Takes place 2 years after Apocalypse, 1 year after the Phoenix. The mutant problem has grown and a obscure general named William Stryker thinks he has a solution. Has Scott/Jean, Wanda/Kurt, Kitty/...
Chapter 3: Brotherhood Attack
The Brotherhood of Mutants had undergone many changes within the last year. For Todd Tolensky, Freddy Dukes, Lance Alvers, Pietro Maximoff, and Wanda Maximoff the past two years had been quite hectic for every one of them in terms of complications between the X-men, family, and an ever more hostile society. After the Brotherhood fought alongside the X-men against the ancient mutant known as Apocalypse, a dramatic shift occurred in the overall structure and goals of the Brotherhood. Upon being released from her mind control, Mystique had tried to make amends with her two children, Kurt and Rogue. However, after so many complications and so many bad choices on her part...They rejected her. Nobody, including Mystique herself, could have known how devastating a blow that their rejection would leave. It ended up having a profound impact on Mystique and greatly affected the Brotherhood that she had helped found.
She and Magneto once again agreed on friendly terms...Mainly because he too was greatly changed by what happened under Apocalypse's control. The Brotherhood also developed a less hostile view of the X-men and took many steps to avoid fighting them after succeeding as a single team against Apocalypse. Mystique also willingly used her own money to fix up the run down boarding house and pay off all the debts that had accumulated in her absence. She also used her influence to get the boys and Wanda back in school. When the five members of the Brotherhood questioned these generous actions, Mystique gave no response...But they didn't complain. It was clear that something profound happened to the shape-shifter while she was under Apocalypse's control. She never talked about it, but it was obvious that it still dominated her mind. The bitter, angry Mystique that the Brotherhood members had come to known...Was replaced by a depressed, solemn, and withdrawn woman who kept to herself pretty much all of the time. Few residents of the Brotherhood complained because to them, she was nicer than the old Mystique. She almost never yelled at them anymore and spent most of her time in her room or going out to meet with Destiny and Agatha. Sometimes she would converse with the residents, mainly Wanda. But it was clear that some of this was done out of a secret yearning to be with her own children once again and make up for all of her sins. However, given the blue mutant's secretive nature...That wasn't always easy.
Mystique never confided in anybody...But that was kind of her nature. She never talked to anybody about what happened while she was under Apocalypse's influence. However, she was still haunted by horrible nightmares day by day...Nightmares about her under that heinous mutant's influence and all the horrible acts that she had done in the past. Now, her conscious was catching up with her after many years of suppressing it. Guilt was now eating her alive...And it weighed very heavily on her soul. She had once thought that she was a woman that was dead of all emotion...But after what happened with Apocalypse and her children...All the emotion that she wasn't supposed to have was coming back with a vengeance. There were few instances within the past year when she didn't replay that day in Egypt again in her mind...Wondering what would have happened if Kurt and Rogue actually believed in her sincerity. But whenever she contemplated a different outcome...She would remind herself of horrible things she had put them through...And didn't consider herself worthy of such forgiveness. Either way...Life was in a very hazy stage for Raven Darkholm. And it was unclear what the future would bring for both her and the Brotherhood.
A long, black limousine pulled up in front of the Brotherhood boarding house as most of five residents slept soundly in their beds. In the back, three female figures sat in the comfortable, luxurious seating after another long meeting. One woman was Irene Adler, also known as Destiny, a blind middle aged burnet that carried a walking stick with her wherever she went. The other was Agatha Hawkins, an old woman with many wrinkles wearing a long blue veil over her body. And finally, the last occupant was Mystique...Whom had come to see her old friends once more.
"You will call me if you start having any more of your dreams, won't you Irene?" said Mystique as the limo stopped out on the curb near the mailbox.
"Of course Raven, I can assure you that you will be the first to know...Should I sense something. But ever since the Phoenix incident...The future has been very unclear and I cannot be certain what will happen now for you, or anybody else for that matter."
"All that I'm concerned about is the future of my children," said Mystique sternly, as if to make sure that her associate knew that, "I have done enough horrible deeds to them as it is...But you know that I regret them now."
"Indeed we do Raven," said Agatha in her low, somewhat hoarse voice, "And that is why you must not forget what happened to you while you were under Apocalypse's control."
"Don't remind me..." replied Mystique sharply as she prepared to leave, "I hate thinking about as it is!"
"But remember..." said Agatha as her old friend prepared to leave, "That incident had a profound effect on you. If you were to forget the events that transpired during that time...Then you may fall back in to the same pattern of hurting your children again...Which I know you don't want."
Mystique was silent upon hearing that...Obviously torn by her words. On one hand, she was greatly haunted by memories of the horrors that Apocalypse had put her through while he manipulated and controlled her mind and body. But on the other hand, if she were to forget these heinous recollections, she would probably revert back to her old ways and further hurt the children that she had tried to win back. Thinking about such conflict made Mystique even more tired than she already was. She hadn't slept in three days...She hadn't wanted to because she knew that the nightmares would haunt her. But either way, it was beginning to take a toll on the shape-shifter...A toll that she was uncertain she could stand much longer.
"I'll call you both later..." sighed Mystique, not wanting to talk about this anymore.
After that, Mystique shifted into a small black bird and flew out of the window back toward the boarding house.
"Take care old friend..." said Destiny with an ominous hint of sadness in her tone as the limo drove off away from the area.
As soon as the boarding house was out of sight, Agatha turned towards her associate with a questioning look on her old, wrinkled face.
"You're a very good liar Irene...You even had me nearly fooled," commented the old woman.
Irene Adler was silent as she contemplated her next words. She wondered if Mystique knew of this and simply chose to ignore it...But what concerned her more was whether or not she was doing the right thing.
"All that matters is that Raven believes it," responded Irene, "I...I feel somewhat guilty about lying to my friend. But she's a very different woman compared to the one we knew two years ago."
"That she is...But you must still consider...Does she have a right to know?"
Destiny went over the situation in her mind again...Asking herself over and over the same questions that had been plaguing her mind for some time now. She knew what Agatha meant by her words, but now it seemed that neither way would have made a difference in what she had tried to tell her friend...But didn't.
"The choice has already been made Agatha...It cannot be unmade," stated Irene, as if she knew something that she wasn't telling Mystique or Agatha for that matter, "Last night I had a dream...A dream that abruptly stopped at some point...But a dream none-the-less. Our decision...Is for the best. However..."
Then, Destiny was cut off in mid-sentence by the sound of a police siren from behind the limo. Instinctively, the driver stopped and pulled over to the side of the relatively uninhabited road. Agatha noticed a strange, unreadable expression on Irene's face...But without saying anything...It was clear in it's meaning to the old woman. Neither of them said a word as two officers, one male and one female, walked up to the side of the long black car with flashlights drawn. The driver rolled down the front window on his side while the female officer tapped on the window in the back where Destiny and Agatha were sitting.
"Is there a problem officer?" asked Agatha as she rolled the window down.
"Actually yes...There is," responded the woman as her male counter-part appeared to be doing the same as her with the driver. "We got a report that a series limos were being used in drug smuggling operation and we're stopping each limo on these narrow back roads to see that none of these drugs can make it to the streets."
"Officer, I can assure you that we know of no such things," said Agatha as the female officer shined a flashlight in to the limo.
Agatha looked over at Irene, who had a strange, unreadable expression on her face...One that looked somewhat full of sorrow for some reason. The old woman knew something...But she didn't seem to want to say anything. The female officer then turned towards her male partner who seemed to be asking the same questions to the driver. She gave him a simple hand signal and the man nodded casually in reply as the female officer turned back towards the two women in the limo.
"Well, everything seems to be in order here...But you must understand that we have to take something like this seriously. Hell, just recently we pulled over a limo just like this with enough pot for a football team. In fact, this limo matches the exact description of the one we pulled over. I have a picture of one of the guys suspected running this whole thing. Perhaps you know him?"
Then, the female officer proceeded to reach in to her side pocket to fish for a picture. Unknown to the two women in the limo, the male officer was doing the same. Part of their story seemed a little odd...But they went along with it anyway. However, Irene's expression didn't change for some reason...If anything, it grew increasingly dim. Agatha was about to question this when the female officer then beat her to it.
"Ah here it is...Maybe you ladies can take a look at it and..."
BANG! BANG! BANG!
Shots suddenly rang out as both the male and female officer pulled out two Colt 9 millimeter pistols instead of pictures and opened fire on the occupants of the limo. The bullets hit both Agatha and Destiny in the head...Killing them instantly...But even after they were dead, the two supposed police officers continued to empty the entire clip of their guns in to the dead, bleeding bodies. A small grin of satisfaction came across the two officers, both of which had embalms of the Friends of Humanity on their fake police badges. Once they ran out of bullets to shoot the already dead occupants of the vehicle, the male officer took out a pocket communicator and began to speak.
"General Stryker...This is the night patrol...The raven has returned to its den. I repeat, the raven has returned to its den."
"Excellent," responded Stryker over the encrypted line, "Now, dispose of those unsightly remains and return to the main group. The time to strike is almost upon us!"
As Mystique entered the Brotherhood boarding house, she was greeted with a relatively silent dwelling. It seemed as though most of the residents were sound asleep. Silence was always a rarity in a place that housed five mutant teenagers, so for Mystique it was a time to relish as best as she could. However, it really didn't make much of a difference to her...Given her disposition. While she had shown that she did care on some level for the Brotherhood, her solemn nature somewhat distracted everybody from that. The thought of going to sleep wasn't sounding too appealing for the blue shape-shifter, not wanting to have another one of the horrible nightmares that had been plaguing her for the past two years. Instead, she decided to head towards the kitchen for a late night snack...In hopes of avoiding sleep for as long as possible.
As she entered the kitchen, Mystique was somewhat surprised to see Wanda sitting at a table in the dark, eating some leftover chicken from the other night.
"Couldn't sleep Wanda?" asked Mystique as she walked towards her.
Wanda, who appeared to be deep in thought, was somewhat startled by her sudden entrance. But none-the-less she greeted her.
"Mystique! Please don't do that," she said as the surprise quickly wore off, "I get enough of that from Pietro."
"Sorry..." said Mystique as she poured herself some tea, "So what are you doing sitting here in the dark at this hour? Bad dreams again?"
Wanda Maximoff didn't like to talk about her dreams, so she simply sighed as she nodded in response. A hint of understanding came over Mystique as she sat down next to her. Wanda had been having a series of bad dreams lately, and it was beginning to seriously affect her demeanor. Most of her dreams were unclear flashes of strange, incomplete memories of being thrown away in to a dark, dingy cell by her father. At first she thought they were simply nightmares...But as time went on, they became increasingly vivid and hard to handle. She didn't like to talk about it, but on occasions she would discuss it with her twin brother, Pietro, or sometimes even Todd. However, this didn't make the dreams go away.
"Want to talk about it?" asked Mystique in a somewhat melancholy tone.
"No...I don't," said Wanda as she shook her head in a quick response.
Mystique didn't push her to say anything else. She could easily relate to the effect bad dreams had on one's mind. Ever since these dreams started, Mystique had done her best to help Wanda through it even though it sometimes made things harder for herself. While she didn't know the exact nature of what had been done to her mind to alleviate her anger towards her father, she didn't want to make her feel any worse by telling her the truth. Through this, Wanda had developed a fairly close friendship with Mystique. She was the only one that the shape shifter ever really talked to in the Brotherhood. It was strange because Mystique acted so differently compared to the way she was two years ago. She barely even got angry anymore, which was the most shocking change in the eyes of the Brotherhood. She often seemed too depressed and withdrawn to show anger. It was as if all that desire for hate and violence was replaced by remorse.
"So did Destiny and Agatha have anything to say?" asked Wanda as she finally broke the silence.
"No...Nothing of any real concern," answered Mystique as she felt her exhaustion start to get the best of her, "Oh, and Agatha says hi."
That got Wanda to smile somewhat, being as how Agatha Hawkins had been the one to help her finally gain control over her powers. On occasion she did meet with the old woman, but mostly to simply check up on her powers and to help her manage her emotions. In two years Wanda had improved by leaps and bounds thanks mainly to Agatha for helping and Mystique for being there in the first place.
The two women continued to sit in silence as the time neared midnight. Wanda planned to go back to bed in a short while, but Mystique seemed to be hell bent on staying awake at all costs. As bad as her nightmares were, Wanda still managed to get at least some sleep. But this was not the case for Mystique. To her, sleep in any way, shape, or form led to nightmares that she desperately wanted to avoid. Wanda could see that it was definitely starting to take a toll on her...But it seemed that Mystique was already well aware of that. In her opinion, these horrible nightmares were punishment for her deeds. And as much as she wanted to make amends for them, in the end she just didn't know how.
As Wanda finished up the last of the chicken that she had been eating, a sudden gust of wind blew through the room and a new presence entered.
"Hello ladies! What's up?" said Pietro Maximoff in his usual, hurried tone.
Once again, Wanda was startled by his unexpected entrance and felt somewhat annoyed as she turned towards her twin.
"Pietro! How many times do I have to hex you into the wall to get you to not do that!?" said Wanda in a tired, exasperated tone.
"Sorry sis, compulsive habit. I was just thirsty and didn't know you were down here," replied Pietro innocently as he walked over to the refrigerator to get a bottle of water.
"Well I am! So please be more careful next time!" said Wanda as she slumped back in her chair.
Mystique just rolled her eyes at the familiar scene. It used to make her angry whenever Pietro used his speed to enter a room. But after two years of this, Mystique had kind of grown accustomed to it and now it was just a simple annoyance. It still made Wanda angry for some reason even though she had put up with it a lot longer, but that could simply be attributed to the simple nature of siblings...In particular, twins.
"So why are you up anyway? Nightmares again?" asked Pietro as he sat next to Wanda.
"Ugh..." groaned Wanda as she rested the weight of her head on her arms, "I don't want to talk about it."
As obnoxious as Pietro was at times, he still had a genuine concern for his sister. The worry in his tone was quite apparent as he noticed the dark circles under Wanda's eyes. Ever since he had decided to fight along with her and the X-men, Pietro's relationship with Wanda had improved dramatically. It got to the point where they actually felt like real siblings despite their somewhat opposite nature. Even though Pietro would never openly admit it due to his cocky personality, he enjoyed having a decent relationship with his sister. It helped him feel less alone and gave off a sense of family that had always been hard to come by for him. But that still didn't change the fact that he knew what had been done to her by their father, Magneto. However, he just couldn't bring himself to tell her the horrible truth. He knew that if Wanda found out what he had been keeping from her, she would hate him more than ever and they would never be brother and sister again. For two years he had held on to these lies because in return, he got his sister back. But that didn't make him feel any less guilty over what had been done to her. Pietro always cursed his so called "Father" for putting Wanda through so much torture in the first place. He blamed him for taking away his family and leaving him all alone and bitter, but deep down the speed demon mostly blamed himself for going along with that horrible man in the first place.
"Have you talked to Father lately?" asked Wanda as she managed to lift her tired head once again.
Pietro slightly cringed at the mention of Magneto as he felt a sharp sting of bitterness towards the father that had betrayed the both of them so many times in the past.
"No...I haven't had a chance," answered Pietro, his tone much slower now.
"Haven't had a chance, or are you simply avoiding it?" questioned Mystique as she looked at the speed demon skeptically.
Pietro shot Mystique a dirty look, even though there was a certain amount of truth in her words that he couldn't deny. Looking back over at Wanda, he simply sighed as he slumped back in to his chair.
"Well, a little of both if you must know," answered Pietro as he took a large gulp of water.
"What do you mean by that?" asked Wanda.
Pietro hesitated briefly...A rare event for somebody who lived as fast as he did.
It caught Wanda's suspicions, but she was uncertain why. Pietro was still the one Magneto contacted if something went down. For a brief while, it had been Mystique instead...But since she often went off to visit Agatha and Destiny, Magneto quickly shifted back towards his son. From the speed demons point of view...He was trying to gain his trust again. However, seeing as how he had betrayed him before and done so much to hurt him...It wasn't easy. After Apocalypse, the evident change in Mystique and Magneto left Pietro torn. A part of him wanted to trust his father again...But another part continually reminded him of what had happened in the past every time he believed in him. But two years had done a lot...And uncertainty now dominated the young mutants mind as he remained torn between his twin sister and his father.
Wanda wanted to ask Pietro more about the issue of Magneto, but she was too tired now and felt that it could wait until morning. As she threw the plastic dish that she had been eating out of in the sink, her twin seemed to follow suit while Mystique remained seated, still not willing to give sleep a chance.
"Well, I don't know about you girls, but I'm going to try and get some shut eye," said Pietro as he threw the bottle of water in to the trashcan, "You should try too Mystique...You look like shit. When's the last time you slept anyway?"
Mystique simply groaned in exhaustion as Pietro seemed to remind her just how tired she truly was.
"I can't even remember..." answered Mystique as she turned towards the window, seeing her hallow reflection.
Pietro was about to say something else, but then Wanda placed a hand on his shoulder and shook her head. Wanda knew that the blue shape shifter felt bad enough as it is, and any more comments about it would only make things worse. Pietro knew that Wanda had developed a fairly friendly relationship with Mystique in the past two years. It was evident because Mystique only willfully conversed with her and nobody else. He suspected that maybe it was because Wanda was the only other girl in the house, but part of it was also because she was simply an easy person to talk to when she doesn't let her emotions get out of control. He knew this because he himself enjoyed talking to her more than most of the other residents of the Brotherhood. Pietro used to talk to Lance fairly often after the Apocalypse deal, but after his relationship with Kitty went sour...He just became too irritable to be around. That, and Wanda was still his twin...No matter how different things got, that would always be so.
The Maximoff twins were about to leave Mystique alone for the night in hopes that she would somehow force herself to get some rest...But as Pietro followed his sister out of the kitchen...She suddenly froze as her gaze shifted towards the kitchen window.
"Wanda?" asked Pietro, not knowing what she was looking at. "Wanda, is something wrong?"
This caught Mystique's attention as well as she got up from her seat and saw the confused look on Wanda's face. Her gaze was locked towards the window as both Mystique and Pietro turned to see what she was looking at. Immediately, the same look of confusion came over them as well as they watched a strange event unfold in the skies outside. In the distance, large red flares were seen coming up from over the horizon and getting ominously larger with each passing second. Then, a sudden hint of understanding came over Mystique as she recognized exactly what this strange phenomenon was.
"Mystique...What the hell is..." began Wanda, but she was soon cut off in mid sentence by the blue shape-shifter.
"We have to get out of here..."
"What?!" yelled Pietro, not sure if he had heard her right just then...But then he turned to notice the deadly serious expression on Mystique's face.
The flares in the sky grew larger and the clock neared the exact hour of midnight. A deathly stillness soon gripped the three mutants as time seemed to stand still. Suddenly, a gentle rumble could be felt as the air around them grew hot with tension. Mystique seemed to understand, but Wanda and Pietro were still confused...Uncertain of the definite meaning in her urgent words. Then finally, the realization hit them...
"WE HAVE TO GET OUT OF HERE NOW!!! HURRY, GO!!!" yelled Mystique as she shifted in to a raven and promptly flew out the window.
Following his basic instinct, Pietro grabbed his sister and used his super speed to run them out of the house just as the clock struck midnight. Then...A deafening bang and a blinding flash shook the whole area as Mystique, Wanda, and Pietro were thrown back nearly a dozen feet into the air by the shockwave as the boarding house for the Brotherhood of Mutants exploded in a ball of fire.
Dazed and confused, the three mutants soon came to...But were quickly horrified as they saw more bombs and shells hit the already inflamed structure. They watched helplessly as their home erupted in a huge blast of flame while flares from the sky fell down upon the land and started to pelt the area around the house. The three mutants were blasted further away from the structure by the shockwaves as they looked back at their now demolished home.
"My house..." said Mystique in a dazed voice.
"NO!" yelled Wanda as she arose to her feet, "The others!! What about Todd, Freddy, and Lance?! We have to..."
"No Wanda! Don't try and..." but Pietro was soon cut off when another explosion from a bomb that hit the already burning structure.
Wanda covered her mouth to keep herself from letting out another pained scream as she thought of her friends...Who were still in the house when it erupted in flame. She shook her head in disbelief, hoping that this was all a bad dream...And she would wake up any moment. But her hope was in vain...For she knew this was real.
"No...It can't be...They're gone..." said Wanda as tears began to form in her eyes as she watched the area around the Brotherhood house transform into a smoking crater.
"This...This can't be happening!" yelled Mystique, feeling as though her world had been shattered like a bullet through a mirror.
Then, the ground around them began to rumble as a cloud of dust formed in the distance from both directions. Small stones near their feet began to vibrate and move as the cloud of dust got closer and closer to their position. The three dazed mutants felt the air around them became immersed in the stench of death as they saw figures in the growing cloud form. They appeared to be some kind of vehicles...Mainly military from the looks of it. There was everything from tanks, to armored personnel carriers, to mobile artillery convoys. There were dozens of them...Hundreds of them, as they started to surround the area.
The vast line of military machinery continued to fire brief bursts of mortar and artillery blasts on the area even though their target looked completely destroyed. But they kept on going at it, by direct orders of the field captain. Soon, as the lead vehicles drew closer towards the main area with the rest of the advancing units, the captain saw something in his binoculars and quickly radioed base.
"General Stryker...The Brotherhood house has been destroyed. But it looks like three of the freaks escaped from the blast!"
Through the static, William Stryker received the frantic message from the field captain. Using the real-time video feed from the aircraft flying over the area, he zoomed in on the front lines to get a better view. Stryker remained calm and collected as he spoke back to his subordinate.
"Can you make out the identity of the escapees?"
"Not from this distance sir! What should we do?" yelled the captain over the noise of the engine.
"Close in on them from all directions and take them down. Do NOT let them get away," replied Stryker in a subtle, yet stern tone of voice.
"Sir, yes sir!" said the captain as he switched the channel on his communicator to radio the rest of his units, "Attention all units! We have three rogue mutants that seem to have escaped the blast. By direct order of the general, we are to take them down by any means necessary! All units arm your rifles and all support vehicles, ready your machine guns!"
All throughout the vast line of military vehicles, soldiers prepared their guns and manned their armed battle stations in preparation for the encounter with the surviving mutants. Their orders were shoot to kill now...And as they drew closer to the now charred area, the figures of their three remaining targets came in to view. Each one of the soldiers readied their guns and prepared to take aim at their human targets. There were hundreds of them...And only three mutants...Already dazed from what had just happened.
Mystique, Pietro, and Wanda were quickly becoming surrounded by dozens of armed men and women in uniform. Everything had happened so fast that their minds struggled to process the world around them. But Mystique was soon able to snap herself out of it and knew that they had to get away...However, that wouldn't be easy with the army division in their way.
"Shit! It's the army! We have to get out of here!" yelled Mystique.
Her words seemed to snap Pietro and Wanda out of their daze and soon followed Mystique as she started to run off to the east end of the area where some trees and wooded areas would give them some cover. However, Wanda seemed to hesitate as she just kept looking back at the now destroyed boarding houses...Thinking of her three friends that had been inside when it was first hit.
"Wanda, come on! We have to go!" yelled Pietro as he tugged on his sister's arm.
"No!" yelled the Scarlet Witch in reply as she tried to shake herself free from her brother's grip, "We can't just leave! What about the others!? What about..."
"They're gone Wanda...There's no way they could've survived..." said Pietro with a heavy heart.
"No...We can't just..." but Wanda couldn't finish her sentence as the realization finally began to set in for both her and her brother.
"I know...But if we stay...We'll die too. Now come on Wanda! Let's go!"
Wanda just kept shaking her head, not wanting to accept it. Pietro too wished that this was all a bad dream...Nothing more than a horrible nightmare that he couldn't wake up from. But he knew this was real...And if either of them stayed, they too would be killed at the hands of whoever was behind this heinous act.
Then, gunfire was heard in the distance and bullets began to fly near the area where Wanda and Pietro were still standing. Reacting on an impulse, Pietro grabbed his sister and used his speed to catch up with Mystique and quickly took cover with her in the wooded areas off to the side of the rubble that had once been their home. And although they didn't know it, their actions were seen from above by the high flying unmanned aerial vehicles providing reconnaissance for Stryker's men. Back in Washington in the depths of the Pentagon, the general saw this and quickly radioed his men.
"Attention bravo division...The three mutants that escaped from the blast have taken cover in the wooded areas off to the east. All small, 4 by 4 vehicles follow them and I want two groups of marine foot soldiers to provide cover. Remember, your orders are shoot to kill," said Stryker over the communications link.
"Sir, yes sir!" said the field captain as he and the rest of the division surrounded the rubble of the boarding house, "All armed humvees and jeeps, listen up! We've got three mutant targets in the woods and by direct order of the general we are to take them out! I want all capable vehicles to surround the area and I want marine groups 5 and 6 to provide cover! Cut off their escape and box them in! These freaks aren't getting away that easily!"
From that order, dozens of small off road vehicles, many armed with a 30 caliber machine gun on the top or back, sped in to the woods in search of the three mutants that had escaped the blast. Marines began to pour in to the area, each one armed with a fully loaded M-16 rifle. It definitely didn't look good for Mystique and the Maximoff twins as they continued to run through the woods in the darkness of the night trying to escape from the pursuing soldiers.
"Hurry! This way!" yelled Mystique as she saw Pietro and Wanda following close behind.
"Wait! Just where the hell are we going anyway?!" yelled Pietro in response.
"As far away from this place as possible!" answered Mystique, "There's a clearing up ahead! If we get to it, we should be able to find a path out of here!"
"Sounds like a plan!" said the speed demon as he used his speed to run out ahead of the shape-shifter.
However, they didn't get far before they were stopped by a blinding flash of headlights from an oncoming jeep. Then, over a loudspeaker, they heard a booming voice.
Then, a sudden burst of gunfire erupted from the mounted machine gun on the back of the vehicle. The bullets would have surely hit...But then Wanda used her hexing powers to divert the oncoming projectiles away from them.
"Shit! We can't go that way!" said Mystique as she turned and ran off to the right of the path that she and the twins had been following, "Over here! I know another route!"
Using her powers as a quick tactic for diversion, Wanda and Pietro managed to follow Mystique back through a more rugged path that led over a small creek. But thanks to night-vision goggles, the men in the jeep never lost sight of them and radioed the field captain.
"Sir! We have the enemy on the run! And we have one of the renegades identified! It's the Scarlet Witch!"
It only took a few seconds for the captain to give a response upon hearing this new data.
"Stay on them, but switch to attack pattern B! The Scarlet Witch is a tricky little devil! And be careful of the other two!"
"Sir, yes sir!"
More headlights from other vehicles were seen in the distance of the night as the Maximoff twins followed Mystique further toward what they hoped would be an escape route. However, the armed jeeps were closing in fast and gunfire began to litter the area. The three mutants tried to keep their heads down as the speeding projectiles whizzed past them at blinding speeds. As the turned past another muddy ditch, one of the bullets grazed Mystique's arm and she let out pained grunt...But kept going.
"Mystique!" yelled Wanda, seeing the blue mutant clutch her arm.
"I'm all right!" assured the shape shifter, "Just keep going!"
Through the sting of the wound she kept running as a path soon appeared in the distance. It seemed like a faint beacon of hope for the three surviving mutants that had escaped death from the initial bombardment that destroyed their home and killed three of their friends.
"Hurry! We're almost there!" yelled Mystique.
But no sooner had she finished saying those words did a concealed jeep with its lights off make its presence known. The front lights were promptly turned on and quickly surprised the three mutants as it blocked their path. The armed vehicle was a mere 12 feet away from them as the man behind the machine gun now saw his three targets clearly in the night. The man was in a different uniform compared to the other soldiers and his clothing bore emblems that differed greatly from traditional military symbols. As he looked at Mystique, Pietro, and Wanda...A sinister grin spread across his face as he gripped the trigger of the powerful gun.
"End of the line freaks!"
"Fuck you!" yelled Wanda as her eyes began to glow.
Then, the soldier unleashed a powerful barrage of bullets upon the three mutants...But once again Wanda's powers diverted the projectiles. But as this happened...Something else began to occur in the trees behind them. Six armed marines quickly and stealthily made their way closer towards the three surviving mutants. They all had their guns pointed directly at Wanda, who was busy handling the machine gun fire from the jeep. The Scarlet Witch seemed oblivious to this as the group leader then gave the signal to prepare for the assault. However, the light from the gun battle had partially illuminated the area around them...And Pietro got a brief glimpse of the approaching Marines. Time began to slow down for the speedster as he saw them aim their guns directly at his sister. His heart began to race as he saw the look in the eyes of the soldiers...And then looked back towards his twin sister that had already been taken away from him once before. Despite all the mistakes he had made, despite all the flaws in his character, and despite all the secrets he kept from her...Pietro Maximoff sprung in to action. The men then fired their guns as Wanda remained engrossed in the firefight with the man in the jeep. Using his super speed...Pietro lunged forth as the bullets neared his sister's body and let out a loud yell.
Before the Scarlet Witch could react, she was shoved out of the way of the bullets that were meant for her...And Pietro felt an intense surge of pain as the red-hot projectiles tore through his young body. Upon seeing this Wanda let out an agonizing scream as she watched her twin fall to the ground in a bloody heap.
"PIETRO!" yelled Wanda as the horrible scene unfolded before her.
Mystique too looked back in shock as she watched the bullets tear through the young man's body. In seeing this, an uncontrollable rage was unleashed within Wanda as she looked at the callous men that had shot her brother and now turned their sights towards her.
Suddenly, the ammunition in the magazine of the guns unexpectedly exploded...Blowing all six marines and the man that had been at the machine gun on the jeep back with a powerful shockwave.
"Retreat! Fall back! Fall back!" yelled the Marines as they made their way back towards the other edge of the woods.
Using this confusion to her advantage, Mystique jumped upon the opportunity to get out of here and attacked the two drivers in the front of the jeep. Each man pulled a Glock 9 millimeter semi-automatic pistol on her, but she managed to use her skill to kick the weapons out of their hands and knock them out of the jeep. Quickly, she jumped in the driver seat and turned towards the Maximoff twins. Wanda had keeled over in shock at her brother's side as she saw the numerous bullet wounds that now littered Pietro's body. He was beginning to bleed profusely and a pool of his own blood began to form around him. It was a truly ghastly sight for Wanda as a sudden surge of fear gripped her mind...The fear of watching her twin brother die right here in this horrible place. Those bullets were meant for her...Not him. He had stepped in and saved her life...A heroic act that most people wouldn't expect of Pietro. But he had done it anyway...He had done it to make up for his past mistakes. Tears began to form in Wanda's eyes as she carefully turned her brother's still body over and gasped in horror. There were so many wounds...So many bullet holes. How could anybody survive this? But she was soon shocked when she heard Pietro's sudden gasps for air. He was still breathing...But only in short labored breaths. Blood was seeping out of his mouth and there rest of his body was eerily still...But he was still alive.
"Pietro...No," said Wanda as she looked down at her bloody brother, "Don't do this...You can't leave me. You..."
Then she heard something come from Pietro's labored breathing. It sounded like he was chocking on blood that had accumulated in his lungs, but he was still trying to say something. His words were slurred and hard to make out...But Wanda heard them clearly as Pietro struggled too tell her something.
But that's as far as he got as he started coughing on his own blood again. Wanda was unsure what he meant by that...But she was too concerned with the prospect of him dying to figure them out. The Scarlet Witch felt paralyzed with everything that had just happened. Her home had been destroyed, three of her friends had been killed, and now her brother was on the verge of dying. A harsh lump formed in Wanda's throat as her mind struggled to function. Then, she was bought out of her trance by the urgent words of Mystique.
"Wanda! Come on!" yelled the shape shifter, "Bring Pietro in here! Hurry!"
The headlights of other jeeps could be heard in the distance as Wanda swallowed her despair and quickly scooped her brother up in her arms. He weighed very little as raw adrenalin rushed through her system. She quickly jumped in the back seat of the jeep and laid her brother out as his breathing became more erratic. As soon as he was secure, Mystique slammed her foot on the gas and sped out of the woods on to a secluded dirt path away from the area where the soldiers now controlled. Once they were far from the army that had invaded their home, attention was quickly diverted to Pietro's condition.
"How is he?" asked Mystique as she sped along the pathway at high speeds.
Wanda was getting hysterical as tears continued to form in her eyes. The fear of losing her twin brother was a sickening feeling that continued to grow in the pit of her stomach. She struggled to remain fully aware as she looked at Pietro's bloody body.
"Please Wanda, focus! You have to for Pietro's sake!" yelled Mystique, trying to keep Wanda from going in to shock.
The mention of Pietro's well being seemed to have jolted Wanda out of her daze...But her mind was still stick with worry over her brother and tears were still streaming down her face.
"I...I don't know..." said Wanda as she swallowed hard at the grim sight before her, "There's so much blood I..."
"Just find something to cover the wounds, apply pressure front and back, and keep his legs up," said Mystique knowing full well how to treat gunshot wounds, mainly from personal experience, "And whatever you do...Keep talking to him! Don't let him pass out or fall asleep...Or he may not wake up."
This did not raise Wanda's hopes too much as she took some cloth from the floor of the back seat and covered Pietro's wounds like Raven had instructed. But she knew that he needed more help...He wouldn't last much longer in this state.
"We have to get him to a hospital Mystique! He's dying! My brother's dying..."
The pained words came out of her in a tortured tone...But Mystique knew that the hospital option was not viable. If the army had taken their house, they probably had a great deal of control throughout the area to organize the attack. It was only logical that this control would probably extend to medical facilities as well...And taking Pietro to one of them would most likely mean certain death. He was a mutant...They all were. And not everybody was willing to help mutants. This left them with only one option...
"We can't go to the hospital Wanda...The officials there will kill him faster than the bullets," responded Mystique.
"But we have to do SOMETHING!!!" yelled Wanda, "We have get help! I am not going to just sit by and watch my brother die!!!"
"Calm down Wanda!" urged Mystique as she gave the jeep more gas, "We have only one choice...The institute. If they haven't attacked it as well...Then that's Pietro's only hope...And that's where I'm going. My children are there too..."
"If that's what we have to do to save Pietro then do it! Step on it!" yelled Wanda.
The Scarlet Witch then turned back to her brother and began speaking to him...Desperately trying to keep him from leaving her.
"Pietro...Pietro can you hear me?" said Wanda desperately as she tried to keep her brother awake, "Whatever happens don't fall asleep...Don't pass out. Just listen to me...Stay with me. Don't leave me please. Please Pietro...You're my twin...You're my brother...Don't leave me."
Pietro's time was running out. Both Mystique and Wanda knew it. It was unclear to them who were behind this heinous act, but now that matter was pushed in to the back of their minds as Wanda's thoughts remained focused on her brother. For Mystique, however, her mind was now focused mainly on Kurt and Rogue. If they had hit her...Then it was almost certain that they had hit them as well. Looking back at Pietro, she worried about the state of her children. She had been trying to make amends with them...Be a mother to them...But failed so many times because she made the wrong choices and let her emotions get the better of her. If they died...She may never get a chance to make up for her mistakes. She wanted them to forgive her...She wanted to forgive herself.
'Please be okay...' thought Mystique as her fear for Kurt and Rogue now dominated her mind, 'Please, please be okay. I'm so sorry for not being there...I'm so sorry for a lot of things. You have to be there...I have to tell you I'm sorry. Please...'
AN: Well the X-men have been hit and the Brotherhood have been hit. That leaves only one more target left...Magneto. So what do you think so far? I'm aware that some of you will hate the fact that Lance, Todd, and Freddy were killed in this along with all the others in the last chapter...But remember, this is AU! This is just a story! And I did give you all fair warning ahead of time. I know this chapter was really long, but I kind of wanted it to be in order to set the stage for future developments of the characters. I know they may seem a bit OOC, but part of their actions were based on what I noticed at the end of the episode "Ascention II." I'm sorry if some of you don't like this other side of Mystique and the Maximoff twins, but that's just kind of how the story goes. And stay tuned! It's far from over! Stryker still has Magneto targeted! See how the master of magnetism has changed in this story and prepare to see more action and suspense! Don't forget to REVIEW! I'd love to know what you think so far! Please send your feedback to me via email or post it on the fanfiction website! I love getting reviews so please send me your thoughts on my work! Well, thanks for reading! I really appreciate it and until next time, I wish you all the best!
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