Categories > Comics > X-Men > Phoenix Destiny0 Reviews
The power of the Phoenix is shaken to it's core and Jean Grey must face all her old demons or the universe itself will burn to ashes in cosmic flame.
Chapter 6: Truth
The situation isn't good. Hotshot and the Phoenix Corp are set to incinerate all reality. Everything is in chaos. And it's gone on long enough. This must end here. And I'm going to put a stop to it.
I'm back in yet another void. But this time, I know where I'm going. I arrive in the astral plane in time to see everything burning with the fires of the Phoenix. It's just what I expected to see. I won't bother wondering who's behind because I already know. And she's the only one who can end this once and for all.
"Jack..." said Jean in a deep tone from deep within the plane.
"Jean? Jean, where are you?" yelled Jack, scanning the area with his eye.
Looking up, Jack fell back as he saw Jean Grey in her Green Phoenix outfit descending to the ground. Holding her hand was Scott Summers, who was descending with her. They were both enveloped in the flames of the Phoenix, but they were not in the same chaotic state as the others.
His all seeing eye glowing brightly, Jack could still see conflict. But it was different this time. It was very different.
"Jean," said the mutant warrior with an urgent tone, "We have to hurry! The Phoenix Corp..."
"I know, Jack. I sensed it," she said indifferently.
"We both did."
Jack was confused now. He struggle to make sense of all this. But from the looks of it, Jean and Phoenix were already on the right path. And so was Scott.
"What about the others?" asked Scott anxiously, "Are they okay?"
"For now," said Jack in a grim tone, "But not for long. We have to hurry! Only the power of the White Phoenix can end this!"
"I know. I'm finally beginning to understand. It has taken a long time...too long. But I've finally learned the truth."
"Yeah, that part I sensed," said Slayer, his eye still glowing, "But why are you still here? The real world needs you!"
"We're still here because there's one last obstacle standing in our way," said Jean, "One we can't get around on our own."
Slayer was beginning to understand as he gazed into Jean's glowing eyes. She was still struggling with something. She knew her path, but she couldn't walk it. She needed something to complete the journey...something that didn't lie within her.
"Jean is still always Phoenix and Phoenix is still always Jean. As much as I have learned, I cannot function as both a mortal and immortal. Jean Grey must be allowed to exist on her own terms. And so must Phoenix."
"Sort of like the way I exist alongside Yoshinto..." said Slayer, his mortal mind finally able to process it, "I see it now. That's the final form the Phoenix must take."
"Yes," said Jean, still struggling to finish this once and for all, "And I can't do it on my own. I understand the connection, but I cannot break it!"
"And that's where we come in!" said Scott, holding his wife firmly in his arms, "That's why we're here, Jean! You're a part of me and I'm a part of you."
"Yes...I understand. But I'm still too fragmented to break from this torment!"
"Until now!" said Slayer strongly as he helped Scott hold Jean up, "We have the power right here with us! We can finish this once and for all!"
"But how?" asked Scott.
"By working together!"
Looking up at the mutant warrior, his all seeing eye changed color once more. Now it bore the same bright glow as the flames of the White Phoenix. It was as if a piece of it resided within his mystical form.
Jack may have been brought into this unexpectedly, but he was bent on finishing the job. After all, he had a promise to keep and it was time to make good on it.
"Phoenix and Jean alone can't break the cycle on their own," he went on, "They both need strength and guidance from the outside."
"Strength?" said Scott as he picked up on what he was saying as well, "You mean like...nourishment?"
"Exactly!" affirmed Slayer, "Remember what happened last time she came back? Your optic powers fueled her and they did so for a reason! Part of your life energy is focused into those blasts. That along with the power of the sun it is the most potent source of power for the Phoenix."
"Yes. I remember. It's what strengthened me enough to save everybody last time!"
"Well this time you're going to save yourself," said Slayer confidently, "You must use that strength to take hold of your connection to Phoenix and Jean Grey."
"But what about you?" asked Jean wearily, knowing he hadn't told the whole story.
"I'll be your guidance," he said with a comforting gesture, "Use my all seeing eye to help you see the truth. You can use it to make a new destiny for yourself. You have everything you've ever needed right here. It's up to you to use it."
Looking at her husband and then back at Jack, Jean Grey had honestly never been this anxious before. But at the same time, she had never been this determined either.
For too long now, the Phoenix had tormented her. She was tired of struggling for control. She was tired of dying and being reborn only to die again. She wanted to live. She wanted to be Jean Grey. But she also loved her Phoenix powers. They were a part of her she could not escape.
Chaos had reigned for too long in the world of Phoenix and Jean Grey. It was time for them to find what they had been seeking for too long. Together they were inseparable, but as one they could not be at peace. Now it was time to finally find balance. And through the support of her soul mate and the guidance of her friend, she was ready to accept her final destiny.
"Okay...I'm ready," said Jean strongly.
"So am I."
"We'll be with you every step of the way, my love," assured Scott as he removed his visor, "You're a fighter Jean. You always have been. Now it's time we fight together!"
Giving her husband's hand a firm squeeze, Jean fought to stay strong and not let her emotions take over. They would have plenty of time for that when this was over.
"Okay you two..." said Slayer, focusing his hands and closing his eyes in a meditative manner, "Let's finish this. Look into my eye...look into the eye that sees no lies. Use it to find your path. That which cannot exist as one must live separate. But that which must live as one, must remain connected now and forever."
With his words to guide her, Jean closed her eyes and began to rise. The symbol of the all seeing eye appeared over her, causing her holy flames to erupt in a show of great power.
Soon, she was struggling. She needed more strength. And for Scott Summers, this was it. This was the moment of truth. He had lost his wife one time too many. Now it was time to put an end to it once and for all.
'I'm here, Jean,' he sent through their link with all his love, 'It's going to be okay. It's almost over. Just let our love be your greatest strength. And we'll find our peace...together.'
Opening his eyes and unleashing an unabated burst of optic energy, Jean's fiery form was fueled by the oncoming rush of power that surged from her soul mate's eyes. It caused every fire to burn brighter, her will to fight grow stronger. Every part of her being was coming together. The final manifestation of the child of light and darkness was at hand.
For Slayer, the strain was unbearable. As a mortal man using his power with an immortal force, it was almost too much. But with the perseverance of a warrior, he kept on going. And for Scott, it was equally strenuous, forcing every ounce of power he had on his desperate wife.
And together, the fires of her being filled the whole astral plane. And with power worthy of the majestic Phoenix, Jean let out a cry that could be heard everywhere.
Outside the mansion, the chaotic Phoenix Corp showed no signs of letting up. Only now, something was seriously irritating them. They were flying erratically, clutching their heads, and yelling out in pain.
Something was clearly affecting them and all the X-men could do was watch anxiously. They were still trying to avoid being burnt by the stray flares. And at the rate they were going, they would run out of trees and rocks soon.
"Damn! What the hell is doin' all this?" grunted Logan as he kept watch while the rest of the team stayed low.
"I don't know, but I'm sensing a lot of anguish!" said Betsy, standing beside Rachel with Kurt, "And I think it's affecting Marvel Girl too!"
"Oh really?! YOU THINK?!" shot Rachel, grabbing her head and howling out in pain.
"Come on, Rachel! Stay with us!" urged Kitty, anxious about what was happening to her friend.
"I'm trying!" she cried, "It just hurts so much! All the chaos! All the rage!"
"Hang in zhere!" urged Kurt, "Your mother vill come through!"
"Yeah, with whatever the hell she's trying to do!" muttered Logan, "But I sure hope she hurries up! We ain't gonna last much longer like this!"
Another explosion rocked the area, blowing all the windows out on the institute. This one was caused by Hotshot, who had been trying to fight off each member of the Phoenix Corp that tried to reign in on his fun.
But even he couldn't escape the chaos that was happening to every bearer of the Phoenix power. It only furthered his descent into madness as he tried to destroy anything that got close. But he was just causing more havoc.
"ERRRRRR! Get back! Get back you pussies!" he yelled with a demonic wail as he blasted several Crop who came near him, "This is MY domain! Nobody's gonna make it suffer except ME!"
But just as he made that threat, he was hit in the back with several stray flares. They didn't damage him, but they did shake his poise. His rage was growing and so was his frustration. This was supposed to be HIS hour of triumph. And no force was going to keep him from having his fun.
"Son of a...WHAT THE HELL IS CAUSING ALL THIS?!"
Suddenly, down with Rachel, her body stopped convulsing and she sensed something that made her eyes widen with shock and fill with tears.
"Oh my God...oh my God!" she cried.
"Rachel! Rachel, what's wrong?!" exclaimed Logan.
Rachel couldn't believe it. It was impossible. But she could feel it in her mind. It was unmistakable. And even in the face of so much chaos, she couldn't help but smile.
"My mom..." she said with a strained voice, "She did it."
Down in the infirmary, Scott's eyes shot open to a heavy feeling. Getting up off the gurney, he rubbed his sore head. He felt as though he had run head first into a brick wall. But when he looked over to his side where the Phoenix Egg was secured, his strength came rushing back to him.
The egg was completely broken and Slayer was slumped over it in an unconscious heap. But surrounding the twisted metal was the unmistakable body of Jean Grey, only this time she wasn't wearing her White Phoenix outfit. She was in her old uniform, the very same she had worn before she died.
And as Scott knelt to her side and took her in his arms, he could feel her warmth. It made his heart soar with emotion. For at long last, the woman he loved was alive again.
"Jean...oh Jean," he said softly, tracing his finger down her beautiful face.
Her eyes fluttered from his touch. And as she awakened to find herself in the arms of the man she loved, an overwhelming joy came over her.
"Scott!" she cried, throwing her arms around him and pulling him into a deep kiss.
It was amazing. For too long, Scott and Jean had been torn apart by forces beyond their control. Now at long last, nothing held them back. They were together again. And this time, nothing was going to keep them from savoring the love they held so dear.
'It's you...it's really you,' sent Scott through their link.
'You know it, love,' she replied playfully, 'Here and in the flesh. And I'm not going anywhere this time. I promise.'
Then, as the kiss parted, the two reunited lovers helped each other up, holding onto one another as they struggled to regain their balance.
"Oh no! Jack!" exclaimed Jean as she saw him slumped over the shattered egg.
Limping to his side, Jean tried to wake him. And after they laid him out, he let out a pained groan as he returned to the conscious world.
"Oh man...I am so gonna feel this in the morning," he grunted as he forced himself up.
"Jack!" cried Jean, throwing her arms around him, "We did it!"
"That's great, Jean! Now you mind letting me breathe?" he gasped.
"Sorry," she said with a sheepish smile, releasing her hold on the mutant warrior.
Jack was slow to get up, but with the help of Scott and Jean he made it to his feet. He was out of breath and sore in every limb. But they had succeeded. After so many struggles, Jean had finally found her path.
"It's over...it's really over," said Jean in a distant tone.
"Not yet my avatar."
Knowing exactly who that voice belonged to, Jean, Scott, and Slayer turned to face a sight worthy of triumph. Standing before them was the White Phoenix in all her glory, only now she existed without the body of Jean Grey. However, because of their newfound connection, she bore her appearance within her fiery, bird shaped halo.
"Phoenix..." said Jean as she stepped forward in a daze.
"Yes, it is I. Only now, we are in harmony. We have achieved balance.
Reaching out before her, Jean took the hand of the being she was so deeply linked to. Deep within her mind, she could still feel the cosmic power she so reveled in. Only this time, the immortal consciousness had separated from her. And in its wake was a new connection unlike any other.
"I...I can feel it," said Jean, her body becoming engulfed in the golden fires, "The power of the cosmos..."
"Forever linked between mortal and immortal...always Phoenix and always Jean."
"And finally at peace," said Jean, smiling at the warmth brought by such a powerful feeling.
Here they stood, side by side, finally at peace. There was no more chaos, no more pain, and no more struggles for maintaining control. Phoenix and Jean Grey were finally able to live on their own terms, free from the lies and complications of so much turmoil.
However, even as they reveled in this newfound peace, the battle was not over yet.
"Um...sorry to break up this moment of clarity here, but we've still got the entire Phoenix corps outside just waiting to incinerate the universe," said Slayer.
"I know, Jack. And that's why I'm here. Now that I am at peace, I can show the rest of the Corp the way and free them from their chaos."
"And I'm going to help!" said Jean with a determined stance.
"No my avatar. You are too weak. I cannot run the risk of pushing you again."
"I can take it!" she shot back, "I know I can!"
But before she could push any further, Scott stepped in.
"Jean please!" he said, taking her in his arms, "She's right. And I don't want to lose you again!"
"You won't," said Slayer with renewed determination, "Not if I have anything to say about it!"
Looking over at the mutant warrior who had helped her so much, Jean grew worried at what he was implying. She hadn't known him long, but she knew him well enough to understand his dedication. And being a warrior, he barely ever considered his own well being for the sake of those he cared about.
"Jack..." she said, sensing the determination in his poise.
"Use me, Phoenix," he told the cosmic entity, "Take my form and use my power to show every other member of the Phoenix Corp the truth. That way, they can also be at peace and repair the White Hot Room."
"But Jack..." said Jean, her voice straining at his words.
But Slayer didn't dare look back. He knew a second glance into those desperate eyes of hers would make him think twice. And there wasn't enough time to be anything less than certain.
"You are a brave man, Slayer. Yoshinto has chosen his vessel well. But you do know that by allowing my power to flow through your mortal being, there's very little chance of you surviving."
The mutant warrior was silent for a moment, but he remained steadfast in his choice. He was a warrior and he had nothing to lose. He could still feel Jean's eyes on him, but he stayed focused on the task at hand.
"I understand," he said indifferently, "That's a risk I am willing to take."
"Jack no!" exclaimed Jean, forcing him to look her in the eye again, "Don't do it! You can't handle it! Only I can!"
There were tears in her eyes and they struck Slayer hard, but he had made his decision and he was going to see it through. And nothing Jean said was going to stop him.
"I'm sorry, Jean. But there is no other way," he said solemnly, "I have to do this."
"But why?!" she yelled angrily, "Why are you just going to let yourself die like this! It's my responsibility! MINE!"
"Because you have something to lose...I don't," he said, gently placing his hands on her shoulders.
Jean took deep breaths as she swallowed her emotions, trying hard to contain her tears. But Slayer maintained his poise, ready and willing to make the necessary sacrifices.
"You've got a lot to make up for," he told her, hiding his emotions well, "You've got a world that needs you, a family that misses you, and a husband who loves you. Me, I don't have dick. I'm a warrior. I give my life for my honor. And this, dying to save the people who are worth saving, is a true act of honor."
Jean let her tears flow, but Jack wiped them away. He didn't want any sorrow for his death. This was the path he had chosen. And even if he had found a true friend in this woman, she deserved the chance she had been denied.
"But I don't want you to go," she choked.
"Hey, I made you a promise, remember?" he said with a comforting smile, "And a good warrior always keeps his promise."
Jean couldn't help but smile back at the young warrior. He had done so much for her that there was no way she could ever thank him. He had given her the greatest gift one could give...a second chance. And even if this was the last time they spoke, she wanted to make sure she knew how grateful she was.
"Thank you, Jack," she sobbed, throwing her arms around him and hugging him close, "Thank you so much for everything you've done."
Slayer wasn't one to show emotion all that much, but when he felt her eternal gratitude, it gave him pride knowing he had helped this woman. Normally, nobody ever thanked him for the work he did. And even if this was the only one, it was definitely worth it.
"It was my honor, Jean Grey," he told her as they parted, "Scott, look after her will you? Love her like she deserves to be loved."
"I will," assured Scott, "I promise."
With one last smile to his friends, Slayer turned towards the Phoenix, ready to make his final sacrifice.
"I'm ready, Phoenix."
"And so am I, Slayer. And like Jean, I am eternally in your debt."
"Don't thank me yet," he said, putting on his warrior face, "We've still got a job to do. So let's finish it!"
"Indeed. We must bring peace to the rest of the Phoenix Corp. We must mend that which was broken in the White Hot Room. And the only way to do that is by showing them the path."
Her fiery halo enveloped the mutant warrior as she approached him. Scott and Jean stood back, holding each other securely as the Phoenix overtook their friend. And as the fiery figure pulled Slayer into an affectionate embrace, the symbol on his eye glowed brightly as the power of the cosmos joined with the power of a warrior.
"Come Slayer! It is time we shed the lies plaguing reality! Through the all seeing eye and the force of creation and destruction, it is time to bring balance to the Phoenix once and for all!"
"Yes..." said Slayer, closing his eyes as he reached out and embraced the fiery figure back, "Let's do this."
Smiling at the being who had shown her the path, the Phoenix shifted into a fiery shower of embers, creating a whirlwind around the lone warrior. Soon, he was lifted up off the ground by an unseen force. His all seeing eye continued to glow, the expression on his face looking eerily calm as the fires began to collect around his body.
And as the brightness grew too intense, Jean clung closely to her husband and sent Slayer one last message of gratitude.
"Thank you, Jack."
Then, in a blinding white halo of flame, Slayer's body was consumed by the fires of the Phoenix. And through the rush of intense power, the mutant warrior let out a determined cry into the dying world around him.
Outside, the effects of Phoenix merging with Slayer was felt by every single member of the Phoenix Corp. Suddenly, they all stopped flying erratically and hovered in an eerie stillness.
Now, there were no more flames burning through the sky. There were no more pained cries of chaos and confusion. It was as if something had reached out and touched them, bringing them to a renewed state of calm.
"What the...what happened to them?" asked Piotr as he and the X-men got up from their cover and watched the scene before them.
"I don't know," said Rachel, feeling the same strange calm, "But I...I think..."
Then suddenly, they were all cut off by the appearance of a presence they never thought they'd see again.
"It's okay, Rachel. It's almost over."
Turning to the source of the voice, the X-men gasped in amazement as they saw Jean Grey, alive and well, standing besides her smiling husband at the foot of the Xavier Institute.
"Jeannie..." said Logan, not believing his eyes.
"In the flesh," she grinned.
For Rachel, however, it was too much.
With tears of joy in her eyes, she ran up to her waiting mother and threw her arms round her. Her legs quickly gave out, but Jean held her up as she hugged her daughter back with all her might, letting her cry her heart out.
"It's okay, sweetie. It's okay," she said softly, "Mommy's back. And she's not going anywhere this time."
"Oh God...oh God! It's you! It's really you!" she cried.
As everybody else approached their once dead friend, warm smiles came over all their faces. It was truly a joyous moment. Even in the face of such great destruction, they couldn't help but relish this miracle of life.
"I can't believe it," said Kitty in amazement.
"Neither can I," said Hank with a grin.
"Back from the dead again," laughed Psylocke, "Join the club."
"Yes, I know the feeling," grinned Piotr, "It's great to see you again, Jean."
"Likewise Peter," smiled Jean, "Guess that means you're part of the club too."
It was amazing seeing all her old friends again. As profound as being a cosmic entity was, there was just no substitute for family. And after having died three other times already, some were rendered speechless by her new rebirth.
"I can't believe yer back, Jeannie," said Logan as he hugged her, wanting to smell her sweet scent, "I missed ya. I missed ya a lot."
"Ve all did," smiled Kurt.
The X-men were whole again. The passionate woman who had been lost one time too many was back. She had a lot to make up for, but for the life she had regained, she was going to make sure this one counted.
But still, there was one last task to overcome.
"But...what about the Phoenix?" asked Rachel, wiping her tear laden eyes, "What's going to..."
"It's been taken care of, Rachel," assured Jean as she looked back up at the sky.
Up in the sky, Hotshot was trying to fight this strange feeling that was overcoming him and the rest of the Phoenix Corp. Unlike the rest of them, he resisted. He didn't want peace. He thrived on chaos.
He tried using his power to strike back, but the immense strength of the cosmic force that had consumed him was just too much.
"Get back! Get back!" he yelled, firing off random bolts in every direction, "I'll burn you all to a crisp!"
Knowing that voice anywhere, Hotshot growled in a rage. But as he looked back down at the mansion, his eyes widened as Slayer rose into the air, his armor bearing the emblems of the White Phoenix. His eyes were glowing a fiery red and a bright halo surrounded his form.
"This ends here."
"Like hell it does!" roared the renegade demon.
Concentrating his power, Hotshot unleashed a powerful burst of cosmic fire. But Slayer held up his hand and easily diverted it.
This show of force further enraged Hotshot, but no amount of anger could stop Slayer now. This was it. This was the end.
"You messed with forces beyond your comprehension, demon! And now you must pay the price!"
Suddenly, the mark over Slayer's eye glowed with white hot flame. Suddenly, Hotshot was enveloped in bright light, his body convulsing erratically as the great power from within tore him apart.
Yet despite this show of power, Hotshot remained defiant.
"YOU LOUSY PIECE OF STREET TRASH! I SWEAR I'LL BE BACK! YOU KNOW I'LL BE BACK! AND WHEN I RETURN, I'LL MAKE SURE YOU SUFFER! YOU HEAR ME, SLAYER? YOU'RE GONNA SUFFER!"
"Return or not, your reign ends here, Hotshot. As powerful as you have become, you cannot escape the truth. And with the power of the Phoenix and the all seeing eye, may the path be revealed to every Phoenix far and wide. And from the chaos...peace shall finally settle."
Then, as the fires within ripped Hotshot apart, he let out one last demonic cry.
And in an explosion of flame, Hotshot was gone.
However, the mark over Slayer's eye continued to glow. It soon grew brighter, forcing the X-men down below to shield their eyes. And through this power, truth was revealed to every member of the Phoenix corp. And at long last, they found their way.
"Yes...I understand. Finally, I completely understand."
One by one, the Phoenix Corp dissolved into a flurry of red fireflies. Soon, they all faded, returning back to the White Hot Room where they belonged. Far and wide, the power of the Phoenix returned to a state of harmony. And with one last desperate cry from the warrior who made it possible, the final destiny of the Phoenix was realized.
Finally, in a burst of light, the White Phoenix was expelled from Slayer. The glowing stopped and his task was complete. Then slowly, his lifeless body descended to the ground below.
"Jack!" cried Jean as she ran out to his side, "Jack! JACK!"
The others quickly followed, but they were too late. By the time Jean got there, she was in tears. Picking up his limp body, she sensed no traces of life. In the end, he had given his life for her and everything she cared about. And even though he had come into her life so suddenly, his loss hurt.
As she cried tears of sorrow, her friends gathered around and gazed mournfully at the young man's body. They barely knew this guy. They had given him such a hard time, yet he gave his life for them. He gave his life for a bunch of strangers who didn't even show him any respect. But his sacrifice would not be forgotten. They would make sure of it.
"I'm sorry, Jean," said Hank sadly, "He's gone."
"I know," she choked out, tears streaming down her face, "I just...he saved me. He showed me the way. And I...I..."
But she couldn't finish. Instead, she just bowed her head in silence at the loss of a good friend.
Soon, they were joined by yet another presence. With everything finally at peace, the White Phoenix was ready to return to her place. But before she left, she had one last goodbye to make.
"I'm sorry. He was a true warrior. I owe him a lot."
"We all do," said Jean sadly as she stood up, her husband right by her side.
"But in the end, he gave us the greatest gift one could give...peace. And rest assured, his act will not be forgotten in this world and the many others he saved on this day."
It was comforting in only so many ways. But Jean knew that what's done was done. Now all that was left was to pick up the pieces and move forward.
"So...I guess this is goodbye," said Jean as she looked at the being she was so bonded to.
"No. Not goodbye. You are me and I am you. We are one and we always will be."
"So then how can you live separate?" asked Logan, still not understanding.
Phoenix turned to the former living weapon and smiled.
"That, my dear Logan, is something only Jean and I can understand. She has her responsibilities. I have mine. The world may be imperfect, but you all still have plenty to fight for. And it is up to you to make the best of it."
Managing a smile through her sorrow, Jean reached out and touched the hand of the Phoenix one last time. Through the connection they shared, the power and passion surged through them. It was a wondrous feeling to be whole at last. Yet their journey was just beginning.
"I'll do my part. I promise," said Jean, smiling as she stood beside her friends and family.
"I know you will, my child. Just remember...the greatest power you have is the power from within."
And with one last wave to her friends, the Phoenix ascended into the sky and dispersed into a maze of fireflies. Jean and the rest of her friends waved goodbye, even though a piece of her would always be near.
The battle was over. Jean had triumphed. The X-men had triumphed. The price had been grave. But a new day was upon them. And from this moment on, they would cherish what they had learned while remembering what they had lost.
But one thing was clear though...this was only the beginning.
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