Note: Hey, what do you know, another Jean story! I am just full of all kinds of surprises, huh. I have a longer story going about the whole "Phoenix Saga" but have discovered, while writing it, that sagas are long. Very long. And because I really wanted to write about Phoenix without the saga I came up with this story. This story takes place about a month after Jean has gotten out of her coma, she is ten almost eleven. It's a kind of AU, what if asking the question, "what if Destiny prophesized the evolution of Jean into the Dark Phoenix?". I have not specified whether it is Jean's own mutation that causes this evolution, or the comic-based crazy alien theory (but I'm leaning toward the non-alien version).
The woman's heels crunched on the wet gravel as she exited the car. She skipped out of the way of a puddle of slush and walked over to the intercom attached to the gate. Without hesitation, she pressed the button.
"This is Logan speakin'," a gruff voice crackled over the intercom. A voice she had never heard before. "What can I do for ya?"
"Good afternoon, Mr. Logan. My name is Raven Darkholm. I'm an old friend of Charles'. I've come to speak with him on a very important matter."
"Hold on a sec," Logan said as he went to go fetch the professor.
Mystique waited patiently. She could have easily broken into the mansion and forced her presence upon Xavier. Although he was starting to install some preliminary security equipment, it wasn't anything she couldn't handle. She doubted he had any way of stopping her if she were to shift into that new African woman who was living here. She could have strolled right through the front gates. But this time, with so much riding on it, she decided to come to him directly. And if he doubted her motives, he could read her mind and there would be nothing she could do to stop him.
"We'll open the gate for ya. Go ahead and drive around to the front of the mansion. Charles'll be there waitin' on ya," Said Logan in an agitated voice as the gate swung open.
Mystique smiled to herself, good boy, Charles. She negotiated around a snow bank and got back into the driver's seat of the black BMW.
"Well, will he see us?" the woman sitting beside her asked.
Mystique sighed and pressed her foot lightly on the gas, "Didn't you know that he would?"
Destiny frowned, "I see *some* things, Raven. I don't see everything."
"A pity," Mystique murmured as she shifted back into her natural form. Now, inside the confines of Xavier's mansion, she didn't have to worry about prying eyes. As she drove along the road, she looked out the side of her window at the forest of dead, snow covered trees, their branches reaching up into the dreary gray sky like the hands of skeletons. The ground was covered in snow, two feet deep at least. She pulled to a stop just in front of the steps of the mansion. It was a very impressive estate, she had to admit. Though, if Xavier were looking for a hiding place, he was certainly a fool to think that this was it. Yes it hid him from the humans, created a safe little haven where he had the resources and the space to teach his mutants in peace, but he could not keep himself hidden from Magneto. Magneto knew everything that Xavier was doing.
Mystique pulled on her black leather gloves and opened the car door. It felt odd to her to be wearing normal clothes in her natural form.
Destiny opened the far door beside her and slowly got out, tapping her cane experimentally.
Like a shot, a giggle of childish laughter split through the cold, still air. Mystique turned and watched as a little redheaded girl in a bulky white sweater raced across the snow. She stayed at the top of the snow, though she was surely heavy enough to sink through the fresh powder. As Mystique looked closer, she saw that the girl left no footprints behind her.
"Is that her?" Destiny asked nervously, as if the girl already possessed the cosmic powers that Destiny herself had foretold.
"Yes," Mystique said with a sigh as she turned to walk up the steps, "it is her."
Destiny nodded and followed behind her companion.
"Jeannie, flammin' hell! Get back here and put yer jacket on!" Logan yelled as he burst through the large door at the top of the stairs. He was frowning and clutching a puffy black down jacket in one hand. He stopped in his tracks when he saw the blue woman and the woman with dark glasses and a cane walking up the steps.
He wasn't at all surprised by her appearance so Mystique assumed that Charles must have told him about her. But what did Charles tell him? She wondered with a wry smile.
"Pleased to meet ya. The name's Logan," he said as he stuck out a hand to her.
She took it and shook it firmly, "You may call me Mystique. And this is Irene Adler, otherwise known as Destiny," Mystique gestured to the woman behind her. Irene nodded her head in greeting.
Logan flashed his teeth in a wolfish smile, "Charles'll be here in a sec. You'll have to excuse me, I've got a brat to catch," he growled as he nodded and jogged down the stairs.
Mystique watched sadly as Logan barreled through the snow after the girl. How heart achingly domestic, she thought as she steeled herself against her own emotions. There was still a part of her that hated Magneto, resented him for what he had made her do. And every time she saw a happy child his age that part of her hurt just a little more. That was part of the reason she was here today. She felt a hand come to rest on her shoulder. She started a bit in surprise then relaxed. Irene didn't need to see to know what her friend was feeling.
"Good afternoon, Mystique," Xavier's cultured voice interrupted her moment of revere. The African woman with long white hair stood beside him, watching through hard blue eyes.
She immediately put those thoughts out of her head, steeling herself against the telepath, building walls like Magneto had taught her to.
Xavier merely smiled. "There is no need for that, Mystique, you've obviously come here in order to talk. Hopefully you will be able to say what is on your mind instead of the very unpleasant alternative."
Mystique nodded. "This is my associate, Irene Adler, also known as Destiny. Shall we continue this discussion inside?"
Xavier's eyebrows raised slightly in surprise at Irene's homo superior codename. Mystique noted that the African woman remained admirably stoic. She wondered what the woman's power was; even Magneto had not yet learned it. The woman held herself with a regal air.
"Yes, I think that is an excellent idea. Let's continue in my study," Xavier said as he turned to enter the mansion.
* I would appreciate it if this conversation were to remain between the three of us. There may be some aspects of it that best not be heard by too many others* Mystique thought extra loud.
*Did he send you here? *
Mystique gritted her teeth, she was expecting the question but resented it all the same. *No. In fact, if he knew I was here he would be quite upset with me. *
"Ororo, would you mind giving Logan a hand? I'm afraid he seems to be having a little difficulty catching up with our little marvel girl," Xavier said with a small smile.
Storm smiled back and nodded.
"There is no need to be cryptic, Charles, we know about your new student and what she can do," Destiny said quietly.
"Very well then, no secrets," Xavier said as he led the way into the mansion.
Ororo walked down the first few stairs, then lifted off the ground and floated by a surprised Mystique.
"It was a pleasure to meet you," Ororo said coolly as she paused beside Mystique.
"We were never formally introduced. My name is Mystique," Mystique spoke thorough tightened lips, annoyed at the woman's arrogance.
"I'm sure we will meet again," Ororo replied with a polite smile.
Not knowing how to reply without sounding unintentionally hostile, Mystique merely smiled and continued up the steps, following after the man in the wheel chair.
"Jean has proved to be more than a handful for us here," Xavier said in a laughing voice as he wheeled down the hall toward his study. The door opened automatically as he approached it, sensors in the floors were among the first things he had installed in the mansion.
As Mystique followed him into the study, she looked around, committing everything to memory. "It must be exciting for you to finally meet another telepath."
Xavier stopped behind his desk and turned. He motioned to the two chairs in front of him and then folded his hands together and held them in front of his face. He was not at all surprised that Mystique was clearly well informed on his very first student. Magneto had shown a keen interest in the girl.
"Yes, it is truly amazing. I'm sure you are aware that she is a telekinetic as well. She has been out of her coma for a little over a month and is already making tremendous progress."
"How old is she now?" Destiny asked in a shaky voice as Mystique directed her to a chair and she lowered herself into it.
"She's ten," Xavier said with a proud smile.
He already thinks of her as his, Mystic thought with no small amount of disgust.
*Nine more years.* Destiny thought just a little too loudly.
"Nine more years until what?" Xavier asked slowly.
Irene's eyebrows shot up in surprise.
Mystique cursed under her breath. Irene had been broadcasting her thoughts and now she had forfeited the element of surprise.
"Charles, I would rather get this over with," Mystique said with a sigh. "I have already explained to you that I am here on my own, without the sanction of Magneto."
"I respect that, Mystique, and am open to anything you have to say," Xavier said with a welcoming smile.
Mystique shook her head slightly as a cruel grin stretched across her face. Let's see just how open minded he is, "You have to get rid of Jean Grey and you have do it as soon as possible."
"Get rid of?" Xavier asked slowly, understanding but not wanting to believe what Mystique was saying.
"Charles, you have to kill her and you have to do it now, while she is weak, and before you form any permanent attachment to her. Trust me when I say it will be better this way. And Charles, if you don't do it then I will," Mystique hissed in a low voice.
"If you think I will *ever* let either you or Magneto lay a hand on her you are mistaken," Xavier lay his hands down softly on his desk and spoke with a controlled aggression that impressed Mystique.
"Magneto has nothing to do with this, Raven has already explained it to you!" Destiny interjected in a pleading voice. "Please, Professor Xavier, I understand that what we are saying sounds monstrous to you, but you have to understand."
"What do I have to understand," Xavier said quietly. "I will allow you to speak but let's make it clear that *you* understand. I could destroy you both with a mere thought. I have spent my life controlling my gift and learning how *not* to hurt others but I would not hesitate for a second to turn you into vegetables if you even thought of harming her in any way."
Mystique arched an eyebrow in surprise. "My, my, Charles, no need to get so defensive. Before you get so worked up over the idea of us harming her, I think you should consider the possibility of her harming us."
"Oh, please, Charles. Don't be a fool. She's an alpha class mutant. Do even you know what she is capable of? Remember what you said earlier, Charles, no secrets."
There was a long pause. Xavier steepled his fingers and rested his forehead against them for a moment while he thought. "No, I don't know what she is capable of," Xavier admitted in a quiet voice. "But that's why she is here. She will learn control and she will learn the limits of her mutation."
"Professor, what if there are no limits?" Destiny asked.
The question hung in the air.
"There's something I'd like to show you, Professor," Destiny said with a small sigh. "Sometimes I see things, things as they will happen. They are possible versions of the future, they are the future as it could most definitely happen unless the past is changed so drastically that the version cannot occur. All of the futures I see are a possibility. Sometimes the past which leads to them can be seen, but usually this is not the case. I do not know which future will occur, but sometimes I am able to see how to prevent certain possible futures from occurring. Of course trying to control the future always comes at great risk. Believe me, I've tried."
Mystique looked away for a moment, a tear forming in her eye for her dead son. She willed it away with all the strength she possessed.
"What are you trying to tell me?" Xavier asked after a moment.
"Destiny has had a vision about Jean Grey. I shall put it for you simply, Charles. She is more than just an alpha class mutant. Within nine year's time Jean will become not only the most powerful mutant on the planet, but the most powerful being in the universe. In short, she will become a God," Mystique spoke in a quiet yet forceful voice, knowing the shock and disbelief with which these words would be meant.
Xavier remained silent.
"You will think you can control her, Charles, you will want to help her, but you can't, nobody can. Destiny has seen it and she has seen your mistake and theirs. There will be others who want her, Charles, others who want to harness her power for their own reasons. Magneto is one of these fools who will want to contain her. And if he knew what we have just told you he would have made his move a long time ago," Mystique said as she glanced over at Destiny.
"If you have already seen the future, you know that I will not kill her, nor will I let you kill her," Xavier said calmly.
"Please, Professor, let me show you what I have seen. You must understand that if you do not kill her now, all that I will show you will become a reality," Destiny said.
"Are you giving me permission to enter your mind?" Xavier asked.
Xavier took a deep breath and closed his eyes. He slowly raised his hands to his temples and began to concentrate. His consciousness slipped out of his own body and into the astral plane. He sought out the mind of Destiny on the plane and once he found it he slipped in quietly and gently, the ease of his transmission facilitated by her acceptance.
* The vastness of space stretched in every direction. But it was an unfamiliar space; there was no Earth, no Sun, no Saturn or Mars. Instead, there were other planets, other suns. It was a different universe, but a very real one full of life and an advanced civilization. A large, green planet became the center of the vision. It was buzzing with life and energy, radiating emotion and thought. The planet was alive with a bright and complex people. A raging fire ripped thorough the black emptiness of space and centered on the planet. The planet glowed red and with a loud heart-thumping boom it ripped apart from its very center. All the life, all the energy cried out in a single short scream, echoing through the cold space. And then, nothing. The fire flashed again, forming into the shape of a bird, a bird of fire. In the center of the bird, was a young woman. Her long, red hair billowed around her face, blending into the flaming bird surrounding her. She wore a tight red outfit with a golden bird across her chest. The word 'Phoenix' echoed in his thoughts. And then she laughed, a dark, cruel laugh. It was clear that she had enjoyed it, enjoyed the feeling of power, the feeling of fire coursing through her veins at their pain and despair. And it was clear that she was not done. No, she was far from done. She enjoyed this too much. Earth was next. The mortal turned Goddess flew through space toward her next target, all emotion and memory of her former life as Jean Grey long since dead. She lived for experience, for the rush of feeling, the jolt of pure emotion found only in fear and pain. For her there was nothing more delicious than the look in the eyes, the anguish in the mind of a being who was about to die. She was no longer Jean Grey, she was the Dark Phoenix.*
Xavier's eyes snapped open.
"No," he whispered quietly.
Mystique and Destiny both waited silently, allowing him as much time as he needed to become adjusted to the thought that the little girl playing in the snow outside would one day be responsible for the destruction of Earth and the murder of billions upon billions of innocent beings.
"There has to be some way to stop it," Xavier said in a pleading voice.
Destiny shook her head. "Professor, there is only one way I am sure of to alter this future." She didn't finish the sentence, but she didn't need to.
They sat in silence.
Suddenly the door burst open and like a shot, Jean ran through and telekinetically slammed the doors shut behind her. She was breathing heavily, her cheeks flushed red from the cold air outside. She was still without a jacket, her white turtleneck sweater was damp from the snow. "Professor, Professor! He's after me!" she shrieked with delight. She turned and stopped in her tracks. Upon seeing the two women she lowered her gaze. Her cheeks turned an even deeper red. "I'm sorry, I didn't know that you had um, a meeting," Jean said quietly.
Xavier stared at her. He held back his tears as he thought back on Destiny's vision. It had to be a mistake. It was impossible. She was the picture of goodness and innocence. He noticed out of the corner of his eye that Destiny had tensed. She was broadcasting fear and broadcasting it loudly.
Xavier cleared his voice before speaking, "Jean, this is an old friend of mine, Ms. Raven Darkholm, and this is Irene Adler," Xavier said, keeping a sharp eye on Mystique.
*Don't try anything Mystique* he warned her.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Jean," Mystique said with a nod of her head. Irene remained silent.
"Hello," Jean said in a whisper, not daring to look up at the blue woman.
"You will have to excuse Jean, she seems to find the floor quite fascinating and prefers to stare at it whenever possible," Xavier said in a teasing voice, hoping to remind Mystique of what Jean was now, not of what she would one day become.
Jean rolled her eyes at the teasing and slowly raised them.
The blue woman was staring at her.
Jean shivered and looked away.
There was a soft knock the large oak doors. It echoed through the quiet room. The door handles rattled then remained still.
The Professor sighed, "Jean, please let go of the doors."
The handles jiggled again, a little more forcefully this time.
Jean nodded and released her telekinetic hold on the doors.
Logan fell through the open door and stumbled into the room, still clutching the black jacket in one hand. He shot Jean a nasty glare before looking over at the professor. "Sorry to disturb your meetin', Chuck," Logan apologized.
"That's quite all right, Logan. In fact, why don't you join us," the professor answered.
*Charles, we still have some more talking to do. Please ask him to leave.* Mystique thought with a frown.
*No. You have made your intentions quite clear to me, Mystique. I guarantee you, if you attempt to lay one hand on Jean, Logan will cut it off without a second thought.*
Mystique maintained her controlled expression as she stared down Xavier. *Will you mind wipe him when we are through here? I don't think you will, Charles. It is best if this information is kept in as few minds as possible. Magneto has access to his own telepaths and there are others who would seek to know these things as well. You may be the most powerful telepath on the planet, Charles, but you are certainly not the only telepath on the planet.*
Xavier stayed quiet for a moment, thinking over what Mystique had said.
*Chuck, what's going on here?* Logan thought anxiously as his sensitive nose caught the stench of fear. The blind woman, Destiny, she was terrified of something.
Xavier glanced up at Logan, ignoring his telepathic question. "On second thought, Logan, would you mind escorting Ms. Darkholme to the foyer? I would like to talk to Ms. Adler alone," the professor said as he nodded toward Destiny.
Mystique's back snapped straight as she glared at the professor, "Charles, I am the one who came to talk to you. I will not be excluded from this discussion," Mystique hissed at him. She gripped her hands on the arms of her chair and began to rise.
Logan took a few quick steps to get by her side, ready to grab her if she were to lunge at the professor, which it looked like she might.
"I will continue to discuss the matter with Ms. Adler and Ms. Adler alone," Charles said in a controlled voice.
Mystique looked back at Wolverine, out of the corner of her eye and managed to restrain herself. She finished standing and stared at the professor. "Listen to what she has to say. Don't be a fool, Charles," Mystique snapped as she turned and brushed by Logan on her way out of the room.
Jean took a step back to get out of the woman's path.
Mystique's hard gaze flicked down upon Jean as she passed by, "We will meet again, child," she said in a low voice.
Jean's green eye's widened as she watched the woman push through the doors.
Logan came to her side and laid a heavy hand on Jean's shoulder, "Let's go, kiddo," he said with a smirk and shake of his shaggy head.
"Actually, Logan, I would like Jean to stay here for a few minutes," Xavier called from his desk.
And in that brief instant, Logan's nostrils twitched as they registered the level lf fear raise a fraction. He removed his had from Jean's shoulder and glanced back at the woman, Destiny. She was almost hunched over in her char, gripping her cane with two tight hands trying not to visibly shake in fear.
"Jean," Xavier said with a smile as he motioned to the chair Mystique had left vacant. "Come sit with us for a moment."
As Jean made her way over to the char, Destiny became more and more tense.
She's afraid of Jeannie, Logan realized with a frown. But why?
"That will be all, Logan," Xavier said in a firm voice as Logan lingered in the open doorway.
Logan stood his ground for a few seconds, staring down the professor, reluctant to leave without being told what was going on. Finally, he relented. He couldn't let that Mystique woman wander around the mansion; especially not with that new prototype mutant detection system Chuck and Hank were building sitting in the library. With a grunt he pushed off of the doorframe he had been leaning against and left, closing the double doors behind himself.
Jean bit her bottom lip and glanced at the woman sitting next to her through downcast eyes. She glanced up at the professor. He was sitting quietly with his eyes closed, face propped up against closed hands.
"Miss Adler," Xavier said as he turned toward Destiny, "is there any possibility that there may be some vital event that happens before this future that you haven't seen? Some event that might possibly negate the future you have seen?"
Irene remained quiet for a moment as she thought it over. "Yes, Professor, I have considered the possibility. In fact," she hesitated here, feeling uncomfortable about doing this behind Mystique's back. "I came here hoping to get a reading from Jean to see if there is something I was missing. Being in physical contact with a person allows me a greater degree of control over my gift."
Xavier nodded and looked at Jean.
Her brows were drawn up in confusion. She clearly understood the gravity of the situation, but didn't understand what they were talking about.
The professor sighed and looked away briefly. He looked out the window at the snow-covered grounds. "Jean," he began slowly, "I am sorry if we are excluding you from the conversation," Xavier apologized.
"What's going on?" Jean asked in a soft voice.
A heavy silence hung in the air.
"Miss Adler has the ability to see possible futures. She has seen a very important future, one that includes you. She came here to...see if she could find out more, see what the other possible futures might be."
*That's enough, Professor, she should not know too much.* Destiny warned.
Xavier cast her an annoyed glance before turning his gaze back to Jean.
"Okay," Jean complied. She wished he would tell her more, but she trusted the professor and was willing to let him decide what was best.
Destiny extended her left hand toward the girl sitting beside her.
Jean laid her hand on top.
*Link your mind with mine, professor, the vision is coming.*
Xavier closed his eyes and gently linked their two minds.
* A wasteland of burning buildings and collapsed houses stretched as far as could be seen. The thick stench of death hung in the still, warm air. Towering above it all was a terrifying figure dressed in metal armor. He stood at least thirty feet tall and seemed to suck the life and energy out of everything around him. At his feet lay the broken, bloody body of a young man wearing a strange visor across his eyes. There were others too. He fed off of their energies and expanded his own. His wide, smile stretched even further across his cruel lips as he felt a being coming toward him with more power than all he had defeated combined.
She appeared before him surrounded by a great bird of fire. Dressed in green and gold with her red hair becoming one with the fire surrounding her.
"I have been expecting you, Phoenix," his booming voice stretched across the battlefield. "You're power is nothing compared to mine. Submit to me now," he demanded.
She said nothing. She slowly extended her arms and with a sudden burst, the phoenix effect flashed and expanded. Her powers reached out and filled the entire sky.
As El Sabbah Nur looked upon the mighty Phoenix a dull feeling of dread began to course through his iron veins.
"I am fire made flesh. I am the immortal goddess Phoenix, the creator and the destroyer. Raised from the ash to live again and to destroy you," her voice echoed through everything. It was filled with strength and light. Hope bloomed in all the hearts of the broken that lay at his feet.
And in El Sabbah Nur's own cold heart a feeling bloomed that he had never known before in his immortal life-fear.*
Destiny jerked her hand away from Jean as if she had been burned. She clasped her hands together in her lap and nervously rubbed them together, thinking over what she had just seen. Was this girl to save the world before she destroyed it? Which future was true? Were they both true?
*Very good questions to ask, Miss Adler* the professor spoke into her mind.
"Is everything ok?" Jean asked in a small voice as she looked up at the worried face of her mentor, her savior.
As Xavier looked down at her and forced a smile his mind reeled at the thought of the immense power this girl would control within nine year's time. "Yes, Jean everything is fine. Why don't you go and play now. Don't forget your jacket," Xavier said as he pointed to the jacket Logan had left on the floor beside the door.
"Yes, sir," Jean said with a small nod as she slipped out of her chair. "Um, it was nice to meet you Miss Adler," Jean said before she shuffled out of the room.
Destiny just nodded. She was still terrified of this girl but after the vision she had just had the terror had began to shift into awe.
Xavier watched as Jean closed the doors behind her. He sighed and shifted his gaze back to Destiny. "Well?"
"Well," Destiny answered as she cleared her throat, "I'm sorry, professor, but I don't know. Perhaps both futures are true, perhaps neither, perhaps only one. But..."
"But if there is even the possibility that she will some day save the world from...whatever it was that we saw, you cannot even consider killing her," Xavier finished for her.
"Yes," Destiny answered in a cracked voice.
"Then we are done her," Xavier said as he pushed away from his desk.
"Professor," Destiny began in a cautious voice, "whatever the future may hold for Jean and for the world, she has been placed in your hands. It is up to you to raise her right, to teach her to control her powers and use them for good. She will one day wield immense power and she will need a voice of reason to guide her. Take good care of her, professor, the world may depend on it," Destiny said as she rose from her chair.
"Yes, I will," Xavier answered with a nod.
He watched her leave, then closed his eyes and rubbed a hand across his face as he heard the doors close. He sat like that for a while, replaying Destiny's visions with his photographic memory.
After a few minutes he opened his eyes and turned to look out the large window behind his desk.
A jacket-less redheaded girl sprinted across the top of the snow, "Come and get me!" she shouted with glee as she stopped and turned to face her pursuers.
Logan, who was trudging through the snow after her stopped. "Ro! You're a Weather Witch can't you help me out here?"
"That's cheating!" Jean pouted then stuck out her tongue at Logan.
"She's right, Logan, that would be cheating," Ororo's serene voice answered from somewhere outside Xavier's view.
Logan grumbled something under his breath and continued to plow through the snow after Jean. "Here I come!" Logan said in a mock gruff voice, a smirk playing about his lips.
Jean laughed in delight and continued to run.
* I am fire made flesh. I am the immortal goddess Phoenix, the creator and the destroyer. * the words echoed in Xavier's mind, forever imprinted by a branding iron.
"God save us all," Xavier whispered to himself as he closed his eyes and turned away from the window.