Down-Home Charm Photo Album Songbank Fan-Fiction History Books Fan Art Miscellania Links
Fan-Fiction >
Alternate Realities >
"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


Bobby almost thought he was imagining things when twenty minutes after he and Gambit returned to searching, he heard a soft moan from beneath a pile of rubble nearby. The night had been so long and disparaging that he had nearly given up hope completely. Standing perfectly still in the darkness, he listened apprehensively, not expecting the sound to be repeated, expecting it to be a simple, hopeful figment of his own imagination. A full minute passed, and with a heavy heart, he stepped one foot forward, about to move on, when the sound came again.

"Gambit!" he called out excitedly. "Hurry, we got a live one over here!"

Magnus sighed and set his jaw angrily. "I will ask you one more time, Arclight," he said quietly, biting off each word. "Who sent you to do this, and why?"

The hulking woman laughed mockingly from within her bonds of steel, though it was a far cry compared to her normal, almost baritone voice. Pale from lack of blood and exhausted from her ordeal, she seemed a shadow of her usual intimidating presence. Magnus had to give her credit though; she had regained consciousness quickly and had managed not to slip into shock despite the sudden loss of her arm. Her stamina did her credit, to be sure, but he was running short on patience after the events that had transpired tonight.

"And I'll tell you one more time: forget about it, Magneto. I'm not telling you and your precious pansies anything. You'll find out soon enough what's going on ... that is, if you don't get your tickets punched, first."

With but a thought, he tightened the metal bands around her body, causing her to wince and gasp for air. "You play a dangerous game, Marauder. One you cannot hope to win. I give you one more chance to answer my question, and then--"

"I tire of this routine, Magnus," Madelyne interrupted loftily from her position  in the corner of the room. "Why not simply let me rip the secrets from her mind and save yourself the stress? Can't be too careful of high-blood pressure at your age, after all," she added with a smirk.

He cast her such a dark look that she was almost sure it would turn her to dust, then nodded once, stiffly. "Do it."

With a cheshire cat grin, she reached out with a mental probe, not bothering to enter the Marauders mind gently ... and was nearly knocked to the floor with the backlash that struck her like a physical blow as she encountered the woman's mental shields.

Unable to supress a gasp, she recovered from her unsteady footing, staring at the woman with shock.

Arclight merely laughed softly in return.

"How much longer?" Colossus asked impatiently from the passenger seat in the cockpit of the Blackbird.

"Another hour or so and we should be there," Kitty replied from the pilot seat, no less eager than her husband to see his sister. "I'm already pushing the Blackbird to her highest limits ... we can't go much faster without risking complete engine failure."

They were lucky to still have the craft at all, considering how badly everything had been destroyed during the war with the Shadow King. With humanity scattered and on the run, no new weapons, machines, transports, or anything were being made. She supposed that in way, that was good, thought it would be better if such things weren't necessary at all. Unfortunately, the world could use more war-geared technology at this point. It had taken all of her considerable mechanical/computer skill to even get the jet running again, and still it was nowhere near top performance level.

But it scarcely mattered. Illyana was alive, and there was nothing in Heaven or Hell or even on this Earth that could keep her from her best friend. She hardly even wondered at how so much as she simply thanked God that it was so.

Lockheed cooed inquisitively from her shoulder, wrapping his long, purple tail gently around her neck. Kitty smiled and leaned against the little dragon lovingly, understanding his sentiment if not his words. Lockheed nuzzled back affectionately, tangling himself further into her hair. He could tell that his mistress was extraordinarily happy, and he knew why. But unlike his mistress, Lockheed was inherently suspicious of Illyana's sudden return, as he was of everything that had the potential to hurt Kitty..or even Colossus, these days.

He suspected something much more sinister was at work here, and he meant to find out exactly what.

Bobby, Gambit and the sole survivor they had found teleported into the med-lab in a brilliant flash of light, courtesy of Illyana. Judging from the frowning looks they received, Bobby guessed they had just interrupted something rather important. Not that it mattered, really. Nothing was more important than saving the life of the man they had found.

Magnus frowned at them a moment longer, then, in a rare event, actually smiled. "Eugene!," he exclaimed with real pleasure. "How wonderful to see you have survived."

"Been around too long to (cough) let a couple of bullets take me out now," the short, stocky man returned, his bitter humor causing the entire room to smile slightly. The lightened mood quickly dulled, however, as Arclight glowered at him murderously, reminding everyone of severity of the situation.

"Well, don't stand there gawking," Magnus snapped, his momentary happiness disappearing. "Get the man to the med-slab, now."

Polaris jumped to attention at once, taking over the situation as she used her magnetic power to gently transport the man into the next room where he could heal properly. A moment later she disappeared behind him, leaving behind the tense situation in the main med-lab.

Arclight didn't even wait for the door to slide completely shut before she started her tirade again. "You may as well kill me now, Magnus," the Marauder taunted from her helpless position in the air, metal bonds digging deep into her skin. "You're not going to get anything useful from me. I don't even know why Ice-boy there didn't finish me when he had the chance. Destroying my arm was so much more merciful," she added caustically.

Bobby stared at her impassively, obviously unimpressed. "Much less than what you would have done to me."

Magnus didn't even look at her, seeming to consider, then finally nodded. "You are right," he agreed almost amiably, then closed his fist tight.

Arclight could feel her blood moving unnaturally through her veins, barely having time to realize what he meant to do before her heart shut down completely, the iron in her blood clogging each of her main arteries. Her head sagged to her breast, and finally the sharp-tongued, belligerent Marauder lay eternally silent.

"Was that really necessary?" Bobby felt the need to ask, after a few seconds of suprised silence had passed.

Magnus looked at him curiously, seeming surprised that he was being questioned at all. "Of course it was, Robert. Unless you meant for us to keep her here forever as a prisoner, for we certainly could not set her free to kill more innocents. She was naught but a killing machine, a vicious murderer who would have ended your life as soon as looked at you ... and yet, you still feel the need to ask such a question?"

Bobby lips thinned into a hard line and he said nothing more, though his thoughts echoed much of what Magnus had just said. It was almost ironic that he should say such a thing, considering the man had been a terrorist for most of his early career as a villain. In fact, he wasn't much better now, save for the fact that now he only killed those who stood in the way of returning the world to order, Bobby thought.

Without another word, Magnus spun imperiously on his heel and exited the room, Madelyne sauntering close behind him, leaving Bobby and Gambit to stare at Arclights body.

"Lorna? You busy?" Bobby asked, poking his head through the doorway to the healing room.

"No, Bobby, just watching over them right now," she answered quietly, motioning for him to enter.

He stepped inside, the door sliding shut automatically behind him. The room was dimly lit to allow the patients better rest. Called the "healing room" for its recuperative pods, it contained three of the Shi'ar made, transparent cocoons. Siryn lay off to the far side of the room, looking as if she were resting peacefully within her healing pod, while Puck lay in the pod closest to the entrance, Lorna standing watch over him.

"How's he doing?" he asked, coming up beside her.

"Pretty well, suprisingly. The man has a hearty constitution, I'll give him that," Lorna said with an admiring smile. "He's not out of the woods yet, but it looks like he'll make it."

They stood for a while in silence, they way old friends do sometimes, feeling no need to fill the space with words.

"Arclight's dead," he spoke up after a time, and Lorna merely nodded in response, having expected it. "When did it get so easy?" he wondered aloud. "All the killing, the complete disregard for life ... whatever happened to the good old days when we fought guys like Unus the Untouchable, or the Vanisher?"

"Gone, like our youth," Lorna returned, no less wistfully. "I miss those days, too Bobby, even though I never really wanted to be a super-hero. It was so much easier back then ... I could walk away from it, try to live a normal life and feel that the world was still taken care of, that it didn't need me. But I guess no one can escape their fate." She sighed. "Sometimes I regret the day I ever heard the word mutant."

"I know, Lorna," he said, placing a comforting hand on her shoulder. And he did know. Too well, in fact. He himself had always wanted to be a super-hero. It had always seemed so exciting, so adventurous, almost glorified. When he had started out, he had truly thought they could change the world. Lorna had never wanted any of those things, though. Born with the green hair that marked her as a mutant, she spent much of her life in denial of her powers, until Mesmero had come along and hypnotized her, using her for her abilities and pitting her against the X-Men.

He still remembered the first time he had ever seen her, surrounded by a glowing, crackling nimbus of magnetic energy, clothed in a shade of green that perfectly matched her hair, looking more like a goddess than a simple mutant. He still thought today that it had been in that moment that he had fallen for her.

But that had been years ago, when they were mere teenagers playing at love. She had joined the X-Men for a time, and she and Bobby had shared a brief relationship before she had moved on. Time eventually linked her with Cyclops' brother, Havok, and they had seemed destined to be together despite the many tragedies that plagued them throughout the years. The only time Bobby ever felt even a twinge of guilt for his actions with Havok was when he looked at Lorna, knowing that she had loved the man once upon a time.

"Do ... do you ever hate me for what I did to him?" Bobby asked hesitantly, not wanting to know, but somehow needing to hear her answer.

Her eyes snapped up to meet his, not fully registering the odd question in her drifting mind at first. Then she saw the regret in his soft, brown eyes, and she understood. "No, Bobby," she said softly, magnanimously. "I would have done it myself after some of the things he did, especially after what he did to you," she went on, carefully avoiding mentioning Angelica's name. Still, she saw the sadness in his eyes at her reference, and she inwardly wept for his pain, knowing exactly how he felt. The only difference for her was that when she had still loved Alex Summers, and thought him dead, he had always managed to return somehow. "Everything I felt for him was dead before the Shadow King ever claimed him. After what he did to me while he pretended to be with the Brotherhood the first time ... I simply couldn't forgive him."

Bobby nodded, unable to disagree. "I always thought you deserved better, anyway, Lorna."

She smiled sadly, reaching up to touch his cheek. "I knew it then, but I didn't want to realize it. Eventually, I had no choice. He was even more married to his job as a super-hero than Scott was. I seem to have a penchant for falling for guys too devoted to their work to have time for me. My time with Steve- Captain America taught me that. He was as bad as Alex, in his own way." She drew back her hand and smiled with irony. "It's funny ... but sometimes I find myself wondering how different things would have been if I had just stayed with you."

"Oh, come on, Lorna," he chuckled, trying to play off her statement. "We both know I would have driven you crazy, immature as I was back then."

"Maybe," she chuckled in return, seeming to consider. Then her face went completely still as her eyes locked on his, her voice growing even softer. "But you're a grown man, now."

Something changed in that instant between them, Bobby felt it as surely as if lightning had just struck and left an electrical charge in the small space that separated them. "Lorna..," he began uncertainly, having no idea what to say. And then he couldn't speak at all as her lips drew closer to his, lost in the moment, lost in the deep emerald pools of her eyes. He stared into their shining depths an instant longer before closing his own eyes, unable to do anything but relent to the moment.

And then the door to the healing room hissed open.

Lorna drew back suddenly, as if slapped, and Bobby started guiltily, like a child caught doing something he shouldn't be.

"Uhh ... maybe I just come back later," Gambit said with forced lightness as he ducked back out the door.

His words jolted Lorna from her frozen position, and she made for the door hastily, stepping out of it before it had even fully closed behind Gambit.

Bobby heaved a long, weary sigh and let his head fall against the metal wall of the healing room with a dull thud.

The scientist sat perched over his latest and greatest experiment, looking down at the lovely face of his subject with something like adoration.

"Soon, my dear," he whispered almost reverently as he stroked her cheek. "Very soon."


Continued in Chapter 7


Down-Home Charm / Fan-Fiction / Fan Artwork / History Books / Photo Album / Songbank / Miscellania / Links / Updates

Legalese: Rogue, the X-Men, and the distinctive likenesses thereof are Trademarks of Marvel Characters, Inc. and are used without permission. This is an unofficial fansite, and is not sponsored, licensed or approved by Marvel Comics.
Privacy Policy and Submission Guidelines