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"Taking Prisoners"

Taking Prisoners

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6

(This story is in progress.)

Disclaimer: The X-Men characters, the New Orlean's Theives and Assassin's Guilds, and all other recognizable characters are copyright to Marvel Entertainment Group. This work of FanFiction is not meant to impinge on that copyright or defame Marvel Comics or the X-Men and related characters in any way.
Copyright: This work of FanFiction is the intellectual property of K-NICE and her IRL persona. No copying, distributing or editing of this material is permitted without the express permission of the creator, K-Nice, under United States copyright law.
K-Nice, 1999

Taking Prisoners

Part 6

Rogue woke up, her eyes snapping open. Instead of the springs of the upper bunk, Rogue saw a plain white ceiling. Instead of the claustrophobic clawing of tangled cotton blankets, Rogue felt the warmth of a soft, thick comforter. A smile walked up her body, from her warm toes to her well-supported back to her crick-less neck and, dancing over her lips, settled in her eyes.

Rogue stretched out, letting her bones and muscles wake up to the joy of warmth and room. There was something so free about being able to decide when she would wake up and how, simple decisions that guards had taken from them back at the Center. The guards had taken a lot from them.

Watching the sunlight trickle across the ceiling, Rogue realized it had to be near midday. Slipping out of bed, she noticed the rest of the room for the first time. There was a wardrobe on wall, solid cherry if her guess was right. Curious about what other clothes she might find, Rogue opened the doors.

It was an arsenal--knives, swords, crossbows, guns. Black and silver covered every inch of the wooden cabinet. Steel glistened in the rays of daylight peaking through the boards. Rogue's pupils dilated. She couldn't wait to show Raven.

Raven watched Irene's careful preparations. It was a strange moment -- an improptu brunch on the run. Raven was surprised at the variety of food in the refridgerator -- most young people seemed to survive on sugared ceral and frozen fish sticks. Not that those weren't present, but they were surrounded by fresh artichoke and sourdough biscuits.

Irene made her way through the cabinets, gathering her ingredients and laying them out on the counter, all in utter, unforgiving silence. Raven observed her, grateful for her safety, joyous in the fact that she was alive and whole. After all the suffering, all the planning, they were finally free. Lounging at the dinette table, Raven was about to turn her attention to their next step when Irene finally turned her way.

Moving from the stove to slide three fried eggs into a serving dish, Irene allowed Raven to make eye-contact. Raven shifted from her caucasian form to stare at her with cat-yellow eyes. Irene stopped. "Ich bin leid tun, Reenie."

"Ja, du bist." There was no humor in Irene's blind eyes and Raven's mouth knotted up, uncertain as to how to take the statement. Irene went on, haltingly, as she served up toasted rolls with butter and jam. "I ... hope you know what you're doing. You're playing a dangerous game, Raven." Irene looked off toward the guest room, indicating their daughter, who appeared at the door on cue.

Walking into the kitchen, Rogue greeted them cheerily, cutting throught the tension. "Mornin' Raven, Mornin' Reenie." Rogue sate down, effectively ending the conversation.

Raven saw the tightness seep out of Irene. Apparently, with just a few words, she had said all that she need to say. As they ate, Raven considered those words carefully.

Remy paced the length of the practice area, watching Alex and Ro grapple. Alex was on the ground, stretch pants and a tank top the only thing between her and the hard wood, with Ro's hands in her hair, holding her down. Remy shook his head and checked the stop watch in the pocket of his soccer shorts. He drank some of his orange juice and started another circuit.

Lex was effectively trapped. That was the whole point of the exercise. Ro pressed down against her, her track pants whispering menancingly, and Remy could see tears of pain gathering in the corners of the young girl's eyes. The pair shifted and Ro rolled her eyes. "Do you give?"

Lex merely grunted and shifted again. Remy narrowed his eyes and stepped back as Ro was flipped over onto her back. Lex bounded up into a defensive posture, waiting for Ro's counter.

"Alright, that was good. But it's takin' you way too long to set your feet for tha throw. You should be dead right now. Let's do it again." Remy handed his glass to Ro, who sat cross legged on the floor to watch them.

Alex knelt and Remy grabbed her by the hair, holding her neck and shoulders down with the pressure on the nape of her neck. Ro was no longer irritated at the girl, who had apologized for her bratty behavior by making warm Grape-Nuts with fresh-fruit for breakfast. Of course, the child dumped three teaspoons of syrup into Remy's and half a stick of butter into her own, but Ro was content with the pretense of healthy eating and forgave the little twit. Ro sipped the juice and began to direct them. "Talk your way through it."

"Foot between his legs, shoulder dropped, arm braced, neck twist, throw -- Ow! Zut!" Alex collapsed on her elbows with both hands at that back of her head.

Remy pulled himself off the ground, a fist full of brown hair in each hand. "Better. Faster. But you have to be up and ready for de next t'ing."

Ro pipped in . "And quit with the defensive pose. When you get up, you have to get on the attack or you'll be stuck again before you can bat an eyelash." Ro slid over to her and rubbed the back of her neck. There were two patches of missing hair, but no bleeding, and the rest of Alex' thick mane covered it up rather nicely. Ro patted her and handed Remy his juice. They had been at it since 9:30 and 1:00 was slowly coming around.

When someone got hurt in training, it was a frustrating situation -- there was no one to be mad at, no apologies to give. They sat or stood in silence, except for Alex' wimpering and that stopped soon enough. Composing herself, the girl got into position again.

They drilled for the better part of the afternoon. Alex turned Ro head over heels and followed up with an elbow to the neck. At around 3 they had gained an audience and Rogue applauded her most successful throw of the day.

"Dat was good, petite." Remy bit into a cheesewurst and watched Raven's knowing smile turn disappointed.

Alex crumpled on the floor, rubbing her sore neck and shoulders. She was sure she had strained her trapezius a good hour ago. "Fin'ly. You gotta admit, I'm ready for any gun-totin' goon, any time, any where."

She froze as Raven began to chuckle and shot the older woman a dirty look. Ro leapt up from the floor, also bearing a quiet look of satisfaction. "What?"

"Petite, you still dead." Remy's wry grin got her ire up, but it was Ro who drove the point home.

"If your assailant had a gun, the second you twitched he would've turned that empty little head of your's into a cratered melon." Ro's cat-like eyes arched superiorly.

Remy reached out to rescue Alex' wounded pride. "But, if he had a knife, you woulda done okay." She smiled proudly and he helped her to her feet. "Still, you gotta learn when to fight and when to wait. Otherwise, you'll have a lot more holes in your head den you do now."

Raven watched with interest as the girl took the correction. There was a kind of finality in the way she said, "Okay, Rem," that left Raven sure she would never make that particular mistake again.

"So, can we go get my new compy today?" Alex darted a glance at the Sisterhood. There was something seriously wrong with those women, and that something was green and smelled like fresh ink.

Remy snorted and came to stand next to his girls. "Not likely, not after today's performance." He grinned but she wouldn't let it go.

Alex turned away and went into the bathroom. Over the sound of running water she called out, "Is there trouble with the contract?"

Raven's eyes narrowed. The kid was extremely savvy for a twelve-year old. "No, there is nothing wrong with the contract. In fact, I would like to add a little something." Rogue glanced at her mother, but Raven only had eyes for Remy.

Irene snorted, dropped a stitch and left it that way. Who knew there would be knitting supplies in a safe house? She let the visions come and Raven to dig the hole a little deeper. Irene knew that sometimes you had you get in over your head before you could get out.

"Really? What?" Ro spoke, but it was Remy's eyes that narrowed. The youthful pair looked like raptors, agile predators sighting a fresh kill. Remy's altruism flew out the boarded window. There were bills to pay and Guilds to appease. Any further effort on his part was going to demand a handsome reward.

"We need transportation out of the country. Our previous arrangement went up in smoke and we haven't much time before those tin cans are headed our way again." Raven shared his uncomfortable pause at the thought of their families at the mercy of the Sentinels.

Remy responded immediately. "Fine. Were are you going?"

"Germany." Irene interjected and Raven spun to look at her in askance.

"We gonna have to hammer out the price tag on dis thing before we take another step." The more Remy thought about Sentinels and the Center, the farther he wanted these women from his little clan. He wanted to put them on a plane and collect his fees and go back to protecting his girls.

"Once we get to Germany," Raven paused to looked at Irene again, "I'll have access to my accounts. I'll wire the rest of the money to your account."

"How about this: I'll go in Alex's room, get one of her markers and write "Stupid Idiot" on my forehead.' Remy smirked most infuriatingly. "Come on, chere, you gotta do betta den dat."

Raven decided to try honesty. It was as good a ploy as any other. "No, I can't. The Center took everything when they grabbed us. I have no assets in the U.S. There are some foreign bank accounts I could try, but I'd rather not give them that kind of information."

Remy sighed and made the mistake of considering their plight, against Ro's better judgment.

Rogue pulled Raven aside and spoke in hushed tones. "Ah thought we were going to Madripoor. Ah thought we were gonna come back for the others. What happened to that?"

Raven's self-preservation instinct and her trust in Irene's intuition warred with her honor and ethics. She wouldn't abandon her cellmates. Not to be experimented on and raped and beaten for the pleasure of some power hungry human scum. "We'll deal with that later."

"You'll deal with it now. Remy says this place is bad news and I believe him." Ro's cool exterior was in place. She would brook no argument, and was not the least bit perturbed about eavesdropping. "To get to Germany you would have to fly cross country to New York and then cross the Atlantic." She turned to Rogue, nodding. "Getting to Madripoor from here requires one stop, Hong Kong."

"And by den you have the Pacific Ocean between you and de tin men." Alex emerged from the bathroom, wrapped in a towel and minding grown people's business. Raven nodded and the girl looked at her brother. "Three tix to Madripoor coming right up."

Remy sighed. He wasn't about to let them travel alone, still weakened and weaponless. He also wasn't going to let his payment fade into nothing with them in another country. A terrorist's words was not her bond, at least as far as he had seen. "Four."

"Right. Quoi la carte de crédit? Et combien de devez j'acheter?" Alex looked at Raven then back at Remy. She took orders from one person and she wanted to make that clear.

"William . . . Parini." Remy sighed and continued. "And use Priceline if you can. De cheaper de betta. I'm gonna get some ID's together. Ro, can you get 'em geared up?" Raven was surprised when he opened the door what looked like a functioning dark room. The girl slunk back towards her bedroom.

"Remy, Lex, make that five. I need out of these four walls." Remy shrugged and Ro began to lead them away.

"You mean six, right, 'cause I'm not stayin' in here by myself!" Alex flounced away to get dressed and log on and Remy was already sealing his door.

Ro lead them to the large closet again. "You need to create and identity and fast so we finish the IDs. You," she looked at Raven, "can probably get by on your powers, but you two need wigs and make-up, not to mention clothes. Let's get to work."

Rogue watched as Ro grabbed a short black wig from a stand and settled it on her head. With the ease of long practice, Ro took a hair-tint brush, much like a tube of mascara, and ran it through her eyebrows. It took Irene grabbing her arm for Rogue to start looking for her own things.

Raven was fascinated by their transformations. What came so easily to her through her powers was being done with powder and padding and push-ups. It was simply remarkable the things they risked their lives on.


To be continued.


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