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Author's Disclaimer

All characters except Cat are property of Marvel Comics, no infringement is intended. Cat is my own creation. Any similarities to persons living or deceased is purely coincidental. An object at rest tends to remain at rest. An object in motion tends to remain in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. CONSTRUCTIVE criticism is welcome as this is my first shot at writing a story. Comments may be sent to theartsource@earthlink.net. Regards, Donna


Hide N' Seek
       by Donna Schneider

Cat crouched in the shadows, slitting her eyes to prevent a betraying gleam. She had a lot to learn yet about the creature she had become, but she had figured out that there were times she should listen to her animal instincts. Now was such a time, and her animal instincts were telling her to stay hidden. Whoever was tracking her was very good and more than human. Staying downwind hadn't helped at all....



The sun was still well above the trees when the Blackbird touched down in a vacant field near an abandoned industrial complex. Rogue, Psylocke and Wolverine crossed sunbaked dirt and weeds, raising puffs of dust with every step. Nick Fury met them at the door of the complex.

"Thanks for coming. We've got a new player - maybe as bad as Sabertooth. Definitely not a 'normal' human. Any information you can add will help. Gotta warn you though," he added, looking at Rogue and Psylocke,"It's VERY messy."



*Not a bad scent* Cat mused mentally. *Probably some kind of cop. I suppose they don't think much of the way I handled the rescue. Guess I don't think much of it either. I lost it again. They pushed me too far and I lost it. Again. Maybe I am too dangerous to be loose. I've never hurt anyone who wasn't trying to kill me or hurt someone I was protecting, but I have hurt people. Hurt, maimed, killed - how many? I have no idea. I'm not about to let the government get hold of me again, though. And I don't want to hurt a cop. Best to out run him and keep going.*



"So what's the story here, Nick?" Wolverine growled. Gentle hearted Rogue stood shocked and visibly trembling. Psylocke waited cold and remote but paler than usual. Nick Fury saw that Wolverine was looking inward as well as out and he knew what that meant.

"B.L. Walkerman. Heard of him?"

"Yup. New York industrialist billionaire. Heard his kid got snatched. What o' it?"

"Seems he found someone-"

"Female."

"Okay seems he found someone female and offered her a big cash reward to bring his son back in one piece."

"Did she?"

"Yep."

"What else'd he say?"

"Not much. He couldn't remember what this person looked like, didn't get a name, the usual. Probably didn't want to get her mad at him."

"I can see why."

"There's thirty plus very messy dead people here and signs that more injured escaped. Naturally when the local P.D. got an eyeball of this here, they called for reinforcements. I have orders to bring whoever did this in in at all costs. Funny thing is someone pretty high up has issued orders to bring her in alive."

"Could be tricky. Yer lookin' fer someone with superhuman strength and probably speed. The way she took the sentries out says superhuman senses, too. She used her teeth," he added, looking at a bloody, not quite bare footprint, "and her claws - retractable or artificial claws. No explanation fer why they want her alive so bad?"

"No explanation."



*Who is this guy? WHAT is this guy? Four hours across bare rock, through water and treetop to treetop. So much for relaxing with a genuine hot shower, hotel room and one extremely huge steak. It's been so long since I've had enough money to have a roof over my head for even one night. Not that I'm all that keen on being cooped up in a building, but I do miss hot showers. This needs to wrap up before daylight. I don't want to shift. I have a feeling it would barely slow him down and then I would have tipped my hand.*



They had started from the billionaire's mansion after Wolverine had a productive chat with Mr. Walkerman. Not only had he managed to remember what the lady in question looked like, he had also recalled that she went by the name of Cat. No last name given. The three of them tracked Cat to a nearby wood where she had apparently stopped to rest in a tree. Rogue gave him a quick lift to fork about forty feet up where she had been.

"She's hurt some. Maybe it won't take too long to catch up to her."

"Hunh?" asked Rogue.

He pointed to a dark stain on the bark of the tree.

"Blood?"

"Blood."

Wolverine dropped to the ground. He cast briefly around before picking up the trail some thirty feet away, noting the length of the jump for future reference. They headed into the woods.



*All right! That's it! Such perseverance deserves to be rewarded. Anyway, I have GOT to meet this guy.*



"Looks like it's gonna be a night hunt. I'll track her down and contact ya. Could be a while." His respect for his prey went up another notch. He had anticipated a quick resolution and a quiet night back at the mansion. After all, they had a telepath and aerial reconnaissance on their side. Not that it had helped so far. Neither of the two ladies was real happy about that. Then he had discovered that somehow this 'Cat' had managed to double back around them and put him squarely upwind. He thought again about what Nick had said about somebody wanting her alive. Just what part did the government have in this? Another one of their little 'projects' go haywire? He pulled down his mask. It was a nice night for a hunt.



Cat dropped silently to the ground, realizing as she did so that, despite her care, she had not managed to surprise him. Somehow she had expected as much. Wolverine took his time, lit a cigar and turned to face her.

"Bout time."

"Stubborn ain't cha?"

The simultaneous exchange brought a ghost of a smile to both faces. Both paused, then, to size each other up for potential conflict.

Wolverine was accustomed to seeing beautiful women in tight fitting outfits, but he never failed to appreciate them. This one fit the bill. She was taller that him, killer figure, raven black hair, bright green eyes with vertical pupils. She was dressed all in black. Her lower face was the only exposed part of her body. No sign of the claws, which confirmed that they were either retractable or artificial. He was betting on retractable. Her body language reminded him instantly of a cat poised to fight or flee. Her scent proclaimed her feline at least in part. He sensed a mutual attraction and pushed it aside, saw that she did likewise.

Cat regarded the short, incredibly muscular man warily. He hadn't tracked her all this way just to chat. He looked and smelled deadly. Interesting hair. The outfit was what she was having trouble with, though. *Hmmm. Yellow and black camouflage. What a great color combination for sneaking around at night. Now, why didn't I think of that? This guts either nuts, or incredibly good. Seeing as how he's here, he must be incredibly good.*

"Well? Care to tell me why you've been following me all night?"

"Care ta tell me why you ripped all those guys apart back there?" He saw her flinch almost imperceptibly.

"No. I don't. Are you here to arrest me or some such?"

"Government boys want ya alive."

"Lucky me. I've had more than enough of your government, thanks, I'll pass."

"Thought ya might. Anyway, they ain't my government, I'm Canadian. You sound American. Where ya from?"

"You wouldn't believe me if I told you. As far as the government goes, let's just say they made the inhuman monster I am today and let it go at that."

"Like to. But you killed a lot o' human beings back there and my job is to protect the innocent ones best I can. You're a loose cannon, girl. I know the results o' a killin' rage when I see 'em. There's people that can help ya learn to control it."

"A. I do not hurt innocent people. B. I am not a girl. I am probably older than you. C. Just how are you so familiar with 'killin' rages' anyway? D. I'm not, repeat NOT, going to have anything to do with some government shrink. Now if you're done following me, I'm going to go get a motel room and a hot shower."

"And if I ain't?"

"It ends here & now."

"Look. The guy that can help you has got nothin' to do with the government. Take his number and think about it. Unless ya like seein' all those faces in your dreams." He handed her a card. She took it and looked down at it. When she looked up, he was gone.



Logan laid his cue on the table.

"Yer game Cajun. I'll get the brews."

"'Nother time, mon ami, I t'ink..." He trailed off in mid sentence and stared out the window. Logan followed his gaze and watched as a lovely black haired woman entered a bar across the street. "I t'ink maybe Gambit be drinkin' in de wrong bar."

"I wouldn't if I were you, Cajun."

"You know her, den?"

"It's yer funeral, bub." Gambit looked into Logan's eyes and saw that he would say no more on the subject. Logan met his gaze and waited to see whether pride or curiosity would win out.

" I t'ink maybe I go home and get some shut eye instead. Gambit need his beauty sleep, non? You comin'?"

"Nope. Beauty sleep ain't gonna do the ol' Canuckle Head any good."

"Dat's for sure. Night den."

"Later."

Logan cleared the table as Gambit left. He sat down, put his feet up, tilted back his hat and emptied his beer as he gazed thoughtfully out the window. Abruptly, he stood, pulled his hat forward and crossed to the door. Then Wolverine pushed through the door and headed across the street.

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