. I must make the difficult decisions that you do not."
"I think that adequately sums up our position." Gambit took out a playing card and charged it, hurling it at Bishop's chest.
The card suddenly lost its charge, the glow fading. Bishop looked at them for a moment, then sent out an energy charge that knocked them both flying.
"He can absorb energy!"Cable called over from where he and Wolverine were struggling.
"Thanks for the tip,"Storm noted as she staggered to her feet. "Swap, Logan?"
"Sounds like a plan." Wolverine broke free of Cable's grip and did a backflip, so he ended up facing Bishop. "The easy way or my way?"
"Seems like you X-Men always do things the easy way,"Bishop retorted.
"That's what I thought." Wolverine put all his strength into his blow and punched him out.
Storm, meanwhile, was facing Cable. "You don't have to do this,"she told him.
"I've come too far to stop now."
"Yes. Sadly that's probably true." Storm focused her powers, creating a localised thunderclap around Cable's head. The noise brought him to his knees in an instant and she followed it up with a blow to the head that caused him to slump in front of her.
Beast was standing with Wolverine, Gambit and Storm as the members of X-Factor – Havok, Wolfsbane, Strong Guy and Multiple Man – led Cable and Bishop away in handcuffs. Bishop shot a wounded look at the X-Men. "I thought you wanted to make the world better for mutants."
"We do,"Storm replied. "But all you've done here is confirm people's worst fears of mutants."
"We'll secure them in the local detention facility,"Havok told Beast. "It's been converted for housing mutants."
"Good work, Alex,"Beast replied.
"Don't give us any trouble,"Strong Guy noted as he and Multiple Man led Cable along.
"'Cos I can multiply trouble,"Multiple Man added, splitting off a duplicate of himself to prove the point.
Wolfsbane shot Havok a look. "Ever get the feeling we're playing babysitter?"
"I can see your new job is really rewarding,"Wolverine remarked to Beast once X-Factor were out of earshot.
"It has its moments,"Beast agreed. "But what will you do now?"
"Now the real problem starts,"Storm observed. "Those two are just misguided. It's the Brotherhood we really have to worry about."
Bobby gave a sudden yelp of pain that caused everyone else in the lounge room to turn and look at him. They'd all been indulging in quiet study which made the noise even more obvious. He started rubbing his shoulder, looking embarrassed. "Sorry. Twinge."
Rogue, who had been sat at the other end of the sofa, got up and moved behind him. "Here, let me help." She began massaging his shoulders. "Gosh, you really are tense, aren't you?"
"You worried about something?"Jubilee asked.
"Kind of,"Bobby admitted. "It feels like we're on the verge of a new war and all our big guns have left us to fend for ourselves."
"And what, you're worried about being field leader again?"Kitty asked.
"Well, wouldn't you be?"Bobby returned.
"You've had more field experience than anyone else here,"Angel pointed out. "You're the obvious choice."
"That doesn't mean I'd be any good at it."
"We'll all back you up,"Rogue told him softly.
"Anyway, there's no need to get into a panic,"Kitty added. "What do you reckon the chances are of an attack occurring at the exact moment they're all gone?"
Bobby gave a weak smile. "Yeah, I suppose you're right."
It was at that point that a series of explosions went off all around the mansion, blowing up dirt at the windows and rattling the building. Colossus went to the nearest window and looked out. "I think you may have spoken too soon."
Bobby went to his side, followed by Rogue, Kitty, Warren, Jubilee and Siryn. They all looked out at the lawn. "I think we need to get the professor,"Bobby decided.
Standing across the lawn, not even attempting concealment, were Pyro, Juggernaut, Avalanche, Blob, War, Scalphunter and Vertigo: The Brotherhood.
Pyro looked at War and smiled. "Good work. I think we got their attention."