SmallvilleX: Evolution Year 2.3: Dark Horizons
Summary: For months the X-Men have heard tell a prophesy of a great dark power on the horizon, about to rise and now his time has come. Can the X-Men stop his rise or will the world truly tremble once more in the presence of Apocalypse?
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Author's Note: Like I've said previously I just need to break this story up because of its length so here we are and here we go with part 3 of Clark's 2nd year at the Xavier Institute. The journey continues...
Spears' Pow-R8 Factory...
It was a dark and stormy night...ok so that sounds a bit clichéd but it's true. The rain poured down, thunder and lightning cracked the sky. A good old fashioned early April storm...ok so maybe that's not accurate but it was April and there was a storm beating down on Bayville.
It means the guards protecting the factory, that is producing Guy Spears' new sports drink, Pow-R8, tonight are having one of those 'everything looks spooky' nights. They hate those. They know it's irrational, a fear of the dark and watching too many horror movies so they do their best to ignore those human instincts and do their jobs.
The guard patrolling outside was cursing up a storm about the lousy weather. He hoped either it stopped or the time came he and one of his colleagues inside swapped places.
Suddenly he feels something hop onto his back. Before he can react he feels something touch his temples and he blacks out, knowing no more for this evening.
As the guard falls unconscious a small figure cloaked in shadow hops off his back and then signals with her large hands. At that four other figures cloaked in shadow dart out rejoining their comrade. They run down to the west side of the factory where a slender, feminine figure puts her hands to the wall...which dissolves instantly, creating a large enough hole for the 5 figures to slip inside.
The inside of the factory was completely silent, all the machinery switched off for the night. Only the sound of the rain and thunder could be heard.
Once inside the leader of the group looks at her comrades and nods and they get to work. They pull out crowbars and an axe or simply metal bars and start smashing all the machines and packaged up bottles. The one with the axe slices a hole into one of vats containing the sport drinks.
It takes several minutes and they are almost caught by another guard but he is immobilised like the first one outside.
They regroup as the alarms sound.
"Are the police coming?" the leader asks another slender but male figure this time.
He puts his hand to his bald head. "Yes."
"And...him?" the leader asks, a touch of worry in her voice.
"He is far away tonight."
The leader nods. Good. She wouldn't have even attempted this unless her comrade had been able to sense he was far away. It was why her comrade was also with them. He would be able to sense him coming.
"Why are we afraid of him?" a shorter one asks. "Isn't he our friend? He saved me from gang of men. He brings us food."
"Yeah," the slender, female one agrees. "He's not like the others...and aren't we breaking our agreement with him?" she points out.
"This is different," the leader argues. "They attacked us first. It's self-defence. Besides even if he understood the other top-worlders wouldn't. This is our problem" she states firmly. "We'll deal with it," she decides, her tone broaching no argument. "Now lets get out of here before the police arrive," she orders and with that they do make a run for it.
The sounds of the sirens and of the thunder in the sky above cover the sound of a manhole sliding back into place as the police run by not giving it any notice.
At the Institute...
It was the first Friday in April and Evan was awake mind-boggling early but he couldn't sleep because he was stoked. Tomorrow there was that skateboarding competition he had been practising for. He had been using every spare moment he had to practice.
Sure a lot of other stuff had happened to interrupt and he wasn't downplaying what happened in Smallville at all or how close they came to all buying the big one but everyone was alright or would be in time and yeah it sucked that the mutant community in Smallville had to rebuild everything over almost from scratch but they, as in the Institute, were going to help with that. Point is Evan loves skateboarding and if you're good enough you can make a career out of it. This was Evan's chance to impress and possibly make a shot of hitting the big time. In fact the winner would get a sponsorship deal with Pow-R8. It was literally a chance to turn pro.
This...the X-Men, as important as it is, can't be the only thing in Evan's life. There has to be more to it. It's no different to anyone else around here. Scott and Jean were going to college in the fall. Clark was aiming to be a journalist or something. James was...uh, well to be truthful Evan really hadn't gotten to know the new guy, Thunderbird yet. He was quite a quiet type. Evan knew James was a Kawatche Warrior...whatever that meant...and he seemed to have a bit of a crush on Siryn. Well Evan can't blame the guy for that. Terry was cute. Point is Evan simply doesn't know the guy well enough to know what James' plans are.
As for Kurt...yeah that was awkward for Kurt with his appearance and all so Evan thinks Kurt wasn't entirely certain if he could go do normal stuff like go to college or get a job.
Lets see, Tarot...man what was Marie planning to do with her life? Evan hadn't a clue. He liked the girl fine and had gotten over her once being a part of their enemies or whatever the Hellions are these days but they weren't close so he didn't really know where her interests lay.
Kitty...uh well Kitty could probably do anything she set her mind to. She is that sort of ultra smart. Probably something computer related. She's expert at that. What's she not expert at is driving. Kitty got her driving permit since she is now old enough to learn to drive and well she sucks. Really, really badly. She had given everyone who tried to teach her near heart attacks and several dents in whatever car she was driving. Now everyone who could teach her was trying to avoid her in case she asked them to help. Even the Kents, who are like the most easy going, helpful people Evan knows, had been trying to politely fob Kitty off.
Scott was sweating buckets she would ask him to teach her in his beloved convertible. It was so so funny Evan was almost having to stop himself falling over with laughter every time he saw Scott trying to hide from the girl.
Kitty had been unusually cheerful these last few days, more so than her normal. Even Evan noticed it. He wondered what had caused it but you know, decided it wasn't his business to ask. After all he doesn't ask anyone to get involved in his business so it's only consistent he stays out of the affairs of others.
Evan turns off the shower he had been having while thinking all of this, towels off, pulls his boxers and jeans on, glances up into the mirror...
...and freezes, as he spots a large column of bony spikes, in perfect alignment, up his spinal chord.
'What the...?!' Evan exclaims in his head. He hadn't been trying to create any bony protrusions. This...this wasn't right. He tries to make the bony growths vanish...but nothing happens.
He closes his eyes and concentrates hard, a mild panic starting to rise up within. 'Come on...come on!' he mentally mutters to himself as he concentrates harder and harder and with a tremendous effort and not some inconsiderable pain he feels the bones retract back into his body until there is nothing but normal, smooth skin.
Evan takes a moment and a few deep breaths of relief. He has never had that much trouble in retracting his spikes back in before. Maybe he go see Beast or let his Auntie O know...
Nah. It's probably just a one time thing. It's been a hard week. He probably has just been pushing himself too hard. The competition starts tomorrow. He'll make sure to get an early night tonight and everything will be fine. No sense in freaking his aunt out over nothing. He finishes getting dressed and heads off to grab his board and get some practise in before breakfast.
An hour-ish later Evan walks into the kitchen to find the normal mad breakfast rush well under way. Kitty was feeding Lockheed while Shelby was under the table gnawing on a bone someone had given him.
"My Evan, you're up early," Ororo teases her nephew, her voice cheerfully light.
Evan shrugs. "Wanted to get some practice in," he explains.
"Well as long as you're not overdoing it," Ororo cautions.
"I'm a big boy Auntie O," Evan assures her in his way of saying he can judge it himself. Besides didn't he already promise himself an early night. He knows what he's doing.
"That's debatable," comes the gruff criticism of his auntie's boyfriend, Logan. To this day Evan has no idea what it is his auntie sees in the gruff Canadian. Yet that reply gets one of her brilliant smiles in response, a smile of deep affection as if she truly finds Logan's gruffness endearing. Evan shudders.
"Could be worse," Clark says, his face hidden behind the morning newspaper. "On Krypton there was this competition where you would surf over the Fire Falls...and yes they are what the name implies. A waterfall of cascading fire."
Everyone pauses and takes a moment to look at him.
"You learn that from you studies with Jor-El, honey?" Martha inquiries from her son.
"Yep," Clark confirms.
"Oh man that sounds so cool!" Tabby enthuses.
"Yeah...well I think I'll pass," Evan says, a little put-off. Even he isn't that crazy. "Thanks though, Clark, for the suggestion."
"You're welcome," Clark says airily.
"To be fair skateboarding is a lot harder zhan it looks," Kurt says, his tail moving to rub a spot on his back he bruised when he tried it once.
"You seem like you're psyched up for tomorrow," Roberto mentions in regards to Evan.
"Ya think?" Paige lightly teases, showing she's been hanging around Tabby too much lately.
"Ok guys take it easy," Jean cautions with a chuckle. "This is a big deal for Evan and we should support him."
"Jean's right," Scott agrees with his girlfriend, a smile playing on his lips at how responsible she sounds there. Damn it's sexy when she plays leader.
"Why thank you," Jean coos in his head. "I do my best," she smirks impishly.
"It's really creepy when you two do that," Betsy complains, knowing they're having a private telepathic conversation, their expressions changing but with no audible words.
Jean and Scott blush lightly.
"Betsy," Jean hisses.
Betsy smirks. "Hey I wasn't listening in. I was just mentioning it for the benefit of those who aren't telepathic."
"Yeah...well don't you do this with Julian," Scott mentions with a glare.
"Broke up, luv. Wasn't my type." So wasn't her type.
"Well at least one person around here is smart," Scott mutters, giving a glare aimed at his brother, hinting that what he thinks is smart is not dating a Hellion.
"Oh give it a rest, bro," Alex waves him off, truly tired of hearing it over and over again. On the other hand Jennifer can do him over and over as much as she wants.
Scott turns back to Betsy not wishing to have another argument with his little brother. "My point is one day you'll meet someone and I bet anything that day you'll be doing this."
"Depends on the person," Betsy says, giving Clark a little sad look at how that has turned out because she was willing to try with him exactly because she couldn't read or connect to his mind only that kinda went badly south.
Clark hears her but doesn't show any sort of response. He's too busy reading anyhow.
"So how come you missed that break-in at the Pow-R8 factory last night, Clark?" Claire asks. She hadn't been out with him much lately since she was recovering from her injuries from last week. She still smarted all over...but at least she been getting massages from Marie out of it so it wasn't a total loss.
"Was out of town," he answers vaguely.
"Elsewhere. Does it matter?" he asks back, his voice short and sharp, showing he doesn't wish to talk about it.
"Clark," Jonathan warns him about his tone. He eyes his son carefully. Clark was doing this sort of vague avoidance more and more often lately and he wouldn't open up about it.
"I'm allowed a private life where I don't have to share every last freakin detail alright?" he argues.
"Nobody's arguing that, Clark," Martha steps in before this turns into a shouting match. "We just worry for you. That's all."
"And I appreciate that mom. I do but I'm fine but this is my business and that is all I'll say about it ok?"
"Ok, honey," Martha accepts with a sad sigh. "But if you ever need to talk we're here."
"I know," he answers.
The truly worrying part is that he never once looked at them during that whole thing. His nose still stuck in the paper.
"As for the break-in," Clark returns to that. "I'll try and sneak in and have a look around later today assuming the police are done. Despite all our agreements to train them they still don't like vigilantes all that much." He turns a page. "Oh hey Wanda!" he suddenly says.
Everyone stops, turns and looks at the kitchen door because standing there is indeed the probability altering, magic using, mutant witch.
"Wanda!" Tabby cheers happily as she rushes to her feet and runs over and hugs her friend.
"Hey Tabby," Wanda says with a smile as she hugs her very first friend back.
Tabby pulls back. "What are you doing here, girl?"
"I'm moving back in."
"Really?!" Tabby says excitedly because that would be great. She's so missed being able to hang out with Wanda.
"Yeah. I'm done at Dr Strange's...or I should say I've learned enough control that I don't have to stay there permanently but I will still have to go over for more lessons periodically."
"Welcome back, Wanda," Scott greets her, happy to see her again. Happy to have her back.
There are a lot of welcome backs from everyone else.
"Thanks," Wanda says, sounding almost cheerful. In fact she looks happier and more comfortable with herself in general. A sign she's moving past her difficult life and starting to look forward a bit more. "So what's new with you guys?" she asks.
"Oh same old, same old," Tabby says lightly. "Big huge fight, nearly die in a nuclear apocalypse. You know that sort of thing."
"I know all about that Tabby," Wanda says with a slight shake of her head, making her slightly longer hair sway. It wasn't like she could miss that being all over the news.
"We have this new total muscled hunk of a guy, James," Tabby mentions. He wasn't here right now.
Sam frowns, looks up at his girlfriend and frowns some more at the fact she's praising other men who might just make him feel slightly inadequate in comparison but then again James is a freakin giant!
"You mentioned him to me over the phone, Tabby," Wanda reminds her blond friend.
"Did I?" Tabby says with a puzzled look, her eyes going upward as she tries to recall that conversation. "Anyway he helps out teach the one to one combat training," she says with a suggestive waggle of her eyebrows.
Wanda rolls her eyes. Yep. Tabby hadn't changed.
"Oh and Clark finally figured out how to fly. If he hadn't we wouldn't be standing here having this catch up. He's a national hero...at least according to the Bugle."
It was sort of what you'd expect really considering Superman saved an entire town of 40,000 people plus all those fine upstanding American servants of SHIELD and the Avengers including Captain America himself. There was coast to coast coverage on all the news networks and pieces in the papers. Of course the Bugle, Jameson, was just using it to show what a real hero looked like and how Spider-Man was not one. Honestly even Clark thought JJ a jerk.
The coverage was hopelessly inaccurate, making wild speculations about who or what Superman was. Apparently the Superman fan club got a lot new members.
Seriously Clark didn't even know he had a fan club till this but someone, somewhere in the world has set one up. Clark let it go because it generally helped put a more positive view on mutants out there since that's what most people thought he was and he wanted to help the mutant cause anyway he could.
Wanda looks at Clark to see his reaction. He finally puts the paper down and shrugs. "I don't like to boast about my awesomeness," he jokes with false ego. Truthfully Clark didn't really care what sort of praise he got. That's not why he does it and he certainly wasn't making any effort to encourage it. He pegs on the end, just to rile his room-mate up, "I leave that sort of thing to Bart."
"Hey!" Bart complains, digging into his third helpings this morning. Damn metabolism.
"Oh this is Bart by the way," Clark points at his room-mate doing a formal introduction. "Bart, Wanda. Try to be nice and remember what I said," he reminds Bart the warnings he had given over Wanda's sensitivities and the fact Bart might remind her of her brother too much.
"Or don't and answer to me," Jubilee says with that sweet, evil smile of hers because she knows what Clark means and is referring to.
Bart gulps. That smile...a cold shiver goes up his spine. "So, uh, hi Wanda," he greets her.
"Hello," Wanda replies coolly, her eyes narrowed slightly. So this is Bart. God help him if he reminds her of her brother because she'll hex his ass into next year if he does.
Jubilee pats her boyfriend on the head. "That's better. We'll get you trained yet," she quips.
"Ha, ha," Bart replies flatly, sticking his tongue out at her.
Martha moves over and gives Wanda a quick hug as a proper welcome back. Wanda can't help a small smile erupting on her face which is something she never use to do a lot of but it's a nice warm feeling inside to know she is wanted somewhere. Quite the contrast to her own family...except her mother. That's what this reminds her of. The hugs her mother use to give her.
Wanda takes the seat next to Clark because she wants to ask him something and she knows he won't lie to her being her psuedo-brother and all. "So what's up with Logan?" she asks in a whisper.
"In what way?" Clark whispers back.
"His greeting was grumpier than normal," Wanda observes.
Clark arches an eyebrow. "You can tell that?" he asks, surprised because Logan barely made a noise.
"I'm a master of grumpy," Wanda jokes self-deprecatingly as about how she knows.
Clark chuckles, though he's pleased to see Wanda more comfortable at joking. "Well it's a couple of things. First off meeting up with Rogue in Smallville last week."
"She still not back to her senses?"
"No...and believe me Logan and Domino tried to get through to her but she still went off with your father at the end of the day."
"So she's still on my Hex list, huh?"
"If you want."
"I do." Though truly she wishes Rogue wasn't like this. "The 2nd thing?"
"Uh, it involves Kitty. She's failed to live up to Logan's high, high standards," Clark says in a sarcastic tone because really who is Logan of all people to judge?
"What about Kitty?" Wanda asks, not being able to imagine for a second what the sweet, 'Valley Girl' could have possibly done.
"How shall I phrase it?" Clark ponders. "Lets just say she's no longer fit for virgin sacrifices."
Clark arches an eyebrow and waits for it.
"Ooohhh," Wanda drawls the word out as she gets it. Her gaze drifts to the brown haired girl, feeding her pet dragon, oblivious to this conversation taking place. "Really?" she queries in total surprise. "Her and..."
"Peter, yes," Clark confirms.
"Wow. Never saw that coming," Wanda has to say.
"No. Neither did Logan...and Kitty forgot to shower afterwards so you can just imagine how that played out."
"Is Peter dead?" Wanda asks, completely dead-pan.
"Not last time I checked...but Tabby's been having fun with that one for days."
"I can imagine," Wanda says with an eye-roll and a small suffering groan because as much as she loves Tabby her crazy blond friend can go on and on sometimes about things Wanda has no interest in. She's not someone who pokes their nose in other people's business.
"Oh Betsy!" Tabby suddenly squeals. "Hey Wanda stop flirting with CK and meet the English girl!" she says, having remembered Wanda wouldn't have met Betsy either.
"I'm not flirting!" Wanda protests. "Clark's like my brother you idiot!"
"Yeah, whatever," Tabby says, never fully believing that. "Point is, new girl, you haven't met, need introduction."
"I'm sitting right here," Betsy points out, throwing her arms up. She is like only four people away from where Wanda is. "And English girl?" she complains at Tabby for that.
"What?" Tabby asks innocently.
Betsy just drops her head into her hands. Some days why does she even bother? "I'm not the only 'new girl' you know," she mumbles through her hands.
"Yeah. I know but you're the only one currently sitting at the table."
"Somebody shoot me...or better her," Betsy requests.
"Speaking of new people where's that Cypher?" Jamie asks because you know, finally, another boy his age but Doug doesn't want to talk or interact with anyone. Hasn't since he got here.
"Still in his room," Beast says with a sad shake of his head. "He's still feeling very hurt and betrayed and he won't come out. We're working on it," he vows. It was going to be a slow thing with Cypher. That much was obvious but at least, if he staying in his room, he wasn't trying to run away so that's something even if it was a small thing.
"You know I think we completely got lost off topic," Scott comments. "Jean was saying about us supporting Evan over the weekend."
"Why not?" Bobby shrugs. "Might be mildly diverting...watching Evan fall!" he jokes.
"Thanks for the support, man," Evan grumbles at Bobby.
"Well Jonathan and I will be there for you Evan," Martha promises.
"And so will I," Ororo also promises. "And I'll make sure to remind your parents," she mentions.
"It's ok if they can't come Auntie O. I know they're busy and it's not exactly round the corner," Evan says, showing remarkable understanding.
"Still I'll try," she promises him.
"Thanks Auntie O," Evan says gratefully.
A short time later Evan is back in his room, reaching to pick up his bag for school when bony spikes suddenly sprout up along his right arm.
'Not again!' he mentally complains. He quickly closes his eyes and concentrates on pulling them back.
"Yo Evan, you alright?" Kurt asks as he walks by the open door.
Evan's eyes snap open and to his relief the spikes are gone. "Yeah. Kurt. I'm fine. We going?"
Kurt nods, though eyeing Evan with a suspicious gaze.
Evan picks up his bag while mentally trying to convince himself that what just happened isn't a big deal. Like he thought in the shower this morning just needs a good night's sleep. He slings his bag on his shoulder and walks out the door...grabbing his free bottle he got of Pow-R8 as he goes.
Author's Note: So yeah we're getting stuck straight into X-treme Measures which is, by its nature, a very Spyke-centric story. And yes Wanda is finally back. Been planning that for awhile and I always intended to do it after I finished my previous story. Thanks to everyone who wrote reviews for my last story. Next up; X-treme Measures part 2.