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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


"Why are we so far away?" Ororo asked Archetype. They and the others had just walked through a Door, and were within visual range of the mansion. It was, however, still a good walk away.

"You are going to need the medical equipment," he replied. "If I come too near to the mansion, I may disrupt it."

Henry nodded. "Smart decision. Jean, we'll take them directly to medlab. Betsy, do you feel well enough to assist?"

"I'm fine," Betsy assured him.

"Scott, you and I should debrief Charles," Ororo advised. "Everyone else go down to the complex. Standard returning procedures. Bishop, Logan, you take care of..." Her voice trailed off for a moment and she looked around wildly. "Where is the Blackbird!?"

"My fault," Archetype admitted. "Wait one moment." He tilted his head to the side for a few seconds. "You will find it in the hanger."

"Thank you," Ororo said in relief. "For a moment, I thought that we would have to go back for it."

"What are you going to do?" Jean asked Archetype.

"I have to ground myself," he replied. "If my powers stay at this level much longer, I may not be able to function." He sat, cross-legged, on the ground, and closed his eyes. "I may be out here for a while," he warned them. After a moment, his head drooped down.

"All right," Ororo ordered, "everyone to your duty stations."

"Charles, are you all right?" Scott asked.

Charles nodded dumbly. "This is going to take a while for me to digest. I knew that Will was powerful, but this..."

"He indicated to us that this is a temporary state," Ororo informed him. "He is trying to reduce his power to a level that he can manage."

"Did he say how long that would take?"

She shook her head. "Did he give you any information while he was here?"

Xavier gave her a confused look. "What do you mean?"

"Didn't he come back here?" Scott pressed.

"I didn't hear from any of you until you called me from the Blackbird."

"Then where did he go to heal?" Ororo asked in a perplexed voice.

"I don't know," Xavier admitted. "We'll ask him when he comes in. Right now, we have more important things to worry about." He activated the intercom on his desk. "Xavier to Henry. How are Bobby and Rogue?"

"Both stable," was the reply. Henry's weariness was evident in his voice. "Bobby is still stunned, but will be fine, assuming that he is given enough rest. Rogue is in better condition than I had expected. Apocalypse's disinfection of her wounds, however brutal in application, was highly effective. I have initiated dermal and skeletal regeneration. She should be up and about in two to three days, although I would suggest that she remain off duty for at least a week beyond that."

"Don't worry about that," Xavier assured him. "As soon as everyone is sufficiently rested, I'm putting all of you on leave."

"Is that wise, Charles?" Ororo asked with some concern.

"Maybe not, but it's the right thing to do. You've all been put through the wringer, and I'm not about to put you back in the field until you've had some recovery time." He knitted his fingers together. "This might be a good time to take Will up on his offer."

"Of what?" Scott asked.

"Remember his first day here? He said that we were welcome to use his safehouses if we wanted to. I think that this may be a good opportunity to take advantage of them."

"Very sensible, Charles," Henry commented.

"I agree," Ororo added.

"I suppose that Jean and I could go visit her parents for a while," Scott mused.

"We'll discuss it with everyone tomorrow," Xavier decided. "Right now, I want everyone to get some sleep."

Xavier set the mansion security on automatic for the evening, since none of the X-Men were in any condition to stay up through the night. Therefore, no one noticed the front door opening at about one in the morning.

Archetype walked in quietly, his boots in his hands. Padding through the foyer, he made his way towards the elevator. He removed his coat as he descended, slinging it over one arm.

When the elevator reached the sub-levels, he walked straight towards the medical wing. Before entering it, however, he picked up a scanner that Bishop had left on a cart in the hall for calibration. He activated it, watching it run through a diagnostic cycle, then put it back down.

He tiptoed past Henry, who was dozing in the bunk that had been placed in his office. Upon entering the infirmary, he stopped.

Rogue lay sedated, her breathing now steady. The swelling around her eyes was starting to subside, and her cuts had scabbed, making her look worse than she had when she had arrived at the mansion.

Archetype looked at her for a long time, unmoving, then placed his coat and boots on a nearby table. He wheeled a chair to the foot of her bed, then sat down, placing his sword in his lap. His drowsy eyes glimmered dimly in the shadows.

"If I'd known that this was going to happen," he asked himself in a whisper, "could I have gone there anyway?"

He still had no answer when Henry came in.


She opened her eyes slowly and painfully, finding that her vision was blurry. "Yeah, Hank?"

"You need to take your medication," he informed her softly, as he offered her a small paper cup and a glass of water.

She sat up slowly, gasping from aches in various parts of her head and body. As she downed the pills, she noticed Will slumped in the chair in front of her. "When...?" she started to ask.

"About one last night, according to the computer," Henry replied. "I was asleep, so I never heard him enter. I thought it best not to wake him."

"He's just been sitting here watching me?"

"I think that standing guard would be a closer description."

"What time is it now?"

"About six in the morning. Do you want me to wake him?"

She thought about it for a moment. "No. Let him stay." She settled back down into the sheets. "It's nice to know that he's nearby, worrying about me." She started to nod off again. "Like having a guardian angel..."

Henry thought about that for a moment. "Just what we've been looking for. An angel who carries a sword one moment and whips up a creme brulee the next."

"Cute, Hank," she murmured. "Really cute."

A few hours later, she awoke on her own. Will still sat in the chair. His eyes were lidded, and his face unreadable. His weariness, however, could not be hidden.

"Hi," she said sleepily.

He was silent for a long moment. "I'm sorry."

"About what?"

"Running away. Letting you get hurt." His expression twisted into one of anguish. "I never wanted anyone to be hurt."

"But you came back for us," she reminded him.

He shook his head violently. "You don't understand. When I came back, all I wanted to do was get to Apocalypse. You - all of you - were just distractions. It took everything I had in me to pay attention to you long enough to release you." His hands started to tremble. "I almost left you there."

"But you didn't," she pressed. "You freed us. No matter how close a call it was, you did the right thing."

She could see that she wasn't reaching him. He was withdrawing, collapsing under a burden of self-blame and guilt. "Will," she said gently but firmly, "c'mere."

He stared at her for a moment, then, seeing the resolve in her eyes, complied.

She took his sleeve and linked her arm with his. "How were you able to heal so quickly?"

He hesitated for a few moments. "I pushed my powers way beyond any of my previous limits. I'm going to be paying for that pretty soon."

"It shows," she told him. "Was stopping him the only reason you did that?"

"No," he admitted. "I had to get back and help you."

"And when you saw what he'd done?"

His face hardened. "I wanted to tear his heart out - assuming he has one."

"So it was your concern about us that was driving you."

He digested that. "I guess it was."

"And it wasn't until after you saw us that you became..." she searched for the proper term.

"Homicidal?" he suggested.

"That's as good a word as any," she decided. "You made the right decisions, you did the right thing. So stop blaming yourself. I sure don't blame you."

"Now," she suggested, "you're dead on your feet, you look like you haven't eaten, and you're covered with dust. Go get a bite to eat, take a shower, and go to bed. We'll talk again when we're both feeling a bit better, okay?"

He nodded wearily. "Can I make you something to eat before I head up?"

"Hank has me on hospital food for the next few days. Why don't you make a nice dinner for both of us when we're both up to it?"

He smiled. "That sounds great." He put two gloved fingers to his lips, then placed them on hers. Stepping away from her bed, he picked up his things and made his way towards the door.

Just before he left the room, he turned around. "Don't worry about any nightmares. Nothing's going to disturb your dreams while I'm around."

Rogue watched him leave, a contented smile on her face. Satisfied, she drifted off to sleep.

Three days later, after everyone had some time to laze around for a while, Xavier met with Will for an hour or so, then called everyone to the living room.

"After what everyone has been through, I thought it would be best if we all got a break. Will has volunteered the use of his safe houses for everyone to use for a vacation." He nodded at Will to continue.

Will pulled out a small binder. "I'd like to do this one at a time to avoid any confusion. Hank, you wanted to visit your parents, and Jean and Scott have plans to visit her folks. Warren, you and Betsy are going to New York?"

"Right," Warren confirmed. "We'll be staying at my place."

Will nodded. "Ororo, do you have anywhere in mind?"

"Not really," she admitted. "I was planning on someplace warm."

Will leafed through his notebook for a moment. "How does a bungalow in the Cayman Islands sound? You'll have to put up with tourists in town, but the house itself is pretty secluded."

Ororo smiled warmly. "That sounds lovely. What's the local currency?"

"That won't be a problem," he assured her. "All my safe houses have a small vault. I'll give you each the combination before you leave. The vault contains five thousand U.S. dollars, the equivalent in local currency, and the same in gold. Just give me a ballpark figure on what you spent when you get back."

After deciding on Washington DC for Bishop (who expressed a desire to see the Smithsonian Institution and the monuments) and the Poconos for Bobby (who wanted to get some skiing in), Will went up to his room, coming down a few minutes later with a sheaf of papers. "The security systems on the houses are all operated with keypads. The first code is for the door, the second one is for the vault. If you give me another hour or so, I can set up your travel arrangements."

"We can take care of that," Ororo assured him.

Will turned to Logan. "How about you?"

Logan got up. "I could use a few days in Madripoor. I'll make my own arrangements. Appreciate the offer, though. Think I'll go pack." He headed for the stairs.

"What about you?" Bobby asked Will.

"I'm going to stay here. I'm going to be resting for the next few days, and I can do that here as well as anywhere else. Besides, I promised Rogue I'd stay nearby."

There were a few hidden smiles at that remark, but no one was impolite enough to say anything.

A few hours later, everyone had packed up and left for New York, where they would split up and head for their respective destinations. Will's offer of teleportation had been politely declined, and the school van seemed to bulge at the sides as it rolled away.

Will closed the front door with an audible sigh of relief, then looked at Xavier. "You had a team of teenagers here at one point, right?"


"Along with a full team of X-Men."


"Whatever you were smoking at the time, I want to try it."

Xavier and Will agreed that the lack of distraction awarded them both an opportunity to get caught up on their respective 'to do' lists.

"So you won't get offended if I'm holed up in my office for the next few days?" Xavier asked.

"I was about to ask you the same thing," Will confessed.

"Did Hank give you any instructions regarding Rogue's recovery?"

He nodded. "He wants her to rest. I had to swear that I wouldn't let her get too excited. Fortunately, I was able to convince him to lift her dietary restrictions, since I promised her a dinner when she was feeling better. After she's eaten, I'll see what I can do to convince her to hit the sack early."

"Good idea. Why don't you bring my dinner to my office? That should keep us from bothering one another."

"You think of everything."

"Somebody has to."

"Come in," Rogue answered to the knock at her door.

Will walked in, dressed in a navy shirt, kakhi Dockers, and olive jacket and tie. He clicked his heels, his face deadpan. "Dinner is served, Madam."

"I'm not old enough to be a Madam," she protested.

"Oh, I don't know," he drawled. "I think you could get an escort service up and running within a year if you really worked at it."

"I don't know if I should be insulted or flattered by that remark."

"I'm feeding you, dear. Give me the benefit of the doubt."

"I'll be down in a few minutes."

"Take your time. Xavier's eating in his office, so you're not holding anyone up." He shut the door behind him.

Rogue slowly got out of bed, wincing slightly from the stiffness in her chest, and padded over to her closet, removing a forest green flannel robe. She started to put it on, then paused for a moment. Her face hardened, and she put the robe back on the hanger, removing another garment which was still wrapped in plastic. She then went to her dresser, rummaging through one particular drawer.

"Madam, my ass..."

Will placed the last serving dish on the table and lit the candles, checking one last time to make sure that he had remembered everything. He blinked, then rushed over to the china cabinet, removing a bud vase and placing it on the table. He then dug through a pants pocket, pulling out a ten dollar bill. He teleported away, then reappeared about one minute later, a pink long-stemmed rose in his hand.

"Only in New York would there be a twenty-four hour florist," he said to himself as he placed the rose in the vase and put on his gloves.

He heard Rogue descend the stairs, and turned around to greet her. "Party for two?" he asked "Do you have a reserva-..." His voice trailed off.

She wore a turquoise nightdress, covered by a black satin evening robe. A pair of black stiletto heels complemented the grey hose which she had donned. She had brushed her hair until it glowed, and had put on just enough makeup to accentuate her lips and eyes.

Will looked at her for a few moments, unable to say anything. "You look beautiful," was all he could manage.

Rogue smiled, enjoying the effect she was having on him. "Is all this for me?" she asked innocently.

Will blinked for a moment, trying to jump start his brain back into action. "Yes. Yes it is. Please, sit down." He pulled back her chair, and she settled gracefully into it.

Will recomposed himself, and uncovered the serving trays. "This evening, we have Cornish game hen with wild rice stuffing, honey glazed carrots, cranberry walnut relish, and for dessert, chocolate chip cheesecake."

Rogue looked at the ice bucket near the table, which held a wine bottle. "And our beverage?"

Will removed the bottle from the ice and showed the label to her. "Sparkling apple cider." He unwrapped the foil and popped the cork, filling both their glasses. Sitting down, he lifted his glass. Rogue did the same. "What should we toast to?" he asked.

"How about more nights like this?"

They clinked their glasses together.

Later, after the meal, Will started a fire in the parlor fireplace, and they both relaxed on the couch. Rogue settled her head into Will's lap, staring into the flames of the fire. "Will?"


"What happened to you after you teleported away?"

There was no sound for a moment, other that the crackling of the fire.

"I went somewhere where I could heal and recharge."

"Where was that?"

"Remember the cave?"

"The one under your house?"

"That's the one. I went there, and then went someplace else."

"Where's that?"

"A place like where I met the Sidhe."

"But not the same place?"

"Not exactly the same, but very similar. When I was there, I was able to draw on a lot of power at once. When I was ready, I came back to the house, changed into a fresh uniform, and went after you."

"Why did you take time to change?"

"There wasn't much left of what I'd been wearing."

"How badly were you burned?"

"A few oil drums full of Bactine would have been useful."


"Ouch is right."

She was silent for a moment. "You said that you'll be paying for healing so quickly. What did you mean?"

"It's a question of balance. I've just been through a long period where my powers and awareness were supercharged. I have to enter a low period before I can even out to a normal state."

"You mean your powers are going to decrease?"

"Drastically. And that's going to affect me both physically and psychologically."

She squirmed around on the couch until she could look him in the face. "How?"

"Well, the most important symptom will be the psychological one - depression. Severe depression."

"How bad will it get?"

"Loss of appetite. Fatigue. Withdrawal. Dysthemia."

"What's that?"

"A lack of emotional feeling and connection. I'll probably just lie in my bed for a few days, staring at the ceiling." He glanced down at her. "That's my ulterior motive for sending everybody on vacation."

"I'm lost," she confessed.

"I've hit several lows between the time my powers developed and when I came here. Every other time, I've been away from other people, so I really don't have any idea what the effect will be on the people around me - and that's information that the X-Men are going to need. Xavier has the defenses to block me, if necessary, and you're very resistant to psychic influence. Combined, you're the perfect people to keep an eye on me."

"So you sent everybody else away to avoid putting them into a funk?"

"Exactly. Besides," he admitted, "I'll feel better knowing that you're nearby."

"That's sweet," she murmured.

"I do my humble best."

They didn't talk for quite some time, choosing instead to stare into the fire, watching the sparks dance up into the chimney. "Will," Rogue finally said, breaking the silence, "thank you."

"For what?"

"For all this. For bending over backwards to make me comfortable. For letting me in."

"Letting you in where?"

"You. I know that it's not easy for you to talk about what you're feeling, and what happens to you. But you do it for me. That means a lot."

"I want to do it. I need to talk about some of this stuff, even if I can't explain it properly. You're the first person I've ever been comfortable enough with to do that."

She smiled at that and snuggled a bit deeper into his lap. "I wanted to ask you something," she remembered.

"What's that?"

"After Apocalypse beat me up, Jean put me into a trance so that I could get a bit of rest. While my mind was drifting, I felt... something. I didn't know what it was, but I knew that you were coming. Do you know what that was?"

He frowned for a moment, thinking. "Maybe. I've told you that I experience the Chorus as music, right?"


"Well, maybe when my power increased, my role in the symphony became 'louder', and since you were in a trance, you were a bit more attuned to the Chorus. You were able to hear my music, because you've been around me enough to become familiar with it at some deep level."

"That makes sense," she said, nodding. Then she yawned.

"Looks like it's time for you to go back to bed," Will commented.

"I'm fine," Rogue protested feebly.

"Sure you are. You need to rest if you're going to heal properly. Believe me, no one knows about the role of sleep in the healing process the way I do." He helped her sit up slightly as he wriggled out from under her and stood up. He then gathered her up in his arms.

"I can walk," she told him.

"I'm sure you can. But I'm in charge of your recovery until Henry gets back, or unless Xavier vetoes me, and right now I say that you're in no condition to handle the stairs."

"I could fly."

"No," he said sternly as he started up the staircase. "No powers for the next few days. That's something that Henry was very firm on. Therefore, like it or not, you are going to be pampered for the next few days. And just so you know, you're going to have breakfast in bed in the morning, so don't bother trying to come down before I make sure you've had a good meal. After breakfast, I'm going to plant you in the recliner in front of the TV, and you're going to either read, watch a movie - tell me if there's something at the video store that you want to see and I'll go get it - or let your brain atrophy watching soaps. If you try anything even remotely physically active, I'm going to have to punish you."

"Are you going to spank me?" she asked in a little girl voice, her eyes wide.

"Now there's a thought," he replied as he entered her room. He looked around for a moment. "What happened in here?"

Oops, Rogue thought to herself. She hadn't cleaned up after her search for something to wear, and a chaotic jumble of stockings, slips, and other unmentionables was scattered throughout her room. "I was looking for something," she told him as her face reddened.

"I can accept that explanation," he replied. "I guess I have to. It's either that or a Victoria's Secret shipment found its way here by mistake." He teleported the items that were on her bed on top of a chair, and set her gently onto her bed. "Can you think of anything that you need? I'm going to get my food shopping done in Europe."

"Can you find a good Brie cheese? I love Brie."

"No problem. Now get to sleep." He removed a cellular phone from his pocket. "If you need to get me, speed dial one. I'll have my phone on me while I'm off the grounds, and it's programmed to reach me anywhere in the world. Sweet dreams," he told her as he started to close the door behind him.

"Uh, Will," she said just before the door was totally shut, "I just thought of something."

"What's that?" he said as he peered back into the room.

"Well, with Henry gone, and all the other X-Women with him, we may have a problem."

"And that is?"

She put one hand to her chest. "Who's going to change my bandages?"

The look on Will's face, she decided, was priceless.


Continued in Chapter 28


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