The Resurrection Gauntlet
Chapter 16: LIFE INCARNATE
In the depths of her memories, the Phoenix was dying. Their
spaceship was burning up as it hit the Earth's atmosphere,
and she could feel the radiation beginning to seep through
her TK bubble and into her body. Her flesh was turning gray,
rapidly emaciating as the radiation ate away at her, and she
called out in desperation (goodbye?) to the man she loved
more than life itself.
It was here that the memory diverged, then converged again
with another, deeply hidden memory. In the original memory,
Jean Grey had cried out for help, and a cosmic entity called
the Phoenix had answered her call. The Phoenix had agreed
to save Jean, placing her body in a cocoon to heal. But the
Phoenix longed to be human, to know what it was like to be
mortal, and struck a deal with Jean which would allow her
to take a piece of Jean's personality and assume her mortal
form. Jean, having no other choice but death, had agreed.
And so it was done.
But that was a lie.
Deep within her subconscious, buried so far down that she
would never have found it had she not been searching for the
missing pieces of herself, she found another memory, one that
She had cried out Scott's name, yes, that much was true.
But what had happened after that was something even she hadn't
imagined. The radiation that was slowly killing her had triggered
a change in her mutant genes, upping them to their most powerful
potential, mutating the mutation for lack of a better explanation.
She had felt the change, felt her power suddenly increase
far beyond normal proportions, shutting out the radiation
from her form and saving her life. But the damage had been
done, her body was failing. She had no time to worry about
that at the moment, though. The ship was hurtling toward the
earth with the velocity of a rocket, and power increase or
no, it was taking all of her telekinetic control to keep it
from flying to pieces.
The ship obediently slowed, and she felt a moment of triumph,
just before blacking out on the console.
When next she remembered waking, she had been in the hospital,
and her powers had been increased beyond any potential Charles
Xavier had ever realized. She had never explained her theory
of the radiation to the X-Men, and she thought now that maybe
she hadn't, because at the time, she hadn't remembered.
The months flew by in a blur, bringing her up to the point
where she had sacrificed herself on the moon. It had been
the only logical thing to do, in her mind. Obviously she couldn't
control her increased powers, and she had already killed some
five billion people because of it. Her penance for her crimes
would be death, and she herself would carry out the sentence.
It had seemed like the only option at the time, and the best
course of action she had. This was where all of her memories
should have stopped ... and would have if she were truly the
Phoenix entity who had replaced Jean Grey. But now she knew
that the Phoenix had never replaced Jean Grey at all ... it
had been her, the entire time.
She trembled inside her mind at the revelation, unable to
accept it. There had never been a Phoenix at all. And if it
hadn't been the Phoenix who had taken all those lives, then
it had been Jean Grey. It had been her, all along.
Magnus took one look at the children's destroyed room and
the Phoenix's unconscious body and knew exactly what had happened
"Where did she go?" Magnus asked, kneeling down
"After ... Sinister," Illyana rasped.
Magnus' look of concern faded rapidly as his anger came to
the fore. "What? I strictly forbid-"
Illyana shook her head, interrupting him. "He was after
the kids ... I ... it was me ... I helped. And Remy died ...
trying to save them."
Anger turned to confusion, and Magnus stared at her for a
long moment in silence, trying to make sense of it all.
"Wow ... score one for Rogue," Madelyne said as
she entered the room and surveyed the scene.
Magnus was about to respond with a scathing remark when suddenly,
Jean-Luc and Irinee' began convulsing violently.
She hadn't died then. It had felt like dying, her atoms discorporating
in a sudden flash of fire, but no, that hadn't been the end.
Now that the lock on this box of memories had come undone,
they were coming faster and faster.
She remembered how it had felt, being broken into a thousand
tiny fragments, her very soul split asunder at its core and
replicated in each atom. Her very essence was scattered into
remnants, and without a form to hold them together, they each
went in whatever direction called to them. A tiny bit of her
was captured by Lilandra and placed into a memory crystal,
which in turn was given to her parents to remember her by.
The rest of her roamed the galaxy at random, searching for
Another piece of herself found its home in her clone, Sinister's
creation Madelyne Pryor, actually breathing it into life.
But it was a mere fragment of the woman who had been Jean
Grey, and was overwhelmed by the memories Sinister had implanted.
Eventually, that piece had melded into Maddie's persona and
become part of it.
The rest of her found its final home in Jamaica bay, the
place where the Phoenix had originally been born. With great
care, she had gathered herself together, placing herself in
a cocoon where she could reform and heal. But this time, she
promised herself as she slowly became more coherent, she would
not become the monster she had been before. There would be
no Phoenix power. So thinking, she had buried all of her memories
as Phoenix as deeply as she could, using her telepathy to
cut off her access to them before she shut it down forever.
So deep was her shame in her actions that she rearranged her
memories to remember the Phoenix force as a separate entity
that had taken her place. That was the story she had believed,
even wanted to believe, on a subconscious level for so many
years, that finding the truth behind it now was terrifying.
The power had been too much, so she put locks on it, kept
it at bay to the extent that she even shut out her telepathic
ability and her memories.
When they had found her, years later, she had been head-blind,
with no telepathic power to speak of. Her memories remained
as she had arranged them, and no one had ever questioned the
wildly concocted story she gave them. She, herself, had believed
it, so why shouldn't have they? The piece of herself that
had merged with Madelyne was returned to her eventually, and
then she was nearly whole. Slowly, over many months, as she
began to trust herself again, her telepathic ability returned.
It was diminished in comparison to the Phoenix's power, but
at just the right level for Jean Grey prior to her radiation
exposure. Even as she had released the locks on her telepathic
power, she had kept it under control, keeping it to a level
she believed was her maximum.
It had taken even longer to realize her true potential for
power, and to feel comfortable using it. She had always held
back, subconsciously, out of fear for Scott's reaction and
her own lack of control. She had slowly been opening up that
untapped power, exploring it and learning how to use it again,
the locks on her memories gradually giving way. She had been
on the verge of reclaiming her power as the Phoenix when the
battle with the Shadow king had come. Perhaps, if she had
been fully familiar with her power then, the battle would
have ended quite differently. As it was, she had died along
with all the other telepath's across the world.
So why had she died in that battle, but not when the gun
on the moon had fired on her? Was it an ability of the gun
that had made her discorporate in such a way? Uncertain, she
dug deeper into memory, finding what she was seeking very
close to the surface.
She hadn't died, then, either. Again, her atoms had dispersed,
then re-converged in the place of the Phoenix's birth. She
had been rebuilding, healing all of this time. Apparently
someone had found her, had tampered with her memories before
she woke up, because the state of confusion she had awoken
with had been unnatural. She had awakened with thoughts of
the Dark Phoenix, eager to take up her role as Destroyer of
Worlds, something she would never have done on her own.
That bothered her, but she found that the implications of
her memories were far more pressing, and terrifying. If all
of her memories were true, if everything had happened as she
now remembered it ...
The radiation had transformed her, and she had truly become
a force of nature, not unlike the cosmic entity she had blamed
all of her misfortune on for years ... and that meant she
was the Phoenix in more than name and deed. It meant she could
She was immortal.
Without their mother to siphon off their power, Irinee' and
Jean-Luc's telepathy had built up to the bursting point again.
"What the hell is going on?" Magnus asked angrily
as the world continued to slowly unravel around him.
Madelyne frowned, then walked toward the children's beds,
closing her eyes momentarily before gasping aloud. "Their
brains are being fried by their own power."
"Can you help them?" Magnus asked tensely, his
mind racing to put together the pieces. Apparently the Phoenix's
telepathic burst of thought at the moment of her resurrection
had triggered the children's telepathy before its time. He
felt like he was asking the lion to take the lambs into its
den, but he had no choice.
Madelyne frowned, looking uncertain. "I might be able
to merge with them telepathically and help keep their power
"But will you?" Magnus asked quietly. This was
the moment of truth. Either she would help the children willingly,
or he would threaten her with her life. If that didn't work,
well, he'd figure that out when he got to it.
Madelyne arched a brow at Magnus, seeming to consider. Her
first instinct had been to help the children, she hadn't even
questioned it, and now she wondered about that. She'd been
willing to sacrifice her own son to destroy the world, once.
Why should she go out of her way to help children that weren't
She pondered the question for a long moment, then shrugged.
Her deal with Magnus had been that she would help the team
as long as they helped her against Sinister. If Rogue was
going after Sinister with Phoenix power, she'd probably succeed
in killing him. At the very least, she could repay Rogue for
trying to take out Sinister, even if she didn't succeed. That
was the deal she had made, after all.
"Oh ye of little faith," she replied, closing her
eyes again and reaching out into the children's minds.
Bobby paced back and forth in front of Lorna's unconscious
body anxiously. "So what's the verdict, Siryn?"
Theresa sighed and brushed her hair back from her face. "It's
hard to say ... Lorna is the best 'doctor' we have, unfortunately.
From the med-slab specs, it seems she has massive trauma to
her internal organs, right arm shattered from the shoulder
down, broken collarbone, concussion-"
"Enough." Bobby held up his hand, the growing list
making his stomach turn. "Will she ... will she be all
right?" he asked in a much more subdued tone.
"I think so." Theresa nodded. "The specs are
promising and she'd already recovered somewhat on the trip
home. It's a good thing you got her in there so quick Bobby
... she was this close to dying" she held up her thumb
and index finger about a quarter inch apart to demonstrate.
He was about to open his mouth to reply, when suddenly the
med-slab alarms began to blare urgently. "What the he--?!"
"She's going into cardiac arrest!" Theresa yelled
above the din, all the blood draining from her face.
Logan sat crouched over the Phoenix's body, utterly silent,
a brooding look upon his face.
Had she always been this beautiful? he wondered. She
was even more vibrant than he remembered, even in her comatose
state. How could he ever bring himself to kill such a thing
of beauty, such a wild force of nature, such a kindred spirit?
And yet, how could he not, when the very world was threatened
by her existence?
He heard Magnus moving behind him, and he wondered for a
moment if the other man was measuring him as much as Logan
was measuring himself.
He flexed his hand once or twice, staring down at it, and
for a moment, Magnus thought he might just pop his claws and
kill her then and there. Then, slowly, he let his hand drift
back down to his side and continued watching her, waiting
for the faintest sign of life, or threat.
Rogue rejoiced in the feeling of the wind that rushed over
her face. She had always been able to fly relatively fast,
but the speed of the Phoenix's travel was intoxicating. Even
better than that, was the knowledge that with each passing
second, she drew closer to her goal, and she could almost
The ground would run red with Sinister's blood before she
was done with him.
To be continued.
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