Sun, 1 Nov 1998
Samy Merchi samerc@utu.fi
[MARROW] Night of the Dead (1/1)

* DISCLAIMER *
This is a non-profit work of fan-fiction involving
characters created and owned by Marvel Comics Group.

* WRITTEN BY *
Samy samerc@utu.fi Merchi

* ARCHIVED AT *
http://www.utu.fi/~samerc/fanfic/index.html

* DEDICATED TO *
Sequoia Swennes
Happy Halloween!

* STARRING *
Sarah 'MARROW' the Morlock
in * NIGHT OF THE DEAD *
* A Halloween Story * * ALSO STARRING *
Dr. Cecilia Reyes

* CONTINUITY *
This story takes place
AFTER Sam Guthrie leaves the X-Men
in X-MEN (vol.2.) #79
and BEFORE the ALL-NEW, ALL-DEADLY X-MEN
in UNCANNY X-MEN #360 and X-MEN (vol.2.) #80

* WARNING *
Mature content
(SEX/VIOLENCE)


Night of the Dead

A Halloween Story

Samy Merchi

 

 

"Trick or treat!"

"Hu-WHOULFF!" Cecilia Reyes was able to utter as a rough hand shoved her to the side and the owner of the extremity stepped thru the doorway into Cecilia's house.

"Marrow??" Cecilia blinked as her hand absently adjusted the eyeglasses that had dropped a bit lower on her nose when she had been shoved. "What are you doing here --?" she started, but then another thought came to her mind, and she rapidly glanced out the door with no small amount of worry, to see if anyone had seen the Morlock enter.

Salem Center was dark. Night had fallen and jack o' lanterns fluttered with light here and there, trying to resist the veil of the darkness enveloping the little town. Kids' shouts could be heard every now and then from the distance, but none were in sight right now. No movement except the erratic pumpkin-flickers twinkling like little stars in the sky -- a sky which was obscured tonight by billowing clouds that heralded a chilly autumn rain. There was the sound of a door closing rapidly with a bit of a slam, maybe from the adjacent house? Or the next one down the street? Cecilia frowned slightly, and closed her door as well, but quieter, letting the lock click into place before she turned her head around to look at Marrow.

"Scared like a rat", Marrow said with an expression that was a mixture of threat and taunting, as her eyes were narrowed and a smirk danced on her lips. She continued, her voice dripping with amused disdain at the weak prey softling upworlder. "Afraid you'll be found out again, healer?" she asked. "Afraid the whole world will find out your little secret and you'll have to run again?"

Cecilia felt the familiar frustration swelling up in her chest. That familiar feeling Marrow could so easily instill in everyone by despising them so bluntly, brusquely. "I have a right to choose the way I want to live my life", Reyes pointed out, and started walking towards a doorway leading into the kitchen. "Would you like some coffee? I'm afraid I'm fresh out of sewer water."

"Ha ha", Marrow replied, her expression remaining fixed. "Funny. Wonder how funny it would sound with a knife thru your throat, pretty-pretty." There was a soft THUNK! noise almost immediately after her words.

Cecilia stopped and turned around at the sound. "Now what'd you --" she started, standing in the doorway to the kitchen, before her expression turned into a deeper frown. She let her eyes linger for a few moments on the life-size, six-foot-tall picture of a human skeleton hung on the foyer wall, and the bone dagger slammed thru the skeleton's throat into the wall. Then, her eyes moved to Marrow and she wrinkled her nose. "You don't scare me, Marrow. If you can't behave, you can take your tough guy act and shove it up your --"

SCHLUKT! With a swift motion of her hand, she yanked one of the bony protrusions jutting out of her back, and blood spattered around slightly from the blade of the new dagger, a soft wet sucking sound made by the flesh of her back as it settled after the dagger had been yanked out of her. "How about I shove this up yours, healer?" she said, still with that tone of voice that had a tinge of amusement, threat and arrogance to it -- not so much anger, as one might expect. Like a cat baring her teeth when playing with a mousey. "Which one do you like better? Sharp or blunt end first?"

"You're disgusting, Marrow", Cecilia answered sharply, and took a step towards the Morlock girl. "Why did you come here, anyway? If you like torturing, why don't you just go pick wings off some flies or something?" Her voice started to rise, her patience starting to wear thin. "Leave me alone!"

"You'd like that, wouldn't you, healer?" Marrow smiled, and suddenly the still-bloody tip of her dagger was just under Cecilia's chin, touching her very lightly. "You 'just want to be left alone'", she said in a very whining tone, mocking the other woman. "Well, I've got news for you, loser -- alone is for cowards."

"Are you calling me a coward?" Cecilia hissed, her blood starting to boil and making her forget the sharp object under her chin.

"You ran from the X-Men", Marrow simply answered. There was a soft drip as a droplet of her blood fell from the dagger and hit the floor. "You hide what you are and cower in fear of people finding out. You're a pathetic weak little upworlder. Little better than a human."

"I'm no better than humans, thank you very much", Cecilia replied. "And I'm *certainly* better than *you*", she spat out angrily. "At least I have the courage to go back to living on my own and taking care of my own life!"

"You're afraid of *having* a life", Marrow retorted in a chilly voice. "You're afraid of being someone, being noticed. You're just going to live here until someone finds out you're a mutant and then you're going to run again somewhere else where you can be a nobody."

"And you think you're somebody because you're with the X-Men?" Cecilia growled. "I've got a news flash for you, sister", she said, poking Marrow in the chest. "The X-Men don't matter jack s*** in this world. Look how long they've been around and have things changed any? NO! You want to go around with them and play Ms Big Shot Hero Marrow, you go on ahead, but don't think it matters any more than anyone else's life! I'm a *doctor*, *not* a super hero, and I have every right to go on with this life."

"Pfah", Marrow answered, locking her eyes with Cecilia's. "You're afraid of having any *real* life, mousie-mousie. You see something?" she asked. "Something you want?" She grabbed the paper of the wall-hanging of the skeleton, and clenched her hand into a fist, crumpling the section of the skeleton into her hand, and then powerfully yanked the whole six-foot paper hanging off the wall. "You *take* it! That's when you're somebody."

"HEY!" Cecilia screamed as the wall-hanging was ripped off the wall, and tried to grab it from Marrow, but unsuccessfully, as the Morlock tauntingly pulled the paper hanging backwards away from Cecilia's reach. "That's *mine*! Give it *back*, or I'll --"

"You'll what?" Marrow asked with an arrogant sneer. "Call the police? What are you going to tell them, that the nasty little mutant who did this lives in the X-Men's secret-secret hideaway? You can't do anything, healer, because you play by the rules, and I don't. You're a nobody, and I'm not." She snorted, and tossed the wall-hanging towards Cecilia. "Here. I don't want it anyway."

"Get out of here", Cecilia just said as she lifted the wall-hanging from the floor, and the pointed towards the door. "Get out of here and don't come back. I don't care if you'd be dying, I never want to see you in my home again."

"If I were dying", Marrow just replied, while turning towards the door and starting to head off, "this would be the last place I'd want to come." She stopped near the door, and shoved her hand into the bowl full of candy on a stand beside the door. "See?" she asked, looking over her shoulder at Cecilia as she grabbed a handful of the candy. "The sprouts get a couple of candy if they're pretty-pretty. I take as many as I want." She withdrew her hand from the bowl, and then opened the door with the hand that still held the dagger. "You're too afraid to take anything. Even the blue furball. Feh. Pathetic."

Cecilia was trembling with anger by now, and she didn't notice as her hands clenched into fists, crumpling the paper of the wall-hanging. "Like you and Guthrie?" she answered in a hiss.

Marrow's eyes widened. Finally, she went quiet, and the perpetual superior, disdainful smirk faded from her face. The wind whistled outside, it had grown. It hammered the windows as it howled with its eerie voice. "*Take* your candy!" Sarah finally snarled, and flung her hand outwards, tossing the candy away and scattering it on the foyer floor with soft clatters. Then, she whirled around and strode out the door, leaving it open behind her as she stalked off, never looking back.


"We oughtn't be crossin' thru the alley, Joey", she said. "Mommy said we should stick to big streets with lights an' not go to dark places."

"I know what I'm doing, Gailyn", he replied. "I've gone thru here lots o' times alone. It's much shorter than goin' along the streets. We'll be home before you know it."

"That's what you think, runt", came a gruff voice from the darkness, as four figures stepped out of the shadows, two in front of Joey and Gailyn, and two behind them, blocking both exits out of the alley. "Now give us your candy, or you'll get this." SNIKT! The metallic edge of the switchblade glinted in the darkness.

"Joey --" Gailyn said in a scared voice, starting to back off to the side towards the alley wall and dumpsters hesitantly.

"I won't let 'em hurt you, Gailyn", Joey said while blood rushed in his ears and he backed away as well, staying in front of his sister.

Above, someone was watching.


*** MORLOCK TUNNELS, YEARS AGO ***

"No, run! Run! Get out of h--"

BOOM!

Her eyes widened as Beautiful Dreamer's head exploded, and the Morlock's limp body fell down into the muck of the sewer tunnel. A small whimper flowed from her young lips as she stared at the dead body for a few brief moments, before her gaze turned to the murderer.

Down the tunnel, maybe two hundred feet away, stood a tall man, with long, straight, flowing black hair, and a thin dark moustache. He was clad in grey armor of some kind, laced with some kind of...things, and he was pointing a rifle up the tunnel.

She gasped as she realized the man was now sighting at her. A moment passed. Her heart beat once. She looked the man straight in the eyes. She leaped. The trigger was pulled.

BOOM!

The explosion threw her into one of the sewer pipes, and a rain of the filthy water washed her down the pipe. She didn't know which way was up, which way was down, and before she could make sense of anything, she hit her head, and everything went dark...

The screams were still going on when she woke up. She huddled up in the sewer pipe, too afraid to move, as she listened to her friends, everyone she had ever known, die. Be slaughtered. She closed her eyes and let it happen. She bit her lip and tasted blood. She sobbed quietly. She was a child.


*** HERE, NOW ***

Suddenly, a dark form dropped from the fire escape up above, and landed in the middle of the alley, between the two contingents of older teenagers. The female form stayed in a crouch for a few moments, her eyes narrowed, before standing straight in slow, luxurious, feline motions. "All right, upworlder marauders", she said confidently. "Show me what you've got."

"Oh, this is going to be fun", the boy holding the switchblade grinned, and took a step towards Marrow.

She smiled back at him, and placed a hand onto her upper chest, feeling the skin roughly around her collarbone for a few moments. Then, her fingers tensed for action.

SCHRNPT!

"Holy --!" The boys watched with wide eyes, as she ripped a bone away from her collar, much like one might snap a chicken wing in two. One of them fainted right away from the sight. One had a dark wet stain spread in the crotch of his pants. One stumbled backwards, fell to the ground, and began vomiting. The last one was smart. He ran.

"Hmf. Humans", Marrow snorted, and headed off.


The sky lit up for an eyeblink as a branched stream of light shot downwards. A few moments later, she heard a low rumble in her ears, and instinctively tightened her hold on her bone dagger. She didn't particularly like Storms. She stood there for several moments before she felt a raindrop hit her cheek. It was the only moisture her determined cheeks had, as she turned her eyes to look across the street from the shadows of the park trees.

"Trick or treat!"

"Oh, what *lovely* children! My, don't you look beautiful -- I mean, scary -- in your costumes... Did your mommy make them for you?"

"Yeah! My mommy is a seamstress!"

"Oooh! Now isn't that wonderful! I bet you have great costumes every year --!"

"C'n we have candy, ma'am?"

"Oh! Yes, of course you can! Here, have some! Now how do you say?"

"Thank you, ma'am --"

"That's it! Here, have a little more candy!"

"Thank you, ma'am!"

"Happy Halloween!"

"Happy Halloween, ma'am!"

She snorted softly, and let her eyes drop to the tip of her bone dagger. Silently, she touched the sharp tip with her finger, and cut a little gash on herself. For a brief moment, there didn't seem to be anything. Then, the gash filled with dark redness, and a large droplet-bubble of blood flowed out of her. Mesmerized, she watched it slowly grow, and then fall down onto the grass at her feet. Her eyes were out of focus, as if looking to a great distance, as she stared at her finger. A gust of wind blew thru the park, ruffling her short red hair, and she turned her head slightly, to let the wind blow directly against her cheek, caressing her rough skin with its chill.

She forgot about her finger while closing her eyes to feel the harsh wind. Small drizzly droplets of moisture hit her cheek, and she treasured the sting of the water, wishing for more, as her thoughts began drifting.


*** ELSEWHERE, ELSEWHEN ***

WHACK!

She felt the whipcrack of a hand explode against her cheek, and unable to concentrate to resist, she stumbled out of balance, falling backwards and crashing onto a table. She bit her lower lip, refusing to give voice to her pain and show that she was weak. Instead, she just gasped for breath and lay quietly on the table, on her back.

"Do you understand?" the man's voice hissed. "You do *not* think for yourself, Sarah. You do not try to find a way around *my* rules. This is *my* world, and everything here happens as *I* desire. Is that *clear*?"

"Y-- yes, Great One", she answered with a slightly shuddering breath, feeling her cheek throb with the softsweet pain and stinging and letting that throbbing permeate her entire body. "I-- it will not happen again..."

"Make certain that it won't, Sarah", he hissed, and his hand grabbed a fistful of her red hair, yanking on it roughly and causing her expression to wrinkle slightly, but still she uttered no sound. "As long as you live in *my* dimension, you play by *my* rules."

"Yes, Great One --" she hissed thru clenched teeth, feeling her hair be almost ripped off the scalp, and a shudder escaped from her lungs, a breath of air slid past her lips.

"Good", he said, and let go of her hair. "Soon, I will have a job for you, Sack, Vessel, Hemingway, Reverb and Ever. You, Sarah, are the best hunter here in the Dark Domain. You will lead them --" he spoke, as he slowly came atop her on the table "-- as long as I know you will not disobey me again. Ever. In anything."

She swallowed once, feeling his weight on top of her. "I-- I won't, Great One..." she said very, very quietly, timidly as she closed her eyes and let him do as he pleased. (( I... I'm not ugly to him... I'm important to him... I'm important to him... ))


*** HERE, NOW ***

She wrenched her thoughts away from the memories and pushed herself off the tree she had been leaning against. She took a deep breath, and looked skywards. The clouds were only growing thicker, like the darkness that was closing in from every side, the trees looming like giant sentinels all around. She needed to run.

"What do we have here?"

She whirled around towards the voice, her hand clutching her dagger with the strength of paranoia frustration nervousness anguish. Facing her were three skinheaded teenage boys, dressed in black pilot jackets and city camouflage white-grey pants.

"Either that's one hell of a costume", one of them said, "or that's one motherf***ing ugly mutie b****."


*** XAVIER INSTITUTE, MONDAY MORNING ***

"'Ro, ya better come take a look at this", Logan said, waving the newspaper at the dark-skinned woman.

"What is it, Logan?" the leader of the X-Men asked curiously as she walked towards the Canadian.

Logan handed the paper over to Ororo, and pointed out the location of the article with his finger.

Ororo started reading. "...three teenagers..." Her frown deepened. "...all in intensive care..." Suddenly, her eyes widened, and she looked up from the paper, and into Logan's eyes. "By the Goddess, no --!"

"Bone fragments", Logan nodded grimly. "An' I *know* it wasn't me. Pretty much leaves only one suspect."

Ororo sighed quietly. "Sarah."


"-- ugly mutie b****."

"-- ugly mutie b****."

"-- ugly mutie b****."

"-- ugly mutie b****."

The words echoed repeatedly in her head, not going away, not diminishing. She ran. She was out of breath. She didn't care. She ran. The wind and rain had gotten worse. Liquid hammered her eyes and made them blurry. Her clothes were soaked with the water. The wind blew mercilessly, and the only thing that kept her from shivering uncontrollably in her wet clothes was the fact that she didn't stop to shiver. She ran.

"-- ugly mutie b****."

(( I'm ugly. )) Her breath shuddered, and she stumbled over her feet, tripping and landing headlong in a puddle of mud and water. (( I'm ugly )), her breath shuddered again, and she got down on all fours first, before, still kneeling in the mud, raised her hands towards the dark sky and let out a shrill cry of ultimate anguish from the very bottom of her heart.


*** ELSEWHERE IN THE PARK ***

"Did you hear that?"

He nodded quietly with a frown. "Something's going on --" he said, and looked to her. "We'd better go take a look. Have the phone ready", he said, and took a step in the direction of the scream.

"Philip, no --" she said cautiously, grabbing his arm and holding him back. "We should just call 911..."

He shook his head determinedly. "It might be nothing --" he said.

"Nothing?" she asked incredulously. "You heard that scream..."

"Sheila", he said, placing his hands onto her shoulders, "it's Halloween. It's probably some kids playing pranks. The police are overworked as it is."


"-- ugly mutie b****."

She screamed in frustration, and tossed her dagger away as she slumped forwards, her hands going back to the mud. A single sob shook her, before she gritted her teeth, and forced herself to stand up with the slightest of whimpers. "NOOO!" she shouted, and brought a hand to a protrusion at her ribs.

SCHLUKT!

Blood flowed from the open wound for a few moments after she tore the new dagger out of herself, before her superhuman cardiovascular system started already rerouting blood flow, quickly drying up the macabre well of liquid. "I HATE YOU!" she screamed, and brought the bloody dagger high, the red-wine-colored liquid glistening in the scant moonlight briefly, before the weapon plunged down.

SHNK!

The air escaped her lungs in a quick exhalation, and her hands weakly still clutched the hilt of the dagger after having rammed the blade deep into her own abdomen.

Finally, a measure of peace crossed her face.

The last image in her mind was the face of Sam Guthrie.

Until she realized something was wrong.

"No --" she breathed, and pulled the dagger out. She watched the blood flow from the open wound in her stomach -- and then stop, after some moments. The blood dried up quickly, all while she just watched with wide eyes. "Nononononononononono..." she started whimpering, and then stood up furiously, her redhead temper flaring as she turned her eyes skywards, and yelled, "WHY WON'T I DIEEEEEE?"

Sobs started wracking her body uncontrollably, and she fell weak again, her knees buckling underneath her and she dropped back down to the mud. "No..." she just murmured helplessly, and then dropped all effort of even trying to stay up, just collapsing and lying in the mud in a fetal position while wind and rain beat on her still, beating the beaten.

"Excuse me", someone cleared their throat.

Marrow froze. She turned her head towards the direction of the voice, and saw an older man in a long coat that was fluttering in the wind.

"I'm sorry if I'm disturbing you --" he said as he stepped closer and crouched beside Marrow. "Are you all right? Is there anything I can do to help?" He didn't seem to even notice the bony protrusions everywhere on Marrow, like some grotesque pimples dotting her body.

"I don't need any help", Marrow said with a disgusted expression and tone of voice, and pushed herself away from the man and back onto her feet, returning to her big bad distant self once more. "Why do you care, anyway?"

"Why shouldn't I?" he just asked.

"Are you blind?" Marrow snarled, and tore a bone dagger from her back with a wet SCHLUKT! "I'm --" She hesitated for a moment, as if about to say something, before instead saying something else. "-- a mutant!"

"So?" he asked, and remained silent for a moment, before shaking his head with a smile. "I'm Philip Ramsey", he said, extending his hand towards the girl. "What's your name?"

Marrow blinked, pausing for a moment, not having expected that. "M-- Marrow", she said, tentatively, while the hand holding the dagger lowered slightly, but not all the way.

"Well, 'Marrow'", Philip smiled warmly, "you look like a mess. My wife and I live nearby, if you'd like a chance to clean up?" he suggested. "Or can I offer you a drive home?"

Cautiously, Sarah took a step backwards, looking at the man suspiciously. "I don't need your help", she said, putting on a brave front.

"Are you all right?" Philip quirked an eyebrow, now showing a bit of concern. "All that blood --?"

"I'M ALL RIGHT!" Marrow growled viciously, taking a step towards Philip, brandishing her dagger. "You go back to your safe warm-warm upworlder home and fix yourself a drink and watch television!" Her eyes started burning with the fires of anger. Then, the next moment, the flames died down, and she lowered her dagger, her shoulders slumping resignedly. "Leave me alone."

Philip frowned a bit, thoughtfully. "At least come have a cup of hot chocolate", he suggested. "You're going to catch a cold in those wet clothes."

Marrow snorted softly. "A cold is the least of my problems", she just said quietly. "Leave me alone, human. None of you care about us. Don't pretend it's otherwise."

"Really?" Philip asked, and smiled. "Well then", he said, and started taking off his long coat, after which he set it on Marrow's shoulders, "if I don't care about you, then I suppose I didn't just give you my coat, so you can't give it back, right?"

Marrow looked at Philip for a few moments with an odd expression. For once, she found she didn't know what to say. She just stared at the man in silence.

Philip smiled at the teenager's silence, and nodded approvingly. "Take care of yourself, Marrow", he said, and turned around, starting to walk off.

Marrow bit her lip lightly as her eyes watched Philip slowly heading off. Instinctively, she tightened the coat a bit around herself when she noticed she was shivering.

She wasn't running anymore.


"What was it, Philip?" Sheila asked as her husband returned.

"A young mutant", the man replied with a concerned frown. "'Marrow'." He shook his head slowly. "She looked to be in a pretty rough condition -- I invited her over, but she..." He paused, and sighed. "She refused."

Sheila watched Philip quietly for a few moments, before asking, "Did she?"

Philip, noticing Sheila was now looking over his shoulder, turned around, to see Marrow standing a few yards behind him, his coat in her hand as she offered it back to him.

"What's 'chocolate'?"


She sipped the hot, sweet, brown liquid tentatively, feeling the heat radiate from it and being cautious not to be burned. This was something new to her. And frightening, though she'd be the last person in the world to admit that.

"How does it taste?" Sheila asked as she took a bag of cinnamon rolls from the freezer and put them in the microwave. A few beeps signified the buttons being pushed, and then the microwave started humming softly as it heated the rolls up.

Sarah paused her tasting of the hot chocolate for a moment as she slowly rotating platform inside the microwave oven caught her attention, and she watched, almost mesmerized, how the cinnamon rolls slowly turned around in the oven. After a few moments, she 'woke up', and looked towards Sheila with what was probably her first sheepish smile in years. "Tastes like chicken."

Sheila chuckled amusedly. "I hear that a lot", she smiled. "I have a feeling everything in this world tastes like chicken in the end." She looked over Sarah's muddy and torn attire for a few moments, before suggesting, "Would you like to take a shower? And if you'd like, I'm sure we have some clothes that would fit you -- Douglas was about your size..." She smiled as she went on with, "Not that he had any bras, mind you..."

Marrow looked blank for a few moments, before asking, "'Bras'?"

Sheila tilted her head a bit. "Where are you from, honey?" she asked curiously.

"Underground", Sarah simply replied, before starting to get over her initial hesitation and to gulp the hot chocolate greedily from her mug. Suddenly, her eyes widened, as if she realized something. The same moment, the hot chocolate exploded out of her mouth in a brown shower, and she gasped. "Douglas Ramsey??"

Sheila blinked at the reaction, and got a rag, starting to clean up the mess, but her curiosity had been piqued. "You knew Douglas?" she asked while wiping the hot chocolate from the floor.

"Yeah, I...uh...I mean -- nevermind", Sarah said slowly, still looking a bit in shock as her mind replayed an event from a few weeks back when the Dark One had fought the X-Men over Douglas Ramsey's grave. [1] "I was thinking of someone else."

"All right..." Sheila said a bit hesitantly, deciding not to push the issue. "But you're a mess, honey -- all that blood, and mud, and now chocolate... Go take a shower. I'll find some new clothes for you in the meantime."

"I don't want new clothes", Sarah wrinkled her nose.

"Honey, those clothes are a *mess*."

"I like mess."

Sheila sighed a bit. "Look -- if you'll let me, I can wash your clothes and fix all the rips -- you can borrow some clothes and come back tomorrow and get your clothes. Okay?"

"I don't want new clothes", Sarah maintained stubbornly.

Sheila looked a bit incredulously at Sarah. "Well, now I've seen it all. A teenage girl who doesn't want new clothes." She smiled warmly. "I bet lots of parents would love to have you as their child."

"Humans don't want mutants for children", Marrow said bluntly.

Sheila sighed. "Not everyone is a racist, you know, love. Would Philip and I be helping you if we disliked you? Though I have to admit, you don't exactly make it easy to like you."

"Why should I?" Sarah snorted. "I am who I am. If you don't like me, that's your problem."

"Tsk", Sheila shook her head with a smile. "Now look here, honey", she said, and pulled up a chair after finishing cleaning up the hot chocolate residue from everywhere, and sat down beside Marrow. "Not everyone hates you. There are lots of people who need to have someone to love but never get anyone, or lose the one they love." She smiled a bit sadly. "Don't push people away, honey. Life's too short for that. Not a day goes by that I don't wish I could've had more time with my Douglas. Let the people who love you, have time with you, because that time can end sooner than any of us can predict."

Sarah remained silent at that, and slowly lowered her eyes into her lap.

Sheila smiled. At least the girl was thinking about the words. She stood up, and got the cinnamon rolls from the microwave oven, and poured Sarah a new cup of hot chocolate. "Here. Enjoy", she said.

Sarah looked at the rolls for a few moments, and then took one, felt it up by squeezing it in her hand, and then broke it in two, filling her mouth with the other half and starting to chew down on it.

Sheila watched Sarah start eating with a faint smile of amusement at the girl's apparent lack of table manners. She couldn't find it in her heart to blame a girl for something that apparently was not her fault, if, indeed, she had lived underground. "I'll be right back", she said, and patted Marrow's shoulder gently, before heading out a doorway.

Sarah's eyes followed Sheila as she left, and remained in the empty doorway for a good minute after the older woman had disappeared from sight, before she returned her attention to chewing up the cinnamon roll in her mouth.

It took about fifteen minutes for Sheila to return, and when she did, Sarah realized what she had been doing. Again, Sarah's jaws stopped chewing the food in her mouth, as she stared at the clothes the kind woman had brought over.

"How do these look?" Sheila smiled.


"Are you sure?" Philip asked.

Sarah nodded quietly. "Yeah, I know my way home, and I can take care of myself", she said, her voice getting a bit bolder with the last clause.

Sheila smiled as she looked Sarah over. "You look very pretty", she complimented the Morlock. "You know, any time you'd like to come visit, you're welcome, Marrow."

"...Sarah."

"What?" Sheila asked.

Sarah blushed slightly. "My name is Sarah", she said, fidgeting a bit awkwardly.

Philip smiled and placed a hand onto Sarah's shoulder. "It suits you", he said. "It means 'princess'."


She came home in the morning, after spending long hours walking around and thinking. With a soft creak, she opened the front door of the mansion, and peeked inside. When no one was in sight, she started sneaking towards the door to the basement, hoping she could get downstairs without anyone noticing her.

"An' what the flamin' have you been doin' up this la--" Logan's voice paused as he saw Marrow. He nearly slipped from leaning onto the doorframe leading from the kitchen to the foyer, and almost fell down to the floor.

A slight blush rose to her cheeks as she glanced towards Wolverine. She was wearing a very fluffy, veily, airy, fairy-like white gown which descended from her shoulders all the way down to her ankles. A broad bright red belt was strapped around her slender waist. An odd contrast to the almost princess-like image was provided by the sneakers on her feet which she had insisted on, after repeated failures with trying to walk on high heels. "Morning, old man", she smiled.

"Marrow, what the --" Logan started, but just...fell short of finding the right words. He just gaped at her quietly for a few moments.

"Sarah, where have you be--" Storm, likewise, stopped dead in her tracks when she descended the stairs from her attic and saw the vision of loveliness in the foyer. She *very* slowly walked down to the top of the stairs leading down to the foyer, keeping her eyes on Sarah all the way, and then, when she stopped, she looked down at the Canadian. "Logan, am I awake?"

"I dunno, 'Ro. I'm still workin' on figuring out if *I* am..."

Sarah blushed crimson, and started dashing towards The Door, Her Door, the one where she had carved the words 'This way to a dark ride'. The door that led to the basement where she could hide.

Rogue had heard the commotion as well and joined Storm at the top of the stairs just in time to catch a glimpse of Sarah rushing towards the door, opening it, jumping thru the doorway, and slamming the door closed after her. She blinked, rubbed her still-not-quite-open eyes, and said, "Ah didn't know Rahne was visiting. Why's she goin' down to the basement?"

Ororo looked over to Rogue standing beside her. "Apparently, that was Sarah."

Rogue looked at Ororo blankly for a few moments, and then commented, intelligently, "Huh?"

"My thoughts exactly", Ororo nodded.

"Looks like somebody got laid", Logan said, his face still a bit blank.

Ororo and Rogue both looked down over the railing towards Logan. The latter wrinkled her nose. "Ah hate this. *Everybody* gets laid 'cept me."


[1] Marrow is referring to 'NOT YOUR LEADER', found at http://www.utu.fi/~samerc/fanfic/sotf/index.html


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