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 is a goddess with a hectic schedule. Good thing Ted is there to rub her feet when she gets home...and to make sure the dolphin is out of the tub when she needs it. InterNutter, TC and Maxwell Pink are spankadelic (thanks to Britta for that word) for archiving! To everyone who read/reviewed-huge slurppy kisses for you. I even got new lip gloss for the occasion-blackberry flavored and all. So did the ducks, but since they lack lips it's really a "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" sort of event...

"Good evening, Mystique..."
"There's no hiding from you, is there, Charles?" Mystique shifted to her true form, rolling her hips in a quick but controlled pace across the cavernous study.
"Storm would have knocked..." He wheeled towards her, wary but well aware of her intentions. "You have very little time here. Logan is not as dense as all that."
"Fine, I'll be brief. I am not on your side, whatever that may be. I cannot in good conscience assist Magneto in this travesty of science that he is performing. As..." she choked almost imperceptibly, "...a mother, I cannot allow him to continued these...these tortures on children." Her yellow eyes flared over bared fangs.
"I see..." Professor Xavier's jaw was set. "You admit to having Ruth in your custody, then? Why bring Kitty and not both of them?"
"That girl cost me precious time getting out of...there... and I had to make sacrifices. Ruth was dead already-her body had just not caught up with her soul!" Mystique swooped forward and braced her hands on the armrests of the wheelchair, faceface inches from the Professor's. "Listen to me well, Charles. Magneto is bent on this vendetta of his, and it's personal. He masks it behind his principles of the Brotherhood but this...this is not for the greater good. For some reason, he has it set in his mind that Ruth is the key to destroying the X Men, but there is something deeper than that. Something of the blood..."
"Help us, then. You can give us insight into his plans. You can help set things right that he has torn asunder."
Mystique issued forth an inelegant snort and pushed away from Professor Xavier. "I am not on your side. I will not work against my beliefs, but I will work against the abomination that Magneto is performing." She shifted effortlessly back into Storm's form and said, low and rough, "You will see me again soon, on the other side of the fence. Do not expect me to be so helpful then. Kitty is here and not dead in the ocean now because I had a moment of weakness for the son who will never love me. This is the one and only time you will ever know me like this..."
She was almost to the door before Charles spoke. "This will go further towards redeeming you in Kurt's eyes than you think, Mystique."
With iron-clad will, she bit out, "I don't care anymore..." With a savage yank, she threw open the door and flew back several yards, crashing into the wood-paneled wall of the study.
"You fucking bitch!" Logan growled. He crossed the room in a few giant strides, ignoring a mental order from the Professor to cease, scooping the stunned woman up off the floor with his claws through her clothes. A sharp, invisible tug sent Logan sprawling but still he did not let go of his quarry.
"Let me go, you ignorant fool!" Mystique hissed, hesitant to move for fear of the razor-sharp metal so close to her skin.
"Logan," the Professor said softly, dangerously, release Mystique at once."
"Not until she tells us where Storm is. Half Pint nearly died and she comes waltzing in here..."
"I notice you didn't stop me!" the woman growled, finally freeing herself carefully and rising to her feet. Logan sprung to a standing position and retracted his claws, still poised for a fight. Professor Xavier merely watched, patiently, for the drama to play out, prepared to stop any bloodshed should it arise.
"I had to be're wearing her clothes, throwing off your scent..." Logan was nowhere near calm but doing a passable impression. Barely.
"It's easy enough to slip through here unnoticed, for all your fancy security. Your students are so gullible...another flaw in your perfection, Charles." Mystique did not dare take her eyes from Logan despite speaking to the Professor. "You make them too innocent, too trusting. Trust makes you weak."
Logan grinned savagely. "Do you have any idea where your boys are, Mystique? Even as we speak, Lance is mooning over Amara and Toad is gone a-courtin'..."1
Professor Xavier smiled faintly at this and murmured, "Socialization is doing wonders for the Brotherhood."
Mystique spat, "Weakness can be destroyed. Once they realize love reaps pain only, then they will return to the fold." Gathering her dignity around her as a shroud, the blue woman straightened and faced down Logan. "Storm is fine, so far as I know. I haven't seen her. I just knew she was gone from listening to the children." Stepping forward just a few paces, coming almost face to face with the angry man, she spoke sotto voce, "I did not save Kitty for her sake, or even for yours. I saved her for my own absolution that will never come. Do not forget that I hurt, too, Wolverine. And never, never forget that I am Brotherhood. I have no mercy for the milquetoast antics of you people."
"Your input is appreciated, Mystique," Charles said in a placating tone. "Leave now or Logan may just forget I am in the room..." At this signal, Logan let his claws slide slowly through his skin, ignoring the hiss of pain and narrowing his gaze on Mystique. The blue woman hissed herself, a wordless curse on the men, on the Institute and life in general. She strode past Logan, refusing to look at him or even twitch at her proximity to his claws.
"Logan..." the Professor said when she cleared the door.
"On it, Chuck." Logan jogged after her, leaving the Professor feeling mildly confused for the first time in how long, he was not sure. He did a quick mental check and found that most of the students were asleep and those that were not were up to harmless pursuits; he did not delve into detail out of respect and an actual lack of curiosity at that point. Further thought was interrupted by Logan's return.
Logan glared at the fractured wood where Mystique had hit the wall. "Chuck, pardon my French, but that was fucked up."
"For once Logan, I concur."

A troop of weary mutants marched on Bayville that morning. Each sorted to their proper rooms in the wee hours of the morning, most without protest save for Kitty who staunchly refused Kurt's efforts to move her, snuggling against him when he acquiesced with faint trepidation. Even Remy had accepted the fact that his bedmate had to return to her room before it was noticed that she was MIA. Lance swayed on his feet as the group paused, his mind on Amara and her sleep-warm skin that he had kissed early that morning, sneaking in through the backdoor to traipse to her room for one brief moment of alone-time. She had not even woken up when he kissed her shoulder, golden in the lemon-streaked dawn light creeping in through the window. _Wish I was there, baby... _ Toad bumped into him from behind and Lance snapped, "Watch it! You knock me down, I'm kicking your ass!"
:"Sorry, distracted..." The direction of his glance, towards a certain black-clad Goth girl, made no secret of his distraction. Jubilee snorted behind them and he blushed hotly. "What?"
"Nothing, dude. Just...weird..." She sighed. "Guess we'd better go..."
"Do we have to?" Kurt's voice was blurred with sleep and he leaned heavily against Scott's shoulder. "I want to stay with Kitty."
Scott patted him roughly on the arm. "I know, but you have to go to class. If I've gotta do it, you've gotta do it."
"Ja, but your girlfriend didn't nearly die this week," Kurt grumbled. He knew that he would be useless at school all day, thinking about Kitty at home, healing mentally as well as physically. He wanted to crawl back into his bed, where he knew she was still curled in his comforter, snoring softly and smelling of sleep and fabric softener and strawberries.
"Call her at lunch," Rahne chirped. She was unusually cheerful, bouncing on her toes as if eager for school to start.
"What's up with you?" Scott asked, brows raised in mild amusement.
"Sooner begun, sooner done!" she said before breaking away and fairly skipping into the school, counting the hours until she and Jamie would meet up again at the mansion, when they could sneak away and just sit together for a while, pretending not to want to kiss each other before finally one of them gave in and pecked the other on the cheek, then the mouth... She grinned stupidly and nearly ran into a pillar as she entered the school.
"Man, I think Rahne's on something..." Bobby muttered. He gave St John a glance and smiled slightly. "See you in study hall?"
"You betcha!" Both boys exchanged looks that held layers of mystery to onlookers but blazed with passionate interest for each other before going their separate ways into the building, leaving Todd, Lance, Scott, Kurt. Rogue and Jubilee to linger on the steps.
"So how long before they figure out we all know?" Jubilee finally asked.
"About three days after they finally come clean," Lance muttered. Scott looked at him in faint surprise before snorting in amusement. "What? I'm Brotherhood, not stupid!"
"Still Brotherhood, Lance?" Kurt asked only slightly dangerously. "What about Amara?"
Lance snarled before answering. "Amara is none of your business! She knows what I believe and she knows..." he trailed off. She knows my heart...
"Knows what?" Jubilee asked, one brow raised.
"Fuck off." Lance hitched his bago hio his shoulder and stomped off several feet. "Coming, Todd?" he called over his shoulder.
"Um, catch up with you in first period," the smaller boy answered.
Rogue, hearing his, stiffened and color suffused her pale features. Kurt noticed and was momentarily distracted from his Kitty-angst. "Oh, dear sister," he murmured, "do you have something to tell me?"
"Shut it, Elf." Rogue sidled closer to her half-brother. "I'll tell you later. Maybe."
Kurt smiled. "Rogue has a secret, Rogue has a secret," he sing-songed.
"Now, now, Kurt...don't taunt Rogue like that!" Scott chided. "Taunt her like this!" He dropped his book bag and dove towards the girl, sinking his fingers into her shirt-clad ribs and tickling her.
"Bastard!" she cried, convulsing in laughter, choking on the effort it took to suppress the sound.
Kurt crowed in sudden good humor and joined in, Rogue breaking free from Scott only to meet Kurt's hands at her sth, sh, setting her on a new gale of forced laughter. Jubilee shook her head and shouted "Infants!" in good will before waving and ducking into the school seconds before the warning bell.
Kurt let his half sister go with a final tickle. She stood up and dusted off her clothes, gathering her dignity and books. "Just for that," she said, "I'm telling Kitty you had your hands all over a hot chick at school today..."
Scott snorted. "High opinion of yourself there, Rogue?"
"Oh, you'd love to have it, Cyclops," she purred, licking her lips seductively. Todd felt his heart explode but Scott laughed. "See y'all in class!" she called as Kurt and Scott disappeared inside the building. She was well aware that Todd was standing almost directly behind her but she did not turn around then. "So..." she said softly.
"So..." he mimicked. "Um, want to skip first?"
"Aren't you supposed to meet Lance?"
"He'll get over it," Todd shrugged. He had a feeling that his friend would be too wrapped up in thoughts of Amara to notice he was missing.
"Ah." Rogue finally turned to face him, her height combined with her position one step above Todd bringing his face level with her breasts. She noticed and flushed, missing his sudden gulp and averted gaze. "Okay. Let's skip, then." She shouldered past him and marched across the schoolyard, Todd trailing belatedly. Rogue did not skip often but she had a few places to go where she knew they would not be caught. She led him around the side of the school, cutting across the teachers' parking area to the maintenanced oed on the back half of the practice football field. The locs brs broken ages ago and no one had ever bothered to fix it, so she let herself in with a minimum of effort, holding the door open a crack for Todd. When he squeezed his way through the narrow gap, she shut the door and flooded the room with shadows. "Here we are..."
Todd laughed nesly.sly. " we are..." They had hugged somewhat awkwardly for over an hour the night before, Rogue stiff at first then becoming more yielding as she realized that he was not going to demand anything more from her. Todd felt like he had died and gone to amphibian-heaven. He had no coherent thought the entire time Rogue was near him last night, his mind a pink blur from the moment she had said she liked him.
"I, um, just want you to know," she said softly, "that I totally understand if you want to keep things quiet or not even..."
"Huh? Me, keep things quiet?" Todd barked a laugh. "Shouldn't that be the other way 'round?"
Rogue's brow knitted in confusion. _Did I just set myself up for rejection from Todd Tolensky, weirdest guy in Bayville? _ "I mean...fuck it. I don't know."
Todd toed the cement floor and crinkled his nose at the waft of insecticide that drifted from a can on the floor. "I think you'd want to hide the fact you liked me. I mean, have you seen me?"
"So?" she asked, belying her own previous statements about Todd's appearance. Somehow, she thought, that seemed less important now. "Have you seen me?"
"Yeah...You're hot as Hell!" Todd knew he was blushing and was very glad that she could not see him.
"Thanks..." Coming from Todd, this did not make her uncomfortable as it would have a week before. She did not even think of Pietro, she noticed, when Todd complemented her. "You've got a -qui-quirky thing going on yourself..."
"Cute?" _I don't think I've ever been called cute bef.. _.. _
"Yeah...a sort of Ducky in _Sixteen Candles _ thing going on..." Rogue shrugged. "We'll keep that Molly Ringwald reference between us, right?"
"Sure, sure..." Todd edged closer, feeling bold. "So what do we do?"
"What do you mean?"
He ran his fingers through his green-tinged hair in sudden frustration. "I mean, are we dating? Do you even want to...hang out or whatever?"
Rogue felt herself smile and stepped forward, coming as close as she could to Todd without actually touching him. Her mind clicked onto autopilot and she asked softly, "Todd, will you be my boyfriend?"
"Gah!" he responded right before he hit the floor.

Lance waited until the hall was clear before leaving the men's room. The halls were strangely silent as he jogged to the payphone near the cafeteria, looking both ways down the hall before sliding his change into the slot and dialing the number written on the back of his hand. "Hello? Yes, I'd like to speak with someone in Homicide. I want to report a murder...The Brotherhood Boardinghouse...yeah, that's the one..."

1 Play on the old Frog and Toad stories. Froggie goes a'courtin'....

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