Diversions & Digressions | fanfiction by mara

A Little Bird Told Me

A Little Bird Told Me

by Mara

Summary: Scott wants to go find Madelyne and his child, but he’s got to go through Ororo first. (Story #9)

NOTES: This takes place at more or less the same time as Sascha’s “Wild Goose
Chase.” Sorry if this is a bit long, but Scott and Ororo would *not* shut up,
and they refused to think in a linear fashion. Thanks to David Ellis for the
beta and help on Ultimate Ororo. Thanks also to my husband, who patiently put up
with me muttering to myself about this story for most of a three hour car ride.
(“Is Kurt with them?” “What?” “Oh, sorry, nothing…”)

**********************************

I’m not really that fond of deserts, as a rule. They’re either too hot or too
cold, they’re not very visually exciting (especially for someone who only sees
in shades of red), and they’re really, really dry. What can I say? I get thirsty
easily.

However, I was willing to make an exception for one particular stretch of desert
in southern Arizona near the Mexican border. It had some nice saguaros (those
big cacti you always see in cartoons), an abandoned building big enough to fit a
bunch of escaped superhero types, and it was far away from the Weapon X project
and our usual New York haunts.

Everyone needed a rest, and Jean needed to stay put long enough to try and help
the Professor. And I needed everyone to stay put so *I* could take off for a
while.

We’d been in Arizona for a few days, and everyone was gathering in the living
room. Well, everyone but Hank, who was patrolling. That’s when I brought up the
issue that had been plaguing my mind since we’d escaped.

“I’m going after Madelyne,” I said, turning away from the dingy window. The
others stared at me in a mix of dismay, confusion, and anger. Kurt, our new
recruit, was mainly confused. Jean had picked up German pretty easily, but she
was having trouble putting English in his mind.

“No way,” Jean said, stepping out of the bedroom where we kept the Professor.
“We don’t have time for this. We’re running away from an incredibly powerful,
well-armed, and well-connected branch of the government, remember?”

“I know that, and she’s running away from the same people.”

“Which is exactly why you should stay away. If they’ve found her, then they’ll
find us.” Jean’s voice rose and Logan put his arm around her shoulders. She
leaned into him. The small part of me that wasn’t worrying about Madelyne and my
child was surprised to find how little that bothered me.

“If they’ve found her, then I’ll have to get her out again. I wasn’t asking for
help or anyone’s permission, I was telling you. I will not let those bastards
have her *or* my child. End of story.”

Everyone but Logan looked embarrassed to witness our argument. Well, the
Professor just looked unconscious. I ruthlessly smothered my twinge of guilt at
leaving him in this condition. I couldn’t drag them all with me to find
Madelyne, but I had to find her soon.

Jean clenched her fists. “You’re the one that told us to stick together, leader-
boy. Changing your mind? Tired of taking care of us? Worried your new girlfriend
might get rid of your inconvenient baby?”

“That’s enough,” Ororo said, and Jean and I both glared at her. “If you two want
to act like children, take it outside and slap each other silly for all I care.
But if you’re our leaders, then fucking well act like them.”

Damn, I hate when she’s right.

I swallowed my rising anger, reminding myself that Jean had also been through
hell in these past months. We were all scared and on edge, worried about the
Professor and our future.

I eased down from my confrontational posture and sat down, hoping a change in
body language would cool things off. Jean leaned back into Logan’s arms, and
took a few deep meditative breaths. When she looked at me again, I could see
she’d calmed down.

“I’m sorry,” she said to me.

“I’m sorry, too.” I continued with my thoughts. “What I’m saying is, we’re as
safe as we’re going to get for the moment, and this is something I have to do. I
don’t know Madelyne’s exact location or condition, but I owe her the attempt.”

Ororo looked like she wanted to say something, but whatever it was she didn’t
want to say it in public. That was *not* a good sign. She tilted her head
slightly toward the door but I ignored her for the moment. “Look, I’m not
leaving this minute,” I said, “but I wanted to let you know what I’m planning as
soon as possible. I’m not running out on you, and I’ll be back.”

Then I got support from the absolute last place I’d ever expected. “You should
go,” Logan said. He didn’t quite look me in the eye. “If you don’t, you’ll
regret it.” Everyone stared at him. “Believe me, folks, we don’t want any kids
falling back into the hands of Weapon X.”

Silence fell as we all contemplated what Logan must have experienced in his time
there. For him to stick up for me, it had to be pretty bad.

“Thank you, Logan,” I said. Ororo looked impatient, so I wrapped up with, “We’ll
finish this discussion later,” and followed her out the front door, past the
short whip-like cacti Hank said were ocotillos.

She was waiting by the big rock in the yard, looking mysterious and dangerous. I
leaned against the rock and looked up at the setting sun.

“What’s up, ‘Ro? Are you going to tell me I shouldn’t go?” It was getting cold
fast, and my words floated out on puffs of steam.

“Not gonna tell you that, but your reasons for sticking together are as good now
as they were when we escaped. I *was* gonna tell you I think you’re running off
half-cocked here.”

“Jesus, what the hell do you expect me to do! I got everybody out, I got us
here, I’ve waited longer than I wanted already! I can’t do a damn thing for the
Professor except stand around and watch.”

She didn’t react at all, just watched me like I was a rat running through a
maze. “Sure, but I don’t think you’ve thought this through.”

My throat closed on a rush of emotion and I walked away, unwilling to let her
see. I’d unburdened myself to her once, on the way to India. That was a mistake.
I was the leader, I couldn’t stick my team-mates with all my problems. That’s
why I couldn’t tell her about Alex.

I could hear her walking behind me. “You need to decide what you want. And what
you can have.”

I stopped and turned, so suddenly she nearly ran me down. “I want my child.”

“Well, duh. But what about Madelyne? What’s she gonna be doing while you’re
playing Daddy?”

Damn it, she was right again. “I don’t know.”

“D’you think you’re gonna settle down with her? Get a house with a picket fence,
and have 2.5 mutant children?” She was up in my face.

“I told you, I don’t know!”

She was calm again. “Well, you’d better figure out some answers.” She took my
arm and dragged me back to the rock to sit on a convenient perch.

I looked up at the darkening sky and thought about Madelyne, a woman I’d only
known for a few hours. Some sort of animal howled in the distance. God, I hate
deserts. Give me the mean streets of a city any time.

I tried to articulate my thoughts. “She was so scared of Essex, and now she’s
out there running away from him. I don’t even know how much she knows about the
outside world, and she’s running. I feel sorry for her. I want to help her, do
what I can. Besides, she’s…” I stopped, unsure if I wanted anyone else to know
what I’d learned. Unsure if this was the right person to tell.

“She’s what?”

Hell, in for a penny, in for a pound. “She’s running away with Sabretooth. I
think.”

Ororo gasped and I could hear thunder in the distance. She had one fist shoved
against her mouth. Oh hell, bad choice, Summers. “‘Ro, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t
have said anything. I’m not even completely sure.”

She took a deep breath and seemed to force herself to relax. “Chill, ‘sokay. I
was just surprised. What makes you think she’s with him?”

Someday, Ororo and I were going to talk a little bit more about she’d been
through. Someday soon. I mentally regrouped.

“You know Logan and I have been gathering intelligence as we’ve traveled? I’ve
been keeping an eye out for news of her. Well, there’ve been some sightings up
North of a couple who could be Sabretooth and Madelyne.”

“But if you’ve heard…”

“…then Weapon X might have, too,” I said. “Grim thought, huh? On the bright
side, the kinda people who talk to us aren’t exactly gonna go out of their way
to talk to Weapon X. Besides, we made a hell of a mess on the way out. It’s
gonna take them some time to clean up. But it worries me. Besides being worried
about what the hell she’s doing with Sabretooth.”

I didn’t tell her about the *other* intelligence I’d gathered, about Alex. That
would have to wait. I’d just have to hope that Essex was too busy to go after
him.

“You’d better be more than worried, you’d better be thinking hard about what
you’re gonna do. ‘Cause if you think you’re gonna recruit Sabretooth, think
again.” Ororo practically spat his name.

“If we can take in Logan, why not Sabretooth?”

“It’s not the same,” Ororo said, her voice becoming angry and cold. I could feel
electricity building up around us. “And I didn’t exactly vote Logan into the
club, either. But there’s no way I’m gonna work with that overgrown cat
bastard.”

Well, I was in deep now, and I’d better talk fast if I didn’t want to get fried.

“What if he’s willing to help us take down the Weapon X project for good?”

“Why should he? He was helping those bastards, remember?” Her eyes were white,
and I could hear the thunder again.

“Then why would he be running off with Madelyne?” I said. She stared at me,
uncertain, her eyes shading back to their normal color. Aha, got her. “If
there’s hope for an assassin, a car thief, and an enforcer for the Russian
Mafia, maybe there’s hope for an ‘overgrown cat bastard.'”

“Scott, he…”

“I know.”

“You’re pretty damn good at changing the subject.”

“Yeah.”

“I could of killed you just now. And I might kill Sabretooth if you bring him
here.”

“I know.”

We sat in silence for a while and watched the sun drop lower. The air was so
clear, that even as dusk fell, we could see for miles. We could see the
individual trees on the mountains, the rows of saguaros that stretched all the
way there, and the light falling on the scrub and rocks.

“Is it a beautiful sunset?” I asked.

“Yeah, it is.”

“I’m going to leave in two days.” I tried to sound like a leader again.

Ororo stopped looking at the sunset. “Be careful, Scott.”

“I’m always careful. I was born careful.”

“You’re walking into a potential minefield, and you’re not taking backup,” she
said scornfully. “On what planet is that careful?”

“How do you know I’m not taking backup?”

She didn’t even justify that with an answer. “Just get your ass back here soon.
You may piss me off, but the team needs you. And think about what you’re doing,
or you’re gonna buy us a whole new world of trouble.”

“I will.” I jumped off the rock and headed back into the house to make my plans.
I needed to talk to Logan, he knew Canada a heck of a lot better than I did. And
Jean and I had to discuss where the team would go if they had to leave suddenly.
There was a lot to do before I left. But a little bird told me I had a chance to
find Madelyne and my child, and I wasn’t giving it up for anyone.

Write a Comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

 

Essentials