The Resurrection Gauntlet
Chapter 10: REUNION
Madelyne was in quite a rage when Remy made his way downstairs
to the kitchen the next morning.
"Don't you see that this is a red herring? Sinister
is trying to throw us off his trail with this madly concocted
tale! We need to go after the man himself!"
Cringing slightly to avoid one of her expressively angry
arm movements on his way to the fridge, he grabbed a carton
of milk and quickly moved off to the cabinets on the far side
of the room. Pouring himself a bowl of cereal and trying desperately
to activate a latent mutant power of invisibility, he couldn't
quite help but steal a look at Magnus' face, to see how he
was taking the red-head's tirade.
"You forget yourself, Madelyne," Magnus began in
quiet tones, which spoke volumes to Remy of just how truly
angry he was. Magnus was one of those people who talked more
and more quietly the angrier he got until you worked him into
a fit of rage, at which point he lost all self control and
began speaking in the type of voice that made you imagine
God coming down out of the sky with all the thunder and lightning
of the heavens backing him up.
"And you forget YOURself, old man!" Madelyne spat
in return, her green eyes actually seeming to give off sparks.
"The Magnus I remember wouldn't have dared hesitate to
kill a potential adversary, and yet here you are, cowering
in your precious little base, chasing after fairy tales spun
by the very man who is your enemy!"
"How very fortunate for you, then, Madelyne, that I
am no longer that man," Magnus returned evenly, although
his expression clearly said that she sorely tempted him to
return to such ways of dealing with people. "You surely
would have been dead already, if it were so."
"Bah! You think you frighten me, old man?" She
threw her arms in the air and laughed aloud. "I could
flash-fry your synapses so fast you wouldn't even have time
to smell the smoke, so don't threaten ME, Magnus."
Remy briefly entertained the idea of crawling into one of
the nearby cabinets for cover, but then decided he'd rather
risk it and see what Magnus did to her. Besides, the coroner
might need someone to identify her body.
"Enough," Magnus said quietly, and with the smallest
gesture of his hand called the magnetic elements of his birthright
to his command, closing Madelyne's mouth and shoving her roughly
into a chair. "Don't bother trying to retaliate, Madelyne;
I am magnetically blocking your abilities out with the shield
around my body. You have had your say, as uninvited and uninspired
as it was, and now it is my turn."
Remy nearly choked on his cereal with silent laughter at
the comical expression on Madelynes face.
"When Sinister and I last met, it was as allies against
Sebastian Shaw and his thrice-damned Sentinels. We parted
on good terms and I have had no trouble with the man, until
now. And I wonder, Madelyne, I truly do, at how much that
has to do with your presence here." His eyes hard as
steel, Magnus looked her over with an expression of such cold
contemplation that her natural ivory complexion turned white
as snow. "If what he says is true, and I cannot discount
out of hand that it is not, then he is not at fault for any
of the trouble we have recently experienced. Until I am certain,
one way or another, that Sinister is lying, this team will
NOT attack him. And if you feel the need to set out after
him on your own, then I wish you the best of luck, my dear,
but you will have neither my help, nor the help of anyone
else who bears the name X-Man. And, there will be no further
discussion on the matter until I say so. Is that clear?"
Magnus finished his speech with a slight squeeze of magnetic
power before releasing Madelyne to answer.
Looking shaky, she nevertheless rose to her feet defiantly,
thrusting her face directly into Magnus', no doubt about to
say something that would cause him to disperse her into atoms,
when Remy finally spoke up. "She has a point, Magnus."
His sudden agreement seemed to send Madelyne into a shocked
silence, while Magnus sighed heavily and cast his eyes heavenward,
as if asking for strength, help, or the will not to kill both
of them where they stood. "Et tu, Remy?" he asked
in a resigned tone.
"Look at it dis, way, Magnus. Even if Sinister is telling
de truth, we leavin' de base here and in New York undefended
while we go check out his story. If dere's one t'ing I know
about de man, it's dat he don't do anything unless dere's
somet'in in it for him."
"There is something in it for him," Magnus replied
somewhat tiredly. "The fact that we will not hunt him
down and kill him for what the Marauders did to Alpha Flight,
if we discover that he is not responsible, as he claims."
"Non, dat's not enough." Remy shook his head vehemently.
"Sinister has defeated us time an' time again over de
years. He's not worried bout what we might do to him. More
likely, dis gives him a golden opportunity to come in an'
raid de house while we gone."
A faint smile touched Magnus' lips as he tried to imagine
it. "And what could he possibly take that he does not
already have? Our technology is nothing to him."
Remy's eyes began to burn a deep, crimson red as he met Magnus'
gaze evenly. "My family."
Bobby was startled suddenly awake as the alarms in the base
began blaring at top volume, nearly falling from his bed in
his haste to waken and rise. Sliding across the floor in his
bare feet, he didn't even think to throw on clothes in his
half-asleep state, bursting through the door of his room and
out into the hallway, where he almost ran right over top of
Still half-asleep, overly concerned by the alarms, and not
yet realizing his state of undress, he managed to blurt out,
"What the he-"
Then the alarms died, along with his dignity.
Kitty suspected the moment she heard the alarms that the
other team of X-Men had just arrived, and had her suspicion
confirmed a moment later when the announcement came over the
speaker system mere seconds after the alarms were silenced.
Still, she hadn't even made it all the way onto the landing
deck to greet the newly arrived team when she heard the cry.
Shoving her through the crowd of X-Men before her, she burst
into the hangar at a dead run, already having recognized the
voice and what could have caused such an outcry from that
person. She barely had time to grab Madelyne's arm and phase
her before Logan's adamantium claws popped out, inches from
the woman's throat.
"Kitty?" Logan looked from one to the other, obviously
confused. "What the blazes is going on here?"
Putting her hand on Logan's arm to calm him and letting Madelyne's
phased state drop, she drew a breath to explain. "This
"Madelyne Pryor," Madelyne purred, offering her
hand to Logan. "So good to see you again, Wolverine."
Then, turning and looking at Kitty with a deliberate smile,
she unnecessarily explained, "We've met."
"This is insanity," Storm proclaimed as shook her
head, snowy tresses gliding back and forth over her shoulders.
"Why were we not told?"
"I did not realize it was necessary to check in with
you every time I accepted a new teammate, Ororo," Magnus
"You might have warned us, knowing that we were coming
here." Storm said, no less incisively.
"It seems that it must have slipped my mind, given that
there has been one surprise or emergency or another constantly
going on in this complex in recent weeks."
"That's one heck o' a thing to go forgettin' about,
Mags," Logan spoke up sharply. "If Kitty hadn'ta
been there, I mighta cut her down on general principle, just
fer lookin' like the Phoenix."
Storm glanced at Logan, her expression giving voice to her
otherwise silent concern. She, above all people, knew how
Logan had felt about Jean, and though his reaction to Madelyne's
appearance had been as swift as it was violent, she still
wondered ... if it had indeed been the Phoenix in Jean's image,
would he have been able to follow through? She had never doubted
Logan's abilities in the past ... not even when he himself
had doubted them, but in the case of Jean Grey, all of their
reactions were questionable.
"Fair enough." Magnus shrugged, replying to Logan's
heated statement. "But we are not here to discuss the
accuracy of my memory, are we?"
"No, we are not," Storm agreed, still slightly
angry with Magnus for not telling them, but wanting to let
the subject drop. "And we can ill-afford to begin fighting
amongst ourselves." She glanced about the room, taking
in the gathering of X-Men milling around the room. "Illyana,
Madelyne, the Marauders, Je- ... the Phoenix." She shook
her head again. "Has the whole world gone mad?"
"Depends on how you look at it," spoke up a thickly
accented voice that Storm recognized long before its owner
pushed through the crowd. "Been an age, Stormy."
"Not long enough, since I have been called that."
With a lopsided grin, Remy swept her into a hard hug and
turned to wink at Logan. "You been takin' care of her,
Logan chuckled and chewed on his unlit cheroot. "Not
quite as gooda care as you took o' her on that last caper
in New Orleans a few years back."
Remy put up his hands in a gesture of mock peace, grinning
as he released Storm from his arms. "Hey, how was I to
know dat de Brotherhood had set up shop in de Big Easy since
last I was dere?"
"You coulda opened yer fool eyes. Or asked."
Remy shrugged in defeat and put his hands down, still grinning.
"Hey, I still saved de lady in de end, brought her home
safe an' sound to your ugly mug."
"Yeah, but you wouldn't believe what I had ta listen
to about yer-"
"I do hate to break up this reunion," Magnus broke
in, raising his voice to draw everyone's attention. "But
we really should be getting down to business."
"Always the voice of reason," Remy muttered as
the room quieted and everyone moved to find their chairs for
"Didn't you know?" Madelyne asked as she took a
chair behind Remy. "Magnus has traded being a terrorist
for being a politician."
Remy chuckled despite himself, and idly wondered which one
of the two careers was worse.
Kitty hugged Illyana warmly in goodbye, sighing as she straightened
and stepped back. "It's really too bad you won't be going
with us, 'Yana. It could be just like old times, when you
were in the New Mutants and I used to get sucked into your
Illyana chuckled at the memories, shaking her head. "It's
probably just as well. There are still too many things I need
to remember and adjust to, here. I'm not really a known quality
"But Magnus would have been happy to take you along
if you hadn't insisted that you weren't ready for the mission."
Shrugging, Illyana dipped her head from side to side, as
if weighing the situation. "I just think it's smarter
this way. Besides, I can help Gambit and Rogue with the kids,
since they're staying behind as well."
Kitty nodded reluctantly, accepting her friend's word. "It
is a shame, though." She frowned then, a sudden thought
occurring to her. "Do you really think Sinister would
come here after the children while we're gone?"
Illyana turned away from Kitty toward her simulated window,
now showing the darkened desert blanketed by glittering stars.
"I think he would do whatever it took to achieve his
goal," she replied, folding her arms over her chest.
Nodding again, though her friend could not see her, Kitty
reached down to pick up the small bag she was taking with
her on their trip. "It seems so obvious, though. I mean,
Gambit already had it figured out."
"Oh, you can bet that if Sinister does want the kids,
he's figured out a way to do it that no one else could fathom,
yet do it right under our noses."
Kitty cast an odd look at her friend's back, wondering at
the tone of her voice. She was about to ask her another question
when Illyana abruptly changed the subject.
"Have you found Lockheed, yet?"
Shaking her head regretfully, Kitty sighed. "No. He's
probably hiding out somewhere, pouting because I've been too
busy to give him any attention lately. If you see him while
"I'll take care of him," Illyana agreed to the
unfinished question without turning around.
"Thanks. Okay, I gotta run, 'Yana. Take care, and we'll
be back soon." She slung her bag over her shoulder and
cast one last glance at her friends back before opening the
"You, too, Kitty. See you soon."
"Bye, 'Yana." She turned the knob and was about
to step out of the room when Illyana spoke again.
"Kitty...," she hesitated for a moment, as if debating
whether or not to say anything, then turned and looked at
her friend earnestly. "In case something goes wrong while
you're on your mission, in case I don't get the chance to
tell you again ... you're the best friend I ever had ... you're
the only person outside of my family who's ever gone to the
wire for me ... I love you like my sister, and no matter what
ever happens, I need you to know that."
Kitty dropped her bag and grabbed Illyana in an impulsive
hug. "Of course I know that, silly," she said softly,
and then with a confidence she didn't quite feel, "And
don't you worry. We're the X-Men; of course we'll make it
Illyana simply nodded into her friend's shoulder, and Kitty
couldn't see the tears brimming in her eyes.
Logan sighed and puffed hard on his cheroot, ignoring the
cold wind coming in off the desert.
Oh, Jeannie ... will you never rest in peace, darlin'?
he wondered as he stared up into the stars. I couldn't
kill the Phoenix years ago, when I thought she was you ...
and in a way, she was you. More you than Madelyne will ever
be. She had your spirit, your fire, your nobility ... she
lived and breathed as you. She sacrificed her life to save
the world, just like you woulda done. And back then, when
I believed she really was you, part of me died with her that
day on the moon. A part that sprang to life with joy when
we found out you were still alive. I never told you how much
I loved you, Jeannie, but you always knew, even without your
telepathy ta tell you. And now you're gone, eight years in
your grave, and I still miss you every day ... this hollow
ache in my heart won't ever die. You're gone, and now the
Phoenix, the only creature made in your image that ever really
possessed anything good in you, is back. I've seen you die
so many times, darlin', in so many different incarnations
... will I be able to watch you die again? Will I be able
to kill you myself this time, if I have to?
He sighed again and threw his cheroot into the wind, watching
as it was carried off into the night, a bright glowing flame
against the backdrop of the stars. The image reminded him
again of the Phoenix, and he closed his eyes tightly, finding
no answers to his questions as a beautiful face framed by
fiery hair filled his mind.
Continued in Chapter
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