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Chapter 1
Chapter 2

A Place in The World - REVIEW THIS STORY

Written by Vicki Lew
Last updated: 01/02/2007 02:01:11 AM

Chapter 1

Her lungs ached at the sudden spasm, drawing air in large quantities; her body shivered violently as it kicked back to life. The black spots dancing before her eyes slowly disappeared, but her head was spinning inanely. Gasping, the woman rolled over and pressed her cheek to the leaf-covered ground, trying to hold the nausea down. The wave passed and she lay there for a while, attempting to gain some orientation.

Tall evergreens loomed over her, an occasional leaf dropping from above, shaken off its branch by the chilly winds that were blowing. Her surroundings would've been pitch dark if not for the bright moon that night. Stark naked, drained and starving, the young woman curled stiffly into a ball, trembling in the cold. Her muscles cramped painfully each time she tried to move, her eyes refusing to stop rolling in their sockets. She still took gulps of air irregularly, nearly hyperventilating herself back into unconsciousness.

It took what seemed like ages for her body system to ease back into its normal state. When it finally did, she found it possible to survey her surroundings. It looked like a fairly dense forest, but then again it could just be a small acre of woods. She forced herself to stand up, joints popping and pain shooting through her limbs; she hissed at the discomfort. Hunger was gnawing at her stomach, and the temperature of the night was dropping rapidly. Sooner or later she had to find some form of shelter, and if she was lucky, some civilization.

She stumbled her way forward, falling hard on the ground and leaning against the trees occasionally for support. Each step she took winded her out; her back could hardly straighten, forcing her to crouch as she made her way to the fringe of the foliage. When she finally got there, her body was covered with scratches and bruises and her lips were almost blue from the cold. But her efforts paid off; she managed a little smile as she spotted lights in the distance. Many lights, in fact. Perhaps it was a mansion or a building of sorts. She didn't really care. All that was driving her on now was the longing for some warmth and something to stop the gastritis that was biting away at her stomach walls.

"Gumbo again?" The white-haired African complained not too subtly. "We had that just two nights ago, Remy,"

"Alors, wit' what I could find in de fridge? Ya lucky I could whip somethin' near to edible, 'Ro!" The handsome, rangy young man retorted as he set the pot down on the kitchenette counter. "Ya'd t'ink de X-men be more prepared in groceries,"

The woman laughed softly and grabbed a spoon, still hungry no-what.

"So where de others gone, Storm?"

"On a scouting mission. Nothing important, really. Charles has gone to Muir Island, Beast is, as usual, shutting himself in the lab. That leaves just you and I, my friend. Scott wanted you on the scouting mission too, but you sneaked out on your Harley before he could get you," Storm laughed again. She had to wonder if it was an allergic reaction to consuming gumbo so late at night. "You must stop your antics, Remy. It's really driving Scott quite mad!"

The Cajun made a rude sound and said, "Not in dis lifetime!" He spooned up a mouthful of gumbo and tucked in. "'Sides, ya'll need me here if there be a stranger in de house, non?"

He gave the exasperated woman a cheeky grin, but it disappeared immediately when he heard the loud crackle of an electrical surge before the entire mansion plunged into darkness.

"Mon dieu, it must be Beth! Him an' his experiments..." Remy muttered as his eyesight adapted to the dark; he went to the cabinet to get some candles. "Plus Cyke's been foolin' around wit' de backup generators; who knows when we gonna get power back!"

"Shall we attempt to repair the damage?" His companion asked.

He lit the candle and illuminated the room before replying, "Oui, I guess. Let's go."

The exhausted girl crouched behind the wall near the front gates, peering through the grills above and wondering if she should just barge into the mansion to grab some food and warmth. She blinked in surprise when the lights went out suddenly. There was a sudden crackle of electrical charge along the metal gates that spooked her, but somehow she knew that it was now safe to attempt to enter the estate.

Her heart pounded as she squeezed through the railings of the front gates and ran as fast as her aching body allowed. In her haste, she tripped over her own feet and slammed hard into the pavement. She was quite dazed but winced when she experienced a sharp pain in her right arm, followed by a sickening crack of bone. Dread gripped her when she recognized the fact that she had fractured her arm.

Swallowing hard, she gingerly bent her arm towards her chest and held it there. Her vision blurred with tears as the pain jolted in sharp stabs through her arm, not just from the fracture, but from the severe scrapes as well. The icy draught burned her bare skin for the umpteenth time, and it reminded her of how close she was to fulfilling her basic needs right now.

With renewed urgency, she limped towards the house and hid in the shadows, gathering enough nerve to actually break into the premises. Shakily, she opened the front door and then froze, squeezing her eyes shut, half-expecting someone to discover her or to attack her. No such thing happened, so she made her way inside. Her body shuddered violently again, this time at the exquisite warmth that enveloped her cold body; she let out a blissful sigh.

She looked warily at her surroundings as she wandered up the stairs and turned unknowingly into the men's dormitory wing. Picking on the first door she came to, the young woman tried to open it, but it was locked. Right now she relied on this strange and amusing ability that she had; she concentrated and focused all her strength into her left fist. Just as always, the trick worked, and she mangled the locking mechanism when she twisted the doorknob.

Her feet hardly made a sound on the black-tiled floor as she sneaked in, hoping to find some food or something that might help her along the way. She squinted in the dim light, and as far as she could see, this place was spick and span but it had a very traditional feel to it. It was charming, that was for sure. After sticking her nose around, she managed to discover a drawer full of clothes. Feeling about, she found a pair of worn jeans and a navy blue pullover; she smiled a little lopsidedly. They both smelled awfully nice. Of what, she didn't know, but the scent was woodsy and addictive; she liked it.

Taking the opportunity while she was out of danger, she stretched her aching body as best as she could before slipping the clothes on. They were too large for her - the jeans covered her feet and dragged on the floor, the sweater reached up to her knees and the sleeves were much too long. She couldn't care less. Her broken arm could hardly move without hurting, so she just tucked it under the sweater instead of putting it through the sleeve.

Ransacking through the other drawers, the intruder found no food of any kind, so she moved on to the next room. She bust her way in using the same technique as before and entered the second chamber. A huge pile of tattered magazines welcomed her, and in the other corners, stacks of soiled clothing emitted funny, unpleasant odours. She wrinkled her nose in disgust. The room must've the ultimate pig-sty, it looked like it hadn't seen a vacuum-cleaner in years. Just as she was about to beat a hasty retreat, she spotted a box of what she recognized as chocolate bars. Dashing madly across the room, creating an even bigger mess, she grabbed a Mars bar and tucked into it.

"Mmmm..." The young woman closed her eyes ecstatically and savoured the taste of peanuts and caramel.

Her good hand closed around what seemed like an unopened wrapper, but to her dismay, its contents were already gone. She checked the dozen other wrappers and found them empty. Chewing on the last of the candy, she decided that she'd look for the kitchen and get some real food.

Hopefully, she'd get away without being discovered.

Disclaimer: The characters below are a mix of spin-offs and existing X-men symbols, all property of Marvel. I'm not profiting financially from writing fan-fiction, so don't even think of suing me.

Note: Another alternate reality story from yours truly. It's so much more interesting to write, no boundaries etc. Y'all seem to like Free for a Second better than the regular time-line ones that I've done. Maybe I should stick to writing about alternate universes, eh?

Anti-Rogue and Gambit readers: Too bad. Rogue and Gambit fans: Good fer y'all!!

Enjoy; all comments to [email protected]


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