|Angel In The Attic
Author: fusedtwilight PM
The X-men are called to pick up a new student, soon the find out he may look like an angel, but his powers are more of the divine wrath kind. Can Michael fit in at Xaviers? And what does Magneto want with him?Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Adventure - Warren W. III/Archangel - Chapters: 22 - Words: 183,853 - Reviews: 51 - Favs: 33 - Follows: 27 - Updated: 05-21-13 - Published: 01-18-12 - id: 7754231
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Angel in the Attic
Fusedtwilight: Thanks to my beta lisa and everyone who reviewed.
Will the x-men save Michael? Lets find out.
"Stryker! What the hell is this?!" Nathan yelled.
"As I promised, I am going to cure your son Nathan; that is what you wanted right?" Stryker asked.
"You didn't say anything about ripping off his wings!" Nathan shouted.
"How else do you think I would have done it?" Stryker asked with a sneer.
Then Michael remembered who he was seeing. It had been a few years ago, this man was on TV, preaching about how God hated mutants.
"You're William Stryker!" Michael exclaimed.
In training the X-Men trainees were warned of all the X-Men's foes. The Brotherhood, the Acolytes, the Hellfire Club, and of course the human threats as well.
Stryker had once kidnapped Xavier and tied him to a machine that would have killed all mutants by making the Professor use his own vast psychic powers to kill them. Luckily, the X-Men managed to stop him.
It didn't stop him for coming up with new plans to try and eradicate mutant kind. He was the man who started the purifiers, finding deranged zealots like himself, who thought God hated all mutants and believed it was his divine will for them to be killed.
"I see my reputation precedes me, and it is such a pleasure to meet the YouTube sensation himself, I have been wanting to meet you for such a long time," Stryker commented.
Michael was about to summon his angel fire when Stryker pulled out a gun and pointed it at his father.
" I so much as see a tiny bit of fire and I will kill your father," Stryker warned.
Michael stood down and glared at Stryker. He knew he was serious, he knew that killing was second nature to the Purifiers, even if it was children.
He had heard stories of the kind of atrocities these men were capable of; they were even willing to kill humans if they got in their way. He remembered hearing a story where they bombed an orphanage because it housed abandoned mutant children as well as human children.
"What do you want from me?" he asked.
"I want to help you boy. And to do that, I need your wings," Stryker responded.
He nodded to one of his men and the Purifiershot a tranquilizer dart at Michael hitting him in the arm. Michael instantly felt dizzy and fell to the floor.
"Michael!" Nathan yelled.
He tried to get to him but Stryker pulled his gun out again.
"Now, now, Nathan. Let the boy be," he said.
"You bastard!" Nathan shouted.
"Watch the language; we are in a church you know," Stryker commented.
The Purifiers surrounded Michael, and one of them put a mutant power dampening collar around his neck. They picked him up and carried him off.
"Where are you taking him?" Nathan demanded.
"To a secure location for the procedure," Stryker said.
"Procedure?" Nathan asked.
"Yes, we can't amputate his wings here. Imagine all the blood," Stryker sneered.
"You said you would make him human!" Nathan yelled. His heart was thumping loud in his chest. He couldn't believe he trusted this man. He couldn't believe he handed his son to a psychopath.
"And I will. Removing the wings from your son will strip him of all his powers. But I am afraid it will have the side effect of killing him."
"But that wasn't our deal!" Nathan cried.
"Relax man, I killed my own son as soon as he was born when I saw what he was. At least your son will die a human," Stryker said.
"Why do you want his wings?" Nathan asked.
Stryker smiled and began to walk toward Nathan. "Let's just say I want what's in his wings."
He struck Nathan in the face, knocking him out cold.
Stryker pocketed his gun and headed out the church, leaving Nathan unconscious in the church.
Anna watched as Michael's unconscious body was carried out and tossed into the van.
She saw an older man walk out and get in the van and it drove off.
"Oh my God!" she exclaimed.
She quickly started the car and kept the lights of and followed the van. She looked for her cell to dial the police but to her frustration found the battery was dead; she had a bad habit of forgetting to charge it.
They drove a while until they came to a large abandoned warehouse. They got out and carried Michael quickly inside.
"Oh Lord, what am I going to do?" she asked herself.
She parked her car and got out. She quickly looked around to see if anymore Purifiers were around. She quietly made her way to the warehouse.
She didn't even make it ten feet from the door when three Purifiers appeared as if out of thin air, their guns pointed at her.
Nathan woke up, his face was on the cold floor and his jaw hurt.
He instantly remembered what happened and a single tear slid down his face.
"Oh God, Michael, forgive me!" he cried.
He stood up, clutching his jaw. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his cell and dialed the Xavier Institute's number.
Warren was with Elizabeth.
They were just finishing up helping clean up the Theater Room when Ruth walked up to him.
"Excuse me sir," she said politely.
"Hello Ruth, can I help you with something?" Warren asked.
"Yes, you are about to be angry with me for not saying something sooner," Ruth said.
"Angry? Angry about what?"
"About the danger Michael is in?" she explained.
"Danger? Ruth what do you mean?" Warren questioned.
Warren knew Ruth was a powerful clairvoyant. She could see into the future, some said she even saw into the past.
"I have seen this coming, but I could not stop it. Yes, Michael is in danger, terrible danger. Right now his father is calling to let us know what he has done. I just want you to know Michael will be okay, I have sent him someone who will buy him time," Ruth stated.
Just then Xavier's voice could be telepathically heard.
-X-Men! We have an emergency! Prepare to leave immediately!-
"So it begins. Yes, I saw it coming, no, I could not have stopped it. I do hope Michael can forgive me, I know this will hurt him a lot," Ruth said sadly.
Michael woke up.
He was staring at a concrete floor.
He was on one of those surgery tables with a hole cut out for your face when they make you lay on your belly.
Bright lights were on and he could hear people moving around.
He tried to summon his power but nothing happened. He could still feel it inside him, but it was like something was keeping him from tapping into it.
He then tried to move his arms and legs but found they were strapped onto the bed.
"Ah, I see our patient is awake," Stryker noted.
"What...are you doing...to me?" Michael asked still feeling weary.
"Getting ready to remove your wings son, I promised your father I would make you human," Stryker explained.
"What?...No...no! Let me go!" Michael yelled. He continued to struggle, he didn't know what Stryker meant by remove his wings...okay he got the idea, but he didn't think it was going to be a fun process.
"Yell all you like, but I suggest you save your breath for when we begin. Afraid we couldn't afford any pain killers," Stryker said, Michael could hear the sneer in his voice.
"Why are you doing this to me?" Michael cried.
"Because, you have something, something you have no right to have," Stryker said his voice cold as ice.
"What?" Michael asked.
"The fire of heaven. The holy light," Stryker spat.
"You mean my angel fire?" Michael asked.
"Oh, it is much more than that; it is the divine wrath of God, it is the force of the armies of paradise. Some time ago a mutant came to us, and before we killed him he told us of a vision he had. He saw a mutant, born as an image of an angel with the power to summon celestial fire. He told us if we severed your wings and attached them to another then that power would be the new vessels to use. At first we thought him a madman and killed him, and then we saw you use your powers and realized he had been right."
He felt people moving closer to him, he could see feet out of the corner of his eyes.
Then he felt hands grabbing his wings. He tried to fight them, he tried flapping his wings, but then he felt a sharp pinch on his leg and his whole body became numb.
"With this power we will lay siege to the X-Men and usher in a new dawn for man. We will reclaim the righteous power of God and use it to fight the evil tainting our world. Too bad you won't live long enough to see it. Now hold still. This will hurt a lot," Stryker gloated.
Michael felt something sharp stab into his wing where it connected to his back.
He never screamed so loud in his life.
Warren had Nathan pinned against a wall.
"Where is he?" Warren growled.
Wolverine was going around trying to catch the scents of everyone who had been there. He smelled Michael and he caught Stryker's scent as well. He could also smell a bunch of other scents belonging to the Purifiers who took Michael away.
Scott, Bobby, Kurt, Colossus and the Champions were there as well. When they were told Michael was in trouble they immediately geared up.
"I don't know, the bastard took him and knocked me out!" Nathan huffed.
"How could you trust Stryker? You know he is a madman!" Warren shouted.
"He promised me he could cure my son!" Nathan retorted.
"Do you have any idea where Stryker could have taken him?" Scott asked.
"No. All he said was he was going to cut off Michael's wings and that would make him human but it would also kill him. Please, you have to find him!" Nathan pleaded.
"I thought you wanted him to be human?" Warren snarled.
"I don't want him dead! Please you have to find him!" Nathan repeated.
Just then the X-Men heard Xavier speaking to them.
-Scott, I have located Michael. He is not too far from your location,- Xavier said telepathically.
"Give us the coordinates professor, come on people, let's move," Scott ordered.
Warren dropped Nathan to the ground and turned to walk out of the church.
"Please, you have to find him before it's too late. Please save my son," Nathan begged.
Warren stopped walking and turned to look at Nathan in disgust.
"I don't know how you can stand to look at yourself in the mirror every morning. Now your hate may cost Michael his life. I suggest you call your wife and inform her of the situation Mr. Bronson. Though I should warn you that after tonight I don't think your family will be able to stand the sight of you. Not after tonight," Warren stated bluntly.
The X-Men left him alone in the church. His phone began to ring and he saw the id that it was Mary.
He let the phone fall to the ground, a powerful wave of shame washed over him and for the first time in a long time, he began to weep.
The X-Men drove to the warehouse.
Logan and Bobby went in first to make sure it was all clear. They then called the others to let them know it was okay and to hurry up.
The rest of the X-Men rushed into the warehouse.
It was empty save for a small surgical table in the center with a bunch of lights shining on it. There was a girl crying, her hands were covered in blood and Logan and Bobby were hovering over a body.
"Michael!" Warren yelled.
They all ran to Michael. The sight they saw would haunt them forever.
Michael was naked, stripped of clothing and splattered with blood. Where his wings once were, there was nothing save two large gashes. A young woman was holding him, crying, his blood coated her arms and face.
"Oh God, his wings," Angie said covering her mouth with her hands.
"Who are you?" Rickard asked.
"My name is...Anna," she answered.
"Why are you here?" he asked her.
"I..I..I was told by a blind girl to follow Michael. She said I would buy him time!" she cried. "I followed them and I tried to sneak in, but they caught me and I thought they were going to kill me. But this man, he had white hair. He said I was a human so I didn't need to be killed...he...he wanted me to give you a message," she continued.
"What is it? Warren asked.
"He said...he is going to burn you all to ash," she said morosely.
The X-Men covered Michael with a blanket to save him some dignity.
They ran out into the X-Vans and drove off to the Institute.
They took Anna with them, not wanting to leave the poor girl all alone.
Warren had given Michael some of his blood. It healed the cuts on his back and stopped the blood from flowing out but Michael did not wake up.
When they finally arrived at the institute Hank was already standing by with a medical team. They had a gurney ready and strapped him into it and rushed him into the medical bay.
Josh was there waiting, once they put Michael onto one of the beds he put his hands on Michael and began to heal him. But nothing happened.
Michael did not stir from his slumber, nor did his wings grow back. Josh had been learning to use his power to re-grow limbs or organs and had done it a few times when one of the X-Men was seriously hurt. He was one of the most powerful healers to walk to earth; his power allowed him to manipulate the genetic structure of a person.
Yet he could not heal Michael for some reason. His bodily wounds were already healed thanks to Warren's blood transfusion, but Josh could not get Michael to wake up or grow his wings back.
"What's wrong?" Warren asked.
"I...I don't know. I am trying to re-grow his wings but it's not working for some reason. He should be awake now but it's like...It's like even though my power is trying to fix him, something isn't working right," Josh complained.
"I gave him my blood, it healed his wounds but it didn't wake him up either," Warren said.
"Alright, I am going to hook him up," Hank stated.
He got out a heart monitor and connected it to Michael's chest. Warren knew enough to know Michael's stats were low.
"Hank, what's wrong? Why isn't he healing?" Warren asked.
"I don't know Warren. I have been teaching Josh more about biology and anatomy to help him with his power. The only thing I can think of is his condition has something to do with the loss of his wings," Hank sighed.
"Is he stable?" Warren asked.
"For now. You should go talk to his teammates, I am sure they want to know how he is," Hank said.
"Keep me informed," Warren instructed.
He turned around and walked outside the room. The rest of the Champions were outside and Angie was talking to Anna, keeping her calm.
"Is Michael going to make it?" Devin asked looking shaken.
"He is stable for now. For some reason Josh is unable to revive him," Warren said.
"But why? Josh is a miracle worker," Wayne noted.
"We think...it might have something to do with the loss of his wings," Warren said.
He walked over to Anna.
"Anna, we need to talk," he said.
"Okay," she nodded.
"Is there anything else you can tell us?" Warren asked.
"No...I wish I could. They brought me in to the warehouse and they were putting the wings inside these boxes. They just left me there," she explained.
Warren looked and saw Xavier wheeling over with Jean, Emma and Tessa.
"Charles, this is Anna," Warren made the introductions.
Warren told Xavier what Anna told him and she filled him in to why she was following Michael.
"I did it because the blind girl said to," she reiterated.
"Jean, Emma. Please see what you can learn from Michael," Xavier said.
The women went inside to scan Michael's mind to see if he had heard anything that might clue them into where Stryker could be.
"I have called his mother and informed her of what has happened, she is on her way now," Xavier told them.
"Professor, why can't we heal him?" Warren asked.
"It's his wings Warren," Tessa explained. "They are his weak spot. They hold his power. They are what allows him to channel his energy. They are his connection to the source of the angel fire."
"So...if we get them back we could heal him?" Warren asked.
"Yes," Tessa said.
"Wait...you said his wings hold his power?" Anna asked. She pulled the feather she got the night she first met Michael from her hair and showed it to them. "So...might this help?"
Miles away, Stryker groaned in pain as the scientists attached the wings to his back.
"Sorry sir," one of them said.
"No, this pain is good. Sweet to the taste. A mere price to be paid for the power I am about to obtain," Stryker said.
One of the Purifier soldiers walked up to him. "Sir, we are almost done gathering the forces. Tomorrow we will be ready to assault the X-Men," he stated.
"Excellent. By then I should have full access to the fire inside these wings," Stryker boasted.
The scientists finished attaching the wings to his back.
"All done sir."
Stryker expected to feel...something, but the wings didn't so much as twitch.
"I swear to God if that crazy mutie was lying and I just turned myself into a circus freak for no reason, I will-"
Suddenly the wings glowed with a bright white fiery light. Stryker screamed as it spread over his whole body. When it died down he could move the wings and felt the power running through his veins.
"It worked! I have it! I have the power of the host of heaven now!" Striker whooped.
He raised his hand and summoned a ball of white fire. He threw it at a gurney and it exploded into ash.
"Now, for the final touch," Stryker sneered.
One of the scientists handed him a needle filled with some kind of liquid.
"Sir? What is that?" the solider asked.
"Normally, it would be wise to wait for the power to fully settle inside me before we attack. But we will not wait any longer. This is a super-human enhancing drug; a mix of Rave, MGH and hypercortisone D also known as kick."
"But sir, those are highly potent drugs! Who knows what a single drop of that could do to you or how it would affect the wings," the solider argued.
"Let's find out," Stryker said.
He stabbed the needle into his arm and injected the drugs into his body.
His body began to glow again and everyone covered their eyes. When the heat died down they saw that the table he had been sitting on was gone, presumably disintegrated and Stryker had changed. A pair of bull-like horns grew from his forehead, and his eyes were yellow, and cat-like. His nails grew into long sharp claws and he had gotten taller and gained more muscle. A long tail had grown from his backside with a black tuff of hair like a lion's tale.
"There, even better," he remarked, his voice much deeper than before.
"Gather the faithful, time to purify this world," he intoned, his eyes glowed with white fire.
Everyone stood around Michael.
Anna held the feather in her hand and gently laid it on Michael's chest.
At first nothing happened. Then the feather glowed and was absorbed into his chest.
He opened his eyes and everyone let out a sigh of relief.
"Wh-where am I?" he asked weakly.
"Michael, you are safe now," Warren said.
"Warren? Where my dad? Is he safe?" Michael asked.
Warren's jaw clenched tight. "He is safe," he replied.
"My wings...did you save them?" he asked.
"No...we didn't save them. The Purifiers have them," Warren said quietly.
A single tear fell down his face. "So...their gone?" he asked.
"I am afraid so," Warren sadly said.
Michael looked around and looked confused when he saw Anna. "Weren't you the one I saved?" he asked, remembering her from the club and the mall.
"Yes, I guess I am the one doing the saving now," Anna said with a sad smile.
Michael smiled. "You're still pretty," he said.
"Michael, your family is on their way," Xavier said.
"Is...my dad with them?" Michael questioned.
"I...am not sure," Xavier replied.
The Champions crowded around Michael and began to talk to him, trying to make him feel better. Xavier, Warren and Tessa walked away from them to talk in private.
"Will he get better now?" Warren asked.
"I am afraid not. She bought us some time though. The feathers from his wings are imbued with a small bit of his power. I think his body instinctively reabsorbed the feather and is using the energy to keep going. But eventually it will wear out and when it does...I fear he won't make it," she said glumly.
"We have to get those wings back Charles!" Warren grumbled.
"We will Warren. We will get his wings back, even if we must break down the walls of their base," Xavier said.
He sensed Michael's mother and siblings arrive.
"His family is here," Xavier commented.
"Is his father here?" Warren asked.
Everyone left the room to give Michael and his family some alone time.
Mary was heartbroken.
Her baby was hurt, mutilated and her own husband had a hand to play in this.
Mya wiped her eyes, unable to see her little brother like this, Paxton kept an arm around her shoulders.
"Oh, my baby," Mary cried, kissing his head.
"Mother...I'm not...a baby," Michael said gently, still feeling weak.
"Yes you are, you're my baby," she repeated.
"Yes sweetie?" she asked.
"Father...he told me...he told me about...your brother and my grandfather," Michael started.
Mary looked surprised, no shocked. "He told you?" she asked.
Michael nodded. "I know...now...why you were so...afraid. You didn't...want me to...be like them."
"Oh Michael, please forgive me. My brother...he was a horrible man," Mary told him.
"Mom, what are you talking about?" Paxton asked.
"Tell...them," Michael said.
Mary told her children about her brother and about Nathan's father. About their grandfather being a hero with a dark secret and their uncle who went over the deep end.
"Uncle Joe was a mutant?" Mya asked.
"And a nut job?" Paxton asked.
Mary nodded. "He had always been a pompous ass. He was popular in school and loved to be at the center of attention. But after he became a mutant he could feed off of people's faith and devotion to him. Some people fell under his thrall quicker than others. He started his own cult and took many wives. But one day he just disappeared and the people seemed to wake up. My family had to leave, they turned on us, blamed us for what he did."
"And dad's father was a hero?" Mya asked.
"Well...he did fight crime," Mary said.
"So that's why you and dad flipped so bad when Michael became a mutant...you were both afraid what he would become," Paxton said.
"Yes. After my brother and your grandfather we feared what Michael would become. But that is no excuse for this," Mary clarified.
"It's not...it's not," Michael tried to say.
Just then the door opened and Warren stepped in looking very angry. Nathan followed him looking dejected.
"You!" Mary screamed.
She walked right up to him and slapped him right in the face. Everyone stared in shock. Never once had Marry ever struck her husband.
"You bastard! You evil bastard! How could you do this to your son!" she cried.
She began to beat at his chest with her hands. Nathan didn't try to stop her; he just let her hit him. Warren pulled her back.
"Mary, please. This is not good for Michael," he stated gently.
She looked at Michael and saw he was trying to sit up but Mya and Paxton were trying to keep him down.
"Why are you here? Come to finish the job?" Mary spat.
"No...I...I...is he okay?" Nathan asked.
"Okay! They cut his wings off!"
Nathan flinched like he had been struck again.
"I didn't mean...I just wanted things to be normal," he croaked, his voice hollow.
"Stop...speak...speak to father," Michael said.
"Mom, Michael wants to speak to dad," Paxton said.
"Alone," Paxton repeated.
"No!" Mary shouted, glaring at her husband.
Michael gave her a soft look. "Please?"
Mary sighed and glared at Nathan. "When this is all over pack your bags, I want you out of the house."
She left the room and Mya and Paxton followed her, not looking at their father. Warren glared at Nathan, but before he left he spoke.
"Don't forget, you're in a building full of mutants, so if you try something, you will live to regret it."
He left the room, leaving Nathan and Michael alone. Nathan timidly stepped up to Michael. He looked down at his youngest child while tears fell down his face.
It was odd for Michael to see his father like this; he was so used to seeing the stern, no nonsense Nathan. But now he was seeing a sad, broken version of his father. He didn't know which he preferred.
"Oh Michael...I am so, so sorry."
He fell to his knees and began to weep.
"I was so desperate; I was blinded by my hate and resentment for my own father. I was a fool to trust Stryker. Please believe me when I say I just wanted to help you son," Nathan tried to explain, tears falling down his face and onto the bed.
"If I could go back and change it I would. I would change it all. I would have never locked you in the attic. I would have never treated you so harshly. I would have loved you and cared for you like a real father should. I failed you, I failed you all," he admitted.
He felt Michael put his hand on his head. Michael opened his mouth and spoke.
Outside everyone was waiting quietly. Then the door opened and Nathan bolted out. He ran down the hall and began to cry.
"What did Michael say to him?" Devin asked.
Everyone looked to Wayne, knowing he heard.
"Michael said...I forgive you," Wayne said sadly.
The next day shined on the school. What should have been a regular day was tense and filled with a dark cloud of sadness.
Naturally everyone heard about what happened. Everyone knew his wings were taken and he was dying. His family had stayed over at the school. Even Nathan was allowed to stay, though it was obvious he was not really welcome. But Michael wanted him to stay.
Michael was starting to become weaker. The feather gave him enough energy to keep on going, but he was rapidly losing that energy.
It was dark out, and the clouds were turning blacker and blacker, preparing for a storm. As if the emotions of the mutants somehow willed the weather to become so dark and foreboding. (Or it could have been Storm.)
The X-Men were doing their best to keep Michael alive and to try and find the Purifiers to reclaim his wings. Warren gave as much blood as he could and Josh used his power to try and give him even an extra second. Had it not been for the feather and the X-Men's best efforts, Michael would be dead by now.
Lots of people visited Michael, offering him well wishes and hoping he got better. They had not told Michael that unless they got his wings back he would die.
His teammates were constantly by his side, lending their support for their most gentle member. They did their best to smile and crack jokes as if nothing was wrong.
But Michael had a feeling; the way everyone acted, the grim atmosphere. The fact he was getting weaker. He was scared, scared to die, scared to leave his family to fall apart.
He should be angry with his dad, furious even. But he couldn't find it in his heart to blame him. He finally understood why his parents feared mutants so much. It wasn't a typical prejudice; it was their own personal tragedies with mutants that installed a deep seated fear of them into their minds.
He didn't want to die, but he especially didn't want to die full of fear and bitterness. So while he had the time he said his prayers to God. He asked for His help in getting his wings back. But if He decided it was time for Michael to die, he thanked him for the time he had.
Anna was sitting next to him now. She told him all about how she had been following him and had been thinking about him. How Ruth told her to follow him and his father, that she would buy him time.
"Guess...she was...right," Michael agreed. "Ruth is...seer. Sees things."
"Then why didn't she try and stop this?" Anna asked.
Michael was too tired to even shrug.
"Maybe...she didn't see...until...it was too...late," he commented. He took a deep breath and smiled at her. "You...are...the first girl I ever...kissed."
"Really?" she asked.
"Mmm. It was...nice," he remembered.
She blushed a little. "I thought it was too, you were so stiff and didn't kiss back," she said. She began to twiddle her thumbs nervously. "When you get better...if you want that is, maybe you would like to...hang out?"
"You mean like on a date?" he asked.
"Sure, if you want," she said shyly.
"I would...like that," he said with a smile.
He closed his eyes.
"Michael?" Anna asked.
There was no response.
"Michael?" she asked again. She got up and lightly shook him. "Michael? She said more urgently.
She knew he was still alive because his heart monitor was still going.
"Help! Somebody, help!" she called.
"I am afraid he is in a coma," Hank said.
Warren, Xavier and Michael's family all circled around his body.
"Isn't there something we can do for him Hank?" Xavier asked.
"I am afraid not. Without his wings he is slowly dying. I don't believe he will live to see nightfall unless we get his wings back," Hank said sadly.
"No, please, you have to do something! You're all mutants, surely one of you have the power to do something?" Mary pleaded.
"We have tried, but Michael's connection to his wings has hindered us from healing him," Hank explained.
"We need to find Stryker and now!" Warren barked.
"Hopefully we won't have to wait long. If the message he gave Anna is anything to go on he will come to us," Xavier pointed out.
He turned around and left the Bronson family with their son. Warren followed him. Once they were outside they began to talk.
"Charles, why do you think Stryker took the wings?" Warren asked.
"I think he wishes to control the power inside them. Unlike Magneto, Stryker wants to control it himself. Remember what Destiny's diary said?"
Warren remembered the image of a man horribly transformed.
"You think Stryker is going to what? Put the wings on his own back?" he asked.
"Horrific I know. But I do believe he is the monster in the diary we saw."
"We have to find him soon Professor. We have maybe a day before Michael dies and if we don't get to Stryker then-"
-Professor we found Stryker!- Jean's voice said in their heads.
"Wow, that was convenient," Warren said shocked.
"We want to come with you!" Angie cried.
"Yeah! We can help; we'll show those jerks what happens when you screw with one of the Champions!" Devin added.
The Champions stood in front of Warren. They wanted to go with the gathered X-Men to attack the Purifiers. But Warren wasn't letting them come.
"I am sorry guys, but this is too dangerous of a mission. Only senior X-Men are going," Warren informed them.
"But we have to go, we can help!" Wayne persisted.
"I know you want payback for Michael, but you are still too new to handle a mission of this level. Leave it to us, we will get the wings back," Warren said.
He left to go to the hanger. The Champions stood there, fuming. All except Rickard who remained focused and calm.
"Screw that! We should just go! Hell, I can probably find the wings myself before they do!" Devin remarked.
"Don't do anything rash Devin, we have to leave this to the X-Men," Rickard chastised.
Rickard placed his hand on Devin's shoulder. He smiled at him gently. "I know you are angry. I am too. But if we want to help then we need to stay here and watch over Michael. We need to let them do their jobs, Warren is right; we are not ready to fight a group like the Purifiers. We would just get in the way."
Devin glared at the floor. "Fine. But this sucks."
Angie put her hand on Devin's shoulder. "Come on, let's go grab something to eat," she soothed.
Devin followed Angie to the elevator.
"I am going to go check on Michael," Wayne said.
"I'm coming with you," Jacob said.
The two of them walked off. Leaving Rickard alone. Once his teammates were gone Rickard closed his eyes and rubbed his head.
He was angry, furious. He wanted to go find Michael's stupid father and use his power to turn his insides into liquid. Nathan's attitude reminded Rickard a lot of his parents and it brought up some raw feelings.
The image of poor Michael broken and bloody was constantly replaying in his mind. Michael, who was harmless and gentle, (until you pissed him off), who would rather talk then fight, who would rather forgive than hate should never have had this happen to him.
Rickard was the leader; he was supposed to protect his team but he failed.
Rickard turned and saw Victor standing in front of him.
"Oh, hey Victor," he said softly.
Victor looked at him worriedly. "Are you okay?"
"Yes, I am fine," he said. "It's just...poor Michael, you know?"
"I know, I thought he was kind of odd when I first met him because he didn't know anything about the stuff a kid his age is supposed to know. But he was always nice and kind and never caused trouble."
"I should have been there for him, I am the team leader; I am supposed to look after them all!" Rickard glowered.
"Hey, how were you supposed to know this would happen? His dad caused this, who would have thought he hated his son so much he would turn him in to the Purifiers?" Victor said.
"I know but...how am I supposed to lead a team if I can't even protect them?" Rickard asked.
Victor put his hand on Rickard's elbow.
"I know how you feel; when I was made team leader for the Alpha Squadron I was constantly questioning myself. What if I made a mistake? What if I made a decision that got my team hurt? But all that is natural for a person when they become a leader. We have to learn to overcome our doubts and fears for our team."
"I think you are a good leader," Rickard commented.
Victor blushed. On his green skin it was a lot more noticeable.
"Yeah, your team follows you and respects you. I think you could be a real X-Man one day," Rickard said.
Victor smiled, truth be told Victor had a bit of a crush on Rickard. Rickard was considered perfect by many; he had mesmerizing greenish-blue eyes, and long smooth blonde hair he kept tied in a ponytail. His face was smooth and chiseled like a Greek statue. And the muscles, mustn't forget those muscles. He looked like Thor's younger hot brother.
Sadly, there weren't very many gay guys at the school. Victor had dated a few but nothing serious.
He would have loved to date Rickard, but Victor was only sixteen and Rickard was twenty-two. The most he could hope for was a good friendship, though it didn't stop him from dreaming.
"Thanks, I try my best," Victor smiled.
They looked at one another for a few moments. You had to be blind to miss the vibes coming off the pair. Rickard had told no one but he was attracted to Victor as well.
Most might be put off by his green skin and the scaly caprice on his head with the row of small spikes. But Rickard thought it made Victor look cute.
But he didn't think it would be appropriate for an older man like himself starting a relationship with a younger man like Victor.
They realized they had been staring at one another and quickly looked away.
"Well, um, I think I will go check on Michael," Rickard spluttered.
"Yeah and I will go...do something," Victor said.
They both walked away in different directions. Their faces were flushed, trying to ignore the feeling of embarrassment they were feeling. Both wishing age wasn't a problem right now.
The X-Men flew in the X-Jet.
Cerebro had located Stryker's mental signature and they were following his trail.
The X-Men on the mission were Cyclops, Storm, Colossus, Shadow Cat, Havoc, Polaris, Ice Man, Angel, Bishop, Cannonball, Magma, Nightcrawler, Psylock, Wolverine and Dazzler.
Cyclops was telling them about the mission.
"Our main objective is to retrieve Michael's wings. We believe Stryker has them and now has access to his powers," Cyclops explained.
"So that means he can use Michael's angel fire right?" Havoc asked.
"We believe so," Cyclops said.
"Joy," Ice Man said sarcastically.
Everyone present had seen Michael in action and knew what his angel fire was capable of doing. None of them were looking forward to fighting in a battle where their enemies could use that power against them.
"Well, at least we won't have to worry about Stryker being able to use Michael's power despite having so little time to train himself to use it," Shadowcat commented.
Just then the plane shook and the alarm blared to life.
"We've been hit!" Wolverine yelled.
"It looked like one of Michael's energy spheres!" Storm shouted.
"Way to jinx us Kitty," Ice Man said.
"Everyone strap in!" Wolverine commanded.
Everyone put their belts on and Wolverine did his best to land the plane.
They crashed into the earth, sliding on the ground and taking out many trees as they did.
Once they stopped everyone stood up from their seats.
"Everyone alright?" Cyclops asked.
After everyone checked for personal injuries they made their way outside. A whole wing of the X-Jet had been blown off; it would not be flying anywhere without the wing.
"I think I am stating the obvious when I say this was a set up," Cannonball grumbled.
"You think?" Psylock asked.
"Where are they? Usually they are attacking us by-"
Before Shadowcat could finish, a small army of Purifiers came running out of the woods.
"Die mutant scum!" they yelled and began to fire their guns.
"Stop jinxing us!" Ice Man yelled at Shadowcat.
Jay sat next to Michael.
He didn't look very good. His skin was a sickly pale and he was having a hard time breathing. Beast had put a breathing device into his mouth; every couple of seconds the machine would beep, pumping more air into his lungs.
Josh had come in and tried to use his power but it didn't work at all. It had been two hours since the X-Men had left to go find Stryker.
"Hey Mich, how you doing?" Jay asked.
Michael didn't respond, but Jay continued to talk.
"Man, I can't believe they took your wings, I can't imagine not being able to fly," Jay said. He looked at his roommate. He hated feeling so powerless to help him. It was hard to believe that Michael had fought Kid Omega and won, now here he was lying in the hospital wing, dying.
"I remember when I first met you. You were such a timid little thing, afraid of your own shadow. So awkward around other people, didn't even know how to use a cell phone. Then you turned into this awesome Omega mutant with a badass temper."
He took a deep breath and continued to talk.
"Yeah, I was glad to be your friend and roommate. You reminded me of my little brothers. I didn't realize just how much I missed those little trolls until I met you. You were so lost and alone and needed someone to look after you. It was nice taking care of someone again. I told you about my dad, about growing up on the farm, forming my own band, becoming the man of the house when Sam and Paige left, but I never told you about Julia did I?"
He took another breath, his eyes shined with unshed tears.
"She was a girl who lived in my hometown. Her family and mine hated one another. Her family were Cabot's; they hated mutants, and since my family was known to have a lot of mutant members they hated us just on principle alone. It shouldn't have happened but we fell in love. When her family found out they went nuts. They attacked us and my family. Thankfully the X-Men were there to stop them. But her dad shot me, we didn't know about my healing factor and she thought I was dead. She drowned herself, hoping to be with me in the next life, but by then my body healed and I came back...I tried to bring her back but it didn't work," he explained.
He wiped his face as tears fell down his cheeks.
"I tried killing myself with a sharp stick but my healing factor kept me from dying. Mom sent me here to live, said it would be good for me. But I resented her for doing it. I thought she didn't want to deal with a damaged son. But I resented everyone back then. But over time I learned to let go of all that anger and move on and carry on with my life. Because I knew she would want me to keep on living."
He was silent for a few moments, thinking about his lost love.
"You would have liked her. I know she would have loved you. So please, don't go and die on my Mich. Try to stay alive a little while longer. Please. I don't want to have to bury another loved one."
He felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked and saw it was Dust.
"Oh, hey Sooraya," he greeted wiping his face.
"I am sorry to intrude Jay, I came to say a prayer for Michael...would you like to join me?" she asked.
"I...I am not a Muslim," Jay said.
"And Michael is not either, but here I am about to pray for him," she said kindly.
Jay smiled. "Sure, thank you."
They held hands and closed their eyes. Dust spoke, praying to Allah to spare Michael and help him recover. Jay had never been one much for prayer, but right then and there he would have done anything for a miracle.
The X-Men fought the Purifiers.
Some wore giant mecha-suits with guns and missile launchers. Others carried simple guns and knives. There were dozens of them. Every time one was taken out two more took their place.
Wolverine pinned one Purifier against a tree and brought his claws up to the man's face. "Where is Stryker, bub?" he growled.
"You'll find out soon mutie. When we are done with you we are going to that school of yours and were going to burn the rest of you abominations!" the man sneered.
Wolverine pulled his claws back into his hand and punched the man in the face, hearing the satisfying sound of his jaw breaking.
"Screw you too," he snarled.
Psylock was fighting seven Purifiers by herself; she wasn't able to read their minds and figured they had that pesky psi-armor tech that was becoming popular. It was special technology developed to keep psychics out of your head.
And she hated it! How was she supposed to read an enemy mind or bend someone's will to hers if she couldn't use her power on them?
Despite the fact she couldn't use her telepathy on them she was still not someone to be trifled with; she was skilled in the art of various martial arts and was able to effortlessly dodge their attacks and beat the snot out of them.
"Give it up you mutant whore! Your telepathy can't hurt us!" one of the Purifiers yelled.
"What about my psi-knife?" she asked.
Her fist glowed with a purple glow and she summoned her psi-knife. She brought her fist back and slammed it into his head. The Purifier stared, dumbfounded, and then fell to the ground in a heap, sure to have a serious headache when he woke up.
"Guess you didn't get the added software huh, you bloody tosser!" she snarled.
She used her psi-knife to take down the rest of her attackers and went on to find more targets.
Colossus fought like a wrestler; grabbing Purifiers and sending them flying through the air, their bullets did nothing to harm him. One of the Purifiers in the mecha suites shot a wire at him charged with electricity. It wrapped around his waist and he screamed as the electricity surged through his body.
Shadowcat saw he was in trouble and ran through several Purifiers until she reached the Purifier in the suit. She jumped through him and her power caused the electronics to go haywire.
The wire stopped surging with electricity and Peter grabbed it, with a mighty pull he tossed the man through the air and into a tree.
Magma was blasting entire groups of Purifiers with her fire; she used a low blast so not to kill them. Warren and Storm were above, Warren would grab a Purifier and drop them from the air and Storm blasted them with wind.
The X-Men were doing a good job at defending themselves from the Purifiers. But when the Purifiers began to run into the woods they assumed they had won.
Until a massive form flew down from the sky. The X-Men stared in horror at the mutated Stryker that rose before them. A pair of white wings were now attached to his back, there was a pair of bull horns on his head, his eyes were yellow and cat-like. Fangs glistened in his mouth and his nails were like talons, a lion's tail moved from behind him and he was taller and much more buff then any of them remembered.
He wore the typical black Purifier uniform with the white cross on it. Warren recognized Stryker as the same beast from the diary of Destiny.
And the scion will be betrayed by a loved one and the false prophet shall reap his wings. He will commit the ultimate blasphemy and try to claim to power of heaven and give rise to the beast
The words repeated inside his mind. The picture of Michael being held by Anna as everyone wept over his body. The picture of the now- monster Stryker flashed through his head.
"Nice to see you again X-Men," Stryker sneered, his voice much deeper then it was before.
"Stryker!" Cyclops yelled.
"I hope you have all made your peace, for today you die!" Stryker intoned.
"Yeah, never heard that before," Ice Man said rolling his eyes.
"Before, no one had the fire of Heaven as a weapon." Stryker made a fist and a white light enveloped it. "Beautiful isn't it? To think a filthy mutant had this power. By the way, how is Michael? I hope he is enjoying his final hours as a human."
"Just return the wings Stryker," Cyclops said.
"No. This is the power of the angelic host. It belongs to humanity, God's gift to us to keep us safe from you demons!"
"Magma, torch him," Cyclops commanded.
Magma raised her hands and a jet of fire roared towards Stryker. He didn't even bother to avoid it; he just stood there and let it hit him. But it had no effect on him whatsoever.
"Wow, I am immune to fire, imagine that," Stryker said dryly.
The remaining Purifiers had retreated to their camp, taking their wounded with them. They watched the battle using cameras they had put in the woods before the fight. They watched as Stryker fought the X-Men, using a white fiery light to attack them.
Sir, should we help the reverend?" one of the soldiers asked.
"He ordered us to not interfere. So we will do as we were ordered," he said.
"But sir...what about his...problem?"
The solider was referring to the fact that a few hours after he put the wings on, Stryker lost control of his new power. It wasn't too bad, his body just lit up and he wasn't able to turn it off. He just said it was a result of his body getting used to the new power he had and laughed it off.
But then a few hours later as he was getting ready, his body lit up again. One of the soldiers who was handing him his robes was too close when it happened, and he was turned into a pile of dust. They kept it quiet though.
But even they couldn't hide from the others what happened a little while ago. This camp was their second camp; their first had been burned to the ground by Stryker.
His loss of control lost them some men and equipment, and it was his power surge that alerted the X-Men to the Purifiers' location.
"Don't talk about that solider. We'll worry about that after the reverend kills the X-Men."
"But if he is losing control of the power then we need to remove it as soon as possible or else the reverend could die!"
"Have more faith, man! This is William Stryker we are talking about! Keep it up and I will let him know how much doubt you have in your heart!"
"Forgive me sir. I just worry for his safety is all," the Purifier said.
The Purifier lieutenant fell silent, but he shared the grunt's worries. He knew the reverend was losing control of the powers, but he knew better then to voice his concerns.
Stryker warned him there was a possibility his body would be burned by the wings. But he was ordered to let him take out the X-Men and if anything happened to him to recover the wings and give them to another Purifier to carry on the cause.
The lieutenant said a prayer that the reverend would survive this battle and continue to lead them on the righteous path of God.
Michael sat in his family's living room.
He watched as his seven year old self and his siblings were in the middle of opening presents.
Their father was still in bed, their mother said he had worked a late night and needed to rest. They were a little disappointed there weren't more presents, but then there was a knock on the door.
"I wonder who that could be?" their mother said.
She got up and went to answer the door. They heard the sound of heavy footfalls and they gasped in shock at who appeared in the doorway.
"Santa!" they all yelled.
"Father?" Michael said, "I remember that day."
"I hope you don't mind, I figured you would want to experience a pleasant memory."
Michael looked to his right and saw Jean was sitting next to him. "Mrs. Summers?"
"Call me Jean, Michael," she said with a smile.
"What is this?" he asked.
"A memory. A very nice one too. You are in a coma now and I decided to come inside and see how you are doing."
"I am...I don't know what to say. I am dying so I am not okay," Michael said.
"Don't worry Michael, we have sent a team of X-Men to bring us back your wings," Jean told him.
"But will they come back in time?" Michael wondered.
"They will. Have faith," Jean said.
Michael smiled as he saw as his father (disguised as Santa) reached into his bag and pulled out a large brown teddy bear and handed it to the younger Michael who hugged it tightly.
"How is my father?" Michael asked.
"He is distraught, full of shame," she answered.
"What will happen to my family if I die? Mother is furious at father but if I pass then it will tear them apart," Michael lamented.
"Michael, I promise we won't let that happen. We will get your wings back and your family will heal," Jean tried to comfort him.
Before Jean could say anything else the memory began to darken. She looked frightened and quickly grabbed his hand.
"Listen to me, try and hold on! We will save you Michael! Just keep fighting! Fight for your family!"
She vanished, leaving him to relive the darkening memory alone. He looked at his younger self who was hugging Santa, thanking him for the gift.
"That really was a good night," Michael remembered.
In the real world Hank and the others were rushing around Michael's body.
"Hank! We're losing him!" Tessa yelled.
"Get me a shot of adrenalin now!" Hank barked.
One of his assistants handed him a needle filled with adrenalin. He uncapped it and squirted a little out, then stabbed Michael in the heart with it.
It worked and his heart began to faintly beat again.
"That's the second time Hank, we need those wings!" Tessa stressed.
"I know, hopefully the others have them and are on their way now!" Hank remarked.
Ice Man created a giant ice shield to protect himself and the others from the wave of fire Stryker sent at them.
The fire tore through the shield vaporizing it, but taking the brunt of the blast, though the shock wave sent Ice Man and some of the other X-Men flying back.
"Excellent! This is wonderful!" Stryker yelled.
Colossus ran up to him and went to punch him, using the full might of his swing. Stryker easily caught his fist easily. "Not bad," he said.
He brought his own fist back and punched Colossus in the face. The impact shocked Colossus, stunned him even. Before he could react Stryker kneed him in the gut. Then he grabbed his shield and tossed him into the air.
"I feel invincible! Like the armies of Heaven are inside me!" Stryker roared.
The piece of the X-Jet that blew off landed on him. Polaris had used her magnetic powers to raise it and drop it on Stryker.
"See, told you it would work," Polaris gloated to Havoc and Psylock.
The wing shook and they watched as Stryker raised it above his head.
"Oh shit it didn't work!" she cried.
"Told you," Psylock said.
"Everyone now!" Cyclops yelled.
Cyclops fired his optic beam and Storm unleashed a barrage of lightning. Iceman shot his ice beam, Havoc shot a blast of his own energy, Dazzler shot a laser beam and Magma lent her own fiery power to help out.
There was a massive explosion but it only destroyed the wing. Stryker surrounded himself in a white fiery aura.
"Don't you understand? God is on my side! This time you can't win! I am going to send you all straight to-"
Before he could finish the aura became stronger, more intense, yet it seemed to hurt him. He fell to his knees and clutched his sides; the wings seemed to glow especially bright.
"The hell is wrong with him?" Dazzler asked.
"It's like he is losing control," Iceman said.
"Figures, the idiot is messing with the powers of an Omega mutant. And judging by his scent he is on something," Wolverine remarked.
"Drugs? He is on drugs?" Shadowcat asked.
"Compared to the other atrocities he has committed I think drug use it the least of his crimes," Warren stated dryly.
Stryker seemed to regain control of the aura and it died down. He glared at the X-Men, sweat ran down his face. "Now, where were we?" he asked.
"Stryker, that power is killing you, give it back to us. It's burning you up," Cyclops said.
"I knew I might die when I put them on! But before I go I will take you all with me! Then my men will retrieve the wings and another more worthy warrior will take them! The chosen one will lead an army to your school and slay those whelps of yours!" he cried out gleefully.
"Stryker! Think reasonably! If you can't handle the wings what makes you think someone else could? This isn't a power meant for humans," Shadowcat pleaded.
"Liar! This power was stolen by you mutants! But I took it back! Now we will use it to destroy you filth! The mutant seer told us the boy had the power of Yahweh, and he was right!"
He waved his hands and a telekinetic wave shot out and threw everyone back.
"He has telekinesis? What the hell!" Havoc yelled.
"It's one of Michael's powers!" Warren shouted. "But it's supposed to be inactive!"
"The drugs I took allow me access to all of Michael's powers!" Stryker taunted with a smile.
"Wait...didn't Tessa's report say Michael has telepathy?" Wolverine asked.
-That's right!- Stryker said, smiling sadistically.
He began to attack everyone telepathically using his telepathy to tear at their minds. But Psylock used her power to defend her friends. Although Stryker had formidable power he lacked the experience she did. She fought him off mentally, keeping him from attacking their minds.
"Guys! I am holding him off, but you need to fight him for me!" Psylock bellowed.
The X-Men charged Stryker. He waved his hand and a blade of white energy flew at them. The X-Men dodged, save for Shadowcat who tried to phase through it.
Normally it would have gone right through her and she would have been unharmed. It did pass through her and sliced through several trees behind her, but she screamed in pain when the blade passed through her; it seemed to shock her and she fell to her knees in pain.
"Kitty!" Colossus yelled.
He charged at Stryker who flicked his wrist and sent Peter flying back. Storm tried hitting him with lightning. But he shrugged it off. He waved his hand and dozens of crystalline, javelin like spears appeared in the air and launched themselves at her.
She managed to dodge a few but Stryker used his mental control of the remaining javelins to explode as they were passing by her. She was surprised by the sudden explosion and it sent her flying to the ground.
Nightcrawler teleported to her while she was falling, and then grabbed her and teleported them back, safely to the ground. She had some small burns on the side of her body, but she would live.
Stryker pointed his hands at the ground and a large wall of fire rose up. He thrust his hands forward and it began to move toward the X-Men. They managed to avoid it, but it hit the X-Jet. Any chance they had of repairing it vanished when it made contact and exploded.
But luck was on their side as Stryker once again lost control of his power. Once again his body was enveloped in a fiery aura, but beams of energy began to shoot out randomly striking trees, causing the X-Men to dodge and avoid the beams.
Soon the woods were ablaze as trees exploded into fire. Some of the X-Men managed to dodge the beams but others got hit and were injured.
"Cyke, we need to tear those damn things off his back, now! I don't think he has much longer before he blows!" Wolverine yelled.
Stryker got back up. "I am made out of stronger stuff then you think Wolverine!"
Just then there was a large explosion off in the distance, a giant pillar of white light rose into the sky.
"What? That looked like it came from the camp," Stryker said.
"Did Stryker do that?" Iceman asked.
"I don't think so," Warren said.
A few moments ago
The Purifiers watched as Stryker once again lost control, this time beams shot from his body that devastated the woods. They could see the explosions off in the distance.
"Alright, prepare the containment units. Once Reverend Stryker...explodes we will move in and quickly find a new host," the lieutenant Purifier ordered.
"I wouldn't bother, they won't be returning with you in any case."
There was a sound of guns being cocked. All the Purifiers trained their guns on the owner of that voice.
Adonai stood in front of the Purifiers. He was wearing a black tailor-made suit and had on black leather loafers. He had been watching the TV screens and the Purifiers wondered how such a large and well- dressed man managed to sneak past them.
"Who the hell are you!" the lieutenant asked.
"You don't know me? Come on, I had to have been on the cover of Forbes, Men's Health, The New York Times, The Daily Beagle, and US Weekly. I had to have been on the Times at least seven times," Adonai gloated.
He turned around and walked into the center of the camp, not caring that over a dozen guns were pointed at him.
"Hey, isn't he that millionaire guy?" one of the Purifiers asked.
"Actually, it's billionaire, thank you very much," Adonai said with a smirk.
"Why are you here?" the lieutenant asked.
"To keep you idiots from screwing with Michael. Stryker is going to die; his fate was sealed the moment he put those wings on. He is too weak to handle them. But the X-Men will make sure they return to their rightful place. I am here to make sure you lot never bother Michael again."
"I don't think you have noticed rich man, but you are alone, we are armed and I don't see a piece on your tall ass," the lieutenant stated.
Adonai smiled. "Look at your men, now back to me, now back to your men, now back to me. See the ground all nice and green? See the clouds all black and stormy? Now look at me again, see my left hand flipping you off? Now see my right hand with which I will blow you all sky high. Have a nice trip to hell and when you see Mephisto tell him Yahweh sent you. Later."
His right hand began to glow with a white fiery light that cackled like lightning.
The last thing any of the Purifiers saw before they could even shoot was a flash of light.
There was an explosion and a large pillar of white light rose into the air. When it died down the surrounding area was nothing but ash.
Adonai stood, unaffected. He wiped some dust off his shoulders.
"Well, that happened. You'd think they would follow the whole shoot first and ask questions later. Now, to wait and help out the X-Men one last they won't dally too long," Adonai said. "Poor Michael doesn't have much longer now."
The heart monitor flat-lined and Hank was doing his best to keep Michael alive.
His family stood against the wall; Paxton and Nathan were holding the girls as they watched the X-Men try to save Michael's life.
"Clear!" Beast yelled.
He put the defibrillator pads on Michael's chest and jolted him with some electricity. But it didn't work.
"Clear!" he shouted again. "Come on Michael, don't die on me!"
Back with the X-Men they continued to fight Stryker.
Wolverine tried sneaking up on him; he planned on hacking the wings off but Stryker just activated his aura and fried Wolverine.
Polaris sent shards of shrapnel at him; some hit him and drew blood but his wounds quickly healed. He shot a ball of fire at Iceman and Polaris but Bishop absorbed the attack and fired it right back at Stryker who reabsorbed it.
"Fools! Heathens! Heretics! Demons! I have the power of God on my side! I will win! I will...will...will."
The fire began to spread this time.
"No! No! So close! So close! Please! Not yet!"
The wings began to pulse brighter and brighter and the fire grew larger and larger.
"Take cover!" Cyclops yelled.
Polaris, Psylock and Dazzler worked together to shield their teammates.
First, Polaris used the remaining metal from the X-Jet to create a metal shield. Psylock used her telekinesis to form a barrier and Dazzler used her light powers to surround it with a light shield.
There was a massive explosion and the women felt the strain of trying to maintain the shield. When it died down they let it fall down and the X-Men stared in horror. The once beautiful woods were reduced to ash. It must have been about five miles long.
"Goddess," Storm said. Being a lover of nature she felt the loss of the woods harder than the others.
"Guys look!" Shadowcat exclaimed, pointing to where Stryker had been.
Michael's wings lay on the ground, no longer glowing, looking deceptively harmless.
"We need to get those to Michael now!" Warren yelled.
The X-Men made their way to the wings. Many were limping, having suffered injuries during the battle.
"Kurt, you think you can teleport these to Michael?" Warren asked.
"I don't think I can't make more than five jumps Warren," Nightcrawler answered, his hand held his side where he had a nasty burn.
Cyclops pulled out his communicator and called Xavier. "Professor, we have the wings!"
"Get here at once Scott! Michael is dying!"
"What! The X-Jet is destroyed and Kurt can't jump that far!" Cyclops cried.
"Damn it! How far are you?"
"Too far we-"
-Destroy the wings-
Everyone looked around trying to find the source of the voice inside their heads.
"Who said that?" Iceman asked.
"I sense...another mind, another presence," Psylock said.
"Scott? Scott? Hello?" Xavier said through the communicator.
-Hear me X-Men. The wings contain the power of Michael Bronson, but the power knows its true home. The power judged Stryker as unworthy and he paid the price. Destroy the wings and the power will return to Michael on their own, and like the phoenix from the ashes, he will rise. What other choice do you have?-
Cyclops thought the voice sounded very familiar.
"Scott? What do we do?" Warren asked.
"Michael is already dying. And if that is the case it is better these don't fall into enemy hands," Cyclops remarked.
He put his hand on his visor and everyone backed up. He shot the wings with a full blast. There was a massive light and then nothing. The wings were gone, nothing remained.
"God please let this work," Warren begged.
Scott began to speak into the communicator. "Professor, Michael's power is on its way!"
"...I am afraid it may be too late Scott."
The monitor was turned off.
Hank gently removed the breathing apparatus from Michael's mouth.
Outside the room Angie cried and Rickard held her. Devin tried not to sob but his shoulders shook and Wayne put a comforting hand on him.
He looked over to Jacob who was leaning against the wall, looking down at the floor. He looked so calm but his fists were tightly clenched.
Anna had her hands over her mouth unable to believe Michael was gone.
Various other students who were waiting outside stood, stunned, shocked, and saddened at the loss of their friend and classmate.
Jay himself stood in disbelief, his teammates stood around him as he leaned against the wall.
Inside the medical room, the Bronson family wept. Mary fell to her knees and sobbed.
"No, Michael! Michael!" she cried.
"Call it. Time of death, three-thirty," Hank said sadly.
Michael was walking down a long dark tunnel.
As he walked, images flashed around him; memories of his life.
He was a newborn and his parents were bringing him home to introduce him to his brother and sister.
He was learning to walk, his mother and father looked on in pride as he made his way to them.
He was on his bicycle; he still had his training wheels on and was riding up and down the sidewalk of the house.
He was ten and his wings burst out of his back.
He sat in his room and he looked out the window sadly. It was a nice night out and he wanted to play. Instead he settled for drawing on his sketchpad.
His mother called him down to meet some new people and he was nervous.
He was flying with Warren and some other students, the feel of the wind on his wings were wonderful.
He was in class, taking down notes, enjoying how casual and carefree the lessons were when compared to how strict and no nonsense they were when his parents homeschooled him.
He was fighting Quinton, refusing to let him win; tapping into the vast and mighty power that existed within him.
He was at the mall kissing Anna, her lips were so soft and warm, his whole body parlayed with shock and delight.
He was listening to Jay play him a new song he made up, enjoying listening to a different kind of music then what he was forced to listen to at home.
He was in the Danger Room, practicing his power; learning how to shape it and master it.
He was meeting his team for the first time, feeling nervous, soon becoming comfortable with the Champions and bonding with them.
They were fighting together in the Danger Room, it was fun, they were celebrating, singing in glory (which was short lived).
He was being hooked up to the Cruciform, he tried to fight; he tried to escape, fearing what Magneto would do with his power.
So many memories flashed around him. So many events big and small that would define him; make him Michael Bronson. They all flashed around him, a reminder of who he was.
There was a light ahead of him, a bright beautiful light. He could hear voices calling to him. So he walked towards it, the closer he got the brighter the light got, and the louder and clearer the voices became.
Then he felt something coming behind him. A new light shined, less bright, less beautiful then the one in front of him, but somehow familiar, intimately familiar.
He turned and saw a ball of bright white fiery light heading right for him like a giant meteor streaking through space. Before he knew what he was doing he was running to that light, towards that ball. Like a child who runs towards their parent in delight.
The voices called out to him but he ignored them. Everything in his being told him to run to the other light; even though it was more terrifying; even though he feared the look of it.
The closer he got to it the more he was able to define it. To see it. It blazed like fire, shined like light and crackled like electricity. But it was more than a sphere or a comet. It had eyes, horns, wings, and a body. It glared at Michael, not in anger, but with focus and determination as if it was as desperate to go to Michael as Michael was to go to it.
Michael stopped running and stared at it, it was the most beautiful and terrifying thing he had ever seen. The last thing he recalled was that ball of fire and light hitting him, filling him up.
Then...he woke up.
Nathan ran to his son's body. He began to press his hands against his chest, trying to start his heart.
"Come on Michael! Come on!" he yelled. He continued to pump his chest, trying in vain to bring him back. "Come on! I won't let you leave! You hear me! You come home! You come home right now Michael Bronson!"
Hank put his hand gently on Nathan's shoulder. "I am sorry sir, but he is gone."
"No! Don't say that! I refuse to let him go! I am not burying my son, you hear me!"
Nathan continued to try and revive him. Hank was about to gently pry him off Michael when all of a sudden Michael took a deep breath and his eyes flew open.
"God be praised!" Nathan cried.
"Michael!" Mary yelled.
"Oh my stars and garters!" Hank shouted.
Before anyone could do anything his body began to thrash around and he began to glow with a white light. The heart monitor began to beep out of control and his vitals were through the roof.
"Everyone leave the room!" Hank roared, realizing what was about to happen. He grabbed Nathan and everyone left the room. His assistants quickly escorted the rest of the Bronson clan out as well.
The door closed behind them, but the light shined out from the cracks along the door.
"Hank! What is going on?" Rickard asked.
"Michael lives and he is going to blow!" Hank bellowed.
Everyone ran down the hall and turned the corners. Just then the door to the Medical Room blew out and a torrent of angel fire poured out. When it died down everyone peered out along the hall.
Michael was walking shakily out of the Medical Room. Smoke filled the hallway, but everyone could make out his wings that were spread out behind him. They glowed with a faint white light.
"Um...hello? Is somebody there?" he asked.
"Michael!" his mother went running down the hall followed by the rest of his family. They all hugged him tight.
He was a little confused and his mind felt jumbled, like he just woke from a long deep sleep.
"Did I destroy another room?" Michael asked.
"Don't worry baby, I am sure Mr. Xavier can afford to fix it," Mary smiled, kissing his head.
Michael saw everyone staring at him from down the hall. He shook off his family and waved at them all. "Hi guys...I think I almost died."
"And I think he is suffering from a lack of oxygen to his brain," Hank said looking away from Michael.
"Shhhh, don't ruin this for me Mr. McCoy," Megan said looking at Michael in wonder.
Mary quickly ran in front of Michael, blocking him from view. "Sweetie, let's go. You are not decent right now."
"Decent?" Michael asked confused.
"You're naked baby," Mary explained.
Michael realized then his clothes must have been destroyed along with everything else in the medical ward when he went nova. It was bad enough his wings had been stolen and he almost died, but now this? This was the worst thing that could happen to a young man.
"Naked...then...then...then that means I...I...I..."
"Flashed your friends and teachers your junk, yeah," Paxton laughed.
Michael's whole body turned red as a tomato and in that moment, he wished he had gone into the other light in the tunnel.
A little while later the X-Men were loading up into the X-Jet sent to pick them up. Once they were all loaded in they took off.
"So Michael is alright?" Warren asked.
"He is fine. A tad bit traumatized but alright," Dani said.
"A near death experience will do that," Warren grimaced.
"Oh, it isn't so much the almost dying, as everyone seeing him butt- ass naked," Dani said with a grin.
"...Wait what?" Warren asked.
As the X-Men took off they did not notice Adonai watching them fly off. He stood in the middle of what used to be beautiful woodlands.
"Well, that was one disaster averted. Really am going to have to keep a closer eye on that kid," he said to himself.
He surveyed the damage Stryker's explosion caused.
"Such a shame about the woods. It's too bad someone can't reverse it. Oh wait, I so totally can," he smiled.
He raised his arms into the air and his body glowed with a white light. Only instead of destroying, this one heals.
First grass, then trees grew up from the ground. Within moments a new forest has grown to replace the destroyed one.
"Well, that takes care of that," he said smugly.
He turned and made his way out of the woods. There was a sound of mighty wings flapping through the air and then all was silent and he was gone leaving no trace that he was ever there.
Fusedtwilight: Man it seems like everyone wants a piece of Michael...literally. What is next for Michael and what does Adoni want with him? Stay tuned.