BY : Nemain
Category: X-Men - Animated Series (all) > General
Dragon prints: 5214
Disclaimer: I do not own X-Men Evolution, or any of the characters from it. I make no money from from the writing of this story.


Disclaimers apply

A/N Foxfeather is still a goddess and gets big-licky Ted kisses (she knows what I mean…or just thinks I’m on crack) for beta’ing and translating. And she is spared from babysitting the ducks in my cabaret act…. InterNutter, TC, Maxwell Pink…rose petals will be heaped at your feet and hairless young men will carry you on their shoulders anywhere you need to go. To everyone who reviewed: xxxoooxxxoooxxxooo @---)-------

Rogue shivered, but not from cold. She stared at the path Pietro had taken and let her mind haze with thoughts of what it would be like to be “normal,” to touch again and to feel, even for a brief moment, someone’s hand on her skin. Exposing herself as she had did not embarrass her because she knew that, no matter how coveted, she was safe. He couldn’t live to tell if he tried anything… Self-pity threatening to mire her spirits, Rogue sat on the old wooden bench and curled her arms around her ribs, relishing the feel of her own arms and wishing they belonged to someone, anyone, else. As she let her mind drift, something niggled at her, something about Pietro. What is it? He was looking, looking…Oh! Rogue scooted down the bench to look for whatever Pietro was examining before they the conversation and saw nothing, only darkness on the asphalt. Weird… She dropped to her knees and peered closer, trying to see if maybe it was hidden in the shadows. She could detect something, and, as she reached out her hand, the clouds shifted and a shaft of moonlight illuminated the area. The fuck? A small syringe in a sterile packet lay on the ground, next to a vial of a clear-yellow liquid and a cloth bag, like those that Tarot cards are kept in. Fuck me running backwards down hill on a Sunday…Is he on smack? Rogue, for all her worldliness, would not have known heroin if it came up to her on the street and introduced itself. With shaking hands, she carefully put the syringe and vial into the sack and tucked it into the pocket of her cargo pants. I have to tell someone…have to see…have to know… Panic was overtaking her now, fear for Pietro and fear of him, fear for what this would mean to their…whatever the Hell this is, she thought. With frequent looks behind her as if she expected Pietro to come running back and shake her, make her give up her evidence, Rogue made her way back the way she came, breaking free of the woods near the edge of the park. Only then did she run herself, flat out as if the hounds of Hell were on her heels. In short time, she reached the fence surrounding the mansion and it’s grounds and shimmied up the wrought iron railings, dropping over the other side with near-catlike grace, landing with an “oof” of air from her lungs and a slight jarring of her teeth. Gotta slow down…he’s not gonna come here…he’s not gonna notice it’s gone until later, I hope…God, was he gonna shoot up then and there? Shit! Was he expecting me to do it, too? Rogue forced herself to walk, catching her breath as she stuck to the shadows, dodging around the defense mechanisms set into the shrubbery, occasionally scaring up a possum or raccoon as she shuffled through piles of pine needles and jostled bushes. She neared the far side of the lake, far from the boathouse and the mansion, and squatted on the shore. The sack in her pocket seemed to weigh a ton, making her want to throw it into the lake and let it sink into oblivion. Knowing my luck, the duck would find it and die from an overdose…

She was not sure how long she sat, only that counting the ripples had grown boring rather quickly, as had making plans for confronting Pietro. She could not decide if she should just barge into the boardinghouse the next day and tell him outright just what she found and what she thought, or if she should be more surreptitious, confirm her suspicions first. Hell, maybe he’s diabetic or something and he’s all fussin’ cuz I took his insulin… Against her better judgment, she took the pouch from her pocket and shook the contents out gently into her hand. The vial was unmarked but hermetically sealed, evidence it had not been opened. At least he hadn’t used this tonight, then…I think… The syringe was small, only able to hold one cc of fluid. Must not need much of a hit, with his high metabolism and all…Rogue quickly tucked everything back into her pocket, a rustling in the brush behind her making her hyper-aware. Bobby Drake tumbled out and stumbled down the slight slope of the shore, followed closely by St. John. “What’re you two up to?”

The boys started guiltily before forcing their expressions into innocence. Rogue raised her eyebrow and Bobby decided to speak first. “We were, ah, looking for Kurt.”

“In the bushes?”

“He’s crafty…sneaky like a fox!” St. John explained, though he flushed brightly in the dark.

Rogue rose to her feet, trying not to look like she, too, had been caught out. “Yeah…sure…like a fox…Tell you what, we pretend we didn’t see each other and I walk arouhe lhe lake this way,” she pointed to the direction she had been heading when she stopped, “and you go that way, and this never happened.”

“Sure!” both boys agreed at once.

‘And St. John…cover your hickeys.” Rogue threw over her shoulder as she calmly sauntered away. The sounds of hissed swears and muffled curses tickled her ears and she chose to keep silent rather than laugh, saving that for later. Gay, bi…whatever. Still bastards for being able to be anything. I wonder if Jubes knows…probably not. Eh. Not my place… She was three-quarters of the way around the lake when a wet slapping noise in front of her and to the right made Rogue tense and duck for cover. The sound came again and this time she was sure that she saw a quick, pink movement at the water’s edge. Huh?

The reeds moved and this time she knew she saw something—or someone—in the tall grass. Another wet slap and Rogue decided to move. In a liquid movement, she one out of her crouch and moving quickly, diving into the reeds and wrapping her arms around the noisemaker. A muffled squeak and a struggle made her realize that it was a person she was dealing with, a short person with a hunched back… “Toad!” she growled, shoving the smaller mutant away. “The Hell are you doing here?”“Thi“This is my night for mutant bonding, yo.” He muttered, pulling himself to his feet and dusting ineffectually at his muddy clothing.

“Huh?” Rogue rose, too, checking her pocket carefully to make sure things were still there and intact. “Damn it, now I’m all gross!”

“Join the club…” Toad was covered in lake mud and algae on his left side, shaking his hand to clear it of the gobbets of detritus there.

“What’re you up to out here? Why aren’t you at the boardinghouse?” Rogue shoved wet hair from her face with one gloved hand, glaring at the boy in consternation. “You’re not joining too, are you?”

“Fuck that noise! Lance just told me to wait here while he…ah…took care of something.” Todd gave up on cleaning himself up and focused his attention on not staring at Rogue. He had always thought she was beautiful and had insane fits of jealousy when Pietro started mooning over the girl. Now, he knew Pietro had been sneaking out late at night to see her and he sometimes hoped she would drain him and he would hate her. Way to be mature, Todd, he mentally berated himself.

Rogue narrowed her eyes and stepped closer to her former housemate, crossing her arms in a habitual posture. “Kinda late for a boys’ night out, ain’t it?”


“That’s what I thought.”

Instantly defensive, Todd drew himself up as straight as he could and said “Yeah, well, what’re you doing out here then?”

Rogue sighed, debating whether to answer him or just punch him and have done with it. Before she could follow through on the latter, she saw the spark of loneliness in Todd’s eyes, the brief flash that begged her to argue with him just so he could feel human, like someone actually cared if he lived or died. Damn it. Quit making me understand you! “Just thinking,” she finally answered.

“The touch thing got you down?”

“Shepherd of Judea! Why does everyone think I’m always depressed about the touch thing?” Rogue threw her hands up in the air and growled at the moon, feeling very Logan-ish.

“Rogue, like, I totally understand…” Todd took a tentative step towards her, spreading his hands as if holding a tray for her inspection. “No one wants to touch me, either…”

Feeling mean, she bit out, “That’s the difference between you and me, Toad…No one wants to touch you…People can’t touch me...” She was instantly sorry she said that. Todd’s face crumpled like tissue paper and he turned to look at the lake, his breath visibly hitching in his chest. “Toad….Todd…I’m sorry. That was mean and bitchy of me to say!” Rogue sighed. She closed the distance between them and laid a hand on his shoulder. “People want to touch you.”

“Prove it.” He turned suddenly to her, the feel of her hand on his shoulder, something so longed for and so feared making his insides melt into jelly and ooze to his toes.

“Huh?” Rogue very nearly took a step back. “How?”

“Kiss me.” Carpe Diem or the like, eh?

“Todd…” Rogue felt suffocated for a moment. “You know I couldn’t do that!” Even if I wanted to…

“Sure you can…” He looked carefully eager, his eyes wide and lips parted. He took her hand, the one that rested in his shoulder and closed both of his around it. Rogue noted in some faint surprise that they did not feel clammy, as she would have thought. Just cold. “Just, um, just close your eyes.”

“What the Hell are you going to do?” Rogue was at once repulsed and curious. “Did you brush your teeth?”

“Sure…on Valentine’s Day!” At her horrified _expression he shook his head. “Just fuckin’ with ya…yeah, I brushed ‘em.”

“So…what?” Rogue was now fully curious. Maybe I can worm some answers about Pietro from him if I go along with this.

“Close your eyes and don’t freak out on me.” Rogue took a shuddering breath and complied, squeezing her lids tight and bracing for whatever was coming. Todd was shaking hard himself and prayed that she could not tell. He had always sworn to himself that he would take the first chance he had to kiss Rogue and had even come up with a way to do it without getting drained. After much experimentation, he had discovered that he could kiss someone (Well, he corrected himself, random chick at that Halloween party last year and Tabby when she was drunk that time) without actually touching skin to skin but still feeling each other. “Ready?”

“Just hurry it up…” The more time that passed, the more nervous Rogue became. She felt a shift in the air around her then a sound like a hard swallow. She did not dare open her eyes as something wet and warm was rubbed on her lips and then…Oh, my fucking God…I’m being kissed by Todd Tolensky. By TOAD! Fuck fuck fuck fuck…Why am I enjoying this? His hands released hers and she tensed briefly as she felt her waist being grasped by a cold, tentative grasp. Rogue’s eyes flew open and stared at Todd then. He was on his toes to be level with her face, his eyes were closed and brows drawn down in concentration. She felt the tip of his tongue against her lower lip and drew back then, nearly tripping over her own feet in the process. “How…” she managed to gasp as she panted in confusion.

Todd was floating. He was sure of it. It worked! Holy fuck! It worked! “Um, I don’t think you want to know…” he muttered.

“Why not?” Rogue sat down on the grass then, her knees shaking from the kiss and the fact that it was Todd/Toad who made her feel like that.

‘Trust me…for once, trust me…You’ll think it’s gross.” Todd sank back to the grass and fell quiet, a wave of melancholy coming over him. That’ll never happen again…she’ll throw up if she knows…

“Slime?” came her quiet voice. Her lips were still wet, but not sticky. She touched a finger to her mouth and it came away tinged with moisture but colorless against her glove.

Todd flamed in embarrassment. “Yeah,” he managed. “Sorry.”

Rogue laid back on the grass and stared at the stars, toying with the package in her pocket. After a short eternity, she said, “Don’t be…I mean,” she rolled up onto one elbow then to regard him. “It’s pretty much just spit, right?”

Where is she going with this? I feel naked, talking about my mutation… “Yeah…”

“Well, when people kiss, they get each other’s spit on them, right?”

“If they’re doing it right,” he snorted.

“Well, then, it isn’t gross. Just don’t call it goo, goop, slime, or glop and we’re good.” Rogue’s brain was scattered, the events of the past two hours creating information overload to her overtaxed synapses.

“So…” Todd managed after calming his pulse to a normal level.


“What’s this mean now?” Please something anything…Not a chance, Toad, not a chance…

“It means,” Rogue said, standing slowly and popping her back. “It means that I’m going inside to talk to Beast and the Professor. It means that I need to process stuff…” She smiled a little at him then, his concerned features tugging at a hidden heartstring. “It means that I’ll get back to you on this.” She turned and disappeared into the night, leaving Todd to wilt happily to the ground in a pink fog of happy.

Kitty did not truly sleep—she merely waited. Her mind drifted, trying to call forth happy thoughts or even mildly pleasant ideas, anything other than harsh reality. Magneto had checked on her one more time since she discovered her powers were slowly returning and she had been careful to seem as if she were still weak. He tested her restraints and asked her to phase, satisfied by her charade. Too bad the tears were real… There was a hissing noise as the door slid open again and the smell of gardenias drifted in, making Kitty’s eyes snap open. Mystique.

“Still awake, girl?” the woman asked sotto voce. Seeing Kitty’s eyes open, she smiled in such a way that her fangs dented her lower lip, making Kitty’s heart wrench painfully in memory of Kurt.

“Please…” Kitty managed before the woman cut her off.

“You won’t be here much longer. The test is soon and after that…” she trailed off suggestively, telling Kitty exactly how she would be leaving the prison—toes first.

Kitty licked her lips painfully, mouth and tongue aching from thirst. She watched as if apart from herself as Mystique released some catches on the table and lowered her to a prone position. As the woman checked the restraints again, Kitty whispered, “I love your son.”

Mystique stopped cold. “What?”

“I love Kurt. He loves me. I love your son, Mystique. Your flesh and blood and bone…He’s everything to me.” Kitty’s voice was growing stronger now, seeing that she had the woman’s attention.

“And do you think he loves you?” In spite of herself, Mystique felt a twinge at the mention of her long-abandoned offspring. She had kept tabs on him over the years, following his circus exploits, his scholastic career, even who his friends were. She knew about Tabby and Amanda, she knew of his deep feeling for Kitty, but love? My son in love…impossible. He’s too young.

“I know he does.” Kitty sounded firm in her convictions. “We’re bonded. We’re best friends and…” she trailed off, editing the rest of her sentence.

Mystique tensed and glared at Kitty. “Lovers?”

Don’t feel ashamed! “Yes. We’re lovers. In every sense of the word.”

“Wanton…” She tightened the waist restraint savagely.

“He’ll come for me. I know he will.”

“He loves you that much, then? To die for you?”

“I would do it for him.” Kitty’s voice rang with steel and Mystique’s gaze sharpened.

“We’ll see.” She left the room with hard strides, not growling in frustration until after the door closed behind her. She would…you can see it in her eyes. And Kurt…Kurt would die for her as surely as she would for him. How did my flesh ever get to be so tenderhearted? Weakness… Still, though, Mystique experienced a pang of fear for what Magneto was planning for Kitty, for the pain she knew Kurt would feel after the events that were unfolding came to fruition. Footsteps clanging down the corridor forced the woman to school her features into a semblance of order. “Magneto,” she murmured, making to pass him and go on to the control room, to watch over Ruth.

“Mystique…I’ve been looking for you. I think it’s time to begin.”

“What?” Now?”

Magneto nodded smugly. “Ruth is broken…She’s quite amenable to suggestion and therefore at prime readiness for use. I’ll prepare Kitty for the test…you make sure Ruth is in, ah, working order…” He patted her on her bare arm and strode on to the room she had just vacated. Mystique had never felt more like howling in her entire life.

“Now, Kitty, you understand that this will hurt quite a bit?” Magneto stroked her hair where it fell out from the restraint.

“What are you going to do?” She was quite proud of herself—her voice did not shake a bit. Kitty was beyond fear and into a calmness that came with the certainty of one’s mortality.

“It won’t be me, it’ll be someone else, you understand. But I’ll be watching…” Magneto left it at that, fussing over her restraints and testing their strength.

A glimpse of something on his wrist made Kitty tense. Quick as lightening, she phased out of the restraint, revealing her returned powers, and grabbed the man’s arm. She jerked it out straight and revealed the numbers writ there, a chain of identifying marks that showed him to be different, apart from others. “We’re the same, Magneto…you know this is wrong! You’re just like them if you keep doing this!” she cried.

“Insolent child!” Magneto freed his arm and slapped her hard, making her ears ring with the force of the blow. He drew another ampule out of his jacket pocket and injected Kitty before she could free herself. “Now we have to wait for you to come out of this stupor before we can play. You need a playmate, Little Kitty...someone near your age…someone you know would be best, don’t you think? Ah! I have just the one..” Kitty’s vision swam and dove towards blackness as Magneto signaled someone just outside of her line of sight. “Here we are…Kitty, you remember Ruth, I’m sure?”

[1] Heroin, for those who don’t know that slang…

[2] ((sigh)) Okay, you got me. I’m a Bobby/St. John shipper from the comic/movie-verse. LOVE AND LUST AT MUTANT HIGH has some of the best of that sort if you ever care to read an epic…

[3] Mild blasphemy. Stolen from The Southern Vampire books by Charlaine Harris but common _expression in some parts of the south…

[4] Kind of slang for dead—toes first=in a body bag.


Disclaimers Apply


A/N Foxfeather is still a Goddess and now her consort is the
studmuffin Ted. Just in case she didn’t
know that. (I’m kinda running with that
one…) She still doesn’t have to babysit
the ducks nor does she have to wrangle the door-goose. InterNutter, TC and Maxwell Pink are
wonderfulness personified and have special archivist candles lit on my altar
now. ;) And everyone who reviewed: big smoochies from me (erm…let’s keep
it metaphorical smoochies, to spare you the indignity) and sorry, Jubilee gets
to lead the ducks in their rendition of “Mein Herr,” but a bunch of other songs
are still open for the Minelli-show…



looks familiar…Should I feel so…floaty?
Oh, blood… Ruth’s—or
ex-Ruth’s—eyes were dilated and glassy, Kitty swimming before her like a mirage
in the desert. The trickle of blood
trailing from the corner of the dark-haired girl’s mouth to her chin fascinated
Ruth, drawing her closer with stilted steps.
Why is she making that sound?
Kitty’s quiet sobs had risen to a keening wail upon seeing her
cousin. She had feared what Magneto
would present to her, a corpse or worse, she thought. But Ruth, with her lumbering stride and sallow skin, the scored
flesh, shorn hair and burn marks all drawing attention to her emaciated state,
had made Kitty wish that her beloved cousin was indeed dead, not this walking
death but a true one, a peaceful death.

Kitty had
been stricken dumb when Mystique ushered Ruth in. It was worse than seeing a ghost—it was like seeing the dead
defiled. The girl walked like her
joints did not want to function properly.
Her hands twitched at her side, clutching at air and twisting imaginary
fabric as she drew near Kitty, slowly and painfully with sloppy steps. Kitty could not phase now, the shot given
her by Magneto coursing through her veins, making her feel sluggish and
dull. Nevertheless, she moved weakly
against the restraints and earned sore wrists for her trouble. Ruth stopped several feet away from Kitty,
cocking her head to one side like a curious bird, the effect wholly chilling
and heartrending. “I said shiva for
you,” Kitty mumbled sadly, the only words that would come to her mind.

Ruth tasted the word, letting it fall from her mouth like water on rocks.

you were dead…Oh, Ruth!” Kitty stared
at her cousin through tears, the salt water refracting the girl’s image like
glass, blurring her and multiplying her broken form.

“Dead? Dead?”
Panic crept into Ruth’s voice. “What’s

started at this—She doesn’t know dead?
What’s wrong with her? “Ruth…”

bonding!” Magneto’s voice snapped from
somewhere overhead, making both girls twitch.
He and Mystique were visible from behind a clear panel set in the far
wall, twisting knobs and punching buttons as they kept an eye on the
cousins. “Kitty, are you aware of your
cousin’s remarkable powers?”

um, is telekinetic and…I think telepathic…”
Kitty’s head spun and she could only answer honestly through the haze of
confusion and pain she was sinking into.

“Mmmm,” he
said approvingly, “It seems your grandfather has kept you in the dark…good man,
that. He sold Ruth to me for my
complicity in his charade, you know.”
There was the sound of clicking and a faint hiss as a mechanism
somewhere was put into motion and over it all, Kitty’s hiccoughing sobs. Ruth stood stock-still, like a zombie
waiting for a command or a taste of salt.[1] “We waited to decide between you two, waited
until we knew which mutations you would manifest, how useful you would be to me…Kitty,”
he sighed, “you have a power of very little use to me. To anyone, really.”

broke in then, “Magneto, if we’re going to do this…” Some part of Kitty’s brain registered the agitation in the woman’s
voice and she half-hoped that her words earlier had somehow pierced Mystique’s
armor, made her see her prey as human after all.[2]

“Yes, yes…
needs musts wants…” The intercom clicked off, it’s faint humming noise suddenly
absent from the chamber, forcing quiet on the girls’ ears like cotton

Kitty whispered after a moment, sure that neither adult was coming in
immediately, “tell me what’s going on!
I don’t care why you’re here, just that you’re alive…tell me! I won’t be mad!” She tried to convey with her voice and expressions just how much
she wanted Ruth to understand her, to be okay, but she knew deep down that the
girl was immune to such tactics.

“Dead…cold…dead…cold…” Ruth was quietly chanting her mantra, making
Kitty want to scream in frustration.

listen to me! We all thought you were
dead…Magneto—that man—is only going to hurt you! He’s…”

“Father.” Ruth’s eyes widened and she mouthed the word
again, seeming satisfied with it’s taste.

“No!” Kitty surged against her restraints,
desperate to grab hold of her cousin, shake her, make her understand the danger
of the situation.

Ruth smiled
ghoulishly, her cracked lips splitting and bleeding. “Dead.”

choked on a cry as the door hissed open again, Mystique entering on soundless
feet. “Ruth, come along…” she led the
window and positioned her as she would a doll, Ruth malleable as clay under
Mystique’s touch.

seized the chance and said, “Kurt will be heartbroken if you kill me.”

“My, you
are full of yourself, aren’t you?” The
woman never looked up from arranging Ruth and the instruments on the table

about it Mystique. If you ever want him
to come to know you, to ever see you as someone other than the enemy, doing
this isn’t going to help.” Kitty fought
to keep her voice level and nearly failed as an image of Kurt flashed through
her mind. It was imaginary, an image of
Kurt dead by Magneto’s hand, bloody and torn at her feet. Kitty bed red rapidly and found that
Mystique was staring at her from across the room.

“He loves
you? You’re young. That can change.”

“No, it won’t. Haven’t you ever been sure of anything,
Mystique? Or is your life too polluted
by hate and fear to feel something like love?”

Mystique crossed
the room in giant strides, Ruth forgotten and mute behind her. Seizing Kitty’s face in her hand, she
exerted pressure to the point of pain, spitting as she hissed her words. “You have no idea who you’re fucking with,
child. You watch your words, the few
you have left…” With a final push,
making stars burst behind Kitty’s lids, Mystique spun on her heel and stormed
from the room. Soon, over the intercom,
her voice bit out, “Ruth, begin.”

It was as
if a switch had been flipped. Ruth’s
eyes became akin to normal and her face fell into relaxed lines. Calmly, methodically, she turned to the low
table on her right and selected a long, thin knife. “This is a special knife, Kitty.” Magneto’s voice sounded hollow
over the speakers. “It’s a filet knife[3],
very sharp and delicate…Ruth, show her what you can do with that knife…”

moaned aloud, sure now of what was coming, the knowledge of the full extent of
Ruth’s powers coming to her in a tidal wave of fear. Ruth smiled benevolently.
Kitty found that she could not close her eyes, no matter how loudly her
brain screamed for her to shut out the image before her. Ruth smiled and rather quickly stripped off
her thin garments, never letting go of the knife. Soon she was naked, skin scored over and over with thin lines and
deep gouges where her clothes had covered her.
She seemed to be mouthing words that Kitty could not make out but had a
sinking feeling were “dead” and “cold,” a chant she seemed to have taken up as
a means of soothing herself. Kitty
bucked against the restraints, willing her mutation to overpower the drug,
willing the restraints to break, anything but what was about to happen. Ruth closed her eyes as if in ecstasy and
gingerly drew the thin, gleaming blade down her arm, a thin ribbon of blood
welling to mark the trail. Kitty’s eyes
snapped open as she felt the burning, tearing sensation down her arm and fully
expected to see blood on her own flesh when she looked. Ruth was looking at the blade, seemingly
fascinated by the red gleam on the metal, when Magneto’s voice sounded
again. “More, Ruth.”

She nodded to herself and her eyes
lit on her thigh. Half-bending to peer
closely at the flesh there, Ruth poked several times with the tip of the knife,
small beads of blood spurting to the ruptured surface. Kitty cringed, feeling the sharp jabs in her
own skin. “Ruth…please!” Her cousin merely continued to examine
various body parts with an almost clinical detachment. Her eyes lit when they
found her left hand. First Ruth examined
her hand as if it were a rare treasure, bringing in close to her face and
staring at the lines on her palm.
Finally, she brought the knife to the fleshy part, just beneath her
thumb, and tested the surface, making Kitty’s palm twinge in pain. “No, please! Please, Ruth!” Kitty’s
words faded into a scream as her cousin savagely drew the blade deep across her
hand, blood pouring like a river down her arm and dripping to the floor. Kitty cried then, choking and begging for
the pain to stop. She heard Magneto’s
voice again but was so wrapped in pain that she could not make out the
words. Kitty gasped aloud, cutting
through her sobs, as a burning sensation radiated across her chest. Her eyes dragged upwards to look at Ruth and
her heart lurched to a near-halt when she saw the girl. Ruth stood, legs akimbo, knife poised just
above her left breast. The tip was
angled downward, aimed between ribs to cause maximum damage. The tip was already embedded nearly an inch
in soft flesh and Kitty howled as it slid further in. She felt as if her heart were going to burst from pain, the
burning now evolving into something like a thousand claws tearing at her
nerves. Ruth gave the knife a hard
twist as she pulled it from her body, tearing loose a chunk of skin and muscle
as she did so. Kitty’s voice rang until
it was raw from the pain, her eyes finally going dark. The last thing she saw as she passed out was
Mystique, leaning over a now-prone Ruth, tending to the wounds with great care.


“No, Kurt, we cannot give him
sodium pentathol…”[4] The Professor pinched the bridge of his nose
in exasperation as Beast merely sighed.

“Why not? Pietro can tell us where Magneto is!” Kurt gestured wildly, his hands narrowly missing a very expensive
Tiffany lamp on the sideboard in the dining room, where he had finally run the
Professor to ground.

“And just how do you propose we do
this, Kurt?” Beast asked calmly. “Walk
up to him at the school and inject him full of anesthesia in the hopes that
Pietro is one of the people who has a specific reaction to the chemical in
which he becomes chatty? Or that we
give him just the right dose, based on his metabolism and other factors of
which we have no knowledge?”

growled and lashed his tail, thwapping the Professor on the leg as he passed
the man. “Pietro is the only way we can
find Magneto, he’s the way to find Kitty!”

“What makes
you think Pietro knows where Magneto is?” the Professor asked quietly. Not that you’re wrong, understand…I’m just

“He has
to! He’s so into his father, into his
approval—he just has to!” Kurt nearly wailed.

Beast moved
forward, blocking Kurt’s pacing with his own massive body. Laying a heavy hand on the young man’s
shoulder, he rumbled, “I can’t say I understand exactly how you feel, but I
care very much about Kitty and this is tearing me—us—up as well. Let me give you something to help you rest,”
he held up a large hand to quiet the boy, “for you’ll be of no good to Kitty if
you’re incoherent from lack of sleep.
In the morning, things will look more clear. Pietro most likely has no idea where his father is. In fact,” Beast slid one arm around Kurt’s
shoulder and drew him close conspiratorially, “Think about it, Kurt. If you were Magneto, would you divulge deep
dark secrets to a teenage boy?
Especially one like Pietro?”

Kurt had to
admit, it was a little farfetched. “Ja…I
can see your point. It’s just…Katzchen…I
need…she needs…” he felt the tears
welling again and dashed them away quickly,
The Professor sighed quietly, Kurt’s depression striking out at the man
like a snake.

patted Kurt roughly on the shoulder. “We’ll
do everything we can to rescue Kitty when we have the facts. Until then, we can’t go running off
half-cocked, blaming anyone who vaguely suspect. Witch hunts never end well.”

Kurt made a
choked noise that may have been a sob before he was able to speak again, “You
have to understand…” his gaze took in both men, piercing in it’s
intensity. “I will find her. If she’s dead…if she’s even hurt a little

understand, Kurt,” the Professor said, “but you have to understand that
sometimes, we have to accept what comes to us.
Violence is no answer to violence.”

Kurt pulled
away from Beast and shook his head in consternation. “Nein, I won’t accept it!
Kitty must be safe, must be okay. Professor, I can’t live thinking that she is hurt somewhere,
scared and lor…Gor…God, or dead…” He
took several deep, sobbing breaths before he could continue. “If Pietro knows even a clue as to where
Magneto could be…”

“Pietro? What’re you talking about him for?” Rogue had entered unnoticed and stood now in
the doorway.

all three males said with varying degrees of concern and surprise.

“I asked a
question…” Her fingers toyed with the objects in her pocket as she stared the
men down.

Kurt sighed
and spoke up. “I think he may know
where Magneto is.”

Rather than
the outburst they were expecting (Rogue’s soft spot for Pietro was known but
never commented on), she merely nodded.
“After tonight, I wouldn’t be surprised if the two of ‘em were livin’ in
a shotgun shack[5] in the
eastern woods.”

“What do
you mean, Rogue?” The Professor moved
closer, the three men effectively forming a half circle before the Goth

With an air of someone facing
execution, she pulled the pouch from her pocket and emptied it’s contents into
her hand. “I think he’s shooting up.”

After a moment fraught with tense
silence, Beast finally spoke. “I am not
going to ask how you came by this or why you were obviously meeting with
Pietro, but I will tell you that this is not heroin.”

“What? How can you tell?” She bent her head, nearly bumping into Kurt’s,
to peer at the vial Beast was fingering.

“Wrong color. I did my ER rotation at rather large
hospital and I saw many, many patients with heroin addictions. You get to know what it looks like…”

“Now do you think he’s up to
something Professor?” Kurt asked with a sulky tone.

“I never said I thought he wasn’t…”


[1] Zombies,
according to legend, are freed from their state if they taste of salt. They go on a rampage or try to get home,
generally scaring the Hell out of their family and friends in the process. Once a zombie, they are never really human

[2] Really, they
say that if you can make an abductor see their abductee as human, as a person
and not an object to be defiled and destroyed, they are less likely to kill the

[3] VERY sharp.
Ow pain bad sharp.

[4] Commonly
called “truth serum,” it’s an anesthetic known for making the subjects rather
loose lipped.

[5] Don’t know
what you call them where you live, but a shotgun shack is a small, usually one
room house that’s poorly built. Named
because you could stand on the porch and fire a shotgun through the front door
and the shell you go out the back w/o hitting a damned thing.

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