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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 morning, Rogue was awakened by a knock on her door. "What?" she said crossly, cranky at being up early.

"You'd better get down to the kitchen," Warren's voice said through the door.

"What's the problem?"

"Something's wrong with Will."

Logan and Bishop prudently stood just outside the kitchen as Rogue and Warren arrived. "What's going on?" she asked.

"As best as we can tell, Rogue," Bishop replied, "his powers are in overdrive."

Rogue peered into the kitchen, which was illuminated only by the sunlight coming in through the curtained windows. The overhead florescent fixture was raining sparks onto the floor. The blender had also burned out, spreading smoke throughout the kitchen. Normally, this would have set off the smoke alarm, but that had shorted out as well, and was hanging precariously by one of its support hooks.

Will was standing in front of the stove, busily making flapjacks. His face was contorted in a grimace of concentration, and his hands were trembling. His eyes were glowing even more brightly than anything Rogue had seen yet.

"Thank God the stove doesn't have an electric pilot," Rogue muttered. "He could have blown up half the mansion."

"I hadn't even thought of that," Logan admitted.

"Has anybody tried talking with him yet?"

"We've been debating the wisdom of that course of action," Bishop commented. "He was slicing the hash browns with a bit too much vigor for my comfort."

"Don't be a bunch of babies," Rogue said scathingly as she entered the kitchen.

Will glanced at her as she walked in, but said nothing.

"Morning, Will!" she said cheerfully as she walked over to the refrigerator, which, she noticed as she opened it, had also burned out. "Do you need any help?"

He didn't speak in reply, but instead shook his head.

"Remember that you and Wolvie have a team session today."

Will nodded absently as he put bread in the toaster, which burst into sparks as soon as he depressed the plunger. He simply looked at it, his shoulders slumping.

"You want to take a break?" she asked.

He nodded again, then walked out into the rain.

Bishop, Logan and Warren walked in as he left. Logan stared at the damage. "Chuck is gonna be pissed."

"At least there's no lightning outside," Warren commented. "He won't get charged up any more than he already is."

"We should clean some of this up," Bishop noted. "Cyclops will be angry enough as is stands."

"I agree," Henry replied. "I'll see if I can get the refrigerator active again." He went down to the workshop for his tools.

Fifteen minutes later everything, with the exception of the toaster, was back to normal. Xavier entered just as Henry was replacing the grille on the overhead light. "What happened, Hank?" he asked.

"Will happened."

"I was afraid of that," Xavier sighed. "I could feel his frustration as I was waking up. Where is he now?"

"He went outside," Rogue replied.

Jean stepped out of the bathroom, toweling her hair dry and trying to decide on breakfast. Scott still snored soundly on their bed, since she had prudently turned off the alarm on their clock before stepping into the shower. Scott had destroyed three alarm clocks so far that month, and Jean was getting tired of buying new ones.

After quietly getting dressed, she entered the kitchen and, deciding on eggs and sausage, got the necessary items out of the refrigerator. As she stepped over to the central island which housed the stovetop, she noticed something moving farther down the lakefront. Reaching out with her telepathy, she heard the chaos that she had come to associate with Will's thoughts. There was an element of distress, however, that she couldn't account for.

She stepped outside, creating a telekinetic shield to block the rain, and floated over to where Will sat on a rock, staring at the patterns the rain made as it hit the lake.

"Do you want to talk about it?" she asked quietly.

To her surprise, he laughed. There was, however, an edge of hysteria to the laugh which disturbed her.

"Talk about what? I have no idea what's causing this. For the past few days, my mind's been going haywire, and I have absolutely no idea why. I can't string two thoughts together coherently, the Chorus is so loud I can barely hear myself think, and I'm wound up tighter than a cat at a dog show." He grabbed a rock and tossed it into the lake.

Jean thought for a moment. "Has your ADD been bad lately?"

He nodded. "I only got about three hours of sleep last night."

"I might have an idea."

"You want to try what?" Bobby asked Jean.

"Sensory deprivation," Jean explained. "Since Will can't cut off his external stimuli, we'll try to do it for him."

"We haven't used the tank since you were in training, Jean," Xavier reminded her. "It may not be usable any more."

"There's no harm in checking," Jean replied.

A few minutes later, they all descended down to the medlab. Jean opened the door into the triage area, which hadn't been used since the Morlock Massacre. She grimaced as she realized that the tank had been used as an extra storage shelf, and could barely be seen under all the junk. A quick sweep with her telekinesis cleared off the area. She activated the heater tank, setting the water to 93░ F, "This will take a while," she commented.

"What do we do for him until then?" Rogue asked with a worried look on her face.

"We keep him outside, for one," Xavier said. "It might not be a bad idea for him to teleport directly here. If he walks through the high security areas, it could take us weeks to get everything running again."

Henry opened the tank door, then wrinkled his nose. "This thing definitely needs a good scrubbing."

"I'll do it," Ororo volunteered.

"I'll help," Bobby added. Twenty minutes later the tank was spotless.

"Is the water feed still open?" Jean asked.

"Yeah," Logan said, checking. "I'd let it run for a few minutes, though. No telling what crap is in the line after this long." He was proven right when the water which flowed from the pipe was brown with rust. It cleared up after a few minutes, however., and the dirty water was allowed to drain out.

"Hank, do you have any magnesium sulfate in your lab?" Jean asked. "We'll need a ten percent solution."

Henry nodded. "I'll get it. Someone should wake Scott and let him know what's happening."

"I think that it might be best if Scott wasn't told about this until it's a done deal," Warren suggested. He looked at Jean apologetically. "I'm sorry, Jean, but let's face it - Scott doesn't like Will, and it looks like Will has enough to worry about right now without Scott's griping added to the list."

"You're right," she sighed. "I'm going back to the house, and I'll see if I can keep Scott occupied for an hour or so." Then she blushed suddenly. "Forget I said that," she amended quickly as she left the room.

"Is anybody keeping an eye on Will?" Bobby asked.

"He went to his room," Betsy said. "He's tossing and turning on the bed."

"I don't want to sedate him if I can help it," Xavier fretted.

"We'll see how this works first, Charles," Henry said as he returned, carrying a large canister. He measured out a large amount of white powder, placing it in the small mesh pouch by the intake valve. He then checked the thermometer. "This will be ready sooner than Jean thought. We can fill the tank now." A few minutes later, four feet of water was present in the tank.

It took thirty more minutes to raise the water to the proper temperature. "Okay," Henry decided, "we can go get him now."

Will's condition had worsened while they were away. He lay writhing on his bed, his eyes staring into space. He was shaking violently, and was visibly in pain.

"He looks like a Parkinson's case," Henry remarked clinically.

"I heard that!" Will snapped in reply.

"Sorry," Henry apologized. "The tank's ready. You can go down to the medlab now."

Will opened a Door at floor level and rolled of the bed, falling into it and landing in a sprawl on the floor of the medlab.

Ororo tried to help him up, but he shook her off angrily, standing up on his own and walking to the triage on trembling legs. He ripped his shirt open, sending buttons flying in the process, and pulled it off.

The others got out of his way as he approached the tank. He yanked the door open and glared at them.

Rogue understood immediately. "About face, everybody!"

They all turned around politely while Will finished undressing, and heard him enter the water. His voice, when he spoke, was taut with strain.

"Thank you."

Then the door boomed shut.

Two days later, Logan relieved Bishop at the watch which they had decided to place so that they could keep an eye on Will. "Anything?" Logan asked.

Bishop shook his head as he replaced the energy cell in his rifle. "Not a sound. Are you sure that it's a good idea to leave him alone for so long?"

"I asked Jean about that. People under sensory deprivation tend to lose track of time. Two days isn't much to worry about."

"What do you think is going through his mind right now?"

Logan shrugged. "Who knows? So long as he's functional when he comes out, it's none of my business."

"That's a pretty blasÚ attitude to take."

"Not really, it's just that there's nothing I can do about it. He's Charlie's and Jean's department, not mine."

"But what if..."

Bishop was interrupted by the sound of the tank door swinging open.

"Would one of you please hand me a towel?"

Half an hour later, Will sat in the parlor, showered and changed, while the rest of the X-Men questioned him.

"Do you have any idea of exactly what happened?" Henry began.

Will nodded. "For some reason - I'm not sure just why yet - my powers were magnified. Instead of it being a gradual process, like it was the first time, it took place all at once - probably while I was sleeping. I wasn't able to deal with it until I could tune out everything else around me." He turned to look at Jean. "Your idea worked perfectly. I owe you one."

Jean grinned. "Okay. You owe me one prepared, heat-it-up meal."

Will grinned back. "It's a deal. Anyway, I've been able to build the necessary shielding. I shouldn't have any more problems."

"Then you think you're more powerful than you were before?" Xavier questioned him.

"Quite a bit more, I think. I'm not sure if it's anything you'd be able to measure, though."

"Do you feel any different?" Rogue asked.

He frowned, thinking. "I feel... honed."

Xavier's eyebrow arched up. "That's an interesting phrase. Are you saying you feel ready to fight?"

"I feel like I'm being prepared for it, yes." He stood up. "Can we run me through a training session? I have to get rid of some of this excess energy."

"All right."

A few minutes later, they assembled in the Danger Room control center. "What have you got in mind?" Will asked as he stepped out of the elevator into the staging room.

"Let's try an agility test. Just dodge whatever we throw at you."

"No problem." A few seconds later, a dense foam cushion was flying at him. He dodged it easily, then looked up at Xavier.

"Let me get this straight," he said as he wove his way around more obstacles, "I'm playing a high-tech version of dodgeball?"

"Pretty much," Xavier admitted. "Do you want the threat level increased?"

"Would you, please? I feel like an idiot doing this."

"Adding harmful objects now."

A series of solid projectiles replaced the cushions. Will continued to evade the objects as they flew towards him.

"What now?" Logan asked after a few minutes.

"Let's upgrade to lethal," Scott said.

Henry looked at Scott sharply. "I haven't had time to examine him yet. He may not be up to it."

"He seems plenty fit to me," Scott replied, pointing down at Will, who was still threading his way through the obstacles.

Henry and Xavier looked at one another uncertainly, then nodded. Xavier tapped at the keyboard for a moment, and a new panel, looking somewhat like a garden lattice, opened in the Danger Room wall.

Will looked at the new threat curiously for a moment, trying to determine its nature.

A steel javelin, about one and a half meters in length, shot out of one of the holes of the lattice and flew straight for him. His eyes widened, and he became a blur of motion, jumping out of the way.

"He's kicked into overdrive," Warren noted.

"Good thing, too," Logan added. "If he hadn't, he'd have been ready for a rotisserie." He looked meaningfully at Scott, who simply shrugged in response.

Will kept moving at enhanced speed, trying to stay clear of the volley of lances which sped towards him and tracked his movements. Rogue, who kept her eyes on his face, started getting worried. "Stop this, Scott," she said. "He can't keep this up much longer."

"He'll just teleport out of there if there's any real danger," Scott replied offhandedly.

Rogue's jaw dropped. So did Xavier's. "Scott, did you ever ask him if he can teleport while he's in overdrive?"

Scott looked at Xavier uncomprehendingly for a moment, then reached for the abort button.

Too late.

A javelin shot out just as Will stumbled to one knee. He got up, looking down, and never saw it coming.


Rogue and Ororo both screamed as Will was pinned to the wall like a butterfly. The javelin entered through his right shoulder and exited midway through his back.

Rogue's lower lip trembled for a moment, then she ran for the elevator, Logan right behind her. The others followed about two seconds later.

Rogue and Logan approached Will, but didn't touch him. He was effectively hanging from the spear, his feet off the ground. He was still, his eyes dead.

The rest of the team caught up a moment later. Logan glanced at Jean. "You get anything from him?"

Jean shook her head grimly. "Nothing." She paused a moment. "No, wait." Then she hastily raised her shields.

Will's eyes flashed, and he jerkily raised his head. He stared at Logan, then glanced at the spot where the spear entered the wall. "Cut it," he said in a hoarse whisper.

Logan complied instantly, popping a single claw and slicing through the spear. Will dropped, landing on his feet and swaying unsteadily for a moment before falling to his knees. He glanced up at Jean, Betsy, and Xavier in turn. "Raise your shields," he instructed them.

He then reached back with his left hand and started pulling the spear out. He stood once the spear scraped the floor, and finished removing it. He made no sound as he did this, but the look on his face made it clear that he was not enjoying himself.

The spear hit the floor with a clang, and Will ripped his uniform where the injuries were, exposing them. He closed his eyes, and the wounds closed. He straightened up and took a few steps, then staggered a bit.

Rogue studied his face closely this time, and while it did not appear, to her eyes, that he aged, his face became leaner and more haggard. The panel nearest to Will exploded into sparks, causing him to shield his eyes.

Henry walked up to Will, his face set. "Infirmary," he said tersely. "Now."

Will nodded his head weakly, making his way towards the door.

Rogue looked at Xavier, her eyes questioning. He nodded, and she followed Henry and Will.

As the door closed behind them, Xavier turned towards Scott. "Everyone to the conference room." His tone allowed no argument.

Will groaned as he removed his coat. "Mental note: replace vest with Kevlar."

"I don't think that would have helped," Henry said as he was examining him. "The shirt too, please."

Will nodded and started unbuttoning his vest. Rogue took it and looked at it critically for a moment, then threw it into the waste bin.

"There are weapons in there," Will told her.

Rogue looked at him. "I didn't feel anything."

He gestured for Rogue to hand it to her, and took it. He fished into an interior pocket, and removed a small coil of wire.

"What's that?" Rogue asked.

"Garrote," he replied shortly.

Henry blanched. "You're not serious."

"I'll probably never need to use it, but I'd rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it." He rummaged through the vest again, removing a pen.

"That's a weapon?" Rogue asked.

He didn't answer, but squeezed the clip of the pen. A needle, about one inch long, popped out from the tip.

"Let me guess," Henry said. "If you press the top, it injects?"

"Very good."

"What's it filled with?"

"There's no cartridge in it right now, but I thought that it would come in handy if we need to tranquilize someone - or eliminate them. I have a set of cartridges in my room that are filled with - let me see - curare, sodium amatyl, adrenaline, Phenobarbital, and air."

"Air?" Rogue asked. "What good is a needle full of air?"

"It would induce a stroke in minutes if injected into a vein," Henry informed her.

"Nasty," she said, frowning in disapproval.

"Maybe," Will admitted, "but if I can stop a war by killing the generals, I'm willing to have that on my conscience." He winced as Henry examined the healed area. "Careful. That's still a little tender."

"I'm not surprised," Henry replied as he swabbed iodine on Will's back. "Leave that on for a few minutes, then go to bed."

"Can I shower first without causing any complications?"

"The wounds are closed, so I don't see why not."

"Good. Maybe I can loosen up some of these kinks." He slid off the bench, threw his coat over one shoulder, and walked out.

Rogue looked at Henry. "Tell Ororo and the Professor that I'm a little too biased to be any good. I want to be sure he's okay."

Henry nodded. "Make sure he goes straight to bed."

Rogue followed Will from the elevator, then from there to his room. "I can put myself to bed," he told her pointedly as she followed him in.

"I've noticed that you tend not to take care of yourself when you get hurt," she replied. "I want to make sure that you don't just flop into bed without patching yourself up."

"My wounds have healed. What's the problem?"

"Your back and shoulder healed, but I noticed that you were covered with bruises. And if you don't get some heat on those muscles, you'll barely be able to move in the morning."

He blinked. "Good point."

"Besides," she added, her eyes twinkling, "you stink."

"Well, excuse me!"

"Come on, big boy, hit the showers," she ordered, sitting on the bed.

"Yes, coach," he said affectionately as he went to his closet and pulled out a hooded terrycloth robe. "Grab a book to read. I'll be in there a while."

She nodded and went to the bookshelves, deciding on an anthology of vampire stories. She got through two of them by the time Will came out, toweling his hair dry. "Don't you use a dryer?" she asked.

"I never need one. My hair dries pretty quickly. The problem is combing it back as soon as I can. If I don't I wind up looking like Yahoo Serious."

She smiled. "Feeling any better?"

"A bit," he admitted. Then he yawned. "Now to get some sleep. I didn't get any in the tank."

"You didn't?" she asked in a surprised voice.

"Nope. I kept getting really close, but never quite made it." He went to the mirror and combed his hair straight back. "I was linked with the Chorus so closely, though, that it didn't affect me too much." He started walking back to his bed, then stopped and went to the window instead, closing the shutters and pulling a heavy curtain over them, effectively sealing off the room from the sun. "I'll never get to sleep if there's any light," he explained.

She nodded, then held up the book. "Can I borrow this?"

"Sure," he told her, smiling slightly. He then pointed at her, then down, twirling his finger slightly. She took the hint and averted her eyes while he got into bed. "Could you shut off the light on your way out?"

"No problem." She got up and walked to the side of the bed. "Sleep yourself out, okay?" she asked him as she touched her gloved hand to his cheek.

He held her hand against his face for a moment, then kissed it. "Thanks," he said.

"For what?"

"For being here."

She smiled as she left the room, closing the door behind her.

The other X-Men, meanwhile, had gathered in the conference room. Xavier and Ororo sat next to one another. The original team members, with the exception of Scott, took the adjoining seats, and the others occupied the remaining chairs. Scott took a seat opposite Xavier, leaving several empty seats to either side of him - an isolation which was quite deliberate.

Xavier wasted no time. "What in the hell were you thinking, Scott? Will just finishes recovering from one stressful experience, and you subject him to another one."

"With absolutely no basis for your actions," Ororo added. "You haven't sat in on one of Will's tests. You have no knowledge of his limits, or of exactly what switching to enhanced speed does to him."

"If it was so dangerous for him, then why didn't he say something?" Scott shot back.

"Because you never gave him any warning," Logan growled. "He thought he was in a simple training session. You never told him you were switching to lethal."

"You've been riding him ever since he got here, Scott," Bobby added. "He's done everything he can to get on your good side. Problem is, you don't seem to have one where he's concerned.

"If you're not going to get off his case for his sake," Bobby continued, "then you'd damn sure better do it for Rogue's. She's been stressed out over the way you've been treating Will, and it's going to start affecting her performance soon."

"In any case," Xavier said, "I think it would be best if, for the time being, Will and Rogue were transferred to Ororo's unit and authority."

"What?!" Scott exclaimed.

"I'm not going to split them apart just yet. Their personalities seem to complement one another quite well. Will can keep Rogue from rushing into things before she's ready, as she sometimes does, and Rogue seems to be able to help Will maintain a sense of focus."

"There's something else as well," Betsy pointed out, "that I think we're all overlooking."

"What's that?" Logan asked.

"I've been watching Rogue carefully ever since Will got here, and the change in her attitude has been startling. She's not moping around anymore, like she used to do when I first joined the team." She made a face. "I don't want to sound overly critical, but while we were in Australia, she occasionally became more than a bit annoying. I mean, it wasn't like any of the rest of us had any companionship."

"Good point," Ororo said, "although I never thought of it that way."

"Now, however, she's a lot more cheerful. I'm not entirely certain of just what happened when she and Will went on their first date, but she's been a lot happier since then."

"Nothing really happened, from what she told me," Ororo supplied, "but Will did give her his undivided attention for the entire evening."

"And when's the last time that happened to her? I always felt that Rogue sometimes wore some of her more provocative outfits as a way to compensate for the limitations that her power places on her. Since Will showed up, she's been a bit more conservative in her style of dress, probably because she's a lot more comfortable with herself."

"It may also be because Will tends to be a rather conservative dresser himself," Xavier added. "He tends towards muted colors, and seems a bit more comfortable in older styles. I haven't seen many people his age who wear a hat."

"In any case," Betsy continued, "Will doesn't seem to have any problem with making Rogue feel valued."

"Of course she's valued," Scott objected.

"As an X-Man, yes. But what about as a woman?" She looked at each of the men in turn. "When was the last time any of you told her she looked good in an outfit she's bought, or simply that she was an attractive woman?" The men looked uncomfortable for a moment. "Exactly," Betsy confirmed. "Rogue grew up in the South, with its traditional notions of femininity. That sort of thing stays with you for a while, if you're raised with it. No matter what else she's been exposed to since she joined the X-Men, the ideal of the Southern belle is somewhere in her mind. Will understands this, and his behavior reflects that. He's acting, perhaps unconsciously, the role of the gentleman, Southern or otherwise. He's been very cautious and flexible in the way he's treating her, and allowing her the opportunity to back off when she needs to."

"What about the incident after the poker game?" Bobby asked.

"I think that was more a reflection of his personality than anything else. He seems to have a very protective, nurturing streak in him. We saw that the night he was shot. He wasn't concerned with himself as much as with the risk that we were under."

"That could be a liability in combat," Ororo mused. "If he's spending all of his time protecting us, that makes him vulnerable."

"We'll work on some strategies with that in mind," Henry assured her as he came in and sat down. Then he frowned. "Is it just me, or did he heal a lot more quickly than last time?"

"He was back in one piece in about a minute," Logan confirmed.

"I can't say quite why," Henry admitted, "but I get the feeling that he's much more powerful than he was before."

"That may make him a bit more distracted," Logan noted.

"True," Xavier agreed, "but I've been working on ways around that."

"Like what?"

"I've noticed that when he's working at his computer, he's usually listening to music. Maybe that helps him focus."

"It does," Bobby supplied. "He mentioned it to me during a break in the poker game."

"Good. We'll start pumping music into his Danger Room sessions."

"We might want to look into the idea of a headset for him," Jean suggested. "Something that would play music at a level loud enough for him to hear, but that won't give him away."

"I'll ask Forge to work on something," Xavier decided.

"Where's Rogue?" Bobby asked Henry.

"She felt that she couldn't be objective, so she asked to be excused from this discussion."

"Normally, I wouldn't approve," said Ororo, "but this is an unusual situation."

Scott, who had been fuming silently up to this point, decided to speak up. "How's that?"

"We've never killed one of our own before," Warren said sternly.

"Thunderbird? Dark Phoenix? Madelyne?"

"All suicides. Cypher was killed by an opponent. Ilyanna was either a suicide, or died from Legacy, or both, depending on how you want to look at it."

"I nearly killed Rachel," Logan added, "but it was either that or let her murder somebody else."

"But none of us has ever killed another X-Man because of ignorance - willful ignorance, I might add - of that X-Man's power," Ororo informed Scott.

"If this were the XSE, Cyclops, you would be facing a court-martial," Bishop informed him.

"What would the charge be?" Warren asked out of curiosity.

"Involuntary manslaughter due to reckless endangerment." Then he frowned. "The fact that the victim came back to life complicates matters, though."

Scott pounced on that opening. "That's exactly it! The man can't die. Don't we need information on just how that aspect of his powers works?"

Xavier looked at him incredulously. "Scott, are you saying that the fact that Will came back to life makes everything all right?"

"Well, no, but..."

Xavier looked at Scott for a moment, then shook his head sadly. "Why don't we all call it a day? We'll try to start fresh tomorrow."

Everyone nodded in agreement, and filed out of the room. Scott stayed seated, still glowering.

Ororo went straight to Rogue's room to inform her of her transfer. She knocked softly, then entered at Rogue's request.

She was surprised to find that Rogue had pulled down the shade and was seated in her chair, facing away from her.

"Rogue, both you and Will have been transferred to my team. I'll tell Will when he wakes up."

Rogue nodded silently, but didn't turn around. Ororo walked over and faced her.

Rogue was staring into space, crying steadily, arms wrapped around one of her stuffed bears. Ororo didn't say anything, but did roll down the sleeves of her shirt and put on her gloves. She leaned against the arm of the chair and drew Rogue to her.

"Do you want to talk about it?" she asked.

Rogue was silent for a long moment. "How does he do it?"

"Do what?"

"Keep going. He... dies, and just picks himself up and goes on."

"I don't know," Ororo admitted. "I certainly don't know if I could do it. He seems to be able to bear a lot more than most people."

"But why? The Professor..."

"I think that Will's powers are outside his experience. Charles tends to approach things in a very intellectual way. Will is a much more elemental sort of person. He acts on impulse and whim."

"Tell me about it," Rogue said, smiling despite herself.

"We'll see what he's like when he wakes up. Remember, we still have that religious observance of his. If I remember correctly, it's tomorrow night."

"I'd forgotten about that," Rogue admitted. "Do you think he'll be in shape for it?"

"We'll find out tomorrow," Ororo assured her. "Why don't you try to get some rest?"

Rogue nodded wearily and stood up, looking at herself in the mirror. "I'm a mess," she said critically.

"You don't have the complexion to cry in public," Ororo agreed, smiling. "Get some sleep, Rogue. It will all look better in the morning."

Logan was waiting in the hall when Ororo left Rogue's room. "She asleep?" he asked her.

Ororo nodded. "How is Will?"

"Out cold. For somebody who was dead an hour ago, he looks pretty peaceful. He'll probably sleep until tomorrow. You up for a drink? I could use one after today."

"Make mine a double."


Continued in Chapter 24


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