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20 September 2006 @ 02:27 am
You've Got To Go There To Come Back - Chapter 16  
So sorry about the long absence! I hope you enjoy the next installment, and be assured, this story is definitely still continuing!

Title: You've Got To Go There To Come Back
Author: sleepall_day
Rating: PG-13.
Timeline: Directly after Alcatraz events of X3.
Summary: After the fight at Alcatraz, Pyro is found and brought back to Xavier's mansion. For his criminal actions he has been given house arrest at Xavier's School and he must learn to adjust.
Author's Note: This is my all-time first fic, and lovethiscity was only recently created purely to post it. As I'm a new writer, I'd appreciate any comments, feedback, suggestions, or Aaron Stanfords that you would care to throw at me.

Disclaimer: I don't own X-Men or any Marvel characters. This is just for fun. Any resemblances you find to actual people, living or dead, shows that you have strange friends.



Chapter 16: "You have an eye for these things."

“I told you it wasn’t a gun,” Wolverine was saying. He and Cyclops had scuffled the entire way up the stairs to raid the safe that the staff kept Payton’s confiscated things in, and I could hear them coming back downstairs. Still arguing, of course.

“You never said that. You just said it wasn’t a Glock,” Cyclops grumbled, but he looked a little defeated.

Storm, Hank, and a bunch of the other students and I were still in the office when they returned, since it had only taken them a couple of minutes. Wolverine and Cyclops managed to get to the door at nearly the same time, but Wolverine shoved him out of the way just fast enough to squeeze inside first. Cyclops shot him an indignant look through his sunglasses.

“Like I said. Not a gun,” Wolverine insisted, triumphantly handing it to Hank McCoy, who plucked his glasses out of his suit pocket.

It was still a gun-like object, though. Wolverine gave it to Hank already opened, so that we could all see the tiny needles lined up inside of it.

“Oh, my stars,” Hank muttered. He had to work a little bit in order to pick one of them up with his paw-like hands, but when he did, he held it up to his face and peered at it. Of course, by this time, everyone was crowded around him.

Hank put down the small vial quickly and announced to the room, probably in an attempt to get some people to stop crowding in on him, “It’s a powder. If this is indeed the virus, then the crystalline form is allowing the Friends of Humanity a great advantage in concealing it. It looks like it could be any number of drugs found on the street.”

There was a very short, hushed silence before the room broke out into a chorus of “Wait, wait!” and “Let me see!”

Wolverine was muttering to himself quietly, “Don’t anyone tell Morph,” since that gun had been confiscated from someone who had been at the book talk. Wolverine had gone kind of pale, which I only noticed because I was standing right next to him. Everyone else was trying to get a look at the vials inside the gun.

“I’m afraid we will have to hang on to this until we have more information,” Hank answered, backing away a little bit. “For now please leave us to sort together as many of the facts as possible,” which I thought was just a nice way of saying, “Get the hell out, you guys!” It’s what I would have said. But then again, he’s the diplomat, not me.

No one listened, of course. I mean, I was still sitting there, too. I walked around the room so I could get away from Bobby, who was switching off between trying to get a glimpse at the vials and giving me dirty looks. So I found Kitty, who was listening again with Storm to the phone call. I gave her a tap on the shoulder. “We are in possession of the New Legacy Virus. It will be unleashed into the general population if you do not step down from this fight,” said the distorted voice again.

Kitty and Storm were already in a conversation with each other, but I wanted to talk to Kitty, so I wiggled myself into it. Kitty was saying, “…and, if they do go through with it and release the virus into the population, they don’t have much to lose because it’d reveal who the mutants are, which is good for them…”

“I don’t think they want it to come to that quite yet, Kitty. It’s leverage, is what it is,” Storm replied. “Which they’ll need plenty of, when they’re dealing with us,” she finished firmly.

Pretty soon all of the adults in the room were trying to shoo the rest of us out, and we had no choice but to leave. Of course, everyone was chattering amongst themselves about the virus, and it was definitely the topic of discussion during lunch that day. I had no peace and quiet to myself during lunch – I was proud and a little smug; it was a new dish I was trying from Jean’s cookbook – but for once, I didn’t mind so much. If I started feeling awkward I would just talk to Kitty.

I like to call our staff “short-handed,” these days, since it’s such an understatement that it makes Storm glare at me reproachfully. It’s probably one of the reasons though that she doesn’t seem to mind me poking my nose into their business every now and then. Like when I heard from Kitty just a day later that there was to be a teleconference right there in the mansion. I practically rubbed my hands together with glee – the X-Men usually leave when dealing with the government, and now I’d get a chance to try to listen in on what was going on. To think, just a couple days ago I was starting to feel like nothing ever happens around here.

The day of the supposed attack by the Friends of Humanity was when the staff was holding their teleconference. Everyone was looking a little jittery, but it was classes as usual. People were wondering why we weren’t evacuated or that any action had been taken, but several of us were planning on trying to find out from the meeting. As it turned out, I definitely was not allowed inside the conference room, which was one of the few rooms of the mansion that contained a huge viewscreen. But Kitty and I, along with a few other curious students like Warren, Bobby and Rogue, hung around outside until it was over.

“What’s going on?” I whispered, frustrated. “Kitty, try to hear what they’re saying.”

She gave me an annoyed look, and whispered, “How?” even though I bet she could’ve come up with plenty of ways. She just didn’t want to get in trouble – I had to laugh to myself at that. There were lots of things about her that hadn’t changed since I was a student at Xavier’s.

I kneeled on the floor, taking her with me, grabbed her shoulders and turned her head towards the wall. “Try not to look suspicious,” I snickered. Kitty didn’t even protest, and phased the side of her head through the wall, near the floor. Kitty jerked back unexpectedly though, and stood back up.

“Who put a bookcase there?!” she said angrily, as though it were completely irresponsible to put a bookcase next to the wall. She kneeled back down though, and it was quite a sight to see. Her head was all the way through the wall, probably just barely poking through the stacks of books, and I wanted so much to laugh at her but I had to keep quiet.

After about five minutes had passed, Kitty scooted out backwards, prompting me to laugh and say, “Crab.”

But Kitty didn’t even chide me for it, and instead grabbed me while pulling herself up, and said in a hushed whisper to everyone, “Hey guys, let’s get out of here, they’re coming out!”

It was a close call. Right as we all got up to leave I could hear chairs scraping across the floor, and I was one of the last ones to get away so I could even hear Hank’s voice, saying, “I hope I’m not late for my appointment.” I’m sure someone must’ve caught a glimpse of Warren’s wings or something.

We all scurried down the stairs as quietly as a pack of students could, with Kitty at the head of the bunch, so we ended up following her all the way to her room as she said, “Come with me, you guys!”

“You’re not going to believe this,” she said, as soon as she caught her breath and the door of her room was closed. It was me, Warren, Bobby, Rogue, and Shirtless Wonder. I mean, Peter. Believe me, I almost gave us all away trying not to laugh at the big guy scuttling down the stairs.

“This doctor from the New York Health Unit was in the conference with them. They just finished testing the stuff from the gun that our staff sent to their lab. It’s definitely the virus, they said, and it’s a strain of the Legacy Virus.” Everyone groaned or made appropriate noises of apprehension.

“What else did that doctor say, though?” Bobby demanded.

Kitty shook her head, and looked like she was in disbelief. “I remember it word for word. He said… It’s been weaponized. It’s a strain of the Legacy Virus that has been altered so that it’s weaponized, and no longer kills just mutants.”

Kitty didn’t have to say any more for us to be able to guess the virus’s new target. We all knew.

“They’ve changed the structure of the virus so that it kills mutants and humans. Basically everybody,” Kitty said in a flat voice.

“What does this mean, though, weaponized?” Peter asked. “The Legacy Virus has already been engineered to kill. What other changes?”

Good question, I thought to myself. Kitty had an answer for that, too, though. “It means that this New Legacy Virus kills its victims within about half a day. As opposed to days,” she said, emphasizing the s. “Or weeks.”

Bobby let out a slow whistle, and for the benefit of anyone who didn’t already know (who was he kidding?) he said, “The other virus was a really slow-acting one.”

I couldn’t help it. I knew I was the one who said we had to quit picking fights with each other, but, “Thanks, Drake. We’re lucky to have you – just in case one of us was living under a rock while the endless news reports were pouring in at the time.”

He gave me a really dirty look, so I added with a smirk, “Just in case.”

I really do not believe that there’s a good comeback for what I’d just said to him, so he just continued to look annoyed and shook his head.

“What about the attack?” Warren reminded us.

Kitty looked a little more hopeful, and said, “Oh, yeah. It wasn’t just the Health Unit that they were conferencing with. There was some intelligence work being done at the Department of Mutant Affairs for the past couple of days, and there was a representative from there.”

All of us looked at her, interested. “Well, so, the woman said that there was some strong suggestion that today is the day, but no chatter that the school was the intended target.”

“Chatta?” Rogue asked.

Bobby, who was already holding her around the waist, clutched her a little more tightly and explained, “It’s what they call any kind of information they overhear, or whatever, when they’re monitoring known terrorists.”

Rogue nodded, until Warren added, “Because, a lot of information is found out through tapped conversations – like chatting – therefore, chatter.”

By then, Rogue and Kitty were both giving the two boys funny looks. I was standing off to the side as usual, arms crossed, and casually put in by way of explanation, “They watch a lot of TV.”

Kitty gave a knowing look like she was agreeing, and then continued, “So, anyway, the rep said that they picked up plenty of chatter about some other place – HIIB? Something like that?” She looked a little confused at the last statement. I didn’t know what it meant either.

Some of the other students looked a little confused too, but Rogue had the answer to that one. “HIIB stands for Humanistic Inquiries Instructional Building. Kahnda like a community centah for group meetin’s and things like that, and it’s pretty known for housin’ a lot of mutant-friendly activity. So I would say it’s not an unusual tahget.” The rest of us nodded. “That’s where they were havin’ a couple of info sessions for the mutant cure,” she quietly added.

Kitty quickly added, “Yeah, so, that’s why we’re still here. They couldn’t see a reason to evacuate. They just mentioned this point a little quickly, because I guess our staff already knew about this. They had to have, otherwise we would’ve probably all been moved off the campus.”

All of us were startled suddenly then, when we could hear some faint shouting from down the hall. Some of the kids got up and peered out of the door. It was Wolverine. He was trying to scare Payton again, hoping to get more details about the attack. The students I was hanging out with in Kitty’s room just exchanged some glances, not wanting to get in the way of Wolverine when he was pissed.

Peter said, “They look like they’re done… maybe this means they have their information?”

When it was decided that the students were definitely not going to be in the know about things, we dispersed. Whatever the staff found out from Payton, they weren’t talking. That is, until the actual attack happened. No one was ready for it. Every student who had been there when Kitty eavesdropped was completely bewildered – we thought we’d been prepared for it. Didn’t the staff know that this was going to happen?

Only an hour or so after the meeting in Kitty’s room, everyone at Xavier’s mansion was running around in pandemonium. It was absolute chaos. If I ever write a book about my house arrest at Xavier’s School, I’m calling this chapter Racket, Ruckus, and Uproar.

Not only was everyone shouting, every TV in the mansion was tuned in to the news, which kept on showing footage from HIIB, which was a smoking wreck. It had been bombed, and it was definitely still a big deal even though no one had been killed. There were a few injuries, though.

Kitty was trailing after Storm repeating things like, “Why didn’t anybody do anything about this? Shouldn’t someone have known about it? Why didn’t anybody do something?!” over and over again.

A few people were trying to make phone calls to see if anyone they knew had been hurt. And of course, some members of the staff were arguing with each other. And by “some members of the staff” I generally mean Cyclops and Wolverine.

So?!” Wolverine was shouting. “Nobody ever said intel was one hundred percent!”

“Well, I didn’t see you doing anything about it! In fact, you were agreeing with the rest of us that the most discreet way to do this was to have security arrive later!” Cyclops retorted. If that were the case, I couldn’t help but side with him.

Amazingly, amidst the panic, some people were trying to calm some others down, so I decided to step in. “Well… Logan,” I tried to jump in. “If that’s true you really have to just let it go.”

Wrong move. “Is that right?” he growled in a low voice. I gulped. I thought he was going to pummel me, but all he said was, “You’re not the one in charge of administrative decisions, bub.”

“Okay, okay,” Storm shouted. “Let’s just all sit down and talk this over, everyone.” No one paid attention. Kids were still chattering and running around. Storm was getting frustrated, especially since she was trying to calm down her colleagues too.

“Everyone!” she finally boomed, and with her arms outstretched, a way too cold breeze swirled around the living room. That finally slowed things down. People stopped in their tracks to stare at her, and Storm heaved a big sigh. She said, “Let’s all sit down, now.” We obeyed.

When everyone had settled, Storm exchanged a look with Wolverine and Cyclops, who seemed to give her the okay to take the lead and talk to us. “Now,” she started slowly. The TV behind her was still blaring. “There’s a lot of blame being tossed around right now.” She looked around to make sure we were still listening. “All right. Now, a lot of you are wondering why we, or anyone else, didn’t send any help or security to HIIB. Since the attack has already happened, we’re more willing to share this information with you. Yes, we did know that there was going to be an attack, but multiple sources, including Payton, whom you know we’ve been holding at the school, indicated a three-thirty PM target time. Intelligence from the government also verified this. Payton already told us the attack would be today at three-thirty, several days ago, and today we just confirmed it from him again.” That must’ve been what the shouting had been about earlier.

A bunch of kids looked at various timepieces. I shot a glance at the grandfather clock. It was now two-thirty. The attack on HIIB had been at two PM. So, apparently, Kitty had missed out eavesdropping on one of the most important parts of the conference.

Cyclops, who was looking a lot calmer than Wolverine, spoke next. “We did plan on sending help. But it was scheduled to go out a little later, closer to the target time, so that we wouldn’t arouse any suspicion.” Most of the kids seemed to accept this. “There’s nothing more we can really do about this now, but it’s fortunate that no one was hurt.”

The students that had gathered in the living room started to talk all at once. I spoke up, meeting Cyclops’s glance – I hoped, since you can’t really tell with those sunglasses – and said, “So what about the three-thirty PM attack?”

“What do you mean? It was misinformation,” he answered.

Suddenly people were paying attention to our conversation. “You sure about that?” I asked. “Sure it was misinformation?”

“Of course,” he assured us calmly. “The terrorists did a good job of covering up their real target time so no one could be there to prevent it.”

I then met Warren’s eye. I knew he was thinking about the same thing that I was – the overheard chatter. I let him talk. He said, “Was there any intel about a two o’clock attack?” I smiled a little bit to myself. He had straightened up and looked like he was trying to be professional-sounding.

Cyclops, Storm, and Wolverine all looked at each other. Wolverine finally admitted, “No. Nothing.”

I could tell Cyclops had been feeling left behind as a leader. He stood up and again tried to sound reassuring. “We all need to try to calm down. It’s over, and we’ll be working with the local authorities to catch these terrorists. In the meantime, you students shouldn’t have to worry about a thing.”

Some people followed him and stood up to leave, but not everyone seemed completely convinced that everything was going to be all right. I certainly wasn’t. Warren looked at me again. He waited until a lot of people were gone, and then came over to me. “What do you think’s going on?”

I shrugged at him. “What are you asking me for like I know?” I replied, sounding a little jerky.

Warren didn’t really notice, though. “You just seem to. You have an eye for these things. Can’t you figure this one out?” he asked, ruffling his wings nervously.

“Are you kidding?” I barked. “Come on, man, the DMA must’ve made a mistake, is all,” I said, even though I wasn’t sure of that.

Unfortunately, Warren could tell. He just put his hands on my shoulders and said, “Come onnn.”

“All right, I think something’s going on,” I said in mock annoyance, throwing his hands off. “But so what? Nothing we can do.”

We wasted a little time milling around and talking until Warren finally said, “I’m gonna ask Jason Payton,” gritting his teeth in determination.

I was about to say something like, “Oh no you don’t, you’ll just get in trouble,” but stopped myself when I realized that I, the one under house arrest, would get in trouble. Warren would probably get a talking-to. I snickered and instead said, “Go ahead. I’ll be right behind you but I’m not talking.” He understood, and the two of us raced up the stairs.

“What’s the three-thirty attack?” Warren said immediately when we entered the room. We could actually walk into the room, because Payton was held in a separated area inside and in the chaos someone had forgotten to lock the outer door.

Amazingly, Payton responded. After staring at Warren’s wings, of course. “Attack? Already happened, didn’t it?” he said, with a satisfied smirk. I realized it was probably easy for him to hear that it had happened, since practically everyone in the entire mansion was shouting about it.

“You know that’s not what I mean. What are you guys really planning to attack?”

“Today?” Payton asked innocently. “Told you. Already happened.”

“You said three-thirty, didn’t you? Not two o’clock,” Warren pressed.

“Must’ve made a mistake in the appointments. Nothing more.” He was still smirking.

Why did that sound so familiar? Oh, God. Someone said something about appointments earlier. What was today? The fifteenth? I had been clicking my lighter, but stopped just then. “Hey Warren…” I interrupted.

“What?”

“Is today the fifteenth?”

“Sixteenth,” he said.

I must’ve looked like an idiot, because I was just staring at him with my mouth open a little bit. “I got it. I got it. Come on,” I said, yanking on his sleeve and pulling him back out of the room.

“What? What?!” Warren kept demanding.

I waited until we found an empty spot in the hallway. I don’t know why. Maybe I didn’t want to cause another uproar. “I think we all should’ve been asking who they were going to attack. Not what.”

A look of realization came across Warren’s face. “I signed up for that thing!” he gasped. “That is today! Hank McCoy’s speaking at a public forum today!”

I nodded so fast I probably looked like a squirrel, and said, “Yeah, I know, I know, it was in the newsletter from Storm weeks ago. But I remember the date because she sent it out so early so she kept on sending out reminders.”

“Oh my God!” he shouted, and took off like a shot down the hallway.

“Wait!” I yelled, and chased after him. I looked a clock as I jumped down the stairs. It was three-forty. “Damn it,” I muttered.

“Storm? Storm?” Warren was saying in a panic, as he approached her in her office. He was totally a mess. He couldn’t come up with anything to say, so he just repeated parts of our conversation. “I signed up for – Hank, Hank’s speech thing! Who, not what. They’re still attacking!”

Storm was giving him the weirdest look ever, but she also looked concerned. I tried to help him out, so I said, “I think it’s true. I think they’re after Hank.”

Kitty never got in trouble for being in Storm’s office, and she was there now. She practically screamed, “Hank?! Oh my God, no! Can someone get there in time?!”

Wolverine scoffed. He didn’t seem worried in the least, and said, “Is everyone forgetting that Hank is a mutant just like the rest of us? The boy can take care of himself.”

“Uh, I hate to doubt Papa Smurf here, but shouldn’t we do something?” I suggested.

Storm was still looking troubled, and so was Cyclops, but Cyclops was still trying to look put together, so he said, “Of course we should. And Logan’s right. Hank’s fine. No one will put a hand on him. He can take care of himself. But just in case, we’ll send someone over right away.”

Storm said quietly, “I hope we’re just getting worked up over nothing. We’ll make sure there’s extra security.” Then, a little louder, “I think it’s best if you left us to our work,” indicating us students. We had no choice but to leave.

We may as well have not even left the hallway, though, because only a couple of minutes has passed when Bobby came running up to Kitty, Warren, and me in the living room and said quickly, “Guys, you should come over here.” He led us back to the main office but everyone was too curious to complain.

Storm was holding the phone and the dial tone could be heard. And the flushed color that she always got when she was excited about something was gone from her face. The office, where a small crowd had gathered, was suddenly quiet.

Everyone was just looking at each other without saying a word until Storm finally broke the silence by saying, “Hank McCoy’s just been shot in the neck.”

Wolverine immediately exploded at her. “What did you have to go and say that for?!” Kitty was looking absolutely stricken, and grabbed my hand in fright. I probably had some form of “I told you so” plastered on my face. Wolverine continued with slight sarcasm, “Yes, he’s been shot, but it was with a tranquilizer.”

Instantly there was a collective sigh of relief and everyone broke out into a hubbub. I could hear phrases like, “But Hank can dodge anything!” (Bobby) and “It’s true, he can!” (Jubilee) and “I thought you said he could take care of himself!” (Warren) and “Oh my God, thank God he wasn’t shot for real!” (Kitty) being thrown around.

I approached Storm. All I could say was, “How the hell…?”

With a grim smile, Wolverine answered, “In the only possible way anybody could shoot him. He was sniped.”

Chapters: 1 and 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 , 13, 14, 15
 
 
 
lux_apollo on September 23rd, 2006 12:34 pm (UTC)
No, no no no! I love Hank. I'm just jaded and believe that nothing simple ever happens in X-men stuff... Especially to poor Hank!
Iris: pyro - feversleepall_day on September 23rd, 2006 04:19 pm (UTC)
OH, haha! I know what you mean ;) Especially when it comes to death. (And with regards to THAT you should check out this short little flash animation.)
lux_apollo on September 23rd, 2006 06:04 pm (UTC)
OMG.

*dies laughing*

Thanks for the rec.