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"The Resurrection Gauntlet"

The Resurrection Gauntlet

The sequel to "Death of a Dream."

The Enemy of My Enemy...
From the Grave
Into the Fire
Shifting the Ashes
Ghosts of Past and Present
Of Regret and Remembrance
Deeper into Darkness
Old Habits
Trial by Fire
The Downard Spiral
Life Incarnate

This story is in progress.

The Resurrection Gauntlet


Magnus poured a cup of coffee and sat down at the kitchen table, proceeding to stare at his steaming cup with rapt attention. Throughout the years, he had been many things...prisoner, father, husband, lover, villain, hero...his whole life had seemed nothing but constant change when he looked back on it. Still, throughout the span of his years, there was one thing that had never changed, the mantra that he had held sacred to his soul: To protect and save all mutants.

Certainly, there had been a time when he was not fully in control of himself, and he grimaced at the memory of Logan, adamantium seeping agonizingly through his pores, lying before him. But he had been insane then, saved from breaking his vow only by someone daring to do the unthinkable. It was still hard for him to imagine the desperation that must have moved Charles to mentally lobotomize him, how reprehensible it must have been to everything he believed and taught throughout his life. But he had made the hard choice, and probably made the better one. Magnus would have liked to have thanked him for saving the world from himself personally, if he could. But that time was long past.

He was at last a whole man again, through the efforts of the evil Shadow King of all people. When the Shadow King had taken over his catatonic body, he had been all but useless, an empty, mindless husk. But then, when the Shadow King had also absorbed Joseph, he had slowly begun to become more cohesive. Their two minds, though not exactly the same, met and merged on some unconscious level, restoring Magnus to full mentality once again. Still, he had been trapped, a prisoner inside his own body until Rogue had forcibly removed the entity from his vessel by force of her powers.

He had to admire her bravery, for that, and owed her his thanks as well, he supposed. He still wasn't sure if he would have regained dominance over his body after the Shadow King's removal had Rogue not shoved Psylocke's psychic knife into his mind. It had seemed to snap something back into place for him, a level of awareness he had too long been denied. Finally in control of his own mind and body after three long years, he had awakened to find the world much changed from when he left it. The Shadow King had reigned almost supreme over the world, having tainted and twisted some of the worlds most powerful super-beings under his control. Having killed most of the X-Men who could challenge him, he had set humanity fighting against itself and mutant alike while he built the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants rapidly into a worldwide army.

That had been a little over 6 years ago, and again, much had changed. Only this time, the man known as Magneto fought for the side for free will rather than for world domination.

When he had first ... reawakened, he had set out from the X-Men with Gambit, Rogue and Iceman, determined to build a new team to help mop up the mess the Shadow King had left behind. The painful memories of all his attacks against the X-Men over the years would not allow him to stay with them, but he more than meant to help right the world he had so unwillingly helped destroy. Once he had believed in the domination of mutant over human, but to actually see it ... and to see the mutants who dared fight against it so beaten down themselves, had been almost more than he could stand. It was so reminiscent of Auschwitz and the horrible tragedies there. He wondered sometimes if it were the Joseph part of him that had changed his views so, but he liked to think that it was something that had always been part of him.

And so, he had built a new dream from the ashes of Xaviers. Not as perfect in its vision, perhaps, and certainly not achieved through the same passive means. Xavier would probably have seen it as a reversion of Magneto to his old ways ... but then, Xavier was dead. And that was rather the point, wasn't it? The dream he had worked for had proved to be an impossibility through the means he chose, as Magnus had long tried to tell him. In some cases, the closed fist carried much farther than the open hand ever would. Perhaps Charles would not have agreed with his methods, but he could not deny the results. The world had become a much better place since the riddance of the Shadow King, and humans were slowly reclaiming their place in the world with the help of sympathetic mutants. And it was all because the mutants had decided that the time to be gentle and forgiving with their enemies had long passed.

Even Magnus, who valued mutant life above all others could not deny that there were some who would bring more harm than help to the world, and it had been a hard decision for him to kill any and all homo-superior who stood in his way. But it was for the greater good, he had eventually convinced himself, and he had never swayed from the path once he set his foot upon it. The thrice damned Sebastian Shaw, who had seen fit to unleash the Sentinels against mutant and humanity alike, had been his first kill, and he had never regretted it. In fact, he could hardly wait to see that bastard in hell, where he could torment him even further. A bitter smile crossed his face at the thought, and his eyes grew a shade darker, though there was no one there to see. Some things, it seemed, never changed.

His thoughts drew themselves to the present, rather reluctantly it seemed, and he could hardly repress the bitterness that now welled within his chest. He was an Omega class mutant, with the ability to rip the earth asunder at its very core if he so chose ... and yet he was helpless against the plight of two young mutants who might hold the very fate of that same said earth in their hands. He had sworn once to protect all mutants, and later had been forced to redefine that proclamation. But then, war tended to force distasteful decisions upon a person. Now he vowed to save those who could in turn help save the world ... .and at this very moment, he found he could not even do that.

He slammed his fist against the table top in frustration, causing his still full coffee cup to jump and splash dark liquid across the white tablecloth in a haphazard pattern. Setting his jaw, he stared at the pattern for a long, silent moment, his mind turning the problem over and over. He WOULD help those children, somehow. There had to be a way, and if it took every resource he had, he would make certain that they would go on to live full lives. Omega class telepaths, both of them. He mulled that over for a time, thinking rather ironically how much nature abhorred a vacuum. The world had been stripped of all telepaths, prior to their birth, and there, as if in answer to the prayers of thousands, had been born two of the most powerful psi's the world had ever seen. They were too important not to be saved, he decided reaching for his now cold coffee and beginning to rise from his chair.

It was then that the doorbell rang.

Remy stuck his head out of their bedroom, a look of almost comical surprise on his face as the resounding chime of what sounded like a doorbell faded away. He hadn't known they had a doorbell ... or even a front door for that matter ... .but he supposed it warranted checking out. With a regretful sigh, he slipped back into his pants, thoughts of an afternoon nap fading quickly.

Magnus stood before the main entrance to the base, seemingly bemused as a small, not quite happy smile played about his lips. When he had the doorbell installed, it had been at the suggestion of Iceman, and meant mostly as a joke. He had agreed with the younger mutants assessment that the day one of their enemies actually rang the doorbell instead of just busting a hole in the side of the building, would be the day that the team could retire. Now, his finger hovering over the button that would slide open the door to the outside, he wondered if retirement might be only a moment away. Certainly, he could simply check the surveillance camera and end his curiosity right there, but it had been a long time since anything had surprised the self-styled Master of Magnetism. Besides, there was little he could not handle. With something like a chuckle, he pressed the button and prepared himself for anything.

He wasn't ready.

It took Remy several minutes to figure out that the chime he had heard must have come from the bases main entry, though he was doubting his sanity now that the sound had faded away. A doorbell? Here? It was ludicrous. Still, he rounded the corner, trying to prepare himself for anything as he kept close to the wall, red eyes glowing as he focused on the doorway not far beyond.

He wasn't ready, either.

Emerald green eyes gleamed at Magnus, almost cat-like in their expression. A small smirk curled on corner of her mouth as she stood, looking extremely satisfied at his moment of complete and utter shock.

"Surprised to see me, Magneto?"

"Jean?", he asked, almost disbelieving, his mind already recovering from its initial shock he worked to put this all into a logical context. Unfortunately, he was failing.

"Guess again", she said, smiling her Cheshire cat grin, leaning against the doorway almost casually.

"Madelyne", he said, with more conviction this time. He heard a movement behind him, a rapid intake of breath, and didn't need to turn to know Remy stood behind him.

"Gold star for you, old man", she said with a sultry chuckle, strolling casually past him inside the base.

Or at least, she tried to.

Magnus was in front of her in an instant, his grey-blue eyes hardening into steel. But it was Remy who pushed in front of him and spoke first. "I t'ink not, chere. Go away. You dead." He began to forcibly push her back out the door. Magnus laid a staying hand upon his arm, and after a quick, questioning glance, Remy backed up. But just a step.

"What do you want here, Madelyne?", Magnus asked, his eyes seeming to bore into her. "And be quick about it or I shall throw you into orbit around the sun."

She chuckled again, seemingly amused by the whole situation. "Such a warm welcome for a lady. You make me feel right at home."

"You are not deserving of the title 'Lady'", Magnus spoke again, his voice sounding like stone. "Your point."

Madelyne regarded him interestedly, remaining silent for a moment longer, then shrugged. "I want to join up. Where do I sign on?"

Remy glanced at Magnus again, and was horrified to see that he was considering her words.

"Why?", Magnus asked finally, the intensity of his gaze not fading.

"Because there's no safer place to hide from Sinister."

Magnus remained silent, seeming to consider her answer, then nodded once, slightly. "Very well. Let us go outside and discuss this further."

Remy stared at him in shock. "You can't be serious?"

Magnus leveled his gaze on him, and suddenly Remy felt like a bug pinned to glass. "Have you ever known me to joke?"

Remy stood open-mouthed, watching as the two of them walked out into the midday sun, shutting the door in his face behind them.

Iceman, aka, Bobby Drake was smiling broadly as Kitty's face appeared on the com screen.

"How's things in the Big Apple, Kitty?"

She smiled back, though she seemed rather distracted and nodded. "Things are going pretty well here. The Sentinel clean-up is moving along as scheduled."

"Then to what do I owe the pleasure of this call, my dear?"

Kitty frowned slightly, looking troubled. "I ... I'm not sure. Is everything okay there?", she asked, squinting as if to scrutinize his answer.

Bobby nodded and studied her in return. "Good as can be expected. Why? What's up?"

"I ... don't know, really. I just sort of ... sensed something", she finished lamely.

"A disturbance in the Force?" he asked with mock sincerity, smile widening into a grin.

Her face wrinkled into a disapproving grin, and she shook her head. "Something like that, yes. I just thought I felt something ... familiar. Something I haven't felt for a long time."

He chuckled as she continued to make more Star Wars quotes, unconsciously. "Obi Wan Kenobi, perhaps?" He knew, if she could have, she'd have thrown something at him then.

Instead, she sighed, seeming to reflect for a moment, then shook her head again. "I don't know. I just felt the need to check in, make sure everything was kosher. I just have this strange feeling..."

"You sure that's not Colossus you're feeling?" he asked with a mischievous grin.

And this time she did throw something at the screen. Bobby ducked despite knowing that there was no way she could hit him, and laughed aloud. Kitty laughed, too, her tension finally appearing to ease.

"You wanna talk to Daz, now?", she asked, reassured that everything was alright with them, at least for the moment.

Bobby nodded eagerly and pulled his chair closer to the screen in anticipation, then was suddenly distracted by a movement from the doorway. Turning, he saw Polaris enter. That in and of itself was not unusual. What WAS unusual was the dried blood on her uniform and the haunted look in her eyes. Hardly turning back to the screen, he murmured, "Kitty ... I'll call you back." He slapped one hand down on the com, cutting off the link and rising to his feet.

"Lorna? You okay?", he asked, peering at her in concern.

In response, Polaris merely shook her head and stepped aside, allowing the person behind her to step inside the doorway.

Once his initial shock receded just a bit, his first action was to think that he was that he was going to have to call Kitty back a lot sooner than he had thought. Then he picked his jaw up off the floor.


Continued in Chapter 3


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