BY : Nemain
Category: X-Men - Animated Series (all) > General
Dragon prints: 5147
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 rules—as always in her goddess-dom over
across the sea… InterNutter, TC and
Maxwell Pink are extra special groovy archivists. Also, to those who reviewed—I’ve had a request to add naked
serving women as well as men for those who are so inclined…There ya go,
ProPhile… ;) The ducks are massing…..
Mucho thank yous and licky kisses to everyone who’s been so supportive
of this now-lengthy story!



“And just
how long has Kitty been missing?”
Astrid’s temples throbbed in time to an interior drummer, the vein there
pulsing with obvious tension. Logan
almost did not have the heart to tell her that Kurt, too, was gone now.

“Ah, two
days as of today. And, Astrid, there’s
something else you should know…”

gone, too,” she stated simply.

chomped down hard on his cigar but did not take his eyes off the traffic coming
out of LaGuardia airport. “How’d you

“Gut instinct…”
she murmured sadly. At Logan’s soft
snort, she slanted her eyes sideways at him and asked, “Was?”

“Sound like
your son…” He swerved to go around a
garbage truck parked in the street and slammed on the brakes as the light at
the intersection turned red. The two
sat in relative silence until the light changed and Logan asked gruffly, “Does
he run off often?”

“You’ve had
him for the past two years—you tell me!” she snapped, hands tightening in her


sorry. Kurti is….he’s very
headstrong. If he has it in his mind
that he can find Kitty, then he’ll do it or…or die trying.” She muffled a slight sob and turned her face
to the window. Logan could smell
sadness rolling off of the woman like a wave, the saline of the tears adding a
tang to the aroma.

“We won’t
let it come to that, Astrid. I

“And you
keep your promises, don’t you?” she




crouched angrily in the front seat of the car, his heels pressing into the
dashboard as Remy tried to turn the engine over again. “C’mon, bastard!” the Cajun hissed. The car coughed, sputtered, and finally died
entirely, sending up a surrender signal of smoke from under the hood. “Merde!”[1]

dead…” Jamie pointed out snarkily.

“Tanks pour
dat observation, Einstein…” Remy muttered, slinging open the car door and
sliding out fluidily. He popped the
hood and stared at the smoky interior of the car’s guts, hands on his hips and
lips pursed in consideration. After a
bored moment, Jamie sighed and joined him, adopting a similar posture out of

Jamie asked after a moment.



“Got no
idée, homme. Jus figgered lookin’ at it
like dis might gimme some an’ so far…not one damned thing…” Remy sighed and slammed the hood. “Car gonna hafta be towed. Where a phone at?” They both looked around the small parking lot that Remy had
steered them into, just over the bridge inside town-proper. The car had made a rattling noise and
started losing power halfway across the bridge and now, it looked as if it were
a goner.

“I think
that one’s broken!” Jamie said, pointing to an ancient payphone bolted to the
abandoned gas station’s exterior wall.

‘Won’t hurt
the check, eh?” Remy shrugged and loped
over to the phone, leaving the younger to lto look around nervously. One car passed before Remy came back, wiping
his half-gloved hands on his trench coat.
“Dat be disgustin’!”

“Think this
place has been abandoned a while…” Jamie sighed and hopped up on the hood only
to jump off a mere second later, clutching his burned backside. “Damn!”

“It be un
peu hot, eh?” Remy hid a smile and
carefully sat on the bumper. “Well,
since it look like you be late to l’ecole[2]
anyway, now we talk.”

Jamie had
resisted any attempts towards conversation from Remy up until this point,
saying he had to review notes for his nonexistent history test that day. Now, he saw, he was stuck. Damned karma… “Fine. Talk. I’ve got nothing to say…”

Remy shook
his head and pulled a cigarette out of his interior coat pocket, toying with it
idly before putting it in his mouth without lighting it. At Jamie’s quizzical look, he shrugged
sheepishly. “Jubilee, she complain ‘bout
me smokin’ so I try to quit for her, ya know…”


Jamie, tings be real bad right now…Kitty still be gone et I be tinkin’ de
police not be much help…dey got no leads so far…” Jamie nodded miserably and sat next to Remy on the bumper, the
hood still radiating heat against his back.
“But we find her, eh? We be de X-men, an’ no one messes wit one of us
widout bringin’ down de wrath o’God on dere heads!” His fierce expression left no doubt in Jamie’s mind that the
Cajun was serious.

“Why are we
having to go to school, then? Shouldn’t we be out looking?”

Professor, he tinks dat a routine be best ‘till we know for sure what goin’
on… Keep tings normal as possible so we
don’ panic...” Remy gave in and lit the
cigarette then, looking around out of habit before charging the tip and
inhaling deeply before speaking again, releasing a cloud of smoke in the
process. “But if you be askin’ me, I
say we unleash Hell[3] on whoever
have her an’ get dis shit over with…”

stared at him in amazement for a moment.
No one had ever spoken to him like an equal, save for Jubilee. Not even Kurt, who sometimes tended to treat
him as a baby brother rather than someone only a few years younger. “There’s scuttlebutt that Magneto has her,”
he offered finally.

nodded, stubbing out the remains of his cigarette. “So I hear…what we not be knowin’ is where…” He sighed again and flicked the butt away,
watching it’s arc with ruby eyes before saying, “We also have anudder matter to
be discussin’ mon ami.”

“No, Remy,
we don’t…Forget about it!” Jamie made a
slashing gesture with his hand and made to stand but was pulled back by Remy’s
firm grasp.

“I know how
it feel to have de one you love not love you back, eh? It hurt like hell et you wanna be mad at
‘em, but you love ‘em too much…” After
an interminable pause, he asked “Am I right, homme?” Jamie ducked away, giving Remy his answer. “Look, you can be mad at me if you wanna be
mad at someone, mais Jubilee, she too
good a friend to ruin yo’ relationship wid her…She love you like you her frere.[4]”

Jamie let
out a long breath. “I know. And that’s what hurts most.” He finally looked at Remy and found himself
pinned by the older man’s assessing gaze.
“I love her with all my heart and I try to show her…I even…I even kissed
her!” He braced for the blow that never
came, seeing Remy’s eyes crinkle in amusement before forcing himself to
continue. “I try to show her I’m not
some dumb kid but all she sees is little-brother-Jamie. I mean, what the Hell else can I do?” Jamie shook his head self-mockingly then and
sighed. “She loves you, I think. Loves you a lot…” He did not notice Remy’s indrawn breath but noticed instead the
sound of crunching gravel under booted feet.
“Got company.”

Remy turned
to look in the direction of Jamie’s gaze and nearly laughed at the sight. Almost every mutant at Bayville high was
trooping their way. Blob and Pietro
were the only ones missing out of everyone who had gone to school that day, the
pack being led by Rahne and Jubilee, mutinous expressions firmly fixed on their
faces. “Jubilation,” Remy said, loudly
enough to be heard but not quite shouting.

she returned, motioning “stop” to her followers. “We’re skipping.”

“It’s a day
for stating the obvious,” Jamie murmured, making Remy chuckle. “Why?” he called as his Jubilee drew closer.

focus…” she shrugged, carefully avoiding Remy’s suddenly feral gaze. “Ran into Rahne hiding in the ladies’ and
she told me these two,’ she jerked her thumb at Bobby and Todd, “were in the
gym, ignoring each other under the bleachers.”

mopin’ for St. John,” Remy said softly, eyeing the two boys who were standing
close, but not too close, a little too obviously careful of their

Gumbo,” Jubilee snapped. “The others
just sort of popped up as we were sneaking out… So you in or you gonna wait for
a tow and actually go to school?”

“Won’t the
Professor get pissed?”

“Eh. What’s he gonna do, J-man? Ground all of
us?” Jubilee was making light, but they
knew it was certainly a possibility. A
tad uneasily, she said, “Well, we’re hiking back to the mansion. Scott and Jean
took off in the car with Lance and Storm dropped the rest of us off in the
van…and the Jeep’s fried, apparently…”
She looked almost sadly at the favored car of the teenagers.

Remy looked
once more around the parking lot and checked his pockets for cigarettes and car
keys. “D’accord. Les’go…”


pulled under the portico and shut the engine off, staring at the steering
wheel. “Uh, what’re we going to tell
Professor Xavier and Logan and…”

control, Scott…” Jean tapped her head and smiled weakly. “Let’s get him in before he cries or
something…” Jean eased herself out of
the car, balancing her back pack and Scott’s duffle bag with Lance’s armload of
books. Scott hustled around the side of
the car to help her and open the door for Lance, who was looking distinctly
depressed. “C’mon, Lance.”

muttered something that sound like “Okay, mom,” and slid out of the car, knees
buckling only slightly when he stood straight.
He trudged into the mansion, leaving Scott and Jean standing, staring
after him.

“Man, he’s
got it bad.” Scott remarked.

scowled faintly. “Kitty’s missing, his girlfriend
or whatever Amara is to him rejects his feelings….I think he has the right to
mope.” Jean frowned openly now.
“Professor isn’t thrilled with us, but he says he understands. He wants to have a meeting when all the
others get here. Logan’s on his way
here with Kurt’s mom,” she added as an afterthought.

Wagner’s back? Oh, boy…” Scott shook his head slightly. “She could raise the dead if she wanted to,
I bet…”

snorted. “Just because she’s a strong

“If she asks
you to do something, you do it! Hell,
she held a knife to Logan!” The story
still impressed Scott, even weeks after the fact. He took Jean’s free hand in his own and walked with her into the
mansion. All was silent save for the
faint sound of Rogue’s radio blaring the local college station and a door
slamming on the second floor, presumably Lance.

“I’m gonna
go lay down. Tonight’s gonna be Hell,
empathically speaking…” Jean sighed and deposited her bag and Lance’s books on
the wooden bench in the hall, Scott following suite with his own things. There was an awkward pause as Jean looked
down at her hands, wanting to say something but not quite knowing how to phrase

“What is
it, Jean?” Scott rested his hands on
her shoulders and she made a soft sound of exasperation.

“Want to,
um, want to come with me?”

“With you?”
he repeated dumbly.

“Yeah. Want to come with me to…to take a nap or
whatever?” Jean mentally cursed herself for sounding airheaded but it could not
be helped—she was feeling horribly awkward.

Scott felt
an odd elation cut through the darkness that had settled in his heart when
Kitty went missing. “Yes.” Jean’s eyes widened momentarily and then she
gasped as Scott swept her off her feet, literally, to carry her up the stairs. At her protests, he said, “Well, you wanted
to rest. Start resting…” She huffed a sound of false indignation and
acquiesced, her arms going around Scott’s neck and her head falling to rest on
his shoulder. As they passed Amara’s
room, there was a muffled thump that brought them to a halt. “Shhh…”

Jean sent to him telepathically. He
frowned sternly and listened for further noise. None coming, he shrugged.
Probably just going through her shoe collection again…
Scott chuckled then and continued to Jean’s room, shutting the door firmly
behind them.


Lance had
meant to go to his room, really he had…Amara’s door was just open a crack,
though, beckoning him to see her. She
was sitting at her vanity, staring into the silvery mirror with a brush in her
hand. She did not see him, this he knew
because she did not try to dry the tears from her cheeks. Rogue sauntered past him, wrapped in a towel
that he pretended not to notice and she pretended not to see him. Her door slam made Amara’s head snap up
though. “Lance!” she hissed.

Princess…” Lance eased into the room
and shut the door quietly. “Wanted to
see if you’re still mad at me…”

“Hell, yes,
I’m mad! Why aren’t you in
school?” She stood and fisted her hands
on her hips, glaring at him like a mad wet hen.

“Are you
mad because I’m skipping or mad because of last night?” He approached her slowly, waiting for some

night…” she admitted, pushing past him
to her closet. “How dare you try to
undermine my…my…”

what?” Lance snapped. “You have no
power outside of Nova Roma, to hear you tell it…all you have is this!” His all-encompassing gesture indicated her
life in general, not just the room or the Institute.

growled then and launched herself at Lance.
She landed a few blows to his chest and arms before he grasped her
wrists and pushed her slightly away.
“Don’t make me weak!”

“What?” he
managed between dodging kicks. “Stop
it! We’re gonna get busted!”

sagged then, and Lance led her to the bed.
She openly cried then, but soundlessly and almost gracefully, her face
composed and chin held high. “Love
means weakness. If you love me, that
means I’m weak. I can’t be weak,
Lance. Never!” She thrust her wrists at him. “Weakness needs to be destroyed. My father…he told me I was weak. I tried to please him, I really did, but the
damned servants saved me!”

Lance could
not imagine a life that would be improved by ending it. He ran his
thumbs over the pale scars on Amara’s arms and closed his eyes, daring
himself to imaging what the scene must have looked like. “Why?”

“I was too
kind to a crippled baby. I wanted to
save him. He was the son of a servant, a girl my age now.” Amara took her arms back and curled into a
huddle. “He had cat’s mouth[5]
and couldn’t suck. He was going to
starve to death… That was the intent,
actually…” Amara chanced a look at
Lance then. “At home, babies who
weren’t...right…we had to…”

Lance husked, cringing even in his own shell of tough, devil-may-care

“We had
to! It was the law! The Law of the Gods!” Amara’s voice rose with panic, trying to
explain this barbaric practice to him.
“The baby was so weak. He cried
and cried and cried…I couldn’t stand it!
The mother was going to put him on the hillside and let him
just…die. Let the gods have him
back. She thought she was being
punished for cheating on her husband.”

“She was
your age…what? Sixteen? And she was married?”

“We marry
young on Nova Roma. After our first…ah…cycles, actually.” Amara flushed then,
hiding her eyes before continuing. “I
left during my first…cycle…but I was already betrothed. He died the day I left, I think.”

think?” Lance was reeling.

“I never
met him. He was many years older than
me. I was to be his third…wait, fourth
wife…the others were dead. Made me
wonder.” Amara shuddered and returned
to her story. “I took the baby to my
room—it was very far from Father’s. I
found a nursing woman in a hill village and paid her handsomely of my own money
and jewelry to…to give me her milk. She
put it in a flask—I did not ask how!—and when I had the baby there, I
soaked a cloth in the milk and squeezed
it into his mouth.” She took several
breaths before she was able to speak again.
“The baby could eat. He stopped
crying. Actually, that’s what got me
caught. They noticed he had stopped
crying and the mother was so happy because she thought she was spared a trip to
the hillside.”

Amara…” Lance took her into his arms
then and cradled her against his chest, stroking her back and hair

“My father
took the baby from me…he…he had it’s brains dashed out on the steps of the
temple…I saw…oh, Gods, I saw it happen.
He made me watch! He told
me I was weak to keep such a thing alive!
It was an affront to the gods to love such a thing. He told me that weakness must be

“So,” he
finally whispered after ten minutes of silent crying, feeling sick to his stomach
and shaking with rage against a man he would never meet, “you tried to kill

“Yes. I am weak.”
She pulled away and stood, pulling her long night shirt off over her
head. She ran her hands over the scars
on her arms and stomach, drawing Lance’s attention to those as well as other
self-inflicted marks on her olive skin.
“I failed. Another weakness…
These are all sacrifices. I would offer
myself to this god or that, all in hopes that maybe they could take my weakness
away where I could not.” She bowed her
head and sobbed, then, the sound harsh and cutting in the still room. “When I found out that you loved…”

“Love, not
loved,” he corrected almost automatically.

“…love me,
I felt weak. I felt like I
was…used. Like I was an object…” She did not seem to notice her naked body,
so wrapped up was she in memories and self hate.

Lance moved
without thinking, crossing to her in one step and dropping to his knees in
front of her. He was, for once, not
thinking in sexual terms when seeing her flesh but of healing her, helping
her. He pressed his face against her
stomach and let her feel the faint moisture on his own cheeks. He felt her
tense then her hand dropped to his head.
With a shudder, she relaxed and buried her fingers in his hair, rubbing
the back of his neck with her other hand.
She pulled back just slightly and, before Lance could protest, dropped
to her knees in front of him so that they were almost eye-level. “Amara,” he said softly, “you’re never
weak. I love you because you’re
strong. Not just physically but…every

“No,” she
shook her head sadly, “I’m not. I have
to leave here now…I have to go somewhere else.”

Lance took
her face roughly in his hands and brought it close to his own. “Amara, if you leave, I’ll find you. I will hunt you down and drag you to live
with me. Or,” he cast about
frantically, “I’ll stay with you! I won’t let you go!”

“ “What if
I’m dead?” she asked darkly, seeming to form an idea.

“Then I’ll
die, too. I’ll die and follow you
through the gates of Hell or Heaven, wherever you go. Understand me, Princess, I won’t be without you.” He kissed her savagely, all thoughts of
waiting until her injuries were healed flying out the window with good
sense. Amara whimpered against his
mouth, clamping her lips shut for a bare moment before he seized her lower lip
between her teeth and bit sharply. She
gasped in a mix of pleasure and pain, almost forgotten, and opened to him. It was his turn to moan as she tentatively,
almost innocently, licked at his lips and slid her tongue into his mouth,
possessing him as he possessed her.
They clutched madly at each other, devouring each other as if their
existence depended on their kiss. Amara
was the first to pull away, gasping for breath. She also noticed then that she was still nude, still disheveled,
and covered herself hurriedly with her hands, one arm crossing over her breasts
and the other covering her womanhood.
“I’ve seen it before, you know,” Lance muttered, trying to gather his
scattered wits.

In answer,
Amara stood and circumvented the still-kneeling Lanceget get her
nightshirt. He listened to the sound of
cloth sliding over skin with clenched teeth and nearly fell forward when she
spoke. “Where’s Tabby?”

Her voice
was cold again, he noted. “Sent her
home with Toad. He was gonna slime her
if she fucked around…” Lance took a calming breath and turned to face her,
seeing her as she was then, a combination of a child and a woman, unsure and
afraid, at war with her own self. It
took his breath to see her like that.
She stared back and he wondered what she was seeing. Unshaven, wrinkled clothes, smelly I’m
sure, hard on obvious as day…does she see that I’m scared, too? How much I want her and need her? Damn it, I’m too young to feel like this! No, I’m not…If Kitty can do it, I can do
it. Kitty…fuck. Another matter entirely.

Amara was
swaying slightly as if she wanted to move but could not decide where to
go. Lance stood clumsily and reached
for her, an idea slicing into his brain and moving him towards her vanity
instead. He took up her silver-backed
brush and she asked, “What are you doing?”

sit…Here! On the bed!” Lance hurried
over and tugged her along. She complied but sat stiffly as if waiting
for rebuke. Slowly, unsurely, he began
brushing her hair, working out knots carefully so as not to tug at her
scalp. I know she likes this…Why do
I feel like such a tool?

against her will, made a low thrumming noise in her throat and began toax
against Lance’s touch. He caught his
breath again and closed his eyes at the feeling of her submission, no matter
how slight. He continued to drag the
brush slowly through her thick hair, the bristles barely scraping her scalp and
back of her neck with each pass[6]. Her breathing became slow and even; Lance
was sure she was dozing off but he did not stop brushing. “That’s nice,” she whispered so softly that
he was sure he was dreaming himself.

“What?” he
asked, still brushing.

nice…I like it.” She spoke softly, like she had no fight left in her. Lance paused his attentions then and slid
one arm around her waist, holding her to him.
“Why’d you stop?”

“Because…” Because I want to pretty much throw you
back on the bed and screw like crazy rabbits.
Because I want to hold you and act like some sensitive jerk and get all
mushy. Because I’m freaking out here,
Princess and it’s all your fault and I don’t mind a damned bit…

“Oh.” She sighed and pressed against his chest,
turning her face to rest a cheek over his heart. “Do you think Kitty is coming back?”

“Wha? Oh.
Yes.” Lance squeezed her as if
to reassure her, but was really reassuring himself. “Kitty’s tough. I’ve
known her since….Hell, forever, I think.
She’ll survive. We just have to
find her.”

“Do you
think we should sneak out? Go
looking?” Amara’s voice was slow and
thick with sleep or desire, Lance was not sure which and he had no idea which
to hope for, really.

“No, baby,
I don’t think we should.” He sighed and
let the brush fall from his hand and hit the floor with a muted thud. He lay back slowly, taking Amara with him
perforce. They lay like that for
several minutes, Amara curled against his torso, legs cradled loosely between
his long, lean ones and arm around her waist, one hand tangled in her

“Why?” she
asked him after a time.

“Why what?”

twisted her fingers into his shirt and spoke, her breath sending hot puffs of
air against his chest beneath the thin fabric.
“Why shouldn’t we look for her?
If I’m going to be weak, may as well be weak for someone I might
possibly, remotely give a flying fuck about.”

quirked a brow. Amara, concerned
about Kitty? Who’d a thunk it? “I think that…if we ran off now…we’d only
screw things up.” With a sigh, he
pulled her up his body so that her face was level with his. Murmuring low, sending thrills down her
spine, he said “I’m sickening for something dreadful…maturity or some other

stared at him dead-pan for a moment.
“Well, then. Should we play
and find a cure?”


Kurt felt
like being violently ill. He had
‘ported blind and found himself outside the gates of the mansion, sans holo,
and with that shaky, nauseated feeling that was like motion sickness cubed. He panted, trying to gain his bearings, trying
to decide if he should ‘port again or go on foot, when the world heaved beneath
him. Was? Nein, not this… Kurt
slumped to the ground and let the dirt cradle him, grinding into his fur. Let it pass…let it pass… The few
times he had ‘ported blind like this, weak from lack of food and rest, he had
passed out and remained unconscious for several hours, once even requiring a
glucose I.V. before being able to take in anything of meaningful nutritional
value. Kitty told me she’d kill me
if I died…Katzchen, I’m trying…I’m really, really trying… His vision clouded and Kurt choked on bile,
his stomach heaving emptily.

“I told you
to be careful…”

again…” Kurt breathed. The man bent low
to peer at him and tsk’d his disapproval.

“I said she
was coming and she was in trouble, and I told you to be careful. This is not careful. This is rash…” Shiva sat so that he could better speak to Kurt and the snake
wrapped around his neck slithered down to lick at the blue mutant with it’s
forked tongue. “He likes you.”
“Good…to know…” Kurt rolled to his back and coughed
dryly. “Where is she? Aren’t you a god? Shouldn’t you know?”

“In some
cases, I am a god. For you, I am…”

“If you say
Jungian archetype, I’ll port you into an iceberg.”

“Silly child. You can’t teleport an archetype. I’m within you, within Kitty. You are connected, the two of you. Soulmates.
That’s why you’re seeing me. I
am an extension of her.” His voice was
kind, making Kurt want to cry anew.

“How can I
find her if you won’t tell me? I have
no idea where to look!” Kurt struggled
to sit up and after a false start, managed to prop himself against the wrought
iron gate. “Tell me something,

cocked his head to one side and lifted a hank of his own hair, revealing a
stream of water running down his neck and disappearing into his robes. Kurt stared in unwilling fascination. “This is the River Ganges. Rivers are very important…They cleanse, they
bring purity, but they can also be deadly…”

“Was?” The man was fading and Kurt felt
panicked. “Was are you saying? Damn it!”
He scrambled at the dirt where Shiva had been sitting. “Nein!
Come back here and tell me what you mean!” Like a breath against his ear, Kurt felt rather than heard the
word “Think!” Think? About what?
Ganges? Isn’t that what Spyke
calls weed?[9] No,
no…Ganges is a river in India… Sacred,
right? Kitty told me about it once when
she was going all yoga-y…It brings purity…They float the ashes of the dead down
flood and are dangerous…Rivers drown…rivers like the one through town
center…runs from the bay to…fuck! The river! Kurt felt a surge of energy, false though it was due to
adrenaline, and rose shakily to his feet.
Can’t ‘port…cars are all out…Run! Dodging into the woods across the road, Kurt fell into a
quadrepedal gait and took off at a dead run towards the river, not knowing what
he would find, just knowing in his heart of hearts that Kitty would be there,


Kitty felt
the lump rising on her forehead and tried to move. Mystique was half-on her, a nasty gash on her forehead seeping
blood onto Kitty’s chest and stomach.
The older woman was surprisingly heavy, Kitty thought. The seatbelt kept Mystique from falling
completely on her and for that Kitty was thankful. Wriggling just slightly, the girl sent a sharp, grinding pain
through her shoulder. Fuck! What the Hell? She found that she could barely turn her head, so twisted was she
between the passenger seat and the dashboard, but what little bit she could
make out showed her that her shoulder was impaled by a broken piece of metal
sticking out from under the seat and the arm itself was twisted awkwardly
beneath her. If this didn’t hurt so
bad, I might be sick… The van
heaved as if floating and there was a wet, sloshing noise. Kitty had another sickening realization—they
were in the river! No no no no
no! I killed us! I killed myself! It was then she realized that the moisture
she felt beneath her was not just blood…it was river water seeping in through
the poorly sealed door. Kitty moaned in
panic then, frantically trying to shift Mystique with her free arm and keep her
impaled shoulder from grinding against the metal projection. The blue woman blinked hazily and then
snapped to focus.

“Stupid bitch! What’ve you done?” she hissed. Mystique’s
injuries were slight—the gash on the head and, she realized, some deep bruising from hitting the steering
wheel and the pull of the seatbelt.

stuck,” Kitty sobbed, giving into her panic.

tried to save you, child. I tried and
you fucked it up, didn’t you?” Mystique
carefully pulled herself up, the van rocking crazily with the motion.

Kitty could see the water rising
against the windshield and judged that they were halfway submerged, passenger
side-down, in the river. Water was
steadily rising in the van, as well. An
absurd thought about bacteria getting into her wound crossed Kitty’s mind but
was quickly replaced by fear and desperation.

Mystique was balanced between the steering
wheel and the seat, her seatbelt off and dangling. In that moment, she reminded Kitty of Kurt, his ability to
balance in odd places, the look of anger that flashed in the yellow eyes when
confronted with obstacles not of their choosing or liking. “Your cousin is still with him. I could only free you. Now,” she paused to shove the driver’s side
window out with a fast punch to the already-fractured glass, “you’re on your

Mystique shoved herself free of the
van and Kitty heard the sound of splashing, knowing the woman was swimming
away. “No…” she moaned. Water was splashing in through the broken
window and freezing Kitty’s legs. The
late spring weather was warm, but the river led to the bay and the deep
Atlantic beyond, chilled by eons of frigid ice and waters deeper than Kitty
could imagine. It was green-brown, bits
of twigs and river debris dotting the flow like gobbets of blood. Kitty felt faint and knew that her own blood
was pumping hard from her shoulder wound, making her woozy and weak. She tried phasing but found herself still
affected by the drug Mystique had given her when she abducted her from
Magneto. Fuck fuck fuck fuck
fuck. The water was making her shake and shiver, her toes quickly going numb and her legs following
suite. Gritting her teeth, Kitty gave
her shoulder a hard wrench and pulled free of the metal, screaming with the
influx of pain to her nerve centers.
The world went black for a moment and when her vision cleared, Kitty
sucked in a mouthful of water. The
level inside the van was such that her head was now mostly submerged and the
gurgling coming all around her told Kitty that she would soon be trapped
under the surface of the river in the
van, all alone. Mystique was long gone,
she knew, probably morphed into a random passer-by, watching the van sink. Her legs over her head in the position she
landed in during the crash, Kitty struggled to free herself one-armed, her left
one now too weak to use at all. Body
burning with pain and cold, she felt a sudden calm wash over her. Where’s my Jungian archetype when I need
him? Kitty felt oddly comforted,
though, as if hands were supporting her from beneath her shoulders, helping to
lift her up. Kitty felt her legs being
dragged down, pulled towards the cargo area of the van and her torso following
perforce. Soon she was floating in the
open area behind the seats, no idea how she had gotten there. Instead, she tried to breathe, pushing her
face against the pocket of air trapped in the upper corner of the back of the
van. She could feel that she was being
pulled deep into the river. This is
twenty feet deep around the bridge…deeper further downstream… Am I drifting? Sucking in one last lungful of air, Kitty forced herself to
swim downward, keeping her eyes open against the churning water. She found the broken window and wriggled
through it, the glass scraping exposed flesh and brackish water stinging the
wounds, she silently rejoiced at finding herself free. How deep, how deep? Her shoulder wound was bleeding freely now,
sending clouds of red into the green-brown water. A brief thought of sharks coming inland, a rare occurrence but
one nonetheless, crossed her mind before a euphoria[11]
overtook her. Air left her lungs in a
stream of silver bubbles, blurring her vision.


[1] Shit!

[2] School

[3] I admit it.
I’ve got GLADIATOR on even as we speak…Viva Joaquin Phoenix! Go see QUILLS! Now! I command
thee….okay. I feel better now.

[4] Brother

[5] Got that
phrase from Lois McMasters Bujold.
Refers to a cleft lip and palette.

[6] Seriously a
cool feeling, even if the person playing with your hair isn’t doing it
for….ah…ya know…purposes…

[7] Damn it,
Nemain! Stop stealing lines from
Margaret Mahy! Another one from THE
CHANGEOVER…Have a literary crush on Sorensen Carlisle (if you read it, you’ll
know… ) ;)

[8] I know some
people reading this are in other countries, etc….playing doctor is a euphemism
used for childhood sexual experimentation and “activities” when you’re
older…We’re weird over here… ;)

[9] In case
you’re not familiar w/pot slang, it’s Ganga, not Ganges… Ganga, weed, pot, schweg, grass, herb,
spliff, cheeba, chief…Gotta stop watching CHEECH AND CHONG movies… ;)

[10] Traditional
Hindu burial practice. If they can get
the ashes to the Ganges River.

[11] First stage
of oxygen depravation

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