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


by slickboy444 0 reviews

A mission gone horribly wrong leads Scott Summers to make the ultimate sacrifice to save his friends. But is he really dead? Or something more sinsiter going on? Scott/Jean, Kurt/Kitty, minor hints...

Category: X-Men: Evolution - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Angst, Drama, Romance - Characters: Cyclops, Gambit, Iceman, Jean, Magneto, Mystique, Nightcrawler, Rogue, Shadowcat - Published: 2006-02-11 - Updated: 2006-02-11 - 7173 words

Between Life and Death
Chapter 16: Hardships


Blake wasted no time in rushing Wanda down to the institute infirmary. Upon hearing their frantic calls for help and their stressed psychic presence, Professor Xavier opened the gates and let them enter where both Logan and Ororo were the first to see them. Despite the fact that they were still enemies in some ways, the Brotherhood was willing to put that aside for the sake of helping Wanda, who remained in a deathly still state.

"Somebody help me!" yelled Blake as he burst through the institute front doors, startling some students while causing Logan and Ororo to quickly react as the Professor had instructed them.

"Quickly, follow me..." said Ororo as she led Blake towards the elevator with Pietro following close behind.

"What the hell happened?! What's all this about?" demanded Logan, always suspicious about having former enemies as well as a total stranger in the institute.

"There was a fight..." said Pietro as they both reached the elevator while the rest of the Brotherhood was forced to stay behind and follow on the next one, "I don't know who they were, but they were mutants and they...They hit her with this weird ray gun and..."

"Who?! Who were they?" bellowed Logan, as Ororo quickly started to feel around Wanda's neck for a pulse.

"I just told you! I don't know who the hell they were! I never saw them before!" replied Quicksilver in a rather harsh tone, obviously feeling quite hysterical over his sister's condition.

"Right...That's plausible," said Logan skeptically.

"It's the truth!" yelled Pietro.

"Easy Pietro..." said Blake, "Now is not the time to lose your temper."

"And just who they hell are you anyways?" asked Logan, finding something strange about his scent.

"Blake Hellstrom...And Pietro's telling the truth," he answered, trying to focus more on Wanda than the angry feral mutant before him, "He doesn't know who they are...But I do. And I'll tell you all everything, but first you have to help Wanda!"

"Don't worry," assured Ororo, "She's in good hands."

Pietro was still noticeably weary about having his sister in the hands of the X-men, but if they could save her then it didn't matter. As the elevator door opened and they were led down the hall, Logan quickly called for Hank.

"Beast! We have a situation here!" said Logan as they arrived at the entrance to the infirmary.

Out of the large doors, Hank pushed out a white gurney and looked fully prepared to treat the young woman. Logan assumed it was because the Professor had told him as well of the Brotherhood's arrival. While there were still many questions Logan wanted to ask, being the ever suspicious man he was, there were other problems that had to be tended to first.

"Just set her here," said Hank as Logan and Blake carefully placed Wanda's unmoving body on the gurney, "We'll need to get her hooked up to some heart monitors and administer adrenaline if necessary."

Pietro stayed on the other side of the gurney and kept his eyes on his sister as they wheeled her into the intensive care area, however as they approached the doors, Logan pushed him back.

"Sorry kid, but ya can't come in with us," he said, blocking the speed demon cold in his tracks as Hank and Ororo continued wheeling Wanda into the main intensive care area.

"What?!" said Pietro angrily, "No fucking way! That's my sister!"

Pietro was about to lose it against the former living weapon, but Blake quickly restrained him and held him back. However, Pietro put up quite a fight in his hysteria, not wanting to be kept in the dark while his sister's fate was still up in the air.

"I have to see her! You can't keep me!" he kept yelling.

Logan was not in the mood for this, but luckily Blake kept him from making the situation any worse by keeping a strong grip of the frantic young man.

"You need to let them work Pietro!" said Blake as the speedster continued to struggle against him, "Don't make this any more complicated!"

"Bullshit!" said Pietro as he started to lose energy from his struggling, "I have to be there..."

"She'll be okay kid..." assured Logan, trying his best to stay calm, "Just let us do what we have to. We'll do all we can...I promise."

Pietro still kept struggling, but it was slowly dying down as his state of being had pretty much deteriorated into a fit of sorrow. Wanda was now in an unknown state because of him...Because he had acted so stupid in the fight that led up to this mess. It should have been him in there...Not her. She didn't deserve what happened...She didn't deserve a lot of things that had happened to her in life. He had been there when she had suffered and every time it was like somebody was driving huge spike directly through his heart. He still wanted to be there...To be by her side for a change rather then having her fight this all by herself like she had been forced to with so many other things in life. What kind of brother was he to let her suffer like this? What kind of person did that to his own sister?

Pietro finally collapsed to the floor as Blake let go. Todd, Freddy, and Lance arrived just in time to see Wanda disappear into the infirmary and watch the disturbed speedster fall in the face of his self loathing. Blake's expression was unreadable...Like a mixture between being stoic and being distraught. However, the primary focused remained on Wanda. They weren't sure just what had happened to her and for all they know she could be dead already, but nobody wanted to think that now...Nobody wanted to even consider that notion.

"Wanda! Where is she?! Is she alright?" asked Todd frantically as he and the others arrived and Lance and Blake helped Pietro back to his feet.

"They just took her into intensive care..." said Pietro in a deep, monotone voice.

"Well is she going to be okay?!" said Lance as he turned to Logan.

Blake had to restrain him as well, but Logan kept his cool remarkably and decided to tell them the same thing he had told Pietro.

"We don't know that yet," said Logan, "But we will help her. You'll just have to sit tight and let us do our jobs."

And with that, Logan left the anxious Brotherhood and entered the intensive care area to help Ororo and Hank. Pietro was still tempted to dash in there and be by his sister's side like any brother should have been, but he chose to restrain himself for a change and non-chantingly walked back to one of the chairs outside the area and collapsed in a state of true self hate.

"This is all my fault...All of it," said Pietro as he rested his wary head in his hands.

"Hey come on man...Don't say that," said Freddy as he, Todd, and Lance took a seat as well.

"It's true!" he shot back, "That thing was supposed to hit me! Not her!"

Pietro didn't feel any better about this whole thing by reminding himself of what happened, but he just couldn't stop it from playing over and over again in his head. And for the first time in quite a while...He actually felt tears forming in his eyes. He tried to hold them back with all his might, but it was a challenge that even he couldn't handle.

"What kind of brother am I?" mused Pietro as he angrily punched the wall behind him, "I hurt her, I betray her, and I'm never there for her! I...I'm practically worse than my dad!"

"Whoa, come on man, don't say that," said Lance, surprised to see Pietro like this, "What happened is done, you can't undo it. We were all there...We all could have done something, but we didn't. This whole thing is just..."

"My fault..." interrupted Blake as he still stood staring at the doors where Wanda had been taken.

"Huh?" said Todd, "You're fault?"

Blake let out a deep sigh, for he did not need this to compound his already deeply troubled mind. He had enough trouble dealing with his amnesia and his dreams, but to have this happen just made it worse for him. He had made a promise to Magneto that no harm would come to his children...But he had failed to keep it. Wanda's fate was now unknown and Blake was really kicking himself because of it. Even though he could understand Pietro's grief somewhat, Blake felt it was him who deserved to feel that way.

"It was my job to protect her..." he mused in his deep voice, "It was my job to protect all of you against a foe that is capable of far worse than what they did to Wanda. I should have been there...I should have done more. I have so much power within the palm of my hands...Yet I can't even use it correctly."

"You're wrong Blake..." argued Pietro, "If you hadn't saved my sorry ass, that asshole with the gun wouldn't have fired at her! If I hadn't gotten myself in his sights in the first place then..."

"It doesn't matter..." said Blake, not letting him finish, "I still failed. And you all have nobody to blame for this except me."

"Come on man..." said Lance, "There's only one of you for crying out loud. If you hadn't saved one, he would have shot the other...No way around it."

"No..." he said, shaking his head at Lance's notion, "I could have taken him out...Ended it before it got so bad...But I didn't. I had the power to stop it, but I didn't."

A strong, solemn silence fell over the Brotherhood as Pietro sunk deeper into his worried state and Todd began to feel tears form in his eyes as well. The shock of the battle was still hard to process. There were so many factors that they felt could have been changed, but such a development was just so unexpected. Their lives may have been far from normal, but that didn't make it any easier to deal with.

As they continued to sulk, Professor Charles Xavier wheeled himself into the hall. None of the Brotherhood boys seemed to take too great a note of it, but they knew they would have to being that this was his institute and he was now in control of Wanda's fate.

"Professor Charles Xavier I presume..." said Blake as he approached the wheelchair bound man.

"Yes, and I must say that your sudden arrival has been a rather unexpected development," he answered in a sincere tone, not wanting to add to any more of their apparent worry and grief.

"Well that makes two of us..." said Pietro, feeling a little awkward being in this man's presence, but managed to contend with it for Wanda's sake.

"Indeed...But just so you know, I promise we'll do all we can for Wanda," he assured, "And until then, you all are more than welcome to stay here. I can have some guest rooms set up if you like but..."

"No...I'm staying right down here," said Pietro, "I'm not going anywhere until she wakes up."

"Same here yo..." said Todd, his long standing feelings for Wanda overshadowing any desire to be anywhere else at this point.

The Professor let out a deep sigh, feeling that this may be more difficult than he had expected. But with the all too recent death of Scott still hanging strong in his mind, he could definitely empathize with their situation.

"I suppose that's okay for now...But you will all need rest and I don't want you to feel threatened by being here," said the Professor, "Just know that we're here to help."

As much as Pietro disliked the X-men, if they were willing to help his sister he was willing to accept whatever terms Xavier had. He felt he owed Wanda as much.

"Well...Thanks, I guess," said Pietro, not in the mood to deal with any more complications as he focused back on Wanda.

"Okay then..." said Xavier as he turned back towards Blake, the young man that had sparked so much intrigue throughout the institute since his first appearance over a week ago, "Now I know you all are still troubled by this...But I would very much like to know what happened."

Even though the notion of going over the whole ordeal was not too appealing to anybody, Blake took it upon himself to take care of it. After all...He did know many things that the rest of the Brotherhood didn't. And even though Magneto had told him to keep information about Sinister and the intense conflict with him a secret, he felt it was best if Xavier know now that he was undoubtedly involved.

"Don't worry...I'll tell you everything," said Blake, "But I must warn you...You might no like some of it."

"I've grown somewhat use to that feeling..." said Xavier, "Come...There is much that we need to discuss."

After one last glance at the Brotherhood, Blake followed the Professor to a more private area. He didn't know how Xavier would choose to handle this whole situation and he was fairly certain that he wouldn't like the idea of his students being in danger because of their presence, but Magneto had always told Blake that the Professor was a sincere man who readily helped others whenever he got the opportunity. But despite this, Blake knew he would be going over a few lines in telling Xavier the truth. And even more so...He didn't look forwards to telling Magneto and Mystique about this.


After their disastrous mishap with the Brotherhood back at the Gut Bomb, the Nasty Boys chose to regroup in an area not far from the city limits. They were now in a specialized armored van that Sinister had constructed for just such an occasion and they would need such hardware if they were to go up against both Xavier and the Brotherhood. And after their last battle, they knew they would have to work smarter instead of harder.

"Okay, so let's go over the plan..." said Ruckus as he and the other Nasty Boys looked over a map of the institute that Sinister had provided them.

"I still think it's a dumb idea," said Betsy, not at all thrilled about fighting Xavier, whom she deeply respected and looked up to.

"Well nobody asked you!" quipped Vertigo, earning her a snide look from the purple haired mutant.

"And don't forget that we have no other choice in this matter," said Ruckus as he continued, "Now we all know that Xavier has a security system on par with Fort Knox and if we're going to beat it and get that test subject of his, we'll have to do it right or fail completely like last time."

"Yeah...And I don't think Sinister will let another failure go unpunished," added Emma, knowing full well the madness of the walking freak show that was Mr. Sinister.

"And that's precisely why we'll succeed this time," said Ruckus, "We were too sloppy before and now that we'll have the X-men to deal with, we can't afford to be sloppy again."

"But I still don't see how we're gonna get around that powerhouse Sinister created," said Gorgeous George as he recalled the intense blasts from Blake that had ended the fight last time.

"We'll just have to improvise Gorgeous," said Ruckus, "And that means that none of us will face him directly. We already know full well that he has the power to blow us all to smithereens so we won't tempt him. This time, we'll have to use hostages and Xavier's school is plenty ripe with them!"

"Yeah...Plenty ripe with super powered mutant teens," said Betsy, "Most of which could probably hold their own now that we don't have that weird ray gun you used last time."

"You're right...But that'll mean we'll just have to fight harder and treat these little punks like any other...Only we can't be afraid to be a little rougher this time around!" said Ruckus with a grin, which only made Betsy and Emma shift rather uncomfortably at the notion of putting kids through something like this.

"And what about collateral damage? Will that not provoke Xavier even further?" said Vertigo, seeing some flaws in this hastily constructed plan.

"At this point, it doesn't matter," said Ruckus, "If we can get that test subject of his back, there won't be any hope for both him and Magneto. Sinister said it himself...The only way to pull off a surefire win is to finish before any of our enemies can do something about it."

The rest of the Nasty Boys nodded in agreement, however both Betsy and Emma were still very uncertain. After the complications that had brought them into this mess, neither of them had any inclination to be a killer. For Emma, she had seen enough of it in the Hellfire Club with assassinations and torture to dissenters and Betsy had experienced enough of it when she was being used by The Hand. And Xavier's students were innocent bystanders in this conflict. They were just kids and this war was strictly between Sinister and Magneto. But such desperate times were calling for desperate measures and a man like Sinister was willing to go to any means to get what he wanted out of this struggle.

"So now we know we gotta take a few hostages...Any idea who?" asked Gorgeous, not usually one who was best equipped to plan elaborate things like this.

"Well the Brotherhood's there so there's definitely them," said Ruckus.

"Oh please," scoffed Emma, "You couldn't even get a hand on them last time, why bother trying again?"

"Because with the Scarlet Witch out, they'll be weakened and careless because of their anger and if we move fast we may be able to catch them off guard," said Ruckus as he looked at the blueprints of the infirmary where he was sure they were probably holding up.

"And I would think it would be best to go after the speed demon again," said Vertigo, "What better bargaining chip against Magneto than his own son? After all, he was willing to risk sending out the test subject in order to protect him and Wanda."

"Good idea...So Quicksilver's the target!" said Gorgeous with a grin, eager for a second chance at the Brotherhood.

"I still say you're making a mistake with them..." said Emma as she grew increasingly distasteful of this whole thing.

"Emma, when I ask for your opinion, I'll let you know...But if not, do as all a favor and SHUT UP!" yelled Ruckus, feeling quite annoyed with Emma's comments thus far.

Emma didn't respond to that, but mumbled to herself, "Fucking loudmouth." And although Ruckus didn't hear it, Betsy did and couldn't help but agree with her as Ruckus got back to planning.

"Okay, so let's make this final," said Ruckus, "Gorgeous and I will take care of the primary defense system on the outside and Psylocke will get the secondary in and around the mansion. And for anybody who tries to come and hold us back, Emma and Vertigo will take care of them. The primary target for hostage taking is Pietro Maximoff, but if we can we should also try and get Mystique's kids as well. Kurt Wagner and Rogue shouldn't be too much of a problem."

"Should we really go so far as to get them both?" argued Betsy, trying to sound more critical of the logistics rather than the plan.

"If we can, we will..." said Ruckus, "Having both would be preferable, but having just one would be acceptable. But we must secure at least two to keep both Xavier and Magneto under control and the children of Magneto and Mystique would be the best way to go."

"What about the test subject?" asked Gorgeous.

"We avoid him at all costs..." he replied, "We can't beat him face to face, but we can assume he'll probably be guarding the hostages so we'll have to spread his watch and catch him off guard. Now we already know he'll probably be around Pietro and Wanda, so it's a pretty safe bet that they'll be in the infirmary in the lower levels and Rogue and Kurt would probably keep their distance and be somewhere in the upper levels. And he can't be in two places at once so we'll get what we need to neutralize his involvement in terms of hostages. I may not know his exact intentions, but I'd say it's a safe bet that Mystique would probably want him to watch her kids as Magneto's. Now remember that we're working on a time limit here and if we do it at night, it'll probably go smoother so we'll wait for mother nature to hide our intensions. Is everybody clear?"

"Definitely!" said Gorgeous with an eager tone, "I'm in the mood for a little payback anyhow and once this job is done, I'm gonna enjoy watching every last one of those punks fry!"

"I too think our last fight entitles us to a little vengeance," said Vertigo in agreement, "I held back last time for the sake of keeping things clean...But I most certainly won't do such a thing again in this oncoming fight."

"Good...Then let's get to Xavier's while there's still daylight," said Ruckus as he folded up the map, "And this time...We will get what we need at ANY cost!"

Betsy and Emma stayed silent as the exchanged worried glances as to where this was going. The rest of the Nasty Boys seemed quite eager for a rematch with the Brotherhood even if it meant going through the better trained X-men in the process. The Xavier Institute was definitely no crowded restaurant, but if they wanted to keep their heads, they would have to succeed. Sinister never was really tolerant on failure and with the stakes this high, it would be even more so.

For Betsy Braddock and Emma Frost, it was a real dilemma. They both respected Xavier in the utmost and didn't want to get him and his students involved with a madman like Sinister. But from the looks of things, they didn't have much of a choice as they all gathered in the van and headed down the road towards the Xavier Institute where their objective awaited them.


Blake Hellstrom spent the better part of an hour explaining to Professor Xavier and Logan what the situation was and how they came to arriving at the gates of the institute seeking help. While there were many things he didn't know because of his amnesia and there were certain parts he left out, he told them pretty much everything he could, knowing it was best they know now just how serious things had gotten with Sinister.

"And that's why we came here..." said Blake as he finished telling his rather complicated story, "And that's all I know."

"Wait...So let me see if I understand this," said Logan, having chosen to been with Xavier rather than in the intensive care area for the sake of learning how the Brotherhood ended up here, "Some crazy mad scientist named Sinister is out to get you because you're some big test subject of his and Magneto, Mystique, and the Acolytes have been trying all this time to stop him without any of us knowing a damn thing about it?"

Logan's tone didn't sound too convinced of everything and Blake could easily sense that, but this was the definite truth and if they didn't believe him, it would make things all the more difficult when Sinister decided to attack again...This time in greater force.

"I swear to you, it's the truth," said Blake, "Magneto and his Acolytes saved me from becoming Sinister's mindless slave and they've been helping me get back to at least some sense of sanity over the course of the last month. And believe it or not...Neither he nor Mystique wants any of you involved in this conflict for good reason."

"But why?" asked Xavier, who felt there was little reason not to believe what this young man was saying, "Why would Magnus not get all the help he could against a foe so dangerous? We could have accomplished far more together."

"I'm sorry Professor, but Mr. Lensherr didn't want put anyone else through this..." said Blake as he shook his head, "Sinister is a very dangerous man and the conflict between him, Magneto, and Mystique is very personal. Involving more people in this conflict would just put people in danger who didn't have to be. And believe it or not, he still does respect you and consider you a friend so he didn't want to get you or any of your students involved with this heinous force."

"Magneto was that concerned for our well being?" said Logan in a very skeptical tone, "Yeah...THAT sounds plausible. After all the shit this man has done to us..."

"It's the truth!" shot Blake, not willing to hear such denial from someone who hadn't been around Eric and Raven like he had, "Look...I know you may find this hard to believe, but Apocalypse really changed both him and Mystique. Don't think I don't know about their sins, but I know that they are not the same people they were when they committed them. I've been around them...I've spoken to them...I've worked with them. And I know that their intentions are just in this cause! Sinister is a madman who will destroy us all! You have to believe me!"

Logan was about to say something back, but the Professor decided to step in before an all out fight could break out. He didn't see why Blake would lie about something this serious and after seeing Wanda's condition when she came in, he couldn't deny the seriousness of the situation.

"It's okay Blake...I believe you," said Xavier much to Logan's surprise.

"What are you talkin' about Chuck?" said Logan with a growl, "Do you really believe that this guy's tellin' the truth and Magneto and Mystique are actually 'changed' like he says they are?!"

"Yes Logan...I do believe," said the Professor confidently, much to Blake's relief, "It would definitely explain why Magneto and Mystique have been under the radar so much lately and it would also explain why the Brotherhood boarding house was fixed up and how all the members got back into school. While I may not know this Mr. Sinister fellow, I do recall Magnus speaking of a man named Nathanial Essex several times in the years I knew him...And I think he fits your description in many ways."

"Yes, I think that could be his real name," said Blake, "But he doesn't go by that anymore. He only goes by Sinister...And trust me, he's not going to stop trying to fulfill his ultimate goal."

"And just what might that be?" asked Logan, still feeling skeptical about this young man's story.

"He wants to create an entirely new species of mutant...One that goes beyond mere Alpha and Omega level classifications," explained Blake from the knowledge that Eric and Raven had trusted him with, "He wants to wipe out the human race and turn every last mutant into one of his mindless, super powered slaves. He's been working on it for years and now it is VERY close to actually happening!"

"How close?" asked Xavier, finding this whole situation becoming more serious by the moment.

"Close as in he's already got a machine capable of taking any mutant and evolving it...Believe me, I know. I went through it!"

"So now you're sayin' that you're some advanced mutant creation of his with all the power and what not that comes along with it?"

Blake let out a rather exasperated sigh, for it had truly been a long day for him. Last night had been very troubling for him mentally and today had been very troubling physically as well. Now that he had brought Xavier into this, the whole conflict was growing beyond any mere sense of control for neither him nor Magneto. The Nasty Boys had already attacked once and injured Wanda and Blake had little doubt that they would probably attack again.

"Yes...I mean, no..." he said, not willing to accept himself as one of Sinister's creations, "I...I didn't go through the whole process...Only most of it. It got to the point where Sinister erased every memory I had and he was about to practically lobotomize me into a mindless slave when Magneto showed up and got me out of there before he could. I already know what he did to me...And he's going to come after me."

"Why would he do that? For what reason would he need you for?" asked Xavier as he looked at the deeply troubled look on the young man's face.

"Because I was his first test subject..." said Blake, feeling quite bitter about bearing such a title, "As advanced as he made me...There were still flaws in the process and if he wants to calibrate his machine to absolute perfection like I know he wants to, then he'll need me back."

"I thought you said that machine of his was destroyed?" said Logan, as he started to take some of this more seriously.

"It was...But he's already working on another one...Magneto is sure of it and I wouldn't doubt it," said Blake, "He's already ordered the Nasty Boys to steal an array of advanced hardware to make another machine and since he got the first one right, he'll probably be able to finish a new one in a fraction of the time. In fact, he's probably got it done for the most part now and only needs me and my blood to calibrate it. That's probably why he sent the Nasty Boys after me and the Brotherhood."

"Well you don't have to worry about them getting to you anymore," assured Xavier, "Both you and the Brotherhood are quite safe here and I will step up security just as a precaution."

"I appreciate you believing me Professor...But that probably won't be enough," said Blake with a sigh as he sunk into the chair he was sitting in, "You could have all the security in the world and it still wouldn't stop Sinister and the Nasty Boys. He'll fight through it...There's no doubt about. He needs me and he won't stop until he gets me...I'm just sorry that I have to put your students into danger by being here."

"You ain't in any danger here and neither are the students!" said Logan sternly, "I don't care who this Sinister nutcase is or what kind of mutant team he's got, but NOBODY is gonna get through to anybody without going through me first!"

"I appreciate your concern Logan, but trust me...That's not enough," said Blake, "And I wish I could leave...But I can't. I still have a promise to keep."

"Promise? What promise?" asked Xavier.

"I promised Magneto that I would watch over an protect his kids and I promised Mystique I would do the same for Kurt and Rogue if I ever had the chance..." said the young man in a solemn tone, "And since I've already failed at that in some ways, I might as well make up for it. I owe them both that much."

A heavy silence soon fell over the three individuals in Xavier's office took in the situation. Wanda was now injured and the Brotherhood was stuck here. And on top of that, the Nasty Boys were still out there and probably still bent on fighting back against them since they failed to succeed last time. And now with Xavier and the X-men involved, things were more complicated than ever.

Blake had a lot bearing down on him now. Not only were his dreams getting worse, but he had failed to protect someone he had vowed to and he now had told Xavier everything about this conflict...Bringing him into this uncertain secret war that seemed only to get worse with each passing moment.

"Well safety or not Blake...You and the Brotherhood are more than welcome here," said Xavier in a sincere tone, "While I don't doubt the severity of the situation you have told us, at least know that you won't have to go through it alone now. I promise I'll do what I can to safeguard the Brotherhood and the rest of my students. And until then, I'll see to it that you can keep your watch over Wanda and Pietro as well as maybe getting Rogue and Kurt to cooperate...But I can't promise you too much on the latter."

It was somewhat of a comforting feeling to know that Xavier would take this situation seriously even if others like Logan wouldn't. But he didn't doubt that they were both concerned for the well being of the students and he would have to contend with their involvement now whether he liked it or not...He felt he owed them that much for helping Wanda.

"Thank you Professor Xavier..." said Blake gratefully, "Mr. Lensherr told me that you were a sincere man and I hope we can all avoid facing more complications despite Sinister's determination."

The Professor couldn't help but smile upon hearing what he had said about Magneto's sentiment, for he had not had many reasons to smile since Scott's death. Blake on the other hand, had an expression wrought with sorrow and uncertainty, for he was still kicking himself for not being there for Wanda and the rest of the Brotherhood. Xavier seemed to notice this as Blake sunk into his chair in a rather defeated stupor.

"Well if there's anything else you think we need to know, please be sure to tell us," said Xavier as Blake stood up and turned to leave.

"I've already told you everything..." said Blake, "But believe me, if there was more I would surely let you know."

"Very well then..." said Xavier as he prepared to go and check up on Wanda while Logan would be left to inform the students upstairs who were probably curious over the whole matter, "Now if there's anything else I can get you and your friends Blake, please don't hesitate to ask."

"Thank you Professor..." said Blake, who felt very much relieved at the Professor's help thus far, "But I think we'll be okay for now...I just need to make a phone call."

"Okay, well you can use the one upstairs for that," he said, "And if something comes up with Wanda, I'll be sure to tell you."

With a solemn nod, Blake left for the elevator, but not before noticing Logan flashing him one last suspicious look. He chose to ignore it though, for he had more troubling issues at hand...Like informing Mystique about what had happened.

"Do you really trust this guy Chuck?" said Logan, still unable to get over the strange scent that the young man gave off.

"He's given me no reason not to Logan..." said Xavier.

"Why, did ya sense something?"

"No...In fact I sensed absolutely nothing from him...His mental shields are just as great, if not more so, than Mystique's," said Xavier.

"Then there's a good chance he may be hiding something," growled Logan, always one to let suspicion overshadow trust when it came to dealing with strangers to the institute.

"No...I don't think that's the case with this young man..." said Xavier, seeming quite certain of his perceptions.

"How do you know that?" said Logan skeptically.

"That's just it Logan...I'm not sure," said Xavier with a sigh, which only served as a source for more confusion on the part of both him and Logan, "But there's just something about this young man that seems...Different. I can't explain it, but for some reason...My instincts say we can trust him. I don't know whether or not I'm right or wrong...But for now, let's just deal with one crisis at a time, shall we?"


Up on the first floor of the institute, Blake found a phone in a secluded hallway not far from the den. He had been careful to avoid the other students as he navigated his way through the institute, for he felt it was best they not know just how great of danger they were in at the moment. There would be plenty of time to panic later on, but for now he had more pressing issues at hand.

As he picked up the phone and dialed the one number he had been given just in case something like this happened, Blake couldn't help but worry about what the Nasty Boys were going to try next. If they were this willing to hurt others in order to simply get to him, then how far would they go to fulfilling Sinister's intentions?

The phone began to ring, but it only took two before he heard someone answer.

"Hello?" said a familiar voice over the other line.

"Raven...It's Blake," he said in a deep, monotone voice.

"Blake?!" exclaimed Mystique, not expecting to be getting a call from him at a time like this, "What's going on? Why are you calling?"

"I'm...At the Xavier institute," he said, knowing she probably wasn't going to like what he was saying one bit.

"The institute?! Why? What happened?" she said, knowing full well they had told Blake not to go there unless it was absolutely necessary.

"The Nasty Boys...They found us," said Blake, "And they attacked us. I...I took the Brotherhood out for lunch at the Gut Bomb. But...The Nasty Boys were there waiting for us. A pretty big fight ensued...And Wanda was caught in the crossfire by some strange paralyzing gun."

Mystique felt a twinge of horror as she heard Wanda's name, for she had grown rather close to her in the months after returning from Apocalypse's control, but Blake wasn't done yet.

"She survived the blast," he said, "But it had some very harsh effects on her and we weren't sure if she was going to survive...So we rushed her to the institute and now she's in the infirmary along with the rest of the Brotherhood. I...I'm sorry Mystique. It's all my fault."

Mystique took a moment to let all this sink in, for this whole conflict had just gone from bad to worse. She knew Sinister was ruthless and this only served to show it even more, but now with this unexpected turn of events, it proved that Sinister was very close now and if he was already trying to attack, it was logical to assume that he was ready to finish what he started.

"No, it's not your fault Blake..." she said as she took in the seriousness of this new situation, "You did the right thing in taking Wanda to Xavier's. The Nasty Boys are no joke...I've seen them do far worse."

"But I could have stopped them!" he exclaimed as he angrily slammed his fist against the wall, making a dent because of his strength, "I had the power to blow them all away and end it before it got so bad...But I didn't."

"That was probably their plan...Distraction," said Mystique, knowing all too well the fighting tactics of the Nasty Boys, "They probably know they can't beat you head to head...So they'll probably resort to hostages."

"Yeah...I figured that," said Blake, feeling all the more anxious about this, "I can't stay here...I'm putting everyone in danger Raven! Sinister doesn't want anybody here...He just wants me! I have to find a way to draw him away from everybody!"

"It's too late for that Blake," replied Mystique, "There's no way to divert Sinister's focus now...He'll do anything now to get you back and that probably means taking hostages and threatening to torture them in a way only he can! You have to stay there! You have to protect them!"

"But how can I accomplish that if I couldn't do it earlier?" groaned Blake, still not forgiving himself for what had happened to Wanda.

"Don't say that! I know you can! You must!" urged Mystique, "We need you to beat Sinister once and for all!"

Feeling the weight of such a tremendous responsibility bearing down on his weary shoulders, Blake let out a deep sigh as he once again felt determined to do his part in the war against Mr. Sinister.

"Okay...What do you want me to do?" he asked, ready to stop sulking.

"Just stay there and keep a close eye on everyone and help Xavier beef up security...Although I doubt it will be enough," she said over the line, knowing this was a serious development that would have to done right if they were to stop Sinister, "I'm going to call Eric and tell him exactly what you told me. We'll all probably meet at the institute...I'm fairly certain he'll want to see Wanda and make sure she's okay."

"Right...I'll let Xavier know," assured Blake.

"Good, and I'm coming too..." she said, although she didn't sound too enthused about going to the place where her children who hated her so much lived, "Just do me one big favor in the mean time..."

"Of course...Anything," said Blake, wanting to make up for his failure.

"Watch over my kids..." she said as she hung up her cell phone and promptly turned her motorcycle around and headed back down the long road to Bayville and the Xavier Institute where her children awaited her.


AN: That's it for now! Man, things have gotten rough for both sides now! The Nasty Boys had no more room for failure, Betsy and Emma are in a rather uncomfortable position, and Xavier is now involved with this conflict! Things are heating up as Sinister's plan nears its culmination and Blake/Scott is the main target! There's still more to come and I hope you stay tuned to see the stunning events that will bring everything to ahead! So what do you think thus far? How has this story been for you? Please tell me! Email me your reviews to my address or post them on the fanfiction website! I urge everybody to send me feedback and I hope you all have enjoyed reading this and I wish you all the best!

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