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"The Archetype Association"

The Archetype Association

Author's Notes
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 30
Chapter 31
Chapter 32
Chapter 33
Chapter 34
Chapter 35
Chapter 36
Chapter 37
Chapter 38
Chapter 39
Chapter 40
Chapter 41
Chapter 42
Chapter 43
Chapter 44
Chapter 45
Chapter 46
Chapter 47
Chapter 48
Chapter 49


Rogue knocked lightly on the door to Peter's - no, Archetype's room. She cursed silently, reminding herself that Peter was no longer the occupant. "Come in," she heard from the other side. She opened the door and went through.

Archetype was seated at his computer, busily typing away. He glanced up at her. "Hello, Rogue," he said politely, taking off his glasses.

She looked at him. "Why don't you wear contacts?"

"What, and ruin my secret identity?" He smiled at her chuckle.

"What are you writing?" she asked him.

"Something I've been working on for a while now. It can wait. What's up?"

"We're taking you out to eat. It's an X-Men tradition."

"Anywhere in particular?"

"Harry's Hideaway. It's been the X-Men's watering hole for years."

He nodded. "All right. Give me a few minutes to get changed." He reached behind the desk, pulling out a straight cane, which he leaned on as he got out of the chair.

"Did you hurt yourself?" she asked him.

"It's an old injury," he said. "Sometimes it acts up. I think I strained it during my Danger Room session earlier. I'll be fine," he assured her. "Be down in a few minutes." She nodded and left, meeting Bobby at the front door.

"What's keeping him?" Bobby asked.

"He wanted to get changed." She had already changed into a matching skirt and blouse, both in her trademark green. Bobby wore a turtleneck and jeans.

He nodded. "What was he doing?"

"Working on his computer. He settled in pretty quickly."

"Home is where you hang your hat, Rogue," she heard behind her. She turned around to find Archetype stepping out from behind the staircase.

"How'd you get down here so fast?" Bobby asked.

He shrugged. "The elevator." He had changed into a pair of light blue jeans, with a grey shirt and black denim vest. He also wore gloves, and was still leaning on his cane. The overall effect was to make him look older. "Are we all ready?"

"All set," Bobby replied.

"Let's go, then." He reached out at the air in front of him, and his jacket appeared in his hand. He put it on, opened the door, and motioned for Rogue to go first. She smiled and walked out, Bobby and Archetype following in turn.

As she and Bobby headed towards the garage, Archetype spoke up. "Um, excuse me, but isn't the road that way?" he said, pointing with his cane.

"Yeah, but the garage is this way," Bobby said.

"True, but I passed Harry's when I walked here before. It's only about three kilos away. Why drive?"

"Because it's three kilos away," Bobby replied.

"Let me get this straight," Archetype said, leaning on his cane. "You spend three hours a day in physical training, and you're all built like fitness ads, but you won't walk an easy three kilos? Why spend all that time in the gym, when the real world has enough physical challenges for you?"

"He's got a point, Bobby," Rogue said. "Besides, it's a nice night. Let's walk."

"All right," Bobby sighed. He joined them on the road which led to Graymalkin Lane. They made good time, Rogue realized, since Archetype, even with the cane, moved at a brisk pace.

"Your leg seems to be feeling better," she remarked.

"It improves if I walk it off," he replied. He looked at Bobby. "I can shorten the trip if you want."


"The same way I got here yesterday. I'll fold space-time."

"Is it safe?"

"Totally. It'll look a little strange, though."

"Just what do you mean by strange?" Bobby asked suspiciously.

He frowned for a moment. "Ever watch a car as it came towards you?" When they nodded, he continued. "Did you notice that, if the car was moving fast, it seemed to flatten out slightly?"

"Yeah," Bobby replied doubtfully.

"Well, everything's going to look like that for the next few minutes. Well," he amended, "everything but us."

"How long will it take us to get there, then?" Rogue asked him.

"About ten minutes," he said. "I won't compress things too much."

"All right," Bobby said, "let's get moving, then."

"Just one moment, Mister Drake." Archetype furrowed his brow for a second, and everything seemed to dim. "We're ready now." He started walking towards Graymalkin Lane, which seemed to be approaching very quickly as they followed him.

"Will anybody see us?" Rogue asked him.

"No," he replied. "We're appearing in normal space, but for only a fraction of an instant at any given time, faster than the time which the brain needs to process new information. No one will notice us. I'll put us back in normal space somewhere where we won't be noticed for a moment, so people will think we had just walked in." By the time he had finished his sentence, they were on Graymalkin Lane and heading towards town.

"Have you ever had any problem with the people in town?" he asked them.

"Nothing we haven't been able to handle," Bobby replied. "We're far enough away to keep the curious away, but we show up often enough to remind them that we're still around. We've never been in any trouble, if that's what you mean."

He nodded. "I just wanted to know if there was anything I should be aware of. Should I simply say that I'm a resident at the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning if asked?"

"That should work," Rogue said. "If it doesn't, you can just fake a really strong accent, and make like a lost foreigner."

"Sounds fair. This the place?" he asked as they approached Harry's.

"That's it," she confirmed.

"Let me put us back in normal space. Let's go over there," he said, pointing towards an area of the parking lot that was only dimly lighted. They entered the shadows, and Archetype closed his eyes for a moment. The light around them became slightly brighter. "We're baaack," he said in an eerie voice.

"Cute," Bobby said dryly.

"I rather liked it," Archetype replied brightly as they went inside.

Harry's was rather crowded for a weeknight. The reason why was evident, as the band on the stage was being met with cheers and applause. Archetype winced slightly as he removed his jacket. "Something wrong?" Rogue asked him.

"My hearing is pretty sensitive. That's a bit too loud for my comfort."

"The booths over there are quieter," she said, pointing to the opposite corner of the taproom.

"Why don't we go over there, then?" They found a booth where the noise level was considerably lower. "What's on the menu here?" he asked.

"It's a pretty standard grill menu," Bobby replied. "The waitress will tell us what tonight's specials are." A few minutes later, they put in their orders. Bobby and Rogue ordered their usuals, while Archetype ordered potato skins and a mushroom cheeseburger with a cola.

"You don't drink?" Bobby asked him. He and Rogue were sharing a pitcher of beer.

Archetype shook his head. "It's hard enough for me to maintain my concentration when I'm sober. I don't need intoxication added to the mix. In any case, I never acquired a taste for alcohol."

Bobby smiled. "That should frustrate Wolvie's plans for male bonding."

Archetype smirked. "And I hate most organized sports."

"Oh boy, you're gonna be in real trouble with him, then. He goes nuts around Super Bowl time."

"Oh, I'll just stay in the kitchen and make snacks for everybody. That should get me off the hook."

"So what do you do for hobbies?" Rogue asked him.

"Well, like I told you earlier, I do a lot of reading. I also do some writing on the side. I do a lot of traveling..."

"Your way or the usual way?" Bobby interrupted.

"The usual way. I'll decide on the spur of the moment to go somewhere and then I usually just go to the airport and take whatever the next available international flight is. I play it by ear from there. When I get sick of living out of a suitcase, I go to my nearest safehouse and rest up."

"If you're so rich, why not just take a private plane?" Rogue asked him.

"Calls too much attention. Besides, I prefer not to throw my money around if I can help it. I like to just go with the flow." He stopped talking as the waitress returned with their orders. "Either of you want one?" he said, gesturing to the potato skins. Rogue and Bobby took one each. Archetype put some steak sauce on his burger and dug in.

"Well, enough about me," he said. "How about I learn something about you two?"

"Like what?" Bobby asked.

He shrugged. "I know why I'm here. Why did you two join this outfit?"

That question prompted a discussion about the history of the X-Men. Archetype seemed to accept most of it, although he looked a bit disbelieving at certain points.

"Let me make sure I understand this," he asked Rogue. "You really did die that night in Dallas?"

"All the X-Men that were there did," she informed him.

"I'll take your word for it," he said dubiously. Then he raised an eyebrow. "I must say, though, that you're the most voluptuous corpse that I've seen in some time." Then he winced.

"What's wrong?" Bobby asked him.

"That lead guitar. It's so out of tune it's pathetic. I'll be right back." He got up and walked over to the stage, where the band was taking its break.

"Well, he's certainly a flirt," Bobby said to Rogue after he was out of earshot.

"Yeah, but it's a nice sort of flirting," she replied with a smile.

"There's an explanation for that, I suppose."

Rogue thought for a moment. "There are two ways that a guy can flirt with a girl. They sort of reflect the approach that he wants to take with her. The first way is more common - the old lines, the obvious ploys - and a girl can spot them a mile away, because she's seen them all before." She paused for a moment. "I think that the other way, being a nice flirt, means walking a very fine line. You have to compliment a woman's looks without making her feel that they're the only reason you're interested in her."

Bobby raised an eyebrow. "You think he's interested?"

She shook her head. "I don't think so. But he doesn't seem to mind using the compliments anyway. They seem to let him fill up the space in a conversation. You did see how nervous he was looking?"

He nodded. "I don't think he's looking out for anybody. He told us himself that he's worked alone for a long time. I don't think he's used to dealing with large numbers of people. You said that he considers himself an introvert."

"That's true," she conceded. "And Jean and Betsy have had problems in crowds before. If his powers are psychic, maybe he has a similar problem."

"Could be." He nodded towards Archetype, who was talking with the guitarist of the band as he tuned the offending instrument. "Did you get any clue as to the music he prefers?"

She shook her head. "No. He seems like an oldies type, though. Looks like he convinced the band to let him play a set." She had noticed that he was getting on the stage with the rest of the band.

"What do you think? Beatles? Stones?"

Archetype played the opening riff. Rogue and Bobby looked at each other.


"Why didn't you tell us you could play an instrument?" Bobby asked him as they walked out of Harry's about an hour later.

Archetype shrugged. "There wasn't any room on the application. Besides, I didn't really think it had any practical use for the sorts of things that you guys do. What would I use it for? Serenading the Juggernaut to sleep? Getting the female supervillans to start swooning and fainting?" He snapped his fingers. "I've got it! You guys need theme music!"

"You, my friend, are out of your mind," Bobby informed him.

"Oh, we're all mad here," he replied gleefully. "I'm mad, you're mad."

"How do you know I'm mad?" Rogue replied, remembering the lines from Alice in Wonderland.

"You must be," Archetype said, "or you wouldn't have come here."

"You got that right, asshole," said a voice behind them. They turned around to find four young men, who appeared to be in their late teens, standing before them. Their dress and mannerisms suggested that they had each spent some time under the watchful eyes of the state at one time or another.

"Can I help you gentlemen?" Archetype asked mildly.

"Your money... now," one of the teens said, in as close to a menacing tone his warbling voice could get.

"Now isn't this just a bit cliched?" Archetype asked them. "Late at night, a deserted street... next thing you'll tell me is that you're all carrying guns."

The apparent leader of the group pulled out a Glock-7. "Gods," Archetype said, covering his eyes with one hand. "Why must the young always show such a lack of imagination?" He looked up at the sky, raising his hands as if imploring.

He then swept his right arm down in a flash, striking his cane on the outstretched arm of the punk. Rogue heard the crack! as the young man's arm broke. He fell to his knees, moaning in pain. Archetype was moving before the young man had fully fallen to his knees, striking one of remaining four in the stomach with the head of the cane, then downing another with a leg sweep. He placed his foot on the neck of one of the fallen, then looked at the two would-be assailants who were still standing. "Are you two ready for more of the same?" he asked them. They bolted. He then stooped down beside the young man who had pulled the gun, picking it up by the tip of the barrel. "I'll dispose of this if you don't mind," he told the punk. He then looked at Rogue and Bobby. "You two coming?" he asked them.

They followed him, not knowing what else to do or say. After a few minutes of walking, Rogue finally spoke up. "Just how did you do that?"

"Do what?" he asked.

"Break that guy's arm!"

"Oh. Would you hold this, please?" he asked Bobby, handing the cane to him.

"Sure." Bobby took it, and almost dropped it again as soon as Archetype had let go. It weighed a ton. "Jesus Christ!" Bobby swore. "What is this thing made of?"

"Well, the outside is a wood veneer, but the core is solid brass." He took the cane back, then looked at both of them. "Two things to remember. One: hardly anything is what it seems. Two: like I told Xavier earlier today, I'm never unarmed. Shall we head back?" he said, moving in the general direction of the mansion.

"What are you going to do with the gun?" Bobby asked.

Archetype thought about it for a second. "If I throw this up in the air, can you freeze it?"

"No problem. How cold do you want it?"

"Cold enough for the steel to crack. After that," he said, looking at Rogue, "it's all yours." He tossed the gun into the air.

Bobby froze the gun on its way down, and Rogue shattered it with one blow. "Not bad," Archetype said.

As they made their way back, one of the streetlights that they walked under burned out. "Not again," Archetype groaned.

"Something wrong?" Rogue asked him.

He pointed to the streetlight with his cane. "You just saw the reason why you don't want me around the computers for very long. Let's get going."


Continued in Chapter Six


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