For a second everything was just a blur and I all could hear was a faint swooshing sound. When my vision came still and my stomach stopped lurching, I was back in the main room of the warehouse. Tucker’s arms were still around from when we super sped from the restaurant. I looked straight into Tucker’s green eyes for a second he disappeared in a flash.
“Good you’re here.”
I turned as Ororo made her way too me, “Yeah.”
“Has Tonya informed-”
“Yes,” I interrupted her folding my arms and sighing, “The Mutant Liberation Front has attacked one of Stryker’s little Kool-Aide fiesta and Cory is unfortunately there right now. This would all be more shocking if it wasn’t a monthly occurrence and it wasn’t our lives.” I shook my head feeling anger form at the pit of my stomach “Why is he still going there?”
“He believes it’s still vital for him to gather the information there.”
I narrowed my eyes slightly at Ororo skeptically, “He used the word vital?”
“Well no,” she replied as I heard a swooshing sound in ear.
I turned to see Tucker letting go of his sister Tonya, who straightened her red hair before moving towards Ororo and I, “What do you want us to do?”
“You two will go and lend support to Jubilee and Ben,” she replied immediately, “I will stay here with Cassie. We can not risk this being a trap.”
“They aren’t there for Cory,” I said, “They are there to attack Stryker and his group, Cory just happens to be there. I sort of goaded Betsy into it,” I gave a guilty full tooth smile and shrugged, “Who knew she was so susceptible to peer pressure.”
“It does not matter,” Ororo looked to Tucker and Tonya, “I am trying to get in reach to Kaylee to have her fly to the church and also help. Will will bring Josh and Lily here for protection.”
“Have you heard from them?” I asked concerned.
“No but I would have gotten a report if they were in danger.”
I looked at her unconvinced, “We’ll if someone killed them-”
“Trust me,” Ororo replied.
“Right,” Tonya nodded and looked to Tucker, “Ready to go?”
He nodded at her and gave me a guilty glance, “Sorry.”
I shrugged, “This is why superheroes don’t date.”
He smiled as he grabbed his sister. In the next second he was gone. I stared at his empty space for a moment.
“Date?” Ororo asked playfully.
I rolled my eyes but smiled, “Shut up.”
The shit hit the fan almost immediately. I had a hard time keeping up with what was happening around me. People had gotten up from their chair and were running straight for the door which was stupid since that’s where Serenity and the other Mutant Liberation Fronters; Psylocke, Multiple, Mercury, Elemental and Rockslide stood.
“Just stay there,” Ben’s voice said inside my head. My eyes traveled quickly over to him as he too stood up about four rows behind me. I saw his eyes travel to Jubilee who was about four rows behind him. They both gave each other nods and both joined the crowd which was heading towards the bad guys.
“Come on,” Felix, the person who had been sitting next to me grabbed me by the arm and quickly began to drag me forwards towards the podium which I had been sitting right in front of. Confused I began to speak but stopped as my eyes caught Stryker heading into a door not far from behind the podium. I was a bit shocked. I didn’t think he’d run away like. I saw people, mostly older men though some younger follow Stryker towards the back.
I heard screams from the front of the room and quickly turned to see a pillar of dark black smoke throw people backwards into the air.
“Let’s go!” Felix screamed as he let go of my arm and went towards the door Stryker had gone into. I stopped in my tracks and looked back as I saw Jubilee and Ben standing in the middle of the aisle, staring straight at Serenity as the Mutant Liberation Fronters all began to move forward. Both Ben and Jubilee were wearing full black bodysuits with yellow X’s on the back and full black face masks to cover their faces. They both had to have image inducers cause I doubt they’d change that fast. People around us were cowering against walls or on the ground.
I gulped slightly before staring to move forward.
“Let’s go kid!” a man grabbed my arm and dragged me forward like Felix had done. I recognized him as one of the members who had been here since the first meeting and had been to ever meeting since, or at least the ones I had been too. He dragged me some more as he moved towards the door. “He’d want you down there.”
Confused I began to run with the man towards the back door I looked back just as I saw Psylocke run at Jubilee as Ben put up a telekinetic shield to block a burst of fire sent at him by Elemental. Tucker Harper seemed to have appeared out of nowhere and now in the fight too. He was zipping past a row of Jamie Madrox’s and his sister Tonya Harper seemed to be doing her best to avoid Rockslide’s fist. Serenity still just stood there, a satisfied smile on her face.
The man pulled me and I was turned away from the fight which from what I could hear behind me was just getting started. We passed through the doorway and made our way down a flight of stairs.
“Hurry,” I heard Stryker say as I jumped from the last two steps and made my way through a doorway. My jaw slightly dropped in surprise. I was in a dark badly light room with over twenty men lined up with guns in their hands. Stryker stood at the front and behind him was wall filled with handguns and what looked like AK-47s. There had to be dozens up there. As two men approached Stryker grabbed two AKs and handed one to each man and they moved towards the back.
I heard a large blast and screams from upstairs and quickly looked towards the ceiling. I looked up at the ceiling and hoped that Ben and the others were alright.
The man who had dragged me down here moved towards Stryker who gave him an AK and then moved towards the back.
“I’m glad you are here Cory,” Stryker said removing a hand gun from the wall. He handed it to me and I stared at it wide eyed not knowing what to do. “I know you are surprised,” Stryker began, “But as I told you earlier I had been meaning to talk to you. You see this is not just a support group anymore.”
“Ugh,” was all I could muster as I grabbed the gun. It was heavier than I thought it would be and I kept hoping it wouldn’t go off in my hand or somehow hit my face. My face is my money!
“I knew this day would come,” Stryker said grabbing a handgun from the wall and placed it a gun holster, “They have come to our home, to our church,” he then grabbed a AK-47, “We will strike them down, all the mutant scum.”
“Wait,” I said, “I saw a few mutants up there who I think were helping us, they had X’s on their back. I think they are the X-Men.”
Stryker’s eyes narrowed slightly at me, “You should know better Cory, a mutant is a mutant. The X-Men aren’t here to save us, they are hear to destroy us. We need to protect ourselves Cory. You must do your best to strike down each of the vermin.”
I knew no matter what I said Stryker wouldn’t change his mind so I just nodded. With that Stryker move ahead of me and I knew that things were going from really really bad to really really worse.
“Now,” he said looking over his men who all seemed ready to go kill some mutants,
Exodus stood up from my couch, his dark eyes never leaving my face. I felt my heart quicken slightly. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. Everything about Exodus looked imitating, from his broad, strong body, his tanned face with those heinous dark eyes and his sleek, black hair which went back to his shoulders.
Will put his hand on my arm like he intended to hold me back. I gave a quick glance to Josh and saw Kaylee do the same to him.
“Well young lady,” Exodus deep voice sounded positively delighted, “It has been quite a while.”
Will tugged at me but I didn’t budge instead I swallowed my fear and looked Exodus straight in the eyes, “What are you doing in my house? You know the bad guy rules; no entering the hero’s house and no killing them when they are sleeping no matter how sense it makes to do just that.”
Josh nodded at my side, “If we start breaking these rules this business will just collapse and you know who suffers?” Josh looked around waiting for someone to answer, “It’s the children,” he nodded in a very serious manner, “..the children.”
“And don’t tell me,” I pointed at him, “You were the one who had Pyro attack me right? To see if I was human.”
“You could have just asked,” I went on.
“It is the polite thing to do,” added Josh. He looked at Exodus and put up a hand, “Watch.” Turning to me he said, “Hey Lily do you still have powers?”
“No I do not Josh,” I replied looking towards Exodus and than Josh, “But thank you for asking, it was very considerate of you.”
“You. Are. Welcome.” Josh said slowly while eyeing Exodus.
Exodus just at us cold faced not say a word, “It seems being powerless has not quieted any of your mindless chattering.”
“We are chatty bunch,” Josh replied, “I blame it on being part of the ADD generation.”
I shrugged, “I just like to talk.”
Exodus moved forward, “We-”
“I know,” Josh cut him off, “Talk is cheap but really I think first impressions are important. I don’t really think you and I have interacted that much. I mean you held Lily hostage but not me, which can I say, ouch. Way to hurt a boy’s self esteem. Here I thought the world revolved around me and my issues.”
“He threw himself quite the little pity party after that way,” I sighed.
“It’s true,” he nodded, “I kept asking myself ‘Is it me?’ and ‘What am I doing wrong?’. It took me a long time to get to a better place. At least I think it will, I’m still not quite there yet.”
“And let’s not even get started on what you did to me,” I shook my head at Exodus who just looked on, his lip curled into an almost mad smile as he let us talk and talk probably feeling completely confident that this would be the day he killed us, “You made my boyfriend break up with me and got blood on a really nice dress. Do you know much I loved that dress!?”
“Enough talk,” Exodus raised his arm and moved one step forward just like I hoped he would. As he foot touched the ground his facial expression immediately tensed up and he seemed to be in a fair amount of pain. His body began to slouch over slightly.
Josh and I both quickly moved behind Kaylee and Will. Will was staring right at Exodus, his eyes intensely bearing down on him as he manipulated the ground around Exodus’ body. Kaylee moved forward with her hands out. A blast of pure, white energy flew out from her hands and hit Exodus’ upper body. The intensity in Will’s eyes lessened as Exodus went flying backwards into my living room wall which caused me to cringe and mutter, “Crap.”
Kaylee turned to me and Josh with a wide smile, “Nice distraction work you two.
“Well I had a lot of pent up banter built up,” Josh replied and looked down at his cast on his left arm, “Being in a hospital for a week leaves you asking for someone to try and kill you again. But yeah,” He gave his sister a small smile, “I was actually impressed that you were able to wing it.”
“At first I didn’t get what was going on but once I noticed Will doing his gravity thing I got it.” She nodded proudly.
“Yeah right, we all wigged it,” Will mutter not really paying attention to our chit-chat. He glanced over at Exodus who seemed to be stirring slightly, “You guys need to get out of here.”
“I’m not leaving my sister,” Josh replied immediately.
“You have too,” Will demanded, “You have no powers.”
“I don’t care,” Josh snapped, “I can’t just leave her.”
“While this is a pleasant boost to my ego and proves that you love me,” Kaylee said smiling smugly, “Just get out.”
I looked to Exodus unsure of what I myself wanted to do. I hated running away, I hated needing saving but I also knew that Josh and I didn’t stand a chance against Exodus. I also knew Josh’s need to be a hero would never let him leave and I can’t just leave him, my brother and Kaylee.
“I’m not leaving,” Josh said as he began to look around the living, “I just need to find something to hit him with-”
“Can you stop being a stubborn ass for once in your life!” I snapped, “You scolded Cory enough for just running into a fight, can’t you realize you’re just doing the same right now! Stop trying to act like you still have powers and that everything is just the same. It’s not. You’re human so get over it and get out of my house!” I took a deep breath and then gave him a polite smile, “Please.”
Josh looked at me shocked and a bit hurt, “Cory runs into fight to look tough,” he muttered, “I run into fights to-”
“Shut up,” I cut him off as I continued to breathe heavily, feeling a strange sense of anger, yet relief surge through my body.
Josh looked away from me, his cheeks red, “I-” But he stopped as his eyes suddenly widen as his body was suddenly lifted straight into the air.
I gasped as I felt something grab me from above and I too was lifted off my feet.
“For once,” I heard Exodus say as I felt the tight telekinetic grip around me, “I agree with the girl.”
With that I felt another tug and Josh and I both lunged towards Exodus. We both crashed to the floor next to him with a thud. My arm and hip both seared in pain and I looked up to Exodus, tears in my eyes as Josh screamed in pain, clutching his already injured arm.
“Ass!” Kaylee ran forward and a blast of energy shot out from her hands. Exodus stepped forward without hesitation and Kaylee was thrown backwards onto the ground hitting her head against the door as he blast seemed to be redirected into my stairwell, blasting one of the steps apart.
“Double crap,” I muttered. I quickly crawled towards Josh who still clutched his left arm, “Are you okay?” I asked, “Did you fall on your arm?”
“Yeah,” he said through gritted teeth, “I think I might have made a tiny mistake not getting out.”
I nodded empathically as Exodus moved towards my brother.
“I want you both to watch as kill the ones you loved,” Exodus looked back at us
“Oh that’s original,” Josh muttered as I slowly got out of my cell phone from my pocket not taking my eyes off the fight.
Will quickly put out his hands towards Exodus but before he could do anything Exodus disappeared his body fading away in less than a second. Will quickly spun just as Exodus appeared behind him. Exodus punched him once I the gut then grabbed him by the neck and threw him into my coffee table.
Despite being horrified I continued on with the task at hand. I gave a quick glance down to my phone as I made my way down to the C’s in the contact list.
Kaylee was back up and stumbling slightly as she moved towards.
“Hey Exodus!” Josh screamed probably hoping to distract him as burst of energy shot out from both of Kaylee’s hands. But it did was useless. The blast seemed to hit an invisible shield in front of Exodus and the moment after that beams of yellow energy shot out from Exodus’ eye and hit Kaylee in the stomach. She hit a nearby wall and collapsed to the ground.
“Damn it,” Josh muttered. I could hear his breathing quicken as his one good arm clenched into a fist.
I looked down at my phone and down at the words on my phone ‘Help’ and prepared to send it.
“Do not even try it,” my phone lifted into the air like it was being held by an invisible string. Exodus moved back towards me as my phone shattered into a million pieces. I let out a small moan. “But smart. As I am sure you could tell, sending out a telepathic message is hopeless.”
“It was a guess,” I muttered and gave a weak smile and slightly raised my hands in victory, “Yay to being right.”
“And now that you have no help,” Exodus smiled, “We can get started.”