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~Chapter One~
A Second’s Reaction

“Remind me again why I’m here,” I said, pushing thick chocolate, almost black, strands of hair back from my face.

When I looked back to the man my statement was met with a frown.

“I told あなた why, a hundred times,” he said, the blue of his eyes flashing at me. Even at his six two I nearly matched his height standing five ten and a full six feet in the boots I wore. “I needed your help. あなた were the only I could turn too.”

I sighed. Owen, not an ugly man によって any means, was having woman trouble. He had called me up a couple of days 前 to ask, または in other words beg, for my アドバイス in evaluating his latest fling. I say fling because that’s all they ever were. Why he needed me specifically was still a mystery.

In fact we had just gotten done visiting with this woman. Later we’d be meeting 発言しました woman under the pretenses of a friendly get together at a local café. I cringed slightly at the thought.

Now we were making our way to Owen’s small photographer’s studio. He 発言しました he wanted to take some pictures of me. Thought I’d be best フレンズ with a camera.

‘Given your tall and slender appearance,’ he had said. ‘You’ve got a dark way about you. Not traditionally beautiful, which only makes あなた all the もっと見る appealing.’

I shoved the thought aside along with the giggle that was creeping up at the word ‘appealing.’ I knew I wasn’t ugly, but Owen always had a way of over exaggerating things I thought.

“You didn’t need my help with this, Owen,” I retorted, もっと見る gruffly than I felt, when a man shoved into my shoulder as he passed. “You never needed my help before.”

“I know but I thought. . . well, あなた know. . . that she was. . . well. . .”

“Oh for god’s sake spit it out!”

“. . . A mutant,” he whispered.

I laughed, loudly I guess since a few walking によって looked at me a little funny.

“You’re kidding, right?” I asked, once my giggles had subsided enough for me to speak again. The 質問 was met with another frown. “Oh, please, Owen, just because we’re of the same ‘kind’ doesn’t mean that’s going to help me decide whether she’s good for あなた または not. Only her character can say that. Just like any other woman.”

Owen was still frowning. I hadn’t known him long. The only reason he knew what I was, was によって accident. I hadn’t wanted him to know about my powers that early in our friendship, if at all, but it had happened. He hadn’t tried to use the knowledge against me. Until now that is. I rolled my eyes before going on.

“Listen, we’re not the Borg. We’re not linked like some スーパーナチュラル collective. We don’t know what each other is doing または thinking. . .” I paused a moment and smiled. “Well, most of us don’t anyway, and not many would be able to tell when another is a mutant even if they were standing 次 to each other. Despite some rather obvious differences we are normal. We think and feel apart from each other. All I can tell あなた about her is going to be based on how I see her. And how I see her is no different than how I see anyone else, mutant または not.”

That seemed to satisfy him. With a reluctant, but honest nod, he gave his understanding. I breathed a sigh of relief this time.

“Sorry, China, I didn’t mean anything によって it. I guess it just seemed, well, logical, あなた know? Do あなた forgive me? . . . . . . .” I didn’t answer. “China?”

I still didn’t answer because Owen’s words had become softer to me as my attention was drawn to something else. I know his face looked concerned and I’m pretty sure he asked me what was wrong, but it seemed to be phased out.

Ahead of us and across the 通り, ストリート I spotted a woman. There was nothing odd about her really. Simply walking, no doubt to work, but what caught my eyes was the fact that she seemed oblivious to her surroundings. もっと見る so than most of the other New Yorkers walking back from their lunch break. Even through the mass of people, both on my side of the 通り, ストリート and hers, my sight was still drawn to her.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of variables go through my head every minute. Assessing, calculating, every little thing, every 移動する that may need to be made, all of it is always inside of my thinking. It was an awareness of one’s surroundings that made me look. An instinct that made me worry and a second’s reaction that made me move.

A 通り, ストリート parted us. Both sides of the sea of people were parted as well. But I knew, I just knew, could see it happen even before I gave voice to my thoughts.

“STOP!” I screamed, but the woman didn’t hear, または if she did she didn’t realize it was directed at her.

I was running now, but with the crowd. . . even as near to the 通り, ストリート as I was I knew it wasn’t enough.

“STOP! PLEASE!”

The threshold broke into the concrete clearing just as tires screeched, people screamed, and her book fell to the white lines at her feet.

There was a sudden rush of something. I’m not sure what, 画像 I guess, of people I think. Too distorted, too jumbled, too fast to make out clearly, but they hit my mind’s eye hard, blinding me just as the truck hit the woman.

~ ~ ~ ~

“Didn’ Gambit say dey was good for de job?” a tall brown haired man asked, in a thick Cajun-French accent, as his trench コート swayed with his steps.

“You ever tell anyone ‘bout that, Cajun, an’ I’ll hang ya up によって yer toenails,” came the gruff reply from the taller man’s companion.

They weren’t a pair you’d think would be friends. In fact even if あなた got to know them, あなた still wouldn’t think they were friends. They looked to be complete opposites, even in their personalities. Although, if either were to be honest, they were もっと見る alike than they were comfortable admitting.

The taller man, によって the name of Remy LeBeau, lit up a cigarette that was thin, almost feminine in its length. The man himself could be held to the same description. He was lean, tall with long firm legs. His broad shoulders and narrow waist hiding the true strength he was capable of. Even the features of his face were delicate for a man, high cheekbones, and narrow nose. The lines of his jaw were soft but still defined the skin smooth. His hair was shining and flowing as if he’d combed it for hours. A pair of mirrored sunglasses only seemed to add to the effect as they hid his eyes from view.

“Even you, Logan, got to admit it felt good, non?”

Logan merely grunted in reply.

In comparison Logan was differing in every way to the man he now walked with. Even in his choice of tobacco, as he puffed away on a fat cigar. Shorter, によって a foot または more, his shoulders were thick and his waist broader. His legs harder and shorter moved with a slight stiffness. Even in the Levi’s, and loose fitting white T-shirt this man’s strength was obvious. Every muscle was outlined along his body as if set in marble. His face wore a 雲, クラウド of stubble along the solid lines of his jaw. Dark seemingly coarse hair lay as if he had done nothing but run his fingers through it that morning.

“Just don’t be expectin’ me ta go there every weekend,” Logan added. Admittedly, Remy, sometimes know as Gambit, was right. “I ロスト the bet. I paid up.”

Gambit laughed a smooth but very manly laugh in its own way.

“You be needing もっと見る treatment like that, mon ami,” Gambit replied with one of his trademark Hollywood smiles. “I dink あなた like it, even if あなた won’t admit it. Maybe 次 time あなた lose on purpose.”

Logan smiled despite himself, a smile that was sharp with fangs and again opposite to the man 次 to him.

It had been almost three hours since the two of them left the Xavier institute, their home, for this trip into town. True, Logan had ロスト a bet on a football game and it was because of that that he had found himself at a spa earlier that morning.

It was a place Gambit often went to. A place that prided itself on being private and customer oriented, with your own personal servants tending to あなた for two hours. Massages, steam rooms, 食 and drinks, あなた name it, they had it. Even if he had been reluctant to go at first it had been well worth it. Especially the women who acted as his attendants for those two hours with rub downs and hand feeding him grapes. He began to chuckle low at the thought. Not a bad way to lose a bet.

“Alright, so ya got good taste,” Logan began. “Jus’ don’t go rubbin’ it in.”

“’Course not, mon ami, I would never dink of it. Not a word from dis point on.”

Even though Gambit’s voice was lighthearted Logan knew he wouldn’t say anything. There was a certain amount of understanding between himself and Gambit. That was enough for him to not push the subject.

As they began to クロス the 通り, ストリート at an intersection they walked in silence. At least they did until both men heard a woman shouting ‘Stop.’ Then simultaneously they both saw the woman with the book. Without having to acknowledge the other they knew what was happening.

“Shit,” Logan growled as he bolted from the stream of people towards the woman.

There was another scream this one coming from behind Logan. In the back of his mind he realized Gambit was no longer running beside him. The thought was quickly brushed away as he spotted the tall brunette breaking through the crowd. They were both apparently trying to help the same woman. Logan was just as close as the brunette was but he knew it wasn’t enough.

The woman was hit, quickly and brutally. There was a flash of white, like snow, in Logan’s racing thoughts. His mind shot like a hot ナイフ sending heated pain through his head.

Cries, from what started out as only a few people, rose into chaotic screams. People ran, to, from, anywhere that they could. In all the movement to help the woman who had just been hit only a couple of people noticed the three other bodies now just as limp.