THE ARCHETYPE ASSOCIATION
Abraham Lincoln Kieros was a broken man. He was helpless.
He was weak.
Then Apocalypse came, and made him strong again.
He had been a soldier once, a lifetime ago, weaving his way
through a foreign jungle to serve the needs of men who he
never met, and shooting men who he had no quarrel with.
He didn't care.
He loved it.
But a hidden tripwire and a homemade grenade ended his military
career, trapping him in a metal cocoon, a living death which
was a constant agony. He lay there for years, his anger and
resentment growing. All he had to think about was his glory
days as a warrior, the thrill of combat, and the heroism of
the dying. After enough time, he forgot about the boredom,
the terror, and the horror.
Apocalypse came in the night and took him, then showed him
that the pain that he had endured before was nothing. He took
a parlor trick that Kieros thought was a good way to win a
few extra drinks at a bar and amplified it to a phenomenal
degree, making him capable of incredible destruction.
He became Apocalypse's dark paladin, flying through the air
on a golden steed. He found new comrades, and knew that he
had found his new purpose in life. He became what he was born
He was War.
But Apocalypse found new amusements, new obsessions. A man
with one glowing eye now occupied all of his attention. War,
who had always been faithful to him, was pushed aside in favor
of a ragged group of men who were charged with determining
just who the strong were.
War was intent on regaining the good graces of Apocalypse.
After studying the massive amounts of records that were kept
in the various bases that Apocalypse maintained, and learning
how to control his power even more, he found the way.
And one X-Man in particular.
The child was not hard to convince. She had been humiliated
in her last encounter with those who followed Xavier's foolish
dream, and had also sought greater mastery of her power, in
order to ensure their victory.
They had planned to attract the attention of the X-Men by
creating random chaos in a major city. They chose San Francisco
because it would allow them to maximize their destruction,
since the X-Men were based on the East Coast.
What they hadn't counted on was having the X-Men waiting
for them when they got there.
"Jean, Bobby, get over here!" Logan barked into
his communicator. "It's War and Famine!"
He turned to Rogue and Archetype. "Rogue, you take War.
Rookie, you're with..." His face trailed off as he saw
His burning eyes were glaring at both of the Horsemen, and
his grip on his sword tightened. Logan could catch a whiff
of his scent, and detected a hint of the rage that was present
during his Danger Room session earlier that day.
"Get a grip, rookie!" he barked at him. "Famine
Archetype nodded and vanished, reappearing on Famine's steed,
grabbing her in a full nelson.
"What do you say to ending this before it gets violent?"
he asked her before throwing her to the ground.
Famine glared at him, and the skin on Archetype's face tightened
as her power took effect. He staggered slightly, but that
was all. "My dear, you could starve me all day and it
still wouldn't kill me." His eyes flashed, and he teleported
Famine a few times, knocking her out.
Logan was impressed. "Good job."
Archetype tipped his hat to Logan in acknowledgment, then
whirled as he heard an explosion behind him.
Rogue was not doing well against War. Their conflict had
gone airborne, and every time she drew near him, he set off
an explosion which threw her back. The explosions didn't hurt
her, but stung like hell, and were starting to get on her
She was considering throwing something at him when she noticed
that large parts of his steed were disappearing. She looked
down at Archetype, and realized that he was teleporting them
away in an attempt to ground War.
War started to panic when he realized what was happening,
and jumped off the machine before it hit ground, rolling.
He was on his feet a few seconds later, but Archetype pounced
on him, grabbing War by the wrists and keeping his hands apart,
effectively neutralizing his power. "Rogue, I could use
a hand here!" he yelled.
Rogue dived down and took over, pinning War to the ground.
"Smart move," she said approvingly to Archetype.
War shifted ineffectually in Rogue's grip, cursing.
"Now that's no language to use in front of a lady,"
Archetype said in a conversational tone.
"You weren't supposed to be here!" War spat. "How
did you know!?"
"You're not the only ones with outside sources,"
Logan informed him as he stood over him, claws extended. "Now
what's this all about?"
"Go to hell," War retorted.
"Not much of a conversationalist, is he?" Archetype
War glared at him. "This is your fault!"
"Now that's a childish response," Archetype responded
in a chiding tone.
War's answering glare burned with hate. "You think this
is going to change anything? He's still waiting for you, you
damn walking corpse!"
The glow of Archetype's eyes intensified as he grabbed War
by the throat and lifted him up. "And I'm waiting for
him," he growled.
"You're a dead man," War muttered.
"Not anymore," Archetype replied grimly as he signaled
Rogue to grab War again.
War took that moment to break free from Archetype's grip
and activate his teleporter. Famine vanished at the same time.
"They must have been linked," Logan commented.
"Any idea where they went?" Rogue asked Archetype.
He shook his head. "They used a different method than
I do." He seemed angry.
"What's your problem?" Logan asked as the others
"This was too easy." He barely glanced at the other
X-Men as they arrived. "I've seen the files on what those
two are capable of, and there's no way they should have gone
down that quickly."
"We'll talk about it on the trip back," Jean said.
"The police will be here in a few minutes, and we have
to be gone by then."
"No problem." His eyes flashed, and they were back
in Peoples Park, under one of the covered picnic areas.
As they walked back to the Blackbird, Bobby looked
at Will closely. "You okay?"
Will nodded. "For now. Can you do me a favor when we
"Help me find a restaurant with an all-you-can-eat special.
I'm going to drive the poor people into bankruptcy."
Most of the team slept on the way back to Westchester, since
their bodies had never adjusted to Pacific time. Bishop flew
the Blackbird, keeping an eye out for any commercial traffic.
He had been trained by the XSE to stay awake for extended
periods of time, and thus was not as drained as the others.
Rogue sat across from Will, both of them exhausted from the
long day, but unable to sleep. She looked at him closely,
worrying about the lines of fatigue on his face and the haggard
appearance of his body.
"Problem?" he asked her in a soft whisper.
"You look like hell."
He shrugged. "I'll recover. I always do."
"Stop that!" she snapped.
"Stop acting like being hurt is something that's inevitable.
Do you think I like watching you bleed?"
"Sorry," he said, abashed. "It's happened
to me so often that I'm sort of used to it."
"You're getting used to pain?"
He shook his head. "You don't understand. Compared to
what happened to me the first time, this was nothing."
Her jaw dropped. "You mean you remember all that?"
He nodded sadly. "Sort of. It's really not very distinct
to me. The pain made things a bit hazy. If you don't mind,
I'd rather not talk about it."
She nodded in response. "Why don't you get some sleep?"
"Too risky. I'm trying to keep my powers contained.
If I start healing while we're airborne, I could fry the plane."
He dug into the pocket on the side of the chair and pulled
out a paperback. "I'll wake you when we're nearly there."
he informed her.
"Okay," she said, her expression worried. She was
asleep a moment later.
"And they simply vanished?" Xavier asked at their
debriefing two hours later.
Jean nodded. "The power signature on the teleport was
"And you couldn't track them?" Henry asked Archetype
"I think that their method involved quantum state tunneling
rather than dimensional flux. I can't track something like
Henry pondered that a moment, nodding. "That narrows
it down a bit at least. How is everyone physically?"
he asked the team.
"He was the only one who took any damage," Bobby
said, nodding towards Archetype.
"I'm fine, Doctor," Archetype said before Henry
could speak. "I just need food and sleep - in that order."
"I'll look at you when you're up, then. Can you think
of anything else, Charles?"
"No. Get some rest, everyone. You all have forty-eight
hours of leave."
"We're going out to eat, Bobby," Rogue said as
they got up. "Care to come along?"
"I am," Will said.
The truck stop was nearly deserted, and they were seated
in a booth in a matter of minutes. "Let's see,"
Will said to the waitress as he opened his menu, "I'll
have the chicken fried steak special with the soup and salad
bar, please. And three pitchers of Coke, as well."
"I'll have the turkey and stuffing," Bobby added.
"And I'll have the shepherd's pie," Rogue said.
After Will came back with a bowl of soup and a salad plate
piled with everything from potato salad to orange gelatin,
the waitress came back with their meals. Rogue and Bobby were
stunned by the amount of food that Will was putting away.
"How can you eat all that?" Bobby finally asked.
"Most of this is going to be burned away while I'm asleep,"
was Will's answer. "Besides, Famine hit me pretty hard.
I've been ravenous since we left San Francisco."
"What did War mean when he said that Apocalypse was
waiting for you?" Rogue asked.
"I don't know," he admitted. "My best guess
is that Apocalypse had some information about me. I don't
see how, though."
"There's that video file that Val had," she reminded
"That's true," he conceded.
"I say we stop talking about work," Bobby interjected.
"We're off duty, remember?"
"Good point," Rogue agreed, noticing the fatigue
in Will's face. "We should get home."
"Not without dessert," Will said firmly.
Rogue went straight to bed once they returned, since the
large meal had made her drowsy. Her sleep was troubled, however,
because she caught fragments of Will's healing state in her
dreams. She finally got out of bed, frustrated, and marched
off to his room. If his powers were going to be this distracting,
she decided, than maybe he could heal at another location.
"Will," she said, knocking on the door, "you've
got to get up." The door opened at her knock. It did
not seem to have been tightly closed.
"Will?" she repeated, turning on the light.
His bed was empty, as was the room. She frowned, then went
back to her room, turning on the computer and running a location
search for him.
She entered the study hall of the men's wing a minute later,
turned on the lamp, then did a double take. Will was standing
in front of the main window, his back to her, totally nude.
"Uh, Will," she said tentatively, "don't you
think you should put something on?"
He didn't answer her. She moved over to the other side of
the room, searching his face carefully, noticing the glow
in his eyes. It was clear to her in a moment that he wouldn't
hear anything that she said. She thought a moment, then went
to his room, grabbed his robe, and came back, draping it over
his shoulders. She then sat down in a chair and watched him,
After a few minutes, she heard the rumble of distant thunder.
She looked out the window and saw that storm clouds were moving
in from the southeast at a rapid pace. It seemed like a solid
wall of cloud covered the sky in a few short minutes.
"You're out there somewhere," Will said in a low
voice which was almost a whisper. His voice was strangely
abstracted, as if he was leaving a message on a machine. "You're
out there, and you're waiting for me."
He smiled wryly. "Well, I'm waiting for you, too."
"You know what's going to happen just as well as I do.
It doesn't matter how many people you throw between us. It
doesn't matter how much you try to avoid it. It doesn't matter
how much you run. In the end, it's just you and me."
A moment later, lightning struck just outside the mansion.
Rogue jumped at the sudden clap of thunder. The noises she
heard outside the room told he that the other X-Men had been
Logan strode in a moment later, clad in one of his kimonos.
"What the hell..." he growled. Rogue waved him to
"Know this, En Sabeh Nur," Will said in a menacing
tone, his voice acquiring the same echoing timbre that Rogue
had noticed at Glastonbury, "I stand against you, from
now until the end of days. I will feel your blood on my hands
and your weight on my blade. I will crush your dreams and
leave them to wither in the dust. And when your time comes,
I will be the one to send you to the reward that awaits you."
The lightning struck again, closer to the mansion this time,
and Rogue could feel the boom of the thunder through the window.
"Who am I?" Will said softly. "You already
"I am the Archetype. I am the Cornerstone. I. Am.
The answering thunder strike shattered every window in the
"And he went right back to bed?" Ororo asked incredulously.
Both teams were assembled in the War Room, most of them still
in their nightclothes.
"He's out like a light," Logan confirmed. "I'm
not entirely sure he was awake, 'Roro. He may've been sleepwalking."
"That might explain why he wasn't dressed," Betsy
"Those were his exact words?" Xavier pressed.
"'I am your death,'" Rogue confirmed. "Professor,
could he do that?" Her face showed a dawning fear. "Is
he powerful enough to actually kill Apocalypse?"
He shook his head. "Not from what I've seen so far."
"We should keep in mind that he never said when
any of this would happen," Jean pointed out. "From
what we've seen of him up to now, I've got a feeling that
he's going to be around for a very long time. The things that
he was talking about may not occur for centuries. That might
give him enough time to become a threat to Apocalypse."
"That's certainly possible," Xavier conceded.
"There's something else we should consider," Henry
mused. "According to what we've observed so far, we know
that his power, at higher levels, causes the disruption of
advanced technology. That would serve as a highly effective
defense against the weaponry that Apocalypse seems so fond
of using, neutralizing one of his greatest advantages."
"Good point," Warren noted. "Every time we've
come up against him, Apocalypse has always softened us up
with some kind of gadget before dealing with us himself."
"We should keep Jean's theory in mind," Bishop
said. "I don't remember any major battles involving Apocalypse
from my day."
"But Archetype's simply being here may mean that we've
already diverged from your history, Bish," Bobby informed
"I don't think we're going to get anything done at this
hour," Xavier noted. "We'll talk about it in the
morning. It might be a good idea to see just how much of his
little speech Will remembers."
As they all headed back to their rooms, Rogue stayed behind.
"Professor," she asked, "can I talk to you
alone for a few minutes?"
"Of course," he answered. "Why don't we go
to my room?"
"Why, Professor!" she exclaimed in feigned shock.
"Please don't, Rogue," he answered in a pained
voice. "It's been a long day."
"Sorry," she apologized as they waited for the
They were silent until they entered Xavier's bedroom. "Just
give me a minute to get back in bed," he requested.
She nodded, sitting down in a chair. She knew better than
to offer her assistance. Piotr had done so once, when she
had recently joined the team, and the tongue-lashing that
he had received in return was still considered the stuff of
"All right," Xavier said as he straightened the
sheets, "what's troubling you, Rogue?"
"It's Will. I think he's pushing himself too hard. When
he and I were talking on the trip back from San Francisco,
he treated his injuries like they were nothing. No,"
she corrected herself, "that's not quite right. He treated
them like they were something to be endured, not avoided.
It's like he doesn't have a self-preservation instinct. Logan
told me that he thought Will is so devoted to his ideals,
he might hurt himself to prove his loyalty to them."
Xavier frowned a moment, lost in thought. "I may have
to do something that I've been reluctant to consider,"
"My background checks on Will have found that he saw
a therapist on a regular basis before his accident. I could
ask him to release his file to me as a professional courtesy."
"Could he do that?"
"Technically, Will is under my care, and he's already
given me permission to share information about him as long
as I'm discreet. I think I'd need his verbal permission for
this, though. I'll have to look into it."
"Does the fact that he's seen a therapist before worry
you at all?"
He shook his head. "He has a counseling degree, remember?
Many programs in that field require their students to undergo
counseling themselves as a way of relieving the stress that
the job places on the mind."
She nodded. "What's your honest opinion of him, Professor?"
Xavier sighed. "I really don't have an answer to give
you yet. The man is so contradictory that he has me totally
"You and me both. Sometimes I feel like I'm dealing
with two different men."
"You may very well be, Rogue. Will Riley and Archetype
seem to be two very different people."
"What do you mean?"
"Think about it a moment. How has he been acting since
"He's been distant, cold, aggressive, and overall, not
very nice. Well, he's been nice to me," she amended.
"Has he been like this before?"
"Not that I've seen."
"I think that when what he calls 'The Chorus' is very
active in him, he personality changes as a result. The mental
impressions that I've been getting from him over the last
two days have been markedly different from what I usually
"In what way?"
"Usually, I get waves of chaos and confusion, like what
I used to get from Kitty. Since that little encounter in the
kitchen with Ororo, however, I can't get through at all. It's
like every shield the man possesses has been raised."
"Do you think he's trying to hide something?"
"Yes, but not from me."
"From Apocalypse, then?"
"Probably." He yawned. "I'm sorry, Rogue,
but I have to get back to sleep."
"What are you going to do about the windows?"
"We'll construct some new ones in the morning. Just
clean up the mess and go to bed. I've got a feeling that tomorrow's
going to be a long day."
"You told Apocalypse you were going to kill him,"
Rogue repeated patiently.
"And then all the windows shattered," Will said,
acting as if he was waiting for the joke to end.
"That's right," Logan confirmed.
Will put his hand to his temple. "I'm not saying that
I don't believe you, but I don't remember any of this."
"We think you were sleepwalking," Xavier informed
Will considered that for a moment. "I was acting out
a dream? There's a thought."
"Do you remember anything from last night?"
"The last thing I remember is going to bed."
"Charles and I will see if we can get anything during
your next session with us," Jean informed him.
"I'd appreciate it," Will replied. He glanced at
the kitchen. "I'd better get started on breakfast."
"You're off duty, remember?" Xavier reminded him.
"Damn, I'd forgotten that. Well, in that case, I'm going
back to bed."
"Not just yet," Henry told him. "I want to
give you your physical first."
After Henry declared him fit for duty, Will went straight
to bed and slept for six hours. After taking a quick shower,
he dressed in jeans, a banded collar shirt, and a vest, and
went looking for Rogue and Ororo.
"Storm," he asked, "are you on duty right
"No," she replied. "I am free until night
"I have to go into New York to get some things for the
service that I told you about earlier. I was wondering if
you'd like to join me."
"That would be nice," Ororo said, standing up.
"Just let me get my purse."
"Can I come along?" Rogue asked.
"Sure," he shrugged.
Ten minutes later, Ororo pulled the Volvo sedan out of the
garage, and they were on their way. "Which exit should
we take?" Ororo asked Will once they were on the main
highway to New York City.
He frowned. "I really don't know. The place we want
is on the three hundred block of East Ninth Street, if that's
Ororo thought a moment. "All right. I think I know a
way to get there."
An hour later, they found a spot in a parking garage and
walked the rest of the way towards the store. As they were
about to enter, Will stopped them for a moment.
"Just thought you should know," he said. "Some
of the people who come here tend to be a little on the flaky
side. We may be in here a little while, so just prepare yourselves."
He opened the door.
They were instantly assaulted by the smell of incense in
the air and music which they took to be Indian over a speaker
on one wall. "Good afternoon," the woman at the
counter said in a pleasant voice, "can I help you with
"We'd like to look around for a while first, if that's
all right," Will replied with a smile.
"Of course. I'm Crystal. Let me know if you need any
"Thank you." Will led them back towards the rear
of the store, scanning the bookshelves as he did so. "Just
wander around if you like," he told Ororo and Rogue.
"I'll be looking through the books for a while. Ororo,
I usually use incense in my services. You might want to look
through the racks back there and see if there's anything that
"Good idea," Ororo agreed. She spent the next few
minutes comparing the various scents, finally deciding on
sandalwood and rose.
Rogue, meanwhile, looked at the various items of jewelry
in the cases, finally choosing what the tag called a fairy
ball. It was a small silver sphere containing tiny chimes
which tinkled softly whenever the sphere moved. She paid a
few cents more to have it hung on a green silk cord.
A few minutes later, Will decided that he had everything
he needed. After he talked to Ororo regarding her choices
of incense, adding pine to her selections, he started to make
his way towards the front counter. He was blocked, however,
by a woman who appeared to be in her early fifties.
"I'm sorry," she apologized, "but I just had
to talk with you for a minute. Did you know you have an incredibly
"I wasn't aware of it, no," Will replied in a bemused
The woman started moving towards Will, then, seeing his discomfort
at such proximity, stepped back. "I could see it from
across the room. I've never seen a purple that strong before."
"Purple, you say?" Will asked, raising one eyebrow.
"I had to look twice to make sure I was seeing it correctly.
You've got a lot of untapped potential."
"So everyone keeps telling me," he said wryly.
"Nice talking to you." He nodded to her respectfully
and continued on his way, meeting Rogue and Ororo at the counter.
"What was that all about?" Rogue asked him as he
paid for his purchases.
"Ask Xavier," he suggested. "I wouldn't want
to spoil it for you."
"Purple? You're sure she said purple?" Xavier asked
her when they had returned.
"That's right," Rogue confirmed.
Xavier frowned for a minute, rubbing his chin. "I'll
have to look something up," he said as his chair started
floating towards the library. After a few minutes of searching
through the shelves, he pulled a rather battered hardback
off the shelves. "A book on auras and the chakras,"
he explained. "I picked it up back when I was a world
traveler, before I founded the X-Men."
After leafing through the book for a while, he found what
he was looking for. "Here we are. According to this,
the purple chakra is associated with the spiritual world."
"That would make sense," Ororo commented.
"It's also associated with inspiration and insight."
"He told me once that he's been a writer," Rogue
offered. "Could that be a connection?"
"Maybe," Xavier admitted. "It's something
to think about, at least."
"Did he mention the service that he was planning to
you yet?" Ororo asked.
He nodded. "I told him that it wouldn't be a problem,
as long as he cleans up after himself. He'll be making a small
fire, but he said it'll be contained."
"And I can put it out if necessary."
"What's he doing now?"
"He's helping Hank with dinner."
"Bobby," Henry complained as Will walked in, "I
told you I wanted medium clams, not medium shrimp!"
"I'm sorry, Hank, but they were out of clams. I thought
that maybe you could modify the recipe."
"You can," Will supplied.
"I can?" Henry asked with a frown.
Will nodded. "Bobby, are those plum tomatoes that I
bought still in the refrigerator?"
Bobby checked. "Right here."
"Good. Hank, could you peel the shrimp, please?"
"All right," Henry agreed. "What are you planning?"
"You'll see," Will replied as he sifted through
the spice cabinet. He diced the tomatoes, then placed a large
pot of water on the stove, placing two boxes of linguini next
"What you'll want to do, Hank, is steam the shrimp,
then place the cooked pasta in a pot along with the shrimp,
the tomatoes, and a cup of white wine. Mix everything up,
then cook it until everything's hot."
"How much seasoning should I put in?"
"Put in a pinch each of salt and cayenne pepper."
"All right. Where did you learn this recipe?"
"I just made it up."
"Great dinner, guys," Logan burped as he pushed
his plate away. "Did Will help you out at all?"
"I didn't cook a thing."
"It's the absolute truth."
"Yes, Rogue?" he asked as he looked up from his
"Can I come to your service?"
"If you'd like," he shrugged. "I didn't think
you'd be interested."
"I thought it might be a way to get to know you a little
better," she said as she sat beside him in one of the
alcoves of the study hall.
"How do you mean?"
"I'm becoming convinced that you don't see the world
the way the rest of us do. Maybe this can give me some idea
of what things are like for you."
"Maybe," he agreed.
"Have you remembered anything from the other night?"
He shook his head. "I wish I did. It sounded pretty
"Were Jean and the Professor able to find anything?"
"They couldn't even get past my defenses. I think that
Xavier is starting to get annoyed."
"Sometimes the Professor gets a bit arrogant. You're
teaching him a bit of humility."
"He needed that arrogance, Rogue. You don't build up
a fortune, start a school, and develop a strike force by being
"Good point. What are you working on?"
"Just putting together some ideas for a story."
"You're still writing? Where do you find the time?"
"I try to make the time. I have to write every now and
"Back when I was with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants..."
"And you could say that with a straight face..."
"Hush. Pyro - his real name's St. John - was a writer.
He was pretty popular, as I remember. He said that writing
was a painful process, but that it was more painful not to
"He stole that from Heinlein. He was right, though."
"Have you ever had anything published?"
"Nothing that I'll admit to."
"For a while I was cranking out some really awful stuff
just to pay the bills, back when I had to build up a nest
egg to start my investing."
"Are you up to doing anything tonight?"
"I'm a little tired, to be honest. I'll probably be
heading to bed soon."
She nodded. "How's your writing coming along?"
"Slowly. This latest chapter's been driving me crazy.
I'm just going to sleep on it and see what I come up with
in the morning."
"What did that woman at the bookstore mean?" she
"Every once in a while, I run into a mystic who tells
me that I've got some sort of destiny to fulfill. I just humor
them, then get on with my life."
"Isn't that a little risky?"
"It keeps me on my toes. Besides, if I worry about things
too much, I'll drive myself crazy. I'll just deal with things
as they happen." He yawned. "I think I'll hit that
"Can you promise me something before you do?"
"It depends on what you want."
"Tell me if you're having any problems. We are
supposed to be a couple, remember? I want us to be able to
share things with one another."
He was silent for a moment. "I'll try," he replied,
"but I don't know how well I can keep that promise. I've
been keeping some of my secrets for a long time, and it's
second nature to me by now."
"I understand. Good night." She smiled as she watched
him leave the room.
Continued in Chapter
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