THE ARCHETYPE ASSOCIATION
"Should we call the mansion and let them know that we're
back?" Rogue asked after they had finished going through
"Good idea. The last thing we need is Bishop coming
out blasting when we show up in the foyer." He dug into
his pocket. "A dollar in quarters should cover the call,
"Right." A minute later, she was talking to Warren.
"You two sure you don't want a ride?" he
"We'll be teleporting over in a few minutes," she
assured him. "We just wanted to give you some advance
"Okay. Hank just finished making lunch. We'll put
out places for you two."
"Thanks. See you in a few. They're ready for us,"
she told Will as she hung up the phone.
"Good." He hefted his bags. "Let's go that
way," he said, inclining his head. "It looks relatively
Rogue picked up her things and followed him. She wasn't quite
sure when it happened, but as they continued to walk, the
airport faded away, to be replaced by the mansion, directly
in front of them.
The door opened as they approached, and Ororo came out to
greet them. "Welcome back!" she said warmly.
"It's good to be back," Will said.
After a few minutes of saying hi to everyone, they sat down
for lunch. Hank had made a Caesar salad and sandwiches, but
Will and Rogue spent most of the meal fielding questions about
"Enough of the sights," Bobby said, "get to
the important part."
"What's that?" Will asked.
"What did you bring me?"
"Just for that, you go to the end of the souvenir line."
"Did Moria examine you while you were at Muir?"
Hank asked him.
"Yes. She said I was fine."
"I'd still like to do a battery of tests on you."
"Yeesss, maaster," Will replied in a Peter Lorre
"Do you feel any different after your experience?"
Xavier asked him.
Will thought about it for a moment. "Yes I do, but I
honestly can't pinpoint just why I do. Maybe Hank can find
"Anything exciting happen around here?" Rogue asked.
"Not really," Logan replied. "It's been pretty
"Good. It's going to take me a day or two to get my
mind back to thinking about work." She looked at Will.
"Show them your arms."
"All right." He stood up and rolled his sleeves
Logan got up and examined the dragons closely, then whistled.
"Whoever did that sure knew their stuff."
"I'll tell the Sidhe you said that. I'm sure they'll
"Are they the ones who did that?" Ororo asked.
He shook his head. "No. They acted as intermediaries
for something far older. Well," he said, "enough
of 'What's My Mysterious Power?' Let's distribute the loot."
Rogue decided that Will must have brought most of the souvenirs
while she was doing her shopping. He gave Xavier a pair of
Corinthian leather gloves, and Henry a silk tie. "I decided
that something blue would be a safe bet," he told him.
"Good move," Henry replied.
Logan got a wooden box, about a foot long. "I found
this in a Dublin antique shop," Will said. "I can
date it later, if you want."
Logan opened the box and unwrapped the contents. "This
is a tanto!" he exclaimed.
"Yes. I knew about your fascination with things Japanese,
so it seemed appropriate. From what the dealer told me, the
seller had an ancestor who was on one of the first successful
voyages of the British Navy to Japan."
"That would make this thing about two hundred years
"That's about right," Will agreed.
Warren was given a set of three linen shirts. "Interest
for the one I owed you," Will explained.
Ororo received a set of silver bracelets. "I thought
that they might go well with your uniform," Will suggested.
"They're lovely," Ororo responded. She looked at
the bracelets closely. "The workmanship is exquisite."
Betsy received a necklace, inset with amethyst. "It
was the only purple thing I could find."
Bishop got a large dagger, with steel that was a dark blue
and veined with small ridges. "Damascus steel,"
Will explained. "Stronger than anything machine-made.
Well," he said as he stood up, "that should be everything."
"Hey!" Bobby yelled.
"Just kidding," Will replied with a smile as he
snapped his fingers. A leather jacket appeared in Bobby's
lap. "I had to estimate your size."
"What about Scott and Jean?" Logan asked.
"I got them a clock for their house. Where are they,
by the way?"
"They went shopping," Betsy offered.
"Ah. Do you want to let them know? I'm going to dump
my laundry down the chute, then get some sleep."
"Aren't you forgetting something?" Rogue asked
"Hm? Oh, I forgot the girl!" he said, slapping
"Who are you, Ted Kennedy?" Hank asked.
"Do you want to tell them, or should I?" he asked
"I'll do it. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to announce
that, for the time being at least, Mister Riley and I are
There were a few raised eyebrows at that. Bobby looked at
Henry, then held out his hand. "Pay up, Hankster."
Will and Rogue looked at each other, then at Bobby and Hank.
"Do you mean to tell me that you two were betting on
whether or not we would start going out together?"
"Of course not!" Bobby said, indignant. "What
kind of people do we think we are?"
"We were betting on when," Henry supplied.
"One more question," Rogue asked. "Do we get
"Well?" Ororo asked Rogue.
"What is he like?"
Rogue was silent for a moment. "Ororo, are you asking
me as leader of the X-Men, or as a friend?"
"You can give me two answers, if you're more comfortable
"Okay. My professional opinion: He's impulsive, capricious,
cynical, and unpredictable. He tends to be aloof, not so much
because he's uncaring as because he's listening to something
only he can hear. He didn't do any physical exercise that
I saw, but that may be because Hank had told him to take it
easy, instead of any kind of neglect. He enjoys pulling the
occasional con, as long as he's pretty sure that no one will
get hurt. He has no problem throwing his weight around if
he takes offense to something."
Ororo nodded. "Very good. Now tell me as a friend."
Rogue smiled. "Ororo, he's gentle, kind... almost doting.
He goes out of his way to make you feel comfortable, and enjoys
springing pleasant surprises on you. He's willing to compromise,
and doesn't insist on always getting his way. He showers you
with compliments, but they're not phony. He goes out of his
way to help his friends if they need it, but he doesn't look
over their shoulders while he's doing it. He has a sense of
humor, although it's a little twisted. He has a great deal
of respect for people who do grunt work, and goes out of his
way to show it."
Ororo smiled in return. "It seems you're quite smitten
"I am," she admitted. "The weird thing about
it is, I've been reviewing what we did during the trip in
my mind, and I can't find a single instance where he wasn't
just being himself. He may play a role once in a while, but
it's one that's a part of the con game, and he doesn't play
it with friends."
"Well, we should find out more in the next few weeks,"
Ororo said, standing up. "Do you think he's asleep yet?"
She nodded. "As long as he's lying down, he falls asleep
"I'll talk to him later, then."
"There are two other things you should know, Ororo -
and they're for you personally, not as an X-Man."
"Really? What are they?"
"He's an ocolophobe. It's sort of like having claustrophobia
Ororo frowned. "We'll have to look out for that. What
"You might want to have a nice long religious discussion
with him. In his own words, he serves the Goddess."
Ororo's eyebrows shot up at that. "I certainly will
have to talk with him. Thank you for letting me know."
"No problem. Did Kurt send you guys any information
on what happened?"
"Standard mission logs. Nothing out of the ordinary.
We'll need some input from you."
"On that particular event, or the whole trip?"
"Just on what happened at Glastonbury. Whatever happened
between the two of you is your own business."
Logan took charge of dinner that night, over Will's objections.
"You're still on vacation until Hank gives you his OK,"
Logan said firmly.
Will fumed at that for a few moments. "Doctor McCoy?"
"Can you fit in a physical for me tonight? I'd like
to get back to work."
"That shouldn't be a problem. Should I just make it
a general physical, Charles?"
"I'd add a strength test and a treadmill run, just to
"Right. Meet me in medlab at eight, Will."
"Ninety miles an hour," Henry said in wonder, "and
he isn't even winded."
"He hasn't flatlined either," Xavier added. "All
right, Archetype," he said into the microphone, "that's
enough for now."
Will slowed down gradually, then stopped. "Okay, what
"Let's try a strength test. I'll set up the weights."
Henry tapped at the keyboard for a moment, and a weight bench
appeared, with a hydraulic bar crossing above it. "Do
you feel up to this, Will?"
"All set," he replied as he got under the bar and
got a grip. "How much weight are we starting with?"
"I'd prefer not to tell you. It might hinder your performance."
"Sensible. Say when."
Henry and Xavier looked at each other for a moment, and Henry
set the weight for 75 kilos. "Logan said that was pretty
much his upper limit during his daily training," Henry
Xavier nodded. "All right, you can start, Archetype."
"Okay, here goes." Will took a deep breath and
The bar rose smoothly, and impossibly fast.
"All right, guys," Will said, "enough with
the joking. I know I'm scrawny, but giving me some weight
besides the bar might be useful."
Henry and Xavier looked at one another. "Okay,"
Henry said as casually as he could, "just kidding. We'll
be adding weight slowly and progressively. Let us know when
it gets to be too much."
"I promise to cry uncle."
"He benched how much?" Logan asked.
"Three hundred kilos," Henry replied. "He
leg pressed five."
"And he had no idea he was doing it?" Scott asked.
"None. He wasn't even exerting himself until the last
"Have you told him?"
"You should, Hank," Jean supplied. "We don't
want him destroying something because he doesn't know his
"Good point. That brings up a question: do we want him
training with the team again yet, given his new abilities?"
"I say yes," Logan replied. "Let's face it,
we've been facing some pretty heavy hitters lately. An extra
powerhouse, even one who hasn't been tested to his limit yet,
would be a big help."
"I'm inclined to agree," Jean added.
"So am I," Ororo supplied, "as long as we
continue to test him in training."
"Scott?" Xavier asked.
Scott was quiet for a moment. "You all know my feelings
about him. I think we're jumping the gun, considering that
the man's technically still on his probation period."
"You're not counting his recovery time?" Warren
"I'll admit that it gave us some insight into his personality,
but we still don't know much about his capabilities. If you're
all willing to admit him, though, I'll go along."
"All right, it's settled then," Xavier said. "Who
wants to be the one to get him?"
"I'll do it," Jean volunteered.
"Archetype, would you and Rogue come down to the
War Room, please?"
"We'll be down in a minute, Jean," Rogue said,
flicking on the intercom. "Is there a problem?"
"Something needs to be taken care of. Is Bishop with
"Right here, Phoenix. Should I come along?"
"You may want to be here."
They all looked at one another, shrugged, and walked to the
"Any ideas?" Will asked as they descended.
"The Professor likes to lay it on mysterious every once
in a while," Rogue told him. "You get used to it."
As they stepped off the elevator, they were surprised to
find that the lights were out. With the exception of the computer
consoles, the room was completely dark.
"Where is everybody?" Rogue asked.
"They're all sitting at the table," Will supplied.
"Well," Warren said, "so much for the element
The lights came on to reveal all of the other X-Men, sitting
at their accustomed places at the conference table.
"What's the deal?" Rogue asked.
Jean stood up. "Will, would you come here a moment?"
"Over the years, the X-Men have tried to avoid becoming
a militant group, but we've taken a few customs from the military
when they seemed appropriate. One of those customs is for
someone who's been promoted to receive their rank insignia
from the most senior officer. Since I was the first X-Man,
that task falls to me." She took a large box from the
table and opened it, removing the standard blue and gold uniform
of the X-Men. "We don't require you to wear this, obviously,
but it does have some symbolic value for us," she told
Will said nothing, but took the uniform gently in his hands,
looking at it for a moment. "I'll be right back,"
he said shortly, in a subdued voice. He walked out of the
"What was that about?" Bobby asked.
"Oh, come on, Bobby," Warren said. "He's doing
what we all did when we first got our uniforms. He's trying
"Wouldn't his room be more appropriate for that?"
"Not if he's going to modify it," Betsy pointed
They chatted together for a few minutes. Jean, Betsy, and
Xavier quieted down suddenly, however, and turned their attention
to the direction that Will had just gone. "Did you feel
that?" Xavier asked, looking at Jean.
Jean nodded. "What did it feel like to you?"
Xavier thought about it a moment. "Like two pieces of
a puzzle came together."
"I agree," Betsy said.
About a minute later, they heard , and saw, Archetype return.
The only piece of the standard uniform which he wore was
the belt. He had made modifications to his own costume design,
though, which echoed the 'X' motif. He had changed his shirt
to a standard grey denim dress shirt, and had added a bolo
tie with an 'X' logo for the clasp. A similar logo adorned
the band of his fedora. He had replaced the overshirt that
he had worn with a black vest.
"Well?" he said, his eyes glowing slightly. "Do
I pass muster?"
Logan studied him for a while, looking him up and down, then
nodded. "I like it."
"So do I," Ororo added. "It's a little dark,
but a very impressive design."
"Let me be the first to say it then," Xavier announced.
"Archetype... welcome to the X-Men."
Continued in Chapter
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