The Hard Way: Part 9

by Perri Smith



After the first step, Siryn was in too much pain to care about anything. Vaguely, she was aware that they were running through long corridors, as unfinished as the last room had been, but reality dissolved into a vague, disjointed jumble of images -- Delphi's body armor digging into her shoulder and side, the sound of weapons going off at close range, the smell of the explosions, Delphi and Deadpool's voices, and Wolverine's occasional growl...


Delphi, cursing as she ran, dodging a bundle of loose pipes the explosions had knocked free. They crashed to the floor behind her.

"We're gonna need backup!"

"Who ya gonna call, the Orkin Man?"

"Actually, I was thinking maybe the X-Men, you idiot!"

"Oh, great, let's find a phone. 'Hey, Cable, it's yer old pal, Deadpool. I helped grab one of your kids and the Wolvester and now I need help hauling them out because they're bleeding all over my new clothes. And why don't you bring Domino; we'll have a reunion?' Great idea, Del!"

"It's not my fault half the world wants you killed slowly and painfully! If you weren't such a cold-blooded sonuva..."

"Hey, watch it!"

Delphi suddenly pulled both herself and Siryn to the ground, rolling onto her stomach to fire down the corridor. Return fire ricocheted over their heads, echoing the pounding of Deadpool's gun. Siryn's ears, immune to most noise out of deference to her powers, made out the sound of snicking claws. She raised her head and saw Wolverine standing over several bodies, bent almost in half.

Delphi picked Siryn up and resumed the argument without a break.

"Is there anyone at that Institute who doesn't want you dead, Wade?"

"No," Wolverine answered as Deadpool held him up, hoisting him back over a shoulder. The siblings ignored him.

"Didn't your pal LeBeau join that crew? Call him!"

"Great. One small problem, Einstein, he's catatonic at the moment. I could leave him a message!"

"What happened to him?"

"He stole a kiss from the wrong lady; learn from his example. Siryn, behind us!"

Theresa lifted her head and focused just enough to see the several big guns being lowered at their backs. She didn't stop to wonder how Delphi had known, but cut loose with a sonic scream. The soldiers went down.

"Not in my ear next time," Delphi complained a little too loudly. She had never stopped moving. "What about the sound machine's dad?"

The answer was almost drowned out in gunfire. "Got the number for the Massachusetts Academy on you?"

Del closed her eyes for a second, with an expression on her face that suggested she was reading the insides of her eyelids. Without opening them, she took a shot at something overhead. A body thunked to the ground where they had been a moment before.

"No, do I look like 411?"

"Then shut up and move!"


Hours? Minutes? later, something hard slammed into Siryn's leg and she cried out, stumbling.

"Be careful, dammit, Delphi!" Deadpool sounded angry as hell. More shots whistled overhead.

"I'm tryin'!"

"Can't you do something?"

"No time, it's not life-threatenin', and it's goin' t' take all I've got t' help Wolverine if we get out o' this."

"The runt can take care of himself."

"Watch who yer callin' runt, Wilson. And could the two o' ya stop fightin' each other long enough t' do somethin' about them?"

"Man, I hate back-seat drivers."

Aside from Deadpool's automatic wisecrack they ignored Wolverine again, although Delphi did twist around enough to send a volley of shots down the hall behind them. "The hell he can!" she shot back at Deadpool, ducking to avoid sparking wires dangling from the ceiling.

"He's dyin', that damn collar had his healin' factor turned off for too long. Go in here!"

A small room and movement. An elevator. They hunkered against the back wall, their breath coming in heavy pants. Sweat soaked the side of Delphi's uniform, along with something warmer.

"Ouch! Shit!" Delphi shifted her weight then almost fell, nearly dropping Siryn, who managed to wake up enough to keep her balance. Her leg had stopped hurting; she was pretty sure that was a bad sign.

Deadpool looked over at them. "What'd you run into?" His voice was beginning to show the strain of carrying around 250 pounds of deadweight on his shoulders. Wolverine slumped on the floor next to him, looking no better.

"A bullet." Siryn's eyes shot to Delphi, who was clutching her calf, blood running from under her fingers. "We're gonna have to find someplace to hide out for a while."

"Where the... hell are we?" Wolverine asked without lifting his head. His face was pale, sweat matting his hair.

"About a mile from the main entrance," Delphi answered, running a bloody hand through her hair, popping the rubber band. She realized what she'd done and grimaced at the mess. "Damn her Magistrateness and her boss for deciding to make like a prairie dog! And why didn't you tell me that bitch was Genoshan?"

"Hey, you didn't ask! Is it bad?" Siryn could hear actual concern in Deadpool's voice.

She felt Delphi shake her head; her vision was blurring again, slipping in and out, next to useless. "No," Delphi gritted. "Just bloody, I've gotta get it stopped."

"And we've gotta figure out where the hell we're going. We keep running around chasing our tails, Tam's gonna have enough time to trap them. And I'm not too hot on playing catch with Rebound if he wakes up."

The elevator stopped and Delphi dragged both herself and Siryn to their feet

"Take a left." Delphi and Siryn staggered around the corner, Deadpool following behind, staggering himself under Wolverine. They wove their way through a short maze before Delphi pulled open a door and managed to manuver both her and Siryn inside the small room. They staggered past the doorway and slid down the wall to collapse on the floor. A minute later, Deadpool let Wolverine drop from his shoulders to the floor and fell over himself.

Part 10

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