Categories > Cartoons > X-Men: Evolution > Between Life and Death

Round Two

by slickboy444 0 Reviews

A mission gone horribly wrong leads Scott Summers to make the ultimate sacrifice to save his friends. But is he really dead? Or something more sinsiter going on? Scott/Jean, Kurt/Kitty, minor hints...

Category: X-Men: Evolution - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Angst, Drama, Romance - Characters: Cyclops, Gambit, Iceman, Jean, Magneto, Mystique, Nightcrawler, Rogue, Shadowcat - Published: 2006/02/28 - Updated: 2006/02/28 - 6514 words

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Between Life and Death
Chapter 18: Round Two


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All throughout the institute, the sound of the alarms blared for all to hear as the Nasty Boys passed the initial boundaries of the institute and made their way through the elaborate security system that dotted the land. But despite these precautions, they did little to slow down the five determined mutants and Gorgeous George and Psylock took the lead and used their powers of strength and psionic blades to blow away the mini-laser torrents and net launchers. Following close behind were Ruckus, Vertigo, and Emma Frost who was keeping tabs on all the minds she could sense through her telepathy.

"They are all on full alert," informed Emma, "We should face their counter attack at any moment now!"

"Goody..." grinned Ruckus, "I hope they brought their ear plugs."

Down in the infirmary, the Brotherhood was still at Wanda's bedside when all the alarms started going off. Knowing it had to be something major, the four of them rushed out of the doors to the intensive care area just in time to see Wolverine making a mad dash through the halls with a look of animalistic rage in his eyes.

"Hey badger boy! What's going on?" shouted Lance over the alarms.

"The institute's under attack!" answered Logan, "And whoever they are they're gonna wish they stayed home this morning!"

"Under attack...You don't think that..." began Lance as he turned back towards the others.

"It's the same guys..." said Pietro angrily, "It has to be! They must be here to finish the job!"

"In that case I'm going up!" said Freddy, eager for a rematch against the Nasty Boys after their last brawl.

"And so am I!" said Pietro.

"Oh no yer not!" shouted Logan as he stood in their way.

"Bullshit yo!" argued Todd, just as determined for some payback against those who hurt Wanda, "After what these assholes did to Wanda, we deserve a little payback!"

"I don't blame you guys for wantin' to get back at them," said Logan despite his eagerness to get up to the fight, "But these guys targeted you all last time and the deeper you are in this place, the better. Just stay down here and guard the Scarlet Witch! We'll take care of this!"

"But..." however, Logan didn't give them a chance to finish, for he was already out of sight and on the elevator heading up to face these dangerous new foes.

Despite being ordered otherwise, Lance and Freddy prepared to follow after him, but both Todd and Pietro held them back.

"Wait guys...He's right," said Pietro, much to the surprise of the others.

"You gotta be kidding me!" said Lance, "You of all people should..."

"I know..." said Pietro, not letting him finish, for he already knew what he was about to say, "But he's right...We have to protect Wanda. If we leave her unguarded...There's no telling what they'll do when they find her. Besides, its better the X-geeks handle this anyways. They'll probably beat them a lot quicker and we don't need anybody else injured."

As determined as they were to confront the Nasty Boys again, the Brotherhood heeded Pietro's words and went back into the intensive care area where the still unconscious Wanda remained. If they went after her once, there was little reason to doubt that they would go after her again. And in her condition, she would be all too easy to handle if nobody was there to protect her.

On the surface, Gorgeous George and Psylock had cleared the way through the many security barriers which included laser guns, buzz saw launchers, and net launchers and broke down the front doors of the institute.

"Knock, knock!" said Gorgeous, "Care to come out and play kiddies?"

As soon as the doors were forced opened, they were faced with a group of combat ready X-men that included Rogue, Kurt, Kitty, Bobby, and Storm. And while they couldn't see it, both Betsy and Emma sensed Logan coming up through the elevators and Sam, Ray, Roberto, Jubilee, Tabitha, Rhane, and Amara coming from upstairs.

"Pal, you just signed yer own free ticket to the emergency room!" said Rogue.

"Yeah! I don't know who you dorks are, but you're outnumbered and outgunned here!" said Bobby as he powered up into his full ice form.

"Outnumbered yes," said Ruckus with a grin, "Outgunned...Hardly. Nasty Boys...You know what to do!"

Immediately, the five mutants scrambled in different directions just as Ruckus let out a powerful sonic yell that caused everybody to clench their ears in pain over the noise. They knew if they were to have any chance at success with this little operation, they would have to spread out the collective power of the X-men and get them to fight on their terms. They already had the home field advantage, but with the stakes this high they couldn't afford to waste time with luring them out like they would have preferred.

As planned, Emma made her way towards the elevator that led down to the lower levels with Gorgeous George not far behind. On the way, they were met with fierce opposition from Strom as she recovered from the sonic burst from Ruckus and focused her power on creating a winds storm to blow them away.

"You will not go any further!" yelled Ororo Munroe as she began to form a powerful tornado to blow the two mutants back out the door just as quickly as they had entered, however the Nasty Boys had no intention of making it easy for her.

"Don't count on it!" said Emma as she closed her eyes and focused her telepathy on the former weather goddess.

Armed with her powers, Emma created the illusion that made it seem as though an enclosed steel box formed around the hovering mutant without warning and quickly closed in on her...Trapping her.

"NO!" yelled Strom as she clutched her head from the image that caused her so much stress and anxiety, "Can't breathe...Space too small...GET ME OUT OF HERE!"

Her lapse in concentration halted her whirlwind as her claustrophobia took hold and she fell to the ground, clutching her head. In her mind, she was not sure where she was and her thoughts began to lose cohesiveness as she began to fall into a world of unconsciousness. With her out of the way, the path to the elevator was temporarily clear, but a sudden voice from in front of them stopped them.

"Not so fast bub!" bellowed an angry Wolverine as he drew his claws and began to grow into a savage berserker rage, "Yer gonna pay for this!"

"Is that supposed to scare me?" grinned Gorgeous George as he wasted no time in charging Logan with his brute strength to guide him.

In his animalistic rage, Logan was easily able to dodge the oncoming force of the super strong mutant and began slashing at him with his adamantium claws. Yet Logan soon found himself double teamed as Emma in her full diamond shell began to attack as well and draw his attacks towards her. Logan responded with several powerful slash attempts, but each merely scratched upon her extra hard diamond covering. He was fast, but Emma managed to stay one step ahead of him by sensing what he was going to do with her telepathy. However, Logan still had the strength and speed as he kept slashing and punching at Emma's tough shell while Gorgeous came up from behind and grabbed him in a tight bind with his strong arms.

"Easy there animal man," said Emma as Logan struggled against Gorgeous' strong grip, "You need to take a chill pill...Now sleep."

Using her powerful telepathy, Emma induced a forced deep sleep into the raging mutant. While Logan was known for having powerful mental blocks, in his berserker mode such disorganized thoughts and ration made his mind prone to attack from a powerful telepath as was the case with Emma. It took a little effort, but Emma managed to force the raging Wolverine into a deep sleep so that the path to the lower levels was now clear for them.

"Come on...Let's get a move on!" yelled Gorgeous as he threw the unconscious body of Wolverine aside and made his way towards the elevator with Emma Frost close behind.

Upstairs with the others, Psylocke was being chased down by Bobby and the rest of the New Mutants on the second floor as she continued to go along with the plan she so hated and did her part to spread the X-men's defense.

"Get back ninja lady!" warned Iceman as he had the full support of the others behind him, "Or we'll put you on ice!"

"Or if you prefer, we could burn you!" said Amara as she called upon her fire powers along with Roberto.

"Or maybe you'd rather be shocked!" said Ray as his hands began to spark with electricity.

"How about...None of the above," said Betsy, not daunted by the large number of super powered youngsters in front of her.

"Have it your way then lady!" said Sam as he powered up and began blasting through the air right towards Betsy.

Seeing an opportunity from this, Betsy grinned as she used her psionic blade forming powers to generate what looked like a large baseball bat, only this one was packing heavy telekinetic force.

"Batter up..." she said with a grin as Cannonball drew nearer and she used her ninja reflexes to move to the side and take a single powerful swing that made perfect contact with the speeding young mutant.

As the powerful telekinetic blast hit Sam in his indestructible state, he was sent back in the other direction in an uncontrolled flight path directly towards the others. They all scrambled to get away, but Sam had built up too much speed and inertia to stop or avoid them as they were all knocked back down the hall like bowling pins. Only Jubilee and Bobby, who managed to duck in time, were still up and in the fight.

"Lucky shot..." said Bobby, not daunted by Psylocke's resourcefulness.

"Kid...If you only knew the gravity of this situation, you'd be laughing until nightfall at that remark," said Betsy as she formed two psionic blades.

"Laugh at this!" said Jubilee as she launched a hail of fireworks at her.

Then, with her nimble ninja skills, Betsy Braddock leaped to the side of the oncoming blasts, ran along the wall just long enough to perform a quick, mid air somersault to get a single clear shot with her psionic blades. Upon seeing her window, she fired both of her blades towards them, making sure she used only enough telekinetic force to knock them out and not seriously injure them, for she had enough on her conscious as it was.

As the perfectly fired blades made contact, Bobby felt his ice shell shatter as he fell back into Jubilee as the feeling of a powerful blow to the chest knocked the wind out of the both of them and sent them falling to the ground in a winded heap.

"Ha, ha..." said Betsy in a sarcastic voice as she turned back down the hall, "Time to find the others."

But before she could take more than three steps...Something caught her eye on the wall where a picture was dangling by a thread and threatened to fall. Curious, Betsy took a step closer so she could get a better look. Taking the picture in her hand, the young telepath's gaze drifted along the sight of the photo. In it, a group of young students gathered around the main stairwell for what looked like a class photo or something. Many of the New Mutants weren't there, hinting it was taken over a year ago before they came. But that's not what caught Betsy's eye...What did was the sight of a ominously familiar young man standing in the background with everybody, smiling with a redhead by his side, the blue fuzzy one in front of him and the petite brunette, young African American boy, and slightly younger looking Goth with them.

Betsy knew who each of the X-men were, but she had not seen the young man with the red glasses in the fight when they entered...But she had seen him somewhere else. If she took off the glasses and removed the shirt...He would look frightfully familiar in his resemblance to the nameless man that Sinister had brought in for his heinous experiment. Then as she pieced together the distinguishing looks that dominated in the photo and resembled the body that was brought in a month ago by Sinister, she remembered something Warren said about his first encounter with the X-men. He had told her that the first ones he had met had been the reserved Goth girl known as Rogue and the leader of the group, known as Scott Summers, aka Cyclops. Suddenly...It hit her.

"Oh my God..." gasped the purple haired mutant, "It was him...He was the test subject Sinister took."

It finally made sense now. When Sinister first described his powers, Betsy had the sneaking suspicion that they sounded familiar...And now she knew why. His resemblance was too uncanny and it explained better why Sinister wanted her and Emma to alter his appearance after he went through the machine and erase his memories and capacity for emotion...It was so he wouldn't recognize his friends and family, that way he would have no trouble destroying them.

Then, before she could ponder this any more, she heard a groan come from both Bobby and Jubilee as they started getting up from their dazed state.

"Shit!" said Psylocke, now feeling all the more conflicted from what she knew, "I have to do something...But what?"

As she ran off before Bobby and the New Mutants could get up in time to attack her, she began to try and formulate some kind of plan in her mind to use this new information. However, in the heat of battle that was much easier said than done.

Down with Vertigo and Ruckus on the ground floor not far from the front entrance where they had burst through, Kurt, Kitty, and Rogue stood ready to battle the two intruders despite the incessant ringing in their ears that lingered from Ruckus's earlier sonic yell.

"Three opponents Vertigo...And two of them are targets," grinned Ruckus as he looked at the angry young mutants, "Which one should we take?"

"I'm not sure Ruckus," responded Vertigo, "Do you think we should take both? Or perhaps we should just flip a coin."

"Targets?" said Kurt in confusion as saw the way they were both looking at him and Rogue, "Vhat are you bozos talking about?"

"Simple...Insurance," informed Ruckus, knowing full well what he was doing as he looked at Kurt and Rogue, "Insurance against your loving mother."

"What?!" shrieked Rogue upon hearing the mere mention of her so called 'mother.'

"You both are, like, certifiably crazy!" said Kitty as she saw the shock on both Kurt and Rogue's face.

"Little girl..." said Vertigo as her eyes began to glow, "You don't even know the meaning of the word!"

"Oh no you don't!" yelled Rogue as she ripped her gloves off and lunged forth at the psychic mutant, bent on stealing her powers before she could use them.

However, Ruckus was ready for this as he took a deep breath and let out another sonic yell directly at Rogue, just before she could make contact. Immediately, she fell to her knees and clutched her ears in pain at the sound of the intense noise.

"Too loud!" said Rogue, feeling as though somebody was blowing an air horn directly inside her head, "It's too loud!"

"Don't vorry mein sister," said Kurt as he braved the sound and teleported over to her, "I've got you!"

Despite the noise, Kurt managed to quickly teleport her out of the way from Ruckus's concentrated sonic blasts. This left a window open for Kitty as she lunged forth and attacked while she still could using the fighting skills she had learned in the danger room from Logan, Storm, and Beast, she managed to deliver a swift kick directly into the gut of the loud mouthed mutant, stopping him before he could hit her with another blast. But as he fell back, Vertigo merely chuckled at her feeble hope as Kitty turned her sights towards her.

"Ignorant child..." scoffed Vertigo with her eyes still glowing, "You are merely standing in our way. You are not a target...So back off!"

Then, before Kitty could react, she was hit with Vertigo's powerful psychic seizures, causing her to keel over as a sudden blast of pain and nausea shot through her body as if she had just contracted food poisoning. Quickly, Kitty let out an intense groan of pain as she clutched her stomach and fell to the floor. She was fighting to keep her lunch within her stomach, but from the looks of it she was going to lose it any second now.

While this was going on, Ruckus had quickly recovered from the kick to the stomach that Kitty had given him earlier and merely laughed at the sight of the injured young girl lying on the ground in a heap of sickness.

"She's a feisty one...I'll give her that," laughed Ruckus, "She hit's pretty hard as well, but clearly she doesn't hit hard enough."

Then, Ruckus delivered a swift kick to the young girl's stomach, causing her to choke on her own bile as nearly every meal from the past two days nearly spilled out of her stomach. However, Kurt had seen this as he set his sister down so that she could recover from the effects of the sonic yell. And watching Kitty groan and suffer in pain was more than enough to send him over the edge.

"GET AWAY FROM HER!" yelled the angry blue mutant as he teleported over towards Kitty.

"Oh...The boy must carry quite the flame for her to get that angry," said Ruckus, seeing this sudden development as an uncanny stroke of luck for them since it was clearly making Kurt, who was one of their targets, let his guard down because of his rage.

"This couldn't have worked out better..." grinned Vertigo as she turned her glowing eyes towards the angry young man as he teleported near Kitty to get her out of harm's way, just as he had done for Rogue.

Kurt was definitely not thinking straight after he saw Kitty in a fit of pain down on the floor. Her being so close to him had just clouded most of the rational part of his mind and now he was in full view of Vertigo and her power. He tried to think fast and teleport them both out of her sight, but he couldn't focus long or clearly enough to do so and he was soon hit with the full force of Vertigo's powers.

"That's it boy! Look into my eyes!" said Vertigo, not holding back this time against one off the targets they were supposed to get for Sinister's little plan, "Feel the power of Vertigo!"

"AHHHHHH! The pain! Can't...Take...The pain!" groaned Kurt as he quickly grew dizzy and disoriented from Vertigo's blasts and soon lost his balance.

Nearly every muscle and joint hurt in Kurt Wagner's body as he fell to the ground, nearly succumbing to the lightheadedness. Kitty, who was still recovering, managed to open her eyes from her pained state just in time to see Kurt's look of anguish as he was on the verge of passing out.

"Kurt..." she said weakly, trying to fight the lingering pain in her body to help him, "No...Please..."

However, Vertigo's power worked fast. Kurt couldn't keep himself from passing out at this point. He felt the darkness start to take hold of him as his body and mind gave out despite his best efforts. Rogue, who had managed to work her way back to her feet, saw this and attempted to come to her brother's aid.

"Stop! Leave him alone!" yelled Rogue.

"Sorry kid, but we came here to take either one of you and since blue boy here seems to be missing a few chromosomes in his brain...We'll just take him," said Ruckus.

"NO!" she yelled as she ran forth to her brother's aid.

However, she was once again knocked back by a sonic yell from Ruckus. At this point, Kurt had finally passed out, unable to fight the full force of Vertigo's powers. Now he was out cold and it didn't look like he would wake up anytime too soon, which was just the way Vertigo and Ruckus wanted him. So far they had one of their targets...And that left only one more to go before they could call this mission a success.

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On the elevator that led down to the lower levels that Emma and Gorgeous George had fought through to get on, the security systems quickly kicked in and locked down the elevator. However, thanks to Emma's telepathy, she managed to read the minds of Ororo and Logan to get the override codes to set it back into motion. Emma could sense minds in the heavily fortified lower levels and they were relatively unguarded minds for the most part...A dead give away for the Brotherhood. They had all crowded around a single area, most likely the infirmary since that's probably where Wanda still was.

As the elevator stopped at the base floor of the lower levels, Gorgeous didn't wait for the doors to open as he gave them a single powerful punch and stormed into the area.

"Okay Frosty! You're the telepath here, so where is our little target?" said Gorgeous as he looked around and scanned the area for any signs of the Brotherhood.

"Don't call me that, George!" spat Emma in response, not in the best of moods over the progress and goals of this mission, "And they're just up ahead in the infirmary."

"Great! Time to crush a few bones!" he said eagerly as he followed Emma down the short corridors to their destination.

"Or...We could do this quicker and without as many complications if you just leave it to me," said Emma, clearly annoyed with the strong mutant's eagerness to fight up close and risk making this whole thing messier than it already was.

"Now where would the fun be in that?" grinned Gorgeous.

"We're not here to have fun!" said Emma, wanting to get this over with, "We're here on a mission to get a hostage. So let's just do that and get the hell out of here!"

As they turned the corner, the Brotherhood was already waiting for them, safely guarding the doors to the intensive care area where Wanda's unconscious form still remained. They all looked noticeably angry at their aggressors after having put Wanda in the state she was in, but neither Gorgeous nor Emma were too worried about this, for time remained their chief concern with this mission.

"I had feeling it was you clowns that set off the alarms!" said Lance as he stood with Freddy, Todd, and Pietro in the confined area outside the intensive care room, "Only you assholes would do something this stupid and attack us all here at Xavier's!"

"Yeah, and after what you did to Wanda, we ain't holdin' back this time yo!" yelled Todd.

While their determination to protect and avenge Wanda was admirable, Gorgeous merely laughed at their words.

"Ha! You little punks are still as clueless as ever!" said the strong mutant.

"Yeah! Well we know enough to kick your ass!" said Blob, eager for a rematch against this smart mouthed mutant after what happened last time in the Gut Bomb.

"And after what you did to my sister, it's personal this time!" added Pietro in a rage, wanting to pay these so called Nasty Boys back for all the sorrow they caused him after what they did to Wanda, "And if you want her, you'll have to go through all of us!"

This once again caused Gorgeous to laugh in amusement at the Brotherhood's feeble notion of hope. Were they really this slow? Turning to Emma, who was ready to end this right here and now, he prepared to make up for their little failure last time.

"You think we're just after the Scarlet Bitch?" scoffed Gorgeous, "Well for all I care, you can keep her! Quickie here will do just fine!"

Before the Brotherhood could react to the cryptic words of the strong bodied mutant, Emma unleashed the full force of her telepathy on the four Brotherhood boys. Unlike last time, their minds were lest focused and resistant to her barrages, most likely from their fit of anger over what had happened to Wanda. In addition, their surprise over Gorgeous George's words gave her a small window to work with and given the seriousness of the situation, she didn't want to squander it.

Using her power of telepathic attack and illusion, she managed to cause each of the Brotherhood to keel over in pain and confusion as they quickly lost their balance from the sudden onset of searing head pain.

"Soap...Soap everywhere!" shuttered Todd, "Get it away!"

Todd soon fell to the ground in a shivering heap, followed closely by Freddy, who was under the illusion that monster vegetables and fast food were attacking him in all directions. Lance tried to fight Emma's telepathy and induce a tremor to break her focus, but as determined he was, he couldn't fight the pain and power of Emma's illusions.

"No...Stop," said Lance, under the impression that he was surrounded by giant monsters and was trying to avoid being stepped on.

Pietro's fast thinking mind was the most difficult for Emma to crack, but in his current state even that little quirk did little to help him. This time, Emma had hit the one place where it hurt most in his mind...His family. The one clear image that she was able to get, mainly because it had been on his mind since they brought Wanda into the infirmary, was the vivid memory he had when he was just a little boy and their father had thrown Wanda into an insane asylum because she couldn't control her powers.

Only this time, Emma had put more of a nightmarish spin on the memory, making it seem like an image right out of hell to Pietro as he clutched his head in anguish and saw, heard, and even smelled the vividness of that horrible day.

"NO!" he yelled as he fell to the floor, "Wanda!"

In his mind, he tried to run forth and save her...But something had suddenly grabbed him from behind. Turning around, thinking he was about to see his father, instead saw a horrific demonic apparition that loomed over him and took him in an unbreakable grip so that he was unable to move any of his limbs in the slightest. Then as the nightmarish scene began to grow more vivid, the world around Pietro Maximoff began to spin into a dizzying darkness as the strain caused by the illusion became too great and he soon fell to the cold, hard floor of the infirmary in an unconscious heap.

"Sorry you had to see that kid..." said Emma as she saw the look of sorrow and pain on the young speed demon's face, "But neither of us has a choice..."

As the rest of the Brotherhood lay helpless on the ground, Gorgeous George quickly took Pietro and turned back towards where they had come.

"Nice work Frosty!" said Gorgeous, "That was too easy!"

"I told you before! DON'T call me Frosty!" she spat back, "Let's just get the hell out of here!"

Not wasting time, Gorgeous and Emma quickly made their way back to the elevator and up to the first floor, passing the bodies of Logan and Ororo along the way, who seemed to be stirring from their unconscious state. As they all convened at the main entrance where they had come, the mission seemed as though it was a success. Ruckus had the unconscious body of Kurt and quickly handed him off to Gorgeous, who was stronger and more capable of getting them around faster. With both unconscious teens strewn one each shoulder, the Nasty Boys had gotten what they had come for.

"You see...Even the mighty X-men aren't strong enough to stop us," boasted Ruckus, "This time we are successful."

"Yes, I'm sure Sinister will be very pleased this time around," said Vertigo in agreement, "Now we have the bargaining chips we so sorely need to end this whole conflict once and for all."

"Uh, I had to break up this little celebration," said Emma in an annoyed tone, "But can we get the hell out of here?"

Just then, a new presence appeared upon the top of the main stairwell and looked down at the five members of Sinister's Nasty Boys. It was the one person they had hoped to avoid at all costs, yet at the same time he was the one person Sinister desired the most...Blake Hellstrom.

"You're not going anywhere!" bellowed Blake as he looked down at them from the top of the stairs, his body glowing in bright ruby red that seemed to grow with intensity with each passing second.

"I wouldn't come a step closer Blaze!" said Gorgeous as he clearly showed the two unconscious bodies he had with him, using them as human shields.

Jean Grey soon came up from behind only to see the tense moment unraveling before her. Looking down from the top of the stairs, she saw the unconscious bodies of Kurt and Pietro and watched as the glowing light surrounding Blake's body continued to get brighter as his anger towards the Nasty Boys grew.

"If you hurt them..." he warned, but that's as far as he got before Ruckus stepped in.

"You'll do nothing and we know it!" said Ruckus in response, "Fire one blast at us and you'll fry two of the people you swore to protect. You already put one in the infirmary and rest assured...We'll do much more than that if you don't power down right this instant!"

As he looked coldly at the five mutants at the broken entrance of the institute, he saw the seriousness on their faces as Pietro and Kurt remained in his way from attacking those who had helped Sinister make his life such a mess. He knew the Nasty Boys were ruthless and he knew they were never making threats that they weren't willing to follow up on. And as he looked at both Pietro and Kurt, he reminded himself of what he had promised Mystique and Magneto...For he swore to protect their kids. And if he fought back, he may very well break that promise.

As Jean watched the tense moment unfold, Blake finally powered his body down, ceasing the bright glowing that had formed around his body. He couldn't fight the Nasty Boys while they were hiding behind such an impenetrable shield and right now, all he could do was keep both Kurt and Pietro alive.

"That's a good test subject," grinned Gorgeous.

"Indeed...And if you, Magneto, Mystique, or Xavier wish to see these two alive again, you'll give us EXACTLY what we want!" said Ruckus, "And you already know what that is..."

A look of great anger formed on Blake's face, for he knew exactly what Sinister's price was...Him. He wanted him back to complete what he had failed to finish because of Magneto's interference. They now had a powerful bargaining chip and they would accept no other price.

"We'll call you with instructions," said Ruckus, "And if you and your comrades don't follow them PRECISELY...Then young Kurt and Pietro will pay the price."

Just as the Nasty Boys turned to leave, Professor Xavier and Beast came in through the other side of the top level of the stairwell, arriving besides Jean just in time to see the intruders make off with one student and one Brotherhood member.

"Wait!" said Xavier, opening his mind to use his telepathy, "I will not let you leave with one of my students!"

As the rest of the Nasty Boys stormed out the front door, Betsy turned back and saw through the hole made by Gorgeous, the image of Professor Charles Xavier standing by Beast and Jean Grey as Blake watched on in a helpless daze. Thinking back to the picture she had seen and remembering just how serious this situation was with Mr. Sinister...Betsy Braddock made a choice right then and there.

Now there were hostages involved and Sinister had the upper hand. She knew the X-men and she had come to know Magneto and she was fully aware that neither of them would take this. There was no way in hell that they were going to do exactly what Sinister wanted them to...Hell she wouldn't if she was in their position. In her opinion, Sinister would probably kill off Pietro and Kurt anyways once he had Blake back in his possession...If for anything, for payback. And if Sinister did get Blake back, that could spell even worse news for the world as a whole since it would bring into his control one of the most powerful mutants on the planet. This couldn't end well...Not without needless bloodshed and loss.

Knowing she only had a split second to act, she quickly focused her telepathy and sent Charles Xavier the only information she had time to give him...Sinister's location. Not expecting to receive such a barrage of new data, Professor Xavier quickly clutched his head and let out a pained yell.

"Charles!" exclaimed Beast as he kept the wheelchair bound man from keeling over, "Charles are you alright?!"

Then, Jean felt it as well...The intense images what looked like something right out of horror movie. Yet the strange images of the experiments did more for her...Because some of them looked familiar. Some of these images closely resembled her nightmares that had prevailed in wake of Scott's death...But these were not hazy dreams, these were memories...Memories of an observer who had been there while it happened. Suddenly these dreams seemed anything but dreams.

"Jean!" said Blake as he quickly caught her in his arms before she could collapse from the sudden rush of telepathic images, "Jean what's wrong?!"

As the young redhead looked back up at Blake...Something about his face seemed to tie these new images together...As if he was the key to it all. Her mind was telling her one thing while her heart was telling her another and she honestly didn't know which one to listen too.

However, these conflicting thoughts were soon shattered by a loud voice from the bottom of the stairs.

"Chuck!" yelled Logan as Ororo helped him back towards the stairs despite the lingering pain of the blows he had suffered, "They're gone! We have to go after them!"

Xavier was still rubbing his temples from what he had just seen, but he quickly snapped himself back to reality as he looked down at the mess that the Nasty Boys had left in wake of their attacks.

"They took Kurt...And they took Pietro," he said as his mind analyzed the grim situation, "They were their targets all along...But why?"

"Simple..." said Blake in a grim tone, "They want to use them to get to me. And if they don't...Sinister will definitely make them pay."

The weight of the safety of the two young people he had swore to protect now rested entirely on his weary shoulders. Sinister was no longer holding back and was truly willing to do anything to finish what he had started. Blake Hellstrom's mind was already a mess after whatever Jean had done to it...But he felt that the only way he could make sense out of any of it would be to confront Sinister himself. Of all the complications he had faced since he woke up, there was still one desire that lingered through them all...The desire for the truth. He saw the world in a mixture of dreams and mixed meaning because of the complicated workings of his mind and amnesia. But he knew that something was out there...Something he could feel in the depths of his mind that would give him the clarity that he so sorely wanted.

"Great...So what do we do now?" grunted Logan as his healing factor kicked in and he was able to stand under his own power.

"I'm...Not exactly sure Logan," said Xavier, still thinking about whatever it was he had just sensed, "But for now, we must tend to the injured students...And I must do some thinking."

"But what about Kurt and Pietro?" said Ororo, worried about what the Nasty Boys would do to them.

"Don't worry...They can't hurt them yet," assured Blake, "They're just bargaining chips and if they want me, they know they'll have to do things a certain way or they'll get jack shit from me."

"Bargaining chips?" said Beast, "All meant just to capture you?"

"Yes..." said Blake in a deep, monotone voice, "All because of me."

Just then, a slight rattle was heard on the window frame and surrounding metal objects began to move. Upon seeing this, a renewed feeling of panic overcame all those present, except for Blake...For he knew just as well as they did who it was, but unlike them he knew why he was here.

"Oh shit...I think we've got more company," grunted Wolverine as he unsheathed his claws and once again prepared to fight despite his recent battle with the Nasty Boys.

"No Wolverine..." said Blake, "He's not here to fight. He's here because I called him. And trust me...We'll need his help along with the rest of the Acolytes if were to stand any chance against the guy we're up against..."

*************************************************

AN: Well, the Nasty Boys didn't fail this time! Now they have Kurt and Pietro and Sinister has two powerful bargaining chips. It's all starting to come to ahead! Now Blake is closer to the answers he so sorely desires and the final confrontation is getting closer and you won't want to miss it! So what do you think? Do you like this story thus far? Please tell me! Send me your reviews via email or post them on the fanfiction website! I always enjoy getting reviews and they help inspire me to do the best work I can possibly muster! Thank you all for reading and I wish everybody the best!

KEEP THE REVIEWS COMING EVERYBODY! REVIEW!!!
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