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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12


Written by KazeRogue and Cat Smith
Last updated: 01/02/2007 02:01:11 AM

Chapter 3

During her dinner hour, Xandra sat in her favourite spot, near the artificial lake just outside of the police station. It was quiet, still, and brought an inner peace. At least usually. But today was different. Her case was getting to her; the thief's apparent non-existence was incredible, almost unbelievable. But Xandra was sure Ororo Munroe had told the truth, and all that she knew. And since he couldn't be hired…

As she glanced in the water, Xandra repressed a deep sigh at the sight of Cody's reflection approaching her. She did not need this now - it wasn't the right time. But then, when was the time right? Never. And since subtlety was no gift of hers, she took a deep breath and spoke the painful truth.

"Cody, Ah think we should finish this."

She felt the stillness beside her, and saw his amazed look in the water, but she turned away when it turned to one of hurt.

"Ah'm sorry, Cody, truly ah am, but ah can't pretend Ah'm happy when ah'm not, an' this relationship ain't doin' either of us any good. It ain't workin' out, an' ah wanna finish it now, 'fore we go any further." A glance at their reflections saw Cody looking devastated, and so Xandra stood.

"Goodbye, Cody." Those two simple words, so hard to say, but now they were said, it was as if a weight of enormous proportion had been lifted from her. She felt free; something she hadn't felt in too, too long. She walked away, and felt as if she were leaving something behind her, and she was. She was leaving behind her old life of comfort and security, of knowing what would happen everyday. It seemed her life was changing. Becoming more dangerous, yes, but with excitement and reason that it had previously lacked. It was with an aura of purpose that Xandra walked back into the police station which was so strong, it stopped even Bobby Drake flirting with her!

Back at her desk, Xandra blinked in surprise at a black envelope placed conspicuously in the middle of the mess that was her desk, her name written on it in silver. She looked around suspiciously for a moment, then shrugged and opened it. She just hoped it wasn't from Cody. The next sound from the detective was a startled gasp. Inside the envelope was a single, small sheet of black paper, also hand written in silver. It read;

"Pawn to B5. The game begins."

Holding the paper and envelope tightly, Xandra ran out of her office and looked down the corridor. She saw a sea of faces, many unfamiliar, and cursed. Mr. X, Gambit, could be among this crowd, and she had no way to know, save from using her mutant power on everyone she didn't recognise, and that was hardly feasible. She swore colourfully and inventively. Glancing down at the paper then gave her an idea.

Joining the crowd, she made her way to the staircase, and ran up the flight of steps to the next floor, frightening a startled janitor on the way up. She then made her way to an office at the end of the hall. Frowning a moment before she entered, Xandra knocked then entered before waiting for a reply. Before her, an unsurprised looking woman glanced up, a thin smile on her face. The appearance of the woman, with her lilac hair and slim, English Rose-style beauty was totally at odds with the fact that Elizabeth Braddock was one of the most powerful telepaths in the world. Xandra could not say she truly liked Betsy. She was too straight-laced, odd and silent to be likable. But she certainly respected her, and right now, she needed her help. She passed the paper and the envelope over.

"Ah have reason ta believe that the guy who wrote this is a theif whose case ah'm working on. Ah was hopin' ya could find an imprint on it."

Betsy nodded, then closed her eyes. She opened them with a frown. "I'm picking up amazement, but I assume it's your own. But other than that, this is a blank slate."

"God damn it!" Cursed Xandra. "Another goddamn dead end."

Betsy stroked her chin. "Maybe not. Whoever wrote this letter must be a mutant with considerable mental powers to black their thoughts from a letter. And also you should ask someone to look at the handwriting, and possibly Logan to see if her can pick up a scent - I suggest you let noone else touch this letter."

"Bett's, ya're a genius!"

Xandra was perched on the edge of Logan's desk. He was carefully sniffing the letter, trying to discern a scent other than hers, his or Betsy's. He frowned.

"there's somethin'. I couldn't pick him out of a crowd, but… He's young, probably early twenties. Wears Fahrenheit. And… leather. And he's got auburn hair."

Xandra blinked. "How in hell could ya know that from his scent?!"

Logan grinned. "I don't." He held up a single strand of hair. Xandra stared at it. It was jaw length and auburn, just as Logan said.

"Maybe it's a plant. Ororo said this guys a real pro…"

"Maybe it is. He's givin' you a few clues, he likes the thrill, right? But maybe he's underestimatin' ya. Maybe you're better'n' he thinks?"

Xandra looked at Logan for a long minute, then sighed. "So, Ah've gotta mutant with mental powers, auburn hair, who's young and wears Fahrenheit. Do I wait at the Elizabeth Arden counter and arrest every guy who matches the profile? How the hell do I find this guy?!"

"I have faith in you, kid." Logan put a hand on her shoulder. "The scent's gotta lotta hormone in it - this guy's pretty horny. Maybe you should let him look for you, not the other way around."

Xandra scowled at him. "Ah ain't some kinda whore, nor do I intend to act like one."

"Not even if it wins this case for you?" Xandra gave him a long look as she considered.


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