THE ARCHETYPE ASSOCIATION
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
"Good morning," he greeted her. "Are you feeling
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,"
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
When it did so, Will's eyes opened. He stood up slowly, staying
within the circle, and raised one hand. A moment later, the
"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,
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
"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
"Let me get this straight," Will said skeptically.
"I'm being thrown out?"
"Only until your power levels stabilize," Ororo
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?"
"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?"
"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."
"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
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
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
"Give me a second," Will said, panting from the
"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
"I'm all right," she shrugged. "You seem a
"That's one way of putting it, I suppose."
"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
"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."
"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?"
"You're at maximum speed?" Rogue asked with some
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
"Then why did you refuse to let him go alone?"
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
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