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Maria
Cline



Sinister Help

Okay, all characters (including Thunderbird) are property of Marvel Comics
and usedwithout their permission.  There are spoilers for March comics in this
story.  You havebeen warned.  On with the story!


Prologue:

His name is Nathaniel Essex or, as his associates call him, Mr. Sinister.  Over a hundred years ago, he was transformed by Apocalypse into an immortal.  Shortly after that, he defied Apocalypse and tried to kill him with a virus.

He failed and made an enemy, that day.

During the next hundred years, he focused first on making the ultimate weapon to destroy his former master, but also on making a few 'fun projects' on the side.  He found the components of his weapon in two unlikely places.  One place was a small town: a girl who's telepathy was very strong.  The other place was a shy little boy, who was orphaned at a young age.

In the recent years, he became more active in his pursuits for the 'ultimate weapon'.  When the girl died, he had cloned her.  He manipulated her into mating with the man.  A little boy was born from that union; his little soon-to-be super powerful mutant.  He even had him named 'Nathan' after himself.

Then, fate threw more obstacles in his path.  He managed to overcome them and his little weapon returned as a big weapon named Cable.

Ironically, he was here to destroy Apocalypse as well.  Sinister watched him carefully and tried to help out by offering Cable the chance to be free from the virus had held his powers in check for so long.  Cable refused.

The battle arrived at the turn of the century.  Sinister watched, knowing that his fate was at stake.  He didn't participate in the actual battle since he knew that it would result in his own death.

Apocalypse lived as had as the X-Men.  The only casualty of that battle was Cyclops.

Or was he?

Sinister could feel the faintest flicker of the link between Phoenix and Cyclops.  He could watch it with his mind.  He knew that there was a chance, not only to save Cyclops but to destroy Apocalypse as well.

Part One:

Sinister worked tirelessly as he constructed his DNA/mind extractor.  He had the recordings of Cyclops' DNA and brainwaves from previous encounters.  He also had Apocalypse's DNA from over a hundred years ago.  He connected the extractor to the satellite he bought recently.

*****

Apocalypse's head was wracked with pain as he listened to the screams that echoed his mind.  "Foolish mortal.  Because of you, I am still alive," he said to Scott, the former owner of the body. "I should thank your wife the next time I see her."

He was alone in his underground base, to restore his strength and to deal with the voice in his mind.  "I will break you," he said to the source of his annoying headache.

"Perhaps," Another voice said.

Apocalypse looked up to see a pale man dressed in black with glowing red eyes.  "Greetings, my former servant," Apocalypse said as he stood up.  "Your 'creations' failed and I have a new body.  I am deadlier to you than ever before."

"I am aware of that," Sinister said as he picked up a gun and aimed it at Apocalypse.

"A gun?  A gun?!" Apocalypse laughed as he fired a small red blast toward the device.  It shattered into a thousand pieces.  "A mere gun cannot destroy Me." he boasted as he grabbed Sinister by the arm and held him. "I can destroy you with a mere glance if I wished."

"I am aware of that fact," Essex said.

"You seem unusually brave," Apocalypse said.

Sinister grabbed Apocalypse by the arm and a strange glow emanated from Sinister.

"Unhand me you cur!" Apocalypse demanded as he blasted Sinister's arm off.  The disconnected arm flew off and landed.  It wasn't green ooze as it should've been.  It was mechanical looking with a series of severed wires.

Sinister grinned as he stood up.  Apocalypse felt a strange drain in his mind.  He knelt down as he blasted away furiously.  "It is too late," Sinister said. "You cannot kill me because I'm not here.  I am far away using a telepathic interface to extract that so called nuisance in your head along with some DNA."

Apocalypse felt his body starts to disintegrate as 'Sinister' reached out and blasted away.  "I will have my revenge.  I'm... an immortal."

"I will have to correct you on that," Sinister said as his remaining arm transformed into a satellite dish.  "Adieu, 'master.'"

Apocalypse roared as his body turned into ooze as he felt parts of his very DNA gets ripped out of his being.  'Sinister' bowed his head down and exploded in a bright flash.

The true Mr. Sinister turned off the monitor.  He took off the helmet and rubbed his temples. He smiled as he secretly reveled in his victory over his nemesis.  He took out a wine bottle and a glass.  He had been saving the bottle and the glass in his private storage unit for over a hundred years.

He popped the cork and poured the soft liquid down the glass.  He absorbed the faint aromas of the rare wine before he sipped it.  He didn't need to eat and drink but an occasional wine did feel good.  He drank the wine and stood up.  The celebration was done and he had work to do.

He walked over to a small pod and looked at the brainwave monitors.  The monitors beeped as a line spikes up and down in a familiar pattern.  Essex had finally regained his former project and for once the X-Men didn't know.

Part Two:

His head felt funny as he floated around in a strange sea.  He couldn't remember anything.

He realized that for the first time in what felt like an eternity, he was alone.  Apocalypse wasn't fighting him.  Scott wasn't even in the same place as Apocalypse was.

He tried to reach out only to realize that he had no hands, no body.  He didn't really care for some odd reason.  He could barely think.

He tried to figure out what happened.  He wasn't sure if time passed.  He couldn't help but try to imagine what was going on with the rest of the world outside of this odd place.

Slowly, he could feel a body forming around him; first a chest then stubs for legs and arms.  The stubs slowly extended to full length and on the ends hands and feet were formed.

He tried to reach out with his hands and found his arms refusing to act.  Still, he was starting to feel some sensation.

Sounds started to come to his newly formed ears.  They were muffled but they sounded like voices and there was a low beautiful sound that sounded almost like music.  He strained to hear, to understand where he was.

His body had grown to its former proportions.  He could feel his skin stretching and something had grown attached to his stomach.

He felt eyes formed.  He paused.  He opened them.  He wasn't sure if he had his optic blasts anymore.  He looked around to see a constant green all around him.

He felt a mouth forming and lungs within him almost breathing.  He was in water and yet he wasn't drowning.  Teeth slowly and yet with no pain make it's way through his gums.

Gradually, his hands and legs started to obey him.  He reached out and felt a smooth surface.  He pounded on it.

Time passed slowly.  He pounded futilely at the smooth surface out of anger and boredom.

A crack slowly formed along the surface that he could see.  It was faint at first, but it drew and branched out like a root beneath the surface of the earth.

A smile formed along his lips for the first time in a long time.  He pounded harder and harder, ignoring the pain he felt.  The crack grew larger and larger until the entire 'wall' was covered in a spider web of cracks.  The wall shattered and finally he fell through.

There was a flash of light.  He felt a sudden overwhelming gagging sensation as he vomited the green slime.  He began to cough violently as he drew in huge gasps of actual air.  He tried to get up only to slump back down.  Coherent thoughts formed in his mind.  His eyes only picked up blurs from everywhere.

He rubbed his eyes with his slime-covered hands to focus them.

"Ah, I see you finally broke out.  Welcome back to the living, Scott," a smooth voice said.  It had a faint English accent and it was too familiar.

Unable to speak, Scott managed to blink away the blurs and standing there was the man who had made his life a living hell ever since he was a child.  "Sinister," he managed to rasp.  Scott stared at Sinister and realized his powers were still gone.

"Save your strength." He ordered, "You are in no condition to fight me.  And stop looking at me like that.  I saved your life."

Scott looked down and remembered how he and Apocalypse were one person.  His lungs were still getting used to breathing actual air and his throat was still weak.  "You... separated... us?"

"Yes, I did," he gestured to Blockbuster and said, "Take him to get him cleaned up.  We will spend some time together."

*****

After he got cleaned of the slime that had given him life, Scott was laid on the table with nothing to cover his newly formed body.  He lay on the table as he tried to call through his rapport with Jean.  He couldn't feel anything through the rapport or even if there was a rapport.

"Hello, Scott."

Scott turned his head and glared at him.  He still felt so weak from what happened in the chamber.  His throat still felt raw from the vomiting. "What did you do?" he asked in a whisper.

"I separated you from Apocalypse and killed him.  My grandson nearly did the job, but he was stopped.  Oh well.  If you want a job done right..."

Scott rose an eyebrow in confusion for a second and then he scowled.  "He's not your grandson."

"Why not?  I am Madelynn's father and he was named after me.  I have no time to try to discuss it with you.  Do you know how long has it been since you and Apocalypse became one?"

"About... three months?" Scott tried to guess remembering his time away from civilization and the time that he was in that place.

"A year."

Scott's eyes widen in astonishment.  Had he really been away for a year?  What happened to his friends and family?  Are they still alive?  "A year?" Scott asked in disbelief.

"Yes, I separated you two approximately six months ago and it took you another six months to regrow in my lab.  No, you're not a clone.  Well, not physically.  You're my latest project.  Oh, and don't hope for the X-Men to save you this time.  They think that you're dead or still with Apocalypse.  I will release you.  Eventually."

"When?"

"It depends on how cooperative you are.  If you resist me, you will be kept here longer.  If you obey me, I will let you go."

He felt more strength as Sinister put an IV on him.  He knew that no one knew that he was alive and perhaps no one even knew that Apocalypse is destroyed.  He didn't move as the scientist inserted the needle in his body.  He could barely move his arm.  "What did you do to me to make me stay here?"

Sinister looked down at him.  "Do you truly think that I would alter you to make it less likely for you to escape?"

"Yes."

"You thought correctly.  I did alter you in a sense.  You still have your powers but I turned them off.  I also made it so if you try to escape without my permission you won't go far.  Allow me to demonstrate."

Sinister rolled Scott's bed to the window and he parted the curtains.  Rays of golden sunlight peeked out and struck Scott.  Instead of the warm glowing sensation that he would normally feel, he felt like a thousand needles pierced the parts of his body that was touched by sunlight.  "AAAAAARRRRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!" He screamed as he tried to block the sun away from his face with his arms.

Sinister pulled the curtains back.  The pain stopped and Scott took a few deep breaths.  "As you can see, I made your skin very sensitive to ultraviolet radiation," Sinister explained, "The only way out is through the door that led to the surface.  There's a great deal of sunlight out there."

"What about my powers?" Scott demanded wondering how he could power his optic blasts without the light of the sun.

"They are powered by a different source of energy.  It is due to the other DNA I have embedded in you.  I have explained too much right now.  I suggest you rest.  We will be very busy."

Scott just stared at him glaring.  "No.  NO!!!" he yelled as he lunged away from the bed and tried to attack Sinister with a rusted piece of pipe.

Sinister grabbed Scott and held him by one arm.  "I told you to be more cooperative," he said, "You are making it harder for yourself."  He took a needle in his other hand and Scott felt a stab of pain and a darkness slowly surrounded him.

"No." Scott murmured as he went limp.

Part Three:

Day seven:

Dear Jean:

Sinister is letting me keep this journal to record my thoughts and my progress while I'm recovering from my 'resurrection'.  I'm writing this in Askani so only a few people can actually read this.  I don't know why he's letting me do this.  Whatever the reason, I'm glad because this is close to actually talking to you.  I miss you.  I miss you and the team and even my optic blasts.

I lost my optic blasts because Sinister 'shut them off' temporally.  I just want to get out of this place.  I tried to escape several times despite the fact that I can't stand the sun anymore.  I tried to escape at night but I can't tell when is night.  Sinister would drug me when I don't cooperate.  I'm not even sure if I'm here for a week.  I didn't know when I woke up or how long I've been knocked out.  At least Sinister let me wear some sort of clothing during my Ďstayí.  Itís just a bunch of rags that I donít want to know where they came from.

It had been a week (I think) since I had recovered and it had took me this long to relearn my fine motor skills.  I can now write without trouble or pain.  I can now stand on my own but walking is still difficult for me.  Sinister had started chaining me to the bed when I started to try to sneak out at night.  I feel better at night and I found out I feel stronger then.  I can't get out without suffering the effects of the sun and I need my powers back.

What are you doing right now?  Do you find comfort in another man's arms now?  Are you still wearing the wedding ring?  And which hand do you wear it?  The left to show that you believe that I'm still alive or the right to mourn me?

I remember exactly what it was like to lose someone close.  I lost you on the moon.  At least, I thought I did lose you.  I wish I could just let you know that I'm fine.  Well, fine for someone who is being held captive by a supervillain without my powers.

I'm thinking of ways to get out or at least gain contact with you.  I don't know how I can do that but I will try.  I won't say how since Sinister will try to find out and stop me.

So far, none of Sinister's minions have hurt me yet.  Mostly due to the fact that Sinister told them that if they hurt me, he'll kill them in the slowest and most painful way possible.  That gave them some incentive.  I mostly keep my distance from them.  That is hard since I was guarded constantly by either a Marauder or Sinister himself.

I try to find out as much as I can about what had been going on.  I am not allowed on the Internet since I could communicate that way.  They do let me read the newspaper and watch the television.  I try as hard as I can to separate the truth from the media.  I never really noticed how hard it is to figure out the truth that is hidden by media.

I saw you along with the others.  I thought that I saw Nathan with you but he looked different.  Mr. Sinister told me that while I was gone.  The High Evolutionary robbed the world of mutant powers and Nathan got powerless.  The TO virus took over him completely.  The experience caused him to deage slightly and makes him my age.  He didn't explain to me why that occurred but I like it like that.  At least my son is not old enough to be my father anymore.

Anyway, Sinister is injecting something in me every day.  He didn't tell me what the substance is or what it will do.  He did reveal that he had laced another mutant's DNA in me while I was forming.  He insists that it won't alter my appearance.

I don't believe him.

I will regain control of my optic blasts but I can never expose myself to the sun.  Sinister made me so vulnerable to the ultraviolet rays that the smallest ray causes me too much pain.

I'm stopping now.  I miss you.  I love you.

Scott Summers

***

Day fourteen:

Dear Jean:

Has it been a week already, Jean?  I'm sorry I haven't written to you yet.  Well, Sinister is right so far.  I haven't changed physically.  I still have my brown hair and eyes.  I still look human.  I haven't shrunk or grown noticeably yet.

What does Sinister have planned for me?  I asked him once and he said that I will know soon.  I still didn't regain my optic blasts but I'm getting stronger.  I can now run as fast as I could before.  I can also do flips and jumps that I never could do with such grace before.  That must be due to the different DNA that Sinister laced in me.

Maybe I can use my newfound agility to escape him.  He might already knew about it even if I try to hold back my true potential in front of him.  I'm trying to learn how to get out of the nightly chains that Sinister put me in.

I miss you every day.  I try so hard to find out everything about what is going on.  The X-Men are so secretive from the public that I don't know what to do.  I never felt so blind in my life.

I keep on praying for the day that I would finally be in your arms again.  Yet, I fear that I changed from my experiences.  I have nightmares about my experiences as Apocalypse.  I can't stop feeling guilt for what I did.  I know that I tried my best but it's not enough.

Now, I owed my life to Sinister.  He saved me.  I hate him for the misery he caused for me and everyone else and yet there's this part of me that's grateful.  Thank God I'm writing this in Askanii.  If Sinister knew about this, he would take advantage of me.

I have to go.  My next session with Mr. Sinister came up.

I miss you.  I love you.

Scott

***

Day 21

The days are getting longer here.  I'm bored.

I don't know what to do here.  I've been working with Sinister, figuring out what the hell  is going on with my body, and thinking up ways to try to escape and communicate with you.

I've been failing on the last part.

The rapport is still gone.  It was either broken due to the recent events or it might've been shattered back when I became one with Apocalypse.  I still can't feel you like before.  I can still almost sense your soul.  I wish I knew what you are doing right now.

I did try to escape several times.  When Prism was guarding me as I was strength training, I smashed his leg with my barbell and made my way up to the surface.  I though that it was in the middle of the night.  It was noon when I try to make my mistake.  The sun burned my skin as I stuck my head out of the hole.  I fell back in the hole and saw Sinister standing there.

Sinister just shook his head and healed me.  Don't ask me how.  He also told me how disappointed he was in me.  I didn't give a damn about what he thought about me.

My skin is still sore and it's hard to write with.  I have to go now.

I miss you.  I love you.

Scott.

Dear Jean,

Great news!  I just regained my powers.  I'm writing right now because I just want to write it down.  Sinister finally told me that I'm well enough to handle my powers.  I have also gained complete control over my powers.  I don't need my ruby quartz glasses now.

Still, it means that I owe Sinister more now.  He also told me that I have new powers based on the DNA he laced in me.  When I asked him again whose DNA I have now, he told me to look into the mirror.

I did and I was shocked.  I'm still shocked.  I look in the mirror and my eyes have changed.  They look so different and I look so different because of them.

They're red on black.  I have Gambit's DNA.  That must be the reason why I am so fast and agile.  I can feel a strange sensation in my hands and the rest of my body.  It must be the unique bio-kinetic powers that Remy has.

I did the first thing that I wanted to do when I first saw Sinister.  I blasted him.  I blasted him hard and I blasted him good.

He laughed at me as I felt my body drained almost completely.  He told me about how that my optic blasts couldn't hurt him.  I can't hurt Sinister any more.  I just sat there was Sinister dragged me back to my little cot and lay me down.

As I lay there gaining the strength to write this entry, I wonder if I will change and how much?  I know that I won't smoke like Remy did.  Although, I would have a damn good excuse if I start smoking and drinking.  How will having another person's DNA affect me?  How much does genes affect personality?  How will you and the team react to me having Gambit's eyes and parts of his DNA?  Should I even say anything?  Yes.

Hank, Cecilia, and Moria should know about my altered DNA.  They would find out when they check me.  You might be shocked or amused. Gambit will be confused and we will have to endure the jokes.  You might like my new eyes.  You said it yourself that you found Remy's eyes 'sexy'.

How much have I changed?

I will find out soon.  Sinister is going to have me train with the Marauders.  They are allowed to hurt me in the training sessions but they still can't kill me.

Yet.  Maybe I can use those sessions to escape somehow.

I will come back to you.  I promise.  One way or another, I will come back.

I miss you.  I love you.

Scott.

***

Day 22

Dear Jean,

How long has Alex been alive?  I just watched on television the new X-Factor and there up front was Alex.  I thought he died.

Yet, there he is in a new costume fighting along with Jamie and Polaris.  Is he an alternate version of Alex or the real thing?  He intrigued Sinister but he told me that Alex isn't interesting.  That he doesn't have the potential like I do.

Bullshit.  I know that I should cross that out but I won't.

Still, how did he come back from the dead?  How did he survive that airplane explosion?  Does he miss me?

I remember visiting Alex's grave and crying.  I didn't let anyone see how much I missed him.  You know me.  Emotions are dangerous for me.  I did grieve for him despite the numerous attempts on my life.

What we have is just a bad case of sibling rivalry combined with mutant powers and mad scientists.

I hope that man named Havok is Alex.  I don't want him to be a clone.

Okay, I might as well talk about my new powers.  I can still fire my optic blasts but they are different.  They now have a greater degree of control that I never experienced before.  Not even when we were raising Nathan in the future.  I managed to fire an optic blast of a millimeter diameter.  That is the finest degree of control I had ever encountered.

Also, when Scalphunter fired his gun at me I grabbed a sheet of metal and tried to charge it.  It glowed red and the bullets bounced off of the sheet.  I also tried to charge up a card left over from a poker game (like Gambit did) and toss it.  It didn't explode but it did slice through Arclight's arm.  It didn't kill her.  It did make her very mad at me.  It didn't matter since Sinister would just clone her again.

I tried to sneak a small piece of glass with me when I went to bed.  When Sinister put his chains on me, I waited till I was sure that he wasnít there to make another escape attempt.  He didn't put any power restrictions on me yet.  He did put a special blindfold on me that I couldn't blast off the chains.  It might've been because he wanted to see if I could escape.  I used my power to enhance the piece of glass without enhancing the chain around my wrists.  The piece of glass could be enhanced to be harder and work like a pick.  I chipped away slowly and painfully.  I could feel the edge of the glass cut into my skin.  My hands were more graceful and thin.  Maybe I got that from Gambit too.  Finally, I felt the chain around my wrist break and I took off my blindfold.  I blasted off the rest of my chains and got out.

For that second, I thought that I would be in your arms tonight.  I ran toward the door carrying a blanket with me just in case that it was daytime.

That was when I got blasted.  Sinister had been waiting for me to try to escape.  He gave me another tranquilizer and I just woke up with an inhibitor collar on.

Maybe, I can kill a Marauder and try to escape.  No.  I don't kill.  That is what Sinister would want me to do.

I know now why the Marauders are so fearless.  They knew that they will be back for round two or three or whatever.

I think there's something wrong with me.  I'm starting to consider the Marauders to be okay.  I can even relate to some of them.  A smarter person would just erase the last part but I won't.

I'm tired now.  I haven't trained like that in a long time.  I did exercise while I was here but I haven't used my powers in a long time.  I forgot the drain it caused when I used them.

I better go.

I miss you.  I love you.

Scott.

***

Day 30

Dear Jean:

I haven't written to you in so long.  I'm so sorry.  It's just that I did something and I didn't want to write it down.  I might as well say it.

I killed a Marauder.  I know that they could be cloned back to life but still....

It's just that every day I feel so angry and that I wanted to kill all of them and go home.  I was training with the Marauders as usual and Blockbuster was calling me the 'little Sinister boy'.  I hated that.  I hated them all.

I blasted him.  I blasted him hard.  Then, I grabbed a long piece of metal.  It was long and pointed so it was like a primative sword.  I poured my energy into my makeshift sword.  It blazed red as I make it sharper and stronger.  You should've seen it.  I took my 'sword' and slash him to itty-bitty pieces.  There was blood everywhere and I got sick when I realized that I was the one who caused the mess.

The others applauded and Sinister looked so... pleased.

Am I turning into one of them?  I know that Blockbuster will be cloned back to life but I felt so... good after I got sick.  I even managed to get rid of the corpse and dump it in the sulfuric acid.  I finally showed them that I'm not a wimp.  I am one of the strong.  Did I just write that?

God, it's getting worse.

Maybe it's because I've been spending so much time with them or Apocalypse's 'influence' had finally caught up with me.  I have to get out before I lose it.  Now, I'm really scared.  I don't want to be a monster.

I'm getting better power-wise.  I found out that I can 'enhance' cloth and make it into a shield.  Maybe I can start wearing a cape when I come back.  Or a long flowing cloak.  I know that a cape isn't exactly good for a mutant superhero.  I've been trying for the past half-hour to think up mutant heroes with capes and all I thought up was Ororo and Justice.  Actually, Justice changed his costume while I was gone.  Or if the edges of the cape are weighed slightly, I could use it as an offensive weapon.

I just want to come home to you and the others. I'm so tired.  I'm just so damn tired.

I miss you.  I love you.

Scott.

*****

Scott woke up from his cot to realize that the restraints he was forced to sleep in are gone and he saw Sinister standing there.  "Sinister." he said in a neutral tone.

"You may leave," Sinister said.  He placed a pair of blue jeans, a matching T-shirt, a pair of shoes, and a pair of ruby quartz glasses in his lap.

Scott blinked and shook his head. "What?  Just like that?"

"I said that you may leave.  I have all the data I need.  For now."

"You made me into a killing monster." Scott said as he snatched the items and picked up his journal.

"I did not.  I saved you."

"Yes, you did," Scott said, "Thanks."

"Remember, you owe me." Sinister said as he grabbed Scott's shoulder and a blinding light surrounded them.

Part Four:

Scott woke up in a small alley.  He was wearing the clothes that Sinister gave him.  He looked up to see the stars and the moon shining brightly.  They were semi-dim due to the artificial lights and the surrounding buildings.

"Freedom," he whispered, as he got out of the alley.  He knew that he had until dawn to get to contact the others.  If he waited too long, he would have to go around in the dark smelly sewers and he had been in dark places too long.  The wind felt so refreshing against his face as he inhaled deeply.  He closed his eyes and reached out with his mind and his heart to Jean.  There was silence.

"Damn it.  Might as well do it the old fashioned way." Scott said as he ran to a nearby telephone booth and nervously looked in his pockets.  He had no money.  With shaking hands he dialed a collect number.  **Please, God, don't let them be out saving the world tonight and please let them accept this call.** he prayed.

*****

Warren Worthington III heard the phone ring as he and Betsy came home from a late date.  He picked it up wondering who it could be.  "Hello?"

There was a computer sounding voice on the other end.  She said, "There is a collect call from..." then a familiar voice stuttered out, "Scott Summers", "do you accept the charges?"

Warren's heart froze in his chest.  The voice and the name matched.  He knew that the voice either belonged to one of his best friends, one of his greatest enemies, or some sick joker who will be severely injured.  "I- I accept." he managed to gasp out.

"Hello?"

"Scott?" Warren asked.

"Warren?  Is that you?" The voice on the other end asked.

"Scott?" Warren asked, as his heart began to pound against his chest.

"Yes."

"How?" Warren asked as he gestured to Betsy to come closer to her.

"I can't say over the phone."

Warren's face turned into a very pale blue.  "Is it really you?"

"Yes.  It's _me_.  I'm free."

"Warren?" Betsy asked wishing she could hear his thoughts as Warren's face turned paler.  Her telepathy had been sacrificed to hold the Shadow King at bay in her mind.  Even without her telepathy, she could still tell that something was disturbing Warren.  She shook his shoulder as Warren's body shuddered.

"It's him." Warren muttered as he looked down at the phone as beads of sweat trickled down his face.

"Who?"

"Either Scott or Apocalypse pretending to be Scott." Warren replied as he started to shake.

"Scott!?" Betsy asked.

"It could be Apocalypse," Warren reminded.

"Hello?" the voice on the other end asked getting Warren's attention.  "I'm not Apocalypse.  Please, it's me, Scott.  Your old teammate; the one you use to fought with for Jean's affection?  Don't tell me you forgot all about me already!"

Betsy ran off to wake the others as Warren sat down with the phone still in his hand.  "Are you sure?" he asked.  He slapped himself on the head.  "Dumb question," he muttered.

"Yes." the voice replied almost laughing, "Do you think that Apocalypse would try to contact the X-Men by a _pay phone_?"

Warren remembered the time when he was under Apocalypse's control.  It was hard for him but he did snap out of it.  It was possible for Scott due to his classical stubbornness and pure will power that had kept him under control to break free if he survived.  "No... or maybe.  You never know." he said suspiciously.  Scott was joking almost too freely.  But he couldn't keep a faint note of hope that another dead X-Man had 'gotten better'.

"Please, pick me up.  I just want to come home.  You can have Hank and the others check me," the voice begged.

Betsy returned with Rogue and Gambit, the current leaders of the X-Men.  She also brought Logan, Nathan, Hank, Kurt, Kitty, Pitor, Ororo and Cecilia.  Warren noticed that Jean wasn't among the group.  He knew that _if_ this is Apocalypse, he didn't want Jean to be manipulated into helping Apocalypse again.  "Where are you?" he asked, as he saw the group staring at him.

"Ummm... the corner of Davis Street and Claremont Avenue," Scott replied, "Can you please hurry?  You know how dangerous New York is for a 'deadly mutant'."

"Sure.  I'll be there," Warren said, not wanting to let him know that anyone else will be tagging along for security.

"Great.  Oh, and Warren?"

"Yes?" Warren asked.

"Is Alex really alive?  I saw him on the news and I wasn't sure if that was him."

"Yes, that was him.  I... will see you."

"Thanks," the voice said, as there was a long pause and finally the dial tone.

Warren sighed in relief.  "Well?" Gambit asked as Warren released the phone breathing in huge breaths.

"He's at the corner of Davis Avenue and Claremont." Warren replied.

Cable's eye glowed as he held his psimatar in his techno-organic hand.  "Let's go," he said, with an unusual amount of eagerness in his voice.

"Anxious to see yer dad again or are you anxious to kill Apocalypse once and for all?" Logan asked.

"Both," Nathan replied.  Everyone felt the same way.

"Okay, we'll need to take as many people as possible." Remy said seriously, "Did anyone tell Jeannie?"

Nobody had.

"Good," Remy said, "If it is Apocalypse, we don't want her to lose it.  Where is she?"

"She's off visiting her parents," Ororo replied, "We better contact Havok.  His unique body makes him invulnerable to Scott's or Apocalypse's optic blasts."

Alex had arrived about a couple of months ago.  He was in an alternate universe until the X-Men arrived there to deal with a danger to their universe.  Havok left that universe reluctantly and had reformed X-Factor.  He is still considered legally dead by the Government so he was free to do what he need to do.

"Okay," Remy said as he tries to maintain a leader-like position. "Go ahead and contact Emma at the Academy.  We'll need all the telepaths we can get."

*****

It was quiet on the Blackbird as the group of X-Men anxiously waits either a tearful reunion or a deadly battle.  "So," Cable asked, "do you think that Slymm could be alive?"

"Slymm?  Oh right.  Cyclops's nickname in Askani."  Thunderbird said.  Thunderbird was the newest member of the X-Men.  He didn't know anything much about the 'deceased' Cyclops except that he was beloved by many people and mourned.

"Sort of," Cable said as he stared out of the window.  He wanted Jean to come if it was Scott.  She missed him dearly.  But if it were Apocalypse fooling with their hearts, it would be best if Jean were not to know.

"Is it right to not let Jean know?" Bobby asked, "I mean, she didn't like it when we had to break what's left of the link several months ago."

They broke the remains of the link when Professor X thought that Apocalypse might corrupt Jean into being Dark Phoenix.  They felt that the Apocalypse must've kept the remains of the link when he killed Scott.  At least, they hoped that he was dead.

"We had no choice," Hank said.  "We didn't want to lose two good friends."

"It could be him," Bobby argued as he glared at Hank's device.  Hank had been working on a containment unit for deadly Omega class mutants for a long time.  It was soon to be used for the first time.

Hank sighed and nodded.  "I know.  I would love to just toss things in the wind but we still must consider that this might not be our former fearless leader."

"For once, I hope you brought that thing for nothing."

"As do I."

*****

Scott sat patiently on the bench as he tried to make himself as little of a target for a mugger as possible.  He looked toward the east to see if any of the sun's rays were coming up yet.  Fortunately, it was still too dark and he was safe for now.  He put on the glasses to hide his 'mutant looking' eyes from any one passing by.

A fog slowly swept it's way around him yet it avoided the main road.  As if it had a will of it's own.  "Ororo," Scott said as he looked around.  The fog obscured his vision and he was blind.  Wind started to whip around him as Scott clutched his glasses to keep them on.  The very cold chilled him as he tries to stay warm.

He could see the fog clear to reveal Emma, Cable, and Nate Grey.  He immediately noticed that Jean was nowhere nearby.  "Where's Jean?" he asked.  He felt an odd drain on him as he looked behind him to see Alex blasting him.  However, it felt as if Alex was draining him instead of blasting him.  Scott had heard about Alex being able to draw out energy to power his blasts from other energy-wielding people like the Hulk.  But he had never actually saw such a feat done until now.

"She's not here.  Don't worry, she just doesn't know," Alex explained as Scott felt three telepaths scanning his mind with vigor.  He screamed in pain as they ripped through his mind searching and scanning for any sign of Apocalypse or any other tinkering.  He had dealt with Psi attacks in his career as an X-Man, but never had he been forcefully scanned by three very powerful telepaths before.

Darkness overcame him as he fell to the ground.

*****

He had a splitting headache as he slowly opened his eyes.  Standing over him was Cable, Hank, Cecilia, and Moria.  He turned his head to Cable and whispered, "Have you ever heard of overkill?  That was one of the worst scans I ever had."

"I... apologize," Nathan said. "I was afraid that you were Apocalypse."

"Bullshit.  You miss me and you were afraid that I did come back.  You didn't want to think that you nearly killed your 'old man'."

"Did you just say 'bullshit'?" Hank asked as he looked at the monitor.  Everyone else blinked and looked at Scott wide-eyed.

"Yes," Scott said. "What's wrong with that?  That is an appropriate term and there are no minors or little old ladies in here."

"Nothing, lad." Moria said, "I wasn't expecting you to talk like that."

"Where's everyone else?" Scott asked as he tried to get up.

"Outside," Cecilia replied.  "Warren left to get Jean."

"Do I pass?" Scott asked wearily. "I know that you don't trust me due to what happed when I... was gone.  And Logan probably smelled something 'sinister' on my clothes."

"You passed," Hank replied. "We tested you for any possible booby traps, any subconscious messages that could turn you into a blood thirsty killer, oh and any genetic manipulations.  Nothing deadly."

Scott sighed in relief as Hank helped him up.  "That's good."

"However, I am concerned with the DNA tinkering that our mad scientist had bestowed upon you," Hank said.

"You mean about de DNA Sinny laced in Moi?" Scott asked in a fairly good Cajun accent watching the confused looks on Cecilia, Hank, Moria and especially Cable's faces.  "It's a joke.  I know about the DNA."  He said as he smirked.

"Okay." Hank said, "You must stay here for a while.  By the way, I notice a great deal of unusual alterations to the skin.  I read your 'diary' with Nathan's help.  Forgive me.  But is it true?"

"Yes.  Can you help me?"

"Nae," Moria said, "It's an odd case of Xeroderma pigmentosa.  I never saw anything like it before.  We might be able to create some special equipment to help you deal with the sun without special wardrobe."

Scott looked around to see for the first time that the lab's windows were closed off.  The med. lab windows were always designed to be able to close off tightly for a light sensitive experiment or subjects who are very photosensitive.

"How do you feel?" Cecilia asked as Scott took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes.

"Fine.  I'm just happy to be home." Scott said as he put his glasses back on. He looked up when he felt a strange presence with his soul.  "She's here." He said as he slicked his hair back and tried to straighten himself out.

*****

Jean scowled at Gambit as she waited outside of the med. lab doors.  He looked back and give his best, 'Sorry, Chere, we were just looking out for you.' pose.

She didn't forgive them for keeping the phone call from Scott a secret.  She had a right to see him first.  Now, she was a step away from seeing him after so much pain and agony.  She didn't want to reach out telepathically yet.  She wanted to see him first with her own eyes.  Feelings and thoughts flashed in her mind along with questions of uncertainty and doubt.  How much did Scott change?  Did he remember anything that occurred in the battle?  What if he hated her for saving Apocalypse to save him?  How did he come back?  Does he still love her?

She wrung her hands with uncertainty.  Why is she so scared?  Is this how Scott felt when he saw her after Phoenix's death?  She still got it easier since she didn't marry anyone who could be Scott's clone.

 "I have been waiting for this moment for a long time," Jean admitted to herself, "I knew that he was still alive and I was right.  I'm going in."

She bravely walked through the med. lab doors and saw him.  She knew about the others in the room but all she saw was him.  He wore a set of dirty clothes that looked damp from the rain.  His hair was shoulder-length and looked unkempt.  He seemed pale and thin.  It was the most welcoming sight she had ever seen.  "Jean," he whispered, with a faint but warm smile on his face.

"Scott," she said as she came closer hoping that it wasn't a dream or an illusion.  The room became silent as she slowly walked toward the bed.  The monitors and the surrounding thoughts seemed to stand still as she finally stopped just in front of him.

They stared at each other with almost questioning looks.  Each looking over the other to see how much the other had changed over the long time.  Finally, he lifted his hand to feel her long red hair.  She responded by reaching out to feel his face.  Wordlessly, they embraced each other with tears and love as they kissed and held each other, almost afraid to let go again.  Neither of them remembered the others in the room.

"Let's leave these two alone," Hank said as he silently wiped away some tears that started to flow through his furry face. "They have a lot of catching up to do."

The others nodded and one by one they left.  Cable was the last one to exit.  He looked over his shoulder and fought the tears of happiness that threatened to overwhelm him.  He still had a tough man image to uphold.  He closed his eyes and walked out.

Fin?

Other Stories By Maria Cline

 


Still Here
[1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

Am I Getting Through To You?
[1] [2] [3]

Aftermath
[1] [2]

X-Men In Pokeworld
[1] [2]

Conversation Between Naps

Sinister Help

Sinister Reactions

Duality
[1]



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