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What to do about Magik?

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Part 1: Well now what?

 

Scott, Emma, and Erik (Magneto) were gathered round a table in a small conference room. Kitty and Illyana had just departed; Illyana was returning Kitty to the Jean Grey School so she could gather her students and explain what was about to happen. The negotiations were done and agreements reached. Professor Kitty would be bringing herself and her students to Scott's new school.

 

Scott was still rattled at his near death at the hands of Kitty. Emma was trying to play it cool but she was also unsettled. Erik was reserved, as always.

 

"It will be good to expand the student roster" was Erik's rather plain statement. "Allows for expanded interactions amongst the new students. Plus, having a cadre of higher trained student will facilitate the learning experience for the less skilled in many ways; rather like having upper classmen I suspect".

 

Time for a very important and long overdue discussion thought Scott. He initiated that discussion.

 

"I almost died out there Erik. Just an unphased hangnail away from death. I have... concerns about Magik's decision making process".

 

"She's not crazy Scott" Emma stated. "Well, at least a lot less crazy now. As bizarre as this sounds this is a good thing".

 

Scott was somewhat incredulous. "Good?! I seem to recall that you were the one that said she scared the hell out of you".

 

Emma continued. "She still does. But this is likely, in part, my fault".

 

"How Emma?" asked Erik. It was not often that the white queen admitted a failing of any sort.

 

"As you both know, Illyana and I continue to have therapy sessions". No need to talk about all the sessions, some had been quite unprofessional, but fun, and Scott would get all moody if he knew. "Illyana has always been.... hesitant in many things despite experiences to the contrary".  

 

"Hesitant? Emma! Kitty had her God Damned hand in my head". Scott's response was not helpful.

 

"Yes darling, I'm sure it was very uncomfortable. So rare to see our Kitty actually unsheathe her claws, but back to the topic at hand. Personnel interactions are... kept away by our Illyana, as you well know Scott. You were in her head, hell we were both in her head back when we were Phoenix. You know the mess that's in there".

 

Emma continued. "She absolutely believed herself to be unredeemable. She rather deliberately keep all of her former friends at arms length and went to great lengths to motivate them to abandon her. Well... things are different now. Whatever that beast Dormmanu did to her has resulted in some complications. Good complications all in all".

 

"Like Kitty's hand in my head"?

 

Erik had his concerns about Illyana, but seeing Scott all worked up was... somewhat entertaining and rather therapeutic for him. Nice to see the shoe on the other foot as it were.

 

Emma was sympathetic. "It's ok to be upset Scott dear. Feel free to keep shouting about Kitty's hand until you get it out of your system". Ok, maybe not as sympathetic as Scott would have liked.

 

Emma returned to her main point. "She... wants now. Wanting is a good thing. Complex human feelings have returned. She's trying to interact with people she's driven away. Interact in a way that does not involve slaying them, torturing them, harming them, you get the gist".

 

Erik got to the point. "What did you do Emma"?

 

"I had her make a list. Of ten things she wants. The list was for her and not for others, even me, to read. She was quite grumbly about it, considered it a waste of time. Then I told her to then make a list of actions for each item on her list. Actions on what she could do to attempt to make things on her list come true. She protested for awhile but then got that contemplative look in her eye that so concerns those of us who know her best. She really is a good planner when she sets her mind to something. In some ways even better then you Scott".

 

Emma concluded. "She's.... more complete now. She's actually acting on wants. She wants to fix her friendship with Kitty and this was a way to prove to Kitty just how much she's willing to do for her. I was able to scan Kitty, Kitty did not share her plans with Illyana, she thought that she had tricked Illyana into leaving the two of you alone so she could have a heart to heart talk with you".

 

"Great. Rather sure Illyana was not tricked. So not feeling very secure right now. She almost got me killed and none of you showed up to help".

 

"Well" Emma opined. "She did restrain us and was rather blunt about it. Said she was helping a friend and I got the mental impression that she believed she was helping you both. One has to admit that it did allow our Kitty to work out some issues, and you as well. I can't say I approve of the therapy technique, but the results do look promising for all involved".

 

At this point there was a knock at the door.

 

Scott massaged his brow. "Come in Magik, we were just talking about you".

 

The door opened and Illyana entered the room. She did not have her sword about her. She stood rather then sit.

 

"I hope this don't mean you're planning on locking me up again".

 

"Like we even could" stated Erik. "I always suspected that you were never truly confined in Utopia".

 

Illyana looked Scott and then Emma in the eye. "I was. I gave my word, the physical security was just extra. As you both knew after we became... well became".

 

"So were do we go from here"? Scott asked. Heck, make Illyana come up with a solution.

 

"I acted only somewhat impulsively. Kitty wanted the opportunity to kill you, but really wanted to be talked out of it. In truth she wanted to talk to you about how much you had hurt her. I left... certain safeguards in the event she actually tried to kill you; I didn't want Kitty doing something she'd later regret. I have... too many of these already, don't need to add more to the pile.  You both needed to talk. Well, you talked".

 

Both Emma and Erik exhaled and relaxed. Erik couldn't help but wonder how Scott felt getting a dose of his own decision making.

 

"I apologize for the abruptness of it but I think you all agree that the outcome is to the school's satisfaction".

 

Ends don't justify the means. An argument that nether Emma or Erik could really make. And Scott, well Scott had been making decisions that rather excluded him from making such an argument as well.

 

And Illyana? Two words, Hell Lord. Hell Lords always tend to look at the end results and not the means.

 

"How do you feel about this Illyana" Emma asked. A much better question it turned out.

 

"Somewhat guilty. Guilt at several levels which I find... surprising. But it would be nice to have Kitty around again, I've... missed her. Missed a lot of things".

 

Progress thought Emma. Progress.

Chapter Text

Part 2: Just who is getting SHIELDEed anyway?

 

Part A: Ruminations upon the request

 

One of Director Hill's lieutenants asked her a candid question. Miss Hill had returned to the SHIELD helo carrier once Illyana had teleported herself and the young X-men, plus Laura, to the ruined island of Utopia off of the San Francisco bay. Hill and her subordinate (Frank was his name) were in her office, she was sitting behind her desk and Frank was sitting on a couch.

 

"Was that... prudent Director Hill"?

 

"Looking for solutions that doesn't involve fighting Frank" was her reply. "Last time I checked I don't recall SHIELD coming out on top on these little encounters and the paperwork for the budget impact of all the damage and ordinance expended keeps giving me writer's cramp. My God, the number of forms is astonishing. If Hydra wanted to paralyze SHIELD that's where I'd start. Just hack our administrative processes and procedures. Drown us in paper work... Hmm, Frank I want a Tiger team to review SHIELD procedures to make sure that hasn't happening".

 

Director Hill was giving vent to one of her pet peeves. Gave her something to complain about while she sat around wondering what, if anything, was going to go wrong. There were just so many ways things always went wrong when dealing with Mutants.

 

"Yes Ma'am, I'll get right on it. I mean trusting her, this Miss Rasputin. Her file is very incomplete and has quotes from many of her past associates indicating that she is... unpredictable and prone to violence and... leaving details out. Not to mention the noticeable lack of trust that many of her former associates have also expressed about her".

 

"Yea, but deal with the cards we got. She was part of Utopia, a former Phoenix 5 member, and I hope somebody who will be able to figure something out".

 

"And the Jean Grey School..."?

 

"Mostly home to folks who left Utopia when they had that little schism thing with Summers. Likely would discuss it to death first. The Avengers probably would go in swinging which is the last thing I want. Considering the alternatives, I think I ended up drawing a good card".

 

"In what way Ma'am"?

 

"She barely spoke, let the kids do the chatter, and appeared to really think about what I said. Body language implied that she recognized something, or thought that she did. Then she announced the decision, warned us to not follow, and teleported everybody away".

 

Director Hill got up from her chair and pored herself a cup of coffee (decaf for those who want to know, she drinks a lot of coffee).

 

"She's in change. That's obvious, even if some of the folks she's with don't quite understand that. You've read all of her file, right Frank"?

 

"What parts of it I'm allowed access to. Kind of noticed that there were locked sections that lower classified folks wouldn't even know existed. She's an odd one from what I could read. Supposedly died, yet showed up years after her death all grown up. Summers ended up locking her up for some reason, yet put her on that Extinction team of his before the whole Avengers/Mutants blowup over the Phoenix".

 

Director Hill took a sip and then replied. "She did die Frank, and no she's not back from the dead as it were. Something's back, but we were never able to get a clear answer as to exactly who. For some reason none of her former associates really ever speak of it. But notice that Scott blasted Summers always kept her close, even after he locked her up. Teleportation is the least of her abilities, although really flashy and useful. No, she's a big hitter, major sorceress, and we think something more...".

 

"More what Ma'am"?

 

"More lethal to say the least. Let's just say somebody you really don't make oaths with when you're not planning on keeping your side of the bargain".

 

 

Part B: Waiting for the other shoe to fall

 

Illyana had returned with the X-Kidletts and had ported them to the SHIELD helo carrier. The kids had delivered the bad news (all the mutants were gone, bummer). Yea right, like that was believed. Then they had asked Director Hill why the Utopians were not allowed to live there any more, after all it had been their home, before they also departed.

 

Director Hill kept waiting for the other shoe to fall as it were. That little private chat where threats are made. The kind of grandstanding that Summer's always liked to do, he so liked being the top dog and letting you know it.

 

She waited all the day. Nothing.

 

Damn, so it happens when I go to sleep. Either I'm kidnapped in my sleep or it's a dream sequence. She went to sleep annoyed, waiting for the interruption. But again nothing. Just a dream where she... well it was a private dream but let's just say Summers got a good spanking and she woke up feeling rather guilty about having such a dream; not about the spanking but about the other parts of the dream were she... well lets just say it's private and move on.

 

Nothing at breakfast, or all throughout the day.

 

It was 2:30pm and she was working in her office alone when she noticed the scrap of paper on her desk. She would have sworn it was not there the last time she looked (it wasn't). Just a phone number and the initials IR.

 

After some brief thoughts Director Hill dialed the number, while having it traced. The trace log said that the phone call went to a cell phone in New York Central Park. After three rings Illyana answered with a pleasant tone.

 

"Hello Director Hill. Thanks for the call. I'd like to briefly talk with you. Is now a good time for you"?

 

Ok, not expected. Her file did not indicate... such good social skills. Director Hill had been expecting to be whisked away via a teleportation portal, as had happened before, but Illyana appeared to be playing this politely. Directory Hill decided to play along.

 

"Now's a good time. I assume you'd like to meet in person. My office or somewhere more private".

 

"I believe you like coffee Miss Hill and I know a little place that serves very good coffee; not that I'm partial to coffee, but an acquaintance of mine preferred her whole bean coffee from there. I can port you there but please let your security know that you're not being kidnapped or something".

 

"Porting is fine. I'll let my detail know that I'm taking a quick jaunt".

 

Director Hill hung up and let her security know that she was about to be ported away. They were not happy but such was their lot in life.

 

A minute later she suddenly appeared in doorway of rustic coffee shack. The walls were make of old wood. There were only a few tables, all empty, and a simple coffee bar with a gleaming antique copper espresso maker of daunting complexity. Plus, an assortment of pastries under glass. There was a young Polynesian looking woman behind the bar with the name tag Mamma.

 

The air was warm and humid. There was no air-conditioning, just an old ceiling fan slowly revolving. There was a variety of glass coffee jars behind the counter and the prices were marked on a big slab of slate that was hung from the ceiling. The prices were... high.   Very high. And all the beans were Hawaiian. The smell of fresh roasting coffee filled the air and was mouth watering wonderful. Director Hill hypothesized that she was on the West cost of the big island of Hawaii.

 

Illyana was sitting at a two person table, facing the doorway, munching away on a chocolate croissant and having a coffee based drink (peppermint latté). She waved at Director Hill. She was dressed in civilian clothes instead of her field costume, it was a light blue shirt with pair of cut-off jeans.

 

Director Hill noticed that her own clothing had changed into a red Hawaiian flower pattern shirt, a pair of dark blue shorts, and flip flops. Impressive little display, which was likely the point.

 

Director Hill walked in and sat down in the empty chair. Illyana finished chewing, swallowed, and then spoke.

 

"Order what you want. My treat, but don't get too used to it".

 

Director Hill mostly drank decaf, but this looked like a good time and place to make an exception. She got back up and went over to the coffee bar and ordered a triple espresso with no sugar or cream. After walking back to the table, where she stood as she waited while the coffee was being made, she made a statement about where they where.

 

"Kona coast I presume".

 

"Yep, Emma adores the coffee from this place. You so don't want to get between her and her morning coffee".

 

"Why the invite"?

 

"Well... I wanted to thank you for letting... us handle that little problem. Rounded up some wayward kittens".

 

Hmm, not even pretending that what the X-kids had said was true thought Director Hill. Wonder way? She replied while glancing around.

 

"Can you get to the threatening phase first? I always like to get that out of the way when I'm conversing with a semi wanted individual".

 

Illyana took a sip of her drink, than replied with a slightly amused expression.

 

"I wasn't planning on making any threats, but I can if it will set you at ease. I'll have to warn you that I'm inadequate at laughing manically, just can't get the proper motivation.  

 

This is so not going how I thought it would thought Director Hill. Illyana's file indicated that she was good at manipulating people. Director Hill was finding that the file was very correct.

 

Said file was thin. Not much detail as Illyana had mostly kept to the background. But... one section stuck in Hill's mind, the physiological profile section, and a photo of Illyana in her Darkchilde incarnation (the photo was in the locked section that only the highest cleared folks could access).

 

The physiological profile spent a great deal of time discussing the differences between a Psychopath vs. Sociopath; which can be summarize by nature vs. nurture. Psychopaths are born that way, sociopaths are formed by long term abuse. The SHIELD psychoanalyst jury was out on Illyana, but the general consensus was that she had strong aspects of both. Like due to the years of abuse as a child (nurture) and... and that photo implied more then a little nature as well.

 

Let's try a conversational reply while I wait for coffee was Director Hill's thought.

 

"I'd have thought you'd have that down pat. After all, you've been hanging out with Magneto and he was a grand master of the evil gloat. Summers tended to have a more snide in your face kind of delivery".

 

Illyana replied after a sip. "Well, never really saw that side of Erik, but when he was my Headmaster, back in school, he so did love to shout. I never was on the receiving end of snide from Scott; frustration and anger but never snide. I suppose Emma was my main mentor, she did teach me about... quite a few things, but I also learned things from Scott as well".  

 

The coffee order was up. Director Hill got her cup and took a sip. It was good. Real good. She didn't think it was a good as the prices indicted, but it was good coffee. She walked back to the table and sat down. Illyana then asked a question.

 

"So do you still want some threats? I'm sure I can come up with something".

 

"No, I guess we're good. So what do you want to talk Miss Rasputin, and why did you let the kids do all the talking"?

 

Illyana nibbled on her croissant before replying. She answered with a question.

 

"How hard is it for you to recover from your mistakes Miss Hill"?

 

"Depends on the mistake. Some of them have been real doozies. I've always found that it's way harder to fix something you've broken then to avoid breaking it in the first place. That's why I approached your group in an attempt to deal with Utopia in a non confrontational way".

 

Illyana thought briefly before answering.

 

"I haven't always... made the right choices despite how utterly sure I was at the time. I'm better now, or so I think. But... my prior mistakes leave me with uncertainty. Am I still unknowingly blind to things? The power to make choices is not the same as wisdom or insight. I let... select folks led in certain areas until I decide I need to overrule them. I don't like... being wrong about things I care about. Changing the outcomes and directions of other's lives for the negative is not... pleasant when that was not the actual intent".

 

"But you could just go back in time and fix it" quipped Hill. Yea, she knew it was not that easy, but Director Hill was also very good at manipulating people. Make Illyana talk more, get a better feel for how she thinks and acts.

 

Illyana answered while shaking her head no. "Then it becomes fake. Reality slowly loses definition. Everything and everybody becomes... meaningless. It's... not a good way to live. I know, I've been there".

 

"Ok, I can accept that. But why did you want to talk to me"?

 

Illyana leaned back and took a slurp of her drink and gave Director Hill and assessing look.

 

"I was unaware that you knew where we were. I suppose it was inevitable with all the others knowing. X-Men, Hulk, various drop bys. I had thought that SHIELD did not know though. Hmmm, do I, and those who reside with me, have anything to be concerned about? Is SHIELD going to get stupid and try to barge in and arrest or detain some or all of us"?  

 

Director Hill took a sip of her drink before answering. "Not at this time. I'd prefer SHIELD try to avoid more... entanglements with mutants. My budgets keep getting blown and you just vanish anyway. No... you're safe for now, unless you and yours engage in activity that really brings down the hammer".

 

"I see". Was Illyana's reply. "Well, you have my phone number if you need to get in contact with me or the group. I suppose contact will allow us the opportunity to avoid... issues. I'd prefer not to see any uninvited flying battleships in my backyard again".

 

"Noted" was Director Hill's reply. "Um... were you in central park or was that just a spoof"?

 

"Spoof. Next time the trace will show a White House bathroom or something".

 

Director Hill asked an odd question. But those who were cleared to read all of Illyana's file would understand why she asked it and that it was not odd.

 

"So... I take it SHIELD and I are not on your enemies list"?

 

Illyana coolly examined Director Hill as Illyana finished off her drink. "No Director Hill, you are not on my enemies list. That list is empty, it wasn't at one time. You'd know if you were on it. Hmm, actually you wouldn't know now that I think about it. You just wouldn't... be. Is that threatening enough for you"?

 

"Yea, that kind of is".

 

With a flash Director Hill was back in her office. She had a lot to think about.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Part 3: Welcome to the new Xavier school for very gifted mutants who have nowhere else to go

 

Illyana gathered everybody together two days after the Utopia refugees were brought to the New Xavier school, the repurposed former Weapon-X facility.

 

It was the morning of the second day, the Utopians had arrived in the evening two days ago. Sleeping arrangements had been sorted out and everybody had crashed for the night (it had been a rather stressful day). The following day had mostly been sleeping in late, bit of poking around, chit chat, and general malaise. Illyana was off doing something and was not present for most of the day, everybody else mostly just de-stressed.

 

Boom Boom (Tabitha Smith) had slept in late, then went on an ice cream eating binge, followed by the consumption of alcohol and a three hour soak in Emma's no longer secret jacuzzi bathtub (she'd jimmied open Emma's bedroom door). Followed by more naps and other binging activities (yea, she was in a bit of a mood).

 

Madison Jeffries had spent the day poking around in the technical innards of the new facility and conversing with the young Henry (the Beast). This allowed him to get up to speed on what had been happening.

 

Masque mostly sulked, something he was quite good at.

 

Marshall Evan Stone III (Random) hung out, did a workup in the new danger room. Conversed with the kids (the All New X-Men), and generally spent the day scoping out the place.

 

Joshua "Josh" Foley (Elixir) slept in, then hung out with Marshall as well. He found the new X-kids to be rather interesting.

 

Xi'an Coy Manh (Karma) was also mostly not present. She had gotten up early, did a workout, then had vanished (She'd asked Illyana to port her to New York so she could take care of some business, she returned that night)

 

The morning of the second day Illyana welcomed everybody and briefly went over the rules of behavior while everybody had a continental breakfast in the large living room.

 

No planning world dominion.

No fights with Shield.

No robbing banks or engaging in terrorist activities.

No stalking or attacking your fellows.

No fighting with the Storm and the Jean Grey School.

 

Not everybody was ready to listen.

 

Boom-boom had her arms crossed as she popped a chewing gum bubble. Her body language was one of rejection. She asked Illyana a question while slightly sneering.

 

"Who died and put you in charge"?

 

In hindsight the question could have been better phrased; but the answer rather explained the facts of life very quickly.

 

"Me and me" was Illyana's answer. Then she provided more detail.

 

"Scott, Emma, Erik, and I refurbished this facility. We ran it together, but they're now gone. I'll let my second in command explain the rules to all of you newcomers in private".

 

"Yea, and who's that" Boom Boom replied with her usually candor and sarcasm. "Like I'd be any more included to listen then I am now. I mean, last time I checked you were a net case so just which one of these kids did you decide was qualified to be in change of all the adults? I'll bet it's Summers junior, he always did get off on telling everybody what to do".

 

Boom Boom looked over to where the others were sitting, the X-Kidletts (Scott, Henry, Jean, Bobby, Warren, and Laura) and then continued.

 

"You know she's nuts, right? I mean really crazy. Did she bother to tell you about how she almost destroyed reality? How she let her teammates be abused and tortured? Or how the real Scott Summers locked her crazy ass up? Or that time she tortured kids in Limbo? Bet those little details got left out".

 

Laura was sitting on a couch with Warren, she was leaning against him and rather enjoying the experience (not that she'd ever admit it). Laura's eyes narrowed in irritation as she listened to the denouncements of Illyana and she snik'd out the two blades on her left hand.

 

Jean made a hand placating jester to Laura, from where she was sitting, as she spoke.

 

"No, actually those details were not left out. Professor Kitty was quite... explicit in detailing Professor Magik's prior behaviors and activities. In addition Professor Magik has been very forthright on her past. Plus we've spent quite a bit of time with her both here and... well across the galaxy".

 

FLASHBACK

 

Kitty had gathered the X-kidlets in the JGS (Jean Grey School). commemorative garden, actually beneath the statue of the no longer departed Colossus (the current one, not the one from the future who died).

 

Kitty briefly went over the situation and her conclusion that they, and therefore her, could no longer stay in the JGS. She laid out what she believed the alternatives were and what her recommendation was (which was going to the New Xavier School run by Scott Summers).

 

Suffice it to say that there was discussion, a lot of discussion. But in the end they all agreed that it sounded like the best choice out of a set of universally bad choices. Bobby had briefly urged Doctor Doom but had been out voted (he didn't really mean it, he was just being a bit of a jerk). But now the issue at had was how to leave.

 

"And after all of this their just going to let us leave"? Asked Jean with a tone of mild disbelief. "Scott and I left before and we were pursued. What would make this any different"?

 

"Illyana" Was Kitty's reply. "Most of folks here are rather scared of her and... well getting between Illyana and a stated goal of hers tends to be a very bad ida".

 

"Most?" interrupted Bobby. "Um... all would be a better answer. From the school gossip she's demented or evil or crazy or all of the above, and way scary at times. I also distinctly recall you not trusting her and telling everybody that ".

 

Kitty sighed. "Yea, Illyana's had... issues and problems. She died, was brought back after five years and... well it apparently wasn't nice which is kind of like saying a super nova can give your sunburn. Moreover, she was missing her soul which kind of drove her even more nuts then the... abuse left her. She was left crazy, but in that kind of crazy that is also very rational when it come to planning and execution of said plans. I... I don't think she got the help she needed".

 

Kitty finished. "She's strong, dangerous, prone to violence and has been unstable until recently".

 

Scott injected "And these are good reasons to go off with her"?

 

Kitty responded. "Yea they actually are. As I said before I think she's one of the few people that the JCS will... well will not go against to retrieve you guys if Illyana actively stated that she would fight for you to make your own choices".

 

"But why would she do this?" asked Hank.

 

"Because I asked her to and she agreed". Answered Kitty.

 

"Umm, why would we matter to her?" asked Jean.

 

Kitty was blunt. "You don't, I do. Illyana is... sorry for some issues that happened between the two of us. This is a way of trying to say sorry to me. She's trying to reach out and that's... that's a good thing".

 

Illyana had so let Kitty down. But... but Illyana's PG-13 version of what had happened to Illyana (and she was very certain it was in reality XXX or worse) left Kitty... left her feeling that while Illyana had failed, that there was likely more then a little bit of anti Illyana bias in people's behaviors. Something Illyana had always had issues with even back when she was in High School.

 

Scott wasn't sure. "Can she be trusted? Nobody at the JCS trusts her, and Bobby's right, since when did you start trusting her Professor Kitty"?

 

Kitty was brief but honest. "Illyana and I had a talk after her brother from the future died. Later she showed me that she was willing to... well to prove herself to me. She was willing to... let me decide what to do about a problem I had. It sufficed, I trust her in this. I think it's the best option we have".

 

There wasn't much to say. They took a final vote, it was unanimous.

 

Kitty spoke to the air. "Ok Illyana, would you please appear".

 

There was a flash of light as a small teleportation disk appeared off to the side of the group. Accompanying the disk was the flaming flickering of bones, and monsters that now sometimes appeared frequently whenever Illyana teleported. The disk, and the flaming flickering was gone leaving just Illyana in her rather revealing black costume.

 

"Yikes" shuddered Bobby. Those flames always gives me the creeps.

 

Illyana spoke "Inadvertent side affect, still haven't managed to always suppresses them".

 

"Side affect of what?" asked Bobby who was always nosy.

 

"Consuming the power of Limbo. There was a problem and everybody was going to die. I found a... rather unique solution. I'm stilling in the process of dealing with the consequences of that solution".

 

Jean looked over Illyana, both visually and telepathically. Yep those mind shields that all the telepaths spoke about were back. Not a chance to see under the covers as it were.

 

But before, when Illyana's dead brother had been sent back to the future there had been, cracks as it were and the intensity of the grief and self condemnation that has poured out of those cracks had been intense. Like a bandage that had healed inside a wound with the ends sticking out of the scar tissue. Then it had been as if all had been ripped off in a massive bleeding wound even worse then the one the original. It was the self condemnation that made Jean want to trust her.

 

But Jean wanted a few questions answered first by Illyana. "Why are you willing to help us now"?

 

Illyana glanced at Kitty. "Because Kitty asked me to".

 

"And that's all it took"? asked a rather doubtful Jean.

 

"Yes".

 

"Why"?

 

"That's... between Kitty and I. It's personal. Suffice it to say that I am attempting to make amends".

 

"For what?" asked Bobby.

 

Kitty injected "It's personal Bobby, leave it be".

 

"Ok" Jean shifted topics. "You're willing to help us. But why didn't you ever try to force us to return to our own time? You said more then a few times that we should but you never acted upon it and you are one of the few people who could; assuming that it would have worked better then the time cube".

 

Illyana answered. "Because you didn't all want to return. And I have grown somewhat hesitant in forcing my own decisions upon others. My track record in that regard has left me... questioning my judgment when dealing with certain... matters. I had blind spots, now... now I wonder if I still do".

 

"The kids at this school say a whole much of things about you, none of it good. Are they correct"?

 

"Yes in many ways. I... was not as I am now".

 

"What are you now"?

 

"Integrated with my soul".

 

It... sufficed. Best of a bad set of choices.

 

END FLASHBACK

 

"So just who is this new lieutenant?" asked Boom-Boom.

 

Illyana looked over to Karma who had the good graces to look embarrassed for Boom-Boom.  Karma answered.

 

"That would be me now Boom-Boom so can the attitude before you make yourself look even worse. Jesus, just how many triple espressos did you have this morning? I know the coffee is good but try decaf next time".

Chapter Text

Rather disliked how Marvel depowered her and de-Valkyrie her. Rather a waste of a good character but I can only suppose she's not much of a fan favorite as she keeps getting tossed (ahh how fickle is fame). I believe that Danielle was really the only true friend that Illyana had on the New Mutants team, most were just teammates and most felt very guilty after Illyana erased (let's be honest here killed) herself.

 

As such I really think that Illyana would eventually try to deal with Danielle and the trauma that Illyana left in her wake. Oh, this chapter is a tie in on Cats cradle chapter 15. All of my writing is interconnected so I don't really make minor comments that don't have a back-story (which does not necessarily mean I ever get around to writing that back-story) but I did this time.  

 

Likely everything I write in this chapter will get recon'd out of existence by Marvel as we learn about the missing eight months, but what the heck, Dani deserves it.

 

 

Part 4: Mirages

 

Dani surveyed at the crowd in the coffee house from behind the coffee counter where she was currently a barista (she was working part time at the Coffee Bean and Tee Leaf in San Francisco at Embarcadero Center). The pay was marginal but the shared tips were good and the management wasn't a bunch of jerks so it was an adequate temporary gig while Dani pondered what the hell to do. There was a lull in the bustle, nobody was in line and there were no current orders to work off.

 

The New Mutants had broken up awhile ago, everybody had gone their separate ways so now it was just Dani. Again. Not an unusual state of affairs for her but... rather annoying and mildly depressing.

 

"Crap" Dani grumbled to herself. "Shield and the Avengers hire non super powered folks all the time. They ever have multiple archery based members and I can handle a bow just as good as they can. I should apply, can't believe they haven't already tried to head hunt me. Rouge would put in a good word for me if I asked. I should...".

 

But that would mean actually working for Shield or the Avengers and those organizations were not high on her list of places she wanted to be; and truth be told they would likely not have her. But it's easier on the ego to do the rejecting then to be rejected.

 

The store had the radio on as back ground noise and tuned to the classic rock station that the manager liked. Currently Secure Yourself by the Indigo Girls was playing which was rather odd as it was certainly not a classic rock song.

 

In the ink of an eye I saw you bleed;

Through the thunder I could hear you scream,

Solid to the air I breath,

Open-eyed and fast asleep.

Falling softly as the rain;

No footsteps ringing in your ears.

Ragged down worn to the skin,

Warrior raging, have no fear.

 

Secure yourself to heaven.

Hold on tight, the night has come.

Fasten up your earthly burdens,

You have just begun.

...

...

 

Right at the lyric (the night has come) was when she saw it. The blond who'd come in with the chop sticks in her hair, who had ordered the Russian black tee, she... morphed. No longer was there a rather non descript blond female sitting in the booth, instead it was her, Magik; and she was wearing a black field costume; the one that Dani had seen her wearing in the news. A very tight and revealing black field costume.

 

"Crap" Dani again grumbled. "I so hope this isn't some prelude to a battle. I need this job".

 

Illyana caught Dani's eye and gestured to the chair opposite her while having an inquiring expression. Dani was about to shake her head no when her supervisor came over and told her that it was time for her lunch break.

 

Dani was about to protest that she had just gotten back from her lunch break an hour ago when she paused. Ok, go with it. Some minor trick of Illyana's. Get this over with as quick as possible.

 

Dani exited the employee only area behind the counter and walked over to where Illyana was sipping her tea.

 

"Illyana..." said Dani with a cold tone and and expression.

 

"D" replied Illyana with a neutral tone. "If you don't mind, would you please sit with me for a few moments"?

 

Dani hesitated, then sat down opposite Illyana. She again looked around the room. Nobody appeared to notice Illyana.

 

"Concealment spell, lifted it for you" Illyana stated upon seeing Dani's fugitive looks at the room.

 

"Why are you here Illyana? Did you finally escape that cell Scott must be keeping you in when you're not on the news"?

 

Illyana blew a bit on the tea (it was hot). "No, haven't been in that cell or any cell since the whole Phoenix five mess. Rather... nice".

 

"Are you on the run? If so the answers no". Illyana looked slightly annoyed at the comment.

 

"No Dani I'm not on the run. I just... wanted to talk to you".

 

"Fine. Talk. Since when did you start dressing Emma style"?

 

Illyana fidgeted and looked around the coffee house suddenly not meeting Dani's eyes. Illyana never fidgets was a thought that crossed Dani's mind.

 

"I... decided a change was due. Time to move on from the old costume. Into something more... me I guess".

 

Some biting and snarky comments came to mind, but Dani shoved them away. That would involve talking and Dani so did not want to talk to Illyana. Those bridges were burned and Illyana had done the burning; and then had called in the air strikes just to maximize collateral damage. Dani had tried long and hard to connect with Illyana, long after every body else had given up, but in the end she'd given up as well.

 

"Just say what you came her to say Illyana so we can both move on". Was Dani's brief and angry comment.

 

Illyana stopped fidgeting, looked into Dani's eyes and said two words.

 

"I'm sorry".

 

Great, so too late for that thought Dani.

 

"Bit late for sorry don't you think"?

 

"Yea.... I know. But needed to be said".

 

"So why now? You left us to die Illyana, it's partially just luck we didn't! You made it quite clear that you'd do it all over again if given the choice".

 

"Yea... not happy about that either".

 

"So why now"? Dani said. Damn it, this is turning into talking.

 

Sigh. "Emma had me make a list of things I want... well want. Then she made me make a list of actions for each item. You're on the list".

 

Dani rubbed her eyes in irritation. "Oh God, this is a twelve step thing isn't it? What? You try to make amends now? Set things right? Illyana, you'd have to move hell itself to set things right between us. Gee, you've been out and about for some time so I guess I must be the last thing on the list. One more chore and then Hell Girl is free to feel good about herself again".

 

Illyana signed again. "The list is in no particular order and I'm... rather slow at dealing with it because... because of a lot of reasons".

 

"Why? Too much of a bother"?

 

"No Dani, because... I don't really know what to do most of the time when the list is involved. It's... hard. I don't... trust my judgment anymore when dealing with certain things. I... I... I fucked up a whole bunch".

 

"Ain't that the truth. Care to share this supposed list"?

 

Illyana looked at Dani for a moment, then her right hand went beneath the table to her shorts and returned with a list on a piece of five inch by seven inch note paper. The thought "where on earth does she keep stuff as there is no way that getup has any pockets" flicked in Dani's mind, then she remembered what Illyana was capable of. Illyana offered the list to Dani.

 

Dani took it and quickly scanned the list. The bottom six lines were blurry and could not be read. Four lines could be read, the top two of the lines were crossed out. The next two were not.

 

Piotr

Kitty

Dani

Mirage

<unreadable>

<unreadable>

<unreadable>

<unreadable>

<unreadable>

<unreadable>

 

"Why am I on this list twice?" was Dani's question. Damn it, still talking, got to stop talking and just let her say her piece and get out.

 

"The list is... complicated. Partially a list of sins and wrongs, partially a list of... wants. You happened to be the only one who fell into both categories".

 

"Oh God, this isn't about..." Dani changed what she was about to say "um...".

 

"No Dani, your name is on the list because of the harm I did to you. As I said, I'm sorry. I... miss our friendship. I don't... make friends easily and I always thought of you as one of the few I had" Illyana replied.

 

Dani was silent for a few seconds in thought. Then she resumed her former anger.

 

"Way way too late sister".  

 

Illyana sounded sad and earnest as she replied. "Dani I won't try to justify what I did. It... I couldn't see anymore, I couldn't feel anymore. I... I took the wrong path to get what I... craved. I was blind to other possible solution".

 

Dani metaphorically chewed on that for a second.

 

"Why now? It's been a long time. You had plenty of opportunities and did nothing".

 

"I... I was still as you had known me. Damaged and rather crazy. Unable to see the world correctly or feel... correctly. Then the Dormmanu, ruler of the dark dimensions, another hell lord as it were, made a play for Limbo. Captured all of us, Scott, Emma, Erik, and our students. He bound me and made me watch while he tried to killed them... I... had just regained the ability to feel again because... Well he had tried to kill me a few hours before and... shards kind of succeeded in an odd way. He used all of his power, crushed me as it were, imploded everything that made me... me. Backfired on him. He ended up igniting me and in the conflagration all of me was merge together. I was finally whole. I ended up killing him in the end to save the others. But found myself, afraid and... ashamed".

 

Illyana continued.

 

"Think of it as forceful renovation of an old house as it were. Hell, I was a gutted wreck of a ruin. Now everything is... working... I think. Even the plumbing, which Dr. Strange thinks is a good thing but he's not the one who's buying tampons".

 

"Huh?" Said Dani with some confusion. Some conversations with Illyana always had one or more (huh) statements by the other side. Girl could be confusing.

 

"Menstruation. I'm... well that happens again".

 

"And it wasn't"? Dani forgot for a second that she was so not having a conversation with Illyana. The conversation had definitely swerved into an odd direction.

 

"No. I hadn't since I... died. We... Dr. Strange and I, think it was just another aspect of my self... rejection".

 

"Dr. Strange?" asked Dani with an inquiring tone. Ok, so maybe a little talking.

 

"I finally got help as it were. Asked for it. I'm... currently a part time appetence with a Dr. Strange from another timeline. Which really helps, but it's bad enough having Emma as your therapist, add Dr. Strange tot the mix and it's really hard to deny things about myself. He's... well we've been exploring just what I am".

 

Dani had been examining Illyana as she spoke. There was something different in her eyes. There... was a person looking back now. That ten thousand yard stare that Illyana had tended to have was gone. Now there was more then cool appraisal and examination, more then just a predator's eyes looking at the world. Dani thought and then decided to rejected Illyana's rather pathetic attempt at sorry.

 

"Well saying sorry just ain't going to cut it. Are we done"?

 

Illyana shook her head no. "Sorry is just a word Dani. It means nothing to me without actions. Which brings us to the second reason you're on the list, Mirage".

 

A gold coin rolled across the table and rattled in front of Dani. Dani picked it up. One side showed a winged horse, the other showed the Seal of Hela of Hel.

 

"What's is this Illyana?" Dani asked with a sudden lump in her throat.

 

"You".

 

"What you were".

 

"I can't restore your mutant abilities. But Hela and I had a... discussion about how she did not owe me anything when I assisted the rest of the New Mutants in going to Hel in your, and therefore her, aid. Via Hell as it turns out because Dougie can't pronunciate; language expert my ass. Hela owed me nothing at all, no Hell Lord to Hell Lord obligations. And I'd most certainly testify to that to any powers that be that actually enforce such rules between entities such as Hela and I. Such an obligation would mean that she was in my debt and Hell Lords hate that. Hela agreed that she owned me nothing and in our mutual congratulations over the nonexistent debt we decided to exchange gifts. I gave her a demon I'd captured, the one that had tried to posses Logan. Shit, you'd think that demons would know better then to come into my house and piss on the floor but no... most of them are dumb as bricks.; what do I got to do? Put up a sign? Anyway, Hela decided to give me that trinket while she stuffed the demon into a hole somewhere".

 

Ok, that was an odd description about a conversation and a debt that had not been owed.

 

"Why"? Dani asked. No longer rebuking herself for talking.

 

"Words mean nothing Dani. I'm... really sorry. It cost you... so sorry should cost me back. Plus... I miss the you that you were".

 

"How... what does it do"?

 

"If you want it to, it will restore you, not to your Valkyrie of Hel incarnation, but instead to your original Valkyrie level of powers. It's... open ended, no time limit. You'll still Hela's Valkyrie to call. But now... well now you... get to be a full time freelance Valkyrie again if you want".

 

Illyana eyed Illyana. There was no way Hela had just agreed to this, implied threat or no implied threat despite Illyana casual way of trying to avoid talking about what she'd done to get this token.

 

Well Dani was kind of right. Hell Lords will return each other's phone calls, but when a Hell Lord who has recently eaten all the power of her dimension comes knocking, one who has also recently slain the Dormmanu, well agreements can be reached. Especially when... well Illyana can be rather... persuasive. Proof that Hela is one of the smart ones. Plus Illyana brought girl scout cookies, the coconut ones; a very secret vice of Hela's.  

 

Shit.

 

Dani stared at the coin in her hand and thought about many things. How she'd become a Valkyrie, the adventures she and the New Mutants had had. A question popped to the top of Dani's mind, a question she'd been mulling over for a long time. She decided to ask Illyana about it.

 

"Did you ever wonder why the Enchantress, Amora I believe, never tried to get even with us"? Mused Dani.

 

"No". Illyana replied with a flat tone and the warmth in her eyes vanished as a sour expression suddenly bloomed on her face.

 

"No"?

 

"No. No reason to wonder. I knew".

 

"What... do you know Illyana"? Dani had a bad feeling.

 

"After you guys freed me from her. Well, I was... in a real bad way but didn't look it. My dark side had been running rampant all over Asgard and after I was merged back together I wasn't really... able to... make good choices for awhile. Too much anger, hate, rage... blood lust. That part of me, I'm very ashamed to say, had been having a blast of a time; and Amora didn't know that the bindings she had laid upon that aspect of me had already failed. Amora was actually next on her list when Karma possessed my dark self".

 

"I'd... just set all of you back to Asgard and she started... to threaten me, that she was going to get free and do it all over again. Hurt me again. I... lost it. Completely. Did unto her what she'd done unto to me, but with a rather large extra helping of payback the size of Montana. You... you don't really want to know what I did to her Dani. Suffice it to say that Amora will... hell can never ever try... anything. I... I really lost it".

 

"Um... enchantment"? Was Dani's hopeful question. Funny, Dani wasn't angry anymore.

 

Illyana just looked at Dani. After a few seconds to give Dani the chance to not know, Illyana continued.

 

"I bound her on her version of wall and cut the flesh from her body. It took a long time as I decided to take my time and enjoy it. There... wasn't much left of her by the time I was done. She'd gone insane before I was even half way through. It... was bad. As I said I lost it. Gave in the darkness that gnaws at me. By the end she was mostly just bones, my magic was the only thing keeping her alive. I was... horrified at what I'd done. She was a god so I was able to invoke healing for her, it's mortals that I still can't help. But I bound the horror of what I'd done to her. Bound it so deep that even Odin can't get it out. That door opens within her if she even thinks about it so... no, she's never ever going to do something about it. I... I was distant for a long time after that. In shock at was I was capable of. Not... not proud of that".

 

Dani just looked at Illyana. She remembered what Illyana had looked like, had caught a brief glimpse just as she was merged back with her dark self which resulted in her being healed. She'd been emaciated, filthy, and was bleeding from countless festering sores; and she's stunk of the open sewer. She should have been dead but the enchantments had kept her alive. All the wounds affected upon her darker self had actually been reflected upon her, including the arrows from Dani.

 

Asgard had not been a fun time for Illyana.

 

"Shit Illyana that's...".

 

"Evil" finished Illyana. "I know. Not proud. There was a reason I kept my secrets back then".

 

"So why tell me now"?

 

"Because... maybe if I'd trusted me friends to help me I wouldn't have killed myself. You I should have trusted to help me. You... would have understood, the other New Mutants wouldn't have, but you would have comprehended what... I have to deal with. You weren't really mortal any more at that point, although on a much lesser scale. I... kept too many secrets that in the end all came out anyway".

 

Dani was really uncomfortable now and decided to change the subject back to the coin.

 

"What's the catch"?

 

"None, I... debugged it of the prior problem you had so no issues there. You also get the option to renounce it if you want but then it's over as Hela won't do this again".

 

Dani briefly closed her eyes. "Don't want that problem again."

 

"Was I really that disgusting to you?" Illyana asked out of the blue.

 

Dani opened her eyes again. Illyana had a look of... of something.

 

"I..." Dani didn't know what to say.

 

"I figured it out. Took years, as I said I'm slow on some things, mostly emotional things. But I figured out why you asked me to go hunting that day and that you'd... planned it".

 

Dani grimaced. "No you weren't... disgusting. You were the best choice. I... I could trust you to keep it secret and... and you'd know... what to do. I didn't know... what to do to make it go away without...".

 

"Wrecking everything, Yea, I good at wrecking, trying to change that" Illyana finished. They were both silent.

 

Illyana polished off her tea while Dani pondered.

 

"Dani you pick better then me, always have. Don't worry about losing the coin, you can't. And it can't be used by another. And if somebody tries to take it... well..." Illyana grinned that rather scary grin of hers. "That will be fun to watch, so don't like thieves. To activate it just... want it. That's all".

 

Illyana got up to go. "Oh, Karma told me to say hi. I guess I really need to work harder on my mind shields, she saw that I was going to try to see you today; apparently leaked though yesterday when I got back from Hel. And... she wants to hire you as her team leader and head of security if you're interested".

 

"What's Karma up to?" asked Dani as she continued to stare the coin in her hand.

 

"Working for me".

 

Dani's eyes widened in surprise.

 

"As I said Chief, I'm... sorry. I'm trying real hard to do the right things from now on but... Having been insane for so long I'm no longer confident that I'm... ok now. Blind spots. I need... I need friends Dani, and you never been too afraid to punch me or call me out on being a bitch. That's good for me to have. I'll let Karma explain and show you what we're doing if you're interested. You phone will have the number".

 

Illyana started walking to the front door, stopped and then said in parting without turning around.

 

"I really do miss those hunts. I... liked it a lot". Then she was gone.

 

Dani kept staring at the coin. Would she or wouldn't she? She mused upon her earlier words (you've have move hell itself, well in this case Hel). and then gave a sligly crazy giggle. Well... Ahhh who the hell was she kidding?

 

She suddenly gripped the coin. Fuck it. Enough of this dead end job.

 

She felt the coin fade away and a blaze of power fill her.

 

Maybe I'll give Karma a call tomorrow Dani thought. And I... kind of... miss those hunts as well.

Chapter Text

Part 5: Bony

 

It was a mid afternoon male drinking and bounding time at Avenger's tower. Steve (Captain America) Tony (Iron Man) Sam (Cannonball), Berto (Sunspot), Stephen (Dr. Strange), Clint (Hawkeye) and Spider Man (Peter but he still had his costume on, secret identity and all that), and Thor (Male Thor, not the female one). It was Nicks vs. Lakers and the beer was cold.

 

Thor was in his cups, heck most of them were. Spider man had already decided he'd be crashing in an empty bedroom, so not swinging home tonight. Hell, he'd end up on a windshield or go splat against some wall. Steve was feeling a good buzz and was the most sober of the bunch. Tony was quite tweaked.

 

The topic of boneability had been raised.

 

Just who is desirable and worthy of been shagged, and who wasn't. Female Avengers were off limits, but everybody else was fair game. It was kind of a round robin thing. Each guy, when it was their turn, would either propose a potential paramour, and the reasons why, or state a negative preference and again the reasons why.

 

Spider man had just gotten done stating a preference for Black Cat and that yea he had scored big time. Sam had commented that he thought that Spider man would have gone for Doc Oct instead (Sam and Spider man didn't really like each other).

 

Steve broke up the impending fight. "Hey hey hey, none of that now solders. Keep it between the lines. No insults. Your turn Thor".

 

Thor belched mightily and then wiped his mouth with the back of his right hand, his left was holding a very large goblet.

 

"The wench Magik would be my none choice. She is of foul disposition, skinny, and bony in the extreme".

 

Due to the quantity of alcohol consumed the group thought that Thor meant that he would bone her if given the chance, and that he had a thing for grumpy women as well.

 

They all sagely nodded their heads and as one proclaimed her quite bony. A definite good choice. Thor was somewhat perplexed, he was really into his cups, but with everybody agreeing with him he at first he didn't get that they felt she was on the bone list.

 

"Did you guys ever hit that?" asked Spider man, he directed his question at Sam and Berto. "I mean you went to school with her and then hooked back up for a while as adults. Any other hooking up"?  

 

Both Sam and Berto replied in the negative. Berto had been too freaked out by her back when they were in school together and as adults... well. Don't play with crazy is a good rule. But yea, both felt she was very... nice on the eyes. Sam was rather sure she was a screamer as well (yea they were that drunk, both of them ordinary would never talk about Magik that way. With Magik you never knew what might... happen).

 

"Her ass is a bit small, but she has nice chest and great legs, and that new getup of her's really shows the goodies". Opined Clint.

 

"I'd hit that" smirked Tony. Which was not much of a surprise. We're talking Tony Stark here. There's not much he wouldn't hit.

 

"She looks very athletic, likely good endurance for a marathon". Said Steve who always liked to try to keep even his dirty comments clean. But the meaning in the context of the conversation was quite obvious.

 

Thor finally got it into his besotted head that they thought she was bonable.

 

"No my battlefield companions. She is not desirous to Thor! Plus there is still the stain upon our honor. The wench did prank us most foul and vengeance should be ours. Now the white queen, that's a woman of opportunity. A chest to fill the hands with and bury you in bosomy goodness. Hips to grab onto and more then ample cushion for the pushin. Thor would hit that in an instant, hit it mightily, and spank that ass as well for her nefarious crimes, then hit it again". Thor belched forth another impressive emission.

 

"Hit it already" Leered Tony. "Hooked up a few times years ago way before she became an X-Men. And yea it was worth it. She's a three hole golf course and loves to travel around the world if you know what I mean. Let tell you about the time...".

 

"No Tony, the topic is still the wench Magik"! Shouted Thor while waving his goblet about, thereby spilling all of it on both himself and the group.

 

"Hey, say it, don't spray it" complained Clint.

 

"Sorry my friends. Umm, why is my cup empty? Well, time for a refill. As I was saying, she is bony as in bones, too thin and insufficient in the derriere department. Thor would likely poke a hole right through her if he were to deign to touch that, which he wouldn't. Plus that one strikes me as a lover of woman". Stated Thor with a careful wave of his goblet this time.

 

There, the L word had been mentioned. The ultimate put down, plus the ultimate challenge (after all every guy knows that it just takes the right guy).

 

"Maybe, but I do know for a fact that she's kind of into older men" said Berto with a smug expression.

 

"Really"? Said Tony, Clint, Stephen, Steve, and Thor all at the same time. The look of interest in Thor's eyes was completely at odds with his verbal statements.

 

"Yea, when she was with us she went on a road trip though various magical realms with some British TV automotive dude. Hell, I think you were briefly in it Thor, right at the end of the episode. Well, she and this Clarkson guy definitely hooked up. He had to easily be in his forties or fifties".

 

"Good to know" said Stephen as he whipped out a little black book and made some notes.

 

"Bobby, chill" whispered Sam who was finally coming to his senses. "Remember we're talking abut Illyana. She'll kill us if she ever finds out we blabbed. We've already said too much".

 

"I fear not this wench called Magik"! Thundered Thor, followed by yet another mighty belch. Spicy chicken wings and mead, a gassy combination.

 

"Thor desires not her tinny tight bony ass. She pranked us and we shall be avenged"!

 

"Count me out" Said both Sam and Berto at the same time.

 

"Why? Chicken? Scared of a girl? Brark, buk, buk, buk" Quipped Spider man while making chicken sounds. That Doc Oct statement has really pissed him off.

 

"No. Not stupid. Learned that in school. Never ever prank Illyana, it's never worth it. Girl gets downright vindictive". Stated Sam while shaking his head no.

 

"I'm with them on this one". Stated Stephen. "In limbo she handed me my ass and pranked me a bit. She's good, really good. Don't want to see what vindictive looks like".

 

"It's not like we know where she is anyway" said Clint with deep drunken sadness.

 

Berto held up his phone. "Just got a text from Kitty. Kitty and Magik are in town for a sale at Bloomindales. She wanted to know if Sam and I want to hook up for supper".

 

"Cowards! The lot of you! Who's with me! Avengers assemble! The wench deserves a spanking and a good pranking"! Shouted Thor. For someone who was not interested in her ass he sure kept talking about it a lot.

 

In the end it was Thor, Steve, Clint, Tony, and Spider man who sallied forth to avenge Avenger's honor.

 

After they departed Sam asked Berto why the hell he shared that piece of information.

 

"Don't like Spider douche, figured it was time for him to eat some words and we're talking Illyana here. Hell, even his spidey sense will only let him know just how screwed he is when it's too late".

 

Illyana's ass did not get spanked and yea, pranking her is really a bad idea, but... well that's another story.

Chapter Text

Part 6a: Boned

 

Sam and Roberto (known as Bobby to Sam) were at Gallaghers Steakhouse on 52nd Street New York. A good traditional steakhouse. Bobby had texted that he and Sam would love to meat up (ha ha) for supper and Kitty texted back for the guys to pick a place, Kitty and Illyana's treat. Sam had suggested Gallaghers and it had been agreed up, again all by text. The girls would meat them (again a ha ha) at 7:30pm.

 

One little bonus with Illyana was that you always got seated when you wanted. Sam wasn't sure if it was the Hell Lord thing or if Illyana just went back in time to make reservations. Either way Illyana always had a good table.

 

The Nicks vs. Lakers game had been great in the second half, double over time and had been a squeaker in the end for the Nicks. The boys has stopped drinking because they wanted to be presentable for supper. However, they had rather forgotten that several of their drunken male Avenger's had gone out to prank and/or spank Illyana, they really didn't think it was going to happen. I mean... Illyana... just so not going to be... healthy.

 

They'd watched the game, freshened up, shoot some pool, and then Sam had rocked them to the restaurant right on time, 7:20pm. They went in and were promptly seated at a table for four. Berto texted Kitty at 7:40 that they were there and at a table. Kitty texted back that there had been some difficulties and that they were running a bit late.

 

Difficulties.

 

The drunken bonability discussion resurfaced in their minds.

 

"Bobby do you think that..." Sam left the sentence hanging. Both of them had rather thought that common sense would have prevented their drunken teammates from actually doing anything.

 

"I don't know?" replied Roberto. "I'll check the news on my phone".

 

Roberto brought up the local news feed on his phone. He went a bit pale. He showed he phone to Sam.

 

Lead story. Big brew ha at Bloomindales. The special one day only Saturday sale at Bloomindales was interrupted today by the Avengers. They were attempting to apprehend a super villainous but things apparently went awry. Nobody is quite sure what actually want on and the authorities aren't talking. But we do have an anonymous YouTube video that was posted from within the store during the event.

 

The video showed various women standing around. Capt America was waving his arms about and Thor was shouting and pointing with his hammer. Pointing at Illyana...

 

"Oh crap Bobby" groaned Sam upon seeing the video.  

 

Roberto shared Sam's concerns but tried to down play it. "Chill, we need to play it cool dude. They'll never know it was us. We weren't there, we were watching the Nicks. We had no idea that...".

 

“Bobby, her ass is on the evening news. Her naked ass!”

 

“We’re cool, we’re cool. We had nothing to do with it. We’re in the clear on this. It's not our fault”!

 

“Boobs Bobby! Boobage! Naked boobs! Bobby... I think she’s actually killed people for less”.

 

Roberto was trying to be calm but Sam had a really good point. Roberto's tone was stressed and there was panic was in his eyes.

 

“Naaa she hasn’t”.

 

“Remember that dude, what was his name? Damn, I can’t recall. Remember what he did and what she did to him”.

 

Bobby thought upon that for a moment. “Shit, maybe… your right. Let’s go. Maybe if we claim that we got paged or...”.

 

“Too late. Kitty and Illyana just walked in the room and they see us”. Whispered Sam.

 

“How… how does she look?” Roberto hesitantly inquired. His back was to the entrance and he so did not want to turn around.

 

“Death’s come for us Bobby, and it’s gona hurt” was all Sam said. His expression and tone said it all.

 

 

Part 6b: Some time earlier

 

It was a good sale. One of those everything is 10% off, but if you buy three of a kind then take an extra 12% off. Plus if you buy one or more items from three or more departments you get an extra 7% off and a free gift. And store brand makeup was also buy two and get a third for free. Plus if you sign up for the email alerts you can take an extra 20% off the item of your choice. And if you open a store charge account you get… Well you had to be a math whiz to keep it all straight.

 

Kitty was a math whiz and she was in a shopping equation based frenzy (she'd set up a spreadsheet on her cell phone so she could examine various the shopping alternatives at the same time to asses the benefits). Illyana could barely keep up with teleporting all the bags back to the secret X-Lair (the current nick name from ice boy Bobby).

 

Kitty and Illyana were in the undergarments section, the special undergarments section. The one the female super heroes and villains frequented. Bloomindales had an exclusive contract with Frost industries, the only licensed maker of unstable molecules based panties and bras (Emma is a ruthless business woman and knows a high margin market when she sees one).

 

At times Emma liked to boast "Every super hero is wearing my underwear" which in some cases was actually true at several levels, but Scott would never admit to it. Now there was still the nasty rumor that Emma tried on all the panties before they were shipped just to make sure that she could claim that everybody wore her used panties, but that is so was not true. Emma would never do such a thing. Right?

 

These suckers were expense. Think silk and then add on a zero or two or three to the price tag. Flame proof, water resistant, acid repelling, ultra stretch, and guaranteed to resist dragon blood. No need to use the delicate cycle when washing these suckers. Hell, some were actually bullet proof and cleaning instructions mentioned that flame throwers or oven baking were ok for these really difficult stains (no, you so don't want to know, icky!). The market was small, but oh if you needed it you would pay and there was only one source.

 

Well… they were on SALE! They were NEVER on sale! The department looked like a bomb had gone off and heroines were actually fighting over panties and bras (Umm, not like actually fighting, more of a determined tug of war kind of thing which left the She-Hulk the winner most of the time).

 

There were all kinds of under garments. Plain, fancy, naughty, funny, oddly shapped (i.e. leaving room for a tail, hell even squirrel girl wore those panties). And in all colors. They even had a brand name. Frosties. And a slogan. Never go anywhere without your Frosties! More then a few female super heroes wanted to be paid endorsers, but these babies sold themselves so no deal (sharing had never been high on Emma's list of things to do).

 

Heck, you even got a free pair in the mail when you first manifested an alternative superhero identity (Emma knew the power of a free sample). Rather a coming of age ritual for many young super heroines. Their first pair of Frosties! Some wore them, some kept them as memento, a few actually framed them. All became customers.

 

The department was packed and there were long lines for the changing room.

 

The Back Widow and the Scarlet Witch had gotten into a cat fight over some lacy and very risqué red panties (Mine! No Mine! Mine! Hands off! I saw them first! They match my outfit. No they don't, you wear black! I so don't care, mine! Hands off skank! Slut! Am not! You so are!).

 

Kitty picked up an assortment of panties, plus a naughty joke panties to give Illyana on her next birthday (Abandon hope all who enter here), and some nightgowns to wow Peter Quill with.

 

The She Hulk was besides her self with glee, she so went though cloths. And she was a big girl (when she transformed), plus the stretch feature was very important to her as gamma transformation wedgies were so not fun.

 

Megan (Pixie) picked up six more Hello Kitty panties. They were in the remainder bin, three for the price of one! Hello Kitty had been very populate with the Avengers Academy and Jean Grey school for a while, but fashion trends had changed (Not that that mattered to Megon, Megan loved Hello Kitty).

 

Laura (X-23) had picked up a few lacy panties (for the first time, she'd always been a plain panty girl before). And a few nightgowns and teddies in the lingerie department (Angel had given her a gift card with a REALY large amount, but let's be honest folks, Angel was gong to be the happier one here). Laura wasn't sure about it but Kitty and Illyana had talked her into it.

 

Sue Richards was rather peeved in that why on earth didn't she get free samples? (Because Reed is a rotten negotiator and Emma is ruthless). Sue had gotten some lacy white panties, plus two pair of crotchless ones, something to spice things up. Hey Richard might be a nerd but his nickname Mr. Fantastic was no joke. Man was hung when he wanted to be and he read all kinds of books. Sue may have a boring reputation but she could get really freaky sometimes in the bedroom and Mr. Fantastic could always deliver.

 

Elizabeth Braddock (Psylocke) was there with an arm full of panties and bras. Now I know what you're thinking. No way does Psylocke wear any panties, G-string or otherwise, on that purple Ninja costume of her's. Well... you're right, the most important think Betty needs to do is shave her privates for that costume. The White Queen of all people had called her out on it once (your showing dear) while giving her a razor. No, many woman wore Frosties in civilian life as well. You just never knew when there would be some explosion and your clothing is shredded but for some reason your panties and bra survived (Hey it's the only reason that makes sense if you examine many a comic).

 

Cuckoos were there buying matching panties and bras. Sometime that whole triplets thing gets creepy (Illyana had brought them to the store).

 

Jean Paul Beaudier (Northstar) had been there briefly. He was picking up some for his sister or so he said. That was his story and he was sticking to it.

 

Ororo (Storm) was filling a bag with her selection. Not all of her costumes allowed for under garments, but more then a few did and Ororo was a big believer in always having her Frosties despite the amount of grief she got from Emma.

 

Tigra (Greer Grant Nelson, she was a tiger girl) was there. Now ordinarily she was only wore her itty bitty tiny tinny not pokadoted black bikini, but it was a sale and sometimes she dressed formal.

 

Jubilation Lee was there, but mostly just being annoying. She came with Angelica Jones (Firestar) as Angelica needed to stock up on fire proof undergarments.

 

Female villains were then as well, but this was Bloomindales. Treaty zone. Off limits. No fighting! The Woman of power treaty of 2007 had firmly laid out the rules. And like a UN treaty it was enforced on all once a sufficient number of woman had signed (it had only taken three hours to get a sufficient number of signatories, an all time record).

 

Hela of Hel still pretended that the treaty didn't exits or apply to her, but she still knew better then to mess with Bloomingdales. Some things were just off limits.

 

The Enchantress (Amora) was there, turns out she's mostly a white panty gal. The dragon blood guaranties really mattered to her.

 

Lorelei (Enchantress' sister) Was there as well, she was quite the... well skank and some the creatures she slept with really pushed the panties stain resistance abilities to the max.

 

Mystique (Raven Darkhölme) was there, but in disguise (Hey we're talking a sale on Frosties here).

 

So on and so forth. It was your basic who's who.

 

It was even a cross over event as DC female characters were there shopping up a storm (they so rarely got access to the Marvel universe and Marvel just had better underwear).

 

Illyana and Black Widow had exchanged glares but the treaty held, the treaty had always held. The sanctions were... extreme and the worst sanction of all was banishment. And banishment included online purchases. Nobody wanted to get their bras and panties on the underground market, no telling where those suckers had been.

 

Illyana was waiting for Kitty to get done, she was just past the cashiers, when the a window burst in and the Avengers stormed the store.

 

 

Part 6c: Steak house

 

Kitty and Illyana walked up to the table, they were both dressed in civilian cloths. Kitty was wearing simple flowery dress,Illyana was in jeans and a sweater. Kitty look grim and concerned. Illyana had red eyes. Red in that she'd been crying, not red as in glowing. Which if you think about it, in that you the reader thought her eyes were glowing red, really explains why Sam and Roberto were so not going to ever prank Illyana.

 

The guys looked aghast. Which turned out to be the correct expression. Kitty spoke while Illyana threw herself into a chair, put her arms down on the table, and hid her head.

 

"I take it then you've seen the news".

 

"Umm... yea we did. Just saw it actually. We're so sorry Illyana" said Sam, and he really meant it.

 

Illyana mumbled a half heard thanks from beneath her arms.

 

The waiter wandered over and began the usual restaurant greetings, dropped off a loaf of really good sour bread rolls with a large pat butter while asking if they wished something from the bar. Illyana's head came up.

 

"Vodka... Bottle... Unopened". Then she put her head back down.

 

The waiter was about to explain that the restaurant only sold by the drink, but... he got a vib that that would be bad. Very bad. He went with his gut, which was a very health choice for him and resulted in a really good tip at the end of the night. Kitty ordered a diet Coke, Roberto got a regular Coke and Sam went for a Budweiser.

 

Sam and Roberto raised their eyebrows in a silent question. Kitty shook her head. It was bad. Really bad.

 

Sam and Roberto frantically tried to think of something to say. They were still silent when the waiter returned with the drinks. He had also brought a glass for the Vodka.

 

After he left Illyana sat up again, opened the bottle, poured three fingers of vodka into the glass, then paused. She looked at the bottle, then gave kind of half hearted shrug, and proceeded to raise the bottle to her lips and chug half the contents in one long go. Then she put her head back down on the table.

 

Sam and Roberto were horrified. Kitty looked resigned.

 

"That can't be healthy or safe" whispered Roberto to Kitty.

 

Kitty gave a helpless shrug. "It's her third bottle. She can... well she is Russian and a hell lord so... well I'm not sure if she's even drunk yet". Illyana was, it just didn't show (Hell Lord here)

 

Illyana sat back up, grabbed some bread, smeared a massive amount of butter on it and then quickly ate it. She took another big swig from the bottle, and again hid her head.

 

There wasn't much anybody could do at this moment so the three of them examined the menu.

 

Ten minutes later the waiter came back to take their orders.

 

Kitty ordered the petite Filet with the roasted vegetable medley.

 

Sam went for a cowboy rib-eye with the jumbo baked potato. He also ordered blackened shrimp with cheese grits appetizer and buttermilk breaded onion rings as well (for the group. Illyana loved onion rings).

 

Roberto went with the New York strip steak with four cheese macaroni side.

 

Illyanas head came back up. She briefly glanced at the menu.

 

"Bones. I want something with bones in it. Lot's of bones and meat so I can dismember it and tear the flesh".

 

After some helpful hints from the waiter she settled on the rack of lamb (rare) with Yukon gold potato purée and an order of Alaska king crab legs (she wanted some legs to break). And another bottle as she finished off the first bottle while she looked over the menu.

 

With that she put her head back down on the table.

 

"Can't... can't we erase the footage or something?" Asked Sam.

 

Kitty replied. "It's too late. By the time we realized that the footage had been shot and posted to the internet it was everywhere. Illyana still wanted to try, but I talked her out of it".

 

"Why" asked Roberto.

 

"Because automotive repair does not involve a wrecking machine. I don't think the Internet would work anymore after Illyana got done with purging all traces of the video".

 

"I still think it's worth giving it try" mumbled Illyana. "Who needs the stupid Internet anyway. I mean... just how many cute cat videos do you need to see? I'm sure you, and the other nerds could rebuild it in oh... a few weeks... months.... years? I don't know. Just a stupid place to post photo and videos of peoples asses". Illyana took a sip from the glass (She hadn't opened the new bottle yet).

 

"What... what happened to the guys?" Sam asked, hoping that they had not been disintegrated.

 

At that moment the appetizers arrived. Illyana eyed the onion rings with one open eye, then sat back up and grabbed a bunch to put on her plate. She munched one while replying to Sam's question.

 

"I stuck them in... a holding place. Where Limbo used to be. I wasn't sure what to do but now... Now I'm trying to figure out how they should die. Slow dismembered sounds nice".  

 

Kitty injected "She's been like this ever since we saw the news reports. We were at Starbucks in Time's square when... the news was shown on those really big TVs that they have there. Illyana then walked right into a bar and got... well lubricated".

 

"Drunk" Illyana helpfully suggested. "Drunk off my skinny bony ass". She sobbed once, ate some more onion rings, one shrimp, and put her head back down on the table.

 

"What on earth motivated your idiot buddies to do such a thing?" Kitty fumed.

 

Sam and Roberto exchanged glances.

 

 

Part 6d: Bloomingdales

 

Several Avengers burst through a window, they were Thor, Spider Man, and Iron Man. Thor landed and a flash of lightning flickered about the place. Spider man swung in on one of his webs and Iron man followed behind Thor. Hawkeye and Capt America came charging up the escalader and arrived at the same time as the others came though the windows. Hawkeye had his cell phone in his hand videoing the whole thing.

 

"Freeze Magik! You're being detained!" Shouted Captain America.

 

Magik froze in shock. Ordinarily she'd have reacted in some way, either teleport, or summon her soul sword, or casting a spell. But... this was Bloomingdales, a treaty zone as Kitty had strongly emphasized to her (Illyana was not a signatory on the treaty). Such things were forbidden. While she struggled with what to do she was knocked off of her feet by Captain America's thrown shield.

 

Just as she struggled to her feet Spider-Man swung by and nailed Magik with his webbing. He landed, braced, and whipped the webbing to fling Magik into the pillow department while quipping "Time for a soft landing"!

 

Well… that’s what he tried to do.

 

This happened just as Iron Man fired a repulsor ray blast the would have flung Magik in the opposite direction. But there were complications.

 

Magic had magically anchored her feet to the ground and the webbing was attached only to her costume. Between the pull of the webs and the blast of the repulser ray some stitching gave way. Something got flung into the pillow department, but Magik stayed right were she was.

 

Almost everybody froze.

 

Illyana had a look of utter mortification. One of the darkest secrets of the universe was revealed. She was...

 

Commando!

Illyana was commando!

Top and bottom!

 

And she had a little purple dragon tattoo on her left butt cheek.

 

Thor, being the considerate gentleman that he was, pointed at Magik with Mjolnir and proclaimed loudly for one and all to hear.

 

“See! See! For sooth! That is one scrawny and bony mutant ass. Tight and bony. It would be a cold day in Hel before Thor would hit that! Perchance if He consumed a swimming pool of Ale Thor might, just might, be willing to consent to spank it most soundly”!

 

Not everybody quite heard the same thing. Some woman distinctly heard Thor shouting that Illyana's ass was bony (but in a sex way) and that Thor wanted to... well spank it, or self pleasure himself while looking at it, or both. Other's were horrified to have such an insult spoken out loud. Everybody, apart from the male Avengers were terrified at what had just happened. Ultimate public mortification.

 

Hawkeye hit the post video button on his phone and then thought about what he'd just done (Did I Err)?

 

Capt America got a bad feeling as his shield vanished in a teleportation disk.

 

Suddenly Spider-Man’s spidey sense went off the scale.

 

Iron Man's sensors detected a power surge and a complete COMMs dropout.

 

Thor belched. Yea, he was still gassy.

 

And all the women fled in their own way.

 

Girls talk and Illyana was known by all on the gossip circuit. This was a code red situation. It even had a specific code phrase that all heroic women used to describe the severity of the anticipated female reaction (Phoenix on the rag!). A phrase that annoyed Rachael and Jean to no end but really summed it up well. They both felt it was sexist but were rather stymied in that complaint as only women ever used the phrase.

 

In short, a Phoenix on the rag moment was where a woman was going to go massively berserk for complete female reasons and you did not want to be there.

 

Sue Richards went invisible and raised an invisible shield in anticipation of something really BAD happening.

 

Kitty phased and dropped down to the next floor.

 

Scarlet Witch hex’d herself gone. No no, this is not going to be good.

 

She Hulk leap out the broken window that Thor had created when he came in. Better a three story fall then whatever Illyana was going to do.

 

Black Widow hid in a dressing room. She was really embarrassed about that afterwards.

 

Wasp shrank and flew away.

 

Laura used her claws to cut her way out the back of a changing room so she could flee. Ordinarily she would stand or fall with a teammate, but not this time. Best to not see or be a part of this as then she and Illyana could pretend nothing had ever happened.

 

Elizabeth (Psylocke) manifested her psychic knife, the focused totality of her psychic powers (As she always just had to tell everybody every single freaking time she did it), wished that she could still teleport using shadows, and in the end just ran; but in a sneaky ninja kind of running away method.

 

Storm summoned a wind, which filled the air with panties and bras, and flew to the other side of the building.

 

Pixie hid behind the over size bra bin, which was a rather large component of the inventory; we are talking female comic book characters after all. But she peeked over the bin's rim to watch. There was no way she was going to miss this.

 

Illyana was still frozen in mortification, then she finally comprehended Thor's thundering proclamation that she had a bony ass that he wanted to spank (she didn't quite catch everything Thor had said).

 

Her hands clenched in fists of rage. Power erupted from the very fabric of existence and her expression shifted from mortification to utter outrage. Horns grew upon her head, a devils tail flashed into being, her eyes glowed red. A chainmail bikini came into existence and covered up her hereto exposited... lady bits.

 

Teleportation disks sprung into existence. Gone were Hawkeye, Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor. Only Spider-Man at first avoided the disks. He swung through the air being pursued by teleportation disks only to meet a disk coming the other way.

 

The Hulk at that moment choose to arrive on the scene (he had heard of the planned pranking) by leaping through the window proclaimed loudly "Hulk here for spanking"! But upon seeing Magik's expression he tried a hasty retreat only to get zapped as well by a teleportation disk.

 

The battle was over. Kitty's head poked back through the floor as the remaining air born panties and bras settled to the ground.

 

 

Part 6e: Supper

 

The meal had finally arrived. Conversation had been rather stilted with Illyana mostly just hiding her head with her arms until the food arrived. She had yet to crack open the new bottle.

 

Illyana tore, and I do mean tore, into her meal. She'd stab and cut out a lamb rib and then tear the flesh off with her teeth. She also rather vindictively would break the crab legs in half and rip out the flesh.

 

Everybody eat in silence. Bobby and Sam felt really bad. Bad for Illyana, bad for themselves (we are so dead if she ever finds out), bad for the missing Avengers, and a bit less bad for Spider douche.

 

At the end of the meal Kitty again asked the question that had not been answered.

 

"You never answered. What on earth motivated them to do such a thing"?

 

Roberto gulped to himself and then went for it. It would either be a three point shot from the other end of the court, or a fail of epic, and possibly lethal, proportions.

 

"We were all watching the Nicks vs. Lakers. We'd all been drinking and were rather... drunk. The group got to talking about you Illyana. How you ranked on the... desirability index. Drunken guy chatter".

 

"Thor was of the opinion that you were not of interest, found you moody and I think he's rather into... well big butts. But everybody else, and I mean everybody which included Sam and I, thought you were totally... well you ranked high on the list of... um desirable. And no, nobody thought your ass was bony or scrawny other then Thor. Everybody... liked it... a whole lot, and your new costume as well. Then Thor got all cranky about how you'd pranked them and that they should prank you back. Sam, Dr. Strange, and I said no way. There were easier, and more fun, ways to commit suicide".

 

Illyana just looked at Roberto with a blank look. Sam's eyes had risen as Roberto had talked, and confessed, and now he looked like a little boy waiting to be told his punishment. Kitty looked... half way horrified and half way happy that they had confessed, a very odd expression.  

 

The moment lingered, then Illyana smiled and kissed Roberto on the cheek. "That's the nicest thing you've ever said to me".

 

Sam was relived, and a bit envious. Damn, sometimes Bobby just deserved his reputation as a panty whisperer. If Sam had tried to tell Illyana that story the restaurant would likely be in flames at this point.

 

Kitty's cell phone rang. She checked the caller ID and then decided to take the call. It was Ororo. Kitty said hi but then Ororo apparently did all the talking. After several minutes Kitty replied.

 

“Fine, I'll tell her. Illyana... Ororo thinks you should refrain from killing them”.

 

Illyana got a bit teary eyed. The alcohol was making her very melancholy and emotional.

 

“Why… why is she taking their side? What… what if it was her naked ass on the news?   Her… so called skinny bony mutant ass” Illyana plaintively asked.

 

Kitty relayed the question. Ororo’s answer was apparently quite short (course if it has been Ororo's ass on the news nobody would have called it skinny).

 

She’s not. She thinks they should suffer more. And if you just kill them then it’s over. Why not… humiliate them far worse and make them deal with it. She thinks death is too easy”.

 

Yea, it was a bit of bait the hook and hope Illyana could be distracted with a less lethal forms of revenge. Ororo didn't really think they should die, but leadership is about leading. And understanding how people think (in this case Illyana) and how to... motivate them.

 

Illyana opened her mouth to say something. Then shut it and cocked her head a bit at Kitty. She then looked thoughtful for a few moments. She ended up grabbed a piece of bread and sat back to listen.

 

“I think you have her attention Ororo” Kitty said with more then a little relief. “Any suggestions”? Kitty listened, then relayed Ororo's question.

 

“What would make you happy right now. Other then their death, dismemberment, and torture no matter how well deserved”?

 

Fate intervened while Illyana nibbled the piece of bread and pondered this deep concept (she was rather drunk). The dessert cart came by, the one restaurants show you to tempt you to indulge even more. There was bread pudding, cheese cake, berry pie, apple pie, and chocolate cake. Mmmm... chocolate.

 

“Chocolate... I want chocolate! Lots and lots of chocolate. And… their utter humiliation”.

 

Kitty replied. “So… why not do that instead? What would humiliate a bunch over testosterone'd douche bags”?

 

“Something that… that… threatened their sexual identity?” prompted Sam. Yea, he sold them out. Roberto nodded as well at the idea. Hey, they were currently in the clear with Illyana and they wanted to keep it that way.

 

Illyana was uncertain (and drunk). "But... everybody is looking at my ass, and my boobs. I mean... everybody". She put her head back down on the table.

 

Kitty quipped. "So give them something else to think about. Make your... exposure a flash in the pan, give the public a new obsession".

 

Illyana sat back up and got a gleam her eye, a drunken gleam, but she didn’t look maudlin anymore.

 

“Yea…I like that, make them feel it”

 

“Let’s make a list of demands and make them sign it” suggested Kitty. “Do it or you die screaming kind of thing”.

 

A slice of foot tall chocolate cake was ordered and much plotting commenced. A list of fiendish demands were crafted.

 

Sam and Roberto were so glad not to be on the list, and yet could claim to have helped save their vanished teammates. Win win for them, but rather a bummer for the vanished Avengers.  And... they could add a little extra for Spider douche.

 

 

Part 6f: Someplace very very dark and empty

 

"Well now where the hell am I?" grumbled Tony Stark to himself.

 

He was standing on a featureless mostly black and blank surface. The sky, if there was a sky, was black. Everything was black. It was only the faint light being emitted from his armor that provided any illumination at all. Tony could see roughly twenty five feet before the light just faded away (regardless of how much light he emitted). It was like the nature of wherever the heck he was consumed light.

 

Total COMMS blackout as well. Not data interfaces beyond his armor and the navigational system was clueless (kept thinking he was in New Jersey).

 

Tony had tried shouting but nothing was heard, not even an echo. The radar and sonar pings also faded away after twenty five feet so he had no idea of the actual physical dimensions of where he was. He picked a direction at random and started walking as flying was risky with no visibility.

 

After hours, or see it seemed, he had noticed that his armor's clock was frozen (yet another bad sign), he saw a flicker of light. Moments later Capt America stepped into his circle of light (Capt was holding a flashlight).

 

"Where the hell are we Tony?" asked Capt.

 

"I think hell might just describe it Steve" groused Tony. "I don't think we thought that one through on the potential outcomes".

 

"No shit Tony". Capt was in a mood, sober now, and very pissed. "When did it become the plan to strip Magik naked? Of all the women to do that to I think only the original Phoenix would make a worse choice. Hell, I'd strip Storm naked before Magik".

 

"Well duu Steve, we'd all strip Storm first. And this is NOT my fault" whined Tony. "If Spider Man hadn't..."

 

Spider-man walked into the circle "If I hadn't what?" he asked.

 

"Pulled her cloths off! That was not the plan"!

 

"I didn't pull her cloths off. You blasted her cloths off"!

 

Hawkeye walked into the circle before it degenerated into who pulled her cloths off argument and voiced his complaints.

 

"Am I glad to see you guys. Shit, count me out the next time you idiots get the bright idea to strip a F'ing demon of her cloths! And I though the Scarlet Witch was bitchy! Fuck! I only just get started on living again! We all know who going to die if somebody ends up biting it on this little fiasco! I'm always second fiddle. It's like I'm a Star Trek guest star wearing a red shirt or something. What the hell was I thinking"?

 

"Chill Hawkeye, this was not the plan" complained Capt again.

 

The hulk wandered into the circle of light, much to the surprise of the others. Tony asked a question. "Hulk, how did you get here"?

 

The Hulk answered while sheepishly scratching the back of his head. "Hulk heard of spanking but met angry bikini demon girl. Then Hulk end up here".

 

Spider-man quipped. "That sucks, at least the rest of us got to see..."

 

"That's enough solder, we don't need to quip about it" rebuked Capt America. Then he gently whispered "Don't talk about it, she... somebody might be listening. We're already in enough trouble".

 

"Anybody have any idea were we are"? Asked Spider-man.

 

Thor now wandered into the circle. "For sooth that could have gone better my boon companions. The wrench has caste us into the now empty space of her demised realm".

 

"Demised realm? You mean this is Limbo?" asked Spider-man.

 

"Yes oh web crawler. I had heard that she had sucked the power of her realm into her person leaving naught but a void in its place".

 

Spider-man felt a panic attack coming on. "And you just forgot to mention that little fact!? That's.... that's Galactus binge style. Oh man I should of listened to Dr. Strange on this one but I... crap I was still pissed about the beating her brother gave me and didn't think it through".

 

"She is but a sorceress wench and we should fear her not" proclaimed Thor, but his volume was less loud then when he'd been pointing out her ass to one and all. He was sober now, sober and concerned. He was thinking of just what Sif would do (Sif is Thor's on/off girl friend), his mother, or several other woman of power that he knew. Then he multiplied what they would do by an integer number and keep getting an answer that concerned him.

 

At that point a small table appeared in the center of the circle holding a single sheet of parchment.

 

Capt America picked up the paper and read it. It was a list of demands. A rather horrifying list.

 

Capt passed the list to the others to each silently read. Each had a look of horror or outrage.

 

Thor was the first to complain "This... this is excessive. She's mad! Yes we... over did it but her shame is not public. This is an affront on my honor and I'll have no part of it"!

 

Spider-man also voiced his displeasure. "Totally unfair! Thor yells to one and all about her ass and all he has to do that's unique is star in a video remake? While I... well I don't really get what she's implying about my fate".

 

Capt America had the list again and was studying it.

 

"Thor will not stand for such insults from a bony assed..."

 

"Damn it Thor! Pipe down on the ass comments!" Capt America suddenly shouted. "A new line just got added to the list the moment you said... what you said about her".

 

Capt showed the updated list. Everybody's eyebrows rose.

 

"That's... going to be hard to accomplish" said Hawkeye. "I mean I have a bow for crying out loud".

 

"For sooth I will refrain from... such pronouncements" Thor stated with an apologetic tone. "But such travails for but a monuments indiscretion is excessive".

 

Iron Man's communication systems suddenly reestablished a communications link (he got a dial tone).

 

"Hey, my phones live again. Hold on a second while I call Pepper".

 

The others could hear a faint phone ringing sound and then an (indiscernible statement).

 

"Pepper it's me". (indiscernible reply)

 

"I'm... not sure where I am. We kind of had a mix up and pissed off that Magik girl". (indiscernible reply)

 

"You know? Umm... not sure I want to know how you know". (indiscernible reply)

 

"We're all stuck here and there's a list that we apparently must all agree to or we die slowly and painfully". (indiscernible reply)

 

"There is some... disagreement as to the severity of the list's demands vs. the actual level of embarrassment and humiliation we caused her". (indiscernible reply)

 

"The first thing on the list is chocolate". (short indiscernible reply)

 

"The list just says and I quote (A sufficient quantity of chocolate to demonstrate proper male apologetic behavior. The really really good stuff, and by good we mean much better (and expensive) then Godiva. Failure on this means death and you only get one chance to decide how much chocolate). Yea, that's what's written on the note". (indiscernible reply)

 

"So assuming we agree to this rather excessive list of demands, how much chocolate should we get"? (indiscernible reply)

 

"What do you mean you don't know? A guess would help". (indiscernible reply)

 

"It's cold and dark and scary here Pepper and I'd really like to leave". (indiscernible reply)

 

"No I haven't seen the news, we've been rather out of touch" (long indiscernible reply)

 

"What video?" (very long indiscernible reply)

 

Hawkeye got a surprised guilty look and Capt started to get angry at Hawkeye.

 

Toney's tone went flat and emotionless. "Download it to me". (short indiscernible reply)

 

Tony apparently received a file, he used some kind of projection capability that was part of his armor to show the video to the others. It was not quite the news video that Sam and Roberto had seen. This was the TMZ (a rather infamous gossip show) version.

 

The cast of the show were all in their bullpen room. Will Lee (the host), started off.

 

Will Lee. "Magik. The mysterious X-Men or in this case X boobalicous Babe. Nobody knows anything about this gal and Paparazzis universally refuse to take her photo".

 

Max Hodges. "They call it the Clarkson rule for some reason. Ever since she first burst onto the scene in that Top Gear episode, their highest rated episode by the way, she's been a thorn in the side of many a Paparazzi. I've heard tell that she gets invited to some events just because it makes it a zero Paparazzi scene, and some say that she only eats snails for breakfast". Max was a Top Gear fan and this was his attempt at a Stig joke that nobody got.

 

Harvey Levin. "She's a blank. Sometimes hero, sometimes suspected villainous. Nobody knows her real name and every attempt to do an image match always turns up nothing".

 

Ben Mankiewicz. "Well, we do know a bit more about her now, at least her private parts". The clip gets played in first at regular speed and then again in super slow motion with frequent repeats.

 

Terese Stasser. "Wow are her areola's pale ". The screen rewinds to the rather good boob shot and zooms in. "Look at that resolution. Whoever shot this was using HD mode on their cell phone. Good for you! She really needs to use some blush though on those puppies if she wants them to stand out. And I see she has inverted nipples. You know, the kind that only pop when a woman gets aroused".

 

Anna Kachikyan. "She wears black so no need of that blush".

 

Will Lee. "This has got to have the Kardashians and Hilton worried. Web hits are off the scale and servers are crashing around the planet under the load. Yea, her booty isn't Kardashian scale, hell the Himalayas aren't that big, but Hilton is completely outclassed by that Magik ass".

 

Ben Mankiewicz. "Rather surprising that she's missing the tramp stamp of approval for a girl with a bad girl image. But check out the small purple dragon tattoo on the left butt cheek". The clip gets played in slow motion, freezes and then zooms in on the tattoo.

 

Anna Kachikyan "Nice, rather artsy. At least it's not hello kitty".

 

Ben Mankiewicz. "Also she's apparently is not on the shave it smooth bandwagon when it comes to the parts down under. Not that our TV viewers can see that part but go to the TMZ for more... detail that is unlocked with your TMZ login". (Side note, TMZ tripled their number of user logins that day).

 

Terese Stasser. "Girl's got class. Nicely trimmed. And... the carpet matches the drapes. Always nice to see a real blond".

 

Ben Mankiewicz. "Don't know why Thor has such a problem with her ass. Yea, it's not the usual over endowed booty he likes to hang with, but there's nothing wrong with it".

 

Will Lee. "Over the years many super persons have been asked about her. This is what they had to say". Series of short video clips play.

 

Storm "No comment".

 

Scot Summers "A valuable asset to the team and no she's not available for interviews".

 

Sue Richards "We've never met".

 

Wolverine "Get out of my face before I make you eat that camera, Flam'n Jackals".

 

Emma Frost "No comment".

 

She-Hulk "No comment".

 

Scarlet Witch "No comment".

 

Dead Pool "She's the love child of Phoenix and Galactus, but she takes after daddy".

 

The short set of videos end.

 

Will Lee. "Soooo. not a lot of detail about her. Almost as if nobody wants' to take about her".

 

Anna Kachikyan. "A little bird just told me that this week's Saturday Night Live is going to feature a skit about the whole thing".

 

Harvey Levin. "And Cosplay Dot Com, a valued advertiser on this program, reports that Magik costumes are completely sold out on their web site. Even the girthy ones. As we speak sweat shops across the world are laboring to replenish the supply. I guess we now know what the hot costume will be for this Halloween".

 

Anna Kachikyan. "But the really big news of the last half hour is Vivid Video, a soft porn productions company, and... not so soft, has announced a new film called Magik Panty Raid. Pre orders have already exceeded fifty thousand units in just the first hour. TMZ has an exclusive excerpt right here on TMZ in the time honored tradition of mixing news with paid product placement". Cut to the video.

 

We see a male Thor look alike in the foreground (obviously wearing a blond wig and cheesy armor) with a Capt America, Iron Man, and Hawkeye look alikes in the background. The arrows in Hawkeye's quiver are... not appropriate at all; they are... well adultish and we'll leave it at that. Iron Man's helmet was very phallic, and that's not a star on Capt's shield. A Magik look alike is teasing Thor, she's barely dressed (i.e. thong and a push up bra) and is bent over in the spanking position.

 

The supposed Magik (not quite a good likeness but the body's nice) breathily says.

 

"Oh Thor! Spank me! Spank me with your mighty hammer of love"!

 

"Verily I shall spank that! Spank it thusly"! Proclaims Thor who starts whacking at the fake Magik's ass with an obvious fake Mjolnir while she squeals in pleasure.

 

Now a bunch of female porn actors dance into the scene dressed as X-Women. There is a Storm, a Psylocke, and a White Queen. They loudly chant "A spanking a spanking! There's going to be a spanking"! Yea the dialog was stolen from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. "We want a spanking too"!,

 

"Don't worry girls"! Shouts the fake Capt America. "Avengers Assemble"!

 

They crowd into the front of the shot blocking fake Thor and fake Magik and start to... spank the heroines. But you can still hear some dialog.

 

"Oh...Thor! What a big... Hammer you have".

 

The video ends and we return to the TMZ cast.

 

Will Lee. "We'll be right back with a discussion on where Magik is on the bone ranking of female heroines and villainesses"!

 

With that the TMZ video ends and the image flickers way, almost as if Iron Man's armor is horrified at what it just projected.

 

Thor's hammer hit the ground as it falls from his numb fingers.

 

"Why aren't we dead yet" Asks Spider man with panic in his voice.

 

Tony panics. He shouts into his armor's phone.  

 

"All of it! Buy all the high end chocolate in New York"! (indiscernible reply)

 

"I don't care how much it costs! The original video makes her want to kill us. If she ever sees the TMZ episode before she accepts our apology we are beyond dead"! (indiscernible reply)

 

"The note says to deliver it to Jean Grey school that Storm runs. Get jets and helicopters and air lift it"! (short indiscernible reply)

 

"Hawkeye, you utter imbecile! I said record it, not POST IT" Screams Capt America as he begans to choke Hawkeye. "That's why you always are the one to die"!

 

Spider-man just sat down and began mumbling "Game over man, game over".

 

Thor started paying attention again. The close ups on her ass and nipples had been very interesting. Perhaps he had been, hastily in disregarding her ass...sets. After this whole regrettable travails were over he needed to try a more... personable apology (Thor is always looking for another notch on the bed post).

 

Hulk had very wide eyes at seeing the goodies he'd missed.

 

Tony summed up the consensus "So... Umm Capt could you stop choking Hawkeye for a moment, we are agreed on signing"?

 

They all nodded their heads.

 

Five black fountain pens appeared on the table. Each engraved, in red, with a name of one of the offenders of Magik.

 

Clint picked up the pen with his name. "Hey, it's empty of ink. How are we supposed to sign"? Tony passed on this bit of info.

 

"The pens are empty". (indiscernible reply)

 

"Shit. I'll tell the guys. Umm, each of us gets to fill their own pen with the ink that's flowing in our veins. Yea... blood. She... She's apparently very drunk right now and that's the only reason she hasn't gotten around to killing us. She thought blood was funny". (Kitty was on another phone line with Pepper).

 

They signed. What else could they do?

 

 

Part 6g: One of the travails

 

The Avengers waved at the crowd from the New York parade float (just Thor, Hulk, Capt America, Hawkeye, Iron Man, and Spider-man. It was a special float in the annual gay parade, it was shaped like a giant... thingie. All of them were dressed in G-Strings (and nothing else apart from some face masks for those who still had a secret identity).

 

Thor whispered out the of the side of his mouth while waving and strutting for the cheering and screaming crowd. "There, once this is done my friends there is but one travail left".

 

"Good" whispered back Capt America. "I preferred that remake of Sir Mix-a-lot's Baby Got Back video you had to do Thor to having to appear on the TMZ all gay special to rate the ass's of the best male villains". (Author: Google the video Baby Got Back, play it, and imagine that it is Thor doing the song and dance).

 

Thor sighed. "It was a trial but I endured". In fact he'd loved it. Thor loved big bootie and Sir Mix-a-lot had been fun to hang out with as they reshot the video and the party afterwards. Thor felt that Sir Mix-a-lot was a man of deep understanding when it came to bootie.

 

"But how the hell are we going to defeat Galactus?" whispered Hawkeye as he gyrated for the crowd.

 

Iron Man sighed while striking dramatic poises. "It's not Galactus. It's Gaylactus".

 

"I thought that was a typo". Said Hawkeye with a sinking feeling in his guts.

 

"It's not". Groaned Thor. I fear we are in for a mightily battle, filled with manly... vigor.

 

Hulk whispered a complaint "Hulk feel like piece of meat. Hulk feels so... dirty".

 

Hawkeye looked at this bow with a resigned air, his bow was so not going to help.

 

Spider-man kept wondering just what his special item in the list meant (Your ass will be as well known as mine).

 

 

Part 6h: A special place in hell

 

Some time later...

 

"I'm in hell, there's no other explanation for this" groaned Peter Parker to himself.

 

He'd gotten done with the travails, just like all the other guys. He was sorry. He'd apologized. But for some reason he got just a little extra then the rest.

 

"Not fair! It was an accident. Thor deliberately made all those comments and he gets off with just being in a video involving big butts? And I have to put up with this? Every single day"?

 

  1. Jonah Jameson was holding a big staff meeting with all the freelance and staff photographers, editors, and advertising leads for the Daily Bugle.

 

He was thrilled, gloriously thrilled. Daily sales were up twelve percent and subscriptions had also bumped up. And there was one thing driving the boost in circulation and J.J would not shut up about it.

 

"ASS"! Bellowed J.J.

 

"It's all about the ASS"!

 

"This town's gone ASS crazy"!

 

J.J was in fine form, shouting about what he wanted while he waved his cigar about.

 

"Specifically one ass in particular. I never thought I'd say these words, but I can't get enough of Spider Man's ass"!

 

Everybody laughed and Peter had to join in just so he wouldn't stand out.

 

Magik was such a bitc.... NO! Don't even think it! Don't give her an excuse to make it even worse. Oh GOD! Did he just make it worse?

 

Parker found that whenever he was in his Spider Man costume the ass of his costume vanished, and his under pants as well, leaving all exposed to the world. His groin was still concealed but his ass was exposed to the gaze of all. And it was like there was always a camera ready to take the picture.

 

He'd already found that the more homophobic criminals actually refused to fight him because they didn't want their photo in the paper with him waving his ass about. Heck, he even won two fights because his opponents just wouldn't stop laughing.

 

The other Avengers were no help, and even Dr. Strange had told him that this was private matter between him and Magik.

 

Bad enough that his ass was on display but the city's obsession with seeing it made no sense.

 

J.J was still giving his pep speech. "Get me more Ass! I need that Ass! I love Spider Man's Ass"!

 

"Randy"! Randy was one of the advertising folks who were out trying to sell subscriptions.

 

"Yes Mr. Jameson".

 

"One word, just one word and I think we can boost subscriptions by another ten percent"!

 

"What's the word sir"?

 

"Billboards"!

 

It just got worse.

 

"I want Spider Man's ass on billboards all over this city. When people look up I want then to ask themselves this question. Have I seen Spider Man's Ass today? The public wants Spider ass, then by golly we'll give them Spider ass"!

 

"Yes sir! I'll get right on it"!

 

"Beth!"

 

"Yes Mr. Jameson"?

 

"I want a Sunday supplement. A special on Spider-man's Ass! A kind of best of ass shots of the week, month, year. Dig into the archives as well. Get experts talking about that ass. Is it too big? Is it too small? And just what do those dimples mean? Explore the rumor that his ass can shoot webbing as well. Find out what the man and woman in the street thinks about Spider Man's ass"?

 

"Yes sir"!

 

It was a long two weeks before Spider Man broke down and begged Sam and Roberto to please do something. Please!!!!!!!

 

Aunt May was the final straw, she wanted to know if Peter thought Spider Man's ass was cute. That and the popularity of Spider Man ass coffee mugs at Starbucks, and that hour long TMZ special about his ass. Or the new parade balloon that Macy's had just announced, or... hell...

 

It was the new Weird Al Yackavich video that did it. The remake of Baby Got Back. But only now it was an all male group dressed as Spider-man.

 

 

Spider Got Back.

 

I like big butts and I can not lie

You other Avengers can't deny

That when Spidy walks in with an itty bitty waste

And that big round Spidy thing in your face

You get sprung, want to pull up tough

'Cause you notice that Spider butt was stuffed

Deep in the costume Spidy's wearing

I'm hooked and I can't stop staring

Oh Spidy, I want to get wit'cha

And take your picture

...

...

So, fellas (Yeah) Fellas (Yeah)

Has Spidy got the butt? (Hell yeah)

Tell 'em to shake it (Shake it) Shake it (Shake)

...

...

 

Oh God, the utter humiliation of that video.

 

Chapter Text

Part 7a: Fireside chat (part 1)

 

Illyana, Laura, and Dani were sitting around the evening camp fire. It was the third night of a three day camping and hunting expedition in the vicinity of the X-Base. It was rather odd in that the all the hunters were female as none of the guys were into hunting.

 

Dani summed up her thoughts about the other occupants of the X-Base as she drank a beer (she's into micro brews by the way). "Wussies, the lot of them".

 

"They dislike the act of taking life". Observed Laura. She was sticking with hot chocolate for now.

 

"But have no qualms about eating meat if another does the killing" Opined Illyana as she sipped her tea (black and strong).

 

Dana poked at the fire. A joint of venison was roasting over it; the rest of the buck was back in a freezer at the X-Base.

 

"Meat is meat. More ethical I say if you kill it yourself. At least Xi'an (Karma) is mostly ethically consistent in that she's mostly a vegetarian who likes fish and eggs. But young Bobby is so extra irritating. Actually moralizing about hunting while eating a cheeseburger and adding veal to the menu requests".

 

Laura mildly disagreed. "They are innocents, in many ways, of unpleasant facts of life. I find it rather... nice but naive. Best leave the killing to the killers".

 

Dani decided to change the topic and asked a question that had been bugging her. "Illyana, why the change in hair style? You're growing your bangs out and... I find that oddly... disturbing".

 

"Decided it was time for a change. Back when I was in the X-Brig I lost my bangs and rather hated it. But I recently got to thinking I'd try it again".

 

"Bit weird seeing you without bangs".

 

"A girl can have more then one hair style in her life".

 

Laura decided to try her own attempt at changing conversational topics. She asked a question of Illyana. "How is Miss Frost"?

 

Dani looked at Illyana with slight surprise while Illyana gave Laure a sideways glance. No need to ask why Laura thought that Illyana had contact with Emma. Apparently she had smelled Emma's scent on Illyana.

 

"Emma is... ok. She is pursuing her goals in her own way".

 

Dani inquired. "I didn't know that you had any contact with her. I thought nobody knew where she was".

 

"She contacts me from time to time and we arrange to meet. She is still my... therapist as it were".

 

Dani continued. "Odd. Never would have thought you and Emma as being overly friendly. So... what's Emma up to"?

 

 

Part 7b: Hellfire

 

The scene is an opulent sitting room. Emma is rather sprawled in a white leather chair while drinking a glass of red wine. She is wearing her usual white garb. Before her are some small projected holograms of others who Emma is speaking to. Emma also has on a single ear plug.

 

"I shall continue to cultivate her. She is a long term project at this point. Unlike more... idealistic persons she understands that omelets require the breaking of eggs. And she is oh so very good at breaking... things".

 

One of the figures apparently says something but only Emma can hear (that ear plug). She responds.  

 

"No, the whole hell lord thing works to our advantage. She's used to the exercises of power and yet has no real interest in day to day ruling. Perfect candidate as some of us... are more into the hands on aspects of control".

 

Another figure rather animatedly waves its hands and arms about. Emma responds.

 

"Yes, she is very lethal and powerful. In fact most people have no idea of just what she can really do if sufficiently motivated. She is much more stable now but still... willful. I will reemphasize that if any of you try you're own recruitment attempts you will likely fail and create an enemy of her. She's... not somebody you want as an enemy. And I will be very very annoyed".

 

Emma responds to so some other unheard statement.

 

"Wealth, power, sex, none of those really matter to her. It's not that she's above such things, it's that... her focus is elsewhere. We're talking about somebody who is not really mortal in many ways. Her teleportation abilities but scratch the surface of her potential. Potential that would allow us to rather definitively achieve our long term goals. That same potential turned against us is an extreme risk. Better to have her be a neutral party then to take sides against us".

 

Emma continued. "She is trying to do what is right... but her interpretation of what is right does not quite fit in with other's understanding of the word. She's... flexible on many ethical issues and tends to focus more on the end results then the means to achieve those result. This works to our advantage".

 

Emma pauses to hear some other statement. Then she gets a look of anger.

 

"If you were to try that you would not only die she would go on a rampage and slaughter... well everybody I guess. Don't ever contemplate that. If I even think you are going to try that I'll kill you myself to avoid the utter mess you'd create".

 

Another pause as she listens.

 

"Yes she knows what I'm up to. Hell, I told all of them when I left so it shouldn't be a big surprise".

 

A momentary pause.

 

"No you can't go kill her. I'm not even sure that's actually... possible. We're talking a hell lord here. I think she mostly plays pretend on that. Putting other's at ease. She knows and rather doesn't care so long as we leave her and her's alone. Don't... don't make her care, it won't end well".

 

Emma takes a sip of wine.

 

"No, I don't think you fooled her. Again I don't think she cares about that. One... influences her with truths not lies. I've always suspected that... that she can tell if you're lying. Remember how well she and Laura hit it off, quite the surprise to all I might add. No lies there, just truths. Plus she likes to throw fights. Don't pat yourself on the back too hard just because you outwit her or she seems unable to do defeat you. That's again part of her act".

 

"No I can't read her mind. How many times do I have to say it? Nobody can read her mind. That in part is what makes her so... difficult to assess. You never can tell if she believes what you're saying. And yet that same ability would make her a perfect inside agent".

 

"Yes she's a good poker player and don't ever get into a drinking game with her and yes she'd make a great queen".

 

"So we're agreed? Good".

 

Emma terminated the call. Somebody behind her refilled her glass. Somebody with male hands.

 

"Ahhh, thank you darling. Now where were we"?

 

Emma began to disrobe. "So where were we? So glad we finally overcame those little misunderstandings between us".

 

 

Part 7c: Fireside chat (part 2)

 

"Emma and I... have an understanding and I don't pry into her activities".

 

Laura decided to attempt a conversational tactical retreat. She had not thought anything of asking about Emma Frost but Illyana was giving off vibes that she really did not want to talk about Emma. Little body posture clues and scents that Laura could read (and Illyana knew that Laura could read) but Dani could not (at least not the scents). Onto another topic, one that was more... known to all.

 

"How did the meeting with Storm go"?

 

"It went well. There were... issues but I think we worked through them. Ororo's letting the initial decision sit for a few days to see how the others at the school react before making it official".

 

 

Part 7d: The end of Schism

 

"Do you really think this is wise Storm"? Bobby asked.

 

The two of them were sitting in Storm's office at the JGS (Jean Grey School). The meeting with Illyana had just ended and Illyana had ported away. Illyana had also arrived via her teleportation disks direct into Ororo's office for a private chat that had been prearranged (although likely the telepaths had known something was up. Always hard dealing with telepaths).

 

Bobby (Iceman) was slouched on a couch and Ororo (Storm) was sitting behind her desk leaning back and playing with a pen. Ororo responded.

 

"She... behaved herself on that little inter galactic trip that I was on, hell better then Henry did, and has not caused any trouble any of times she's visited here. Kitty trusts her again and that means a lot, and... continuing to be trusted by Kitty means a great deal to her".

 

The discussions between Illyana and Ororo had been cordial and somewhat quick. There had not actually been a lot to talk over or negotiate as both sides had quickly agreed to the other's terms.

 

Bobby reiterated the terms. "So she gets...". He paused and Ororo finished.

 

"The ability for her and her... companions to visit the school. And the end to us trying to send the younger version of yourself and his friends back to the past. Plus coordination between her and I on... issues that come to our attention; with her letting me take the lead".

 

"And we get..."

 

"An end to Schism. Her and her's will be... considered an... associated school as it were. She will not harbor active criminals. She will also not associate herself with Scott, wherever the blazes he's gone and hidden himself. Plus, we both agreed on a mutual defense pact as it were. An attack on one is an attack on both".

 

Bobby sighed. "I don't have to tell you that almost everybody here is scared of her. Her former students speak highly of her but even they tended to be... apprehensive around her".

 

"Even you"?

 

"Yea... Remember she figured out how to set ice on fire. Ice is not know for its flammability. So not fun, left me with a nasty little burn and it hurt. Rather apprehensive as to why she figured out how to do that".

 

"In that she knows how to hurt you"?

 

"Yea. Bet she has some anti weather magic in her back pocket; not that her costume has pockets".

 

"Possible. Contingency planning I suspect. We were not...".

 

"Not what".

 

"We locked her up. It was the right thing to do. She acquiesced, accepted her punishment, but... I've been reading her file, the formally blocked parts, Henry gave me the password. Henry was against how she was locked up. Felt... that we were missing a treatment opportunity. That we blew it. I find it interesting how... quiet she mostly was during the trial of Henry. In many way Henry is guilty of the same behaviors as her but she was the one we locked up".

 

"Frankly Ororo she's scarier, and I think more dangerous. You were on that Extinction team with her. Any meaningful interactions"?

 

"No. She was again quiet... well mostly quiet. Not beaten down but trying to not make waves. She did what was asked of her. And to my shame I did not make any real attempts to involve myself with her".

 

"We already got people complaining every time she shows up. This is going to make it worse".

 

"I suppose it will. I guess we need to call a student assembly, after having an all hands faculty meeting, to discuss this and handle the complaints".

 

"I recommend it be a no outsiders meeting, meaning it's just us. Magik stays away, otherwise some folks with issues may not speak up. Hell they may not speak up even then".

 

"Because they're scared of her? Because they hate her"?

 

"Nailed it in one".

 

"Agree. No outsiders".

 

"Ya know Ororo, you're still likely going to lose some folks over this. She really did harm people who have not forgotten or forgiven".

 

"Yes I fear that is a probable outcome. But... She's reaching out. Trying. She was... rational and focused on that extended intergalactic trip I took. Kitty spoke with me afterwards and told me that we needed... to try harder. Make us Illyana's first choice rather then providing an opening for Scott or...".

 

Bobby finished. "Magneto or... others. Yea I get it. She's powerful and... well she's gathering up outcasts. Others will be interested in that cluster of powers. Hmm, how she spoke was rather odd. She wants what once was. Odd way of putting it".

 

"Best to have them on our side if not fully on our team".

 

"Gunna be fun seeing Monet and Rachel interact with her. I should sell tickets and popcorn. Just who can be the snarkiest? My moneys on Monet".

 

"Bobby, play nice now".

 

"Naa, no fun in that. You know Shield and the Avengers are so not going to like this".

 

Ororo stood up and started to walk to the office's door "Frankly Bobby, I don't really care".

 

Bobby stood as well and started to walk with Ororo "Understood. On another topic, any more info on this supposed mutant disease"?

 

"No. It appears to be rather random. Nobody has any details yet as to the cause or any cure. It supposedly only affects mutants and... the effects vary. I'm actually hoping that some of Illyana's folks will be able to help us do more investigations".

 

 

Part 7e: Fireside chat (part 3)

 

Illyana finished. "We'll see how it works out. Rather tired of being persona non grata".

 

Dana summed up her concerns. "You know we may lose some folks over this. There are reasons folks are here and or left the Jean Grey School".

 

"Yea... but we'll work it out".

 

Onto another topic. Dani decided to talk about the Fab Five (or the original X-Men). The Fab Five was how young Bobby was currently describing them. She made a statement with a smirk. "Angel of the time displaced X-Men appears to be the most happy. Laura, are you and he still playing naughty cat and birdie or have you moved onto some other kind of role playing"?

 

Laura slightly blushed. Damn, she so regretted that little game (well not really, but getting caught she regretted). She had a rather lame retort. "That is private. I shall not answer".

 

"Yea, kind of guessed that. You go girl! Anyway, Bobby appears rather happy. Scott is moody and withdrawn, gee what a surprise. Jean is trying to make a go with Henry but that's... having issues, again no real surprise. And Henry gets moody because Jean is moody".

 

Illyana put in her two cents. "Scott and Jean have both applied to collages. Different collages. I think it is likely best for both of them to be apart if that is the path they choose".

 

Dana raised a question that had been on her mind. "Why is Jean so moody at you all of a sudden"?

 

Illyana responded after a moment. "She got some answers to some private questions and... didn't like what she learned. Can't say I blame her".

Chapter Text

 

Part 8a: Picnic (Part 1)

 

A few days ago.

 

Jean and Henry (or Hank if you will) were on picnic. The complete clique; picnic basket, blanket and umbrella. They had left the X-Base around 11am and Jean had flown them to a nice meadow, by a pond, that was a few miles away. It was a warm day and the pond was delightfully cold.

 

Jean had been dressed in a pair of ragged cutoff jean shorts (amazing how much a pair of ragged jeans cost), a rather tight green bikini top (she was wearing the bottoms as underwear), and a pair of sun glasses. Hank had on a bathing shorts and a tee-shirt.

 

The pair had lunch (sandwiches and chips and potato salad), frolicked in the pond, and were now laying down and drowsing in the sun having applied some suntan lotion. (Hank had rather loved that, here Jean let me oil your back). Jean was now just in the bikini and Hank had just his shorts on.

 

Hank was hoping that they'd neck and fool around a bit (i.e. getting to second base again). So far that was as far as he had gotten. Kissing, cuddling, and some groping and fondling.   He has fantasies about third base or even a home run, but Jean was in the driver's seat and she kept taking the off ramp. He wondered what she was thinking about. He'd be disappointed to learn that it was mostly not him.

 

Jean was mostly thinking about a rather common concern of hers. She was almost always concerned about a certain topic. The knowledge that a her had gone mad with power. That a her had killed... billions. One word summed up that concern.

 

Phoenix.

 

She was slightly thinking about Hank. She was... frustrated. Hank and her were not really working out. She worked for him but he... he really didn't work for her. It had been nice a first. Different. Felt almost naughty like the universe was being told off. But now it felt... hell he felt more like a brother then a boy friend. She sighed to herself.

 

Hank broke the long stillness as he turned over to tan his back.

 

"How did that meeting go with Professor Magik"? Yesterday Jean had mentioned to him that she was having an off site meeting with Professor Magik for privacy when he had asked what she was doing after breakfast and she had been gone until supper time. This was the first chance he had to ask about it (all casual like).

 

Jean roused from her thoughts.

 

"As well as it could go I guess. Don't really like the answers I got".

 

"What were the questions or answers if I may inquire"?

 

Now it was Jeans turn to move about. She rolled over onto her side and looked at Hank. A rather sexy pose that he was missing.  

 

"I wanted to know about her time as Phoenix. How it was for her and how she... dealt with it. More specifically I wanted to know if she know of any ways to prevent Phoenix from... altering ethical behaviors and actions. I actually asked a week ago and she said she'd think about it. She finally agreed to answer my questions at that off site meeting yesterday".

 

"Where was the meeting"?

 

"That's... private. Can't say".

 

Jean mused upon the meeting and her promise to never share the actual details, only the conclusions.

 

 

Part 8b: Siberia

 

Illyana had explained where she was taking the two of them, and what that location was, but not why.

 

The offsite meeting had taking place in Siberia. Where Illyana had brought a piece of Limbo, of hell as it were, to earth when she was a Phoenix host. A piece that had returned to Limbo and yet...

 

"Why here?" asked Jean upon the reaching Siberia.

 

She looked around. It wasn't like you could tell you were in Siberia. They were underground in some large and dark cavern. The only light being from a light spell that Illyana had cast.

 

"This was where I ceased to be a Phoenix fragment. This is also where I imprisoned many of the super heroes we captured; the one's who fought us. A piece of hell brought to earth. One that... kept the prisoners suitably distracted so there could be no thoughts of escape. We did not wish to kill them but we did not wish them to escape and continue to hinder us. I was trying to be... kind".

 

Jean hugged herself with both arms and gave a bit of a shiver, the place was very creepy.

 

"That... doesn't sound kind. I hope none of your prison guards are still around".

 

"The guards are gone and no it was not... kind. Made sense at the time but... well... Consider it an example of how Phoenix logic works... or doesn't I suppose. Ended up banishing Rogue when she found out and tried to help the prisoners escape. Rather happy I didn't hurt Rogue and I gave her a chance to do good where I banished her to".

 

Illyana continued. "So Jean, you asked about what it was like to be a Phoenix from my perspective. How it changed me, affected my actions, and... is it possible to prevent it from changing your... actions. Or minimize its influence".

 

Jean had an apprehensive look. This place was horror movie creepy and she was getting telepathic residue of great pain and suffering.

 

Jean grimaced. "Yea, if you don't mind Professor Magik".

 

Illyana looked like she was eating a very sour lemon.

"I actually do mind, quite a bit. But... I promised Kitty that I'd help guide you. I would not... shards, have not done this for anybody. But you... well Phoenix appears to like you Jeanie(s) as it were so... words will not suffice. I'll have to show you and I really don't want to".

 

"Show me what"?

 

"I'll have to show you before Phoenix... during... and after. You will then be able to comprehend my... conclusions and advice".

 

"That means that I'll have to..."

 

"Go into my mind. Yes, curse it all. I'll have to drop my shields for you just as I did for Emma. You'll only be able to see what I show you but I'll have to show you... so very much. Oh, don't... don't try to poke around. I have safeguards".

 

"I already don't like it Professor M. Both Emma and the Cuckoos say that your mind is... not a good place to go".  

 

"Yep, and call me Illyana from now on when we're not with your friends. We... well you're going to get a rather... deep understanding of me so I think a first name basis will be in order after this Jean".

 

"Um... ok... Illyana".

 

Illyana had Jean sit down on the floor in a meditative pose. Illyana then sat down as well. They were facing each other.

 

"Jean...".

 

"Yes".

 

"It's ok not to... like me after this. I'll understand".

 

"Why would that happen"?

 

"Because... well you'll understand afterwards".

 

"You're... not going to hurt me or something"?

 

"No. You will just understand me better and... well... I haven't been... a very nice person".

 

"Umm... ok I guess... well I hope not actually. Even more apprehensive now".

 

"I'm going to drop my shields just for you. Then I need you to flow into my mind. You won't... be able to control what happens. Just go with the flow. It will likely not be memories so much as... understanding and that understanding will be visualized for you in a context you can relate to and comprehend. Don't ask for more detail as I frankly don't know; I'm not the telepath here, you are".

 

"Can I still say no"?

 

"Yep, right up to the time you enter my mind. Then... then it's likely a one way trip to understanding".

 

"Would you do this for Professor Kitty"?

 

"Only to save her life. Other then that hell no. I... really like having Kitty as a friend again. Such understanding of another tends to cause problems when that individual has done so many not nice things. When that person is... me".

 

"Should I"?

 

"Only way to really understand my answers is to comprehend my answers".

 

"Ok. Let's do this before I change my mind".

 

Jean felt Illyana's mind shied... relax as it were. Jean went in before she chickened out.

 

 

Part 8c: BEFORE

 

Jean found her self sitting on an unseen luxurious chair. The most conformable chair she had ever rested upon. Perfectly conformed to her body regardless of how she sifted.

 

Jean was at the top of a mountain as it were. The sky was a burn orange and all of Limbo was arraigned before her.

 

Dark, twisted, bent. Limbo was an echo, a dark reflection of its Master.

 

That Master being herself.

 

She hated it.

 

Hated it so very much.

 

All that was wrong with her was thrown back in her face. All that had been done to her was forever echoed. Chained to the very thing that had so harmed her.

 

Chained to the very thing that had created her.

 

Sometimes... sometimes she couldn't see where Limbo ended and she began.

 

Yet... loving it in a way.

 

Her's! It was her's!

 

In some ways it was her!

 

Her's to rule. Her's to alter. Her's to do with as she willed.

 

And pity the fool who tried to take this unwanted possession from her!

 

She was a Hell Lord. The only restraint upon her was herself; and so many of her ethical restraints were in tatters or had ceased to exist. Lost, discarded, or raped away.

 

She had regained her soul, but so little had changed. Yet... some things had changed.

 

She wished to do right things, but the definition of right was... distorted by the harm done to her. By what she was. By her perceptions of what was right and wrong.

 

Jean shifted upon the chair and felt it shift was well.

 

She stood up and turned around and recoiled in revulsion.

 

The chair was made of thousands of tiny trapped humanoid bodies. Forever shifting to find the ideal shape for the one seated. Their reality forever enslaved to provide nothing but... support. The bodies were everybody she has ever know.

 

Support for the random whims of a Hell Lord.

 

Wrong! This was so wrong!

 

People... should not be debased like this.

 

I... I should not have been debased like that!

 

?I?

 

Jean regained her perception of self.

 

She was Jean! Not Illyana. Jean!

 

This... this was how Illyana had perceived the world before Phoenix.

 

People were not quite... people. Illyana had become so detached.

 

And Illyana had not really... doubted before regaining her soul. But now she was starting to doubt herself.

 

Doubt her actions. Doubt her decisions. Question paths taken. Choices made.

 

She really had thought she knew better. But... now she was not quite so much any more.

 

The chair shifted into a doorway. A doorway built from the tiny bodies. The doorway opened onto fire.

 

Onto Phoenix.

 

With a sigh Jean steps though the doorway and all sense of self was lost until the end of the journey.

 

Now she is Illyana in all things.

 

In all things done.

Experienced.

Regretted.

 

 

Part 8d: DURING

 

Fire and ecstasy and belief.

 

For now and forever I am Phoenix!

 

One!

 

I am one of five, yet WE are one!

 

Phoenix !

 

WE are Phoenix!

 

And WE know what must be done. Emma and Scott are our focus, our core. They have the passion, the vision of what to make of the world, the belief in what should be.

 

Together, the WE, strive to make it so.

 

But WE are blocked. Hindered by petty and trite minds. Beings who fear that which is possible if it is not by their hands.

 

Foes who desire something other then what the WE wants.

 

WE are Phoenix, but WE are spread amongst five.

 

Dissipated WE are not as strong as when WE are united in one. And our vessels are not the one WE had chosen.

 

What WE came to do is in part shaped by our vessels. Our purpose is... altered... forgotten in the flush of new revamped purpose.

 

WE strive to be kind, but anger grows. Obstacles must be dealt with.

 

Removed.

 

Destroyed if that must be, but for now WE restrain ourselves, or so WE try...

 

One of our vessels crumbles, all restraints lost, his flaws were so many.

 

He was never fit to house us.

 

I am one of four, yet WE are one!

 

Phoenix !

 

WE are Phoenix!

 

TRUSTED!

 

LOVED!

 

CHERISHED!

 

Oh to be trusted again and loved! Oh how the I in the WE glorifies in it. Drinks it in!

 

The membrane between Limbo and I weakens, stretches, and ruptures like a virgin's hymen upon the taking her first lover.   A brief pain, nothing compared to the pleasures that await.

 

Our belief is pure. WE know what is right.

 

But what is right keeps shifting. And the other vessels are cracking, mortal passions and wants polluting our purpose.  

 

Our belief.

 

Anger grows stronger.

 

Anger from the hindrances of others. Anger from the within as well.

 

Darkness grows like a fungus in the flaws vessels that houses the WE.

 

Only one resists the darkness for she was already one with the dark. She drinks me in the most. She follows the lead of the others the most.

 

She never lets mortal passions rule her, for she lacks almost all such passions. But... but she wishes she possessed them.

 

Darkness does not blossom within her so much as the desire to do right. To be not as she was. She is a loving vessel and does my biding.

 

She is one with the belief!

 

She has no doubt!

 

Yet in the end she and her brother fall.

 

No longer Phoenix!

 

No longer one!

 

Poor vessels they were for infinity.

 

Her eyes are dry, but she weeps for what she has lost.

 

WE!

 

WE are... gone.

 

Now just Illyana.

 

Flawed

Deceiving

Unloved

 

Oh how we hate her.

 

 

Part 8e: AFTER

 

Brother lost.

 

Finally.

 

It took him so long. So long to understand me.

 

He loves Snowflake. And I am not her.

 

I am not her!

 

Though I long to be... Would if I but could.

 

But I cannot.

 

I cannot be loved. To understand me is to reject me. For do I not reject myself?

 

I allowed him to learn how I think.

How I am.

How... how the damned are.

 

I let him become and stay the Juggernaut so as to understand just what I am.  

 

He saw me clearly for the first time. And as I knew he must, he caste me aside.

 

He is finally free of loving a me that does not exist.

 

Yet...

 

Yet my belief in my actions weakens.

 

Doubt.

 

I... doubt.

 

Did I do the right thing?

 

Do I know what is the right thing?

 

What if I was wrong?

 

If I am wrong then...

 

DOUBT!

 

If I am wrong then... what else have I been wrong about?

 

It gnaws at me like a wolf gnawing at a trapped leg.

 

To be free is to be maimed. To be whole is to be trapped.

 

In the end I am unified with my soul.

 

I am Illyana at last!

 

No longer just Darkchilde wearing her shell.

 

ILLYANA!

 

I AM HER!

 

HER!

 

HER!

 

OH GODS I'M HER!

 

And I finally awaken from the endless nightmare that so defined me to find myself maimed as I gaze upon my works.

 

Gazed and despaired.

 

I was wrong!

 

WRONG!

 

Oh GODS I WAS WRONG!

 

 

Part 8f: Understanding

 

Jean awoke to herself to find that she'd screamed herself raw.

 

Illyana was holding her, hugging her, as Jean struggled and flailed about.

 

Jean froze and Illyana gently pushed her away, broke the hug.

 

Looked Jean in the eye.

 

And Jean understood Illyana's answers.

 

Darkness and doubt.

 

And Jean really didn't like Illyana anymore.

 

 

Part 8g: Picnic (Part 2)

 

Jean looked lost in thought. "Earth to Jean... Hello? Um... learn anything useful"?

 

Jean shook herself out of her musings.

 

"Yea. Never go into her mind, even if she let's you".

 

"Oh. Any Phoenix insights"?

 

"Some. Just like the rest of the Phoenix Five, being a Phoenix altered her judgments and behaviors over time. She did have one tool that slowed down the changes. And she reached a conclusion afterwards that provided another tool".

 

Now it was Hanks turn to role over and lean on his side facing Jean. Wow Jean looked sexy. Hank didn't look too bad himself was an internal conclusion from Jean. He asked a question.

 

"Mind shields"?

 

"No".

 

Jean scrunched up her face in a bit in a grimace.

 

"It was darkness and doubt. She was already so fallen, as it were, that Phoenix rage and passion could not really unleash hidden darkness, that darkness was already unleashed and understood like an old friend. Shards she was that darkness. Professor Magik knew her desires and lusts as it were. She knew herself. And her hidden desires were actually... mostly about good things she wished could somehow be".

 

"And doubt"?

 

"A Phoenix does not doubt the correctness of its actions. Doubt let's you remain... you. If you hold onto doubt, if you question your actions, then the utter certainty of Phoenix, and being a Hell Lord and a demon I suppose, can't grab hold. Professor Magik is... carful about a lot of her actions now. She's made a lot of mistakes and does not wish to repeat them yet again. Doubt is a measuring rod for her".

 

"So you learned some good things".

 

"No. That's the problem. Her darkness came from doing harm. Doubt came from the realization of the harms. Good lessons for her and I'm glad she shared but...".

 

"Not quite contextually correct for you".

 

"Not yet thankfully... but... well knowing... is good". Now Jean had a better understanding of the harms that power could do and what it felt like to not care due to the purity of belief. She knew... and part of her wished she didn't.

 

Belief combined with actions unguarded by doubt was very dangerous.

 

Hmm... Jean thought. Hank was rather close and looked... nice. He did not feel so... brotherly at the moment. Jean decided that some smooching was now in order, dessert as it were.

 

She wiggled over to him and pushed him back onto this back, then she pressed her torso on his, her breasts tightly pressed against his oily torso and gave him a long kiss.

 

Much necking commenced.

 

Jean kept wondering about the urban myths of men with large hands and feet. During the smooching she shifted and accidently rubbed her leg against Hanks groin. She learned... well that's private but she learned the answer to that specific urban myth.

 

It was fun. But... Hank still only got to second base.  Well... he almost stole third but Jean stopped that.

 

 

Chapter Text

Part 9a: Lunch

 

Emma was nibbling at the remains of her Caesar salad while Illyana was busy dipping her remaining salt and pepper shoe string fries in some ketchup (she'd had a cheese burger and fries).

 

They were sitting at a table for four with the forth chair empty. The third chair was occupied by Lockheed who was busy gorging on multiple portions of several menu items (deviled eggs, calamari, steak tartare, and caviar). An illusion was cloaking Lockheed (everybody but Emma and Illyana thought he was just a quiet guy who was very hungry). For some reason Emma was slightly annoyed at Lockheed's presence, but Illyana did explain that she was currently dragon sitting for Kitty and that Lockheed was going everywhere with her so as to maximize dragon time.

 

Both Emma and Illyana was dressed in casual civilian garb. Illyana had been somewhat surprised at the public setting, but she figured Emma had her reasons.

 

Illyana had met up with Emma at the Four Season's hotel in New York City, for a therapy session. The sessions had become infrequent since Emma had left, but Emma still made time to work with Illyana despite the other... activities Emma was involved with. Activities Emma was rather sure that Illyana was at least somewhat in the know about (We are talking Hell Lord here, just because Illyana knows something does not mean she shares that she knows).

 

They chatted about various trivial things while avoiding any major topics that did not involve Illyana directly.

 

Emma didn't want Illyana to think that she was trying to pump Illyana for intelligence. Emma had worked hard to build a kind of friendship with Illyana and she didn't want to mess it up. Emma had a... fondness for Illyana that continued to surprise her. She found that she quite liked Illyana's ruthlessness and directness and the fact that she has not at all intimidated by Emma. It was...refreshing. Plus the fact that Illyana did not have the traditional X-Women issues with Emma was pleasant as well.

 

Illyana didn't want to ask questions of Emma about topics that she may later have to deal with; in short don't ask questions that you don't want answers to. One can always plead ignorance if one does not truly know. Illyana did have to chuckle to herself that she considered Emma, of all people, a kind of friend.

 

This odd kind of friendship had in part been a result of them both being part of the Phoenix five and then later being trapped together in the X-Bunker. There had been that shared Phoenix mental connection and neither considered the other a competitor so... well it worked. Plus Emma was still Illyana's therapist.

 

So... two women who has some fondness for each other's company were having lunch, Emma's treat.

 

Emma started a new topic of conversation. "How goes your interactions Jean Grey School? Still having issues with some folks"?

 

"Yep" Illyana replied with a grimace and then continued.

 

"Pixie continues to be in a snit about the whole thing. I understand her annoyance, but it's less directed at me per say and more anger that once again the leadership would pick me over her if she were to force the issue. I understand her... frustrations. Been there, felt that way myself. I was always careful, back in my New Mutant days, to make sure none of the team was ever in a who do I save situation with me as I knew just where I was on the pecking order. The fact that I really try to not interact with her so as to avoid causing her angst apparently causes her even more angst. Sometimes a demon lord just can't win for trying".

 

"And Rachel is still being..."?

 

"Snide and bitchy. She was Kitty's best friend for years, a well know fact as she finds so many ways of continually mentioning it when she's around me. Almost soul mates according to her. Very tiring. She is beset by the urge to argue about everything with almost everybody. And apparently my being part of Phoenix at one point is also so very vexing to her; like I swiped her car and got into a wreck or something. I endure her slings and arrows, which frankly is not particularly hard, which also vexes her in that she's unable to get me to lose my cool".

 

Illyana continued "Apparently she is very upset that Kitty left the JGS and went to the New Xavier school. Then Kitty left the New Xavier school for Peter Quill. But I suspect her anger is mostly that that she left with me. It apparently all came to a head yesterday when I was in the Jean Grey School cafeteria with Lockheed".

 

Illyana began to describe the altercation.

 

 

Part 9b: Sticks and stones may break my bones but...

 

Illyana was eating by herself in the Jean Grey School (JGS) cafeteria. Well... not completely by herself, Lockheed was with her. He was lying upon on her shoulders with his tail wrapped around Illyana's upper left arm so as to brace himself. Illyana was having lunch and also feeding Lockheed (whom everybody knows is a shameless mooch).

 

Illyana had selected a table away from everybody so as not to cause undo consternation, and out of courtesy as she did have a hungry dragon on her shoulders. Ororo had asked that Illyana stop by as she had something important and private to discuses. Illyana had decided to show up a bit early and grab a bite to eat, as the JGS cafeteria was quite good (It was Chinese Thursday) and she loved the wontons they made.

 

Illyana had a large plate of sweet and sour fried pork with sauce on the side (most of the pork was for Lockheed), some shrimp fried rice, crab and cream cheese wontons, and a large glass of Coke. Illyana would eat some of the fried pork (she mostly ate the fried rice), the rest she kept tossing into the air, using her chopsticks, for Lockheed to snatch and noisily consume with a dragon purr "Yum...".

 

The students had gotten slightly less loud and rowdy when Illyana had walked in, but had quickly resumed the usual boisterous student behaviors. Illyana had been showing up enough at the school to no longer shock the students. She was not exactly welcomed, but she was tolerated per Storm's orders.

 

Illyana behaved herself and... well it's not like there were many people who wanted to get snippety with Illyana.

 

But one of those few people had just walked in; Rachel Summers, one of the senior faculty members. Rachel immediately saw where Illyana was sitting. Rachel had heard the telepathic chatter that Illyana was visiting and that Lockheed was with her this time as well.

 

Rachel stomped over to where Illyana was sitting and sat down opposite to Illyana. Illyana gave Rachel a cool look while she proceeded to eat a wonton. Lockheed "Coooo'd" a welcome to Rachel.

 

Rachel glared at Illyana and hissed a statement of irritation. "I see that you're flaunting yet another thing you've taken from Kitty".

 

Illyana's chopsticks froze in the act of reaching for some pork. Illyana cocked her head sideways and gave Rachel a puzzled look while Lockheed's welcoming expression faded away.

 

Illyana swallowed her wonton and then spoke. "I can truthfully say I do not remotely comprehend what you just said".

 

"You heard me. First you convince Kitty to leave us and joint you. Then you take her students, and now you've even taken her dragon".

 

Illyana slightly glared at Rachel in annoyance. "I have not taken Lockheed. He's visiting and he's not a pet that one can just take as it were. And I did not take her students, she left them with me when she and Peter Quinn became an item. That was by mutual agreement with the students and her; only then did they actually get around to asking me. And I did not convince Kitty to leave. All of you did that by your lonesome's by... upsetting her and disregarding everything she said".

 

Lately Rachel was always snipping at Illyana whenever they met, except when Kitty was present. This had begun since Illyana had returned to earth with Kitty's students. It had gotten worse since Storm and Illyana had come to an arrangement which resulted in Illyana being a frequent visitor to the JGS and even participating on some missions where Rachel was also present.

 

Illyana had simply decided to ignore Rachel's bitchyness, which apparently was just motivating Rachel to turn up the volume.

 

Rachel continued. "Nobody likes you here. You do know that don't you"?

 

Great... going to be one of those kind of conversations thought Illyana. Well... enough is enough. What is it with X-Men that they always have to have public tiffs and meltdowns? What the hell ever happened to private one on one conversations if someone was upset about something? When I get upset I go off and try to rescue somebody, everybody else is so... ineffectual. (Internal sigh) If Rachel wants a public fight who am I to deny her?

 

"Yes" was Illyana's simple reply.

 

"And yet you keep showing up".

 

"That is also correct".

 

"Why? After all that you've done, why do you continue to show up here"?

 

"Apart from being invited"?

 

"Storm invited you, nobody else did".

 

Illyana grasped some pork with her chopsticks and ate it. She spoke as she chewed.

 

"Again you are correct. Any more insights"? Illyana flicked a shrimp from the fried rice into the air for Lockheed which he promptly gulped down.

 

Illyana's bland responses were pissing Rachel off even more. The cafeteria was growing quiet as the students listened to the exchange.

 

"Why are you here"?

 

"The reason of the moment is lunch. Storm asked that I stop by and I decided to grab a bite before the meeting".

 

"I don't know of any meeting".

 

Illyana replied with a sarcastic tone. "I guess Storm forgot to ask you for permission".

 

Illyana tossed one of the wontons into the air and Lockheed snatched it and nosily chewed (Kitty never let him have any of her wontons, she kept thinking they were bad for him as they made him somewhat gassy).

 

Illyana's statements really peeved Rachel. "You should go. You're upsetting the students".

 

"The students were just fine until you started this public tiff. What's really bugging you Rachel? I would have preferred a more private setting for such discussions, but if you wish a public airing of your grievances then I will accommodate you".

 

Rachel glared at Illyana. "Your presence. You've harmed many people here, especially Megan. Whom you've done nothing in way of apology for all that you've put her through".

 

Illyana ate some rice while she replied (no sense letting the food get cold just because Rachel was in a mood). "I have returned the bloodstones that were taken from Megan. The first one by me when I soul raped her. The second stone by Witchfire. I provided her with the enchantment that allowed her to merge the stolen parts of her soul back into herself".

 

"And that's sufficient"?

 

Illyana frowned as she replied. "No Rachel. Nothing is sufficient for the harm I caused Megan".

 

"And yet you do nothing".

 

Illyana sighed and gave Rachel a condescending look. Then Illyana shouted over her shoulder to Megan who was eating with Victor (Anole) at a table on the other side of the cafeteria. Illyana had deliberately selected a table far from Megan and had eaten with her back to Megan so Megan could glare all she wanted without having to look Illyana in a the face.

 

"Yo Megan, so do you want to hang out? How' bout we do a Starbucks run and get some Frappuccinos or something. Have a good girl to girl talk. Maybe I could grant you a wish or two? Hell, I'll even show you my tattoo if you're interested in that kind of thing".

 

"Um.... no". Megan shouted back from the other side of the cafeteria. "You're like literally the last person on earth I want to hang out with or have anything to do with. I think I'd rather eat glass".

 

Illyana shouted back in conclusion of the conversation. "Don't. It hurts really bad".

 

Illyana gave Rachel a sarcastic look and a Game of Thrones quote (she liked the show, so did Lockheed but only scenes involving dragons).

 

"You know nothing Rachel Summers. Megan and I have an understanding. I leave her alone. That's the understanding. If she wants something from me she'll tell me. Not you, not Storm, not anybody else, just me. And it will be private between Megan and I unless she wishes to share".

 

Rachel found herself fuming. "I bet the inversion was real fun for you. How strongly did you express your demon side? Hurt any more kids? Betray anybody at that lame so called New Xavier school of yours? Or was it more of just being the bitch that you are"?

 

Illyana took a sip of Coke and then replied. "Coffee. I ended up liking black coffee with no sugar instead of tea. Very annoying. Sorry for the big letdown but the whole inversion thing was rather a non event for me. I was elsewhere taking care of some business and missed the whole party; in fact I didn't even know about it. Rather sucked in that afterwards Kitty was so very upset at her actions and deeds. The only good thing that came out of that was she now had better understanding of...".

 

Rachel interrupted Illyana "Of you I take it. Oh so convenient. You mean to tell me your inversion was nothing but liking black coffee"?

 

"Think of the game Dungeons and Dragons. I'm neutral with good and evil behaviors. Inverted that becomes neutral with evil and good behaviors. Not much of a change it turns out. Rather lame I suppose".

 

Illyana tossed more pork into the air for Lockheed. "But these are false complaints. Megan is not your issue. Nor is anybody else here, not even Victor who still blames me for losing his right arm even though I had nothing to actually do with that loss. I do find it rather annoying to be disliked for something I did not actually do. No, I believe Kitty is the root of your complaints with me".

 

"You took her from us, from me! How... interesting in that she goes from hating you to running off with you in just one day? Like somebody changed her mind or cast a spell on her? But gee you'd never do that? Oh... yea I think you would".

 

"No Rachel, I cast no spell on Kitty. Kitty just... left because she felt you all had betrayed her and disregarded her. She left this school and even in the end left earth".

 

Rachel replied with a hiss of scorn. "And left you as well".

 

Illyana shook her head with a slight gesture of no as she replied. "A friend living her life is not leaving. That's called living. She wanted a refuge for a while and I was able to offer her one. During that time we became friends again. Then she met someone, fell in love, and left. Good for her. We all should be so lucky".

 

Illyana magically materialized an empty glass mason jar and put it on the table in front of Rachel.

 

"Here, I suppose you'll be needed this".

 

"Why?" Rachel answered back with a disdainful but puzzled expression.

 

"You appear to be quite obsessed with marking Kitty as your territory so we might as well get a generous sample of your urine as I suppose that it is to be her new perfume. I do wonder what Peter Quill will think of the new fragrance, my guess is that he won't be a big fan. Then again maybe if you changed your name to Peter she might pay more attention to you".

 

Rachel was stunned for a moment; and everybody in the cafeteria gasped. The shear audacity of Illyana to say such a thing to her. Dem's is fighting words!

 

Rachel hissed a "How Dare YOU?!" at Illyana and her eyes narrowed in a massive glare. She focused all of her telepathy on Illyana who quailed and quaked under Rachel's power.

 

Well, Rachel wanted Illyana to quail and quake. What Illyana did was nosily suck on the straw slurping up the last of her Coke while giving Rachel a smirk while looking her right in the eyes.

 

"Chill Red. I blocked Xavier and Emma. And as a Phoenix member I was even able to block Phoenix Emma from looking in parts of my mind that I did not wish to share. You... just don't have the wattage and... that's rather rude of you to try. And here I thought you were one of the telepathic ethics instructors".

 

Illyana's smirk then vanished. "Now if you want to have a fight, power or unpowered, I'm always game on".

 

Rachel stood up in a rage. "Fine! I'm not afraid of you you backstabbing demonic soul stealing child abusing bitch! Meet me in the...". Illyana held up her hand and shushed Rachel (magically) which got Rachel even more pissed off.

 

"Lying to a hell lord tends to be futile. Lies are like... neon lights to once such as I. Very easily discerned. Of course you're afraid of me. Hell, I'm afraid of me. And I would be a fool to dismiss one such as you". Illyana tossed the last of the pork into the air for Lockheed.

 

A brief look of irritation. "I will not use your past to trade insults. You... were grievously used and abused in the future you fled from. But bide but for a moment Rachel. You caused your little public scene so time to deal with some answers before you decide try punching out your frustrations on me. You've had a really bad time and it lasted for years and years. Been there, done that so I can really really relate at all the levels of what you've endured and survived and... did. Both to persevere and as a result of... of what was done to you. I'm glad you were friends with Kitty. It's good to have friends. They... help. Kitty is my friend and I'm very happy that she again thinks of me as a friend as well. I have no issue with you and Kitty having been best friends. Why would I? I was dead. So very very dead. Then I was brought back and I was insane from... from... from things that you should comprehend all too well".

 

Illyana continued. "I am not competing with you over Kitty as it's not fair to try and make a friend pick amongst her friends. Kitty came to me, not you, when she decided to leave this school and break up with her boyfriend. Deal with it".

 

"Kitty loves Peter Quill and wishes to marry him, not you; deal with it".

 

"Likely you and Kitty are currently a bit estranged because you have desires and expectations that Kitty does not wish to fulfill; deal with it instead of blaming others".

 

"Kitty is my friend, but that is no reason why she can't be yours as well; because she is your friend. We grow up, things change, whether we want them to or not. It just is. Deal with that as well and if you need additional help then I might have some additional insights as I have a great deal of unwanted experience with losing everything; just like you".

 

"Deep friendship are, in part, wanting what will make your friend happy. It's caring about the friend more then about yourself. I want nothing more then Kitty to be happy. I don't pretend that I know what's best for her".

 

"Oh, and the reason why I currently have Lockheed and why I brought him here to flaunt"?

 

"Well... Kitty and Peter are currently on a long romantic weekend. Kitty felt guilty that she was not paying enough attention to Lockheed with all the huggy kissy going on between her and Peter; and the fact that Kitty feels... weird if Lockheed is in the room when she and Peter frack each other's brains out. So Kitty asked if I could dragon sit Lockheed for a few days while they... really got at it I suppose. Lockheed is a very dear friend of mine and I always love having him around. But why did I bring him here to flaunt as you so accuse? Well Lockheed is friends with some people here so I asked him if he wanted to come with me today. He did and so here we are. A chance for Lockheed to visit some friends while I speak with Storm after lunch".

 

Now Illyana stood up. "Friends like you I suspect as you did live with the little stinker for quite a while back when you and Kitty lived in that lighthouse as part of Excalibur. I thought you might want to see him and hang out. A token that I do not wish to diminish or impinge upon your friendship with Kitty as you appear to be very sensitive and needy about it".

 

"Oh, I was trying to say, before you interrupted me, that Kitty now had a better understanding of some of my actions... and yours. She better understood how the both of us could have made some of the decisions we've made. How... it looked so logical if you think a certain way".

 

"Now excuse me as I have a meeting with Storm. I'll leave Lockheed with you as you obviously are so much more deserving of his presence then a lowly soul stealing demonic bitch such as I".

 

Lockheed jumped off of Illyana's shoulders and landed on the table to glare at Rachel.

 

"If you wish to have a good physical fight then I'll oblige you upon the conclusion of my meeting with Ororo".

 

There was a flash of light and now Illyana was gone, departed to Storm's office.

 

The cafeteria was utterly quiet. Lockheed issued a disdainful smoky "Humph" and then laid down on the table, curled up into a ball, and went to sleep; or pretended to. His intent was quite clear in that he did not wish to interact with Rachel.

 

Rachel closed her mouth. Clenched her hands, and then stiffly walked out of the cafeteria.

 

 

Part 9c: Aftermath

 

Emma had ended up choking while taking a big sip of her red wine. She'd partaken just as Illyana had described the bottle and urine comment.

 

Emma commented after Illyana was done.

 

"Rachel has always been problematic. Always finding ways to push people away while complaining that folks don't want to interact with her. And it is inevitable she would consider you... a threat and a competitor".

 

Illyana sighed. "You know things are not going well when I'm the one able to offer relationship advice. I did not had much interaction with her before I died and again almost no interaction with her after I returned. I had no idea that she was so upset that Kitty had left and that she blamed me".

 

"By the way how is our absent Kitty?" Emma inquired, sure that she was still on safe inquiry ground. "Enjoying cavorting about the Galaxy with her King of a fiancée I presume".

 

Illyana stiffed up. Emma, being a telepath, could feel Illyana mentally lock down.

 

"Oh dear... I appear to have asked a question that you find... uncomfortable. Please disregard the inquiry".

 

"No... It's a fair question. Kitty is... she's OK, but... things are... there are issues between her and Peter. That was in part why Kitty wanted some major alone time with Peter".

 

"Please don't tell me any details, such knowledge will just annoy Kitty".

 

Illyana gave a grin. "Agreed, she really just can't stand you most of the time". Then the grin vanished. "But now she's... really not happy about some things".

 

"I'm sorry to hear that. But... not completely surprised".

 

Illyana's eyes narrowed slightly "Why"?

 

"Kitty has a track record of... selecting males whom... she ends up in conflict with. Kitty is very smart, quite opinionated, and quick to express her feelings and thoughts on almost all topics. The very things she finds appealing in a man tends to also annoy her over time. When she goes for the bad boy she always finds that the bad boy has lots of bad boy baggage. Good boys remain too nice or passive. Bad boys don't sufficiently change. And Kitty tends to not know how to lose gracefully in a fight or when to leave well enough alone. In short Kitty is not skilled in man management as it were".

 

Emma's answer left Illyana rather annoyed. Annoyed that Emma had such opinions about Kitty, and annoyed that they were more then a little spot on. Emma continued.

 

"And that leaves you unhappy in that you can't do anything about it. Which is oh so convenient for you".

 

Illyana's face took on a guarded expression. "How is that convenient for me"?

 

Illyana was being very very careful to not make any decisions for Kitty.

 

"Let's you secretly fret about Kitty instead of dealing with your own issues. Speaking of which, how are you progressing on that list I had you write up"?

 

"I've... made a bunch of good progress. Brother, Kitty, and Dani. Four down, six items to go".

 

Emma decided that it was time to give Illyana a bit more motivation, a push as it were.

 

"Good. But rather weak".

 

"Weak"?!

 

"Illyana dear, who's the therapist here? Weak. You need to branch out. You need others who are outside of your current circles. You need to avoid the mistakes of the past by not repeating the behaviors of the past. Didn't you mention that Stephen has invited you to that bar he goes to? The one that supposedly the various magical practitioners frequent"?

 

"Yes". Illyana gave a sigh. "Still undecided about that".

 

"What would Kitty say"?

 

"She'd say go".

 

"So why not take her and my advice? Who knows, maybe you'll even have fun. Meet some people who might actually like you. That has to be better then listening to Rachel being spiteful and jealous".

 

Illyana grumbled to herself while even Lockheed chimed in with a smoky but tired sounding "Yea..." as he curled up on his chair and went to sleep.

 

Emma made an additional inquiry as Illyana sat there thinking. "How did the fight with Rachel go"?

 

Illyana put on a blank look. "Why do you think there was a fight"?

 

Emma just looked at Illyana. Finally Illyana gave a small grin.

 

"It was fun".

 

"Who won"?

 

Illyana now had a sarcastic expression with a half grin. "Who do you think won"?

 

Now Emma also had a sarcastic expression with a frown. "Did you throw yet another fight"?

 

Illyana's facial expression went all innocent like, as if butter wouldn't have melt in her mouth. "Now Emma would I deliberately lose a fight"?

 

"Yes, I have noticed that you tend to do that. Repeatedly. Very... manipulative and astute of you I might add".

 

A wicked grin from Illyana. "Always good to be underestimated".

 

Emma was feeling... pleased with the session. She asked a question. “Desert”?

 

“Hmm, no I…” Illyana caught the gleam in Emma’s eyes and the sinful smile. “Ummm...".

 

Ahhh, Emma thought to herself. She's still surprisingly naive about so many things. Who would have thought that a simple inquiry would fluster a Hell Lord.

 

Illyana thought upon the question and then answered. "Hmm, I suppose I could be… tempted. Any… suggestions”?

 

Just an even more wicked grin from Emma as she slowwwwwllllyyyy licked her lips, which actually brought a slight blush to Illyana's face.

 

Emma went for the kill. "Well... Lockheed does need a nap after his gluttonous feast and... I'm certain that we can find something to occupy themselves with...".

 

Illyana grinned back. They departed the restaurant and...

 

Yea, they did find something to occupy themselves with...

Chapter Text

 

Part 10: The Bar With No Doors

 

It was nighttime and Illyana stood next to a brick wall in New York City. Two shopping bags each continuing two boxes were at her feet. She was dressed in her black field costume of short shorts, gloves, boots, and that very revealing top.

 

She had on her usual stoic facial expression, but in reality she was very nervous. This was a big step for her. Almost everybody would be a complete stranger, and some of the non strangers were people she'd kind of tried to kill or imprison when she was a Phoenix Five member (well... a bit more then kind of, like... really tried).

 

Illyana was about to do something she hadn't done since she had died. She was going out to a social event where everybody would be almost complete strangers apart from Doctor Strange. She was basically on her own.

 

Illyana pulled scrap of paper out of nowhere. It had ten entries. Four had lines through them. Entry seven simply said: Meet new people and make new friends.

 

Emmy had been very clear that the word "try" was to never be on the list. Try was a weasel word and Emma's impersonation of Yoda was really rather lame (There is no try, there is do and not do).

 

Illyana suddenly got a mental image of Luke Skywalker training with a Yoda dressed like Emma (white panties, corset, long blonde hair and a riding crop). After a prolonged fit of giggles (wow that version of Star Wars would be rather... interesting) she got hold of herself.

 

Illyana shoved the scrap of paper back into nowhere and groused to herself. Damn it. Illyana so hated it when Emma was right.

 

Let's do it.

 

Illyana hummed the enchantment to herself that would transport her to the bar by allowing herself to fade into a wall and pass into the bar that was deep within the ground of New York City. She had an internal giggle as she wondered just who the hell had decided to embedded the theme song lyrics from the TV show Cheers into the incantation.

 

All those nights when your've got no lights, the check is in the mail.

And your little angel hung the cat up by it's tail.

 

And your third fiancй didn't show!

 

Sometimes you wanna go..

 

Where everybody knows your name

and they're always glad you came.

You wanna be where you can see,

the troubles are all the same.

you wanna be where everybody knows your name.

 

She emerged from the wall into the Bar With No Doors holding a bag in each hand. A magicians only lounge, hidden deep within the bowels of New York City.

 

What did it look like? Well.. The décor was part seedy Tiki bar, part wicker, and part dive. It was dimly lit and there were lots of odd... things on the walls; plus old antique posters from magical Broadway acts. There were no electrical lights, just torches, candles, and Chinese lanterns of all colors.

 

Watch out for the black cats, they were part pest control and part security (you so don't want to see the pussies get riled up).

 

There were tables and booths and there was always the bar if one wanted a solitary drink. The bartender was a floating head in a jar by the name of Chondu (nice guy but not really interested in your problems, after all his head is in a jar so he was not very... sympathetic. He does make a Bloody Mary to die for though).

 

The ceiling was lost in shadows and the bar was filled with dark corners, leading to... Well let's just say that you should keep to the lit areas. There was a uni-sex bathroom that looked like it had been lifted from some 1960's bathroom (it had been cleaned since the 1960s but... was a bit unkempt as bar bathrooms tend to get).

 

Oh, and there was a small stage as well. Houdini had played there a few times and there was a rumor that Victor von Doom had once tried a stand up comic routine. Just once and... well it turns out heckling Doom is a really bad idea. Suffice it to say that he killed it (the heckler that is, not his act. Doom is a horrible comedian).

 

Illyana made her way to the bar, pushing past a few people (the bar was rather crowded, the rumor was that Magik was making an appearance). The noise of the bar did not change despite Illyana's presence. Something that she noticed in the back of her mind and something that... she liked. Nice to not have her presence be conversational poison for once.

 

There was only two people sitting at the bar. An old magician by the name of Monako, and some bug eyed creature (what ever it was, it was drinking shots).

 

She got to the bar and was confronted by the hovering head of Chondu. He greeted her and asked her the first of the ritual questions.

 

"Magik. As one who approaches us for the first time, did you bring the sacrifice"?

 

"I have". Illyana retrieved the boxes from the bags and placed them on the bar. She could feel the eyes of those present watching her.

 

She pulled some paper plates and plastic forks out of the bags and opened the boxes. Each box continued... a Red Velvet Cake (from Costco).

 

Chondu spoke a question to the crowd. "She has brought a sacrifice. Is it worthy of us"?

 

"It is" chanted back the crowd.

 

A knife floated from behind the bar and began to cut slices. The cut slices then floated onto a plate, with a fork, and floated out into the crowd.

 

Chondu asked the next ritual question "Are you prepared to pay the price"?

 

"I am" replied Illyana. She presented her Diner's club card (yea Diner's club card kind of sucks, but they have a lock on the inter-dimensional traffic).

 

"Drinks on Magik!" announced Chondu to the cheering of the crowd. The standing rule was a two thousand dollar max tab for first time attendees.

 

Chondu spoke again "Are you prepared to demonstrate singular and in concert with another"?

 

Illyana nibbled her lower lip, in apprehension, and then replied "I am". She produced a sheet of paper and it floated out of her hand over to Chondu who examined it.

 

The noise of the bar faded away into silence. She stepped away from the bar and walked over to the stage and stepped onto to it, turned and faced the crowd. The room went mostly dark and a white spotlight now illuminated Illyana.

 

She braced herself, held out her right hand and a microphone floated into her hand.

 

"Fire up the infernal machine!" bellowed Chondu.

 

Music began to play. It was an old big band song (minus the lyrics). Illyana began sing her version of Frank Sinatra's song My Way.

 

And now, the end is near;

I face the final curtain.

My friend, I'll say it clear,

I'll state my case, of which I'm certain.

 

I've lived a life that's full.

I've traveled each and every highway;

And more, much more than this,

I did it my way.

...

 

It was Karaoke Thursday at the bar with no doors. The traditional day that newcomers came to the bar and presented themselves with their oaths and offerings. Karaoke was actually available most nights if the mood was right.

 

...

Regrets, I've had a few;

But then again, too few to mention.

I did what I had to do

And saw it through without exemption.

 

I planned each charted course;

Each careful step along the byway,

And more, much more than this,

I did it my way.

...

 

Daimon Hellstrom whispered to a female companion. "Damn that's a good song choice. Better then mine when I first came here. Rather embarrassed that I sang Sympathy For The Devil".

 

...

Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew

When I bit off more than I could chew.

But through it all, when there was doubt,

I ate it up and spit it out.

I faced it all and I stood tall;

And did it my way.

...

 

Illyana sang with passion (and not completely on key). She was giving it all she had.

 

...

I've loved, I've laughed and cried.

I've had my fill; my share of losing.

And now, as tears subside,

I find it all so amusing.

 

To think I did all that;

And may I say - not in a shy way,

"Oh no, oh no not me,

I did it my way".

...

 

Illyana closed her eyes and sang the rest from memory.

 

For what is a man, what has he got?

If not himself, then he has naught.

To say the things he truly feels;

And not the words of one who kneels.

The record shows I took the blows -

And did it my way!

 

Yes, it was my way!

 

The crowd went wild! Major cheering and catcalls.

 

Illyana opened her eyes and smiled, then she giggled. That had been really fun; and so totally out of character. Maybe Emma was right, time to lighten up a little.

 

Chondu floated over to somebody in the crowd and whispered something to them. The person had a shocked expression and stared at Illyana who waved for them to come up to the stage.

 

Meanwhile...

 

"Mmmm good cake. Damn Costco makes a great red velvet cake". Mumbled Doctor Voodoo (his mouth was full and he was already on his third slice).

 

"Wouldn't know, can't eat it any more" complained Doctor Strange while eyeing the cake with longing.

 

"Still able to drink I see and I notice you're going for the good stuff since she's paying".

 

"Thank the gods above. Do you have any idea how much this stuff costs?" replied Doctor Strange.

 

Voodoo finally swallowed and then spoke again. "Good sized crowd, guess having Magik finally show up really peaked everybody's interest".

 

Shaman wandered over. "Ok, I lost the bet. She actually showed up and sang. Rounds are on me the next time we meet up".

 

"And none of that cheap Canadian swill you like. We want the good stuff" huffed Professor Xu as she floated over.

 

"You don't even drink" complained Shaman while mentally adding a zero or two to his anticipated bar tab.

 

"But others do and paying a gambling debt must be done with honor" Professor Xu replied will sipping her virgin Pina Colada (she loved pineapple based drinks).

 

"Do my eyes deceive me or has the end of world begun"? Shaman said with awe in his voice as he pointed to the stage.

 

"What?! What?!" Doctor Strange said with a bit of hasty panic as he turned around. He hoped Illyana wasn't one of those girls gone wild types. Things would get dicey once she sobered up and had time to get angry over any... actions she might regret.

 

No, Illyana had not taken off her top (thank the gods above, although.... NO! Banish that thought)!

 

Something even more improbable was taking place. Now both Illyana and... and Wanda Maximoff (The Scarlet Witch) were on the stage. Miss No more mutants and a former Phoenix Five band member were reuniting to sing a duet together, formally burying the hatchet (and not in each other's head so a major plus).

 

They looked at each other, each with a microphone in hand, and then Illyana began to sing I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That) by Meatloaf. Illyana sang with passion and intensity.

 

[Illyana:]

And I would do anything for love

I'd run right into hell and back

I would do anything for love

I'd never lie to you and that's a fact

But I'll never forget the way you feel right now,

Oh no, no way

I would do anything for love, but I won't do that

 

No, I won't do that

 

Anything for love

Oh, I would do anything for love

I would do anything for love, but I won't do that

No, I won't do that

 

Some days it don't come easy

Some days it don't come hard

Some days it don't come at all, and these are the days that never end

Some nights you're breathing fire

Some nights you're carved in ice

Some nights you're like nothing I've ever seen before or will again

...

 

"Wow. Who would have thunk it. Never in a million years would I believe that was possible". Shaman said while looking at his drink (he was wondering if somebody had slipped him something).

 

"No. It's real. I see it as well". Said Doctor Strange.

 

...

[Illyana:]

Some days I pray for silence

Some days I pray for soul

Some days I just pray to the god of sex and drums and rock 'n' roll

Some nights I lose the feeling

Some nights I lose control

Some nights I just lose it all when I watch you dance and the thunder rolls

 

Maybe I'm lonely, that's all I'm qualified to be

That's just one and only, the one and only promise I can keep

 

As long as the wheels are turning

As long as the fires are burning

As long as your prayers are coming true

You'd better believe it, that I would do

...

 

Professor Xu stated with a tone of aloof enlightenment. "Peace and harmony under the mandate of heaven. I am content this day".

 

Count Kaoz (a Russian sorcerer and rather... grimy) was enthralled. Before he had always had to go to rather seedy bars to see something like this. Now if only it would turn into a girl gone wild situation (he had all the DVDs).

 

Now it was Wanda's turn to sing and she also gave it her all. Both of them were shamelessly over acting and being dramatic in how they sang.

 

...

[Wanda:]

Will you raise me up? will you help me down?

Will you get me right out of this godforsaken town?

Will you make it all a little less cold?

 

[Illyana:]

I can do that

I can do that

 

[Wanda:]

Will you hold me sacred? Will you hold me tight?

Can you colorize my life, I'm so sick of black and white?

Can you make it all a little less old?

 

[Illyana:]

I can do that

Oh no, I can do that

...

 

"Is... is Illyana trying to come on to Wanda"? Whispered Doctor Voodoo to Doctor Strange.

 

"Well... Wanda is a brunette...". Strange left unsaid the remainder of his thoughts.

 

...

[Wanda:]

Will you make me some magic with your own two hands?

Will you build and emerald city with these grains of sand?

Can you give me something I can take home?

 

[Illyana:]

I can do that

I can do that

 

[Wanda:]

Will you cater to every fantasy I got?

Will you hose me down with holy water, if I get too hot?

Will you take me places I've never known?

 

[Illyana:]

I can do that

Oh no, I can do that

...

...

El Madico Misticao (the magical bigwig of Mexico) whispered " La mejor noche de Karaoke vez (Best Karaoke night ever)"!

 

Mahatma Doom whispered back. "Much would I give to see them sing I got you babe".

 

...

[Wanda:]

After a while you'll forget everything

It was a brief interlude and a midsummer night's fling

And you'll see that it's time to move on

 

[Illyana:]

I won't do that

I won't do that

 

[Wanda:]

I know the territory, I've been around

It'll all turn to dust and we'll all fall down

Sooner or later you'll be screwing around

 

[Illyana:]

I won't do that

No, I won't do that

 

Anything for love

Oh, I would do anything for love

I would do anything for love, but I won't do that

No, I won't do that

 

Again the crowd went nuts as the song finished and they both took a bow.

 

The bar closed late that night and Illyana became a regular attendee when time permitted.

Chapter Text

Part 11: Early warning signs

 

Vittles. Never forget the vittles.

 

Not the most insightful bit of wisdom, but one that stuck in Victor's mind.

 

It was early evening and Victor Creed (A.K.A Sabretooth) was outside sitting on a bench at the Jean Grey School memorial park holding a slightly soggy paper plate, the kind that aren't plastic coated so they tend to soak up liquids. A plate holding some potato salad, some barbequed sausages soaked in spicy hot sauce, half a pickle, an oatmeal cookie, and a little white plastic fork and knife. He also had a six pack of Coke.

 

He was eating alone (which was no big surprise). The other attendees were either by the pool, inside at the dining hall, or cloistered in meetings. Only one meeting was of any importance, the one that the Boss was attending. The Boss being Erik Lehnsherr, or more commonly known by his stage name Magneto (the stage in this case being the world).

 

The meeting about the Terrigen Mists and what was happening to mutants.

 

Blazes, he even found himself eating differently and enjoying different kinds of foods. He had always liked spicy, but now... Mmmm... now he loved hot sauce on his meat instead of... well... it being rather raw.

 

Figures the Runt would go and die grumbled Victor to himself. Probably did it just to spite me. Man he'd have been eating a crow the size of Elvis just for letting Victor be here. Not that being a good guy was all sweets and roses. No... rather sucked due to Victor's history and past actions.

 

Victor downed one of the cans of Coke in one long gulp (And since when did I start liking soda)?

 

Victor heard, and smelled, somebody coming up the gravel path. Shit... It's her. She always gave him the willies, although he hid it well. Something about her scent...

 

Illyana came around a path corner, he was also holding a paper plate (containing a cheeseburger) and holding a coke.

 

"You my minder girl"? Victor grumbled.

 

"Yep" Illyana answered as she approached and then sat down on the same bench as Victor (which was very deliberate, intrude on his space as it were).

 

"Why you"?

 

"Take a whiff and guess" was Illyana's answer.

 

Victor scowled. Not even a hint of fear or hated from her. Hell, she smelled bored, not a scent most folks had around him.

 

"Did you volunteer or were you asked"? Victor inquired as he grinned evilly while munching a sausage.

 

"Asked. You rather wig out most of the folks here and Storm felt that the ones who wanted to be your babysitter were just a bit too eager".

 

"You think you can take me"?

 

"Yep" Illyana replied as she started munching on her burger.

 

"Any big plans or are you just going to gut me with that sword of yours"?

 

"Acid. I'll teleport you into Limbo and plunge you into a a pool of demonic acid that is inhabited by demonic fly maggots that will strip all the flesh from your dissolving bones. It will be quick, but I suppose it would rather hurt".

 

Creed didn't bother to ask if she had the stones for it. She did, he could sense it.

 

"Weird isn't it"? Illyana asked.

 

"What"? Grumbled Victor. Everybody wanted to play psychiatrist with him.

 

"Being good. I find it so weird at times. I look back upon prior decisions I've made and I'm rather distressed by what I was and how I thought".

 

Victor eyed her out of the corner of his eyes. "Yea... it's weird".

 

"I can relate" was her reply as she took another bite of her burger.

 

"I suppose you can now that I think about it".

 

They ate in silence for a few minutes. Then Victor asked a question.

 

"Why aren't you in the big meeting"?

 

"No need, I've sided with Ororo on this. Plus... all that talk is rather boring".

 

"Yea... I feel the same way".

 

More silence.

 

"Wana fight"? Illyana asked.

 

"I guess so, but we first need to make sure that folks know that I'm not trying to kill you".

 

"Makes sense".

 

They got up to go inform that power's that be that they were going to engage in some combat to relieve the boredom.

 

Funny, Victor thought to himself, just don't feel like calling her a frail. She might look like a woman, but damn... so not...

 

Frail.

Chapter Text

This story has a tangential reference to my One Night Stand Story and has references to the story Cosmic Girl Talk and some thoughts about Secret Wars III and Battleworld and Illyana/Kitty discussions about it.

 

 I write these chapters as ideas come to me, likely there will be more chapters as we learn about the death of X.

 

Part 12: Exfoliation

 

Illyana floated in the nothing that Limbo currently was.

 

It was time to decide. She had a decision to make, one that had been on her mind for quite some time. The recent game night with Kitty and the Guardian's of the Galaxy had finally motivated her.

 

KITTY FLASHBACK

 

“You’ve faded” Was Illyana’s comment as Kitty and Illyana walked down a corridor in the Guardian's spaceship.

 

Illyana and Kitty were hanging out together on the Guardian’s of the Galaxy space ship. Also present was Lockheed who was around Kitty’s neck. It had been game night and Kitty had invited Illyana to play (much to the annoyance of Rocket Raccoon who ended up aghast at Illyana's character burning down the temple of the divine Shick-No).

 

INTERLUDE

 

“Frack Illyana!” Raccoon had raged. “How come you always have such strange solutions? I swear you revel in chaos! You’re even worse then Gamora”!

 

“She’s definitely worse” had been Gamora’s comment which had earned her a dark oh just you wait glance from Illyana.

 

Illyana briefly explained. “Outcomes. Reality vs. fiction. Scripted narrative vs. freeform. Take count Dracula for example, resting in his crypt by day. What do the villages do”?

 

Drak bellowed his response (shouting was sometimes a thing with Drak) “They cower”!

 

Illyana winced at the volume. “Yes. When the solution was rather simple. Bright day, large quantifies of wood and oil. Whoosh, big ol’ fire and roasted brides of Dracula. The count was very unhappy and fled in search of a more… hospitable locality”.

 

“What game was this?” asked Kitty. She’d really gotten back into gaming since joining the Guardians.

 

Illyana suddenly looked embarrassed (Kitty was really the only one who could trigger that emotion in Illyana). “Ummm... I… Well... it kind of... happened for real while I was on my journey... back when I was… well... you know”.

 

“You killed Dracula?” asked a disbelieving Kitty.

 

“Ahhh… yea... a different dimension's Dracula. First we made him homeless and then killed him a few days later after running him to ground like a fox being chased by hounds. The count was very upset, felt it was beneath his station to be so treated”.

 

“We”?

 

“It’s a long story. Involved a… well kind of a friend. I’ll… maybe I’ll tell you someday. It’s… complicated”.

 

Kitty resolved to make someday happen a bit sooner, but not today.

 

END INTERLUDE

 

“I know. Not so easy come… but easy go I guess. Rather glad to be honest. I find it nice not having so much… insight into others”. Was Kitty’s reply.

 

Kitty and Illyana were walking away from the game room where Rocket could still be heard ranting “Menace I tell you! Menace to gamers everywhere! She should be…”.

 

“I am Groot”! Was Groot’s inevitable response.

 

“Oh… taking her side I see! Flaming fracknard traitor”!

 

“I am Groot” was the snide but expected reply (bet you saw that one coming).

 

What?!!! She bribed you? Oh the indignity! You always did have a weakness for...”

 

The voices faded away as Kitty and Illyana walked around a corner.

 

“You did that just to rile him up didn’t you?” smirked Kitty.

 

“Yep” Illyana replied with a slight grin. At least Kitty understood Illyana's sense of humor (at least some of the time).

 

“And the others who got boosted”? Asked Kitty returning to the topic of the Black Vortex.

 

“Faded just like you and Gamora”. Was Illyana’s reply. “Although Angel still has his new wings”.

 

“What are you and Gamora doing later? She said she’d meet up with you”?

 

“Oh… she found me to be a marginally acceptable... sparing partner. I think she wants a rematch on a little… competition we had”. Illyana said with a slight grin.

 

“Humph… Gamora likes to fight way too much. Well... have fun with that”.

 

“I plan to” was Illyana’s dead pan reply.

 

Illyana broached an unpleasant topic. “Umm you and Peter still… Um… having… ummm...”.

 

“Problems? Yea. I’m… I don’t know. We keep… we keep. I’m not sure. We’ll figure it out”.

 

“Ok”. Illyana said as she retreated from the topic.

 

“So… we all faded but you…”.

 

“Was what I was before the Black Vortex and did not eat of its fruit so... yea still walking around with the power of Limbo”.

 

"Why didn't you eat of the fruit as it were"? Asked Kitty.

 

"You saw my reflection in that thing, right"? Illyana had an exasperated tone as she replied, like that was the answer.

 

"Yea..."? Kitty replied in a questioning tone.

 

"I looked like Lady Gaga for crying out loud. Now you might not have issues dressing that badly...".

 

"Hey, sensitive topic! Lay off my inability to come up with a proper look"! Retorted Kitty.

 

"But I have standards. Plus I like wearing black". Finished Illyana.

 

Kitty stated the obvious. "Black does look good on you, but frankly not much material in that costume of yours. Why on earth do you like showing so much skin"?

 

Illyana had a musing look as she replied. "Not quite sure... Likely influenced by Emma. Maybe some mental residue from when we were Phoenix? I like the look so it's not an issue with me".

 

"Still... It's rather... out there even for you".

 

"Just being me Kitty".

 

"How goes working with the X-Men and the Jean Grey School"?

 

"Getting better, some of them are actually trusting me more. Bobby for one which is a bit of a surprise. In fact Ororo, Bobby and I were in a training session before I came here for game night".

 

TRAINING FLASHBACK

 

“Shards”! Cried Illyana as she plummeted from the sky! Her lower body was encased in ice and a hurricane force downdraft had overcome her own levitation/flying spell (due to the massively increase surface area that the ice was providing the wind).

 

Illyana franticly struggled to free herself from the ice. She cast a spell to radiated heat from her body, but it was to no avail as the ice kept renewing itself as fast as she could melt it. Her attempts to hack at the ice with her sword were useless as she had no leverage to get a really good swing going.

 

She impacted the ground before she could switch to a different stratagem. Impacted with sufficient force to drive her body deep underground in an explosion of earth and rock and ice (the two plus tons of ice was responsible for that).

 

“Oh shit Storm”! Uttered Bobby in dismay, both giving voice to his concerns and accidently describing the situation to a tee. “Did we just kill Magik”?

 

Bobby was flying about the sky on his ice ramp while Storm was flying about on the winds. Just prior to Bobby trying to freezing the hell out of Magik, but only able to encase her lower half, Storm had unleashed a massive lightning storm against the levitating Magik (who used her sword to defect and absorb the lethal lightning).

 

Ororo had a look of aghast horror. “Bright Goddess I pray we have not Bobby”!

 

Ororo and Bobby were involved in a remote training session with Illyana. The danger room was simply insufficient for full power exercises for the likes of Bobby and Ororo. Not to mention that there really were very few people they could fully cut loose against. Illyana had ported the three of them to a remote locale and was engage in a two on one combat with them so as to the two of them the chance to fully engage their offensive abilities (It had been Bobby's idea).

 

Illyana had first cast some major safety wards and spells to ensure that quote “Don’t want to end up accidently killing each other” end quote.

 

Bobby's ice ramp suddenly disintegrated. Behind them Illyana had ported into existence and had used her sword to destroy his ramp.

 

Bobby tried to generate a new slide, only to find that he was enclosed in a zero percent humidly magical shell. He had time only for a single screamed “SHITTTTTT”! before it was his turn to impact the ground in an ice shattering impact.

 

Illyana spit out a mouthful of dirt. “Back at you Storm” was her comment as she unleashed lightning from her sword.

 

Ororo shrieked in pain as she received the blast (partially absorbed and partially deflected). Her concentration disrupted and now it was her turn to fall from the sky.

 

A reformed Bobby (breaking Bobby into bits is far from fatal for Bobby as he is made of ice after all, just needed to put the pieces back together again) quickly created a ice slide to change her fall. He turned to confront Illyana but she was gone. Bobby then screamed in surprised pain as Illyana’s sword cut off his left ice arm.

 

Another hurricane gust of wind swept Illyana off of her feet and sent her sliding on now frozen ground. Then a truly massive lightning strike from the sky fried Illyana where she lay.

 

And with that the battle was over, apart from the popping and hissing sounds of the now cooling ground and... Bobby cussing up a storm.

 

After a minute or so Ororo gingerly got to her feet (remember frozen ground). “Bobby are you well”?

 

“Yea... Shit! I hate it when I get broken up. Hurts like a bitch when I switch back to human form. You”?

 

“I fear I shall be very ache in the morning”.

 

What? No words of concern for me”? A rather singed and smoking Illyana stated as she climbed to her feet out of the small crater. Her hair was completely standing on end and she looked rather like a singed blonde cotton ball.

 

“NO”! Bobby and Ororo both said at the same time. Then they started to giggle and then laugh at Illyana's appearance.

 

"What? Do I have something on my face"? Illyana asked with some confusion as she looked down upon her body (making sure that she didn't have a boob showing or something. That had happened once in the New Mutants and Sam had turned such a bright shade of red).

 

Bobby collapsed in laugher and a giggling Ororo pulled out her phone and took a picture.

 

Illyana materialized a mirror and gazed upon her blond singed afro. Then she too started to giggle and then laugh.

 

The laughter finally simmered down and Bobby got to his feet. "That was too funny. Reminds me of the time that Magneto got the ass part of his costume blown off but didn't notice that his cheeks were flapping in the wind. Man was his upset at the press photo".

 

A minor enchantment from Illyana fixed her hair, and then she said with a smirk. “Well, time for round two I suppose. Hope it's as fun as round one”.

 

Both Ororo and Bobby groaned.

 

SOME TIME LATER

 

Bobby and Ororo were in Ororo’s office. Bobby was lying down on a couch (in human form) with an ice pack on his head, a heating pad on his shoulder and a large, and very stiff, drink in his hand (drinking it with a straw).

 

Ororo was leaning back in the leather chair that was behind her desk and contemplating taking a nap in it (well... more the contemplating).

 

“I hurt” complained Bobby. “I hurt in places that shouldn’t be capable of hurting. Heck my hurt's hurt. Even my earlobes hurt, never even knew that possible”.

 

“I shall indulge in take a long hot bath” was Ororo’s comment. “Just as soon as I find the energy to get out of this chair. Soon now… so very soon”.

 

Bobby continued. "I can see now why her former students said she was such a hard ass. Like she out Scott'd Scott on training. But... makes sense. I mean think about it... Her formative mentors since she came back from the dead, and that mysterious journey of hers, were Scott, Emma and Magneto for crying out loud".

 

"Ruthless, violent, no hesitation, goes for the throat, and a distinct tendency not to gloat until after the dagger is in the back and twisted". Observed Ororo as she commented upon Illyana's combat behavior.

 

"Sarcastic... don't forget sarcastic". Complained Bobby.

 

"How forgetful of me... yes very sarcastic at times".

 

Bobby groaned his response after a long sip. “That was a good training session. Very… invigorating. Need to do that again in a year or two or like… never”.

 

“It was your idea Bobby”.

 

“Shoot me next time, I'm rather sure that it would be much less painful. Where is she anyway”?

 

“Said that she had a game night to go attend. Kitty apparently invited her”.

 

“After all that and she’s mobile”?

 

“Omega class Bobby. Omega class”.

 

“So are we”.

 

“I know”. Groan. “I know. Remember how many folks Scott had in his office when we locked her up”?

 

“Yea… but that was because we thought… shit I don’t… Guess Omega for more than her teleportation time thingy she can do”.

 

“Yes according to Scott’s and Emma’s notes”.

 

“You have their notes”?

 

“Scott... provide me a copy quite some time ago”.

 

“Why”?

 

“He felt that Illyana’s capabilities and state of mind needed to be… comprehended by other X leaders”.

 

“What I understand is the need for a hot tub. What say you Ororo? Ororo”?

 

Ororo quietly started to snore.

 

“Yea, I second that idea”. Bobby turned on his side with a hiss of pain and likewise took a nap as well. Next time he was so not going to take it easy on her. Yea next time…

 

snore.

 

END TRAINING FLASHBACK

 

"Learned that an afro hair style is so not a good look for me".

 

"What"?!

 

Illyana pulled an iPhone out of nowhere and showed Kitty the picture that Ororo had taken. Kitty promptly got the giggles and they exchanged laughter for a bit. Then Illyana broached a question that had been on her mind lately.

 

"Um Kitty... mind if I ask you a rather weird question"?

 

"No, shoot".

 

"Have you been having any... strange dreams? By strange I mean... being on another world and being another... person. Somebody like you but... different... but still... well you".

 

"Ok, that's weird. Ummm... no. Weird dreams yea. There was this one with Peter and I and we were... ummmn... never mind. But nothing weird like that. Care to provide any details?   Come-on... spill the beans to momma Pryde".

 

"It's... foggy. I'm... on this strange planet and I'm forced to fight for a god I despise. And that god is Victor von Doom of all people. Yea... like I said, weird. I'm sentenced to fight on this wall that blocks evil robots and zombies, but... I meet somebody and... I really... like... them. Like them... a lot".

 

Kitty gave Illyana a sly look. "Really like in like... you know...".

 

"Yea... like like that".

 

"Was he cute"?

 

"Yea... she was".

 

"Oh...".

 

"Yea...".

 

"Umm... is that a thing with you now"?

 

"Not sure... I find attraction to be less gender based and more person specific. Certain... traits appeal to me I guess".

 

"Ok, not an issue with me. Heck I swear Rachel chased me for like ages. Was this a one time dream or does it reoccur"?

 

"The dream comes and goes. Rather... well it's like it's more of a memory then a dream... and... well... it's really odd. Sorry to both you about it but I wanted... guess I wanted to talk to somebody about it".

 

Kitty repeated her prior opinion. "I think you should do what I keep telling you should start seeing people... dating".

 

"Kind of hard to date somebody like me".

 

"So do something about that. We both know you can".

 

END KITTY FLASHBACK

 

Illyana floated in the void that was Limbo and thought.

 

What am I is at least a better question then who am I? Rather glad to be past who am I stage. I… I’ve been so much, been through so much, been so reduced and lost. Yet after all that has happened I’m… Illyana. And I’m really happy about that.

 

Am I a continuation of the prior me? Am I just the continuation of me? Don’t know and don’t care any more. I’m me and… I’m ok with that. Shards... I’m even beginning to like me.

 

Better question is what am I? Dr. Strange and I have theories, but not definitive proof. I may be...

 

An extension of Limbo itself given form and consciousness.

I may just be Illyana merged with Limbo.

I may be a bit of both.

Or just potentially the strongest sorceress in recent history. Time will tell I suppose.

 

Not sure what I truly am, not sure what I truly want to be. But… the power that I’ve consumed will make choices for me due to the implications.

 

Limbo stands empty and that is one path. Or… I can take another. One more… mortal.

What do I want? I’m…

 

I want me.

I want to be me.

I want to see what I might become.

I want... I want the chance to...

 

So the choice is easy.

 

There was no burst of light. No big bang. Just… one moment Limbo was empty and the next moment it was not. Still not a good place, still a reflection of its ruler so still… nasty.

 

Illyana stood upon a mountain top and survived Limbo.

 

Yea… that’s better.

 

Was rather tired of feeling too big for my skin.

Chapter Text

Part 13a: Schism that was

 

Quite some time ago, before the Extinction team and the formation of the Jean Grey School (JGS)...

 

Scott and Emma were observing Logan via the cameras in the X-Brig; and Scott was fuming about it.

 

"This was not part of the agreement". Scott complained to Emma.

 

"Logan appears to be taking a more... flexible interpretation of the phrase voluntary residence". Was her reply.

 

"She's locked up for a reason. Good reasons damn it".

 

"Reasons that he was never fully onboard with".

 

"We can't just let her walk out and leave".

 

"No... and yet can we say no if she accepts"?

 

"We could try... but...". Scott grimaced. Things had already turned to crap, now he was contemplating it burning as well.

 

"Schism is better then outright civil war". Emma concluded.

 

 

Part 13b: X-Brig, 500 feet beneath the waves

 

Illyana was standing in her X-Brig cell. As always she is wearing bomb jacket. She had regained her bangs as her jailors had finally allowed her hair to be cut.

 

Logan is visiting in civilian clothing (cowboy hat, jeans, boots, and a red flannel shirt with the sleeves rolled up). He looks tired and grumpy and fed up (which he is). Schism was upon the tribe of Mutants. Everybody who was voluntarily at Utopia was being asked by Wolverine if they want to leave for the JGS.

 

A splitting. Sides are being picked. Boxes are being packed. Words are being exchanged, some kind and some not so kind. Even some fisticuffs.

 

Logan had come to ask Illyana (A.K.A Magik) if she would like to leave. He had explained to her what had happened, the big fight with both the Hellfire club sentinel and Scott.

 

"Are you asking all the other prisoners"? Was her initial response.

 

"No kid, just you".

 

"Why me"?

 

"Because I think you deserve the opportunity. A do-over".

 

"At what"?

 

"Life. Something beyond all that has happened to you".

 

Illyana appeared to be thinking it over. Then looked around with her eyes and raised one hand in some kind of gesture indicating the whole cell as she asked a kind of silent question. Logan gruffly answered her.

 

"No, I don't have permission to take you assuming you choose to leave".

 

"Then that might be a problem" Illyana relied.

 

"I'm ok with that if it comes to that".

 

Illyana sat down on her shelf of a cot and turned her head sideways in thought.

 

"Will the people who are leaving with you be ok with it"?

 

Logan was silent.

 

"Yea, I kind of thought that". Illyana replied with an ironic half grin. "Have... Kitty and my brother decided"?

 

"Petties staying, Kitty's going".

 

"What... would be my status if I said yes? Student? Instructor? Staff? Outcast? Jailor? Or... still a prisoner"?

 

"Don't know... that would be for the group to decide".

 

Illyana hesitated and then asked a question while not looking Logan in the eye.

 

"So... Utopia almost falls. All is lost and... both Scott and you leave me in this cell. Why was that"?

 

Now Logan was the one to look away as he answered. "Mistrust. It... it fit the scenario of an Illyana prison break. That you might have... arranged it or known of it. That it was all a setup to make you look good, to be the hero at the last second".

 

Illyana had an ironic and bitter smile. "Thank you for the honesty. Don't get much of that from folks. Nice to have it said out loud what folks think of me".

 

Illyana sighed. "Logan I do not think this is a good idea, you and those who have decided to leave. There are too few of us left".

 

"Been said by others, been rejected by others. Some are leaving, some are staying".

 

Illyana twirled a piece of hair. "I do wish to be free but... I suspect if I leave, and was actually permitted to leave, that your... group makeup would change. Don't... think I'd be welcome. And... I don't wish to trouble Kitty".

 

Illyana continued. "I'm a prisoner. But even if I wasn't, I suspect I would find it just as difficult to leave. You... can go now Logan. Your... courtesy offer has been made and... rejected".

 

Another smile from her that conveyed no joy. "Your plans are safe, no need to figure out how to accommodate the demon".

 

Logan grumbled. "Dislike it that you're still calling yourself that".

 

"And what would you have me call myself in its place"?

 

Again silence from Logan.

 

"Yea... me too Logan. I wish I was not as I am. But tell me... did you really think I'd know of or arrange that"?

 

Logan's silence was all the answer that Illyana got.

 

"Yea... thought so. I'll stay. You really don't need the bother of my presence. After all, how do you trust somebody the telepaths can't read and who can lie to your face and even you can't tell"?

 

Logan asked a question. "How is that anyway? Nothing shifts with you. Your scent, your heartbeat, everything is the same regardless of truth or lie. Is it self control or something else"?

 

Illyana kind of answered. "I... I don't think... I don't think I'm... Kind of back to that whole demon thing. I would not be good for your new school, nor would I be... welcome".

 

Logan turned to go. "Goodbye kid".

 

"Goodbye Logan. And thank you for the offer".

 

 

Part 13c: Plans change (some time later)

 

Emma had an exasperated tone. "Let met get this straight. You didn't let her out because you're concerned that is was all a setup. So now you're contemplating letting her out for this new team of yours"?

 

"Things change Emma. I'm trying to play the hand I have, not the hand I wish I had".

 

"And there are fewer cards in the deck now I suppose". Emma finished.

 

"Yea... Everybody keeps taking potshots at us. We need a heavy hitter team".

 

"And that's not a potential setup? Reduce your options until you think you have no choice"?

 

Scott replied. "If so then she's outmaneuvering us on a scale that I simply can't conceive of. But the truth be told I don't think so anymore. I really don't think she does know the future because she doesn't want to. and we need to make use of the resources left to us".

 

"Concur darling... concur".

Chapter Text

Part 14: Kitty

 

Kitty was sitting at a kitchen table (there were in fact several tables in kitchen) having some morning coffee. The others were out on an endurance hike and general training march with Illyana (Scott was sleeping in late). It had been a long couple of days and Kitty was just enjoying the coffee and the down time when Emma wandered in.

 

Emma was wearing a robe and had her hair done up on a towel (shed' just had a shower). Emma look surprised to see Kitty.

 

"Oh Kitty... I thought you would be out with the other exercise fanatics".

 

"Naaaa" Kitty said as she sipped her coffee (wow this place has really great coffee was her thought). "I figured that I'd get extra whining but leaving Illyana to do it would shut most of them up; except Bobby that is, but even he shut up quickly after a glare from Illyana". Bobby had been complaining about the death march, as he put it.

 

"Yes..." Emma slowly stated as she pored herself a cup as well. "Our little Magik has ways of making people... compliant".

 

"Yea she does tend to have the affect on people", Kitty replied with a thoughtful look.

 

Emma sat down at the table. "So Kitty, how do you like this concrete mutant warehouse and general purpose end of the world bunker"?

 

Kitty was not delighted to be talking to Emma, but that was one of the prices she knew she'd have to pay for being here. "It suffices".

 

Emma gave Kitty a questing look. Like what Kitty had said was slightly surprising.

 

"What"? Was Kitty's response to the look.

 

"Your not the first person to use that statement although not in this context. Hmmm, tell me just what the heck happened between you and Illyana? One moment your spitting distain and hate at her, the next you're all chummy again"?

 

"That's private, Illyana and I just... talked. She convinced me without actually trying to convince me that she was... real. That she was... she was her".

 

"Anything else"?

 

"Since when did you care"?

 

"Kitty, I am her part time therapist and one time partner in the Phoenix Five. While her mind shields were just as effective, I did learn much more about the general state of her mind once we were conjoined by the Phoenix".

 

"Anything that you'd care to share"?

 

"She greatly concerned me before Phoenix, she scared the hell out of me after we were no longer Phoenix. Once I knew just how... once I actually understood her mental landscape. A landscape that I suspect is undergoing changes now".

 

"Yea... she doesn't feel... she feels different. Like a person is looking out of her eyes instead of a...". Kitty sought a different word then the one she was going to use.

 

"Predator". Emma finished.

 

Kitty glared at Emma. "That's not nice".

 

"Correct, and neither is she. And nothing that you yourself haven't been saying for months. But she appears to be... trying now. Something happened between the two of you after you came here. Things were happening with her before but they are happening faster now that you are present. I would like to know what it was assuming it is not unpleasant or some sex thing between the two of you".

 

Ahhh, Emma just so knew how to push Kitty's buttons and learn what she wanted without using telepathy.

 

"Nothing happened! She... she was moody and talking about her brother, then she just tried to hug me and I phased and she passed though me and fell down the icy sloop. I ran after her and apologized for that as I didn't expect her to try to hug me as she's so not a hugger. Then I gave her a hug and we talked for a bit as I held her".

 

"You hugged her? You held her"?

 

"Yea... no big deal".

 

"You"?

 

"Yes. Why is that a big deal"?

 

Emma looked at Kitty with a very thoughtful expression. "Because she hates herself. And you are one of the defining measuring rods of that hate. Possibly the biggest".

 

"What the heck are you talking about"?

 

"As I said before. I learned the mental landscape but not the memories. She was very... disturbed, less so now since whatever that beast Dormmanu did to her apparently rectified some internal separation between her and her soul. You and her brother are... key to much of her... self identity, good and bad".

 

Kitty just gave Emma a confused and somewhat angry look. Emma continued.

 

"She died, was brought back years later, and some massively bad things happened to her that she shields that like the dickens so I have no actual idea as to the details but it doesn' take a genius to guess what likely happened once I saw the mental landscape. She did bad things to our former students before she awoke to the understanding of what she'd once been and the first thing she does is kick everybody out and hide? For that was what she was really doing... hiding. Hiding from her brother... hiding from you".

 

"But she finally came back".

 

"To find you gone... we didn't tell her that you were trapped and lost in that bullet. We later concluded she must have found out and... well we think she had a nervous breakdown over it for unknown reasons. Went off in search of her blood stones and only returned to our time after years had passed for her. Years and yet never rescued you. Again it doesn't take a genius to figure out that for some reason she likely couldn't".

 

"She has her soul now".

 

"Yea she does. Didn't make any difference until Dormmanu and her future brother died in her arms".

 

"Yea... we... we spoke about that".

 

The conversation stalled for a minute before Kitty continued. Asked a question that was so bugging her.

 

"Was I wrong Emma? Was she... was she Yana all along"?

 

Emma replied as honestly as she could. "Truthfully I'd say no, especially after whatever happened to her. Your Yana killed herself".

 

Kitty opened her mouth to protest and Emma shushed her. "Hear me out for once. You asked and I'm trying to answer. Your Yana killed herself. Yes it was a noble sacrifice, but it was suicide. And everybody ended up with the bonus prize of a young unstained Illyana in her place whom almost everybody liked so much better".

 

"Who wasn't Yana". Muttered Kitty.

 

"No she wasn't. She was a sweet, nice child. You and Peter did well with her, but she died of that blasted legacy virus. But the young Illyana who died was never your Yana and never would be. Tell me Kitty, how did that make you feel"?

 

"Why should I tell you"?

 

"Because this conversation is as much about you as it is about Illyana. I'm not trying to be a bitch about this, I'm actually trying to facilitate understanding as that understanding is critical for both of you. Plus I have some measure of... affection for Illyana and I really want you and her to... be reconciled".

 

"Angry. I felt... Angry".

 

"How so"?

 

"Yana never... came back. So many people come back and Yana... never did. Never returned. She died and she stayed dead, and then young Illyana died as well. I... I kept expecting... but it never happened. Then..."

 

Emma finished. "Then she did comeback, but as Darkchilde, not Yana. And did so many nasty things".

 

"Yea... Why did she? Was she just... evil? Or..."?

 

Emma stirred her coffee. "Yes she was rather evil and... well she let me look at her memories in my office once, when she explained why she traveled back in time to supposedly save the X-Men; when in reality it was her plan to regain her soul. I only saw the memories she allowed me to see but I was very disturbed by the mental undercurrents. She scared me".

 

"How so"?

 

"I realized I had a predator in my office. What looked out of her eyes was not really human".

 

"So getting her soul back really changed her"?

 

"Apparently yes, but it took time and additional events. Plus Hank was right that we... didn't take the right therapy approach. That ability to block mind reading apparently makes telepaths rotten therapists. We... misinterpret the little mental leakage that we did get. The fact that she got on so well with Laura was really an obvious sign in hindsight, one that I only realized after we became Phoenix and I had access to her mental landscape".

 

Emma continued. "She was evil, demonic, that is what Darkchilde was after all. But what she also was was feral. One doesn't just turn feral Kitty. It takes a great deal of abuse or trauma over a prolonged amount of time. It was so clear in the mindscape, and her ability to block mind reading was a blessing as I really didn't want to find out just what that level and duration of abuse was required to reduce one such as her to that state".

 

"So she was crazy"?

 

"Bonkers".

 

"Didn't act crazy".

 

"Not quite true. Yes she was very function but she was completely detached and incapable of properly judging her actions. Something she knew by the way. Darkchilde evil behaviors apparently look very similar to Darkchilde crazy behaviors. That insight to her decision making process left me very scared of her as her decision making process was not comprehensible to rational logic. It made perfect sense to her but her ability to see things was damaged".

 

"So what changed"? Kitty was rather sure she knew but she wanted Emma's opinion.

 

"Dormmanu. She came back in a panic from the first encounter. The fact that she was in a panic was the first clue that something profound had changed. She was mentally leaking all over the place and the Cuckoos were able to take a look as her shields were down. What they saw was panic and feelings. She was feeling and was in a panic about the feelings and about her survival and her prior actions. She couldn't understand any more why she had done what she had done. It didn't make sense to her. In short her perceptions had changed. The girls and I think her soul was finally merged into her and what resulted was...".

 

Kitty finished. "My Yana".

 

"Or something very close. I suspect that the work she's been doing with a different dimension's Doctor Strange has done her a great deal of good. She wasn't your Yana before, not after... whatever happened to her. But I think she is now".

 

"So what do I do now? Pretend she's ok? That she didn't do the things that she did"?

 

"No... likely just find out who she really is. I don't' think she even knows anymore and that tends to scare a person".

 

Emma's eyes narrowed as she looked at Kitty. "Be carful Kitty. You are in a position of great... influence".

 

"Yea right".

 

"You hold the ability to hurt her. I think only her brother and you can actually do that and her brother is a dense as that steel body he wears".

 

Another hostile glare from Kitty. "What do you mean"?

 

"Scott and I tried numerous times to make Peter understand that she was damaged, different, harmed. That pretending that she was the same as she was before was not correct therapy. That she was rejecting it and telling him to his face but he kept refusing to listen. That he was actually hurting her by being blind to what she'd become".

 

"And a hug from me makes such a big difference"?

 

"Yea Kitty, I think it does".

 

"So be nice or... else"?

 

"No Kitty. I think there are two people she'd do anything for. Anything... How you view her is how she in part judges herself".

 

Kitty nibbled her lower lip. She really didn't like what she was hearing or what it might imply as to Illyana's mental condition and... how... how it might have been made worse by...

 

"So you're saying it's all my fault".

 

"No Kitty, I'm saying she... she's been... crazy and is likely still... unstable. And... acceptance may be her greatest desire and fear. To believe is a great step forward, but what we believe sets the direction of that journey. That's what I mean by holding influence. Consider what you say with at least some care. Words hurt the most when they come from those we love".

 

Kitty was silent for a minute, then. "Something to think about".

 

Emma came up with some analogies. "Think of rain in a dessert, or better yet a diamond. Dense and unbreakable. But diamonds have cleavage plains. Hit them in just the right spot and they cut in two or even shatter. Try, for once, to think about your words before you go off in one of your hot headed denouncements that you periodically indulge in".

 

Kitty responded with a chuckle. "Well... you should know about cleavage. And I can't help but notice that she's taking after a certain somebody on showing it".

 

Kitty suddenly got a wide eyed look. "Oh God, she was in your head as well. And afterwards she starts dressing like you. Please tell me that she doesn't now have a thing for Scott ".

 

Emma chuckled back. "Imitating one's betters is always a sign of good taste and intelligence; and no, she doesn't have a think for Scott". Emma left unsaid who, if anybody, Illyana might have a thing for.

 

"Good... that would be horror". Was Kitty's relieved declaration.

 

"Yes... yes it would". Was Emma's likewise conclusion.

 

Kitty stood up. "Well, things to get done before the gaggle of students return".

 

Kitty walked off after first putting the cup in the dishwasher, leaving Emma alone in the kitchen. Alone with her thoughts.

 

Emma grumbled to herself as she got another cup of coffee. "Worse idea ever sending you down to the X-Brig to have a shouting match with her".

 

The thought had been to shock Illyana with Kitty. Yea Illyana had been shocked all right. Likely shocked right into a complete emotional shutdown just as she was starting to recover. Emma continued to think about certain decisions, how schism might have gone or even been avoided if a certain teleporter had not been locked up.

 

Damn it, why did demonic crazy look just like demonic evil. Yea, Illyana had failed so many people, but at least she had the excuse of being crazy; an excuse she refused to actually use.

 

What was everybody else's excuse?

Chapter Text

Part 15a: Gentlemen's agreement

 

Erik (Magneto) and Sebastian Shaw were seated in a very plush and private small lounge hidden away on one of the upper floors of the Hellfire club. It was a rainy New York evening and rivulets of water were streaking down the room’s windows.

 

The two were sitting in those old style English gentlemen's club high back riveted leather chairs facing each other over a small table that held a decanter of Scotch. Shaw always felt that Scotch was the drink to seal deals with; the more important the deal, the better the Scotch. This was Dalmore Constellation 1964, very old. Very very good.

 

Erik was dressed as the white king. He had on a three piece suit with a white shirt and white gloves; his socks were grey and his shoes were black. Shaw was dressed in his usual formal black attire while wearing grey gloves.

 

“Wasn’t really sure you’d actually accept my dear fellow” mused Shaw as he took another sip of his drink.

 

“One does what one must in such difficult times” stated Erik as he too took another sip.

 

Shaw savored his drink, took a deep sniff from the glass, and then continued. “I like that you have resumed your old look. Hairlessness... does not suit you”.

 

Erik scowled in remembrance of... things. “I am forced to agree. And the taunts were very… infantile”.

 

“Yes… Baldneto was the term I believe”. Chuckled Shaw as he poured himself another two fingers worth of liquid gold. Then he switched topics.

 

“A competent selection for our black bishop” prompted Shaw on Erik's pick.

 

“Ms. Releigh is a lady of many talents. One does not need powers to exceed” agreed Erik.

 

“But they do… help” murmured Shaw.

 

Erik agreed. “Yes… I suppose they do”.

 

“But Monet is not really… sufficient for the role of White Queen” murmured Shaw. “She has an appropriate power set but lacks... experiences at such levels of command. Yes she’s vain, arrogant, intelligent, powerful, beautiful, decadent, self obsessed, rich but not by her own works, and so loves dressing the part but she is lacking in…”.

 

Erik finished. “Leadership. She’s tends to be problematic on leading or directing others other then by shouting or demeaning them”.

 

“And bitchy… don’t forget bitchy”. Was Shaw's less then helpful comment.

 

“And yet you agreed to her being the new White Queen”?

 

“Well… we needed somebody. She… suffices for now”. Finished Sawn. “Any additional thoughts on my suggestion as to a possible Black Queen. Or might Red be a better color for her”?

 

Erik eyed Shaw. This new and yet so similar Sebastian Shaw took some getting used to. The old Shaw was filled with double dealings while this Shaw... appeared... to be more... trustworthy. Not that Erik was going to trust him very much but... the man was... improved. He replied.

 

“She is not… appropriate. I somehow don’t think the Hellfire club's recreational… proclivities would appeal to her”.

 

“It is not required that she… indulge herself”. Was Shaw's observation.

 

“No… but you have not seen her at her worst. I have. Also she is wont to disregard orders and direction, and tends to get… annoyed if one attempts to keep secrets from her; and there are so many secrets here that are being kept from some of those we know”.

 

“And yet Storm has no problems managing her”.

 

“Because mostly she doesn’t manage her. Storm does not lie or misled her. And she is not a subordinate”.

 

“Shame, her assets and abilities would be a great boost to our efforts”. Was Shaw’s mild response. He took another sip.

 

Erik tossed in an extra tidbit of information. “And Monet does not get along with her at all. Oil and water thing; although gasoline and fire might be the better analogy”.

 

“It's… not completely surprising to hear that Monet has such issues as I’ve noticed the phrase (Has problems working well with others) describes Monet so well, but the choice of people is”.

 

“The whole she’s a demon thing I believe. Which is somewhat surprising considering Monet's… history”.

 

“Yes… I suppose that does cause… issues with some. Shame though, can you imagine Frances hitting on her in the main ballroom and the possible responses”?

 

Frances was a non inner circle club member who was known for his sexual escapades, and being total dick towards most women in general.

 

Erik choked as he had been sipping when the Frances comment was made and the Scotch had gone down the wrong pipe. Erik gasped and sputtered for a few moments while Shaw looked on with mild concern. "Careful old boy. Sip it, don't inhale it".

 

Erik finally regained his composer. “I can imagine as I have seen it once and would pay to see it again with Frances”.

 

He then briefly regaled Shaw with an episode he had observed in a total dive of a bar that he had once visited with Illyana while in pursuit of some information.

 

"This happened after I left the group as I still have occasional contact with her. We were teammates after all and we both tend to view certain problems the same way. I've done a few favors for her and she recuperates with no one the wiser. I was in pursuit of the identify of a certain gentlemen who had hired people to harm certain... mutants. This was one of those favors she did for me as her transportation abilities are very useful when you have a short time table to get something done".

 

"We ended up in this wretched bar with the name Sister Margret's school for wayward girls. Not sure if it was an actual converted old school or just a very sarcastic name. Complete seedy dive with the usual scum. But this establishment was a hangout for thugs and mercenaries and a bit of a job center as the establishment acted as a broker for folks to hire certain individuals. I was incognito but Illyana was in her field costume which... I suppose was... unfortunate".

...

...

 

Part 15b: Sister Margret's (Part 1)

 

It was raining outside and the bar was dark. There were scattered pool tables and the New York no smoking in restaurants and bars law as being vigorously ignored as the room was filled with a pungent smoky fog. A two scantily clad waitresses were moving about serving drinks while two beefy biker dudes were discussing, with their fists, just who had cheated at who at pool.

 

The smell of stale beer, urine (the toilet was backed up again), and cheep perfume assaulted Erik and Illyana's nostrils as they entered. Music was blaring loudly, which of course had the useful side affect of make sure that no listening devices would work correctly.

 

It was AC/CD's Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.

 

If you're havin' trouble with the high school head

He's givin' you the blues

You wanna graduate but not in his bed

Here's what you gotta do

Pick up the phone, I'm always home

Call me any time

Just ring 36 24 36 hey

I lead a life of crime

 

Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap

Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap

Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap

(Dirty deeds and they're done dirt cheap)

(Dirty deeds and they're done dirt cheap)

...

...

 

Erik was wearing a brown trench coat and hat but Illyana was dressed in that black bit of nothing she liked wearing, plus her black boots and the armor on her left arm. However her soul Sword was not present.

 

Erik walked up to the bar, Illyana just stayed behind him and observed the room while Erik attempted to talk the bartender into giving up the location of a Mr. Zeederman. Erik had no real interest in Mr. Zeederman, his interest was in who had hired him. He wished to... talk to Mr. Zeederman about that... something that he did not share with the bartender.

 

Like all such bars, the bartender had never heard of him. Erik sighed to himself, looked like it was going to have to be the hard way. But, before he did anything, a red costumed individual (known as Deadpool, Erik knew him well) walked up behind Illyana and grabbed her ass with both hands gave it a full squeeze.

 

"Ohhh, daddy like! Bit lean for an waitress ass, but honey you need to lose the spiky armor, wouldn't want to poke a customer's eye out now". Was Deadpool's comment as he then walked past Illyana and went to the bar.

 

Illyana just stood there. A look of outraged shock on her face.

 

Deadpool continued to dig the hole deeper as he ordered a beer "Or are you a cosplay chickie who got lost from the convention center? I heard Adult Com was back in town".

 

Then Deadpool noticed Erik (Hey that's Mags!) and started to reconsider what he had just done. Black scanty costume, black spikes in her hair, armor on left arm... that would make her... Rutro (for those Scooby do fans).

 

The bartender commented as well before Deadpool got done putting two and two together. "You look the part so pay is $8 bucks an hour plus tips. Oh... and if you hook then the house takes a fifteen percent finder's fee".

 

The song finished like a fuse burning down.

 

...

...

Concrete shoes, cyanide, TNT

(Done dirt cheap)

Neck ties, contracts, high voltage

(Done dirt cheap)

 

Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap

Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap

Dirty deeds, do anything you want me to

Done dirt cheap

Dirty deeds, dirty deeds, dirty deeds,

Done dirt cheap, ahhhhh

 

Things... kind of went to hell after that (I think it was the hook comment that did it).

...

...

 

 

Part 15c: Sister Margret's (Part 2)

 

A few minutes later.

 

Erik was still at the bar but now sipping from a bottle of cheap Bourbon and gazing upon the spectacle.

 

Half of the bar was now in ruin and most of the bottles behind the bar were broken (which was why he was sipping the cheap stuff). Two of the pool tables looked like somebody had hacked them up with a giant sword. Assorted bodies were strewn about the place (still living) and there were more then a few spent shell casing littering the floor.

 

The rest of the customers were cowering against the far wall (as far from Illyana as they could get) as she was near the main entrance.

 

Deadpool was pinned to the floor, face down, with Illyana's sword thrust through his abdomen and Illyana standing over him with horns on her head and red glowing eyes kicking him as she shouted at him. She was leaning on her sword as she kicked, which let her really put her back into it for that full bodied kick.

 

"DO"! kick

"NOT"! kick

"EVER"! kick

"TOUCH"! kick

"ME!" kick

"LIKE"! kick

"THAT"! kick

"AGAIN"! kick

 

Deadpool was busy exclaiming back after each kick

 

"Ow"!

"Ow"!

"Ow"!

"Not the twins! Not the twins!   Noooooooo"!

"Ow"!

"Oh the humanity of it all"! Yea, sarcastic even while getting a beating.

 

The Sound system was now stuck and was just endlessly repeating Dirty Deeds.... scratch... Dirty Deeds.... scratch.... Dirty Deeds... like a broken parrot.

 

Illyana finally stopped kicking Deadpool and snarled at the crowd.

 

"Any body else here want to fondle my ass"!

 

Which... was an unfortunate word choice as half of the group didn't know what the right answer was. Several hands hesitantly went up, along with one brunette waitresses' hand.

 

You could feel Illyana's growl of irritation at the response.

 

Erik commented before she could... express that irritation. "Magik I think it would be more appropriate to ask if anybody wants to... well...to do that without your permission".

 

All of the hands went down.

 

Erik promptly got the information he had come for and the two of them left. It goes without saying that Illyana was remembered at Sister Margret's.

 

"Hey, remember the time when that Darth Vader like chick with tits showed up and...".

 

 

Part 15d: Back to the hellfire club

 

Now it was Shaw choking has he laughed with Erik grinning at the end of the story.

 

Finally Shaw recovered while wiping a way a tear of mirth.

 

Hmmmm Shaw chucled to himself. That would be a good way to remove… certain people without any blame or suspicion falling upon him. He needed to keep that in mind. He decided to ask some follow up questions.

 

“She was on that team of yours back in Utopia. How did you find her to be back then”?

 

Erik replied. “She was locked up at the time and we did not converse much. After… things fell apart, post Phoenix, she sought me out as she felt that I could provide some overall leadership. That was when I first learned that... that she was... well I had thought to recruit her brother but he was very damaged from the whole experience. Angry, bitter, even homicidal towards his sister as they were now estranged, which I might add was completely one sided in that all the rage and hate was on his side as she.... she was... concerned for him. From that I learned that she made... interesting choices about... things. And now that she was free from her cell and bomb jacket she was more... willing to express herself".

 

Erik continued. "I then used her to help free Scott, and later Emma, from confinement. The four of us decided to form a new school and choose to renovate the old Weapon-X facility. She was… mostly quiet but in that I will choose to disregard you if I want to while I make some snarky comments. Oddly somewhat like Monet, but with without the… spite and more… inability I think to understand certain things. Things that I think she started to comprehend shortly before I left, after… Dormmanu. She was different after Dormmanu".

 

“Emma and Scott were horrified by what happened with Dormmanu, but I gathered that they were not surprised in some ways. I suppose they already knew exactly what lay at her core due to that whole Phoenix 5 union that they had. Knew and were rather… concerned about it. That was one of many issues that prompted my departure from that group”.

 

“Any other reasons to not... pursue her”? inquired Shaw.

 

Erik frowned in thought, then replied. “I have had the great misfortune of seeing her having a bad day”.

 

“That bad”?

 

“Hellacious would literally be an understatement”.

 

“Just what happened with this Dormmanu”?

 

"He... tried to take over that hell dimension she rules. In so doing her... guise was changed. All that we could see of her in that hellish fight was a thing of darkness and flame. Sometimes I wonder just how much of what we see of her is actually real. Just how… mortal or human she really is; and just how much is… makeup as it were”.

 

“Sounds like the description of Tolkien’s Balrog when the Fellowship was in Moria”.

 

Turns out Sebastian is a closeted fantasy fan. Which makes sense, I mean, just look how he dresses, total Victorian cosplay all the way.

 

A thoughtful look from Erik. “Rather appropriate now that you mention it. Though Lord of the Rings did not mention anyone in the Fellowship losing control of their bladders”.

 

“That happened”?

 

“Yes… a fellow, with the unfortunate code name of Gold Balls, was very distressed. To be fair this was his first real combat experience. And I must confess that I too would have possibly shared that distress but I had… unburdened myself shortly before the unfortunate event”.

 

“The others must have greatly razed him over that”.

 

“No… no they didn’t”.

 

“Why? Oh… do you mean to tell me that…”.

 

“I’ll just say that more than a few people were… distressed by finding themselves literally in hell and leave it at that”.

 

Shaw had a contemplative look as the conversation briefly fell silent. Now it was Erik's turn to refill his glass.

 

Shaw then returned to the topic of Monet.

 

“I do ask that you to speak to Monet about this whole I’m great and you suck attitude that she loves projecting. Apprehension is… not a bad thing from subordinates that you wish to keep in their place but behaving so… well… forgive me but she tends to be quite the bitch and does it repeatedly with people she shouldn’t”.

 

Erik sighed. “That is Monet, subtle is not her strong point. But I continue to remind her that maturity is... multi facetted”.

 

Shaw continued to make his point. “People do not tend to have any loyalty to those who only sneer at them. Important point for both subordinates and peers. Something that the born rich tend to not learn. I am rather surprised that so many of her former teammates actually have positive feelings towards her based upon her displayed attitudes and behaviors”.

 

“She is not always… difficult”.

 

“Bitch with a heart of gold”?

 

“No… but she does tend to fight harder for her teammates then her words would imply. Deeds do tend to help on forming team spirit”.

 

“And breaking it as well”.

 

"Well said" was Erik's comment.

 

"I just wish we had some... leverage to influence Magik" was Shaw's comment as her returned to the topic of Magik (he really did think that she would make a great Queen).

 

Need to nip that in the bud thought Erik. “Tell me Sebastian, how do you manipulate or influence people”?

 

“I find out what they value. What motivates them. What they hold dear. Learn who they are and you learn what can influence them. What form of coin they value and what their price is”.

 

“And if there is nothing”?

 

“There is always something”.

 

“True… but what if that something is beyond precious”?

 

“Then you have your leverage if you need it”.

 

“Do you”?

 

“What are you getting at Erik”?

 

“That which she holds truly dear is likely death to anybody who tries to use it against her”.

 

“Hmmm, I… think I get your point. So absent that leverage point…”?

 

“I… we… have nothing she wants. Unless those whom she cares for were to join us. Then… then there would be leverage but applied not by us but by…”.

 

“Her brother or Ms. Pryde”.

 

“Exactly… who are not very welcoming of what you, and this club, stand for and if Illyana felt that undue influence had been done to them then she would likely behave…”.

 

Again Shaw finished. “Exactly as the worse case scenario you just described. I… agree. It must be her own idea, or those whom she cares for must decide upon the path with no... influence from us. To do otherwise would be… unwise. Hmm... her former companions from her school days might be… candidates. After all da Costa was once even the Lord Cardinal of the club. But... I think he's lapsed on his dues... I'll have a reminder sent”.

 

“Yes… some of them, but I think she was closest to Dana”.

 

Shaw fished the topic. “I can understand her attachment to her brother, but when a friend is that important then my experience has been that the person wishes to be more than a friend. Well, something to think about. If her brother and her friend are so important to her, imagine if she had a child or one whom she thought of as her child”.

 

Erik had a musing expression. “Extreme momma bear syndrome. Very good idea to never explore that topic if it were to happen. I think... I think it would be even worse the Dormmanu".

 

“Yes… momma bears due tend to be… very unreasonable about certain things”.

Chapter Text

Yet... why doesn't she just take all of the Inhuman off to Limbo? I have to admit I dislike the Inhumans due to boring storylines, unlikable characters, and general dislike of Editorial writing that tries to force something to be popular (i.e. the character Hope in the X-Men series had massive editorial pushing on multiple storylines and yet was never really popular with the fans).

 

Plus I tend to agree with one poster (MarvelMaster616) who refuses to use the term Inhumans and instead uses Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners every single time in his/hers posts about Inhumans. Inhuman history is not very nice and has been reformated several times as a result (Plus I think the royal family sucks, viva la revolution!).

 

The reason Illyana doesn't just "solve" the problem is then there is no story, the bane of any truly powerful individual. As I've said before, Bambi vs. Godzilla is a very short film.

 

But as always I like things to be complete and actually believable. This is a chapter I've been playing with for some time as this is a reoccurring issue and needs to be addressed, or so I think. Not sure where this story will fit in the official timelines once things are all done, depends on when young Jean Grey leaves to go to college, but I think it will still stay relevant.

 

Part 16a: Why

 

Jean Grey was off to college. She'd had enough.

 

Enough of being an X-Men.

Enough of Hank being her boyfriend (like kissing he brother, yuck).

Enough of being around Scott (oh mister moody).

Enough of not having a normal life.

Enough of not taking control of her life.

 

To have different outcomes one must take different paths, which was a bit of advice from Illyana.

 

She was all packed and ready to leave, but she had one final question for Illyana. A very private question.

 

"Why"?

 

"Why do you let things happen"?

 

"It's like... like Laura using her fingernails instead of her claws. You can change things... stop things... Do things... But you don't. You only sometimes act and almost always in conjunction with others and those others then almost always take the lead".

 

"And why... why doesn't anybody ask you to ever fix it"?

 

"Why? Can you please just tell me why"?

 

 

Part 16b: Questions

 

"You won't like the answers". Had been Illyana's reply. She was busy eating her bagel with cream cheese while sipping some green gunpowder tea.

 

The two of them were sitting outside at the Hawaiian coffee shack that Emma so loved the coffee from. Jean was leaving and had wanted some answer to quandaries that had been bothering her about Illyana.

 

Quandaries that nobody else appeared to have and in fact Jean had never asked anybody else about. Every time she resolved to ask others about it she just seemed to... get sidetracked. Like... like it was... something that she wasn't supposed to notice.

 

"Why"? Had been Jean's response as she slipped her Pumpkin spice latte.

 

"Because... it might apply to you someday"? Has been Illyana reply.

 

"Because of Phoenix"?

 

"Yep".

 

"Have you been... interfering with my resolve to ask others why they don't... ask these same questions"?

 

"No. That would be the editorial board I suppose".

 

"Huu"?

 

"Sorry, inside joke. I'll answer but... you'll likely just forget and then... likely never think about it again".

 

"Why"? Jean was beginning to feel like a five year old with the endless whys.

 

"You're not the first".

 

"Oh... ummm... who else has asked"?

 

"Kitty several times. Heck even knew once but she's forgotten it again as the cosmic power... faded. Scott also, older Scott that is, but he promptly forgot. Magneto I think knows about asking but figured part of the answers out so he doesn't bother to ask. Dr. Strange knows when he bothers to really think about it which is almost... never".

 

"Do I have to go into your mind again"?

 

"Do you want to"?

 

"No... really no".

 

"That makes two of us".

 

Jean waited and Illyana took another bite of bagel and just chewed. Finally Jean broke the silence.

 

"Well"?

 

"Just checking to see if you still remembered the question. Sometimes folks don't. It's... It's like this...".

 

 

Part 16c: Answers

 

One. As you know I've made... mistakes. Some really bad ones. Life altering mistakes, and by life altering I mean the effects upon people I really care about. That make me far more... hesitant about certain things, about certain decisions.

 

Two. I like being...real. Human. A person. I do not wish to be the magic genie. To be as such I must be... less then I am. For to be as I am... well... That brings us to...

 

Three. Hell lords don't get to alter things very much outside of their realm. That includes bringing people into their realm. Otherwise just look at what Hela of Hel, Mephisto or a dozen or so other hell lords I could name, could and would do. Rules... rules bound us on our interactions with... reality. I am more mortal then most in that regards so I get more... flexibility on some things. I can participate but not fully... initiate. That's what I mean by the editorial board. The rules... rule.

 

Four. Part demon remember. I'm not human turned demon I'm demon turned human. Very very rare, possibly a first. This leaves me again bound by certain rules.

 

Five. I... stopped doing that. I wish to live. For that to be I need to live with the uncertainties of life. If I were ever able to escape what I was created... made into then I might be able to... be different. Until then... well...

 

Six. Phoenix. I... was. Then I was not. If you ever are again then... then you will like do as I do and attempt to cling to the parts of you that are still mortal. To... be... to pretend... to... to try not to rule but to instead... live.

 

Seven. Sometimes... I... I... I really miss my brother from the future. I... If I start doing that again then where do I draw the line? How can I possibly be anything other then... the ruler? No... I doesn't get to... I can't because...

 

Eight... Do you even know what I'm talking about anymore Jean?

 

 

Part 16d: Jean

 

"Huu? Sorry I spaced out there for a second. What were we talking about"?

 

"Injustices and limitations". Illyana replied with a trace of sadness.

Chapter Text

Looking forward to the Inhuman vs. Mutant war (Death to Inhuman scum! Oh, I mean death to the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners and the Royal family as well). Yea I’ve picked my side (grin).

 

Figure this chapter is a bit of foreshadowing before the issues come out. Let’s see how well I do.

 

 

Part 17a: Plots and discussions

 

Rule number one for plotters, make sure you can’t be overheard.

 

So… having such discussions in another dimension makes a great deal of sense. Assuming of course you have access to another dimension. Here’s a hint… it helps if one of your plotters just happens to be a hell lord who rules one such dimension, and who can take additional precautions against those who might want to eavesdrop.

 

Limbo…

 

An old throne room, where once the ruler of Limbo had ruled from. In some aspects the center of Limbo and its power. Three people sit and converse around a table, with a forth chair standing empty.

 

“And yet you still do nothing”! Was Emma angry declaration.

 

“Consensus Emma, she desires consensus before she will act. Before I suspect she can act in this” states Erik, the master of magnetism.

 

“Erik is partially correct”. Replied Illyana. “I told you both of my requirements in this”.

 

“Yes yes, the fourth seat must be filled…”. Replied Emma with some heat and angry body posturing. “And I point out that she continues to avoid seeing reason in this”.

 

Illyana replied back. “That is your take Emma. Ororo would state it differently, she still hopes for a peaceful solution. I gave my word to her in this that I will follow her lead, unless the InHumans attack”.

 

“And yet you aid us in preparing, positioning, setting things in place”. Observed Erik.

 

“Selectively and with full deniability. You may have tricked most people Emma about Scott… I did not remain tricked”. Answered Illyana.

 

Emma replied in a bitter tone of voice. “Not sure if you were ever tricked Illyana dear. Sometimes I wonder just who misleads who. How… fortunate that you have not yet lost anything you hold truly dear either to the mists or to actions caused by the mists. One does wonder just what that would do… might you lose that iron self control of yours? Or would the rules that you say govern you have some… loopholes? How is Dani by the way? Still waking you up when she has one of her panic attacks? Or is it the other way around when you have one of your bad dreams? I find it so sweet that the two of you have gotten over your prior differences”.

 

“Don’t poke at her Emma”. Erik injected. “I’m sure Magik will do the right thing”.

 

“I dislike the Inhuman almost as much as either of you. I… I know what they cost you Emma and what they have cost our kind. A cost they do not hold themselves accountable for. A price that they make excuses about”.

 

“No you don’t! If something you love and treasure is taken then you will know the cost Magik, not before”. Emma replied as she stood to leave. “I hope you never know that cost”.

 

Emma nodded and then she was gone in a flicker of a teleportation disk.

 

Erik stood to leave as well. “Please forgive Emma, she is still… distraught and I suspect not… rational in this matter. I understand your… hesitancy”.

 

Illyana waved off Emma’s behavior. “Nothing to forgive. She is angry and wants both revenge and justice. I… understand that all to well. I do have concerns over the price she is willing to pay, the cost to herself”.

 

Erik asked a question that had been on his mind for some time. “When did you realize that Scott was already dead”?

 

“I realized it as that damn cloud was being transformed, destroyed, that it was all Emma. That Scott was already… gone. And I never even had a chance to say goodbye. We… we had our differences but… him I respected and… when we were Phoenix… well to be Phoenix is to close”.

 

Erik made his farewells. “I somehow doubt you will be hesitant if the moment comes”.

 

And with a flicker of a disk he was gone.

 

“No…I don’t think I will”. Was her statement to the empty throne room.

 

And then she was gone as well.

 

 

Part 17b: New Attilan throne room

 

Medusa sat upon the throne and held council with some of her advisors. In some ways it was a war council, but mostly it was a planning council. A brief discussion and listing of whom were the most dangerous of the mutants was in discussion.

 

Her red hair was flickering about and the massive bulldog like creature, Lockjaw, was lying down next to her throne. Lockjaw was the InHuman’s teleporting canine. Over five feet tall at the shoulder and almost four hundred pounds.

 

“Magneto must be the top of the list. His ability to manipulate metals and magnetic fields is complex and strong. This also provides him an instinctual grasp of many technologies coupled with a strong engineering centric intellect. His… hatred of us is of course well known”. Spoke one of the advisors.

 

“Storm is equally a threat due to her vast weather controlling powers”. Spoke another advisor. “But she has remained the voice of reason in the mutant community. And yet… she gathers ever more mutants to her at this unknown X-Haven of hers. Supposedly to help them with their medical…. issues, but an alternative interpretation is she is gathering an army”.

 

“As we do as well with those newly transformed”. Replied Medusa. “Never forget to view our own actions from their viewpoint”.

 

“Many of the new InHumans have been… unwilling to join our ranks my Queen. They are… contaminated with foreign ideas of self determination and… democracy. Some have even gone so far as to agitate for elections as to who should govern us. Many such prefer to call themselves NuHumans instead of InHumans. And many that do join us have issues with how our society functions and their assigned place in it”.

 

“And other mutants of note”? Asked the queen. More for general discussion rather then any new information.

 

“The one named Alexander Summers, called Havok, is of great concern as he continues to be missing. Brother to the one who destroyed one of the sacred clouds. Powerful but of limited intellect and planning abilities”.

 

“Iceman, continued to be associated with Ororo. Dangerous but some InHumans have similar power sets and should be able to neutralize him”.

 

“Forge is of great concern due to his ability to replicate and likely circumvent our technology”.

 

“There are others and some are of much concern; telepaths and fighters. And some non mutants who have allied themselves with the mutants over us”.

 

“Beast continues to be assisted and watched. So far he has not shown any knowledge as to either location of the various mutant bases or their plans. And he has not tried to evade his watchers or go where he is forbidden; but it must be assumed that he is a spy so we continue to feed him selective disinformation about Attilan and InHumans in general; and of course monitor all communications”.

 

“And the countermeasures for the witch”? Asked Medusa.

 

‘In work. She is… problematic my Queen. Very problematic”.

 

“Any success as to the actual location of X-Haven”? Inquired the Queen.

 

“It must be in an alternate dimension is the general consensus based upon readings of their appearances and departures that we have observed. Although some still maintain that it may be located in Antarctica either above or below ground”. Spoke one of the commanders.

 

“They are likely be going to that place called Limbo, but it may just be a waypoint instead of the final location”. Mentioned another advisor.

 

“Lockjaw has still not been able to discern the actual location my queen”? Spoke yet another.

 

“No… his ability to scent and trace across dimensional space has lead him to Limbo but… he can proceed no further”.

 

Medusa looks down at the relaxed Lockjaw who looks up at her with a doggy pant, then gave himself a lick. ”The witch bars his way”.

 

DOGIE INTERLUDE

 

The location of X-Haven was of great interest to the InHumans. Always a good idea to know where your enemy is located. To be polite, call them possible enemies, but… the truce was very fragile.

 

The superior Attilan science had of course detected the dimensional energies of the teleportations both from the witch Illyana and the teleportation bands that some of mutants had. But another dimension is a rather big place so a more precise location was needed.

 

Lockjaw had been sent by Medusa once to try to locate where the teleportations were originating from. Now Lockjaw is a dog. A very intelligent dog, but still ultimately a dog, so simple instructions only. This was mostly a variation of seek. For this brief mission he had some recording gear attached to his collar.

 

Lockjaw had sniffed around one of the known sites and then had opened a dimensional doorway to Limbo where he found himself on a barren rocky landscape under an orange sky confronted by a mass of demons led by her, Illyana, in her human guise wearing her black costume and holding her soul sword.

 

“Bad doggie” had been her slightly humorous statement. “This is not your yard so go make doggie messes somewhere else. And here, take this back to your owner”.

 

Illyana handed an envelope to Lockjaw who gripped it in his mouth. He looked at the assembled horde of demons and then he departed back to New Attilan.

 

END DOGGIE INTERLUDE

 

The note has been short and specific.

 

Queen Medusa, I have left your home and realm alone but you have chosen not to extended me the same courtesy. I do not know if this was a first time or a continuing intrusion but remember this little indiscretion in case one or more mutants improperly intrudes upon your space. One hopes if such events occur that you will find ways to accommodate such incidents without restoring to violence, as I have.

 

I will not share this unfortunate misunderstanding with Ororo, assuming of course that they cease.

 

If there is a next time then I shall keep the dog and yes… I am capable of doing that, one way or another.

 

No signature, just the initials I. R.

 

“Have you been able to get any additional information off the recording gear Lockjaw had on”?

 

“No my Queen, just that annoying sound of…”. The councilor fell silent.

 

“The humans call it a raspberry. An approximation of the sound of passing gastric gas in a noisy manner”. Clarified Medusa while hiding a grin. Councilor Cliffnor was always so straight laced.

 

“It is improper and… rude”.

 

“So are many forms of human humor. I believe there are entire genres of humor based upon bodily functions”.

 

“Degenerates”. Was the general consensus.

 

Oh if you think bulldog farts are bad you so don’t want to be around Lockjaw when he cuts loose (you could almost call it a super power).

 

 

Part 17c: Dani Interlude

 

A tall mesa butte overlooking a desert landscape under a blue Utah sky. Slow moving scattered clouds placed parts of the view in shadow. A large picnic blanket and basket are close by the edge of the butte. Also on the blanket was Illyana’s iPod connected to a pair of battery speakers.

 

A teleportation disk flickers into existence and then departs, leaving Illyana and Dani. Illyana is dressed in her usual black scanty getup and Dani is in her Valerie gear.

 

Dani looks around and comments. “Illyana, this does not look like the usual Limbo Mesa we train at, or the entrance to the danger room”.

 

Illyana gestures with her hands a few times and only some minor sparks emerged from her finger tips. “Curses… my abilities have been blocked! I fear we are trapped here”.

 

“Yea… nice try Yana. And no I’m not in the market to buy a bridge today”. Was Dani’s humorous and rather sarcastic comment.

 

“You needed a break”. Illyana stated as she started walking over to the picnic blanket. “We can do weapons practice after lunch”.

 

“Where you fall before my martial prowess yet again”. Was Dani’s smug reply.

 

Illyana reached the blanket and sat down. “Oh… over confidence is going to your head so my plans are working, soon you will kneel before me. Remember that time where Logan had us fight, you with a spear and me with the knife? I do recall a certain chief falling hard on her ass multiple times”.

 

Dani resigned herself to lunch as she joined Illyana on the blanket. The picnic basket was between them and Illyana opened it while Dani commented upon that old training event.

 

“That was then, this is now. I’m better then you at knife and spear, and the bow”.

 

“Yea yea” Illyana waved off Dani’s claims. “Lots more practice them me, and you were always better with the bow. I can still beat you almost half the time with the sword”.

 

“When you have a real sword and not the silly surfboard thing you call a sword. How on earth do you mange to swing it about? You sister, have played way too many Final Fantasy video games”.

 

Illyana again dismissed Dani’s statement with a humorous sniff as she examined the picnic basket’s contents.

 

“Had to do something while I was locked in that cell. Let’s see what’s for lunch. Some salami sandwiches from that place you like at the San Francisco terminal building, goat cheese from Cow Girl Creamery, some fresh bread and chocolate croissants from that bakery next to the Cow Girl Creamery, some IPAs that you like, Stone Brewery Rumination (double IPA) and Arrogant Bastard Ale. Rather yuck on IPAs myself, can’t believe you like that stuff, so I also brought some Blue Moon beers for me. Oh, and triple vanilla bean gelato for dessert”.

 

Dani gave Illyana a vexed look. “You are an evil woman Illyana”.

 

Illyana grinned. “So glad you finally noticed”.

 

“You will pay for this”. Was Dani’s mock dark statement.

 

“Promises promises”.

 

Dani continued with the mock word play. “I shall have my vengeance. You will tremble before me witch”.

 

Illyana smiled. “I certainly hope so, but first lunch, then you can bend me to your will”.

 

They eat and drank and Illyana hit play on the iPod which softly played We Are Young by the band Fun.

 

Give me a second I,

I need to get my story straight

My friends are in the bathroom getting higher than the Empire State

My lover she’s waiting for me just across the bar

My seat’s been taken by some sunglasses asking 'bout a scar, and

I know I gave it to you months ago

I know you’re trying to forget

But between the drinks and subtle things

The holes in my apologies, you know

I’m trying hard to take it back

So if by the time the bar closes

And you feel like falling down

I’ll carry you home

 

Tonight

We are young

So let’s set the world on fire

We can burn brighter than the sun

 

The moon is on my side (Nananananana)

I have no reason to run (Nananananana)

So will someone come and carry me home tonight (Nananananana)

The angels never arrived (Nananananana)

But I can hear the choir (Nananananana)

So will someone come and carry me home (Nananananana)

 

Tonight

We are young

So let’s set the world on fire

We can burn brighter than the sun

 

So if by the time the bar closes

And you feel like falling down

I’ll carry you home tonight

...

...

 

Later, after the meal and some idle talk and relaxation, they engaged in some “strenuous” physical activity.

 

What kind you ask? Well, I’ll let Marvel decide that over the coming months.

Chapter Text

Part 18a: Darkness…

 

Two days after the death of Sapna at the hands and sword of Illyana…

 

A remote part of Limbo, one that everything has now fled from as Illyana was having a fit. A kind of breakdown one supposes. An acting out of inner rage and grief. Vast in its scale and lethal in its implications.

 

She was destroying everything in the locality and she was in her Darkchilde guise.

 

A song had triggered it. But that’s kind of like saying a moth landing on a container of nitroglycerin sets it off. The detonation was waiting, all it needed was a little tiny jolt. That’s why she was out here. She knew she was going to lose it and just needed to be away from… everybody.

 

She’d hit special play on her iPod and the song Hurt by Nine Inch Nails and sung by Johnny Cash has played. The vicinity was burning before the song was done with the first Chorus (utube it if you want, easy to see why Illyana would go nuts).

 

I hurt myself today

To see if I still feel

I focus on the pain

The only thing that's real

The needle tears a hole

The old familiar sting

Try to kill it all away

But I remember everything

 

[Chorus:]

What have I become

My sweetest friend

Everyone I know goes away

In the end

And you could have it all

My empire of dirt

I will let you down

I will make you hurt

 

I wear this crown of thorns

Upon my liar's chair

Full of broken thoughts

I cannot repair

Beneath the stains of time

The feelings disappear

You are someone else

I am still right here

 

[Chorus:]

What have I become

My sweetest friend

Everyone I know goes away

In the end

And you could have it all

My empire of dirt

I will let you down

I will make you hurt

 

If I could start again

A million miles away

I would keep myself

I would find a way

 

No trans dimensional beings intruded as a queen of Hell, a Hell Lord in a mindless rage, is a very dangerous thing. And rage is so easily transferable to other… targets.

 

After a long eternity spent destroying everything, Illyana paused in her rage, her fury, her weeping.

 

Paused and remember a good moment that had taken place a few weeks ago, before the whole journey to the future by the others and her later departure that had allowed…

 

Allowed…

 

Resulted in Sapna leaving and then… dying upon Illyana’s blade as Illyana had to decide yet again that a loved one had to die by her hand.

 

 

Part 18b: Friendships forged

 

“He’s kind of scary looking”. Had been Sapna’s honest statement to Illyana upon seeing Kurt at the outdoor German cafe. She was out of earshot of Kurt (or so she thought) as Illyana had ported them to a German town, first for a bit of shopping and then to meet up with Kurt (Illyana had placed a disguise spell upon Sapna and upon Kurt at his request, but all three of them could see each other as they were).

 

Kurt was sitting at an outdoor table having some very excellent strudel and German coffee (it’s always better in Germany was Kurt’s basic belief).

 

Illyana gently chided. “So are you to some, and so am I at times. Looks are often deceiving Sapna. Kurt can be fierce, but he is a kind and gentle soul, much like you”.

 

“And you Illyana”?

 

“No Sapna, I am rarely described as kind”.

 

“Then their wrong”.

 

Illyana changed the subject. “Come along… have you ever had strudel”?

 

Sapna hadn’t and she had found that she loved it, accented with a nice scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and hot chocolate to drink.

 

The conversation with Kurt had been nice and he had gone out of his way to put Sapna at ease.

 

“He’s funny”. Was her conclusion as they left Kurt to enjoy a few Pilsners. “I like him”.

 

Behind them Kurt smiled. Always nice to be seen as he was rather then as strangers feared him to be. Out of the mouth of children and all that he thought.

 

 

Part 18c: Consequences…

 

The trip had been nice… pleasant…

 

The thing about Hell Lords is that they are so often constrained by the rules, and Illyana had additional self constraints as she distrusted her own judgment about some things.

 

The thing about self restrain… well that whole self thing...

 

Illyana didn’t have much of that left… as some folks were to soon learn.

 

Some InHuman folks.

Chapter Text

Rather interesting reading the various fan arguments about this comic. The analogy I like is that you have a beloved dog that is mauling and killing kids in the neighborhood. What do you do when you discover this? Do you put down the dog?

 

Well… If you’re the Inhumans you try to prevent people from encountering your dog while you continue to let it roam about, and you pay for some of the medical care for some the people that are injured by it. Why… you even contribute to the funeral expenses for some of those it kills. Oh, and you kill anybody who tries to stop your dog from doing what ever the hell it pleases. Rather informs everybody as to their value and just what you value.

 

Oh... by the way, if you’re Illyana… you kill Sapna because the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. And the needs here was not Sapna, it was Illyana. Illyana likely has done something that is driving her insane with self loathing. She gave up what she valued the most for others. Can the Inhumans say the same?

 

Regardless of how Marvel tries to salvage the Inhumans, most readers can see right though to that fundamental concept. Inhumans did nothing to actually stop or destroy the cloud. Which is bad bad writing by Marvel as the Inhumans just so don’t have a moral leg to stand upon regardless of the Editorial efforts to salvage them.

 

Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike -Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

 

 

Part 19: Limbo…

 

The last of the Inhuman Royal family was now imprisoned in Magik’s little demon guarded rock outcropping. She helpfully shouted out the remainder of her instructions.

 

“… Cross the line and the demons will attack to kill… and this is Limbo so the supply of demons is rather… unlimited. Sit tight and just wait it out”.

 

Medusa was besides herself with both fury and rage. “We were trying to help mutants”!

 

Illyana was not buying what Medusa was sniffing, she coldly replied. “Really? So who created the two clouds of toxic gas that sicken and/or kill just mutants”?

 

“We didn’t know! That was not the intent! Without the clouds Inhumans cannot unlock their powers via Teregenisis”!

 

“Gosh, I wonder what fiend destroyed your sacred crystals… Oh wait that was your guy, Blackbolt I think is his name… you know… your King at the time. But of course I’m sure once you learned that you little gas clouds were killing Mutants you worked to destroy the clouds… Oh wait that’s a no again. But of course you didn’t interfere with anybody trying to simply remove the clouds before they killed yet more mutants… oh that’s yet another no”.

 

“They are sacred to us”!

 

“To you. Tell me Medusa, what did you do when the first cloud was destroyed”?

 

“We brokered a peace with Storm! So no more people need die”!

 

“Funny, I don’t recall any Inhumans dying, just… Mutants, just… Scott. Just… those people who were in the way by happenstance. Just… us. Not you. And… mutants kept dying”.

 

Medusa calmed herself down a bit. “Summers had to die. He had to pay for his crimes against the Inhumans. Once we learned of the harm we attempted to evacuate mutants in harms way”.

 

Which prompted a shout of rage from Illyana. “HE DID NO CRIMES YOU UNFEELING SELF CENTERED INHUMAN BITCH”!

 

Medusa shouted back. “HE DESTROYE A CLOUD”!

 

Illyana scowled and fought to control her sudden hot rage, she was slipping again. She could feel herself getting more and more enraged about even the slightest provocations.

 

Illyana went from hot rage to cold again. She gave a brief slow clap as she replied. “And you did such a good job that only thousands upon thousands sickened and died while you helped… some… avoid it. While you helped… some… recover. While you protected that evil cloud from anybody who might destroy it because it was sacred”.

 

“We did not set out to harm you”.

 

“And once the harm was shown… did you join forces with us to destroy this out of control mutant killing cloud”?

 

Just silence from Medusa.

 

Illyana continued, her left hand now clenched so hard that her nails were drawing blood. “So what you’re saying is that however regrettable the price that others must pay, it is worth it so that Inhumans can have optional access to Teregenisis. And without it you… are till just you”.

 

“I would not put it that way. We sought a peacefully solution”.

 

“All the mutant deaths, diseases, the life altering paths that this cloud of death has caused, you won’t stop it if it means destroying the cloud. And you will prevent us from destroying it”.

 

“We take no delight in the harm. You… could leave this planet”.

 

“Thanks for at least meeting us half way… But wait? That isn’t half way, that isn’t any effort at all”.

 

“I must protect our future, the future for our children! I will not let you steal it”!

 

Illyana’s eyes blazed and she partially shifted to her Darkchilde aspect. “Thanks to you, Sapna has none! And neither do so many. Her fate was set the moment that blasted cloud sickened her. A fate the resulted in…”. Illyana paused as she didn’t want to… talk about that.

 

Crystal injected a comment with her usual skillful completely one sided understanding of the situation. “You’ll pay for this”!

 

Illyana suddenly look… broken. “Already did… already am. Please… try to escape. I’d enjoy the results”. Illyana turned to leave.

 

“We will find I way”. Was Medusa’s resolute statement to Illyana’s back.

 

Illyana turned her head and replied. “I’m sure you will… this… plan is obviously flawed”.

 

In what way”? Asked Johnny Storm, ex Fantastic Four member and current lover of Medusa.

 

Illyana stated the obvious. “You’re all still alive”.

Chapter Text

Part 20a: The great escape

 

The Inhuman prisoners in Limbo were now free. Blackbolt had led a strike into Limbo with the aid of Lockjaw (the Inhuman’s teleporting giant bulldog). Along with him were several Nuhumans.

 

Black Bolt – Inhuman, Male. Black Bolt's signature power is his voice, as his electron-harnessing ability is linked to the speech center of his brain. Speaking triggers a massive disturbance in the form of a highly destructive shockwave capable of leveling a city. Superhuman physical attributes include flight, destructive hypersonic voice, particle manipulation, and limited telepathy. Black Bolt is also capable of channeling all available energy into one devastating punch called his Master Blow, which subsequently renders him extremely vulnerable. Black Bolt can create a nearly impenetrable force field by focusing his energy around himself, and can use his electron abilities as extrasensory probes, highly sensitive to electromagnetic phenomena, and he can also jam certain electromagnetic mechanisms. He can also use this limited telepathy to communicate his destination wishes to the royal family's teleporting dog, Lockjaw and with his currently ex wife Medusa.

 

Inferno - Male, named Dante Purtuz. His main powers are fire manipulation, fiery form, and a regenerative healing factor.

 

Ms. Marvel – Female, named Kamala Khan. Her power set was shape shifting and a healing factor. She was also a part time Avenger. One must wonder about any conversations that she and Rogue had involving Inhumans and toxic clouds of mutant killing gas; bet there’s lots of tension over that in the lunch room.

 

Moon Girl (Lunella Layfayette) and Devil Dinosaur (also known as Devil D or just Devil for short) – Both female. Lunella is smartest person on Earth (supposedly). Her Nuhuman power is the ability to switch minds with Devil Dinosaur. She was quite opposed to the whole Inhuman toxic cloud thing as she was scared as to how it might affect her once she determined she had Inhuman DNA. Supposedly good friends with the mutant Forge. She had been trying to come up with a method to destroy the cloud before she underwent involuntary Terringenesis (she was relived to find her physical form unaltered).

 

Iso – Female named Xiaoyi. Pressure manipulation powers.

 

Quake – Female, goes by Daisy Johnson. Former Shield director. Power set included earthquake generation, immunity to the harmful effects of the vibrations, psychic shielding. She also possesses superb hand-to-hand combatant, skilled all-around athlete, and an excellent marksman.

 

Grid – Male, named Dinesh Deol. Able the electromagnetic spectrum as well as using magnetokinesis (think weak Magneto I suppose).

 

Formally imprisoned by both magical and technical means were:

 

Medusa – Queen of the Inhumans. Power set involves hair. She has prehensile hair that is variable in length, very strong, and can move like limbs. Superhuman strength, speed, stamina, durability, agility, and reflexes (common among the Inhumans). Her hair gives her a very dangerous short-range offense ability. She is also an accomplished thief.

 

Gorgon – Male. He has increased strength while his feet are hooves, capable of generating highly destructive seismic waves.

 

Crystal – Sister to Medusa. Her’s is the power of air and wind manipulation, earth and metal manipulation, fire and heat manipulation, water and moisture manipulation, electricity manipulation, ice and cold manipulation, weather manipulation, and flight. For one who could manipulate so many things, she tended to be a novice at politics. One must wonder at her thoughts about her sister banging Johnny Storm, her ex boyfriend, sounds so… daytime TV’ish. Next on the John Williams show, Inhumans who bang their siblings ex boyfriends and how they justify it.

 

Flint – Male, power of Geokinesis; can use the earth underneath him to fly, assume a rocky form, rupture the ground, and form constructs out of dirt and soil.

 

Frank Mcgee – Male who can create blinding light. His eyes are completely yellow. Before Terringenesis, he was a New York police officer, but his wife became afraid of him after the change, so he moved to New Attilan, where he became the head of city security.

 

Naja – Female. Has green leopard skin, a long tail, and wings on her arms that give her the ability to fly. Naja also possesses invisibility and telescopic vision.

 

Johnny Storm – Human Torch and former member of the Fantastic Four. Current lover of Medusa; which continues to show that Johnny thinks with his little head and not the head containing his brain. Of all the husbands to cuckold, Blackbolt is almost at the top of the list of bad ideas.

 

How had they escaped their confinement? Said containment being a force field sphere attached to a slender stone projection that reached into the sky while surrounded by flying demons while magic was used to prevent any attempts at contact or dimensional transfers?

 

Kamala had gathered together a team of Nuhumans and they’d freed the imprisoned Blackbolt and rescued the missing Lockjaw after first determining where Medusa was being held. Afterwards Blackbolt had destroyed the facility that had imprisoned him and he’d directed Lockjaw to take them to Limbo.

 

Blackbolt had destroyed the defending demons and then worked with Grid to assault the technical containments from the outside and Crystal had assaulted from the inside, along with Flint who helped lower the stone platform. Once Johnny was freed he’d flown around zapping demons as well. The others with Blackbolt had assumed a defense parameter to fend off the few remaining demons.

 

“Ok, so… if this is hell then where is the devil”? Asked Iso after the fight was over and everybody was busy congratulating themselves. She wasn’t expecting an answer, but she got one.

 

Suddenly a blond woman appeared off to one side of the group and spoke to them. “That would be me. Like I didn’t have alarms for such events. Ok, everybody back in the cell before…”.

 

Illyana never got to finish. Blackbolt gestured and focused his powers upon Illyana as he spoke but one word, spoke rather loudly.

 

“DIE…”!

 

It was just like what happened to Scott Summers. A howling tsunami of force stripped the flesh from Illyana’s bones as she was turned into a red mist and scattered over the landscape. It was like… Illyana had been a red spay paint can and was now spread out all over the ground as if by some giant vandalizing teenager.

 

Most of the Nuhumans were shocked at both the suddenness and the lethality of Blackbolt’s actions. Johnny was once again reminded of just who’s wife he was banging and that said wife’s husband didn’t look fondly upon him.

 

“No one who imprisons the Royal family is permitted to live”. Spoke Medusa with a tone of finality and hatred. “Judgment has been rendered. In this and for all Mutants who dare threaten Inhuman culture and our sacred rituals”.

 

A statement was not quite in agreement with the Nuhumans, or to be honest even Johnny.

 

“You just killed her”! Shouted a stunned Iso. “You didn’t even give her a chance to surrender”!

 

Meanwhile, Moon Girl was suddenly wondering why the heck she had taken the side of the Inhumans. Yea, Kamala (Ms. Marvel) had called her for help but… she so didn’t identify with the Inhumans, their attitudes, or the so called royal family.

 

Medusa dismissed Iso’s protest with a flick of her hair. “She was too powerful. Blackbolt had to strike without hesitation before the ruler of this hell called Limbo could act. Those are the consequences for acting thusly against Inhumans and she has paid the price, just as Summers paid. As will all who mean us such harm”.

 

Johnny rather surprised himself as he raised a protest. “Ummm… I know the X-Men are in the wrong about this… but they didn’t kill any of us when they destroyed that Inhuman battleship you had protecting the cloud, or when they took down New Attilan. Actually… they kind of went out of their way to take prisoners. That… What you just did isn’t… kosher”.

 

Blackbolt just gave Johnny a look of complete dismissal as Medusa replied. “Mutants or Inhumans, I choose Inhumans. We can discuss this after the war is over and the Mutants lay defeated. The sum of all mutants are not worth the future of even one Inhuman child denied the chance for Terrigenesis”.

 

Moon girl butted in and rebuked both Medusa and Blackbolt. “Funny, I don’t recall any Nuhumans being given that choice, just… Inhumans get to decide if they wish to undergo the risks of Terrigenesis. You decided for the rest of us when you created that those damn clouds”.

 

“Watch your mouth child”!   Shouted Gorgon. “She is your queen and you owe her your loyalty and your service”!

 

Moon Girl was not in the mood to be bullied. “I most certainly do not. This… my helping you was a mistake. An emotional response to the request from a friend. I don’t do group identification or group think. Just because I have Inhuman DNA does not mean I have any obligation to support your policies or politics. That equates to declaring that I’m black so I must support all policies of Black Lives Matter or I’m female so I must support a female politician solely because of her gender”.

 

“Be quiet child if you wish to leave this place with us”. Coldly spoke Medusa to the shock of all the Nuhumans.

 

“And now come the threats…”. Answered Moon girl as she made a decision. “Me and Devil D are out”. She climbed on the back of Devil Dinosaur who turned and began to pick up speed as she trotted away.

 

“Don’t be stupid Lunella”! Shouted Kamala. “You can’t possible survive here”!

 

Medusa was done, and so much for gratitude. “As you will, Lockjaw, take all but the girl and the lizard from this place. Return us to Earth so we may finish dealing with these mutants”. Hmm…. Storm and Magneto needed to die as well… plus Emma Frost. Definitely Emma Frost.

 

Fido (I mean Lockjaw) focused and little lightning bolts sparked from his forehead and… nothing happened. Medusa and Blackbolt exchanged looks of sudden concern. They had gone nowhere. Limbo was in lockdown.

 

Moon Girl yelled a rhetorical question over her shoulder as Devil D quickly strode away… well… for some it was rhetorical, others were likely were still in the dark as to the implications of being unable to leave. An issue that Moon Girl had already concluded was going to be the mostly likely outcome. And Moon Girl was still quite convinced that the concept of royalty was a quite outdated as both a form of social organization and decision reaching authority. In fact it was an irrational method of governance. “So… if the ruler of Limbo is dead, why does Lockjaw remain unable to generate a gateway?! Surrender while you still can, I for one repent of joining your side”!

 

With that statement the sky shifted from burnt orange to blackish orange with a dark red glow on the horizon, which silhouetted distant mountains. And reveled a multitude of distant specks that had hereto be lost in the glare of the orange sky.

 

“Are those….”? Iso started to ask while yet knowing what the answer had to be.

 

“Demons, a great many of them. And they are heading our way”. Finished Naja, her vision abilities clearly showing her what was approaching.

 

“How many”? Inquired Inferno with a sinking feeling.

 

“Ummm… all of them I think”. The horizon was growing dark with the rapidly approaching specks. They were surrounded and demons were flying in from all sides like a rising tsunami like wall.

 

The Inhumans looked resolute. The Nuhumans uncertain. Johnny just… naive.

 

“We took them down before, we can do it again…”. Spoke Johnny Storm, as he started to give a little pep talk.

 

Then a voice spoke out of the sudden gloom. Not a human voice, but instead something that sounded like a small blast furnace igniting and given voice. A voice that was filled with anger, pain, and… rage.

 

“Wrong…”.

 

A figure walked out of the gloom as if the very darkness took form. It was female… well… kind of female. It was goat hoofed feet (but human knees), garbed neck to hairy knees in a spiky ink black body suit that had some armor on it. The hands were still human hands but now had reddish skin. And her head... Her head was surrounded by a mass of red flames and her hair was as if spun from fire itself. Her head was now just a skull like mask with horns that had no eyes, just burning pits, like opening into a blast furnace. And her mouth was a pit of flame with burning teeth.

 

She was holding an incandescent sword aloft with both hands, a sword that looked like flame given form. She shouted as she charged at Blackbolt.

 

“Okay… your rules”!

 

 

Part 20b: Hell hath no fury…

 

Blackbolt and Illyana met, she swinging her sword downwards with both hands, he punching with his right hand as he unleashed his Master Blow. The blow was focused upon Illyana and the release of energy shattered the landscape behind her for dozens of miles.

 

Everybody was temporarily blinded and when their visions recovered they beheld Blackbolt kneeling on the ground with his right hand gripping his left shoulder so as to stanch the flow of blood from the severed left arm that lay at his feet. Several hundred yards away Illyana was getting to her hooves amidst shattered and half molten rock. Her black body suit had small little cracks all over that bleed flame and light, like she as a fractured porcelain figure or something. She was holding her sword in one hand.

 

“BLACKBOLT”! Screamed Medusa as she ran to her fallen husband.

 

Illyana was distant, but all could hear her words as spoke.

 

“Hell Lord you stupid idiots! A Hell Lord in her domain”!

 

She thrust the sword into the air above her head and a mile behind her an immense teleportation disk flared into existence about half a mile above the ground, and the base of a stone tower slid forth from and began to plummet towards the ground.

 

“Karnak is on the top of the tower of Wisdom”! Screamed Naja.

 

Karnak - An Ihuman who was never exposed to the Terrigen Mists, so never developed additional powers like other Inhumans, but he is a martial artist who can find the weakness in anything and then use his training and strength to exploit it. His parents had refused to allow him to become an Inhuman due to what had happened to his brother, so instead he studied at the Tower Of Wisdom until his natural powers of perception became so phenomenally strong that he could annihilate anything by touching it by finding its flaw. He is one of the Inhuman’s greatest warriors.

 

“Let’s see if he can find a flaw in terminal velocity”! Was Illyana’s sarcastic question.

 

In short he didn’t. The tower crashed into the ground with a shattering sound of disintegrating rock that ground him into paste.

 

“Nope”! Was Illyana’s satisfied conclusion.

 

“You will pay in blood for this”! Screamed Medusa as she commanded all to attack Illyana while she cradled the injured Blackbolt.

 

Illyana made no rely as all but Medusa and the fleeing Moon Girl with Devil D surged forward to attack, each with their powers, while the Human Torch took to the air and fired a massive fire blast upon Illyana who paid it no mind. Johnny’s attack had the unfortunate side affect of actually blocking the rest from getting close to Illyana.

 

Meanwhile… Moon Girl clung to the neck of Devil D as the wall of demons approached. God she hoped her analysis was right… The flood of demons parted just as it came to her and Devil D, went to either side just out of reach of Devil D’s jaws, and closed again behind her. She’d been right, which meant…

 

Lockjaw teleported behind Illyana and attempted to bite Illyana only to have Illyana thrust her burning sword of flame behind her which impaled Lockjaw through the roof of his mouth and out the top of his head.

 

“Lockjaw”! Screamed Kamala as she saw the Inhuman’s dog die.

 

That’s when the approaching wall of demons broke upon them and all turned black.

 

Most quickly perished in the demonic hailstorm.

 

In the end it was Johnny, Crystal, and Medusa huddled in a defensive parameter around the unconscious Blackbolt keeping the demons at bay with their powers and Medusa’s flailing hair. Then the demons pulled back and the gloom eased as the burning Illyana strode forth from the demon ranks.

 

“It doesn’t have to be this way”! Shouted Johnny in desperation.

 

Illyana said nothing as she gestured with her sword as she cast some kind of spell. Everybody braced, but the assault was not one they expected.

 

Medusa’s hair suddenly grasped Crystal and broke her neck. A fate shared by Blackbolt was well. Then Medusa’s hair enveloped her and bound her.

 

The sudden abruptness of the act stunned both Medusa and Johnny.

 

“You can leave Mr. Storm, or die. The choice is yours in this”.

 

“I won’t leave her”! Shouted Johnny. Damn he wanted to go nova but… Medusa would die if he did that as there was no way to shield her. Maybe if he…

 

Illyana gestured with her sword and an invisible bubble cut off Johnny from air. His flames gutted out and Johnny found he couldn’t breath. He gasped, fought to breath, and passed out.

 

The shield stayed in place and Johnny slowly asphyxiated to death. An ignoble way to die.

 

Illyana gestured again, after Johnny expired, and four stone pillars erupted forth from the ground. Medusa’s hair wrapped around the pillars and then reached back to grasp each of her limbs as she was pulled into the air spread eagled. Bound and gagged and held aloft by her own hair.

 

Illyana’s hell form flickered and now Illyana’s human form and non flaming sword were present. She looked… tired. She limped over to where Medusa hovered bound and spoke.

 

“Happy”?

 

The hair gagging Medusa relaxed and Medusa screamed in grief and rage. Screamed and then ranted.

 

“You will pay for this”!

 

Sudden grief filled Illyana’s expression as tears began to flow. “Already did, already am”.

 

“I shall kill you”!

 

A long silent look, then Illyana replied with distain as she turned to leave.   “Good luck with that”.

 

Illyana addressed the mass circle of demons, or more specifically one demon.

 

“She’s yours Booger”. (Booger had been Sapna’s pet demon. She’d named him booger because he was snotty).

 

The demons surged forth and Medusa… died.

 

 

Part 20c: Planning for the attack on New Attilan

 

“Illyana are you paying attention”? Storm spoke with irritation.

 

“Yes Ororo, I am”. Replied Illyana as a far away look in here eyes faded away.

 

Storm continued. “No time for daydreaming, we need to be focused”.

 

Illyana attempted to end the correction. “Sorry… I was thinking about… contingencies if things don’t go according to plan”.

Chapter Text

Come on! Eight months of dead and diseased mutants everywhere! Eight months! It’s like Hitler coming out of the bunker at the end of WW2 and declaring that nobody ever told him about the Jews being killed and if only he’s known everything would have been ok as he would have put a stop to it.

 

And Medusa saying “What? Why didn’t they just tell us? We would have found a solution that didn’t come to… this”. Gee… I guess killing everybody who wanted to destroy or harm the cloud kind of puts a damper on folks suggesting any such ideas to you. And don’t forget having Blackbolt blasting Summers to vapor because he did just such a thing. (yes I know it was illusion, but the Inhumans thought they did it).

 

I like my stories to make sense damn it! The real reason was of course Editorial direction as Disney (which I am a share holder by the way) is still striving to make the Inhumans TV show and film (not sure what the current state of that is).

 

So I thought upon my dismay and came up with a mechanism to… express myself. So, here is my take. Hope you like. If so then give a shoutout. Oh, and I try to also account for why Illyana is not currently scheduled for any upcoming comic books.

 

This takes place right at the end of Inhumans vs. X-Men Issue 6 and no… I’m so not a fan of the Inhumans. Apologies for the crudity but… well… you’ll see why.

 

Part 21a: Elsewhere…

 

Someplace red, smoky, and filled with a great deal screams and gnashing of teeth. A voice like a broken chainsaw spoke in irritation… “What now Yana? I’m a tad busy”.

 

A female voice making a statement is made that you can’t quite make out.

 

The broken chainsaw sighs like a cracking cylinder head. “Cashing in one of these trivial favors that I owe you? Well… favors are not agreements so actually performing what you… request is optional per the little bets we Hell Lords sometimes make. Tell Uncle what is it and I’ll let you know if I wish to do the deed as it were”.

 

Again a female statement that you can’t make out, followed by a long pause.

 

“Really…? That’s the favor? Dang Yana, I’d pay you for the opportunity. So… deliciously fun. Why in hell wouldn’t you not want to do that yourself”?

 

A very brief indiscernible female statement.

 

The broken chainsaw voice purred a reply. “I… see, can’t say I understand but… I see. Ok. I’m all in. Point the way babe. Let Big Daddy show you how it’s done”.

 

 

Part 21b: Ororo’s office (the school in Limbo)

 

Ororo, Logan, and Erik were cloistered in Ororo’s office.

 

Logan got to the point. “Ro’, you know something’s not quite right”.

 

Erik added his input. “I am unable to conceive of how Forge could have been mentally manipulated into creating Inhuman hunting Sentinels without Magik having any clue at all”.

 

“Nor the ease in which the Inhumans escaped their confinement”. Mused Ororo. “Magik has been… distracted since the death of Sapna…”.

 

“Not that distracted”. Was Logan’s gruff reply.

 

 

Part 21c: Emma…

 

Emma was sitting by the fire. This was in one of her safe houses that she was very certain almost nobody knew about. Emma took another long swallow from her glass of red wine, an empty bottle lay upon the floor, she then looked into the fire and spoke.

 

“Are you watching Magik? Are you there”?

 

It looked like there were two eyes in the fire. Then the fire spoke back with the sound of Illyana’s voice.

 

“Yes Emma… I’m watching… You look…”.

 

A flash of light and Illyana was standing in the room. “Terrible”.

 

Emma had been crying and her mascara had run with long streaks down her face.

 

Illyana poised a question, one that had been on her mind for quite some time. “He died while you were in his mind, didn’t he? Scott that is”.

 

Emma slightly slurred a reply. “Yes…”. Then stood and picked up a black helmet and placed it upon her head. “Look, I made a new costume, one in remembrance of him”.

 

Illyana was not impressed. “Looks like Judge Dread with a bit Rachel’s hound costume studs mixed with dominatrix and an oversized magneto helmet. Honestly Emma, Kitty couldn’t do worse”.

 

“Don’t need you… don’t need anybody”. Was Emma’s slurred response.

 

Illyana sighed. “That was poorly done Emma. Killing the Inhumans who had just destroyed the cloud. And forgetting you had the Inhuman Sentinels. You’re… your mental emanations disrupted almost everybody’s ability to fight. Even had Storm just hovering there so as to observe you in your revenge   All that effort for your vengeance and you screw it up. Well, I’m out. Done with that. In that topic you are decidedly on your own”.

 

“Like you care… And they get off Scott free… Scott…”. That’s when Emma started crying again.

 

Illyana gently took the helmet off of Emma. “Not… completely. Now let’s get you to bed before you hurt yourself”.

 

 

Part 21d: Celebrations

 

Blackbolt and Medusa were in the middle of some serious flirting in one of the private bars at this nightclub, he was behind the bar and she was in front of it. On the bar was the diamond sliver from Emma Frost.

 

Medusa was dressed in a flowing purple gown that showed most of one leg and the majority of her cleavage, he was in a tuxedo version of his mutual costume. They looked utterly pleased with themselves, then…

 

The door to the private bar opened and Illyana Rasputin (Magik) walked in, shutting the door behind her. She was dressed in her usual black field costume, but was lacking her sword.

 

Both Medusa and Blackbolt glared and Medusa spoke for both of them. “Get out”.

 

“In a bit”. Was Illyana’s reply as she sat on a bar stool. “Some… things need to be said first”.

 

Medusa’s hair waved dangerously. “Get out or we throw you out Mutant”.

 

Illyana grinned at the threat. “I think you’re going to find that… that’s going to be a bit of a problem. I’ll have a blue moon beer in a frostily glass”.

 

Medusa’s red hair started to reach for Illyana, and then just fell flat on the floor as if it was just now just long hair.

 

Medusa glanced at Blackbolt as they exchanged mental thoughts… well they tried to, all they got was silence. Both of their eyes rose in surprise.

 

“And no silent talkie”. Stated Illyana as she also reminded them that she was... “Still waiting for my beer”.

 

Blackbolt frowned and took a step in the direction of Illyana.

 

“Wouldn’t do that if I were you”? Teased Illyana in a rather not nice tone of voice.

 

“We broke out of your limbo; I think we can handle you”. Replied Medusa with a dismissive sniff.

 

Which apparently prompted laughter from behind them. A rather frightening laugh in that it sounded like broken glass in a garbage disposal, yet completely understandable.

 

“Ha ha ha ha… you… you think you actually broke out all by your lonesomes? Yana, Yana, Yana… you are wasted on fools such as these”. Laughed the voice in mirth. “Now Yana, if only you’d see reason and come join with me we could have such… fun times”.

 

They knew that voice. They slowly turned and confronted…

 

Mephisto!

 

In appearances he was a tall man red of flesh (and I don’t mean American Indian). He had wild and crazy longish blackish red hair. He was dressed tattered red cloak with a high collar and a tattered red loin cloth and his feet were concealed by elegant red leather boots. In short he looked like a devil minus a tail.

 

Mephisto helpfully pointed out. “Lady’s still waiting for her beer. My my, such slow service, and prone to raciest comments I might add. Suddenly an iPhone8 was in Mephisto right hand (pre-release, the devil always gets the best that Apple has, part of a little deal Steve Jobs made oh so long ago). “SIRI bring up Yelp for Blackbolt’s nightclub, I need to post a negative review. No no, Blackbolt’s Nightclub not Black Volt’s electronics supply emporium. Ahhh, that’s it”.

 

Thumbs a blazing Mephisto also spoke the review as he typed it in. “Staff is composed of only slightly reformed Racist Xenophobic Slave Owners who not only overcharge, but are slow on delivering orders. And the pork dumplings are under cooked as well resulting in frequent bouts of sudden explosive diarrhea for those unlucky enough to partake. Don’t, and I quote, don’t be dancing next to somebody on the club floor who was partaken of that house specialty”.

 

Mephisto put away the phone (somewhere) and smiled at the glaring Inhumans. “Don’t even think you can toss me out with all your powers now inoperable. Now the Lady is still waiting on her beer. I’ll have a whisky sour… hmmm make that two whisky sours, extra large, and make them extra extra sour if you get my drift (set pucker factor to max), and while you’re making them give me a shot glass and that bottle of Four Roses Bourbon on the shelf behind you”.

 

“Make it yourself”. Replied Medusa with bitter scorn. “We are leaving”.

 

Blackbolt pocketed the piece of diamond as Blackbolt and Medusa walked to the door, opened it, and…. looked upon nothing. Just a black void. They hurriedly backed up and shut the door. They turned to find Mephisto drinking a shot and the bottle of Bourbon was now in front of him.

 

Illyana also had her glass of icy cold beer. She got up, with the beer in hand, and walked to the door. “Excuse me”. She politely said as she edged past the two Inhumans, opened the door and departed into nothing.

 

Mephisto waved at them from his end of the bar. “You’re trapped here until we have a little talk. And the longer it takes… well… Hurry up with those whisky sours. And I just adore Karaoke and John Denver”. With that a disco ball materialized. Mephisto got off of his bar stool and began to sing Rocky Mountain High as music burst forth. Badly singing I might add, combined with groin thrusts like some demented combination of Elvis and Michelle Jackson while using the bottle as if it was a mike.

 

And the Colorado Rocky Mountain high, I've seen it raining fire in the sky.

I know he'd be a poor man if he never saw an eagle fly,

Rocky Mountain high, the Colorado Rocky Mountain high, I've seen it raining fire in the sky.

Friends around the campfire and everybody's high

Rocky Mountain high, Colorado. Rocky Mountain high.

Rocky Mountain high, Colorado. Rocky Mountain high!

 

Medusa and Blackbolt exchanged glances and then walked back over to where Mephisto was singing. Blackbolt accidentally stepped on Medusa’s hair causing her to briefly curse up a blue streak at him. Medusa sat down and Blackbolt returned to behind the bar and silently grumbled to himself while he started making the whisky drinks.

 

Mephisto smiled an evil grin and stopped singing. “Knew you’d see it my way. They always do in the end. Golly gosh darn, didn’t even get to my boy band tribute. Now let’s see…”.

 

 

Part 21e: Truths

 

Mephisto sat back down on the bar stool, picked up the shot glass and tossed it over his shoulder and then proceeded to take a swig right from the bottle. “Ahh, good stuff. Well… Yana asked that I give you two this little chat being that she’d probably end up killing you if she did it herself. I owned her a favor as I lost a bet a little while ago, little thing hell lords do from time to time, so here we are”.

 

“We do not fear the witch”. Replied a disdainful Medusa which only made Mephisto laugh again and slap his knee.

 

“Ha ha ha ha… Witch? Tsk, tsk, tsk. Yana so underplays it… well she’s young, she’ll learn. Yana’s a witch like I’m a choir boy. Hell Lord you two ninnies. Hell Lord”. He took another swig from the bottle.

 

“Didn’t stop us from escaping her prison cell”. Replied Medusa.

 

Mephisto smirked. “Because she set you up to escape dumb ass, and left you close enough to find where Blackbolt was being kept, how… convenient that was. And no alarms? Please… Now I admit she’s not the tactical and strategic genius like you Medusa, I mean just look at the brilliant strategies you had incase the Mutants attacked, which was so obviously going to happen… oh wait… sorry wrong universe. Just so many of the little buggers… let’s see… in this universe… the Mutants handed you your ass with both of your thumbs up it as well. Took all of you down like Andy Kaufman going up against a real wrestler. I mean… high school football team vs. the Oakland Raiders”.

 

Scowls from the Inhumans as Medusa replied. “They… surprised us the first time, the second encounter went much differently”.

 

“Rrrrriiiiggghhhhttttt”. Scoffed Mephisto. “Find somewhere else to peddle those damaged goods. One word as to why you did so much better, just one word… can you guess it”?

 

Silence from the Inhumans. Blackbolt finished making the drinks and slide them to Mephisto.

 

“No? Well… the word of the day is… Emma! She’s nuts! Bonkers! Two plus two equals cheesy grits kind of crazy. Plus she was rather drunk. The X-Men fought so badly because Emma’s mental vibs just interfered with everything, girl just wanted to grandstand on her death by cop attempt and because of all that self medication she kept getting distracted”. Mephisto giggled, then continued.

 

“You taking down Psylocke while she prattles on about having a sword? Only wolverine left to protect Forge and the cloud destroying machine? Emma forgetting she had Inhuman sentinels for crying out loud? Don’t kid yourself Medusa, you should have gone down faster then Paris Hilton at Adult Con. Your big battle was with a drunk suicidal crazy woman so of course you looked better the second time”.

 

Mephisto handed a whiskey sour each to Medusa and Blackbolt. “That’s for you dearies, like my booze straight, and don’t you even think about not drinking it as you can’t leave this room until I leave and you drink up”.

 

Medusa glared but… took a sip. And yes it was very very sour. Blackbolt’s fist clenched, but the glass remained unbroken. He then took a sip of the sour concoction.

 

Mephisto prompted Blackbolt. “Speak up Blackbolt. Your voice has no power here and we so rarely get to hear you prattle out loud in that whinny high pitched voice of yours. No? Well… didn’t know you were into fisting, man Emma got you good. Now I’m more of a giver then a receiver but you took that fisting like a man! She was up to her elbow in you! Now that’s gotta hurt”!

 

Blackbolt spoke and… no displays of power, and yea he does have a high pitched voice.

 

“Get to the point”.

 

Another smirk from Mephisto. “You may have fooled most of them but… not me. And not Yana”.

 

“Fooled them as to what”? Scornfully replied Medusa.

 

“Gunna play dumb I see… well, not exactly hard for you toots”. Mephisto took yet another long swig. “The whole setup. So many months in the making. Almost feel sad for poor o’ll Johnny Storm. I mean such a handy boy toy for you, kept the bed extra warm and scratched the itch whenever you wanted a good scratching seeing that o’ll Blackboltie was gone. And what a good well hung scratcher he was… And then you just kicked him to the curb like an unwanted puppy without even a second thought. But one must ask the question, as o’ll Johnny boy has now banged both of the sisters, just who is better in the sack? My votes on Crystal, yea less experienced but… bet she’s tighter”.

 

If looks could kill then the glares from the two Inhumans would have destroyed Manhattan by now.

 

Mephisto continued. “I’d say don’t worry about Johnny, but you aren’t. Johnny will find somebody new, he always does. Bet within the week there will be somebody new for Johnny to wrap little Johnny around. Somebody younger… although… I suppose you were one of his MILFy moments… Opps… wait one…”.

 

Mephisto wet a finger it raised it into the air like he was trying to find out the direction of the wind. “Why Johnny’s on a rebound one night stand as we speak! And barely legal at that! Ahhh Johnny my lad, I’m proud of you. Go Johnny go go go! Reminds me of the time in this alternate universe where Johnny and Aunty May hooked up, see in that universe Johnny was kind of fixated on older women, really older woman”.

 

Mephisto eyed Medusa up and down. “Then again… you are old enough to be his mother, stretch marks and all”.

 

Medusa sneered. “Get to the point you disgusting little man”.

 

Mephisto smiled. “Eight months… eight whole Fing months you do nothing but defend the cloud. Prevent its destruction. Complain that ISO is off working with Beast when she should be dong more import Inhuman work. Real lack of Bo-Ho over the little dying mutant problem. And what does Blackbolt do during this sad episode? The big nothing! I just can’t see how ‘I'm defending my way of life’ vs. ‘I'm defending my right to live’ is even a debate. But things were going to pot, the Nuhumans just aren’t integrating, and Blackbolt of course saw the setup that was presented to you”.

 

The two Inhumans went still. Medusa replied. “What setup”?

 

Mephisto cackled. “Even had a big red button for crying out loud. Push it and save the mutants, don’t push it and they all get to die, and… your true callous nature is utterly reveled and the Nuhumans overthrow you, after all the Inhumans are rather a pushover when it comes to fighting. Push it and you lose, don’t push and you lose. Best you can do is try to come out looking like the selfless hero. Can’t help but notice that if you push it then suddenly it’s ixnay on killing the poor sap who destroys your so-called sacred cloud as that would now put your head on the chopping block. Funny how the rules were different when you thought Summers had destroyed a cloud. Back then it was off with his head”!

 

“No such thoughts occurred”. Replied Medusa while firmly not looking at Blackbolt.

 

Which just prompted howls of derisive laughter from Mephisto. “I’m the Devil dearie, such… knowledge comes with the job! Let’s see… what was that little mental exchange you and Blackbolt had”?

 

Mephisto gestures and a recording of Medusa’s and Blackbolt’s thoughts are played out loud.

 

Blackbolt “It’s over my love, we need to regroup”.

Medusa. “But the sacred cloud…”?

 

Blackbolt “Has serviced its purpose, and these Nuhumans are… resistant to our ways”.

Medusa. “We can still find a way to force them to bend to Inhuman rules of society”.

 

Blackbolt “No… too much Inhuman harm will result. We must… seduce them instead, we must want them to want us to rule them”.

Medusa. “Meaning…”?

 

Blackbolt “Be the martyr, save these mutants, be the hero, or the choice will be taken away and you will be discarded”.

Medusa. “So the choice is a trap”?

 

Blackbolt “Yes, regardless of what you pick that button is going off. The cloud will be destroyed. So let us take the credit”.

Medusa. “So then, no choice at all”.

 

Blackbolt “Other then appearing to be the hero”.

Medusa. “Then we must find an opportunity to trigger the emotional telepathic mime of our reunion that we constructed so long ago as to inspire the mentally weak”.

 

Blackbolt “Are you done with Johnny”?

Medusa. “Phsss. Fumbling boy compared to you my love. Why did you ever suggest him as my cohort”?

 

Blackbolt “It made our separation look so very authentic”.

Medusa. “That it did my love, that it did”.

 

The two Inhumans exchanged glances while Mephisto cackled in amusement and laughed himself to tears, as he laughed he made drink up gestures to them. They did, but almost couldn’t choke down the sour sips.

 

Finally Mephisto calmed down wiped away a tear of mirth. “Blackbolt carrying you into the air is… beautiful? Just what poor sap of an Inhuman mind wiped telepath wrote that drivel? Then you give up the throne rather then have it taken from you? How utterly pathetic and contrived and oh so false”!

 

“And now…”? Asked Blackbolt.

 

Mephisto took a long swig that drained the bottle before answering. “I Love it! My hat would be off to you if I was wearing one. I! Absolutely! Love! It! That’s the kind of thinking we value at team Mephisto”!

 

Blackbolt raised a question. “So you are…”?

 

Mephisto stretched as he replied. “Going to do absolutely nothing, so is Yana, much to her annoyance. Rules after all, Hell Lords just aren’t allowed to do some things. That’s why she decided to have me tell you as the girl just didn’t trust herself not to loss her temper and then…”. Mephisto drew his finger across his throat.

 

“She has not the power”. Spoke Blackbolt, which just again get Mephisto laughing.

 

“She arranged for the death of the Elder gods you dork. You… you’re just… lucky that the powers that be, call them Editorial, is currently on your side. My advice is don’t go looking for dear old Emma. Guess you’ll just have to take whenever Emma throws at you first before you get to respond. Hmm you might want to go off world for a bit, you know… get away. Well… time for me to skedaddle, places to go, people to kill, you know how it is, always work work work work work”.

 

Mephisto got up from his stool and walked over to the door but paused before opening it, turned and… “Oh and Blackbolt, bad news, Johnny is better at it then you, he’s had more… variety then you after all, plus he’s younger and more… skilled and I’m not sorry to say better equipped as well… That boy is hung! And you know that little thing you’ve always begged Medusa to allow you to do… the thing she never allows you to do? Well… she let Johnny do it. In fact it was kind of their thing, and she loved it! I mean scream like a banshee and tear up the sheets and breaking the bed loved it! And just to be a dick of a spoiler, she’s never ever going to let you do it. Plus… well you should really write Johnny a thank you note for all the little tricks he taught her, boy oh boy is she going to rock your world. And bonus, she’s multi orgasmic now thanks to Johnny, although… it might just be with Johnny… you’ll find out I guess”.

 

Then a chuckle. “Then again… that’s assuming you two… let’s just say Johnny left a little gift was it were for you. The big H. Yep… Herpes! Surprise”!

 

Medusa looked horrified and Blackbolt looked… queasy.

 

Then a statement that prompted an alarmed look on Blackbolt. “Oh and Medusa honey… Blackbolt’s learned a thing or two as well in the months that you two have been apart. Boy’s been positively nailing it! Poontang galore! My my, must be almost half of New York by now. Just kidding, only a few hundred or so. Men are such dogs and you did let him off the leash… But then again… I mean… hell even Johnny cheated on you”.

 

A scowl of offended disbelief from Medusa.

 

“You really didn’t know? Crystal banged him so hard on that spaceship of hers he almost had a stroke. Guess the girl was feeling a bit… envious of her big sister. He gave her the big H as well if that’s any comfort. So… Blackbolt my man, how do you rate the two of them? I mean just like Johnny you nailed Crystal a few times behind your wife’s back so who’s better in the sack… Opps! Let the cat out of the bag, my bad… Um… gee is it me or is it suddenly uncomfortable in here”?

 

It wasn’t Mephisto.

 

Mephisto waved goodbye. Well… I’ll keep a warm place ready for you both… tootles”.

 

And with that Mephisto was gone.

Their powers returned.

And the flirting mood had gone cold like liquid nitrogen is cold.

 

There was then a nock at the door, they exchanged looks and Medusa answered. “Come in”.

 

It was the maitre d’. “Sir, the city health inspectors just closed down the kitchen. Something about undercooked pork dumplings and… um… the dance floor is… um… a mess”.

 

Blackbolt wanted to sigh… but refrained.

Chapter Text

But I always like the stories to make sense so this is my take (at least for now). This takes place after the X-Men Gold fight Terrax but before they go off to the UN building to encounter the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (Magneto should have gotten a copy right on that an royalties, but then again… maybe he does).

 

As a side note, I liked the issue, art was very good. And then the hidden messages from the penciler Ardian Syaf came to light. Quite anti Kitty, anti Jewish, and anti Chinese if you’re an Indonesian and have the audacity to not be a Muslim. The irony of such a person doing the art for the X-Men is rather amusing in a sad kind of way. Like Hitler being hired to paint Bar Mitzvahs or something. And for those who say don’t rush to judgment, well… Ardian Syaf’s own words, his Facebook page, and his tweets confirm that it was all quite deliberate on his part. Double irony as the writer of the issue is Jewish and the founders of Marvel, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, are also Jewish.

 

So… I added my opinion as well to the story. Oh… and I occasionally frequent the location of this story so all the food and beer is quite real (food is ok, beer is great). I also make some references to Cosmic Girl Talk Chapter five and the ongoing Magicians and Magik series.

 

 

Part 22: Stone Brewery and beer bistro Gardens in San Diego California (Escondido in actuality). A great place to be if you’re a beer geek.

 

Logan and Kurt were partaking of brewskies, cold ones, libations, oat soda, barley pop, boredom-be-gone, loudmouth soup, real man's Zima, varsity Shirley Temple, suds, liquid bread, silly seltzer, liquid courage, social lubricant, secret ingredient X, daddy's milk, redneck wine, elixir of the gods…

 

In summation… beer.

 

Why Stone Brewery of all places? I mean… Kurt and Logan are living in New York and the San Diego region is far away, plus the place is much more high brow then Logan’s normal drinking establishments.

 

Logan had even grumbled as he looked at the menu. “You can order a cheese plate appetizer for crying out loud. Appetizers are supposed to be fried, that’s what God intended”.

 

The reason the pair were at Stone was the fact it was Kurt’s turn to pick a location and he’d gone for the place that Dani kept talking about. Plus it was mutant friendly and Kurt is rather… obvious in appearance (even though he was dressed in civilian duds).

 

They’d shown up (Illyana had ported them) and were quickly seated in the outside beer garden by a blazing gas fire. They were partaking of some appetizers, drinking beer, and waiting for their main courses to arrive.

 

Currently there were two plates of Stone-Style Hemp Seed Soft Pretzels (three soft pretzels served warm with roasted jalapeño pepper cheese sauce and stone-ground mustard) and two plates of Pork Belly “Char Siu” (Slow braised all-natural pork belly with a sweet-spicy glaze tucked into a steamed bun with cilantro, cabbage and carrots with a tangy dressing).

 

Kurt was drinking a glass of Stone Tangerine Express IPA (Brewed w/Tangerine & Pineapple). Logan was partaking of Who You Callin' WUSSIE (Northern German Pilsner).

 

Kurt took a long slow drink and then sighed in contentment, and then ate half a pretzel. “I see while Dani likes this place”.

 

“Dani’s an IPA fanatic”. Grumbled back Logan as he likewise drank a long gulp, and likewise snagged a pretzel. “Who worships at the alter of Stone IPAs, of course she’d like this place”.

 

“Explains why she got so upset when that girl’s night out that she arranged got interrupted by those terrorists who wanted to kill both the owners, the patrons, and destroy the brewery as a political statement against ”.

 

Logan growled. “Can’t stand flam’in fanatics. Blasted sons of Syaf. Surprised she left any of them survive”.

 

“Well, to hear Jubilee describe it, Dani did want Illyana to change their gender to female, or have the telepaths reassign their sexual preferences... but she did calm down after a while”.

 

“You mean she sobered up Elf”. Replied Logan while pointing at Kurt with a half eaten pretzel.

 

“That too”. Snickered Kurt as he then snagged some pork belly. “Ever since that little episode the owners and staff are quite mutant, and X-Men in particular, friendly”.

 

They both drained their glasses and ordered the next round. Kurt went for a Maine/Stone Dayslayer India Pale Lager while Logan went dark with a Stone Mint Coffee Milk Stout which earned him a sniff of disdain from Kurt as to his beer choice.

 

“Might you be wanting that cheese plate now”?

 

“Nothing wrong with variety Elf. So little time, so many…”

 

Kurt finished the sentence with a laugh. “…Beers”.

 

The beers arrived and they drank long toast to Kitty on her success as the X-Men team leader against Terrax. After the toast Logan looked upon his beer with appreciation.

 

“Think I’ve just found a replacement for morning coffee”.

 

Kurt grinned as he took another sip of his brew. “That statement coming from anybody else would alarm me”.

 

“One of the many side benefits of having a healing factor Elf. That and keeping the ladies satisfied”.

 

Kurt returned to a prior topic of conversation. “I’ve made up my mind, I’m gunna do it”. He joked.

 

“Don’t”. Warned Logan. “For the love of god and your man card, don’t”.

 

Kurt ignored Logan’s warning, gestured to their waitress and… ordered the cheese plate.

 

“That’s gunna will cost you ten man points Elf”. Conclude Logan as he drained the last of his glass.

 

“There’s more to beer food then salted peanuts and Cheetos my friend”. Rebutted Kurt as he ate the last of his pretzel and finished off his beer as well.

 

“I like Cheetos”. Was Logan’s gruff reply.

 

Time for more beer. Kurt got a glass of Stone Ripper San Diego Pale Ale while Logan went for Stone Give Me IPA or Give Me Death. The beers and the cheese plate arrived at the same time.

 

“Wossie”. Lightly mocked Logan as he partook of the cheese.

 

“Then why are you eating it”? Rebutted Kurt.

 

“Fixings are good, I’m just man enough not to order it”.

 

“Logan my friend, the logic of that statement completely escapes me”.

 

“It’s a man thing Elf, you wouldn’t understand”.

 

The pair went silent as they enjoyed the food and beer. The Logan made a comment.

 

“What do you think of Rachel’s new costume and code name”?

 

Kurt made a face as if he’d just found a bug in his beer. “You know what I think of it, the same as you… it’s… appalling. The name is… weak and the costume is horrendous. mein Gott it’s bad”.

 

Logan agreed. “And she has a cape bub. A fracking cape, in the style of a Thor cosplay to boot. Storm or Magneto are the only ones who can usually pull off wearing a cape and not look like a duffus. The only reason she’s wearing that getup is…”.

 

Kurt finished. “Because Kitty designed it. Girl’s got it bad. At least she’s not bitching all the time. From what I’ve heard, back when Rachel was on Storm’s team, she was always complaining about everything”.

 

“Was she that Kitty obsessed when the three of you were in Excalibur”? Inquired Logan as yet another pretzel vanished.

 

“Yep…”. Replied Kurt after a long pull on his beer. “Captain Britton and I had a running bet as to when they would start sleeping in the same room. But… nobody won that bet. Hmmm, give it a week or two and maybe we might make a wager of our own as I’m quite sure Rachel is… willing”.

 

“At least the costume’s not black”. Chuckled Logan which caused an answering chuckle from Kurt as they remembered the little incident from a few days ago.

 

BEGIN INTERLUDE

 

Kurt, Logan, Ororo, Peter and Rachel were in the danger room for a practice session. Kitty was in the control room and Illyana was also present with Kitty (they were chatting). Kitty forgot to turn off the mike at one point and the Danger Room participants could now hear the conversation as they fought the combat scenario.

 

“I hate my costume”. Complained Kitty to Illyana who was not having any of her complaints.

 

“We’ve been over this Kitty. You know my opinion”.

 

“I respect your opinion Yana, but…”.

 

“But you’re not going to following it”.

 

“No, not in this case”.

 

“I’ll say it one last time Pryde, once you go black, you never go back”.

 

This… rather poorly worded statement caused Kitty to just stare at Illyana, where as Kurt froze in the midst of a combat move causing a robot to punch him in the stomach.   Logan and Rachel started to snicker and Ororo looked… pained whereas Peter just looked embarrassed.

 

Kitty finally replied as she started to giggle. “Are you implying… something Yana”?

 

Illyana at first just looked at Kitty was some confusion, and then her eyebrows rose and she started to blush. “That’s… that’s not what I meant… I meant clothing, not… not that”. She said as Kitty continued to laugh.

 

Then it got worse. Logan shouted, as he dismembered a robot. “Storm, any thoughts on the topic”?

 

Storm replied, while flying about the room, with a completely non humorous tone (she was trying not to laugh). “I find… variety to be pleasant. I have frequently shifted from one to another so… no. Going black is… exaggerated”.

 

Logan continued the harassment as it were. “Yo Petie, any thoughts on the topic”?

 

“No”. Was Peter’s brief comment as he destroyed a robot, then… “I have always found that the subject is… overstated and quite… incorrect”.

 

Illyana continued to blush harder while Kitty was now laughing hysterically.

 

Kurt BAMF’d to another part of the Danger Room. “Logan, you were a member of the Avengers, any... observations that you care to share”?

 

Logan grinned. “Thor has a very big… hammer. Cap is a big… patriot. Hulk… smash. Hawkeye always did know how to handle his… bow. Although I sometimes think the whole giant man thing with Hank Pym was because he felt… inadequate when checking out the competition when using the urinal”.

 

Illyana had enough. “I must be going… um… papers to grade”. With that she teleported away.

 

END INTERLUDE

 

“Never knew Hell Lord’s blushed”. Grinned Kurt.

 

“She did then… but… I swear, Ororo’s got at least two entire closets of costumes”. Commented Logan.

 

“At least she has costumes. Are you ever going to wear one or is dressing like a red neck rancher your field persona now”?

 

“Too flam’in old for a costume”. Grumbled Logan.

 

“What’s next? Yelling at kids to get off your lawn”?

 

Logan tried to give Kurt a steely eyed glare, but his laugh rather ruined the attempt.

 

They continued to chuckle as more beer arrived.   Logan went black again as he partook of Modern Times Blackhouse (Coffee Stout) while Kurt went off the reservation a bit with 21st Amendment High or High Watermelon (Fruit Beer).

 

“Since when is she grading papers”? Observed Logan as he sipped.

 

“No idea”. Replied Kurt as he also sipped. “I do recall her mentioning that she part timed in some other dimension’s magic school, some kind of hobby of hers”.

 

Ahh, dinner arrived. Kurt was having the Duck Tinga Tacos, Slow-braised duck in tomato, garlic and onion topped with cilantro, picked onions, cabbage and crema served with a quinoa, black been, rice salad tossed in avocado cilantro dressing. Logan, being quite the meat and potato kind of guy, had gone for the Braised Short Rib with Yukon Gold horseradish mash and red wine reduction.

 

And with supper arrived more beer. A Bitter Brothers Golden Child Hefeweizen for Kurt and a Double Bastard Ale for Logan.

 

“Any thoughts as to why Illyana isn’t on the team”? Inquired Logan as he ate.

 

“Rachel”. Replied Kurt. “Suffice it to say Rachel is not… a fan. Illyana appears to not really have any beef with Rachel but Rachel does. I heard there was a big blowup in the school cafeteria months ago. Shortly after that Rachel left. I think Kitty is trying to appease Rachel a bit and Illyana appears to understand”.

 

“Plus I think Magik is a bit tired of being the Uber service”. Observed Logan.

 

“And there is the whole Emma issue”. Replied Kurt.

 

“Yea… Emma. Still unlocatable”. Mused Logan.

 

“Which in itself is… suspicious”. Stated Kurt as he munched a soft duck taco. “ Now Emma blocking telepaths is one thing but…”.

 

“Blocking magic, or in this case Magik is another”. Finished Logan. “I’m rather sure Ororo has… concerns over that as well. Concerns that she’s shared with Kitty”.

 

“And of course there is Illyana’s statement that she’s… very busy in Limbo all of a sudden so she wishes to be more of a school defense asset with Dani and not on a team”.

 

“You buying that”? Asked Logan while cutting up some more meat.

 

“Not for an instant. Doesn’t help that no telepath can verify her statements. And you can’t…”?

 

Logan replied to Kurt’s hanging question. “Tell? Nope. Petie’s little sister can lie all she wants and my senses can’t tell the difference. Not sure if it’s a Hell Lord thing or… her nature”.

 

Supper was now done so… time for more beer. Kurt had Avery The Beast Grand Due (2014) a Belgian Dark Ale while Logan went The Lost Abby Angel’s share Bourbon Barrel Aged Ale (a sipping beer).

 

“This place is nice Elf. Bit… millennial, but… nice)”.

 

“Not every bar has to be a dive Logan. Dani says that California is a major hot bed of beer innovation. It pains me to admit that she may be right… but she is overly fixated upon IPAs”.

 

The two friends continued to enjoy the relaxed night. Once their beers were done Kurt with a Stone Pataskala Red X IPA while Logan went with a Stone 2012 Old Guardian Barley Wine and then a Liberty Station Rumvergnugen (Imperial Dunkelweizen brewed with hazelnuts and molasses).

 

Then there was Stone Doublicous, Stone Pilot Amber Waves Oatmeal IPA, Stone Jindia Pale Ale, Stone Go To IPA, Maui Mana Wheat, Victory Sour Monkey Belgian Tripel, and likely very other beer on the menu.

 

Ahh… they spent the night drinking until closing time were then a portal from Illyana took them home.

 

Kurt was... in a bad way the next day.

Chapter Text

Additional commentary:

 

Omega Red (Arkady Rossovich) is a Russian serial killer that was turned into a commie super solder version of Captain America by the KGB (without all the goodness of course as we are talking commies). In the end he was killed by Wolverine using some kind of sword.

 

Well, he’s back, but the magics that resurrected him are fading so a plot is created to capture Illyana and force her to use her magics to stabilize him. This of course works and the X-Men end up hunting for the kidnapped Illyana only to confront Omega Red who rapidly takes down both Ororo and Rachel, which is rather hard to believe, only to be overcome, in the end be, by Wolverine. Plus Komolov defeats Illyana (twice), who is then saved by Peter who regains his ability to turn into steel (for once he gets to save his Snowflake, how… convenient).

 

Even harder to believe that Komolov was able to take down Illyana twice! We are talking hell lord here.

 

My take is Illyana was faking and threw the fight each time. In part to see just/demonstrate just what kind of person this lost uncle was, and to help get Kitty and Peter back together (she was the cause of them breaking up back in Utopia and I’ve always felt/written that she feels bad about that). And she keeps wanting to underplay her powers.

 

In the end the foes are defeated and turned over to SICKLE (Russian version of SHIELD, one can only hope they less frequently try taking over the world like SHIELD tends to do).

 

But what happens afterwards?

 

Oh, and apologies for any crudity, we are talking Russian mafia and they tend to be rather crude.

 

 

Part 23a: Beery Arm Chair Ruminations (part 1)

 

“Elf, that’s what a man’s appetizer is supposed to be like.” Declared Logan with great satisfaction.

 

Kurt was less… enthused then Logan. Yea the bar was well equipped with a variety of beer and liquor. But the plate of nachos looked almost as oily as if it had been deep fried, and those looked like fried jalapeño peppers and hot sauce upon it as well.

 

Kurt dubiously poked at the plate. “Why my friend? So as to encourage mass consumption of suds to drown out the heartburn?”

 

Logan grabbed a handful and munched away while declaring. “Never get heartburn.”

 

Kurt nibbled one, which caused him to promptly down half of his beer. “Ow! … Ow… Ow! Mein Gott!   My tounge is desolving!”

 

“Wimp…”

 

“Logan, some of us don’t have a healing factor, and we still posses taste buds. And the desire to not burn our insides from the insides.”

 

Logan took a long slow sip of beer. “Like I said… wimp. That’s man food.”

 

“That is not food my friend, it is a flesh dissolving solvent from hell. I shall inform Hank of this substance, not so he can weaponize it, for it already is weaponized, but to concoct an antidote.”

 

“Hank already knows and he loves it.”

 

“Did his hair fall out?”

 

Logan paused in his chewing. “Um… some, that’s just because he got some on his fur.”

 

“Enjoy my friend, I for one will stick with the peanuts.”

 

“Wimp, you’re as bad as Spidey.”

 

They continued to snip at each other in the banter that friends engage in for a few minutes. In the end Kurt ordered the mild hot wings.

 

After a few more beers, and some wings, Kurt broached a topic that had been bothering him.

 

“What did your senses show you when Illyana explained what happened to her?”

 

“That she was telling the truth.” Was Logan’s gruff reply.

 

“I thought you couldn’t tell if she lies?”

 

“I can’t.”

 

“So you find it… suspicious as well.”

 

“Bingo in one Elf, flame’n bingo in one.”

 

Kurt leaned back and took a long swallow as he thought. “Rather nice in how it all worked out though. Kitty and Peter apparently back together.”

 

“Yea…”

 

“Do you think SICKLE will be able to hold them?”

 

“Omega Red… for now. Likely the Ruskies will just start using him as an agent again at some point.”

 

“I meant the wizard and their Uncle.”

 

Logan gave an answer that meant one thing, but really meant another. “I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.”

 

 

Part 23b: SICKLE Holding Faculty Twelve (Siberia)

 

“Ahh, thank you Anatoly, these handcuffs were becoming most bothersome.” Spoke Komolov.

 

The before mentioned Komolov and Uncle Anatoly Rasputin Nikolayevich were standing in the corridor of their empty cell block. Komolov’s magics had disable security, put the guards to sleep, and turned off the alarms; but had been unable to unlock the handcuffs.

 

He continued. “Come my friend, the Bratva (Russian Brotherhood, i.e. Mafia) will be waiting for us.”

 

“Da Komolov, I dislike cells.” Replied Anatoly as he spit on the floor.

 

“You’ve certainly spent enough time in them.”

 

A chuckle from Anatoly. “Yes… both of us old comrade. What now?”

 

A glare of rage from Komolov as they started to walk. “We find your bitch cunt of a niece and teach her that she only lives to serve.”

 

An evil smile from Anatoly “I shall enjoy watching you break her Komolov, in mind and spirit. Western ways are weak, they let women do as they please rather then knowing their place.”

 

“Their place is beneath a man Anatoly, and we shall teach her exactly what her role in life is to be. She is nothing before me with the ritual I have.”

 

Unnoticed, dark and smoky shadows were filling the corridor behind them.

 

Komolov was beginning to fantasize about what he was going to do. “I shall make the bitch scream and beg, and in the end make her beg to satisfy my every urge. I will…”

 

The end of the corridor was a T junction and as they reached it they noticed that the right hand of the T junction was cloaked in smoky darkness, and that there was now darkness behind them as well. And Magic, with her soul sword, was standing about ten feet down the left side of the T junction, with darkness also behind her.

 

“Greeting Uncle, Komolov, what took you so long?”

 

Magical powers burst from the hands of Komolov and he struck at Magik, only to have her bat away his attack like it was some annoying insect.

 

“I defeated you twice cunt!” Shouted Komolov as he attacked again, putting everything he had into it. Only to again have Illyana bat it away.

 

Illyana sneered. “That was pretend time… this is real.”

 

Komolov sarcastily replied while weaving some magical defenses. “So… twice you were on your knees before me and you pretend you let that happen!” Meanwhile Anatoly took refuge behind Komolov.

 

A smile that was not a nice smile from Illyana. “Wanted the players to show their cards, and needed Peter to make his own decisions as to the worth of our ‘Uncle’.”

 

“You will bow before me cunt!”

 

Illyana looked rather bored. “No… not now, not ever. One should never kill family…” A statement that caused Anatoly to slightly relax for a moment. “But ‘Uncle’ I’ve known demons who show more family values then you. You should never have tried to kill Peter.”

 

Two large four legged red wolf like demons slowly walked from the shadows behind Illyana. They hungrily eyed the pair.

 

“Meet Gzzkllk and Booger.”

 

“Booger?” Was Komolov exasperated reply.

 

“My… apprentice name him. Rather like the name, she thought he was snotty.”

 

“I am more then a match for two such demons!”

 

Illyana had that look that said you had brought a knife to a tank battle. “Who said there were two?”

 

Anatoly felt hot breath on the back of his neck as he heard a growl. He never even had time to turn his head before he died.

 

Komolov lasted but a few seconds longer. In the end there was a great deal of blood on the walls and floor, but no bodies. Illyana had let Gzzkllk and Booger join in the fun as well as she felt they all desired to piece of the action as it were.

 

Illyana whimsically stated as to demons fought over a severed leg. “I wonder who gave you the rituals that you thought would actually bind me, and what you paid for them?”

 

The leg was finally turn in two and consumed. “But you were but lied to so…just don’t really care.”

 

There, message sent for anybody in the infernal realms who actually thought here weak.

 

 

Part 23c:   Beery Arm Chair Ruminations (part 2)

 

Logan polished off the last of the nachos. “Nope, think SICKLE has things well in hand with those two.”

 

Chapter Text

Needless to say the rest of the X-Men Blue team are not happy with him. I can’t help but wonder would Magik would have thought about the total SNAFU.

 

Part 24a: The prices we pay

 

Illyana coldly examined young Henry McCoy, who was currently residing within a glowing pentagon that he was imprisoned within.

 

“Mr. McCoy, for some reason I thought that the example of your older self would serve as some kind of check upon poor decision making. I now see that I was wrong. Didn’t your parent’s teach you about taking candy from strangers?”

 

Not good, she only uses Mr. or Ms. with me, or us, when she’s really pissed off, thought Hank. He scratched his head while giving an ahh shucks kind of look.

 

“I know… I know… I really screwed up Professor Magik.”

 

“No Mr. McCoy, I don’t think you do know. Let’s see, a demon sorceress from a different dimension just volunteers to teach you magic and you actually accept? Your lack of discernment is stunning, such creatures do not go around granting favors; and I most certainly do know. They look for ignorant tools, and you, Mr. McCoy, are quite the tool.”

 

Hank felt the stirrings of anger. “I said I was sorry. I know I was foolish but…”

 

Illyana waved a hand and Hanks moth snapped shut, cutting off any additional words.

 

“Years… years of training those such as I have done, and you think that you can just bypass it and go straight to major mage? That’s cheating Mr. McCoy. And such mages are mostly worthless as they don’t actually understand the forces they’re dealing with. They tend to be easily defeated, and easily seduced.” A snort of disapproval from Illyana. “Well, your little magical mess has gotten you noticed.”

 

A questioning look from Hank as he was unable to speak. He had thought about trying to break the silencing spell, but decided that Magik likely wanted him to try so best to avoid that.

 

“By some rather significant entities. Let’s see… Dr. Strange, Victor von Doom, Brother Voodoo, me, and Wanda to name but a few. Hells, even Loki filled a complaint, something about not leaving loaded guns in the hands of ignorant children with a propensity for faulty decision making.”

 

A scowl from Hank.

 

“Yes Mr. McCoy, that was an insult. And I might add everybody agreed with the description, although Dr. Strange did have a few more choice words to describe your discernment and insight. And Victor did use the word buffoon more then once.”

 

And now a bit of a growl from Hank, his palms itched to use magic to show her, and those who dared impugn.

 

“But educated imbecile of learning was my personal favorite. We met at the bar with no doors and took a vote, I lost by the way so that’s why I’m here, and I had to pay the bar tab as well.”

 

BEGIN FLASHBACK

 

“…educated imbecile of learning. The boy is as much a buffoon as his senior and as heedless” Was Victor von Doom’s harsh and cold assessment. “One would think that the multitude of prior failings would provide some retrospective in the decision tree.”

 

“We have all taken… reckless paths. And some of us made it a habit of unleashing such creatures in the past” Was Dr. Strange’s observation, pointing out both the failings of all present, and of one von Doom in particular.

 

“And making similar choices as well.” Pointed out Brother Voodoo.

 

Wanda proposed that… “One of us needs to go and attempt to talk some sense into him.”

 

Strange pointed out that… “He was your student Magik.”

 

Illyana attempted to deflect. “Not in the ways of magic. I believe you introduced him Stephen, one could say that makes him a type of apprentice. Yours in particular.”

 

“The boy plays with the demonic.” Was Shaman’s comment. “It might be best that the most familiar with both the demonic, and his person, should be the one to have this conversation with him. He may take heed from you whereas most of us are strangers.”

 

A last attempt by Illyana. “Victor is much better at playing the heavy.”

 

Which was negated by Victor von Doom. “He will simply treat it as a villainous threat and ignore it. A common failing for McCoys I believe. I regret to say that my dealing with the elder McCoy were… he was always one to do as he was told not to.””

 

General agreement all round, much to Illyana’s annoyance.

 

“Harmony under haven must be restored.” Was Professor Xu pronunciation. “Who better then one who once risked all under heaven.”

 

“That’s right, pick on the demon sorceress.” Groused Illyana. “Once, I only risked all of creation once, and it worked I’d point out.”

 

“Uno is too many.” El Madico Misticao rebutted, forgetting for the moment to reply in Spanish. “And I think the answer is dos, not uno.”

 

Wanda flashed three fingers while Illyana was not looking at her.

 

“Fine, and I suppose you want me to pay the bar tab as well.” Was Illyana’s reply to the group.

 

A grin from Wanda, “Since you’re offering…”

 

Dr. Strange asked for a refill (the good stuff of course), as did everybody else. At least Victor had the courtesy to thank her for her kind offer.

 

END FLASHBACK

 

Another inquiring look from Hank.

 

“I felt that Victor should be the one to… discipline you but he weaseled out. Something about not being the villain anymore and that you were one of my part time students. I protested of course, you had started to dabble in magic after you left my care, and Dr. Strange was to blame, but everybody piled on and so here I am.”

 

A sigh from Hank.

 

“Yes Mr. McCoy, you are showing exactly the same behavior that so endeared the older you to his peers. And we know how well that’s worked out.”

 

A look of accusation from Hank.

 

“No Mr. McCoy, this is about you, not me. I’m demon sorceress, we do bad things from time to time, I think it’s in the rule book on page 17 or so. You, on the other hand, fall under page 37, which is all about fools and magic.”

 

A look of annoyance and endurance.

 

“Yes Mr. McCoy. Fools. You just might try thinking next time, or even… ask for advice from your friends or those you know who actually know more then you. Keep to this path and I’m sure there are many more magical entities that can also dangle little temptations before you. And like a worm on a hook, you’ll end up dangling on their line. You lucked out this time, don’t think that such luck will continue.”

 

Illyana waved her right hand and the burning pentagram vanished. “You can speak now.”

 

“Are you done yet?” Was all that Hank said.

 

“Yes Mr. McCoy, we are done, for now. If you wish to become a major practitioner, it is recommended that you apprentice to somebody. If you insist on dabbling in magic without any understanding then please don’t bewail the consequences that fall upon you. Look to your blue and hairy namesake as a possible outcome. And if you create a situation that others have to clean up after… well. That which you have can be taken away.”

 

Hank promised that… “I won’t forget.”

 

Illyana just gave him a look of annoyance and teleported him away.

 

She shook her head. “We always forget, Mr. McCoy. Because we always think we know better.”

Chapter Text

Part A is meant to be current time, part B and C are in the past.

 

I figure part B takes place during the whole evil Captain America hail Hydra series of comics, and part C post Hydra. Part C just kind of came to me as I wrote this story so I included it in here, and I remembered a minor X-Men story detail that appears to have been forgotten by Marvel (it was written over thirty years ago).

 

I suspect that I’ll be writing more about Illyana and the Inhumans as the Secret Warriors story develops. I hope Illyana continues to be snarky.

 

 

Part 25a Inhumans (or… Magik is such a bitch)

 

Several Inhumans, or Nuhumans depending on who you talked to, were sitting around a kitchen table kibitzing about what had just occurred. They were:

 

Quake, female, named Daisy Johnson, former shield agent, able to generate vibrations (i.e. earthquakes or such). She’s quite the hard ass and rather nasty. Dislikes the X-Men.

 

Ms. Marvel, female teen, named Kaala Khan, shape shifting abilities. Nice girl. Bit of an X-Man fan girl as she’s a fan of Wolverine.

 

Moon Girl, young black female by the name Lunella Lafayette, has a mental link with a red dinosaur (devil dinosaur), supposedly the smartest person in the world (which is questionable as she hangs out with Inhumans). Supposedly friends with the X-Man Forge, but oddly had no issues in aiding his kidnappers which likely put a damper on the friendship.

 

Inferno, male, named Dante Pertuz, fire generation and regeneration (somewhat a cheap rip-off of the Human Torch but lacks the ability fly). Hates the X-Men.

 

“Gads I hate the X-Men!” Opined Inferno like a broken record. He had a kitchen garbage can next to him while he expounded upon his dislike. The reason for the garbage can was about to be shown.

 

Kaala asked… “Are you still nauseous about…”

 

Inferno leaned sideways and puked yet again into the garbage can.

 

“Don’t even mention it Kalla!” Corrected Quake in irritation. “Even mentioning Magik’s teleportation ability causes him to…”

 

And he puked again, while Kaala shot Quake a sarcastic look.

 

“I can’t believe this is coincidental.” Stated Moon girl while making a face at Inferno. “I don’t think Magik likes you.”

 

Inferno wiped his mouth with a paper towel. “The feeling is mutual. So don’t like the X-Men! She didn’t even use our names or say us, just kept calling us Inhumans. All of them are just a bunch of…”

 

Moon Girl pointed out that… “She said my name.”

 

Inferno was in a mood. “Well goodie for you.”

 

Which just annoyed Moon Girl. “Teleportation disk” she said, causing Inferno to retch yet again.

 

 

Part 25b: Prelude to Inhumans (Location New Tian, mutant homeland created out of the west coast of America after Hydra takeover of America)

 

Illyana was engaged in one of her therapy sessions with Hank (Emma was busy running New Tian), the older Beast that is (the one with the blue fur). Hank had found that Illyana tended to be more expressive with him in dynamic rather then static sessions so they were engaged in ritualized combat as it were. Not with swords (that would have been to Illyana’s advantage) nor hand to hand combat (advantage Hank and a bit two… well, rather hands on in copping a feel kind of way if you get my drift) nor chess (massive advantage to Hank). No, it was something hot, sweaty, and very physical (and no, not that you perv).

 

They were playing racquetball.

 

Which you’d think was advantage to Hank. I mean… four hundred plus pounds of muscle, lightning fast reflexes, and incredible dexterity, but Illyana not only played a combative version (rather ouchie as the ball bounces were sometimes were aimed right at you) and she was wickedly good as well. So Hank was finding it quite the challenge to put a positive spin on the game. Speaking of spin, Illyana could put a spin on a ball that was appalling at times, and made for very complex shots. So to be more truthful, Hank was losing.

 

“So…” Grunted Hank, who was drenched in sweat by this time and you can just imagine what a blue haired beast smelled like (wet dog comes to mind), as he returned a serve. “You appeared less then thrilled with the Inhumans who ventured into New Tian.”

 

Illyana did a two handed return that bounced all over creation, due to the extreme ball spin, that somehow Hank managed to hit. She replied with more then a little force.

 

“Hank, they violated the borders, refused to listen to direction, then they shot down a Blackbird, with us in it I might add as I am currently unable to teleport, all because we refused to help. Only by shear luck were fatalities or injuries avoided by those on the Blackbird. Just another example of typical Inhuman disregard for others and general assholeness as well.”

 

Hank somehow managed to return the ball, but that did result in him having to leap against a wall while using his left foot (holding the paddle) to hit the ball. “We did refuse to assist them in their quest.”

 

A return that apparently just set him up as Illyana did another power return of daunting ricocheting complexity that actually left Hank cross-eyed and swiping at empty air with his paddle. “Hydra was right behind them, it was a treaty violation, and a bunch of Inhumans I don’t like anyhow. Point for me!”

 

Hank got ready for Illyana’s next serve. “They did say they were sorry about that.”

 

Illyana served and… it was soft ball instead of a power strike, the ball, just barely bounced off the wall and had Hank scrambling. “Sorry is just a word Hank. Did they pay for the jet? That would be a no. Deeds speak louder then words, and their deeds are always missing if it costs them something. Sorry comes with a price, or it’s just lip flapping.”

 

Hank returned the serve (he had to dive for it), but barely, Illyana wound up and… POW! A return that hit the ball, which bounced off the wall and then off of Hank’s back as well (ouch!).

 

Hank got warily to his feet, just in case there was another incoming ball, then backed up in preparation for her next serve. “I’m rather surprised you still go to therapy.”

 

Illyana got ready to serve. “Been crazy Hank. Don’t want to go that route again. Need to stay between the lines as it were and therapy is a good way to get external input as to my actions and behaviors.”

 

She served and another frantic round of volleys commenced, but this time Hank won and it was now his turn to serve. Hank decided to call for a five minute timeout, both to hydrate and to catch his breath. He sat down and braced his back against one wall as he stated. “How on earth are you so good at this game? You play like Scott used to play, all angles and…” He stopped speaking in slight embarrassment. One it was about Scott, and two, Illyana tended to get rather angry when the topic of Scott came up.

 

Illyana replied while retrieving the ball, and yea, she was drenched in sweat as well but as most ladies will point out, men sweat, ladies perspire. And unlike Hank, she did not smell like a wet armpit combined with shaggy dog. Now she might not have smelled like lilacs, but even Hank was socially smart enough to refrain from pointing that out.

 

“Phoenix leftover I think. When we, Emma, Scott, Peter, Namor, and I were Phoenix, there was a great deal of swapped thoughts. I guess racquetball stuck for some reason. Just racquetball as I still get my ass handed to me at pool, and I’m no any more skilled at tennis then I used to be.”

 

Illyana then likewise sat down against the opposite wall.

 

Hank liked the casual statement about tennis. The ‘I’ statement and no reference to ‘her’ as Illyana had been want to do some time ago. No distinction as to her memories. He held out his right hand as he asked a question. “I can understand disliking some Inhumans, but you appear to dislike all Inhumans Illyana. That sounds rather racist.”

 

Part of being a therapist was to challenge the recipient, and Illyana tended to be a good patient in that she expected such questions as to her behavior. Illyana replied as she tossed him the ball. “I don’t hate or dislike all Inhumans, just the ones that deserve it.”

 

Hank caught and tossed back the ball. “And who deserves it? How do you… decide?”

 

Illyana likewise caught and tossed back the ball. They both continued to do this with each question and answer from each other.

 

“A few simple rules Hank. Who ordered Blackbolt to kill Scott? Blackbolt for…” the slightest of hesitations, “killing Scott. Those who attacked us while we destroyed the first cloud. Those who defended that remaining cloud of mutant killing Inhuman gas. Those who prevented the X-Men from destroying the remaining cloud when Forge came up with the machine that collected the Terrigen gas and turned it back into a solid. And of course the one who shot down the Blackbird with me in it just because she was huffy. Our people were dieing Hank, and the Inhumans simply didn’t give a shit.”

 

Hank summed it up. “So… Medusa, Blackbolt, all the Inhuman Royals, and any Inhuman that sided with them on defending the cloud or in preventing the X-Men from destroying the cloud. That’s… pretty much all the Inhumans.”

 

“That was their choice Hank. The only reason that second cloud was not dealt with was the Inhuman threat to kill anybody who interfered. There is no moral defense for their argument that they were defending their way of life. We were defending our right to live. That the Inhumans could not, or would not, understand earns my dislike and disdain.”

 

“I worked with them Illyana, they helped many a mutant.”

 

“While blocking the solution to what was harming those very mutants. They also continually fed you Intel about how any attempt to harm the cloud would be met with overwhelming force, from that giant spaceship they guarded the cloud with, and Blackbolt himself. How we didn’t stand a chance against them.”

 

Hank grumbled at bit about that. “I disagreed with going to war, but… some of my understanding was incomplete. I did not understand that Blackbolt could be taken down so easily, nor that you would be able to neutralize so many of the Inhuman heavy hitters so quickly.”

 

“Art of war Hank. Appears weak where you are strong, appear strong were you a weak. Medusa frankly was and is a poor planner. Everything was based upon Blackbolt and of course Ulysses’ ability to make future predictions. So… deal with the two and Medusa’s plans crumble. And their lack of any understanding about magic caused issues as well. And Medusa being such a good diplomat meant there was nobody to help Inhumans when we attacked.”

 

Left unsaid was the death of Sapna. How Illyana had had to kill her apprentice to save all the X-Men and the mutants in Limbo. How if the Terrigen clouds had been destroyed then Illyana would not have had to kill Sapna. And of course, some of the rage at what Illyana had been forced to do was spilled over to the Inhumans.

 

Hank pointed out that… “Rather noticed that no magical person came to their aid, I suppose that was your doing. They did escape from your prison in Limbo… or did they?”

 

A comment that prompted a slight malicious grin from Illyana. “They thought so… and just in time for the big battle, that Emma screwed up because she was drunk. Oh well, Hank, the Inhumans are pure hypocrites, simple as that. That’s why I don’t like them.”

 

“That’s… very judgmental of you Illyana. Especially considering some of your past deeds.”

 

“Yep…” Illyana caught the ball but did not throw it back. “Deeds that I have striven to try to make amends for, not just saying sorry. Tell me Hank, let’s suppose the shoe was on the other foot. Now the clouds of Terrigen mutant killing gas provided Inhumans with the option of undergoing Teregenisis, i.e. activating Inhuman genes and gaining powers. A purely voluntary act as many Inhumans avoided contact with the gas due to fears as to what it would do to them. Contact that was not avoidable for most humans on the planet as they were involuntarily exposed therefore increasing the number of Inhumans, an obvious ploy of Blackbolt’s. Contact that killed many humans. Contact that was not avoidable by most mutants as well. Lack of optional Teregenisis just leaves unexposed Inhumans alive and unpowered. The loss of the clouds does not destroy them. The presence of the clouds was destroying us.”

 

Illyana continued. “Now let’s imagine there was some mutant cloud that helped mutants, but was not essential for mutants, and it was killing those with the Inhuman genes. Do you suppose the Inhumans would have been ok with that? Or would they have destroyed the cloud, and any one who defended the cloud? Not to mention any who created the damned cloud in the first place.”

 

Hank admitted that… “Likely war would have resulted.”

 

“Would it? Would mutants… would the X-Men be defending something that was killing off the Inhumans?”

 

Hank had a thoughtful look. “I’d like to think no. I’m sure some would have argued in its favor.”

 

“Would you Hank?”

 

“No.”

 

“Did any Inhumans argue against it?”

 

“At the very end some did.”

 

“Only at the end Hank. And were they the Royals?”

 

“No.”

 

“Okay Hank, now lets say that the cloud of Inhuman killing gas was a cure for the Legacy virus, you know… the virus that was killing off mutants a few years back. Now would you defend the cloud?”

 

A sigh of regret from Hank. “No… actual ethics dictate the same outcome regardless of which side a person is on. That’s how morals work. I must admit that there was and is an ethical… deficiency in most Inhuman reasoning. Would you have defended the cloud Illyana?”

 

“No Hank. And that is why I don’t like Inhumans. Situational ethics sums them up very well. Some… just some… of the Inhumans didn’t think things through. But most did. Most didn’t care. And the Royals really didn’t care.”

 

“So you’d never work with Inhumans?”

 

“Didn’t say that, but…”

 

“But?”

 

“I don’t think I’d ask nicely for help, or be nice about working with them. I forbore killing all of them before, next time I suspect I’ll let them know that I can. Fear works as doing the right thing does not appear to be a general Inhuman behavior.”

 

And a private thought by Illyana. (And no way would I let on as to my true abilities, likely just let them think I’m a bruiser or something. Hmmm, likely need to make some kind of dramatic entrance as well, and… why not just keep calling them Inhumans instead of names… let them know what it’s like. Ohhh, if I have to teleport them around I’ll have at least one of them get car sick… If that happens then I hope it’s that Inhuman called Inferno, what an asshole… giggle… damn it, I hate it when I giggle.)

 

Hank so did not like the sound of the giggle that escaped Illyana.

 

Illyana stood back up. “Times up.”

 

Hank groaned, but stood up as well. The game resumed and Hank continued to lose.

 

Next time I’m going to pick basketball, was his internal thought.

 

 

Part 25c: Differing definitions about fun (after Hydra, Illyana can teleport again)

 

“This is NOT fun!” Proclaimed Hank loudly from the top of a tree. A Hank that was now only wearing a torn pair of shorts.

 

A flicker of light and Illyana was floating in the air next to him. “Don’t be a baby Hank. You said you wanted to go hunting with us.” Us being Illyana, Laura, and Dani (see the story Tag I’m It for details).

 

“To observe! Mostly to observe!”

 

“Looks like you have a good view from where you’re at so what’s the problem?”

 

“Getting chased up a tree by a pack of Velociraptors! And why the hell is there always something that destroys clothing? Every time I come to the Savage Land… Poof off goes most of the clothing! Like it’s some kind of rule! Go to the Savage Land, get naked as something always destroys your cloths!”

 

“Pfffffff.” Relied Illyana with less then a sympathetic tone.

 

“How do you even know the Fall People!?” Hank began to throw pinecones at the three Velociraptors that were trying to climb the tree. One when right down the throat of a Velociraptor, causing it to choke as the spines of the cone got it wedged.

 

Illyana looked troubled for a second, then replied with a casual air. “I… met the Fall People a while ago when… um… long story...”

 

“And how the hell do you still have your clothing?! Everybody else is in rags! And why does that kid keep calling you Auntie?!”

 

Illyana did not answer about the clothing. “Kids come up with all kinds of nicknames… opps, looks like they’ve cornered the main pack. Gotta go!”

 

Illyana teleported away, apparently rejoining the hunt with the Laura, Dani, and the Fall People’s hunting party who were dealing with a band of Velociraptors that had been menacing the village.

 

Hank broke off a branch and used it to poke at the two remaining velociraptors, the third had fallen and was choking to death. He grumbled to himself at the unfairness of it all, how, to his knowledge, Illyana had never even been to the Savage Land. Why, supposedly her brother had been here years before with the X-Men and…

 

and…

 

And how the kid kind of had Peter’s face.

 

Crap… No wonder he calls her Auntie thought Hank, and… he decided that that was a sleeping dog left best undisturbed for now.

Chapter Text

Part 26a: What to do about Loki

 

“I can’t believe you just sit there drinking a beer Illyana.” Proclaimed Wanda with ire and irritation.

 

Illyana’s reply was shot and to the point. “This is a bar. I ordered a beer. I’m drinking said beer. That is what one does in a bar Wanda.”

 

The local… the Bar with no doors. A magical hangout for those who know how to enter (that whole no door thing), and who could tolerate the appalling lack of good decorating taste of a really seedy Tiki bar.

 

Wand used a straw to sip on her Pina Colada, which was in a hollowed out pineapple (Wanda loved such pho-pho drinks, it even had a little umbrella). “Loki should not be Sorcerer Supreme!”

 

“Should and is are not the same thing Wanda. He won that competition that they infrequently have for the title.” Answered Illyana. Damn it, she just wanted beer and some light conversation while she waited for her guest, not a political discussion.

 

“A competition that you did not enter.”

 

“Already Sorcerer Supreme of Limbo. No way do I want the job of Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme.” Was Illyana’s response. That and… having to wake up early. Illyana liked sleeping in as she was a night owl kind of person. Pfff on waking up early.

 

“But you could have won! And then Loki wouldn’t be the Sorcerer Supreme! That would have prevented a creature of evil from having the title. I mean the things he’s done. How many times has he tried to enslave or destroy people! I can’t count how many times that happened when I was an Avenger. He’s evil! Does bad things! Whereas you… um…” Yeah, Wanda finally remembered she was talking to a demon hell lord. “Your better then that.” She lamely finished.

 

Illyana took another drink of her beer (Blue Moon for those who care), then replied. “He’s doing a good job so far. And the job does not require that one be ‘good’ per say, just that they win the competition and are willing to do what the job requires. Hells, Dr. Doom has almost won a few times.”

 

“Another person you’re strangely chummy with. First Doom and now Loki.” Accused Wanda, she was on her third rum based drink and the Bar with no doors did make them strong.

 

Illyana grinned. “Doom has a presence that is very attractive, he’s a great dancer and I’ll point out that you’re the one who almost married him Wanda.”

 

“I was not myself at that time! I didn’t remember who I was.”

 

Illyana went on the attack. “Face it Wanda, you wanted to bone Dr. Doom. And Doom being the gentleman, felt that honor required that he marry you first… can’t believe you wore white by the way. And yes you were not in your right mind, but who’s fault was that? Doom did nothing but help you, heck even you admitted that.”

 

Wanda realized that… “You’re trying to change the subject!”

 

Damn… thought Illyana, found me out. “Look Wanda, I believe in second chances.”

 

“Loki has had many chances, and thrown them all away! You could have won the competition!”

 

“Why do you think that?”

 

“You were Strange’s apprentice! You rule Limbo! You not only know Book of the Vishanti and other white magics, you’ve read the Darkhold, the Necronomicon, and a host of others. The secrets of dark and light magic are yours!”

 

“Don’t want the job.” Groused Illyana. “And as I said I like second chances. For Doom, for Loki, for you… heck and even more me. Plus…”

 

“What…”

 

“Nothing…”

 

“No what? You were about to say something.”

 

“I find that house creepy.”

 

“You? You find his house creepy?”

 

“Yeah… what’s the big deal?”

 

“You’re a hell lord, and partially a demon.”

 

“It… creaks… don’t like creaking houses… creeps me out at night.”

 

“But…”

 

“No buts Wanda… don’t want the job. Opps, gotta go, my guest just arrived.”

 

Dani had just appeared from a wall behind Wanda, Illyana waved to attract Dani’s attention as she walked over. Best not to get Wanda and Dani close, Dani was still upset at the whole “No more mutants thingie from long ago”.

 

Chapter Text

Illyana does fight in the Secret Warriors, but… appears to be watching most of the time, as if she’s more enabling and waiting for something rather then being a true participant in most of the activities. So… just why is Illyana really with the Secret Warriors? This is my take.

 

Part 26a: Inhumans Part II

 

Location: New Attilan throne room, a spacious high ceiling room with pillars, with both murals and paintings on the walls, statues in various niches, with the throne at one end of the room. Built to impress any visitor with the grander and might of the Inhumans.

 

The Secret Warriors (Quake, Ms. Marvel ,Moon Girl, and Inferno) have just left the throne room whereas Illyana has been asked to stay by Iso for a few private words. The Secret Warriors had gone to New Attilan after the explosion in Iowa; after a bit of a group discussion as to what to do (Illyana has just waited for them to decide). Once at New Attilan they had explained the issues and the Inhumans had then gathered all the other kids with Inhuman genes that had somehow altered by Mister Sinister to explode when getting media attention (just to make Inhumans look bad).

 

FYI: Iso is the appointed ruler of New Attilan by Medusa, the former Inhuman queen. Iso’s real name is Xiaoyi Chen, from China, and her Inhuman DNA was revealed by her involuntary exposure to the Terrigen Clouds caused by Blackbolt’s Terrigen bomb; which gave Iso the ability to project concussive pressure wave blasts. At the end of X vs. Inhumans series Medusa abdicated the throne and gave all leadership duties to Iso, supposedly because Medusa felt that her people won't understand why she destroyed the remaining Terrigen Clouds (a more likely reason was to avoid having to explain the whole mess). Why the Inhuman citizens of New Attilan would then allow Medusa to appoint her replacement says a great deal about Inhuman problem solving abilities and their tendency towards lemming like political behaviours.

 

Iso had dismissed her advisors and guards in order to have a private conversation with Magik. A dismissal that generated more then a little angst amongst those advisers and guards. Illyana had just wandered about the throne room while they briefly complained with many variations of…

 

“Mutant. Everybody knows you can’t trust mutants. Even her own distrust her.”

 

“Her rudeness is disgraceful; she refused to kneel before the throne.”

 

“We should take this opportunity to punish her, throw her into prison for her crimes against Inhumans and the Royals. Or even…”

 

“She is not just a mutant, but a witch as well, she could enchant you or spirit you away. You can’t take such a risk!”

 

The last complaint was personally that were dismissed by Iso. “That is something she can do at anytime if she so wishes. For now she is free to stay with the Secret Warriors after I have words with her, but she is not to be allowed to wander on her own. That is all.”

 

Grudgingly they had departed. Finally, the two were alone, Iso on the Inhuman throne, and Illyana examining an ancient mural on one wall (salvaged from the ruins of the prior throne room when Black Bolt had blown up the old city of Attilan). Illyana was the first to speak as she gestured at the mural.

 

“Fixed I see.”

 

Iso replied with a tone of slight rebuke. “Yes, it was quite broken during the X-Men attack upon this city. Something that the citizens were most displeased with, that and the other damages to the throne room. The throne room is considered a sacred place and represents the center of Inhuman society.”

 

Illyana was dismissive to Iso’s statement. “Here’s a suggestion, don’t fight in it next time.”

 

Iso started to correct Illyana. “They… we were defending our own. We have a right to self defence…” She stopped, as she realized that such justification also completely legitimized the actions the X-Men had taken in attacking and defeating the Inhumans so as to enable their attempt to destroy the second sacred cloud; a cloud that was killing all the mutants on the planet.

 

Illyana said nothing in reply but her impassive expression conveyed her utter disinterest in such complaints.

 

Iso started again. “Regardless of past… occurrences, I hope that we can put our differences aside going forward. In this and other things.”

 

Illyana went off topic, at least as to the bland politically correct conversation that Iso was attempting. “How’s the throne?”

 

“It… is comfortable…?”

 

“Limbo’s throne is just a stone chair. Means nothing, center of nothing, only the occupant matters. I find it odd how so many things are supposedly sacred to Inhumans. Sacred crystals, gas, rituals, throne… but everything not Inhuman is inferior, dirt, dismissed with not a thought as to the consequences if it interferes with Inhuman stated goals or desires.”

 

“That is not fair.”

 

“Life is not fair. Ask the dead, ask Scott.”

 

“Your Scott Summers did not die by our hand. Black Bolt did not kill him, all he slew was a mental projection by Emma Frost. A trick that helped to formulate the strife between our kinds. It was all her doing for simple vengeance.”

 

“Vengeance? Vengeance for what? Hmm? She would never have had a need for vengeance if not for the deeds of your and yours. Trick… yeah, in a way, but he still died because of Inhuman gas. But all Emma? Naaa, not at first. She’s good, real good, but that takedown of the first cloud… that had a whole lot of Scott in it.”

 

“Impossible, he was dead.”

 

“Yep, died while linked to one of the strongest and most skilled telepaths on the planet. I think… part of him lingered.”

 

A valid observation in retrospect.

 

“Regardless of how Summers died, he was a wanted criminal and was…”

 

Illyana interrupted. “If you start with the Hitler comments then I will get upset. Currently politics are so very juvenile. Everybody calls their opponent a Hitler. Hitler this, Hitler that. Which so glosses over what a Hitler, Stalin, or Mao actually did. All Scott did, or to be more specific, a virtual Scott residue via Emma, was to destroy one of two clouds. A terrorist act according to the Inhumans, but… the moron who detonated the actual mutant killing bomb or the fools who defended the resulting mutant killing clouds, they get off scot-free? Last time I checked, nobody died other then mutants when the first cloud was destroyed. But which sounds more like a Hitler? The one who destroyed the cloud that was killing thousands, or the ones who created and defended the cloud despite the harm it did to others solely because they said it was sacred?”

 

Illyana nudged a floor tile with her left boot, it came loose and slid away “Opps… place is still fragile, poke at it and it just falls apart… so much for the superior Inhuman technology I guess. Does that make the place less sacred now? And… all those dead and sick mutants, all because Black Bolt’s bomb, but no charges against him… but might makes right… right?”

 

Iso was beginning to realize just how irritating Illyana could be, she reflected upon Magik’s dossier (assembled by the Inhuman intelligence council, which based upon the published stories, should all be fired).

 

Dossier Excerpt – Illyana Rasputin (A.K.A Magik)

 

 

Little has been learned from her companions, associates, or even the human news media as there is a profound tendency to not discuss her. As a result, factual knowledge about Miss Rasputin is thin. Her mutant ability apparently allows her to navigate time, space, and dimensions. That is the more understood component of her powers. She supposedly is the ruler of a demonic dimension called Limbo, and again supposed wields vast magical powers; yet we see little proof of such abilities other then her sword. Although her ability to avoid being struck by various powers is likely tied to her magical abilities.

 

Known close associate of the deceased Scott Summers and the still living Emma Frost. She has consistently expressed distain and even outright hatred for Inhumans ever since the Sacred clouds unfortunate side affects manifested for mutants.

 

It must be emphasised that much remains unknown about her. What is known is that she is prone of violence, tends towards rudeness, and should be considered highly dangerous.

 

End Dossier Excerpt

 

Iso asked, with a hint of menace. “Is that meant to be some kind of implied threat?”

 

Illyana just shrugged in disinterest. “Take it as you wish.”

 

Iso scowled while internally sighing to herself.   “Your… presence in New Attilan is problematic.”

 

Illyana did not make it any easier. “Yes, another reminder to you Inhumans on how easy it was to take down your defences. They… or you now… I mean, you're not just a figurehead meant to draw fire while Medusa and Black Bolt regroup to inevitably return and rein once again…, right? You really need to come up with some defence plans that don’t involve the threat of Blackbolt. And you might want to consider the impacts upon others next time you decide to poison the planet.”

 

Iso scowled. “And that is not being helpful.”

 

Illyana did not look impressed. “It's meant to be, since you've never done this before, ruling that is. It was easy to take the Inhumans down. Blackbolt. That mutt of yours. Trapping Karnak. And of course decapitating your leadership by placing them in Limbo. I mean, it’s obvious that planning is not one of Medusa’s stronger attributes.”

 

“An incarceration which they escaped from.”

 

“Yeah, I told Storm, and Emma, that their plans were too complicated. It would be easier to kill then capture. But…past occurrences, right?" Illyana waited for the grudging, frustrated nod of assent before continuing. "So... You think they actually escaped from Limbo?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Pfffff.” Was Illyana’s reply. “Really… Minor demons to guard them, no alarms, and oh so conveniently placed next the now evacuated school where Black Bolt was concealed in the basement?”

 

Ok, described that way it sounded… suspiciously like it a setup. Iso tried to get back on topic. “I don’t wish to rehash old fights.”

 

Illyana just had to twist the knife a bit more. “I can see why… I mean do you guys actually win any fights, or do you just play pretend, rewrite history? Hell, Hydra had no problems taking you all down as well. I hope no super powered aggressive panhandlers take you guys on next.”

 

Iso ignored Illyana’s statement. “Was it necessary to insult Naja and Grid?”

 

All of the Inhumans has been hostile towards Illyana, but Naja and Grid has been quite vocal as the Secret Warriors had been escorted to the throne room.

 

“They got in my face, I returned it with interest. Not my fault that the Terrigen gas turned Naja into some kind of lizard girl creature or cost Grid his hands… that’s once again the fault of that Terrigen bomb, the one Black Bolt detonated. You know… the one that killed all those mutants and the Inhumans defended all those months… you remember… that cloud.”

 

“The cloud has been destroyed. By Inhumans I point out.”

 

“And… gee… that’s what we were doing before you personally blew up Forge’s machine. Hell, if you put it to a vote, these Inhumans would have kept the clouds and left all mutants to die. And I think they still would. Now who sounds like Hitler?”

 

“Your occupation of New Attilan earned you no friends here.”

 

“And yet… we took prisoners, minimized damages. You’d all be dead we’d followed Blackbolt’s and Medusa’s methods.” Like I wished to was left unsaid by Illyana, but the vibe was there.

 

An observation that was annoying correct. Iso attempted to change the subject.

 

“And yet here you are helping an Inhuman and attempting to rescue an Inhuman child. And associating with the Secret Warriors.” The Secret Warriors were a group of Inhumans that were not liked by the rest of Inhumans due to their tendency to not follow orders from the Inhuman hierarchy.

 

“Yes, they are rather annoying, but most of them are less self righteous then your average Inhuman, apart from Dante that is, you’d think he’d fit in here but apparently he’s too much of an asshole for even Inhumans to like. I do give them credit for actually trying to do things.”

 

“And that’s all? I find that hard to believe.”

 

A question that prompted slightly more directed answer from Illyana.

 

“Don’t like it when kids are involved.” Was Illyana’s response.

 

“Why are you really here Magik?”

 

“Exactly what I said before, helping to locate Dante’s niece, and to recapture Dark Beast.”

 

“That cannot possible be the whole truth.”

 

No reply from Illyana, just a bored expression as she then turned around looking at some decorations on the ceiling at the far side of the throne room.

 

Iso tried a jab of her own. “We could throw you out.”

 

Illyana turned back and for just an instant, just the most timelessly small flicker of time, Illyana’s profile was…

 

Horned.

Had hooves.

A tail flicked.

Fangs.

Yellow eyes.

Vast darkness, like wings, behind her.

 

Isos blinked and it was just Illyana again, giving a nonchalant answer.

 

“Sure… Your choice.”

 

Iso then dismissed Magik and she left to rejoin her traveling companions in a lounge where they were watching TV news coverage of Iowa.

 

Iso’s advisers came back into the room and make inquires as to what had been discussed. Iso answered.

 

“She’s here to help… but I suspect that is not the full reason.”

 

Iso continued. “My belief is that she’s really here to make sure that whatever Karnak is up to does not create any new threats to Mutants.”

Chapter Text

Gorm: One word balloon that could have been said by anyone, two panels conscious, one panel unconscious flying through the air, one panel unconscious being carried.

 

Ink (DH-code name for a minor X-Men character that is currently getting a bunch of air time as it were, his power is based upon being tattooed) got ten times the respect of the Hell Lord.

 

When she was locked up in the bomb jacket not speaking she had a larger role. (DH-Agree, that is why I wrote the story Snowflake on ice).

 

That's the problem of being on the "B Team": they give the Blackbird more agency, and it is less useful and far, far slower than stepping disks. Frankly, instead of flying inside the Blackbird, she should just teleport it to the destination, like she did once dropping off a spaceship near a target planet, back during the Gosymyr fiasco under Simonson just before Inferno.

 

In her own way, Illyana is more powerful than the Silver Surfer or Thor, so putting her on a team with non-Cosmics requires finesse.

 

Why knock her out?

 

How about, "OK, I've dropped you off, now I've got to join my four other teams, plus have some long overdue face time with the Living Tribunal. Call me when you need to be picked up."

 

Gorm then commented:

 

Have you read dhalpin3's fanfic about Magik in Gotham? (DH-series of stories , in written with LordGrise as my co author, three DC based stories at this time Arkham, Girls night out II, and What to do about Magik Gotham style. Three out of the fifty plus Illyana stories, all of my stories are Illyana based, and yes more Gotham stories are on the way).

 

As far as I'm concerned, dhalpin3's works have been the True Magik Canon since Bendis stepped away (and they supplement & rationalize the Backstory of everything Illyana, earning many No-Prizes worth of marvel zombiedom streetcred.)

 

[While fighting Mr. Sinister with the X-tinction Team, I always pictured Illyana as sighing & rolling her eyes while playing dead when Hope tried to use her borrowed Stepping Disks to teleport through Limbo, finally doing the 'port for Hope since they must pass through Illyana's Realm of Absolute Power (as if merely Celestial-boosted telepathy could actually overcome her Hell-Lord AT-Field grade Xavier-proof mental shields... it's lonely inside there, inside her mind with no soul to comfort her, in her agony of Reigning in Hell with all the responsibilities of God)]

 

Gorm is quire correct in that writing Illyana one must always address why she does what she does (I bind her with rules that prevent a Hell Lord from excessively interfering, a propensity to throw fights, and the desire to not be the magic genie.) Gorm’s comments prompted a chuckle from me, and a short story.

 

So… this chapter is dedicated to Gorm (thanks for the comments and the recommendation).

 

 

Part 28a: Bar with no doors

 

Illyana Nikolievna Rasputina, A.K.A Illyana Rasputin, A.K.A Magik, A.K.A Darkchilde, A.K.A Ruler of Limbo, A.K.A Yana was sitting at a table watching the ongoing battle in Las Vegas on one of the magical big screens that are mounted over the bar. Mostly the TV’s were used to pirate sporting events, and HBO, but today they were tuned into the on going damnation of Las Vegas and the various Avengers, who had been transformed into Ghost Riders, as they fought the heroes that Wong had assembled to free Doctor Strange from Mephisto (See the ongoing Doctor Strange Damnation limit series).

 

Instead of being dressed in the tight black leather getup that had been her current costume of choice, she was dressed in a variation of her old skin tight spandex New Mutant’s uniform.

 

“Why the change Yana?” Asked Loki, her drinking companion. He was currently indulging his taste for Bourbons. “Rather preferred your prior style, more… individualistic, less we’re all mutants and must dress alike in mutant solidarity.”

 

Yana slurped up the last of her Pina Colada from the hollowed out pineapple, via the drink’s straw.

 

“Bobby wanted a more… uniform team look, of course he was running around with a giant red X on his uniform, just like the new Pyro flame guy; you just know he’s going to be hitting on him. That whole fire and ice thing. Sooo… who would have guessed that Bobby could be inconsistent? Not to mention the whole B team thing he kept talking about, rather annoying considering our history.”

 

Loki took another sip of his bourbon (you sip the good stuff folk, don’t slurp it down) and gestured at the TV screen that was currently showing a battle between the Avengers and Wong’s team.

 

“Rather surprised that Wong did not approach you for his Stephan rescue mission”.

 

Illyana waved at the bartender for a refill. “Can’t… Act against Mephisto in this and becomes a territorial battle between Hell Lords; and we really don’t need that; you should have seen the mess Thor left in Limbo that one time he was there… And Wong should have approached you.”

 

Another sip of golden liquid, then Loki responded. “But that would have required rational thought, and admitting that perhaps I was deserving and that I am no longer the god I used to be. Hard to shake one’s repudiation after so much… history.”

 

“Been there, doing that.” Was Illyana’s reply as she took a sip of her refilled drink. “Just because I dress in black so many folks keep calling me Goth… Heck… Maybe I’ll actually go Goth for a bit just to show them.”

 

Loki inquired as to… “Why did you all show up on the X-Jet to fight that Inhuman chump Guerrero?   Inhumans… bah... nitwits and fools the lot of them. But taking a plane to travel a mile or two?”

 

Illyana answered while looking annoyed as she remembered. “Bobby wanted to make a dramatic entrance… I think we could have gotten there faster by taking the subway or even a cab; not to mention that Rogue flies for crying out loud. I mean… it’s a mile away Bobby, why take the effort to arrive in a jet? Just wanted to look flashy I suppose.”

 

“And not teleporting?”

 

“Bobby again.”

 

Loki picked up the takeout menu and started looking at the appetizers… hmm fried shrimp looked tasty. “Rather envy you on your family relations.”

 

Illyana knew that feeling well and had a tidbit of advice. “I know a good family councilor if you need one, really helped me and my brother work things out… but somehow I don’t think Odin is one for taking advice from anybody, much less a mortal.”

 

Loki did have to agree on that point. “Father can be most… difficult… and Mother… and my Brother… and… everybody I guess.”

 

“You did good as Sorcerer Supreme… very impassive.”

 

“Thanks… appreciate it. Any plans for tonight?”

 

“Putting together a girls night out with Dani, Jubilee, Laura and Mazikeen, hang out in central park and beat up crooks, then likely go clubbing afterwards. Oh… and Xi’am (Karma) wants to meet with me about some idea she has.”

 

“Sounds entertaining.”

 

“I hope so.”

 

Loki inquired. “Can I join in?”

 

“Only if you want to change your gender again.  As I said, girl's night out.”

 

Loki decided to take a rain check. “Not tonight…

Chapter Text

Part 29a: Summary

 

Spooler alert as here is a summary of #25 from an Illyana perspective. Illyana and Armor are fighting the Rhino (Spiderman villain) in Times Squire when the giant TV’s show that the god Scythian Algurus (who is five hundred feet tall because the bigger the god the more dangerous they are I suppose) has come to Paris France to destroy the world (massive negative points for Scythian Algurus as he’s picking on the French; I mean we are talking cheese eating surrender monkeys after all so rather weak on super villain credentials). Illyana dumps the Rhino into Limbo, then Armor joins the rest of the X-Men on a Blackbird as they jet off to France (which even a Blackbird would take an hour so I guess Scythian just first ate all the croissants and then got upset about the bad coffee, hence the rampage) while Illyana goes to the prison to get the incarnated X-Men freed (Storm, Kitty, Kurt, Rachael, and Peter).

 

While many X-Men gather for the fight, along with the British heroes Captain Brittan and his wife Meggan cause I guess all the French heroes had something better to do, Illyana goes to the prison and tries to reason with the Warden who of course refuses. Storm then storms in, having freed herself and is talked out of kicking the Warden’s ass (she was locked in a small cell and had a claustrophobia attack) by Illyana. The imprisoned X-Men are freed and Illyana teleports them to Paris.

 

Much fighting ensures while Illyana concentrates on creating a massive teleportation portal while Rachael stands guard and looks pissed off about standing guard while the rest of the X-Men attack. Not sure if she’s annoyed at missing the fight or annoyed about having to guard Illyana.

 

In the end, after much physical combat, Kitty crashes the Blackbird into the back of Scythian Algurus causing most of him to fall into the teleportation portal to Limbo with the some residual god gunk being vaporized. Paris of course has like, several billion Euros worth of damage and of course a pissed of god in Limbo (a story line I really hope they do not pursue).

 

So… dear readers, the following words would all have been Illyana thought bubbles in the above situations.

 

 

Part 29b: Times square (New York)

 

Gods, now I’m pretending to fight a man dressed in a rhinoceros suit? Where the hells is a spider dude when you need one? Hmmm… I wonder just who’s IQ is the lowest amongst the ritual spider man foes; I suspect the Rhino is towards the bottom… nah… the bottom. The absolute bottom. What a douche. Even Armor is unimpressed as she hasn’t bothered to armor up yet.

 

This is so boring, I’ll just… No.

 

Focus Illyana! Focus. Let everybody else take the lead. Let the rest of the team solve the problem with my contributions. Don’t solve the problem by yourself. Let Armor and Rhino dude punch it out for a bit while I suppose I get knocked aside. Groan…

 

But damnation, this is dull, all he does is charge about like… like a freaking rhino. Has that ever worked for him?

 

The things I put up with. Letting Bobby declare that I’m part of the B team…

 

Pretending to lose in the Danger room to a simulated Magneto, like Erik and I would resort to fighting…

 

Then letting myself get knocked out on the fight with the Shredded man…

 

And now fighting a moron in a rhino suit… A freaking Rhino Suit! Bet he aspires to be a D level villain. If the Green Goblin shows up I swear I’m going to shove one of those exploding pumpkins right up his goblin hole.

 

What’s next? Gumby? Bum wars over dumpster territory? Or Bobby getting all flustered if Hercules shows up all oiled like he tends to do.

 

And I’m still wearing this retro New Mutant uniform just because Bobby wants a common look, which of course he doesn’t follow.

 

Need to get with Rachael about Kitty’s bachelorette party, shards I hope she’s not going to be a bitch about that. At least she’s less bitchy now that she and Kurt are an item, guess she’s finally getting some action, of course she’s in prison now so that action may be of a different variety.

 

Hmmm, if I left an illusion of myself I could go find Dani and have breakfast at the place she likes, the one with the savory quiche and really spicy cheese hash browns and those great muffins…

 

No… that’s not fair to Armor, she’d be pissed if she learned that I did that… sigh… What riveting dialog he utters as Armor exclaims Oh No’ over something, it’s not like I’m paying attention, heck I’m amazed I don’t fall asleep.

 

“Oh No is right. A world of hurt’s is coming At’cha!” Is his oh so not intimidating threat. Gods I’m fighting a man dressed as a Rhino, new low. I guess it’s Paste Pot Pete next.

 

I see, Armor explains that a god named Scythian is attacking Paris. Okay a reason to cut this fiasco of a fight off. Hmm, let’s give this Rhino loser a little curse. Bet that Rhino suit is going really suck after a round of explosive diarrhea. Giggle.

 

I drop the idiot into Limbo, he looks like he’ll survive; at least for a while. Need to leave myself a Post-It note or something to remained me to retrieve him before something eats him.

 

 

Part 29c: New York Prison Warden’s office

 

Don’t turn him into a pig. Don’t turn him into a pig. Don’t turn him into a pig. Don’t turn him into a…

 

Obeying Kitty on not forcing the issue really sucks. All I have to do is drop this bureaucratic idiot through Limbo for a few seconds and I’d get instant compliance, but no… Obstinate Fool.   Gah… I sound like Doom now.

 

Man… what a dumpy office for a Warden.

 

Ut-oh, Ororo jus showed and she’s looking really pissed, and I see she’s removed her power inhibitor collar. About time Storm! Fing Goddesses do not wear prison orange for crying out loud, and orange is so not your color, yuck.

 

Looks like she’s about to zap the idiot, I talk her out of it by pointing out the god trashing Paris on the TV.   Gee, no Avengers, what a shock.

 

 

Part 29d: Roof of the New York Prison

 

Really hope Kitty doesn’t ask why I just happen to have a duffle bag of their costumes handy, not like I was planning a prison break... today. And of course Rachael bitches about having to be transported to Paris via Limbo. Is there something she doesn’t complain about? Kurt, you really can do better, bet they break up within a month or two… although she is dating Kurt she she’d likely into kinky stuff with tails…

 

At least she’s still avoiding the mullet hairstyle, but what a non shock in that she’s copied Kitty’s hairstyle. Ray.. just trying too hard there.

 

And of course Miss I’ve been locked in a jail cell and haven’t bathed is complaining about how Limbo smells…

 

 

Part 29e: A Paris Plaza

 

Here I am concentrating on conjuring a massive teleportation portal, and Rachael is giving me the evil stink eye because Kitty assigned her to guard me as I’m busy with the portal. Damn I just can’t win with her.

 

Shards, what a bitch… Bet she tries to cut me out of the bachelorette party with some lame excuse like she thought I was busy that night. At least she’s gotten rid of the cap, shards that was a bad look; only Ororo does the cape well. Let’s see red hair, red face tattoos, red costume, with some black thought. I do like the spikes that she put on it.

 

Okay… cast the disk… while the others attach and drive this idiot of a godling into it… Let’s see, the putrefied fields of rotting flesh is a good place to dump him for now, or the bottomless sea of rotten bile… yeah… let’s see how well he swims in that stuff.

 

And there goes a billion dollars as Kitty smashes the Backbird into his back driving him into the portal. Ouch… Man just how many of these things do we go though? I swear we must have a hanger of the things or some magic replicater that just coughs out one at the push of a button.

 

Done. Idiot godling trapped in Limbo, well… most of him. Some of him got fried and that gunk is on me… Yuck. That’s going take a long shower to wash off.

 

Going to have to sneak off and have some words with him. Make him lie low only to inevitably escape at some point. And still Rachel is giving me the stink eye.

 

Hmmm I’m forgetting about something… oh well… I’ll eventually remember.

 

 

Part 29f: Meanwhile, somewhere and somewhen in Limbo

 

The Rhino was running for his life. “Wat’s is dis place!”  Was his panicky cry.

 

It turns out Demons had a saying about Rhino, tastes like pork; and demons love a pork barbeque.

 

Chapter Text

I suppose it rather sucks that Rachel now has two versions of her mother (Jean Grey senior and junior) wandering about, with neither of them appearing to want to have anything to do with her. Rather sad story line for Rachel, but I guess there’s a bit of a surplus of redheaded telepath/telekinetics at the moment. But better then Hope’s fate (into the classroom with you and I suppose we’ll see if we can come up with a story in a few years, until then it’s Algebra time!) as going villain should give her some major publishing content.

 

The comic about comics (Waiting for the trade) likes to portray Rachel as a bit of a recreational toker (which I stole for this story). FYI for those who don’t know, Kurt is currently Rachel’s boyfriend. Hmm, for some reason I’m suddenly writing a bunch about X-Men being in therapy (you’ll get what I’m talking about next chapter).

 

Dedicated to KittyViolet and Magik3 (I stole the idea Rachel and Illyana fighting in the danger room from their writing as I’ve been trying to come up with an Illyana/Rachel chapter, although my version it is a bit less… naughty).

 

 

Part 30a: Late night danger room workout

 

“Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality?” Asked Rachel of Illyana, as she inflicted a physical and a telekinetic smack that flung Illyana ten feet back and onto her ass, causing her to slide an additional seven feet on the training mats.

 

The two were in the Danger room having a late night training session. Why Illyana you ask? After all, Rachel is not exactly a friend of Illyana, more of a frienemy really, nor has she shown any interest in Illyana interaction. The answer is simple, Rachel wanted to fight somebody and Illyana was always on for a fight, plus Rachel didn’t want to feel guilty if the fight got a bit nastily. An additional bonus was Illyana was always a good sparing partner for telepaths as their inability to read her mind forced them to focus on their five senses instead of over relying upon telepathy.

 

Illyana was dressed in her usual skimpy and tight black field costume while Rachel was wearing her full body red and black spandex field costume (minus the cape thank God). This time they were fighting to music as Illyana had pressed her iPod to the wall (where it stuck, magic is so helpful at times, and sync it with the Danger room’s sound system), she’d convinced Rachel to hit the special play button resulting in the songs being played.

Currently they were fighting to Walking on Broken Glass by Annie Lennox.

 

Now everyone of us was made to suffer

Everyone of us was made to weep

But we've been hurting one another

And now the pain has cut too deep…

So take me from the wreckage

Save me from the blast

Lift me up and take me back

Don't let me keep on walking…

I can't keep on walking

I can't keep on walking on broken glass

 

Illyana flipped and came back into an on guard position, but now with her blazing soul sword. “First cheat to you.” Was her comment.

 

Rule 1: Hand to hand only, not powers. Until somebody cheats, then you get answer back, and get to bank a cheat for later use (a kind of get out of jail free card).

 

There was a flash of light above Rachel and the posterior of a very large, and fat, demon emerged from a light circle and fell towards Rachel. Who of course used her telekinesis to stop the demon’s ass from squishing her flat (with the usual dramatic poise).

 

Well… would have stopped it if Illyana had not thrown her soul sword into Rachel, disrupting and stunning her, resulting in the big booty squish (the sword did not cut because Illyana did not desire that). And now there was a surprised looking demon sitting upon the floor for a few seconds before Illyana summoned another teleportation disk to return it to Limbo. Leaving a wide eye Rachel (wide eyed at the audacity of the attack, the side affects of the sword, and let’s just say the demon had been a tad gassy).

 

Rule 2: Once you cheat, you can’t cheat again until the other person cheats, and a banked cheat did not count as a cheat so you can’t retaliate with your powers; otherwise you trigger rule three. So far rule three had never been triggered (too potentially humiliating as it involved… well… no need to go into details).

 

“That was excessive.” Complained Rachel waving a hand in front of her face and creating some telepathic wind as well (as if she was getting rid of a noxious smell).

 

“Brought it on yourself Red.” Was Illyana’s comment as she stared down upon Rachel while leaning upon her sword.

 

“You planned that…” Was Rachel accusation as she got back to her feet. There was a depression in the mats with Rachel in the center, just how much had that sucker weighed, looked Blob grade.

 

“Yep…” Was all that Illyana said as the sword vanished and Illyana resumed a combat stance.

 

Turns out that Illyana and Rachel were well matched for physical combat, with the edge to Illyana on sharp and pointy weapons whereas Rachel was more motivated for pure physical smack downs.

 

Rachel likewise resumed a combat stance and gave a little come at me wave with one hand. Which only elicited a slight sneer from Illyana as she shook her head no.

 

“You never answered my question.” Stated Rachel as the two began to circle one another.

 

Illyana replied as she edged a bit closer. “I like the show as well, but I’m always questioning my reality, a side affect of what I am.” They were both referring to HBO’s WestWorld season two premier that has aired the night before; there has been a mass showing at the school auditorium (for the adults, a bit too much nudity for the kids). “And I’m on the robot’s side, violent delights and violent ends is kind of my thing. Why do you ask?”

 

Illyana then did a feint that had Rachel dance back a step. “I found the question… interesting.” And Rachel likewise was on the robot’s side. Fuck the humans was her internal thought, a thought that was getting… louder.

 

“You need to talk to somebody Red, you’re getting twitchy.” Was Illyana’s reply as she launched a series of attacks that Rachel blocked, then retaliated forcing Illyana back. Not to mention sloppy as Rachel’s cheat has been poorly thought out. Why have cheat rules you ask? Both found it fun and the added unpredictability was good training as well.

 

“I don’t’ need to talk about anything, I’m fine.” Was Rachel’s reply as she landed a punch past Illyana’s guard. Illyana rolled with it and again the two faced each other.

 

Bull…” Was Illyana’s reply to Rachel. “That is not the kind of question most people even think to ask.”

 

“I said I’m FINE!” Rachel launched another attack but Illyana did a fighting retreat, blocking or avoiding the blows. Rachel’s comment was rare in that once she rejected something folks rarely pressed her on the issue. But Illyana was not most folks.

 

The next song began to play, it was Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train.

 

All aboard! Hahaha

 

I, I, I, I... [fade]

 

Crazy, but that's how it goes

Millions of people living as foes

Maybe. it's not too late

To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

 

Mental wounds not healing

Life's a bitter shame

I'm goin' off the rails on a crazy train

I'm goin' off the rails on a crazy train

 

“Not buying it Red.” Was Illyana’s reply as she blocked Rachel’s blows. “I think you’re projecting some kind of don’t notice my problems telepathic vib, but that doesn’t work on me. That’s why I’m asking cuz nobody else appears to, or you make them back off without addressing anything.”

 

“Like you care!”

 

“I rather don’t, but you are a teammate so you deserve to be told the truth.”

 

“And when you almost destroyed reality!? I don’t recall you sharing what you were thinking.”

 

“I knew exactly what I was trying to accomplish Red. I questioned the nature of my reality and changed it. Violently. Regained my soul and game over for the Elder Gods. So… what about your reality are you having issues with?”

 

“I don’t want to talk about it… I’m fine. And what is with the songs you’ve picked? Subtle they are not.” And rather pissing her off.

 

“Not my selections Red, their yours, that’s what the special button does. Picks based upon your mental state.”

 

The flurry of combat moves stopped as the two backed away.

 

“Are you self medicating?” Was Illyana’s next question.

 

“I do not self medicate, I recreationally indulge from time to time with some weed.” Was Rachel’s dismissive reply. White Queen to be specific; a named marijuana strain that Rachel found cruelly ironic but it was her preferred Mary Jane indulgence (she is a water bong smoker).

 

Illyana could be like this. Rarely conversationally interacting with most people, yet not intimidated at all by even the heaviest hitter.  “You should talk about it with Kurt or Kitty, or Ororo. Perhaps one of the other female telepaths like Betty or even Emma?”

 

Rachel attacked again but over extended, allowing Illyana to do a back throw that flung Rachel to the mats. Rachel did a few summersault tumbles that resulted in her back being briefly turned to Illyana, which… ended in a head lock from Illyana.

 

“Your life, your choices Red but… try listening.”

 

“Noted…” Was Rachel’s reply as she head butted Illyana with the back of her head, broke the grip, and flung Illyana over her head and onto the mats. “Now stay out of my business.”

 

Illyana was pinned to the mats, with Rachel a straddle over her, her knees pinning Illyana’s thighs while Illyana’s hands were pinned as well. Rachel braced herself to avoid the expected head butt, only to feel a tail wrap around her throat from behind and pull her backwards… (Crap, Illyana was using her demonic form’s tail as her get out of jail free cheat card).

 

And now it was Illyana pinning Rachel the same way as she had been pinned but moments before, an Illyana with small horns on her forehead, yellow glowing eyes and a tail. A brief struggle then Rachel called it.

 

“Time… Damn it.

 

“Never forget the tail.” Chuckled Illyana as she rose and stepped back, her demon attributes fading away.

 

Rachel spoke without thinking. “Like I could, you can’t imagine the things Kurt can do, it’s like he has three hands or two… Um…” Rachel blushed as Illyana simply grinned wickedly at her.

 

Rachel realized that Illyana could most certainly imagine what Kurt’s tail might also be used for, after all… she had one herself at times.

 

Which brings up the topic of sex and telepaths. A common fear of everybody upon meeting a telepath is (oh my god, they’ll know what I’m thinking), followed by fears that the secret pervert that you are will be discovered. The reality is a strong telepaths spends much of their time blocking thoughts rather then reading them and yes… you’ve a perv. But… that is the likely view of humanity that all telepaths end up having, regardless of any exterior personal they show in public. The constant mental flow that a telepath encounters might go like this:

 

() denotes active thoughts

## denotes feeling

** denotes subconscious none internally vocalized thoughts

 

#Attraction#

#Casual lust#

#Dislike#

(Damn, my feet hurt, hate these shoes)

#Boobs!#

(I’d do her)

#Hungry#

(Asshole!)

(Now that’s cleavage.)

#Resist urge to scratch balls#

(Not more homework!)

#Grumbled hate#

*Nice ass*

(Something stuck in my teeth?)

(If I move my elbow just right I’ll can get a booby feel!)

#Want beer#

(Damn, I need to piss)

*Hate this job*

*What a bitch*

(She’s a telepath, don’t look at her boobs, don’t look at her boob, don’t’ look… too late. Not bad… could be bigger, like Jean’s, now that’s a gall that has a massive rack… opps)

#Damn, I’m good looking#

(Mullets suck, thank god she’s dropped the mullet look with a rat tail)

#Shopping!#

(Who the hell invented heels? Male conspiracy to slow down the female race I say…)

#That’s a big crouch bulge#

(And then told him that he could go to…)

*Hate… just hate her!*

*Hate him!*

(I’d like to fluff her pillows.)

*Donut?*

*Hey Baby…*

 

So on and so forth so… yeah, they know you’ve a perv. And don’t care. Frankly there’re one as well even if they give off the good girl/boy motif (telepaths know just about every kink in existence, after all… you’re the one thinking about it).

 

But with Illyana it was just…

 

Nothing…

 

Which you’d think would make her an ideal telepath social companion.

 

Wrongo!

 

The inability to be detected by one of the two main senses (sight and telepathy) was a bit unnerving to most telepaths. And with Illyana you tended to get a kind a telepath impression that what your eyes showed you was not correct. Think of it like an attractive woman casting a shadow of a monster out of the corner of your eye, but what you turn to look all you see is a woman. Telepathically creepy, plus the evil demon vib that Illyana usually had.

 

Rachel took a few steps back. “So now you’re playing at being a therapist?”

 

Illyana advanced aggressively, forcing Rachel back. “Nope, not my forte.”

 

Yet another song began to play, each of the songs had irritated Rachel, but this really pushed her buttons as it were. It was Dream Police by Cheap Trick.

 

The dream police, they live inside of my head

The dream police, they come to me in my bed

The dream police, they're coming to arrest me, oh, no

 

You know that talk is cheap

And those rumors ain't nice

And when I fall asleep

I don't think I'll survive the night, the night

 

'Cause they're waiting for me

They're looking for me

Every

Single

Night

They're driving me insane!

Those men inside my brain

 

And now it was Rachel on the defensive while Illyana pressed her advantage. Rachel tried to call time only to miss a block, the resulting blow rattled her, and Illyana was relentless in her continuing assault.

 

Rachel has a sudden burst of panic as she felt… something breaking lose. “Leave me alone!”

 

“No.”

 

Rachel snarled. “I said leave me alone!”

 

Illyana’s eyes were cold and calculating. “Make me.” As a blow from her snapped Rachel’s head back.

 

Rachel clenched both firsts, screamed in sudden rage, and blasted Illyana with both her telepathy and telekinetic ability

 

“LEAVE ME ALONE BITCH! YOU CAN’T POSSIBLY UNDERSAND!”

 

That’s when things got… weird.

 

 

Part 30b: Reality?

 

A kaleidoscope of images and thoughts. Some Rachel’s, some belonging to… her?

 

A flood of sentinels and their human servants confront me. But I wade through their bodies and blood as my telekinesis shreds them, while my telepathy fries the weak minded! Savage Joy and finally being unleashed… I kill and I kill… but I want more! MORE!

 

RAGE! They have dared to harm my familiars, and in turn me! Moscow burns beneath my rage as I have my vengeance! With a flap of my wings I turn from the airport and with a flicker I descend upon the FSS Headquarters and…

 

Hunt… the hunt. The hood taken from my head, the order given and I scan… minds… somewhere…. there! Several on a boat… fleeing. I spring to the bow of our gunship and point out the distant inflated craft. The guns shred the boat and its human contents… I hear/feel them die. And something dies in me as well. I run back to my master… for praise… like a dog, a thing… a…

Hound.

 

Pain… it will not stop! Consumes me, controls me… guides me! I will have my soul back! Right and wrong just… concepts I no longer understand. I will not be this thing I am reduced to! I WILL NOT BE AS I AM!

I kill all the Birdies that stand in my way. God I hate the Shi’ar. Murdering bastards the lot of them. Always plaguing me, hunting me killing all my relatives… The galaxy would better off if all them were dead…

 

 

Snowflake, little snowflake… how does it feel to fall?

 

Kitty! How I miss the version of Kitty that helped me in the camps

 

CAT!!!!!!!!!

 

I’m losing it… it’s slipping away… I can feel parts of my mind crumbling.

 

There are no snowflakes in hell!

 

 

My sword thought Sapna’s chest, and so she dies… my apprentice, my… almost… daughter? She was possessed, destroying Limbo and all the Mutants we had here. It was either her or them… I chose the greater good, it was not Sapna.

 

 

Itch… itch right behind my eyes, I just want to scratch and at scratch at it. It’s like there’s… something inside me trying to get out.

 

A bed exposed to the night sky. A sky that was ablaze with stars and seven moons as Cat and I…

 

Phoenix!

Phoenix !

 

PHOENIX!

 

 

Part 30c: WTF

 

Rachel came to find herself lying upon the mats with Illyana standing over her, with her soul sword at Rachel’s throat. Rachel blinked a few times, still very woozy and what she saw kept changing.

 

Illyana with her sword.

A blazing demon with eyes that wept fire

A dragon with the tip of its chin right in front of Rachel with eyes of power glaring at her.

A small blond girl with a sharp knife under Rachel’s chin.

A creature of flame.

 

Rachel blinked again and it was just Illyana, and that sword of her’s.

 

“Not a bright idea Red…”

 

Rachel shook her head, tried to remember… what the hell what the hell had just happened. It was Illyana who explained it as she backed up a few steps and the sword vanished.

 

“Phoenix residual residence I think, when you hit me with everything you had… What do you remember?”

 

Rachel struggled to recall but… nothing. Just a sense of screaming rage against… injustices of the world, against the unfairness of it all. Of loss and heartbreak.

 

The final song of the night began to play, It was Tonight it’s you by Cheap trick.

 

Time's not sleeping and time won't lose

You can't win 'cause time can't lose

So stop (so stop) what you're doin'

Start on something new

Don't (no don't) don't be hypnotized

Don't start thinkin' with your eyes

 

Rachel sat up and stared at the standing Illyana. “That was… weird.”

 

“Yep, don’t try to do that again, I suspect I would get very upset.”

 

Rachel flopped back onto the mats and just stared at the ceiling. “I think we’re done for tonight. I promise… to really think about talking about it with somebody.”

 

The song cut out and the iPod pulled itself from the wall and flew into Illyana’s hand. “Good, that’s all one can really do in the end Red.” A flash of light and Illyana was gone.

 

But Rachel could swear she head a departing thought, it sounded sad.

 

“Try not to fall Red.”

 

Rachel spent the next hour just staring at the Danger room’s ceiling. Thinking and… sometimes shivering about something.

Chapter Text

Some of my verbology is deliberately brokenish at times as the Russian language is phrased differently then English and I figure that Peter sometimes falls back on Russian verbal patterns.

 

I figure this story takes place after the death of Logan (something I didn’t bother to pay any attention to as we all know he’ll be back).

 

 

Part 31a: Danger of a different sort

 

We find Doctor Henry Philip "Hank" McCoy (A.K.A the Beast) lounging in the danger room’s control room (in a reinforced chair due to his size). While Hank’s degrees are in Biophysics and Genetics, he also functions as a part time therapist for various X-Folk (trust me I’m a doctor) as well a both a field medic and in-house physician for the X-Men, despite the technicality of not having a Doctorate in Medicine. The telepaths tended to take on the therapist function but there were some, like Illyana, that the telepaths were blind to, plus those who preferred not to have somebody rummaging around in their mind if they could avoid it. And then there were the minds that had experiences in them that any rational telepaths avoided like the plague (Illyana again). His minor therapist duties were mostly for the men... but woman were welcome as well.

 

Charles Xavier had usually done such duties in the past... until folks finally realized that Charles tended to erase and/or alter things if he felt it best. The patient was rarely consulted in these matters as Charles felt their opinions were generally biased and he, of course, knew better. Then there was the slightly sticky matter of his tendency to adjust things to present himself in a better light...

 

But Peter Rasputin was continuing to have anger issues, and both Ororo and Logan had finally insisted that Peter get at least some quasi professional help, in this case Hank. Hank thought it best to conduct the sessions in the danger room: having a patient who could transform into living steel did pose issues if he descended into a rage, as Peter sometimes did, and Hank preferred that his office remain intact. Thus, Peter was in a simulation of Hank’s office while Hank monitored from the control room. A hologram of Hank was projected into the simulation, dressed in a suit and looking very well groomed, rather like a furry Doctor Freud.

 

Peter, in human form, was lying on a couch staring at the ceiling while hologram Hank, wearing his spectacles, twiddled a pencil as he sat behind his desk.

 

“Tell me about your mother.” Stated Hank in a joking tone.

 

Peter furled his brows “What…? Does my mother have anything to do with this?”

 

Hank scribbled something on his yellow pad (the patients should always see you write something but never see what you write). “Sorry, therapist joke. We both know why you’re here, Peter.”

 

“My anger and… isolation.”

 

“Exactly. Talking it out helps put things in a different perspective, and allows us to examine our actions by explaining them to another. This triggers different aspects of our brain, allowing us the opportunity to realize new insights into our behaviors. Strictly speaking, it's not dissimilar to Logan’s 'Let’s get drunk and talk it out' technique, but doing so here is more… controlled, less drunk, and hopefully less prone to violence. Certainly less likely to generate serious collateral damage.” Once again, Hank reflected ruefully on the X-Men's oft-noted tendency towards devastation of their battlefields, local establishments, and of course the mansion.

 

Peter was not fully onboard with the plan. “Such things really work?”

 

Hank offered a toothy smile as he adjusted his spectacles. “Trust me, have I ever steered anybody wrong? - and don’t answer that, by the way. Peter, think of it as lancing a boil, the more often you express your outrage over what occurred, the more often you have the opportunity to examine aspects of the situation in a less personal way. As I said, in many situations such as yours, the act of explaining the problem or problems to another enables insight in the person doing the explaining, because they have obtained a bit of distance from the problem. An important component of trauma recovery is moving on. The brain dulls events over time; this allows for such recovery. Talking helps move events into the past, aiding in that process. Plus… associating positive things in conjunction with a trauma lessens the impact of the trauma…”

 

Peter interrupted with a sudden burst of anger. “There are no pleasant things to associate with my sister!”

 

Hank adjusted his glasses again. “An obvious self falsehood, Peter. I was not present during her first... incarnation, I suppose one might say. Before she died and a younger version of her escaped Limbo to live here with us until her unfortunate…”

 

 

Again Peter interrupted. “Death… Da, death from the legacy virus. The… good memories of her… are of those times and before. But the current she is not her. Those recollections are of… somebody she is not.”

 

Hank decided to share a bit of one of his earliest encounters with the new Illyana. “When I examined her after her return from her journey (As shown in the relaunched New Mutants #1), she commented that she liked my new look as my body had become rather more catlike. Few comment upon my condition, positively or negatively, so I thanked her and made a mild self deprecating joke as I rather like the new look as well. I stated: ‘I suppose even us monsters get used to ourselves eventually.’ She replied: ‘We do, don’t we.’”

 

Peter was not sure what Hank was trying to say. “And your point, Hank?”

 

“Her comment greatly disturbed me, and Emma and… Scott. It bespoke of a self view that was of great concern to us. We decided she needed socialization with her former teammates to help normalize her interactions and self perception.”

 

“The ones she almost got killed, Hank.”

 

“Yes… not the outcome we had in mind. I’m reminded of the surgeon joke: The operation was a success but the patient died. Now this conversation is about you, Peter, not your sister, regardless of how intertwined she may be with your issues. Start with trying to describe why you are angry, Peter.”

 

Peter stared at the ceiling. “Where to start, my friend… I am angry. Angry about a great many things. As are you Hank, although your anger is focused upon a different topic. Upon Scott.”

 

Hank frowned as he adjusted his glasses again. “These sessions are about you, Peter, not I.”

 

Peter did not agree, and he stayed focused upon Hank’s anger issues. “It is noticeable to all. Do you not express great loathing and anger towards Scott at almost any opportunity?”

 

Hank paused and first thought about his reply, then answered. “Yes, I have some unresolved anger issue with Scott. The circumstances are different.”

 

“So why not discuss both of our angers? Perhaps insight into your anger about Scott may shed light upon my own.”

 

Hank decided that this was a possible path to getting Peter to open up. “Very well. A non-standard technique, but worth a try.”

 

“So what are you angry about, Hank? What causes you to rage?”

 

“I don’t… rage Peter.”

 

“Hank… you play pretend, just as I…?” A pause from Peter as he thought upon what he had just said, why had he said pretend? Then he continued. “You rage differently, forever verbally lashing out about the topic of Scott, and the actions of Scott. A Scott who visited this school many times, or so I’m told, as I was not present.”

 

“He left me to die.” Was Hank’s quiet but intense reply. “In a cell, back in San Francisco. When the Dark Avengers captured us. I… was dying. Poisoned… tortured… And he KNEW! All those years of friendship, sacrifice, and… and he left me in those conditions, because to do otherwise would have interfered with his plans! His interpretation of the Greater Good meant that I was… was an acceptable loss, if it came to that.”

 

Hank continued. “Then… I found out about that death squad he was operating! To take care of certain anti mutant individuals and organizations that were funding violence against mutants.”

 

Peter inquired. “Was not Logan the leader of that squad? And Laura a member as well?”

 

A grudgingly growled “Yes.” from Hank.

 

“And yet you worked with Logan, both at the school as he was the headmaster of this establishment and he with the Avenges and X-Men teams. How does that differ from Scott?”

 

“The situation is… different. Logan was just following…” A sigh from Hank due to how the almost stated phrase he was just following orders would have sounded. “And Logan didn’t…”

 

Peter finished Hank’s sentence. “Screw you over my friend. It… hurts more, coming from a friend, does it not?”

 

“Yes… or a family member.” Was Hank’s reply.

 

“Da… like a sister that once was cherished.”

 

Hank listed his next Scott grievance. “And… he killed the Professor.”

 

Peter asked a question that he had been wondering about. “And yet each time Scott came here, you, and the rest of the X-Men, did nothing.”

 

A slow reply from Hank. “The Avenges tried once, and it was embarrassing for them. Plus… Scott always had his pet…” Hank stopped before he said it, an insulting description that has been discussed frequently behind closed doors. A statement that Peter finished.

 

“Demon. Yes… my sister has that impact on people.”

 

 

Part 31b: Professional help (part 1)

 

A long pause while Hank scribbles a bit on his notepad. Then… “Your turn, Peter.”

 

Another stretch of silence before Peter answered. “Many things… anger me. My… sister… Katya and how I behaved towards her when I was part of the Phoenix… and myself.”

 

“Any particular point in time or a particular incident?”

 

“Many… but… there is one, that I have thought often upon it. Ever since… since she… returned.”

 

“Was it the first time you… we encountered her? When we were in Limbo?”

 

“Da… the first time. I asked if she was Snowflake… if that… could be her? She just stared at me… with a look of such… misery… shame and finally anger when she kicked us out of Limbo and sealed it tight.”

 

“How did that make you feel?”

 

Peter clenched his hands into fists. “Enraged… Distraught… Guilty.”

 

“Guilty?”

 

“My sister had returned… or something that I thought of as my sister. And… she was as when she first… died. As had been described to me back then. Back in Inferno. This… was not what I… wanted. She was not…“ Peter did not finish the sentence, but Hank did.

 

“Not the sister you wished for.”

 

“Da… not as I wished her to be. At the end of Inferno I once again had my sister as I desired. Returned to age six and free from the evil that had so shaped her. Free from what being with the X-Men had caused to be done to her… as she never would have fallen into Limbo but for her presence with us.”

 

Hank asked his question again (a common therapy technique). “Again… why guilty? It is hardly your fault that Illyana had been trapped in Limbo at the age of six.”

 

“Because I wished that she was not… as she was. This was not… what I wanted. She was harmed… hurt… I raged against Scott for doing nothing, but there was in fact no way into Limbo. I… foolishly told myself that she was at risk in there. More fool I, what was in Limbo was far more at risk from her then she from them. I… wanted to save her. In the end we gained access to Limbo, and… she did far more to save us then we did to save her, but we did rescue her. Only to find that she was… Damaged. Or so I thought at the time… now I don’t know what to believe. She was not the sister I wished for. She was not… the Illyana I longed for. She was having… difficulties and… I think we should have explained why Katya was not… present, that she was lost to us, trapped in that Bullet. Then she departed for but a few days our time but years in her timeline, she return even more different.”

 

”Cold…”

”Unfeeling…”

”Calculating…”

“And very… disturbing.”

 

Hank once again asked the question “But… why guilty?”

 

Peter repeatedly clenched and unclenched his fists. “Because… this was my fault. My choices… our choices… led to this… horror. I wanted to rescue her from the outcome of my choices, our choices. We, the X-Men, never should have hid the fact that we were not dead. The belief in my death had… not been… she did not cope well with my supposed death, from what the other told me.”

 

Peter stood up from the couch. “I was free from the guilt when she was returned to her unsullied state. But… to see her as she was… what she had become… what paths she had walked because of my choices. I… I had to atone.”

 

Hank continued to probe. “To accomplish…?”

 

“To… help her? No… in hindsight there was no helping her… I wished to… to… to…”

 

“Not feel guilty?” Was Hank’s prompt.

 

“To not feel as I felt.” Was Peter’s anguished reply.

 

“Did it help?”

 

“No… I had hoped by… showing her such loyalty, by… ignoring what she… did. By always taking her side. By sacrificing myself for her. By reminding her of what she once was… that I could get…. my Snowflake back.”

 

“And how did that work out?”

 

"I… did not get what I wished for!"

 

“And what was that?”

 

“Absolution! Peace! My sister! Instead all I got was… her. How everything I did was for naught. I so wanted to understand her… and God help me, my prayers were answered. She… taught me exactly what she was.”

 

Peter reflected upon the insights his sister had bestowed upon him and explained it to Hank in halting words. What had… happened.

 

 

Part 31c: To become a falling snowflake

 

Peter coldly examined the latest carving of his sister’s face on the wall of the cave. Carved using his steel hands as he scraped and poked the rock into form. With his strength the stone was but a type of stiff and crumbly clay.

 

“I hate my sister” was his thought as he the destroyed it with one punch. He wondered if Ororo had taken his advice to slay Magik the next time Ororo encountered her. Words he had given to Magneto as well.

 

“She is not fit to live.” Was his mumbled outrage as he began to carve her face yet again in the cave’s stone walls so he could destroy it again. She had confessed to him. Told him exactly what she had allowed to happen, allowed to continue.

 

Had done to him. Him of all people.

 

HIM!

 

He thought back to when he and his sister had just been freed of the Phoenix…

 

He had been on his knees, but moments ago he and his sister had been freed from the Phoenix force (they had mutually attacked each other causing the loss of the Phoenix force). They had then escaped the Avengers to arrive in Siberia via one of Illyana’s teleportation disks. He had knelt upon the Siberian ground and proclaimed his utter despair as to what he had done as Phoenix and as the Juggernaut.

 

He had knelt there in defeat. In remorse. In failure. He spoke what he was feeling to her, but it was really a confession.

 

“We brought a heaven to earth. And then we brought HELL along too.”

 

Head in his hands. “We dripped souls into the mouths of demons. I tried to create… but only made abominations. Thank God the Avengers turned us against each other.”

 

Illyana put her hand on his shoulder to comfort him as she replied. “The Phoenix is infinite, we are not. Our flaws were magnified. Our flaws blotted out the sun. We are flawed. We are poor vessels for infinity.”

 

Peter raised his head, his hands before him. “I thought with the Phoenix I could transcend… be more than Cyttorak’s whispers… But it just gave me a wider palette.”

 

Illyana withdrew her hand and just stood next to the kneeling Colossus as he continued his lament.

 

“All the while when I was fighting. I was begging them to run. But all I was thinking was how beautiful their spilled brains would be. Thinking if I could kill enough I could paint the whole moon with their blood… I’ve hurt so many people. I’ve hurt everybody I loved. I’ve hurt everybody. Everything I touch becomes ashes.”

 

Fists clenched, head bowed. “Sister I don’t deserve to live. I am a monster. I am doomed.”

 

His statement were answered by a cold, disdainfully reply from her and a look of frozen distain as well as she said. “Finally.”

 

He has stared at her in shock. “… What?”

 

A look in her eyes, a look like she was trying to explain something important to one she cared about but that person was rather dense about things. “You were not like me. You loved me. You wanted to understand. You would never understand… Could never understand. Until you’d been a falling snowflake…”

 

His stupid puzzlement. His inability to comprehend. The words… “What are you talking about?” Was all he could say as he rose to his feet.

 

She answered, rage flaring in those blue eyes he had so loved, or so he had told himself. Rage, but not at him so much as just rage.

 

“I knew if I offered to take the Juggernaut energies, you would become the Cyttorak’s avatar in my place. That you would permit yourself to be possessed.”

 

He had just stared at her in incomprehension as she continued.

 

“And then you’d know what damnation feels like. How it curls in your guts.”

 

“How it changes you.”

 

“How it leaves you.”

 

Who it leaves you.”

 

“I had to show you. I had to make you finally see.

 

A snarl of rage. “There are no snowflakes in hell.”

 

Dawning comprehension from him. A soft “You’re insane.”

 

The memory of her face, filled with delight and relief as she thanked him as she grabbed his hands. Joy and relief that he finally understood.

 

“Oh, thank you! THANK YOU! I knew you’d eventually understand. I knew eventually you’d understand.”

 

Rage filled his mind and heart as he shouted “GET AWAY FROM ME!” He summoned the power of the Juggernaut. He shouted as he towered over her, ready to rend, to hurt, to kill.

 

“MONSTER!”

 

“ABOMINATION!”

 

She summoned her soul sword as she stepped back from him. “Yes. Yes we are.”

 

He strikes but she teleports away, her words drifting in the air. “Snowflake, little snowflake… how does it feel to fall?” Not mockery, but more of an honest question, as if she no longer knew the answer, as she had fallen so long ago.

 

Only to appear behind him. “Think about it brother. Of what I’ve given you. Regret. My final gift.”

 

And again she vanishes before his blows can strike, can kill her.

 

Hours later...

 

Peter, still in his steel form, is now sitting the rubble of the now destroyed Phoenix-Farms (in Siberia) when she appeared once more.

 

“Stay away.” Was his warning.

 

A warning that appeared to mean nothing to her as she walked towards him, her soul sword in her left hand. “But brother! Our business has not yet concluded.”

 

Rage once again takes him, again he is transformed into his demonic steel Juggernaut form as he curses at her in a demonic language, then runs at her to strike her down.

 

“Not here.” She states as she summons mystical energies. “Come with me.”

 

A flash of light and they are in fiery Limbo, flames, burning ground, red sky, if not the hell then definitely a hell.

 

She sounds almost joyful, relaxed, as if at home. “Much better.”

 

His rage is transcendent. Pure, in a strange way. “Finally somebody I can murder without regret. Finally a greasy smear of an offering.”

 

He strikes.

 

So does she.

 

He misses.

 

Her sword, her power, her will, does not.

 

He awakens to find himself lying upon the ground, his sister standing over him. The energies of the Juggernaut, the howling scream for destruction within his soul… was gone.

 

He starts to sit up. “It’s gone. The power, It’s…”

 

She stands coolly before him. “Do you remember Cyttorak’s words? A Hell Lord is master in their domain. My soul sword shatters enchantments. When in My Realm, it’s enough to slice the Destruction Lord’s bonds.”

 

He partially stands, still filled with rage, but in control now. A snarled reply as the realization hits him that... “You could have freed me whenever you wished.”

 

A cold stare from her. “Yes, I could. But then you would have learned nothing.”

 

Another burst of light and they are once again in Siberia, the ground is covered in fading fire. She speaks.

 

“I did all this out of love. You were not like me, so you could never understand. Now you do. Now you know exactly who I am.”

 

She looks concerned, but he knows it must be false as she continues. “Do not give yourself away so easily for someone who simply does not deserve it. Do not give yourself away for a snowflake who melted long ago.”

 

He stands… His love and his rage are cold wet ashes in his heart. “If we ever meet again, I will kill you.”

 

A look of… understanding from her. “There you go. Lesson learned.”

 

 

Part 31d: Professional help (part 2)

 

The simulated office is now a broken ruin, the furniture smashed, holes are in the walls, and the various abstract painting have been thrown across the room and torn. Peter is still in human form, panting, dripping with sweat, and unnoticed tears.

 

Hank’s voice sounds in the office (the hologram is currently gone). “And how did that make you feel?”

 

A fling of an arm and the remaining lamp flies across the room to smash upon the opposite wall. Then the room resets and is as it was originally was; for but a moment as Peter seizes the couch and hurled it across the room into Hank’s desk.

 

“I HATED HER!”

 

“I so hated her. I lay at night dreaming of killing her, and such was my waking hours as well.”

 

“In Limbo she showed me just how… insignificant I was, even with all the power of the Juggernaut; it was nothing. She took it from me and I was free, free to understand just how much of a puppet I had been. To Cyttorak, to her, to the Phoenix.”

 

The destruction of the office continued…

 

“Yet another thing to hate her for.”

 

“For what she did to me.”

 

“For what she let me do.”

 

“For what she allowed to happen.”

 

“She deserves to die.”

 

“I dreamed of so many ways to kill her. Twisting her head off of her neck. Pummeling her into a red smear. Ripping her in half. Drowning. Choking. Crushing her spine. Snapping each bone one by one. So many ways… and all with my hands.”

 

“The lust to do harm, to do wrong. It was so deeply embedded in me when I was the Juggernaut. I stayed in steel form the entire time before Phoenix as I was so concerned about losing control. I felt that only by staying in my steel form that I would have the strength to restrain myself. But that failed me so often… as the lust to hurt was always there… So easy to give in, to lose control. To just act as I was. To do as I was created to do. To give into my nature.”

 

“Poison in my veins, twisting all my thoughts, desires, goals. To kill, to break, to destroy, such had been the never ending siren call.”

 

“And it felt so good to give in to that call.”

 

“It felt so good to do wrong.”

 

“And I felt so bad that it felt so good.”

 

Panting in rage, in anguish, tears streaming down his face.

 

“I hated her so much.”

 

“Hated her for not being whom I wanted her to be.”

 

“Hated her for coming back as she had, corrupted, foul, evil. A Monster.”

 

“Hated her for existing as she was, how it reminded me just how I had failed her.”

 

“Hated her for not letting me save her!”

 

“Hated her for making me hate myself so much.”

 

“Hated her for forcing my eyes to see her as she was, not as I wanted her to be.”

 

“Hated her for showing me that my professed love was false, that it was guilt, and obsession with the past.”

 

“Hated her for not being as I wished!”

 

“Hated her for making me understand!”

 

“I had felt so befouled, helpless to prevent the evil that was within me from seeking expression. The inability to not do what was wrong, and delight in it, while all the while screaming at what I was doing.”

 

Once again the office is trashed, and now Peter is just punching a wall over and over with bloody fists.

 

Finally he stops, and the office resets again. Peter wearily sat down on the couch and rested his forehead in his bloody palms.

 

“Such was my hate.”

 

Silence as Hank let Peter think upon his words. A flicker and then the hologram of Hank is once again behind his desk. Then Peter whispered.

 

“And then one day doubt crept into the Eden of my fury. I stupidly asked myself a question as I sat there brooding.”

 

“How had she ever controlled herself, feeling as she must have?”

 

“And I reflected once again upon when she first returned. When we were in Limbo, you were there, Hank. What did I say?”

 

Hank answered. “You called her Snowflake, but with a questioning tone. Then asked if it was her.”

 

“No Hank, I said ‘Snowflake, can that be you?’”

 

“Her look of confused horror, incomprehension as she stared at me.”

 

“Her anguish.”

 

“She then threw everybody out of Limbo, turned from the path she was on. And I then thought upon my last words to her ‘You’re insane’.”

 

“You had all told me how traumatized she was, how… different she was. And I refused to listen… to understand… to comprehend what she was… what she understood herself to be.”

 

“My hate did not diminish, but now I hated myself even more.”

 

“I rejoined the X-Men, I learned that Katya had departed to join Scott’s new school, departed with her… my sister… whom she had likewise hated.”

 

“How could Katya do that…?”

 

“Why would she…?”

 

“Could she not see what my sister was…?”

 

“Or… was it I who… had failed yet again?”

 

Peter then laid back upon the couch, his voice tight with emotion. “Then I received a note, it had been misplaced but finally given to me by Ororo. A note from my future self who came here with my sister, and died here.”

 

 

Part 31e: Note from the future to the past

 

Hello Младший брат (Russian for little brother). I have but brief moment to write some words. My heart busts with happiness to see my sister alive. All I have left of her is her soul sword. A sword that I swear sometimes asks me in a little voice, late at night, and… mostly after much vodka.

 

“Is it time to go home?” it asks.

 

I have no words other then tears for what happened, perhaps if I had been able to… but such is the future we paint.

 

The sword, it is all that is left of her. And it is lost… just as she was.

 

I have no answer but no, it’s not time yet. And I swear I hear a child sigh a reply.

 

“Okay… I like it here… Love you. Love you, love you, love you, always love you.”

 

There is no fury in the sword for me, just… sadness.

 

She was damaged, harmed as only few can understand. Perhaps as only you and I can comprehend. Младший брат, the me that once was… please read First Corinthians 13:4-8. Perhaps you can find the way that I did not.

 

It is time to go, but know that I am happy this day. And her joy at my presense was as I once remembered… Little Snowflake, how I missed you.

 

Strive to understand Младший брат, for both of us.

 

 

Part 31f: Professional help (part 3)

 

Hank looked up the Bible quote and spoke it aloud, while Peter silently mouthed the words as well.

 

“Love is patient.”

 

“Love is kind.”

 

“It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”

 

“It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”

 

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”

 

“It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

 

“Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”

 

Then Hank asked a question. “And…?”

 

Peter replied, with a tired voice. “If one was insane, but loved somebody more then anything else… what would they be willing to do to save that person? Perhaps… one would… do things that look like madness and evil, but strove to prevent a worse harm. Katya said to me, when I first became the Juggernaut, ‘I don’t want somebody to die for me, I want somebody to live for me!’ I… better see what she meant… and… perhaps what my sister tried to tell me in the only way she knew how to communicate.”

 

“What happened to you Peter, what Illyana did, that’s not rational.” Was Hank’s response.

 

“Da… One would have to be insane… Unable to understand… It does not excuse her, but... I think if I have listened better, been… the brother that she needed rather then the brother I wanted to be…”

 

Peter stood. “I… must think upon these things… Now I am tired. Let us be done for the moment, Hank.”

 

Peter looked upon his bloody hands. “I have much to contemplate.”

 

Hank agreed. “A very productive session Peter. Let’s take this up again tomorrow…”

 

 

Part 31g: Later… (Uncanny X-Men 600)

 

She stands before me… contrite and head bowed, not looking me in the eye. She is dressed in that black field costume that had been described to me and I find the quantity of skin shown to be… annoying. The annoyance of a brother that his sister is dressed… in a way he does not like.

 

She… holds herself responsible for her actions, how she should have trained as a sorcerer when she was in the X-Mansion, back when she was in the New Mutants. How she has begun to control the energies that are what she is. How she is trying to imagine a world that she wants, and trying to make that happen.

 

How I am her biggest regret.

 

How she is trying… finally… to talk to me.

 

She is like an unsheathed twin edged dagger. A danger to all but those who incorrectly grasp it. Grasp her.

 

I think aback upon my sessions with Hank, upon my anger… which has faded into just the long emptiness of mourning and loss. Of want for... better then what I have.

 

Much have I thought upon my future words to myself. Much have I… regretted.

 

I wish that my sister was not as she is… a wish that she shares; I see that now so clearly.

 

I decide. And in so doing I shift the future, as the future is not but the result of our choices.

 

We hug.

 

Not all is forgiven.

Not all is forgotten.

Not yet… but…

 

I have come to understand that this is my sister. And that finally… I have my sister again.

 

It is a start…

Chapter Text

The story takes place before Illyana joins the Extinction team, but after the schism with Kitty. And as usual, a few references to other stories, the most significant being Mother of Darkness. And a shout out to LordGrise who was adamant that I needed to treat Rahne as an adult (not really sure of her age at this point, call it 20ish).

 

There are a few references to my other Rahne/Illyana works (New Mutants Lazy Saturday, Conflicts, and Nightmares and cocoa).

 

 

Part 32a: Nock Nock…

 

Rahne took a deep breath as she braced herself. Emma and Scott had briefed her.   Danger had instructed her on the do’s and don’ts. But now, five hundred feet beneath Utopia, Rahne just stared at the door that led to the cell block that held… her.

 

Illyana…

 

Rahne had avoided any interactions with the returned Illyana, or any of the reunited New Mutants as well, especially Dani. But now it was time to talk to Illyana. Likely had been time for quite awhile, but it is human nature to try to avoid discomfort and pain.

 

BEGIN EMMA/SCOTT RECOLLECTION

 

“Just what is it that you expect to find Rahne?” Asked Scott.

 

Scott, Emma, and Rahne were in Scott’s office for a closed door meeting. A meeting requested by Rahne, who was briefly visiting Utopia for just this purpose.

 

“If absolution then I’d advise a church.” Suggested Emma. “Or do you wish to perhaps inquire as to your deceased child from our resident, and imprisoned, hell lord?”

 

“Emma, that was unnecessary.” Stated Scott as he defended Rahne, although the idea has occurred to the both of them, hence a bit of good cop / bad cop with Emma being the bad cop.

 

Rahne answered, but looked at Scott rather then Emma. “The thought occurred to me, but no. Some things we are not meant to know, and asking in such a way is not… very…”

 

“Faithful?” Observed Emma.

 

Rahne was always specific in her faith. “…Healthy. The good book is specific about asking, look what happened to Saul when he had a witch raise the dead prophet Samuel. It did not end well for him and I am not so foolish.” (1 Samuel 28 for those who want to know). “No, I just… want to talk. Ah… avoided her when she first returned and now…” She trailed off.

 

Scott explained. “Illyana gets a few visitors Rahne, it’s just that you’re not one we would have expected. Hence the understandable suspicion.”

 

Emma pointed out that. “Confronting one’s demons is commendable, but potentially foolhardy when they are actual demons. There is a great deal of history between the two of you, unpleasant history.”

 

“I got along fine with the wee Illyana.” Protested Rahne, not with any heat, more of an observational tone.

 

And now it was Scott’s turn to point out that… “Who is not who, or what, we locked up.”

 

“Are you sure?”

 

“Very…” Stated Emma. “In her own words, she was never the Illyana who survived Inferno and died of the legacy virus. She is, at best, the Illyana who died in Inferno, minus the nicer bits. The Darkchilde who was brought back and who put the very universe in jeopardy in pursuit of her soul. The person whom almost everybody demanded be locked up after what she did.”

 

“Then I doubly need to talk to her.” Stated Rahne. “And before you ask, I’m doing what the Good Book commands.”

 

“Which is?” Inquired Emma. “I do hope it is not some conversion attempt.”

 

Rahne did not like Emma, never had. She tolerated her, but the two were so very different. “It’s not and… it’s private. Something I have to do.”

 

“There are very specific protocols for access… “ Began Scott. “You will have to agree conform to all of them, one of which is continuous monitoring and recording so we will learn what it is you desire of Magik. Also, a violation of any of the protocols will immediately terminate the visit. A great deal of effort and planning has gone into her continued confinement.”

 

Planning that Rahne thought was likely a waste. She remembered the old Illyana, Limbo’s throne room, and just was Illyana was capable of. Remembered that time in Limbo when the powers of Light and Darkness has been banished by Illyana from Rahne and Berto. Remembered a great many things… hence the need for this meeting.

 

Emma added an extra tidbit of knowledge. “An important aspect to remember is Illyana’s tendency to speak in the third person when reflecting upon memories before her death. The technical term for it is Memory Associative Disorder.”

 

A slight glare from Rahne at Emma. “Not funny Ms. Frost.”

 

A glare that Emma, of course, ignored. “Wasn’t trying to be Darling. That is the actual term for the condition my dear, but it does have a most regrettable acronym. Which means do not feed that behavior. If she says her, you are to answer with you. Do not treat past tense as another person.”

 

Rahne nibbled her lower lip for a few seconds, then resigned herself to having to tell them, although she suspected that Emma already knew because of that absolution statement she’d made.

 

“I want to apologize to her.”

 

END EMMA/SCOTT RECOLLECTION

 

Rahne was in her human form, but even then she had enhanced senses even if they were not the full capabilities of her wolf form. She gave a sniff, and yes… she could detect traces of that old scent of Illyana’s that always spooked her. Traces of wolf, gunpowder, spicyness, demon, and… other things, one of which was the insufficient hygiene (you try keeping spic and span locked in a bomb jacket and only moist towelettes). The scents of:

 

Scary things.

Things of childhood nightmares.

Scents of the past.

Reminders of past actions, past… wrongs.

Of sins commented.

 

Rahne choose to go forward, the door opened and there Illyana was. Across the room in a glass walled cell wearing a grey full bodied jump suit and the bomb jacket. Just sitting on the bench/bed that took up almost half off the cell space, sitting with a blank expression. That’s what Rahne’s eyes told her.

 

But her wolf senses painted a different picture, one more vague… indistinct, a blackness or a blankness was in that cell… one that had no form. A predator. A thing of nightmares.

 

Her nightmares.

 

Rahne stepped into the room while feeling herself stoop in a slightly submissive posture. “Hello Illyana, may I come in?”

 

 

Part 32b: Who’s there?

 

Illyana raised her hands palms up, showing the bomb jacket to a greater degree. “I am not the one to ask.”

 

Rahne replied as she took a few more steps into the outer area of the cell block. “Just trying to be polite.”

 

Illyana’s reply was cool. “A first time for everything I suppose.” And Rahne felt herself cringe a bit at the statement.

 

Not a good start was Rahne’s thought. Illyana and Rahne had not been on the best of terms when Illyana had died. The usual conversational gambits were either wildly inappropriate, insulting, or outright bizarre. Imagine yourself sitting a jail cell the size of a closet, under five hundred feet of water, wearing bomb jacket. Phrases such as: How are you? How’s it going? How’s your day? What’s up? Or, how does it feel to be alive? Such statements are trite at best.

 

So… Rahne’s statement was at least polite and not trite. “I’m sorry it came to this for you.”

 

Illyana just stared back. Not an alpha dominance stare, nor was it a I’m trying to make you uncomfortable stare (even if that was the outcome for Rahne). It was a stare of boredom, of disinterest, and the lack of any inclination to fill the conversational space.

 

Rahne held her ground and stared back. Which she supposed was a repeat of her stare from long ago as she had briefly stood against Illyana over a sleeping Dani (of course Illyana had been armed with only a sandwich, a pickle, and some chocolate milk, which Rahne has later admitted to Dani was not the most alarming of weapons). But again a stare down, and this Illyana reacted just the same. Silent, neutral, but an ever growing sense of tension that Illyana appeared to not even notice. Rahne then partially shifted, which was like watching a sped up time lapse photography as red fur bristled across her face and her nose elongated slightly.

 

No visible reaction from Illyana, but her scent altered. There was still the traces wolf, gunpowder, spicyness, demon, magic, and the sense of wrongness, but now there was the scent of a multitude of wolves as if she was a member of some large pack; traces of the same scent vampire scent that came from Jubilee, and… the smell of panthers? Scents that made no sense. Scents that abruptly vanished as if Illyana was somehow aware of what Rahne was smelling.

 

Scents that had spoken of a story, of experiences, and… others? Rahne chose to not comment upon what has just happened, instead Rahne decided to break the silence and the staring contest be asking a question. A very important question to Rahne.

 

“Do remember being a child again Illyana after… you were no longer a…” Rahne stopped as Illyana slightly scowled.

 

“Demon.” Illyana finished Rahne’s statement. “And no… that was not me Rahne.”

 

It was as Scott and Emma had told Rahne, but she has to ask this of Illyana herself.

 

“So you don’t remember… that I was… your friend. That I was kind to you. That I was… better towards you then… I had been… before. That we… were friends. I liked you.”

 

A return to the bored look from Illyana. “No.”

 

The tone of the answer served to now annoy Rahne in turn. “There’s no need to be like that Illyana, I’m trying to… to…”

 

“Do what?” Prompted Illyana with… not interest, but not quite boredom. She almost sounded puzzled.

 

A bit of a whine from Rahne and downward gaze as she silently rebuked herself for immediately getting angry. “… Apologize.”

 

A few blinks from Illyana was all the expression that Illyana showed, then a question.

 

“Why?”

 

“I feel… bad about what happened to you.”

 

Illyana sifted upon the bench. “I would have thought that you’ve have been relieved, even… happy that she was gone, and in her place an innocent child.”

 

“Who was not you.” Replied Rahne with eyes still downcast.

 

“Who was not I.” Agreed Illyana.

 

The conversation stalled, then Rahne commented. “This is very strange.”

 

“In what way?”

 

“I… want to… apologize. Say that I am so very sorry for my past words and actions. And…” Rahne paused as she tried to articulate her thoughts.

 

Just a mild look of inquiry from Illyana which prompted Rahne to finish. “And it’s too late isn’t it?”

 

And now an actual look of puzzlement from Illyana at Rahne, who went on.

 

“I want to ask for forgiveness for how I treated you, but… I have no right to ask. It won’t mean anything. I’m asking for me… not because I’m trying to… fix things between us or… to do the right thing but… Because I don’t like feeling like this… Guilty… and… that’s wrong somehow.”

 

Rahne continued. “I was young and stupid and knew nothing of what my faith really taught. And now I… don’t know what to say to you.”

 

More of the puzzled gaze of Illyana as Illyana replied. “You are very strange Rahne, not at all what I would have expected. Not at all like what she remembers of you.”

 

“Some of us grew up I suppose.” Replied Rahne. “Even with our thick heads.”

 

“Some of us…” Replied Illyana. “And some of us died.” Then a question after some musing. “What was your Illyana like?”

 

Rahne lifted her eyes. “She was nice, sweet, mischievous, a wonderful child whom we all loved so very much.”

 

“So she was everything I am not.” Replied Illyana, with an abstract and detached tone, then she hummed a tune for a few seconds before stating. “What you want is not here Rahne, but don’t worry, as you can see.”   Illyana gestured at her cell. “The bad things gone away.”

 

Rahne sat on the floor and hugged her knees. “I… think I comprehend some of what happened to you when you were abducted to Limbo. I finally understood what you meant about eating glass.”

 

A toneless reply from Illyana. “I do not with to speak about such things. She survived her time with Belasco. I envy her that.”

 

A soft whisper from Rahne. “Do you hate me?”

 

A penetrating look from Illyana, then a more retrospective expression. “No… you… infuriated her, caused her much pain. She always wondered why you of all people could not understand… sometimes she wished to hurt you but… she never really acted upon it. She wished to be better then she believed herself to be.”

 

“You don’t have to be bad Illyana.” Quietly stated Rahne.

 

No answer from Illyana a tired smile that was not a smile from Illyana.

 

And with that Rahne had no more words to say, just a great deal of thinking to do.

 

Illyana watched Rahne depart, once more she was alone. Alone and silently puzzled about why this has mattered so much to Rahne, and... why… she felt…

 

She didn’t understand what she felt.

 

 

Part 32c: Epilogue

 

Danger did a quick net search based upon the brief humming Illyana had done, cross referenced with the words she had spoken. Danger got one hit from the Eurythmic’s song I Saved The World Today, a reference she added to the log for review.

 

Monday finds you like a bomb

That's been left ticking there too long

You're bleeding

Some days there's nothing left to learn

From the point of no return

You're leaving

 

Hey hey I saved the world today

Everybody's happy now

The bad things gone away

And everybody's happy now

The good thing's here to stay

Please let it stay

 

There's a million mouths to feed

And I've got everything I need

I'm breathing

And there's a hurting thing inside

But I've got everything to hide

I'm grieving

Chapter Text

Part 33a: Paths in Destiny’s garden…

 

Illyana sat by the edge of a cliff on Muir Island, which is off the west coast of Scotland, watching the waves roll in from the north Atlantic and the various sea birds squawking upon the wind. She was sitting up the lush grass with her arms around her legs and was wearing her iPod ear buds as a song played.

 

A romantic would say the falling rain was a sign that the heavens themselves wept at the death of Scott. A realist would point out that it was always raining in Scotland. A cynic would comment that Storm could have ensured some sunshine. The observant would notice that Illyana was dry. The magically inclined would sense a darkness was brooding upon that cliff and the wise would walk away less the darkness shift its focus to them.

 

Scott had been killed, murdered really, by Blackbolt after Scott had destroyed one of two Terrigen clouds that were killing mutants. That’s what everybody understood to be the truth... Well most everybody, Scott had actually died from the Terrigen gas, not Blackbolt. A death that had been concealed by Emma as she had projected a telepathic Scott into everybody’s mind as she had formulated a plan to destroy the first cloud. The true secret of Scott’s death was known only by Emma, Magneto, Alex Summers, the Cuckoos (Irma, Celeste, and Phoebe)… and finally Illyana who had only figured it out after the destruction of the cloud.

 

Most of the other attendees had left after the funeral, returned to the world, most to attempt to figure out how to deal with the threat to Mutant kind without angering the Inhumans. Medusa had been most emphatic with Storm as to the response from the Inhumans regarding any attempt to harm the remaining Terrigen cloud, a threat backed up by the power of Black Bolt.

 

Emma was one of the few who remained on the island, along with the Cuckoos. And Emma gave the impression that she was planning an extended stay. Rahne was likewise still on Muir Island, and had sought out Illyana.

 

It wasn’t hard for Rahne to locate Illyana, just follow the sense of wrongness, the scent of wolf, gunpowder, spicyness, and other things. The trail was easy to follow, just go in direction her inner wolf did not wish to go. The place where she was. Rahne ignored her fears and setout upon the path.

 

As Rahne grew near her sharp hearing detected faint music (she was in her half human form which meant her senses were almost wolf sharp). It was the song Zombie by Bad Wolves being played by Illyana’s iPod.

 

Another head hangs lowly

Child is slowly taken

And the violence causes silence

Who are we mistaken?

 

But you see, it's not me

It's not my family

In your head, in your head, they are fighting

With their tanks, and their bombs

And their bombs, and their drones

In your head, in your head, they are crying

 

What's in your head, in your head?

Zombie, zombie, zombie-ie-ie

What's in your head, in your head?

Zombie, zombie, zombie-ie-ie, oh

 

Another mother's breakin'

Heart is takin' over

When the violence causes silence

We must be mistaken

 

It's the same old theme

In two thousand eighteen

In your head, in your head, they're still fightin'

With their tanks, and their bombs

And their guns, and their drones

In your head, in your head, they are dyin'

 

Rahne wondered if she should announce her presence to Illyana, offer some form of greeting. Then, after a sniff, simply continued. It was Rahne’s belief that Illyana was not easy to surprise, regardless of how she might pretend. Rahne could feel eyes upon her and the scent of darkness in the wind as she walked around a bolder and spied Illyana sitting by the cliff edge. She walked up and sat likewise beside her. Upon dry warm ground Rahne idle noticed.

 

But does the heat of hell follow the dammed? Was Rahne’s brief though before she rebuked herself.

 

The song ended but no new track began, it was just the wind, the cold drizzling rain which dripped off Rahne’s fur as whatever magic was keeping Illyana dry apparently did not extend to visitors. Again there was the scent of a wolf pack from Illyana, and Panthers as well. Scents that again vanished. Scents that Rahne had finally figured out.

 

Instinctual scents of pack affiliation and greeting, from one wolf to another.

 

Rahne did ponder just whom… and how… that was possible. Just what… Illyana had encountered and done that would leave her so in tune with wolves.

 

But Rahne did not ask, spoke no words. Just sat there and listened to the sound of waves, the cries of the gulls, and the soft whisper of light rain upon the ground. And slowly Rahne’s wolf senses began to tell paint a different picture then what her eyes were telling her. Her eyes showed the blonde Illyana sitting on the ground in her usual tight black reveling leather costume, where as the wolf senses said that she was sitting next to a creature with an ever shifting indistinct shape, as if darkness itself was trying to make up its mind as to what form to wear.

 

Reality is what our senses tell us, but… Rahne had to wonder if it was possible that more then one reality was present?

 

She sat until Illyana… the darkness… spoke first.

 

“We were never friends Rahne. Teammates, yes. Friends, no.”

 

 

Part 33b: Honesty

 

Rahne answered back. “I… almost was… towards the end… Before you… died. I was… beginning to understand that… you meant me no harm. That you weren’t trying to steal my friends away… That… you… did not have some secret plan. Just… secrets about what had happened to you.”

 

No answer back from Illyana, just the smell of tired resignation mixed with anger.

 

Rahne added. “I’m sorry about Scott. But he did a great thing in destroying the cloud.”

 

Which prompted a reply from Illyana. “Hero or Villain?”

 

A question that slightly perplexed Rahne. “Who? Scott?”

 

“No… yes… him, us, them, everybody, you… me. Hero of Villain?”

 

Rahne replied after some musing. “Hero. Scott was a hero. I know many of the others didn’t get along with him anymore but… I believe he always tried to do what he thought was the right thing.”

 

“And the others?”

 

“You mean the Inhumans?”

 

“No, I mean everybody else, Emma, you, Storm, me, the X-Men, the Inhumans, Medusa, Blackbolt, even that stupid teleporting mutt that they have. Heroes or Villains?”

 

Rahne continued to be perplexed. “I don’t understand the question.”

 

“Who are the good guys? Conversely, who are the bad guys? Is it just… what side you come from? Many wars all invoke God, but he can’t be for both sides.”

 

“We’re not a war Illyana. Storm arranged to prevent that.”

 

ILLYANA RECOLLECTION

 

Madrid, just after the destruction of the cloud. Medusa, with Black Bolt, are in negotiations with Ororo in an attempt to stop the impending Inhuman/Mutant war. A convenient rooftop had been borrowed for the meeting. Present with Ororo is Illyana, who is standing slightly behind Ororo.

 

Medusa had been most emphatic, any attempt to harm the remaining cloud would be met with overwhelming and lethal violence, meaning Black Bolt. The cloud was sacred to her people and no additional discussion would take place on that topic.

 

Medusa and Ororo had just agreed to pursue non violent solutions to the pending Terrigen mutant crisis, caused by the remaining cloud. A cloud that sickened or killed mutants. The X-Men would co-locate Hank McCoy with the Inhumans in an attempt to find a medical cure.

 

Medusa had one final demand.

 

“…In addition, those directly responsible for the first clouds destruction will be handed over to us. They must be judged for what they have done.”

 

Before Ororo could answer, Illyana spoke, for the first time since the negotiations had begun. Not loud. Not angry. Just a simple.

 

“No.”

 

A statement that did not sit well with the Inhumans.

 

“You have destroyed what is sacred to us.” Declared Medusa to Illyana. “We demand justice. You will surrender Ms. Frost, those called the Cuckoos, Sunfire, and yourself to face Inhuman justice.”

 

“Didn’t murdering Scott sufficient?” Observed Ororo.

 

Medusa dismissed Ororo’s assertion. “He was not murdered, he dared to threaten Inhuman Royalty. Dared to destroy what was not his to harm. He left us no choice. It was imperative that all be shown the price of our wrath.”

 

Ororo has once thought of Medusa as a distant friend. She was realizing that Inhuman ethics differed greatly from her own. “There is always a choice Medusa. To take a life or not. The only dead here are Mutants, no Inhuman died.”

 

“Which is the only reason that peace is possible.” Was Medusa’s reply.

 

Ororo pointed out that… “What you ask for cannot, will not, be given to you. You have already made Scott a martyr. If I were to do as you demand, there would be no chance to find any type of middle ground. You have already made any pretense of supposed Inhuman justice a farce.”

 

“Mutants are the villains in this Ororo. You have destroyed what we value most of all.”

 

Friendships can die in an instant. This was one such time thought Ororo. “Odd, I value life over… things. Funny what some consider to be sacred. And who here has behaved as the villain is very open to interpretation.”

 

“Impossible, we are the harmed.”

 

“Yet the dead, the sick… are ours. A funny kind of harm that you have endured.”

 

“We could just take them, but it would be best that you surrendered them.” Threatened Medusa.

 

Ororo glanced at Illyana. “No Medusa, I don’t think you can. It would be war… and…”

 

Illyana finished. “There would then be casualties on both sides.”

 

A glare from Medusa. “Is that a threat? You have not the power to defeat us.”

 

Ororo answered, after a glance at Illyana. “Take the deal Medusa. We have give up much. All the blood is ours this day. Let us stop it while we still can.”

 

Medusa was about to refuse, to force Ororo to surrender those who had so transgressed against Inhuman sacred concepts, but a thought from Black Bolt intruded upon her mind.

 

(Take the deal my love.)

 

(Why?)

 

(We are reduced… and the threat is clear, at least from one of them.)

 

(The teleporting witch is nothing.)

 

(The threat from her is clear, it is to our people, not us.)

 

(They would not dare! Were you not the one who advocated even more forceful action?)

 

(I did. I do. But…)

 

(But?)

 

(We have erred. The narrative that Summers wished for has become reality. We must think upon this and find a way to change the what is perceived as the truth. Plus… why did Ororo pick this one to stand by her and not Magneto? Did you not pick the strongest to stand by you?)

 

(A… bluff?)

 

(Perhaps… we have lost control, but a pretense of caring… of standing down, will help to shape the narrative to our advantage.)

 

And so peace was decided… For now.

 

END ILLYANA RECOLLECTION

 

No reply from Illyana, just the bitter scent of scorn, which elicited a soft growl from Rahne.

 

A mirthless chuckle from Illyana. “Now that’s the Rahne I remember.”

 

Another growl from Rahne, but this time it one of frustration. “Sorry… I… you always… You scare me… back then… and now I suppose. You were… are everything I was ever taught to fear. Fool that I be, I listen too often to my fears rather then… actions. Listened to what my animal side tells me.”

 

“Which is?”

 

“Don’t pretend you don’t know… I can smell wolf, and other things on you. They, whomever they are, must have told you. Flee. Hide. Submit. The big bad is here. I’ve never asked… is it… deliberate?”

 

And now it was the darkness’s turn to growl in irritation. “Sometimes… and sometimes not. I…don’t always pay attention.”

 

The darkness receded, or so Rahne’s wolf senses told her. It faded, or was absorbed, leaving just Illyana.

 

Rahne asked. “I didn’t know you were so close to Scott.”

 

Illyana picked up a small rock and threw it off the cliff. “It’s… complicated. I had my issues with Scott but… We were once one with the Phoenix and… he… trusted me. I am very… upset about a great many things. His death… The cloud… Inhumans… Heroes… Villains… Justice… Survival… I wonder… just what he would have done?”

 

“Do… you mean do.” Corrected Rahne. “What would Scott do.”

 

“Yes, you are correct.” Replied Illyana. “Do. What would Scott do now if he… was still alive.”

 

Rahne mused upon the question, then gave her opinion. “I think he would find a way to destroy the remaining cloud.”

 

“I think so as well.” Answered Illyana after a delay.

 

The conversation paused as the two of them just watched the waves and the gulls crying upon the wind. Then a question from Illyana.

 

“Are you staying?”

 

“No… Muir was once a home to me… Mummie was here. But… she’s gone. Being here, this place, it just keeps reminding me of what has been lost. What I’ve lost. I read a line in a book once. ‘And the world became a lesser place.’ That’s… what I feel here.”

 

Then… “Illyana…Can… I… we’re not friends... but can we… I’d like to try to be… I’d like to… Try.”

 

The scent of puzzlement from Illyana as she stated. “Why? You… hated me.”

 

“And I was as stupid Scott’s woman who didn’t understand what the good book told me even when I read the words out loud. I’m quick to anger, quick to fail, quick to give into my fears. I want to NOT do that again.”

 

“Why?”

 

“Because I want to be better then I was. I want to… try… to be friends with the Illyana that scares me. It was easy with the wee Illyana, she was but a child. You’re… hard. I would like to try. Please give me the chance.”

 

A long pause… then a tentative wolf scent of pack greeting from Illyana. A scent Rahne reciprocated.

 

It was a start.

 

 

Part 33c: Path chosen

 

Rahne eventually departed, in full wolf form. As she walked away she heard Illyana start playing a new song on her iPod. It was Broken by Lovelytheband.

 

I like that you're broken

Broken like me

Maybe that makes me a fool

I like that you're lonely

Lonely like me

I could be lonely with you

 

I met you late night, at a party

Some trust fund baby's Brooklyn loft

By the bathroom, you said let's talk

But my confidence is wearing off

 

These aren't my people

These aren't my friends

She grabbed my face and that's when she said

 

I like that you're broken

Broken like me

Maybe that makes me a fool

I like that you're lonely

Lonely like me

I could be lonely with you

 

There's something tragic, but almost pure

Think I could love you, but I'm not sure

There's something wholesome, there's something sweet

Tucked in your eyes that I'd love to meet

 

Later… much later, after night had fallen, Illyana finally stirred from her sitting position, stood. A flicker of a teleportation disk and she was standing next to Scott’s grave.

 

“Goodbye Scott. I don’t’ know what you would have done. I wish you and Emma had listened to me when I told you we needed to leave this island. I think… you would have found a better way then Emma did. A better path.”

 

Illyana hesitated, then hit play on her selection. We’re Not Gonna Take It by Twisted Sister thundered forth as if attached to giant speakers. A salute of sorts from Illyana to Scott. A declaration as to her intent.

 

Oh we're not gonna take it

No, we ain't gonna take it

Oh we're not gonna take it anymore

 

We've got the right to choose it

There ain't no way we'll lost it

This is our life, this is our song

 

We'll fight the powers that be just

Don't pick our destiny 'cause

You don't know us, you don't belong

 

Oh we're not gonna take it

No, we ain't gonna take it

Oh we're not gonna take it anymore

 

Oh you're so condescending

Your gall is never ending

We don't want nothin', not a thing from you

 

Your life is trite and jaded

Boring and confiscated

If that's your best, your best won't do

 

Oh Oh

We're right (yeah)

We're free (yeah)

We'll fight (yeah)

 

You'll see (yeah)

 

Another flicker of teleportation and she was on the roof of the Muir Island Mutant Research Center, where Emma was quietly drinking. Emma plotted the destruction of the second cloud and… vengeance upon the Inhumans for what they had done, and were allowing to continue.

 

An inquiring glance from Emma. And an answer from Illyana.

 

“I’m in.”

Chapter Text

Now what really happened was that Marvel found, as the story (how great the Inhumans were and how bad the X-Men were) was unfolding, that Inhuman sales sucked, not to mention the failed television Inhuman series and the abandoned Inhuman film plans, plus Fox and Disney reached an agreement in X-Men merchandising, and later Disney beginning the effort to buy most of Fox. So… the attempt to marginalize the X-Men failed and the horrible thing that Scott was supposed to have done, which I suppose was to have killed many Inhumans, fizzled into nothing but a storyline that left the Inhumans portrayed as utterly indifferent and cruel (which I think sums them up quite well, even accidently Marvel got the Inhumans right).

 

But I like things to make sense, and that means all of those references to the mysterious bad thing that Scott supposedly did are still out there. So… I created this story to clean that up and restore harmony to the canon storyline. Note that each section takes place at a different place in time (the story rather skips about).

 

And gee, nobody, I mean nobody, helped the Inhumans at all during the X-Men vs. the Inhumans events. Nobody at all... That does need some explaining as well.

 

Oh, and John Constantine makes a guest appearance (he has been in a few other stories, see the short stories: Mistakes were Made, Paybacks a bitch, Inquiring minds want to know, and Handy man).

 

 

Part 34a: London, base of the Shard (part 1)

 

The Shard, at 95 stories, is the tallest building in the United Kingdom. Hotel, office space, restaurants, condos, and observation floors. And the location of a very special event. It was early evening, the city lights were flicking on as the cool moist air gave hints at a later fog.

 

“Looking good John.” Commented the demon Nazzy upon John Constantine’s tuxedoed black form. “Of course I had to help you dress, but… looking good.”

 

“Five thousand Bloody Quid.” Groused Constantine as he lit up another silk cut cigarette (known as a fag in Brit speak) with a match. “And another fiver for you as well but still you wear a Nascar baseball hat and dark glasses…”

 

“What can I say John, just being me.” Replied the demon Nazzy (who looked very human) with a brilliant flash of gleaming white teeth as he showed off his brilliant all white leather Tuxedo.

 

“Well stick close and don’t thee be getting behind me until we’re done.” Stated John as he glanced up at the looming presence of the tower. “Need that demon stink you lot give off to cloak my frail and mortal self.”

 

Nazzy insulted John right back. “That’s so racist of you John, we’re not all alike.”

 

“Cry me a river demon boy.”

 

“Back at you meat monkey.”

 

Constantine took a long drag on his fag, and then exhaled as he spoke. “Right, time for that lion den thing.”

 

“Wouldn’t have it any other way John.” Replied Nazzy as he tossed the keys to the custom Dodge Charger Hellcat to the valet. The car was blood red with a massive metallic blue line down the middle and chromed everything. Then Nazzy shouted a comment to the valet while briefly taking his shades off to show the valet his glowing eyes. “Get a scratch on it kid and I’ll rip your guts out and tie you up with them.”

 

“Blazes…” Groused Constantine continuing to look at the building. “J.C. himself only went to the top of the temple, those blokes just has to take it further. Tell me you didn’t forget the tickets.”

 

Nazzy pulled two tickets from his left pocket. “Right here John. Admit two, Hutong Restaurant, private affair.

 

The car grumbled into life, as the thousand horse power engine attempted to consume all the oxygen in the vicinity, and that was just at the idle setting.

 

“That car is a complete abomination Nazzy.”

 

Nazzy apparently didn’t quite understand John’s complaint. “Yeah, she’s a brute isn’t she. Remember those Green Peacers protesting her?”

 

John got more direct. “You got out and punched half of them, then did a burnout on that giant mural of a whale they had painted on the ground, after setting it on fire with lighter fluid. But you’re right, it suits you, right wanker mobile, just like the driver.”

 

Nazzy was unimpressed by John’s complaints. “Complaints from the man who bums rides in a London Taxi from his friend? Somehow I’ll live with the shame. And for the record John, I never have to wank it, plenty of demand for what I’m packing, unlike present company.”

 

Constantine was absent mindedly playing with a Zippo lighter, repeatedly flicking it open and shut, but not lighting it. “If this goes pear-shaped, we’re in for a right kicking. Nazzy, your boss is one bleeding pain in the arse.”

 

“She is the patron demon of stabby, but I’ll be sure to pass that comment on…”

 

A statement that briefly stopped John. “You know I’m kidding right?”

 

Which prompted a laugh from Nazzy. “Gotcha!”

 

Constantine took another long drag on his fag. “Got me worried there for a second you prat.”

 

Nazzy just laughed as they walked inside, but then… “But I’m still going to tell her John.”

 

Constantine tossed the spent fag onto the marble floor and ground it out with his shoe. “That’s it Nazzy, you’re off this year’s Christmas card list.”

 

“That hurts John, and here I go to all the trouble to find you a new ratty trench coat, smelling of smoke, beer, and piss just like the original after your old one burned in that castle you just had to check out.”

 

“My coat does not smell of piss.”

 

“If you say so John, if you say so John.”

 

 

Part 34b: Lunch in New Tian (takes place after the cloud is destroyed)

 

Some time earlier…

 

It is the time of the Secret Empire. The United States has broken into several political entities. One ruled by Hydra from Washington D.C. Another, consisting of just the west coast, has become a mutant friendly nation called New Tian, governed by Emma in conjunction with the various mutants and X-Men who were not trapped in the dark dome that covered Manhattan (Author note: That was so not my story folks, I like to think I write better stuff, just setting the stage).

 

The location, a San Francisco café (The Slanted Door at Pier 1 to be specific). Several X-Men were partaking of lunch when Tabatha Smith (Boom-Boom) paused in eating her cellophane noodle with crab and asked a question of the group.

 

“What did Scott do to the Inhumans that was so bad?”

 

“Inhumans… Blahhh.” Replied Rictor making a disgusted face, as if he’d just found a bug in his gulf shrimp & pork wonton soup. “First they shoot us out of the air and destroy an X-Jet and now you want to ruin lunch Tabby? Come on… I’m eating here, no need to mention Inhumans.”

 

“Scott did that… horrible thing.” Replies Buido Carosella (Strong guy) as he slurped the meat off another rib (Appetizer, he had five orders worth). “You know… that horrible thing.”

 

Tabatha took a sip of her drink, then replied. “That’s the point, I don’t know. I can’t remember. And the only horrible thing I can think of is Rictor’s porno mustache, which thankfully he’s shaved off.”

 

“I liked the stach…” Complained Rictor.

 

“Then like… why did you shave it off dude?” Asked Buido.

 

“Nobody else did, plus I kept getting food in it. And of course you don’t remember Tabby, time to cut back on the booze. Jeeze it’s only lunchtime and that’s your second cocktail.”

 

Tabatha tried to switch the topic back to the Inhumans. “I like Singapore Slings, plus booze was the only thing that got me through being stuck in Limbo when we were all there because of that Inhuman toxic gas cloud. Man… I think I was plastered half the time, so hated Limbo… hate hate hate. Place gave my hair split ends and I always smelled of sulfur and not a club in sight.”

 

Gaveedra-Seven (codename Shatterstar and Rictor’s boyfriend) chimed in. “That’s why you don’t remember Tabatha, you really do need to cut down on the drinking.”

 

Tabatha drained her cocktail in defiance, and then asked again. “I’ll swear off alcohol for a week of any of you can tell me what Scott did that was so bad.”

 

Buido observed that… “He did destroy the first cloud.”

 

“Which was not a bad thing.” Observed Tabatha.

 

Everybody did have to agree that destroying the first cloud of mutant killing gas was far from being a bad thing and a toast to Scott was given. But then… the others all had to admit that they also did not remember what the very very bad thing that Scott had done.

 

Buido remembered that… “There was that cover of Time… with Black Bolt having just a tear in his eye. Where the cover screamed about the Inhuman’s forbearance. Like that littering Ad that they had where the American Indian has a tear in his eye because of the littering.”

 

Rictor recalled… “Or those interviews where Medusa said that despite all the harm, the Inhumans had chosen the path of peace.”

 

Gaveedra-Seven (Shatter star) recollected. “Plus all those Inhuman go fund me pages for… something… And… wasn’t there a call for reparations from all Mutants to the Inhumans?”

 

“Yeah…” Mused Tabatha. “Then… it just… stopped. And… and…”

 

“Apparently nobody can remember just what it is that Scott did.” Finished Buido.

 

“Maybe your new buddy, Magik, would know.” Added Rictor.

 

Tabatha ordered her third drink from a passing waitress, and then commented. “She’s not a buddy, but it was fun insulting Inhumans with her. I swear she knows every weird club in this town. And she has clubbing super powers; never has to stand in line, always has a table, and service is fantastic. Turns out that theirs this really fantastic club on Pier 7, but you need…”

 

 

Part 34c: Muir Island, before the X-Men vs. Inhumans mini series,

 

Ever earlier…

 

Muir Island, residence of Emma Frost, long before New Tian.

 

“You’re obsessing over Scott.” Was Illyana’s comment to Emma as Illyana practiced her swordsmanship and combat moves by engaging in the classic two handed style of called Kombatan (A Filipino martial arts style), she was using two short bamboo sticks instead of swords. Over and over the flowing style of right hand strike to the temple, left hand strike to the temple, right hand strike to the left knee, left hand strike to the right knee. She was doing this upon a grassy bit of flat space by Scott’s grave. Think of it as a type of sword dance.

 

“Like you’re one to talk.” Replied Emma. She was standing by Stott’s grave dressed in her new black garb, cloak and all.

 

“Commenting Emma, not critiquing. Just reminding you that if you are trimming branches off of your decision tree, that you should be actively aware of it.”

 

Emma was her usual social self. “I know what I, and we, are doing. But to what do I owe the pleasure of your company? I dearly hope you aren’t looking for sparing partner.”

 

Illyana’s Kombatan cycled faster and faster until the harmony of motion collapsed, causing her to throw the sticks to the grass in disgust. “I almost harmed Sunfire today. I accused him of horrible deeds that he and Scott had done. Yet… that makes no sense, I was there, there were no horrors other then the destruction of the cloud, which you orchestrated by the way Emma, not Scott as he had already dead. And yet Sunfire did not defend himself, and all the others likewise agreed with the statement about the horrible crimes. Crimes that I am appalled at, yet… crimes I am neither able to describe or recollect, hence something has been done do me, to us, and I think the world.”

 

“It is a meme, an idea that has been embedded into the collective unconsciousness.” Replied Emma. “Even I feel it, like Scott… we did something horrible beyond the pale to the Inhumans and only their graciousness has prevented their just and fair retribution.”

 

“Total Bullshit…” Stated Illyana with disgust. “Yet… I am constrained, as are the others.”

 

Emma agreed. “We accomplish almost nothing by trying to save the sick while not confronting the source of the disease. It would appear that something has happened to affect everybody on the planet. Even Erik says we have no chance against the Inhumans, just keeps going on about the retched things that Scott did.”

 

“Can you break it?” Asked Illyana.

 

“I cannot undo what I cannot understand.” Was Emma’s reply. “Can you?”

 

Illyana shook her head no. “No, the rules that govern such as I do not permit me to act in such matters unless…” Then after some thought while Illyana retrieved her sticks. “Perhaps if the source of the delusion were to be located and found to be…” A long pause, then. “Since it is affecting you I assume it must be both telepathic and magical in nature.”

 

The sticks vanished with magical flick of Illyana’s wrist as she thought upon Emma’s words. “Hmmm, I know a marginal wizard who may be of use, he is quite skilled in inserting himself into affairs that do not concern him, and he still owes me two services.”

 

“Marginal?”

 

“He would be better if he applied himself, but his nature tends to one of sloth. He’s British, but you won’t like him.”

 

A questioning look from Emma that invoked clarification from Illyana.

 

“Total sleaze.”

 

“Worse then Tony Stark?”

 

“Um… Toney’s in a class by himself, but…”

 

Emma finished. “I think I get what you’re getting at.”

 

 

Part 34d: John…

 

“Another bleeding night of torture to look forward to…” Grumbled John to himself as he stubbed out another spent fag in an over full ashtray.

 

Tuesday night and time for Nazzy to make his habitual rounds of torment. Thanks the spirits that at least the new seasons of Top Gear did not apply as the original hosts were gone, which would have been a double torment as the new series was so bad. No, John had finally watching all of the Top Gear episodes with Nazzy, but now it was to be a night of four episodes of Season Two of the Grand Tour.

 

Which, of course, he had to do stone cold sober…

 

He even had to subscribe to Amazon Prime to get the access to the episodes, and he had to pay for it as well. Girl just knew how to grind him down, and, in his heart of hearts, John was beginning to really like the Automotive trio, which of course meant that he had to be afflicted with some odd form of Helsinki syndrome, at least that was his hope.

 

There was the expected knock on the apartment door, John made his way to the door and opened it while holding a ten pound note to pay the Curry delivery man.

 

“Here’s a Ten’r mate, keep the…”

 

It was not the expected delivery man, well more of a boy, holding a take out box of Indian Curry with a side of Naan bread and extra yogurt sauce (John loved yogurt sauce).

 

No… it was a bountiful expanse of pale cleavage held aloft by a black leather body hugging costume that was open in the middle all the way down to the exposed navel. Large, firm mounds of goodness, promising a first class fun ride. John, being British, did not know the concept of a Disney E ticket ride, but his sudden lustful interest definitely did. John blinked several times, and then belatedly looked up from the bosomy goodness to stare into blue eyes framed by pale blond hair and an ironic expression. John glanced back down and observed black thigh length boots, black leather short shorts with a big buckle, and what looked like a black cape behind her. Plus an X marks the spot buckle just above her… um… okay… staring a bit too much.

 

John just had to go with what he was thinking, both with his brain and his little head as he raised his head and looked her in the eye. “I don’t know what you’re selling Luv’, but I’m buying.”

 

An expression of bemused contempt was his answer as the tall leggy blonde stepped back from the doorway, revealing Her. She whom he still owned two services to and the source of his ongoing Top Gear based torments.

 

Interestingly, she whom he had yet to fully name was dressed in a similar fashion, but her right arm was covered with covered with black armor and her top had a boob window instead of an open middle.

 

He did know one new form of address for her as he sighed, it was going to be one of these nights, and not the fun kind of ménage à trois fantasies he usually had about two hot blondes.

 

BEGIN JOHN RECOLECTION

 

John was once again in a storage locker bargaining with a demon for knowledge. Smokey blackness was contained by a pentagram spoke.

 

“She has many names John, and these bargaining goods of yours are quite marginal.”

 

John did not agree. “Bullocks, even the zipper still works on the Rolling Stones album.”

 

“The album is quite used, scratched, and the zipper means nothing. I care about the Twinkie, not the cellophane that it is wrapped in.”

 

“Got to be worth something.”

 

“Such goods as these are the worse kind of junk food. I suppose I could take them so as to trade them for something of worth. One name then.”

 

“Deal.”

 

“You are dealing with Magik.

 

“Well rather obvious mate.”

 

“Goodbye John.”

 

“We have a deal!”

 

“And I have fulfilled my part in it.”

 

“Not without a name you haven’t you tosser.”

 

“Magik John, she’s Magik.”

 

“I know mate, but it’s a name I’m looking for.”

 

“John, do I need to spell it out for you?”

 

“Spell… oh… she’s called Magik.”

 

“How you repeatedly defeat the forces of Hell I’ll never understand.”

 

“Side of the righteousness mate.”

 

“You John? That is hard to believe.”

 

END JOHN RECOLECTION

 

“Magik...” He started to say, then stopped as a truly horrifying thought popped into his head as he then asked the first blonde. “Um… you’re not her mum by chance are you?” Coming on to a Hell Lords mother was likely even worse then his prior misdeeds.

 

And apparently a big no on the mom question if the expression of outrage on the first blonde was any indication of reality. The first blonde commented as he stepped back to allow them to walk in, after all what else could he do.

 

“You were correct Illyana, sleazy, only minimal apparent intelligence…” A sniff from her. “Poor hygiene, and... definite Pavlovian responses when viewing the female form.”

 

No statement from Magik, just an eye roll and a shake of the head from her that just so conveyed a failing grade for John.

 

But John did learn another name for her, so… not a complete loss.

 

 

Part 34e: John’s third service

 

The older blond had that elite expression of distain as she looked over John’s cluttered and messy living room. A look that communicated ‘so this is how lower class scum live’. A look that of course annoyed John.

 

“Sorry the décor is not up to your standards luv, but you came to my door.”

 

And now the expression was turned upon John, as if to announce that ‘here was the lower class scum in question’. Magik just looked bored and paid the messy apartment no mind as she explained what John’s third service was to be. As she explained John lit up another fag, in part because this service looked extra nasty, and in part because he could just tell it annoyed the older blond.

 

After Illyana was done, Emma expressed her doubts. “You really think he’s capable of this?”

 

Illyana looked a tad doubtful, which did nothing for John’s opinion of himself, but he liked her reply. “Yes, despite appearances he’s… rather notorious for finding and solving such things.”

 

“Best there is luv” Was John’s reply to Emma (He had learned her name during Illyana’s explanation). “So… somebody’s messed with the thoughts of the whole world to make the Inhumans look like saints and you lot like dog dirt. And you want me to find out who’s done it.”

 

“That sums it up quite well Mr. Constantine.” Replied Illyana.

 

“My resources are a bit sparse at the moment, I don’t suppose you could help a bloke out?” Hinted John.

 

The two women exchanged a glance, then Emma briefly stared at John before replying. “He’s actually telling the truth, and no Mr. Constantine I don’t find you secretly appealing.”

 

Emma reached down and pulled a Black no limit Visa card from her boot and tossed it to John. “That should provide sufficient funds.”

 

He tried to put on some airs, who knows, maybe the taller bird might go for it. I'm the one who steps from the shadows, all trench coat and cigarette and arrogance, ready to deal with the madness. Oh, I've get it all sewn up. I can save you. If it takes the last drop of your credit, I'll drive your demons away. I'll kick them in the bollocks and spit on them when they're down and then I'll be gone back into darkness, leaving only a nod and a wink and a wisecrack. I walk my path alone... who would walk with me? Plus I knew a mate at the pub, grew a tentacle out of his tongue after getting exposed. Got fired and his Miss’s left him. Hung himself, poor bastard, so… not quite a fan of the Inhumans.”

 

Illyana looked thoughtful as she spoke. “I think a minder is needed, shouldn’t there be a second to enable the classic good cop bad cop routine?” A smile from her that was not nice as there was a flash of light in the hallway, and Nazzy, John’s personal Top Gear demon from Illyana walked in.

 

Nazzy was wearing a Top Gear Live Australia crew shirt (the back had the words TOP GEAR, Feel the Thunder down Under!). He had on dark glasses and was also wearing a Top Gear baseball hat, leather jeans, and boots.

 

“John!” Was Nazzy’s enthusiastic greeting. Road Trip! Even brought my wheels, none of that effeminate taxi cab bull shit!   Boss says we’re a teamup! I’m Starsky to your Hutch… or is it Bo Duke and your Luke Duke?” Then a glance at Emma. “And it looks we even got us a Daisy Duke stand-in as well.”

 

A comment that just annoyed Emma. John’s enthusiasm promptly fell, even clutching the Black no limit Visa card.

 

 

Part 34f: Inhuman Ethics

 

Some time ago…

 

“I think we have just the answer to your PR problem, your Majesties.” Spoke a well dressed Englishman by the name of Adrian Wapcaplet, who was sitting behind a very splendid looking desk.

 

Medusa and BlackBolt were sitting in a large London office that had a magnificent view of St. Paul’s in the distance. Behind them, Lockjaw was gnawing upon an immense beef bone that has been provided by the staff. It was a very nice office, rich brown and burgundy leather chairs, well lit, the walls only had framed significant advertising posters from successful campaigns:

 

One showed a diamond ring on a woman’s hand with the phrase ‘A Diamond is forever’.

 

Another showing a bold Bill Clinton with the phrase ‘The Man from Hope’.

 

One showing a smiling Santa Clause drinking a Coke while adoring polar bears look on.

 

A black poster with just the Nike symbol and the works ‘JUST DO IT.’

 

The Apple iPod rocking silhouette.

 

A Wendi’s where’s the beef poster.

 

The original Jordache Jeans campaign staring Brook Shields and the slogan ‘Nothing comes between me and my Jeans’.

 

And finally the rugged Marlboro Man smoking a cigarette.

 

Adrian Wapcaplet continued. “We’ve handled a diverse set of clients over the centur… years and believe we have just what you need.”

 

“Which would be?” Inquired Medusa as she took a sip of her tea, using her hair to hold the cup. She was speaking for BlackBolt as any verbal utterance would destroy the office.

 

“Sympathy… the world needs to love you, after all… should they not? Do you not deserve it?”

 

Blackbolt and Medusa exchange a glance, then a reply from her. “Yes… yes we do.”

 

“And we can deliver that. The unfortunate meme of the dying and sickened mutants and humans is problematic, therefore the solution is how unfair it was that the nasty mutants destroyed a cultural heritage artifact of yours. Such travesty…”

 

“One of the two Terrigen clouds.” Injected Medusa.

 

“Yes… through no fault of your own, when you nobly sacrificed your remaining crystals in the defense of this very world. Was it your fault that the Terrigen bomb was detonated? Was it your fault that the clouds are harming mutants, as well as those who have Inhuman genes that badly manifest? Is it your fault that the clouds even existed? And was it your fault that the remaining cloud continues to exist?”

 

“Um… yes?” Answered Medusa. An answer that prompted Mr. Wapcaplet to stand up from his chair and emphatically proclaim.

 

NO! Cultural heritage! The bad bad mutants have desecrated a cultural landmark! Think! It’s like the Mona Lisa being used as a condom. Cute and defenseless baby seals being used for shotgun practice. Why… It’s mutant jack boots upon the poor Inhumans, who are just trying to survive. And after all that the Inhumans have done for this world…”

 

Blackbolt and Medusa looked confused, likely it was the idea of Inhumans helping others. “Such as…?”

 

“Irrelevant! To ask is to show the inherent racism by the very question!”

 

“And the price?” Asked Medusa.

 

A winsome smile from Mr. Wapcaplet. “Ordinary we request a… spiritual… deposit as it were for such services, as well as monetary recompense. But such spiritual capital of course requires the client to be in possession of such assets.”

 

A complete lack of comprehension from the Inhumans. Which prompted a chuckle from Mr. Wapcaplet as he explained. “Sorry, bit of an industry inside joke… no… for your situation we simply require the brief assistance from Blackbolt to help clean up some off world slums. Think urban renewal, giving back to the community as it were. And others are willing to help offset the cost of your campaign because they believe in your cause, anonymous as they wish to not take anything away from your greatness.”

 

A look of contented pleasure from Medusa. “I knew that there had to be others who understood.” Then a long stare between the two Inhuman Royalty, followed by… “Agreed.

 

The Inhumans teleport away after signing documents and a satisfied Adrian Wapcaplet leaned back in his chair as an underling came in.

 

“No souls sir?”

 

“None Wesley. Pity, but Inhuman royalty are rather deficient in such things. No matter, we have other recompense. Many would be reluctant, or even unwilling, to destroy the cities of those who have done nothing against them, but Inhumans… Ha… Their name says it all.”

 

“How Inhuman of them sir…” Then a chuckle from the underling. “Yes Mr. Wapcaplet, the name does say it all.”

 

 

Part 34g: Hutong Restaurant Northern China cuisines, 33 floor

 

John and Nazzy were riding up the Shard in one of the mirror walled elevators. They were politely conversing, meaning they continued to insult each other.

 

John went right to the point. “You're a prick Nazzy, a total prick.”

 

Nazzy was equally dismissive. “And a big one at that John, but you… fucking magic. What does it get you, eh ? Apart from getting laid that is. Why… you rack almost a C- on that scale John."

 

“Hey… that’s one of the primary benefits. Getting the Gentleman’s sausage snuggled in a warm bun is why half of the male practitioners start.”

 

With a ding the elevator door opened upon the lobby of the Hutong Restaurant. And several large, but well dressed thugs taking the invitations. John kept close to Nazzy and just smiled at the suspicious stares from the thugs. Then onto the main room and off to the open bar, and of course John went right for some top shelf liquid courage, Nazzy however was drinking from the bottom shelf, stuff could almost double as jet fuel.

 

The pair just watched more guests arrive until… Some music began to play as the main lights dimmed while some lighting effects went off… The song was Won’t Get Fooled Again by the Who.

 

We'll be fighting in the streets

With our children at our feet

And the morals that they worship will be gone

And the men who spurred us on

Sit in judgment of all wrong

They decide and the shotgun sings the song

 

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution

Take a bow for the new revolution

Smile and grin at the change all around

Pick up my guitar and play

Just like yesterday

Then I'll get on my knees and pray

We don't get fooled again

 

As the song went on, more and more the crowd began to sing along until finally the whole room sang the ending (even John and Nazzy, John loved the band Who).

 

..

..

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution

Take a bow for the new revolution

Smile and grin at the change all around

Pick up my guitar and play

Just like yesterday

Then I'll get on my knees and pray

We don't get fooled again

Don't get fooled again

No, no!

 

Meet the new boss

 

SAME AS THE OLD BOSS!

 

At the end of the song Adrian Wapcaplet suddenly stepped onto a small stage with a mike.

 

“Is this on? Oh good. Well my good friends! Another fine year for WapcapletSmith. Why… the best since 1933 and that created 12 years of glory, followed by that wonderful cold war! This year we have successfully launched the Inhuman campaign causing untold misery for not only Mutants, but many a poor mortal who happens to have the poor luck in the gene pool. Ahhh… non compassion is the gift that just keeps in giving. How I love the consequences of the sins of the father unto so many generations! Some think a Diamond is forever, but only cruelty and suffering are truly eternal.”

 

All in attendance cheered, apart from John, Nazzy did kind of cheer as well.

 

“Such are the fertile fields we labor in… Harvesting misery grown by others. And speaking of misery, I’m happy to announce that we have just landed another, even large contract that will…”

 

That’s when John, of course, just had to interrupt as he loudly declared. “What a bunch of pats, should have known that only advertisers could be behind this, you giant lot of tossers. Name John Constantine. My talent's for lying. For sticking the knife in when people least expect it. Then walking away with a smile and a wave before the right bastards realize that their bleeding.”

 

Silence… utter and complete as the room turned and stared.

 

Then a snarl from Mr. Wapcaplet. “I see, the two bit wizard has finally penetrated our ranks… after all these years of operating under his very nose.” Horns began to grow upon the head of Wapcaplet, likewise the other attendees. “John Constantine… bet that you’re a right Tory hating bastard. Well... aren’t we all? New Labor all the way here! I hope that sorry fact doesn’t make you a cynic Mr. Constantine.”

 

Now that did upset John, being a Labor voter all of his life. He snarled a reply back after finishing off his drink and putting an unlit fag in his mouth. “A clever little bleeder, was Oscar Wilde. He once defined a cynic as a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. But I don’t think this is a playwright criticism circle. So I take it you lot are responsible for all this Inhuman solidarity madness that has overtaken the world?"

 

“That would be a yes Mr. Constantine. A yes… and a goodbye.”

 

“You got that right.” Was Constantine’s reply as his flicked open his Zippo lighter and lit his fag.

 

BEGIN JOHN MEMORY REFLECTION

 

“So how would I contact you, assuming I find the culprits?”

 

Illyana thought up the question, then held her hands apart and cast a small glowing magic sphere that then shrank down into her clenching right fist. Then she tossed something to John.

 

It was a Zippo lighter. One with an etched burning sword on it. Illyana provided instructions.

 

“Light that. No binding or ward will block me.”

 

END JOHN MEMORY REFLECTION

 

John took a puff and then blew a smoke ring as he stated. “I don’t suppose you lot know who Magik is?”

 

Momentary puzzlement… right up to the point when the walls started to bleed after first transforming into teeth.

 

Have your ever seen demons panic? John had, and he loved watching it every time. He whispered to Nazzy as the crowd went mad in their attempts to escape. They were behind the bar watching. “Nothing compares to that emptiness in your gut when the smoke settles, and you're the last man standing, eh?"

 

Nazzy whispered back. “Love watching you work John. But it looks better with full automatic fire.”

 

John frowned over some recollections of the road trip with Nazzy as they had investigated. “You like your way Nazy… I like mine.”

 

That’s when the Darkchilde showed up. And she was pissed… Think Dormammu ending grade pissed. Why… WapcapletSmith lost over half its staff before they even had a chance to attempt to surrender. The Darkchilde was not very conversational in her wrath as she only spoke once.

 

“You DARED!! Dared to touch me!”

 

John loved a good grovel, watching that is. Mr. Wapcaplet was most apologetic as he kneeled in the blood of the fallen, which just resulted in more dead demons, apparently apologies were not what was desired.

 

“I see she’s a terror when she’s upset.” Commented John as he poured himself another drink.

 

“Haven’t seen her this pissed since the time she destroyed the entire demonic tribe of ZkkKrk demons when they rebelled, plus she did think they were holding onto something of hers.” Replied Nazzy drinking straight from a bottle of Smirnoff Marshmallow flavored vodka (yes readers, it actually exists, as I said, bottom shelf).

 

Naz offered John a hit from the bottle but John was not having any of that. “Nazzy, I’d rather drink cat piss.”

 

“I can arrange that John…” Was Nazzy’s grinning reply as he located a bottle of Polish White Dog whiskey (aged three years in a metal barrel for the great taste of rust, considered the worst whiskey in the world).

 

John gaffed, then raised his glass. “Hated working with you Nazzy, hope to never do it again.”

 

Nazzy just grinned and finished off the bottle as the two watched the ongoing demonic slaughter.

 

But… a path was found before all were slaughtered, much to John’s disappointment. A type of reversal, an undoing of the enchantment combined with…

 

Recompense.

 

Call it do unto others as you would have done unto you. In this case the Inhumans were to reap what they had sown.

 

 

Part 34h: Things begin to go wrong…

 

US Congress, Senate floor

 

A debate was taking place involving the Inhuman Reparations act, the one that not only taxed all Mutants, but all U.S. Citizens so as to redistribute money to the Inhumans.

 

Senator Bernie Sanders was speaking in favor of the bill. “… The harm that the Inhumans have suffered due to the destructions of one of their sacred cultural treasures must be addressed. In this way, we can we absolve ourselves of our collective… collective….”

 

He pauses… then. “What the blazes am I talking about? Inhumans are members of the 1%. Why… half of the Inhuman city is taken up by just the Royal palace. Do they pay taxes? No! Just another example of the elite looking out for itself!”

 

The Senate chair then pointed out. “Senator, the chair reminds you that you are one of the authors of the bill in question...”

 

Bernie felt the burn… then… “I rescind my authorship and sponsorship. What the hell was I thinking? Bunch of Inhuman assholes gassing Americans… Just how many of our people died, mutant and human, because of their damn gas….”

 

Later, at the WapcapletSmith offices

 

“No Medusa… nobody’s here…” Spoke Gorgon. “Empty… looked like they moved in a hurry. No forwarding address.”

 

Social Media

 

A pause in the likes and friend requests for Inhuman social media pages, then…

 

Dislikes.

 

Unfriendings.

 

Angry comments.

 

Postings about Nazis, Inhumans and the gassing of people.

 

Then the lawsuits began over people harmed by the gas…

 

Inhumans city of New Attilan, just as Storm and the X-Men attack

 

“Thank you for calling the Avengers hot line. All operators are currently busy. Your emergency is important to us. Please stay one the line… your wait time is… is… is…” Then just a dial tone as the answering service hung up.

 

“Try Dr. Strange.” Directs Medusa.

 

“I did my Queen.” Replies the servant. “All I get is his answering machine explaining that he is away at the moment.”

 

“And the local authorities?”

 

“They claim this is not New York City limits and out of their jurisdiction.”

 

“Shield?”

 

“Shield states that they have a policy of avoiding confrontations with the X-Men…”

 

And Inhumans vs. X-men took place, and the Inhumans went down hard.

 

 

Part 34i: Epilogue…

 

And WapcapletSmith’s new client… well… let’s just say they did not like Inhumans, even though they had helped to fund the Inhumans campaign.

 

Who are they you ask? Well… How did that song go?

 

I tip my hat to the new constitution… Ahh, that it, let’s just say…

 

“Hail Hydra” should answer it.

 

That, and the Marvel Secret Empire crossover event where Hydra took over the U.S.A. And the Inhumans did not have a fun time under Hydra.

 

And that, dear readers, is my explanation for the whole Inhuman/X-Men mess.

Chapter Text

But… there is one quote that Emma makes after defeating Sebastian ‘I’ve been planning this for months darling. And I’ve had lots of help along the way.’ Now that help was the families of the dead and hurt club members, but… perhaps not all the help was acknowledged.

 

This chapter is dedicated to GORM as GORM just so gets Illyana (GORM is a frequent poster on the Magik appreciation thread at community dot cbr dot com which I am a frequent reader, occasional poster).

 

I’ve addressed a few Marvel inconsistencies in this chapter. Oh, and I’ve cribbed a few lines from some Waiting for the trade jokes (a comic about comics) because I just love what he writes. And the pause in my writing was because I was on vacation.

 

 

Part 35: Hell Fire Conversations

 

The bar Sister Margret's school for wayward girls, total sleaze of a place. Two pool tables, some waitresses that hook on the side, a part time job hall for mercenaries, and a surprisingly large collection of expensive drinks mixed in with the cheap stuff.

 

Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto, and former Hell Fire club’s White King) was drinking alone at a small table, the thick pall of smoke was making his eye’s water just a bit (Marker’s Mark bourbon on the rocks for those who care). He was a bit early, and old fashioned as he was a firm believer that it was the woman’s prerogative to be the second to arrive. So he indulged himself with a small drink while taking note of all the recent repairs the bar.

 

And of course, ten minutes late, Emma Frost strode in; making use of her telepathy to not be noticed by anybody other the Erik. Not because she was hiding, it’s just that she wouldn’t be caught dead in a dive like Sister Margret's.

 

Emma had a look that just so communicated that no… she would not be powdering her nose here. “Erik, what a completely un-charming place. Why on earth did you decide to meet here? I’m sure there is a befouled empty dumpster somewhere we could converse in. Or might the sewers be more appropriate?”

 

Erik rose to great Emma. “Because it suits me. Indulge me Emma.”

 

“I’ll be sending you the dry cleaning bill.” Was her somewhat snippety response as she sat down. “Assuming I don’t burn the cloths.”

 

“Please do… I find that this place has color, and has some surprisingly skilled contractors for unpleasant third party work.”

 

Emma went straight to the point, that should hopefully mean spending less time in this dump. “The Hell Fire club is now mine. Will that be a problem?”

 

Erik was not direct in his reply. “That entirety depends upon what you plan on doing with it my dear Emma.”

 

Emma understood the implied threat. “My primary purpose was to end the endless stupidity the club’s leadership, and to stop the harming of mutants in the resulting crossfire. Plus there were many in the lower ranks that were close to Shaw who needed removing.”

 

Erik gave a small nod. “Goals I can agree with. I found your takedown most impressive, although a tad bloody.”

 

A statement that earned him a sarcastic look from Emma. A look that Erik just gave a shrug of a reply to. After all, bloody sometimes described Erik very well.

 

“Thank you for not interfering.” Emma glanced around the place and froze. “Erik, why is there a photo of Magik behind the bar, and why is she destroying a pool table with that ridiculously large sword of hers?”

 

A grin from Erik as he remembered that incident. “She was upset… She was assisting me in a small matter when Dead Pool walked past and groped her ass from behind. Plus a bartender made an unfortunate prostitution comment in regards to her outfit.”

 

Emma burst out laughing, she couldn’t help it. “That explains the ‘Do Not Touch’ sign underneath her picture. I’m surprised the place is still standing. And that answers why you chose this location.”

 

“Astute as always Emma. What role did she have in your takedown of the club? And is she now a secret member?”

 

Emma hated it when somebody was able to glace behind the curtain as it were. “She had no active role.”

 

“Meaning Intel.” Concluded Erik.

 

“Mean Intel.” Agreed Emma. “The elite never had a chance once her information was combined with mine. I knew where they were hiding, their security, everything. And no she’s not a member, Kitty would get most upset about that, otherwise the Black Queenship is hers for the asking.”

 

Erik sighed over Kitty. “Shame about Kitty’s wedding… I sent a gift.”

 

Emma was Emma. “Kitty can phase right thru any solid relationship. It’s part of her power set.”

 

Erik did have to agree. “Kitty does tend to complicate things over time.” The failed wedding had made Erik rather sad. “Which does me feel my years at times.   That and odd matchmaker thoughts in that sometimes I think of introducing some of Wanda’s male children to Kitty. When she has the children that is, they do tend to come and go due to that chaos magic talent of hers… at least she’s stopped sleeping with the robot… never approved of the robot. Always had concerns about Pietro and his wife, but Luna, their offspring, my grandchild, I at least have no problems with, other then her being raised by the Inhumans.”

 

“I thought Wanda and Pietro were not your children. And Vision is a Synthaziod, not a robot.”

 

Erik did not agree. “Machine equals robot Emma. There are over ten thousand varieties of cheeses, but in the end they are all still just ultimately cheese. Call me old fashioned, but I’d rather my daughter not to engage in emotional and sexual relationships with appliances. And in regards to my offspring, would you call them well adjusted?”

 

Emma gave a reluctant… “No.”

 

“All the proof you need that they are mine.”

 

What an odd turn of conversation thought Emma. “Next I suppose your going to start showing me baby photos.”

 

Erik gave Emma a neutral look for a moment, then pulled out a wallet and proceeded to do just that.

 

Emma was quite surprised as the photos were shown. “How on earth is that possible?”

 

“I know a time traveler and I have a camera.”

 

“Doesn’t this violate some rules?”

 

“Not according to Magik, she thought the request was cute.”

 

Emma did have to admit that the pair had been very cute babies.

 

Erik put away his wallet. “Once I went to a thanksgiving supper that Wanda put together. It was for the Avengers but she also invited me. I, of course, showed up in civilian clothing, but for some reason all the Avengers just had to be in their field uniforms; which I found to be most odd. And Namor was of course almost naked as usual. Well… the glares I got from most of them. I do give Wanda the credit for inviting me. But back to the topic at hand, did you approach her or was it her idea?”

 

“Hers?”

 

“Magik’s very good at manipulation Emma… very good.”

 

“No… I’ve been thinking about this for quite a while.”

 

“Which I would hazard that you stated in her presence at least once?”

 

“Yes…”

 

“And of course she is such a fan of the club…”

 

“Well… no.” This had been Emma’s idea but… Illyana had been surprisingly well informed as to the clubs activities and the locations of the current leadership.

 

Erik got a gleam in his eye. “For all you know, this could be a secret plot of Kitty’s, if so then I applaud the girl and would drink a toast as to her maturity in the ways of politics.”

 

An idea that horrified Emma. “I am not Kitty’s puppet.”

 

Ahhh, such is fun to tweak the former white queen thought Erik. He gestured at the bar and a previously ordered drink of Armagnac Brandy was delivered (it was for Emma).

 

She took a sniff and nodded her approval. “I’m surprised they stock this.”

 

“Apparently thuggery pays, or perhaps some of those who hire wish to indulge in the better stuff.”

 

Emma took a sip. “Mmmm… No concerns about the Avengers disrupting us?”

 

“I’m sure they’re too busy finding a reason to fight each other to trouble themselves with raiding random dive bars. Or perhaps Tony has decided to turn on them yet again, or might another of his inventions turned sapient; it is Tuesday after all. Which reminds me, is there a reason that Victor (Anole) now has a tail and three tongues? He is a mutant, green, with lizard like skin but previously lacked a tail and the plethora of tongues. Some secondary mutation perhaps?”

 

Emma was not kind. “Stupidity… I believe he played a prank on Illyana and is learning a lesson about poor decision choices. I’m sure it will be gone in a week or so.”

 

Erik just had to point out. “If she remembers.”

 

Emma sounded less then concerned. “I’ll remind her if it lasts too long.”

 

Erik took another sip, sighed, and then replied. “Be careful Emma, we have both seen her having a bad day, no need for the Hell Fire club to become quite so literal.”

 

“Why the concern?”

 

“She’s… well… of all the New Mutants who were once in my charge, my students, she most understood me… and I her. I once gave her advice as she fought her darker tendencies ‘We can accept what we were and are… and go on regardless. Leaning and growing as we do. Yes we might lose, but that does not mean we should not try. Friends can aid us, but in the end we must stand alone.’ Which reminds me, do you know of her present whereabouts?”

 

Emma took another sip before replying. “She is spending time with Xi’an (Karma). Xi’an has some… issues and frankly has been acting a bit odd. Illyana thought it would be a good break as Kitty’s failed wedding left her rather depressed. Apparently Xi’an has recruited Rahne and some others for a team and Rahne refused to participate unless Illyana was on the team and placed charge.”

 

Erik blinked a few times at the news of Rahne demanding such a thing. “That is… surprising coming from Rahne. But I suspect a good sign. Maturity, however late, is always welcomed.”

 

Emma then observed that… “Boom-Boom is also on the team.”

 

Which prompted another sigh from Erik. “But not all answer the door when maturity nocks, or I suppose are even awake.”

 

Emma added… “Xi’an has the odd notion that Illyana will be easy to manage.”

 

“Not surprising.” Observed Erik. “I suspect that Illyana casts a continual low power confusion spell around her. Thus making others underestimate her. The girl does appear to wish to be treated as mortal rather then how she truly is. Hmm, if Xi’an thinks that then… likely more is in play then Xi’am knows.”

 

Emma took another sip before observing that… “Odd to see you so concerned about her.”

 

“As I said Emma, she was my favorite. Plus… I am still upset at what Charles did with her. The path that he forced her upon that led to her horrific death and rebirth years later. He made choices for her without her consent. Choices that ended very badly for her.”

 

Emma had a slightly sour look on her face, as if she smelled something off. “Yes… Charles… forever the do as I say, not as I do example to end all examples.”

 

Erik offered some defense. “His vision, his hope for the world was a good one. One I came to understand if not fully agree as to its feasibility.”

 

Emma was not quite in agreement. “I suppose, but if the vision was so good, why did he kept altering everybody’s memories, and kept making himself look so selfless at the same time? Posing as the pinnacle of telepathic ethics while doing so many of the sordid things he judged others of does not play well. Not to mention his obsession with faking his death.”

 

“We all have our vanities Emma. And neither of us have clean hands. I do find it good that you appear to be avoiding having conflicts with our returned Jean.”

 

Emma felt like pointing out that Erik had killed one of Jean’s prior incarnations by causing her a stroke, but concluded that it would be petty. “The woman has more lives then a pride of cats. Plus I realized an interesting fact about Jean.”

 

“And what is that Emma?” Inquired Erik as he took a sip.

 

“Jean. minus the Phoenix. has about as much fashion sense as Kitty. All the good looks are from the Phoenix, I mean… just look at her current costume. Red and blue, full body suit, and dull as can be; she could be flat chested for all that you can tell. Only as Phoenix are the goodies on display to tempt one and all. Even Hope as the Phoenix looked good, as the stupid bib that she insists on wearing was gone. Buch even Phoenix never really made Rachel look good, I mean… how many years did she have that mullet with a rat tail? ”

 

Emma’s answer did make Erik choke a bit. After a few coughing laughs he replied. “Catty as always Emma.”

 

“Just telling it like it is.” Was her smug reply.

 

Erik did have to agree that Jean’s costume… could use improvements.

Chapter Text

This time-out, as it were, allows for the ongoing return of Scott Summer’s story line to proceed, without actually having to deal with most of the now departed people as everybody considers them to be dead. Apparently, Wolverine will be reunited with Scott, and Illyana will be on the team (yea!). This also leads into some Asgardian war of the realms storyline, including Dani and Illyana (double yea!) My guess is that, at the end of the story lines, the departed X-Men will return (thanks to Scott, and likely Illyana) and the redone X-Men can be relaunched yet again mostly looking like… how they looked back at their most successful sales incarnation.

 

But… why was Illyana not part of the X-Man annihilation story line (apart from the issue of her just being able to stop it as we all know she could if she really decided to). Two word answer: Mary Sue (Google it or Wikipedia it, or heck even youtube it). What is Mary Sue you ask, assuming you don’t know.

 

A Mary Sue is an idealized and seemingly perfect fictional character, predominately female. Often, this character is recognized as an author insert or wish fulfillment when present in Fan Fiction. A Mary Sue is able to perform better at tasks than should be possible given their amount of training or experience, and usually are able through some means to upstage the main protagonist(s) of an established fictional setting, such as by saving the hero(s). A male can also be referred to as a Marty Stu, Larry Stu, Gary Stu, or Jerry Stu, but the name Mary Sue is more commonly used. In recent years, various Social Justice Warriors (SJW) and/or Feminist extremism has also created many a Mary Sue like characters in Television/Movies where either a woman is used for a male character (see the latest Dr. Who, take that evil white men) usually combined with horrible writing, or use of female heroes with no flaws (see the latest Star Wars films, again with some really bad writing) or even Wesley in the Star Trek the next generation. Mary Sue characters are usually created by Editorial direction (i.e. the character Hope) or even the over idealization of a character (i.e. Jean Grey).

 

I’ve written about how Illyana has avoided the Mary Sue syndrome in my story Cosmic Girl Talk. And for those who might say I don’t like strong female characters… well most of my comic collection is built around… Girl Genius, Illyana, Rogue, Battle Angle Alita (so looking forward to the film), Empowered, and such so… wrong if you’re thinking that.

 

Now Illyana and Dani and Karma are all supposedly locked up and on ice after the end of Dead Souls so this story might just be a writing exercise, or a dream sequence, or it might… just have actually happened. Time will tell I suppose.

 

 

Part 36a: Grief

 

The bar with no doors…

 

Illyana was drinking alone, apart from the bartender (who is a severed head in a jar by the name of Chondu the Mystic, other wise known as Harvey Schlemerman, and man, for a floating head, he sure can make a mean cocktail). Alone in that she was the only customer at the bar, and in fact in the bar. She’s dressed in the New Mutant blue and yellow spandex costume she had recently reverted to wearing.

 

Tuesday night was a slow night, but not this slow; but when an upset Hell Lord is drinking away her angst (the X-Men had been disintegrated by X-Man) it made sense to not be in her vicinity.

 

Nothing fancy, just straight up Russian Vodka, and not the good stuff. Distilled but once. The kind where the bottle costs more the contents, heck the poorly glued on label might be worth more then the contents. Raw in that moonshine with hints of diesel kind of way, and smooth in that drinking a buzz saw is smooth (so no… not smooth).

 

A drink to get drunk with.

 

A drink you punish yourself with, and to kill those annoying brain cell that contain memories about things that you don’t want to remember or think about.

 

A drink that produces a hangover akin to a jackhammer powered by a nuclear reactor.

 

A drink of guilt.

 

A drink of pain.

 

Two bottles later (and yes it is almost impossible for a Hell Lord to actually get completely shit faced on mortal distilled spirits, but nothing says they can’t try…). Chondu regretfully had to interrupt Illyana’s attempt at alcohol poisoning as he gestured at one of the booths with his chin. “The lady would like a word.”

 

Illyana glanced at the indicated booth and noticed a burning bird of fire known as Phoenix; a glaring Phoenix. A blink of Illyana’s eyes and… the bird of fire was gone and now the seated form of the adult Jean Grey, dressed in the very sexy green and gold Phoenix costume that had flickering flames about her. An annoyed looking Jean Grey.

 

“Great… “ muttered Illyana. She gestured to Chondu for a second glass and a fresh bottle.

 

“You know I use that stuff to sanitize the floors.” Commented Chondu. “Stuffs cheaper then ammonia.”

 

Just a grunt from Illyana as she grabbed the fresh bottle, the two glasses, and walked over to the booth. As Illyana made her way over, her appearance likewise changed as she flickered into her prior costume, the black bit of leather, with the boob window and the boots.

 

Illyana sat down, slid the second glass across the table to Phoenix/Jean, opened the bottle, filled both glasses and just stared at Phoenix while raising her glass to her lips and waited. Phoenix/Jean looked slightly confused for a moment then raised her glass as well, took a sip…

 

And gagged at what she had just ingested as she hurriedly put down the glass. After a shake or two of her head Phoenix/Jean stated. “I can’t believe you drink this.”

 

A slight condescending look from Illyana, then she tipped back her glass and drained it. Then a look of challenge at Phoenix/Jean.

 

Phoenix/Jean looked at Illyana, looked at the glass, grimaced as she raised the glass to her lips and… did likewise.

 

After a prolonged fit of gasping and choking Phoenix/Jean gasped. “That is the worse… the worse drink I have ever had.”

 

Illyana just refilled both glasses as she commented. “Never thought of Phoenix as a lightweight.” Then she downed the second glass and just stared at Phoenix/Jean.

 

With trepidation Phoenix/Jean raised her glass and did likewise. Afterwards grimacing and doing a full body shiver while clenching her fists in agony, then pounding on the table a few times due to the shear agony of the experience.

 

Followed by an outraged. “How?! Can?! You?! Drink?! This?!”

 

Illyana was blasé in her response. “Because I am unhappy. Because I want to feel my grief.”

 

She again refilled both glasses, but only took a sip of hers this time.

 

Phoenix/Jean remembered why she was here and gave Illyana a glare. “You could have, should have helped.”

 

Illyana just gave a glare back. “No… I couldn’t. It’s call mortality, it’s a Mortal thing. Something you mostly get to ignore.”

 

 

Part 36b: Drinking partner

 

Phoenix/Jean rejected Illyana’s statement. “You should have changed things. Prevented Nathan from doing what he did.”

 

A growl from Illyana. “Hell Lord. You know what means. Rules… Hells, get drunk and open my stupid mouth and… bam... Kitty’s and Peter’s wedding goes down in flames; should have known better. Rules… govern such as I from actively changing thing when major events are underfoot.”

 

“Rules that you mostly ignored when you were Phoenix.”

 

“Rules I was able to ignored because I was Phoenix.” Then a complaint. “And you are not in a form I prefer to converse with.”

 

Phoenix/Jean did not understand. “This form was always my favorite.

 

“I know… not a member of the Jean Grey fan club. Pick another. And no… Not Rachel.”

 

A glare, then a shift. Now Phoenix/Namor was sitting across from Illyana, dressed as he had been whilst Phoenix.

 

Illyana shrugged. “Better, but an odd choice.”

 

Phoenix/Namor examined his hands. “Agreed. He would never have been a host by my choice. Nor you or your brother.”

 

“But Emma and Scott?”

 

“Emma has been a host before, and Scott…”

 

“You loved Scott.”

 

“Yes… though I do prefer a female form most of the time.”

 

Phoenix/Namor gestured at the full glass before him. “Might you indulge in something other then this swill?”

 

Illyana just smiled and drained her glass again, causing Phoenix/Namor to grimace. “Stop doing that, I always preferred Merlot.”

 

Illyana gestured with the glass at Phoenix/Namor. “You’re still Jean, just wearing Namor’s form. Cheating…”

 

Now Phoenix/Namor looked at the glass. “I really didn’t like him at all. And I don’t want to drink this.”

 

“Never thought of Phoenix as a wimp.”

 

A sigh from Phoenix/Namor, then he took the glass, slowly drained it while making the expressions of horror (which was so out of character for Namor, rather girly one might say). Then…

 

“No! No! No! Oh God that’s the worst! The very worst! Can’t you drink something else!?”

 

Illyana was less then sympathetic as she yet again refilled the glasses. “Namor would be horrified to see you act such in his shape. I so should have recorded it.”

 

A shift and now Phoenix/Emma confronts Illyana dressed in a white and gold version of the Phoenix costume that Jean liked to wear. “Perhaps something more feminine.”

 

“Better… Although the sight of Namor screaming like a little girl was pleasant to see.”

 

Phoenix/Emma asked a question. “Do you miss it?”

 

Illyana did not quite get the question. “Miss what?”

 

“Being me… us… Phoenix.”

 

Illyana took a sip as she thought, then answered. “Yes… No… it’s… complicated. I don’t miss the power because… well… Hell Lord… No… I miss… the belonging. Being Phoenix was… wonderfully terrible.”

 

Illyana refilled Phoenix/Emma’s glass and topped off hers as well. An act that annoyed Phoenix/Emma as she had had enough of this vileness. She gestured and a glow briefly surrounded the glasses and the bottle.

 

"I refuse to drink any more of this… solvent. It shall now be water. Those are my terms. You have suffered enough self punishment. I have suffered far more than enough since entering this place. Claim otherwise, and you shall drink nothing but cold clean water, no matter what the vessel is filled with, until I am satisfied you will no longer wallow in self pity."

 

A neutral stare from Illyana, then she raised her glass as a salute, Phoenix/Emma raised hers as well, clicked glasses, then they both drained them. Then gagging and shrieks from Phoenix/Emma as she waved her hands about while grimacing and declaring in outrage.

 

“Pure alcohol would be less vile! And why do I detect the aftertaste of fish!”

 

Illyana commented as she refilled both glasses. “Wake… I am not punishing myself, I am holding a wake for the dead. And…”

 

Illyana picked up the bottle and read the Russian label. “Fermented from agricultural processing byproducts, plus a dash of Vietnamese fish sauce in celebration of Russian/Vietnamese friendship.”

 

Illyana glanced at Chondu, who was cleaning glasses at the bar. “That one was a commemorative bottle, nobody bought them so I got a good deal, like I said, I use the stuff to sanitize the floor.” He put another unopened bottle on the bar. “I’m going on a break, holler if you run out.”

 

A wise move on Chondu’s part as that defiantly made sure that he could not overhear things that are unhealthy to overhear.

 

Illyana returned her attention to the still gagging Phoenix/Emma. “Good to know I guess. This is a wake Phoenix so no wimping out. And stop trying to Mary Sue the situation.”

 

 

Part 36c: Mary Sue

 

Phoenix/Emma finally controlled her choking. “I do not Mary Sue things.”

 

Illyana disagreed. “Of course you do. Phoenix embodies the idea of the Mary Sue.”

 

Phoenix/Emma glared. “I am not a Mary Sue.”

 

Illyana took a sip. “Please… what did you just try to just do? Attempting to change reality because you didn’t like what was happening?”

 

“That’s not Mary Sue, that’s trying to change things.”

 

“Almost everything Phoenix does is changing reality to fit the mood and desires of Phoenix. How is that not pulling a Mary Sue?”

 

A glare from Phoenix/Emma at Illyana. “And what would you call your reality threatening episode in pursuit of your soul?”

 

Illyana took another sip. “Me being a total bat shit crazy evil uncaring bitch. And yes… rather Mary Sue I suppose, but I did have to work at it rather then just waving my hands and having the universe give it to me. Bad behavior on my part, but I really had to work at it.”

 

“And I don’t?”

 

A sigh from Illyana. “No… One moment you’re sunbathing on a beach, next it’s going toe to toe with Galacticus or something. That’s Mary Sue grade behavior. That reduces everything and everybody around you just a toy. The contributions of others mean nothing because they are nothing. Everything just becomes what you want, and how you want it. Everybody is just a prop on the stage of your performance.”

 

Phoenix/Emma looked a bit flushed from all the rapid drinking as she returned to her original complaint with a snarled comment. “You could have saved them!”

 

A bit of a snarl back from Illyana. “No… I couldn’t! To do such would be to make everybody a toy. As I explained… I don’t do that any more. Not for me… not for you… not for anybody.”

 

Phoenix/Emma pounded down her drink and slammed the empty glass on the table with only a few telltale grimaces of just how bad the drink was.   Then a shift, and now it was Phoenix/Illyana who grabbed the bottle and refilled her glass before pushing away the bottle. “But you wanted to… We were one once. You may have kept secrets from the others… but not me.”

 

Illyana drained her own glass, then replied sounding sad rather the angry. “I… know. It would have been so easily to just shove my sword in Nathan, or just drop his stupid ass in Limbo. I… remember. The temptation was… is so strong to just… fix things. Like that idiot Nathan or Cable love to indulge in; and mostly just causing more problems then they actual solve. If you’re so upset then… why not fix it yourself?”

 

Phoenix/Illyana’s face fell in distress and answered with just one word. “Jean…”

 

“Yeah… the two of you did say goodbye. And you were a real bitch by the way… bringing back Scott just to emotionally blackmail her, and then letting him die again because she wouldn’t pick the way you want. That was a total bitch move. Somebody should write it up on the GoodGirls Reddit sub page, because that was truly the bitchiest thing I’ve ever seen.”

 

Massive flash of guilt on Phoenix/Emma’s face as to the failed attempt by Phoenix to bring Jean back from the dead and make her yet again a Phoenix host. Then anger. “I planned so hard… and you just had to screw it up.”

 

Illyana was having none of that. “It was Emma who figured out where you were hiding on the Butte in New Mexico, not me. And we both know just how many rules you were breaking.”

 

Phoenix/Illyana took a long swallow from her glass. “But you… you pointed out that something was trying to drive everybody away… Then you broke my concealment of the Phoenix sphere where I was…”

 

Illyana finished. “Brainwashing Jean. I really don’t like it when somebody tries to screw with me, not even you Phoenix. So yes, I broke the concealment, allowing others to interact with Jean; that’s all I did.”

 

“But I loved… love her so much…”

 

“Then let her live her life as she decides.”

 

“Even if she dies… Died… again.”

 

Illyana finished offer her glass. “Yes… news flash, they all die in the end. It’s called mortality. And those such as us do not get to change that. Just what the hell is it with Jean and you?”

 

Phoenix/Illyana likewise drained the rest of her glass then held it out for a refill. “I never would have chosen you as a host.”

 

“I know…” Answered Illyana as she refilled both glasses which polished off the bottle.

 

“Still… you were… enjoyable.”

 

“Yeah… You too… ”

 

Phoenix/Illyana was found a new complaint. “Asshole Stark. I was just coming to fix the whole no more mutants curse… that was it. I mean… just how many times have I been to Earth? If I was planning on destroying it, don’t you think I’d have done it by now?”

 

Illyana agreed. “Complete and utter asshole.”

 

They clicked glasses to their mutual disparagement of Tony Stark and each took a swallow. Illyana then prompted…

 

“So… why Jean?”

 

Phoenix/Illyana looked sad. “I… She… She made me feel so… alive. So vibrant. Everything… mattered. Big things. Little things. Life… life was so worth living. The ups… the downs… Just… shards… I loved being her. Loved it so much. Wanted it so much I was willing to…”

 

Illyana finished. “Do what you knew to be wrong.”

 

Another drink from Phoenix/Illyana. “Yeah… How come this crap doesn’t taste so bad any more?”

 

Illyana thought deeply upon the topic as she took another sip. “No more taste buds I think. And… I suspect some brain cells don’t work anymore.”

 

Phoenix/Illyana twirled her glass about on the table. “Stupid brain cells. Now what…?”

 

Illyana stood “Now… “ went over to the bar and retrieved the bottle that was left for them. “We get completely shitfaced and cry over those we love who are departed because that’s all that we can do.”

 

Phoenix/Illyana gave a sniff. “Do you think… somebody will do something?”

 

Illyana thought a moment. “I hope so… can’t initiate it myself but… I can participate per the rules…”

 

Phoenix/Illyana summed it up well. “Hate the rules.”

 

“Yeah… sometimes I… yeah.”

 

“What’s that?” Phoenix/Illyana pointed at the Karaoke stage.

 

“Karaoke.” Was Illyana’s reply.

 

A few minutes later, the two of them were on the stage, having turned on the Karaoke machine and started to sing the song they selected.

 

The sound of drums and base.

 

Bump… Bump… Bump… Bump

 

Then an electric guitar joins in.

 

Twang… Twang… Twang… Twang…

 

Then….

 

Da da da da da dant

 

It was The Chain by Fleetwood Mac. They sang with passion, with grief, with loss… Sometimes singularly, sometimes as a duet.

 

Phoenix and Illyana: Listen to the wind blow, watch the sun rise

Running in the shadows, damn your love, damn your lies

 

Phoenix : And if, you don't love me now

You will never love me again

 

Phoenix and Illyana: I can still hear you saying

You would never break the chain (Never break the chain)

 

Phoenix and Illyana: I And if you don't love me now

You will never love me again

 

Illyana: I can still hear you saying

You would never break the chain (Never break the chain)

 

Phoenix and Illyana Listen to the wind blow, down comes the night

 

Phoenix : Running in the shadows, damn your love, damn your lies

 

Phoenix and Illyana: Break the silence

 

Illyana: damn the dark

 

Phoenix : damn the light

 

Illyana: And if you don't love me now

You will never love me again

 

Phoenix : I can still hear you saying

 

Phoenix and Illyana: You would never break the chain (Never break the chain)

 

Illyana: And if you don't love me now

You will never love me again

I can still hear you saying

You…

 

Phoenix : And if you don't love me now

You will never love me again

I can still hear you saying

You would never break the chain (Never break the chain)

 

Illyana: And if you don't love me now

 

Phoenix : You will never love me again

 

Phoenix and Illyana: I can still hear you saying You would never break the chain (Never break the chain)

 

Phoenix and Illyana: Chain keep us together (running in the shadow)

Chain keep us together (running in the shadow)

Chain keep us together (running in the shadow)

Chain keep us together (running in the shadow)

Chain keep us together (running in the shadow)

Chain keep us together (running in the shadow

 

 

Authors note: Here is hoping the relaunched X-Men goes well…

Chapter Text

Uncanny X-Men is much better, rather like that the tension is still there between Scott and Logan. They start saving some imprisoned Mutants being used for government experiments. Illyana is one of the locked up Mutants and I love her comment when rescued (she has an inhibitor collar and supposedly some device that blocks her summoning her soul sword). “What took you so long.” Reading between the lines, I get the impression she knew Scott and Logan were back. And it looks like a return to moody Illyana and some teammates fearing her (as it should be, only an idiot does not comprehend how dangerous Illyana can be).

 

And finally the upcoming Mega crossover event, the War of the Realms, which will have side stories involving almost all of the Marvel universe. No idea where Marvel is going with this, other then I think Odin is going to be killed, and Dani has a major sub story (as she is a Valkyrie). No idea if Leah of Hel is going to show up, but this is the perfect opportunity to introduce new Illyana interactions.

 

This is meant to be a one shot funny chapter as it hypothesizes that the entire Marvel Multi-verse is just a series of virtual reality simulations. The writers and editors are altering the environment and seeing how the characters react. Not Beyonders as those are just part of the simulation, but something… beyond even that I guess. Omnipotent, all powerful, but far from all knowing.

 

And… well… just what does Marvel have planned for the X-Men, and our favorite hell lord? This is my “musings”. Time will tell.

 

 

Part 37a: Just why do things happened the way they do?

 

From: The most high, giver of life, provider of inspiration, director of purpose, he who walks with his eyes held high, receiver of great bonuses, the signer of paychecks, source of promotions, the man with the plan, the big cheese, that’s Mr. to you, in short Stan the man!

 

To: The lowly implementers of his will, the downtrodden, the recipients of the bountiful benevolence, wage slaves, those who wait in hope of bonuses and promotions, they who are fated to work for the man named Stan.

 

Subject: X-Men relaunch, and… what to do about Magik

 

Now that the whole Fox situation is behind us, we can turn our attention to how the revitalization of a neglected part of our empire is proceeding. You guessed it, the X-Men. And if you guessed Inhumans you’re fired. Just kidding, but seriously… if you guessed Inhumans then you are fired.

 

Love how the X-Men re-imaging is progressing, putting most folks in a simple time-out as it were in X-Man’s utopia while Scott and Logan get re-acquainted. Hopefully we can put the kibosh on any love triangles between the two of them and Jean for now (although I love the storyline idea where Logan finally gets Jean as Scott has moved on, not quite as keen on the Bishop ideas but this would give Bishop lot’s of exposure). I say it’s time for a new female companion for Scott, perhaps Psylocke? Logan and Storm should rekindle their casual sexual relationship if Jean is not on the menu. I suppose we could always use the big wheel of random shipping to come up with matches, but last time we used it we did end up with the whole Logan/Scott romance on earth 6996. Remember keep it PG, not triple XXX; this is family entertainment (most of the time).

 

Like the direction of Emma and the Hell Fire club. Looking forward to Emma realizing that Scott is back. Agree with the story plot of Scott wanting to move on from Emma resulting in the inevitable conflict with Emma; as we know how well Emma takes being told no, so pithy combat and conflict should result! Plus the inevitable female rage of learning that Scott did not tell her that he had returned (hell hath no fury and all that…)

 

Any use of the Avengers should mostly consist of showing how isolated the X-Men are. After all, the Avengers have better things to do then deal with Mutant problems. So what if they’ve known them for years. This will create lots of opportunities for later regret stories about how sorry they are that they did not help; plus the opportunity for the X-Men to demonstrate moral superiority; plus might there be another Avengers vs. X-Men some time in the future.

 

But remember the key X-Men story principles:

 

Conflict within the team.

Conflict external to the team.

Sexual tension within the team (and without if you so wish).

And no talking out issues! Disagreements should always result to fisticuffs!

 

Yes we need to keep having Scott apologize for a while.   I suppose that can die down after the X-Men trapped in X-Man’s delusional fantasy world are released (man does that boy have issues). But until then, Scott should keep castigating himself. I know… it will get old after a while, but then we can have it fade away. And no more Scott is Hitler comments! Rehabilitation has begun!

 

It may be time to bring out the random mutant wheel of death to trim down the number of junior mutants that have just not clicked with the audience, weeding out the weak to make room for the new. The upcoming War of the Realms storyline should cause all kinds of fun situations, speaking of which, this brings us to the question of Magik, whom I think should be on the team because… well… a host of reasons, but my favorite is having somebody more stabby then Logan.

 

But…just what to do with her?

 

The ongoing campaign to destabilize her and return her to a more moody and isolated representation appears to be succeeding. Kitty’s failed marriage attempt, the Dead Souls plotline that helped isolate her, not to mention Xi'an Coy Manh’s betrayal, should continue to put her at odds with many of her teammates. Recommend we continue to de-emphasis of her magical abilities and lordship of Limbo. Teleport and stab, with occasional Darkchilde transformations to remind everybody what a badass she really is (likely need to abuse somebody to drive that home).

 

Why this course of action you ask? Happy Illyana is boring Illyana, girl having problems means interesting.

 

Interesting means sales.

 

Sales means money.

 

Money means bonuses… and some for you as well my o’ so loyal minions.

 

So emphasize her disconnection from most of her teammates, shouldn’t be that hard considering how badly Xi'an screwed up (lots of conflict potential there over the betrayal, and Xi'an’s being robotized by the transmode virus due to her attempt the screw over Illyana; we really should have blowout fight between the two of them). But we need something more… she’s become quite friendly with the mutant Strong Guy, who is but a minor character. I suggest a noble death is so much more useful then his continued presence as we have so may strong-men characters; and something more for Illyana to get worked up about (girl does know how to act upon resentments!)

 

Time for us to either decide to make use of Leah or not. Throwing Leah into the mix will allow for some new Illyana storytelling. We keep hinting at it… time for more then hints because if nothing happens in War of the Realms then nothing is ever going to happen.

 

Oh, and for the record… NO MORE plotlines that involve Harvey Weinstein and Illyana! Earth 6996 has still not recovered!! Who the hell thought it was a good idea to have Weinstein attempt to sexually force a hell lord? Yes the resulting battle scene was dramatic, and seeing Harvey portrayed as a super powered mutant was rather… appropriate at many levels; but resulting wreckage was completely unnecessary.

 

A few brief comments on ideas I’ve received:

 

Agree, let’s throw in a few Skrulls, always good for the odd subplot or really great surprised expressions. Just imagine the look of shock of Johnny Storm’s face when he finds out his current girlfriend is actually a Skrull, and a male one at that.

 

Love the idea of continued Rahne and Illyana interactions at an adult level. Let’s have these girls work some things out. Since we always love having a red head, might we have Rahne grow her hair out a bit?

 

Let’s make them poor for a change. Bereft of resources. And continue to have Limbo not be a place that is made use of story wise. We overused it on the Inhumans toxic gas storyline (toxic in so many ways, why… the story side affect even killed off most of the Inhumans, not that anybody really noticed.)

 

Alex continuing to be a douche? You had me at douche. Run with it (not like it’s hard). And since Logan and Alex have such a great history together (as in not), let’s keep them close in hope for the inevitable interactions a we know how well Alex thinks things out. Plus, Alex has had only minor interactions with Illyana, likely he can get dismissive of her as well, especially if some dark things need doing (suggest torture of a prisoner for information). This would let Alex get his high horse on and, of course, creation team tension.

 

The lack of a telepath on the team will just so help cause character miscommunication.

 

Oh, and no girl friend for Alex.   Scott and Logan are to first get any babe action.

 

Nuff Said!

 

Now… go make me proud.

Chapter Text

He worked with Mr. Sinister, both in the age of Apocalypse, and this dimension’s Mr. Sinister as well. While Sinister is methodical and rational in his experiments, McCoy (as ruthless as his mentor) sadistically delights in causing pain to his lab subjects and in the cruelty of his experiments, which is why he was nicknamed the Beast. He also experimented on himself in order to further his mutation and gained his ape-like bestial appearance and his blue fur. Since Earth-616 already has a Beast, he was named Dark Beast (because Marvel is obsessed with calling everything evil Dark).

 

With the end of the Age of Apocalypse, the Dark Beast was able to escape to Earth-616. He was believed to have died due to Quicksilver's interference in his trajectory. However, the only damage was that he landed twenty years in the past in the empty Morlock tunnels without any memory whatsoever, turns out he is responsible for creating the Morlocks (and the reason for Mr. Sinister’s later slaughter of the Morlocks). He later regained his memory.

 

Dark Beast has had many encounters with X-Men over the years, usually as a villain, sometimes masquerading as the real Beast, and sometimes as an ally (suffice it to say that his ethics are very questionable and nobody trusts him). At one point he was thought dead but was found to now be an android as Mr. Sinister had attached him to a robot body.

 

Oh, and again for those who are not reading the comics. Scott and Logan are alive again. They have Illyana, Dani, Rahne, Scott’s brother Alex, and Xi'an with them.   Xi'an and Dani are currently techno-organic (see the limit series Dead Souls for details as to why).

 

Anyway, I got to thinking about possible Illyana and Dark Beast interactions, which resulted in this story.

 

 

Part 38a: Dark musings

 

Darkness… Mused Henry, otherwise known as Dark Beast, as he worked in the basement of the bar. Is the lack of illumination. How in any way am I not illuminated? How is it that I am saddled with the name Dark Beast when my counterpart is the one who dwells in the darkness of ignorance. I am the one mentally free, regardless of my current circumstances.

 

Yes he was rather… expansive in his actions, but an artist should be bold in his creations.

 

Yes he tended to be cruel when cruelty was unnecessary, but it was so pleasant to demonstrate power over the meaningless dross that made up so much of existence. And why waste anesthesia on lab rat, anesthesia costs money that could be better spent on… oh… Netflix for one. And why bother, pain thresholds are so fun to explore in others. Life existed to serve those who would master it. That was its purpose. When you finally realized such then it was all so clear… Petty delusions of ethics just clouded the fact that we’re all just meat. A fact that so few realized, especially the other Henry (as Dark Beast liked to refer to Beast). Ethics are just so much meaningless self delusions.

 

He sneaked a glance at Illyana, his current guard as Illyana had relieved Dani for a time.

 

“Self does not need to sleep or relax.” Had stated Dani when Illyana had come down the stairs.

 

“Regardless, take a time out.” Had been Illyana’s reply.

 

Dani had departed leaving his least preferred guardian to watch over him. The others could be manipulated. Influenced. And leaving the techno-organics to watch over him was not as safe as Scott believed as was he not a master of technology?

 

Scott, Alex, Logan, even Rahne… all so emotional. Easily distracted by different things. Scott and Alex… so reminiscent of the ones he used to know, although this Alex was much less an asshole then his Alex had been; but still just as prone to… missteps. Logan and Rahne were not as well known, but still easily fooled if he just used his vastly superior intellect.

 

But her…

 

She made him uneasy, not that he showed it.

 

Never responding to any of his jokes or banter. No reactions to his comments on vivisection, culinary pursuits, his other hobbies, or even his approval of Fox news (why that always annoys a goodie too-shoe liberal, always would make Alex get all blustery).

 

Just that cold look of bland disregard.

 

She had been the one to take him down, with teleporting that blasted sword and these infernal powers of hers. He still wanted to play around with her guts but… well… those words has been hastily said. Best left unremarked upon for now, one can always dream.

 

Finally she had replied to one of his prompts. “I have no interest in bantering with you. Scott… Logan… Alex may wish to engage with you. I do not.”

 

“And why is that?” Dark Beast gestured to himself as he gave a wide grin “ I have such an outgoing personality. Why… I have even been called delightfully whimsical upon multiple occasions. Andy you have not had meatloaf until you’ve tasted mine, here’s a hint, you need to add pork. But I must say, I enjoyed that little altercation. So satisfying to render Scott and Alex powerless to stop me.”

 

Illyana pointed out that he had lost that little battle. “The one you lost.”

 

“I was winning until you took me down. Rather underhandedly I might add, a sword though the midsection that completely disrupted all of my systems, technological and organic. Yet it left no wound or aftereffects.”

 

A bland response, but a response. “Scott wished you alive.”

 

“And if he had not?”

 

A slightly less bland response. “Then I suppose I would have found out if chopping you to bits would result in your demise.”

 

Henry continued working at his lab bench. “Hmm… I suppose I was foolish to so lightly dismiss you. Magic is so annoying when it comes to those who focus on the physical rules of existence.” A hint to see if she explained more. Of all the X-Men she was the biggest unknown.

 

A conversation gambit she did not take. “Tough for you.”

 

Ah well, perhaps another avenue. “You claim a lack of interest in conversational interactions, yet here you are conversing with loveable o’ll me.”

 

Illyana shifted slightly. “I wondered just how close your behavior is to the two Henrys that I knew.”

 

A grin of pride. “Am I not blue? Am I not called the Beast? Was I not able to pretend to be this world’s Henry for so long? A charade that this world’s Henry could not have maintained in my world. So… what does your scrutiny show?”

 

“You are a Henry. I see why Scott, Alex, and Logan find that aggravating.”

 

“And why is that?”

 

“In your own way, you are what remains of a man they would call friend.”

 

A threatening growl a reply. “Remains?”

 

“What has been done to you. What you have done to yourself. You are not the Henry they know. But you are a Henry they understand as they likely believe they see in you what their Henry could have been.”

 

“I think not.” Was his curt rely. “I am not so easily understood.”

 

A ploy that resulted in an ehanced clarification from Illyana. “We are what we are Beast. And you are sooo much a Henry. Self observed, convinced of the correctness of your actions. And a definite lack of common sense. In that I can see how you were able to fool people into thinking you were Henry as you are a Beast as well.”

 

“Not Dark Beast?”

 

“No… just Beast. The Henry of this world is called Beast due to his athletics. You are Beast due to your actions.”

 

“O dearie me, I do think I’ve been insulted. Or would a stars and garters comment be more in character?”

 

Illyana made no reply. Just looked at him silently for an extended length of time. Beast attempted to restart the conversation. “Dialog is not monologue. I say something, you reply, then the reverse happens.

 

Still nothing. Just a return to the bland look. Dark Beast tried again. “Cat got your tongue? I could tell a funny story involved this very gregarious lab rat I had, just would not shut up until I removed his ability to speak.”

 

Still nothing. He tried yet again. It would be nice if he could get her do demonstrate some of her magical powers. The more he knew about, the more he could plan.

 

“I do like our interaction. Much more interesting then the threats from Logan, the ineffectual threats and insults from Alex, or the coldness of Scott.” H paused… but still nothing from her. “Nothing left to say? Quite the disappointment. Scott and Logan can go on for hours, although Alex does tend to end up just storming off in a funk after running out of things to say. Pretty please?”

 

A shake of her head in negation. “Naa... We’re done. Just need to make a mental note to remind me that the next time you’re killed, I need to make sure the body is incinerated. Sufficiently hot to make sure any metal bits are vaporized as well.”

 

A disquieting statement, one delivered with no heat or even a change in her tone. Like she was reminding herself to put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher before going to bed.

 

And with that it was as return to the bland stare until she was relieved.

 

Sigh… The others were predictable and really not worth much thought. But Magik…?

 

Hmmm….. that was a potential problem.

 

Just what was he supposed to do about Magik?

Chapter Text

This takes place before the latest issue where Hope shows that she’ become a complete bitch (spoiler, she shots Scott costing him an eye). Hope is a character who’s kind of reached her sell by date so might we soon be seeing the end of Hope? Well… I hope so (ha ha) as I dislike the character (editorial creation and shoved down folks throat).

 

 

Part 39a: Recreational amusements

 

You’d think hiding out in a bar would be like a mini vacation for Logan. Well... such things depend upon circumstances. Unlimited brewskis and liquor a plus. Lack of appropriate and appreciative female company for some horizontal delights a minus.

 

Hanging with Scott, a major minus right? Well… at first, but now… not quite so much. Call it a pass for now.

 

Having to hang out with Alex in a bar? A definite double minus.

 

We see the group (Alex, Scot, Logan, Illyana, Rahne, Dani) gathered around a table drinking and playing cards; apart from Karma who was down in the basement monitoring Dark Beast.  One would imagine that a wicked game of high stakes poker was in progress.

 

Or not as Rahne declares "Shoot the moon, eat that ya suckers!"

 

A cry of victory that was much to the disgust of Logan as he throws his cards down. "Of all the flaming luck." For the record, they were playing Hearts, not Poker.

 

A protest that prompts a response form techno-organic Dani. "Self friend Logan was the one who tired of poker."

 

Which elicits an amused snort from Alex. "Because Illyana kept winning."

 

Rahne chimed in. "She has no tell. I cannot figure out if she's bluffing, no can Mr. Logan." Illyana, of course, had a neutral expression at this declaration, like butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth.

 

Logan disagreed with Rahne. "Everybody has a tell kid. Henry, our Henry not Dark Beast, has a tendency to wiggle his ears slightly when he’s trying to hide a good hand. While Alex here likes to grin when he’s not paying attention, and Scott get’s extra still as he’s trying not give anything away, which, of course, gives it away.”

 

Alex was not quite buying it (apart from realizing that Logan knew he grinned). "So, then enlighten us oh mighty sage of the enhanced senses, what's her tell?"

 

A question Logan avoided answering by attempting to change the topic. "Can't believe you're still drinking Maker's Mark. Whiskey is supposed to hurt Alex, not that smooth stuff you’re sipping."

 

Alex was not having any of that. "Pfff. Maybe if you have no taste for the good stuff and a healing factor. I think I speak for the rest of us in that I'll stick the middle shelf or higher. And… no answer I see on her tell."

 

Dana slightly laughed. "He doesn't know. Nobody knows. Whenever you think you’ve found a tell, it's just another bluff or lie."

 

Just silence from Illyana. Hey… no reason to explain. Poker is poker after all, if children want to play with the big girls, well… experience was a great teacher.

 

Alex went on the verbal offensive as it were, razing Logan about the bar. “This is the best secret base ever… as in not. I don’t mind the bar but what’s on tap is deplorable… Old Milwaukee? At least the name is honest as they’re admitting the beer is old and stale. And who the hell has Schlitz malt liquor on tap? And don’t get me started on Pabst blue ribbon.”

 

Logan verbally jabbed back. “Place is not one of your yuppie bars Alex. Real men drink here, current males excluded of course.”

 

The girls all exchanged a glance. A glance that just proclaimed ‘men’. Few women engage in such disparaging behavior of beer selection. Now a good comment about the outfit a woman was wearing, makeup, shoes, hair, that those be fighting words, but beer?

 

“You’re both wrong. You need to try some of this.” Announces Scott, who gets up and goes behind the bar.

 

Alex sounded very smug. “If you’re looking for the Sierra Nevada, I drank it last night.”

 

Scott was not happy. “Damn it Alex… I was saving that!”

 

Alex was not apologetic. “It was just a six pack.”

 

“Bullshit, I had four six packs.”

 

A burp from Logan, and what might… just might… have been a smug look about something.

 

Scott was not pleased at this turn of events. “Drinking another man’s beer without giving him the chance to have some is against the guy code.”

 

Just more satisfied burps from Alex and Logan as the woman roll their eyes. A gesture that the guys noticed (called the female eye for the barbaric acting male guy, but never to a female’s face).

 

Rahne suggested a game of…. “Yahtzee?” But there are no takers, instead Scott asked a question.

 

“So… Logan, dissing Markers… what Bourbon might you be willing to partake of if given the chance, and don’t suggest some bottom shelf crap.”

 

Logan was quick with a reply. “Four roses.”

 

“What…” Answers an astonished Alex. “A hick like you drinking the good stuff? That’s mighty highfalutin of you.”

 

Alex was an avid reader of Whiskey Advocate magazine for two reasons, one because he liked whiskey and two, because he thought his endless knowledge about whiskey impressed the ladies; and no it didn’t. The key to impressing a new lady is simple, something both Scott and Logan understood; but Alex never seemed to get. Make her smile or laugh. It’s that simple, endless obsession over some topic a guy is into does not impress. Knowing more about a topic the female is into likewise does not impress. Just make her smile in enjoyment.

 

“Four Roses is a good pour Alex.” Logan casually replies as he lit one of his cigars.

 

Scott then brought forth a bottle from under the bar, a little something he had gotten his hands on. Well… more then a little something. “Then what about this?”

 

Both Alex and Logan did a double take, then look stunned. “Is that…really… it’s…” Stammers Alex.

 

“Pappy Van Winkle’s Family reserve, 23 years.” States Scott with the pride of a Father announcing the birth of his first child. And he should, Pappy is considered one of the best bourbons in existence and was very hard to find, and the particular bottle, 23 years of age, was quite the collectable.

 

“Scott…” States Logan as he put out his cigar. “I take back every bad thing I’ve ever said about you, and reward you with the coveted term bub.’”

 

Scott glances at the girls who all shake their heads in disinterest, he then grabs three shot glasses and walks to Scott and Logan. “Time for you boys to become men.”

 

 

Part 39b: X ‘men’ behaving badly

 

Later…

 

Illyana, Rahne, and Dani observed the antics of the men who were drinking at the other side of the bar. The bottle of Pappy was long gone, as well as a few other bottles (all consumed by the men as the girls were just sipping some Rosetta).

 

The X ‘Men’ would state that a good male bonding ritual was underway. To the girls it kind of sounded like this (although there was likely some exaggeration).

 

“Grunt.”

 

“Grunt grunt.”

 

“Grout, howl.” Followed by a good butt scratch.

 

Then a gassy fart.

 

“Oh God that smells bad… have you been eating that expired canned chili we found under the stairs?”

 

“Yep…”

 

“Well… right back at you…”

 

A returned fart with more complaints as to the stench.

 

Then a round of crotch underwear rearrangement, which was followed by a rousing course of belches by all the males, some vigorous ear digging in search of golden nuggets; all punctuated with a few more toots from the ass.

 

Well… back to the girls.

 

“Two alpha studs and… Alex.” Summarizes Dani as to the antics they had been observing.

 

Rahne was appalled at what she had been observing. “What is the point of making the other guys smell something bad? You should go the rest room or outside if you be needed to… pass gas. What they be a doing… is barbaric.”

 

Yes… guys being guys as they have forgotten that the woman are present, the quantity of alcohol having something to do with the current male mental state.

 

“No idea.” Was Illyana’s response to Rahne’s question. “Male demons also engage in similar behavior. At least nobody is standing on a table and beating their chests.”

 

“Or any dick size comparing…” Giggles Rahne.

 

Dani replies. “Give it time.”

 

We interrupt this female conversation to return to the male interactions for a few moments.

 

“Boobies!”

 

“Big Boobies!”

 

“Death by Boobies!”

 

“Big! Grunt… Big!”

 

“Bigger! Grunt Grunt. Bigger!”

 

“Biggest! Belch. Me!”

 

And… back to the girls.

 

Dani looked amused. “That didn’t take long.”

 

Illyana looked a bit, well… not disgusted, but like expectations were low and you failed even that. “Not sure if their talking about their dicks or their conquests.”

 

“Conquests?” Was Rahne’s reply.

 

Illyana started counting. “Let’s see, Emma, Jean, Ororo, Wasp, Mystique, Polaris…”

 

But then Dani interrupted Illyana as the list would take a long time to recite, apart from Alex that is. “Self takes it you have not seen the men’s room.”

 

Rahne slightly blushed. “No… why would I?” A narrowing of her eyes. “And why would you be a doing that?”

 

“Self was curious to see if it was decorated like the woman’s room.”

 

A statement that made Rahne furiously blush. The woman’s room was wallpapered with cutouts from various adult publications. Lots of dick pics and beefcake on display.

 

“And…?” Inquired Illyana.

 

“A great deal of female anatomy can be observed. However, self observed that there are rulers attached to each urinal.”

 

Rahne’s eyes got big, at the same time Alex started waving a ruler about (yes he had swiped it from the men’s room) and declaring that it wasn’t long enough. An unfortunate choice of words that made all three girls giggle.

 

“True has been told.” Snorted Illyana.

 

Rahne tried to be stern, but her giggles made that hard to do. “Illyana, and how would you be a knowing that?”

 

“Same way you would know short stuff.” Replied Dani. “Back in the mansion, the showers were across the hall from the locker rooms. A most odd arrangement by the Professor.”

 

Not to mention Ororo’s tendency to shower in view of everybody, and that was a school?

 

Rahne then asked a question. “Which do you prefer, shorter or taller?” A question about a guy’s height.

 

“Taller.” Was Dani’s reply.

 

Rahne voiced her preference. “Taller.”

 

Illyana just shrugged. “Doesn’t matter, I think I somewhat like them shorter.”

 

Dani observed that… “The Top Gear guy you hung out with was taller.”

 

Illyana grinned. “Taller is so many ways.”

 

“Really?” Inquired Dani and Rahne.

 

“Yeah…” Details followed for a while. Then…

 

“Who do you think is better at it?” Asked Illyana, pointing her thumb at the inebriated X-Men who were vigorously hooting at each other like deranged apes (yes an exaggeration but…)

 

“Scott.” Stated Dani while Rahne answered “Wolverine.” The two then stared at Illyana until she gave her answer.

 

“My guess is Scott’s bigger, but Logan has that healing factor so I’d bet he can go all night long. But… given the choice between the two, Emma went for Scott.”

 

“Illyana!” Was Rahne’s pretend mock outrage.

 

Dani wasn’t sure, she was rather convinced that Emma and Logan had had hate sex at least once. I mean… we’re talking Logan here. And Emma.

 

“Just saying…” Was Illyana’s reply. “Both guys get woman lining up. Based upon the repeat business they must know what their doing.”

 

Alex would have been most offended by his absence in the conversational comparisons, but the guys had taken a time out to go to the urinals to drain the lizard, and… perhaps… do some measuring (Alex had taken the ruler with him).

 

“Size is less important then knowing what to do with it.” Observed Dani.

 

Rahne got naughty. “Plus some guys are growers… looking itty does not mean they don’t get big when in the mood.”

 

Illyana and Dani both exclaimed. “Rahne!” In mock outrage.

 

The guys were back and making hand motions that were suggestive of …

 

“Boob comparing I see.” Snorts Illyana.

 

Rahne gave a possible excuse, but she really didn’t believe it. “They could be explaining how they pick peaches… or figuring out if fruit is ripe.”

 

Dani was not buying any of that. “Self notes that based upon the size of the outstretched hands that the size of the fruit is melon sized, and melons do not grow on trees. Hmm, do you think that Dark Beast still had his dong?”

 

“Is he a guy?” Replies Illyana with a sarcastic tone, meaning of course he still has his dong.

 

Nods from all of the woman as to the likelihood of Dark Beast still having his dong even though he had the spider robotic legs (likely under some armor).

 

Dani then observed that… “Self is surprised to see how well the two of you are interacting.”

 

Illyana and Rahne exchanged glances, then Illyana commented. “Meaning we’re not fighting, verbally or physically.”

 

“Yes… self is curious as to why?”

 

Rahne answered rather then Illyana. “We’re… I’m… trying to act like an adult.”

 

“We’re both grownups… there are better ways to discuss our… differences then fighting.”

 

“Good.” Was Dani’s reply.

 

 

Part 39d: You can't live without the fire

 

Later…

 

Much later… as in the guys are on the floor sleeping it off later.

 

Illyana summed it up. “Bored…”

 

Rahne was likewise not enthralled. “Not as bored as I.”

 

Dani chipped in. “Self is likewise unoccupied and would enjoy something of interest.”

 

Illyana got up from her chair. “Screw it. Let’s have some tunes.” She walked over to the jukebox and made a gesture. The jukebox turned on, a 45 patter was selected, and the song Iron from Within Temptation began to play.

 

Left in the darkness

Here on your own

Woke up a memory

Feeling the pain

 

Illyana began to do a strident kind of walking dance, arms over her head, fists clenched, head being thrown from side to side; the kind of dance you do when in a mosh pit dancing with nobody while grooving to the band.

 

You cannot deny it

There's nothing to say

It's all that you need to find the way

 

Rahne protested. “You’ll wake the guys.”

 

To be answered by Dani. “Self does not believe that is possible. Self calculates that the level of alcohol imbibed will take several more hours to oxidize. And bladder pressure is not an issue for Alex.” Yeah… Alex had had a little accident.

 

Illyana turned to the side, showing her figure in profile. “Relax for once Rahne. What’s the point of having long hair if you don’t ever let it down?”

 

Oh Damn, the war is coming!

Oh Damn, you feel you want it!

Oh Damn, just bring it on today!

 

Dark Beast was still at work in the basement, diligently pursing the task that Scott assigned him (or so it appears). A muffled grunt at the music, then… he cocked his head to one side. Why… this was one of the songs he liked. One robotic spider leg starts tapping out the beat, then the four legs start to dance as Dark Beast lip-syncs.

 

You can't live without the fire

It's the heat that makes you strong

'Cause you're born to live and fight it all the way

an hide what lies inside you

It's the only thing you know

You're embracing that, never walk away

Don't walk away

 

Upstairs, Rahne and Dani exchanged glances, stood…

 

Don't walk away

Don't walk away

Don't walk away

 

And likewise began to dance as Illyana grabbed an empty beer bottle and sang the lyrics as well.

 

Raised in this madness, you're on your own

It made you fearless, nothing to lose

Dreams are a drug here, they get in your way

That's what you need to fight day by day

 

Oh Damn, the war is coming!

Oh Damn, you feel you want it!

Oh Damn, just bring it on today!

 

Xi'an watched Beast dance. Self was… confused. Self remembered such things but self… self was not the same as self had once been. Self... Self wished self was not as self had become. Perhaps self can be…

 

Xi'an hesitantly began to echo Beast in his dance as he continued to sing.

 

You can't live without the fire

It's the heat that makes you strong

'Cause you're born to live and fight it all the way

You can hide what lies inside you

It's the only thing you know

You're embracing that, never walk away

Don't walk away

 

Rahne herself finally cut lose as she did know the song.

 

You need not to fear us

unless you're a dark heart

a vile one, who preys on the innocent

I promise, you can't hide forever in the empty darkness

for we'll hunt you down

like the animals you are

and pull you in the very bowels of hell

 

The three women come together and all sing into Illyana’s bottle.

 

Oh Damn, the war is coming!

Oh Damn, you feel you want it!

Oh Damn, just bring it on today!

 

Which apparently finally awoke a very groggy Logan. “What the flamin’???” He eyed the singing and dancing girls as he groused. “Can’t a bub get some sleep?” Before he rolled over, fluffed up Alex’s butt like a pillow and went back to sleep using Alex’s cheeks as a cozy place to put his head (yes he was that drunk).

 

Illyana gestured and the jukebox went silent. Apart from their giggles.

Chapter Text

 

In the last issue (Uncanny X-Men 15) Hope shot Scott (he lost an eye and she was aiming to kill so there might be some brain damage). Scott was unconscious for six days (the patient of Dark Beast). Likewise Hope is Dark Beast’s patient as Logan rather dramatically gutted her, but only after she’d shredded him with eye beams from Scott) and only her replication of Logan’s healing power saved her. In that issue Hope has apparently shot the anti-mutant politician Ms. Prestel (we’re left a bit hanging as to the actual outcome, which in part created the idea for this story).

 

One wonders about the long term viability of Hope as there is a multitude of female red heads at this point (once the other X-Men return of X-Man’s Narcissistic delusion). My take is that Marvel has decided that it is time to spend her heroically, although she appears to be a villain at the moment, which is again acceptable as a cast of evil mutants is always needed for some good fights.

 

 

Part40a: At least we have… Hope?

 

That could have gone better, was Hope’s thought.

 

She was very uncomfortable; in part due to the healing injuries as Logan’s replicated healing powers had only partially repaired her injuries, and in part due to her being strapped to the bed because for very understandable reasons, nobody trusted her. She wondered if her team was locked up around here, here being outside the rather shabby room that she current occupied. A room that she was rather sure was underground due to the lack of noise and the deep muffled rumbling whenever a truck drove by.

 

She gave a few bleary blinks after this brief analysis of her situation.

 

At least I’m alive, was her conclusion, which was more then she thought was going to happen after Logan got done gutting her… Hmmmm, I’m alive so… just another example of how soft they’ve gotten. A single soft laugh that hurt. Hell, I’d killed my ass, just as I tried to kill their ass. Wonder if Scott is dead or did he survive? Knowing his luck he’s survived… damn it! Got to remember… shoot first, talk afterwards, just like Daddy always said even if he didn’t always do that. Gloat after the kill not…

 

The sudden sound of slow clapping caught Hope’s attention… She shifted her head… There, in the doorway, was Illyana looking very displeased, and giving the slow sarcastic clap.

 

“Awake I see…” Was Illyana’s comment. Her tone was neutral, but her look was hostile. “First Nate, then the government, and now you and yours…”

 

Need to lure her closer was Hope’s thought. Grab her teleportation ability and poof! Gone to a safe house to recover. Need to make her angry, angry blinds, makes people act before thinking.

 

Hope slurred a reply. “I see… Scott’s bitch brigade is here. Can’t believe you’re hanging with him… guess Hells gotten weak as well.”

 

Illyana took a step into the room. “False bravado is not very useful, but expected for one raised by Cable… gads… talk about a colossal idiot. I don’t know who’s dumber, old Cable or young Cable who killed old Cable, well, call it the weirdest suicide ever.”

 

“Leave my dad out of it you bitch!” Was Hope’s angry reply, which came out more as a loud whisper then a shout as tensing up to shout was a bad idea. Damn that hurt. Just a few more steps, just a few more and I’ll be able to…

 

Illyana took a second step, while continuing to verbally stab. “Leaving you with a most interesting set of Daddy issues as he’s his own killer. And if you were to kill the killing, meaning the young Cable, that would make sure that the old Cable never exists to raise you. And young Cable, of course, cares nothing about you so... “ A shake of Illyana’s head at the migraine inducing issues due to paradox issues. “Talk about a time continuum headache for the power’s that be, thank the abyss that I don’t have to clean up the mess.”

 

Hope braced herself and replied.I said leave Cable out of this! Ohhhh, is Scott’s pocket demon unhappy? So not sorry. Hmm… is he dead? I was aiming for the eye as a good head shot so finishes somebody off, just as I was taught. And cooking Logan was … fun, and a bonus. That asshole was always so condescending all those months I was stuck in the joke of a school he was running. Well… I doubt I’ll be getting just detention.”

 

Illyana took another step. “Both had just come back from the dead, and the they were finally starting to work together like adults. Actual adults. And then you, the back stabbing bitch, tries to kill them.”

 

Hope was not apologetic, but she did sound regretful. “So Scotts alive. Bummer… Oh well. At least I got to make him my bitch… damn it felt good to shoot him.” Regretful in not killing Scott, not for any action she had done. “Never liked you Illyana, so reserved, so manipulative, so… lame. And Cable never liked or trusted you was well. He always felt that you were playing a game.”

 

The room was not that big and Illyana took that final step! Hope reached out with her ability to replicate another’s mutant power and… nothing.

 

A glare from Illyana. “One, really… I’m not that stupid Hope, we put a power nullifier on you, and two… This is an illusion.”

 

The walls faded away, likewise did Illyana, revealing a burning desert landscape. It was Limbo, and Darkchilde, with her soul sword drawn, was striding in Hope’s direction. A burning Darkchilde who looked… rather wrathful.

 

Okay… thought Hope, that could have gone better.

 

 

Part40b: Schooled…

 

“Just what the hell is wrong with you?” Snarled Illyana. A flick of Illyana’s left fingers and Hope was gagged by that ratty brown blanket she likes to wear around her neck as it forced itself into Hope’s mouth (and reminding Hope that she really should wash it more often).

 

“No… don’t answer just yet. Just what the hells were you blathering about before you shot Scott?”

 

Another flick of Illyana’s left hand and we hear the words that Hope spoke.

 

“… Even though you failed him, he may have been your son. He was definitely my father and I failed him too. And now he’s gone. And you know that that makes us? Nothing.”

 

Illyana was less then kind. “News flash Hope. Cable is an asshole, young or old. He actually causes more problems then he solves with all this time shifting, this little fiasco being a prime example. And a minor question… how on earth did Scott fail him? Last time I checked Scott was dead. I know hanging out with Cable gives you a distorted view of reality, but… you do know how dead works?”

 

Another Hope statement plays. “No… you don’t get it. Everybody failed him. He tried to save us and we didn’t listen. Now he’s gone, the X-Men are gone, and a war is coming.”

 

Illyana’s tone is both incredulous and sarcastic. “That makes absolutely no sense. It’s rather hard to fail somebody who hides and tells you nothing. That’s mostly on him, not everybody.”

 

And another Hope statement plays. “You know how you know the universe doesn’t care about me? You’re the Summers who came from the dead.”

 

Illyana rolled her eyes. “And of course who was responsible from Scott’s return? Young Cable! Gods I can see why people complain about Millennials. Hope, you’re a walking Mary Sue with the universe handing out freebies left and right; and if you’re unhappy about Scott’s return then take it up with Cable. Gads… talk about delusional logic. You know… the guy we’re supposed to listen to… at least according to you… except when you want to ignore him… which I remind you that you rather liked doing as well as you frequently complained about this tactics, and interesting ethics; although we are talking about an time traveling asshole who kills his older self soo….”

 

Hope was only able to mumble around the rag shoved in her mouth. “Mmmgh… Ihtd uuu bch…”

 

Illyana got back on topic, topic being Hope. “And then… a self aggrandizing French quote? ‘The revolution, like Saturn, devours its own children’. Hope, you are fucking delusional…”

 

A pause from Illyana… then… “Crap… never a telepath around when you need one. Hells, it’s obvious in hindsight. Nothing you or you’re MiLFy failed junior varsity team did makes any sense. Nor the extreme hostility. I mean we show up and everybody shouts traitors and let’s kill them. You are delusional… which means… somebody set you up to do this… I mean… even your not that stupid. Apart from naming your team that is… MiLF?”

 

Just a hostile look from Hope and more incoherent muffled words.

 

Illyana slightly reconsidered. “Okay… I suppose you’re that stupid… I mean… daddy’s girl and all that… but still…”

 

A sigh from Illyana as she realized that the whole MiLFy group had to be a front, a false flag operation. And Hope, and her team had to have been brainwashed.

 

“Well… crap… and was so looking forward to killing you.”

 

A flicker and…

 

 

Part40c: Rewind…

 

That could have gone better, was Hope’s thought.

 

She was very uncomfortable; in part due to the healing injuries as Logan’s replicated healing powers had only partially repaired her injuries, and in part due to her being strapped to the bed because for very understandable reasons, nobody trusted her. She wondered if her team was locked up around here, here being outside the rather shabby room that she current occupied. A room that she was rather sure was underground due to the lack of noise and the deep muffled rumbling whenever a truck drove by.

 

She gave a few bleary blinks after this brief analysis of her situation.

 

At least I’m alive, was her conclusion, which was more then she thought was going to happen after Logan got done gutting her. Hmmmm.

 

Authors note: But no Illyana this time.

Chapter Text

I liked the issue, but it does raise some questions. We see that Illyana is very well informed, and I don’t think she got all of that from Dani in just a few seconds. Which makes me think that… she already knew (we are talking hell lord). And she appears somewhat… guilty in regards to Dani, like she hadn’t quite thought some things out, or… is constrained some way in how she can act.

A comment on dailydamnation dot tumbler dot com (A website of Illyana drawings and comments that I like) says it quite well. “Incidentally, this is exactly as I see Illyana, most of the time she’s a loyal and very useful squad member, but really she just follows her own priorities. Working with the people she respects towards the goals they share just happens to be a big one, but as ruler of a hell dimension guarding the world against invasions by demons and elder gods, she sometimes has bigger things to worry about. And her close friends being in trouble? Maybe not on the same world-ending level, but it still trumps most other things for her.”

 

Oh, and for those who don’t know, Dani had been summoned by Odin as Odin had summoned all the Valkyries to fight in New York against Malekith, where they all were killed apart from a few who were not there. Which I think kind of cheapens the whole Valkyrie thing. Plus… no involvement from any military organizations which I find rather disappointing (and annoying considering how much we spend on the military) but… it is a super hero comic so I guess heroes are supposed to fix it.

 

I also can’t help but observe that Marvel is currently using Illyana as a teleporter and a sword girl, not as a hell lord; heck we haven’t even seen Limbo since the end of the very bad Inhuman vs. X-Men event.

 

Anyway, this is my take, as I always like things to make sense.

 

 

Part41a: Late at Henry’s Bar

 

Very late, as in everybody’s asleep late, even Dark Beast. Everybody but one, that one being Illyana, and a guest. The nature of the guest was the reason nobody was waking up.

 

“What an uncharming locality.” Declared Loki, with more of a sigh then a sneer after taking a sip of his drink (Gentleman Jack for those who want to know). “Is this what you’re now calling home or is it just temporary shelter… then again… my brother is living on a tug boat with my old hel dog, so… I suppose a better choice.”

 

“Temporary shelter.” Grumbled Illyana, who was drinking some Stewart’s Orange soda, one might infer that she was slightly dismissing Loki by refusing to share a drink.

 

Loki glanced around the establishment. “Not as nice as the Bar with no doors, for some reason I find that the Tiki décor favored by that establishment has grown on me.”

 

Illyana replied with but one word, just as she had been doing for most of the conversation, when she bothered to reply that is. “Likewise.”

 

Loki of course tried to smooth things out. “Illyana, I somehow sense that my presence is not quite a joyous occasion.”

 

Just a sarcastic look back from Illyana as she drank more of her soda.

 

“We should hang out more.” Suggested Loki. “Why… dare I suggest a possible team-up? Me with my debonair wit and you with your… um… with your grumpiness and that sword of yours.”

 

Illyana was… let’s call it dismissive. “No… bad idea. Very bad.”

 

A small sip and a sigh from Loki, followed by a question. “Why?”

 

“It would not end well.”

 

“Again why?”

 

Another sarcastic look from Illyana, then an explanation. “Inevitably you’d betray me, with uncertain consequences upon me or mine. But… hell lord here so… doing such under such conditions means I’d have to hunt you down and kill you… likely in a very messy way. Which of course would mean that your family would get involved, resulting in it becoming extra messy.”

 

Another sigh from Loki. “Somehow I don’t think Laufey would find that to be of much concern. I suppose he might be slightly irate in that he did not get to do the deed himself.”

 

Illyana finished off her soda before replying. “No Loki, I said family, not… sperm donor.”

 

Loki was rather surprised. “Odin? Thor? Frigga? I think you need to rethink your statement as to their anger at my demise.”

 

Illyana just shook her head. “Family… adopted father, adopted Mother, adopted brother. Don’t confuse a dysfunctional family with lack of anger at your death.”

 

Loki now had a tone of irritation. “Illyana, I stabbed my mother… almost killed her.”

 

“And yet she lived, all per some plan of yours I’m sure. Pfffff… day in the life of godling drama… No… If I killed you, adopted son of Ass-gard, then I’d have all of your real family wanting my ass and I have no interest of providing yet another Ragnarok, I mean… you guys tend to have one ever few months or so, likely due to all the drinking is my theory; that and the fact that most Ass-guardians are assholes.”

 

Loki made a minor correction while trying to sound stern. “It’s pronounced Asgard.”

 

“Ass-guard” Was Illyana’s reply. A reply that one could infer that Illyana was no fan of Asgard.

 

A bit of a laugh from Loki. “I almost wish father was here to hear your pronunciation and your pronouncements. He so rarely hears what he does not wish to hear.”

 

“And which father are you talking about?” Observed Illyana.

 

Silence from Loki for a bit, then a sigh as he said. “Odin.”

 

Illyana got another soda as Loki was obviously intent of staying for awhile, this time it was a blueberry Jones soda. “Who is your real father, regardless of who spawned you. Daddy, Momma, brother, sister… such is family. For better or worse.”

 

Loki attempted to change the subject. “We’re not here to talk about my family.”

 

A shrug from Illyana. “No. But I can recommend a good family councilor, really helped with me and my brother.”

 

Loki pushed for an answer to a question he had asked some time ago. “What is your answer to the offer?”

 

“The offer to join with Malekith and his allies? The offer he’s unwilling to make to my face?”

 

Loki chuckled. “I suppose he’s concerned about that whole stabby vib you tend to have, I swear, sometimes you’re worse then Wolverine when it comes solving problems by killing things. Yes, that offer.”

 

Illyana returned to her terse statement. “No.”

 

A reply that did no surprise Loki. “That shall not go down well.”

 

Illyana shrugged again. “I do not really care what Malekith thinks. Don’t like Ass-guard, Don’t like Jotunheim, Svartalfeim, Hifheim, Arfheim, or any of the other heims.”

 

“Not even Midgard?”

 

A pause from Illyana, then… “I participate as my… friends wish to participate. Unlike your lot, I have rules to obey.”

 

“And if Malekith’s eyes turn to gaze upon Limbo once he is done with the nine realms?”

 

A smile from Illyana that was not friendly at all. “He… and all of you, are welcome to try. The rules are very different when a hell lord is attacked in her realm.”

 

Loki finished off his drink. “I shall take your answer to Malekith.”

 

A nod from Illyana. “Good, nothing in the War of the Realms involves me.”

Chapter Text

“I did what you asked. I made it so parents will never again subject their children to that horrible solution. It stands in the way of evolution and we hate that. After they’ve been exposed to our concoction, which according to airstream models has now happened to 98% of the world, our little protein bonds, with their big bad medication and shuts it down. Harmless. Mostly…”

 

“But sometimes a child’s x-gene will actually activate while the serum takes effect. And then it works as a catalyst to help the protein replicate inside of them. Basically, we made it so some of the little mutants’ organs go into overdrive and they slip into comas.”

 

“We’ve given parents a choice. Inject your kids and, if they are mutants, they they’ll probably die. We will finally see how pure their hared of us really is.”

 

Suffice it to say, Illyana was upset.

 

Many chapters ago I wrote about an analysis of Illyana that was shared amongst the X-Men leaders. Advice that obviously Dark Beast was not privy. Advice that would likewise have been very helpful for Sabertooth in War of the Realms Uncanny X-Men limited series issue 3.

 

 

Part42a: Enough

 

That was Illyana’s reaction to Dark Beast’s gloating as two light disks appeared. One on the floor beneath his robotic spider legs, the other on the ceiling where his legs started to fall through.

 

Scott cried out “Illyana, don’t!” as he lunged for her.

 

Meanwhile a shocked Dark Beast wanted an answer from Illyana. “Where are you sending me witch?!”

 

Then he glanced up and saw his legs emerging from the ceiling disk. He continued to fall through until with a SHUNK sound the disks vanished leaving his legs and torso dangling from the now cracked ceiling, his head embedded within the structure as blood streamed down his torso.

 

Apparently Illyana had additional teleportation disk tricks that she has never shown anybody.

 

Scott’s statement spoke for everybody. “Good Lord, Illyana!”

 

Alex added a comment as well as he started to rebuke Illyana. “What the hell is wrong with you?”

 

Illyana glared at Alex. “He tricked us into killing children. What’s wrong with you?

 

In times of sudden shock a person sometimes laughs, cries, runs away, panics, lashes out…

 

In Scott’s case it was the random thought. ‘Triggers… I guess he didn’t get the memo.’

 

 

Part42b: Triggers

 

A summation of Magik by Emma Frost:

 

For select X-Men Leadership viewing only and…

NOT FOR VIEWING BY KITTY PRIDE.

 

To begin, people go through the ordinary phases of life.

 

Birth

Adolescent

Teens

Adulthood

Middle and then old age

Death

 

These are the normal phases of humanity. For Mutants, or the powered, you also get the time or times when your abilities manifested, but the script remains the same for most.

 

Most, but not for Magik. While her phases of life started normal with birth and adolescence, they veered far from the mainstream in ways that even she may not fully know. Suffice it to say she lived, she fell into darkness, and died. And that’s where the story gets complicated because she came back.

 

Came back with supposedly nothing of her humanity left.

 

Names have meaning. Identifiers, descriptors, and like most people Illyana has several names.

 

Illyana Rasputin

Magik

and lastly Darkchilde

 

It is a common mistake to assume for Illyana that her names describe different things, different aspect of her ability or behavior. In her case that would be wrong as the names all describe the same thing. It’s just that we simply don’t know what that is. What we do know, in the wisdom of hindsight, is that Darkchilde made a choice when confronted by her brother when she first came back, she chose to not be as she was made into, to not be as she was.

 

Why? A simple question but the key to almost everything. She wanted to be as she was. She is this case is complicated is it could mean she wanted to be the Illyana that she remembered herself to be, or that she wanted to be like the person she was the dark shadow of. Either way, her brother was the fork in the road.

 

A road that has been very traumatic to many of the X-Men as she manipulated reality to regain her lost soul. Yet… call it the lesser of two evils as the other fork would likely have been immeasurably worse. A soul she did regain while putting everything at risk, even reality itself.

 

So of course we decided that we had to lock her up, what else could we do? What do you do with an obviously deranged and crazy evil demon? Slaying her was… suffice it to say was not on the table due to concerns that it was not actually possible; and the consequences of such actions would likely return us to the fork in the road. And yes Henry, our, and I say our as oh so many of the leaders of the X-Men were part of that decision, to incarcerate her in the manner in which we did turned out be bad therapy because… it turns out she really was crazy.

 

In hindsight, sticking her in a bomb jacket and placing her in solitary confinement glass cubicle under five hundred feet of water was not correct therapy for one of her mental condition. In our defense, her condition was not understood due to her telepathic shields and the unfortunate conclusion that demonic evil is apparently very difficult to distinguishable from demonic crazy; something not understood by some of us until post Phoenix Five.

 

Hints of the true extent of her trauma were only dimly glimpsed while she was in confinement. A good analogy for her is multiple ethical blind spots combined with defective mental cogitation. But what looked like profound disinterest and disregard from her, was more like, to use an analogy, a stroke victim being unable to comprehend how to play a musical instrument that they once were skilled at.

 

Post Phoenix five, it was obvious. Not that I was able to read her mind, but the mental landscape was now plain to me, and to Scott. She was feral. Both from the unknown abuse involved in her re-embodiment, and due to unknown trauma from her missing years. All of which left her in the condition she returned to us, a predictor. Very much Darkchilde, yet… not wanting to be Darkchilde; hence her whole quest for her soul.

 

As I once told Scott post Phoexix, she scared the hell out of me. But Scott was much more empathetic to her condition as he replied “She’s been through a lot”.

 

So, soul restored, no longer incarcerated with fingers hovering over a bomb jacket detonate button, and no real changes in her behavior; as many can testify to. A not quite correct determination as there were stirrings of behaviors that I was privy to observe. (Authors note, as indicated in the story 4am coffee and its naughty sequel Morning light; and pillow talk sometimes allows one to learn additional things, as Emma know so well).

 

It was the assault of Dormammu that did something to her. Perhaps fusing her soul with her mind, or… perhaps some internal brain damage was cured as his assault did try to destroy her with all of his power and yet… she survived. Survived and emerged very different when she returned to us. For one she was in a panic. Panic over what had just happened to her and panic over her former actions. A panic that the Cuckoos were able to sense as Illyana was mentally leaking all over the place. In a panic because her perceptions had changed and she no longer understood many of her prior decisions.

 

And in such confusion, she increasingly no longer trusted her ability to make decisions. A behavior that became ever more evident after death of her brother from the future. Increasingly Illyana lets others decide what the group is to do. She follows the lead of other others, while I admit, always having that vib that she might just do her own thing.

 

Which brings us to the question. What to do about Magik?

 

She is not as she was, and we again appear to have a third opportunity to shape what she may become; in that hope I have written this memo so that hopefully we can do better then our prior two chances. As such, an understanding of who she is, rather then who we wish she was is critical.

 

Violence is natural to her, regardless of any restraint she may show; possible even more then Logan; and yes she enjoys it most of the time. Sadly it is innately part of both who and what she is. This understanding is critical to understanding her possible reactions and behaviors to various situations. But now her recent ‘restraint’ serves to moderate that tendency for brutal solutions.

 

We all have triggers, things that set us off. Oddly, trying to kill her tends to not be a trigger unless that attempt comes close, then… well… suffice it to say she’s not the forgive and forget type; rather she’s the you don’t get a second chance type.  No, abuse is one of her triggers, more specifically, abuse against children is the big big No-No. Such behavior is almost certain to trigger violence with a high probability of lethal action depending on the level of abuse.

 

Friends. Frankly she wants them. And odd as this sounds, she can be quite shy and hesitant about connecting with people. And friendship is critical to shaping her behavior as friendships is likely her most treasured possession. I am reminded of the joke ‘A good friend will help you move, but a true friend will help you move a body’. Illyana can and will do so much more then help move a body for her true friends.

 

Is she still evil? Well, yes, demon after all. But… keep this in mind. Darkchilde did not wish to be Darkchilde, so… let’s help her continue on that journey.

Chapter Text

Depending on what happens with the new X-M relaunch, I might have to create a sequel to this work as the theme of this ongoing set of stories would then have come to a close. I do have at least one more chapter to write for this series to conclude the Illyana/Rahne interactions.

 

The idea for this chapter came to me as I pondered possible reactions to the attack by the X-Men on ONE. And… I found a converter for the demonic language that Illyana spoke in the comic (what a pain, Google ‘marvel demonic langue decode’ and go with the image of Wingdishglish and find the one with the matching characters) so I have some insight in to what she said.

 

 

Part43a: Avengers… assemble?

 

Location: Avengers Tower. Decision time.

 

Normally when a call came in on an attack the reaction was very quick, especially when the attack was on a United States Government Facility. However, situations with special circumstances sometimes required deliberations by the Avengers before acting. The X-Men were such a situation, especially since the Avengers vs. X-Men wars. Also Logan (Wolverine) was involved, a former/current Avenger greatly missed by some, likewise Alex (Havok) former Avenger, but not so missed. Thankfully Rogue was still absent or the meeting would completely break down into a fight.

 

The Avengers had gathered, call it a pre assemble, to decide what to do about the ongoing assault on ONE by the X-Men. And this was one of those situations due to the prior mentioned issues. Plus…

 

“Magik is activity involved.” Was Captain America’s (Steve Rogers) declaration to the group, everybody listening caught the emphases on the word actively.

 

Okay you say. What the heck does that mean? It’s… like this. People create phrases to communicated details without saying those details. ‘Magik is actively involved’ was code that meant that Illyana was not on a leash and was doing… well… doing whatever the hell she decided to do. Why the code phrase? Let’s just say the Avengers do not have a good track record on dealing with Magik when she was... actively involved.

 

The Avengers present had just gotten done reviewing a video replay.

 

BEGIN REPLAY

 

The video first showed Logan (Wolverine) being attacked by a large golden robot before he vanished in a massive fireball, then we see the robot killing Sean Cassidy (Banshee) by stomping him into pulp before the rebot exploded in a large fireball.

 

A blonde woman (Illyana, code named Magik) armed with a sword, then shouts “Banshee! Get up!” as she runs towards the burning debris. She hews down a solder before pausing as a large video screen projects the head of General Callahan, the head of ONE (Office of National Emergency) as he speaks.

 

“Oh, Illyana. Welcome back to the office of national emergency. I’d put that sword down if I were you. If not for your friend’s sakes, then for your own. You might not recall, but the last time you were with us I had a little device put inside you and your friends. You ran away before I could use it then. But now that you’re back within range, I can make that mutant part of you cease to exist.”

 

Illyana was not impressed as a back sweep of her sword took off the head of another solder. “And you think that will make me less dangerous, old man?”

 

Suddenly Illyana collapses to the ground with a scream as Callahan states. “So be it. You silly girl.”

 

Then Illyana transforms into a large red skinned horned demon with just three fingers on each hand as the lighting in the room turns red as little red lightning bolts flicker about the room. The solders attack as General Callahan shouts “OPEN FIRE!”

 

The demon gestures, while speaking in an indiscernible language, and burning teleportation disks to send the remaining solders to Limbo while demonic energies pulsed though the fabric of reality, beginning to tear apart the building’s structure as alarms began to sound.

 

“CODE RED! CODE RED! Evacuate the facility!”

 

Scott asks the demon if “Illyana? Are you in there?”

 

The demon answers again in the incomprehendable language.

 

An answer that does not satisfy an enormous man, dressed in brown and red with a brown helmet over his head (the Juggernaut). He charged the demon with a shout. “Forget this! I’m not waiting for that thing to try to kill me!”

 

With another gesture, along with more demonic language gibberish, the demon suspends Juggernaut in the air (a classic method of immobilizing the Juggernaut). Magical energies crackle around Juggie as the demon casts some kind of enchantment, then reaches into Juggie’s chest and pulls for the a fist size ruby like gemstone while Juggernaut screams and shrinks to just a normal sized man.

 

The demon speaks just one word. “CYTTORAK” as the demon shatters the stone. The rest of the X-Men can be seen teleporting away (Scott, Hope, and some of the Multiple Men) as Hope has replicated Illyana’s mutant teleporting ability.

 

The demon howls, and begins a rampage against ONE.

 

END REPLAY

 

“ONE is requesting, begging actually, for aid in dealing with the creature.” States Captain America (Steve Rogers).

 

The Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff) was less the supporting. “So, the Nazi wantabes finally pissed off the wrong mutant. I know how Rogue would feel about ONE’s current behavior and I feel the same. Count me out on helping those mutant hating bastards.”

 

With a burst of Hex chaos magic Wanda was gone before anybody could respond to her angry denouncement. Next Capt. Marvel (Carol Danvers) gave her input, she was attending via video and her form can seen sitting behind a desk.

 

“I’ve been to hell once already, and Magik sent me, and so many people, there back when we fought the Phoenix Five. Back when she imprisoned all that they captured in a fragment of hell that she brought to earth. I…”

 

Carol paused and gave a small swallow before continuing. ”It was hell… literal hell. The place was setup to… have you continuously fighting for your life, or so you believed. You were too… busy to surviving to think of trying to escape.”

 

Steve offered some words of comfort to Carol. “I know it was bad… real bad but...”

 

Carol interrupted Steve. “It was way beyond bad Steve. And the only one who really did anything about it was Rogue, and she was the one who kicked my ass, resulting in said ass being thrown into hell when Magik showed up. And what did Rogue do when she saw this? She tried to break me out of that hell. You all know the history between me and Rogue, she had everything to lose and nothing to gain and she threw it all away to attempt to do the right thing.”

 

Carol continued. “And it failed. Later, when all of that was done, Rogue and I met up and she clued me in on what Magik had told her. That bitch, Magik, had been trying to be kind, to confine us in a way that was not… terminal. So many of us were there, Spider Woman, Quicksilver, Luke Cage, Hawkeye, and other. Rogue tried to do the right thing. Which leaves me with the question… Have we? Have we done the right thing with ONE? What Magik did was wrong, and once Rogue knew that she tried to do what was right. What ONE is doing is wrong, and… did any of us do anything about it other then trying to not rock the boat? Medical experimentation, wanton killing, torture, the list goes one. And… I find myself asking myself what would Rogue do… and I find myself asking what Rogue would think of our… inactions Our neglect.’

 

Carol stood up. I’m with Wanda on this.” And with that the video feed cut off.

 

Hawkeye gave a long sigh as he shook his head. “Been to hell and that was when she was feeling nice. What we saw on that video is not trying to be nice. That demon took Juggie down in seconds without breaking a sweet. For a good cause I’m there, but not this cause, not ONE. Sorry Capt, count me out on this one.”

 

Steve started a reply. “An unconstrained demon rampage…”

 

The magical projection of Stephen Strange (Dr. Strange) commented. “Illyana is still in there, discernable for those who speak demonic languages. Rampage yes, but against those who have done her and hers such harm. Illyana has always been there for me when I was in need, to my shame I was not for her. Thus I likewise decline to aid ONE.” With that his projection faded away.

 

Thor rose. “Who was yet here in the City of New York during the reign of the Frost Giants when most of the heroes had fled? Who strove to protect the innocent? Who slew and entire army of our foes? Twas these very mutants… whom we ignobly ignored time upon time in their hours of need. Nay will the god of thunder aid these villains of ONE.”

 

Black widow gave her input. “I kicked her ass on the moon only to learn she thought of the whole thing as a game. A game she has constrained herself. I have no love for the bitch but I do have to wonder why we’re so up set all the time at Scott.”

 

Steve gave the usual answer. “He killed Charles Xavier.”

 

“And?” Was Widow’s cold answer. “I distinctly recall us being upset at him time and time again way before Xavier died. And what’s so special about Xavier? Why do we always think of Xavier as the next thing to Christ or Marten Luther King Junior? Could it be because he’s a telepath? Might… our feelings have been… adjusted?”

 

Steve’s answer began strong, but ended weak. “Xavier would never… do… that?”

 

Hawkeye was not convinced. “Yeah… I think he would… Gods know he did it to the X-Men over and over again. And heck, our batting average sucks against her. Remember that time Cap when she took your shield?”

 

Steve most certainly remembered.

 

BEGINE STEVE RECOLLETION (See New Mutants Issue 40)

 

“I want my shield back Magneto.”

 

That has been the annoyed and somewhat angry statement by Caption America (in full costume) while standing in the Xavier’s, now Magneto’s, office at the Xavier school for gifted youngsters. Magneto was behind the desk and Steve was standing in front of the desk with his hands on the desk.

 

Magneto’s answer as not the answer Steve was looking for. “We all want many things Captain, but you are addressing the wrong person as I do not posses your missing property.”

 

Steve pointed out that… “Your female student, the blonde, took it with some kind of teleportation portal when I threw it at you.”

 

“That is correct.”

 

“So you have it.”

 

“Again a no, I do not have it. For that you will have to ask her.”

 

A snort of disbelief from Steve. “So the Master of Magnetism is unable to control his students?”

 

“Believe as you will Captain, the truth has never gotten in the way of your belief’s before, no need to start now. Illyana, and the other students, are … annoyed at you for your unprovoked assault upon their teach to paraphrase.”

 

Magneto then summoned Illyana over the intercom. A few moments later Illyana arrived with a flash of a teleportation disk, she was wearing the Frost Academy school uniforms, the one with the pleated skirt. She appeared at the side of Magneto’s chair.

 

Magneto make as request. “Magik… the good Captain would like his shield back.”

 

Illyana blew bubble with her chewing gum. “Ahhh… it’s fun. What ever happened to finder’s keeper’s?”

 

Steve went for the direct approach. “That shield is the property of the United States Government young lady.”

 

Just a popped bubble from Illyana in reply, and a look that said so what. A look that earned Illyana a glare from the Captain, but still no shield.

 

“Might I make a suggestion Captain?” Was Magneto’s mild reply.

 

And now it was Magneto’s turn to get a glare, and the sound of another popped bubble. Finally, Steve gave a small node to Magneto.

 

“I believe adults are forever telling children how to politely ask for things. Just because we become adults does not mean politeness goes out of fashion.”

 

A stronger glare, and a large bubble in reply from Illyana, one that instead of popping, just slowly deflated.

 

Finally Steve asked… politely. “Please.”

 

A requested that elicited a dramatic sigh from Illyana, the kind a teenager does when asked to do some monumental task of herculean effort (like the sigh you get when they are asked to put the phone away during supper). Illyana vanished in a teleportation disk flash, then reappeared few seconds later holding the shield with both hands; she then walked around the desk and offered the shield to Captain America, who then took it.

 

Steve noticed the shield was cold, and… there was crusted snow on the surface and on the inside of the shield. Plus there was a rope attached on the inside of the shield that would allow a person to use the shield to…

 

Steve was… shocked. “Have you been using this to… sled in the snow?”

 

Another pop of a bubble, and then a reply. “Like I said, it’s fun.”

 

END STEVE RECOLLECTION

 

“Regardless… unless anybody else has a comment, I call for a vote.”

 

The remaining Avengers had nothing to say, but a thumbs down from all who remained. And a comment from Hawkeye. “Give it a rest Steve, we’re in the wrong on this one. For once let’s do the right thing.”

 

 

Part43b: Author comments…

 

I do wonder where Marvel will take Illyana, I hope on to bigger and better things. Can’t help but think her demonic transformation and what appeared to be major destruction at ONE deserved a few more pages as Illyana destroys much of ONE. And of course a sound track as she does it, likely in slow motion, say…

 

Way Down We Go by Kaleo.

 

Oh, Father tell me, do we get what we deserve?

Whoa, we get what we deserve

 

And way down we go

Way down we go

Say way down we go

Way down we go

 

You let your feet run wild

Time has come as we all, oh, go down

Yeah but for the fall, ooh, my

Do you dare to look him right in the eyes? Yeah

 

Oh, 'cause they will run you down, down 'til the dark

Yes and they will run you down, down 'til you fall

And they will run you down, down 'til you go

Yeah, so you can't crawl no more

 

And way down we go

Way…

 

And way down we go

Way down we go

Say way down we go

Oh, 'cause they will run you down, down 'til you fall

Way down we go

Chapter Text

Part44a: Wake

 

It was a dark night on Muir Island. Stars, but no moon, and scattered high clouds that blocked out much of the brighter stars. There was scattered patches of fog that alternately hid and reveled pats of the landscape. It was also darker now then in the past as the Mutant Research Center was closed upon the end of the Inhuman vs. Mutants war and the vanishing of the X-Men.

 

“Place be cursed…” Was the common belief of the village locals who lived on the neighboring islands. A belief that prevented looting, and the history of things happening to uninvited folks who intruded.

 

But tonight there was a fire raging on the top of the one of the ridges that overlooked the Center, one that could been seen by one and all who bothered to look, but few did… to be specific, nobody but one.

 

There was a fire upon the mount, fueled by wood and magic and… Magik. It was a week after Rahne’s death and a private wake was being held.

 

“Fucking Assgardians…” Was something’s soft whisper as another pale stick was tossed onto the bonfire. The flames appeared to almost… taste the stick before it ignited. Upon closer examination the stick look more like a bone and less like wood. Something was sitting upon rock and staring into the fire. A black something, humanoid shaped but indistinct, and angry.

 

A wolf’s faint howl echoed over the landscape and the wandering mists, and then a ghostly white wolf, with golden eyes, emerged and came to sit beside the darkness as it fed the fire.

 

Begin Memory Reflection

 

“Excuse me?” Stated Loki upon Illyana’s greetings in the bar with no doors.

 

“Fucking Assgaridan gods…” Grumbled Illyana.

 

Loki chose to go the diplomatic approach, she was a demon after all and obviously was in a mood about something. “Should I take offense?”

 

A sideways glance at Loki, then “Nah… more of a general statement.”

 

Loki gestured for the bartender to refill Illyana’s drink and to bring him one as well. “Is your angst due to the now concluded war or some other irritant?”

 

Illyana turned from Loki and grumbled again. “Fucking Assgardian godlings. Always thinking of just themselves, even after their dead they just can’t stop doing stupid shit.”

 

“Ahhh… I see.” Stated Loki, he fell silent as the bartender arrived, then continued after the drinks were poured. “The deceased wolfling prince and cub.”

 

“Bingo in one.” Grumbled Illyana. “I mean… just what the hell was he thinking? Hi Rahne my love, I’m back from the dead with our dead son, but only if you abandon your friends and loved ones and ignore everything you profess to believe in. Asshole. Talk about giving her damned if you do, damned if you don’t choices. Follow that script and either way she was screwed by the choices she was restricted t. The only choice was break her heart now, or betray everything she said she believed in therefore breaking it yet again. That’s… not love.   You don’t do that to somebody you profess to love. Like I said… asshole… either way she would be destroyed.”

 

A sip and then a response from Loki. “I hate to sound defensive, but that behavior is not restricted to godlings. Might… he have been under a compulsion?”

 

“He was and he wasn’t…” Grumbled Illyana. “He was a shade, raised to serve the purposes of another, but… that truly was his honest belief. Which made it so easy to sell. Rahne only mattered in how she related to him and his son, not… her. Rahne didn’t matter. What she cared about didn’t matter. Nobody else mattered. And his parting words… sorrowful but… stating she chose wrong. Resulting in… call it slow poison of the soul. Shit… I really should have killed him but… not my call to make.”

 

Loki tried to look apologetic. “I’d apologize but…”

 

“Yeah… he’s not your dog.”

 

“Now that’s rude, and some would say racist.”

 

“Might those people be Asgardian wolves?”

 

“Likely.”

 

“Then their welcome to say it to my face, else... they can hush.”

 

That… would be wise was Loki’s thought. Animals tend to have a sense about getting in the face of things that bite back. Less so people and… godlings for that matter.

 

Illyana changed the subject. “So… did that help with any of your daddy issues?”

 

“What… Oh… You mean my killing of Laufey?”

 

Illyana gave a nod of agreement. “Yikes, talk about family issues, I mean… he actually kills you by eating you and then later eats a sword that you use to cut your way out of his guts, killing him in the process. Now that has to be therapeutic.”

 

Loki slowly drained his shot glass, then gestured for a refill. “And if I say that’s private?”

 

Illyana likewise finished her drink. “I’ll point out that I’m the only one who’s willing to drink with you in this bar.”

 

Loki did have to concede that drinking with company was nicer then drinking alone. “There is that… Okay… I’ll admit… I had a certain sense of… closure. Gods, I hated him. And… it was… nice to see that Mother… was relieved that I lived. Likewise… Father and Thor. Eh… Family.”

 

“Family.” Was Illyana’s reply, but where Loki’s answer had been positive, Illyana’s statement was dark.

 

They both went silent as the bartender, a levitating head in a jar, glided by and refilled both drinks, then departed.

 

“I can relate on the slaying…” Grumbled Illyana, thinking about Belasco. “Really relate.”

 

Then it was Loki’s turn to change the subject. “So… oh defender of the masses, how does adoration feel for one who defended them against the ravaging hordes? Have you and yours received the keys to the city yet? Public acclamation? Free subway rides? Invitations to join the Avengers? At the very least I would hope a Starbuck’s gift card.”

 

A snort of a laugh from Illyana at Loki’s dark joke. “No… and I think the government, the same assholes who couldn’t defend those masses, are still trying to kill all of us, and said masses are mostly cheering them on. And of course the big nothing on the Avengers. I really should stop expecting them to do the right thing…”

 

“Yes… I can also relate.” Answered Loki. “How did she pass… If I may inquire.”

 

“Her dead boyfriend and son came back from Hel and asked if she was ready to join them. Sabretooth had managed to capture me but things were not going his way with that so… Rahne was likewise captured by Sabretooth for… motivation on my part. To quote the idiot ‘Enchantress left behind some magical crap to help him control me, but apparently I’m a tough nut to crack.’ So he figures the gutting my supposed li’l sister in front of me might make me more… receptive. That’s when the dead wolf god of an asshole showed up with their dead son Tier. Apparently he’d made a few bargains as well. The two of them could leave the realm of the dead to find Rahne, but only under the condition that none of them interfere with the ongoing war of the realms. And… I was part of that bargain. I was bound by a necklace that blocked my ability to caste spells. O’l wolf god then figured out that Rahne was not in agreement on that little detail of giving my ass to Sabretooth so… that was suddenly renegotiable for some reason; which it shouldn’t have been which makes more then a few of his words suspect. So, we escape after wolf god kicks Sabretooth’s definitely unwashed hinny. But… I’m still stuck with the curse of a necklace, reducing me to just another solder with a sword; not that he cared that much because, and I quote ‘But the deals I made were the only way I could be reunited with my true love.’ Ahh… ethics… so rare.”

 

Illyana took a sip of her drink while Loki had a sympathetic look as he stated. “Yes… such bargains with… gods tend to not work out well. Been there, done that… but mostly on the giving folks screwed deals, one must avoid neglecting to read the fine print.”

 

Illyana continued. “Anybody tried to give me such a deal the first thing I’d do is break the rules; that’s how you avoid such dammed choices… change the game. Anyway, we get back to the stadium where we’ve got a zillion people we’re defending when the Dark Elves, Frost giants, and the douche formally known as Sabretooth, along with a massive pack of hell hounds, attack. They break the defenses… civilian slaughter imminent, and what does Rahne’s beloved say? ‘Rahne, no. I swore to the Enchantress that if we were reunited you wouldn’t do this. Yes, People are dying, but your friends will have to save them. If you interfere, if you do this, then the Enchantress will tear us apart.’ Now I’m doing what I can, but then Roberto tears off my necklace and crushes it, which kills Roberto as he detonates in a massive explosion. But, I guess that was all good as Rahne is prevented from helping by her beloved and it’s not like Roberto mattered to the wolf asshole. In hindsight, having Rahne see Roberto die because of her choices didn’t help things. So… I raise this massive teleportation portal and trick all the Dark Elves and Giants into running into it as they think that everybody has fled through it.”

 

Loki choked on his drink, then after a few coughs. “They ran into Limbo?”

 

A very satisfied sounding Illyana. “Yep…”

 

Loki just had to ask. “Did any survive?”

 

“Nope. But Sabretooth ends up getting me by the throat. And who do you think is the one to interfere? To save me as it were? Rahne of all people as she strikes at Sabretooth while her beloved cries out ‘Rahne my love, No! I swore to Hela! This is not our fight!’ Like his swearing mattered because… after all… she’s only relevant in relation to him. And of course her son is all crying as well. Well, Rahne rips out part of Sabretooth’s throat with her teeth and then I cut his head off and kicked it into limbo, and of course wolf god and son go back to Hel. Leaving Rahne devastated. Like I said… Fucking Assgardian godlings. Making deals for others that they had no right to make without asking. And Rahne left with nothing but bad choices… been there, did that. Shards… the two New Mutants who hated me the most back when we were kids… both sacrificed for me… Roberto his life, and Rahne her heart. So… afterward she leaves the X-Men, and almost promptly gets beaten to death by four normal human males because she won’t resist as she’s so tired of being a mutant. So tired of living, and that whole broken heart thing.”

 

Loki’s eyes narrowed. “And the fate of those who did the deed?”

 

“I was planning on… doing something after the wake, but Logan was insistent that he wanted to do the deed. We all morn in different ways, I tend more to Logan’s side of such things… but I agreed that… he could have the enjoyment. No matter, suffice it to say that I have some other plans for them.”

 

A sigh from Illyana, then… “The day she left, I should have said something… anything… to make her stay. But I let her leave and watched this world swallow her up. And I’m so mad at her…” Then a longer sigh before she changed the subject. “So how is being the King of Jotunheim? Adoring subjects? All of the maidens vying for your notice? The learned and wise joining your court to give you guidance and gasp at your wisdom and insight?“

 

A growl of irritating from Loki. “Have you ever been to Jotunheim?”

 

A snort of dark humor from Illyana. “Yep… frozen inbred hillbilly country. I can see why you slum it on earth.”

 

“Trade you it for Limbo?” Was Loki’s casual suggestion.

 

A suggestion that only got an ironic look from Illyana and a shake of the head no as she replied. “As if…”

 

End Memory Reflection

 

 

Part44b: Echoes of loss

 

The darkness reached into a pile besides her, on the opposite side of where the wolf sat and tossed a handful of small pale bones into the fire. An act that elicited a small whine from the wolf.

 

“You want one?” Asked the darkness as she picked up a leg bone and offered it to the wolf. An act that prompted a partial growl.

 

“Moody bitch.” Growled back the darkness, which just made the wolf whine again and look down submissively.

 

Surprisingly the darkness apologized.   “Sorry… Bad word choice. I’m… not… happy.”

 

The leg bone was likewise tossed into the fire. The wolf watched the bone land in the fire and begin to burn. Then the golden eyes turned and looked upon the darkness with a half cocked turn of the head as if asking a question.

 

“No… no my doing. I’d… planned it but Logan… beat me to it..”

 

The wolf then lay down and watched the fire. A hand, indistinct, hesitantly moved to hover over the wolf’s head, then… gave it a scratch. Which elicited a grumble of contentment from the wolf, and more scratches.

 

“I… I’m so angry at her… for giving up. For… being… different then she… was. That makes it harder. Dismissal I understand. Used to that… rather the norm in fact. But not… trying to be… to try to… be a friend. Not… sacrificing for… me. Rahne… Roberto… I… ask why? Yet more dead, yet more…”

 

A sigh of weariness. “Li’l sister he called her. Was that what she was… trying to be? To become? Pack yes but…”

 

The wolf looked up at the darkness as the darkness spoke of her pain and fed the flames another bone.

 

“I miss her…”

 

 

Part44c: Dead Souls, a beginning

 

Xi'an Coy Manh (Karma), was surprised by Rahne’s statement.

 

“I’ll join the team, but only if Illyana is on it, and leads it as well.”

 

Xi’am was putting a team together, not as heroes, but as a corporate action team for her company Hatchi; there are advantages to being a billionaire and this was one. Karma played for time as she examined the unexpected demand. “I had not thought that you would wish… her presence.”

 

“I don’t… and that’s why I do.”

 

Xi’am hated irrational logic. “That makes no sense.”

 

Rahne was not in agreement. “It be doing to me.”

 

This … might be for the best was Karma’s thought upon further reflection. Magic is involved, and who better to involve then Magik? Plus… Strong Guy was hanging out with her so that would bring needed muscle for the team. Which raised its own issues as Rahne had problems with Strong Guy but… internal team conflict would help to keep them distracted because things needed to be hidden from the team; less from the team leader, but still, things would have to be concealed, and it wasn’t like any of them were computer experts so… no risk from that angle. And Illyana’s teleportation would facilitate quick team insertions. Hmmm, she need to speak to Prodigy to make sure that computer user access was properly controlled. “Okay… assuming Kitty is good with that.”

 

“That be fine then.”

 

Xi’am smiled. “However… you get to ask her, and I guess convince her if she’s unwilling.” Best to make sure Illyana knows her place as avoiding a personal recruitment would help to demonstrate the hierarchy.

 

Rahne was uncertain as to the turn of events. “Me?”

 

“You want it… you get to do it.”

 

A reluctant nod from Rahne, then Xi’am had a random thought (Damn, this is going to cost more) as she thought more about having Magik on the team.

 

Begin Memory Reflection

 

And so Rahne did just that. Asked Illyana to join the team Xi’am was putting together, and to lead the team.   A request that resulted in just a neutral look from Illyana. A look that of course made Rahne even more nervous.

 

She slightly stammered. “I think it be a good idea.”

 

Which elicited a slight questioning frown from Illyana in reply.

 

Rahne plowed forward. “Because it be paying well, really well, and chance to do some good I think.”

 

And now more of a disbelieving frown from Illyana.

 

“And… we… could have a chance to… maybe… work things out?”

 

A return to the neutral expression.

 

“I… be wanting to try. Meaning… to do. That means… doing. Yes… you scare me. But that’s not why I be wanting this. Not the scaring part. No… I was wrong before, I want to… do right. I want to find out… if we might have actually have been friends if I hadn’t been… wrong. If I hadn’t done wrong.”

 

Then a… “Please?”

 

A look of thought, followed by a slight hand gesture at Strong Guy, whom Illyana had been having lunch with. Rahne stared at Strong Guy for a few moments, then nodded her acceptance of Strong Guy’s presence.

 

Which meant that Illyana gave a nod of acceptance, much to Rahne’s relief.

 

Only later did Rahne reflect that Illyana had not spoken a single word, yet she felt they had fully conversed.

 

End Memory Reflection

 

 

Part44d: Dead Souls, interactions

 

The team was enjoying a night on the town. Call it a reward for a job well done, or a team building exercise. Which was how it was being billed to the Hatchi corporation, much to Xi’am annoyance; who was finding that Illyana tended to just ignore things that Xi’am would prefer she not ignore (one of those thing being proper respect to Xi’am, another was the apparently team belief that they worked for Illyana and not Xi’am). Irritatingly, collecting receipts was not one of the things Illyana ignored, which of course removed the expense report excuse of not paying; that and the fact Illyana somehow kept managing to get access to a Hatchi credit card with no credit limit (Damn it Prodigy, how many times to I have to tell you to cancel that card!)

 

The team was:

 

Julio Richter, code name Rictor (ability to make earthquakes and other vibrations).

 

Tabitha Smith, code name Boom-Boom (ability to create energy balls that go boom).

 

Guido Carosella, code name Strong Guy (ability to be really strong, big, and very resilient to damage).

 

Rahne Sinclair, code name Wolfsbane (she’s a werewolf).

 

And finally Illyana Rasputin, code name Magik (Demon sorceress and teleporter). Who, like a good team lead, had brought her team here and then vanished so as to allow the team to unwind without having the boss hanging around.

 

And where was this night out being enjoyed? They were at the Oak (The Celebrity Club), a very high end club. So, the team had their own table and…

 

“Okay, you be convincing me that Illyana has clubbing super powers.” Was Rahne’s comment to Tabitha.

 

Tabitha was on her third martini (mandarin orange with a splash of Grand Marnier Cuvee to kick the price tag up an extra 40 bucks because… why not order the best when somebody else is paying?). “Like I said, abilities that are useful. No idea how show does it but… talk about access. I mean… spur of the moment decision by us, meaning me, to come here and… poof. No line, a table waiting, and fast service.”

 

Julio swallowed the last of his duck taco appetizer. “I’m surprised that you wanted to go out. I thought you’d want to just decompress on the couch after that two hour shower.”

 

“I could shower for a week and it wouldn’t be enough.” Tabitha drained the rest of her drink and gestured at the staff for another “Damn Rahne, why is Illyana ways doing weird shit? I mean… teleporting me and herself into the stomach of a frost giant and then ordering me to blow this up? Talk about Grooossssss.” Her drink arrived and Tabby took a healthy swig.

 

“You might want to tone it down a bit Tabby.” Suggested Guido. “At this rate your gona pass out within the hour.” Of course Guido had a two liter beer stein but Guido is a big dude.

 

“Good… this… this is therapy. I need to purge the memory by going blackout drunk.”

 

“I don’t a think it works like that.” Commented Rahne. Meaning that you don’t remember what happens when you’re in a blackout.

 

‘Won’t know until I try.” Was Tabatha’s response, showing yet again that Tabatha thought in ways unlike all others.

 

Julio returned to a prior topic from that morning’s brunch. “So it’s always like this with her? Her being Magik and not Tabby because… well… Tabby’s always like this.”

 

“Damn straight.” Agreed Tabatha.

 

Rahne was rather tired of the topic of conversation. “It’s like I be saying before. She no be acting weird, she just is weird. She’s always been weird. And I think she’s been extra moody since Kitty’s wedding blew up.”

 

Julio got more direct. “I’m asking do you trust her?”

 

Rahne was silent for a while, just absorbing the sounds of the club.

 

“Well…?”

 

Rahne growled an answer. “I want to… I be trying to.”

 

“Since when?” Was Tabby’s oh so not helpful contribution. “You two had quite a history from what everybody says, and trust was never a word used in describing you and her.”

 

“And I was… wrong to behave as I behaved. So… since when have I been a trusting her? Since now…”

 

Julio decided to change the subject. “Is it just me, or are Illyana and Xi’am being rather bitchy at each other?”

 

Tabby finished her fourth drink and stared at the empty glass like it was some kind of betrayal. “Xi’am’s in change and wants us all to understand that.”

 

Guido observed that. “Yet we call Illyana the Boss.”

 

Rahne agreed. “Cuz she is. And Xi’am is… feeling kind of weird now that I be a thinking about it. Funny… back then... that be what all the demon in Limbo be a calling her. Boss.”

 

With that their food, and Shatterstar, Rictor’s boyfriend, arrived. The conversation went still for a moment as they dug in, then Rictor gestured with a duck mini taco. “She still creeps me out. Did any of you see the grin she had after the Frost Giant blew to bits?”

 

Tabatha shook her head no. “Nope, too busy throwing up.”

 

Rictor continued. “Real… creepy. Like she had found a new way to…”

 

“Kill something?” Finished Rahne.

 

“Yeah…” Replied Rictor as he thought about a conversation he had with Illyana last night.

 

BEGIN RICTOR FLASHBACK

 

It was late night at the Hatchi common’s area that the team hung out at (they each had a room, plus a shared kitchen and two living rooms. Rictor had woken up and found that he couldn’t fall back asleep so he decided to go hang out in a living room to watch some late night TV in hopes of getting drowsy. There he discovered the team’s night owl (Illyana) sprawled on a couch reading a book.

 

“Watcha reading?” Was his inquiry as he flopped into an easy chair.

 

“Russian poetry.” Was her answer.

 

“In Russian?”

 

“Da.”

 

“Depressing?”

 

“Da.”

 

“So… are you mostly a non fiction reader or do you like fiction as well?”

 

Illyana shut the book and thought for a moment. “Non fiction… I found that reality truly is stranger.”

 

“I’m more of a fiction guy… hey… have you ever read H. P. Lovecraft? Now that guy wrote really weird and creepy stuff.”

 

“Da… I read his works… some time ago.”

 

“So you do read fiction.”

 

“No.”

 

“No? But Lovecraft is fiction.”

 

“No. I find his works to be a rather overly dramatic in his choice of wording, but very correct as to the details.”

 

Rictor was about to snort in derision but recalled who he was talking to. “Um… you mean what he wrote about is real?”

 

“Very.”

 

Rictor thought about some of the stories he had read. “So the Mountains of Madness in Antarctica exist? If so how come nobody knows about them?”

 

Illyana looked slightly musing. “That was a very good narrative that he wrote about the expedition. Of course he substituted another name for himself. Shortly after that the current Sorcerer Supreme, along with other magical… entities, crafted a most powerful illusion to hide it. And the university had to change its name.”

 

“And… like… Shield hasn’t been there?”

 

“Based upon the number of frozen bodies and the abandoned gear I found I’d say they do know of the place. It was one of the last localities of the Old Ones on this world. It is not far from the Savage Land; or as I call it, the place where everybody loses their clothing.”

 

“You’ve been there? I mean… you’ve been to the Mountains of Madness?”

 

“Yeah, place is rather creepy.”

 

“Creepy? One of the preeminent horror books of all time and you find it creepy?”

 

“I think it’s the wind, creates a weird piping music sound, like you’re in a sound track of a horror film. So yeah, creepy.”

 

“And the Shoggoths?”

 

Illyana answer reminded Rictor of what Illyana was. “Flammable, plus… well… I… let’s just say I have resources Shield lacks.” Then. “I did find the giant penguins to be kind of cute.” With that Illyana returned to her book.

 

And Rictor never did get back to sleep that night, or ever read H.P. Lovecraft again.

 

END RICTOR FLASHBACK

 

 

Part44e: Questions are asked

 

Rahne just couldn’t think of a good social interaction activity with Illyana. Finally she decided to speak with Laura (X-23). Hence the ongoing combat exercise in the Danger room at the Jean Grey School (currently located in New York Central Park). Why Laura you might ask? Well, according to the mutant gossip underground, Illyana and Laura hung out from time to time, sometimes with Dani, sometimes not.

 

After a vigorous workout Rahne asked Laura about her interactions with Illyana.

 

“We mostly fight or hunt.” Was Laura’s reply.

 

Rahne was disappointed. “That be all?”

 

A neutral look from Laura, then a slight clarification. “Afterwards, sometimes we… converse.”

 

“About what if you don’t mind me asking.”

 

Laura did. “Private things.”

 

“Oh, sorry. I just didn’t think the two of you had much in common.”

 

“We don’t, other then what was done to us.” Was Laura’s reply.

 

Rahne could see how there was overlaps, Laura in how she was raised, and abused, by Weapon X program as they turned her into a killer and Illyana by her childhood in Limbo and… what happened after she died and came back.

 

“Sorry to pry… I be just… trying to come up with some activity that I might be a doing with her.”

 

A look and a shrug that communicated (What’s wrong with this?)

 

A question that Rahne answered. “I don’t really be liking to fight. Or hunting. Any… suggestions.”

 

“Back on Utopia we played a game of tag, other times we just stared at the stars in the sky while having tea.”

 

Rahne had not thought of that. “That’s… different.”

 

Laura had a thoughtful look as she stated. “She once said a strange thing back then… she thought I was sweet.”

 

A few blinks from Rahne. “That… not be a word I’ve ever heard used to be describing you.”

 

“Yes, She is… odd. She also told me, the one time that she said I was sweet, that I had just met the first person who’d trade lives with me.”

 

Rahne knew just how bad it had been for Laura. “That be crazy.”

 

“Yes… and yet… I think no.” Laura found it odd that she was being asked for social advice, a definite first. “Why not just ask her to do something?”

 

“What if she doesn’t want to do what I suggest?”

 

“I would suppose she’d tell you. And… perhaps she might suggest an alternative.”

 

 

Part44f: Children of the night

 

After the plane incident where Illyana saved the plane by teleporting it (and incidentally into the future by one week), and the night before Illyana led the team on an unsanctioned incursion to Dr. Strange’s house. Unsanctioned in that Xi'an did not know about it, Rahne finally developed the nerve to ask Illyana out for a social event.

 

And being very nervous, she did not state it well.

 

“Would you be liking to go howl with me?” Was how Rahne put it. And of course felt even more self conscious as to how badly that sounded as Illyana answered with only a neutral look that distinctly communicated that she really had no idea what Rahne was actually asking her to do.

 

“I be meaning to say, would you like to go listen to the wolves howl. The ones at the New York Zoo. I sometimes slip in there at night after they be closed to listen and sometimes join in…” Having now explained it better, Rahne felt even worse as it sounded so silly.

 

“Never you mind, sounds silly now that I be saying it out loud. It’s just… that you sometimes feel so… wolf like. Sorry… this sounds so strange, like asking you to go to church.”

 

A statement that earned Rahne a frown from Illyana. “I’ve been to church Rahne, quite a bit in fact. Never burst in to flames, nor did the Vicar when he came to have supper with the family I was staying with.” (See the story Pride, Prejudice, Illyana, and Zombies for details)

 

“Um… sorry. It was not my intent to be insulting you.” Although Rahne was rather surprised ad the church comment. Just another indication as to how little she really know about Illyana.

 

Illyana cut right to the heart of the matter. “Why do you want me to go… howl with you Rahne?”

 

“I… I said mean things to you on the plane. Things… I should not have been saying.”

 

You… and the rest of the team, were under mental influences.

 

“They still were my words, my… fears given voice. I be trying to move past that, to…” Rahne fell silent as Illyana just had that neutral expression, then Illyana said one word.

 

“Sure.”

 

And that’s how Rahne and Illyana ended up at the Zoo at midnight listening to the wolves howl… and sometimes joining in.

 

That was the night that Rahne and Illyana finally began to talk about things. Hesitantly… slowly… but over the days and weeks to follow, during the time they were imprisoned, and afterwards as they lived at the bar, they began to learn just who the other actually was, rather then what they thought the other was.

 

 

Part44g: Dirge

 

Now more ghostly wolves emerged from the shadows. They sat or rested on all sides of the darkness as the darkness fed the remaining bones to the flames one by one. Then, as the last bone was burned they began to howl.

 

It was a lamenting song.

 

One of loss.

It sang of a pack member that was gone.

Yet it sang that the pack continued as life… went on.

 

The darkness howled along as well. Howled like a wolf. One… who had become a friend, was gone.

 

It hurt…

 

And in that hurt…

 

An acknowledgement of the Rahne that was.

 

The Rahne that has passed.

 

The Rahne that was, in the last, a friend of Illyana.

Chapter Text

Part45a: Heart to heart conversations (part 1)

 

Night time at the Summer’s house, located at the blue spot on the moon. Alex, Rachel, and Cable had taken a portal to New York to go clubbing so the house was rather empty.

 

Scott is dressed only in a pair of swim trunks, slightly damp, and a long red silk robe. He has an adult drink in one hand, bourbon on the rocks, a phone in another, and a bottle on a side table. Scott had learned what had happened with the New Mutants and the Starjammers. Suffice it to say he was not pleased.

 

Scott is busy talking. “Dad, she’s one of the great captains, you know, that whole Great Captain job gig I have now. And no, I don’t agree. Abandoning them after they tried to do the right thing when they thought they were saving some folks because you fed them a line of bull because you wanted them to stay put while you went off to steal something is not a good reason to ditch them.”

 

Scott listens to a response, then replies. “All I’m saying is that it looks like a bitch move from here. Especially after they got to the item that = you wanted to steal before you did.”

 

Scott winces as apparently Corsair rather loudly informs Scott of something.

 

“Dad, you bought fifty cases of Bourbon when you were here last week. Alex and I were with you when you bought them. So you lost a bet and a bottle of booze to Roberto, I don’t see why that’s big deal other then you sounding quite silly about being pissed that you lost.”

 

Scott took a sip of his drink and then continued. “And I hate to break it to you, I’d have bet on Magik as well on a sword fight with Raza. He’s damn good. She’s better. Hate to say it, but that was a sucker bet. Just how the hell did they end up fighting anyway?”

 

Scott listens to the answer as he pours another fingers worth of bourbon into his glass. “Dad, what part of the word Demon did he not get? Did any of you not get? Crap, your girlfriend was even here when Illyana destroyed the Elder Gods so what’s her excuse?”

 

Apparently there was one, Scott replied after Corsair was done giving it.

 

“Really Dad, Hepzibah suddenly doesn’t like kids?” Scott listens to the response before replying. “Right… you realize that she stayed here for months and months and months when everybody thought you were dead. Stayed at the school I might add, the one will all the kids so…”

 

Scott pauses as Corsair interrupts him, Scott waits for Corsair to finish before continuing. “Look, she never ever had problems with kids before when she was here, I’m just saying that it sounds like Hepzibah could more honest with why she wanted them gone. It’s not their fault that Hepzibah is suddenly uncomfortable with her behavior on hooking up with multiple partners with when everybody thought you were dead. It’s not Sunpot’s fault that she propositioned Namor right in front of him, and everybody else I might add.”

 

Again Scott is interrupted, Scott listens with an expression that communicates that he is trying to be polite. He resumes once Corsair finishes. “Okay, okay, I won’t talk about your skunk based girlfriend anymore.”

 

A comment that prompt a loud declaration from Corsair that you can actually hear. “CAT based! Not Skunk! Cat based!”

 

“Geeze Dad, I can hear you without shouting. Sorry, I forget the specific furry details. But back to why you ditched them with extreme prejudice, any actual valid reasons?”

 

Another answer is given which just causes Scott to shake his head no in exasperation. “I’m sorry that Ch'od’s pomum plants got ruined, but there was no ill intent. I mean… we gave them the flower of Krakoa to bring with them. I agree that he has cause to be upset, ten years before they ripen is a long time to wait, only have them die just before harvest, but threatening the New Mutants with death just because he can’t eat some fruit… or are they veggies… is…”

 

Scott pauses at something Corsair say, then asks. “Well, what does he do with them if he doesn’t eat them?”

 

The answer, which takes over a minute of one sided conversation from Corsair, appears to slowly horrify Scott if his expression is any indication. He finally interrupts Corsair.

 

“Got it. Thanks Dad, I believe that falls under way to much information. I’m horrified to have that concept in my brain. Thank God I live with a telepath who can fix that. Hold on for a moment…”

 

Scott puts his hand over the microphone portion of the phone and yells out. “Jean! Baby! Could you do me a favor?!”

 

“What is it Scott?” Answers Jean as she walks in from the kitchen. She’s dressed in just a bikini and an open blue silk robe and her hair is quite wet.

 

Scott explains the problem, meaning the memory in his head and how it got there. The reaction is not what he desired as Jean first had that brief absent minded expression on her face as she used her telepathy to take a look, then she expressed her dismay as some women do.

 

Meaning she shook her hands in front of her face while declaring “Eeeeeeeeee” and then ran back into the kitchen.

 

Scott gave a heavy sigh as he watched Jean flee, then took a long pull on his drink before speaking again to Corsair. “And now Jean’s grossed out as well. In the future please don’t ever have Ch'od bring a dish if we’re having a pot luck. Just booze will be fine, assuming that he doesn’t like to do that with the booze.”

 

Now it was Logan’s turn to wander in from the kitchen. He’s dressed in a tight Speedo and an open black silk robe and his hair is also wet. “Bad news Bub, Jeanie says you’re in the flaming dog house, but she won’t tell me why.”

 

“Hold on again Dad.” Scott again covered the phone and explained to Login just what had happened. Logan shakes his head in exasperation once Scott is done.

 

“Takes all kinds Bub, but that’s a first even for me. Guess if the cabbage be a rocking, don’t come a knocking.”

 

Scott was not pleased at Logan’s comment. “Yet another image in my brain I really didn’t need.”

 

Logan passed on a bit of information as he left, after first swiping Scott’s bottle. “We’ll be in Jean’s room when you’re done with your phone call.”

 

A phone call that Scott resumed. “Dad, if possible, please remember all the times that Mutants and the X-Men have helped the Starjammers, and how your actions might be viewed by others, and the New Mutants as well.”

 

A brief comment from Corsair and then Scott continues as he stands up. “Yes I’m sure their alive. And yes I’m sure Roberto passed on your comments to them, so yes yet again on the idea that maybe thinking up an apology is a good idea. We’ll talk later Dad I got… something to do.”

 

With that Scott hung up and walked off in the direction of Jean’s bedroom while muttering to himself about his dad's girlfriend being an alien cat-skunk-person-thing that thank God had not slept with Alex while she was chasing everything with two legs and a dick back in Utopia.

Chapter Text

So… just how much of prior Illyana has been redone; not to mention the rest of the X-Men history (i.e. Utopia and Phoenix 5 comes to mind)? The whole hell lord thing has been played down for years as restrictions are needed to enable good stories (or hell lord rules as I have said my stories). Another interpretation is that Illyana has systematically reduced folk’s perceptions of her to being but a teleporter and a sorceress with the whole hell lord thing being forgotten (it is not lost on me that we’ve not seen Limbo since the end of the Inhuman/Mutant war). However, in the first issue of New Mutants we see the resurrection of Rahne who did die so… much, if not all, of what went on before may still be canon. I’m sure I’ll be writing more as details are known.

 

A recent annoying story telling aspect is Illyana’s mind shields now appear to be… permeable; with GORM musing that she is actually hiding her mind behind demonic familiars, making telepaths think they have her mind when in fact all they perceive is just another illusion.

 

Excerpt from one of GORM’s postings on Illyana-Resputin-Magik-Appreciation-2019/page61

 

My interpretation is that Illyana 'wears' dozens, if not thousands, of demonic Familiars within, layered as 'decoy' minds to fool the unwary, images of plausible but false thoughts and memories, growing denser, more painful, and harder to read as the telepath tries to dig deeper: a mirror maze, a labyrinth in which only fools dare to tread. (I assume her current shields are many, many times stronger now than when she was 14, but she notably doesn't use astral forms anymore.)

 

Gods and Hell Lords are notoriously difficult to telepathically read, the energies of their Divine/Demonic souls being beyond mortal reckoning.

 

It has been suggested here that Illyana dropped her shielding after recovering her bloodstones, being the ultimate false-front against Emma and all other mutant telepaths during the Elder War through Phoenix Five, but then becoming child's play for the Cuckoos, Xavier Jr. and Rachel to stun and read thereafter.

 

I find GORM’s hypothesis a viable theory (meaning it’s better then Marvel just forgetting or disregarding canon, which sadly is more plausible but I do like stories to make sense). I mused upon GROM’s idea and came up with a possible implementation as Illyana does so love to throw a fight and make people underestimate her (as once again shown in the relaunched New Mutants issue 1).

 

And… Illyana is now a coffee person according to the Issue #1 of the New Mutants (apparently it’s a mutated bean that Illyana really loves, as in “Don’t make me cut you” kind of love if you try to take any of her coffee). GORM commented, in a different post that I have Illyana being a tea drinker in my stories (which just makes sense) but I do have her drinking more and more coffee post Phoenix Five (I blame Emma’s influence and possible Anita Blake). I suspect Pumpkin spice from Starbucks may also have played a role in her fall as it were. Plus I think the folks back in the original X-Men/New Mutant days made really bad coffee (over brewed, excessively strong, little or no aroma, and likely dark roast pre ground beans, why… even French roast may have used to amplify the burnt taste… horror… the horror).

 

Oh, and I really didn’t like Rachel having a cape, as I’ve mentioned some other chapters. Glad that the latest publishing appears to have ditched the cape. This chapter offers a possible reason.

 

A question as left unanswered is what happened to Illyana after she went full on demon in the prior comics? Did she recover, or did she die and this is a resurrected Illyana? I’ll be rather annoyed if it is resurrected as I think that violates all kinds of Hell Lord rules so for now I’ll treat it like she got better until we get better clarification from Marvel. And getting ‘better’ could in part explain Illyana’s sudden tendency to violence and acting out.

 

But back to the main topic. I’m sure Professor X and Magneto had to wrestle with the question: Just what to do about Magik?

 

 

Part46a: Needs of the many, needs of the few

 

Xavier and Magneto were relaxing in the top floor of the House of X on Krakoa. Magneto was drinking a fine Scotch but Xavier’s (wearing his Cerebra helmet as always) indulgence was a glass of ice cold frosty Coke.

 

They looked upon what they had wrought and were pleased for it was good. But good was not sufficient for the trials that lay ahead.

 

“We have selected three of the four captains we hope for.” Murmured Erik after a sip. “Each according to the needs, but one topic is yet untouched, which aligns with the choice of the fourth.”

 

“The issue of magic…” Mused Xavier.

 

“Or more specificity… Magik.” Responded Erik. “Lack of… magic, or Magik if you will, leaves us venerable to those who possess that which we lack. Our enemies, and possible foes, have it, and history shows when one side lacks a defense then the opposing side inevitable makes use of it.”

 

Xavier agreed… “Understood, but she is less… amenable then most to our will. She’s always been one to act out and to lash out. She may also be problematic due to some of the decisions the two of us are making.”

 

Erik pointed out that… “She has always understood the need to break eggs to make an omelet. We are assembling a vast host, many of which do not share the same motivation or moral fortitude that we posses. It is obvious that some will inevitably betray what we strive to create, just not who. For such, if love or ideals does not suffice, or fear of our or the islands wrath, then another… concern may suffice to keep such in check. I would also point out that while many can be a team leader, few equal her skills at strategy, tactics, concealment, and lethality. Not to mention the magical talents that we are sorely lacking.”

 

Charles was hesitant. “I agree…”

 

“I hear a but in that answer Charles. Do you not know her mind?”

 

It is hard to read expressions with a helmet covering the top of ones head, but Charles’s lips gave the impression of musing. “Answer me this Erik, just what is she?”

 

Erik got the point Charles was trying to make. “Mutant… demon… sorceress… fighter… Definitions are difficult due to the plethora of descriptions.”

 

Charles replied after a sip of his Coke. “I never could read her mind before. Nobody could. Then… after her soul was restored as it were, after the Phoenix Five and then whatever the hell Dormammu did to her… her impenetrable mind shield become weak. Which I somehow find… suspicious.”

 

“She no longer has so much to hide Charles, perhaps it is no longer worth her effort?”

 

“Or perhaps Erik, she learned even more about telepathy from Emma when she was part of the Phoenix. Perhaps it is not really her mind I read. Logan has told me that even he can’t tell if she lies… I may likewise be deceived.”

 

“What does Emma say?”

 

“She just laughs and says it is a lady’s prerogative to keep her secrets.”

 

Now Erik likewise mused. “A non answer. One supposes if the resurrection protocols are ever used for her then the truth of just what you are recording will be made manifest.”

 

“Yes… as we supposedly have her DNA.”

 

“Supposedly?”

 

“We supposedly have a copy of her mind Erik, if that is false then I somehow doubt that we have viable DNA.”

 

Erik was resolute. Then we need her even more. Who better to walk at our side in the dark times that lie ahead? And, might Limbo be a secure emergency archive of last recouse if all other copies of the minds are lost?”

 

Xavier understood the reference.Though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we shall fear no evil…”

 

Erik finished the quote, but paraphrased it. “For the most dangerous creature in the valley is with us. We dance with monsters Charles, others lay in wait plotting our downfall. It behooves us to have one at our side that that even monsters fear.”

 

 

Part46b: Noshing upon many things

 

Illyana and Kitty (dressed in civilian garb) were eating at Sarge’s Delicatessen, a New York City Jewish Deli that Kitty and Illyana liked. Not for them was the low-fat and anti-meat mania, this Deli served the old fashioned good stuff and the décor matched. Tiffany lamp shades, dimpled Naugahyde booths, and hanging salamis. Kitty was having matzo ball soup and half a pastrami sandwich with a glass of diet Sprite (and was secretly lusting for a slice of the German Chocolate Cake that was in the window). Illyana was having Corned Beef and Tongue on Russian Rye with a potato pancake on the side with sour cream, a glass of Coke and had every intention of having a slice of that German Chocolate Cake.

 

Kitty had a bandage on her nose as she had injured it a few days ago while attempting to enter a Krakoa gateway only to painfully discover that she could not pass.

 

Kitty voiced a complaint about Krakoa as she ate. “It would be so much easier if you where the one making the rules.”

 

Illyana did not agree. “You, or anybody else for that matter, so don’t want me making the rules.”

 

Kitty gave a “Pifff…” as she took a bite of her pickle. “I think you’d do fine.”

 

Illyana just shook her head no. “That makes one of us. Thanks for the vote of confidence but… really it would be a bad idea.”

 

Just a look of mild dismissal from Kitty, causing Illyana to slightly frown. “I mean it, really bad.”

 

Time to change the subject was Kitty’s thought. “So… What do you think about Kate instead of Kitty?”

 

Illyana noshed upon her sandwich before replying. “I think Kate is just fine Kate.”

 

Which somehow sounded wrong to Kitty. “Kate… makes me sound old when you say it Yana.”

 

“Pick the term you want, it’s your name. I’m fine with Yana, Illyana, Magik, heck even a hey you works for me if that’s what you want to use.”

 

You being Kitty, somehow others calling Illyana ‘Hey you’ might be a bad idea.

 

Which make Kitty give a snort of laughter. “I can just see the news cast. Today the mutant ‘Hey You’ destroyed a host of demons while simultaneously annoying the Avengers. Just doesn’t have a good ring to it.”

 

Shrug from Illyana. “Works for me Kate.”

 

“Stop it.”

 

“Okay Kate.”

 

“No! I mean it.”

 

“Anything you say Kate.”

 

“Call me Kitty when we’re in private.”

 

“No problem Kate.”

 

“Yana!”

 

Illyana pointed to the surrounding restaurant. “We are not in private Kate.”

 

Time for threats was Kitty’s thought. “I’m a trained ninja, don’t make me resort to violence.”

 

“Fighting is fun Kate, I would welcome it.”

 

Kitty growled in irritation at Yana. “Did I ever mention how annoying you can be Hey You.”

 

“I recall it being mentioned from time to time Kate. Knife? Dagger? Sword? Staffs? Sticks? Or a good old fashioned beatdown?”

 

“Ahhhh!”

 

Illyana just continued to nosh upon her sandwich. “No need shout Kate, I can hear you just fine.”

 

Kitty suddenly got a sly look and attacked from an unexpected direction. “I’ll make you giggle.”

 

Illyana froze, then put down her sandwich. “You wouldn’t.”

 

“I so would.”

 

This… concerned Illyana. “I hate how I sound when I giggle.”

 

Victory was within Kitty’s grasp. “Say Kate one more time and it’s giggles for you. I have spoken.” Stealing a line from the Mandalorian (Yes Kitty had the new Disney+ on her phone, she is a massive Star Wars fan after all).

 

Know when to hold them, know when to fold them and Illyana hated giggling in public. “Okay… Okay… Kitty it is in private.”

 

“Assuming I go with Kate.”

 

Illyana just shrugged. “Your name, your choice.”

 

“How did your meeting go with the Professor and Magneto?”

 

Illyana finished her sandwich before replying. “They wished me to take on a new role. Call it a captain of sorts. They wish me to be one of the leaders when battle is to be waged.”

 

“Good choice. Did you accept?”

 

BEGIN MEMORY REFLECTION

 

Illyana was listening to a song on her IPod while reading a book that had no title or author. She was relaxing under a tree outside of Xavier’s house of X on Krakoa.

 

She had been invited to a meeting at Xavier’s house and had teleported directly to the house where she was welcomed by Sophie (one of the resurrected Cuckoos) but some unexpected business has suddenly cropped up that required the personnel attention of both Charles and Erik. Did she mind waiting a few minutes? Illyana had agreed and gone off to relax and read a book (which she of course pulled out of nowhere, same place she pulled her IPod from) after first walking around a bit and observing various folks as well as exchanging words with a few people before setting down to read.

 

Hold On by Sara McLachlan was playing on her IPod.

 

Hold on

Hold on to yourself

for this is gonna hurt like hell

Hold on

Hold on to yourself

you know that only time will tell

What is it in me that refuses to believe

this isn't easier than the real thing

 

My love

you know that you're my best friend

you know I'd do anything for you

my love

let nothing come between us

my love for you is strong and true

Am I in heaven here or am I...

at the crossroads I am standing

 

That was when Xavier had wandered up, accompanied by Erik. Illyana closed her book and put it, and her IPod way again in that piece of nothing where she had pulled them from.

 

“What were you reading?” Had been the inquiry from Erik as the book had no title.

 

“Some poetry.” Was her reply as she stood. “I indulge from time to time.”

 

“Most commendable, such is a fading practice, so few now partake of such.” Concluded Erik. “I wish we had time to discuss verse but today we have pressing matters. Illyana, Charles and I would ask that you join Krakoa and take on the role of leading the defenses if war happens. We would have you be one of four great captains.”

 

Charles expanded upon Erik’s statement. “The captains will upon occasion, or need, be team leaders, but their primary purpose is to be the military generals for the nation-state of Krakoa. The Quiet Council is to be the civil and political government, the Great Captains make war when necessary in the name of Krakoa, defend the borders from threats, and marshal our resources in time of conflict.”

 

Erik finished. “Cyclops is the Great Captain commander, first among equals.”

 

Illyana asked a question. “And the other captains?”

 

Charles answered. “Gorgon and Bishop.”

 

“I see…” Was Illyana’s reply. “Appropriate choices for such a role.”

 

It was not lost on Erik or Charles as to why Illyana did not ask why her. Charles followed up upon Erik’s statement.

 

“In defense, in battle, the requirements are not just the ability to fight, but the ability to command. Tactical and strategic vision. We have many who can be team leaders, but few who can direct large masses.”

 

Erik finished. “And who can make the difficult choices that such conflicts inevitably have.”

 

Illyana looked around at Krakoa, then back at the two as she replied. “Such will require… authority when needed, successful battles are not fought by committees. War is not policing. Nor does it tend to include such concepts as minimal or appropriate force.”

 

Charles sounded both resigned, and yet pleased. “Understood, the others said the same. You will have it if…”

 

Erik injected. “When”

 

A sigh from Charles. “Or when… such happens. That is why we need ones such as you.”

 

More was discussed, the makeup of the Quiet Council. The structures of the defense and the monitoring. Intelligence. Assessment. Diplomacy. Hopes and fears. In the end Illyana agreed. They had their fourth Captain.

 

Illyana had one final comment for the two. “The resurrection protocols will not work for one such as I. I advise you to not try if I were to fall.”

 

Eric and Charles exchanged a glance. Then Charles asked… “Why?”

 

“I have died before. If… I do not return by my own power then what you bring back will not rule Limbo. It will not be… the me that is. There are rules that govern such as I.”

 

That sounded quite believable to Charles and Erik. After all, they were dealing with magic, and Magik.

 

The three then departed, Illyana to wander Krakoa for a bit, Charles and Erik retired back to the House of X where Erik was to ask a question of Charles.

 

“And…?”

 

Charles nodded. “I sensed no deceit. Even the book was as she described, poetry. Russian in fact, she had been reading the charge of the light brigade. I suppose it could be an ironic choice, yet I somehow doubt that. Well, we have our fourth.”

 

Erik looked thoughtful for a moment, then recited a fragment the poem.

 

Half a league, half a league,

Half a league onward,

All in the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.

“Forward, the Light Brigade!

Charge for the guns!” he said.

Into the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.

 

“Forward, the Light Brigade!”

Was there a man dismayed?

Not though the soldier knew

Someone had blundered.

Theirs not to make reply,

Theirs not to reason why,

Theirs but to do and die.

Into the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.

 

Meanwhile, Illyana wandered Krakoa. She liked what she saw and yet. It reminded her of a place called Fillory (Authors note, see my story Magicians and Magik for details). She had concerns about that resemblance. Concerns about several things, one of which was the obvious god complex that Charles and Erik were developing. Hells, most gods failed at acting like gods, one just had to glance at Ass-guard to see that. The other was the rather blissed out behavior shown by more then a few people (which could be excused by happiness, or… that little god complex thing). She did have to congratulate Krakoa on coming up with a method that housed just so many mutants upon the land; the long term wisdom of housing mutants on a mutant energy eating island remained to be seen; she did rather hope it was not some nefarious plot by the island.

 

And of course the whole resurrection issue was of concern, but… who was she to cast stones due to her own… complexities. It would be nice for those who were gone to return… But she would need to speak privately to Xavier about the obvious flaw, meaning with no Xavier, there were not resurrection protocols.

 

Illyana found a comfortable spot and resumed reading. Xavier would have been concerned as to the actual contents as it was not what he had read in her mind. The actual work was Paradise Lost by John Milton. She read again the last line she had read before the discussion.

 

Never can true reconcilement grow where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep...

 

She closed the book while wondering…

 

Just who would fall from mutant paradise?

Who were destined to be snakes in mutant Eden?

Who would succumb to the intoxication of power and ambition?

Why were some not allowed to enter Mutant Heaven?

Just how many truths were lies?

How altered were the returned?

And…

 

When would it all fall apart?

 

Maybe it was a hell lord thing to think such but... well… doesn’t it always fall apart?

 

END MEMORY REFLECTION

 

“Yes Kitty. I accepted. It… it is a good dream. I would like it succeed.”

 

“I hope you made some demands. Set down some guidelines.”

 

“Such as?”

 

“Like… wearing what you want. Refusing to conform to the demands that you dress like the others.”

 

“That… may have come up.”

 

“Back to wearing black and showing skin?”

 

“Yep.”

 

“No more Magik bus?”

 

“They have jets and spaceships, use them. Not to mention the portals and other teleporters. I am not providing an Uber service for those who wish take-out.”

 

“Limbo?”

 

“Off limits for now. The place is still… messy.”

 

Kitty then inquired as to… “Any… juicy gossip?”

 

“Some have started taking mutant names using the language of Krakoa. Phoebe was rather childish in suggesting that I take the name Kaadttkakda.”

 

“Hu?”

 

“Kaadttkakda… oh, you don’t speak Krakoan yet?”

 

Kitty rubbed her nose while scowling. “No, never got there remember?”

 

Which prompted Illyana to raise a delicate issue. “I could always teleport you to the island.”

 

An offer that Kitty quickly rejected. “No way… I mean… I ran the school. I lead the X-Men. That would be like… like I was your backpack or something. I am so not a side kick.”

 

Okay… Kate… Kitty was in a mood was Illyana’s thought, best to change the subject. “Any leadership insights you care to pass along?”

 

Kitty rolled her eyes. “Never tell Emma this but… Man what a pain some people are. And do any of the kids follow instructions?”

 

“No?”

 

NO! Little anarchists, that’s what they were. I swear that there was at least one wrecked class room every day! And don’t get me started on New York City rules and taxes, not to mention AOC’s constant ranting about mutant privilege and how mutant’s don’t pay enough taxes.”

 

“I hate to say it Pryde, but saying things like that makes you sound like Emma.”

 

Kitty tried to look shocked. “For that cruel insult you must now buy me cake.”

 

Which prompted Illyana to chuckle and then slyly ask. “German chocolate by chance?”

 

“Yep.” Was Kitty’s smug reply because it was a well known fact that chocolate cake has no calories if another buys it.

 

“You’re a harsh woman Pryde.”

 

Grins from the both of them, and then cake was ordered, as well as coffee for Kitty and a tea for Illyana. While they waited Kitty asked. “So what does Kaadttkakda mean?”

 

Now it was Illyana’s turn to scowl. “Snarky stabby lady.”

 

Causing Kitty to giggle at Illyana’s annoyance (incidental Kitty was one of the very few who would ever laugh at something that annoyed Illyana).

 

Illyana complained. “Stop it.”

 

Which just made Kitty giggle harder for a bit while Illyana tried to stoically wait her out. After the giggle died down Kitty asked.

 

“What did you do to her?”

 

“Do?”

 

“Yeah do. Or have you suddenly turned over a new leaf? Remember that time Dani gave you a wedgie and you cursed her hair to be an afro the next day? Girl looked like walking q-tip. Heck she had problems fitting thought doors as her hair was like a cotton ball so yeah Yana, what did you do?”

 

Illyana stared at Kitty… then giggled once. “Cursed her thongs to give random wedgies.”

 

Kitty’s eyes got big. “Ouch. Bad ones?”

 

“Yep.”

 

“Double ouch. I hated wedgies back when I was a kid, and so extra bad with a thong, it’s like dental floss between two teeth trying to saw you in half, and even worse if the thing gets between your lips. Ow, ow ow!”

 

“What can I say, I have a reputation to maintain.”

 

“Evil demon with anger and impulse control issues?”

 

“Exactly. It’s like Rachel wearing uniforms with spikes, talk about telegraphing that you don’t want to give or get hugs.”

 

Which prompted Kitty to inquire “How is Rachel?”

 

“Thankfully no longer wearing that cape.”

 

“Why? I designed that look for her.”

 

Illyana shook her head in disbelief. “Only Doom, Storm or Magneto look good in a cape, and Thor I suppose. Everybody else mostly just looks lame, it’s really hard have the right attitude to pull off a cape, although Emma can now that I think of it.”

 

Kitty pointed out that “Doctor Strange looks good.”

 

Illyana did have to agree “Granted, and so does Batman, Superman, and Darth Vader, but most just can’t pull off the look.”

 

“Do you know why she stopped?”

 

Illyana suddenly looked guilty about something. “Um…”

 

“Yana….”

 

Illyana rolled her eyes. “Okay… I choked her unconscious with it in a danger room session.”

 

“Yana!”

 

Illyana defended herself. “You know Rachel and I really… get into it on good fight. Girl as some issues and few can really go toe to toe with her. I… indulge her desire for a good nock down fight due to her dislike of me.”

 

“Yeah right, don’t try to fool me Yana, you love a good fight. But choking her with it? I can’t see how defeating her with a cape would make her drop the look.”

 

Illyana sighed to herself. Rachel wearing a cape had been so bad a look that she’d been forced to do something. “It was more then once.”

 

Kitty was suddenly concerned. “Yana… how many?”

 

Illyana held up her right hand with three fingers extended.

 

Kitty was not buying it. “I don’t see how even three times would cause her to stop wearing it now that she knows that vulnerability. I’m sure she defends...”

 

Illyana held up a fourth finger.

 

“But…”

 

Now a thumb as well.

 

“You mean to tell me that…”

 

And now Illyana raises a second hand with one finger extended.

 

Kitty sighs… “Okay, I get it… no capes.”

 

Illyana held out a verbal olive branch. “I think the final straw was Emma complementing her on the look.”

 

“Reverse physiology I see.”

 

And a final confession from Illyana. “And… I gave her a wedgie with it after partially choking her the seventh time.”

 

“NO!”

 

“Yeah…”

 

“That’s… evil.”

 

“Well… yeah. That was the point.” Illyana had really not liked the look, and… possibly Rachel’s comment about Illyana’s costume had played a factor (not that Illyana would ever fess up to that).

 

A few laughs from Kitty, then… “Is that why you go commando all the time?”

 

“I am not commando all the time.” Damn it Jubilee was Illyana’s internal thought. (Author’s note, see Girls Night out II for details).

 

“Yana, you know doing that to Rachel is not going to help things.”

 

“I know, but it at least gives her some actual complaints. And anyway I’m the hero here giving Rachel a chance to vent her angst upon my frail body.” Unmentioned was saving her from that cape.

 

Kitty gave another chuckle. “Okay, any other good gossip?”

 

Illyana stated that “Don’t sleep over at the Summer’s house, the one they built on the moon.”

 

“Why?”

 

“Jean is… loud.”

 

“Loud? What do you… mean… um… loud as in…?”

 

Illyana gave a groan that was… very erotic but thankfully did not do the full when Harry met Sally routine.

 

“Oh… loud as in… sex.”

 

“Yeah… like that. And God is invoked a great deal.”

 

“And you know this how?”

 

Scott was holding a meeting and afterwards I stayed the night in one of the spare bedrooms, not making that mistake again. I think they forgot I was sleeping over. Guess they got a bit randy as the others were spending the night on Krakoa so bedroom play was not in the bedroom, oh, and don’t sit at the kitchen counter as I think things other then food were served there.”

 

“Somehow I feed demeaned by hearing this.”

 

“Hells, you should have seen their looks at breakfast.”

 

“Their?”

 

“You know, Jean, Scott, Lo…”

 

“Stop! I don’t want to hear this!” Kitty put her hands over her ears while loudly saying “LA LA LA LA LA…” to drown out Illyana. That was so… gross, like thinking about your parents having sex. Complete yuck. Although one supposes thinking about Professor X would be extra yuck.

 

Illyana stopped speaking about things that once learned can not be unlearned. “Okay, okay, geeze, no need for hysterics.”

 

The conversation than paused as the cake was delivered. Later, after the cake was gone and Illyana had paid with her Diners Club card (accepted from hell lords everywhere) Kitty had a request.

 

“Oh… um… do you think you could teleport me to LA?”

 

“Sure, why?”

 

“Thinking about getting boat.” Was Kitty’s cryptic reply.

 

Authors note: Kitty was later steal a boat and sail it to Krakoa as told in Marauders issue 1, but first she stocked with the contents of Wolverine’s shopping list (which Illyana had refused to do as the Magik Bus was done for now).

Chapter Text

Part47a: Family discussions

 

Alex and Scott are relaxing in the living room of the Summer’s house on the moon. Beers in hand they discussed some of their family. More specifically, Alex was discussing and Scott was mostly listening.

 

“Player’s from spacccccceeeeee.” Was Alex’s latest comment. Players in this case being the Starjammers, specifically their father and his girl friend.

 

After a big swig of beer Alex continued. “Or to be more specific. Swingers from the staarrrrssssss. Which sounds better then wife swappers from beyooooonnnndddddd the galaxy…”

 

Scott attempted a half hearted defense. “Is this really necessary Alex?”

 

“Yep.” Was Alex’s satisfied reply. “We, brother of mine, have a horny space skunk as a step mom and a player for a dad. You know what they’re up to on those longggggg space voyages.”

 

Scott replied after a sip. “Cat, Alex, Cat. Dad say’s she wants to be called a cat.”

 

Just a shake of the head from Alex. “Her species name is Mephitisoid, derived from the word Mephitidae, the scientific classification for skunks. So… not playing that game, at least when she’s not here. Face it, Dad’s babe is a female humanoid skunk who’s thing is hairless pink skinned humans, which if you think about it, who’s kinkier? Dad or her? What’s the reverse of a furrie? A skinnie I guess.”

 

Logan wandered in from the kitchen holding a bottle and three glasses and answering the question about who was the most kinky. “That would be Ch'od. He’s the one with the thing for vegetables.”

 

“Fruits.” Corrected Scott.

 

“Is there a difference.”

 

“Fruits have more sugars then veggies.” Contributed Alex. “And more fiber. Good for regularity.” Yes, one could infer that Alex has imbibed a tad too much.

 

Just a snort of disapproval from Logan. “Not sure that makes a difference for what Ch'od using them for.” He gave Alex and Scott a glass and then poured two fingers worth of golden liquid for them before likewise pouring a drink for himself.

 

Alex gave a sniff and then a sip. “Rye?”

 

A nod from Logan. “Good guess, Whistlepig straight rye.”

 

Alex sighs in contentment. “Good stuff.”

 

Scott asked. “How goes the ribs?”

 

Logan gave a sniff. “Almost done, the two of you should count yourselves lucky that I’m willing to share some of the ribs Kitty got me.”

 

“Kate… she’s calling herself Kate now. And it was your turn to mancave the meal.” Commented Alex. “I got the pizza last time from Boston, you know that place right by where the Celtics play, the one with the…”

 

“… bottles of garlic oil to pour on the pizza.” Finished Scott.

 

“Bub, those were really good pies.” Commented Logan as he flopped down into a chair, a comment that secretly pleased Alex. Ahhh, the coveted Bub complement, so rare.

 

Alex returned to his prior topic as he asked Logan a question.   “But back to skunk babe, did you ever hit that back in California, and if so, before or after she broke up with Warpath?”

 

Logon took a long slow sip before answering. “Will I be in trouble if I answer that?”

 

Alex finished off his drink and held out his glass for a refill. “Naaa, just interested. Heck I think she even propositioned me at one point. I mean, she’s not really a step mom, but… still… rather wrong at more then a ew levels.”

 

Logan fessed up. “Yeah, hit that. And she likes having her hair pulled under certain situations, and her neck bitten. Plus she has a real thing for being underground, drives her wild.”

 

This… conversation was making Scott uncomfortable, but before he had a chance to change the subject his phone rang. He glanced at the number before announcing… “Speak of the devil and apparently he calls. Pipe down for a second guys.”

 

Scott answered. “Hello? That you Dad?”

 

Apparently it was. You can’t hear the other end of the conversation, but Corsair sounds angry about something. Scott listens before replying.

 

“Well maybe next time you should check that the box you steal actually contains the item you’re trying to steal Dad.”

 

Which prompts a short question from Corsair before Scott replies.

 

“No I don’t know where the King egg is, whatever the heck a King egg is. Possible the New Mutants might know, but I think their a little pissed at you right now due to that whole abandoning thing you did to them.”

 

Another short question from Corsair.

 

“Yes Dad, their alive. Roberto gave us a call a few hours ago. Their being taken to the throne world of the Shi’ar after being found guilty. And he thinks your pirating abilities are overrated.”

 

Which prompts a short angry outburst from Corsair, all of which you can hear is “WHAT? That lousy…”

 

Scott waits patiently for Corsair to finish ranting while Logan and Alex exchange a chuckle and a clink of glasses.

 

“Just repeating what he said Dad. Their rather upset that you left, and that you lied to them. And being stuck in jail sucked, but being locked up with a demon prevented the other hardened criminals from giving them a hard time cause of that whole demon thing.”

 

Scot then answers a short question from Corsair. “Yes Dad, that demon. Here’s a hint, she likes chocolate, the dark kind. Oh, and Roberto says that she says that the Guardians are way nicer then you, are better at everything, and apparently have their own films, comic books, and even TV episodes while the Starjammers have the big fat nadda.”

 

Scott listens to Corsair’s reply, then answers.

 

“Nope, I have no idea what the heck she means, likely some dimensional thing. If you want your missing egg I suggest you track down the New Mutants and ask about it.”

 

Then Scott remembers a question he had. “By the way, what the heck did Raza do that go her so pissed off?”

 

Scott nods his head a few times as Corsair answers. “Okay, does any of that sound appropriate? Would Raza do that to anybody, say Logon, during combat practice?”

 

Then a surprised expression from Scott as he hears the answer. “Really? He would?”

 

Logan tosses out a comment. “Raza gets way to grabby on hand to hand practice. Fella’s worse the Hercules on coping a feel, told him the next time he did that I’d cut his hand off.”

 

Scott replies to Corsair and Logan. “Well… I guess I understand better about her cutting his robotic arm off.”

 

With that the call terminates and Alex asks Scott a question. “Dad in trouble again?”

 

Scott takes a long drink of his rye before holding out his glass for a refill. “Is he ever not in trouble? I mean… what the point of getting pardons from the Shi’ar only to then keep doing the same thing over again?”

 

Logan then announces. “Ribs are ready, and if any of you two use a napkin I will personally stab you to death. Fingers are for licking when the ribs are this good.”

Chapter Text

I’m beginning to think it’s something else. We still don’t know what happened to Illyana after she went full demon, yet we find in New Mutants Issue one she is back to human form. It is possible that Illyana was considered dead and this Illyana is a resurrected Illyana (sans anything demon) or is it a re-integrated Illyana having issues? The comic has stated that the resurrection protocols are not to be done for anybody they think is still alive, but that just means that it will inevitability happen. Which hints to me that full demon Illyana just might still be around and we will be having a storyline, or storylines about that.

 

For now this is a one shot chapter that assumes that Illyana has been resurrected.

 

 

Part48a: The Emma Files

 

Emma looked at the words she has written. She was in the House of Frost on the Island of Krakoa writing in her private files.

 

I am growing increasingly concerned about Magik.

Her propensity for violence, always present, is now very prominent.

There is now a lack of restraint on expressing herself. Whereas before she was enigmatic in many of her interactions, now the word blatant can be repeatable used to describe her actions.

 

Emma tsk’d to herself as she thought while nibbling at the end of her pen. She feared something was wrong, possible very wrong.

 

Magik has always been a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma…

 

Emma stopped and glared at what she has just written, dear God she’d just quoted Churchill. She added a bit of pure Frost to the quote.

 

dressed in tight black leather while waving a scary sword, all combined with a tendency to eviscerate.

 

A grin from Emma. Now that was a Frost worthy statement.

 

More then a few of the resurrected, or the returned as some call them, are not quite… the same as before they perished. Some are less crazy. Others are more… introspective, Rahne specifically comes to mind. I believe this is likely part of this is Xavier’s tendency to play god, with the excuse that he is aiding in their adjustment to re-embodiment. One would think that the multitude of failures on that front would convince him of his lack of divinity, but leaning from mistakes has never been one of Charles’s better attributes. Nor has the idea of getting prior consent. I have to give him credit, so far this has been amore successful that I would have thought possible.

 

But… the tales of Illyana’s antics are of concern.

 

Guzzling coffee from a water pitcher? Drinking so much that it’s splashing down her top? Quickly threatening violence over coffee? Yes the brew is good but… it’s not that good.

 

Sexually propositioning aliens of both genders? Not to mention the stories I’ve heard about what she’s being doing at the nightly Raves that some just insist upon holding (Which are growing quite annoying, thankfully my house has good sound proofing. Yes Ra Ra mutant homeland and all that but, really, I must be getting older as the statement get a job is actually in my head). The idea of Illyana acting so… forthright and so… dare I say, more Tabby then even Boom-Boom (take that Tabatha! One must remember that claws are meant to be used). Hmmm… I suppose I could point Illyana in the direction of Sebastian’s returned son, although if she is sexually active then I suppose there would exist the possibility that only be a small stain would be left of the boy (to be resurrected again I suppose, but I suspect with some interesting bragging rights as dying that way would be so… male. Mental note, find ways to keep Tabatha and Illyana appart).

 

Additional note to self, if Sebastian becomes too much of a dick then I can reminded Sebastian that Illyana is rather defensive about Kitty and does appear to be have a lack of restraint.

 

But back to my concerns. If Charles has… altered Illyana in some attempt to make her better adjusted then he has failed (yet again I might add) as her behaviors are not what I’d call well adjusted.

 

Or… is this just post resurrection instability?

 

Or… is this a sign that things are not well with her?

 

Is… she free of her prior demonic influences? If yes then one would think that would be a good thing but… what if that turns out to be false. What if her self control was part and parcel of dealing with her… baser nature, and lack of that nature actually leaves her lacking self control? I.e. she no longer thinks to restrain herself, but her prior mental patterns are still there, meaning a classic nurture vs. nature situation in that her nature is changed, but the prior mental baggage is still present.

 

Or… is something missing from her? Belasco resurrected her and that did not go well for him, or for her. Have we… repeated the same mistake? Last time she was missing her soul, a pure demon. This time… lacking that demon aspect… you would think that she would be nicer? But what she is, whatever that is, is not nice. She is a:

 

Teleporter…

Swordswoman with a sword only a fool would fight…

Sorceress…

Ruler of Limbo…

 

Emma paused in her writing. Thought, then wrote a question she underlined.

 

Limbo?

 

She died… the dead don’t… rule Limbo just because they come back.

We don’t know what is happening in Limbo. Is she still in charge?

If not then who?

Nobody?

Belasco?

Or… is pure demon Illyana still around? If so… what is she/it doing and want?

Last time Darkchilde wanted… to be as she once was. Would… assume she/it still exists… want the same thing?

 

Resurrection rule… there are not allowed to be two. We don’t know what will happen, and let’s be honest it will happen, when we screw up on that. It’s not like we haven’t’ had to deal with clones before, but the history is not good.

 

Are we dealing with a plotting Magik? If so then our history of figuring out her plots is also not good. On the plus side, plotting involves being subtle and she is not being subtle at this point… unless that is meant to hid some plot?

 

If not plotting, are we dealing with crazy or damaged Magik? That actually is of more concern as crazy/damaged Magik is very scary.

 

Or… is demon Illyana still lurking out there, which is even more scary as she took down the Juggernaut with almost no effort. And… if demon Illyana still exists, is she crazy, damaged, plotting, or all the above? A condition that describes Darkchilde and the last time that happened the universe was almost destroyed just so Darkchilde could get back her soul.

 

All these situations are unanswerable at this time until I… we get more information. So… for now I will assume Illyana is simply having… issues. I shall attempt some counseling as Charles and Jean are just not the type to properly understand her.

 

Which returns to my main concern.

 

Just… who is Magik now?

Just… what is she?

 

And if it goes bad… what are we going to do about Magik?

 

 

Part48b: Another Scott phone call (Author being silly)

 

Scott rubbed his brow, this whole New Mutant space jaunt just kept getting worse. He was currently talking with Isable ‘Izzy’ Krane, Sam Guthrie’s wife. “No Izzy, I don’t know why Roberto is being such a dick. No I don’t know why he’s acting so gay for Sam. I’m sure he’s not trying to break up your family. Yes I can understand your anger at his behaviors. No we didn’t send him out there to get rid of him.”

 

A brief pause and now Sam asks an inaudible question of Scott. “No Sam, I don’t think Xavier turned Roberto gay. It could just be post resurrection obsession or depression causing his desire to connect with his best friend. No Sam, I don’t mean connect in that way, I mean socially not… that way.”

 

He hangs up with a sigh. It’s like managing cats sometimes. Then a few minutes later he gets a text from Roberto. He reads it, scowls, and texts a reply.

 

No, I don’t know if Deathbird likes chocolate.

Yes all of their hair is feathers.

Yes the Shi’ar breasts are real breasts.

Why are you asking this?

 

No answer from Roberto, and Scott really doesn’t want an answer, especially as to why Roberto was asking about Shi’ar breasts, and… hair.

 

Later… a phone call awakens him. He reaches over Jean and gets his phone from the night stand next to Jean’s bed. It’s Illyana and she asks a question that appears to puzzle him. He gives an answer. “No Illyana, human does not mean people in general, it means humans. Okay, I’m glad that you’re happy I’ve cleared that up.”

 

The phone call ends and he tosses the phone back onto the end table.

 

Logan answers from the other side of the bed (Jean has a very large bed). “That might have been a mistake bub.”

 

“In what way?” Replies Scott as he blinked away a bit more of the fuzziness of sleep. “For some strange reason Illyana wanted to make sure that Aliens are not… humans… Crap.”

 

Logan pointed out what Scott has just realized. “Mutant are not to kill Humans.”

 

Scott retrieved his phone but… no answer when he tries to call Illyana, which elicits a “Did I err?” Complaint from Scott as he ponders the implications of what he had just told her.

 

“Trying to sleep here.” Grumbles Jean as she turns over.