|Once Upon a Night - An X-Treme Story, part one
||[Jul. 30th, 2005|11:45 am]
Very late and un-beta-ed. My apologies.
Title: Once Upon a Night - An X-Treme Story
Disclaimer: I don't own the X-Men or any other of the copywrited characters mentioned here-in. I own only Lassa-They and Rhymer. I make no money on this project. Please don't sue.
Summary: On the horrible night when the soldiers attack the mansion, two stories begin, and several people come of age.
Written for: Troll Princess
Pairing/scenario requested: The kids who left with Colossus - Anything we missed between the attack on the school and their return after Stryker was defeated.
Warnings (if any): adult situations and character deaths
Author's Notes - This contains story elements taken originally from various X-comics and is AU to the novelization of the movie. Please accept it in the spirit it is offered; as a tale of the human spirit.
It also contains characters and glimpses of scenes from other stories both mine and not mine. they were thrown in with the interests of fun and are not meant to be in anyway the contravening of copyright.
It had been a normal day for most of the kids, but an unusual one for Colossus. Most of the teachers were headed off for the night and the man called Logan was put in charge. Logan wasn't too keen about this idea, so cast about for ways to make it easier, using the dossier files in the Professor's Office. Seeing a possibility he had wandered the X-Mansion and observed the older kids in their evening activities. as he watched he got an idea and smiled.
He quickly placed Piotr Rasputin, an ex-Russian powerhouse codenamed by his friends Colossus, in charge. The gentle giant had a way of calming the kids and getting even the most recalcitrant to listen to him. Logan watched and nodded, sure things were in good hands.
Colossus wasn't so sure.
He had been in America, and at the Mansion, for just two years and felt out of his depth being put in command. He was from a large farm in the former Soviet republics. He had spent his entire childhood hiding his mutant abilities except amongst family and only when they were discovered and his family slain had he fled with his sister Illyana. Professor Xavier had saved them both and brought them here to Westchester. Though he took to the learning and freer atmosphere of America with joy, he still felt there was much he didn't know. His life had been about survival and secrets, not so useful in the open environment here. Or so he thought. But that particular day, things changed and the other students would become very glad that Piotr Rasputin was there.
Part One - Flight
Chapter One: Flight and Fear
The mansion rocked with explosions and screams, bullets and bootsounds and Colossus felt his anger at the intrusion rise as he rounded up all of the younger children he could find. He pushed them together in a large area of the tunnels and looked over them for a moment. He felt sweat slide on his skin in the flickering light of the electric lamps down in the dark tunnels where he stood. It was a relief to be just flesh for a few minutes. Even as he felt that relief, he also felt a sense of loss for the power and the safety of the armor. He had armored up as soon as he heard gunfire and only when he was able to breathe for a minute down in the tunnels did he let the armor fade.
He had escorted thirty or more kids to the exits when he was sent after them by the mysterious man called Logan. Called Colossus by his friends and using the name almost exclusively in this new life, Piotr felt his heart hammering in his chest. After running down the halls with one child in his arms and others at his side, the man once called Piotr Rasputin had felt the bite of fear. Now he felt like the whole world was upside down. He was in charge and he wasn't sure whose idea that had been.
Oh right... Logan's.
Piotr sighed as he shook his head. Now he was responsible for these kids and he had to get them out of here. He remembered the emergency instructions told to him by Scott Summers along with the other oldest students. At the time he had felt shocked, for such an idea of attack seemed impossible in the United States. Now he thought that such naivete felt like it had been long ago. He was already tired, having woken up suddenly during the attack after going to bed early.
He had helped kids get into the tunnels and flow down the halls under the mansion, down ramps to the sub-basement area. these tunnels were leftovers from the Civil war time, and before, when the Underground Railroad had operated. Professor Xavier had spent a great deal of money to keep them off of any plans at all. Even though he generally didn't approve of money as a solution, in this case, Colossus hoped that it had been enough.
Colossus felt his mind suddenly clear as he watched the group of kids mill around in the sub-basement tunnels. They were afraid and he knew what it had felt like to run and be afraid back in Russia. It reminded him of those times and he felt an anger and an assurance rise in him. He would not let these kids feel the same as he had, so lost and alone. He hadn't sought leadership, but there it was. And if it was his, then he would shoulder it. Looking out at these kids, he knew what he had to do. He raised his arms, setting down the child he had been carrying and called for attention.
"Listen! Everyone, listen! We must not panic. They, the ones attacking us, feed on our fear! They know we are afraid and trust that to drive us into their hands again! They want us to make mistakes and they think that, because we are kids and afraid, we will make them! We can beat them, we can run, and hide, and be smart, but you must listen to me and you must be brave! Tonight we run, but we run to freedom!"
There was a ruffle of sound as many voices spoke as one and then the kids moved towards him and were silent as they looked to him. He saw in their eyes a growing trust and a silent waiting. Several of the smaller kids were still crying and he nodded, gesturing at the older kids.
"Doug, Kitty, Amelia, you three gather four others and take the youngest kids in tow. Make sure they are calm and ready to move. Alison, Julio, James, you three keep your eyes out on the edges of the group as we move. If you see anything wrong, let me know. Now come on group, ten minutes and we move out."
"Where are we going?"
Colossus looked down at the ernest face of Samuel Guthrie, a child from Kansas' farmland that he felt a kinship too. Illyana stood nearby as did a few others in their age-range. He kneeled down and looked Sam in the eyes, even as he pitched his voice to carry across the room.
"Sam, we are going to a safe place, to see Professor Cassidy. You remember the professor, right?"
"The one with the funny scream?"
Colossus laughed and ruffled Sam's hair, bringing a scowl.
"Yes, that is his mutant power. He is a friend of Professor Xavier and of us all, and he will keep us safe. But you must all listen to me and to the older kids. We will get you to safety."
Sam nodded reluctantly then flashed a bright smile.
"Okay. I can help too!"
Colossus smiled and laughed a little as he saw Sam move back among his friends, the youngsters who had already been nicknamed the New Mutants. They were only between 6-8 years old, but they trained and learned and moved together as a family, despite being from all races and beliefs. Colossus nodded. His sister was a part of the group and in Sam he saw a kindred soul. He was glad the two were friends.
Colossus rose and catching up his silent sister, Illyana, he placed her on his shoulder and whispered to her for a few minutes. When he felt enough time had gone by, he began to walk forward, surrounded by the New Mutants. As he moved forward, he heard and felt the group rustle and slowly fall in behind him. There were still some who cried but their friends were with them and no one was alone. They were moving and that was a beginning.
Chapter Two - Fright In The Night
That night was a bad one. It had started out okay, but for me, the events of the night when Stryker's men attacked would change me and my life forever. It led to my greatest pain and my greatest joy. Looking back, I don't regret so much that it happened as that it had to happen the way it did. I was so young and naive. I had no idea what was about to happen. None at all.
From the diary of Illyana Rasputin
Illyana wasn't scared. She could tell that others were but one look in her big brother's eyes showed her that he was still strong and in control. She knew he would never let anything bad happen to her, so she smiled and allowed her brother to carry her as they all set out. She had been afraid of the shooting and shouting and the awful sounds she had heard, but her friends, Sam, and Dani, and Roberto, and the others, they stuck with her and they all made it safe into Kitty and Piotr's hands.
Illyana smiled as her brother carried her forward. She liked Kitty. The older girl was always looking after her and they played games together. Kitty had told her that she reminded the other girl of a sister who had died early and Illyana had hugged the older girl tight, and from that day forth, had called Kitty her sister. That had startled Piotr but pleased Kitty. The two of them had several serious grown up type talks that they wouldn't let Illyana hear, and had come away from them smiling and exchanging glances quite a lot. In a funny way it reminded Illyana of the way her parents had exchanged glances back on the farm they had lived on.
She sighed as sadness gripped her for a moment. She hated even thinking of how things had ended, but with the curiosity that her brother kept telling her would get her in trouble, she couldn't help but think about those days when the soldiers had come and her dad had tried to protect her and Piotr and Mikhail. In the end, Mikhail had vanished and her parents were dead, and Piotr and Illyana were left all alone, running.
Until the nice man from America, Professor X, had arrived. She knew she was supposed to call him Professor Xavier but he had smiled and told her in that funny not-speaking-except-in-her-head way of his that it was okay and that he rather liked the name Professor X. The other New Mutants had adopted the name as well.
She looked about and noticed her friends and other kids being herded along by Kitty and Doug and Amelia. Sam was earnestly talking with Roberto as usual and Dani was with Rahne and Xian, as usual again. Kitty and Doug were talking and laughing. Kitty turned and waved at Illyana and then sent a glance at Piotr as well. Illyana giggled and her brother looked at her sideways with that look that said he expected trouble of her. She put on her best innocent face and he rolled his eyes back at her making her giggle even more.
A few minutes later, she felt the tug on Piotr's pants leg and looked down as her brother did. Sam and the others were at their sides, having sneaked past their guards quickly. Piotr laughed as Kitty and Amelia came scurrying after their charges, even as he leaned down to listen to Sam.
"Colossus, may Illyana come down and play? We'll be good, I promise."
Sam's face was solemn in the dim light of the moon and Illyana heard her brother sigh as he considered the young boy. Then he nodded and she laughed in joy as he lifted her in his hands and then lowered her down to be with her friends. Sam took her hand on one side and Dani on the other and under Amelia's eyes they went back to the other kids and Doug were waiting. Illyana glanced back to see Kitty and Piotr walking along almost touching and talking and smiled. She liked it when they talked together, they both seemed smiley-faced afterwards.
Putting it out of her mind, she ran with the others to where they were supposed to be, laughing as they all talked a mile a minute.
Part One, Chapter Three - Dark Nights, Sweet Nothings, and Simple Pleasures
Colossus walked along the street they had arrived at from the tunnels and smiled as he listened to Kitty talk. He glanced at her from time to time always seeing the same half-smile, half-serious look on her face. They did this all the time and he enjoyed just hearing her and talking to her and watching her. The moonlight played over her form and face perfectly. She was so beautiful. As soon as the thought crossed his mind he blushed. The moonlight that so beautifully illustrated her skin and eyes and hair also revealed his blush across fair skin. He saw her start as she glanced at him and winced.
"Why Peter... why are you blushing?"
He grinned hearing her voice embrace his name. He had grown used to having the others call him by his Russian name but she had coined the Americanization instantly and he didn't mind it from her. Even as he thought of how to answer her, he glanced at her again and considered her.
Katherine "Kitty" Pryde was an unusual young woman. She was younger than him, only 16 to his 25, but seemed a lot more mature than her age. She was rarely girlish except when playing with Illyana. Then she seemed to retake a part of her girlhood and laugh and play with the best of them. The rest of the time she seemed very serious and faced life with a stubborn intense face and mien. He admired her for that and for her poetry, and her skills with both kids and computers. He had to admit though that it was her eyes he had fallen for.
The first day they met, when he and his sister had been rescued by Professor Xavier and Scott, he had seen her and made eye contact with her, and in that instant, had fallen head over heels for her. As he watched her, looking into her eyes, he felt the heat of that emotion rise again and he shivered in the night air.
"Peter? Are you okay?"
She looked so worried for a moment that he reached out and touched her hand. The contact thrilled through him and when she looked own at his hand and then back up at him, he felt a responding spark in her eyes and didn't pull her hand away from his.
"I'm okay, Katya. Just thinking."
Her voice was quieter now and less busy as it was sometimes. She was looking at him intensely and he felt the heat of that gaze and something inside him decided that he didn't have anything to lose and that he should just say what he wanted. But how? he tried to figure out what to say exactly, but his words seemed to desert him.
"I was considering beauty, and what is happening tonight, and trying to understand it all."
That was all she said, but the intensity faded a bit and he could see she didn't really understand. She thought that he was talking about the events of the night and not the heat between them. He struggled with words and tried to say what he wanted to.
"I mean,... I was thinking about you, Katya. You are so beautiful, and so young, and so smart and-"
She was watching him now with a gaze that told him she was listening very intently indeed, even as he struggled with the words to force them out. He had never felt so afraid in his life. The darkness and moonlight left shadows all around them and he felt a shiver run through him as he gazed at her. He knew he should be keeping an eye out but nothing seemed quite so important as her eyes, and making her understand, and her voice.
"I was thinking about how I felt about you, Katya."
The silence between them stretched for a few minutes and she shifted and then finally spoke softly, canted just for his ears.
"And what do you feel about me, Peter?"
He opened his mouth to speak and felt all his doubts fall away as he looked at her. A beam of moonlight shone down through the shadows right then as they walked and he marveled at how beautiful she was. He almost laughed at how much a fool he was to make things so hard. He opened his mouth to speak when the moonlight seemed to shiver, and then with a shriek, it shattered.
A whirling pool of light and dark formed over the kids and moved about to and fro as screams erupted from already frightened youngsters. Colossus broke out of the spell that had held him and looked around for Illyana and her group even as the pool pulsed and grew larger. It began to move and as Colossus finally located his sister he saw with horror that she was directly in the path of the light. She screamed his name and he ran towards her Kitty at his side.
As the pool of light bore down on her he saw Dani and Sam, along with Roberto and Rahne run to Illyana's side, trying to urge her to run faster from the thing. For a moment he felt pride in the youngsters who didn't desert their friend even against something this terrifying. As the pool reached the kids, it emitted sounds like nothing Colossus had ever heard, moans and screams and a strange shivering sound, like yet unlike fingernails ion a blackboard. with a final pulse and shriek the pool descended over the kids swallowing them and Colossus threw himself forward, trying to catch hold, even as Doug Ramsey did the same from the other side, a little closer and faster, but even as he did, the pool faded and then was gone.
Colossus kneeled there in the road, screaming and crying chaos around him, even as he faced the fact that his little sister was gone, snatched into nightmare. He raised his head and roared into the night.
Kitty was there at his side, crying too as was Amelia, who was saying something about Doug and pointing. He looked where she was pointing and felt himself almost threw up as he saw what remained of the shy young man who had tried to save his sister. Doug's body had been sheared in half at an angle. Stories of old legends of portals in the hills came back to Colossus as he looked and he sent up a silent prayer for his friend who had tried to save his sister. Obviously he had been part in and part out of whatever portal the pool had been when it closed. Colossus felt his heart close shut like a steel trap as he looked around him at the crying, frightened kids and remembered Logan putting him in charge and Scott telling him about leadership and he felt a rock hard strength rise in him from somewhere he knew not. He cursed Logan then for putting him in control. Colossus lifted Doug's body in his arms and held it close to him.
He rose with it to his feet and looked around and then raised his other arm and his voice.
"Everyone gather around me. Come here. Listen to me."
His voice rang around the street that the tunnels had led to and they all gathered close, looking to him again with tears and whimpers, and with fear in their eyes.
"Whatever happened is over. We cannot change it. We cannot take it back. My sister... is gone. The kids.. are gone. But we are still here. We cannot honor them, we cannot help them, by standing here and letting ourselves die, or be captured."
Here he fell silent for a moment as he struggled with his emotions and then wrestled them under control. He would mourn or find a way to bring his sister back later. Right now he had a job and a mission and people were looking to him, at him, for help and leadership and strength. And he would give it to them, and his sister, wherever she might be, would be proud of him.
"We have lost... we have lost much tonight. But the night is not done and the danger is not over. We cannot let the evils and the hatreds of others and the strange things that happen in life stop us. We all know about strange things happening. We all know about evil. We all know about bad things and hatred. We must not let those things win, or conquer us. We can be afraid, but we must not let fear rule us! We must go on. We will go on. Everyone form back together and we will move out together. And we will not fail."
His voice rung in the silence and for a moment he thought it wouldn't work, but then slowly, slowly they moved back into a jagged formation like they had been in before. Colossus heaved a deep breath and turned to Kitty blindly and she came into his free arm. He held her for a long moment and then let her go, but kept her hand. He moved forward and she and they all, moved forward with him.
And they went on...
Part One, Chapter Four - Dark of Night
Illyana and the others ran around as they could, exploring the road that they were on now that they were out of the tunnels. She thought it looked very spooky, and Roberto agreed, muttering something about legends his father used to tell him. They all came to a ragged halt, watching as Doug and Amelia kept pace with them. Amelia smiled down at Dani who was still bouncing and offered her water, which the girl took politely. Illyana smiled. This night wasn't turning out so bad after all.
The stars above were shining very bright and Illyana felt filled with wonder by them and by being out and about with her friends. She was a bit tired but that didn't overcome her gladness for all that was happening. She glanced back and saw Kitty and Piotr talking and holding hands, and she smiled. She hoped that they would just get together already. they made each other happy, so what was the problem? She sighed. Grown-ups were such a pain some days.
As the night seemed to darken around them, she and the other New Mutants(and she did like that name) mingled a little with the other kids, but mostly stayed on their own. Xian went off to help another kid stay awake and Illyana and Dani started making up nicknames for everyone, just for something to do. The specter of boredom was rising and they were doing their best to preserve the wonder of the night.
And then, as was typical for her life, Illyana found that boredom was a good thing. the night sky seemed to crack open suddenly and a whirlpool of light and dark suddenly spun out of nothing. it whirled and whizzed and made odd and awful sounds and Illyana at once was fascinated and scared of it. She could feel a wrongness coming from it in waves. Beside her Dani whispered a word in a language Illyana didn't know, or maybe just cussed, Illyana wasn't sure. Either way, it snapped her out of her reverie and woke her to the scream of those around her. And then...
Then, the whirlpool started coming down towards her,. She could almost feel it's hunger and it's malevo--, it's badness. She shrieked and tried to run but got tangled up with Dani and they both fell. Suddenly Roberto, Rahne, and Sam were there, lifting them and also standing with them as the thing bore down on them.
"We have to get away!"
Sam's statement fell into the no-duh category but she let it hang there and ran anyway. Even at her fastest she heard it catching up with them. They all stopped and breathed for a moment trying to get the energy to run again and then it was there and Doug was diving at them and Piotr was there and then -
They were elsewhere, in a dark and cold and shivery place. There were sounds and moving things and eyes in the darkness which seemed to be everywhere. And there was a tall red-skinned man with pointy ears like an elf's , and a face that made her think of all the bad things she had heard of ever. he stepped forward and spoke, looking her in the eyes.
"Welcome Illyana Rasputin, my little Darkchylde."
"What-what do you want of me? How did you know my name? And why did you call me that whateveritwas?"
"Why my dear, one at a time. First, I have waited for you since before you were born,. Second, that same waiting enabled me to watch you all of your life. And third, because it is your destiny. You have come home, Illyana. And you will never leave."
To Be Continued...