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The X-Evolution - The Rise of Dusk

Chapter 16: Loss

"Yang, no!" Storm's voice echoed through the huge room, carried by her wind over the gasps and shouts of protest that had sprung from those still conscious enough to know what was going on.

But despite her own efforts and those of Nightcrawler and Flare, the boy fell backwards over the edge of the platform and tumbled down into the depths of the swirling purple concoction.

For a moment, nothing happened. Then the purple light pulsed with energy, sparking upward, and began to glow brighter than it ever had before.

Dusk watched this scene with delight, his wide smirk twisting the face of the kind boy he possessed like a stick dragged through exceptionally thick mud. He turned to the group of student mutants with an expression akin to a bird of prey about to descend on its latest meal.

"Excellent try, children." His voice slid around like a skate over ice, slicing through the shadows as easily as a blade, the darkness of the room swirling around him. "But destiny is inevitable. And it is my destiny to guide this world out of the terror of the Light and into a glorious new age of…"

He cut off there, because a single tear had suddenly escaped from his right eye and rolled down his cheek.

The mob surrounding him gasped, especially those who had seen Dusk in action before. Avalanche's brow furled, confused. "What the hell…?"

"He's…crying?" Shadowcat whispered in wonder.

"No…" Jean placed a hand against her forehead, reeling back a few steps in such a manner that Scott moved to support her, afraid that she was going to faint. "It's not him…Not Dusk. It's…Oh my god…"

"What?" Cyclops pressed, gently squeezing her arm. "What is it? What's wrong?"

Jean looked up at him, her eyes wide, standing out boldly against her red hair as her mouth dropped open in an almost dainty manner of shock. "It's…Oh my god, Scott, it's really…It's Yin."

Dusk reached up with one hand and wiped the tear away, pulling back to look at the wetness on his fingers in a sort of confused wonder. Then he smirked the meaning came to him. "Foolish boy." He whispered. "Already mourning your brother so deeply?"

Another tear, from the same eye, slipped down the exact same path. Dusk ignored this one, just as he ignored the swirling darkness around him, the loops and tendrils of shadow beginning to writhe under his touch. For a brief moment, the blue eyes that he had stolen scanned over the crowd of mutants confidently. A smirk adorned his dampened face.

"I don't have time to play with you anymore." He said softly, turning on the ball of his smooth, suede black boots. "Destiny awaits."

Mercurious stumbled forward, his leg bleeding and obviously severely wounded - Wolverine's doing, no doubt, or perhaps Quicksilver's - to reach out for the beast in boy's flesh desperately. "M-My Lord…"

Dusk turned to him, his eyes cold. "You've failed me. Get out of my sight."

"B-But…My Lord…"

Dusk lifted his hand, and a wave of darkness rose to his command. Mercurious was swept off his feet and thrown backwards, across the dark metal, over the edge of the platform, and down towards the mass of purple energy…

"Marcus!" Aquani shouted, in her haste divulging the commander's true name.

Izumi stepped forward before anyone could stop her, stretching out her arm and twisting her wrist until her palm was facing straight up. Wind shot forward at her command, swooping beneath Mercurious's body and suspending him in mid-air, shoving him back up onto the platform safely, where he promptly collapsed.

Zephyr stumbled back as well, reeling from the sudden toll on her powers. Takuya moved quickly to catch and support her as best he could. "Orimoto…why'd you…"

The blonde grinned at him a bit. "Blood's…thicker than water, you know."

"How quaint." Dusk sniffed lightly, not truly annoyed that his 'punishment' had be halted, just sickened by the display of family loyalty. He was almost to the machine now, only a few steps from once again becoming master of the Zero-One. He smirked to himself, turning dramatically to face the gathered crowd for one last announcement…

And froze.

Not willingly, mind you, but because the long tendrils of darkness that had been gently caressing his arms and legs like a lover's touch had suddenly turned into harsh, cold chains of shadow that held him firmly in place. The demon within the boy's body snarled. "What the hell?"

At the same moment, the waves of shadow holding the mob of mutants away from him suddenly broke, pulling away so suddenly that Iceman and Avalanche hit the ground hard. The others jerked forward, the muscles that they hadn't realizing they had been straining snapping to alert attention.

Lightening Bug was the first one to ask the obvious question: "What's happening?"

"He's lost control…" Scott's face spread into a bit of an uncertain, yet eager, expression. "He lost control! We can get him now!"

"Are you nuts?" Takuya shouted angrily, grabbing Cyclops's arm. "We can't do that! Kouichi's still in there!"

"Which is why were have to take them out now." Scott insisted, yanking his arm free and bringing his hand up to the visor the covered his eyes. "Yin's got to be the one doing this, he's holding him for us. If we don't act now…"

"You're going to kill him!"

"Look!" Tomoki's voice rang out, bringing the other two from their argument with a jerk. The darkness was moving again, away from them, pressed against the floor and tracing out something strange…symbols. Just two. But they were symbols.

Dusk could see them, all too easily, because one of them was painting its way across his face. "What the hell is this?!"

Izumi's eyes widened in recognition. "Kanji…"

Rouge lifted a curious eyebrow. "Say wha now?"

"Kanji." Logan mumbled in the same accent, his eyes narrowed on the markings. "Japanese writing inherited from the Chinese. It's pictorial, picture-representative…"

Shadowcat leaned forward cautiously, her hands gripped into fists with anxiety as she stared down at the writing. "Can you…read it?"

Logan gripped his fists and grit his teeth in a savage manner, his eyes sharp. Around the room, the Japanese children - Yuki, Zephyr, Lightening Bug and Flare - were pulling back, obviously surprised, clearly shocked and some of them a little disgusted.

"It says…" Izumi gulped a bit, trying to wet her dry throat. "Kill…me.…"

The younger mutants, especially Nightcrawler, snapped their heads to Wolverine for confirmation. The expression on Logan's face made it clear, very clear - the symbols constantly repeating themselves over and over on every surface in the entire room were a plea for death, and more were coming every second.

Takuya was shaking just a bit, gripping his hands into fists around the lighter tightly. "Yin…"

Storm closed her eyes a moment, then opened them sharply. "We have to."

"Then we'll do it." Logan growled low, tightening his fists. He twisted his arm and motioned violently. "Do it! Everyone, now!"

"But…"

"We can't argue now, Kitty." Iceman interrupted Shadowcat's protests quietly. "We might never get this chance again."

With that, he darted forward, with Yuki even beside him. They paused a moment on either side of the bound creature, then nodded to each other and blasted streams of ice over Dusk's legs.

The creature possessing the boy struggled and looked ready to spit, his hair becoming a wild mess around his face in his fury. "You nasty little…traitor! Disgusting children!"

"That's good!" Scott called, stepping forward and lifting a hand to his visor. The words begging for death continued to copy themselves over and over again in darkness, urging them on. "Hold him there! This will be quick…"

They all knew what he wasn't saying: He won't have to suffer…

Then something tickled the edge of Jean's consciousness, and she twisted around with a gasp. "Yang…?"

"Vhat?" Nightcrawler and most of the others twisted around in surprise.

And with good reason - it was quite a sight. Yang was being lifted by the very darkness that had thrown him into death, carefully twined around his limbs and torso to support him. His costume was missing something…the right sleeve, which seemed to have been severed across the shoulder seam.

Dusk had twisted as well, and at the sight, his face twisted into an expression of horror. "Why won't you die?"

The sound brought Kouji back around, just as the darkness let him go and he dropped, safe, onto the platform. He coughed painfully, hacking several times to get the pressure off of his lungs, and lifted his head just as the boost of power given off by the addition of his carbon-based garment flickered out, returning the room to its original, barely-lit state.

Yang coughed once more and looked up to find Flare and Nightcrawler leaning over him, carefully helping him to his feet. "You okay buddy?"

"I'd say so!" Kurt sighed in relief. "Man, ve thought you vere a goner!"

Kouji shook his head a few times, trying to clear his mind, and the first coherent thought that he could pull together burst from his mouth. "Nii-san…"

Flare and Nightcrawler glanced at each other uncertainly, then moved back so that Yang could see it all. He could see his brother, still possessed, being held in place by darkness and ice working together. He could see Cyclops, ready to fire, but holding back because his reappearance had added an element of uncertainty to the mix. And he could see, hundreds of times over, the Kanji letters begging over and over for death, for freedom…

"Kouji…"

Yang turned his head away from the other two mutants, pushing himself to his feet. He reached for his belt and realized then that his sleeve wasn't the only thing that had been powering the dark matter - his flashlight was gone. "…Light."

"Say vhat?"

"I need light." He muttered, looking to Flare out of the corner of his eyes, keeping his expression carefully pokerfaced to keep the tears from coming. "Takuya…Please. Some light."

The fire-master stared at him a moment, then his face folded in understanding. He sighed lightly, moving his lighter into his hand and pushing the hammer down with his thumb. "Yeah…sure."

With a flick, the lighter brought a spark to life. Kouji reached out with his hand to draw light away from the flame, gathering it into his palm. As he moved forward, he began to roll the solidified light into a thin stick, a beam, clutched between his fingers.

Her pushed past Cyclops, his eyes focused straight ahead. For a moment, he met his brother's gaze, keeping his own expression carefully measured, his emotions under control.

"I'm sorry," he whispered, and fired his shot.

The beam of light shot forward, flying through the air like a bullet aimed exactly for its mark. Dusk continued to struggle against the darkness and the ice that held him, shouting in fury, but nothing could stop it.

The light struck him directly in the chest, vanishing instantly. The force made the ice shatter and the darkness was, quite suddenly, just that - darkness.

For a moment, the boy remained standing, gasping, his eyes wide. Then a slight smile crawled over his face and he fell straight backwards, blue eyes slowly closing on the way.

There was no doubt in anyone's mind that he was dead before he hit the ground.

Kouji wasted no time. He raced forward before any of the others could even think to move, scooping the prone form into his arms and clutching his brother close. The tears that had sprung to his eyes fell the moment he reached the other, hearing absolutely nothing - no breathing, no heartbeat, no life.

"Nii-san…" He whispered, tears running down his cheeks. He pulled his brother closer, hating the unresponsiveness, the total lack of motion that accompanied his stroking of the other boy's hair. "Kouichi-nii-san…Nii-san…"

The group of mutants were watching them, but they held off, partially out respect and partially out of fear of just what Yang would do. The boy wasn't paying any attention to them, everything in his body focused on the body clutched in his arms.

Takuya took a deep breath and stepped forward. "Kouji…"

"It's over." The twin whispered, not looking up. "It's over, it's all over… It's over."

There was a long moment of silence. Then Lightening Bug, with a stern expression of determination on his face, stepped forward. "Not yet, it's not."

He moved quickly, sparks beginning to fly as he took two large, gloved fists and slammed them together hard. He spared barely a glance at Kouji for a couple of words. "Move if you don't want to get shocked."

"Say what?" Kouji's glared didn't look exactly threatening with red eyes and tears on his face, but his grip tightened with the desperate need not to be separated from his brother. "What the hell do you think you're…"

But Izumi, realizing what Lightening Bug was about to do, had already moved forward and pulled Kouji away, just seconds before the sparks reached a furious, almost violent level. Junpei separated his fists quickly and let out one almost overly dramatic shout: "CLEAR!"

He slammed the sparking fists into the boy's chest, causing a zap that made the hair on everyone's neck stand up straight. The body jerked as the electricity shot through in, neurons firing without mental interaction.

Junpei pressed his fists together again, shooting a look toward Logan, Ororo and Scott. "How much would you say a defibrillator gives out? 20,000 volts?"

Storm, still surprised by the nature of these actions, stuttered a bit. "W-Well, yes…"

"Good. CLEAR!"

Another impact, radiating with lightening, but this time with more effect. With a shuttering noise, Kouichi jerked and seemed to draw in a sharp breath.

Jean reeled backwards in surprise, putting a hand to her forehead. "Oh my god…"

"What is it?" Scott's gaze shot to her worriedly. "Is it Dusk?"

"N-No…" The telepath closed her eyes, blocking out as much as she could to focus on her instincts. "I…I don't feel Dusk at all. It's like he's completely gone, but Yin…"

"What about Yin?"

Jean opened her eyes to look up at her boyfriend in wonder and surprise. "His heart…it's beating again…Oh, Scott, he's alive!"

The announcement was greeted by a ripple of excitement among the gathered Institute members, as well as light expressions of confusion from the Brotherhood and the dark mutants. Once again, Kouji was the first to act, pulling out of Zephyr's grip to take his brother back from Lightening Bug.

"Nii-san…"

Kouichi's eyes opened very slowly. He blinked several times, his expression blank and numb as the blue orbs traced the group very, very gradually. His head rolled up to meet Kouji's eager, excited eyes. For a moment, the twins just looked at each other, the Kouichi opened his mouth and spoke three dry, raspy words:

"Who are you?"

The X-Evolution: Rise of Dusk

End

Okay…One more episode, everybody! Please don't kill me, I swear I'll continue it soon! I swear! So don't hurt me…it'll continued soon, in a third story, just one more, I promise, I promise!