Damn Aborigine: Chapters 2-6

by 2280

Disclaimer: Same as before, no surprises here. AKA I'm still dead broke. Also, I don't remember if I've set an age for Claire so I'm going to do so now, she is 22 years old. That may not coincide with how long Logan has been missing his memories, but for all purposes lets pretend it is ok?

Yeah, yeah, I know, my therapist keeps telling me that they belong to marvel and not me, but what does he know right? Anyway, before the guards come back I just have to say don't use Claire (or Dim) without my permission!

Chapter 2

This was not cool. In fact she didn't think there was a word, in any language to accurately describe how disgruntled and perturbed she was at this moment. Not only did she not know where she was, or how she got there, she had been dragging her amazingly heavy companion for two days.

Jubilee dropped the sleeves of her coat in which she had been dragging Claire with onto the ground and slumped down beside her. She shielded her eyes from the sun as she looked around her. Yup it was still the same barren rocky terrain that it had been an hour ago, and the hour before that, and the hour before that. IF she didn't know better she would be convinced that they were going in circles.

She looked down at Claire who was unconscious within the remnants of her coat. She didn't know what was wrong with her, but it couldn't be good. She had inherited Wolvie's healing factor, which should make her pretty much indestructible. Unfortunately it seemed someone had found a hole in that theory and it couldn't have happened at a worse possible time.

Jubilee sighed and rested her chin on her hand. She wished she had her shades, but they had gotten lost somewhere between the mansion and where ever the hell she was right now. Her and Gateway were gonna have a long talk one of these days.

She got up with a groan and grabbed the arms of her jacket and continued dragging Claire. The ground was rough, she could feel it through the soles of her shoes, she just hoped it wasn't ripping Claire up too bad. If she wasn't so angry she might almost be concerned.

"Good god! You're only a little taller than me, so how can you be so damned heavy?" She grumbled as she felt Claire go over a large rock behind her. "It has to be your fat head, that's the only possible explanation."

It was totally dark, as if she were floating, she knew that there was something she should be doing but she couldn't focus on what. Suddenly there was a blinding pain and the darkness turned to red as she suddenly flooded back into her body.

Thump. She felt her head bounce off of a rock, what in the hell was going on? She was now awake, but didn't open her eyes. She heard someone talking softly, and tried to focus on them through the pain. It was Sparky who was talking, no correction. It was Sparky who was bitching.

'Maybe you're just a big sissy," she rasped, her throat dry from lack of water.

"Wha?" Jubilee whirled around at the sound of her voice, dropping her in the process making her head bounce of the ground.

"Son of a . . ."

"Opps, sorry 'bout that." Jubilee knelt next to her reaching for her head.

"You're gonna be." Jubilee drew back out of arms reach. "What in the hell is going on?"

"I was waiting for you to wake up so I could ask you the same question. The last thing I remember is you fighting with Sabertooth and then I woke up here. I've been dragging you, looking for help."

"Well it seems you've been doing a bang up job, I amazed by how many people there are tripping over themselves to give me a damned glass of water. I think I would have been better off staying with Creed than letting you take care of me." Claire rubbed her hand against her forehead wishing the incessant pounding would leave her head.

"Hey! I've been dragging your heavy ass through this desert for two days now. If it wasn't for you we wouldn't even be in this mess!"

"Me? What in the hell did I do besides making the obvious mistake of saving your sorry ass from Creed?" Claire snarled as she tried to sit up.

"Your are such a joke you know that? You act all big and tough, but your taken out in one fight, by Toad none the less, and I have to carry you around because you too sick to do anything for yourself. Oh, yeah, I can see you why everyone is afraid of you." Jubilee crossed her arms and glared at the wounded girl in front of her. She was being childish and she knew it, but she had just spent the last two days taken care of her and hadn't even received so much as a thank you. She didn't like Claire, not really, and this wasn't winning her any brownie points.

Claire studied Jubilee for a few seconds after her out burst, trying to read her before she sat up and replied.

"You're right."

"Don't even start . . what?"

"I said your right, I am tougher than this. I've endured worse than this before, so lets go." She was on her feet, locking her knees so Sparky couldn't see how much of an effort it was. "Come on, if we want to find a way out of here we had best get a move on."

Jubilee just nodded.

Claire was beginning to think that she had been wrong, when she said she had endured worse that is. She was pretty sure it was true, just no situation came to mind. All she could focus on was how sluggish her body felt, and how it seemed that all her muscles were on fire. She had been carrying Sparky for awhile, the poor kid put up one hell of a fight, but after dragging her for two days she had finally succumbed to exhaustion. So Claire continued to travel the god forsaken terrain in silence.

She stopped and looked around her. It was dawn now as the craggy rocky that stretched out as far as the eye could see were illuminated by the suns dim light. With a sigh she set Jubilee down and knelt down and rested on her heels, suppressing a groan at the protest her muscles put fourth at the action.

"Well we really screwed the pooch on this one kid. As far as I can tell we are the only life here, there is no food and no water, and I'm beginning to think there is no way out." She muttered to the unconscious girl, running her fingers through her long dark hair. She didn't say it but she new something else was terribly wrong, only it had nothing to do with their environment it had to do with her. Something had happened during the fight with Creed because now her senses were dulled, her enhanced sense of smell, hearing, and sight dulled she felt as if she was moving through this world blind.

With a sigh she stood up and moved to haul Sparky back onto her back when the ground started to shake and she lost her footing.

"What in the hell?" She exclaimed as she fell on her but in the dirt. She rolled onto her stomach to get a better view of her surroundings and saw two large machines rolling towards them.

"Great, this is just wonderful. I can't wait to get my hands on that little midget's neck." She grabbed Sparky and hauled her over her shoulder fireman's style and started to run. She felt as if she was going in slow motion, but she knew that she was running faster than the average human so it gave them a small chance.

Claire soon learned that it was too small when the occupants opened fire on the pair and she was forced to roll out of the way, throwing Jubilee who was rudely awakened to the sight of the ground moving at a nauseating pace under Claire's feet, to the ground.

"Ow! Watch it! You break it you buy it, got it?" She rolled to a stop about 100 feet from Claire, "I really got to stop waking up like this, it can't be good for my health," she muttered rubbing her bruised bottom.

"Quite yer bitchin, I can see two more things that aren't too good for your health coming this way." Claire pointed towards the tanks.

"Hmm, I see your point. So what do you think we should do?"

"Well judging by their previous gunfire I think we have two options. We can fight or we can die. I guess the choice is up to you."

"Well, duh. That's a hard one. You go high I'll go low?"

Claire nodded, "Just try not to get yourself captured, I have enough problems right now."

Jubilee glared at Claire as the tanks drew closer. She took a deep breath and jumped up releasing a series of paffs at the first tank, forcing it to veer to the right to avoid tipping. However while she was busy she wasn't watching the gunman in the second tank and he hit her squarely in the chest with an energy blast sending her flying into a heap on the ground.

"Bad move." Claire leapt out from behind a rock and dragged the gunman from his seat as the tank passed her and took him out with one punch. "You ok Sparky?"

"Yeah, I'm fine. I'll feel a lot better once I take care of these goons though." She paffed at a couple of men running towards them from the tank, hitting one but missing the other. She ducked behind a rock to avoid his return fire, suddenly very thankful for the rocky terrain she had been cursing for the last three days. She looked on the other side of the rock and saw Claire fighting the guy's form the other tank. She seemed to be holding her own for right now, but Jubilee could tell that something wasn't right. She rolled out from behind the rock and paffed the other soldier before she crawled on her belly towards Claire to help her.

"Three down, six to go." Claire muttered through clenched teeth as she gritted her teeth against the pain of the knife that had slipped through her defenses. The wielder didn't get much time to relish the victory however as his thrust was rewarded with a neck breaking backhand.

"Four down, five to go." She knew she was slowing down and her timing was off, it was only a matter of time before she faltered. She had to get Sparky out of here. She jumped up and delivered a roundhouse kick and flipped away from her attackers and searched for Jubes. She spotted her on the ground about 300 yards away.

"Go on and get out of here, I'll finish them off!" She yelled to her before turning to defend her self.

Jubilee paused unsure if she should abandon her companion, but deciding that Claire was more than capable of defending her self she turned to leave.

And she saw a barrel of a gun aimed right between her eyes. She looked up and saw the barrel was attached to a very unpleasant man who she was willing to bet had a penchant for violence. She smiled at him sweetly as she shifted her body to get her hand out from under her. The man raised an eyebrow, shook his head and cocked the gun.


Claire grunted as the butt of the gun hit her in the sternum and she fell to the ground only to receive a kick to the gut. She tried to get up, but she was knocked back down. Suddenly the men around her stopped hitting her and turned as some one yelled. Claire also turned toward the voice and saw that one of the men had captured Sparky. Claire swore under her breath, couldn't that girl follow one simple order? One of the men yelled something she didn't understand back and pointed to Claire, the one holding Sparky simply shook his head and the group left Claire where she lay.

They were going to leave her and take Sparky. "Not as long as I'm still standing," she ground between her teeth hauling herself from the ground, forcing the darkness that threatened to overtake her to the back of her mind.

'Hey, where in the hell do you think your going? I'm not done playing with you!" She grabbed the man at the back of the group and spun him around. His eyes were wide with surprise, she saw that he was only a kid, but she didn't have room for mercy. They wouldn't show her any. She punched him hard, collapsing his chest, stepping over him as he fell to the ground moving towards the next one. She was close to Sparky, only a few more steps.

She was stopped dead in her tracks as a shot rang through the air.

"Claire!" Jubilee screamed as she saw Claire sink to her knees in the sand, blood pouring from the wound in her chest. She closed her eyes against the tears and didn't fight as the men hauled her in to the tank. What did it matter? She had done it again, she had caused the death of someone who was trying to help her. She craned her neck to look behind her as the men pulled her into the tank to see Claire lying on the sand staring up at the sky.

Chapter 3

Soft darkness surrounded her, she was dreaming yet she was not at peace. There was something there, in the distance, pulling at her. She tried to ignore it but it was an insistent pain that throbbed at the center of her being. With a resigned sigh Claire turned her attention towards it, and she felt herself being drawn closer and closer, the pain growing stronger with each second.

She surveyed the scene before her, trying to connect it with the incredible sense of loss that she felt. She stood in the middle of a cemetery and she was kneeling in front of one of the stones, leaning against it for support. Her body felt bulky and uncomfortable, and it was an effort for her to shift to her knees. She heard someone coming up to her and as she glanced up to see who it was she saw the arm that was supporting her against the headstone, it was heavily muscled and was comprised of metal.

She paused, unsure of what was going on when she saw who her visitor was. He was blue, with pointy ears. She had seen him before at the mansion, but had never spoken to him. Then it dawned on her, this wasn't a dream, this was Nate.

Finally the link that he had unknowingly created might come in handy, it could get her out of this mess. If she could see and feel him then maybe he could see and feel her. She focused her energy and cried out mentally to him with all of her might.


In her dream she felt his head jerk up as he looked around him.

*Nate, please you have to hear me!*

*Claire?* Came a tentative reply, although it was broken up and distant. She felt herself sigh with relief.

*Claire, where are you? Everyone has been searching for you, Jubilee has gone . . *

*I know, listen to me, something happened, something bad, we need help.*

*Where are you?* Claire felt herself being drawn away from him and swore in frustration. *I'm not sure, but we need help, find the damn midget!*

She felt the contact break and she flooded back into her own body. She opened her eyes and was confronted with the largest man she had ever laid eyes on. His enormous size was crammed into what appeared to be a tent as he hovered over her. He smiled at her as he saw her eyes widen.

"Good, you awake. Dim was beginning to worry."

She was still alive, but he headache that was forming behind her eyes was enough to make her wish that the gunman was a better shot. She opened her eyes again and surveyed her surroundings. The man, for all his size, did not appear to be a threat. She was lying on the ground with a blanket over her, and when she tried to sit up the man turned to her and gently pushed her back down. Claire was dismayed to discover that she did not have the strength to resist him.

"You must not move, they put Dim in charge of your care and care for you he will."


"I am Dim."

"Yes I can see that," he gave her a quizzical look and she sighed and took the cup of water he handed her, the coolness soothing her scratchy dry throat.

"Do you have name?"

She gave him a wry smile, "well the way things have been going the last few weeks I think Marquee de Sad would be appropriate."

Dim nodded as he turned toward the flap of the tent. " I go tell them that you are awake." He left the tent without waiting for a reply. Not knowing how long she had she threw the blanket to the side and slowly rolled onto her knees. Her clothes were torn, revealing her bruised and battered flesh, and she had to suppress a groan as she drew to her feet. Her healing factor should have kicked in by now, something was defiantly wrong. She didn't have time to think about it however, she had to get to those sons of bitches who took Sparky. They were gonna rue the day they ever met her. She picked up a large shirt and slipped it over her head as she walked towards the door.

Only she didn't get a chance to pass through it because Dim came through it again and was followed by a smaller man with reddish brown hair and soft brown eyes.

"Dim said to stay in bed, why don't you listen?" He said clearly dismayed as he stepped to the side allowing his companion to come further into the room.

"I've been told it's a character flaw." She almost smiled when Dim simply nodded in acceptance and turned to close the tent flap.

The other man was standing close to her, he was much taller than she was. Claire came about to his shoulder. HE wasn't overly muscular, but she could tell that he was strong. She couldn't take him out right now, in her state. That thought made her grimace, she'd been doing that a lot since she met the X-men.

"Are you all right?" He asked reached a hand out to her, but drawing it back when she snarled at him.

"Yeah, I'm fine. I had to run form a fight, which led me to this godforsaken place, and now I've lost my friend and was left for dead. So far I'd say things are going just peachy."

"I'm sorry about your friend, your lucky they left you behind. I found you yesterday when we were traveling. My friend Dim here has been caring for you ever since." He indicated the large man.

"Yeah, we've met. You got a name?"

"He no know who he is." Dim chimed up from the other side of the tent.

Claire raised an eyebrow at him, "So you're a regular John Doe huh?"

His head jerked up, "you know who I am?"

"No," she sighed, again, "John Doe is the name given to people who don't have one."

"Oh," he thought about that for a moment before nodding. "John it is then. What is your name?"


"Marquee." Dim interrupted, a large smile on his face as he watched his new companions. Claire simply closed her eyes with a grimace.

"Well, it's nice to meet you Marquee. I'm glad the fates brought us together. My name is John." He stuck his hand out to her.

Despite everything that had happened in the last day she found it hard not to smile at these two. There was a simply innocence about them that she envied. She reached out and took hold of his hand.

"Nice to meet you, John, Dim. Now I have one question."

"What's that?"

"how are we going to get my friend back?"

The next morning the trio was getting ready to break camp.

"Are you sure about this? It's a long trek, about a two-day hike, to get to their base. And if you don't mind me saying Marquee you weren't in the best shape when we found you."

Claire strapped a pack to her back as she turned to him. "Don't worry about me, I heal real fast."

"Dim don't know, you still don't look to good to me." He reached over to straighten the pack on her back only to receive a smack for his efforts.

"Did I die and go to hell? That is the only explanation I can think of for getting saddled with you two."

"Really?" John raised an eyebrow as he handed her a canteen, " I think we've been cursed to be your guardian angels."

"Only I would be so blessed."

John simply smiled and shook his head. When he had first found the strange woman Marquee in the desert he wasn't sure she was going to survive. She had been badly wounded and had received what should have been a fatal shot to the chest. He knew it hadn't healed, but it wasn't slowing her down. He tried to keep a close eye on her without her knowing, for he knew that she was in an enormous amount of pain. He could tell by the way that she grimaced when she thought he wasn't looking. If he has learned anything from the battle of wills over the last day it was that she was as proud as she was prickly. Perhaps her sour attitude turned others off, but he found it strangely charming. He had a feeling that she was all bark and no bite. He couldn't picture anyone as small as her doing any real damage to anyone. With a small smile he nodded to Dim and they set off in the direction of the enemy base to retrieve her friend. One thing was for sure, spending time with Marquee was not going to be boring.

What he didn't see was Claire scowling at him as he walked in front of her. If he kept looking at her like that the entire trip she might have to rip him a new asshole. It was annoying and she was already running out of her short supply of patience. Most of it was spent on Dim who seemed intent on hovering over her and casting knowing smiles between her and John. She felt like she was caught in the middle of a really bad romance novel. Yes it was going to be a long trip indeed. She really was going to kill that damn aborigine.

Chapter 4

Jubilee sat in her cell, if you can call a 4x4-foot space a cell, just like she had for the last four days trying to decide what to do. Each time she went over the checklist of what was against her things looked worse and worse. Telling Wolvie that she had let his daughter get shot to death trying to save her was the thing she was looking forward to the least. Sure they weren't all that close, in fact Claire had been openly hostile to him at most times, but she was his family, his blood, and she had let her die. With a sigh Jubilee stretched out her cramped legs. Yup, things were defiantly gonna get tougher from here on out. But before she could crush her Wolvster by telling him that she had destroyed the only link to his past she had to get out of her. She brushed moister out of the corner of her eyes. She was tough, she wasn't gonna cry. A renegade tear slipped down her cheek. She wasn't gonna cry, she thought as she buried her face in her arms.

"Whadda mean her
felther?" Logan leaned across the table towards Cable.

"This shouldn't be to hard for you to understand." Cable snarled back.

Rogue leaned back with a sigh, with the disappearance of Claire and Jubilee in addition to the death of Moira McTaggert tensions were running high and these two at each others throats defiantly wasn't helping anything. Rubbing her temples, and wishing for the tenth time that day that they hadn't elected her leader, she looked toward Jean for support.

"Nathan," Jean laid a hand on her sons shoulder, "This bickering isn't helping anything. Logan," she gave him a pointed look, "Nathan is trying to explain what has happened, but he can't do that if you keep interrupting him."

They both sat back in their seats grumbling, Jean gave Rogue a small tired smile. Things had seemed to be going from bad to worse lately. Most of their time was spent in the war room doing damage control from Kelly's death and looking for Kitty Pride. Now two more of their teammates had gone missing. Fortunately Nate had a lead on the newest disappearance and hopefully they wouldn't have to sustain another loss. She looked across the table at Logan who was chewing on a cigar and looked like he hadn't slept in days. His hair was more unruly than usual and he had a good start of a beard growing.

'Al'raght," Rogue started when there was silence again, "ya said she contacted ya through this psychic link y'all got. Can ya pinpoint where this call came from?"

Nate shook his head, "It doesn't work like that, it isn't a radar. The link was weak, that could only mean two things." He rubbed his forehead with his fingers, dreading Logan's reaction to this new bit of information that he was about to receive.

"Well bub?"

Nathan sighed and rested his head on the back of the chair. "It means that she is either far away or she is hurt."

Rogue and Jean winced as Logan jumped up with a swear causing his chair to flip over and crash to the ground. He stormed out of the room, leaving the remaining three looking at each other.

Rogue rolled her eyes in annoyance. "Fine, a'll go afta him." She walked out of the room to find her agitated friend.

"Do you think we'll find her Jean?"

'I don't think we have a choice. I'm not sure if this team can sustain another loss."

A day and a half, they had been traveling for a day and a half, but to Claire it seemed like so much longer. Each hour put her in a worse mood. Between the constant bickering between John and Dim she didn't know who she wanted to kill more, but right now she was leaning toward John.

"You don't know what you're talking about. Of course it's this way," John said pointing to the bottom of the mountain they were on.

"Dim don't think so, we would see it from where we stand."

"I thought you said you knew where the slave traders base was." Claire snarled from behind them. They turned to look at her as if just realizing how annoyed she was getting.

"We do," they said in unison.

"It's at the bottom of the mountain."

"It's at the top of the mountain."

"How did the two of you survive on your own for so long?" She grumbled. She walked to the edge of the edge and looked down, and then turned to look up. "I have to agree with Dim on this one, it wouldn't make any sense to put a base at the bottom of a mountain. It would be too easy to attack. And lord knows we wouldn't be given any breaks so that means it's probably at the top of this god-forsaken chunk of ice. And John?"


"The next time you tell me you know where something is you better be telling the truth or I will personally through you of the nearest ledge. Are we clear on that?"

John smiled at her, his brown eyes crinkling. "You couldn't do that to me."

Claire narrowed her eyes, "you really don't know me well enough to make that assumption, now do you John." It was a statement not a question, causing John's smile to wilt just a little.

For the first time since he had met Marquee, John became a little wary of his companion. At first she didn't appear the least bit threatening as she had lain in his bed. Now however, the snarling woman in front of him looked like someone to be reckoned with, even with the wounds and bruises she didn't look like she would have any trouble holding her own in a fight. He turned to look at Dim whose mouth was drawn into a grim line as he watched his companions. When his light blue eyes met Johns he simply shook his head in warning.

Dim watched he two closest friends in the world fight with each other. Sometimes he worried about John. He constantly pushed Marquee's buttons as if totally unaware of the fire he was playing with. He knew that John was attracted to the strange woman they had found in the desert and nursed back to health, but he also knew that Marquee was a dangerous person. It worried him that John didn't seem to see this. With a sigh he turned to Marquee to play peacekeeper.

"Dim sorry about the confusion. It just easy to get lost in places like this."

"I'm sorry isn't gonna cut it if my friend ends up dead cause you two can't keep your directions straight."

"Your friend gonna be fine, Dim promise." He resisted the urge to reach out to her, knowing she did not like to be touched. "Perhaps we should make camp here tonight and continue the rest of the way tomorrow."

"Yeah, I'll go find some wood." John walked off the path towards the woods.

Claire and Dim took their packs off and set up the tent.


Claire paused holding one of the tent poles, "Yes Dim?"

"Do you like John?"


Dim smiled, "good, cause Dim sees the way friend John looks at you."

Claire stood up and looked at him and said in a low voice, "what do you mean?"

"Dim sees how John looks at Marquee. Dim think Marquee make John happy." He watched Claire's reaction as she turned her gaze to where John had left the trail. "Do Marquee think John could make her happy?"

Claire listened to what Dim was saying. She had learned a long time ago that situations like these never turned out good. She dropped the tent poles she was holding and walked towards the woods.

"I'll be back Dim, finish putting up the tent."

With a small smile Dim returned to the work at hand.

John was pacing back and forth in front of a large pine, stupid, he thought to himself. Could you be anymore of a loser? God, he slapped his forehead with the palm of his hand. If there had ever been a chance to get her he sure had blown it with the idiotic way he had been acting the last couple of days. She had been polite, even tolerant, but he could tell that his very presence set her on edge.

He sighed and sat down in the snow, ignoring how it moisture soaked through his pants.

"I don't want to hear you whining that you're cold later if you're going to be doing things like that."

He looked up and there she was, leaning against the tree as calm as could be. Even all bruised up she was the most beautiful woman he had ever laid eyes on, well actually he was the only woman he could remember ever laying eyes on, but he couldn't imagine any of them looking as good as Marquee.

Claire leaned up against the tree, her cracked rib hurting too much to support herself for much longer. She watched him pace and sit down, and then there was that dopey look when he saw her. That wide-eyed, hopeful, please take me home, lost puppy-dog look. Not many people could resist a look like that.

Claire wanted to kick him. Hard.

"Hi, I was just thinking about you actually." He gave her a rye smile.

"I don't doubt that. Do you have any firewood or are we going to eat our dinner cold?"

"Yeah, I got it." He reached over to a bundle he had dropped at a base of the tree as he got up. Claire nodded at him and started to head back towards Dim.


Damn, almost made it, she thought. "Yeah?"

"You don't like me very much do you."

Shit. She turned and studded him for a moment. He was standing before her, holding a bundle of wood and looking at the ground. He was kind and innocent and stupid enough to bare his soul to a murderous bitch like her.

"It's not that I don't like you, I just don't think you should be attracted to someone like me."

"What if I'm willing to take that chance?" He shifted the wood in his hand and reached over and stroked her cheek. He lifted her chin, forcing her to meet his gaze, their brown depths a shade darker than they were before. "Are you?"

Claire simply stood their transfixed, unsure of what to do. No one had ever looked at her like that before. Terrorists, gunfire, she could handle all of that, but she found herself strangely floundering in this situation.

John dropped the wood and took a step closer to her, putting his hands on either side of her face. ""''l take that as a yes," and he slowly lowered his head until their lips softly met.

Jubilee took a deep breath as the guard led her through the courtyard. This was it, it was now or never. She waited until she was close enough to the wall before she spun around and slammed her elbow into the guards face and blew up the light tower, not missing a beat turned and jumped to the top of the wall.

She could hear the guards yelling and she prepared to jump over the wall until she looked down. The sight caused her to reevaluate her situation., it was a long drop, with a lot of trees. She had a pretty good chance of breaking her neck on a drop like that. She looked over her shoulder and saw armed guards pointing at her as they ran.

It wasn't a tough decision. She contracted her leg muscles and leapt off of the ledge, using her bound hands to cover her head and race as she hit the ground and continued to roll at a break neck speed. She cried out as she bounced off of something, but it didn't slow her decent. She rolled onto her backside and tried to dig her heels in, hoping it would act as a breaking system, but apparently spandex and an ice hill wasn't a good combination. She looked ahead to see if there was anything she could use.

Not good, defiantly, not good, she flung her arms up right as the branches started to slap at her body as she flew past them, she let her body go limp so it would follow the terrain the trunks made to avoid hitting them.

It seemed she had just jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Claire pulled back when she heard an explosion from the top of the mountain.

"Wow," John said softly brushing some of the hair out of her eyes. "That was some kiss."

"I think that came from the top of the mountain."


"Where my friend is."

"I suppose we should go and check it out then huh?"

"That might be a good idea."

John bent down and grabbed the wood and took off after Claire who had already started towards the clearing. When she reached it she saw Dim facing the mountain. He turned toward Claire when she stopped next to him. "Do you think. . .?"

"Yeah, I'm gonna go check it out, you stay here with John." Dim nodded as Claire took off up the hill.

It had been hard enough walking this far as injured as she was. Her bruised muscles and broken ribs didn't take to kindly to this at all, bit regardless she pushed forward intent on reaching the top before whatever made that explosion me them first.

It didn't take long because just as she broke threw a patch of trees and was about to plunge into another something slammed into her and took her down with it.

"Shit!" Claire yelled she felt it slam into her, knocking the wind out of her.

"Claire?!" Jubilee brought her hand up to protect her self from another oncoming tree branch as they plunged into the grove Claire had just came from.

"Sparky?" She swore again as they bounded over a mogul on the hill. Claire wrapped her arms and legs around her cacooning Jubilee in her embrace as they bounced and rolled through the trees and snow. Claire winced as she felt another rib crack when they hit a tree, but used the momentum to roll and pull them the other way. She reached up one arm and snagged a piece of wood as the passed and used the last of her strength to plunge it into the ground and hang on to it as it ripped through the ground slowing their decent.

Jubilee tried not to move as she felt Claire bounce off of something very large and very solid, she heard Claire hiss as a rib broke with a sickening crack and felt them start to slow down.

When they came to a stop she felt Claire lift off of her. First she saw a very large man standing over her, filling her vision.

"Is she all right John?"

"She'll be fine, we just need to get her out of here."

Jubilee froze, she had heard that voice before, but it couldn't be, could it? She sat up and looked at the man who was cradling Claire in his arms.


That was all she got to say however because Dim stood in front of her blocking her vision.

"You are Marquee's friend Sparky, no?"

Jubilee nodded her head blindly, too much in shock to say anything at he scooped her up in to his large arms.

'Good, then we have what we came for. Come now we must get to safety before they reach us." She simply nodded and hung on as the man carrying her and his companion took off running down the trail.

Chapter 5


Another branch slapped Jubilee in the face as the huge hulk of a beast that was carrying her ran after his companions. As far as she could tell she had been bouncing along in his arms for the better part of a half-hour, and they didn't show any signs of slowing down. She twisted so she could see behind his massive shoulder to see if they were being followed, but the forest was empty behind them.

"Um, big dude?"

He looked down at her questioningly.

"I don't know if this has come to anyone else's attention, but I don't think we are being followed so I think it would be ok for us to, like, slow down, ya know?"

"She's right." Claire said as she slowed to a stop, bracing her arms on her knees and breathing heavily.

"You sure?" said a voice behind Jubilee, and she strained to see if it was really him.

"Yeah, we've been running for a while now, and I doubt that the flatscans can keep up with our pace."

"Then perhaps we had better make camp, I'll collect firewood." John came to a stop next to Claire, resting his hand on her shoulder.

Jubilee couldn't believe it, she felt her mouth slowly drop open. His hair was a little longer, he was a little slimmer, and didn't have his glasses, but it was definitely him.

"Cyclops?" Jubilee wriggled out of the larger mans arms and ran to Scott, flinging her arms around his waste.

"OhmygodIcan'tbeliveit'syou,butitisyou,eventhoughwethoughtyouweredead,butobviouslyyournotdeadcauseyourrighthere!" She gasped for breath and hugged him tighter. "Wait until Jean finds out!" She smiled up at him.

"Excuse me? I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I have no idea what you are talking about." He slowly pulled free of Jubilee's grasp.

"What do you mean you don't know what I'm talking about? You're our fearless leader, you have to know!"

"Look Sparky, I don't know how hard you were hit on the head, but the guy doesn't know you."

She wheeled on Claire, pointing her finger at her, "Yeah well I know who he is so shaddup!" Claire simply raised her hands and walked away.

"Look, your name is Scott, and when we find a way home yur comin with us, cause you gotta be with Jean."

"Whose Jean?" John asked rubbing the bridge of his nose.

"She's yur wife stupid." That got a reaction, as Claire turned around and stalked toward the two.

"You mean to tell me that Red is married to John?"

"His name is Scott and yes."

Claire gave a snort and patted Scott on the shoulder. "You might wanna stay here pal, I've met the lady and trust me, she's no picnic."

"Neither are you, but we're still nice to your ungrateful carcass." Jubilee mumbled under her breath.

"That's cause if you weren't I'd gut ya and use your intestines as party streamers Sparky."

Jubilee simply glared at her. It was amazing, after all this time what were the chances that they would find Scott here of all places. With Sinister, or as one of Apocalypses evil horsemen, sure; but as a bum in the middle of a lawless and abandoned land? Not only that, but Claire had saved her, and has seemingly avoided death to do so. As usual the turn of events boggled her and she decided that it would be easier to put it out of her mind and think about it later-much later.

"So we gonna start a fire or what?" She yelled after the pair.

Dim came and put a hand on her shoulder. "Fire would attract attention little one. We will wait out the night and continue in the morning."

"How will we keep warm?"

Dim simply smiled, "No worries. They will think of something, they always do."


Cable placed the steeple of his fingers against his lips as he gazed of off the roof of the mansion. Three of their teammates were missing, and now two were dead. Things were not going well.

Peter had been laid to rest. His sacrifice had saved millions of lives, but to those close to him that fact did not heal the wound in their hearts. Storm had cried for days upon hearing the news, and had been for all purposes, inconsolable.

There had been no trace of Jubilee or Claire yet, and it worried Cable that even with such a close mental link he couldn't sense Claire at all. It was as if she had simply vanished. Or had been taken someplace too far for him to reach her.

"You wanna be alone?" Cable turned to see Gambit leaning against one of the chimneystacks.

"No, I believe that you come here often enough to own rights to it."

Gambit simply nodded as gracefully sank down next to his teammate. His lit a cigarette and inhaled slowly before turning to Cable.

"You tryin ta make sense of it all?"

"No. There is nothing to make sense of. He's dead Gambit. Shadowcat, Jubilee, and Claire are MIA, and we can't find them. It isn't really any mystery what happened."

Gambit took a puff of his cigarette, looking into the forest as he digested Nathan's words. "You a tough son-ofa-bitch, non? You can just take dem punches as they come, and not blink twice. Have ta say though, sometimes tragedy can be a blessin in disguise."

"And how do you see that?" Nathan bit out.

"Well as Remy sees it, things be runnin more smoothly wit'out Claire here. She be notin but a thorn in our side since she got here. Now dat thorn be gone."

"A thorn in our side or yours Cajun?" When Remy raised an eyebrow at him, Nathan continued. "You forget that Claire and I practically share a mind. I know how you two act towards each other."


"Just like I know how things have been going between you and Rogue. All I am saying is perhaps the thorn is more personal than you would like to admit."

"Well if you think that den you be wrong homme, you can count on that."

"Perhaps, but she will be back eventually. She's a survivor-you can count on that."


The quartet of travelers was huddled next to each other on the ground trying to stay warm in loo of the falling snow.

"Some one wanna tell me why this is a good idea again?" Jubilee grumbled.

"Like I told you the last time, If I raise my body temperature then I can keep us warm and we won't need the fire, and they won't be able to spot us."

"Yeah, well I think you forgot one important fact. You only have two sides and there are three of us!"

"Congratulations Jubilee, I didn't know you could count."

"Oh your reaaal funny."

"Could the two of you quite bickering long enough for the rest of us to get some sleep?"

"Sure John, your welfare is the first thing on my mind."

"His NAME is Scott."

"That's it!" Claire rolled over pushing Scott into the ground with her weight as she reached for Jubilee. "I've had enough of your ungrateful whining! I'm gonna finish what those soldiers started and I'm gonna tell the rest of your precious X-men that you walked off of cliff!" She reached for a scrambling Jubilee.

However she didn't get a chance to get close as Scott firmly closed his arms around her waste. "If you wanted to get close Marquee, all you had to do is ask." He smiled up at her.

"In your dreams."

"Every night since I met you."

Claire raised an eyebrow at the man beneath her who had her 'imprisoned', "You think you can handle me slick?"

"I'm willing to try." He smiled up at her.

"Oh pulease! There are actual human beings present here people. Let's can the mush ok?"

"Alas, the kid is right." Scott rolled Claire off of him and placed him back at his side. "but I have to say that was the most enjoyable rescue attempt I have ever made."

"See if you still think that when you have to explain this to every one back at the mansion. Then we'll see how fearless you really are." Jubilee snorted, settling back into the crook of his arm.

Chapter 6

Claire woke suddenly from her sleep by a sound in the distance. It was quite, but not quite enough for safety. She sat up, pushing Scott's arm off of her waist and walked slowly towards the direction of the sound. If it was those damn guards again they were gonna be sorry.

She was tired, hungry, and she had a hole the size of a baseball in her chest. It was safe to say that her temperament had taken a serious nose-dive. Jubilee woke up as Claire walked away from the trio still sleeping, the lack of warmth rousing her.

"Claire?" she whispered hoarsely after her. "What are you doin?"

"Stay there," she whispered back over her shoulder, "I think I heard something I'll be right back.

"Hmph. Fine," Jubilee mumbled. "You wanna go get your ass blown away, no skin off of my back." She rolled back into Scott's shoulder, snuggling against him. She closed her eyes and waited for sleep to over take her.

And waited.

And waited.

With a groan she sat up and slapped Scott in the chest. "Damn conscience," she muttered. "Wake up. Claire heard something."

"Wha?" A groggy reply was all she got.

"You heard me, get yer ass up."


Claire crept through the trees, she could see the group of men combing the forest, and she had a feeling that it wasn't for Easter eggs. God, when had she gotten so soft? Since when did she care what happened to any of the X-men of their precious little friends. She ground her teeth together with irritation, cause no matter how much she tried to deny it she did care. With a deep breath she did the only thing she could think of at that moment.

She jumped out screaming and waving her arms like a madman. "Whoo-hoo! You looking for something?" When they turned at her she took off running, intending to bring them around the campsite and away from the rest of the group. Then she would think of a way to dispose of the problem.

She ran swiftly through the trees, allowing her night vision to see what was ahead, as she dodged through the thick foliage, while making sure to be slow enough as to not loose her pursuers. She heard the shots ringing out behind her, and felt a few of them whiz past her. Damn, they were better shots than she had hoped. Suddenly she saw something on her right. As she turned towards it she saw a familiar blue light emanating from the tree line. Her mouth grew into a grim line as she headed for it. That little pigmy had a lot of answering to do.


At the camp the tree of them were gathering their coats when they heard shots ring out a little ways from their campsite. They all looked up at each other, as if to see what the others were going to do. "Don't suppose that was friendly fire?" Jubilee questioned.

"Doubtful," Scott answered.

". . . "

"Well, what do you want to do?" He asked Jubilee.

"Why are you asking me? Your the fearless leader. I'm just the smart ass kid who gets in the way."

'Trust Dim, Scott no be fearless."


"Oh, for gods sakes, come on." She motioned as she took off at a slow jog. "If they're firing chances are Claire is in front of them. We can sneak up behind them and take'em out!" She called over her shoulder.

Dim and Scott simply shrugged and took off after her.


The three ran into a clearing and were greeted by the sight of Claire holding Gateway in the air with one arm, and using one of the guards as a shield against the others.

"You better back off ass-wipe, or yer gonna end up like yer friend here!" She yelled at the guards who were pointing their weapons at her.

"You heard her!" Jubilee jumped towards them releasing a series of paffs, "Bugger off!" The paffs hit two of the guards causing their shirts to start on fire. Scott took care of the third with an optic blast.

"Oh, you do remember that! Good!" Jubilee smiles at him. She turned back towards Claire who had flung the dead guard against one of the nearby trees and was now focusing her attentions on Gateway.


"What?" She snarled.

"Normally I wouldn't be against anyone giving Gateway his just desserts for taking people and dumping them places they didn't want to be, but maybe you should post-pon the ass whoopin until he takes us home."

"You gonna take us home you little rat?" Claire growled at Gateway, who simply smiled serenely in return. Claire dropped him unceremoniously on the ground and turned to Dim and Scott.

"You gonna come with us?"

"Of course! Scott has to come, we just found him!" Jubilee exclaimed.

"I think you forget that he doesn't remember you Sparky, he doesn't have to do anything."

"Come with you, and give up all this?" Scott gestured towards the cold empty woods.


"Dim will go were Marquee and Scott go. They family now."

"Marquee?" Jubilee asked.

"Don't ask." Claire replied. Jubilee simply shrugged. "Ok, well lets go then."

Gateway picked up his tool and started swinging it above his head and the portal slowly opened. Claire motioned for Jubilee to go first.

As she walked through she found herself on the front lawn of the mansion. She turned around and saw Dim coming through and the forest behind him. Movement on the corner of the portal caught her eye and she saw one of the guards staggering to his feet and aiming his rifle at the group.

"Look out!" She pointed.

In the forest Claire whipped around and saw the man aiming his gun at them. Without thinking she turned and ran towards Scott, intending to push him out of the way.

Jubilee watched as Claire moved towards Scott, but she jerked as the shot went off and fell into him. He wrapped his arms as they fell, their momentum carrying them through the portal and onto the lawn. She scrambled towards them, stones and grass digging into her knees, as the portal closed behind them, leaving them alone on the front lawn.

Scott rolled Claire off of him and laid her prone body on the ground. Jubilee dropped on her knees next to her and felt for wounds on her chest. She felt wet warmth and pulled her hands back. They were covered with blood.

"HELP!" She screamed towards the house. "We have a man down! HELP US!" She could only watch as Scott leaned over Claire and felt for a pulse. She didn't breath as he looked up, a resigned look in his eyes and leaned back.

"What are you doing? Help her!" She pointed at Claire.

"Jubilee, I can't. . ."

"NO! If you won't help her then I will! She didn't give up on me, and I'm not gonna give up on her!" She pushed Scott out of the way and focused all of her attention on the woman on the ground. She felt the world melt away as she tried to recall everything she had learned.

Air, she needs to get air into her. She reached forward and pushed air into Claire's lungs, and then started to push on her chest. She needed to get her heart moving. She was vaguely aware of what was going on around her. She heard people run up to them, she heard shouting and confusion.

"What is going on?"

"Get the lab ready! NOW!"

"This can't be."

"Oh, my god."


". . . "

"HELP HER!" Jubilee yelled, "She's dying! Don't just stand there do something!"