THE ARCHETYPE ASSOCIATION
The King's Inns Club was one of Dublin's most prestigious
social clubs, having been founded by many of the prominent
leaders of post-revolutionary Ireland. It was housed in a
seventeenth-century Georgian mansion which, thought Rogue,
rivaled the school in size. The front entrance was busily
receiving a long series of limousines and luxury cars, from
which tuxedoed men and gowned ladies emerged.
"All set to dazzle the upper crust?" Archetype
asked Rogue from the shadows of an alley near the club.
His mouth twitched in amusement. "Feel like having a
bit of fun?"
She looked at him, eyes narrowed. "What are you planning?"
"I haven't been seen around here in a while, so people
will probably think that I've been abroad. Can you exaggerate
your accent a bit?"
Rogue's eyes widened. "Accent? Why, suh, Ah don't have
a clue whut yow're talkin' abowt."
"Perfect. Now, here's the plan..."
"Well, suh, mah daddy, bein' in the oil business and
all, was a mite curious abowt just whut my Willie was doin'
here in Europe. So we just jumped on one of my daddy's planes
and came over here, an' bein' here is just so much fun,
although ya'll do talk a mite strange..."
"Uh, thank you, Miss..."
"O'Hara, suh. Elsie May O'Hara."
"...Miss O'Hara, I'm afraid that my wife is motioning
for me to come over. It's been a pleasure speaking with you.
Mister Riley, may I speak with you privately for a moment?"
"Certainly, Mister Boyle. Elsie May, why don't you get
us some punch?"
"Shure, Willy. Ah'll be right bahk." Rogue made
sure to exaggerate the sway of her hips as she walked away.
"Where did you find that girl, Riley?" Boyle said
after Rogue had left. "She's absolutely gorgeous!"
Archetype could only agree with him there. In fact, when
he had opened the door at her knock earlier that evening,
he found that he could only gape at her. Her dress was a deep,
dark red, with a rather low-cut bodice and a slit skirt that
reached up to mid-thigh. Her green eye shadow blended perfectly
with her eyes. She had somehow found a lipstick which perfectly
matched the color of her dress, and had added a pair of elbow-length
black gloves which she had packed with her. The effect was
crowned by her hair, which flowed down one shoulder in a cascading
"She's that all right," he agreed.
"But isn't she a little..." Boyle faltered.
"If you're trying to imply that she's 'dumb as dirt',
as they say where she comes from, then you're right."
He smiled thinly. "I don't keep her around for her intellect,
Boyle raised an eyebrow. "You mean she's your...?"
"Her father owed me quite a bit of money, so he and
I made a deal. As long as she keeps me entertained, I won't
collect on the debt." He chuckled evilly. "The great
part about it is that she doesn't even know about the deal.
As long as I give her a new toy to play with every once in
a while, she's quiet as a lamb."
"You know, a car, a necklace, an ocean cruise, that
sort of thing. Ah, thank you, dear," he said as Rogue
returned with two glasses of punch. "It's been wonderful
talking with you, old boy, but I really should spread myself
around a bit tonight. Say good-bye, dear."
"Bye, Mistuh Bile..."
"Boyle, dear, Boyle," Archetype said as they walked
off. When they were out of Boyle's earshot, however, Archetype
broke into a fit of giggles. "Oh, the con jobs I could
pull with you, my dear! You almost had me fooled."
"Why, thank you, suh," Rogue replied, bowing slightly.
"Actually, I'm having a lot of fun. I haven't gotten
this much attention in a while."
"I think the dress might have something to do with that.
I have told you that you look lovely, haven't I?"
"Only about six times tonight."
"Is that all? Oh, dear, I'm below my quota."
"Well, I'll let you get away with it, but just this
once. Have we made enough of an impression for one night?
My feet are starting to hurt."
"You should have said something," he said in a
concerned voice. "We'll head back immediately."
As they wove their way through the crowd, Rogue, who was
eyeing the snack plates for one last thing to nibble on, saw
Archetype's head snap up suddenly, as if he had been startled
by a loud noise. "What's wrong?" she asked him,
"I just heard something," he said, his brow furrowed
in concentration. She saw him sweep his gaze around the room,
scanning the crowd. Noticing her look of confusion, he tapped
the side of his head with a finger. "Up here."
"Oh," was all she could think to say. "Where's
it coming from?"
He pointed to the fireplace at the front of the room. "There."
He looked at her. "You may want to stay here. This is
going to involve a walk down one of those darker paths that
I've told you about."
"Thanks for the offer, but the X-Men are a team. We
don't let our people face problems alone. I'll be right behind
"Suit yourself." They both strode directly to the
fireplace, and turned around.
There were two overstuffed easy chairs in front of them.
A woman sat on their left, a man on their right. It was instantly
apparent that they were twins. They were both quite short
and slender, with pale skin and black hair, and it was obvious
that they were both older than they looked. They were dressed
in clothes which were exactly the same deep shade of blue,
and looked at them with eyes that were so dark as to be black.
"I believe that you two wanted to see me?" Archetype
asked in an even voice.
"Why would you think that, good sir?" the woman
asked in a low, musical voice. She had an accent which Rogue
couldn't quite place.
"Don't play games with me!" Archetype snapped angrily,
his Irish accent becoming much more pronounced in the process.
"If you want something from me, then come right out and
"Very well," the man answered in a similarly musical
voice. "We would speak with thee three nights hence at
the mound near your home."
"And what interest would the Fair Folk have with me?"
"You will learn that when we speak."
"In three nights, then. Rogue," he said, striding
towards the door, "we are leaving."
Rogue hurried to catch up with him. "Who the hell were
those two? And why do you have to meet them in three days?
"Please, Rogue, no questions now," he said as they
claimed their coats from the check area and left the club.
"Give me a few moments to come down to earth." They
left the club, turned a corner, and were back in front of
the hotel. As they walked by the front desk, Rogue noticed
that the staff cringed slightly, as if awaiting an imminent
As they entered their rooms, Archetype took a deep breath
and exhaled. "All right," he said, "I'll explain
over a meal. Are you still hungry? I didn't get a chance to
eat much during the party."
"I could deal with a light snack. Do you want to go
"No, I think I'll just order from room service."
He picked up a menu from the desk in the corner. "How
does beef stroganoff sound?"
"Nice and filling."
"All right, then." He picked up the phone and dialed
room service. A moment later, he was speaking with the kitchen.
Rogue noticed that he slurred his words slightly. He glanced
at the wine list for a moment, then added a bottle of champagne
to the order. "And hurry up with it!" he bellowed
into the phone receiver before slamming it into the cradle.
"That was part of the role, right?" Rogue asked.
"Right. Mister Rich Bastard just went to a party and
came back drunk as a lord. As rude when he is when he's sober,
he's impossible when he's smashed. The bottle is because he
and his companion are going to drink themselves into insensibility."
"We are?" she asked, one eyebrow raised.
"Nah," he said, waving dismissively. "I'll
just pour a little bit into our glasses, swirl it around,
and pour it and the bottle down the drain."
"Oh, don't do that," Rogue protested. "Why
He shrugged. "If you want some, I'm certainly not going
to stop you. Now, if you'll excuse me, he said as he loosened
his tie, "I have to make myself look drunk." He
undid the top button and rumpled his shirt, pulling out the
tail and half of the front. He tousled his hair and set his
glasses off-kilter. He then swayed on his feet slightly and
looked at her with unfocused eyes. "How do I look?"
he asked her in a slurred voice.
"The term wasted comes to mind."
"That was the effect I was hoping for. What are you
going to do?"
"Well, that tub attracted my attention before. A bubble
bath sounds real good right now."
"There's a bathrobe in the closet," he informed
"Thanks. Let me know when the food gets here,"
she said, closing the door behind her most of the way. She
walked over to the closet, took out the robe, which she noticed
was emblazoned with the name of the hotel, turned on the water
to the tub, added some of the bubble bath from the small shelf
which was next to the tub, then went back into the bedroom
and, after taking a moment to make sure that Archetype wasn't
peeking through the door, undressed and changed into the robe.
She tied her hair back with a barrette, then sank into the
tub with a contented sigh.
About fifteen heavenly minutes later, she heard a knock on
the door to Archetype's room, then his voice saying "I'm
comin', I'm comin'," unsteadily. The door opened, then
a second voice announced room service.
"It's about time," she heard Archetype say. "How
much'll that be?"
"The amount will be on your bill in the morning, sir."
"Fine, fine, fine. Here." There was a pause. "Can't
figger out this damn foreign money. Here ya go."
"Um, sir, this is a hundred-punt note."
"Whatever. Have a good night, kid." The door shut,
and Archetype chuckled softly. "That should erase any
ill will among the staff," he said, his voice now normal.
"Are you almost finished?" he asked, raising his
voice slightly. "This stuff won't stay hot for long."
"Be out in a minute," she called. She reluctantly
got out of the tub, toweled herself off, then put on the bathrobe
and entered the bedroom, where she slipped into a T-shirt
When she reentered Archetype's room, she found him wrestling
with the champagne bottle. "I don't have to deal with
these things that often," he apologized.
"Take your time," she replied. A moment later,
the cork popped off, and Archetype poured a small amount into
his glass. Glancing at Rogue for approval, he topped off her
glass. "Thanks," she said, then, looking at the
cart, noted that there was more food on the tray than had
been ordered before. "You ordered a deli tray?"
"I felt like a sandwich," he replied. He took a
plate from the cart and, choosing a roll from the pile, started
stacking lunch meat into a moderately large heap. He added
pickles and mayonnaise, and spooned a generous helping of
the beef onto the side of the plate. He then took a can of
Coke from the ice bucket. "Told them I was adding rum
to it," he explained. He sat at the table by the window,
while Rogue chose to simply sit cross-legged on the bed.
"Now," he said between mouthfuls of food, "your
explanation. Those two people at the club were not what they
appeared to be."
"I figured that part out," she replied as she dug
into her own sandwich. "Just who were they? You called
them the Fair Folk."
"That's one of the many names they have. They're also
known as the Sidhe, the Tuatha de Danann, and the Faerie."
"Wait a minute. That term I recognize. Are you
saying that those two were... I don't know... elves?"
He shook his head. "I'm not really sure what they are.
They might be the remnants of the people who lived on the
British Isles before the Celts came. They came to me while
I was traveling through Ireland a few years ago, and offered
their assistance to me when I needed it. I still haven't given
He was quiet for a moment, staring out the window. "It's
another one of those shades of being that I've talked about
before. The Sidhe view the world as a much darker and more
cutthroat place than we do. They strike bargains where you
lose far more than you gain, and where minor mistakes can
have drastic consequences. They do have one saving grace:
they will not lie. They'll twist the truth into a pretzel
or bury it under various levels of metaphor, but they won't
lie. So, if you're truthful, even-tempered, and very, very
careful, you can deal with the Sidhe and come through unharmed."
"And you'll be dealing with them three nights from now,"
Rogue said as she polished off her second glass of champagne.
"Yes. Fortunately, I have a good idea of what to expect."
"And what will I be doing?"
"You'll be doing what's good for you and staying inside
my house. If anything goes wrong, I want you out of the line
"Now, wait a minute..."
"This is not open for discussion," he said,
cutting her off. Then his face softened. "Look, I know
you want to help, and I do appreciate it, but I'm going
to be dealing with forces that are far older than anything
that you're used to. Pure strength won't be of much use against
Rogue frowned. "I don't like it."
"I'm not too happy with the situation myself, but we're
pretty short on alternatives. Well," he said, wiping
his mouth with the napkin and standing up, "I'd like
us to leave at around ten in the morning, if possible. Unless
you have any objections."
"None here. Well," she said, leaning back into
the pillows and stretching out on the bed, "good night.
Make sure to close the door behind you when you leave."
Archetype raised one eyebrow. "Aren't you forgetting
something? Your room's on that side." He hooked one thumb
over his shoulder.
Rogue, however, had a total of five glasses of champagne
in her, and was, at that moment, feeling no pain. She was
also in a bit of a playful mood. She grabbed the sheets on
either side of her tightly and made a mock-stern face. "I
ain't movin'," she announced.
"Oh, really?" he asked. "We'll just have to
see about that." He cracked his knuckles menacingly.
Rogue's eyes widened. "Remember about my powers. I don't
She never got a chance to finish the sentence, because Archetype
bent down, grabbed the edge of the bedsheet, and flipped it
over, covering Rogue completely. Before she had a chance to
protest, he rolled her up in the sheet, threw her over his
shoulder, and marched her back into her suite, where he dumped
her onto her bed. "See you in the morning, beautiful,"
he said as he closed and locked the door.
Rogue lay there for a moment, not freeing herself, but simply
remaining wrapped up in the sheet with a big, goofy smile
in her face, one thought bouncing around in her fuddled brain:
He said I was beautiful.
Archetype shut and locked the door, then leaned against the
wall and exhaled explosively.
"A cold shower is most definitely in order. Those
legs shouldn't be let out alone at night..."
Continued in Chapter
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