( Collapse )
Emma Frost was not having a very good day.
First she loses her hostage, which effectively ruins her comfortable post in France where all she had to do was babysit the Dark Phoenix’s flame, and who she got to fuck as well. Now she was here in the middle of a fucking battleground with the damn Sentinels loose everywhere crushing people indiscriminately. After all, who was to say they wouldn’t assume she was the enemy too… they hadn’t been formally introduced now had they?
And now she knew. Damn it Phoenix knew everything and she was so fucking angry. If she wasn’t kinda busy and if it weren’t for Magneto, Emma would have been dead by now.
Sebastian Shaw was another mutant allied with the Brotherhood and was busy controlling an activated Sentinel with a remote control.
“Where is your truck?”
“For God’s sake Emma, for once in your life prove your commitment to something! Anything!”
“Fine. Give me your car keys I commit to take very good care of it. Far away from here!”
Sebastian just rolled his eyes as she telepathically ported the keys to his Hummer off him and got out of firing range as fast as possible. She was going to make it… just a hundred meters more… fifty… twenty… five…
“Leaving so soon?”
Emma froze, turning to face the one person she knew her telepathic powers would have no effect on.
Professor Xavier slowly rolled in closer, Rogue right behind him. The unmasked fury on his face evidence enough that he knew everything about her role in this entire saga.
“Listen… Professor. I just, did what I was asked to… no hard feelings eh?”
Xavier was not a particularly vindictive man, but he could pretend to be.
“I see you’re keenly aware of who I am Miss Frost so let's just cut through the chase, shall we?”
Emma swallowed as Xavier politely smiled at her, as if about to invite her to tea.
“So how does this telepathic activation of Sentinels work?”
Logan was exhausted. Yeah people always assumed that wasn’t possible for him. Well maybe it wasn’t, physically. But inside his head, he was just plain… tired.
Five months. Five fucking months.
And to what end? Let them take the fucking UN, what good did they do for anyone anyway? Let the Sentinels tear the place apart piece by piece, wreck the international convention on the stupid cure for mutation. It's not like he was pro that particular agenda in any case. And no he wasn’t part of the X-Men anymore either, was he. Not technically, no.
Then what the fuck was he doing here?
You’re here for her.
He reminded himself. She was the reason, she was the chase all this time. And now that she was almost within his grasp… Sabretooth stood in the way.
Yeah, him again.
Logan wondered why the bad guys never stayed dead while all the good ones just kept dying… leaving him behind. Old, bruised, battered… and so very tired.
The X-Men were already at the scene. Rogue and Bobby and Colossus and Storm, a couple of other kids he wasn’t sure were old enough for this, and two older and obviously adept mutant warriors he’d never met before. Trusting them to hold fort a little while longer, he let his present adversary goad him on. Sabretooth was clearly in the mood to play, never was one for clean executions. Logan suffered the abuse, the pain… perhaps even welcomed it.
You deserve it.
Got his own every now and then of course. But if only Logan weren’t so exhausted…
That voice… weak and raspy… but he’d recognize it anywhere. Face down in the mud, his sides torn to shreds as Sabretooth lunged at him again, Logan rolled out of reach and turned toward the source of that desperate, furious call. For a whole two seconds, he just sat there. Stunned.
The color blue had never seemed so beautiful to him ever before in his entire life. Didn’t matter he couldn’t remember most of it. There was no way… no fucking way could he’ve seen such beautiful… crystal blue eyes before.
“Quit jerkin’ around and finish that piece of shit already!”
Sabretooth didn’t last too long after that. And this time he made sure the bad guy stayed dead. Logan was in no hurry to get to her anymore either, now that Scott was back.
She was taken.
It was a blood-curdling scream. Like the last scream of a primitive being burning itself to a horribly painful death. But the Dark Phoenix was not about to give in so easy. So what if all her power had just been wrenched out of her control in one mind-numbing telepathic attack. She knew exactly who she needed to annihilate to get it all back.
The Sentinels were falling to the ground all around her, months of preparation, time and energy, and blood and tears wasted. She’d waited far too long for this day, taken far too many lives to reach this point. She couldn’t turn back now. Someone was about to suffer… a lot. And no one could stand in her way. Not the persistent weather witch, not the winged man who looked disturbingly familiar. not the beast with the sad yellow eyes reluctant to draw first blood. No one.
Something inside her stirred, but she suppressed it quick. When she turned, her eyes glowed and her lips smirked.
Love makes you incredibly stupid doesn’t it?
He said nothing. His mind closely guarded, though undercurrents of pain and yes… love… she could still sense from her former captive. The former captive who still wore her mark of possession - her collar. She raised an open palm and pulled him closer to herself, half suspended in the air like a weightless ragdoll. And she smiled.
You just handed me the perfect bargaining chip sweetheart. Your life…
She turned to glare at the Professor sprawled on the ground beside his broken wheelchair.
… for his.
“No!! Let him go!”
Scott did not turn to look, but he recognized Wolverine’s panic-stricken voice as he charged towards Phoenix. She casually flicked her other hand and Logan was flung forty feet away. Scott pretended to be just as casual.
“You could never kill me.”
Eyebrows went up.
“You love me too much. Just like I love you Jean. I always have and I always will.”
Glowing eyes softened… if only for a moment, then it was gone.
“Liar. You betrayed me. For him!”
It was obvious who she was referring to. And then Scott was thrown to the ground with a massive force that shattered a couple of his ribs.
“If you hate me so much, why didn’t you kill me before? Why keep me alive?”
She laughed. The menace creeping down his spine and he shivered. “Why of course, to punish… him.”
She was looking at the Professor.
Xavier winced his eyes shut… his worst fears confirmed. Scott gasped with pain and confusion as he pulled himself up.
“Wha… what are you talking about?”
“My poor mortal boy. To hurt you… is to hurt your loving meddling goddamn father. So you’d both know what its like to be rendered weak and helpless, and trapped inside your own fucking head… like he trapped me inside mine!!”
“… no… Jean…”
“Stop calling me that! I am not the woman you thought you knew! I am Phoenix. I am immortal… I am indestructible! Ask this man who just loves to play God and you can't help but worship! Ask your father what he did to me.”
Scott looked at Xavier, who shook his head, perhaps in remorse.
“I have always been here… I am the part of Jean Grey this man imprisoned in his cage of psyionic walls… inside her own warped mind. He turned me into the automated fucking Stepford wife that your Jean Grey was! The good girl… the scared little girl who couldn’t believe in her own cosmic strengths! Tied down by your filthy human bonds of morality that mean nothing to me! Nothing!!”
Scott shook his head, over and over.
“Jean is DEAD! She died for you and how did you repay her? You promptly jumped into bed with someone else!!”
No… no it was not like that… but he couldn’t utter a word. A breathless sob escaped him… and the telepath suddenly stopped glowing in her all-consuming fury. Calmness descended like it had the day of his abduction at Alkali Lake. The battleground was quiet. The X-Men stood tall and watched as the Brotherhood fled. Only Magneto and Mystique remained, like everyone else immobile, stunned in the face of the new revelations.
“If she was here… she’d be very happy for you, you know…”
The admission quiet, and austere. Then invisible bonds gripped Scott by his sides and lifted him into the air again… right in her face.
“But she’s NOT.”
Moments of silence, one, maybe two. The smirk returned.
This time on Scott’s face.
“See… that’s where you’re wrong.”
“She’s right here… she’s the reason I’m still alive…”
The Phoenix glowed anew. Unseen hands started to constrict his throat. Scott gasped.
“She’s the reason you kept me by your side... safe… away from this pointless war. She’s why you kept coming back, you held me in your arms… you sang to me when I couldn’t sleep. I know you’re here Jean. I know you’re alive!”
The strangling lessened. It was as if a shadow lifted from the face of the Phoenix.
Scott could have wept. He’d recognize the moisture in that voice any day. The telepath gently returned him to solid ground.
“Jean, come back to us…”
Sobs hitched in her throat, as he watched her struggling inside.
“…I can't hold on any longer… she’s too strong…”
His eyes watered and he shook his head pleading.
“No… you have to. You have to, please Jean!”
“I am sorry…”
Scott knew what was about to happen.
“No! No please No!!!”
There has to be another way! Please, not again!!
He winced his eyes shut tight and whirled around just as he heard the clicking of the collar round his neck.
Please… not like this!… not like this…
The jeweled circle fell to the ground with a soft clang, and against his will Cyclops was clasped and turned… his lethal eyes pried open…