THE ARCHETYPE ASSOCIATION
"All right, Archetype," Xavier asked ten minutes
later, "just how did you know you were fighting robots?"
His reply was a cold smile. "Maybe I didn't."
"I don't buy that," Logan cut in. "Obviously,
if you wanted to kill any of us, you could've done it days
ago. You were proving a point."
Archetype's face took on a sheepish expression. "Not
really. I was irritated more than anything else. I had been
preparing myself for days to use my abilities to alter the
psychological perceptions of my opponents. My initial attacks
were designed to simply tag each of you so that I could keep
track of where you were."
"And when you did that," Ororo said, "you
found out that your opponents were mechanical. How did you
do it? Our androids are based on SHIELD technology. They're
the most state-of-the-art products on the planet."
"I don't doubt that they are," Archetype replied,
"but as good as they are, they're still not alive."
"You can tell whether or not something's alive?"
Henry asked him.
"Yes. I had a good idea that they weren't alive before
I made my attack. The strikes simply confirmed what I already
knew." He became thoughtful for a moment. "Remember
what I told you about seeing things at many levels at once?"
"Yes," Ororo replied. "I do much the same
thing myself. I perceive the natural forces which comprise
the weather as patterns of energy."
"Really?" Archetype replied, one eyebrow going
up. "We might want to compare notes later. In any case,
I can look at a person and 'see' certain things about them.
I see them not as a person, but as a pattern of energy. I
can get a general idea of their mental state and physical
condition. When I looked at you - or rather, your duplicates
- in the Danger Room, I didn't see anything. At that point,
I realized that none of you were real. I therefore felt justified
in using some extreme measures."
"'Extreme'?!" Scott said in a rather sarcastic
voice. "If those had been real people, it would have
been a massacre!"
"But they weren't real people," Archetype replied
calmly, "and I knew that when I did it. If they had
been real people, I would have used non-lethal, and probably
non-violent, means of resolving the conflict."
"Such as?" Hank prompted him.
Archetype brooded for a moment. "Can I have a volunteer?"
Rogue shrugged. "Sure. I'll bite. How do you want to
"Let's make it a simple game of endurance. Last one
on their feet - or in the air, in your case - wins."
"Okay. Hank, can you set us up an environment?"
She thought about it for a moment. "How about Wundagore?"
Henry nodded. "No problem. Head on down. It'll be ready
by the time you get down there."
They both went down in the elevator. As they descended, Archetype
spoke up. "Just how much punishment can you take, Miss
Rogue?" he asked, with a touch of concern in his voice.
"Do your worst," she replied. "If I can take
a punch from the Juggernaut, than I can handle anything that
you can dish out."
He nodded as the doors opened and they stepped out into a
frozen ruin. "Impressive," he noted, turning around
as he surveyed the stark, crumbling walls of what was once
the base of operations for Magneto. "Does ten paces of
distance seem fair to you?"
"Fair enough," she replied. As she started walking
off the distance, she told him over her shoulder, "Don't
worry, I'll be pulling my punches."
"I would prefer if you didn't do that."
"Oh? Why?" she asked him, turning around. He stood
there before her, a shadow on the snow.
"Because I'm not," he told her.
Uh oh, she thought.
Better get airborne. She floated about a meter above
the ground. After a moment of looking at her options, she
decided to back up against a sheer rock formation, which would
allow her to see him from any direction.
She waited there for about a minute, with no sign on him.
After a while, she began to get nervous. She knew he was watching
her (which, in other circumstances, she decided, would not
be an unpleasant experience), but she didn't know where he
was. After a while longer, she decided that it might be best
to draw him out so she could take him on her terms.
"All right," she said loudly, "when are you
She never got a chance to finish the sentence. She felt something
grab her from behind and jerk her back. There was a moment
of blackness, and she suddenly saw the ground coming up fast.
She was able to stop her momentum, but only barely. She floated
about a foot above the ground, still facing the snow. "You're
gonna have to do better than..." Again she was interrupted
by the shock of feeling a foot kick her in the rear.
She got up quickly, sputtering through a face full of snow.
She looked wildly around her. "Where are you, you...
"Aw," she heard behind her in a taunting voice,
"don't tell me I went and got you mad."
She spun around, finding Archetype not ten feet in front
of her, sitting on a rock. "Come on," he continued,
"I heard you people were supposed to be good." He
stood up, hands outstretched. "You've got to be able
to do better than that. Tell you what," he said, "I'll
even turn around," doing so.
Rogue refused to get angry the way Ororo had. Don't lose
your temper. He uses that against you. Keep calm. She
hovered about six inches in the air, and tried to tackle him.
Before she reached him, however, there was a flash of light,
and she found herself heading straight towards the boulder,
which she shattered with her impact.
"Oooh," Logan said, "that's gotta hurt."
For the next forty minutes, Rogue wore herself out chasing
Archetype all over the Danger Room. He would occasionally
send her straight into a rock, causing a fair amount of damage
to the surrounding landscape in the process. Xavier and Logan,
who watched from the observation booth (Scott had left several
minutes earlier, saying that he didn't appreciate the kinds
of games Archetype played), looked at one another.
"He's just going to keep dodging her until she drops,"
Logan shook his head. "I'm not so sure. I think he's
A few minutes later, Rogue stood panting as Archetype stopped
teleporting about the room. "Hold still, damn you,"
she told him.
"And let you turn me into chunky salsa? I don't think
so." Then he sighed. "I think we've both had enough,
anyway. It's time to finish this up."
Xavier and Logan had trouble determining just what happened
next. For about five seconds, Rogue appeared as if she would
if she were being illuminated by a strobe light: flickering
away, then returning in a heartbeat. When her form stabilized
again, she dropped to the ground, limp as a rag doll.
Archetype walked over to her fallen form and gently, almost
tenderly, picked her up, cradling her in his arms. He then
looked up at Xavier.
"Stick a fork in her," he said. "She's done."
A few minutes later, Rogue awoke to find Jean standing
over her. "Rogue, are you all right?"
"Yeah," she said groggily, "I'm fine. What
"That's what I wanna know," she heard Logan say
from behind her. She turned around to see him pinning Archetype
to the wall, his right hand extending a claw on either side
of his neck. Archetype, however, seemed totally undisturbed.
"Miss Rogue," he said politely, "would you
be so kind as to inform this gentleman that you have come
to no harm?"
"I'm fine, Wolvie, really," she assured Logan.
"Let him loose." Logan seemed disbelieving, but
he retracted his claws and released Archetype, who dusted
"As I was in the middle of saying," he said as
if picking up where he left off, "what I did was teleport
Rogue back and forth to the same place several times in a
very short duration. A single teleport leaves a person somewhat
disoriented. Multiple teleports have a cumulative effect,
and are manifested as extreme fatigue. This effect, however,
is temporary, and there is no lasting aftereffect. Any questions?"
"Yeah," Rogue said, yawning. "what do I do
He shrugged. "I'd advise taking a nap. The others, however,
might want to give you a physical first."
Rogue looked at Xavier. "Well, Professor? Should I have
Hank give me a once-over?"
Xavier shook his head. "I don't think it'll be necessary
right now. He can look at you after you get up. Go get some
"I'll take your shift for tonight," Logan informed
her. "Take the night off."
She nodded and got up unsteadily. Archetype looked at Xavier.
"All those transitions tired me out as well. Mind if
I hit the sack, too?"
"One question before you do," Xavier replied. "How
did you make all those dimensional transitions so quickly?"
"I dilated my time sense, the same way I did when Mister
Worthington startled me awake."
"You seem to be under the impression that we've been
comparing notes on you."
"Why shouldn't I? Pooling and coordinating your intelligence
would be the most effective way of learning about me."
He yawned again. "I could really use that nap,
"All right. We'll hold off on the debriefing until tomorrow.
Hank and I will probably be up most of the night trying to
figure out just what happened here, anyway. You're both off
duty until then. Go get some sleep." Rogue and Archetype
both nodded weakly and clomped out of the room.
"Apparently, what he just did took a toll on him,"
Henry said . "He's hiding it well, but he's about to
"Any idea why?" Logan asked.
"He told us himself before, remember? Without sufficient
preparation, using some of his abilities drains his life energy.
He told me that a brief nap tends to take the edge off that,
provided he gets it in time."
"I have to admire his strategy," Xavier noted.
"He doesn't have the physical strength to take down Rogue
in combat, so he whittled down her strength gradually, then
used those multiple teleports as a final blow - all without
causing her any physical harm."
"Would that work against someone like Juggernaut?"
Xavier thought about it. "Against Cain? It just might
be the only non-psionic attack that would work... provided
that Archetype is capable of teleporting someone of his size.
We should test that in a future training session... as well
as the possibility of his tracking another teleporter, such
as Kurt. We'll talk about it after dinner."
Rogue and Archetype, meanwhile, had staggered into the elevator,
and were on their way back up to the mansion itself. "I'd
like to apologize, Rogue," he informed her.
"I was a bit more... aggressive in that session than
was warranted. There were alternatives to what I did to you,
but I didn't think them through."
"Don't worry about it. We all tend to get pretty down-and-dirty
when we're in the Danger Room. We have to be. Anybody we fight
isn't going to pull any punches, and we have to be prepared
Archetype bit his lip, an expression which Rogue thought
rather cute. "Still," he said, "I'd like to
make it up to you." He paused again, looking uncertain,
a pose which did not suit him. "I'm going to an art exhibition
at a gallery in Greenwich Village tonight. There's going to
be an informal party where guests meet with the curators and
artists. I was planning on eating afterwards." He paused
again. "Would you be interested in joining me?"
She smiled. "I'd love to. What time were you planning
"That would depend on how you want to get there. It'll
probably take us about an hour if we drive, but I can teleport
us there instantly."
"I think I've had enough teleportation for one day.
Can you do that distance compression again?"
He shook his head. "The more developed the area, the
more difficult it gets. New York City would be almost impossible."
"Why don't we travel my way, then? We'll fly."
He tilted his head slightly, considering it, then nodded.
"All right. How long would it take you to get there?"
"About half an hour if I'm carrying someone. I could
go faster, but it wouldn't be very comfortable for you."
"Why don't we leave at about seven-fifteen, then?"
he suggested. "That should leave us some margin for error."
"All right. What's the dress code?"
"Dress shirt and tie for me. It'll be an artsy-type
crowd. You could get away with almost anything. I'd suggest
something you could wear at a nice restaurant."
"No problem. I'll knock on your door at seven."
He smiled. "Uh uh. I'm the one who's supposed
to knock. Your job is to stagger me with your beauty
when you open the door. It's in the rules, someplace."
Rogue smacked her head. "Oh, that's right. That's
right up there with the one that says you're paying for the
whole thing, right?"
He shrugged. "I'm the multibillionaire. I thought that
went without saying. See you at seven, then?" he asked
her as the elevator doors opened.
"Wouldn't miss it."
After informing Xavier via intercom that she and Archetype
would be off the grounds for part of the evening, Rogue flopped
into bed, and slept until five forty-five. She then took a
shower, styled her hair, and decided on an Indian print broomstick
skirt over black leggings, coupled with a white blouse, a
blue paisley vest, black high heels, and a cameo pin. Not
bad, girl, she told her reflection. She then put on her
makeup, deciding on green eye shadow and deep red lipstick,
applied a dab of her favorite perfume, then grabbed her purse
and packed a hairbrush, the makeup, a small mirror, and a
bit of money to cover emergencies. She then put on her best
pair of black gloves. Looking at her watch, she saw that she
had about three minutes to spare. She checked herself one
more time, then sat on her bed and waited.
Two minutes later, there was a knock on her door. She got
up, took a deep breath, then opened it.
Archetype stood there, wearing a charcoal jacket with black
pants and a white shirt. His only concessions towards color
were a vest which had a zig-zag pattern of blue and red stripes,
and a bolo tie which had a lapis lazuli bird on the catch.
His hat hung on the cane in his left hand. He slowly looked
her up and down. "That is a lovely outfit, Miss Rogue,"
he said softly.
Rogue couldn't help blushing slightly. "Thanks,"
she said. "I don't get a chance to dress up often."
"Then I will inform you that the effect is stunning."
He crooked an elbow out to her. "Shall we be on our way?"
Smiling, she linked her arm with his, and they descended the
stairs to the foyer.
When they reached the first floor, they noticed Warren talking
on the phone. "My," he said, looking up, "don't
we look distinguished." Archetype bowed slightly to him
as he walked by. "See you two later," he called
as they went out the door.
"Any warnings for me before liftoff?" Archetype
"Just hang onto your hat," she said, picking him
"Is there some link between mutations and bad puns that
I'm unaware of?"
"I don't understand the question."
"Tell me if I'm going too fast for you," she advised
him, and took off. Once they reached what she considered a
suitable altitude, she headed in the general direction of
New York City. Archetype, for his part, looked at the surrounding
"Mind if I ask you a question?" she queried.
"What, like I'm going to say no at this height? What
"What do we call you besides Archetype?"
"You can call me Will, though I'll answer to Liam."
"It's Gaelic for William."
"Oh. What will they be calling you at this party?"
"Probably Mr. Riley. I've been showing up at art exhibits
in New York for the past six months. I wanted to establish
a network of people in the city who could attest to my identity
if I ran into any problems with the X-Men."
"What sort of problems?" she asked suspiciously.
"Well, if you choose not to accept me as a member, I'm
shit out of luck, aren't I? I wanted something to fall back
on in that event. I'm hoping it doesn't become necessary,
So do I, thought Rogue. She remained silent until
they came close to the Greenwich Village area. "Should
we land anywhere in particular?" she asked him.
He looked around. "How about that dark area over there?"
"Okay." They settled to earth in an area where
the streetlights were in disrepair.
"Let's see," he said, putting on his hat and glasses,
"now just where are we?" He walked to the nearest
corner, came back. "It's about fifteen minutes walk thataway,"
he told her, gesturing with his cane.
"That's not another club you're carrying, is it?"
"What? Oh, the cane. No, this one is a sword cane."
He held his right arm out for her again. She linked arms with
her again and they started walking.
"You're right handed, aren't you?" she asked.
"Why do you have me stand on your right, then?"
"Because the street's on my left."
"I don't understand."
"The general rule is that a gentleman is the one closer
to the street, so he can be the one to take the majority of
any dirt that may splash up from the street. It's a tradition
that dates back from the days of horse-drawn carriages."
"Oh. I never knew there was a reason."
"That's what comes of being a history major."
"I thought you had a chef's degree."
"I have a bachelors in history, too."
She nodded. "Where will we be eating?"
"It's a surprise. We make a left here."
She was silent for a few minutes. "Why did you decide
to leave Ireland?" she asked suddenly.
He didn't answer for several moments. "I'm often torn
between love and disgust for Ireland. I can't stay there for
"Ireland has been divided for eight hundred years over
the subject of religion. As a result, Ireland is now so rabidly
Catholic that hardly any dissent is tolerated. Imagine an
entire country run like a Catholic school in the 1950s. I
think that both Ireland and Northern Ireland would have been
better off if both countries had established secular states
after the revolution, rather than making their respective
faiths part and parcel of the governments. Well, enough rambling.
Here we are."
"Here" was a three-story brownstone, from which
soft music could be heard. "Should I call myself anything
in particular?" she asked him.
"Nah. There are enough eccentrics here that a beautiful
young woman who calls herself Rogue won't be looked at twice...
except for the obvious reasons." Rogue found herself
They walked in to find a small group of about twenty people
talking idly. Paintings and sculptures lined the walls of
the room. A small table, stocked with cheese, crackers, and
a collapsible bag of white wine, stood in one corner.
"Will this be too crowded for you?" she asked him
"Actually, this is about right for me," he replied.
"The noise level is just where I like it, too."
He scanned the perimeter of the room. "Shall we go look
at the pretty pictures?" She giggled and followed him.
Rogue didn't know much about art, but she did know that she
didn't have a clue of what most of the stuff she was looking
at was. "Do you have any idea what this is supposed to
be?" she asked him, looking at one particular sculpture
that defied description.
Archetype looked closely at the tag on the wall. "Criticism
Number 7," he said. "Looks more like Mental
Constipation Number Nineteen." Rogue had to stifle
The upper floor held some works that they both found more
accessible. "Oh, this one's gorgeous," she exclaimed,
gazing at a small bronze sculpture of a stag which carried
a lithe, naked woman whose hair flowed back behind her.
Archetype looked at the tag. "It ought to be, considering
what she's charging for it. I have to admit, though, it's
a very nice piece. I'll be right back," he said,
and walked off into the crowd. He returned a few minutes later.
"I thought so," he said.
"She got the idea for this in a dream. These images
are right out of the collective unconscious."
He nodded. "The woman is the Earth Mother, or Great
Goddess, and the stag is a symbol of the Horned God. It's
right out of Celtic myth. What's that one over there?"
he asked, looking at another painting. Rogue followed, her
eyes gazing at the stag one last time.
About half an hour later, Archetype asked her if she was
getting hungry. She said yes, and started towards the door.
"Catch up in a moment," he told her, as he headed
back towards the crowd. Rogue just shook her head and headed
Five minutes later, he came out, holding a box in his hands.
"What's that?" she asked him.
"A surprise," he informed her. "I'll tell
you during dinner. There anywhere you're fond of around here?"
"Not really. I'll eat anything, to be honest. How about
He thought for a minute. "There's a very good
coffee shop about five blocks away. They have a good dinner
menu, and they're open all night."
"Sounds good to me," she said. "Let's go."
Twenty minutes later, Rogue was tearing into a delicious
three bean salad as Archetype munched on lemon chicken. "Want
a piece?" he asked her.
"Yes, please." She looked at him. "Why don't
you eat very much?"
He smiled. "You're basing your perception on the fabled
mutant metabolism. My metabolism is pretty slow, so I have
to watch what I eat. Besides, I'm saving my appetite for dessert."
He was true to his word, ordering a chocolate peanut butter
cheesecake along with a raspberry steamed milk, while Rogue
had a cafe au lait with an apple tart.
When they were both finished, Rogue leaned back in her chair.
"Okay, what's the surprise?"
"Boy, you're impatient, aren't you?" he said teasingly
as he handed her the box. "Open it."
She untied the string and opened the box. Inside, wrapped
in a felt cloth, was the stag sculpture she had seen in the
gallery. She gasped. "How much did you pay for this thing?"
"It doesn't really matter," he replied. "I'm
made of money, Rogue. I couldn't go bankrupt if I tried. The
interest on what I have tied up in investments alone makes
me a very rich man. If I can use a little bit of my money
to help my friends, then where's the harm?"
"But you paid for it," she protested. "You
should keep it."
"Tell you what," he said. "Let's compromise.
You said that your tailor from hell in the basement of the
mansion could duplicate non-living matter, right?"
"Right. We use it to make most of our high-technology
"Well then, a little bronze statue shouldn't be any
problem, should it? When we get back, we'll make a duplicate
of this, exact to the tiniest detail. I'll keep the original,
and you keep the copy."
"Deal," she said, smiling.
Archetype looked at his watch. "Speaking of the mansion,
we should get back there. It's getting late. What do you say
to getting back my way?"
"Sounds good to me."
"Fine, then. Check, please!"
Half an hour later, they were in the elevator of the mansion,
heading up from the basement, each holding their own statue.
As they stepped out onto the residential floor, Rogue turned
to Archetype. "I had a great time... Will," she
told him. "Should I let the others know that you want
to be called that?"
"Why not?" he replied as they walked towards her
room. "At least it'll avoid the inevitable degradation
of my code name to 'Archie'. And I had a great time, too."
"By the way, why did you drop the 'Miss' earlier tonight?"
"I call professional colleagues by 'Mister' and 'Miss'.
I refer to friends by their names."
"But you have to know that Rogue isn't my real name."
"I know that it's not the name you were born with. People
have at least three names in their lives, Rogue: the name
they're born with, the name they choose for themselves, and
the name they earn for themselves. You chose to be called
Rogue. Who am I to argue with that? I wasn't born with either
the names of Archetype or William Riley. I chose them for
myself, so why should I deny you the same right?"
When they reached her door, Rogue froze momentarily. Oh
God, what do I do now? He can't expect a goodnight kiss.
Archetype, however, solved the problem for her. He gently
took her gloved right hand in his, kissed it gently, and smiled
at her. "Sweet dreams, Rogue," he said softly, and
walked to his room.
"Mister," she said softly, "you have no idea."
Continued in Chapter
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