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

The Long Road

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: 2006/03/14 - Updated: 2006/03/14 - 6625 words

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Between Life and Death
Chapter 20: The Long Road


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Deep in the underground facility that harbored the fruit of Mr. Sinister's work, his two prisoners, Kurt and Pietro, were trapped in a specialized cell that had power dampeners to suppress their mutant abilities. While they did eventually regain consciousness, their situation didn't look too hopeful. Sinister had every intention of using each one of his new bargaining chips to their full potential...And with payback still weighing heavily on his mind, he had big plans for them.

"Let me out of here!" yelled Pietro as he frantically banged his fists on the strange energy barrier of his cell, "You hear me! I want out! Let me out!"

"Shut up speedy!" bellowed Gorgeous George, who had been given the oh so pleasant task of watching over them as they both awoke, "You're starting to get on my nerves!"

"Screw you ugly!" said Pietro angrily as he kept banging on the impenetrable energy barrier, "I swear when I get out of here..."

"You'll do nothing," scoffed George as he had just about reached his limit in terms of dealing with this kid, "Trust me kid...You don't have a damn choice. And once your daddy comes for you, he'll face way worse so be grateful you little punk!"

Gorgeous George then stormed out of the room, locking the heavy duty door in his wake as an extra precaution. This left both Pietro and Kurt all alone on their respective cells, but it didn't stop Pietro from angrily slamming his fists against the barrier. He hated being weak and powerless, but that's exactly what he was right now. He was once again going to be used as a tool by some psycho with a hidden agenda...A feeling all too familiar to him and all the more discomforting. Pietro may have been cocky about handling many things, but the one thing he often was unable to handle was being used.

"Save your energy Pietro," said Kurt from the other cell, who was just sitting on the small, uncomfortable loft where he had woken up on, "You're just wearing yourself down."

"Hey shut up blue boy!" shot Pietro, not feeling too thrilled about having Nightcrawler of the X-men as his only company, "At least I'm doing something!"

"You're just vaisting your time," said Kurt, "Ve don't have much of a choice at this point other than to hope for a rescue from the others."

"And just how do you expect them to find us?" said Pietro, not counting on any kind of rescue at this point.

"They'll find us...Ve just have to have faith," replied Kurt as he sunk into his seat, wondering why all this was happening.

"Oh please, they couldn't even hold their own against those thugs last time on your home territory," said Pietro in a pessimistic tone as he finally gave up on slamming his fists on the barrier, "What makes you think they'll do any better IF they even find us?"

Kurt simply sighed as he lay back on the hard, lumpy loft, knowing that nothing he said was going to change the stubborn speedster's mind. His main focus now was simply on keeping his own spirits up. He had no idea where he was or even who had captured him. But he had gathered that the reasons were somehow related to Magneto, the ever mysterious Blake, and of all people...His mother. He couldn't believe that someone would want to capture him simply to get to her. Did he not reject her with Rogue that fateful day back in Egypt? Did they not make it clear that they wanted nothing to do with her?

As his thoughts drifted back to that decision that he and Rogue had made, he couldn't help but wonder...Did they make the right one? What if Mystique really was telling the truth for the first time in their collective memories? And if whoever captured them knows her...Would she really be willing to do what was necessary in order for him to survive?

"I can't believe we're just a couple of trump cards now..." said Pietro in a tone wrought with despair as he sank to the cold, hard floor, "They think they can use us to get to our parents...But how do you think they'll react when the find out they don't give a shit about us?"

"Ve don't know that yet Quicksilver," said Kurt, "Whoever captured us probably knows something that ve don't..."

"Yeah right..." scoffed Pietro, "My dad would rather see me die a thousand deaths than do anything that would threaten his precious pride."

"Try not to think of it in that vay," said Kurt, knowing that they both had to keep their spirits high if they were going to make it through this, "I know it sounds crazy, but they are still our parents. You may dislike your father just as much as I dislike my mother...But that doesn't mean that they von't try. Who knows? Maybe things are different with them now."

"Ha! Now you're just being naïve blue boy," said Pietro as he thought about how he would ever get out of this mess, with or without the help of his father or the X-men.

"I guess ve'll just have to vait and see von't ve?" said Kurt as his thoughts drifted back towards his friends at the institute, hoping that in doing so it would help lift his disheartened spirit.

As both young men fell silent in their confined cells, they both worked to keep their hopes up for any chance at escape or rescue. Uncertainty and anxiety ran high as they both thought about what they were willing to fight and survive for. Pietro's thoughts centered mainly around his sister, who was pretty much the only friend and family he had left in the world. After months of hard work and persistence, he had finally begun to develop a decent relationship with her. The other Brotherhood boys may not have trusted him much because of his past betrayal, but Wanda was still there for him and if anything, he wanted to get out simply to see her again...And tell her how sorry he was for everything he had let happen.

For Kurt, his mind was more focused on his life at the institute. Even with his appearance being what it was, he had always felt like he truly belonged there. He had friends there...He had family there. He had been working for months, slowly developing a brother/sister relationship with Rogue even though she had been reluctant at first. It was always a comforting feeling, knowing that there was at least one person out there he could count on as true family even with Mystique being their only true link. And in addition to her, there were also other important things at the institute that he had come to treasure...Like Kitty Pryde. After the devastating tragedy of Scott's death, he had grown a lot closer to her. And even though he had always seen her as a close friend, he couldn't help but feel that maybe there was something else there worth surviving to see.

Both young mutants had their reasons for staying alive, but in the end it was out of their hands. Their fate rested solely on the shoulders of Mr. Sinister now...And such a thought was far from comforting.

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Outside in the main lab area, Mr. Sinister was going through the final stages of preparation for his machine so that it would be ready at a moments notice to use. He only needed the calibrations and the only way to do that without going through the painstaking work of endless trial and error, he would need his test subject back. But now he was more hopeful and confident than ever that he was going to succeed. After working so hard and encountering so many set backs, namely Magneto, it was finally coming together...And all he needed was the final component.

"It's ready..." he said with a sinister grin as the rest of his Nasty Boys looked on at the ominous machine.

"It looks just like the last one," scoffed Emma as she looked at the vast array of machinery encompassing the main lab area.

"Looks can be deceiving Emma," said Sinister as the computers fired up and readied the components for their inevitable use, "While identical in terms of hardware...This machine will finish what the other one was meant to with the help of software. And once I have my test subject back, I'll have everything I need to start the process of creating the ultimate life form to replace all others on this pitiful planet."

"Well that's good and all, but what about your promises to me and Emma?" asked Betsy, even though she had a feeling that Sinister would say anything just to accomplish his goals.

"Patience my dear..." said Sinister, still fixated on his creation, "As long as I still need you, then the terms of our agreement are not up. And once I have what I want...I'll be sure to give you both what you want."

Both Betsy and Emma exchanged uncertain glances, feeling that they were truly in too deep with this whole mess at this point. Mr. Sinister was making it clear that he cared only about his precious experiment. He was truly twisted beyond measure at this point and neither of them liked where this situation was going. But despite all this, they still had hope. Betsy remembered how she had given Xavier the location of this complex not long before they left the institute. She had wanted to give him more, but time was not on their side. She only hoped that they would put it to good use and turn the tide against Sinister...Hopefully for good.

Just then, Gorgeous George came out of the door, leading from the halls of the holding cells where Kurt and Pietro were being held. He had a look of great annoyance on his face and as Emma and Betsy saw it, they couldn't help but grin.

"Sinister! That kid is driving me crazy!" he yelled with a slight twitch in his eye, "You seriously have to sedate that speed demon before I rip his vocal chords out!"

"Calm down Gorgeous, he won't be a problem for very long," said Sinister as he made his way over towards another console, "Once we go through with the exchange, he'll be gone for good."

"Wait a minute..." said Emma upon hearing what Sinister was implying, "You're not going to kill them are you?"

"Why not?" said the mad scientist with an insidious grin, "Magneto and Mystique have been nothing but a thorn in my side ever since Apocalypse! We were once allies...Yet they both betrayed me. And for that betrayal...They must pay a price. And what greater way to make them pay than through the blood of their own children?"

Such words made both Betsy and Emma's skin crawl, for it truly showed just how sadistic and evil this man was. He was actually willing to kill these two teenage boys just to get back at an enemy and he seemed to have no qualms about it. And as disgusted as they were with it, they were both forced to hide their feelings towards it or else they risked making Sinister suspicious.

"But wouldn't killing their kids only evoke more anger?" asked Vertigo, thinking more in terms of logistics rather than morality.

"It won't matter..." grinned Sinister, "Once I have Blake back, no rage will be able to stop me. With this marvelous machine, even the mighty Magneto will fall like an insect to the sheer power of evolution."

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Aboard the X-jet, Logan and the regulars of the X-men along with Blake, Lance, and Freddy of the Brotherhood awaited their arrival at wherever their captured friends were being held. Aside from Logan, the only other X-men coming along on this mission was Ororo, Jean, Rogue, Iceman, and Kitty. Most of the New Mutants still had injuries as a result from the previous fight with the Nasty Boys and given the danger of this mission, it was probably for the best. Beast had also chosen to stay behind, for he had to tend to most of these injuries and this left the team relatively short handed. However, with the Brotherhood supplementing their ranks, they would hopefully compensate for this lack of numbers...Although getting along with them might be a challenge.

Outside, the X-jet was being followed by Magneto and five metal orbs carrying Mystique and the Acolytes. Knowing the greater animosity that existed betweens some of them, namely between Sabretooth and Wolverine as well as Rogue and her estranged foster mother, it was best to keep them separate. However, this still meant that they would have to work together and that was most certainly not an easy task given that they had all been enemies at one point. Never the less, like Apocalypse they were once again up against a common foe...Mr. Sinister. He had Kurt and Pietro in his possession and both sides wanted them back before this madman could carry out whatever heinous plan he had for them.

Tensions ran high for everybody present. They only had the data that Xavier had received psychically from Betsy to go on and they would have to maintain the element of surprise if they were to put a stop to Sinister once and for all.

The Professor was monitoring everything with Cerebro back at the institute, sending data to the X-jet navigational computers and keeping tabs on the mental state of his students and the Brotherhood. For the most part, he sensed a great deal of anxiety and weariness among his students, for this was the first major mission they had been in since the one that had killed Scott. The memory of what had happened and just how wrong everything had gone on that fateful day still hung strong and it would be a most formidable obstacle for everyone to overcome. As for the Brotherhood, their main concern seemed focused on saving their friend. Despite being a cocky, arrogant young man...He was still a member of the Brotherhood and if they didn't do anything...Wanda would surly let them have it.

Among the most powerful emotions that Xavier sensed through Cerebro were the ones radiating off the most unexpected of individuals. Among this strike team of both enemies and allies, Magneto and Mystique seemed to be the most worried. They both had their children's lives on the line...And such a situation had brought out emotions he had never felt within them before. Usually, they both guarded their minds with a level of tenacity in a league of its own...But given the nature of the situation, they both seemed too concerned with their safety to stop their minds from projecting. It was truly a dramatic change for the both of them...One that Xavier had never expected to feel in either of them, but he didn't know just how long this secret conflict had been going on and he didn't know just how much things had changed since Apocalypse. But despite this, Xavier offered his condolences to them despite their pasts.

'Don't worry...' he sent both Magneto and Mystique, 'We will find them and we will save them.'

And although they didn't respond, secretly...They both took some comfort in those words and hoped that they could find their children before it was too late.

Back on the X-jet, the other mind that Xavier was deeply concerned for was Jean. Ever since Scott's death, she had been in a truly deep state of sorrow and despair. After losing someone she considered to be her soul mate, her well being had been of great concern to the Professor who still looked at her as if she was his own child. He had coaxed and pleaded with her to sit this mission out given the state of her mind, but she would not listen. At one point, Logan even tried to force her off the plane, not wanting her to get herself killed out there...But Jean wouldn't have it. Something was drawing her to this mission...And it centered solely around Blake...Or at least who she thought was Blake.

Jean didn't share her suspicions with anybody else as she remained in her own little daze, contemplating just where this strange feeling was leading her. Nobody else knew why she wanted to come on this mission. Some thought she just wanted to go out into the mists of danger...Hoping that she would parish in the process and rejoin Scott. However, nothing could be further from the truth. She was doing this for two reasons...One was to save the others and the other was to find answers.

'Jean...' said Professor Xavier's voice in her head, trying to sense what it was that she was shutting off from him and the rest of the world in her mind, 'Jean are you okay?'

'I'll be fine Professor,' replied Jean with waves of uncertainty radiating off of her mind.

'Jean...I know you're still hurting,' coaxed Xavier, 'But I wish you would reconsider what you're doing. You are in no condition to go on a mission this dangerous. You know that...'

'No Professor...I have to do this,' replied Jean, still keeping her thoughts closed off in order to prevent Xavier from sensing them, which only served to make him more worried.

There was a brief silence in the psychic dialogue, but if anybody could see the good Professor's face, they would have seen a man wrought with concern over one of his dearest students.

'Just...Please don't do anything rash Jean,' he sent to her, his tone dominated with a somewhat fatherly concern, 'I know your heart is still broken and I know how much you have been struggling these past few weeks...But I just...I don't want to lose another one of my children.'

Jean felt a slight tear form in her eye as she heard those last words, but she managed to suppress them for the time being. She may have not been in the best of condition, but nothing was going to keep her from participating in this. There was just too much she had to know and the feeling in the depths of her mind...The feeling that had been lingering with her ever since that fateful night she first saw Blake at the Brotherhood house was just too strong and she was determined to find it's meaning.

'It'll be okay Professor,' assured Jean, 'I promise...I'll be okay...'

Those were the last words to her as she once again returned to her daze, running through the complex images in her mind that she had been trying to make sense out of for what seemed like an eternity.

Unknown to Jean, however, Blake had been fixated on her for most of the flight. He had so much riding on his mind right now given that he was the one who Sinister wanted and Kurt and Pietro were now in danger because of it. However, there was more going through his mind other than the obligations he had thrust upon himself. He still had amnesia...But now something was going on within the depths of his mind that he could not explain. Whatever Jean Grey had done, she had set something off in his mind that was now causing an incessant amount of fuzzy, incoherent flashes...As if something from within the depths of his innermost consciousness was fighting to get out like an angry caged animal.

Professor Xavier couldn't read any part of the young man's mind and thus didn't know or suspect what Jean had since she had been in his mind. Blake had long since shut himself off, feeling as though whatever confusion and anxiety he felt in his mind was for him and him alone to feel. And the closer they got to Sinister's location, the more intense the powerful mind flashes became. Each time he felt them, there were two images that stood out in his mind the most. One was Sinister and his demonic face that haunted him like the nightmare he truly was...The other was the face of Jean Grey, whom Blake somehow suspected was the center of all this confusion. The deep, inexplicable feeling within the depths of his mind was somehow linked to Jean Grey...He could feel it. And now more than ever...He needed answers.

While the other occupants of the X-jet felt somewhat weary about having Blake and two members of the Brotherhood with them, they knew they would need all the help they could get in bringing their friends back safely. For the most part, they were willing to cope with their presence since Kurt's safety remained the dominate concern. Rogue knew they didn't start off their run as 'family' too well when they first found out about their ties, but they had steadily developed a better relationship since then. She had come to see him as her true brother even if it wasn't by blood and only through the woman they both loathed being associated with. And she was determined not to lose him...Even if it meant siding with Mystique and the ones who had hurt and betrayed her so horribly in the past.

"How are you holding up Rogue?" asked Bobby, who was sitting in the seat off to the right of her along with Kitty.

"My brother's in the hands of some psycho...How do ya think I'm holdin' up?" she quipped in a tone harsher than she intended.

"Hey, well excuse me for being worried," said Bobby in response, letting out an annoyed grunt as he shifted his attention out the window.

Rogue felt a twinge of guilt from her rather harsh response, but Kitty saw this and placed a comforting hand on Rogue's shoulder.

"We'll get him back...I know we will," she said, trying to sound confident in the face of so much uncertainty.

"I hope so..." said Rogue as she turned to see the look on Kitty's face.

Kitty had been trying hard not to make eye contact with Lance throughout the flight. The bitterness of their breakup still hung strong for the both of them and she could tell Lance was still brimming with resentment. However, what compounded the situation even further was that Kurt was the one who had helped her get over her breakup more than anybody else and after all the time they spent together in the wake of Scott's death, she was seriously questioning whether or not she saw him as more than a friend. Rogue had long suspected it, for she saw the subtle hints in both of their demeanor and the look on Kitty's face seemed to be a dead giveaway.

"You like him don't ya?" said Rogue, breaking the silence between them.

Kitty looked back at her with a mild level of shock, but didn't deny it. She only swallowed the lump in her throat and nodded.

"Am I really that obvious?" she asked in a weak voice.

"Kitty..." said Bobby as he turned back to face the two young women, "Even I knew it."

Rogue was pretty much in agreement, for she did not dispute Bobby's words. It made Kitty feel a little awkward as she somewhat sank into her seat. It was bad enough that she had been so obvious. But because of this, Kitty made a promise to herself right then and there that she would tell Kurt how she felt when they got him out. She had already lost one good friend to tragedy and she didn't think she could take losing another.

While Lance and Freddy sat behind them in the back, Lance couldn't help but focus on the girl he had once been romantically involved with. As different as they were, they did share something at one point and it had been nothing short of a struggle ever since they broke up. Even though he knew deep down that he and Kitty probably weren't meant to be, that still didn't take away from the significance of what they once shared. And seeing her get all up in arms about Kurt's kidnapping had led him to believe that there was definitely more going on with them. He had long suspected it, but now he felt as though he had confirmed it after seeing how upset she got over his capture. It was somewhat of a kick in the face to him, but he tried not to think about that at the moment as he let out a frustrated sigh at the current situation.

"Man...Pietro owes me big time for this," he grumbled as he looked over at Kitty.

"Still can't get over the pretty Kitty?" said Blob, looking somewhat amused that he was thinking about such a thing at a time like this, "Let it go already man. Even I knew you two were destined to break up."

"Yeah...That's real comforting Freddy," muttered Lance with a great deal of sarcasm

"Save it for the battle man," said Blob as he rolled his eyes at Lance's innate stubbornness to something he didn't see as that big a deal, "You can find a way to make Pietro pay after we get him back."

Lance let out another deep sigh as he shifted his gaze away from Kitty in an effort to focus on something else. He may not have known all that much about this situation, but like it or not, Pietro was still a part of the Brotherhood. And as arrogant and annoying as he was, he was still one of them and for Lance, he was still a part of pretty much the only real family he ever had. Neither he nor Freddy had ever had a place where they really fit in, but the Brotherhood had helped to fill that void. It may not have been perfect or anything that even remotely resembled a normal family...But it was still the only one they had and they were determined to save it.

Up in the cockpit, both Ororo and Logan monitored their path as they drew ever closer to their destination. Nobody knew what to expect from Sinister, but they had faced powerful foes before and triumphed and there was still hope among them that they could put a stop to this madman once and for all.

"Chuck...We're nearing the place," said Logan as he took the plane into a path of decent.

"Good, how does the terrain look?" responded Xavier over the built in radio from Cerebro as he continued to use his mind to monitor the surrounding area for any possible threats.

"Pretty rough," answered Logan as he did a quick survey of the ground below with his acute senses, "There's a ton of abandoned buildings around here. Some of em are barely standing. Are ya sure this is the place?"

"Positive Logan..." said the Professor with confidence, "This is where the information told me we would find Sinister and from the looks of it, it seems like a good place to hide."

"But just how sure are you that this information is valid?" asked Logan, never one to trust easily, "For all we know, this could be a trap to lead us all away and waste time while this psycho goes to work on Quickie and the Elf."

"Try not think of such doubts old friend," replied Xavier, knowing that Logan did indeed have a valid point, "I know what I sensed and I feel it came from a...Reliable source. The one who gave it too me seemed...Anxious in a way. I could feel the tension and strain along with the information and whoever sent it seems just as weary about this Sinister fellow as the rest of us. And since this is the only lead we have, I don't think we have much of a choice."

"Great...That's comforting," muttered Logan as the swift and nimble X-jet descended to the ground along with the orbs carrying Magneto's henchmen.

There were few viable landing areas for the X-jet in such a confined area. Most of the buildings were in close proximity to one another and they couldn't land too close without putting their much needed element of surprise at risk. Some of the roofs were big enough to accommodate the X-jet, but they didn't look stable enough to support the weight. Eventually, they did find one cleared area from a demolished site that looked large enough to land in, but it was a little closer to the target building than they would have liked it to be.

"Storm...Looks like we'll need a little extra cover with this one," said Logan as their destination finally came into view.

"You've got it..." said Storm as her eyes turned white and she kicked up a sudden fog, mixed with a little drizzle to obscure whatever observational security Sinister might have.

As the X-jet descended, the fog was safely in place and the mixed team of former friends and enemies stood ready to storm the complex housing the mad scientist that threatened so much. The five orbs landed off to the side as Magneto touched ground and opened each transport. As the X-men and Brotherhood exited the jet as well, the fog induced by Storm was thickened to the point where they could barely see the buildings in front of them.

"Blegh...This Sinister guy sure knows how to pick a place," said Bobby as he and the others took in their surroundings.

"You'd be surprised Iceman," said Magneto, who thought this whole setting seemed perfect for a guy like Sinister.

As they looked around, there didn't seem to be any hidden security. But knowing Sinister, they would have to remain vigilant since the madman always had a way of surprising his enemies.

"So which building is this prick supposed to be at?" asked Lance as everybody seemed ready to make their move.

"The big one up ahead..." said Logan as he sniffed the air, "I can already smell the stench of the Nasty Boys. They were definitely here."

"Then let's not waste any more time," said Mystique impatiently, "The longer Kurt and Pietro are down there, the more trouble they're in."

"Don't let yourself become too rash comrade Raven," said Colossus, who was eager to finally take down the man who had done so much to him and his family once and for all, "The best weapon against Sinister is the element of surprise."

"But don't forget Colossus...Sinister may be crazy, but he's not stupid. I have a feeling he is most definitely prepared for something like this," said Magneto, who was just as concerned for the well being of his son, but managed to keep a more level head in wake of the situation.

"Anything's possible with dis here homme," said Gambit, who stood to Rogue, much to her annoyance.

"Who cares..." said Rogue, not letting such information about their dark enemy dissuade her, "Let's just get my brother out of there."

"You ain't got nothin' to worry about cherè," replied Remy as he gave her one of his winning smiles, "We'll get yo' brother back. Sinister doesn't have a chance dis time."

"Don't you ever quit?" said Rogue as she rolled her eyes in annoyance, thinking this was neither the place nor the time.

"Not in my vocabulary cherè," replied Gambit, his grin not wavering.

Rogue muttered a few incoherent words under her breath that Remy couldn't make out, but it was clear that she wasn't exactly amused much to his dismay. Such actions earned him a dirty look from Mystique that seemed to say 'Lay one hand on my daughter and I'll castrate you.' This seemed to get Gambit to focus more on the task at hand, but it didn't stop Pyro and Colossus from seeming rather amused at their Cajun friend's demeanor around this girl.

"That was real smooth mate," said Pyro under his breath to Gambit as he let out a light chuckle.

"Shut up Pyro," quipped Remy as they all once again fell silent, focusing on the mission at hand.

Logan took the lead, using his powerful nose to catch any ominous scents that may hint at danger. Sabretooth stayed at the rear and was kept under the watchful eye of Gambit and Pyro so that he and Wolverine wouldn't clash and break their stealth. And while it was clear that the two feral mutants despised working with each other, they still had a common enemy and there would be plenty of time for them to fight each other after this whole ordeal was over.

Blake was not far behind as he followed Logan, keeping his senses aware of the ominous surroundings as they drew ever close to Sinister. He could tell he was close...He could feel it. The images and flashes in his mind were practically guiding him to the man that had taken so much from him. The answers he had been desperately seeking seemed as though they were actually within his reach. It felt as though any moment could bring him face to face with the man he considered nothing short of a devil and he wanted to be ready to unleash the full power that he had ironically given him to put an end to this conflict once and for all.

Blake's anxiousness didn't go unnoticed as Jean kept a close eye on his demeanor. Although the others couldn't really tell, it was clear to her that something was driving him forward...As if he was answering some kind of call that was sent out to taunt him. And as they got closer, she could feel something radiating from his mind. It was a strange mixture of complex thoughts...Most of which Jean couldn't make sense out of. Blake's mind had been greatly altered by Sinister's tampering, but there were still things within him that she could sense. As hard as it was to ignore the lingering feeling in the back of her mind, Jean kept such thoughts at bay for now...Knowing they were on a mission and if she didn't want it end in the same kind of tragedy as the last one had, she would have to stay focused on fighting their common enemy...Mr. Sinister.

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

Down below the surface within the depths of Mr. Sinister's lab, the mad scientist prepared to set his plan into motion. Despite having to contend with complaints from his henchmen over watching his two prisoners, it would most certainly all be worth it in the end. Not only was he going to complete his ultimate goals...But he was also going to make some of his greatest enemies pay for defying him.

The rest of the Nasty Boys stood within the main lab where Sinister was making the final preparations. Now with things getting so heated, they would have to be ready at a moments notice to carry out whatever necessary task arises. The stakes were so high at this point that no slip-ups could happen. He was so close...He could feel it in his 150 year old mind and body. And no matter what happened...He was determined to finish what he started. Magneto and his henchmen may have slowed him down, but they would not stop him.

"It's almost ready," he said as he looked at his computer screen with a grin, "The ransom instructions to Xavier is about to go out. And if I know my enemies like I know I do...Then I'm willing to bet that Magneto is probably with him."

"Do you think they'll even try and follow the instructions?" said Ruckus, finding some the steps Sinister had explained to them somewhat amusing.

"It doesn't matter," said Sinister with confidence, "Either way, the result is going to be the same. My chief concern is getting my test subject back. Once I have him...Then Xavier and Magneto are as good as dead."

Normally, this was where Emma or Betsy would add a snide comment just to spite the madman, but they managed to restrain themselves this time. Both women were still anxious over the risky move Betsy had made earlier in giving Xavier their location. It wasn't even clear if Xavier got any of it or if it was too scrambled and hastily sent for it to be of any use, but it was their only hope to go on at the moment. Sinister still had the upper hand with Kurt and Pietro, but if Xavier at least knew where they were, things would be far more balanced. Both Betsy and Emma may have only come to realize the true folly in trusting this man, but they were fully aware that a victory from Sinister would spell ultimate doom.

Both Betsy and Emma exchanged nervous glances, restraining themselves from saying anything that would either give themselves away or hint at what they had done. They knew Sinister had a strange knack for seeing through deception, but the sooner Xavier and Magneto made their move, the better. If they didn't...Then their chances for survival were not very good.

"I'm so close..." said Sinister as he looked back at the vast array of machinery that made up the dream he had coveted for so long, "I can feel it. By the end of today...I'll have the ultimate life form in my possession and completely under my control. No enemy will be able to hide from me and nobody...Be they mutant or human...Will ever be able to stand in my way once I..."

Then suddenly, just as Sinister was about to send the ransom instructions to Xavier, an alarm began blaring throughout the lab that startled both him and his henchmen. Both Betsy and Emma acted as though they too were shocked, but inwardly...They couldn't help but smile, for they knew who this had to be.

"What's going on?!" yelled Ruckus as several monitors came to life and live video feed began showing up on all of them.

A look of great anger came over the madman as he saw the images on the screen and clenched his fists as his sinister red eyes began to glow bright red. All his planning...All his cunning deception...It was all coming to ahead. He could feel it as he saw pictures of the X-men, the Brotherhood, and the Acolytes leading the charge directly towards his complex. Leading them was Blake...The very being he so needed for his dream. Now, as he looked upon the expression of the young man he had taken so much from...He knew that confrontation was inevitable. He was going to face his own creation. And as he looked back at his fully alerted henchmen...He said only one thing.

"They're here..."

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

AN: Well, there you go! The big fight between Sinister and everybody he's pissed off is about to come to ahead! It's heading towards the home stretch my friends! It's all coming together! Stay tuned because you won't want to miss it! So what do you think? Are you eager to see how it ends? Please tell me! Send me your reviews via email or post them on the fanfiction website! Thank you all for reading and I wish you all the best!

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