cutting_edgex23: (Default)
The trip to Detroit was useful, insofar as it left X with a name: Metzger. His location?

A seemingly under-funded lab in Madripoor.

X spends some time sending out inquiries to former colleagues and friends-of-friends -- the X-men get around. What information she receives she keeps track of, until she thinks she has something of a plan.

Then she strategizes with Elle. It only makes sense, and not taking back-up into a difficult situation can be stupid.

This is doubly so when the news confirms that X will be traveling into a riot zone. She could postpone the trip, but that would give Metzger time to get away. Provided he is not killed in the fighting.

Stranger things have happened.

****

One of those stranger things includes the fact that when X tracks Doctor Metzger down, he's dying, bedridden and swearing at her as soon as he recognizes her face.

She does not understand why his current condition is her responsibility, but that detail is hardly relevant to her mission.

He gives her the name of the man he worked for. Colcord. There is still more swearing.

She kills him before she leaves. Because he asks.

****

Tracking Colcord is a more difficult proposition. He is smart, he is canny, and he has friends in high places.

Fortunately X can listen with the best of them and, for short bursts, she is good at blending in.

It helps that very few of the people around her are paying much attention to anyone who isn't directly trying to kill them. Smoke from the fires also helps in concealment.

Their are rumors about people having contact with a man in a mask, supposedly the spokesman for the council of gang leaders that runs the city. The name Tyger is also thrown around, and X files it away. Just in case.

Eventually word reaches her of a meet between the masked man and a resesarch scientist. The scientist is Colcord.

X takes note of the time, then takes a detour to Milliways for back-up.

There is a great deal of work to be done.
cutting_edgex23: ([solo] on the hunt (pretty))
There is a clearing out in the forest, surrounded by splintered and scarred trees, along with the occasional charred stone.

The smell of blood, both old and new, is heavy in the air.

X, you see, is still learning how best to dodge.
cutting_edgex23: (Default)
The interesting thing with X is that she does not feel the cold very well, even with six inches of snow on the ground. Plus she is used to parkas and scarves and bobble-hats as a way to disguise this, and Ambergeldar does not have all of those.

Which means she is consulting with Princess Susan on what would be appropriate snow gear for their adventure today.

It only makes sense.
cutting_edgex23: ([solo] wry smile)
When one's student vanishes for what seems to have been a long period of time -- not that X can really be sure -- it seems only sensible to go looking for him.

Her tracking capabilities are very helpful in this regard.

So is her knowledge of the location of his and Leo's apartment.

Go figure.
cutting_edgex23: ([mono] angry)
After talking to Bucky (and reading Teja's note), X cannot ignore the sharp demands of her mission parameters anymore.

The sickness is problematic, and so is the knocking people unconscious -- particularly in the bar proper.

Which means, if this Slenderman is out there -- someone has to explain the rules. And enforce them. And since X is one of the least-affected people she's met, it seems like a not-terrible idea to be the one to try.

She brings back-up, of course. And Elle has met the Slenderman before. Maybe that will . . . aid in their efficacy.

Though the sight of the decrepit house by the lake is not particularly comforting, in that regard.

Still. Needs must.

Which is why X begins making her approach, not even trying to be quiet.
cutting_edgex23: (Default)
It is another movie night. This time X has solicited suggestions from several trustworthy friends.

They all agreed that one series no one can miss is something called Star Wars. X's bootleg copies are the result of several former teammates insisting that the 'pure, original versions' must be seen first, because the others are a travesty.

X still looks a little dubious after that conversation. But she has the DVDs. She's got Thor and Stitch.

They all have their own bowl of popcorn.

And the whole night lies ahead of them.

What could go wrong?
cutting_edgex23: ([fighting] TX bendy mcflip)
There is something to be said for practicing katas. X rarely has much patience for it.

She is better at remembering her own combat experiences and replicating them, minus her opponent.

Or in adjusting her own approach to said remembered opponent.

it is not entirely ineffective at mimicking the uncertainties of combat.

Or at least it is better than hitting a stationary target.

X has not had to worry about muscle memory in a long, long time.
cutting_edgex23: ([fighting] ninja mask)
The garage is usually a cool and quiet place. There are a lot of vehicles, but the amount of foot traffic is pretty low.

Today, however, it is a different story.

Who knew two people could make so much noise?
cutting_edgex23: ([TX] kittens)
X opens the door to her apartment, letting it swing behind her as she stoops to grab Steve McQueen before he can make a break for it.

Farrah, meanwhile, decides that an aerial assault is the best plan and dives for Stitch's head as soon as it appears.

At least Thor looks like he will get off scot-free?

(For now.)

There are reasons X made him carry the pizza. And the cupcakes.

And the popcorn.
cutting_edgex23: ([older] calm bandage)
It's a tense game, parents yelling in the stands, umpires being harangued, children throwing tantrums when they miss an easy catch or end up at the rear of the batting rotation.

By contrast, X's team is remarkably restrained. One look into the stands while an angry parent is yelling and --

Well.

The yelling stops. And tantrums mean the perpetrator will bat last for six games.

They learn quickly, ten-year-olds. With proper motivation, that is.

And after the game, when X has finished dodging attempts to dump Gatorade over her head (she's heard it is a common tradition, but some things are very stupid), there is ice cream.

Hopefully Meg does not mind the company of some very energetic Little Leaguers. And their parents.

Heaven help them.
cutting_edgex23: ([TX] serious smile)
It's a sunny day, something that Norman appears to much appreciate as he sprawls across one corner of the castle courtyard, spreading out his wings to soak up as much of the heat as possible.

Susan and X, meanwhile, are perched on one of his forearms, using the steam he is exhaling to heat the tea.

Well, X is taking care of the tea, at least. Susan's job is to hold X's feather boa out of the way of any potential flames.

It is a very important job.
cutting_edgex23: (San Francisco)
X scoops Farrah up on her way back from the kitchen.

The fish have been fed, the cats have been watered, and so has the Cactus With No Name.

Now all that remains is to sit down, which she does.

Steve McQueen, from his perch on the cat tree, might look a little put out.

X turns to Elle, nudging her knee against the other woman's just for a second.

Then --

"You are okay?"

It is rarely a bad thing to ask. And X wants to know.

Rachel-X

Apr. 15th, 2012 02:26 pm
cutting_edgex23: (Default)
The trip from Milliways to X's apartment is never very complex. The trip from X's apartment to a series of rooftops suitable for free-running is a little moreso.

Hopefully Rachel continues to not mind the use of motorcycles as urban transport.

It saves time.
cutting_edgex23: (Default)
X slips out of Milliways and into her apartment, pausing halfway through the door to reach down and scoop up a very determined gray tabby.

"This is Steve McQueen," X offers, taking her feline burden and moving away from the door.

It is only fair for Raven to be able to come in, after all.
cutting_edgex23: ([TX] bloody)
Whether the bedroom is silent before her arrival -- her return -- X can't say.

In point of fact, X's throat is still so dry that she won't be able to say anything for a few minutes.

But even before she takes steps to address that, X is going to take the time to properly appreciate the sight of Bruce.

Alive.

Sadistic monsters, after all, are not well-known for keeping their word.
cutting_edgex23: (we are all made of stars)
The plains of hell stretch on forever, constantly wracked with sun and sand and heat.

X's feet have cracked and bled a thousand times over, yet still she walks.

There will be a way out of this place.

She only has to find it.

Is it days that pass? Weeks? Or merely hour upon endless hour?

She can't tell.

It is not relevant.

All that matters is the glimmer near the horizon, the first sign she's had that something is changing, that she is getting somewhere.

That glimmer gets closer and closer, resolving at long, long last into a woman of about X's height.

A woman made entirely of stars.

X startles once that image becomes clear, rocking back on her heels as if to avoid the heat that must \accompany a figure of such brightness.

But the light is cool, instead, a balm against her burned and re-burned skin.

"I. I know you? Why?"

X's voice is rough and almost soundless when she musters up the air to speak.

The figure across from her is silent, merely reaching out one star-laden hand to grip X's, fingers folding together until their edges can barely be distinguished.

"Come, little brightness. You don't belong here, and well you know it. A soul such as yours is meant for far, far brighter places."

A -- soul?

X's eyes are wide, though she doesn't tear her hand away from --

"Don't tell me you can't see it. Look."

The glittering woman lifts their linked hands, taking a half-step forward that X matches unconsciously, even as the center of her palm begins to burn, too pure and clear to really be called pain.

"Mirrors. You'll understand someday soon, little avatar. But now we must go. There will never be a better time."

"Okay," X says, quiet and sure and safe, so very unexpectedly safe. "We can go."

And as the blasted plain around her fades to white, X-23 says one thing more, at the very last.

"I will not forget."

That will always be true.
cutting_edgex23: ([fighting] NXM bloodied but unbowed)
The hounds of hell are always hungry.

X knows this well as she runs across the blasted plains, black dogs baying behind her in a veritable flood. She can run for a long time, but they can run forever.

Strategy demands she find a defensible place to make a stand, perhaps the dying copse of trees up ahead, or somewhere else -- somewhere far from here -- where she can take the high ground.

That is what strategy would demand. But this is hell. Logic has very little place here, and X --

X is tired of running.

The baying of the hounds grows closer, and X-23 -- the weapon, the warrior, the woman -- turns to meet them.

She's killed dogs before. These hounds are bigger, and they are smarter, but they have only claws and teeth with which to tear at her.

And X is very well-equipped to tear back.

It may take hours -- it may, in point of fact -- take days, but eventually the hounds retreat.

X falls to her knees, soaked in sweat and blood, both her own and the hounds', taking deep breath after deep breath, the viciously hot air of hell burning in her lungs.

But she does not have time to sit.

He is here, the thing that is not Wolverine. The demon that is no one and nothing to X-23.

Which is why, when he approaches her, teeth shining white and brilliantly sharp in his reptilian face, when he holds out his hand, saying , "Oh well done, my queen. Marvelously done, shining beacon of my kingdom, anointed in death and blood. Rise, and give yourself up to me, and become what you were always meant to be."

X looks at his hand, her own body limp with exhaustion, and then looks at his face. Her breath is loud in her ears, as is the sound of her heartbeat, too-quick but still steady.

"Okay," she says, just as she did before he first brought her here, this monster, this thing that she could, perhaps, have been. "I can do that."

And then she's on him, claws bared, the runes she traced into the adamantium long ago (traced to fight Them, those otherworldly demons that so plagued Jamie and Joris and Helen) flaring bright as she drives each and every one home into the demon's chest.

X could keep going. She could let rage cloud her vision until all she can do is hack at the demon's body until it's a fine red paste on the ground. She could cut off his head, or dismember him, or rip out his guts and leave them as a message for any who would seek to bring her back here.

She could do all these things, all these terrible things --

But she does not.

The kill is quick, if full of far too much blood to be called clean.

X leaves him where he falls, the king of this particular corner of hell.

The remnants of his hounds will feast well.

X does not care.

Parched and bloody and exhausted, she gives herself a moment to catch her breath and gather her strength.

And then X makes her way back across the vast, empty span of Hell, looking for a way home.
cutting_edgex23: (Bruce and X)
For the first time in a week and a half, X does not dream.

No hellfire flickers in her mind's eye.

No horrible Wolverine-doppelganger stalks her sleep, trying to touch her, trying to take her somewhere she does not want to be.

She slides her right leg under Bruce's left, ankles locking gently, and halfway opens her eyes. Three hours is longer than she expected to sleep, but that is not a bad thing. X stays where she is for a few minutes, absorbing the warmth and listening to the rhythmic cadence of Bruce's breathing, where he lies next to her, listens carefully to the slow, steady beating of his heart.

But sloth is not one of X's main skills, which is why she slides out of bed after awhile, padding out into the kitchen wearing a tank top and a pair of underwear.

It is comfortable.

When she returns, bearing a glass of milk and half a bowl of cereal --

The false Logan is waiting, sprawled out on her side of the bed, claws far too near Bruce's throat.

"There you are, my beautiful killer, my vicious queen. One last time will I ask you, come with me. Should you defy me again -- and oh, such spirit I had not thought to see, not from a made thing, not for a sword forged from the finest steel in creation -- "

The not!Wolverine's eyes flash orange, flash red, and one clawed hand rests on the pillow near Bruce's face.

X is frozen.

"Should you defy me, pretty little assassin, I will snuff his life out with no more thought than you have ever given your victims."

He smiles, sharp white teeth flashing in a face that looks less and less human with every passing second.

"You know precisely how little thought that is, my dearest plaything, don't you?"

X does not blink. She barely even breathes. If this is a dream -- if this is a dream it means nothing, but if it is real --

If it is real, Bruce is not allowed to die here.

Carefully, X sets her glass of milk and bowl of cereal on the bedside table, both eyes fixed on the false Wolverine the entire time.

Only then, when both hands are free, does she speak.

"Okay."

Her voice is even, cool and calm and matter-of-fact. Her face remains expressionless.

"I will go with you. But you will leave him alone."

"Oh my dearest dear," says the thing that has never been Logan, will never be Logan, "you will never know what that means to me."

And then he takes her hand, skin charring under the immense heat rolling off his fingers, and they are gone.

Hell has very fine weather, this time of year. And the hounds are looking forward to having time to play.
cutting_edgex23: ([XF] running through hell)
X does not remember her dreams. Sometimes she thinks she does not have them.

That would be preferable to the situation she finds herself in, now.

Every night she dreams of Logan, but a Logan that smells wrong. The way he talks -- wrong. The way he moves --

She knows it is not her brother. He says things, terrible things.

He wants her to go back to the way she was, a thing. A tool. A weapon. Not a person at all. He wants to use her. X does not even have to listen to him talk to know that.

It is in his scent, the sound of his voice, the way he keeps reaching for her, even as she stays more than an arm's length away.

It is safer.

And when she wakes --

When she wakes it is almost impossible to tell that she was ever asleep at all.

If she were someone else, X would probably be afraid.

As it is, every night before she falls asleep, X just tries to remember to kill the thing wearing Logan's face.

Someday.

Someday soon.
cutting_edgex23: (elle and x animated)
X slips in through the front door of her apartment, ducking down to bar Steve McQueen's passage out into the hallway.

Farrah makes her own break for it several seconds later.

Apparently she is learning from the best.

X does not sigh.

There would be very little point.

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