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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 5

After the chat with her mother, Xandra needed to think. Not wanting to intrude on Logan's kindness again, she made her way to Kurt's, and settled down at the bar.

"Xandra! How are you!" Jean sat on the stool next to Xandra, who managed a weak smile. "Are you okay?"

Xandra leaned forward, and sighed. "Ah've just had a rough week, sugah."

Jean placed the tray she was holding on the bar, and glanced up at Kurt, who wandered over.

"Is something wrong, Maedchen?" ::note, Maedchen = girl, your German expert Kaze ^___^::

In spite of herself, Det. Thorne grinned. "Wow, Ah never knew Ah had so many friends!" The she got serious. "Well, if ya really wanna know... Ah dumped Cody. There ain't any other word fer it, Ah dumped him. But Ah guess that's a good thing. Hoever, the harrassment Ah'm getting from him ain't."

Jean hugged Xandra. "I'm so proud of you! Kurt and I saw how unhappy you were with him. We're so glad you finally plucked up the courage to get rid of him."

Xandra stared at the two of them. Was she really that readable? Then she remembered that Jean was a telepath, and shrugged. She jumped in fright as Kurt slammed down a drink in front of her.

"Southern Comfort, on the house... As long as you tell us what else is the matter."

Xandra grinned at the two of them. "Ah know what you two are up ta, ya just want gossip!"

Jean rolled her eyes. "Oh no, Kurt! Our secrets been found out!"

"Ya can quit wi' tha melodrama, hon. Ah'll tell ya, already!" She settled into a more comfortable position. "Plus there's a case ah'm workin' on - confidential, ya understand. It ain't goin' well. Ah've just talked to mah mom about it, ah gotta think things over..."

"We had better leave you be, for now, then, Alexandra. But you must tell us when you have more gossip, ja?"

Xandra laughed and nodded. "You bet ya, Kurt. 'Specially if it gets me free drinks!" Xandra turned to look at Jean and was surprised to see a look of wistfulness on her face. She twirled a lock of hair around her finger as she spoke.

"I... I haven't seen Logan in here for a while. Is he well?"

Xandra blinked in astonishment. She had never once considered that the beautiful redhead would return Logan's tender feelings toward her. It seemed that Jean was sensittive enough to see the tender interior inside Logan's rough and hardened exterior mask. Well, Xandra wished them all happiness. Maybe she'd even do a little matchmaking!

"He's fine, Jean. Ah'll tell him ya asked next tahm ah see him, get him ta pop in."

Jean expression instantly lit up. "Really? Thank you, Xandra. We miss him in here..." Kurt flashed at amused glance back at Jean, who blushed. "Anyway, I'd better get on with doing my job and leave you to your thoughts!" She picked up the tray and wandered off, leaving Xandra alone. She sighed, and settled her head down to rest on her chin, to think over her mothers advice.


He couldn't take his eyes from her. The young woman - the Detective, he reminded himself - sat at the bar, staring into her drink. She had this air of innocence, maybe even naiveté, that made her seem vulnerable, made him want to protect her from all the evil in the world that she was apparently oblivious to. He observed her, her every movement, the way she tapped her feet to an unknown rhythm, the way she sat on the barstool, like a child, her knees pressed together timidly, oblivious to her own attractiveness and the glances she drew from the other men around.

His eyes wandered over her well-shaped body, her slender arms, her chin, that rested in her hand, while she was deep in thoughts, entangled in her own world, where she lived in childish innocence. Eventually, his gaze was drawn to her eyes, and behind those deep green seas he could see a harsh reality. Like his, hers were eyes that had seen too much and he realized that her own world was neither one of naiveté nor innocence, but one of hurt and pain. And though he could see determination there, he wanted nothing else but take away every burden she was carrying, take her in his arms and hold her tight forever.

She was the most intriguing person he had ever met, full of contradictions, of conflicts. She was his soulmate. She was the ultimate challenge. She was ... the enemy, he reminded himself.

--End Interlude --

The mask of Ra was being touted as one of the most precious, priceless things on earth. Made of pure gold with inlaid Lapiz Lazuli and studded with diamonds, and a trim made of a substance the scientists had not yet identified, the Egyptian treasure was a wonder to behold.

Xandra's eyes narrowed as she gazed, not at the mask but around it, at the security devices. They were impressive enough. To the untrained eye, it was merely surrounded by a glass cabinet. But Xandra knew that the cabinet was extremely touch-sensitive, and was surrounded by camera's, motion detectors, lazers and countless other mechanisms. And she knew they wouldn't be enough. At her mothers behest, she had gone away and thought about where Mr. X might strike next, and since Mystique had hinted that it wouldn't be obvious, she had thought hard. The Mask of Ra, though priceless, was not an obvious candidate. It had arrived in New York only yesterday, unannounced. It had been flown straight in from Cairo, and the museum curators were so excited, that they had sent the crown jewels that had previously found their home in the glass case home to their obscure European country. Since the mask was staying for only two days, it left virtually no time for planning, the security was tight, and it was a pinch worth having. Tempting bait indeed, for the Gambit.

Xandra sighed and sat down on the veiwing bench. So many things to think about, and right now, the main thing on her mind was not related to the case. It was Cody. Not remorse for having left him, but utter fury at the way he had treated her since. As though she was a prize to be won back. A trophy to stand by his side to make him look good. But she was no prize and she wasn't going back to Cody. She-

"It's beautiful, no?" The strangely accented voice came from beside her. She glanced at the man who had joined her on the seat, and her eyes widened.

Ah could say th' same ahbout you, hon, she thought. The man was exquisitely handsome, and she decided right there that if she were to have a relationship 'on the rebound', it would be with him.

"The mask... such an un'spected treaure t' grace our city. C'est formidable."

"Ya're French?" Xandra asked. The man smiled and shook his head, red-on-black eyes gleaming mischeivously at something Xandra couldn't fathom.

"Non, I from N'Awlins. A Cajun." That was where the ultra-sexy accent came from, then!

"Oh, Ah'm from Down South mahself. Caldecott County in Mississippi. One o' th' dullest places on earth, so Ah won't be insulted if ya ain't heard o' it."

"Strange how such a beautiful rose bloomed in such a dull place," he grinned and kissed her hand. To her horror, Xandra couldn't stop the blush that rose to her cheeks.

"Ha ha," she forced herself to laugh weakly, and sat there in miserable silence for a few seconds, trying to think of something so witty and utterly adorable to say that the man would ask her out to dinner and maybe back to his place afterwards. She failed miserably, and the man rose, kissing her hand again.

"I mus' go now, but I t'ink we'll meet 'gain, Ms. Thorne." The man walked away, and she enjoyed the view. The next few minutes were taken up with thinking about how gorgeous the guy was, then frowning. She was sure she hadn't told him her name... She cursed loudly, making the other inhabitants of the room start violently. Red-on-black eyes marked him as a mutant. Auburn hair was tied back and probably jaw-length. He was young and gorgeous enough that he must be horny. Add to that the delicious smell of Farenheit that still hung in the air, a silent, graceful walk and a New Orleans accent to back up her Theives Guild theory, and she was almost certain she had her guy.

Xandra leapt up and sprinted out of the room, skidding to a halt in the corridor. The guy was nowhere to be seen. Picking the path that led to the way out, she ran, checking every room and finding nothing. Standing still and defeated in the last room, home to a complete dinosaur skeleton, she swore and put her hands on her hips in frustration. It was then that she noticed something fluttering down from the sky. A feather? A petal? She caught it and found it to be a note.

"It seems I'm winning the game so far. Let's see who wins this round. "

She stared at it. It was the exact same writing as the note she'd found on her desk. So it was him! She looked up quickly. Where could the note have come from, in this one level room? Not the air-conditioning system, surely? Then it hit her. The sky light.

She bolted out of the room, and up the stairs. When a security officer tried to stop her getting onto the roof, she flashed her police badge and pushed him out of the way.

When she got there, the man was stood, waiting for her, hands in his pockets. She stared at him incredulously, and reached for her gun.

"Freeze!" She yelled, and pointed it at him, suspicious of some sort of trap.

He put his hands up, a gentle, teasing look on his face. "O' course, ma cheri. I jus' wanted ta warn ya dat dere be more dang'rous criminals dan m'self 'bout. Y' should ask y' friend Kitty about it... An' me." With that last, he launched himself off the roof.

"No!!!" Screamed Xandra, and dove to grab his hand. She blinked, leaning over the roof top. No street pizza. He wasn't grabbing onto a window below. Where the hell was he!?! She sat down in frustration, knowing that she'd only been allowed to see him for a reason - to make the 'game' fair, and for him to pass on his message. But what on earth did it mean? At least she knew where to start. She set off for Kitty's house.


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