Summary: Transported fifteen years into the future, faced with a world torn by war and a rather different best friend! Whatever is a Shadowcat to do!?!?
AN: *Berz, the long-winded, for once doesn't have anything to say... mark the date, folks!*
“Whoa!” Lycanthrope breathed from behind Kitty. “You’re that Shadowcat? You’re Kitty Pryde and you didn’t tell me?”
Kitty whirled on him. “Like, you never gave me a chance! Where is this, anyway?”
A hand rested on her shoulder and she found it to be Fire Bomber’s. “We’re in the compound of the Morlocks. Fifteen years have passed since your time.”
“S’right, babe,” Jack answered from his place, leaning against the wall, “you landed yourself right smack in the middle of the Terra-Mutant wars.”
“Whoa wait,” Kitty demanded, holding up her hands, “you’re telling me I traveled fifteen years into the future? So, like… what happened? The place is a mess. And who are all of you?”
“Mylene Jenius,” Fire Bomber answered, “up top they call me Fire Bomber, for obvious reasons.” She held out her hand and another small fireball appeared in it.
“Jack Samui. They call me Blizzard.”
“And you? What’s your real name?” Kitty asked of Lycanthrope.
“Just Lycanthrope. I don’t have any other name. Nightcrawler found me and rescued me when I was a little kid. They say that’s how he lost his eye.”
“Hold up a second!” Kitty demanded. “So, like, I’m in the future, Mutants are fighting against normals, and everything’s gone to hell?”
“In a nutshell… yeah,” Jack answered.
“Okay… so… like, what happened?”
Jack, Mylene, and Lycanthrope all shifted uncomfortably and Jack even cleared his throat. None of them continued their eye contact with her and none of them said anything.
“I walk through walls, not read minds,” Kitty reminded them.
“Well, ya’ see,” Jack ventured, “it’s not really our place…”
Kitty sighed, eyeing them dubiously. “Like, enough with the twenty questions all ready. I’m going to get some answers.” She turned on her heel and headed for the doorway that Nightcrawler had gone through earlier.
“I don’t think you wanna-“ Lycanthrope began.
“Forget it, Curly,” Kitty shot over her shoulder, “I’m getting the straight poop around here.” She continued on through the doorway, pushing aside the tattered piece of cloth that hung over it, and found herself in a darkened room. “Kurt?”
One white eye appeared out of the black and looked at her, silently. It sent shivers up and down Kitty’s spine in waves. The look in it was so hard, so cold. It was not her Kurt, not in the slightest. Gone were the kind flashes, gone were the joking sparkles.
“Vhat is it?” he asked, harshly.
“Why I’m fine. Glad to be back, thank you.”
Kurt’s one eye looked away from her and he snorted once. “It’s not fun and games any more, Shadowcat.”
“Yeah, I like, gathered that from the waves of fear you seem to send through all those people out there.”
“I don’t send fear through zem. Constantly being hunted does that just fine with no help from me.”
“Okay, so that explains them, but not you.”
He looked at her again and Kitty found that she actually had to fight down the impulse to run from her best friend.
“They might find this normal for you,” she said, “but I like, know you better than that. It wasn’t just fifteen years that changed you.”
Kitty’s eyes were just now adjusting to the dim light and she could see him stand up. He took a few steps toward her and looked down with that ever-chilling eye. “I became ze demon zat people called me. Zat’s all I could do after what I saw! And you have no right to be judgmental.”
“No, I can’t. Not until someone, like, gives me the whole story.”
He turned away from her again and she could hear him growl, slightly. “Vhat I saw… was the death of everything. It started when ze Chrono Hole first opened up and swallowed you up in ze middle of ze High School Cafeteria, and my holo vith you. I was left in the middle of a crowd, looking like… a demon. It didn’t take long for word to get out. Scott, ze others, and I almost got killed just getting out of ze school. And we never were able to find you.
“Zat broke the secret of the Xavier Institute vide open. Everyone knew we vere all Mutants. There was a panic… and zen… someone decided that the Chrono Hole which swallowed you up vas an act of God. Of God! People decided that Mutants were demons. And the Xavier Institute was the first place zey hit. Ze Professor, Jean, Scott, Rogue, Spyke, Storm, all of them vere taken out one by one. Logan and I did the only thing ve could; ve ran.
“They had tracked down Mystique and her bunch, too. Logan and I came across Toad. He was ze only one of them to survive. Ze three of us went underground, hiding, always moving, helping other Mutants we came across. We found Blizzard like zat. Soon, we heard of a concentration camp near Chicago and once ve had enough people, we vent to free zose who vere zere. We vere successful, zat’s vere I found Fire Bomber… but Logan and Toad had to hold ze line vile the rest of us escaped. No one’s seen zem since.
“I vas left… I vas the only one left… because of an ‘act of God’ that everyone now knows vas nothing more zan a time displacement. But, zere’s no way to stop any of zis any more. It’s zem or us!
“Get it now?”
Kitty crossed her arms over her chest. “No.”
“I said I don’t get it,” she stated, “What you’re talking about is a war between Mutants and normals. Professor Xavier wouldn’t allow that.”
Nightcrawler glared at her and lunged, hitting the wall aside of Kitty’s head with a fist.
“And he’s dead because he wouldn’t fight back!”
Kitty started, backing into the wall as far as she could without actually falling through it. She clenched her eyes shut, not wanting to look into Kurt’s one white eye, blazing with fury. She looked away and opened her eyes again when it was apparent that he wasn’t going to go off on a further tirade. She found herself looking at his shaking fist against the wall. Slowly, he took it away from the wall, looking at it as if angry with it. He turned away and started for the doorway.
“You can’t understand right now. But you vill, soon. It is good zat you are back. If only ve hadn’t missed our chance together.”
“Wait, what’s that mean?”
He paused at the doorway and cast a sad glance back at her. “Just… never mind.”
“Kurt, wait,” Kitty called just before he left. She held back before continuing. “How’d… you lose your eye?”
Nightcrawler stopped and cast a glance back at her before leaving.
Kitty, understandably rattled, took a moment to compose herself before leaving as well. She went back out into the commons area where everyone else was still milling about. She looked around for Kurt, but found him gone. Instead, Jack was approaching her.
“Wow, lady! I dunno what you said to him but-“
“Oh, drop it already,” Kitty snapped back, “where’d he go?”
“Got me… he does that every now and then, just goes off on his own. He can take care of himself. In the meantime… someone’s gotta show you around the digs. C’mon. I gotta go see Forge anyway.”
“Forge? He’s still around?”
“Yeah. You could say he’s our tech support.”
Forge had his own space set aside in the Morlocks’ compound. Naturally, it was cluttered, messy, and the typical surroundings of an inventor at work. Pieces of cannibalized machinery were strewn everywhere, with no particular order seemingly in mind.
Jack led Kitty into this chaotic realm and stood there for a moment, looking around. He sighed, shook his head, then called to the open air.
A head popped out from behind the cluttered table and looked at them. Forge had greyed a little bit and had put on a beard, but there was still that somewhat whimsical look in his eye that all imaginative people had. In one hand was some circuit board of some kind or another and he was using the tools inherent in his other arm to pick away at it and adjust it. He stopped his work when he caught sight of Kitty.
“It’s Shadowcat!” he exclaimed, putting down his work. “I was right! So, where’d she turn up, Jack?”
“Lycanthrope found her up top.”
Forge circled around Kitty once, looking her over. “Wow! She looks just the same as she did fifteen years ago! Then it really was the Chrono Hole all along!”
Kitty made a sour face. “What am I, like a guinea pig or something?”
Forge whapped himself upside the head, then extended a hand to Kitty. “Sorry, I guess I don’t get out much. Good to have you back, Kitty.”
Kitty took Forge’s hand, glad for a warm welcome from someone she knew before. A friendly, familiar face. “I just wish everyone around here was as glad as you are.”
“Yeah. Forge, what happened to him? He won’t tell me everything.”
Forge and Jack exchanged glances and Kitty looked from one to the other in silence.
“He’s fighting a war,” Jack finally stated, “K’s always been like that, ever since I first met him. He got worse when we lost Wolverine and Toad, but…”
“It’s not just that,” Kitty stated, “just that isn’t enough to change Kurt this much. There’s still stuff that I don’t know… like how’d he lose his eye?”
“It’s not something we talk about much, least of all him,” Forge began.
“Forge!” Jack exclaimed.
“Forget about it Jack. She deserves to know. The rest of us oldies know.” Forge cleared off a small chair and led Kitty to it to sit. He leaned against the table and Jack crossed his arms, making a disapproving face. “You have to understand, Kitty. He has been fighting a war. He’s leading us all in a war he knows we can never win, that everyone knows we can never win. He’s the only reason any of us are even still alive right now. To do that, he had to become someone else. Since that last day at the Xavier Institute, I’ve only seen him have four emotions. He’s satisfied when something goes our way for a change. He doesn’t want to admit it, but you can see it in his eyes when he looks at all of us, but he loves us all and is afraid we’ll all die, one by one, alone. It’s his greatest fear. The rest of the time, he’s just angry. He has to be to keep going and to keep us all going. It’s all he can be.”
“But that doesn’t explain what happened to his eye.”
Jack shifted uncomfortably and uncrossed his arms. Seemingly to distract himself, he picked up the nearest piece of clutter to inspect, even though it was evident that he had no idea what it was or what it did.
Forge continued. “I said he’s the only reason we’re all still here today. But you really don’t have any idea how true it is. It happened about seven years ago, now. We had just found Lycanthrope. He’d been abandoned by his parents, either because he was a Mutant or because his parents were killed, we don’t know which. Lycanthrope was just a baby and Mylene and Jack went up top to find him some suitable food. Soon, word came back to us that they were in trouble, they’d been found. Kurt teleported right there, he always does things like that. There was a fight and Jack and Mylene managed to get away, but Kurt didn’t come back. After a couple of days, we learned that he’d been caught. Everyone went up top to see what we could find. He wouldn’t have liked that we did it, but we didn’t care.”
“About three weeks after that,” Jack broke in, continuing, “I found out where he was being held. We put together a rescue plan and stormed the place. When we finally were able to get him out, it had been almost a month. We found him in a dark cell, drugged half way to oblivion, beaten, starved, and missing an eye. Apparently, they had tried to get our location out of him. He was mumbling incoherently for days after that about how he wouldn’t tell anyone anything, no matter what.”
“It was amazing,” Forge picked up the story again, “he was so out of it he couldn’t tell reality from illusion and he still managed to keep this place a secret. And it was his anger that enabled him to do it, Kitty. Because of his anger, we were never attacked here and they never found us.”
“But even now he won’t talk about it,” stated Jack, “what we know is the extent of what anyone knows. To this day, we don’t know what, exactly, they did to him in there to try to get him to talk.”
Kitty found herself looking to the ground, not even noticing the pieces of invention strewn everywhere. Her vision was blurred with tears that she could no longer hold back. This story… it was the final straw. She couldn’t hold back what had grown since she’d first seen what Kurt looked like now. It flowed out in a gush of tears.
“And all… all of this is because I disappeared fifteen years ago,” she mumbled through her tears.
Forge sighed. “It was just the catalyst. All of this was inevitable, since the world wasn’t ready to know we existed. Mass hysteria is all that came and this insanity is the result. You had nothing to do with it, Kitty.”
“Jack!” Cried a voice from the doorway. Mylene appeared there, catching her breath as if having run there. “It’s Lycanthrope! He’s in trouble! K’s on the warpath! We’re trying to talk him out of going up there on a rampage, but it’s not working! We need you back in the commons!”
Mylene turned right back around and went back to way she’d come. Jack, Forge, and Kitty were hot on her heels and came running into the commons area. Nightcrawler was there surrounded by almost everyone in the compound and he did not look happy.
“Don’t you understand!?!” Kurt thundered. “He’s going to get caught or even killed! Somevone has to go up zere and find him!”
“What happened?” Kitty asked.
“Lycanthrope vent up top to take out a veapons store!” Kurt snapped. “He’s trying to make up for screwing up zis afternoon! I could pound him!”
Kitty put a hand over one of Kurt’s fists and pulled it down, looking into his one eye pleadingly. “But just going up there is only going to get you killed. Or caught… like the last time… you could-“
Kurt pushed her hand away and whirled on Jack, Forge, and Mylene. “You told her!”
Forge stepped forward, daring to match Kurt’s anger with a look of his own. “She deserved to know, Kurt, and you know that!”
Nightcrawler let out a blare of anger, causing everyone to take a step back from him. “Damn you! I’ll deal vith zis later! All of you, stay here! And I mean it!”
And suddenly, smoke and brimstone filled the air as Nightcrawler teleported out of existence right in front of their eyes. There was silence in the room for several moments before Mylene’s clenched fist turned into a fire ball.
“Damn it!” she swore. “Has he lost his mind or something? Jack, what do we do?”
Jack considered for a moment. “Well, obviously, we can’t let him go it alone. He’ll get killed, or worse! We’re going up there.”
“He’ll be pissed as hell,” Forge stated.
“Let him be,” Jack shot back, “Mylene, where’s that weapons storage?”
“It’s on the south side of the old Francisco Building, near point Bravo.”
“Let’s get going, then. Forge, stay here and hold the fort. Fire Bomber, you’re with me.”
Jack and Mylene were just about to head up the entry chute when Kitty spoke up, stopping them.
“I want to go with you.”
“Kitty,” Jack snapped back at her, “we don’t have time to-“
“Listen. You’re ice, she’s fire, I’m quiet. I can help get in and out if you need it. Please?”
Jack grunted his disapproval, then reached on to a nearby shelf and handed Kitty a small package. “Put this on, then, and do it on the way. And remember to call us by our nick’s up there.”
Kitty nodded and the three of them exited the compound.
They managed to make their way silently above ground to the place that Fire Bomber had described. She and Blizzard led the way, calling on Shadowcat’s talents every now and then to help them evade groups of guards and soldiers. They came to a stop just around the corner from the weapons store.
Shadowcat, now clad in an outfit of black and armor of a dark green peeked her head around the corner to look, then came right back to face Blizzard and Fire Bomber.
“No sign of Nightcrawler or Lycanthrope. But there’s about ten soldiers out there.”
Blizzard nodded. “Okay, they must both be inside.
Shadowcat, you hang back while Fire Bomber and I take out the soldiers.
When we signal you, it’ll be clear enough that you can make it to the door
to the place. Don’t worry, we’ll cover you, just get there as fast
as you can. Then you can get us into the store and we can find Nightcrawler
and Lycanthrope. Got it?”
Shadowcat and Fire Bomber both nodded their assent and understanding.
“Okay then, Fire Bomber. You and me, at the count. One… two… three!”
Fire and ice were suddenly unleashed on the unsuspecting soldiers in one great and terrifying volley. Fire Bomber tossed fireballs every which way she could and Blizzard did likewise with giant balls of hail and blasts of cold that froze the soldiers in their places. Frantically, the soldiers fired back with their rifles, but the confusion and the steam rising from Blizzard and Fire Bomber’s combined attack threw every shot off its mark.
In the midst of all of this, the entire building suddenly blew, sending a concussion wave out in all directions and knocking everyone off their feet. Fire quickly spread to nearby buildings and the soldiers scrambled away. Fire Bomber and Blizzard regained their feet, having been thrown near to where Shadowcat had been. The three of them looked at the burning building in horror.
“Nightcrawler!” Shadowcat exclaimed.
“He and Lycanthrope were still in there!” Fire Bomber agreed in kind.
A shadow blinked into existence in front of their eyes, an expanding puff of smoke encircling it. It came toward them and resolved itself into two forms. Nightcrawler, slowly walking toward them, carrying an unconscious Lycanthrope in his arms. Nightcrawler took each step very carefully, as though afraid that the world would tip under him and send him toppling. As Shadowcat, Fire bomber, and Blizzard approached, they found out why. The right side of Nightcrawler’s head was covered in his own blood. His eye wandering almost aimlessly and trying very hard to focus on them, he passed Lycanthrope off to Blizzard, then allowed his legs to collapse under him. Shadowcat managed to catch him before he hit the ground and got under his shoulder.
“Shadowcat, can you carry him?” Blizzard asked over the growing blare of sirens. She nodded back to him. “Okay. Fire Bomber, take the lead. Let’s get back.”
In that way, they silently trudged off back to the Morlocks’ compound.
So, what'ch'all think of this part? Lookin' for R/R. ^_^
Next time! Kurt Wagner, AKA Nightcrawler! Complete 180 in personality? Find out!