IN THE NAME OF SCIENCE

BY : hellion
Category: X-men Comics > General
Dragon prints: 4036
Disclaimer: I do not own X-Men comics, or any of the characters from it. I make no money from from the writing of this story.

Chapter 7 Breakdowns

“I never knew how much stuff we kept in here.” Jean Grey said aloud to no one in particular. She had set about cleaning out the spare bedroom in the guesthouse so that they could move Rahne in, but she hadn’t realized what a chore it would be. The room was filled with boxes, with God only knows what inside of them, all needing to be sorted. Out of curiosity, Jean opened one box marked old stuff. She pulled out her old yellow and black costume that she first wore as an X-man and held it in front of herself.

“I can’t believe I used to fit into this thing.” She sighed.

“You should see my wardrobe, my dear Jean. I can’t tell you how hard it is to find something made for today’s discriminating four hundred pound blue furred mutant!”

“Is that why you used to fight menaces to mutant kind in a pair of underwear, Hank?” Jean asked with a laugh

“No, it just made doing the laundry far more easy. I shed like you wouldn’t believe!”

“Oh, you’d be surprised Hank. I lived with you for a while now. Heck, you left enough hair around to make a throw rug! How’s it coming with those scramblers? Have they been installed yet?” She asked conversationally

“They’ve all been placed, prepped and ready to go. We should do a test run on their effectiveness, post haste.” Hank said

“Alright. Turn them on so I can test them.”

Hank did, and Jean reached out with her telepathy. Normally, Jean could hear the voices of hundreds with her telepathy. Though she had learned to block it out the voices, it was still there, a constant white noise. But now there was nothing, utter silence with the exception of Hank, whom she could still ‘hear’. And she heard something curious…

“Hank, please forgive my unintentional prying, but why are you so anxious to get back to your lab, and why don’t you want Rahne or anyone else to know what you’re doing?”

“Uhh, I’m working on a exercise program, that combined with some diet supplements will help Rahne regain the strength in her legs quicker. It’s still in the design stages, so I don’t want to get her hopes up, without due cause.” He hastily explained

“Oh.” Jean shrugged, “Well, at least with Rahne staying here, she won’t be bothering our telepathically inclined students with her nightmares.”

“Yes, Jean, but she will be bothering you with her dreams, you realize. The scramblers only close off an area. You may and most likely will still be affected, Jean.” Hank explained

“I know. And I’m willing to risk it.” She answered

“I see. May I ask why?”

“Why what?”

“Why are you going to such lengths for Rahne? We all care for her well being, but with you, it’s more.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Hank.” Jean said as she went back to moving boxes around

“Come now, Jean. I know you far better than that. You visited Rahne daily while she was in a coma and prodded me and Cecelia for updates on her condition almost as much as Dani. Your compassion is well known, to be sure, but it seems to me that this is more.”

“It just needs to be done.” Jean said defensively.

“True, that it does. That it does. That it does indeed.”


***

After what seemed to be two eternities, Rahne fell asleep weeping in Dani’s arms. Dani gently laid Rahne back in bed, pulled the sheets over her and called for Cecelia.

“You were right. Damn it all to hel, you… were right.” She sighed. Dani struggled to maintain her composure. She loved Rahne like the little sister she never had, and it was difficult enough knowing that she had been horribly tortured for months on end, but knowing that Rahne had been raped for a fact, on top of everything else that had happened to her, was almost too much for her. Dani didn’t want to believe it at first, and even then she had trouble dealing with it. Now…She knew that she had to be strong for Rahne, but it was becoming so very difficult.

“At least she stopped blaming herself and internalizing her pain now, which is the first step to recovery, Dani.” Cecelia stated as she walked over to a medicine cabinet and pulled out a syringe. “This should help her rest.”

“What… what about any… S.T.D’s? According to Rahne, there…there were…so…so many…” Dani stammered. The very question was almost impossible for her to ask, and an act of incredible willpower.

“None, thankfully. We checked her for everything when she was brought in, and it was about the only thing that didn’t show up.” Cecelia replied as she injected the contents of the syringe into a vein Rahne’s left arm.

“Thank the Spirits for small miracles.” Dani thought to herself as she absently ran her hand over Rahne’s cheek. “I need to do something at the danger room, real quick. Do you think that you could watch her for a little bit?”

Cecelia gave Dani an odd look. Normally, Dani insisted on being by Rahne’s side whenever she could, leaving only for food or to use the bathroom and even then leaving reluctantly. Why would she leave now?

“I gave her Ambein, it’ll knock her out for a while. She doesn’t need anyone here with her, and I have other duties I need to see to.”

“Are you sure you can’t stay here with her?”

“Sorry, Dani. But I’m sure Rahne will be just fine alone.” Cecelia said reassuringly

“Alright, for now.”

As Cecelia walked out of the room with Dani, she couldn’t help but wonder what would drag her away from Rahne. When Cecelia was out of sight, Dani sprinted towards the danger room. She didn’t want to waste any more time than she had too. Much to her chagrin, she found that it was already in use. She opened the door and saw that three students were lying around on a simulated beach. One student resembled a bird, his arms covered in feathers; another was a female with four eyes and three arms while the last looked like a human turtle. Dani turned the simulation off, and the three students who had sitting in beach chairs relaxing suddenly found themselves sitting in a cold, metal room.

“Hey, what’s the big idea?” The birdboy asked.

“I need to use the danger room. You don’t. Out.” Dani replied.

“But the professor said we could relax here!” The turtle boy said

“Hey, you’re one of the senior classes, aren’t you? What’s it like to graduate?” The girl asked

“Great. Now get out.”

Somehow quite not catching the hostility in her voice, the students kept asking Dani questions about the school…

“What’s the highest level you’ve reached in the danger room?”

“Have you ever piloted the black bird?”

“What are they keeping in the medi-lab?”

Enraged at both the last comment and at being ignored, Dani sucker punched the bird boy, knocking him to his ass. That clued the others into Dani’s anger

“Maybe you three didn’t hear me the first time I said it, so I’ll say it again, get the hell out!” She barked

The three students rushed out of the room, rightfully afraid of what she would do to them if they stayed.

“Computer, seal the danger room, program alpha beta Sunspot is gay.”

In seconds, the danger room sealed itself completely off. Dani started a program designed by the late New Mutant Douglas Ramsey, A.K.A Cypher. After the New Mutants had been attacked by the Beyonder, a powerful alien, Dani thought it was best to have a ‘safe house’ that the New Mutants would be protected in. The danger room was a natural choice, and she had Cypher create a program to make it into the safest place on earth, completely sealed off from the rest of the mansion if need be. No one could get in or out now unless they knew the proper access codes, something only she and the now deceased Cypher knew.

“Suck it up. You need to see this. You need to know.” Dani thought to herself. Like all of Xavier’s students, Danielle Moonstar was a mutant. One of her powers was to create solid illusions of what someone feared most. It was a power that she refined over the years, and she now had the skill of a surgeon using it. While she was comforting Rahne, Dani pulled the image of the room Rahne had been held in and experimented on out of her mind. She didn’t project it then and there, of course; rather Dani ‘held on’ to it and waited until she had some time alone. Dani called on her power now, and the danger room changed from a soulless metal room, to a sterile surgical room filled with all kinds of medical instruments and medicine bottles. Dani looked them over, and could read the contents and the amount of ‘bottles’. Dani opened one of the cabinets and saw even more medical supplies, all properly placed and labeled. She opened another cabinet and saw the exact same thing.

The subsequent snap was almost audible.

“Bastards!” Dani screamed as she ripped the cabinets from the wall, “You fucking bastards!”

“She was an innocent! An innocent! And you sons of bitches took that from her!”

Dani sent a row of beakers and bottles crashing to the floor.

“And why! What the hell did she ever do to deserve this!? Because she was a mutant?!”

Dani tore another cabinet off the wall and smashed it to the ground,

“Because she had one fucking thing you wanted, and you had to rip everything else away from her to get it!!” She roared

After a few minutes of destroying the faux room, Dani slumped to her knees, put her face in her hands and wept. Wept for what Rahne lost, wept for the fact that she was powerless to help her and wept for the pain this entire ordeal had caused her.

“It’s appalling in it’s accuracy, isn’t it?”

Dani looked up; surprised that anyone else could be in the danger room with her. She was even more shocked that it was Professor X, who had no real physical powers whatsoever.

“How the hell…”

“I designed the danger room myself, Dani, remember? If it will recognize the commands of no one else, it will recognize mine.” Professor X stated, “So this is where they kept Rahne?”

“I knew she remembered almost everything that happened to her, but I never expected…this.” Dani said. Xavier knew instantly what she meant, though he wished he didn’t.

“Every detail, every little thing, every_little_nuance_of_this_god_damned_room is_engrained_in_her_mind!” Dani screamed, “Every time she closes her eyes, she sees this fucking room! And I don’t know how the hell to help her overcome what they did to her!”

“You could start by calming down. You’ve been on edge ever since you found out what happened to Rahne, and it’s not helping anyone. You’ve always been passionate, Dani, but here it’s working against you.” Professor X calmly explained.

“Do you even know what it’s like!? Do you? My best, closest friend has been brutalized, in ways that may never heal, and I can’t do anything at all to help her! I may as well be pissing in the wind!” Dani snapped.

“I know exactly what it’s like, Dani. Sadly enough, I went thru the something very similar with Rahne’s mother.”

“Moira?”

“Yes. What I tell you next, I expect to be kept in confidentiality.”

Dani nodded, “Of course.”

“Moira married an abusive man, and in time she began to realize that he would never change. She eventually decided to leave him and decided to tell him while they were visiting New York on a vacation. He responded by brutally sexually assaulting her, taking her passport and leaving her beaten half to death in her hotel room. She was fortunate enough that a maid cleaning the rooms found her before she bled to death from internal hemorrhaging and called for an ambulance. Besides the incredible pain Joe inflicted on her both physically and mentally, he also left her pregnant from the attack.”

“You mean Proteus was… Oh my god…I never knew…”

“I doubt that Moira ever told anyone, perhaps not even Rahne. She called me from the hospital, since I was the only one she trusted enough at the time.” he stated, “I helped her as best as I could, but…”

“But?”

“But I wasted far to much time being enraged at her husband, Joe.” Xavier sighed, shaking his head, “I spent more time convincing myself not to kill him with my powers than helping Moira overcome what happened to her. My ‘righteous’ anger prevented me from giving her the love, comfort and support she so desperately needed from me. In short, I failed her, and her unborn child, in her time of greatest need. And I see you making the exact same mistakes I made. Rahne is far stronger than you give her credit for, Dani. It’s a quiet strength, to be sure, but it’s most certainly there. She overcame the lies, abuse and self-loathing that Craig instilled her mind with as a child, and with yours and Jean’s help, she can overcome this as well. But not if those who are trying to help her recover are snapping under the pressure and assaulting students and teachers.”

Dani sighed. Professor X was right, as was often the case. It was hard to admit, but at the pace she was going, Dani knew she would burn out emotionally soon, and wouldn’t be of any use to anyone, especially Rahne.

“What do you think I should do? How can I help her?”

“I think you should take a day away from Rahne. To calm down and collect yourself. I would suggest that you also use the time to withdraw from college, at least for this semester.”

“What? I can’t leave her now! I don’t give a damn about my classes!” Dani snapped

“I know you mean well, but this entire situation is simply draining you dry emotionally. It’s just one day, Dani. At most. Jean is more than willing to stay with Rahne while you sort out what you need to.”

“No, that’s unacceptable. I may need to cool down, but I’ll be damned if I leave Rahne alone for an entire day. She needs me.” Dani said as she shook her head, “she needs me.”

Xavier half expected that answer, but he was undeterred. He still knew of one Achilles Heel that he could exploit to make Dani see that she needed a break.

“What about what you’re doing to Rahne?” He asked.

“Excuse me?” Dani asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Rahne is easily the most empathic person I have ever known. She loves those who love her and it’s all but impossible for someone to hide their emotions from her. Were I not a doctor myself, I would swear her empathy was a mutant power.” He explained, “How long do you think it will be before she realizes how this situation is eating you up? And how long will it be after that before she blames herself?

“…” Dani opened her mouth to reply, but couldn’t form any words. Professor X continued,

“I’m certain Jean will be able to help her while you see to what you need to. Rahne is going to need your strength now more than ever before. Do you honestly think you can bear that burden alone now, or are even in good enough condition now to help her? I certainly don’t.” He stated

“Okay, okay. You’re right; I do need to withdraw and get my stuff out of my dorm, and now is a good as time as any.” Moonstar sighed as she brushed her hair out of her face, “Where’s…where’s Jean now?”

“She’s already with Rahne. Logan’s in the garage ready to drive you to New York.”



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