Sat, 8 Sep 2001|
Ana Lyssie Cotton email@example.com
[X-Women] The Whole Story, 1/1, R
Disclaimers: At the end, just for the hell of it.
This is a very screwy, fragmentary thing. So, if you're not up to complexity, be wary. I have no clue if it works. It just seemed a good idea at the time.
The section titles are the songs off Kate Bush's The Whole Story. Hence, the fic title. Rating: Rish
Dedication: This one is for several people, because I love them all dearly. Mitai, Lynx, Brookie (hee!), Alicia Mc, PerK, Times, Kales, Kosling... *smile* Thanks.
I would also like to note that, by the end of writing this, my hair was a complete and utter mess.
The Whole Story
It began on winding, wind-swept plains. The cold so harsh it cut through everything, nesting into her bones and setting them aching deeply. Trees in the distance waved in the wind, forlorn and nothing but branches, they caught the eye.
A moment later, and she was standing near them, searching for anything to start fire with.
It was so cold.
A hamster would have frozen in an instant, she thought incongruously.
The purple of the moor didn't really inspire thoughts of tiny housepets, though.
A crackle of sound brought her around to face--nothing. Just more wind-swept plains and a few scrubby trees. The landscape was beginning to irritate her. It never ended, going on and on forever and a day.
Until the sun set in the distance. Which had to be west, since the sun didn't set in the east.
She shook her head, trying to make sense of that.
The sun set in the west, she sometimes watched it from her window in the Academy building. Watched it through the eyes of a few students, too. Sometimes she even watched it through Sean's eyes as he flew happily through the air.
He may not have wings, but the man did love freedom.
Light flashed in her eyes, and she shaded them. She'd been wrong. The sun was now in the middle of the sky. A balmy noon, during summer.
The plain had disappeared, leaving her standing in a corn field. The stalks rose towards the sky, barely waist-height. They drank in the light, as did she, eyes closed. Thoughts stilled, simply enjoying the moment.
As quickly as the warmth had come it disappeared, leaving her standing on an air strip. Planes landed nearby, their engines cycling loudly through the phases. Men and women ran around, cutting cables, docking fuel cells, tying wing flaps. She shook her head, confused.
Reason had apparently long gone away. It wasn't in Emma Frost's nature to ignore opportunity, however. She reached out carefully with her mind and plunged into the head of the nearest soldier.
::///flash of shock:://
The world dipped sideways, pain shattered her senses, sound deafened her, cold under her cheek startled her. Concrete. Cold.
She shivered, trying to wrap her arms around herself.
The grass smelled sweet. Under her cheek, it scratched and she slowly moved, sitting up, arms still wrapped around herself.
Snow fell nearby, decorating the green grass with a dusting of white. A picture worthy of Norman Rockwell. Even the barn that lay beyond the snowfall was perfect for a Saturday Evening Post front page.
"Hello?" Her breath came out in a cloud of mist. It hovered for a moment before dissolving into tiny icicles that tinkled as they fell to the ground.
Emma cursed under her breath causing another cloud of icicles, this one shaped like tiny X's.
She wasn't normally this out of it, was she?
The scene changed again, introducing a geyser of ice and snow. She dropped, wrapping her arms around her head and was caught up in the avalanche, tumbling over and over before it finally stopped by dropping her into an ice-cold lake.
She surfaced with a quiet scream, the cold numbing her fingers immediately and setting to work on her legs and arms. Her chest felt wrapped in an iron band as she fought to breathe the super-cold air and stay afloat.
An ice floe bumped her in the side, and she turned to stare at it.
The shark grinned. The black eye she could see was flat and unhelpful as she froze, trying not to attract attention.
Being faced with the gaping maw of a great white shark would probably have terrified many people. But Emma Frost was not many people. She stared it down, mind working frantically to force its way into the tiny brain and send it away.
Of course, being a telepath has its disadvantages. If she'd been a telekinetic, she could have shoved it away.
If she'd been a pyromaniac, she could have burned it. Control of the weather would have had her flying high above the damn thing. Ice... If she'd controlled ice, she could have frozen it.
A shiver escaped her.
Shark brains are difficult to touch, much less control. Emma reflected philosophically as the thing bit down, severing a leg. At least it wasn't really happening.
It couldn't be, after all, she decided as the pain began radiating up from the severed limb.
This was just a dream.
And she could wake herself up. Right?
It was happening again.
Things were changing, and she didn't like it.
Kitty Pryde slammed another fist into the punching bag, then followed it up with a high kick.
Something good was about to happen, but there would be something to stop it. It happened all the time. She joined the X-Men? Her parents divorced. The Professor was returned, at last? She got demoted to the Junior X-Babies.
It was not happening again.
A roundhouse kick split the bag down the side, and stuffing and sawdust spilled all over the floor.
Hearing her own voice for the first time in hours, she jumped. Talking hadn't seemed like something to do, in this odd fugue state. She stared at the clock, realising how long it had been since she'd started this workout.
It couldn't have been that long. Could it?
The time echoed in her mind, and she blinked as the training room suddenly undulated, as if it was made of some pliable material.
The walls melted inwards, leaving her standing on a mountaintop. A tiny village beckoned at the foot, and she stared it for several minutes before deciding to head down to it. Not that this happened all the time, of course.
But things always changed, and she *always* ended up the worse for it.
Dark thoughts, selfish thoughts, horrible feelings of inadequacy... Kitty felt them, and wondered if she always would. A stone caused her to trip and fall and she was suddenly hanging in open air, falling down a mountain.
The world shifted underneath her.
Instead of falling, she floated in open space the darkness filling her eyes, searing into her soul. She fought against it, tired of it. It filled her so, but it wasn't hers, it didn't belong to her.
There would be better things, better days. There had been. She shook her head, wondering why she hadn't died in the airless environment. After all, you'd expire after 30 seconds in open space.
And your life was supposed to flash before your eyes, she thought in amusement.
One of the stars flashed, and she found herself drifting towards it faster and faster. Eventually, she was swallowed by it, tumbled into its depths, where she felt safe.
She wondered if this was how Jean Grey had felt, full of the Phoenix. If this was how Ray had felt. Both of them had shared something special.
Her eyes drifted closed on those thoughts, sleep filling her calmly.
Waking, she fell into a fighting stance, crouched for the next blow. The man across from her crooked his lips slightly. "You're quick, gel."
There was no answer from her as she studied him. Dark hair fell over his forehead, almost obscuring the intense blue eyes that lurked there. Shadows surrounded them, pain, anguish, torment. "Pete."
"Got it in one, love."
He'd never called her that. Not in all the time they'd been together. Her eyes narrowed and she stepped towards him. "Pete, what are you doing here?"
"Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Sorry for the rough wake up, love."
"Uhuh." Just moments before, she'd been flying through stars. Now she was staring at a man claiming to be her ex-lover. Something was VERY fishy.
He started to reach out to her, then stopped as she instinctively stepped back. "Well..."
"It's not you." She turned away from him and headed towards the door, "I just need--"
The room changed, going from squalid-apartment to empty auditorium stage in less than a heartbeat. She whirled, Pete was gone. So was the door, the window, the star--the stage melted away, too, leaving behind grass and darkness. Crickets chirped in the summer air, happy to be useful to create ambience.
"What the hell is going on?" She asked the moon above her.
It remained silent as the crickets chirped on.
A dream. This HAD to be a dream, she reasoned. Nothing changed pace this fast. Why Pete was there, she didn't know.
But she did know one thing. You could wake up from dreams.
The Man With The Child In His Eyes
"Who are you?"
The voice echoed around her. It was full of confusion and not a little fear.
"No, really, who are you?"
Now it was full of disdain and disgust. As if she'd done something stupid again.
She was always feeling stupid.
"Oh come now, you must know."
"Really, if you can't even tell me, I guess I'll just have to ignore you."
No. Please don't. I am... I....
A kid, now. He didn't sound older than twelve, if not thirteen. Might have made a good soprano.
She wasn't impressed, though.
"I said I was ignoring you, remember?"
"Who are you?"
"She kissed me, you know." The boy sounded bashfully happy. "It wasn't good, but it was her first, so I don't blame her."
The voice laughed disdainfully. "She would, wouldn't she."
"I think she was lonely--that family..." The boy's voice trailed off into silence as he noticed her.
Who am I?
"You know she can't anymore, don't you? Touching is forbidden. It's bad." The voice sniggered. "Her own fault, of course."
"Who are you?" He sounded politely curious.
Don't you know me? Didn't he? Shouldn't he?
"She's nobody, lad."
I am not.
"Are you sure? She..." He hesitated, apparently thinking deeply. "She looks so familiar."
I do? Who am I?
"She couldn't be. You've never met her--she saw to that, of course." The voice was now softly amused. As if the biggest secret of all time was known only to it.
Tell me, tell me, tellmetellmetellme!
"Don't be such a child."
He was gone, now, she realised in surprise. And the voice was changing now.
"Dear, it's not your fault, you couldn't have known."
But it was! "I..."
"I knew this would happen, Irene. I knew it." A different voice. More brisk, business-like. She knew this one, too.
"Yes, Raven." A sigh echoed. "She still loves you, though."
"I'm sure." Bitterness, now.
Someone had once told her she could be anything she wanted.
"Who am I?"
"Hush, child. It'll all be okay."
"Irene, are you sure--"
Something changed, something terrible happened.
"You can learn control."
He thought so, did he? But she couldn't. She could only hurt.
"I'm sure it will only take time."
Time she didn't have, that would never be there.
"I see her in my dreams--what have I done?"
Her own voice, startling her. Dreams?
"Who are you?"
"Rogue. I'm Rogue."
In. Out. In. Out. Control that breathing, dear. Make sure your posture is correct, dear. Stand up straight, dear.
It was like a sword, if held right, you could shave an inch off a leaf. Wrong, you destroyed everything.
Betsy Braddock preferred the simplicity of the sword. The metallic elegance curved around, shimmering as it slid through the various positions of attack and defence.
Her dark purple hair slid flawlessly out of the way as she whirled, high-cutting into the dummy standing there. Another shifted into place with a movement of gears, and she ducked, came up with the sword positioned to take off its head.
Two metallic clangs echoed in the Danger Room.
A slight smile of satisfaction crossed her lips.
"Very good," A male voice said sardonically.
She turned and raised an eyebrow at Matsu'o. "You could do better?"
"They would have landed in seven pieces."
A snort erupted from her. Very unladylike, that. "I'm sure."
"I'm wounded," he placed a hand over his heart, comically leaning back in mock-pain. "You cut me to the quick, my Kwannon."
She froze, her back stiffening, her hands clenching. The sword shook as she stared at him, clutching it like a lifeline. "What did you say?"
"Is something wrong, my love?" He moved towards her, concern in his eyes. "This is not like you."
"No, it isn't, Matsu'o." Her eyes flashed as dangerously as her sword.
"You look upset." He continued moving towards her, as graceful as a panther.
"Shouldn't I be?"
"What have I done to offend you?" He stopped moving, barely out of touching distance.
She tensed, aware of something very wrong. This man--he wasn't familiar, really. Kwannon had left her the memories, but she hadn't wanted them. She'd buried them, forgotten them. He... He shouldn't be there. And there was a reason for that.
But right now, she couldn't say why.
He stood close to her, stirring her body--Kwannon's body--as he'd done so many times before. She closed her eyes, fighting the sweet stirrings sliding through herself.
This was HER body now, DAMMIT.
Back straight, elbows just so--
She jerked as he touched her, finger grazing along her jaw.
"She's dead." Her voice was barely a whisper as she stared at him.
He blinked, "She is? Who is?"
Dead. DEad. DEAD. Consumed by the Legacy virus, her mind reaching out to Betsy's, Kwannon had died enraged. She'd been so full of anger.
Died. In Betsy's body, but not her soul.
"How sad." He smiled slightly, "Kwannon, my dear, you never had a sense of humour."
It hit her, then. The memories had been taken from her--Kwannon had given Matsu'o that gift. As they'd kissed on the cliff top, they'd been taken from her. This was all a fantasy, it wasn't real--it had to be a dream.
Dreams weren't real. Dreams were something you could wake up from.
The sword flashed brightly as she swung it at Matsu'o. His blood gushed red as he fell, skin flapping open where she'd cut him.
A dream. Just a dream.
Blood began pooling around her feet.
It wasn't the emptiness that got her. It was the sense of being alone. The feeling that there was no one around for miles and miles and miles.
Of course, she liked it that way.
No one could see her in a swimsuit. No one to laugh or point. She sighed happily and leaned back in the recliner. It was so much more comfortable than some stupid beach chair, she reflected.
She waved lazily and magnetically pulled the glass of lemonade to her lips. If there was one good thing about being a mutant, this had to be it. Being able to laze around and barely lift a finger. Contentment washed over her as she sipped the just-squeezed and sugared juice. There was nothing like a good glass of lemonade.
The sun was overhead, gently wafting down waves of skin cancer-inducing light. She ignored that little threat and enjoyed the slight breeze that tickled her bare stomach.
It wasn't often that Lorna Dane felt she could truly relax. Even on beaches that were almost empty, she caused a stir. It must've been the green hair.
Still... This was heaven.
A shadow fell across her and she opened one eye to glare at the suddenly-appearing cloud. "Not kosher, man. Not kosher."
The cloud seemed unconcerned as it continued drifting lightly across the sky.
She muttered something uncomplimentary under her breath and turned on her side, hoping the cloud would leave soon.
It didn't, merely getting darker. The sun was becomming more obscured and she glanced up, glaring. And blinked. Huge fluffy clouds were darkening over her, full of what had to be rain. The wind picked up, bringing bits of dust and sand along with it as it skittered across the empty beach.
A growl escaped her lips.
If Lorna hadn't known Storm was far, far away, she might have almost suspected the Weather Goddess of tinkering.
As it was, this was most likely natural. She sighed as the sky darkened more.
"Time to go in, I think."
The rain hit seconds after she cleared the door, lazily hoisting the chair onto the porch behind her. It pattered into the sand, stirring it into patterns. She watched in interest, since there really wasn't much else to do.
The small cottage had been abandoned and dusty when she'd found it. A quick sweeping and several smartly placed magnetic waves had seen it in shape for an occupant in search of somewhere quiet to rest.
Pitter-patter went the rain on the roof. She giggled at the fairy-taleness of the sound. Her stomach growled and she headed for the fridge. There was sure to be something to eat.
There was. A bottle of Scotch.
It was nice and smooth and went down like a cheerleader on prom night. She'd heard that somewhere, and it had caused a snicker. This time she just snorted and downed another shot.
A bit later, she realised that the bottle was almost empty. It was sad, really. It was nice stuff. She stood, carefully capping it.
Time to go see how the rain was.
Her first few steps were very careful, but she quickly gained confidence as the room stopped spinning so much. By the time she was at the door, it was almost completely sideways. As long as it wasn't moving, that was fine with her.
A soft drizzle was falling outside, inviting in its tinkling fall. She giggled and bounced out into it, not really noticing that she wasn't actually standing on the ground anymore. her magnetic powers had her floating a few inches up, avoiding any and all obstacles--including the porch steps.
The rain felt lovely, coating her in a fine mist as she danced around. She started singing, softly at first. It was an off-key rendition of a song she'd heard once.
Her voice got louder and louder as she whirled faster and faster. The rain fell harder, too, the tinkles becomming loud and almost drowning her out in their fierceness.
She fought back by screaming the last chorus out.
And froze as it echoed into a vast silence.
It might have been the inside of a deserted factory once. Now, it was just empty. Full of dust and debris that cluttered any walking space and left her wondering where the hell she was.
Her voice, soft though it had been, echoed into stillness.
This had to be a dream, didn't it? She was still in the cottage, bottle of scotch empty as she imagined being somewhere else.
She scuffed at the dust and began coughing as it swirled up into the air, choking her. It worked fast, this dust. She fell to her knees, fighting to breathe against the warm suffocation.
Hounds Of Love
The fire danced with her, flashing down to the Earth in the form of lightning. The clouds bowed to her, swirling around in a complicated manner that left her applauding their adroitness.
Wind filtered through, playing with her hair, braiding it into coronets then releasing it into a thousand snake trails and tangles. She laughed.
She was a Goddess, and the elements moved to her bidding.
As they should.
Wind, rain, sleet, snow. All came out to play as she traveled higher into the stratosphere. Laughter followed her, sheer joy filled her.
She spiralled up, then released the winds and plummeted, enjoying the speed she traveled. The ground came closer, closer, closer... Close enough to touch, almost.
A quick thought, and the winds grabbed her again, sending her back to the heavens. She laughed again.
Such power, in emotion.
The X-Men had never understood her. Never understood why she could do what she did. In the end, even Charles had fallen to her rage. She giggled softly, remembering the flickers of lightning that had danced along the mansion. Wind had torn Remy apart limb from limb. Rogue had been felled by ice as thousands of tiny pinpricks had shattered the structure of her DNA...
Storm sighed and backflipped through the air absently. Really, Henry had been a loss. His knowledge would have been useful, but...
"Goddess..." The word slipped out. Horror filled her. These were thoughts, fantasies she'd never wanted to entertain. Yet she had. Sickness wrapped around her throat, and she fell to Earth again.
And this time, the winds didn't come happily to her rescue.
This time, she woke up.
Cold floor. Wood. The taste of dirt in her mouth. Ororo Munroe whimpered at the cold.
She must have fallen from her bed. The windows felt open, too. Slowly she got to her hands and knees, feeling oddly shaky and weak.
"Goddess..." Pushing off, she teetered onto her knees, then swayed there, staring in shock around herself.
Her attic was ruined. Rain and sleet had broken all of the windows. Hail had pitted the walls, and frost had cracked most of the floorboard. Only the small section she'd been laying on had survived.
"A dream..." She'd had a dream. A terrible dream. And to get away from it, she'd done... this.
Something was on her hands. She held them into the light, trying to see it over their shaking. Finally, she just brought a finger to her lips and carefully tasted it.
And not her own, she quickly realised. There were no cuts on her anywhere. She stared at the wreckage, wondering.
Drops of blood made a trail from her position to the far corner. Carefully, she stood--almost falling again. Then she slowly picked her way over the wreckage, past the heaps of dead plants. She grimaced in pain. They'd been her children.
There was a tiny hand laying there. Whoever it was attached to was buried in the wreckage, but Storm recognised the silver ring on it. Jean.
A frenzy grabbed her and she dug into the pile, throwing wood and brick, mortar and plaster over her shoulder. Finally, she found her friend's head. Blood caked the left side, streaked with something grey and sticky. Ororo closed her eyes and wept.
This had to be a dream. She couldn't have killed Jean.
"Please, Goddess, no..."
Running Up That Hill
I want to take away that hurt.
The one that will hold them and cause them such pain. The one that will never leave some of them. They will always feel it.
I want to abolish it, make it stop, remove it.
And I can't.
Because there is no cure.
We've tried, Lord knows we have. But there is no cure for Stryfe's Legacy. He did his genetics to well. The structure refuses classification. Everytime we think we've got it, it slithers away, becomming something else.
And more will die. I know they will, because we can't stop it.
It's gotten me. And it shouldn't have.
Maybe he programmed it. Humour, yes. At this eleventh hours, I need humour.
I am dying, and there is nothing I can do to stop it.
My daughter... Rahne. Oh, my child, I wish you wouldn't have to feel this. I wasn't supposed to leave this soon.
I want to see my grandchildren.
I want to see the next generation of bright-eyed youngsters graduate, Charles.
But it won't happen.
I'll just be a sad memory to all of them. Someone they read about in their mutant history classes. Maybe one of them will be able to decipher Stryfe's codes.
Maybe one of them will cure this disease that will take billions.
But it will be too late.
I'm dying. Months, weeks... Days.
Henry seems to believe me dead already. I can read the defeat in his eyes.
I wish I couldn't.
I wish to stay alive.
But I, Moira MacTaggert, can only dream of living.
"You think you know it all, don't you."
Paige Guthrie snorted. This was an argumen she'd heard many times before. Jubilee never won. And Monet never stopped looking smug.
"Jubilation, why you persist in the ridiculous assumption that you can 'catch me' being wrong, I don't know."
"Oh, GOD." Paige hopped off the couch and glared. "Just shut up, ok? I'm so SICK of this. We're supposed to be a TEAM!"
"And how are you gonna measure up to your brother, the Team Leader of X-Force, if we don't prove ourselves worthy?" Jubilee sniggered.
Monet looked at her nails, disinterest in the line of her body. "Guthrie, it's very admirable of you to attempt some sort of reconciliation. But it will never happen while this... child is allowed to believe she is superior."
"Oh, shut up, M!" Paige whirled on Jubilee, who was snickering, "As for you, you can just kiss my ass you little brat."
"God, PMS, Paige?" Jubilee blew a bubble, "Whatever."
"Oh, shut up, M."
"This is ridiculous!"
"Why are we even having this conversation?" Paige threw her hands up in the air and stalked agitatedly across the room.
"I don't know." Jubilee shrugged and flopped onto the couch. "You're the one who got all Team Leader and shit."
"Jubilation, language, please."
The dark-haired girl sent Monet a rude gesture. "Up yours."
Paige decided tearing her hair out was not an option. For one thing, she didn't want to be bald at 16. "That's it. I can't take EITHER of you anymore!"
"Whatcha gonna do about it, Hayseed?"
"Nothing. Nothing at all."
"Well, then, why the sudden--" Jubilee broke off, startled. Paige had husked out of her human skin and into... something else. "--the hell?"
The obsidian-clad Husk casually stepped up to Jubilee and slammed a fist through her head. Monet stared, then reacted, spinning into a kick that sent Paige flying through the wall. Shaking off the chips of plaster, the dark-stoned figure smiled. "This should be fun."
"HOLD IT! HOLD IT!" Jubilee stood on the couch, glaring down at her mashed to a pulp head. "WHAT'S GOIN' ON HERE?"
"I've always dreamed of this," Paige said lazily. Her skin was back to normal as she watched the now-frozen scene in disinterest.
Monet frowned. "This is highly peculiar."
Crossing her arms, Jubilee glared at the other two. "What are you doin' in my dreams?"
"Your dreams, Jubilation?" An elegant eyebrow shot up. "Intriguing. Do you always murder yourself?"
"Well, no." The Asian girl shrugged, "But I'd like to wake up now, thanks."
Paige shook her head, "This is all wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong."
"You're tellin' me, hayseed."
"You shut up."
"Both of you be silent." Monet glared. "If this is a dream, why are we all here?"
"You're the perfect one with all the answers, you tell us." Jubilee suggested mockingly.
"We're sharing dreams." A giggle escaped Paige. "I'm drunk, you're drunk... I love you, you love me..."
Jubilee stared and slowly stepped closer to Monet. "What's up with her?"
"I'm not sure." Monet frowned. "We should be able to wake up, however."
"Right, then, M. See you on the other side."
Sat In Your Lap
Cold water sluiced down, causing her to shiver. But she didn't step out of the spray, preferring this self-punishment to others that were available.
Of course, others wouldn't see it this way.
No one ever saw her for who she really was, so they wouldn't understand.
Brian just thought she was quirky. It made him smile to see her have her own little personality flaws and bumps.
Sometimes, she dreamed of nothing.
Rachel had once told her about that place in space--where she'd been cocooned and held for the Phoenix Force to heal her injuries, to make her reborn. It had sounded so peaceful. Sometimes, Meggan wished she had been gifted with the Phoenix. Then she would see Brian and remember she already had her own version to contend with.
It wasn't that she didn't love Brian. She did. But....
There were times she hated him. Times she wished she were anywhere but in his arms, at his side.
Once, she'd gotten that wish. But she'd been so frightened she'd gone catatonic, only awakened when her beloved reappeared.
She sneered into the cold water. If he left again, she'd be fine.
A shudder passed through her as she shook off the odd mood, focussing on life, love, Brian....
The shower disappeared. A lesser woman would have been startled. Meggan merely inspected her new surroundings and wondered if one of the towels had come through with her. Not that she couldn't just shapeshift to cover her...attributes.
In a dream, this would have seemed unnatural, she decided. Of course, in a dream, she wouldn't now be standing on top of the Empire State Building.
She stared through the iron railing at New York City and wondered what day it was.
Had she let someone drug her?
Was the Inferno just over?
The Goblin Queen giggled inside of her and she shivered. Go away, go away, go away...
The Empire State fell away, replaced by an obscure Black Air research station. She stared down at it, remembering the anger and rage that had sucked it deep into the bowels of the Earth. Had she killed anyone when she'd done that?
She didn't care, but it would be interesting to know. She flew closer, staring at the cracked and scarred surface of the dome.
From inside came a soft wail and she blinked. There was someone there. Even after all this time.
How long had it been?
Inside the station, the power had gone leaving dimly lit corridors coated in dust and debris. She searched slowly, following the ever-softer cries. Past emptied cubicles and computer work stations shattered beyond repair. Twisted metal pylons and broken plastered walls. Bricks littered the doorways, along with papers and pens.
Finally, she came to a door. Surprisingly, the metal was still intact, the hinges all attached to the wall. It swung inwards with a soft push. She stepped inside, blinking in the darkness. "Hello?"
Silence answered her and she tentatively stepped further in, carefully reaching, feeling--
The emotions shattered across her mind, driving her to her knees as the assault continued. "Stop--it." She gasped, fighting it off, trying to free herself from the sudden control.
The maelstrom wrapped around her, whirling her out of control, away from herself.
From inside, she heard the laughter of the Goblin Queen.
A giggle escaped the ruby red lips.
This has to be a dream, she thought frantically.
"It's not." The Goblin Queen stood, chuckling softly. She could sense the man on the floor, now. See him for what he truly was. "Thank you."
"My...Queen..." He gasped. He was dying and he knew it.
"Yes. You shall be remembered." Her boot came down on his throat with a crunch. "For a moment."
A dream, please let this be a dream! Brian--
"I think I'll start on him first."
A featureless plain. Meggan staggered in her bare feet, hissing as the cold of the sand penetrated them. She hadn't blacked out, just... changed.
She shivered as the wind cut into her.
It had to be a dream.
"Wake up, Meggan."
"You make me sick."
"Well, you do."
Having arguments with yourself when half-awake wasn't the best way to start the morning. Of course, it wasn't Domino's fault she was still mildly drunk.
THAT had been someone else's idea.
Of course, the dance in the freezing rain had also not been the lucky lady's idea.
Neither had the 'strip everything and toss it on the way up to bed'.
On the other hand, the 'cuddle until shivering has stopped' had been her idea.
And GW had gone along with it--even if he'd been surprised.
Nate would be surprised even more.
She snickered as she fell out of bed, landing on her knees. "Ow."
A giggle came from behind her and she craned her neck around, "Tabitha?"
"Good morning, O Fearless Leader. I see you still don't have the whole early morning thing down yet." The blonde leered, "Nice... legs."
"Shut up." The dark-haired mercenary stood, half-falling, since her head still wasn't all in one piece. "Anyone else up?"
"Nah. They know you like to sleep in."
"Great." Domino smiled evilly. "Sound the alarm, I think everyone else deserves an early-morning training session."
"In the rain?"
"Yes. You want doughnuts or pancakes?"
Tabitha paused before bouncing out the door, "Blueberry."
"Right." Domino glanced at the still-slumbering man in her bed. "Think we should wake him?"
She blinked at the woman standing in the door. "Aren't you dead?"
Irene Adler chuckled softly, "Yes, dear."
"Then how are you--"
"You're dreaming." Destiny's face turned serious. "Domino, you're the only one who might be able to stop this."
"There's a sickness, a mental..." Irene groped for the words, "Something is infecting mutant women."
"What are you talking about?" Domino finished pulling on the last of her clothes.
"It's mental in nature, it seems to inhabit the dreamscape--maybe it's part of the astral plain." Frustration crossed the older woman's face, "I can't stay long, there are limits on this sort of thing."
"OK. Say I believe you. What can *I* do about it?"
Alison Blair was standing on a cliff.
It was a cliff she hadn't seen in years. It belonged to a different world, and yet it was here. In MojoWorld.
"You shouldn't smoke, you know." The voice came from behind her, softly rebuking.
She shrugged, dragged on the cigarette again. "That's what I've heard."
A sigh echoed over the cliff. "Alison..."
She whirled, throwing the Marlborough into the ground at his feet. "Shut up. Just shut up."
Longshot took a step back from her, concern marring his brow, ruffling his blond hair. He wasn't meant to look sad, she thought. That fluffy hair deserved happiness, joy. Love...
"Go away, Lucky," She said softly. "I..."
He did, turning and walking away without another word. She closed her eyes, fighting the incipient tears. It would be so easy. A mental smack turned her from his retreating back and she stared out over the cliff.
So many years seemed to have passed since she'd been a member of the X-Men. Fighting for truth, justice, and the American way. She grimaced. It had never been that simple.
Despair choked her and she fought it off, determined not to give in to it again. The last time she'd spent two months wrapped around a bottle of Scotch. This time, there would be no booze. Instead...
The cliff wavered and disappeared. Alison staggered in the gravel of the walkway. Ahead a small cottage perched in a tiny woodland grove. It was perfect. She blinked at it, then stepped towards it, wanting it.
It disappeared as quickly as the cliff had, leaving a small stone church in its wake. The bells had just tolled, the doors were closed. But there was still a small child outside of it. She had blonde hair like Longshot's, and her eyes... Alison blinked as the little girl ran towards her. "Mommy!"
A solid ball of laughing, happy child wrapped itself around her legs, and she smiled.
Blue eyes looked up at her, so like her own. "Mommy?"
"Yes?" The word was dragged from her, full of hope and smothered despair.
"Why are you sad?"
"Because you're not real." Alison found herself crying softly as she sank to her knees in front of the girl. "You're not real. You died."
Small arms slid around her and a sigh rambled through the small body. "I know. But I miss you."
"Me, too." The tears turned bitter.
For a moment she was held, then she pulled back and stared at the body of the baby in her arms. It had barely had lungs to breathe with, much less a heart to pump its blood. She carefully set the body down and stood.
Shakily, she stepped towards the church and it shimmered away.
Now she stood on a plain, the grey sand reaching out as far as the eye could see. "This is ridiculous."
It had to be a dream.
Nightmares. Coincidences. Like sands through an hour glass, things slid through the night one thread at a time. One moment at a time. Life unfolded, life died. Fire burned.
Fire bad. Tree pretty.
She was numb to it all. Locked in the middle of something she didn't understand, pulled this way and that by memories not her own.
There had been a shark, earlier. Except that hadn't been her.
And other things, other terrors, other... Not terrors? Just dealing.
Jean Grey-Summers shivered in her sleep and tried to fight back the feelings that echoed through the early morning to her. There had been something, at the beginning.
Now there was nothing but memories. That weren't hers. She tried to wake up and failed. Tried to sit up, break the connection, stop things...
A ringing echoed in her ear, distracting her like a bee buzzing. She brushed it away.
"JEAN! WAKE UP, GREY!"
The voice was rude and intruded on her sense of peace, pulled her away from the warmth of sleep. Irrationally, she fought to stay asleep. Rationally, her mind dragged her inexhorably into consciousness.
"Yeah. You're awake, right?"
"I'll let you go, then."
"Yeah?" She paused in the act of hanging up.
"Don't go back to sleep, OK?"
Of course she wouldn't go back to sleep now. Stupid woman. "Goodbye, Domino."
Jean tossed the phone at the cradle and missed. She muttered something uncomplimentary and glanced over her shoulder at Scott. He was still dead to the world, that cute little-boy smile on his face. She wished he'd get it when he was awake, sometimes. It made her sad that he couldn't. Of course, even in sleep he was still very controlled. Hardly tossing and turning.
Barely moving, in fact.
Not even breathing, in fact.
She rolled over, touching his face, his neck, his chest. He was cool and still, no pulse beating out from him. Unalive.
A dead man was sleeping in her bed.
She shuddered, scrambling backwards, and fell off the bed. And a wind caught her, slamming her through the wall.
She'd seen this before.
A purple moor, skinny spindly trees. And the ever-present wind. A strand of hair floated up off her neck, and she shivered.
"Wake up, Jean. It's just a dream. Just a dream."
Just a dream.
Disclaimers: Marvel owns them all, no money is being made, yadda yadda. In order, the sections are...
Wuthering Heights - Emma Frost
Cloudbusting - Kitty Pryde