Death of a Dream
Chapter 8: First Blood
"Okay y'all, on your feet, let's move it out!"
Rogue shouted above the claxon alarm. "Creed, Summers,
gather the rest of the group and meet me down there!"
"What is it, sister?" asked her brother as he eagerly
scurried into the room.
"We got a break out in Cell Block-D," she replied,
never slowing her pace. "One of the transfers."
"Aha," he exclaimed, looking delighted as he rubbed
his long, spindly fingers together. "Then let the games
She lost sight of him as he hurried ahead of her, his form
blending into the shadows as if he were one of them. She thought
about taking to the air, figuring she could beat him there
if she flew, then remembered the tight, twisting confines
of the hallways beneath the main complex. She'd be more likely
to knock herself silly than make any good time, she thought.
Besides, it was a maze down there. If she didn't pay attention
to where she was going she could easily get lost for quite
a while. Gritting her teeth, she pushed her fast pace into
an all-out run, hoping she could get there before her brother
could find the prisoner. Remembering his glee over Wildchild,
she shuddered to think what might happen if he got there first.
-sqawk- "Rogue?" The voice was coming from her
wrist. "Rogue, do you copy? This is Summers. Me and the
crew are on our way." -sqawk-
Never slowing, she lifted the band to her mouth, pressing
the tiny 'talk' button with her free hand. "Copy that,
Summers. Get down here post-haste. Out."
God but it was nasty down here, she thought, unable to ignore
the mildewed stench that assailed her nostrils. A network
of pipes lined the low, darkened ceiling, fetid water steadily
dripping from them as she passed. But even the water couldn't
dull the scorching heat trapped beneath the complex. It must
be 100 degrees down here, she thought, wiping sweat from her
brow. It was like being trapped in a greenhouse...a neglected,
rotting, greenhouse. She didn't want to imagine the source
of the organic stench which reached her now, as she progressed
even lower into the detention area, ignoring the faint moans
of prisoners rising eerily through the still air. She paused
at the bottom of a narrow, metal stairwell to get her bearings,
wiping almost angrily at the sweat that was dripping into
her eyes at a steady pace. Where was he? she wondered. She
should be almost right on top of him by now...the escapee
couldn't have made it much further than E Block before he
had gotten there, at the rate they were moving. She stood
still as a statue in the hall, ears straining for any sound
through the darkness. She concentrated beyond the constant
sound of dripping water, the wailing moans that surrounded
her, searching for the faintest sound that might lead her
to him. But she knew, that if she heard him, it would already
be far too late.
She was running as fast as her legs could carry her through
the darkness. She knew she had no hope of getting out, not
in this maze, but she refused to die passively in her cell
like some kind of rabid animal. She went on, ignoring the
sharp pain in her side, the burning in her lungs, the fatigued
muscles in her legs, drawing strength from the string of curses
she whispered against her captors, damning their souls for
the magic dampening aura that kept freedom beyond her reach.
If I had enough for just one spell, she thought, the words
repeating themselves uselessly, over and over again in her
mind. Just one spell and I could be free. Instead, she would
die here on the filthy metal catwalks, thousands of miles
from the open lands of her home. Still, she thought, it was
a better to die fighting than waste away, forgotten, in the
bowels of this dingy base.
Was that light just ahead? she had time to wonder, just before
she slipped on a slick portion of the catwalk and fell roughly
to the floor. "Damn," she whispered, the sound of
her voice echoing mockingly through the pipes above her. Hissing
in pain, she reached down to gingerly touch her ankle, drawing
back as she felt the tender flesh already swelling. That's
it, then, I'm done, she thought. If the situation hadn't been
so desperate, she might even have laughed. Done in by the
infamous twisted ankle that had been the death of so many
heroines in books and movies throughout the ages. The irony
left a bitter taste in her mouth. Well, be damned if I'm giving
up now, she thought, determined to crawl out of here if she
She had barely risen to her feet when she heard a noise from
the darkness just ahead of her. Squinting her useless, human
eyes in the blackness, she held her breath, waiting for her
adversary to reveal themselves. Sweat trickled slowly down
her back, the seconds crawling by with agonizing slowness
as she imagined the nature of her enemy, the thrill he must
be getting from playing with her like this. Seconds slipped
into minutes, and still, the only sound she heard was the
pounding of her own heart in her ears. Had she imagined it?
she wondered, beginning to doubt her own senses at this point.
She didn't have to ponder long, when suddenly, a bright light
flared within the darkness. "Take a wrong turn, liebling?"
came a teasing voice from beyond the glare of the flashlight.
She couldn't see his face, but she didn't need to, she knew
that voice as well as she knew her own name.
Her heart seemed to swell within her chest, feeling hope
for the first time, even as disbelief filled her mind, wondering
how this could be. It didn't matter, she didn't even take
time to think about it as she pushed away from the railing,
throwing herself into his arms.
"Kurt. Oh God...Kurt," she hugged him tight, tears
of joy and relief streaming down her face.
"Shhh...take it easy, now, Amanda. I'm here...everything's
going to be alright," he soothed, running a hand as best
he could through her dirty, matted hair.
"Thank God," she said again, clutching him tight
and leaning up to kiss him soundly. She couldn't get enough
of him, the feel of him against her, the sense of peace and
safety that he gave her. "I've missed you so much, Kurt."
"And I've missed you, Amanda," he said softly,
nuzzling against her.
They stood, holding each other in silence for a long moment,
no words necessary after all the years they had known each
other. Amanda felt she knew his every thought, after all this
time, despite the last year and a half they had spent apart.
After all, what was a year and a half after a lifetime of
love between them?
"But...but how did you know?" she asked, pulling
back to look at him, still hardly daring to believe he was
real. "How did you know to find me here?"
His lips drew back into a broad smile, one not altogether
pleasant or comforting. For a moment, she doubted, hope dying
almost unborn within her chest. But this was Kurt, every sense
screamed that it was true, that he was really here. They had
grown up together for Gods sake, she reminded herself. She
trusted him with her very life.
"Lucky guess, liebling?" he chuckled. "Looks
like I showed up just in time, too."
"But...but how did you get in here? Didn't the guards...?"
Confused, she let her question trail off. It didn't matter
anyway, she decided. All that mattered was that they were
together again, and that he would help her get free of this
"My," he remarked, still smiling as he drew her
chin up to make her look at him. "You have been a prisoner
for some time, haven't you?"
Again, the confusion. "In Europe, for a year at least,
before they transferred me here." She shook her head,
trying to drive the conflicting thoughts from it. Why weren't
they leaving yet? Surely the guards, at least, would be after
her. But then, Kurt had come to rescue her, and he wouldn't
have done so without a plan. Besides, he could teleport them
out of here any time. Maybe all that time in a cell did more
damage than I believed, she thought. Imagine, mistrusting
Kurt! Even for a moment. It was unthinkable, she chided herself.
He was the most noble and honorable man she had ever known.
"Ah, my poor, Amanda...," he sighed, as if her
admission burdened him greatly, his voice growing deeper and
somehow more dramatic. "The thought of you dying alone
in some dank cell, without even a fighting chance...it breaks
If she hadn't been so delighted to see him, so swept away
with the thought of freedom finally within her grasp, she
might have noted the trace of sarcasm that laced his words.
"Best not to dwell on those thoughts, my dearest. What
does that matter, anyway, now that we're together again?"
she asked, her smile returning as she gazed up into his eyes.
"What do you say we get the hell out of here while the
getting is good?"
"Ah, liebling," he soothed, drawing her close again.
"Nein. I'm afraid there will be no escaping today. My
sister wouldn't like it."
She frowned, thinking she must have misunderstood him somehow.
Opening her mouth to ask him what he meant, she didn't even
have time to draw breath before the sword slipped between
her ribs and plunged deep into her heart. Even as she died,
wide-eyed and gasping for breath, she still couldn't believe
it. With her last fading thought, her mind struggled against
it, denying the truth before her eyes. They had to have tricked
her somehow, she thought frantically, as her vision began
to dim, clinging to that thought as though it were her lifeline.
"Aufweidershen, Jermaine," he said reverently,
twisting the sword in her chest. It was the last thing she
heard before the light in her eyes went out forever. And it
left no doubt in her mind that it was indeed, Kurt who had
killed her, for only he knew her by that name. Then she shuddered
and went still against him, blood draining from her body in
a slowly cooling pool. He held her that way for a moment,
like two lovers locked in an intimate embrace, bending to
kiss her still lips once, before throwing her body from the
railing. He stood, watching her fall, then smiled with satisfaction
as he heard the crunching halt of her body against the floor
below. Dusting off his hands, he turned and made his way back
down the catwalk, the sword held in his tail swinging back
and forth merrily with the jaunt in his step and in time with
the pleasant tune he began to whistle.
Rogue arrived just in time to see Amanda thrown from the
railing. Her stomach clenched, and she closed her eyes tightly,
trying to maintain a calm she didn't feel. She almost wished
Sabretooth and the others hadn't caught up to her and led
her here, following Nightcrawler's scent. She hadn't wanted
to see this, to be forced to realize how twisted her foster
brother had become under the influence of the Shadow King.
The Nightcrawler she remembered had abhorred the thought of
taking human life, any life for that matter...and yet, here
he was, not only taking human life, but relishing every moment
Oh, Kurt, she thought, if there were anything left inside
of the man you once were, you would have killed yourself long
"Ah, there you all are!" Nightcrawler smiled as
he sighted them. "The escapee has been attended to, dear
sister," he proclaimed with a sweeping bow.
"Ah see that," she replied, forcing herself to
speak the next words, as she knew it was expected of her.
"Good work, Kurt."
"Yeah, way to go, 'crawler," Sabretooth growled
approvingly from her side, an evil smile twisting his face.
"I could smell that frail from here. She never even saw
it coming, no trace of fear on her at all, 'til the very last."
"Well, as someone I once knew used to say, 'I'm the
best there is at what I do'." He grinned and bowed again,
looking altogether too pleased with himself.
Her stomach clenched again, more violently this time, and
she feared she might really become sick if she didn't get
out of here soon. Fighting for control, she took stock of
the faces around her. "All right, boys, lets wrap this
up and get back to work," Rogue spoke up, already turning
and making her way back toward the upper levels.
"Meet you there," Nightcrawler called, then was
gone in a bamf of smoke, leaving behind the acrid stench of
sulfur and brimstone.
Actually, Rogue mused, it smelled a hell of a lot better
than these tunnels did. She hurried her step, wanting to get
as far away from the prison block and Amanda's body as possible.
Kitty sat suddenly bolt upright in bed, blasting awake, sweat
pouring down her brow and a scream locked in the back of her
throat. It took her a moment to recognize her surroundings,
long enough for Piotr to wake and sit up in concern.
"Katya? Are you alright?"
"Bad dream," she managed to stutter out, still
too shaken to talk about it.
"Nightcrawler, again?" he asked quietly.
She burst into tears, then, and he pulled her tight against
him, letting her get it all out. He had begun to wonder, after
all this time, after so many nightmares, if she would ever
get over this. If Kurt had known the pain he still caused,
even now, would he take pride in it? Piotr wondered. Somehow,
he thought that their former friend probably would.
"Why, Piotr?" she sobbed, her whole body shuddering
against him. "Why did this have to happen to him?"
He shook his head and held her close, knowing that there
was no answer to the question, no matter how much both of
them wished there was.
Continued in Chapter
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