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"Death of a Dream"

Death of a Dream

Chapter 1: Homecoming
Chapter 2: Old Ghosts
Chapter 3: Strange Bedfellows
Chapter 4: Melancholy Memories
Chapter 5: Of Love and Betrayal
Chapter 6: Innocence Lost
Chapter 7: Of Friendship and Discovery
Chapter 8: First Blood
Chapter 9: Cast Out
Chapter 10: Revelations
Chapter 11: Of Love and Hope
Chapter 12: Stolen Lives
Chapter 13: Bad Dreams
Chapter 14: The Ties that Bind
Chapter 15: A Hero's Life
Chapter 16: Old Wounds
Chapter 17: A Time of Last Things
Chapter 18: The Final Countdown
Chapter 19: Battlezone
Chapter 20: Zero Hour
Chapter 21: A Glimmer of Hope

The sequel to this story is "The Resurrection Gauntlet."

Death of a Dream


Rogue entered the citadel with tentative steps, every nerve standing on end with the presence of so much power contained in one place. She had been granted a special audience this day, a chance to grasp hold of her last dream or die trying. The sound of echoing footsteps surrounded her as she made her way through winding halls. Her own, she wondered, or his cronies keeping just out of sight? It didn't matter, she decided firmly, picking up her pace as she came closer to her destination of the center chamber. She hesitated on the threshold, one hand grasping the archway as if it held her fate. And indeed, it did. This was it, she knew. This was where she would cast her lot in this life. This is where she would throw away her past and become...what? Something more than what she was, for certain. For better, for ill? Did it really matter? Did she have anywhere else to go? No, she knew she didn't. She could never go back now, it was far too late for repenting.

With a decisive push off the stone archway, she entered the chamber, eyes straining in the semi-darkness for a glimpse of the man she had come to see. His features were lost within the shadowy confines of the high throne, but it didn't matter. She knew that face as well as she knew her own. She had only to imagine and she could see him, sitting intently upon the throne, one hand rubbing the curve of his angular jaw in deep thought. Yes, she knew he was pondering her at this moment, even as she pondered him. It had been so many years...would she even be allowed a chance to speak?

"Why are you here, child?", came the deep, resonant voice from high above her, interrupting her thought.

"Because you are the only choice I have left", she responded without hesitation, almost sagging with relief at the familiar tone of his voice. It was good to know that something of the man she had cared for still remained.

"And you would choose me only when there is nothing else left for you?" he asked, with just a hint of ire in his tone.

"Home is the place that when you go there, they have to take you in", she answered quietly, evading the question but answering it nonetheless.

"And you would call this home?" he asked, and she could almost see the eloquent gesture of his hand through the air, intimating the citadel around them.

"Ah would", she said firmly, then paused, continuing in a somewhat more subdued voice. "Ah came here because ah need your help."

"Hush child, speak no more. We know what you desire." A rustling came from the blackness above her, a movement of shadow within shadow, and her heart went cold with fear. That word.. "we" told her all she needed to know. And though she needed him, what he offered, could she stand to see him so changed?

And then there was no time for further though as he closed in upon her, hands outstretched. "You wish to have your power under control do you not? You know we can do this...and you know the price....", he trailed off teasingly, hesitating just a fraction of an inch from touching her.

"Yes", her voice a bare whisper. "Yes, I will serve you."

"Always and with all your heart?", he asked mockingly, the hint of a cold smile toying about his lips.

"Yes", she whispered again, bowing her head with the weight of the admission. "With all my heart, always."

"Then so let it be done, child. A touch here, a tuck there....removing the blocks which keep your power just beyond your control. We can rearrange your neural pathways in such a way that you will be able to not only control your power, but use it in ways you never thought possible." He touched his hands to her temples as he spoke, causing her to flinch despite her resolve.

A dark chuckle emitted from deep within his throat as he regarded her with bemused gray-blue eyes. "Come now...are we so terrible? You once longed for our touch."

She bit down on her lower lip, eyes closing in defeat and pain. He spoke only too truly, she knew. But then, he was no longer the man she had once thought she loved. She kept her silence, waiting for him to continue his work.

"Very well then, child. Without further pretense, let us commence."

She shuddered as his mind touched hers, almost reeling from the sheer power of its presence within her. Her heart was suddenly gripped by fear as she realized that he could simply take her mind and twist it, or blow it into a thousand tiny atoms. She was completely at his mercy. She almost changed her mind then, in that instant, but it was far too late for second thoughts.

"Bear with us child", came the voice from far away, somewhere outside the white hot world of her mind. "This may hurt a little."

The last sound she heard before the blackness claimed her, were her own screams.


Continued in Chapter One


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