Chapter 8: The Great Snowball War
Minx took a step away from the door of the school, relieved to be away from the altercation taking place inside between Logan, Scott and Jean.
“Buncha screwed up mutants,” she muttered, her breath rising in the chill air, as she considered the best way to get from Graymalkin Lane all the way into Manhattan without any obvious means of transportation available.
Minx’s thoughts were interrupted when she felt her right foot suddenly go out from under her as it hit a patch of ice left over from one of Bobby’s uncontrolled power bursts. Hands flailing madly, the girl managed to stay upright by performing an awkward split. She grimaced, feeling the muscles in her inner thighs balk at the little acrobatic maneuver and grabbed onto the railing to get both feet securely under her. But, what the girl actually grabbed was the lean, muscled leg of Remy LeBeau. The former thief was sitting on the railing smoking a cigarette, one long leg hanging down from his perch, his back resting against the building. He watched the girl, his face a mask of indifference. Minx let go of his leg and stood up straight.
“Thanks for warning me,” she sarcastically shot at the Cajun as he took a final puff from his cigarette and then gently exhaled, the smoke pluming up and mixing with his frosty breath. He mashed the butt out on the side of the stone railing and flicked it into a nearby hedge before answering the girl.
“What for I should help you, huh?” he asked looking her up and down. His blazing eyes revealed nothing.
“What you done for Remy lately other den treat me like dirt?”
“You started it!”
“All I did, was try to help ya out, p’tite,” he softly said and hopped off the railing, careful to avoid the slick spot on the stoop that Minx had slipped on only moments ago.
Minx was not having it. She was tired. Tired of the lies; tired of everyone butting their noses into her business, and mostly tired of all the complications that had developed in her life lately.
“I never asked for help.” She stated angrily as she stomped down the steps of the porch.
She turned to look up at Remy, as it began to snow harder, the fluffy particles clinging to her bare head and coating her loose hair. The X-man stood sadly watching the girl, his hands stuck into the pockets of his familiar brown trench coat. He remained silent.
“I didn’t ask for their help-“ She indicated the front door with a sharp nod of her blonde head, “and I didn’t ask for your help.”
Remy sighed deeply as the girl continued.
“I’ve taken care of myself since I was nine years old, and I sure as hell don’t need a school full of dysfunctional mutants to baby sit my ass now!”
Minx turned and carefully picked her way along the sidewalk, angrily brushing windblown locks of hair out of her face, wary of any more of Bobby’s icy accidents waiting to happen. She heard laughter and shouts coming from the huge front lawn that was covered in irregular humps and drifts of snow. Several of her classmates - ex-classmates - she mentally corrected herself, were caught up in a playful snowball fight lobbing handfuls of snow at one another and then dodging behind trees and other makeshift barriers. Her heart tugged painfully as she watched them for a moment wishing her life was different, that she was someone else entirely and could just go and join them and be a part of their fun. One lonely tear spilled out, freezing as it made its way down her rosy cheek. She reached up and brushed it away with her sleeve, angry and disappointed that her life had not been easier or at least less lonely. She looked away from the group in resignation and trudged onward, heading for the side drive, which had been plowed of snow all the way to the front gates.
“You won’t get far, l’il bit, “ Remy’s lazy drawl called after her from the front stoop, “I may not be too happy wit you right now, cherie, but I’m not ‘bout to let you go runnin’ off by yourself either.”
Minx’s quintessential reply to that was a raised middle finger shot in the Cajun’s direction as she reached the corner of the building. Remy chuckled at her crude statement and pulled a card from the cavernous depths of his right pocket. He smiled ruefully down at the playing card - it was the ace of spades - the card of emotional conflict and obsession, of things coming to a head.
“Dis must be fate,” he dubiously commented as he charged the card, took aim and let it fly from his gloved hand.
The glowing projectile tumbled through the air and hit the corner of the roof just under the eaves with a loud pop like that of a firecracker. The kids out on the lawn stopped and looked over to the house. Minx jerked at the noise overhead and turned her face upwards, mouth open in puzzlement. She had less than a second to register shock as a rather large heap of snow, jarred loose from its precarious perch by the explosion, slid off the roof and fell directly on top of her. Minx shrieked in dismay, dancing about excitedly as the frozen white stuff made its way down the back of her collar and into her shoes and open jacket front. She gagged and spit ice from her mouth while angrily wiping snow from her face.
“You bastard!” she screamed as the snow began to melt between skin and clothes, chilling her to the bone.
At the sound of the girl’s scream, the students stopped their horsing around on the lawn, and began to wander closer to the scene unfolding near the front of the mansion. They watched in growing interest as Minx, shivering uncontrollably, knelt and scooped up some of the fallen snow from around her ankles and began compressing it in her bare hands.
“You better pray to whatever gods you believe in, Lebeaux,” she spat out between chattering teeth as the ball in her hands gave off a blue glow before freezing solid. “Cause you’re about to meet your maker.”
A wicked smile floated over the girl’s lips as she reared back and threw the ball with all her might. Remy, still grinning over his little trick, was not at all prepared for the ice ball she threw at him. He huffed in surprise as the rock solid sphere hit him square in the chest and knocked him backwards several steps. Remy tottered from the force of the blow, the backs of his legs meeting the low stone railing of the porch. He flailed helplessly, his eyes wide with shock.
“Look out!” John shouted from the lawn, as the tall Cajun went sailing backwards over the railing to land head first into the snowy bushes on the other side.
He came up spluttering and cursing as another frozen ball smashed into the brick wall by his head, making him flinch and duck down behind the bushes.
“What de crazy hell you doin’??” he cried out to Minx as she continued to scoop up snow, freeze it, and hurl the hardened orbs at him. “You gonna kill someone wit dose t’ings!”
“That’s pretty much my intention!” she shouted back at Remy, and ducked to the side as a charged card went sailing harmlessly over her head. “Aw, you gotta do better than that, gumbo!” she taunted him.
John and Bobby exchanged knowing looks, nodded to each other, and headed towards the girl, hoping to intervene before things got too out of hand. The other kids trailed cautiously behind the two, whispering among themselves as they watched the frozen battle.
“Hey? … Minx?” Bobby smiled and raised a friendly hand to the girl.
His smile quickly faded as Minx swung on him, eyes blazing. A playing card went whizzing by her nose, sending off a shower of electric blue sparks. She snarled and gave the boys a warning glare.
“Whoa there,” Bobby held up his hands in a conciliatory gesture, trying his best not to upset her any more than she obviously was.
John mimicked his friend, a fake goofy grin sprouting on his tan face.
“Hey, it’s cool.” he said, “We were just wondering-“
“Stay out of this!” she screamed angrily at the two boys, cutting off any further discussion by reaching into a pocket of her coat, pulling out a handful of change and heating it in her clenched fist.
John took a precautionary step backwards, noticing the wisps of steam now leaking from the girl’s closed hand. He tugged urgently at his friend’s elbow.
“Um, Bobby? I think now would be a good time to-“
He wasn’t allowed to finish his sentence as Minx lobbed the glowing coins at the two boys and returned her attention back to the ragin’ Cajun hiding behind the front steps. John swore and fumbled in his pocket for his lighter as Bobby instantly threw up an ice shield to protect himself and his friend. He pulled John behind the shield to safety as the coins hit the barrier, sizzling and melting divots in the ice.
“She’s totally lost it,” John said in wonder as he watched the girl scoop up more snow.
He had managed to get his lighter out and now clutched it triumphantly in one hand as he peered around the edge of the ice wall.
Bobby pointed at the lighter in mild annoyance.
“What do you plan to do with that?” he asked the other boy, “Have a weenie roast?!”
“What?” John asked petulantly, his face reflecting confusion at his friend’s irritation.
Bobby sighed in exasperation. “Jeez, ya dummy, you can’t just start throwing sheets of fire around. You might crisp somebody or set the school on fire!”
They both flinched as one of the ice balls whammed into the shield cracking a corner off.
Embarrassed by his total lack of ingenuity, John gave Bobby a sheepish look and stuffed the lighter back into his pocket.
“Well, I don’t know!” He shot back, feeling more foolish than ever. “I mean, look at her. She’s totally wigged out.”
Bobby thought a moment, darting his head from behind the safety of the ice wall a second to check on Minx’s actions. The girl had retreated behind a slate stone wishing well that sat back a few feet from the driveway and was now half-buried under a few feet of snow and sheltered by the floppy overhanging branches of a giant spruce tree. It hurt him to see one of his friend’s in such a pained rage, but Bobby knew that Minx needed to be stopped before she hurt herself and others. Keeping a wary eye on the situation, the boy peeled off his gloves and stuffed them into the pockets of his wool jacket waiting for Minx to move from behind the well.
Minx obliged and rose up to take aim at Remy, and Bobby came out from behind the side of his ice barrier, hand outstretched as if reaching for Minx, his brow crinkled in concentration. Minx suddenly couldn’t move. Confused, she looked down and gasped in amazement. Bobby had encased the girl in a jacket of ice from her neck down! Minx’s eyes flicked to him in hurt surprise and then darkened to their former rage at this sudden betrayal. He was supposed to be her friend! Someone who understood her! Bobby’s victory smile slid off his face as he watched his handiwork quickly begin to melt, steam whistling off the ice enclosing the girl. Fissures streaked across the surface of the sheet now making loud cracking noises as the ice was superheated. John stood up from behind the ice wall watching in nervous awe as the last of the frozen ice gave way to water and steam around Minx’s body. It sluiced off her clothes in a gurgling sploosh leaving the girl wet and steaming in the winter cold.
Not fully conscious of what she was doing, but angry and wanting to retaliate, Minx grabbed up one of the flat slate rocks piled loosely atop the well and got it glowing hot. She turned and with a snarl, whipped the stone like a flaming Frisbee toward Bobby and John. John dove back behind the wall, burying his face into the cold snow but Bobby wasn’t so fast. The blazing rock hit him midsection and to the ribs as he had turned to run. The force of it sent the teenager huffing backwards into a snowdrift, his wool letterman jacket smoldering where the stone had hit. John yelled but remained where he was. Realizing that his coat was on fire, Bobby rolled painfully onto his side using the snow to put out the blaze and then gingerly checked his sore ribs to make sure they weren’t broken. They weren’t. Bobby lay in the snow breathing shakily at his close call.
“Bobby! You and Johnny stay put!” Remy shouted from his hiding place as Minx hit him with another barrage, this time super-heated stones she’d dug up from the snowy flowerbed near the well. He yelped as one of them smacked his cheek, raising a little blister.
“Note to self,” the Cajun muttered as he grabbed up some snow and stuck it on the burn, “remind Hank to replace de decorative river stones in garden wit somet’ing less flammable.”
Bobby, sufficiently rested, or at least ready now to pull his freezing cold butt from the wet snow it was laying in, crawled on hands and knees back to where Johnny lay still prone behind the ice wall and watched, feeling helpless, as Minx continued to attack anything and everything that moved in her direction, including some of the other students who were trying to get near enough to the girl to stop her. She was like a Sentinel, he noted uneasily, totally focused on her task and deadly with her aim.
“What do we do?” he glanced over at his friend in growing alarm. “I don’t want to hurt her, John. I mean, I don’t think she fully realizes what she’s doing.”
John bit his lip surveying the scene. “I don’t want to hurt her either, but then again, I sure as hell don’t want her hurting me.” He glanced down at his friend’s scorched jacket for emphasis. “We need to do something to draw her attention off of Gambit long enough for him to get inside and get help.”
Bobby thought a minute longer, then reached down and scooped up snow, packing it firm.
“This won’t kill her, but it’ll at least keep her busy enough so that someone inside can maybe do something.”
John nodded. “Good idea. We’ll keep her busy and let the real heroes take the chances.”
A plan now formed and ready to be put into action, Bobby laid his bare hand against a corner of the ice wall and expanded and thickened it as John motioned to some of the trapped students behind them on the lawn. Some of them managed to crawl up to the cover of the ice shield and offered their help in stockpiling ‘weapons’.
“Just keep ‘em coming,” Bobby advised as he and John took deep breaths, stood up, leaned out from either side of the shield and hurled a couple of snowballs at Minx.
Their counter-attack lasted all of a few minutes before Minx caught on to the boys’ scheme and with a roll of her eyes, she simply knelt down and flattened both her hands against the snowy ground, fingers spread, sucking all the heat from the water crystals until the white stuff became a solid sheet of ice that stretched from her hands outwards. Bobby sighed in frustration watching in chagrin as the ice traveled swiftly and inevitably towards where he and the others huddled. Within a minute, he, John and the other children were surrounded by a lake of solid ice. Minx shot the boys a little look and then turned back to her more serious opponent, the Cajun. Snowballs were pretty much out of the question now, Bobby concluded – there was no snow within safe reach anymore. John slipped and slid on his knees over the frozen stuff to his best friend, and gave him a rather perfunctory slap on the back.
“So now what, braniac?”
Summoned by the racket outside, Scott threw the front door open just in time to catch a frozen ice ball in the shoulder. He grunted and fell back into Jean who happened to be standing directly behind him. The redhead gasped and fell flat on her butt, her eyes widening in surprise. Logan, bringing up the rear of the group, instinctively dropped into a defensive crouch, his ears pricking up as he heard shouts and cursing beyond the front porch area.
“What the heck was that?” Jean gasped, raising herself to her knees as Scott, grimacing, rubbed his bruised shoulder.
“I’m not sure,” he said, gritting his teeth in pain, “but I have a pretty good idea who threw it.”
Logan grunted as another ice ball came sailing through the open door and over Jean’s head. He swung up one arm, adamantium blades punching out to chop the frozen projectile into little pieces.
“See, if you’da just let me handle it my way-”
“Logan,” both Jean and Scott said in unison and looked at each other.
Scott acquiesced to his better half and Jean finished the sentence alone.
“This isn’t the time or place to debate effective disciplinary techniques.”
Still on the floor, Jean reached out with her mind toward the open doorway, pulling the heavy oak door shut, thereby cutting off any further possible direct hits on the threesome inside. She got up from the floor, immediately going over to Scott to check his shoulder. He jerked and hissed under his breath when she pressed down on his injured pectoral.
“We need Professor X,” he said as Jean continued her examination. “Logan and I will try to make it outside to see what’s going on,” he reached up and gently pulled her hands away from his shoulder, “Jean, I need you to go find the Professor.”
Her emerald eyes met his, and finding the assurance she needed, she nodded once and headed off toward the elevator at a trot, her mind already linking with her mentor’s, filling Xavier in on the details.
“C’mon slim,” Logan barked as he shoved past Cyclops, and opened the front door. “Let’s go kick some midget butt.”
“Always have to be overly dramatic, don’t you?” Scott sighed as he followed the man outside.
Cyclops dodged a barrage of flaming sticks and leapt over the porch railing for safety. He landed next to a very aggravated and exhausted Gambit.
“How’s it going?” he addressed his teammate.
“How you t’ink it’s goin’, mon ami?” the sandy-haired man shot back.
He popped up like a jack-in-the-box, whipped a card in Minx’s general direction and ducked back down, breathing hard.
“I t’ink a full scale assault by da Brood be more enjoyable den dis!”
Cyclops risked a peek over the railing and was rewarded with a white-hot stone to the forehead. He quickly dropped back behind the steps, rubbing the red mark forming on his skin. Remy chuckled.
“Oh yeah, forgot ta tell ya,” the Cajun pointed at his own burnt cheek, “dem li’l suckers be hot.”
“Damn, she’s got good aim!” Cyclops complained, “I wish she’d show that kind of accuracy in training sessions.”
The team leader settled back behind the hedges and checked for Logan’s whereabouts.
“Logan!” he called out, “Can you get a fix on her from your position?”
Wolverine had managed to make it over the Minx-made iced yard to the other side of the circular driveway, but was now pinned behind a smoking line of ornamental rose bushes that had caught on fire from the sizzling debris he had batted down with his claws.
“Looks like she’s gone to ground,” he acerbically replied to his teammate. “In case ya hadn’t noticed, college-boy, the little brat’s pretty good in combat situations. And it don’t look like she’s givin’ in any time soon.”
Logan sniffed the crisp wind, his ears pricked, gauging the girl’s approximate location from her scent and the chattering of her teeth. There. She was crouched down beneath an ornate stone picnic bench next to the small patio that was attached to one of the private first floor studies. He could hear her heart beating a caustic tattoo trying desperately to keep her body temp raised enough to counter the hypothermic effects of her wet clothing. She was beginning to wear down, nevertheless, she was still dangerous, he noted grimly. Like a trapped animal, she would go down fighting if it came to that. Without a care for his own safety, Logan came out from behind the bushes and began to slowly advance on the girl, easily deflecting the missiles she lobbed his way, ignoring the small bursts of pain each time one connected solidly with his body.
“Sunshine,” he shouted, “you keep this up, and you’re gonna be in a world of hurt!”
“Everyone just back off and leave me alone!” she screamed hatefully back at him.
Minx retreated to the safety of the sidewall of the school as Logan kept up his forward progress. The stocky mutant halted and watched in growing impatience as Charles Xavier came wheeling out onto the porch, Jean behind him. Jean sensed motion out of the corner of her eye and instinctively raised her arm to stop an ice ball in mid-air. It floated harmlessly a few feet from the professor’s head. Cyclops raised his visor, obliterating the frozen sphere with a concussive blast.
Remaining calm amidst the melee, Charles Xavier closed his eyes and reached out to the girl. Their minds met and joined, Minx’s face scrunching as if in pain. Her form went suddenly rigid in the cold air and then relaxed, slumping as her knees started to buckle. She wore a dreamy smile on her frost reddened face. Smiling darkly in contrast, Logan started toward her to stop her from pitching face first into the snow but came up short as Kitty phased through the brick wall directly behind Minx. He blinked and looked again – Rogue was attached to Kitty’s arm like a stubborn tick, her eyes squinched tightly shut in fear.
“Are we there yet?” Rogue timidly opened one eye and then the other.
Assured that she hadn’t left any body parts back in the wall, Rogue let go of Kitty, and pulled off one of the long gloves that covered her hands and arms.
“Stand back,” Rogue whispered to her companion as she walked boldly up to the falling Minx, grabbed her by the arm and whirled her about, Minx’s body snapping around like a rag doll to face the southerner.
“NO!” both Logan and Scott screamed in horror as Rogue reached up and touched the crazed girl’s face with her bared fingers.
Xavier broke his link with Minx abruptly, his eyes flying open in shock at Rogue’s impulsive act.
“Rogue, no!” he tersely cried out and motioned for Jean and the others to stop them but it was too late.
The two girls stood frozen, identical looks of stunned recognition on their faces. Each stared unseeing into the other’s eyes. Minx began to utter short little incoherent sounds as her emotions and memories drained into Rogue, melding with the southerner’s own psyche…
The little girl dropped the plastic Barbie doll she’d happily been playing with and gave an inaudible gasp, staring in shock as she came upon her father in the living room holding her mother’s limp body in his hands. Mommy’s head was hanging funny, the child noted with unease. Her lower lip began to tremble. Why was mommy’s head all floppy like that? Stephen Anderson let the dead woman drop. His wife’s body fell with an ugly thud to the floor. He focused on the tot before him now who stared up in fear at her father.
“D-daddy?” Nicole had whispered slowly backing up in growing fear. “Daddy, why did you hurt mommy?”
Stephen smiled warmly and held out his hands to the girl in an inviting gesture.
“Come here, honey,” he coaxed gently, “daddy and mommy just had a little fight is all. But everything is okay now.”
Sensing somehow that things were definitely not okay, the girl took one last look at the ghastly scene and fled from the room screaming. Stephen swore and ran after the child. Nicole hid in the basement, shock and panic settling over her mind as her father searched, room by room, calling out occasionally for the girl.
The stress of the situation had initiated the latent mutant powers in little Nicole, and much to her fright, she realized that although she was now hidden in the pitch dark recesses of the basement behind the old furnace, she could somehow see the entire room – every detail perfectly - as if the lights were on instead of off. She heard her father quite clearly as he tried the light switch at the top of the stairs and swore under his breath when it didn’t work. This puzzled her. Daddy knew the light switch was broken – that’s why he had taken a flashlight and put it in the kitchen drawer right next to the basement door yesterday. But, daddy must have forgotten because he didn’t take the flashlight from the drawer. He just slowly inched his way down the creaking wood steps, his hands pressed against the sides of the wall for guidance.
She watched from her hiding place as her father tentatively stepped out onto the basement floor, one toe tapping in the darkness ahead of him for any possible obstacles. Confident there weren’t any, he moved forward and walked right into the back of the old overstuffed couch parked in front of him. Nicole wanted to giggle at this but was too afraid. She wondered how she could see so well when daddy was acting like he was blindfolded. In fact, Nicole watched with a sense of relief as her daddy walked right by her and continued deeper into the murky cellar. Seeing an opportunity for what it was, Nikki shot from her hidey hole behind the furnace and leapt for the stairs as Stephen turned hearing but not seeing the girl. As Nikki hit the top step, she gave a cry of alarm when she heard her father lunging up the steps after her growling like the boogeyman. She shrieked and slammed the basement door and ran.
The girl’s little legs carried her down the long empty hallway past the bedrooms and into the formal dining room. She frantically looked around and dove for the heavy brocade drapes covering the French doors at the opposite end of the room. Stephen, panting slightly from the chase, calmly sauntered into the dim room and came round the polished dining table.
“I know you’re here, precious” he taunted the child in an odd tone of voice that sent shivers down Nikki’s back.
Her father padded quietly along the length of the table, his movements more feminine now, sashaying his hips, like daddy was playing at being mommy, except Nikki knew he wasn’t playing.
“You can come out, Nicole. I’m not going to hurt you, honey. Daddy just wants to take you back to his lab. He’s got a big surprise there for you.”
Nicole put a hand up over her mouth to keep from screaming. This was daddy, but not daddy. Every instinct, every fiber of her being shouted that this was not the man who had taught her to ride a two-wheeler, who used to let her sit on his lap and pretend to steer the riding mower when he was mowing the yard and had kissed her boo-boos to make them better. And yet, he had to be – daddy didn’t have a twin brother and Nikki didn’t believe in space aliens who could take over a person’s body. Even so, this daddy sounded different and, she frowned slightly as she thought of it, he smelled different. She wasn’t quite sure what that meant, but it was true. Daddy had changed, big time, and not in a good way. She suddenly had a very sick feeling in the pit of her stomach that whatever the big surprise at daddy’s work was, it wasn’t going to be balloons and a Baskin-Robbins ice-cream cake. She began to cry.
Confused and tormented by her thoughts, Nikki reached up to grab a handful of the drapes to steady herself. Fear acted as a catalyst, and Nikki’s fingers began to tingle and then to feel warm and sweaty, but not in a painful way. She frowned and looked up at her hand as the fabric in her grip began to smolder, and the drapery suddenly burst into a blue ball of flame. Nikki did scream then, watching in horror as the flames grew around her tingling hand yet did not burn her flesh. Beyond frightened at what was happening to her, Nicole knew only that she couldn’t stay where she was. She took one last look at her father who was being driven back from the inferno and with a small sob, little Nicole managed to free the clasp on the French doors and scramble out onto the patio, and over the lawn, her bare feet carrying her away from the burning house and away from the horrors within.
The shared memories switched to:
Last week. The Salem Center Mall. Nikki, feeling uncertain as she confronted the exotic dark haired beauty standing in front of her.
“You knew my mom?”...
The strange woman, a look of concern now crossing her face, saying, “The people you are with now, at that school – it’s not safe for you there...what I’m trying to tell you is that your mother had an affair while she was married...”
Nikki, forgetting to breathe as the strange woman continued her tale...
“The man who seduced your mother lives in the very school you’ve decided to call home...the man I’m speaking of goes by the name of Logan...”
Shock, anger, hurt, confusion, anger, sorrow, fear, hate... HATE... ANGUISH... SORROW...ANGER
The cataclysmic avalanche of raw emotions flooding so suddenly from Minx into the other girl caused Rogue to scream aloud. Her voice rose in fury cracking from the savagery of its own efforts. That was enough for Remy. He was up and over the porch railing before anyone else could even react. The Cajun raced over the top of a snow bank, coat tails flying, feet sliding under the loose drifts. With a giant sprint, he lunged for Rogue, catching her about the middle, breaking her grip from Minx. The couple landed safely in the snow next to the young girl, Remy rolling to make sure he didn’t crush Rogue, who was now moaning and crying, her green eyes unfocused, unaware of her surroundings.
Minx was much worse off than Rogue. She shook uncontrollably, her complexion turning ashen to match the dull colorless winter landscape around her. Staggering a few steps, blind, her eyes unfocused, pupils contracted pin dots of incomprehension she made harsh little ‘unh’ sounds as her mouth hung open slackly, a thin thread of spittle stuck to her chin. Bobby and Logan reached her just as her knees buckled, and Minx crumpled to the ground, convulsing once before passing out and going dead still. The boy knelt down, shaking, afraid to touch her at first. Afraid she might be dead. He had seen what Rogue could do. Overcoming his fear, Bobby reached down and tentatively felt for a pulse in Minx’s neck as Jean and Scott came running up to where she had fallen.
“I got a pulse…I think,” he said weakly, not sure of what else to do.
“Move,” Jean ordered the boy aside, her doctor skills taking over.
She knelt down beside Minx’s still body, fearing the worst until she found the girl’s slow, thready heartbeat for herself.
“Oh my stars and garters! What in the name of all that is mutant happened here?”
Hank bounded out of the school, taking the stairs in one giant leap. He rushed over to Jean, a medical kit in one huge furry paw,
“Charles seemed to think you’d have need of this.” Hank said as he held out the medical bag to Jean.
Jean grabbed the kit from his hand and rummaged through it as Scott pulled Minx onto his lap to keep her head out of the cold snow.
“Rogue touched her,” Scott said simply.
“Mon dieu!” Remy exclaimed, and everyone looked over to where he still lay in the snow, cradling Rogue to his chest.
Eyes widened as the sobbing Rogue unknowingly clutched up handfuls of snow in her naked hand and began alternately freezing it into ice and then melting it into water. Remy gulped. He looked up helplessly at the others.
“It will be all right, Remy,” Hank comforted the man as he ambled over, “Rogue has unfortunately taken on some of little Minx’s mutant traits, that’s all – why she’ll be right as rain in an hour or so.”
Jean had taken a sedative from the medical kit and was preparing to administer it to Minx when Logan spoke up from behind her.
“You think that’s wise considering she’s barely breathing?”
Jean gave him a caustic look and plunged the needle into the girl’s arm.
“You want to deal with her if she wakes up suddenly and freaks out again?” She threw the used syringe back into the open kit and motioned for Scott to help her lift the girl. “I need to get her inside to the med lab.”
Scott took one side and Jean the other, and together, they lifted Minx’s slack body up from the ground and began to carry her back to the mansion. Logan wandered over to see if he could offer assistance to Remy. Remy still sat on the cold wet ground, hugging and rocking his girlfriend as she sobbed uncontrollably into his coat front.
“Rogue, ma belle, you talk to Remy, now,” he gently coaxed her back into the present.
Rogue, her mind still assimilating to Minx’s, wearily sat up on Remy’s lap and blinked as if in a drunken stupor.
“You slept with my mom.” She stated petulantly and started bawling again, the sobs wracking her body.
Gambit’s brows rose in stupefaction at Rogue’s charge, and he gazed down at her, a worried smirk crossing his handsome face. “Okay, ma chere, I admit I done a lot o’ unsavory t’ings in my life, but I can honestly say, Remy never done dat!”
Rogue stared stupidly at Remy as if he were a total stranger.
“Not you,” she croaked in tearful annoyance, “Him.”
She pointed a finger at Logan, and then lapsed back into her sobbing binge. Remy glanced up at Logan, burning eyes full of questions.
“Don’t look at me, bub,” Logan snapped, “I’ve already been accused of indecent behavior enough for one day.” He bent down to help Remy with Rogue. “C’mon, let’s get weeping beauty here inside before your tail freezes to the ground.”