Running Free:     





        Gambit’s feet slid on the floor of the Blackbird as he skidded to a stop in front of the aircraft’s infirmary table.  He saw that the Beast had his sister in a shoulder lock and she was frantically trying to break free. Her hair was matted with sweat and he saw the bleeding wounds on her wrists and ankles.   He yelled, "What the hell is going on here?"

         Hank tried to explain but couldn’t find the appropriate words. ‘This is so not good’ he thought.


           Remy was furious and moved to the table.  He loosened the straps on his sister’s ankles and she kicked her feet free.  He then stepped to the side of the table, where the doctor was standing and warned, "Let…my…sister…go."  His eyes were blazing red and he extended his bo-staff then assumed a fighting stance.

            Alex, in an attempt to diffuse the already volatile situation, tried to calm the angry X-Man with her telepathy.  Bad idea.  He quickly charged a card and flipped it at her.  The explosive energy tossed her back against a counter.  Before she could retaliate, he sent two more cards her way, and with that double blow, Alex was knocked to the floor.

           Hank released Rayne who then jumped off the table and bolted.  The beleaguered doctor held his hands up in surrender.  "Remy, I know how disconcerting this must be for you, but I assure you, we were only trying to help her."

           Remy scoffed at the remark, "Some help yo’ give her Beast," and his eyes narrowed.A shrill cry cut through the tense moment. The angry Cajun turned and ran for the door.  Beast looked to Alex then followed Gambit.



           Hayley woke again to only stare at the machines she had been staring at each time she woke. The problem was she was really awake now. She watched the machines as one would a telemarketer during a meal. She sighed and threw the covers off of her and sat up. She took a quick inventory of her health. The spinning had stopped and she could sit up without wincing. Her side felt better and she couldn’t bear to be in the sterile environment any longer. She began to mull the idea of a cigarette through her mind.

          She threw her feet over the side of the bed as some of the equipment fell off and she disconnected the monitor strapped to her stomach. She began to glance her IV over and pulled the tape that held it in place.

         ‘What were they trying to do wax me?’ she laughed to herself as she spied the now missing hair from the strong tape and began to ease her IV out.


       “Do you really think you are strong enough Hayley?” a familiar voice called from behind her.

      She didn’t turn but knew it was Xavier and continued at the task at hand.

      “I am fine Uncle,” she hissed still a little angry at the deceit of not knowing he was her uncle all this time. She held her hand over the IV’s mark but it had stopped bleeding already and she hopped off the table to meet his eye.

       “Where is better Red than dead?” Hayley scoffed as she began to rummage for a pair of sweats.

       “Jean isn’t here all the time.” Charles sighed. “Hayley, I know in your eyes and omission of the truth is the same thing as a lie but Hayley I had no choice.”

        Hayley yanked a pair of shorts from a near by cabinet and pulled them on under the gown she still wore.

         “Sure.” She smiled coyly, “Makes sense to you though huh Obiwan?” She pulled a sweatshirt on over her gown then yanked at the gown hard and it gave easily. “Come one be honest, you should have leveled with us. It would have been different and he couldn’t have surprised us.”

       Xavier exhaled and wondered how he would ever get through to her. “Ally seemed to understand and she figured it out before you had left.”

       Hayley scoffed, “Well, that would be because she the Luke to you Obiwan.” Hayley tossed him a grin and wandered out of the infirmary.

      Charles couldn’t help but to notice her belly did look swollen through the school clothing. He now realized that once some things were resolved, his nieces and nephew would leave. They were all free spirits like Hayley and couldn’t be kept anyway very long.

       Oliver, I will try to keep them safe as long as I can but I am afraid fate will have to decide a great many things.’ He wanted to help where his brother had failed with them. He began to think how much everyone would have to adjust to their leaving and wondered who would be leaving with them.




       Kamikaze found Rogue sulking by the pool. She was clad in her bathing suit but sat on a lounge chair looking at the inviting water and by her dry appearance Ty guessed she was upset and didn’t have to think twice of why.

       He ran up next to her and flopped down, “So,” He said startling her a little. “How long you in for?”

       She sighed. “Well, Bobby was right they don’t go easy on mistakes.” She gave him a rueful smile.

       “Well, I have to do all the team’s uniforms this week, wash all vehicles (including the Blackbird) and work time in the cafeteria. That is also in line with my grounded time. I can’t leave school grounds.” Ty exhaled. “But when will I have time to go anywhere with all that work plus a school load.”

        “I have the same thing next week.” Rogue laughed.

        “Let’s just do both weeks together so it’s not too boring.” Ty smiled.

        “Okay,” she agreed, “Think we can get Bobby to agree to help?” she laughed. Soon Ty began to laugh too.

        A shadow passed over them as Storm came out to swim. As Lovely and statuesque she looked in the surroundings she looked sad. Ty silently hoped she hadn’t heard them but wondered what was bothering her.

       “Need a seat?” Ty offered jumping up from his seat, even though there were plenty of empty chairs around the pool.

       She smiled but it was easy to see it was forced and she took the offered seat. “I wanted to get a swim in before the pool is closed.”

        Ty pushed a little harder. “You okay Storm?”

        “Fine, Tyler but thank you.” Ororo said as she stood again to avoid further conversation and made her way to the diving board.

        “Why didn’t Storm go with the away team for survivors?” Ty said in a low voice.

        “Tahy,” Rogue said in her think accent then lowered her voice. “Think ‘bout it.”

         Ty raised an eyebrow and gave her a hard thoughtful look, “Okay I give.”

       “Justice went with Jump and the rest of the away team.” Rogue sighed but Ty kept his clueless stare.

       “Jump is Justice’s legal wife and Storm and Justice had been an item.” Rogue said as it became clear to Kamikaze.

        “Damn, Poor Storm,” Ty whistled low and they both let their attention go as Bobby cam jogging over with a towel over his shoulder and wearing his fish print bathing suit.

         Bobby dropped down next to Rogue and Ty and they instantly knew something was on his mind. “Either of you know what is bothering Storm.”

         Instead of answering Ty laughed and Rogue rolled her eyes and walked away muttering, “males.”





       Alex got back to her feet and looked over at Dom who was now free from the tubing.  He began muttering, "Sure the lass is havin’ a hard time of it." He sighed deeply, "but then again, she always did."Alex made a mental note to ask him what he meant by that statement as she headed out to join the others.

       As Remy approached the open doorway to the jet, he saw that Justice was blocking the entrance.  Justice wasn’t moving and he was just standing there with his mouth agape.  Confused by the man’s uncharacteristic demeanor, Gambit walked over to him.  Justice gestured to the opposite side of the jet.  There, cowering behind a flight seat was a completely naked Rayne.  When she had jumped up from the table she had shed the sheet that was covering her. Remy stammered for something to say.

        Hank came in and followed the dumbfounded stares of the two men. "Oh my."
Gambit rapped his fighting stick against Justice’s forehead, "Close yo’ eyes homme." Then he removed his leather duster.  "Rayne girl, S’alright now chere. Remy’s here, no one’s gonna hurt yo’." He walked towards her holding out the long coat.

          Rayne gave him a puzzled look, as he held his coat out to her. ‘Why is he doing that?’  She suddenly felt a chill, looked down and gasped,  "Mon dieu!"

         Alex came to the scene.  Her brother and the blue doctor were facing the open doorway.   Behind them Gambit was putting his coat around his sister.  She couldn’t help but give a little chuckle at the comic scene before her.

         Dom came puffing into the room and looked around. "Would ya look at this now?" He nodded his head, "Tis a good thing the fightin’s over. A fighter I am not."   He dusted himself off and offered a wry smile.




          Logan sliced through the lock easily losing his patience once Jump had totally disappeared through the door. Then pushed the heavy metallic door open. He could see Jump kneeling down to a young black man who reminded him of Kamikaze with his sad but friendly eyes staring at Jump.

        “You ready to go?” Logan growled.

        “Yes,” Jump said. “Trust us okay.” She mumbled to the Youth. He merely nodded and looked at Logan as recognition hit his face.

         “Us? Us as in that is the WOLVERINE?” he yelled excitedly. The young man realized quickly he would live now and rose to his feet quickly and met Logan at his door. Obviously, Logan’s appearance had renewed his spirit.

         Logan raised his eyebrow at Jump and emptied the doorway so Jump and the young man could file out into the hall. Instead the younger man rushed up to Logan and he threw out his claws with a clean sound in the hollow halls.

       Kodiak stopped short realizing he had done something wrong. He backed up a little and offered him his hand. “I’m Brian,” he said as he took Logan’s sheathed hand and pumped it vigorously.

         Jump sighed, “If the mutants had been here any length of time then they knew of you.” She said politely. “You gave the others hope and became a symbol.” She smiled at Logan but failed to mention she had become a symbol of pain and conformity.

         Logan felt Alex and Justice touching his mind quickly telling him to get to the Blackbird.

         “Great can we move this along?” Logan snarled a little embarrassed at the idea of becoming an icon or a legend at Adam’s labs.

         “Fast? He wants us to move fast?” Kodiak laughed and shape shifted into a large bear. The bear hit the ground on all four paws and began to run quickly leaving Jump and Logan to catch up.




          Two familiar faces found the Blackbird as they noticed old friends and news friends making their way to the black beauty. Josh let the cigarette hang from his lip almost not wanting to believe what he saw.


          Aubrey jumped and gave a little squeal. “I knew it! Ty did it!” she watched Sassy coming closer and eyed the small child and the tall man who held onto his blanket tightly. Aubrey couldn’t take it anymore and began running towards her old friend as her heart skipped a beat. 

         “Aubrey,” Josh said weakly but he had to admit it. There were the Xmen bringing the other mutants from the abandoned labs but he still knew showing themselves meant they would end back at the school. Another debriefing and a lot of talking to adult who thought they knew more than everyone else. Death Angel or Josh watched his sister running at Ty as she threw herself into his arms but for some reason Kamikaze didn’t seem glad to see her. An alarm went off and he began to run after his sister.



         Scott, Warren and Bonsai made their way with the injured and confused mutants. Scott kept a steady pace of conversation with Sassy and how she and Willow had waited outside for help.

       “How is the red streaked wild child?” Sassy asked him with a big smile.

       “Well,” Scott said but his attention was taken by the beautiful blue haired girl’s approach. ‘Aubrey?’ Scott asked himself a she flew past Scott and Sassy and threw herself into confused Bonsai.


       Bonsai wasn’t sure what to do but considering the day’s events did what came natural, he pushed her back.

       Aubrey wasn’t taken back by this, “I knew you would be the key,” She smiled brightly in his face. “I knew you would be back.” She said as she threw herself into his arms again. Bonsai pushed her back again.

       “Who are you?” Bonsai said lowering his gaze at her.

       “A shape shifter?” Aubrey said quickly as she looked at Scott and Sassy betrayed and back at Bonsai.

       Sassy’s laughter took the place of her explanation as she enjoyed the confused look on the young man’s face and she heard Scott echoing it.

       Aubrey however assumed this was some sort of betrayal and stepped back to attack. None of them had been expecting Aubrey’s sonic voice and everyone fell to the ground quickly grabbing their ears in agony.      

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