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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 3

“So, is your brother joining us?” Kitty asked innocently, glancing at Jean sideways as they walked toward the recreation area. There were a lot of kids heading in that direction, and just as many heading towards the gym and library. They were given the hours following dinner to do what they wanted. As long as they stayed on the school grounds, that is.

Jean shrugged and followed Kitty into the game room. There was a little of everything in the massive room. A bowling alley, video games, skee ball, air hockey, batting cages, and of course pool tables were spread out making the room look cluttered, yet organized at the same time. Logan and Scott had an intense game of pool going on that had drawn quite a crowd. Jean and Kitty slowly pushed their way to the front, as Kitty had absolutely no problem with walking through people. Jean watched fascinated at her first view of the game.

Both men talked amiably enough throughout the game, but there was an undercurrent of tension and menace in their tones. And their eyes were hard and cold. Logan was studying the table carefully while Scott tapped his foot impatiently.

“Hey, Red, give me little room here,” Logan said, frowning at Jean as he tried to back up to get a closer look. His eyes burned into hers for just a split second, but it was enough to send Jean scrambling as far away as possible while still being able to catch the action.

Almost by magic, the table turned into a grid before Jean’s eyes as she concentrated. Lines sprouting from the balls zigzagged across the table disappearing into the corner and side holes. She easily ignored everyone around her as she immersed herself in the geometry of the game. As the older men played, Jean watched as the balls followed the lines, which elicited cheers, or veered off. Once the special white ball came to a stop, the lines redrew themselves. She was mesmerized.

The balls quickly disappeared from the table and Jean was brought back to the real world as a thunderous applause filled the room. Logan had sunk the eight ball in the side pocket. His grin to Scott closely resembled a sneer. Scott’s own smile was frozen in place as he congratulated Logan. Students began to wander to other areas of the room or start up their own games.

“Hey, Jean! You wanna play?” Bobby looked predatory as he held out the pool cue to her. “Have you played before?”

Jean slowly walked toward the table, thinking furiously. If she refused, what would they think? If she accepted and won, would that be good? Pure desire won out as she accepted the cue. “I don’t know the rules exactly.”

“I’ll help her,” Scott announced, leaning against the wall. Logan smirked as he plopped himself into a chair nearby. Scott ignored him and turned to Jean to explain the basics. “This is how you hold the cue…”

Jean absorbed the knowledge and got ready to play. Please don’t let me make a complete fool of myself!

“Game on!” Jubilee yelled, her voice easily carrying into the next room. She was sitting next to Logan, smacking her gum and talking a mile a minute. Logan seemed to endure the chatting resignedly. A smaller group of students reassembled to watch.

Jean nervously moved to the head of the table to break. Scott readjusted her grip and Jean hit the white ball straight on, hard. The balls at the other end barely broke formation.

Bobby gave her a superior grin as he quickly dropped the red and orange balls into the corner pockets. Jean watched him carefully. He had only two more balls on the table before Jean got another chance to play.

She breathed deeply as the table once again shimmered into the grid she created while watching the men play earlier. Setting up an easy shot for the purple striped ball to go straight in, she concentrated on guiding the cue along the invisible line in her mind. The ball clicked as it disappeared into the pocket. She was oblivious to the people around her. She didn’t hear Kitty cheer or Scott clap. She didn’t feel Logan’s stony stare, or hear Bobby muttering to himself. Ball after ball found its way into the pockets around the table.

When the eight ball sank into the corner pocket, Jean smiled and the table became just a table again. Kitty ran to her and threw her arms around her neck. Marie was laughing, telling her how great it was to finally see Bobby lose. Jean gave nodded and pushed her way through the crowd. Too many people made her nervous.

“Nice job, Jeannie,” Remy said, appearing out of nowhere. His tone was amused, but Jean could tell that he wasn’t very happy with her. He was still in his working clothes, a tight black T-shirt and black cargo pants. A small duffle bag was slung over his shoulder.

“Going somewhere, LeBeau?” Bobby said, not able to keep the bitterness from his voice. Remy ignored him and pulled Jean aside. “This is for you. M sends her regards. Fully loaded, just for you Jeannie.”

He looked proud as Jean ran her hand over the slim machine. The laptop was less than an inch thick and less than ten pounds. She moved over to an armchair and started it up. Time to see what this baby can do! she thought excitedly. As the computer revved up, she beamed at Remy, who ruffled her hair. She couldn’t even work up irritation from the action that he used often to remind her that she was his baby sister.

Remy smiled to himself as he pulled out a battered copy of Dante’s Inferno and settled down on a rug by the fire. Taped to the bottom of page eighty were two computer chips with a map of each one on the next page. He was memorizing them. Jean looked at the computer’s capacity and she was playing around with the security. In an hour, no one except her would be able to access it.

“That’s a pretty nice computer you got for Jean,” Logan said, standing directly in front of

Remy. “One would wonder how a homeless kid could get his hands on something like that.”

Remy didn’t even look up. “T’ese hands could get anyt’ing. Y’ jus’ have t’ know where t’ go.”

“Interesting stunt you pulled today, kid. The others might think that you’re harmless, but not me. I know better, and if I find you where you don’t belong, I will end you.” Logan stared down at him until Remy looked up. He grimaced slightly as he realized that Logan meant every word.

Once Logan disappeared, Remy found that he couldn’t concentrate on circuits anymore. What are they hiding? he thought, his eyes drifting towards Jean. Their eyes met, their expressions identical. Grim. Worried. Determined.

“We managed to keep up with our classes pretty well,” Jean said, studying her schedule. She was lying on her stomach on her bed. A forest green comforter covered it with two fluffy pillows covered in cream at the head. Her desk was bare except for the laptop and a snapshot of her and Remy from the carnival last year. English, history, dance, self-defense, biology and calculus. Shouldn’t be too difficult.

“Uh huh,” was Remy’s articulate reply. He was staring out of the window watching Marie lay out on the grass to study. He told himself he didn’t notice the way the sun shone off her hair, the way her foot arched like a dancer’s, the way…

“Are you listening to me? What are you looking at?” Jean bounded across the room and tried to look over his shoulder.

“Nothin’. Quit messing with me!” He turned and gave her a fierce frown. She ignored him and pushed him out of her way.

“Oh, I see. Marie.” Jean made a face. It wasn’t that she didn’t like the girl. She didn’t like Remy liking her. “She’s kinda quiet. The kind of person who has a lot of secrets. Someone to be wary of.”

“Like us, you mean? I understand you perfectly. I’m not going to fall for her. I’m not going to trust her. I remember the last time just as well as you. I was just looking.” Remy stalked off, shooting her a cold look that lost some of its edge with the pout on his lips.

Jean stared after him. She hoped it wasn’t too late already. She didn’t understand it. She didn’t go falling in love with every attractive man. She knew how dangerous men were. She knew they only brought pain and humiliation. She knew that she couldn’t trust any of them except her brother.

Marie looked up at her then and smiled and waved. Jean turned away.

“This is self-defense. You will be expected to work hard in this class. I need a volunteer.” Logan eyed his class. The boys looked away, trying to avoid eye contact at all costs. Except the new kid. He stared right back, a smirk on his lips.

“LeBeau, front and center!” Remy glided forward, unperturbed. “You’re going to be our example today.”

Remy caught the innuendo and shed his coat, suddenly alert. As soon as he turned around, Logan leapt at him, his leg kicking out to catch him in the chest. Remy dropped to the floor, avoiding the blow and quickly rolled out of the way. He lost sight of where Logan was, but knew staying down would get him nowhere. He pulled himself to his feet just in time for the blow to his stomach. Logan’s fist felt as if it were made of brick. The pain coiled through his system.

“You see, class, you must always be aware. Always know where your opponent is and don’t get out of one trouble just to run headfirst into another. Pay attention!” Logan yelled, watching Remy gasp for breath. He took his eye off of Remy for a split second to make sure the boys were listening. A foot slammed into his ribcage.

“Why you fucking little…”

“Never assume y’r opponent is down. I learned t’at one on my own,” Remy rasped, circling Logan cautiously. As the older man quickly gathered his wits, Remy felt a sinking feeling. He was overpowered. Although Remy had a height advantage, Logan’s entire body was pure muscle. Every 250 pounds of it. Too late to think of that now.

They moved fluidly, Remy blocking every offense Logan offered up. Remy’s quicker reflexes were letting him avoid the very serious attacks by the skin of his teeth. As Logan’s blows rained down, Remy never broke concentration, meeting them with his arm, his leg, anything to keep him from harm’s way. The audience ceased to exist for the two men. Logan’s self-assured grin turned to a grimace. Remy had picked up some moves on the streets that knocked the older man off balance. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to keep Remy in the fight.

“Whatcha doin’, kid? Come here and play,” Logan snarled. His advance was angling to trap Remy in the corner.

“Anytime, ol’ man,” Remy hissed, at the same time moaning to himself from the pain. He could no longer feel his arms. He considered that a good thing as he was sure that the feeling wouldn’t be pleasant. Logan’s demeanor changed in that instant. This was no longer a game. He pulled all stops and his fist shot out. And caught Remy in the side of he head.

Logan watched unemotionally as Remy crumpled to the ground like a puppet with its strings cut. As he stared at the prone body, the rage ebbed.

“Somebody call Hank. Class dismissed.”

Jean stared at her brother, so lifeless, so still. They tried to explain to her what happened, but she had stared straight through them as soon as she heard Remy was hurt. They were supposed to finally be safe. They were supposed to be able to be normal for once.

Remy was never so still. Even in sleep, he tossed and turned, mumbling and talking as if he couldn’t live enough when awake. Somebody was going to be sorry they hurt her brother. She finally understood the cold rages Remy went into when someone hurt her. She understood that somebody had to pay.

It had taken a temper tantrum to get in. They weren’t going to let her see him, the fools. She climbed into the bed beside him and hugged him close. He was her strength, her protector. She would never let him hurt again. The constant whirring of the machines monitoring him lulled her to sleep. She picked up his hand before nodding off.

“You fucking idiot! Do you know how hard it was to get them here? That boy is no good to me in a coma!” Xavier rubbed his temples in an attempt to ward off the inevitable headache. “As soon as he gets up, he’s going to pack up his sister and leave. This cannot be allowed to happen under any circumstances!”

Logan turned his glare to the tabletop. Of all the people he had ever known, Xavier was the only one who could intimidate him. He hated that.

“I’ll fix it,” Logan said softly. Ororo averted her eyes from him. Scott looked vaguely amused.

“How? There’s nothing binding them here. And the kid was in our system today. It’s dangerous,” Scott said softly. He frowned slightly at the conflicting emotions. He felt an obligation to keep them here for the Cause. It was what he dedicated his life to. There was another feeling, though. One that wanted to help them run like hell. He quickly got that desire under control and tried to concentrate on containing the problem.

“I know why they were on the streets in the first place. They were running for their stepfather. I, uh, figured out who it was last week. Erik Lensherr.” Xavier’s eyes lit up.

“Excellent. We’ll use him as a last resort. Logan, you will stay away from them. You’ll be taking a leave of absence for the incident. And for not reporting this information to me immediately. You will be working the lower levels and taking care of section 023.” A look of disgust crossed Logan’s face before he managed to smooth it into bored indifference. “The rest of you, keep them happy!”

They all filed out of the war room. Xavier keeping Logan behind to discuss future plans.

Scott went straight to the medical center and looked in on the kids. Remy hadn’t moved, his heart and breath steady. Ugly bruises covered the left portion of his face and his arms. Swaddled in white, he looked younger than sixteen. He looked innocent. And helpless. Jean was curled up beside him in the crook of his arm. Her eyes were staring off into space, pain clearly written across her face. Scott turned away. He couldn’t let himself care. There were more important things. All he had to do was remember what they were.

Jean was aware of Scott’s presence. As soon as he turned, she looked to where he was standing watching thoughtfully. Who to trust, if anyone? Sighing, she looked back at Remy. Deeper than sleep, farther than reality.

Wake up, Rem. Please! Something is very wrong here. He didn’t seem to hear her prayer. She squeezed his hand, buried her head into the pillow and finally let the tears fall.


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