X-men Evolution Fan Fiction ❯ Revolution ❯ Ch 11 to 15 ( Chapter 3 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Chapter 11: Breathless

At the ice-cream shop, Remy was saying something, but he paused mid sentence when he realized that Rogue's attention wasn't on the topic at hand. She wasn't one to space out and she usually had something to comment on, but she seemed to be off in space all of a sudden. Following her gaze, he realized that she was looking at something, or someone behind him. He turned to look and found two people that he recognized. Though he had not been staying at the institute for long, he had received a round of introductions and knew who Kurt and Kitty were. "Looks like they really have it for each other, eh cherie?"

Rogue could only nod absentmindedly, which prompted Remy to continue, "is it that shocking? I haven't been around for long as far as I can remember and even I could sort of tell."

Rogue shook her head and finally pushed her voice to function. "That's not it. I knew those two would end up together, practically everyone at the institute knew... except maybe them. I was just thinking..." She left it at that and took a sip of her now liquid ice-cream.

A moment passed without words, as if Rogue had finished speaking, but she didn't sound like she did. "Thinking about what?"

She shook her head, but his gaze was steady in her eyes and she knew she was trapped. He knew as well as she did that her thought was left without a verbal completion and he appeared to be curious. "That it's about time," Rogue smile casually.

The facade didn't fool Remy for a second. "And what else?" He inquired.

Rogue shrugged, feigning ignorance. "That I'm happy for them, I guess."

"But there's something on your mind, cherie." Remy insisted.

Rogue frowned, she could almost snap at him, but she restrained herself. "You're not a mind reader."

"I don't have to read your mind," he argued playfully, trying to defuse her flaring temper, "only your face and your voice. What's bothering you, cherie?"

Rogue sunk back in her chair. "You're the amnesiac one, shouldn't I be asking you if you're okay?"

"I'm well enough and with some cunning calm words you might have convinced me that you're well enough too," Remy admitted. "But now you've made me curious."

Rogue huffed, "this is a curiosity far deadlier than when you got curious about the danger room," she warned.

"And I survived, didn't I?" He grinned at her.

Rogue sighed, knowing that once Remy's curiosity was sparked, there was no turning back. She wondered if he found her particularly interesting or if his mind with so many missing memories was so desperately thirsty for information that he clung to any that he could hold on to. All the details, all the questions, about her home, her life, about her... She had opened up to him a little before, even related to his past, though it was now a past he was without in his mind. None the less, if any connection was established between the two, it was not something to be easily broken. Yet this was something that Rogue didn't want to talk about to anyone, let alone him, especially not him.

Seeing as she was remaining silent, Remy inquired in theory, "could it be that my dear cherie is the victim of unrequited love?"

Rogue rolled her eyes at the theory, but her sarcastic reply died on her lips when Remy reached across the table and took her hand. She considered pulling it back, but remained still as a statue. There was her past crush on Scott, but she had gotten over that. Her interest had sparked, she admitted in the privacy of her own mind, for the mysterious Gambit for a time, but now that he was right in front of her she was full of second thoughts. It was always about the chase, not the chance. What would she do when she got a chance, if she even got one?

Unwillingly, Rogue remembered the time when one of her old classmates from her previous school in her southern home had asked her to dance. That was when her powers awakened and her world was turned upside-down. She had dealt with the turmoil as best she could and come out of it mostly, but it was always with denial in the back of her mind. She couldn't touch anyone's skin with hers any more then she could touch anyone's lips with hers, at least not without hurting him.

Yet as time went by and couples formed before her eyes, she couldn't push the thoughts to the back of her mind anymore. She couldn't think about the chase without attaching the inevitably disappointing aftermath that would follow it. Rogue knew that her eyes and face gave her away. She knew that her mask of nonchalance had fallen. Yet she said nothing.

"Your powers," Remy finally voiced, not letting go of her gloved hand. The admission made her nod her head, but she kept her eyes downcast. He reached over and lifted her chin with the tip of his finger and she felt a surge of energy.

Rogue pulled her hand away from his as she leaned back on her chair. She got another small dose of power, but she only got glimpses of his most recent memories. They were not particularly insightful as she had been present during those few days and already knew what events took place in them.

"It's not so bad," his voice was neutral as if he didn't want to sound like he was disregarding her situation, but he didn't want to make her feel pitied either.

"Could be worse," she grumbled in a bad mood. She didn't feel like being here anymore. She stood up as did he. "I'm leaving," she voiced, as if indicating that she was going alone and would not accept anyone's company, not even his, especially not his. She stormed out of the ice-cream shop.

Remy hurried after Rogue. They walked past Kitty and Kurt's table, but they seemed to be so engrossed in the act of sharing somewhat innocent but very consecutive kisses, that they didn't even notice the others. Rogue rushed out the street, aware of the fact that Remy was following her. She dashed past the few people who dared to wander outside in the heat and ran through the almost deserted park. It was simply too hot to be out.

Her chest was heaving, she was out of breath and her body didn't like the sudden change in temperature being thrown out of the cold air conditioner into the unforgiving heat. She took refuge under the shade of a tree and leaned her back against its warm bark to catch her breath.

"Cherie..." Her eyes remained closed as she took in precious oxygen leaning against the tree. Remy knew he was being blatantly ignored as Rogue refused to make any indication that he had noticed he was there. Through his short time in the institute she was always there taking special care to make sure that he was as comfortable as he could be and it often made him wonder if they had something going on between them, something he forgot. Now it was evident that there was no secret past relationship... But no doubt about it, there had been a spark and it was still there.

"Cherie..." Still there came no answer. Her eyes were closed, her breaths were even now and she was determined to pretend she was alone. However, he was just as determined, if not more, to make her acknowledge his presence. He placed his hands on either side of her on the tree and leaned closed until she could feel his breath on her face.

Rogue's eyes shot open at the sensation and she stared at the young man before her. In an instinctual automatic motion to protect her personal space, she tried to back away, but her back was against the tree and she was trapped. She wanted to say 'don't...' but that would imply that she thought he was going to do something... which he did.

His lips pressed against hers suddenly and for a split second her world froze. This was fast, aggressive, almost hasty, as if trying to get as far as possible before he had to pull away. She felt his energy pouring into her in more ways than one. Before she knew it, she was responding with a thirst and ardor that she didn't even know she had. He pulled away, only millimeters of empty space between their lips. His unusually colored eyes looked into hers with a victorious glow in them, as if calling her and she answered.

She took the initiative of the second kiss; it was fast, but not as fast as the first, the rhythm more savoring. Her arms that had previously rested at her sides were around his neck and his hands that had been on the tree were on her waist. But she noticed with a grim realization that he was responding less and less, until she pulled away and looked at his tired face.

He grinned at her in a way that could be counted as flirtatious and perhaps even seductive, yet he couldn't hide the exhaustion that had overtaken him. "I'm sorry..." She apologized grimly.

"Don't be," he assured. "I enjoyed that."

Rogue frowned. "I hurt you, don't say I didn't because I know I did."

"It's not so bad," he insisted, though he knew what an obstacle it presented. He only had so much energy to spare before he found himself losing what energy was vital to the functioning of his body. He pulled her closer, though they made no direct skin contact with that hug, albeit they were otherwise completely pressed against each other.

She could feel that his grip wasn't as strong as it should be, though she presented no resistance to his embrace and returned it. "Remy..."

"It's okay, cherie," he cut her off before she could complain with any self accusatory statement. With his memories gone, something else took the forefront of his mind. It was like an instinct, something subconscious that told him who he could trust. He surmised that memories could be taken away, but perhaps feelings could not. The intensity of the attraction compared to its short time of development as it was recorded in Remy's memories, made him think that the record had been there before and that this wasn't completely a new start but a sort of continuation. The flame had been there, and it was being fueled.

Rogue stopped battling with her conscience and sense of reason. She told logic that it could take a long walk off a short cliff and kicked the aftermath to the back of her mind again. She wouldn't think of it now, she would think of it later; later when she cleared her head, later when the thoughts of disappointment, consequences and impossibilities didn't hurt so strongly in fresh wounds. Later when she recovered her shield, later when she was ready to let go of what was never hers to claim. Later... later... but later would never truly come.

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That evening at the Brotherhood's house, Wanda heard some knocking on her room's door. She thought at first that it was Todd coming to ask her out, though she had already rejected him twice in that particular day. "Give it up, Toad!"

"It's Tabby," without bothering to knock again, she opened the door and let herself in. "Hey," she smiled with apparent cheer, though her eyes told a different story. There was something that weighed heavily in Tabitha's mind and she was about to address the issue. It was clear she didn't want to, but she knew she had to.

Wanda didn't expect Tabitha to come see her out of the blue. She gave the other girl a curious look and answered with a simple "hey" that echoed Tabitha's own greeting. "Did you need something?" Wanda tried to assume, as it felt logical to assume, that Tabitha was there to borrow some shampoo, or lotion, or makeup, or some other female product that, given the fact that she was the only other woman in the house, only she was likely to have. But there was that look in her eyes that pleaded for... Companionship? Friendship? Understanding? Support? Help?

"Can I talk to you?" Tabitha finally broke the silence. Her words made it clear that the conversation might take more than just a moment.

"Sure," Wanda agreed, making room for Tabitha to sit on the bed and putting away the magazine she had been flipping through.

Tabitha closed the door, as she didn't want eavesdroppers or interruptions and sat down next to Wanda. "Even if we don't know each other very well, I thought it would be easier to talk to another girl." Tabitha began, but the truth was that it wasn't easy and that wasn't simply because of the aspect of telling someone, but because of what she had to tell. "I think I'm in trouble..."

To be Continued

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Chapter 12: Turmoil

Tabitha shifted uncomfortably and Wanda wondered why she was compelled to talk to her of all people. Didn't she have a family that would listen to her? Maybe she didn't, maybe that's why she came to the Brotherhood's house. "You can tell me," Wanda encouraged. She had not had female friends before, or any friends during her life in the captivity of a mental institution. Yet she remembered in her false memories having school friends like anyone else. Yet she couldn't really remember their names. She reasoned that they must have grown apart and settled for the possibility of making new friends in the future, though outside of the Brotherhood she never got around to having even regular acquaintances. And here was someone looking to her in need of the support and understanding of a friend.

Tabitha nodded and reasoned that she might as well get it over with. "I think I'm losing my mind," that came out wrong. She didn't want to sound random, very much less offensive.

"Stress?" Wanda suggested. If Tabitha denied it and confessed love troubles looking for advice, Wanda was sure she would draw a blank.

"It's hard to explain, but I think something's messing with my head," Tabitha tried to elaborate. "I'm probably better off heading to the institute and asking professor X for an examination, but I'm scared."

"Of what?" Wanda inquired with true puzzlement. "I don't think the X-Men would hurt you."

"I know and it's illogical," Tabitha confessed. "That's my point, that's why I'm here. I know it sounds odd, but I really think there's something, or someone trying to take over my mind. I thought that if I surrounded myself with people constantly I would be able to keep my head in the here and now, but I can't. Then there were those things that Lance was talking to Pietro about earlier, about what happened at the amusement park."

Wanda had heard the story and she immediately knew what Tabitha was talking about. "You mean what happened to Gambit? You think that it might be happening to you?" Tabitha nodded silently and Wanda had to take a moment to think about it. If whoever was behind this could control a person's mind, then instilling an illogical yet irresistible sense of fear to keep that person from seeking help was also a possibility. "If that's the case, then you really should go to the institute. I don't like the X-Men, but they could help you."

Tabitha nodded, she knew that the conversation would get to this point and was glad that Wanda seemed so open to the possibility so far. Albeit there was more that she was yet to say, "I have a favor to ask of you." That was the real reason why Tabitha had gone to talk to Wanda. "I can create explosives, as you already know..." she stated as if it had some relation to what she was going to ask. "You're a powerful mutant so, knowing what to expect, you shouldn't have any trouble."

Wanda's eyes went wide in realization. "Are you losing control? Do you think you'll go on the attack?"

"Not just yet," Tabitha hoped. "But I know that going to the institute is what's best and I can't get myself to do it."

"The favor..." a theory started to take shape in Wanda's mind.

"Yes," Tabitha confirmed. "I wanted to ask you to take me to the institute, by force if necessary. If I get scared, illogically panicked beyond reason, then I might try to attack you and get away. Don't let me," she requested, almost pleadingly, "I don't want to lose myself."

There was something about Tabitha's words that struck a cord with Wanda. 'I don't want to lose myself...' those words rung out clearly in her mind in her own voice, but it was a younger voice filled with the echo of deja vu. Wanda pushed herself to focus on reality. She couldn't help it but to feel identified with that phrase, but she didn't know why. "I'll do it," she agreed. "I'll get you to the institute even if I have to drag you there."

Tabitha smiled with both relief and the weariness of a coming battle in her eyes, "thank you."

xoxox xox xoxox

When the next morning came at the Brotherhood house, breakfast was interrupted by an earthquake. It didn't last long, but Lance had ducked under the table with such speed that even Pietro was impressed. "What? Are you afraid of earthquakes now?" The speedy mutant teased.

Lance tried to pick up the broken pieces of his embarrassed dignity and crawled out from under the table. "Just joking," he lied. Tabitha gave Lance a curious look, but didn't say anything.

After breakfast, Tabitha and Wanda left, thankfully on foot, much to Lance's relief. In truth, they knew that the jeep would probably just end up being a battle victim or a possible escape route that they didn't want to make available. The two young women were doing alright, save for the annoyance of the heat, but it had been present for so many days that people were starting to slowly adapt, or at least resign themselves to a scorching summer.

Todd had curiously followed the girls, hopping from one form of camouflage to another, hiding behind cars parked on the sides of the road, newsstands and trashcans. Tabitha started to shiver just as they were getting closer to the institute and Wanda tried to make small talk, though she didn't think she was particularly good at it. Tabitha made responses at first, but her replies became shorter until she was only nodding or shaking her head.

Finally, with the look of a scared deer in the headlights, Tabitha broke into a run. She was swiftly stopped by Wanda, who linked arms with the other girl and dragged her forward with a few words of encouragement. Todd found their behavior to be very peculiar. Tabby was afraid of something that Wanda seemed intent on dragging her towards. Yet Wanda's words were comforting and sisterly, rather than threatening or forceful. Tabitha kept nodding and muttering things along the lines of "you're right..." and "I need to do this..." plus the occasional "don't leave me alone in there." It made Todd even more curious about where 'there' was.

Shaking despite the heat, Tabitha tried to go for another run. She attempted to break free from Wanda's grip and when she was not released, she resorted to attacking with an explosive. Panicked, Tabitha ran away as Wanda jumped back to dodge the small bomb. Todd was shocked; he jumped out from behind a row of potted plants that were on display in front of a flower shop, a few loose leaves and petals stuck to his hair.

Tabitha didn't have time to stop and bumped right into Todd causing them both to fall down on the street. "Don't let her get away!" Wanda shouted, but Tabitha was already on her feet and running as fast as her legs could carry her, with frightened passer-bys hastily scrambling out of the way of the rampaging mutant.

Wanda was quick to give chase, using her abilities to lift Tabitha off the ground. Tabitha screamed and Wanda dropped her, thinking that she was accidentally hurting her, though in truth the agonized exclamation was not due to any sort of physical affliction, but rooted in a baseless unreasonable fear of the people that Tabitha's logical mind knew could help her. Once again, Tabitha was on the run, she headed towards an alleyway which led to a dead end. Making use of an explosive, she demolished the wall that separated the alleys of both streets and made it into the street at the other side, running aimlessly.

Tabitha's feet carried her to the park where she stopped next to the fountain to catch her breath. Tears were running down her face. Wanda wouldn't want to help her now, who could put up with her when she was so crazy? How could she get help like this? Whatever was out there would take over her mind, would make her lose herself... it would kill her. She fell on her knees next to the fountain with a surge of frustration and anger directed at herself and at her mysterious unseen foe.

"There she is!" Todd called out as he rushed towards Tabitha. "Hey Tabby, I don't know why you and Wanda are fighting, but I'm sure we can talk it out, so let's all stay calm!" Never mind that Todd himself was in a panic. He considered Tabitha a friend, especially after their antics in their short lived job at the fancy cafe; she was the one who gave him the extra push to get the job in the first place. He didn't want to see his crush and his friend fighting.

"We're not fighting, I'm helping her!" Wanda argued. "Tabitha, we're going, you know you need to go!"

"No!" Tabitha cried, her terror once more overcoming her sense of reason. She threw explosives wildly, destroying the fountain. At least there wasn't anyone out at the warm sunny park at the time, though the noise of the explosions caught the attention of a few people that stopped to look from a safe distance.

"Now, now, let's all calm down, yo!" Todd nervously insisted. "Babycakes, where is it that you want to go? Maybe I could go with you instead," he offered.

"Just stay out of the way, Toad. I'm not the one who needs to go to the institute, Tabitha is and I promised to take her there by force if I had to!" Wanda's hands glowed as she lifted Tabitha into the air once more. She didn't feel comfortable with this approach. It was effective, but she worried that she would hurt Tabitha and her screams of terrified agony along with her haunted tortured expression and tears flowing down her face were haunting.

"Honey," Todd tried to soothe Wanda. "I don't think Tabitha wants to go to the institute... and why would you want to take her there, yo?" Todd's confusion only grew.

"Let me go!" Tabitha screamed so loudly that her throat strained and her voice cracked. Her expression was feral and wild and she released explosives all around.

Wanda tried to shield Tabitha, Todd and herself, but when the smoke cleared, Tabitha was laying on the ground unconscious, her body battered and bruised. "Tabitha!" Wanda didn't notice her own injuries, but they weren't too serious anyway. She turned her head towards where Todd had been. There was a growing pool of blood under his limp body. "Todd!" She shouted his name in desperation. Wanda didn't know what to do, Tabitha and Todd were injured, they could die. "Help!" She cried out to no one in particular. She felt her mind strain as panic and guilt settled in, even though it wasn't really her fault. This was only the fault of whatever was so cruelly affecting Tabitha. "Help! Help! Help... Aah!"

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At the institute, Xavier let out a pained yelp and held his head. He had been speaking to Logan, Hank and Ororo in the library. Their theorizing was interrupted as they focused their alarmed eyes on the professor. "Calm down!" Xavier urged with his mind, also automatically speaking the words with instinctual emphasis. "Calm down, where are you? The park? We're on our way, stay calm, you must not lose control! No, they need you, focus!" Xavier took a long ragged breath and addressed the urgent stares that were on him. "We have an emergency at the park, they need immediate medical attention!"

There wasn't a split second to waste. Never mind land transportation, the helicopter was at the park in mere moments, though it still felt like an eternity for Wanda. With desperate tears running down her eyes, she tried to provide first aid as best she could until the X-Men got there. Her words were a jumbled mess as she pleaded for the lives of her friends. She didn't care that she was getting help from the X-Men, she didn't care what her father, or brother, or anyone would say. She just wanted them to be saved.

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It took several hours for the turmoil to die down. Tabitha and Todd, who had gotten the worse of it, were both in stable condition resting at the infirmary at the institute. Wanda remained with them for the most part, until Jean coaxed her into stepping out for a moment to calm down. Much calmer now, Wanda looked over her friends sleeping faces and let out a breath of relief, they were on the road to recovery at least.

Tabitha had been sedated; it was the only thing left to do when she woke up in a panic and tried to blow up the whole place. Xavier was planning to try to talk to her subconsciously to help her conquer her fears and regain control over herself. Until that was accomplished, she would sleep and rest her mind in preparation. Wanda walked out of the infirmary, leaving Ororo to watch over Tabitha and Todd. She stopped at the doorway where Xavier and Logan waited. "You wanted an explanation, I assume?"

Logan said nothing, as he felt it would be redundant and instead took Wanda's question as a rhetorical one. Xavier, who also needed some mental rest himself after Wanda's less than gentle psychic contact; nodded kindly and spoke in a soft fatherly voice. "Let's talk in the sitting room." Wanda nodded in acceptance and followed them.

To be Continued

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Chapter 13: Fear

Wanda shifted uncomfortably as she sat across from Xavier and Logan. After a moment longer, Logan excused himself and left, seeing as the Scarlet witch presented no real danger. She was in control of her powers and had calmed down significantly. The small accidents she caused while her friends were yet in danger were only that, accidents, but she was alright now, or at least well enough. Wanda didn't even notice Logan leave, but when she looked up from staring at her hands folded on her lap only Xavier was still there. She knew her paused had been a long one and finally broke the silence with a truth. "I don't even know where to start."

"It's okay," Xavier encouraged. "Just say what you feel you should and if there is something I don't understand, I'll ask about it."

Wanda nodded and began her explanation. "I take it you already know about what happened to Gambit?" Perhaps even better than what the Brotherhood knew. Xavier nodded in silent affirmation and Wanda continued. "Tabitha thinks the same thing could be happening to her, that something is trying to take over her mind. She asked me to bring her hear, but she's afraid to be here. She knows it's not real fear, it's a fear that's being put into her head."

"Do you know what or who might be causing it?" Xavier asked vitally and Wanda shook her head. He adopted a thoughtful expression as he took everything in. "I will do all that I can to help Tabitha."

"What's happening to her?" Wanda inquired with worry. "Will it keep happening? Is someone out to get us mutants?"

Xavier's expression was dissatisfied, reflecting his own uneasiness at the lack of information. "Unfortunately, I haven't been able to uncover much yet." Kitty had mentioned that she thought the Brotherhood wasn't involved. It was too early to rule out Magneto and even Mystique whose broken stone statue pieces had mysteriously disappeared. But there was no evidence pointing at them either. At least if the Brotherhood wasn't involved, perhaps Xavier could stop them from joining the opposition before the offer was made. "you and your friends are invited to come here. It might be safer that way."

Wanda considered the offer, "I'll keep it in mind," she assured, "but I don't think we'll be joining you guys any time soon, we're not X-Men," she added firmly.

"Even so, a truce would be mutually beneficial," Xavier emphasized.

"Maybe, if it comes to that, but things are not bad enough yet..." Wanda decided. Feeling like she wanted to go back home she stood. "I know I can at least entrust Tabitha and Todd's health to you... and if you mess with their heads," light surrounded the Scarlet Witch as she threatened, her aura anonymous and deadly. "I will make sure you dearly regret it," she assured strongly.

Xavier knew then that the conversation was over, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been. "Don't worry; I won't do anything to bend their will. Tabitha and Todd can stay here until they recover and when they're well enough, they can stay or leave, it'll be their choice."

"It better be," Wanda headed out of the sitting room and towards the infirmary once last time. She only intended to check on her friends for a short moment and then leave, they would be alright there.

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As Wanda exited the institute through the front door, she was greeted by a battle. Lance was mostly fighting hand to hand which put him at a disadvantage since he was not using his powers and the opponents, Jean and Scott, were. "What's wrong with you Avalanche? Get with the earthquakes!" Pietro complained.

Lance, who was looking rather out of it, only stepped back. "Get off my case!" He snapped at Quicksilver. "It wouldn't really help right now," he knew it wasn't true.

"I guess I'll have to this myself!" Pietro started running in circles to create a tornado, but Jean used her psychic abilities to lift him off the ground. Refusing to give up, he tried with all his might to spin in place and break free.

"I don't know why you're holding back, but if that's the way you want it..." Scott charged forward and he and Lance soon became locked in hand to hand combat.

With some effort, Pietro managed to break free of Jean's psychic hold; she had not yet fully recovered from the headache that came with the stain of the airport incident. Full of momentum from the effort, Pietro spun around wildly as soon as Jean dropped him, producing a gust of wind that pushed Jean back causing her to collide with Scott's back. Scott had been focused on Lance in front of him and was caught off guard, which made Jean and Scott end up in a pile on the floor.

Pietro spun dizzily, trying to regain his balance, "bury them, Avalanche!"

Lance stepped back and focused; the earth shock slightly but it quickly stopped. Lance was sweating profusely and it wasn't all due to the heat and the exercise of the fight. "I... I can't..." he realized. He couldn't use his powers, not when the mere thought of the ground shaking beneath his feet terrified him.

Logan stepped out the front door where Wanda was just standing there watching, unnoticed by the others. "I knew I smelled trouble," he growled, baring his claws. He looked at Wanda, but her still posture and disconcerted look told him she was not a part of this particular battle. "What do you want?"

Wolverine's arrival made quicksilver notice that his sister was right there, unharmed. By then Lance had retreated a few more paces back and Jean and Scott were back on their feet. "We're here to rescue Wanda and the others!" Pietro demanded, though he wasn't sure she needed to be rescued anymore. She was just standing there looking confused, but not with the look of one in peril.

"From what?" Wanda asked in confusion.

Sounding more unsure now, Pietro replied. "From the X-Men... We saw a part of a news bulletin, not the whole thing, but it looked like they Tabitha and Toad were hurt and you were there, looking like you were in trouble..."

"So you thought we were being kidnapped by the X-Men?" Wanda shook her head hopelessly. "It's not the X-Men, the enemy is someone else, I don't know who, but it could be the same one that affected Gambit. Tabitha's mind was being taken over and I brought her here to get help. The fight wasn't even a real fight, Tabitha was just scared, but it wasn't her own fear, her mind was being partially controlled you could say. She panicked and got a little out of control, then Todd got caught in the middle of it."

"Then you guys weren't kidnapped? I guess it really doesn't fit the X-Men style," Pietro smiled sheepishly upon realizing his mistake. Wanda sighed and shook her head. Scott was still glaring at Lance, with his eyes covered thankfully, but Lance seemed focused on looking at the ground lost in thought, so Scott relaxed. Jean let out a tired breath; at least the fight that shouldn't have happened in the first place was over.

Logan retracted his claws and tried to keep his temper cool. "I can understand why you're on edge with all that's been going on, but it won't do anyone any good to point the finger in the wrong direction," he scolded firmly.

A small moment of tense silence passed until Wanda finally continued down the stairs and stood next to her brother. "Tabitha and Todd will be okay here, let's leave them to rest and recover."

"Okay..." Pietro agreed and the Maximoff siblings turned to leave, but Lance wasn't following them.

Avalanche stepped forward unsure and was met with Logan's short tempered, "you got something to say?"

"Actually... I..." Lance hesitated from a moment before replying, "no," and he turned away to leave along with Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch.

This time it was Pietro the one who didn't move. "Stay if you think you should stay." Lance gave him a questioning look and Pietro elaborated. "All that talk about illogical fear, it's happening to you too, isn't it? Something or someone is making you fear earthquakes, stopping you from using your power."

Lance began to protest, "I'm not-"

But he was interrupted by Pietro, "save it, we can all see it. You might as well do something about it before it gets worse. You've hung around here before; you'll be alright staying here for a while. See you around." Without another word, Quicksilver started towards the front gates of the institute property again, but rather than running, he was walking, waiting for Wanda to catch up.

Wanda nodded at Lance as if expressing her agreement that he should have his mysterious problem looked into and promised, "I'll come by later to see how everyone is doing." She then hurried to catch up with her brother and they left.

Lance watched the Maximoff siblings leave, then turned to face Logan, Jean and Scott not knowing what to say. This was different from the last time he tried to join them. Back then he was just chasing after Kitty, this time he actually needed their help.

"One more chance," Jean offered while rubbing her temples. She could use a nap with a nice soft pillow to rest her head on.

"Make good use of it," Scott added.

Logan let out a breath of exasperation, "alright, let's go, just don't cause any trouble," he agreed and Lance followed the group inside. 'Looks like Charles is going to have his hands full with therapy sessions,' Wolverine thought.

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It happened just as Wolverine thought. Xavier was trying his best and with some help from Jean after she rested, Tabitha was once again in control of herself. She was still very jumpy, but at least she wasn't screaming and throwing explosives at the drop of a hat. The stage of Lance's condition seemed earlier than Tabitha's but upon closer mental inspection, Xavier realized that, albeit the method seemed to be similar, the aim was different. Tabitha was an almost victim of the same kind of brainwashing that had overtaken Remy.

Tabitha too was released from it, but before her memories were wiped clean. As for Lance, whoever was behind this didn't care about brainwashing him as much as about making him unable to use his powers. His memories were intact and most areas of the brain remained untouched, unlike it was for Tabitha. It was as if whoever was behind this had a special concern for Earthquakes, but why? One question piled on top of another and the answers felt far away.

Yet with some persistent investigation, Xavier finally thought he had a lead. When he discussed it with the group, it was decided that Jean should stay at the institute to assist Xavier. Since Ororo's powers were mostly unresponsive unless it was with a great effort, she would stay behind as well. Lance, Tabitha and Todd, who were all still in a sort of recovery process in their own way would remain as well. Hank, Scott and Evan would hold down the fort if any danger came, which left Logan in charge of the mission team.

Remy was in control of his mind and power despite his lack of memories and his condition over the past few days had been stable. After Xavier did another check on his mind, he got the all clear to go on the mission. The other three integrants would be Rogue, Kurt and Kitty.

Under the leadership of Wolverine, Rogue, Gambit, Shadowcat and Nightcrawler were off to investigate a suspicious group that operated in Alaska. Uncertainly clung to every surface and body as the X-Jet cut through the skies at top speed. Setting the autopilot, Wolverine, who was wearing full X-Men gear, as were the others, looked at his team.

Kurt and Kitty were smiling at each other from their seats side by side, holding hands. Rogue was looking anyone except at Remy as if something concerning him weighed heavily on her mind. Remy was a little fidgety, showing his eagerness to learn more about the hidden truth that led him to lose his memories. The explosive card wielder occasionally stole glances at Rogue, but didn't say anything.

An abundance of affection and an abundance of tension. Logan breathed, he felt like he was caught in the middle of a soap opera. He only hoped they could keep their heads focused when it came down to the time of action. He didn't know what to expect from the group they were investigating, so they better be ready for anything.

To be Continued

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Chapter 14: Cold Partition

The weather was relatively calm when the X-Jet landed in Alaska. Even so, the cold was very clearly perceptible, but Kitty, Kurt, Rogue and Remy didn't mind. In fact, they were grateful, for after days of being scorched, they finally got the chance to cool off. The coats that they packed were hard to look at before, but the layers of thick fabric were a necessity now. After the group landed, they went straight to business. There was no time to take in the sights of snow covered mountains and infinite white from the perspective of a tourist, but they would see plenty of that in their hike. The X-Jet was left behind, hidden away so as to not make their arrival so clearly known.

The walk felt endless and pretty soon the group started getting fed up with the cold, even though ironically, the vast snowy plains looked like heaven to them not too long ago. At least Kurt's fur was a good aspect for him then. Logan suddenly halted and ordered, "quiet," in a low commanding tone. The soft chatter that was going on with the group immediately ceased as the squad leader sniffed the air. Having picked up a trail, Wolverine made his way forward part a pile of snow and sniffed the ground. Finally, he started to dig through the snow until he found a metal hatch hidden under it.

"Looks like the lead was true after all," Logan muttered, still unsure. Before they left, Xavier had warned them that the clue arrived via an anonymous message that he was unable to trace. "Be ready for this to be a trap," Wolverine reminded with a voice full of seriousness. The scents in the air didn't match any that he could think of. This didn't smell like the work of Magneto or Mystique. Carefully and quietly, Wolverine opened the hatch and took in the scents inside before starting down, signaling for the others to follow.

The group made their way underground with only a small light that illuminated the area immediately in front of them. They didn't want to use a light that was too bright so as to not attract attention in case someone saw it from afar in one of the many forks that the metal tunnel possessed. They weren't worried about getting lost though, as Logan's keen sense of smell could easily trace the path back and if they were in a particular hurry, Nightcrawler could teleport them to the surface.

The metal tunnel became more rustic with pieces of flooring, walls and ceiling missing, replaced by patches of ice. The metal continued becoming less until the group reached a chamber that was mostly made of ice. It was a spacious place, most likely situated under a mountain judging by the tall ceiling. Metal beams went along its walls and ceiling like a cage to prevent a cave in. The strange part was that there seemed to be no one there. However, appearances could be deceiving and the quietude didn't mean that the place was deserted.

Logan raised his hand in alert, then signaled for the group to take cover behind a pile of crates. There were many wooden crates of unknown contents in the chamber. With a deep quiet breath, Logan could perceive the scent of metal, but no traces of Magneto's scent, so he wouldn't jump to any conclusions.

Footsteps were finally heard as a group of five men entered the chamber from an adjacent snowy tunnel. The X-Men didn't recognize any of them as they quietly observed from their hiding place. The unknown men approached a tall device in the center of the chamber that was covered by a white cloth. The cloth was removed to reveal the unmistakable shape of a missile.

The weapon was rather large and an open panel on its side revealed complex writing in its interior. It looked like the missile was yet unfinished and Logan wasn't going to let them finish it. "Let's go," he alerted his companions, then leapt out of hiding with his claws out.

The rest of the X-Men followed Wolverine's lead. Gambit tried to throw a card at one the men, but his energy wouldn't flow into it. Confused and caught of guard, he couldn't warn Rogue on time.

Rogue charged forward. It felt bad to take off one of her gloves when it was so cold, but she needed to disable her opponent and get some useful memories out of him. He could hold the key to this mystery in his mind and Rogue wanted to know the answer. She tried to grab the man's face, as the rest of his body was covered to protect him from the cold. Rogue was certain that her hand had gripped his throat; she felt the cold skin of his upper neck and the roughness of a growing beard on his face. Yet she didn't feel anything other than what anyone would feel through tact. There was no rush of energy, no memories, no power.

"Cherie!" Gambit reacted to try to communicate that his power wasn't working. Wolverine had his claws out, but that didn't mean he was the only one who was affected. After all, Wolverine's power was more so physical, his claws, strong bones, mighty strength and endurance. But Remy's power was close to energy and so was Rogue's.

The man, much larger than her, grabbed Rogue by the wrist. Panic flashed in her eyes as he pulled her then lifted her by the shoulders as she helplessly tried to break free. The man threw her to the ground were she slid on the icy terrain and slipped towards the wall. The ground shook in an ill time earthquake and pieces of ice slipped through the skeleton of metal beams preventing the icy chamber from being buried, one loose portion of ice falling on Rogue's head. Gambit reached her at last after fighting another of the men out of the way, gathering strength from sheer adrenaline and worry.

Simultaneously, Kitty discovered the hard way that she was unable to phase out of her captor's hold. "Kitty!" Kurt focused on teleporting towards her. He didn't understand why she didn't just phase herself free, but it didn't look like she could. Instead of disappearing to reappear close enough to ambush Kitty's attacker, Nightcrawler remained in the same place. His unexpected inability to teleport held his attention long enough for another of the men to land a punch on his face, which sent him toppling back.

"What's wrong with you? Didn't I train you to fight better than this?" Wolverine growled. He had beaten three of the men until they were knocked out and was about to finish his forth opponent. His fist connected with the man's face in payback for what he did to Kurt.

"Our powers aren't working!" Remy carefully sat Rogue with her back against the wall, frowning at how much blood stuck to his glove when he touched the side of her head. The last enemy standing ran towards him, but Remy stood quickly and took out his anger on him until the man fell unconscious.

Wolverine retracted his claws and pushed them out again as if to test them. "Whatever it is, it looks like it only affects certain kinds of power." His eyes landed on rogue as he hurried to her. "She's hurt," he glared at Remy. "You should have watched her back better." It wasn't that Logan was truly reproachful, but rather, he needed to voice his frustration and concern in some way.

Remy frowned, "I know," he glared over at the men on the ground.

Logan examined the wound on Rogue's head with a serious look. "We're retreating. I'll take you to the X-Jet, then you four will stay there and I'll finish the mission on my own." His tone told them that there was no room for argument. Albeit there were protests in the back of their minds, the more important matter was to tend to Rogue's injury, so no one voiced any disagreements to Logan's decision for the time being.

With shout of alert, more people, about thirty of them, men and women, rushed into the icy chamber. Some had looks in their faces that more so befitted intellectuals and scientists rather than those accustomed to physical labor, exploration and combat. But none the less, experienced and inexperienced fighters, they all looked ready to fight. Angry shouts and insulting remarks were thrown at the mutants, which made Logan think that perhaps the strange occurrences were related to some kind of anti-mutant movement. Yet there was no time to theorize about who could be behind it. "Run!" Logan nearly pushed the group back into the tunnel from where they came. Getting them to safety would have to be the top priority.

Kitty and Kurt were running ahead in the darkness, while Remy was behind them carrying the unconscious Rogue in his arms. Logan lagged behind to fight off their pursuers. At least not all the enemies could come at them at once after the tunnels narrowed, but Wolverine's nose told him that there were more people in the tunnels that connected further ahead.

The crunch of snow beneath their boots turned to the clangs of metal with their hurried footsteps. Nightcrawler yelped in surprise as he almost ran into someone ahead. The flashlight carried by the enemy revealed four others behind him. "Not this way," Kurt turned a corner, he didn't know where he was going, but there was no time to think about that now. He could only pray that he didn't run into a dead end and accidentally lead the others to it as well.

"Which way?" Kitty called out, not that she actually expected Kurt to know. The only one who could have a clue was Logan and he had his hands full at the moment protecting the rest of the group. Hand to hand combat was something they could do, but it would be too much to try to fight in such close quarters, in the darkness and against such large numbers without the aid of their mutant abilities. Plus they had to take Rogue to safety as quickly as possible.

"I don't know! This way, I think!" Upon hearing Kurt's voice, Remy noticed that it sounded off with an echo. Kitty replied with something and her voice became even more distant. That's when Gambit realized he had taken a wrong turn. There was too much noise, too many angry shouts, too many sets of shuffling feet and it was too dark to guide himself by anything other than sound.

None the less, Gambit kept running, thinking only of getting Rogue to safety. She was still unconscious in his arms and that worried him. Finally, the steps and voices became distant and Remy slowed down. Holding Rogue protectively against him with one arm, he reached for the small light he had put away in his coat. He let out a breath when he confirmed that they were indeed alone. At least they lost their pursers in the underground maze, but they had also been separated from the other X-Men.

Remy saw the entrance to a storage room of sorts. There were blankets, canned food and other such things there. He thought that maybe there could also be first aid supplies, then Rogue wouldn't have to wait until they got back to the X-Jet. Gambit went into the storage room and hid behind a row of crates. He set Rogue down gently with her back resting against the wall and quietly searched through the supplies. Fortunately, he found a first aid kit, which he immediately put to use, cleaning and bandaging Rogue's head as best he could.

Remy looked at Rogue's still face. "Would some energy help you recover, cherie?" He didn't expect an answer; nor did he receive one, she was still out cold. He pressed his lips against hers in a gentle kiss, but his energy was not absorbed.

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Meanwhile, in a different tunnel... "Light! I see light!" Kurt ran faster through the upward slope that led to an open hole towards the ground above. He jumped up to the surface with great agility and extended his hand to Kitty as she followed. He reached out again to help Remy get Rogue up to the surface, but a strange man grabbed his wrist, though he had to let go when Kitty's foot connected with his face. The man lost his balance and toppled down the slippery metal slope where Wolverine punched his lights out and continued through another tunnel.

The rest of the pursuers went after the lone mutant, assuming his companions were ahead and not caring to look up the sloping tunnel. "That was not Remy..." Kurt stated in realization. Kitty bit her lip in worry. She too had thought that the steady rhythm of footsteps behind her and Kurt belonged to Remy, but if he wasn't following them, then were was he and Rogue?

To be Continued

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Chapter 15: Sky Lights

"It looks like Mr. Logan is leading them away," Kitty concluded. Surely, Wolverine must have noticed their scent in that direction, as his powers didn't seem to be affected by whatever was interfering with the others. "Let's wait a little longer before we go back down there."

Kurt gave her a look of disbelief. "We just got out and you want to go back in there? Shouldn't we be calling for reinforcements?" He took out his communicator as he suggested the idea. Unfortunately, there was nothing but static to be sent or received. "Something's jamming the signal."

"Okay, I think it's been like long enough..." Kitty started down the tunnel again. "C'mon, we need to find Rogue, Remy and the device, then meet up with Mr. Logan."

Kurt followed Kitty down the tunnel with disbelief mixed with fascination. She wouldn't stop at reuniting with the others; she wanted to do something about what was interfering with their powers too. Albeit finding it would be hard if they didn't know what the device looked like or even its range. It's not like they had been testing their powers every few steps when they were on their way. Plus actually destroying such a thing might be difficult without their powers. Actually, if another group ambushed them, surviving might be more difficult.

It looked like most of the forces were concentrating on chasing Wolverine, thus Kitty and Kurt didn't run into anyone. However, they didn't really know where they were going either. Coincidentally, they ended up in the same chamber from before, in the middle of which there was the missile. "This isn't what we were looking for, but we might as well get rid of it too." Kitty approached it, if only she had her powers, she could easily reach beyond the metal covers and rip off the cables and finer circuitry from inside.

"Careful not to set it off," Kurt warned when he saw Kitty go for the control panel on the missile's side.

Kitty froze as doubt invaded her mind. "Maybe we should let Mr. Logan like check this out and make sure it won't explode before we try to do anything with it." She stepped back from the missile. "Where could Rogue and Remy be?" She looked around the chamber not really expecting to find anything, but something caught her eye above. "What's that?"

Kurt looked up. There was a strange device sticking out from the icy ceiling of the chamber. They couldn't see it when they first arrived, so they reasoned the recent earthquake must have loosened the snow and ice around it enough to uncover it. "That," Kurt mused, " is very suspicious."

"Do you think that's the machine affecting our powers?" Kitty theorized hopefully.

"Could be," Kurt also hoped that it was. It would certainly make things a lot easier if they could get that thing out of the way. With great agility, Kurt climbed on to one of the metal beams that formed a cage around the chamber. He held on to another beam that went across the cavern's ceiling and approached the strange machine. He looked down at Kitty, "step back."

Kitty moved out of the way from under Kurt in case more ice rocks or the whole machine fell. She watched from a safe position as Kurt dug around the machine with bits of ice and snow falling. Finally, he could see some kind of screen with numbers, most likely something that was operated by remote control. He checked further until he was able to move a panel next to it and uncovered a small control board. He didn't know what each number stood for, but his first guess was to set them to zero. He messed with the controls until he managed to do so and tried to teleport, but nothing happened. He kept poking at the controls until the machine shut down and still nothing happened. Finally he climbed down. "It's off now, but I still can't teleport."

Kitty touched the solid wall next to her. "My abilities aren't working either. I guess maybe that machine wasn't what's blocking our powers, but what is it then?"

"No idea," Kurt shrugged. "Maybe it's a shield of sorts, like a cloaking device or something." The machine Kurt deactivated had been a shield alright, but not a cloaking device. Unknown to Kitty and Kurt, it served a very important purpose and they had done exactly what they had been entrapped into doing. Somewhere far away a countdown began...

Footsteps were heard as someone approached from another tunnel. Kitty and Kurt hurried to hide and hold the element of surprise in their favor in case they had to fight. However, the one that had entered the icy cavern was Logan. "You two can come out of there now," he greeted, as he had been following their scents. Kitty and Kurt came out of hiding glad to see Logan was alright. "For non-mutants they put up a fight, but it's nothing I couldn't handle. I did pick up an interesting piece of information," he revealed. "It sounded like some of them were pretty angry at Magneto and others mentioned Mystique. I tried to get more out of them, but they refused to cooperate saying mutants were the cause of this and only non-mutants," or 'real humans' as the man had said, "could solve this."

"This?" Kurt and Kitty asked in unison.

Wolverine shook his head. "There's some kind of trouble going on. There's something dangerous out there that they don't want to talk about. Magneto and Mystique must know something. If I had to take a guess, I would think that they're competing to obtain whatever is at the center of all this."

"Does that mean that..." Nightcrawler shifted uncomfortably. He was suddenly shy and unsure, almost embarrassed to ask. "Could she be..."

"Mystique? Alive?" Logan finished for him with a huff. "I always thought it was suspicious that the pieces of stone vanished. Maybe she is alive; it wouldn't make much sense for them to give so much thought and anger to a dead woman." Kurt held a small smile, though he quickly suppressed it. His mother was alive, but she was up to no good. Wolverine looked at the missile, deciding not to further speak of the subject for the time being. They could discuss things in detail when he knew everyone was safe.

Before he could follow the scent of Remy and Rogue to their location, Logan had something to take care of. He extended his claws and sliced through the missile's cover and circuitry until it was in pieces. Kurt and Kitty gasped in open mouthed shock. So much for letting Logan check out the missile to make sure it didn't blow up! Well at least it had not exploded and it had been successfully destroyed... "Let's hurry and regroup," Wolverine led the way.

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Meanwhile, Remy and Rogue were still hiding in the storage room. Remy knew it would be difficult to fight and protect the unconscious Rogue at the same time, it was too risky. But waiting there for someone, preferably someone from the X-Men, to find them was getting on his nerves. Should he risk going out of hiding and hope he could lead Rogue to safety before the enemy finds him? Should he stay and wait longer? How were the others doing? He sat on the floor with Rogue on his lap.

"I'm really getting impatient, cherie..." Her head rested on his shoulder and with a slight shift of his weight to get more comfortable, her head slipped slightly, her forehead brushing his chin. Then he felt it, there was that slightly stinging sensation that came before his energy was drained, but only slightly as the contact had been brief. "Your power is back?" Perhaps his power was back too, but he didn't want to test it in such close quarters. First things first, he kissed Rogue and allowed her to absorb his energy onto herself. He was exhausted afterward, but it looked like it worked.

Rogue slowly opened her eyes and tried to make sense of her surroundings. The last thing she remembered she had been fighting, but her powers wouldn't respond, then there was pain. She saw herself falling, she saw a dark tunnel, then she realized that those images weren't hers. She had been unconscious and Remy had seen those things. He gave her his energy hoping that the jolt of vitality would help her recover enough to regain consciousness. "Remy..." She looked at him and he grinned. "Thanks," she blushed slightly.

"You're welcome, cherie," he was exhausted, but relieved. Now they just had to regroup with the others and get out of there.

The sound of footsteps set them on the alert, but they relaxed when they saw who it was. Finally, Rogue and Remy had been reunited with Kurt, Kitty and Logan. The five set out to make their way out of the area. "We'll move the X-Jet close and I'll have another look around to collect clues. Maybe I'll find some files or something to take back to show Charles." Where there was technology and engineering, there were computers. There might be important clues to be found if he could find them and collect their hard drives to be studied in detail at the institute.

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The five X-Men made it back to the X-Jet, where Logan insisted that Rogue took the rest of the mission off even if they were all curious about what was going on and all too willing to accompany Wolverine in his next expedition. Seeing that Remy looked like most of his energy had been zapped out of him, Logan connected the dots and concluded he had given that energy to Rogue. "You're staying too," he ordered. Before Kitty and Kurt could protest, Logan silenced them with a firm, "guard the X-Jet."

The humans down at the tunnels were not dangerous for someone as strong as Wolverine. Though some were armed, they could hardly aim in the darkness anyway. Logan was pretty sure he had knocked out most of the people there and if a few were left, he could handle them. Yet he didn't want to risk there being another device that could block mutant powers down there. Peculiarly, the timing in which their powers were restored was aligned with the destruction of the missile.

The X-Jet took off towards the area in the snowy fields where the entrance to the hideout had been found. But before the flying vessel could get close, a golden light as bright as the sun in the middle of a summer day made them close their eyes and shield their faces. The beam of light struck the ground, leaving nothing but water where there had been ice and snow. Steam rose from the area and the X-Jet's alarms went off full force, warning the crew that the vessel was rapidly over heating. Logan turned around as fast as he could and put some distance between the disaster zone and the X-Jet.

The engines protested, but Logan knew he couldn't land. The snow was shifting, the mountains were covered in avalanches and the whole area was a mess. If they landed now, they would be swallowed by the snow, but it was too hot and one of the engines caught on fire. The X-Men felt hazy, they held on to their seats as they struggled to shed their coats before they suffocated and passed out from the heat, without being tossed around the jet. The other engine caught on fire as the vessel continued to demand an emergency landing that Wolverine knew would be suicide to attempt. They had to get as far as possible from the land that had been so oddly and extremely disturbed by the inexplicable light from the sky.

"I'm taking us down as close to the ground as possible!" Logan yelled over the commotion of the multiple alarms going off on the X-Jet. He knew that trying to teleport from such a great height was dangerous because of the accumulated momentum, but Kurt's teleportation was their only choice now. "Then you'll teleport us to the ground and forward again as fast as you can go without spilling anyone's brain out."

Everyone gathered around Kurt, who teleported with Wolverine's signal. The X-Men were saved at the last second from the force of the crash. The continuous teleportation eventually got them to semi solid ground, where the group could finally take a breath, but then it was cold in that area and they knew they would soon miss their coats. They were dizzy from the continuous teleportation and it was obvious that they shared a collective headache, but at that moment, they were just thankful to be alive.

To be Continued

Disclaimer, I don't own X-Men: Evolution.