Disclaimer: All Marvel stuff belongs to Marvel. Other characters are mine.

Author's Note: I'll make this a short one, okay? All right, for all those getting annoyed about having no clue as to what's going on at Muir, I'm sorry, it IS essential to the plot, and I AM moving them to the Academy soon, so don't worry. I'll wrap everything up eventually, even the mess with Gateway (to which I just threw out another clue) and hopefully everything will make sense one day (even if that day DOES look like it's going to be in the year 2000...).

Ties Never Binding: Part 14

"I'm glad to see she doesn't seem to be emotionally scarred by this experience," Jean said, monitoring Dawn as she watched through the infirmary's observation booth with Hank. Dawn was talking to Jubilee, who was no doubt regaling her with some amusing tale or another seeing as how she was giggling now and again.

"Laughter is excellent therapy," Hank remarked absently, checking the readings he was getting from the psionic scanners. "And I must confess, the child seems to be remarkably resilient considering all the trials she has been through thus far."

Jean nodded. "To think, when I joined the X-Men all we had to worry about was Magneto, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, and an occasional giant insect or two. Dawn's not been with the school for six months and already she's gone to the future, faced off against Sinister, D'Spayre, AND Apocalypse, AND survived. No mean feat for a fourteen-year-old."

"From what I've heard, the kid would HAVE to be resilient," Logan said, entering the room silently.

Hank glanced up at his feral teammate. "I'm rather surprised to see you here, Logan, considering you've never even met the girl," he commented. "Is there a particular motive behind your actions, or are you merely feeling inquisitive about the girl's health?"

"Just curious," Logan replied shortly. "J seems to like her okay, so I figured it was worth lookin' into." He looked at Hank. "When do ya think the kid'll be up an' around? Irish's been talkin' 'bout a trainin' session later on. I'm familiar with the others, but I'd like to get a good idea o' what the girl's capable of."

Jean raised an eyebrow. "Logan, what aren't you telling us?" she asked. "There IS something else, isn't there?"

"Just testin' a theory, Red," he told her before leaving the room.

"I don't understand," I said to Jubilee. "Why does he want to see me? I mean, it's a training session and everything, but it's a private one. I don't get it."

"Wolvie knows what he's doin'," Jubilee informed me. "He's got his reasons."

"Hope so," I said. "I'm not exactly in peak condition, if you know what I mean." I grinned. "'Course, from what YOU'VE told me, he'd slaughter me even if I was!"

"You'd better believe it," Jubilee said smugly.

"You kids gonna stop yammerin' so we can start?" came an unfamiliar voice. Out of habit honed in Threnody's dimension I spun around and into a fighting stance, surprising myself. The result of Onslaught destroying the barriers between Threnody's personality and mine must have had a more lasting effect then I had thought.

The owner of the voice was a man with dark hair and a rather slumped posture, but despite his apparently awkwardness I could tell this was someone I did NOT want to be facing off for real with.

"Fair moves, darlin'," he commented. "Let's see if you have any more to match 'em."

"How long've you been spying on us?" Jubilee asked, a little miffed.

"Long enough," Logan replied. "With the Danger Room in this jungle setting there are plenty o' places for me to hide in. Plenty for an assassin, too, but we'll get into that later. Right now, I want to see what you've got, kid."

"Um, sure," I stammered. "Er, bare-handed?"

"For the moment."



"A-all right." I felt annoyed at myself for being so nervous, but something about this guy just screamed danger.

"I'll give ya one fair shot, but the rest is up for grabs," Logan told me.



"Okay." I switched into offensive mode and took a swing at his midsection, but he moved amazingly fast, dodging me easily. He attacked me with a side kick, which I blocked. I swung at him thrice, then managed to surprise him with a leg sweep. He was only down for a moment before he was right back on his feet and aiming for my face. I did a flip backwards, but he caught me off guard as I was regaining my balance. He was holding back a great deal, I could tell, because the blows would only cause a minimal amount of bruising, but I could still tell they was pretty hard despite my lack of any real nerve endings. I managed to land a kick in his stomach, but he caught my arm and flipped me over and onto the ground, which would have knocked the wind out of me had I still been able to breathe. He then proceeded to pin me, and after several moments of twisting and turning I realized there was no earthly way I would be able to shake him off.

"You win," I said at last. He got up and I dusted myself off, noting that he didn't even look the least bit tired.

"What WERE some of those moves?" I inquired. "I recognized a few judo moves, but the rest I have absolutely no clue about."

"I improved on a fair bit o' fightin' skills I've learned over the years," Logan told me, waving off any admiration I might have had for his obvious skill. "Don't worry about it. I know a lot o' people who haven't even done THAT good their first time around either." He looked at me steadily. "Speakin' of unorthodox fightin', what were THOSE moves? Some was judo, and but near the end ya got a little more... varied."

"Oh." I hadn't realized I'd changed techniques in the middle of the fight until I looked back on it, and it seemed a little odd, even to me. "Well," I said, "I have kind of a split personality. My double spent the last three years of her life training to fight like that, and it was kind of an 'anything goes' kind of place. I guess I was channeling her."

Logan nodded, not looking very surprised. "Must come in handy," he remarked as he fished something out of his pocket. "Here," he said, tossing it to me. "We'll try weapons next."

I caught the object, which was a disk about the size of a silver dollar and almost two-thirds of an inch thick, and fairly heavy for something so small.

"What's this?" I asked blankly.

"Dr. MacTaggert sent it over from Muir," he explained, a trifle impatiently. "Press the button."

I noticed a small silver button on the side of the disk and pressed it obediently. Instantly the disk expanded into a large staff, nearly five and a half feet long and surprisingly light for its size. I examined it curiously.

"It was based on Gambit's," Logan informed me, picking up a wooden rod about the same size as the staff. "MacTaggert thought ya might want some extra protection, and it also acts as a siphon for all the psi energy you're absorbing so you'll stay under six feet tall."

"Um, thanks," I commented, feeling a little bewildered. "Uh, I know now's probably not a good time to say this, but I haven't the faintest idea how to use this thing."

"Then learn," Logan told me, swinging his rod at me so suddenly I barely had time to block it before it collided with my face. He began to strike at me furiously, relentlessly, with moves so dizzying it was like there was only a wooden blur swiping at me. I continued to parry, unsure of how I was supposed to use this staff to my advantage when I had no clue where to begin.

But his attacks were getting progressively more difficult to deflect, and I really needed to do SOMETHING or I was going to get beaten to a pulp. Psionic healing or not, I was still recovering from my encounter with Mountjoy and had been warned to conserve my strength or risk burning myself out even more.

So I did what came naturally--I began to strike back.

A lot.

With unexpected skill.

I managed to score nearly five hits on him before he analyzed the technique I was using (I hadn't even realized I WAS using one at the time, either, it was just like running on instinct) and began to block me effectively again. I, in turn, seemed to analyze HIS technique, and began to hold him off for a while longer. I wasn't even using my powers, it just...happened. Like I was tuning into his skills, or there was someone guiding my...

My jaw dropped open in midswing, and Logan rammed his staff into my stomach in that split second of distraction. I fell down without even trying to regain my balance, then just sat there blinking for a moment.

"Dawn? Are you okay?"

Jubilee. I had almost forgotten she was still watching us. I shook my head and said, "Yeah, sure. I just thought of something kind of creepy and my brain froze up."

"Tired?" Logan asked, seeming not to notice my comment.

"Sort of," I agreed, getting back on my feet, still holding the staff.

"Fine. Session's over."

I blinked again. I had the oddest feeling I was missing something essential, but I couldn't think of what it could be. I looked at Jubilee, who just shrugged, looking as baffled as I felt. Apparently this wasn't typical behavior for him, but who was I to judge? I spread my hands and clicked the button on the staff, retracting it. I looked at Jubilee and said, "Well, I guess that's that. Want to get something to eat?"

"I didn't know you could," she remarked.

"Oh, just rub my nose in it why don'tcha," I said with a mock-scowl. "Oh well. TV, then?"


I rubbed the back of my neck nervously as we left the Danger Room and headed for the Rec Room, Jubilee leading the way. Someone--or thing--had been guiding me during that fight. But who? And how? I knew I'd called up Will occasionally when in real trouble, but this being was different somehow. Skilled in a way I hadn't even imagined possible, and yet strangely familiar. But from where...or when?

"D-Dr. Mac-MacTaggert... whu-why am I... so numb..?" Karen whimpered, eyes wide with terror. "I c- can't fuh-feel... my body any m-more."

"'Tis only the sedative, lass," Moira assured her with a great deal more conviction then she felt. "It will pass soon enough."

"Please... what's happ... ening... to me?" she whispered. "The voices... s-so loud... can't think..."

"Voices?" Moira inquired, suddenly interested. "What voices, lass?"

"In... muh-my head..." Karen said, as if having to struggle to get the words out. "Always there... even when I sleep..."

"Are ye a telepath, then?" Moira pressed.

"I'm... not s-sure," Karen confessed. "C-can't under... understand them... but the buzzing... so bad..."

Moira frowned, glancing at Shrive, who was lying a bed over, sleeping at last.

Well, boyo, there's ONE piece of information ye've kept for yuirself, she thought darkly. Unless... ye dinnae even know it? He DID say he could no' read HER...

Moira checked all known information about Karen's powers, trying to think of what could possible fill the void between her technomorphosis and the buzzing in her head. She found a few high-power readings scattered through the information, but was unable to identify them because of an unusual static that seemed to have blurred half of them out.

Wonder what could ha' gone wrong here, Moira thought, inspecting the readings with a frown. I dinnae know how it would affect Karry if I were tae try again, though...

"I... need to... get up," Karen told her, struggling feebly as she tried to lift herself off of the cot. Moira placed a hand on her chest and pushed her back onto it gently.

"Ye'll be doin' no such thing," Moira told her firmly. "Ye're in no shape tae be wanderin' aboot the halls when this is happenin'. Ye need tae relax..."

An' try tae stay sane at the same time, she added mentally. A fact which I dinnae think will be possible for ye, much as I hate tae say it...

Karen's expression sunk into one of complete despair, her eyes clouding over in agony as a spasm of pain racked her body despite the painkillers. Moira tried to think of anything more she could do for the girl, but couldn't come up with anything positive.

She looked at the internal schematics that were being displayed on the monitor before her and nearly lost her lunch.

In all my years as a doctor I ha' never... never seen anything like this... she thought haltingly. The monitor showed in painful detail that the metal substance, until recently barely more then a metal shell, had begun to penetrate Karen's internal organs, starting with her lungs. Amazingly, the only effect it seemed to be having on her general health was an acute pain in the area. She was still able to breathe, but the composition of the organs had been altered in a way that made Moira's head boggle.

I dinnae ken how this is possible! she thought frantically. The lass's power, however natural it may seem, shouldnae be able tae do this! What is going on here?

"Hey, Ev!" I cried, spotting Everett walking through the corridor out of the corner of my eye.

"Hey Dawn," he said, smiling. "You're out of the Med Lab?"

"At last," I replied. "Four days was QUITE enough, thank you."

"We were lucky," Everett smirked. "Jono and I got out after the second."

"Yeah, it got kind of boring without you guys to pester," I sighed. "I spent most of my time in that psionic chamber, anyway. Seems they weren't sure I'd stay coherent for more then a few minutes after that little mini-war in my head."

"Want to watch Frasier with us?" Jubilee inquired.

"Nah," he replied, "I'm going to get an early start on that binomial worksheet."

She shrugged. "Suit yerself," she said. "I prefer to wait till the last minute, like usual."

"Which is probably why you're getting a C in Algebra," Everett teased.

"Not EVERYONE'S a super brain like you, Ev," Jubilee yawned, unprovoked.

"How've you been doing on yours?" Everett asked me.

"Oh, I got it done yesterday," I told him. "When you don't sleep much and have nothing to do for four days homework seems pretty inviting."

"Oh, D, not this close to dinner!" Jubilee gagged.

I rolled my eyes. "Anything interesting happening?"

"Not really," Everett replied. "Gateway's been hovering around the roof lately, but he isn't talking, as usual."

Did he have nothing better to do other then follow us around?

"I see you've still got that armband," Everett said, pointing. I glanced down at my arm and, sure enough, it was still there. It was dim at the moment, which I assumed to be a good sign since flashing seemed to mean danger. I rubbed my head, feeling more then a little irritated.

"Yeah, I guess I do," I agreed, flicking the thing with my forefinger. It shimmered faintly, then dimmed again. "I just wish I knew where it came from."

:From within you, of course.:

"Whu--?" I blinked for a moment, surprised. Then I recognized the psi-voice and relaxed. :Gateway? What're you doing listening into my conversation?:

I got no answer, of course. With a snort of annoyance I turned back to the TV, wondering how I could find Glenn. Somehow going on a long, drawn out road trip didn't sound too inviting, and for all my power I couldn't even FEEL Glenn, let alone locate him. But that meant he was shielded... or... or what? He wasn't dead, that I knew for certain. But then why couldn't Iget a fix on him?

Good questions all. But did I have any answers? No. Was I going to find out? Damn right.

Continue To Chapter Fifteen

Back To The Main Story Page