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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
Chapter 13
Chapter 14


Written by Monica Tamaru
Last updated: 01/02/2007 02:01:11 AM

Chapter 13

“You can’t put in on the air yet!” Cece insisted. She snatched the folder out of Trish’s hand and glared at the women. “You promised that you’d wait until I told you it was okay. We had a deal!”

“The network jumped on the story and they want to run it immediately. I don’t have a choice. Either I do it, or they’ll get someone who will,” Trish said coolly. She was not used to being told what to do. She lost the fight at work; she’d be damn if she lost twice in the same day.

“You don’t understand. There’s a young man’s life in danger. You tell your network guys that. If he dies because you people were too impatient, your PR is going to shit because I will let everyone know that he died because of you!”

Trish sighed. She already had the conversation at work. As far as she was concerned, the subject was closed. “I’ll tell them, Cece, but if they tell me to do it, I’m going to do the story. I’m sorry.” She gently pulled the folder out of Cece’s hand, and then turned away.

This is why people don’t like me. If it’s between my job and my friends, the job always wins. Trish slammed the door a little harder than usual, then headed back to work.

Cece stared in shock at the door Trish stepped through before kicking into action. She punched in Scott’s private number at school on her cell phone. She prayed that there was enough time.

Scott glanced at the ringing phone, and tried to decide whether or not to answer it. The ringing went on for five minutes and was beginning to irritate him, so he picked it up. Cece’s frantic voice at the other end made him very alert.

“Please tell me that you got Remy out,” she said desperately.

“Not yet. I was going to check around the area this afternoon when Xavier was at lunch,” Scott replied slowly. He forced himself to calm down as he prepared for the worst.

“She’s going to run the story this evening! I told her that she couldn’t, but she is!” Cece practically wailed.

“Get back here as quickly as you can. We need to go in now!” Scott laid his head in his hands. When did life get so hard?

Xavier tried to smile at the older man in front of him. He was finding it quite a difficult task.

“What a pleasant surprise, Dr. Essex. I can understand your concern for your investment, but rest assured that we are taking care of it and making you our top priority.”

Dr. Nathaniel Essex looked down at the man seated at the desk contemptuously. “You will understand if I am less than relieved at your assurances. I am here to check in on the boy and determine for myself how he is progressing. I wish to see him immediately.”

Xavier paused. To tell the doctor ‘no’ would severely hurt any future business with the man and his associates. On the other hand, Remy was nowhere close to being ready for a demonstration.

“Dr. Essex, the boy has only recently lost his sister to a horrific accident, and his anguish has regressed his progress quite dramatically. We have him in containment right now, and I’ve been working with him for hours each day, but I fear he won’t be ready for a demonstration for another month at least.” Xavier could tell that his lie wasn’t having the slightest effect on Essex.

“Right now, Professor, I would settle for seeing that you actually have the boy in your custody. The last time we spoke, the boy was not even in this state.” His voice never wavered from propriety, but his dark eyes flashed dangerously. Xavier swallowed nervously before standing.

“That I can do. If you’ll follow me, Dr. Essex.” He led the man through the hidden entrance in his study to the labs. “I’ll bring him out for you. Do you wish to question him?”

“Yes. I would like to speak to him in private.”

“As you wish.” Xavier worked the commands to open the doors. Scott watched carefully from the surveillance room. He watched every move and committed them to memory. Now all he had to do was wait. He really hated waiting.

Monet tried not to flinch away as Eric leaned towards her. She had been listening to his sob story about his poor lost daughter who had supposedly spoke from a phone in her residence. She knew the true story, and she was waiting for her butler to give the signal. After days of doing nothing except baby-sit Jean, Monet was looking forward to doing something useful. Especially if it got a man like Eric off the streets, away from decent people.

“Well, Eric, I can assure you that I know exactly where your daughter is,” Monet said brightly. She watched the disgruntlement from her using his first name slide off of his face. He could hardly contain his excitement.

“Where is she? Is she here?” He looked around furtively as if Jean would just happen to be passing through the open doorway.

“Yes, Gregory, lead him into the parlor,” M instructed her butler with a smile. Gregory looked smug as he led the police into the room.

Eric looked confused. “I don’t understand. Are you here to look for Jean? There is really no reason for your involvement. This young lady assures me that she knows where my stepdaughter is.” And there was no way in hell he wanted them talking to Jean. No way to tell what lies she would spew forth.

“Eric Lensherr, you are under arrest…” Eric stared in shock as the charges were read. He didn’t even see Jean peek into the room and watch from the doorway with a sad smile on her face.

He glared at Monet as he was led from the room in handcuffs. They would learn that they couldn’t mess with Eric Lensherr and get away with it. He was beginning to wish he had paid his lawyer, though.

Monet went to stand with Jean as they watched through the large windows as Eric was shoved into the back of the police car. He turned back and saw the girls watching him. His handsome face curved into a mask of hate that promised retribution. Jean shivered and turned away quickly.

Remy was pacing once again. He was never one to be still, and he couldn’t break the habit. Jono had stopped watching him. It made him dizzy.

“I need t’ get out of here. Even if it’s only for a little while.” He muttered under his breath. Xavier couldn’t have planned a more perfect prison if he had tried. Jono shook his head. He had long ago accepted that he would live between these four walls – fighting every chance he got.

“How long has it been?” That scared Remy more than anything else. There were no windows in the cell to judge the time of day. All they had were the electrical lights that turned on and off without warning. He lost count of how many times the lights went out. He didn’t know how long Jean had fended for herself. How long he had been wasting away.

Jono didn’t bother answering. Instead he dragged himself to his feet and motioned for Remy to get into position. They stepped through sparring paces with as much ease as the small space allowed. When Remy had suggested it days earlier, Jono had scoffed at the very idea, but since then, he had begun to look forward to the exercise. If nothing else, it helped break the monotony of life. And kept Remy from pacing.

“See, there he is,” Xavier said, his voice straining from keeping it neutral. Dr. Essex smiled at the screen.

“I see he still has fight in him. How long has he been there?” His eyes drank in every step Remy took.

“A few days. It’s that very fight that makes him so resilient against our methods. Still, I think there has been small progress.” Xavier thought he told that lie very well.

“I like the fight. Now that I’ve seen him, let us speak of other things. Tell me about the Legacy Virus.” Xavier stared at the other man, mouth working furiously with no sound coming out. “Yes, I know about the little project. How close to its inception?”

“We need to test it still,” Xavier said faintly. How did he know? Is he with the government?

“Hmm. Well, get the boy. I require five minutes alone with him.” Essex looked pointedly from Xavier to the door.

To his consternation, Xavier found himself rushing towards the cell to get Remy. He hoped that his plans weren’t going down the drain in front of his eyes. In spite of everything, he refused to admit he was beaten.

“Find anything interesting?” Marie asked, her arms crossed across her chest. She stared down at Kitty, who turned bright red at being caught.

“Uh, not really, to be honest,” Kitty mumbled, jumping away from Marie’s desk. She kept her eyes away from the other girl’s.

“Hmm. I was poking around Xavier’s computer. You ever been there?” Marie asked, ignoring the fact that she found Kitty snooping around her stuff. Thank God she was paranoid and took the time to wipe everything from her computer. The stack of hidden disks under a loose floorboard didn’t hurt either.

“A couple of times. What were you looking for?” Kitty was treading carefully. She knew that the Marie that she lived with would have wrestled her to the ground and beat her senseless. Or at least started yelling loud enough to be heard across the street. She must really have needed her help. However, Kitty knew not to push her luck.

“Just some codes for the outer doors. You never know when they could come in handy.” Kitty gave her a knowing look. “Show me.”

Kitty immediately took a seat in front of Marie’s computer and put on her best instructor voice.

Marie tried to pay attention, but in truth she found the computer stuff pretty dull. All she needed were the Master codes to override the existing programs, and Remy would be in her arms by nighttime. She blushed at such a girly thought and forced herself to focus.

Something was going to happen. Jean shivered as she stared out at the bright, sunny day. Her precognition took her by surprise. She knew that she needed to go. She pulled herself out of the third story window and began to climb down the trellis along the wall. She never opened her eyes, and she was never more grateful to feel solid ground beneath her feet. She quickly slipped through the gate and began to run.

Hank couldn’t stand it any longer. He knew what he was going to do about the whole situation, and if Xavier didn’t like it, well, that would be too bad. He suddenly left his chemistry class in the middle of his lecture, leaving the students to look around warily. He ran to the garage and jumped into the school’s jeep. There were a few things he needed before he could follow through with his plans.

Cece stared at the television, dreading what was going to be on the noon news. She was in her room, hoping against hope that Xavier would somehow miss the broadcast, that every single one of his contacts would miss it. She knew that was hoping for too much, so she simply closed the door and burrowed under her covers. Things couldn’t get any worse, surely.

Scott was staring at the lock on the containment cell. The thing was a masterpiece. He hoped that Marie was having more luck. He followed where the wirings must have followed through and found a small hole at the corner of the room.

“Remy?” he whispered, hoping against hope that it actually did end up inside the containment cell.

“’ello? Who’s is it?” Remy voice caught.

“It’s Scott. Are you okay?”

“Yeah. How’s Jeannie?” Remy was standing on the beds to reach the corner. He began to bounce up and down in anticipation.

“She’s safe. She’s with M.”

“Watch out for her. She’s on her way back here.”

“How do you know that?” Scott looked around quickly to make sure there wasn’t anybody in the room. He could have sworn he heard something by the door.

“Jus’ do. Get me the fuck out of here.”

“I’m trying. Hang in there for a little longer.”

There was silence and Scott figured that it would do for him to get caught talking to the wall. He ran back to his room and booted up his computer once again. He smiled as a flashing IM from Marie came on the screen.

unTouchable1: I got them! Check yr email.

Scott21896: excellent! I’m gonna go get R and take him somewhere safe. Be ready to leave.

unTouchable1: k. be careful. Bye.

Trish carefully arranged her hair so it hung just so down her back. She quivered with anger and seethed at her producer, who was glaring right back at her. She shuffled the papers in front of her and took a deep breath. The light came on, and an automatic smile appeared on her face. She took her cue and began.

“How does one identify the effects of mind control? To many people, the very idea is fictitious, but our investigative team has uncovered proof that it exists and it is poisoning the minds of America’s youth. Professor Charles Xavier of the Xavier Institute is the head of this appalling practice. He has his alum seek out the next generation of bright minds so he can take them and mold their minds to whatever he chooses. Then he proceeds to sell the children to the top bidder. Some of the agencies involved in this horrific act are within our very own government. The CIA and the FBI are among the Institutes top employers…” Trish ran through her story, putting her best effort forth. She held the nation transfixed and she reveled in the idea.

“There are reports of a Legacy Virus being produced in the underground labs of the Institute. There is not a lot of information available, but as we understand, the Legacy Virus is the brainchild of Institute professor, Henry McCoy. The government commissioned a biological weapon from McCoy…” By the time Trish was done with them, the Institute would have no credibility. Xavier would be the most reviled man in history. It was all in a day’s work. Trish smiled a little brighter. It always came back to the job.

Remy stared back angrily at the man standing in front of him. He could feel that the man was studying him carefully, and it made him tense up.

“Was your purpose at this school explained to you?” Essex asked, looking down at the glowering teen.

Remy didn’t answer. He realized that his time out of the cell would probably be longer if he cooperated, but there was something about the man that made his hackles rise. He met the piercing gaze quietly.

Essex’s mouth quirked into a queer sort of smile at his defiance. “Well, let me explain it to you then. After you ‘graduated’, you would have been sent to work for me. I have been following your progress since you were an apprentice in New Orleans. Have no doubt that you will be mine someday.”

Remy shivered despite himself. Like hell he would ever work for this man.

“I will be back to collect you, Remy LeBeau. Do not make me wait too long.” Essex swept grandly from the room.

Jean stopped when she was across the street from the school. It had taken her the better part of an hour to get back to the Institute. Now all she had to do was find the courage to walk back inside. And do what? She cursed silently. Any second now and Xavier would drag her back inside and lock her up forever. She looked up to where her room had been and saw a familiar face. Hoping that Marie would look down at her, Jean just stood still and concentrated on the girl in the window. She knew she didn’t come all the way across the bridge to get caught within five seconds of stepping on the campus.

Marie nodded to her and her head disappeared in the window. Thank God for a little bit of luck (or fate as Remy would insist). Jean was willing to believe in anything if it got them safely away from this mess. Don’t we deserve a little break? she wondered to herself. Marie slipped out the door and nonchalantly walked out of the gate.

“What are you doing here? Scott said you were living somewhere far from here,” Marie said, leading Jean around the corner and out of sight.

“I needed to come back. I’m sick and tired of being helpless. I’m sick of everyone taking care of me. Plus, someone else is after my brother,” Jean’s face darkened. “Why can’t people just leave us alone? We were fine on our own.” Well, mostly, she amended to herself.

“Now is not a good time for you to come back. Xavier stopped looking for you, but there’s a story on the news about the school coming out. Scott is worried that if we don’t get Remy out by the time the story comes out, then…” Marie trailed off.

“Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s get him out! How hard can it be?”

“We just got Xavier’s passwords and Scott is working on it as we speak. He’s going to be mad that you’re here, by the way.”

Jean shrugged. “I think I’m supposed to go inside. Can you get me in?”

Marie snorted. “Yeah, right. With all the cameras zooming around, I’m going to zap you inside with a snap of my fingers. But if you wanna come in, you can try it, I guess. You’re going to do it anyway.”

Jean beamed at her. “Yes, but I’ll feel better if you come with me.”

“She did what?!” Scott yelled into the phone. He felt a migraine coming on. A glance in the mirror showed a man who aged at least five years in the last month. Damn kids!

“I’m assuming she’s heading your way,” M said coolly, hiding her worry like a seasoned pro. Hiding her feelings was second nature to her. “She was pretty quiet after the police took Eric away.”

“It’s a shame he wasn’t castrated or something,” Scott muttered darkly. He kept glancing out the window. It didn’t seem to matter that he knew his window didn’t face the street.

“I wouldn’t lose hope of that. I’ve heard that they don’t like men who rape little girls in prison. Eric will get what’s coming to him. And if he doesn’t, well it won’t be the first time my father’s had to convince prison guards to turn the other way.” M paused. “Find her, Scott, and make sure they both get out of there or you will have to look over your shoulder until I get you!”

Scott stared at the phone after he heard the other end slam down. Well, fuck! he thought. He began to change plans as he jogged down the hall.

Cece took the codes that Scott handed to her in the hall, and shoved them into her jeans. Her palms were sweaty and he heart was racing. But she kept going. After all, this was in large part her fault. Scott was going to keep Xavier busy on the upper level, providing Cece enough time to get Remy and take him outside to the rental car parked around the corner. She asked what happened if anyone else found her wandering the lower levels, but Scott told her not to worry. Easy for him to say.

She took the elevator to the bottom and cautiously stepped out onto the hidden floor. So far so good. She checked the meticulous map that Scott provided her with and headed towards section 023.

Hank nearly slammed the jeep into the garage wall. He pulled out his supplies and raced back down to the labs, ignoring the surprised yells he left in his wake. On his way to his testing area, he checked the cameras to make sure that no one would interfere with his plans. Xavier was with Bobby, Ororo was in the greenhouse, and Scott was probably in his room. Perfect. He called up his testing program and set it to receive data. Then his fingers began flying over the keys. All he needed were the boys now. Whistling, he headed towards the containment area.

Marie and Jean crept in through the front door. And never even made it to the main staircase. It seemed that the media had jumped on the story immediately. And every single reporter in New York was crowded in the main entrance.

Xavier was smiling pleasantly at the reporters, telling them that the story was preposterous. He caught sight of Jean, and he stopped short and just stared. Everyone turned to see what he was staring at, but Jean and Marie were running down the hall. He took a step as if to go after them, but found himself unable to move in any direction.

“I’m sorry, what was your question?” His face darkened with anger, but he had to wait.

Cece’s fingers shook as she very deliberately punched in the characters on the alpha-numeric keypad. She could hear the noise above her head, and it made her even more nervous. She supposed that Xavier was pretty well out of the picture, but it was hard to concentrate.

She traced her lower lip with her tongue as the last three numbers were dutifully punched in. The hiss of the air lock seemed loud and made her jump. The look on the boys’ faces made her want to cry.

“Cece?” Remy said hesitantly, his voice rough. He stepped cautiously towards her, unsure of her intentions.

She quickly pulled him to her and held him tight. “Are you alright?” She put a hand to his forehead and looked into his eyes. “Come. Quickly.”

It was then that she became aware that Remy wasn’t alone. Damn Scott! He could have at least mentioned there was another boy.

“Isn’t this a surprise?” Remy and Cece whirled towards the voice. Hank was standing with his arms crossed, a maniacal look plastered across his face. “When I heard the news on the radio, I knew that there wasn’t any time. So I came down here as quickly as I could so I could test my little creation. After all, nobody knew the boys were still at the school.” He frowned to himself. “At least nobody was supposed to know.”

Jean sighed in frustration. They changed everything since the last time she had been down there. It was taking forever to get in. She knew that time was passing much too quickly.

“Hurry up, I think I hear voices getting closer!” Marie hissed. She was practically tugging on Jean’s arm.

“Almost there.” Jean stuck the tip of her tongue out the corner of her mouth as she concentrated on getting the door open without setting off the alarm. She sliced through the green wire and the red lights started flashing. “Shit!”

The girls tore through the open door and ran for the cell where Remy and Jono were being held. Marie’s head whipped around, trying to see everything without slowing down. She was amazed at what they held down here, unknown to everyone.

“Do you think the Master codes would have gotten us through that door?” she wondered out loud. The look Jean shot back at her made her shut up really fast. Oops.

The rounded the final corner and came to an abrupt halt. Circling the door were Cece, Hank, and the boys. None of them looked too happy.




“Marie?” Remy looked back and forth between the girls.

Jeannie threw herself at her brother and held him close. “If you ever get captured again, I will kill you myself!” Her actions belied her words as she held his face and searched him carefully, looking for any wounds.

He gently pushed her hands to her side and shoved her behind his back.

“Hey!” Jean peered up at him, her brow furrowed into a frown. Then she followed her gaze to where Xavier was standing. “Oh.” She quickly moved to stand besides Remy. Marie joined them on Remy’s other side.

“Well, it looks like we’ve got quite a party here,” Xavier said quietly. He had barely escaped the circus on the upper floor and he came down to take care of his problem. It seemed things were worse than he had anticipated.

Everyone was in motion at once. Xavier and Hank lunged towards Remy and Jono, Cece grabbed Jean, and Marie moved forward to intercept Xavier. Xavier grunted as Marie’s body slammed into him. They rolled into the wall and struggled with one another. Jono moved out of the way quickly and ran for the doors. Jean ran the other way to help Marie. Hank and Cece both moved forward, neither paying attention to the other. That was when all hell broke loose.

The vial that Hank still had clasped in his hands went sailing into the air as he and Cece bumped into each other. Cece didn’t notice and kept moving towards Remy. Hank stopped short and stared as the vial seemed to move in slow motion through the air and arc over their heads, heading into the cell.

Scott was screaming into the phone to the executives of WGBT. He checked his watch for what was surely the thousandth time before hanging up the phone. He knew that it wouldn’t do any good, but he couldn’t stand the fact that they cared for nothing more than the almighty dollar. It was too quiet. Scott realized that the reporters were silent, and that meant that Xavier was no longer tied up. And there had been no sign of Cece and Remy. Or Jean. With a deep sigh, he took off at a run towards to the labs.

Xavier shoved the two girls away from him and ran to the cell as quickly as he could. He slammed the door shut in Cece’s face and lunged to the computer control panel on the far wall.

Scott skidded to a halt just as the door slammed shut. He quickly took stock of who was where. And his heart stopped as he saw what Xavier was going to do.

“NO!!” He ran as fast as he could, but knew he was going to be too late. Xavier slammed his fist down on the final button. And took off full speed for the door.

Scott didn’t waste any time. He grabbed Marie and Jean by an arm and dragged them out of the labs. He shouted, “Keep moving! Head outside!” As he ran, he set off the fire alarm so that the rest of the students would evacuate.

There was only two minutes to get everyone out and away from the building when the explosion occurred. Xavier was using a last ditch effort to get rid of all of the evidence. He was destroying the labs in the quickest, most efficient way possible by setting off explosions in every single room in the lower level. Including the containment cell.

Everyone stared in shock as the building convulsed. Scott couldn’t tear his eyes away from the door, praying that Remy and Cece would suddenly appear. There was no huge display of the roof blowing off the top. There was no big evidence to the devastation below the school. Nothing to show that two innocents caught up in the school’s dark scheme were sacrificed.

Marie sank down to her knees as she watched the building rock back and forth, disbelief written across her face. Her mouth opened, but no words came out, her eyes squeezed shut, and tears streamed out. She cradled her head in her arms and rocked back and forth as grief racked through her body.

Jono couldn’t keep still. He was turning in circles, trying to look at as many things as possible. The bright sun burned his eyes, but he couldn’t make himself care. The sky was as blue as he remembered, the wind felt just as cool. He heard none of the commotion around him because he strained to hear the sounds of life. The birds, the cars, the wind. It was all so beautiful.

Kitty and Bobby watched solemnly as the noise crashed around them. Something big happened today, but they would never know completely. Kitty was hoping that her laptop would remain unscathed and Bobby hoped the cafeteria would be open as soon as possible. They shrugged their shoulders at each other.

“It’s probably an earthquake,” Kitty said slowly.

“In New York?” Bobby replied skeptically.

“Well, what then?”

Scott watched Jean worriedly. She stood as still as a statue, her gaze unblinking. Her brother, who he promised to get out safe and sound, was dead because he wasn’t fast enough. Because he was blind. Scott’s own heart hurt, his head filled with pain, with guilt. He couldn’t watch, yet couldn’t look away. Still, she didn’t shed a tear, she didn’t make a sound.


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