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A Stronger Weakness
Logan stepped into the cramped room and looked over at Storm. "Hey," He said lightly, shutting the door behind him. "You said you wanted to see me about something?"
Storm looked over at him, then stood up from her chair and stepped forward. "Meet Adrian Davis," she said, gesturing to the window looking in on a small room, "otherwise known as Control."
Logan turned to look through the one-sided window. On the other side was a small room with cement walls and floors. The only furniture in the room was a small cot, a desk, and an antique wooden chair. A woman with white-blond hair sat at the desk, reading a book.
When Logan looked at her, she looked over her shoulder, revealing her face. She was obviously young – maybe twenty-five or thirty – but also looked very mature. Her face was thin and long, as was her nose, with small eyes and thin lips.
She looked scarred and rundown. There were dark circles beneath her eyes and her lips were extremely cracked and faded. Her long, platinum blond hair was greasy and mangled, and her natural brown roots were starting to grow back in.
"What can she do?" Logan asked, curiously.
Storm sighed, trying to think of a way to explain her abilities. "She can control minds – read thoughts, mental influence, and illusion; anything having to do with psychological control." She said, watching the woman closely. "She's Class 4, and a follower of Magneto – a dangerous mix."
Logan nodded. "And why do you need to see me?" He asked sharply.
She grinned, if only for a second. "Control wants to talk to you. We need some questions answered, and she said she would talk if she could meet you."
"Why does she want to-"
"Just go." Storm interrupted, pointing towards the door that separated the observation room from the cell.
As soon as he stepped through the door, Control turned to him. Once she realized who it was coming through the door, a wide grin played across her lips. For some reason, she was prettier without the window in front of her. Perhaps it was just the lighting.
"What you see isn't real. It's just an illusion that I'm putting into your mind." She explained, and it took Logan a few seconds before realizing that she was reading his thoughts. "There could really be a knife at your throat right now and you wouldn't know." She continued, making him a little uneasy. Control sensed his emotions and smirked even more, but decided to change the subject.
"So, you must be the notorious Wolverine that I've heard so much about." She said, giving him an once-over. "Is it true you killed Jean Grey?" She said, quickly changing the subject, perhaps to get on his nerves.
Logan stepped forward and let a slight snarl escape his lips.
"Oh, tsk tsk." Control continued, "I'll take that as a yes… It's a shame. She was so powerful… and, is it just a rumor that you loved her?" She said, shaking her head. "Such a pity."
He narrowed his eyes and took another step towards her. Control smirked as he released angry breath onto her. "I swear, I'll kill you. It's not like anyone will mind." He snarled.
She gave him the illusion that she was Jean, even imitating her voice. "You wouldn't kill me twice, would you, Logan?" The imposter-Jean said.
Logan unsheathed his claws and held them in the space between his face and hers. She allowed him to see what was truly there, but continued to smirk.
Abruptly, she stood up from her chair and stretched. She turned around to look at him, a crooked smile forming on her face ––
And in one swift movement, she across the room with Logan pinned against the wall. Although he tried to push her off, she mentally controlled him and dug her forehead into his. He wasn't sure what she was doing, but he didn't like the pain it caused.
Before he knew it, Control was flung across the room from an unseen force. Suddenly, Storm was in the room, pulling him out into the hall. He had no idea what had just happened, and demanded an explanation.
"What the hell was that?" Logan asked once they were out in the hallway.
Storm looked back at the metal door and bared her teeth. "If she can get enough concentration and time, Control can permanently burn an opinion into your mind. She was probably trying to turn you." She explained, still looking at the door.
He scoffed. "I am not going back in there." He said, turning to walk off.
"Wait!" Storm called behind him, and he stopped, but didn't turn to face her. "There's one more thing."
"Why me?" Logan asked angrily, his muscles tensing.
He and Storm stood inside of her office, Logan standing while she sat at her desk. She looked up at him with an annoyed expression on her face.
"I give you orders, and you follow them. That's how it goes." She replied for the umpteenth time.
Logan bit his lip, but gave in. "Why not get Kurt to do it? Kids like fuzzy blue things, don't they?"
Storm stood up and leaned toward Logan, her hands resting on her desk. "This was a joint decision. You've been given a task. Now fulfil it." She handed him a purple folder that seemed to have nothing in it.
He took it, but before he had time enough to open it up, Storm was ushering him out of her office. "Now, out you go. I have work to do."
She shoved him over to the door and out into the hallway before he could even get a word out. He heard her turn the lock, so he didn't bother trying to get back in.
Logan stood in the hallway for a moment before opening the purple folder labelled 'Lenore Davis'. Inside were medical files, a birth certificate, and other identity files. There were also two pages giving information on Susan and James Davis, who must have been the girl's parents.
He pulled out a photo from the folder.
It was of two women, one in her early twenties and the other looked middle-aged. They held a striking resemblance to one another, beside the fact that the young one was a redhead and the older one had fading blond hair.
He flipped the photo over, and written on the back was the date of the photo – June 7, 2002 – and two names – Susan and Lenore.
There was also a note in the folder, addressed to him.
"Logan," It read. "In this folder you will find all the information you need on Miss Lenore Davis."
Lenore was the woman that Storm had told her about.
"It holds her legal, medical and personal details," It continued. "I ask you to familiarize yourself with Miss Davis' history while she is in your care. I am hopeful that you two will get along perfectly. Miss Davis is staying in Room 237 on the second floor of the girls' dormitory. She will be waiting for you there."
The letter was signed with Hank McCoy's signature, but below it he playfully wrote 'Beast' in primitive-style writing.
Logan gave a small chuckle before heading off to find this Miss Lenore Davis.
Hesitating at the old wooden door, Logan took a deep breath. He stared at his hand that floated a few inches away from the door, and wondered what the girl was going to be like.
He knocked on the door with two solid, hard knocks.
"One second!" A voice called from inside the room.
After the clicking of a few locks, the door opened up to reveal the young woman who he had seen in the photo. Her beautiful red hair was even more vibrant in person that it was in the photo, but now it was pulled into one loose braid that curled around her neck. Her most notable feature was her height – she was about a foot shorter than him. Dressed in denim overalls and a pink T-shirt, Lenore, as he was guessing, looked like a woman that in no way had let go of her childhood.
"You must be Logan." The girl said in smiley voice. She grabbed his wrist abruptly and pulled him into the room.
Once inside, Logan took a look around the room, cocking in eyebrow at the stuffed animals and little kid posters that were decorated the room. It looked like a little girl's paradise.
Lenore closed the door and plopped down on her bed, crossing her legs and biting her lip. "Storm told me all about you." She said, looking at him curiously.
He nodded, and shifted uncomfortably from one leg to another. "I'm guessing that you're…"
"Lenore Katherine Davis?" She finished his sentence, then smiled and nodded enthusiastically. "Yep. That's me." She confirmed and begun to nibble on her lip.
Logan nodded, then started to pace around the room. "I'm supposed to babysit you, y'know. Supposedly, I have nothing better to do." He grunted, looking out the lonely window across from her bed.
Lenore smirked. "Do we get to hang out?" She asked excitedly.
He scoffed. "Unfortunately… yes."
She celebrated silently, smiling and humming a soft tune to herself. "So, what do you want to do?" Lenore asked, looking up at Logan, who was wandering about the room.
"There's not much to do around here anymore." He replied blandly.
She nodded. "That's alright. I always find something to do. My mom says I'm very inventive."
There was an odd silence.
Lenore sighed, and Logan watched as she took a doll from the table next to her bed and began to play with it. "Logan?" She said abruptly, looking back up at him. "Can you tell me why I'm here?"
He sighed. The purple folder hadn't said anything about Lenore's purpose at the Institute, and neither had Storm. "Do you have anywhere I could sit, kid?"
Lenore gestured to a wicker chair that sat near the window, and Logan dragged it over to the side of her bed before plopping down into it. He leaned forward, and rested his elbows on his knees. "To tell you the truth, kid… I have no clue."
"Are you lying?" She asked angrily, obviously unsatisfied with his answer. "Everybody's always lying. Somebody has to know why I'm here. No body just decided to put me here for no reason!"
Logan shrugged and leaned back into his chair. In her medical file it had explained something about amnesia, but wouldn't Storm have told the girl about that? "Sorry, kid. I've got no clue."
Lenore huffed and picked up her doll, just dropping the subject. "Are you a mutant, Logan?"
He took a deep, rigid breath and tapped his forefinger on his knee lightly. "Yep." He answered boringly. He watched as Lenore leaned over to her end table beside her bed and picked up another doll.
"Well, what can you do?" She asked expectantly.
Logan sighed and lifted his hand up. Making sure that it was out of the way, he unsheathed the claws in his right hand. "Some trick, huh?"
Lenore was looking at his claws with awe and fear. She nodded. "You… have knives… in your hands?"
He nodded. "Yep."
She smiled. "Cool." Her eyes turned from his claws to his face. "Can I touch them?" She asked excitedly.
"Oh, no… no…" Logan sheathed his claws before the girl had a chance to get near them. "Their sharp. You'll cut yourself."
"No I won't!" Lenore protested, dropping her Barbies. "Please! Can I just touch them one time?" She put her hands together in a praying position and stuck out her bottom lip. "Pretty please?"
"No means no, kid!" Logan growled.
Lenore picked her Barbie back up and began to brush through the doll's hair. "You don't have to be so mean," She said sharply, pouting her lip just the slightest bit.
He rolled his eyes.
"Do you wanna go to the library?" Lenore asked abruptly, turning from her doll to Logan after a few moments of silence.
He raised an eyebrow. "The library?"
"Why do you want to go to the library? Don't kids like to ride bikes and climb trees?"
She shrugged. "I guess some kids like to do that stuff, but I like the library. It's quiet and it smells nice. Besides, Dr. McCoy's there. He's really nice."
"Whatever you want. I've got nothing better to do."
Lenore smiled and hopped off of the bed. "Let's skedaddle!"
The library was cooler than the rest of the building. When Logan stepped inside, he felt and immediate wave of cold air rush over him. Unintelligible whispers could be heard from throughout the library, but for the most part it was quiet.
He followed Lenore to a secluded area in one of the far corners of the huge library, where three leather chairs and a lamp seemed to be reserved for them.
"You can wait here." Lenore whispered to him. "I'm going to find a book."
Logan nodded, and in an instant Lenore was out of sight. He turned to one of the nearby bookshelves and began skimming the titles. It seemed he was in the historic section of the library, because the book titles seemed to range everywhere from "Rulers of the Ancient World" to "The War that Made America".
"Looking for anything in particular?" His thoughts were interrupted by a familiar voice, and Logan turned to greet Dr. Hank McCoy – the Beast.
"Hey, Hank." Logan greeted, smiling slightly. "Don't you have classes this time of the day?"
Hank scrunched his eyebrows together. "Logan, you must've lost track of time. It's almost six o'clock." He gestured to a clock that hung on the wall, and sure enough it read 5:58.
"Oh," Logan said, shocked that it was this late. "You're right – I must've lost track. I've been a bit out of it lately."
Hank nodded understandingly. "May I ask what I have done to deserve the honour of being graced with your presence?" He touched Logan's elbow lightly, guiding him away from the bookshelves and back toward the sitting area he had previously been in.
"It's not what you've done," Logan explained as they both sat down. "Lenore wanted to come here. I didn't know that kids her age could even read."
"Well, you'd be surprised what children Lenore's age can do." Hank laughed at Logan's comment. There was a bit of silence as Hank's eyes scanned what little of the library they could see from their position. "Did you see where Lenore ran off to? I wouldn't want her getting lost in this big library." Again, he chuckled lightly.
Logan shook his head. "No. She said she was looking for a book or something, so I'm sure she'll be back in a few minutes. I'm not too worried about her."
Hank smiled. "Well, in that case, there's something that I would like to show you."
Logan raised his eyebrow sceptically. "Really? And what's that?"
"Oh, it's very very interesting…" Hank continued, as if Logan hadn't even said anything. "I received a package and letter today, and I shared it with one of my classes today. I think you'll find it very fascinating…" As he was speaking, Hank had been leading Logan out past the bookshelves and over to the front desk of the library.
He stepped behind the desk and pulled out a small, square cardboard box. He also pulled out a microscope from one of the drawers and plugged it in. "I tell you, it's the most amazing thing I've seen in years!"
Lenore was lost in thought.
She looked up at the many books crammed into the shelves, but stuck to only looking at the ones she could reach, for obvious reasons. She slowly strolled down the aisles, her fingers glazing over the spines of each book, waiting until a title caught her attention.
"Need some help?"
The redhead spun around to meet an unfamiliar face. He was tall, and handsome, with short blond hair and bright blue eyes. When he saw Lenore's surprised reaction, a dazzling white smile flashed across his face before quickly disappearing.
He took a step toward Lenore and held out his hand. "Hi. My name's Warren. You must be new here."
She shook his hand delicately. "My name's Lenore. I got here a few weeks ago."
Again, Warren smiled his bright, stunning smile. "Oh, so you're Lenore. I've heard a lot about you, y'know. You're older than I pictured you to be."
Lenore nodded, and she could feel the blood begin to rush to her cheeks as an awkward silence crept upon their conversation.
"So, have you found what you're looking for yet?" He asked, breaking the silence.
She looked over at the bookshelves, then back up at Warren. "No, not yet..."
"I'm sure I can help with that." He said, stepping close to her, but looking at the bookshelf. "Well, right now you're in the mystery section, so we should start with that. Are you looking for a mystery story?"
She shrugged. "I'm not sure what I'm looking for. Just a good book."
Warren looked down in thought. "Hmm…" He looked up abruptly and smiled. "Have you ever read The Hound of the Baskervilles?"
Lenore shook her head.
"Well, it's a Sherlock Holmes novel, and it's very good. It's about a family––"
He was cut off by Lenore. "That's very nice of you, but I think I'd be better off on my own." She meant to be polite, but her voice came out a bit harsh.
Warren nodded. "Okay. Well, I hope you find something." With that, he spun around and headed in the other direction.
"Wait!" Lenore called, and Warren turned around and gave her an expectant look. She took a step forward. "Where are you going?"
He gave a quick glance down to his watch, then back up to Lenore. He shrugged. "Well, it's about dinnertime, so I was thinking about heading out to get something to eat."
"Oh," She said quietly, and looked down at her feet.
Warren shifted his feet. After a few seconds of silence, he stepped a bit closer. "Y'know, you could some with me if you want."
Lenore looked up, surprised, but happy. She smiled brightly and her eyes widened. "Could I?"
He shrugged, but smiled nevertheless. "Yeah, sure. It's not like there's much to do around here anyways." He gestured for her to follow him, and Lenore scurried to his side.
"Are you sure?" She asked as they emerged from the rows of bookshelves and out near the entrance to the library.
Looking down at Lenore beside him, Warren nodded. "Why not? Did you eat dinner already?"
She shook her head.
"Well, then there's not reason why you can't tag along." With that, he led them out of the library and into the halls, which were deserted on account of the time.
Lenore stayed close to Warren's side, quickly scurrying beside him in order to keep up with his long strides. She continuously glanced up at his angelic features, but his gaze was fixed upon the path ahead of him.
Once they had reached the front courtyard, Warren led Lenore to a garage filled with several cars and other vehicles.
"Which one is yours?" She asked, looking down the row of various cars.
Warren stopped at a shiny black sedan and rubbed the hood of it with his sleeve. "This one." He said with a smile.
Lenore touched the odd symbol at the head of the car that looked like a cross with a circle around it. "It's very shiny." She commented, and smiled.
"Thanks." He said dryly. "Hop in."
Lenore took the front passenger's seat while Warren adjusted his mirror and turned on some old music with a man singing pretty words. Being too small for the big black car, Lenore felt awkward, but once they were out on the road she adjusted her seat to fit her comfort.
"So, what are you in the mood for?" Warren asked once they had reached a busier part of town, far away from the institute.
"I dunno." Lenore said with a shrug, gazing out at a young couple walking along the street with a dog and baby stroller.
"There's this quaint little restaurant I know called Annabelle's, not too far from here, and they serve the tastiest wedding soup I have ever had."
"That sounds nice." Lenore said, pulling herself away from the window as they made a turn.
Warren sighed. "We might be a little underdressed, though. A sweatshirt and blue jeans isn't the ideal outfit for this place."
Turning back to the window, Lenore frowned. "Oh." She paused, and glanced back at Warren. "Where are we going, then?"
"Hold on." He said, and made a sharp right turn. "I have an idea."
Warren pulled the car smoothly into an open parking space out side of a long row of brick buildings with large glass windows and stepped out of the car.
"Where's the restaurant?" Lenore asked, also stepping out of the big black car. She looked down the row of shops and stores, but none of them were advertising food in their windows.
"I have something else in mind." Warren said, leading Lenore into a store with lots of pretty clothing in the windows.
Inside, it was a warm haven from the windy November day outside. The shop was large, with lots of dresses and expensive-looking clothing that line the walls on mannequins. Other dresses were hanging in rows throughout the store in no particular order.
Almost immediately, a small round woman barely taller than Lenore came rushing up to them. Her hands were jittery, and there were lots of long, beaded necklaces that hung around her neck loosely.
"Mr. Worthington!" She exclaimed, her tanned and wrinkled skin crinkling when she smiled. "It's so nice to see you again! And who might this lovely young lady be?" She turned toward Lenore and her smile broadened.
"This here is the reason for our visit today." Warren said, wrapping an arm around Lenore's shoulder. "Her name is Lenore."
"Oh, Lenore! What a lovely name! That was my grandmother's name, you know." She smiled again and touched Lenore's arm with a light hand. "Yes, yes… a lovely name indeed."
There was a small awkward silence that was quickly and sharply cut off.
"Well, Marge, we just need some casual evening attire for my friend here – with accessories, of course." Warren said.
Marge nodded. "Yes, yes. Can do, can do. Right this way, dear." She grabbed Lenore's wrist and guided her through the rows of clothing.
Every once in a while, she would pick out a random dress and hold it up to Lenore, then mutter something under her breath and put it back. Finally, she chose a nice white dress and smiled.
Again she grabbed Lenore's wrist and pulled her to the back of the store, where there were several changing rooms lined against the wall. She shoved the dress into Lenore's hands and pushed her into one of the cramped rooms.
"Hurry, hurry!" Marge insisted, and rushed back out to where Warren was stand.
Lenore changed into the dress quickly, and stopped to look at herself in the mirror. The dress was almost completely white, aside from the lacy flowers that bordered the bottom of the skirt. The sundress was sleeveless, something new for Lenore, but it was still comfortable and she was satisfied with it. She adjusted the straps a bit, then stepped out of the changing room, where Warren and Marge stood waiting.
Marge was ready with three pairs of white sandals that she commanded Lenore to try on. The second pair of sandals were the only ones that fit, so Marge scurried off with the other two pairs, only to return with a tray of jewellery in her hands.
She had Lenore try on earrings and bracelets and necklaces until she decided that she had found the perfect combination of jewellery for Lenore's outfit.
When she was finished, Marge stepped back to admire her piece of work and smiled. "You look so beautiful, so beautiful…"
Warren was smiling, too, but Lenore just looked down at the giant ring on her finger and fumbled with it until she forced herself to be comfortable with the way it was weighing down on her hand.
"Now," Warren said to Marge after a moment or two of admiring Lenore. "How much will this cost?" He took out a nice black leather wallet from his pocket and opened it up, revealing a thick wad of cash and more than several credit cards.
"Let me see…" Marge said to herself before turning to Lenore and calculating the price of each item in her head. "That comes to about five-hundred and twenty dollars." She said and turned back to Warren.
At the sound of that much money, Lenore's eyes bulged out from her head. She hadn't even had that much money in her whole life, let alone someone spending that much on her.
Warren just nodded and pulled out a shiny gold card. "Credit?" He asked.
Whatever that means.
"Of course!" Marge said, still smiling broadly. She led Warren over to the cash register along the side of the store, and Lenore followed.
As the two adults were discussing prices and money and such, Lenore's eyes wandered over to the large windows at the front of the store. Outside, the sky was growing darker and gloomier with every passing moment. She looked down at her dress and wondered how she was supposed to keep warm in a sleeveless sundress in the middle of November.
"Hey," Lenore said abruptly and louder than she predicted. Marge and Warren looked at her expectantly. "Is this sundress going to keep me warm at all?" She asked, a bit sassily.
"Would you like a sweater, dear?" Marge asked, and before Lenore could answer, she grabbed a thin grey sweater off of the rack and pushed it onto her shoulders. She ripped the price tags off, and just smiled. "Oh, you look lovely, lovely…"
Warren just frowned. "How much?" He asked, pulling out his wallet again.
"Oh no, no…" Marge said with another bright smile. "This one's on me…"
He smiled. "Thanks again, Marge."
"Oh, any time! Any time!" She giggled as she escorted her two customers to the door. "Tell your father I say hello, okay?"
Warren nodded as they exited the store. "Alright, Marge."
Lenore waited until they were at the car to say anything. "Do you know her well?" She asked.
"Who? Marge?" Warren replied as he started the engine. "Her husband and my father are buddies. I've known her since I was little. Her son and I were friends when we were young." He backed the car out of its parking space and pulled out onto the road.
"Wait!" Lenore shouted suddenly, startling Warren and making him swerve the car. "What about my other clothes? We forgot them!"
Warren scoffed and readjusted himself in his seat. "Darling, you won't need those clothes anymore."
Lenore pouted her lip. "That was my favourite shirt."
"If you want, I'll buy you a new one." He said after a bit of silence, and glanced at Lenore.
She stared at him sceptically. "Really?" She asked, and raised an eyebrow.
Warren stared back and nodded. "Really." He confirmed.
Lenore smiled and turned back to the window, where various shops and stores were passing them by.
"… And if you looked at this one, you can see how the human cell and the mutant cell react differently when…"
Logan was extremely bored. Somehow, Hank always had a way of turning a decent conversation into a lesson on genealogy, or physics, or something else that he had a degree in. Then again, what didn't Hank have a degree in?
"… Here, Logan, look at this slide."
Doing as he was told, Logan put his eye to the telescope and looked at bunch of multicoloured dots and circles that he didn't understand.
"Do you see that?" Hank asked once Logan took his eye off of the telescope.
See what? Logan thought. "Yep, I see it." He said,
Hank smiled. "Isn't it amazing?"
Are you kidding me? "Sure is, Hank."
"These slides were sent to me by my good friend Dr. Ronald Kim. He works at the Mayo Clinic as a medical doctor, but he also studies how diseases affect humans and mutants differently."
Sounds like a real interesting guy. "Sounds like a real interesting guy."
"He is! We met back at…" Hank paused when he noticed Logan's uninterested facial expression. "Oh, you're being sarcastic, aren't you?"
Logan nodded. "I'm surprised that you didn't catch on until now."
"Well," Hank huffed as he began to collect all of his slides and return them to their box.
"Perhaps you should try and broaden your scope of interests. Cigars, beer and fighting don't do too well on a résumé." He said smartly before picking up his things and disappearing behind a bookshelf.
Logan rolled his eyes and strolled off in the other direction. "Drama queen." He muttered beneath his breath.
Suddenly, he looked up and realised something. Where was Lenore? She had been gone a while and…
Recklessly, Logan began to rush around the huge library, checking every aisle for the little redhead. She was nowhere in sight.
"Kitty!" Logan whispered loudly once he set eyes on Kitty Pryde. It wasn't a big surprise to see her in the library considering the type of student she was.
Kitty stopped in her tracks and turned toward Logan, who was still approaching her. "Logan," She said, slightly surprised. "I didn't think that you even knew libraries existed." She said sarcastically, hugging her pile of books to her chest.
"Ha-ha. Very funny." He replied dryly. "Have you seen a redhead around here? She looks about thirty, but she's about ye high?" He lifted his hand to show Lenore's approximated height.
"Yeah, yeah… I think I saw her. Was she wearing a pink T-shirt and jeans?"
"Yeah, that's her. Where was she going?"
Kitty shrugged. "I think they were saying something about dinner, but I wasn't paying that much attention, anyway."
"They?" Logan asked earnestly. "She was with somebody?"
Kitty furrowed her brow, but nodded. "Yeah. She was with Mr. Worthington." She paused. "Is there something wrong with that?" She asked, seeing the annoyance in Logan's face.
He shook his head, but his upper lip curled. "No. Everything's alright." With that, he stopped off, headed toward the exit of the library.
With angry strength, the door to Storm's office flew open and Logan appeared at the doorway. She stood up to yell at him for the intrusion, but he spoke before she could get a word out.
"Lenore's gone." He said angrily.
"What?" Storm asked, confused and angry. "You were supposed to be watching her 24/7! What happened?"
Logan growled. "She got snatched… by Warren…"
"Warren?" She asked sceptically and laughed before setting herself back down in her seat. "Warren can take well enough care of Lenore."
He glared at Storm. "He took her off grounds without permission from you or Hank." Not that he cared about Warren taking anybody butLenore off grounds, but he knew that she would.
"Wait," Storm said, her expression serious as she stood up. "He took her off grounds?"
"Why are you so suddenly interested?"
"We're taking my car." She said sternly and marched out of her office, grabbing her jacket on the way. Logan followed quickly behind her.
Within less than a minute they were in the car, Storm driving. Logan sat in the front passenger's seat with his window rolled down all of the way.
"Do you have their scents?" Storm asked as they drove along, well past the speed limit.
"I picked it up in the garage." He said with his nose stuck out the window. "It's impossible to lost track of that playboy's nasty stench."
Storm nodded and continued to drive, even going into the opposite lane in order to zoom past cars that were going too slow for her taste. "Make a right at this light up here." Logan commanded, and she did as told.
A while later, Storm's sleek black sedan pulled into the parking lot of Marge's Tailoring and Custom Design. They both climbed out of the car and walked toward the entrance, but Storm stopped as Logan did.
"What is it?" She asked.
"They're not here anymore, and I don't smell any trouble." He said with a growl, "Not like I know why the hell Warren'd bring her here in the first place."
Storm paused. "We should go inside anyway."
He shook his head. "No. It's a waste of time. We're movin' on." He turned around, but Storm stopped him with her hand.
"I think you're forgetting who's in charge."
"I think you're forgetting who's got the nose here."
Storm crossed her arms and narrowed her gaze, and Logan mimicked her. "Fine." She said reluctantly before turning away. As she reclaimed her seat behind the wheel, he smirked and jumped back into the car.
Within minutes they were back on the trail. Storm followed Logan's driving directions willingly, much to his delight.
"There," He said finally as they stopped at an intersection and pointed at a lonely building across the street. A neon sign that glowed in the cloudy haze and hung about the door read Annabelle's. "They're in there."
Silently, Storm pulled the car into the parking lot, which was for the most part vacant. Logan stepped out of the car, his nostril involuntarily flaring with annoyance and zeal.
"So, how do you like the wedding soup?" Warren asked with a smile, taking a sip of his own French onion dish.
Lenore slurped up another spoonful of brother and meatballs before wiping her mouth. "It's really good." She said quietly. "My mom used to make wedding soup all the time."
She nodded, but didn't respond. Instead, her eyes drifted off to the window, where the grey sky had turned even darker and soft thunder could be heard from afar.
"Looks like there's a storm coming in, huh?" Warren stated as he noticed Lenore's direction of attention. Again, she nodded, but didn't really pay any interest. "I love storms, especially during the day."
There was a period of silence, and the only sounds that could be heard came from the restaurant's kitchen.
"Hey," Warren interrupted the silence angrily, and Lenore looked away from the window to see what his fuss was about. His gaze was out the window though. "Is that… Logan?"
She returned her eyes to the window and saw what her lunch buddy was talking about. Logan and Storm, the white-haired lady she had seen only a few times, were angrily trudging up to the restaurant. Lenore wondered if that storm was of nature's doing anymore.
They burst through the entrance of the restaurant, Logan first. He pushed past the hostess and over to their table, attracting the attention of all the other customers in the restaurant, and most of the staff. Storm fell in at his side.
"Lenore, let's go." She said rather sweetly. "Warren, we'll talk later." She said furiously, and thunder rolled outside.
"Look–" He didn't get a chance to protest.
"No excuses, bub." Logan interrupted, grabbing the blonde by his collar and pulling him to his feet. "We're going home."
Warren pushed away from Logan and straightened his collar. "Watch it, Wolverine. This shirt is cost more than anything you've ever worn in your life."
Lenore stood up and scooted close to Storm's side. "What's going on?" She asked nervously. "Am I in trouble?"
"No, sweetie." Storm assured her, and wrapped an arm around the redhead's shoulders. "C'mon, I'll take you home." She turned toward Logan and Warren. "I trust that you two can restrain from killing each other as long as the car ride home." She said strictly before turning and leaving, her arm still wrapped around Lenore's shoulders.
"Looks like we're taking your ride, kid… though I can't say that I'll be able to hold up 'Ro's proposition."
"You're not the only one." Warren grumbled before following Logan to the door. Before they could leave, though, a man dressed in a waiter's garb stopped them.
"Excuse me, kind sirs." He said politely. "But I don't believe you've paid for your meal yet."
Abruptly, Logan pulled back his fist and with one hard punch, knocked the wait out cold. "Keep the change." He muttered before turning and gesturing for Warren to follow.
When they got back to the mansion, Logan and Warren found out from a student that Storm was waiting for them in her office. By now, it was pouring outside and the window shook the trees ever so violently, providing the perfect backdrop as Ororo sat at her desk.
"Where's carrot top?" Logan asked as soon as he sat down at the other side of Storm's desk.
"I assume you're referring to Lenore, and she's with Hank." She said quickly as Warren took his seat next to Logan. "Now, to get down to business, I think you both know the subject that I would like to discuss with both of you." She said with an angry, almost acidic voice.
Neither of them replied.
"I'll take that as a yes." Storm said to herself, and continued. "Lenore is not a toy, gentlemen. I cannot seem to fathom what could be so interesting about a little girl that one person would bring themselves to quote, steal her."
"Little girl?" Warren interrupted. "Lenore is twenty-six, from what I've heard."
Storm sighed and stood up. She pulled out a lilac folder from a filing cabinet across the room and handed it to Warren. "I've told you about Control already, but what I haven't told you about her is her relation to Lenore."
"Relation?" Logan asked. "You mean like cousins?"
"Try again, Wolverine," Warren said as he flipped through the folder. "Sisters." He handed him a photo, and Logan's eyes looked over with interest.
It was of two little girls, one with brown hair and the other with bright red. They smiled wide smiles, melted ice cream cones in their hands and all over their freckled faces. He flipped it over, and two names were written –– Adrian and Lenore, .
"Why the hell didn't you tell us about this?" Logan asked furiously after handing the photo back to Warren, who was still flipping through the folder.
"Hank and I have been handling this whole ordeal." She answered calmly. "We decided that the less we told everyone, the safer they would be."
Warren closed up the folder and handed it to Logan, who only threw it onto Storm's desk. "And Lenore… she's not just a youthful soul, is she?"
Storm shook her head. "I'm afraid not, Warren. All the memories of Lenore's life after the age of eight are completely demolished. They were taken by Control."
"Why? What does she want?"
"There's not much more I can tell you. We don't know much. The authorities got hold of Control after she was temporarily weakened by the memory swipe, and they handed her over to us."
There was a silence in the room as Warren and Logan went over all of this sudden information in their minds.
"Do the others know?" Logan asked, interrupting the silence.
"Beast is talking to them right now. You can go join them in his office right now if you'd like. I'm sure he has more details to tell."
With that, she scooted both men out of her office.
Elizabeth watched carefully as her younger sister spat out harsh and venomous words to their leader. The two had been at it for almost an hour. The conversation was going nowhere. Elizabeth only watched on out of boredom now.
"Control left me in charge of the Superiors." Camouflage repeated for the hundredth time, her Amazon-like physique towering over Albino's shorter, skinnier physique. "That means you take orders from me."
Isabelle, or Albino as she was more commonly referred to, was Elizabeth's sister, who shared the same feisty and determined attitude that ran in the family. She stood with her fists clenched, the muscles that hid beneath her pure white skin tensing. She snarled and her nostrils flared as if she a matador preparing to battle against a bull. "I don't take orders from a Class 2. As far as I'm concerned, I'm a free agent now."
"Alright." Elizabeth whispered, and took a step forward, planning to stop their pointless bickering, but she was stopped by someone. She spun around to face her husband, his brown eyes serious.
"Liz," He whispered as Camouflage and Albino continued to quarrel. "Leave them go. It's better if they resolve this themselves."
Elizabeth yanked her wrist out of her husband's grip. "Will, they're going to kill each other if someone doesn't stop them soon." She stepped forward, and again was stopped by her husband.
"Let go of me, Hawkeye." She growled, and he released her. She knew he hated it when she used his mutant name. She approached the two bickering females, but they didn't bother to notice her. Elizabeth took some time to let herself transition into Panther, the fiercer side of her personality. "Girls," She hissed as she approached the two, who only now realized her presence. "You're bickering is pointless. Our time would be put to better use if we used it to find our leader, rather than debate who will temporarily take her position." She said with a rather snappy, angry tone.
Camouflage and Albino stared at her for a moment, both with completely different expressions on their faces - Camouflage's was one of interest and consideration, and Albino's was arrogant disbelief and annoyance. The former opened her mouth to say something, but was quickly interrupted by the latter.
"I'm going for a walk. I need to take a break." The white-haired, red-eyed mutant announced angrily, pushing past Panther and headed for the cage elevator that lead down to the main floor. Both Camouflage and Panther watched her as she left, but neither said anything.
As Camouflage turned herself invisible and no doubt ran off to her room for some privacy, Panther sighed and turned back to where her husband was still standing - in the threshold between the kitchen and the living room.
"William..." She groaned, and fell into his arms. He led her into the kitchen, where he sat her down at the table. "What are we going to do?"
"About what, my dear?" He asked as he poured some steaming hot water from the tea pot into two mugs.
"About what? Control, of course!" She sighed and slumped down on the table as William brought over two cups of tea and sat down across from her.
"The woman or the noun?" He asked.
Elizabeth brought her head up and took a first sip of her tea. Too hot. "Both. We've already gone to all of the local prisons and those damned mutant holding facilities, and Control was at none of them. And to add to that, Camouflage is too worried about holding her position to even do anything about it, and I'm the only thing keeping Albino from killing her in her sleep!" She took another sip of her tea despite the temperature. "We're becoming a mess, Will."
"Oh, darling..." William sighed, and reached across the table to hold his wife's hand. "You don't need to worry. Wherever they're keeping Control, they can't hold her for long. She'll be back, and then all will return to normal."
Elizabeth nodded and squeezed his hand. "You're right, sweetie." She paused. "It's getting late. We should get some rest."
Albino shut the cage doors to the elevator angrily, but made sure not to catch her finger between the heavy iron. She turned her back to her sister and Camouflage, who she knew were watching her. She didn't want to feel their eyes on her. But that was soon over once she hit the button and the old warehouse elevator rocked its way down to the main floor.
Once she was down stairs, Albino left the elevator and wandered her way to the back of the warehouse. On the main floor, all of the doors and windows of the warehouse were barricaded for security and privacy reasons, and the only other way in and out of the building was known unto only the members of the Superiors.
Tucked away in one of the back rooms of the warehouse was a small room that used to function as an office of some sort. This room was left empty aside from a rather old and musty chair, a wooden desk that had gotten very rotten over the years, and few old newspapers scattered around on the floor. There was also a rug that was rather new compared to the other furniture in the room. Underneath this rug was a trap door that let down into the sewers.
Albino flung open the trap door and flipped on the flashlight that hung on her belt. Ignoring the ladder, she jumped down the "rabbit-hole", as she liked to call it.
As always, the sewer smelt horrible, but she had gotten used to it by now. It was a short walk to the next sewer cover, and Albino climbed out of it with ease. She brushed herself off and covered the manhole back up before starting on her walk.
It was late - almost midnight - but it was normal for Albino to take walks late at night. She always liked to roam the streets of the Mutant District, where the streets were almost abandoned during the night.
"Hey, there beautiful."
She spun around to face a tall man about her age. He was handsome, and obviously a mutant. His hair was a striking white color, one that rivaled the pure color of hers. He smiled at her and his blue eyes twinkled in the streetlight that they both stood under.
"What do you want, buddy?" She asked in an annoyed tone and crossed her arms.
His smile grew. "Just a bit of your time is all."
Albino narrowed her eyes. "And tell me: what is it you've done to deserve it?"
The man let out a bit of a chuckle. "You are feisty, aren't you? I was warned you might be a bit of a struggle."
She bit her lip and she could feel her heart beat rise a bit. "Warned? Okay, buddy, you better start explaining yourself right now or -"
"Let's go for a walk, shall we?" He interrupted and took hold her arm, guiding her out of the streetlight and into the shadows of the street.
Albino yanked her arm out of his grasp. "Hold on there, hotshot. Who are you and who warned you about me?"
His smile wavered. "Let's just say I know people, alright? And I know way too much information about you for you not to cooperate with me."
Albino lifted an eyebrow and crossed her arms skeptically. "Oh, really? Just how much information are we talking about?"
The sighed, as if he was just about to give a speech. "You're name is Isabelle Amelia Barnes. You grew up on Mackinac Island where you're parents owned and operated a vacation home rental service. You have once sister, Elizabeth, and no other siblings. You've never been married but once graduating from Lincoln High you went on to study law at Michigan State University. But during you're senior year-"
"Stop." Albino said, and took a deep, shaky breath. She began to feel the back of her throat dry up. "Who are you?" She whispered to him in a weak, scared voice.
He stepped forward, and touched her arm lightly.
Immediately, she pushed him away. "Don't touch me!" She yelled, still shivering. "Just tell me who you are." She said, returning to her soft and afraid voice.
"There's no reason to be scared, Albino. My name is Quicksilver. I'm here to help." He said in a solid voice. She could tell he wasn't lying.
"I don't need help." She said sternly.
"The Superiors do."
"How do you know all of this?"
Quicksilver sighed. "It'll be easier if you just come with me."
Together they walked back to the Warehouse, and though Albino thought she was leading the way it seemed that Quicksilver knew exactly where he was going.
They stopped in the back alley of the Warehouse, right in front of the doors. Quicksilver leaned in as if to open them, but Albino stopped him.
"You can't get in that way." She told him softly. "All of the doors are barricaded."
He smirked at her, and there was that twinkle in his blue eyes again. "Wanna bet?" Before she could reply, he pushed the door open and held it for her. "Right this way."
She thought about saying something, but anything she could think of sounded stupid and naive, so she walked right past him into the Warehouse.
"You're gonna have to lead the way from here." Quicksilver said as the door swung closed behind him and echoed through the building.
"Follow me." Albino said, and set forward.
She led him into the old cage elevator and pressed the button to go up to the main living quarters. I shouldn't have brought him here, she thought to herself as the elevator jerked and soared upward. Camouflage is going to have a field day biting off my ear...
When the elevator reached the desired floor, there were unfamiliar voices coming from the next room that she felt had something to do with the mysterious man that stood to her right. Quicksilver stepped out of the elevator first, but Albino listened to the mumbled voices for a moment.
He turned back to face her. "Are you coming?" He whispered, as if not to disturb the voices. "Or are you chicken?"
Without at word she stepped forward and followed Quicksilver into the next room. Out of instinct, she grabbed onto his hand and though he looked at her a little funny, he didn't say anything.
As they turned the corner into the living room, Albino laid her eyes on the owners of those unfamiliar voices.
There were seven people sitting about the couches and recliners, three of which were the rest of the Superiors, and the remaining four were strangers, but obviously mutants.
The one talking was an older man that sat in the large chair that was usually reserved for Camouflage. He was dressed in red and purple robes, and had an oddly-shaped helmet cradled in his lap. Although she could only see half of his face, the man was quite handsome, and of obvious relation to Quicksilver. He spoke sternly and with authority, and Albino guessed that he was the leader of these four strangers.
The second was a woman, very odd in appearance. She stood next to the leader, and wore a loose white dress that didn't cover up much of her blue, scaly skin. She was the only one that seemed to take notice of Albino and Quicksilver as they entered, her yellow reptilian eyes scanning over her with interest. Her pin-straight hair was a striking red, and barely touched her shoulders.
The third was a boy that looked about in his late teens that lounged on the end of a couch, next to Panther and Hawkeye. He continuously fiddled with a small silver zippo lighter, but it was quickly snatched out of his hands by the fourth stranger.
She stood behind the couch with her arms crossed, the zippo lighter clenched in her fist. She had dark brown, curly hair that looked unkempt and bright blue eyes. She wore her outfit was a dark red leather trench coat that seemed to be fitted to her body. Covering her feet were a pair of black combat boots on top of mismatching striped socks.
Quicksilver lead her to the only available seats - an open couch that seemed to be reserved for them. She let go of his hand once they sat down and scooted away, hoping no one had noticed.
"We plan to be ready within a week. Any objections?" The leader with the helmet in his hands said, looking out amongst the other mutants.
Albino was confused, but she didn't say anything.
"But how can you be sure that the X-Men have her?" Panther asked. It was so like her to question things. "Perhaps you mistook another mutant-"
"One of my team members went undercover as a student at the institute just to confirm our suspicions. I can assure you, my dear, that we have found her."
"You've found Control?" Albino whispered to Quicksilver beside her, making sure not to interrupt the conversation.
"We have. I'll explain everything to you afterward." He whispered back.
After a bit more talk, Panther made some tea for everyone while the mysterious red and purple leader and Camouflage disappeared into Control's office. The combat-boot girl, the blue scaly lady and Panther all talked in the kitchen while Hawkeye, the creepy flame-boy and Quicksilver saddled up to start a game of Clue.
Not wishing to join either party, Albino slipped out of the room and was just about to step into the elevator when Quicksilver abruptly appeared in from of her. She was confused about his sudden presence for a moment, but then smirked. "Lemme guess - teleporter?"
He smirked back. "Close... super speed." He let her pass him to the elevator, but followed her in.
"That would explain the name, then." she said as the elevator jerked upward, toward her bedroom.
"So," Quicksilver said in a chipper tone. "What do you think?"
"Of everything. Of the plan, of the team... of our extremely impressive tracking skills." He said the last bit with some hint of sarcasm.
"I think I'm utterly confused." She admitted simply. The old elevator shuttered to a stop and Albino pulled the cage door open. The room they stepped into looked like an abandoned office space. It was mostly barren, cement support beams taking up most of the room. Two lonely mattresses were stacked one on top of the other in the middle of the room, many pillows and blankets scattered on top. Surrounding the makeshift bed was a dresser, a full length mirror and a floor lamp that gave off weak lighting. Secluded to the right was a couch, a television and a coffee table, all of which looked to be unused. To the left was a desk and a chair that seemed to be the most popularly used space in the room.
"Whoa," Quicksilver commented as she led him inside. "You've got the whole floor to yourself. Nice."
"Everybody has their own floor. It's a pretty big warehouse." She led him to the couch, where they both sat down. "So," Albino said. "De-confuse me."
"Well," He started, and kicked his feet up on the coffee table. "You know who that man downstairs was, don't you? The one that was talking about the plan?"
"No. I didn't recognize him at all." Albino furrowed her brow. "Should I have?"
"If you didn't recognize him, you'd at least have to have heard of him." He paused. "That man was Magneto."
At first, Albino just stared at him. "That... downstairs... that man... was Magneto?" She asked disbelievingly.
He knew the question was rhetorical, but Quicksilver nodded anyway.
Still, she stared at him blankly. "You sure we're talking about the same Magneto here? Master of magnetism, the main mutant man? All those M words you can have so much fun with?"
Quicksilver raised an eyebrow. "You may want to rethink that line."
Albino continued on. "But... Magneto's..." She took a breath. "After he lost his powers, Magneto fell off the face of the earth. I mean... he's human now. Why is he back dealing with mutants?"
He leaned in closer to her and smiled. "Albino, babe... He never lost his powers."
"Sure, maybe he lost them for a few months, but now he's got his mojo back and he's more powerful than ever." He talked in a low, hushed voice that managed to still sound excited.
Albino found herself holding Quicksilver's hand again, but this time she didn't let go. "So, the cure doesn't work."
He smiled. "That's right. Well, it does work for a few months, but after that, it only makes us stronger."
She also smiled. Since the second stage of her mutation - since her skin turned white and her eyes turned red, Albino always feared being cured by some crazy anti-mutant hate group, but now all of her fears were wiped away. "That's wonderful." She said at last, still smiling.
"Now, don't get distracted, babe." Quicksilver said, bringer her attention back to him. "Now, Magneto's got a little plan cooked up for rescuing you're leader, whatsername..."
"Control." Albino answered.
"Right... Control. Well, he's got a plan, and it's gonna take a lot of teamwork but not much sole effort on our part. Now listen here..."
By the time she understood this 'little' plan that Magneto had for them, Albino was exhausted. She slouched over the coffee table and massaged her aching temples while Quicksilver drew up a map of Xavier Institute's main grounds on the side of a Campbell's soup ad in her Good Housekeeping magazine.
"Why do you even own this magazine?" Quicksilver asked as he continued to draw his rough sketch of the mansion.
"I dunno..." Albino grumbled, and yawned. "Prob'ly came free in the mail. 'Sides, I like to look at the nice houses. Reminds me of Mackinac Island."
"Here we are." Quicksilver said once he was finished with the sketch. Albino lifted herself from the floor and sat down next to him on the couch. "Okay, so here's where we enter from. We'll cross at exactly this point so that the intruder alarms don't -"
"Quicksilver..." Albino sighed. "It's three a.m., I'm exhausted and I don't sleep well. There is no way I'm going to understand any of this, let alone remember it all. Can't we just pick this up tomorrow?"
He looked at her for a moment, then shut the magazine and threw it down on the coffee table. "Of course."
She smiled. "Thank you." She said with a sigh of relief.
"On one condition." He added, his tone serious.
"Anything," She exhaled. "As long as there's no more of this strategic planning torture."
He drew closer to her. "Sleep with me tonight."
"What!" She exclaimed, and stood up. "I barely know you!" Her eyes widened and her nostrils flared, as they always did when she was angry.
"Oh, c'mon..." Quicksilver grumbled and also stood. He towered over her. "You've been coming on to me the whole night. Holding my hand, whispering in my ear, brushing your hair against me ever so gently... the list goes on."
Albino scoffed. "Okay, the hand-holding thing was a bit flirty, but I was whispering because I didn't feel like asking dumb questions in front of total strangers. And I did not brush my hair against you."
"Oh, just admit it." She said, rolling his eyes at her dramatic reaction. "You want me. You want me in your bed, grinding into your hips while you can only run your hands through my hair and beg for more. You-"
"Stop right there." She said softly. She stepped forward so that she was right up against him, looking up into his deep blue eyes with a blank expression. "Get out!" She screamed abruptly, startling him and even herself.
Without words, Quicksilver was gone in a gush of wind, and the sound of the cage elevator was the last thing to be heard of him. Albino, exhausted, collapsed onto her bed, not realizing what she'd have to deal with in the morning.
Tacurong City, Other
Rolling Hills, California
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