Charles Xavier sat in his large office staring at the computer screen thoughtfully. He clicked the mouse and rubbed his jaw at what was staring at him on the screen, Oliver Adam’s mutant’s records.
‘How could so many of them have existed with me knowing?’ Charles sighed and began to scroll.
‘Oliver, what were you thinking?’ He felt a swell of pity for the files that were listed in front of him. They were simply labeled, ‘FAILED PROJECTS’ and listed mutant names as well as given names.
‘There must be hundreds,’ he thought to himself and pulled up another menu looking for more hopeful mutants that might have been left. Willows sad face floated through his mind and he remember the services for her. He looked at his hands folded.
Yes, there was as little bloodshed as he could imagine. All of his X-men, his family and some new mutants were safe and sound but it didn’t make his brother’s death any easier or Willow’s.
He forced himself to push forward through the program and he noticed a familiar name.
‘Deanna,’ the name had floated through his mind in Oliver’s labs and certainly she had played an active role somehow. He had also heard Jump mention the name in passing to Justice but Xavier didn’t miss the angry look Jump had carried when she mentioned her name. Then he noticed ‘Deanna’ again and again.
There were other scientists and doctors and surely she was one of them. Xavier sipped his tea thoughtfully and made a slight face at the decrease in the tea’s temperature.
‘Lucky? Rat? Minnie? Kodiak? Link?’ his mind jumped as he read a few of the mutant names that had been successful. Xavier scoffed as he stared at one names, ‘A leprechaun?’ he stifled a laugh.
Scott eyed Justice and Gambit making there back in. He raised an eyebrow at Justice expectantly.
“Want to explain what that was about?” Scott crossed his arms.
“It’s his sister back off, Scott,” Justice said in a low voice to allow Gambit some privacy. Justice knew how Gambit felt he had been separated and torn from family before. Then he looked around and only found Gambit and Bonsai peering at them from around the corner. “Maybe you can tell me where Chloe is?”
Scott looked around wordlessly looking for Jump and sighed, “I hope she isn’t in trouble.”
Warren followed Chloe silently down the halls hoping she wouldn’t spot him.
‘She is looking for something,’ Warren thought to himself. He watched Jump moved straight down the longest hall and she didn’t give the rooms bearing charts a second glance but moved to the door at the end of the hall. She hesitated as she approached the door and took a minute to just stand there as if gathering her thoughts.
Warren spied the lock on the door and realized he wouldn’t be able to follow her unless he appealed to her. He began to run towards her hoping to catch her attention.
“Jump wait up,’ he called to her and she turned suddenly like a child caught in a cookie jar. Then she dove through the door leaving Warren to stare after her.
He realized the lock and door looked like they were made of the same materials as Wolverine’s claws.
Warren turned with a sighed and ran for help. Who knew what trouble Jump could get into or get them into while they were there.
“Lost your wife already, kid,” Logan grunted with a cocky grin. He was sure Chloe wouldn’t do anything to endanger them.
Justice was slowly losing his own patience. “Try me,” he taunted him.
Logan began to move towards Justice but was cut short by Warren’s sudden appearance.
Warren stopped a moment to catch his breath to speak but Justice took the liberty to read his mind.
Justice’s eyes widened with wonder and knocked Scott and Logan out of his way as he began to put on his speed.
Logan took a breath and began to follow his brother in law back to the narrow halls. He took a deep breath to follow the scent he knew was Justices and began to pick up the pace. He could hear foot steps from behind and hoped Chloe still had enough wits behind her not to do anything dumb. She was one the last he would have thought that would let anger cloud her judgement or do something rash and he hoped he was right.
Justice found the door and knew he didn’t have long to find Chloe before Logan would be on top of them.
‘Why was she acting so crazy?’ Justice shook his head and ripped the lock from the door and stepped in slowly letting his eyes adjust to the dimmer light. He wished for a minute he had Logan’s eyesight and began to fumble for a light switch and found it quickly.
Once the he could see the room clearly he realized the cold steel table and the surgical trays and realized this was an operating room. He noticed something very similar to the tank they knew Logan had occupied. Justice walked about gingerly wondering how Chloe would know about this and what they did here. He noticed another door and cautiously made his way. He looked past the broken test tubes and flasks that were closer to this new door wondering what their destruction meant.
He lost his patience and pushed the door lock and all crumbled under Justice’s strength and he looked at the next room he found. There was computer, a filing cabinet and a chair but what caught his attention was the small adjoining room and the glow that came from it.
He stepped past the threshold only to find Chloe looking about the room frantically.
“Chloe?” Justice said quietly.
Jump turned to him with hurt eyes that took Justice back a little and he wished once again he could hold and comfort her. Still she said nothing but looked around the room as if the room would answer all his questions.
“Where are we? This was never part of Dad’s old house.” Justice began to take in the room quickly. It held a bed, a simple night-stand, a dresser and many piles of books on a small table. ‘A bed room?’ He began to fumble through the books and found them medical books beyond his knowledge and he was a little intrigued.
“Yes, Justice this was part of your father’s home too. He didn’t become callous over night.” She looked at the bed pointedly. “This is one of the rooms he used for his scientists.”
“What about the other lab? Is that where these mutations took place?” He gestured over his shoulder to the direction of the lab.
“Yes,” She said as she began to walk out. “There should be other rooms too.”
“Wait, Chloe,” Justice said quickly. He was tired of being in the dark. “Who was here and why did you run here? Breaking away from the team could be dangerous.”
“Justice this is where Deanna stayed,” Jump said simply and offered no other explanation before she left the room quickly. Justice was following her so closely that he almost past right through her but the sounds of on coming footsteps reminded him this wasn’t to be a personal mission.
“Chloe where did the other scientists stay?” Justice urged her to tell him before the others were upon them but by the time they made it back to the floor where he had found broken flasks Wolverine was staring at them intensely. Scott, Gambit and Warren held at the threshold to the lab but Bonsai wouldn’t come in and stayed outside with a spooked expression.
Wolverine didn’t mask his anger and Justice knew this was bringing on more memories of the experiments. “What is this place, Casper?” Logan growled at Jump.
She stood her ground and faced Logan, “I think you truly know Logan but this isn’t the exact one you were in.” Chloe walked to the giant flask that held fluid, “but it is very similar.”
“What game are you playing Chloe?” Wolverine was losing his temper and looming menacingly near Jump.
“What can you do Logan when you can’t hit me?” She laughed lightly, “Relax, it had nothing to do with you.”
“You were looking for Deanna?” Justice asked her quickly and Scott raised an eyebrow at Chloe.
“We work as a team Chloe,” Scott scolded her in a low voice.
Gambit walked around with a grim look looking through the shattered remains on desks and pushing his staff through the broken debris on the ground. He shook his head solemnly and understood why Chloe had been so adamant about getting away now.
“I am NOT an Xman,” Chloe said firmly.
“You came with us as a group,” Scott crossed his arms and stared at her, “Are there more?”
She nodded wordlessly knowing he was right and that it could have waited but her desire to find Deanna was very strong. “In the rooms” Chloe said slowly, “If they still live”
The rest turned to leave but Jump lingered along with Justice and Logan.
Justice caught her eye, “We will find this scientist.” But she kept her eyes traveling the room.
“C’mon,” Logan said gruffly as if he had shaken the bad memories and was trying to focus. “Scents old anyway.” He walked to the door but didn’t turn his head as he aimed his last comment to the couple in a low growl, “Well find ‘em.”
Beast found himself quite taken with the little man who stood high above Alex and Beast on a shelve watching them work on Rayne.
“I wish we had brought Aramis,” Alex gave beast a coy smile. “We could use an exact diagnosis.”
“You are doing fine Alex,” Beast assured her as she kept on with her task of bandaging one of Rayne’s wounds.
“She’s not a doctor now is she?” Dominick called from his tiny perch.
Beast did not look up but continued his work, “How did you come to this conclusion sir?”
“Dominick, I am Dominick.” He said quickly.
Alex laughed undaunted, “Well, Dominick how do you know I am not a doctor?” She glanced up at the little man quickly but continued.
“I dabbled in medicine a bit me self,” He said as he strained to see what they were doing, “An’ I can see every mistake you are making lass.”
“When you become larger Dom please feel free to chip in down here,” Alex invited him and then realized he was right and smiled inwardly as she took a more careful approach.
Bonsai ventured away from the group and the horror he remembered of that room. He shook his head a little not wanting to run into those doctors again and wondering why they would. He was sure they would run into them all too soon. Bonsai’s initial instinct was to find the others who had been tortured as he had.
He noticed the door feet from the room where they had run to retrieve Jump. The door still contained a clipboard and a file in the box by the door frame and he had the eerie feeling somebody was still in there.
He glanced at the files now yellowed with age and snatched them but the name of the mutant was not readable. He sighed and reached down to the lock and clenched it until it crumbled under his powerful grip then he pushed the door open slowly.
Warren heard a snap and the creak of the door and moved quickly as he saw Bonsai swiftly moving into the room.
He shook his head at the sight, ‘Are Scott and I the only rational people here?’ It seemed to him that Justice, Logan, and Jump had returned to this house too soon. They seemed to have too much of a personal risk at stake to be here. Bonsai was just determined to do as he wanted but Gambit seemed to find himself thrown into this house of horrors. Warren might not approve of Gambit’s attitude but he certainly understood the magnitude of finding a loved one here.
Warren grabbed Bonsai’s shoulder before he walked entirely in the room and Bonsai turned suddenly with a punch aimed pointedly at Warren’s head. Warren gratefully ducked in time and watched Bonsai’s expression change quickly.
Bonsai gulped hard and hoped Warren wasn’t too upset. “Sorry, I didn’t know who you were,” Bonsai looked away uncomfortably realizing that his wasn’t using his telepathy as he should be because the labs were clouding his mind with painful memories.
“We ARE on the same team,” Warren narrowed his look. “Last time wasn’t it a GIRL who almost brought you down?” Warren gestured to the wounds he now sported from Rayne. “How do you know what or who is in here?”
Bonsai stood there and listened but was getting upset, “You didn’t go through this,” Bonsai said pointy to the lab room they had just left, “WE did and if they feel like I did….” Bonsai trailed his thought.
“All right, you aren’t going alone,” Warren said steadily.
Bonsai took a deep breath and stepped into the dark room but this time nothing jumped out at him and the room appeared empty. It was void of windows and had slick metallic walls. There was a made bed sitting in the corner that held a light layer of dust on the linens.
“Empty?” Bonsai mumbled, “but I could have sworn somebody was here.” He sighed as he moved around the room and peering into the small adjoining bathroom.
“Why?” Warren said as he let his hand explore the light cotton blanket that was draped neatly on the bed. He shrugged obviously it had been a while since this bed had been slept in but Bonsai was so sure there would have been something important here.
“The files outside the door. They kept files on the door if somebody had been in the room if not they kept the files with them so they would be up to date about us.” Bonsai’s voice called from the simple bathroom.
Warren moved slowly to the door as Scott’s shadow crept across his face.
Scott eyed them curiously and peered into the room. “Find anybody?” he said in a low voice.
Warren shook his head silently.
Scott lowered his gaze at Warren with a challenging expression.
Warren shrugged as he walked out of the room but Scott’s expression changed quickly and became fixed on something in the room as his jaw dropped.
Warren turned in time to feel it brush the air by his face and it flew down the hall very quickly. A light, a small, glittering glowing person was flying past them down the hall.
Warren ran after it but Scott ran towards the lab and past Wolverine as he emerged from it. He fixed his sight on Justice.
Jump was happy they were alone she wasn’t in any mood to be alone after finding her search for Deanna came up empty. Aside from her daughter, whom Jump was happy to know was alive, Jump’s search for Deanna drove her forward and pushed her harder towards her goals.
She sighed at the sight of Justice. He was just as handsome as she had remembered him and he still loved her. She knew by the light hearted feeling she had when she was around him that she was still in love with him too but how could they be a couple, she was a ghost.
She slowed her pace and looked at Justice. He gave her a cocky grin like he did when he would try to cheer her up. She had so much in her heart to tell him.
A quick sound of footsteps nearing didn’t throw her for pouring her heart out to Justice until Scott appeared in the doorway and it was clear something was up.
“We need you speed, Justice.” Scott said quickly looking directly at Justice.
Justice tossed Jump an apologetic smile as he ran towards Scott.
Jump watched him run off and she realized something for the first time since she found Justice again. She realized she had lost him now. Justice had another duty because he was an Xman and she wondered if Justice even realized it.
Justice followed Scott to the Hallway and eyed the occupants.
“Due south a quick flying mutant.” Scott pointed down the hallway
Justice took a quick breath, “I am on it” and he disappeared down the hallway.
Warren joined Scott, “Are you going to follow him or should I?”
“I will get Bonsai and you and Logan can go after that firefly,” Scott smiled.
Gambit had branched off on his own needing some time to think without the X-men watching him. He hadn’t gotten far when something fly into his head.
“Sacre’ Bleu.” He exclaimed as he looked at the small winged person that was staring back at him. A look of horror struck her face and she flew on.
“No” he shouted after the little winged woman but she kept her furious pace.
He began to charge a card hoping he could use it as a scare tactic but something crashed into him hard knocking him against the wall of the corridor.
Justice grabbed Gambit and helped steady him again.
“Mon Dieu.” Gambit mumbled. “Dat way, Homme.” Gambit pointed.
“Thanks.” Called as he speed away.
Gambit knew he could keep up with Justice’s speed but was intrigued enough to follow and began to trot after him.
Gambit felt something hard hit him from behind and watched the floor coming closer to his face. Then something heavy and hard ended up on top of him as he hit the floor. Gambit turned around on the ground to face Warren.
Warren’s red face could show his embarrassment easily. They could hear something coming up behind them and Warren began to get quickly but not quickly enough to avoid Logan.
“Interupting something?” Logan snorted with a laugh.
Gambit helped push Warren to his feet with a disgusted sigh. He had a lot to think about and he didn’t feel like being the end of a joke.
Warren dusted himself off quickly.
“I hope you fly better than you run.” Logan mumbled. “Where did muscle head go?”
“Justice was chasing a firefly or something.” Warren said and noticed that Bonsai and Jump were behind Logan and turned a little red again.
Gambit pulled himself up, “Dey don’ need all of us homme.”
Scott came up behind them a little winded, “ I miss something?” He laughed at the astonished looks of the others. “Gambit you and Warren can help Justice.” Scott narrowed his look a little. “Between the three of you catching a ‘firefly’ should be easy.”
Scott looked at Jump, Bonsai and Logan as Gambit and Warren made their way after Justice. “Are there many more others Jump.”
“I wouldn’t know.” She crossed her arms at him. “I wasn’t in charge of any mutants before or their whereabouts before.”
Bonsai stopped short of another door with a lab chart attached to the side.
“The doors with charts,” Bonsai pointed at the door with a chart hanging outside.
“I can go in and come out easily if I have permission,” Jump said with coy look at Scott.
Scott sighed and nodded and they watched Jump vanish into the door.
Justice was trying not to laugh as he caught up with the flying mutant quickly.
‘I feel like I am catching butterflies,’ He thought to himself but it was hard not to laugh. Justice had the small mutant going back the way he came and he noticed Warren flying after it and Gambit came running up behind on the ground.
Warren would flay after it and it would speed away using its smaller size to its advantage. Gambit began to charge cards trying to run the mutant to Warren’s open hands but it had amazing agility and avoided him easily.
They had the mutant trapped easily in the middle of them and they all three dove for it at the same time and it flew out of the way at the last second. If not for Justice’s speed in wrangling the little mutant back towards Gambit and Warren, it would have gotten away.
“We are going about this the wrong way.” Justice sighed. “Just keep an eye on it while I am distracted.”
The little mutant seemed to notice Justice’s glowing eyes and could feel a gentle presence in her mind reassuring her, like a father holding a child’s hand.
‘We won’t hurt you.’ Justice spoke quietly to it and it finally listened.
Justice waved Gambit and Warren back and the little person landed on the ground.
“We won’t hurt you,” Justice said aloud and Gambit and Warren picked up the cue and dropped their guard a little. The little mutant walked up to Justice and they all realized she was a little bigger than she looked when she was flying about. She had bright wings that stood in contrast to the drag surroundings, colored with bright pinks and purple. Justice got a closer look as he bent down to her and noticed her dirty blonde hair and drab clothing.
She carried a curious look as she looked Justice over and she flapped her small wings quickly and met his face.
“Who are you?” She asked bravely.
“Let’s just say a friend with friends.” Justice smiled. “I bet you could use some fresh clothing, good and water.”
The little woman smiled at him and nodded. “I’m Minnie.” She landed on Justice’s offered hand and she did look exhausted after the run down. She gratefully sat down and pulled her legs to her chest and watched as Gambit and Warren came closer.
“Nice wings.” Warren smiled and she twitched them with a small smile.
“Have you seen a girl named Tabitha?” Minnie asked anxiously.
“If de’ is a femme, gambit will find her?” Gambit winked at Minnie and Warren and Justice rolled their eyes and started back to the rest of the away party.