"Ah've gotta have somethin' t'do besides watch the grass grow!" Rogue ground out irritably as she flopped down into a kitchen chair.
"Relax, chere. It's early, and it never stay quiet aroun' here fo' long. You know dat," Gambit winked at her, idly shuffling a deck of cards.
"I'm guessing that we haven't had a day off in so long, we don't know what to do with ourselves, hmm?"
"You said it, Hank," Rogue mumbled as she propped her chin in her hand and began tracing patterns into the table cloth with her finger.
"What's wrong with this picture?" Jean asked wryly, striding into the room to get herself something to drink.
"Already 8:30 in the morning, and not a single threat of world domination. Tsk. I think the villains are losing their touch." She smiled and added gently, "Count your blessings, my friend. We might not get another day like this for a long time."
"Ah suppose you're-"
Rogue's reply was drowned out in the next instant by the screech that echoed down the corridors from the direction of Professor Xavier's room.
The X-men bolted from the room; only Jean lingered. A long sigh filled the silence. "I spoke too soon,"she mumbled as she hurried after.
Whatever they expected to find, it was not Charles Xavier calmly reading the paper in the sunshine from the open window. "Damn it, Charles!" someone bellowed. The X-men watched in dumb silence as a slender white arm gripped the window sill. The lithe girl, whom Jean guessed to be in her teens, hoisted herself over the ledge and fell to the floor with a loud crash. "Ya could've stopped me from fallin'!"
Logan burst into the room, claws extended and scowling. It was early and he hadn't had his coffee yet. This did not bode well for the cause of the disturbance.
She sprang to her feet and flung two leather bags on the bed. Snarling unintelligibly, she stalked into the bathroom, mumbling something about a shower being a good idea. A moment later, they heard the water running.
Remy was the first to react "Y' know, mon ami," he told Wolverine, "she reminds me of you." Apparently fighting a losing battle, he gave up and burst out laughing.
Wolverine glared at him with his patented I'd-kill-you-just-as-soon-as-look-at-you expression. His claws retracted.
"What's going on, Charles?"
"Nothing too terribly important, Jean. Celeste is a friend, and she needs a place to rest for a few days. I've agreed to let her stay," he smiled crookedly, "In fact, she'll have the room across from yours, Logan."
Wolverine's teeth clenched and he rolled his eyes. Great. Another kid to babysit. Oh, I'm lovin' this.
"Is she a new mutant?" Rogue questioned.
"No," he chuckled mysteriously, "she's known about her powers for quite some time. And before you ask, Jean, yes, she is extremely powerful." Another tiny smile. "When she chooses to be."
Jean wondered at his enigmatic behavior, and just as quickly decided that he wouldn't dare keep anything vital from them. He was entitled to his secrets, same as anyone else.
"Should I prepare the lab for the usual regiment of DNA and limitations testing?"
"No, Hank, I don't think that will be necessary," Seeing the faint disappointment on the blue-furred scientist's face, he added, "Let's hold off on that for now."
Beast nodded. "Well, I suppose I should get back to the lab. There is a fascinating experiment I should check up on..." With that, he took his leave.
"Yeh. I go, too. No offense, but Remy don' plan to spend his day off standin' aroun' de Professor's bedroom." He turned to leave, but a voice stopped him in his tracks.
"Are you all done talkin' 'bout me yet?" A willowy figure wearing a scrap of damp silk and a pair of faded jeans stepped into the room. Callie flipped her hair over and began to shake the water from it. When she finally turned her head up, she met the dark eyes of someone who obviously had a problem with her presence.
One eyebrow rose. "Can I help you?"she inquired politely, moving across the room to pull on the Harvard sweatshirt stashed in her leather satchel.
He smiled sardonically, "I doubt there's a thing you could do for me, little girl." He watched her shoulders stiffen.
"What did you call me?" she hissed in a tone altogether different.
Something was wrong with this girl. He couldn't put his finger on it, but he would. He had learned to trust his instincts by now. "Little girl?"
Stars exploded inside his head, and all at once he was flat on his back, staring incredulously up at her. Her narrowed eyes, a shining green-gold, and clenched fist told the story. She had lain him out.
And he hadn't even seen it coming.
"I wouldn't patronize people like that if I were you, little boy," she advised, drawing herself up to her full 5'2" height, "I'm older than you think."
He leered at her as he got to his feet. "You don't look old enough to vote," he growled.
Her lips curved in a dangerous smile. She leaned close, almost brushing his lips with hers as she whispered. "Anytime you think you're man enough to find out what I'm old enough to do, we'll talk."
Logan's eyes flared wide at her suggestion, and something else. When she turned away, his hand closed on her wrist and spun her around to face him again. "You have no scent."
This time, both brows rose. "So?"
"Your scent isn't just masked, it's nonexistent. You have no scent," he turned to Xavier, "Is she real?"
"Yes, of course she's real. Leave her alone, Logan. If she's decided to mask something from us then she has her reasons. I trust her." The last three words did more for her than anything else he could have said.
Like hell, Logan thought as he nodded shortly.
"Bonjour, chere," Remy introduced himself smoothly, " 'M Remy LeBeau."
"Bonjour, mon ami," she responded in an accent that was rather blatantly French, "Comment allez-vous?" She slid one hand into his.
"Are you French, petite?" Still holding her hand, he kissed the back of it.
She shrugged. "French-Canadian. 'S the same thing,-" she aimed a narrow glare over her shoulder at Logan, "-almost."
Rogue elbowed Remy-and his hand stroking Callie's-out of the way. "Hi, sugah! I'm Rogue. Ah'd be glad t' help ya'll out while you're stayin' here."
Celeste's smile widened. "Sure. And call me Callie, huh?"
Jean introduced herself and was granted a look of quiet reverence. The two stood gazing at each other for a moment, as though comparing appearances. Celeste spoke first. "I thought there were more of you. Are the other two on a mission?"
"Yes, Scott and Ororo are both out taking care of some minor disturbances. They should be back soon." Jean was almost embarrassed at the tinge of wistfulness in her voice.
Celeste's smile softened. "Miss him, do you?" Without waiting for an answer, she grabbed her luggage from the bed and headed toward her room, pausing just long enough to look Remy over and give him a broad wink.
Logan followed her from the room.
"You don't like me much, do you?" she asked quietly, trailing him down the hall. She made no sound, and Logan knew that he could hear her steps only because she allowed him to. Another reason she made him nervous.
Perceptive little thing, aren't ya? "I dunno. I just met you."
"Liar." He stopped and turned to face her, she did the same. Gazing steadily at him, she asked, "Why?"
"Because I don't like what my senses are telling me," he growled, leaning toward her.
She didn't back away. "And what do your instincts have to say about me?"
"You got too many secrets, an' maybe one o' them could get us hurt."
"This may come as a surprise to you, Logan," she pressed up against him and whispered loudly, "but so do you." Her smirk said she knew all his secrets, and she might start talking.
She turned to her new room and closed the door in his face.
Leaning against the panel, Celeste exhaled a long breath. This was not going to be easy. This "Wolverine" had bricks for brains, as far as she was concerned. And if she was lucky, she might be able to keep him alive.
Right now, the odds seemed a million to one.
For the next twenty minutes, Celeste busied herself with tossing her clothes into drawers and onto shelves. Then, she wandered around the mansion, ending up in the small booth complete with a window into the Danger Room below.
Rogue and Gambit were there, working off extra energy with a good workout. They were matched against more than a score of Reavers, using the technology of the Shi'ar to make them worthy opponents. Glancing at the rows of colored switches, Celeste saw that it was set to a dangerous level. The two warriors took it in stride, though, with all the confidence of a normal human against a three-year-old pickpocket.
Until Rogue slipped.
Gambit's cards rained down on the Reavers, taking out their weapons and generally rendering them unconscious. Six of them converged on Rogue like vultures, and she stumbled to the floor under their weight. She came up fighting again, and knocked all of them out, save one.
"Watch out, ch-!" Gambit's warning came too late. The Reaver leaped into the air to come down straight on top of her, cybertronic claws ready to tear into her. Gambit's blind shots, two cards thrown while dealing with three Reavers of his own, missed. In the bare half-second before the metal would tear into her, Rogue knew her mutant powers wouldn't help. She couldn't steal the power from cyborgs or any other mechanical beings. She didn't even have time to throw her hands up in front of her face.
Rouge blinked, and stars flashed before her eyes. She stared up at the ceiling until Remy's face appeared above hers. "You okay, chere?" She nodded mutely. "What happened?"
"Ah don't know, Remy. One minute I was kickin' butt as usual, and then I thogught I was gonna die, and then, all of a sudden, the air was filled with sparkles." Her voice was full of puzzlement.
"Sparkles? You sure you not hit your head or sometin', chere?"
She shook her head stubbornly as Gambit pulled her to her feet. "Nope. There was this green mist and all this gold glitter, an' then ah was starin' at the ceilin'. For a minute there, ah thought maybe Dazzler decided to make a cameo. Ah wonder what that was."
Remy glanced up just in time to see a lithe figure dash from the control room. "Yeh. I wonder..."
|« « BACK|
|NEXT » »|