What if Ascension II didn't end so happily ever after?  Every victory has its cost, even a hollow victory.  What if Apocalypse wasn't defeated so easily? That is the premise this new series of short fics taking place in an AU future that I have attempted to piece together.

Expect romance, drama, action, and maybe even a little comedy.  Yes, there will be pairings, although even I don't know how it's all going to end at this point.  I do as my muse tells me, and that muse isn't particularly helpful at times.

If you even think you –might- enjoy this, I urge you to read Judgment Day by Scribbler, which is one of the best AU fics that I've read which is similar in theme to this series.  It's one of the inspirations as well, I must admit.  However, they are not the same premise at all.  At least, I hope they aren't.

Most of regular cannon characters are here, even if mentioned briefly.  However the main focus of this particular episode is on Rogue, Kitty, and Scott.  This isn't to say there aren't other characters featured, just that these are my main three.  If you have character requests to be added in, do let me know.

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End of History:  Alpha


At the dawn of the millennium, Apocalypse rose.  Banding together, the X-Men and their allies launched one last ragged attempt to save mankind from destruction.  They were able to push him back.  But not destroy him completely.  The final battle was not without repercussions, however. 

The world has moved on.  Their mentors gone, the young mutants have no choice but to carry on best they can.  And Apocalypse is rising again.  Allies have fallen.  Allegiances have changed.  Yet the remnants of resistance remain.  But will it be enough?

The Past.

2007:  Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico.

            The gleaming monolith was visible for miles, towering ominously over the gaping wasteland.  The blackened earth had once been lush foliage.  It had once been beautiful.  That had been before the missiles had been launched.  Before the war had begun.  Before the world had gone straight to hell.

            The war had begun and long ago it had been established that the lines between good and evil were blurred.  Magneto had been the first to fall, but he had not been the last.  The issue was no longer humans against mutants.  No longer good against evil.  Those distinctions had been lost.  There would be only those who served Apocalypse.  And those destroyed by him.

            Now all that remained was the hot sun and choking, heavy dust.  Now the ancient pyramid stood as a symbol to all who would dare look upon it.  A symbol that Apocalypse had risen, once more to rule.  Many had tried to gain entry to the fortress beyond the translucent protective dome that shrouded the structure.  And none had succeeded and survived to speak of what lay beyond.

            The pyramid, once sacred to the Feather Serpent God had once been a place of worship for the Mayan people who inhabited the peninsula near the turn of the millennium.  The plaster pyramid base still carried vestiges of the motifs common to that people.  Jaguars, eagles, and of course, the feathered serpent Quetzalcoatl.

            Now, it was little more than a stronghold.  The ebony gleaming pyramid settled atop it was not of Mayan construction.  Nor was it anything the world had previously been aware of, until Apocalypse had awoken the first time, making it the first in his triad of bases.

            The other sites had been practically demolished in the aftermath of the first battle.  Vestiges of the pyramid in China remained, badly damaged by the lightning storm that had been the death throes of an African Goddess.  Of the Sphinx, the site of the initial defeat of Apocalypse, there was very little.

            This one had survived, however.  It had been the place that Apocalypse had secretly retreated to after his defeat.  He'd been hurled through time and dimension, only to claw his way back to the present.  So he waited in the dark, slowly amassing a horde of followers with painstaking carefulness until the time came when he was ready to emerge once more to the world.

            Now that he had, the world was crumbling.

            With America as it was, thrown into chaos and disorder, it would be only a matter of time before he could take it all.  It needed up a nudge from him before the resisting remnants would be toppled.  Last time he had been careless, as was his nature.  He was, after all, immortal.  Nothing could defeat him permanently.  This time, he would not fail.

            If any had been watching, they would have seen the dome crackle, energy roiling beneath the surface as it pulsated with increasing rapidity.  They might have been amazed with the electricity in the air, static and wild.  But there was no one there.  No innocents had crossed the desolation in ages.  So as the dome split, there were none around to stand in awe of it.

            Had they been there, it was unlikely that they would have lived long.

            The first horse burst through the gap in the dome; the coral-colored monstrosity of pure energy bearing a lone rider upon its back.  It was only a moment later that the other two followed it, streaking across the sky in a brilliant display of light and power.

            The fourth figure that rose from the dome had no such vehicle.  Perhaps the most impressive of the four, this figure rose unto the air with his own power, gliding across the sky like a bird of prey. 

            Like the plagues of biblical times, the four swept across the desolate landscape.  Their goal was apparent from all who would see them, and remembered by those who survived.  They were vengeance.  They were an omen of what was to come.

            The Horsemen had been reborn.  And the war had begun in earnest.

The Past

2008:  Alaska

All around her, the flames leapt higher.

The building was going to collapse soon, she realized.  And there was nothing she could do about it.  She couldn't even wipe the blood from her split lip.  Her limbs wouldn't respond to her commands.  So she lay there, watching the flames creep closer to her prone form through glazed eyes.  Smoke clouded her lungs, forcing a series of wracking coughs through her slender frame.

You're going to die.

Shut up.

Into ashes.  Nothing but ashes left of you.

Stop it.

Poor little girl.  Nothing to save you now.

"Shut up!"  The words came out as little more than a gasping cough.

But it was enough to silence that voice.  At least for a little while.  The others were silent now.  She would have thought that odd, if she'd bothered to think of it.  They never left her alone anyone.  Each one vying for attention; to beg, accuse, threaten.  Once more, she tried to move, knowing it was futile.

The roof of this building, it had once been a school, had collapsed when she'd been hurtled through it.  She was still lying where she'd fallen.  The fire had started soon after.  She wasn't entirely certain how.  Must have happened during the battle, before she'd fallen out of the sky.  Much of the debris from her landing was still lying on top of her, pinning her lower boy against the floor.  Under other circumstances, she could have moved the massive chunks of rubble without breaking a sweat.

            But she was so tired.

            Her left arm was numb.  She could scarcely feel the tips of her fingers.  The wicked twelve-inch barbed adamantium blade lodged in her shoulder was undoubtedly the cause.  She'd tried to pull it out, only to receive sliced fingers from the sharp metal.  Blood still oozed from the wound, dripping down her arm.  The tendon was probably damaged, she thought depreciatively, maybe beyond repair.

            The blood loss was beginning to affect her now.  Even that was not her major concern.  The feather-like blade was not only wicked but poisoned as well.  She could feel it seeping through her system, slowly deadening her limbs.  The toxin was fire through her veins, burning steadily towards her heart. 

            She coughed weakly, her eyes tearing from the smoke.  If she didn't move, she was going to die.

            No less than you deserve.

            There was a part of her that believed that voice.  It was the part of her willing to give up.  She was so tired now.  All she wanted was to sleep.  If she slept, the pain would go away.  If she slept, the voices would go away.  Maybe forever.

            But they were coming for her.  She had to move.  She couldn't lie down and die now.  Not yet.  Not while he still existed in this world or in any other.  She had brought the menace upon the world, even if it had been unintentional.  She would destroy him or die trying.  She couldn't die now.  She had to move.

            Why wouldn't her body respond?  The fire was closer now.  She couldn't let herself die like this.  How long had she lain here?  Only minutes.  Perhaps less.  It couldn't be more.  It only seemed much longer.  They would find her soon, unless she moved.

            Face it Rogue.  You are too weak.

            Shut up.

            You've always been too weak.

            The voice was cruel, cold, and truthful.  Always truthful.  She was very nearly accustomed to that voice.  While she could lock many of the others away, that one remained.  A reminder of her failure.  Her inability to control herself.  It never went away.  Sometimes there were others.  She had absorbed countless people over the years; many of their memories were still flitting around her head, their voices intermingling.  Sometimes Kitty spoke, her optimism unending.  Or Scott.  Even Kurt, filled with cheerful German anecdotes.  But one voice never left.

            And that was all her fault.

            Those people were no longer her family.  She'd given up her place among them.  Now she had no home.  No family.  An outcast among outcasts.  It was no less than she deserved.

            She heard it then, the whoosh of air that marked a descent into the room through the gaping hole above her.  Her right hand, wet and sticky from blood, twitched.  Yet she could not quite rouse herself from the tranquil lull that had overtaken her.  The poison was quicker than she had thought.

            Rogue watched through pain-dulled eyes as the angel of death descended upon her, metal wings gleaming in the firelight.

            Then her world went black.

The Past

2008:  Bayville, New York.

            Professor Charles Xavier had been a man of deep insight and a vision.  His vision had been one of a world where those individuals possessing the X-Gene could live without fear of discrimination.  Where they could exist within the rest of mankind in peace.  Xavier's dream died with him four years ago.

            His memorial still stood behind the mansion, although it was no longer well kept since the place had been deserted.  Tall weeds had grown up around it, making the walk difficult.  For some reason, the weeds irked the visitor, and he yanked a handful of them up from the ground as he passed, tossing them aside.  He strode purposefully toward the marble tombstone, standing before it with a sort of reverence.

            "Hello, Professor."  His voice trembled only slightly, fingers tracing the lettering upon the stone.

            For a moment, he stood in silence, gazing wearily upon the tombstone.  He didn't have the words.  And even if he had them, they didn't need to be said.  Charles Xavier had been everything to him.  Friend, mentor, and most importantly, the closest thing to a father he could remember.  And that man was dead.  Had been dead for years now.  It didn't make the loss any less painful.

            He'd watched the life ebb away from his mentor even as he stood helpless to do anything but watch.   In the moments before his defeat at the hands of the very girl who had awoken him, Apocalypse had withdrawn the power he had previous vested into his Horsemen in order to attack.  He had withdrawn too much.  Apocalypse had killed his henchmen moments before his own initial defeat.  Charles Xavier had been one of those unwilling Horsemen. 

            "Sorry I've been away so long."

He had once shared Xavier's vision of the world.  A vision that had been shattered when En Sabah Nur had awoken, destroying everything Xavier had held dear.  Including the X-Men.  The mansion had been abandoned.  The team was scattered, those of them that had survived anyway.  Most were in hiding.  Few had suffered worse fates.

"It was rough for a while."

            Many had not been so fortunate.  She had not been so fortunate.  The hand at his side clenched, fingers digging into his palm sharply.  The pain brought him a moment of focus, taking his mind from painful thoughts of Her.  There were some wounds that never healed.  But he was too strong to let such a thing overtake him indefinitely.  He'd allowed his pain to dominate him for too long now.  The world had moved on.  So must he.

            "And I had some thing to take care of."

            Apocalypse might have thought him a broken man, but that was not the case.  He'd stood by for too long now, lost in his own grief.  He'd exiled himself from the world.  And the world had suffered for it.  Too many had made sacrifices for him to quit this far along.  That realization had been taken too long.  But now was not the time for regrets.  It was the time for action.

            "But I'm home now."

            The rule of En Sabah Nur was going to come to an end.  He would see to that.  It might take his death to ensure the final victory, but it would happen.  The first step had already been made.

            "And Apocalypse will fall."

            The determination in those words, spoken to a man long dead, was unshakable.  Scott Summers, the X-Man who had once been known as Cyclops, would not rest until the world was free.  He was through running.  It was time to fight.


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