A/N: Pacing is on hastega for one-shot & writing-time reasons. To be honest, I've got my misgivings about writing X-Men stories nowadays. Call me petty, but I don't like giving DisMarvel Comics any publicity whatsoever.
May DC Comics continue showing them how it's done.
He stood in an all-encompassing darkness.
Confusion immediately set in—where was he? There was nothing as far as his eyes could see, and nothing his arms could reach.
He attempted to call out, but no sound nor rumble would spill forth.
Irritated, he reached for his lenses and took them off.
He could feel his power manifest, but no light brightened the darkness.
He struggled—he reached out his mind to call for anyone.
In the vast darkness, two glowing eyes opened.
His eyes narrowed and he growled out a question—where was he? Who are you?—but just as before, nothing came out.
It was as if the darkness drowned everything.
Everything…except those two glowing eyes.
His eyes widened and he renewed his efforts. Power surged—more power than he has ever brought out before. He channeled all he had at those two oppressive eyes.
But it was for naught.
The darkness swallowed him whole.
The tension in the air was palpable.
It seemed everyone had woken on the wrong side of the bed—or it was just one of those days when something life-changing was about to happen.
The time-displaced Scott Summers sincerely hoped it was the former, even if his shoulders remained squared from the unusual nightmare that started his day.
"Not you…" Scott murmured, trying to figure out what those two words meant. He had half the mind to brush it off—to call it mere paranoia or his subconscious. Knowing his luck, however, he had a feeling it was something that held meaning.
He glanced to the side from his perch on the windowsill.
And his eyes were soon caught by the narrowed greens of Jean Grey.
"Yes?" Scott asked, inwardly wondering what it was that he had done wrong.
"You had that dream." She accused.
That snapped him out of his stupor and gained his full attention. "Get out of my head, Jean."
Jean was not intimidated by his harsh tone. "I was just concerned." The redhead stated, "You were not responding, and—more importantly, you were projecting."
"So you probed deeper?"
"What part of 'projecting' don't you understand?" It was her turn to spit fire. "Just because we're telepaths doesn't mean we always snoop inside people's heads."
Scott's lips flattened and he glared at his teammate. Realizing she had a point—maybe he was projecting, and it wasn't her fault—Scott reigned in his temper and breathed out a deep sigh. "Sorry." He apologized, though there was still tension in his tone. "Not your fault."
Another moment passed and the heat in Jean's green gaze lessened. She tilted her gaze away to stem off the awkwardness between them. "…I'm sorry too. I shouldn't… I shouldn't have been so forceful."
Not this early.
Not when they were all this tense.
"You were saying?" Scott asked, his tone soft and inquisitive. "You had my dream, too?"
"'Not you'." Jean parroted in wonder. Her eyes flashed—pain and confusion shimmered in them. "Scott, I'm—I'm scared. I fear I know what is coming."
He pulled her into a one-armed hug and Jean, on instinct, nestled herself against his shoulder. "I know, Jean." Scott murmured reassuringly. He wanted to hold her closer, but he hadn't the strength to support himself. Still, he kept his chin up—kept his jaw squared for the inevitable. "I know."
Jean gazed up at him. "I saw fire."
Scott's eyes widened behind his lenses.
The darkness was all-consuming until even nothingness was gone.
"Guys…?" Bobby's voice interrupted and drew their attention.
Abruptly, Jean pushed away from Scott's embrace, and Scott tilted his head questioningly.
"What happened, Bobby?" Scott asked while Jean regained her composure.
Looking between the two of them, and seeing Jean's nod of assurance, Bobby continued. "Something's happening in Central Park."
"Central Park? As in, where Professor K and mansion are?" Jean clarified.
"Yeah." Bobby nodded. "And I think they're in trouble."
Ocean winds swept past the lone grave on the cliff.
He never liked that spot. In his opinion, it was the worst place to honor his fallen comrade.
Then again, that may have been the point.
The dead, after all, were not the ones that chose their grave.
"Why are you here?" Magneto asked as he descended from the skies, standing behind the blonde woman with diamond skin. "You and I both know this is an empty grave."
"Hello, Erik." Emma Frost greeted, but her focus remained on the tombstone. "I'm surprised you hadn't tried to kill me."
The old mutant scoffed. "I am in no rush—and you are no threat."
"Arrogant as ever." She tilted her head, gazing at him with lazy eyes before returning her attention forward. "That had always been your weakness."
"The question, Miss Frost." Erik reminded and folded his arms to show his impatience.
Emma seemed to think on his demand before, finally, she turned to give him her attention. His brow twitched when she casually leaned against the tombstone of Scott Summers.
"Was that really a question, Erik?" The woman taunted with a disarming smile. "You must have felt it, too. It is why you are here."
Magneto was uncannily perceptive like that. It spoke volumes of the old mutant's experiences that he, without a connection, could feel it coming—like a sixth sense.
"Where is he?"
"He is not here."
"I know that." Erik growled, and the metal from his gauntlets detached and molded into numerous pikes.
Emma was not intimidated in the slightest and it showed in how her posture remained relaxed. In the same sedate tone, she continued, "He is not there, either. He is nowhere to be found."
"Impossible. You were to keep watch."
"Yes, well—something happened. Someone took him while my eyes were averted."
"How long ago?"
"Not long. It has yet been a week." Emma patted the stone beneath her. "But knowing what is coming, his disappearance is worrying."
"Do you think it's coming for him?"
"Who can really tell?" Emma countered. "But do I think it is likely? Yes. There is too tight a connection between him, his blood and our guest."
"What game are you playing, Frost?"
"I am flattered, Erik, that you believe me capable of such cosmic design." Emma laughed heartily, "But alas, my cards are gone. I merely wish to see where this ends. Who can predict its actions? Certainly not I."
"Then we must put our differences aside and act." Magneto extended his hand. "We must warn the others."
It was too soon for fire to come.
Alex Summers was reasonably certain this was yet another day in the Big Apple.
The scarred Havok had planned to put all heroics behind him. Especially after his brother died.
Still, when people spontaneously combusted in an explosion of power, the former X-Man and retired Avenger knew something was up. Cloned mutants appearing out of the woodwork only served to identify the week's latest villain.
Spotting his niece in the fighting below, Havok leaped and unleashed hell upon the unprepared clones.
"Where is he?" Havok asked.
"Alex! You're alive!" Rachel brightened at seeing a familial sight. "Where is who?"
"Look around you, Rachel. Tell me what you see."
She glanced around. "Clones."
"Sinister." Havok concluded.
Rachel's eyes widened in alarm.
"Stay alert, Ray. You know how he is with our bloodline." He turned around and started walking.
"Where are you going?" She immediately called.
"To where Scott would go in a time like this."
"There are civilians here!"
Havok paused. His tired gaze glanced at her from the corner of his eyes. "You're the hero here, Ray. Me?" Power surged around him. Anger- he'd been feeling a lot of that, lately, and he knew more than anyone that anger was best externalized. "I've got a reunion to attend."
It was up to him to finish Scott's work.
"What do you gain from this?" Katherine Pryde growled up at the seated mutant. Her mind raced—their forces were dispersed across the city when the bombings happened, and not soon after the chaos started, the pale mutant appeared.
Naturally, they had attempted to repel him.
With the full might of all the mutants remaining in the institute… they had lost.
It was not to Sinister's clone army that they fell.
Neither was it to Sinister's latest abomination nor his newfound ability to convert them into himself.
It was to Sinister's latest trump card—he had full control of their will and their powers.
Katherine glanced to the dying form of the older Logan.
Not again. She inwardly cursed, but she was knelt before Sinister's throne—powerless, incapable of movement.
And she could not figure out how he had done it.
"You've beaten us, Sinister." She goaded him. The man was arrogant—a little prodding and he would give enough information for her to find a way out of this mess. "What more do you want?"
Calmly, the mutant on the throne stared at her. "It is the endgame." He began, his voice sedate but nonetheless resolute. "You see, Scott and I have been at this game for a long time. Today—it all ends."
"You're eight months too late." She snidely remarked. "He's dead."
"And you, my dear deserter, have such little faith." There was something in his smile. It was that of one that knew something everyone else did not. Knowing Sinister, that assessment was unnervingly accurate. "You ask what I gain? I gain satisfaction. You all are my pawns—my barbed shields. I shall perish today knowing that I my influence will remain. Mine legacy will be eternal—both in his conscience and in your shame."
For the first time in a while, fear gripped her heart. The realization was like ice flowing through her veins, and her mind raced with panic.
Nathaniel Essex did not expect to leave them alive.
And there was no foe more frightening than one with nothing to lose.
Abruptly, blue light and hellfire lit up the skies, drawing the attention of the egoistic mutant.
"What was that?"
Katherine grinned and silently thanked all their lucky stars. While unplanned, she would take every miracle as they came.
Setting Sinister with an indomitable grin, she declared proudly.
Sinister arched an amused brow at her. "Well, it seems there is still some fight left in you lot. I supposed I'll just have to beat it out."
He stood from his throne.
Truth be told, today was not her day.
After sensing a disturbance in reality, the idle but curious Illyana Rasputin set off to investigate. What she found was a trap—a humanoid being clad in darkness, not unlike the Elder Gods she had vanquished, but one quite possibly more fearsome—and she had spent the better part running.
Minutes—but truthfully, it felt like decades—into their skirmish, Illyana had realized a peculiarity among the latest harbinger of Earth's destruction.
Through bloodied limbs and tattered clothes, through the sheer determination that kept her alive all this time, she managed to do the unthinkable.
"What the devil did you do?"
She glanced, willing her gasps to still and failing, at the approaching form of Nathaniel Essex. Grinning wildly, Illyana planted her sword on the ground to help her stand tall.
"I sensed it stir." She wheezed. Her lungs burned and her heart thumped its protest against her breast. Strangely, despite the heaviness of her body, she never felt invincible. She knew what was coming. "That was you, wasn't it? Prodding and taunting in the astral plane. Didn't you know that the dead should be left alone?" She chided the pale mutant. "It didn't like that. Scott didn't like that."
"It should have torn you to pieces." Sinister muttered, his walking cane raising- its dark coat shining with an ominous light. His gloved knuckles tightened around it.
Magik couldn't care any less.
"You overestimate it—and underestimate me." That was always how it went. Only one man had truly seen her. And this Ублюдок had dared defile him. "You see, your eyes have always been focused on Scott and his bloodline that you failed to understand me."
"You are chaos." Sinister scoffed. "Girl, what did you do?"
How did she not perish during the encounter?
"I showed him where you hid her body. It is there, mourning—" Illyana's breathing stilled and she knew she was invincible. "—long enough for me to destroy you."
"A delay, then." Sinister nodded in understanding before declaring with certainty. "Ten minutes. He will arrive in ten minutes—and you will rue bringing him here."
All was still according to plan—only this time, he would dirty his hands to vanquish the demon.
"The way I see it, we're all damned either way." Raising her sword, burning with the souls of the fallen, Illyana crouched in a ready stance. "So let's be damned together."
The abyss cradled her corpse in its arms. It had lost sight of the blonde demon it had been chasing—too focused it was on her corpse.
This was she.
This was she.
It brushed a dirty strand of red aside.
Someone dared touch her.
Someone dared defile her.
Even through the haze that clouded it, it knew this was wrong.
Dark tendrils erupted from its sides and it threw its head backwards.
A mighty wail tore through the landscape, sending tremors all around him ripping through the stone and steel like paper.
It was in some kind of facility—some place where abominations were created.
Instantly, it knew.
Its mind searched—and it found him.
His hated foe; the source of his agony.
Reality warped around it and it found itself amidst trees and fields.
And directly below it were the yellow demon and its pale prey gazing up at him.
Katherine Pryde stared in horror as the mansion was torn asunder by the beast's roar.
Her worried eyes found the culprit—truthfully, the being was hard to miss.
Darkness was the only word to describe it. Pure darkness.
All light appeared to be sucked in by the beast. It had no features save for its glowing red eyes; only a silhouette, a distortion in space itself.
"It was him!" Illyana shouted with a wild grin, thrusting her sword at Sinister's direction. "He is who you want!"
A dark tendril whipped at Magik before she knew what was happening, managing to snag her by the leg before she could dodge. A thunderclap sounded and Illyana was instantly flung against a tree.
"Well, well, old chap." Sinister greeted, clapping his hands slowly in admiration. "Brutal; cold. I see the underworld taught you a few lessons."
Instantly, another tendril lashed out—cleanly cleaving the gloating mutant in half.
"No witty comebacks?" Another Sinister stepped out from the corner. "This is our final battle. I would have wits traded."
Another inhuman roar sounded, and an obsidian wall erupted from its eyes, eradicating the newest Sinister from existence, and only then, with its head thrown back, did Kitty Pryde see.
It was Scott Summers—or some hellspawn version of him.
And cradled in its arms, tenderly even, was the corpse of Jean Grey.
"Sinister…" The Jewish mutant whispered, horror and disbelief etched across her face. Idly, she noted that she was once more able to move. "What have you done?"
"It would have happened eventually." Yet another Sinister strolled forward. "Did you honestly think it would have allowed Scott to remain dead?"
Kitty opened her mouth to respond, but the ground suddenly began to rumble. Glancing around, she saw a mass of bodies rushing towards the clearing.
Not just bodies—Sinister's entire army.
Her gaze returned to the newest Sinister-Prime. "You're not planning to—"
He drew a sword from his staff. "Slay the beast? It is not my style, but there is a certain romance to the act." Smirking—the smirk of a man facing his doom, Nathaniel Essex charged. "Strike, abominations—and show the world our genius!"
Kitty turned, "Everyone down!"
The mutant horde began to glow before, as one, they reached the abyssal beast and exploded.
To be continued...
A/N: I told myself I'd finish this in one sitting, but f*ck. Even with rapid-fast pacing (or as rapid as I can make), this shiznit is taking too much time. F*cks gonna be a while longer, so I decided to post whatevs.
Premise of this shiz is Sinister becoming uberscientist. Through DNA methylation of the X-Gene, as well as epigenetic modification, Sinister was able to manipulate all the mutants and would-be mutants on a genetic level. He came out of the woodworks in preparation for his final confrontation with undead Scott.
Sort-of. I might have posted a better explanation in my dead ffnet forum, Just In Space, but I can't be assed to check.