DISCLAIMER: I'm in a really awful
mood, so I figure to take it out by killing two challenges
with one stone. Which two challenges will become clear as
you read, I imagine. Telling you which will spoil the surprise,
so you'll just have to wait. The characters all belong to
Marvel and I doubt they'd appreciate what I did with 'em,
but I made no profit off them, so oh well. There's some icky
violence and one (1) curseword in the story that follows.
ARCHIVE: If you have Carte Blanche, go right ahead.
If not, please ask.
FEEDBACK: Usual applies: no flames.
Logan and Kit sat, side by side, waiting by the bed. Logan's
breaths were almost timed with the mechanical rhythm of the
respirator attached to the patient lying unconscious beside
The Canadian hadn't moved since Psylocke had returned to
the house, charges in tow. She hadn't been able to explain
much -- only that something had tugged at the corner of her
Undercloak, summoning her into shadow -- and to the aid of
a fellow X-Man. She had apologized profusely for being so
late, blamed herself. She had been certain if she had only
heard the call sooner she might have helped -- prevented the
situation that had unfolded into this desolate waiting game.
Kit, out of loyalty -- and perhaps a tiny fragment of guilt
from her childhood -- sat across the bed from her mentor.
Logan meant everything to her; what hurt him, hurt her. And
she too loved the man lying in the infirmary, his life now
measured out by the electronic blip and hum of cardiac monitors
Ororo appeared in the doorway, wraithlike and solemn. Her
eyes told that she had gotten perhaps a little more sleep
than Kit and Logan themselves. "I have brought you some
soup," she breathed, setting the tray down on the table
at the end of the bed.
Kit nodded gratefully without saying a word, and sipped at
the mug. Logan left his untouched. At his sides, his hands
opened and closed, clenching into fists of rage -- rage for
which there was no direction. Helpless rage. Frustrated rage.
Ororo sighed, and shook her head. "Kitty, please, see
if you can persuade Logan to eat something."
Kit nodded, hazel eyes shining with tears she had thus far
been successful in fighting back. "I'll try," she
Satisfied, for the moment, the windrider turned and padded
down the hall with one mug left in her hands.
All was silence in the room again for several moments, until
the soft sussuration of rubber wheels on polished linoleum
interrupted -- heralding the arrival of Charles Xavier.
"Professor," Kit whispered.
"Professor," Logan echoed, sparing the founder
of the X-Men the briefest of glances. It was the clearest
indicator yet of Logan's mental distress that there was no
sarcastic murmur of "Chuck" or "Charley."
"Can you find out what happened?" Kit asked, scooting
back in her chair so the wheelchair could approach.
"It is my intention to attempt just that, Katherine,"
Charles said softly, lifting his hands and closing his eyes.
"Any enemy that could do this is one we must take care
"And rip apart," Logan added, almost inaudibly.
He placed his fingers to the sides of the patient's head.
Blue-skinned eyelids twitched slightly, as if in silent recognition.
There was a faint flicker-glow around the professor's head
as his telepathy activated and gently, gently, sought ingress
to the mind of the fallen X-man.
~Carefully, now,~ Charles told himself, armoring himself
astrally against the shock and pain that buffeted against
his mental shields from the moment of telepathic contact.
~I must be careful, to peel away the layers of shock and
trauma, to get to the memory of the events beneath.~
When Kurt and Rogue had decided to take a vacation together
-- to "catch up," as it were, on their brother-sister
activities, the X-Men, in the main, had been thrilled. Scott,
predictably, had encouraged it, though the doing so had been
painful to him. He and his brother Alex had never had the
chance to bury the hatchet and mend their tumultuous relationship
before he had died.
Jean, too, had encouraged it -- since she and her sister
had not been close since their Atlantean adventure.
Kurt, with his usual adventurous spirit, had promised his
sister Rogue a glorious vacation, fraught with wine, men,
and song. Rogue, ever the workaholic, had been reluctant to
go. It had, of course, been Gambit who had convinced her,
promising that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and that
he would love and miss her all the more when she returned.
Kurt and Rogue had packed their bags, leaving their X-Men
uniforms home. Kurt had scored them tickets for a week in
Hawaii, after pulling a few favours of his erstwhile girlfriend,
Amanda Sefton. They were flying standby, but neither one of
them was willing to complain for a week of fun in the sun.
Hawaii was also one of the most tolerant states in the USA
- having the most relaxed laws against discrimination -- including
that against mutants. It turned out that Remy had had a little
vacation bungalow there, and that Logan knew several of the
best restaurants from Oahu to Waikiki and back again.
Hank had volunteered to drive them to JFK Airport in New
York. Kurt, with his image inducer set so he looked like a
cross between Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks, was courtly and elegant
as ever when he escorted Rogue aboard the plane.
~"First time in a while ah've flown in a plane,"
Rogue had confided in Kurt. She hid a nervous smile behind
her Foster Grants.~
"You're stunning," Kurt had assured her with a
rakish smile over the tops of his own RayBans. "Sit back,
relax, enjoy the flight, and hope they're not showing Ishtar
as the in-flight movie."
Rogue had laughed, something which she didn't do often. They'd
buckled in with CD players, books, and pillows, and leaned
back to enjoy their first class flight accommodations.
"Doin' this like regular folks was the best idea,"
Rogue conceded about halfway through the trip.
"But of course," Kurt agreed, wriggling in the
chair slightly. The size 15 sneakers were still cramping his
three-toed feet, and his tail was used to moving as it would,
not being constrained down the leg of his Levi's.
Hours later, on debarking from the plane at Oahu, Kurt availed
himself enthusiastically of the greetings by the Hawaiians.
He soon found himself draped in leis and lipstick prints covering
his face. Rogue, on the other hand, had to feign a cold, to
avoid the kisses from the equally handsome young Hawaiian
There was no trouble for them hailing a cab, but they found
their first crimp in their plans as they discovered the last
hurricane to come through had washed Remy's little bungalow
into the Pacific.
Kurt took Rogue aside, cheerfully making the old joke, "One
thing about the X-Men, liebchen -- you can generally see where
Rogue had laughed in spite of herself.
Half an hour later, they were returning to the city proper,
the way they had come -- and were checking into the Five Star
Hilton Oahu hotel.
Xavier mopped at his brow briefly, and shook his head to
Kit and Logan, indicating no, he had not found anything yet.
"Their vacation proceeded normally," Charles murmured,
keeping his voice respectfully low. Then, taking another deep
breath, he returned to Kurt Wagner's mind.
The Luau that evening was a festival that both of them had
a good time in. Better still, there were the occasional obvious
mutants on the island, so Kurt went native as well, discarding
the image inducer and wriggling his toes in the white sandy
By the end of the first night, Rogue had learned to hula,
and Kurt had taken up juggling apples and flaming torches,
to the delight of the other tourists.
They danced at the hotel's club until closing at 4 a.m, then
reluctantly made their way back to their suite.
~What went wrong?~ Charles demanded to himself, gently
pushing aside the curtains of filmy memories. He stepped in
deeper, astral form glowing bluely, softly, as he moved deeper
into Nightcrawler's memories.
Sleep came easily to them both, in their adjacent hotel rooms.
Kurt curled around his pillow, hugging it like a teddy bear.
Rogue, on the occasion Kurt checked on her; slept restlessly
-- legs kicking free the covers -- but nonetheless when they
woke for breakfast, they both were in high spirits.
Their relaxation was to be short lived. Charles had almost
given up on finding anything, when Rogue sat bolt upright
in their breakfast lounge. "Kurt -- somethin's gonna
"Don't be silly," Kurt responded. "We're in
paradise. What could possibly go wrong?"
"Dunno,"Rogue had answered, frowning. "But
my seventh sense just went off, an' that's never a good sign,
Kurt shrugged, resigned to their idyllic little getaway being
ruined -- and it happened.
The rumble started slow and small at first, rattling the
glasses on their trays and the silver in their drawers. Kurt
watched with fascination as his water glass sent the liquid
rippling. The rumble grew louder, came closer, until Rogue
and Nightcrawler could see the earth rippling before them
through the picture windows.
"Down, liebchen, NOW!" Kurt snapped, diving
across the table to knock Rogue to the ground. Rogue had only
time for a protest of indignity before Kurt had the tablecloth
around her to protect himself and lay atop her as the hotel
shook from the first high-level earthquake the island had
had in over a century.
Around them, less level-headed tourists panicked. Kurt gave
not a second thought, leaping to teleport people out of harm's
way as chandeliers and decorative concrete columns came crashing
to the floor around him.
Rogue, not to be outdone, also scrambled from beneath the
table, snatching people to safety and airlifting them out
of the collapsing hotel.
They watched, with the wry amusement X-Men find in destruction
-- as the hotel fell in on itself in a cloud of dust...and
left a crater in its wake that led to a series of underground
tunnels -- honeycombed like a giant beehive.
Kurt turned to Rogue, meeting her eyes. He could see it in
her eyes -- she too recognized the uneven insectoid patterning
of the subterranean tunnel network. The Brood. "Well,
so much for our vacation," Kurt said flippantly, and
dove into the crater. "We'd best make sure to get all
the survivors out before the Queen gets them for snacks."
Rogue didn't need to be told twice. She followed Kurt without
a second thought or a word.
There was no way for Kurt to be of much help until Rogue
could clear a pathway through the rubble -- blind teleports
were something Kurt did only in a dire emergency, and even
then, he was loathe to do them.
"Just like old times, ja?" Kurt joked, nimbly clambering
over the rubble, listening for the calls of the injured. Working
together, the pair of them freed a handful of survivors from
the wreckage, before moving deeper into the caves.
The tremors and rumbling motions of the earth did not surcease
as the two of them made their way slowly through the dark,
breathing, moist warmth of the tunnel. Rather, they got louder.
And the tremors became worse, the deeper they dared into the
"Zum teufel!" Kurt breathed, crossing himself.
They were in the birthing creche chamber. Embryonic Brood-implanted
humans were spread out like the eggs in Aliens. Napping
in a state that indicated they were at least partially transformed
into Brood were the creche guards -- two mercenary types Logan
had called Bloodscream and Roughhouse.
Kurt chose Bloodscream, multi-porting him around the birthing
room until he fell, exhausted and retching. For his own part,
Kurt barely was able to stand -- blood streamed like sweat
from his pores, and he had just teleported multiple times
with an unwilling companion.
Rogue, on the other hand, had no problem wading in against
Roughhouse. She cheerfully swung him by his feet, into the
others of his kind, breaking backs, puncturing eyes, and snapping
off deadly stingers with each pass.
The tremors continued unabated -- rhythmic. "Somebody's
doing that intentionally," Rogue declared, and flew off
down the tunnel, leaving a weakened Kurt to follow as best
There was only darkness and swearing under his breath in
Kurt's native German available to Charles for some moments,
as he continued to wend his way carefully through the gossamer
shreds of Nightcrawler's memories.
By the time Nightcrawler had caught up with Rogue, she was
fully engaged in battle with the latest incarnation of the
Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Or, more accurately, alongside
The Blob and Avalanche stood back to back, pounding away
at the floor of the tunnel, causing dirt and stone to fall
from above, blocking the way into this chamber.
Pyro, faltering and weak in the throes of Legacy, still put
up a good fight, incinerating the Brood whenever they came
The Toad lay dead on the ground, his legs dissolved from
where a mighty leap had cracked the skull of a Brood -- causing
it to bleed caustic blood on him. He had apparently gone into
shock and died. But his charred legs were still smoking.
The Mimic stood back to back with Post -- the former using
his optic blasts and telekinesis to keep back the advancing
Broodlings trying to attack from another chamber. The latter
fired at the dozen or so actively in the chamber with them.
Kurt froze, availing his natural talent for fading into obscurity
in the shadows. There was nothing he could do in this fight,
sickened and weakened as he was from dealing with the Bloodscream
Broodling. He could only watch as Rogue assisted the Brotherhood,
throwing enormous boulders at the Broodlings, or kicking them
with her hightops.
It was obvious to Kurt that this small band of them was soon
to be overwhelmed. There were too many Broodlings, and the
island itself was shaking worse and worse by the disruptions
Blob and Avalanche were causing. Kurt could smell sulfur --
and not his own brimstone odor. The tunnels were opening up
vents in the earth. ~And Hawaii is a volcanic Island!~
Fear souring in his mouth, adrenaline rushing to speed
his heart, Kurt Wagner climbed the wall and made his way across
the ceiling. "Rogue! Achtung! Rogue!"
"Ah'm a tad bit busy right this second, 'Crawler,"
Rogue replied, tossing boulders like baseballs.
"Ja, I see. But if we don't get out of here and get
this stopped, right away, Diamond Head is going to erupt again.
Look!" Blue fingers pointed toward the steaming fissures
in the earth all around the chamber.
"Damn," Rogue swore, nodding her understanding.
It was, of course, too late.
Avalanche released one more shockwave, burying a phalanx
of Brood drones -- and releasing the first oozing waves of
Rogue wound her arm around Kurt's waist. "Hang on, sugar.
We gotta jet too if we want out of here."
Kurt wound his arms around his foster sister's neck and clung
for dear life, following Blob, Post and Mimic as they headed
out the only remaining unobstructed tunnel.
Screams echoed back up the stone walls, indicating to the
two X-Men that the Brotherhood had fallen to the last of the
Broodlings in the tunnel sector.
"What're we gonna do?" Rogue demanded. "If
ah punch us a way out here, ah could collapse the tunnel on
Kurt nodded, gravely. "I could ... try a teleport...but
it would be dangerous," he whispered, swiping his forearm
across his face. The sleeve of his Hawaiian shirt came away
blood rusty-red, indicating he hadn't quite recovered from
Bloodscream's touch. "Uncertain how ... far below ground
... we are now."
Rogue nodded her understanding, and hovered uncomfortably
as the chittering in the tunnels indicated the Broodlings
were trying to force their way in. The tunnel the Brotherhood
had used to flee had already filled with roiling, white-orange
lava. Broodlings screamed as the lava seeped beneath and through
the rock, burning them alive.
"Don't see as how we have much choice, sugar,"
Rogue whispered gravely. "Let's do it."
Kurt brushed away the last traces of blood from over his
eyes, nodded, and teleported with Rogue holding his hand.
Charles realized here was likely where Kurt's teleportation
signalled somehow to Psylocke's -- perhaps some umbral relationship
due to their shadowy abilities.
Rogue didn't even have time -- or the chance -- to scream.
When the black brimstone-smoke disappeared from Kurt's teleport,
she was revealed to him -- dead. He had warned of the inherent
danger, and it had come to pass. Rogue had materialized with
her head partly inside one of the broken, mirrored walls of
the hotel lobby. She hung there, frozen, like a kid playing
with her own reflection.
Kurt himself was no better. He let go of Rogue's hand, looking
down to see what had caused the odd, cold sensation in his
legs. To his horror, a broken piece of metal from one of the
hotel's gaudy fountains had been where he had materialized.
It had lodged at his spine and jutted through him, as though
he had fallen on the sword of a giant. His backbone and ribs
jutted out of a body that was already weakened from blood
The shock set in almost instantaneously.
Charles Xavier's eyes swum with tears now that he had finally
dived deep enough to discover what had transpired with Nightcrawler
"It was an accident."
Kurt's eyes fluttered open at the words spoken by the mansion's
mentor. "Herr Professor..." Kurt croaked weakly.
"Shush, fuzzy elf," Kit murmured softly, putting
a finger to his lips. "You need your rest."
"Nein," Kurt struggled to shake his head. "I
... must ... know...how...bad..."
Logan squeezed his friend's hand. "When Betts brought
you two back, she got Petey, Scotty, Bobby, Maggott an' Lockheed
t' go finish makin' sure the nest was taken out. You did good."
"And...and Rogue? M-My sister?" Kurt rasped.
"She was already dead when you got here," Logan
replied solemnly. "Doubt the girl felt a thing. Died
instantly, near's I can tell."
Kurt closed his eyes and tears slipped from beneath the blue
lids. His lips moved silently, mouthing a prayer. Then, after
some effort, he opened his yellow eyes again. "How ...
Logan, Kit, and the Professor exchanged an uneasy look between
them. "There is no lying to you about this, Kurt,"
the Professor finally said with the gravest of expressions.
"Your misfired teleport resulted in both lungs being
punctured and your spine being severed. You will recover from
the former, although you may contract traumatic asthma. However
"How...ever...?" Kurt echoed, gasping for breath
from the tension in the room.
Charles looked away.
"You will never walk again."
Down-Home Charm / Fan-Fiction /
Fan Artwork / History Books /
Photo Album / Songbank /
Miscellania / Links /
Legalese: Rogue, the X-Men, and the distinctive likenesses thereof
are Trademarks of Marvel Characters, Inc. and are used without permission. This is an
unofficial fansite, and is not sponsored, licensed or approved by