Categories > Cartoons > X-Men: Evolution > Heart of the Phoenix

Growing Concern

by slickboy444 0 Reviews

While still struggling with the Phoenix, a mysterious force is plaguing Scott Summers and it's a force that's frighteningly similar. In addition, a powerful warrior becomes involved and the Xmen fa...

Category: X-Men: Evolution - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Angst, Drama, Romance - Characters: Colossus, Cyclops, Gambit, Iceman, Jean, Nightcrawler, Professor Xavier, Rogue, Shadowcat, Storm, Wolverine, X23 - Published: 2006/05/23 - Updated: 2006/05/23 - 6407 words

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Heart of the Phoenix
Chapter 2: Growing Concern


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

Scott and Jean slept well into the next morning. Jean didn't have another nightmare, but she was still troubled by what happened. She found the whole experience playing over in her mind and the more she thought about it, the more anxious it made her.

But once morning set in, Jean set such feelings aside and began her routine. Scott still slept for a while as Jean silently went to the bathroom to wash up and take a shower. But like last night, her awakened presence caused him to stir.

"Mmm...Jean? Jean, are you awake?" he said groggily into the bathroom.

"Hmm? Yeah, I'm awake," she replied from the closed door as she prepared for a shower, "Why don't you go back to sleep, Scott? It's still a little early."

"Nah, I'm too alert now. Might as well get up," he said as he stretched his limbs and rubbed the sleep out of his eyes.

Jean just rolled her eyes at Scott's sleep habits, but then again she was one to talk. Given their history of sleep throughout high school, college, and parenting, they weren't exactly keen on the concept of a good night's rest. But still, after all her nightmares, she still felt the need to have a sense of normalcy.

"Are you going to take a shower?" asked Scott from behind the closed door.

"Yeah, I was just about to. Why?" she replied.

"Want me to join you?"

That got Jean to smile. Even in times of uncertainty, her husband still had a way of lightening the mood.

"Sure. I'd like that."

Then, as she opened the bathroom door, she drew her husband into a quick embrace, planting a sweet good morning kiss on his lips.

"Come on lover boy," said Jean with a sexy smile as she draped her arms around his neck, "Give me one of your world famous wakeup calls."

"If that is what you desire, then I shall grant it to thee my beautiful wife."

And with that, the two long time lovers stepped into the shower together, enjoying a nice moment of passion as they made love and put their anxieties to rest...At least for now.

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

Down in the kitchen, the institute set up its usual breakfast buffet for the students. Ororo and Remy were the ones who made it happen, with some occasional help. Ever since the mansion became a full fledged school for mutants, many expansions had to be done and that included the kitchen. It was all necessary to accommodate an increasing population, yet crowded or not there were many familiar faces amongst the crowd.

Among the first to arrive in the morning was Ororo Munroe, the institute weather goddess with the power to control the weather. She had been with the institute since its inception and was an all around mother figure for the students. She was also a hell of cook and because of her the institute residents never had to worry about going hungry.

Along with her came Remy "Gambit" Lebeau. At one point, he had worked with the X-men's arch nemesis, Magneto. But after the ordeal with Apocalypse, he shifted allegiance as his life took many dramatic turns. Having once been a thief in New Orleans, he had become disillusioned with the life his family had long revered and sought a new place in the world. He didn't get it with Magneto, so he gave the X-men a try. And since then, he's never looked back.

However, there was a bit more to Remy's shift than a simple change of heart. It came in the form of a beautiful southern born woman named Rogue.

Originally born in the backwaters of Mississippi, Rogue was pure southern gold with the mutant power to absorb the life energy of those she touched. While her allegiance to the X-men had been shaky at first, she eventually came to embrace the institute. It was here where she learned to control her powers after many years of struggle. It was here where she learned that her adopted mother was one of the X-men's greatest foes, Mystique. And it was here where she met the man who she would later call her husband.

Rogue and Remy had been married for nearly three years now and it never ceased to amaze everybody who saw them. Having once been enemies, they clicked with their unique chemistry. At first they just played these games with Remy flirting while she brushed him off. However, it all changed when she learned to control her powers thanks to help from Moria MacTaggart on Muir Island. Flirting turned to dating and dating turned to passion. And from there, they ended up tying the knot in a wedding that surprised few, but astonished all.

As Rogue and Remy playfully flirted in the kitchen, they were joined by Kitty Pryde, another long time resident of the institute. With the power to phase through solid objects, she went by the codename Shadowcat. She was often described as the bubbly valley girl type and even after over a decade, that persona still stuck with her.

Following close behind Kitty was her current boyfriend, Piotr Rasputin. Like Remy, he had come over to the team from Magneto's Acolytes. Born in Siberia, Piotr had the power to cover his body in a hard, impenetrable shell of carbon steel. Hence, he went by the codename Colossus. As the big guy with the big heart, he was the gentle giant amongst the institute. And after Kitty ended a long time relationship with Brotherhood member, Lance Alvers, he was right there for her and they had been growing serious ever since.

While Kitty and Piotr helped set up the buffet, the kitchen was hit with the smell of brimstone as a 'bamf' noise sounded and another X-men veteran joined. He was Kurt Wagner, the blue furred, demonic young man with a heart of gold. With agility and teleportation powers, he went by the codename Nightcrawler. He was the son of Mystique and adopted brother to Rogue. And in his arms, he held his fiancé, Amanda Sefton.

Having met in high school, Kurt and Amanda had been an item for over a decade. While at first Amanda wasn't thought to be a mutant, it was in the later years of high school that she learned about her latent mutant powers. They were included the projection of force bolts along with mystic sensing abilities, making her a perfect candidate for residence in the Xavier Institute. However, her parents thought otherwise, so Kurt and Amanda were separated as she was taken away to study abroad, hopefully finding a place where she wouldn't be an outcast.

It took some time but her folks eventually came around and saw the institute as the best place for her. After she joined, she and Kurt became serious again and it was only recently that Kurt had finally asked her to marry him. As a result, major wedding plans were being laid out that were sure to draw plenty of attention.

Following close behind Kurt was his fellow X-men veteran, Bobby Drake. With the ability to make ice, he went by the codename, Iceman. Originally a New Mutant, a group that trained to be a part of the regulars, he eventually proved became a part of the main team. Unlike many of the other New Mutants like Ray, Roberto, Rahne, Jamie, Tabitha, Sam, and Amara, Bobby chose to stay at the institute while the others pursued their own personal goals that ranged from returning to their hometown or even to their home kingdom as was the case with Princess Amara of Nova Roma. While he tended to be a jokester, Bobby had established himself as a good instructor. And with the recent return of his old love interest, Jubilee, from college he had plenty of reason to stick around.

Soon after Bobby was the institute's long time protector and the most rigorous instructor, Logan. He was the result of a heinous program called Weapon X that used him as a guinea pig. Born with amazing healing powers, he was the perfect candidate to undergo a procedure that grafted the indestructible alloy adamantium to his bones. In addition, it gave him a set of super sharp, indestructible claws that retracted in and out of his wrists at will, giving him the ability to slice through anything that got in his way.

While Logan was known for having a temper, he did have a soft side. He cared deeply for the children of the institute and guarded them with his life. In addition, he was not single. As he entered the kitchen, he smiled at Ororo. It was a gesture he didn't share with many people, but this woman was the current love in his life. She was a long time friend, but after a fateful dance at Rogue and Remy's wedding that got them together in a special moment that ended in Ororo's bedroom. Since then, they grew into a strong couple and were becoming increasingly serious.

In addition to Logan, he was also followed by a young woman who bore an uncanny resemblance to him. She was Laura, or X23 as she was also called. Her past was a strange one. She was cloned from Logan's DNA by a shady group called Hydra. They wanted to make a new Weapon X, but they ended up creating something they couldn't control. While she had been feral and uncontrollable at first, she eventually found solstice with Logan and came to regard him as her only real family. He adopted her as his daughter and after a long string of hardships, she wasn't afraid to call him 'father.'

Together, these were the regulars of the X-men. They were the ones who went on the dangerous missions to protect mutant-kind in a world that hated and feared them. It was a job they took very seriously, but they dedicated their lives to this cause.

But for now, the young team of mutants just wanted to enjoy a beautiful morning together eating, flirting, and talking of the big events to come.

"I'm telling you, Kurt! You should seriously think about a beach wedding! Getting married under surf, sand, and sunshine just cries out a romantic feel!" said Kitty in her usual excited tone whenever she talked about weddings.

"Come on, Kitty. You know zhat Amanda and I vant doing it here at zhe mansion," said Kurt as he, Amanda, Kitty, Piotr, and Bobby all sat at the breakfast table while Ororo, Remy, and Rogue finished the last of the buffet.

"Hey, it couldn't hurt to have a little imagination," said Bobby with a shrug as he picked up a few hash browns, "And besides, Scott and Jean already did that with their wedding. So why not try something new?"

"True, but I zhink I'd rather stay away from a beach vedding. Fur and sand just don't mix."

"Yeah, I remember that vacation we took to Rio to see Roberto," said Amanda with a grin, "You wouldn't stop complaining until we got back on the plane."

"Hey, I can't help it if zhe sand gets stuck in my fur and itches like crazy. Zhat and a tuxedo is sure to be uncomfortable," made Kurt with a blush.

"Well you could just go the same route that Scott's brother went when he married that Lorna girl and do it in swim suits, comrade," suggested Piotr as he took a big helping of eggs.

"Yeah, zhat's true. And besides, my future wife in a bikini standing on a beach has its benefits," said Kurt, smiling at the mental images.

"Yeah man! Total Baywatch wedding!" said Bobby, remembering that wedding well.

"Like, real mature Bobby," said Kitty, rolling her eyes.

"Well he can keep dreaming. I've already decided and I want to wear a full fledged wedding dress on my bid day," said Amanda, stepping in before this got to be too PG-13, "I've been dreaming of it since I was a little girl and there's no way I'm going to settle for anything less on MY wedding!"

"Trust me, liebe. You von't have to," said Kurt, taking his future wife's hand and giving it a gentle squeeze.

As wedding talk continued, the last of the food was served and Rogue, Remy, and Ororo sat down to enjoy their own breakfast. Logan was reading the paper and drinking coffee while X23 was reading the comics, keeping with their usual silent persona. But that didn't make them immune from getting involved.

"So what are you're thoughts for de weddin' Wovlie?" asked Remy as he sat down next to his wife, "Ya gonna spend half de time givin' de groom death glares like ya did with me and ma cherè?"

"Keep on pushing Cajun, ya know I'll push back," grunted Wolverine.

"Hey, Remy's just sayin'. Ya sure did go out o' your way to make dis here Cajun feel nervous on his wedding day by lookin' like ya wanted to cut me into pieces when Rogue came down dat isle."

"Yeah, well this isn't the same, Gumbo. Elf and Tripper ain't some annoying, fast talkin' Louisiana sewer rat with a criminal record," growled Logan in response.

"Hey, come on Logan! That's mah husband yer talkin' about!" said Rogue as she took her Cajun lover's hand.

"Yeah, you tell him, mon amour!"

"Only Ah can call him stuff like that, so leave the trash talkin' to me!"

Remy rolled his eyes and Bobby made a whipping noise to signify how tied to that girl he was. He ignored it, but he made a mental note to charge Bobby's sock drawer later on.

"Well aside from the glares, I think all the weddings here at the institute have turned out nice so far," said Ororo, smiling at the soon to be newlyweds, "I know that even Logan will admit that they have their appeal."

"Yeah right," scoffed Bobby, "He probably liked the reception better since that's when you two..."

"Finish that line, Drake, and that bacon will be the last solid thing ya eat. Got it?" said Logan, casting Bobby an ominous look.

That shut him up as he returned to his food. Such words caused Ororo to laugh as she took her lover's hand.

"Never the morning person, aren't you Logan?" said the former weather goddess.

"Nope. Not in all the years I've known him," said Laura in agreement.

"Damn, you conspiring against me too, kid?"

"Well if that's what it takes to help you lighten up," said Ororo, silently urging him to ease up.

Logan sighed and kept reading his paper. Given his temperamental nature, it wasn't easy being chipper. But ever since these two important women came into his life, he had made a few strides in mending those tendencies. He was still the Wolverine he had always been, but he had a desire to be civilized at times. That is, as long as people like Remy and Bobby didn't keep pushing his buttons.

As the regular morning banter continued, they were all finally joined by Scott, who came in proudly carrying a smiling little redhead on his shoulders.

"Morning everybody," said Scott as he set Rachel down.

"Heya Cyke. Heya Little Red," said Logan as he smiled at the little girl.

"Good morning Uncle Logan!" said young Rachel with delight as she ran up and hugged his leg, "Got any presents for me?"

"As a matter of fact I do," grinned the feral mutant as he scooped up the four year old girl in his arms, "Today, I just happened to buy you something big, rugged, and hairy. And it's right here!"

Then, using his free hand as the 'present,' he began tickling the little girl aggressively, causing her laughter to fill the whole kitchen.

"Uncle Logan! Uncle Logan! Stop! You're hands are fuzzy!" she squealed with laughter.

"Always the same present," grinned Ororo, joining in the fun.

"You'd think he'd get her something different, non?" said Remy, who always found Logan's playful side a priceless sight.

"Hey, she doesn't seem to mind," shrugged Laura.

Scott smiled as he gathered some plates. The sound of his daughter's laughter was always a welcome feeling. He just couldn't get over how a little four year old could turn him, Logan, and pretty much everybody else in the mansion into baby talking playmates.

Logan had always been close to Rachel. Since he had done so much to protect Scott and Jean while they were growing up, they made him their daughter's Godfather. And if anything were to happen to them, Logan was the one they trusted to protect her. Along with Ororo, Rachel had an Aunt and Uncle she adored and her innocent cries never ceased to bring a smile to their faces.

"So vhere's Jean, mein friend? She still sleeping?" asked Kurt as Scott got a meal ready for himself and Rachel.

"No, she went to see the Professor," said Scott as he sat down next to Ororo.

"The Professor? Is she alright?" asked Kitty.

"Yeah, she's fine. She just..."

Scott trailed off as he diverted his gaze. He was still concerned for his wife's well being, but he just wasn't sure what was going on. Nobody knew the extent of her nightmares like he did. Yet still, he tried to play it down. After all, with an upcoming wedding, he didn't want to damper everybody's happiness.

"Is it those dreams again?" asked Logan as he stopped tickling Rachel and set her down next to her father.

"Well...Yes, to some extent," said Scott as he set his daughter in a booster seat.

"Well I wouldn't worry too much about that," said Logan, "Jean's a tough woman. And having dealt with bad dreams myself, I think she'll beat it. I know. I taught her."

"Yes, well let us hope that it isn't too serious," said Ororo, sharing Scott's concern.

"Oh I'm sure it isn't. I just...I worry," said Scott with a sigh.

The young man with the ruby quartz glasses fell silent as his thoughts drifted to his wife. He was glad that the others had such confidence in Jean, but they didn't share a psychic link with her. He knew Jean was strong, but after last night he was beginning to think that there could be more to it. He just didn't quite know what.

"Daddy?" said Rachel, picking up on his disposition, "Is Mommy sick?"

Scott just looked back at his beautiful little girl and smiled, giving her a firm hug to make sure she remembered how much her daddy loved his family.

"No, Rachel. Mommy's not sick. She's going to be just fine."

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

While the institute residents were filing downstairs, Jean Grey-Summers found herself in Professor Xavier's study trying to reassert control over her unstable mind. It was a ritual she had grown accustomed to since her arrival at the institute. Such treatments were necessary in order to keep her powers stable. Only now, was back with a vengeance.

Jean was in a psychically induced relaxed state as Xavier did his thing. These sessions always had a way of draining her mentally, but once they were done her mind was more at ease.

"So what's the verdict Professor?" said Jean, rubbing her sore temples.

Professor Charles Xavier took a few quick breaths in order to regain his mental focus. Telepathy was an exhausting feat, but in cases such as this it was even more draining.

"I...Can't be certain my dear," said the Professor, casting an sincere gaze, "These nightmares are growing increasingly strong. And with each thing that clarifies, there are several more unknowns that arise."

Jean let out a frustrated groan. It was bad enough these nightmares were getting worse, but to not have any information on their purpose or meaning was all the more stressful. Because if Professor Xavier couldn't decipher them, who could?

"I'm sorry, Jean. I promise you I'll work harder to help you with this."

"I know you will, Professor," she said with a sigh, "You're always there to help me. I just...After all these years, I hoped that I was beyond trying to stabilize my powers. I'm not a mental patient anymore. I'm a doctor, a wife, and a mother. I have a family that I love and I don't want to have to worry them like this with these...These dreams!"

"Jean, please be calm," said the Professor as he reached across his desk and took her weary hands within his, "I know you worry about your family, but I've seen you overcome enough challenges to know that you can beat this. We'll just have to work harder at it."

The reassuring words of her mentor's wise voice helped bring a smile to her face. This man had given her so much. He's the one that took her in when her family had abandoned her. She even gave Xavier the title of Grandfather to her daughter, Rachel. And if anybody could help her work though this, it was Professor Charles Xavier.

"Thank you Professor. Really, I can never thank you for all the help you've given me," she said, giving his hands a reassuring squeeze, "I just...I'd hate to think what my life would have been like if you hadn't saved me from...Well, you know."

"I'm honored you feel that way, my dear," said Xavier with a smile, "You're a wonderful young woman who's overcome a lot in her life. And you're still my student and I'm still going to help you."

"I know," she said with a nod, "I just hope I can overcome this soon. It's really beginning to affect my sleep, my powers, and my stress levels."

"Well hopefully, the new mental blocks I placed will aid you. And in the meantime, I want you to think about taking some vacation time for you and your family. You're powers have been growing again at a rate I haven't seen since your first power surge."

"Yeah, I remember how THAT turned out," she said bitterly at the memory.

"All the more reason to do whatever you can to ease your mind. And all this work you've been stressing over is not helping."

With a tired sigh, Jean got up and stretched her tense muscles. She couldn't believe that her powers were still growing. She thought they would have stabilized over the years, but they just kept on evolving. She considered herself lucky that it wasn't as bad as her first power surge, but at this rate she may face an even worse challenge.

And it was for these reasons and plenty others that a vacation with her family sounded nice. Her mind needed rest and she sure as hell wasn't getting that with the stress she was enduring now.

"I suppose Scott and I could use a break from it all," she said, entertaining thoughts of a nice relaxing weekend with her husband and baby, "He's already suggested that we take a vacation for a little family time."

"And that's something I think you should definitely consider...Especially if you and Scott are thinking of having another baby."

"Baby?" said Jean with a shocked expression, "How did you..."

But before she could finish, common sense caught up with her as Xavier tap his head in response, reminding her that she was talking to the world's most powerful telepath.

"Oh right," she said sheepishly, "See? My mind really is turning to mush. I'm forgetting the simplest things."

"All the more reason to get some extra rest," said the Professor with a warm smile, "We'll bump our sessions up to five a week for the next three weeks so we can work at this. Just remember that you're a very strong person Jean. You can overcome this. I know you can."

"I have faith that with you're help, I'll get through this," she said, smiling back.

Just then, the doors to Xavier's office opened and a cute little redheaded child scampered into the room and ran up to Jean's side.

"Mommy! Mommy!" said Rachel as she latched onto her leg, "Daddy says he's taking us out this afternoon if Mommy's not sick!"

"Did he now?" she grinned as she scooped her child up in her arms and turned to face her smiling husband.

"Yep! But Mommies don't get sick, do they?"

Jean Grey-Summers smiled at her daughter's playful innocence. She was so vibrant and full of life. It almost pained her to know that she would have to grow up in a world with so much hatred. And since she and Scott already knew that she carried the X-gene, she would have to face the same stigma.

But she tried not to think about that now. Instead, she wanted to focus on her family. As crazy as her powers and nightmares were, she was not about to let it affect the one thing that mattered most to her.

"No baby. Mommies don't get sick," she assured her, "Now come on. Let's go see what Daddy has planned. Say goodbye to Grandpa!"

"Bye Grandpa! See you later!" said Rachel as she waved her little hand back at Xavier.

And from there, Jean carried her little girl over to her husband's side as he snaked an arm around her waist, holding his family close to him. It showed just how tightly bound they were as a family and such a sight brought a smile to Charles Xavier's face.

But at the same time, his expression fell to one of great sorrow. Letting out a deep sigh, Professor Xavier's gaze drifted towards a picture on his desk that he had kept close to him over the years. It was a picture of the whole team as it came to be right after they had all defeated Apocalypse. It helped remind him of just how far they had come.

Yet in the back of his mind, he knew that there was so much more in this world that they had yet to face.

Thinking back to what he had seen in Jean's mind as he placed mental blocks on her, Professor Charles Xavier cursed himself. He knew he hadn't told Jean the full truth. He knew he had blatantly lied in the face of the girl who saw her as nothing short of a father. She trusted him. Scott trusted him. Rachel trusted him. So why was he doing this to them? Why couldn't he tell them truth?

Looking down at his desk, the Professor pulled out one of his many books. It was old, dusty, and fairly tattered, hinting that he had been looking at it a lot over the years. It was a collection of ancient mythology that he had practically memorized over the years and every time he opened it, he always fell on the same picture of the same page. And every time he saw it, he said to himself the one word that he dreaded the most.

"The Phoenix..."

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

In the crowded streets of Boston, Massachusetts, a white Lexus drove into a local parking lot. It was late in the afternoon and the sun was beginning to set as an attractive, shapely, middle aged woman stepped out.

Her name was Emma Frost, headmistress of the Academy of Tomorrow. On the outside, she looked like a cross between a supermodel and an academic. She was in her thirties, but nobody would have guessed she was out of her mid twenties. Her body was one that many envied and was built to attract men of all kinds. Yet at the same time, her poise was one that was educated, strong, and well established.

Aside from her appearance, she had another unseen gift. She was a mutant, a powerful telepath to be precise. She also had the power to make a diamond shell around her body. But for the most part, that was a side that she hid from the rest of the world. After all, a well respected teacher and headmistress had to keep a low profile.

Her Academy of Tomorrow was among one of the most 'unique' academies in the Northeast. While it was never stated in the brochures, it was one that exclusively taught mutants. But unlike the Xavier Institute, her school was not out to make a mutant task force, it was out to educate the mutant youths and help them find a place in society that would help them integrate into the current social structure with the least amount of conflict.

It was a view very different from Charles Xavier, but it was a view Emma believed in every bit as much as Xavier believed in his. Only now, she didn't want to dwell on the academy. Now, she just wanted to relax after another hard day.

As she entered her secure building and ascended to her upscale penthouse, Emma casually stretched her sore muscles and yawned. Running an academy filled with mutant teenagers was not an easy business and it took a toll on her energy. And for that reason, she was in serious need of some quality rest.

"God, what a week," the attractive blonde groaned as she stepped out of the elevator, "They say mutants are a menace and at the rate some of my students are going, I just might be inclined to believe that."

Casually, she unlocked her door and stepped into her apartment, looking forward to just grabbing a bowl of noodles and falling asleep in front of the TV. But as soon as she flipped on the lights, she discovered she was not alone. And before her telepathy could warn her, a sinister yet familiar voice sent a chill up and down her spine.

"Hello Emma. It's been a long time."

Emma gasped as she turned to face someone she hoped she would never see again. He was sitting there on her couch, holding a glass of expensive crystal and casually swirling some very high end wine from her cellar. He bore an enigmatic smile that would have made anybody cringe. He was tall, strong, and imposing with his impressive frame. He also wore what looked like early 19th century style clothing that was very well kempt, not to mention very pricy.

All these features were central to a man that Emma Frost thought she had left behind forever. Yet here he was sitting in front of her with that snide grin she hated so much.

"Sebastian Shaw!" she said in voice that was half shock and half rage, "Give me one good reason why I shouldn't toss you out of the nearest window!"

"Oh come now my dear," said the older man calmly as he approached her, "Is that any way to treat an old flame?"

"I'm warning you, Shaw! Take another step and I'll..."

"You'll do nothing my dear," said Shaw as he set his wine glass aside, "You know as well as I do that you cannot strike me. Besides, you know what'll happen if you do."

Emma was tempted to ignore that and unload on this man out of general principle. Yet like it or not, she knew that striking him wouldn't help. Because when it came to a man like this, fighting was tantamount to suicide.

"What do you want? How did you get in?!" she demanded in a slightly calmer tone.

"Please...You should know by now that there aren't many places that the Hellfire Club can't get into and you're apartment is hardly a fortress. Although I must say, you've done quite well for yourself."

Emma was not impressed. If anything, she was growing increasingly anxious about where this was leading. Sebastian Shaw was a lot of things, but he never just dropped by without a damn good reason.

"Cut the crap, Sebastian! Why are you here?"

Shaw let out a light chuckle as he casually walked about her living room. This didn't sit well with Emma, especially when he started eyeing her many framed photographs. They weren't pictures of family. Most of them were pictures of students both new and old along with impressive images of her prized academy.

"You've made quite a name for yourself over the years, haven't you my dear? You really have been a busy little girl...A feat I would certainly expect from my White Queen."

"SHUT UP!" spat Emma in response, "Don't you EVER call me that! I am NOT your White Queen! Not anymore! That was another life! A life I've left behind! And I left you behind as well if I recall! So either get to the point or GET OUT!"

"Still the temperamental one I see," he said snidely as he took one of the pictures in his hand, "It's a shame you don't want to catch up on old times. But I am in a bit of a hurry, so I'll get right to the point."

Shaw stepped up to the woman who he had once tried to make his queen, his imposing form looming over Emma. Yet despite his impressive stance, she did not falter. She knew that weakness in front of this man was definitely not smart to say the least.

"You have no idea how lucky you are, my dear," he said with an insidious grin, "Few people have had the opportunities that you have enjoyed. Just look at you...You're rich, smart, beautiful, and bear strong mutant powers. You are the pinnacle of an aspiring woman, yet you just had to settle for less."

Emma shot Shaw an angry glance, but this didn't affect him in the slightest.

"You were offered a chance to join the most powerful organization in the history of civilization. You were given the opportunity to wield power and influence few could ever dream of. You could have been a queen...A queen more powerful than any before or ever since. Yet you foolishly threw it all away."

"And I'd do it again in a heartbeat," quipped Emma in a strong tone, "The only thing foolish about what I did was that I actually trusted you!"

"That was your decision, Emma," he went on, "And believe me, you have no idea what you passed up. Only a handful of people have ever been able to leave the Hellfire Club intact. And even fewer have scoffed at the opportunity to join our ranks. It was merely because of my good graces that I allowed you to leave. Otherwise, you'd be a sex slave in Eastern Europe by now."

Emma wanted to respond to that, but she restrained herself, knowing that a man like this wasn't one to take lightly. He never made a threat that he wasn't willing to carry out. It's part of what made him a powerful and influential man. But that was just on the surface. Emma knew full well that there were many dark secrets that Sebastian Shaw fostered.

"But I'm not here to remind you of the offer you so foolishly refused," said Shaw as his gaze drifted back to the picture, "I'm here because Hellfire needs a favor...A big favor."

"You're dreaming!" she scoffed.

"Oh I am very serious my dear. The mere fact that you're still breathing is warrant enough for such an act. And you know damn well what happens to those who don't make good on the graces that Hellfire has given them."

"Spare me your ambiguous death threats, Shaw! They won't work on me!" spat Emma.

"Oh that's where you're wrong," he said, his grin growing wider, "For I was not referring to you. I was referring to something a little more...Personal."

Then, Shaw casually tossed Emma the picture he was holding. It was one of her standing besides a few of her star students. And with Shaw's words in mind, Emma quickly got the message.

"You...You wouldn't!" she said with a gasp, her eyes never leaving the picture.

Shaw laughed as he causally walked about her trendy apartment, confident and unafraid of his former flame's retaliation.

"Such a wonderful academy you've built, my dear," he said ominously, "You must be so proud of your students. You're seem really close to them. I even read in the Times that you refer to them as Generation X. Cute name...Very original. It would be tragic if something were to happen to these wonderful young minds."

Emma Frost felt a cold feeling deep within her being. Looking down at her picture, her hands began to shake with anger. She knew this man was cruel and she could take being threatened, but when it came to her students that was another story.

"No..." she said, her voice nearly mute with rage.

"Yes..." said Shaw as he faced the anxious headmistress, "You know full well what we're capable of. But such fates can easily be avoided...If, of course, you lend us your full, unabated cooperation."

Emma kept looking at the picture as a look of defeat fell upon her face. She was practically screaming inside, wanting nothing more than to decapitate this man on the spot. But she knew that wouldn't save her students. She had no choice.

It had been a long time, yet she knew that this day would eventually come...The day when her past came back to haunt her. And like it or not, there was nothing she could do about it.

"What do you want me to do?" she said, letting out a sigh of defeat.

Shaw smiled in triumph. This was just one of the many pieces that were falling into place for him. And as the Black King of the Hellfire Club, he had every intention of seeing it through to the end.

"Break out your old White Queen outfit. Knowing you, I'm sure it still fits. And make a little call to your old mentor, Charles Xavier. I have a little party I wish to invite him."

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

AN: Well, the seeds have been sewn! Stay tuned to see things continue to develop and get ready for drama, action, and romance galore! So what did you all think? Want to see more? Please tell me! Send me your reviews via email or post them on the fanfiction website! Thank you all very much for reading and I wish everybody the best!

MORE! MORE! MORE REVIEWS! SLICKBOY HUNGRY! NEEDS REVIEWS!!!
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