THE ARCHETYPE ASSOCIATION
Rogue awoke the next morning to the sound of a knock on her
door. "Are you decent?" Will's voice asked from
the other side.
She sat up in the bed, then realized that she must have fallen
asleep during the movie. "Come in," she said, stifling
Will entered, balancing a tray on one hand and holding a
TV tray stand in the other. "Breakfast is served,"
he said with a dramatic flourish as he set up the tray stand
and placed the tray on it. He uncovered the tray, revealing
poached eggs, pancakes, sausage, and chicken fried steak.
A yellow rose was set on the side of the tray.
"Why, thank you," she said, touched by his efforts.
"What's the occasion?"
"I simply wanted to show my appreciation to the woman
who gives me a reason to get up in the morning - that reason
being that you've threatened to pour ice cubes into my bed
if I don't."
Rogue stuck her tongue out at him. "What will you be
"I have some paperwork to catch up on. I want to drop
my attorney a line, too, and let him know I'm still alive.
He gets nervous if he doesn't hear from me once in a while."
"Well," she said, looking at the clock, "I've
got a Danger Room session in an hour, and then I have monitor
duty. I'll see you at lunch?"
"You should, you and Bobby are cooking."
"Damn, that's right," she groused. "It's gonna
be a busy day."
"For one of us, at least," he said with a grin.
He dodged out of her range of fire and closed the door behind
Logan entered the War Room later that morning to check up
on things. He felt that it wasn't really necessary, but he
knew that if he didn't, Bishop would, and Bishop's paranoia
tended to set people on edge. He saw Rogue sitting at the
security monitors and approached her. He noticed that her
eyes were slightly glazed and sighed inwardly. She had always
had a tendency to drift mentally when she was working the
monitors. He cleared his throat.
Rogue shook out of her reverie and blushed with embarrassment.
"If Scott or 'Roro had caught you, you'd have an extra
shift on your schedule. I'm in a good mood today, so I'll
cut you some slack. You had a late night with Will?"
Rogue nodded in acknowledgment, smiling.
"You're really falling for him, aren't you?" Logan
asked, returning the smile.
"I've never met anyone like him, Wolvie. Since we started
out, he's been trying to protect me, even though he knows
that I can take more punishment than he can. He's been willing
to let me take the lead in our relationship. There's no pressure
on me to be anything other than who I am. Did you know that
he told me that he doesn't want to know my real name?
He said that it's part of my past, and he's concerned with
who I am now."
"He's a smart guy, then," Logan answered. "It's
nice to see you smilin' again, kiddo. Haven't seen it in a
"Haven't had much reason to for a while." She thought
for a moment. "What do you think of him, Wolvie?"
"I think that the guy's a lot more dangerous than Chuck
or Val thinks."
"Does that mean you don't trust him?"
He shook his head. "I'd trust him with my life. I'm
not so sure I'd trust him with his, though."
"I don't get it."
Logan phrased his next statement carefully, because he didn't
want to upset Rogue, and because he hoped that he was wrong.
"You know that I try to follow the bushido code,
right?" She nodded.
"The code has a principle of unswerving devotion to
duty. You give your life, if necessary, if you feel that the
things that you're sworn to protect are threatened.
"Sometimes, though, you have a samurai who is so devoted
to his duty that he looks for opportunities to prove his devotion,
whether it's necessary or not. That kind of samurai is dangerous,
because he might drag you into the fight right along with
"You're saying that Will might be too devoted
to his ideals?" Rogue asked.
"I'm just saying that we might want to keep a close
eye on him if things get too hairy." He looked at the
clock. "You should get started on lunch. I'm your relief."
"What do you think of Will?"
"I think he makes a sadistic chili."
"I think he needs to open up to us a bit more. But I
don't think it's going to happen anytime soon."
"He just seems to be the type of guy who plays his cards
close to his chest."
Suddenly, Rogue got an idea. "That's brilliant,
sugar!" she told Bobby, smiling.
"What did I say?"
"We play about once a month, if we can get enough people
interested," Logan informed Will. "You in?"
Will shrugged. "Why not? I haven't played in years,
though. My game's a little rusty. What's the opening pot?"
"Whatever you come in with. I start with five hundred."
"That sounds about right."
"We hold our games at one of Warren's places in Soho.
We'll be leaving at seven."
"I'll be ready. I have to go get some cigars, though."
"You can't play without a stogie either, huh?"
"The game just isn't the same without one."
"You can have one of mine. Meet you at the door."
Will, Logan, Rogue, Bobby, Ororo, and Henry piled into the
school van and reached Warren's place in less than an hour,
having stopped at a store for a beer-and snacks run on the
way. The poker table was in its customary place, since neither
Warren nor Betsy had been there since the last game.
Bobby filled the ice bucket and they sat down to begin the
game. "Nothing too fancy, please," Will asked Henry,
who was dealer. "I have to get back in the swing of the
"Understood. We'll start with a simple game of five-card
The game was uneventful for the first hour, with no one gaining
a clear advantage. Both Ororo and Bobby had bad runs soon
after, however, and they both had to drop out. Logan, who
considered himself the best player on the team, spent his
time observing Will.
The man was a statue. Neither his face nor his eyes betrayed
any emotion. He simply maintained a bored expression, regardless
of the status of his hand. He didn't fold often, usually choosing
to see the bet. He soon bankrupted Henry, and took a good
bite out of Rogue's pot. "All's fair in love and poker,"
he said blandly when Rogue attempted to sway him against wiping
her out by batting her eyes at him.
"You and I are going to have a long talk later,"
she warned him. She got some small measure of satisfaction
from seeing the look of panic on his face.
Henry dropped out soon after, with Rogue following, since
she needed some spending money for the week, and she had a
personal rule against living beyond the means that the Professor's
generous stipend provided. She stayed at the table to watch,
however, since she had become fascinated by the interplay
between Will and Logan.
After a few rounds of small bets, Will placed his pot in
the middle of the table.
"We haven't even dealt yet," Logan objected.
"I know," Will replied blandly, taking a draw off
his cigar. "I'm still betting everything."
Logan shrugged and dealt. They each took two cards.
"I call," Will declared.
Logan placed his cards on the table. "Two pair. Kings
Will looked at his cards and grimaced. "I get this hand
in every game I've played in the past ten years. I think it's
one of life's little jokes on me." He showed his cards.
"Full house - aces and eights."
"Dead man's hand," Logan confirmed.
"Come to Papa," Will said, gathering the chips.
"Bobby, you're in charge of cashing these in."
"Simple. You're an accountant, and I need a financial
advisor to keep my checkbook balanced."
A few minutes later, Bobby had determined the total. "Two
thousand dollars," he said, handing Will the money.
"Not a bad haul."
"Great," Rogue groused. "The one guy here
who's super rich gets all the money."
"You're not the type to hold a grudge, are you?"
Will asked, leaning over her shoulder.
"I'm not talking to you." She wasn't really mad,
but she was grouchy over losing so badly, and needed someone
to take it out on.
They cleaned up after themselves and got back in the van.
"I thought you said your game was rusty," Logan
remarked to Will as they started back.
Will shrugged. "I lied. I do that sometimes."
As Rogue readied for bed, she followed her usual ritual of
cleaning out her pockets. It was a habit that had become ingrained
in her back when she was living with Mystique and Destiny:
keep everything that you need for daily life near you, in
case you have to run.
As she rummaged through her jacket, she felt a small lump
in the inside pocket. She reached in and pulled out the roll
of bills that Bobby had given Will at the game. She looked
at it for a moment, confused, then went to Will's room and
knocked on the door, opening it at his request.
He was in bed, reading. "Problem?" he asked her.
"You put this in my jacket by mistake," she said,
handing the money to him.
"No I didn't."
"You didn't put it there?"
"I didn't do it by mistake. I certainly don't
need the money."
Rogue threw the roll at him, scattering bills all over the
place. "Keep your damn money," she snapped, as she
strode out of the room and slammed the door behind her.
Will stared at the door for a moment, stunned. He then got
up and gathered up the bills, placing them on his dresser,
and went to bed, a worried expression on his face.
"Morning, Warren," Rogue said the next morning.
"Good morning yourself. Do you want pancakes?"
"Just cereal for me, thanks," she said as she dug
out a bowl from the cupboard. She looked at him as she sat
down. "Why isn't Will cooking?"
"He wasn't here when I came down, so I started without
him. Maybe he overslept."
"He didn't," Logan informed them as he walked in.
"He's in the Danger Room, doing a solo session."
He looked at her. "Did you two have a fight last night?
He seemed pretty upset."
"Yeah," she growled. "He slipped his pot from
last night into my jacket while I wasn't looking."
Warren looked at her. "You got mad at him for that?"
"Mystique used to do the same thing to me all the time.
She'd take care of things for me, then make me feel like I
couldn't do it on my own. He just upset me, that's all. I
guess I was a bit immature about it," she admitted, after
thinking about it for a moment.
"Have you told him that yet?" Logan asked.
"No. I'll talk with him after he's done."
"Let's get that done now, then," Warren said as
he tapped the interface to the mansion computer. "Computer,
is Archetype finished with his training session yet?"
"Negative. Designate: Archetype is currently engaged
in training program: Hellfire."
Rogue, Logan, and Warren all stopped breathing for a moment.
Hellfire was one of the toughest solo programs that the Danger
Room could offer. It hadn't been used in months because of
the injury rate it tended to produce.
"Computer," Logan said calmly, "what's the
difficulty level right now?" As long as he's below
twenty, he should be okay, he thought to himself.
"Current difficulty level: Ninety. Danger level:
They all looked at one another, then ran for the elevator.
The amount of noise that assaulted their ears as the elevator
doors opened told them all they needed to know. The Danger
Room was doing its level best to kill Will.
Rogue ran to the observation port. "Can you see him?"
she asked Logan and Warren.
"Over there," Warren said, pointing.
Will was engaged with one of the battle droids that were
designed to carry a multitude of armaments. This particular
one had an ax-shaped protrusion attached to its right arm,
and was swinging it at him.
Will grabbed the arm and teleported it off the robot, then
swung the arm at the robot's head, tearing it off. He wasn't
able to avoid the robot behind him, though, and took a laser
shot that went straight through him.
Warren and Rogue gasped at the damage that Will was taking,
but he seemed to ignore it. He grabbed his sword from the
floor and hurled it at the robot's head, pinning it against
the wall. He then turned to deal with a group of smaller robots
that pounced on him. He kicked and punched his way through
them, then grabbed one by the base and swung it at the others,
"He's a mess," Warren observed. Indeed, Will was
bleeding from several places, and still had a scrap of metal
embedded in his right leg. His eyes, however, were glowing
brightly, and the look on his face was savage.
"Computer, end program," Logan said tersely. The
robots vanished, the gravity fields that had created them
Will looked around the room wildly for a moment, then glanced
up at the observation booth, finally noticing his audience.
His eyes dimmed slightly, and he strode out of the room, favoring
his uninjured leg, without saying a word.
"Computer, how was Archetype able to avoid the safety
failsafes?" Warren asked.
"Program: Hellfire activated with progressive difficulty
and danger level enhancement commensurate with time elapsed."
"It got tougher the longer he was in it," Logan
translated. "Computer, what time was the program activated?"
"He was at that for four hours?" Rogue asked, incredulous.
"I wasn't asking you."
They went to the showers to confront him, but found that
he wasn't there. The piece of shrapnel that had been in his
leg lay on the floor. Rogue picked it up. "He was ignoring
this?" she asked, worried.
Logan took it from her. "Warren, go back to the Danger
Room and erase the records of that session."
Warren nodded. "Are you sure about that?"
"I don't want Scott or Chuck hearing about this until
we've got some answers. Come on," he said to Rogue. "Let's
go find him."
He was outside, running. He didn't seem to be using his enhanced
speed, but was moving very quickly. They lost sight of him
just as he entered the woods. "What is with him?"
"He's mad, and he's working it off."
"He got that mad over an argument?"
"Maybe you set him off about something else without
"Maybe," she admitted. "I'm gonna have to
talk with him - if I can get him to sit still."
That proved to be difficult, since she and Logan both had
solo sessions that morning, and Will didn't show up for lunch.
"That's it," Logan told Rogue under his breath as
they got up from the table, "now I'm worried."
"We can't use Cerebro," she mused. "Think
Betsy can keep this quiet?"
Will walked in a moment later, dressed in a black T-shirt
and jeans, his eyes still glowing. "Hi, Will," Bobby
said cheerfully as he cleaned up. "Sorry, but we killed
"Where's Storm?" Will asked him without preamble.
His face was distant, and he didn't seem to be paying attention
to what was going on.
"She's doing the dishes," Bobby informed him, thumbing
back towards the kitchen, where soft music could be heard.
Will nodded absently and went to see her. "Storm, I'd
advise you to keep the X-Men on alert for the next few hours."
Ororo looked at him carefully. "Why?" Her tone
showed that she took him seriously, but she needed more information.
"Something big is going to happen."
"Can you give me anything more than that?"
"Not yet. I think that it'll happen closer to evening."
Ororo thought about that for a moment. Even if he were wrong,
it couldn't hurt to make sure that everyone was prepared for
an emergency. It would be a good practice drill, if nothing
else. "I will consider it," she informed Will.
He nodded in approval, then started out of the kitchen. As
he walked past the radio, the signal burst into static, and
it shorted out in a hail of sparks.
"Sorry," he told her, embarrassed.
"Not a problem." She looked at him for a moment.
"Are you going outside again today? Things are predicted
to become severe today."
He looked at her. "I know," he said as he left
Somehow, Ororo didn't think he was talking about the weather.
He sighed. "Yes, Rogue?"
"I wanted to apologize."
"For what? I'm the one who insulted you." He didn't
turn to face her, but continued to look out the window of
the study hall.
"No you didn't," she insisted. "It's just
that Mystique used to send me money, whether I wanted it or
not, until I told her to stop. She always included a note
with the money that hinted that I couldn't take care of myself.
You just surprised me for a moment, and I flashed back to
that point in my life for a second. It really wasn't anything
you did, and I had no right to snap at you."
"Will, what's wrong?" she asked. "You've been
acting weird all day."
"The Chorus is trying to tell me something, and I can't
figure out what it is.'' He turned to look at her. His eyes
were glowing so brightly now that they were illuminating his
face. "I'll be on the roof," he told her, and disappeared.
Jean rubbed her eyes as she stared at the holographic globe
in the War Room. She hadn't slept well the night before, and
had a good idea of the reason why.
That reason walked in, as if on cue. "Hello, Will,"
she said. "You kept me up last night."
"Did I? I'm sorry. My powers have been driving me crazy
since midnight." The hologram flickered slightly as he
"So I see. Any idea why?"
"That's what I'm here to find out. Do you have any paper
maps around here?"
"Sure," she said, getting up. "Do you want
a world map?"
As she rummaged through the files for the appropriate map,
Jean noticed that Will was manipulating something in his right
hand. "What's that?" she asked him as she handed
him the map.
"Chinese exercise balls," he explained. "They
help me concentrate." He put them down on the table,
causing them to chime lightly.
Jean picked them up. "I think Logan has a set of these."
Will nodded, not saying anything, as he unfolded the map.
"May I have one of them, please?"
She handed the metal sphere to him, and he placed it on the
map, then put his palm over it lightly. He closed his eyes
and breathed deeply, then raised his hand off the ball by
about an inch.
Jean felt the rush of psychic energy that she had come to
associate with Will's power, but decided to delay raising
her shields. This was a golden opportunity to discover just
how his powers worked.
The sphere started moving, tracing its way along the map.
Will kept his hand over it, listening to the song in his head.
Jean tried to listen as well, but couldn't make any sense
out of it.
After a few moments, he placed his finger on the sphere,
stopping its motion. "Look at what's underneath, and
get me a more detailed map of that area. Don't tell me where
it is. I don't want anything influencing me." He never
opened his eyes.
Jean looked at the map, seeing that the sphere had settled
on the American Pacific coast. She quickly went back to the
maps and found one that covered the area in more detail.
After Will had repeated the procedure four more times, they
had narrowed the area down to San Francisco, close to the
Presidio. "That's it," Will said as he opened his
eyes. "I can't get any closer than that."
"How long do we have?"
He rubbed his jaw. "Probably longer than I thought.
I've been getting images that suggest late afternoon to early
evening. Since it's on the West Coast, that gives us a bit
She nodded, then sent mental signals to Scott, Ororo, and
"That's all you can tell us?" Scott said sarcastically.
"Something's going to happen?"
"I got a distress signal," Will snapped back, "not
"Scott, please." Xavier said calmly. "Is there
anything you can tell us which would warrant sending a team
to San Francisco?" he asked, turning to Will.
"All I can tell you is that a lot of people could be
hurt. This is going to be big."
"What do you mean by big?" Ororo asked him, trying
to get a clearer picture and placate Scott at the same time.
Will exhaled sharply, trying to put his intuition into words.
"I can only sense what's going to happen in San Francisco,
but I got a glimpse of the state of the Chorus just after
whatever is going to happen. It was in agony, Storm.
Unless we do something - and if you don't, I
will - there'll be a psychic backlash so severe that it'll
damage the entire Chorus, and that means that the whole of
humanity will be affected."
Xavier chewed on that for a moment. "Storm, take Bishop,
Rogue, Wolverine, Iceman, and Phoenix to San Francisco with
you. Keep an open line to here. Leave as soon as you're satisfied
that everything's ready."
Ororo got up. "Understood. We should be underway within
"I'll get in uniform," Will said as he stood up.
"You do that," Scott grumbled.
After Will had left the room, Xavier looked sternly at Scott.
"After they've gone, you and I have to have a talk."
"How are we going to handle this, guys?" Bobby
asked as Blackbird Blue sped towards the West Coast. "It's
not like we know what we're looking for."
"I brought several image inducers," Ororo informed
him. "We will pose as tourists until we have determined
"What about you?" Bobby asked Will, who was staring
into space, an intense look on his face.
"My uniform is subtle enough that most people won't
give me a second glance. I'll just remove my bolo tie and
"Good idea," Logan responded. "Have you got
anything more for us to work with yet?"
He shook his head. "I've been trying to keep my powers
in check until we hit ground. I don't want to risk shorting
out the plane."
"I can't argue with that logic," Logan said. "What's
our ETA, Jean?"
Jean glanced from the controls to the HUD display. "About
"Why don't you go in back?" Logan suggested to
Will. "Just in case your power flares up again?"
"Good idea. I want something to eat, anyway. Can I get
They all declined politely and watched him head towards the
rear of the plane.
"Why'd you send him back there?" Bobby asked.
"Because him and Rogue need to talk, and I figure this
way they get three hours to do it."
"Sneaky," Jean complimented him.
"I do my best, Red."
Rogue saw Will approach as she made another sensor sweep
of the surrounding area. "Problem?" she asked.
"I just wanted a sandwich." He slid open the galley
door and got one. Glancing at her for approval, he tossed
her one, along with a drink. He then sat down at the offensive
systems station. "Have you seen anything?"
"Just commercial traffic. Our cloak is keeping us out
He nodded, glancing at the panels in front of him. "What's
"Genetic Dampening Unit. Sort of a mutant riot control
device. It has a range of about fifty feet."
Will tried to commit that to memory.
"What's got you worried?"
He blew out his breath in frustration. "I don't know.
I've got this feeling, that's all. It's like the scent you
get in the air just before the lightning strikes, or the stillness
in the zoo just before the earthquake hits. I'm waiting for
the other shoe to drop, and I haven't even heard the first
one yet." He took off his hat and plopped it onto the
"It must be annoying," she said sympathetically.
"It's a royal pain in the ass, that's what it is,"
he growled, taking a bite out of his sandwich.
She had to laugh at that. "How's your pilot training
with Warren going?"
"Warren says I'm improving, but I don't think that's
saying much, given how I started out. I nose dived that damn
simulator four times in a row."
"That's about average, actually. Bobby holds the record."
"Lovely," he said dryly. "Now I have a goal
to aim for."
Two hours later, they placed the Blackbird in hover mode
in People's Park and made their way towards the Presidio.
"What's the plan, boss?" Logan asked Ororo.
"Archetype, do you sense anything?"
Will walked a few steps away from them and closed his eyes.
"We're close. It's going to happen soon."
"Then we should get there as soon as possible. Can you
"Give me a minute." He stared into space for a
few seconds. "Okay. I've got a spot. Let's get out of
They moved into a space between two brownhouses and Will
teleported them to an area near the Presidio. "What now?"
"We split up. You go with Rogue and Wolverine. Bishop,
you and Robert will take the north side, while Jean and I
will take the south. Stay in contact with one another."
They all nodded and started walking.
"We haven't been here in years," Rogue said as
they wandered down the street. "I forgot how gorgeous
this city is."
"Who did you fight here?" Will asked.
"Oh, nobody special," she said with a smirk. "Just
"Do yourself a favor, kid," Logan advised him.
"Do you sense anything, Jean?"
"Just Will. I have got to teach that man to shield."
"You and Charles have been working with him very closely.
What do you think of him?"
Jean thought about that for a moment. "I think that
Scott needs to cut him a bit more slack. He's been working
very hard, and I don't think that he's going to take much
more of Scott's sniping at him."
"I've been meaning to talk to Scott about that,"
Ororo said in an annoyed voice. "Will has put a lot of
effort into trying to fit in among us. Scott has not had one
kind word to say to him since he arrived, and I, for one,
am tired of it. It is not fair to Rogue, either. She has been
caught in the middle, and I care for her too much to let that
"We'll talk about it later," Jean assured her.
"For now, let's just keep our eyes open."
"Bish, will you relax? People are starting to stare."
"I am simply being alert."
"Great," Bobby muttered. "The world could
always use another lert."
"I don't get it."
"Never mind. By the way, I wanted to ask you something."
"If Will's immortal, then maybe he exists in the time
you came from. Can you remember anything about him?"
"I have been trying to recall anything I can,"
Bishop admitted. "However, I don't remember hearing anything
about a man called Archetype. That may not mean anything,
though. He may have changed his name, or perhaps he was laying
low during my era. Someone with his sort of power would likely
have distanced himself from the conflicts of my time, so that
he could reduce any risk of psychic damage."
"Good point." Bobby looked around at the city.
"You know, if I ever decide to retire from the X-Men,
I just might consider moving here. This city is fantastic.
What about you?"
"A coastal location would be too hard to defend."
"That's not what I meant. Haven't you ever thought about
what you're going to do after you leave the X-Men?"
"I have no intention of leaving."
"You're still going to be shooting people when you're
Bishop's response was a rare smile. "You're far more
optimistic about your future than I am, Robert. I really don't
expect to make it that far."
"Wait a minute," Bobby replied in a stern voice
as he restrained Bishop by the arm, stopping him. "You
really mean that, don't you? Is that all you think you have
to look forward to - fighting for the next few years, and
then buying the farm? That's not living, Bish, and if you
think it is, then you're as dead as the future you're trying
so hard to avoid."
Bishop looked shocked for a moment. "Do I really seem
like that to you?"
Bobby had the grace to look remorseful. "Well, I was
a little overboard, but I do think that you carry the grim
and gritty riff a bit too far. You can't just fight against
things all your life. Eventually, you have to find something
to fight for."
Bishop looked thoughtful. "Thank you, Robert. You've
given me something to consider.
"But for now," he said as he became watchful again,
"we have work to do."
"You seen anything, Jeannie?"
"Nothing yet, Logan."
"Well, keep your mind open. We'll do another sweep."
Rogue walked back from the snack cart and handed Logan a
hot dog and fries. "Here you go."
"Thanks." He looked at Will, who was sitting on
a bench a few feet away, staring into space. "Think he
"I don't know. He said himself that he's not always
"Do we call it quits, then?"
"Let's see what he thinks." They started walking
over to him, but he stood up suddenly, his eyes intense. His
face hardened, and he pulled his sword out from under his
"They're coming," he growled.
A sudden wind picked up, blowing papers and trash along the
street. Logan picked up a sharp smell of ozone. Both he and
Rogue recognized the telltale signature of a teleporter.
"Who is it?" Rogue asked.
They got their answer a moment later, as two outlines formed
within the glowing circle.
"Oh, hell," Rogue muttered. "Apocalypse's
Continued in Chapter
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