The Resurrection Gauntlet
Chapter 13: TRIAL BY FIRE
Rogue hadn't even fully awakened before she knew something
was definitely, inherently wrong. The house was quiet, far
too quiet for this hour of the morning. Placing a hand to
her groggy head, she moaned in pain and sat up.
And then the memories came rushing back, filling the gaping
hole in her mind with a speed that almost sent her spinning
back into unconsciousness.
Remy! Remy was gone! She leaped from their bed, losing her
balance and crashing hard into the night table beside it.
Undeterred, her invulnerability keeping her from feeling anything,
she arose from the wreckage in a panic. Remy had gone after
Sinister ... and the children. The children! That was what
was missing. There was no sound from the outer rooms, no squeals
of delight, or peals of laughter to break the morning's silence.
Rushing from her room, she took off straight down the hall
toward Illyana's room in a frenzy.
They could all feel the presence as they landed in California,
like a force of nature, beyond all reason, beyond all comprehension,
beyond all human grasp of emotion. If not for their hard years
of mental training as X-Men, they would have been swept away
totally by it, even drawn into it, like moths to the flame,
so close to the source.
"Siryn, you stay behind with Madelyne," Magnus
ordered as they exited the jet.
Siryn looked down with more than a little trepidation at
the woman being submitted to her care. She wasn't positive,
but she was pretty sure that this bluish tone wasn't the woman's
Flames rose about her form as Henry McCoy looked on ... he
thought it was perhaps the most beautiful thing he had ever
seen. A nimbus of fire that completely surrounded her statuesque
body in the form of wings, like an angel straight from heaven,
or hell, depending on which version you subscribed to. He
was so enraptured by her beauty and his own success, he had
no fear for his own life in her presence.
Magnus was taken aback by the sight that greeted him within
the derelict complex. He had never personally gone up against
the Phoenix, though he had certainly read and heard enough
about her. But none of it described the majestic presence
of such a creature. Watching Henry McCoy twist within her
fiery, taloned, claw, he was so enraptured that he, too, nearly
forgot the danger they faced.
"Wake up, Mags," it was Logan's voice, prompting
him from his awe-inspired state. "This is our act."
He looked to the man, seeing the lines in his face for the
first time since he had known him. Logan looked to be as old
as Magnus himself, but it rarely showed on him like it did
now. His gaze falling on the rest of the group, he noted their
hesitation as they, too, took in what they were facing. For
all that Logan had spoken, no one moved an inch, each consumed
by their own thoughts.
Jean ... oh my dear friend ... was all Storm could
think as she watched the scene before her with infinitely
sad blue eyes.
Jean ... Bobby thought bleakly as he watched one
of his oldest and dearest friends about to commit murder.
By the White Wolf ... Piotr marveled, riveted where
Only Logan's mind remained perfectly silent, as still and
solid as his body, though the sheer force of power being exerted
here was enough to drive the other X-Men backward. Only his
eyes gave way, squinting against the glaring fire in the night
sky, and the emotion held within those black depths was known
to neither God nor man.
The concerned thoughts emanating from the group were an open
book to the fiery creature, and she hesitated just for a moment
as she stared at her former friends gathered about her. She
had memories of these people ... fond memories for some ...
especially the one whose thoughts she could not read. His
mind spoke nothing to her, but she sensed it was only his
supreme effort of will and her lack of directly trying to
probe his thoughts that kept him secreted from her. Like half-remembered
dreams, she saw his face ... behind a ... bouquet of flowers
in a hospital ... ?..she had been ... hurt? Sick? Or had he
been hurt? Had they both been hurt ... ? Another flash, and
he was above her in agony, claws extended, somewhere ... on
... the moon? He was going to ... kill her? Save her? But
... he didn't ... couldn't ... because ... because he ...
She couldn't hold onto the images, and they escaped her grasp
like quicksilver, gone before she could truly understand them.
But she knew the feelings they inspired within her ... and
for just that moment, her energy nimbus wavered, flickering
with indecision ...
It was then that Magnus recovered his senses and struck.
Rogue growled and screamed with frustration, kicking one
of Illyana's pillows across the room. They were gone, as surely
as the rest of the X-Men were gone, as surely as Remy was
gone, and be damned if she knew how to find any of them!
The sun was just cresting the mountaintops of Seattle as
Remy reached his destination. A sense of delirious anticipation
filled him as he made his way into Sinister's complex, certain
that he would find the geneticist completely unaware.
Sinister watched Seera go down without emotion, knowing he
could clone her again at any time. The woman was of less than
importance right now anyway; he knew exactly what was happening.
The Phoenix brushed off Magnus' attack as one would swat
down a gnat, her indecision of mere seconds ago completely
gone, sending one of her fiery wings out to snatch him up.
"You play with your life, old man. Tell me why I have
been summoned to this plane again and I might yet let you
Helpless for perhaps the first time in his life, the most
powerful mutant on the face of the earth found himself completely
at a loss for an answer.
Remy made his way through the bowels of the complex, finding
that his mind remembered the path through the tunnels with
too much ease for his comfort. There had been a time when
he knew them by heart, could have found his way through them
in complete blackness, a time when he had run missions for
Sinister on a regular basis through these tunnels. But even
worse than these tunnels, were the Morlock tunnels, and Remy
could never forget how the blood had run through the gutters
that day, staining the stone and earth as irrevocably as it
had stained his own hands. He had never forgiven himself for
that day, but neither had he forgiven Sinister for placing
him at the head of such a massacre. The worst part was that
no had ever figured out why, exactly, Sinister had launched
an attack on the mostly passive, reclusive group of Morlocks.
There seemed to be no rhyme nor reason to it, and that made
the slaughter all the worse. A killer kills out of necessity;
a murderer kills indiscriminately. And for all that Remy had
been responsible for quite a bit of death in his time, therein
lay the difference between the two of them. In a world where
justice still existed, Sinister would have been put down like
a rabid dog long ago, but instead he had been allowed to run
free and destroy every life he came across, in some way or
With all the hate in his heart, Remy gritted his teeth, the
sense of anticipation never leaving him. He had waited far
too long for this moment ... a moment when at last, he would
hold the final card over Sinister's head, winning the pot
and taking all.
And for all that simultaneously, several states away, the
X-Men were being completely taken aback, shocked, suprised
and awed by the Phoenix, no mutant on the face of the earth
was more surprised than Remy when he finally reached the heart
of the complex and saw his children there.
Wanda Maximoff wrestled with several different levels of
emotion as she watched her father fall mercy to the creature's
energy tendrils. She did not know the woman personally, but
she knew that she would never get the chance to know her father
if no one spoke up right now.
"I know why!" she called out, stopping the flurry
of activity around her, cold.
"I am not in the mood for this, Remy," Sinister
sighed tiredly as the X-Man stepped into view.
His thoughts in utter chaos, Remy simply stood and stared
at the scene before him. Once, in his youth, he had been hit
in the solar plexus with a baseball bat, forcing all the air
from his chest and leaving behind a burning ache that starved
for breath, an ache that pulsed and thrummed to the marrow
of his bones and pounded through his body like a jackhammer.
The sledgehammer that hit him in the chest now had nothing
on that. Irinee' and Jean-Luc sat like tiny dolls before Sinister,
their delicate frames supported by steel chairs that looked
more fit for electrocution than comfort. Bands of metal encircled
their angelic heads, the dark metal in striking contrast to
their snow-white hair, large green eyes wide as saucers as
they stared straight ahead, almost zombie-like. He was shocked,
horrified, and violated on a level so deep he couldn't even
begin to fathom it. This was a perversion of reality, a nightmare
sprung to life, and as he watched, Sinister smiled coldly
and deliberately, ruffling Jean-Luc's hair with mocking parental
love. Maddened beyond all reason at the sight of his children
within Sinister's care, he launched himself at the villain,
not bothering to use his mutant ability as he charged him.
"Really, Remy," Sinister commented as he casually
side-stepped the attack. "I would think you would know
better than that."
"Dat's de t'ing, Sinister ... I just never seem to learn,"
he snarled as he leapt again upon the geneticist.
The sound of his voice seemed to jolt Irinee' and Jean-Luc
from their trance. "Daddy!" his children screamed
as one, and he felt his heart wrench painfully in his chest
as he spared a glance in their direction.
"I can save them, Remy," Sinister said slyly from
beneath him. "The power of the Phoenix already threatens
to overwhelm and burn out their tiny minds, like so many matches
in the night. Already, I keep them from the fate which would
be ultimately theirs, without my intervention."
Remy struggled with several emotions all at once, loyalty
to his family, his debt to Sinister, the possibility of continued
life for his children. He had run over this ground time and
time again, had thought he had made his decision. And now,
his moment in the spotlight had come and he could feel all
logical thought draining from him as fear for his children
overwhelmed him. It was their very nearness that caused his
indecision. If they had been miles away, he could have acted
out his plan with the knowledge that they were safe and sound,
far from Sinister's reach. This gave Sinister a great deal
more leverage, and Remy cursed in every language he knew as
he tried to figure out how the man had beaten his hand once
again. The hell of it was, he knew that Sinister wouldn't
lie to him, Sinister never lied. He told only as much of the
truth as need be, though, and Remy had to hope that there
was more to the truth than the man told, that his children
could be saved by other means. If he could only figure out
a way to get them out of here ... he needed more time to work
out a new plan. Unfortunately, time didn't seem to be a commodity
he had available. Back to Plan A, den.
"No deal," he spat through gritted teeth as he
bore all his weight down on Sinister's throat.
"A pity ... they shall die then, just as surely as you
will," Sinister said, almost sadly as his body stretched
and contorted, rising up from the floor and bringing Remy
The Phoenix hesitated once again as she looked to Wanda for
an answer. And Wanda, for her part, searched her mind desperately
for one, finding nothing. I'm sorry, father, she thought,
wishing vainly that he could hear her.
Henry McCoy, a.k.a. Dark Beast, continued his dance of delight,
now released from the Phoenix's claws.
"Isn't she extraordinary?!" he asked of the group
gathered before him, not seeming bothered at all when they
did not answer him. "The only creature who might be able
to take out Sinister once and for all!" he proclaimed
madly. Then, finally taking some stock of the group before
him, he frowned just slightly. "But ... where's Madelyne?
She has to be here ... has to witness my ... our ... final
Polaris realized two things within the time that Dr. McCoy
spoke. One; Madelyne had been his other creation in this entire
scheme, and two; he was playing with forces FAR beyond his
comprehension. All of the others were so focused on the Phoenix
that they seemed to have forgotten about the man behind her
re-creation. She exchanged a glance with Bobby, unable to
glean any emotion from his iced-over eyes. She couldn't tell
if he had heard or not, but she knew if they were going to
make ANY sense of this situation, they were going to have
to get some information from the man in charge of this whole
maniacal scheme. Calling her magnetic powers to her, she launched
herself at the insane man with the velocity of a bullet.
Magnus, realizing that Wanda had bought him time, but not
his life, searched his mind for an explanation that might
satisfy the creature. He had no idea why Dark Beast would
have brought this powerhouse of a madwoman back to life, unless
he meant for her to destroy the world, and Magnus certainly
wasn't going to encourage that. Then, all of his thoughts
came to a grinding halt as he watched the Phoenix stop Polaris
dead in mid-flight, sending her backward with all the velocity
she had been flying forward. There was a sickening thud as
her body hit the side of the jet, putting a deep dent into
the gleaming hull. As if in slow motion, he heard Bobby cry
out, saw the Phoenix turn her head just slightly away from
him, gleaming eyes falling on Polaris as her right hand came
up, poised for what looked like a killing blow. He summoned
all the air that he could, feeling the heat of the air around
him searing the delicate tissue of his lungs as he inhaled.
It didn't matter, he would not be beaten, would not see anyone
die for so pathetic a reason as lack of voice. "No!"
he choked out, not caring what he blurted out at this point.
All she needed was something to focus on, and that, he could
give her. "You have been called here to save two children,
not to kill!"
The Phoenix settled her burning gaze on him with a dubious
air. "I have been far better known as a Destroyer rather
than a Savior, mortal." And a twisted smile appeared
on her dark, beautiful face, a smile that sent cold chills
through Magnus' body ... a smile that he knew he would see
in his nightmares for years to come.
"Lorna!" Bobby cried out with more anguish than
he thought he still possessed as he saw her go down under
the Phoenix's onslaught. His heart thudded to a stop in his
chest as she hit the side of the Blackbird and slid slowly
down it to the ground. No! Dammit, not again! he thought
as he ran to her side.
And above them all, from the fiery bird in the sky, came
a keening wail of mad laughter that was heard in every mind
across the world.
Continued in Chapter
Down-Home Charm / Fan-Fiction /
Fan Artwork / History Books /
Photo Album / Songbank /
Miscellania / Links /
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