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...
Chapter 9: Homecoming
In a large, Victorian style mansion on the outskirts of New York City, the ritual started by the Hellfire Club was not done yet. While the bulk of the club perished at the hands of the Phoenix, the two most important members made it out with their most vital resource in hand...The M'krann crystal.
Sebastian Shaw and Selene were the lucky ones, but they had also been the most resourceful. They had hidden escape compartments built into the chamber that nobody knew about and even if there had been any other survivors, they wouldn't be able to do much after they took the power of the Phoenix for themselves. Because even though the ritual had been stopped, that didn't mean it couldn't be completed.
"This is taking too long, Selene! What's the hold up?" said and impatient Black King as he paced restlessly.
"Will you shut up!" spat the Black Queen, "This sort of thing can't be rushed! But don't worry, the power of the Phoenix will be ours soon enough!"
"You better be right about this," retorted Shaw, "We've waited too long and worked too hard to let this chance slip away. And now that we don't have a telepath to aid us, we cannot afford any mistakes."
"Bah! No telepath is necessary at this point. I still can't believe you wanted to use that blonde bitch of yours as a control. You should have let me torture and kill her years ago! But NO! You just HAD to have a thing for her!"
"That's besides the point!" shot Shaw, growing increasingly agitated, "Yes, it was a mistake to use her again, but she wasn't the one who halted the ritual! It was those damned X-men!"
"Well they won't stand in the way of this one!" said Selene confidently as she lit a series of black candles around a marble podium where the M'krann crystal rested, "As soon as I complete this spell, those little pricks will be the first to feel our wrath!"
"Let us hope so. Because now that the Phoenix has returned, we must finish soon or we'll all be cosmic dust."
It was raining incessantly in the skies over Connecticut as a fiery flame descended onto Earth. A quiet neighborhood cul-de-sack that stood in a state of disrepair lay silent in the pounding rain with the distant sounds of booming thunder echoing over the decaying structures.
Every house had a 'for sale' sign on it, but it didn't look as though there were many prospects. It was as if everybody had just packed up and left. Now all that was left was a bunch of rotting wood and brick houses. But it one fateful house in which the fiery flames of the Phoenix fell upon. And despite the pouring rain and darkened skies, the being that had consumed a star settled on the soft ground.
She couldn't help but be drawn to this place. Yet at the same time, she was also repulsed. It was an odd feeling, but it was a sensation it was bent on exploring.
Still in her Dark Phoenix outfit, she walked through the pouring rain into the worn down house. As soon as she stepped in she was greeted by empty rooms, unstable floor boards, and an ominous flight of stairs. The wood was rotting, the bricks were cracked, and it looked as though it hadn't been inhabited for a long time.
But as she entered, she began to ascertain the true significance of this fateful structure.
"Mommy! Mommy! The voices are yelling again!" cried a little redheaded girl as she clutched her head in pain.
"Oh no! She's doing it again, John!" yelled an elder woman who was trying to hold the thrashing little girl.
"I know! Jean, you have to stop this! There are no voices!"
But this didn't stop the little girl from crying as she clutched her head in agony.
"Yes there are! They're screaming at me! They sound like you! And they're all mad at me! Please make them stop!"
The two elders wrestled with the little girl, but she kept on thrashing, scratching and hitting the two older people repeatedly. At one point, the old man's glasses were knocked off and the woman received a nasty scratch to the face.
"Stop it Jean! You're being a stubborn brat! THERE ARE NO VOICES!"
This haunting scene played out before the eyes of the cosmic entity and she felt a sting of pain course through her being. Tears formed in her eyes...Tears of sorrow, despair, and loss. These were feelings of pain, mortal feelings the Phoenix had never felt before. And even though it wielded the power to create and destroy these memories really hurt because it was painful to Jean Grey.
Suddenly, an older looking girl came scurrying down the stairs with an urgent look on her face.
"Oh no! Not again!" she said as she scrambled to her parent's aid, "Why the hell is she doing this?!"
"I don't know!" yelled the man, "But she won't stop! No matter what we do, she won't stop!"
"I think we should call the hospital again!" exclaimed the older woman as she felt another scratch on her arm.
But as soon as she heard those words, the little redheaded girl's eyes widened with horror and she let out a pained scream.
"NOOOOOOOO! NO HOSPITAL!"
Suddenly, everything around them shook violently. Small objects randomly flew through the air like deadly missiles. The little redheaded girl's frantic cries seemed to fuel this act as the two elders and the other young girl attempted to fight off the incoming objects.
"JEAN! JEAN, STOP THIS AT ONCE!" demanded the woman.
"NO! NOOOOOOOOO!" the little girl screamed.
"Come on, sis! Don't do this! Don't..."
Then suddenly, the older girl was cut off by the impact of a picture frame to her head. The flying object had been traveling at a speed too fast for her to dodge and the second it made contact with her head, the sharp corners pierced her skull and knocked her out as she fell to the floor in a bloody heap.
"SARA!" cried the older man as he scrambled to his older daughter's aid, "Jean, what have you done?!"
"No...Please...I didn't mean to, I..."
Just then, a flower pot struck the older woman and she fell to the floor unconscious with a few broken bones. This sight became more than she could bear as she shot up from her downed state and ran out the door.
But as she ran out into the yard, the voices didn't stop. If anything, they got stronger. And whatever force had been at work inside the house had followed her outside as well. Yard equipment, mail boxes, and bicycles with little kids still riding them levitated into the air and flung themselves randomly at the people unlucky enough to be in their way.
Cars rattled, panicking yells erupted, and at the center of it all was a little girl who was unable to suppress the power that lay within.
"What's happening to me? What's going on?"
The Phoenix couldn't take it anymore. These memories were too painful. She didn't like feeling this, but she could not escape them. This is what Jean Grey was feeling. These were her experiences...Her sensations. And like it or not, she couldn't escape them.
"No! Make it stop! Make it stop!"
The tears of fire flowed down her eyes as she ran up the stairs, as if to run away from these memories that played out through her mind. But no matter where she ran, she couldn't get away from the pain.
These were mortal feelings and she was an immortal entity. How could she handle this? It hurt so much, but why? Why did this strike her when so few forces in the universe could even touch her?
The more she experienced, the more prevalent Jean Grey became. She was still fighting her, but the more the Phoenix felt the less it fought back. The line between one being and another was beginning to blur. Her Dark Phoenix outfit reverted back to her peaceful green outfit. Then suddenly, she entered a new room that she was inexplicably drawn to.
It was the only room that still had furniture in it. It was all covered by white sheets and seemed to be in the greatest state of disrepair. There were dents in the wall, broken glass on the floor, and splintered wood everywhere. Yet through this room, the dormant consciousness of Jean Grey surfaced and for the first time in what felt like an eternity, her voice echoed through these charred walls.
She couldn't believe her eyes. She was in the room of her childhood...The room she lived in until...But no, she wouldn't allow herself to think about that. It was just too painful.
Suddenly, her eyes fell upon an unmarked box in the center of the room. Like everything else in the house, it was rotten and looked was falling apart. Yet despite this, she was still drawn to it.
Then, as soon as she opened it, new feelings coursed through her. And this time, they wrought with pain.
"I...I can't believe it."
They were ser old toys. All this time and her toys were still here. There weren't much, but a few did stick out, such as a stuffed animal of a Cyclops that made her smile.
With tears still in her eyes, she picked up the little doll and hugged it as she once had all those years ago. It was still so soft. And instead of this horrible sadness, she felt warmth and comfort. And as her eyes fell upon the other forgotten relics of the box, this feeling grew.
"After all these years...They're still here."
Soon, her eyes fell upon a few framed pictures. They all depicted a little girl with red hair that looked like a younger version of herself. Some of them were simple, but others held more meaning, such as one where she was smiling and hugging a cute little cat.
"Prometheus. Yes, I remember you."
The smile on her face widened, but then her eyes fell upon another picture and those feelings of nostalgic joy soon gave way to pain.
One picture was all it took. It was old, taken long before the horrible memories that so vividly plagued her mind. It showed her, her mom, her dad, and her sister smiling in a loving hug. Yet despite the happiness conveyed in the photo, her grip on the frame tightened as sorrow once again consumed her.
"NO! NOOOOO! MOMMY! DADDY! PLEASE! DON'T LET THEM TAKE ME AWAY!" cried a little redheaded girl as she was dragged into a large hospital van by three imposing men.
Her cries did nothing as the whole neighborhood surrounded her. They all bore witness to her power earlier and she could see other ambulances in the area taking away people that had been injured during her wrath, one of which was her older sister.
"GET HER OUT OF HERE!"
"SHE'S POSSESSED! SHE'S A DEMON!"
"AND DON'T EVER COME BACK!"
"No...Please!" she cried as she felt a needle go into her arm, causing the world around her to fade to black, "I'm not a freak. I'm not a..."
But that's as far as she got as her eyes fell upon her mommy and daddy one last time. Her mother had a cold glare to her as she clutched her broken ribs and leaned on her husband for support. They looked so ashamed. Their little girl had become a monster.
And the last thing she saw before everything faded was their hallow glares because in their minds, they no longer had a daughter named Jean Grey.
"No!" she cried as she gripped the frame.
Suddenly, she reverted back to her Dark Phoenix costume and crushed the photograph with her hands, letting it burn into dust.
In a fit of overwhelming sorrow, Dark Phoenix clutched the stuffed Cyclops as she fell to her knees. Her body was consumed by flames and the rotting wood caught fire. The old structure burned easily, but it didn't matter to her. She was in too much pain to care.
All she could do is cry, clutching the stuffed doll she loved so much for whatever comfort it had to offer. And the more she cried, the more the fires spread. Soon, the whole house was ablaze and crumbling to ashes.
However, this scene did not go unnoticed as the X-jet soared overhead at a low altitude through the pouring rain.
"Oh no...We're too late," said Scott, knowing full well what was causing that fire.
"Hold on! I'm taking it down!" said Hank as he engaged the vertical landing mechanisms and descended to the ground.
"Is this the place I think it is?" said Logan as followed Scott out of the jet.
"I'm afraid so, Logan," affirmed Xavier as he was pushed out by Emma with the Cerebra helmet in his lap, "This is the neighborhood Jean grew up in."
"You mean the same neighborhood where parents abandoned her?" said Ororo wearily.
"The very same," he affirmed grimly.
"Great. And something tells me dis walk down memory lane ain't gonna be too pleasant," added Gambit.
"Which is why we have to stop her before she becomes too unstable!" exclaimed Scott as he stepped out into the cold rain, "If we don't do something soon, she'll..."
Suddenly, a deafening bang echoed through the neighborhood. It came from the fateful house that the Phoenix had been so drawn to. Now, with the painful moments of Jean Grey's life playing out within her mind, she was more enraged than ever.
Consumed by her sorrow, she unleashed a blast that shattered her old house as if it were made of toothpicks. And as the X-men gathered in the pouring rain, they watched in horror as a very angry looking Phoenix walked through the charred rubble, the stuffed doll still in hand.
"Oh man, she does NOT look happy!" said Bobby nervously.
"Oh really, ya think?!" shot Rogue, "Now what do we do?!"
But as others panicked, Scott ran up to the woman he loved and tried to get through all the rage he knew she was feeling.
"Jean!" he cried.
"No! Stay back!"
A sudden burst of flame caused Scott to stop cold in his tracks as he took in the sight of the pained being before him. Phoenix felt it, Jean felt it, and he felt it. Through their link he could sense her anguish and no matter what he did, he was powerless to do anything about it.
"Jean...Please," begged Scott.
"Come on, Jeannie! It's us!" said Logan, taking cautious steps.
"Yeah, we're your friends, Jean!" said Kitty, "Don't you remember? You're the one who helped me join the institute."
"And you were the maid of honor at mah wedding!" added Rogue, trying to get her to remember happier times.
"You were there with me when I graduated college!" said Jubilee, "Remember? You gave me this yellow jacket and these pink sunglasses I always wear!"
This bombardment of facts had a strong effect on her. She was shaking her head in a daze, trying to make sense of these memories.
Her body was burning in a halo of fire, but her rage was being mixed with immense confusion that further struck her down to the core.
"Don't you see, Jean?" said Scott as he walked up to the woman he loved, "I love you. We all love you. We're your friends...You're family."
This caused more tears of burning hot emotion. There was so much turmoil within her, yet at the same time there also felt of love and yearning.
"No! All lies! My family abandoned me! They threw me away! They called me a freak! They..."
But Scott didn't let her finish. Even as the fires around her grew more intense, he wouldn't allow her to fall further into this pit of despair.
"I know...I know," said Scott in a soft tone, "They did abandon you. I remember how you told me all those years ago. And I know it hurts. Believe me, I know."
"How? How could you know?! How could ANYBODY know?!"
"Because I lost my family too. You and I...We've shared the same pain. But we learned to accept it. We learned to live with it. We built a new family...A new life. We built it together and we shared it with our friends! Don't you see? You have so many people who love you! Can't you feel the link between us? Can't you feel all the love I have for you?"
The Phoenix was so torn. It didn't know what these feelings meant, but as she looked back at this man who Jean Grey was so deeply attached to, she couldn't deny it any more. All this rage that had consumed her left her in such chaos. Yet despite these feelings she felt through Jean Grey...None of them were quite as intense as this feeling called love.
And as she gazed into the desperate face of the man she loved and all the friends she cared about, it touched her on a level that even a cosmic entity couldn't process.
And through all this conflict, the voice of Jean Grey once again sounded.
"Jean! You're doing it! Fight it! Take control!" said Scott as he pulled her into an embrace.
Her words devolved into sobs as she clung to her husband, trying to hold onto whatever sanity she could. The rain grew more intense, soaking everybody from head to toe. The only thing they could do was watch and worry at what was unfolding before their eyes.
"Mien Gott, she's really fighting it," said Kurt, silently praying for the safety of their friend.
"But can she really beat it?" said Piotr, turning towards the Professor and Emma Frost.
"I don't know," said Emma, shaking her head in disbelief, "She shouldn't even be able to do this."
Jean kept crying, holding onto her lover with all her might. This cosmic force inside her was becoming more a part of her with every second. She didn't want it to consume her, but the more sensations it experienced, the more entwined they became. And because of this, she knew she couldn't beat it.
"You can do it, Jean! I know you can!" urged Scott, begging for his wife to fight this.
"I can't, Scott! I just can't!"
"Don't say that, baby! I know you're strong enough!"
"Strength or no strength, I can't control it! Every second of every minute...Every hour of every day...There's no way! It's consuming me! All of me! I can't..."
Then, as Jean Grey-Summers let out more anguished cries, the Phoenix took over, the fiery passion from within consuming her. And as the Phoenix entwined with Jean Grey, these feelings of sorrow caused the rage to overcome her.
"No! No more!"
"Jean!" yelled Scott as he tried to hang on.
However, his grip was not strong enough and he was flung back with a heavy telekinetic burst. The rest of the team was knocked off their feet as well, sending them falling to the wet pavement. All Scott managed to hold onto was the stuffed Cyclops doll as he watched the Phoenix return with a vengeance.
"Jean Grey is gone! There is only Phoenix now! DARK PHOENIX!"
In a further show of her power, the Phoenix conjured up a mass of flames and all the houses within the cul-de-sack were set ablaze. It was a haunting sight being surrounded by all these burning structures. And Phoenix relished in the destruction of this awful place that had caused her so much inner turmoil.
All that was left was chaos. The rage within her burned incessantly, this feeling of being so torn between her medium and her immortal being tearing her apart. Yet she still raged on, trying to attain that missing piece of her being that would make her whole.
"This place...This horrible, sick nightmare! I'LL DESTROY EVERYTHING!"
Upon seeing this, Professor Xavier bowed his head in remorse. It was clear now that whatever was left of the woman they all loved was now consumed by anger and hatred. This world had given her so much pain and now there was nothing else but pure rage.
And from this, Xavier knew that there was only one option.
"X-men! We must fight her!"
"Fight..." said Scott with a hard lump of sorrow in his throat, "Jean...No."
"Looks like we don't have a choice, team! Come on, we have to stop her!" yelled Logan collected himself and the others.
"Yes...But I wish we didn't have to," said Storm in a low tone as she took a deep breath before conjuring up a powerful wall of wind.
With the force of an F5 tornado on their side, Iceman, Jubilee, Daytripper, and Gambit took aim, knowing that they didn't have a choice at this point. They either had to fight or perish under the power of the Phoenix.
"Okay guys! All together now!" yelled Bobby over the howling winds.
"I'm ready!" yelled Jubilee as a tornado of epic proportions formed around Dark Phoenix.
"Me too!" yelled Amanda, "Come on, let's do this!"
Then, in a single concentrated effort, the four mutants focused their firepower on their friend. A hail of ice blasts, fireworks, force bolts, and charged cards hit the Phoenix, but this just angered her more as she used her fiery halo to repel the attacks along with her telekinesis to shield herself.
"It's not working!" yelled Gambit as he charged more cards.
"Keep it up, guys! We can't let up!" yelled Logan, "Hey Ruskie, how's about fixing up a fastball special?"
"You've got guts, comrade," said Colossus as he and Hank held their hands out for Wolverine.
"And in this instance, I think I should help to make it 'extra' special!" said Beast as he stood besides Piotr, ready to aid him in this trademark attack.
Taking his position, Logan drew his claws, his eyes fixated on the raging woman before him. She was still the little twelve year old girl he helped raise all those years ago, yet here she was now, locked in a state of eternal rage. He didn't want this thing to consume his Jeannie, but at this point she seemed all but lost.
"Okay guys! Let 'er rip!" he yelled with a determined look as the rain poured down his burly face.
With two heavy grunts, the heavily muscled mutants launched their feral friend at Jean, hoping to end this before this thing got too strong. And thanks to his heavy bones, he managed to make it through the tornado and pounce the raging cosmic being, his claws ready to deliver the final blow.
"Jeannie...I'm so sorry," he said, as he raised his hand up, ready to plunge the adamantium appendages into her being.
Just then, he heard a familiar voice through the rage...A voice he never expected to hear.
His eyes widened, but the momentary hesitation gave Phoenix all the time she needed to make her move and knocked him off with a forceful telekinetic shove that threw him right into Hank and Piotr.
"Logan!" yelled Ororo as she saw her boyfriend flung like a rag doll at her friends.
Then, in a further show of her power, she used the same telekinetic force on Ororo, sending her flying into Bobby and Jubilee.
"Wow shit! Jubes, get down!" yelled Bobby as he threw himself in front of her, taking the blunt end of the impact.
"Bobby!" she yelled, but any further words were muffled by the impact as they all hit the hard pavement in a heap of pain.
With three more down, Phoenix set her sights on Amanda and Gambit, but before she could hit them, Kurt appeared in a puff of smoke and grabbed a hold of both of them.
"Hang on!" he yelled, preparing to teleport them out of the way.
"I don't think so!"
Suddenly, Just as Kurt disappeared in a puff of smoke, he reappeared with them in the same position, only now they were flying backwards as if they had been hit by a truck.
"Remy! Kurt! Amanda!" yelled Rogue as she quickly ran to their side.
"Oh my God!" exclaimed Kitty with horror, "How...How did she do that?!"
"I have power that extends beyond anything you could possibly comprehend! I can consume stars! Create worlds! And destroy entire solar systems! Time and space are but mere toys to me!"
"Jean..." said Scott as he raised his hand up to his visor, "Forgive me."
Then suddenly, her voice got through again. And just as last time, the words she spoke shocked him into a state of paralysis.
"Scott...My love. Please...Kill me!"
He couldn't believe it. The woman he loved wanted him to kill her. She was his best friend, his wife, and the mother to his little girl. He couldn't believe that it had come to this. He didn't want to believe it, but as he looked into those pained eyes of hers he knew there was no other way.
His hands trembled and his eyes grew wavy with tears. He didn't want to do this. \ He couldn't do this. But he knew he had to.
Switching his visor to full power, Scott Summers unleashed an optic blast that ripped through the air with enough force to down a jumbo jet. Yet when it made impact with the Phoenix, it had a most unexpected result.
"YESSSSSSSSSSSSS! POWER! LOVE! MORE! I NEED MORE!"
"Oh no!" exclaimed the Professor with horror.
"Ugh...What's happening, Charles?" groaned Hank, still reeling from being hit by a flying Logan.
"Scott's optic blasts are powered by the sun's rays! That kind of energy must be something that the Phoenix feeds off of!"
"Then get him to stop!" yelled Emma.
"I...I don't think he can," said Xavier as he watched the seen unfold before him.
Scott was trying to turn his blasts off, but the mechanism in his visor was being held in the on position. It must have been done via telekinesis because he couldn't shut it off. Add to that, his whole body was being held in place by the limitless power of the Phoenix. And instead of making her weaker, he was fueling a growing monster.
"Can't...Shut it...Off! Jean!" he struggled.
"YES! MORE! MORE!"
"Hang on, Scott!" yelled Kurt as he scrambled to his friend, "I'm coming mien friend!"
"OH NO YOU DON'T!"
A wave of telekinesis knocked him back. This time he was almost knocked out cold as he crashed into Piotr and Beast, but the worst was already upon them. Phoenix was not letting up.
"Charles, we have to stop this! We're out of time! We have to combine our efforts!" said Emma urgently.
"Yes...I know," said Xavier, his voice thick with sorrow as he put on the helmet, "I only wish we didn't have to."
"We may only get one shot with this!" said Emma, preparing her mind with every ounce of skill that the Professor had taught her, "Are you ready, Charles?"
Taking a deep breath, Professor Charles Xavier prepped his mind for what was to be his most arduous challenge ever.
"Then let's do this!" said the determined telepath as she closed her eyes and placed her hands on her temples.
With the power of Emma Frost and Cerebra, Professor Charles Xavier unleashed a level of psychic energy equal to no other. He couldn't afford to hold back now. This monster had to be stopped. The Jean Grey they all knew and loved was being consumed in every conceivable manner and the only way to stop it was to destroy her.
It was a difficult, heart wrenching task. But it had to be done.
'Jean...I'm sorry. But this must stop.'
Her deafening cries echoed for miles as Scott was released from her telekinetic hold. The fires surrounding the Phoenix intensified as she clutched her head in a fit of pain. Emma Frost and the Professor were going all out, attacking the Phoenix down to its core. And from the looks it, it was working.
"Jean..." said Scott in a weak voice as he fell to his knees and watched the woman he loved fight the mind numbing pain.
"We're doing it, Charles!" grunted Emma as the rain poured down her determined face, "We're doing it!"
Both telepaths bore a look of great strain. Every ounce of strength was being focused on one target. Never before had so much psychic energy been forced onto one being before, but even with this power the Phoenix continued to fight back.
"Leave...Jean...Alone!" yelled Xavier, gritting his teeth in determination.
Suddenly, in a show of power that shocked the two powerful telepaths, the Phoenix unleashed a shockwave that ripped through the area and knocked them all off their feet with the force of a wrecking ball. It was so strong that it knocked the Professor right out of his hover chair.
The rain fell heavier as it poured over the defeated X-men. They had been hit so hard that the mere act of getting up felt like a superhuman effort. There were groans of pain all around. And it was clear now that this was not a battle they could win. This was a power beyond anything they had ever faced before. And now they were at its mercy.
"Jean...No," gasped a desperate Scott Summers as he fought to return to his feet.
"It is over mortals! Jean Grey is no more! I have felt her pain! I have absorbed her emotions! And now that I have her mortal essence, I can experience all the highs and lows of true consciousness!"
"I...Won't...Let you!" he struggled, returning to his feet through all the agony.
"It is not a matter of choice, mortal! Jean Grey is a part of me. She is my prime avatar! She is the only medium for which I can find all my missing pieces that have been torn over eons of sentient existence! I need her!"
"I...Need her...Too!" shot an undaunted Scott Summers, ready to do what he had to in order to save his wife.
His determination baffled the Phoenix. This was a mortal being, yet he was willing to defy her in order to save the woman she inhabited. With every heartfelt word, it struck her deeper than any other force could. Jean Grey was connected to this being in the deepest sense. It was a feeling no other sensation could match. And the more she felt it, the more confused she became.
"But why?! Why do you care for this human so much?! She is just another mortal! This is her destiny! Why must you persist?!"
"Because...I love her," said Scott, his voice so thick with emotion, "She's my best friend...My wife...The mother to my little girl. She means so much to me."
"But she is MY medium! She can destroy stars and reshape galaxies! She can obliterate the entire universe!"
"Jean is my universe. She is my life. And I vowed to honor her till death do us part. And I'm not going back on that vow. Not now...Not ever!"
It was a show of love the likes of which the Phoenix had never seen before. Was this man really willing to die for Jean? Even with all her power, he still had this feeling called love for her. And no matter what she did, she could not escape it...Even with her limitless power.
And from the depths of this endless sea of chaos, the voice on the woman within once again sounded, proving that she could not be subdued.
"Jean..." said Scott, his voice full of love as he heard her heavenly voice.
"I'm sorry, Scott. I'm so sorry."
"You've got nothing to be sorry for, sweetheart. You're still the woman I married. You're still the woman I love."
"I...I love you too, Scott. I love you...So much. I..."
But then, Dark Phoenix managed to come back. Only this time, instead of anger, she felt pure unabated sorrow.
"No! Stop it! Stop it now! I can't take this! So much sadness! So much despair!"
"That's the price of feeling and emotion Phoenix," said Scott in a strong tone, "For all its wonderful highs, there will always be the crushing lows."
"NO! I WON'T ALLOW IT! I'll DESTROY EVERYTHING! I'LL..."
Then, as the Phoenix was slipping closer to the brink, a fateful voice rang out that stopped her cold in her tracks...A voice that caused both jubilation and horror.
"Mommy! Mommy please! Don't let the monster take you!" yelled Rachel as she ran past the downed bodies of the others and up towards the fiery figure of her mother.
"Rachel! No!" grunted Logan as he fought through his bodily pain to help his Goddaughter.
"Rachel!" exclaimed Scott as he quickly grabbed his daughter and scooped her up in his arms, "What are you doing here?! How did you..."
But despite Scott's parental scolding, the little girl focused only on her mother and the monster that was trying to take her away.
"The monster! The monster has mommy! Please don't let it take her! Please!"
The crying pleas of the little girl caused another surge within the Phoenix. This was the sight that remained the strongest in her mind. Jean Grey's family, her husband and daughter, was standing here before her with a desperate look in their eyes. So much love...So much passion...It was a strength that no power could overcome.
And as Jean Grey drew to the surface, the state of the Phoenix began to change.
"Scott...Rachel..." she let out as the fires around her burned brightly.
The light of the flames grew more intense as the Phoenix's appearance reverted from her red Dark Phoenix outfit to her green and black one. It was the less enraged, more peaceful state...A state where the line Jean Grey and the Phoenix was blurred.
Once she was back in this Phoenix form, she fell to the ground. The fires were no longer raging and she was kneeling weakly on the wet pavement. And despite this state, Scott and Rachel ran up and took her in their arms. Upon feeling the embrace of her family, she broke down into tears.
"Mommy please!" cried Rachel as she clung to her mother.
"Rachel...My baby...My beautiful baby," cried Jean, tears streaming down her face.
"It's going to be okay, my love. I promise you it's going to be..."
Then suddenly, this tender moment was halted by the presence of a strange, red mist that surrounded them. And while nobody knew what it was, it definitely got a reaction from the Phoenix.
"Professor!" struggled Emma as she and the others fought their way back to their feet, "What's going on?"
"I...I'm not sure, Emma," said Xavier as he and the rest of the team took in the sight of this strange, swirling mist.
"Well whatever it is, I've got a bad feeling about this," said Amanda as she helped Kurt up and watched as the red mist close in on them.
Suddenly, the Phoenix tore away from the embrace of her family and clutched her head in pain. She knew what this was. She knew what was happening. And like it or not, there was no escape.
"Jean! Jean what's wrong?" exclaimed Scott as he scooped up his daughter and held her in a protective hold.
"No...It...It's happening! Scott...My friends...I...AHHHHHHHHH!"
Then, as everybody took cover, the red mist erupted into a bright glow that resembled the same resonance of the Phoenix. Nobody knew what was going on, but it was clear that there was some other power at work here. And before they could do anything to stop it, the Phoenix and the X-men were gone in a puff of smoke.
IT'S GETTING HOTTER FOLKS! PLEASE HURRY AND REVIEW!