E-mail: notmanos at yahoo dot com
Disclaimer: The characters of Angel are owned by 20th Century Fox and Mutant Enemy; the------------------------------------------------
character of Wolverine is also owned by 20th Century Fox and Marvel Comics. No copyright
infringement intended. I'm not making any money off of this, but if you'd like to be a patron of the
arts, I won't object. ;-) Oh, and Bob is *my* character - keep your hands off!
Rogue continued on relentlessly."-so I says,I said,hey,this isn't what I paid for.Shit,think I'm an idiot or somethin'.Just because I had a horse in college they think they can pull that crap on me-"
Scott was suddenly very glad he couldn't make heads or tails of what she was saying.He also hoped she was drunk enough not to remember herself."What were you two thinking?You're not even old enough to drink."
"I know.We really weren't intending to drink,I swear!There was just a band playing here tonight that we wanted to see-"
"Save it.Do you know what could have happened if someone saw you use your powers?Or if you did drink and forget about using them around other people?"
Kitty looked so contrite he thought she might burst into tears."I know.Mr. Summers.I'm sorry,it won't happen again."
"You're right,it won't,"he agreed,then paused.He suddenly had the oddest feeling,yet he couldn't say why.
But hadn't the parking lot cleared out really fast?
"Open the door,Kitty,"he told her,as they approached the car Rogue had 'borrowed' for the trip.The girl obeyed,and he maneuvered Rogue into the backseat,where she continued to talk senselessly the entire time."-I didn't take that last one anyways.Some fuckhead from shipping did-"He had probably been around Logan too long,because now he was starting to get paranoid.But hadn't he just seen movement on the roof of the building across the street?
"Take the car,"he told Kitty,retrieving the keys he heard jangling in Rogue's coat pocket (at least she hadn't hotwired it this time).
She looked stunned."What?"
He gave her the keys before he closed the door on Rogue and her
endless drunken rambling about someone else's life.
Kitty nodded,and since they appeared to be alone in the lot,she didn't open the driver's side door,simply phased right through it,keys and all.He had to admit that looked like it was kind of fun sometimes.
He stood back and watched her pull out of the lot,and was secretly relieved when he saw the tail lights fade at the end of the street,turning the corner and disappearing.
When he turned around to go back to his car,he saw for the first time he was indeed far from alone.
Still,as they were driving up to their next destination,the vampire in the back seat-her name was Moira,which struck him as odd-she said,"Well,look who's here."
Delaney looked around frantically."You see Logan?"
"No,one of his buddies from the Seventh Circle."
Moira had told them a complicated story about Logan and some 'friends' destroying a demon club called the Seventh Circle,and then destroying a demon mob called the League,although she admitted Logan barely helped with the latter. She said the real destroyer of the League was something called a 'draysajhan' or something like.When he asked her what that was,she'd only say it was better he didn't know."Because if he shows up the game's over anyways."
"Why?"Everything had a weakness,mutants and demon alike,if you knew where to look.
"Just trust me,Human,it is.Fallen angels are more dangerous than you think;even the pretty cherubim have wings of flame."
"Are you high?"Delaney asked.Harris thought that was a valid question.
"You're not saying Dray whats his face is an angel,are you?"Harris asked,if only to keep Moira from biting Delaney.
She scoffed."No-angels as you Humans think of them don't exist.No one is pure of heart;a heart is by nature a tainted thing."Oh great,a philosopher vampire."But there are worse things."
Delaney had dared to ask "Like what,"but then Moira had said,"Well,look who's here."
"Which one?"Harris asked.She had said there were a couple of people who destroyed the demon club.
"The mutant who shoots death rays or something from his eyes.See?The one with the Kareem Abdul-Jabar glasses."
Harris saw him then:a blandly handsome brown haired guy,wiry and lean,wearing what looked like thick red ski goggles.At night?How could he see?
But he could,somehow.He was helping what looked like a very drunk woman across the parking lot of a nightclub called Club Exstacy,while talking with another girl who was walking with them.Two girls at once?Goggle boy must have thought he was a stud.
"No sign of Logan,"Delaney noted,disappointed.
"Who cares?There's your problem solved."
But Harris got what she meant."A lure.We take Logan's friend,and
make him come to us."He had to admit,though,the idea of a mutant who could
shoot rays from his eyes,beams that knocked down at least one building that
they knew of (well,if you could trust a vampire's word on it),was an intriguing
weapon possibility.No good for covert operations,but if
Maybe they could get bait and a new toy at the same time.
He parked the SUV up the street from the club,and pulled out his radio."Strike team,move into position at my coordinates.We have a secondary target acquired."
He got an affirmative from the team leader,but he didn't bother to respond,just checked his own weapons.
"I think I'm going to go re-introduce myself to him,keep him preoccupied while you move into position."Moira volunteered.
"No biting,"Harris warned."I got a piece of wood with your name on it otherwise."
"You're no fun,"she snarled,getting out and slamming the car door after her.
But this was fun.It wasn't Wolverine,but hell,at least they were going to corral them a freak.
It took Scott a minute to figure out who she was referring to,and to place the face.She looked familiar,vaguely,but he didn't know a lot of blondes."He's not my friend,"he replied sourly.She was from that club,Seventh Circle;she was one of the ones Logan called a vampire."And why do you want to know?"
The blonde woman in the little red dress shrugged,sauntering casually towards him across the parking lot.He still didn't know where everyone had gone,but the night had gone suddenly dead quiet."I thought you were a pair,that's all."
He raised a hand to the side of his visor,ready to fire."Hold it right there.How many people are with you,and what is this about?"
She attempted an innocent look as she paused,placing her hands on her hips,but somehow he couldn't believe she was ever innocent."Whatever do you mean?You wouldn't hurt a harmless woman,would you?"
He scowled at her.He doubted very much she was harmless.He wasn't sure he was prepared to believe she was a vampire,but a demon-why not?"Cut the crap,okay?Is this some sort of revenge thing?If so,let's just get this over with, because I want to at least try and get some sleep."
She grinned,but it was a hard,cold smile.She looked something like a wolf who had just cornered its helpless prey."You should be so lucky for it to be simply revenge,Ray-don."
It was so quiet he could hear a click of a magazine in a rifle,far away but not nearly far enough.He had not been paranoid.
He was surrounded.
He tried to pretend he hadn't heard that,and the fact that his eyes couldn't be seen probably helped.
"This is the last chance to cough up the location of the furball and save your bacon,"the woman advised in a seemingly friendly manner.
He knew who 'furball' had to be-who else could it be besides Logan-and for a moment,he was tempted to tell her to go to London instead of to hell.Why did he care what happened to Logan?The guy was violent enough to handle something like her and her friends anyways.
But there were several hard truths here:there could be more to it than that-people who came after Logan were generally prepared for him (look what happened with the League.Even if Logan hadn't let himself be taken,he probably would have been kidnapped anyways) and up to even worse than Logan was usually up to;he couldn't trust them to do a damn thing they promised to do (they were the bad guys,after all);and when you got down to it,there was a basic, unsurmountable problem."I don't sell people out,"he said,not adding that Logan barely qualified as a person in his estimation.
There was a malevolent twinkle in her blue eyes as her ruby red lips curved into a wider,colder smile.He could hear the scuff of boots on blacktop and on the rooftops around him.He had no idea how many people were involved,he did not have Logan's hearing or his sense of smell (and he was rather glad about that last one),but he knew there were probably too many people scattered around too wide an area for him to take down before they could drop him with a bullet.Assuming all they had were bullets.
He found himself in the peculiar position of wishing either Logan or Bob was here.Bob first,because he could take care of them with little violence;Logan second,because he could take care of them with lots of violence.
"But you just said he wasn't your friend,"she said,sounding as slick and charming as a professional huckster in a circus midway (maybe she was a vampire..)."Come on,sweetheart,I can smell it from here.You hate him.You want to watch him burn."
"Back up,or I take you down,"he said through gritted teeth,trying to will himself not to react to what she had said.
She was blocking the way to his car,and it was his best shot.It was a long shot at best:if he could get to his car,maybe he could get out of here with most of the damage done to the auto instead of him.It was a bad plan,but it was all he had at the moment.
She to take a moment to study him,as if trying to determine his veracity,but after a few seconds she stepped aside, sweeping an arm behind her like a game show hostess displaying fabulous prizes."Don't let me stop you,darling.But I hope you realize how much you've screwed the pooch here."
He refrained from making a comment.That sounded like a Logan line if he had ever heard one.
He started casually across the blacktop,and in the still air he could swear he heard a noise that sounded like safeties being released on multiple weapons,and he tried desperately to triangulate the noise by hearing alone.If he looked around,they'd know he was on to them,and most likely open fire.He felt his heart starting to race,and he suddenly wished he had a pair of secret eyes in the back of his head,or even (how desperate was he) Logan's dog like hearing.
He was seven feet from his car when a crackle of radio static broke the dead calm of the night.
Right behind him,and across the street.
He pivoted quickly on his heels and fired a coherent beam of red light at the roof of the bank across the street,and he knew by the noises of impact and grunts of pain he had hit quite a few as he turned,raking the light towards the rooftops of the neighboring buildings.
He took out two units of men,maybe three,before he felt a wasp like sting in the base of his spine and tasted a sharp tang of electricity in his mouth as he seemed to lose all feeling in his legs and the rest of his body.He collapsed helplessly to the pavement,not even able to move his arms up to shield his face.He thought he heard a bit of his visor crack on impact,but it must not have been in an important place,because the beams were not currently chewing up the parking lot and digging to China.
He heard footsteps coming towards him rapidly,heard military like orders being shouted to men,but he was still unable to move.In fact,he started to feel like he was slipping away,down a slick wall where he could get no purchase,and try and fight it as he might,he was unable to do anything but keep sliding downward.
Someone kicked him violently over onto his back,and he found the blonde woman leaning over him,giving him that predatory smile,a black box like object in her hand.He suddenly remembered Logan saying something about those government guys having weapons shaped like that:he called them paralyzers.That tracked.
"Ah,sorry honey,"she said,leering triumphantly down into his face."But there was no way you could win.You were fucked from the get go."
He wanted to say he had guessed that,but he couldn't speak.
He was soon surrounded by the shadow of men uncountable,all with rifles aimed own at his face,and he was kicked roughly over onto his stomach once again.Someone grabbed his arms,he felt cold metal cuffs slapped on his wrists,and then someone grabbed him by the hair,lifting his head,and they slid something over his face-a bag?A mask?Either way, he could no longer see,for all the good it was doing him.
Their voices fell away to a dull blur of noise,voices without meaning,and he felt himself lifted by strong hands and carried:if it wasn't for the fingers digging hard into his flesh,he might think he was floating.
As he lost consciousness,he found himself hoping the people they were taking him to were complete morons who'd remove his visor.But he had a feeling that might be too much to ask for.
Well,the head of his statue,which was the central part of the Square.He thought New York had lots of pigeons:there seemed to be an entire dark swarm of them here now,like a scene from "The Birds" left on the cutting room floor. Several had waddled over to him,obviously looking for food,and some had been forward enough to try and peck him when he did nothing but shoo them away.He was tempted to see how many he could carve into surplus squab,but it was hardly the stupid birds's fault:they had become condition to see two legged furless bipeds in the Square as purveyors of food.It was still too early for most of the tourists,though,so the bird horde was just going to have to practice patience.
Logan waded through the ankle deep swarm of birds and continued walking the streets of London,which he had been doing all night.He supposed he should be tired,but so far he wasn't;maybe it was teleport/time zone lag,or just his own frustration feeding the fire.He had hoped he'd see something that might look familiar,maybe jog his memory,but so far that wasn't happening.So far the only familiar things he had seen were the 'Golden Arches' and Burger King,The Gap and Starbucks-artifacts of bland,homogeneous,commercially acceptable Americana.
He wasn't sure if he was a militant non-conformist at heart,or just grouchy.Maybe a little of both.It was hard to be a conformist when you were a mutant.To borrow a Bob phrase,it "queered the pitch".
He had completely forgotten his watch,so he had no idea what time it was exactly,but as he walked he was able to guess time by when the sidewalks started to get busy,when the streets started to all but gridlock with cars,when the sun broke out from behind a thick clump of clouds.He started to get a bit weary of walking if not exactly tired,and he wondered if he should call Bob and ask him to zap his bike over here.But then he took another look at the traffic,and figured he get places faster if he stuck to walking.
He dug out the half smoked stub of one of those good Dis cigars,and was searching his pockets for his Zipppo when his fingers found the small,cold elephant carving in his front pocket again.He wondered idly if Ganesha was ever going to do anything for him."Come on,elephant man,"he muttered under his breath,the cigar clenched tightly between his teeth."Do your stuff.I thought you were a friend of Bob's."Of course,knowing Bob,it could have just been another one of his big white lies.
He'd just found his lighter and rounded a corner when he almost
ran smack dab into a sizeable crowd.Apparently he was close to Harrod's
and several other big shops,very much open for business,indicating it was
later than he thought.
And that's when the weirdness started.
He could swear he heard someone walking towards him,but when he looked up to his left,he saw no one approaching him.But he could still hear footsteps coming towards him,soft but quite audible.And now he could smell someone, a woman by the scent of her perfume (Poison,in fact),but he could also hear the sounds of someone eating,and smell salmon.And cucumbers.All coming towards him.But he continued to see nothing.What the hell was going on?
It was then a woman eating a sandwich suddenly materialized before him."Oh my god!Logan?"She asked,holding her sandwich aside for the moment.
He just stared at her in general disbelief,not sure if he should adopt a battle stance or not.But since she was eating her breakfast,probably not."Ruby?"He guessed.Bob couldn't have normal friends.
And the woman standing in front of him was far from normal.Tall and lanky,with bronze colored skin and almond shaped violet eyes,she had shoulder length hair that was a rather vivid,almost electric plum purple,closely matching her lipstick.Her face was lovely,delicately featured and exotic,her high cheekbones setting off her aquiline nose,and she kept staring at him like she was waiting for a punchline."Ruby?"She repeated with a humorous scoff,slapping him hard on the shoulder with her free hand."What,not Spud?"
It was his turn to wait for the punchline."Huh?"
She was dressed pretty funny too,come to think of it.Over conventional jeans,Doc Martens,and a purple t-shirt,she wore a olive green leather trenchcoat and a very fancy looking white gold necklace,dripping with alternating strands of diamonds and aquamarine in a sort of fan pattern.Even if it wasn't real,he imagined it was expensive.But why wear it with a t-shirt?
"Man,you do have a bad memory,"she said,taking a bite of her salmon and cucumber sandwich.He grimaced,because frankly that sounded disgusting,and it didn't smell much better.She was barely done chewing when she said,"Come on, let's get out of here before the security people look outside."
He was about to ask why that would be a problem,but he had no love of the security cameras he could feel like a phantom itch along his spine.She linked her free arm with one of his and gently steered him back in the direction he had just come from."Who are you?"He asked,more confused than anything else."And how come I could hear you and smell you before I saw you?"
She shook her head in a sad way."Always thought you were shitting me about that memory of yours,but you're almost like that guy in "Memento",ain't ya?"
"Huh?"Was she saying they had met before?
"I'm Srina Adar,remember?They call me Nightshade,but because you had to take the piss you used to call me Spud."
"Spud?"Okay,he was really lost now.And when he glanced at her,he saw her eyes had gone suddenly,completely black.
"Because nightshade is a member of the potato family.You could be such a monumental arse."She pulled him off to the side as they walked,as a woman nearly walked straight into them.How could she not see them?
"We know each other?"
She sighed like she was the most put upon person in the world."You know your name is Logan,right?"
"Well,that's a start.Do you know why you're here?"
"Not really,"he admitted,wondering when any of this was going to start making sense.
She shrugged."Well,that's not all that different,come to think of it."She patted his arm in a seemingly comforting manner."Don't worry-we'll find out why you're here."
But he thought perhaps he already had.
Once her eyes adjusted to the unrelenting brightness,she saw someone kneeling on the floor ahead of her,their back to her.It was a man,his head down,palms flat on the floor,and for a moment she thought perhaps he was meditating.But the way his knees were folded beneath him was not a traditional meditative pose,and the way his shoulders were rounded it was like he was attempting to bear a heavy,invisible weight that was slowly but surely crushing him.
Then she realized that the man looked familiar,even from the back.
"Scott?"She asked,coming around to face him.
But her curiosity instantly turned to horror.His hands were flat on the floor and he was kneeling because his wrists were chained to the floor.He didn't have his visor on,so his eyes were tightly shut,but red light still seemed to be bleeding from beneath his lids,and veins were starting to spiderweb across his face,a bright orange red as if filled with energy instead of blood,and she understood that his powers were somehow increasing,growing,and he couldn't control it.Not only that,but his eyes weren't closed:looking closer,she saw there was something black holding them shut,a long horizontal line like an industrial staple near the edges of the lids.
"Scott,"she gasped,crouching down in front of him and reaching towards him.
But then he screamed,a horrible sound of pain and fear that turned her insides to ice-
"Scott!"She shouted as she jolted awake,reaching over to touch him.But he wasn't there;in fact,his side of the bed was even cold.He hadn't been here for a while.
They had a sort of tenuous telepathic connection,so she concentrated on it,reached out with her mind-
-and found nothing.Scott wasn't here;he was nowhere on the grounds of the mansion.
She got up and hastily threw on the nearest clothes she could reach.
She didn't know where he was,but she knew,with a sick feeling in her stomach,that he was in a lot of trouble.
She wasn't a demon-she was a mutant who claimed her ability was a 'limited psychic' one:she could make people not see her."I'm not Invisible Girl or something."she said,letting his arm go and opening her flat door.She had long ago finished her sandwich."I could give lessons on how not to be seen."
Her eyes went from black to violet again,and he assumed that meant they were visible again."I'm always here.It's just I can pretty much stop the brain from registering me,at least on a visual level."
"Or anything you touch?"He wondered,as he got a good look at her apartment interior.It was a modest little place, quaint but not quite cramped,although it was full of very expensive looking stuff.Oh,the furniture looked like it came from a reasonably good second hand shop,but the other things were top of the line:she had a stereo system he envied,a super expensive DVD player attached to a reasonably large television,knickknacks that looked like lead crystal figurines and Ming vase reproductions and...that couldn't be the real Monet 'Waterlilies' hanging over her slightly threadbare couch,could it?
"Within reason,yeah,"she agreed,throwing several deadbolts on the door.It seemed a little paranoid,especially for England,but when you had as much expensive stuff as she did,you wanted to protect it.
The revelation hit him like a lightning bolt as she hung up the new leather jacket on an antique coat stand beside the door,and started to undo the clasp on the necklace."You're a thief."
She gave him a sly smile as she walked over to her entertainment center.There was a black lacquered box there,and she very carefully placed the necklace inside the velvet lined box and placed it behind her CD player."Well,you said it yourself-we all have to earn a living."She then turned her stereo on,relatively low,and The English Beat covered up the noise of the traffic below.
"When did I say that?"He asked,growing slowly but surely annoyed with these constance references to things that meant nothing to him.
She grimaced slightly,and headed over to her small kitchenette."Sorry,I keep forgetting.How ironic.Wanna beer?I've got Guinness."
He followed her,and gently but forcefully turned her to face him."How do you know me?"
She looked at him in consternation,a small line creasing her brow."We met fifteen years ago in a pub.You were a sourpuss quiet guy with weird hair and a bad attitude who was incredibly sexy in a 'dangerous drifter' kind of way.You wanna let me go now?"
"Fifteen years ago?"1987-the year of the massacre.The year he woke up naked in the snow outside the remains of the Alkali Lake military compound.The two incidents were mere months apart.It was strange how such a little amount of time could separate two very different worlds."How old were you?"She looked,at the oldest,maybe thirty,but he knew it was often hard to tell a mutant's age by appearance.
"Old enough.Like you,I'm an older than I look."
He gripped her arms tighter."Do you know how old I am?"
Now she was starting to look really annoyed.She tried to yank her arms out of his grip,but wasn't strong enough."No,I don't,I just know you must be a lot older than even I assumed 'cause you haven't aged a day in fifteen years,and will you fucking let go of me already?"
He searched her face,looking for truth,lies,anything,but all he could see was bewilderment,starting to mutate into annoyance and fear.Either she was a very adept liar-always a possibility-or she was telling him the truth.He didn't know which one he dared to believe.He did let her go reluctantly;he still didn't trust her,but physically she was no match for him."How long were we together?"
"It was a week and a half one night stand,until you were called back to Canada.It was a real trip.You're a weird guy.I see you still are."She said bitterly,openly glaring at him.
"Why was I called back to Canada?"
"How the hell should I know?I'm not your bloody mother.Besides,you weren't the most forthcoming guy I've ever met." She turned away from him,and if anyone could be said to open a refrigerator door angrily,it was her.He noticed there was a lot of take away boxes and beer in there,and a bottle of fruit juice that was probably her idea of making a meal healthy.Well,she certainly seemed like his kind of woman.
She grabbed a diet Coke hidden behind the big green cans of Guinness,and slammed the fridge door hard enough to rattle the vegetable magnets clinging to the outside."You know,I always knew you had a psycho tendency,but I thought you channeled it through your work.Maybe I was wrong there too."
"My work?Do you know what I did?"
She seemed reluctant to turn her back on him now.She leaned against the tiny gas stove,which was dusty from lack of use (although the mircowave on the counter looked top of the line and perfectly gleaming),and said,"You were a government guy.Secret agent or spy or whatever the hell.You wouldn't tell me,but I figured it out for myself.Are you saying you're not in the game anymore?"
It was something about the way she said it that made him look at her in a new and dangerous light."Are you?"
She laughed,and outside the tiny kitchen window he could see the
sky had finally cleared,even though the traffic hadn't.
"Do you think I was?"
For a moment,she looked honestly thoughtful."No,but I figured they wanted you because you were the best at what you did."
"And what was that?"
"Kick serious,major ass.I'd be lyin' if I didn't admit that was always a major turn on.Although not at this particular moment in time."
The music in the front room abruptly changed to U2,and he figured she had one of those fancy CD players that could randomly shuffle between fifty CD's at once.But since she probably hadn't paid for any of this,he wasn't surprised."What was I doing in London fifteen years ago?"
She opened her Coke and took her time sipping it,measuring him with her eyes.She was either trying to figure out how much to tell him or how sane he was,or both.Bono singing about the end of the world in the living room almost made this entire thing blackly comic.Finally,she said,"You claimed to be 'on vacation',but that was bollocks.You were after at least one guy,maybe more."
"What for?And who?"
She shrugged."I got no fucking idea.You didn't actually share."
"So how do you know this much?"
"I'm sneaky.I followed you when I thought I might get away with it,and sometimes,if we went out,your problem would come to us."
"You mean we were attacked?"
"Well,they tried.Never lasted very long with you.I got the impression you were hoping that would happen."
She still seemed wary and very frosty towards him.If it wasn't part of the act,he really had unnerved her.He felt bad about it,and pissed off that he felt bad about it."Look,I'm...sorry.These guys,they fucked with my head so bad I'm kind of surprised I can still walk and talk at the same time,you know?The guy you met back then...that wasn't me.I mean,it was, but their version of me."She was looking genuinely puzzled now,and he never realized he could be so inarticulate.
"Are you saying you were brainwashed or under mind control or something?"She asked, just guessing what he was trying to say.
All he could do was nod;it seemed safest.
"Hmm.Well,that would actually explain a lot,"she admitted,her expression softening just a little.In the light from the kitchen window,her hair glowed a dark wine color,deep red with an undertone of bruise purple that made her violet eyes look pale,almost the color of foxgloves."So you're not on the payroll of these guys anymore?"
"No.Although I don't think they're happy about that."
She met his eyes fearlessly,and asked,"So you're not here to kill me?"
The GPS scanner put Scott's car in the parking lot of a place called Club Exstacy,and she and Storm went to retrieve it.The club was closed,of course,and there appeared to be no sign of a struggle...except wasn't that a scorch mark on the edge of the bank roof across the street?
When they got back,Kitty gave a recap of the last time she had seen Scott (Rogue was too ill-hung over-and didn't remember anyways)."He seemed like he was anxious,"Kitty admitted,clearly anxious herself.She was ringing her hands together as she talked,sometimes accidentally phasing,so her hands sort of melted together."I thought he was just really mad,but after I got back here and he didn't show up right away,I wondered if he just wanted us out of there.I didn't see anything out of the ordinary,but I was more concerned with trying to get Rogue not to throw up in the back seat."