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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


The next day was cloudy, overcast, and somewhat dreary. Everyone who came down to breakfast that morning was somewhat dejected as a result of the weather. Everyone, that is, but Archetype.

"Good morning, everyone!" he declared as he bounced into the kitchen.

"What's so good about it?" Warren groused. "It's gonna be a downpour today. Didn't you hear that thunder before?"

"Of course I did. Isn't it great? What are the breakfast orders today?"

"You like weather like this?" Bobby said incredulously.

"Like it? I love it! Can't any of you feel it?"

"Feel what?" Warren said in exasperation. "The rain in your face? The feeling you get when your underwear's wet?"

"There's no romance in you, you know that?" Archetype said accusingly.

"Oh, I wouldn't say that," Betsy replied with a sly smile.

Archetype went on as if he hadn't been interrupted. "A thunderstorm is the manifestation of a multitude of natural forces - a pure form of the energies which are the stuff of life itself. It's both destructive and cleansing at the same time, clearing out the deadwood and debris that's been gathering. Think of it as Mother Nature's dishwasher."

"I'd rather take a shower, thanks," Logan replied.

"I have to agree with his opinion, Logan," Ororo put in. "I don't often think about it, because I'm so accustomed to the sensations, but his assessment of the dynamics of a thunderstorm are quite correct."

"Thank you for the vote of confidence, Storm," Archetype told her. He was interrupted by a low rumble in the skies outside. "That's my cue," he announced, walking towards the back door.

"You don't mean you're actually going out in that?" Betsy asked him as the rain started to spatter against the window.

"You got it," he replied as he left the room. A moment later, they heard the back door open, then close.

"I'm starting to think that Scott's right," Warren said. "Maybe he is crazy."

"Well, if he is sensitive to natural forces," Henry mused, "then a thunderstorm would be an ideal way for him to recharge his batteries, so to speak. It might be a good idea to talk to Meggan in Excalibur. Her powers are based in nature as well, so maybe..."


The sound of a thunderclap made everyone jump out of their seats.

"What the hell was that!?" Warren, now fully awake, exclaimed.

"It was a lightning strike, just outside," Bobby said. He looked at Ororo. "Did you have anything to do with that?"

Ororo just shook her head. She seemed as stunned as the rest of them. A moment later, Rogue flew into the kitchen.

"Uh, guys," she said hesitantly, "I think you'd all better look outside." They all got up out of their chairs and went to the window just in time to see the next lightning bolt strike.

Right where Archetype was standing.

The bolt of lightning struck his outstretched right hand, passing through his body and entering the ground through his left hand. His entire body was bathed in witchfire, and small streamers of electricity danced over his frame.

"Shit!" Bobby said. "He's being electrocuted!"

Rogue shook her head. "I don't think so. He got hit once before, and it didn't seem to do anything to him."

"What's that sound?" Betsy asked.

Logan listened intently. "He's... laughing."

"Just what the hell did you think you were doing?" Henry asked Archetype when he had returned to the mansion.

"Recharging my batteries," was Archetype's answer. He was grinning broadly, and pacing all over the room, not staying in any one place for long.

"Why didn't you just put your finger in a light socket and get the same effect?" Bobby asked sarcastically.

"I wasn't dealing with the electricity as much as the natural forces which caused it to occur. They passed through me on their way back into the earth." He paused for a moment, frowning. "The scientific explanation just won't work. Let's try a systems theory approach. The atmosphere and the ground are just part of the larger Gaian system."

"Gaian system?" Rogue asked.

"The Gaia theory postulates that all of the natural systems of the earth function in the same manner as the different systems of a living organism. Basically it says that the earth itself is a giant super-organism, and that everything on it, from rocks to people, has a function within the system."

"Sounds pretty mystical to me," Warren replied doubtfully.

"When you're dealing with things on the level that systems theory does, the line between science and mysticism tends to get blurred a bit. The interaction between individual entities in systems theory is comparable to the quantum mechanics view - that everything that exists is a system of connected energy states, and that everything that exists is connected, in some way, with everything else. What I just did was essentially a way for me to strengthen the bond between myself and the earth. Since the human connection with the earth is one of the most intimate relations within the Collective, it allows me to enhance my own abilities."

"Are you talking about the collective conscious or unconscious?" Henry asked.

"I'm starting to get the idea that the line between the two is nowhere near as discrete as we like to think. For now, I'm going to refer to them as a single unit."

"How do you feel?" Rogue asked.

"A little wired, to be honest. It's going to take me a while to wind down. What do we have on the agenda today, and can I see the morning paper, please?" He took it from Warren, and started leafing through it very quickly. When he reached the financial section, he flipped to the stock section, took a pen out of his pocket, and started circling certain listings, while at the same time crossing out others.

"What are you doing?" Warren asked him.

"Deciding what to buy and what to sell." He frowned for a moment. "Do you own any stock in Dynastar Computing?"

Warren thought for a moment. "I think so. Why?"

"Dump it, today. Tell Xavier to do the same."

"Any particular reason why?"

"I've just got a bad feeling about it today. If you take a big loss because of it, I'll pay the difference." He looked at Warren pointedly. "Trust me on this."

Warren blinked twice, then went to Xavier's study.

"In the financial world, the Dow plummeted earlier this morning when Dynastar Computing announced that its new operating system, anticipated for several months, will be delayed until next year. The company president resigned at the request of the board of directors."

Warren turned to Archetype as a commercial came on the television screen. "Okay," he asked, "just how did you know that the stock was going to drop today?"

Archetype frowned. "It's not something that I can put into words. I just got a flash that investing in that company was a bad idea. I get those sorts of impulses sometimes, and I've just learned to trust in them over time."

"Have you been getting any about us?" Bobby asked.

He shook his head. "No. I doubt that I will until something is about to happen. I usually get a few hours notice. "

"Is there any pattern to them?" Xavier asked.

"No, they're totally random. Well," he said, "what's on the agenda for this afternoon?"

"You said that earlier," Logan pointed out.

"Repetition is the soul of wit."

"Your group session will be at two," Xavier told him. "Please try not to kill anyone this time."

Archetype gave him a look of pure innocence. "Now do I look like the type who'd do that sort of thing?"

Warren looked at Xavier. "You do have a copy of my will, right?"

"The game which you are about to play could best be termed 'reverse tag' " Xavier announced over the loudspeaker in the Danger Room. "In this case, the person who is 'it' has to avoid the other players for as long as possible."

"Does contact with powers count," Archetype asked, "Or will only physical contact be allowed?"

"Physical contact only," was the reply.

"I suppose I get three guesses as to who's 'it'," Archetype replied dryly.

"Hope you're well rested," Bobby told him with a smile.

"By the way, Archetype," Scott added, "the lights are now shatterproof."

"That's all right, Mister Summers," Archetype replied brightly, "I make it a point not to repeat myself." He cocked his head for a moment. "Maybe this will be more appropriate."

The change was almost unnoticeable at first. Archetype crouched a bit lower onto the ground, covering his face with his crossed arms. When he raised his head again, the grey in his eyes was so predominant, they appeared almost to be glowing. The air around him seemed to darken, becoming thicker. His form became cloaked in shadow, leaving only his glowing eyes clearly visible. When he spread out his arms again, his gloved hands extended like claws, powerful and deadly. He radiated a menace which was as dark as the stars were bright.

He stood up slowly, ponderously, weighed down with a bulk that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. When he spoke again, his voice was deeper, growling, and thunderous. It was the voice of a god.

"Now," it said, "who's first?"

"I can't believe what just happened," Henry told them ten minutes later in the debriefing room. "How could you just surrender to him?!"

"Are you kidding, Hank?" Scott said incredulously. "I had to think about the safety of the team. He would have made mincemeat out of us. You saw what he looked like."

"Scott, I was watching him through the monitor, and I saw nothing that suggested that he was a threat to any of you."

"Henry, that is absurd," Ororo objected. "We were right there, and..." She stopped suddenly, her eyes narrowing, and turned. "Archetype..." she said dangerously.

Archetype turned to her, raising one eyebrow. "Yes?" he asked in a long drawl.

"Did you use your mental abilities against us back there?"

"No," he replied, "I used yours."

"Mine?" she asked, surprised.

"Yours. And Bobby's, and Rogue's, and Wolverine's..."

"Wait a minute," Logan interrupted him, "I don't have any psychic abilities."

"She was asking about mental abilities, not psychic abilities."

"So what's the difference?"

"That fact that you're talking with me at all means that you've reached a certain level of mental development. This means that, to some degree, you are in contact with the Collective. When I did what I just did, I wasn't aiming for anything too specific. I just had a basic goal of intimidating all of you into submission. I have no idea just how that intention manifested itself in each of you. What did you see back there?"

"I don't want to talk about it," Logan grumbled.

"Suit yourself," Archetype replied, shrugging. "Does anybody want to speak up? The floor is open."

"I saw Slaymaster," Betsy put in, her voice dead.

Archetype looked puzzled. "Who?"

"The man who blinded me."

Archetype shook his head in exasperation. "Could someone explain all of this to me?"

"Later," Xavier told him. "Does anyone else have anything to say?"

"Not in public," Rogue muttered under her breath.

"All right, that's it for now," Xavier said. "Why don't we clean up and take a break before dinner?"

"Oh, shit!" Archetype cried, standing up suddenly. "Dinner! I haven't had a chance to start anything yet! Things may be running a little late tonight," he said, and disappeared.

"We might want to consider giving him an occasional break from the cooking," Ororo mused. "The meals that he has been making have been somewhat complicated."

"I think we can blame that on his training," Henry supplied. "He went to cooking school, so he's probably constitutionally incapable of making something simple."

"Well, whatever he makes," Logan said, "It's one less time you guys have to put up with my cooking."

"Thank God for that," Henry muttered.

"What was that, Hank?"

"Oh, nothing."

Dinner that night was a stir-fry concoction which Archetype admitted had been thrown together at the last minute. "There's really not much in the refrigerator. Is there a store around here that's open twenty-four hours?"

"Not around here," Bobby said, "but there are quite a few in Manhattan."

"All right, I'll go there then." He glanced at a pad and pencil in the next room, which appeared in his hand. "Any requests?"

Several suggestions for snacks were bandied about in the next few minutes. "Now, what about dinner?" Archetype said to himself. A cookbook appeared in the air in front of him and remained there, suspended. He opened it up and leafed through the pages.

"Um... Archetype?" Henry asked in an uncertain tone.

"Yes, Doctor McCoy?" Archetype replied absently.

"You aren't a telekinetic, are you?"

"No, why?"

"What's holding the book up?"

"Hmm? Oh," he said, looking sheepish. "I forgot that you haven't seen this trick yet." He glanced at Ororo, who was sitting at his right. "What's underneath the book?" he asked her.

Ororo bent down slightly in her chair, looking up at the underside of the book. "There is nothing down there," she reported.

"All right, now look at it from my point of view," he instructed her, taking the book into his hands and lifting it up. Suspended in the air was a rectangle of dark-colored wood, surrounded by a blue aura.

"That is one of your Doors, isn't it?" she asked.

"Yes. The other end is on the desk in my room. I use this method if I have to keep something suspended in the air. How does chicken tetrazini sound for Tuesday night?"

"That will work," Xavier said. "By the way, we want to talk to you about your cooking."

Archetype looked up at that, a worried expression on his face. "Is something wrong? I know that this meal was somewhat rushed, but..."

"No nothing like that," Xavier replied hurriedly, "it's just that you've done most of the cooking over the past few days. We thought that you might appreciate an occasional break."

Archetype frowned. "All right. Why not Friday? That way, I can take care of whatever business I have to do."

"That reminds me," Warren cut in. "I've been meaning to ask you how you manage to keep track of your money."

"Probably the same way you do. I have a financial advisor."

"Does he know anything about us?" Xavier asked.

"No. As a matter of fact, he doesn't even know where I am at any given time. Over the past few years, I've cultivated an image of being a member of the jet set. We do most of our communication over computer, so he thinks I'm always off in some exotic locale. I just check in to tell him what I want him to buy or sell at any given time, and I pay him a surprise visit once every quarter just to keep him on his toes. Most of my money isn't in stocks now, anyway. I deal mostly in antiquities and precious metals."

"Which metals?"

"All of them, really. Gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. I deal in both coins and ingots."

"Swiss Bank?" Warren asked.

"Of course. The banking laws in the U.S. make things too difficult for me. It may be a prudent idea for me to vanish one of these days, and having my money in something as portable and untraceable as gold gives me one less thing to worry about."

"What if you can't get to Switzerland?" Betsy asked.

"No problem. I have two bars hidden here."

"In the U.S.?"

"No, here in the mansion."

Xavier gaped at him. "You have two hundred pounds of gold hidden somewhere around here!?"

"Yes. I wanted a cool million to play with if things got hairy."

Bobby looked at Henry. "Do you still have that metal detector you bought one summer?"

"I can check."

"Don't bother, gentlemen," Archetype cut in. "I have already taken steps to make the gold undetectable. I'm keeping it a pocket dimension which is accessible from a certain location in the mansion. The silver, however, I'm more than willing to share." He reached into his pocket, pulling out a silver coin. "An American Eagle," he said. "I have a lock box full of them."

"What antiques do you collect?" Xavier asked.

"I do blades mostly - swords, daggers, and some of the more imaginative concealed weapons from the past." He smirked. "I also admit to a weakness to some of the James Bond type gadgets."

"You and Forge ought to get along very well, then," Ororo told him. "I expect him to build a fusion-powered potato peeler any day now."

"I really don't go for anything too complicated. I just look for the item that does the job most efficiently." He stood up and stretched. "Well, I'm stuffed. A warning to whoever does the dishes: that wok is made of seasoned cast iron. Use only a paper towel and water on it when you clean it. If you use soap, you will ruin it, and I will then be forced to ruin you. See you in the morning - I'm off to read myself to sleep." With that he left the dining room and ascended the stairs.

As he turned the corner into the wing which housed the men's' dormitory, Archetype slowly sagged against the wall, removing his glasses and rubbing his temples as he did so.

It was worst when he was fatigued. The link between the Chorus and himself was unpredictable at best, and sometimes he found himself overpowered by their song. He needed to get some sleep, he decided, before things got out of hand.

He opened the door to his room and clomped in slowly, kicking his shoes to the foot of his bed. He hung his vest on the hat rack and closed the door, not bothering to put on the light. He crossed the room and sat down in the leather high-backed easy chair which he had purchased the day before. The chair was an antique, but had been refurbished by a local furniture restorer. Archetype had liked the chair as soon as he had seen it. He had some sympathy for something which, like him, had been brought back from the brink and stitched back together.

Archetype was incapable of sleeping while sitting up, but he usually needed a few minutes to wind down before nodding off. He let his eyes wander lazily around the room. Suddenly, he found his eyes fixed directly on the open window across from him.

It had been closed when he had last left.

Straining to look casual, he slowly rose from the chair and stretched, scanning the room as he did so. He found a heat signature against one wall of the room, by his desk.

Turning the light on was out of the question; because his eyes had adjusted to the darkness, he would be as vulnerable as his opponent. He decided that a direct assault would be best, and tensed his muscles for a jump.

He leapt over the side of the chair, balancing on one hand. Rather than landing on his feet, he let his momentum push him forward onto the floor, where he slid on the uncovered floorboards towards the heat aura in front of him. He readied for a strike and lashed out with his legs.

His target moved... straight up?

Archetype was, despite his abilities, still bound by a few of the laws of physics. He slid right past where his target had been and crashed into the table by his desk. The stag statue which he had purchased with Rogue flew off the table and sailed - rather gracefully, Archetype thought - through the air to land, with a resounding thunk, right on Archetype's head, eliciting a low groan from him. Before he could take the time to get up, a hand grabbed him by the collar and lifted him off the floor, holding him up off his feet.

Time to get serious, he decided. He flicked his wrist, and his dagger flew into his right hand. He held it just below the chin of his opponent. His unknown foe did not appear to be fazed by the prospect of becoming an unwilling blood donor, and he watched the hand which was not currently wrapped around his throat reach towards his desk lamp and turn it on.

His eyes took a moment to adjust to the light. "Rogue?"

It was obvious that she was not happy. The tension lines on her face were plain to see, and the set of her mouth was somewhere between a frown and a snarl. Her free hand was balled into a fist.

Archetype pulled his dagger back, replacing it in his sheath. "What the hell are you doing?" he asked her.

"What am I doing?" she replied softly, half to herself. She strode to the window, still holding him with one hand, and threw him outside.

Xavier, who was working with Henry in his office, heard a low cry, which seemed to fade off into the distance. He looked at Henry. "Did you hear that?"

"Hear what?"

Xavier blinked once. "Never mind."

Rogue, who had grabbed Archetype just before he hit the ground, flew him across the front lawn, keeping him about three feet above the ground. She then pulled up sharply, zooming to a height of about ten thousand meters, at which point she hovered. "What the hell was that stunt you pulled earlier!?" she demanded of Archetype as she shook him by the collar.

It should have been difficult for Archetype to even breathe, given the constriction which Rogue was placing on his throat. He was, however, able to say three words: "Let... me...go."

"You aren't going anywhere until..."

"I said... LET-ME-GO!!!" Archetype's eyes became twin stars of silver for a moment, and Rogue rose up two feet higher when she found that she was holding an empty turtleneck.

"Now," she heard behind her, "can we discuss this reasonably?" She spun around to find Archetype standing on a small patch of lawn which was floating in midair.

"I'm safe in guessing that something that you saw during the Danger Room session was disturbing to you in some manner," he asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Damn right," she spat.

He rolled his eyes. "Look, I told you earlier. I have no idea what you saw, and couldn't control what was going to happen. That stunt was a first for me."

She looked at him suspiciously. "You mean you've never done that before?"

"Never," he said harshly. "I had no more of an idea of what was going to happen than you did."

"You could have warned us."

"I was treating you as enemies for the purposes of the scenario. Would you warn Magneto if you were going to punch his lights out?"

"No," she admitted. "But I still think it was a pretty sneaky thing to do."

"I have to be sneaky, Rogue. If I'm not, I may as well paint a target on my chest and change my code name to Cannonfodder."

Rogue had to smile. "I think Sam may have something to say about that."

Archetype's mouth curled up at one corner, resulting in a sort of half-smile. "I suppose so. Can we go back down now?"

"Yeah. Hang on," she said, reaching for him.

He held up one hand. "Wait. Are you willing to help me with an experiment?"

She gave him a dubious look. "What kind of experiment?"

"It'll be easy. Drop down about one hundred feet."

"All right," she said, doing so. "Now what?" she yelled up at him.

"If this doesn't work," he replied as he stepped off his patch of ground, "catch me!" He dropped straight down.

Rogue gasped and maneuvered herself so that she would be in a position to grab him. When he was about three feet away from her, however, he disappeared, and showed up again about ten feet higher, falling up. His speed decreased gradually, and when he was almost at a full stop, another patch of grass appeared below him, which he landed on easily.

He stood there for a moment, breathing hard. "I wasn't entirely sure that would work. Thanks for the backup."

"No problem." As she watched him, Rogue saw that his attention became distant for a moment. "What's wrong?"

He shook his head as if clearing it of something. "The Chorus is just getting a little loud, that's all."

"What's the Chorus?"

"It's what I've decided to call the voices in my head. I'll explain on the way down. Can we go now?"

"Sure. Hold on." She let him support his weight by putting his left arm over her shoulder as she wrapped her right arm around his waist and grabbed the waistband of his pants. She slowly started to descend. "Let me know if I'm going too fast," she advised him.

"Drop like a rock, for all I care," he shrugged.

Rogue exhaled sharply, annoyed. "Whatever you say," she replied. She relaxed her will, and her flight abilities were switched off. She and Archetype began to drop... well, like a pair of rocks.

Rogue knew that she was being somewhat cruel, but she felt some small need for revenge. "If you're nice to me," she yelled to Archetype over the howling wind, "I might slow us down when we get close to the ground."

Archetype grinned suddenly, and the grin sent chills down Rogue's spine. "No need," he said. He then pushed himself out of her grasp and plummeted to the ground.

Rogue gaped at the rapidly diminishing figure of Archetype for a moment, then sped after him.

"What are you, crazy?" she yelled as she made an approach which would allow her to catch him without killing him.

"I don't think so, but then I wouldn't be the best judge of that, now would I? Hey, watch this," he said as he flattened his arms against his sides and angled his descent to minimize wind resistance. His speed quickly increased to terminal velocity, and Rogue was forced again to try to catch up with him.

No need to panic, she told herself. I'll catch him with plenty to room to spare. Then she saw him disappear, then reappear another two hundred feet in front of her.

Okay, she decided, time to panic. She pulled her commbadge out of her pocket and activated it. "Rogue to Phoenix!" she yelled.

"Phoenix here," was the reply. "What's wrong, Rogue?"

"Don't ask me to explain, Jean - there ain't time. Archetype's in freefall right above the lake. I can't get to him in time. Can you catch him?"

"I'm over the lake now," Jean replied. "I've alerted everybody on the grounds. Warren and I are going to try and intercept him, and Ororo's going to use her winds to slow him down."

"Right," Rogue confirmed. She had gained enough distance on Archetype to be able to see his face. He seemed passive, even tranquil, keeping his body loose and relaxed. He glanced up at Rogue, raised one eyebrow, and closed his eyes.

"Rogue," Jean's voice came in over the link, "Warren and I are in position. We'll grab him as he passes by us."

"Gotcha, Jean. I'll stay as close to him as..." Rogue paused, noticing a small rectangle of black appearing in the air below Archetype. "He's opened a Door," she informed the others. "He may be trying to slow himself down again."

Bobby's voice suddenly cut in over the link. "No, he's not!"

"What do you mean?" Warren asked.

"A Door just formed RIGHT ABOVE THE LAKE!"

"WHAT!?" Rogue shrieked. She accelerated to her top speed in a desperate attempt to catch up with Archetype.

She was however, too late. Archetype fell into the Door and hit the lake one second later, causing a splash which sent water fifteen feet into the air.

"Oh my God," Rogue whispered to herself. Ten seconds later, she and the others were at the lake, trying to locate Archetype.

"I'll find him," Bobby announced as his ice form became more abstract. He plunged into the lake, reaching out with his powers to find any objects which had a higher density than the lake water. He found Archetype's body a few seconds later. It wasn't moving.

Bobby quickly created an ice raft just below Archetype. The buoyancy of the raft lifted the body to the surface. When the raft broke the surface of the water, Jean carefully cradled Archetype's body in a telekinetic field and carried him to the shore of the lake, where she lowered him gently to the ground.

Henry, Scott and Xavier, who had come over land from the mansion, arrived a few moments later. "Hank, check his vitals," Xavier ordered.

Henry shook his head. "There wouldn't be any point."

Archetype's limbs were broken and twisted in all directions. His head was craned at an impossible angle, and the depression in the middle of his chest gave mute testimony to the fact that all of his ribs had broken with the impact of his fall.

Rogue was in shock, stammering to Xavier, "I - I tried to stop him, Professor... he would... wouldn't let me... oh God... what have I done?..."

"It's not your fault, Rogue," Jean said soothingly. "You did everything you could to save him."

"I was the one who took him up there in the first place!" Rogue almost shrieked in reply. "Of course it's my fault!" She broke into tears, dropping to her knees.

Hank, you'd better give her a sedative before she goes into hysterics, Xavier projected.

Understood. "Bobby," Henry said softly, "could you help me move him inside?"

"Sure," Bobby replied in a subdued tone. He and Henry bent down to lift the body, each of them taking a shoulder. As they heaved him up, Bobby tried awkwardly to place one of Archetype's arms over his shoulder for better support by gingerly handling the arm by the wrist.

The hand which the wrist was attached to apparently decided that it had other ideas, because it grabbed Bobby's wrist in a crushing grip. Bobby yelled in both pain and surprise, dropping Archetype like a hot rock. Henry didn't have time to compensate for the lack of support, and tried to hold Archetype up and help Bobby at the same time. The effort put him off balance, however, and the end result was that they all fell to the ground in a heap.

Jean, Betsy and Xavier all gasped at once and grimaced in pain. Put up your shields, both of you! he barked mentally, as he did so himself.

The non-psis, meanwhile, rushed in to help Bobby and Henry, who were trying to untangle themselves. Henry managed to pry Archetype's fingers from Bobby's wrist, and they both scrambled away from him.

Jean and Rogue rushed back to the others and joined the circle which surrounded the now writhing body of Archetype. They all cringed as they heard a noise which sounded like wood cracking apart. "His bones are knitting themselves back together," Xavier marveled. "Not even Logan's powers go this far."

Then Archetype opened his eyes. They were glowing silver again, and they were set in a face which was contorted in agony. He slowly moved his broken arms and gripped the sides of his head with his shattered hands. Slowly, he began to twist his head back into its proper position. Bobby became ill and had to look away as Archetype's screams echoed over the grounds, drowning out the crunch of grinding bones as a shattered ribcage rebuilt itself and mangled limbs straightened.

It was all over in about two minutes. Archetype rolled over onto his hands and knees and deposited the contents of his stomach onto the ground. He then rose up to his knees, and finally stood up.

His face was etched in pain, and it was undeniable: he had aged. He had the face of a man in his fifties, and the silver in his hair had become much more pronounced. He took three steps, and fainted dead away.

They moved him to the infirmary, and placed him under monitoring. That didn't turn out very well, however, because all they received on their instrumentation was static.

"It's a by-product, or a side effect, of his powers," Xavier explained. "He's emitting so much psychic energy that the electronics can't cut through it."

"But none of the rest of you do that," Scott mused. "Why him?"

"Most psis work within a specific band of psychic energy which fits in pretty narrowly with the EKG pattern of the individual's brain. Because Archetype draws energy from the collective consciousness, countless patterns overlap, and the end result is static. The effect is somewhat like what you'd get if you had a radio which received all stations at once."

Scott nodded. "What do we do now?" he asked, turning to Henry.

"For now, we watch him and see what happens. I've put in a glucose drip so that he'll have some nutrients to repair himself with. Beyond that, I'm out of my league."

"I'll take first watch," Rogue said quickly.

"No," Xavier told her sternly. "You're going up to your room to get some rest. Hank?"

Henry unlocked a nearby cabinet and removed a brown glass bottle, shaking out five large pills. "Take these just before you go to bed," he told Rogue.

"Isn't this a bit much?" she asked him, raising an eyebrow.

"You know how quickly your body burns off medication," Henry pointed out. "These should keep you out for eight to twelve hours. You need the rest," he said, silencing her objections. "If anything happens, we'll let you know."

Rogue exhaled sharply in frustration and stalked off to her room. When she had closed her door, however, she collapsed against it, shaking uncontrollably. She changed into one of her favorite oversize T-shirts and took the pills Henry had given her. As she pulled the covers back on her bed, she glanced at her bureau, which held an assortment of stuffed animals which she had gathered over the years. She grabbed a large, overstuffed teddy bear, burrowed under the sheets, and quickly fell asleep, clutching the bear as if it were a lifeline.


Continued in Chapter 11


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