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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


Rogue slept through the night, waking only when the sunlight streaming through the window hit her face. She yawned, stretching luxuriously, and sat up. Glancing at the clock, she saw that she would be in time for breakfast if she hurried, so she changed into jeans, a blouse, and boots, stuffing her gloves into one pocket.

Just before she was about to start down the stairs, she decided to see if Will was up yet. As she turned the corner to the men's wing, she nearly collided with Bishop, who was leaving his room.

"Good morning," he greeted her. "Are you feeling all right?"

She nodded. "I'll be better when I see how Will is." She knocked on Will's door, but got no answer. She opened the door and glanced inside. "He must be downstairs," she decided.

He wasn't. Bobby and Henry were busy on breakfast, and neither one of them had seen him. "I am not going through this again," Rogue grumbled to herself. "Computer, where is Archetype?"

"Designate: Archetype is currently in the gardens."

Bishop frowned. "With a thunderstorm on the way?"

A few minutes later, Rogue and Bishop found him underneath a large oak tree near the center of the gardens. He was sitting in lotus position, with his eyes closed. A portable stereo was sitting on a stump about twenty feet away.

"Should we disturb him?" Bishop asked quietly.

"Too late to decide," Will said, without changing expression. He opened his eyes, which were, of course, glowing.

"How are you feeling?" Rogue asked him, kneeling down so that she was facing him.

"Off-balance," was his swift reply.

"Is that a bad thing?" Bishop asked.

He nodded as he stood up. "Before I did my shish kebab impression yesterday, I was feeling very centered. I think the injury threw me off a bit. I came out here to meditate. I don't mind if you watch, but I'd advise you to keep a distance." He removed his shirt. "Bishop, could you start the CD that's in the player, please?"

Bishop nodded and turned on the stereo. A soft blend of synthesizers and pipes started playing.

"Enya?" Rogue asked, recognizing the music.

"It helps me relax," Will shrugged. He went through several katas for the next few minutes, then put down the sword and resumed his kneeling position. He glanced at Rogue. "You may be a bit more prepared for what's about to happen. Try to keep him from shooting anything."

"I'm not that bad," Bishop protested.

"Whatever you say, Worf."

"Now wait a minute..."

"Just let it drop," Rogue advised Bishop.

Will closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and tried to concentrate. After a few minutes, he grimaced, then opened his eyes.

"Nothing happened," Bishop informed him.

"I'm aware of that," he replied dryly. He cupped his chin in his right hand, thinking. "What am I doing wrong?" he thought out loud. He looked down at the ground, distracted for a moment by a ladybug walking across his arm. He brushed it off absently, then stared at his arms for a moment. He exhaled sharply. "I'm an idiot," he said.

"Hey!" Rogue protested.

"I'm browbeating myself, dear. Please don't interrupt." He closed his eyes again, assumed meditation posture, and reached out with his mind.

A few seconds later, both Rogue and bishop heard a dry hissing. They looked at one another, each looking for an explanation, but they both shrugged.

Then Bishop noticed a flash of movement. When he realized what it was, he grabbed Rogue's arm and pointed.

The dragons on Will's arms were moving. They slowly wove their way up his arms, then traveled across his back and chest, interweaving as they did so. After a while, the differing colors of the dragons started to bleed into one another, resulting in a rich, deep brown.

The single dragon slowly made its way down Will's left arm and touched the ground. Its eyes glowed brightly, and its gaze flickered at Bishop and Rogue before it started making its way around Will. Making a clockwise circle, it slowly surrounded him. As the tail of the serpent left his arm, the head met it, and the dragon quite deliberately swallowed its own tail.

When it did so, Will's eyes opened. He stood up slowly, staying within the circle, and raised one hand. A moment later, the rain began.

"Great," Bishop said to himself, as he closed the collar of his shirt. Then he thought of something. "He's probably going to get hit by lightning again, isn't he?"

"Probably," Rogue agreed.

"Then why the hell are we standing next to him!?"

They looked at one another for a moment, then ran like hell. Bishop scrambled back, grabbed the stereo, and sat down beside Rogue within a large hedge.

A few seconds later, they watched as a massive lightning bolt struck Will. The result was not what they were expecting, though.

This time he screamed.

Will woke up a few minutes later, when Bishop slapped him across the face.

"What happened?" he said groggily.

"You tried to play Ben Franklin again," Rogue informed him.

"Darn, and here I am without my kite." He sat up with a groan. "Let's get inside before the rain starts. I'll take the stereo, Bishop."

Bishop handed Will the stereo, which promptly shorted out and blew up. "Wonderful," Will muttered darkly.

Before they reached the mansion, they were stopped by Ororo and Logan. Ororo was carrying a sleeping bag under one arm, while Logan was setting up a tent. Ororo tossed the sleeping bag to Will. "You are sleeping outside tonight."

Will didn't even blink. "May I ask why?"

"Hank figures that right now, you'd fry every circuit in the mansion," Logan informed him. "He wants you out here until you cool down."

"Someone will bring you your dinner tonight," Ororo added.

"Let me get this straight," Will said skeptically. "I'm being thrown out?"

"Only until your power levels stabilize," Ororo assured him.

Will grumbled and tossed the sleeping bag into the tent. "And I suppose that Hank wants me to stay around here so that he can keep an eye on me."

"I'm afraid so," Ororo said sympathetically.

"I warn you," Will said ominously, "I will have my revenge."

"How long is he going to keep playing that damn guitar?" Bobby complained.

"Probably all night," Betsy predicted.

"Will somebody please break the thing?"

"I already did," Logan informed him. "Three times. He did promise revenge."

"But of all the things he could play - John Denver!?"

The next morning, a very sleepy and grouchy Hank let Will back in the mansion on the condition that he not use his powers at all. This was done both to get Will back on active duty and to appease the rest of the X-Men, who had threatened to turn Hank into a big blue bean bag if he didn't find some way to shut Will up.

Will went straight to his room and took a shower, then collapsed into his easy chair. He hadn't slept well during the night, due to both the influence of the Chorus and the fact that Logan had set up the tent on top of a tree root. His back was still killing him, and he was hungry, since no one had gotten around to starting breakfast yet, and he wasn't allowed in the kitchen.

He was just starting to drift off into a peaceful doze when someone knocked on his door. He let out a low growl that would have impressed Logan. "Come in," he said as politely as he could.

Rogue walked in, carrying a tray with French toast and sausage. "I thought you'd appreciate some breakfast."

"Thank you," he said gratefully as he took the tray from her and started eating.

"Why'd you scream yesterday?" she asked.

"The little display that you saw yesterday acted as a sort of mystical funnel, channeling more energy to me than could happen normally. I was hit with a bit more than I could deal with at one time. It felt like my brain was being deep-fried."


"That's putting it mildly." Once he was finished eating, his face stiffened for a moment, and his eyes went distant. "Have there been any problems yet today?"

"Not yet."

"There will be. You'd better advise Ororo to keep the team on standby."

"They have been for the past two days. She figured that all these things have been happening to you for a reason."

"I can't argue with that. I just keep getting more and more power poured into me. I just hope it's enough."

"For what?"

"Whatever it is that I have to do."

"You don't know?"

He shook his head. "Right now the Chorus is so loud in my head that I can't hear what it's trying to say."

"That one went right by me," she confessed.

He scratched his head for a moment. "It's kind of like being at a concert where everybody's singing along with the music. If you don't know what the tune and song are, you have no idea what the audience is saying."

She nodded, not fully understanding. "I'll take your word for it. You done?"

He handed her the tray. "Can you get my sword from the armory? I'd like to sharpen it."

"I'll have Bishop bring it up."

"You may as well have him bring up my entire uniform."

"You're positive that something's going to happen today?"

"Positive." He stood up and stretched, wincing slightly as he did so.

"Are you okay?" she asked with some concern.

"I don't think that my last injury healed quite right. It feels a little tight."

"Want Hank to look at it?"

"I should be all right. I just need to do some stretching. You'd better have that talk with Ororo."

Bishop came up half an hour later with Will's uniform and weapons. He watched as Will took a flat stone out of his desk and began to sharpen his sword. "A whetstone would work much better," he commented.

"It would," Will agreed, "but I don't have a whetstone, do I?"

"You're certainly in a good mood today."

"Chalk it up to being a Christmas tree last night. Can you get me something from the armory?"

"What do you need?"

"Three clips of depleted uranium rounds."

Bishop's eyebrows shot up. "That's pretty heavy artillery."

"It never hurts to be prepared," Will said as he polished the blade and placed it on the bed.

"True enough. I'll be right back."

By the time Bishop returned with the ammunition, Will was in uniform and placing his sword inside his coat. "How do you keep it inside?" he asked.

Will opened up the coat, revealing a small double-pronged hook, similar to the type of thing that holds up clothes in a locker, which supported the sword by its crosspiece. "The only drawback is that I can't sit down." He removed the sword from his coat, twirling it once before setting it against the chair, and sat back down.

"Here," Bishop said, handing him the three clips he had requested.

Will took them and loaded one into his pistol, and placed the pistol inside his shoulder holster. He put the other two clips into an interior pocket of his coat, then settled back into the chair, tipping his hat over his eyes, and crossed his arms. After a moment, his breathing became shallow and regular, which Bishop took as a sign that he was asleep.

Bishop quietly left the room and took the elevator down to the War Room, where most of the other X-Men were gathered. Xavier, Ororo, Henry, Logan, Scott and Jean were all studying the global display.

"'Poccy's always gone for big places before," Logan suggested. "I don't think his ego can handle lying low."

"Maybe," Ororo mused, "but I suspect that things are going to be different this time."

"Why do you say that?" Henry asked.

"I think that some of Will's intuition is rubbing off on me. Try to follow my logic, and tell me if I'm wrong." Everyone nodded in agreement.

"Will and Apocalypse are due for a confrontation. Will has been through several experiences over the past few days that have magnified his powers. Wouldn't it make sense that Apocalypse would be undergoing a similar process?"

They all looked at one another, then nodded, urging her to continue. "Will went to his ancestral home - Ireland - to recharge. Why wouldn't Apocalypse do the same?"

"If that's the case, then he's in Egypt, or somewhere close to it," Henry concluded, focusing the display to that area. "And since Stryfe's technology was based on Apocalypse's, we know what to look for."

"What do you mean?" Bishop asked.

"We noticed - after the fact - that Stryfe's bases gave off EM radiation at a specific frequency. I think I'm safe in guessing that Apocalypse's bases would do the same." He worked at the terminal for a few moments, and a small area on the display started to glow.

"Syria," Ororo noted.

"Not surprising," Henry remarked. "It was once part of Egypt."

"Everyone get into uniform," Ororo decided. "We'll be leaving within the hour."

"I'll tell Will," Rogue announced.

"He already knows," someone said from the door. They all turned around to see Will standing in the doorway. He was grimacing in concentration, and a light sheen of sweat was visible on his forehead.

"Are you all right?" Ororo asked.

"Not really," he admitted. "I'm trying to keep my powers contained, but I'm running pretty hot right now. It's a bit of a strain."

"Can you manage it until we get to Egypt?" Scott pressed.

Will nodded. "I can, but I'll have to shut down all of my abilities to do it. I won't be able to sense anything until we get there. I can teleport ahead of you."

Scott vetoed that instantly. "If he's waiting for you, then you'll be in trouble before we can even get there. We all go together."

Will looked a bit dubious about that, but accepted it. "I'll be waiting at the hanger." He strode out of the room.

Two hours later, Blackbird Gold was streaking over the Atlantic Ocean. Henry was at the controls, with Bishop acting as copilot, while Scott, Ororo and Logan debated possible strategies. They were coordinating with Xavier, who was monitoring the situation from the mansion, as Bobby and Warren manned the defensive systems.

Jean and Betsy, meanwhile, were trying to lend Will a hand, or a mind, as it were, in keeping his powers under control.

"That's right, Will," Jean said encouragingly. "Set up another stone, bring it up square... very good."

"Now move on to the next course," Betsy instructed him.

"Give me a second," Will said, panting from the mental exertion.

"I think that should be enough for now, Betsy," Jean concluded. "If he sets up too many barriers, he may not be able to act quickly enough when the time comes."

"You may be right," Betsy conceded. "Are you all right for now?" she asked Will.

Will nodded weakly, and Betsy and Jean both moved towards the front of the plane.

"Betsy tends to push people a little hard," Rogue informed Will from her nearby seat.

"I noticed," Will commented. "How are you holding up?"

"I'm all right," she shrugged. "You seem a little frazzled."

"That's one way of putting it, I suppose."

"What's wrong?"

"I don't like getting all of you involved with this."

"Will," she informed him gently, "We've been fighting Apocalypse since long before you showed up. Whatever happens, it won't be the first time."

He shook his head vehemently. "No. This is going to be different."

"What do you mean?"

"I don't know what I mean!" he said in exasperation. "All I know is what I feel. This isn't going to be like any encounter with Apocalypse that you've had before."

"Um, Will," Rogue said hesitantly, "you'd better try to calm down. Your eyes are starting to glow."

Will grimaced for a moment, and his eyes dimmed. He exhaled sharply. "Rogue, please don't take this the wrong way, but I really don't feel like talking right now."

She nodded. "I'll go see how long we've got to go." She stood up and moved towards the front of the plane.

"How is he?" Ororo asked.

"He told me - very politely, of course - to leave him alone so he could concentrate."

"Anything else?"

"He said that this wasn't going to be like any other time we've gone up against Apocalypse."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Logan asked.

"He doesn't know."

"Great," Scott grumbled from the pilot seat.

"What's our ETA for Syria?"

"Three hours."

"You're at maximum speed?" Rogue asked with some surprise.

Scott managed to look a bit embarrassed. "I don't want to risk damaging the plane by having him stay in it too long. Besides, the sooner we get there, the sooner we find out this was all a wild goose chase."

Rogue looked at him sharply. "You think all this is some kind of trick?"

"No," Scott said in an even voice. "I think that he believes he's right. I just can't see how going halfway across the world on an unconfirmed guess is going to do us any good."

"Then why did you refuse to let him go alone?" Logan growled.

Scott was silent for a moment. "Because if I'm wrong, and he went alone, then he'd be a dead man."


Continued in Chapter 25


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