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  Book One of the Annwn Ryu Cycle
   Chapter IX
   "Dance on the Moonlight"

"If I ever form my own clan, we'll be the Anti-Cheerleaders. We will not sit underneath the bleachers. We will wander underneath them and commit mild acts of mayhem." - Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak

  Cayanne sat on her bed, listening to the faint snores of Althea and the soft breathing of Jubilee. The moon was soft and full, sending a faint, pale light dancing across the floor as she watched, trying to ignore the Surges that wracked her.
  I'm okay. she thought, half-angry. Not gonna lose it, 'r nothin'. No biggie. I'm okay (feed), I jus' got some funky (hunger) virus or somethin' (feed). Jus' tired from de party....
Another Surge. The world teetered dangerously around her ears. She gritted her teeth again, and swung her feet down, balancing on her toes. (The inside of a building. Spinning. Metal walls. Smell of sulfur. Landing on hand...) She looked down - three fingers? White gloves? Her gloves were black....
  There was a strange implode/whoosh sound, a horrible smell, the drop/fling sensation of movement, then she was in the library, head pounding, trembling.
  She slid down the bookcase, slumping to the floor. Almost frantically, she fumbled for a book and, with uncharacteristic clumsiness, managed to yank out a huge, obviously never-read book by a man named James Clavell, and instinctively made for the tree outside her father's room.
  Climbing up above the window - she had no intention of invading her Papa's privacy - she settled on her favorite limb, a thick, tapering branch that afforded her a view of the entire front of the mansion.
  Lit by the moon's pale light, she finally took a close look at the cover of her literary acquisition.
Flipping open the cover, she was soon lost in the grandeur and mystery of ancient Japan.

  "Scott, I can't find Cayanne." Ororo's voice was concerned. "She wasn't in class at all."
  "I'll check on her. Where's Remy?" Scott was abundantly aware of his Cajun friend's intense protectiveness of his daughter - discovering her missing would likely cause a no-hold's-barred search of the grounds, which would disrupt the entire student body.
  Giving the silver-haired woman a smile of reassurance, he paused to ask Jean to act as test monitor for his class, then headed toward the front door.
  "Mornin'." Logan's voice was gruff as gulped down a mug of hot coffee.
  "Cayanne's missing." said Scott, by way of explanation.
  The shorter mutant cocked his head to one side, regarding him with piercing, unreadable eyes. "You want me t' take a look 'round the joint, Slim?" he asked, casually.
  Scott had to fight down a smile. Ever since he had discovered Logan's place in his past, the other had seemed to relax slightly into their brotherhood and friendship. It was slow, but then Scott was also now well-aware that Logan had a past riddled with pain himself.
  "If you don't have anything else..."
  "Nah." Logan shrugged. "Go keep an eye on yer class, Slim. I'll find yer escapee."

  Cayanne was covered in sweat, swinging violently between freezing cold and burning hot. She was shaking so violently her bones ached, and - whispers - echoed endlessly in her head, voices that sought to overwhelm her sense of self, to swamp her with alien sensation and thought.
  "Hey, kid."
  With a low growl, she swatted at the voice, and Logan caught her hand, bringing his other one up to touch her forehead. "Jeez, yer burnin' up."
  "C-cold." chattered Cayanne, her velvet-and-silver eyes flickering dully. "So cold...."

  Hank came out of the room and was almost attacked by a frantic Gambit.
  "What wrong wit her?" the Cajun demanded, all but shaking the blue-furred mutant violently. "What happen?"
  Logan put a hand on his friend's arm, dragging him back with gruff compassion.
  "Her temperature skyrocketed, but there is no evidence of brain-damage - indeed, quite the opposite." Hank was sympathetic, and regarded Remy with concern.
  "What you mean?"
  "Sit down, my friend."
  Remy reluctantly sank into a seat between Marie and Jean.
  "Cayanne had the Legacy virus." Everyone froze in horror, but Hank went on. "I say that with precision. Had. Her system has manufactured an antibody, a very aggressive antibody." He patted Remy's arm, comfortingly. "It can be easily injected into anyone with an X-Gene - even one with an advanced case - and not only will they be cured of the virus, but will be immune not only to the Legacy virus, but all possible variations of it."
  Marie whispered, "A cure!"
  Hank nodded. "Yes. But...." he hesitated.
  Remy looked at him, fire burning in the shadows of his gaze.
  "The antibody cannot be duplicated artificially. Apparently it's life is very short, only an hour or so at very best, outside her system. According to my calculations, the same antibody is a "learning" antibody. Expose her to whatever virus or disease and, assuming she survives it, she can produce and antibody for the disease."
  "Her mutation." murmured Jean.
  "Oh, no." Hank shook his head. "It is not a mutation, and most certainly not whatever ability is appearing due to mutation. It appears to be a natural evolutionary step beyond mutation, beyond even the next several generations beyond mutation, but how it occurred, I have no idea."
  "Cayanne in any danger?" demanded Remy, fists tightly clenched at his side.
  "We still cannot surmise her mutation, which is a major concern. She shows signs of poor nutrition and sleep deprivation, though she insists she "feels fine". At the moment, she is resting, and seems to be improving."
  Remy looked stricken, and Marie did the only thing possible, she wrapped one arm around the man she loved and held him.
  Hank looked over his glasses. "I have spoken to Dorian. He suggests Cayanne be moved to a private room. Perhaps her need for privacy is inhibiting her ability to sleep. And perhaps Jean, Marie, and Ororo might take the child to the mall. You might discover what foods she prefers there."
  "She like Cajun." pointed out Remy.
  "With no insult intended to the cuisine, she needs a greater broadening of her horizons, my friend." Hank comforted. "And getting
out might do all our students some good."

  "Shopping?" Cayanne's sharp, mobile face showed a range of emotions between disgust and annoyance. "Papa, I got clothes, ever'thin' I need!" she objected, from her place on the hospital bed.
  Remy was sitting on the side of the bed, his eyes on his daughter's face. His own expression was a combination of concern and deep affection.
  "You need fun time, oui? And you never been shoppin' with the ladies." he pointed out.
  "Cayanne not wear dresses!" grumbled the teen, crossing her arms, scowling.
  Remy struggled not to smile. His expression was loving as he hugged her gently. "Not have to wear dress. Just for fun." he soothed.
  "I out o' money! It was a last gasp of resistance.
  "Don't worry, mon petit amour ardent, yer Papa take care of you."

  Wedged in the back seat between Logan and Zane, Cayanne was left largely to her thoughts as the van made it's way towards the mall. Jubilee was delighted with the trip and didn't bother to hide it, happily describing what she would purchase to Logan, while Marie and Jean were chatting animatedly about what they needed to pick up.
  Brendan, a junior, was peering out the window, watching the traffic; Liam was silent and still on the other side of Zane, and Althea and her current boyfriend, Burt, were sitting as close together as possible without being forced apart by disapproving chaperones.
  Cayanne had a tattered paperback for her English class, a Shakespearean play, "Othello". So far she had developed an intense dislike of Iago, but then, she supposed that was the whole idea. Worse than a liar, he was downright diabolical in his half-truths and innuendos, using them to bring a once-noble man low. Very depressing. She sighed. A lot of the Bard's plays were depressing. It struck her as odd that many people enjoyed the tragedy more than the hopeful. Odd. Maybe because it mirrored life.
  She considered that.
  Ah, phooey! she thought to herself. Life meant to be enjoyed, played, lived to it's fullest! Ever' moment, full o' sight and sound and passion! Dat what de Bard not write about. Maybe he want reader see de opposite o' what he write, who know? I not dere when he write it!
  The moment Scott stopped the van, he had to yell to be heard over the cacophony of nine excited teen-agers. "Everyone be back her at 7:00 o'clock. Exactly! Or you'll be pulling restriction for the next month." His visored gaze swept the group. "And stay out of trouble!"
  The group scattered.
  Cayanne fell in stride with Ororo, who smiled reassuringly at her. "We have a new room open, and thought you might like to decorate it." she commented, shortening her stride slightly so the teen-ager could keep up.
  "A room?" Cayanne's voice was cautious.
  "Yes, the one down two doors from mine." the tall weather-mutant replied, watching the girl out of the corner of her eye.
  "An' I can keep my books and clothes in dere? However I want?"
  "Decorate how I like?"
  "Of course."
  Cayanne grinned suddenly. "Well, den! Let's get crackin'!"

 Ororo was pleased at her young companion's taste. While they shopped, the older mutant and her younger companion chatted about a variety of subjects. Though Cayanne remained a bit tentative, the weather mutant discovered that the teen-ager was an active observer, and, Ororo came to realize, possessed a well-hidden sensitivity. Watching her cock her head as they passed an Italian restaurant, the strains of Vivaldi heavy on the air, the dark-skinned woman watched silently as the girl's eyes closed a moment, not merely listening to the music but experiencing it, feeling it, breathing it in.
 Cayanne paused, looked up at Ororo, then grinned unabashed. "Where we go, den?" she asked, expression one of good cheer.
 "Perhaps furniture." suggested the woman known also as Storm.
 "Have bed, n' Papa say he give chair..." began the teen-ager.
 "You will need a few extra things, Cayanne." Ororo's smile was fond as well as encouraging. "Your room should be special."
 The girl regarded her with some puzzlement. "Which store, den?" she asked, peering at the mall map.
  Ororo regarded it carefully, then pointed to the small store she favored, Tudor's Antiques.
  "Scott is being an absolute angel." said Marie, glancing back at the tall young man carrying their packages.
  Jean smiled tenderly back at her husband, who returned the expression before falling a bit behind them, clearly to give them some "girl time".
  "I want to find something special to wear." said the younger mutant, tactfully changing the subject. "Ahm sure I know what to get, but not sure where."
  "Can I take a peek?" Jean asked, shifting her one small bag to the other hand.
  "Go ahead."
  Jean's mouth fell open and she had to bite her lower lip in order not to giggle. "You're naughty." she mock-scolded.
  Marie blushed, but shot back, "This from the woman who just bought a dress illegal in some states...."
  They looked at one another, then burst out laughing.

 Cayanne ignored the larger, more "in vogue" posters and larger tables, seeking simpler, subtler decorations. She found small cherrywood table and chair for a very reasonable price, a wall-scroll copy of ancient Japanese haiku, several calligraphy brushes, some paint in a brick-red and soothing dark burgundy, as well as an off white and ivory, a bedsheet-set of good resistant nylon (in deep red and grey), and a soft nylon set (in burgundy and light tan), four thick pillows, and a small rug with a distinct face of a white fox woven into it. She also purchased a small incense burner and a set of cherry incense in the shape of an oriental dragon, a wall-scroll that would cover the center of the other wall of a white western and red imperial oriental dragon intertwined in a yin-yang symbol, and a large, very detailed dragon model that would require painting - in the end, she ended up with models of a variety of creatures.
 They made several trips back and forth to the car, and Ororo secretly had Jean send their packages back to the mansion and into Cayanne's new room.
 Cayanne passed the small statuary store twice before she suddenly ducked in, almost losing Ororo in her change of direction. The teen found a small, beautifully carved wooden wolf, it's proud head lifted to howl at a hidden moon, that she chose immediately; a series of white, amethyst, amber, and emerald dragons in a variety of sizes - from hatchling to awesome adult; candles in the forms of crouching tigers; and two candleholders of hand-carved rosewood in the form of coiled dragons that held the candle in six-toed claws.
  She also added a beautiful stone dolphin, a wooden eagle of exquisite simplicity, and a miniature Zen garden, complete with hand-sized sand-rake.
  Ororo was quickly coming to see that her young companion was by no means allowing herself to slow down - indeed, the girl was all but a whirlwind of activity and eager curiosity once her wary surface nature was bypassed.
  Finally, she insisted that they meet Scott, Jean, and Marie for lunch at mall restaurant called The Smoking Grill.
  "Dis more fun din I thought." said Cayanne, as they were shown to their seats. "Ya'll have fun?"
  Marie grinned. "Ahm having a blast! Wait until Remy sees what I got - his eyes'll pop right outta his head!" she laughed, eyes sparkling.
  Cayanne grinned, her eyes hidden behind the aviator-style glasses Stryfe had given her.
  Jean grinned evilly up at Scott, obviously having purchased something that he would see later herself.
  Cayanne peered at the menu, deep in thought. "No salads?" she asked, cocking an eyebrow. "Hmmm."
  She isn't wild about meat. Jean sent to her friends.
  Not 'less it fresh. Everyone was startled, for the comment had clearly come from an unwitting Cayanne.
  "Fried cheese an' a salad. Big salad. Maybe potato later. Dunno. Not very hungry." commented the teen, while Scott regarded her thoughtfully.

   Althea and Denise had found the "best" places in the mall, and were currently enjoying shopping to the fullest. Both were from extremely wealthy families, and both were well-able to choose whatever they wished without concern.
  "That - child - will be moved out of our quarters, so we can at last decorate!" the tall blonde said, her expression one of malicious delight.
  "I'm just glad that the Professor finally recognized that we seniors can't be expected to baby-sit a child!" replied Denise, her total agreement obvious.
  They stopped in front of a Victoria's Secret outlet, and Denise gave a squeal of delight. "Imagine what Bert and Lance would think if they saw us in those!" she grinned, delighted.
  Cayanne was reluctant to clothes-shop, but Ororo, Jean, and Marie coaxed her into the shop of one of the best tailors in the States, a silver-haired, friendly-faced man who appeared to be in his middle fifties who had often hand-made clothing for the X-Women. He was not anti-mutant, and believed all children deserved good clothes and respect - along with love, hope, and the best education they could absorb. Jean knew that Joseph was a survivor of Auschwitz, and was extremely tolerant of the young.
  Nonetheless, the girl seemed wary at first, but slowly warmed to the older man as he chatted with her about her school and opinions on the surroundings.
  As the two chatted on the other side of the room, the three women - Scott had happily gone off to an antique toy store to browse - Ororo spoke softly to her friends. "Cayanne seems to be feeling much better - she's a delightful child, my friends. Intelligent, inquisitive..."
  "And telepathic." said Jean, quietly. "She isn't aware of it, but she is."
  Althea had found a short - almost too short - leather mini-skirt she chose, and a bright pink leather halter-top, and high-heeled leather boots. Denise had chosen a black one-piece dress slit high up the left side and cut almost as daringly as her friend's, and they walked down the corridor and turned right into a high-priced boutique for makeup.
  Bert met them in his blue jeans and t-shirt, hair neatly parted at least, and the tall blonde slipped an arm in his. "Let's head back to the car." she whispered. "We can drive the children home - the teachers can fly back."
  The young man pouted. "We'll be on restriction." he replied, voice husky.
  Her gaze was challenging. "I'll make it worth your while." she murmured, seductively.

  Cayanne made her way back to the van after insisting that the adults needed some "quality time" too. She had a new set of dark grey slacks, two sweaters - one brick-red knit with light tan zigzag stripes, one light tan with brick-red stripes - a new pair of hand-fashioned, soft-soled, flexible boots in  a dark grey color, three silk blouses - white, red, and dove-grey, and five pairs of socks. Then she had three huge t-shirts that would serve as nightgowns in warm weather, five pairs of pajamas (for cold weather), and two pairs of tennis shoes (high-tops). She was also pleased with the flexible, yet perfectly fit, new, black, fingerless gloves she now wore, and her two new coats - the dark grey trenchcoat that reached her knees, and the dark grey leather jacket that came slightly past her waist.
  The "incidentals" had been the problem. She had been talked into new underwear - everyone had seemed surprised that she'd been wearing boys' underwear, but that's what had been easiest to get - and bras!  The teen shuddered. She'd never worn such a contraption. On top of that, she'd been coaxed into having her teeth checked by the mall dentist - she'd nearly bit him when he'd suggested that she would get a lollypop if she was good. Twit.
  Marie had bought her two more dragon-and-flame silk shirts, one blue and the other white, which she loved, and she had found herself - comfortable. That was almost scary. She was becoming comfortable with them. Even liking them. A great deal.
  There...she was at the car. Shaking herself out of her reverie, she grinned a greeting to Zane and Liam, then scowled when she saw Althea, Denise, and Bert up in the front seat.
  "We're leaving." announced Althea, tossing her blonde, elegantly coifed hair.
  "We supposed t'wait fer de others." pointed out Cayanne.
  Denise scowled. "In!" she barked, literally throwing Liam into the back seat. Zane dove with a howl of rage to protect his friend, and Althea started the engine. She had always known having the car keys duplicated would be useful.
  Cayanne snarled a curse as the car started to move, scrambling in as Zane's cursing reached her ears. She grabbed the seatbelts, hooking in first the stunned Liam, then a struggling Zane.
  Then there was a massive bang and she knew no more.

  The moment Scott saw the car he knew it was bad. Logan was already there, using his claws as wedges to pry the doors open, and with a massive heave managed to flip the van off Cayanne's unmoving form.
  "Slim, get Blondie out." growled Wolverine, using one hand to stop the flow of blood that coursed down the teen-ager's face.
  Cyclops flipped the visor open, and used an extremely thin beam to cut the shrieking Althea free of the metal ruin. Denise had managed to crawl out, and Bert was sitting on the gravel of the parking lot, nursing a broken thumb. Zane and Liam were huddled against Jean, clearly stunned, while Brendan - who had arrived after the accident - stood nearby, expression one of horror and confusion.
  "She saved us." Liam's soft voice was shaking. "She saved us, but didn't have time to save herself."
  Jean hugged the boy tighter with one arm, aware that Zane seemed even more distraught. "Is she dead?" he whispered. "Doctor Grey, she can't be dead!"

  Logan moved a hand to touch Cayanne's neck, uttered a curse, and immediately tilted her head back, covering her mouth with his own, breathing life-giving oxygen into her lungs.
  Scott, without thinking, immediately began heart message, counting the presses out loud.
  "Come on, darlin'." gritted Logan, between breaths. "Don't give up on us."
  A weak, gagging sound was his only answer, then she was still again.
  The mutant known as Wolverine immediately knew what was wrong. Blood had collected in at least one lung - she couldn't breathe. Indeed, she was suffocating, choking on her own blood. The only option was to force her to bring it up, a dangerous maneuver, especially if she had internal injuries, but if nothing were done, she would soon die of oxygen deprivation.
  There was no other choice.
  He turned the girl around, moved his hand up to just above the center of the diaphragm, and pressed in sharply.
  Cayanne spat up blood, choking and gagging on the amount forced up.
  Her eyes flew open, as her skin began to turn cool and pale. The girl was sliding into shock, shivering suddenly despite the incorogously gentle warmth of the early evening.
  Logan felt her grab his hand, fingernails unconsciously digging nails into his skin, and her gaze - stubborn, defiant, but with the tiniest edge of fear - met his. She wasn't giving up. He took off his jacket and wrapped it around her, pulling the teen's trembling body against his chest.
  "Hang on, darlin'." he said, softly. It was half command, half plea.
  "Red!" his call was matched by the intent he envisioned.

 Cayanne was on a ventilator, each breath a battle, each movement agony, but she demanded a book the moment she regained consciousness and set into reading. There was no complaint on her part, though she had worried that her clothing - bought and paid for with her Papa's money - was destroyed until Ororo was able to reassure her that the bags and items were safely in the teen-ager's new room.
 The girl was seriously injured. Both legs were broken, all the ribs on her left side and four on her right, one arm, her shoulder was dislocated, her back badly sprained, and she had a mild concussion. Her regenerative ability was clearly incredible - she should have been killed seconds after the van landed on her. The teen was already on the mend, playing chess with Professor Xavier until Hank insisted she get some rest.
 Remy, Stryfe, and Cable, on the other hand, went on the warpath.
 Althea, who had suffered a cut on the forehead and several bruises was hit by an energized card the moment she entered the mansion, then belted across the room by Stryfe's telekinesis, directly into Cable's arms. Dragged up to the tall mutant's chest, she looked down at the knife that now glinted at her throat and whined, "I didn't do anything."
 "She mine." snarled Gambit, eyes blazing with fire and shadow.
 Cable stared at him a moment, then wordlessly dropped the young woman at the Cajun's feet.
 Stryfe moved forward from the shadows, standing next to his brother, one eye glowing with the force of his rage.
 Another card glowed as Althea, who had gained her feet, swung a punch at Gambit's head.
 If not for Logan and Scott wrestling the enraged, half-maddened Cajun off the young woman, it was quite possible he would have killed her.
Instead, they managed to drag him to Cayanne's bedside, where she instantly wrapped her arms around him and held him for all she was worth.
 "Hi, guys - you okay?" the teen asked, looking up at the two tall mutants in the doorway.
 In uncanny unison, they nodded, though the agreement didn't quite reach their eyes.
 Cayanne managed a grin. "You stubborn, both o' ya." she whispered, hugging her father tight. "Dat I un'erstand. You take care of my Papa for me? He tired. Need sleep." she whispered.
 "Gambit not leave you." Remy's voice was fierce.
 "That I can understand." Nathan's voice was gravelly with suppressed emotion.
 "As can I." Stryfe's voice was as calm - if one could call it that - as his brother's. He turned to regard Cayanne, who looked up at him, mouthing, "neat trick", clearly referencing his one glowing eye. Have no fear, Cayanne. His telepathic voice was heard by the girl and his brother. You and your father are both under my protection.
 Our protection.
That was, oddly enough, clearly from Nathan.
 Cayanne grinned up at them, eyes sparkling with humor. "Dere goes yer rep, guys." she whispered.
 Stryfe crossed his arms, stance showing nothing.
 Nathan's regarded her with an unreadable expression.
 "Don' have a gator, I not tell no-one. Our secret, okay?"
 Both men stared at her, then at each other, then back at her.
 Almost at the same moment, they nodded, as the glow in the darkness faded slowly, leaving daughter and father alone.
 Finally, Cayanne scooted over and Remy curled himself protectively around her on the hospital bed, where both stayed the night.
  Three days later

"I can't take dis no more!" groaned Cayanne, propped up against pillows in the MedBay's bed. Books were strewn around her, along with homework papers, sketches, and assorted odds and ends. "When I can leave?"
 Marie passed her a paperback novel. "We found this, since I hear you're a sci-fi buff." she said, smiling fondly at the disgruntled girl.
 The teen cocked her head. "Papa?" she asked.
 "He's asleep." soothed the older mutant, patting the girl's shoulder.
 Cayanne looked down at the book. "Pegasus in Flight." she read, then grinned. "Sound good!"

 Remy, Logan, Scott, Jean, Ororo, Hank, and Marie had gathered at Professor Xavier's request to discuss what new discoveries they had made on Cayanne's manifesting abilities.
 The tall Cajun was sitting in a high-backed chair, Marie next to him. Logan was leaning against the wall, face hidden in shadows, while Scott stood behind Jean, who was seated in the other chair in front of Xavier.
  "Cayanne reading." said Remy, his angular face drawn with worry. "What you have to tell Gambit?"
  Hank spoke quietly. "Cayanne has an incredibly powerful regenerative ability, but, as she is still manifesting, it is apparently intermittent." He regarded Remy with deep sympathy and very real concern. "I gave her standardized tests, as well as advanced mutation intelligence tests, and on both she tested off the scale." Remy's eyes opened wide, but the blue-furred Professor continued gently, "And according to Jean, she is a latent telepath."
  "I have been testing her subtly as we played chess." said Xavier, drawing a narrow-eyes glare from Remy. "Her mental shields are incredibly strong, but in several areas, they are also, for a lack of better description, extremely torn, raw." He closed his eyes, expression almost wistful. "It is quite probable her telepathic abilities exceed my own by a considerable level, which concerns me. If the telepathic shielding she has built around herself fails, her sensitivity could be injurious in the extreme."
  Remy's expression became even more concerned.
  "I cannot, however," Xavier continued, choosing his words with care, "enter her mind without her knowledge. Perhaps I could force my way in, but she would suffer permanent harm, and certainly lose any amount of trust and peace she has gained here."
  "Can she hear us continually?" asked Jean, leaning forward, eyes showing sympathy and concern.
  "I don't believe so. She has effectively blocked the ability out of her conscious mind - I believe she was at once point mentally invaded, and now has an unconscious fear of the ability, bordering dangerously on paranoia. I have also noticed that she does not project often - she does not manipulate, consciously or otherwise. Apparently she finds the idea as repugnant unconsciously as she does consciously." Xavier steepled his fingers, deep in thought. "I can continue to attempt to teach her some telepathic discipline until her gift emerges, and I would suggest she continue college-level studies. Her gifts are impressive, and should be fully explored, if cautiously. She is...very young."
  Hank nodded. "Her injuries are healing rapidly. Within the next few days, she can return to school and basic activities." he commented.
  "I think it'd be better if she took another gym class." said Scott suddenly, his expression grim. "And we need to think of an appropriate discipline for Althea, Bert, and Denise. Cayanne, Zane, and Liam easily could have been killed."
  "I promised to teach Cayanne." The low voice came from Logan. "An' I will. But I can't teach her with only one hour every day." His gaze fell on Xavier, then on Remy. "Twenty hours a week, without fail, that'll do to start."
  "She too young, mon ami." whispered Remy. What it really meant was, "Don't take her from me. Please.".
"Two days of the week with me, as a student. The rest of the time with Gumbo, and as a student." conceded Logan. He understood the pain Remy was facing. No father ever wanted to lose their child. And Cayanne wasn't quite ready to be an independent adult.
  Xavier nodded, sending a gentle, telepathic pat to Remy, comforting as best he could.
  "I want de best fer Cayanne." Remy's voice was still soft. He rarely used the pronoun, using instead "Gambit" or "Remy". This was clearly too deeply emotional for him to distance in any way. "She - my daughter. Take care o' her for me."
"Don't worry, Gumbo." said Logan, voice gruff. "She'll be fine. I'll make sure of it."

 Cayanne was bored in the MedBay, and even her sore sides and back didn't slow her down in wanting to be released quickly.
 Hank sympathized. He had ample experience with his intelligence not being challenged,and finally came in four days after the accident with a book under his arm.
 "Good morning, Cayanne." the blue-furred mutant said, while quickly taking in the youngster's color, the readings on the monitors and a variety of other factors.
 The girl looked up, grinning a welcome.
 "I hear you're a bit bored."
 "Not "bit"." replied the girl, wryly. "Nothin' t'do in here. Jus' sit!" Her expression equated that with something in between starvation and torture. "Je deviens fou! Bien, plus fou..." Cayanne's eyes sparkled with mischief.
 Hank smiled warmly at the girl, taking the thick book and putting it on the cluttered bedside table. A stack of paperback novels tottered dangerously toward him as he did so, and he swiftly shifted the top half to the floor before being caught in a bookslide. "I believe this book may be a bit more challenging for you." he said, cheerfully. "It is a set of practice examinations."
 Cayanne picked up the offering, flipping through it's pages, sharp face lighting suddenly with interest. Her fingertips found a formerly sealed portion at the end, and she looked curiously up at her doctor.
 "I took the liberty of filing some paperwork so you may take the full test, should you choose." He patted the girl's shoulder. "You will need a proctor, and I volunteered."
 The teen grinned broadly. "I take test. Need more books from the library, though. You get?" she inquired.
 Hank bowed, tipping an imaginary hat at her. "It would be an honor."
 Cayanne laughed, her expression one of pure mischievous glee.

 "Miss Burke." said Professor Xavier, indicating a chair in front of his desk.
 Jean was standing to his left, a quiet, but comforting presence. Since their discussion about Cayanne's new routine, Logan and Scott had escorted Remy and Marie outside, in the hopes of keeping the volatile Cajun away from the young woman who now sat before them.
 "Yes, Professor?" Perfectly dressed, as always, Althea fairly oozed sensuality, as well as a level of irritation at being called to the carpet, as it were.
 "You are now on restriction." Xavier's shields kept the teen-ager's pheromones from affecting him, and, as a woman, Jean was immune. Even without the psychic shielding, Xavier was suddenly aware that she would have held no interest for him, even as a younger man. There was beauty, yes, even an extreme level of it, but that was all. Beyond a sulky, vengeful need to punish anyone who became the center of attention, there was little to Althea. It was tragic, actually - the young woman had the gifts and skill to be an asset to the team one day, if she applied herself.
 "Doctor Grey and I have decided you will remain so for the next ten weeks."
 "Ten weeks?" It came out half strangled shriek, half whine. "But...but...I was to shop for a new dress this weekend, and Bert was going to take me to dinner and a movie..."
 "You should have considered that before you tried to steal the van." Jean's voice was dark with disapproval. Her glance at the Professor showed a growing dislike for the younger mutant.
 "If not for that...if not for Cayanne, I wouldn't have hit the tree." complained Althea. "It wasn't my fault that she distracted me, I have a drivers' licence...!"
 "That will be quite enough!" Xavier was rarely angry. Years of self-control imposed by his telepathic power had made it difficult for him to allow himself the luxury. But he would never forget the haunted look on Remy's face, the pain on Logan's, when the Canadian appeared with Cayanne's bloody body in his arms.
 "You are on restriction, and on restriction you will stay. You will not leave the school grounds under any circumstances, and your curfew has been reduced to 8 o'clock on school days, though I will allow you until 9 o' clock on Saturday. I expect your schoolwork to be turned in promptly, and your behavior toward the staff and your teachers to be respectful. Any infringements of school rules will increase both the time and terms of your restriction. Do you understand?"
 With a sulky, thwarted expression, Althea nodded. Both telepaths felt the stab of malevolent hatred that burst from the young woman, fouling the air briefly.
 Jean's green eyes blazed. "And as for Cayanne, she was protecting her friends. You have no right to blame her for your poor behavior, and you know it." she told the girl, inwardly furious.
 "She's a...she's a freak!" spat out Althea, hate and rage in her eyes.
 "Enough!" the word came out frighteningly-controlled. "Miss Burke, you are dismissed."
 The young woman pushed back the chair, almost rushing from the room, and Xavier reached up to gently take Jean's hand, projecting comfort,
 Jean let out a long, frustrated breath. "That girl is going to be trouble." she warned.

 "Dat was fun!" Cayanne enthused to Hank, as they went over the last few questions. "I take real test now?"
 "I don't see why not." He handed her a pencil. "You have half an hour for the first part."
 Cayanne picked up the Scantron sheet, and glancing at Hank, started in when he nodded.
 Logan and Scott lined up the class, and began to run them through some basic calisthenics. Of course, Logan's idea of "basic" would drop a professional soldier inside of five minutes, so Scott had made some modifications out of consideration for his students.
 Liam was, as always, in the back. Also as always, Zane was beside him. Justin - who reminded him in many ways of Kurt Wagner, the mutant known as Nightcrawler - was prowling back and forth at the back of the class. Resembling a winged gargoyle, or some fantastical demon, Justin was uncomfortable in any enclosed space, and often spread his huge wings to reassure himself.
 "All right, I promised you a special treat if you beat your last time, and you did." Scott said, while Logan stood silently next to him, eyes raking the group. "Everyone into the dressing room, you'll find a gi in your locker. Change up, Logan's agreed to teach a few of the basics."
 "What was her score, Professor?" asked Hank, crouched comfortably next to Remy and Marie. "She quite enjoyed the examination.
 Xavier shook his head, still staring at the computer screen. "The first or the second one?" he asked, mildly.
 "Ah can't believe they accused her of cheating!" Marie said, hand in Remy's longer one.
 "That's just the issue, the score was the same the second time, even with the webcam in her hospital room."
 "You never tell us de first score." pointed out Remy.
 "True." smiled Xavier, his expression one of paternal pride. "Her MCAT was perfect."
 "Perfect?" All three of the X-Men chorused.
 "Indeed. I have offers of admission from nine different colleges, including excellent scholarships." Xavier continued, turning to fully face the others.
"Johns Hopkins, Baylor..."
 "Cayanne not goin' nowhere 'cept here." growled Remy. It had been hard enough to agree to allow the plan that would place her in Logan's care two days of the week.

 It took effort to sneak out of the MedBay, but then, sneaking was a skill Cayanne had developed early. Peering around the corner, she crouched down and bounded silently in a zigzag pattern down the hallway. From there, it was easy to pick her way down the stairs, over to the side of the hall, and into the school.
 Good t'ing dey leave clothes in dat locker near de bed. she thought, absently, to herself. The lock had been almost too easy to pick. Now all I gotta do iz get ta gym class.

 The gi were not, strictly speaking, what Logan would have given a student. They had no Clan or family insignia, and were not exactly of the proper cut, but they would do. He was not taking the youngsters on as students personally, there was no specific bond between them.
 The training of a student taken on by a sensei in his estimation - and according to his training - was a bond as sacred and often as deep, if not deeper, as the bond between parent and child.
 For himself, he had chosen to wear his hakama and hachimaki, his swords trusted friends at his side.
 He sniffed the air once, identifying each of the students - then a new scent touched his senses. The tang of cinnamon. The delicacy of chrysanthemum. The soft sweetness of a cherry blossom.
 Logan frowned slightly, for that scent also carried the slight touch of rust/salt/sour that told him she was still recovering from injuries.
 Moving with the fluid grace of one completely in their element, he stepped to the front of the class.
 "Look, he wears a dress!" that loud whisper came from Burt, and he and Lance laughed, believing being in the back row accorded them a shield from Logan's hearing.
 Cayanne took one step forward, sharp face showing disapproval, then grabbed both boys' ears and cranked hard enough they almost went into cartwheels.
 "If ya shut her mouth fer ten seconds, ya might learn somethin'." she hissed, silver blazing like a star against a backdrop of night.
 Bert spun around - right into Logan, who glared down at him with cold fire in his eyes.
 Cayanne stood up on her toes, and said, "Ummm....Ike...Ika...Ikagadesuka?"
 Logan regarded Bert until the boy looked away, then turned to the girl.
 "Irasshaimase, Cayanne. Ogenki desu ka?"
  The teen racked her brain for a moment, then brightened and replied, "Ay...grr, wait...ummm...eh? Ee? That's it!" Her whole face lit up with glee at her discovery. "Ee, mah mah...right?"
 Logan nodded.
 The girl swept a bow in his direction, a grin still on her mobile face.
 "Ikimashou!" she said, gleefully.
Translations from the Cajun

mon petit amour ardent                          -    my fiery little love
Je deviens fou! Bien, plus fou..."
      -  "I'm going crazy! Well, crazier…"

Translations from the Japanese

gi                                      - uniform worn during martial arts practice
sensei                                - master of a form of martial arts, can be used in the literal form, which means "teacher"
hakama                            - black skirt worn by sensei as part of a gi in certain martial arts
hachimaki                        - a piece of cloth wrapped around the forehead of a warrior
Ikagadesuka                     - Hello, how are you?
Ogenki desu ka?                - Are you all right?
Ee mah mah                      - I'm okay
Ikimashou!                          - Let's go!

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